Putting together a survival kit can be a daunting task. There are so many different recommendations out there that it feels like you need an entire semi-truck worth of gear. In reality, there are only a few items that really matter.
A survival kit is unique for every individual. It depends on the environment that you are in, and why you are building it. A survival kit for a hiking trip will look different from a road trip survival kit.
However, even though these kits will look different, they will have some common base items. These items are essential to any survival kit. Keep reading and we will detail each one and discuss how you can make the best decisions for your survival kit.
Essential items for your survival kit
While you were expecting a flashlight or compass to be first on the list, the first item you need is basic survival skills. Pick up a book on bushcraft skills. Take a first aid class. Build a quick shelter. There are so many skills that are useful in a survival situation that this should be the foundation of anyone who would like to be prepared.
Do you know how to cook without a kitchen? Simply going on a camping trip can teach you so many things about living outdoors. If you are on a road trip and run out of gas, what if the gas stations are shut down because of a massive power outage? Do you know how to siphon gas out of a car? As you can see, there is a lot you need to learn.
First aid kit
This should be one of the top items in any survival kit. This should not just be the basic band-aids and ibuprofen either—you need a trauma kit. If you are severely injured, you only have minutes to live. The first aid kit should include a tourniquet, quick clot, and shears at a minimum. Also consider a chest wound seal. If you do not know what any of these are, sign up for a course to learn them.
I bet you are wondering why there is a tarp on this list. A lightweight tarp has so many uses that most do not think about. You can use it to make a survival shelter. It will get you out of the rain and wind if you are lost in an exposed area and can’t find proper shelter. If someone gets injured in your group, you can use it as a stretcher. You can use it to signal for help or as shade from the sun as you walk. Paired with some paracord a lightweight tarp is invaluable in a survival kit.
A decent size knife is a must have and really should be something you have with you anytime you are outdoors or travelling. It will help you build a shelter, start a fire, open cans of food, and many other uses. Make sure to keep it sharp. A dull knife is dangerous and results in far more injuries than a sharp knife does.
Survival fire starting kit
Fire is a basic need for keeping warm, cooking, and purifying water. Keep waterproof matches, a ferro rod, and some type of tinder in your kit. Cotton balls soaked in Vaseline are one easy and cheap way to have a fire starter for very damp or wet conditions. Also consider a compact survival stove in your kit. It makes it much easier to cook and boil water and takes up little space in your kit.
Most people don’t realise that water is more important than food. In fact, if you don’t have any water, you shouldn’t eat because it will only cause your body to dehydrate faster. In most environments, you can find water fairly easily. The problem is that it is not safe to drink.
I like to have a stainless-steel type water bottle in my survival kit. This will allow me to collect water when I find it, and since it is metal, I can boil water in it over my fire. A survival water filter is also a great inexpensive option that takes up little space. These filters will filter out harmful bacteria and pathogens so the water is safe to drink. If you are on the move, they will save you a lot of time since you don’t have to wait for the water to boil. Put the smaller items in your kit inside the bottle—it also makes a nice container.
Finding your way to safety or around danger is your primary objective in a survival situation. At a minimum, you should have a compass and map of the area that you will be travelling in your survival kit. Phones today are great, but you can’t rely on battery life or cell signal. A battery powered GPS unit or a solar survival watch with built-in GPS is also a great option. You can simply set a waypoint at a safe location and easily find your way back.
Build your survival kit
Now that you have the basics that you need for your survival kit, plan out your adventure or trip and think about the environment you will be travelling in. There are likely additional items that you will need depending on season and weather. Don’t forget to always let someone know your plans so that in case you do get lost or are injured, they can send help your way.
Featured image: Freepik