Every good Boy Scout knows that it is important to be prepared when you head out into the wilderness, but “preparedness” isn’t only for Boy Scouts – it is essential for every one of us that enjoys an afternoon in the woods. Even if you are hiking a familiar trail with your family, playing tag in a wooded area with your friends, or camping out with your scout troop, you should always be prepared. No one ever expects to be in a survival situation, but unexpected things can happen. When they do, the person who is best prepared will be able to handle any situation.
Boy Scouts and woodsman all over the world make sure to take a bag with some essential gear in it. It’s called a survival bag or survival kit. You can make your own, or you can buy one that is already made for you. The Bear Grylls Survival Kit (Basic) is a great one to take with you when you head out for an afternoon in the woods. It has many of the essential items a good survival kit should have, and it fits nicely in your bag or pocket. (See the complete contents of the Bear Grylls Survival Kit below.)
SOME SURVIVAL BASICS INCLUDE:
- A Whistle – If you find yourself lost or separated from your group, then you need a whistle to signal your location to any searchers in the area. Your voice only carries a few hundred feet in the forest, and a whistle can be heard up to two miles away. Unlike your voice, the whistle won’t get tired and wear out after a long day. That makes a whistle a very valuable rescue tool. SURVIVAL TIP: The universal signal for help is three clear blasts with a slight pause between each blast. Repeating that whistling sequence every few minutes while you are in danger just may be your key to being rescued.
- A plastic garbage bag – A garbage bag can be used in many different ways. Wrapped around you, it will keep the wind out, the heat in, and the rain or snow off of you. A garbage bag can also double as a rain poncho, a container to hold water, a tarp for shade, or a bag to carry supplies. A garbage bag can be your own personal shelter, and in a survival situation, shelter is an essential thing. Depending on the weather, you may need to take shelter from the sun and heat, rain, snow, cold, or wind. Anyone of those things can rob your body of vital energy. NOTE: Do not EVER put your head inside of a plastic bag. You will not be able to breathe!
- Water – You absolutely must have water to keep your body working correctly. Don’t ever go out into the woods without taking some water with you. Try to take at least one quart of water. If you find yourself without water, then try to conserve the water that is already in your body. Breathe through your nose instead of your mouth because you lose water when you exhale. Also, try to minimize activities that make you sweat. You will rapidly lose water as you sweat, so move slowly and carefully, and rest often.
- A bright colored bandana – A bandana is very useful. You can use it as a hat to keep your head and ears warm, or you can use it to protect your eyes and face from the sun. You can also use it as a signal flag to wave at aircraft passing overhead or people you see far away. You can also tie your bandana to a stick so that your flag can be waved high in the air. That will greatly increase your chances of being seen. JM Cremps carries a bright orange Survival Bandanathat is the perfect addition to any survival bag. The bandana is loaded with survival techniques including: How to gather water, how to build a shelter, how to find edible foods, start a fire, tie knots, and more!
- A Flashlight – If you find yourself out at night, a flashlight will be your best friend. Besides being able to see your surroundings, a light from a flashlight will be a comfort to you during the night. Remember to try to conserve the batteries by shutting the light off when you don’t need it. And don’t forget to check the batteries BEFORE you go out! You don’t want to be stuck in the woods at night with a flashlight that doesn’t work.An excellent flashlight that is waterproof, floats, and is durable is the Waterproof Floating Flashlight by Eveready. If you want something smaller, there are many small led flashlights that provide excellent light and long battery life. The Impulse LED Multi-Purpose Light is a good one, and it clips onto your belt or pack.
- Rope or Cord – A rope or cord is one of the most versatile pieces in your survival bag. A durable, strong, and lightweight type of cord is 550 Paracord. Paracord was first used as the suspension lines for a parachute, but its strength and durability has made it a must-have for any survival bag. Paracord can be used as a tourniquet in first aid situations, to make a shelter, as fishing line, to weave a basket or net, to make traps to catch an animal, and on and on. A 50 ft. section of paracord is an adequate length, and it doesn’t take up too much room in your pack. A fun way to carry your paracord is to wear it as survival bracelet. JM Cremps has everything you need including FREE downloadable instructions so that you can make your own survival bracelet. We also carry ready-made survival bracelet in a variety of colors. One bracelet contains 50 ft. of 550 paracord that is easy for you to unravel should you ever need to use it.
There are many resources that you can use to learn more about survival techniques, survival kits, and survival basics. The Boy Scouts Website has a whole section devoted to wilderness survival, and it is a great resource for the entire family. In this post we’ve only covered a few of the basics that should be included in a good survival bag, but every family can prepare their own bag based upon their own needs.
In our next Survival Post, we will cover what to do if you ever find yourself in a survival situation.
Bear Grylls Basic Survival Kit Features
• Lightweight, Ripstop Nylon Bag w/ Waterproof Zipper
• Waterproof Inner Bag
• Gerber Mini-Paraframe Knife
• Emergency Whistle
• Fire Starter & Cotton Balls for Tinder
• Waterproof Matches
• Snare Wire
• Emergency Cord
• Land to Air Rescue Instruction