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Survival Kits

Survival Kit Ideas


Along with the survival kit items that have stood the test of time, you'll also find some new survival kit ideas here. Let's start with the usual things that might be included.

Fire Starter - A magnesium fire starter is a good idea; a lighter better than nothing..

Matches - These should be waterproof and in addition to some other fire starter.

Reflector - This can be a mirror or a CD, and is meant for signaling rescuers if you are lost.

Whistle - For signaling for help.

Foil Blanket - Emergency shelter, warmth and rain protection.

Sewing Kit - This probably needs to include only a needle and thread.

Water Purification - A dozen iodine tablets just in case.

Tinder - This can be a candle stub or paper soaked in wax, etc.

Fishing Line - 30 feet of 15# test. Good for fishing and repairs.

Split Shot Fishing Weights - 2 small ones.

Fish Hooks - 2 or 3, size #4.

Compass - A back-up to whatever you normally carry.

Orange Flag Tape - For marking your route when lost.

Knife - Preferably sharp and not too heavy.

Nylon Cord - 20 to 30 feet. Useful for building shelters and much more.

Plastic Bags - One small, one larger. For everything from carrying berries to rain protection.

Bandana - For an emergency arm sling, head cover, and more.

Duct Tape - 20 feet. This can be wound onto the pencil.

Paper and Pencil - In case you need to leave a note.

Dental Floss - Useful for sewing, flossing teeth, tying things together, etcetera.

Bandages - A few basic bandages are always a good idea for minor injuries.

Aspirin - Or other painkillers.

Gauze Pads - For larger injuries.

Sun Block - A small packet is usually enough.

Antibiotic Ointment - For cuts and burns.

Safety Pins - They hold clothes and backpacks together.

Medical Tape - For holding gauze on wounds.

Tweezers - Used to remove slivers and such.

Moleskin - For treating and preventing blisters.

Some New Survival Kit Ideas

Two Kits

Having a saw is not such a bad idea, nor is having a splint in case of a broken bone. But at some point we start finding excuses to not carry a survival kit with us everywhere when they get too big and bulky. One solution to this is to have two kits, one pocket-sized one with the most basic essentials, and another you might carry when hiking shorter distances or camping with an ATV or mountain bike.

You might house the small one in an Altoids can, the inside of which doubles as a mirror for signaling or personal use. What should it have in it? A tiny blade (razor blade if nothing else), waterproof matches, bandages, aspirin, water purification, pencil stub, paper and duct tape. Keep it in the larger kit, and whenever you leave the pack behind - to run to the top of a mountain, for example - carry this small survival kit in your pocket.


Now you may not have heard about this survival kit idea. It's about motivation and the will to survive. Many survivors of wilderness emergencies report that thinking of their loved ones kept them going. Why not have a small photo or two of the the people that matter to you. In a jamb, pulling these out and looking at them might be the inspiration you need.


Many small first aid kits have tiny guides that show you what to do in case of choking, broken bones and more. But you might also want a reminder of any survival lessons you have learned. I keep a list of the most common edible and useful wild plants, for example, so I will remember what to look for and how I might use them. This can fit on one piece of paper folded up.


This is something you'll have to carry in your "mental survival kit." The idea is that if you know a few good true survival stories, you'll feel more confident in your ability to persevere in an emergency. In fact, tell the others in your group and you might lift everyone's spirits and motivation. Find the stories in which the most "impossible" odd were overcome. These are the ones that can make almost any situation seem survivable by comparison.

Put these new survival kit ideas to work, and your next backpacking trip will be that much safer.


The Ultralight Backpacking Site | New Survival Kit Ideas