In this article I will cover some bushcraft and survival kit ideas. Which is more focused on items that can be carried in belt pouches, waist bags and haversacks, etc. Rather than the items in a backpack.
The advantage of this is there might be more of a chance having the equipment with you more often. As opposed to having it in a backpack, which may not be with you as often.
(Picture heavy below.)
The kits are only a suggestions and aren’t meant to be all inclusive and cover every climate or personal preference. Just some options and ideas that might be part of your dedicated bushcraft kit, survival gear or hiking emergency equipment. Or could be your (EDC) everyday carry kit, or supplement your bug out bag (BOB.)
Before I list some wilderness kit ideas, here are some considerations.
A point to mention is, that you should have engineering redundancy of each important items in your survival gear. Such as, maybe three tools for fire lighting, in case one or two methods fail.
Layering your wilderness survival kit.
As well as redundancy, you should layer the items or tools. For an example, if you have three items for fire lighting, you might have one Bic lighter in your pocket, a ferro rod in your waist bag and another Bic lighter in your backpack.
This layering gives you insurance in case you get separated from one layer. (See my article on a layered bushcraft and survival kits, for more information.)
What to carry in a bushcraft and survival kit?
The items carried should be tailored for your knowledge, skill, climate, preferences and situation. We will talk more about some of these points later on, below in the article.
However, a good starting point is Dave Canterbury’s, five and ten Cs of survivability. Which includes items and tools that are hard or time consuming to make in the woods. Such as cutting tool, cover, cordage, combustion device, container, candling device, (E.g. Headlamp.), compass, cotton material, cargo tape and canvas needle.
Another way to figure out what is important in a bushcraft and survival kit is, tools and items that help you with essentials such as: – Shelter, water, fire, food, navigation, signalling and first aid. The items in your kit might cover all, or some of these elements. The other items might be in your back pack or day pack.
Here are some bushcraft and survival kit Ideas and tips.
Hopefully you might get a few ideas and can mix and match items from the ideas to suit you.
Above picture: Hatchet, Campcraft Outdoors XL Haversack, German military poncho, Pathfinder water bottle 64 oz., tape, jute twine, signal mirror, Shemagh, Opinel pocket knife, whistle, UCO matches, bank-line, blue dry bag, Bic lighter, ranger band over two tea light candles.
Image above: Waist bag, cordage, Mora Garberg knife, lighter, ferro rod, plastic snap lock bag containing jute and cotton pads, Suunto MC2 compass, SOL emergency bivvy bag.
Above pic: Sol emergency space blanket, headlamp, mosquito head net, fat wood, ranger bands, fixed blade knife, Silva Ranger compass, 2 x orange bandanas, cordage, kidney water bottle, D-cups canteen, magnifying glass, Bic lighter, magnesium fire starter block, ferro rod, British WW2 army pouch, water transportation bags.
Image above: Keychain containing FireSteel ferro rod, micro torch, Swiss Army Knife, Bic lighter, compass and Ranger band to wrap around items. (For more information on keyring setups go to Survival keychain options.)
Above picture: Fishing haversack, fire kit containing FireStrip roll, lighter, matches, candle, twine, frennel lens, cordage, space blanket, tape, cordage, 2 x green bandanas, flint and steel kit, headlamp, Nalgene water bottle, Pathfinder nesting cup, Army tarp shelter (Hootchie.), tent stakes, paracord ridgeline, SOL Thermal Emergency bivvy bag.
Above pic: Camo waist bag, whistle, orange and yellow bandana, multi-tool, headlamp, Condor Mini Duku Parang, cordage, candle, fire-kit, lighter, Swedish Light My Fire ferro rod, cotton buds, stainless steel cup, Helikon poncho. (Note- The Helikon poncho will fit a small part into the cup, saving room in the bum bag.)
Image above: Belt pouch containing flint and steel kit. Schrade Uncle Henry Next Generation Bowie knife. The space blanket and Silva compass, lighter and cordage could go in the pockets.
Above picture: Fire kit, lighter, ferro rod, candle, SOL space blanket, cordage, Klean Kanteen, Pathfinder water bottle holder, Byrd Cara Cara 2 pocket knife, Cold Steel Frontier Hawk Tomahawk with leather wrapped around the handle.
Above pic: Satchel, fire-kit, orange bandana, headlamp, Condor Bushlore knife, Pathfinder 32 oz water bottle and nesting cup, Grabber orange Space All Weather blanket, jute rope, Bacho Laplander folding saw, hatchet with orange paracord wrapped around the handle.
Image above: Condor Hudson Bay knife, belt pouch, Opinel pocket knife, lighter, Exotac Fire Sleeve, thermometer with compass, torch, jute twine and paracord.
Above picture: Machete, Mora Heavy Duty MC Companion knife, first aid kit, pocket knife, water bottle, survival fishing trotline kit, Suunto A-30 LCM compass, Dutch military rubber bag, Australian Army tarp shelter (Hootchie.), tent stakes, paracord ridgeline.
Above pic: Brown water filter bag, matches, lighter, flint & steel kit, jute, space blanket, yellow dry bag, Zebra 12 cm Billy Pot. (The billy is carried in the dry bag and can be clipped on the belt. See Bushcraft Survival Kit Billy Can, for more kit options.)
Image above: First aid kit, cordage, Ka-Bar Warthog fixed blade knife, emergency bivvy bag, micro torch, pouch, button compass, Walker Swiss Army Knife, GPS. (Global Positioning System.)
Above picture: Fred Asbell haversack, beeswax, lighter, match safe, Puma pocket knife, cordage, poncho, torch, paracord, water bottle.
Above pic: Pocket knife, Altoids type mini survival tin containing lighter, birthday candles (Trick windproof ones.), fatwood, water purification tablets, cotton pads with Vaseline, Leatherman tool, Mini Maglite torch, large ferro rod, olive Grabber All Weather Space Blanket strapped on carrying straps with Ranger band onto the Pathfinder water bottle carrier. Inside the holder is a Pathfinder water bottle 64 oz. and nesting cup.
Above picture: Cordage, Condor Bushlore knife, compression bandage, belt pouch, mini saw, lighter, orange bandana, FireSteel ferro rod, mini compass, army can opener/spoon.
Above image: Cotton bag for foraging, cordage, lighter, ferrocerium rod, pocket knife, Cold Steel kukri, army pouch, Suunto MC2 compass, SOL emergency bivvy bag, Pathfinder stainless steel water bottle.
Considerations, tips and thoughts.
“The more I think about a great wilderness survival kit, it is just good solid bushcraft gear.”
These examples and ideas could be a base, which could be built upon or changed depending on your climate, skills and preferences.
Negatives of the survival kits listed.
Most of the survival and bushcraft kits listed above may have some weaknesses. Because we are limited on how much we can carry in weight and bulk in small pouches, satchels, or our pockets.
I obviously still suggest a backpack or day pack (and layering the kit) when heading into the woods, but it is good to look at the limitations of the above ideas or smaller kits.
The cover element, (clothes included) and water storing capacity is limited for smaller pouches, etc. Shelter and water are important in good conditions, little known in extreme environments, such as unforgiving wind, rain and cold, or harsh deserts.
One way then is too try and fit at least one or two ways to include the water and cover element.
An example could be; while most cheap thermal space blankets tear and rip easy, a better quality brand space blanket, (Such as SOL.) takes up about the same size, but is more durable. You might incorporate this with a quick hybrid debris shelter so you have more shelter strength.
The better quality space blanket helps save time and energy with the shelter and waterproof element in a pinch. However, they have no grommets and are small and can be flimsy, so set up some shelters with them and know their limitations.
An orange heavy duty garbage bag liner might be an alternative item, or an emergency bivvy bag, rather than some thermal space blankets.
Perhaps you might have more room to pack a larger cover element like a; Grabber All Weather Blanket, Arcturus Survival Blanket, or Pathfinder Survival Blanket or a lightweight Silnylon tarp. (A larger tarp shelter might be in your back pack as well.)
Practice with it.
Ensure you practice with your items in your kit. As an example, a ferro rod (Ferrocerium rods.) is an amazing tool. However, it is not magic and will not light on fire every material. The tinder generally has to be finely processed, dry or a favorable type, either natural or man-made.
So practice with different materials and see what works and doesn’t, before you put it in your emergency kit.
(For those that haven’t used a ferro rod before, scrape off the black protective coating first, otherwise it won’t spark. Cotton balls coated with Vaseline are a great fire starter for the kit.)
I know when I haven’t used a map and compass for a while, or practice tying knots, I go rusty real quick.
Ensure the kit is tailored for your climate. Consider what environment you are in, or could potentially face. Make the tools match.
An example could be: In a desert environment, with there is no sense taking a big dedicated survival fishing kit with you when there minimal lakes and fishing spots around.
Likewise only having a small water container, or limited ways of procuring water isn’t ideal.
For colder areas, wood processing tools and more alternative ways (Redundancy.) to light a fire might be considered.
Appropriate clothing for now and being prepared for the worst conditions.
Because of the carry limitations in our pockets, belt pouches and haversacks, some bulkier clothing items will have to go into the back pack or day pack. However, we might be able to fit in a waterproof jacket, or poncho, etc., in a larger waist bag or haversack.
Of course wearing appropriate clothing for a start, helps a lot.
While you might plan on going fishing trip, hunting or hiking for just the day, sometimes things don’t go to plan and you might get lost and stay the night in the backwoods. This is where appropriate clothing and extra layers are essential.
Wide brimmed hats for sun protection, or gloves, beanies, etc. for the cold are worth bearing in mind.
Another consideration for clothing is for protection from nature. While shorts and t-shirts looks good for the cool hiking YouTuber, long pants and long sleeves will protect you better from insects, snakes and other nasty stinging animals and plants.
A protein bar, muesli bar or a bag of trail mix, or chocolate snack thrown into the waist bag might be a good idea.
For my kits, I generally don’t include any food, as generally it is not really an issue for short term survival. (Psychologically it can be for some. Or in cold climates in can be a big advantage.) If we are talking about my children’s bushcraft kit, then it is a different story. It needs to have lots of snacks and food to keep the kids happy.
If you are a coffee lover, some instant coffee satchels, or tea bags might be included in your kit. Bob Cooper author of the book, Outback Survival, suggest if you get lost, stop and brew up a coffee or tea. This helps you stay calmer and think about your situation, then come up with a plan.
Hydrolyte or electrolyte hydration packets, might be worth including in hot climates. These help replace your electrolytes when sweating. For people who don’t like drinking volumes of plain water, they can also encourage you to drink more fluids, which can be a positive in the heat.
For a bug out bag, shoulder bag or waist bag, some MREs (Meals Ready to Eat.) or dehydrated meals might fit and be worth including.
Local knowledge of the area for foraging wild edibles is handy to have and generally doesn’t require many tools or equipment. Only a knife to process some plants, or fashion a digging stick. Perhaps a bag to put the edibles in, or a metal cup to boil up some plants is worth considering. (Which doubles up to boil water.)
Knowledge of trapping, hunting, foraging and survival fishing, are more important for longer term survival, rather than short term. However, to give you confidence, you might include some tools in your kit, such as snares, or a survival fishing kit.
Laws and regulations.
Check your country and state laws, for rules on carrying knives, snares, emergency signal flares, fishing equipment, etc.
Summary – Bushcraft and survival kit ideas.
As mentioned, this article was more focused on carrying items in your belt pouches, waist bags, haversacks, etc., rather than all in your backpack.
Have back-ups of your equipment in case vital items fail and have multiple layers as well.
These options might help you in planning and creating your kit. Whether your gear is for an emergency hiking kit, part of a bug out bag (BOB.) or a dedicated bushcraft and survival kit.
This isn’t the only way to do it, just some bushcraft and survival kit ideas to think about. Remember to design your own kit and tailor it to suit your conditions and skills.
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