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For years pilots have been asking me to produce a commercial production version of my own Primary 2-Person Aviation Survival Kit. Every year a number of consulting clients who appreciate the best and can afford it have had me assemble custom survival kits for them modeled on my own personal kit, but the cost is quite expensive. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each Doug Ritter Aviator Survival Pak™ goes to support the non-profit Equipped To Survive Foundation. The typical general aviation pilot to whom these premium survival kits are targeted is not in good physical condition, many are in pretty poor physical condition. Energy and strength demands in a survival situation can be quite high and if you can't satisfy those demands, your survival kit needs to be able to compensate. I've also noticed that like much of the general population these days, relatively few of these pilots are experienced outdoors-persons.
It is incumbent upon the survival kit designer to consider the lack of these valuable attributes and dearth of experience when assembling the components of the kit. The target customer for these kits is determined to have the best available because he values the benefits this provides. Being expensive just for the sake of bragging rights or to claim some exclusivity is not what this is all about.
As an aside, you still need to carry essential survival gear on your person and my Pocket Survival Pak™ by Adventure Medical Kits is the way to go, in my humble opinion.
The Doug Ritter Aviator Survival Vest™ for those who wish to carry a bit more gear on their person. A survival kit should be designed, as much as possible considering weight and volume constraints, to serve the survivor and require minimal effort on the part of the survivor to use the kit. These kits are designed for temperate climate survival for pilots flying in the continental United States (CONUS), not arctic winter conditions (see Wikipedia's entry for Temperate Climate). If a pilot was properly clothed for the conditions and did the right things, the gear in these kits would certainly allow for survival in even arctic conditions, but the kit is not optimized for those conditions and especially not so for the less well equipped or experienced survivor.
That's one of the reasons that almost everything in the Doug Ritter Aviator Survival Paks™ is vacuum packaged except the Medical Kit, quick access gear, Platypus water bags, Snow Claw and a few odds and ends.
Vacuum packaging also discourages pilfering or casual use of emergency supplies for non-emergency use. Unlike other non-military survival kits, we use a commercial grade vacuum packaging machine and vacuum packaging film. A compact brightly colored retractable utility knife is included to slice open the vacuum packaging material. All the survival gear and supplies are contained in a specially designed pack built exclusively for me by Semper Paratus Tactical in the U.S. NOTE: We have updated the handle from that shown here to a wider rubberized plastic tubular handle that is easier to grasp. Special care has been taken to minimize protrusions, straps and the like on the outside of the Pak that could inadvertently catch on something while exiting the aircraft. UPDATE: The webbing handle in the photos here has been upgraded with a molded handle to provide a more secure and comfortable grip.
The back and bottom of the pack is padded with high-density closed-cell foam to protect both the survival components inside and your upholstery, as well as your back in case you have need to carry it using the shoulder straps.
All this attention to detail and extra effort on the pack for the Doug Ritter Aviator Survival Pak™ helps to ensure that if you ever need this survival gear to save your life, it will be there for you.
I don't expect you to take my word that these are the best kits available, I'm going to explain just why that's the case. Signaling Group - Doug Ritter Ultimate 2-Person Aviator Survival Pak™We believe that your primary distress signaling device should be a 406 MHz PLB (Personal Locator Beacon), which we recommend everyone carry.
These are true signal mirrors with military specification style retro-reflective aimers that allow them to be used one-handed and to be accurately aimed.
Since most people are not familiar with this new technology, a waterproof tag is attached with illustrated instructions on how to use the laser to signal.
Bear in mind that very little air search is done at nighttime except over flat terrain and over the water.
Handheld flares and smoke flares are bulky, heavy, burn for only a short time, are dangerous to use and are not very effective unless you have a large store of them.  Smoke flares disperse very quickly and are not very visible even at their best from very far away. We don’t include flagging tape, included in some kits, because in our experience it doesn’t work as a signal.
Tools and Emergency Devices Group - Doug Ritter Ultimate 2-Person Aviator Survival Pak™This is an area where most survival kits come up short. Most common are cheap, low quality knock-offs of Swiss Army Knives, low quality plastic hollow handled so-called “survival knives,” which are junk, or similar poor quality or inappropriate knives that you don’t want to bet your life on. The modest quality carbon steel blade rusts fairly easily, even where parkerized, doesn’t hold an edge very well and has been known to snap in half under only modest abuse as might easily occur in a survival situation.
We add a Parachute Cord Wrist Lanyard to the knife so it can be secured when used where it might be lost.
Even the best knife blade may need sharpening, or at least touching up, during a survival situation and as noted earlier, sharpening skills are not common these days.
The ultralight patented Snow Claw® is included to easily allow a survivor to construct a snow shelter. The ability to start a fire is essential and is often the first critical thing that needs doing in some survival situations. An Essential Gear Windmill Stormproof Lighter (replaces the disposible BIC lighter in the photo) is included because it is so easy to use, is operable one-handed, and will do the job in 95% of survival situations.
This is an artificial (ferrocium) flint and steel fire starter and is completely waterproof. Since tinder is critical to getting a fire started, no matter how you go about lighting it, and natural tinder is not always readily available and requires some knowledge and skill to use, the Pak includes 10 extra Spark-Lite Tinder-Quik™ waterproof tinders, besides those included with the Spark-Lite.
This tinder is quick and easy to use, just pull it apart to expose the finer cotton fibers and it's ready to accept the spark. The flashlights and headlamps included are all lithium battery powered LED lights for the highest reliability.
I believe that these latest technology single LED lights are quite adequate for survival purposes. I do not provide incandescent bulb flashlights under any circumstances as I believe they are too fragile and unreliable for survival use. I also believe that only Lithium batteries are appropriate for survival use due to their long storage life, improved service life and improved cold weather performance.
I do not include chemical light sticks (Cyalume or Snap-Light) as we believe they have too many drawbacks for survival use. A Global Needle compass is not cheap, but it means we don't have to offer separate compasses to worldwide customers and you don't have to remember to change out the compass should your flying take you to more exotic locales outside North America. While the greatest benefit of the Global Needle is the capability of it's worldwide use, as a result of the design there is a secondary benefit that's not insignificant. Having decided to include some fishing gear, we decided to incorporate more than the minimal some kits provide, but far less than the mil-spec or mil-spec style fishing kits.  These really provide more than could possibly be useful and a lot of other stuff, like safety pins and sewing needles, for example, that we already provide anyway. The Doug Ritter Ultimate Aviator Survival Pak™ includes a Doug Ritter designed and assembled Fishing Kit with a full compliment of fishing gear including line, leader, an assortment of hooks, weights, a float, lures and artificial bait. Also included is a high melting temperature 9-hour Survival Candle that can be used to heat up a confined-space shelter, such as a snow cave or quinzee. The Nuwick and similar 36 and 48 hour survival candles in a can work very well, but are heavy and bulky for aviation survival use.
Shelter and Personal Protection Group - Doug Ritter Ultimate 2-Person Aviator Survival Pak™Shelter is often critical to survival. While gloves would seem to be an obvious aid in cold weather, they are essential for most survivors in any weather. While many of us fly in a ball-style cap, it's easy for it to get lost or damaged in a crash and many passengers will not be wearing one. Sunburn can occur even in cold weather and particularly with snow on the ground adding intense reflections. SPF 35 Lip Balm is also provided to both pretect lips from the sun and to help retain moisture in the lips, an important component to relieving discomfort and thirst. Your lips are very fragile.
In some areas, mosquitoes and other bugs can make you so miserable you may wish you just died in the crash.
We also include a pair of premium Mosquito Head Nets since you must avoid using insect repellant around your eyes and scalp. Medical Group - Doug Ritter Ultimate 2-Person Aviator Survival Pak™Many kits include some medical component, typically a small first aid kit. Effective March 15, I have added a packet of Celox™ to the Medical Kit (not shown in photo). Water and Food Group - Doug Ritter Ultimate 2-Person Aviator Survival Pak™Water is essential to life. Even in areas where natural water sources are common, there’s no guarantee you will be able to reach them, or they may be frozen and not so easily useable. Some kits don't include water, but do include one or two water bottles for the customer to fill up.
We also include six funnel style Coffee Filters, a low tech, but very effective and lightweight way to filter out organic material so that the natural water you gather will be relatively clean before you go to treat it. Food is not nearly as critical as water and is way down the list of essential supplies, but it can also make a big difference in morale. In cold weather the energy it provides can be a big help, as long as you have plenty of water. Energy bars, granola bars, protein bars and the like are not good substitutes for well designed survival rations. Some survival rations, such as Mainstay, do not package the portions individually, so they are more difficult to use and to protect unused portions in the field. In addition, we include four Instant Coffee Packets, four Tea Bags in foil packets, three each Chicken and Beef Bouillon Packets and eight packets of Honey Crystals (more stable than sugar). Some kits include tea bags, but if they aren’t foil packed they will lose much of their taste and potency in short order.
Two packs of individually packaged Hard Sugar Candy are provided for a quick energy boost when needed. In some situations, fuel to make a fire for warmth or cooking may be unavailable or unreachable.
Miscellaneous and Multi-Purpose Group - Doug Ritter Ultimate 2-Person Aviator Survival Pak™Included in the kit is an assortment multi-purpose items that can be very useful to a survivor for an almost unlimited variety of purposes.
All this Parachute Cord, Mason's Line and Utility Wire is great to have, but technology now provides a quicker way to secure some limbs and such together to quickly create an expedient shelter using the tarp.
It's been said that if it cannot be fixed with Duct Tape, it probably isn't really broken, Certainly it is one of the more useful inventions ever made. It is sometimes amazing just what you can fix or assemble with just a few drops of Super Glue (cyanoacrylate adhesive). Clothing and equipment can take a beating in a crash or during a wilderness survival experience. A neck lanyard makes a very secure and easy way to carry some of your survival gear, such as signal mirror or whistle, so it's readily available if needed. Anyone who has had to answer the call of nature while in the wilds knows that Toilet Paper is no luxury, it's a necessity.
The ability to make notes to oneself so you don't forget something critical or leaving notes for searchers if you decide to walk out is critical. If you are serious about having the right gear for any survival situation, then there is a lot of equipment you need to gather. If you are searching for a great multipurpose tool that will hold up during harsh conditions, check out the Military Style 5-in-1 tool. The Tomahawk Compact Ax is only 8 ? inches long, but the stainless steel construction makes it a great pick for preppers. This versatile camping companion is quality tempered steel construction with a rubber grip. This folding saw offers a sturdy 7-inch blade that is thick enough to handle large branches.
When you need to take down some large trees to construct a sturdy shelter, this pocket chain saw could be a lifesaver. Having the right tools during a disaster or survival situation is a vital necessity to ensure your survival. As some disasters may force you to leave your homes or shelter having a compass and a map will help you know which direction to take to go to where you need to be like a higher ground or another shelter. Although GPS equipments are more accurate in pinpointing your location, their efficiency is limited to their batteries as well, so it is still best to carry a compass that only relies on the earth’s magnetic field to have a dependable and fully functioning equipment all the time. Quick injury treatment and prevention of infection is one of the top priorities when you are in a survival situation so having a first aid kit is a must. This is one of the most important tools for survival because it can be used for almost everything from notching or more complex wood working skills, altering equipment, medical uses, opening cans, and cut wires.
Some multi-tool models also come with metal flies, allen wrenches, serrated knives, and scissors.
From an unassuming card in your wallet you can transform this tool into a fully functional knife in just seconds. With a durable stainless steel construction and rust-free sharpness the surgical steel blade in this knife is top of the line quality. The built-in safety sheath enables you to comfortably carry the knife in your pocket or pack while preventing the blade from becoming blunted. This penknife is easiest to open compared to other povket knives because it uses Snap-Open, Waterproof Locking Mechanism without metal hinges that usually rust. Survival knives are very useful in an emergency situation as they can be used in a variety of ways as well. Lighting is one of the essentials that need to be included in everybody’s survival kit. This equipment may seem very unlikely to be added on the most important tools for survival but don’t let it fool you.
Although you can use any old mirrors for signaling there are specially manufactured mirrors that is suited for survival use. Using a water proof box you can pack weather proof matches, a small magnifying lens, a flint, and at least two lighters. Top of the line all in one fire starting kit which includes fuel, ferro rod, and wick that can easily fit in your pocket.
A reliable match that is capable of 15,000 long burning strikes with a ferro rod strike that can produce 3000 degrees heat and a strong flame that burns over 600 Fahrenheit. You can start a fire easily in the rain sleet or snow without burning your fingertips using this safe and durable match. Ropes and paracords are one of the most essential survival tools and must never be left out of your survival kit. When you are in a survival situation there are two essential things that you need to do, first is to stay alive and second is to find rescue. There are a variety of flares you can choose, there are flares that require a gun and shoot into the sky and some are hand held that emit red flames which you can wave over your head.
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WingLights are lightweight aluminium directional indicators for bicycles that are easy to install and even easier to use. The WingLights come in two different styles for you to choose from – Fixed Winglights simply screw into your handlebars and the Magnetic Winglights use a super strong magnet to attach to the end of your handlebars.
A high performinh and versatile tool made from stainless steel.It is the fully functional toolbox that fits in the palm of your hand.
It takes hours and hours of effort to assemble one of these kits on a one-time custom basis.
Hundreds of new high-performance singles are being sold these days for starting prices exceeding $350,000.  About $500,000 is a median price for a new high-performance single and turboprop singles go for well over a million bucks up to multiple millions. Ultralight Sil-nylon tarps that cost over $300 a couple years ago are less than half the cost today.
The considerable extra equipment and supplies over what can be reasonably carried on your person offers a huge advantage, especially to anyone without specific survival training or experience in the outdoors, or who isn't in the greatest physical shape.
These pilots often spend their days behind a desk or in front of a computer, not in the gym or doing hard physical work.

If runnibg up a few flights of stairs would leave you breathing hard or breathless with your heart thumping, you're not in the best shape to survive in the wilderness, even more so at higher altitudes in the mountains. The selection of a particular new aircraft may well be motivated by the enhanced safety many new aircraft provide, improved avionics, crash worthy seats, even a parachute for the aircraft or airbags for the occupants. These kits cost approximately one quarter to one third less than the price of a comparable custom assembled kit from Doug. So, while we don't expect anyone to say these are inexpensive, nor that they will appeal to those for whom price is the primary consideration, we do expect our customers will recognize the great value the Doug Ritter Aviator Survival Pak™ represents for the lifesaving capability they are getting.
In some cases there is a huge difference in price between a conventional component found in most kits and the ones selected for the Pak.
Our philosophy is that when your life and those of your loved ones is on the line, you shouldn't compromise on quality and performance.
Weight is almost always a concern to the pilot and there is almost always a conflict between carrying people, safety equipment and fuel (which translates to range and speed). While the individual savings may not be a lot, they add up to pounds saved over more traditional gear.
Providing a token amount of something essential, such as water, or a poor quality knife, just so they can say that component is included in the kit is misleading at best and downright unethical at worst. We believe that our survival paks provides more capability per pound than any other kit available.
It's light enough that you're actually likely to carry it with you on every flight and capable enough to save a life. My philosophy for survival gear is to carry the best quality minimum basics on your person and then carry a well-equipped primary survival kit in the aircraft, preferably within reach and not buried somewhere in the luggage compartment.
Energy is often in limited and critical supply in a survival situation and not easily replenished. Your location could be received potentially within mere minutes if the PLB is GPS equipped. If rescue is delayed, there's a good chance it's because of adverse conditions that only serve to make it harder on the survivor(s). Seriously sub-zero conditions, which can even be found in some areas of CONUS (you don't have to go to Alaska or Canada) require specialized gear designed to protect you at those ultra-cold temperatures.
Primarily it includes specialized shelter and clothing, sleeping bags rated for those extreme temperatures and additional heating devices. Even though I use the best quality components I can find, I recognize that nobody's quality control for mass produced products is 100%.
Experience tells us that once used, those item(s) will not be replaced and won't be there when needed in a real emergency. This vacuum packaging material is much more substantial and more resistant to puncture than consumer grade materials used in other kits. The quick access gear is similarly not vacuum packaged for immediate access, but stored inside heavy duty zipper-lock plastic bags.
This utility knife is located inside the pack, attached with a clip at the top center of the pack where it hangs down when you open the main compartment, immediately available. The pack's shoulder straps are packed inside the kit so they don't impede your exiting the aircraft by catching on something.
You don't want it flying around the cockpit or cabin in a sudden stop or as a result of a crash or inadvertent negative G maneuver.
You cannot rely upon the plane's ELT to signal your distress and most GA aircraft are still equipped with 121.5 MHz ELTs, which are just this side of useless. None of the misrepresentation, from my point of view, of calling a mirror without an integral retro-reflective aimer a signal mirror. The traditional style retor-reflective mesh aimer is easier to use and aim, based on my testing, than the Ultimate Survival StarFlash or its military specification equivilent. Special Forces in combat areas and which is easier to aim and visible a minimum of 50% further. And, just to assure you, it is perfectly legal to use a laser flare to signal for help to aircraft.
It is unlikely to be noticed or identified as a distress signal unless Search and Rescue is actively searching. In air to ground testing with the Civil Air Patrol we have found it virtually invisible at any significant distance, even when using up an entire roll. Air Force Pilot Survival Knife," which unfortunately has some notable drawbacks for many conventional civilian survival uses, though it’s better than the aforementioned junk.
The included sharpening stone is adequate for a rough sharpening, but requires that the user knows how to use one. The sharpener included in the Doug Ritter Ultimate Aviator Survival Pak™ requires virtually no skill on the part of the user, just the ability to pull the blade through the sharpener. Besides their heavy weight, in my experience, these tools are serious injuries waiting to happen, even in the hands of experienced outdoors persons, let alone a novice who is not operating at 100%. While it might seem simple and obvious, sometimes under stress things aren't quite so obvious.
Snow shelters make excellent expedient survival shelters in areas with deep snow, but they can be difficult and tiring to construct without a decent snow shovel. Its drawbacks are that the fuel can leak out (so it should be checked regularly), it won’t work in seriously cold temperatures unless it is kept warm (placing it in your armpit or crotch or in a shirt pocket under a coat is enough to allow it to be used down to -40 F) and it is not reliable above 9,000 ft. Premium quality REI Stormproof Matches are windproof and waterproof and have twice the incendiary material of the more common NATO Lifeboat Matches, or any other such match on the market. It's not unlike using a traditional lighter; the steel wheel and a flint rod under spring pressure do the job, but it generates a lot more sparks. No need to waste time and effort shaving magnesium with your knife, nor do you then have to collect the small shavings, especially difficult if it's windy. The common compressed wood style tinder found in many kits is very difficult to impossible to start with a spark unless shaved or scraped very, very fine, which becomes problematic itself.
You'll never have to worry about a bulb burning out or breaking if the flashlight is dropped. We anticipate that pilots will carry this with them, ensuring they always have a flashlight at all times, including in an emergency.
This light ensures survivor(s) will have plenty of light to both finish the evacuation of the aircraft and to unpack the survival kit. The elastic headband can be removed and it can also be used with its integral clip or it can be hand held as a conventional flashlight.
This includes flights into Mexico and many islands of the Carribean where a standard compass may not function properly.
One could easily argue that it is relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of things for a kit designed primarily to help support someone for a brief survival experience where food isn't much of an issue.
Having taken care of the basics such as medical issues, fire, shelter and signaling, a survivor is often faced with a potentially demoralizing psychological crisis--boredom.
While it is sometimes possible to use the aircraft for shelter or to improvise a shelter from natural materials, this isn't always the case. The seemingly ubiquitous, cheap ($4-$10 retail), orange tube tent is certainly better than nothing and is, admittedly, easy to set up if you have a convenient pair of trees to string a line between. Note that some tube tents are being produced of extremely lightweight plastic sheet that isn’t very abuse resistant and may fail in even modest winds or storm conditions, just when you need it the most.  In many environments, the tube tent or pup tent style shelter configuration will not provide the best or most effective shelter. While you could use a garbage bag or bags with appropriate holes poked in it, we think this is far better and more practical solution for mere tenths of ounces additional weight. Very few of us have calluses on our hands, unless they are on our finger tips from typing on a computer keyboard. We include two pair of high quality, sturdy, Top Grain Leather (not cheaper suede) Work Gloves with Adjustable Tape and Ball Wrist Cinch Straps for security, one for each person; not just a single pair of gloves as some kits do.
It also doesn't provide protection from the sun to the neck and ears (though you can utilize a bandanna or other cloth to improvise such protection).
A sunburn increases dehydration, is painful and debilitating, and can adversely affect a survivor's chances. Snow blindness is a greater threat than most realize and is much more common that direct damage to eyesight from bright sun. Normally these are useful for minor cuts and scrapes and perhaps to treat a headache, but are inadequate for anything more serious. The components are stored inside mil-spec waterproof Aloksak bags inside a sil-nylon pouch. The SAM® Splint is a multi-purpose malleable aluminum and foam splint and it can also be used to improvise many other survival necessities.
Even minor dehydration of about 5% can adversely affect your faculties and ability to think clearly. Many aviation survival kits provide only minimal or no water, in large part because it is heavy. You need to have enough water readily available in the aircraft to survive for 24-48 hours.
This is an acceptable way to go, but the customer has to fill the bottles and we've seen kits in the field where that didn't happen. This advanced chlorine dioxide treatment (not to be confused with old style chlorine treatments which are not very effective) is safer and more effective than traditional iodine treatments such as Potable Aqua, which have been found to be ineffective against Cryptosporidium.
Many find the taste of iodine treated water so bad that they are reticent to drink it, not a situation you want in a survival circumstance. Removing organic material allows for shorter treatment times and it both looks and tastes much better.
Typically, the ratio of complex carbs is too low or they have too much protein or simple sugars.
These are mostly there for the morale boost they offer, though the caffeine boost from the coffee and tea may also be useful at times.
Yes, ours cost more, but what's the sense of putting something in the Pak if it's not going to be of much use when it's needed? These can be used to heat water for drinks and can also be used as improvised trowels for digging scat holes or similar light duty digging. It is often said that improvisation is the essential component of survival and these supplies provide the basics a survivor needs to improvise to their advantage. The Adventure® Medical Kits Backpacker Sewing Kit and an assortment of Safety Pins and larger Blanket Pins allow for repairs of both clothing and equipment. Moreover, many survivors find that keeping a log of their experience both helps pass the time and is a big morale boost—as well as providing fodder for that best selling book or online forum post you'll write afterwards. While a simple multi-purpose tool will meet a lot of your needs, don’t overlook the benefits of tools made for specific tasks. The black grip is comfortable to hold so you can use it for chopping small branches to build your shelter’s roof. The versatility of a shovel and a dibble pick–this piece also folds into a compact size and includes nylon carrying pouch for lightweight transport. The Military GI Style has an angled head with four lenses, a metal belt clip, and a spare bulb.
The skid proof handle makes it comfortable to carry and it’s lightweight enough for easy transport when you are bugging out. It’s lightweight and surprisingly small so you can easily stash it in your bug out bag or hiking pack.
It provides you with a pry bar, hatchet, and hammer all in one convenient tool that you can stash in your backpack or stow away in your trunk. The heavy duty metal brackets will rip through wood with surprising ease and they can be re-sharpened if they ever get dull. There are a lot of ways to prepare for a disaster or emergency situation but it is important to keep in mind that everything can happen in a disaster. You may consume a lot of energy during emergency situations and your body will surely need a lot of water to compensate for it.
Having a map and a compass of your area will help you pinpoint specific locations and help you get to where you want to be. Knowing what to put in your first aid kit is really important, it is always good to begin with a supply of wound-cleaning treatment and basic medications like alcohol, peroxide, anti-bacterial ointments, pain relievers, antihistamine, aspirin, and antacids. There are a variety of multi tool available in the market today and you can choose the best that fits your needs. But when it comes to survival you may want to choose the one that has the most knife blade options as they always come in handy. Most survival knives have long blades with serrated edges on another side and have a hollow handle. If you find yourself in a pinch, likely having a small knife around can help, if you know how to handle it.
Seeing in a dark environment is very important as it can literally mean the difference between life and death in a disaster or emergency situation.
Having a way to safely make fire can mean the difference between life and death in a disaster or emergency situation.
You can also buy a package of sparklers and cut their stems off which can be very useful is starting emergency fires for kindling and moist leaves. Smoke signals and mirrors can be used as good signaling equipments for rescue but may not be very useful when you are trying to signal a ship, helicopter, or a plane and that’s where flares come in handy. There are also high-end laser flares that can cast a beam which can be seen from a distance of 30 miles day or night.
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Some things just make sense, featuring the best in simple, practical designs that work perfectly in sync with everyday life - this is definitely one of those designs. Over the years I've worked with various companies trying to come up with a commercial version. It is generally enough equipment to turn a dire survival circumstance into an impromptu camping trip. Even some who think of themselves as experienced have never really roughed it, as was common a generation or two ago.  I've met many who have never had to light a fire in the wilds, let alone in the dark with wind and rain complicating matters.
Having done everything they can to ensure they survive an untoward event in the air and unplanned return to terra firma, these survival kits are the next step—to ensure they and their passengers survive until rescued. Doug Ritter's expertise is unparalleled in this field and these kits are based on the one he personally carries in his own aircraft. While we don't expect to sell huge quantities of these kits, it will still be much more economical to do these as a production item compared to Doug’s custom assembly.
It would be difficult for an individual to assemble such a kit with the attention to detail in component selection, packing and documentation for anywhere near the price. If the goal is a very light survival kit because the pilot doesn't want to sacrifice this much payload, you'll find many lighter weight kits on the market, but they are lighter weight in life saving capability as well.
No matter how good a company's warranty is, it does you no good if the component fails to work in the middle of nowhere. Consumer grade packaging is more easily punctured and requires added reinforcement, protection or very careful packing in many circumstances to prevent loss of vacuum. This is just insurance in case the pilot with his own knife isn't available to get at the gear.
In some aircraft seats the seat belt is located far enough forward and down in relation to the seat back that tightening up the seat belt could cause it to slip down to the bottom of the pack. Our goal is to educate you so that you can recognize the performance advantage these kits provide and the value these kits represent.
If you are purchasing a new aircraft, we urge you to make sure it is equipped with a 406 MHz ELT. So, unless the nighttime signal is likely to be noticed as something unusual by passing aircraft, such as with the Rescue Laser™, most nighttime signaling devices are of little practical use.
Even the very best strobe is visible only for a couple miles unless SAR is using night vision equipment, which is admittedly becoming more widespread. Its skinny deep clip point, designed for stabbing (the enemy), is notorious for snapping off.
While this pull-through sharpener doesn't create the very finest edge possible, the results are perfectly acceptable for the intended emergency survival use of the knife.
Again, you need to focus on what's most useful for the survivor to be cutting, you don't need to build a log cabin. These fire-starting components are in an Immediate Action Fire Starting Kit easily accessible at the top of the pack so they are readily available.
Like all such matches, these are safety matches and require a complimentary striking surface to be lit.
It is packed in a bright orange plastic matchbox-size container with instructions and 8 pieces of Tinder-Quik™ tinder. It has an unlimited storage life and doesn't need to be kept in sealed airtight packaging, unlike Ultimate Survival's WetFire brand tinder (and similar fire starter cubes) used in some kits and which also has a limited storage life, typically just a couple years.

With a 10-year storage life for the lithium batteries, the lights will be ready when you need them and lithium batteries work much better at frigid temperatures where alkaline or carbon zinc batteries lose power or quit working altogether. In the Pak is the special Photon Clip that allows the Photon to be used as a clip-light, attached to the bill of a cap or to a shirt, leaving both hands free. Their performance and working life are both seriously adversely affected by even modestly cold temperatures and they are virtually worthless at sub-freezing temperatures.
Unless you also carry a special holder, more weight and bulk, the light shines in your eyes when you are trying to illuminate something, making it difficult to use. In part, inclusion is a marketing decision based on the fact that, as noted, survival kits are expected to include some fishing gear. It's common to unpack a typical survival kit that's been stored in the aircraft in hot climates and find candle wax melted over everything. It is much quicker to set up as a lean-to or other shelter type when appropriate and without the inherent drawbacks of the tube tent. Spinnaker material, another high-tech alternative, is a wee bit lighter, but too fragile for survival use. Once they have the slightest rip or puncture, there’s nothing to stop it from spreading and the blanket or bag is very quickly shredded.
The reflective composite Thermo-Lite® fabric material is strong and doesn’t easily rip, is quiet and comfortable, reflects heat back to your body and is windproof and waterproof.
Staying drier in inclement weather will go a long way towards improving your survival odds and they can also serve to protect you from wind chill and to help retain body heat in colder weather.
The simple fact is that most of us don't do manual labor on a regular basis, we don't use out hands for handling rough objects or stressful manual labor, we simply are not well equipped to deal with the physical effort and abuse often required in a survival situation. Blisters or cuts and scrapes that make it more difficult to use your hands can diminish your survival chances, potentially significantly. Whether to keep your head warm in the cold or shade you in the sun, a full brimmed hat is indispensable for your protection.
Besides the hats above, for overall sun protection we have selected a premium quality high SPF sunscreen, Vertra Sunscreen SPF 45. Conventional sun glasses are bulky and heavy, especially ones that will fit over prescription glasses. Cheaper, lower quality head nest have no hoops and are uncomfortable to wear and many are made of lesser quality netting that won't stand up to abuse or have larger holes that won't keep out no-see-ums, another very difficult insect for a survivor to deal with.
With your brain being your number one primary survival tool, you sure don’t need to have it not functioning at its best. However, it can be argued that aside from shelter, nothing in the kit is more critical than water.
Coast Guard Approved Survival Rations (7200 Kcal total) in a vacuum sealed package of six individually wrapped portions (cakes or cookies). They also tend to have a much shorter storage life and many do not do well in very hot or cold conditions. There’s no need to carry a heavier or more sophisticated stove for this simple purpose (for travel in arctic regions where the circumstances are different, a liquid fuel stove capable of burning aviation fuels is desirable). Galvanized Utility Wire can be used for making snares, but is more likely to be used around camp for securing gear and materials, making shelter, repairs to gear and tools and around the fire.
The biggest drawbacks, aside from cost, are that they aren't reusable or repositionable and the lengths available limit the size of what you can secure (doubling up ties doubles the length, but it also reduces the quantity available), so we cannot completely replace the conventional gear for these uses. So, while you can just improvise one with a length of the Parachute Cord, we decided to include a pair of EK® Safety Lanyards.
Whether you are prepping to survive in the wilderness or just building up your tool inventory for your family’s homestead, take a look at these 13 best survival tools and see which ones you need to add to your supplies.
The cover has a heavy-duty belt loop that would come in really handy while traveling on foot. The rubber grip offers easy control and the included sheath is perfect for keeping your blades protected and sharp while not in use.
I really like the latch on this saw because it has a locking mechanism that really insures safety.
Some pocket style chain saws feature short one-directional chains, but Sportsman designed this model to outshine them all. You get a file, bottle opener, hand drill, wire crimper, wire stripper, wire cutter, 2 rulers, 2 ruler extensions, pliers, 2 hex wrenches, and 6 screwdrivers! You may be well prepped for indoor survival or ready to evacuate with your survival kit anytime, but not having the right tools to help you function efficiently during these times can cost you and your family’s survival.
As anything can happen during a disaster it is best that you are equipped well to be able to produce clean drinking water indoors and outdoors as well. If you are looking to treat a water supply for a group you may want to get filters that can filter up to 100 gallons (378 liters) without needing to replace a new purification cartridge all the time. Even though you get stuck on a map having a compass will get you going on the right direction. Fires are common during a disaster so you may want to pack some hydrocortisone cream for burn and rashes treatment. Multi-tools are basically composed of two haves that are joined together by pliers in the center. The hollow handle is used to store a small survival kit with a needle and thread, compass, matches, fish hooks, and lines. If you want to get the most of your money you can always choose LEDs, hand crank, and solar flash lights are the best choice for you.
It can be used to start fire, signaling for rescue, and checking your back and face for wounds and other injuries. It can be used to snares or traps, lashing together branches when building a shelter, and making slings, splints, and tourniquets for first aid.
It doesn’t matter which flare you choose as long as you have one stored in your kit then hailing for rescue during disasters will never be problem for you.
I want to encourage you to definitely continue your great posts, have a nice holiday weekend!
These fantastic little gadgets will revolutionise cycling, making it safer than ever before.
With their long battery life, robust water resistant casing and shock proof design these WingLights are a powerhouse of functionality for your cycle.
Outdoor sports lovers can find their most suitable gear at here, including hiking, walking, camping, fishing, climbing, mountaineering, and so on. Every time we tried to figure out a way to assemble a similar kit commercially, the cost seemed so outrageous that it just didn't make sense.
And, for special purposes and circumstances, they can be custom supplemented by Doug for clients at considerably lower cost. We readily admit the Doug Ritter Aviator Survival Pak™ is not for everyone or even most. As you read through the following information on the gear and supplies included in the Doug Ritter Aviator Survival Paks™, we have compared the gear and supplies we've selected with that most commonly used in many other aviation survival kits. I believe we have struck the right balance between weight and lifesaving capability that our customers demand to protect themselves and their loved ones. Combined with a 406 MHz Personal Locator Beacon, this is the best personal survival gear combination for most pilots.
Moreover, it must be realized that the survivor may be injured or in shock, so components that make it easier for the survivor to use one-handed, or that provide optimum performance combined with ease of use are a valuable asset.
So, the kit still needs to be fully able to support the survivor(s), regardless of the improvement in rescue response brought about by this better technology.
For this reason it's not unusual to open up some other kits and find many of the vacuum packaged modules have been punctured.
Since the odds are you will stay with the aircraft, they are unlikely to be needed, but if you do need them they are easily attached (illustrated instructions are provided) and are ergonomically designed and padded, again, based on the Assault Pack design, to make carrying the pack easier and reasonably comfortable.
This pack is equipped with a patent pending Retention System on the front of the pack below the front pocket. Strobes are rarely considered a distress signal by passing aircraft except by SAR doing an actual search or a pilot with SAR or military experience.
The Wilderness XLT aerial flare by Skyblazer (now a division of Orion) has a poor reputation for reliability. The Rescue Streamer and Aerotape devices are effective, but the brightly colored tarp, garbage bags, and emergency ponchos we provide are plenty large enough to be used as effective ground signals and at no additional increase in weight or cost. The full guard, appropriate for a fighting knife, just gets in the way for many survival uses. We settled on Leatherman® because in my experience they make a high quality and reliable multi-tool with the best combination of features and quality. Buck-style saws are very robust for heavier sawing, but are impossible to use in tight quarters and must be assembled, as opposed to simply opened. The Snow Claw® has proven to be very efficient for constructing snow shelters and is both compact and extremely light, only a faction of a traditional lightweight snow shovel. On the NATO Lifeboat and other such matches the striker is on the outside of the container where it can get wet (unless the matches and their container are protected inside some other waterproof container) and often will not work in such condition.
In my experience most people seriously underestimate how long it takes by a factor of 3 or 4 and few are in such good shape that they can do so without ending up exhausted. Any survival kit that doesn't include some robust and tough gloves is missing a critical and essential tool. Add in possible high elevation where sunburn can occur in half the time and safety margins are further reduced. Rare is the first aid kit with any trauma supplies for a major injury as can easily occur in an off-airport crash landing. Packing it on top also makes it easy to get at without disturbing the rest of the survival kit in case of a medical emergency that doesn’t require any other gear. Given that we often go about our daily lives 1%-3% dehydrated, and many pilots refrain from drinking before a flight to prevent bladder issues, or drink coffee which is a diuretic, there’s often not much margin. Please see Barry Schiff’s The Proficient Pilot column “Safety Is a Tough Sell” that makes a poignant point in this regard. These rations are specially balanced and primarily composed of complex carbohydrates for low water requirements for digestion and are minimally thirst provoking. Our premium quality Cable Ties are UV stabilized and remain flexible in sub-zero temperatures. The 36-inch chain is much longer than average pocket designs and the teeth will tear through wood in both directions.
Keeping hydrated will ensure that your brain will function properly and help you focus on surviving. Water filter models now can work really fast and has the ability to filter a quart of clean drinkable water in just a few minutes. Having a first aid manual is also very important to guide you for any accidents that may happen. They weigh between 5 to 10 ounces and are equipped with can openers, flat and Phillips screw driver, saw blades, bottle openers, and pokers. When buying a survival knife make sure to invest in one with good quality blade that you can rely on. Hand lamps, light sticks, flash lights, and lanterns are efficient equipment to help you find your way in the dark as well. Mirrors are very good signaling equipment as a small 2 by 3 inch mirror flash can be seen from a distance of 100 miles.
Two things have changed recently that help make this a opportune time to produce such a survival kit.
Experience roughing it in the wilderness can go a long way towards compensating for lesser equipment.
While the brain is our number one survival tool, the less stress we put on it in a survival situation, the better. If only the aircraft's required antiquated and inneffective 121.5 MHz ELT is available to signal rescue, then rescue could be delayed much longer. While it adds a couple ounces of weight and considerable extra expense, we feel the higher quality packaging is worth it. As long as you make sure the seat belt is above this ledge before cinching it tight, it will catch the belt and prevent it from slipping down. It substantially improves a survivor's ability to construct snow shelters in comparison to sue improvised means and at much less cost in effort and energy. These lights are stored at the top of the pack so they are easy to find as they will be most helpful to have immediately in a nighttime survival situation. Their performance goes quickly downhill after passing the expiration date and within a few months they are dead.
These have been referred to by some as the ultimate lightweight sleeping bag and some ultralight through-hikers rely upon them as their sole sleeping bag. For someone in a survival situation, you want the highest possible protection to prevent any sunburn whatsoever. Many medical authorities believe that DEET is potentially toxic and that lower DEET concentrations are much safer, particularly for children. We also take the extra step of washing the bandannas through two heavyd duty cycles before we pack them.
The waterproof Aloksak bags ensure all the components stay dry, regardless of the weather or circumstances, even though it isn't vacuum packed.
In hot weather, people have died in 24 hours from lack of water, often the result of not thinking clearly and thereby doing something incredibly stupid that worsens an already perilous situation. A list of ingredients is available for those concerned about food allergies; they contain no peanuts and satisfy Halal and vegetarian requirements. We selected braided nylon Mason's Line because it is stronger and it will not unravel when cut like cheaper twisted line will.
It's less expensive, but in testing we found it to be not nearly as good as Toilet Paper for these purposes.
The red lens is good for night vision, which is something many preppers don’t think about until they need it. Lack of wilderness and survival skills and experience demands more and better gear and supplies in your survival kit. We don’t want to make it any more difficult than necessary for the survivor to accomplish any particular survival task. The also have a short storage life of three years and disposal of expired flares is a difficult problem for civilians.
While the guard includes lashing points, it is generally now considered a very poor idea to lash your knife to a limb for use as a spear as it is too easily lost and losing your knife would be a very bad thing for a survivor. We place an oversized striker strip inside the waterproof Match Safe where it will be dry and ready to use in an emergency.  Also included is our own Instructions For Use by Doug Ritter on waterproof paper with hard-won tips for the best means to light and use these matches. After exposure to air they have only a few days' storage life and after that they will not work at all. It is also critical that the sunscreen be highly water resistant as in many such situation the survivors will be sweating profusely and most sunscreens will not last long under those conditions.. They provide 100% UVA and UVB protection, wrap around to provide exemplary wind and dust protection as well as peripheral light protection, one size fits all, even children, the adjustable strap adds security in high winds or extreme activity, they will fit over most prescription glasses, the sweat resistant foam padding helps keep sweat out of your eyes and the flexible nose bridge is comfortable. There won’t be an ambulance with paramedics arriving in five minutes, the design point for most first aid kits. And addtional quantity of matches, for 24 total, and spare striker strips are stored with the rest of the survival gear. All are packed in airtight foil packaging for protection and if it is punctured, they won't work when needed. They are also extremely noisy, which means it is very difficult to get any sleep while wrapped up in one and rest can be critical in a survival situation. The medical supplies need to be sufficient to treat relatively serious injuries for a period of 24-48 hours, minimum. We'd just as soon have the kit ready to go for the customer and the essential water secure inside the Pak. These rations provide the most complex carb calories per volume and weight of any commercial survival rations, and they don't taste half bad, especially when you're famished. About all they have going for them is that they are inexpensive, lightweight and wind and waterproof if not damaged.

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