© 2011 Josh 2203798202_d07441396b_o

Game: The Survival Kit.

It started off as just a couple things I decided to keep in my trunk; things that, if away from home in the midst of a catastrophe, I might find critically useful.  Over time, it became a game I’d play, a tedious, humorless game.  Here’s how you play.

The object of the game is to acquire five things which will serve you best in the event of a major catastrophic disaster.   The key word is best, the five things that are better than any other five things, that will, regardless of scenario, maintain the highest consistent value.  It’s not so easy as things you’d like to have, but the most effective collection of things, and each of your five slots should be the most highly contested theoretical real estate in your mind.

Defining the scenario helps to get the ball rolling, but switching the scenario shouldn’t invalidate your choices.  The one thing that should remain consistant is that you should be planning for an event that either initiates or occurs as a result of the failure of civilization.  Assume that in our utility scenario that the population has been drastically reduced, that all infrastructure is unreliable at best, and all existing resources are hotly contested by survivors.

Your Survival kit should serve you just as well during a zombie outbreak, a mad max dark future, nuclear winter, in the wake of super-disaster, or in the event that you are hurled through time into the jurassic period.   Your survival kit should obviously be something which you can carry with you.

The Freebies:
The container which houses your survival kit does not count against your five item limit, and is only factored into the effectiveness grade of your kit as a tie breaker.  Just to get us all thinking in the right direction, lets take a second and look at Ragged Edge Gear’s offering.  A carbon fiber or kevlar aramid backpack will get us started; however your kit may not need a backpack, or maybe your kit won’t fit in a backpack.
Everyone’s survival kit will include an emergency survival blanket, a sewing kit, and a first-aid/trauma kit.  These staples are already accounted for as part of your container and take up very little space.  I’d also like to throw in some rope, but I think I’d be depriving people of the opportunity to weigh the different cord options.  Maybe you want nylon paracord, maybe you want silk rope, maybe you want steel wire, its your kit, I’m done suggesting shit.

The Limiting Factor:
Your survival kit should consist of objects that are all readily available to you for purchase; so no prototype technology, restricted military tech, or otherwise hard-to-impossible to attain shit.  The object here is to actually compose an ideal survival kit, something you could assemble if you were so inclined.   Try to keep the cost to a manageable figure.

The Guidelines:
Your 5 objects should be capable of functioning independent of one another, therefor carrying an electronic device and a separate solar power source  is not recommended.  However, the effectiveness of your kit should also be graded as a whole, how effectively the items can be used to overcome obstacles either individually or when used in concert.

Assume that the world in which the survival kit will be used will have a normal distribution of raw materials – Stone, metal, plastic, water, wood, finished goods, structures in various states, etc.. are present as they would be if a catastrophic event occurred tomorrow.  The total weight of your kit should not exceed what you could reasonably carry on a 5 mile hike.


Objective grading system:  For playing with yourself – the Loner’s survival kit.

Objects in your survival kit can be measured in efficiency using the following arbitrary scale, measured from 1-5.  Again, I’ll stress arbitrary, this scoring system may need to be balanced a little better.

Durability:  1 being flimsy and unlikely to survive a short fall, the application of direct heat, or submerging in water (cell phone)
3 Reasonably shock and element proof (Skateboard)
5 being conventionally indestructible (steel crowbar)

Versatility :  1 Oriented to a specific task with little variation permitted (tape measure, ice cream scoop)
5 Incredibly versatile and useful in a wide range of applications (rope, serrated knife)

Readiness : 1 Requires steady external power source (Hair dryer) or Requires constant assembly (
2 Requires frequent refueling or recharging (laptop, chainsaw)
3 Requires complex external supplementation (e.g. batteries, ammunition) or Some assembly (Tent)
4 Requires simple external supplementation or readily available fuel source (hibachi, slingshot)
5 Self-powered (AGS watches, trained ferret)

Reliability: 1 Requires frequent maintenance and/or repair (bicycle)
3 Requires basic cleaning/sharpening  (revolver, razor)
5 Practically infallible (sledgehammer)

Primary Value:  The objects relative effectiveness at fulfilling its primary role and intention – For example  Assuming the role of the object was defense – A special forces shovel might have a value of 2 or 3, while a police issue tactical shotgun might score a 5, but have little value in other categories. Essentially, this category allows you to account for your own flavor choice, and reminds you that you should also  seek out the best quality items in each slot to maximize the overall value of your kit.

Finally give yourself the following score of 1-5 of how well your kit prepares you for every eventuality:
1 point each if you would feel coonfident taking nothing but your kit into the following scenarios:

You are being hunted through the forest by a handful of freaks living out their ‘most dangerous game’ fantasies
The Zombie Apocalypse
Crash Landed in the mountains with a few surviving members of your soccer team
The Big Quake and subsequent tsunami have rendered your island civilization powerless and cut off from aid
Red Dawn (1984 original)
Accidental time travel to dawn of civilization era (your choice of global region)

Once all ratings have been tallied – you’ll have a numerical value for your kit that you can measure against the following scale.

125+: Either this is an amazing kit, or you’ve packed 5 Leatherman Super Tool 300s or bushmaster survival knives and completely missed the point of this game.
100: You’ve either made some great choices or you’re way too generous with your points
80+ You should really consider acquiring this kit, just in case
60+ Go lower tech, you’re not going to survive if you spend your time hunting for batteries and gasoline
40+ Have someone else grade your list, just to be sure, then try again.
-40 Dont just type survival gear into google and hit ‘i’m feeling lucky’

Alternate Scoring System: Consensus Grading.

In this, far simpler system, you and your group of future survival companions compare kits.

If you present your kit, and in your honest opinion, it cannot be improved by replacing any item in your kit with any item in anyone else’s kit, gain 5 points.  Subtract 1 point from this for each item you replace with an item from someone elses kit (awarding that point to the player you are jacking)

If you built a great kit, you’ll quickly accumulate points as other players steal your gear.  Finally, each player must award one point to a survivor, other than themselves, whom they believe compiled the best kit. If this still results in a tie; the tie breaker becomes a consensus vote to determine which player has selected the best container for their kit.


  1. Posted April 1, 2011 at 11:33 am | #

    Is it bad that when the tsunami hit Japan, I kept thinking, “How comes nothing cool ever happens here!?” I’ve been standing at the ready, waiting for that magical opportunity to reinvent myself for the better part of my life. I don’t think I could be limited to five items but if I was, a few mandatories would include a loaded gun (magnum clip), duct tape, a bowie knife, waterproof matches and a pillbox. The pillbox should count as one, given it’s compact size. Of course it would be loaded up with water purification tablets, vitamins (to extend time between sustenance stops), antibiotics and opiates (to ensure freedom of mobility when injured). I assume clothing would not be considered one of the five items? In which case I’d be wearing a 3x Canada Goose coat that can withstand temps as low as -72 (3x so it could double as a personal tent). Of course, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll have one on me when SHTF; but you can count on me to find loopholes where rules exist. IRL, I have bags from 1800prepare.com that evenly distributes water in the straps for comfortable carry and I add/delete small items as I consider what is most important.

  2. Josh
    Posted April 3, 2011 at 1:18 am | #

    Moving this over to Survivewhatever.com

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