Survival kits can vary extensively in terms of what they contain. It’s important to know how to select a kit that best serves your needs. To do that it’s important to consider:
(A) where you are going,
(B) how many people are in your group
(C) what type of scenario do you want to be ready for.
When selecting a kit you should consider the circumstances in which you might need to use it. For example, there’s a big difference between a survival kit for your home, car, and one that you would take on a multiple-day camping trip in the backcountry.
It’s also important to consider how many members there are in your family or group (or if you are solo) and for what type of circumstances (ie. what type of essential tools are you looking for: medical, food, water, self-defense etc).
The following kits that we have picked out provide you with a wide variety of different types of kits, as we know that there is no single best kit, as each will be dependent upon the circumstances you are going to find yourself in and what type of emergency scenarios you are preparing for.
In order to come up with a list of the eleven best emergency survival kits, we scoured the internet and researched dozens of different types of kits, talked with friends who so happen to be outdoor survival gear fiends and we so happened to have a few of the kits ourselves so we were able to test them out to see for ourselves what the hype was all about.
Before we get started we should state that there is no Best Survival Kit, what is best will be up to the situation and what you are looking to use it for.
That being said, here are a list of 11 survival kits that we thought passed the test.
Best Survival Kit – Short List
- Monoki First Aid Survival Kit – Best Overall Survival Kit
- Emergency Zone 72 Hour Kit – 3 Day Emergencies
- EVERLIT 250 Pieces Kit – Best For Rugged Kit
- Always Prepared Emergency Kit – Best For the Car
- Sustain Supply Survival Kit – Best For Bug Out Bag
- S.O.L Traverse Tin – Best Outdoor Minimalist
- Gearrific 26 Piece Kit – Best For Camping
- ESEE Large Survival Kit Tin – Best For Survival
- PREP2GO Paracord Survival Grenade – Best For EDC
- KOSIN Kit – Best Tactical Kit
Best Survival Kits – The Long Version
1. Monoki First Aid Survival Kit
Best Overall Survival Kit
Dimensions: 8.82 x 5.98 x 3.43 inches.
Weight: 0.7 Kilograms
Material: High-quality EVA and nylon
Pros: Great value for money, Compact design, Waterproof case, Fit for any emergency, Multiple purpose usage
Description: The Monoki First Aid Survival Kit comes in a waterproof container that can easily be carried. It has up to 16 different multipurpose survival tools and 15 different medical supplies to assist you with any physical injuries.
This survival kit is an all-purpose kit that would come to the rescue in your home, office or outdoor location during an emergency.
This kit is our top choice because it offers a wide range of quick fixes in case of injuries even when in the most precarious of situations.
The Monoki First Aid Survival Kit provides you with medical supplies that can last for up to 5 years. This kit provides all the basics for dealing with wounds and preventing the chances of infection.
One feature that we like is that this kit comes in a compact and lightweight case. It is made from materials that are not only waterproof but also shockproof. Its contents can be organized and easily stored away.
Among other things, the Monoki First Aid Kit comes with fishing gear, a fire starter, and other materials that can help you prepare food in emergency situations. The best kits always contain good food provisions and this kit is well stocked!
Why we like it: It not only contains all the other survival essentials but just about everything else you might need. It is a kit highly rated just about everywhere you look.
2. Emergency Zone 72 Hour Survival Kit
Best For 3 Day Emergencies
Dimensions: 18.2 x 12.5 x 10.6 inches
Weight: 16.01 pounds
Pros: Highly durable kit, Great choice for emergencies, A discreet backpack, Ready-made food and water, Emergency gear included
Cons:Some of the contents in this kit are of not super quality
Description: Emergency Zone has loads of kits avilable and this one especially takes survival kits to the next level. The supplies are packed in a spacious backpack containing 12 different compartments.
This kit is easy to carry, does not weigh you down and can sustain 2 people adequately for up to 72 hours. Their food rations are tasty and require no preheating.
You have access to a first aid kit, survival gear, water purification tablets, a flashlight, and communication with weather protection materials.
However, don’t expect a premium bug-out bag as the quality and make of the backpack is quite ordinary. If you do not mind that and perhaps have your own bug-out bag, the Emergency Zone Survival Kit is a good choice.
This product comes highly rated as a good ‘grab and go’ bag by reviewers.
It is also customizable. Meaning you can add extra bits of gear you may be looking for here.
It’s great for real disaster emergency situations and was made with flood, fire and earthquake scenarios in mind.
Why we like it: It’s big. And Premium. Has pretty much everything you will need. That said it comes at a cost.
3. EVERLIT 250 Pieces Survival First Aid Kit
Best For Rugged Kit
Dimensions: 6.5 x 4 x 8 inches
Weight: 1.92 Pounds
Pros: It can supply a large number of people, Easily affordable, Comprehensive kit, Comes with high-quality tools, The kit is compact
Cons:It lacks wound cleaning materials and bandages
Description: The EVERLIT Kit is put together by a company that knows their stuff. The Kit is built to last and isnt just one of those use once and throw away type deals, its solidly made.
It also includes a great array of supplies (250) to be exact, though it may not feel like its really that much. It includes a first aid kit, survival tools, camping materials, and a bunch of other small resources.
It comes with mobile straps that allow it to be attached easily to any bag and also comes with some extra space for you to carry other essentials.
The bag was made with combat made ready in mind, which means military-grade EMT bag designed camo style with 1000D water-resistant nylon. Which means it’s thick.
Everlit Survival actually sells a load of cool stuff, with all of it tested, made, and owned in USA. They go above and beyond in their kits as shown as this kit goes above and beyond the OSHA Guidelines for single-family usage.
Why we like it: This one was close as our first pick. It has a wide variety of goods, well built, with a great price point that is stored in a compact case.
4. Always Prepared Premium Emergency Kit
Best For the Car
Dimensions: 12.8 x 8 x 5.7 inches.
Weight: 6 Pounds
Pros: Value for money, Best starter kit for car, Multipurpose features, Provides safety, The jumper cables are heavy-duty
Cons:The bag is small (or that could be a plus)
Description: Always Prepared Premium Emergency Kit is one of the best automotive kits you will come across. Why do you ask?
Well this little baggie contains 125 items that serve not only as a car kit but goes beyond what you would expect in a standard road emergency kit.
It comes with aid tape, bandages, antiseptic, gloves, booster cables, reflective vest and warning triangle, flashlight, light sticks, rain poncho, mylar blanket, amongst others.
Always Prepared Premium Kit also contains ‘life-saving’ booster cables that can get your car back on the road if the battery dies.
It also includes batteries and an entire road kit for your vehicle. However, this product is more of an emergency kit for your car than a first aid kit.
Why we like it: Car kits might be an overlooked emergency item, what’s nice about this one is that you have pretty much everything you would need in a tiny little bag.
5. Sustain Supply Survival Kit
Dimensions: 20.4 x 16.8 x 11 inches
Weight: 14.17 Pounds
Material: Durable nylon fabric
Pros: Contents last for 5 years, Great knife, High-quality products, Enough water and food to last for 3 days, Great supplies for warmth
Cons: Flimsy zipper, Cheaper flashlight
Description: Sustain Supply Survival Kit comes organized and all done up for you in a go-bag.
It provides quality gear from the looks of it, though you will have to pay the price for it. This kit is built to sustain two people for 72 hours in an emergency survival situation.
This Sustain Survival kit could be seen as a great addition to your go bag kit and comes with: packets of water, together with a complete first aid kit, enough food for two people for 3 days (12 Wise Company food servings), survival straws to filter water, SnapLights, lantern, emergency blankets, portable stove, together with 2 bowls and utensils and a badass MoraKniv knife.
What makes this one different than all the rest is that it comes with a ferrocerium rod and a InstaFire tinder.
Why we like it: The kit comes with a legit bag, one that you would actually like to have. This may not be a full kit with all the bells and whistles but reviews say the food tastes great so what more could you ask for.
6. S.O.L Traverse Tin
Dimensions: 6.25 x 4 x 1.5 inches (15.5 x 10 x 3.75 cm)
Weight: 6.1oz (173g)
Pros: Great tin, almost waterproof, Tin has a bit of spare room to be adapted to your needs, Great quality waterproof survival blanket can double up as a tarp to make a lean-to, Firestarter works one-handed, Extremely lightweight
Cons: Sparks from fire starter don’t quite compare to rod-style striker, No flashlight
Description: The Survive-Outdoors-Longer’s S.O.L. Traverse Survival Kit Tin, is a product that will do exactly what the company sets out to do; help you survive the wilderness for longer.
Considering it is a very budget kit, we have been very impressed by the quality of the items it contains its portability, and the overall design. As mentioned above, the choice of a metal tin itself provides utility.
The most impressive of the SOL kit contents is the rip-proof survival blanket which can double up nicely as a light tarp for a simple 1 man shelter.
The blanket is a bright orange color making it great to attract help and it even has instructions on how to build a shelter printed on the side.
The other contents are excellent too, in fact unlike many other kits there’s nothing from this kit we wouldn’t bring with us.
The Spark-Lite fire starter is not the usual style striker, yet works surprisingly well and needs only one hand to use, ideal if you’re injured.
The instructions in the kit are very useful and can provide invaluable advice for those in survival situations unsure how to proceed.
One downside is the kit is a bit short on water purification tablets (which would likely be used within a day) and Tinder Quik fire starters. We recommend buying extra and stuffing them in there.
Why we like it: Overall S.O.L has done a great job designing a kit that provides genuine survival value from the moment you open it.
7. Gearrific 26 Piece Kit
Dimensions: 6.81 x 4.17 x 2.09 inches (17 x 19.5 x 5.3 cm)
Weight: 15.2oz (430g)
Pros: Watertight case, Quality compass, Excellent flashlight, Affordable, Decent fishing gear
Cons: Some unneeded items, Rescue blanket tears easily, Weak tourniquet
Description: Gearrific has put together a very decent survival kit that packs great value considering its very affordable price range.
Some of the items are not what we’d consider essential for wilderness survival but they can still be useful in other survival situations.
The kit comes in a surprisingly long case which isn’t particularly easy to carry on or attach to your body. The case is completely waterproof from the outside but provides no other functionality once the contents have been removed.
If you remove the supporting foam that comes with it, you’ll get some spare room to add extra survival essentials specific to your environment.
What we like about the Gearrific kit is that most of the contents are of good, survival quality.
The striker provides solid sparks, the drop-proof compass points north, the flashlight is excellent, the whistle is loud, the fishing gear is quite adequate, and the signal mirror is sturdy and has the essential aiming hole in it.
We would have really loved this kit if they’d left out some of the more gimmicky items that provide less immediate survival value and swapped out for others or upgraded.
There are certain items that we wouldn’t take with us, like the pen, wire-saw, tourniquet, and those pins and clips. Sadly, this kit assumes you know what you’re doing as there are no survival instructions.
Why we like it: For the price, it does give some excellent survival gear and is a worthy consideration despite it not being on the cheaper side.
8. ESEE Large Survival Kit Tin
Dimensions: 2.75 in. x 4.25 in. by 7 in (7 x 10.8 x 17.8 cm)
Weight: 7oz (198g)
Pros: Very lightweight considering the amount of contents, Best striker in a premade kit, Top tier, reliable contents, Nice survival instructions
Cons: Expensive, Some items might not be needed in all situations
Description: ESSE, known for their top-quality outdoor knives, also have an extensive collection of wilderness survival kits that are built by survivalists for survivalists.
ESEE doesn’t cut corners in their kits and all their kits include some of the most reliable brands in the outdoors industry.
This does however mean that their products come at quite a premium. Ask yourself though, does survival have a price?
The ESEE Large Survival Kit Tin really the piece-de-resistance of survival kits and is our favorite from them.
We would normally avoid premade kits with knives and multitool, yet the Candiru blade and the Swiss Multitool in this kit are exceptional and provide great all-around utility.
The ferrocerium striker is incredibly robust and produces great sparks.
The compass is accurate and dependable, they provide ample brass wire for snares, watertight zip-lock bags for storing tinder and collecting water, the top-tier Noor survival mirror, a loud whistle, plenty of fire-starting tools, and excellent fishing gear with its own separate tin.
All of these items have been rigorously tested and will likely last you for many years.
Why we like it: We admit, the kit isn’t cheap… but it is possibly one of the best all-around premade kit on the market. Why we didn’t put it a the top of the list was only because of the price tag.
Side note: For those with a tighter budget or maybe not in need of the blade, multitool and other premium items, do consider their mini kit which is jam-packed with a lot of the same top quality gear the large tin contains for a fraction of the price.
9. PREP2GO Paracord Survival Grenade
Dimensions: 3.75 x 2.25 x 0.75 inches (9.5 x 5.7 x 2 cm)
Weight: 4.8oz (136g)
Pros: Great clip-on design, Extremely lightweight, Good fishing gear, Good quality 550 paracord, Ferro rod works well despite having no handle, Decent amount of trap wire
Cons: Can’t get items out casually. Once it’s open, it’s very difficult to rebuild the monkey fist
Description: We were a bit skeptical at first with the PREP2GO survival grenade. There are a few other paracord survival grenades out on the market but none as affordable as this one.
For those who don’t know, a survival grenade is a container wrapped in paracord using a monkey’s fist knot.
Not only is this style of survival kit extremely portable but it provides good lengths of highly useful paracord when open.
The downside of this design is they take a long time to put back together, even for those who know the knot. This means it is not convenient to take the items out just to experiment with which goes against our rule #2 of survival kits, getting to know your kit.
This means there’s a bit of a gamble involved, which is not a word anyone likes to hear when talking life-or-death situations.
The Prep 2 Go Grenade managed to pack a lot of valuable items into a tiny space. The super-compact flint and striker are well thought out and work well.
The fishing kit comes with a 30ft line which can also double up as thread if need be with the needle. The 4 purification tablets are very welcome as is the carabina-style hook.
The blade is sharp but tiny and would be difficult to do anything other than cut rope or prep game with. The tourniquet is subpar as the paracord would do a better job anyway.
Why We Like it: Overall considering the price and cheap marketing we were pleasantly surprised. It’s not our go to recommendation for survival kit but it definitely has its place for those seeking an ultralight backup plan.
10. KOSIN Kit
Dimensions: 6.3 x 4.3 x 1.9 inches (16 x 11 x 4.8 cm)
Weight: 1.4 lbs (635g)
Pros: Compass is not button, works well enough, Flashlight is bright (no batteries supplied), Waterproof case, Knife is surprisingly good
Cons: Blanket tears easily, Heavy, Some redundant items for wilderness survival
Description: We tend to turn our nose up at survival kits with non-multi-function cases, yet the KOSIN Kit stood out.
Although quite big, quite heavy and with a lot of the popular items that we would never use in a survival situation there’s no denying that the items inside are of good quality, even the blade is passable by survival standards.
The case is waterproof but feels a bit like it could snap if dropped, especially when it’s fully packed as it is a bit cramped.
There are a few noteworthy tools that make this kit stand out, these are: the compass which actually works, the firestarter, the main flashlight which has a very nice brightness and longevity, the whistle and even the wire saw seem to be better than the usual ones.
We would have loved to have seen some water purification tablets, watertight bags, some instructions and a signal mirror instead of the water bottle clip, “survival pen” and screwdrivers but, this is always something that can be done aftermarket.
Why we like it: For those seeking a casual kit to chuck in the car for the “if and when” situation, this might be the kit for you. In a true wilderness survival situation, however, there are many items we wouldn’t even touch.
Best Survival Kit Buyers Guide
What is a Survival Kit?
It is little known that an essential part of any survival gear is a dedicated survival kit, no matter the situation. There is a bit of a misconception about what survival kits are and what they’re used for. In recent years they’ve become a trendy gift to give to outdoorsy friends or relatives, and as a result, the emphasis on the survival aspect of the kit has been degraded.
It seems that most pre-made survival kits now contain a thousand and one different low-quality items for prices less than what you would be paying for a quality survival knife.
These kits look and sound cool but in our tests, the vast majority are completely inadequate and poorly designed for real survival situations.
If you really care about the life of the person you are gifting to, do them a favor and get them a real kit. A kit that will actually help guide them back to safety when the going gets rough, rather than slow them down with useless junk.
Think of a survival kit like a pandora's box that should only be used when absolutely necessary
It will therefore contain all the best quality tools to help you to do one thing, increase your odds of survival. We can’t stress this enough.
Because emergencies cannot be planned for and you don’t know what you will have at your disposal at the time, the kit will be a collection of tools that will allow you best to improvise and solve the task at hand with the bare minimum.
To further increase your odds of survival there are two things you can do before the plan goes devastatingly wrong:
- Before buying – make sure your kit has relevant items that you can trust your life with.
- After buying – make sure you know what’s in your kit and how to use it effectively
What to consider when trying to select the best survival kit?
There are a number of factors to consider when purchasing any survival product. First, it is always best to begin by understanding some of the important factors and potential issues related to purchasing a survival kit. To avoid cheap products that are unreliable or getting the wrong product for your actual needs, we have listed below a number of factors to consider.
Most survival kits come in backpacks or cases however the most popular ones are backpacks. Therefore the first thing to consider is the material with which the backpack is made in order to determine its quality and durability. A backpack made of nylon fabric is generally the best but there is a big quality range with this type of fabric.
Having a backpack with flimsy material is a real headache since the supplies it carries can be damaged or even spoiled.
A water-resistant or waterproof backpack is definitely recommended. Always make sure that it has good straps and enough padding so that carrying it doesn’t become painful. Your uncomfortable survival pack won’t be much use to you if no one wants to carry it along. Therefore a good backpack is an essential consideration when selecting the best survival kit for your needs.
See more: Best Bug Out Bags
The size of the backpack and its weight is also an important factor. Certain backpacks only work well for taller people for example. Moreover, you want to make sure you don’t carry more weight than your body structure can handle.
There’s no use in having all the imaginable emergency gear if you can’t carry your load with ease when disaster strikes. You should always only carry a manageable weight that still allows you to be light on your feet and able to run, crouch and navigate your surroundings easily. Thus, size really does matter.
All of the following factors will ultimately boil down to one thing, portability. Can you afford to carry dead weight or not? What kind of storage capacity are you working with?
For those who are traveling light, we would advise a very strict, minimalistic approach to the survival kit, where even something like an unneeded safety pin can be ignored.
This is because anything inside your kit that is not strictly aiding your survival is dead weight and is therefore slowing you down, whether in or out of a survival situation.
For those able to carry more, either traveling in a group or by vehicle, your choice of survival kit can either be completely different or just a more generous form of the lightweight ones which carries more of the highly useful materials such as tinder, duct tape, paracord & others.
Variety of a Kit
Your chosen survival kit should be one containing a wide range of supplies to assist you in a variety of emergencies. A good supply of food, first aid, and basic utility materials and tools should all be included in the kit of your choice.
Of course, all the best survival kits include an ample supply of food and water which are basic and fundamental in helping you rejuvenate and regain strength during an emergency or disaster.
Regarding food, one factor to consider is whether you want ready-made supplies or ingredients that will help you prepare your own food. A good first aid kit is also a must in order to help you take care of any possible injuries.
What is the cost?
You should carefully consider your budget before purchasing any kit. Always look for a price range that you can afford, keeping in mind any specific needs you might have. It is always best to pay a little more for a higher quality kit.
The benefits are much greater when it comes to long-lasting and tried and tested brands.
Cheap equipment that breaks and which doesn’t make it through the whole journey is pointless. Your kit should ‘survive’ and be in a good condition when the time actually comes to use it.
Therefore, regardless of how much stuff comes in the kit and how low the cost might be, always prioritize quality above all else.
Ease of mobility
Some survival kits are best suited for your car or home, while others are designed for hiking or other outdoor adventures. Some have supplies enough for a whole family while others are tailored to a solo individual.
Regardless of what it can be used for, ease of transportation should always be considered. Any backpack kit for example should always be comfortable and simple to adjust and carry.
What makes a kit “lifesaving”?
Glad you asked. Saying a survival kit is a container of outdoor-related tools is just touching the tip of the iceberg. It needs to have the correct balance of functionality to weight, while being designed to handle only situations relevant to your surroundings.
There are many factors to consider when identifying what kind of survival kit is appropriate for your situation.
Situation: Where are you headed?
For a wilderness survival kit to serve you best you have to know what you intend to do with it. Are you facing the outdoors solo or in a group?
Are you an adventurous outdoorsman/woman who needs that safety line when lost in unfamiliar territory or a preparing driver who would keep the kit in your car in case of an emergency?
The contents and even the type of kit will vary a lot on what your use case is. For the former type we would advise an ultralight approach, whereas one of the more popular “all-in-one” kits could be a valuable asset for the latter type.
Reliability: Is it Durable?
A lot of survival kits on the market pack in a ton of items, many of which are inadequate for real survival situations. When deciding which kit to buy remember that we are talking about real survival here, which means situations that could mean life or death.
A good wilderness survival kit will have items that you can trust with your life, so if you ever did end up stranded for days on end with only your kit, you’d survive.
It’s for this reason that if you do end up with some components that aren’t survival-worthy, we recommend leaving them out and not having to carry around something that could quickly be dead weight or even worse… break on you in a time of dire need.
Contents: What’s in it?
We have already covered what to look for in our Things You Must Have To Survive In The Wild.
There are a few items common in premade kits that we feel often aren’t necessary. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t be carrying any (or many) duplicate tools. Quality over quantity goes a long way in the wild outdoors, and while quality tools cost more, they do their job.
There are two items that we recommend you buy separately from your survival kit and carry on your person at all times. These are a quality knife, machetes and a multi-tool.
The following items are items we feel either don’t get the respect they deserve or have no place in many survival kits. Watch out for:
- Inadequate tinder either in quantity or quality
- Weak non paracord rope
- Useless compasses
- Inadequate quantities of wire & duct tape
- “Survival Pens”
- Survival cards (hit and miss, depends on the person)
See more: Best Survival Watches
Case: How to carry it?
Lastly, it’s important to mention that a survival kit’s carrying case is an important part of the kit. Consider that when disaster strikes you will likely want to carry all the kit’s contents on your body for quick access. At that point what purpose does the case serve?
It’s for this reason that multi-purpose cases, preferably metal ones capable of acting as water storage and boiling solutions, are ideal. Waterproof pouch-style kits are also a good option as they can be used for collecting water or keeping tinder dry.
Environment: What’s it like?
The one thing that we always mention, is where’s the survival situation likely going to take place? What kind of climate are you preparing for? What resources are available to you?
As always, your environment determines a large part of what you should carry. You don’t want to be carrying gear that’ll likely never get used, no matter how compact it may seem.
An example of this is fishing gear, which, for the most part, is a must have in a survival kit. It should, however, be disregarded if surviving in barren lands with very few bodies of water.
See more: Best Survival Food kits
If you have a look online for premade kits, you will see a ton of cheap kits with a million and one item claiming to do it all.
It’s a shame really because the creators of these kits clearly have no idea just how essential a survival kit is and what it takes to survive the wilderness when the going gets rough.
They might look appealing to many but we definitely wouldn’t bet our own lives on them.
That’s why we felt it was important to share what purpose a survival kit holds, how it affects your chances of survival and what kits are worthy of trusting your life with.
The kits we share here are all effective survival gear and will not let you down when needed most.
Remember that buying a well-prepared kit is one thing, knowing how to use it is another. If you want to really increase your chances of handling any situation make sure you know your kit inside out & customize it for your environment.
That way you know that no matter what happens, if you have your kit, you’ll be able to survive.