There are lots of supplies which should be included in your homemade survival kit in a can, but only so much room to work with.  In a perfect world, you could lug around a duffle bag full of supplies, just in case you were lost or stranded, but that’s just not realistic.  Honestly, if you are going out hiking, are you going to carry around something that size with substantial weight?  Probably not, and neither would most people.  So, in this article, we’ll focus on the essentials, all of which can fit into a small coffee can with ease.  Add all these items into the smallest container you need to fit them.


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Energy Bars:  An energy bar, when eaten very sparingly, can give you nourishment for a surprising amount of time.  It will give you the calories you need to build a shelter, fire, round up supplies, and make hunting implements.

Basic Meds:  Some ibuprofen, for example, can eliminate a headache that could be very demoralizing.  If you need meds daily, a couple of days supply will come in very useful.

Parachute Cord or Rope:  This is an absolute must.  Rope will come in handy for making shelter, dragging and carrying hunting game, and a million other situations.  I would personally suggest line with a rating of over 500 pounds. 

Knives:  A good, sharp knife is absolutely mandatory inside of any survival kit and is probably the most important item to include.  They don’t need to be huge, but they do need to be very sharp.  Be sure you also have a sharpening stone.

Fishing Line and Hooks:  Sometimes, even if you fish unsuccessfully, just getting out and trying it will help to pass the time give you a purpose and goal to work on.  Add a grub, worm, or even snail to a hook and tie the line to a stick.  A small piece of wood or even a bubble gum bubble can work as a small, makeshift bobber.

Snares:  These have very low rates of success.  A deadfall with a rock might be a better option, but the metal wires, even if not used to catch small game, can serve other useful purposes in hunting with them is unsuccessful. 


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Flints/Waterproof Matches:  You will need to make a fire at some point, or at least work on it.  A fire can lift the spirits of anyone stranded or lost.  Be sure you have what you need to get a fire going for cooking food, heat, and protection from predatory animals.

Cotton Balls:  They work great for starting fires (as does dry pocket lint), especially if you add a little petroleum jelly to them.  They will aid in making a fire, which is one of the most important things you’ll need when lost or stranded.

Compass:  The most basic tool belongs in your list of supplies as you make your own homemade survival kit in a can.  With some luck and preparedness, you should know exactly what direction you have to go to get to civilization.

Packages of Kool-Aid:  Why in the world would you want this?  If lost out in the wilderness in the snow, you can find an open patch and make an SOS message which will be clearly visible to search planes.

Pocket Saw:  This will help you cut up branches and wood that’s too thick to cut by a knife and should be included in your list of supplies.  They take up very little room and have many different practical uses.

Water Purification Tablet:  While a few drops of bleach will also work, purification tablets are easy and don’t take up very much space.  They are relatively effective as well, so they should be included in your list of supplies you need to make the kit.

Basic First Aid Supplies:  Bandages and bandaids, and even antibiotic ointments will come in handy and cannot be overstated.  While these might not be needed during your ordeal, it would be better to have them and not need them, then need them and not have them.

Space Blanket:  They don’t use up much space and they will keep you warm.  In addition, they are almost always silver, so they work good to reflect light as a signal.  These things fold up into a tiny little pouch, so they take up almost nothing for room.

Plastic Trash Bags:  These serve lots of uses.  They can waterproof a makeshift shelter and can be used as an emergency rain poncho, or even put into boots to keep the feet relatively dry.  In a true situation of survival, a plastic bag or two will come in very handy.

Panty Hose:  You can strain water to remove debris with panty hose.  In addition, it can be used as netting to keep the mosquitos off you, which in the summertime, can be brutal.  In intense, bright sunlight, it can also go over the eyes.  You’ll be able to see through it well, but it will filter out some of the sun glare, which is hard on the eyes.  In the snow, you can get snow blindness in minutes with a bright sun.

Small Metal Can:  This can goes inside the survival kit in a can.  It can be used for cooking and as a water canteen, so the main can will be used to hold all the other supplies.   A metal can, with a lid, is a great item to have for anyone that takes emergency preparedness seriously.

Small Flashlight:  In the dead of night, even a small pocket flashlight will be a very welcome item to have in the survival package.  If your fire goes out or you cannot get one lit, a small light will help you see in the dark.

Items from Loved Ones:  People die out in the wilderness from losing hope and giving up.  A love letter from a significant other or pictures of kids can keep you motivated to live and get through it.  Any homemade survival kit in a can isn’t complete without this.