What You Need To Pack In A Truck Wilderness Survival Kit
Whether you’re camping, skiing, hunting, or simply working in a remote area of the country where rescue could be hours or days away in an emergency, you should make room in your car or truck for some emergency supplies. There are plenty of pre-packaged emergency kits available, such as the DECKED X Pathfinder Survival Kit or DECKED X Uncharted D-Bag Emergency Kit, but you can put one together yourself quickly and easily.
Let’s start by making a kind of wilderness survival kit checklist, then compare that to the contents of a few commercially available survival kits. Then, we’ll look at important supplemental items that are often too big to fit in a small pre-packed kit, but you should never leave civilization without!
Your Wilderness Survival Kit List
At a minimum, your wilderness survival kit should contain:
- Sealed flammable material
- A waterproof tarp
- A sturdy water bottle (24 + oz)
- A knife with a 3+ inch blade
- A folding saw or wood-cutting device
- A firestarter, such as weather-proof matches, several lighters or a flint striker
- 50+ feet of strong cord or light rope
Your wilderness survival kit should also contain basic medical supplies, such as:
- Several pairs of disposable surgical gloves
- Packaged, sterile wound dressings
- Medical tape
- Crêpe bandage or gauze
- Burn dressings
- Bandage scissors
- Alcohol and pads, or sealed alcohol prep pads
- A tourniquet
- A splint
- A pressure bandage
- A permanent marker
- A mylar emergency blanket
The DECKED X Pathfinder Survival Kit
Here, DECKED has drawn upon Pathfinder’s decades of experience producing vehicle and personal emergency kits to make sure you have everything you need to survive a bad situation. Not only does it feature a water flask, an emergency medical kit, and all the survival tools advised, it comes with an HD6 Ferro Rod Firestarter, Mini Inferno Fire Disks, a Pathfinder Reinforced Nylon Tarp, 100 feet of high-strength paracord, a 7-inch folding saw, and a 4-inch blade Mora Bushcraft Knife.
DECKED X Uncharted D-Bag Emergency Kit
DECKED D-Bag Emergency Kit
If you want something a bit more extensive, consider the DECKED X Uncharted D-Bag Emergency Kit. This comes pre-packaged in the DECKED D-Bag, a miraculous little backpack which fits perfectly in the various DECKED tool and gear storage systems when not being worn. This is an extended wilderness survival kit designed to offer you everything you could need to help you survive comfortably if an emergency occurs far from help or support.
The contents have been assembled by the Uncharted Supply Co., and include both their Zeus power station and their Seventy2 Pro survival kit. Exploring this wilderness survival kit, you’ll discover waterproof matches, a knife, a shovel, a multitool, 100’ of paracord, a shovel, 2 sets of safety goggles, 2 air filtration masks, 2 chemical lights (glow sticks), a warm and dry emergency shelter, 2 chemical hand warmers, 2 knit hats, and 2 sets of waterproof insulated gloves. Look further and you’ll see a fully stocked 1st aid kit, a flashlight, a crank radio which also serves as a USB charger, 12 ration bars, a water filter, a soft-sided drinking pouch, and a large stainless steel water bottle.
EVAQ8 Winter Car Emergency Survival Kit
This is a hefty wilderness survival kit that features all the standard requirements, but also many things smaller kits leave out. This includes long-life food and water supplies, a folding shovel, a high visibility vest, and a backpack to carry it all in.
Supplementary Survival Supplies
These are key survival items that are just too bulky, too perishable or otherwise inappropriate to include in a wilderness survival kit. Nevertheless, don’t leave the comforts of civilization without them!
- Soap, light toiletries
- One or more sleeping bags
- Jumper cables (or a gauge suitable for your electrical system)
- An ABC car fire extinguisher
- A spare tire and jack
- A hand-held GPS system (they have better reception than your phone)
- A good quality fuel can (Diesel or gasoline, depending on your engine)
- A flashlight with fresh batteries
- A durable canvas or nylon sack
- A basic automotive tool kit
- 2 to 3 gallons of sterile bottled water
Where Will You Keep Your Emergency Kit?
The three emergency kits we looked at above come with durable, water-resistant containers which are convenient to store in a car or truck. However, if you are making your own wilderness survival kit from scratch, you’ll need something to keep it all in. Here, we’ll look at some of your options, and the strengths and weaknesses of each.
Storing A Wilderness Survival Kit In A Waterproof Tool Box
If no emergency ever occurs, your wilderness survival kit will remain safe and dry in your truck or behind your seat forever. If something does go wrong, though, you’ll need to know your supplies will stay dry and usable even if they get rained on, dropped in the mud, or have to float across a stream or 2. For that reason, a waterproof enclosure is vital. Most people elect to use a waterproof tool box, simply because there are so many already on the market and because they are so suitable for the task.
But what type of tool box should you use? Almost any type of tool box can be made waterproof. A small plastic tool box is the first thing that springs to mind, but even a steel tool box can be made with a weatherproof seal.
Plastic Tool Boxes
High-impact plastic revolutionized tool box manufacturing. It is used all over the world because it is light, durable, and very resistant to shattering. A small plastic tool box can also be a very inexpensive and expensive option, compared to steel or aluminum. Small plastic tool boxes are pretty much the go-to option for emergency kits.
A small plastic tool box is a great way to store many small parts and pieces, but also to keep them organized and separated. Many small plastic tool boxes come with removable drawers, movable drawer dividers, and other organizational features.
Aluminum Tool Boxes
Many people like a small aluminum tool box for mounting in or on a truck. Aluminum is a relatively strong material but very light. As they can be mounted to various surfaces in the bed of a pickup, work, or emergency truck, it makes sense to make a truck-mounted aluminum tool box a dedicated container for your personal wilderness survival kit. It is typically less expensive than the same small tool box would be in steel. However, it will generally be more expensive than a plastic tool box, and might not actually be much more durable. Aluminum weathers well, though, and is famous for its ability to shake off the effects of corrosion.
Cantilever Tool Box
Many handheld aluminum or steel tool boxes use a cantilevered design, which is very well suited to emergency kits of all kinds. The cantilevered arms support an array of small trays, each subdivided into compartments that are perfect for organizing first aid supplies, firestarters, and other small pieces. Some come with custom trays or tray inserts designed to keep and organize socket sets, drill bits, and such, which come in handy for larger pieces of emergency gear.
Steel Tool Boxes
Truck-mounted or small hand-held steel tool boxes are also very popular ways to store wilderness survival kits. Steel is very durable, resists being bent, and can withstand wear and tear very well. However, it is the most expensive material commonly in use for a small tool box today, as well as the heaviest. You might find a hand-held steel emergency kit box becomes too heavy to carry far.
Storing A Wilderness Survival Kit In A Pit Box
The paramedics do it, so why shouldn’t you? A pit box is similar to rolling luggage. It typically has 2 wheels, and looks a bit like either a large tool box or a stack of one small tool box on top of another, all mounted in a dolly.
A pit box is intended to hold heavy equipment that needs to be moved quickly over solid floors or even, level ground. Paramedics use this to get everything they need to patients who are usually only a few yards from the ambulance. You could fit an extensive set of survival equipment in a pit box, but if you have to leave your vehicle you couldn’t take it very far, especially in the woods! Best if you commit to a fully hand-portable or fully vehicle-mounted wilderness survival kit.
Storing A Wilderness Survival Kit In A Soft-Sided Tool Satchel
A tool satchel is in many ways an ideal choice for a very portable survival kit. It is light and flexible, and many (such as the DECKED D-Bag) come with shoulder straps of one kind or another. They also tend to have a larger capacity than small plastic or metal tool boxes, but because the straps are generally easier to carry.
A Detailed Look At A Few Small Tool Box Products Suitable For Survival Kits
DeeZee Swing Case Small Tool Box
The DeeZee DZ95B Wheel Well Tool Box is a good example of a small truck-mounted aluminum tool box. A swing case (or “pork chop”) tool box mounts to either the driver’s or passenger’s side rails, on a hinge near the tailgate, or rear hatch. This allows it to swing out for easy access. Generally speaking they are small, but large enough to hold emergency supplies and conveniently placed enough to ensure that, when an emergency does occur, you haven’t removed the wilderness survival kit to make room for more cargo.
Reviewers of the DeeZee Swing Case have praised it as attractive and light, and called it a good choice for holding small tools and general gear. Others, however, have noted that it is easy to bend or damage.
Milwaukee Packout Pit-Style Small Tool Box System
The Milwaukee Packout system is a set of modular tool boxes which are really not a bad choice if you are committed to making an emergency kit out of a set of pit boxes.
The base of the system is a 2-wheeled box with an extendable handle. Each small plastic tool box attaches to the one below it with a latch. In addition to the hard modular tool boxes the system ships with, you can attach a range of bags and soft storage options from the same manufacturer.
Each piece is a separate waterproof box. Plastic latches with metal clips secure the lids tightly. Each storage box is reinforced with an aluminum rail at each corner, to ensure that the system can bear the weight of all your boxes and emergency gear combined.
The DECKED D-Box Plastic Tool Box
The DECKED D-Box is a great choice for an emergency kit if you grow out of the DECKED Crossbox. It is built of a strong and resilient plastic resin that is highly recyclable. It features a waterproof seal at the hatch opening that will keep all of your emergency supplies dry in the worst condition, and has removable internal dividers. Better still, it works perfectly inside the DECKED Tool Box and DECKED Drawer System.
The DECKED Tool Box – A Way To Protect, Organize, And Transport Tools, Emergency Equipment And Gear Generally
The DECKED Tool Box fits behind the cab of a pick-up or working truck in the “saddle” position. It can fit several small tool boxes or emergency kits like the DECKED D-Box. DECKED D-Bag, or DECKED Crossbox, as well as plenty of other gear and equipment.
The DECKED tool box is entirely waterproof and very secure. The lock is heavily armored, and the high impact plastic body is reinforced with aluminum and steel throughout. This item actually ships with a DECKED D-Box and Snack Tray small parts container included, so if you are of a mind to pack your own wilderness survival kit, you’ll be halfway there. You can even upgrade to a version of the DECKED Tool Box with an integrated folding ladder to access taller truck beds.
We hope you learned a little about wilderness survival kit essentials, what to bring with you, and what to pack it all in. Remember, whether you are looking for a sturdy, light emergency kit or a fully equipped wilderness survival kit, what you really need is DECKED.