An outstanding dry bag emergency kit is a great way to keep your emergency items. The dry bag emergency kit is based on the concept of Dave Canterbury’s 10 Cs of Survivability. I first experimented with Dave’s concept in 2015. I found that his kit is a little bulky for the average backpacker. A more practical application of Dave’s concept for the backpacker is to buy smaller items and put them in a more flexible dry bag, such as the Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack. However, I did modify my dry bag emergency kit with the following items.
Dry Bag Emergency Items
The items for this bag were chosen for being durable, practical, dependable and affordable. It is important that whatever gear you choose for any survival kit or bag that it will not fail you when you need it the most. Thus, here are the items that I chose for my modified dry bag emergency kit based on Dave Canterbury’s 10 Cs of Survivability.
The following items are part of what I call your Tool Kit. Reliable tools are critical to ensuring your survival in a desperate situation. I have found that all of these items will fit in the dry bag emergency kit.
- Knife, Fixed Blade Morakniv, Bushcraft, 1 EA.
- Knife, Folding Victorinox, Swiss Army, Farmer, 1 EA.
- Multitool Leatherman Wave, 1 EA.
- Saw, Folding Bahco Laplander Saw, 1 EA.
Moreover, not only are tools critical to your being able to do survival tasks in the field, you also need to address one of the core survival categories: fire. The following items make up what I call my Fire Kit. All of these items will fit in the dry bag emergency kit. You may want to place all of these items in a small pouch that will go into the dry bag.
- Lighter, Disposable Bic® Lighter, 1 EA.
- Cubes, Wet Fire Wet Fire, 5 EA.
- Rod, Ferro Titan Fire Striker, 1 EA.
The next category that is necessary for survival is shelter. The following items are what I call the Shelter Kit. In Dave’s video presentation of his 10 Cs of Survivability, he takes most of these items and rolls them up into the emergency blanket so that they will fit in the dry bag. I have experimented with this configuration and it will fit easily in the dry bag.
- Blanket, Emergency SOL Heavy Duty Emergency Blanket, 1 EA.
- Liner, Drum, 3mil, 55 gal. Toughbag Drum Liner, 2 EA.
- Stakes, Tent MSR Tent Stakes, 5 EA.
The next the essential items for the dry bag emergency kit are what I call the Water Kit. The water kit helps you to procure and process water in the field. Obtaining water is one of the critical tasks that you need to do in order to live in a survival situation. The items listed here will help with get drinkable water in the outdoors.
- Bottle, Stainless Steel, Single-Walled Klean Kanteen, 40 oz., 1 EA.
- Cup, Nesting GSI Glacier 24 oz Cup, 1 EA.
- Filter, Water Straw Sawyer Mini Filter, 1 EA.
- Tablets, Water Treatment MSR Aqua Tabs, 30 pk., 1 PK.
- Note: water treatment/filter items can go inside of the water bottle
Cordage is an essential part of any emergency or survival kit. Most of the experts agree that bank line or paracord should be part of any kit. Cordage allows for food procurement (fishing/trapping), shelter construction, primitive weapons (slings/bows), and in extreme circumstances can be used for first aid (lashing splints/sutures), as well as gear and clothing repair.
- Paracord, 550 MILSPEC, 50-100 ft.
- Bankline, 50 ft.-1 Spool
- Kevlar Line, 25 ft.-1 Roll
These first five categories are considered the essential items that are required to enable any survival situation. Thus, the following five categories are additional considerations to help with other important survival tasks.
Cotton is a versatile element in any survival or emergency kit. Cotton cloth allows for use in first aid (bandages/slings), tinder material for fire making (charred cloth), water collection (absorbing dew/water filtering), or communication if a blaze orange material (trail marking/signal flag).
- Bandana Levi’s Bandanas, 1 EA.
- Bandage, Triangular USGI Military Cravat, 1 EA.
Cargo tape or duct tape is a great item to keep in a survival kit. Cargo tape can function effectively as tinder for fire starting, gear and clothing repair, first aid, and other uses depending on a person’s skill level.
Tape, Cargo Gorilla Tape, 1 in., 1 Roll
A candling device is anything that can be used to shine light like a flashlight or headlamp. Candling devices can also function as emergency signals as night.
- Headlamp Petzl Bindi Headlamp, 1 EA.
A compass is a critical item in a survival or emergency kit. A compass enables land navigation over long distances. It can also be used as a signaling device if it has a mirrored function to its construction.
- Compass, Base Plate w/Sighting Mirror K&R Alpin Compass, 1 EA.
The canvas needle is sometimes called a sail needle. The needle functions in the field as part of your sewing kit. The needle can be magnetized to construct a primitive compass. It is useful for gear repair and first aid as well.
- Needle, Large, Canvas, Sail Vanguard Marine Sewing Kit, 1 EA.
The final five categories offer capabilities that will enhance a person’s survival chances. Therefore, they are considered to be the next level of emergency gear that will compliment the first five categories. Yet, Dave’s dry bag survival kit is just a start for your survival needs in the field. As such, some additional considerations are offered as optional items to consider if you wish to expand beyond the basic dry bag survival kit.
Additional Considerations Beyond the Dry Bag
Finally, these additional emergency kit items are added here for you to consider beyond the dry bag emergency kit. Remember that the dry bag carries only the basic essential items that will help you survive in the outdoors. The following items can be part of your larger emergency bag (BOB, Go Bag, GHB, INCH, 72 Hr. Emergency Bag).
Sleeping or Bedding Kit
The following sleeping items are what I call my Sleeping Kit. These will not fit into the 10 or 15 liter dry bag. However, I have added them here as a consideration.
- Bivy, Emergency SOL Emergency Bivy, 1 EA.
- Bivy, Gore-Tex Tennier Woodland Bivy, 1 EA.
- Bag, Sleeping Snugpak Jungle Sleeping Bag, 1 EA.
- Pad, Sleeping Mat USGI Sleeping Mat, 1 EA.
Food Kit Pouch
- Freeze Dried Mountain House Food Pouch, 3 EA.
- Bars, Energy Cliff Bar Energy Bar, 3 EA.
- Meat, Dried Jerky Jack Links Beef Jerky, 1 EA.
- First Aid Kit, General Purpose Adventure Medical Kits 1.0, 1 EA.
- Kit, First Aid, Trauma US Army IFAK, 1 EA.
- Whistle, Emergency SOL Emergency Howler Whistle, 1 EA.
Food Procurement Kit
- Kit, Fishing, Emergency Best Glide ASE Emergency Fishing Kit, 1 EA.
- Spray, Pepper Sabre Pepper Spray, 1 EA.
- Sling Shot
Clothing is considered your first level of shelter based on the concept that your clothing insulates one from the affects of body heat loss. Therefore, the type and quality of the clothing is an essential part of your emergency gear considerations.
1 Day Change of Clothes
- Socks, Wool Omni Wool Boot Socks. 1 PR.
- Shirt, Underwear, T-Shirt Coolmax T-Shirt, 1 EA.
- Trousers, Hiking/Travel Fjallraven Vidda Pro Trousers Regular Solid Sandstone, 1 EA.
- Shirt, Hiking/Travel Fjallraven Greenland Shirt, 1 EA.
- Gloves, Work Petzl K53 Gloves, 1 PR.
Seasonal Gear (Cold Weather)
- Jacket, Fleece Columbia Fleece Jacket, 1 EA.
- Gloves, Winter, Gore-Tex Carhartt Waterproof Work Gloves, 1 PR.
- Scarf, Wool Winter Wool Scarf, 1 EA.
- Cap, Wool, Watch Army Universe Wool Watch Cap, 1 EA.
- Baselayer Bottom Meriwool Baselayer Bottoms, 1 EA.
- Baselayer Top Meriwool Baselayer Top, 1 EA.
Seasonal Gear (Wet Weather)
- Jacket, Rain, Packable Columbia Rain Jacket, 1 EA.
- Trouser, Rain, Packable Columbia Rain Pants, 1 EA.