Survival Kits for Rural or Urban Environments

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I was asked to put together written material that would cover the topics of my wilderness and urban survival kits.  I am happy to do that here in about as much detail as I have ever put down.

What's In My Survival Kit?

I am always hesitant to show what is in my kit, simply because it is MY kit and not yours.  We often get too dependent and focused on gear rather than focusing on what our needs are.  Some would say it is a philosophical difference that I have with most survival gurus out there today who are selling the next, best piece of gear.  So before moving forward, let’s make sure we all understand what our needs are in the order of importance:

  • Personal safety. This includes ways to not be in trouble in the first place, and first aid gear.
  • Core body temp. Items that will help us stay warm, clothes, shelter, and fire making materials.
  • Hydrated. Anything that will help us stay hydrated. Carrying water itself, or water filters.
  • Food. Calories are energy, they come in many forms, pack what you can comfortably carry.

Now that we have that in there, let’s make sure we understand something before we go any further.

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My personal spread of survival gear

The kits that I am describing for you here are MY kits.  Keep in mind, I live in a semi-rural area.  That means I live in a neighborhood with houses, but also can be on wide open space in just minutes.  So for me, I carry a rural kit (most often referred to as a wilderness kit) and then I have an urban kit as well.  In the video below, I detail it all extensively.

My rural kit is a pack, a modestly sized one for me.  I then have my urban kit, which is basically two small kits in one for urban use.  All the urban supplies I keep in a tool bag in my vehicle.  In it I have the means necessary to take care of vehicle issues, and I also have a small bag of grab and go items.  So if there is an instance where I will be abandoning a car, I will take only the grab and go items.

Wilderness (Rural) Survival Kit

Urban Survival Kit

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A close up of the gear of my own survival kit

These items are detailed in the video, so please take the time to watch it as well. There is a considerable amount of information as to the why and what I am carrying.

As a reminder, this is my kit.  If your area is different from mine, your kit might look quite different.

Please share any concerns, additions or subtractions for your kit in the comments area below the blog piece or in the comments section of YouTube.  As always with Nature Reliance School, come on, join in, let’s learn together.

Want to know more? Check out these related articles:

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Oct 24, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

17 Responses to :
Survival Kits for Rural or Urban Environments

  1. obsidian says:

    A way to start a fire even in the rain.
    A way to boil water.
    A good pair of shoes.
    Then everything else listed.

  2. Turfguy says:

    EH, I don’t exactly see it that way. many perps will think here’s some dumb city slicker / non survivalist walking around cluelessly with his flashlight shining all over the place. If I hear footsteps & DON’T see any lights around, that immediately makes me think it’s somebody who knows their way around like a limitary type that may be better than me in a fight. I can handle myself in a fight, but that’s the type of person you need to worry about meeting in a dark alley

    1. cmac says:

      I think Michael is correct in having a good flashlight in the urban kit. It should have either a red bulb or red filter then if you were in a situation you felt you absolutely needed some light you wouldn’t ruin your night vision for minutes every time you needed it. You are also correct in saying you should not wave a flashlight around all over the place giving away your position needlessly.

      1. Loki says:

        RE: Flashlights, always handy to have one or two handy and rotate the batteries. I like to keep a couple of different sizes around, preferrably LED-type.
        My theory on use is low and infrequent; only when I absolutely cannot see in zero light or to blind an unfriendly.
        Keeping the light low helps to shield my eyes, as well as illuminate any potential obstacles- as long as I am not looking directly at the area of illumination- that is the purpose of peripheral vision.

  3. Michael Smith says:

    Doesn’t appear for either kit that there is a medical or first aid kit available

  4. Lindsay says:

    The #1 priority is always water.

    1. Loki says:

      Eh, a well-hydrated body can go long enough w/o water. Knowing where placement of water sources and the ability to collect, filter and purify water I find more important.

  5. cactusbob says:

    In either kit, I’d add some money, just in case. This presentation was very informative.

    1. JJM says:

      Money – yes in both paper and metal. Those cards may not work or be accepted when you need to buy something, hire someone or pay a favor.

  6. Bob says:

    What model of backpack is shown? I’m in the market for a good quality backpack that will hold what I need and go the distance.

  7. LARRY E. PUCKETT says:

    Your ‘Rural’survival kit looks like it is the one for me. Would you put one together for me and give me the price and I’ll send you the $$$. I am disabled, and have to rely on the “goodness” of others. This is something I need, and will gladly pay you for it! I have some things, but I don’t have the things in you survival kit. I have a Bowie knock off knife another “big knife” which is an over sized pocket knife, a fire starter, but I don’t have the other essentials that you have listed. I live on the edge of a 30,000 population town in Idaho, and I can be in the mountains in minutes!!
    Please do this, and tell me what it will cost me!
    Larry E Puckett

  8. Leslie says:

    Where did you purchase the destruction tool? Very helpful video, will add the items I was missing.

  9. Tim says:

    I always keep (2) road flares wrapped in (2) ziplock freezer bags for water proofing when in the mountains hunting, hiking, camping, or even just fishing. If bad weather catches one offguard, which has never happened to me, or if the misfortune should be one would happen to slip and fall in a freezing stream, and that did happen to me duck hunting late in Sept. of course that was before I began this practice. A person has no reason even in the event of wet wood to be able to get a fire going and warm up and dry off. Build a tee pee fire with plenty of tinder and twigs, strike the flare and insert into tee pee. It will burn long enough to dry the tinder and twigs and sticks and get an emergency fire going. So you can stay alive!!

  10. The Mighty Cheese says:

    agreed. a good tactical flashlight when shone (shined? flashered?) in someone’s eyes can take their night vision away, possibly buy you a few precious moments. never hurts to be able to see what your doing when replacing that serpentine belt you packed as well.
    Love the post, great comments too. Semper Fi!

  11. left coast chuck says:

    After the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the trains stopped running all over the north. Japan is still mainly a cash society, so most people had cash on them, Tokyo is a city of tall office buildings. In high heels it is a long walk down from the 30th floor and then the fifteen mile hike home. There was a huge run on sports shoes, not only by women but by men who were wearing dress shoes to work. Shoe stores sold out their stock in a few hours. Traffic was so jammed up that it was faster to walk than it was to drive. Anyone in a major city in the U.S. is going to have a similar problem. It is a big help to have a comfy pair of sports shoe in your desk drawer, especially because in many cities the commute is a lot longer than fifteen miles. Merchants will only be taking cash when electricity is off, so it is imperative to always have a fair stash of cash. At least enough to sweeten the deal for the clerk if they don’t want to sell something.

    I advise any women I know who are interested in survival to buy an oversize pair of coveralls, taken them home, wash them several times on the long cycle so that they look worn and then splash them with different colors of paint. Get a ball cap that will cover all your hair and take off all your make-up, including false eyelashes before heading out on the trek home. f they are wearing a push up bra, take it off. You can hide a bunch of stuff under large coveralls and still have access through the slots by the front pockets. You can stuff a pistol in your belt and still be able to draw it reasonably well. If one needs to change one’s appearance, stuffing the overalls in the backpack will change the appearance enough to perhaps escape notice. Or vice versa, keep the coveralls under cover until needed and slip into them to change appearance.

    If you can’t find red lenses for your flashlights, you can use red fingernail polish, but a better solution is to go to your local walk-in print supply store and buy a roll of Ruby-Lith tape. It is like heavy duty Scotch tape but is a deep red and transparent. The problem with fingernail polish is by the time you get it dark enough to screen the light, it has screened out too much light. Buby-Lith is designed to be transparent but is the deep red of a darkroom safelight. I keep an identical flashlight with the lense covered with Ruby-Lith along side my white light flashlight. Never know when you want to wander around and not inform everyone for 500 yards around that you are on the move. Disclaimer: No financial interest in the company that makes Ruby-Lith whatsoever. Just have been using it for over 25 years whenever I wanted to block out light but still be able to see.

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