5 Items I Always Carry In The Wilderness

I wanted to write a quick post detailing the five items that I always carry with me in the wilderness.

Container

I either carry a stainless steel bottle, pot or a Grayl water purifier. Since water is so important to our survival, you want to make water procurement as easy as possible.

If the low temperatures over night will be above freezing, I generally always choose to carry my Grayl water purifier. This makes water purification fast and easy. Plus the water always tastes amazing.

If the temperatures will get below freezing at all, then I take either a stainless steel bottle or large bushpot for boiling my drinking and cooking water.

Cover

For cover, besides the seasonal relevant clothing I’m already wearing, I carry a poncho that can also be rigged up as a tarp shelter. I love having multifunctional gear as long as it is useful and works well for both intended purposes, which I believe the one I carry does.

Having the availability to make a quick shelter to get out of the rain, wind, snow or to just create a micro climate to warm up, is extremely beneficial. To be able to setup a quick shelter without the need of natural resources is a time and calorie saver. In the event of a true emergency, I’d want to be able to setup my shelter as quickly as possible and save any energy on gathering fuel for a fire and water purification. Also, if I were hurt, it would be extremely hard to build a natural shelter depending on the type of injury.

Cordage

I always carry a hank of 550 Paracord with me. It can be used for so many projects around camp from shelter building to an endless amount of camp projects. It can also be used for fishing, primitive trapping and gear repair, just to name a few. I also usually carry a 25’ piece of #36 bankline which is a great complimentary cordage to Paracord.

Fire kit

I carry a leather belt pouch I made out of stone oiled kodiak leather. It contains my extensive fire kit. My fire kit contains a flint and steel kit, char material in a tin, lighter, magnifying lens, quik tinder tabs, fat wood fuzz, a chunk of fat wood, fero rod, opinel pocket knife and some jute twine.

Knife

I always carry a good fixed blade knife that I know I can depend on. Having a good knife can make camp chores a lot easier, allow for game processing, opens up a lot of projects that can be done around camp to stay busy and keep the mind focused if lost and in an emergency situation. A knife is a great tool as long as care is taken and it is used in a safe manner.

This is not an extensive kit by any means, and these are not the only items I generally carry, but these five items are always with me. This is a basis for my wilderness wandering kit. I’m confident in this basic kit barring any serious life threatening injuries. I do carry varying first aid kits when wandering wild places.

What are your top five stay alive items that you always carry, whether urban or wilderness?

My Possibles Pouch

Today I want to share with you what I keep in my possibles pouch. I use a possibles pouch made by The Hidden Woodsmen. This pouch goes with me on any outdoors trip whether I’m hiking, kayaking, camping or hunting. I also take it with me when I go away on vacation, if driving. Below is a list of everything currently in my pouch in no particular order.

Gear List:

1) Complete Fire Kit In A Tin

2) Tin with Char Cloth

3) Suunto MC-2 Compass

4) Pace Beads

5) Headlamp

6) Spare Batteries

7) Hank of 550 Paracord

8) Spool of #36 Bankline

9)Fero Rod 1/2″x6″

10) SOG Powerlock EOD Multi Tool

11) Opinel Folding Knife

12) Pocket Bellows

13) Head Bug Net

14) Waterproof Pen and Notepad

Keep an eye out for my YouTube video that will be posted later today. Just look for Armstrong Survival on YouTube. You’ll get a better and more in-depth look at everything in my possibles pouch and fire kit. What things do you carry in your possibles pouch? Do you keep everything organized in a pouch? What do you think I should/need to add in your opinion? Thanks for stopping by! Please feel free to like and or comment down below.

Fire Kit

 

Pictured are some basic fire kits I made for my older three boys, Father and brother for Christmas. I wanted to make the kit compact but encompass more than most kits do. I put everything in a metal tin (similar to an altoids tin) and included a fero rod, 6 ft of jute twine, a piece of chert and a steel striker I designed, made and heat treated.

I used 1095 steel to make the striker. I drilled an indent in each striker so that they can be used as a baring block for the bow drill, primitive friction fire starting technique. I made all the edges 90 degrees so that the edges can be used to scrape wood for fine shavings or be used to scrape a fero rod.

The tin can be used to make char cloth. They have room to add char cloth as well as add some quik tinder or other modern tinder for fire starting. Hopefully sometime soon I’ll be able to sit down and teach them all how to start a flint and steel fire. I did teach my older son, who was excited when his first try was a success. I’m sure they’ll be addicted to starting a fire in the wilderness this way, just as I am. Flint and steel is by far my favorite way to get a fire going. What’s your favorite fire-starting method? Have you ever used flint and steel or any primitive friction methods? I added some pictures of me heat treating the steel strikers in my simple forge.

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Quick Tip #17

Here are some simple stocking stuffer ideas for the camper, bushcrafter or outdoor enthusiast in your life.

 

Ferocerium Rod (fire starter)
Magnesium block (fire starter)
UCO stormproof matches or any matches you can find
Bandana or Survival Bandana (Survival Tips printed on it)
Cordage (550 or 850 paracord, 1000# Paramax, bank line or even Jute twine which can also be used as tinder for starting fires.
Small lengths of fat wood
Compass
Pocket knife or Hobo Pocket Knife
Emergency Fishing Kit
Pocket Chainsaw
Emergency Whistle
Carabiners
Emergency Blanket
Emergency Candles
Books (Survival, Tracking, Weather Patterns, Edible Plants, Shelter Building etc…)
Trail Maps
Pre-packaged Camp food or snacks (Jerky, Mountain House, Backpacker Pantry ect…)
Mora Knife
Flashlight or headlamp
Duct Tape
Small Pocket or small camp stove
Emergency Rain Poncho
Emergency light sticks
Hand and feet warmers
Water Filter

 

These are just a few ideas for those that are not sure what to throw in their outdoor enthusiasts Christmas stocking. There are plenty of other small useful things that will fit in a Christmas stocking but if you are not sure what to fill that stocking with feel free to use this list to help you out. What outdoor themed things are you putting in a Christmas stocking this year that may not be on this list?

Winter Car Kit

With colder weather gripping many of us this is a good time to take a look at putting together a few things to keep in your vehicle, if you haven’t already, in case of a vehicle break down or you get stuck on impassable roads. This is especially important for areas that get bitter temps and lots of snow. These items could be lifesaving or at the very least make you more comfortable well you wait for help to arrive. What each person chooses to carry in their vehicle will depend on the location they live and travel in as well as their needs. This is just a base list to work from and please cater it to your own needs and environment. This list will assume that you already have some sort of road hazard kit.

 

Basic Vehicle Kit

Sleeping Bag or wool blanket: Because I already own a -15 degree sleeping bag, instead of taking up storage space somewhere in the house, I store it in my truck in case of a breakdown. This way if it’s really cold out and I know I’m going to be stuck for a while, or even overnight, I can just slide into my sleeping bag and stay much more comfortable and warmer than if I only had a blanket or lite sleeping bag. In warmer areas a blanket or lite sleeping bag will work fine but for the area where I live I need a heavier sleeping bag.

Flash Light with fresh batteries: Preferably you would want a headlamp so your hands would be free to do other things. Having some sort of light is too valuable not to keep a working light in your vehicle. Make sure whatever light you use, works and has fresh batteries. You may want to even pack some spare batteries as well.

Food and Water: A simple bag of jerky, trail mix, dried fruit or anything you can come up with will work. If you get stuck somewhere overnight or longer you will be thankful you have some food and a couple bottles of water available.
A Book or deck of cards: These will add in keeping you from becoming bored or mentally breaking down. Being able to have something to do well waiting for help, will help keep your spirits up and you’ll be less likely to become overwhelmed by your situation.

 

Extra Items

*These are things that you don’t necessarily need, but they will make an overnight or longer breakdown “easier” to survive.

Weather radio: You’ll be aware of the weather and what’s going on as well as not necessarily feeling alone.Emergency blanket: This will help reflect heat. This is on top of having a sleeping bag or blanket.
Hand and Feet warmers
Knife with possible added fire kit
Some sort of cordage
Emergency candle
Extra medication

 

This is just a simple list to give you some ideas of what to keep in your vehicle during the colder winter months. Again please adjust it to your own needs and environment. Just by having a basic kit (sleeping bag, light, food and water) it will drastically improve your spirits and comfort. One thing I recommend doing, and you might already do this, is to plug your cell phone into its charger every time you get into your car to head somewhere during the winter. This way, if for some reason you break down, whether you are way out in the middle of nowhere, or on a busy street somewhere, you won’t be pulling your cell phone out to call for help and find that it’s dead or low on battery power. I hope this helps in some way, or it at least gives you some ideas of what to place in your car kit during these cold winter months. I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable winter. Please feel free to share what you keep in your car kit and why. Thanks for reading!

Quick Tip #15

Home Depot, as well as some other stores, sells bags of Fat Wood in their fireplace sections during this time of year. Grab a large bag for around $5-$6. You can add a few pieces to your fire kits or emergency bag for quick access to some good quality dry tinder. You can even add a small bundle to any outdoor enthusiasts stocking and I’m sure they will thank you. When you’re ready to use it just shave it down and add a flame or spark from a ferocerium rod. So pick some up and give it a try!

 

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UST Orange Survival Bandana

I’m not one for promoting deals I’m running on my website here on my blog but I thought the current deal was worth mentioning. Now through December, with every purchase of $25 or more, you will receive a UST orange survival bandana. These are no ordinary bandanas. Printed on them are many survival tips that can be very useful in the event of a survival situation. These would be great for kids or adults that are lacking in survival/camping knowledge. There’s the obvious many extremely useful ways to use a bandana but now you would also have many survival tips that you wouldn’t necessarily have to remember or have to call back to memory in a survival scenario. This is just a great way to take something you may already be carrying and make it even more useful. Also, all orders in the continental U.S. will receive free standard shipping through December. Just click on the store button and place an order of $25 or over to receive your free bandana and free standard shipping. Hope everyone is doing well and getting the chance to enjoy the great outdoors.

survival-bandana

Quick Tip #13

When putting together an emergency fishing kit try using braided fishing line instead of mono. If you’ve ever tried to straighten out that emergency fishing line in any of the small kits available on the market today you know it’s a feat in itself to get it untangled and to try to ever get it straight again. Braided fishing line can take being wound up tightly unlike mono line can. Also the braided line is thinner in comparison to the mono for the same pound test line. If you ever need that emergency fishing kit you made you’ll be happy (jumping for joy) that you chose to use braided fishing line over mono. Which fishing line do you prefer, braided or mono, for an emergency fishing kit and why?

Survival and Bushcraft Knives

As a seller of outdoor survival gear I setup at a lot of outdoor shows and gun shows as a vendor. It never fails; most people will buy cheaply made gear over quality made gear, even if their life may depend on it, when it comes to cost. I see this at every show I‘m at. I sell good quality survival and bushcraft knives and then I have to carry cheap china made knockoffs that I wouldn’t trust my life with, but at least ¾ of my knife sales come from the cheap knives. I understand people want to save money somewhere but a knife is a very important tool for survival and you don’t want one that is going to fail you when you need it most. I carry multiple pocket knives and a couple of them are cheap pocket knives but I always have one good quality knife with me at all times if possible.

Before you just go to the store or knife show and find yourself staring at knives trying to pick one out to buy without even knowing what you want in the knife or what your intentions are for it, figure out ahead of time what your purpose is for this knife and what characteristics you want this knife to have. It’s never a good idea to buy survival or bushcraft tools spontaneously. You will most likely regret it and you’ll probably end up with a tool or item that doesn’t quite fit your needs. Below are a few examples of some things you should answer before purchasing a survival or bushcraft knife.

Answer These before Going to Buy a Knife

• What is your intended use for the knife?
• How much use will it get?
• Is it a backup knife or your main survival or bushcraft knife?
• Do you want a high carbon steel or stainless steel blade?
• How long do you want the blade and handle to be?
• How thick would you like the steel to be?
• What material would you prefer the handle be made out of?
• Do you want a good hefty knife?
• What kind of grind do you prefer the knife have?
• Do you want serrations on the knife?

Questions to Ask Well Looking at Knives

• Is it comfortable in your hand?
• Is the knife to long or to short?
• Will the knife slip out of your hand if the handle gets wet?
• Is it full tang?
• Where was the knife made?
• Does the knife look and feel durable?
• Does the knife have a good quality and durable sheath?
• Will the knife easily fall out of the sheath or does it lock in?
• Is the sheath to bulky that you won’t wear or use it?

These are just some sample questions that you should ask yourself before and well you are buying a knife. There are a lot of good quality custom knife makers out there, so you can custom make a knife to fit what you want. You can have a custom knife made at a very reasonable price if you look around online. There are also some quality knife companies that have decently priced survival and bushcraft knives available. Tops, Mora, Condor, Bushcraft Northwest, Blind Horse Knives, Esee, Falkniven and Gerber (only the U.S. made knives) all make great survival and bushcraft knives and some of them are very reasonably priced. Mora is a great entry knife into bushcraft and they are very inexpensive. They are made in Sweden.

Personally I try to buy knives that range from $30-$200, maybe even up to $300. I’m afraid that if I spend much more than that, I’ll be afraid to actually use the knife for its intended purpose. You can also, if you have the equipment, toy around with making your own knives. There are a lot of YouTube videos available to help you make your own knife.
My point in all this is to say that when it comes to a knife or any other survival tool that is going to take a lot of abuse and that your life may at some point depend on, it is not worth saving a little bit of money well sacrificing quality and durability. A better quality knife will last you much longer in the end. What knife do you carry for survival or bushcraft purposes? How much did you pay for your knife or are willing to pay for a quality made survival or bushcraft knife?

BLOG Update 4/09/14

I have to apologize for the lack of blog posts lately. Now that the weather is getting warmer it will become much harder to keep the blog posts coming regularly. I will try my best to add 3-4 new posts per week but that may end up being a bit less once in a while. It is not because of lack of desire at all. I enjoy writing posts and sharing what survival tricks I have learned as well as learning from others responses. With the coming of spring it brings warmer weather, it also means outdoor shows, gun shows and craft shows. I find myself in a very busy season as I just finished a show this past weekend and will be set up at a gun show this coming weekend as well with more shows to follow.

My 550 para cord products sell very quickly at these shows, which means I am very busy at work making more for the next show and each consecutive show as well. I am not complaining by any means. I am thankful that people love my hand made and American made products enough to pay for them; it just means less time for other things.

Of course with the warmer weather it also means time spent hiking, backpacking, camping and kayaking as well. So as you can see, between the outdoor activities and shows I can become very busy, as we all do this time of year. Then there’s the wife’s list of things needing to be done around the house. So as we all do, I’ll try fitting as much as I can into these warmer seasons and my blog might suffer a little bit. Again I appreciate all of you that chose to follow my blog because you find it valuable. Without you there would be no reason to bother writing or typing, I guess I should say. I will do my best to keep the quality blog posts coming, in between all the craziness of life.

On a side note we just received a shipment of RIBZ Wear front packs in. We have added two new colors to our inventory as well as some new sizes, so hop on over to our website and grab the one you want before they sell out again. They do seem to go quickly. As far as I am aware of, everything we sell is in stock right at this moment. If you are in need of any custom para cord work feel free to email me. We do custom projects frequently.

I am toying around with the idea of offering complete customizable emergency/bug out bags on our website. Let me know if this would be of interest to anybody. I don’t want to waste my time if people aren’t interested. Thanks in advance for your input. So what crazy plans do you have for this spring and summer? Are you going to take that big hike that you have been dreaming of, climb that impossible looking rock face or take that long boat/camping trip? Thanks again for your support and hay maybe we will run into each other enjoying the beauty and peacefulness of nature.