The Woodsman Outdoor Survival Kit Guide
For those of us who live in rural areas, and/or places with large swaths of wilderness between us and those the 'burbs, the needs and contents of our emergency kits will be very different than that of them city slickers. (For you folks, we've developed the Gray Man Urban Survival Kit.)
Your reasons for evacuation would be different too. If you don't live in a heavily populated area then you probably aren't as concerned about roving mobs of maniacs 10 minutes after a disaster.
You also are more self sufficient, and have more supplies because you don't go grocery shopping everyday, and the nearest pizza parlor is about 15 miles away.
** BEFORE YOU BEGIN **
The first and most important step: make sure you have prepared a WUSH Bag, and that it is small enough to integrate into this larger long-term kit.
If you haven't done this yet, go read this article then come back here.
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The Best Deep Woods Bug Out Bag
You have about a million different options when it comes to your choice of packs. We have tons of recommendations here.
But for the sake of this article we are going to recommend one of the best 72-Hour packs out there today, the venerable 5.11 Rush 72.
You could go with a bunch of different types of pack. Many choose a hiking bags like the Kelty 80 and that would work perfectly well for them. But at the end of the day those just don't have the same level of ruggedness as the Rush 72 does, and that's what always gets my vote. I want to know I can put a bag through hell and back and it will survive on the other side.
Another favorite is the Spec Ops THE Pack, which has a different design but is just as tough.
Use what you feel comfortable with but make sure it satisfies 2 requirements: it can hold your stuff, it won't break when you need it most.
*Doing it right*
If you live out in the sticks, then shelter becomes a top priority during a large scale emergency or disaster. You have 2 choices: make one or bring one with you. Ultimately you'll probably do a combination of both if the situation gets really bad.
Ideally you'll be making your way to some kind of habitable structure, but it may take some time to get there. Could mean nights outside. Could be really cold. Could be wet. Or both.
So even though we don't like lots of weight in our packs, were gonna need to add some to this kit with a shelter. Now that could mean a bunch of different types of tents or tarps, and if you have your vehicle then you can upgrade your options.
So we're going to include a hammock and tarp option for this kit build for a few reasons: lightweight, easy to pack, easy to use, inexpensive, and useful in many types of situations.
One of our favorite hammocks for a number of reasons. It has a weight limit of 300 lbs and can fit someone up top 7' tall. It packs down fairly small, and weighs 3lbs 3oz. All Hennessy Hammocks come complete with attached mosquito netting, detachable rain fly, support ropes, and stuff sack with set up instructions on back.
If you live in an area inundated with mosquitoes or tics or whatever then having an area to escape from them will be a godsend. Use as a common area bug-free zone or in addition to your sleep system.
The name may be kind of silly, but the saw itself is no joke. You might prefer an axe depending on where you live. A saw is a nice all-around compromise. This 8.3" blade can handle decent sized wood, at least pieces large enough for fire or shelter. It's also lighter than an axe which is why we included it here.
Our favorite knife, maybe ever. Built like a tank with a lifetime warranty to back it up. Small enough for precision work but large enough to baton small logs. If there we're only one knife we could take with us on a desert island it would be this one. See how we do with our Esee Knives.
Our favorite neck knife. Thankfully we aren't on the desert island mentioned above so we can have more than one Esee with us. This one does most of our rope cutting, fine whittling, and makes appearances as the occasional dinner utensil.
Keep your blades in tip top shape by keeping them good and sharp. The Lansky Blade Medic is a small, light-weight sharpener that is easy to use and store.
Digging tools are very important for shelter and latrine building, and can be difficult to make in the wild. Have one with you. There are larger, more tricked out shovels but they can get heavy. Grab one for the truck if you want but keep the pack weight down with this one.
There are a lot of good compasses out there of varying shapes and sizes. The type we find the easiest to use for most people is the orienteering type. Learn more about compasses and how to use one.
Personal Protective Equipment
There is likely to be all kinds of crap in the air if there is a fire or collapsed buildings or what have you. These masks will filter out a lot of bad stuff. They won't protect you from smoke or chemical attack so keep your expectations correct, but they are a must have item.
To read more about Respirators and Gas Masks, read this article.
Your eyes are prone to getting bits of debris in them, which could cause serious damage. Protect them at all costs, you'll need them at some point, right?
When things are dicey you'll need to protect your hands. You might need to do some demo work with your FUBAR (below) or grab hold of sharp things. Don't be one of the helpless wounded. Get a pair of heavy-duty gloves, not those cheapo ones for gardening (although they are better than nothing if that's all you have access to.)
After you put on your mask and goggles, wrap your head, neck and face with a shemagh. This will add an extra layer of protection. A great scarf, head wrap, towel, you name it. Useful in summer and winter.
Getting wet during an emergency is not just uncomfortable but could turn dangerous if you are exposed to cold as well. Umbrellas are great but the tie up your hands. Keep yourself and your pack dry with a good and durable poncho, not a flimsy one.
See and Be Seen
It probably won't be a bad idea to be highly visible during certain types of events. Especially when you need assistance.
Half of a day is dark, but you knew that already. Tunnels can be dark all the time. Especially if you get trapped in one when the power goes out.
This is a fantastic device. It's a waterproof, float-able area light with a built-in solar charger. In addition to that it comes with a 4000mah battery and a USB charging port that can charge your phone up when you need it most. A very important addition to your kit, especially during an extended power outage.
Not just for raves, lightsticks can give you enough light to see by, and also to be seen. A good, cheap, always available backup option.
Although you won't be bugging out to the wilderness somewhere, some classic survival items are still a good idea to have with you.
Carry an entire survival kit in a tiny package. It contains tools for survival as well as tools to help the user escape and evade hostile forces. Kit Includes: PSKT Pocket Container, Pencil, Mini Pry bar, Survival Saw Blade w/ Handle, Original SAS Wire Saw, Folding Razor Blade, Button Compass, Rescue Whistle, Can Opener, Signal Mirror w/ Aiming Screen Fire Starting Flint, Tinder Tabs, Water Treatment Tablets, Fresnel Lens Magnifier / Fire Starter, Utility Wire, MilSpec Cord, AlokSak, Personal Survival Fishing Kit, Disposable Handcuff Key, Mini First Aid Kit.
One of our favorite first aid kits of all time. Really well put together and a very well made product. Save time and money, get the right kit the first time. Two versions available, Basic and Premium. Go for the Premium, it's worth the upgrade.
Read our full MyMedic MyFax review here.
Cordage is always useful and a must have item, whether it's hanging tarps or making a clothesline. Add a little extra functionality to your cordage by getting paracord with a fire starting strand built-in. You likely won't need to be making fires, but it's such a fundamental item it doesn't hurt to have this ability.
Fire & Cooking
Long term periods away from civilization will leave you wanting for some of the comforts of home. Keep morale up with a belly full of warm food. There are a lot of different options for pack-sized camp stoves but we like this one from Esbit. Easy to use, easy to care for, and effective.
You don't want to eat with your hands if you can avoid it. These cutlery sets solve that problem. Grab a couple of these, you'll wind up using them all over the place.
Eating out of freeze dried food packets or cooking out of a pot is much easier with a long spoon so you don't burn your knuckles or get food all over the place. For that reason we also include a long handled spoon in our kits.
Being able to start a fire is elemental. You might need to do so for one reason or another. Having matches that will work while wet or in the wind is great to have.
Carrying 3000 matches can be tough, but not with a fire steel! A great backup to matches and a lighter, and a must have inexpensive add-on to any emergency kit.
Price: $39.99 1-person
1,813 calories per day - 5,440 total. Food is sealed in Metallyte pouches which are easy to pack and use.
Get Some Sleep
Packs extremely small and light, this emergency blanket will be a thankful addition to your kit if you are stuck outside in the cold. Great protection for under $5.
Pillows help you sleep, right? Then bring a small one with you!
Say you are stuck in a shelter, surrounded by strangers who are all on different sleep schedules. Maybe some of them snore. Maybe you have to sleep during the day. Give yourself a chance to actually relax with earplugs and a mask.
With luck hot showers are available to you. Even if they aren't, toiletries might be tough to come by. Do you want to have to share a towel with a stranger? Um, no thanks. Then bring your own.