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What You Need in Your Survival Kit

What’s in your survival kit? Where do you keep your kit? How many kits do you have? Do you even have a kit? You hear me talk about this a lot but we live in a world full of uncertainty and chaos, so why not take a few steps now that might save your life down the road. Personally I’ve got several kits. One in my truck, one in my wife’s truck, one next to the gun safe and the one I carry on me each day. Each of these kits are slightly tailored to a specific set of needs, but today we are going to go over what should be in a typical “Go Bag” type kit. 


Living beings need several things in order to survive. Air, water, food and shelter are the only four necessities of any living creature so let’s start there and continue on in matter of urgency.


Air is obviously the most important need. One that must be figured out with only a few minutes of realizing you don’t have it, so let’s deal with that one first. At a bare minimum I would try to have a hand full of  N-95 (or better) disposable masks. These can be used to filter out larger particles of air pollution or infectious diseases, but there are still a lot of things this type of mask will not protect you from, just to be clear..  The next step up would be some sort of respirator type mask, with replaceable particulate filters. This style mask will offer great protection with replaceable parts. This style would be what you want in most natural disaster type situations - where there are construction debris and those types of particles in the air you’re breathing. The final, and best option, would be a full face gas mask. This will protect your eyes, nose and mouth from harmful chemicals. This type of mask is capable of filtering out 95% of particles in the air with the correct type of filters. 


The next essential need that must be met is water. There are numerous ways of obtaining drinkable water which you can read more about here. For me, the simplest solution is a life straw. In all my bags I carry one for each person in the house. You can filter about 99.999% of harmful bacteria from up to 1000 gallons of water per straw. 


As far as the last two things on our list, they are arguably the same (as far as importance) and very similar (in terms of preparation). We’ll cover food first and you’ll want to look at this from a few different perspectives. First, I like to keep some hard candy in my bags. Life savers or something of the sort to take care of any acute blood sugar drops. Having a petite wife and small children makes my family is prone to issues like this in situations that are taxing on the body. Next, you want to think about the first 48-72 hours. What can you pack that won’t take up much room but will supply enough calories (and nutrients)to get you through a few days in a worst case scenario? My go-to choices would be MRE type preparations, protein bars and Jerky. Lastly, you need to think about food long term. If you’re going to be in a survival situation for more then a few days then you’re going to need to figure out how to catch, forage or scavenge (and cook your own food) pretty quickly. I’ll link some good resource books below for that. As far as gear for food prep, you’regoing to want a nice sharp knife, maybe some utensils, a clean flat surface for food prep, and a way of cooking it. They make collapsible grill grates that can go over any open fire and you can pick up some small utensils and a cutting board on Amazon. Killing, capturing and collecting your food is going to take quite a bit more skill and knowledge, so I suggest touching up on those skills before you need them. I’ll link some good resources for that as well. 


Last but not least, as far as importance is shelter. Shelter is only needed in its simplest from. Just something to keep you out of the elements, warm and dry. Ideally you can fit a small pop up tent in your go-bag and have the basics covered from the start. Alternatively there are a handful of other things I would include in my kit to be able to add to and strengthen my structure, or create one all together from scratch. Rope or some type of cordage can be used to hold together branches to form many parts of an assembly. An emergency blanket can be used for not only its main purpose, but secondarily as a tarp or a roof to keep the rain out. It will also help keep heat in or out,depending on which way it’s reflecting. A small blanket can be used for bedding or a pillow. The list can go on and on but those are a few to get you started. 


Now that our essential needs have been met, we can talk about some other things that are not necessary by any means, but will make the whole process a little easier (and a lot more comfortable)! 


Fire - it’s always a good idea to have a few different ways to start fires, and to know how to use them. I carry a zippo and a Bic in my pocket always. In my equipment I have a zippo fire starter kit and a ferro rod with a striker, a few boxes of matches and a bunch of small tinder material. I guess it’s safe to say I’ve got fire covered from just about every possible angle. 


Knife and/or hatchet - this should go without saying. I’ll never be caught without a knife on me in one capacity or another. It’s a tool that’s basically an extension of my body at this point.


Socks - few things are more important when you’re on the move then keeping your feet dry and comfortable. If you can, have a full change of clothes in your kit for everyone in your family.


First aid - minor scrapes and injuries that would otherwise be of minimal significance suddenly turn into an infected mess when not kept clean and treated. A basic first aid kit should have whatever essentials you need in it for most small bumps and injuries.


Medications - if you’re on chronic medications try and stock pile at least a few weeks extra, so they can be added to your kit. 


I could go on and on with things you might want to have with you, but there is a fine line between having what you need and having too much to carry. You’ll want to get a good hiking style bag and load it up, but only so much that you can feel comfortable carrying it on a full days walk. An alternative would be to pack smaller bags and have each member of your party carry their own gear. 



Let me know in the comments what your situation is. Have you got a bag ready to go? Do you even know where your bag is? Are you prepped to survive in a years long zombie style apocalypse? This is one of those topics that seems silly to even worry about. Why put all this effort into something you’ll likely never need? Well, I’ve got news for you, with the world being what it is, it’s not a matter of “if”but “when” in my opinion. I’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. 

Now I mentioned above I’d leave some resources for y’all to check out at the end of this article. Along with the books I’ll list below I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Nick over at . Nick has a bunch of educational material and is always posting awesome stuff about foraging and plant identification over on his Instagram .

***Resources ***

How to Forage for Mushrooms without Dying

Edible Wild Plants for Beginners

Northeast Foraging

The Home Butcher

The Complete Guide to Hunting, Butchering, and Cooking Wild Game

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