I love these little things. They’re quite often shaped like old baccy (tobacco) tins and have a list of really useful sounding quite useless stuff. Sort of thing you get in there is a flint and steel (for lighting fires, usually by trying to set fire to tampons), a snare for catching rabbits, a line and hook for fishing, a mirror for signalling rescue aircraft, that sort of thing.
Although all of these sound like they could save your life one day, in reality would you ever use them? Certainly in Scotland, things are never going to get so bad as it’s necessary to catch your own emergency survival rabbit, rather than spending that many, many hours this would take getting your sorry, hungry ass off the mountain. Likewise, lighting a fire with a flint sounds cool, but is difficult and comes down to the standard of what you’re trying to light. And if that’s dry enough, then matches or a little disposable lighter is better. Ok, so you could argue that you’d run out of these, but if you do, get your bum home where you’ll warm up, don’t mess about trying to survive out on the hill without the right kit.
The one place these do come in useful, though, is pretending you’re a Para on exercise, or when you’re trying to hone some of those survival skills that Dusty, legend that he is, wrote about. If that’s what you’re after, there are few things as pleasing as a well-stocked survival kit.
This is the wee things you need to take along, but which aren’t really part of your kit. Phones, car keys, credit cards (always useful), cash. They kind of just get in the way, but can really spoil your day if you lose them up a mountain.
Best thing for these is a little hard case with o-ring seal. This will protect them from being squashed or soaked. If squashing is less of a worry, you can get little dry bags instead. These range from the resealable bags you get for frozen food (which are ideal for waterproofing your kit) to sea-going dry bags which are sealled by rolling over the top lip again and again, then clipping off with a fastex clip.
Once secure, stick it right down at the bottom of your kit bag so it doesn’t pop out, or if you have one, sticking it in the top flap pocket of your rucksack works well. What you want to avoid is it falling out without you noticing when you get the rest of your kit out, as you might not notice…