March 10, 2017, by Jack Neely – As a vet with years of military training and experience, it is natural to assume that you are better prepared to face any extreme outdoor conditions than the next guy. However, if you are inadequately prepared for survival, this conventional wisdom may prove off the mark if circumstances force you to get by with the barest minimum.
But not to worry, here are four everyday items which are essential for you to not only survive but actually thrive in any doomsday scenario.
Please note that these four items are not adequate to offer you all you need in a survival environment. However, they are the most essential and versatile to apply across different outdoor living conditions.
1. Duffel Bag
Before selecting any tool, food or clothing for your survival preparedness; you need to settle on a functional military-style duffel bag. The duffel should offer versatility without being ostentatious, robust volume without compromising on portability while at the same time proving tough enough to suit all extreme weather conditions.
Ideally, a survival duffel bag fit for a vet should have a main compartment large enough to hold between 3,500 and 5,000 cubic inches worth of supplies and gear. It should also provide at least five extra storage spaces in the form of pouches and external pockets.
Check all the zippers and fasteners to ensure they are durable but easy to use. The straps too should be adjustable and well padded to withstand long hours of trekking or biking without chaffing your skin or causing unnecessary fatigue.
Select a duffel bag made from waterproof and military grade materials such as rubberized (neoprene) canvas or denier nylon. All the seams should also be double stitched to offer resilience against the rough and tumble of outdoor living.
2. Multipurpose Tool
A multipurpose tool is easily the most important part of your survival gear. Whether you are forced to adopt survival tactics in an urban wasteland or deep in the remote jungles of a tropical hinterland, a multipurpose tool will help you obtain and prepare food, make functional shelter and clothing as well as fashion other tools and weapons. Most are also equipped with some sort of power source and light.
While versatility is the defining characteristic of a multipurpose tool, there are two important caveats. First how versatile a multipurpose tool is does not depend on the number of components. For instance, it is possible for a single multipurpose tool’s blade to be used for cutting, splicing, sawing, peeling etc instead of having separate components for each function.
The second caveat is that the design of a multipurpose tool should be such that it offers as much functionality as possible without being too heavy or unwieldy. Indeed, if you can’t use a multipurpose tool effortlessly with one hand, it is more trouble than it is worth.
3. Sleeping Bag
A good survival sleeping bag will offer you adequate warmth and shelter, precluding the need to carry a tent and blanket with the rest of your gear. In all probability, the sleeping bag will take the largest volume in your survival duffel bag so it is important to make it count.
Every sleeping bag has a temperature rating. Keep in mind that this rating designates what is survivable and not necessarily comfortable. As such, it is always advisable to err on the side of caution when selecting a sleeping bag if the weather is going to be cold.
Sleeping bags come in two size/shape varieties: the traditional rectangular shape and the mummy bag shape. The former offer more comfort and freedom of movement, but are bulkier and inefficient when it comes to trapping body heat. Mummy-style sleeping bags are the most recommended options for survival purposes as they are compact, lightweight and offer better performance in inclement weather conditions.
Finally, every survival-ready vet must have a poncho packed up. Survival ponchos are made of waterproof material to offer all round protection against inclement weather conditions including hail, sleet, and heavy snow. It also helps if the poncho is brightly colored if you are going to be in need of rescue.
Some survival ponchos are so versatile that with some bits of string and pegs you can turn one into a functional shelter or tent. With such a multipurpose poncho, you can increase the protection offered by your sleeping bag considerably especially if the weather is rainy, windy or it is snowing.
For cold weather survival, you need a poncho capable of reflecting back at least 90% of your body heat. And, since the head is the most vulnerable area of your body to heat loss, look for a poncho with a functional hood which can cover as much of your head as possible. Of course, you will have to include warm headgear in your survival kit as the poncho’s hood is unlikely to have adequate padding to generate enough warmth of itself.