Survival Kit Functionality


With a quick Google search, it’s pretty apparent that there’s an over saturation of commercial survival kits available to buy (about 3.3 million results searching the phrase buy survival kit, but what makes a good survival kit? Is it the cost of the total kit? Is it about the newness or flash of the gear stored within it? Although this answer is obvious, there are many who get hung up on these details. Of course when it comes down to it, should a kit be measured by its cost, flashiness, or anything else besides its functionality?

Ultimately, if the survival kit doesn’t do what’s it’s intended to do, it’s not practical or useful. So what’s a good survival kit intended for? Another fairly obvious question and answer, a good survival kit is designed to aid the survivor in any emergency situation to either locate or wait for assistance to arrive or until the survivor can overcome and/or resolve the emergency situation.


Planning is the most important aspect of any functional survival kit. Without proper planning, a survival kit is mediocre and inefficient at best, at worst it’s a pure waste of money and even a potential safety issue (such as improperly storing combustible or flammable items). When in the planning phase start with the fundamentals of your kit:

Where will this kit be stored (vehicle, home, work, self, etc.)?

How many people is the kit going to support?

What are the main threats specific to my situation and circumstance?

What kind of time and money budget will this kit have?

By taking a bit of time to reflect on those questions should produce a more specific vision of what you need your survival kit for. From there comes the easy part, assembling the case and supplies that will actually stock the kit. Every kit should have the basics: food, water, and shelter (or components that can double as a shelter such as a blanket). Beyond these bare essentials, there are an infinite number of items you could include in your kit. Everyone has a different budget, lifestyle/geographic risks, and needs. While some people may desire the comfort and peace of mind a comprehensive, commercial survival kit may bring, others may be equally satisfied with the bare basics and a few personal items stuffed into a backpack and forgotten about in the trunk of your vehicle or a closet in your home.


Keep in mind a few additional points when planning to assemble a functional survival kit. If you’re not proficient in a specific skill don’t bother taking up valuable space in a kit with items you wouldn’t know what to do with. A common example of this is packing a compass and/or map without actually understanding how to use them. Though having a compass and map is great to have to navigate your way back to safety in certain emergency situations, at the worst, you could incorrectly navigate your way to nowhere and just become more lost. The point is, if you don’t understand how to use an item or possess a skill needed to use, don’t bother stocking it. Also, keep in mind that in some survival situations, you may not be able to resupply or find someone to fix something that breaks. So having a basic understanding of how an item works and possessing the knowledge and resources to fix it, should it break, is another factor to consider.

In the end, a survival kit is only as good as its functionality. Cost, and specific gear is a user preference not a factor in a survival kit’s effectiveness. If you have a specific type of survival kit intended for a specific type of emergency or survival situation or if you have any thoughts you’d care to contribute, please contact us!

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