Build a Wallet Survival Kit: 10 Must-Have Essentials and How-To

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

By Bryan Lynch •  7 min read

I like to think of myself as a minimalist but then I realize that is probably not the case considering all the stuff I carry every day. But if you want to be a minimalist, there is one item I can share with you that could help out. A wallet survival kit!

Creating a survival kit in a wallet is great because nobody goes anywhere without it. At a minimum, this kit will allow you to always have some helpful supplies on you. It is also a lightweight, compact, and a discrete way of carrying survival items for those just in case situations. 

Getting Started with a Wallet Survival Kit

wallet survival kit

The first thing you are going to want to do is to sit down at a table with your wallet.

Now, open your wallet and dump everything that is in it onto the table. Make sure that it is empty. If you are like me, your wallet may have a bad habit of being a magnet for trash and unnecessary items.

Like old receipts, movie ticket stubs, and whatever else finds its way in there. If you do not need it throw it away. 

Now that there is ample space to work with, go through the rest of the items. Do you know that gift card that is six months old and has a remaining balance of .50 cents? Go ahead and leave that at home or in your vehicle because it is taking up precious space that can be better utilized.

Only replace the items that are essential to you. The following is a list of some essentials. 

This is a barebones example of what a wallet should look like. If you have other items that are essential to you then by all means put them in. 

What Kind of Wallet to Use?

Depending on the wallet you carry, its size and shape, the contents of what goes into it may have to be adjusted from what I will be discussing.  

The wallet I will be using is a long bifold wallet with a chain. I find these to be ideal because their size offers more room than a typical wallet.

The chain that is attached to the wallet is clipped onto a belt loop, which helps to deter would-be pickpockets. With a little imagination, the chain could have other uses as well in a survival situation.

My Wallet Survival Kit: Must-Have Items

Here are some of the must-have items to keep in your wallet.


In the age of electronic banking, people do not carry cash like they used to. But there is an argument to be made for carrying it.

Sometimes debit cards cannot be used. This may be due to a glitch with the card, a networking issue, or a power outage.

Additionally, in a survival situation, you may be surprised at the areas a little bit of cash can get you into as well as the areas it could get you out of. A couple of hundred of dollars should suffice.

You do not want to be in a situation where you need supplies or services only to be turned away because a card will not work. As the old saying goes, “cash is king.” 

Emergency Contacts. 

I want you to take a quick test. Think of who your emergency contacts are, their phone numbers and do not look at your phone.

Do you know those phone numbers by memory? If not, then you need to have a hard copy list of emergency contact information. Phone batteries can die, phones can get lost, stolen, or broken. It would be an unfortunate situation to have to get a hold of emergency contacts and you do not know their number.

Other prudent information to include on this list would be your blood type and any medical requirements that you have.  

Ferrocerium Rod 

Fire is such an important and useful tool that I cannot fathom going without a method for making it.

Ferrocerium rods come in many different sizes but for this wallet kit, I use a very small one.

I call them “toothpick” ferrocerium rods because they resemble the size of a toothpick. Simply place the rod into one of the available pockets. If a pocket is not available, then use a piece of strong duct tape and stick it into the main folding crease of the wallet. 

Sewing Needle and Thread

People tend to scoff when I mention adding this item to almost any kit, but I have found them useful. From fixing holes in clothing or gear, reattaching buttons, using the needle to press incredibly small buttons, to removing a splinter and other first-aid applications.

A small needle with ten feet of thread wrapped around it does not take up much space and is more useful than you may think. 

Pen and a Metal Scribe 

I know that many are going to say I should replace these two tools with a tactical pen. But I prefer having two tools that are great at what they do over one tool that may not be so great. 

The pen is obviously for writing. You never know when you will need to record important information or discretely pass along a message. A writing utensil will help accomplish this.

The metal scribe can be used in several different ways. As an awl for punching holes in materials, scratching designs or plans onto a non-paper surface, a glass breaker, and as a means of defending yourself. 

First Aid Items

You are not going to be able to carry a fully stocked trauma kit in your wallet but minor cuts and injuries are just as important to take care of.

The items carried for this category are dependent on the space available and what you are most likely to use. Here are a few items I have found useful to have.

Band aides of different sizes, blister packs of various medications like triple antibiotic cream, burn gel, water purification tablets, and pain and fever reducers. 

Magnifying Glass

I suggest carrying this in the form of a fresnel lens. This can help read small print, in map reading, a signaling device, and a secondary means of starting a fire. 

Small Knife 

For many people, a knife is the king of survival gear. To fit one in this kit it is going to have to be small, but that does not mean it will be less useful. I like a small model Swiss Army Knife because it has multiple tools on it.


I like to stash a couple of coins in my wallet but they are not for spending. They can be used as improvised tools for scraping, digging, breaking glass, and as a screwdriver for loosening hardware.

Pocket Survival Guide

It can be difficult to remember everything that should be done in an emergency…

Being scared, experiencing atypical situations, or dealing with injuries does not make this process any easier. I find it helpful to carry some form of a survival pocket guide.

They not only provide needed information but by reading them and following the instructions it will give your mind something to focus on. There are a variety of these guides available but I have come to enjoy the Tiny Survival Guide.

Wrapping It Up

I hoped you enjoyed this article about my must-have survival items in a wallet survival kit…

If you have a kit in your wallet please sound off in the comments below and let us know what items you like to carry. Stay Prepared!

Bryan Lynch

Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. His goal was to spread positive information about this field. In 2019, Bryan authored the book Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide. His second book, Paracord Projects For Camping and Outdoor Survival, is scheduled to be released on March 2, 2021.