You never know when a survival situation will arise, whether you’re camping in the middle of the woods or driving home after a long day at work. To be prepared for any emergency that comes your way, it’s important to build a kit of essential survival supplies.
There are 10 essential categories that you’ll need to include in any survival kit: water purification; food and nutrition; shelter and warmth; first aid supplies; tools and survival gear; light and communication; clothing and footwear; personal hygiene; navigation and orientation; and power sources.
Keep reading to learn all the details about what exactly you’ll need to keep yourself and your loved ones safe in a survival situation!
1. Water Purification
One of the most important survival supplies that you should incorporate into any go bag or emergency container is a water purification tool. Because humans can’t go very long without drinking water, access to purified water is critical in any emergency.
In addition, many natural water sources aren’t safe to consume without filtering them first, which is why a water purification kit will come in handy.
There are multiple different methods for purifying water. For example, using a gravity bag or water purification tablets will allow you to filter and store larger amounts of water.
If you’re looking for a super quick, individual solution, you can use a filter straw and sip purified water through the straw directly from the water source.
For groups of three or more people, it’s a better idea to invest in a water storage barrel or tank. Some of these options even have 2-in-1 components that filter the water as it’s stored.
The following survival supplies are great places to start when looking for water purification instruments:
- LifeStraw Flex Advanced Water Filter with Gravity Bag
- Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets
- Augason Farms Water Filtration and Storage Kit
- LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
2. Food and Nutrition
Another critical addition to your survival supplies is food and related equipment for storing and preparing food!
When it comes to evaluating survival supplies that you can eat, there are a few different factors to keep in mind. The first is that the food and nutritional supplements you keep in your emergency stash should be shelf stable and non-perishable.
This means that you’ll be able to keep them unrefrigerated without spoiling.
On a similar note, make sure to check your emergency food supply every six months or so to make sure that none of your food is expired!
Second, the food you choose should have good nutritional value. Every calorie and gram of protein counts in a survival situation, so you’ll want to find some items that will keep you full and give you energy.
Finally, the emergency food you pick out should taste good to you! An emergency food stash will only be effective if it’s food you’ll actually eat, so take your likes and dislikes into account on top of any allergies and food sensitivities you may have.
If you’re looking for survival supplies related to food, nutrition, and food preparation, check out these products:
- Mountain House Classic Bucket
- Peanut butter
- Protein bars
- All American Pressure Cooker/Canner
- COSORI Food Dehydrator
- COSORI Small Food Dehydrator
3. Shelter and Warmth
Once you’re hydrated and well fed, staying warm and dry is of the utmost importance. Luckily, there are many survival supplies that you can use to build a shelter and keep yourself protected from the elements.
A tent or survival shelter that’s small and compact but easy to assemble should be at the top of your list, as well as a sleeping bag that’s warm and waterproof.
For an added layer in your shelter or just something to wear as you’re walking around, a wool blanket is an excellent addition that will trap heat.
When you’re in an especially cold or snowy emergency situation, warmers for your hands, feet, and body are also a must.
Here’s a list of some of our favorite survival supplies for shelter and warmth:
- Go Time Gear Life Tent Emergency Survival Shelter
- Swiss Safe Mylar Blankets
- Ever Ready Wool Blanket
- JEAOUIA Sleeping Bag
- Trekology Ultralight Inflatable Camping Pillow
- InstaFire Granulated Fire Starter
- Hot Hands Toe, Hand & Body Warmer Variety Pack
4. First Aid Supplies
In the worst-case scenario that you or someone you’re with gets injured, you’ll definitely need some first aid supplies. Packing the right first aid supplies will help fix or mitigate all sorts of injuries that could impact your well-being and ability to complete other tasks.
Even if you don’t think you’ll need it, it’s always a good idea to assemble your own first aid kit as a preventative measure. You never know when any of these products will come in handy!
For example, quick clotting gauze can stop bleeding and prevent massive blood loss in the event of a particularly nasty cut or gash.
Similarly, blister bandages can protect blistered skin on your hands and feet and provide a barrier against further irritation.
Although it might seem odd to carry a dental emergency kit around in your go bag, it would be incredibly painful to deal with a chipped tooth or loose filling without a single tool to help! Dental repair kits are generally pretty small and easy to store, so they’re convenient to bring along with you.
If you’re afraid that you’ll forget a product or leave something important out, there are plenty of pre-assembled first aid kids that you can buy, too.
Check out this round-up of some of the best survival supplies to use on your cuts, blisters, and bruises:
- QuikClot Gauze
- Dr. Frederick’s Original Better Blister Bandages
- DenTek Max Advanced Repair Kit
- Surviveware Comprehensive Premium First Aid Kit
5. Tools and Survival Gear
When dealing with an emergency situation, there are a lot of different materials that you may come into contact with. Whether it’s clearing branches and chopping firewood or digging a hole in the ground, the proper tools and survival gear are a must.
Having a multitool is a great way to access a bunch of different features in a relatively small product! In addition to the typical knife and pair of scissors, many multitools contain instruments like screwdrivers or wire cutters.
Another piece of equipment that’s smart to have in a survival setting is a portable fire extinguisher. You can easily store it in your car for travel and even bring it with you when camping!
Take a look at some of the best survival supplies that can help you chop, dig, slice, and cut anything you need to:
- Leatherman Wingman Multitool
- RHINO USA Folding Survival Shovel w/ Pick
- Fiskars 378501-1002 X7 Hatchet
- LifeSafe 5-in-1 Fire Extinguisher
6. Light and Communication
Securing ways to navigate in the dark and to attempt establishing contact with others are both critical next steps. This is where survival supplies to promote light and communication come in!
When thinking about light sources, it’s important to have both battery-powered and non-battery-powered lights. Buying both means that if your batteries die and you don’t have a power source, you’ll have a solid back-up.
An emergency radio is another essential product that you can use to get your bearings and figure out what’s going on. Some emergency radios even have a light or other features that can be operated via hand crank, so you won’t have to worry too much about it dying.
If you need a starting place for considering survival supplies that provide light and communication, look no further:
- UCO Stormproof Match Kit with Waterproof Case
- TG Plasma Lighter
- Glow Mind Ultra Bright Emergency Glow Sticks
- Kaito Emergency Radio
- GearLight LED Head Lamp
- Kizen Collapsible Solar Lantern
- Vont LED Camping Lantern
- Simpeak Hand Crank Solar Powered Flashlight
- GearLight LED Flashlight
7. Clothing and Footwear
Emergencies can occur in all different seasons and during all types of weather. Because of this, it’s crucial to have clothing and footwear on hand that will keep your body protected and your internal temperature stable.
Clothing that dries quickly and doesn’t retain sweat will allow you to stay cool. In addition, try to find clothes made out of breathable materials, especially if you often find yourself in warmer climates.
A piece of clothing like a pair of hiking pants that can zip off into shorts is a solid purchase because it allows you to adapt to changing weather conditions without getting overheated or becoming too cold.
Closed-toe shoes are also a must-have! Using shoes that will cover your toes and feet will not only help them stay warm, but it will also keep rocks, sticks, and other materials from injuring you.
These survival supplies should give you some great ideas of what to wear in an emergency:
- Jessie Kidden Women’s Quick Dry Long Sleeve Shirts
- BALEAF Men’s Long Sleeve Shirts
- Women’s Hiking Pants
- Jessie Kiddens Men’s Hiking Pants
- Merrell Men’s and Women’s Wool Everyday Half Cushion Socks
- Timberland Men’s White Ledge Mid Waterproof Ankle Boot
- Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe
8. Personal Hygiene
Staying clean and maintaining good hygiene is essential to having good health while you’re in survival mode.
Products like hand sanitizer and 2-in-1 body wash and shampoo can help you wash off and prevent the spread of germs in a compact and easy-to-use container.
While brushing your teeth may not be on the top of your list in a survival situation, it’s incredibly easy to pack a couple survival supplies that will save you from tooth decay and bad breath!
For example, toothpaste tablets take up no space at all and only require a little bit of water to do their job.
To get you thinking about personal hygiene products you’ll need to pack as survival supplies, we’ve included some of the best products here:
- Purell Hand Sanitizer Variety Pack
- Medline No-Rinse Body Wash and Shampoo
- Lingito Travel Toothbrush
- hello Toothpaste Tablets
9. Navigation and Orientation
If you’re lost in the wilderness or take a wrong turn in your car, you’ll need tools that provide orientation and navigation!
In this case, it’s crucial to have both digital and analog navigation and orientation tools that can get you back on track. An electronic GPS or tracker can be great if you have the battery power and signal necessary to operate it, but a classic compass will come in incredibly handy if all else fails.
For survival supplies that will help you find your way, take a look at this line-up of products:
10. Power Sources
Especially if you know you might run into a long-term survival situation like a power outage, you’ll need a power source to keep essential devices and equipment running.
A set of rechargeable batteries that come with their own charger is an amazing choice for smaller gadgets. The ability to power these batteries up when they run low is the gift that keeps on giving.
For charging larger items or multiple items at a time, a power station is your best bet. Some power stations even run on solar panels, so you can get them going free of electricity!
These survival supplies are some of the best when it comes to generating and maintaining power:
- Jackery Portable Power Station
- EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station (Solar Panel Optional)
- RunningSnail Emergency Crank Radio with LED Flashlight
- Mesqool Solar Hand Crank 5-Way Radio
- Energizer AA and AAA Battery Charger
While it’s not an official category of supplies, you won’t be able to use all of your survival supplies if they aren’t stored properly! Here are some things you should consider when figuring out where to put your emergency essentials.
The size of your storage container will likely depend on where you need to take your survival supplies as well as how many people you need to store supplies for.
For example, if you’re preparing for a camping trip, you may just want to pack an emergency backpack to carry along with you.
On the other hand, if you’re outfitting your home for a potential natural disaster or power outage, you could probably use a larger storage tub or bin.
Regardless of the size of your container, make sure that whatever you’re using as storage is waterproof and won’t let moisture sneak in and damage your survival supplies.
Check out some of our favorite storage options:
- Plano Storage Trunk w/ Wheels
- CleverMade Collapsible Storage Bins
- IRIS USA Clear Plastic Storage Bins
- EMDMAK Military Tactical Backpack
- Venture Pal 40L Hiking Backpack
Staying Prepared with Survival Supplies
Now that you’ve learned about the 10 emergency supply categories, you should have a solid idea of what you need to protect yourself and the people in your life from anything from a natural disaster to getting stranded on the side of the road.
Even if you’re lucky enough to not experience a survival situation, the materials that you’ll need for an emergency preparedness kit can be extremely helpful for solving smaller problems both while camping and in everyday life.
Start building or updating your collection of survival supplies today—your future self will thank you!