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  • Richard Hughes

My essential 'cheap survival bag' for location filming.

When I head out to a semi-remote location I always put together an essentials bag. The aim of this kit bag is to keep it really useful, compact, accessible, and low cost.

For me, this is a hybrid bag mixing shooting stuff with personal items.  This kit is the kind of thing I would take when on location in African bushland.  

The contents will differ depending on location and extremity.

There is also an 'expensive' version of this essentials bag  (details of which will be in a future blog) which includes a Satellite phone and GPS location tracker / rescue device.

In no specific order:

1) Floss - Great for cleaning your teeth!, but also great as string, shoe lace replacement, mini washing line, and takes up little space.

2) Mini packet of sugar granules or glucose tablets. - Bring bee's back to life, or give yourself a little energy kick, keep them double wrapped.

I would not normally keep any food stuff in or near my tent,  unless you want a trail of ants, or baboons to pay you a visit!

3) Nut snack bar. - Normally I end up in the middle of nowhere at 3am, after travelling for hours,  usually days. Nothing is ever open. 

4) A few dollars more. - Whether you like it or not, the dollar is recognised in many countries.  Keep in case you have not had time to get local currency.

5) Mini first aid kit. - All the usuals, Safety pins, paracetamol, rehydration tablets, malaria tablets, water purification tablets, etc. Customise your own kit and learn how to use it before you need it.

6) Mini torch. - This is a back up to your main torch.  People often pack torches deep into rucksacks or suite cases back home.  Then you arrive on location and it's pitch black and you do not want to be opening up a main case to fumble around for a torch. Make the spare one really easy to find.

7) Pen and paper

8) A cheap poncho waterproof rain cover - Keeps you and the kit dry,  makes a good shelter roof due to its design.

9) Mini glow stick. - Heading out from the tent at night ? even 10 meters for 10 mins. hook a glow stick to the outside.  (may attract bugs)

10) Small amount of gaffa tape. - Tape over holes in the tent, seal bags, and stick stuff together.

11) Mosquito net. - A repellent treated one if possible.

12) Cable ties. - Great for loads of stuff.

13) Sun shade or small hat.

14) Bin liner - Shelter,  keeping clothes dry, Sit on it, separate clean and dirty clothes. Pick up some rubbish on route!

15) Water purifying straw. - Water purifng bottles are realy handy things to have with you if you are on the move.  A staw is light and can be used in an emergency situation.

16) Lens tissue and dusk blower. - Keep the crap off the lenses.

17) Spare pair of socks. - Keep stuff in, keeping feet warm. I also use them for stuffing in the gap left in the front of canvas bush / safari tents, where the zips meet in the middle.  The gap is often just big enough for a snake to poke his head through. 

18) A really cheap, push button Nokia phone.  One of those where the battery lasts a week or more.  If you can get a local sim card then great.   Put in your emergency numbers at the top of the list: A_Help AA_***  Your Iphone battery is bound to be dead, and try using that touch screen in wet conditions!


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