Everyone from a soccer mom to a college student to an office worker to a mountain man benefits from a well-stocked survival kit.
The following list contains many of the fundamental and vital components of any survival kit, but by no means is 100% inclusive. Most people will not agree 100% on every item that should be included in the perfect survival kit, and it will also vary on factors such as the environment and climate, what you need the survival kit for, how large it can be, how heavy it can be, how long it should last and for how many people, your skill level, cost factors, etc. It's never a good idea to "put all your eggs in one basket", and this especially applies to essential items such as firestarters, water purifiers, and cutting tools. Fire has hundreds of uses including water sterilization, saltwater distillation, cooking food, drying clothes, body warming, warding off predators and insects, signaling for rescue, sterilizing items, providing light, good hygiene, high moral, meditation and more!
One thing everyone can agree on is the need for a reliable firestarting method of some kind being in every good survival kit. Possibly the most reliable way to get a fire in virtually any situation, and best firestarting addition to one's survival kit.
Shave or cut off small flakes from the solid block of the basic element Magnesium (Mg) into a small pile and strike a spark onto it with the attached firesteel, it should ignite into flame. Magnesium firestarters are waterproof and work even when wet, in fact the chemical element Magnesium will burn even when submerged underwater! One good thing about matches is you actually get a flame, unlike many other firestarters that only give sparks. One good thing about a well-built, solid fire piston is that it lasts indefinitely, unlike every other modern method of firestarting. Fire pistons are a fun novelty and completely viable firestarting method for your fire aficionado, but not really fit for your average, compact, reliable survival kit. Though not originally designed as a firestarter but rescue signaling device, good flares produce such a hot, long-lasting flame that if you can't start a fire with this, then your hopes of getting a fire are basically 0% unless lightning strikes a tree. A good 20 minute road flare has several uses, including warding off animals, providing torch light, emergency heat, fire starting, and of course signaling for rescue. Flares are a worthwhile consideration for any survival kit, especially when stocked in the car or other large domicile, but they're not really fit nor necessary for the average wilderness backpacker, and flares should never be intended as a primary fire starting method. Probably the easiest way to start a fire is with a good butane lighter, such as the classic BIC lighter which outshines virtually all other lighters. While very effective and easy for almost anyone to start a fire with, butane lighters have many disadvantages. Still, throwing a couple BIC lighters into one's survival kit can be a good idea, especially for less-experienced fire makers. Butane lighters are a solid, if not risk-free, addition to a survival kit for fast and easy fire starting, but it's good to practice other, more difficult and less technology-dependent firestarting methods whenever possible.
Zippo type lighters don't make good long-term survival lighters because the liquid fuel tends to dry out over time. Having a spark means nothing if you don't have good tinder, and finding good, dry tinder can often be the most difficult piece of the firestarting puzzle. You can have the all the best firestarting equipment in the world, but without the right FUEL to burn, it's all pointless. It's worth considering carrying some small, lightweight tinder with you in the wilderness or stocked in one's survival kit. Due to size and weight, fatwood is not very practical for your average survival kit, but if you're intent on carrying tinder with you in the wilderness, it's hard to beat fatwood, which is just dry, resin-rich pinewood.
Charcloth is also worth mentioning as an excellent, transportable tinder perfect for survival kits. Fire can be considered one form of water purification if there is a metal container, but a survival kit should also include one or more other methods of attaining safe drinking water. A simple compound with many uses, including water sterilization, wound antiseptic, and even firestarting!
Originally developed by European scientists for third-world countries with unsafe drinking water. Worth mentioning, "UV Water Purifiers" are modern tools that use ultraviolet radiation from a lightbulb to kill 99.9% of harmful microorganisms in water, but they are not the most reliable means of securing safe drinking water. While these modern UV water purifiers can be quite handy when they work, there are just to many finicky "moving parts" in the devices to put your life in their hands.
In any survival situation or wilderness expedition you always want to have a good blade by your side. What kinds of cutting devices you choose will depend mainly on what you need it for, as well as terrain, weight and personal preference.
What size your cutting arsenal is depends on allotted space and weight, but this is not a place to cut corners. An essential part of every survival kit, though the size and scope of the first aid kit will vary depending on needs and space.
It is probably best to grab a quality first aid kit new off the shelf, rather than try to put one together yourself, in which case some things will likely be forgotten.
Cordage is essential in bushcrafting and wilderness survival, and it's hard to beat 550 paracord.
Cordage is useful for shelter building, tying gear, fishing, trapping, hanging things over fire, hauling game, building rafts, binding sticks, bowdrill fire, animal barrier, clothesline, tourniquet, belt, tinder, and can be weaved into a net and used as a backpack, plus many other uses. One thing about cordage is it has a hidden danger, in that is seems completely harmless but it's easy to get tangled in it and caught on something, which can be dangerous especially near water. A paracord "survival bracelet" is a convenient and even stylish way of carrying good cordage with you at all times, and paracord "survival grenades" filled with fishing gear make great backpack attachments.
Containers are sometimes overlooked as essential survival gear, but without a way to sterilize and carry water as well as other supplies, it is very difficult to survive long-term. Containers are also needed for cooking food such as stews, so don't overlook good metal cooking equipment and canteens in your survival kit. Truly essential for wilderness survival or adventuring in any location, especially because it's so lightweight and space-efficient. Fishing is a common survival technique and method of acquiring food all around the world and in almost every geographical location.
The larger your survival kit can be, and the more fishing you anticipate, the more expanded in fishing equipment it should become. Rain jackets and other raingear tend to be bulky, heavy, and inferior, but a good poncho is basically just a waterproof tarp that fits around you. Be it some cheap plastic emergency ponchos, or an expensive top-of-the-line long lasting survival poncho, some kind of rain-proof poncho should always be included with any survival gear. A good tarp makes an excellent form of wilderness shelter, especially in warmer climates where wind and rain cover is all you need.

Shelter is one of the four key survival components (Water Fire Shelter Food), and almost everything on the Survival Kit Essentials checklist involves one of those four survival priorities. Where you're storing your tarp, how you're traveling with it, and what you need it for will determine what size, weight, and quality it is. Some people may fancy a tent over a tarp, but tents come in fixed shapes and require framework.
You may not need screwdrivers and socket wrenches in the wilderness, but in modern civilization you're probably going to need them eventually. If storing your survival kit in an automobile like a car, boat, or plane, including some general tools is essential.
It's not often viable, or even necessary, to carry such hardware tools with you in the wilderness.
There is virtually no place on Earth that does not get cold at some point, so everyone should be prepared. Down sleeping bags and wool blankets each have their advantages and disadvantages, relative to each other. Down feathers are great for backpacking because they are very light and can be compressed compactly, while wool on the other hand is heavy and thick. The main benefit of down feathers is their light weight and small size, beyond that, wool may be your best option. If space allows, and especially if storing your survival kit in the car, there is no reason not to include a good wool blanket or down sleeping bag, as well as any additional needed clothes. Almost essential, good strong duct tape has about 1,000 uses, like making cordage, clothing, shelter, fire tinder, repairs, first aid, patching, etc. Similar to duct tape in that it is an everyday item that has a range of uses, including in the field, petroleum jelly, or "Vaseline", is an almost essential item for any survival kit.
Supposedly can be used like a quilt or throw, but this tends to be ineffective when used outside of clothing.
While their ability to be used as an actual "blanket" is questionable, they do make amazing heat reflectors when combined with fire.
Not to be relied on in themselves, they are simply a great addition to any wilderness shelter.
It's good to carry two compasses, that way you know they are probably working if they give the same reading. A nice addition to any survival kit, though many will argue how essential flashlights truly are.
There are many different kinds of flashlights, what kind you want will depend on your needs and style. Batteryless, hand-energized "kinetic" flashlights may be long-lasting and ready anytime, but they tend to be tiresome to constantly input energy and they usually have dim lights.
However, battery powered flashlights have their disadvantages, such as being larger, heavier, and relying on batteries that can expire, leak, or explode. Whatever kind of flashlight you choose, quality means reliability, so pass on the cheap "dollar store" gear and get a good flashlight that suits your needs. You might think insect protection is more of a luxury than survival necessity, but the number one killer animal on Earth is the mosquito, because it transmits deadly diseases in its bite such as malaria.
In places like Africa and the Amazon rainforest, mosquito protection becomes a survival priority. An all natural alternative to DEET are essential oils like lemon eucalyptus, citronella, cedarwood, lemongrass and others.
Heavy-duty garbage bags may sound like a funny addition to a survival kit, but actually they have many uses, and could almost be considered essential. Garbage bags are great for collecting rain, cut one open and you have a large surface area that can drain rainwater down into a container. Garbage bags also tend to be quite flammable, and can be used as a kind of nasty chemical tinder.
As you can see, heavy-duty garbage bags have many uses for wilderness and urban survival, and are a great addition to any survival kit. A reasonably sized paper manual for general survival or survival specific to your needs is a brilliant addition to any survival kit. In long-term wilderness survival, being able to identify plants that are edible, poisonous, and medicinal is essential.
Make sure you choose a survival manual or plant guide that is region-specific to your area! Blades become dull pretty quick, and a dull knife is hard to work with and potentially dangerous due to bad cutting technique. What you put in your survival kit will determine how well you survive and thrive in an emergency or wilderness situation, and can possibly make the difference between living or dieing. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what goes in a survival kit, it really just comes down to basics. Don't wait until the last minute to put your survival kit or bug-out bag together, you may need it at a moments notice. Estimated delivery dates - opens in a new window or tab include seller's handling time, origin ZIP Code, destination ZIP Code and time of acceptance and will depend on shipping service selected and receipt of cleared payment - opens in a new window or tab. International Shipping - items may be subject to customs processing depending on the item's declared value.
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The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants by Samuel Thayer.
A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and Central North America by Lee Allen Peterson. In a survival situation, be sure to start searching for food while youa€™re still operating at full strength.
Whenever possible, evaluate the condition of an animal before killing it.A  Active, lively animals have less chance of being rabid or sick, and therefore can be safely eaten (in most cases) after light cooking. It's not always easy or legal to find and shoot deer and moose, so consider the many game animals available when trying to survive in the wilderness.

Rabbits: These are a source of lean meat only, so eat them sparingly or combine with fattier foods. Although they provide balanced nutrition, trout and many other types of pan fish provide few calories.A  A fat salmon, however, can offer a substantial meal of 900 calories. Make a basket by rounding a green branch into a frame, then attach a lattice of leaves or porous cloth around the frame. Tie a button or bright cloth to a line as bait, and when the fish bites, quickly pull fling him onto shore. To prepare fish for cooking, slit it with your knife on the belly side, from the anal vent to the head.
To preserve fish for future consumption, cut the flesh into thin strips and hang to dry.A  For long-term storage, dehydrate the fillets by heating them wrapped in green leaves and set atop a grate on a low fire. Crabs: All are edible, but like other shell-fish, you should keep them alive until cooking time to avoid potential toxins released in their systems.
Clams: Along the Pacific shore below the Aleutian Islands, The dark meat of salt-water varieties SHOULD NOT be eaten between April and October. Bones are rich in minerals and can be salvaged if found with the carcass of an animal killed by another predator (i.e. Often neglected in survival situations, Vitamin C is essential to health and a lack of it results in scurvy.
Except for hard portions, wings, and any areas of poisonous secretions, all parts of insects are usually edible.A  Remove a grasshoppera€™s legs, wings and head before eating raw or cooking. Ants (bitter taste), spiders and moths are edible.A For red ants, hold them by the head and bite off the back side to eat. For fresh meat, cook only as long as necessary in order to reap the most nutrition.A  If available, you can use clumps of moss as oven mitts.
Quick and Dirty Oven: For food requiring several hours to cook, hot rocks make a good lasting heat source. Tripod: Lay two or three branches with forked tops against each other teepee- style and steady them so they'll hold a load. Import charges previously quoted are subject to change if you increase you maximum bid amount. Most people can survive without it for 2-4 weeks, so it's not necessary to make yourself sick with unappetizing mouthfuls. Carefully remove the entrails of fish, reptiles, mammmals and large insects before eating or cooking them. Keep in mind that animals that have been harassed or chased prior to the kill release lactic acid into their muscles.A  That makes the meat more perishable, so plan to eat it the same day.
Rabbits often rely on camouflage rather than flight from their predators, so pretend you dona€™t notice one as you approach it. When retrieving, try to leave some of the eggs to insure the next generation of available prey.
During these months clams consume poisonous sea organisms that cana€™t be destroyed by heat. Blood is also rich in vitamins, iron and other minerals.A  Four tablespoons can be as nutritious as 10 eggs. Depending on the situation, rawhide may be better utilized as shoemaking material, or for warmth.
Drink spruce or pine needle tea to get nearly eight times the amount of C as a glass of orange juice. The most important component of a survival diet is fat, and bugs are 100% fat.A  You can catch them using a light or torch fire at night. Other ants that bite will have formic acid that can irritate your digestive tract, so heat or cook them first when possible. Cook all meat well enough to avoid germs, parasites or disease, but overcooked meat is not healthy either.
You can pull out the cooled rocks after awhile and toss in newly heated rocks to keep the soup stewing along. Remove the pouch below neck, then cut or rip open body with your hands above and below the ribs.
Save the drained blood for soup, as it's highly nourishing.A  Cut the animal around each ankle.
For long-term storage, cut in long strips, trimming off fat (save this) and hang this meat in the sun and wind until it's hard and black.A  Fat makes meat rancid. If you reside in an EU member state besides UK, import VAT on this purchase is not recoverable. Foreign foods should be ingested in small amounts until your digestive system acclimates to the new meal source. Alternatively, give the animal time to recover by capturing it when possible and killing it later. Extract the marrow from large bones and cook.A  The less cooked, the more nutritious it will be.
As for the oven, dig a hole, line it with hot dry rocks (see caution above), then insert the food on a bed of green leaves.A  Now you can cover the hole to seal in the heat. After the gases escape, penetrate the skin completely but not so deep that you cut the intestines. In a survival situation, when slaughtering or dressing animals, always drain the blood into some form of container.
Generally speaking, it's the very small ones whose poison is deadly, not so much the larger ones. Now you need to open up the cavity and start cutting the intestines away from the belly of the animal. When preparing upland birds, such as grouse, pheasant, quail and partridge, skin or pluck the bird and soak in cold water for one to two hours to remove excess blood.
Cut the windpipe (trachea) and cut away all the attachments of the heart and pull out the chest contents.

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