Survival kits can be used in many different situations but obviously their main goal is survival. Whether you are stranded after a powerful hurricane or you’ve lost your way after a day of hiking, having the best survival kit can literally be the difference between life and death.

Choosing the best survival gear is vitally important then if you want the best back-up emergency plan possible. There is a lot to consider here though such as whether your kit should be more weighted towards food or supplies as well as considering the size of kit among other factors.

We’re here to go through all of these decisions with you and have created a buying guide to answer all of your questions. We have also looked at the survival kit reviews to show you the best products that are out there. Once you’ve read through this guide you’ll have a clear idea of exactly what you want.

How To Choose A Survival Kit – Buying Guide



The size of your emergency kit is critical to your buying decision because they come in a whole range of different sizes which are used depending on the situation that you are going to be in and how many people you are going to be caring for in your group. It could just be that you’re on your own or you might be trying to keep your whole family alive, either way, size is a crucial factor.

If you’re going to be backpacking and need a hiking survival kit, for example, then you can’t be carrying around another large backpack with you as this will be far too heavy and inconvenient to take with you. While it would be ideal for you to be able to carry a whole range of emergency supplies, in reality it’s not going to be a very practical solution.

This is why with this type of camping survival kit they generally don’t come with any food or water as they would be far too heavy to carry. In these types of situation you would probably be comfortable enough to find your own food and boil off your own water and therefore they don’t have these included and instead give you all of the tools you need to survive.

If you’re waiting out a storm, hurricane or tornado for example then you’re not going to be in a position to go out hunting for food and therefore you need a selection of food and water included in your emergency kit. These types of family survival kits enable you to have enough food and water for 72 hours and come in different sizes depending on the number of people you need to care for.

The key point here though is that as you’re not doing an activity such as hiking and you won’t need to carry anything else, the bag can be as large as it needs to be as it’ll be the only thing that you need in order to survive. So if you’re keeping it in your home or in your car then size becomes much less of an issue as you won’t be having to carrying it for long distances.

The size of your survival kit will generally come down to what type of emergency you are preparing for. Many things can happen while you’re in your home, your car or out there hiking so you have to be able to prepare for each individual circumstance.

You just need to be smart and work out what you need. If you’re out there on a hike then you don’t want to be carrying an extra heavy backpack so therefore you want to ensure that you’re choosing a size that not only matches the disaster your prepared for but also the activity that you’re doing.


It’s always important to know exactly what you want to use your survival kit for so that you can have the appropriate items that you need whenever disaster strikes. Each event would require different things and you don’t want to have a fire starter when you’re in a basement if you’re trying to survive a hurricane and equally you wouldn’t be bothered about having a shaving razor when you’re out there in the wild.

In something like a tornado or a hurricane, for example, if you’ve not evacuated then it might be because you have a basement or some other type of protection from the disaster. In this type of situation you could well be without food, water and entertainment but you know that it’s only going to be for a short period of time.

For that reason, getting something like a 72 hour survival kit would be ideal as you’d have access to food and water with your pouches so you’ll be able to wait it out until it’s safe to go back to the surface once again. In these instances you don’t want much more than the food and drink that is going to sustain you but a first aid kit could be a great help as would items such as a torch.

If you’re out in the wild on a hike or some other adventure then you are not going to be taking a vast amount of reserves of food and water with you as this is going to be too difficult to carry and would add too much extra weight. If you get caught in an emergency in these types of situations then you’ll most likely be carrying a kit that is going to easily kit into your existing backpack along with your other items.

Due to this need to carry something with has a lot lower profile and a lower weight, in an emergency you’d be expected to find your own food and water and will be given the tools to do so with knives, wire cutters and fishing lines. As far as water goes, having a water filtration bottle would be a very useful item to have with you. If you’re out there in the wild then it’s likely that you’re already going to have a good amount of survival knowledge already.

In an emergency you can use these skills to keep going for as long as you possibly can. As well as these basic survival items, it would also be a good idea to ensure you have some signals so that you are found more quickly such as a whistle and a compass.

It could also be that you face some sort of disaster whereby you have to evacuate your home for any reason such as a pandemic, wildfire or flood. Here you would have little idea of what shelter that you’d be able to find and what type of situation that you’re going to be in. In these events you can grab your backpack from your home or your car and head out to safety.

Having an emergency tent or an emergency blanket in this situation could be very useful as it would give you a shelter over your head and some warmth where otherwise you might not be able to get it. In this type of survival mode it’d also be useful to have some food and water available as it’s likely that you’re going to be waiting out another disaster.


As far as individual items in your survival kit go, this is where again you need to think ahead to what specific survival that you’re planning for. It’s not good enough to just get one for the sake of it as when an actual disaster strikes you may well find yourself with the wrong items at the wrong time.

One of the biggest decisions to make is whether you need food and water. While the question may seem obvious, as everyone needs food and water, it isn’t always that clear. Water especially weighs a lot so if you’re going to be carrying anything for a long distance then the water might actually become a hindrance to your survival attempt. An answer to this is to have a water filtration system and an ability to make your own food.

While some items many only really suit one set of circumstances, there are a few which will actually suit a lot of different scenarios and one of them is light. Whether you’re locked away in your basement, evacuating your home or lost out in the woods, having a light could be vital. While a battery operated one may last you for a while, having a solar powered light or one that has a crank would be a great option.

If you’re in survival mode then there is a good chance that you will need to be rescued. In order for that to happen you want to make yourself as loud and visible as possible. The types of items that you’re looking for in this respect are a whistle which is important as well as anything that lights up such as a glow stick or an LED light.

As we have mentioned before, if you’re out hiking then you probably won’t have a lot of water or food on you and you will need to be innovative in order to survive. This is where you need a much more hands-on kit which includes the likes of a wire saw, multi-use tools, fire starters, fishing lines and hooks so that you are able to take care of yourself.

Whether you’re in your basement, in evacuation mode or out in the wild, if you’re in an emergency situation then it could well mean that injuries have happened or could happen. In all situations having a first aid kit would be useful so that you can treat any injuries right away and help to avoid infections or further damage. Or terms of protecting yourself emergency tents, ponchos and blankets can also be very useful.

As ever, you need to match your items to your situation. There are other options such as a toothbrush, dust masks, rope, scissors and others which can all be useful in their individual way. It’s a good idea to compare and contrast products just to make sure that you’re getting everything that you need. Of course individual items can be bought but this wouldn’t be ideal.


While cost can vary quite differently from one product to another but that is generally down to the type they are as the options that come in a backpack will tend to have a lot more items which include the specialist food and water that they provide.

The cheaper models are generally those types which will be able to fit into your backpack to take around with you when you’re hiking and won’t include the more expensive options of the food and water and will instead be full of vital pieces of equipment which will be able to help you survive for a long time.

Even between these two main types though there can be a lot of difference in price and this is where you need to compare and contrast the two to see what’s missing and what you need. Following on from this it’s great to check user reviews to see if people think that a product is overrated or good value. You don’t want to go without any key items though so it would well be worth paying that little bit extra or buying those items separately.



Q: Where Should I Keep My Survival Kit?


Before you answer this question, you first need to ask what is it you need your survival kit for. If you are worried about tornados for example then a great place to put it would be down in your basement as this would be cool and dry and will be able to keep your goods lasting for a long time.

If you are worried about a hurricane which might cause a flood or an immediate evacuation then you obviously wouldn’t want it in a basement and instead a great place would simply be somewhere it is very easy to access such as a kitchen where you can grab it and get out immediately.

If you’re hiking then this is obviously less of a concern as the survival kit will just be able to sit in the bottom of your bag and just be pulled out when you really need to use it. Wherever it is, you just want to make sure that it doesn’t limit your survival. You don’t want to be having to rush around your home trying to remember where you left it, and also make sure that everyone in your home knows where it is.

Q: What Is Most Important To My Survival?


If you’re in a survival mode where you are trying to wait out a natural disaster then the most important thing to your survival is going to be food and water. Everything else is secondary to this so that will be your primary focus. After that you want to focus on other aspects that are going to let you survive you as long as possible such as shelter, warmth and distress signals.

The same still applies for survival kits that don’t directly include food and water as they need to give you the means to be able to get your own food and water with such things as filtration systems, fire starters and fishing lines. These kit are great for giving you everything that you need when it comes to your survival.

Q: What Do People mean when they refer to ‘SHTF’?

A: SHTF stands for Stuff Hits The Fan . . . or a variation which might include a curse word instead of ‘stuff’. What it refers though is that apocalyptic point in time where everything goes wrong and all the world can do is survive. For many people this feels so unlikely that it’s not even worth mentioning while others feel like it’s a very real possibility. Whatever your reason for wanting to prepare for survival, it’s always a great idea to be prepared for whatever might happen as you never know when SHTF.

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Having a survival kit could literally be the difference between life and death and it makes sense to be prepared for anything that might happen. This is especially important if you live in an area where natural disasters might happen. You could be on the west coast and have the threat of earthquakes, in the center and know that a tornado would happen at any time or on the east coast and brace for the ever-increasing threat of hurricanes.

That is only three examples of what could happen as well and there is a lot to worry about. While in some ways we live in a scary world, we also live in one where technological advances make survival easier than ever where high-calorie and sustainable food can be put into small packets, fire starters can small enough to attach to your key ring and there are multi-use tools which can do all manner of wonderful things.

In order to get the right survival kit for you though you need to assess what type of emergency you are preparing for and then get the kit to match. If you’re going to be sitting it out in your basement then the size of the survival kit isn’t going to matter that much as you won’t be going anywhere, so you will need as much food and drink as possible until you know it is going to be safe.

If that survival kit is going to be on your back though then it’s important that it’s going to be light enough for you to carry for a long period of time. If you’re evacuating for escaping from your home then having it in a light and easy to use backpack is going to be ideal.

If you want an emergency kit for hiking long journeys though then you won’t have the space or energy to be taking a backpack with you wherever you go. In this situation you’ll need a much smaller survival kit which is going to be able to fit in with your existing items, only to be used if anything goes wrong.

Whatever disaster you’re preparing for, hopefully this buying guide has helped to give you a much clearer picture of exactly what you need to get for your situation. You never want to be in that scenario where you are facing disaster and you never got around to buying that survival kit. They are very important to have, especially if you live in a common disaster zone. Now you’ll be equipped with all the information to be able to get the top rated survival gear for you.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!