“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water” (W. H. Auden)

The news here in Malaysia is dominated by the disappearance of flight MH 370 which has been missing for almost a week now. It is interesting reading some of the comments on various newspaper articles and the general disbelief that a huge plane can, in this era of sophisticated technology, simply vanish. Quite a few comments have suggested tracking passengers’ mobile phones or using ‘find my iPad’ type apps and this is indicative of the misconception that technology can find anyone, anywhere at anytime…a belief that our technology is infallible and omniscient.

sawyer_water_filterPerhaps one day we will reach that stage, but for jungle trekkers the limitations of current technology are all too familiar – the most common is, of course, going into an area without mobile phone coverage or travelling through jungle with such thick canopy that the GPS struggles to get a link with the satellites. Even more common and basic (and this happened to me recently) is finding that your new batteries are flat and that your GPS is rendered useless.

Finding a plane that has crashed in an ocean is extremely difficult, so too is finding a lost trekker in the middle of a jungle and, for the emergency services, knowing where to begin the search is vitally important (a reminder to all of us to let someone know roughly where we are going before we trek into the jungle). It would be nice to believe that the authorities and local SAR teams will come and find you within a few hours of that unforeseen emergency but the reality is that it will probably take much longer and there is a possibility that they may not find you at all.

Putting together a survival kit is not necessarily expensive, nor does it take that long and, in the event that you aren’t found for days, can make all the difference in the world.

When it comes to water purification there are many options open to you – chemical purification, boiling water, filtering water etc – and in this video I look at some of those options that work for a PSK kit.

The other aspect to this whole PSK business is whether you are putting together a ‘stand-alone’ kit or one that is an add on to your main pack. If it is the latter then you want to try and avoid duplication and have items in your detachable PSK kit that also fulfil a day-to-day function. The Sawyer mini water filter is a good example of this – small enough to fit in a pouch and yet as capable as much larger water filters on the market. It’s a new piece of kit for me, but I like it already!

For those who are interested in some of these bits of kit I’ve put the links to Amazon below (which is where I bought them) and you can get more technical details/pricing there as well.

Sawyer mini water filter – Amazon link

Pill holder – Amazon link

Katadyn water purifiers – Amazon link

Platypus bottle – Amazon link

But even something as simple a couple of plastic bags and an eye-dropper of iodine is good enough and much, much better than having nothing at all!