*Survival Vests 101*
You may have seen my survival vest contents in another writing. If you did great! Letís get to work explaining what all is there and why. I built this vest with three things in mind, Hunting, SAR, and bug out. Every thing in the vest has a purpose and is field-tested. I like to use as much military surplus as possible. MIL SPEC means just that. The item was tested to perform under the most adverse conditions possible and is pretty much G.I. proof.
I chose the Survival Inc vest because of the snap trac pocket feature. It is somewhat a restricted Item and must be purchased by Military or LEO if you want the holster and magazine pockets. A civilian version is available directly from their website.
Letís look at the back first. The back of the vest contains a backpack like pocket that has two compartments. The smaller of the two holds my Bible (moral guidance), GPS, 2 large brown trash bags (water collection/ground cover /weather suit/ you get the idea), earplugs and space blanket.
The next pocket contains 2 MREs, Nomex gloves, light sticks, MRE accessories, green toothbrush, Knapp sport saw (bone saw), 550cord (Para-cord), insect repellant, and fishing kit (some line and a few small hooks).
Every thing that can be is sealed in zip-lock bags. This serves 3 purposes. water proofing, additional bags for storage in the field, and additional buoyancy in the event of river/stream fording or just plain old falling in.
Letís take a look at the front now. It has numerous pockets just begging to be filled with lots of survival gear. On the far left side is a cross draw holster with 2 retention straps. My HK USP 45 usually calls this home in the field. On the far right side is a pocket that is just big enough for a USAF pilotís flask and 4 bottles of water purification tablets in a (you guessed it) zip-lock baggy.
The rest of the pockets are located on the front of the vest. The lower LT pocket (as it is worn) contains medical supplies and camouflage face paint. A field tourniquet, whistle, iodine with swabs, Chap Stick, and surgical gloves and a small aloe vera sunburn gel round out the list.
The first aid kit contains:
40 alcohol wipes
2 butter fly strips
1 ammonia ampoule
1 Pr tweezers
1 razor blade
The middle left outboard pocket has the following, A MILSPEC lensatic compass, fire starter (magnesium type from Wal-Mart), knife sharpener, and small LED flashlight with batteries.
The middle LT inboard pocket contains a signal mirror and a rescue strobe. (The strobe is available from Brigade Quartermaster for between 90 and 100 bucks and is capable of operating continuously for 20 hours on a new set of AA batteries.)
The magazine pouch holds 1ea. 12Rnd. USP 45 Magazine.
The upper left pocket contains a cleaning kit for my 7.62 NATO rifle. (The German army has a very good design and is available for about ten bucks.)
Moving on to the Right side of the vest, we find vertical pockets with attachment points for gear with clips.
The RT inboard pocket contains Ammunition for my 7.62 NATO rifle and a field knife. The Ammo is in plastic holders from Federal Cartridge and sealed in (you know it) zip-lock bags
The RT outboard pocket contains more 7.62 NATO ammo in plastic carriers and zip-lock bags as well as a small folding knife and pair of forceps. The finger light is also kept in here and is a small LED light just right for reading a map at night with drawing a lot of attention.
The RT side also has a magazine pouch with 1ea. 12Rnd USP 45 magazine.
The RT upper pocket contains the one survival tool I wonít leave home without. A small pair of 10X binoculars. These are the most useful things you can have in the field. I use mine more than anything else in the vest equipment wise.
The shoulder attach points are home to carabineers and a Gerber or Leatherman type tool.
The only thing I have left to cover is documents and such. I carry an older USAF survival manual. It is waterproof and well thought out. My calculator is for helping me to figure ballistics for my rifle and for letís face it NEVER DO MATH IN PUBLIC. The interior pockets also hold my Hunting License and other important items like 2 one-hour phone cards and other ID. I did not include my Maps for good reason.
The total weight out the door with my rig is less than 25 LBS. The vest puts every thing you need to SAR, Hunt or bug out in easy reach and will get you home from a bad situation if you stop, THINK, and act accordingly.
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