Survival Kit Ingredients

Becky Vincent,
Guelph area Guider-at-Large,

Here in Canada, one of the requirements for Pathfinders is to make a survival kit, and to know what all the materials are for. Basically a survival kit contains emergency supplies which should keep you alive in case you get lost in the woods, etc. Here is a list of what I have in mine, and reasons for choosing them:
  • METAL CONTAINER: those Maxwell House gourmet coffee tins, the little ones, are PERFECT. The container should be metal so it can be used to heat water over a campfire.
  • SMALL LENGTH OF DUCT TAPE: I use this to hold the top of my kit on firmly, plus it's a great waterproofer. Duct tape also works great when you don't have a triangular bandage: it holds on dressings, works well for fastening a splint, etc.
  • EMERGENCY (SPACE) BLANKET: these are those little aluminum-looking blankets you can buy at any camping store. They are good for making into an emergency shelter, keeps you warm, and is reflective (ie can be spotted from aircraft).
  • CANDLE STUB: makes a great firestarter, and can keep you warm in an enclosed space if you can't light a fire.
  • BANDAIDS: always have one or two!!
  • CHOCOLATE SQUARE, HERBAL TEA BAG, OXO CUBE: you can use any or all of the above. Each will give you much-needed energy and in the case of tea or stock cube, something warm to drink. Please note!! Regular tea has caffeine which will act as a dehydrator, herbal teas don't.
  • WATERPROOFED MATCHES: for starting fires, of course!
  • LARGE SAFETY PIN OR FISH HOOK: for fishing, if you're hungry.
  • SMALL SAFETY PINS: good for holding slings together, etc.
  • PIECE OF CRAYON: will act as a fire starter; you can also mark trees. If you're on the move in the woods to let searchers know you've been there. Of course, in most cases, if you're lost in the woods it's better to stay where you are, i.e. hug a tree!
  • BAKING SODA: a little of this mixed with water will help rehydrate a dehydrated person; mixed into a thick paste it helps on mosquito bites and bee stings.
  • RUBBER GLOVES: anytime you're administering first aid to someone, you should wear gloves!!
  • ANTISEPTIC WIPES: to clean out cuts etc.
  • FIRST AID GAUZE: for any larger cuts
  • TINFOIL: can be used in lieu of a mirror to signal planes or boats, and takes up less space. Can also be modified into a water carrier if needed.
  • SMALL JACKNIFE: a blade always comes in handy!
  • FISHING LINE OR DENTAL FLOSS: to use with fish hook for fishing, or to make into snares for animals.
  • SALT PACKETS: again, when you're dehydrated, your body needs to regain salt as well as water. Mix with water and drink.
  • HALAZONE TABLETS: these will help purify your drinking water... check their expiry date before leaving on a trip! Most tablets are only good for a year or so once the bottle's been opened.


I also have a little piece of paper with all the internationally-recognized ground-to-air signals codes on it, which fits in my kit. On its flip side are directions for making a simple lean-to.

My Pathfinder unit made up two games a couple of years ago to test the girls' survival skills in summer and winter conditions. They can be found online at Becky's Guiding Resource Centre. They are titled "Summer Survival Game" and "Winter Survival Game". Each is a trail set up by the leaders with a number of survival scenarios along the way. At the end of the trail the girls are directed to make a shelter and prepare as if they really were going to spend the night there. Leaders "shadow' the girls on the trail to see what sorts of decisions the girls make but are not to interfere!!

At the end everyone gets together to discuss how they solved the various problems. My girls LOVED it (although their shelter-making abilities need a little work...)

Mike Baird
Palm Glades GS
West Palm Beach, Florida

A few years ago my daughters and I made them survival kits for our great trip out West. We included several items not listed by Becky. In ours was:
  • snake bite kit
  • cable saw
  • small mirror
  • needles and thread
  • 20 feet of nylon cord
  • 2 fish hooks and line
  • whistle/match case (with matches)
  • 1 gal size baggie (to hold water)
  • iodine tablets (to purify water)
  • very very large red plastic bag (for signal flag, shelter, etc)
  • Fresnel lens (type of magnifying glass to start fires)
  • space blanket
  • No food! (Human can go 14 days without food) it spoils
  • collapsible cup
  • compass

All this is in a small fanny pack (orange with reflector tape) Never had to use them though. :-)

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