Monday, June 30, 2008

Book Review: Build The Perfect Survival Kit

Build the Perfect Survival Kit by John D. McCann is a book entirely around the components and building of survival kits. There are big kits, mini-kits, vehicle kits and everything in between. This is a fairly easy read at less than 200 pages, something you should be able to finish in a few hours. Survival kits are a very important aspect of survival. At a very minimum you should have some sort of kit in each of your vehicles. Many people carry mini kits around with them as part of their EDC (Every Day Carry), I do not. I always have a knife on me and I have a photon type light on my key chain, that is about it for me. Once I get my CCW my S&W M&P 9c will become a part of my EDC. I do have basic kits in each vehicle consisting of work gloves, a wool blanket, fleece, a fixed blade knife, socket set, assorted screwdrivers, jumper cables, fire steel, canteen, metal canteen cup, water purification tablets, bungees, rope, a couple of tarps and and a small hatchet. I am in process of getting some Mainstay rations and liter sized Aquablox as well as some sort of first aid kit in there too.

Mr. McCann has a lot of experience in this area honing his survival kit building skills over many years of running his own survival business and being the head instructor as several survival schools. His kits are very comprehensive and well planned out. They contain many things that one might forget to include in a kit and curse themselves at a later time. He is a big proponent of multipurpose items and give the readers many alternative to the choices he makes for his own kits.

The book is broken down into four sections:
1.) The Basics
2.) Components
3.) The Kits
4.) Appendices and Resources

The Basics - is just what you might think it would be including why build a kit in the first place. Mr. McCann's whole premise of building survival kits relies on what he calls the four P's...

PLAN IT, PICK IT, PAY FOR IT, PACK IT
Plan it: determine what type of kit it will be.
Pick it: determine the type of components needed
Pay for it: determine a budget for the kit and try to purchase components of equal quality not spending to much on any one single item so the quality on the other components suffers.
Pack it: package the kit so it is portable.

The Components - this section of the which makes up more than 60% of the book goes into selection of the components for a kit that include:
Fire and light
Signaling
Navigation
Water and food
Shelter and protection
Knives and tools
Medical
Multi-purpose components
Miscellaneous components

Mr. McCann really does and admirable job covering A LOT of material in easy to read and brief discussion. He covers many areas such as fixed vs. folding blades, compass vs. GPS, striker vs. matches or lighters...you get the idea. I believe he makes some very good suggestions and compromises to make the kits comprehensive but not overly complex. The key is components that are proven and will work flawlessly when the chips are down.

The Kits - is the section of the book where Mr. McCann gives real life examples as well as advice on how to create many types of survival kits. They go from the smallest to the largest with everything in between including good vehicle kits. One example I enjoyed immensely was the author converting an M6 Survival Rifle in to a comprehensive survival kit, everything needed is on or in the rifle itself. This was very nicely thought out and executed, it is a fine example of the ingenuity of the author.

Appendices and Resources - is the part of the book which contains resources for survival kit components. There is also a very nice touch added as well...lists of example survival kits of all types with detailed component lists. This would be great for someone who is interested in making a kit, has read the book but is too lazy or doesn't have the time to research components themselves. The "recipes" are laid out in black and white in and easy to read format. This is also very good reference material as far as I am concerned. These lists will enable you to verify you have all the basic areas covered. No matter when I put a kit together I ALWAYS forget something it seems...these lists can help serve as a checklist for your own kits.

In conclusion this book was an enjoyable read. It was interesting, well thought out and taught me a thing or two as I went through it. This would be a great book for a plane ride or for a lazy day in the chair in your yard. I have no problem recommeding this book to my readers as a quality piece of writing. Read the book and let me know what you think!

...that is all.

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1 comment:

  1. I keep a Small bug out kit in my truck along with a few extra in the tool box in my truck just in case! Thanks for the book reveiw sounds like a good read.....

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