Introduction to Survival Kits

A survival kit is an essential piece of gear in any emergency situation. It's a collection of items and supplies you can use to keep yourself safe and get out of an emergency alive. A quality survival kit should be lightweight and easy to carry, yet stocked with essential items for shelter, navigation, rescue, and self-defense. Having the right survival gear on hand can make all the difference between life and death.

Creating your own survival kit can seem like a daunting task. Thankfully, many pre-built kits are available, which include prepackaged items like fire-starters, medical supplies, and signaling equipment. These kits are especially useful if you’re going camping or hiking in unknown terrain. Even if you’re just driving around town, having a small kit in your vehicle is always a good idea— you never know when you’ll be stuck in an emergency situation.

No matter what type of situation you’re preparing for, assembling a well-rounded survival kit is key. You should aim to include items that provide protection from the elements and help you survive any type of emergency. Read on to learn exactly what you need to create the perfect survival kit.

Planning Your Survival Kit

Having a well-stocked survival kit is essential when faced with an emergency situation. A typical survival kit should contain items that will provide you with basic necessities such as shelter, food, water, navigation, and medical supplies. Before building your kit, it’s important to assess the environment in which you plan on using it. From there, you can determine what kind of items you need in order to be successful.

When preparing a survival kit, here are some items that you should always include:

  • Water purification tablets or a portable water filter
  • A knife for building tools and preparing food
  • A compass and map of the area
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Matches/fire starter and tinder
  • Extra clothing and rain gear
  • A first-aid kit with emergency medications
  • An emergency blanket
  • Shelter items (i.e. tent, tarp)
  • Food and snacks
  • Emergency whistle and signal mirror

These items will provide you with the basic necessities needed to survive in an emergency situation. It is also important to remember that carrying too much weight can be a hindrance, so it is advised to pack wisely. When you are properly prepared and know how to use all the items in your kit, you will be more likely to come out alive in an emergency situation.


In an emergency situation, having suitable shelter is a top priority. Building a shelter in the woods can be intimidating, but it's possible with the right tools and information. It’s important to know what materials are available in the area and how to use them to construct a sustainable space where you can rest and gather your thoughts.

In order to build an effective shelter in the woods, you will need some basic supplies such as string, rope, a knife or saw, and of course, something to cover you from the elements. One option is to carry a lightweight tarp. Tarps are great because they can easily be set up in minutes with just a few pieces of rope. Another option is to bring a tent, but this is only suitable in certain conditions. Tents provide more protection from the elements, but also take significantly longer to set up.

If you do decide to go for a tent, it’s important to pick a waterproof model. If there’s a chance of rain, make sure the tent has a rainfly. Also, look for tents that include poles and pegs, so that you don’t have to worry about finding items for setup in the wild. Some tents also come with built-in pockets, which can be very useful for storing gear and other essentials.

Once you’ve decided on a type of shelter, it’s time to learn how to set it up. Make sure to practice setting up your shelter before you get into a survival situation. This way, you’ll be prepared and will know exactly what to do when you get there.

For sleeping in extreme conditions, it’s important to have the right gear. Stay warm and dry by bringing a sleeping bag that’s appropriate for the climate you’re in. You may also want to bring a ground pad or air mattress for extra insulation and comfort. Lastly, bring a pillow for added comfort and a hat or balaclava for extra warmth.

Food and Water

In any emergency situation, it is important to be aware of the nutritional needs of your body. If you decide to head into the wilderness, you’ll need to make sure that you are equipped with enough food and water to last your duration in the wild. In times of crisis, having enough food and water can be a matter of life or death.

When planning for an emergency situation, it is important to have easy-to-transport, non-perishable foods on hand. It is also recommended to include foods that will provide you with vital nutrients necessary to keep you energized and healthy. Some good options are canned food, energy bars, nuts, dried fruit, and powdered milk.

Finding clean drinking water may be one of the most challenging aspects of survival in the wilderness. It is important to know how to gather and purify the water around you. There are a few simple methods for water purification. These include boiling water for at least one minute, using purification tablets, or filtering water through a cloth.

It is also important to recognize potentially unsafe sources of water and to avoid them at all costs. These include water that appears murky or cloudy, as well as any standing water.

Taking the time to think about what foods and water you need in an emergency situation is essential. It could make the difference between life and death.

Fire Starting

Starting a fire is essential for survival, especially when you’re out in the wild. Whether you need fire to keep warm, cook food, or even keep your spirits high, it’s important to understand how to start a fire and the different tools you can use.

There are a few important things to consider before you light a fire. The first is the weather. Different weather conditions require different approaches to building and lightening a fire. If it’s windy, you’ll want to make sure to build your fire in an area that offers some sort of wind break, like near rocks or trees. If it’s raining, try to find an area with some natural shelter or build a fire under a tarp or some form of covering.

Once you’ve found the right area, it’s time to collect what you need to get the fire going. The essentials are combustible materials (like wood, paper, or kindling) and a spark—which can come from either a match or lighter.

It’s also beneficial to carry other fire-starting tools as part of your survival kit, just in case you don’t have access to a lighter or matches. Ferrocerium rods are reliable and easy-to-use tools that can help create sparks, even in wet or windy conditions. With just a bit of practice, you should be able to create a spark in no time!

Another great tool for fire-starting is a magnesium fire starter, which is a special type of striker. It’s made of metal and contains a flint stone and some steel wool, allowing you to create steady sparks with minimal effort. They come in various shapes and sizes, so find one that fits your needs best.

Once you’ve mastered the basics of fire-starting, practice your skills in different conditions. This will help ensure that, in the event of an emergency, you can get a fire going quickly and easily.

Signaling in an Emergency

When you are in a survival situation, it is important to know how to signal for help. In addition to yelling, there are three main tools you can use to signal: smoke, mirrors, and whistles.

Smoke Signals

Smoke is probably the oldest and most reliable method of signaling for help. All you need is your fire starting supplies, some combustible material, and items that will create smoke–such as pieces of cloth, paper, or grass. Place the combustible and smoke producing materials in your fire and feed it until it creates a large plume of smoke. Smoke signals can be seen from miles away making it an effective way of communication in an emergency.

Mirror Signals

A reflective signal mirror is very useful tool for signaling. This type of signal device is made from lightweight materials, such as plastic or aluminum, and is used to reflect light from the sun to grab the attention of people who are far away. The sunlight reflecting off the mirror can be seen from up to twenty miles away, so make sure to have one handy before going into the wilderness.


Whistles are another great way to call for help in a survival situation. Most whistles are small, lightweight, and easy to carry around. Some are even designed to float so they won't get lost in a river or lake. A simple whistle blast can travel hundreds of feet and can be heard by people far away making it a great tool for signaling.

Learning how to use smoke, mirrors, and whistles to signal for help is essential in an emergency situation. Always make sure to include these tools in your survival kit prior to heading out into the wilderness.


During an emergency, it is important to know where you are going and how to get there. In order to do this, you need the right tools, and using a compass is one of the most reliable ways to stay on track.

Compasses have been used for centuries to navigate through even the roughest terrain, and they are still useful today. To use a compass, you will need some basic knowledge of directions, such as north, south, east and west, and cardinal points such as northeast, northwest, southeast and southwest.

When using a compass, it is essential to first find the magnetic north. To do this, point the needle of your compass in the same direction as the sun and then turn it until the needle’s red tip is pointing directly toward the north. Once you have set your compass’s north, you can start to plot your path.

To plot your path, first identify two points on the map, such as two bodies of water or hills, and measure the angle between them. Then turn the orientation arrow of your compass to the same angle and place the compass on the map so that the edge of the baseplate connects the two points. Turn the compass housing dial until the red north arrow aligns with the north-south lines that are printed on the map. Now you are ready to go in the direction of the pointed end of the baseplate.

In addition to using a compass, there are other tools available to help with navigation, such as maps, GPS devices and bear bells. Maps provide a visual representation of the terrain, while GPS devices use satellites to pinpoint your exact location. Bear bells are typically used in combination with other navigation tools and can be used to alert animals to your presence and avoid accidentally coming across one during your journey.

Navigation can be difficult, but with the right tools and knowledge, you can easily stay on track during an emergency.

Medical Needs

When faced with an unexpected survival situation, having the right medical supplies can make all the difference. Even with basic first aid knowledge, you can easily make a big difference to your wellbeing and that of your group.

For this reason, having a well-stocked medical kit is paramount when it comes to emergency preparedness. At a minimum, your survival kit should include bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, surgical gloves, and adhesive tape. You may also want to include a multi-tool with scissors, tweezers, and other essential items. In addition, consider packing any prescription medications you or your family require.

Although you don’t need to be a medical professional to use medical supplies, it is important to gain some basic first-aid knowledge prior to an emergency situation. Learning how to treat cuts, splinters, burns, sprains and fractures, as well as how to recognize symptoms of shock and dehydration can help you make the best decisions during a crisis.

Having the right medical supplies and knowledge is critical in any emergency. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the basics of first-aid and properly stock your medical kit for the most peace of mind.

Tools for a Survival Kit

Having the right tools for any emergency situation is essential and can make all the difference in an outdoor adventure. Including the right tools in your survival kit can help keep you safe and provide supplies for a variety of tasks. The following tools are must-haves for your survival toolkit.

Shelter: For shelter, essential items to pack include rope, tent stakes, a knife, and a map. Pack cordage that is lightweight and durable, such as paracord, so you can build a shelter quickly and easily. Be sure to include a tarp to protect you from the elements.

Food and Water: Your survival kit should contain items to help you store and purify water, such as iodine tablets, potable aqua tabs, and a water bottle. Other important food supplies include protein bars, trail mix, and dehydrated foods.

Fire Starting: Always have fire starting supplies on hand. This could include waterproof matches, a lighter, or even flint and steel. Have extra tinder and kindling ready in case the environment is damp.

Signaling: For signaling, bring a whistle in case you need to alert someone of your location. Consider packing a mirror or small signal flag if you will be in an area without cell phone service.

Navigation: A compass and map are essential for navigating in the wilderness. Make sure your compass is shockproof, waterproof, and has an adjustable declination. Have additional maps of the area, as well as a GPS device.

Medical Needs: Your survival kit should include first aid supplies such as bandages, antiseptic wipes, and tweezers. It’s also wise to bring disposable gloves, pain relief medication, and allergy medicine.

By having the right tools in your survival kit, you can ensure that you’re always prepared in any emergency situation.


Registration for survivors of natural disasters, as well as for any emergency, can be made significantly easier with a survival kit. A survival kit is a set of items that can provide lifesaving necessities for several days in an emergency situation. This guide has discussed the importance of planning your survival kit, building a shelter, obtaining food and water, starting a fire, signaling for help, navigation, medical needs, and other tools needed in an emergency. Each of these topics outlines the importance of practice and preparation.

Knowing the basics of outdoor survival will help you to become more knowledgeable and safer in any emergency situation. Taking the time to plan your own unique kit based off of the items and concepts outlined in this guide will give you the confidence to handle any emergency. With the right preparation, you can ensure that you are kept safe and alive during any disaster.


When setting up a survival kit, there are many questions you may have. Here are the answers to the 5 most commonly asked questions about survival kits.

  • What items should I include in a survival kit?

    There are many items you can include in a survival kit depending on your needs. Basic items such as food, water, shelter, medical supplies and navigation tools are recommended for any survival kit. You should also include tools such as a knife, fire starter and a whistle for signaling.

  • Where should I store my survival kit?

    Your survival kit should be stored in a waterproof container in an accessible location. Consider keeping the kit in your car or at your office. If you plan to travel, your kit should be with you at all times.

  • How much weight should my survival kit weigh?

    The weight of your survival kit will depend on the items you include in it. However, you should try to keep the weight to a minimum as you may need to carry it over long distances. Consider including lightweight items such as energy bars and a small first aid kit.

  • How often should I check my survival kit?

    It is important to check your survival kit regularly to ensure all items are in good condition. Make sure that the food and water hasn't expired, that the medications are up to date, and that the tools haven't corroded or worn down. Check the kit every three to six months or when you change locations.

  • What is the best way to practice using my survival kit?

    It is important to practice using the items in your survival kit before an emergency arises. Take time to familiarize yourself with each item and practice building shelter, starting a fire and other skills. Consider attending a wilderness survival class to learn more about how to use the items in your kit.

Resources for Additional Information on Emergency Preparedness

Getting informed about emergency preparedness is essential for creating a good survival kit and staying safe in an emergency situation. It is important to do your own research and keep up with current events to stay informed. The following resources provide valuable information on emergency preparedness that can help you create your kit and stay safe:

  • This website provides extensive information on the types of emergencies that could happen, what you should include in your survival kit and other tips on how to stay safe during an emergency.
  • Red Cross: The Red Cross provides a wide range of resources to help people prepare for emergencies, including a comprehensive list of items to include in a survival kit.
  • CDC Disaster Preparedness Center: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created a website dedicated to providing education and resources for preparing for disasters and other emergency situations.
  • New Jersey Office of Attorney General: This website provides detailed information on building your own survival kit, including examples of items you should include, as well as tips on where to store your kit and how to keep it properly stocked.

These resources can help you create a comprehensive survival kit and stay prepared in the event of an emergency. Keeping informed, practicing safety protocols, and having a well-stocked kit can help you stay safe during an emergency situation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Survival Kits

  • Q: What is a survival kit and why is it important?
    A:A survival kit is a collection of essential items that can help you survive in an emergency situation. It's essential to be prepared for any scenario in an emergency, and having a survival kit will ensure you have the tools and supplies necessary to keep you safe and comfortable when you need them most.
  • Q: What kind of items should I include in my survival kit?
    A: Depending on your individual needs, your survival kit should include items like fire starting tools, shelter materials, food and water supplies, signaling equipment, navigation aids, medical supplies, and other tools and accessories.
  • Q: How do I build shelter in the woods?
    A: Building shelter in the woods is fairly straightforward. First, identify a clear and level area that is sheltered from the wind, preferably near a source of wood for use as firewood. Use tarps and blankets to create walls and a roof, laying out sticks and logs as support for the structure. Consider using items like foam sleeping pads and blankets for additional insulation and comfort.
  • Q: What are the nutritional needs I should consider in an emergency?
    A: In an emergency scenario, it's important to have food that is high in protein and complex carbohydrates. This will help you maintain energy levels and provide vital nutrients to your body. Canned meats, fruits, and veggies are great options because they are non-perishable and easy to transport.
  • Q: What methods can I use to collect potable water?
    A: If you don't have drinking water with you, there are several methods you can use to collect and filter water for safe consumption. Boiling, treating with chlorine tablets, using a personal water filter or DIY filter, or using purification drops are all effective ways to make sure water is safe for drinking.
  • Q: What tools do I need for my survival kit?
    A: Your survival kit should include items such as a knife, compasses, first aid supplies, matches and a fire starter, shelter building materials, rope, flashlights, and other essential items. It's important to customize the list to suit your needs and the environment you may find yourself in.
  • Q: How can I signal for help in an emergency?
    A:Signaling for help in an emergency can be done in several ways. Obviously, calling for help is the best option if you have access to a phone or service. If not, smoke signals, reflective mirrors and whistles are useful options. Flares and strobe lights are also good signaling tools to have on hand in an emergency.