How to Build your Survival Kit for Beginners- 8 Commonly Overlooked Items

By Ryan M.

Emergencies are often survival situations- you get lost in the woods, you have to bug out to the forest, etc. Small survival kits are valuable for these scenarios, especially since you can take them anywhere. There are tons of survival websites that teach you what to put in a survival kit- a knife, rope, water purification, matches, lighters, flashlights, etc. However, a lot of them only cover these few things. I came up with a list of some small yet overlooked things that you should put in your kit. The cost-return is big on these, because they hardly take any space but they can save your life.

Why I Love Survival

Growing up I went on Boy Scout campouts every month. It was always the normal camping trip with a tent, fire, lots of candy, etc. It was nothing close to “surviving.” However, what was unique was that my scoutmaster, a professional at primitive survival techniques, taught us some of what he knew, like how to start a fire with a bow drill, how to use rope and wood to make a 20 foot tower, and how to throw an atlatl. Luckily I’ve never had to use any of this knowledge, but it keeps me at peace knowing I could if I had to. Okay, the atlatl might not be practical, but hey it’s pretty awesome.

The Nitty Gritty

I’m about to give you a list of items that are easy to pack in any emergency survival kit but that don’t usually get included. Let me explain one thing before I start, though. If you don’t know how to use a tool then it’s useless. No matter how good your survival kit is, knowledge is priority number one. Get some knowledge so you can feel confident and actually survive in any situation. Learn to tie knots, to use a fire bow, to build a shelter, purify water, etc.

Okay, we’ve arrived at the list! Take notes and include these in your survival bags, you’ll be happy you did.

8 Commonly Overlooked Items to Include in your Survival Kit

  • GI Joe Can Opener- This is a small but handy tool for opening cans. Chuck it in the bottom of your bag and it may come to good use some day. If not, it’s not like it's going to weigh you down or take up space.
  • Strobe Light- Let’s say you’re lost in the wilderness and you go to bed. What if a helicopter were to fly over? A flashlight only points in one direction, and if you’re asleep you can’t aim it at them. Strobe lights shine in all directions, so if you have one just turn it on before you go to bed and you’re set.
  • Extra Batteries- This is self-explanatory. Don’t get caught in the dark!
  • 55 Gallon Trash Bag- You can use this as a poncho, tarp, or stuff it with leaves and make some bedding. It weighs next to nothing, and takes up little space.
  • Duct Tape- Rather than carrying a whole roll wrap some duct tape around your lighter, flashlight, or other round object. Use it with gauze as a bandage, make a spear out of it with your knife, or reseal packages of food or bags of water. We all know duct tape fixes everything!
  • Brightly Colored Vinyl Poncho- If you are putting a trash bag in your kit, make it an orange one and you can skip this. If you don’t have an orange one or you want extra protection, it’s not a bad idea to also include a brightly colored poncho. Vinyl is best since it's more durable. Like the strobe light this is another tool for signaling a search party, but this one will actually work in daylight.
  • Redundant Fire Starting Tools- You will need more than just matches in a survival situation. You can buy ferro rods, they produce extremely hot sparks and are small. You can also use a 9 volt battery and steel wool to get some hot embers. If you bring para-cord (which I hope you haven’t overlooked) you can use it for a bow drill. The options are endless, so just make sure to include multiple ways to start a fire, just in case.
  • Whistle- With the poncho and strobe light you have visual emergency signals for day and night. However, It’s also useful to have an audible emergency signal like a whistle, especially since they take up no room at all in your pack. If you want a whistle, compass, and waterproof match carrier all in one, those are great options.

So there you have it. I hope there’s something there that you didn’t already have. If you have already thought of these 8 things then way to be! You’re well prepared.

Now, please share your ideas in the comments! What other things can you think of that are commonly overlooked?

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