"The first thing I think about having in a kit or building my kit around is a good, quality, fixed blade knife. You can't beat Condor for value from what I've seen & used for the money. The Cold Steel Bushman knives are also great knives for the money."
"A firesteel is a must. With a little practice & proper use you can make fire when otherwise you could not. Go for a bright colored handle so you don't spend an hour searching for it if(when) you drop it. There are also one-handed blast matches out there."
"Tinder sticks or Fatwood is something you want to have so you can light a fire with a spark. You shave it into a pile and hopefully one of your sparks will catch it afire & you'll have enough dry tinder to get a fire going. Get yourself a chunk of sticky wood, drill a hole in it and string it with your firesteel."
"A good little keychain light is a must-have for your keychain or other daily carry item. I've taken to preferring these over the twist-on variety because they're easier to use and aren't as likely to light up your pocket all day & kill batteries. That said I do still like my Streamlight Nano."
"It's tough to beat a MAGLITE of any size. There may be many newer, cooler looking & brighter lights out there but for the kind of kit I'm outlining here, I'd still go with the trusty MAGLITE. Save the Tactical Illuminators for your bedside table or gunmount."
"Headlamps, Clip-On Hat Lights & Lighted Hats. Dorky looking but AMAZING when you're stumbling around, trying to do something in the dark. Not having to hold, bite or awkwardly position a flashlight to complete a task is great. This one isn't necessarily the best, there are literally thousands of them."
"A Chopping device is a good thing to have as an alternative to batoning with your knife & a stick. I have a SOG Fusion & I have learned to value & covet the hammer feature on a Tomahawk or Hatchet over the piercing spike. A camp axe of full splitting axe is another way to go with chopping gear. You can get them with knives or saws in the handle but I'm inclined to go for a more solid tool."
"Containers are a critical piece of gear. Without the ability to carry & treat water you're doomed. A simple, stainless, unlined & uninsulated bottle or canteen can be used to boil and carry your water. Get one."
"I used to scoff at these. Now I covet them. One day it just dawned on me that having a caddy I can carry my bottle on my belt with along with a few essentials was brilliant. This is a good way to ensure your bottle never leaves your side."
"Cookware is a wonderful thing to have. You'd miss it pretty quick once you left home without it. Having something other than your water bottle to boil up your slug & worm stew is a good thing. There are also Stainless Steel Bottle Cups as an addition or smaller alternative to carrying a larger piece of cookware."
"A sturdy emergency blanket or bivy sack like this one is a good, light piece of gear to travel light with. Consider a larger sleeping bag for comfort & life support in the outdoors. Find the one that fits your needs."
"There are lots & lots of energy bars & emergency foods on the market. I like Clif bars because they can be bought just about anywhere, taste pretty good and don't cost too terribly much. This makes it easy to refresh your stock by eating it rather than just tossing it out every 5 years."
"Salt is a vital thing to have. Pepper will be welcome on that bounty of snared ground squirrel. There are more elaborate spice containers with more things but that's up to you & how you want to prioritize. Hot sauce is a great way to mask unpleasant flavors. Just sayin'"