How To Make A Survival Kit

Let's identify the most important factors when asking "how to make a survival kit" and then build one together as I share what I have in my survival kit.How To Make A Survival Kit

To start things off, when asking: “How to make a survival kit” you want to ask yourself: “for what?”  That is, what do you want to survive?  A survival kit is different depending on many different factors, such as climate, situation, even budget.

We’re going to look at a few general situations and cover the most common, but don’t forget to ask yourself; are you trying to survive a situation where your car breaks down on your commute through the rural areas, or are you asking how to make a survival kit for the impending zombie apocalypse?

When most people think of a survival kit, they are thinking of a bug out bag, or 72 hour survival kit.  Most research has indicated that your likelihood to affect your own rescue, or be found and rescued is highest within the 72 hour window, so you want to make sure you have resources on you to ensure you will be okay, regardless of climate, for at least that long.

Two factors you’ll want to consider when asking: “how to make a survival kit” –

  1. Size
  2. Weight

How much can you carry on you and how many calories will it take lugging it around?  It isn’t practical to carry a 60lb bag around everywhere, but it may be practical to keep a 30lb bag in the trunk of your car or back part of your SUV or truck.

That being said, you want to make sure the gear you decide to put in your survival kit:

  • Can do at least 3 things for you
  • Is small
  • Isn’t heavy

Your survival kit needs to cover certain necessities.  Water purification Fire starting Shelter Food Signaling Tools to affect your survival.

Your survival kit also needs to cover certain necessities.

  • Water purification
  • Fire starting
  • Shelter
  • Food
  • Signaling
  • Tools to affect your survival.

The person writing this article, me, lives in the Northeast, specifically, Buffalo, which anyone knows is practically the North Pole for most months out of the year.  So my survival kit will look a little different from someone’s who lives in say, southern California or even northern California, where Bigfoot repellent may be a necessity.

I keep a 72 hour backpack in my SUV, along with an extendable shovel, bag of tools, extra winterized boots and gloves, scarf, ski mask, and a road side survival kit that has flairs, tire repair implements, etc. in it.

I’m going to give an example of my bag that I carry as the example of how to make a survival kit for cold weather, and then discuss pro’s and con’s about my particular setup as it may relate to something you may want to do.

How to make a survival kit for cold weather:

  • A medium sized durable backpack with many pockets and areas of attachment.
  • A military issue sleeping roll.
  • Rolled up inside of the sleeping roll is a 100% wool blanket.
  • A battery operated head lamp (batteries stored out of the unit to avoid battery drain)
  • 3 MRE’s (meals ready to eat)
  • Meal preparation kit / silverware (camp cookware)
  • Water purification tablets
  • Multi-tool
  • Machete with a Saw
  • Hatchet
  • Knife
  • Several carabineers & clips
  • A pocket fishing kit I made that includes lures for different sizes of fish, fishing line, hooks, and sinkers
  • A piece of foam that I brought home from a stay at a hospital that is compact and can be used as a seat cushion or pillow
  • Stainless steel water cup / bottle
  • A half roll of green house plastic
  • A few garbage bags
  • First aid kit
  • A few mylar blankets / survival blankets
  • Light sticks / glow sticks
  • Matches and a lighter wrapped up in a sandwich bag, sealed
  • Ferrocerium rod and magnesium stick
  • A paracord survival bracelet
  • A spool of twine
  • Bandanna
  • 550 paracord
  • Duct tape
  • Work gloves
  • A compass
  • Signaling mirror
  • A signaling whistle
  • A few pens and paper wrapped up in sandwich bags, sealed
  • 3 tarps that are 8 x 6 in size

Now, you may be saying, that’s a lot!  But, honestly it all fits with a ton of extra room and is barely 20 pounds, if that.

The other thing you may be saying, can’t you combine a bunch of those things together into a few 3-in-1 , 5-in-1 and so on survival tools?

Yep, I sure could, and I recommend it.  Multi-tools and 4-in-1 type tools are fantastic.  I put this survival kit together over the years and filled gaps as I had them, but if I was starting from scratch,  I would include as many items as I could that combined function and size.

Also mind you, redundancy is key.  You want back ups of your tools and items in in your survival kit in case of failures.

A survival kit made for warm weather would contain less but focus more on ways to avoid dehydration and overheating.

Bare in mind, that was a 72 hour bug out bag style survival kit.  You may be saying to yourself “I was just looking for something tiny I could stick in my car”.  I would say to you, that is a great place to start.  You hear of pocket survival kits all the time and to be honest, they are fantastic because they are light weight and effective.

You may be making several survival kits.  One for your commutes, a 72 hour bag, one for your house, one for your vacation home, one to take with you on vacations, etc.

Let’s close this up with questions to ask in preparing yourself to build your survival kit for any situation.

When addressing the question of "how to make a survival kit", ask yourself these 10 questions when you are putting yours together.

10 Questions to ask when asking: “How to make a survival kit” 

  1. Where do I live?  Is it cold weather, or warm weather, what is the geography around me?
  2. Where am I headed?  Am I going on vacation or camping somewhere that has vastly different terrain properties than my home situation?
  3. What is on my route to work and home from work?
  4. What situations will I need to plan for on the most common places I travel locally?
  5. What skills do I know how to do vs. what tools will I need to compensate for skills I do not have, such as making fire, or  erecting a weather proof shelter?
  6. If power went out in my home, am I prepared for warmth and food?
  7. Is my home and vehicle secured for protection in case of an emergency?
  8. What is my likelihood of being rescued or found where I am headed?  Or will I need to effect self rescue?
  9. How much can I carry physically without taxing myself too much?
  10. How many people will my survival kit be able to assist in case of an emergency?

A quick PS:  The best piece of your survival kit is you.  Arming yourself with survival and bushcraft knowledge weighs nothing and takes up no space in your kit, yet it’s the best thing you could have on you at any time.

If you’re going survival camping and you are making a survival kit to practice with in the bush, you’ll want to read:

Survival Camping – 5 Things You’ll Want To Learn Quickly