How to Make a Wilderness Survival Kit

Having a portable wilderness survival kit makes it easy to be prepared wherever you go. Just make this collection of lightweight, portable survival supplies the first thing you pack before leaving and the first thing you replenish upon your return. The items in this kit won't solve all your problems, but it will provide some tools with which you can handle your many emergencies in the wilderness.
How to Make a Wilderness Survival Kit


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

How to Make a Wilderness Survival Kit

Things You’ll Need:
  • Gallon-size zip-close plastic bag
  • Smaller zip-close plastic bags
  • 5-foot long sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil
  • Two large, heavy-duty garbage bags
  • Lighter or waterproof matches
  • Long-burning fire starters
  • Sturdy knife
  • Chemical water purification tablets
  • Candy bar
  • Map
  • Compass
  • Triangle bandages
  • Gauze
  • Burn treatment packs
  • Glucose and salt tablets
  • Hot/cold packs
  • SAM splint
Step 1
Lay out a gallon-sized zip-close plastic bag. Heavy duty freezer bags are best for this, because they're sturdier. This will be the container for your wilderness survival kit, as well as a part of the kit. You can use it to carry water or food or as a rain hat.
Step 2
Fold a 5-foot sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil down to the size of the plastic bag and slip it inside. This can be used to fashion a reflector to signal for help, a reflector to help enhance the heat of a fire, or a cup for boiling water and cooking food.
Step 3
Fold two large, heavy-duty garbage bags down to the size of the plastic bag and slide them into it on top of the foil. These can be used as a sleeping bag or pad, an emergency poncho, or to help construct a shelter. Add a small handful of zip ties, a mini-roll of duct tape, and a small bundle of parachute cord. These are both useful building supplies and also good for repairing damaged gear.
Step 4
Tuck a lighter or bundle of waterproof matches, a few long-burning fire starters and a sturdy knife into a smaller zip-close plastic bag. These are your fire-making materials; the knife, of course, has many uses, and the small bag is also a potential survival tool; you can use it to insulate your hands or feet.
Step 5
Add chemical water purification tablets and a fat-rich candy bar or two, also packed into their own small zip-close bag. You won't last long without water, and the fat and calories in the candy bar will help keep you warm and fuel your survival efforts.
Step 6
Make sure you have a map and compass in your survival kit. The map should be folded into its own clear plastic bag to protect it and to add another plastic bag to your survival tool kit. The compass can be packaged into the same bag, and should be packed even if you also carry a GPS. It's a useful backup.
Step 7
Package essential first-aid supplies in your gallon-size bag. Start with a pair of triangle bandages, gauze and a couple of small burn treatment packs. Add glucose and salt tablets to help treat dehydration and hot/cold packs to treat hypo- or hyperthermia. Lastly, include any emergency supplies -- including diabetic or allergy medications -- to treat any serious conditions you may have.

Tips & Warnings

If you've assembled more than one gallon-sized bag can hold, fill a second bag and keep it with the first bag.
A SAM splint might not fit into your gallon bag but still makes a useful addition to your wilderness survival kit -- just tuck it into the bottom of your pack.

Article Written By Marie Mulrooney

Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.

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