72 Hour, Individual Survival Kit Instructions


Kit Contents

  • Heavy-duty contractor trash bag x2
  • Clear plastic sheet 6’x9′
  • Tarred bank line #36, 30 feet
  • Duct tape, 6 feet
  • CAT tourniquet x1
  • Sterile gauze roll x1
  • “Credit card” knife x1
  • Water bag, 1 liter
  • Water purification tablets x5 (Exp 01/2023)
  • Signal mirror x1
  • Signal whistle x1
  • Chemical glow stick x1
  • Mylar space blanket x1
  • Medical tape x1
  • Hand warmer x2
  • Fresnel lens x1
  • Button compass x1
  • Ferrocerium rod x1
  • Cotton/petroleum jelly tinder x2
  • Aspirin 650 mg x2 (Exp 04/2021)
  • Diphenhydramine 25 mg x3 (Exp 04/2021)
  • Loperamide 2 mg x4 (Exp 06/2021)
  • Steri-strip wound closure x2


This kit is designed to keep the average person alive in a range of conditions for 72 hours, by which time rescue or evacuation is highly likely in most areas. In the event of an emergency, assess immediate needs and prioritize them; critical injuries including severe bleeding, shock, respiratory arrest, etc. should be addressed first. Ensure safety of immediate location. Maintain body temperature via shelter and fire construction. Remove wet clothing if necessary. Maintain hydration via water treatment. Do NOT drink or attempt to render potable- sea water, urine, blood, etc. Attract the attention of potential rescue via signaling methods. Navigation/self-rescue may be a viable option and assisted by the included compass. Do not attempt self-rescue (hiking out of your location) unless the terrain and direction of safety is known and rescue by SAR personnel is unlikely or unnecessary.


Items needed for shelter construction:

  • Clear plastic sheet, 6×9
  • Tarred bank line #36, 12-20 feet
  • Heavy-duty contractor trash bag, 1-2
  • Mylar space blanket
  • “Credit card” knife
  • Duct tape

This “super-shelter” was developed by Mors Kochanski and is designed to trap heat radiated by a nearby fire, much like a car on a hot day. When properly constructed, this shelter can warm to around 80 degrees F, even in sub-zero temperatures. The kit contains components to build a super-shelter for one or two people.

Begin by creating a “ridge line” using the black, tarred bank line. This line should be horizontal, knee to mid-thigh height, and at least as long as you are tall. Use two nearby trees or other sturdy objects to anchor your line, or break off two stout sticks with a Y on one end, length equal to the height of your ridge line. Use a stick on each end of the line to keep proper height, while another short stick on each end can be used as a tent peg to anchor the line. (Fig 1)

Attach one of the long sides of the space blanket to the ridge line with several small pieces of duct tape. Secure the other long side to the ground using sticks, rocks, dirt, or improvised stakes, in an approximately 45 degree angle away from your fire site. (Fig 2)

Drape the clear plastic sheet over the ridge line and space blanket, and keep each long side held to the ground with sticks, rocks, dirt, or improvised stakes. Create a taut A-frame the same angle as the space blanket on each side. Ensure each end of the shelter is closed using several pieces of duct tape and by anchoring the sheet ends to the ground. (Fig 3)

Insulate yourself from the ground using one or two contractor garbage bags. Fill with dry leaves, grass, or other insulating material and use as a sleeping mat.

Adjust temperature in the shelter by ventilation. Open one or two ends of the shelter as needed to allow cooler air to enter. Repairs can be made to the shelter using duct tape.

In hot conditions to prevent heat stroke, construct a similar shelter with the back (rescue blanket) side of the shelter facing the most intense sunlight; keep sides and front open as necessary to encourage air flow.


Items needed for fire building:

  • Ferrocerium rod or fresnel lens
  • Cotton/petroleum jelly tinder
  • Credit-card knife

The kit includes two cotton balls smeared with petroleum jelly; each will burn for at least five minutes, and can be pulled into smaller pieces- an entire cotton ball is not always necessary to start a fire. Gather kindling, small and large fuel for your fire. All should be as dry as possible; kindling should be about pencil thickness or smaller, gather at least a full arm-load. Small fuel should be about thumb thickness, gather half an arm-load. Large fuel should be wrist-thick or larger. Gather enough to last overnight, and then double it. Fuel can be broken by hand, by striking against a nearby object, propping on a support and stepping, or leveraging against two close trees.

The fire should be one long pace from the front of the super-shelter, and ideally as long as the shelter itself. Clear a site for your fire, ensuring flammable debris is far away. Lay down kindling first, and small fuel on top. Stick a piece of tinder to a long twig and set on the ground. Carefully tease apart the cotton fibers a bit. Set the tip of the ferrocerium rod near or on the tinder; use the knife to scrape firmly and direct sparks toward the tinder. Alternatively, on a sunny day, use the fresnel lens to focus a beam of light onto the tinder. Once ignited, quickly place the burning tinder under the kindling. Once the fire is established and flames are well above the small fuel, add large fuel. Full-sized logs can be placed on the fire and will burn for many hours.


Items needed for water treatment:

  • Water bag, 1 liter
  • Water purification tablets

Collect water from the cleanest source available, filling the bag about 3/4 full. If the water is cloudy or full of debris, pour it through a piece of cloth first, or allow to settle. Add one tablet and close the bag. Shake for ten minutes, then wait 30 minutes before drinking.

First Aid

First Aid items included:

  • CAT tourniquet
  • Medical tape
  • Rolled cotton gauze
  • Hand warmers
  • Steri-strip wound closure
  • Water bag
  • Water purification tablets
  • Aspirin
  • Diphenhydramine
  • Loperamide


Control bleeding by applying direct pressure using rolled gauze or the cleanest available material. In the case of massive, uncontrolled hemorrhage, apply the CAT tourniquet above the wound, tightening until bleeding stops. Once bleeding is controlled, irrigate the wound with potable water treated per the instructions under “water”. Hold the water bag high above the wound, and pour it directly in. Use copious amounts of water, and allow it to splash into the wound to mechanically remove contaminants. If necessary, achieve wound closure using included ster-strips; peel off a strip and stick to one side of the wound. Pull the wound edges closed, and stick the strip over top. Use several strips for larger wounds. Once closed, cover the wound using rolled gauze and medical tape, or the cleanest available material. Smaller wounds can simply be cleaned and covered by improvising “band-aids” with gauze and medical tape.

Aspirin is included strictly for treatment of heart attack symptoms, including chest or pain/tightness, possibly spreading to jaw or back, shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, and cold sweating. Administer one aspirin tablet; this should be chewed before swallowing.

Diphenhydramine is included for treatment of allergic reaction to food allergy, insect sting/bite, or similar allergen. Administer one tablet as needed.

Loperamide is included for treatment of diarrhea; this condition can rapidly worsen dehydration. Administer two tablets initially, then one tablet every four hours as needed.

Hand warmers are included strictly for maintaining hand dexterity in cold temperatures; in this event, whenever possible, fire should be built first.

In the event of medical emergency, apply first aid as needed and able, and prioritize evacuation of the victim to medical personnel immediately.


Signaling items included:

  • Signal mirror
  • Signal whistle
  • Chemical glow stick
  • Tarred bank line, ten feet
  • Ferrocerium rod or fresnel lens
  • Cotton/petroleum jelly tinder
  • Credit-card knife

The signal mirror is used on sunny days to direct a concentrated beam of light toward rescuers and attract attention. Face the reflective surface away from yourself and look through the hole in the center. A “star” pattern should appear when in bright light; this is the aiming point. Repeatedly sweep this point across visible rescuers, or continually sweep the horizon. When signaling aircraft, sweep the star across the craft back and forth to create a “strobing” effect.

Use the signal whistle on overcast days, at night, or in other conditions when the signal mirror is not viable; use the whistle in conjunction with the mirror as well. Three short, sharp blasts is the universal pattern for “SOS”.

The included glow stick is intended for signaling and not for illuminating one’s immediate surroundings. When a visible signal is needed at night, tie the glow stick to the end of about ten feet of bank line. Break the inner vial and shake the stick. Spin the glow stick on the bank line overhead; this will appear to distant viewers as a large, green circle, easily spotted at night. Try to keep the plane of rotation of the stick perpendicular to potential rescuers to ensure the largest visible signal. Use in conjunction with the signal whistle to attract attention. (Fig 5)

In addition, a large fire can be an effective signaling mechanism. Refer to instructions under “fire”. During the day, add green boughs, tires or rubber scrap, and similar materials to create a smoky burn. At night, use dry, lightweight or resinous woods (i.e. pine) that burn brightly. Be sure to set a signal fire as high as possible, in a clear area, away from flammable debris, to ensure visibility and your safety.


A high-quality button compass is included in the kit for navigation; each compass has been personally tested to ensure accuracy. Do not attempt self-rescue (hiking out of your location) unless the terrain and direction of safety is known and rescue by SAR personnel is unlikely or unnecessary.

Alternate Kit Item Uses

  • Contractor garbage bag- cut a slit for your head in the bottom of the bag, and arm holes in each corner, to serve as a rain poncho. Use duct tape to convert back to use as sleeping mat.
  • Duct tape- small pieces can be cut and applied to blisters or “hot spots” to prevent blister formation.
  • Diphenhydramine off-label uses: may be used as a sleep aid or mild cough suppressant.
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