How To Make Your Own Survival Kit

You can save some money and make your own survival kit to fit your unique needs. With a basic list of essentials, you can make a 3-day emergency kit that will provide you with the water, food, shelter and medicine you need in the event of an emergency.

Let's go over the basic steps on how to do it...

First Get a Backpack

The first thing you’ll need is a quality made Back-Pack to hold your supplies. An alternative is a small piece of luggage with wheels, if you’re unable to carry items due to back pain or other ailments.

You want a backpack with comfortable straps, so that you don’t injure yourself when carrying it for long periods of time. (Remember, you may not be able to use your car in an emergency situation).

Pack Water Pouches and a Filter

The most important thing your body needs to survive is water. You could go without food for three days, but you’ll die of thirst. Therefore, you must have water in your kit, as well as the means to get more water.

You can’t carry around a case full of water bottles in your bag, so what do you do? You can buy water pouches that are light to carry and have a shelf life of five years.

For example, a Datrex Emergency Water Pouch contains purified water and only weighs around four ounces. These are compact, making it easy to put enough in your backpack for three days, while leaving enough room for the other supplies you will be adding to make your survival kit.

You need to think beyond the three days, though. You’ll need a water filter for water that you find in outdoor water sources, such as creeks, streams or lakes. There are several portable water filter systems that will remove the contaminants from the water you collect, they are portable, and are the size and weight of a regular sports bottle.

Pack Ready-to-Eat Meals

The next essential item you’ll need to make your own survival kit is food. Packing #10 cans is not a viable option for a survival kit because of the weight and the need to prepare the meals with water.

A far better choice is to buy ready-to-eat meals, also known as MREs. Each ready-to-eat meal consists of two entrees (in some cases only one), a snack, a hot beverage (without water), a drink mix, and a dessert, with small heaters to warm up the meals.

MREs have sufficient calories to sustain you for the day (around 1,000 calories), and have a shelf life of about 5 years. You can even buy gluten-free MREs if you suffer from food allergies or are gluten intolerant. The weight for three MREs (which will last you three days) is less than five pounds, and they’re easy to pack.

Other Items to include in your pack

Now that you’ve packed your water and food supplies, you’ll need to include a few other items in your survival kit. Make sure your survival supplies list includes these (or similar) type items:

  • Small Crank Weather Radio with Flashlight
  • First Aid Kit (see note below)
  • Waterproof Matches
  • Medicines (pack what you already use, others are in the first aid kit)
  • Baby Wipes (small container)
  • Running Shoes or Sturdy Boots
  • 1 Bar of Soap and Deodorant
  • A Tube Tent
  • A Set of Extra Clothes and Underwear
  • Hand and Foot Warmers (2-3 each)
  • 1 Multi-function Tool
  • A Pocket Knife (see our Best Pocket Knives  article to help you pick one out)
  • 1 N95 Respirator Mask
  • A Small Blanket (preferably wool)
  • Whistle
  • Nylon Cord

NOTE: A first aid kit should always be included with any type of kit whether you make your own survival kit or purchase it. A simple kit should contain these or similar items:

  • bandages,
  • sterile pads and gauze,
  • first aid tape,
  • tweezers,
  • disinfectant pads,
  • oxytetracycline tablets (for diarrhea or infection),
  • antibiotic cream and aspirin. Also keep an extra pair of prescription eyeglasses or contacts. Any material in the kit that may be damaged or rendered ineffective by water should be wrapped or sealed in plastic. 

The list could go on and on for what to include when you make your own survival kit, but you need to be able to fit everything in your backpack and it has to be manageable enough to carry on foot.

If you make your own survival kit, by packing these essential supplies, you’ll be able to survive for at least three days, which may buy you enough time to go and find extra help.

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