Monday, January 25, 2016

TUTORIAL - Building a back-to-basics bushman survival kit

So we all have our various bug-out bags, and possibly a survival kit also, and these can come in many forms. There are survival kits for urban settings, semi-urban, bushland, desert, arctic, car-kits and more. So I'm not going to go into all of the different types, but instead show you all the Aussie bush survival kit which I take with me on my own journeys. This thing has gone through a lot of redesigns over the years, but this current version has lasted a good while, and it's so small and convenient that it always has a home at the bottom of my bush bag, bug out bag and even 72 hour bag, just because of its convenience!

Here it is, in all of its majesty:


Isn't it cute? It's not too heavy, either, weighing in at only 450g you barely notice it's there, especially given what's inside of it.

When you open the pouch and dump out the contents, here's what you get:


So here you can see the pouch, the matches, the fishing reel, the hot chocolate (yummy), the wax stick, the mess tin, the stove and the mylar blanket. A couple of these items speak for themselves, so I won't really go into them. The hot chocolate is a morale item (you'll see a lot of morale gear in my load-outs, and I can do a separate post about that if you'd like), the mylar blanket is for warmth and signalling, the wax stick is for fuel and makeshift repairs and the fishing reel is one of those automatic reels you can pick up. If you've never seen one, they're great. You bait it, hang it on a branch over a creek or pond, then come back later to collect whatever fell into the trap. Not good for large fish, but definitely good for little creek-dwellers and crustaceans!

More notable items you might see here include the matches. This little baby is the Exotac MatchCap, milled from a solid piece of aircraft-grade aluminium, guaranteed to keep your matches perfectly dry, even when completely submerged.


It also contains various striking methods in-built allowing you to carry multiple match types in there.


This thing is also fairly bulletproof. Some of the stress tests I've seen it survive are brutal. Are there other ways to carry some matches? Yes. Are they as awesome and stylish? No. And sometimes style counts ;)


Ok, matchbox rant over. Next up you'll notice the stove. Now, you're reading my blog so I assume you're already some kind of prepper or survivalist like me and you've seen hexi-stoves before. Probably even own a couple. But did you know that the German infantry carry MINIATURE ones? They're tricky to track down, but when you're relying on compactness then these babies are golden.


The final item you'll see here is the mess tin. But this also doubles as an impact-proof container to hold the vast majority of the kit's contents.


This particular mess kit is a nice one, as it has a nice, snug-fitting lid and rubberized folding handle, making it a dream to use. The lid and handle-lock also keep all the other kit items nice and secure inside:


Inside the kit is where the real show is. Check out how much gear can fit inside!


So let's look more closely at this inventory, shall we?


The cream cord you can see there is just nylon bank line, but a good amount of it. Great for simple lashing and construction jobs as well as improvised snares or lure-lines. The blue cord, however, is kevlar cord, capable of holding around 100kgs of weight. Think of it like mini paracord. It's fairly expensive so I only carry about 14 feet of it, but it's enough for most things which would need that kind of load bearing capacity.

Next to that we have a sterilizing wound-wipe for cleaning. Below that is a water-bag (think of it like a 1L water bottle but soft like a bag with a handy clip system for the top. Tricky to find, but if you can find one, grab it). Next to that is a wrapping of Gorilla Tape for construction and repair purposes, and above that is a snare system for trapping small animals. Not the most humane way to hunt, but if you're doing your best to survive, you gotta do what you gotta do.


Just above this selection we have a compact poncho stored in a zip-loc bag (which has its own uses), another mylar blanket (because I could fit two, so why not). Some all-purpose body wash, because keeping clean is important. No matter what you might think, bad hygiene in a survival situation could mean death. A sheathed blade tool (small, but functional). A miniature can opener. A firesteel striker. Finally here some small blocks of charcoal (various good uses for charcoal in a survival situation).


And here's the final view. In addition to the things we've already seen there is a handy lens for focusing sunlight (or examining things such as wounds), a firesteel to go with the striker mentioned earlier, a peanut lighter filled with lighter fluid (and sealed with a rubber gasket, so it actually STAYS filled with lighter fluid - zippo owners know what I'm talking about here) and a mini lifestraw. The mini lifestraw is a must. Water is your #1 goal in Australian survival, and you can't be too choosy. I once sucked down a puddle of mosquito-egg infested, rotting leaf-filled filth using that lifestraw. Just ask Burt!

And that's the whole kit! Is it perfect? Nah. There's still work to do on it, but a big part of having a survival kit is to never be 100% happy with it. Always refine, always improve.

Anyway, I'll be back soon with more articles! Stay tuned!

- CumQuaT

3 comments:

  1. I like being prepared for any survival situation, especially when going into the woods. I am currently preparing a 72-hour survival kit, and your article is really helpful. Thanks for sharing this great content. I also found useful tips and tricks from the following post: http://survival-mastery.com/reviews/3-day-survival-kit.html

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  2. Nice little kit, you definitely included the finest items (especially the chocolate!) :) But, I would only add one more thing, a survival lighter, as it will definitely last longer than matches. You can find the reviews of the best survival lighter, here: http://hikingmastery.com/top-pick/best-survival-lighter.html

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