"I have been carrying a small pocket kit like this since I first started getting into ultra light backpacking and bush craft. And traveling the canyons in West Texas, the possibility of getting lost or stuck in a bad situation is a real risk, especially if traveling alone, as I like to do.
While the contents of a kit such as this are ever evolving, the general idea is the same. That is to say that this kit will give you the tools to stay alive long enough for a SAR team to find you or to affect self-rescue. That being the case, my kit is geared more towards wilderness survival than urban escape and evasion.
First off, the case is an Otterbox 1000 Waterproof case; I like this container because it is crushproof and waterproof. I keep my CRKT RSK MK5 knife strapped to the outside with Gorilla Tape, this allows me to use the knife without having to open the case and try to get everything back in once I am done. I normally keep the case attached to my person with a lanyard and carabineer clipped onto my belt or belt loop."
List of contents
Water: Having a container to not only carry water but also a way to purify the water is a vital part of any kit.
MRE Hot Water Bag – The seals on these things are great, they are strong and hold up to quite a bit of abuse for such a small package. Also allows for SODIS
Water Purification Tablets – To use with either the bag or a scavenged / fashioned water container.
Fire: Fire is what separates us from the animals. It provides warmth, clean water, protection, a way to signal and more. Having redundancies when it comes to fire is a big part of my kit, the nights in my region get cold fast. My kit has four options for creating fire.
7 Hurricane Matches – Wind proof, water proof, and besides what is easier than a match.
Spark-Lite w/ Tinder Tabs – Tinder tabs are great, the spark-lite is one hand operable and gives quite a shower for sparks.
Fresnel Lens – Solar powered, no movable parts to break; easy.
Mini Bic Lighter – As long as this does not get too cold or too damn it will work, also gives me a second set of sparks if it runs out of fuel. Also wrapped in Gorilla Tape to keep the fuel from being accidentally released.
Navigation: If you cannot get a bearing then you will not affect self rescue.
20mm Button Compass (liquid filled) – Has a groove for a lanyard. I switch to a dry compass once the temperatures start having a chance to freeze the liquid.
Photon II Light – Easily one of the best lights for the size. Really should not be without one.
Signaling: If I am unable to self rescue then I want to give whoever is looking for me the best chance at finding me.
Yellow Fox 40 Whistle – Loud, bright for good visibility, and it just plain works.
Signal Mirror – Lexan Signal mirror, supposedly visible for over 20 miles (have yet to test that distance). However, works well and has instructions.
Small Piece of Bandana – Multiple uses other than just signaling but I chose a high visibility color.
Food Gathering / Cooking: The ability to snare small game, fish and trap gives you more chances for a meal.
Guitar String and 6 ft of .020 Steel Wire – The guitar string makes a fairly useful spring snare, it has a loop built into it. The steel wire is stronger than brass wire and does a good job for snares.
Fishing kit – I have 2 small hooks, 2 medium hooks, 4 split shot, and 1 snap swivel along with about 30 ft of braided 10lb test line.
Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil, 3 Sq. Ft. – Can be used to reflect heat, make a temporary container and cook with.
Cutting Tools: You are only as sharp as your knife.
CRKT RSK MK5 – Small, strong, and razor sharp. Has a sheath and can be worn as a neck knife.
#22 Scalpel Blade – Detail work, also sterile.
Mini Work Tool – I found this little gem online for about $2. It has a saw, bottle opener, blade, and a few other useful tools.
Miscellaneous: Other items useful for first aid, repairs, and more.
Bandages – A few assorted, fabric because the latex ones make me break out after a while. Also have two tiny pieces of cotton swab.
Gorilla Glue – Wound closure, gear repair, tons of uses for this stuff.
Gorilla Tape – A couple of feet worth wrapped around things in my kit. This stuff has too many uses to list.
Needle and Thread – I have a large heavy duty needle wrapped with strong nylon thread and also a carpet needle wrapped in carpet thread (stuff is incredible). Useful for repairs, has other uses. Also have 4 safety pins, 2 large, 2 small.
Pencil and Waterproof Paper – 2 sheets of paper and a tiny pencil, use to leave notes or maintain memory. Also useful as backup tinder.
Small Glass Vial of Isopropyl Alcohol – An old perfume sample bottle that I filled with alcohol. Use to clean wounds or aid fire starting.
Cordage – Have 10 ft. of braided nylon 150lb test cord. About 6 feet of 550 paracord as a lanyard. And 1 ft of 225 lb test tarred bankline, used as a lanyard strap for the CRKT RSK MK5.
Photo – Last item is probably one of the most important to me. It is a picture of my girlfriend. I had her write something on the back to make me smile anytime I read it. It takes up hardly any space but would make a huge difference to mental state in the case of a survival situation.
And while the kit is lacking a shelter such as a poncho or space blanket, it does give me all the tools I would need to construct a primitive short term shelter."
"As you can see its is like playing a game of tetris to get everything to fit. Most of the time to get it to close all the way I will have to use my body weight then snap it down. But it does close completely.The alcohol is next to the aluminum foil."