Backcountry trekking, hiking, and camping is the perfect way to leave the rat race behind.
Just you, your gear, the great outdoors – and your wits.
And because not everyone has the space to carry a travel fishing rod on such excursions, it’s a good idea to include a backup option – just in case.
This is where the best survival fishing kits will come in handy. You never know when you might need the ability to catch and cook your supper in an emergency.
Or, if you’d just enjoy the challenge of landing a fish with the most basic tackle available.
Let’s see what’s out there, so you won’t go hungry on your next adventure.
Disclosure: At BonfireBob, we recommend products based on unbiased research, however, BonfireBob.com is reader-supported and as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases if you shop through the links on this page. For more information, see disclosure here.
Table of Contents
- The Best Survival Fishing Kits – What to Look For
- The 9 Best Fishing Survival Kits in 2021
- Vigilant Trails Survival Fishing Kit
- Off Grid Tools Fishing & Hunting Kit
- Uncle Flint's Survival Fishing Kit
- Skemix Pocket Reel Emergency Fishing Kit
- Best Glide ASE Compact Survival Fishing Kit
- Rule The Wasteland Survival Fishing Kit
- Speedhook US Military Emergency Fishing Kit
- Yoyito Travel Fishing Kit
- Best Glide ASE Be Prepared Survival Kit
- How to Choose the Best Fishing Survival Kit
The Best Survival Fishing Kits – What to Look For
Before we launch into the reviews, it’s prudent to first understand the basics when it comes to survival fishing kits.
At the very least, you should look for products that contain:
- Fishing line.
The following additional gear and tackle might also be useful – but is not 100% necessary for kits that are offering just the bare essentials.
- Hand Reel.
- Split shot.
- A gill net.
- Other relevant survival items and accessories.
It’s also important to consider the area where you’re likely to be fishing, and the species of fish that will be found there. Then, choose a quality survival fishing kit relevant to what you’re hunting.
A more detailed buyer’s guide can be found following the reviews, with an FAQ section in case we miss anything important.
Let’s dive in.
The 9 Best Fishing Survival Kits in 2021
How to Choose the Best Fishing Survival Kit
Good fishing survival kits should come with everything you need to successfully catch a fish – otherwise, they wouldn’t be very useful at all.
As such, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to what goes into such a product, so we’ll explore everything you need to know in the buyer’s guide, below.
What is a Fishing Survival Kit?
As you’ll have noticed from the reviews, the contents of a fishing survival kit can vary wildly. So too can the quality of the items contained therein.
The most basic survival kit for fishing should have at least one of the following items:
- A hook.
- Some fishing line.
- A sinker.
- A lure.
- A bobber.
That is all you need to catch a fish in an emergency situation, however, it’s not going to give you the most versatility, or the highest chance of success.
Thankfully, most decent fishing survival kits recognize this, and include a variety of different hooks, lures, sinkers, and line options, in order for you to best suit your setup to what species you’re fishing for – and where.
The more comprehensive kits also come with useful extras, such as swivels, split-shot, leaders, hand reels – and even a compact fishing multi-tool or knife.
And some kits might even have bait included – such as salmon eggs, which can last a long time and barely take up space. If you can manage it, packing a small jar of salmon eggs isn’t a bad idea for survival bait.
Survival fishing kits aren’t exactly designed to score you big hauls of a trophy fish in tournaments.
They’ve been put together with general, all-purpose tackle in order to stand you the best chance of landing something to eat in an emergency situation.
Having said that, if you know exactly where you’re hiking/camping/trekking/climbing/kayaking/running away from home, you can do a bit of research into the most common species in the region, and shop for a compatible kit that targets that particular fish.
Using the recommended set up for the species will improve your chances of landing one immensely – and thus your chances of survival.
Or, at the very least, keeping the hunger at bay until you can make it to the local bar and grill.
Let’s take a more detailed look at fishing survival kit items.
Hooks – Ideally, you’ll want a selection of different sized hooks, again, depending on the type of fish you’re hunting for.
Hooks are prone to getting lost, rusting, or breaking, so the more, the merrier in this case.
Smaller hooks are preferable, as you can still catch a whopper if you’re lucky.
Fishing Line – Most survival kits come with a decent amount of line, but the quality and the weight can vary.
Look for at least 50 feet of 10-20 lbs monofilament, but you can upgrade with braided line if you so choose.
Sinkers – Without a sinker weight, you’re not going to be able to dangle your enticing rig anywhere near an interested fish.
Look for kits that come with a selection, as well as the inclusion of split shot, which is ideal for shallower waters, small baits, and panfish.
Lures – A quality fishing survival kit will come with a small selection of different lures – so you can adapt your rig to best suit the species you’re trying to catch.
The more variety, the better, and you should aim for kits that feature flies, grubs, and other enticing rubber/plastic lures, so you can mix things up depending on your situation.
Bobber/float – perhaps not 100% essential, they’re usually found in most kits anyway, and can be very useful for locating your line, and identifying if the fish are biting.
Tin/Container Quality and Size
One of the most overlooked aspects of a fishing survival kit – is the container it comes in.
You want something that’s compact, sturdy, and capable of fitting easily into your bug-out bag or backpack.
Commonly, you have three choices:
- A cloth bag (which may or may not be waterproof).
- A steel tin – often similar to an Altoids or shoe polish container.
- A heavy-duty, zip-lock plastic bag.
The type you choose depends on your own particular preferences and needs, and how easily it’s going to fit in with the rest of your gear.
I would suggest that a waterproof fishing survival bag is arguably the best option, as steel tins tend to corrode and rust over time, and plastic pockets can tear and puncture easily.
If you have the space, a durable compact tackle box makes an ideal upgrade, and some fishing kits offer MOLLE compatibility, which is perfect if you have a backpack that supports Modular Lightweight Load-carry Equipment.
As mentioned, the more comprehensive fishing survival kits will come with a decent amount of extras – items you don’t necessarily need – but are highly useful nonetheless.
These can include:
A fishing multi-tool or knife – which can help immensely when it comes to removing hooks and/or cleaning fish.
However, I’d highly recommend a dedicated fishing knife for that purpose, and you should be carrying a good blade for survival purposes, anyway.
Swivels – are useful additions to help prevent your line tangling upon retrieval, and/or ensuring it doesn’t become twisted as you fish.
A hand reel – while not essential, can certainly make it easier to land a catch, and potentially save your hands from injury.
When fishing without a rod, you should always be sure to wear some good quality fishing gloves, anyway, as line can seriously cut or burn your hands.
Basic first aid items – which might include alcohol or anti-bacterial wipes, small bandages, and/or plasters.
Desiccant packets – to help keep moisture at bay.
You can spend as much or as little as you want on a backup fishing survival kit, but you want to make sure it won’t let you down in an emergency.
You get what you pay for these days, so make sure the product you choose contains quality over quantity.
With one or two exceptions, you’re not going to spend much more than $20-30 on a decent kit, anyway, and so long as its contents are relevant to you, budget shouldn’t really be an issue.
Do I need a fishing survival kit?
I don’t know, do you? Are you planning on venturing into the backwoods and wilds of the country? Do you intend to head off the beaten track? Do you plan on invoking your inner Bear Grylls?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then a fishing survival kit should be on your radar.
Additionally, some keen anglers like to experiment with basic fishing techniques, and enjoy the challenge of rod-less angling.
You’ll have all the bragging rights in the bar if you can catch a beast with a basic fishing survival kit.
What should be in a fishing survival kit?
A survival fishing kit should (at the very least) contain a hook, at least 50 feet of line (the stronger, the better), a lure, a sinker, and a bobber.
Everything else is a bonus, but most quality kits will offer a good selection of these items for a variety of fishing situations and scenarios.
Plus, you never know when things might break or get lost, or damaged.
Can I make my own fishing survival kit?
You most certainly can! But while this can be a fun practice, it might actually end up costing you more than the items in the review above – especially when sourcing quality tackle and storage.
Why make your own when you can have someone take the effort out of it for you? Particularly those kits that have been specifically designed for this purpose by professional anglers and survival experts.
But if you’re interested in a spot of DIY, check out the video below, which will help you get started.
What size hooks for a survival fishing kit?
Smaller hooks are better for a fishing survival kit, as you’ll likely be angling for pan fish and other small species.
And you can still catch a monster on a small hook if you’re lucky.
That said, it’s best to have a variety of hook sizes in your arsenal, to stand you the best chance of success depending on location and species.
How do you use a fishing survival kit?
It depends on what’s in the kit, what you’re fishing for and where you’re fishing.
As luck would have it, most kits come with an instruction leaflet or short guide, which contains helpful tips, and tricks for catching fish in emergency situations.
I would also recommend researching some instructional videos for the specific kit you’re interested in, so you at least have a basic understanding of how to use it before venturing into the great unknown.
Hopefully, you’ll never actually need a fishing survival kit in the wild, and at best, it’s just extra peace-of-mind for when you’re out exploring the wilderness.
Let me know in the comments which kit you’ve gone for and why, or if you have any fishing survival advice, stories, or experience you’d like to share with the community.
Stay safe out there, tight lines, and happy fishing!