Build Your Own – DIY Pocket Sized Survival Kit…


Building your own pocket survival kit from scratch is one most satisfying, yet intimidating projects you’ll ever attempt. Heck, you’re putting together a kit that could save your life, and the lives of those with you, if the poop hits the fan. But build your kit wrong and you could be in an awful mess.

Recently, my friend Dr. Joe (a Black Belt, Biologist, Medical Doctor and Former Army Captain) and I broke out our pocket survival kits and turned the cameras on.

Our kits were very different in some aspects, but both covered the essential basics. Which brings up a good point. EVERYONE is different, and one kit will not perfectly suit every situation!!!

Review and Update Your Kit Often…

If fact, I have revised and updated my kit since Joe and I shot the video.  You should, too. Once you have the basics covered… fire, water, shelter, food, protection and first aid… you can modify your kit to suit your changing needs.

Here is a list of the stuff we packed into our kits (You’ll notice I am quite a bit more of a pack rat than Joe):


DIY Survival Kit


Trash Bag – Scavenge Home – Poncho, shelter, ground tarp, flotation device, pillow, water carrier, solar still, waterproof sack.

Stainless Steel Pen – Writing implement, straw, weapon, hole punch.

Bandana – First aid, head wrap, sanitation & cleansing tool.

Pocket New Testament – Spiritual refreshment, morale booster, practical life guide.

Paracord – Snares and traps, shoe lace, various survival tasks including: shelter building, lashing, fishing line, etc.

Snare Wire – Snares and traps, binding and fixing things.

Survival Snare Wire

Emergency Blanket – Shelter top, ground tarp, emergency signal, heat reflector, blanket.

Zip / Cable Ties – 8 inches – shelter building, general repair, quick lashing, handcuffs.
6″x4″ Plastic Milk Jug Side – Cut from milk jug – Use as a cutting board. Will keep food clean, give you a firm surface to cut on and prevent your knife from getting dull while preparing food.

Victorinox Swiss Card – Credit Card-Sized Multi-Purpose Tool  – Various survival uses.

Victorinox SwissCard Survival Tool

Sewing Kit – Stitching clothes and wounds, fishing.

Pro Knot Cards – Knots are important, and using the proper knot can help you keep safe and make cool stuff in an emergency.

Duct Tape – 20′ Rolled Small – Shelter building, waterproofing, first aid, general repair.

Signal Mirror – Personal hygiene, signaling for help, cutting tool.

Fishing Kit – Fishing, trip wire, line can be used for stitching wounds and clothes.

Survival Fishing Kit

Bear Grylls Micro Torch / Flashlight – Seeing in the dark and signaling for help.

SOG Knife Sharpener / Firestarter – Fire starting, sharping, improvised arrows and making improvised cutting and hunting tools.

Button Compass

Swiss Army Knife – Various purposes.

Emergency Whistle – Signaling for help. Much louder than your voice and uses very little energy to produce a sound that travels far.

Pencil – Grab one from home  and cut it in half – Writing implement. Dry kindling in an emergency.

Note Card – Collect at home – Writing, fire starting.

Survival Saw – Shelter building, improvised tools, trap wire, cutting firewood, weapon.

Survival Saw

Bear Grylls Priorities of Survival Pocket Guide – Free with any Gerber Bear Grylls Gear Purchase – Compact Guide with LOTS of good basic instruction on how to stay alive in the wilderness.

Bar of Soap – Save from hotel on your next stay – Personal hygiene.

Water Purification Tablets

Self Standing 1 Liter Bag – Water collection

Coffee Filter – Scavenge from home – Pre-filter water before boiling or treating.


Lighter – I’m using mine first. Why rough it until you have to?


Fire Survival Gear

Magnesium Fire Starter

Tinder Quick (Cotton balls with a dab of petroleum jelly will do)

Matches and Striker

12″ x 12″ Aluminum Foil Square – Scavenge from home – Form a cup, bowl, cook on it and use as an emergency signal.

FIRST AID – This kit has about everything you need. Buying individual items is TOO expensive

Survival First Aid Kit

  • Assorted Bandages
  • Alcohol Prep Pads
  • Aspirin
  • Tylenol
  • Wash n Dri Packs
  • Gauze Pads
  • Antibiotic Salve
  • Medical Tape – Small Roll
  • Tweezers – Scavenge from Home
  • Safety Pins – Scavenge from Home


Quart Size Freezer Bags – Scavenge from home – Put your kit in this. Being able to see through it is very helpful when you need to find something quick and don’t want to dump your whole kit out.
Small Pint-Sized, Zip Seal Bags – Scavenge from home.

LAST but not least…

Silica Gel Pack – I save the ones that come with new products but you can purchase them also…

Silica Gel is a desiccant – and absorbs moisture from condensation and changes in humidity, so it will keep things bone dry in a small sealed container – like a quart sized zip lock bag.


Cover-Joe Gear-1

Orange Flagging Tape – Marking trail, binding wounds, shelter building, general lashing.

Black Electrical Tape – Use like duct tape.


Water Purification Straw – Filters nasty stuff from water without boiling or tablets. Long life span.



Magnesium Fire Starter

Wax Firestarter Rods

Extra Fine Steel Wool



Compact Mirror – Personal Hygiene, Signaling

Knife – Food preparation, self-defense, personal hygiene, bushcraft.

Survival Whistle, Compass, cordage and “aspirin” container

Survival Cards – Lee Nading – OUT of PRINT – BIG Bummer!!!!

Survival Blanket

Build Your Own Kit… Start Today!


Okay… there you have it. The basic components of a pocket survival kit.  Now it’s your turn. Don’t wait. Just start with what you have around the house and starting building you kit today. One day, you’ll be glad you did.




24 Responses to “Build Your Own – DIY Pocket Sized Survival Kit…”

  • Lilah

    These are some great diy survival kit ideas which is perfect for me because I’m the type of person that likes to build my own survival kit and have it customized to my personal preferences! .

    • BearGrylls5005

      Finnaly! Someone who speaks MY language!

  • Kaeden

    Can you make a reivew about the juglas at esee knifes

    • Carin

      I was just talking with our people today that we need to do some Esee knife reviews. Stand by…

  • Drake

    This is PERFECT for my BOB (Bug-out-bag) that I keep
    for emergencies!

  • Hi,

    The most impressive thing I noticed is; you carry ‘The Bible’.

    Awesome dude…

    • Izzy

      I agree I love that he does that!!!??

    • Johnett

      I agree I was vwry impressed by that

  • Andre Botha

    Hi, I really enjoyed your ideas on the survival packs. Here in South Africa, I pack more or less the same, but emphasis is also on fire, water and medical.

  • Andre Botha

    Hi, I really enjoyed your ideas on the survival packs. Here in South Africa, I pack more or less the same, but emphasis is also on fire, water and medical. Good on you taking the Bible as spiritual support.

  • Rick

    How can I print out this list so I can take it shopping ?

    • Carin

      You can select what you want to copy and then paste it into a Word document or whatever word processor you use.

  • Samuel

    DIY kits are a lot more fun than buying one pre-made. I only wish they made lighter waterproof Bibles.

  • Kim

    My thinking on a small survival kit it to get you out of your situation. With that in mind….why would you have hunting, snares, and fishing equipment? The whole purpose should be to get out of the woods…not hang out in the woods….just my opinion.

    • Carin

      David: Good points. And YES you do want to get out of whatever bad situation you may be in ASAP. However being prepared is the art and science of of anticipating what you may be up against and preparing for the WCS (worst case scenario) and that situation that you never imagined you would be in. Snare wire, fishing gear and a few other items are very hard to improvise in a pinch, so I have included them. I am also a pack rat and tend to over prepare. I have learned that even when I seemingly “over” prepared… when things go bad, I’m always missing something that I wish that I had. Excellent question. Thanks Kim!

  • his knife is good but why not have bears grylls fire stater

  • Lawrence Foster

    Great kits both of you.
    I keep a pencil sharpener to make tender and ear plugs for fishing floats.

    Food for thought: I picked up a discarded metal sweeper handle that had 4 sections. I made an outdoor kit fitting items in each section.

    What unique contains have our friends come up with?

    • Ethan

      I use a pelican hardcase for my survival kit. Not very compact but EXTREMELY durable and waterproof, also pretty roomy. Not a unique idea, but I stand by it.

  • Lawrence Foster

    “sorry” containers

  • nathan

    You need to make a G.O.O.D bag “Get Out Of Dodge bag”.

  • I don’t know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else experiencing issues with
    your site. It looks like some of the text on your posts are running off
    the screen. Can somebody else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them
    too? This could be a problem with my internet browser because I’ve
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    • Carin

      Hi there – we can find no problems here, so I believe it is indeed your browser. Hope you’re able to get that all sorted out!

  • Wayne Salvatti

    Hi David,
    Really appreciate your site and the great info you share with all of us out here!
    Your articles are informative crisply pictured and well written-Keep up the great work!
    Just FYI I picked up a Sawyer filter kit from your water article and these are great items to have in a kit.
    Have a great outdoor day
    Wayne S.

  • You discussed stuck between plastic material edging and additionally blocks.
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