How to make a Survival Kit

By James Barton •  Updated: 06/29/19 •  13 min read

No one can predict when danger is about to strike. But when the unexpected hits us, we get overwhelmed so easily simply because of failing to take precaution. This is not different when planning for an adventure. Your safety comes first, and you cannot afford to ignore a survival kit. Apart from using the survival kits during trips, you may also need to use them in an emergency such as flooding, earthquake, or even unrest in the streets. If you have your survival kit ready, then you shouldn’t be overwhelmed during such times. However, though the market may offer a wide variety of survival kits, it is better to customize yours that suits your needs.  Better still; a customized survival kit enables you to plan appropriately and familiarize yourself with each item, so you do not hit a snag.

So if you are looking forward to enjoying your outdoor adventure, then stay right here as we are going to show you how to make a survival kit. But wait, there is more. You will also be equipped with tips on how to plan and determine what should be included in your survival kit. Stay right here.

And here is what you will need to include in your survival kit regardless of the type of adventure you are planning to take.

1. Water that can last for long

Just like in the ordinary days, you need clean drinking water to survive. It is essential to have drinking water in your survival kit to keep you going for the period that you will be away. The water has to be clean and fit for human consumption.

While purified water can help keep you hydrated, leaning water purification hacks can save you a few bucks. However, in times of emergency, it may not be possible to use the water purifiers as you would be required to give the water some time to undergo through the purification process.

During such times, this is where your purified water comes in handy. Including water, purifiers will save you the problems of having to carry a lot of water.

2. Enough Food

Staying away from home doesn’t give you reasons to starve yourself or consume unhealthy meals. So when going out, chances are you might not have access to your regular kitchen. But you need to keep your body well nourished. The foods need to be easy to prepare and can last for long without going stale, depending on the time you will be away.

Also, you need to know how the best nutritional foods to carry, so you do not end up getting malnourished. You can carry MREs for long-time outdoor adventure. 

3. Transparent waterproof bags

The secret behind a good survival kit is proper organization. You need to arrange every item to prevent any contact with water or moisture that may cause damage. Transparent bags will offer you a reliable storage solution for your items. Better still; transparent bags will enable you to identify each item without having to open quickly.

Though you can use any waterproof bags, transparent ones are highly advocated.

4. A tent and sleeping bag

An Appropriate Camping Site

Staying away from home means that you need to find yourself a short-term shelter to use. A tent can be valuable since it is portable and easy to put up. It would help if you also carried a sleeping bag to keep you warm during the night.

You should learn how to put up the tent just before you set out to go on a trip. It is essential to learn how to put up a tent early enough so that you avoid mistakes when in the field. You can also include a rain poncho in this set of items. It is of great importance during the rainy season.

5. Fire starters

You will need fire to keep you warm in the night and to prepare your meals. Your survival kit should always have fire starters that can be used to start a fire in any weather condition.

While including different fires starters will come to your rescue when one doesn’t work, you should familiarize yourself on how to use each method.

6. First aid kit with all the accessories

In most cases, the government provides medical help to the people in camps after the occurrence of a disaster. Though the government might promise to provide such support, in case of an emergency, you also need to equip yourself with a first aid kit to use just in case the government delays in providing the medical support.

You also need first aid skills that will enable you to attend to affected people. Make sure you are able to offer the most common first aid services before attending to any affected person.

7. Gloves and mask

You will be carrying many activities using your hands in the wilderness. You need to wear protective gear in your hands to protect you from getting blisters when you handle rough surfaces. A mask is also essential to protect your internal organs from the dust and poisonous gases that you might encounter in the process.

Other situations also require different types of protective items. For instance, in case of flooding, you will need to wear closed-toe boots to enable you to move through the water without hurting your toes. You may also include them in your survival kit so that you have a comprehensive list of protective wears that can be used in any situation.

Apart from protecting your legs, hands, and internal organs, you will also need to protect your head. You never know the type of disaster that you may encounter, and you cannot take chances. You may need to put on a protective gear on your head to protect you from falling objects.

8. Survival knife

A survival knife can help you carry out different tasks, including clearing bushes, starting a fire, set up your tent, and even cut your food. However, not every knife will enable you to achieve all this. Before getting yourself one, please get to know what you can do with it to avoid any disappointments.

9. A reliable flashlight

A torch with a long battery life will be valuable since you may be visiting a region with no proper lighting. You will need to use the flashlight as you set up your tent or even when preparing your meals at night. Instead of carrying more than one torch, you can bring more battery to be used just in case the one in the flashlight gets exhausted before you return to your home.

The flashlight should provide enough illumination at night. You also have to ensure that it is of the right size so that you do not have problems carrying it around.

You can also include some emergency candles for use when your flashlight malfunctions.

10. Communication devices

When you out there alone, you may not know what may happen to you. It would help if you had devices that you can use to alert people in case you are in danger or in a situation where you are lost in the wilderness. You may have to include items like a whistle that you can use to alert security personnel just in case you have any problem in the camps.

11. A GPS device and a compass

A GPS device will help you locate directions quickly. But for it to serve you for long, you will need a long-lasting battery. At times the device may lose signal or fail. During such times, this is where your compass comes in. Make sure your compass has excellent features that will enable you to find directions even when the weather conditions aren’t at best.

12. Personal items

Do not forget to carry your items. This should include your clothes and essential documents that you will always need when you visit a new place. Do not forget your personal hygiene items like toothpaste, toothbrush, bathing soap, bathing towel, razor, and a nail cutter

For ladies, it is also important to note all the things that you will need for your hygiene.   In case you are under medication, you will have to include the medical prescriptions that you have so that you do not miss the dosage that you are supposed to complete.

Also, include a list of contact information of your family and friends so that you can always find a way of reaching them when you lose your gadget.

13. Entertainment items

Entertainment is one of the best ways to reduce stress and forget about your home for the time you will be away. The type of entertainment will depend on your preferred mode of entertainment. Some of the items you can bring include a magazine, book, and playing cards.

If you love listening to music, you can carry a radio which can allow you to play music. Better still; a radio will keep you informed on the latest news. In case you plan to bring a radio, it is highly advocated to take advantage of gadgets which can send weather updates or natural disasters. This will help you respond early and plan appropriately.

14. Fishing hook and line

Fish is a good source of protein for your survival needs. And if you love taking part in outdoor activities like fishing, then you can’t miss out on this adventure. But before including your fishing equipment’s, make sure the area you a visiting allows fishing to avoid getting into trouble.

If you a first-time fisher do not go fishing alone, make sure you have someone to guide you.

15. Cash that you may need

In the survival kit, you may also need to include a small amount of money that you can use to buy other things that you might need. In case of an emergency, you might need to pay for a hotel room, and meals then plan on how to survive from the next day. You may not need much money since you already have the items that will help you survive during the whole time.

For the cash, you need to change them to the local currency so that you do not have a hard time when purchasing items in the region.

16. A backpack

bug out bag

A backpack is essential when going for any adventure. The choice of your bag will depend on the size, quality, and other security features. Some people prefer larger bags to smaller ones. Regardless of the size you settle for, make sure your backpack matches the number of items that they wish to carry. Consider other additional features like waterproof properties and the design in regards to the security of your items.

How to customize your survival kit

Now that you already have information about the things that should be in your survival kit, you also have to understand how you need to customize your kit. It might not be possible to carry all the items in your survival kit. The choice of the ones you will bring will depend on several factors and among them include: 

The number of supplies you need in the camp will significantly depend on the number of people who will use the survival kit. If you are going on a solo trip, you may only need a few items, especially when you are only going for a few days. On the other hand, if you are going on the trip as a group, you will need to adjust your list so that you can accommodate the needs of every member of the group.

As you plan for the trip, you need to be aware of the possible accidents that you are likely to encounter. Depending on the type of accidents, you need to know the kind of first aid items that you need to carry.

In case you are taking part in outdoor activities for the first time, then you may need to carry all the items that should be in the survival kit. Otherwise, you may only need to bring a few items since you already know how to improvise most of the things that you need during outdoor activities. As you become experienced in outdoor activities, you will gradually develop skills on how to use a few items during the outdoor event. So this shouldn’t be something to worry about.

Your medical conditions will also determine the type of items that you will include in your survival kit. If you suffer from a chronic disease, then it is crucial that you include the medication that you have been using. You need to be sure that the prescription you add in the list will last for the number of days you intend to spend on the trip.

In case you plan on visiting a rural place, then you need to factor this as you come up with your survival kit. You will need to carry more than enough supplies that will last to the last day. On the other hand, if you are visiting a typical park which is accessible, then you need not worry about receiving help as it will always arrive on time.

The climate of the place you intend to visit determines the items that you include in your survival kit. If it is a cold place, you may want to add a lot of things that will enable you to stay away from the cold. Contrary to this, in case you are visiting the tropics, you will have to be cautious of snake bites and heat stroke. You should also know the type of clothes you will need in case you are visiting the tropics.

When taking part in outdoor activities, your safety is your responsibility. You may want to include safety apparatus that you may use in case of attacks from wild animals in the wilderness. In this case, you may need to carry pepper sprays and short guns to help you to keep away intruders.

Your definition of how to make a survival kit will depend on the things you will need in the wilderness. Some items might be essential for you, but others may not need them depending on where you are planning to visit. As stated, you need to start with the general items that every person is likely to use during outdoor activities; then you can go ahead and list those that will be specific to your personal needs. This way, you will have a survival kit that is fully equipped to take you through your stay in the camp.

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.