Tuesday, May 29, 2012


We would like to take a look at Survival kits.  Most people organize their survival kits into “Levels” or “Lines”.  In this post we’ll discuss the most basic of kits.  People in the survival community would agree on certain items to always have in their most basic Level 1 or first line kit.  BUT, best thing about your kit, is that it’s yours.  You can go out, practice and see what works for you and what doesn’t.  If you’re not sure what works, a good place to start is by reading the “6 ways in, 12 ways out” manual put out by  www.USRSOG.org .  Practice those techniques in the outdoors, or even in your backyard.

Great Lake Survival suggests using 3 different Levels of Survival kits.  The 3 levels of survival kits are very similar to what the USRSOG manual suggests.  There’s a reason for that . . . IT WORKS!  Level 1 kit, going forward, is the most essential kit you would want to have, and at the same time, you’d be willing to carry it with you every day. 

The next Level 2, and 3 are essential survival kits, but get bulkier as the kit level increases.  The idea is that the bulkier the items, the less likely it is that you’re going to carry that item everywhere.  If you happen into a “bad situation”, you’re more likely to have your essential Level 1 kit, any given time of the day, than your monster size, end of the world, ruck sack.  So it’s important to think about what will go into that little tiny kit, because THAT’s the one we’re most likely to be carrying “on our person”.  Bad things never seem to happen when we’re expecting them too.

One of the reasons we really like the USRSOG.org guys, (aside from the fact that most are US Special Operations survival experts), is that they encourage people to test their kits.  It’s easy to theorize about your abilities or kits, (and that has its place), but it’s entirely different to get out and used your kits and train with them. 

What good is a kit that always sits in your pocket and you never break open and test out once in a while?  If nothing else, using our survival tools once in a while will cement things we already know, force us to “rotate our stock”, and there’s always something new to learn “out there”.

Level 1 Survival Kit Purpose: Every Day Carry

So here are our Level 1 four major components:

The Credit Card Survival Kit: One Sided Razor, 6 Fish hooks, 20’ Fishing line, Flint Rod, 4 water purification tablets, a sewing needle, 3 wind/waterproof matches, 2 credit card size cardboard pieces, and enough “100 MPH” tape to seal the whole thing.

Credit Card Size Survival Kit

Mid Assembly

Level 1 Survival Kit, Credit Card Size!

3” Folding Knife or BIG KNIFE:  We’re not even going to touch on what kind of knife to get, it’s WAY too personal . . . kind of like what underwear you have on today . . . Pictured below is a CRKT M21-02G, available at www.greatlakesurvival.com .   For developed areas, carrying a 3" folder should be sufficient.  If in the wilderness, the level 1 kit has a Big Knife included in the kit.

Bark River "Bravo 2" - (The Big Knife)

Every Day Carry Firearm:  Something that is lightweight, that you will carry every day.  Some people are denied the right to carry firearms where they live . . . we’re not even going to get into that.  Your level of self-protection is up to you, handle it as you see fit.  At Great Lake Survival we believe that the Right to defend one’s life, liberty and property is inherited at birth and is not given through permission.  We’re Americans dammit.  ‘Nuff said. 

Pocket Gear:  Essential items that cannot fit in a credit card sized contraption.  These are add on items, but can however, fit into pockets all over your body.  When not on your body a small pouch can keep these items on your belt or next to you.   Either stuffed in a cargo pocket or my briefcase, these items are always with me.  A survival blanket, 20’ of Paracord (more if you do your boot laces with paracord), Booby Trap wire (great for small game snares), 1-2 butane lighters with bicycle inner tubes over the body, a signal mirror, 4’x4’ of clear plastic, a small LED light or headlamp, Firesteel flint rod.

I should never be without AT LEAST, the first two components of this Level 1 Kit:  my credit card size survival kit and my folding knife. 
We recommend unless you’re not able to because of work, you have all of these items on you at all times.  Even at the office you can have at least your pocket knife and Level 1 survival kit.  Pocket gear is pocket gear, spread out, you'll never know it's there if you're not in dress clothes.  Going into the wilderness, I'm never without these items though.  Really, the pocket gear is part of the first line of survival tools. 

These are just suggestions, you know what works for you.  The bottom line is this:  With the most basic of items, can I defend my life against the elements, dehydration, and would be attackers at any given time?  If you’ve proven to yourself that you can, then you’ve got a leg up on most Americans.  Congrats.

So there you have it.  Our take on what constitutes one's 1st line of gear.  4 Major items:  a pocket knife (or big knife if in the wilderness), a credit card survival kit, a concealable firearm, and a small handful of “pocket gear”.  Spread out on your body, no one can even tell that you’re prepared for the worse.  You can go on living out your days ready to be a Rock for good people in a bad situation.

In the Next Post we’ll look at Level 2 gear.

Thanks for reading,

- GLSC Team


  1. You mentioned a "BIG KNIFE". What would you recommend?

    - Pete, IN

  2. Pete, thanks for stopping by. There's a lot of good big knives out there.

    High end and excellent quality: Randall, Bark River (bravo series), Blackjack (any of the bigger model knives are great),Al Mar, Puma.

    Good Quality, more affordable: Spec-Ops by Ontario Knife co., cold steel (scout recon), Buck Knives, Ka-Bar.

    Hope this helps. In the wild a big knife is one of the single most important things you can have.


    - Roger