A Google search for ‘survival kit’ yields over two billion results. You can purchase a survival kit for almost any scenario or environment.

However, these kits are often in bags or other containers that are not particularly useful in a survival situation. A DIY Survival Jar is a comprehensive survival kit that you tailor to your specific needs and place inside a container that can hold water.

The reason that you want to place survival gear inside a vessel that can hold water is that water is the one element that we will perish without after as few as three days.

Therefore, if you had to rely solely on a survival kit in a life or death situation, not having a way to carry and store water becomes a serious problem.

Why Build a DIY Survival Jar?

There are so many different ways to put together a survival kit and a wide range of bags and containers that you can use to house them.

The advantage to using a water bottle, pot or cup to hold your survival kit is that you also get a usable container that so many other survival kits lack. Another advantage is that the cylindrical shape slides into backpacks and gear bags easily without taking up too much room.

In many cases, you will find that you can slide a one-liter water bottle in amongst the various bags and pouches of your bug-out bags without even noticing it is there.

Constructing a waterproof container from natural materials is very difficult. While it is a skill that is very valuable to have, you should never rely on skills like this in a survival scenario. It will always be better to have a water container with you than to try to improvise when the chips are down.

It should be noted that a DIY Survival Jar is intended to be a last resort kit rather than part of the equipment you use daily. A kit like this is intended to provide the bare essentials until you can either self-rescue or get rescued.

DIY Survival Jar

Container Selection

Because the container that this survival kit is housed in is vital, you’ll want to select an appropriate vessel to improve your survivability.

Personally, I like to carry stainless steel water bottles because they can be placed over a fire to boil water. This allows you to render water safe to drink without requiring chemicals or filters. Another option is a metal cup with a lid that you can secure. This will also give you the ability to boil water while providing a sturdy container to hold the contents of your survival kit.

Suppose you plan on packing methods of filtering water. In that case, a plastic water bottle will suffice as a container to hold your survival kit. One major disadvantage of this, aside from not being able to place over a fire, is that plastic bottles are more prone to breaking than their metal counterparts.

Many titanium options on the market offer significant weight savings over stainless steel but have the disadvantage of being far more expensive.

Related: 50 Movies That Will Teach You A Lot About Survival

DIY Survival Jar

Key Components of the DIY Survival Jar

Regardless of what environment you are tailoring your survival jar for, you should consider the survival rule of threes when gathering the contents.

The Survival Rule of Threes is:

  • Three hours without shelter in bad weather
  • Three days without water
  • Three weeks without food

Using this as a guideline, we want to prioritize items that will allow us to build shelter first, then items to render water safe to drink, and lastly, things that will help us gather food.

You should also place items inside the survival jar so that the shelter and water items are at the top and easily accessible.

DIY Survival Jar

We also need to keep in mind the size of the bottle and how easy it will be to remove items from the survival jar when required. When you need to use this kit in a survival scenario, you may not have the fine motor skills to fish small items out of the bottle.

Other Items to Consider

You may want to include items to help you navigate, such as a map and compass, and some first aid items as well. Unfortunately, there will not be too much free space to hold a wide range of first aid items.

Gauze and bandaids, antibiotic ointment and some over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen, Aspirin, Imodium, Tylenol and an antihistamine are good to include.

In addition, any prescription medications you are required to take should be included. The key here is to keep these first aid kits as small as possible.

Related: Best Fuels For Off-Grid Survival

DIY Survival Jar

My Personal DIY Survival Jar

For my personal DIY Survival Jar, I chose a stainless steel water bottle as the container for the kit.

I designed this kit or a wilderness environment to allow someone to build a shelter, purify water, gather food, and signal for rescue. I chose not to include any first aid items because I prefer to use dedicated first aid kits rather than put first aid supplies in survival kits.

DIY Survival Jar


I kept my shelter kit very simple. With these items, one could set up a ridgeline from which any number of shelters can be set up using the emergency blanket as a tarp.

DIY Survival Jar

The fire kit includes some tinder, a Fresnel lens, a BIC lighter, and a spark lighter. This is more than enough to get a fire going in various conditions.

  • Emergency blanket
  • Paracord
  • Small knife
  • Fire Kit

DIY Survival Jar


I am not a fan of chemically treated water, so I included a water filter that can be used as a straw to drink water directly from the source.

Or the water bottle can be used to hold dirty water, and the filter can be used to drink from the bottle.

Related: 100-Year-Old Way To Filter Rainwater In A Barrel

DIY Survival Jar


Food procurement is last on the priority list for short-term survival. Still, a small fishing kit and a few snares can lead to a quick meal if deployed correctly.

DIY Survival Jar


Getting rescued is the goal of any survival situation. I have included several items that will make signaling for help easier:

  • Pen Flares
  • Signal Mirror
  • Whistle
  • Headlamp
  • Flagging Tape

DIY Survival Jar

Even though you can purchase survival kits from any of the hundreds of online retailers, you will build a better, more complete kit if you do it yourself.

You will also have the satisfaction of successfully taking your survivability into your own hands.

This article first appeared on Ask A Prepper.

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