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The Ultimate Compact Survival Kit

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
The Ultimate Compact Survival Kit

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The Winter Blast Giveaway has been a lot of fun and a lot of great products have been reviewed and offered as reader giveaways.  That said, one of the most fun items is something a little less mundane, namely a compact survival kit plus a pocket sized fishing kit.  There is something about something that is small, yet well thought out and well made that captures my attention and makes it fun and well as functional, you know what I mean?

I have always been fascinated by those survival kits that are packaged in tins.  For years, do-it-yourselfers have repurposed breath mint tins to create portable first aid kits, sewing kits, and pocket survival kits.  But those tins are small and not very sturdy.  How many times has one of these tins spilled out into your pack or purse because the hinge failed?

Ultimate Compact Survival Kit

Today I have an alternative, namely the Vigilant Trails Survival Kit.  (There is also a separate fishing kit but more about that in a moment.)

The Vigilant Trails Survival Kit

The Vigilant Trails Survival Kit is a real gem.  I say that because this 87 piece kit has everything you need to deal with an unexpected survival situation with the exception of a personal defense weapon.  Fire, first aid, shelter, signaling, water and a provision for food are all included.

Each of the items in the kit is snugly packed inside a crush proof metal container measuring just 5 inches long by 3 1/2 inches wide.  They were so well packed that as I took the items out for examination, I was a bit concerned about getting them back inside.  Alas, I need not have worried. Because each item is packed in a little baggie, it was easy to take an item out then put the rest back  inside for use at another time.

The tin itself is wrapped by a strong compression strap that has a very cool integrated emergency whistle that really works.  The buckle can easily be be released with just one hand which could be critical in an emergency.  Another cool item is the knife.  It is easy to open and close the blade and extremely sharp. I suppose I have a thing about whistles and knives, probably because they are useful in a variety of situations, not just emergencies.

Compact Survival Kit closed up

Compact Survival Kit

All these items fit nicely in a compact tin.

Here is a complete list of the contents:

1 – Vigilant Trails Survival Guide
1 – Crush Proof Metal Container (4 3/4 X 3 3/8 X 1 1/2)
1 – Nylon Compression Strap w/Integrated Emergency Whistle
1 – Flint Fire Starter with Steel Scraper
8 – Storm, Wind & Water Proof Matches
1 –  Match Striker
1 – Fresnel Magnifier X3 Power (3 X 2 inch)
5 – Fire Starter Tinder Tabs
1 – Matchbook (20 Matches)
1 – Emergency Space Blanket (84 X 52 inches)
1 – Shatter Proof Emergency Signal Mirror with Sighting Hole
2 – Liquid Filled Compass (20mm)
1 – Airline Tubing (2 feet X  3/16 inch)
5 – Water Purification Tablets
2 – Coffee Filter
1 – Liter Plastic Bag (re-sealable)
1 – Clear Plastic Sheet (42″ X 31″)
1 – Lock back Knife, Single-handed Opening (5″ overall length)
1 – Stainless Steel Surgical Blade
1 – Stainless Steel Needle (3 inch)
1 – Pencil (3 1/2 inch)
1 – Olive Drab Paracord (5 feet)
4 – Heavy Duty Plastic Zip Ties
1 – Heavy Duty #69 Nylon Thread (10 feet)
3 – Size 2 Nickel Plated Steel Safety Pins
1 – Vitamin A & D Ointment (Petroleum Jelly, 5 gram tube)
2 – Antiseptic Povidone-Iodine Pads
2 – Alcohol Prep Pads
3 – Sterile Strip Bandages (1 X 3 inch)
3 – Butterfly Bandages (3/8 X 1 13/16 inch)
1 –  Sterile Patch Bandage (2 X 3 inch)
1 – P-38 G.I. Can Opener
1 – Mini LED Flashlight (water resistant housing, includes 2- CR2016 batteries)
1 – Insect Sting Wipe with Lidocaine
1 – First Aid Burn Cream
3 – Split Rings (10mm)
4 – 100% Cotton Balls
1 – 24 Gauge Bronze Snare Wire (5 feet)
1 – Fishing Kit:
3 –  Eagle Claw #7 Split Shot Sinkers
3 – Eagle Claw Size 10 Gold Treble Hooks
6 – Eagle Claw BB Split Shot Sinkers
1 – 50 feet, 6 #  Fishing Line
3 – Foam Floats / Hook Protectors
3 –  Artificial Worms (3 inch)

See what I mean about being so well packaged that that all of this actually fits into this small tin?  I think it is pretty amazing.

The Fishing Kit

Vigilant Trails also sent me a pocket fishing kit.  To be honest, I did not dismantle the fishing kit for examination because I was confident that it was the same high quality as the Survival Kit.  A fishing kit will be included in the giveaway and of course, you can find more details on the Vigilant Trails website.

Fishing Kit

Vigilant Trails – The Company

The company philosophy aligns with the mantra “Three is two, two is one, and one is none”.  Here is how this philosophy is incorporated into the survival kit and additionally is something for you to consider when putting any type of emergency kit together yourself (reprinted from their FAQ page):

In terms of Fire, we provide water and wind proof matches, a fresnel lens, flint fire starter, enough paracord to make a bow drill and a paper match book (of which you can use the enclosed knife or razor blade to split in half, effectively giving you 40 individual paper matches).We further provide numerous tinder resources such as the cotton balls and tinder tabs. Of which you can further enhance with the petroleum jelly.

In terms of Water, we provide water purification tablets, material to build a solar still and you can boil water using the Vigilant Trails Survival Kit container. To further enhance water collection and purification efforts: a gusseted stand-up resealable plastic water bag, coffee filters and the airline tubing is included. The Povidone-Iodine pads can also be used to purify drinking water as a last ditch purification effort.

In terms of Signaling, we provide a whistle that is built into the tension strap, fire is always an ideal option, the survival blanket and container can be used to signal and we include a shatter proof emergency signal mirror with sighting hole.

For Food procurement we included a unique fishing kit. This fishing kit includes artificial lures and gold treble hooks. Some species of fish such as Brook Trout and certain species of pan fish like Bluegill and Crappie can be caught with nothing but a shiny bare gold hook. You can also utilize the contents of the fishing kit to catch small reptiles, rodents and birds. Twenty-four gauge snare wire is included, enough to construct 2-3 snares and the bottom of the container can be used while making a dead fall. Of course, you’ll have fire, which means you can cook your food in the container itself to avoid getting ill (from being under-cooked) and contaminating with ashes and lastly, as a handy container for wild berries, pine needles, snails, worms, etc.

Shelter, you have the option to use the enclosed survival blanket in the construction of a debris shelter or lean-to, heavy-duty plastic zip-ties to hold up the cross beam on a lean-to (so you don’t have to use your cordage), the knife to cut down small saplings and branches and lastly the plastic sheet for further protection from heat loss and water proofing.

First-Aid, in addition to the water purification tablets and cotton mentioned above, both serving dual duties, numerous items can be utilized for the treatment of minor cuts, burns, bug bites, chapped lips and skin, chafing prevention and relief, ward of hypothermia using the emergency space blanket and numerous ways to treat and prevent infection.

Two other things to keep in mind:  If you use your kit in a real-world survival situation, Vigilant Trails will replace the entire kit at no-charge.  In addition, all members of the United States Armed Services, past and present receive a 10% discount.

The Giveaway

Here is the part you have been waiting for.  A Vigilant Trails Survival Kit plus a Pocket Fishing Kit have been reserved for one lucky reader.  To enter this giveaway, answer the following question in the comments area below:

What is the outdoor activity where you would most likely need a compact survival kit?

The deadline for your entry is 6:00 PM Pacific on Thursday, February 6th.  A winner will be selected at random and announced in the Sunday Survival Buzz.  He or she she will have 48 hours to claim their prize.

Note: If you are reading this article in your email client, you must go to the Backdoor Survival website to enter this giveaway in the comments area at the bottom of the article.  Sorry, I can not accept entries via email.

The Final Word

I love this kit and have put it into my new EDC sling bag which, by the way, I will be reviewing in a month or two (you are going to want to enter that giveaway for sure!).  I like that this survival kit is compact, sturdy and designed with redundancy.  And of course, I like it because it has everything I need to handle an emergency while on the go, hitting the trails or taking road trip.  And Shelly, the Survival Husband, thinks it is perfect for his Harley where a larger kit would be impractical.

I encourage you to enter this giveaway – you are going to love this kit.  By the way, the kit is available for sale on Amazon as well as the Vigilant Trails website.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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From the Bargain Bin:  Here are links to the Vigilant Trails Kits at Amazon, a must have knife, and some of my cast iron favorites.

Vigilant Trails Survival Kit:  The complete, 87 piece kit, includes the 6 essentials for surviving; Fire, First-Aid, Food, Shelter, Signaling and Water.

Vigilant Trails Pocket / Survival Fishing Kit:  This well priced kit provides all the essential elements to successfully catch fish.

Morakniv Craftline Q Allround Fixed Blade Utility Knife: Also known as the Mora 511, this is now my favorite knife.  It is made of Swedish steel and is super sharp.

Lodge Logic 12-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet: This purchase changed the way I cook. I use my cast iron cookware for everything from salmon, to bacon and eggs, to biscuits. Don’t forget the Lodge Set of 2 Pan Scrapers, a must have for cleaning those food bits from your cast iron cookware.

Lodge Logic Pre-Seasoned 15 Inch Cast-Iron Skillet:  Similar to the 12” skillet only bigger.  Actually, quite huge (and yes, I finally have one!).  By the way, if you are curious about cooking a steak indoors in a cast iron skillet?  See Cooking Steak on Your Cast Iron Survival Skillet.

Lodge 5-Quart Double Dutch Oven and Casserole with Skillet Cover:  This is another cool piece.  This Dutch Oven does not have legs and is designed for indoor use – but it can be used outdoors too.  Just don’t forget the Ove Gloves.

Ove’ Gloves Hot Surface Handler:  I cannot say enough about these hand and arm protectors.  I have permanent scars from hitting my arm on the rack of my oven.  I can only imagine what I would look like if I did not use these with my cast iron cookware.  Forget the colorful silicon hot pads.  These are 1000 times better!


Emergency Essential Corn Bread 013Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials

I really love the Provident Pantry Corn Muffin Mix which I cooked up as corn bread in my cast iron skillet.  Oh my gosh – it was better than anything boxed that I have ever purchased and as good as home made.  The best part is that all I had to add was water!  Same with the Buttermilk Biscuit Mix.

These are just two of the food storage items that you can purchase at Emergency Essentials.  And if you need some recipes?  Go to the Food Storage Recipes page of Emergency Essentials for lots of creative (and free) ideas for using the good you have on hand.


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204 Responses to “The Ultimate Compact Survival Kit”

  1. This survival kit could come in handy anytime, whether enjoying the great outdoors or simply at home. You never know when the need may be real!!

  2. Living in the SW desert, one could potentially find oneself in a situation where the car breaks down in a secluded area, getting stuck out hiking, etc, but mainly, I am getting handy things like this together because I like to be prepared and I like cool, organized supplies from first aid kits to tools.

  3. Camping, back country hiking are some times that come to mind. There are many other situations where these kits would come in handy

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