During a recent course I was instructing on one of the students pointed out that everywhere I went I carried a backpack. Several of them joked about what they might find if they looked inside. Some of the ideas were incredibly entertaining.
After some ribbing and a reminder from me about how I was in charge of their level of suffering over the next 8 days they got serious and asked what I carried.
"It's my bush pack. It goes everywhere I go. When I leave the pavement and venture into the bush it comes with me. Like a good friend - it's always there when I need it".
With their attention I continued by speaking of the 5 'C's' of Survival. You can never know when you'll find yourself in a survival emergency so you must be armed with the knowledge, skills, abilities and the tools to get to work.
The 5 'C's' of Survival
2. Cutting tool
I explained my firm belief based upon years of experience that if you possess these items and some general bushcraft knowledge you can survive and seek rescue from your emergency situation.
With experience comes the knowledge that often times thing break, malfunction or fail to work in less than optimal conditions such as winter. So often I carry several of each of the 5 'C's'. Make no mistake, you can carry a rucksack with 40-60lbs of kit into the bush however it's not practical. Therefor your pack must be light enough to forget its on your back while containing all the items necessary to put your knowledge and skills to work.
As the students nodded in agreement with my principles I took the items out and laid them out for display. They are self explanatory. With this pack and my skills I know I can survive or self sustain long enough to allow weather to pass or until rescue comes to find my team.
Never underestimate the importance of carrying a small bag containing your 5 'C's'.