Recommended Survival geaR for our courses
Survival skills in the wild are very much reliant upon creativity and the survival gear available at hand. Below we have provided useful information for essential equipment that we use on all of our survival courses. The list is pretty short as we don't need a lot of gear to get the job done, we just need the right survival gear! Please feel free to contact us with gear related questions.
Survival training will test clothing ruthlessly, and that is why durability is just as important as warmth. Your clothes are your primary shelter so make sure they will hold up in the worst conditions. Tactical gear is the best choice for durability, we prefer the 511 brand for pants and jackets. Your nearest Army surplus store will usually have a good selection of high quality gear. In general here are some pointers when choosing your clothes...
Dress in Layers...
Base Layer: Polyester or wool are the common choice. This layer must be form fitting and moisture wicking. I recommend wool as it is comfortable, does not lose it's insulation properties when wet, and does not burn as easily as synthetic fibers do. Wool doesn't seem to hold onto those nasty body odors either, Nothing worse than 4 day old crotch stink! Wool socks are always a must! Smart wool makes great products. Under Armour makes the best underwear out of polyester, and they are extremely comfortable, they also have really comfortable products that fit great. Ensure that your base layers are always a snug fit to maximize warmth.
Insulation Layer: This is your warm layer. Polyester (Fleece) is affordable and available everywhere. Patagonia are renowned for the Goose down sweaters which are very effective and super lightweight however expensive, easily snags on foliage and loses all its insulation properties when wet. It is just about impossible to dry in the field. This layer should be form fitting but not as snug as the base layer, moisture wicking, and preferably a wind breaker.
Outer Shell: You need this layer for protection from the elements, so wind and rain proof. Nylon is the most common material used however make sure that this layer is breathable! Gore-tex and eVent are the best choices for this layer. All the above mentioned burn easily. Canvas is the best but not the most comfortable.
Footwear: Some of us don't like wearing shoes too much but for the ones that do...There are too many good brands of boots to mention however go with boots that have at least 6 inch high ankle protection and must be fully waterproof. Once again gore-tex is the material you are looking for. Most importantly purchase boots that fit right and are comfortable. Hiking downhill with footwear that is too tight or loose will hammer your toes. Make sure that there are no tabs, loose stitching or any rough material around the heel area, that will certainly cause blisters at some point. If you prefer the barefoot way then check out Xero shoes, they make minimalist style sandals utilizing ultra thin soles, we use these more than any other footwear.
The survival gear and tools below are a short list of the survival training essentials that we use on a regular basis and therefore recommend. We have put these products through torture and they have all proved themselves. Thoroughly testing your gear is a must do before disaster strikes. We will be updating this list as we discover new survival products that meet our high standards.
Practical choices are Military MRE's(Meals Ready to Eat) which are available online or at your nearest army surplus. They are precooked and have heat packs to warm up the meals. Backpacker style meals are freeze dried meals which only require boiling water to re-hydrate, and they actually taste good. Backpackers Pantry and Mountain house are some of the brands and tend to be more on the healthy side than MRE's. There are also survival bars which are vacuum packed and ready to eat such as mainstay which are calorie loaded and funny enough actually taste good. Cheaper options are Raman style noodles, jerky, fruit, nuts, etc...These are all practical meals as they can be prepared quickly.