Trip Planning Tech & Gear The 14 Best Survival Kits of 2023 By Nathan Borchelt Nathan Borchelt LinkedIn American University Nathan Borchelt has been working in the travel industry for more than 15 years as a writer, photographer, editor, and product manager. He covers everything from trail cameras to ski equipment. TripSavvy's editorial guidelines Updated on 10/07/22 Fact checked by Nathan Allen Fact checked by Nathan Allen University of Missouri-Columbia Lindenwood University Nathan Allen is the Outdoor Gear Editor for TripSavvy. Nathan loves many outdoor activities but makes it a priority to run or bike on singletrack every day. TripSavvy's fact-checking Share Pin Email We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission. TripSavvy / Nathan Allen. Of all the essential travel and outdoor gear, survival kits rank highest as "must-have, hope never to use." They provide all the equipment necessary to handle injuries, clean wounds, tend to insect stings or exposure to poison ivy, and handle other variables, everything from the unfortunately common stomach ailments of travel to weathering the impacts of a hurricane. Consider what activities and environments you will be in, which will correspond to the supplies of any particular kit. On one end of the spectrum, light-duty kits generally include basic first aid supplies like bandages and antiseptic. More specific options such as those for outdoor activities include fire-making supplies and space blankets. The organization and instructions of a survival kit are essential as well. You'll want everything to be easily accessible and easy to use in an emergency for the best possible outcome. Lastly, check the target number of people the kit will support, and the duration of the kit will last. These are the best survival kits, focusing on pack-friendly one-kit solutions that target the most common risks of every type of outing, from car camping to traveling to cycling. The Rundown Best Overall: Uncharted Supply Co. Seventy2 Pro Survival System at Amazon Jump to Review Best Budget: SOL Survival Medic at Amazon Jump to Review Best for Backpacking: ust Gear FeatherLite Survival Kit 2.0 at Ustgear.com Jump to Review Best for Overlanding: DECKED x Pathfinder Survival Kit at Decked.com Jump to Review Most Compact: VSSL Essentials Ready Kit at Vsslgear.com Jump to Review Best for Travel: Adventure Medical Kits Smart Travel at Backcountry.com Jump to Review Best for Hiking: Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Hiker Kit at Amazon Jump to Review Best for Road Tripping/Cars: My Medic Popular Mechanics Auto Medic Kit at Mymedic.com Jump to Review Best for Car Camping: HART Outdoor Multiday First-Aid Kit at REI Jump to Review Best for Thru-Hikes: Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight/Watertight .7 at Amazon Jump to Review Table of contents Expand Our Picks What to Look For FAQ Why Trust TripSavvy Best Overall Uncharted Supply Co. Seventy2 Pro Survival System 4.8 Uncharted Supply Co. Seventy2 Pro Survival Kit. View On Amazon View On Cabelas.com View On Huckberry What We Like This kit has everything you could need for almost any sort of disaster or survival situation Very well thought out with color coding and instruction guides What We Don't Like Expensive and heavy Let's get the price out of the way first. Yes, it's expensive. And at about 16-pounds for the two-person version, it's a bit heavy. But if you're looking for a one-hitter-quitter kit to handle pretty much anything you could encounter, this is it. The founders and designers of Uncharted Supply Co. took feedback and advice from military, government, and outdoor adventurers to put together the most comprehensive survival system we've seen. This professional-grade pack is specifically designed for first responders. It includes a mylar tent shelter, air masks, goggles, a convertible shovel/pick-ax, about two-dozen wind and waterproof matches, first-aid kits, water filtration systems, survival blankets, hats, and gloves. And we love that there's color coding and instructions on how to use items in the kit. It's all stored in a waterproof bag with sternum and hip straps for more accessible transport. Price at time of publish: $589 TripSavvy / Nathan Allen. Best Budget SOL Survival Medic in Dry Bag Amazon View On Amazon View On Backcountry.com What We Like Compact Lightweight What We Don't Like More serious injuries may need additional bandages and wound mitigation gear SOL packs a lot into their Survival Medic in Dry Bag kit, including treatment materials for minor scrapes and cuts, pain management medication, a Fire Lite Micro Sparker fire starter, which works with the Tinder Quick product to quickly get a warming flame going, even if the tool gets wet. An SOL Emergency Blanket provides warmth, reflecting 90 percent of your body heat on its wearer, while the bright orange color makes it easy to spot from a distance. That, paired with a whistle—audible for more than a mile away—helps announce your presence to potential rescuers. The whole package lives in a dry bag that cinches down to lock out moisture. Price at time of publish: $12 Best for Backpacking ust Gear FeatherLite Survival Kit 2.0 ust Gear FeatherLite Survival Kit 2.0. View On Ustgear.com What We Like Super lightweight and compact Has basic needs for backcountry situations What We Don't Like Needs to be paired with first-aid kit The FeatherLite Survival Kit 2.0 from Columbia, Missouri-based ust Gear has the essentials to get you through a backpacking mishap. It includes a blanket, towel, poncho for pop-up storms, a fire starter, whistle, button compass, pico light, and light stick. We also love that it comes in a lightweight and compact container for easy packing for the trail and easy storage at home. Beyond backpacking, this could easily be a kit to have at home to take on other outdoor adventures. Note: There is no first-aid kit in this pack, so we recommend pairing it with another more first-aid-focused system below. Price at time of publish: $35 TripSavvy / Nathan Allen. Best for Overlanding DECKED x Pathfinder Survival Kit TripSavvy / Nathan Allen. View On Decked.com What We Like Combines survival and first-aid items Comes in a heavy-duty box What We Don't Like A bit heavy Midwestern-based DECKED has made drawer systems and vehicle organizational carriers for almost a decade. Recently, they paired with survival instructor and best-selling author Dave Canterbury's Pathfinder School to create a survival kit able to handle many situations. The kit comes with a Ferro rod, mini fire discs, a tarp, paracord, and a folding saw. We also love that this kit comes with survival and first-aid supplies. Now, because it's DECKED, it all comes in a heavy-duty box. That's perfect for overlanding, van life, your garage, or keeping in the back of your pickup truck. But it's not the most maneuverable for everyday use. Still, this is a good pick if you're looking for a solid blend of survival and first-aid. Price at time of publish: $290 TripSavvy / Nathan Allen. Most Compact VSSL Essentials Ready Kit VSSL Essentials Ready Kit. View On Vsslgear.com What We Like Super easy to pack anywhere Has unique items not found in other survival kits What We Don't Like The unique items could be obscure for some VSSL recently launched an Essentials package of kits. We like the Ready Kit for its compact size and unique items found within the kit. The Ready Kit includes an oil-filled compass, 8 feet of cord, 25 feet of rope, razor blade, and a small wire saw. That's it. But that's enough to get yourself out of quite a few situations. We view this as the kit you have on hand to pair with other kits. Price at time of publish: $80 TripSavvy / Nathan Allen. Best for Travel Adventure Medical Kits Smart Travel Backcountry View On Backcountry.com What We Like Solid coverage for the most common travel challenges Stored in TSA-approved bags What We Don't Like Slightly heavy at one pound, one ounce With a particular emphasis on gear that the intrepid globetrotter might need, the Adventure Medical Kits’ Smart Travel comes with a refreshing variety of solutions to the various potential ailments of the open road or international travel. Moleskin patches and GlacierGel bandages fend off blisters and treat burns. Medications provide pain relief, treatment for all-too-common stomach ailments, and common allergies and irritants like insect stings. And the first aid kit carries loads of bandages, wound dressings, tools like gloves, forceps, and two disposable thermometers. The entire kit is organized into injury-specific pockets to make it easy to access what you need in a hurry effectively, and, better still, the kit relies primarily on visual communications to hurdle any potential language barriers. A comprehensive guide to wilderness and travel medicine is also included, along with a patient assessment form. Price at time of publish: $58 for Green, Smart Travel Best for Hiking Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Hiker Kit Amazon View On Amazon View On REI What We Like Lightweight and able to handle most common issues Less than half a pound What We Don't Like No heat blanket or emergency shelter, so pack smartly Day hiking implies that you’ll be home and safe long before the sun sets, but the unexpected could change everything. That’s why the Mountain Series Hiker kit from Adventure Medical Kits is the right one to toss in your pack. It comes loaded with enough gear for up to two people for two days, including backcountry wound care products to stop bleeding and bandage wounds or stabilize a strained or sprained ankle. An external kit map shows where all the supplies are located (organized by injury in clearly-labeled pockets), and a reflective design makes it easier to get what you need in the dark. Other, more common hiking ailments such as blisters, insect bites, and pain mitigation are also covered, and it includes a condensed guide on wilderness medication Price at time of publish: $25 The 12 Best Hiking Gear Items of 2023, Tested by Experts Best for Road Tripping/Cars My Medic Popular Mechanics Auto Medic Kit My Medic View On Mymedic.com What We Like Comprehensive HSA and FSA approved What We Don't Like Larger groups or families may want more coverage Be ready to handle the unforeseen consequences of your next road trip with the Popular Mechanics Auto Medic kit from My Medical. The rugged case will withstand all sorts of punishment, making it a reliable resource no matter how tightly you pack your trunk. It boasts loads of gear, organized in easily identifiable color-coded modules, with everything you need to handle minor to life-threatening injuries, including a pack of assorted bandages, a wound treatment and relief mod with pain meds and items like sting relief wipes; and a medication mod that covers the gamut of illnesses. You also get an assortment of gauzes, mini-tools like a whistler and tweezer, EMT shears, a rapid tourniquet, a CPR shield, and a pair of disposable gloves. Car trip-centric features include a light stick that glows for up to 30 hours, a combo window breaker/seat belt cutter to help you escape the car in an emergency, a barf bag, and a thermal insulation space blanket. It also includes a guide to first aid survival to help you address practically any issue you might encounter. Price at time of publish: $140 Best for Car Camping HART Outdoor Multiday First-Aid Kit REI View On REI What We Like Inexpensive What We Don't Like Do we really need an “accident record report and pencil” in the world of smart devices and phone cameras? Packability is considerably less of an issue when car camping than, say, thru-hiking or taking a multi-day backpacking excursion, so the Hard Outdoor Multiday First Aid Kit makes for the ideal park-and-camp scenario. It won’t dominate your trunk space, but it still supplies everything you and your camping crew might need to handle typical wilderness injuries. It includes a host of different adhesive bandages and gauzes, a handful of pills, loads of wound cleaning materials, and topical relief for things like burns, insect stings, or poison ivy. It also includes two broad patches of moleskin to help with blisters, scissors, forceps, an elastic bandage, and a wilderness first aid guide to keep you informed. Price at time of publish: $38 Best for Thru-Hikes Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight/Watertight .7 REI View On Amazon View On REI What We Like Lightweight Compact What to Consider No survival aid instructional guide, so be sure to bone up on the basics before hitting the trail. For thru-hikers, it’s all about the weight-to-value ratio, and at only 5.8 ounces, the Adventure Medical Kits’ Ultralight/Watertight .7 justifies its presence in any backpack. In addition to the expected cadre of medical gear for stabilizing fractures and sprains and ample treatment for wounds, illnesses, and blister prevention, it also comes with emergency gear repairs, including a safety pin and mini roll of duct tape. And perhaps just as important, it also comes in a two-stage waterproof case–a waterproof DryFlex inner bag and a water-resistant outer treated with DWR to shrug off the impacts of the inevitable rainstorm or semi-planned plunge into a river. Price at time of publish: $33 Best for Cycling My Medic Cyclist Med Pack My Medic Cycle Medic Kit. View On Mymedic.com What We Like Very cycling-specific Can easily slip into a jersey pocket or handle bar bag What We Don't Like Some items (like sunblock or lip balm) may be unnecessary if you’ve already developed a loyalty to another brand As its name indicates, My Medic focused on remedies for the most common bike injuries with their Cyclist Med Pack. It covers routine hassles like chaffing, sunburns, stinging insects, blisters, dehydration, chapped lips, pain medication, antibody ointment and wipes, skin glue, and an assortment of bandages to address minor cuts and scrapes. Medium- and large-sized tubular gauze are easy to pull over your injured arm or leg, while a two-inch-wide roll of gauze allows for more targeted treatment or to cover up road rash on your torso or shoulder. Its grab-and-go size shouldn’t burden even the most ounce-averse cyclist, but note that the emphasis here is on the medical aspects, so be sure to pack a basic repair kit (tube patch, a bike-specific multitool, and spare tubes) to round out your back-up contingencies. Price at time of publish: $15 Best for Backcountry Skiing Backcountry Access TS Rescue Package REI View On REI What We Like Everything you need in one package What We Don't Like You’ll need to source your own backcountry ski pack, preferably one with an avalanche airbag A competent backcountry skier or snowboarder knows that, even for the most educated and experienced, it’s essential to be ready to handle the worst-case scenario of a dangerous avalanche. Backcountry Access’ T3 Avalanche Rescue Pack makes it easy by grouping the brand’s leading safety tools into one convenient, single-priced item. It includes the Tracker3 avalanche beacon and harness, a super-durable Stealth 270 probe, and the B-1 EXT shovel. The beacon is very simple and has an instantaneous real-time display to help speed up recovery efforts, utilizing both Signal Suppression and Big Picture modes to simplify multiple-victim searching. Meanwhile, the probe allows for rapid assembly, with the top segment nestling inside the next probe section to cut down on pack size. Laser-etched depth markings along its 270-centimeter length help determine the shape of the evac area before digging. Designed to deliver the max strength-to-weight ratio, the B-1 Avalanche Shovel is crafted with 6061 aluminum, an oval shaft, a pack-friendly blade shape, and an easy-to-extend push-button handle. Note: A shovel, avalanche beacon, and probe are the minimum items of gear you should travel with in the backcountry. We strongly suggest taking many avalanche and backcountry travel trainings and keeping another first-aid and survival kit in your pack while alpine ski touring. Best for the Food Obsessed Best for Families Stealth Angel Survival Five-Person Emergency Kit Stealth Angel View On Stealthangelsurvival.com What We Like Extensive support What We Don't Like Slightly expensive Boasting enough supplies to help up to five people survive for 72 hours, the Stealth Angel Survival’s Five-Person Emergency Kit/Survival Bag distributes its gear into two of the brand’s backpacks to make it easier to haul all the stuff. It includes water and food that has a five-year shelf life, 30 four-ounce water pouches, 30 400-calorie food bars, and 50 water purification tablets—as well as hygiene and first aid kits, the latter of which carries 108 different supplies and can be carried in its own sack for quick outings. Beyond those basics, you also get loads of clutch survival tools beyond those basics, including a Q5 flashlight, a four-in-one radio flashlight charger, a survival whistle, a multitool, a compass, a ferrocerium fire-starting rod safety goggles, work gloves, and a paracord bracelet. And if disaster strikes before you can snag your camping kit, it also provides five emergency body warmers, blankets, hooded ponchos, and a tube tent with rope. In short, this kit gives you pretty much everything for you and your brood. Price at time of publish: $480 Best for Natural Disasters Redfora Complete Hurricane Kit Redfora View On Redfora.com What We Like Easy grab-and-go convenience What We Don't Like You’ll survive, but you wouldn’t call the experience close to plush Think of the Redfora Hurricane Kit less like a standard bag of gear and more like a customized survival solution. Choose from a kit targeted for one, two, or four people, and you’ll get three days of all the essential supplies you’ll need to ride out the damage wreaked by a hurricane. Resources are broken into categories, including first aid and hydration kits, food and water, typically high-calorie food bars, water pouches, and water purification tablets. Tools also cover the gamut, from a five-in-one whistle and 50 feet of nylon rope to safety goggles, a sewing kit, work gloves, and a multitool. And you can also fend off the elements thanks to hand/body warmers, a tube-style tent, mylar sleeping bags, emergency ponchos, a 12-hour bright stick, and a candle that burns for more than 30 hours. They even have your smart devices covered thanks to a hand-crank flashlight that includes a radio and a phone charger. Price at time of publish: $135 for 1 Person-3 Days Go Bag What to Look for When Buying a Survival Kit Included Items/Supplies The scope of gear in prepared survival kits varies based on the level of coverage you desire, which typically aligns with the activities and the key risks you want the kit to support. Bare-bones kits usually provide enough gear for first aid, including bandages, gauze wraps, antiseptic, over-the-counter pain medications, and small tools like tweezers or a small roll of duct tape. Small packs of sunblock, sting and allergy treatment, blister treatment, and lip balm are common. Travel-focused kits may also include open road-friendly items like meds to help with stomach ailments and “visual” first aid books to help hurtle any potential language barriers while administering aid. Those kits emphasizing the outdoors add additional products, like a space blanket for added warmth, fire-making equipment, small shelters, signaling devices like a whistle, and kits to repair damaged tents or jackets. More robust survival kits up the ante even more. Focusing on helping you weather something like a hurricane, they include basic hygiene and first aid kits, food and water solutions, communication and lighting devices, more capable tools, and added shelter (sleeping bags, “tube”-style tents, etcetera). Uncharted Supply Co. Founder and CEO Christian Schauf recommends visiting a site like ready.gov or FEMA.gov for a quick starting point. "But no two people are the same, and to truly be prepared, you need to consider your environment, your family’s unique needs, and how you live," Schauf advises. Organization and Instruction Schauf recommends looking for a kit that emphasizes organization, instruction, and ease of use. "People shop for kits when they are comfortable, but they use them when things like severe weather or injury compromise them, and for many, these emergencies are not something they have much experience with," Schauf points out. "In those moments, adrenaline can cause a rational person to make bad decisions. Being able to get to the tools you need and having guidance on how to use them will improve your situation and calm your mind, equating to a path of better decision-making." Number of People Most survival kits will indicate the target number of people the kit can support in most circumstances, which dictates the amount of gear–bandages, medication, and even food and water–that’s included. It’s always wise to target a kit that corresponds with your group size, or at least assure that everyone has their own survival kit should things go awry. Number of Days As with the total number of people, the kit duration is typically clearly identified for most survival kits. That duration also varies with the type of activity that the kit is designed to support. Overnight travelers and day-tripping cyclists don’t need the kind of backup protection you’d need if something goes wrong and you spend the night on the trail. The primary measurement here indicates the duration that the kit can support without dwindling on supplies or, in the case of full-on survival kits, how many days of food and water are part of the kit. This should provide peace of mind and a ballpark for when you need to seek help. Frequently Asked Questions What should I put in a survival kit? Prepared survival kits will cover all the basics. Still, you should plan on supplementing a kit with any personal prescription medication, preferred medication brands, and other items like an epi-pen based on your and your party’s requirements. If you have particular items that you prefer, like a specific lip balm or sunblock brand, you can always swap those in—or add them to the kit if they’re missing.But at a minimum, be sure your kit allows you to quickly clean and treat a wound, support sprained and strained joints, and protect you from sunburn, insect bites, and allergic reactions to things like poison ivy. Some kits also include first aid survival guides, which you could always add to your kit if that resource isn’t included. How do I know if items in my kit have expired? How often should I test or replace items? Anything that can expire—medication or some antiseptic or sting treatments—should have an expiration date marked, and you should check them before any outing to re-stock if anything has passed its date. But other items—tools, bandages, gauze, etcetera—naturally don’t expire. Just be sure they’re not damaged and in good operating condition before departing. Schauf recommends going through your kit and replacing perishables every few years. Should you keep cash in your kit? Yes. Cash is handy in various emergencies, 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 are some of the best places to store a survival kit? Schauf says he likes the theory that the best camera is the one in your hand. “The same applies to survival kits,” Schauf explains. “If you have the world’s best survival kit home, but you’re stuck on the freeway, it’s not really helpful.” Schauf advises keeping your survival kit “in a way that provides the most access. “For most people, that’s their vehicle,” he says. This also depends on your activity. We keep our backpacking kit with our backpacking gear, our cycling kit with our cycling gear, and our hiking kit with our hiking gear. You get it. If you live in a more disaster-prone place than others, it’s good to keep a “go bag” handy and make sure everyone in your house knows where it’s located. Why Trust TripSavvy Nathan Borchelt has been rating, reviewing, and testing outdoor and travel products for decades, and spends as much time as his schedule allows traveling, hiking, biking, and running. Each kit was focused first on first-aid solutions, assuring that each product had the basics to treat minor to more severe injuries. Then the selection panned out further, looking at activity- or demographic-specific requirements like added shelter (for day hikers), gear repair (for backpackers), and the more comprehensive needs for large families or those who have recently survived a natural disaster. TripSavvy's Outdoor Gear Editor, Nathan Allen, also contributed to the reporting and testing within this article. He, unfortunately, has plenty of experience with backcountry and urban mishaps involving himself and others and knows first-hand how important it is to be prepared in outdoor pursuits. He also keeps multiple go bags and survival kits on hand, being based in California near earthquake and wildfire-prone areas. The 10 Best First Aid Kits to Ensure Safety at Home and Away Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! Submit Continue to 5 of 14 below. Continue to 9 of 14 below. Continue to 13 of 14 below.