Thursday, September 27, 2012

Small Personal Survival Kit

I've spent the last few months off and on puzzling over the ideal Personal Survival Kit. My goal was to make a small kit more substantial than my Mini Survival Kit and small enough to fit into a Nalgene bottle for easy transportability. I have yet to succeed, but the components will fit into a bottle + a purse/waist pack/or other option + on my key ring.

Here are six small Personal Survival Kits for your consideration.

(Prices were obtained from Amazon, Campmor, Nalgene, REI, Wal-Mart and other local stores.)

KIT #1
1. Adventure Medical Kits (AMK) Pocket Survival Pak (PSP) Plus ($60)
2. Nalgene 1 qt/L bottle ($11)
3. AMK 1- or 2-persons Heatsheets blanket ($6)
4. Translucent lighter that adjusts up to a mini blow torch ($1)
5. 50 ft. 400# utility cord ($5).

Total cost is about $83.00. Although compact and providing the barest of essentials, the issues I have with this kit are: 1) I already have a PSP and would have to buy a PSP Plus and, 2) if the expiration date for the chlorine dioxide tablets aren't 4-5 years in the future, I'd have to return the entire kit and buy another just to get the maximum expiration date.

Thinking I could do better, I devised the following according to my 15 Essential Systems...

KIT #2 - the AMK PSP ($28) and...

1. NAVIGATION - in the PSP.

2. PERSONAL ATTIRE - whatever is worn or is at hand.

a. Nalgene 1 qt/L bottle ($11)
b. Bandanna ($2) - for prefiltering floaties and sediment out of water
c. (30) Katadyn Micropur water purification tablets ($13) - scissors or a knife is needed to open the foil; tearing the foil open is difficult due to the child safety precaution. The PSP includes a scalpel blade which is not TSA-compliant.

4. SHELTER - AMK 1- or 2-persons Heatsheets blanket ($6).

5. COMMUNICATION - covered by the PSP.

6. FIRE - Adjustable lighter ($1).

7. ILLUMINATION - Key ring LED ($2).

8. NUTRITION - P-51 can opener ($1) - this is the larger version of the P-38 used by the U.S. military and is easier to use; authentic P-38 and P-51 can openers are made by and have "US Shelby" stamped on them.

9. FIRST AID KIT - whatever is in pockets, bag, or purse as EDC.

a. Swiss Army knife (SAK) Classic ($12)
b. Braided wire saw ($5) - a braided wire saw is stronger than a twisted or spiral wire saw
c. 50 ft. 400# utility cord ($5).

11. DOCUMENTATION - This list (also use as tinder).

12. FINANCES - whatever is in the wallet. I once went for six weeks in 1998 with only 11 cents plus a credit card. It saved me money because I didn't charge less than $10, but is definitely not advised for emergency situations. What if electricity had gone out and I couldn't use my credit card?

a. Large utility carabiner – to clip bottle to belt or bag strap, not for climbing ($3)
b. Gallon freezer zip bag - to store contents while bottle is used for water ($0.25).

14. ENTERTAINMENT - whatever is on hand.

15. SECURITY - Fox 40 whistle.

Total cost is about $89.

But, what if the wire saw breaks and shouldn't every traveler carry along a corkscrew?

KIT #3 - the AMK PSP ($28) and...

1. NAVIGATION - in the PSP.

2. PERSONAL ATTIRE - whatever is worn or is at hand.

a. Nalgene 1 qt/L bottle ($11)
b. Bandanna ($2)
c. (30) Katadyn Micropur tablets ($13).

4. SHELTER - AMK 1- or 2-persons Heatsheets blanket ($6).

5. COMMUNICATION - covered by the PSP.

6. FIRE - Adjustable lighter ($1).

7. ILLUMINATION - Key ring LED ($2).

8. NUTRITION - P-51 can opener ($1) - optional because the SAK Camper has one, but it's been on my key ring for a while and I prefer it to the SAK can opener.

9. FIRST AID KIT - whatever is in pockets, bag, or purse as EDC.

a. SAK Classic ($12) + Camper (instead of the corkscrew, the Hiker has a Phillips screwdriver) ($20) OR Huntsman (II) (instead of the corkscrew, the Fieldmaster has a Phillips screwdriver) ($25) - (I was given the Classic years ago which lives on my key ring, then bought the Camper, but sometimes think I'd like to carry just one SAK.)
b. SAK corkscrew mini screwdriver ($6) - optional, perfect for tightening the tiny screws in eye/sun glasses
c. Braided wire saw ($5) - because the SAK(s) are not TSA-compliant
d. 50 ft. 400# utility cord ($5).

11. DOCUMENTATION - This list (also use as tinder).

12. FINANCES - whatever is in the wallet.

a. Large utility carabiner ($3)
b. Gallon freezer zip bag ($0.25).

14. ENTERTAINMENT - whatever is on hand.

15. SECURITY - Fox 40 whistle.

Total cost is about $104-115 depending on the SAK(s).

Hmm, what if I hadn't already bought the AMK PSP?...

KIT #4

1. NAVIGATION - Key ring compass (Brunton 9041 Glow Mate) ($10).

2. PERSONAL ATTIRE - whatever is worn or is at hand.

a. Nalgene 1 qt/L bottle ($11)
b. Bandanna ($2)
c. (30) Katadyn Micropur tablets ($13).

4. SHELTER - AMK 1- or 2-persons Heatsheets blanket ($6).

a. Fox 40 Mini whistle ($7) - this is easier to blow than the Howler/Micro included in the PSP
b. Signal mirror ($8) - because I don't carry a mirrored compact.

6. FIRE -
a. Adjustable lighter ($1)
b. Magnesium bar ($5).

7. ILLUMINATION - Key ring LED ($2).

8. NUTRITION - P-51 can opener ($1).

9. FIRST AID KIT - whatever is in pockets, bag, or purse as EDC.

a. SAK Classic ($12) + Camper ($20) OR Huntsman (II) ($25)
b. SAK corkscrew mini screwdriver ($6) - optional
c. Braided wire saw ($5)
d. 50 ft. 400# utility cord ($5) OR 100 ft. 550# parachute cord ($8) which is better because the core is 7 strands of 2 twisted together that may be extracted for use, but it won't fit in the bottle
e. AMK roll of duct tape ($3) - listed for pricing purposes. I actually wrapped 5+ ft. of heavy-duty duct tape I already had around an old non-credit card.

a. This list (also use as tinder)
b. Pro Knots cards ($5) - I know some knots, but in a time of stress such as a survival event, will I be able to remember them? The PSP comes with survival information including a few essential knots.

12. FINANCES - whatever is in the wallet.

a. Large utility carabiner ($3)
b. Gallon freezer zip bag ($0.25).

14. ENTERTAINMENT - whatever is on hand.

15. SECURITY - Fox 40 whistle.

Total cost is about $120-133 depending on the cordage and SAK(s), so not only did the PSP save me money, it gave me more.

The next kit fills some gaps.

KIT #5

1. NAVIGATION - Key ring compass (Brunton 9041 Glow Mate) ($10).

2. PERSONAL ATTIRE - whatever is worn or is at hand.

3. HYDRATION - because water is crucial, I believe in at least two ways to purify water, chemical halogens and boiling.
a. Nalgene 1 qt/L bottle ($11)
b. 5’ aquarium airline tubing – for siphoning water from sources too narrow or too shallow to collect directly with the bottle ($0.60)
c. Bandanna ($2)
d. (30) Katadyn Micropur tablets ($13)
e. Foil loaf pan ($1) & quart zip bag ($0.10) - for boiling water and to keep soot off of other stuff after use
f. Large oven bag & tie ($0.55) - to hold more water & to collect water by transpiration.

4. SHELTER - AMK 1- or 2-persons Heatsheets blanket ($6).

a. Fox 40 Mini whistle ($7)
b. Signal mirror ($8).

6. FIRE -
a. Adjustable lighter ($1)
b. Magnesium bar ($5).

7. ILLUMINATION - Key ring LED ($2).

8. NUTRITION - P-51 can opener ($1).

9. FIRST AID KIT - whatever is in pockets, bag, or purse as EDC.

a. SAK Classic ($12) + Camper ($20) OR Huntsman (II) ($25)
b. SAK corkscrew mini screwdriver ($6) - optional
c. Braided wire saw ($5)
d. 50 ft. 400# utility cord ($5)
e. AMK roll of duct tape ($3).

a. This list (also use as tinder).
b. Pro Knots cards ($5).

12. FINANCES - whatever is in the wallet.

a. Large utility carabiner ($3)
b. Gallon freezer zip bag ($0.25).

14. ENTERTAINMENT - whatever is on hand.

15. SECURITY - Fox 40 whistle.

Total cost is about $125-137 depending on the SAK(s).

The largest kit I can justify and still call a small survival kit contains something for each of my 15 Essential Systems...

KIT #6 - the AMK PSP ($28) and...

1. NAVIGATION - Key ring compass (Brunton 9041 Glow Mate) ($10) - because it's handier than hauling out the PSP to check the compass, plus this one is luminous.

2. PERSONAL ATTIRE - Emergency poncho ($1).

a. 1 qt./L Nalgene bottle ($11)
b. 5’ tubing ($0.60)
c. (2) orange bandannas ($4) - any bright color is good for signaling, orange is best; two bandannas are better than one
d. (30) Katadyn Micropur tablets ($13)
e. Foil loaf pan ($1) & qt zip bag for storage ($0.10) - redundant because the sheet of foil in the PSP is easy to tear
f. Large oven bag & tie ($0.55).

a. AMK 1- or 2-persons Heatsheets survival blanket ($6)
b. 9' x 6' plastic sheet 0.7 mil ($5) - multiple uses such as a ground cover, collect rain water, build a solar still; I cut a 9' x 12' sheet in half. Some lists recommend (2) 30-33 gallon trash bags or 50-55 gallon barrel liners, but as an apartment-dweller, I don't need the extra bags that come in a box. Splitting a box with friends or neighbors would work except not everyone in close proximity is on the same page. So be it. I have to look out for #1.

5. COMMUNICATION - covered by the PSP. I added a Rite In The Rain pocket notepad ($5.30) and EDC a Space Pen Trekker. Please note that Parker pens accept a Fisher Space pen refill using the included adapter and Fisher makes other Space refills for other pen brands.

6. FIRE - because fire is crucial, I believe in three ways to start a fire; the PSP contains one of them.
a. Adjustable lighter ($1)
b. Magnesium bar ($5).

a. Key ring LED ($2)
b. LED headlamp or mini LED flashlight ($20) - added because the key ring LED's button has to be pressed constantly and it will be difficult to work with only one hand with such a small light.

8. NUTRITION - P-51 can opener ($1).

9. FIRST AID KIT - Johnson & Johnson On The Go FAK ($1) - transferred to a snack zip bag to save space & added more items I already had on hand.

a. 100’ 550# parachute cord ($8)
b. SAK Classic ($12) + Camper ($20) OR SAK Huntsman (II) ($25)
c. SAK corkscrew mini screwdriver ($6)
d. Braided wire saw ($5)
e. Utility gloves (women's Mechanix, $12.50) - because my bare hands are sure to get blistered in a survival situation putting me at risk for infection
f. Lansky Quick Fix pocket sharpener ($7) - the most important tool is a knife and a dull knife is dangerous
g. (12) safety pins (4 each size) sizes 1, 2, 3 ($1)
h. Quart freezer zip bag ($0.10)
i. ResQMe key ring car escape tool ($10)

11. DOCUMENTATION - covered by the PSP; add this list.

12. FINANCES - add cash and some coins for a pay phone.

a. Hunter's waist pack, 410 cu. in./6.7 L (I don't know how they measured these things because the main compartment is more like 4.5 L and the smaller, flatter compartment isn't more than .5 L; $7 at Wal-Mart) - because I prefer to carry a smaller purse
b. Large utility carabiner ($3)
c. Gallon freezer zip bag ($0.25).

a. Mini deck of cards - to help pass the time while waiting for rescue ($3)
b. Key ring pocket kite - in case it's too windy to play cards as long as there are no kite-eating trees nearby; might also help with signaling (I bought this from a kite store in California several years ago and since forgot the price; figure on $6-10 each.).

15. SECURITY - Fox 40 whistle. Add bear spray if passing through bear country.

Total cost is <$198-211 depending on the SAK(s) plus emergency cash, plus kite, plus bear spray.

Except for the PSP and the key ring items which should be kept on you, and the water bottle and bear spray, everything in Kit #6 fits into half of a gallon zip bag making it easy to tuck into a bag, a waist pack, a desk drawer, or a vehicle.

Of course, emergency rations need to be added to any kit. Clif bars are good or any foods containing sugar, carbohydrates, protein, and fat.

Also add personal medications, lip balm, sun screen, insect repellent, hand sanitizer, and biodegradable soap.

The PSP was designed to be carried at all times in a pocket, purse, briefcase, or pack and is the basis for my Mini Kit. The other kit components detailed above could be the basis of an office, car survival, or travel kit and are good for just about any outdoor activity. Please note, however, that you should keep the water purification tablets with you during warm weather instead of leaving them in a hot vehicle.

I trust this post gives you ideas for assembling personal survival kits for yourself and your loved ones. The advantage of assembling your own kit is it is customized for you, you know exactly what is in it and the quality of and purpose for each item.

To spread out the expense, I suggest starting with Kit #1 or 2 to have the bare minimum then expand from there as you see fit. The key ring items could be Christmas stocking stuffers or "just thinking of you" impromptu gifts while a SAK could be a birthday, graduation, or holiday gift.

To see how I customized my PSP, please see my post, "Mini Survival Kit."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Preparedness 2012 - Reminder

This is a quick reminder for everyone to rotate their food, water, and batteries during this annual Preparedness month.

Also, please be sure to check the expiration dates on the items in your first aid kits and replace anything used since the last time you checked.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Review: PacSafe CitySafe 400 GII Hobo Bag

Stated specifications:

Dimensions: 14.6" W x 13" H x 6.7" D (37 x 33 x 17 cm)

Volume: 884.8 in3 (14.5 L)

Weight: 1 lb 4.5 oz (580 g)

Strap length max: 33.1 in (84 cm)

Strap length min: 19.7 in (50 cm)

This is my fifth security travel bag and third from PacSafe, the other two being the CitySafe 200 shoulder bag and the StashSafe 200 waist pack. I wanted a cross-body bag and for it to be cavernously large for carrying my usual assortment of travel items like my notepad, camera, mini tripod, monocular/binoculars, water bottle, folding umbrella, and pareo plus air travel comfort items such as lumbar and neck pillows in addition to my small travel survival kit that fits into a waist pack like the PacSafe StashSafe 200 or Mountainsmith Nitro waist pack or about half of a gallon zip bag with the top half folded down. Because some museums and stores require large bags to be checked, I also bought a Baggallini Everything Bagg to easily take my wallet items, camera, and cell phone with me. It all fits!

Designed to foil pickpockets, slash-and-run, and slash-to-dump thieves, PacSafe anti-theft travel bags feature security closures as well as cut-proof straps and panels.

This particular hobo bag, which I got with a standard water-repellent jet black exterior and celadon interior (it's supposed to be lemon yellow) that makes it easier to see items inside, has an outside back pocket with a zipper at the bottom edge to allow the extended handle of wheeled luggage to slip through; there is an interior band to stabilize the bag.

The generous pockets at either end of the bag have cord locks to make the openings smaller so contents won't slip out and are more than large enough for a 1 liter bottle. The pocket that would be out of sight at the rear when it's carried as a shoulder bag has a D-ring inside at the top and at the bottom to secure items using my own utility carabiners or other fasteners to thwart pickpockets.

The padded strap, that has wires inside to prevent slash-and-run theft, may be detached at one end to secure the bag temporarily to a fixed object to foil a bag snatcher. The snap hook has a locking collar as an additional deterrent. The other end has a snap hook to secure the zipper pull of the bag's main compartment to stop a pickpocket from opening it.

The strap may be snapped up to make it shorter to convert the bag into a shoulder bag or left long to use the bag as a hip-length cross-body bag.

Because I tend to heavily load my travel bag and because the wires of the unpadded CitySafe 200 strap dug into my shoulder painfully, I went ahead and attached a removable Timbuk2 Gripster strap pad over the CitySafe 400 GII's too thin-looking shoulder pad without even first trying it by itself. YMMV.

Inside the main compartment is a variety of pockets. Along the front wall, that is the inside wall of the front of the bag, there is a zippered pocket, 7" W x 14.5" L, with a press hook fastener to hold anything like a key ring.

Below the zipper of that pocket is a line of:

1. A split key ring to which I attached a mini key ring LED to help me see what's inside the bag.

2. A pocket, 4.5" W x 5.25" L.

3. A pocket, 3.25" W x 5.25" L.

4. A pocket, 4.25" W x 5.25" L, labeled "RFIDsafe" to hold passport and credit cards containing RFID chips to prevent identity theft.

5. A fat pen pocket, 0.75" W x 5.25" L.

6. A fatter pen pocket, 1.25" W x 5.25" L, that will hold a standard highlighter if inserted cap down.

Those preferring the pockets could be closed can put their own self-adhesive Velcro coins or strips available from stores selling sewing notions.

Along the interior rear wall, there is one large pocket, 10" W x 15" L, that the enclosed literature says will hold a 13" laptop and an iPad or similar tablet. I found it holds my 15" laptop snugly. There's a strap that snaps over the top of the opening to ensure it doesn't slip out.

The bag's front, back, side, and bottom panels are all lined with eXomesh to prevent thieves from slashing the bag to let the contents fall out. The included literature has a diagram of the eXomesh rising to just under the top edge of the side pockets. On the front and rear panels, I can feel the top edge of the eXomesh about five inches up from the bottom, about three inches lower than in the side panels. I appreciate this sensible weight-saving design since gravity prevents items from falling up.

Overall, I'm exceptionally pleased with this bag. Purchased in January for travel to cities known for pickpockets and purse snatchers and slashers such as Barcelona, I've expanded its use to ordinary weekend getaways and other domestic travel.

Highly recommended.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Long Time No See

It's surprising how quickly time has passed. Busy with other things, I've had thoughts about a variety of posts, but no time to see them through by writing them up.

A few of the posts I haven't done are about:

1. An air travel survival kit. Substituting TSA-compliancy for a knife turns this into a small kit ideal for day-hiking.

2. A few states still legalizing marital rape. I thought the U.S. was a leader in women's rights but it turns out wives in those states are not much better off under the law than wives in certain Muslim countries.

3. The direction of my writing. I always thought to write novels in the thriller genre, but I've been reading Hemingway and find my desire turning to more literary prose.

If it's true that one doesn't die until one's life work is done, at the rate I'm going, I'll live forever.

Fortunately as a Christian, it's already guaranteed in writing.

Until next time.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

My eShopping List

"Excuse me."

I looked up from scowling at my Kindle Keyboard.

"Oh, I'm sorry," the little old lady said.

I smiled at her. "It's okay. Am I blocking your way?"

"I'm interested in electronics," she said.

"Oh! This is a Kindle, an ereader. Maybe you've seen them advertised on TV. This is an older model. I bought a $0.99 Notepad app to keep my shopping list on it. I have it organized by the aisles, but I put the Chex Mix in the wrong aisle and was moving it because I was several aisles down and had to come back to this one."

She came closer to see my screen.

"See? This list is reusable because I put a couple of dots, periods, in front of the item I want when I think of it, then when I put it in my cart, I delete the dots. It's a lot easier than using paper because if the store's out of something, I don't have to rewrite the item onto my next shopping list."

"How interesting," she said. "Thank you so much for showing me."

"You're welcome. I just wanted to keep those pieces of paper under control."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Purses & Kits

As forecast in my last post, I've been busy shopping for purses. I like the Baggallini line because they're lightweight and come in several attractive colors as well as the basic neutrals. Unfortunately, they tend to be smaller than the measurements stated on the website and hang tags.

For example, the Currency Organizer is .5" shorter making it difficult to impossible to store dollar bills flat in it depending on which pocket.

For that reason, the Triple Zip Bagg I first bought had to be set aside since it's too small to easily fit my Kindle Keyboard in it because the actual measurements are .75" shorter than the advertised measurements.

Settling on the Large Wallet Bagg for running errands, I chose the Hobo Tote for when I want to carry more such as a water bottle, camera, and monocular or binoculars. Since it's only a larger purse and not really a tote bag, I also bought an inexpensive, non-descript tote bag as well as a waistpack to complete my scheme of layering bags and kits.

So, this is how it stacks up:

My Large Wallet Bagg contains my micro survival kit.

My Hobo bag can hold my Large Wallet Bagg and my mini survival kit.

My tote bag can hold my Hobo bag and my small survival kit in its own waistpack with a belt pouch for my FAK and Clif bars.

When I go on a day hike, I'll use the small survival kit waistpack with a second belt pouch holding my GPSr, other incidentals, and my compass if it's not hanging from my neck.

My medium survival kit remains in the sustainment pouch ready to grab & go as my mobile survival kit whenever a friend invites me to go on a day or road trip.

I had to reorganize a bit to make each larger kit an expansion of the previous smaller kit to limit redundancy.

I love feeling organized!

Monday, February 27, 2012


Since my last post, a few things happened.

The first was I started wondering why I'm carrying a mini survival kit in my purse while running errands when I have a complete kit in my car. If I can't get back out to my car from a one- or two-story building, I'll be coping with worse problems than a mini kit would be able to help me with, considering I'll still have my micro kit on me.

The second thing was that the purse I was using, that contained my mini kit until I went back to a micro kit, broke. It didn't upset me as much as it could have since I didn't really like it because it forced me to wear the strap on my right shoulder when I'm more comfortable hanging a cross-body bag on my left shoulder, but I used it to run errands only about once a week for less than six months and think it should have lasted longer.

The third thing is that I popped the weight of my air travel survival kit up to three pounds by adding a first aid kit and some Clif bars. After all, if there's a forced landing or a crash, the likelihood of needing a FAK and something to eat will be greater. I'm not concerned with forced landings or crashes near airfields or populated areas because emergency response will be within minutes, but for those large expanses of wilderness or ocean that airplanes habitually fly over that may not receive aid for several hours or even days.

As a result, I really put my back into the thinking process and came up with a layering system of component bags.

The first is to replace my broken purse with another only large enough for my micro survival kit and my Kindle, cell phone, and wallet items. This mini purse will serve for running errands.

The mini purse for errands will tuck into a larger purse for day trips or road trips. In friends' vehicles, I'll have my mini kit in the larger purse with my mobile survival kit along as well.

For air travel, I plan to use a large tote as my personal bag. Inside the tote will be a waist pack containing a small survival kit and my day trip purse with my errands purse inside.

I think having a mini purse for errands that fits into a larger purse will make changing purses a lot easier since all I'll have to do will be to transfer the errands purse to whichever larger bag I'll need.

Also, for museums, galleries, and some stores that prohibit large purses, making you check them or leave them with the store's cashier, being able to pull out a smaller purse containing ID, cash, credit/debit cards, and other valuables such as a cell phone and Kindle would give me more peace of mind than leaving them with a stranger.

Besides, this way, I get to shop for two purses to replace the one that broke. With our being on the threshold of spring, it translates to my shopping for four purses: two sizes in a dark color for the rest of winter plus two sizes in a light color for summer.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Work in Progress

I'm still working on my air travel survival kit having pared it down to the minimum essentials, which now weigh 1 lb. and fit in half of a gallon zip bag which fits in the bottom of my travel purse, to further reduce the bulk and weight of what I would carry on in my personal bag.

I'm considering putting them and my energy bars in a waist pack, so if things look dicey during a flight, such as a storm since lightning has knocked planes out of the sky, I could take the waist pack out of my travel purse and put it on, ready to evacuate should I survive the crash. If it's an unanticipated event, hopefully I can grab and strap it on before exiting the plane.

Either way, wearing a waist pack would leave my arms and hands free to help me work my way out and won't block other passengers like a purse or carry-on bag I probably won't be allowed to carry out with me, anyway. ID and In Case of Emergency cards should probably go in the waist pack, too, in case something happens to me outside. And cell phone since a text message may be able to get through when a voice call can't. I'm planning for the rest of my survival kit to go in my carry-on and checked bags while enroute.

Right now, while at my destination, I want to leave almost everything in my room while sightseeing or shopping taking along only a lighter, Swiss Army knife, key ring LED, and luminous key ring compass, but have to think about it more because I might not be able to get back to my room to get the rest of my survival kit if an unforeseen disaster or act of terrorism hits. It would be best to keep the minimal essentials in my travel purse like on the plane or to wear the waist pack since getting to them won't be like having them as close as the parking lot as when I'm on a road trip.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Happy 4th Blogversary!

Thank you to all who have visited my blog! It's gratifying to know that I've provoked your thinking and provided information along with a bit of entertainment for four years.

Again, I've managed to average a fraction over a post per week. The past two months, however, have shown me how difficult it is to maintain that regularity when I'm focused on other goals.

As a result, I'm freeing myself from the regimen and guilt from not meeting my self-imposed deadline of providing something new for you to read each weekend.

This doesn't mean I'll stop posting because I have a lot more I want to write about. It only means that my posts may continue to be as irregular as they have recently become.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Shopping for an Air Travel Survival Kit

Motivated by a cousin's wife who wants to travel to foreign lands, I've been working on an air travel survival kit since I would like to go to Morocco and Europe at some point in the future.

Since she already has a car survival kit, she can draw from that while I can borrow items from my mobile survival kit. The challenges are to have what we'll need while not taking up more space than absolutely necessary or weighing ourselves down since we'll be schlepping our bags ourselves and to have quality gear inexpensive enough for affordable replacement should an item accidentally get left out after an inspection.

As a result, I've spent hours searching for and deciding on the best Swiss Army knives for us. Uncomfortable about not having a fixed blade knife, I also searched for a small, skeletal knife so the hinge on the SAK wouldn't get damaged by whatever rough use a survival situation may demand.

Since my travel purse is already full, a larger bag is also warranted.

Preparing to travel is half the fun.

Back to Shopping for Sugar-Free Salt

Prematurely elated at finding the sugar-free salt of my last post, I researched one of the ingredients only to be dismayed that it contains aluminum. It is inconclusive whether or not aluminum causes Altzheimer's Disease although it is undeniable that Altzheimer's victims have significantly higher levels of aluminum in their brains than other people.

If the aluminum didn't get there by ingesting salt containing aluminum as a free-flowing agent, leaching from aluminum cookware, absorption from antiperspirants, how did it get into the body? It is not a mineral needed by any biological form so had to be introduced artificially.

I say, "Better safe than sorry," which currently leaves me to decide - aluminum or sugar? I'll keep searching for sugar-free iodized table salt, but if worse comes to worse, I'll pick sugar over aluminum.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Score! (Sugar-free Salt)

Last night, stopping by Dollar General for a plastic storage box they no longer carry, I thought to look for sugar-free salt.

There were only three boxes of salt on the shelf, one of which contained dextrose.

I bought the other two boxes.



I've been discouraged from blogging because my posts are being corrupted upon publication and I don't like spending the time it takes to fix them. I thought it just started happening this year with my last post about my mobile survival kit and the other survival kit lists I recently updated only to find it's been going on since last November when I updated my car survival kit :(.

When I fixed it a few minutes ago, instead of omitting chunks as before, all the spaces were changed to plus signs ("+"). Fortunately, as a result of the corruption, I had started saving my posts as html so all I had to do was paste my copy back in and republish, hoping it wouldn't get corrupted again.

Yay! It worked.

Now, let's see what happens to this post.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mobile Survival Kit

Supplemental to my EDC mini survival kit, the reason I had so much trouble with this kit is because I wanted it for everything from hiking to air travel. The purposes, however, are different enough that separate kits are needed although they may share the same items.

For example, a backpacker goes out with the intention of spending a night or more in a wilderness area and prepares appropriately. The wise hiker packs the Ten Essential Systems intending to be home at night knowing it may not be possible because getting lost or terrain difficulty may lengthen the hike so a night to usually no more than three nights have to be spent outdoors.

On the other hand, nobody else from day-trippers and travelers to office workers, has any intention or expectation of sleeping anywhere other than in a bed. The survival kit is in case something happens to throw us into a survival situation.

This kit is for when I'm in somebody else's vehicle. It can easily be taken up to my room on my own road trips without rummaging through or dismantling my car kit. I might integrate the two kits later making this a subset of my car kit, but because I already had duplicate items because of camping and hiking and trying out various products, it's not an issue at this time.

1. NAVIGATION - Luminous compass; the same as for my Micro Survival Kit, this is an EDC item on my key ring.

2. PERSONAL ATTIRE - Now that I have all the other components for my exposure kit in my purse, the only items for this category are swim goggles for eye protection and a couple of oven bags to wear inside my shoes to waterproof my feet.

3. HYDRATION - Because water is vital, I want at least two methods for making water safe to drink. For the first method, I have (20) Micropur MP1 tablets, a quart zip bag, and 4 feet of aquarium airline tubing to aid collection.

If I don't carry a stainless steel water bottle which can be used for boiling water (I've been using my Brita bottle), a (1 qt. capacity) 8" x 3-7/8" x 2-15/32" foil loaf pan, flattened by folding in the sides and ends to make it easy to carry, is a lightweight and considerably less bulky alternative to a pot.

If I take my Katadyn water bottle, the ViruStat cartridge or the microfilter cartridge used with the MP1 tablets will purify water for me.

4. SHELTER - Two 2-person Heatsheets survival blankets. One for me plus one to share with the friend whose vehicle we're in, or one for a blanket for us and the second to be rigged as a shelter. If there are more passengers than what my blankets will cover, I don't know what will happen. While I'm willing to carry an extra blanket, I don't feel obligated to provide survival gear for everybody who may or may not be along especially since I've had to order many things online, including the Heatsheets.

5. COMMUNICATION - In addition to my EDC: (2) orange bandannas, Sharpie, mechanical pencil, eraser, Rite In The Rain pocket notebook, AM/FM/NOAA radio, and a small kite. My Mini Maglite LED flashlight has SOS and strobe features.

The kite is tricky because it can't be flown near kite-eating trees and a mini kite isn't as easy to see as a full-size kite is from a distance. Still, under the right conditions a kite would help show others where I am and a key ring, pocket, or mini kite takes hardly any space in the kit.

If you decide to get a kite for this and entertainment purposes, bear in mind that a parafoil kite is excellent because it won't have any sticks. However, parafoils fly lower, closer to the horizon, and need more wind than other types. A sled kite is similar and may have sticks.

The common diamond kite flies higher and needs less wind than parafoils and sleds while a delta kite flies the highest of all and needs the least wind.

Another idea is to fly a small American flag upside-down several feet below the kite because an upside-down flag is an official distress signal. For country flags that look the same either way or that duplicate a different country's flag when flown upside-down, tie a knot in the flag.

I recommend you visit a kite store to find the best assortment of small and specialty kites and that you select a predominantly red and orange kite because those colors show up against the sky better than other colors.

6. FIRE - Since I already EDC three methods to start a fire including tinder and magic birthday candles, only a tealight candle and hand sanitizing gel are needed for this kit.

7. ILLUMINATION - A Mini Maglite LED, a neck lanyard because I really don't like wearing a headlamp, and a headlamp because sometimes a flashlight swinging from a lanyard isn't good enough. Because my key ring LED flashlight has a pressure switch to turn and keep it on which also means something can turn it on accidentally, and because I have no way of knowing when the battery will fail, I added another key ring LED to this kit with an on-off switch that can't be turned on accidentally.

8. NUTRITION - (4) Clif and Zone Perfect energy bars plus a tin of Altoids.

9. FIRST AID KIT, HEALTH, AND HYGIENE - A pocket FAK to cleanse and protect minor wounds from infection, a tube of Super Glue with a brush to keep larger wounds closed until medical help can be received, Ultra (SPF 30) Chapstick, a stick of sun screen, StingEze, (10) Wet Ones, mint dental floss, (5) panty liners to make an unpleasant situation more bearable, hair elastic, a folding trowel for digging cat holes, travel toilet tissue roll, and (2) gallon zip bags for trash. I still need to add insect repellent wipes.

In an extra small Pac-It Sac by Eagle Creek, I have a FUD (feminine urinary device) kit: Freshette in its zip storage bag, toilet tissue, hand sanitizing gel, (5) Wet Ones, and (2) quart zip bags for trash.

10. REPAIR AND TOOLS - A sheath knife with 4.48" blade. a folder with a 3.4" blade, Leatherman Mini, Lansky pocket knife sharpener, wire saw, leather gloves, and pry bar. The pry bar is in case of an earthquake and to have something to knock out a ground-floor window to climb out in case I can't get a door open.

For cordage and repairs: (4) safety pins, 50' utility cord 1/8" diameter, 150 yds. unflavored floss, large-eye straight & curved needles, 30' invisible nylon thread wrapped onto a dental floss core, self-threading sewing needle, thimble.

Extras: (2) gallon zip bags, (2) extra AA cells for Mini Mag, (3) extra AAA cells for headlamp.

11. DOCUMENTATION - Cloud and survival information cards; this list. The cloud cards are to help predict the weather in case the radio fails.

12. FINANCES - $1.00 in quarters for a pay phone. A phone card would also be good. Obviously, this is for an urban survival situation.

13. TRANSPORTATION - I took a webbed, clip-on strap I had lying around and put it on the U.S. Army sustainment pouch I bought last month so I can carry it as a shoulder or cross-body bag or a waist pack.

14. ENTERTAINMENT - In addition to my EDC items, the same kite listed under 5. COMMUNICATION.

15. SECURITY & SELF-DEFENSE - A fire and in extreme circumstances, my knives, will keep wildlife at bay.

Excluding the water bottle and extra batteries, the total weight of everything listed is 6.5 lbs.