A survival kit is a basic set of tools and supplies, prepared in advance, that may be used to survive an emergency. Prepackaged survival kits come in a variety of sizes and prices. It’s not hard, though, to build your own survival kit. Here’s a simple guide on how to make a survival kit.
How to Make a Survival Kit
Whether you are driving across state, or hiking a trail through a forest preserve, it is always a good idea to have a survival kit. The fact is, things happen, and you need to be prepared.
Survival Kit Supplies
To build a basic survival kit, you need to include a few necessary items. Here’s a simple guide to build a survival kit, with everything you need…
Having a bottle of water on hand is always a good idea. So are water purification tablets. That bottle of water isn’t going to last long, and there may be water near you, but you need to make it drinkable. Drinking contaminated water might quench your thirst, but it places you at risk for a host of health complications – none of which you want to experience while stranded in the middle of nowhere. A LifeStraw Go water bottle can filter and hold your water.
Always keep a flashlight in your survival kit! When night falls, you’re going to want to be able to see. It’s also a good idea to keep 2-3 extra sets of batteries in the kit. You don’t want to be alone in the dark without a flashlight that works. You can also keep an emergency candle in your basic survival kit. Just be sure to have matches on hand, and exercise caution using an open flame. You don’t want to inadvertently start a forest fire!
A quality multi-tool
A multi-tool, or everyday carry tool, is a great thing to keep in your diy survival kit. A pocket-size multi-tool is a tool that combines various tools into one lightweight device. They often contain a knife blade, a bottle opener, pliers, wire cutters, and more. Leatherman is a popular brand for it’s quality and durability. You can even customize a Leatherman multi-tool for your survival kit, if you like.
Keeping a separate pocket knife in the your custom survival kit may seem redundant, but it’s really not. The knife on a multi-tool is smaller, and you may need to cut more than it can handle quickly.
Pliers are handy for gripping small objects that are hard to reach.
A fire – making kit
If you’re in the wilderness, a fire-making kit can make s huge difference! To build a fire-making kit, you’ll need the following:
Flint or ferro rod – used as fuel to start a fire. The Leatherman Signal has a ferro rod, whistle, and sharpening blade!
Tinder – you can use a variety of materiels for tinder including real cotton balls, dryer lint, dry leaves, or small twigs
Magnifying glass – for directing sunlight to start a fire
Matches – to start fire with. Be sure to get waterproof matches.
Cord and Tape
Duct tape has many uses, and having some in your homemade survival kit is a no-brainer! Be sure to add at least 200 foot of paracord and monofilament fishing line to your survival supplies, too. And yes, I think you need all three in an emergency survival kit!
You want a waterproof tarp in your kit. It doesn’t have to be huge, but it does need to be waterproof. You’d think that any old tarp will do, but the fact is that not all tarps are created equal. Be sure that the one you pack specifically states it is waterproof, else you could end up drenched, which doesn’t bode well for survival.
A lightweight poncho is great for protection against wind and rain, and can be used for collecting rain. Emergency ponchos are often small enough to fit in your pocket, but don’t let their size cause you to underestimate their value. Staying dry is essential to survival in an emergency.
Often called a space blanket, a mylar blanket is used to help retain body heat in cooler temperatures. They are waterproof and windproof, and help to retain up to 90% of body heat, even in the snow!
Small metal pot
A small metal pot can be used to boil water (to make it drinkable) and to prepare food.
Non perishable food
Non-perishable food including ready-to-eat canned meats, canned fruits and vegetables, granola, protein bars, and peanut butter are great to pack in your survival kit. If you’re stranded, it could be days before you find a food source. Be sure to have some basic, high energy foods with you. If your pocket multi-tool doesn’t have a can opener, you’ll want to toss one in the kit.
Basic First Aid Supplies
- Adhesive bandages
- Ace bandage
- Safety Pins
- Burn cream
- Antiseptic wipes
- Antibiotic ointment
- PRID salve
I personally think rescue signals rank right up there with food and water on the emergency survival kit supply list. You want to have a way to alert rescuers to your location!
- Glow sticks – I know, you thought I’d say emergency flare first, right? While emergency flares are an amazing item to keep in your homemade emergency survival kit, long lasting glow sticks are a bit more budget friendly. A pack of 12 hour glow sticks could last up to a week, if used sparingly! Plus, they’re waterproof and have an extended shelf life.
- Signaling mirror and whistle – many signalling mirrors are now made with an attached high pitched whistle. They may also have a float device on the mirror. A signalling mirror and whistle are both useful if you need to signal location to rescue searchers.
- Surveyor’s tape – also known as flagging tape, orange surveyor’s tape can be sued to mark location for rescuers. The bright color is distinguishable from surrounding undergrowth.
A survival tent, or emergency tent, is a lightweight, compact tent that is waterproof, windproof, and reusable. It is reversible, so it can either be used to keep the heat in during cooler temperatures, or to reflect heat out in the heat of summer.
An Orange Hat
As the daughter of a hunter, I believe having an orange bandana or orange knit cap to wear in the wilderness, especially during hunting season, is extremely important. Orange sets you apart visually from animals that may be hunted, and could well save you from being on the receiving end of a bullet or arrow.
A hiking backpack is ideal for storing all of your emergency survival kit supplies. Choose one that is lightweight (after all, you will have to carry it) and water proof.
Don’t have the time or energy to make your own survival kit? Check out Globo Surf for reviews of pre-made kits.
Be sure to check out my must-have camping gear for the free printable must-have camping supplies list if you are purposely going to spend time in the elements. ;)