I was checking out some different compact survival or emergency kits that people have put together online. Everything from altoids tins with the bare minimum items to daypacks with enough gear in them to spend a couple of nights in relative comfort. Since I like to customize my gear to fit my skills I decided to put together my own. In the spirit of budget bushcrafting and to keep it as cheap as possible, I decided to use things I already had around the house.
Here's list of the items I put in and why I chose what I did. Coffee Can with lid - To boil and transport water in, makes a tough, waterproof container to hold the rest of the kit. Large Folding Knife - I don't want to have to rely on a razor blade or small folding knife that I have seen in some kits. I'd rather carry the extra weight and have a knife with some toughness. 20' of Paracord - carrying 20' of 7 Strand paracord gives me 160' of cordage for building a shelter, repairs, etc. 1 Gallon Ziplock Bag - For storing and transporting disinfected water if needed. Emergency "Space" Blanket - for use as a shelter or heat reflector.
Chemical Light Stick - Fast and easy light source Pencil and a few sheets of paper - for leaving notes, drawing maps, etc. Banadana - Hat, water pre-filter, bandage, towel, etc. First Aid Kit - a few bandaids, Tylenol, ointments and alcohol pads to patch up minor cuts and scrapes. Mini Button Compass - For finding direction. Magnesium Fire Starter - I chose this over matches or a lighter because it works when it wet and can't be broken. If you carry one, be sure to practice starting fires with it before you need it in an emergency. Food - I threw in a Clif bar and a couple of different kinds of teas. Simple comfort items in a stressful situation.
A few more things I've been thinking about adding :
Plastic shopping bags - Great for carrying things, they pack down small and can even be made into useful cordage if needed.
A couple of feet of aluminum foil - For cooking, pot lid, signaling mirror.
Kit spread out
That's everything, I do plan on taking a hike and testing it out sometime to see how it performs. Emergency kits are one of the things you hope you'll never need, but should be practiced with. If you decide to build your own, don't just copy mine, customize it to fit your skill set.
A couple of tips, If you end up having to spend a unexpected night in the your going to be cold, hungry and not thinking as clearly as normal. It's a good Idea to jot down some notes to put in your emergency kit, things like some simple drawings of knots in case you can't remember how to tie them, shelter ideas and ways of finding direction. An inspirational quote or two can help at stressful times. Create your own mini "Survival Manual" personalized just for you.
Don't just throw a kit together and forget about it. Take it out once in a while and practice with it. It's also a good idea to check expiration dates on medications and any foods you've included. Hope this post was useful for you. Have a great Day! Thanks, N.E.V.