What Should be in Your Survival Kit

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or just making sure you’re prepared if disaster strikes, you’ll want to have a survival kit ready to go at a moment’s notice. Hikers, campers, hunters, and others know that the key to surviving the unknown is to have the tools you need for when the unthinkable happens.   While there are plenty of pre-made survival kits out there, it’s hard to find one that will closely meet your exact needs and preferences. Instead, consider building a kit yourself that includes what is most important to you.   Even a customized kit, however, should include a few items that no survival kit should be without. Below are a few items that you should add to your personalized kit.  

Food and drink

There are no promises when it comes to the kind of place you could find yourself stranded in. Food and water should be your primary concern in an emergency. At a minimum, your kit should include:
  • Water purification tablets or purification straws
  • Pots and mugs
  • Non-perishable food bars
  • Rations, such as MREs

Cordage and tape

Cording and tape can serve many purposes, from holding up tarps for shelter to keeping a leg splint in place. For cordage, your kit should include ample paracord and monofilament fishing line. Duct tape is a must as well, as it is both multi-purpose and highly dependable.

Fire starting tools

Ask anyone who has ever been caught out in the woods overnight - fire is life. Being able to start a fire means being able to keep warm and safe, provide illumination, and offers the ability to cook, boil water, and even create a signal for rescue. Your kit should include the various things you might need to start a fire including:
  • A flint or firestarter
  • Waterproof matches
  • Emergency tinder


Surviving is harder if you trip and fall and break bones or cause yourself other injuries. Being able to see in the dark of a forest, into caves and overhangs, or along paths is important. Flashlights are a must, as are extra batteries. You should also carry emergency candles - and waterproof matches with your fire starters - in case your flashlights don’t work or you run out of batteries.

Protection from the elements

Protecting yourself from injury is important, but so it protecting yourself from the elements. Having the ability to create even minimal shelter will keep you dry and warmer than you would otherwise be, staving off things like hypothermia. Space blankets are lightweight and easy to pack in your kit. Ponchos will help keep you dry. Tarps can be used to keep you off of the wet and cold ground or strung between trees to offer shelter and cover.

First aid

A medical emergency will slow you down and make rescue more challenging. To keep your kit light and portable, however, you can’t pack medical supplies for every conceivable situation. Instead, opt for a basic first aid kit that can cover wounds, support sprains, and keep infection at bay.
  • Band-aids
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Anti-itch cream and antihistamines
  • Pain relievers, like aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen 
  • Gauze
  • Ace bandages
  • Tweezers


Your fire-starting items can help to build a signal fire, and flashlights can help identify your location if the weather won’t allow your fire to stay lit. But a few other items, like a small, unbreakable mirror and a whistle can also help rescue teams find you.


As mentioned several times, you’ll want items in your kit that are lightweight and minimize the number of items you’ll carry. Pliers and a multi-tool serve a number of purposes. A small knife like a Swiss army knife is both useful and portable.    While each of those tools are useful in their own way, some tasks will require more than what a pocket knife can provide. A larger, well built, and highly portable tool like the Woodman’s Pal extends your kit significantly.    The Woodman’s Pal is compact and comes with a leather sheath, so it’s easy to carry, while the powder-coated blade makes it easy to cut branches for firewood and remove small saplings to create a clearing. The balanced blade is easy to swing and the handcrafted wood handle is coated in beeswax for grip. As a single large tool for a survival kit, the Woodman’s Pal is perfect for a multitude of tasks from kindling to protection.
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