Monday, June 27, 2011

Urban Survival Kits

A quick skim through the you tube self reliance channels will reveal a great deal of interest in kits and kit development.  This makes perfect sense since organizing and making available critical gear is at the heart of survival and has been since the beginning of time.  A quick Google search on friction fires will quickly show us one of the more important kits carried by ancient man, the fire kit.  In fact kits and the kit mentality may be one of those behaviors which have been hard wired into our species after thousands of years of kit building and carrying.  Think about it one of the coolest things about the discovery of Otzi the iceman was studying his kit which included a friction fire kit, an herbal medical kit, hunting gear, a copper ax etc.  All which where part of his “survival kit.”
While we have today many more options than primitive man kits are no less important.  For the following series of articles we will be discussing the 3 main types of kits most people need to have.  The every day carry kit (EDC); the get home bag (GHB); and the Bug out bag.  While each of these kits has a specific goal keep in mind all kits should be customized for your individual needs.
Your EDC are those items you generally have on your person while not at home.  For most people this may include their keys, wallet, cell phone etc.  For a mountain man this may have meant his flint and steel kit, his tinder box, his tomahawk, and his bowie knife.  A contactor working overseas in a kidnap prone area may also include hidden weapons, lock picks, pry bars and other specialized tools in his EDC.  Identifying and sometimes anticipating needs are an invaluable skill when choosing your EDC.
Your GHB supplements your EDC in that it extends your range.  It allows for longer travel than just your EDC.  A person may keep such a bag in their car or their place of work if they don’t drive.  This bag is designed to get you home or to a place of refuge where you have a greater amount of supplies in place.  A GHB for a typical urbanite may be little more than a pair of walking shoes and a bottle of water.  For someone living in a rural area more equipment may be necessary. They may need temporary shelter options such as a tent or winter gear. A scenario where one may employ a GHB may be after natural or even man made disaster where the normal routes or means of travel have been compromised.
If your sanctuary has been compromised you may have to quickly evacuate.  This is where having a “bug out bag” is so important.  Having important supplies consolidated and easily transportable can be the difference between a comfortable night and a miserable one.  In more extreme situations they may be the difference between life and death.  Bug out bags also known as “go bags”  or “good(get out of dodge bags)” are probably the more glamorized ones but likely the most important to customize.  If “bugging out” means going to grandma’s house during a power outage this bag may not be much more than night clothes, toiletries and maybe some comfort items.  If this trek is because a tornado ripped off the roof of your rural home during a freezing winter storm your “bug out bag” better have appropriate winter clothes perhaps a means for temporary shelter and maybe even some fire making devices.
Hopefully this treatment has given you a little insight into modern survival kits.  In the coming weeks we will be discussing each of these styles of kit with greater depth.  We will also be discussing outdoor survival kits which may also be very important to people living in more remote areas.