How to Put Together the Ultimate Survival Kit

by Erich

This post is sponsored by Prepper Academy, the only preparedness program that shows you step-by-step how to rapidly prepare for the coming hard times — no matter what your income or where you live.

Would you be willing to stake your life on your survival kit? I would.

There are so many debates when it comes to the perfect survival kit. In my opinion, the items you choose to be in a survival kit can be very different based on the situation you see yourself in (maritime vs. desert survival) as well as your level of skill. For that reason there are a number of factors that determine what items you ultimately put in it. For this article, I will explain to you how I organize my kit, the elements that make it up, and hopefully provide some inspiration for your own. As always, I’d love to hear your opinions, so feel free to comment!

My entire kit is based off of three tiers — one that I carry with me, one that I keep in my car (and sometimes on me), and one that is in my home ready to go in a moments notice if I had to bug out. Here is the three-tiered survival kit:

The Three-Tiered Survival Kit

First Tier:

This ‘kit’ includes those items that you have with you at all times. This is your fallback kit. If you were stranded somewhere with nothing else except for what you have on you, than this is what you’d be left with. They should be with you at work, while you’re running errands, church, basically everywhere possible. Obviously when you’re showering you can make an exception, just have it close by to grab on your way to wherever you’re going. The following gear (which I call the Essential 3) is recommended for your first tier:

  • Folding Knife: If you’ve ever been in a survival situation (planned or not) you know how essential a knife is. This I consider to be your most important survival tool. Purchase a good quality folding knife. My knife of choice is the Doug Ritter RSK MK1 – good quality, good price, and thoroughly field-tested (by me) for my needs.
  • Fire Starter: This comes in second in order of importance for first-tier gear. For all you smokers out there thinking, “I’m all set, I’ve got my Bic” you might want to reconsider. A Bic Lighter is ok, but the fuel can run out quickly (especially if you’re not skilled at fire making) and they are a bear to start when they get wet. Instead of a fuel-based fire starter or worse (matches) I would recommend a ‘firesteel’. I recommend the ones from or any of the Swedish FireSteel versions. These ‘strike-style’ firestarters are far superior to fuel based ones because they last forever and produce a hotter heat output compared to a Bic and an added benefit is I’ve never had issues taking them on a plane. The only downside is if you have no fire-making skills you’ll need to practice with it a bit. In the meantime you can carry with you a simple tinder made by mixing a little vaseline into a cotton ball which will easily light with this firestarter.
  • Cordage: Cordage is a fundamental part of survival. It’s used for bowstrings, lashings, fishing line, snares, trap triggers, nets, tying down shelters and more. While making cordage from natural materials is always an option, and is not too difficult to learn, it’s always a good idea to have some with you at all times. I would recommend at least 10 feet of good strong cord – my favorite being 550 Paracord. I carry around 10 feet of it on my wrist at all times in the form of a bracelet I made. The benefit of Paracord is that not only is it strong (it has a 550 lb rating – hence the name), but it is made up of a strong outer sheath and seven inner strands that can be used for multiple purposes. Just carrying 10 feet of Paracord is like carrying 80 feet of cordage!

While I would at the least recommend the Essential 3, there are a few other items you may want to consider carrying as part of your EDC (Every Day Carry) Gear or first Tier. Here are some other items I’ll have on me:

  • Coin Sized Compass: These are those small, coin-sized compasses you see in many mini survival kits. Try to get one of the liquid-filled ones since it doesn’t have to be completely horizontal to work.
  • Pinch Light: These little ‘pinch lights’ are perfect in a pinch (pun intended :)). They provide enough light for travel, for nightime camp activities (building a fire, setting up camp), and the LED versions last forever.
  • Lockpicks: We live in an unpredictable world. Since I’m all about preparedness, there may come a time when you are held captive by terrorists, kidnapped for ransom (visit Mexico), or your simply locked out of your house. Lockpicks – and knowing how to use them – are a great addition to any EDC list.
  • Hand-Cuff Keys: It’s not unknown for kidnappers and terrorists to use handcuffs to hold you captive. Since many cuffs use a universal key, carry a spare in a location on your person that is accessible with handcuffs on.
  • Personal Protection Device: This could be a concealed carry pistol, mace, tactical flashlight etc. Just be sure you have the proper license if required.

The key to the first-tier kit is to incorporate it as much as possible with what you wear. While the above items could probably all fit on a keychain, keychains sometimes get lost. If your knife has a clip, clip it to the top of your pants. Wear a cordage bracelet, or use strong cordage as lacing for your footwear. Attach a small firestarter to your belt. Find creative ways to ‘wear’ your first tier gear. That way it will always be available.

Second Tier:

The second-tier survival kit includes items that you can fit in a small carry bag (like a fanny pack) or if you’re in the military or field, this would be what you attach to your H-Harness. If it’s in a pack, have it somewhere close by like in your car or in some cases feel free to carry it with you (in a purse or “man purse”). And for insurance purposes, duplicate and upgrade the items you have in the first tier. Here’s a list of what I have:

  • Fixed Knife: In other words, non-folding. You’ll want a heavy duty, full-tanged knife that can take a beating and hold an edge. My favorite is the Bark River Bravo-1. If you want more details into what makes up a good knife checkout my article on how to choose a survival knife.
  • Full-Size Compass: Even if you already have a small one in your first tier, then this should be upgraded to a full-size compass for ease of reading an azimuth. I prefer a lensatic compass due to the accuracy I can get in the reading.
  • Water Container: Any collapsible, light, and easily carried container will do.
  • Firestarter: Again, for insurance purposes you’ll want to duplicate what is in the first tier. I just include another firesteel that is a bit bigger than the one I carry on me. I also have a film canister filled with cotton balls mixed with vaseline.
  • Water Purification Kit: In a small kit like this, iodine crystals are a perfect fit. They come in a small bottle (you’ll want to buy the Polar Pure brand) and it can purify up to 500 gallons!
  • Flashlight: The ‘tactical’ flashlights out there are an excellent choice. Check out the SureFire brand. You won’t be dissatisfied.
  • First-Aid Kit: This would be smaller than what you carry in your third-tier survival kit, but should include at least tweezers, a hemostatic agent (like QuickClot dressings), antihistamine, aspirin, antiseptic wipes, bandages, butterfly closures, moleskin, tape, and gauze.
  • Simple Shelter: This could be a shelter half, bivy, tarp etc. This simple shelter should fit in your small kit and is mostly used to protect against the elements. I have a simple bivy and space blanket combo — both small and extremely light.
  • Cordage: Again, I would recommend 550 paracord. Try to have around 50 feet.
  • Energy Bars: Any high-calorie, nutrient dense bar will do.
  • Signal Mirror: While any mirror will do, it’s best to buy the signal mirrors that have the hole in the center to accurately aim the reflected light.
  • Lock Picks & Cuff Key: I have a more extensive kit in this tier.
  • Multi-Tool: My Leatherman Wave has been a lifesaver for many tasks out on the road. This tool is so handy, it fluctuates between the first tier and second tier.

Third Tier:

Your third-tier survival kit is equivalent to what others commonly refer to as a go-bag, bug-out bag (BOB), or 72-hour kit. This kit should include all those items that could fit into a good-sized backpack that will sustain you for at least 72-hours. It should be easily accessible and ready to go at a moments notice. I keep mine at my house. The most important thing is that you pack your bag for scenarios that you may encounter. Individuals living in the city will have many needs different than those in the boonies, so be sure to prioritize around your needs.

I also like to separate my bug-out bag into multiple tiers — each tier enclosed within its own bag — with the most important items being on top. This allows for easy access at night when visibility is low. They are based on the following priorities (in order of importance):

  1. Personal Safety: This tier is in two separate bags: one is for personal security items and the second is for first aid. The first-aid kit is a bit beefier than what is in the second tier above.
  2. Shelter: Personal shelter and sleeping bag. I keep these on the outside of the pack. I love the Henessy Hammock. It’s lightweight and super comfortable. If you are with a family and personal hammocks aren’t an option, you’ll want to consider a tent.
  3. Water: My pack has an integrated water bladder that I combine with the Katadyn Hiker Pro Water Microfilter. I also include another bottle of Polar Pure (duplicated from the second tier kit).

    Since I live in an area where water abounds, finding water to filter is less of a worry. If you live in a more arid environment you may want to consider packing as much as you can carry.

  4. Fire: This tier includes the same items listed above, as well as an efficient camp stove and fuel.
  5. Food: I have some canned goods, but mostly freeze dried foods and MREs. Have enough for three days.
  6. Besides what’s listed in the priorities above, I also include several tools and miscellaneous items such as an entrenching tool, 100-ft length of paracord, fish hooks and line, headlamp, small hatchet, playing cards, and something to read.


In summary, while the list above is what I use, it may not be suitable for you. It’s important that you organize and supply your kits with items specific to your environment, needs, and skill level.

The best advice I can give you is to put your three tiers together and put them to use. Practice using the various items in darkness and light, different types of weather and different seasons. Take your go-pack on a hike with you to see if you can even carry it for an extensive time period. Drop those things that aren’t working for you and add others you think you’ll need.

With time you’ll find a kit that is highly customized to you (and your families) needs. Best of luck!


I owe the multi-tiered survival kit idea to Kevin Reeve, owner of OnPointTactical. I’ve known him for a number of years now and he’s a good friend and an incredible teacher. I highly recommend his school.

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Comment by Pennycress
2009-09-03 00:18:12

Great site! Thanks for putting a new spin on the basic survival kit. While I do have a BOB (bug out bag), I’ve never thought much of separating my kit into separate tiers.

Comment by Erich
2009-09-17 10:46:42

Thanks Pennycress. Having multiple tiers is not only beneficial for the reasons I explained above but it also allows you to quickly drop weight from the BOB to the carry pack to your EDC (Every Day Carry) kit. The freedom and mobility it allows is one of the best reasons for having it separated in that way.

Comment by dan
2009-09-18 03:26:26

I always have my leatherman and a altoids tin survival kit on me. Its got waterproof matches, a compass, small light, fuel to burn. a striker, some iodine tablets to purify water, a large plastic bag to carry water and assorted fishing gear.
I have one of those for my belt too and one of these for my lanyard. they are really easy to make
basically being prepared is always good.

Comment by Erich
2009-09-18 07:55:00

That’s great Dan. I love the belt instructions, I’ll have to try it out and post my results…

Comment by Mina
2009-09-25 02:33:45

Be careful with the lockpicks & handcuff keys. It can be illegal to have lockpicks if you are not licensed, and in some states it is a felony to have a handcuff key.

Comment by Erich
2009-09-25 05:55:17

Good call Mina. Be sure to check out your local laws. Luckily in most states (if not all) in the U.S. as well as in many foreign countries, possession is only illegal when coupled with felonious or malicious intent. For a list of U.S. states and their laws regarding lockpicks see

Comment by Cal
2010-01-13 22:48:55

Great site, Erich! I’m just a New England mom who wants to be smart about the world we live in. I found you guys today and I really like what I’m learning here. Question for you, bud. Do you have directions on how to make that bracelet out of paracord? I’d really like to make one. Thanks again for such practical information presented so clearly.

Comment by TacticalIntelligence
2010-01-14 10:52:30


Thanks for stopping by. I’ve been asked a few times on how I put that bracelet together. Since there’s a lot of interest, I’ll be posting a an article soon on that. Stay tuned…

Comment by Trev
2010-04-03 02:04:43

I want to make an order with firesteel. What the required pieces I need to purchase and is there a set you prefer?

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2010-04-07 00:07:12


Firesteel only requires some type of carbon steel (acting as the striker) and the ferrocerium rod. Whether it has a handle or otherwise is entirely personal preference. I prefer to purchase all my firesteels at They are the barebone basics that you would need and don’t have the huge price tag found in many outbacking stores.

Comment by Ice1979
2010-07-10 22:24:22

You have a very nice site with alot of thought in the items that you pick. I am very impressed with your 3 tier system but if I may make a suggestion to you, I would add the 4th tier. The 4th tier would be for long term survival. The way that disasters are occurring these days one should be prepared for very long term survival. This may or may not include subdivision or community planning as well. To name a couple of really good items for this level would be wind up radios, lights, and lanterns along with non-hybrid garden seed. Like you, I would have bags packed and ready to go.

2010-08-20 05:13:04


Thanks for the comments. As a big proponent of food and water storage as well as self-reliance skills, gardening and such I am all for long-term survival (that’s what the majority of this site is geared towards). I haven’t considered calling it a “4th tier” though. That’s a great idea.

Comment by Matty1%
2010-11-26 12:29:25

I have packed a couple of small bells. They have many uses from hanging on hotel room doors, to adding to trip wires around campsites, and for static fishing lines. Traveling the country by motorcycle has led me to staying in odd places, from seedy hotels to impromptu campsites. I just like to be aware when someones snooping around.

Comment by TacticalIntelligence
2010-11-26 14:40:28


Thanks for the comments. I think Bells (or some type of early warning device) is a great addition to a tier 2 or 3 kit. I’ll have to incorporate that into my system. Great tip. Thanks again!

Comment by dustin
2011-01-04 21:59:49

after watching the mythbusters about starting fire with ice (making a lens with it) and finding that a sphere works the best, my wife and i took a glass ball out side and tried it. to my amusement i burnt my hand as fast as it focused in….. i had to know….. and knowing it can take some time to start a fire with a lens, i put a glass ball in my bag. now with this bigger seems to be better but i keep a 3 inch ball with me and works great.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2011-01-05 17:13:07


That’s great (I love personal experimentation). I have seen people make fire from ice balls with great results. I’m going to be trying that this winter and will definitely report my results.

Comment by Jason
2011-03-27 03:48:19

I have carried a lot of smaller, handier objects on me since high school, and turned a paintball ammo box into basically a tier 2 kit. Just made a camo book bag into . . . well, I’ll call it a Frankenstein tier, cause it basically has almost everything I own in it and isn’t geared toward anything other than carrying my life around. But, most of what I own IS based on survival, and I carry the bookbag everywhere but government buildings. Checked out those Hennessy Hammocks, to see if I wanted to add it. . . wow, awesome bags, but waaaaaay expensive. Not too afraid of malaria in the US, I’ll probably stick with some tarp 😛

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2011-03-28 23:23:00

Hey Jason,

Thanks for the comments. What I love about the Hennessy hammock is being able to set it up on uneven, wet or dry ground. Since it’s suspended off the ground, your options of shelter location increases (assuming there is something to suspend it between of course). Living in the Northeast, I’m never short of trees however, dry, flat ground that is not littered with a bunch of sticks and rocks is a premium. For that reason, the hammock is perfect.

Comment by An Idle Dad
2011-09-05 23:20:35

In the third 72-hour tier, wouldn’t communication also be a priority? I’m thinking a good inexpensive quad-band mobile phone with a long battery life, and more importantly a pocket radio. Both are insignificant in space and weight.

I’m assuming a bug-out-bag means you’re forced away from your home for a few days due to either damage to your house or local infrastructure. If the infrastucture is so bad your mobile phone network is down, then a radio can litterally save your life.

Or of course, maybe you’d like to listen to some music while you fish 🙂

Comment by TacticalIntelligence
2011-09-06 08:53:00

Good advice Idle and and point well taken. I did not think of communication. Or at least an emergency radio so that you know when to return to civilization. Looks like I’ll need to update my list.

Comment by Clyde
2011-11-14 17:16:07

This is a great list, I will have to get my packs set up with all this good stuff! Where would you rate medicine in the “tiers?” Just regular headache medicine and maybe a cold medicine.

Comment by Sam
2012-01-10 22:49:21

Clyde, If headaches are regular for you, I diffidently suggest having some in the 1st tier. In any med kit (such as the ones in the 2nd and 3rd tiers) I would have some handy. In the 3rd tier I would even suggest a whole bottle, it wouldn’t take up much space so why not?

Comment by Danman430
2012-01-17 14:49:27

This was a great idea!I was looking for what to put in a survival kit.I knew the basics,like the fire starters and knife,but i never thought of a BOB or lockpick sets.This article provided all the information!Thank You!

Comment by Rugger
2012-01-24 02:34:41

Great website. I’m just starting out with getting prepared. Putting together the different tiers now and have a lot of ideas for the future when I get some more capital to work with. While I have started to get the basics together the Polar Pure tablets are sold out everywhere. The manufacture website says something about an on going court case in California. Do you have any alternative suggestions for that particular item?

Further, I’m an athletic, educated guy but have very minimal outdoors experience. I’ve never been much of a fisherman or hunter primarily because all of my time was spent playing sports, working or in school. Any suggestions on how to get started on becoming more familiar with outdoor survival skills?

I recently bought my first hand gun and have been spending some time at the range with it. I bought an XDM 9mm and plan to buy a shotgun, a 22m rifle and a couple of high powered rifles with in the next year to 18 months. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks.

Comment by Sarge2012
2012-03-01 22:46:35

Rugger As a person with 10 years military and 20 some years outdoors exp.. Being athletic is a major plus (allowing you to carry or move more equipment). to address your short comings in the outdoors simply depending on where you live go out and camp. doing so will show you what items are important and which are luxury. your local library should have many survival books to help get you started. after you find one thats fits your location and testing you can then buy it. as far as weapons, my training states: (1) long range = rifle (AR15) (2) short – mid range + defense = shotgun (if legal in you state a semi auto)(12 gauge) (3) personal protection = handgun (.45) yes 9mm is the most common so finding ammo is easier. now you should have no less then 100 rounds per weapon in pack. this in mind imagine you have to move out you ruck up grab your weapons load them but, you only have 2 hands and you need to protect yourself. with my list you holster handgun, shoulder rifle and carry shotgun and you only have to worry about 3 types of ammo.

Comment by MedicSpike
2012-03-30 17:40:10

If you can find them on On line a VHF on the GMRS frequencies would work you can set on up in a car and have a 3 to 4 mi range with the car based radio and using portable radios we use them for fire and ems

2012-03-30 19:43:49

Some great advice MedicSpike, thanks!

Comment by Balovad
2012-05-18 16:31:37

I just want to mention crank flashlights as in the rechargeable ones and solar powered lights. some are very small and last for a long time.

Comment by Jamie
2012-08-18 23:43:16

What about antibiotics? A small wound can kill you, if infected, when there are no doctors or meds available. I’m trying to stock as much meds as possible in my pack. A radio is also a definite must. I’m also looking for a small travel sized book on plants for info on which are edible and which are good for medicinal uses.

Comment by Maurice Fouche
2012-08-21 05:01:21

Thanks, il use your kit. I live in Namibia so its hot and dry here.

Comment by JHN
2012-09-01 17:29:57

I like the inclusion of a lockpick set, and noticed in a different post you have them on your keychain as well. Could you provide information about 1) Where to get them, 2) What to look for when purchasing, and 3) how to use them? Also, how to find out if possession of a lockpick set is legal in which areas/states?

Thank you, and love the site!

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-09-04 10:34:07


I get mine over at

As far as what to purchase and how to use them there are some fantastic resources out there on how to pick locks. My favorite book is:
Practical Lock Picking
The first edition (that I have) is out of stock right now but they are releasing a second edition next month that you can preorder now.

As far as legality goes, luckily in most states (if not all) in the U.S. as well as in many foreign countries, possession is only illegal when coupled with felonious or malicious intent. For a list of U.S. states and their laws regarding lockpicks see

Comment by Richard S.
2012-09-07 11:23:03

Wow! This site rocks!

I completely agree with your “How to Put Together the Ultimate Survival Kit” post.

I’m a Desert Storm vet (Army 1st Infantry Division) and former intel puke. Unfortunately, I late getting into prepper mode and am not getting a HUGE amount of support at home. The wife just looks at me, rolls her eyes and giggles. As long as she’s able to buy purses and shoes she’s OK.

I’ll be watching (and hopefully learning)!

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-09-14 14:25:44

Thanks Richard. It’s great having you and thanks for your service!

Comment by john85
2012-09-11 23:19:36

You have totally undone my way of thinking love this site, extremely helpful thanks again.

Comment by Hurricane
2012-09-25 20:45:57

Thank you so much for this blog. I visit daily! I made the emergency heater today in about 5 min. Total cost was less than $10. We’ve made survival prepping into a family affair and in the past week, we’ve realized we already had most of the stuff we will need on hand already. But still, it’s not enough for this Survival Mom. Thanks for recommending The Survival Mom Blog. I bought her book.

I want to try your pemmican recipe and would love more food prep info as well as edible plant info.

Keep up the great work!

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-09-26 11:30:23

Thanks so much Hurricane!

Comment by Carl
2012-10-06 23:30:26

I like and do the same thing with my gear. Since I live in the rural western USA I recreate outdoors. Being a camper, I have a lot of “prepper” gear. I even go beyond tiers and make my gear on each tier into modules. I can “grab and go” and mix and match. I store my hunting knife and compass in my hunting pack but I put the knife on my belt and compass around my neck with a lanyard when I go out in the field. My boat bag is different but I modularized my first aid kits so I can switch it back and forth and I even have different levels of First Aid modularized.
TI, I want to make a suggestion, start a blog about “stuff I learned the hard way”. For example I have a camo fanny pack for hunting. I used to have camo gear until I tipped it over in the woods. Another time I almost left a digital camera in the woods becasue I set it on the ground in it’s camo case. I now have an orange colored camera case.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-10-07 00:32:23

Yeah exactly. I’ve definitely had my share of idiot mistakes. Between the past ones and the ones I’m sure to make there would be no shortage of content for the blog.

Comment by jack swank
2012-10-09 18:07:38

hey i am 13 years old so don’t think I’m some stupid but I know a lot about survival and this site has really helped my so thx

2012-10-09 21:13:05


Good on ya man! Thanks for visiting. It’s nice to see some youngins like you getting involved in this.

Comment by William
2012-10-14 17:39:13

Great list. I’ve seen many survival kit articles, but this is close to what I use. Your first tier is what I keep on me 24/7 in a side zipper compartment of my cell phone case. I keep a Cabela’s multitool (I use this daily, all the essentials and tougher than the $5 purchase price would suggest), a fire steel and length of cord. I use this basic kit as my primary tools when I go out camping on a weekend to practice with, so I’m not trying to figure it out if my life depended on them.

Comment by Dante
2012-10-19 09:32:23

Hey, I stumbled upon this post and I really found it helpful. As soon as I can scrape together some cash, I plan on making an awesome survival kit. One thing I was thinking of suggesting you add; Maybe some vegetable seeds for extended survival? Seeds are very portable and an infinite food source. I myself well for sure be adding them to my kit.

Thanks again, and keep up the great work!

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-10-19 14:58:26

Thanks for the tip Dante. I’m all for seeds, and given that they are so small it might not be a bad idea to include some…you never know…

Comment by Ken Rook
2012-11-07 10:37:44

You did not mention some spare medication if you have to take a prescription on a daily/weekly basis. Can you imagine if you were caught in Sandy or Katrina?

Comment by ali
2012-12-20 11:28:17

I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this article and it answered all of my survival kit questions. My sister (15) and I (17) have talked our parents into making these, one per family member. In light of recent local situations, and other global issues as well, we feel like a survival kit is a necessity. And if we don’t end up using them for an emergency situation we atleast have a well packed camping kit. Thanks for your information!

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-12-22 12:46:05

You’re very welcome Ali. Keep up the good work!

Comment by jason
2012-12-21 16:29:22

I think im going to also add a guide on edible plants and berries also a small survival guide just because im new and not very experienced with survival other than watching man vs wild lol.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-12-22 12:42:28

Guides are a great asset whether your experienced or not. Great idea, thanks

Comment by Jake M
2012-12-23 19:39:19

First of all, great site!
Some gear I’d recommend is the TOPS signal mirror dog tag, it’s the size of a normal dog tag, has an aiming hole, and fits standard issue US dog tag silencers (mine came with one) if you put it on a cord necklace it’s great for EDC, once you put it on (after the shock of a cold metal mirror against your chest!) it’s barely noticeable! Something that’s not really necessary for EDC but could come in handy some day…

Jake, UK

PS. Is it normal for a 15 year old (me) to be interested in bushcraft and survival rather than drugs and alcohol? Haha 🙂

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-12-24 08:51:09


Thanks for the great tip and I think it’s wonderful that you’ve found something to keep you away from that crap. Keep up the good work.

Comment by pox11223
2012-12-31 14:07:30

Hi, first of all i love what you put here. After making the three bags i have i thought i was missing things but apparently i have not 🙂

Second i noticed even though this wouldnt count for a camping survival pack that not a lot of people think about items to trade. Say you do leave and have to make some sort of way living outside your town the first thing i would do to make some cash is to trade items. I have in my bag that would be put in my car 2 big binders of cards that i have collected throughout my life (19 years). I was thinking of using them for trade specifically for money, items i may need to survive or just other items i can use for trade.

This is literally going back to the old days of bargaining rather than a item being a exact price.

Hope this helps

Comment by jkf
2013-01-21 01:24:59

Really cool!!

Comment by John
2013-02-04 23:11:39

Great website. I have used Para-cord a lot and have found it very useful. I personally think the multi tool is part of your EDC, but that’s debatable. Thanks for the tips.

Comment by John
2013-02-04 23:19:10

I like your idea. I think it would be very helpful. Thanks.

Comment by Dave
2013-02-20 21:10:13

Thank you so much for the survival tips. I’ve never thought about this way. I do agree with John about the multi-tool, but like he said “that’s debatable.”

Comment by Dave
2013-02-20 21:15:19

Forgot to add, a large can might be included in the 3rd tier. It’s great for cooking and in the winter you can boil water.

Comment by cletus
2013-02-24 17:25:30

I would not go with the cuff keys… It’s a felony to posses them.

Comment by tulip
2013-05-30 01:39:05

Ok guys…..I’m a representative of the ladies here who are interested in camping and emergency prep (not all of us are into buying purses and shoes)! Here is a question I very rarely can find the answer to: How to handle “when nature calls”? Now, I know you guys have no problem with part of it but we all have to figure out how to set up a “bivy” or other safe place to go at least #2 when we’re no longer in civilization. I’ve made sure I’ve packed at least 1 roll of TP in my backpack and a couple more in the car, along with plastic bags, water, feminine items and hand sanitizer.

For the ladies, I was also able to find a product called “You Go, Girl” at Wal-mart. Comes in a pink and white tube, costs about $10, and is reusable (I have several daughters so this is very handy). What advice can you give about the rest of it (sorry but I’m trying to be delicate here…I AM a lady after all.)?

We are just starting out with learning, stocking supplies and lots of practice. We only have 1 Tier 2 bag going right now (only 7 to go!) and some of the kids have an EDC and paracord bracelet with them. We’re slow but we’re still going!

Thanks for all your help and love your website!

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-05-30 22:00:50

Hey Tulip. Check out this article I wrote:

It may have what you’re looking for.

2013-06-01 14:54:59

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2013-06-09 03:16:28

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Comment by Nile crocodile
2013-06-11 11:10:19

Thanks a lot. This really helped, because I had a school project on survival.

Comment by Nile croc
2013-06-11 11:12:47


Comment by Smith
2013-06-11 22:33:28

Great site, this is probably one of the few in depth survival sites. I personally included a tactical vest due to the amount of storage it has, as well as several green(high light output) and red(easier on the eyes) glowsticks, a few zipties(those things are amazing when you dont have time for a knot), a few carabiners, and some sunglasses. Also living in Canada, during the winter I keep an extra kit in the trunk of my car with a winterized tent(which was pretty pricy) and winter gear(heavy jacket,gloves, toque(its a hat), and some heavy duty winter boots with paracord laces of course)

2013-06-14 19:31:17

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Comment by Robin Bracey
2013-07-07 14:39:05

Thanks for the info,carried a EDC kit for years,due to ptsd my memory is very poor and the kit has my daily needs in it,,meds;money ,pens id tags multi tool.However I do spend time in forrest and days on the ranges which call for long drives in, quite frankly some very lonely parts of France.Now thanks to your advice I can have a review of my set up, which is based on my service knowledge.

2013-08-04 12:51:52

The image in the beginning is quite confusing. I almost got into that you were going to review sardine tin survival kit 🙂
Having several tiers of survival equipment is a great idea and definitely something everyone should consider.

Comment by Jessica
2013-08-11 17:42:17

I’m a mom of three kids and so survival kits require much more planning, but my purse ALWAYS has the following: small but powerful flashlight, lighter, face masks for everyone (dust from earthquake or disease outbreak), cotton balls and essential oils- lavender (for small cuts, and other uses), wintergreen (headaches), and purify (wasp/bee stings), plus meleleuca (for infections)… I also have an asst of bandaids, hand purification (could also be used to start a fire), suture kit and antibiotics (only if the roads are clogged and we can’t get to a hospital), pocket knife, a strong large baggie and water purification tabs, and some tylenol for myself and the kids. Plus a weapon. I still feel like I am missing something. Any suggestions?

2013-08-19 10:07:29

Hi Jessica,

That’s a great list. How ’bout an emergency mylar blanket. They take up very little room but are excellent for temporary “shelter”.

– Erich

Comment by Todd
2013-10-08 01:07:23

I really appreciate the thought and effort that went into this list. Hurricane season always gets my mind back to survival and the preparedness that seems to drift off during much of the rest of the year. One thing that I never really see on any lists like this (which I always stick in my luggage when traveling, BOBs, etc.) is a door stop. Whether propping a door open or closed, the piece of mind/utility of keeping a door propped easily is worth the several grams of weight that a cheap (probably free) door stop can provide.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-10-08 20:28:12

Great thought Todd. I haven’t considered that but, yes agree that it would be a good piece of gear to add to your BOB.

2013-11-03 02:27:46

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Comment by Ryan
2013-11-07 05:17:57

Hi guys, love this site. I live in Australia and go camping a lot. I alway carry is a small bag of cut up ping pong balls and some aluminum foil. This makes a great smoke signal. Rap (flat) a small amount of the cut up ping pong ball in the tin foil, hold a lighter under the foil until it starts to smoke. The amount of smoke depends on the amount of ping pong balls used. As the balls are made of a toxic plastic make sure it is placed where you wont breath in the smoke. I like this as both items needed are water proof as is and they are very light weight. I cheap and effective smoke signal.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-11-08 11:20:46

Great tip Ryan. Thanks!

2013-12-04 05:23:58

An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment.
I do think that you need to write more about this topic, it might not
be a taboo matter but usually people don’t talk about these issues.
To the next! Many thanks!!

2013-12-05 22:16:19

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Comment by Read Full Report
2013-12-11 09:13:20

Especially educational look frontward to coming back again.

Comment by shaner
2014-03-05 23:23:28

Im quite new to the idea of being “prepared” … So I thank you for this information.
I have been an avid outdoorsman all my life and have spent much of my time in the forest alone. One of my biggest fears is not being able to walk due to injury.
Can you suggest anything that may serve as a splint or really any ideas would be great!
Thanks again.

Comment by Christine
2014-04-29 00:57:16

Perfect list, such a helpful information. I just picked an emergency survival kit from express survival. They’ve got everything you’ll need in any type of emergency

Comment by Elise
2014-06-08 11:19:46

Really like how you divided everything into tiers, it really helps you classify what’s important. I agree with your first tier almost completely, though I think I’d have something for water collection and so that I could boil water in a fire instead of cordage – though cordage is of course also amazing to have in field.

Again nice work. Really good list.

Comment by ConnieQ
2014-11-24 12:58:42

I’m a military retiree and had to laugh at your comment about your wife. I’m in the same situation, except it’s my husband laughing at me and rolling his eyes! I think he now considers this to be my ” hobby”. Ah well, we just keep on and ignore them as best we can. Good luck with it all, just keep studying and practicing. That’s what I do, and there are tons of ideas and DIY stuff online.

Comment by kevin
2015-01-01 20:05:51

I always wear a paperclip bracelet (yes I am a man, since I’m Irish, I just use the green, white and gold paperclips to make an Irish flag. Now it’s manly) paperclips are great lockpicks, I also keep a stationery set in my T2 and my go bag, pencil sharpeners make great sharpeners for twigs, and with sharp twigs you could do anything, and most airport security stations will allow sharpeners but not knives, also keep two rolls of duct tape at least in your T2 and your go bag, and maybe some masking tape in your T1

Comment by Eri
2015-03-31 13:23:56

Shane bring a pillow and a couple of triangular bandages, I have used it as a splint in the past and it has worked

Comment by Mary
2015-11-19 03:26:32

The last time I put together a survival kit was yrs. ago due to the treat of an earth quake on a fault line. Today I’m 60 & still see the need with the treat of ISIS & EMP attacks. Reading everybody’s comments is really helpful. One thing I remember that I did was a pair of good walking shoes since there are times that a bike or a horse wont help.

Comment by robert
2015-12-16 22:11:59

As far as mini survival kits go there’s not one out that does it all, But we believe this one from comes as close as it can. Ohhh. Yeaa! , Soon to hit the market this is probably one of, if not most comprehensive EDC, backup buddy, Survival, Do-All kit/bag there is for its size. Designed from the ground up, even the bag is custom designed. Now,,, its a little bigger than the Altoids tin and for good reason, more useful goodies, Yet small enough for any situation or scenario. Now there is nothing wrong with the Altoids tin but its just a very small kit and limited to its contents, they are perfect for mini kits. We expect to have a mini kit survival tin/ can kit but much more in depth. Our new kit is well thought-out, uniquely created, one of a kind prep/emergency do it all compact package. Please check out our site, we appreciate any and all feedback. please email us if your interested, weather is a per-order or suggestions,

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Comment by Acw Tactical
2015-12-16 22:19:15

Nice work bro !

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2015-12-29 10:04:56

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Comment by Aaron Pinkston
2016-01-11 23:32:38

Yes! Archives have geen down for a while. Glad to be able to get back in here. Has the second video on b.o.b. been made yet?

Comment by darker
2016-03-21 09:00:25

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Comment by Robert
2016-05-31 21:47:33

there is a video of EDC B.O.B. here on youtube by ACW Tactical

Comment by Ravi
2016-10-27 15:50:13

Thanks for sharing this article. I just bought some equipment from i will keep this ideas in my mind on my next camping.

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2017-10-19 18:11:11

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Comment by sam
2018-04-17 18:16:56

you said to use water purification tablets. but i have been seeing a purifier all over the internet called a lifestraw. building my own survival kit and im wondering which is better

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