Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ancient Armory: Homemade Pocket Survival Kit

I recently stumbled across an interesting article on Field and showing you how to create a pocket survival kit that will fit in an Altoids tin. This handy little kit fascinates me as I’m not only a camper and outdoorsy-type fella, I’m also a self-described expert in all things relating to “How much useful stuff can I cram into this small space?” (You should see me pack for vacation.) I’m planning on whipping one of these up for my personal outdoors gear, and I realized this would make for a useful item for your Mutant Future PCs.

The Pocket Survival Kit is a small collection of useful survival gear and items carried by many denizens of the Mutant Future. Most kits have been cobbled together by wasteland wanderers from tools and trinkets found over the years, although some have discovered “official” survival kits created by Ancient armies for their soldiers.

Most kits are very light – just a few ounces – and are small enough to be tucked into a pocket or hidden in a book or jacket sleeve. The contents of these survival kits vary, but are similar in scope. Here are items a fully-equipped survival kit could contain:
  • FIRE and LIGHT: flint and steel, waterproof matches, a lighter, easily lit waterproof tinder, candle, small LED flashlight
  • WATER and FOOD: water bag or plastic water collector, water purification tablets, fishing line, hooks and tackle, 10 feet of thin wire (for snares)
  • SIGNALING and NAVIGATION: signal mirror, compass
  • TOOLS and MEDICAL SUPPLIES: wire saw, small razor blades, antibiotic ointment, bandages
  • SHELTER and PROTECTION: reflective-surface survival blanket
  • MISCELLANEOUS: nylon string, sewing needles, glue, magnifying glass, safety pins, aluminum foil, waterproof paper, pencil
Generous Mutant Lords could allow their PCs to have a Pocket Survival Kit as part of their starting equipment. If not, perhaps the players could discover one or two in the pockets of a defeated marauder or in the cache of a defeated foe. A devious ML could strip a player of all of his weapons and belongings, then drop him into a savage environment with nothing but his hidden survival kit to see how well he improvises an escape plan with the contents (ala A4: In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords).


  1. I think it would make sense that a survivalist would carry a little kit, and the kit would get better as he levels up. But by nature the things in the kit are refined, tiny, manufactured goods he can't produce himself.

    So, you gain a limited-use bonus to your survival skill for important situations, but after the uses are gone so goes your bonus. If you can get back to town you can restock with a little money.

    This would be something that encourages occasional trips back to town.

    Or, a player could say "ok each kit costs ten monies and weighs one heavy, so I will just buy 10 of them and stick them all in a bag that can carry ten heavies." which avoids the point entirely.

    Another thought: thieve's tools include lockpicks, files, wax impression pads, a listening cone, small prybar, etc. A Thief is at normal skill rating when he has his tools. What if a survivalist requires his mini-kit and if he doesn't have one he has a penalty?

  2. There is an entire community on YouTube that discuss these. Bushcraft and survival skill type videos are plentiful on YouTube. I even do gear reviews of knives and such.