Homemade Survival Kits for Camping
Photo by Laura Shreck
Every responsible camper should carry a survival kit. In a survival situation, not carrying a kit can put both the camper and possibly rescuers at risk. Many retailers sell large, expensive kits packed with items for all scenarios. However, there is no need to spend much money when many, if not all, essential items can be found at home.
In the Kitchen
Water will be the first priority in a survival situation. Ziplock bags can be used as canteens and placed inside a plastic shopping bag for easier carrying. If water sources are unsanitary, boiling will be necessary. Pack a lighter, a book of matches and a magnifying glass for starting fires. Waterproof matches by dipping the ends into melted candle wax (bring the candle along for nights).
Homemade fire starters can also be made by cutting six-inch square pieces of newspaper, rolling them tightly, binding them in kite string and then dipping them in melted candle wax. This will save matches while trying to light a fire.
Maintaining fluid and energy levels is important. Without water, dehydration is a major concern. Mix a teaspoon of salt with eight teaspoons of sugar to create a homemade oral re-hydration solution (ORS). Mix this with a liter of water and drink as needed. Bouillon cubes and instant oatmeal can be re-hydrated in boiling water to give needed energy. A cheap supermarket baking tin, band-aid tin or a couple of sheets of aluminum foil can be used for boiling water.
In the Bathroom
Compact mirrors can be used for signaling. Anti-diarrhea tablets such as Immodium can ward off dehydration. Pain relievers containing acetaminophen or ibuprofen are useful during injury or illness. Iodine or alcohol swabs, adhesive bandages, butterfly bandages, tweezers for stings and gauze pads are also useful.
In the Garage
The garage will likely yield a number of useful items. Start by packing a multi-tool such as a Leatherman. Multi-tools will often include saws, which are very useful when building shelters. Duct tape can be used for securing sharp rocks to spears and even as an alternative to butterfly bandages (place a piece of gauze in between the adhesive and the wound to avoid infection). A 20-foot length of fishing line, a lure and a few hooks and split-shot weights should also be included.
A thin, plastic painter's tarp can be used to collect rainwater and doubles as a poncho. Other useful items include a keychain flashlight, a whistle for signaling, a length of cord for lashing a shelter together and a pen and paper to leave notes for rescuers if on the move.
Build the Perfect Survival Kit, John D. McCann, 2005