Got Your Survival Kit Covered? Think Again!

By James Barton •  Updated: 04/09/16 •  4 min read

Imagine that you wake up tomorrow morning, turn on the news, and are greeted by warnings of a coming hurricane. Would you be prepared? What if the situation was worse? A declaration of war by a nuclear power or the accidental release of a government-manufactured virus. What about the the stirrings of economic collapse?

Whether or not you believe any of these scenarios to be plausible will depend on your personal outlook. What’s certain, however, is that they would all require speedy action. Having a survival kit to hand would be essential.

In this post we’re going to look at some of the different types of kit, how they are applicable to specific situations, and what’s involved in putting them together.

As you’ll see, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

What’s the Difference Between EDCs, Bug Out Bags and Long-Term Survival Kits?

One issue that arises when attempting to give advice about survival kits is the lack of clarity surrounding a lot of the terms that people use. There’s no “standard kit”. Rather, there are a variety of different types that can be called on in separate situations.

EDCs (every day carry kits)

for instance, are for surviving over a short period, usually no more than 24 hours should disaster strike you unawares. They’re interchangeable with “Get Back Home” bags and are meant to give you the means to travel to a place where you can acquire more tools and supplies. A trek home from work would be a good example of when an EDC might be called for.

Bug out bags

on the other hand, are meant to enable you to survive for an extended period of time, often for longer than a week. They usually include necessities like food, maps, short-term shelter, foraging and hunting gear and medical supplies. The point is that they don’t include the tools needed to set up long-term infrastructure. The emphasis is on making a speedy escape for a few days or weeks.

If you have a retreat or a cache then bug out bags can be used to make the potentially perilous journey – past blocked roads, crowds and dangerous wild areas – to your safe location.

Long-term survival kits

Include all the things that you need to survive for an extended period of time. They will incorporate elements of a bug out bag, enabling you to meet your needs whilst you get set up, but also include all the tools and equipment you need to build more permanent infrastructure. A full long-term kit may fill several containers.

Ideally, you will be taking this kit with you to a predetermined location, either your retreat or a safe point off the grid. Retreats aren’t always the most secure places so many survivalists choose to keep the majority of their supplies at home, transporting it by car when necessary.

One quick point. You might not agree completely with these definitions and that’s fine. They’re meant to illustrate the types of tools and supplies that might be needed in different situations. How you put together your own contingency kits will be a matter of personal preference and judgement.

What Should You Include?

You will, of course, need to exercise your own judgement when it comes to deciding on the components of your kit list. Below are some general suggestions:

EDC (Every Day Carry Kit)

Bug Out Bag

Some EDC Items For Survival Kits
Some EDC Items For Survival Kits



Long-Term Survival

We’ve published a very extensive checklist that you can download to make sure you’ve got everything covered. For the bare essentials:


The kit that you need will depend on your circumstances. Some people prefer a stocked car whilst others prefer a backpack filled with camping gear. “Hunkering down” with your supplies at home is usually the safest option but to be fully prepared you need a “getaway option”.

Let us know what’s in your kit below and don’t forget to download our mammoth checklist!

James Barton

James Barton

Hi, I'm James. I am the founder and main editor for The Survival Corps. I have been a part of the survival and prepping community since my mid 30's as I downsized and started to prepare to be self sufficient in a time of crisis.