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The Survival Vest

By: Chris Mosser

Faith & Survival         December 13th, 2010

What is a survival vest? Why do I need one? Can I go purchase one at a Wal-mart?  These and many more tidbits of knowledge I will cover in this article.  I understand this is not a topic that will hold every one’s interest, some people might have read the title and moved on already, so I am not going to attempt much levity here.  What I am going to do is be as precise and clear on this topic as I can to save your life, and the lives of those you love and rely on.

Reasons for the vest are simple, an easily accessible grab and put on garment to be used in emergency times when:

  • The lights go out
  • The water is no longer running from the tap
  • The natural gas to the kitchen has stopped
  • The roads are turning into parking lots
  • Communication is down and out
  • Civil unrest


Why a vest? Why not a Jacket, a coat, pants with pockets, or maybe a backpack?  A vest simply stated provides you the quickest access to items in pockets close to your hands in a manner that is not confining and can be worn in every climate.  A vest can be worn under a heavy jacket when the weather calls for it, yet can just be worn over a t-shirt when the sun is blazing.  Vests can be put on quickly and taken off just as easily.  They also start off lightweight, even though by the time you add gear it will weigh a bit more.  When you think survival times it would be wise to want to blend in with your environment which means the material needs to be tough, breathable and durable, in a camouflage, oak tree, all black, or dessert pattern. You want to find a vest with plenty of pockets of all different shapes, inside and out. The vest does not need to be waterproof or windproof, leave those features for your jacket and pants. Make sure you get the right size for your body, you need to be able to move freely in it when loaded so often that means one size bigger than you may normally wear.

I want you to know what a survival vest is not.  It is not a life vest, or a bullet proof vest. It is not a bright orange traffic cop vest, a ski or flotation vest.

My survival vest

When going to purchase the vest you have two options, of which I would recommend the “going to the store and trying one on” option. Your second chose is to purchase a “pre-made” version  online. My best experience in finding the vest was Bass Pro Shops.  You may have similar luck in finding them at Cabella’s, or large sporting goods stores that sell firearms or archery gear.  You will not find these at any of your smaller sporting good retailers such as Big Five, Sports Authority, or Sport Chalet.  Two main manufactures are Browning, and Primos, (I use that one).  When you are going to the store you will be purchasing the vest separately and then loading it up with the gear you choose to purchase and put in the vest.  If you need help with more images of what the vest should look like type the phrase “survival vests” into google and pull up the images.

The second choice you have is to go online and purchase a preloaded survival vest.  There is nothing wrong with this route.  It may cost more, and won’t be tailored to exactly what you want in your vest..however it is a wonderful starting point.  If you buying online you will only be able to get what they offer and it may not fit you just as you want..those were the main reasons I choose my own vest and gear to then assemble as I wanted for my particular area and climate.

Pre-Loaded Survival Vest

What to include in the vest.  I recommend the following must haves, tailored to your indivivual preferences:

  1. Clip on Water Filtration Bottle
  2. In a heavy duty zip lock bag include, pocket version of a bible, journal, US constitution, and writing instrument
  3. Back up medicine or contact lenses that you need daily to live or see
  4. Waterproof matches, or magnesium strip
  5. Bug spray–highest Deet percentage possible
  6. Plastic tube or pouch with silver coins
  7. Head Lamp
  8. Compass
  9. Whistle
  10. Maps–local road map with 20 mile radius and “bug-out” wilderness map–where you are going when the time comes
  11. Pocket knife, mace or pepper spray
  12. 4 “power bars” or similar protein based energy food bar.
  13. One hand crank radio with emergency band
  14. Stitching kit, (thread, needle, cleansing pads)


Nice To haves:

  1. Eye Protection–sunglasses
  2. ear plugs
  3. respirator
  4. binoculars–small light weight
  5. gloves


To some I may be missing some important items such as first aid kits, MRE’s or lots of food, fishing gear, gun ammunition etc.  You would be correct if I was preparing this to be a “combat” survival vest, that was not to be used in conjunction with a hip hugging back pack.  Many other items such as those I would include in the backpack which will be a separate topic. This survival vest should be kept in an area that you spend the most time in..for most that would be their truck or car.  That way if you are at work, or home your vest is always easily accessible.  If you are not working or away from your house 8 hours a day, then it should be located in the same location or closet inside your house as the rest of your survival supplies.

God Bless You

God Bless America

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28 Responses to "The Survival Vest"

  1. Kim says:

    I must have missed something. why would i leave the shelter of my home.? electricity or not, it is still a roof over my head and out of the elements.

    1. Chris says:

      Hi Kim, you would not, the vest would be used in the house and outside the house, you have important items such as the head lamp, silver coins that you will want to carry on you at all times, in and out of the house. If you needed to flee the house for any reason you are a step ahead with the vest on.

  2. Tom says:

    Hello Kim, I can actually see many scenarios of why you would want to leave your house, whether voluntarily or being forced to leave it by other circumstances.
    I would start with the first one where in case of “big-one” there might be actually no house to stay in, that’s of course in case you survive…
    We need to think outside of box.

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    As usual Chris, you are right on target. I don’t have a copy of the Constitution though. I need to get one of those.

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