Emergency Gear Thoughts

Thoughts on Emergency Gear

Sometimes the unexpected happens, a disabling injury, an unexpected bivouac, lost, marooned, bad weather, whatever.

When it does, then whatever you have with you at the moment IS your Emergency Survival Kit. Whatever is in your pockets or in your pack is all you have to work with. That, and your brain and your determination.

There are many, many articles on Survival and Preparedness, so I won’t cover it again. But I’d like to examine some of the functional needs of staying alive and comfortable.

Let’s break down the Ten Essentials

  • Extra food – Food
  • Extra clothes – Shelter
  • Map – Navigation
  • Compass – Navigation
  • Fire maker (matches, flint) – Fire
  • Fire starter (tinder, candle)- Fire
  • Knife – Tool
  • Flashlight – Tool
  • First Aid Kit – Healthcare
  • Sunglasses – Healthcare

Add to this:

  • Emergency Shelter – (see also: Bothy Bag)
  • Whistle – Signaling
  • Mirror – Signaling

There are many other items that can be added, but basically the groups remain the same: Food, Shelter, Fire, Tools, Navigation, Signals, Healthcare

Some Survival Kits fill a backpack, others fill a tobacco tin. It is always a compromise between weight, volume and the ability to have it when you need it. Too heavy or too big and you may not carry it at all times. Too small and compact and you’ll wish you had more gear.

The trick may be to go Minimalist and supplement to suit the outing. Make the smallest basic kit you’re comfortable with and add extra items according to your day’s travel plans. But ALWAYS carry the basic kit

The old saying is absolutely true: “Your Survival Knife is whatever knife you happen to be carrying when the emergency occurs”. The same applies to the kit or gear at that time.

So make up your own version of the Ten Essentials into a small kit and put it in your pocket or daypack and LEAVE IT THERE. In an emergency, It will be there when you need it..


One of the best websites on emergency and survival gear is http://equipped.com/

Jim Yuen, March 2007