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The Useful and Affordable Pocket Survival Kit

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
The Useful and Affordable Pocket Survival Kit

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More than a few of my readers have asked about an efficient, affordable and extremely portable everyday carry kit, often referred to as an EDC.  I have been reluctant to respond because everyone’s needs – or perceived needs – are different.  But there is one thing most of us have in common and that is the need to have on our person a few essential items that will get us through a myriad of unpredictable circumstances.

With that introduction, I would like to suggest five pieces of gear that should be in every backpack, every purse and every glove box.  The list is a simple one and while the sky is the limit when it comes to gear, the entire kit can be put together with quality items for less than $55.

The Pocket Survival Kit
Pocket Knife
Mini Flashlight
Paracord Bracelet
Flint & Steel
Survival & Safety Whistle

Surprised?  Well remember this:  this is a very basic and very portable gear kit.  It does not include water, protein bars, pepper spray and the host of other items that I always have near me.  This is the kit you put together for yourself, your partner, your spouse or the reluctant brother-in-law who is just getting started on his prepping journey.pocket survival kit_2

The Details

My picks have all been recommended before and they are being recommended again.  They simply work.  All can be purchased for a reasonable price and all have above average if not superior, five start ratings for existing users.  Shall we begin?

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There is a lot to like about the Kershaw OSO Sweet Knife.  This “oh so sweet” knife is solidly built, stainless steel knife that comes razor sharp right out of the package.  It will pretty much cut through anything the price is amazing.

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Here is another of my favorites.  The Streamlight Nano Light Keychain LED Flashlight is extremely small and light weight yet it will throw off a decent amount of super-bright light.  At just .36 ounces and 1.47 inches long, the Streamlight Nano Light Keychain Flashlight will take up a minimum of space in your pocket or bag.pocket survival kit_1
If you have the time and interest, you can easily put together your own Paracord Survival Bracelet.  Or you can get one ready made.  Why a Paracord Bracelet?  So you always have some of this useful cord on your person!

There are a thousand uses for Paracord but some of the most common are to make gear repairs, to strap things together (or up or down) and make a tow line.  But like I said, there are thousands of uses for this extremely durable and extremely strong cord.

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When being heard is a matter of safety or even life and death. you want a whistle that is no only loud but that can be heard for a long distance.  I settled on this particular Windstorm Safety Whistle after reading numerous reviews.  Sure, there were others that were louder but this particular whistle could be hear a long distance away and above howling wind and other competing sounds.00.

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The last item in our Portable Survival Kit is a Swedish Firesteel.  Using this basic pocket fire-starter, you can get a nice fire going under almost any conditions.  The key, of course, is to practice before you actually have to use the fire steel in a real life survival situation.  This is a small, compact version – perfect for the pocket kit.

The Final Word

Again, I do not want to give you the impression that this kit is the be all and end all of survival kits.  It is not.  But what it is is a good, basic starter kit or secondary kit for someone getting started or someone who needs to put together a kit to carry with them at all times as they go about their daily business.  And that, I believe, just about includes everyone.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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In addition, when you sign up to receive email updates you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Spotlight item:  Here is a quick list with links to the items included in my Pocket Survival Kit.

Kershaw OSO Sweet Knife
Streamlight Nano Light Keychain LED Flashlight
Paracord Survival Bracelet
Windstorm Safety Whistle
Swedish Firesteel

Some folks prefer to purchase an all-in-one kit rather than put together their own. There is nothing wrong with that and truly, it is a matter of personal preference. If you happen to be a member of all-in-one-kit fan club, consider the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Series Ultimate Kit, or if the budget is tight, the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Series Basic Kit.

If you have a few bucks left over, invest in some Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets.  These come in a pack of 10 and you will be surprised at how warm these will keep you.  Just be sure to test one out in advance so that you have the confidence to trust the blanket in an emergency.

To supplement your paracord bracelet, pick up some Camouflage Nylon Military Paracord 100 Feet. Pick your favorite color but be aware that different colors are priced differently. Me? I get the color that is the least expensive although I must admit the camouflage is my favorite.

And last, add some Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets to your kit.  These tablets make questionable water bacteriologically suitable to drink. Easy to use and the water is ready to drink in 30 minutes. One 50 tablet bottle treats 25 quarts of water.

Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials

Emergency Candle

Although I have plenty of flashlights and batteries (you might even say I have a flashlight fetish) I also stay stocked up with a dozen of these Clear Mist 100 Hour Plus Emergency Candles as well.  For the best deal, purchase a dozen at a time to get a discounted price.

Speaking of which, Emergency Essentials is having some great sales this month on many of your favorites.

Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials

Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!

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9 Responses to “The Useful and Affordable Pocket Survival Kit”

  1. Just thought of another compact complete kit to cover a few survival bases. This idea would be more for you vehicle, purse, laptop or gym bag. Survival or Camping Canteens can be purchased at Cabelas and other sporting good stores. I bought a few different models to give away as gifts to family and friends that are not into the “Prepping” scene. Basically, these are Nalgene water bottles, stuffed with a mini-multitool or pocket knife, first aid kit, flashlight, space blanket, waterproof matches, button compass, whistle. There is room to add your own stuff, too. The products inside are not highly durable, but would suffice in an emergency situation. I’ve seen them as cheap as $12.99 and as expensive as $23.99. Both can be ordered through BUDK/CH Kadels/Kennesaw Cutlery.

  2. I carry both a Swiss Army Knife (Huntsman) and a plier-multitool. Either is better than just a lock blade. For the price of a firesteel, you can buy a whole pack of lighters, maybe two. SOL (Survive Outdoors Longer) makes a neat tool that contains many vital survival items: knife blade, whistle, spark flint, compass, mirror, light, attached to a small plastic water RESISTANT (NOT PROOF) container. The inside of the box holds wire, twine, aluminum foil, Quick-Start cotton tinder, a small fishing kit and survival pamphlet. I added a few water purification tablets and medications I take daily. I keep my kit on a sling/belt set-up with a few other small pouches and store it with a Rossi Circuit Judge .410GA/.45LC Shotgun/Rifle. But, for people considering a small, compact, complete EDC kit, this SOL apparatus would work fine. Shop around before buying one! I first saw this SOL Survival Kit at an Army/Navy store for 62 bucks. I purchased a bunch of them for $34.99 each through BUDK/CH Kadels!

  3. This was a great article on a pocket survival pack. One of the places that I keep a pocket kit is in the pocket of my shotgun soft-case. The case has a sling and a nice big pocket and holds all of the above plus some granola bars, dried apricots, and a large box of matches. I also have a shotgun shell belt that holds a full box of shells. The above would be my minimum for grab & go. And these two items would leave me hands-free to carry the cat-carriers. I have also tried slinging on the shotgun case over a day-pack and it works!

    I’m also working on having set-ups like this in several places. The car, the bedroom, by the front door and in my cache.

    As for water, I’ve been working at storing water in various bags that I already own. Shoulder bags, day packs, duffel bags, and bags on wheels. I really like ones that have a long, narrow pocket where I can stand up 6 or more water bottles with no chance of leaking.

    Overall, I have packed, unpacked and repacked so many bags so many times and my current thought is to have a little bit of all the important stuff in each bag, and also to be very clear of the hierarchy of importance in case I had to leave something behind.

    My hope in a bug out situation is that I will be able to manage multiple bags, either due to bugging out by car, or due to the fact that my cashe/hideout is very close. I can take much more by storing things in bags than having it all loose, but must be very clear on which is the most important bag (the one on my back!)

    • @Karen – I had not thought of using our shotgun case as a cache for extra gear. Brilliant idea.

      We have started to assemble multiple packs and as much as I prefer black, I am finding that it is much easier to prioritize by having packs in various colors. In addition, I have permanent kits in the cars and also a special kit that I use when traveling by plane.

      I find most people do not consider the fact that they can not carry it all and that the most important pack of all is the one that they carry.

  4. Another approach is the 10 essentials for hiking; don’t go by an old list, though, go by the new one listed here: //

    I always carry a Swiss Army knife on my person when I am away from home; it’s come in handy many a time, and while it won’t replace a Leatherman or similar multi tool (or my fave, a bunch of tools, ’cause I love tools), it will suffice for small jobs.

  5. I am an ex-cop and lifelong gun owner. It always amazes me on these prep sites how many people lead off with guns as the first thing they think of for survival gear. Of course you want weapons in the mix but there are a lot of other things that arguably take a higher, sooner priority than guns. Water, refrigeration, sanitation… having a favorite gun on your hip won’t due you much good if you get dehydrated, poisoned or can’t treat a medical problem.

    Guns are a given. Learn the new CPR, first aid, make contingency plans then test the plans under realistic conditions and train up your fam what to do when the balloon goes up and you’re all separated.

  6. Great start with the pocket survival kit! Sure there are things we might add, but every one of the items listed would be in my pocket pack. I’d add some water purification tablets and a mylar blanket, then stuff the whole mess into a zip-loc baggie (along with a couple spare baggies). I’d feel downright cozy knowing I had all this stuff!

  7. Basic urban survival requires a hand gun of large caliber and a home defense the first requirements. When the stores are all raided the next target will be homes.Dont believe that check out the Katrina storm results in Louisiana.

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