People love “Pocket Dumps”. If you don’t know what a pocket dump is, it’s where someone shares all the crap they carry on a daily basis. Folks, I’m here to tell you people carry a lot of useless crap.
I’m not too bothered by that, though. I get it. Really, I do.
The basic idea is that if you are ever stranded somewhere, if you’re ever in a legitimate survival situation, all you’re likely to have is what you have every day.
Your every day carry becomes an emergency survival kit.
I know people who carry full on blow-out-kits every day. They cram that, a flashlight, a pistol, a spare magazine, a wad of keys, two wallets, and who knows what else into their pockets.
I prefer to carry my kit on my belt instead. It’s more convenient, and I don’t have to worry about sagging pants.
The Emergency Belt Kit
You could walk around looking like Bat Man with a utility belt, but that’s unlikely. You won’t want to wear that kit every single day, which means you’ll be unlikely to have it when you need it.
Slimming down your kit to just what you need to survive means you’re more likely to have it.
What does a human being need to survive, then? What can we reasonably expect to carry every day that will allow us to accomplish this?
The basics are Food, Water, Shelter. I’d include oxygen, but if you’re in a place where you lack oxygen, you’ve got bigger problems than what to carry.
You can’t reasonably carry an item of shelter on your person every single day. You CAN carry some cordage, and many do.
It’s also unlikely that you’re going to walk around with a canteen and a hunk of jerky. A knowledge of the local wilderness weighs nothing, though. Add a knife for processing wild edibles and a handgun capable of taking game (when and where legal) and you’re in business.
You’re going to need to cook that game, though. You’re also going to need a way to warm your improvised shelter. If it’s cold enough where you live, you won’t survive the night without it.
The most practical emergency belt kit you could make, then, is a Fire Pouch.
The Fire Pouch
A Fire Pouch, for our purposes, is a pouch you can carry on your belt with some fire starting implements inside. Simple, right? Well, it’s as simple as you need it to be.
So what do you need?
Let’s assume you’re already carrying a firearm and spare ammunition on your belt. If legal where you live, you could also throw a belt knife on your hip and a folding knife in your pocket. Add in your keys, phone, wallet, and whatever other trappings you favor.
That’s a lot of stuff to tote every day.
The first criteria we will have for the Fire Pouch will then be light weight.
This pouch can not be overly large, because you’ll be tempted to cram it full of things you don’t need. That’s good for being better prepared, but bad for program compliance.
Simply put, you’ll cram it full and wear it for two days before putting it in a drawer and never having it when you need it.
I like to use a small pouch the size of my spare ammo carry. Something like this would work fine.
You simply can’t put too much stuff in a nylon magazine pouch. Keep it simple.
The second criteria is space-efficient ignition tools.
As you may know, I carry a Zippo with several spare flints. The thing about the Zippo is that it is a compromise.
Simply put, it does not light things other than cigarettes as readily as a bic lighter does. It does not throw sparks as large or as hot as a ferro rod does. The Zippo is a middle ground between the two.
Since I’m carrying a Zippo in pocket, and this is an emergency kit of extras, it should contain both of these tools that do something better than the Zippo.
You want orange lighters so they’re easy to find when you drop them in the woods. You don’t HAVE to use my affiliate link above to get orange bic lighters, sure. But it’s a pain in the ass to go around to different places trying to find ONLY orange lighters.
The Bic doesn’t throw a spark like a Zippo, much less like a ferro rod, but it is the easiest method for applying direct flame. The Zippo does this too, but the Zippo’s flame is surrounded by a guard.
It’s easy to accidentally smother the Zippo’s flame, which is not an issue with a Bic. The Bic also tolerates cold much better than the Zippo, although both are susceptible to moisture. The Ferro Rod doesn’t have any of these problems.
The drawback to the Ferro Rod is that it only throws sparks. You can’t use a ferro rod to dry damp tinder the way you can with an open flame. You can still get it to light, but having both options is the best way to go.
The third criteria is ready-made ember delivery items.
In this article, I talk about quick and dirty fire starting methods. Any of these methods will work, although I prefer the char cloth to the other two. Select one of them.
In my kit, I add char cloth and 0000 Steel Wool. The video below shows how to start a fire with steel wool.
Both the steel wool and char cloth are not used as tinder. They are used as an ember for your bird’s nest, as demonstrated above. If you don’t know what any of that means, and you couldn’t figure it out by watching it, that’s a story for another day.
I use a small zip-lock bag to keep my ember delivery items nice and dry. I got these little zip lock bags when buying gun parts, but I’m sure you could find something similar. Just keep your stuff dry.
Bonus Fourth Criteria – The Extras
If you have any extra room in your Fire Pouch, which will be very unlikely, refer back to what we said about Food and Shelter.
Toss an extra pocket knife and a bundle of cordage in there. One of the small Swiss Army Knives and a bundle of type-1 (accessory) paracord or bankline will do the trick.
The Type-1 paracord is often called “Dummy Cord”. I’m a big believer in dummy cording absolutely everything, meaning tying gear to other gear or to my person.
Why? So you don’t drop it, dummy.
Sure, you’d rather have larger cord when in an emergency situation. Then again, if you had everything you’d like to have, you wouldn’t be in an emergency survival situation. You’d be camping.
This Fire Pouch is my answer to the emergency belt kit. It’s about as close as you’re going to see me come to constructing a “survival kit”.
It’s easy to carry, and I’m likely to have it if I’m out hunting and get hurt. Simple, and Simple Simply Works.
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