what every survival kit needs

What Every Survival Kit Needs – Key Components

The world can be a dangerous place, even during the best of times. So when you hear about a disaster or emergency happening nearby, you rightfully can start to worry. That’s why it’s important to have a survival kit handy. What every survival kit needs is the right supplies to keep you safe, fed, and hydrated until help arrives.

It’s also very important to keep your kit well-stocked and up-to-date. So what should you include in your survival kit? Let’s take a look at the key components.

1. What Every Survival Kit Needs – The Basics

Food and water are the most important things every survival kit needs. You should pack enough food and water to last for at least 72 hours. Energy bars, canned goods, bottled water, and MREs (meals ready to eat) are some good starting options.

Besides food and water, basic resources such as first aid kits and supplies, a flashlight, a radio, and a multi-purpose tool will help you get through an emergency.

Here’s a quick reference:

Category Essentials Tips & Notes
First Aid Supplies – Pain medications Check expiration dates regularly
– Bandages & Gauze Customize based on personal medical needs
– Antiseptics
– Safety Pins
– Sanitary Napkins Multi-use: Ideal for wounds
Food and Water – Bottled Water (1 gallon/person/day) Watch out for squirrels with energy bars
– Canned Foods (Two weeks’ worth)
– Baby Food For those with little ones
– Energy Bars
Lighting – LED Flashlight (Battery or hand-crank) Always have spare batteries
– Extra Batteries
– Lanterns or Candles Good for lighting larger areas
Emergency Shelter – Space Blankets Lightweight & retains body heat
– Sleeping Bags
– Tarp or Plastic Sheeting For makeshift shelters
Multi-Tool – Knife Look for versatile tools
– Screwdriver
– Pliers

Remember, this is a good starting point. Adjust based on your specific needs and circumstances

First Aid Supplies:

We’ve all been there – a twisted ankle, a nasty cut, or a headache out in the wilderness. When these unexpected guests strike, having a well-stocked first aid kit is crucial.

Essential Items for a First Aid Kit:

  • Pain medications: Whether it’s a headache or a strained muscle, quick relief is a must.
  • Bandages & Gauze: For those cuts and scrapes.
  • Antiseptics: Clean wounds are happy wounds.
  • Safety Pins: Handy for fixing a torn backpack or makeshift bandage fastening.
  • Sanitary Napkins: Multi-use items! They’re super absorbent, making them ideal for managing wounds.


  • Regularly check expiration dates and replace any outdated items.
  • Customize the kit based on your medical needs, such as prescription medications and specific pain relievers.

Food and Water:

Plan to pack enough of emergency food supplies to last for at least 72 hours and one gallon of water per person, per day. If you live in a hot climate or you’re likely to be engaging in strenuous activity, you should pack more. Water is heavy, so you should also consider water purification gear, such as a water filter or purification tablets.

What to Pack:

  • Bottled Water: At least one gallon per person per day.
  • Canned Foods: Two weeks’ worth to be on the safe side.
  • Baby Food: Don’t forget the little ones!
  • Energy Bars: Quick and easy energy boost.

Tip: Watch out for squirrels, they love energy bars just as much as we do!


It’s crucial to see and be seen in any emergency situation, especially during the unlit hours of the night.

Options Include:

  • LED Flashlight: Go for battery-powered or hand-crank models.
  • Extra Batteries: Always have spares, because no one wants to be left in the dark.
  • Lanterns or Candles: They can light up a larger area.

Emergency Shelter:

When the luxury of a roof is gone, creating shelter becomes top priority.

Shelter Essentials:

  • Space Blankets: Lightweight and retains body heat.
  • Sleeping Bags: For those chilly nights under the stars.
  • Tarp or Plastic Sheeting: Can be used to create a makeshift shelter.


In the world of survival, versatility is king, and a good multi-tool is the jack of all trades.

What to Look For:

  • Knife: For cutting and preparing food.
  • Screwdriver: You’d be surprised how often this comes in handy.
  • Pliers: Great for repairs and handling hot items.

Final Thoughts: Starting with the basics is the key to building an efficient and effective survival kit. Make lists, check them twice, customize to fit your specific needs, and you’ll be ready to face whatever adventures—misadventurous or not—come your way.

survival sanitation

2. Hygiene Matters

Let’s talk about a subject that’s not usually the star of the survival talk show, yet it plays a leading role in maintaining your morale and health during survival situations – Personal Hygiene! Because honestly, who wants to be the stinky one in the bunker?

Category Essential Items Purpose & Notes
Personal Hygiene – Toilet Paper A luxury during crises
– Hand Sanitizer Quick cleanliness, especially when water is scarce
– Sanitary Napkins Vital for women
– Soap Essential for cleanliness
– Toothbrush & Toothpaste Oral hygiene is crucial
– Deodorant For the comfort of everyone around you
Waterproof Bag – Waterproof Bag Keep essential items dry
Usage – Keeping Items Dry Protects from unexpected weather conditions
– Storing Food Protects food from moisture and critters
– Organizing Supplies For easy access and organization
Extra Items – Extra set of clothes Stored in a waterproof bag for wet or cold situations

Personal Hygiene Items:

In times of crisis, keeping clean is paramount. You may be stuck in a bunker, but that’s no reason to smell like it! Here’s what you need to stay, well, human:

Essential Hygiene Items:

  • Toilet Paper: True luxury in the midst of crisis! Do we need to say more?
  • Hand Sanitizer: The closest thing to a shower in some situations.
  • Sanitary Napkins: Ladies, this one’s for you.
  • Soap: It’s the little things that make all the difference.
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste: Keep those pearly whites sparkling.
  • Deodorant: Trust me, your bunker mates will thank you.

Hygiene Tip: It’s wise to pack travel-sized items to conserve space and ensure you have a variety of necessary items. And remember, just because the world is in chaos doesn’t mean your breath should be!

Waterproof Bag:

We all have those ‘just in case’ moments, and a good waterproof bag will ensure that your important documents and emergency essentials will stay dry, even when the weather decides to throw a tantrum.

Uses for a Waterproof Bag:

  • Keeping Items Dry: Essential for those unexpected rain showers or accidental dips in the river.
  • Storing Food: Protects your food supplies from moisture and critters.
  • Organizing Supplies: Helps in separating and accessing items easily.

Packing Tip: Consider bags with different compartments or using multiple bags to organize items by type for easy access. Always keep an extra set of clothes in a waterproof bag. It’s a simple step that can make a world of difference when you find yourself in wet or cold situations.

In the wild, chaotic dance of survival, maintaining personal hygiene is the waltz of elegance and dignity. It’s about feeling human in the most inhuman conditions. So, the next time you’re packing, don’t overlook the small stuff—stay fresh, stay clean, and as always, stay prepared!

california emergency radio frequencies

3. Stay Connected

Imagine the horror and the anxiety of losing your phone for just five minutes on a regular day. Now imagine the magnitude of that distress in an emergency! In times of crisis, staying informed is as crucial as having food and water. So, let’s dive deeper into how to ensure that you never lose your line to the outside world, even when the world seems to be falling apart around you.

Category Essential Items Purpose & Notes
Communication Devices – NOAA Weather Radio Stay informed with weather updates and emergency news
– Cell Phone & Backup Battery Maintain contact with family, friends, and emergency services
– Hands-Free Hand Crank Radio Ensure access to information, even without power
Connectivity Essentials – Charging Cables Keep devices powered; ensure compatibility
– Signal Booster Maintain connection in remote or low-signal areas
– Solar Charger Sustainable power source when conventional sources are unavailable
Information – Regular News Updates Rely on trustworthy sources to stay informed
– Alerts & Warnings Early warning system for impending danger
– Community News Local intelligence can be timely and accurate
Miscellaneous – Emergency Contact List Stress can affect memory; a written list ensures you have numbers when you need them

Communication is Key:

In emergencies and natural disasters, knowledge is power, and staying informed could mean the difference between life and death. Here’s your checklist of emergency essentials to stay in the know when the going gets tough:

  • NOAA Weather Radio: A crucial link to the outside world, providing weather updates, emergency news, and important announcements. It’s your ear to the ground when the sky is falling.
  • Cell Phone with Backup Battery: Your portable connection to family, friends, and emergency services. Don’t forget the backup battery – you don’t want to be left in the dark!
  • Hands-Free Hand Crank Radio: Sometimes, power is a luxury. A hand-crank radio ensures you stay informed, battery or no battery.

Pro Tip: Keep a list of emergency contact numbers written down. You might know them by heart, but stress can do funny things to your memory!

Stay Up to Date:

Information is your ally. Keep abreast of the latest developments, and act accordingly.

  • Regularly Check News Updates: Stay tuned to reliable news sources. Rumors are the last thing you need in a crisis.
  • Alerts & Warnings: Pay heed to alerts and warnings. They are your early warning system for impending danger.
  • Community News: Stay connected with your local community. Sometimes, local intel is more accurate and timely than broader news sources.

Connectivity Essentials:

When packing, consider the following to ensure uninterrupted connectivity:

  • Charging Cables: Have compatible cables for all your devices.
  • Signal Booster: In remote areas, this can be the difference between isolation and connection.
  • Solar Charger: A sustainable way to keep your devices powered when the grid is down.

When disaster strikes, staying connected is paramount. Your lifeline to the world can provide critical information, offer solace through contact with loved ones, and might just be the beacon of hope that sees you through. So, gear up, stay informed, and navigate through the chaos with the power of communication in your hands.

4. Don’t Forget Fido

Imagine you are preparing your survival emergency supply kit again, checking off items one by one, and suddenly, Mr. Whiskers looks up at you with those big eyes. Of course, our pets are not just animals; they are our family, our companions, our little bundles of joy. And they depend on us, especially in times of crisis.

Essential Supplies for Pets:

When the world turns topsy-turvy, our pets need more than just a warm blanket, extra food and a comforting toy. Here’s a more comprehensive list to ensure your furry friends stay happy and healthy:

Category Items Notes
Food and Water – At least a two-week supply of pet food. Don’t forget to consider any special dietary needs your pet may have.
– Plenty of clean, fresh water.
– Treats. For comfort and a little joy, even in a crisis.
Shelter & Comfort – A small, cozy shelter or carrier. Familiarity is key, especially in new and stressful environments.
– Familiar items like blankets and toys. These help in reducing stress and providing a sense of normalcy.
– A soft bed. Essential for good rest and comfort.
Health & Safety – A first-aid kit tailored for pets. Include bandages, antiseptics, and any special medical needs.
– Regular medication and a record of medical history. Keep medications well-stocked and keep records updated.
– Updated ID tags and, if possible, a microchip. These are crucial for identification in case you get separated.
Sanitation – Waste bags or a litter box. Proper waste disposal is crucial to avoid diseases.
– Disinfectants and cleaning supplies. Keep the living area clean to avoid infections.
– A grooming kit. Regular grooming is important to keep pets clean and tick-free.

Plan Ahead:

Plan for their needs as meticulously as you do for yours.

  • Have a safe place: Know where you can take your pets in case of evacuation. Not all shelters accept animals.
  • Vet contact: Keep the contact details of your vet and an emergency veterinary service.
  • Keep them calm: The stress of a crisis affects animals too. Maintain their routines as much as possible and give them plenty of love and attention.

Bring their Favorites:

Include some comfort items to make them feel secure and loved.

  • Favorite Toy: Familiar toys can provide comfort and stress relief.
  • Special Treats: Favorite treats can be a source of comfort and a useful training aid in new or stressful environments.

In times of upheaval, our pets look to us for protection and comfort. By considering their needs when preparing your survival kit, you’re not just ensuring their survival but also maintaining a sense of normalcy and comfort in your own life. After all, in times of crisis, a wagging tail or a purring friend can be the most reassuring sight in the world.

apocalypse prep kit

5. Other Must-Haves

Alright, you’re well on your way to becoming the ultimate survivalist, but don’t overlook these life-saving extras. When the unexpected happens, it’s these seemingly simple items that can make all the difference.

Emergency Supplies:

  • Plastic Sheeting: This isn’t just a painter’s best friend; it’s a survivalist’s dream! Use it for temporary shelter, collecting rainwater, or even as a makeshift stretcher. Hollywood might make survival look glamorous, but trust me, when it’s pouring and you’re trying to light a fire, you’ll wish you had this.
  • Duct Tape: There’s a reason it’s often referred to as the miracle worker of the tape world. Got a leak? Duct tape. Need to repair a tear? Duct tape. Making a makeshift bandage? You guessed it, duct tape.
  • Garbage Bags: No, not just for trash. Use them to store water, as rain ponchos, or even as an improvised sleeping bag. Plus, they’re great for actual garbage because even in emergencies, nobody likes a litterbug.

Emergency Light:

No, we’re not talking about your cell phone flashlight – those batteries won’t last forever. Invest in a dedicated LED flashlight or lantern. And remember, just like you wouldn’t forget to charge your phone, don’t forget those extra batteries. An emergency light can be the difference between finding your way and spending a night lost in the wilderness.

Essential Documents:

Hold up, adventurer. Before you go conquering the wild, remember you’ll eventually want to come back to civilization (or at least, I hope you do!). And when you do, you’ll need those pesky pieces of paper.

  • Birth Certificates: Proving you are who you say you are.
  • Important Documents: This can include house deeds, insurance policies, and bank account details.
  • Other Proofs of Identity: Passports, driver’s licenses, and other identification cards.

Keep all of these in a waterproof container to protect them from elements. Imagine surviving a wilderness ordeal only to find out your identity has been washed away by a little rain. Not cool, Mother Nature, not cool.

Remember, the goal isn’t to carry everything but the kitchen sink. It’s about smartly packing items that can multitask and come to your rescue when you least expect them to.

6. Maximizing Your Survival Kit: Usage Tips & Tricks

Oh, the thrill of owning a survival kit! It’s like having your own little lifeboat in a sea of uncertainty. But here’s the catch: a survival kit is only as good as your ability to use it. Let’s dive into some hands-on tips to ensure you can make the most out of every item in your kit.

  • Food & Water – The Art of Rationing: Running out of supplies is not an option. Ration your food and water to last for as long as possible. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Slow and steady wins the survival race.
  • First Aid Supplies – More Than Band-Aids: Knowing how to properly use your first aid supplies can make a world of difference. Learn the basics, from cleaning wounds to applying bandages, because a small mishap can turn serious without proper care.
  • Radio – Your Lifeline to the Outside World: Regularly tune in to receive updates and instructions. Listening in short, sporadic bursts helps in conserving battery. Who knew saving battery life could potentially save your life?
  • Multi-Purpose Tool – The Handy Helper: Familiarize yourself with the diverse functions of your multi-purpose tool. Whether it’s cutting, screwing, or opening cans, this tool is the unsung hero of your survival kit.
  • Firestarter – Flame On! Mastering fire-building can be a game-changer. It’s not just about staying warm; it’s about signaling for help and cooking food. And, let’s admit it, there’s a certain caveman-like satisfaction in creating fire.
  • Shovel – Not Just for Digging: Whether you’re constructing an emergency shelter, clearing debris, or digging a latrine, a shovel is your go-to. It’s not the most glamorous tool, but it’ll earn its keep.
  • Map – Navigate to Safety: Studying the map of your local area ensures you won’t be running around like a headless chicken when evacuation time comes. Knowledge is power, and in this case, knowledge is also the difference between lost and found.

Quick Reference: Effective Kit Usage:

It’s not about having the most gear; it’s about knowing your survival gear inside and out. So, delve into your kit, explore its contents, and become the survival gear maestro you were born to be!

Item Use Tips
Food & Water Sustenance Ration carefully; Stay hydrated
First Aid Supplies Injury treatment Learn basic first aid procedures
Radio Receive updates and instructions Listen in short bursts to save battery
Multi-Purpose Tool Various, e.g. cutting, prying, and hammering Familiarize with all functions
Firestarter Build a fire for warmth, cooking, or signaling Practice building fire regularly
Shovel Clear debris, build shelter, dig latrine Keep it easily accessible
Map Navigate and plan evacuation routes Study local area maps beforehand

lighting a fire


A survival kit is a must-have for anyone who wants to be prepared for anything. In this article, we’ve listed what every survival kit needs and how to use your equipment effectively in case of an emergency. We’ve also included some additional items you should consider packing in your kit. So be prepared and stay safe!


What should I stock up on for survival in an emergency?

There are a few key things you should stock up on for survival in an emergency: food and water, and first aid supplies. Additionally, you should consider packing extra clothes, tarps, tools, rope, batteries, candles, an electric lantern, fuel, and sleeping bags.

What should I stockpile first?

The first things you should stockpile are food and water. You’ll need these basic necessities to survive in an emergency situation. Additionally, it’s a good idea to stockpile first aid supplies, as these can be crucial in an emergency.

What food has the longest shelf life?

There are a few different types of food that have a long shelf life and can be stored for emergencies. These include non-perishable items like canned goods, dried goods, and freeze-dried foods.

What is the most important part of a survival kit?

The most important part of a survival kit is the food and water. These items are essential for survival in an emergency situation. Additionally, first aid supplies are also crucial, as they can help you deal with injuries and medical emergencies.

How do I make sure my survival kit is effective?

To make sure your survival kit is effective, you should include a variety of items that can be used for different purposes. Additionally, it’s important to pack lightweight and easy-to-carry items, so that you can easily transport your kit in an emergency situation. And finally, remember to stay calm and think clearly during a disaster. With a little preparation, you can be ready for anything!


1. American Red Cross. “Survival Kit Supplies.” Redcross.org, 2018, www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/survival-kit-supplies.html.

2. Tulane University Press. “Emergency Essentials: Tips for Assembling a Survival Kit.” Publichealth.tulane.edu, 5 Nov. 2021, publichealth.tulane.edu/blog/emergency-essentials/.

3. Wirecutter Staff. “The Best Emergency Preparedness Supplies.” The New York Times, 31 Aug. 2021, www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/emergency-preparedness/.