Build your Minimalist Emergency Kits for Cycling, Running and Hiking || Simple Steps

Build minimalist emergency and survival kits so you can resolve many of the common hazards and risks, and get back to having fun and return safely.  I will show you how!  Let’s get started!  This Better Preparedness article is about getting you planning your kits and always ensure you add to them to suit you’re your risks and hazards for your outing. Your family should learn how to use your equipment before you need to use it and to understand what your kit can and cannot do. The wilderness can be unforgiving.

Have you had a bad fall or underestimated how quickly it would get dark while out biking or running?  For your bad fall, did you have a few items that made a big difference in resolving the situation?  With planning, you can anticipate many scenarios or crises and take action to prevent it or know how you will deal with it.

Build a Variety of Emergency Kits Tailored to the Activities

I am a big advocate of building a few different emergency kits so you have the right kit ready for that activity and the particulars of that outing.  You are more likely to bring a kit if it is always packed and ready to grab, and it will save you time and hassle.

Over time, I’ve built a few different kits as I have found it useful and they are kept on my gear shelf near the front door.  Here are the ones I’ve built:

  1. Bare bones for basic trail running and mountain biking
  2. Trail running, hiking and mountain biking in more remote locations
  3. A kit for our family of four to ensure we have sufficient quantities of items such as mylar foil blankets, whistles, and compasses
  4. A travel version (remember to remove certain items if it’s in your carry-on)

Minimalist does not mean irresponsible. It means tailoring your kits to your needs and being efficient. My solo kit differs in quantity to the 4-person family kit we use for family outings.

Buy the Gear you Need

Many items are cheaper per unit if you buy in bulk so consider buying a pack of ten mylar foil emergency blankets and quality whistles can be bought in bulk.  Keep your spare bulk supplies together so you know where to find spare items.

Check out the supplies and items offered through for emergencies, first aid, and the outdoors!

Legal Requirements

Ensure you meet and surpass any legal requirements for where you are doing your activity.

Hey, legal requirements are often in place to decrease the number of incidents that keep occurring to people like you and I.  Think about what they require and consider it an opportunity to be better prepared.

Considerations for Packing your Emergency and Survival Kits are:

  1. Weather and dramatic weather changes
  2. Remoteness of location and ease of rescue officials reaching you
  3. Terrain and wildlife hazards
  4. Crisis communications for phoning home and emergency authorities, and also whistles for attracting attention closeby.  Have a paper phone list with your key emergency numbers so you could use someone’s phone to call for help if you loose your phone or the batteries die
  5. Number of people in your group
  6. Experience level of the people in your group
  7. Health requirements for your group
  8. Darkness and considerations if you were to get stuck outside overnight
  9. Always think about key considerations such as shelter, emergency communication, lighting and first aid
  10. Sufficient clothing items for each person
  11. Always think through your food and hydration needs!

First Aid Kits!

This article on emergency/survival kits is what you need beyond your medical needs.  Your first aid kits are critical to managing medical emergencies.  Ensure you are equipped in terms of a robust first aid kit and take any first aid training that you can get your hands on.  Taking training means the difference between knowing confidently how to use something and just opening and staring at your emergency items and the panic of not knowing how use them properly!

Read the Better Preparedness article on building your first kits called: 10 Easy Steps to Building your Ideal First Aid Kits

Are your Activity Buddies Equipped?

If you are going solo, you are the only one with the gear to resolve the crisis or emergency.

If you are going with others, what do they have?  What do they know how to use?  Will your kit also have to take care of them?

Consider reviewing your kits ahead of time for more advanced outings to ensure you all have what is needed.

Here are Activity Types for Emergency Kits:

  1. Mountain biking, road cycling and bicycle touring
  2. Running and trail running
  3. Hiking, climbing and mountaineering
  4. Canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding (remember to waterproof your gear and understand how to ensure you have your gear if you get separated from your water craft)
  5. Paragliding and flying
  6. Basic family outings can also benefit from an emergency kit!
  7. Think about one to keep at work

For at Home and in your Vehicle, GO BIG!

This article is about minimalist kits for activities where it’s very impractical to bring a lot of gear or if having a minimalist kit means the difference between having a smartly packed kit or no kit at all.

Your home and vehicle emergency kits are a very different category of kit and should be dramatically more robust!  Better Preparedness will have a whole series on building your full-size emergency kits.  Remember that your home emergency kit is aimed at keeping your safe, self-sufficient and equipped for at least 72 hours and through many crisis and disaster scenarios.

Think Safe Practices

Always advise someone where and when you are doing your outing and what to do if you do not report back.

If there are emergency numbers for the trail system or region you are visiting, write them down, take a photo of them, and consider sending those numbers to the people who are monitoring your safe return.

Improve your safety and preparedness at home, at work, on the road, in hobbies, and in the outdoors with Emergency Management techniques. Let’s explore simple ways to identify the hazards and risks in your life, assess their likelihood and impacts, and then develop strategies to prevent, prepare, mitigate, respond and recover.

Share your Experiences and Help Others Learn

In emergency management, we try to plan for our eventualities and risks.  Waiting to learn the hard way by waiting for an emergency to happen can cost you dearly in terms of just ruining your outing, putting people’s safety at risk or risking lives.  When you are proactive, you have more confidence in your outing being more successful.  As we see from this episode, your emergency kits can be quite compact so why not take initiative and be prepared?

Share your experiences in the Comments section, subscribe and visit me at

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