Survival Checklist – List of What to Put in Your Bag?

We can’t stress the importance of having wilderness survival gear, especially if you’re someone who has a thirst for adventure. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the wild on a regular basis, you’re a weekend warrior, or if it is still new to you, if you are unprepared, it could spell disaster.

Creating your own survival kit can be different from person to person, especially when you aren’t sure what is necessary and what isn’t. Do you know what survival gear can save your life or what is just fluff that takes up valuable space in your pack and add extra pounds in your pack?

Keep reading, and you’ll discover our top ten must have survival items that should be included in every wilderness survival kit.

Survival Knife

There is little in life that can make you feel a smidge safer than when you are packing a strong survival knife in your pack. Now this doesn’t mean you have to carry a machete, but you’ll want to make sure you pack a knife (whether it is a fixed blade or a folding knife) because they can do a lot of things.

They can cut the rope, open MREs, cut branches to help build a shelter, and can even build a fire. It is also important to have when using a first aid kit.

First Aid Kit

This should be a no-brainer. You want to make sure your first aid kit has band-aids, Neosporin, medication, sunblock, lip balm, sunglasses, gauze, cotton balls, rubbing alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide.

It is also important that you know basic first aid skills, like how to dress a wound, how to create a makeshift splint, and how to put a joint back into the socket.


In an ideal world, we would never get stranded in the middle of nowhere. However, life happens, and you aren’t always going to have bottles of water on hand. You have to know how to find a source of fresh water. We recommend you carry a metal water bottle to carry the water.

Look for water bottles that have a filtration straw incorporated into the design so you can have clean water. You can also carry a mini filtration system with you if you prefer.


If you are going on an adventure, you might want to pack a few MREs (you can find them listed on Amazon pretty easily) and other nonperishable food. You should also familiarize yourself with what kind of plants and berries you can eat.

You should also think about learning how to trap animals or how to fish without a rod just in case you’re stranded for longer than your food supply will cover.

Fire Making Items

We don’t care how easy some of the survivalists make it look on television, starting a fire isn’t as that simple. We like Wilderness Survival Skills suggestion of having a few items that will help start a fire. These items should include:

  • Ferrocerium rod and a metal striker
  • Magnesium Fire Starter
  • Cotton balls soaked with candle wax or petroleum jelly in a waterproof container
  • Rubbing alcohol (important for your first aid kit, but a few drops can help ignite a fire)
  • A bag of snack chips like corn chips or Doritos—they really do burn!

Source of Light

We mentioned that you should have a headlamp as part of your signaling devices, but you may also want to include a few small flashlights and extra batteries. You don’t want to be fumbling around in the dark, as you could seriously get hurt and even more lost because you couldn’t find your way back to camp.

Tarp or Lightweight Tent

You may not think a tarp is going to come in handy, but it can be erected to provide you with shelter from the elements. You never know when a storm suddenly rolls in, and the rain starts pouring. You can also find a lightweight tent that is quick and easy to set up.


Lots of survivalists carry parachute cord with them because it is strong, flexible, and it is light weight. These cords are even fashioned into bracelets, so they don’t take up a whole lot of space in your pack. You might be wondering what a cord can be used for other than constructing a shelter. You can use the cord in case you have to climb a steep hill, or it can be used to lay a trap, too.

Navigation Items

It doesn’t matter what cell carrier you have, you aren’t going to get a signal everywhere, so you can’t rely on your phone’s navigation to help you find your way. We recommend that you have a map and compass in your kit.

You also should brush up on how to use the sky to help you get your bearings when you’re lost.

Signaling Devices

Play Outside Guide reminds us that if you are lost, you’ll want to have items that you can use that will signal to others your location. This can include a whistle, headlamp, flare gun, or even a mirror.

You can use the mirror and headlamp to signal for help by using the SOS signal, which is three short flashes, three long, and then three more short flashes. You can also find signaling mirrors that double as a compass, this way you have fewer things to carry.


We hope that when you decide to go out into the great unknown, you carefully plan what you are going to bring in your backpack. When you plan your pack carefully, the items you include can be the difference between life or death.

Perhaps the best part of having a survival kit is that you can also keep on in your car because you never know when life will throw you a curve ball and you get stranded on a deserted road. You can never be too prepared!