Preparing for all possibilities

There are several terms for the different types of survival kits out there. Most of these names line up with the designed purpose of the particular kit. As an example, an INCH (I’m Not Coming Home) bag has the sole purpose of sustaining an individual when they are not able to return back to their home.

While it is great to have a specific purpose in mind for a kit, it is not always practical to have several different kits. For the purposes of practicality, I like the idea of the “possibles kit/bag.”

I became familiar with the concept of the possibles kit about five years ago, and it was a concept that I immediately latched on to because of the flexibility that it offers. One of the things that I really like about a possibles kit is that it can be used for anything. It does not have to have an urban or wilderness focus, it can be geared toward everything.

The greater the flexibility, the better such a kit is for survival. It can be used as part of a bigger kit or simply used as a standalone kit.  Either way it offers one more take on the various options that are out there on the ways to configure your emergency preparedness gear.

Depending on your perspective, the possibles pouch could be closely aligned with the Every Day Carry (EDC) concept. I see my EDC items as having specific purposes for each item, whereas a possibles kit covers a broader range of (drumroll please…) possibilities!

So… after that prelude, you are probably wondering what the heck you might put into your kit? As always, it is your kit so put it together as you see fit, but the guiding principle here is to cover as many possibilities as you can within the limits of the size and weight that you are willing/able to carry.

The following list of contents are some of the items to consider, along with some occasional discussion as to what the thought process is behind the particular items:

  1. The Container Itself
    • If your possibles kit is a smaller part of a larger kit you may look at the idea of a small container that fits into your other kit.
    • If it will be a stand alone kit that you want to be able to carry easily, a backpack can’t be beat.
  2. Water
    • You should have actual water. At least a couple of liters.
    • The ability to carry additional water. Collapsible containers are best.
    • At least one way to make water safe to drink. I like the combination of a water filter and then water purification tablets as back up.
  3. Food, Food Consumption and Food Prep
    • Food items that have a long shelf life, are individually packaged and offer good calorie intake are best.
    • Specific food items might include: energy bars, MREs, beef jerky, packaged tuna, oatmeal packets, and nuts.
    • Sporks are the ultimate survival eating utensil.
    • Ideally you will have items that do not require preparation, but, if you need a way to cook, look at a small stove like the Esbit or build a fire.
  4. Light
    • Have at least two sources of light. I like a flashlight and then chem-lights as a backup.
    • If you have a flashlight, don’t forget batteries and then a few extra as well.
    • Solar lights, like the Luci solar lamp, are an awesome option
    • LED lights are always best.
    • A headlamp is awesome for freeing up your hands.
    • For a tech-free option, a candle always works.
  5. Fire
    • Have at least two ways to start a fire. You can’t beat good, old-fashioned Bic lighters.
    • Don’t forget some sort of ignition source/fuel. Hand sanitizer is another item that can be used for its intended purpose and another (fire starter in this case).
    • Make sure that your fire starting material is always stored in a waterproof container.
  6. First Aid
    • A basic first aid kit should always be part of your kit.
    • Always have at least a tourniquet, bandages and splinting materials. Do a risk assessment and plan for the threats that you will most likely face.
  7. Hygiene/Sanitation
    • Toilet paper
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Wet wipes
    • Waterless soap
    • A small towel.
    • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  8. Land Navigation
    • Map – Topographical maps of the area that you are operating in.
    • Compass
    • GPS (Don’t forget about batteries!)
  9. Sight
    • Glasses
    • Binoculars
    • Sunglasses
  10. Other Containers
    • Ziploc bags
    • Stuff sack
    • Meat bag
    • Contractor trash bags
  11. Repair items
    • Duct tape
    • Sewing kit
    • Tent repair kit
  12. Shelter
    • Emergency bivy sack
    • Space blanket
    • Tube tent
    • Tarp
    • Painter’s plastic
  13. Clothing
    • At least one set of gloves and a knit hat. This will help combat the cold. Regardless of the season, cold at night is always a possibility.
    • Extra socks/under garments.
    • If you have space, consider a set of long sleeves and a set of pants that also can convert into shorts.
    • Work gloves are a must!
    • Don’t forget a poncho.
    • A shemagh is a great option also.
  14. Cordage
    • I prefer parachute cord or 550 cord, but there are many possibilities.
    • Dental floss is a multi-function item that also is very strong and can be used as cordage in a pinch.
  15. Signal/communication
    • A signal mirror is a great thing to have as a backup.
    • If you have the option, look at a battery operated radio to at least get information.
    • A burner cell phone with a charger is probably the number one option to have.
  16. Tools
    • A knife is an absolute must.
    • A multi-tool is the next best option.
    • Another tool to consider is a sillcock key for getting water in urban areas.
    • Tapes – Medical, duct, electrical, etc.
  17. Other
    • Money, especially coins for vending machines, is something that you should have handy. A roll of quarters works well.
    • Paper and writing utensils.
    • Emergency whistle
    • Cotton bandanas
    • Sunscreen/lip balm
    • Fishing kit – At least some fishing line with a couple of hooks and weights.
    • Snare/trapping materials.
    • Pepper spray
    • If you are a gun carrier, your preferred carry weapon with a cleaning kit, extra magazine and ammunition.
    • Rubber bands, or ranger bands, are handy to have.
    • Orange flagging tape for trail marking, signaling, etc.
    • Foam earplugs
    • Some safety pins are always handy to have along with some super glue.
    • Knife sharpener

While this is just a quick overview, hopefully you can come up with the list of items that is most suitable for you. My hope is that this will serve as a primer for putting together the best possibles kit for you. Not everyone is going to have the exact same gear.  Individualize your equipment to fit you, your individual situation and the circumstances that you might find yourself in.

One of my favorite things about these items is the fact that everything on this list is something that has been proven over and over again through a period of years.  This is a huge advantage for the beginning prepper or someone that is unsure of what to assemble in their kit. Good luck!

–Thomas Miller

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Thomas Miller