I hear from SurvivalBlog readers on a daily basis. I hear from a lot of you. I take the time to answer each e-mail I receive, too. I don’t want anyone thinking I’m ignoring them. Many times, I hear from readers, just thanking me for a particular product I reviewed, and they purchased, and found it to be exactly as I said it was. A lot of e-mails are “fan” letters of a sort, and I’ve made some new friends because of these e-mails. Although I don’t consider myself as any sort of celebrity, and I’m certainly no expert – in anything. I consider myself a serious student in a lot of different areas. While I hold Black Belt ranks in several different styles of martial arts, I don’t consider myself an expert in the martial arts. If anything, when I earned Black Belt rankings, I considered it a jumping-off point, to really start to get serious about serious defense.
For more than 45 years I’ve been shooting firearms, and while I consider myself an excellent shot with a rifle, and a better than average shot with a handgun. Once again, I’m not expert. And, many folks believe that just because you are a gun writer – and I’ve been writing about guns for more than 20 years now – that I’m an expert. Once again, I’m a serious student. There are some gun writers out there who would lead you to believe they are the best shot who ever lived – however, when you actually see them shoot, it’s quite a different story. But their magazine articles would lead you to believe they are a legend – well, they are – in their own minds. There’s only a few out there like that, though.
The only thing I ever earned the moniker “Expert” in, is when I took the US Army Jungle Survival School training, in Panama in 1971. And I received a badge that proclaimed me a “Jungle Expert.” However, I didn’t feel like any sort of expert at all – I considered it another jumping-off point in another field of interest. Many folks believe I’m some sort of survival expert, because I write for SurvivalBlog, and nothing could be further from the truth. While I enjoy the outdoors and spend a lot of time in various activities, I’m not an expert. My late friend, Chris Janowsky, who ran the World Survival Institute, in Tok, Alaska was an expert in fieldcraft and especially in cold weather and rural survival.
So, it puzzles folks when I respond to their e-mails, with questions about “survival” in general. Sometimes the questions I get simply don’t have a correct answer – some things are not black and white, as some believe. I’ll get a question like “what is the best handgun for survival?” Well, I can’t honestly give a pat answer to that, without having more information, and then, I’m only expressing my humble opinion on the topic. And, I’ve received questions as to “what is the best 4-wheel drive rig for a BOV?” Again, I can’t give you a firm answer on that – it depends on many different things. Are you looking for a 4-wheel drive pick-up truck, or an SUV? Will you be towing a trailer, and how much gear do you intend to haul, and how many people? You see, I can’t give a firm answer to some questions. It’s impossible from my point of view.
I get questions all the time about “What should I put in a 3-day BOB?” And, this is a fairly easy one – just pack some food and water, maybe a knife, a small tent, a flashlight, a firearm – things like that. And, we all have different needs, so you pack accordingly. Which leads me to a great little package of survival gear called the B.A.S.E. Ultimate Survival Series 3.0 Kit – which is sold through US Tactical Supply. And, no, this isn’t the do-all of survival gear. However, it is a very good starter kit – and this is the complete one of the ones they sell – they sell smaller kits – not that this one is very big. It depends on your needs and requirements and how much money you want to spend. Again, this is a great little kit to toss into your day pack, a butt pack, a BOB, in your car, or in your hunting pack.
Speaking of hunters, I couldn’t tell you the number of hunters I’ve run into, who had no survival gear with them at all – and I mean, nothing, zip, nada – not even a bottle of water. And, I’ve run into some hunters who had their 4-wheel drive rigs bogged-down in mud, and I’ve helped pull them out of their mess – they didn’t even have a tow strap – and were miles and miles from the nearest road. Never ceases to amaze me, how stupid and unprepared many hunters can be.
The B.A.S.E. 3.0 survival kit is just some very basic gear that can help save your life if you are out in the wilderness and can’t get home, or are lost. First up is the Sparkie Fire Starter, and my friend Chris Janowsky, used to teach that “fire is magic” and it is. It provides light, warmth and sense of tranquility – things can will save you if you are stuck overnight in the wilderness. Even the summer months, you need a fire at night to keep you warm – many people have died from hypothermia when the air temperature was 60 degrees F. at night – it draws your body warmth away and it can and will kill you. You need to learn how to build a fire using a flint/steel method, and I’ve taught my wife and daughters how to do this. I won’t go into that here, as there are a number of resources you can find that will teach you this important skill – it’s not as hard as you think, once you practice it. The Sparkie Fire Starter is compact, one-handed operation and will last through 300 strikes, and even more if you rotate the flint.
WetFire Tinder Cubes are included in this survival gear. And, you only get a few, so use them wisely – like if you are in a driving rain or snow – where starting a fire is more than a little difficult with tinder, a fire starter tinder cube will get a fire going for you in short order. You can even float one on water and it will burn!
Next is the JetScream Floating Signal Whistle. And, if you’ve ever been out in the boonies and wanted someone to hear you, this is the way to do it – yelling all day long will only lead to you losing your voice. A whistle can be heard farther away and you can blow it all day long. At 122 decibels, this whistle can be heard over most natural and made-made noises. And, it is a “pea-less” design, so there is no pea inside to freeze-up. I could be completely out of sight, and when I’d blow this whistle, my dogs took note of where it was coming from.
You need something to carry your survival gear in, and a backpack or fanny pack is nice, but a lot of people just don’t think it’s important enough to carry some type of pack. Well, the B.A.S.E. 3.0 kit comes with a waterproof storage bag, in which, you can actually pack all the important survival gear you get in this package. And, if you need the waterproof bag for actually carrying water, you can put the gear in your pants pocket. Or, if you are crossing a stream, you can put your gear inside the waterproof bag to keep it safe and dry. A plastic bag can also be used for gathering berries and other food you might find along the way. A good waterproof bag, and this is a good one, is a very important piece of survival great to have, and this one is waterproof to 60-meters.
You get two Chlorine Dioxide Water Purification tablets, and these are also a great lifesaver. If you drink from any surface water source, you are sure to get sick – and perhaps even die, from some of the little bugs that are in surface water. Remember this, no surface water is safe to drink without first treating it in some way! These tablets will treat one liter of water – that you can put in your waterproof plastic bag – see, I told you a good waterproof bag comes in handy. It kills at least 99.9% of bacteria and viruses and 99.9% of cysts within 4-hours. Now, if it were me, I’d add a few more water purification tablets to this kit – just in case you are stranded more than a day or two. I don’t want to die because I drank some contaminated water and some microscopic bugs got in my stomach and intestines – making me too sick to move or even die. I’ve said this many times in my articles, that you must have a safe source of drinking water – period!
A small, liquid-filled compass is included in the 3.0 kit, and don’t knock it because it is so small, and a bit crude. It beats wetting your finger, and sticking it up in the air, to see which direction the wind is blowing – usually west to east in North America- but not always. You can attach this little compass to your equipment straps or a watchband. However, to my way of thinking, if I’m going to depend on a compass, I want it safe and sound, so it would be in my pants pocket – so I don’t have to worry about it getting broken or falling off my gear and getting lost. And, if you go out hiking, camping or hunting – you should have a map and some idea which direction “home” is – then even this little compass can help you find the right direction to take.
A small Tag-It Signal Light is part of this neat little survival kit, and you can use it with a steady “on” or a flashing mode – which is great if you are lost at night – if there is a search and rescue unit out there looking for you, a flashing light catches their attention quicker. However, the steady “on” position is helpful if you are walking at night (not advised) and trying to stay on a trail or road. This also has a built-in carabiner for attaching to your gear or clothing.
Last up is a SaberCut Razor Saw. To be honest with you, at first I didn’t think this piece of kit was all that great. Outwardly, it appeared to be cheaply made. I was wrong. It does have it’s place. The SaberCut Razor Saw has 24 teeth per inch, and they claim you can cut through a 3/8 inch rebar in just 25 minutes. Okay, I didn’t have any rebar around to test it on, and I wasn’t interested in getting thrown in the local jail, to see if I could cut through the cell bars. However, I did test it on some sheet metal and other metal scraps around the homestead, and that little saw cuts very well.
I went to my local big box store, and checked out their camping section, and they have similar products, that are included in the B.A.S.E. 3.0 kit, and if you purchased them separately, they would cost you a lot more than what you’d pay for in this kit. And, some of the products at my big box store appeared to be identical to the products in this kit. Again, you’d pay more.
No, this is not a long-use survival kit, as some of the products are only meant to be used once or twice – like the fire tinder cubes, and the water purification tablets – one you use them, you need to replace them. For those looking for a basic start-up survival kit, that they can carry in a fanny pack, or in your pocket, or a BOB – or even your vehicle, this is a great piece of kit to start with, and you can build on it. It would make an excellent piece of kit for a military troop to carry, especially if you are behind enemy lines, working covert ops, or a helicopter or jet fighter pilot – if you had to land your aircraft in an emergency – this little kit could help save your bacon and get you home safe and sound to friendly territory.
One thing I would include in this kit, is some type of emergency food – and you can decide what to pack yourself, be military-style MREs, freeze-dried foods or just some trail mix – but I’d add some sort of food to the B.A.S.E. 3.0 kit – you don’t need a lot to help you survive for a day or two, but I’d pack something. Once again, I’ve run across hunters who were out all day long, and they had no food or water with them – and they were miles from their vehicles, and they were grateful for a drink of water from me, and some directions on how to get from where they were to where they wanted to be – back to their rig or back to a main road.
US Tactical Supply has the B.A.S.E. 3.0 kit in-stock, as well as some smaller kits, if you don’t need everything that the 3.0 kit offers. However, for my money, I’d go with the 3.0 kit and then build on it. Price on the 3.0 kit is $49.95. Check out the link I provided above, and see if the 3.0 kit isn’t something you should consider for your BOB, or for carrying in your vehicle.
If you are new to prepping, then this is about as basic of a kit as you should start with – and like I said, build on it, add more stuff – a good folding knife would be my choice for one of the first things I’d add to this kit. I’ve seen other ready-made survival kits, and they weren’t nearly as well thought out as the 3.0 B.A.S.E. kit. – SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio