Always be prepared. When you go venturing into the great outdoors, there’s no telling what might happen. If you’re on a camping trip say, and have gone on a long hike in unfamiliar territory, you could find yourself lost or stranded. And having the best possible survival kit can make all the difference in how that turns out for you.
We’re going to level with you - choosing a really good survival kit can be tricky and there’s a lot to think about and consider. But we’re here to make this decision easier for you. Coming up shortly we’ve got some reviews on our handpicked Top 5 survival kits, and after that there’s a handy buying guide where we’ve tried to include all the most important factors to consider.
Best Survival Kit - Comparison Table
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Best Survival Kit - Reviews
This survival kit from Kosin features a staggering 18 individual items, including some items with more than function.
This particular survival kit is geared towards outdoor survival, and would make a great gift for those into their hunting, fishing, hiking, cycling or camping trips.
For example, the kit includes a compass, to help find your way back to a waypoint, a thermal blanket for retaining body heat when out in the cold, a wire saw for cutting firewood, a flint fire starter and a scraper for getting a campfire going.
In terms of catching someone’s attention for a rescue, there’s a whistle with 2 holes, designed to make a louder sound. There’s a flashlight with 3 lighting modes, high, low and strobe. While the strobe mode would be good for getting attention, the low mode may suit situations where you need to see what you’re doing but don’t want to attract the attention of a would-be predator. There’s also a mini light which is also a key ring.
With regards to first aid items, you get a gauze swab, a bandage, and some bandaids.
But that’s not all you get, there’s also a versatile high quality military survival knife, a wire saw which will cut just about anything, a Saber Multi-Tool Card which is a credit card sized tool with a total of 11 different functions, including a can opener function.
There’s also a paracord bracelet. You can wear it like a watch while you’re hiking, and if you were to need some cord for say fishing, sewing, or building shelters, you simply cut the inside cord to unravel hundreds of feet worth of good, strong cord.
We also like the inclusion of a tactical pen. In addition to using it to write it can also be used as an implement of self-defense, and it’s tungsten point is strong enough to break class for an emergency escape.
Better yet, all the items come in a durable waterproof box that, even with everything included, weighs a mere 1.4 pounds. And not only is it light to carry around, it’s fairly compact to boot. With dimensions of just 6.3 X 4.3 X 1.9 Inches, you could very easily get it into a backpack. Or alternatively you can use the included ranger band to secure it to your belt, or keep it in your car’s glove compartment.
This kit from Ready America is what’s known as a bug-out bag, a portable kit that contains enough items to survive for 72 hours (3 days).
The purpose of a bug-out bag is to allow you to evacuate quickly if a disaster should strike. Such disasters may include natural disasters like freak weather, or a house fire for example.
Included in the kit is emergency food, drinking water, blankets, ponchos, light sticks, dust masks, nitrile gloves, and a whistle, and a 33-piece First Aid kit.
The provisions included are designed to accommodate 2 people for 72 hours, and the food and water has a 5 year shelf life.
Having everything prepared in a bag ready to grab and go, means you can really get out quickly, safe in the knowledge you have everything you really need for the next 3 days.
To be prepared for every eventuality, you could keep a bug-out bag like this one in the office or car too.
This kit is classed as a basic EDC survival kit, where EDC stands for Everyday Carry. It’s a term used to describe a collection of useful items that are consistently carried on person every day. And maybe that’s not such a bad idea, after all the best survival kit is the one you have on you when you need it.
What really makes survival kit different from the others we’re showing is that despite how many individual items it holds (a staggering 34), believe it or not, this kit will actually fit right in your pocket. Effectively eliminating the need to always carry a backpack with you on your ventures.
In terms of what items are contained in the tin, there’s 3 items for water collection and purification, 2 strike anywhere matches, a whole fishing kit, first aid bits, a DIY compass kit, and several utility and cutting tools besides. You needn’t go thirsty, hungry (so long as there's fish in the vicinity) or remain lost for long.
The other thing that makes this survival kit stand out, and one of the reasons we’ve included it in our Top 5 picks is the inclusion of the Tiny Survival Guide. Because after all what good is a survival kit if you don’t have to hand a guide to what you should do in an emergency.
This Tiny Survival Guide alone is worth $10, and it covers not only wilderness survival, but also provides guidance in dealing with natural disasters, urban disasters, vehicle crashes, abduction and much much more. Better yet, if you don’t want to take the whole EDC tin out with you, you can just slide the Tiny Survival Guide into your wallet.
This is a great outdoor survival kit from Oak Dweller.
What we like about it is its affordability. To be honest it’s pretty much like a cheaper version of the Kosin kit we showed you earlier, with many of the same sort of items included, with the exception of the paracord bracelet.
It comes in a compact, water resistant and durable box. The items contained include: Knife, Flashlight, Fire Starter, Wire Saw, Multi Tool Card, Bottle Clip, Compass, Tactical Pen, Whistle, USB Light, and Emergency Blanket.
In short, you’ll have enough to start a fire, keep warm, determine the direction to waypoints, see in front of you, and alert potential rescuers to your presence and whereabouts. And probably do quite a few other things that haven’t sprung to mind.
We think that the user manual provided is a really handy inclusion to the kit. After all, what good is having all the equipment if you don’t know how to use it.
We love that it comes with a lifetime warranty, and it’s terms are pretty agreeable too.
This is a very compact survival kit from SOL, measuring just 3.875 x 2.75 x 1.5 inches. It’s aso waterproof, so would make a great survival kit for a fishing trip.
The kit’s included items are 11 in total, and cover four main areas. There’s fishing gear, including line and hooks, signaling items, including a flash signal mirror and a whistle, fire starting items, including a fire lite starter and waterproof tinder, and a few other tools like a knife, LED light, and safety wire. There’s also a compass to help you get your bearings, and better yet it's situated on the outside of the tin.
It comes with instructions too, which is always a plus.
Best Survival Kit - Buyers Guide
Your starting point in deciding what kit to get should be based on what you can anticipate needing. You will need to determine what sort of uses you might have for it and take your decision from there, as this will inform what items you’ll need in the kit, and ultimately then which kit best suits your needs.
When you’re lost or in danger there are some things that become more important than others. You need food, water, shelter from the elements, ways of identifying where you are, and ways of alerting people to your whereabouts. Or if you’re hurt you will be in need of some first aid. If it’s dark, you’ll need a flashlight.
And on that note, let’s move onto our next section.
Items you may want to see included
One of the more central decisions to make is whether you want food and drink included in your survival kit.
When it comes to water, which is hands down an essential, a bottle of water, or several bottles, can at times be heavy to carry around, especially if you have a lot of other gear to carry. To that end you may wish your kit to include a water filtration system or purification tablets.
You may want to get a campfire going, whether to cook food or simply keep warm. Or you could perhaps have an emergency blanket to keep warm.
Or to protect yourself from the weather, you may make good use from an emergency tent, a fold-up emergency blanket, or ponchos.
In terms of first aid items, you might want to consider sterile gauze wound dressings, something to keep the dressings or bandages in place and antiseptic wipes to clean up any wounds.
With regards to alerting others to your presence and whereabouts for a rescue mission, your options include a good old fashioned whistle, or to be more visible, a flashlight would work well, or even a glow stick.
Many outdoor survival kits can also feature a compass, which can be super handy for hiking trips where there’s no GPS gadgets at hand.
Size and Weight
Ultimately the size of your survival depends on what types of emergencies you intend to prepare for.
If your survival kit is intended primarily for outdoor use, then you may also be concerned about the kit’s size and weight. You might want to fit into a backpack and/or carry it long distances on foot. Fortunately many survival kits are put together with this in mind, including several in our Top 5 picks.
If your emergency involves waiting out some sort of danger, while you shelter in an enclosed space, then again the size of your kit can also become a factor to consider, say if you were laying low in a camping tent not knowing if there are potentially dangerous animals in the surrounding area.
It goes without saying, the more people you have with you, the more items you may need in terms of food, water and shelter. But on the other hand, you also have more carrying power for any items you want to take or include. You could have one person carry the food and water and another carrying a first aid kit and an emergency tent.
Survival kits can vary quite considerably in their price point, but it’s important to note that cheaper doesn’t always mean better. Instead what you should focus on is ensuring that you have every item that you may need. In fact once you’ve found your ideal survival kit, you may also see fit to pay for one or two more things besides. Which brings us onto our next section.
Additional Items you may need that aren’t typically found in a survival kit
Certain modern items can come in very handy when you find yourself stranded outdoors, and you definitely won’t get them all in a standard survival kit.
To alert others to your emergency, a cell phone with a good signal can be a godsend. Similarly, to ascertain exactly where you are, a really good item would be one that features GPS tracking. It doesn’t need to be anything bulky, you can get some great watches that feature GPS tracking, often with other handy features for hikers. You may also be interested in a water filtration bottle.
When it comes to using modern gadgets outdoors, you may also want to think about whether they need a portable power supply, such as batteries. Or solar powered gadgets could be another alternative.
For hikers, we would also recommend taking a fold-up map of the area if possible, particularly if there are no GPS gadgets at hand.