Sunday, December 26, 2010

It's Here, The Urban Survival Supply List

In addition to my Wilderness Survival List, I have now created an Urban Survival List. While the Wilderness Survival put the emphasis on keeping a small pack, the Urban Survival List puts just as much emphasis on blending in to city life. You must be able to carry your kit in a way that doesn’t stand out. For this reason you must be able to fit everything into a backpack or briefcase.

Often these will not be allowed into certain buildings, or must be left for other reasons, making it necessary for you to carry everything on your person. This is easier for women then for men, as they usually carry purses, which allow for easier concealment. Each item will be marked as either personal or stored, depending on its size and importance. It is important to try to keep your full kit with you at all times, but if you can’t, you still must never part from the personal items (unless they are an item which is not allowed beyond a certain security check. Try to think ahead about where you will be going and what you will be permitted to retain within the areas you plan to visit.

This item is essential to personal security when on the streets. Although martial arts and other weapons such as knives, tasers, and pepper spray may protect you, there is no better self-defense item than a gun. I would suggest using a midsized, 0.40” caliber autoloader. The reason for this is that guns utilizing smaller calibers such as 9mm, 0.35”, and 0.38” may reduce recoil, but lack the power to put down an assailant. Larger guns, which use calibers such as 0.44”, 0.45”, or 0.50”, are generally too big to conceal easily and have too much recoil. You will want a cross between recoil and power, as it will mostly be used for close encounters, but possibly for mid-ranged shooting. Recoil is a low priority in close combat, as you should hit within the first shot or two (hopefully you will be trained well enough to hit your first shot even at a mid or long
range), but at mid ranges, you won’t want too much. This means that you don’t need to worry about it to a great extent, but larger calibers won’t be as effective.

You don’t want to be standing in front of a man with a Desert Eagle 0.50” or an M1911A1 0.45” with little more than a squirt gun, for which reason you will want at least a medium caliber, of a minimum of 0.38”. This makes a 0.40” caliber the perfect cross between power and recoil. You will probably want to use a specialty form of ammunition such as JHP and/or +P. It is your choice on the specifics of both the gun and ammunition, but try to follow these guidelines as best as possible. You may want a second smaller gun (9mm, 0.35”, 0.38”, etc.) in an ankle holster in case you lose your primary gun for whatever reason. You may want to carry other self-defense items, including tasers, pepper spray, and an assortment of knives.

A knife is always useful for self-defense in addition to everyday purposes. A folding knife with a 3-5” blade is a must have. A tanto blade is useful for fighting, and other purposes, as it allows for stabbing and other cutting uses. You will definitely want a partially serrated blade, because it allows for cutting stronger and rougher materials in a saw-like fashion. If the blade is too long it will be hard to conceal, and too large for some purposes, but if it is too short it won’t accomplish some simple tasks, and will not do any good for self-defense, making a 4” blade ideal. A thumb stud and forefinger opener (assisted opener) are a necessity. You will also want to try to get a military or replica military model, including a seatbelt cutter and window breaking pin. You may also want to carry a boot knife and/or possibly a concealed automatic opener.

A leatherman has thousands of uses. Its pliers are unique, and not found in any other multitool. It also includes a variety of tools such as screwdrivers, scissors,can and bottle openers, a mini-knife, a mini-saw, a file, and even a ruler. Whatever the job is, the leatherman can almost always get it done. Get a full sized leatherman (at least 12 tools), made by the original Leatherman company, otherwise it might be missing
important tools, or not be as strong as it is required to be. It is also a good idea to get a full sized genuine Victorinox Swiss Army knife (not one of those tiny multitools). Between the two of these you should be covered for any simple task.

Lock picks-personal
When living in the shadows of the city you may come across a door or gate that is locked, which you need to get past. Lock picks ensure that you will never be stuck or trying to find another way around. It always helps to have a basic pick set. You may also want to have an old hotel card or two for wedging doors, and a few shims (professional or homemade) for basic combination pad locks. For when you’re in a hurry or being chased, you may want a small set of bump keys too.

Space Blanket-personal
Hopefully you will be able to find a warm place to spend the night, whether it’s a friend’s house, an old apartment, or even a vacationer’s home (not highly recommended). Unfortunately this is not the case, sometimes you will find yourself sleeping outside a bar or club just for the feeling of security that is present with other people, even if they are complete strangers. Sometimes you won’t even be able to do this, and may find yourself sleeping in an abandoned warehouse or dark backstreet or alley. Some of these places may be cold and unsafe. For times like this you can thank NASA for inventing the space blanket. It’s small enough when folded up that it can be easily carried on your person unnoticed, but will reflect 97% of your radiated body heat, both keeping you warm, and hiding you from thermal scanners. They are also waterproof which makes them an affective replacement for ponchos and raincoats.

First Aid Kit-personal/stored
You never know what might happen to you. You might catch a cold, the stomach flu, or even just a simple headache; you might trip, burn yourself, get stabbed or shot, or even get hit by a car. Unless you are in extreme danger of dying you don’t want to check into a hospital. You might find yourself in any of the previously mentioned scenarios and need to treat yourself. A small first aid kit can deal with any of these problems, but be made to fit in a pocket. To do so include 2 or 3 doses of Pepto Bismo, Benadryl, Advil and/or Tylenol, Aspirin, Mucinex, diphtheria medication, and any other personal medications; a gauss pad; a role of gauss tape; a few band aids; alcohol wipes; tiny bottles of hydrogen peroxide, Bactine and/or Neosporin, and superglue (for closing cuts); about 5 q-tips; tweezers; medical scissors; and about 5 water purification tablets. An all-purpose wrap/brace may be useful also. In your bag you will want to keep a larger supply of these items, as this is only a day or two worth of equipment.

RFID Proof Wallet-personal
When trying to stay unnoticed, you don’t want to be discovered simply because you are carrying an ID which contains RFID. Nor do you want to have your credit card scanned by a third party. RFID proof wallets and sleeves prevent this from happening. In your wallet you will want to keep a Transit Card for busses and trains, a public library card (might come in handy), a debit card with a few hundred dollars (in case of emergency), and one or two credit cards (in case your debit card runs out for some reason). You will want about $40 in cash (One 20, One 10, One 5, Five 1s), along with some spare coins. Elsewhere on your person you will want to hide $200-300 in cash, along with a couple of coins made of precious metals (for whatever reasons might come up). Disperse these throughout 4 or 5 hiding spots (inside pockets, sewn in underpants pocket, under shoe soles, etc.), and carry a second wallet with only a few dollars. If you are
mugged, you can use your proxy wallet to convince the assailant that you don’t have much on you. Even if they discover you have one secret hiding place for your valuables, they won’t suspect more.

You never know when you will find yourself in an old abandoned building without power, a dark alley, or even an underground tunnel of some sort. There are thousands of dark places within the city. A flashlight ensures that you will always have light. A headlamp is even better, as it allows you to retain use of both hands, while still having a source of light. LED lights provide massive amounts of light using only a small amount of energy, making them the ideal choice for your light source. For an almost never ending power supply, you can use a light with a crank and built in generator.


Cities tend to be very large and full of various places that may be important to your survival for some reason or another. It may be difficult to remember all of these places. Instead of simply trying to memorize them, you may want a map, on which you can mark these spots, in addition to various building codes and padlock combinations. With a map you will never find yourself lost. You may also want to carry a handhold GPS, although you will want to keep it in a foil-lined pouch when not in use, to prevent reverse tracking.

Water Bottle-personal/stored
Even in the city you may find water hard to come by at some times. You may find that the only source of water you can find for a day or two is a vender selling it for $5 a bottle. Drinking fountains are becoming rarer and rarer, and are usually not found in public areas, but rather private buildings. For times like this, in addition to disasters and emergencies, it is important to keep at least 20 oz. of water with you at all times. You may want to keep a second one in your bag.

Keep a couple of energy bars on your person in case you find yourself in need of food, but unable to find it. You may also want to keep a few more in your bag along with some other items such as jerky, a small amount of dried rice, and possibly an MRE. Finding yourself hungry is never a good situation, and having a couple of days’ worth of food will ensure that you won’t go hungry in an emergency. There are also various forms of gels and drinks which use natural substances to boost your energy and provide you with nutrients. Make sure you are getting something that will actually suffice – not an “Energy Drink.”

Sewing Kit-stored

If you trip and put a hole in the knee of your pants you will probably want to repair it, as it may look tacky if you are in business attire, and it may cause you to become cold. It also helps for closing cuts and a variety of other uses. In addition to this you might want to carry a role of duct tape in your bag, and possibly have a role of electrical tape on your person. These may be handy in many situations, as the old saying goes, “Duct tape fixes anything.”

Cell Phone-personal
Keep a cell phone on you at all times. If you do this, than you will always be able to talk to anyone you need to, and most importantly, be able to make emergency calls. Remember to keep it in a foil lined pouch (if you have a GPS, they can share a pouch), so that it can’t be tracked. A satellite phone is your best option as it is much more reliable, and will have a greater chance of working in a disaster.

It will be helpful to have a radio that receives AM, FM, and Shortwave, HAM, and CB. Between these five types of radio you will be able to get the news, communicate over long ranges without being tracked, and much more. Make sure you include a local police, fire, and medical scanner, to ensure that you know what is going on where. You may want a small ear bud to listen without allowing other people to hear. Try to get all of these forms of radio in a single utility that is a small as possible. I have only been able to find the AM/FM/CB, or the AM/FM/Shortwave, so the minimum is probably three. The smaller everything is (even if it includes more than one radio), the better. If you can fit it on your person, do so; if not, put it in your bag. Make sure it isn’t too big either. If it is too big, than don’t even bother wasting space in your bag. You should also carry a walkie-talkie. If you have a partner, you may also want a two-way radio.

Matches or Lighter-personal
Even in the city, fire can sometimes bring comfort, help you cook, or create an excellent distraction. For random purposes like this, it never hurts to have a source of fire. If you use matches, make sure they are strike anywhere and water proof, and if you use a lighter, keep some extra fuel in your bag.

Gas Mask-stored
A gas mask may seem like something that no civilian will ever have use for, but in reality, it is vital to survival in the city. You never know when you will be in a large fire, a collapsing building, or even a room filled with tear gas. Gas masks will let you survive in the most extreme conditions ever. Make sure it includes goggles.

Anarchist’s Cookbook-stored
Hopefully you will never need to use any of the information contained in this book, but it’s better to not need it and have it, than to need it but not have it. This book contains information including plans for various explosives, directions for wiretapping, and directions for hotwiring a car. Be careful with the legal hassles that surround this book.

Body Armor-optional

Self-defense usually works, but when martial arts, knives, tasers, pepper spray, and even guns fail; you need a backup plan. Body armor almost guarantees you safety if you are stabbed or shot. Body armor often can be worn under your normal clothes without being obvious. Sometimes it is heavy and large, but other forms are smaller and still provide equal protection. Dragonskin is currently the best form of armor on the market, as it is lightweight and flexible, while still being ultra-strong.


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