Henry Arms Survival Kit
Frank Stratton 11.04.13
Some things you keep handy just in case something unexpected happens. What if multiple friends show up unexpectedly for a spontaneous pool party at your house? You don’t want to break out the china, crystal, or silver. Just give them the tools to not look like a bunch of drunken Neanderthals squatting over the kill: Dixie cups, paper plates, napkins, and plastic flatware. Give them items that are useful, cheap, disposable, lightweight, and don’t take up much room.
That is a simple analogy for a short term, simple survival kit.
The Henry U.S. Survival kit is a good example of this. It is made by Best Glide ASE for many government agencies law enforcement and military. The items are good quality, made in the USA, and are U.S.Military and NATO approved. This kit contains almost every tool that will be useful when you dump your boat in the rapids or your pack mule runs away. The only items missing are food and water. The tools for getting and carrying these are in the kit.
When something bad happens, DON’T PANIC! You have the tools to overcome. They are in a little aluminum box, fairly crush-proof, filled with prizes. I’ve carried one much like this for over twenty years that I had to stock myself. This one is ready for you to use. The contents are packaged for long term storage with zip lock bags and desiccant. Also included are basic instructions. It could be improved by waterproofing.
First thing you’ll do is sit down and take a breath. Assess your situation, open up your box, take out the instructions and compass, and center yourself in your new universe. If you were also prudent enough to include a firearm like a Henry AR-7, now would be a good time to assemble and load it. Normal actions help calm you down. Now you’re ready to address the situation you are in. Look at your priorities: water, food, and shelter. The order of these might change depending on your situation.
After air, the next most important thing for your well-being is water. If you were unlucky enough to not have a container of potable water handy when your world changed, you’re in luck. Look into the box in your lap and you will find the tools to gather, purify, and store the water you find: coffee filter, Micropur water tablets, and two zip lock bags. It’s not as good as having a Camelbak and Katadyn filter, but this will get the job done.
The next most important thing will probably be something to nosh on — fuel for the body. Maybe you have a Slim Jim or Snickers in your pocket. Save it for later use as a mental or physical pick me up or as a snare bait. You could scout around and set up a couple of snares (20’) or rig a static fishing line with the contents of your box. Fish hooks and lines can be used to make bird/squirrel traps as well. While scouting, those who thought ahead and have a firearm might get lucky and pot some protein at the same time.
After scouting around and setting some snares for low exertion protein sources, you should be able to find a suitable camping spot. If you’re in an open area with little or stunted vegetation, a good start is the signal panel you have in your kit. It will be a good roof for your shelter and can be easily seen even when you are asleep. It can be also be rigged with your duct tape and water bag to catch dew. If you happen to be in the woods, you have a very good spiral wire saw to cut up wood with the least use of effort.
Now hopefully everything has gone according to plan in your new reality. You have water. You’ve put in your order with Mother Nature for a meal or potted something while scouting. You’ve got a shelter and you put out your location panel. It’s time for a fire. One of the most useful and uplifting things in a dark, cold place is a good campfire. You have several options available to you. Unless I was pressed for time or injured, I’d save the matches and commercial tinder for later.
The Kutmaster multi tool will work fine for feathering your tinder.
If there is sunlight, my first choice would be to use the Fresnel lens magnifier.
If it’s too dark, there is also a good magnesium stick and striker. It might take a little longer, but it saves other resources. Now you might want to check your snares. It might be dark, and there are a couple of choices to light your way. A torch from the fire, cyalume light stick, or a Photon Micro light are all good. I’d just hang on to the light stick for later.
No luck on the snares so far, so it’s time to sit down by the fire, drink some water, and take stock. You’ve got water, snares set to catch food, shelter, a fire for heat and signaling, and the signal panel is out. What else can you do? Go back to the box and see what other tools are there. A whistle, mini signal mirror, derma safe knife (think of a folding scalpel), sewing kit, utility cord, latex tubing, beeswax tea light candle, a trauma bandage, and gauze roll.
As you can read, the tools in the kit have not been exhausted in helping you overcome the unexpected. This is a solid emergency kit that is well stocked with quality tools. I was also able to put a fifty round box of .22LR in there for the Henry rifle that it ships with.
You will notice that I used the items that were reusable or needed a little more skill first. You should conserve your resources for when they are most needed.
Article by Frank Stratton, photos by Oleg Volk.