Misconceptions of Mini Kits
By John D. McCann
I've seen some information put forth that might lead some people to believe that a mini survival kit is useless. This post is not to defend mini kits, but to clarify what a mini kit is, and why it is useful. People like Ron Hood, Doug Ritter, and myself (among many others) have recommended them for years... and for good reason.
1st, let's examine what a mini kit is not. It is not a kit that will take you into the wilderness in a survival situation and allow you to live off the land forever.... It wasn't meant to be. It does not contain the largest, best, most exotic devices money can buy. Because of its size, it is limited, and is not meant to replace a larger survival kit or a well thought out pack. It is not meant to replace your EDC, but supplement it. It, of course, was not meant to replace skills.
A mini survival kit, like those sometimes built in small tins, is meant to be a first line of defense in a survival situation, especially if your larger kit is lost... or didn't make it with you. It will not support you forever and wasn't meant to. It should supply you with the basic needs for a day or two, so you can either get back to civilization, or be rescued. It is something that is on you and should provide you with the basics for fire, navigation, signaling, building shelter, obtaining and purifying water, provide for minor first aid, etc. I'll be the first to admit that shelter has always been lacking in most mini kits, but, it doesn't negate the usefulness of the other items. To remedy this situation, I have always recommended that you carry a survival blanket, an emergency poncho, or several contractor bags as part of your EDC (but most people don't).
For an overnighter, or even a few days, your priorities will probably be shelter, fire (avoid hypothermia), water collection and purification ( avoid dehydration), signaling (help those looking for you, find you), navigation (find your way back... if that is your plan... a button compass will never replace an orienteering compass... but something is better than nothing). Although many mini kits have basic fishing kit items, food at this point is not a priority! Even a small amount of snare wire can be used for many more situations than just making snares (repairs, building shelters, making a bail, etc. etc.). It was not meant to set up a trap line of snares).
There are many people who EDC enough survival gear that a mini kit is almost a moot point. But... there are a lot of people who don't. A well thought out mini kit can provide those people with the essentials for surviving a night lost in the woods. It will not replace skills that some folks have... but many do not.
A mini kit by itself, although providing basic tools, is of no use if a person doesn't know how to use those tools. I, among others, have always highly recommended practicing with the components so, when they are needed, you can use them proficiently (a survival situation is not the time to learn how to use your tools).
Don't let the size of a mini kit deter you from carrying one. It is not a long term, allow you to live in the wilderness forever, type kit. It will never replace skills or a full blown survival kit. It will help you stay alive in a survival situation if you know how to use it. I've seen people with full blown kits or packs that lack basic skills and carry equipment that is still in the bubble wrapped packages. If you are serious about survival, a mini kit can help. If you are not..... well, no kit, no matter what the size, will help you survive. It is a piece of the puzzle, just like your EDC items and skills.
If you carry a mini kit, know its components and how to use them. Know its capabilities and limitations, Supplement it with other necessary items (like shelter), but don't disregard it.... it has its place. Just my humble opinion.
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