Is Buying a Pre-Made Survival Kit a Good Idea?

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survival kitGiven the popularity of prepping today, it stands to reason that many companies would jump on the bandwagon and try to cater to that market.  You can now find pre-made survival kits at places like outdoor stores like REI and even at discount retailers like Walmart.  But is buying a pre-made kit a good idea?

Problems with Pre-Made Kits

Well, like anything else in life, it depends.  The first problem I’ve seen with many commercial kits is that some or all of the components are of poor quality.  If you are staking your life on an item, you want it to be up to the task.  Some kits are nothing more than cheap, dollar store quality items tossed into a sub-average knapsack.  You really aren’t saving much money with those kits.  Sure, the package says the kit contains 200+ survival items.  But, they also count each adhesive bandage as a single item.

The second problem I’ve seen is the kits are often incomplete.  They are almost always lacking gear for at least one major category.  Maybe it has food, water, and shelter covered but it has nothing for first aid.  Or, it is missing any sort of fire making equipment.  Few kits on the market today truly cover all of the major categories of survival needs:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Shelter
  • First aid
  • Signaling
  • Navigation
  • Communication
  • Tools

A third issue with many pre-made kits is the container they use, such as the backpack or duffel bag.  Typically, these are cheaply made and aren’t going to hold up in any sort of realistic survival scenario.  If you’re hoofing it to your bug out location, you don’t want to discover a hole in the backpack halfway through your journey, a hole through which much of your gear has managed to leak out from over the last several miles.

Why Bother Buying One?

In most cases, you are far better off assembling your own kit from the bottom up, taking into account your own skill sets, your needs, and your overall situation. What works for one person might not be the best idea for another. However, commercial kits can serve as a starting point.  If you purchase a kit with that in mind and take the time to become familiar with each provided item, you’ll be in a far better position to decide what else needs added to the kit.

Personally, I like the products sold by Echo Sigma as well as those made by Survival Resources. Both companies take great care in selecting gear that actually works under real life conditions.  Of course, the kits they assemble and sell aren’t cheap, but neither is your life.

6 thoughts on “Is Buying a Pre-Made Survival Kit a Good Idea?”

  1. I prefer making a kit. You get better items and is usually cheaper. Some people though will never make a survival kit. For them a good buy and forget kit is better than nothing. Better even I like to rotate out gear as I upgrade and make kits for friends.

  2. I agree with James. We made our own, starting with what we had on hand and adding Dollar Store items until we could upgrade, but the pre-made ones are better than nothing. A lot of people aren’t going to take the time to put a kit together, so buying one would be their best option.

  3. I went to those websites that you recommended and had to laugh at the Survival Resources, really? Which kits from them do you recommend? The echo sigma bags look pretty sweet. Another site – Forge Survival Supply has some nice bug out bags but they are not cheap.

  4. Jacob, the owner of Survival Resources, John McCann, is fairly well known in the “survival” world and is a highly respected instructor and authority on the subject of bushcraft, survival planning, and self-reliance. I’ve been a loyal customer of his store for a few years now. No, his kits aren’t cheap but they also don’t consist of dollar store crap that is going to fall apart the first time you really need it. Each and every item he sells he has personally tested to ensure it meets his standards.

    Sure, you can find other kits cheaper at other sites and I always encourage people to shop around to find the best price on anything they are looking to buy. But, you need to consider quality as well as price.

  5. When first starting out, putting a kit together was a little daunting. I wasn’t sure what I’d need. I first put together an Altoid tin, which I carried everywhere (and used). After a while, I realized I needed something better, but still felt overwhelmed at putting it all together. There are so many sites and so many skills to learn when you weren’t a boy scout growing up.

    I have never regretted buying that kit (and I’ve bought a number of them of others). I’ve used it a lot and found the quality to be very good. It was a great place to start. Over time, I’ve upgraded some of the items. But I can’t tell you the peace of mind having this kit gave me.

  6. Skylar Williams

    I liked your point about premade survival kits being a good place to start. Truth is, I’m not sure where to start when it comes to survival supplies. At the same time, I want to be prepared when an emergency comes up.

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