Hey guys. I've been meaning to post this up for awhile. As it is an overcast day threatening rain, and I didn't feel like going outside (I don't know what's wrong with me), I decided to do it today.
When bushcrafting, hiking, or backpacking, separation from one's pack results in falling back on what one has in one's pockets, hence the PSK. Most of the ones I've seen fit in an Altoids tin, and contain some basic tools and equipment, often a small blade, firesteel, compass, fish-hooks, cordage, etc. I have always disliked the miniaturization of the items, though they are cool, and I recently had to pull out my mini-compass on a cloudy day when I got lost squirrel hunting and had forgotten my normal pin-on one.
Canoe-ers call their PSK a "Ditch Kit". What if you swamp on a cold day and all your stuff goes on down the river or to the bottom of the lake? How now, brown cow? Some folks put their bits and pieces into the pockets on their life jackets, others in small containers in cargo pockets like land-based folks.
I played around with several pieces of gear for a long time, trying to figure out something bigger, but not so big that I wouldn't or couldn't wear it. I prefer to carry everything I need in a small daypack, but the canoeing piece never fit that mold.
So here's what I came up with. I stole a lot of it from you all, some from Kephart, some from Mors Kochanski, and some from Cody Lundin's "98.6*, the Art of Keeping Your A$$ Alive".
This first pic is the packed-up kit. I took a USGI SAW magazine pouch as the overall container. I wanted something that would ride out of the way, in the small of my back, and I hate hard stuff in my rear pants pockets and cargo pockets. The belt is a modified USGI belt. I bought two and cut one off about 30" long. I sewed it to the other one using a continuous stitch on the ends and along the lower edge. On the top side, I put 3x bar tacks. I can stick a 24" bucksaw blade in there now, and it won't fall out, cut the bottom (teeth ride up), or me. The metal container is a small Trangia mess tin about 6" x 3" x 2", with a handle. I also have the larger one, but it doesn't have the folding handle. You can waterproof the whole works by running a strip of electrical tape around the seam. I have fastened a couple safety pins and a large and small sewing needle to the lid with a small strip of duct tape.
This is a closeup of the belt with the sawblade inside. You can see 2 of the 3 bartacks, and the teeth. If you make one, offset the bar tacks... they're not centered on the whole belt. you need space to one side or the other so be able to slide the blade in.
This is all the stuff that fits in the kit...
Off to the left, with the blue center, is my fishing kit. It's basically a plastic snuff 'tin' containing a reel from a roll of Teflon tape. this holds a bunch of fishline. I've drilled a couple holes in the case and rolled some pre-rigged fish-hooks around it, then taped them down. Inside the case are a few split shot sinkers. outside, rolled up in a wad in the middle of the case, are some pieces of red felt for frogs (they'll bite anything red). All of that fits inside the snuff tin.
On top of that is another Skoal can, this time the waxed cardboard one with the metal lid. There's a full spool of brass snare wire inside. This does NOT fit inside the Trangia mess tin (nor does the paracord donut).
The two round things next to those are a roll of dental floss and a spool of nylon thread, both wrapped in plastic bag corners and taped, to keep them clean.
Inside the lid is a small donut of paracord, and behind/under it, the needles and pins.
Under the tin are two containers. One is liquid iodine for water purification. The other is salt. Kephart said it best, paraphrasing, "Trout with salt are better than trout without."
The next little pile, off to the right of center, is fire stuff. Fresnal lens ($1 at walmart vision center), mini-Bic lighter, waterproofed matches, and a Mentos case with a mag bar/firesteel and scraper inside.
Furthest right is my 35+ year old boy scout Silva compass (without a bubble after all these years) and a small (2x3?) glass signal mirror. Cody Lundin was adamant that a glass one was better than metal. It's well padded, inside the Tragia tin, and if it breaks, I'm really hosed.
And here it is all packed up. You can see that there is PLENTY of room left next to the Trangia tin. If I didn't already have a saw blade, my Bahco Laplander would fit in here, lengthwise. I pushed the snare wire and paracord down into the bottom to see what room I had left. I think I will add what Kephart called an "emergency ration". I have a small Mtn House Beef Stew meal that would fit, or I can go with jerky and pinole, or a small container of dried bean powder and rice, some bouillon or soup mix, cocoa, tea, or what have you. I have a lot of space left on top of the kit too, up in the top of the ammo pouch (about 2" more). I would like to come up with some sort of small tarp to go in there. Have the spare diamond-shaped tarp from my Hennessy Hammock that might do the trick, but open to suggestions on that one. I will also try my USGI casualty blanket, but I think it's too big. Any suggestions are welcome.