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Travel Survival Kit

     If you are asking yourself: Do I really need to prepare a survival kit and will I ever use it? The answer is: You may. So it's better to be safe than sorry. A common survival saying is: "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." These preparations will cost you some money, but unlike an insurance policy, if you end up not needing them, you can always use them up or sell them. So don't allow a few dollars (or a few hundred or thousand, depending on your needs) stand between you and your survival and peace of mind. Plus, if those dollars are sitting in the bank when calamity strikes, they are of little good to you anyway.

     Different books or organizations recommend several different types of survival kits, like small and large travel survival kits, a 72 hour survival kit, long term kits, evacuation kits, etc. If you would like to make separate kits for each one, go ahead but it's not necessary. So let's try to simplify this. If you are a traveler or outdoor person and there is a risk of getting stranded in the wilderness somewhere, make a travel kit as described below. Then, when you get to the Home Preparedness chapter, use this travel kit and adapt it to the needs of your evacuation and 72 hour survival kits as described there.

Wilderness survival kit
This photo shows some survival kit items, like the Survival
Kit-in-a-Can, emergency blanket, fire sticks, flashlight and book on edible
wild plants. The "Bottom's-Up" water filtration bottle is in the side pocket.

     Here are two lists for survival kits, small and large. The small one is for things like hikes and the large one is more appropriate for taking on a car trip or keeping in a small aircraft. (There is also an Evacuation Survival Kit on the Home Survival Preparedness page, in case you have to evacuate your home quickly. This is not the same as the Travel Survival Kit, but you can incorporate the two, depending on your needs.)

     The items in the Large Travel Survival Kit are the extra things to add in addition to the Small Travel Survival Kit items. Each item has a tick box that you can tick off once you have it.

Small Travel Survival Kit Contents:

  • Water bottle.
  • Water purification tablets.
  • Travel water filter, like a carbon or ceramic filter that you either pump or suck like a straw.
  • Emergency blanket (looks like space age tinfoil).
  • Pocketknife or "Leatherman" with gadgets like can openers, a saw and scissors.
  • Flashlight and batteries.
  • Candle or light stick (tube filled with chemicals which you bend to activate).
  • A lighter, flint block or waterproof matches.
  • Mini First Aid Kit, like Band-Aids, pain relief tablets and basic first aid items.
  • Thin snare wire.
  • String.
  • A large, bright plastic bag (useful as a shelter, signaling device, or in place of rain gear).
  • Emergency fishing kit (at least fish line and hooks).
  • Compact insect repellent (like a small bottle or wipes in a zip-lock bag).
  • Food snacks, like energy bars, granola bars, etc. with good shelf life.
  • In cold climates, also have a warm hat and gloves or hand warmers.
  • Anything else you think will be handy and is compact.
  • Survival guide (like a hard copy of this book).
  • (Oh yes, and a credit card! 

Large Travel Survival Kit Contents:
  • The contents of the Small Travel Survival Kit plus:
  • More survival food, like powdered hot drinks, tea, sugar, salt, soup, nuts, dried food.
  • Manual can opener.
  • First Aid Kit.
  • Mess tin or stainless steel mug.
  • Cutlery.
  • Drinking cups.
  • Small camping stove with fuel, like a Summit or a Sierra Zip Stove.
  • Saw.
  • Mosquito head nets.
  • Hat.
  • Sunscreen.
  • More insect repellent.
  • Emergency shelter or tube tent (preferably orange for visibility).
  • Blankets or sleeping bag.
  • Poncho or compact rain coat.
  • Ground sheet.
  • Clothing and footwear.
  • Toilet paper and other personal items.
  • Fishing net.
  • Snake bite kit (a small travel kit is only about 2 inches/5 cm long).
  • Signal mirror (a CD disc is a good compromise).
  • Flares.
  • Whistle.
  • Five inch knife in sheath.
  • Knife sharpener (stone).
  • Plastic bags.
  • Aluminum foil.
  • Large Ziploc bags.
  • Tape.
  • Nylon cord.
  • Sewing kit.
  • Waterproof fire sticks or other fire starter.
  • Compass.
  • Note book & pencil.
  • Maps of local area.
  • Bear spray if you are in a possible bear area.
  • Radio and batteries (or crank radio).
  • Extra car keys.
  • Spare cash.
These are just suggestions. Think of what else you might need for your particular situation, including self-defense weapons if you are going near hostile territory.

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