PSK (Pocket Survival Kit) Essentials
I wanted to sit down and refine a post for my website, which I had made a little while back for another blog, in regards to my Pocket Survival Kit. I guess I should first begin by explaining what a “Pocket Survival Kit” is and what it can be used for.
A Pocket Survival Kit is a scaled down Survival Kit that provides the essential elements that a person needs to survive. They are only limited by a person’s creativity, so they can be really stripped down to next to nothing and housed in a tiny container or provide a more substantial amount of (small) pieces within them inside a container that can range in size. Overall, with the right knowledge, these pint size kits can really assist you in staying alive in a survival or civil emergency situation when you have nothing else to rely on.
It has taken the course of a year to properly refine my kit to the most basic items that I can use to sustain mine and my wife’s life, should we find ourselves away from our primary kits for a period of time. I personally feel that knowledge & wisdom can always keep a person alive under a wide array of circumstances… but having a ready-made kit can only enhance your chance of seeing another day!
Please Note: My last statement does not imply that you can make your own PSK or purchase a pre-made kit, then shove it into your pocket or bag and expect it to save yourself if you really do find yourself in an emergency/survival situation. I will re-emphasize that a Survival Kit, without knowledge to use it (or any survival gear for that matter), is completely worthless! You have to have a good understanding of how each piece functions and works (or under what circumstances they will not work or function 100%) before betting your life on it. You can have a multitude of survival tools for which you can draw from, but only ONE life to live. Use it wisely!!
From here, I will go into detail of the pieces that make up my own personal PSK. This is only to show how I carry my own and what I keep inside of it. I will try my best to explain my kit, and its uses, in the most basic way possible.
My primary PSK case is from Ultimate Survival Technologies. It was an extra case from a SaberCut Saw I keep in my primary kit, but I found it to be perfect for my needs because it has a large belt loop on the back and a harness clasp on the front. I decided to use this case because I keep my wallet in my front, right pocket for security purposes and tend to either keep keys or misc. items in my left pocket; thus leaving me without a suitable space for my PSK. I always keep my Black Oxide Leatherman Wave in its MOLLE sheath on the right side of my belt and my Leatherman Crater c33Lx knife clipped in my right pocket, so my PSK balances things out on the left portion of my belt. Alternatively, I also keep it in my shoulder bag that I take with me to work every day since I spend quite of bit of time there.
The added benefits of my case was that I could not only keep my PSK tin in it, but I could also keep my full size Swedish FireSteel with scraper & built-in whistle, ESEE survival card, 1 liter WhirlPak collapsible container and my 5 Point Arrowcard in it. This added a good deal of weight to my PSK, but allowed me to have all the needed necessities and keep backup duplicate methods for survival (per Dave Canterbury; “Two is One and One is None”) This has made my kit feel much more complete!
The Swedish FireSteel is my favorite method for starting fires. There is just something so basic & primitive about creating a blazing white-hot spark and causing it go shower down into a dry pile of tinder shavings or a tinder bundle. This model of the FireSteel will last for tens of thousands of strikes, and only makes it that much more valuable to me when fire is desperately needed.
My ESEE came with my ESEE AH1 Arrow Head, which I will mention shortly. The card itself has some basic survival acronyms and reminders for survival situations, and it is in a plastic credit card form, so water will not affect it.
In the way of importance, the 1 liter WhirlPak that I carry is probably right under my FireSteel because creating a container from scratch is not easy to do under stress. You do stand a good chance of finding a container (bottle, can, etc.) that has been discarded by someone, even if the most remote areas… but this is not a guarantee, so having a clean water container for drinking or storage is important.
The last piece in the photo above could almost be considered a “luxury” item in the way of survival, as the ability to create a weapon for defense or hunting is possible with the right knowledge. But for arrow tips, nothing can beat steel… and this item just happens to have 5 of them! It also has an extra knife blade and saw blade on each side, both of which are surprisingly sharp.
This is my primary CRKT Ritter RSK Mk5 knife & tin. I made the decision that this would be the only premade PSK item that I purchase. I really liked the concept of a neck knife that would fit inside of an Altoids-type tin. The aesthetics of the tin itself really drew me to this purchase, as I wasn’t entirely keen on using a candy tin for my PSK. Picky, I know… but I intended on forming my whole kit around this tin, so I might as well go for something that I didn’t mind showing to others and explaining its uses.
Here you will see my PSK tin contents exposed. I will add that it took me a long time to get everything to sit perfectly inside the tin without things moving around or keeping the lid from closing. I completely took my whole kit apart for this post; which was a challenge getting everything back how I had it before. I still don’t like the fit as well as before, but hopefully you will enjoy seeing it piece by piece.
So here we are; the bulk of my PSK is completely exposed. I labeled everything for you to see for yourself what my kit contains. For the sake of space in the photo, I tried to keep my labels from going too in-depth.
The contents consist of,
– CRKT Ritter RSK Mk5 Knife (for skinning, cutting, light wood splitting, carving, or creating a make-shift spear)
– ESEE AH1 Arrow Head (for hunting small-medium game or spear fishing)
– Streamlight Nano LED Mini-light (for starting fires at night, signaling, or searching for resources in the dark)
– Ten Tinder Quik tabs (a great, fast way of getting a fire started, even if it gets wet!)
– Eight 1 pound 1-1/2” nails (for shelter/platform building or hanging a multitude of things)
– Four Safety Pins (for removing splinters, lancing wounds, temporarily fixing clothing, etc.)
– Ten Aquamira Chlorine Dioxide Tablets inside of a waterproof pill fob (for water purification)
– Two Ranger Bands (for a homemade slingshot, creating black smoke for signaling, or just attaching items together)
– Two Mini Compasses (one as a backup to the first, or for giving to someone else to find their way back to me)
– One Spool of Heavy Duty Nylon Thread (for sewing, wound closures, backup fishing string, or light cordage)
– Snare Wire (for catching wild game, shelter building, or hanging items)
– Fresnel Lens (for starting fires, helping remove splinters, etc.)
– Silver Coins (primarily for barter)
You will also notice that I have backup methods of fire-starting, catching game & fish, purifying water, and navigation. I won’t go into great detail on all of the ways each item can serve a dual purpose, other than what it was originally intended for; but with a little ingenuity, most items can provide the capability to resolve different tasks beyond those which I have mentioned.
Lastly, I wanted to touch upon the contents of my micro fishing kit. This is just the basic items needed to catch fish and other aquatic animals. You can finger-fish, as my brother and I used to frequently do as kids… or you can tie this strong fishing line to a hand-made cane pole and be ready in minutes to toss your line into the water. My hank of Spiderwire is 13 feet, so it could possibly be split in half to make two separate long poles. Of course, you can also use the fishing line as snare wire or cordage, as it has a high tolerance to being cut and usually only frays.
I really hope you enjoyed seeing my personal take on such a common piece of survival gear!
If you have any (legit) questions, please feel free to post in the comments section.
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