Components for a Personal Survival Kit

Outside of your brain, a good survival kit is one of the best assets in an emergency. The environment is the key to the types of items you will need in your survival kit. A kit designed for the desert will be different from one for a sub-temperature area. How much equipment you put in your kit depends on how you will carry the kit.

A kit on your body will have to be much smaller than one carried in a vehicle.

Always layer your survival kit, keeping the most important items on your body. Make sure your kit is lightweight and compact to ensure it’s taken along.

In preparing your survival kit, select items that can be used for more than one purpose. Your survival kit does not need to be elaborate. You only need functional items that will meet your needs and a case to hold them. The case might be a first aid case, an ammunition pouch, or another suitable case.

Always take the time to constantly review the contents of your survival kit. Never make any compromises regarding the quality of the items in your kit, they could be ending up saving your life.

Below is a list of items you could include in your kit.


This case should be:
(1) Water repellent or waterproof.
(2) Easy to carry or attach to your body.
(3) Suitable to accept various sized items.
(4) Durable.

When constructing a survival kit, you should have the following components:
(1) Fire starting items.
(2) Water procurement items.
(3) Food procurement items.
(4) Signalling items.
(5) First aid items.
(6) Shelter items.
(7) Miscellaneous items.

Items Contained Within Each Component

Fire Starting Items.

(1) Matches.
(2) Magnifying glass.
(3) Flint and Steel.
(4) Lighter.
(5) Potassium Permanganate, with a container of sugar or anti-freeze. (Do NOT pre-mix)
(6) Pre-packaged Tinder.
(7) Cotton Balls and Petroleum Jelly
(8) Fire steel
(9) Magnesium Fire starter

Water Procurement Items.

(1) Water Disinfecting Chemicals.
- Iodine Tablets
- Betadine Solution
- Iodine Solution

(2) Metal Container. (Serves for boiling water)
- Canteen Cup
- Survival Kit Container
- Any Suitable can that contained no petroleum products

(3) Water Carrying Items.
- Canteen
- Plastic Bag
- Plastic/Metal/Glass Container, which contained no petroleum products.

Food Procurement Items

(1) Fish.
- Various sized hooks
- Various sized sinkers/weights
- Metal leaders and swivels
- Small weighted jigs
- Fishing line
- Think about the size of fish for that environment when selecting weights and sizes.

(2) Game.
- Snares
*Commercially Manufactured
*Aircraft Cable
*Tie Wire
*Trip Wire
- Bait
*MRE Cheese Spread or Peanut Butter Package
*Hooks with man-made bait
- 550 Cord for Gill Net and Trap Construction
- Engineer/Marking Tape
- Sling shot rubber and pouch

Signalling Items

(1) Day.
- Mirror
- Whistle
- Pyrotechnics (Smoke, Pen Flares)
- Air Panels

(2) Night.
- Pyrotechnics (Pen Flares, Star Clusters)
- Lights (Flashlight, Strobe, Chem light)
- Whistle

Shelter Items

(1) Cordage.
- 550 Cord.
- Wire.
- Communication wire
- Tie wire

(2) Finger Saw.

(3) Sewing Kit with Needles for construction/repair of clothing.

(4) Tentage.
- Poncho
- Tarp
- Space blanket
- Plastic trash bags

First Aid Items

(1) Band-Aids.
- Steri strips
- Adhesive Tape
- Non-stick pads, 4x4’s, Gauze, Battle Dressings
- Muslin Bandage

(2) Ointments.
- Burn
- Anti-septic

(3) Miscellaneous.
- Salt
- Pain relief tablets
- Eye Wash
- Alcohol prep pads
- Suture Kit
- Scalpel
- Super glue
- Anti-nausea/vomiting tablets
- Anti-diarrheal tablets
- Antihistamine capsules

Miscellaneous items.

(1) Fingernail clippers.
(2) Compass.
(3) Notebook with pen or pencil.
(4) Wood eye screws and nails.
(5) Surgical tubing (for drinking water from hard accessible places)
(6) High quality fixed blade knife
(7) Dental floss (for snares, fishing line, tying, used for sewing etc.)
(8) Large sewing needles
(9) Duct tape
(10) Tweezers
(11) Pocket comb (for removing cacti thorns)
(12) Bouillon cubes
(13) Tea bags
(14) Pencil stub and paper
(15) Sugar
(16) Pocket sharpening stone
(17) Large garbage bags
(18) Flashlight (Nanolight or another type of LED light)
(19) Wire saw (preferably with teeth)
(20) Candle
(21) Map
(22) Axe (Like the small Gerber with a knife in the handle)
(23) Small knife
(24) Multitool
(25) Revolytes
(26) Binoculars

After gathering your survival kit, look it over with a critical eye for determining if there’s anything you can discard. Remember you have to carry it with you at all times. Of course you should not bring all items described above, they are just a guide to what equipment you could bring.

My personal Survival Kit

My own survival kit used during the summer and winter part of the SERE Instructor Course looked like this:

     PSK1  PSK2

The size of the kit is approx. 12 x 9 x 6 cm (LxWxH) and the weight is 440 gr.


The contents is (left to right/top to bottom):

VS-17 panel – signal mirror – button compass – fire steel – cotton balls (vaseline or petroleum jelly)
25 water puritabs – revolytes – high energy candy – survival kit – knife – antibiotic ointment – Band-Aids
plastic bag – pain killers – fishing line & hooks – snare x 2 – safety pins – alcohol swabs – compeed – syringe
(As light source I carry a INOVA BB-W LED Microlight in my jacket, and a Gerber Recon around my neck)