There’s a lot of opinions on what get packed into a good field kit, or ruck, pack, or whatever you choose to call it. Survivalists, hikers and campers will almost get into bar room brawls over the subject, the way football fanatics almost will over who gets picked where and when in the NFL draft. Ok, maybe it’s not THAT bad, but it’s pretty polarizing.
Suffice to say we all have our opinions. Hikers will say, “bah, ounces kill”; campers will say “If it fits in my RV…”; Survivalists will say “I’d pack the kitchen sink if it could fold up into a altoid tin”; and bushcrafters will say “pack”????
Regardless of where you stand, there are some things we ALL agree on:
1) Water filtration: (buy one HERE)find a system you like, master it, but have a backup method “on file”.
3) Fire: I know, we all want to be super-cool and hand-drill or bow-drill it; or fire plow, or fire saw, or… forget all that (for now), pack waterproof matches, a zippo, 2 or 3 Bic lighters, a ferro rod, magnesium block, steel wool & 9v battery, lighter fluid….whatever. But know at LEAST 3 ways to get a fire going.
4) A knife: Ok, this gets the NFL draft-esque fights going again. HC steel vs stainless, fixed vs folding, G10 vs micarta, ESEE vs Ontario… (I’d duck on that last one, and watch for bottles to fly).
5) Food: some people like “Mountain House” type dehydrated foods, most of us military guys will stand by our MRE’s (partly nostalgia, partly familiarity and ease of use). The “forager” will look at you and say…”you packed food”? Personally, I like to pack a well marbled porterhouse…
After that, it’s gets pretty murky, but those are the basics, the beginning. You start with those 5 things, and expand on that (till you have an entire room dedicated to gear and equipment, don’t laugh, it’ll happen eventually). After this you start getting into cordage, containers, compasses, (some of you already know where this is heading…) communications, etc, etc, etc. We could go WAY deeper into a gear list, but for now, well leave you with this to chew on.
Hope that gives you somewhere to start if you’re new at this. If you’re not, standby, we’re just getting started.