All over the world we have natural phenomena that can potentially cause us major hardships, earthquakes, floods, storms, all have the power to knock out infrastructure in our areas or force us to evacuate our homes. Yet, surprisingly, there are many people who want to live ignorant of these facts. If you live somewhere, where your house can be standing one minute, and then not standing a minute later, you can’t just ignore that fact.

I don’t want to go overboard, so I thought I would tell you what I have in my little survival kits. I actually get a lot of use out of these, I probably open one at least once a week to get something (always replace what you took out!) or to use a component. Each kit costs $50 so it’s not exactly pocket money, but the kit will be more than worth it if you need it. I wanted to show you how you could prepare for the worst, and create a kit that could save your life for only $50 and here it is.:
  1. P-38 Army issue can opener: Considered the most important invention of the 20th century by some, this folding piece of metal is first and foremost, a can opener, but it can also be used as a screwdriver, a pair of scissors, and to gut a fish. $.35
  2. U.S. Army Survival Manual: Lost in the desert? A rainforest? This book will get you out of it. Soft cover: $5.95
  3. U.S. Army First Aid Manual: Everything from Shock to Heart Attack, to an emergency tracheotomy. Soft cover $5.95
  4. Water purification tablets: Make sure that your drinking water is safe. $7.95
  5. Compass: So you know where the hell you are going. $1.25
  6. Space Blanket: These things will always keep you warm, no matter what! $3.95
  7. Signal Mirror: Great for signaling a rescue party, or putting on your lipstick. $.89
  8. Aviation Magnesium Fire Starter: This, combined with your knife, will start a fire just about anywhere. Scrape off some magnesium with a knife, then flip it over, and scrape the knife along the steel to generate a spark. $4.89
  9. Swiss Army Knife: Knife blade, scissors, file, tweezers, corkscrew, toothpick. $1.00
  10. Empty Altoids Tin: This is mostly water tight, and will serve as a safe place to keep matches during the rain (you should put it in a plastic bag or tape it up for match storage). If you need to start a fire and there isn't much kindling, you will need to make char cloth. The easiest way to do that, is to get a fire going, put some pure cotton in the altoids tin, get it really hot, then bury it. If the cotton is starved for oxygen, it will turn into char cloth as it cools. $ free from a friend or trashcan.
  11. 100% cotton army surplus belt: Can be used to keep your pants up, or cut up to make char cloth. Also works as a tourniquet. $3
  12. A few large black trash bags: Keep you dry in a storm (punch a hole for your head and two for your arms. They can also keep your stuff dry if you need them to. $ Free, you can steal them really easily from someone else
  13. Hiking First Aid Kit: Everything from band-aids to burn cream. There are many manufacturers and all are about the same quality, just try to find one with a decent pouch. $11.95
  14. Collapsible water bottle: Accordion style sides mean this small cylinder can expand upwards to hold a liter of water. You will need this to purify water on a large scale. $3.00
  15. Duct Tape:Because it has infinite uses. $ free, because you should ALWAYS have this around your residence
  16. Matches: You can start fires with them, very usefull. $free from most stores with a purchase (stores that sell cigarettes)
  17. Whistle: Just all around usefull. $ Free at the YMCA/YWCA


Total Cost: $50.13 yeah, I went over, but you can find 13 cents in your couch. Surviving is really not about the tools that you have, it is about the will to survive. If you are confident that you are going to survive, you will be just fine, even without any of the above items. This kit is meant as a tool to help people out around the house if they need something, and to boost their self-confidence if they find themselves in a sticky situation.

I personally have three of these kits done up, mine have a little more in them, but it's nothing crucial (fishing line and the like) I keep one in my car, and one in my dorm room, and then my parents know where to find my third one back at "home." I hope that none of you ever have to use this for its intended purpose, but I hope that if you do, it helps.

By popular request: $50 ~ £26 ~ "€" 38

Thanks to: RoguePoet: For storing matches, I'd maybe go with something that's more than just "mostly" water tight, like say a film canister or zip-loc bag
N3Bruce: Why not substitute a Bic Lighter for the matches and the firestarter stuff. Works every time, costs a whopping $1.39, and you don't have to worry about getting it wet.
DejaMorgana:I would also advise buying some wooden matches, rather than using paper freebie matches. Also no emergency kit is complete without needles and thread in a few different colours, not only for repairing clothes, tents and gear but also for occasional first aid stuff from blister-popping to surgery. Personally i would include a few other things that you might have to shell some more money out for, like a flashlight, twine and whatnot. Waterproofing, BTW, is not a bad idea if you are serious about being prepared for disaster. Nothing sucks more than finding out that the fresh pair of socks that you packed away in case of disaster is wetter than the ones you have on.
StrawberryFrog: "if you're willing to pay more, the Baygen windup radio (batteries not included) will help you get back in touch with civilisaion. They also make windup torches"

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