Survival Hiking Staff vs Survival Kit

Survival Pole vs Kit

The other day, I came across a custom made hiking staff from  This particular staff incorporates a survival kit into it.

Survival on a Pole

Survival Hiking Staff

The people at Custom Made took a normal trekking pole, added a wooden handle, wrapped the handle in 20 feet of paracord, attached a carabiner with another 7 feet of paracord, attached a whistle then added a waterproof container with matches and tinder. It also has a shoulder strap with 50 feet of paracord and an additional carabiner.  Incorporated in the top of the stick is a liquid-filled ball compass.

It all sounded pretty clever and cool, until I started thinking about carrying all that stuff in my hand all day long.  My arm got tired just thinking about it.  After all, there is a reason trekking poles are marketed as “light weight.”   If it still sounds like a good idea to you, check it out at Custom Made or try making one of your own.  There are a number of YouTube videos, like this one from Homemade Genius, that can give you ideas on making your own survival staff.

Survival on Your Belt

Survival Kit

Personally,  I think I’m a lot better off with light-weight trekking poles and a survival kit in my pack or attached to my belt.  That way I’m not continually lifting it up and down with my arm.  Further,  it can include a lot of additional items. The above photo shows my survival kit and its contents.

Survival Kit Contents

My kit contains the following items:

Signal MirrorI added the pouch for the mirror and compass because both are fairly fragile and the pouch is padded.  The mirror came in a foam-padded envelope that it remains in.

There are many first aid kits you can buy, however, I chose the Coleman version because the tin can fit perfectly and it had room for some additional items.

All this is contained in an old GPS Outfitters case designed for the older, larger GPS units.   It’s main compartment is about 7 inches tall, 3.5 inches wide and 1.5 inches deep.  It holds the tin survival kit, the blanket and the knife sharpener.  The outer compartment is about 4 inches tall, 3inches wide and 1 inch deep.  It holds the signal mirror pouch and the tiny flashlight.  There are mesh pockets on each side.  One holds the container with the tinder and the other holds the paracord.  The whole thing, loaded, weighs in at 1 pound 3 ounces.  Unfortunately this particular case is no longer available.

Creating a Survival Kit

Unless you already have a case on hand, like I did, the first thing you will need to do is acquire the items you want in your kit.  At that point you will have an idea of the size of case you want to keep it in.  Since I already had a case,  I searched for a first aid kit that would fit in it. Some first aid kits have enough space to fit your additional survival items in it. You could, for example, take the REI Backpacker First Aid Kit, remove some of the non-critical items and have plenty of room for the survival items you need.  It’s just a matter of shopping around to find the case and contents that fit together.

About the Compass

Silva CompassWithout an appropriate map,  a compass can not do much more than help you follow a straight, more or less, path.  With a map, you can use your compass to pinpoint your location and figure out the best place to go.  So, take a map, regardless of where you go.  A GPS unit with built-in maps is helpful too, but when its batteries die you will be trouble without a paper map.

A compass like the one I carry is much more helpful than a ball compass when it comes to drawing lines on your map to locate yourself.  By the way,  that’s why there is a pencil in the kit.

Carrying the Kit

When backpacking I carry my survival kit in an outer pocket, so it can be easily reached.  When I leave the pack and go on a day hike,  I put the survival kit on my belt.  When in the wilderness,  it is important that you have your kit with you at all times.  If you don’t have it,  you will probably need it.

What do You Think?

Do you have a favorite approach to a survival kit? Do you like the survival pole idea?  Any items you think I should be carrying? I have a whistle built into my backpack, but perhaps I should also have on in my kit. I didn’t mention a knife, because I always carry my Leatherman Wave multitool in my pocket.  Anything else?

Please Share

# survival #firstaid


2 Responses to “Survival Hiking Staff vs Survival Kit”

  1. Count Loco says:

    You should carry some water purification tablets or something I carry is potassium permanganate sealed in large straws with glycerin in another straw…Potperm has many uses !

  2. I would be good to carry some water purification tablets like these from Amazon:
    I don’t. My idea is that in an emergency situation, you will be waiting for help for a few days. Drinking the kind of water found in a wilderness area isn’t likely to kill you in that amount of time.

    I do carry a small water filter in my backpack on extended hikes: All the water I drink in those situations is filtered.

    I’ve used potassium permanganate (PM) in an iron filter on a well. There are a lot of safety requirements with it as it can be quite dangerous.

    I don’t recommend PM for any field use. PM can cause severe burns, can damage lung tissue, can damage your eyes, and can adversely affect the liver and kidneys. It is critical to handle it safely. If you don’t you can get in trouble far worse than your first aid kit can handle.

    You can find the Material Safety Data Sheet here:

    There are better options.

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