Jungle Survival Kits
Tropical Jungle (land) Survival Kit –
- Water purification filter straw
- Water purification tablets (iodine)
- Knife (sturdy fixed-blade knife with a 4" to 6" blade)
- Butane or similar lighter (in a waterproof container even
if it's just a zip-top plastic bag)
- Fire striker (ferro-magnesium [Ferrocerium] fire stick)
- Waterproof matches (in waterproof container)
- Kindling and some tinder (Vaseline coated cotton balls,
pre-charred cotton material, natural materials, "Magic"
- A smaller knife for more delicate work (folding
multi-tool, but be selective. Most tools are useless for
- A small fine-grade knife sharpener. I dull knife is
dangerous. There are plenty of small sharpeners.
- Parachute cord (small-diameter nylon rope)
- Lightweight poncho (perhaps one of the cheap disposable
hooks and line
- Small LED flashlight
- Small alcohol wipe packets (both first aid and fire
- Tetracycline tablets for diarrhea or infection
- Imodium (diarrhea is extremely bad in the tropics as
staying hydrated is your #1 priority!)
- Antibiotic ointment packets or small tube (Neosporin or
- Butterfly sutures
- Insect repellent packets (small rubs are better than
lotion and can often be reused)
- Solar blanket
- Needles and thread
- An epipen if you're allergic to insect stings
- Life-sustaining personal medication
- Some money in the local currency
Note: in Thailand, most Thais
don't go into the jungle without a traditional Thai jungle
knife. This is a wonderful tool as it can be used as a knife,
hatchet, and perhaps a weapon. Check out this video of a jungle
knife. The photo to the right is a Thai jungle
Think about this: Although the battery can
go dead, the modern smart phone is a potentially invaluable
survival tool. Not only is there good reception throughout
most of Thailand, but you can get a GPS/compass app... and
maps! Small solar battery chargers make the dead battery issue
less of an issue. A spare battery is an additional safeguard.
I almost always carry my smart phone around my neck in a
waterproof pounch when I go in the jungle.
Check out our Thailand
Jungle Survival FaceBook Group
Check out our Wilderness Survival
Tropical Coastal (but not lost at sea) Survival Kit – Add-on
- Water purification straw or pump
- Additional fishing gear
- Heavier fishing line (Braided line is very strong, but
visible. Bring monofilament leader material as well)
- Lead or other metal weights
- Lures (jig and spoon-type lures pack well)
- Large bandana or piece of cloth for sun protection
- Collapsible sun glasses
- Lip balm with high SPF rating
- New Skin liquid bandage
- Some might consider solar still material. I find they
don't produce sufficient amounts of water for tropical
survival. Plus, water is usually not overly difficult to
Optional Coastal Kit Items - space-permitting
- Hand-Operated Emergency Desalination Water Pump
- Strobe light
- Signaling flares
Optional Land and Coastal Kit Items -
- Small water-purification pump
- Non-lubricated condoms (water storage) or large zip-lock
- Candle ('trick' birthday candles, the ones that are
difficult to blow out, work really well)
- GPS with mapping
- A mobile phone + extra battery. Though larger and
certainly more expensive, satellite phones have better
- Tube tent or light hammock
- Lightweight poncho
- Aluminum foil
- Food bars / energy bars
- Sun protection
- Cooking kit
- Additional first aid material
- Frog/fishing spear head
- Surgical tubing and slingshot pouch
- Assorted cable ties (many uses from repairing broken gear
to makeshift lashing)
What You Don't Really Need
- Rambo style knife, but only because they're not easy to
carry. They are useful.
- Multi-tools with everything imaginable, most of which
can't be used
- Hatchet or axe (if you have a Rambo knife or a Thai jungle
knife, you can do the same things)
- A tent (in the jungle, flat, clear ground is not common).
A jungle hammock doesn't take up much space. It can also be
used on the ground.
- Firearms (slingshot rubber bands and leather pouches make
- A shovel
- Toilet paper
- A notebook and a pencil
- Magnifying glass for starting fires as there are better
- An attitude of superiority over Nature… you'll lose.
When should you carry a Survival Kit?
Basically, anytime you venture off into the wilderness, you
should have the fundamental essential: fire-making tools, a
knife, a few water purification tablets, and if you're going
to be around water, some fishing line, sinkers, hooks and
maybe a lure. If you've got room for a compass, take one.
How to Carry a Survival Kit
Waist packs are a great idea. You can put your knife on the
belt too. Anything that would be ruined by getting wet should
be in a waterproof container. There are several brands of
waist packs that are waterproof already. Naturally,
fire-making tools (lighters, matches, kindling, etc) should be
kept completely dry. The stronger types of lighters that
produce a powerful, sharp blue flame are much better than the
standard cheap throw-away lighters.
Double-packing fire material is always a good idea. Even in
wet conditions, if you've got dry kindling and the knowledge
of where to locate somewhat dry tender, you can start a fire.
If you're on the sea or in a river, you can often carry most
of your survival kit in your PFD (Personal Flotation Device,
i.e. Life Jacket) pockets. The remainder can be in a waist
Knives with hollow handles are popular for carrying survival
gear. First of all, that is a limited amount of space. Second,
a hollow handle is a weaker handle. Solid knives have 'full
tangs'. This means the metal from the blade extends all the
way through the handle.
You want a survival knife to be very sturdy. It does not have
to be heavy or a massive "Rambo" style knife, but it should be
a well-built. Mora knives from Sweden are the best inexpensive
knives money can buy. They're as good as much more costly
knives. I use them almost exclusively.
If you have the means to cut, pry or split wood, coconuts or
whatever without using your knife, do it that way. Save your
knife for when you truly need it.
In order to use your survival knife as a hatchet, you can use
a club-like piece of wood to hammer the back of the blade.
This is much more efficient than hacking at the wood. When
splitting bamboo, this method works wonderfully. There is no
better way to do it.