Survival Kits: 9 Things to Look for While Making a Choice

However, just because a company declares its survival kit to be “emergency gear,” there’s really no guarantee that these items will actually be of good quality, or will be effective in a dire situation. There’s nothing worse than reaching for your survival kit during a power blackout in hurricane season, and realizing that the flashlights come with weak batteries.

Here are a few of the things to look for when you buy a survival kit.

The Kit Should Contain All Basic Supplies
You would be surprised at the number of kits out there that neglect to pack water. No matter what the emergency, water is one of the biggest necessities you will face.  It’s also common to have kits that don’t contain other bare essentials, like torch lights or matches.  Always look at the accompanying picture of your survival kit to determine if it has all the things you’ll need.

Items Must Be of High Quality
The items in your kit should be top of the line. Before ordering a kit, don’t hesitate to ask the company where they source their items from.  Compasses must not be mere showpieces, but must function well.  A knife must be a high quality one, with a fixed blade and sturdy handles.  Buying a poor quality kit may be cheaper, but ultimately, it all comes down to the price you’re willing to pay for your survival.

Adequate Quantity of Items
Make sure that you’re not being hoodwinked about the number of items in your kit.  Some unscrupulous companies actually add up the number of matches in the matchbox to pump up the number of items in the kit.  Make sure you have adequate quantities of the supplies before you make a purchase. A first aid package that’s part of a survival kit must contain more than a 50 ml bottle of antiseptic solution and four Band Aids.

Versatility
Your kit should contain a few things that can be used in a multitude of ways in a pinch. For instance, garbage bags and duct tape have so many uses, they are hard to count.  These don’t take up a lot of space, but can be incredibly handy. 

Expensive vs. Low Cost Ones
Low cost survival kits that seem like a bargain may have you playing Russian roulette with your life. Remember, when you finally do open your survival kit, it may be when you realize you’re out of fresh water supplies during an incoming storm, and the announcer on the TV intones that government help won’t be arriving for at least 36 hours.  Do you really want to be stuck with two packets of potable water for your family of four? 

Expiration Dates
Ask your kit supplier about the expiration dates for the items in your list. Remember, that even if they are marked as being good for five years or more, they may lose some of their longevity or potability, in harsh conditions in warehouses, or during transportation.

Easy to open
Your survival kit should be easy to open in an emergency.  This is where high quality and expensive emergency gear comes into the picture again. You don’t want to be left grappling with a bag zipper, in an emergency.

Easy to Use
Emergency survival gear can range from basic kits that are designed for use by those who have little experience surviving the great outdoors, to full-scale, ultra sophisticated, military-style kits that can require some skill to use.  If your idea of survival is doing without the air conditioner in autumn, you are probably better off with a simple and basic kit that doesn’t requite high-end expertise to use.

Buy More Than One Kit Depending Your Needs
There can’t be a single survival kit that can prepare you for everything from a power breakdown to a biological attack.  It’s always best to customize your requirements at different points, with a choice of two or more survival kits.  For instance, if you are an avid trekker, you’ll probably need more than one wilderness survival kit, in addition to a basic survival kit.  Besides, it’s a wise idea to have a kit each in your home, car and office.

For more information on how to select a survival kit and the various options you can choose from, visit Survival Kits.