LAST UPDATED: August 17, 2020
The Best Survival Kits (Review & Buying Guide) 2021
Be prepared for any unexpected situations with these versatile survival kits
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PUBLISHED ON August 17, 2020
As the saying goes: hope for the best and plan for the worst. That is what survival kits are for—life is always throwing curveballs. 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 or may not use. It’s simply a matter of choosing items that you will find 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.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we 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
The Kosin Survival Gear Emergency Kit comes with a wide variety of tools to help you tackle survival scenarios. It comes in a waterproof carrying case, letting you take it on the go. The 18 emergency tools fall into different categories, including sterilizing agents, Band-Aids, and gauze for medical emergencies. The steel knife, screwdrivers, and bottle opener/saw are all made out of high-grade steel, helping you tackle wilderness settings with ease. The whistle and flashlight put a focus on sourcing assistance. This system's true value is that it gives you a full setup for a wide range of dangers.
While we love this survival kit's comprehensiveness, having a container that allows it to be more neatly organized would save valuable time that might be lost by having to dig through the kit to find what you need.
Surviving emergencies doesn’t mean you have to break the bank; the RNS Star Paracord Survival Bracelet Gear Kit proves that with its friendly price point. This bracelet-style kit is compact and wearable, so you can always keep it on. It includes five different essential tools to help you get through any situation. The firestarter can keep you warm while the whistle helps with both wildlife and to signal for assistance. When you get lost, the compass can help you find your way. It also incorporates a cutting tool to help you get through brush. The bracelet is made out of paracord, so you are never without a rope.
This survival bracelet's compact wearability is a great benefit, but due to size limitations, it lacks many excellent components of a complete survival kit. However, for the price, it’s still a great deal.
With the Aokiwo Emergency Survival Kit you get the benefit of premium-quality supplies for all scenarios. All 47 tools come in a handy MOLLE pouch, making the kit both compact and easy to take on the go. The 10-piece fishing set helps you source nourishment in the wild while the fully-equipped first aid kit will help you safely and efficiently address your injuries. There’s an emergency blanket to prevent hypothermia and a flashlight to see in the dark. Multipurpose items include the knife, tactical pen, and compass. This well-equipped, premium survival kit is a useful system to keep on hand to stay prepared for anything.
One thing that would make this kit even better is if all the components came in a hard-sided, waterproof, organized case for quick access to its items. While the MOLLE bag is more space-saving, it lacks a little in the organization department.
Looking to flesh out your survival system without taking up too much space? The LeMotech Adjustable Survival Bracelet Kit is a good way to achieve this goal. Though it’s compact, this kit includes 21 emergency supplies to help you stay alive in a difficult situation. The bracelet is made out of a strong, 10-foot paracord capable of holding 250 pounds. The kit also includes other survival tools such as a large compass and a bright light to signal for help. The firestarter helps you cook and stay warm. With a thermometer for medical assessment and a knife for utility, this kit includes all the basics for on-the-go survival.
Since it’s wearable, it offers the ultimate compact experience making it a popular choice. While this bracelet does contain more survival tools than some other bracelets on the market, it still isn’t a complete and total survival kit.
If you are trying to find a tool-focused survival solution, consider the RumbaDock Survival MultiTool Card Emergency Kit. The set comes with 22 tools, all attached to a rectangular shape. This way, the kit stays together until you need it. You can remove the pieces one-by-one or together. Bear in mind that it doesn’t come with a bag, so it helps to keep these tools together after opening. The kit includes fishing tools, archery tips, tweezers, sewing needles, two survival saws, and more.
This kit is more focused on security and sourcing food in wilderness settings and does not include emergency supplies. When the tools are properly used, you can use this kit to do everything from hunting to fishing, stitching to creating shelter. Given its extreme utility value in multiple scenarios, this is an excellent survival kit.
The Ready America Deluxe Emergency Backpack is one of the most comprehensive survival kits on the market. It contains enough Coast Guard-approved food and water supplies to feed four people for three days. Along with that, you get an emergency radio/flashlight/cell phone charging station, a 107-piece first aid kit, thermal blankets, light sticks, work gloves, and an emergency whistle. All of this comes stored in a portable and waterproof backpack if you need to pick up and move quickly.
While this kit is great for civilians and can be used in the home, school, or the office, it lacks basic survival tools. The addition of a sharp utility knife, firestarter, and a multitool would improve this kit's overall versatility.
If you’re looking for a genuinely comprehensive and versatile survival kit, the Everlit Complete 72 Hours Survival Kit is the ideal choice. Fully customized by U.S. Military veterans, this durable MOLLE tactical backpack contains all the gear and supplies that two people should need to survive for 72 hours. It has first aid supplies, Coast Guard-approved food and water rations, water purification tablets, an emergency radio/phone charger/flashlight, emergency shelter and blankets, a multitool, compass, utility knife, safety goggles and gloves, and more to ensure that you and a partner are prepared for any situation.
While we love this 200-piece survival kit, it does come with a couple of drawbacks—namely the price and the 20-pound weight of the pack. Of course, when you have something this thoroughly designed, it will be a more serious investment and will be worth it if an emergency should ever occur.
This kit deserves an honorable mention for being an all-around survival kit for the avid hiker, camper, backpacker, or hunter. The kit comes equipped with a personal water filter straw, a multi-function utility knife, a 5-in-1 multi-flatware tool, a tungsten pen, an Army utility card, a firestarter, flashlight, blanket, and more. The handy reusable water filter can remove 99.9999 percent of harmful pollutants down to 0.01 microns in size. It all stows easily inside a drawstring bag. The entire kit only weighs 1.28 pounds.
One of the only drawbacks to this kit is that the user must have access to water to filter it to drinkable standards. In a desert climate, having a kit that comes with water rations might be a better option. Also, having a way for the kit to be more organized would be a huge time saver in an emergency.
This kit is equipped with enough food and water rations to keep four people alive for 72 hours. It includes a 5-in-1 survival tool, whistle, emergency shelter, blankets and ponchos, a can opener, light sticks, a first aid kit, a flashlight, personal hygiene supplies, and much more. It even comes with a deck of playing cards and an all-important roll of toilet tissue. As a bonus, all of this gear fits neatly into a discreet, durable, and waterproof backpack. The pack is even large enough to add personal items, like medications and clothing.
One of the few drawbacks of this kit is its weight—at 27 pounds, it’s one of the heaviest kits on our list. Keep in mind that the food and water rations have a five-year shelf life, so be sure to switch them out if you have the kit for that amount of time without using it.
This is a well-made outdoor survival tool kit. It comes with a steel-fixed blade full tang survival knife that is super sharp and tough. Also included in this kit is a paracord bracelet with a multi-purpose metal shackle, a stainless steel wire saw, a water-resistant stainless steel compass, a firestarter that comes with its own cotton tinder for quick lighting, a handy signal mirror, a steel multitool card, a tactical flashlight, a Mylar emergency blanket, and an emergency whistle that doubles as a glass breaker. All of this is stored neatly in a hard, waterproof case for easy portability.
The only thing missing from this survival kit is an emergency shelter to protect you from the elements. However, this is one of the more ruggedly made and dependable survival kits on the market.
- 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.