Building a survival kit can mean something different to different people and there is certainly no shortage of opinions on what should be included in a kit. But before you can even begin to build your own you have to honestly answer the question of what this kit is for. Intention is everything in building a kit. A bush pilot needs a very different kit then the casual day hiker. Also, lets not confuse survival with topics like bugging out. The two are very different scenarios. The basic wilderness survival kit should be based on the possibility of being in the wild one to three days before being rescued or self rescue. This is the common denominator.
These five priorities are not in any specific order because all are important but they are the key five areas of concern.
3. Shelter/Temperature Regulation
4. First Aid
Hydration is crucial because the body relies on water to function properly. Within 3-4 days without water the body can perish. So having a way to collect and drink water is paramount.
Water Collection Bag
Metal Container (for boiling)
Having a way to signal to rescuers is paramount. Without a way to signal you may never be seen.
Extra cell phone battery
Shelter is more then just a way to keep you comfortable it’s a strategy to maintain your core body temperature. This becomes important so you do not slip into hypothermia (lose of body heat) or hyperthermia (over heating). Proper equipment to help you maintain your body temp can be light weight and take up minimal space in a kit.
Tarp or Large Contractor Trash Bags
Fire Making Kit (lighter, matches, ferro rod)
Treating minor and not so minor injuries will prolong your survival time in the woods. Being able to stop bleeding, splint a break or treat other injuries is something to be prepared for.
First Aid Kit
This component is slightly problematic. It requires some training and if not used properly can get you into more trouble then you are already in. If you are experienced with navigation then there is a good chance you are not going to be lost in the first place. Using navigation gear can be complex and requires practice.
Map of the Areas
One thing I did not mention is food. Food is such a low priority for the human body, it can take up to 20 days without food before you perish. So the idea of hunting or gathering food while being lost in the woods is a fantasy. You are much better off to focus on the above priorities.
Other items that can be added are things like cordage for aiding in setting up a shelter, a knife for shelter building and building a fire, radio for communication and high calorie snacks to help with hunger and provided a physiological boost.
Sample Basic Woodland Survival Kit
Waterproof Match Case with Storm Matches
Butane Lighter x2
Quick Tinders (fire starter)
Spare Batteries for Headlamp
Map of Area
Contractor Size Garbage Bags x2
50 ft 550 Paracord
Extra Cell Phone Battery
Bandanna Blaze Orange
Trail Marking Ribbon
Gauze Pads (4×4)
Boo-boo Kit (bandages, ointment, etc.)
Whirl Bags (water collection)
Water Disinfecting Tabs
Water Bottle Stainless Steel
Wendell has been involved in outdoor activities as long as he can remember. From building forts in the woods with his buddies as a kid to hunting Pheasant with his Dad. When he grew up and moved away from home he started solo camping and backpacking and continued hunting upland game. Wendell currently runs the Youtube Channel – The Prepared Wanderer