When it comes to being prepared for emergencies and living independently, it’s helpful to organize the essentials based on the Five C’s of Survivability. These five categories include cutting tools, cover elements, combustion devices, containers, and cordages. Each of these categories represents a type of equipment that is essential for survival and can be difficult or impossible to replicate from natural materials.


The Five C’s of Survivability are designed to cover the Four Key Components of Survival: fire, water, shelter, and food. These components are essential for human survival, and having the right tools and resources can make a huge difference in your ability to secure them. Cutting tools are necessary for manufacturing items and processing food, cover elements help to create a microclimate of protection from the elements, combustion devices are needed for creating fires for warmth, cooking, and making medicine, containers are necessary for carrying water and protecting collected food, and cordages are useful for bindings and lashing.


  • Cutting tools: Necessary for manufacturing items and processing food.
  • Includes tools like fixed blade knives, multitools, axes, and saws for tasks like building shelter and preparing food.


  • Combustion devices: Needed for creating fires for warmth, cooking, and making medicine.
  • Includes firemaking tools and tinder to start a fire for warmth, light, and cooking.


  • Containers: Necessary for carrying water and protecting collected food.
  • Includes metal bottles or other durable containers to hold water and other supplies.


  • Cordages: Useful for bindings and lashing.
  • Includes any type of heavy-duty or multi-purpose string for tasks like tying down gear or building shelter.


  • Cover elements: Helps to provide a protective barrier against the environment.
  • Includes items like tarps, ponchos, and tents to provide protection from the elements.

In addition to the Five C’s of Survivability, it’s also important to have:


  • Knowledge of the landscape
  • Items for first aid, navigation, and repair


When choosing the elements for your kit, it’s important to choose high-quality items that can perform multiple tasks well. This will ensure that you have everything you need without carrying a heavy or cumbersome load. By organizing your essentials based on the Five C’s of Survivability and choosing the right items, you can be prepared for any situation and enjoy your time in the wilderness.

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