It is a little difficult to pinpoint exactly what a survival kit or bug-out bag is supposed to look like. It is pretty easy to give a vague, general idea of the stuff you would want inside a bag that is supposed to keep you alive, but when it comes to giving specific answers, it can get tricky.
The general rule is each bag is supposed to be designed to fit your needs. Before you get excited and start tossing everything into your bag remember this is something you are going to be carrying. The more you put in the bag, the heavier it will be.
So, we need to revisit that general rule. You are focusing on your NEEDS, not your WANTS. This will help you narrow down the supplies and gear you choose to include in your bug-out bag.
Your first and most important need is your life. Meaning, you need to ensure your personal safety as well as have the ability to cope with first aid needs. The ability to breathe and your heart to pump are obviously pretty crucial to staying alive. You must be prepared to prevent anybody from taking those things from you. However, if at all possible, avoid any confrontations. Whether you win or lose, you are still wasting valuable energy. Along with that, you also need to think before you act. Do not jump into a raging river. It is likely to rob you of your breath and quite possibly your life.
Once your personal safety need is addressed, you need to focus on your core body temperature. Wear appropriate clothing for the weather on hikes or even a trip to the store. Your clothing is your first line of defense against the elements. If you are packing for an overnight trip, keep this in mind.
The third need you must consider is hydration. Either carry water with you or make sure you have access to clean drinking water. If that is not possible, you need to have some way of cleaning any water you come upon before ingesting.
Your last need is food. You need to refuel your body in order to keep going and to stay alive. Remember, food is often a want. You only need to eat enough to survive. Sure, it would be great to sit down and eat three meals a day. Unfortunately, in a survival situation, that just may not be possible.
Craig Caudill teaches about survival kits both online at www.dansdepot.com and also offline at his Nature Reliance School.