How To Make A Survival Kit

I’ve written quite a number of articles on the topic of a survival kit.

I was thinking about how we label them or refer to them in different ways. They may have different purposes.

– survival kit
– 72 hour kit
– bug out bag
– get home bag

The thing is, some of them might be purposed towards specific circumstances while others are just general kits. That’s the beauty of it… you can tailor it to your needs.

I have a number of “survival kits” and each of them are designed for a purpose or unique use-case-scenario. For example one kit fills a backpack. Another is part of a smaller shoulder pack. Yet another can fit in my pocket. Different sizes, shapes, needs.

What if someone simply asked how to make a survival kit?
…and i thought about it.

At first I might say, “it depends” (which it does).

But then I thought some more, and while it does depend on what you intend to use it for (or what scenario), most all kits have many things in common.

How To Make A Survival Kit

First, just think about one’s basic survival needs – regardless of circumstance.

What do we need to survive?

1. We need to breathe the air.

2. Our body core temperature needs to be within safe limits.

3. We must remain hydrated.

4. Eventually we need to eat.

5. Insert ‘safety’ anywhere above as necessary.

If you at least focus on those requirements above, you will be on the right track to making your own survival kit. All else will be bonus add-ons.

Each of us will probably go about building a kit in our own unique way.

We may quantify things differently. Our potential scenarios of usage will factor in. Time-frame of survivability. Size constraints. Whether we need to carry it. How far. And lots more… This is where tailoring becomes what it is.

Let me hit on the bullet points:

We Need To Breathe

Most ordinary kits don’t have a specific “thing” for this, however it’s important to mention.

You will likely be dead within 3 minutes if you cannot breathe.

What you need here might involve First Aid, supplies thereof, and know-how. Maybe there’s a use-case scenario where the air needs to be filtered prior to breathing. What environment might you be entering?

When thinking about survival, the ability to breathe comes first.

Body Core Temperature

This also covers the “shelter” category of any survival kit. The ability to stay warm enough and dry enough when conditions are bad. Similarly the ability to stay cool enough when conditions are hot.

How To Prevent Frostbite, Hypothermia

Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Proper clothing. Proper outerwear. Knowing what to do if you develop hypothermia or how to help someone else suffering the condition.

Rain Gear Items For Your Preps

How to start a fire. The things you’ll need to start a fire. Tinder & Kindling. What you’ll need to keep a fire going.

How To Start A Fire With Wet Firewood

Tinder For Building A Fire

Batoning Wood

The ability and tools to build a shelter.


It is so important to remain hydrated.

Are You Dehydrated? Ever Had A Dehydration Headache?

When considering how to make a survival kit, EVERY survival kit must address this issue. Do you have a water container of some sort?

Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink… Have a drinking water filter?

Water Filter – A Survival Prep ‘Must Have’

Maybe water purification tablets. Can you boil the water if you need to?

How Long To Boil Drinking Water


While the human body can survive a long while without eating food, you will become weak without it. You need energy from food to keep going.

How much food will you put in your kit? (It depends). What type of food?

The CLIF Bar is one of several good choices for a Survival Kit

Do you have the ability and “know-how” to acquire your own food if there’s none in your kit? Do you have a the ‘tools’ for it?

Safety & Security

This could be (depending) even more important than #1. Your own immediate safety and security could jeopardize your life. So do whatever you need to do to mitigate the issue.

The Tangible Items In A Survival Kit

So, how to make a survival kit?

If you consider each of the topic areas that I’ve briefly mentioned, there are all sorts of items that you might consider to include in your own survival kit.

What specific things you choose will depend on the constraints that you put on the kit itself.

For example if you’re considering ‘kit’ to take with you on a week long camping trip at the cabin, you could potentially take along LOTS of things. Why? Because you’re driving there and it will fit in your car or truck.

On the other hand if you’re going out on a day hike or even a night or two hike, there’s only so much weight and space in your backpack. You need to get creative.

I could sit here and list 100 things you should have in a survival kit. (Maybe that would be a fun post someday). I’ve touched on “how” but not much about the “what”.

Here’s something that people use for some of the basic “what” items:

Read >> The 5 C’s of Survival
1. Cutting (knife)
2. Combustion (fire)
3. Cover (shelter)
4. Container (water)
5. Cordage (rope)

Related articles:

Survival Knife

Fire Starter Kit Within Your Overall Survival Kit

Build A Survival Shelter While Considering These Guidelines

Use Single Walled Stainless Steel Canteen For Boiling Water

Survival Kit Paracord – How Much To Include Or Take With You?

What To Put It All In

Part of the question, “How to make a survival kit”, will include what to put it all in?

This is where your own constraints come in. Typically though, many or most survival kits that people put together are integrated with a backpack of sorts.

Lets face it. If you’re utilizing your kit, you may be walking out of a situation. Even the kit in my truck is contained mostly within a backpack. Although I do have additional items stored in the truck (storage space under the seats, etc..).

When building your own kit, just use your head. Think. Consider your own requirements for a given kit. The use-case-scenario. It’s actually pretty fun putting one together. The challenge is not stuffing it with too much “stuff” including the kitchen sink, so to speak!

But don’t forget the points I’ve mentioned above…


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