We're always hearing requests for budget-oriented gear guides — this has led us to implement our “Best Value” awards in the magazine, and feature more affordable items in our buyer's guides. However, there's obviously a fine line between getting a good deal on a much-needed item, and wasting money on something that'll break the first time you use it. Much like expensive doesn't always mean excellent, cheap doesn't always mean good value.
But, if you want to throw caution to the wind and save money at all costs, just how little can you spend on a basic survival kit? YouTube channel Corporal's Corner set out to answer this question. With $5 in hand, Corporal Kelly strolled into his local dollar store, and selected a 5-item survival kit. This kit is based on one school of thought for essential survival gear, known as “the 5 C's”:
Cpl. Kelly demonstrates his 5-item/$5 survival kit in the video below:
First of all, that knife — yikes. It's obviously trying very hard to be a Spyderco Delica, with a chunk of plastic shoved into the round thumb hole to skirt trademark infringement. And the side-to-side flex is horrifying. But it'll cut the jute twine, so that's something.
Speaking of cordage, the jute is a solid choice. It can be braided into rope, as Cpl. Kelly shows, or can be shredded and used as tinder. It also provides a way to suspend the shelter, which is a humble PVC shower curtain. That may sound ghetto, but it's designed to repel water, so while it's not the most durable item, it'll keep you dry.
With a ridgeline and two guylines tied to weights along the base, the tarp can be secured into a small lean-to shelter. As for the water container, Kelly has some good points about that as well. The metal spray bottle container can be useful for boiling water, but it's too small to carry a substantial amount of water. Alternatively, a larger plastic vessel and a few drops from a $1 bottle of unscented bleach can provide an alternate method of water purification, but you won't be able to use it for cooking or boiling. That's a trade-off you'll have to consider.
So, while $5 isn't the optimal budget for a survival kit, Cpl. Kelly shows that it can provide the 5 basics you need to get by. What items, if any, would you change in this kit? Add a comment below.