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Emergency Preparation: Personal Safety Kit - June 30th 2014

This shoulder bag can carry all the tools for the Personal Safety Kit. The shoulder bag is small enough to fit into a small day pack. A lighter and simpler haversack could replace this shoulder bag and would be better for collecting wild foods.

This Personal Safety Kit, also known as a ALICE Pack (All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment),is for day hikes. This kit will get someone through an unplanned overnight stay in the woods. It is very important to be comfortable using all the tools in the kit. Practicing with the tools at home will ensure ease of use in the woods. Each tool has many uses. As a person gets skilled with using each tool the multi-purpose nature of the tool becomes evident. All important tools have a replacement or substitute in case of breakage or loss.

As a person's bushcraft increases, the number of tools needed for comfort decreases. There are many good books on bushcraft but a good beginner's book is Tom Brown's Field Guide to Wilderness Survival or a more advanced book with excellent diagrams is Bushcraft by Mors Kochanski. An excellent survival book is the SAS Survival Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere by John Wiseman.

This Personal Safety Kit is a two part system: one tool shoulder bag and one day pack. All the tools should fit into the small shoulder bag along with the small sewing kit, personal first aid kit and fire making kit. The shoulder bag can be carried by itself. The clothes on your back should be considered your first shelter and should be suitable for the given weather conditions. If there is any possibility of spending a cold night outside, slip the shoulder bag into the day pack which holds a reflective ground sheet, wool blanket and axe.

Here is my old Personal Safety Kit. What I carry is always evolving. I now carry the ground sheet with the wool blanket in the day pack.

Small Shoulder Bag, 5L

  • survival knife with ferro rod
  • small knife or Swiss army knife
  • Leatherman multi-tool
  • Laplander folding saw
  • quality compass with mirror
  • headlamp with extra batteries
  • tarp or tarp poncho
  • 10m paracord
  • 20m tarred nylon seine twine
  • small sewing kit (needles, pins, safety pins, kilt pin* and strong thread)
  • personal first aid kit (assorted fabric bandaids, Lugol's iodine solution, nail clipper, razor, dental floss, assorted gauze dressings, Micropore tape, elastic bandage and 100% cotton napkin)
  • fire making kit (lighter, candle, paper, jute fibers, and magnesium bar)
  • 1L stainless steel water container
  • toilet paper
  • tooth brush (optional)
  • GSI stainless steel cup/pot (optional)
  • spoon (optional)

Small Day Pack, 20-25L

  • wool blanket
  • reflective ground sheet
  • hatchet or small axe (optional)
  • bear spray (optional)**

The shoulder bag can fit in the top of the day pack. Everything weighs about 5kg(11lbs).

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*The kilt pin can be used for clothing repairs. With a belt, or piece of rope, the kilt pin can be used with the wool blanket to make an arisaid, which is a sort of overcoat with a large space for carrying light objects. The arisaid can be made waterproof by using the poncho or reflective ground sheet over the wool blanket.
**Bear spray is a deterrent that can be used on bears or other large predators.

A small fanny pack can act like a belt for carrying a Swiss army knife and survival knife.

SOS TIP:If you don't use Facebook but would still like to enter to win, finish the following sentence in the comment section below: I'd like a Black Diamond LED Light becauseā€¦ (your answer). We need your answer to the question so we know who wants to win!

For more information please see the Emergency Preparation Series.