So, this is actually a follow up, harkening back to my first ever Instructable all those many moons ago (Okay, 8 months, but doesn't "many moons" sound so much more dramatic!?)
Anywhoozle, for those un-familiar; which I'd imagine would be almost everyone, given that it wasn't featured *heavy sigh* here it is: https://www.instructables.com/id/Pocket-urban-surv...
I've diligently carried this kit everyday (4 realz) and have used it, in earnest, on a number of occasions. Since it's inception, a little older, a little wiser I've found cause for a few tweaks here and there to bolster it's capability thus reducing my culpability when things can and will go awry.
So why a second 'ible and not an update to the original? Good question. Pragmatism, I suppose... I figure having two posts out there in the world, one might reach where the other may not and vice versa. I Still believe the first kit has merit and firmly believe in it's original contents. As I said in the title: This time it's personal!
Let's dig in!
Step 1: Takeaways From 8 Months R&D.
Cash is king, but only when you've got it. In the first incarnation of this kit I put the cash I'd chosen to carry in the billfold of the wallet, practical enough, right? I mean, that's what it was sewn for. Unfortunately having it be so readily accessible meant I'd spend it, and on more then one occasion neglect to refill the coffers much to mine own chagrin.
A knife is only handy when you happen to have it on hand. In my desire to stream line my kit as much as possible I modded my CRKT K.I.S.S by removing the belt clip (opening up a whole can of worms in the process) and replacing the thumb stud with one of a lower profile. All that, amounted to a sleek knife that I could pull out at a moments notice. The down side? After the wallet started to conform to the knife, it started slipping out all the time. It'd gotten so bad that I had to make sure that I put the wallet in my pocket "right side up", which was a total drag. I actually went a whole week not having noticed it'd slipped out of the kit into the pocket of my work pants till I went to do laundry! Not cool, yo...
Murphy's law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. So, I was out with my wife at a doctors apointment. Last appointment of the day. When we go to pay our copay the Doctor can't accept Cards (what century is this?). Cash or check only. Thankfully, me being me I always have a spare check squirreled away in my wallet for those just in case times. Made me realize my 10.00 emergency cash might need supplementing...
Vending machines in the states don't accept 10.00 bills. You live and you learn.
Dry is good, paper likes dry... Evidently, bandaids and gauze pads aren't waterproof, who knew?
Containers make sense, some of the time...
First aid is woefully under rated. I work in a stock room and have burnt though the entire complement of first aid paraphernalia thrice over. This has proven to be the absolute best investment in the space/weight use ratio. Of course it could also mean I'm just that clumsy, lol
Step 2: You Know That They Say...
"If at first you don't succeed... fail a few more times before giving up completely, chucking your failures into the street and drink yourself into blissful stupor..." Or, something like that..
After that whole "band-aid soup" diabolical, I knew I wanted to be able to waterproof some of the more critical pieces of kit. Or in the least make them more water resistant...
I started with parchment paper: fail.
Tried wax paper: partial fail; water seeped in through the corners.
Thought about the plastic bag from the Honey-nut Cherrios I love so much, but never got around to testing it. The idea of up-cycling/recycling a cereal bag interests me though. l'll have to keep that one on the back burner.
In the end, what I found worked best was the paper backing of those clear shipping windows used to affix manifests/lables to cartons. They're ridged enough to accept a crease and waxed(?) enough to repel water. Eureka!
Of course, I could have used zip-lock bags. But buying tiny ziplock bags in bulk (cause how in the hell else would you buy em?) carries with it a certain connotation, if you catch my drift.
"Well officer, how else am I to keep my gauze and water purification tablets dry?" ~Weird convo I'll be glad never to have...
My Next fail was in using a one liter standing baggie as a container. I realized that while containers are ubiquitous in the concrete jungle, not so much in the hills and dales of the greater New England area. Also a container need not only be for water. They can come in quite handy divvying out snacks or as an impromptu waterproof case for your phone.
Anyway, you see these baggies (the brand name of which shall remain nameless) In tons of kits all over the internet so I thought "what the hey, I'll give em a shot." Unfortunately, after about a month I started to notice the plastic had begun to wear through in the creases of the the billfold, in two months, the bag had been rendered in twain.
My solution: MRE hot beverage bags. They might not be able to hold a full liter of fluid, but these things are tough and I do mean tough! Thus far. five months and not a hint of wear-through.
I also got the idea in my head to try and incorporate some cordage into my kit through the use of kevlar coardage. I don't know what your experience with the stuff is, but for me it came unraveled easily, had some sort of waxy residue (UV coating) that rubbed off and made it stick to practically everything. I think I'll stick woth my paracord bracelet, thank you very much.
My last failed experiment I'm saving for my next instructable, sorry. Stay tuned!
Step 3: The Nitty Gritty...
So, now that we've gone through my failures and partial successes let's examine the kit's updated contents, shall we?
The wallet remains the same from it's first iteration.
The knife (CRKT K.I.S.S) has been swapped out for the CRKT Klecker Nirk NOVO (model# 5170). Personally, I'm not necessarily a devotee of the CRKT brand; they just happen to make small thin knives of decent quality. This knife is a little larger then the K.I.S.S and the locking mechanism isn't designed with long term viability in mind, but it gets the job done. I like how the spine is ground at 90* to the blade making it easy to strike the ferro rod aslo contained is this kit.
The water purification tabs (6X oasis aqua 8.5mg) and the ferro rod remain a staple. However to aid in the use of the tabs I've also added two MRE hot beverage bags. They don't hold a full liter (actually approx. 16-18oz) But I'd rather have something, rather then nothing. *See the previous step with regard to my having chose these.
I'd originally had a ten dollar bill contained in this kit, but have since swapped it our for two hella crisp fives (the highest denomination accepted by most vending machines in the states). I also included a check to supplement the cash for those times when cards aren't viable for one reason or another and cash isn't on hand in sufficient quantities, like always... Though it may seem weird to some, rounding out the money matters I've included two forever US postage stamps. A recent addition, believe it or not, they've already come in handy. All the above are wrapped in a water-resistant folded envelope; not only keep them dry, but also to prohibit my incursion in the monetary funds. Saving myself from myself.
The medical gear remains the same for the most part. The gauze pad is waterproofed in the same fashion as the other paper products. I tried doing the same for the bandaids as well, but found it to be too troublesome given the frequency with which I use them so I gave up. You've got to chose your battles. An iodine prep pad, alcohol prep pad and two triple antibiotic single use packets round out the medical gear.
I've kept the "pointy things" to date, but may chose to loose them in the near future. They include: 4-5 bobby pins and a size 18 upholstery needle which I've magnetized with a neodymium magnet (rare earth magnet). I don't, as of yet, carry any thread. I tried incorporating kevlar thread but that stuff wreaked havoc with my OCD so I had to lose it. Some of the worst money I've ever spent for sure.
The flashlight (Maglite solitaire incandescent) and fisher space pen are each worth their weight in palladium (what you thought I's use something as trite as gold!?) The Maglite's battery compartment threads have been treated with silicone grease to increase it's water resistance and the alkaline battery has been swapped for a lithium ion battery.
The last and most recent addition is the incorporation of a home-brew signal mirror knife sharpener combo. I realized that communications gear was sorely lacking in the first iteration of this kit and, if I'm to be honest it still is. But you can only practically carry so much in your pockets! This bit-o-kit is as thin as an average business card, reflective as a typical mirror and the reverse is corse enough to maintain an edge on my knife. Can't argue with those stats! Took a little doing to get it how I wanted it; mini 'ible to come.
Step 4: Practical Applications, Why? Because I Can.
Now that we've gone over the revised contents I thought I'd take a moment and go over the possible uses there of in no particular order.
Iodine prep pads: Clean wounds, purify water.
Alcohol prep pads: Sterilize the knife. Clean the surrounding area of a wound, Fire starter.
Needle(magnetized) : Removal of slivers, sewing (provided there's thread), Impromptu compass.
Bobby pins: hunting (jerry rigged: frog gig) fishing (impromptu: hooks) lock picks (like I'd know how).
Ferro rod: firestarting: kind of a uni-tasker.
Water purification tablets: Again kind of a uni-tasker, water purification.
MRE hot beverage bags: Procurement, containment, transport or water. Also, waterproofing of, well... anything that needs waterproofing.
Fisher Space pen: Writing notes and self-defense
Maglite solitaire incandescent flashlight: Seeing stuff at night, Also, though a bit tricky a fire starter.
Lithium bulb (contained in the Maglite): Power source and potential fire starter via bubblegum wrapper induction.
Triple antibiotic ointment: Great for cuts and scrapes. Also a great fire extender due to it's petroleum base.
Gauze pad: First aid & fire starter
Bandaids (fabric): First aid, fire starter, adhesive tape.
Knife: Cutting stuff, hunting, whittling, shelter building, feather sticks, etc.
Signal mirror/sharping stone: Cobbled this together via a reflective acrylic pane and some 600 grit wet/dry sand paper. Used for signaling, checking ones face or other hard to reach areas, and sharping/honing the knife contained there in.
Waxed paper (envelope for cash/check & stamps): Waterproofs the paper products to an extent, great tinder. Also floats!