10 Essential Items in a Survival Kit

August 6, 2013, by Ken Jorgustin

ten-essential-survival-kit-items

Here is a list of 10 essential items which you might choose as a minimum to start with in any survival kit. Build from there depending on your survival kit place and purpose.

Here’s some advice I recently read and concur with…
When deciding what to include in a survival kit, first think about where you’re going to use it. Is it for your car? In your backpack on a day hike? A week-long camping trip? A bug-out bag with 72-hour previsions? etc. This will alter what you might choose to include.

Also think about the resources that may already be available in the area where you plan to be. This again will affect the decisions that you make as to what to include in the kit.


 

Fire-starter / Matches

Magnesium Fire Starter
Magnesium fire-starters are popular (practice with it after you buy one). ‘Strike Anywhere’ matches (the kind with the white phosphorus tip), NOT the type that you must strike on the box (if the box striker gets wet, or if you lose the box, you’re in trouble). Store the Strike-Anywhere matches in a water-tight case or bag. Include a ‘Striker’, perhaps an emery board or women’s nail file. Keeping a lighter in addition to matches is a good idea too. Consider carrying some kindling.

Knife

KA-BAR US Army
A fixed-blade knife or a cutting tool of some sort. Perhaps a pocket-knife suits your needs. Or a multi-purpose tool with a knife might be useful. I personally like the fixed-blade style knife (and sheath) for it’s size and blade options, strength, and multipurpose uses more than that of an ordinary pocket knife. Although I do carry both in some scenarios.

Map and Compass

Keep a good map of the region you’re in. A topo map if you’re off-road, and a road map otherwise; or both. Know how to read and navigate with maps. The basics are simple. Complimentary with the map, a compass will establish bearings. Don’t necessarily rely on a GPS unit.

Paracord

U.S. Made Military 550 Paracord
Keep a length of 550 Paracord (or other cord of your choosing). A minimum of 10-20 feet seems reasonable for starters and for most ordinary uses (lashing, etc.), but I prefer to keep a bit more in the ordinary kit if space permits.

Flashlight, extra batteries

LED Headlamp
A LED flashlight, preferably a head-mounted style, is an ideal choice. Keep an extra set of batteries even though LED flashlights consume little power.

Food

Datrex Food Bar
Quantity, food type, and packaging depends on kit purpose (day-pack, overnight backpacking, vehicle kit, etc.) Power/Energy calorie-dense food bars are convenient for short-duration kits.

Extra Clothing

Consider the seasonal extremes. Even during summertime, hypothermia can become a risk during a cool rain or at night. Consider whatever is appropriate as extras… a stocking hat, a rain jacket, sweatshirt, a pair of gloves, etc. You can always ‘layer’ your clothes and better to have too much on hand than not enough.

First Aid Kit

The Complete First Aid Kit
Keep at least the basic first aid items such as bandaids, sterile gauze and tape, etc.

Mylar Emergency Blanket

Mylar Blankets
These serve multiple uses including warmth, and potential shelter similar to a small tarp. These are so small that keeping several will hardly take any room at all in your kit.

Stainless Steel Water Container

Klean Kanteen
Get the kind with a screw-on lid, purposely made for hiking. It will carry water and can be used to boil/purify water from other sources.

 
This list of ten survival kit items is meant as a starting point for putting together your own kit. These items will easily fit into a backpack or on your person. Adjust the contents as you see fit, as any list can be highly debatable due to the many caveats. In fact, if I did this again tomorrow, the list would probably change slightly ;)