The Best Survival Kits: Be Prepared in an Emergency
Be prepared for any unexpected situations with these versatile survival kits
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
BY Lisa Conant / LAST UPDATED ON August 30, 2021
As the saying goes: hope for the best and plan for the worst. That is what survival kits are for—life is always throwing curve balls. By opting for a quality survival kit, even if something catches you off guard, you are still prepared. The best survival kits are those that ready you for anything. They will allow you to achieve the best possible outcome in an emergency where every second counts.Choosing the right kit is all about managing probabilities. Are you concerned about a natural disaster? Select a kit equipped with a range of tools and supplies. Are you worried about a medical crisis? There are lots of survival kits with a first aid focus. A good survival kit doesn’t have to be huge or come equipped with a ton of stuff that you may not use. It’s simply a matter of choosing items that are useful. This list breaks down the best survival kits around so that you can plan ahead and always be ready.
This kit comes with a wide variety of tools to help you tackle survival scenarios, including sterilizing agents, bandaids, and gauze for medical emergencies, as well as a steel knife, screwdrivers, and bottle opener/saw.
This is a well-equipped kit that can handle a variety of different emergencies. It all comes neatly stored in a waterproof case.
Items are thrown into the case haphazardly. It would be nice if they had specific slots to keep things more organized.
This bracelet-style kit is compact and wearable, so you can always keep it on your person. It includes five different essential tools to help you get through any situation.
Ultra-compact and offered at an excellent price point, this basic survival kit is cleverly designed to be worn on your wrist and to go with you anywhere.
Not as comprehensive as many other kits on the market. Some concern over the size and efficiency of the firestarter.
This comprehensive kit is equipped with 47 tools that come in a handy molle pouch. The kit is both compact and easy to take on the go.
The 10-piece fishing set helps you source nourishment in the wild. The fully-equipped first aid kit will help you address your injuries safely and efficiently.
Some concern over the overall durability of some of the components in the kit. It would be nice if it came in a hard, waterproof case instead of a soft-sided bag.
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Survival Kits
- Compact. Good survival kits don’t have to come in huge packages. A well-thought-out and organized survival kit can easily fit into any backpack or gear bag so that you can take it anywhere you need to go, or even store it in your vehicle without taking up valuable space.
- Comprehensive. Survival kits usually come with a fairly wide range of tools and accessories that will prepare you for just about any situation. Firestarters, bandages, a knife, multitool, and compass are usually some of the staple components of even a basic survival kit.
- Preparedness. A good quality and comprehensive survival kit gives you the luxury of being prepared for unexpected situations. This allows you to be able to help yourself as well as others, depending on the scenario that arises. When storms strike, accidents happen, or even medical emergencies, a good survival kit will have the tools to help minimize further damage.
- Peace of mind. Along with being readily prepared for emergency scenarios comes a certain peace of mind in knowing that while you can’t plan for every little thing that can go wrong, you can at least be as ready as possible.
Types of Survival Kits
Home Survival Kits
These kits ready you and your family for a home-based disaster or emergency in which you are confined to your home without access to food, power, water, or heat. Think earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, winter storms, or blackouts. These kits will usually be equipped with light sources, a radio, blankets, enough emergency food and water for 72 hours, and a first aid kit at minimum, all stored in a waterproof bucket or bag. Of course, you can customize the kit by adding anything you think may be necessary.
Car Survival Kits
Car survival kits are a must-have for anyone who commutes to work, uses their car to travel, or for truck and delivery drivers in the event of a car emergency. Car kits usually come equipped with enough food and water to last 72 hours, a flashlight, emergency blankets, a first aid kit, a utility knife, work gloves, and much more. These kits are specifically designed to be able to withstand extreme temperatures that can occur inside a car. They usually come in a waterproof box or backpack for portability if you need to leave your vehicle to find help.
School or Office Survival Kits
There has been a rise in popularity in school and office survival kits in recent years. These can be for individual children or workers and a whole classroom or office floor, or even an entire school. As with the other kits, these kits contain food and water, first aid supplies, personal hygiene supplies, blankets for heat, and lighting sources.
Pet Survival Kits
Pets have needs too, and you don’t want to forget about them and have the panic of being properly prepared for you and your family, but not your furry friends. These kits contain emergency cat or dog food, water, collapsible water and food dish, a first aid kit that includes trauma dressings, a leash, a collar, a blanket, pet toys, poop bags, rope, and more to make sure your beloved pets get through an emergency alive.
Survival Tool Kits
These survival kits focus less on food and water rations and more on providing you the tools to access those necessities while outdoors, either for camping or hiking. They come equipped with multitools, sharp utility knives, rope, firestarters, some first aid supplies, a flashlight, a compass, and more. These kits are usually all stored in a compact, waterproof carrying case that can easily attach to or fit inside your backpack or rucksack.
Everlit Survival is a veteran-owned, Better Business Bureau accredited company based in the U.S. It specializes in disaster preparedness and emergency survival products for civilians. The company is well-known for producing military-style durable, rugged, and comprehensive products like the Everlit Emergency Blowout Trauma Kit and the Everlit Survival First Aid Kit.
Founded in the 1990s in California, Ready America prides itself on being a family-owned, team-oriented company that promises to deliver reliable products that will keep your family safe in the face of disaster. It’s known for products like the Deluxe Outdoor Survival Kit and the Emergency Day Kit.
Weyland is newer to the survival gear and outdoor product marketplace. Founded in 2018, it’s quickly making a name in the industry as a trustworthy company that makes high-quality products without cutting corners. Its better-known products include the Fixed Blade Tactical Neck Knife and the Fixed Blade Outdoor Survival Knife.
RumbaDock is an online retailer specializing in uniquely designed survival credit card-sized multitools that can go virtually anywhere thanks to an ultra space-saving and slim design. The A. Survival Gear Multitool and the Ultimate Survival Credit Card Tool are two of its best-known specialty products.
Survival Kit Pricing
- Under $20: This price range gets you survival tools and components of survival kits like the steel credit card multi-tool or the paracord bracelet survival kits, but not usually many other added features.
- $20-$50: This price range will net you most of the available emergency survival tool kits that you can add to a more comprehensive kit or carry in your backpack or rucksack. These kits come equipped with the tools necessary for outdoor survival situations.
- $50 and up: Here is where the disaster preparedness kits come equipped with multiple days’ worth of food and water, first aid kits, and emergency radios live. The larger the kit, the more expensive.
Good survival kits will be ruggedly designed to withstand harsh temperatures and weather conditions. The kit's contents will be made from materials like stainless steel, ripstop 600 D Oxford or nylon, shatter-resistant, and scratch-resistant glass. They have specially designed durable and waterproof cases that protect the inside components from damage when not in use so that you're not unpleasantly surprised by broken gear when you need it most.
Most survival kits will have various tools and items necessary for ensuring survival success. Items like utility knives, flashlights, emergency blankets, food and water, first aid supplies, and more are all included in a high-quality survival kit that is pre-packed and ready to grab at a moment's notice. A good survival kit will have applications across different emergencies, whether it's an outdoor wilderness scenario, or you're confined to your home in a natural disaster.
For a survival kit to be truly useful, it needs to be compact enough to go wherever the emergency is. This means you want to be able to carry it on you somewhere, like in a backpack or duffel bag. Being able to stow it inconspicuously in your vehicle, closet, or cabinet is also a great feature of a well-designed survival kit. Keep it somewhere that allows you quick and easy access in emergencies.
- Weight. In larger survival kits, weight can often be a prohibitive factor if you need to pack up and go somewhere on foot. Consider what you’re comfortably able to carry and for how long when deciding on a survival kit that’s right for you and your family.
- Purpose. What’s your purpose for buying a survival kit? Are you an outdoor enthusiast who loves being in the wilderness, hunting, camping, hiking, etc.? Then you would likely want to choose an outdoor survival tool kit. If you’re looking to be prepared for a disaster or unplanned event at home, then an emergency preparedness pack that can keep you alive for days is probably a better option.
- Reputation. When choosing a reliable emergency survival kit that won’t let you down the first time you go to use it, do your research, and select a brand that has a solid reputation in the industry already. A company that specializes in emergency tools, kits, and disaster preparedness products will likely produce a much more durable product than a company that makes dozens of other unrelated items.
Best Survival Kits Reviews & Recommendations
- Make sure you open your survival kit as soon as you get it and thoroughly assess that all the gear is there and in working order. A true emergency is not the time you want to find that something important is missing from your kit or is broken and unusable.
- Add in additional items to your kit that are important to you to make sure that your kit is customized and serves the purpose that you need it to.
- Be sure to read online user reviews to see what other customers who have purchased the kit you’re looking at have experienced with it.
- Always store your survival kit where it is readily accessible. An emergency is not when you want to be running around looking for a kit that you misplaced.
- Sort through your kit's components every year to ensure that all items are in working order and that all food rations are still within their expiry limits.
Q: What are the best survival kits?
A: The best survival kits are the ones that come with a variety of tools and implements to handle a range of emergencies. They’re constructed by a company with a solid track record and a good reputation that will also offer a strong warranty to protect you manufacturer defects or malfunctions.
Q: What is the most important survival item?
A: That’s a tough question, but the most important tool in a survival situation is having a level head. The best thing you can do for yourself and those around you is to stay calm and think rationally. All the food rations and tools in the world won’t help you if you can’t think straight.
Q: How do you make a three-day survival kit?
A: There are a lot of online resources that tell you how to make a three-day survival kit, but in general, most three-day kits are carried in a waterproof, rugged backpack and contain energy bars and water packets, a multitool, utility knife, emergency blankets and ponchos, an emergency radio/phone/charger/flashlight, a first aid kit, waterproof baggies, hand sanitizer, face masks, a lighter or firestarter, toilet tissue, and other basic personal hygiene items, like toothbrushes.
Now that you have all the tools to make an informed decision about what type of emergency survival kit is right for you, whether it’s something comprehensive, like the Kosin Emergency Survival Kit, or something more basic like the RNS STAR Paracord Survival Bracelet, don’t wait any longer to purchase it.