It helps to be prepared when you’re planning a wilderness adventure, a weekend trip or just something simple as a weekend hike. You never know when bad luck might strike, and, of course, old Murphy’s Law likes to make an appearance when we least expect it. To prepare for Murphy’s unannounced visits, you’ll need a survival kit to be at your side at all times. Think of it as your new best friend that will get you out of some unexpected distress when you need it most.
The basic concept of building a survival kit is easy. You just need to follow the five Cs of survival checklist. Follow this checklist to ensure that you have everything you’ll ever need if you get stuck somewhere while waiting for help to arrive. Let’s go through the list now!
Table of contents
You’ll need fire and some form of fuel. Yes, good ol’ fire. Homo Erectus discovered it about a million years ago, and you should make sure that you also have this element in your 5 Cs of survival with you. Fire is essential for cooking food, sterilizing water, keeping predators away, creating smoke signals and providing heat.
Matches are not recommended. You’ll need a lighter, but you don’t need a fancy one. Just a standard BIC lighter will do. You must, however, have a waterproof sleeve to protect it in case of wet weather. Also, you can prepare fuel that will help get the fire going. A good option is simply using cotton balls covered in vaseline. Covering them in vaseline will make them rain resistant.
If you want to go further, Ferro rods are available that are perfect for any type of weather. Some include a waterproof capsule in the handle that can hold fuel and keep it dry.
As part of the 5 Cs bushcraft, a water bottle is an absolute necessity. You don’t need to go out and buy the most expensive bottle with all the bells and whistles. A basic metal water bottle with built-in water filters will do just fine. The added advantage of having one of these is that you’ll also be able to cook food in it and boil water in it.
Depending on your capacity, you could get a stainless steel camp cooking container, which is a bit bigger, and it will be just as functional but a bit heavier to carry around.
You can also perhaps get yourself a mini lightweight water filter. These mini filters can come in very handy when you don’t feel like boiling water or when you’re unable to boil water.
Thirdly, you’ll need to include in your five Cs of survival kit a multi-purpose or heavy-duty rope. Since you’re building a minimal survival kit, the aim is to include items in the kit with more than one function.
Choosing twine can be inexpensive. Apart from tying things up, you can use it to tie tarp shelter knots, and you’ll also be able to use it as fuel to light up fires.
A better option would be to stick to the survivor cord. Buying it can be a bit expensive, but it will prove to be a good investment when you need it. It’s a heavy-duty cord that you can use to tie things up, but you’ll also be able to split it up. The internal nylon strands can be used as a fishing line.
The best advice is to never get a plastic tarp. A plastic tarp won’t protect you from the elements or unexpected severe weather changes. You also don’t want embers from your fire melting your only cover from the elements. Instead, invest in something a bit more durable. You can get a nylon tarp that works well enough, but these are also susceptible to getting ember holes. A good choice is to buy a heavy-duty fireproof tarp. It would be best if you also got a mylar blanket that will protect you should the temperature drop.
Both these items are light enough to carry on your backpack, which will insulate you sufficiently. Other items that could fall under this category could be camouflage gear, sleeping bags, insulated socks and jackets. It all depends on your environment, your carrying capacity, the activity you’re embarking in and personal preferences.
A multi-tool instead of a hunting knife will be a better choice since we’re preparing a lightweight survival kit. There are thousands of good multi-purpose tools available. A multi-tool is better because you’ll be able to do much more with it than with a survival knife. These handy little gadgets have built-in saws, pliers, files and knives.
Nothing stops you from carrying more than one knife if you choose to do so. Just make sure that you have the appropriate tools for important activities you may be required to do like needing a knife for hunting, or requiring a tool to carve wood for fires, or perhaps even needing something for self-defense.
By now, you should’ve gathered that the five Cs of survival are based on the four critical elements of basic survival. Without having these tools in the wilderness, you’ll have no shelter, no water, no fire, and you won’t have the ability to gather food.
As you become more experienced, your choices in your 5 Cs of survival list will evolve. You may want to include camouflage gear or insulated socks and jackets as part of your survival kit. As mentioned, it depends on some factors that you need to consider. Happy adventures!