How To Make a Survival Kit

If you've ever considered making yourself a survival kit (or 72-hour kit, bug-out bag, etc.), you may have ended up like me - pulling out your hair over the unending lists of things you ABSOLUTELY must include.

In an effort to help you, dear reader, as well as myself, I'm trying to organize the overwhelming amount of information I've found into manageable chunks.

I hope to keep from drowning in the infinite lists of possible items that can be included in a survival kit. To do so, this blog will talk in big, really broad strokes about survival kits. Consider this entire post a set of road signs on the journey toward Preparedness.

As time goes by, I'll add blog entries that give a few, highly-salient specifics on each of the 7 components. Eventually, I'll even add my own lists for the 4 types of kits.

Questions to Ask

Just to be clear, I am not even an amateur survivalist. I am just a concerned citizen who has spent entirely too much time reading expert opinions on survival and has noticed some common threads in their advice.

First, there are many perplexing questions to consider when making a survival kit:

  • Should I be able to carry it in my pocket or on my back?
  • How much money will I spend on my kit?
  • What types of climates should I prepare for?
  • Who is it for?
  • Should it last me for 3 days, 2 weeks, or even longer?
  • What types of emergencies should I prepare for?
  • Should it be focused on my needs for an evacuation of for staying put?
  • Are there essential items I should include?
  • After I make my kit, can I just forget about it?

Keeping these questions in mind is important. But, trying to build a survival kit around them quickly overwhelms a poor, informationally-deluged mind like mine. So, to simplify, I'm going to break up the tasks into categories.

7 Survival Kit Components

One thing I've noticed is that experts tend to divide up the items in their kits into similar categories. So, on the theory that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I've done the same.

I've looked at list after list of survival gear, and most seem to include these components:

  1. Water
  2. Shelter
  3. Health
  4. Tools
  5. Rescue
  6. Food
  7. Containers

So, when building my survival kit(s), I'm going to take it one component at a time. This should, hopefully, kill less brain cells than trying to do it all at once.

10 Survival Questions, Redux

For each component, I'm going to briefly discuss the following 10 considerations. You might read them and, think, "Hey! Aren't those the same as 'Questions to Ask'?!" You are correct and very intelligent for noticing. But, you may also notice that these are explained in a much funnier manner.

  • Overview: D'oh!
  • Skills: 7 ways to skin a small mammal
  • Weather: Climatology for Dummies
  • Warnings: Oops, did I eat poison ivy?
  • Money Matters: Money doesn't grow on trees
  • Timeline: A long weekend or the long haul?
  • Portability: Can you schlepp it?
  • Disaster: It's a hurricane, a plane crash, the super-plague!
  • Taking Inventory: I've got that re-stocking feeling. OR Does 56 gallons look good on me?
  • Essential Gear: Can't live without it

Kits of All Shapes, in 4 Sizes

There are four basic permutations on the survival kit. The items you put into each one depend very much on where you live, what types of weather and emergencies you're preparing for, and how long they are intended to last. In future posts, I'll explore how the 7 components can best fit into these differently-sized kits:

  • Short-Term
    • Portable Essentials: fits in your pocket
    • Bug-Out Bag: fits in a back pack
  • Long-Term
    • Forever Kerouac: travellin' (wo)man
    • The Ponderosa: staying put and homesteading

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When you break it down like that, it becomes simpler to figure out. i have tried to make a kit and it is not easy.
Thanks and peace

Adelle Frank


I'm glad this post was helpful!