Picture of Urban Survival Kit
There are a lot of guides for kits to help you survive miles from anywhere--but how often do you end up miles from anywhere? What about the everyday, the mundane, situations where you constantly find yourself saying, if only I had& and even though it's always the same thing, you've never got it? You need an urban survival kit. Full of the things you need wherever you go. A pencil. Scissors. Tape.
This is a survival kit for wherever you are. You'll be better off for having it in virtually any situation; Sub-Saharan Africa or the subway station, The Rockies or the rock show, The Outback or just out back. Remember, this is just a guide I've been able to come up with--if you've got an idea for something that's missing, something that would work better or something I should leave out, let me know, and by all means personalize your own to your own situation.

I've included in every shot a pencil, ruler and penny, for the purpose of demonstrating scale
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Step 1: Multitool

Picture of Multitool
This is the most essential of all essentials. The Samurai's blade was his soul, and so it is still--though my soul conveniently has pliers, scissors and screwdrivers along with a keen edge. The best I've found of these is the Leatherman Juice S2, not so much because of what it has, but because of what it doesn't. No corkscrew. No nail file. Absolutely nothing you don't need. Just pliers, wirecutters, a knife, scissors, a combo bottle/can opener, a Philips and three sizes of slot head screw driver, all in a small, lightweight package. This thing has fixed snowboards, bikes and sawmills, preformed exploratory surgery on an Xbox 360, filleted the thumb of a romantic rival (While he was using it. Don't look at me like that) and accompanied me on many deep wilderness trips. It is far and away the most expensive thing in this guide--around forty hard-earned American Dollars. If you're not willing to pay just over $9 an ounce--almost the price of sterling silver--for your knife, the Gerber 01471 is also a good alternative. It's more robust than the Leatherman Juice, though heavier, and has the same weapon set plus a serrated blade and a saw. Not only that, but the blades all lock and the pliers are spring-loaded, all for the low, low price of around thirty bucks, or $2.65 an ounce. With the Juice, it's the metal that's not there that's expensive. Still, this is your blade. Your blade is an extension of your self. Without your blade, you are naked.

One minor note: certain people, such as the sterling folks at airport security, might prefer you to be naked in this particular sense--indeed, if they find that you have a knife, they might insist that you accompany them to a small room and become naked in an even more literal sense of the word. Other places that object to your sharpened metalic soul are schools, sports games, concerts, government buildings and hospital MRI wards. Be warned.
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SinoS22 days ago

Fire starting tool is important in a survival kit. For example, ferrocerium rod, mischmetal rod, fire starter, fire steel, or fire stick. In an emergency, survival fire starter gear can mean the difference between life and death. High recommend ferrocerium rod manufacturer sinosed, official website: Each survival kit should include a fire starter.

Nice instructable. Lots of great ideas.

Degga_D8 months ago
I love the first line of the first aid section, class.
jjohnson651 year ago

Hmm, it would seem that you are missing the proverbial, "quarter to call someone who cares." One should always have a Little bit of Emergency Cash. Put it in your Urban Survival Kit and forget its their till you absolutely need it. No buying chocolate bars or Starbucks with it. $50-$100 is a good amount. And always replenish it when you first get the opportunity.

that 9volt attachment light is so cool. its small, effective and efficient!

robert20351 year ago
its always good to have backup information. But i cant help notice someone say " have its own server", very smart idea. May i suggest Ironkey or Aegis thumdrive with military encryption. They do have a 4gb, 6 and 8 gb available. They do cost some money though they dont cost $9.99, but they dont cost $200. What does this offer over a generic one? First off it has its own password system that you choose, self destruct sequence to prevent unauthorized users(note this info is backedup online, and no combustion occurs it simply fries the circuits), it has its own window when booted into a computer, in this window is the encrypted server. You must use this window to maintain the secure server. I saw one for $60, quite a bargain for encryption services without going to Might be worth investing in , and put it in a pill bottle with a top to waterproof it.
kramm472 years ago
I've been using Instructables for a while now, but I've never signed up for an account until now, so I could comment on this. I found a brilliant solution (albeit 2 years too late) for your toothpaste-in-the-handle problem. Check out Brian's Backpacking Blog:

He makes single-serving packs out of drinking straws! His is for antibiotic cream, but why not toothpaste, liquid soap, aloe vera, whatever? You could get a box of mixed-color transparent straws and color-code them in your kit for ease, and you have everything you need to make them (minus the straw) already in your kit!

Great instructable, by the way. I'm building my own as we speak!
godhole5 years ago
Ramp it a step up by loading the free suite at - then you have browser, word processor, etc etc which you can plug into a pc. Whatever you do online will not leave tracks on the pc, but only on your flash drive. Password protect it, and then you can scan personal documents and important stuff onto there. Great instructible for those of us who live in cities. Too many fishhooks and signal mirrors in the other ones! :) The only other thing I would add is one of those mini high volume whistles, which are very useful in rescue situations.
Forget about Portable Apps. Load it with Slax (, with the aircrack-ng, ophcrack, Truecrypt, Tor, Privoxy and file forensic modules. A guide for using those too. if a PC is compromised using PA won't give you any privacy.
Definitely, if you're going to go to the trouble of putting a USB drive in your urban survival kit, it's gotta have its own OS. Not necessarily for "fighting the system", but because in a real "need a PC emergency", it greatly increases the chance you'll actually be able to do what you need to do. A lot of people put passwords on their OS accounts but not the BIOS. Plus there have been times when the only computer I've had access to has had the OS completely screwed up by viruses or hard drive problems... no problem. haven't used Slax specifically but USB Linux has saved my bacon more than once.
How do you password protect your USB? Could you please provide a link and/or instructions? Thanks
Mother Natures Son (author)  godhole5 years ago
Ah, yes. A whistle. Forgot about that--I don't need one, because thanks to my dental configuration, I can whistle just as loud on my own. I guess there's a technique you can do with your fingers, as well, to whistle loud enough to be heard over long distances.
Yes indeed, although I could never get the hang of that. The newer whistles, though, are able to be heard at far distances, louder, and with less breath. Still - nice. :)
garavin godhole4 years ago
Also you could find yourself in a situation in which you only have one hand free to use (a building collapse for instance), or other injuries. In that case a survival whistle is better than relying on the two finger technique (which some people find hard to learn-- anyone who can blow through their mouth can use a survival whistle)
Mother Natures Son (author)  godhole4 years ago
Great idea! I'll include that.
If i were a secret government agent somewhere infiltrating enemy grounds
That was my thought, as well--I pretty much use portable applications to print things out at school, not so much to fight the system.
All of that will come in handy
KittyF2 years ago
A tube of camp soap or a package of soap leaves and at least 10 sheets of toilet paper are urban survival essentials, trust me. how many times have you needed those and didn't have them? LOL
Does.... Does that third one just click onto the battery?
Yep. It's pretty cool.
That's a gross understatement!
I don't have a better word, sorry!
Sorry if I came off as angry- you don't have to apologize.
Oh, no, that's okay!
Zorasta3 years ago
this might be a worthy substitution for your ball point pen cartridge I own one and I've always had good luck with it
Alex-95__ User13 years ago
I got to the word condom then started cracking up before reading the last half of the sentence lol.
zarablue User14 years ago
Pooper scooper bag not actual pet disposal lol
kattja5 years ago
I met a youth at a busstation on a hot summers day in Denmark. He had repaired his white linnen pants with duct tape from the inside, as standard duct tape is white on the back. He told me that he had tried to do this before and the repair lasted as long as his pants.
skrubol kattja4 years ago
I've repaired several pairs of work pants (for painting, changing oil, or something else really messy) with duck tape to get one or 2 more uses out of them before chucking them. Tape never stuck that long, and no way would it survive a wash.
So the guy never, ever, ever, ever washed his pants. Even after the Denmark diarrhea epidemic. Its his choice to have no one near him.
KittyF kattja4 years ago
well, it's better than a hole, but I'd never want to wear them again. duct tape is sticky and hot and sometimes CONDUCTS heat when next to the skin.
dwilson233 years ago
Love your article but the second most useful tool for EDC (Every Day Carry) or urban survival kit after my Swiss Army cyber-tool is my Motorola Atrix Smart phone. It has a radio, flash light, camera, camcorder, usb stick, Google search, email, contacts, docs, weather, GPS, compass, calculator, Games, music, movies, TV, books, measuring device, level, sky map, notepad, clock, stop watch, recipe book, translator, image and music recognition. I guess if all else fails I can also use it as a phone. I also carry a extra battery.
pzorn dwilson233 years ago
and if the power grid goes it turns into a useless paperweight.
My life seems ruled by irony so If i would have anything in a urban survival situation, it would be a zippo with luck on it. Thanks for letting me see the future
jungleFish4 years ago
Despite its name, duct tape ISN'T good for fixing ducts -- it's not fire-resistant and the adhesive loosens at high temperatures. Use a foil tape instead. :)

But for everything else... duct tape.
it's because the last name inventor is Duct, so it's called duct tape
Turn's out that there's a good chance that it was originally called "duck" tape, according to I don't see mention of anyone named "Duct" though.
Mother Natures Son (author)  jungleFish4 years ago
That's sort of the joke--it's good for everything but ducts.
Lildevil9633 years ago
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