Mini-PSK kit

The Mini-PSK kit is kept small so you wouldn’t forget to carry it. It’s not complete, but offers you useful tools for an unexpected situation.

It’s carried in a small pouch to keep things handy together.

Three blasts on a whistle is recognized as a distress signal. One or two blasts can be used to attract attention of others without announcing an emergency.

A compass is used to determine cardinal directions (N, S, E, W). It’s useful only if you know what direction you need to go. Therefore, make sure you have consulted a map beforehand and know what coordinates you need to go and return. A baseplate compass with a rotating bezel would be an excellent replacement once you study how to use it.

A flashlight is always useful when it gets dark. Preferably DO NOT travel in the dark. Mis-steps and accidents can easily happen when visibility is limited. STAY PUT. Use the flashlight to set up a secure place to spend the night.

Note: Replace the battery in the flashlight IMMEDIATELY with a Lithium-Ion battery. Alkaline batteries will often degrade and leak even if unused. This will corrode and destroy the flashlight.
Lithium batteries will last for years and not leak.

Select your butane lighter with a transparent body so you can check the fuel level. Select a flint wheel lighter, NOT a piezo-electric one. If you run out of fuel, a flint wheel can still ignite dry tinder; a piezo-electric spark is too weak to do so.

Carry some tinder (not supplied) such as Tinder Quick or DIY cotton balls with a vaseline smear to prolong the burn.

For backup, you can also carry a ferrocerium rod and scraper which will provide abundant hot sparks. It is the principle behind the flint wheel mechanism of the lighter.

A folding knife is a basic and essential tool. Its versatility is unmatched for improvising anything needed in any situation. A locking blade reduces accidents in a high stress situation. Some prefer a Swiss Army pocket knife for its additional tools such as a punch, pointed opener, second blade, etc.

Supplement this Mini-Kit depending on where you’re going.

Be Smart, Be Safe and Be Prepared.


Advice on TSA travel including flaying.

You can fly with the PSK with a temporary modification.

  • Leave the butane lighter at home and buy a cheapy one at your destination
  • Leave the Lithium battery at home and replace it with a standard Alkaline one
  • Put your PSK in checked luggage
  • If you must fly carry-on only, leave the knife at home.

Remember to restore the Lithium battery when you get home.
The reason for the transparent lighter and Lithium battery is that the PSK is usually dumped into the bottom of a daypack and forgotten for months or years. it’s the insurance that you hope never to need but must be available just in case.

When you do need it, the battery can’t be leaky and dead and the lighter can’t be empty. Believe me, I’ve ruined expensive flashlights because I had an alkaline battery forgotten in them and found a corroded mess two years later. The transparent lighter body allows you to see if the butane has leaked over time.


Jim 1/7/2024