Thursday, March 10, 2011

Overview: General Preparedness Kit

As mentioned in a previous post I carry what I call my General Preparedness Kit or GPK as I call it. While many people carry survival kits and their basic gear, I prefer to take a kit that is multipurpose and packed in one dry bag rather than carry emergency gear and gear I’ll be using to carry out camp tasks in two different containers. By doing this I cut down on pack space being taken up and I know where everything is when I need it.

Size comparison between my GPK and an eating utensil

The contents of my GPK and their purpose are listed below:

Contents of my GPK

Water Purification Tablets: It’s important that you have a back up system in case your primary water filtration system fails. It doesn't take much to break a filter or for it to malfunction. Carrying water purification tablets assisted me when I went backpacking with the outdoors group I’m part of and our filtration pump broke. Although it took four hours for the tablets to fully purify the water, we did have enough water the next day to keep us hydrated on the hike out. There are two relating phrases: “Dehydration is a soldier’s worst enemy” and “An army marches on its stomach.” Without a back up filtration system you have two choices: dehydrate yourself or drink infected water and put your stomach through hell. Your choice.

Signaling Tools: This is very straight forward. I have a signal mirror for signaling other people when in distress in daylight and two chem-lights for signaling at night. Each chem-light lasts twelve hours, carrying two gives me two nights worth of signaling.

Maintenance Gear: I carry these in case of any minor equipment failure. Most items in this category are pretty self explanatory. A pocket sewing kit for clothing, a small role of duct tape for, well, anything, and silicone sealant for any rips in my tent or pack.

Warming Materials: In case of extreme cold or being caught out when not expected I have toe warmers for each foot, four hand warmers, and a space blanket.

Fire Making Material: It’s important to have three methods of fire starting. In case one fails, you have a fall back. And if that fails, you still have one more way to get fire going. I carry a butane lighter as a primary fire source, water proof matches as a second, and if all else fails, a magnesium block with a striker attached. In case there is no tinder available I keep an Esbit tablet in my GPK to get a small fire going in which I can dry real tinder to burn.

Compass: It’s important to know which direction you’re heading and more important to know which direction you’re not. I always have a compass on my person when in the outdoors but in the event that it is lost, which has happened to me, I carry an extra one.

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