Thailand Jungle Survival Kits

Tropical Jungle (land) Survival Kit – Essentials

  • 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 (magnesium fire stick)
  • Waterproof matches (in waterproof container)
  • Kindling and some tinder (Vaseline coated cotton balls, pre-charred cotton material, natural materials)
  • A smaller knife for more delicate work (folding multi-tool, but be selective. Most tools are useless for survival situation)
  • A small fine-grade knife sharpener. I dull knife is dangerous. There are plenty of small sharpeners.
  • Snare wire
  • Parachute cord (small-diameter nylon rope)
  • Signaling mirror
  • Compass
  • Fish hooks and line
  • Small LED flashlight
  • Small alcohol wipe packets (both first aid and fire starting)
  • 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 Bacitracin)
  • Surgical blade
  • 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 knife.

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.

Tropical Coastal (but not lost at sea) Survival Kit – Add-on Essentials

  • 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 find.

Optional Coastal Kit Items - space-permitting

  • Hand-Operated Emergency Desalination Water Pump
  • Strobe light
  • Signaling flares

Optional Land and Coastal Kit Items - space-permitting

  • Small water-purification pump
  • Non-lubricated condoms (water storage)
  • 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 coverage
  • Whistle
  • 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
  • Multi-tools with everything imaginable, most of which can't be used
  • Hatchet or axe
  • A tent (in the jungle, flat, clear ground is not common)
  • Firearms (slingshot rubber bands and leather pouches make more sense)
  • Knife-sharpening stone (nature provides plenty of natural stones that work just fine)
  • A shovel
  • Toilet paper
  • A notebook and a pencil
  • Magnifying glass for starting fires as there are better methods
  • An attitude of superiority over Nature… you'll lose.

When should you carry a Survival Kit?

Basically, anytime you venture off into the great outdoors, 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 pack.

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. 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.

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.

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This page last updated on Thursday, October 24, 2013