Ideas for homemade survival kits

Written by dotty ilean
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Ideas for homemade survival kits
Your survival kit should fit into a backpack. (backpack image by Galyna Andrushko from

When camping or hiking in the wilderness, you should always bring a homemade survival kit. If you're travelling with a group, each person should have his or her own survival kit in the event someone becomes separated from the group. The specific items in each person's pack may vary based on factors like pre-existing medical conditions or personal fitness levels, but the suggestions below apply to a wide variety of hikers.

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Keep your survival kit small so it is easy to carry, even if you are injured. Limiting the size also helps you to bring only what is necessary so that you won't needlessly weigh down your pack. Any small case or series of Ziploc bags will do, or you can use a coffee can or plastic jar.


A first-aid kit is useful in treating minor injuries sustained while camping or hiking. Include bandages, Neosporin, over the counter painkillers, sanitary towels (they may be more absorbant than ordinary gauze or cotton pads) and tweezers. Also pack any prescription medications you regularly take. Keep the first-aid kit in a small waterproof bag or plastic container to keep any bandaging materials sterile and dry.

Battery-Powered Items

Keep a battery-powered flashlight or small lantern in your survival kit. Include a spare light bulb in case one breaks. Pack a small battery-powered or crank-powered radio, if possible. Use the radio to track weather conditions. Some manufactures sell a flashlight/radio combo. Include batteries to run these devices.

Food and Water

Keep non-perishable food in your survival pack. Energy bars or emergency food kits available at local sporting goods stores contain the necessary nutrition while remaining compact. Pack water-purifying tablets or filters so that you will be able to drink lake or creek water should you run out of bottled water while waiting for help.

Additional Items

Other items that are useful in the wilderness—and also small enough to fit in your survival kit—are: matches or a lighter to start fires (keep them in waterproof cases), a compass, an all-purpose tool like a Swiss Army knife, toilet paper or moist towelettes and an emergency foil poncho or blanket that will help protect you from extreme weather if you're stuck on a trail overnight.


Replace the items in your survival kit on a regular basis. Many items necessary for a camping or hiking survival kit, such as food, water, batteries and certain kinds of medicine, have expiration dates. Check the expiration dates in your kit regularly and replace anything that expired or is about to expire.

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