What Do You Put In A Wilderness Survival Kit?

Have you ever wondered what essentials you need to include in a wilderness survival kit? In this article, we will explore the key items that are crucial for your safety and well-being when venturing into the great outdoors. From first aid supplies to water purification methods, we will provide you with a comprehensive list of must-haves to ensure you are well-prepared for any unexpected situations that may arise in the wilderness.


When venturing into the wilderness, one of the most crucial components of your survival kit is navigation tools. Getting lost in unfamiliar territory can be dangerous, so it’s important to have reliable ways to find your way back or reach civilization. Here are some essential items to consider including in your kit:


A compass is an invaluable tool when it comes to orienting yourself and determining your direction of travel. Whether you’re trekking through dense forests or crossing open plains, a compass can help you stay on track and prevent you from getting disoriented. Make sure to choose a high-quality compass that is durable and accurate.


Having a detailed topographic map of the area you’ll be exploring is essential for safe navigation. Maps provide information on landmarks, trails, water sources, and potential hazards. Familiarize yourself with the terrain before your trip and consider obtaining a waterproof map to protect it from the elements.

GPS device

While traditional compasses and maps are reliable, it’s always a good idea to have a backup navigation system. A GPS device can provide precise coordinates and help you track your progress. Look for a GPS device with a long battery life and preloaded maps of the region you’ll be exploring.


A whistle may seem like a simple item, but it can be a lifesaver in an emergency. A loud whistle can carry for long distances and attract attention, making it easier for search and rescue teams to locate you. Attach it to your backpack or keep it easily accessible at all times.

Signal mirror

When all else fails, a signal mirror can be used to catch the attention of potential rescuers. It reflects sunlight and creates a bright flash that can be seen from afar. Compact and lightweight, a signal mirror should be included in your survival kit to increase your chances of being spotted in a dire situation.


In the wilderness, having a shelter to protect you from the elements is crucial for survival. Sudden changes in weather or unforeseen circumstances may leave you exposed to harsh conditions, so it’s essential to have the necessary equipment to create a safe and comfortable shelter. Here are some items to consider:

Tent or tarp

A sturdy and waterproof tent or tarp is a must-have for any wilderness survival kit. It provides protection from rain, wind, and the cold. Look for a lightweight and easy-to-set-up option that offers enough space for you and your gear.

Sleeping bag or bivvy bag

To stay warm during chilly nights, a high-quality sleeping bag or bivvy bag is essential. Choose one that is suitable for the climate you’ll be in and provides adequate insulation. Remember that temperatures can drop significantly during the nighttime, even in the summer.

Emergency blanket

In case you are unable to set up a more substantial shelter, an emergency blanket is an excellent backup option. These lightweight and compact blankets trap body heat and protect against hypothermia. Ensure you have at least one in your kit, as they can be a lifesaver in unexpected situations.

What Do You Put In A Wilderness Survival Kit?


Fire not only provides warmth but also offers a means of cooking food, boiling water, and signaling for help. In a survival situation, fire is a crucial element for your well-being and should not be underestimated. Here are some items to include in your fire-starting kit:

Waterproof matches or lighter

Having a reliable source of fire ignition is essential. Waterproof matches or a reliable lighter should be included in your kit, stored in a waterproof container to ensure they remain dry. Check the functionality of your matches or lighter before heading into the wilderness.


In damp conditions or when firewood is scarce, a firestarter can be a game-changer. These compact tools are designed to create a hot spark that ignites easily. Consider including flint and steel, a ferrocerium rod, or a magnesium fire starter in your kit to increase your chances of successfully starting a fire.


Finding dry tinder in the wilderness can be challenging, so it’s wise to carry some with you. Tinder includes lightweight, easily combustible materials like cotton balls, dryer lint, or commercially available fire-starting sticks. These can be used to catch the initial spark and ignite your fire.

Magnesium fire starter

A magnesium fire starter is a versatile tool that can help you start a fire even in wet conditions. By scraping off shavings from the magnesium bar and igniting them with the built-in flint, you can create an intense flame that can ignite damp tinder or wet firewood.


Staying hydrated is crucial for survival, especially in remote wilderness areas where reliable water sources may be scarce. Having the means to collect, purify, and carry water is vital to your overall well-being. Here are some essential items to include in your water kit:

Water bottles or hydration pack

Carrying an adequate supply of water is essential, and having a durable water bottle or a hydration pack can help prevent dehydration. Opt for a design that is lightweight and easy to refill. Consider having multiple water bottles or a large hydration pack, depending on the length of your trip.

Water purification tablets or filter

Drinking untreated water from natural sources can be risky due to potential contaminants and parasites. Water purification tablets or a filtration system can help eliminate harmful bacteria and make water safe to consume. Ensure you follow the instructions provided with the purification tablets or filter for optimal results.

Metal container for boiling water

In situations where water purification methods may not be available, having a metal container to boil water is crucial. Boiling water for at least five minutes kills most harmful organisms and makes it safe for drinking. Choose a lightweight metal container that is sturdy and can withstand direct heat.

What Do You Put In A Wilderness Survival Kit?


In a wilderness survival situation, having a sufficient supply of food is essential to maintain energy levels and overall well-being. While hunting and foraging may be options, it’s wise to include some easy-to-pack, long-lasting food options in your kit. Consider the following:

Long-lasting energy bars

Energy bars are a lightweight and compact food source that can provide a quick boost of energy when needed. Look for options with high-calorie content, essential nutrients, and a long shelf life. Choose bars that suit your dietary preferences and any specific allergies or sensitivities you have.

Dehydrated meals

Dehydrated meals are a convenient and lightweight option for wilderness survival. These meals require minimal preparation and only need hot water to rehydrate. Consider including a variety of dehydrated meals in your kit to ensure you have a balanced and satisfying food supply.

Fishing gear

If you’re near a water source or have the skills to fish, including basic fishing gear can be a valuable addition to your survival kit. A fishing line, hooks, and a few lures or bait can provide you with a potentially sustainable food source. Familiarize yourself with local fishing regulations and techniques before attempting to catch fish.

Snare wire

In some wilderness areas, setting up snares can be an effective way to catch small game for food. Pack lightweight snare wire in your survival kit to increase your chances of securing a meal. It’s essential to learn proper snare techniques and ensure compliance with local hunting and trapping regulations.

First Aid

Accidents and injuries can happen unexpectedly, even in the wilderness. Having a well-equipped first aid kit can make a crucial difference in managing emergencies and preventing further harm. Your first aid kit should include the following items:


A variety of bandages, including adhesive bandages, gauze pads, and elastic bandages, should be included in your kit. These can be used to dress wounds, secure splints, or provide support to strained or sprained limbs.

Antiseptic wipes

To prevent infection, antiseptic wipes or solutions should be included in your first aid kit. They can be used to clean wounds and prevent the growth of bacteria. Remember to follow the instructions on the packaging and avoid using antiseptics on sensitive areas of the body.

Pain medication

In a survival situation, pain medication can provide much-needed relief from discomfort or injuries. Include a supply of over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen in your kit, taking into consideration any allergies or medical conditions you may have.


Tweezers are a versatile tool that can be used for multiple purposes, including removing splinters, ticks, or thorns. Choose a pair with fine-pointed tips for better precision. Sterilize the tweezers before use and keep them in a protective case to prevent damage.

Emergency blanket

An emergency blanket serves multiple purposes in a survival situation. It can keep you warm, provide shade, or be used as a makeshift shelter. Ensure you include at least one emergency blanket in your kit, preferably one that is lightweight, compact, and capable of retaining body heat.


Having the right tools in your wilderness survival kit can help you tackle various challenges and improve your chances of survival. Here are some essential tools to consider adding to your kit:

Knife or multitool

A reliable knife or multitool is a versatile tool that can assist with various tasks, from preparing food to building a shelter. Choose a sturdy option with a sharp blade and additional features like a screwdriver, can opener, or saw. Ensure you keep it in a protective sheath or case for safe storage.


Paracord, also known as 550 cord, is a lightweight rope made of nylon. It has multiple uses in the wilderness, including setting up shelters, securing gear, or creating makeshift fishing lines. Carry at least 25-50 feet (7.6-15.2 meters) of paracord to provide flexibility and versatility in various situations.

Duct tape

Duct tape is a handy tool that can solve a multitude of problems in the wilderness. It can be used to repair gear, create temporary patches, or secure items together. Carry a small roll of duct tape in your survival kit, wrapping several feet around a small, lightweight object to save space.


As mentioned under the navigation section, a whistle has multiple purposes, including signaling for help. Attach an additional whistle to your tools section so that you have easy access to one when needed.

Signal mirror

Similarly, adding a signal mirror to your tools section ensures you have another visibility and communication option. A signal mirror can be used to reflect sunlight and attract attention from potential rescuers.


Having a reliable source of light in your survival kit helps ensure your safety and allows you to navigate in darkness. Here are some items to consider including in your kit:

Headlamp or flashlight

A headlamp or flashlight is an essential tool for hands-free illumination. Choose a model that is lightweight, durable, and provides a bright and adjustable beam. Consider packin


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