Canuck In Denver's Page

Emergency Preparedness and Survival Basics
Suggested Gear and Clothing

I was asked to create these pages for a private site. Quite a bit of research went into these pages so I decided to provide the information on these pages to a wider audience.
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Canuck In Denver


My Survival Kit

There are three schools on survival kits; the minimalist or pocket survival kit school, the small but well equiped school, and the maxi school. The minimalist or pocket survival kit is more of a military school of thought, this can be seen in John "Lofty" Wiseman's SAS Survival Handbook. I moved from the small but well equipped school to the maxi school recently, this is more along the lines of what a pilot in Alaska would carry in their plane in case they went down in the bush. I still have minimalist and small but well equipped kits but the one I reach for is my new survival kit.

Recently I re-did my survival kit. I'd bought some copper wire for use as light weight snares since it was on sale and my old survival kit was bursting at the seams. I did a lot of looking and decided I wanted use a main bag and pouches that had the US military MOLLE straps / British PALS system for ease of customizing.

I wanted one bag that contained some food, some water, some shelter and enough tools and gear to make survival a heck of a lot easier. My old kit was good but it had areas in which it was weak. The kit I came up with is more in line with what a pilot in Alaska is likely to carry so that just about every situation is covered in some way. I still have to add a canteen cup, canteen stove, canteen and canteen pouch to the kit to complete it. Right now it is weighing in at 18-20 pounds depending on how my scale works and will weigh in at under 25 pounds with the canteen set up and water. I picked up a Camelbak Pakteen for $2.50 from the thrift store that holds 50 ounces of water, it sits with the survival kit and it is MOLLE so it will go on nicely, but it isn't exactly what I want.

Not pictured but with the kit is a Cold Steel Magnum Kukri machete with 17 inch blade and some Gerber pocket sharpeners. This round of purchases cost me about $100, but it was money from a year end bonus at work so I put it to good use.

First are links to where I bought the bags and other items I wanted to add to the kit. Then comes the list of what is in the kit and finally pictures. After that will come the old survival kit so people can compare the two.

Main Bag: Condor Tactical E&E bag
3 AA LED Maglite pouch:
Poncho Pouch:
Gerber, knife, etc pouches:
Cold Steel knives, thermal blanket, magnesium block, fire steel -
Resublimated Iodine -

If you want to follow the entire thought process that lead to this set up you can read the posts on the message forums at

Zippo lighter with extra flints
5 Bic lighters
Camel lighter
4 oz bottle of lighter fuel
small tin of Vaseline impregnated cotton balls
small tin of matches
3 boxes of water proof matches (50 per box)
water proof match case with matches
small candle
magnesium block and striker (2) *
fire starter sticks
commercial fire starters
fire steel & striker *
small tin for found tinder
tin foil
butane pencil torch and butane

US military poncho
emergency blanket
thermal blanket
6 tent stakes
food grade stainless steel wire (100+ feet)
rope (about 20 feet)
100 feet of parachute cord (also good for many other things)

3600 calorie life boat ration that does not induce thirst
brass snare wire
copper snare wire (200 feet)
steel snare wire
6 feet of small diameter spring
fishing kit
emergency stove (Esbit type)

8 grams of resublimated iodine crystals in a 1 oz bottle (5000 quarts)
6 feet hospital grade tubing (solar water still)

4 inch half serrated blade pocket knife *
small pocket knife
cheap folding scissors
NATO knife with can opener / blade / marlin spike
wire saw
Gerber multi tool *
Gerber Paraframe 3 inch half serrated blade *
Gerber Shortcut folding scissors *
P38 can opener *
Cold Steel GI Tanto 7 inch blade that can be turned into a spear head
3 AA LED Maglite flashlight *

Boatswain's (Bosun) pipe / call / whistle
small mirror
signaling mirror
strobe light (Coast Guard approved, Xenon bulb, D cell)
whistle / match case / compass
Silva compass
pocket atlas of the US & Canada
folded / laminated map of US
SAS Survival Handbook
Waterford Press guides (Edible Wild Plants, Mushrooms, Medicinal Plants, Trees & Animal Tracks)
first aid kit
sewing ki
duct tape (10 feet)
cheap 2 AA flashlight
batteries for flashlights

* these all have parachute cord lanyards (one of the magnesium blocks) and are in the external pouches. The lanyards are attached to a Grimlock (like a carbiner) so they will not get lost.

Most survivalists are of the small but well equiped school of thought. Usually for us this means a small pouch of some sort. In my case this is a waist/fanny pack that is 12W x 8H x 6D. Along with the waist belt it has a shoulder strap as well. The pouch has two front pockets one behind the other, a main pocket and a rear pocket.
Front, Top and Side views of the pouch:

Contents of the two smaller front pockets:
First front pocket
- rope
- parachute cord
- cotton twine
- kite twine
- fishing line

Contents of the two smaller front pockets:
Second front pocket
- Pocket atlas of the US & Canada
- folded, laminated map of the US

Contents of the main pocket:
Main Pocket
- Everything in the pocket

Contents of the main pocket:
Contents of the main pocket layed out
- Zippo lighter with extra flints
- 4 Bic lighters
- Small pocket knife
- cheap folding scissors
- Boatswain's (Bosun) pipe/call/whistle
- 4 pack AA batteries
- Nato knife with rope spike, can opener and blade
- wire saw
- electronic mosquito repeller (probably useless)
- mirror (plastic)
- mirror, signal
- steel wire, couple of hundred feet
- Silva compass
- Gerber pouch (more in next pictures)

Contents of the main pocket:
Bigger picture of the Gerber pouch
- Gerber multi tool
- Gerber shortcut
- Gerber Paraframe knife (on side of pouch)

Contents of the main pocket:
Contents of Gerber Pouch
- Gerber multi tool
- Gerber Shortcut
- Gerber Paraframe (3 inch blade, 1/2 serrated)
- folding can opener (Coghlan's)

Contents of the rear pocket:
Rear pocket
- everything in the rear pocket

Contents of the rear pocket:
Rear pocket contents displayed
- 4 oz bottle of lighter fuel
- 2 AA flashlight
- floating whistle/compass/ match case
- shoulder strap
- Coghlan's Emergency stove (folding, hexamine tabs)
- Strobe light (Coast Guard approved, Xenon bulb, D cell)
- Survival blanket
- Fish / sew / snare tin
- fire making pouch

Contents of the rear pocket:
Fish / sew / snare tin
- contents in the tin

Contents of the rear pocket:
Fish / sew / snare tim contents displayed
- more kite twine
- fishing hooks, lures, weights
- fishing twine
- 2 bobbins thread (heavy duty nylon & regular nylon)
- Thread threader and safety pins
- straight pins and more fishing line (for sewing)
- 10 needles, various sizes
- brass snare wire
- steel snare wire
- 6 feet of small diameter spring

Contents of the rear pocket:
Fire pouch contents laid out
- pouch itself
- small fire starter tin (vaseline impregnated cotton balls)
- tin of matches
- larger fire tin
- Bic lighter
- 3 boxes of water proof matches (50/box)
- water proof match case with matches
- Camel zippo type lighter

Contents of the rear pocket:
Fire starter tins
- smaller one is sealer with wax (cotton impregnated with Vaseline)
- larger one
    - candle
    - magnesium block
    - 1/2 of 6 inch hobby hack saw as striker for magnesium block
    - fire starter sticks
    - commercial cotton impregnated with vaseline and fuel
    - tin foil

I consider fire and the ability to make it VERY important. Fire means cooked food, boiled water, fire hardened spears, light, heat, etc. The ability to make fire fundamentally changed the course of human history and can not be over looked.

Along with my main survival kit I have an identicle pouch that has enough food for 3 to 7 days, a mess kit pouch and a small pocket first aid kit. The mess kit pouch can be worn on a belt and also has a shoulder strap. I've found that I can create a very basic set of webbing with these pouches. I also keep a quart nalgene bottle with the survival kit.

The survival kit weighs in at about 5 pounds, with the other two coming to about 3 pounds. Not the smallest or lightest set up, but enough to get me through just about any situation I can think of.

Since I use a layered or concentric theory of kits my survival kit, food bag and mess kit bag form the basis for larger kits. They can be added to my car kit or BOB, each of which has some of the same items included. This gives me more than one of what I consider the key items.

Can I get along with just a knife and fire source? Yes, and I always have these on me, but 8 pounds isn't that much and the contents do make surviving much easier.

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