Most people don't head out on hunting, fishing or camping trips thinking something bad will happen — at least, not to them. But Mother Nature is a tough taskmistress: quick to punish carelessness. Little things that are easily taken care of with a fully stocked medicine chest or a trip to the local physician can quickly become life-threatening when you're miles from help.
Creating your own personal survival kit makes sense — and it doesn't even have to weigh 1 pound. Here are a few items recommended by a couple of survival pros at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., Airmen 1st Class Christopher Ogilvie and Jason Penrod. They're "pack carriers" with the 22nd Training Squadron, part of the overall group that manages Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape programs for the Air Force.
"My little survival kit saved my life," Ogilvie said.
1. Razor blades come in handy for making small cuts.
2. Waterproof matches are perfect for those soggy, rainy, wet conditions.
3. A small ax, fixed-blade knife and 3-inch folded blade are the three most important cutting tools to keep on hand.
4. Small compass in case you get lost.
5. Keychain LED light for lighting dark paths or signaling.
6. Fishing lines and hooks for staying fed, if you're around water.
7. Plastic whistle to chase away bears or signal for help.
8. Duct tape can secure almost anything.
9. Small metal cup can be used to boil drinking water.
10. An Altoids can can be used like a mirror for signaling, and is a good size to hold fishing line and hooks.
11. Compressed fuel will start a campfire when kindling can't be found.
12. First-aid kit with bandages, medical tape and antibiotic cream.
13. Iodine tablets or a water purification kit. "Getting sick can really hinder your ability to survive," Ogilvie said.
14. Signaling device such as a "Firefly" strobe.
15. Cord is a key part of your kit and has tons of applications, from rigging a shelter to securing equipment.
• Ziplock plastic bags for supplies or water.
• A piece of cardboard, about 4 by 8 inches, repeatedly dipped in wax. "That handles my fire-starting needs. I can just shave off a small piece of cardboard. That cardboard will last me one week," Ogilvie said.
• Rainproof poncho provides warmth or shelter for unexpected weather.