Getting Dumped and Left

qualified for the 10 character subject mandate…

I was watching a show where someone was wilderness tripping in a canoe and was dumped. The water carried him underneath some ice that was extending from the shore. When he popped out the downstream side, the item(s) attached to him were gone, stripped away and his canoe was seen leaving him in the cold water, dutifully continuing the trek downstream.

He managed to get to shore in BFE, cold, wet, and with nothing. He wasn’t due to check in for a few days, so he was on his own. That got me to realize the need for a small, waterproof container of items that will fit into someone’s front pocket and contain necessary things for an absolute, bare bones survival kit.

I made one, but due to injuries and moving, discarded it and not went back. Now retired, with a wife not too keen on my adventures again, I figure it’s time for me to build one again. I/we go out and do things during the week and stay home weekends/holidays to avoid crowds/people, so me being dumped and not have someone around for a day or three, five, etc. can be a real possibility.

Do you have an emergency kit that will fit into your front pocket? What’s in it? What would you put in it?

What I’ve done is to put my name, home town and phone number on the inside of my canoes in case my boat makes its grand appearance w/o me somewhere. I let my wife know where I’ll be going and don’t know if I’ll get cell reception, or it’ll be with me…or working. I can tell ya that a samsung s8 with a cracked face can survive being in 3 feet of water tho. :sunglasses:

Got Kit?

I don’t carry one, but it’s an interesting idea. I also don’t go out solo in the wilderness, so I’d be unlikely to need one.

Waterproof matches, a life straw, protein bar, emergency blanket, small knife. A rescue beacon would be smart

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Dago. I have often thought of the same thing. I am considering a Chinook PFD made for fishing. It has lots of pockets perfect for carrying stuff you could use sitting on shore by your self watching your boat disappear.

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My emergency “attached to me” kit is a flash light, knife, mirror, whistle, phone.

but if I was wilderness I would definitely have some waterproof fire starters, possibly an emergency space bivy, and definitely, definitely my Zoleo PLB.

If you have $30/mo to spend, get a PLB and then your wife never needs to worry.

Each of my boats carries the USCG if-found sticker.

In my PFD pocket is an expired driver’s license and laminated card with the name and # for my emergency contact - that one was issued during a symposium I attended. PFD also carries USCG required whistle and signaling device.

Also in my small PFD pocket is a PLB. No subscription required: PLB1 - Ocean Signal

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all great ideas. The only thing I have done is print emergency information visible on the dashboard of my car at launch site, date of my launch, float plan.

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This is a tough one, it’s really hard to choose what goes on the PFD and what goes in the deck pod and/or day hatch!

My PFD currently has a PLB, VHF (with basic gps), 2 whistles, sea-ears (earplugs), nose clips, neoprene beanie, waterproof watch (with digital compass), shoulder mounted flashlight with strobe mode, electronic infrared flare, tow tether, rescue ring, diving knife, mirror and water bladder. I don’t have any pyrotechnic flares yet but I should have one of those as well, also I would love a Garmin Explorer in there and as others mentioned, waterproof matches, maybe a space bivy. My grab bag has a bunch of epoxy, denso patches, bungee, hooks, static line, marine carabiners, charged battery pack, small micro and usb-c cables, AA batteries and cradle for the VHF as a backup, space bivy, laminated VHF call signals (I don’t want to have to try and remember when to Pan, when to Mayday in the heat of it). But it worries me that this is all in my day hatch so useless if I lose my boat.

And then I have the navigation light and suction mount, additional electronic strobe flare and cell phone which currently I don’t have good homes for.

Reading this thread, I do have unfilled USCG if-found stickers I need to use (doh) and the expired driver’s license is a fantastic idea!

Is this a version of an EPIRB?

I’d be afraid someone would break into/steal my truck if they knew how long I’d be gone. I leave that info with my wife and she can convey that to the local PD if I don’t show/call.

It’s very hard. Use one of those plastic bar soap 2 piece containers, put your gear in there and you’ll see what works. There are small, aluminum waterproof containers that small with spring loaded clips to keep closed–I had them for backpacking.

Whenever I go out and do outdoor stuff, I make sure I wear a belt that I can cinch down to the size of a wrist. This can be a tourniquet. You can tighten it by sticking a stick in it and turning it. When tight enough, tie that stick down to the limb to prevent it from spinning and it’ll be hands free.

You can cut down a signal ‘mirror’ to the size of the small box. It takes up hardly any room as it lays flat. Know how to use it using the 2 finger method to aim it.

Some braided fishing line might be handy for lashing.
I put some of those waxed jute strings inside, along with a ‘sparker’.

Quick post as been fishing, more tomorrow.

Zoleo, Spot, and Garmin InReach are all 2 way messaging systems with location reporting and SOS capability. depending on the model you can either text directly from the device or Zoleo connects to your phone. All of them can sent your location plus “im ok” or SOS at the push of a button. They require monthly service plans that range from $20 to 50/mo.

You can also get a 1 way EPIRB like rookie says from ResqLink. These use the same satelite system, but they can only send an SOS. This is good for a true emergency, but lacks the ability to communicate with people to check in, give updates, etc. The benefit is these are a one time purchase, and do not require a monthly service plan.

The 2 way devices allow you to text with rescuers to give them situation specific info if the circumstances allow. I use messaging all the time to text with my wife, coordinate meeting spots in the back country, and just text my hiking friends when Im on a solo trip and bored. Zoleo is nice because you get a dedicated, permanent land-line phone number associated to yuor device. Anyone with text capability can text you freely. With Garmin, the Garmin device must initiate the text conversation, so you must plan ahead and text whoever may contact you from your device to open up that communication channel.


I believe the PLB/EPIRBs use different satellites, frequencies and backends than the Garmin lnreach/Explorer etc. From my cursory knowledge it is a more robust network and comes with direct government agency response. I believe with Garmin you hit their dedicated response center first, then it gets routed to the best agency for a response.

In practice I don’t know how much of a difference it makes but given the additional functionality of the 2 way devices I would opt to have both if I could. Right now I just have the PLB but I’m saving my pennies for a Garmin. I’ll definitely check out Zoleo first though, that sounds like a better option.

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Ah, indeed you are correct. ResqLink uses Galileo Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) as well as the GPS Satellite network .

Zoleo and I think Garmin use Iridium

Some others use Geostat (Spot maybe?)

Different netowrks have different coverage areas. Particularly when you get north or south of 45* pay attention to the coverage zone. It can get pretty slim or non existent near the poles if you travel or live there


Here is a blog about the subject, from a Water Triber. Alan”aka SOS” goes over how to prep a PFD, to meet Water Tribe Inspection. Tribe races are ~100,300 and 1200+ miles long. To race with the Tribe, PFDs and required PFD equipment must past inspection, before staging your boat or kayak. SOS is racing a Water-Tribe race currently, in NC. Vest requirements for a race, will translate to a regular expedition.


The WaterTribe required equipment list is a good read for all paddlers and especially those doing overnights.


That is a good list–more than I’ll need, but good.
One of the things they mentioned is using your boat as a shelter. I’ve done that with a canoe and a tarp. Tip the canoe on its side then run the tarp over it like an awning. Your head will be under the canoe and your feet at the other end. You don’t even need poles/sticks to anchor it, you can just weight the corners with a log, rock, etc. I’ve done this on sandbars a lot.

The firestarter I was thinking about was “Swedish FireSteel”. It looks like 2 small keys and it provides spark. Waxed jute, frayed at the end can be the ‘match’ with that.
Freezer ziplock with water purification tablets if you’re around water you can’t trust.
Small pocket knife in same pocket, the smaller and skinnier the better as you just want to be able to cut (game, that braided fishing line, etc.)

It’s worth mentioning what type(s) of environs you’re paddling in, because it dictates what helps in an emergency. Some folks are clearly sea kayaking, which requires different gear than backwoods paddling. I tend to be on inland waters, usually swift water creeks up to Class I, lakes (some large), swamps, or backpacking/cross country skiing/snowshoeing.

I usually have a robust pocket knife on me at all times, and in the woods usually a good orienteering compass (includes mirror for signaling) in pocket with lanyard attached to me somehow. My cell phone is waterproof (been tested, not on purpose).

I have a Pelican 1010 case with:
headlamp & batteries (check several times/yr)
small (but sharp!) pocket knife
surgical blades
water purification tablets (assumes I have a water bottle with me)
small roll duct tape
small roll surveyors flagging
2 small (birthday) candles
button compass
band-aids for blisters/small cuts
small amount toilet paper
The Pelican is really too big for a pocket, but small enough to get thrown in a waist pack, hydration pack, day pack, etc., OR into

Military surplus canteen pouch, w two side pockets:
1 liter collapsible waterbottle
emergency mylar bivvy sack
100ft of 100lb test braided string
more bandaids
small waterproof pad, pencil, sharpie
waterproof matches, tinder
orienteering compass
more duck tape (blaze orange) wound around old credit card
extra flashlight and batteries
Pelican case listed above.

The canteen pouch will get tossed into a pack for backpacking/winter sports where separation from gear is a lot less likely. If I’m paddling in the wilderness solo, it will be attached to me somehow. In either case, if I decide to leave my gear (e.g. for a quick side trip, gathering firewood in dense brush, etc) I will take the canteen pouch on my hip. Having the smaller case with bare essentials for non-winter day hikes and the bigger pouch for more serious excursions (wilderness, or any time out in winter) means I’m more likely to toss what I need in a pack without thinking too much about it.

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Excellent post. The mil canteen (plastic) and canteen cup are a wonderful thing as you now have a water and a pot.