Hiking survival kits: Building tips & essentials

Build your own survival kit for hiking

I personally carry and highly recommend that you always have a personal survival kit, even on day hikes. Your survival kit should contain all the necessary items for survival in the widerness.

The ‘Big 5’ priorities of survival are water, warmth, shelter, signals and food. With a well prepared and practical kit you will be better positioned to survive in the Australian wilderness until you walk out or assistance arrives.

Your kits should be packed in a compact, durable and lightweight container, small enough to fit into a large pocket and ideally should weigh less than 500 grams.

Items to include in your kit are:

  • Duct Tape, for repairing damaged gear
  • Safety Pins
  • Heavy duty sewing needle
  • Heavy duty nylon thread
  • Compass, oil filled
  • Water sterilisation agents or filters
  • Water procurement bags
  • Nylon cord, braided
  • Safety wire, stainless steel
  • Knife or scalpel blade
  • Signal mirror or flash
  • Fish hook, fishing line, sinker and swivel
  • Firestarter or flint
  • Tinder (no, not the dating app)
  • Waterproof paper
  • Pencil
  • Whistle
  • Emergency blanket or bivvy
  • Waterproof survival instructions
  • Mini survival cards
  • Tea Bag, so you relax while you calmly consider your plans
  • Lightweight container. Your kit should be packed in a compact, durable and lightweight container, small enough to fit into a large pocket and ideally should weigh less than 500 grams.

Survival Kit

Make your own Survival Kit

You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a fancy, bright coloured survival kit with all the bells and whistles. Learn what to put in your own with most items available from your local supermarket and Make your own Survival Kit.

Have a look at our home-made survival kit…

1. Waterproof Container: First thing you need is a waterproof container. The one pictured above is small enough to fit in a pocket or in a designated pouch on a back-pack. It’s a good idea to keep an elastic band around it to prevent accidental opening. Make sure it shuts tight.

2. Survival Card Tool: Little beauty! A small credit card sized survival tool like this one has a can opener, bottle opener (true survival style!), a flat-head screw-driver, numerous wrench sizes, a straight edge blade, saw blade and ruler for map work. Fits nicely in the kit.

3. Water Purification Tablets: While there are many ways to purify water in nature, some of which are taught in our Me Vs. Wild weekend experience, you can never go wrong when carrying water purification tablets. Using iodine, one tablet will generally purify one litre of water over one hour. Make sure they’re always in date.

4. Sewing Needles: You’d be amazed at how many different ways you can use a sewing needle in the wild. As a make-shift compass needle, for sewing tears, sewing wounds, fishing, the list goes on.

5. Signal Mirror: From the “cheap shop” you can get yourself a plan mirror like the one pictured. Used for signalling rescue vessels, aircraft or vehicles.

6. Sewing Thread: For closing wounds, fishing, traps, sewing materials.

7. Bandaids: A small selection of band-aids for small cuts or incisions. You should always have a separate, more detailed personal first aid kit and we always highly recommend undertaking first aid training.

8. Whistle: For attracting attention when lost. Save your voice and use the high-pitch sound of a whistle. Can not be underestimated!

9. Button Compass: If you don’t know how to use a compass, learn ASAP! Keep a button compass in your survival kit for use if your main compass is lost or broken. Make sure to keep it away from metal objects as best as possible to avoid magnetic interference.

10. Aussie Survivor Tool: Gimmicks exist but we will never look anywhere else when relying on our fire lighting tools. The Aussie Survival Tool offers a flint striker along with magnesium shavings and oil-treated rose wood for tinder. Can be used to create fire, as a signal and for light. Available from Melbourne Survival Experience.

11. Cotton Wool: By far Minty’s favourite part of the survival kit. It just lights so easily and makes fire creation as easy as 1,2,3. Save time and combine your fire lighter with cotton to create a fire for warmth, light, cooking or morale. A tightly-packed alternative is a tampon.

12. Condoms: That’s right, condoms! Each can store a few hundred millilitres of water. Great for water storage or for carrying fresh water. Just make sure to keep the lubricated side on the outside!

The above kit has been used by us for many years and is continually used and replenished. Alternative survival kits are available for purchase, however they usually come with a hefty price tag. If you want to get creative try and make your own survival kit from home, it’s great fun with the kids too!

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