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I have read several books about survival and outdoor field craft skills. Many of these books suggest building a survival kit out of an Altoids tin or something similar. These kits include very basic materials to allow someone to survive until help can be found. Many retailers sell pre-made kits and there are plenty of How-tos on the internet.

Does anyone have a first hand accounts, links to news articles, or maybe a few books describing how someone used one of these kits to get rescued in a survival situation?

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An interesting question. I assume you mean non-contrived, ie not a training run? – Russell Steen Aug 28 '12 at 9:02
Yeah. I'm looking for real life or death situations. @RoryAlsop has the right idea. – Christopher Bright Aug 28 '12 at 21:38
up vote 6 down vote accepted

I have heard of a wide range of stories where people were saved using some string, a piece of flint etc. (A related example from earlier this month is reported in the Hamilton Advertiser where a boy used the laces from his trousers to save a dog.)

and if they had had a survival kit they would have used that, but the problem is that most people do not carry a survival kit. The only people who regularly do tend to be military, and their kits do get used - records are available on 2nd World War aircrew who had to bail out over enemy lands, or more recently Andy McNab described using some of his emergency kit in the middle east in Bravo Two-Zero.

Some paracord was even used by astronauts during STS-82, the second Space Shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope!

More anecdotally, my father once had to use paracord to tie Prusik knots to get up out of a crevasse (not sure whether it was Antarctica or Greenland) - not a full emergency, as the rest of the team had possible alternatives, but a good practical use, nonetheless.

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I was hoping for civilian stories but I figured the reason they are not more common is because most people don't carry survival tins day-to-day. The Bravo Two-Zero looks interesting. I guess at the end of the day civilian vs. military doesn't really matter in a survival situation. – Christopher Bright Aug 28 '12 at 21:44
Also I think things will tend to follow into the situation of Rory' dad, where it was not a full emergency because there were options. Having a survival kit doesn't just indicate that you have a kit. It also likely indicates that you are prepared and thought things out -- which means you are less likely to need the kit. A prepared experienced outdoorsman is much less likely to put themselves into the situation where the kit is needed. – Russell Steen Aug 29 '12 at 13:50

I have carried an Altoid tin survival kit for years, but have never had occasion to use it in a life-and-death situation. I have used the flashlight, knife, duct tape, and ferro rod, but always in non-threatening situations.

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