How to Make Your Own Tactical Survival Kit – A Complete Checklist

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A tactical survival kit can act as the ultimate grab-and-go pack to cover your bases in a natural disaster or any other emergency. With that said, if you want an edge in any emergency situation, you need to ensure that your tactical survival kit contains the right items.

Not only is it important not to forget anything, but you also have to consider weight and storage space, so you do not want to pack unnecessary items in your backpack. We have compiled the ultimate checklist for making your own tactical survival kit to simplify things!

Use this list to build your own survival gear kit, and be prepared for whatever comes your way!

7 Must-Have Survival Items for Wilderness Survival

Outdoor Travel Equipment for Planning a Camping Trip

1. A Durable and Well-Made Tactical Knife

A good tactical knife is one of the most critical items in any type of survival kit. A high-quality knife will allow you to cut rope for shelter purposes, defend yourself in close combat situations, dress and prepare captured game, craft tools and weapons, and so much more.

Consult our list of the Best Survival Knives for 2022 to find the perfect knife for your tactical survival kit.

2. A Reliable Fire-Starting Kit

Flaming Campfire with Hot Coals at Campsi

A fire starter is critical in any survival situation. You need it for warmth, especially in colder climates. It is also needed to cook food and helps with visibility at night. Fortunately, an excellent fire-starting kit will not take up much space in your survival pack, so it is worth investing in a high-quality set that can be relied upon when needed.

Waterproof matches, a sunlight-focussing magnification lens, and a flint and steel striker can all fit into your tactical survival kit without adding weight or taking up much room. Packing multiple fire starter tools in your fire-starting kit is always a good idea, as it gives you options for various situations.

For example, while waterproof matches might be easier to use than magnification, you only have so many of them. In situations where starting a fire is not as urgent, you could preserve matches and your flint striker by using your lens.

To learn more about the importance of a reliable fire-starting kit, read the Gone Outdoors explanation of Why Fire is So Important for Survival.

3. Water Treatment Supplies

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It is no secret that clean drinking water is critical for survival. The average person can only go about three days without drinkable water

As with fire-starting tools, having multiple water treatment items in your tactical survival kit is a good idea. Water purification tablets are useful, as is a water filtration device, like the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter.

While a water filtration device is excellent for accessing clean drinking water quickly, water purification tablets give you the option to purify gallons of water for later use. Again, pack both types of water treatment tools in your tactical survival kit to cover your bases.

It is a good idea to store your water treatment supplies in a compact but durable canteen bottle. This can give you the ability to transport water, both for drinking and sanitary reasons.

4. Basic Fishing and Hunting Supplies

Even a basic fishing kit will allow you to capture fish for food. Look for a compact kit containing different fishing line types, hooks, a few basic lures, and line weights. The fishing line is useful for fishing and has an incredible strength-to-weight ratio, so it can be helpful in various other applications.

Even if you have never gone fishing before, check out our collection of Fishing Guides for a wealth of useful beginner-friendly information.

Your hunting kit does not need to contain much beyond the cord for making simple traps. This is because you can use your survival knife for dressing, skinning, and deboning game. If you can spare the space, a hunting rifle can be an incredibly useful hunting tool and double as a reliable weapon for self-defense. 

5. A Compact Medical Kit

Any complete tactical survival kit requires medical supplies. Unfortunately, medical supplies can be heavy and take up a lot of space in your pack. That is why it is essential to be selective and only include a compact medical that covers the basics.

Look for medical kits containing a suture kit, tourniquet, bandages, iodine, fast-acting pain medication, broad-spectrum antibiotics, and even a small medical book explaining how to use these items effectively. Even better, take first-aid courses and learn the basics of using medical supplies on yourself and others.

6. A Versatile Multi-Tool

Metal Multi-tool with Knife

As the name implies, a good multi-tool is designed to be incredibly versatile. You can use them for everything from building shelters to repairing other pieces of equipment. Multi-tools that feature accessories like scissors, files, thread holders, and small blades can also be handy items during medical emergencies, and they don’t take up too much space in your tactical backpack. 

Best of all, multi-tools are compact, so you do not have to worry about one taking up too much space in your tactical survival kit. To help you choose the right multi-tool for your unique needs and budget, we recommend you read our Best Multi-Tools for 2022 Buyer’s Guide.

7. Tactical Lights

You will also need light sources you can count on in all conditions. A good headlamp and spare batteries are helpful when traveling at night, while a hand-cranked or solar-powered tactical flashlight can act as an all-purpose light around your camp.

Check out our guide to theBest Headlamps for Fishing and the Outdoors if you need help choosing a reliable headlamp for your emergency kit.

Glow sticks can also be helpful when you need a water-proof, low-intensity light source. Flares are not always necessary, but if you can spare the room in your tactical survival kit, they can help start fires quickly, signal others, and even ward off dangerous animals.

For More Information

We recommend browsing the American Red Cross Survival Kit Essentials Guide to learn more about what you need in survival situations. While much of this information will be apparent, it goes into great detail and can act as a helpful resource. 

Another valuable source of survival situation tips is the US Military’s Navy SEAL Survival Guide, which explains one Navy SEAL’s tips for surviving any disaster.

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