Person, Pack, Vehicle
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Return to Survival Skills and Equipment: Classroom Alternative
Where will you find yourself in a survival situation? Will you be at home? In your car? The truth is, you just don't know. This is why we suggest you separately prepare your person, your pack, and your vehicle.
Let's start with preparing your person. I carry a small personal survival kit, that I made myself. No, it doesn't hold all of the ten essentials. But it does carry several personally selected items, that would be very helpful in getting me, and those around me, out of a precarious situation.
Of course, like many things, it won't be useful if I don't have it on me. And, if I don't find it frequently useful, I probably won't carry it. So it must have a place in both my outdoor life, as well as my urban life.
The most commonly used items I carry are bandaids, paper money, and a miniature pen. These three just might be the reason, I remember to put this in my pocket each morning. Yet along with those, I also carry a blade from a utility knife, matches, fabric repair tape, a small flashlight, a button compass, and a whistle.
The exact contents are up to you, and will probably change over time. Some people prefer metal containers, I like this plastic one that seals water tight. Just ask yourself, what would you want with you, if you lost everything else?
In your pack, you should carry all of the 10+ essentials.
Keep them light weight and compact, so you won't be tempted to leave them at home, even for a short hike. Protect them in water proof bags. And, keep them organized, so you can find them in the stress of an emergency.
And, just because you're carrying your pack, doesn't mean you should leave your personal kit behind. My PSK, is for if my pack gets lost or damaged.
Your vehicle needs special attention to prepare it for an emergency, and you probably don't always drive around with that pack in the cargo area.
You'll need the knowledge and equipment to care for the vehicle itself, get the vehicle out of a bad situation, and to care for any occupants. Begin again with the 10+ essentials, but add to that a tool kit, jumper cables, shovel, tire chains sized to your wheels, ice scraper, lock de-icer, and flares.
Flashlights, radios, and cellphone chargers that can be powered with a hand crank are perfect for keeping in your car or truck. Don't rely on your vehicle's battery or engine.
Keep up-to-date on your vehicle's maintenance, always start a long trip with a full tank of gas, never let it get below a third of a tank without refilling. Check your tire pressure and tread wear, and fill your windshield washer reservoir with a deicing fluid.
Stored tap-water quickly takes on a slimy film. To prevent this, purchase distilled water in plastic jugs from your local super market, and keep them out of the sunlight. Swap them out every three months or so, and use the old jugs in your home. They'll still be fine to drink.
Food is the least of your concerns. Just make sure to pack some extra snacks for any long trips.
If anything does go wrong while you're in your vehicle, stay with your car or truck! Search and Rescue will search for you first on the road. And your vehicle, is a much larger target to find than you alone.
So that's preparation in depth. Even if you're an expert in primitive survival skills, having some minimum equipment with you will make you more effective in any situation. Whether that scenario is being snowbound in the backcountry, or your child skinning a knee at the neighborhood park.
Just remember to prepare your person, your pack, and your vehicle.