Premade Survival Kits: Good or Bad Idea?

Posted on: August 1, 2016

Whether or not to purchase a premade survival kit is something of a hot topic in the prepping world. Any time it is brought up, you’ll see several people rather vehemently opposed to the idea. And, in many ways, I agree with them. A survival kit is, or should be, a personal thing. It should take into account your experience level, your skill sets, and your climate. A survival kit assembled by someone living near the Everglades will likely look rather different from a kit for someone living in northern Canada.

Most of the survival kits you can buy today are utter crap, to be honest. The contents are cheaply constructed and likely won’t hold up to any sort of real world use. The emergency blankets are thin and likely to tear. The tools are made of soft metal and will bend into pretzels the first time any pressure is placed on them. Knives are dull, difficult to sharpen, and won’t hold an edge. The list goes on and on.

However, just because most of them are crap doesn’t mean ALL of them are crap. There are some good ones out there. They aren’t cheap but they are worth the investment. Look to companies like Survival Resources and Echo-Sigma for high quality survival kits. They and others like them have taken the time to choose gear that works, rather than just what’s cheapest.

How do you tell a good kit from a bad one? The first thing to look at is the price. In all honesty, if the kit costs less than $25, even for a pocket sized one, odds are the contents are less than ideal. Naturally, as the kits get larger, the price goes up. Expect to pay upwards of a couple hundred dollars for a fully stocked backpack.

Why would you want to spend that kind of money on a premade kit? Well, quite often if you break down the cost of the individual components in the kit, you’ll find you’re saving money. Maybe not a ton of savings, of course, but nickels and dimes add up to dollars. See, the makers of those kits are able to buy the supplies in bulk, which reduces their cost. Those savings are then passed along to you.

The next thing I look at is the individual components. Are they recognizable brand name items or are they generic? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about buying store brand groceries and such. But, I have found that many of the generic sorts of survival items just don’t hold up. Listen, if you’re going to rely on a product to save your life, don’t you want it to be the best you can afford? Take a look at the pictures of the survival kit contents and check reviews on some of those items.

Also, look at how the manufacturer or seller is counting the items in the kit. If the ad says the kit has 175 items but 100 of them are matches or adhesive bandages, that’s a clue that the kit probably isn’t all that stellar. Same goes for kits that include a whole mess of water pouches. I mean, okay, a few might not be the worst thing but a few dozen or more just add weight to the kit. A better solution is to invest in a good quality portable water filter, like a Katadyn Hiker.

Take a look at the container for the kit, too. A bucket is a pain in the ass to carry around for any length of time. It might work well for a shelter in place situation but you’ll not want to have to transport it on a bug out. A metal tin is great for a pocket kit as it’ll help protect the contents. A pack is going to be necessary for any large kit meant to be carried any distance.

Here’s the thing. As I said at the outset, a survival kit is a personal thing. However, until you gain some experience and skills, you might not know what you do or don’t need in a kit. A premade kit is a great way to explore some options and play around with different components. See what works for you and discard what doesn’t. Over time, you’ll develop your own unique kit that is best suited for your own needs.

1 thought on “Premade Survival Kits: Good or Bad Idea?

  1. Quite so! Every plan, every need should be personalized, but if you can find kits that offer what you’re looking for, at a price better than you’d find buying individual components, why not go for it?

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