One of the advantages of having a belt kit is that you always have the essentials on you to keep you alive in the event you get separated from all your other gear, whether that’s due to some type of accident or in an evasion scenario. When I was enlisted in the Marine Corps, I used a 100-round SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon) ammo pouch as my pouch to keep my maps and other essential gear if I got separated from my pack. Most SOF units that operate in austere environments carry some type of SERE kit.
In “Some Thoughts On Scouts And Spies,” the author emphasizes that a scout should carry the minimum items for his survival on his person, where they will not be separated from him. According to the author, with the following items, the scout can survive anything:
- Penny knife
- Flint, steel, and char cloth
- Small compass
Let’s take a look at a 21st-century modern equivalent of a scouting-type belt pouch. With the contents of my belt pouch, I’m confident that I can survive any situation. One thing you will notice about my list is that I don’t have anything that would provide shelter from the elements. Your first layer against the elements are the clothes you are wearing. As a wilderness scout, military infantryman, or whatever your purpose for being out in the field, you should be smart enough to dress appropriately for the weather conditions.
I use a custom Cordura pouch made by The Hidden Woodsman. The contents of my kit are as follows:
- Ferro Rod
- Bic Lighter
- Mini Inferno Discs
- 15′ of bank line
- Suunto MCB Amphibian Compass
- Frontier Water Filter Straw
- Aqua Pouch with water purification tablets
- Folding knife – Emerson Commander
- GI Sharpening Stone
Those who want their survival priorities covered but do not want a lot of excess gear to weigh them down will find this kit, or one similar to it, suits their needs very well. Able to be carried in the thigh pocket or on the belt of the operator or civilian, this kit is designed to be on the person at all times, independent of other equipment that may get lost or abandoned in certain situations.
Kits will vary from person to person based on skill level with fieldcraft tasks and wilderness survival. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the contents of your kit in a controlled environment so that you can learn what works and what doesn’t work.
In my next SERE survival article, we will discuss shelter options to keep you protected from the elements, and at the same time hidden from the human eye.
Do you have a plan and/or kit to help you survive if you get separated from your gear and all you have is what’s on your person? If so, share in the comments below what works for you and how you have your kit setup.