Join 3,442 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Survivetoids
October 17, 2005 8:45 AM   Subscribe

The Curiously Strong Survival Kit.
posted by KevinSkomsvold (44 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Neato. I bought one of these from an Army Surplus shop once, but so far I've never been put in a situation where I've needed to use it.

Talk about buyers remorse.
posted by lemonfridge at 8:56 AM on October 17, 2005


I have an emergency backpack. Actually, two of them; one for surviving in the wild for any amount of time, and one for surviving in the city (away from authorities, perhaps).

I've never had to use them, but, still... I can see myself sprinting in the house one day, grabbing the bag, and sprinting right back out. As long as I grab the right bag I should be okay.

Interestingly enough, I constructed these emergency backpacks based upon a particularly vivid and startling dream that I had....
posted by Cycloptichorn at 9:04 AM on October 17, 2005


Impressive. It made me (and maybe you) wonder about the Universal Edibility Test, so here it is.
posted by leapingsheep at 9:06 AM on October 17, 2005


Cyclo, I have a similar set of bags that a friend and I put together after a few disastrous vacations tested our abilities to survive by our wits on limited funds.

The Trouble Bag is part survival kit, part emergency supplies, part Things I Wish My Life Were Exciting Enough To Require.
posted by verb at 9:09 AM on October 17, 2005


If your survival kit includes objects which may be used as sources of randomness, please award yourself an extra point.
posted by nervousfritz at 9:13 AM on October 17, 2005


I'd love to see links to guides for the larger variety (say, backpack-sized), that Cycloptichorn mentioned. If anyone else has made something like this, would you share what it contains, or what guide you followed?
posted by odinsdream at 9:14 AM on October 17, 2005


I used to have a similar kit when I hitched accross the country in the mid-80s. It all fit into a small first aid kit and included a zip gun which, thankfully, went unused. I ended up dumping it in eastern Washington state in lieu of carrying a backpack full of apples that I had picked. I could have fit this in, however.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:20 AM on October 17, 2005


Also, I'm not too sure about that saw. Maybe for small branches but even then, I could see snapping that thing off toot suite.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:22 AM on October 17, 2005


Empty Altoid canisters are for carrying weed and very small pipes. Period.
posted by squirrel at 9:29 AM on October 17, 2005


Cycloptichorn: what do you put in your backpacks?

In general, I'd love to see other preparedness lists.
posted by namespan at 9:31 AM on October 17, 2005


odinsdream, you may be interested in a related AxMe thread.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:33 AM on October 17, 2005


You may also be interested in the following forums relating to BOBs (Bug Out Bags) and other information:

Knife Forums

Frugal Squirrels Disaster Preparedness

Frugal Squirrels Survival tools and kits

Equipped.org

Altoids have been used to make these portable survival kits. There have been MANY flavors of them. Personally, I carry a backpack to work with my Urban Survival Kit. When hiking/Fishing/Camping, I have tools to match the location.
posted by Decypher at 9:45 AM on October 17, 2005


My emergency backpack list: (Almost everything is in a ziploc bag, film canister, etc. to keep them dry). Batteries and wires, flashlights, mechanical flashlight (the kind you squeeze to run), light bulbs, many matches and lighters, lots of synthetic rope, a tarp, a handsaw, hammer and nails, several kinds of knives, hatchets, machete, slingshot, extra slingshot band, pellets, lens (make a fire on a sunny day), SOAP, antibacterials, neosporin, band-aids and gauze and tape, binoculars, mechanical radio, harmonica (gotta have that one), tender (fungus, paraffin-soaked newspaper, lint), mess kit (includes pots, pans, silverware, and plate), pliers, papers pens and pencils, superglue wood glue and school glue, lard (help make your own bow or rope), safety pins, needles and thread, tobacco, pipes, rice paper, bug spray, toothbrush, floss, toothpaste, whistle, canteen.

I may be forgetting something, but that's mostly it. Wilderness survival rocks.
posted by adzm at 9:47 AM on October 17, 2005


Cool little kits and a good reminder, especially on this, the 16th anniversary of Loma Prieta (the epicenter of which I drive by every morning on my way to work), to get your earthquake kits in order.
posted by fenriq at 9:47 AM on October 17, 2005


Also, gotta add some fishhooks and a sinker or two to that.
posted by adzm at 9:47 AM on October 17, 2005


I've never quite understood tiny kits like this. Where could you possibly be where you'd have this kit and actually need it?

They wouldn't let you bring it on a plane, at least in the US.

If you're worried about losing your backpack on a trip in the woods (which actually almost happened to me once) you'd need to keep this kit on you at all times. I'd not want to hike very far with an altoids tin in my shorts.

If there was a disaster you could probably scrounge up more than an Altoids tin worth of useful things.

There has to be much more useful things you could keep in your car. I suppose if you were carjacked along a wilderness road this thing might come in handy, but what are the odds of that?

That said, this certainly is neat, and I think survival kits in general are kind of cool, but to me they seem more like something that is fun to put together, and a bit neat to own and daydream about a situation where you might actually use it, I just don't see any situation where your life would depend on it.

Please note that I'm talking about little kits like this one, not home emergency kits or the kind you might keep on a life raft.

I just put together my own home 72 hour kit, partly in thanks to that AskMe thread.
posted by bondcliff at 9:50 AM on October 17, 2005


Yeah, they used to give these out in SERE school. heh.

Plants? Dandelions are delicious, but, no bugs? (grubs = yummy protein). Of course, if you can't survive 72 hours without resorting to eating bugs, you should really look at your body fat percentage (or pick up a can of beans).

I don't get the fixation on 'survival.' When I was a kid I thought it was nifty, lots of survivalists got flak though because there was no way really to survive a nuclear exchange with the Soviets.

Now you learn that you can't go 25 miles almost anywhere without running into a human. Lots of Inuit still live in sod houses but hunt from snowmobiles with rifles and eat twinkies. You can't go anywhere without running across an empty Coke can.
I think learning how to hack or break into ATMs is a far more useful skill set.
I just don't know where something like this will come in handy in anything but a recreational 'survival' setting. If there is a real disaster, and you survive, there will probably be - depending on where you live - a few hundred thousand or more people who survive with you (again - within 25 miles). If you're countrified you already probably know enough about living off the land and you probably won't get hit by something to place you in a 'survival' situation.
And why would you be leaving your house anyway? If you're an evacuee (refugee, what-have-you) wouldn't you head towards another populated area?


The best thing for survival you carry with you - a smile.


Although this 'Zombie' thing, that makes sense to be prepared for, can't smile at those undead bastards.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:57 AM on October 17, 2005


It's been a while, but my kits focused on things like mylar emergency blankets, rope, plastic emergency ponchos, basic tools, latex gloves (you never know), batteries, $20 in $5 bills sewn into the lining of the bag, krazy-glue, and assorted other things like that. At one point, there was a grappling hook, too... Believe it or not, we actually had to use it once.
posted by verb at 9:58 AM on October 17, 2005


/follow up
There's a manual on cracking ATMs, although I think the Anarchist Cookbook v 2000 has a chapter on how to jackpot them.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:04 AM on October 17, 2005


My survival backpacks are both Swiss army surplus hiking packs bought for cheap, but with some of the best quality construction that I've seen. Certainly far superiour to some of the modern nylon-based crap I've seen; I'd rather carry 2 more pounds and go with reliability.

Both packs are designed around the idea of sustaining the basics of life in difficult situations, with the basics being Food, Water, Shelter, and basic Health. I figure if the Air is messed up too bad to breate, a backpack probably isnt' going to help.

The City backpack:
Water filter tube, Compass, Small makeup kit, Small first-aid kit, Thermal blanket, Bus map, 2 pair Smartwool Socks, 2 pair parachute material Shorts, 2 Tshirts, 1 windbreaker, Small knife, Big knife, Leatherman, Emergency stash Money, Emergency stash Weed&Seeds&Papers, Fake ID, Fake Passport, Ballcap, String, Small sewing kit, Empty Cameblak Bladder, Multivitamin, Sunglasses, LED Flashlight, Pepper Spray. 10 Clif Bars, Lighter, Crank Radio. And some other stuff which I may have forgotten as I am at work right now.

The Country backpack:
Water filter tube, Compass, Fishing line&Hooks, Small handsaw, Thermal blanket, Thermal tarp, First Aid kit, BSA handbook(Essential!), GPS, Big Knife, 2 pairs parachute material pants, 2 long-sleeved shirt, 4 pairs Smartwool socks, Crank Radio, Crank Flashlight, Flares, Twine, String, Small sewing kit, Leather belt, Spyglass, Small notebook&pen, rain poncho + hat, Small net, Insect Repellent, Emergency stash Money, Weed&Seeds&papers, Lighter&tinderstix, Flint&steel, Moleskin, Empty Camelbak Bladder, Sunblock, Inflatable floating device, pepper spray. And most importantly, SEEDS!

A few notes:

Having a fake ID or fake passport can really save your ass if you are running from some sort of legal trouble. Those and a small makeup kit can literally make you a different person.

When it comes to making money, nothing beats toting around good Marijuana Seeds. Most smokers will barter for them, especially if they look nice, and they stay fresh a long long time. If the collapse of society comes, seeds are a gigantic resource; much better than alcohol! Save em!

Saving seeds from your home garden for use in the country can be a lifesaver in an emergency situation, if one is stuck in the back country for a long time; I suggest hardy plants such as peppers.

A good water cleaning kit should last for a long time; don't skimp on this one, in the city or out of it.

The BSA handbook is an essential, really. Get one.

Cheers
posted by Cycloptichorn at 10:11 AM on October 17, 2005


I'd hate to get arrested with a backpack that had, among other things, a fake id, fake passport and weed and seeds.
posted by OmieWise at 10:26 AM on October 17, 2005


Call me a scaremonger or a worrywart or what-have-you, but I can't help but think that what with this "peak oil" deal approaching (or at least the threat of it, which can be just as dangerous), Cycloptichorn is on the right path.
posted by Imperfect at 10:37 AM on October 17, 2005


Well.... now I know who to go after when the world ends and I need some seeds...
posted by Elpoca at 10:43 AM on October 17, 2005


Omiewise, If it comes down to using the Urban backpack, I'm probably already either in trouble for something far, far worse or not concerned with the police.
posted by Cycloptichorn at 11:05 AM on October 17, 2005


I constructed these emergency backpacks based upon a particularly vivid and startling dream that I had


Following that philosophy, I should always carry an extra pair of pants.
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:10 AM on October 17, 2005 [1 favorite]


pen, pencil and paper
passport
peanuts, several packs 50c ea
religious writing, e.g. les miserables
prayer beads
long distance calling card
business cards or contact sheet with numbers
some metal objects
sources of randomness: d&d dice, cards (tarot or playing)
cheap digital watch with 24hour clock and date
portable shortwave radio
various unique artifacts, availability varies
peppermace as dogs in blighted areas can become un-nerved
posted by nervousfritz at 11:13 AM on October 17, 2005


Marijuana Seeds.

Ah.... I was just the other day pondering what we'd end up using for money when civilization collapses. That's a good candidate.
posted by sfenders at 11:32 AM on October 17, 2005


Since his survival kit has a hole in it, I hope he keeps it in something watertight.
posted by Eideteker at 12:35 PM on October 17, 2005


Ah.... I was just the other day pondering what we'd end up using for money when civilization collapses. That's a good candidate.

I wouldn't worry about packing it. It does grow wild. Besides, when you start talking about seeds being part of a survival kit, I think you're really talking about a back-to-the-land homesteading kit.

Certainly there are good things to have with you if you get stuck outdoors for any period of time. But the best aid to survival is your own knowledge and problem-solving ability. Spending time perfecting and maintaining 'kits' of this type is definitely a psychological fetish.
posted by Miko at 2:36 PM on October 17, 2005


" 'I constructed these emergency backpacks based upon a particularly vivid and startling dream that I had'
Following that philosophy, I should always carry an extra pair of pants.
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:10 AM PST on October 17 [!]"

Ok that was pretty damn funny!
posted by Smedleyman at 3:08 PM on October 17, 2005


I am absolutely terrified by the fact that some of you might be entirely serious about all of this.

What you are preparing for, there is no preparation for. Couple this with the likelihood of actually HAVING your kit with you when you need it, and this is mainly a hobby like building ships in a bottle.

When the "end times" in whatever form come along, my preparation is having a firearm with which I can terminate my life voluntarily.

I have no desire to drink sewer water out of a bleached tin for the next X years of my life. These Mad Max or Red Dawn or The Day After fantasies have never resonated with me. When armageddon comes, be it with nuclear warheads or with the Four Horsemen, I have no desire to "survive" the event.

If you are carrying a survival kit with you to work every day, you need to talk to someone about your paranoia.

I'm actually being quite serious, and mean no disrespect.

Keeping some jugs of water and flashlights in the house in case of hurricane? Reasonable. Carrying pot around to use as currency when society collapses? Come on.
posted by Ynoxas at 3:08 PM on October 17, 2005


Carrying pot around to use as currency when society collapses?

Especially when you could be putting it to better use alleviating the paranoia that has you carrying it in the first place.
posted by S.C. at 3:30 PM on October 17, 2005


err, I can assure you that I don't take it at all seriously.

But I'm still wondering what people will use for money when the American dollar becomes worthless, in a (future) world where nobody has cigarettes anymore. I guess something that's easy to grow more of wouldn't really be the best choice.
posted by sfenders at 3:58 PM on October 17, 2005


Having been in a couple of situations that ranged from minor inconveniences to pretty hairy, I can say that there is NOTHING stupid about carrying in close proximity a few handy odds and ends.

Having said that, being alert and educated survival-wise can be even better than pot-seeds (although there's probably a time and place for those) and a fire-arm.

If the end times do come, I'll be using the contents of my handbag to make it to Ynoxas place, which should be vacant by that time.

Having the will to survive (and the knowledge) counts at least as much as equipment.

(my five cents)
posted by ninazer0 at 4:01 PM on October 17, 2005


“But I'm still wondering what people will use for money when the American dollar becomes worthless, in a (future) world where nobody has cigarettes anymore.
posted by sfenders at 3:58 PM PST on October 17 [!]”


Maybe could be the best of times. Like we all woke up from a bad dream and we realize what is actually important in life is not having more money or toys than the other guy but human relationships. It’s probably why many people want to have sex after funerals.

I’d add to ninazer0’s astute comment: “Having the will to survive (and the knowledge) counts at least as much as equipment” that cooperation counts double.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:31 PM on October 17, 2005


I'd not want to hike very far with an altoids tin in my shorts.

bondcliff: you wear clothes when you hike? how very provincial!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 4:42 PM on October 17, 2005


Ynoxas: I don't know about anyone else, but I pack one for motorcycle and camping trips. For my daily needs, carrying a leatherman and a phone is enough for me. I'm prepared for being lost in the woods in the middle of nowhere. I'm not prepared for the end of civilization; because if civilization ends suddenly, my first destination is the video store, where I will break in and watch as many post-apocalyptic movies as I can to learn what to do.
posted by Eideteker at 4:44 PM on October 17, 2005


"...because if civilization ends suddenly, my first destination is the video store, where I will break in and watch as many post-apocalyptic movies as I can to learn what to do."


Eidetkeer wins.
posted by tvjunkie at 7:00 PM on October 17, 2005


"You can't go anywhere without running across an empty Coke can."

Speaking of which: Fire from a Can of Coke and a Chocolate Bar (another fascinating and semi-useless survival tip)
posted by flagellum at 7:47 PM on October 17, 2005


I'm a huge fan of nylon string. It's pretty amazing what you can do with just string.
posted by kuatto at 8:17 PM on October 17, 2005


Like make fishing nets!
posted by mcchesnj at 9:05 PM on October 17, 2005


My wife bought me one of these. Since there's so much extra space in this bag, I decided to make good use of it and assemble a small kit that I could bring with me everywhere. I've made good use of the kit and already need to restock it.
It's not a "survival" kit as much as a selection of really useful things to have around. It includes:

Small flashlight (not an LED, but a mag-light)
Folding knife (S&W half-serrated)
Small first aid kit (includes the usual works)
2 Ace bandages
Emergency poncho (one of those thin, transparent ones that's impossibly folded up into a tiny package that you'll never get it back into once you've used it. It's essentially disposable.)
Pencils, pens, markers, and paper
Safety pins and paper clips
Fruit Leathers (Those fruit snack things)
A few dollars in quarters (You never know when you'll need to take the bus or the subway)
Mace Pepper Spray
A few books of matches
A Bic lighter

So far, in addition to using the knife every day in a variety of circumstances, I've already expended the emergency poncho, some matches, a couple fruit leathers, some quarters, and a few items from the first aid kit. (The emergency poncho, first aid kit, and fruit leathers won me quite a few points on a recent and disastrous elementary school field trip.) It definitely won't help me worth a damn during a nuclear winter event but, in reality, it's endlessly useful and I imagine that it'd probably get me through some of the more minor traumas that might plausibly occur during my daily routine. Actually, within the first 12 hours of assembling this kit, I wound up using some of the contents to effectively immobilize someone's broken toe.
posted by Jon-o at 9:18 PM on October 17, 2005 [1 favorite]


For all the folks who believe that having a "survival kit" or bag or altoids tin or whatever is just a 'psychologial fetish' you should consider what a big difference being prepared (yes, I was a boy scout) can make when the most unlikely of scenarios actually takes place. Sure, chances are that you will never need it. If that holds true then your disapointment at not getting the chance to make use of your emergency kit is far less than your disapointment at finding yourself in need of safe drinking water, a fire, or a bit of food.

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Hurricane Katrina or any other natural disasters. How might things have been different if the majority of people there had been prepared? Not necessarily for a hurricane but just in general prepared for suddenly being without ANY modern conveniences such as the grocery store, help from the police, fire department, government (at any level), or running water?
posted by J-Garr at 1:12 PM on October 18, 2005


I make survival kits all the time for our fieldwork and they don't fit in no Altoids tin. That's cute but pretty worthless. I can't think of a single useful applicaiton for a 3" long saw except cutting your finger. At least you'd have a bandaid I guess.

Having spent a lot of time in remote camps I think the key thing you need to survive longterm in the woods are decent clothing and footwear, a lighter, a bunch of tarps, a good sleeping bag, flagging tape, a 22 or a 30 ought and a headlamp with batteries. And something to boil water in. You could get by for quite a while with that although a small chainsaw would be really nice too as would a book on plants. Short term all you really need is some warm clothing and the ability not to do something stupid.
posted by fshgrl at 10:07 PM on October 18, 2005


« Older On Oct. 3, the day the Miers nomination was announ...  |  Sign Sign... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments