What are the odds that you will one day find yourself in a life-or-death survival situation? Pretty low, but not impossible.
The old saying goes to pray for the best but prepare for the worst, and that absolutely holds true for when it comes to personal survival.
A ‘survival situation’ could be anything from finding yourself lost and stranded out in the middle of the woods to your car broken down in the middle of the desert to a grid down disaster where you have to bug in at your home to a natural disaster that strikes your city to major political unrest that turns violent and so on.
Basically, any situation where your life is threatened and you can’t count on the normal luxuries that you are accustomed to everyday counts as a ‘survival situation’ in the context of this article. And it’s important to be prepared for such a situation in the future.
This is where having a survival kit, or 72 hour bag or bug out bag, will be particularly important. This is a bag that you can keep in convenient locations, such as your home or in your car, to access for when the going gets tough and your life is really threatened. Putting together your own personal survival kit can be an excellent investment, because you’re investing in what’s most important to you: your life!
Of course, many people are not committed survivalists or ‘doomsday preppers’ like you’ve seen or heard about on TV, and these people are not likely to find the motivation to buy survival items and assemble their own kit.
Fortunately, there is a much simpler solution for these people: purchasing a pre-made survival kit that already has everything you need to have ready to go. Buying such a kit, and familiarizing yourself with the internal components, will be the very first step in getting ready to respond to a crisis properly. Considering that most people will not get ready at all, this will be a major advantage for you.
In this article, we’ll outline and discuss the top emergency preparedness kits that are currently available on the market. But first, we’ll dive into the specifics of what your kit will need to have in order to be truly capable of keeping you alive for when the going gets tough.
Survival kits are not just for those who are preppers or survivalists, who those who think that they will find themselves in an outdoor survival situation. Rather, they are for literally everybody because you literally don’t know if and when you will ever find yourself in a survival situation, do you?
Just buying a pre-made kit and keeping it in your car, for instance, literally could save your life if you one day out in a remote area and your vehicle breaks down.
The point here is not to convince yourself that it will never happen to you. And here’s the thing: a lot of premade survival kits are not that expensive anyway, so it’s not like you’re going to give up a lot of money. On the contrary, you can either put together or buy a complete survival kit of high quality items and on a tight budget.
It’s best to create a checklist of the survival items you need in your emergency preparedness kit and then make sure that your kit contains each of those items. And to make things easy for you, we’re going to create that checklist for you right now!
Keep in mind that if you purchase one of the premade emergency preparedness kits that we will discuss in a bit and it lacks any of the following items, you can always buy them separately and then add them to the kit yourself:
● Three Days Water Supply (preferably in a metal canteen or container)
● Three Days Food Supply (Protein/Energy Bars are convenient)
● Flashlight (LED, and with spare batteries)
● NOAA Weather Radio (hand crank model)
● Extra Socks (to prevent trench foot if your other socks get wet)
● Hiking Boots (you can lash them to the outside of the backpack)
● Two Fire Starting Devices (lighters, matches, and magnesium flint striker work best)
● Cotton Balls soaked in vaseline (or anything else highly flammable)
● Can Opener
● Maps of the area
● GPS (not totally necessary if you have a map and compass, but still handy to have)
● Fixed Blade Knife (with a full tang in the handle, such as a Ka-Bar knife)
● Folding Knife (Swiss Army-type knife would be great)
● Hand Saw
● Multitool (with pliers)
● Complete First Aid Kit
○ One Week’s Supply of Prescription Meds (if applicable)
○ Bandages of varying sizes
○ Gauze Pads of varying sizes
○ Medical Tape
○ Medical Gloves
○ Alcohol Pads
○ Antiseptic Cream
○ Tylenol and/or Ibuprofen Pills
○ Antibiotic Ointment
○ Skin Rash Cream
○ Finger/Toe Splints
○ Aloe Vera Gel
● Complete Personal Hygiene Kit
○ Toothbrush and Toothpaste
○ Toilet Paper (or wet wipes)
○ Nail Clippers
○ Baking Soda
○ Hand Sanitizer
○ Feminine Hygiene Items (if applicable)
○ Contact lenses with solution (if applicable)
● Cash ($100 divided into smaller bills)
● Paper and Pencil
● Space Blanket (one that can reflect heat back to you)
● Sleeping Bivvy (lightweight and yet warm)
● Tarp (compact and lightweight, or as an alternative, you can go with a portable tent)
● Mess Kit
Your survival kit will ideally have as many of the above items as possible. Even though more items increases the weight of the kit and could potentially slow you down out in the woods, the more items you have will also translate to superior comfort and increased odds of survival.
Additionally, you may need to add items to your checklist depending on your environment. For example, if you live in a humid environment, you may want to include bug spray and a net. If you’re in the desert, you’ll want extra water and sunscreen. In a winter cold environment, you’ll want a lot more warm clothes packed in there.
Also, think about your applications. Are you buying or putting together a survival kit for wilderness survival or for a more urban environment? Are you putting together a bug out bag to evacuate the site of a disaster or to bug in at home? Will this be a kit that you do keep at home or something in your car that you can use as a get home bag?
If anything, you may find that it’s wise to own multiple different kids for different purposes.
Equally as important as the survival items you choose to include in your kit is the pack that you choose to keep everything in.
You do want to ensure that your survival kit is kept lightweight enough so that it’s portable. Regardless of whether you plan on keeping your kit at home or in your vehicle (or better yet, both), you would be wise to ensure that it’s not a stationary kit. Keep your survival items in a high quality backpack that is meant for rugged outdoor use.
This backpack should be in a neutral color that does not stand out (think black, dark green, navy blue, brown, grey, etc), be waterproof with adjustable straps, and have numerous compartments inside to make it easy to organize everything.
Make sure that the items you will need the most or the quickest are the most accessible. This means that it’s fine if items such as a tarp or a personal hygiene kit are buried deep into the bag, because those items will most likely not need to be accessed urgently.
But other items such as a knife, fire starter, or gloves should be kept where you can easily reach them with your hands, and hopefully while on the move without having to take the backpack off from your shoulders.
If you can’t already tell, the backpack you wore to high school isn’t going to cut it. It will simply be too flimsy and likely not large or well organized enough. Instead, you are going to need a truly rugged backpack that can sustain a lot of abuse
Now that we have covered what your survival kit needs to have, here are the best emergency preparedness kits that you can buy:
The Aootek Upgraded First Aid Survival Kit is designed primarily for outdoor survival situations, and comes with nearly 270 survival items ready to go. There is no food and water included in this kit, so you will need to add those things yourself.
That being said, the Aootek still comes with a wide variety of other very important survival tools, including a knife, can opener, bottle opener, saw, wire cutters and strippers, pliers, fire starting devices, whistles, compass, flashlight, fishing lines, and fishing hooks.
The Emergency Zone 840-2 Urban Survival Kit comes with both a two person and four person option. So not only is this a personal survival kit that you can use to keep yourself alive, you can also use it to keep yourself alive in addition to your spouse or partner, a close friend, or your entire family for that matter. What’s more, is that the Emergency Zone comes with enough gear to keep you all alive for up to a seventy two hour period.
The entire kit is shipped in a large high quality backpack for ease portability, and removing the need to purchase your own backpack (as will be required with other survival items that don’t come with a pack).
The Emergency Zone comes with most of the basic survival items that you need, but the most noteworthy items that it comes with are the hand crank radio, toilet paper, personal hygiene kit, and a multi-use pocket tool (items that many other pre-made survival kits don’t ship with).
Another high quality survival kit option to consider is the Ready America 70280 Emergency Survival Kit. This 33 piece survival kit is designed for two people for a three day period, and it ships in a red backpack.
What’s notable about the Ready America is that unlike many other survival kits on the market, this one actually ships with food and water already in the pack, so you won’t need to add those to yourself. In addition, it also ships light sticks, emergency blankets, a complete first aid kit included as part of the package, and ponchos.
The Survival Outdoors Longer Hybrid 3 Kit is designed to be a gear repair kit medical kit, and survival kit all rolled into one, and in a compact and lightweight package. The items for each respective kit are divided conveniently into three separate pockets within the backpack that this kit ships with.
Examples of items that are included in the Hybrid kit includes an LED headlamp, mirror, whistle that is capable of sending a signal out for miles, waterproof fire tinder, and fire starting devices. The first aid portion is designed to heal anything from blisters and bug bites to major open wounds to fractured limbs. Finally, the gear reair portion comes with items such as cables ties and duct tape, so you can temporarily repair most kinds of survival gear while on your way home.
The Survival Prep Warehouse Deluxe Survival Kit is designed to keep one person alive for a seventy two hour time period. The only thing it’s really lacking is food and water, so you’ll need to add your own rations to it.
Aside from that, however, the Survival Prep Warehouse Deluxe Survival Kit will be great to go for you. It comes with a complete personal hygiene kit, which is something that most survival kits do not ships with. Additionally, it ships with a poncho, shelter building supplies, emergency blanket, hand warmers, flashlights, work gloves, particulate masks, Swiss Army-type knife, and an FM/AM radio.
The Sustain Supply Company Essential 2 Survival Kit, as the name suggests, is designed to keep at least two people alive for a seventy two hour time period. That being said, there may not be enough food and water included in the kit to keep both people alive for the full seventy two hours, so you should consider adding more food and water to it on your own.
This survival kit comes with items such as a personal water filter, a complete first aid kit with instructions on how to use every item in the kit, knife, fire starting devices, paracord, shelter building items, blankets, and a lantern.
The Wise Food 5 Day Survival Kit, as you may have guessed from the name, contains enough food to last you for up to five days. To be specific, there are a total of thirty two servings of gourmet meals, so if you’re stranded out in the woods you’ll be comforted knowing that you’ll have plenty of food and won’t need to trap or fish for your own food (at least not a first). As an added bonus, a portable stove is included as part of the kit to help cook your food, though not all meals included in the kit require cooking (such as the apple cinnamon cereal).
That being said, this is not just a food kit, as it also ships with a number of survival items, including a whistle, flashlight, poncho and blanket, fire starting items, and a complete 42 piece first aid kit. As an added bonus, even a stack of playing cards is included.
Do you have to buy a personal survival kit, such as one of the ones we’ve covered above? Technically you don’t have to if you don’t want to, but you absolutely should because you’ll highly regret it if you do eventually find yourself in a life threatening scenario without one.
Publisher and Editor: Doug Ritter
Email: Doug Ritter
Revision: 01 November 19, 2019
© 2019 Douglas S. Ritter
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