Uncle Phil’s List

Today’s blog leads on loosely from the previous ones and introduces a very useful tool.
Decades ago I created what was to become known as “Uncle Phil’s List”. The list can be used to create a bug-out bag, survival kit or pack for a long holiday or just a weekend away. The list gives you a number of categories, each of which you consider in turn. Chances are you will not need an item for each category and some categories will have multiple items. The power of the list is that it makes you consider each individual category for a few seconds which really helps you clarify what you do and don’t need.
The list has nineteen categories but memorising them all is unnecessary. Part of real knowledge is knowing something exists and where to find it when you need it rather holding it in memory. Cut and paste the list, print it out and laminate it to use when you are planning and packing. Copy it into the front of your notebook if you wish.
Uncle Phil’s List.
  1. Shelter.
  2. Sleeping
  3. Clothing
  4. Fire
  5. Water
  6. Food
  7. Hunting and Fishing
  8. Cooking Equipment
  9. Medical. First Aid items. Necessary Medication. Sun-cream and Insect Repellent.
  10. Tools
  11. Navigation
  12. Signalling
  13. Light
  14. Toiletries/Wash kit
  15. Documentation. Passport, Visa, Books, Tickets, Money and writing material
  16. Rope and Cordage.
  17. Repairs -sewing kit, tape, glue, spares
  18. Specialist items: Defensive weapons, climbing gear, cameras, gift for hosts etc.
  19. Packs -i.e. how the items are carried and bags that can be used for carrying found food etc.
For example, the first category, “Shelter” can cover everything from having a plastic rubbish bag or poncho in your bag to protect from the rain to making sure your tent is not missing any parts or confirming the hotel reservations. “Sleeping” might also make you think about your accommodations but should also make you consider if you need bedding and related items. On many trips, particularly to more civilized areas, your answer to many of the categories will be “no, don’t need anything for that” or “I can use the credit card for that”. The important thing is that you have actually spent a few seconds thinking about this and coming to that conclusion rather than assuming, and assumption is the mother of all muck-ups!
Future blogs will cover how this list can be used to assemble various useful kits for a number of purposes.