Upon contemplating the gear I carry (something one or two of you out there might relate to ;)) I realized that my belt pouch wasn’t as well optimized as it could be. It contained a few frequently used items, a few “survival” items (I’m not fond of that word, but it’s what they are) and other possibles. It didn’t contain enough items to be called a “survival kit”, but it was more than just one or two things which could be thrown into a pocket.
So I decided to swap my belt pouch for a larger canvas pouch (15 cm x 10 cm x 6 cm, or 6″ x 4″ x 2.5″) made of very thick and rugged canvas which I had been using to hold several small items in my shoulder bag. I believe this is a South African Defense Force magazine pouch from the 70s.
Rather than add new items to my kit, I just transferred a few existing items from my shoulder bag to the new belt pouch. The new setup gives me a lot more functionality if I somehow lose everything except the pouch or if I intentionally only bring the pouch with me. I should mention that my belt pouch and knife never leave my belt when in the field except at night when I’m sleeping, so it’s something I always have on my person, whereas my backpack and, to a lesser extent, shoulder bag usually come off.
My previous belt pouch contained:
- Matches in case
- Mini fishing kit
- Sewing needle
The new belt pouch contains the above items, plus:
- Metal canteen cup (fits inside like they were made for each other)
- Small spoon
- Space blanket
- Swiss army knife
- Mini ferro rod (this was not in my shoulder bag previously; it is located inside the match case)
The additional items allow me to cook and to purify water (canteen cup and spoon), have emergency shelter (space blanket), have additional tools (Swiss army knife), have another means of starting fire (mini ferro rod) and more (bandana, many uses).
To me, this new setup validates my use of a belt pouch in the first place, as it now has a clear and designated role as more of a survival kit and possibles pouch. Some of you might be thinking that a first-aid kit is “missing” from this pouch, but honestly the pouch is just too small for me to also add any meaningful first-aid items, except maybe pain killers/antibiotics. In a pinch, the bandana can be used as a tourniquet. In any case, I have a first-aid kit in my shoulder bag, which I bring 99.999% of the time.
And yes, I do think about this stuff too much. 😉
EDIT: In the comment section below, Ross Gilmore commented about how this particular pouch is deep and can therefore make it tricky/annoying to remove things from the bottom without unpacking everything first. Here’s my response: “I know what you mean about it being deep, but I’ve found a solution to this. All the little bits and pieces (except the spoon, SAK and bandana, which are immediately accessible) fit in a firm plastic bag inside the cup. If I want to access something at the bottom of the plastic bag (where I intentionally put less-frequently used items), I can quickly pull the bag out, along with almost all of the pouch’s contents. If I want to remove something from the top of the plastic bag, I just open the pouch. If I want to remove the cup, I can pull it (and almost everything else) out, and then put the plastic bag full of stuff back into the pouch. 😀 Having several “containers within containers” makes it extremely easy and quick to access anything in the kit. This arrangement prevents there from being little bits and pieces all the way at the bottom of the pouch.”