These Colors Don't Run - Remember 9.11.2001 Equipped To Survive
 Where do you want
 to go on ETS?

Personal / Pocket Size
Survival Kit Reviews

To gain a more complete understanding of the issues involved in selecting a survival kit and a more full explanation of the evaluations given to specific equipment and supplies included in the personal/pocket size survival kits reviewed here, it is highly recommended that you review the contents of "Basic and Wilderness Survival Equipment Evaluations" on this site before reading these evaluations. Alternatively, links are provided in the text and in the individual kit reviews to some of the specific areas of interest.

While a large and comprehensive survival kit can be a real boon to survivors, there can be times when you are unable to retrieve it from the wreckage or it is otherwise unavailable, such as when out for a short hike or a walk away from camp. You are left with what you have on your person, the equipment in your pockets. You can enhance your survival capabilities by carrying a small, pocket size, personal survival kit, often referred to as a "PSK."

To qualify for our definition of "personal" or "pocket" size, the kit must be small enough to easily fit in a shirt or, perhaps, a coat pocket. A pouch style kit designed to be worn on a belt is too large, generally, to fit these parameters. We're talking about a package small enough and light enough to not be a bother to carry along on almost any outing, almost without thinking.

For somewhat larger kits, we also review One-Person Pocket/Pouch Size Survival Kits - Larger than the mini-kits reviewed here, these fit in a pouch on your belt or a large cargo pocket.

Such a kit may stand entirely on its own or it may be designed to supplement a pocket knife, multi-purpose tool or other items normally carried. The items included should be those which are difficult or impossible to improvise effectively or easily from available materials. Given the small size, it should stick to fundamentals, the bare survival necessities. They are certainly not a substitute for a larger, more fully equipped survival kit, but they can serve as back-up. You can review ETS Editor Doug Ritter's personal mini survival kit to get an idea of what might be included.

Doug's Don't Leave Home Without It EquipmentIn our opinion, irrespective of what is in this kit, you should always carry a quality pocket knife. In addition, some of us carry a bit more, what we refer to as our "Don't Leave Home Without It" equipment.

While it is entirely possible, and perhaps desirable, to assemble your own personal size survival kit, there are a number of commercially produced kits. We have evaluated a number of these commercially available personal/pocket size survival kits over the years.

Many, if not most, of these PSKs have failings, some pretty significant from our perspective. Depending upon what else you carry on your person, that may or may not be a factor. Still, they are better than nothing, and the better PSKs are actually pretty darn good. Most of the kits with significant deficiencies, excepting the sealed ones, can be improved without a great deal of effort and at moderate expense, and we'd certainly recommend that anyone buying one seriously consider that option.

By and large, you generally get what you pay for in these small kits. The least expensive PSKs are often almost worthless. The more expensive, better equipped PSKs generally represent a good value compared to either assembling one yourself or supplementing a lesser PSK. (Some of the PSKs reviewed here are no longer available, but are included because they sometimes find their way onto E-bay or can serve to further educate the reader on the subject of PSKs.)

(NOTE: If you know of a personal / pocket size survival kit that we missed, please contact us.)

You can review the entire section by simply clicking on the "next" arrow at the bottom of each page. If you would rather jump to a specific kit, select from the adjoining drop down list or click on the image or links below:

MPI You CAN Survive"You CAN Survive" from MPI Outdoors - packed in a vacuum sealed can - mostly food.
Mountain Safety Research (MSR) Basics Emergency Kit"Basics Emergency Kit" from Mountain Safety Research (MSR) - small, light, minimalistic. (No longer available.)
Mountain Safety Research (MSR) Regular Emergency Kit"Regular Emergency Kit" from Mountain Safety Research (MSR) - more capable and complete. (No longer available.)
Mountain Safety Research (MSR) Deluxe Emergency Kit"Deluxe Emergency Kit" from Mountain Safety Research (MSR) - top of MSR's line. (No longer available.)
BCB Survival Combat Survival Kit"Combat Survival Kit" from BCB Survival in the UK - using a tobacco tin, modeled after the kit recommended by John Wiseman.
Coghlan's Survival Kit-In-A-Can"Survival Kit-In-A-Can" from Coghlan's Ltd. in Canada - sealed into sardine can, food and supplies.
Penrith Combat Survival Kit"Combat Survival Kit" from Penrith Survival Equipment in the UK - using a tobacco tin, modeled after the kit recommended by John Wiseman.
Bob Cooper's Australian Mark III Survival Kit"Australian Mark III Survival Kit" from Bob Cooper Outdoor Education Pty Ltd in, no surprise, Australia - somewhat bulky, you are expected to supplement the basics in this kit and seal it yourself. (No longer available in U.S.)
Branch Co. LifePac Survival Kit"LifePac Survival Kit" from Branch Company (also "Survival Kit In A Sardine Can" from Whistle Creek) - sealed into a sardine can, food and supplies.
Ranger Rick's Special Ops necklace"Ranger Rick's Special Ops Survival Necklace" - an alternative concept to the traditional personal survival kit. Some assembly and modification of equipment required.
Pro Survival Kit Company Pocket Pro Survival Kit"Pocket Pro Survival Kit" from Pro Survival Kit Company - latching waterproof case, the gear you need and can rely upon, just stick in a pocket and go.
Pro Survival Kit Company Belt Pro Survival Kit"Belt Pro Survival Kit" from Pro Survival Kit Company - a survival kit in a belt, one way to ensure it's with you at all times. (No longer available)
Randall's Adventure and Training Mini Survival Kit"Mini Survival Kit" from Randall's Adventure and Training - latching tough-as-nails waterproof case, but not quite everything you might want.
Brunton Emergency Pocket Survival Kit"Emergency Pocket Survival Kit" from Brunton - credit card size, calling it a "survival kit" is a misnomer.
SRU-16/P Parachute Pack Survival Kit"SRU-16/P Parachute Pack Survival Kit" from U.S. Military - standard issue U.S. military equipment (NSN 4240-00-741-9713) included on most pilot and crewperson parachute harnesses.
Adventure Medical Kits Pocket Survival Pak"Pocket Survival Pak" from Adventure Medical Kits - designed by Equipped To Survive founder and editor Doug Ritter to fill a void in the market that he identified after reviewing the above kits and others; an affordable, truly pocket-sized, high quality pocket survival kit that really could save your life. (DISCLAIMER: Ritter and the Equipped To Survive Foundation receive a royalty from the sale of this kit.)

Please support Equipped To Survive with a tax-deductible donation

Related Articles

One-Person Pocket/Pouch Size Survival Kits - Larger than the mini-kits reviewed here, fit in a pouch on your belt or a large cargo pocket.

Doug's Mini Survival Kit - Doug Ritter shows how he assembled his personal Mini Survival Kit

Doug Ritter Designed Pocket Survival Pak - An affordable commercially available pocket survival kit that really could save your life.

Personal Survival Kits assembled by Doug Ritter - A list of the equipment and supplies that Doug Ritter has included in his selection of pocket size survival kits.

On Your Own - "Don't Leave Home Without It" survival gear including a listing and discussion of the equipment that Doug Ritter carries in his pockets.

Condoms and Alternative Water Containers for Mini-Kits - An archived in-depth discussion from The Survival Forum.

Basic and Wilderness Survival Equipment - Extensive and in-depth name brand reviews and evaluations of survival equipment and supplies appropriate for inclusion in a personal/pocket size survival kit.

A Survival Primer - Basic, fundamental survival techniques. Essentially, a basic survival manual.

« Prev. [Previous]
[Next] Next »

Publisher and Editor: Doug Ritter
Email: Doug Ritter
Revision: 18 June 10, 2004
Webserver courtesy of Pulver Technologies
Email to:

© 1997 - 2004 Douglas S. Ritter & Equipped To Survive Foundation, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Check our Copyright Information page for additional information.
Read the ETS
Privacy Policy