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Survival Kit Essentials

Learn what items are essential to have in a survival kit from NYC Outward Bound's Marko Yurachek in this wilderness survival skills Howcast video.


In the survival kit itself, there's a variety of items. You might notice that most of my items are geared towards taking care of the big five things which are, shelter, fire, food, water, and also being found. So to start off with being found, I have a flare. A flare is excellent for being located by air or by ground. I have another candle which goes along with fire. To go along with fire, again, I have a lighter, I have another lighter. So I have a torch lighter, I have a lighter-lighter, which also is a fuel for the torch lighter. On the back side of it, I have fire sticks tapes onto both, so that I can start a fire in inclement weather. This will also help me start a fire. If all of those fails, if everything gets wet, I have a flint and steel and it has a fire stick on it. There's a lot of fire-starting material. I also have some magnesium for starting fire in really inclement weather and a couple other fire-starting kits. You might notice that fire is the most abundant thing that I have in here.

I have some cordage. The cordage is great for setting snares and traps. I have a couple zip-ties. These are convenient for repairing your gear. I have an extra flashlight with an extra battery. For water purification, if I'm not boiling my water, I have iodine tablets. Two of these go into a liter and will take care of your water. I have a space blanket. It's great for lining your shelter and reflecting heat back to you.

If you need to get somewhere in the dark, one of the things that is quite problematic with people sometimes, they'll have their camp, they'll leave. If someone gets hurt, they'll leave to go get help, they can't find their way back. I have markers. These markers are little bright eyes, which are tacks that shine in the dark. There's also some reflective twist-ties. In addition to that, there's always a compass in my kit that's going to give me the ability to navigate, other than using natural navigation tools.

And there's always a cell phone. Cell phone doesn't always work, but sometimes it does, an when it does, it's great. If I'm on a remote trip, I'll carry a satellite phone so that I can contact people in areas where I don't have cell reception. A satellite phone is great in remote, remote locations. Here in the New York area, cell phone coverage is almost everywhere.

In addition to that is a Sharpie. A Sharpie is great for taking notes. I usually use my skin to take notes on. If I'm working with a patient in the back country, one that's been insured, it's great for writing any information about that patient on the patient, so when they're evacuated, the people that are taking care of them know what's going on with their history and stuff like that.

Wrapped around the Sharpie, you'll notice a good length of fishing line. Fishing line that you're going to set up a fishing snare. In fact, we set up a fishing snare already. I used the safety pins. Usually, this kit contains safety pins and a fishing line.

So the last item I have in my kit is a Swiss army knife, which has almost all the tools you might need. I also have a Leatherman in my other kit, a really good tool as well. So I like to have a knife with a multi-tool. That will allow me to repair things, cut things, make whatever tools I need.

These are some basic items that I carry in my survival kit. There's probably a million variations of the same thing, and if you asked ten different people, you'd get ten different kits and items. For me, this is what I find works really well and gives me the ability to take care of myself and anyone that I'm travelling with in a wilderness situation.

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