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Three Essential Items For Survival

Imagine that you’re on a 3-day canoe trip in the spring of the year. It’s a little on the chilly side, but the sun is shining and the birds are chirping. What a peaceful yet exhilarating way to start your long weekend.

Thrust Into A Survival Situation

Suddenly you find yourself in the 58F water. You’re not sure what just happened. But as you surface and get your bearings, you see your swamped canoe, along with all your gear, being swept downstream. Powerless to retrieve the much-needed supplies, you make your way to the river’s bank.

Fortunately, you filed a float plan with the Park Ranger. But no one is expecting you for three days. You’ve got to survive for the next 72 hours with only the things you were able to salvage on your way out of the water.

You look at those three things with a sense of relief. “With these three items,” you say to yourself, “I can make it three days.”

The question is: what are the three items?

This was the question recently asked by Jarhead Survivor on his blog, SHTFBlog.com. I posted a brief comment on his blog. After thinking about it some more, my answer wouldn’t change but I thought it may be worthwhile to elaborate a bit.

A Good Multi-Tool

The first and most important item is a good, high quality multi-tool. It’s the first thing I pack when preparing for an outing and the last thing I want to lose.

A good multi-tool has so many uses for survival.

  • The Blade. A sharp knife is essential for survival. It’ll help you dress any prey you may be able to trap, shave wood chips to start a fire, cut vines for cordage. The list goes on and on.
  • A Mini-saw. Some multi-tools have a little mini-saw that can be used to cut down small saplings. This is important for building a shelter or making traps and dead falls.
  • Some Needle-Nose Pliers. Pliers may be used to fashion survival implements from any debris that you may find lying around. They can also be used to handle hot containers when boiling water.
  • The 19 Other Devices. You never know when the awe, screwdriver, scissors, or any of the other implements on the multi-tool may come in handy.
I have a Leatherman tool that I’ve owned for 25 years. It works as well today as it did the day I got it. I’m not sure if they still make the model that I own, but here’s something similar.

A Magnesium Fire Starter

After taking a spill in cold water, hypothermia is a very real danger. You’ll need to warm up and dry out to stay alive.

Staying active will help you to produce some body heat and keep the blood circulating, but a fire is what you really need. Spend some time collecting tinder, kindling, and firewood. Then build a fire and dry out your clothes before nightfall.

Waterproof matches and butane lighters are perfectly fine for starting fires. But when I don’t know how long I’ll need fire making capabilities, I prefer the magnesium fire starter. It’ll work after getting wet and, if used judiciously, will last a long time.

An Empty 1 Lb Coffee Can

The choice of this item may initially perplex some people, but a coffee can has a multitude of uses for the survivor.

First and foremost, the metal can provides a way for you to purify water by boiling. The stream may look sparkling clean, but its beauty may be betrayed by the micro organisms such as cryptosporidium and giardia that can wreak havoc on your digestive system; an ordeal you don’t want when trying to stay alive in the wild.

There are other uses for the coffee can as well. It can be used as a makeshift shovel or as a container to carry coals from one location to another. If rescuers are in the distance, tapping it on the side with the multi-tool will ring it like a bell to get their attention. If you know what wild edibles to collect, you can use the can to make some nourishing and warming tea to drink. A container like a coffee can has many uses.

Wrap Up

These are the three items that would bring me a sense of comfort when I look through my supplies in a survival situation.  Jarhead Survivor also posted the three items that he’d like to have if found in this situation. We have a similar take.

What are the three things you’d like to have? (Eliminating the obvious like a water proof satellite phone).

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26 Comments on “Three Essential Items For Survival”

  1. Jarhead Survivor Says:

    I like the fact that you can use the multi-tool to take a boiling pan off the fire, but I’ll still go with a knife!

    Your idea of using a coffee can is better than the idea I had though. I hadn’t thought about putting berries and stuff like that in the container. Smart!

    Reply

    • Joe Says:

      A true outdoor knife is far superior the blade on a multi-tool. It’s difficult to split firewood, etc, with the smaller folding blade. Trade-offs, trade-offs…. ;)

      Reply

  2. A Says:

    Now I just have to tackle that number ten can of coffee I bought….then I’ll be ready. :)

    Nice post.

    http://www.survival-beacon.com

    Reply

  3. antoniojadens Says:

    I hadn’t thought about putting berries and stuff like manufacture products on time, to provide a pleasant work environment and to meet specifications. that in the container. Smart!

    Reply

  4. Sunflower Says:

    One of my survival bags(several units) is stored in the car. I can not life much on my back so our supplies are not ideal for hiking. Our supplies were created in mind for that time when we might become stranded. That is more likely than anything in our back roads of Western KS.

    I store much of my first aide in car in tin cans. I have several sizes (coffee, stew, and vienna sausage size). I keep some snips in car also. The main thing I am missing is a good quality mini bayanet.

    There is a product by Blizzard of UK that provides a great back up sleeping system for us in case we get stranded. My husband is 80 and paralyse on right side. His left is not a lot better. I have a blizzard that opens up and can be taped up around him.

    I keep a traditional (blue) tarp and duct tape in botton of car trunk as part of our preparation. I was checking our back meds in car last night. I noticed that one of mine needs replacing. The husband’s supply went missing – I forgot to replentish after using his during a 3 day travel trip that turned into 10 days.

    The value of reviewing and checking supplies regularly can not be overstated.

    One more thing: I plan to add a package of camping soup (Shore Lunch type). One mylar bag of the Chicken noodel could be rationed for a few days for two in pinch.

    Reply

  5. Irina Blue Says:

    Great article. Awesome website!

    Reply

  6. child of Odin Says:

    Knife, fire starter, and a FULL coffee can. Can always fashion a container to hold the grounds while I boil some for breakfast…

    Reply

  7. Maggs Says:

    I always carry a #10 coffee can in EDB & BOB. In the can I have smaller but tall tomatoe juice can as well that is filled with emergency food that will last 3 days and used to cook with. In extra space of #10 can I also have following kits: fire starting, small fishing, small first aid, 3 ways to start fire, two 10 ft. lengths of rope. Total weight is less than 2 lbs. The can fits inside my bags & I even keep an extra one in the car trunk with the vehicle first aid bag. I was taught about coffee can survival in the Northwest Territories.

    Reply

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