Whether you are planning to go camping or to completely drop off the face of the earth it is a good idea to have a survival kit packed and ready to go. I am going to outline some of the things that I feel are useful and some things that you cannot go into the wild without.
The first and most important part of a survival kit is something to start fires with. The best choice here is to get firesteel. This can light thousands of fires and works just fine even when wet. You second bet would be to carry a lighter or pack some waterproof matches in a weatherproof case. These are all going to be useful, some more than others. Fire is the most important asset to anyone in the wild. You can use it to cook, purify, and heat.
This will be something you will use a lot if you are out in the wild for a long time when fires are needed constantly. If you cannot gather enough wood during the day you need something to light the way while you look. The best choice here would be some sort of headgear. This way your hands will always be free and the light will always be facing the direction you want to see in. If this is not something you can find or obtain quickly then your next option would be a small handheld light and an 8 hour candle. The candle can be used for light or for drying kindling to start a fire.
While in the woods you are going to need somewhere to sleep and escape the elements. You may feel like making your own shelter but this is time consuming and if not done properly can waste a whole day away. I recommend a 5×7 ft space blanket. This can be used for a shelter, for blankets at night, or for immediate cover if a sudden rain shower occurs. These are also good for signaling if all else fails due to their reflective backing.
If you are in the woods you are bound to get some cuts and bruises. Leaving your home without a first aid kit is just as bad as leaving without your survival kit. The purpose of the first aid kit is to carry only essentials and not to fill it with useless things you will never use. Pack bandaids in varying sizes, sterile gauze, antibiotic ointment, alcohol, and other useful medications such as aspirin, Tylenol, and perhaps poison ivy creams. This way you are able to manage simple repairs and your adventure and survival is not hindered due to something easily fixed.
Parachute cord is the absolute best thing when it comes to putting up a make shift tent or shelter. Just tie the ends of your shelter to nearby trees and you take many hours out of trying to find a way to keep the roof off the ground. This is also good for replacing shoelaces that have been destroyed.
Fire is going to be the best way to purify your water but you are still going to need something to put the water in. Carrying a pot with a lid to prevent evaporation is great to place over a fire. You should also carry some form of cloth to strain out any organic material that you gather in the water. Use this as a filter before boiling your water. They do sell purification products but in worst case scenarios’ just boiling the water is your best bet.
A knife can be your best friend in the wild. It can protect you from animals as well as bring food to your camp. You can affix a knife to a stick and use as a spear for fishing, it can be used to peel bark for eating, and can be used to cut the cord mentioned above.
While this list is not everything you will need it is something to work off of. I have listed things that I find are essential to going out into the wild. You are going to want to personalize your kit to your liking.