Survival is a relative term that can mean you made it through the work day or it can mean making it through the emergency situations that we humans face from natural disasters to man-made conflicts like war. In this article we will be discussing what basic items I feel everyone should have packed in their kits for long term survival. Before we get started just know that nobody can really tell you 100% of what you need to pack because there are many variables to consider like your environment, your age, your health, your abilities, your family/group’s size, and many more so be sure to really consider what would be best for you and your family and pack accordingly.
We will start out with what could be the most important thing depending on where you live and that is shelter. While you can only last 3 days without water, in some situations and environments you can only last 3 hours without shelter, so needless to say it is vital to surviving. The first thing that comes to most people’s minds when it comes to shelter, if you don’t already have a hunting cabin or getaway spot, would be a tent. A tent is great because it can protect you from the elements, keep insects off of you, and can be set up in a matter of minutes. A tarp is also an essential piece of gear to have and can be setup in a number of ways for different shelters for different environments but what we really want for long term is to be able to build something more substantial, so for that you will need the tools to get it done. The jobs you will need to preform are cutting, chopping, sawing, and tying so some tools you should consider having for these tasks are an axe, a folding saw, a hatchet, a chainsaw, and plenty of rope like paracord or Kevlar cord. It’s always a good idea to practice building some basic shelters like a lean-to or debris hut, so get out there and practice those and also a heat reflector wall to direct heat from a fire back into your shelter to keep you warm at night and in cold environments.
Water is essential to life so it tops the list in survival. They say you can survive 3 days without water but an important thing to remember is dehydration starts well before that, even more so if you are doing things that require a lot of energy. For that reason it is important to have water on hand and a filter of some sort. Saving water is easy, just collect all of your empty clear drink containers and use them to store water after you clean them. Fill them up, put the lid on them, and place them somewhere dark and cool. You can even filter the water before hand, and when stocking for water don’t forget about water for your toilet, even when the power is out you can flush your toilet by pouring water into the tank. There are many different options when it comes to filtering water, everything from a home filtering system to small portable filters so get what is right for you. The best options for long term survival would be digging a water well on your property and collecting rain water if allowed in your area but make sure you have back up to that and a stock pile of at least 3 days worth, a gallon or two per day per person.
As you work to do things like hiking to safety, building a shelter, and other tasks you will be burning energy which will need to be replaced. It is said that you can make it up to 3 weeks without food but I would rather not personally, that is why you should have a few meals at the minimum. There are some great freeze dried meals out there like mountain houses chicken and rice, it’s actually pretty good but…there are also some bad freeze dried meals as well like the ice cream sandwiches. Those types of meals last up to 25 years so they are great to have but just make sure you like the ones you put with your gear, no need to be going through a bad situation and eat food you don’t like until you really have to. Some other good items to think about we be some jerky, trail mixes, there are a ton of different kinds of bar type foods you can get, and even ramen noodles are okay in my opinion but just pack whatever you like and make sure you get items that will stay good for a while. Don’t overlook seasonings like salt and pepper, bouillon cubes to make broth, and hot sauce is always an excellent choice!
Along with the tools you need for shelter building, there are a few items that you really need to focus on having to get different jobs done, to hunt, and to defend yourself. First everyone should have a pocket knife already and if you don’t or can’t carry one EDC make sure your pack has it clipped on the outside so you can grab it and put it in your pocket. A pocket knife is great for doing small tasks but you will also need a high quality fixed blade knife for doing a large number of tasks and possibly as a last resort for defending yourself against an attack from animals or humans. A good fixed blade will be a full tang blade, meaning the steel runs all the way to the bottom of the handle, it should have a comfortable grip, have a 90 degree spine for striking a ferro rod, and it should hold an edge well. There are too many out there to name any that are right for you so do your research and take your time to make sure you get exactly what you want. For hunting game you will need items like traps, bows, and firearms if legally allowed. It’s on you to know the laws in your area for example, some traps will be illegal unless it is an actual survival situation and of course you can only hunt during hunting season and so on so be sure to know your laws, of course if the SHTF and everything went to hell then laws don’t really matter anymore and it’s all about survival.
Accidents happens, we are human and just can’t avoid it and eventually will trip and fall, cut ourselves, and so on, a medical kit is a must and I’m not talking about a boo-boo kit. What you want your med kit to do is to stop major bleeding because you can die in a matter of minutes from bleeding out depending on your wound. It’s great to have bandages, creams, anti-everything, get all of that as well but what you really need are items like hemostatic gauze, tourniquets, quick clots sponges, quick clot powder, Israeli bandages, and so on. These items are what you need to save your life or someone else’s. You can either buy all the normal items at a local store to suit your needs or you can just buy a pre made kit and add to it the major items to it. When you pack these items up it is best to have them in an easy to access spot, in case you need to get to it quickly in an emergency. It would also be a great idea to have a patch or someway for others to know instantly where the med kit is in case someone else has to fix you up.
Fire is man’s greatest tool for survival, discovered by accident from lightning striking a tree and setting it ablaze, since then fire has provided man warmth, hot meals, and the ability to manipulate steel to create tools and weapons. While you probably won’t need to become a blacksmith, you will need to stay warm and to cook food so creating fire is one of the most important skills to learn and master. Sure, you can learn to make a bow drill out of natural items and start fire that way which is great but it takes a lot of energy and under certain conditions just won’t get the job done so you still need to pack up a good fire kit. The main item you need is a good ferro rod that throws good showers of sparks easily, there are thousands of different option so just try to get what’s best for you but I suggest getting one that is at least 3/8 of an inch thick so it will last a while but the bigger the better! There are a lot of options for tinder as well from homemade to things you can buy so just do your research on that because there are too many to start naming! Fire is a good way to keep those flying bugs away too so don’t forget that!
You have your food figured out already but now you are going to need a way to cook and to boil water to make it safe so you will need a good cook kit and a stove if you prefer. There are ton of options out there for cooking, but whatever you choose to get I recommend getting something made from stainless steel, it is just better. I suggest having at least 2 different pans 1 being a cup for boiling water and a small pan to fry anything up, this can usually be found in a kit that can even come with utensils, cleaning sponges, small cups or bowls, and even comes in a bag or container for easy packing. For the times you aren’t able to use fire for cooking you want to rely on another method which is having either fuel tabs, alcohol stoves, Sterno stoves, gas stoves, and I even think they make stoves that charge your phone as well just using small tinder so get what’s best for you and your family. It’s a good idea to store the seasons you got when picking you food in your cooking kit if there is room for it to help protect them from being smashed or broken open, nothing worse than having ketchup and salt everywhere!
Ever been lost somewhere? Even in a store as kid being lost just sucked! So, imagine being lost where it actually mattered, not something I want to go through because something as simple as not knowing where to go can be the last mistake you ever make. Knowing your area is very important and you need to have a few maps for your area like a county map, a city map, a highway map, or whatever is the best for you but know your and get out and explore it so you will know where you are and where to go. Along with maps you will need a good quality compass, not a little button compass…a real one, and you need to learn how to read it as well, or what’s the point. Some other items that will help with navigation and situations where you need to signal for help are mirrors, flares, 2 way radios, GPS units, whistles, and a bright color sheet like a bright orange poncho for example would be great because there isn’t anything natural that could it blends with so it stands out, that’s why hunters wear it. If you happen to be traveling try and grab maps of that state at rest stops if possible because they are usually free but gas stations and truck stops will have them.
This should help get you started to becoming better prepared for all of life’s emergencies but there are a lot more items you may want to pack into your kits and if you want to learn more about this and more about preparedness and survival related information, then be sure to come check out my Website, my Facebook page, and my YouTube channel which is linked below. Your life is in your hands so take control of it and do what is required to ensure your survival and your families survival, remember be ready!
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