The 9 Best Survival Kits of 2021

Essential take-along gear for every type of trip

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The Rundown

Best Overall: Sustain Supply Co. Essential 2 at Amazon

"With this pack in hand, you’ll have all the basics to sustain two people for 72 hours."

Best Budget: Ready America Two-Person Emergency Backpack at Amazon

"Ready America's travel-ready pack offers several essentials at an affordable price."

Best for Hiking: Weyland Survival Kit at Amazon

"Backcountry aficionados will enjoy this kit, which is heavy on tactical gear."

Best for Camping: Everlit 250 Survival First Aid Kit at Amazon

"This super-sized kit packs in 250 pieces of survivalist equipment for backcountry outings."

Best for Road Trips: Lifeline AAA Traveler Road Kit at Amazon

"Packed with gear for both the car and the passenger, this kit will keep you safe on the road."

Best for Natural Disasters: Redfora Complete Earthquake Bag at Amazon

"Has all the basics covered, from emergency food and water rations to shelter and warmth."

Best Bug Out Kit: Judy The Mover Max at Amazon

"Stashed in a durable waterproof bag, The Mover Max makes a great survival bug out bag option."

Best for Families: Ready America Deluxe Emergency Kit at Amazon

"Be ready to take care of your family with this kit's emergency power station."

Best Miniature Kit: S.O.L. Traverse Tin Survival Kit at Amazon

"No matter where you're traveling, this miniature kit is incredibly packable."

Parents may joke about barely surviving road trips with their kids, but sometimes people encounter more serious emergencies than another round of singing “The Wheels on the Bus.” Whether you’re fashioning a carry-on kit for your trip abroad or preparing in case you get lost in the wilderness, survival kits help you stay safe and healthy until help can arrive.

From packs for camping to natural disaster response gear, we’ve found the best survival kits available.

Best Overall: Sustain Supply Co. Essential 2

With Supply Co.'s Essential 2 pack in hand, you’ll have all the basics to sustain two people for 72 hours. The generalist kit comes with items that could help navigate a variety of situations, including a water filtration system, reusable blankets, an LED lantern, and food packs. A 41-piece basic first aid kit offers the essentials and none of the fluff. It comes in an easy-to-carry backpack to grab and go. Set at a moderate price point for the category, it’s one of the more approachably-priced bags reviewed here.

Best Budget: Ready America Two-Person Emergency Backpack

This slim-and-trim kit offers several essentials, but none of the tools or protective gear more expensively priced options offer. In this travel-ready pack, you get a whistle, two 12-hour light sticks, masks and gloves, ponchos, a 33-piece first aid kit, and water and food rations. It has enough supplies to last two people for three days, and the food and water supplies are fresh for up to five years before they are opened.

Best for Hiking: Weyland Survival Kit

This kit easily packs into backpacks for hiking; however, its survivalist name rings true. It requires more outdoors know-how than other kits. It's heavy on tactical gear, and light on food and medical supplies. There's a fixed-blade knife (which is sturdier than the folding options) and a sheath, compass, wire saw, multi-card tool, emergency blanket (that can also be turned into a tarp), flashlight, signal mirror, fire starter, and paracord bracelet included.

The kit meets the five c’s of survival essentials, which recommend a cutting tool, combustion device, cover, container, and cordage. Overall, backcountry aficionados will enjoy this kit, while newbies, who may be unfamiliar with some of these tools, should opt for other choices.

Best for Camping: Everlit 250 Survival First Aid Kit

Everlit's super-sized kit packs in 250 pieces of survivalist equipment for backcountry outings. Its hefty size lends itself to staying at the campsite, rather than getting carted along on hiking trips. However, it’s still relatively compact and well-organized thanks to multiple zippered compartments and elastic bands for securing supplies. In this kit, you’ll find outdoor survival standards, such as a poncho, thermal blanket, knife, whistle, and compass, as well as a well-stocked first aid kit that even includes items to treat burns.

Best for Road Trips: Lifeline AAA Traveler Road Kit

During a road trip, you need tools to protect your vehicle and its passengers. This kit offers the best supplies for both uses. It includes tools to manage your vehicle, including jumper cables, and traffic emergency equipment, such as a roadside warning sign. However, if you’re stranded for a while, you’ll need to be able to care for yourself, too. The kit includes a flashlight and a 64-piece emergency first aid kit.

Best for Natural Disasters: Redfora Complete Earthquake Bag

When disaster strikes, this handy kit has you covered. Although specially designed for earthquake response, this pack could serve you during hurricanes, tornadoes, or quick wildfire exits. It has all the basics covered, from emergency food and water rations to shelter and warmth (it includes an emergency tent, sleeping bag, poncho, and hand and body warmers). It also has a few bonus items, such as face masks, safety goggles, and leather palm gloves that could help extricate you from several severe situations. You can even upgrade the kit’s size to account for more people; options are available for up to six individuals.

Best Bug Out Kit: Judy The Mover Max

Stashed in a durable waterproof bag, Judy The Mover Max makes a great bug out bag option because it's stocked with everything you need on the fly. Designed in consultation with emergency management personnel and disaster response experts, its essentials include emergency food and water rations for two people, as well as ponchos, whistles, and a multi-tool. It also includes a few nice-to-have items you may forget if leaving the house in a rush, including a universal phone charger, hand sanitizer, and a quick-dry towel. Padded straps and a waist belt make carrying the pack easier.

Best for Families: Ready America Deluxe Emergency Kit

While most emergency kits are made for solo travelers or two people, this four-person kit provides everything small families need for three days. Beyond the standard food and water rations, multi-tool, and first-aid kit, this pack also offers a bonus item: an emergency power station, which allows the user to generate power via a hand crank to charge your cellphone, provide light, or connect to the radio.

Best Miniature Kit: S.O.L. Traverse Tin Survival Kit

This minimalist kit is incredibly packable no matter where you’re traveling. However, it includes only a handful of items, including a water bag and water purification tablets (rather than actual water rations), a shelter, a fire starter and tinder, a signaling device, duct tape, and safety pins. However, it does excel in one way: it’s the only kit reviewed here to come with a set of instructions.

Why Trust TripSavvy?

Journalist Ashley M. Biggers began leading wilderness outings in high school. She has trained in wilderness first aid and adopts the motto of always being prepared in the outdoors, whether she’s taking a day hike or backpacking trip. When she’s home, she keeps a bug-out kit prepared for everyone in her family—even her dog and two cats.

FAQs

What’s the most important item to have in a survival kit?

Although different types of disasters call for particular readiness items, protective layers to keep you warm and dry are essential. These could come in the form of additional layers of clothing, rain gear, or an emergency blanket. 

What are other important items for your kit?

The Red Cross offers an extensive list that, while developed for natural and civil disasters, provides a solid foundation for creating an emergency pack. You should also add spare face masks if your kit doesn't already include them.

Should you keep cash in your kit?

Yes. Cash is handy in a variety of emergency situations, including in the event of civil emergencies or natural disasters. In these cases, normal infrastructure, such as banks, ATMs, and credit card processing, may be inaccessible. Try to keep fives and tens on hand since breaking larger bills may be difficult.

What to Look for When Buying a Survival Kit

Supplies: Different types of emergencies may necessitate different types of supplies. A hiker who’s stranded in the woods may need a flare or whistle to signal search-and-rescue teams, while a person fleeing a natural disaster may need food and water for several days. Narrow the type of emergency you’re preparing for to ensure your kit is well stocked for that situation.

Number of People: Consider the number of people and the specific needs of family members when choosing a kit. Some items will be standard—you’ll only need one fire starter, for example, no matter how many people you have in your party. Other items, like food rations, will need to be planned for solo or multiple users. If you have family members with specific needs, including people with medical conditions, children, infants, and pets, you may need to supplement your kit with additional items to account for them.

Categories: When assembling a kit, you’ll want to ensure it has items within several categories. These include tools (a multi-tool or pocketknife), illumination (a flashlight, batteries, or candles), water or a means of water purification, cordage and tape, fire-starting tools (matches, emergency tinder, magnifying glass), non-perishable food, protective clothing or a blanket, a tarp, basic first aid, and rescue signals (flares, a mirror, and a whistle).

Likely Wait: If you have the potential to be stranded in the backcountry where help won’t be able to reach you for days, you need to prepare differently than if you’re following well-traveled routes where you’re likely to encounter people often.

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