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


  1. How well does the wiggys bag fit?

    1. As well as any other sleeping bag, with one caveat: It depends on the size bag you use.

      For instance the super light or ultra light will leave a little more room in your level 3 kit than the ultima thule or antarctica models.

      Of course this all depends on where your area of operations is.

      We've found that the super light (combined with the FRTSS overbag) is enough to get your through the coldest winter nights in northern Michigan.

      We have family out west in the rockies that need the ultima thule.

      Now in the summer it's really easy just to throw the Wiggy's overbag in your pack and lighten the load.

      We do know one thing though: Pound for pound, the Wiggy's bags will give you much more insulation potential. So you end up getting more bang for your weight on your back.

      Hope this helps,

      Thanks for the comment.