A sewing kit is an absolute essential to have in a prepper’s bugout bag. Clothing and gear rip, and you’ll need to repair them, not replace them, when you’re fleeing a SHTF scenario or when you’re out in the wilderness.

If you find yourself in a long-term disaster, you are going to have to patch up everything from your clothing to supplies to your own body, and this kit should cover all bases.

What Goes into the Sewing Kit

  • Hand-sewing needles of various sizes
  • Safety and regular pins
  • Curved suturing needles
  • Needle driver
  • At least two buttons, one small and one large
  • Thimble or thick cloth to protect your fingers
  • Thread for clothing
  • Thread that’s heavy and waxed for waterproof gear
  • Medical grade nylon
  • Fabric patches for clothing
  • Leather patches
  • Small scissors or a tiny knife
  • Seam ripper

You should have a few inches wide roll of fabric for each of the various materials your gear is made of. You could also just have three: heavy, light, and waterproof. Your thread should be rolled up on bobbins, whether plastic or steel, instead of spools to conserve space. Also, this kit is a great place to keep extra shoelaces and other cords you might end up needing.

Sewing Kit Containers

Depending on how much you put in your kit and the budget you’re working with, you can opt for different containers. Some simply hook their gear into a piece of fabric, roll it up in another piece of fabric, and then tie it off with some string. Others will go so far as making a leather pouch for their kit.

Some good cheap options include small recycled containers, such as those for mints or contact lenses, glasses cases, medication bottles, tiny glass jars, unused knife sheaths, etc.

Whatever you choose, it’s important to make it waterproof on some level, even just by putting it all in a plastic bag. Also, be warned that the kits made of only fabric tend to poke you if they get pressed up against you.

Basic Sewing

Of course, you’ll also need to know how to sew by hand if you’re going to put this kit to good use. This video will teach you the basics:

Basic Suturing Skills

You just never know when you may be called upon to suture a friend or yourself. This is obviously a last resort if a doctor or hospital is not available, but it is a skill you will eventually have to use if the SHTF.

Remember to replace the items in this kit immediately when you can, or you’ll soon forget that you’ve used up some of the kit.

What if something is missing? Well, if you fish, you can use a fishing hook as your needle in a pinch. Plants with long, sharp thorns may also be great backup needles.

For thread, your improvisation options might include fishing line, cordage from willow or yucca, sinew from an animal (if you have the time to dry it), wetland reeds, or even your hair if it’s thinly braided.

As for materials, well, sometimes scrapping less vital clothing or gear to repair the essentials may be a good decision. There’s not much else you can do to improvise fabric in the wilderness other than dry an animal’s hide, but that takes time you may not have.

Image courtesy of optimarc/Shutterstock