Monday, April 5, 2021

Pocket Survival Kit

There have been numerous articles on Bug Out (BOB), Get Home (GHB), and I’m Never Coming Home (INCH) bags, as well as various belt pouch survival kits. All of these have important places in a survival situation and I’m in no way discounting them. However, I wanted to write about something smaller and potentially simpler. What has it got in its pocketses?

Between my pants and jacket, I carry most of the following items on a regular basis. Some are added for particular travels, while a few are alternate or substitute items.

The Author's Usual Pocket Survival Loadout

Number 1 is a new item. I picked up this Wallet Ninja at a trade show as a giveaway. It looks like a good backup for:

Number 2, my Pocket Monkey was a gift many years ago and has lived in my wallet ever since. It’s passed through various security checks with no issues, including TSA checkpoints at several airports. It’s been of great use when I was unable to bring a larger or more versatile tool with me.

Number 3 is a small pocket knife I keep in a jacket pocket. It was a giveaway from a fundraiser.

Number 4 is my main pocket tool, a Leatherman Fuse, a gift from my wife. Unfortunately, this model has been discontinued, but similar sized models are available both from Leatherman and other manufacturers. I cannot stress enough the importance of having one of these with you as often as possible.

Number 5, my Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Champion model, lives in my jacket. This model also seems to have been discontinued; however, the Swiss Army Knife website lists a number of knives with similar toolsets.

Number 6 is my everyday pocket knife, the most commonly used tool I carry. This one is a Kershaw 1910ST, sadly also out of production. (I’m noticing a trend here) However, there are a number of comparable knives from both Kershaw and others.

Number 7 is a simple cloth tailor’s tape measure. I find this more convenient and versatile than a metal retractable tape measure as well as being lighter.

Number 8, a small LED flashlight, is normally attached to a zipper pull on my jacket. Light is one of our most important tools and while this one is small and not super powerful, it’s great for tasks such as map reading and finding a keyhole at night.

Number 9 is another flashlight. In fact, the same model the other David wrote about back in July and October of 2020 as well as mentioning in earlier posts. I bought this one in August last year due to his recommendation, and I heartily endorse his opinion on this flashlight.  I carry at least two different flashlights because the saying “Two is one and one is none” becomes true all too often.

Number 10 is a packet of tissues. I don’t think I need to add anything on how useful these can be.

Number 11 is a plastic Knot Card. It helps me remember how to tie some knots I may need but don’t use often enough. I tend to rely on one or another variation on the figure eight knot, but it’s (k)not always the best choice.

Number 12 is a sampling of various pens that accumulate in my jacket pockets, I try to always have at least one Sharpie on me at all times. They come in a variety of colors and point styles and are near infinitely useful. The other pen is a regular ball point with a twist, the point end has a small foam ball for use with touch screens.

The next two items are not always with me. They tend to get added if I’m going to a city away from home.

Number 13 is a stopcock or sillcock wrench that can be used to turn on (or off) external water spigots. This one has ends in the four most common sizes.

Number 14 is another gift, a Snowflake Multi Tool Screwdriver/Wrench combo. I haven’t put this one to much use yet, but it has good reviews and looks quite versatile.

Number 15, ear plugs, is similar to the tissues in that its use is pretty obvious. I already have pretty bad tinnitus in one ear and some general hearing loss. I don’t use these as often as I should, but they’ve saved me from certain pain on more than one occasion.

Sir Not Appearing in This Image is a small compass that lives on another zipper pull of my jacket. It’s never a bad idea to know which way you’re going.

These are not the only items I have with me; a small writing pad, larger flashlight, gloves, phone chargers, backup battery, etc, also live in my jacket pockets. In addition, I usually have a small pack or bag with me that contains various other items, such as a first aid kit. I nearly always have my sidearm, spare magazine, and phone on my belt as well, but if I had to run out the door with just what was in my pockets, I think I’d be in good shape.


  1. Butane lighter! Write in the rain note book.

  2. This list is very similar to mine, with the exception of a flashlight. I know that is the one thing that I am lax on, and when I was working, I kept one on hand at all times. Now, I don't have a light on me unless I plan on needing it. I am going to order on of the small zipper pull types from Amazon, just to ensure that I have at least one at all times.
    And Howard, I concur about the butane lighter. I quit smoking at least 5 years ago, but still carry a refillable butane lighter. It doesn't leak, and works every time.
    I have actually cut down some on the pocket carry, since I love knives, and used to carry about 4-5 of them. Now I am down to 2, my Kershaw that I carry with a pocket clip, and a smaller CRKT that I keep ultra sharp, in my left front pocket, for jobs that need a sharp, maneuverable knife.
    Thanks David, and also Erin, for an always helpful post.

  3. “This one is a Kershaw 1910ST, sadly also out of production. (I’m noticing a trend here)”. It starts to happen to all of us at some point. If you’re lucky enough to get that far. ;)


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