A good survival kit is a must in every person’s life because, in such a dynamic age as ours, you never know what can happen and when it will happen. A first aid kit or a small stainless steel blade is something that can come very handy in almost every occasion – from an earthquake to a hurricane.
So, to increase your level of emergency preparedness, I’m going to show you what should be in an emergency survival kit, how to use it and which are the best ones out there.
What Makes A Good Survival Kit?
The two most important factors for all survival kits are their contents and size. Some may say that there are specialized ones for certain occasions, in the standard emergency kit there is enough versatility to help you not only in flood but also in case you get lost during a hike for an example. I’m going to list you all of the pieces that make a survival kit the package that can save your life in even the most desperate situations.
The size of your survival kit determines two significant factors – its portability and longevity. For example, the official site of the red cross states that ‘you should have at least 1 gallon of water per person per day’, so you should consider how many people will use the kit and for how long. So to wrap it up, a standard survival kit should be enough for three to four days if you are alone, but if you are a two-person family, you could probably last maxim two days. A family man should consider one of the many available families sized kits out there.
Though you may think bigger is always better, here this isn’t the case. While in some instances more supplies are better, the less you carry, the more mobile you are. If you are alone, you shouldn’t bring with you a massive suitcase full of supplies you may not even get to use, so also if your consumables do end, most kits come with water filters and survival knives that help you replenish them.
Suffice it to say, even if you are alone against the forces of nature, a big and expensive survival kit will do more harm than aid. You should get your priorities straight and stick to only what’s in crucial in as small as a possible package, even as small as a tiny survival bracelet. Unless you have the training and experience to survive and help others, then you should consider some of the more advanced features some of the bigger kits include.
A good kit is your best companion in an emergency. So, the items that it includes could make it or break it. While some things are a must, you shouldn’t be afraid of customization. There are а couple of irreplaceable tools, which I’m going to list below.
Emergency Food And Water
The first thing you imagine when you hear survival kit is maybe something like a bushcraft knife, duct tape or an emergency blanket, but you should think about what your body needs the most – food and water.
The red cross suggests supplies for three days in case of an emergency and two days if you are at home. Your water should be as I mentioned above at least a gallon per person for a day and non-perishable easy to prepare food.
Water Filters And Tablets
Water is a thing you can’t replace, no questions asked. Even in everyday life, you should ensure that you drink clean water, and in case of an emergency, it should be one of your top priorities.
Water tablets, more specifically iodine ones, take little to no space in your survival kit, so they should be the first thing you add.
Water filters work even faster and are great for both outdoor and home emergencies.
One of the main pillars of survival is sustenance. Without it, you will slowly die from starvation, which makes it the second most crucial thing after hydration for your survival.
Calories are your life energy, so, no matter the way they are present in your kit, they should be in some form there.
Most commonly found are packets of nuts, trail mixes, freeze-dried, dehydrated meals, energy bars or gels.
Pemmican is another food solution for your kit. This survival snack has initially been invented by the Native Americans hundreds of years ago to aid them. It’s rich in protein and can last decades without being in refrigeration.
You should stay off the food with high-sugar content because even though it will give you a burst of energy, after a while, you are going to feel tired again.
To sum it up, you should pack your survival kit with as much densely packed calories as you can, which takes a small space as possible.
Emergency Gear And Tools
The best survival kits out there have not only food and water but also some survivalist gear, clothing, and tools to help you stay safe in emergencies. But remember one thing, you should consider only small, lightweight, and multifunctional survival tools that aren’t a burden to you if you need to change your location.
A Survival Knife
Knives have been one of the man’s most essential tools since the earliest traces of the human race, and to this day, everyone should have at least one blade close at hand to help you in the most challenging situations.
So, the size of your survival knife depends on how much you are going to rely on it. If you are confident of your bushcraft knife skills, a bigger and heavier one is a viable option. You can even up the size and go full jungle warrior with a machete or a multi-use shovel. Still, if you aren’t experienced in the use of a blade, a smaller one shouldn’t have any significant drawbacks and will also leave more space for things that will be more useful to you.
Waterproof Striker, Matches or a Lighter
A way to light a fire is an essential way to keep a high level of preparedness. Since the dawn of time, the fire has given the man away to cook, to warm himself, and has been an essential source of light, so you should be able to access the gift of the red flower if you catch my drift.
The only three reliable ways of lighting a fire without wasting much time are with waterproof matches or a lighter because even in a case of a flood when you get to a dry place, you will still be able to light a fire.
To wrap it up, a pack of a storm and waterproof matches shouldn’t ever leave your survival bags.
A First Aid Kit
A natural disaster can lead to anything, so a first aid kit should be no brainier. But don’t go overboard – you don’t need a full-sized emergency trauma kit – a small portable one is just good enough.
Though you could encounter something like severe trauma, those big kits could take almost half of your survival kitsx bag. And even though you will be prepared for anything, you won’t have room for more useful things, like food and water provisions or blankets.
At the end of the day, whichever first aid kit you choose, it must include: band-aids, alcohol swabs, antibiotic ointment, and some clean gauze.
An excellent way to make a bad situation even worse is to get yourself lost, so a good compass is a thing, which your survival kit should include.
But don’t go buying some high – tech military class compass – you need a working one.
Space blankets, bivy sacks, or emergency blankets, whatever you may call them, are a must for every person, who is going to use the kit.
They weigh almost nothing and don’t take any significant space because they are a mostly thin foil, but amazingly retain nearly 90 percent of your body heat.
Their bizarre nickname comes from the fact that NASA initially designed them for their astronauts, but they work just as good for any emergencies on the Earth.
Fishing Hook And Line
Let say you have packed enough food for your adventure, and everything is going well, but there will eventually come a time when your food will end. So what are you going to do – fish yourself some more.
Fishing has been one of the most reliable ways of calorie acquisition. Fish are a great source of protein and are easily prepared on your campfire.
But to catch some fish, you will need some lines and hooks. Bait is easily found in the wild, for example, worms, so this won’t be a problem.
And you don’t need some expensive carbon alloy fishing rod. A typical strong stick and the components mentioned above are just enough.
Even more, a set of lines and some cord take just a little bit more space than your first aid or sewing kit, so don’t overthink it too much and pack a lot of patience with you, and you will have a reliable way to find food for a long time.
Glow sticks are a lifesaver. Not only they take almost no space, but they are multifunctional. They can be used for both a last resort quick source of light and for a rescue beacon.
So, a dozen glow sticks won’t cost you much now but could be a great asset later.
There’s an old American saying, “If it doesn’t work with duct tape, just as more duct tape.”
It can help you build and repair almost anything in an emergency. These days there is the widely spread T-Rex duct tape, which is a weatherproof and stronger version of the original product and as useful as any other tool in your survival gear.
Hypothermia is one of the most common causes of death, so when it starts raining, you should have a way to stay dry. While you could always find or build a shelter, you never know when you will end out in the open without a roof over your head.
So, a good poncho that is easily collapsible and won’t give you any space management problems should be a definite inclusion in your emergency kit. A dry bag can be a good alternative to keep you dry.
A pair of handy single-use gloves could be a perfect addition to your survival kit.
They are sterile, which makes them great for working on injuries and open wounds. One pair of gloves can also help you deal with toxic materials, or just nasty stuff you encounter.
And a couple of pairs won’t be much of a hassle, so make sure you tuck them in your survival bag for sure. If you have space, you should consider cold weather gloves too, especially for mountain use!
Without air, you’ll suffocate in little to no time, so a cover, to protect you from different gasses and particles is an irreplaceable tool in case of a fire, poisonous gasses, or even an earthquake.
While you may consider a full-blown gas mask, it takes considerably more space than the dust masks usually found in department stores.
Suffice it to say – if you aren’t preparing for more dangerous chemicals, a single-use dust mask should do the job just right.
I am a very loud person, but even I carry an emergency survival whistle. While you may shout very loudly, sometimes only the high tones of the whistle can help you.
Not only does it reach farther than any human voice, but you can also put it on your key chain and forget about it.
So, no matter how confident you are in your voice, an emergency whistle will be a perfect topping to your survival kit ice-cream.
Some may say that relying on battery-powered survival tools isn’t a brilliant idea. Still, a small, powerful flashlight can go a long way in helping you deal with an emergency.
It should preferably be power by AA batteries because you shouldn’t worry yourself with specialized battery sizes in a critical situation.
So definitely add a powerful Flashlight to your survival kit’s menu and store an additional battery to be sure.
Though it may sound like a bad idea to take up valuable space in your survival kit’s bag with things that will serve you only for show, your mental health is just as important as your body’s health.
Your sanity is your most valuable asset in a critical situation. And while you may carry a bag full of useful survival kits, if you don’t have lost your mind in stressing about the case, they are just a pile of useless junk.
A deck of playing cards, a book, or a magazine are small enough to not eat up the space for food or water but will help you relieve some stress and start thinking straight again, no matter how bad the emergency is.
While you may get stranded out in the wild with no one around you, in some situations, you could find yourself attacked by evil people, so a way of self – defense should be of high priority.
A pistol should be enough in almost any situation, so don’t go carrying any massive guns that will take up valuable space.
And don’t go out guns blazing on any suspicious people you see. Wasting ammo and starting needles conflicts is the last thing you want in an emergency.
Most survival kits are made with the presumption that you can’t get any help, but if you are stranded in the wild and you know your local ranger’s frequency, you should always have a way to at least try to get help.
While some may prefer a pre-paid cell phone, cellular connection isn’t always available, but with a good two-way radio, you could still catch a signal to get some help.
So you’ve packed away all the essentials, and now it’s time for items that are valuable specifically to you.
For example, if you have diabetes, you should take a couple of insulin shots with you, or any particular medications you may need.
People who wear contact lenses should always have a spare pair for a higher level of preparedness.
You should also bring your preferred multifunctional tool with you, like a Swiss army knife. A journal to keep track is a must for emergency situations that prolong themselves.
If you have still enough space left, get your favorite survival book with you, an MP3 player full of your most treasured songs, a book you have read many times before, and a picture of your family.
Depending on how many additional items you add, you may still have some space left, so everything you may think could help you get it, so you don’t regret it later.
Suffice it to say, a touch of originality can help you a lot in a critical situation. You shouldn’t rely only on what’s included in sold ready to use survival kits, because sometimes, only you know what’s the best for you.
So, What Is The Best Survival Kit On The Market Right Now?
And here we are. After tons of information, you are ready to make an informed choice…but wait. Something isn’t right. You still aren’t sure what to choose? Well, I’ve researched enough, and now I’m going to show you my list of the best survival kits out there. Keep in mind that the kits are updated continuously, so their contents may vary, but the essentials won’t be changed.
1. Emergency Zone 72-Hour
1. Discrete Design Bag
2. Swiss Army Knife
3. Three-Person Tube Tent
4. Hand Warmers
It may appear as nothing particularly special, but this bug out survival kit is all you need to be wrapped in a neat, not so little package that will serve you in an emergency.
Not to make things redundant, the pack has all of the essentials mentioned above and much, much more.
To start with, the only things you are going to need to include are personal items, because the pack has a multifunctional stainless steel Swiss army knife, a survival guide book, а survival rope, and a dynamo-powered flashlight plus radio combo.
The shelter wouldn’t be much of a hassle. Not only do you have emergency sleeping bags and ponchos, but the kit includes a three-person tube tent and hand warmers to make sure you retain your dryness and body heat.
Food and water supplies are enough for two people to survive comfortably 72 hours and double the time if you are alone. Two five-year shelf life energy bars that are suitable for 3600 calories are paired with twelve 4.2 oz water pouches that are going to be just enough to make you stop worrying about supplies for a bit.
A significant downside to the pack is that it’s designed for urban usage, so if you are going to make it your be all end all of the survival kits, you should include a fishing kit. While you won’t be needing it in the city, if you end up in the wild, this is the only reliable way to acquire calories.
On the other hand, hygiene is taken care of with a comprehensive pack of things like a toothbrush, a soap, a sewing kit, and shampoo will help you stay clean or clean your wound if the situation calls for it.
While it is very sizable, the bag is with a discrete design to help you blend in, because you never know what people you can encounter in the city.
And what’s more, the bag has an additional chest strap for added support, and а breathable mesh back.
The twelve additional pockets add a bit more versatility to your bag, and the large main pocket makes the bag big enough to store anything you are going to need.
Suffice it to say – this survival kit has everything you want and much more. While its high price point and larger size may be a turn-off, you can’t find anything as good as this at this price point. Its bulkiness wouldn’t be of any problem if you are going to use it in an urban environment, and with a little customization, it can be your irreplaceable companion in every emergency out there.
- While it may be a little too big, it has everything that you may need, no matter the situation
- There is not only waters and food supplies but also a competent shelter inside
- Everything in it is made to last, so you can put it into the back of your car without any worry
- Because of its urban nature, it doesn’t have a fishing kit
- It may have a lot of stuff in it, but that makes it pretty heavy and thus not very good for survival situations outdoors
2. My Medic – MyFAK Kit
1. Practically Indestructible.
2. Small Size
3. Multiple Amazing Items
4. Instant Opening
My Medic medical kit is the most versatile of its kind out there. It’s the best feature. It is simple – it’s practically indestructible.
Its containment bag is made out of ballistic nylon, it’s weatherproof, and it also has a heavy-duty handle to give you more secure carrying. There are also two D – rings for strap attachments so you can carry it over your shoulder, and the instant access Velcro opened compartment means you won’t lose any time in trying to open the bag.
I’ve proven that the exterior shell will serve you in any possible situation, and now I’m going to show you that the filling of this cake is even better.
It has anything from anesthesia to surgical scissors, tweezers, band-aid, and even more commonly found medicine like aspirin.
This kit is a little bit on the thicker side with its 4 inches of depth. It still isn’t significant to be cumbersome while still having everything you want from a first aid kit.
- It is the most comprehensive pack when it comes to healing wounds
- The case is as amazing as the contents, durable and multifunctional
- It is lightweight, for all the different things that it has inside
- While it not may weigh much, it still takes a fair amount of space with its 4 inches of depth
- There have been many reports of missing or leaking packets
3. Wise Food Emergency Kit
1. Extreme Conditions
2. Delicious Food
3. Useful Tools
4. Deck of Playing Cards
If you go on little adventures a lot, you know that the outdoors can be a thrilling but dangerous place. So if you are the type of person that seeks these thrills, get yourself an urban and a specialized survival kit outdoors.
The Wise Food survival kit is perfectly tailored for more extreme conditions. It is rugged, it is bulky, but it is a must if you are planning to go further than you ever had before, or to be safe even in places where you’ve been countless times.
This particular survival kit is made for prolonged use – the provisions which it includes, the portable stove and the comprehensive first aid kit, will serve you for up to five days and with careful use – even more.
The portable stove has 24 fuel tablets, thus making it easy to transport in your backpack and a perfect tool for keeping warm or boiling water and cooking food.
And the food is excellent! The survival kit includes 32 gourmet servings such as hearty soups, cereal, pasta, and milk.
This pack is the five day Swiss Army Knife of the survival kits. With delicious food, useful tools, and even a deck of playing cards, there isn’t a thing missing to keep you safe even in the most desperate of emergencies.
- It has all the necessary items to survive in the wild for a couple of days
- It is made for prolonged use, with all the important gear to make a shelter
- While it is bulky and rugged, it remains pretty lightweight
- The backpack itself is made with cheap fabric that unravels too fast
- There is a huge contradiction in the design – all of the food requires water to be prepared but there isn’t enough water for five days
4. Sustain Supply Co. Kit
1. Family Kit for 2
2. Portable Stove
4. Super Compact
If you are a two-person family, or maybe you’ve gone hiking with a friend, this survival kit is one of the best choices for you.
The essentials are all here, but there are some standouts. There is a Morakniv knife, which is one of the best survival knives in the market, two Aqua Liters refillable water cartons, and a portable stove with two bowls with utensils included.
It is well packed for up to three days, and if you are a two-person team, this survival kit is one best out there.
- This pack is designed to support two people, so it is perfect for a young family
- There aren’t survival items but also gear, like a Morkniv knife and food utensils
- It is super compact, but it will still last you three whole days
- The carton boxes for the water are too fragile
- There have been a large number of reports of missing items
- The food that comes with the pack won’t last you too long and it probably is two or 3 years too old
5. Emergency Zone Prep Kit
1. Family Kit – 4 Person
2. Very Lightweight
3. Discreet Design
4. Guide Included
Another product from Emergency Zone is a perfect solution for the whole family in case of an emergency.
The whole survival kit is divided into two red discrete heavy duty backpacks. They are lightweight, won’t draw any unwanted attention, and still have space in them for personal items and customization.
It includes all of the useful items from the brand’s Urban Survival 72 Hour survival kit, while changing some things like doing a rubber flashlight, and just having more of everything.
All of this is the best option to keep safe your whole family safe. The big and comfortable backpack, the included guide, and all of the provisions and tools that you may need to make this survival kit your most viable choice.
- It packs all the needed survival items for a whole family of four in a normal size backpack
- It will last you three whole days, with food water and general provisions to safely survive
- The kit also makes sure to include quality pieces of gear to complement the provisions
- The included flashlight is almost useless, extremely cheaply made
- While it is an excellent base, it is hugely advisable that you customize it
Frequently Asked Questions
How Should You Keep A Survival Kit?
Now that you’ve read through this long list of must-haves, there needs to be a way to store them. Depending on where you will use the kit and what outdoor activities, there are different containment units. They each have individual pros and cons, and I’m going to list all of them to help you decide which is the best one for you.
A survival backpack is a perfect solution for people who like larger survival kits and aren’t too concerned with how bulky the thing you are carrying is.
So if you don’t care about how your survival kit is stored, just put it in the nearest backpack, and be sure that it will do the job just right.
A Carrying Case
Probably this is the most popular type of container for survival kits. They are divided into two major types – soft-sided and rigid ones. Soft-sided carrying cases are preferred because they are more lightweight, but if you are storing more fragile items, you should add some protection with a rigid one.
Whichever you chose, they are both a proper container for your kit – small, with large volume, and easy to carry so you can’t go wrong with them.
A Floating Bag
If your adventure involves water, a float bag or a usual waterproof bag is an irreplaceable addition. This carrying container can save your most valuable possession from getting wet or from drowning.
The most common way of doing this is to put your kid in a standard carrying case and then in a floating bag, to add even more versatility to your kit.
While you may think that’s just a cosmetic characteristic of your bag, the color is one of the essential features of your containment bag.
If you are stranded in the wild, a brighter and reflective bag is a must-have, but in an urban setting, a more discrete pattern will be a more appropriate choice.
So an excellent way to adapt to your surroundings is to have a waterproof cover for your bag in a brighter color for emergencies in the wild, while your bag’ s primary color will be a bit more urban-friendly.
Whether you are lost in the woods, trying to keep safe during a flood, or lost in the outdoors, a survival kit should be in every person’s arsenal.
Whether you make it yourself or you buy it online, with a little bit of customization, it will be the best thing you take with you during a crisis.