You’re hiking outside when nightfall approaches faster than you were expecting. You can’t see a thing and you’re officially lost. What do you do?

A.) Continue onward and try to find a recognizable point on the trail?

B.) Turn back and navigate the path you’ve already taken?

I do neither.

I just take a deep breath and gather myself for a few minutes. I stay right where I am because I know how to make a survival kit.

Sure, I’m still caught in a situation I didn’t plan. That is not going to change. But I’m prepared for all scenarios. You see, I’m a part of a very special community. I’m not just a hiker out on the trails.

Survival Kit

I’m a survivalist.  

So, how do you go from an ordinary outdoorsman to an expert survivalist? How do you ensure you’ve got all the tools you’ll need for every situation?

Stick around to find out how to make a survival kit with these four simple secrets.

1. Shelter

In extreme conditions you can only live for three hours without shelter. Creating a shelter is your number one priority. 

Look for dry ground. Wet shelter can be very harmful to people. If you are wet, you have a higher chance of getting hypothermia. Remember! Water likes to travel downhill. If possible look for shelter up high. 

Do not build a shelter near or beneath:

  • Rock cliff
  • Fallen rocks
  • Dead limbs in trees

These are natural hazards and can be fatal. 

Instead, look for natural shelter gifts such as:

  • Caves
  • Hollow trees
  • Pine bough 

Some shelter require building materials. If you know you are going to need items like branches or leaves, make sure your shelter is near those resources. 

What You’ll Need

I recommend the use of tactical axes to help build shelters like elevated platforms, tree hammocks, or huts. It is also helpful to have square sheet of plastic as part of your survival kit items. It can provide ground insulation, a canopy, or block the wind.

Remember to conserve your energy when building your shelter!

2. Water

The average human being can survive for three days without water.

Before beginning any outdoor adventure, always pack a water bottle filled with water. I recommend using a metal water bottle. It can serve to both collect water and boil water if necessary.

If possible, you want to locate a source of fresh water after you build your shelter. In an ideal scenario you should always try to build your shelter near a water source. 

If you can’t find a water source, look for water collected in:

  • Leaves
  • Crevices
  • Hollow stumps

You have to purify the water.

Never drink from an open water source without purifying. Open water sources can contain bacteria, viruses, and parasites that are very harmful and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and in some cases even death.

Bring water to a boil for at least one minute to make it safe to drink.

Look for:

  • Clear water
  • Running water
  • Water exposed to sunlight

What You’ll Need

I recommend adding chemical water purification tablets or 2% iodine droplets to your survival checklist.

Both will purify your water and make it safe to drink. 

I find stainless steel water bottles always work best, but you can also use collapsable bottles.

If you can’t find clear water, use a bandana to filter murky or clouded water! This will help remove some of the dirt and other foreign objects from the water. 

Remember to still purify the water afterwards!

Straws with filters are also sold, which process out the harmful objects in the water as they pass through the straw.

It may also be a good idea to add a sap spile to your DIY survival kit. If you are unable to find any source of water, look for trees. Sap from non-poisonous trees is safe to drink. If you are unable to identify the tree, do not drink the sap.

3. Fire

With shelter and water taken care of, you’re halfway there. Your third priority should be fire.

Fire can help with:

  • Warmth
  • Signaling
  • Cooking and Boiling

Creating a fire with 

What You’ll Need

You’ll need something to light the fire and something to keep it burning long enough to catch your branches or logs on fire. 

To get things started I suggest a lighter or ferro stick.

I also recommend a waterproof fire tinder such as:

  • Steel wool
  • Magnesium bars
  • Dryer lint

Fire tinder will help your fire continue to burn after you get it started. It is essential to add to your survival kit items. 

For added warmth, beat the cold temperatures with a space blanket. They can reflect up to 80% of your body heat!

4. Food

You can survive for about three weeks without food so it is your fourth and final priority.

It is important to pack foods with a long storage life and that require no cooking preparation such as:

  • Power bars
  • Protein bars
  • Beef jerky

You also need to to be prepared to hunt and gather. Remember to never eat an animal, plant, or fungus that you are unable to identify. Some can be poisonous and cause serious illness and even death.

What You’ll Need

I suggest adding a picture-hanging wire to use as a snare. Remember to cut your wire ahead of time so it is already prepared in your survival kit.

I also recommend always having the materials for fishing in your survival kit:

  • Hooks
  • Fishing line
  • Sinkers
  • Bobber

Add aluminum foil to act as a makeshift pan to cook your game.

How To Make a Survival Kit

In addition to the suggestions above, there are a few more important things to remember to have on your survival checklist.

Be sure to have a:

Put your survival kit items in a backpack or water proof bag.

With the knowledge of how to make a survival kit, you are sure to dominate any disaster thrown your way. Remember preparation goes a long way! Do your research before embarking on any outdoor adventures and know the items in your survival kit.

Want to see more posts on how to make a survival kit? Check out the rest of our blog to learn more!