Don’t Fly Without These 20 TSA-Approved Items in Your Prepper’s Carry-on Bag

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you'll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

By Daisy Luther

What is a more uncomfortable feeling than relinquishing all of the items that are normally part of your EDC kit?

Here’s one: relinquishing those items and boarding a plane to fly across the country.

For many preppers, a worst-case scenario for us would be if the SHTF while we were traveling.  If your journey is by car, you can be fairly well-prepared. However, if you are flying, the TSA has basically neutered our ability to care for ourselves in the event of a disaster situation, you know, “for the safety and security of the traveling public,” to use their own words. Didn’t these rulemakers see the movie Cast Away or the series Lost? If your plane crashed and you were stranded on a deserted island, how on earth are you supposed to open a coconut with what you’re allowed to bring along?

Remember, what you pack in your checked luggage may not be available in the event of a disaster. You can only count on what you have on your person, and that makes the contents of your carry-on bag particularly vital.

Since there’s little possibility of being able to sneak items onto a plane, you have to do the next best thing: you must work within the rules to create a bag that could see you through a variety of unexpected situations.  Despite my strong personal feelings about the unconstitutional air travel checkpoints, if I want to get on that plane, I can’t carry my normal EDC kit, which reads a lot like the TSA’s current list of banned items.

If you want to travel with firearms, body armor, and other items you cannot carry on, see this article for some expert advice and this article for even more prepper air travel tips.

How to Pack a Prepper’s Carry-on Bag

Here are 20 items you can bring onto a plane (without getting tackled to the ground by 3 TSA goons while sirens blare, lights flash, and the PA system announces that you are a terrorist who was planning to hijack the nearest 747.) To make the list, the items must be able to pass through a security checkpoint, they must be small and light, since your space and weights are limited for carry-on bags, and they must be practical in a variety of situations. (At the time of publication, this list was accurate and in compliance with the current rules, but they change frequently – always check the website to ensure that the items you brought with you will be allowed on the plane.)

  1. ScissorsBecause you sew, duh.  The TSA says, “metal with pointed tips and blades shorter than 4 inches are allowed, but blades longer than 4 inches are prohibited.” I like this pair because the brand is reliable and there are no plastic parts on it, which would just break if you tried to use them to puncture a coconut. The metal components would stand up far better if these were called upon to cut something other than thread or fabric.
  2. First Aid Kit: The kit I recommend is this one. Nearly every item in it is TSA-friendly, but you’ll need to remove the scissors and sharp implements for your carry-on bag. There are OTC medications for minor ailments, products for treating open wounds, and items to help you stabilize a fracture or sprain. It folds up into a tiny little kit that will easily fit in your bag.
  3. 550 Paracord: This paracord comes in about a kabillion different colors.  Ensure that you purchase sturdy 550 test weight cord. This multipurpose prep can be used in countless ways, but here are 50 ways to get you started.
  4. Water Purification TabletsIn the event you end up some place where the water is compromised, this teeny little bottle of pills could save your life. The pills are proven to be effective against potentially deadly waterborne contaminants such as viruses, bacteria, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium.
  5. Water filter: My favorite travel filter is the Sawyer Mini. Weighing in at only 2 ounces, it will filter over 100,000 gallons of water. Just in case you’re on that deserted island for a very long time.
  6. Collapsible Water Bottle: The more containers you have on hand, the better. This one collapses and can be rolled up when it’s empty. Throw a couple of these in your bag. In the event you have to hike out on foot, you’ll want to take advantage of water sources when you find them. Each bottle holds 24 ounces.
  7. Extra socksRemember how I mentioned hiking? If you end up with blisters or wet feet, you’ll be very glad you have these high quality, cushioned hiking socks on hand.
  8. BIC Disposable Lighter: You’re only allowed to take the little flimsy disposable lighters on a plane.  Invest the extra buck or so and get a Bic instead of the cheapo dollar store kind. I’ve gotten some duds, so be sure to test it before you put it in your bag. Fire is often a vital element of survival.
  9. Ferro Rod : I always like to have more than one way to start a fire. In the event that your lighter gives up the ghost, a ferro rod fire starter will always work.
  10. Cash: Sometimes the best prep you can have on hand is cold hard cash. This can be especially useful if you are going to another country. Whether it’s a bribe or you use it to purchase a necessary supply, having cash on hand is important when traveling.  Check the laws of your destination; sometimes cash has to be declared, and if you don’t, it could be seized.
  11. Silver coins: I like to carry some silver with me when traveling too. For discretion, old silver dimes could go in their own little pocket of your wallet, where they will breeze right through most scrutiny. If for some reason cash does not work, precious metals might.
  12. N95 MasksIf the person beside you on an airplane suddenly falls to the floor bleeding out of every orifice, you’re going to want to have an N95 mask on hand. Not only are they useful in the event of contagious disease, but during a disaster, many times harmful particles are put into the air. Use your mask to avoid inhaling smoke, shards of glass, insulation, construction components, dust, and  other particles.
  13. Hand SanitizerI’m not a huge fan of  hand sanitizer in day-to-day life, but traveling is extraordinarily germy business. Use hand sanitizer before eating or after touching things that 20 billion other travelers have touched, like bathroom surfaces. Bonus use: it’s highly flammable and can aid you in starting a fire.
  14. Bleach WipesThe same deal as hand sanitizer: I don’t think it’s healthy to bleach the heck out of your everyday living environment, but when on a plane, give a wipe-down to armrests and that tray table that has heaven-knows-what on it from the last passenger. (On my last flight I watched a woman change a poopy baby diaper on one…just sayin’.)
  15. SAS Survival GuideThis tiny book packs a gigantic punch. Slightly bigger than the palm of your hand, it has 625 pages of clear, concise instructions for a vast variety or survival situations in a wide array of environments. If you can only have one how-to guide with you, this is the one you want.
  16. Sunblock:  You know, it’s bad enough you were in a plane crash or other disaster that has left you stranded. Do you really want a sunburn on top of that? Particularly if you are in a locale with an equatorial or desert climate, it’s vital to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.
  17. Space BlanketThese high quality Mylar blankets fold up into a teeny-tiny little square. Not only will the keep you warm or shelter you from the elements, the shiny side will reflect light and help to alert search planes. Don’t go cheapo on these – the dollar store version is likely to rip the first time you use it.
  18. Compass: If you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, it can be easy to walk around in circles. A compass is a simple, non-tech way to navigate to somewhere – at the very least, it’ll help you keep going in a straight line.
  19. Mini Cree Led Flashlight Torch Adjustable Focus Light Lamp: Pretty much any bad situation will seem worse in pitch black darkness. This tiny little flashlight is exceptionally bright, and will shed long-lasting light to see you through the night.
  20. Listerine: In a pinch, original Listerine can be used as a topical antiseptic. This size is TSA-approved. Meanwhile, you’ll also have fresh breath.

Air Travel Tips

Because of the stringent TSA regulations, you are very limited in what you may take with you on a plane. To stack the odds in your favor in the event of some kind of disaster, remember these practical tips:

  • Pay attention to the flight attendant. Aren’t you going to feel kind of stupid if the plane crashes and you have no idea where the nearest exit is? Take 2 minutes out of your life to listen when the flight attendant goes over the safety information.
  • Dress appropriately. Whenever I see fellow passengers wearing flip-flops, high heels, or other inappropriate footwear, I cringe. You should always wear shoes that are sturdy and comfortable enough for a long distance hike. As well, clothing items made from natural fibers are less flammable and more breathable. Cover as much of your exposed skin as possible by wearing long pants and sleeves.
  • Wear your carry-on bag. That well-packed carry-on bag isn’t going to do you much good if you don’t have it with you.  To keep your hands free for other tasks, I recommend a backpack or cross-body bag for your most important survival items.
  • Bring snacks.  I always pack things like Clif bars, nuts, and dried fruit.  The more snacks you have, the longer you can wait before eating your fellow passengers, Andes-soccer-team style.

Do you travel frequently by air? What tips do you have for flying prepared? Please share them in the comments section below.

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Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • Get a Mophie charger. Get the largest capacity version you can afford. Before you leave for the airport, be sure that your phone and Mophie are 100% charged.

  • Once I get through security, I find a place to fill a collapsible water bottle. Then if the flight is delayed, I have water on the plane with me.

  • I also carry .5 ounce of hand sanitizer for the obvious, wound care, starting fire, etc. Also with me is a suture kit, small signal mirror, a tarp, (could be a trash bag), and an empty single wall stainless water bottle. (think boiling water, making char, cooking food, etc.)1 bag of jerky, 2 fixins of hot cocoa, 4 tea bags, 20 inches of surgical tubing (for retrieving water from cracks, making trap springs, medicinal uses, etc.)…. I travel the air well prepared. 🙂

    • Careful with those sutures. They are now sold prescription only or to the trade only with a valid license to practice medicine number. They could be items that will be rejected preflight and cause add
      itional inspections.

  • Also forgot to mention 1 pair of mechanics gloves, and the surgical tubing can also make a sling to purchase game or self defense.

  • The clothing point, particularly footwear is THE most important point here. If the plane goes down, you are more likely to survive if you have more protection from your clothing than the hot chick in flip flops, tank top and Daisy Dukes. The rest of the gear you can improvise. The space blanket is a good one also, or just the large Trash Bag, both so versatile and able to be used for so many things. I always take the sewing kit from hotels I stay in too…

  • Have scissors that are held together by a screw and a small screwdriver to take them apart. With a sharpening, stone you have two knives to use.

  • All of these are good ideas, with exception of one. You should be careful with promoting #12. What you are calling a N95 “mask” is actually classified as a respirator. You should have a pulmonary function test (lung capacity/function test) conducted before using one. Some people can have issues when wearing it. Most clinics can perform this. Once this is done, and you are medically cleared, you should be fit tested to ensure you have the proper size. The same goes for preppers who want to have gas masks on hand. Not everyone can handle the stress of wearing these. And yes, wearing a N95 respirator or a gas mask can be stressful.

  • The size of the SAS Survival book is much larger than palm size. “Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches”

    Is there a palm size version?

  • I have 2 different sets of playing cards – one has survival tips and the other has finding / identifying food in the wild. I would carry both of these and have great info and some entertainment. 🙂

  • The last time I flew, I took along a cheap pair of slippers to wear through the TSA screening, as they suggested. Coming back, I had to remove the slippers and walk through the Rape-us machine in my socks. The slippers were to replace the steel-toed boots that I pretty much wear otherwise.
    When I went to Europe in 2003, one of the TSA screeners had to chase out to the train at DIA to return the shoes I’d “forgotten”, they having been worn as throwaways. I had comfortable shoes in one of the two carry-ons, I don’t check luggage.

  • All great tips! I think I’ll be adding the scissors before my next flight.
    I will mention too that I have flown with fishing tackle many times. Nothing large, but standard hooks, line, split shot, a bobber. Never had a problem, even flying to and from Mexico. I
    I’ve also added a firefly strobe signal light. You just never know, right?

  • First off, my carry on bag is a Maxpedition Fatboy Versipack. Its a decent size and capacity. Has lots of useful pockets, some MOLLE, a D-ring, keys hook, flaslight straps, and more. All straps and zippers are heavy duty. The bag is water resistant, especially the main compartment. It can be worn cross shoulder, or on the hip. It comes with a leg strap for hip use. It also has a concealed carry compartment that usually goes un-noticed by most. Not that it matters when going on an airplane…

    Items i carry in it on a plane include: 550 paracord which i attach to the leg strap via caribiner. 2 mini-mag flashlights in the flashlight straps. Sunglasses, napkins and anti-bacterial baby wipes, extra set of dogtags, pocket road atlas, checkbook, passport, eyeglass repair kit, med kit, Lifestraw, ear plugs w/case, medium bottle of Excedrin Migraine pain reliever, medium sized pill bottle containing a bic, ferro rod, vaseline lip balm, & q-tips. An address/calender book and pen, a bandana (tied to D-ring), hairbrush, multiple caribiners and key rings attached to MOLLE, a ball compass, a plastic shopping bag, a medium pill vial with about $10 in quarters, a crayon, a small chain (from a bikers wallet), 2 sparky ferro rods and another ferro rod (all attached seperately via caribiners), a roll of electrical tape, multiple elastic hair ties, and a small tactical flashlight w/strobe capabilities.

    This is normally my EDC. So when not on a plane i also have a multi-tool, a fixed blade full tang survival knife as well as a folding knife, my S&W Governor and 2 ammo pouches containing 10 rounds of .410 and 10 rounds of 45 long colt.

    After reading this article, i think i will add a space blanket, and a canteen pouch with a bottle of Survival Tabs.

    • a warning about ferro rods;
      they have a couple problems;

      acids and salts from your hands (skin) can cause them to
      corrode badly if handled and then stored….

      also the ones that have a plastic fob are often glued in poorly and the rod falls out, leaving you a useless hunk of plastic…

      best either drill the rod to lanyardize, or put into a pocket or container…

      personally I think many people rely too much on expendables when they should be thinking and carrying long term items only….
      like real flint and a steel etc….

      most seem to take the easy path…

      “the hard path looks easy” (Tao)

  • Thank you, very practical. I’ll change my every two month flying routine to include all your items listed plus tabitha’s list.

  • Ronson make a disposable style lighter thats refillable…
    better than Bics….

    that being said, Ive found that all disposable lighters fail sooner or later…
    so I suggest flint and steel as a back up… TSA is not afraid of small rocks yet ….
    glass lenses break, plastic can crack or get scuffed, so the little stainless parabolic mirrors are your best solar lighter option…. and if TSA looks into one, all they will see is a big nose, i.e. the truth….

    • I disagree. I smoked for 30 years, and never had a Bic fail, ever. Other cheapies, mostly Asian, are worthless, but not Bics. They will light a cigarette a couple of THOUSAND times before running out of fuel (never the flint). I have tried dozens of different refillable gas lighters and never had one that either took the refill well, or worked for any length of time. Zippos are the only things nearly as reliable as Bic disposables, but to get a couple of thousand lights you’d have to carry spare flints and a can of Zippo fuel — which of course you can’t fly with.

      As backup I’d have a second Bic lighter (very cheap) and a magnifying glass, either glass or plastic. I find them much more reliable and simpler to use for amateurs, compared to flint & steel.

    • Hi, Ken! Thanks for chiming in. 🙂

      I’ve carried them all on during my two most recent trips – both round trip, so 4 flights. One trip was November and one was two weeks ago. To which items are you referring?

  • I advise folks to have some type of insect clothing along, like one made out of the fabric used on garden hats to keep bugs out. Nothing worse than trying to sleep with bugs nibbling on you all night!

  • I travel by air several times a week and I agree with all your suggestions and will be adding some bug repellent wipes instead of a liquid. I would also like to recommend the Klein Tools electricians scissors these are under the size limit, super tough and super sharp I have carried them on 100s of flights without question on most trips every once in a while they will pull them out and check but they have never taken them. The light I prefer is the Streamlight Microstream it is a single AAA light but it is super light and more than adequate for EDC, also mu twist on paracord/self defense “weapon” is a 14″woven strap with a monkeyfist around a 3/4″ ball bearing. This looks like just a paracord strap hanging from my bag but I sure wouldn’t want to get hit with it!! I carry all my goodies in the 5.11 COVRT 18 backpack it still looks new after several years on the road and doesn’t draw any attention as a “tactical” bag plus I love the 2 big water bottle holders on the sides these things will hold a 40oz Hydroflask which is rare on bags these days.

    Happy trails


    • I’ve personally flown with them 4 times since writing this article and never had so much as a question. I’ve flown with Delta, American, and Southwest.

      • I used your list recently for international travel post IS attacks in Europe (Europe to the US and back), and the only thing they seemed concerned with was my travel mug, which I put in the side pouch upside down and open. I like that mug! I did, however, end up paying $145 for a €25 bottle of vodka I got in duty free. Apparently, at O’Hare they don’t care if it’s duty free. The scanner was faulty, so I had to pack it in my carryon, which meant removing my camera equipment to a plastic bag, checking the carryon (+$85 for a second checked bag), then buying a camera bag (+$35) I didn’t really need for my camera and lens. That’s the last time I’ll buy “duty-free”.

  • Absolutely agree on the Bic disposable lighters. A standard one will light several thousand cigarettes (based on my own use when I smoked), and their shelf life is … years, almost forever. Take two, just in case — they’re only about $1.25 each. The Asian clones are worthless, often won’t make ten lights. Scripto or another “known” brand might be OK, but I stick with Bic since I’ve never had a bad one, ever. I keep about 75 of them in my prepper closet. And as trade goods they will rank up there with toilet paper and ammunition.

  • Hi, Daisy,

    I like that you respond to your readers’ questions. Here’s mine: These items are all great, but what’s your favorite bag or carrying case? And won’t that become one of your two free (at least on Southwest) carry-on bags?

    Please reply to my email address, so I’ll be sure to see your response. ThankS!

    • I have a hard-sided carry-on bag on rollers, and keep a backpack folded up inside it if I need to become mobile. I also, like most women, carry a purse with a lot of odds and ends in it.

  • Daisy, This is an amazing list!! Thank you for creating it and keeping it up-to-date. I also really appreciate all the additional comments!! I am getting ready to fly for the first time in about 5 years and I was worrying about what to bring… not any more!! Thanks again!!

  • Daisey,

    Thanks for the good read. Most of these lists I see on the web compile of 95% of what I carry already. I always read them to find the 1 that I don’t carry.

    The hose you listed was awesome!
    And the scissors were a good idea as well.

    I also liked your thought of the clothing and avoiding synthetics. (Never thought of it)

    Here are a few to consider:

    Duct tape/ gorilla tape
    Some type of shelter 50gal trash bag
    Small tarp
    Fishing line

    I have carried an empty 32oz Nalgene bottle through TSA in 2014 and 2015 flights. I fill them up at a water fountain after I am through security.

    I carry a metal stainless cup for boiling water. Cooking, medicinal/ sanitation boiling/ melting snow etc.

    The 2015 flight was an out of country flight to Honduras.
    In my packed luggage in a bag of its own, I packed a couple of mora knives. ($15 each but great durability) On the flight back I had one in my carry on (by mistake but big mistake) (btw I had double checked my bag…so do the triple check lol) No reprocutions, except that it got thrown away along with my 550 cord, and my 2 lighters.
    It was July 4th and the Security in Honduras was 3 times stronger. I guess after the knife they took anything that looked like a weapon. I politely argued with the lady. (Big language barrier or I would have probably been able to talk my way into keeping the cord and lighters) I was greatful to throw away that $15 knife to leave their country to return to mine. Had I been carrying some elaborate expensive knife it would have hurt much worse. I know that woman kept my knife.

    Thanks for the good read.

  • Instead of running the risk of having to fight passengers to get your bag from the over head, or being told to drop your back pack at the escape exit by the flight crew, wear a tactical concealment vest (i.e. 5.11) or fly fishing vest with multi pockets to carry every thing. A lot of the items you talk about are small and compact.

  • Nice list, but there are a couple of problems. The ferro rod is forbidden as passenger carry on, it’s a flammable solid 4.1 UN1323 covered by the ICAO technical instructions, also see CFR49 only lighter flints are exempt (SP A42). Also the scissors may get through some airports but not all. TSA may say it’s OK to carry from or through the US but another countries airport may take them from you. Europe together work on EC300 reg 185 which allows the airport to increase it’s own security above national levels.

  • Just an fyi, if you have European readers, that mylar blanket that’s $4.40 on is £83.00 (yes, really) on

  • Always dress in layers (I favor the ultra lightweight silk “long johns” from wintersilks) and bring , or wear, at LEAST one extra large silk scarf.
    read up on pinterest for ways to tie it, but a single large scarf can be invaluable, two together can be amazing.

    since i wear a headcovering, i always have that one, but a packed flat scarf takes up very little space in your carry on, and a silk scarf can act as a windbreaker, sun shield, a sling, extra backpack, blouse, tourniquet, and and so much more.

  • Q-tips and or cottonballs sealed in waterproof plastic bags great for Firestarting.
    Also a good set of Mechanix gloves will go a long way.
    Last but not least, a moisture wicking buff-style headdress it has so manly uses!

  • I have BEGGED you sooooooo many times to PLEASE write your articles in an EASY-TO-READ FONT. Others have made similar comments! Don’t you respond to your readers?

  • I carry everything in an e bag backpack. I gave up roller aways after a discussion with a guy who got on one of my flights with a parachute. He said, if the plane is going down- you want your stuff available and on your back. That is also true in an airport. Unpacking a roll away in a crowd (sleeping in the airport overnight) is much more conspicuous.
    My bag has a full change of undies/socks, a large silk scarf, a collapsible water bottle (along with the water bottle I emptied and refilled after security), my Altoids tin (sewing, $20,flint, foil, thimble) gloves, hat, small tubes of shampoo,( hand soap, sunscreen, toothpaste, Vasoline), several high energy snack bars, small First aide kit, several lanyards, small Swiss army knife and my credit card tool. In the last few years I have added a full charged Kindle and cell phone (and cords).
    I’ve been in all 50 states in the last few years. I have used almost everything in my bag- slept in airports, and once turned out when the airport closed. After reading the comments I think I will add Vodka to a shampoo bottle and look for some of those playing cards with edible plants!

  • A large (Engineers) bandana or two have many uses.

    N95 masks are good, N99 are better. I get the European equivalent (by 3M) from Israel.

    A couple of sterile sealed scalpel blades, and a separate handle for them (widely separated), cut down in length as needed.

    As mentioned, water bottle(s) you can fill after getting through security, in case you are stuck in the plane a long time. And some dense food items for the same situation or an emergency

    Snare wire and as mentioned, fishing kit. A sewing kit as well; if necessary, the fish line can serve as thread.

    Instead of the ferro rod, which takes two hands, a Spark-Lite and several Tinder-Quik.

    In your checked baggage, the items TSA won’t let you carry on. Cheaper versions. You may not have access to your bag, but then again you might. And you should have access after you reach your destination.

    For carrying many of these items, a Scottevest. Carries more, less obviously than the fishing vest. Just take it off and send it through the X-Ray machine without unloading it.

  • Condoms and a tiny bottle of lube because it’s better to have them and not need them, than to need them and not have them in a desparate situation.

  • If you happen to be fortunate enough to make it into a life raft then a signal mirror might be worth having…hoping they will let you have one of these.

  • when I fly, I have my backpack and a waist/shoulder bag. The waist/shoulder bag contains fire starters, food (jerk, bullion cubes, hard candy, etc.). I also carry in it, space blanket, water bottles/purifiers, small scissors, first aid, fishing kit, etc.

    If a crash situation you may not be able to retrieve your backpack from over head and flight attendants will discourage you from exiting with a backpack. The waist/shoulder bag can go with you.

    I also have thick leather or fire resistant gloves. I carry a cotton towel (Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy). Exiting a burning aircraft can be hard on hands and face.

  • #12 made me laugh! If the person next to you starts to bleed out of every orifice it’s too late for you to put on the mask.

  • Great list. You can carry more 550 cord, more conveniently, if you use a climber’s trick, a double chain sennet. Basically, tie a slip knot in the middle, then “crochet” a line of loops down the length. 20 feet becomes an 8 inch braid that fits into corners in your pack, doesn’t tangle, and unloops with a single pull.

  • Great list Daisy, although a few items can be taken by some TSA agents, depends who you get, it’s really luck of the draw, just like it is crossing the border. One thing I would add: if a plane goes down and you have to use the emergency exit, they will not let you take ANY bags with you, often even purses must be left behind (trust me, I have experienced this!) My ‘first layer’ of survival, along with all my ID and money, is always carried in my 15 pocket travellers vest. Nobody makes you leave your clothes behind! So important to have your most essential survival items actually on your person. I never travel without my travel vest – as well as being so useful for flying, it also makes me far less vulnerable to pickpockets in some of the more ‘exciting’ travel destinations i tend to choose.

  • Some good suggestions, thank you. I would add in extra ways of making fire – sometimes an agent will decide a lighter is OK, sometimes not, same with ferro rods and spark wheels. I include all 3, plus a fresnel lens (that, if questioned about it, is obviously so you can read restaurant menus and product labels!!) Hydro Blue makes a very tiny water straw that is more compact than a lifestraw or Sawyer and performs just as well. And my favourite personal tip: always wear a multi pocket vest when travelling, and keep your ID, most of your money and credit cards, and passport in an inner pocket, as well as your most critical survival gear. It makes you much harder to pickpocket, especially if you fall asleep on a longer flight, and it’s like an extra carry on you don’t have to pay for! My personal favourite is Travelsmith’s 15 pocket Voyager travel vest, but any travel, hunting, or photographer’s vest will do it. I’d stay away from obvious tactical vests though – that just makes you look too interesting to TSA!! Also, duct tape can be considered suspicious, but a roll of electrical tape will seldom cause comment. And paracord is less likely to be questioned if it is in the form of something cutesey. Figure out how to make a teddy bear out of it, and you’ll be just fine!

  • I definitely agree with your list, and carry most of these items in my carry on (not the silver coins though, I’m not that wealthy!!) A couple more things I would add:
    A tiny sewing kit – I always pocket the ones from the hotels.
    A few Space blankets and an Emergency Bivvy
    Several small envelopes of Survival Tabs – I use the 4-tabs-per-packet envelopes, because then there is no wastage from leaving lots in open packages.
    Ear plugs and eye mask.
    Insect wipes (better than liquid – can’t spill and doesn’t add to your insufficient liquid allowance).
    Laundry soap sheets – 50 dry soap sheets in the size of a Tic Tac box. This is part of my everyday travel kit, but in an emergency when you only have a few clothes, it’s better for your health to be able to keep them clean.
    A blister kit and first aid kit – also a Tic Tac box with an assortment of over the counter pills for most likely travellers complaints (a printer label can be affixed to remind you what each colour pill is for).
    Also, I have had to evacuate a plane through the emergency slide, and they do NOT allow you to bring any bags with you, not even your purse. Or at least they did not allow that when I had to do it. So I wear my ID, money, and most important survival items in a 15 pocket traveller’s vest – that way, I have the most critical items on my body even if I cannot bring any of my bags with me.
    One more tip, generally for travel not necessarily survvial: pickpocketing and theft are quite common in many travel destinations. In some of the countries i have traveled through, robbers think nothing of sticking a gun to your temple and demanding your jacket/vest as well as your bags if they suspect you might have something in your pockets. I own travelers underwear with a pocket in front big enough for a passport, socks with a credit card sized zipped pocket, and various strap-on devices with hidden pockets. Spread your valuables around your person – you might lose some things, but maybe can hold on to your most critical ID at least.

  • My daughter & I went on a 20 day trip from Oregon to Ireland, Scotland, Wales & London with a tour group. Two things that made it through all TSA points were items that looked like keys on my key chain. One opened to a 1 1/2″ knife blade. The other look alike opened and on one part had a phillips screwdriver & at its base a can opener, the other side was a knife edge on the end & at its base a jagged edge. Surprised they made it through. I told my daughter we are only using carry-ons, no checked baggage. The other carry-on was not a purse (that was flattened in the case stored above) it was a large bag of proper dimensions. In that bag we had the one quart zip bag with liquids per TSA & easily removable. extra socks, shoes & underwear, inflatable neck pillow, 1st aid kit, small sewing kit, water filter & tablets, flashlight, snacks & umbrella. Our passports & money were in a pouch belt & we wore our coats. Everyone else had checked baggage and at every overnight stop had to deal with that but we didn’t, we only had our 2 carry-ons. One hilarious thing happened in Scotland on a 2-1/2 hour trip. We were on the bus and it started raining, a downpour, and the bus started leaking like a sieve, literally. Everyone else was getting wet & complaining & even opening their umbrellas inside the bus. We were sitting directly behind the bus driver & a steady stream of rain was pouring down the back of his neck. We burst out laughing then got the giggles. The tour guide asked if we were OK then I pointed to the driver & he started laughing. Everyone else was cold, wet & complaining so my daughter & I grabbed some of our snacks & started handing them out. As we did we had to explain what was so funny & that diffused the situation a little.

  • I have a stainless steel Nalgene water bottle. I prefer it to a collapsible because I can easily boil water in it if I need.

  • Some great tips here. The Cree mini used to be my go-to flashlight, until I discovered Rovy Von. Much smaller, much brighter. At up to $40, it’s an investment, but worth it. Oh yeah, and you charge it via USB cable while you’re working at your computer, so no batteries to worry about. Also, a ceramic knife won’t get picked up by the Xray machine. I also bring a snack bag, along with some lifeboat rations and Survival Tabs. And a tiny travel kitchen that fits in a Stasher Go bag (the one with the clip on the top). Those bags can be used for anything from water collection/purification to sous vide cooking, to ice packs in your hotel room if you sprain something.

  • Oh, about wearing your carry on bag: my first layer survival items, as well as all my money/ credit cards, and ID, go in the pockets of my 15 pocket travel vest. If for some reason I am not able to bring my backpack with me, I am still wearing my most essential items.

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