Homemade Survival Kits

Homemade Survival KitsThe worst case scenario has happened. You are lost in a wilderness area, the victim of an accident or caught in a natural disaster. You have read the articles on survival and have an idea of what to do, but do you have the basic, essential tools to help you survive. This is where a survival kit comes into play. A kit should contain basic elements to help you establish shelter, direction, water collection and the ability to catch or snare food. Many survival kits are available from different retailers. However, it is certainly possible to assemble your own kit in a size that is easy to transport.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Metal or plastic container
  • Magnesium fire starter
  • Butane lighter
  • Waterproof matches
  • Tinder
  • Candle
  • Water purification tablets
  • Plastic bag or sheeting
  • Fishing line with weights and hooks
  • Bullion cubes
  • Metal snare wire
  • Signal mirror
  • Compass
  • Hobby blade
  • Knife
  • Wire saw
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Butterfly closure
  • Gauze bandage
  • Duct tape
Step 1
Select a small, durable and water resistant container for the kit. There are many options for storing a survival kit including metal containers with hinged lids and even sealing plastic bags. The main things to consider are the degree of water resistance and size, making sure the container is big enough to accommodate the contents. Consider placing a small container in a plastic bag for additional protection.
Step 2
Include fire-starting materials in your kit. Include more than one means of starting a fire. A small butane lighter, magnesium fire starter, waterproof matches, tinder and even a small piece of candle with wick are good choices. Never rely on only one method of fir-starting. Fire is a psychological boost. By making a fire you have the ability to somewhat control your situation and determine the outcome. Staying warm is nice too.
Step 3
Consider a means for collecting and purifying water. You can go much longer without food than you can water, especially under a stressful situation. Dehydration may quickly set in with symptoms ranging from mild disorientation to black out. Carry a few water purification tablets and a small piece of plastic sheeting or bag. If you choose a metal container for your kit, this may be used for boiling small amounts of water for drinking.
Step 4
Include tools for catching or snaring animals for food. Make sure there are several yards of 4- to 6-pound fishing line with weights and hooks included in your kit. Also pack a length of snare wire that can be used to trap rabbits and other small game. It may also be a good idea to include one or two bullion cubes as a little warm soup can be a boost to the psyche.
Step 5
Consider signaling and direction finding. Pack a small signal mirror with a hole in the middle for sighting distant objects. A basic compass is all that is required; however, make sure that it is accurate and well made. In other words, pass on the $1 pin-on at the flea market, unless you are okay with your life depending on it.
Step 6
Determine any small tools you may want to include. There should at least be a hobby knife blade included for cutting. A small knife is always a good idea; however, space may only allow for a hobby blade. A small wire saw can help with cutting wood for shelter and fire wood. Also consider including a short length of duct tape. It's not necessarily a tool, but duct tape has 101 uses, from clothing repair to wound care.
Step 7
Address your medical needs. Avoid trying to anticipate every possible injury you might incur. Cover the basics, including antibiotic ointment to fight infection, butterfly closures for small and large wounds, and a small length of gauze. The gauze can serve double duty for injury care as well as fire starting if necessary. In a survival scenario you will need to rely on the ability to make a splint or make clothing or other material into dressings.

Tips & Warnings

Assembling a kit of your own allows you to customize the kit to what you actually need or know how to use.
Make sure you are comfortable in the knowledge of how to use what you include. There is nothing wrong with practicing with your kit in a non-emergency setting. Just remember to replace what you use.
A kit is only good if you carry it. This is the benefit of a small kit. They are small, light-weight and easily packed or carried.

Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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