Top 10 Must-have Items Of A Wilderness Survival Kit List

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Top 10 must-have items of a wilderness survival kit list

We all want to do something for a change of pace once in a while to relax our body and refresh our mind. Among the options, camping is an excellent activity that people of all age can truly enjoy without fail. Of course, heading into the outdoor empty handed is very unwise, you have to prepare properly. While it’s nice to bring as many items as you able to carry, overloading has a really negative impact on the camping experience. In the case you want some recommendations, this article can introduce you to ten necessary item of a wilderness survival kit list. Take a closer look and see if you should include some of them in your loadout.

There is a diversity of preferences and demands, hence, the ideal camping inventory could differ a lot from one person to the other. Some of the items might seem quite useful to you while the rest appear to be more or less redundant. Depend on personal taste and camping environment, it’s totally fine to modify the list a bit to better suit the situation. You don’t have to strictly limit your choices to the items shown below, be flexible and ready to improvise instead. Do whatever it takes to make the trip comfortable and memorable for you.

See more previous article: Top 10 Most Important Survival Items On A Camping Trip

Top necessary item of a wilderness survival kit list

  • Fire starters

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Starting a fire is a nice way prepare hot food and drink, the fire shall keep your body warm in chilly weather too. As a result, it’s recommended to put some fire starters into your backpack, three of them should be sufficient. Many kinds of fire starters are available for you to choose such as lighter, striker, match, flint and so on. It’s a good idea to accommodate them with tinder and starting aid as well to get a fire up as soon as possible. Keep everything you need to start a fire in waterproof containers. Store them in a place that you are able to readily access them should a need arise.  

  • Survival Knife

Given that you probably have to do a lot of chopping and slicing, a reliable survival knife will come in handy. A fixed blade knife possesses the strength to get the job done but a foldable one is nonetheless adequate for light duty tasks. The usual knife applications could range from cutting rope to batoning and many more. Remember to bring a sharpener along so you can process the knife blade in case it becomes dull. Never try to force your way through materials with a dulled knife since it’s very dangerous.

  • First aid kit

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It’s easy to sustain injuries in the wild, therefore, a first aid kit is definitely an item you must have nearby. A simple scratch might worsen relatively fast if you don’t treat it in time. Should you unable to make a kit by yourself, you can always grab one from the store. You don’t have to go after high-level stuff, all you need are gauze, antibiotic, bandage, disinfectant and painkiller. Pack them carefully so they don’t get damage on the way.

  • Tent and sleeping bag

Unless you want to directly expose your body to natural elements like rain, wind and snow, you have to think about shelter. A combination of a tent and a sleeping bag is more than enough in most of the time. Do check their qualities thoroughly to make sure that they are able to endure the weather and the environment. Exam the packed profiles of the tent and the bag to see whether they get in the way of your movements or not.

  • Water filtration system and purification tablet

In multiple-day camping trips, it’s unlikely that you manage to carry the necessary amount of water on your own. After the main supply is exhausted, you have to look for other water sources along the way. Obviously, you cannot drink water from the ponds and rivers whenever you like since you may get sick. Harmful microorganisms are hard to detect with your bare eyes. This is why it’s important to have a couple packets of water purification tablets and a water filtration system. They should be enough to secure you drinkable water for the duration of the trip.

  • Flashlight/Headlamp

While you can use the fire starters to illuminate your surrounding area, a flashlight or a head lamb are much better alternatives. In total darkness, a flashlight/headlamp is an excellent tool to guide you through unfamiliar terrain. As long as you have enough battery, you will have a dependable source of light when it’s nighttime.  

  • Paracord

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In the wilderness, you may find yourself in need of something to secure material together. A few roll of Paracord is probably the best thing you could ever use in such situation. It’s advised to have two separate sections of Paracord with a minimum combined length of six meters

  • Navigation

The last thing you want to experience is to get lost in the wilderness while your supplies are dwindling. To avoid falling into a predicament like that, ensure that you have something to assist your navigation. Compass, map and GPS, include at least one of them in your camping inventory. Each of them weighs nearly nothing so there is no reason not to bring one along. Needless to say, you have to learn how to use them beforehand.

  • Communication

A lot of things could occur on a camping trip, some of them you cannot possibly handle by yourself. Having a way to contact outside help is extremely vital. While a cell phone is adequate if you have reception, consider getting a radio and a whistle. They will help you notify other people of your presence efficiently and effectively.    

  • Changes of clothes

Wearing wet or unhygienic clothes is a simple way to get sick in the middle of nowhere. So if the trip last for an extended amount of time then remember to pack changes of clothes. Cotton is nice but prioritizes synthetic since the latter dry much faster.


Buying Guides – How To Choose The Wilderness Survival Kit?

This article will guide you through a list of factors to consider when buying a wilderness survival kit. The list is not extensive, but it does give you solid guidance on the basics to look out for.


What is your location? What kind of terrain do you find yourself in? Is it cold/hot? Coastal environments can be very different from forested or open plains. Make sure the kit you buy caters to the area you are most likely to need it. If you are not sure, build up a collection of items that will suit multiple locations and scenarios.


Is it hot? Cold? Wet? Dry? What kind of climate do you need to prepare for in your area and region? For example, if you live in a wet forest environment, then waterproof matches and a water purifier might be the most important items to add to your collection. If you live in a dry grassland environment with no trees, then maybe adding some shade shelter is more important. Again, build up a collection that caters to multiple scenarios so you are ready for anything!

Number of people

How many people will this kit be supporting initially / over time if things go really wrong? Will one person need to use all of the items immediately or just some of them while others are left untouched until later? The answer to these questions helps determine how big your kit should be. If you have a large family, then the items in your kit might need to support everyone at once or over an extended period of time. On the other hand, if you are just one person preparing for yourself then it may only need to last enough time for you to make it back home.

Type of activity 

What kind of activities do you want this kit to support? Is it multi-use (i.e., can I use the same item(s) for different things)? An example here would be rope; it can be used as a fishing line, clothesline, shelter building material, etc. Are there any specialized uses that might come up often? A good example of this would be fire steel since this tool is perfect for making fire and no other item can do it better. Another point here would be to consider what you may need it to support in the immediate aftermath; some items like fishing hooks and lines may not be useful immediately after a collapse until you find water again.

Immediate needs 

What kind of things will you need to support right away? This includes survival priorities such as shelter, water, fire (heat and light), food (for immediate energy and later for calories), and first aid. These are considered your primary survival needs. Other items like clothing and signaling devices might only become important once these basics have been covered. It’s easy to fall into thinking about “luxuries” like entertainment, comfort, and even hygiene when considering what to include in your kit; but if you are not certain that you will be able to reach safety or recover soon, then these luxuries can easily become critical. A lot of items tend to serve multiple purposes so it is usually ok to pack multiples. The only exception here would be redundancy for key survival priorities such as shelter, water, fire (heat and light), food (for immediate energy and later for calories), and first aid.

Survival priorities 

What kind of things do you need right now? These are primary concerns that must be met before other needs become important. If you haven’t found water after walking through the desert for 3 days, then thirst is a primary concern and shelter can wait. The rule of 3’s suggests that after 3 days without water you will likely only survive another 3 before dying; whereas shelter doesn’t need to be perfect, just sufficient enough (something with which I disagree, but I’ll discuss this in the future). So if you find yourself in a situation where these priorities might become an issue, make sure your kit at least covers them.


This is one of the most important things to cover; without water, you will not survive. Even in the hottest desert, your body can still go several days without food but only a few hours without water. In cold weather, your body can get away with a bit more since it needs less heat from calories, but you still need to have some means of collection and storage. Covering this priority may involve collecting rainwater or melting snow/ice if available nearby. Having a good filter system along with something that can be used for purifying large quantities of water like Aquatabs will help ensure that you always have filtered drinking water on hand no matter how long your kit lasts.


Heat is just as important as shelter in cold climes, aside from providing a means to purify water. A small bic lighter does just fine for this job, but if you’re looking for something more advanced there are many options available. A flint and steel can be used to make fire with some tinder-like cattails or char cloth by striking sparks into it; while the light produced is not extremely bright it’s enough to get things lit in low visibility situations.


This one seems obvious on its own, but some people will forget that they need to pack calorie-dense foods that require little cooking over an open flame. The most common recommendation here is MRE s (Meals Ready-to-Eat); these days many different companies put out MREs available for purchase at Army surplus stores and online. However, I do not recommend using these for your primary kit because they will become less appetizing over time and this issue also brings up the problem of rotating them often enough to ensure freshness.

Canned foods such as tuna and chicken can be an alternative when properly stored in your kit; but when you start talking about packing multiple weeks worth of food in your kit things quickly become heavy and bulky; plus if you add things like MRE heaters, water purification tabs or even a large pot/spork/knife combo then it becomes difficult to find room for other items that may come in useful. The same goes for fresh foods, which are great but will spoil over time. The best middle-ground I’ve found is to include a small salt lick in your kit that you can use to season canned or dried meat with. This way you only need the bare minimum of lightweight food and one water purification tab, which could be used to make jerky or soup; this allows for more room to pack fishing gear (a rod, some weights, and hooks), traps (if trapping is allowed where you live), sewing supplies/bandages/rope/duct tape, etc.


Your light source is primarily for finding things in the dark while you’re away from camp, but it can also be used to signal others if needed. The two most useful options here are headlamps and flashlights; some prefer the hands-free option of a headlamp along with chemical light sticks or even glow-in-the-dark cordage for marking trails back to your basecamp. Tactical flashlights are another option for tactical/urban kits, although be sure they have either an SOS setting or strobe function so that you don’t accidentally signal your position to hostiles when checking bearings or looking for things on the ground.


Signaling can be accomplished with any of the above items, but having more than one of each option is a good idea in case something fails. Whistles are cheap and effective for calling out to allies from a distance, but might not be heard over the din of gunfire or explosions; there are also combination flashlights/whistles that seem cool but aren’t always reliable. There’s always the classic signal mirror, which can be used in conjunction with smoke grenades or flares. 


While firearms are not necessary for many survival situations if they apply then having something like a handgun or rifle along with ammo could be enough to provide you with hunting opportunities and protection from dangerous animals. If you’re in the US, check your local laws on what’s considered legal for conceal-carry or open carry; if you plan on using a firearm for hunting then make sure that they are legal where you live. Another thing to consider regarding firearms is that they require maintenance, safety, and proper storage. If you’re planning on carrying a firearm for protection then be sure to include cleaning supplies, oil, and an extra magazine in your kit.

Extra Clothing 

I know this one seems like common sense but it’s amazing how many people forget about having something extra to wear while their clothes are drying or being washed. Having warm underclothes, socks, boots or even thermals can make all the difference when trying to stay comfortable while spending days at a time outdoors. A good pair of leather boots will last longer than cheap sneakers if taken care of properly; synthetic fabrics are not resistant to rot so cotton clothing may need more attention so as not to become a fire hazard. It’s also important to have something to cover your head and face from the elements, so don’t forget a hat of some sort or even a balaclava.


As stated before water is just as important if not more so than food when it comes to survival situations; this means that you should have something on hand for waterproofing/fire starting/”cleaning” purposes that won’t constantly be wearing out or going bad after repeated use (i.e. cotton balls). Products can be sprayed onto clothing in order to repel insects and ticks while allowing the fabric to maintain breathability; repellent may come in handy as well if you’re traveling through woods with lots of vegetation. Sleeping bags and tents are also important if you plan on spending time outdoors for an extended period of time, especially somewhere that snows or where it rains a lot; the best waterproofing method I’ve found is to use wax on your rain jacket/boots/tent instead of buying expensive sprays/oils.

First Aid Kit 

This is one of the more important things in your kit, so don’t skimp here. You should be able to deal with minor injuries or sicknesses until you are either found or have reached a place where you can get enough medical attention. If you happen to have access to prescription medication then include those as well; I personally think it’s a good idea to carry some kind of sleep aid in case circumstances require that someone take watch while everyone else rests/sleeps.

Repair Kit and Tool-Kit 

Even if you’re in a situation where you don’t need to leave your camping spot, having the ability to repair or make something on-site can save your life. You can include things like extra rope/paracord, duct tape, zip ties, and sewing supplies along with sewing needles, thread and safety pins; these are also good ideas even if you aren’t carrying them in a kit because they are lightweight and serve multiple purposes.


Having light is important for many reasons; it can help you get home if you get lost or separated from your group at night, it can be used for signaling purposes in case of emergencies, etc. If possible try to get something that uses lithium batteries because they are rechargeable instead of disposable ones which come with the added cost of purchasing new packs every so often.

Weight – You don’t want to carry around an oversized or heavy kit because you’ll become exhausted and worn out quickly. If possible try not to exceed 30 pounds total with your gear, this can easily be accomplished by making everything as multi-purpose as possible and not adding any unnecessary weight such as a book of matches or playing cards.


Having an extra set of eyes and ears on the lookout for things that could mean life or death is also important; know how to use all your gear before you actually need it just in case something happens unexpectedly. It’s always better to have training before going into a situation rather than needing it afterward without the proper experience/knowledge beforehand.


As with any other purchase it’s important to take into account the price of what you’re buying in relation to its value, so if you plan on getting a kit then be sure it has everything that is likely to come in handy for your situation or alternatively decide what things are essential and only include those. If at all possible I recommend having two kits: one that is kept as a supply and another that is taken with you when going out into the wilderness whether it’s camping or hiking; this way if something were to happen to your first one then at least you wouldn’t be completely helpless.

A wilderness survival kit is something that everyone should have because it could save your life, but more importantly, is the knowledge behind being able to use its contents. You can take into consideration the factors I’ve given here when creating your own so that you are better prepared when the time comes.


Items of a wilderness survival kit list FAQs

What is a wilderness survival kit?

Survival kits, also known as “wilderness survival kits” or “bushcraft survival equipment”, are extremely useful in the wilderness.

Wilderness survival kits are generally earned by internal people and can be used to provide a supply of food and tools for outdoor activities such as camping and hunting. A survival kit refers to the collection of items that help an individual survive when stuck, or lost in a non-urban area or natural environment. These items include knives, ropes, water purification devices, and signaling devices (e.g., flares).

The Wilderness Survival Kit typically contains A knife sharpener; knife; rope; fire starter (tinder); waterproof matches; whistle; flashlight with batteries; wire saw; compass.

What do I need to include in my survival kit?

There is no definitive list of what has to be included in a wilderness survival kit, but the basic items are Knife or multi-tool; Map and Map Case, Fire Starter – maybe waterproof matches/lighter/magnesium bar, Waterproof Whistle, Flashlight with batteries (electric torches can fail), Wire Saw (rope cuts poorly), Compass (directional) and High Energy Snacks.

A good rule of thumb for building your own kit is to include the five basic needs in every situation: water, shelter, fire, food, and first aid/hygiene. This means that you should have items in your kit that will allow you to stay dry, warm up if it’s cold out, keep yourself entertained or fed during an emergency, and fix any damage that might happen to you until you can get help. Many people use special containers for these basic amenities because they’re easy to grab when things go south. You can also make pocket-sized kits with all of this stuff – which could come in very handy!

How many items should be in my survival kit?

As many as needed. Survival kits vary widely depending on their application and how much stuff they contain. A wilderness survival kit will probably not use the same equipment as an urban emergency preparedness kit, but will certainly contain some of the same tools.

A wilderness survival kit does not need to include knives or weapons. Ideally, it would contain items that can be used for multiple purposes. A single knife covers most needs and you should consider carrying a multi-tool if you do not have a good blade on your knife. You also want to carry high-energy food that will keep you going through the day, as well as water purification tablets or an ultraviolet light device to help clean up any water before using it. What else should I include in my Wilderness Survival Kit? Toilet paper is very important because nobody wants to use leaves for this purpose! You also need soap so that you can wash up after eating, and perhaps a towel for drying yourself off. You should also consider including insect repellent if you are going to an area where bugs are prevalent.

What are the essential items in a Wilderness Survival Kit?

The best items to carry in your kit will depend on the environment you’re going to be traveling through, and how long it might be before help arrives. The following is a list of recommended supplies:

  • Knife – preferably fixed-blade with full tang and hollow handle for storage; Multi-tool/screwdriver – there are several options available that offer knife blades, files, and pliers all in one compact package.
  • Waterproof matches and/or lighter – this combination ensures you’ll always have something to help initiate a fire.
  • Compass patch – so if you lose your compass you still know which way is home.
  • Firestarter (e.g., candle) – can make all the difference between life or death especially when getting wet or in an emergency.
  • Flashlight or headlamp – should be hands-free so you can always have your hands for other tasks.
  • Whistle – loud noise is critical for alerting rescuers to your presence, especially if they’re searching by air.
  • Lightweight towel/washcloth – small but vital for keeping clean, especially in hot weather when dehydration can sneak up on you.
  • Personal medications – things that cannot be replaced in the event of an accident. There are also items to consider including depending on the environment you are traveling over Insect repellant (ticks/mosquitoes) Compass patch (in case compass gets lost) Space blanket Signaling mirror Map case Survival instructions Bug net
  • Extra clothing – hat, scarf, mittens/gloves, raincoat, or poncho in a waterproof bag.
  • Water purification tablets or water filter systems – available in sporting goods stores and some grocery stores.
  • Food supplies – high-energy foods that will keep you warm and provide enough calories to maintain proper body temperature in cold climates (crackers and peanut butter). You need at least three liters of water per day just to drink; two pounds of dried food per person/day x number of days you’re stranded.

What are the best multi-tools/knives?

A good multi-tool is an essential item in any survival kit because it can be used for so many things. One of the most versatile types is one that features pliers, screwdrivers, and a knife blade or two. Tools like this aren’t just limited to fixing things; they’re also ideal for getting yourself out of sticky situations, such as cutting vegetables or rope. A multi-tool weighs very little and doesn’t take up much room so there’s no reason not to carry one on your person at all times.

How do I get started with using a survival kit?

Even if you’ve never had any formal training, there’s no reason why anyone can’t put together a survival kit. These types of kits are designed so anyone can use them without difficulty because they don’t contain anything complicated or require extensive knowledge about how to use them. All you need to know is how to use the items inside and basic survival skills such as creating shelter and starting a fire — something every child knows! The best part about having a survival kit is that you never know when or where disaster might strike. If it does, you’ll be glad you took the time and effort to put together a kit so you can survive until help arrives.

What are some items on the list that I may not have?

In addition to everything listed above, think about what’s native to the area where you live and plan accordingly. For instance, if there’s a lot of snow in your neck of the woods, add extra clothing to your kit for protection from frigid temperatures. If there isn’t much water in your area then don’t bother carrying purification tablets or a water filter system because it will be useless once they’re used up. Be sure to pay attention to any special dietary needs you may have as well — you don’t want to be stuck in a survival situation without anything safe to eat.

Why is the flashlight/headlamp crucial?

It’s important for something like that to be hands-free so your hands are free for other tasks, especially if it’s dark and you’re trying to fix things around camp. Also, having a headlamp keeps your hands free for cooking or working on projects. The last thing you want is to make silly mistakes because of poor lighting; these types of slip-ups could cost lives! Another option is an LED candle lantern which is also great for providing light after dark since they can stay lit anywhere from eight hours (on low) up to 15 hours (on high). The light emitted is adjustable so you don’t have to worry about an LED candle lantern causing problems.

How much does this kit cost?

As little or as much as you want. There are certainly expensive options, but there are also many places to look for free items to put in the kit. We have seen some kits that cost less than $100 and others that cost over $1000. The point is, it’s not an area where you need to spend a ton of money to be adequately prepared for survival situations.

Why should you have a wilderness survival kit?

A wilderness survival kit is important for anyone who spends time outdoors. It gives you the tools to do everything from making basic shelters and fire to signaling devices like flares or whistles to cutting your way out of danger (e.g., sharpening your knife on a rock). If you are visiting or spending time in an area where people frequently go missing – especially if there is no cell phone service – it makes sense to carry some sort of emergency equipment on yourself. Having this type of kit can be life-saving under the right circumstances.

Why is it important to have the right survival tools?

You can survive for weeks without food, but you will not last long without water. Because of this, it is very important to have the tools and knowledge necessary to obtain clean drinking water. You must also be able to build a fire in order to keep yourself warm and prepare food. Also, while we do not recommend carrying weapons with you at all times (that’s what law enforcement and military personnel do), having a knife or multi-tool on your person might save your life someday simply because it could be used as a weapon should that become necessary – which does happen from time to time!

While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to building (or buying) a wilderness survival kit, always remember that redundancy is your friend. It may be a pain to carry around extra supplies, but if you find yourself in an emergency situation without some of your survival tools – whether it’s because your kit got wet or you accidentally left something behind – being able to compensate can mean the difference between life and death.

What kind of container should my kit be stored in?

To make a wilderness survival kit, you could put everything in a box or bag. That isn’t going to be very proactive, though! You want to have something that will allow you to quickly access the items inside while also being protected from the elements – and maybe even attached to your belt loop or backpack. Several companies sell ready-made kits with all of the supplies neatly packaged up for you, but these can run into hundreds of dollars. There are also some great forums where people post their own unique survival kits for others to use as inspiration.

Does it matter if the items are new or used?

Both new and used items can make good components for a survival kit, but it depends on the item. Something like a first aid kit or fire starter should ideally be brand new because these are things that you want to have as much as possible when they’re needed. Other items, such as cordage or wire, can safely come from repurposed materials.

How long will my kit last?

As long as you take care of your kit and replenish any supplies that might expire (e.g., water purification tablets), there is no reason why a wilderness survival kit would ever need to be replaced. Having said this, we recommend checking your kit at least once per year to see what condition everything is in and replenish anything that has expired.

Is it better to build your own kit or buy from the store?

Building your own kit is definitely cheaper than buying one already made for you, but if you are new to survival, it doesn’t make sense to start from scratch. We recommend checking out the free resources available on our website before deciding which route to go! There are many pre-built set-ups with quality gear and supplies available for purchase, and we want you to make an informed decision before putting any of your hard-earned money on the line.

What are some common mistakes people make when building their own kit?

Many people want to include every cool – but unnecessary – item they find in a wilderness survival kit. Remember that you’re basically making an emergency car kit for yourself! All of the items should serve only one purpose, and all of them have to fit into your container or bag without taking up too much space. This is important because if something does go wrong, you don’t want to be stuck out there with a bunch of stuff you don’t need.



And those are ten necessary item of a wilderness survival kit list from this survival website, do you like the idea behind them? You cannot enjoy a camping experience to the fullest unless you are well prepared for the trip. Use the list above as references and you should be able to put together the best camping loadout.

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