7 Ways to Immediately Improve Your Survival Kit
A survival kit contains a variety of tools and supplies that will help you survive in an emergency situation. Your survival kit should contain items that fulfill these basic requirements:
Shelter and warmth
Items that act as shelter, to provide protection from the elements and to avoid hypothermia or hyperthermia. The kit can also contain items that help you to construct shelter from objects in the wilderness.
Items to help you meet basic health requirements and perform basic first aid
Food and Water
A few days supply of food and water
Navigation and Communication
Tools to help you navigate foreign terrain and communicate with other people
A survival kit should be designed to meet your survival needs for 3-7 days — this kit isn’t designed to let you live off the land forever, but to deal with a temporary emergency situation.
Unfortunately, a store-bought survival kit may not suit the proficiency level of an experienced survivalist or may be lacking some useful components. Smart preppers will build their own survival kit, so they know their specific survival requirements and survival skills are catered for.
If you are building your own survival kit, how you address your survival requirements is completely up to you. To help you improve your survival kit, here are some simple tips!
Take More Water Filtration and Purification Options
Every smart prepper knows the importance of water. If you do not have access to clean drinkable water, you will probably die within 3 or 4 days. For this reason, preppers tend to stockpile water in their homes or carry a lot of water when venturing into the wilderness. They also learn where water sources are in their local natural environment.
Unfortunately, some survival situations may ruin the water sources you had planned on using. You may also find yourself in a foreign environment, where you don’t know the quality of natural water sources.
For this reason it is important to take multiple options for filtering and purifying water. Consider the following additions to your survival kit:
- Additional water purification tablets
- Portable water filters like the Lifestraw — take more than one
- Water bottle with filters like the Lifesaver Bottle 4000 Ultra Filtration Water Bottle
- UV sterilizer like the SteriPEN Adventurer Handheld Water Purifier
- A better method for transporting larger amounts of water like a water bladder
- A solid canteen
Add More Options for Staying Warm
After dehydration, hypothermia (extreme cold) is one of the most common ways people perish in a survival situation. The human body must remain above 95.0 °F (35.0 °C) to avoid hypothermia. The symptoms of mild hypothermia include shivering, higher blood pressure, high heart rate, mental confusion, hyperglycemia and blood vessel contraction.
If your temperature continues to drop you will experience difficultly speaking, blue skin, difficultly walking, slower breathing, reduced heart rate and eventually — death.
It is crucial to take a number of items that can help you stay warm. Many store-bought survival kits will only contain some water proof matches and perhaps a thin foil blanket.
Consider adding the following items to your survival kit:
- A high-quality Magnesium fire starter
- High-quality waterproof matches AND a lighter
- A high-quality mylar space blanket
- A water proof poncho
- Cotton balls smeared with petroleum jelly for starting fires in difficult conditions
- Large plastic trash bag or tarp with rope to protect you from the environment
- A hunting knife with a saw edge to help construct shelter from natural materials
Include More Appropriate First Aid Supplies
Some of the first aid kits found in store-bought survival kits are lackluster at best. It is important that you consider the common types of injuries you might expect in a survival situation — and build your survival kit around those. Smart preppers will also have multiple first aid kits built to suit their environment and potential risks.
For example, a survival kit that is in your car should have a more significant first aid component that can help with injuries suffered after a car crash. A survival kit that you include in your back pack for hiking should have first aid tools to deal with common injuries in the wilderness — sprained ankles, insect bites, snake bites, cuts and abrasions.
General items to include for an outdoors first aid kit are:
- Bandages including gauze pads and sterile combine dressing
- Adhesive tape, butterfly wound closures, triangular bandage (sling) and band aids
- Antibiotic cream, disinfectant pads, wet wipes and burn cream
- Aspirin tablets, Ibuprofen tablets, Diphenhydramine (Allergy) Tablets and Loperamide (Anti-diarrhea) Tablets
- Eye drops
- Scissors, tweezers, scalpel, SAM splints
- Your store-bought first aid kit might be missing many of those components.
Take More Navigation and Communication Option
A common trap that many preppers fall into is believing that their self-sufficiency will always see them through. They don’t take many communication tools because they believe that they are better off alone and capable of surviving any situation. However, there are a wide array of survival situations where your ability to look after yourself will be compromised. Your only chance at survival will involve communicating with other people.
You should also consider the possibility that a survival situation may not happen in your back yard. You may be lost in an unfamiliar environment where you need to navigate foreign terrain.
A smart prepper will have many options for important tasks like navigating foreign terrain and communicating with other people including:
- Signaling mirror
- Waterproof map
- GPS and mobile phone
- LED Light and laser pointer
- Pencil and paper for leaving rescuers notes about your intended travel direction
- Don’t forget — It is important to take different kinds of navigation and communicational tools because different survival situations can negatively impact your equipment. For example, if there is an EMP strike, your mobile phone, satellite navigation and walkie talkies will probably malfunction. An old school tool like a map and compass can save your life when your electronic devices fail.
Remember Hygiene and Common Health Complaints Matter!
When most preppers think about surviving an emergency situation, they think about fishing and hunting for food, navigating rough terrain, building shelter. Many don’t think about common sanitary issues!
However, if you don’t pay attention to your sanitary needs and common health complaints, your health could be impacted, reducing your chances of survival.
Consider adding the following items to your survival kit:
- An extra pair of socks and Anti-fungus foot powder
- Biohazard bags
- Tissues, toilet paper and antimicrobial wipes
- ReadyBath body wipes
- Dust Mask and eye protection
- Sunscreen and insect repellent
- Hand sanitizer
- Small bar of soap
- Toothbrush and toothpicks
Take Knowledge With You
If you aren’t an experience survivalist, you may forget what to do in some emergency situations. Consider taking a small survival handbook and first aid instruction book in your survival kit.
Take MREs and Portable Hunting Tools
It is unlikely that you will die from starvation in an emergency situation unless you are in the wilderness for more than 2 weeks. However, hunger can cause a person to become disorientated, lethargic and confused.
Make sure your survival kit has a couple of Meals Ready-to-Eat (MREs) and some high-energy foods like emergency food bars.
Take some lightweight hunting tools including fishing line, hooks, lures, and snares. Also including some aluminum foil so you can more easily cook your fish or game. A hunting knife should always be included in your survival kit.