Survival Gear List: What Do You Need to Pack in Survival Kits?

Survival items are always handy to have especially if you're an outdoor enthusiast. You never know when things could go south – a sprained ankle, a bug bite, or a torn tent can turn a fun trip into a life-and-death situation. That's why it's important to have the best survival gear with you. In this guide, we'll cover the essentials you need to stay safe and sound outdoors.

What Do You Include In Your Survival Gear List?

If you're a camper, you need to have survival gear. Here's what you need to include in your kit:

1) Emergency Blanket


emergency blanket


An emergency blanket, also known as a space blanket, is crucial for retaining body heat in cold weather. It's made from a thin, reflective material, typically Mylar, and can reflect up to 90% of your body heat back to you. Even though it's really thin, it's highly effective at preventing hypothermia. The blanket is waterproof and windproof, which also makes it useful for creating an improvised shelter.

2) Sleeping Bag

When picking a sleeping bag, think about the coldest temperatures you might encounter. Sleeping bags come with temperature ratings, indicating the minimum temperature at which they will keep you warm. For example, a "20-degree bag" is designed to keep you warm in temperatures as low as 20°F.

Materials can also vary. For instance, you'll find sleeping bags with down fill which offer a better warmth-to-weight ratio but do not perform well when wet. There are also bags with synthetic fill that are heavier but retain heat better in damp conditions.

3) Paracord Bracelet


paracord bracelet


A paracord bracelet is a survival tool made from parachute cord that can hold up to 550 pounds of weight. It can be unraveled and used for securing tents, repairing gear, or even as a fishing line. Most bracelets also include added features like a whistle for signaling, a compass for navigation, a multi-tool, a Swiss army knife, and even a small fire starter. You can wear it on your wrist or clip it to your backpack like a keychain.

4) Water Filter or Purification Tablets

Water filters and purification tablets are a must-have for making natural water sources safe to drink. Water filters physically remove pathogens and debris from water. Most portable filters use a ceramic or fiber element that can filter out bacteria and protozoa down to 0.2 microns.

Purification tablets, on the other hand, use chemicals like iodine or chlorine to kill viruses, bacteria, and protozoa. These tablets are lightweight and easy to carry but require a waiting period before the water is safe to drink, typically 30 minutes.

5) First Aid Emergency Kit


first aid kit


A first aid kit is essential for treating injuries or health issues. Your kit should include various items to handle cuts, sprains, burns, and other common injuries. Include basics like sterile gauze pads and rolls, adhesive bandages of various sizes, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, pain relievers, allergy medications, a pair of tweezers, and scissors. Consider adding a tourniquet for severe bleeding and a splint for stabilizing fractures. Include a manual on basic first aid procedures as well.

6) Fire Starter Kit

A fire-making kit can keep you warm and also help with cooking. The kit usually includes a flint striker or ferrocerium rod, which produces sparks when struck against a rough surface, and a tinder, which catches these sparks to start a flame. Some kits contain waterproof matches or a windproof lighter.

When assembling your kit, choose tinders that light easily and burn long enough to get a fire going, such as dry lint, cotton balls dipped in petroleum jelly, or commercial fire-starting cubes. Always store your kit in a waterproof bag to keep it dry.

7) Torch


person with headgear lamp looking at lake
Credit: Envato Elements/ wirestock

A flashlight is super handy for getting around when it's dark outside. Go for one with LED lights since they last hundreds of hours of light with just a single set of batteries. Modern torches come with adjustable brightness settings and a strobe or SOS feature for emergencies. Some models are rechargeable and can charge other devices via a USB port. Look for ones that are waterproof so they can handle being outside. Also, don't forget to carry extra batteries or a solar charger, so you never run out of light.

8) MREs (Meals Ready to Eat)

MREs are self-contained, pre-cooked, and packaged meals that provide high energy and nutrition without the need for refrigeration. Originally developed for the military, they're ideal for survival situations since they can be eaten right out of the package or heated with an included flameless ration heater.

Each MRE typically contains an entrée, a side dish, bread or crackers, a dessert, and an electrolyte beverage mix. They are designed to withstand harsh conditions and have a shelf life of up to five years when stored properly.

9) Bear Spray


hand pressing bear spray cannisters
Credit: Envato Elements/ LightFieldStudios

Bear spray is a critical safety tool when you’re in areas with bear populations. It is a type of pepper spray but with a formula specifically designed to deter aggressive or charging bears. It contains capsaicinoids, which are derived from chilies that can irritate the eyes and respiratory system of a bear. Choose EPA-approved canisters that have a range of at least 12 to 30 feet. Always carry it in an easily accessible place, and know how to use it quickly under pressure.

10) Map and Compass

When you're out in the wild, a good old map and compass are lifesavers, especially where GPS might not work well. A topographic map gives you all the details you need - like hills, trails, and landmarks - to help you plan routes effectively. A compass, when you use it with a map, helps you stay on track. When choosing a compass, look for one with a rotating bezel for setting directions, a sighting mirror for accuracy, and a baseplate with scales for measuring distances on a map.


How often should I check or update my survival kit?

At least once a year. Check expiration dates on all perishable items like food, water purification tablets, personal hygiene items, medical supplies, and other essential gear. Replace any used or outdated items.

Can I use a regular blanket instead of an emergency blanket?

You can but they don't offer the same level of insulation or protection against wind and moisture as emergency blankets.

What should I do if I get lost in the wilderness?

First things first, stay calm and figure out what's going on. See if you can backtrack or use your navigation tools to know where you are. If you're really lost, stay where you are, save your energy, and make some noise with a whistle or something else to get attention.


A real survival gear kit can make all the difference in an emergency situation. By following our recommended survival gear list and including the essentials, you're ready to face any challenges outdoors. Be sure to regularly review and refresh your kit to ensure everything is in working order.

Looking for reliable emergency gear? Check out Emergency USA. At Emergency USA, we offer top-quality equipment, including emergency blankets, paracord bracelets, and emergency shelters designed to keep you safe and prepared. Shop with us today.