I've found that one major key in making a fire with a bowdrill is to do everything within your power to reduce the friction between the spindle and the bearing block.
Think about it- laws of physics. You cannot create or destroy energy, just change it form one state to another. So, you are taking energy from you muscles (chemical energy?) and turning it into kinetic energy (reciprocating motion of the bow, rotating motion into the drill). Then you are turning that kinetic energy into heat through friction. If you have zero friction at the bearing block, all of that energy is being funneled into the concentrated area in your fireboard. As you add friction to the top of the spindle, heat starts being generated there. Where is that heat coming from? Not thin air- obviously (pesky laws of physics)... It's being taken away from the bottom of the spindle. For every btu generated at the bearing block, that's one less btu working towards making a burning ember. I cheated when I was learning and put some axle grease on the spindle. It was incredible how much faster I started generating clouds of smoke. In a survival situation, assuming you haven't showered in a while, I've read that you can rub the top end of the spindle on your face, neck, hair, etc., to lube it up some. I guess that's a situation where it would help to have oily skin. If you have killed anything recently, maybe you could rub it on some animal fat.
But yeah- there's been some great information posted in this thread! I went ahead and made some firestraws the other night. That has got the be the most sano way I've seen yet for carrying pjcb's... It's amazing how much cotton fits in a 3" section of drinking straw.
And living in the desert, carrying water has been something I've given lots of thought to. The plastic bags make great sense. I folded up a 1 gallon bag (this is the desert! can't have too much water) to about the size of my wallet. I will look into those bags specifically designed for carrying water as well. Also, if you have clear sunny skies, clear water (not murky), and a clear container, you can use sunlight to kill pathogens. UV radiation from sitting it in direct sunlight for 6hrs or so is supposed to be enough to do the job...
I have been wanting a small fixed blade knife too, like the izula or the bark river neckers.. My folder has been great and have used it to batton a lot of small wood to make kindling and fuel for my wood gas stove testing, but I know that pivot is a weak link.
I've spent some time on the survivalist forums, but those guys are go a bit overboard when it comes to edc survival carry or short camping trip gear. Of course, I'll be eating my words if the zombie apocalypse happens today...