Top 10 Survival Items for a Survival Kit

This is a popular topic among survival & preparedness forums all over the ‘net. The list of items and different ways of ranking them are probably endless. There are a huge variety of factors that could go into deciding on what to include in a survival kit -including but not limited to weather, geographical region, hostile terrain or not, length of “event”, etc. Figured I would post my list here.

1. fire starting kit
2. LED flashlight/batteries
3. 550 paracord
4. multi-tool
5. weapon (insert choice here)
6. food pack (MRE’s, freeze dried, energy bars)
7. water filter (Lifestraw)
8. tent or a tarp
9. sleeping bag
10. Picture of loved ones

Luckily we are not limited to only 10 items as there are a few obvious ones that I left out.

How about you?


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17 thoughts on “Top 10 Survival Items for a Survival Kit”

  1. Mine is a little bit diffrent but not much.
    1.Fire starting kit
    3.550 cord
    4. Knife
    5. food
    6. tarp
    7. sleeping bag
    8. folding saw
    9. first aid kit
    10.change of socks

  2. I used to do this too, but then it occcured to me that a more valid limitation than the number of items is the weight of the items. Or maybe, a bag of 20 pounds if you’re moving fast, with an optional additional bag of whatever you think you can carry.

  3. If you are home, and are forced to evacuate, you should still have the best bug-out-bag you can have. You may have to abandon your vehicle.

    That being said, recently I was in Japan, and packing light as I usually do, my wife said to bring my laptop, camera and some other items. My choice to use was an old leather pack from 20 years ago that I had bought on a whim. (There is a lesson learned – coming right up)

    Well, just in the time from Narita airport, to our place north of Tokyo, the 15 pounds of stuff in that pack was really cutting into my shoulders and wearing on me. The straps, though padded very well, were just placed poorly and after an hour of subways, walking, climbing up and down stairs, etc. I was ready to throw it out and just carry its contents.

    So, no matter what you get, use it for a few days, just to see if you could live with it on a long-term basis. I have other packs, and have found that NONE are what I want to be carrying around with 40 or 50 lbs in them for very long. The search for a ‘GREAT’ pack is on. With any luck I won’t need it, but I will have it just the same.

    • CM-

      Good point. I have a troublesome back and a about 2 months ago I grabbed one of my packs – and took a jaunt around my neighborhood. Just wanted to test carrying the pack AND my back. I hike once in a while – but ususally with little supplies as the area is very populated.

      Thanks – Rourke

  4. 1. Fire starting kit
    2. LED Light & batteries
    3. 20′ 550 cord
    4. Multi Tool Knife
    5. Fast Food Granola type Bars
    6. 8’x10′ Tarp or Military Poncho with Liner
    7. 32oz Water
    8. Commando Saw
    9. First Aid Kit
    10. Water Filter items

  5. Well my two cents SHTF and ur at home probobly buggin in n if u have to leave ur probobly packin everything you can n want for survival(even if ur rushed I can pack my tahoe full of preps damn quick!) Elsehwhere only items u mostly likely will have is ur EDC. Even a get home bag in worst case scenario in a panic ur prob not getting to. I dont see most people carrying a back pack with them 100% of the time. Just not plausable if im picking up my kids from school cant carry my glock n GHB on school property ya know. Its why I think EDC items are very important. Once your home your stockpile hopefully is ready n you can go through, Cant make it home your kinda screwed except for your vehicle items maybe. In a perfect world we’d all have preps at our BOL but for me(and most) not really plausible. So to make it home or to my vehicle I carry.
    1. Knife
    2. paracord
    3. lighter
    4. sm flashlight
    5. wallet w/cash n bandaids
    6. always dressed per elements

    Id draw alot of attention otherwise walking around with any bag in the grocery store, mall, school etc. just my thoughts.

  6. In addition to my fire starting kit, ie. mag block, I added a back up…I had an old Zippo lighter that I didnt use any more so I put about 5 extra flints in the bottom with the cotton batting, No need to add fluid as it will evap over time. Now you have in one small case, flint striker and tinder (the cotton inside). One flint will last for a long time, but I have always put extras in just in case. Hope this helps everyone.

  7. Carried in my strong side cargo pocket (Left side)
    1. H2O kit
    2. Med kit
    3. Fire kit
    4. Signal kit
    5. Game Kit
    6. Shelter kit
    7. Compass
    8. MT
    9. Rations
    10. First Aid Kit

    Items left out are carried else wear on me.

  8. The term survival kit can have so many meanings depending on where you are using it. To me, a survival kit contains those basic items I might need to get back to my other supplies. Basically my EDC and get home bag. I guess if I could only have ten items to carry anywhere I might go, it would be as follows. 1. magnesium bar and striker. 2. pistol and ammo. 3. Leatherman tool. 4. poncho. 5. Paracord. 6. flashlight. 7. Stainless Water bottle. 8. food bars. 9. Water purification tablets. 10. Large black trashbag.

  9. Depends on where I am going and what I am doing .. The further I travel the more i carry .. up to a point. What I mean is .. my commute is 45 miles or so .. with water between me and home. So what I carry is designed to get me home. I figure 3 days without sneaking around .. more if it’s off road .. My limit for a full BOB is around a 100 miles … Of course my contents change seasonally .. to some degree. So my largest challenge is water and food then shelter in that order ..
    best place to carry water is inside.. but that’s One day. And I build in a changes of clothes for full BOB or partial.
    What are you guys using for walking calories .. to avoid foraging (takes time)? I expect it to take exponentially longer at 50 miles and over ..
    I am presuming 3-4000 calories per warm day minimum for a full day walk.. 5-6000 calories for cold day.

    I wear my boots and ripstop pants.. travel clothes basically .. everyday… all earthtones ans a “style” .. My wife would say I have NO style 🙂

    anyway ditto on the contents above .. but I add travel meds too..
    good topic

  10. I build my Get Home Bags around a particular weapons system, ie: Ruger 10/22 Takedown, Henry AR-7 or S&W Governor/Taurus Judge (Public Defender). Each container holds a mini Survival Kit, either a Cabela’s wallet/Naruto Card tin or water bottle. OOPS, CABLE GUY IS HERE TO WORK ON THE MODEM! I MUST CLOSE. BE BACK LATER! For now, I am pretty close to JAS in picking 10 items. At a glance, anyway. Exception being a first aid kit instead of trash bag.

  11. Back again! I will use the AR-7 pack as an example. Not counting the backpack, there is the Henry .22 Rifle with ammo, a tarp, an All Weather Blanket, SOL Escape Bivy, water bottle, First Aid Kit, Sawyer Water Filter, DATREX Food Bars, sawback machete and a Naruto Card Tin. The mini-kit contains a fire kit (lighter, lint, magnesium bar/rod & matches), 2 Space Blankets, mini multi-tool, Huntsman Swiss Army Knife, compass/whistle, flashlight with spare batteries, paracord bracelet, pack of Jolt gum, water purification tablets and more medical supplies in a baggie. My EDC includes a handgun, pliers multi-tool, 2 bandannas, lighter, smokes and medications. That influenced what I packed away.

  12. Rourke, I like your photo of loved ones inclusion.

    My little kit includes a laminated sheet that contains images of my birth certificate, passport card, pilot, driver, amateur, and concealed carry licenses, retired US Gov’t ID, judicial ID, etc. plus a group photo of family. I managed to get all of this on both sides of an 8×10″ laminate that folds twice. Copies aren’t as legitimate as the originals but SHTF could certainly serve as bona fides in lieu of originals. Wife and daughter carry similar but with copies of RN and MD licensure. If nothing else, copies of licenses/permits attest to demonstratable skill sets.


  13. Make sure you have a canteen or other container to carry it. Water is essential and if you don’t have access to it, you are screwed from the get-go. Have a gallon minimum with you to fill your bottle and hydrate before you leave. A five quart military bladder canteen is one of my items for this. Weighs about 10 lbs. filled by itself. Have been looking at more modern bladder designs (Dromedary for one – they can hook up to many water filters) that look good as well. I bought a stainless steel canteen – heatable in a fire (Take off the lid though!) and it won’t roll down hill if left on its side like most bottles.

    South Texas has very few natural water resources so in a drought crisis, things would go down hill fast. This was brought to my attention yesterday, as our neighborhood experienced a water shut-off for eight hours. There was no warning and my neighbor came by after supper asking if I knew why the water had been shut off (I had no idea – just came home and no water pressure). I keep some water storage at home (Wish it was more, but it is bulky and heavy!) so I was unaffected. I could only imagine what would occur if no water was available for a week – people would lose their minds!

    For sleeping out here, a hammock is very practical. Too many biting insects (fire ants, centipedes and other assorted nasties, not to mention poisonous snakes), along with the advantage of sleeping nearly anywhere. The mosquito netted versions like Hennessey type are good but bulky – the net version (NOT THE LITTLE ONES THAT FOLD IN YOUR FIST – THOSE WILL DUMP MOST ADULTS! Ask me how I know – dirt is surprisingly hard when falling 3 feet :^) are better, about the size of a large grapefruit. There are a lot of tips and tricks – many find these in cold latitudes to be pretty cold. There was a Don Paul book “24 + ways to use a hammock” that listed a lot of alternate uses for hammocks.

    Leather gloves – essential. Man is the tool user and damaged hands will be a major disadvantage. You need to keep them protected. An interesting exercise – try going through your daily routine using only one hand. You’ll find yourself in many ‘How do I do this ?’ situations.


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