If you’re a parent you’ve probably been in that position or you soon will be soon: You’re little bundle of joy is going away for the weekend on a school field trip. It’s the first time he’s going away on his own and being a prepper/survivalist you cant avoid worrying. What if he gets lost in the park? What if he falls? What if he gets attacked by Big Foot or kidnapped by aliens? The truth is that most schools are as worried about your child’s safety as you are. Still, we would like our kids to be as well prepared as possible, within reason.
A school-age child wont carry around much gear, and there’s a good chance that things such as knives or anything that could be considered a weapon is not allowed and could even get your child expelled if brought along.
The following items aren’t bulky, they fit in most jacket pockets and should be very useful in some of the most likely emergencies a child may face during a short trip.
The school will usually ask that you send one given that they often organize some kind of night activity. Make sure you send a good one like this Petzl Tikka headlamp. A flashlight can be invaluable for signaling and making your position noticed if separated from the group and lost after the sun goes down. The child should know to stop walking as soon as he realizes he’s lost, turn the flashlight on if its getting dark and use the whistle to alert adults.
Whistle + Spare flashlight
These two go inside the small ziplock bag. In this case, the ziplock bag itself is actually a breast milk bag, capable of not only keeping the components dry, but also carrying water if needed. The spare flashlight works as backup to the main headlamp. In this case I used an old but functional Fenix LD01. A cheaper alternative such as the Fenix E05 should work. If this is the only flashlight the child is taking, then make sure it has a strobe mode such as the Olight EOS i3S.
The humble whistle is a must for any kit, but especially for a child that needs to alert adults during emergencies.
Your child probably has one already, but there’s a good chance he’ll run out of battery or misplace the phone when needed the most. Cheap mobile phones are small and have great battery runtime. Turned off it should last for the entire trip. Explain that this phone should only be used to real emergencies.
Band-aids and alcohol wipes
Other than getting lost, one of the most likely problems is getting hurt. A child should know how to clean up a small wound and patch it up with a band-aid. Include some of the larger ones as well just in case.
In this case its Dextrose energy tablets, which is basically sugar but dextrose is assimilated by the body faster. Not a great meal by any means but it will give the body a bit of an energy boost if needed.
Cash and coins
If lost in an urban setting, a bit of cash can be used to take a taxi or buy something to eat. How much money depends on the nature of the trip and how old the child is, but at least a couple $20s makes sense. Remember to include a few quarters for public phones and vending machines.
Careful: Check First! Most schools wont allow a knife and may even expel your child if he brings one! If the nature of the trip, for example Boy Scouts, allows for a knife to be taken then you can explore a few options.
The iconic Victorinox is well-liked by both adults and children and it is indeed a fantastic pocket knife. The only problem is that since most models do not lock open they can be dangerous, especially for inexperienced children. A knife such as the Spyderco Delica is still very small and light and the lockback keeps the blade securely opened. A bit larger and heavier but packing several more tools, the Leatherman Sidekick is affordable and wont send tears rolling down you cheeks if lost. Still, it is a very capable multitool, with a good liner lock blade, saw, and many other tools.
Keep it simple, but most of all, explain carefully to your child how to use the items and what to do during an emergency.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.