Everglades Exploration Network

I know I've asked a similar question to this about 6 months ago but I figured I'd ask again and see if there are any new and different responses out there. What do you carry in a Survival Kit? What would you not be caught dead out in the wilderness without? Mine is currently designed for Camping by kayak so its not as compact as I eventually hope to get it but here is my current list.

Thick Survival Bracelet on my wrist any time I'm going out anywhere 25ft of 550-paracord and a stainless steel Shackle in place of the normal plastic buckle.

-First Aid Kit-

2 or 3 gallon ziplock bags

Water Purification tablets

Small mirror

Small Compass

Small lighter

Cotton balls rolled in Vaseline in a ziplock (great tinder but real quick burn time)

Small Bug spray

Bite/itch relief

Space Blanket


Alcohol Swabs

Assorted waterproof bandaids

Mole skin


Medical Tape

Occlusive bandage

Ace Bandage

Sewcher/Sewing kit

Safety Pins

Razor Blade

-Survival Kit- All fits in a 5L Dry bag

P-51 can opener (not a so much for wilderness camping but it weighs bout 1g and can be very useful)

2xAA 3xAAA (not so much a ditch my craft emergency but always there in a water proof bag AA is my GPS AAA is my headlamp)

Water Filter (sawyer squeeze, a lil bulky but light (~3oz))

Storm Whistle

Compass w/ mirror

Small Emergency Fishing kit (couple different hooks, 100ft of normal line and of a heavy test 100lb+, small toothpick bobbers, couple crimp weights)

5x Emergen-C Packets

Leather-man Wingman

Magnesium Fire Striker

Storm Proof Matches

Small Lighter

Micro Inferno(a small tin of sure fire tinder, will take almost any spark even if wet and burn for 5min+)

1"x30'Gorilla Brand Ducktape

Survival Blanket

Small Mesh Survival Hammock

Mosquito Netting (seems like a luxury but Ive been out in the glades and gotten eaten before, If i was stranded and couldn't get away from being bitten I would lose my mind I'm sure of it)

Some lengths of Bank Line (thin, but 300lb test)

Full Tang solid survival knife

ACR ResQlink+ PLB

Orion Signal Flares (small wilderness pack, 1 flare 1 smoke 1 fire starter)

I know I have some redundancy between the two packs they aren't packed together the First Aid kit is packed into my kayak normally and the Survival kit is strapped to the top top the kayak where I can pull it away if I need to ditched the yak for some unforeseeable reason. I feel like I have it over packed but I can come up with a great reason for every single item there, so I cant figure out if and what to cut out especially to shrink the pack to put in my day bag for a day hike emergency.

So Ill take any suggestions and also whats in your survival kits?

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Will this be your kit for the coastal and backcountry Everglades or inland big cypress?

Mine differ depending on where my trip will take me. I don't carry a water filter or purification tablets on canoe or kayak trips in brackish or saltwater environs. My chances, should I have an emergency in the backcountry of building a fire or finding ground to pass the time until rescue would be very difficult. Therefore, I must have my canoe as my platform to sleep/eat at until rescued. Keeping warm, having emergency signaling devices to include a PLB, VHF, flares, mirror are on top of the list. A comprehensive first aid kit is in a pelican case protected from water with a cord and carabiner attached to canoe. I don't have anything In there I do not know how to use. In my canoe I need access to water and food. I have a ditch bag (orange colored sealine bag) that has a cord and carabiner attached to canoe where I keep:

Rain jacket and pants
Fleece gloves
Fleece hat
Bug jacket
Cell phone /wallet with ID emergency contact info
Space blanket
Garbage bag/paracord/ductape

In my PFD, should I capsize and lose my canoe in storm:
(I always wear my PFD on the water)
Flares and signal kit
Bug spray
Emergency knife to cut loose from tangled line
Leatherman pliers in pocket
Waterproof light

For backpacking list is totally different.
This list is my general kayak list it would be slightly different backpacking. things like the filter and tablets are decently small so no point in leaving em behind. A small little survival hammock(the mesh net one I have packs down to the size of a baseball and I have 20ft of paracord attached to it, also the hammock itself could be used for a slightly large hole fishing net if need be) would give you an alternate to sleeping in your canoe/kayak and you could set up directly above you boat. Actually forgot about the VHF it's on my list just doesn't fit in the bag that's in the core o the boat. I like the pelican case idea for the first aid kit ... Mine is Just in a bag and it's ended up in the water one already lol
I know, my original first aid kit was also in a ziplock and did not survive a season even inside a drybag, the pelican case is also better for organizing and finding stuff, good place for spare batteries too. We all live and learn :-)

I have a Hennessy hammock but have figured out that by keeping a ridgerest pad behind my seat I can unroll that, remove footrest and can lay down in canoe comfortably. Of course if near a shore I could get some of the camping gear out of the canoe and on the mangroves for more room. The ridgerest pad is used under my sleeping mat for more comfort in chickees.

My main concern is keeping warm at night it can get really cold and windy out there. Maybe i am wrong but i figure with the PLB it would be 24 hours at most to be rescued so no time to forage for food no need for fishing gear in survival kit.

I also wonder what everyone else has in their kit and how they've thought different scenarios through.
I camp a Clark hammock the small mesh one is just purely for an "I lost everything" scenarios. Also I kayak I don't have a canoe so I can see being able to sleep in a canoe but I'm not sure about sleepin on top of my sot kayak. Also the PLB is great(which do u have by the way?) but what If it doesn't work when you need it or of you lose it? I like my small little tackle kit. I may be younger then alot of outdoor enthusiasts but if it's one thing I do know is never completely trust technology.
Agree, I don't rely entirely on electronics for survival either. I go out with others, leave float plan with family and check in when I come back. Here is the PLB I bought last year and it is on sale now $100 savings! McMurdo fastfind 210


I am thinking of adding a great land laser in addition to the 12 gauge flare gun i carry.
I used to camp out of a scupper pro SOT so I totally understand you carrying the hammock. Not a good place to spend the night in. But we all have to figure out the simplest and best way to keep ourselves warm, dry and bug free while waiting for help to arrive with the type of boats we travel in. So far out of all the kayaks I've tripped in the canoe is the most practical for the Everglades. The touring kayak was warmer and dryer and more comfortable (for me) than the SOT but would not want to spend 24 hours in one.
I don't have the room at my place to store a canoe so the most versatile option is the kayak
My solo canoe is about the size of my old SOT it is 14'-9"' long and 27" wide. I also have limited storage space in my condo,

This is a great discussion.  Sounds like a lot of you spend your fair share of time in the "Big and Scratchy".  Living in Wyoming my med kit's a little different.  Here's what I find now looking through it:

1 wine cork cut in half w/ a glovers needle and sewing needle inside the two halves and floss wrapped on outside

1 small diamond whetstone

1 small vial betadine wound wash

aspirin bottle with aspirin, ibuprofen,antacids,Immodium dh, and a REALLY old codeine tab(Tylenol III?)

duct tape

surgical tape

gauze compresses

Vietnam era field suture kit w/ OLD lidocaine local anisthetic

a piece of ivory soap

a piece of mirror, ducttaped around edges (for signaling)

3 lighters?

a small space blanket

alcohol wipes

and last but not least......a REALLY old piece of watermelon flavored Jolly Rancher candy!

Man, I've to to update this bag o' $*#@


I agree you need to carry spare batteries, I still carry a small maglight that I dont use and that is the source of my 2 spare AA batteries.  I always carry this spare flashlight and I can move the batteries to the GPS if needed.


I have an old WWII mosquito netting from the Pacific theatre that I used to use with a homemade elevated frame instead of a tent in the 70s-80s.  I used a tarp on the roof otherwise you will be wet from the dew.. It worked good until the weather got colder.  I would imagine it could be used without a frame by tying the 4 corners up.. The bottom I always tucked under my sleeping pad to keep out bugs. 

I would imagine it could be used with a small cheap mesh hammock. I will have to try it sometime. Here they are on eBay but I paid much less for mine. (I paid $2.50 in the 70s) .  http://www.ebay.com/itm/WWII-USGI-Mosquito-Net-For-Cot-Sleeping-Bag...

I cant believe that some of my existing gear is WWII vintage lol including my feather sleeping bag but apparently I take care of my camping equipment. Back in the day, the only way to buy swamp survival/hunting stuff was from old military surplus.  I remember guys used to hunt with old German Mausers. Am I getting old or what?  Maybe its time to upgrade lol.

I used my mom's uncle's WW II Army sleeping bag through 1980 until one really cold night when I slept to close to the fire and burned a big hole in it. LOL. We didn't use tents either, only mosquito net, when needed, staked on some locally found branches cut on site. That was quite site around 3 am after the fire was out and the fog sets in. All campers nets looked like a cemetery with nothing but these grey fabric crypt looking rectangles 6'x2'x2' with bodies in them. That's when your glad you had your 8" Bowie knife on your belt.

I just ran across this website. They sell survival gear in some really ingenious modular waterproof containers. They are called Gear Pods.The kits look to be of exceedingly high quality (both contents and containers) and you can customize your own or buy pre-assembled ones. They also sell just the containers which look like they would be great for storage while paddling/exploring.



I don't plug gear too much but these kits were pretty unique and innovative.

Someone on this forum may be interested.

If inside the U.S. 24 hours to wait for rescue is a long time. First of all, always wear your life jacket when on the water. Second would be leaving your float plan with someone else that is not on your trip. Third would be reliable communications/signaling. Preferably VHF marine band/ELT/EPIRB. A distant fourth would be visual signals. If the appropriate people know that you are in trouble and where you are, it is easy to get you. That said I usually carry a similar kit with me. Don't forget to check the weather and adjust your plans accordingly. Good Luck. JRC

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