Survival Kit List Of 10 Essential Items

Looking for a survival kit list? Here are 10 essential items which you might choose as a minimum to start any survival kit. Then build up the list and tailor the kit from there depending on the specific purpose for the kit, your personal preferences, needs, methods of carry, etc.


When making your own survival kit list and deciding what to include, first think about where and how you might use it, or it’s purpose as it relates to your activity.

Is it for your car? In your backpack on a day hike? A week-long camping trip? A bug-out bag with 72-hour provisions? 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 or where you might be using your kit. This again will affect the decisions that you make as to what to include in the kit.

The following survival kit list of items is intended to present ideas to spark your own thoughts:

Survival Kit List of basic items and uses

Fire-starter / Matches

Every single survival kit list should include a means to make fire.

Magnesium Fire Starter and /or FireSteel

The Magnesium fire-starter is a very popular survival kit item. Be sure to practice with it after you buy one!

A FireSteel is an awesome little gadget which generates copious sparks when scraped (e.g. with a knife).

‘Strike Anywhere’ matches are the kind with the white phosphorus tip. Store them in a water-tight case or bag and consider including a ‘striker’, perhaps an emery board or women’s nail file.

Keeping an ordinary BIC lighter in addition to matches is a good idea too.

Consider adding a mini fire-kit with tinder for building a fire.

Related article: A Fire Starter Kit List

Related article: The Best Knife For Batoning Wood


What survival kit list isn’t complete without a knife?!


You should include a fixed-blade knife or a cutting tool of some sort. Perhaps a pocket-knife suits your needs well enough. 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. However I do always carry a pocket knife.

There are MANY knife makes, models, and manufacturers to choose from. It can become overwhelming while deciding on what knife to get. It really is a personal choice.

Consider sticking with name brands including but not limited to CRKT, Gerber, Buck, SOG, Spyderco, Kershaw.

Related article: Your Favorite Small Pocket Knife

Maps & Compass

Do you know where you’re going? Can you get somewhere that you’ve not gone before? Can you navigate there without a GPS?

Keep a hard-copy map of the region you’re in. Keep a topo (topographical) 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.

Related article: A Good Compass For Map Reading And Navigation

Cordage, Paracord

Cordage. There are lots of choices. Paracord is one that I like.

ROTHCO 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.). I prefer to keep a bit more than that in a general purpose survival kit if space permits.

Here’s an interesting and apparently stronger alternative cord:
TOUGH-GRID 750 Pound

Related article: Five Benefits Of Paracord

Flashlight, extra batteries

A survival kit list without a flashlight?? That would be unheard of…

LED flashlight and/or headlamp. A LED flashlight, preferably a head-mounted style (for hands-free), is an ideal choice.

Keep an extra set of batteries even though LED flashlights consume relatively little power.

Here’s a review I did a while back: Best Flashlight

I currently use that flashlight, and others, although there’s really no such thing as ‘best’ – it’s subjective and dependent upon one’s personal needs and preferences for any given situation.


Typically for a survival kit, a good easy choice is the food bar. Calorie-dense food bars are convenient for short-duration kits.

One of my favorites is the CLIF Bar because they taste good and they are more calorie dense than many others. Your chosen quantity, food type, and packaging will likely depend upon the kit purpose (day-pack, overnight backpacking, vehicle kit, etc..).

Related article: The CLIF Bar Might Be The Best Choice For Your Survival Kit

MRE’s are another consideration for suvival kit food. There are lots of practical choices in this category…

Extra Clothing

I added this category to consider the seasonal extremes. Even during summertime, hypothermia can become a risk during a cool rain or at night without the proper clothing or gear.

Consider whatever may be appropriate for your kit: Perhaps a knit hat, a rain coat or 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

You might not think that you’ll ever need it, but having a basic compact mini first aid kit within one’s general purpose survival kit is a very good idea.

One particular small first aid kit (tin) that contains at least the most commonly used components (which you could add to) is the following Coleman:

Coleman 27 Piece First Aid Kit, Mini Travel Kit

You can also easily assemble your own custom made First Aid Kit.

Mylar Emergency Blanket

A mylar ‘space blanket’ or emergency blanket will serve multiple uses including warmth (wrap yourself in it to reflect your body heat back to you), and potential shelter similar to a small tarp.

They fold up small, so keeping several will hardly take any room at all in your kit.

TITAN 2-Sided Emergency Mylar Survival Blankets

Related article: Uses For A Space Blanket – Emergency Blanket.

The ‘original’ space blanket manufacturer now makes this:
Heavy Duty All Weather Blanket (Made in USA).

Stainless Steel Water Container

Not only can you bring water with you, if you get the right kind of water container it will also serve as a vessel to boil water for safe drinking from questionable water sources.

Consider the kind with a screw-on lid, purposely made for hiking. If you might ever use it to boil water, get the single-walled type and one that’s not painted (get stainless steel).

Klean Kanteen 18oz Classic (w/Loop Cap) Brushed Stainless

Since we’re talking about water, a portable drinking water filter is advisable too. The LifeStraw or the Sawyer Mini are both good choices (and not expensive).

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
LifeStraw Review – 10 Benefits – And The Newer ‘LifeStraw Go’

Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System
Related: Review of the Sawyer Mini


Note: There are LOTS more items to consider for a basic (general purpose) emergency kit.

This list of ten survival kit items (10+) is meant to give you ideas as a starting point for putting together your own kit.

These items will easily fit into a backpack. Adjust the contents as you see fit, as any such list is variable depending on it’s uses and your preferences.

Related article: The 10 C’s Of Survivability

Instead of me listing another ten items (or more!), let’s hear from you:


        1. Thanks Ken.
          Still have not figured how to post a link without it getting shot down…. HAHAHA

        2. @NRP, My intent (and built-in site filters) is to catch ALL links in comments, and hold them for moderation until such time I’ve had a chance to have a look first. So hopefully there’s no way to figure out a workaround ;) (Although spammers sometimes get through)

          As with your comment, if I notice that it has to do with a product link, I will often go in and link it to Amazon (of which I am an affiliate).

      1. @NRP, yes I knew the Sawyer was better, I just could not for the life of me remember the name of it this morning. I happen to have several life straws. Thanks for the link. I will be replacing the life straws with the Sawyer Minis. I will give the life straws to family.

    1. The only downside to a Lifestraw is that you need to be a camel. That is, it has no storage. So instead I use the Lifestraw GO, which is a Lifestraw built into a bottle.

      1. I have 3 Sports bottles that were free with the Berkey.

        2 are in the BOBs and 1 in the kitchen cabinet.
        I do have tablets in the car BOBs I keep all the time ready for away from home emergency.

  1. Good morning, Ken
    I keep all my gear in a backpack behind the bedroom door. It goes with me when I drive off the farm, like my purse does. I am glad to see I carry all the above plus extras. When I go a long distance, I add extra clothes and food.

    I do have a stainless steel water bottle, but also a Berkey water bottle with filter. I have a multi-tool set, my pocket knife, and my fixed-blade in it’s sheath, that my Dad gave to me in my teens.(I will not say how long ago that was.)

    I also have a wind-up radio.

    I learned a lot by reading the Survival Series by A. American. And then I found your site. It will be very useful to reads others comments.
    Thank you, Ken, for keeping this going.

    [Editor comment: The entire ‘Going Home’ survival series by A. American can be found on our Survival Library page]

    1. Thats a great read, am about halfway through the 4th book.
      Have started carrying my pack when i leave home lately, even though i cant really get too far if something happens when im out i dont want to be stuck with just my pocketknife and the moths in my pocket.

      1. @ Kula
        I just finished book 6, WHAT A STROY!!!!!!!! Although it really leads into Book 7 :-( Cant wait on that. :-)

  2. In the fire starter category I also keep a magnifying glass in my kit. When the sun is available you don’t have to waste lighter fuel, matches, or scrape any magnesium off your fire starter. I prefer a glass magnifying glass to plastic but the plastic will also work and if space is a factor you can even get by with one of those credit card sized fresnel lenses.

    They’re also useful for helping to dig out splinters. :)

      1. I purchased an 8×10 Fresnel lens sold at an “office supply store” that was meant to magnify documents. It also starts a fire pretty quickly! Beach’n

    1. Slightly off topic:
      Stay on the lookout for a rear projection TV. They all have Fresnel lenses behind the screen. I hear the older ones are the best. Can’t say for sure, but my experience seems to bear that out. Rear projection TVs also have smaller lenses that can be used for starting fires, but they’re a little work to get out. Mine had some type of oily substance inside the lens housing.

  3. Included with my kit(s) are trial and error times, 24 hour bug out drills, hiking in all weather conditions. Being handicap myself, the load has been lightened to the bare minimum for me. Better to find out prior than the day of the end. Make sure what you have works and that you can move distances with your gear. I have gone through a bunch of items that became useless or where cheap and broke in the process. If at all possible, add a firearm to the mix. For Survival and Defensive purposes.

  4. The stainless container is the only thing i dont have, do have a bear gryls canteen though, i sort of liked it for the case and the old school canteen cup, but wish the canteen wasnt plastic, but then again almost everything is plastic now, even cars, sorta sucks.

  5. Instead of a stainless canteen I have a stainless mess cup. Better for cooking with.

    1. KRU 82 vodka comes in a BIG stainless bottle with screw on lid.

      I paid $20 and dumped the vodka. Still worth every penny.

      Bought a 2nd and attached a coil of copper tubing to make a still for purifying water. Makes about 2 cups per hour.

  6. I have to change some of what I carry in my truck from season to season. I carry dry foods in winter. (breakfast bars, dry soups, cookies for carbs) I carry a 100% thick wool blanket. I use a tin cup and a metal pot. I have a Swiss pocket knife instead of a single blade (more options with it), a lighter and candle, a battery lantern, and tools for flat tires or repairs, and an emergency cell phone every time I go out in my truck. The tools like my tire iron can be used as a defense weapon if necessary.

  7. Dave Canterbury`s 10 C`s of survival on YouTube is time well spent. A good all weather fire starter is to place both contacts of a 9v battery on fine(non-soap)steel wool. The finer the steel wool is the better. It may help to fluff up the steel wool. Very good tinder starter, as long as the battery is good :)

  8. I keep meaning to add insect repellent. Just found a 1 ounce tube of Cutter Sport Pack that my wife bought. It should be ideal. Actually the best thing I’ve found for mosquitoes is my wife, 99 out of 100 mosquitoes prefer the taste of her as compared to me!

    Will also be adding the Sawyer filter to the get home bag.

    Speaking about great reads I just finished Rawles books. Can anyone tell me what he is referring to about vehicles when he calls them “peacups”?

    1. The difference between a peacup and a teacup?

      A peacup is what you drive in Texas…

  9. When I lived in the desert, my truck had a gallon of water and a way to carry it (inexpensive daypack). There were no streams or water sources nearby.

    In the place I now live, I can make do with a poncho and tarp to stay dry and gather water from the sky. A water bottle to carry water is a must. I carry a small stainless pot to boil water in the field where I keep the small items prior to deployment. It holds about 2 quarts. Work gloves and bandanas to use as hot-pot holders. (or old,soft T-shirts to cover face in fire/dust storm in addition to handling hot items)

    I have replaced matches with Bic lighters. They are inexpensive and durable. I carry 2 of them in my pack(s) for redundancy sake. I have found that I am better using a small axe or hatchet for wood splitting and firemaking as opposed to the large knives and baton method. I still carry the Swiss Army knife with my kit to open cans and remove tops off bottles (saves my teeth too)

    1. You have to wonder who designed the Swiss Army knife. Have you ever been in a desperate situation where you absolutely HAD to open a bottle of wine? Every Swiss Army knife seems to include a corkscrew.

      1. The Swiss Army corkscrew works in low-speed, high-drag emergencies (when you really need to open than bottle now). The SAK saw is an excellent tool, easily capable of cutting 2″ branches, and with two cuts, larger ones.

        Will I need to cut logs or file my way through steel bars. That is the dilemma for SAK carriers.

    2. Hatchet….. I knew I was forgetting to add something to my kit! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Recently I purchased two of the Solo Stoves. Price was more than I wanted to spend. But after trying them out I was impressed. And I like the fact that they use what ever you can find that will burn. Most importantly was that there was little to none as far a smoke.

    Last week I visited all my caches, which I have placed on my evacuation routes. Updated the things that expire. For the most part they contain most of what’s listed here, plus some things. These are mainly caches, for a walk out scenario. And spaced at a days walk from each other.

    1. Lifeboat Matches are waterproof and have a head 10x bigger than normal.

    2. As for me I make rocket stoves out of #10 can and a few #303 cans. Are they beautiful ?(no) are they cheap? (YES) do they work? every time. Have owned a Kelly Kettle for years and it is the bomb. Tea for two in minutes!

  11. On fire; Bic lighters do not work when cold or with wet hands. Some of the torch like lighters will. I would love to know where one can obtain strike anywhere matches. All I can find are the green “strike on box” type, and they don’t have enough spark to light the match much less a fire. Living in a cold rain forest (a half inch of cold rain a day not uncommon) I find things like wax covered pine cones a good idea. A stove made from a tuna can and rolled up wax covered cardboard can get most everythnig going. Also any plastic trash you find blowing around will fire up well. Most folks here, who get lost in the woods, die of exposure in a few days. Staying dry and being able to dry yourself once you get wet is the life or death struggle. I would add a few heavy duty garbage baggs to use as rain ponchos and ground cloths in wet cold climates.


    1. @ confused and NOT in the dark (you prep so NOT in the dark at all)
      Strike Anywhere Matches….. I have gotten them online from Amazon, BUT I recently have seen them in Ace Hardware stores.

    2. Confused,

      Sounds like you are on the Wet side of the Cascades. Been there. Moved east. What I had to do to dependably start a fire was to make my own ‘starters’. I use cotton pads 3/4 covered in paraffin and/or strips of denim, about 4 inches long by 3/8 to 1/2 inch wide, 3/4 covered in paraffin. Fuzz the non-waxed part and use a spark source to ignite. A ‘dead’ Bic lighter will work, a ferocerium lighter is better. They burn for 6 to 8 minutes. I used to have strike-anywhere matches but gave up on them because rattling around in my truck the match heads disintegrate to a useless powder. And a note: If you make some of the waxed cotton starters, wrap them individually in waxed paper or two layers of paper towels. If you put them all in any container together they will eventually become one starter.

    3. You mean an ACTUAL rain forest, instead of a jungle?

      But then, how many people want to donate to the “save the hot, steamy, smelly jungle” fund?

  12. I suggest you use items that are the easiest.I can start a fire with a bow drill but lighters and a ferro rod are better.I carry a bag of long zip ties.Life straw/sawyer mini for safe water.Easier means less calories burned and time saved.Stress will be a factor and “the fog of war” and injuries will be a concern.?Learn how to use all your stuff now before it can mean the difference between life and death…my two cents

    1. @ steelheart
      I agree that you need to have the easiest method of making fire with you in your kit. I always keep at least three ways of making fire. Main reason is that in a high stress situation (near hypothermia, or mechanical injury) you’re going to want something that is going to work. In that case I would go right past my magnifying glass and magnesium and grab one of those little high powered butane lighters that act like little blow torches. I like using my magnifying glass to save fuel, but emergencies are what I’m saving the fuel for. If I was “just cold” I might even just go with the bow drill, the process of making the fire would warm me up before I even got the fire. :D

      1. Yep! Being able to start a fire in wet weather is a must! We have gotten rain almost nonstop for the last 15 days.Some times 2-3″ an hour.Finding dry wood here ain’t gonna happen.The ability to turn “wet” wood into dry wood then into a fire is something every one needs to learn and practice .It’s harder to do than most would expect.Learn how to do it.That’s why having a good blade/hatchet is important. Peeling bark,cutting fur sticks,shaving tinder and having fire starters that perform in wet weather is huge. Having a tarp above you to protect your fire is a must.You will need to have a place to prep wet wood and dry out more around the fire.I have spent hours under a tarp on a rainy night prepping wood for the fire.The next day too.It does eat up time but at least I was warm and dry…and another tool to put away in the old brain pan toolbox…:)

  13. I include 2 to 4 small tealights, the unscented type in thin metal from Hobby Lobby. I put it in a windless space to help light smaller tinder until I get a fire going, then blow it out. Helps conserve matches. Can also use it to get the fire going under my canteen stove.

  14. Thin plastic painters drop cloth for shelter
    Duct tape
    I have a small stainless double wall alcohol stove – no moving parts, light weight, about the size of a coffee cup.
    3 inch barreled, adjustable sighted .41 mag Taurus Tracker with soft points and hollow points in speedboats, or
    Kahr PM40 with spare mags

  15. Amy surplus Trioxane fire tabs.
    Will start wet material on fire—
    Caution— do not breathe the fumes– they are toxic, but they work.

      1. Take a cardboard egg holder, cut off the lid and cut out individual egg cups. cut the lid into smallish pieces (small enough to fit inside the egg cup.) put some inside the egg cup, enough to cover the bottom at least. then melt down lard or butter and pour it into the egg cups with the bits off lid inside them. After this put them in the fridge for aprox. 5 minutes. Then you can put them in a baggie or do with as you wish. these will burn for about 5 to 8 minutes. I never go camping without these things. They make life so much easier on the fire side of things. just light a corner and it’ll do the rest

        Personally i build the log cabin shape (with six pieces of wood, two parallel on the bottom and two more parallel going across the two, then two on top) i then fill the inside with kindling and put one of these fire starters in with it all, making sure to leave a corner exposed, light that and just wait for it all to start on fire.

        1. Then there’s the “buddy burner.” Cardboard wrapped up inside a tuna-fish can, soaked in wax. Probably would work with lard as well. Light the cardboard. I was cleaning out a closet this morning and found a couple dozen of these.

  16. I have used treated lint as well.
    The trioxane tabs are foil packed, will last for years.
    The fumes will not kill you, but prolonged exposure isn’t recommended.
    They were mentioned as another starter, can’t have too many.

  17. i use 50ft of 110 lb test paracord from lowes it costs like 11.50 or something close

  18. I am really enjoying the themedesign of your blog. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility problems? A handful of my blog readers have complained about my website not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome. Do you have any advice to help fix this issue? cakdckdedfba

  19. Hello Blogger,

    You really share the great things.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  20. True that.A life straw might be nice to include tho. and a gun mabye

  21. Extra clothing, great advice, even during the summer with the day temps between 80 – 100F after the sun goes down the temp can easily drop 30 degrees. Hypothermia on the California Delta during the summer on the river is common. Good article.

  22. Friends,
    Have several kits.
    A pocket kit.
    A Larger Winter Coat Kit.
    A car or truck it with food, water, blankets etc.
    A house and or Mobile Home or trailer kit.
    The purpose of all this is because here in Texas and in the West you might break down and need anything from a little to a lot of stuff if something happens.

  23. It has probably been mentioned but I think this may be one very important small item – a nail clipper. It can get very uncomfortable in your boots with long nails digging in or just rubbing against the toe of the boot. Also, it is very annoying to have a finger nail that catches on everything or eventually splits to cause finger damage.

  24. Folding saw, to cut some larger dead branch firewood and evergreen branches for bedding/shelter. With a Vietnam tomahawk.

    A ton of different size plastic zip ties.

  25. After the discussion on staying on topic over the weekend, I have considered why I visit here everyday.

    I hope this site does not just become a “buy and boast” site. I hope that more posts will discuss the actual using of some of the practical items they have acquired. This should include the good and bad about each item. Some have posted very good information; IE, straining seeds out of fruit puree , gardening tips, warnings about bad reloaded ammo, … and many more – that is why I visit. I also like to shop your links and do buy some things through this site that I need.

    I think part of this prepping site is to open some eyes as to what things are essential and also what is possible, given people’s different situations. That is why your topic today is valuable – whether you are in a 400 sqft apt or in a mansion, this is a minimum goal and a place to start.

    Even if NRP does stray off the reservation occasionally, his humor with his obsession about TP does get us thinking about staying motivated. Thanks for this site Ken.

    1. @hermit us, Is it your opinion that this article is “buy and boast”? I’m confused why you thought and wrote, “I hope this site does not just become a “buy and boast” site.”

      This article does contain a number of links, many of them referring to other articles here on MSB while others do link to some of our sponsor and Amazon products (which help keep this site on air). Maybe I am just misunderstanding your quote…

      1. Ken
        Not meant as any criticism of the site or your management – I know how difficult and time consuming it can be. It was meant to encourage more readers out there to contribute more information relevant to the use and experience with prep stuff. I may be chastised for this statement but I do not feel it is of any value that someone has put up three jars of jam, slaughtered a pig, or bought a truck. It is also not relevant to me that so many have medical issues except if they include some way they have overcome adversity that can be useful when SHTF. I know this is a hard attitude but as things get tougher, we must also face different opinions or positions. Now ban me if you feel I have violated the trust of the readers or yourself.

        1. Ban you? No comprendo on that one… I’ve only had to ban a handful of people during the last 7 years and it takes some pretty serious and recurring “bad stuff” for that to happen. You’re not even on the radar, or near the radar room… ;)

  26. To Ken and Hermit Us:
    I agree with your sentiment and I do not envy Ken’s efforts to remind us of the rules this site. In my case, I can only recommend those items I use most frequently on a daily basis. ( though the only people I know that light fires everyday are smokers – and I do not smoke.).

    The sad fact is that selling products for preparedness and survival has become a large and growing movement and along with that movement, there are hucksters and snake-oil sales people out there trying to sell us all kinds of junk and substances that we do not need.

    This is why I tend to talk about: 1. bad things I have bought. 2. loss of freeze dried food to rodents because I did not place in a proper rodent-proof container in a storage unit. 3. I used Bic lighters for years in off grid ranger stations where the constant temperature fluctuations and humidity levels would disintegrate conventional “strike anywhere matches”. My back-up to the Bic lighters are the magnesium sparker blocks and a hacksaw blade.

    Along with the topic of bad products being offered out there, if I find a brand name product that does not work, I will share my observations here on this site. We are all tight on money. We best not waste it on something that does not work. Bad ammo? Not only does it not work but it can tie up your gun so bad you have to break it down in the field to fix and clean or your expensive gun may go KA-BOOM. ( I also shoot and reload a lot of my own ammo.)

    So far, I have had good luck with the factory-loaded ammo out there sold under brand names. I have seen some really weird offerings from small private companies offering “High-Quality Reloads” and have stopped buying those years ago. As stated in this blog several weeks ago, some 100+ rounds were given to me by folks that paid good money for them at a gun show. They are relatively new shooters and they are learning the lesson that you get what you pay for. ( that lesson cost them about $50)

  27. In regards to the original topic of just 10 items, I feel that if a little is good then a lot is better. We live in a pretty rural area, and I almost always have access to my vehicle. My bags are all loaded with as much as possible. My wife and kids all keep a bag in our closets. I keep one bag in each vehicle. There are also other items in the vehicle that don’t fit in the bags, such as ballistic vests, rifles, extra ammo & mags, medical kits, NBC suits and masks, hatchets, entry tools, etc. When we go on big trips, I take at least two bags. I’ve been chided for having so much gear because we could not possibly carry it, which is true for one person. We have 6 in our family, so that gear would get distributed. Also, if it isn’t going to help us for that given scenario, we’ll take it out of the bag and leave it behind in the vehicle. Why choose between a pocket knife, fixed blade, hatchet, or tomahawk when you can have all of them?

  28. In our car kit, we have N95 dust masks. You never know what you may experience: dust, smoke, chemicals etc….

    Also in car kit, (actually under my seat) is a “car safety” window breaker/seatbelt cutter.

    They are not expensive.

    I think everyone should have one of these. Thankful to have lived through an accident years ago, but had to wait for help to get door open, this could have got us out sooner.

    Peace all~

      1. Ken thanks so much for the suggestion and link. I like that the RESQME tool is smaller than the one I have and also on a keychain. It’s in my save for later items.

  29. Wikipedia;
    “A survival kit is a package of basic tools and supplies prepared in advance as an aid to survival in an emergency. (Allow me to emphasize ‘PREPARED IN ADVANCE’ not when the tornado is overhead.)

    Survival kits, in a variety of sizes, contain supplies and tools to provide a survivor with basic shelter against the elements, help him or her to keep warm, meet basic health and first aid needs, provide food and water, signal to rescuers, and assist in finding the way back to help.”

    Since Ken did not indicate the circumstances to which this kit is needed, I’m proposing the particular SHTF of a ‘Light’s Out’ EMP, probably the second worse next to a Nuke detonating over one’s head. So basically no ‘outside help’ can be expected.

    Here’s my 10 item list and why, remembering this is in a “Kit” something one WILL have with them NOT one of the 30 different ‘Bags’ that everyone pushes;

    1. Personal protection; Firearm, boom boom, Something small and light, a little 22, 9mm, 38, whatever, and two extra mags. Ya don’t need to play Rambo with 500 rounds of ammo, an AR-15,
    2 45-ACP’s and a Shotgun it is a little much for this Kit. There is a consideration of weight AND are you really going to confront every animal & human you see?

    2. Shelter; A Mylar tarp, some ‘Paracord’, and a GOOD Bivy Sack. When it rains it pours, and when it’s cold it freezes, ALSO, when the Sun is out its HOT. Get caught out in the weather for 2-3 hours and you will Die. Sure if you happen to have your Artic Parka or your Speedo you “may” be fine, but most likely not as much as all those people that die from exposure every year think.

    3. Water filter; If one has 1/2 a brain cell working you WILL find water to Filter, Boil, or drop some tablets into. These new filters are very good, I like the Sawyer Mini myself, because you do not really need a cup or bottle to drink from it, it comes with a “hose” to use, although not the best, but you will have water to drink. A SS Water Bottle, sure ok, Just don’t think you’re going to trek across the country with a liter of water.

    4. Fire; Bic Lighters are easy, lite and WILL run out of fluid, Strike Anywhere Matches are fun to watch as the wind blow it out in a Herat Beat, try starting a fire with w Strike Anywhere in a windy condition all alone wet/raining. Fire-Steel are great, if you know how to use them, ya had better try it a few times before you ‘bet your life on it’. Oh yes, they make great sparklers also.

    5. First Aid; there are hundreds of pre-assembled kits out there, those are absolutely worthless if you don’t know how to clean and stich up a wound AND know when not to. How about splinting up a broken leg are with a bone sticking out, can ya do so without passing out? YES have a First Aid kit with you, and hope like heck someone else knows how to patch you up.

    6. Knife/Multi tool; Don’t leave home without it, this item should NOT be in your ‘kit’ it should be on your person (belt/purse) at ALL times. Now again if ya want to play Rambo, sure stick a 16” blade knife in your Survival Kit, I will bet ya $$$$ to Doughnuts I can do 99.99% if the things with my Leatherman as ya can with that machete. Sure it may take a little linger, but does your Rambo Knife have a set of pliers on it?

    7. Food; yeppers in about 2 weeks you’re going to start getting mighty hungry for sure (FYI in 2 weeks you had better be where you’re going). Get some of those Datrex Bars, they taste like crap, but will fill the gut and keep ya going for a bit. Get educated as how to find food where there is none. Forget about fishing your way home, aint going to happen, Best day fishing when it’s all nice and wonderful and nobody trying to kill you for your stash, ya might get what? 4-6 fish all day? Yad be better off figuring out what bugs and critters ya can eat. Or use that handgun to shoot a rat or two, sound discussing? Wait till you’re hungry.

    8. Socks and Underwear; Yep that’s right, that first water-hole/lake/river you step in and don’t dry your feet and new socks will lay you up in a day’s walking. Underwear, HAHAHA you figure that out as an EMP blows up every transformer within shouting distance.

    9. Bandana and a Hat; Simple huh? How many uses for a Bandana do you want me to list? And a Hat, simple enough, I like a Boonie Hat.

    10. The very most important thing you had better have in your ‘Kit’; Knowledge and Experience. I preach it all the time, do “Light’s Out” weekends or for a week or park the truck 15 miles from home and only use your ‘Kit’ to get home. Learn how to use ONLY what you have on your person or in this ‘Kit’. Can you last a week without? How about a few days in 100 deg weather or freezing cold? All the “stuff” that others and Ken list is absolutely worthless if you cannot keep your senses about you and know what to do.

    Ok that’s my list of ten, I do see a lot of things listed that would be nice to have, but, such as a Map and Compass, I could see that if you’re 4000 miles from home and walking the back roads and over Navajo Lake to get home, but I’m thinking that 99% of people know how to get to where they are going without or if you get lost that easily you had better not leave home. And if yar that far from home and TSHTF HARD; ya may need a few more things than these 10 items anyways.


    1. NRP
      Your lists have been helpful and your humor is appreciated. It’s been fun. Take care.

      1. hermit us
        Ahhhh go have a drink or 5 and get yar azz back here and quit whinnnning. After all, I need to tell ya about a Cut-Bow trout I found in my Frying Pan…. Sucker jumped right out of the Orange Animas River. HAHAHA

    2. NRP,

      Just when I had decided there was not a minimalist bone in your body, you make this post. Thank you.

      You just reinforced my belief in carrying no more “stuff” than is necessary to accomplish the task at hand. The one thing I add to my kit as a necessity (can be covered by using a bandanna) is a “dew rag”. The kind advertised for motorcyclists. I sweat, a LOT. Exertion on even a mildly hot day results in streams of sweat dripping off my forehead, rendering my eyeglasses useless. The dew rag rectifies this problem. As mentioned, they can be fashioned using a bandanna, but I prefer the prefabricated ones, but I also carry a bandanna for the uses you mentioned.

  30. Was wondering do you have a print button ? so we could print the information .
    Thank you

    1. At this time, I do not… Looks like that only leaves the old fashioned way – notes ;)

  31. I would add a really good pair of hiking socks. Cuz if you are in everyday clothes or dressed for work, the socks will be flimsy and unhelpful after a short time walking. They are light weight, yet
    very useful if you have to walk out…

    1. Great idea! It doesn’t take long to develop blisters and difficulty walking if the shoes aren’t right and /or if the socks are inadequate for the job. Most urban /suburbanite workers will not be wearing good shoes for walking if and when they need to hoof it home (or wherever).

    2. I really like some socks that I got from Cabellas. They are a lighter weight summer sock, a wool blend of some sort. They were some of the cheaper ones they had and when i realized how much I liked them and went back for more they were on clearance and I got the last 3 pairs. Much better than the cotton or cotton blend socks that hold moisture and then rub your feet raw.

  32. – Looks like I am late to this particular party. Oh well, story of my life. I really like NRP’s list, mine is similar, but not the same. I needed to clean out and redo my bag, so here is my ‘deconstructed’ GHB list. I have about 45 miles to travel, through normally dry, flat, hot or frozen country, so some of what I have is unique to my circumstances. For water, I have a one-liter bottle of Lipton’s half-and-half tea and lemonade. Keeps well, and I happen to like my mixed drinks. It is stored in one of those Aladdin pots that come with a lid and two green plastic cups. The lid is stowed underneath, and the pot itself is placed in a no-name stainless steel cup with a folding handle. The lid will fit either vessel. The plastic cups are stored elsewhere.

    – I have a Camillus M5 “Pilot Survival” fixed blade knife I have had a good long while. I posted a description of it on the pocketknife post comments, along with my EDC pocketknives.

    – I normally wear a ball cap; I also have a boonie cap, stuffed into my bag.

    – My bag is a $15 brown Walmart bookbag special, deliberately frayed and dirty/stained. Just not where it counts. In that bag, I have a full change of street clothes, skin out. Spare watch and eyeglasses in the bag, and I have prescription sunglasses in the console. I have a spare set of uniform scrubs under the back seat, skin out, but not in the GHB bag, just in a gallon-sized plastic bag with the air squeezed out. Hi-Tec boots beside the bag.

    – For shelter, a military poncho, and a Space Blanket, one of the good ones. In the winter, I add a poncho liner. Maybe not comfy ,but enough.

    – For food, a 1-pound jar of peanut butter, several granola bars, some jerky, some chewing gum, and a couple of Datrex lifeboat bars. Also, a dozen small fishhooks, 100 feet of 10# braided line and several sinkers. Not likely I will want those, but just in case.

    – Tools, I have a Stanley multitool, a 4-way stopcock wrench, and an 8” pair of channel-lock pliers. Two Bic lighters, a wrist band compass (Silva and Suunto ‘clipper’ are good brands), some cotton and some Vaseline. A metal match case, full of lifeboat matches and stuffed with more cotton balls. A small home-built FAK.

    – Light, fast and convenient is the key. Travel light, freeze at night.

    – It doesn’t stay in my GHB, but it would go home with me. A 4” Ruger .357 with two speed loaders, and an MTM ammo wallet with another dozen rounds. That totals about 40 rounds, with six of them .38 Special loads.

    – That’s not everything, but it does hit the high points.
    – – Papa S

    1. Came back later and noted I had left some things off. Like two bandanas, a Lifestraw, and three pair of wool socks. Another couple of things that aren’t in the bag but would probably go with me is some portion of the flat of water bottles in the very back, (that’s a part of the Tahoe, you know) and the pair of 10 x 25 Tasco binos that are in the seat-back pocket.
      – Papa

  33. I cannot believe no one has a good bolt-action rifle in their list. One good bolt-action rifle in a common caliber is essential. Hunting, self-defense from a distance. I like my .270 bc the ammo is plentiful, affordable, it shoots flat so it is easier to get accuracy if your scope isn’t zeroed for a longer range you’re shooting, and it kills anything without as much recoil or weight. Make sure your rifle is light. A synthetic/stainless setup is perfect for SHTF. One solid bolt action rifle, with a good optic and practice, practice, practice is worth more than many items. When you get into semiautos or fancier machines, you have a higher probability of failure. A good bolt-action is low maintenance, and easier to fix. I would have it as number one myself. Sidearms and shotguns are not as useful, You don’t want to be in a CQC situation, even if you win, risk is bad. I would say having more than one weapon is a good idea though. My plan if I leave my apartment and get in my car is my rifle first, my 12-ga shotgun and my 2 sidearms at minimum, but Rifle comes first. I have them all in easy to grab cases and a gun supply ammo kit ready to grab. I also have two buckets of Remington golden bullets, a boc of other 22lr rds, and a Ruger 10-22 in a case with lots of goodies. If possible I have a spare day pack in addition to my 3day pack with a MOLLE shotgun case on its side for my little 20-ga. Why would I bring so many guns if i had the time to (but the rifle is my number 1) ? Friends. The number two key to survival in my book. Ideally it’d be me, my gf and a friend, but even solo I would at least keep the car loaded. You find the right people and be smart about it you aren’t alone, and you can seriously Barter. That’s why i have so much .22lr and would bring as many guns in the trunk of my car as possible. You can always have a cache for backup if you get robbed and you always have a real bargaining chip or the means to build up a group. But as a solo person, you need a good reliable accurate bolt action that will out-shoot you and out-survive the elements. I have a Tikka T3x. It is light and a serious trackdriver, and can reach out and touch someone hostile with the two most common assault rifles before they can hit me. If it really comes down to survival you need fire, food, water and shelter, but that can be taken from you eaisly without a weapn and people are only as nice as they can afford to be. it isn’t just people you have to defend against. Bears and coyotes. And If you can take game, you’re fed. My food stash is actually quite small because there are so many game animals here. I wouldn’t ever starve around here in WNY. I myself have my rifle as number one. Never leave home without a gun, even here in Newyorkistan.

  34. Hello:
    I have been prepping for a about two years. I was wondering about the food aspect, hygiene for ladies, extra things for the little ones, and bullets run out, what now?

    1. Sonia
      Can you be more specific as to what you are requesting. Food aspect? Hygiene for ladies? Food if you go to the side bar you will find several articles on such items and there may be the same for hygiene for everyone.
      If you are asking about how to care for yourself during your minstrel cycle. There are reusable pads for this care and they are washable for reusing. For the outhouse an you have run out of TP, you can make your own wipes from felt material cut into squares. Again you will find articles about all of these matters here on this site. Good luck and welcome to MSB

    2. Sonia — “Hygiene for ladies”— fabric or plants such as lambs year……”Extra things for little ones” —- toys? — put them outside with water and dirt (mudpies and cakes), tell them to check out the birds/build a fort–food?— breast feed etc…

    3. Sonia,

      A look at history holds those answers. Look at how pioneer women and earlier handled menstrual cycles.
      Here is an article on a full history of women that is known.


      Kids toys are easy too. Look at the pioneers as well. Even when they “relaxed” they didn’t and whittled toys. It takes very little and no gaming consoles are required.

      “When the bullets run out” is archery, atlatl, black powder maybe, impact weapons like morning stars and edged weapons like swords. Learn stick fighting (kali) and attending medieval events that teach sword fighting and fencing.

      I hope this helps

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