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What should a survival kit contain?

What Should Be In A Survival Kit?

A survival kit is a package of survival food, tools, and other supplies that has been prepared in advance and stored in a way that is compact and easy to carry. Survival kits come in various sizes and can be packed with general supplies to cover most basic emergencies or survival situations, or can be tailored towards a specific purpose or type of disaster. Some people refer to them as “emergency preparedness kits”, 72-hour kits, or “bug-out bags”. The 72-hour kit name comes from the idea that a basic emergency kit should have enough food, water, and other supplies to sustain each person for 3 days. Many ready-made kits follow this guideline, and many survival kit lists and articles from sources like FEMA and the Red Cross are based on the average person’s needs for 3 days, or 72 hours, without outside help. The term “bug out bag” refers to a survival kit that is intended primarily for use while evacuating or avoiding a dangerous or threatening situation and relocating to a more fully-equipped retreat or other area. A survival kit can be kept at home, in the car, or at the office. Some people prefer to have one in all three locations but, wherever the kit is stored, it should be easy to find and grab in a hurry. The contents of a survival kit will vary based on size and weight requirements, climate or conditions where the kit will be used, and the types of disaster that are anticipated, but all kits will have some things in common. Most survival kits include food or nutrition bars, water and/or tablets or a filter for water purification, a blanket or poncho to provide warmth and shelter, matches or a lighter or other fire-starter, basic first aid supplies, a flashlight or glow sticks for light, and often a radio and a knife or multi-tool. More items can be added, or contents adjusted, depending on the conditions you expect to encounter and your overall disaster response plan. We sell several survival kits, already packed and ready to go, or you can build your own survival kit to suit your needs. Some suggested items for a basic survival kit include:

  • Food and Water – The high-calorie food bars and sealed pouches of water are ideal for these kits.
  • Water purification tablets or a water filter
  • A blanket, ideally one of the reflective solar blankets
  • A lightweight, waterproof poncho – Some can also be used as tents, when combined with cord or rope.
  • 50 foot of rope or cord – Multi-strand “paracord” is popular; the inner strands can be used as additional cordage.
  • Waterproof matches and/or a windproof lighter
  • A flashlight and/or pack of chemical light sticks
  • An emergency whistle to signal for help
  • An AM/FM radio
  • Batteries for the radio and flashlight, if needed
  • A first aid kit
  • A sturdy knife and/or multi-tool
From there, you can add many other items, based on your needs and preferences. Just keep in mind that the more you add, the more the kit will weigh, and the harder it will be to carry. Some additions that may be worthwhile include are a small tent, slow-burning emergency candles, a portable folding stove, a Lexan water bottle, personal hygiene items, toilet paper, a sewing kit, and a notepad and pen or pencil.


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