Having the gear is not enough, you also need the practice & skill to know how to use it well. It was worth it to practice these things (except the fire extinguisher.) It’s important to study how to use our gear as well as have it. BTW I’m an airport screener speaking loudly & slowly to confused passengers all day so please forgive the way I talk.
Shelter or warmth
Reflective “aluminized” (Mylar coated) space blanket or survival blanket to retain body heat (and signal)
Lightweight poncho for protection against wind and rain
“Tube tent” or bivvy bag
Tarp with grommets or tie-tapes (best if nylon or polyester)
Large plastic trash bag as poncho or expedient shelter roof
Ferrocerium rod (AKA “Metal match”, “Hot Spark”, “Firesteel”, “Magnesium fire starter”) and fire striker for fire-starting, Fire piston or Solar Spark Lighter
Waterproof matches or cigarette lighter
Cotton balls or pads smeared with petroleum jelly for fire starting (can be carried in 35 mm container or heat-sealed inside large diameter plastic straw)
Catalytic heater and bottled gas fuel
Health and first aid
First aid kit with:
Sterile combine dressing, and gauze pads
Adhesive tape, and gauze tape
Surgical razor or scalpel
Latex gloves (rubber if allergic to latex, to protect first aider against infection)
A 30 day supply of personal prescription medication
Epinephrine and antihistamines for allergic reactions, primarily to insect stings
Suture kit or sterile disposable surgical stapler
Oxytetracycline tablets (for diarrhea or infection)
Extra pair of prescription eyeglasses or contacts
Salt is an essential mineral for health. Salt containing potassium chloride, sold widely as low sodium salt, can be used to prevent dehydration from diarrhea and can save most cholera deaths. (See Oral rehydration therapy)
Multivitamin and mineral supplements. Zinc supplements are useful in treating diarrheal intestinal tract infections, especially in children.
Sunscreen (where appropriate, above 30 SPF)
100% UV protective sunglasses (“UV 400”) (protects eyes from harmful UV radiation. Polarized glasses are not necessarily UV protective, but aid with glare only)
Food and water
Water in sealed containers for dry areas, or water purification tablets or household
Heavy duty aluminum foil to create a distillation tube to remove salt from salt water during boiling/condensation. Must have another receptacle to collect condensate.
Canned food, Ready-to-eat meals (MRE), or high-energy foods such as chocolate or emergency food bars.
Fishing line and gear (fish hooks, lures, and split shot leads)
Gillnetting (for emergency fishing)
Signaling, navigation and reference
Since the primary goal of a survival kit for lost or injured persons is rescue, this part of the kit is the most essential.
High power LED light (able to have batteries replaced, and carry an extra battery), white lens, with signaling capabilities. Strobe versions are available for some lights. Use lithium cells only, due to superior shelf life.
Flare: three fires in a triangle is the international distress signal
Laser pointer with lithium batteries, for superior signaling range. Laser pointers have resulted in at least one rescue: during the night in August 2010 two men and a boy were rescued from marshland after their red laser pen was spotted by rescue teams.
Surveyor’s tape – orange or chartreuse for marking location for rescuers
Pen/pencil and paper for leaving notes to rescuers about direction of travel
Compass or analog watch – See direction finding using a watch
Trail maps/charts (if location is known in advance)
Survival manual for technique reference
Multipurpose tools or materials
Fixed-blade knife, or multitool such as a Swiss Army knife.
Heavy-duty needle and thread for repairing clothing and equipment
Red or orange plastic bag(s) or trash bags
Sturdy cord or “550” parachute cord for setting up a tarpaulinand snaring small animals
Hatchet with sheath for cold conditions, or machete for tropical conditions (shelter and fire)
Camp stove or some type of gas burner and fuel such as bottled propane or Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)
Candles for light, signaling, firestarting
Metal billycan or “water bottle” for water storage, boiling, purification, cooking
Compact saw such as Japanese style backsaw with coarse teeth (folding models available). Bow saws can quickly cut larger diameter limbs and small trees
Folding saw – a very versatile tool is the folding saw for cutting wood for the purposes of building, fire, walking aids, splints etc.