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10 Reasons Why You Should Add Essential Oils to Your Survival Kit

Avatar for Jodie Weston Jodie Weston  |  Updated: July 3, 2019
10 Reasons Why You Should Add Essential Oils to Your Survival Kit

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Every pre-made survival kit sold in stores has to be personalized to one’s liking and needs. A sharp knife, box of matches, rope and wound dressing are universal items that will surely help you take control of life-threatening situations.

But, have you ever considered adding essential oils to your survival kit?

While this may seem a strange idea at first, you will be surprised how handy a single bottle of pure plant extract can be.

People have been using medicinal essential oils for centuries, even in survival situations. So, why shouldn’t you?

If you have not yet been convinced of this idea, keep on reading to find 10 reasons why you should introduce at least one essential oil to your survival kit.

1. Essential Oils Are Versatile

Essential oils are highly versatile. A single bottle of plant extract can help you solve a number of problems that you will face living outdoors without resources. Essential oils are versatile because of their universal antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Every plant extract has its own unique strengths to bring to the table.

essential oils

Take a look at these essential oils and their usability.

Lavender essential oil: Aids sleeplessness, treats wounds, scrapes, and cuts, boosts mental health, provides sunburn relief, etc.

Tea tree essential oil: Fights bacterial and fungal infections, repels insects, promotes respiratory health, natural laundry freshener, etc.

Peppermint essential oil: Soothes itchiness and poison ivy, soothes muscle soreness, increases athletic performance, provides sun protection, relieves migraines, etc.

2. Essential Oils Have Long Shelf Life

Every item in your survival kit should have a long shelf life. It can take years before you utilize your survival kit and changing the stock every few months is neither practical nor economical.

Essential oils have a minimum shelf life of 1-2 years depending on the variety. A single bottle of plant extract can last you for years if stored correctly.

This grouping will help you calculate an approximate expiration date of certain essential oils.

1-2 year shelf life: Frankincense, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, tea tree, etc.

3-year shelf life: Bergamot, basil, fennel, juniper berry, oregano, melissa, neroli, rosemary, etc.

4-5 year shelf life: Cinnamon bark, German chamomile, geranium, clary sage, lavender, helichrysum, peppermint, ylang-ylang, etc.

6+ year shelf life: Cedarwood, copaiba, myrrh, ginger, black pepper, patchouli, rose, sandalwood, wintergreen, vetiver, etc.

3. Essential Oils Can Boost Your Energy

Fighting for survival is physically demanding. Just imagine spending night outside with minimum resources. Conquering a difficult terrain to get a hold of water, food or even firewood requires lots of energy.


Simulative and uplifting essential oils can give you an extra push when you most need it. Refreshing aroma of peppermint essential oil will alert your body and help you breathe easier. Better oxygen supply will hopefully improve your energy levels and athletic performance.

Other uplifting essential oils include eucalyptus, lemon, rosemary, basil, and orange.

4. Essential Oils Repel Insects

Insects can become your biggest enemy when spending days and nights outside. Some creepy crawlies are just annoying while others can transmit serious diseases. The fact that some of the most dangerous insects are small makes it even more difficult to spot them. Fighting off every mosquito or tick would be draining and frankly impossible. In such an instance, having a bottle of citronella essential oil in your survival kit would be much appreciated.

A 2013 study showed that citronella oil successfully repels Aedes aegypti, a mosquito species that spread dengue fever and yellow fever. Reapplying diluted citronella oil on your skin every 30 to 60 minutes should give you enough protection.

Other natural repellents are peppermint, tea tree, lemongrass, and lavender essential oil.

5. Essential Oils Disinfect And Heal Wounds

Whenever we injure our skin we compromise the natural defense barrier which protects us from countless environmental threats. Getting a scrape, cut or a wound when spending an extended period of time outside, especially in nature, is inevitable. Cleaning your wound and accelerating healing process should be your number one priority.

An array of antiseptic essential oils can help you fight bacterial, fungal and viral infections. The research shows that lavender essential oil even accelerates healing by promoting collagen synthesis and formation of granulation tissue (new cell tissue).

Take a look at our detailed guide for more information on how to heal a wound using essential oils.

6. Essential Oils Relieve Headaches

Dehydration, exposure to sun, and lack of sleep can cause headaches. A strong throbbing pain in the head can be immobilizing and draining. A simple job of picking something from the ground can send waves of pain through your head. Being in such discomfort is the last thing you want when in survival mode.

essential oil lavender

Having a bottle of peppermint or lavender essential oil in your survival kit will help you relieve the migraines induced by stress and other environmental factors. According to the 2012 study, 15-minute inhalation of lavender aroma should significantly reduce the severity of your migraine headache.

7. Essential Oils Treat Sunburns

Spending long hours in the blazing sun can be extremely damaging to your skin. Finding a shelter should be your number one priority when being outdoors. Even if you get sunburns, you can still rely on anti-inflammatory essential oils in your survival kit. Peppermint essential oil has a natural SPF factor that will help you protect your dermis to a certain level. The cooling sensation of peppermint can help you soothe your red, inflamed skin as well.

Other great essential oils for sunburn relief are lavender, tea tree, chamomile, geranium, and eucalyptus.

8. Essential Oils Will Help You Stay Calm and Collected

A fight for survival can be emotionally draining. Being in an unpredictable environment and living with minimal resources can heighten your stress and anxiety levels. Mental instability can affect your physical health as well. Having a couple of calming essential oils in your survival kit will help you stay calm and collected.

applying essential oils

Lavender oil in 3% concentration is enough to reduce the work-related stress according to the research. A 15-minute inhalation of bergamot essential oil has also been shown to induce positive feelings. Other essential oils that reduce anxiety and stress levels are lemongrass, ylang-ylang, orange, and frankincense.

9. Essential Oils Can Disinfect Your Utensils

Essential oils are packed with antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties that are not only great for fighting infections but also for sanitizing utensils. Having at least one antiseptic plant extract in your survival kit will help you maintain a certain level of cleanliness even when other hygiene products are not available.

Feel free to use tea tree, oregano, thyme, or lemon essential oil for cleaning purposes. Disinfect your knives, medical equipment, and cooking utensils with diluted essential oils. Clean any equipment that has come in contact with raw meat to prevent cross-contamination of E. coli.

10. Essential Oils Will Help You Fall Asleep

Falling asleep in an unpredictable environment can be challenging. Your alert senses will pick up any innocent noise in your proximity. Having at least one sleep-inducing essential oil on you is highly recommended.

using aromatherapy

You can rely on lavender oil to help you calm your nervous system and heart rate. Vetiver, frankincense, cedarwood, ylang-ylang, marjoram, and Roman chamomile will also help you relax and drift into sweet dreams. Keep in mind that a well-rested body is your greatest tool for survival.

3 Essential Oils to Add to Your Survival Kit

1. Rocky Mountain Oils – Organic Lavender Essential Oil

Rocky Mountain Oils-Organic Lavender Essential Oil

  • USDA certified organic lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia).
  • GC/MS tested essential oil. Lab results are available upon request on the official website.
  • Steam distilled from organically-grown lavender.
  • Has a pleasant floral and herby aroma.
  • Suitable for external use only.
  • Can be used on sunburned skin, for muscle-relaxing massages, inducing calmness and sleep, and much more.

2. Plant Therapy – Organic Peppermint Essential Oil


  • USDA Certified organic peppermint essential oil (Mentha x Piperita).
  • GC/MS test results for organic peppermint essential oil are available on the official website.
  • Steam distilled from organically-grown peppermint leaves.
  • Has a fresh, cool minty aroma.
  • Suitable for external use only.
  • Can be used for improving alertness and energy levels, muscle-relaxing massages, foot soaks and much more.

3. Plant Therapy – Organic Tea Tree Essential Oil

  • USDA certified organic tea tree essential oil (Melaleuca alternifolia).
  • GC/MS test results for organic tea tree essential oil are available on the official website.
  • Steam distilled from the leaves of organically-grown tea tree.
  • Has a fresh, medicinal green and woody aroma.
  • Suitable for external use only.
  • Can be used for disinfecting and cleaning, soothing skin irritations, sunburns, and much more.


Essential oils have a long history of use because of two very good reasons. Essential oils are effective and versatile.  

A single bottle of essential oil will not crowd your survival kit; however, it will add a great value to your prepped gear. You can use essential oils to boost your energy, immunity, and mental clarity.

A precisely chosen plant extract can assist you on your way to survival in many different ways. Use your favorite essential oils as a base and let your survival mind come up with new innovative ways to use them.

Essential oils will work in your favor only when used correctly, so take a look at these last safety tips:

  1. Always dilute essential oils before topical application. 2% dilution is sufficient for adults. Add 12 drops of essential oil per every fl. oz. of carrier oil.
  1. It is recommended that you keep a small bottle of carrier oil in your survival kit for dilution purposes.
  1. Do a skin patch test first to make sure you are not sensitive or allergic to the essential oils.
  1. It is recommended not to apply essential oils on fresh wounds. It is safer to use essential oils once the wound has started healing.
  1. Never ingest essential oils.
  1. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, educate yourself on the safety of certain essential oils, and use them with caution.
  1. Tightly close the lid of your essential oil bottles to prevent evaporation and oxidation. Maximize the shelf life of your oils by keeping them in a cool, dark place.

Amela D. is a Backdoor Survival writer who specialized in the field of aromatherapy. She has managed to turn her passion for natural medicine into a profession. Her job here is to give you and other nature enthusiasts a true insight into the world of essential oils. When she is not writing, she is either making her essential oil soap line or spending time in her garden, growing organic produce and living life as naturally as possible.

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Learn more about essential oils in our comprehensive Backdoor Survival Lifeline!

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One Response to “10 Reasons Why You Should Add Essential Oils to Your Survival Kit”

  1. Great article and we certainly agree. Essential oils are “essential” for a kit. In our experience the oils and uses listed here are spot on. We have also successfully used a drop or two of Tea Tree oil to encourage a tick to let go.

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