When it comes to flying we are very limited by what we can legally carry in terms of  ‘survival gear’. Blades are a definite no-no of course but there are a ton of things that are perfectly legal for you to carry in both hand and checked-in baggage. If you fly regularly (i.e. for work related purposes)  then it’s a good idea to put together some sort of airport friendly survival and get-home type of kit. In this article we will discuss what we think should be included in such a kit and why. There is absolutely nothing worse than being stranded at an airport far away from home due to an apparent flight delay or even worse perhaps marooned in some ‘God-forsaken’ desert after a plane crash. Click here to learn how to increase the chances of surviving the fall from 33,000 feet.

Here are some items that we believe are a good start for an airport-friendly survival and get-home kit. it is by no means comprehensive and we’ll be adding to it whenever we think of something else. If you think we’ve missed something or would like to add to the list, but all means do so and leave a message in the comments below.
Of course what you pack in your own bags comes down to your personal preference, travel circumstances and weight restrictions.
  • Torch – absolute essential for finding your way in the dark or searching for things
  • Headlamp – hands free lighting; this is a no brainer
  • Bandanna or shemagh – has many uses and is a very versatile piece of kit
  • Neck gaiter – like a bandanna is very versatile and of course keep your neck and face warm
  • Duct tape – Literally 1001 uses; you can purchase these in travel size rolls or you can wrap a good length around an old credit card
  • Super glue – fixing broken items and also gluing wounds shut
  • Extra Large cable tie tied up with rubber bands – can come in handy for tying up a terrorist (who knows)
  • 550 Paracord bracelet or small bundle – cordage
  • Climbing rate carabiner – for emergency rappelling or securing
  • Whistle – signalling for help; we recommend the ACME tornado whistle
  • Button compass – navigation
  • Stainless steel water bottle (e.g. Kleen Kanteen) – carrying and boiling water in
  • Small water filter/”survival straw” such as a Sawyer Mini, LifeStraw or Survivor Filter – water purification
  • Disposable butane lighter or Zippo – fire making capability
  • Ferro rod and striker – secondary fire making capability (remember: two is one and one is none)
  • Hand-cranked/solar mobile phone charger and battery power bank – a means to charge your mobile phone and iPod
  • Extra medications – it’s always good to carry extra especially if you’re caught in a bind and need your meds
  • List of phone numbers – phone numbers for family, friends, work etc
  • Extra cash in wallet – you never know when this will come in handy
  • Travel size first aid kit – treating minor injuries
  • Bleed kit: Israeli bandage, haemostatic gauze (e.g. QuikClot or Celox), nitrile gloves, SWAT Tourniquet.
  • Emergency mylar blanket – shelter and first aid use
  • Compact military rain poncho – shelter and protection from the elements
  • SOL Emergency Bivvy or Cocoon sleeping bag – something to sleep in
  • Pen, Sharpie, pencil and notepad(ideally waterproof; check out the RiteInTheRain notebooks)
  • Keys – your car and house keys are something you would be carrying with you anyway but I want to make a point here that keys come in very handy in a survival situation. Firstly you can them as a weapon and secondly they can be sharpened on a rock as a sort of makeshift blade.
  • Spare batteries for torch, headlamp and any other technology requiring batteries
  • Ziplock bags – Obviously great for organising all your bits and pieces but in an emergency situation you can use them to collect water.
  • Smoke hood – folds up very small and is great for preventing you breathing in harmful fumes especially in aircraft fires
  • Leather or mechanics gloves  – great for touching hot stuff, moving debris and generally protecting your hands from cuts
  • Small bag or container with cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly – fire starting capabilities
Your travel hygiene kit should be geared towards survival:
  • Travel toilet paper
  • Extra change of clothes
  • Folding or mini toothbrush and travel size toothpaste
  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Nail clipper – the file on this can actually be sharpened on a rock and used as an improvised blade
  • Beeswax Lip Balm – can be used as an accelerant for starting fires in a survival situation
  • Mirror – hygiene purposes and can be used for signalling

The clothes/accessories you wear and pack should also be suitable for survival situations where versatility and durability is required.

  • Long sleeve cotton shirt (protection from the sun, wind, cold temperatures and also debris)
  • Light jacket (warmth and protection from rain)
  • Cotton T-shirt (can be used for filtering water and stopping heavy bleeding)
  • Durable pants or shorts with lots of pockets (e.g. cargo pants) for carrying items
  • Tactical belt for emergency rappelling or as a makeshift tourniquet (check out the Blackhawk CQB Riggers Belt or the 5.11 TDU Belt.
  • Sturdy tactical boots that have waterproof, fire and acid resistant qualities
  • Sunglasses – obviously protect your eyes from the sun and glare but can also be used as protection from falling or flying debris and smoke
Extras you may wish to consider:
  • SAS Survival Handbook – Arguably the best survival handbook on the planet; great reading material – you can get the pocket edition for travelling
  • Airport approved multi-tool: Leatherman Style PS or a Gerber 600 – both don’t have a blade but have a great range of tools that you’d find on regular multitools
  • Tactical pen – Something like a Junior’s bullet pen or a tactical pen made by Schrade or Extac; for self-defence and of course writing purposes
  • Monocular – Great for scouting and scanning terrain in a survival situation
Additionally you might want to consider carrying a couple of extra granola bars, Mainstay or SOS brand emergency ration bar but of course most people bring some sort of snacks with them when they travel but it is a good idea to carry extra for emergencies.
You could pack a regular multi-tool, folding knife and fixed blade knife in your checked baggage but be sure to check the regulations in your state, country and destination etc.
Of course there will never be an airport friendly survival kit that will allow you to carry everything you’ll need to make it back home safely or survive out in who know’s where but at least this list is a start and will make things heaps easier – there’s no two ways about that. Knowing how to improvise and be creative is the key in this sort of situation. Primitive skills and bushcraft comes in real handy in this type of situation.

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