72 Hour Emergency Survival Gear Bag
Most of us, including myself, don’t think about carrying a survival bag when we aren’t planning to go deep into the forest. You reason, "I will just be 20’ from the vehicle, no chance of getting lost." However, it happens many times every year, multiple people get lost just out of sight of the road. Carrying a shoulder survival bag with just a few survival gear items can make a big difference if this happens. Here are a few items I recommend you have in a day bag that you carry with you whenever you go into a wilderness area.
List of Survival Gear:
- The biggest threat we have when lost in the forest is regulating our core temperature. If you get wet or have to spend the night in the wilderness, you will need a way to stay warm. Pack a change of clothes, this will give you something to change into should you get wet. Use this clothing as another layer to help keep you warm during the night.
- Pack a small tarp, poncho or emergency blanket to provide protection from the ground and condensation during the night.
- To set-up your shelter you will need cordage. Among its uses are hanging a pot over a fire to boil water, wilderness first aid situations, and others.
- Another way that you can help maintain your core body temperature is to build a fire. Pack a small waterproof tin that contains a couple of ways to make a flame and to maintain the flame. Fire is also useful for creating potable water.
- If you are going to be in an area without cell reception, you should consider having a GPS Locator. A satellite GPS locator can send an emergency message with your coordinates to an emergency agency if you get lost.
- A single layer metal container for your water in is important. In most cases (unless you are in an extremely arid area) there are sources of water once you run out of what you have in your container. The metal container will allow you to boil water to kill any parasites. Hydrating is important to maintain your health until rescue finds you.
- Though not necessary, a few power bars will help keep your spirits up and not feeling weak as rescue searches for you. I rotate six 300 calorie bars in and out of my bag. You can go 3 weeks without food; however, it is so much better if you don’t have to.
- Being in the forest on a moonless night without any light is one of the worst feelings. Having to move around in the forest after dark is also dangerous. I recommend a small powerful flashlight with a button or strobe on it. You can use the strobe to signal help.
- Another way to let Rescue know where you are is a whistle. The sound of a whistle will carry a lot farther than your voice. When you know Rescue is looking for you, three periodic bursts will help them zero in on you.
- Last but not least is a knife. Putting a multi-tool knife in your pack will be very useful.
You can get technical and say a change of clothing or a fire starting kit is more than one item. Others will say that we should add other items such as a compass. This list is for those without training, so I took some leeway. The list plans for the 72-hour period it typically takes Search and Rescue to find someone. To learn more about using the Survival Gear in your Emergency Bag, consider taking our Essential Wilderness Survival Course.
If you don't have the patience to hunt down all the items you need, UST's survival kit "Featherlite Survival Kit 2.0" is ready to go. While it does not include everything on the list above and has some items that are not on our list, it is a good starter bag. The extra gear items are useful and you can easily drop this kit into your shoulder bag along with some cordage, a metal container, knife, and a few power bars. This will get you ready to go the next time you hop out of the car for that short excursion. If you have any problems finding the bag locally or want to order from Trail Blazer Survival School, please feel free to come by the office or contact us and we can ship it to you or give it to you at your next survival training at our camp.