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Emergency Survival Kits

Updated on October 18, 2011

Introduction to Emergency Kits

Emergency survival kits are critical pieces of equipment that can mean the difference between life and death whether your situation is surviving a natural disaster that has absolutely wiped out a city's grid, or getting stranded in the wilderness with little hope of rescue.  Being prepared is absolutely crucial to surviving a bad situation and possessing or putting together your own survival kit is a major part of that process.  While individual disasters can vary and there are different needs from one environment to the other, there are some common themes and tools that seem to transcend individual situations and work for almost any survival or emergency kit.  There are so many different types of emergency kits that it is going to be really hard to cover them all, but stick with me through this hub and I'll try to give a solid detailed answer to anyone looking to make their own survival kit instead of buying an emergency kit that has already been put together.

Common Types of Survival Kits

There are many different types of survival kits available on the market, and sometimes the sheer variety can be encouraging - but at other times it can make the job of picking out the best one really more daunting than it needs to be.  Many of these types of kits will have overlapping materials - as virtually every single one is going to have gauze and some type of medication, but while looking around for the right one for you, it might help to know that there are specialty types like:

  • Wilderness survival kits
  • Winter survival kits
  • Earthquake emergency kits
  • Emergency first aid kits
  • Portable survival kits
  • Arctic survival kits
  • Desert survival kits
  • Military survival kits

And this really is just scratching the surface of the many types that are available to consumers.  In fact, there are easily dozens of specialized kits that are honed towards one particular disaster, environment, or situation.  Just think of what suits your needs most, what you're most likely to run into as far as a situation goes, and after figuring all that out, choose the best fit.

Good Items for Impromptu Survival

The key to surviving in a harsh environment with your survival kit is to make sure you have all the necessary gear to give yourself the best chance of coming through unscathed. In fact, despite whatever type of specialty you want your kit to reflect in terms of being prepared, there are several survival tools you can't live without that almost any survival instructor can agree upon.

First of all, there's the knife.  While a pocket knife is better than none at all, I'm definitely a fan of a hunting or tactical knife.  These provide much better support and are easier to use for a wide range of things in a survival or emergency situation.  In fact, there might be no tool that comes close to being as good as a pocket knife in a survival situation.

Another thing many guys carry around - well a condom can be excellent for a wilderness survival situation as long as it is not lubricated.  If blown up, these can hold a surprising amount of drinking water, or be used to house kindling and matches that you have to keep dry.

Shoe strings, fishing line, garbage bags, and pop cans are all more examples of items that can be used for a wide variety of things in a survival or emergency situation.  Between these items you can wind proof a shelter, build a shelter, signal for help, boil water, make a snare, fish, catch rain water, catch morning dew, or wear a poncho. That's a lot of use for some pretty common everyday items that you can carry around the trunk of your car.

BCB Ultimate Survival Kit Video

DIY Emergency Survival Kits

One way to guarantee that your particular survival kit has everything you need is to build your own. More people than ever are deciding to build their own survival kits to make sure that when a disaster or emergency strikes that they have all the gear they need in order to get through it as healthy and unscathed as possible.  This is a great way to go, but there are a couple big things to remember before making your own kit, and if you keep these 2 most common mistakes in mind, you'll be way ahead of the pack:

  1. Keep it light and don't pack too much - a survival kit does you no good if it's not portable enough to take with you.
  2. Practice before packing.

The first one is pretty self explanatory.  There are so many items that are extremely light weight, small, and versatile (garbage bags, condoms, fishing line, etc) that there's no reason to have a bulky hard to move kit.  The second point basically means you need to know how to use what you have.  Can a flint and steel start a fire?  Absolutely.  What are your chances if you've never used it before?  Pretty lousy.

Learn to use what you're packing, to get used to tying knots, blowing up a condom for water storage, using a knife to signal the sun's rays.  All these things are important to know so when a disaster hits you have the KNOWLEDGE to use your tools to survive.

10 Things You Must Have for Light Weight Emergency Kits

Using a Condom for Wilderness Survival

Remember Pillars of Survival

While every situation is different, there are a few basic pillars of survival that apply on a basic level to virtually every wilderness survival situation. Remember that every piece of gear in a survival kit should in some shape or form address one of these pillars.

  1. Core temperature.  You die when your body gets too hot or too cold.  Keeping a healthy core temperature is critical, yet often fatally overlooked.
  2. Water.  3 days (at most) without water, which makes this way higher than food.
  3. Shelter.  This is not only for core temperature, but also safety, energy preservation, and leaving behind a site that rescuers can find.
  4. Food.  While you can technically survive a few weeks without food, you'll want sustenance for energy and clear thinking.

Those are the 4 main pillars for survival.  For many people you can add an unofficial 5th of "signal" since most people are better off waiting for rescue, or will need rescue, as opposed to making their way out themselves.  A whistle or mirror (or both) is a good idea for this one.

Emergency Kits - In Conclusion

Emergency kits are funny things in that I could write many more pages on this topic, but in the end many of the main points can be summarized fairly well as they already have been.  Even if you don't think you will ever be in a survival situation, it's critical to understand that most people who end up in the same situation never think they'll be there - it just happens.  Have the survival kits in your car, on hand, and hopefully you will never need to use them, but at least by having them when the time comes you will have the ability to be prepared for any possible disaster that could arise.  Some people might call it paranoid: but it's a preparation that may very well save your life.

Comments on Emergency Survival Kits

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    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      This is a very helpful advice and a great hub. Thank you.

    • ocbill profile image

      ocbill 6 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      jeez,. and I just saw the movie 2012.


    • profile image

      richard 3 years ago

      this is a great help for me iam a preppers.

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