Should any calamity befall you or your family that changes your situation to one of survival, do you know what to do, where to go, how to get there, what to do once you get there, how to provide for yourself and loved ones or what you will need and how much? Most lack the forethought to plan ahead and prepare themselves for any likelihood other then a flat tire, and even then only because the automobile factory placed it in the vehicle for them. Feel free to read, experiment and improvise what I have put on this site to potentially help you one day.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


When it comes to Emergency Survival Kits most don't know where to begin. First off, your ESK need not be large by any stretch of the imagination. There are several different ESK formats to use. I will cover the true naturalists ESK, the basic ESK, the micro ESK, the grab bag ESK, and the bugout bag also known as the G.O.O.D.(Get Out Of Dodge) bag:

1)The true naturalists ESK comprises of: nothing! A true naturalist will create a knife like surface from a stone or broken glass and make everything else from that.

2)The basic ESK is usually just one or more items attached to your key chain and is usually for the more experienced survivalists but is a good practice no matter your level of experience, it will come in handy and usually comprises of:
a)a knife (can get a cheap stainless steel cheaply made large swiss style knife from the Dollar Tree store for, you guessed it, a dollar! or a better quality smaller lock blade or swiss knife is ideal, you can get them cheaply at or )
b)a flint striker ( you can find small ones on ebay for $1 before shipping and handling. As an alternative you can buy a lighter and attach it to your key chain buy taping it to its own ring. You can buy 3 lighters for $1 at the Dollar Tree, same with key rings you get 6 for a $1.
c)an led light source ( once again you can get an led key chain light from the dollar tree for a dollar, this item is not entirely necessary but more of a convenience)

3)The micro ESK is a palm sized container you keep either in your car, purse or jacket pocket and is more for immediate uses and real emergencies and consists of:
a)a container of sorts, either a small reinforced zippered pouch which you can get at the dollar tree or an altoids tin or snuss tin or small first aid plastic box or a plastic container for bar soap, most you can get at the dollar tree or walmart.
b)a small light (buy a key chain light at the dollar tree and remove if possible all that you don't need from it to make it smaller, look for the led lights that have a detachable light on a retracting cord from the key chain light base and just cut the cord, your led light will be 1/3 it's starting size. This can be used to attract bugs and fish to eat or use as bait for larger game, to signal others for communication or for help and for the obvious reason of lighting your way or surroundings.)
c)a small knife ( any kind of small blade will do, a razor, exacto model blade, small swiss knife is ideal)
d)a safety pin ( can be used to repair clothing, secure a sling pack, arm sling or used as a fishing hook)
e)2 band aids (self explanatory)
f)either several matches (10) with a striker in a plastic bag, a few (5) of strike anywhere matches, a mini lighter or a miniature magnifying lens which you can get at the dollar tree.
g)either 2 alcohol pads or 2 iodine pads ( or just get some cotton squares and alcohol, soak the squares and place them in a small zip lock bag, you can get all this stuff at the dollar tree)
h)2 hand sewing needles ( to be used for clothing repair, stitching wounds or making a makeshift compass)
i)3 meters of dental floss ( you can get 115 yards of dental floss at the dollar tree, just measure a piece from your finger tip to the center of your chest and that is 1 meter, do that 3 times and roll the floss around either the safety pin, lighter or matches. It can be used as fishing line, to repair clothing, to stitch wounds to build animal snare traps or help build a shelter)
j)2 anti-diarrhea pills (a quick and miserable killer in an extreme survival situation)
k)2 aspirin pills (a cheap low grade pain killer)
l)4 ibuprofen pills (a good fever reducing med)
NOTE* Use tape to keep the container closed unless it is zippered, fold the end of the tape in on its self to allow for an easy quick pull tab.

NOTE** When using meds in a survival situation only take one pill and wait 1 hour before taking another in order to conserve your very limited supply. Also if taken on an empty stomach which is often the case in an extreme survival situation the pill sitting on the stomach lining can cause an ulcer or heartburn which would just turn an already bad situation into a mentally intolerable one so drink water.

NOTE*** Place the pills in a zip lock bag to keep them waterproof, add around 10-15 grains of rice with the bag to help keep moisture away from the pills and preventing them from disintegrating, also the rice can be eaten and the bag can be used to carry water or placed on the end of a tree or bush branch to collect water from dew.

NOTE**** Remember that less is more, use items that serve more then one purpose when building your Emergency Survival Kits and you will decrease the weight and size of your kits. The last thing you want is to have to carry so much weight that your kit becomes more of a threat to your survival then your surroundings or the situation.

4)The grab bag ESK is 3 times the size of the micro ESK and is usually attached to the outside of your bugout/G.O.O.D. bag or in your car. In the event that a situation arises either preventing you from putting on your bugout bag due to time or distance from or because you wouldn't be able to out run individuals hot in chase or because of a situation thats escalating to rapidly, you just yank the grab bag off of your pack and run. This kit can easily fit in a toiletry bag which you can get, guess where? thats right the dollar tree ( don't confuse with the dollar general, at the dollar tree, everything is a dollar and no more). The grab bag can consist of:
a)all the contents of the micro eks
b)a mylar blanket or 2 (30) gallon trash bags (to be used for shelter or to make hobo sleeping bags. Always place something between you and the ground to prevent heat loss. For the mylar just cocoon yourself in it, it reflects 80-90% of your body heat and the fewer amount of clothing you wear the better with this stuff. The mylar can also be used as shelter by wrapping a pebble in the corners and tying vine, twine, ribbon, para cord, or shoelaces to them and to wooden stakes or trees to shield you from rain and the sun. The trash bags can be used to carry stuff, be used to contain a makeshift water filter, to build a shelter or make a hobo sleeping bag. Just poke holes in one bag to be used as the inner bag, it greatly reduces water condensation inside your makeshift sleeping bag. Now place the holey trash bag inside the other one then fill the space between the two with crumpled up newspapers, or leaves or pine bough or empty water bottles or other trash bags, refuse in general will work. Now use either the draw cords or the flaps to tie the two bags tops together to keep the filling from coming out, voila! a hobo sleeping bag!)
c)20' feet of para cord, twine, ribbon, or 3 sets of shoe strings ( twine, ribbon and 3 sets of shoe strings all can be found at the dollar tree in these amounts for a dollar)
d)an actual fishing kit (a few small hooks (5) will do, some lead sinkers, a couple of bobs and roughly 10 meters of fishing line(wrapped around a small piece of wood, Popsicle stick, used thread bob etc etc). ultimately the floss could be used as fishing line, an empty water bottle could be used as a bob, and a pebble could be used as a sinker. You can get a basic kit for a few dollars at wal-mart.
e)some sort of emergency survival food (nothing with any kind of nut in it will store for very long. Your best bet is a small zip lock bag of instant rice(pre-cooked) doesn't spoil unless it gets wet and even then it just turns yellow and becomes bitter, still edible though, hell the Viet-Cong survived off of spoiled rice for years during the Vietnam conflict. Ultimately unlike normal rice, it doesn't require cooking, just put it in your mouth and the moisture in your saliva will make it soft for you after a couple of minutes.

NOTE* If you used iodine pads instead of alcohol, you could put one pad in a quart of water and let it sit for 30 minutes to make it biologically safe. If the water is really cloudy, just let it sit for a couple hours until the sediments settle to the bottom then put in the iodine pad, don't stir, just let it sit for 30 minutes and drink. If you have anything made of or coated in zinc, just lightly stir the water with it when the time is up to neutralize the taste of the iodine. If you scrape off the copper coating on a penny that was made after 1983 you will expose the zinc and can use them to nuetralize the iodine taste.

5)The Bugout/G.O.O.D. Bag, remember that the grab bag is typically attached to the outside of the pack and designed to be torn away, use a single zip tie which you can buy a bundle of at the dollar tree. The bugout bag is intended for medium to long term survival. The bugout bag is essentially a larger grab bag either a backpack, duffel bag, rucksack,or just a bed sheet with the contents in the middle, the top folded then the bottom folded over the contents and the ends tied together, then either slip your head and one arm through like a sling pack or just over your head with the tie acting as the straps which goes across your chest and the weight is deposited on your shoulders. The bugout bag consists of:
a)2 pair of calf high or knee high socks (can be used as water filters, storage, or mittens and of course for your feet. With the pair you are wearing that makes 3 pairs which is ideal for most survival situations)
b)2 shirts (can be used as water filters, to make a sling, knapsack, bandages, rope, etc etc. T-shirts are your best and usually cheapest bet. You can get them for less then a dollar at goodwill or a salvation army store.)
c)a shelter kit 9'x12' plastic painter's drop cloth which goes for a dollar at the dollar tree and is intended to be used as a shelter. Remember to place a pebble at the corners and tie them to make anchor points to secure the plastic sheet to neighboring trees, do not poke holes in it to tie to trees, the thin mil plastic will just tear apart at the first signs of rain. You can use twine or buy bungee cords or ribbon, para cord or shoes laces to help construct your shelter. They also sell bungee cords at the dollar tree for a dollar.
d)you will need a more in-depth first aid kit, just buy some anti-bacterial ointment, a bottle of ibuprofen, and a box of band-aids at the dollar tree each for a dollar, then go to cvs pharmacy or wal-mart and get either a small bottle of iodine tincture 2%, a bottle of 10% providone iodine solution, or fill a small waterproof bottle(which you can get at the dollar tree or walmart) filled with non scented chlorine bleach. Each one can be used to sterilize wounds, needles or blades used for emergency surgery and for sterilizing water. 5 drops of 2% iodine tincture per quart, or 10 drops of 10% providone iodine solution per quart, 3 drops of bleach per quart, for all of them let it sit for 30 minutes before drinking. If the water is very cloudy, try filtering through your shirt first then just increase the amount of iodine tincture from 5 to 10 drops, providone from 10 to 15 but no more, and bleach up to 4 drops per quart but no more. Now put it all in a toiletry bag and mark the bag with a black marker or red paint or fingernail polish with the plus symbol so all will know its purpose in the event of an emergency. The first aid kit should be placed inside an outside pouch or compartment for quick access. You should place 7 or more multi vitamins in alittle zip lock Baggie to take on the day to bugout if you don't take vitamins on a regular basis and every 2nd or 3rd day you are out surviving off the land to prevent scurvy and an already weakened immune system due to stress from contracting an illness which would make the situation worse.
e)a fire kit ( can be lighters, matches, but ensure you have an alternate form not Dependant on fuel or being dry such as a magnifying glass or flint striker. As a last ditch effort, should your lighter run out of fuel, don't throw it away in a survival situation the sparks from the striker after you remove the metal wind shield can start a fire, fair warning your thumb will be sore after starting a fire this way unless you have some quick lighting tinder like lint or birch bark or fat pine wood shavings both trees are very resinous which turns into highly flammable turpentine:) Collect some lint from the lint catcher in your clothes dryer and put it in a zip lock bag, that stuff goes up very easily and quickly as tinder for your magnifying glass or flint striker, don't waste it with a lighter since it already produces a flame. In an extreme situation should you no longer have any lint for tinder, check the crevices of your pockets Also place 5 tealight candles in your pack to use as a light source, as a heat source in a snow cave or use the wax to wax bow strings, use the old aluminum dishes they come in to store pine sap or hide glue. Pine sap you can heat and it melts and you can use it with dry grass like fiberglass resin (you can get tea light candles at the dollar tree)
f)a game kit (consists of mesh bags to carry game(wild and freshwater), foraged edible greenery, or mushrooms in or to be used as a fish net. Also a 115 yard spool of dental floss to be used as snares, to create or repair fishing nets, to string up animal hides, and to make clothing and accessories from said hides.
g)a hygiene kit (typically consists of a toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste(or a ziplock bag of baking soda), a towel, 2 bars of soap in a zip lock bag, 2 rolls of toilet paper flattened and inside zip lock bags. Optionally you can bring a small pair of children's scissors or a straight razor to shave or trim hair, just use soap to lather up and cut with the grain with a straight razor which you can sharpen on your jeans. The scissors can be used to trim hair versus shaving, remember that the longer the hair is in your underarms, the greater the odor as odor causing bacteria lives on it so keep it trimmed so as not to alert animals you are hunting or other people.
h)sleep gear ( can consist of 2 trash bags for the hobo sleeping bag, or several mylar blankets, or a blanket, space willing, or an actual temperate weather sleeping bag which is your best bet but tends to be the most space consuming (should be one capable of moderate cold temps in your area). Typically commercial sleeping bags are not water proof just resistant and not even that if its old and has been washed. For that reason and that your temperate sleeping bag isn't meant for below freezing winter weather, even if it is, you still want to bring trash bags as they can be placed over the feet of your bag to hold in heat and keep your feet dry from rain, cut the bottom out of the other bag slide it over your bag to keep the rest of your bag dry. Ideally I would also include a mylar blanket for extreme cold emergencies to wrap up in inside of my sleeping bag. You will also want to bring a knit cap or beanie cap to cover your head as you lose 40% of your body heat through the top of your head. Ultimately you could cut off a shirt sleeve to use as a beanie or just tie a t-shirt around your head.
i)tools (all you need for this is a single edged bowie knife, something thick, with a full tang blade with at least a 4 inch blade. You can get one at for less then $10 same with The bowie can be used as a hatchet,or hammer, turned into a spear, or animal trap, for self defense and of course for cutting most things or scraping flint rods to start fires. As a hatchet, just find a thick but small log and use it as a hammer to hit the blunt edge of the blade causing the sharp edge to dig into wood, by doing this and cutting out sections you can chop down large trees with just your bowie knife and a thick stick. Likewise using the flat side of the blade and thick stick can be used as a hammer. The blade can also be used as a small shovel but be warned, stabbing a blade into sand, even stainless steel will dull the blade in short order but any abrasive rock can be used as a sharpening stone, but 4240 or other strong steel will take alittle elbow grease and time to sharpen with a stone, you may want to invest in a diamond sharpening stone, they sell them for under $10 at
j)water kit (this typically consists of any waterproof containers that can store water for transport and drinking. Canteens, water bladders, camelbaks, water bottles, even old plastic soda bottles but you will want either a steel canteen cup or small stainless steel pot or even an old soup can to use to cook with and sterilize water with, or make hide glue or soap with. The amount of water to carry is Dependant to your temperate location, proximity to a water source and the weather. I carry 6 quarts capacity worth of water but I live in a temperate location with a river across the street from my house. As a rule of thumb, as civilization spread, they had a tendency to form communities on the banks of rivers, likewise I will want to place myself in a place hidden from plain view but still have reasonable access to water, which is also a great place to find animal tracks to set snares and hunt bigger game. The more access you have to water simply means the less quantity you need to be able to carry. If you decide for cost reasons to just use old water bottles, take off the lids and flatten the bottles from top to bottom like an accordion then put the lid back on, the vacuum will keep the bottle small allowing you to pack more in the same amount of space. Simple water filter trick, fill a bottle with dirty water, tie either twine, or a strip of cloth to the bottle or just place one end in the bottle then put the lid back on but loosely and tip upside down, the twine or cloth will act as a filter, just catch the water dripping off in another bottle and voila, filtered water, but not biologically safe unless you treat it so don't confuse clear with clean. Another trick is just cut a 2' foot piece of rope or twine or even your shoe lace and dip it all the way into a bottle of water, now pull it out leaving enough to reach the bottom. Now place the other end into another bottle next to it with all the excess rope or twine, there should be more rope or twine in the empty bottle then the full bottle. Gravity, like siphoning a gas tank will pull the water out of the bottle along the rope and into the empty bottle filtering it as it goes.
k)Lastly, food (you need fat in survival situations, so canned meat like tweet or spam is great plus it has protein and sodium, I wouldn't recommend living off this stuff under normal conditions but we are talking about survival here. You can use ramen noodles, not only do they taste good, they are high in fat and easy to prepare and store. If you crush the ramen noodles while they are in the packets, you can pour 3 ramen noodle packs with their season packets in one quart sized sand which zip lock bag or the size of one ramen package. You want to have enough food for at least a week at a minimum consumption level but not less then 400 calories per day. Pack 4 small cans of tweet or spam and 4 zip lock bags of 3 crushed ramen packs in each and you should have enough of a basic staple. Just remember that because you have food doesn't mean you don't need to forage and hunt for food, as soon as you make camp you need to be scouting for animal trails and edible plants. The food you pack is meant to supplement your foraging and hunting not the other way around. If you wait till your out of food to look for food, expect to be hungry more often then not. Hunger takes it's toll in a matter of days you will be too weak to think straight as your body eats itself. Also as a side note, you are not suppose to eat 3 meals a day as you may or may not be accustomed to, either one or 2 meals a day.
NOTE* Feel free to modify the packing list as you see fit, I have just tried to show some cheap ways to do so. Remember though the clue to building a cheaper and lighter Emergency Survival Kit is to use items that can have multiple uses instead of having twice as many items with a specific only purpose, your pack will weigh twice as much and cost twice as much otherwise.

You may also add an optional biological kit which consists of:
1)5 medical face masks rated N95(can get at the dollar tree but must wear two at a time to equal N95)
2) a rain poncho (can get at the dollar tree or use a trashbag)
3)a small bottle filled with bleach(can get both at the dollar tree dilute 5 parts water to 1 part bleach to help prevent the bleach from accoustically eating your rubber gloves and other plastics to be used as a sterilizing agent and to render water biologically safe)
4)latex or plastic disposable gloves at least 3 pair ( can get 10 pairs at the dollar tree)
NOTE* If you do not have a dollar tree in your area you can go to and order most of the stuff but somethings will only sell in bulk orders or go to a 99 cent store otherwise try either Dollar General or Walmart.

When it comes to G.O.O.D. bags, the number of bags is debatable. One for each of your cars and one for each member of your household in your home. A bag in your car of course in the event you are away from the home such as work or travel. You can get a cheap backpack from wal-mart, Goodwill or The Salvation Army, but ultimately a grab bag, survival geocache or survival keychain should suffice in a pinch.