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!


Chris Ruiz

My name is Chris and I created this site to help ordinary people prepare for the uncertainties of the modern day world. I believe that a well-prepared society is the best safeguard against any natural or manmade disaster.

11 comments on “How to Customize your Bug Out Bag Contents for a Wilderness Survival Kit

  1. You can add flint too. It’s not necessary but it saves time and energy to start a fire. Also a container for food/cooking can help. I would recommend tin foil or a pot.

      1. In cold weather, butane lighters don’t work that well unless you keep them next to your body and keep them warm. Even then, it’s kind of sketchy. At least, that is my experience. The ferro rod will always work, even if it is wet outside.

      2. You can swim through a river salt or fresh water and use a Ferrous
        Flint to immediately light a fire. Gas or fluid lighters wont due to water soaking. Lighting a fire quickly to prevent hypothermia in
        cold climates can be life or death when it comes to being wet. Ferrous Flint does not need fuel other than tinder.

  2. to cut down on weight, para cord wrist watch with compass, temp gauge, ferrous rod, all combined in one small package. Works quite well Use it a lot. All in one spot. shot rounds to take care of snakes too.

  3. Gun and ammo, big priority this way you kill and eat the bear instead of spraying at it. Smoke the meat, it will stay good and feed you for a long time. You can use one of the dozens of lighters from your water proof ziplock bag in case you cross water. Always have a few sets of Flint and steel as back ups, and also plenty of water proof flammable fire cubes. Hatchets, knives, low temp sleeping bag, bug proof and water proof hammock, pot for boiling water and cooking, pan, life straw for drinking water and first aid kit. Twine for snares and build shelter. I could go on.

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