For anyone who has ever wondered where everything fit inside Inspector Gadget, an introduction into the world of personal survival kits will get you one step closer to answering that question. Personal survival kits are considered strike a balance of portability, weight, discreetness and utility. One disadvantage of these modern wonders is that, as some experts have joked you have to be an engineering major to repack these personal survival kits exactly as they were.
The first task in selecting a personal survival kit is to select the case. Commonly used items include any hard, waterproof plastic such as a tobacco tin. Some recommend a larger tin such as can be used in a portable mess kit so the tin can be used to boil water. A personal survival kit will be filled with multifunction components, such as a basic Swiss Army knife and dental floss, which can be used for oral hygiene, fishing, sewing or setting snares. In addition to these can be added a small supply of waterproof matches and tinder, flint striker, fishing hooks and line, compass, magnifying lens, signaling mirror, whistle, and more.
A personal survival kit is designed to provide shelter and fire as quickly as possible, on the scenario that you are in the woods, disoriented and unable to reach the majority of your gear or established campsite. Also good to include are maps of the region (printed on waterproof paper) and a compass. Be sure to have signaling devices. Any reflective object can help with signaling and a whistle can help direct rescuers to your location. Most likely it will be easier for you to spot rescuers then for them to spot you. Make yourself easy to find.
In regards to the personal survival kit there are two important things to make note of. Due to its size it will not support an adequate first aid kit. The second thing to note is that you can use lanyards to keep important gear on you without having to cram it into your personal survival kit. Lanyards can carry the first aid kit you need in its own waterproof pouch or carry lengths of Paracord, for instance. The cord can be unwoven into seven strands which can be used for sewing, fishing or other purposes.
Be creative when assembling a personal survival kit. If faced with several options select the ones that are most portable or most multifunctional. If one item can do the job of two, use that. Remember to adjust your personal survival kit to match the environment you intend to travel through. If it contains anything perishable check it every six months or so. Lastly do what you can to keep yourself in good physical health as any survival situation will be met with more ease if you are at full health.