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You’re a SEAL Stranded in Hostile Territory: What’s in Your Survival Kit?

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These SEALs in training in California might find themselves in enemy territory, with only their survival kits -- and wits -- to keep them alive.

SEALs aren’t supposed to find themselves in trouble that they can’t get out of. That’s why the Navy is seeking to buy 300 new survival kits for the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, sometimes known as Navy SEAL Team 6.

They’re the guys who raided Osama bin Laden’s compound in May 2011 and sent him on an all-expenses-paid trip to the bottom of the Indian Ocean. Save for the downed stealthy MH-60 Black Hawk chopper, the mission was a grand success. But, being military men, they have to prepare for worst-case scenarios. That’s where Wednesday’s solicitation for what they call Personnel Recovery and Survival Kits comes in.

“The Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG) has a requirement to procure personnel recovery and survival kits (part number 0293-D) on a brand name or equal basis,” it says. “The brand name is SOLKOA [visit their website here]. If quoting an equal product, vendor shall provide all salient characteristics in order to be considered for award.”

(PHOTOS: Navy SEALs in Action)

While Navy folks didn’t rush to answer Battleland’s questions about how much the kits are expected to cost, and if they’ve changed recently, it’s neat to peek inside to see what’s there.

But first of all, the SEALs have been known to wreck things. Like helicopters. So the survival kits – a complete kit includes both hard and soft cases — have to be able to endure SEAL abuse.

The hard case is 4-by-2-by-1.2 inches, weighing six ounces or less, and available in both “Desert Tan” or “OD/Forest Green.”

Beyond those particulars, the hard case shall be:

– Capable of limited cooking without effecting the container finish (i.e. paint bubbling)

– Capable of being used as a limited digging implement without affecting its ability to house contents (simultaneous function of digging and housing not required).

– Shall have a weather resistant gasket able to keep out water during minor water immersion (i.e. river crossings, swimming)

– Shall have a fastening system that is reuseable and secure to prevent accidental openings

– Top surface of kit must have permanently affixed a 2” x 3” piece of loop fastener (i.e. soft side of velcro)

– Ruggedized to take heavy abuse while carried without damage to inner contents

– Case shall securely hold all items below without rattling or other noises.

The soft case, measuring 3.5 by 2.25 inches, will feature a U.S. flag patch (so much for keeping your nationality secret, although one has to believe it’s removable), be “subdued desert in color” and feature a “hook fastener (i.e. hard side of velcro) sewed to back with a slit in order to store and retrieve contents below yet hold contents down while worn.”

The SEAL’s hard-storage case will contain (quoting directly from the solicitation):

1.    Mini-Multi Tool with:

a.    Stainless Steel

b.    Pliers

c.    Wire cutter

d.    File

e.    Awl

f.     Packaged so as to not rattle in case

2.    Button Compass

a.    Quality AA

b.    14mm

c.    Liquid dampened

d.    Minimum 8 hour luminous

3.    LED Squeeze Light

a.    Red

b.    Continuous or Momentary Switch

4.    Fire Starting Kit

a.    Ferro cerium rod not to exceed 3”L x 8mm W

b.    Tinder tabs (4) packaged in reclosing bag.

5.    Water Storage Device

a.    2L capacity

b.    Able to hold all contents of the kit

c.    Must be sealable and reuseable

d.    Must be odor proof

6.    Water Purification Tablets

a.    40 tablets

b.    Packaged in amber, medical grade borosilicate

7.    Electrolyte Tablets

a.    2 tablets

8.    Signal Mirror

a.    2”x 3”

b.    Non-mirrored side covered with an IR reflective material

c.    Mirror side must be protected to prevent scratches. Protective cover must be able to be removed with one hand.

d.    Must have an aiming hole

9.    Thermal Blanket

a.    21” x 56” x .05mil

b.    Polyester, aluminized

c.    1 side silver, other side orange

d.    Packaged in plastic with easy tear pre-cuts

10.  Kevlar Line

a.    Yellow or green in color

b.    188lb test

c.    15 feet in length

d.    Packaged in plastic with easy tear pre-cuts

11.  Safety Pins

a.    Two #2 (1.5” steel)

b.    Two #00 (.75” brass)

c.    Packaged in plastic with easy tear pre-cuts.

12.  P-38 can opener

a.    Packaged so as to not rattle while in case.

13.  Stainless Steel Wire

a.    2’ of 20ga

14.  Duct Tape

a.    Brown or Green in color

b.    26” x 2”

15.  Fresnel Magnifying Lens

a.    4x power

b.    3.25” x 2”

16.  Waterproof Note Paper

a.    4 sheets

b.    Desert tan color

c.    3.5” x 2”

17.  Ink Pen

a.    Pressurized ink cartridge

b.    Black in color

18.  Broad Spectrum Antibiotic Ointment

a.    1/32oz foil pack

19.  Cotton Pad

a.    100% Cotton

b.    2” x 2.5”

c.    Packaged in plastic with easy tear pre-cuts.

The contents of the soft storage case will include:

1.    Hacksaw Blade

a.    Carbon Steel

b.    24tpi

c.    2.75” L

d.    Hole in one end for a lanyard

e.    Opposite hole end, sharpen down reverse tanto-style end.

2.    Ceramic Razor Blade

a.    1 or 2 sides sharpened

b.    Packaged so as to not accidentally cut anything or dull

3.    Moleskin Adhesive Patch

a.    Heavy duty

b.    1.75” x 2.5”

4.    Kevlar Thread

a.    Green or yellow

b.    100-200lb test

c.    24” in length

d.    Packaged in plastic with easy tear pre-cuts.

5.    Fishing Leader/Downrigger Cable

a.    Multi-strand

b.    Stainless steel

c.    50lb  test

d.    24” in length

6.    Suspended Navigation Magnet

a.    Identifiable north painting feature

b.    Magnet suspended from thread/string

c.    Packaged in plastic with easy tear pre-cuts.

7.    Ferro Cerium Rod

a.    1.75” L x .125”W

8.    Cotton Ball

a.    Impregnated with wax.

b.    Packaged in a reclosing bag.

9.    Bobby Pins

a.    Spring steel

b.    2 small

c.    1 large

d.    Black in color

The final two items are worth singling out, because they highlight the optimism bred into every SEAL (and trump the safety and bobby pins):

10.  Handcuff Shim (Pick)

11.  Universal Handcuff Key

a.    Non-metallic resin material

How to pack survival kits for stranded special-operations forces has been a subject the U.S. military has dealt with for at least the past half-century, according to this Army contracting guidance from back then:

An individual engaged in unconventional warfare and counter-guerrilla operations is frequently exposed to possible capture. In counter-guerrilla operations, indigenous elements with which a US soldier is working may be dispersed, causing complete separation of the soldier from the unit. While in an operational area, he must be continuously prepared to initiate evasive action and conceivably to continue evading for an extended period of time. His possession and proper use of a suitable survival kit may be the critical factor in effecting a successful juncture with friendly personnel. Therefore, there is a requirement for an individual aid and survival kit for issue to personnel participating in special warfare operations.

Screen shot 2013-02-20 at 5.42.11 PM

Army

From a 1963 Army report on developing a survival kit for special warfare troops

As you read down its list of suggested contents, one thing is perfectly clear: the art of survival hasn’t changed that much in 50 years.

The first item listed is “a small, simple, all-weather fire-making device is desired” – “Matches, irrespective of type, are not desired.”

The Army also wanted these early kits to contain water-purification tablets, first-aid supplies, as well as a “capability for the user to kill, snare, or otherwise catch small game and fish.”

One other must-have: “a tool for cutting vines, palm fronds, or foliage for construction of shelter.”

Makes sense.

PHOTOS: Special Ops: A Photo History

The document is dated April 17, 1963, just as the U.S. was heading into the Vietnam War.

53 comments
niklasrgustafsson
niklasrgustafsson

Sounds pretty much like the extra resource pack i add for remote hunting trips ! If you get hurt and the help is a day or two away due to weather or lack of communication. You need to build a shelter, start a fire and purify some water.   Good to see they have some experienced hunters on the team !  But, I must make shure you understand that the duct tape stock-pile must be large. With duct tape you can build a mansion, repair your gun or radio, make a spear or even a small boat ( not to mention all medical trauma use)...and if aliens from outer space encounter you when in distress, you can trade the duct tape for a quick ride back to civilisation !

Mtyburski38
Mtyburski38

Even troops and special forces can find themselves extremely off course, and need a back-up tool. Kits like these are in my backpack for hiking, camping or long road trips. It's all about the same things! Shelter, medical, signaling, and fire starting. Don't forget to add a $20.00 in there too!

HLeeHicks
HLeeHicks

Those Sailors in the picture aren't SEAL's. They're just Wogs. Maybe - just maybe they can be called SEAL later...

Roman151
Roman151

Roman here at http://ReadyToGoSurvival.com - Just wanted to say I admire the SEALS tremendously. We love the navy seal survival kit its inspired us to create our own bug out bags.

DuelSurvival
DuelSurvival

Duel Survival's Online Store bring's the knowledge from Pro Survivalist and the proven top notch product's from our inventory into your hand's, building confidence in the aid of overcoming almost any survival situation you and your family may face. Our main focus is family education,We want our image to be just that, so that means you can purchase from us without the jungle bob making you get down and give me 20 attitude!  www.duelsurvival.com

JamesSmith
JamesSmith

Pretty standard stuff. Lol at the people thinking this publication endangers the SEALs. The enemy wouldn't need a list to know the contents of a standard survival kit. Besides the document isn't classified and is already available without Time publishing it. You're naïve if you think this is all they carry.

DaveEchols
DaveEchols

From Dr. Strangelove: Major T. J. "King" Kong: Survival kit contents check. In them you'll find: one forty-five caliber automatic; two boxes of ammunition; four days' concentrated emergency rations; one drug issue containing antibiotics, morphine, vitamin pills, pep pills, sleeping pills, tranquilizer pills; one miniature combination Russian phrase book and Bible; one hundred dollars in rubles; one hundred dollars in gold; nine packs of chewing gum; one issue of prophylactics; three lipsticks; three pair of nylon stockings. Shoot, a fella' could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff.

LostWandering
LostWandering

Not sure Demi Moore is the right picture for the homepage... Maybe we could show these guys a little respect and put a real SEAL on there. Not some fake hollywood actor.

JoeCushing
JoeCushing

"sent him on an all-expenses-paid trip to the bottom of the Indian Ocean"  Why would you talk about this as if it were fact?  We have no knowledge of what happened to Osama.  We only know what the government told us but we did not get this information verified by outside sources.  He could be in the bottom of the Ocean, he could have died a long time ago, he could still be alive.  We just don't know and we never will know.  We only know what one organization claims to be truth.  

FredMyers
FredMyers

The "1- 32oz" caught my eye, too.  I think it got garbled in rekeying the text, from an original "1/32 oz."

lloydcata
lloydcata

Looks like a plan. OK, but this is a kit that ' every' recon unit in the military should have, regardless of unit. Understanding that these are 'mission specific' for Seal Teams, who operate under secretive and close quarters operations with the enemy, there is no reason that most of that kit should not be issued to every close quarters encounter. If he has to kick down a door to advance on the enemy, at any time, they should have such tools SOP.

That is exactly why some units had body-armor and some didn't, when every last one should have had it, Mr. Rumsfeld,( ...of the army we have). So, that last item about the cutting tool(Bayonet Debate) struck me, because as the POTUS and Mr. Romney were pontificating about horses and bayonets, ...a bayonet is one thing I would -never- consider going on a recon mission without. No bayonet, not me boss! Although in my later years a machete proves more effective! Yet, we don't know what its going to 'cost', because we're still paying for junk F-22's and scrap drones, when we should be giving every soldier what they need to get back home.

MourningCalm
MourningCalm

I'd rather have Major Kong's survival kit.

mikeylikeychiptole
mikeylikeychiptole

One penis pump.  One book, titled penis pump, its in my bag baby.

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

"18. Broad Spectrum Antibiotic Ointment

a.    1- 32oz foil pack


I'm guessing the decimal point got lost and spec #18 is for a 0.32oz foil pack.

Otherwise, I'd like to know how they expect to fit a quart of Neosporin into a matchbox... 


MorganNovember
MorganNovember

Oh man... I know all the secrets to the navy seals now... They carry brown duct tape, cotton balls, and antiseptic pouches... This is a matter of national security... And I just infiltrated it. BTW I have seen girl scouts put together just as comprehensive packs, I am not buying that this is the pack they carry while behind enemy lines

Guyw/hugeslong
Guyw/hugeslong

Nice to know that this news medium cares more about getting peopl to read their articles than they do about protecting American hero's.  Publishing this and making the contents of a SEAL's blow out kit common knowledge is just unethical.  But wtf, that's the American way, right?

Guy3Hammer
Guy3Hammer

Please join me in urging Nike to hire any of the former SEALs that participated in the Bin Laden raid as consultants for their outdoor gear.  These guys are world-class athletes and national heroes. They deserve it and some of them may need it. If Nike can sign multi-million-dollar endorsement contracts with athletes like Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, Kobe Bryant and Oscar Pistorius, surely they should invest a few dollars in the former members of SEAL Team Six. Who knows, Nike might end up with the best line of outdoor gear on the planet. If you agree, please sign the petition here: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/816/136/714/urge-nike-to-hire-the-former-seals-who-killed-bin-laden/

Thank you.

JayVMN
JayVMN

If you think it's hard to get all that in a tiny little kit...try becoming a SEAL. Now THAT'S hard to do. These guys are simply the BEST.

JasperEliot
JasperEliot

You forgot to include the Snickers bar.

joelogon
joelogon

I trust there's a missing decimal point in the requirement for broad spectrum antibiotic ointment. Either that, or the SEALs really do need to lug around 2 pounds of Neosporin in their survival kits.

GregPalmer
GregPalmer

Why is this being published?? WTF.

ovelho75
ovelho75

Basic to any survival, whether a SEAL or lost kindergarten teacher are shelter from the elements and access to drinking  water.  Depending on weather conditions, failure to provide for these two necessities can result in loss of life in less than a day.  The human body can go without food  for several days, but hypothermia, dehydration, and heat stroke can kill within hours.  A "survival kit" must address these two issues lest it become nothing more than a fancy "goody bag."  Consider tossing some of the gadgets in exchange for a lightweight shelter, a solar-still kit, and an extra 2L water bag.  If there's room, add a broad spectrum anti-biotic. 

tempest729
tempest729

Shoot! A fella could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff!

KarlWilliamDavis
KarlWilliamDavis

@JoeCushing if the truth of him being killed by seal team six turned out to be a lie, it wouldn't be all that difficult for the man himself to disprove, and he would've had over a year to do so at this point, just saying

MarkThompson_DC
MarkThompson_DC

@FredMyers Fred -- It does use the hyphen in the solicitation text "1-32" -- but plainly you are correct, so have tweaked with a slash to make clear. Thanks!

lloydcata
lloydcata

@kbanginmotown shhhh!, its a secret, but only one moleskin patch is maybe one short too, ...and you can never have too much Neosporin ;-)

SuperArmySoldierSandy
SuperArmySoldierSandy

@MorganNovember 

The Duct tape probably isn't even the 3M Nuclear Duct Tape either but the cheap stuff!  And where they expect to get a miniature multitool that will actually be useful at anything esp cutting wire etc I really don't know. Better off with a Swiss army knife like the Victorinox Locksmith and forget about the pliers, 

JamesE.Bierly
JamesE.Bierly

@Guyw/hugeslong Relax its a survival kit in case the rest of their gear is lost. My 8 year old packs more essentials in his Cub Scout pack.

JohnWoods
JohnWoods

@GregPalmer How in any way is this a breach of national (or even personal) security?  What is it with you paranoid types?

EJC
EJC

I dont see why this has to be published either.

rforber
rforber

@GregPalmer it was taken from the solicitation request which is public.  The article is not actually describing what's in the pack; it's listing the components that the Navy has asked vendors to supply.  

JoeCushing
JoeCushing

@JamesSmith @JoeCushing I didn't make any conclusions.  You're a sheep if you do.  Why would you automatically believe what the government tells you?  Do they have a strong history of telling you the truth?     

JoeCushing
JoeCushing

@KarlWilliamDavis @JoeCushing That's true.   Considering what you said it's extremely unlikely that he is an enemy of the US and he is still alive and free.  At least one of those three conditions have to not true but that leaves open a lot of possibilities.  He could have been killed earlier or died of natural causes earlier.  Maybe he was working with the US government the whole time, since he used to work with the US government, and at this point he was retired.  Maybe he never existed in the first place.  He could be in a prison under a false name.   There are many hypotheses that we can come up with to explain what happened but like I said, we will never know the truth. 

MorganNovember
MorganNovember

@AceMcGee @MorganNovember Are you seriously getting caught up on a single detail. Logic would overwhelmingly lead you to believe that I was was using a comparison to criticize those folks who think that this info will have adverse affects on the seals. Also, I am from Southern California where having handcuff keys hidden on yourself is common place.   

ErikMartin
ErikMartin

JohnWoods, because if a SEAL is stranded behind enemy lines, the more knowledge the enemy has of his provisions and tactics, the worse his chances of a positive outcome.

HLeeHicks
HLeeHicks

@JoeCushing @JamesSmith Those who automatically believe everything the government tells them has - in most cases I've noticed, never been employed by the government in any military capacity - with the exception maybe of the "Obama youth" of course...

JoeGlaza
JoeGlaza

@MorganNovember @AceMcGee Right on dude.  I was about to post something like this.  The ignorance of some of these folk was frustrating me.  The really secret stuff, that could compromise Spec Ops Groups is purchased covertly.  However, most government contracts are a matter of public record...I think we somewhat still live in a free open society.  Time is not revealing anything that the Chinese, Russian or anyone else including terror groups have access to.  This is the price of living in this type of society.  Soviet spies could simply read the Wall Street Journal to see how many F16 were ordered, back in the day.  We cry about government wasting money.  Yet we also cry about finding out how it is being spent, by the military, which spends a large chunk of our money.  ARR...why do I always read these comments...I always get frustrated by the lack of intelligence out there.

omega_pulse
omega_pulse

@ErikMartin Of all the factors in that scenario, enemy forces knowing how many electrolyte tablets the SEALs carry is not going to make a bit of difference. Tactics & skills & armament are what matter.

SuperArmySoldierSandy
SuperArmySoldierSandy

@ErikMartin

Except that the Velcro patch specification is a bad idea as the Sealteam-6scannedpatch.jpg patch is bound end up on the PSK. They can't help themselves.


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