Urban Survival Kit

How to Customize your Bug Out Bag Contents for an Urban Survival Kit

Urban Survival Kit

To be truly well prepared for a disaster, you need to tailor your survival kit to your surroundings.

For example, someone from a highly urbanized area will have different needs from someone living in a more rural area.

Here we will look at some urban survival gear to add to your Bug Out Bag that will customize it into a self-sufficient urban survival kit. 

Urban Survival Kit Planning Factors

Bug out situations that occur in urban centers have several unique factors to consider when building your Bug Out Bag packing list. These urban survival factors include:

  • Having to deal with building debris and glass in the wake of the disaster event.
  • Increased likelihood of opportunities to scavenge water and food from abandoned buildings.
  • The possibility of finding supply caches in abandoned buildings – looting is not endorsed by this site but if abandoned supplies mean the difference between life and death, go for it.
  • Increased likelihood of encountering humans – This can be both good and bad based on the disposition of the people faced and how you handle the situation. Other survivors can be bartered with and be valuable sources for information as well as dangerous criminals. Approach them with caution in mind.
  • Less need for emergency shelter as there should be many buildings around and debris available to cobble a shelter together if need be.

urban survival gear

Urban Survival Gear Essentials

  • Crow Bar / Pry Bar – For scavenging and removing barriers and debris as well as hammering out glass. The Ka-Bar Becker is an excellent choice for this as it is compact and can smash, pry, as well as cut as the situation requires. The Stanley Fubar is also a very good choice for those with more space in their urban survival kit, and it comes in small and large varieties.
  • Urban Axe – A multipurpose urban axe, such as the Ontario SP-16 SPAX can be an incredibly versatile and powerful tool in your arsenal. The SPAX is a knife, a hatchet, or a pick axe, whatever the situation dictates. It even has the required slots to open and close water hydrants and gas mains. This is useful if you find yourself in a house with gas leaking or if you want to access a fire hydrant for some clean water. As a bonus, it can also serve as an a intimidating self-defense weapon.
  • Multitool – Investing in a multitool such as the Leatherman Wingman will give you the versatility to perform all sorts of unexpected jobs, solve minor problems, or get you out of a tight jam with minimal hassle.
  • Work Gloves – If you have to break glass or move debris, a pair of work gloves such as the Mechanix M-Pact Gloves, will save your hands and keep you working and moving much longer. These can be picked up at any hardware store.
  • Dust Mask – If there are collapsed buildings in your area this will protect your lungs from airborne debris particles. Have a look at 3M N95 Particulate Respirator Masks to a quality choice.
  • Permanent Marker – The nature of the urban environment will give you opportunities to leave markings or notes for yourselves or others in your party.
  • Can opener – In an urban survival situation there will be many more opportunities to scavenge food than in a rural locality. A can opener will enable you to easily access preserved food that you come across.
  • Sillcock Water Valve Key – Ever notice secured water valves on the side of commercial buildings such as malls or rest stops? All it takes is an inexpensive little tool, the Cobra 4-Way Sillcock Key, to access this water.
  • Metal Spork – Scavenged food will need a way to get to your mouth. There are many options for this. I like the varieties that come with an attachment option such as this one.

urban survival kit urban survival gear

Weapons for an Urban Survival Kit

Encountering unfriendly people can be an unpleasant scenario and must be considered in an urban survival scenario.

Ideally, we can either talk our way out of a dangerous encounter or avoid them altogether. However, that’s not always possible.

If a situation does devolve into a fight where you need to defend yourself or your family, consider carrying weapons that can protect you, such as:

  • Repurposed Tools – If you choose to carry a weapon with you, you can either repurpose a piece of urban survival gear such as the above mentioned Ka-Bar Becker or Stanley Fubar.
  • Knife – A knife is also a potential self-defense weapon. The Kershaw Tanto has smooth one-handed opening making it ideal for quick self-defense.
  • Pepper Spray – A popular choice for an effective survival kit weapon that does a great job deterring attackers. The SABRE Advanced Police Strength Pepper Spray is the most recommended choice.
  • Firearm – A gun is also an option if it is legal in your area and you are familiar with using one. Here is a good rundown of some firearm options for an urban survival kit.

Urban Survival Kit List Items to Consider

Ka-Bar Becker

Stanley FUBAR - Small

Stanley FUBAR - Large

Ontario SP16 Spax


Pepper Spray

DON’T MISS: Pack your Bug Out Bag or Survival Kit with our Free Bug Out Bag Planning Tool.

The Ultimate Urban Survival Kit (TUUSK)

I have been working on a project to build a comprehensive, practical, and top quality urban survival solution from the ground up.

I’ve been lucky enough to be teamed up with the founders of Ready To Go Survival (RTGS) on it. We have partnered up to combine my knowledge of survival and preparedness with their experience in building countless custom bug out bags over the years.

We are calling our project “The Ultimate Urban Survival Kit” (also known as TUUSK).

The TUUSK is an urban survival solution that will use the knowledge gained by myself and the team at RTGS from a lifetime of living in urban environments. Our goal is to take all the trial and error we have had over the years and develop a survival kit that will help others shortcut their own paths to preparedness.

We have spent hours selecting and testing the most practical, reliable gear, and are excited to share the TUUSK with the world.

We have documented every step of the process of developing the TUUSK to help others make better survival kits for themselves. Such as:

  • HD video and photos of us testing the gear in the heart of New York City
  • How we decided what to pack and what to leave out of the kit
  • How the TUUSK can help YOU overcome the most common urban survival threats

Learn More About TUUSK: The Ultimate Urban Survival Kit

The TUUSK Loadout

This is an urban-focused bug out bag that leverages our combined city living and emergency preparedness experience to help the 80.7% of Americans that live in an urban environment prepare for disaster scenarios.

Learn More About TUUSK: The Ultimate Urban Survival Kit


The items discussed above can be added to your Bug Out Bag Packing List to transform it into an urban survival kit.

You will, however, have to consider both your approach to survival and your locality when picking and choosing:

  • Do you want to pre-pack lightweight, non-perishable food to fuel your bug out?
  • Are you in an environment where you will be able to scavenge as you go?
  • Are there any factors that make your urban environment unique?
  • How will you deal with other humans?

These are all important factors to consider when planning your urban survival tactics and Bug Out Bag.

Check our out Basic Survival Skills guide to see what tactics you can master to help increase your odds of survival.

DON’T MISS: Pack your Bug Out Bag or Survival Kit with our Free Bug Out Bag Planning Tool.

Remember, chance favors the well prepared.

Do you have an item that you would add to your urban survival kit? Do you have urban survival tactics or advice that you would like to share? Let us know in the comments section below.

Read More

How to Customize your Bug Out Bag Contents for a Wilderness Survival Kit

Wilderness Survival Kit

As we have discussed, each survival scenario has its own factors that will influence how you should pick your Bug Out Bag contents.

Urban Survival Kit Planning Factors

Having a more rural area as your locality presents its own advantages and challenges that will require some modifications to your previously discussed Bug Out Bag essentials in order to make it into a self sufficient wilderness survival kit. These additional factors include:

  • Increased likelihood of encountering wild animals – know what is dangerous and/or poisonous
  • Lower population density means less people to run into which means both less potential for hostiles as well as people to request assistance from.
  • Smaller communities mean that there will be less options for scavenging survival supplies from abandoned buildings
  • A rural or wilderness area will present the opportunity to scavenge plants and hunt or trap game

wilderness survival kit list

Wilderness Survival Gear Essentials

  • Survival Fishing Kit – If you live near a body of water that has fish, you can carry less food with you and instead count on catching your own food. This can mean you can either move faster or carry more survival supplies. The Best Glide Emergency Fishing Kit is small enough to fit in your pocket but has all the fishing essentials you would need.
  • Compass – Landmarks will be harder to find and use as navigation points in a wilderness survival situation so a compass (and local map) are wilderness survival kit essentials. You can go with a basic model compass, but a Tritium compass will glow in the dark and make nighttime orienteering far easier.
  • Slingshot – Light, easy to carry and able to hunt small game. This can double as a weapon against unfriendly humans as well if need be. There are many options but we really like The Scout Hunting Slingshot as a well-rounded choice. You can either pack some 3/8″ steel slingshot ammo or use scavenged ammo such as pebbles.
  • Travel Hammock – Having a good travel hammock can save you from spending time and energy building a shelter each night. We really like the Scout Zip by Hennessy Hammock which is great on its own but for colder weather you’ll want to add a sleeping bag.
  • Bug Repellent – This is not required for survival but avoiding annoying inspects does raise morale and is therefore recommended. Most people are familiar with DEET based bug sprays, which can be effective but for a survival situation we suggest a Permethrin based repellent. Permethrin can be sprayed on clothes and gear and will last up to 6 washes which means you don’t need to reapply if you get caught in the rain or have to swim across a river. A Permethrin based bug repellent such as Sawyer Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent will protect you from ticks, mosquitoes, mites, and chiggers.
  • Pocket Guide to Local Plants – You want this for both edible and poisonous plants so that you know what to eat as well as what to avoid. You are best getting one that is focused on your locality but if you’re located in the US or Canada, check out the Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide as a comprehensive reference.
  • Camping Shovel – this can be used to bury waste and garbage in order to keep dangerous animals away. It can also be used in shelter building and as an improvised weapon if need be. A tri-fold shovel is preferred as it will take up less space in your wilderness survival kit.
  • Filleting knife / Skinning knife – You will want to choose one based on what type of animals can be caught or hunted in your local area. These tools will enable you to maximize the yield of protein from your capture. For a filleting knife, have a look at the Kershaw Filet Knife that I have used for years. It keeps a nice edge and is perfectly flexible. As for a hunting knife, you cannot go wrong with the CRKT Ken Onion Skinner as comes razor sharp to skin easily and is heavy enough to sever bone.
  • Hatchet – This is a tool to be used to shape your environment around you. A good hatchet is essential to making a shelter on the move in addition to chopping fire wood. The CRKT Shakaulu mentioned above can be repurposed for light chopping duties but if you are interested in a compact, high quality tool, the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet is an excellent choice.
  • Paracord – This goes hand in hand with the hatchet as far as something to shape your environment with. Paracord is lightweight and compact as well as extremely strong for its size. Add 100 ft or so of 550 Paracord to your wilderness survival kit and you will be able to lash a shelter together, make a rope ladder, or lash a splint on to an injured survival teammate.
  • Bear Spray – If you may be bugging out in bear country, you’ll want to get yourself some Bear Spray to protect yourself from a potential attack. Frontiersman Bear Spray is a trusted product with maximum stopping power that is effective from 30 feet away.

Wilderness Survival Kit List Items to Consider

I have created this helpful chart to aid you in researching and planning your wilderness survival kit list, it identifies the items I mention above for your review:

Survival Fishing Kit

Basic Compass

Tritium Compass

Eagle of Sniper G5 Slingshot

Survival Hammock

Sleeping Bag

Sawyer Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent

Edible Plant Guide

Tri-fold Shovel

Fillet Knife

CRKT Shakaulu Skinner



Overall, these items can be added as appropriate to your Bug Out Bag to customize it into a fully functional wilderness survival kit.

You will want to consider your locality to see what best works for you. Will you be able to fish or hunt? Do you plan on scavenging edible plants while on the move or are you planning on carrying a pre-made food supply with you? Do you live in an area that experiences cold weather? These are all considerations that I raise to help prepare you for YOUR survival scenario.

The more you can plan out beforehand means the better you will be able to improvise and survive when the unforeseen strikes. Check our out Basic Survival Skills post to see what tactics you can master to help increase your odds of success.

If you are ready to plan what items to pack in your Bug Out Bag or Wilderness Survival Kit, check out our Free Bug Out Bag Planning Tool.

Remember, chance favors the well prepared.

Your Thoughts

If you thought this post was helpful, please Like, +1, or Share it using the social media buttons at the top of the page! Do you have anything you would add to your wilderness survival kit list? Are there any great survival tips that you would recommend? Please share these in the comments section below. Thanks!

Read More