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Preparedness 101: A Scaled-down Survival Pack

What good is a Go Bag if it’s too heavy to carry very far, or if it’s too big to keep in your vehicle, or not convenient to grab? That’s where organizing your true survival essentials separately from your Go Bag can help and to that end, my husband recently surprised me with the Condor Pack Insert!

Condor Pack Insert

The basic premise of the Condor insert is that it’s used to store and organize your survival essentials – those items you couldn’t live without if you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere without modern amenities. The insert is small enough to fit inside your Go Bag pack, or you could store the insert in your vehicle – behind or under the seat for example. And, when opened, you can clearly see where all your items are and they’re easily accessible.

Another great feature of the Condor insert are the hook and loop fasteners that allow all pockets and straps to be moved around to fit your needs. The following list is what I’ve now got in my Condor insert; many of these items were from my Go Bag so this was not a costly exercise. If you decide to put together a scaled-down survival pack using something like the Condor, you can personalize it to fit your needs -- my list might not make sense for you, but use it for some ideas.

A - Fire-starters (stored inside an old prescription bottle to keep out moisture)

Ferro rod


Magnesium and ferro block

Pocket bellows


B - Jute for tinder (stored in an old Altoids tin)

C - Extra flashlight batteries

D - Gerber saw and extra blades

E - LifeStraw personal water filter

F - Bamboo spork

G - Iodine water treatment

H - Flashlight

I - Snaplights

J - Kerskaw knife

K - Figure 9 carabiners

L - Ontario Knife Company knife

M - Knife retention strap (straps knife to kit)

N - Minor surgery kit

O - First aid pouch




Hurt-free wrap

Triple antibiotic cream

Hand cleansing wipes

Extra medication

P - Shelter/camp pouch

Camp towel



Emergency shelter kit

Tarp clamps

“Pocket Outdoor Survival” book

Q - Misc. pouch

Waterproof dry bag

Mechanics gloves

Compact fishing kit

Waterproof bags (to fit a phone)

Hand/toe warmers

Small screwdriver/flashlight

Roll of Velcro

Feminine products


I have several fire-starting options because two is one and one is none - in other words, never underestimate how difficult it is to start a fire under many conditions (for example, lighters are tough to use at higher altitudes).

My husband included the spork - sometimes it's the little things that matter, especially in tough situations!

A note on water purification – see my other article on this topic for details, but to be safe I’ve included both a water filter (to strain out protozoa and bacteria) and a water treatment method (to remove viruses and additional bacteria).

Snaplights can be used for light or for signaling.

Figure 9 carabiners, specifically, are useful for quickly tightening ropes, and to assist in more easily building a shelter.

The dry bag has multiple uses: for water collection, storage, and it’s big enough to hold the entire Condor insert kit in case of wet weather.

A mirror is important not only to signal for help, but also to inspect your face for cuts, or to assist if something gets in your eye – this can easily happen in the woods.

And that's it! When full, the insert measures 15” x 9” x 4.5” and mine weighed about five pounds when completed.

Do you have a scaled-down survival pack or bag put together, just in case? Have a favorite product? Leave feedback in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

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