Survival items that just make things more pleasant

Many survival kits will of course contain the basics. They will provide items for water, food, shelter and fire starting as well as often providing a source of lighting. However, one is usually left to their own devices to add more than the basics to these kits. That is not really a bad thing, as individual preferences will vary.

It is actually easier than many people think to flesh out a bare bones kit with comfort items to make a potentially bad situation much more bearable. Many mass market retailers - such as Target, Walmart, and Meijers - will have an entire aisle full of "sample", "trial size" and travel items. These will often be purchased by corporate road warriors to make their travels have some of the comforts of home in preference to relying on small generic bottles and bars of soap at hotels. Many of the name brands that a person is already familiar with can be found down these aisles, and most of the items will cost around a dollar.

One of the first items that should be picked up is a travel tooth brush. This can easily be put in a kit or even carried in a pocket - remember as a kid, the dentist did say to brush after every meal. These will be either of a two piece or folding variety and will take up much less space than a regular tooth brush. They will often also have a means to keep the bristles covered to keep off dirt, grime, or even nasty old pocket lint. Sometimes a tube of toothpaste will be included too, making it an all in one "kit". Otherwise, a small tube of toothpaste should be available nearby.

Next in priority should be some type of sanitizing wet wipes. Various styles and sizes should be available, either in the travel section or with baby needs, or even with the picnic supplies. If water is scarce, these can be a real morale booster by allowing one a chance to clean up a bit.

Gold Bond Medicated foot and body powder can also be found in small containers. This can both help with the problem of stinky feet - imagine a large number of people in tight quarters without a chance to bathe or take their shoes off - as well as even used on larger areas of the body. Soldiers often do this in the field to provide a clean feeling to boost morale.

Various other small size items can also be added to make life more bearable, and a cosmetic bag can hold most or all of them. Other thoughts on what to add would include a bar of soap, deodorant, some pain killers, cold medicine, and toilet seat covers. The latter can be particularly important if one finds themselves in a public shelter or having to use portable toilets set up by a government agency to help relief efforts.

Either down the sample aisle or with laundry supplies, one can also find a small bottle of bleach, usually holding about 500 ml. These shouldn't cost much more than a dollar and can provide a means of making a disinfection solution or a field expedient means of purifying suspect water. The small bottle will be much easier to carry than a gallon jug. Just remember to safeguard it around children and pets to avoid accidents. A few rubber gloves can also be handy to avoid getting on one's hands when using it.

Finally, a small pocket first aid kit with a few bandages and such as well as a pocket manicure set can also add to one's comfort by taking care of annoyances such as a folded over finger nail, small cuts, hang nails, and other such concerns which might seem trivial under normal circumstances, but can lead to infection or become a terrible distraction when a person is otherwise under trying conditions.

Last but not least, simply take a roll of toilet paper from the bathroom and remove the cardboard insert. Flatten it, place it in a plastic bag, and add it to the kit. That will tend to make life much more bearable.

-Christopher Fisher


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