Life can be tough and things do not always work out as we plan for them to. When you find yourself without a home, life can become even tougher. This is a situation where a survival kit could most drastically alter your life. A little help when you most need it could help you climb out of homelessness altogether.
Whether you are here looking to brace yourself for homelessness, or if you are looking to assist others by putting together a care kit: we have you covered. We will talk about basic survival needs, layout a homeless survival kit list, and list some extra items you may need during winter below.
Homeless Survival Needs
To physically survive, we only require a few basic necessities. We break these down when we talk about the 5 Pillars of Survival. Just as a refresher, these include:
All of these come into play when you are without a permanent home. Self-defense is often overlooked, but homeless people are unfortunately highly targeted victims of crimes- especially assault.
While those are great to know and get familiar with, there are also emotional, mental, and spiritual needs associated with survival.
Giving or receiving homeless survival kits can do wonders for anyone’s emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. Obviously, the utility of the kits are great for those receiving survival kits, but a little compassion can help everyone involved.
Homeless Survival Kit List
The homeless survival kit is not only based on the 5 Pillars of Survival, but it also derived from our standard disaster survival kit. You do want to be mindful of the preparedness tools that you include, since high value items may end up being bartered rather than being used for their intended purpose.
Splitting up the homeless survival kits by function can help keep everyone organized. Gallon Ziploc bags are very useful in accomplishing this. Here is the list organized by functionality:
Shelter Bag (Gallon Ziploc Bag, Labeled)
Tool Bag (Gallon Ziploc Bag, Labeled)
Food/Water Bag (Gallon Ziploc Bag, Labeled)
- Jar of Peanut Butter
- Ramen Noodles (2 Packs)
- Canned Goods
- Plastic Silverware / Spork
- Water (2 Bottles, 1L each)
First Aid Bag (Quart Ziploc Bag, Labeled)
Hygiene Bag (Gallon Ziploc Bag, Labeled)
- Toilet Paper (Folded)
- Wash Cloth
- Disposable Razor
If you are making homeless survival kits to hand out, bagging all of the functional bags at once make the process go quickly. Once you have them all bagged, labeled, and sorted out you can gather them in a sturdy black trashbag, or in a backpack if you are being generous.
The list is not fully inclusive, and one thing we would urge you to consider adding is a Bible. Even for those that are not spiritual, reading a bible can just pass the time. It doesn’t hurt to include in the kit, and who knows- maybe it will inspire someone and change their life.
The Best Backpack for Homeless Survival Kits
Storing the equipment for the kit can be pretty varied. If you are gifting the homeless survival kits, delivering the kits in large trash bags is not unusual. A trash bag is very cheap, but it is not going to withstand the abuse of living without a home.
Backpacking backpacks have always been a great resource for homeless people. They are large enough to carry all of the survival equipment (and more). They are lightweight, water-resistant, and can be relatively cheap if you get one with a lesser known name brand or second-hand.
Amazon offers a non-branded 75 Liter backpack for under $40 (at time of publishing). It includes a rain-fly, plenty of storage pockets, and an internal frame. Check it out here:
Something as simple as a comfortable backpack that can hold all of your possessions can make a world of a difference.
Homeless Winter Survival Kit
Winter can be especially harsh for homeless people trying to survive. Dreary weather conditions can be both tough physically and mentally.
Many people suggest holding matches and lighters out of homeless survival kits for safety reasons. I disagree with this strategy, and adverse weather is a big reason why. Cold weather can be a dangerous killer and a small campfire can be the difference between life and death.
Including a warm cap, outer layers, and a survival blanket is even more important for homeless winter survival kits. You should also consider upgrading those to better insulated versions and providing twice as many. Most people understand that layering for various weather is the way to go, especially if you are on a shoestring budget. Multiple layers is definitely preferred over a single large parka, since you can adapt your clothes to the weather as needed.
The Final Word
Homelessness can be one of the hardest experiences a person can go through. It makes you much more susceptible to emergencies and disasters. Climbing out of homelessness can be a challenge, but hopefully our homeless survival kit list can get you back on your feet. We also shared some panhandling tips if you need fast help financially.
We mentioned the importance of staying safe early in this article, and that homeless people have an elevated risk of being victims of crime. This video shows how people can be inhumane and cruel to those with less:
If you are creating the kits to give out, we admire your compassion and willingness to spread the importance of preparedness- no matter the situation in life. Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.