Survival kit - find solution even in the worst situations

2/19/2023 | Hints and tips | Hájek Petr | Reading time: 6 minutes
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„Survival kit" is a small box that features small items which can help in emergency situations. First idea was introduced 12. 10. 1935 by writer Jaroslav Foglar in the magazine Mladý Hlasatel. Soon enough this idea was taken over by Czech boy scouts and survival kit has become a necessary part of many Czech boy scouts. Enough of history and let´s focus on survival kit of modern times. 

 The truth is, that modern person who is interested in bushcraft/outdoor/survival is not part of such club (Rychlé šípy) and does not solve such mysteries, but on the other hand, some kind of survival kit (modified according to everyone's needs) should be actively used by everyone who is serious about survival.  

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What is the right casing ? 

As a first option, we may think of some old tin box – especially with the smaller survival kits, it is definitely the better option than plastic. Why is that ? Because the tin box (container) can be actually multifunctional – for example it can be used for boiling of contaminated water. And even if you carry your military flask with you all the time, that other casing can be always used as a backup container. In other words, if you carry survival kit, why not to use even its cover, right ?

What should it feature ?

Although today we may be looking through our fingers on some of the things used by scouts in the past (postage stamp, piece of chalk,...), It is necessary to realize the situation in real scale and impact. So for example, the good old candle can be replaced with LED flashlight, but you need to realize, that flashlight will not help you to start a fire, not mentioning the other uses – perhaps you just need to wax something with paraffin to make it more resistant or wax some spots where the Paracord tends to get stuck.

Practically the only real threat in our conditions is hypothermia. So keep that in mind when preparing your survival kit. Of course it can not include sleeping bag, but what it can include is large plastic bag, that can be filled with dry leaves and used as an emergency sleeping bag (we are still talking about survival and not cozy sleeping somewhere in the hotel).

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What could be useful in the Czech Republic?

Interesting things worth at least consider (and possibly add them depending on the requirements of a particular person), could be these: small can opener, small mirror, solid fuel tablets, candle or tealight (3 pieces should be enough even for less experienced individuals), plastic bag (2-3 pcs), Paracord, wire, a few nails, extra battery for your flashlight, rubber bands, coins, plasters, some buttons, needle and thread, some sort of tinder ( cotton wool, birchbark...), safety pin, piece of paper (coal can be used for writing), matches/lighter/magnesium fire starter (depending on preferences), magnifying glass (fire, ticks...), fishing hook and line, small compass, wire saw, water purifiers or filters, condom or standard plastic bag for water, medicaments according to specific needs and some multi-tool. 

 Overnight stays in the forest have most people associated with romantic time, but it is not always 100 % true. Sometimes it really is about survival ...

What is the best thing to use to start a fire ?

This is without a doubt the most important thing for survival. Someone prefers flint striker, while the others prefer matches wrapped in birch bark (and therefore water resistant) or good old lighter - gas or petrol (Zippo may require too much maintenance for survival)

Whatever option you are going to choose, do not forget to try it first at comfort of your home. Although it sounds quite unnecessary, believe us that it is not - only in this way you will reveal weak points. For example starting a fire with flint striker might not be as easy...

What about sharp stuff ? 

Tools with which you can cut and chop are so important for your survival that they deserve their own paragraph. It is easy to carry a razor blade, but not everyone can handle this tool. Moreover, it can be hell of a job to securely attach razor blade into some wooden handles. Can you imagine how do you handle it with freezing fingers and help of one tealight ? We can´t, because it can be quite dangerous. Therefore, a nail has proven to be better rather than a razor blade. In addition to its obvious function, it can be quite easy „smashed" by using a stone and shaped (sharpen for survival needs). 

But you will certainly do nothing wrong if you prepare your favorite blade beforehand at home...

 To choose the right things for your survival kit may not be much of a fun, however, one day you may find these things crucial...

Should we carry two survival kits ?

One "customised" survival kit is a minimum. And by that we mean carry it all the time with us, just like self-defense spray. Of course you don´t have to carry it in your hands, but one survival kit, the smaller one, you should always have it with you. It is highly important. Rather take fewer things (if you don´t have enough space) than not take it at all. Always focus on the most essential things – things for lighting a fire, candle, something for cutting.

The problem may arise when you carry your survival kit in your vest or backpack ( just as most of the outdoor enthusiasts do) as you can be without your backpack quite often and therefore without your equipment, which can also get wet... There are many situations and impulses: a hole in your raincoat, drunk traveler, who can throw your backpack out of train (yes, it happens ! ), curious/aggressive dog who can completely rip it...

So think carefully about your needs, whether you need only one or two survival kits (one to carry with you at all times and the second one in backpack) To summarize - effectiveness and simplicity are the main attributes, no too complex modern electronic gadgets...

Also read Why you should carry survival kit and what should it contain for use in the Czech Republic.

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