How to Build Your Own Hiking Survival Kit

Three years into the pandemic era and finally the world is slowly reopening. Everyone is excited to experience what the “outside world” feels again. This reopening has highlighted and emphasized the value of recreational and outdoor activities being people’s escape from an unusually solitary and confined pandemic lifestyle.

One of the outdoor activities gaining traction pre and post-pandemic period is hiking.

And what comes to mind when thinking about hiking

Hiking survival kits!

More than the trail, trees, leaves soaked in the morning dew, and the adrenaline rush, hiking junkies always ensure a safe, comfortable, and gratifying hiking experience by bringing complete, reliable, and handy survival kits. 

Whether you are a beginner hiker just wanting to be immersed with nature again or an experienced trailblazer looking forward to testing that overflowing boost of energy, the following sections will detail how you can build your own personalized ‘new normal’ hiking lifesaver kit.

Survival Kit Must-Haves

But first things first, below are the must-haves every ‘new normal’ basic survival kit should contain:


If hiking is like engaging in battles, then food is the hiker’s weapon. As the primary source of our body’s nourishment, enough food supply can ensure a hiker’s survival in the wilderness. Packing light, ready-to-eat, and not easily perishable food is vital to reinforce the body’s energy during the hike.

  • calorie-rich food and snacks
  • instant and packed in ready-to-eat containers
  • preserved food, preferably those not easily spoiled under drastically-changing temperatures
  • in containers made of lightweight and recyclable materials

Water Or Any Form Of Liquid

In every hiking activity, water is just as important as food. If food is the hiker’s weapon, water is his/her defensive armor. Keeping the body hydrated adequately before and during the hike will help condition our muscles and organs while maintaining normal bodily functions and body temperature. 

  • Re-usable or insulated water bottle
  • Hot tea and or tea
  • Water purification tablets
  • Backpacking water filter
  • Energy drink or hydration salts

Personal Hygiene Kit

Being out in the wild for a day or two does not mean one should pay little attention to personal hygiene. It is crucial to remain clean during and after the hike to prevent foreign organisms from entering our bodies and avoid hygiene-related infections or diseases. 

  • Face masks
  • Hand sanitizers
  • Toothbrush and or dental floss
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Body wash or body soap, preferably with anti-bacterial and antifungal properties
  • Wet wipes
  • Small face towel
  • Lightweight full-body towel (for camping in)
  • Toilet paper
  • Sunblock and or sunscreen

Basic Medical First Aid Kit

One golden rule in hiking is to never set out without a first aid kit. The outdoors presents infinite dangers that can be avoided or mitigated by having a first aid kit ready. Nowadays, basic first aid kits have evolved from a box of wound-cleaning items to an all-around case containing medicines and some minor medical gadgets such as inhalers, oximeters, and even thermometers. 

  • Band-aid
  • Cotton swabs
  • Medical gauze
  • Antiseptic or disinfectant such as alcohol and or hydrogen peroxide
  • OTC medicines such as Paracetamol, Antihistamine, Ibuprofen, etc.
  • Mosquito-repellent and other multipurpose ointments for insect bites 
  • Bugs spray
  • Nausea and vomit medications
  • Thermometer or any handy thermal scanner
  • Prescribed medicines for particular health conditions


More than the Instagrammable hiking OOTD, hiking clothing essentials must include items that will help you be safe, warm, and comfortable. Moreover, it’s always better to bring extra clothes or things that will suit the weather conditions of the hiking location. 

  • Gloves can be normal or electric hand warmer gloves
  • extra pair of socks
  • hot packs
  • Extra shirt/s
  • Extra shorts/jeans/sweatpants
  • Raincoat/jacket


Tools are a must for every hiking survival kit. Hiking tools can be classified based on their primary use, but as of today, many multifunctional hiking tools are already on the market. Lighting, cutting, and packing tools are a few of the many hiking tools one must secure to bring in his/her hiking backpack. 

  • Swiss knife or multitool
  • Flashlight
  • Emergency lamp/light
  • Matches, lighter, or emergency tinder (to initiate fire)
  • Duct tape or any adhesive tape
  • Rope and or paracord
  • Zip-lock bags
  • Sewing kit
  • Foldable shovel, ideally metal
  • Small mirror
  • Magnifying glass
  • Scissors
  • Pen and paper

Direction And Navigation

Whether you hike alone or in groups, or whether you confidently know the ins and outs of the hiking area, it is still necessary to keep a map or a navigating device at bay. These direction objects will keep you and your team literally on track and prevent you from getting lost.  

  • Compass
  • Map
  • GPS device

Emergency & Rescue Signals

Lastly, hiking survival kits should not only include items to prevent or avoid danger or emergencies. Hikers must not downplay the possibility of really being in danger if worse comes to worst. Therefore, rescue signals must be at hand — these items can attract attention or garner awareness from outsiders or rescue authorities.

  • Whistle
  • Light Stick
  • Firecracker
  • Signaling mirror
  • Batteries

Camping Equipment

Camping equipment is an optional item in the survival kit. Hikers use these to create a cozy sleeping space and have a comfortable overnight experience. 

  • Tent
  • Space or Outdoor blanket
  • Mini cooking tins 
  • Portable heater/cooker

6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Going on a Hike

But wait, before you go ruffling and cluttering your place in search of your survival kit essentials, there are a few considerations that you should bear in mind.

These six pointers will help you streamline and build your own ‘new normal’ hiking survival kit. 

1. How physically prepared and conditioned am I for this hike?

Knowing both your current health condition and medical history must be your top priority in identifying what items to include in your hiking survival kit. Of course, you should be physically fit or at least have not been terribly ill for the past two weeks before the schedule. 

As hiking requires solid cardiorespiratory endurance, hikers must maintain healthy lungs and a strong heart. You must also review your medical history so you can bring prescribed medicines and medical tools in your first aid kit. 

2. How challenging will this hike be?

Although some hike for leisure purposes, determining the hike’s difficulty and matching it with your current hiking capacity is key to having a delightful and fun hiking experience.

Asking yourself these questions will give you a hint of how arduous the hike will be, making you prepare better for it: “How long is the hiking trail? Will I be hiking rocky-steep terrain or a slightly flat but winding route? What will be the weather conditions in the area, and what climate challenges will I possibly encounter?”

3. How many people will join the hike?

Identifying the number of people you will be hiking with can help you estimate the number of hiking essentials you’ll bring. Once you’re out in the wilderness, any sort of emergency can happen not just to you but to any of your hiking colleagues, and obtaining an extra painkiller or medical gauze won’t hurt. 

4. Will I be hiking only or hiking AND camping?

Beginners and experienced hikers alike know that there are several types of hiking. You can hike for the day and be back at home around sundown or do a long-distance hike and camp in the heart of the forest at nighttime. It’s your call!

Just be mindful that camping will obviously require more things inside that hiking slash camping survival bag. While day-hikes compel you to pack basic first-aid kits and two meals, camping means bringing sleeping bags, tents, and a food supply that can last three to four meals. 

5. What emergency might I encounter?

Despite being considered a ‘recreational activity’, engaging in hiking and any outdoor activity means plunging yourself into all sorts of uncertainties and emergencies. Different hiking conditions pose different kinds of troubles. The good news is that hikers are also preppers who don’t only prepare for comfort but, more importantly, equip themselves when caught in any possible danger.

You might want to pack an extra flashlight or battery when hiking a well-forested area wherein trails are particularly dark, or secure a hot pack for elevated hiking routes wherein the temperature drastically drops. 

6. How close or far am I from help in case of emergencies?

When you can identify what kind of hiking emergencies you may face, the next thing that comes to mind is how far you are from getting real help from the authorities. It means recognizing your proximity to the nearest town or any civilization which can grant you access and communication to any emergency response team or agencies. This information may lead you to bring a whistle, light stick, firecracker, or any device which can be seen or heard from afar when calling for help. 

Final Thoughts

After running through these six questions, you sure now know what to bring and how much to pack into your hiking survival kit. Feel free to customize your needed essentials based on how you answered the hiking pointers.

Congratulations on building your personalized hiking survival kit! With this, you are now good and ready to go. Hike safely and have fun! 

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