I was a Girl Scout, a Boy Scout leader, and have always studied and been interested in survival skills. As all Americans saw after Hurricane Katrina, sometimes help doesn’t come quickly enough. You have to be able to adapt and save yourself. These are seven tiny items that can save your life and fit in your purse or pocket.
Magnesium Strip: A magnesium strip can help you start a fire with even damp materials. They are sold in camping sections and under ten dollars. To use it, you simply shave off a little bit of magnesium onto your tinder and use your pocket knife or flint to create a spark by striking downwards. The magnesium is highly flammable and even a novice should be able to start a fire using this method. A fire can prevent hypothermia, cook food, sterilize water to drink, repel disease carrying insects, and deter predators. Fire is one of your top priorities. Off Grid Survival has some great tips and forums for both urban and wilderness survival.
Pocket Knife or Multi-Tool: I recommend a good pocket knife instead of a multi-tool. You probably aren’t going to need to open a bottle of wine while your trying to survive. You can use your knife to make fire, cut cordage to make shelter, kill food, protect yourself, and create tools. After you use your knife, do sharpen it again as soon as you can. You can get a good pocket knife fairly cheaply and just keep it with your magnesium strip. Discovery.com can help you choose the best knife for survival situations.
Compass: Wilderness College says that one of the most important survival items is a compass. After a natural disaster, everything is going to look different and it may be hard to get your bearings unless you can judge direction by the sun. In some instances, you may not have a visual of the sun. It’s best to have a small compass. For instance, lets say you need to go west to reach help but have no way of knowing which way that is. A compass can save your life and keep you from walking desperately in circles. A small compass can be as cheap as five dollars.
Collapsible Metal Cup: A collapsible metal or tin cup will be your best friend if you truly are ever in a survival situation. You can sanitize water with bleach drops or tablets if you would rather keep these with you, but a metal cup has more purposes. It allows you to boil water which will sanitize it, but you can use it to cook in, carry some water with you, and catch rain water if you need to.
Small Rope: A small amount of thin but strong rope can be a lifesaver. It can be used to make shelter, make weapons for hunting, used to climb with, used to carry important items, and even used to prevent blood loss for serious injury. Wilderness College recommends a parachute cord.
Fish Hook: A fish hook takes up almost no space and could be an easy way to feed yourself if you are in a rural or coastal setting with no food. You can find and use small vines or green branches for fishing line. A little digging or foraging for worms or insects will provide bait.
Space Blanket: A space blanket can save your life in a cold environment, protect you from rain, be a reflective signal for an S.O.S signal, and be used in your shelter to make it warmer by blocking the wind or reflecting the heat from your fire and creating more warmth. You can even use it to make salt water evaporate and then condense into your cup, creating fresh water. If you don’t have any other way and can’t find something to hollow out to carry water, you can cut a piece of it and use your rope to carry water. Modern Survival Blog suggests keeping several because they are small and can be used for many things.
The really cool thing, is that all of these things will fit into a small makeup bag and can go with you everywhere.