Feb 17, 2009 at 2:51 pm #1234124
I want a lightweight pack for carrying emergency gear that I can wear concurrently with my GoLite Pinnacle. I would like to carry one-half to one pound of gear in it.
My goal is to always have emergency survival items on me when I'm away from my Pinnacle, e.g., gathering water, pooping or hanging a bear bag. I'm 52 years old and still paranoid about something going wrong on solo excursions. An ounce of preparedness, as they say.
Here's what I'd like to carry: a whistle, mini Bic, firestarter, 10 tinder tabs, McNett Frontier filter straw, mini roll of duct tape, 40 feet of parachute cord, space blanket, knife and Photon Freedom Micro light. I'm confident I can keep this to a pound, and much lighter if I replace the parachute cord with spectra cord and get a lighter knife (I have an Anza PK-4 that weighs about 6 oz.).Feb 17, 2009 at 3:07 pm #1478490
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I am older than you and have been going solo since I was a teenager. I would not take all that stuff, but that is a personal decision.
Why not keep it is a separate ditty bag, and just tie it to your pants. Or if it is small enough, stuff it in your pants pocket. I keep my small knife, whistle, and Photon light on a lanyard around my neck all the time. This way I know where they are and won't displace/lose them. This is all I keep when wandering away from my pack. If your pack is light enough, you can just throw everything you need in it, and take it with you if you are wandering away from your base camp.Feb 17, 2009 at 3:15 pm #1478491
How about a razor blade instead of a knife?
The Bic and the firestarter seem a little redundant.
You could easily make yourself a pouch that either hangs around your neck, or around your waist. Can you or anyone you know sew?? Even a small stuff sack on some paracord would work.Feb 17, 2009 at 4:42 pm #1478504
@tippymcstaggerLocale: North Texas
Not sure if you are looking for a discussion of the list or the pack.
Pack: Eagle Creek and some others make a money/passport belt which is like a fanny pack, but slim to fit inside clothes. If you reduce the list a little, this might work.
-Roll some tape around the Bic, instead of mini roll.
-Not sure of the purpose for the cord, could dental floss work?
-10 tinder tabs should start 10 fires, too many?
-Disposable poncho in place of space blanket?
-Light waterbag and treatment tabs in place of the straw? (Actually a waterbag might hold the kit.)Feb 17, 2009 at 4:54 pm #1478508
Your list looks great. I read a book about a million years ago called the 2 oz backpacker. It has a short list in the back and he puts everything in a aluminum saltshaker. I swapped the shaker for a ti mug and have been very happy. BTW I have been trying to survive out of some form of small kit on and off for over 20 years and have never made it over 48 hours. The norm is after freezing my as off all off all night I hike out and go to a local hub for fresh bacon and coffee. If you carry it you should learn how to use it. Either way this is my favorite topic. Rambo er um AliFeb 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm #1478516
John S.BPL Member
Your list sounds great. A potential fanny pack could be
1. Zpacks belt pouch
2. Brawny gear silnylon belt bag
3. Gossamer Gear hip belt pocket
4. MLD pack pocket
5. Campmor belt pouch
6. MYOG belt pouch/fanny pack made from mesh produce bag (have one myself to use as fanny pack or across-the-shoulder pack)Feb 17, 2009 at 5:59 pm #1478528
SMD also makes some handy small pouches.Feb 17, 2009 at 8:57 pm #1478575
I agree with the others a small pouch of some sort would be better. In the gear for sale section someone posted some survival necklaces for sale a few weeks ago that were really cool. You might search for that thread to see another option you could use.
I'm afraid you've come to the wrong forum to be encouraged in adding a second pack to your kit. Most of us here at BPL are always trying to figure out ways to lose ounces instead of adding more. ;^)
PamFeb 17, 2009 at 11:47 pm #1478603
Adam BehrBPL Member
I carry a similar kit (with a few modifications) and keep it separate from my pack for the same reason (I want it all on my person at all times).
I don't carry a second bag though, I distribute it as follows:
1.AMK Rescue Howler Whistle
2.Photon Freedom Micro Light
3.FireLite Firesteel Mini (and Striker)
4.Leatherman Squirt P4
All held together with a hair tie (I can always use a few extra) and attached to a necklace. Necklaces annoy me while hiking though, so I actually tie it to a belt loop and leave the gear in my right pants pocket).
5.Katadyn MP1 Purification Tabs
6.Few Tinder-Quick firestarting tabs
7.Gallon Ziplock Freezer bag
8.AMK Heatsheets Emergency Bivy
9.Yard (or so) Duct Tape folded flat
10.AMK Rescue Flash Signal Mirror
11.Pain meds, Benadryl, NoDoz
All held in a Quart Ziplock Freezer bag kept in my right, lower (cargo) pants pocket, the one with a zipper
11.Doug Ritter MINI RSK Mk1 Folding Knife
Tucked into my waistband everyday, hiking/backpacking or not.
12.Photon Proton Pro Flashlight
Clipped inside my right pants pocket, also everyday hiking/backpacking or not.
I still haven't made one of those "fancy" bracelets out of parachute cord, but do have some cord around and'll probably do that with it eventually.
I can live with all the extra weight "just in case" but I wouldn't want to add a whole 'nother bag just to cary around all the extra stuff I already feel somewhat silly for always bringing.
I'm sure I could also write too much about why I chose each of the items mentioned over other, similar items if anyone asks…
Somehow that turned into a novel, but I'm still hoping all that'll be helpful to someone or other.Feb 18, 2009 at 3:50 am #1478620
Donna CBPL Member
@leadfootLocale: Middle Virginia
I just wear the small pouch by Gossamer Gear on my pants waistbelt for a survival kit.Feb 18, 2009 at 4:32 am #1478622
@ramblerLocale: On the AT in VA
Ali e, here's a book for thee: 98.6 degrees, The Art of Keeping Your A.. Alive by Cody Lundin.
Talk about lightweight gear…he fits a gallon of water into a condom.
It is a serious book, however. The caption under a photo says, "This eye-glass case- sized pouch holds the majority of my survival kit components. There is no excuse not to carry this gear!"
You can also make a pouch out of bandana and tie it to you belt.Carrying a fanny pack under a frameless pack can help keep the weight higher on your shoulders. In winter I wear a fanny pack backwards,so I have a handy pocket for extra gloves and hat which I might shed while hiking and can put them away without removing my pack. Snacks also go in. There are countless models and sizes of fanny/lumbar packs, but look for pockets that "envelope" out allowing for expansion. Flat pockets only carry small items. Granite Gear, MLD, Gossamer make a variety of add-ons.Feb 18, 2009 at 7:11 am #1478642
I really appreciate the suggestions, both for trimming weight/replacing items, and for carrying everything.
I'll continue to refine my list to make it lighter. Some of the items, like the cord, duct tape, Photon Freedom and mini Bic, I would carry for nonsurvival purposes anyway; I just want them on my body except when I'm sleeping.
I chose the filter straw over pills because it only weighs an ounce and I don't need a water bag to go along with it.
The parachute cord comes in handy for all kinds of things, both emergency and not, but it's awfully heavy. I'd love some advice on what to replace it with (I'm not very handy with knots, so I might need something easier to work with than spectra).
I love my Anza knife (made from a high-carbon, tool-steel file). I feel safer having it and know it'll never let me down. However, 6 oz. is too much for backpacking. I want to replace it with something lighter, but it has to be rugged and full tang. Any suggestions?
My survival gear is exactly like car insurance; I hate paying for it, but I'm glad I did when I need it!Feb 18, 2009 at 7:30 am #1478648
Joe GeibBPL Member
@joegeibLocale: Delaware & Lehigh ValleysFeb 18, 2009 at 7:31 am #1478649
Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
I have a couple strategies for carrying a personal survival kit, known as a PSK in survival circles.
First of all, it doesn't take a lot of space or weight to be prepared for losing your pack or a major component of your kit.
As others have mentioned, a small selection of core items can be carried on a necklace or in your pocket. I think that should always be the case. IMHO, you should always have a knife, compass, whistle, fire starter, and light source on your person at all times. With that small selection of tools you can build a shelter, make a fire, get found, or get "unlost."
Some like to carry a small belt pouch with a few more items than a necklace can handle. There are ultralight ones made from silnylon or you can step up to a small zippered cordura belt pouch. Belt pouches used to be common in hiking stores but have fallen out of fashion and are hard to find. A military surplus store seems to be the best bet now. There are brands like Blackhawk that make all kinds of pouches. I have one made for smoke grenades that will carry a decent PSK on my belt.
There is a tradition of using Altoids tins for a PSK container, very much in the ultralight vein. It is amazing to see the range of items that people have managed to get into a small tin. The idea is to have something that can easily fit in a pocket so you always have it with you. I have used small plastic boxes with a silicone seal– modern Japanese bento boxes. One of my favorite PSK projects is to use an eyeglass case– very handy
My main hiking PSK goes in a one liter Sea to Summit roll top silnylon stuff sack. If I did need to carry it, I could make a simple cord sling. The hatband on my Tilly has several yards of braided 550 parachute cord, so I always have a reserve supply, as is my bear bag line.
I have used a drawstring pack for my bear bag, carrying my food under way, and can double as an "away from camp" day pack. These simple packs have plenty of space and can hold a day's supplies and an extra layer of clothing.
I don't care for fanny packs unless they are really small– a liter or less. I found a used silnylon one that is very light and would make an excellent PSK container.
As to carrying redundant items, it rubs up against some canon rules of ultralight hiking, but I'm adamant that redundant fire starters and a backup compass should be carried. That amounts to a few matches, a mini firesteel, a mini Bic lighter, and a zipper pull compass. I also carry a spare one liter Platypus in my PSK with Micro Pur tablets taped to it. I have a couple kinds of cutting tools as well, with a couple singe-edged razor blades in my PSK, a Victorinox Classic on my lanyard, and I generally carry a larger knife like the Victorinox Farmer or Trekker. That is the total redundancy in all my kit and I'm more than willing to take the weigh penalty for the security added. The rest of my PSK is a space blanket, a small first aid kit, a flat pack of duct tape, a bit of braided line and a few grams of fishing gear in a pill box. Nothing earth shattering– or back breaking.Feb 18, 2009 at 7:57 am #1478657
@chadnscLocale: Duluth, Minnesota
Here is what I carry in my emergency kit
Matches in waterproof container
20 feet of cord (triptese guyline)
Three Aqua Muria Tabs
I carry these things in a small silnylon stuff sack. Then entire bundle is 2" x 2" x 5" and fits in the cargo pocket of my hiking pants / shorts.Feb 18, 2009 at 10:35 am #1478692
@ramblerLocale: On the AT in VA
Remember that parachute cord and other nylon cords have cores that can be removed and used as line, too. Or, the cores can be removed to make the outer piece thinner or flatter. So, parachute cord is a 2 for 1 deal!
Flash mirrors can be seen for long distances. The shiny side of a CD works, too.
A friend of mine became quite ill in the 100 Mile Wilderness of the AT in Maine. He used a signal mirror to get the attention of boaters on the other side of a lake for rescue. Camera lenses can be used to reflect light. And bad guys in cowboy movies oftern gave themselves away when the sun reflected off their gun sights.
A small magnify lens can start a fire with sunlight.Feb 18, 2009 at 12:24 pm #1478725
It is amazing to see the range of items that people have managed to get into a small tin.
A while ago I posted Tiny first aid kit.
At that time, I had this in that little bag:
Now it's a bit different:
Plasters, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, a Photon Microlight II, small compass, wire saw, ear plugs, paracord, bandage, plastic bag surrounded by adhesive tape and a rubber band. I also have this TOPS SSS knife that's got a fire starter, sharpener, whistle and signal mirror.Feb 18, 2009 at 2:21 pm #1478759
Nathan Human Propulsion Laboratories (HPL) sells some nifty, lightweight waist/fanny packs geared toward adventure racing. Definitely worth checking out.
I think that most lightweight hikers would carry many of these items anyway; even SUL folk tend to carry some kind of emergency fire starter, etc. A razor blade doesn't do much good in a survival situation. I know they're popular here, but frankly they're (or variants) not even capable of slicing basic food. A decent fixed-blade knife can make short work of a huge range of camp chores, safely. Mora knives are mentioned a lot; the Clipper weighs about 3 ounces with sheath. By comparison, my everyday Swiss Army pocket knife weighs 2.64 ounces–and it's one of the super basic models. I'd argue that 10 tabs doesn't equal 10 fires. Not when you're cold, wet, and everything's been drenched in rain for the last couple days. Between the arbitrary 4 many people mention there's less than…some fractions of an ounce for more than double safety margin.
I carry spectra cord for survival kits. Since it's so light, I can carry plenty! If "it" hits the fan I can put together a camp, fish, make a raft (!) Whatever I need.
Personally I never carry water treatment in my survival kit. I have fire-starting equipment; if I need sanitized water I'll boil it. As for a container, I carry two large-ish pieces of HD aluminum foil that I can origami into a square pot. Failing that, I could cut off a small chunk of emergency blanket, curl a wispy green twig into a handled circle, and secure the emergency blanket to it.
Artificial light isn't so much a survival thing (again, hopefully you have a fire going) as it is a getting unlost thing, as someone sorta mentioned earlier. When you get directionally confused or your light dies and you're still a couple miles from the trailhead, it is nice to have some illumination.
I made a hat out of sleeping bag materials, reasoning that if I'm truly trying to survive keeping my head warm will be important. It weighs 0.64 ounces with chin drawstring and cordlock.
2 pieces HD aluminum foil 16 x 18" 0.69oz
emergency blanket ~1.9oz
50 feet 250# spectra cord ~0.29oz
20 feet 500# spectra cord ~0.25oz
threaded needle (10' thread)
self-made hat 0.64oz
lint/vaseline tinder ~0.5oz
fixed-blade-currently a stout paring knife, ~2oz
~Will probably add a small artificial fly/lure or 2
~Fits nicely into a rear pant pocket (sans knife)
~Weighs roughly 5 ounces
~Knife is always on me/with me anywayFeb 18, 2009 at 4:27 pm #1478794
>A small magnify lens can start a fire with sunlight.
To me, if it's sunny enough to start a fire with a magnifying lens, I probably don't need a fire ;)
I don't plan on being lost long enough that I would need to chop up food, so don't carry a knife. We can go a long time without food.
I never treat my water, so don't need tablets or a pot to boil it in.
Whistle around and compass around my neck.
I carry a few fire starters and flint on a magnesium block. Razor blade is adequate for making fuzz sticks. Photon Freedom for light. All of this and a few other bits and bobs go in a small pouch that attaches to my hipbelt. If I leave my pack I take the pouch off and put it in a pocket.Feb 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm #1478829
Joe KusterBPL Member
Sounds like most of your needs could be met by just using the off the shelf Adventure Medical Survival Kit and toss it in your hip pocket. It's actually a wisely selected bit of kit.Feb 19, 2009 at 7:18 am #1478945
Adam, after mulling over all the great suggestions for carrying survival gear, I think I like yours best.
I'm going to try wearing an AGG mini-compass, Mini Fox 40 whistle, FireLite Mini Firestarting Kit and McNett Frontier filter straw on a neck lanyard (total weight 2.63 oz.).
I'm going to divide up the remainder of my survival gear into two equal loads of about 4.8 oz. each. They'll be kept in small stuff sacks placed in cargo pockets on each side, with a cord securing the stuff sacks to my belt. I love this idea, Adam! The cord keeps the stuff sacks attached to you even if you take a tumble or lose your footing midstream, while your cargo pockets comfortably support the tiny loads in the stuff sacks and keep them from bouncing around.
I also like the idea (I forget who mentioned it) of wrapping cord around your hat. I guess you could wrap some fishing line around it, too, and attach some lures.
Here's my revised survival kit:
Whistle – Mini Fox 40 safety whistle – .5 oz.
Lighter – Mini Bic lighter – .4 oz.
Firestarter/Tinder – FireLite Mini Firestarting Kit (includes 10 Tinder Tabs) – .81 oz.
Light – Photon Freedom Micro – .25
Parachute cord – MIL-C-5040H Type III – 20 feet – 1.42 oz.
Filter straw – McNett Frontier filter straw (20 gallon capacity) – 1 oz.
Knife – either an Anza PK-3 (full tang) – 3.2 oz., or Victorinox Camper (two blades and a saw)- 3 oz.
Duct tape – Adventure Medical Kits Mini Roll Duct Tape (100 in.) – .72 oz.
Space blanket – Adventure Medical Kits Heatsheets Emergency Bivvy – 3.25 oz.
Compass – Field and Trek Mini Comp II – .33 oz.
Total weight – 11.9 oz.
Note: I might replace the mini compass with my Suunto A-10, which I carry anyway.Mar 17, 2009 at 2:57 pm #1486418
Laurence BeckBPL Member
@becklaLocale: Southern California
Just looking for an opinion. I carry a small fanny pack when I am backpacking. I recently switched to the Granite Gear Vapor Trail but I still want to keep the fanny pack to keep a few small items readily available. Is it fair to exclude the fanny pack and these items from your base weight?Mar 17, 2009 at 3:01 pm #1486421
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
The real measure is FSO, to make you most efficient.
Baseweight is a tool to identify the biggest offenders of extra weight, we can par down. I think we play games with ourselves to carry stuff around our necks, in our hats and pockets to state a low baseweight.Mar 17, 2009 at 4:07 pm #1486464
Laurence BeckBPL Member
@becklaLocale: Southern California
You are right about that, its a game that I have only recently gotten into. I personally don't feel a small waist pack just like I don't add the clothes I am wearing to my base weight. Now something around the neck would actually make it worse than in the pack on your back. I would not carry more than 8-10 oz in the waist pack either.Mar 17, 2009 at 9:27 pm #1486581
@rayestrellaLocale: Northern Minnesota
Seeing as all you are doing is taking it with you while you are a very short distance away from the rest of your gear (which I find slightly paranoid but my bro-in-law and regular hiking partner would totally agree with) I think a sil-nylon sack that you carried to your water or cat hole would suffice.
Personally I only carry my knife with me, and TP. (Oh wait, I mean smooth stone or rounded stick… yeah that’s it. LNT baby!) I can’t imagine much happening that I could not drag myself back to camp. In the case of water trips that are a long distance from camp I take my backpack, sans tent and bag, etc, anyways.
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