Surviving in the wild without your creature comforts is never going to be easy, but there are plenty of practical tools out there to help you get by. We’ve rounded up some of the most useful survival kit must-haves, including essentials like water filters, multi-tools and first aid kits.
While most of these survival kit accessories are small and lightweight, they could end up saving your life, or making it a whole lot easier. So they’re well worth including in your pack, to help with everything from navigating to preparing meals and getting through natural disasters like fires and floods.
Planning a camping adventure? We have plenty of practical tips, product round-ups and advice in our camping section.
10 survival kit essentials
SAS Survival Guide: How to Survive in the Wild, on Land or Sea
You can have all the gadgets and gizmos you need, but if you don’t know basic survival skills, you won’t last long in an emergency situation. So, a pocketbook full of tips and tricks is a good place to start. This one comes from John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman, who spent 26 years in the SAS and became its Chief Survival Instructor.
Inside, you’ll find instructions on all the key aspects of surviving in the wild, from navigation and setting up camp to self-defence and dealing with emergencies like floods and fires.
Lifesystems Adventurer First Aid Kit
There’s a huge selection of first aid kits available to buy online, each with a different selection of supplies inside, and Lifesystems’ range is particularly practical. This bag comes with all the basics, including wound dressings and scissors, cleansing wipes, paracetamol and even inspection gloves.
To make sure your essential supplies stay dry during poor weather, flash flooding or rafting adventures, don’t forget to invest in a first aid kit dry bag.
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
The LifeStraw is just 22cm long and weighs 57g, so keeping it in your bag to access safe drinking water is a no-brainer. Just dip the end into any water supply and suck up the fluid through the filter. It’ll protect you from 99.999% of bacteria and parasites, including E.coli, Salmonella and Giardia. Plus, it’ll get rid of 99.999% of microplastics, grit and cloudiness.
A long-lasting bit of survival gear, the LifeStraw will filter up to 4,000 litres of water, which is enough to keep you going for five years in the wild.
Lifesystems Stormproof Matches
Lighting a fire can be one of the trickiest tasks in any survival scenario, and even trusty matches can let us down when the weather turns. Happily, these hardy ones should do the job on even the stormiest of days.
You get 25 matches in the pack, each of which burn for around 20 seconds. They come in a heavy-duty polycarbonate container with three strike panels. The entire set is just 7.5cm long and weighs just 60g, so it’s well worth keeping in your bag.
Reusable Survival Blanket
If you find yourself in climates with extreme temperatures, a survival blanket could save your life by keeping your body temperature consistent.
This option is particularly practical, as it’s reusable and reversible. In cold weather, make sure the gold side is facing out to protect yourself against hypothermia. For hot days, keep the silver side facing up to deflect the sun’s rays.
Victorinox Swiss Champ Knife
This little gadget packs 33 different tools into a single pocket-sized accessory weighing just 185g and measuring 9.1cm long. So, it definitely deserves a place in your survival kitbag.
Its many tools include tweezers, scissors and wire cutters, as well as a fish scaler, screwdriver and nail file. There’s even a ballpoint pen and a magnifying glass.
Compare other multitools in our round-up of best multi-tools for outdoor adventures.
Lifesystems Mountain Whistle
In dire situations, alerting people nearby could be your only option, and a whistle can help you get their attention with relatively little effort. Opt for a metal version for durability and sustainability. This one can produce up to 100 Decibels of sound.
In colder climates, go for a plastic whistle, which will be more comfortable to use than a metal version.
There’s no need to go without dessert when you’re in a survival situation, as this pack of freeze-dried rice pudding proves. Just open the sachet, fill with boiling water and stir. After nine minutes, it’ll be re-hydrated and ready to eat.
There are lots of other meal options available to buy online, so you could stock up on a few varieties for your survival kit bag. Other popular options include vegetarian soup, chicken goulash and raspberry crumble.
Incognito Insect Repellent
Insect repellent should stop you suffering from annoying, itchy red bites, but it could also save your life if it keeps dangerous mosquitos away.
This deet-free formula repels a whole range of biting insects, including mosquitoes, midges, sandflies, horseflies, ticks and many more, for five hours. Its made from natural essential oils, plus an active ingredient known as citrapel 75 (PMD) that comes recommended by the NHS and Public Health England. What’s more, the bottle is made from sugarcane plastic, which has a positive carbon footprint and is recyclable.
Incognito is so successful as a product, it is also available in roll-on form, as a suncream-repellent hybrid, a shower gel and as incense sticks. It is safe to use on children, and smells fantastic, unlike many insect repellents.
Ultra Compact Survival Emergency Fishing Kit
At just 138g, this 15cm-long fishing kit tin works hard in your survival kit bag, and should be incredibly handy when it comes to preparing fresh food.
There are 15 different types of fishing gear inside, yet everything fits neatly into a pocket-sized tin. You’ll get a 25ft fishing line and 25ft of nylon thread, as well as 10 barbed hooks, 14 weights and four screw-in eyelets to make a fishing rod from branches.
Plus, there’s rubber bait, glow sticks and a hook remover.
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