How To Build Your Own Mini Survival Kit

Putting together your own mini survival kit doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Follow the advice given in this article and you will be able to put together a high quality kit that is better than anything they sell in stores at a fraction of the price!

Why Bring a Mini Survival Kit?

If you ever go hiking and find yourself stranded in the wilderness you should be able to rely on your survival kit to keep you alive for a few days. This small kit should be packed full of only the most useful survival aids that will help you stay alive and well until your rescue arrives.

Even if you lose your backpack and all your main equipment your survival kit should provide you the resources to survive. The majority of survival situations are resolved within 72 hours but you should be ready to survival for weeks on the contents of your kit.

Survival Kits – Custom vs. Store-bought:

If put together properly a custom survival kit is much better than the commercial store-bought variety. Only you know what environment you are venturing into, with this knowledge you should be able to decide what items are useful and which are needlessly weighing you down. Generic survival kits usually include impractical items you don’t need, most of the time these kits are also made up of inferior quality products and have a high chance of failing you when you need them the most.

So Many Choices, But Only A Limited Space:

Take some time to review the list below. Choose only the most crucial contents that will help to ensure your survival.

You will ideally want items from each of the main aspects of survival: fire starters, food, water purification, shelter, signals, first aid, navigation and general tools. Remember that your mini survival kit should be kept as small as possible.


  • Swiss Army Knife – This classic survival multi-tool always comes in handy.
  • Illumination Signal – Pyrotechnic smoke signal, basically a hand held firework that will shoot smoke 200 yards in the air and signal rescuers.
  • Duct Tape – A few feet of duct tape rolled around a pen may come in handy.
  • Magnetic Compass – Navigational tool, definitely an essential!
  • Signaling Mirror – Device used to reflect the sun at passing boats and aircraft.
  • Plier Multi-Tool – Multiple tools in one compact item. Test it’s durability beforehand to ensure it wont fail you later on when you need to rely on it.
  • Pocket Sized Survival Manual – Offers very good, relevant information. Everything you need to know from what to do once you find yourself in a survival situation to what plants and insects are edible in your region.
  • Mountain Climbing Hook – Generally a useful item to bring along.
  • Paracord – Essential item. Usually you won’t be able to fit the paracord in your kit so the best work around is to wrap it around your kit.
  • Signaling Whistle – The sound from a whistle can travel farther distances than yelling and takes very little energy to use.
  • Water Purifying Straw – Compact water purification device. Essential.
  • Snare Wire – Great for snaring rabbits and other small game.
  • Mini LED Flashlight – High powered, compact flashlight.
  • Halazone Tablets – These water purification tablets will help to purify any water you find in the wilderness. Boiling is best but these tablets are an acceptable substitute.
  • Salt Pack – Your body needs salt to function properly, when in the wilderness you may develop a deficiency from lack of salt. Pack a small baggy of wet gray sea salt, it’s loaded with essential minerals that your body needs. Only use it if you have a plentiful supply of water since salt will dehydrate you.
  • Dental Floss – Some recommend packing dental floss as it may prove useful when tying your shelter supports together, however I find snare wire and fishing line are much better choices.
  • Tin Foil – Cooking material, can also be used to signal rescuers.
  • First Aid Gauze – Used to bandage large wounds.
  • Antiseptic Wipes – Used to disinfect wounds.
  • Latex Gloves – Great for holding water, attending to injuries.
  • Baking Soda – Mix a small amount with water to help you rehydrate. Can also be mixed into a paste that offers relief from itchy bug bites.
  • Piece of Crayon – Used to mark trees, this will help rescuers track you.
  • Safety Pins – Can be used to secure items to your clothing or shelter, makeshift fishing hook. Multiple uses.
  • Waterproof Strike Anywhere Matches – Essential fire starting item. Test your matches each time before going out into the wilderness to make sure they still work. These DO expire.
  • Energy Bar – Can be eaten after a couple of days if you don’t find food.
  • Razor Blade – Great for making high precision cuts, takes up little space.
  • Herbal Tea Bag – Will help energize you. Avoid any product that contains caffeine because it will dehydrate you.
  • Band-Aids – Covers wounds, will keep cuts clean & lowers risk of infection.
  • Candle Stub – Effective fire starter, can be used in a small enclosed space such as a shelter or cave to generate heat.
  • Mini Wire Saw – Rope saw with two ring handles. Will allow you to cut down a small tree with less effort than using a knife or machete.
  • Fire Steel – Essential item for starting fires, works even when wet!
  • Heavy Duty Garbage Bag – Can be used as a roof for a small shelter.
  • Mini Strobe Light – Night time signaling device.
  • Chemical Hand Warmers – Great for keeping your hands warm in the cold.
  • Orange Surveying Ribbon – Used to mark trees, this will help rescuers track your movement through the woods once the search is underway.
  • Aspirin – Small yet effective painkiller.
  • Neosporin – Non prescription topical antibiotic. Anti-bacterial properties, enhanced wound healing, minimizes scars, long lasting protection against infections.
  • BIC Lighter – Cheap, reliable lighter.
  • First Aid Tape – Good to use in combination with Neosporin and medical gauze to treat large wounds that cannot be covered by a bandage.
  • Bouillon Cubes – Small, compact cube of food that packs lots of energy.
  • Chemical Light Sticks – Night time signaling item.
What Container Makes the Best Custom Kit:

When selecting your container make sure it is compact, easily visible, lightweight, waterproof and extremely strong. Your container will have to be comfortable because you will need to have it on you for long periods of time, make sure it can be stored snugly on your person with little space to move around.

Some survivalists turn a small mint tin into a mini survival kit, this container is not bad but it has a very limited amount of storage space. It can give you a false sense of security, especially if you’re an inexperienced outdoorsman. Remember that smaller is definitely better unless – just make sure you can fit your best survival gear.

Keep an eye out for the perfect container. I personally use a 6” x 3” x 2” snap lock airtight case which I bought off eBay and made some modifications to it to best suit my needs.

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