Saturday, June 30, 2012


Level III Survival Ruck Purpose:  Remote wilderness excursions, SAR, hiking and hunting trips. 

USMC ILBE Ruck Sack w/ Small Pack

USMC ILBE Large Ruck Sack

USMC ILBE Large Ruck Sack

USMC ILBE Large Ruck Sack

If we’re out in “the bush” and any significant distance from home . . . the level III kit is a great thing to have.  As you can see, the level III kit has the original level II kit attached to its back.

With the items listed below, the large ruck shouldn’t be too heavy, but should be able to sustain an individual for several weeks in the wild (assuming proficiency in bush craft).  Whether you are hunting, hiking, or just plain surviving, the level III kit should give a trained individual the tools to “keep on” for quite a while.

As listed in the previous blog entries on survival level kits, this is an outline.  It can be changed to meet the needs of the individual or team.  Obviously in an arctic environment, you’ll need a few different items in that you may or may not need in the desert.

Level III Survival Ruck items:

Level III gear laid out

Level II Kit: The level II kit should be in or on or attached to the large ruck.  The level III Large ruck is not complete without it.

Waterproof Containers:  One of the best things that any of us here have been taught and taught to others about organizing your gear is to use waterproof bags.  When you do that, you can organize your gear in to “cells”.  Food goes in one, clothing goes in another, etc., etc.  MAC Sacks pictured below were developed for the USMC.  There are a number of different styles and manufacturers, use the ones that seem most durable.

Waterproof Jacket / Pants:  There are so many out there.  One of our favorites is the condor “Summit, Softshell” purchased from .  Actually there are a couple of these floating around here at Great Lake Survival.  A good quality for a waterproof jacket to have would be a hood and opening under the arms for proper ventilation.  With the advent of Gortex, finding something that suits your needs shouldn’t be too hard at a reasonable price.  Gortex pants are good thing to have as well.  Pictured below are a set of ECWCS Multicam Gortex coated jacket and pants.
ECWCS Cold / Rain gear

Light Weight Poly-Propylene Long Johns / Extra set of Pants / Shirt:  You can get a pair of poly-pros for $15 online and they are guaranteed to keep your skin drier and warmer.  A cheap set of cargo pants and flannel shirt run about $18 at the local Walmart.  In a waterproof sack, dry clothes to change into after a river crossing sure is a nice thing to have.

Poly Pros and Extra Clothes in Waterproof Bag

Tinder / Fuel for Stove:  If everything is wet, it’s nice to have some dry oak splinters and some good tinder.  This is a weight vs. return on investment depending on where you are and how much your level III kit weighs.

Candles: They can bring up the ambient temperature in a shelter even in arctic conditions.  They are a must.

Hydration Bladder:  Most small packs have an area built into them for a water bladder.  With the survival straw or whatever water purifier you use, you can keep up to 100 oz clean drinking water on you.  In arctic weather, you can keep your hydration bladder from freezing by wearing it under your coat.  The hydration bladder can be thrown in the Level II or Level III kits pretty easily.

Hydration Bladder

Frog Gig:  A small recurring pond is a great place to gig frogs for dinner.  Such a lightweight tool . . . all you have to find a straight-ish pole to attach it too and you’re set.

Survival Pistol:  .22 caliber pistols make collecting wild game a much easier task.  A match grade barrel with premium ammo is the way to go.  Below you can see a Browning Buckmark.  Some prefer Smith & Wesson models, some like the Ruger models.  If it works for you, and you can hit a golf ball at 25 yards with one try . . . you’re doing pretty good.

Browning Buckmark - Survival .22 Pistol

GMRS Radio:  Get the best you can afford.  We like the midland waterproof series.  Extra batteries.  Extended range models.  Most claim 25 to 35 mile ranges, but that’s usually only over open water or from mountain top to mountain top.  We’ve personally seen brush so thick with a distance of less than a half mile, reception between two parties was lost.

Waterproof HF GMRS Radio

Survival Tomahawk:  Obviously at GLSC, we’re partial to our product improved ‘hawks.  They have paracord handles, a hammer on one end, and a blade on the other.  You can build, destroy, defend against wild animals, and break free a trapped person with a ‘hawk.  The personal favorite is the GLSC Pipehawk shown below.

GLSC Pipe Hawk

Food Ration:  Something lightweight and highly nutritious is the best option.  Met-RX type “colossal” bars are what’s used here.  3 bars can sustain a person for 3 days.  With 12 bars and a few “freeze” dried meals, you can be set for 8 to 10 days without resupply.  And the best thing are those rations in a waterproof  bag weigh only a couple pounds.

Food Rations

Sleeping Bag or Poncho Liner:  Depending on your climate you may only need a poncho and liner for your sleeping bag.  In the northern great lakes region we experience lows at night that dip to -20.  One night during a winter survival course, a reading was taken with an outside temp of -30 F .  Pictured below is a Wiggy’s “ultra-lite”.  The bag itself is good down to a real 0 degrees.  If you add the over bag it covers you down to -40 F.  Snugpak makes some good bags as well.  There has not been a bag made yet that seems to do better than Wiggy’s lamilite filled bags.  Worth their weight in gold:

Wiggy's Super Lite Sleeping Bag

Climbing Rope & Snap Links:  A good length of rope and a couple snap links can help a team across a river.  There are countless uses for rope and snap links for search and rescue, or survival training.  One member in the team should carry a large rope.  The rest of the members can carry 12 ft. lengths for tying a “Swiss seat”, and a smaller length for attaching your pack to the crossing rope.   

Climbers Rope & Snap Links

Survival Trowel or E-Tool:  A full blown e-tool might be a little too heavy for what you need.  We recommend that you carry at least a high impact resin “survival trowel”.  If you frequent remote areas that are generally subject to wild fires . . . you may bite the bullet and pack the extra weight of a full blown entrenching tool.

Survival Trowel

With bush craft skills and the right tools, and individual can survive for quite a while in the wilderness.  The best way that we’ve found to get used to our gear is to get out in the woods and go camping.  We’ve tested these kits in all four seasons and they work great.

Here are the kits, Level II and III next to the Level I gear.

Level 1 Gear next to Level 2 and Level 3 Ruck

So there you have it, Level I, Level II and Level III kits.  "Wired tight".

As always thanks for reading,

- The GLSC Team


Level II Survival Kit Purpose:  Supplement to EDC / Local Search And Rescue, hiking,  hunting

This Level II survival kit is based on what has been most useful to have in a second line of gear outside of “pocket gear”.   With experience, no one knows what’s best for your kit than you.  This outline is a good general place to start though if you’re looking for suggestions.

Level II gear all laid out

The idea of the level II kit is to have a few more items that are highly useful, but in a small pack, so that you will be more likely to have it on you when you're in the wild or far from home.  Some people like to use fanny packs, some like satchels or other things.  This particular pack, attaches to a larger ruck (the level III Survival Kit).  This small pack is part of the U.S.M.C. ILBE load carrying equipment.

 We’ve found most useful, that a small pack with a canteen pouch and first aid pouch attached to the outside, fills the role of a level II kit very nicely.  It can be carried all day and hardly realize you have a pack on your back.

Level II Components:

Level II container:  Small ILBE detachable pack, with military canteen pouch and first aid kit pouch.
ILBE day pack - great for Level II small pack

Poncho:  If I have a survival vest on, my poncho is in my kidney pouch.  If I didn’t have anything but cargo pants . . . my poncho would be in the cargo pocket.  Poncho’s are great for shelter, collecting water, and keeping dry.  There are literally bunches of things to use a poncho for.  You’d be hard pressed to find anyone from GLSC without their poncho in the wild.  Old stock rubberized ponchos are tough and don’t leak.  German surplus models are just about as good as the USGI models that are getting scarce.

Canteen Cup:  This is my drinking cup, my frying pan and my cereal bowl.  It’s light weight and can hold a lot of items when not in use.  There are more light weight options out there, but these old USGI models give you the best bang for your buck.

Canteen Cup & Canteen Stove (fits right over bottom of cup)

Canteen Cup Stove:  This stove fits right over the bottom of my canteen cup, and both tuck neatly in my level II canteen pouch.  It was purchased from the .

Insect Repellent / Insect head net:  A little bottle fits right on the side pouch of the canteen cup pouch.  (best to keep 100% deet away from the inside container that you drink and cook from).

Bug Juice

Tube of Peanut Butter:  Unless you’re allergic, peanut butter offers a great source of protein, fat and salt.  In a pinch, it’s easy to get yourself some calories for energy.  Most importantly it never seems to go bad, and it’s compact.

Peanut Butter Tubes

Bullion Cubes:  If you need to harvest wild game, you’ll be happy you had something to season it with.

Professional Game Snares:  Professional game snares are worth their weight in gold.  The locking kind sure beat using paracord to make your game traps with.

Small Game Snares

IFAK:  (Individual First Aid Kit.)  Band-Aids, Pain Relief, Burn Gel, Anti-Bacterial Ointment, Electrolyte Tabs, Alcohol wipes, etc in a smaller kit.  Great Lake Survival makes a handy little packet to throw in your level II kit.  Again, it’s easy enough to make yourself if you want a more simple kit.  Probably the most important items are the Israeli Battle Dressing and Tourniquet  for major bleeding.  The “IBD” and TK4 tourniquet put compression on the wound and can be applied by the person wounded if necessary.
*** Also, we recommend some sun screen.  Being sun burnt anytime is bad, but being sun burnt when you're far from home just plain stinks.

GLSC Level 1 - Individual First Aid Kit

Water Filter: We like the Sawyer .10 Absolute Micron water filter.  Where most water filters only do .20 absolute microns, the Sawyer line of handheld filters double the filtration effort.  Not only that, they come with a 1,000,000 gallon guarantee.  If you have something you like though . . . use it!  You know what you like, and if you’re experienced, you know what works.  The best thing is to have a filter that fits in this kit.  You can go a long time without food, but not so long without clean water.

Sawyer .10 Squeeze Water Filter

Gloves & Socks:  There should be a pair of socks in the level II kit, but another couple pairs don’t take up space and dry socks are a life saver.  A good pair of gloves does wonders for keeping the hands from getting cuts and infections.  Anything is better than nothing in this category.  There are better wicking socks out there, it’s all in what you want.

Boonie Hat and Balaclava:  If it gets chilly, you have to cover your neck and your head.  With a brimmed hat and a balaclava to keep your face and neck warm, you might just be a little bit more comfortable in bad weather.  The boonie hat is a must though, it keeps the rain and sun out of one’s eyes.

Boonie Hat & Balaclava

Distress Strobe:  If you plan on, or could be ever assisting in the rescue of a person, or be rescued yourself, you might have one of these little guys with you.  It too can fit inside your level II pouch if it’s compact enough.

Coffee or Tea Bags:  You have a stove, you have canteen cup . . . a couple of coffee or tea bags are next to nothing as far as weight and size.  Imagine being part of  a search for a missing child in the wilderness, driving rain and sleet for the last 12 hours . . .  The ability to make a warm cup of coffee and continue on the search might not be a bad thing.

Life without Coffee isn't worth living . . .

Paracord: 20 – 50 ft of paracord.  There’s not much bush craft that doesn’t have a use for paracord.


Hygiene Kit: Kept in a Nalgene collapsible bladder there is Camp suds, mineral salt deodorant, dental floss, tooth brush, a shaving razor, tooth paste and whatever other small items you need to keep clean, of high morale and free from infection.
Hygiene Kit

Each level kit, builds on the lower level.  For instance, I have items in my level II kit that should be in my level III kit.  If I can easily attach the level II kit to the outside of my large ruck, I’m less likely to have redundant items in my next higher kit, which will lighten the load.  Lighter loads tend to have more of a chance of being taken with you, than left back at camp because “I’m just going up and over this hill for a few minutes . . .”

The purpose of the level I kit obviously is to have an everyday carry.  Yes you might not have all the “pocket items” or a BIG KNIFE while you’re at work.  But we can all carry a credit card sized survival kit.

Any place from short hiking trips in the local wilderness to more remote areas.  You might be able to get away with leaving your large ruck in the vehicle if only a mile away, while taking your smaller pack.  With the items above, a person can survive in the wild for quite a while. 

The important thing is that each level kit has its place and its practicality.

Level I and Level II kits side by side

Again, it seems that the smaller and lighter the kit, the more likely that you will have it on you.

Thanks for reading,

-          GLSC Team

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Art of the Rifle Blog

We'd like to recommend you stop by and check out this blog: .

Great Lake Survival isn't shy about advocating the use of firearms for outdoor survival, hunting, self defense or family recreation.  Proper marksmanship skills are about as American as baseball and hotdogs.  With proper safety, supervision, and basics; practicing marksmanship can be fun for the family.

The Art of the Rifle is great place to start is learning how to be a marksman, "by the numbers" . . . . or learn to become a better marksman than you were before.

Having been hunting from a young age, I thought I was a pretty good shot, until I was taken aside and shown a thing or two by credentialed mentor.  It was the first time I had ever heard about "Natural Point of Aim" . . . What's that? :)  

Anyway, with a lot of practice, being taught how to shoot "by the numbers" turned me into a better marksman.  One thing I really took away from that instruction was that being a marksman required me to practice those skills, otherwise I'd lose them.   

I find personally, that life, work and responsibilities get in the way of proper marksmanship practice sometimes.  If you're like us though, you think that having our marksmanship skills "polished" is a responsibility as well.  It's a responsibility to the family protector, to the ethical hunter and to anyone concerned about firearm safety.  What better way to be safe when shooting than to make sure your bullet only goes where you want it to? 

Like anything in life, practice helps one stay sharp. 

Art of the Rifle is great place to sharpen up your skills before heading out to the range.

Thanks for reading,

- GLSC Team

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Getting "Out There"

It sure is great to hit the out doors, especially when the weather is great.  When the sun shines and a nice summer breeze is blowing, it makes for great times.  When it’s nice out, we gravitate to the outdoors, and as we should.

On the other hand, it sure is valuable to get into the outdoors and stay a night or two in the cold and blowing rain.  We’re talking about training your survival skills.  They get rusty if they’re not taken out and worked once in a while.  Training doesn’t have to be miles from civilization.  In fact spending a night or two in your backyard in bad weather cements your survival studies.  There’s nothing wrong with reading about survival skills, but there comes a time when we have to practice what we’ve read about.

Survival training is something of importance if we want to take care of those we love in a less than desirable situation.  We cannot get around it.  There are literally a bunch of “how to” and opinions on what works in the wilderness, scattered all over the net.  A lot of it is good stuff.  I tend to wonder if there are as many people “getting out there” and testing their knowledge in bad weather, as there are opinions on survival skills.  Rhetorical question . . .

It’s easy to type up articles about wilderness survival.  Everyone has an opinion, and that’s not a bad thing.  That’s where new ideas and innovation come from.   But getting into the nasty weather or testing out setting up a camp in 50 mph winds, or being wet for 72 hours in continuous rain or camping in temperatures just about 0 degrees will teach invaluable lessons.  That’s quite another thing.  Ideas, innovation and opinions are very necessary, but so is the component of experience.  Training our skills gives us the ability to learn from uncomfortable situations that we can control, instead of learning by the seat of our pants in situations that are BAD and FOR REAL.  Unfortunately we cannot always benefit from other’s experiences.  No one could ever explain what it means to be hungry to someone who’s never felt a hunger pang.  Some things we just have to experience for ourselves.

If you’re the person who “gets out there” more than just a few times, in the nasty weather, in the less than ideal conditions to train what you’ve learned, hats off to you.  If you are the person that “gets out there”, life probably has a flavor that it doesn’t for others.  Having been through high winds, torrential down pours and frigid weather camping; perhaps a calm evening next to a camp fire has warmth in your mind that others really don’t know.

We’re not suggesting people put their lives in unnecessary peril.  But once in a while it’s okay to get wet, get cold and get uncomfortable.  That’s where the people at GLSC have learned the most important lessons, and it’s where we continue to learn lessons.  Behind a computer screen isn’t where true learning takes place, (it can be a great resource though!).  “Out there” is where the learning takes place.  It’s where we learn lessons that we can pass down to our children and our children’s children.

The Great Lake Survival motto is “Tough Products for Tough People”.  The reality is that our most important product are our experiences.  We’re the ones who take our experiences, and ultimately turn them into what we want to be: Tough People.

Thanks for reading,

- GLSC Team