The Best Emergency Sewing Kit for Preparedness and Survival

People don’t often consider clothes as an essential part of survival. Clothes are just a form of shelter that you wear and if you take care of them, they’ll take care of you by keeping you dry, warm, and shielded from the sun. Taking care of them during an emergency can be tough since disasters are hell for clothes. When you rip or tear something, you want to be able to quickly repair it and get back to more important tasks. This is why our little hero, the emergency sewing kit, is found on almost every survival kit list.

There are plenty of brands and types to choose from when it comes to emergency sewing kits. This is where we come in. We’ve researched the best sewing kits, tested them, and the results are in: the overall best, a budget option, and an upgrade option. If you need a sewing kit that will hold its own in an emergency, one of our suggestions will keep you put together.


Contents (Jump to a Section)


Singer Survival Sew Kit

The Best Emergency Sewing Kit

Singer Survival Sew Kit

Simple, Effective, and Comprehensive

A wide range of sewing and clothing repair tools you’ll use at a price that is reasonable.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Singer started out in 1851 when the first sewing machine was patented. They’ve been doing this sewing thing for a long time and have plenty of competition now with sewing machines, but they have the survival sewing kit market cornered. With supplies coming from right here in the USA, Singer offers reliable and inexpensive options for emergency kits that are accessible to everyone. Their survival sewing kit includes:

  • scissors
  • tape
  • fabric glue
  • tape measure
  • marking pencils
  • thread
  • needles
  • needle threader
  • thimble
  • pins
  • safety pins
  • buttons

With 64 pieces coming in just under ten bucks (and not being cheap imported stuff), the Singer Survival Sew Kit is the top pick for your kit. The only drawback is that you don’t know which color kit container you will get, but that will only bug the people that try to color coordinate all of their survival gear and isn’t really a practical complaint.


Singer 27 Piece Sewing Kit

Budget Sewing Kit

Singer 27pc Sewing Kit

Small, Lightweight, and Dependable

Better quality than other mini kits, this sewing kit checks the box without hurting your wallet.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

These 27 tiny pieces of sewing equipment stuffed into a case the size of a zippo lighter can still get the job done in an emergency. It hardly costs anything, yet it is still miles ahead of the bargain bin sewing kit you might pick up at the big box store. The sewing kit includes:

  • 30 yards of thread
  • 25-inch tape measure
  • 3 hand needles
  • 2 safety pins
  • mini scissors
  • 4 pins
  • needle threader
  • 4 buttons

This Singer 27pc Sewing Kit is an excellent choice for those on a budget, or those looking to get the functionality without any excess bulk or weight.


Vigilant Trails Survival Sewing Repair Kit

Upgrade Sewing Kit

Vigilant Trails Survival Sewing Repair Kit

Smart, Reliable, and Tough

Sew and repair anything and everything with this robust kit where clothes are just the start of what you can fix.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Rob Vigil created Vigilant Trails in his garage a few years back, and they are pretty good at putting together survival-first outdoor equipment in Altoid tins. They prepackage ‘module kits’ designed to let you buy kits designed for specific activities, like survival sewing and clothing repair. We’re not huge fans of complete pre-packaged survival kits, but the various modules Rob and his team have created really are something else. Just check out how thorough they are with packing their survival sewing repair kit:

  • All-Brass Heavy-Duty Awl
  • Long Eye Needles that Make Threading the Needle Easy (Even for Those with Big and/or Cold Hands)
  • Cotton Thread (Black and White)
  • Waxed Heavy Duty Thread
  • Seam Ripper
  • All-Metal Foldable Scissors
  • Buttons (White, Black, and Brown)
  • Safety Pins
  • 3 – 2.3 Inch TPU Self-Adhesive All-Weather Patches

Everything in the Vigilant Trails Survival Sewing Repair Kit is just high quality, durable stuff and you know it as soon as you start using it. This gear will let you repair not just your clothes, but packs, tarps, tents, and other heavy-duty textiles as well.


Everything We Recommend

Singer 64 Piece Survival Sewing Kit

Singer Survival Sew Kit

A wide range of sewing and clothing repair tools you’ll use at a price that is reasonable.

Where to Buy

$9* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

Singer 27 Piece Sewing Kit

Singer 27pc Sewing Kit

Better quality than other mini kits, this sewing kit checks the box without hurting your wallet.

Where to Buy

$5* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

Vigilant Trails Survival Sewing Repair Kit

Vigilant Trails Survival Sewing Repair Kit

Sew and repair anything and everything with this robust kit where clothes are just the start of what you can fix.

Where to Buy

$24* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing


The Sewing Kits We Compared

Our research narrowed the field down to the several sewing kit brands and types that we tested: Singer, Rothco, Gear Aid, Vigilant Trails, Raine, Coghlan’s, Vanguard, and more.

There are a lot of brands that make sewing kits these days with a wide range of prices and quality/durability. In a survival situation, you want your clothing repair solutions to be dependable, so we focused quite a bit on durability and quality. You can see our full list of review criteria below in the what to look for section, with an explanation for each.

We obviously steered clear of recreational or hobby sewing kits, because the performance and the durability are not going to be where we need them. We also did not consider any electric sewing kits, sticking with manual kits that don’t require a machine. Despite our experience with military sewing kits, the quality of these kits was not superior to brands known for sewing.


What to Look For

  1. Value
  2. Quality
  3. Functionality
  4. Durability
  5. Versatility

The best sewing kits have several important features to look for.

When you get the right blend of these, you can find a reliable sewing kit that will keep you out of rags in an emergency. Below, we break down what each of these features means for a truly dependable sewing kit:

Value: Cost vs. Benefit

The amount of money you spend on a sewing kit shouldn’t blow out your budget. Having one is better than having none, but the same applies to other gear and supplies you may need for an emergency. Budget according to your risk and your needs rather than just spending lavishly.

On the flip side, you don’t want to go too cheap. Even the super cheap Coghlan’s didn’t perform that well with durability (our budget pick runs laps around it), and it’s not the cheapest you could find in a bargain bin store. There are few things as soul-sucking as having gear fail on you in an emergency. When you are trying to repair your clothes, you don’t want to be fumbling around with bent needles and cheap thread.

You never want to spend too much money on one resource, especially something like a sewing kit. It’s better to diversify your tools and preparedness gear to make sure you are covered for a wide range of scenarios. There is a sweet spot where you get high value out of the best features with not-to-high of a price, which is where our top pick sits.

Quality

Cheap needles, cheap thread, and dull scissors are not what you need in an emergency. Sure, you can find very inexpensive small sewing kits in plenty of stores, but they are not kits that you want to rely on in an emergency.

Functionality

The more tools and supplies in your kit, the more use you are going to be able to get out of it. The downside is you can’t load up with endless tools and supplies because it just takes too much room. There is a happy medium where a solid pair of scissors, plenty of needles, and strong thread can get you through most situations for a while. If you add a punch awl, upholstery needles, and other tools then you can fix even more textiles that you run into.

Durability

Lower-quality sewing tools can also have poorer durability. Scissors will dull quicker, and needles will wear out and break quicker. Depending on your emergency, you may be relying on a survival sewing kit for a while. You’ll want it to keep up with you for as long as you need it.

Versatility

Being able to use your sewing kit for more than just fixing clothes provides versatility. Having the versatility of your sewing kit on tap to back up other tools is ideal since “two is one and one is none”. If your multitool punch or scissors aren’t working, it’s nice to know that you have solid backups in your emergency sewing kit. Versatility adds layers to your preparedness.


How to Use an Emergency Sewing Kit

If you didn’t take Home Ec in high school, you aren’t a lost cause. Sewing is pretty simple and repairing buttons and tears and patching holes isn’t rocket science.

Having someone show you the basics is the easiest way to learn. Just pick up a needle and thread, and close some rips in some clothes or sew on a button real quick. If you have someone that’s done it before looking over your shoulder, you’ll pick up the basics in a minute or two.

Irridum242 does a pretty good job of showing how everything works from our Upgrade Pick, and that is the kit with the most tools included that we suggest:


Who Needs a Sewing Kit?

Everyone can use an emergency sewing kit. Plenty of women keep them in their purses, but it’s not just for the ladies, fellas. They are military-issue (which is why there are plenty of military options), and wearing ratty torn-up clothes with missing buttons isn’t a macho look when you just need your gear working in a survival situation.

Sewing kits are also surprisingly versatile with all of the tools they include. Thread is always handy to have around and can be braided to improve strength.

A sewing kit is an essential part of these kits:

We highly suggest putting one in these kits:

You should consider adding a sewing kit to these kits:

Sewing kits are useful beyond emergencies too, of course. A solid emergency sewing kit will easily be able to handle your wardrobe malfunction at work or anywhere else on the go.

How We Review Products: We research thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We consult experts in the field for a better understanding of what makes the gear great. Hours on end are spent field testing gear in stressful conditions. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item. You can support us through our independently chosen links, which can earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. After our review process, some of the items reviewed end up in our giveaways.

Sources and References

All of our experience and the testing we do to determine the best emergency sewing kit is useless without listing our research sources and references. We leaned on these for the book knowledge that we paired with our hands-on testing and practical military and prepping experience:

Guler, S., Gannon, M., & Sicchio, K. (2016). Cutting and Sewing. In: Crafting Wearables. Apress, Berkeley, CA. (Source)

Pitulko, V. & Pavlova, E. (2019). Upper Palaeolithic Sewing Kit from the Yana Site, Arctic Siberia. Stratum Publishing House. Issue 1, Pages 157-224. (Source).

Shanley, L., Slaten, B., & Shanley, P. (1993). Military Protective Clothing: Implications for Clothing and Textiles Curriculum and Research. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal. Volume 11, Issue 3, Pages 55-59. (Source)


The Final Word

Emergency sewing kits have been around for a while and now come in several varieties. Sewing with eyed needles has been used for surviving for over 30,000 years according to carbon-dated bone needles!

To go along with your emergency sewing kit, you should also consider a few other tools that can help you fix things quickly in a jam:

We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our research and testing found that the Singer Survival Sew Kit is the best option given the value, quality, functionality, durability, and versatility. If you take our suggestion and grab one of our sewing kit picks- make sure you get used to it by learning how to use it.

It’s always a good idea to get used to your gear and resources before emergencies- an emergency sewing kit does no good if you don’t know how to sew!

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.


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The Best Emergency Sewing Kit for Survival and Preparedness

Rusty Collins

I am an engineer by day, but a prepper 24/7. I am an Air Force veteran that developed emergency and disaster plans as an emergency manager and responded to many attacks and accidents as a HAZMAT technician. I have been exposed to deadly chemical agents, responded to biological incidents, and dealt with natural disasters worldwide. Check out my full story here: Rusty's Story

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