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The 3 Survival Kits That Might Save Your Life



You don’t need a survival kit—you need three.

The discussion of how to build the perfect bug-out bag, survival kit, or everyday carry (EDC) package continues countrywide and isn’t going away anytime soon, but there’s something essential that many people miss: You don’t actually need a survival kit. You need three survival kits. In short, you need one that goes with you everywhere; you need one that stays in your vehicle; and you need one that stays in your closet or basement. What goes into each one depends somewhat on your individual circumstances, but there are some universal principles that will help you get started.

Your Pocket Kit

This is your first and most important survival kit, because it’s the one that goes with you everywhere. It should be self-contained, so you can switch it from pocket to pocket easily, and it should be no larger than a deck of cards so that, no matter what you’re wearing, it will always be possible to have it on you. This should contain the absolute bare-bones basics you would need to keep body and soul united for a few days. Here’s a checklist:

  • Cash. If there’s ever an emergency that knocks out power, all the plastic in your pocket will be…just plastic.
  • Firestarter. This can be as simple as a flint and striker, or a small lighter.
  • Fishing line or paracord. You can use it to help build a shelter (or, oddly enough, even catch fish).
  • Duct tape. Wrap a few feet’s worth around an old keycard.
  • Small knife or cutting tool
  • Space blanket
  • Whistle
  • Small bundle of heavy-duty tinfoil. You can use it as a container to boil water for drinking.
  • Compass

Your Car Kit

Image result for flare guns on hiking tripsImage result for first aid kit

You have quite a bit more leeway with a car kit, but you should still ensure that it’s portable. A smallish backpack in your trunk should do it. You’ll see a little bit of redundancy here, as some of these are already covered by your pocket kit, but that’s OK—if the SHTF while you’re on the road, you may well have other people with you who can use those “extra” survival kit tools. Here’s a sample checklist:

  • Large knife or machete
  • Tarp
  • Road flares
  • Water purification tablets
  • Blanket
  • Energy bars/dried meat
  • Folding shovel or entrenching tool (you can get these at military surplus stores)
  • Cell phone charger pack
  • Essential medication
  • First-aid kit
  • Compass
  • Whistle
  • Paracord

Your Basement Survival Kit

Keep your home survival storage area well-stocked. | Image courtesy of

This particular survival kit is for emergencies of longer (or undetermined) length during which you’ll have to abandon your house, so it’s bigger, heavier and more complete than the others. You still want to maximize its portability, though—a large, framed backpack made for extended camping trips is what’s in order here.

  • Backpack gun
  • Spare ammunition
  • Pup tent
  • Month’s supply of essential medication
  • First aid kit
  • Firestarters
  • 1-2 foldable cooking pots
  • Freeze-dried food
  • Water purification tablets
  • Large knife or machete
  • Batteries
  • Flashlight
  • Socks
  • Space blankets
  • Cash
  • Portable radio
  • Spare cell phone and battery-powered charger
  • Compass
  • Whistle
  • Needle and thread
  • Paracord

What’s in your “oh-sh*t kit”? Tell us in the comments!

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