Survival Kit

As with the repair kit, this isn't something you're going to need very often - hopefully never. Survival kit sounds a bit dramatic - it isn't very likely that you're not going to survive even if you don't carry a kit like this. Unless you stray quite far from the point that you get lost, you aren't going to be wandering the bush for months waiting for a rescue. If it makes you feel better, call this a "comfort" kit. 

The contents will make spending an unforeseen night in the bush a whole lot more comfortable that if you don't have it. Why would you ever need this? I don't need to tell you the number of times that people wander off to get firewood and lose their way, or go for a day hike and lose track of time, ending up stuck in the bush overnight. Having a kit like this is particularly important if you are paddling solo. If you're in a group situation and you get lost gathering firewood, you can always sit down, start to yell and resign yourself to the ribbing that you'll receive when the rest of your party finds you. This isn't an option when you're alone. You are entirely reliant upon your own skills and resources. If you get lost, nobody is going to come looking for you until you are late getting home (you did leave a trip plan with someone, didn't you?)

The size and weight of this little kit doesn't make it onerous to strap on and carry while you're day-hiking. I carry all of the gear below packed into a small fanny-sack.


Use For

Knife It doesn't have to be a top-of-the-line knife, but it shouldn't be a piece of junk either. Remember, your survival may depend on this item. Don't compromise your safety by packing a cheap pocket knife. At minimum, get a reasonably good lock-blade knife with a 3" blade.
Insect Repellent You may be like me, and not particularly like the idea of slathering yourself with a 95% DEET solution, but if you're lost and besieged by mosquitoes, you'll probably lose those concerns quickly. Pack a bottle of Muskol, Deep Woods Off, or whatever you can find in the most potent concentration available.
Whistle A plastic survival whistle costs a couple of bucks, and weighs almost nothing. Why is it necessary? If you sit there yelling for help, you're going to get laryngitis within an hour. A whistle saves your voice, and the sound carries much further, besides
Compass Another item which is worth spending a few dollars on. Don't put a dime-store compass in your survival kit. Spend $20 and get an inexpensive orienteering (protractor) type compass. After being lost or disoriented for a few hours, it's amazing how you need a compass to regain your bearings.
Matches Of course! This could be the most important item in your kit. Pack good wooden matches tightly sealed in a waterproof container.
Candles A couple of fat candles will provide a long-lasting source of light, and can serve as an emergency fire-starter as well. The candles designed to fit in candle lanterns are best - they last for six to eight hours.
Metal Cup You're going to have a tough time heating up or boiling water unless you have something to put that water in to heat it. An inexpensive metal camp mug will do the trick nicely
First Aid Items Just the very basics, a few Band-Aids, some gauze and a bit of white adhesive tape. Enough to patch yourself up if you cut yourself while whittling.
Plastic Poncho They sell these for about a dollar at the hardware store, and they could make the difference between being fairly dry and sopping wet. They fold up to something about the size of a small wallet, and if you buy the fluorescent orange colour, they double as a good signaling device
Reflective Blanket These little reflective sheets take up no room, and can help to conserve body heat on a chilly night
Signal Mirror Made of plastic, these mirrors can send out a flash visible for miles.
Hot Drinks Little pouches of instant coffee, tea bags, bouillon cubes, Cup A Soup, hot chocolate... whatever. Sitting down and having a hot drink on a chilly night can provide a great psychological boost.
Plastic Drop Sheet It doesn't make the most luxurious shelter, but it can be a whole lot better than sitting out in a driving rain.
Snare Wire Good for lashing together lean-to's, fixing broken boots (and maybe even using as a snare)
Candies Like the hot drinks, mainly to provide a psychological boost. None of us are going to die of starvation by spending a night or two in the bush, but it's nice to have a little treat once in a while to keep up our spirits.
Water Purification Tablets If you're lost, you've got enough don't need a case of Montezuma's revenge as well. Take the time to purify water before drinking it.
Condoms Don't laugh - if you want to carry a water container that takes up next to no room, a condom is just the ticket. They are tough, stretchable, and they can hold a fair amount of water if you have to trek through dry or swampy areas with no suitable drinking water.
Parachute Cord or Twine For a multitude of purposes including rigging shelter and repairing gear.
Fish Hooks and Line I don't know why I bother ... I couldn't catch a fish with a $300 rod and reel. Anyway, I think it gives me a measure of comfort having these in my kit - maybe, just maybe I could catch that nice fat trout...