A Beginner’s Guide To Purchasing The Best Survival Kit

A Beginner’s Guide To Purchasing The Best Survival Kit

Whether you are a camper hoping to spend an exciting weekend away from the city or a backpacker who wants to explore the wilds, a survival kit can make your experience more enjoyable.

As the name indicates, a survival kit is a box or package that contains supplies and tools prepared in advance as an aid for emergency situations. This is why lifeboats, military aircrafts and spacecraft’s are equipped with survival kits.

small basic survival kit on a table

You can also store one in your car or at home as a means of protecting your family against danger from natural disaster, such as earthquakes or floods.

Items Included In A Basic Survival Kit

Survival kits contain everything you need in an emergency situation. Most kits include the following items:

  • Water, portable water filtration system or any other water purification kit. Roughly, a person requires at least a gallon of water for drinking, washing, and cooking. You can add extra water in your kit by storing it in a gallon container. To treat water, you must filter it for impurities and sediments. Water can also be treated by boiling it.
  • Food bars or canned food items that provide adequate nutrition for up to 3 days.
  • ​Hand crank power charger or generator for powering radios, flashlights and phones.
  • ​Light sticks that can provide illumination for several hours along with an emergency whistle that can be used for attracting the attention of rescue personnel.
  • ​Warm clothes, special blankets or sleeping bags for retaining body heat.
  • ​Respiratory masks to keep users from breathing in dust and germs.
  • ​Fixed blade or multi-function knives that will allow you to start a fire along with other tools such as duct tape, work gloves, and pry bars.
  • ​Basic first aid kits that contain items for treating minor wounds and injuries.
  • ​Personal hygiene materials, such as toilet paper, sanitizers, and wet towels
basic survival kit on backpack

Types Of Survival Kits

You can find a variety of survival kits available in the market for different purposes. Campers and hikers can also assemble their own kits according to their specific needs. Some different types include:

Wilderness Survival Kits

These types of kits are typically smaller than standard survival or disaster preparedness kits in the market. It is typically used to complement supplies you have, such as water filters, paracord, and first aid supplies, among other items. These kits are beneficial for hikers, backpackers and hunters.

Earthquake Survival Kits

If you reside in an area that is at risk of earthquakes, you are probably already aware of how important it is to be prepared. Earthquake survival kits are built by professionals and contain everything you require in your time of need, such as flashlight, warm blankets, and food among other important items.

First Aid Survival Kits

First aid survival kits are designed to cater to your medical needs. The contain items, such as antiseptic wipes, surgical tape, tweezers, ointment and other items needed for treating wounds and infections.

Small First Aid Kit 100 Piece

This kit comes in handy in all kinds of emergency situations and is especially beneficial for minor medical emergencies. Campers and hiker are likely to benefit from this kit especially if they will not have access to a nearby hospital or clinic when they are out in the wilderness.

Car Survival Kit

Sometimes, you might find yourself in a troublesome situation where you get stranded in your vehicle due to heavy snow or rain. Car survival kits are designed for such emergencies and are portable enough for you to pack in your vehicle.

Some advanced survival kits contain items such as spare tires, screwdrivers, jumper cable and wrenches. Other important items include first-aid supplies, light sticks and power supplies.

Camping Survival Kits

These kits are designed for one purpose: to provide you maximum comfort while you are outdoors. Camping survival kits typically consist of a warm sleeping bag, a cozy tent, lanterns, bug repellant and other items you would need when you are away from the city.

Mini Survival Kits

Mini Survival Kits are small kits that contain a few basic survival tools. Altoids tins survival kits are a popular choice. These kits typically include safety pins, waterproof matches, fishing tackle, and blade, among others.

DIY survival kit in an altoids tin

Some prepackaged survival kits also include instructions that teach campers how to start a fire or perform basic first aid tasks. Some kits are also available in the form of everyday objects, such as wearable survival bracelets and belts. These bracelets are typically built using paracord with tools woven inside.

Pet Survival Kit

As a responsible pet owner, it is your duty to assemble a small kit for your four legged friend. This survival kit contains essential items for your furry friend, including clean water, pet first aid kit supplies, wipes, canned foods and other necessary items. Don’t forget to pack necessary allergy medicines and health clearances.

Natural Disaster Survival Kit

These survival kits are designed for natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes that can leave a person deprived of food, water, shelter, and heating and cooking utensils. A natural disaster survival kit contains all these items and may even include warm clothing or at least a blanket.

72-Hour Kit

The evacuation emergency kit, also referred as the 72-hour kit, is designed to sustain life in an emergency evacuation situation. While the kit may be modified to suit the needs of families and a small group of people, it is typically designed to cater to the needs of a single individual.

The kit contains food, water, vital documents, and supplies for sanitation and shelter.

Big 72-hour student survival kit

Tips For Buying The Best Survival Kits

In order to achieve maximum comfort, it is essential you keep these tips in mind while you are out making a purchase:

Think Compact

Emergency situations can require extensive traveling in the cold so you ought to make sure your kit is compact and portable. Some brands offer survival bracelets that contain multiple tools, including paracord, sewing kit, fishing hook, and blades. Compact items also weigh less and are easier to transport over long distances.

Supplies For More Than One Person

Are you a school teacher or somebody who’s looking for a survival kit for their office? Some kits contain enough supplies for several people. These kits especially come in handy if you have kids and wish to protect your family in an emergency situation.

Shelf Life

During an emergency situation, the last thing you’d want to worry about is expired food. Always check the shelf life before investing in a kit. Medical supplies and water also comes with a best-before or expiration date. Typically, brands offer a five-year shelf life but it is a good idea to double check as well.

big long lasting survival kit

Duration Of Emergency Situation

How long do you think your emergency supplies will last? Most survival kits offer enough necessities for 72 hours (three days). Lack of food and water can put you in a difficult situation hence ensure you have everything you need to survive a rough patch.

Water Resistance

A survival emergence may lead to water exposure which is why you need to ensure your kit is water resistant. Whether it’s heavy rain, a blizzard or a flood, water exposure is a common in most life-threatening situations.

As an added tip, encase your kit in waterproof covering, bag or any other water-resistant material. Storing items separately in Ziploc bags in another way to protect them against water damage.

Ditch Button Compasses

Experts know that button compasses do not work as a functional navigation device. At first, you might be happy about all the extra room you are saving but button compasses rarely work.

Avoid this device at all times as it will fail to show you the way in an emergency and will only build false hope. Buy a regular compass instead. It might be a little bulky but it will guide you throughout your trip and won’t cause you to lose your way.

regular compass on a world map

Needs Over Wants

When disaster strikes, you will no longer care about the color of your survival bracelet. Remember, there is only so much weight you can haul around your shoulders so only pack items that you really need.

Packing things simply for the sake of entertainment or out of habit only result in extra carrying weight. Stick to the bare necessities, such as food, water and clothing.

Essential Items You Don’t Want To Forget

Packing the right tools and equipment for your next trip to the wilderness can make the difference between a fun-filled trip and a life-threatening experience. Having the right gear by your side can save your life and allow you to maintain your cool when everybody else is panicking.

When we talk about essentials, stuff like food, clothing, water and shelter are quite obvious.

However, the following items are life-savers that take up minimal space and can potentially save your life:

Emergency Blanket

Emergency blankets are indispensable items that can be used for a variety of purposes. From protecting you against rain, reflecting sunlight, creating shelter and most importantly, keeping you warm, emergency blankets will surely come in handy.

woman in an emergency blanket

You can heat up your tent up to almost 50 degrees warmer by reflecting sunlight or wrapping yourself up in one. Wrapping yourself in a warm blanket helps retain body heat when it is cold outside.


Whether you are lost or injured, having a survival whistle makes it easier to call for help. Sure, you can always light a fire but that requires skill and energy, something you might not have when you are wounded or suffering from a critical infection.

Carrying a whistle ensures you have a way to communicate with others even if you are located 30 miles away.

Additionally, three blows is an international signal of distress. Some survival whistles also include a handy compass that makes it easier for you to survive in the wilderness.

Magnesium Flint Flare Starter

Anybody who has tried starting a fire without matchsticks or a lighter knows how difficult it can be. Yes, it might look easy in the movies but starting a fire using friction actually takes a lot of skill and patience. Luckily, campers and hikers now have access to portable magnesium fire starters.

basic magnesium fire starter

Nearly anybody can start a fire using this indispensable tool but it works best if you prepare the fire site by assembling twigs and other materials. Fire is a necessary survival element that will not only keep you warm but will allow you to cook a warm meal and keep predators away.

Survival Knife

A survival knife is perhaps one of the most versatile tools you can have with you outdoors. A variety of quality knives offer several features and functions. For example, some have small screwdrivers and can actually help you start a fire. This allows campers to save space on other tools.

Apart from cutting and slicing items, a survival knife can be using for preparing food, self-defense against humans and animals, splitting wood and even digging. Just ensure the knife is built using quality materials and is rugged enough to last tough situations.


A Paracord or a survival cord can prove extremely valuable in a survival situation. You can use a paracord to whip up a small shelter, repel down a cliff and perform many other tasks. Ensure the cord is sturdy enough to support your weight and won’t break or damage. Most quality brands can withstand up to 550 lbs. whereas some can only support 200 lbs.

five different colored paracord keychains

Water Canteen

A water canteen is a water bottle specifically designed for hikers, campers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Depending on its size, you can carry gallons of water in your water canteen. Best of all, water canteens typically feature a strap so you can it carry it around your shoulders or around your neck.

Mosquito Netting

Nature is beautiful but it also loaded with creepy crawlies, such as ticks, insects and of course, mosquitos. Apart from being carriers of a variety of diseases, mosquitos can make it difficult for you to have a peaceful night’s sleep which can be crucial for surviving an emergency situation. The indispensable tool is a life-saver when it is hot outside ad will provide you relief from biting mosquitoes.

How To Make A Mini Survival Kit Using An Altoids Tin

Do you wish to carry a mini survival kit on your trip out in the wilderness but do not want to go shopping? Well, fret not. You can make a mini kit using the items in your home. This kit will contain minimal items that will help you dodge trouble. Why Altoids?

Well, these tins are universally available and you can make them waterproof with a little bit of effort.

altoids tin survival kit parts

Here’s how you can make one:

Clean The Tin

First off, you will need an empty tin of Altoids. Use paint thinner to get rid of the paint outside or leave it as it is, if you want. Then, use a wet piece of cloth to clean the inside of the tin to remove the minty scent. Allow the tin to dry. Once dry, you can start packing things inside.

Fold A Piece Of Aluminum Foil

Did you know you could carry water in your mini survival kit? Well, not literally but aluminum foil can be used to purify untreated water. You can use the aluminum foil to make a small bowl to boil water. Pack two-foot long pieces of aluminum foil and fold it into a neat square so it fits inside the tin.

Pack A Garbage Bag On Top Of The Foil

Take a garbage bag and fold it the same way as the aluminum foil. Place it neatly on top of the foil.

Pack Other Items Inside The Tin

Now, it is time to pack all the other items in the tin. This step can be customized according to your personal requirements. We suggest you pack duct tape, roll of thread, fishing hooking, razor blades, cotton balls and a match box. Use the extra room to squeeze in some painkillers and a compass.

altoids tin survival kit packed

Pack Tightly

Ensure all the items are in place and close the lid. Secure the lid with a few inches of paracord. Simply wrap the paracord around the tin of Altoids.

Top Survival Kits In The Market

*Notice: On mobile devices, scroll right to see entire table​

Small First Aid Kit 100 Piece

Always Prepared has manufactured a first aid kit that is currently the Amazon #1 Bestseller. The Small First Aid Kit 100 Piece contains quality yet lightweight items that you can carry around with ease. The quality first aid kit includes improved items such as stronger, bigger metal scissors, a more accurate compass and powerful tweezers, among other items.

Small First Aid Kit 100 Piece in a Backpack

The first aid kit has been approved by the FDA and is a must-have for wilderness explorers or anybody who likes to stay prepared for natural disasters. The lightweight kit can be packed in your house, office or in your vehicle without taking up too much room.

However, this is no ordinary first aid kit. The Small First Aid Kit 100 Piece is the perfect combination of emergency preparedness items and medical first aid supplies. The affordable kit makes it easy for almost anybody to have access to emergency medical supplies during times of trouble.

Ready America 70385 Deluxe Emergency Kit

The Ready America 70385 Deluxe Emergency Kit was rated one of the top 10 best survival kits in 2015. The well-equipped survival kit carries enough supplies to accommodate 4 people and contains 3 days’ worth of supplies. TheEmergency Kit includes US Coast Guard approved items that offer both durability and ease of use.

Ready America 70385 Deluxe Emergency Kits First Aid

The grab and go backpack includes food, water, multi-function pocket tool, a hand-crank emergency power station, and duct tape. The power station can produce 30 minutes of bright light, 15 minutes of radio and 2 minutes of talk time on a cell phone from 1 minute of cranking.

You can use the backpack for your trips out to the wilderness or in case of emergencies during a natural disaster, such as a storm or an earth quake. The improved and upgraded items ensure your family has access to the best medical care during emergency situations.

The Ultimate Paracord Survival Kit Bracelet By LAST MAN

Paracords are versatile pieces of equipment that come in handy during an emergency situation. The sturdy cords are often used for making survival bracelets. The Ultimate Paracord Survival Kit Bracelet by LAST MAN is a 16-piece survival kit that is not only space saving but functional. The compact survival kit is designed to deliver users maximum value within the smallest package possible.

The Ultimate Paracord Survival Kit Bracelet By LAST MAN Parts

The kit includes a compass, fire starter rod, nylon paracord cordage, fire striker and fishing hook among other items. You can purchase the survival bracelet in a variety of sizes and colors and also choose whether you want a compass with it or not.


Whether you are headed outdoors or simply going on a family vacation, an emergency kit ensures you and your family members are protected against accidents and injuries. Most survival kits in the market are easy to use, inexpensive and can be the difference between life and death.

If you want to save money, consider assembling a survival kit on your own at home.

small basic survival kit on grey background

However, this will require extensive planning, not to mention you will have to inspect the expiration date of every item separately. On the bright side, a customized kit ensures maximum level of comfort for you and your family. If you have a pet, consider investing in a survival kit for them as well.

Hopefully, this article has provided you enough information about survival kits. Keep the above mentioned tips in mind while making a purchase. Good luck!

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