Survival Kits

Why Should I Customize My Emergency Kit

If you’ve done any research on survival kits or bug out bags or anything of that nature so far, you’ve no doubt come across entire lists of survival items that the writer claims you absolutely need to have.

A knife, flashlight, fire starter, first aid kit, food, water, filter, you name it.

Is each of those kinds of items great things to have in any survival kit?  You bet and for hopefully obvious reasons.  How are you supposed to survive for an extended period of time without water or food, for instance?

But at the same time, you would also be unwise to follow anyone’s survival item list simply verbatim.  You would equally, if not more so, be unwise to just purchase a pre-stocked survival kit like the ones you see on Amazon and call yourself good to go.

Why?  We’re going to answer that question in detail in the upcoming sections:

Why Your Survival Kit or Bug Out Bag Needs To Be Customized

There are several reasons why your survival kit or bug out bag needs to be customized.

The first is familiarity: you need to become 100% familiar with each and every item within it.  If you purchase a pre-stocked survival kit and call yourself good, are you really going to take the time to become familiar with each of the items within it?

Are you really going to go through the bag and learn about each of the items so you know what’s in it and what’s not?  Maybe, maybe not.  But there’s no question that many people would not for the sake of laziness.

So to put this into perspective, building your own survival kit, where you buy each of the items separately and put them together yourself, you will become inherently more familiar with each of the items.  Even off the top of your head, you could probably list out all of or at least most of the items that you have in the kit as well.

Knowledge of the items you have in your kit is important.  Say you sustain a medical injury out in the field.  You need bandages but don’t think you have any in your pre-stocked survival kit when in reality you do.  If you had taken the time to put the kit together yourself and become more familiar with it, you would have known.

Another reason your survival kit or bug out bag needs to be customized beyond becoming more familiar with the items is so you can become more prepared for your specific needs and situation.

For instance, you may have specific health issues that necessitate you having items that most other people would not need in their kits.  Prescription medication is a prime example.

Or, what about geography?  While some items would overlap between a winter survival kit and a desert one, other items would be needed only for one or the other.

For example, a winter survival kit would need snowshoes, a warm sleeping bivvy or wool blanket, a wool hat, gloves and thick socks, and a snow shovel to name a few things.  A desert survival kit, on the other hand, would need sunglasses, sunscreen, a bandana, and a lot of water.

If you live in a place that has all four seasons, or at least more than one, you may find it necessary to have a different survival kit for each season.

Basic Supplies That Need To Remain Consistent

By this point, we have established the importance of having a truly customized survival kit where you are fully familiar with each of its contents and that is tailored to your own needs and geographical region/season.

That being said, there are a certain number of survival items that will need to remain consistent across all survival kits for anybody, regardless of season, geographical locations, or personal needs.

So while you should absolutely customize your survival kit to make it the way you want it to be, you also need to understand that there are certain survival items that can be considered ‘must haves.’

Examples of these kinds of ‘must have items’ include the following:

  • Knife
  • Water (plus canteen and purification tablets/personal water filter)
  • Food (Portable, Long Lasting, Nutritious)
  • First Aid Supplies
  • Paracord
  • Fire Starting Devices

Can you think of any survival situation where the above items would not come in handy?  Some of those items could be considered to be an absolute necessity, meaning you cannot live without them in the wilderness.  Food and water certainly fall into that category, as would fire starting devices and quite possibly the knife.


To conclude, it’s important to pack your own survival kit according to your needs, your season, and to your geographic location.  You should NEVER, under any circumstances, buy any pre-stocked survival kit without thoroughly going through the materials of it and calling yourself good to go.

It’s okay to start with a pre-stocked survival kit to serve as the base for your survival kit, but even then, you would need to be sure to familiarize yourself fully with each item.

It’s also important to remember that there are certain items that will be necessary for your kit regardless.  Food, water, knife, fire starter, etc.  Additional items that will be fully necessary are anything that you need specifically, such as prescription meds.

The easiest way to start to make a survival kit is to create a list.  Write a list and divide it into these sections:

  • The Must-Have Items
  • The Items You Specifically Need
  • The Items You Need For Your Season/Geographical Location
  • The Items That Would Be Nice To Have, But Are Not Fully Necessary

You can then begin to assemble your survival kit by gathering each of the items that you have listed out in each of those categories; don’t move onto the items in one category until you have already collected and familiarized yourself with everything in the last.

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