Top 10 Outdoor Survival Kit List Basic Planning Essentials

Top 10 outdoor survival kit list essentials

Top 10 outdoor survival kit list basic planning essentials you should carry for all outdoor wilderness situations. These can be added to, to increase the effectiveness depending on the duration of the event, the severity of the climate, hot or cold and the additional risks the conditions, the environment or the event may introduce within that environment. e.g. mountain biking on a wilderness trail could increase the risk to falling than hiking on a wilderness trail would entail within the same environment.

Top 10 Outdoor Survival Kit List Planning Essentials

  • First Aid
  • Water
  • Navigation
  • Flashlight
  • Shelter
  • Fire Starting Kit
  • Signalling Device
  • Appropriate Clothing
  • Food
  • Knife

The basic army premise of survival is that you always go everywhere prepared. Therefore in an unplanned emergency the effect is lessened because you are prepared. The degree that you prepare your outdoor survival kit list will be your own choice and may be influenced by the duration or the remoteness of the locality as to how big your kit or survival bag containing these may be.

Top 10 outdoor survival kit list essentials


Basic First Aid Outdoor Survival Kit List

The first and most common occurrence of an event should be the one you plan for first so having an accident is quite common in the wild or outdoors and a basic field first aid kit in your wilderness survival kit list should be able to cater for this. So basic dressings, plasters, tape, possibly sutures, something to make a sling or to improvise a sling.

Falling down due to loss of blood from a cut hand or knee is avoidable if managed correctly but can easily occur from a trip or fall. Also a simple thing like blisters delaying your pace on the trail resulting in getting stranded overnight is also easily avoidable with the use of plasters.

Sufficient Drinkable Water

On any trip it is essential to ensure that you have sufficient water for the duration of the event and the planned climate. If mountain biking a camelback is essential for water but if hiking you should ensure you are carrying at least two litres of water as a minimum, with ideally a litre water bottle spare. As with all items you should also ensure you have a contingency method for water collection and purification for the duration of the event and some for contingency.

metal water canteen and mug

Sometimes a trip can last much longer than anticipated, and having sufficient water can make the difference between an extended stay and a survival situation. Outdoor activities require energy, and being sufficiently hydrated will give you the capability to mentally focus in order to get out of an unplanned situation. Water is more essential to the body than food in the short term.

Under “normal” circumstances, a person can survive for only:
3 minutes without air
3 days without water
3 weeks without food

A loss of 10% of total body fluid will cause extensive disruption of bodily functions; a loss of 20% usually will result in death. This will be preceded by dizziness and collapse. Staying sufficiently hydrated and avoiding excessive water loss from your body is the best way to combat this.

Navigation & Communication Aids

A map and a compass are the minimum navigation aids you should carry in your outdoor survival kit list but you need to be able to use these and practice in their use in more remote areas where landmarks are less recognizable.

navigation with compass

Modern cellular phones have Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers built in and many people rely on these as they are easy for navigation. If they can’t get a signal or run out of battery without power or signal they are worthless. Consider long life, waterproof GPS devices purpose built for navigation. Carry cellular or satellite phones or radios with fully charged batteries but use these valuable tools if you need in an emergency to call for help or advise people where you are. Keep them turned off for emergencies to conserve batteries. Cold batteries degrade quicker so warm them if needed before use to get better power from them.

Headtorch/Flashlight, Spare Batteries and Also a Spare bulb

A head torch or flashlight with spare batteries and also a spare bulb should definitely be survival gear list included on your essential basic survival kit ideas. Spare bulbs are often included within the body of aluminium flashlights like Maglites.

A large number of unscheduled overnight stays could have been prevented by simply carrying a head torch or a flashlight as basic survival kit. Very often, someone who requires rescuing weren’t actually lost, but it simply got too dark for them to navigate back to where they were expecting to reach by the end of the day, whether this was their overnight camp location, their route out or their transport. Once it gets too dark to navigate safely, the chances of getting lost are much increased. All people have good night vision, which will be either enhanced or reduced by the environment. The issue arises in the dark and without any source of light, moving around at night can be extremely dangerous due to unseen hazards like cliffs, drops, tree branches, water or wild animals. Therefore by simply carrying a head torch and a flashlight your chances of encountering a survival situation are very much reduced.

Emergency Shelter Equipment

We recommend carrying a tarpaulin or tarp when in the outdoors as they pack up small and make a really quick overnight emergency shelter in your outdoor survival kit list. Practice building these so that you know how to set them up and have the correct tent pegs and elastic bungee cords or paracord to set these up.  Paracord is lighter but takes longer to use and put up the shelter. Practice with this to see what you prefer or can carry. If you’re not carrying a rucksack you may prefer to pack lighter.

tarpaulin emergency shelter

Tarps can also be used as ponchos in an emergency and the British Army design poncho doubles up as a tarp so that there is no need to carry 2 devices. They can be the difference between getting hypothermia or not in a survival situation. If you can locate an orange or bright coloured tarp these can also be used for signaling and will stand out better in the woods.

Fire Starting Kit Essentials

A fire starting kit can consist of a disposable lighter, a fire starter device such as a flint and steel, a small candle for making fire lighting easier, waterproof lifeboat type or wind-proof matches or home made waxed matches.

These can be vital to ensuring you stay warm enough outdoors if you find yourself stranded during a change in the weather, or from an injury, or from an unplanned overnight stay.

A fire can be used for:

  • Providing essential warmth in a survival situation
  • Cooking food or making hot drinks
  • Drying clothing to reduce the threat from exposure
  • Signaling at night or with smoke during daytime
  • Boiling water to make it safe for drinking
  • Keeping wild animals away

A fire no doubt will provide an important boost to the morale even if you don’t really need it to survive. The survival benefits of fire are more than just physical. It is important however to ensure that you practice starting fires with your chosen fire lighting equipment so that you know how effective they are and whether the fire lighting items are really worth carrying or should be replaced. Don’t underestimate the resources needed to light a fire and keep it going especially when everything is wet. Boiling water will also need containers so metal army mugs are an ideal option for this task if you are not intending carrying pots and pans.

A Signaling Device

In a survival situation a whistle or a signal mirror can increase your chances of being heard or seen. These don’t take up much space and as they don’t weigh hardly anything at all are essentials for your outdoor survival kit list. It takes much less energy to blow a whistle than it does to yell, and the sound carries farther. A signal mirror or a shiny object is the device that is responsible for more Search and Rescue (SAR) subject sightings by aircraft than any other type of signal. In actual rescues; it has been documented; that a signalling mirror has been spotted from a rescue plane over five miles away.

Suitable Clothing for the Environment

Suitable clothing for the activity to allow your skin to breath and stay cool are a must. This will ensure you don’t overheat or sweat excessively, losing essential water. You should also consider sufficient extra clothing  which can be used if the conditions change for the worse from wind, rain and cold. Even in the summer, in exposed areas like mountains and open plains; temperatures can vary dramatically; and the temperature fluctuations can be significant. Temperatures in the shade and in the sun in a shaded valley can also be significant.

Having sufficient extra lightweight clothing to cope with these unexpected conditions cannot be underestimated. Many people are caught out every year and need to be rescued because they simply did not plan enough to bring sufficient clothing to keep them warm in changing conditions. New technology clothing like fleeces and windproof clothing technologies make these now much easier to manage.

Survival or Emergency Food

Sometimes a trip can last much longer than anticipated, and having spare food for emergency use can make the difference between an extended stay and a survival situation. Outdoor activities require energy, and having extra food can give us the boost we need to get out of an unplanned situation,possibly later than planned but still in one piece. High energy survival foods are the best and again advances in food technologies have made this easier with foil packed foods which can be packed easily and eaten cold without any tools.

Knives and Tools

Knives are an essential tool if you are hiking, hunting or fishing but many people are not comfortable carrying a large knife. Survival knives are also now very popular and are more flexible as a knife with additional wilderness survival tools sometimes as accessories. If you are not comfortable with carrying a knife consider packing one in your survival gear list just for emergencies. Only when you try cutting paracord without a knife do you realise how essential these items are. Survival tools are also now much more popular for multi-use and pack away well. Many people prefer these to larger survival knives and they contain a small blade for cutting cord and are sufficient for small knife uses like cutting cord and food.

Wilderness Survival Basic Kit List Packing

When packing your outdoor survival kit list items or purchasing them online consider the size and weight of them, how robust they are, how useful they are when wet and whether one device can double up also to cater for a secondary use. Consider also cutting them down to save space as long as they can still be used, like removing decorative handles or carrying smaller size items to create mini survival kit items.

Another common army survival saying is that two is one and one is non. This simply means that for everything that you take for your survival gear list, you should also have a spare item or an alternative method available. This does not necessarily mean you need two of every item to create the best survival kit, due to size and weight limitations. But what it does mean is that there should always be another method available to you; so for light the two sources could be a large headlight and small flashlight, for fire starting this could be a disposable or zippo lighter and a fire starting kit, flint and steel. Just because you need to light a fire does not mean you can’t use a lighter if you have one. What you should consider in your packing of your survival gear list is what you would do if your lighter runs out.