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Build the Perfect Survival Kit Paperback – April 5, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John D. McCann has an extensive background in wilderness survival and travel safety and security.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Krause Publ (April 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0873499670
  • ISBN-13: 978-0873499675
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John D. McCann is a true advocate of self-reliance. He practices the skills and works at a self-reliant lifestyle. He dislikes the term "Expert" and considers himself a student of self-reliance, survival, and emergency preparedness. He continues in his endeavor to learn and practice the skills necessary to enhance his knowledge and abilities.

John is the author of "Build the Perfect Survival Kit," now in its 2nd Edition, "Stay Alive! Survival Skills You Need," and Practical Self-Reliance - Reducing Your Dependency on Others. He has written dozens of articles and has been published in "Field and Stream," "Wilderness Way," where he was featured on the cover, "Self-Reliance Illustrated," and "Survival Quarterly Magazine." He has appeared on the "Martha Stewart Show" teaching how to build a survival kit. He also has various YouTube videos teaching skills.

He is the founder and owner of Survival Resources, a company that designs and builds custom survival kits, and sells products related to survival and emergency preparedness. He can be contacted at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

121 of 130 people found the following review helpful By Gary on October 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
The phrase Survival Kit is in the title of this book, and that is exactly what is presented. Survival techniques are not the focus of this book, but assembling survival kits for various situations. In that regard, this book is extremely thorough giving many examples of assembling survival kits for just about every scenario be it personal, vehicle, boat, etc. He also provides many examples of the different survival tools available and where you can obtain these tools. There aren't an abundance of survival techniques in this book, but that was not the author's goal. It's also a pretty dry read and when the author reveals what he carries with him at all times, I thought he was joking. He carries on 3 keychains something like 2 micro flashlights, 2 knives, a multitool, metal aspirin container, fire tinder in another aspirin container, and about 4 different tools for fire starting. And, that's just what I remember off the top of my head. He carries this stuff around all the time. While I find that overkill, the kits and all the tool recommendation make this book rate high for what it is. A guide to assembling survival kits. For actual techniqes, I'd go with another book. ***Added 1/25/12*** The author has a new book out called Stay Alive! which is an A-Z book on survival. Check it out.
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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Michael Chesbro on January 23, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the most common questions asked by people interested in survival is: what should I put in my survival kit?

"Build the Perfect Survival Kit" answers that question in great detail. Learn how to build everything from small pocket-size kits, to large vehicle kits.

After explaining the basics of personal survival kits, you will learn about items to add to your survival kit for:
Fire and Light
Water and Food
Shelter and Protection
Knives and Tools
Multi-purpose components
Miscellaneous components

You will then read about how to select proper containers for your survival kit and how to assemble kits of various sizes, for multiple purposes.

The book also contains appendices listing additional training and reading resources, as well as a comprehensive list of companies offering survival kit items for sale.

Development of survival kits is discussed in detail, and there are several photographs that add to the quality of the instruction offered by this book.

This is not a `survival skills' manual, but as one would expect from the title, "Build the Perfect Survival Kit", a manual on building the kits that allow you to have an easier time employing the survival skills you have learned elsewhere.

For anyone interested in survival, "Build the Perfect Survival Kit" is a must read book.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
A good book for anyone interested in putting together a kit for those times when life throws you a curve ball. It is well written and makes you think. While Mr. McCann does provide exstensive lists and gear reviews, the book is more about understanding how to put a kit together and figuring out what works for you. If you are allready famailar with the idea of building kits, you wont find anything earth shattering, however the book is still worth getting.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jason Evans on July 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you buy only one book to help you prepare your own disaster/emergency/survival kit, pick up a copy of Build the Perfect Survival Kit by John D. McCann, published in 2005 by Krause Publications. This book does an excellent job at breaking down the "what" and "why" for kits of different sizes, ranging from a mini-kit to keep in a pocket or purse to a large kit to stick in a small airplane in the event of a crash over the wilderness.

His category breakdown is Fire & Light, Water & Food, Shelter & Protection, Knives & Tools, Medical, Multipurpose, Miscellaneous. He gives advice for finding the right container for your kit from big to small and then tips for assembling and maintaing the kit. He also provides easy-to-use checklists and great resource lists and websites to help you get prepared.

Even if this book inspires you to keep a few emergency supplies into your vehicle or carry a mini-kit in your purse, it would be worth giving it a read. Once you're done though, you'll find yourself wanting to assemble a small fannypack kit or a medium backpack kit to throw in the car.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By K. Miller VINE VOICE on December 20, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is really a book that lays out the typical survival gear and how to scale that gear for different groups or circumstances. Nothing new or amazing, good solid information and alot of it, but nothing that isn't is most standard survival books. The actual review of the gear suggested and the authors testing of it was what I'm most impressed with. I'm typically more interested in why something fails than why it works because all of the reviews that say "It's amazing worked every time" aren't useful. The author goes through the gear along with the good and the bad and has a good balance of useful review and personal opinion on how it worked for him that resonated with me.

While I worry that the book has a shorter shelf life than most because of the rapidly changing life cycle of gear right now (Dec 2008) this is a good read.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J. Kennedy on January 7, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Given the nature of some of the previous reviews it's doubtful some actually even took the time to read Build the Perfect Survival Kit

With that said, the book overall is a practical resource and idea generating report. The resources listed in the back of the book and its recommended reading list is the books strength but for the expert you might not find anything new. But as a compliment to your survival library one or two ideas might be gleaned.

The book is replete with photos but color photos would have been better as it is hard to see and describe some of the items you are actually looking at (especially for the beginner.)

At the top of McCann's list of preferred suppliers are CAMPMOR and Brigade Quartermaster to name a few. The book is redundant but was designed that way in order to teach how to assemble the most minimal to largest kit. Practically written but YAWN I was looking for something more informational.

The survival tips are few but again it was purposefully not designed for that. There are some tidbits of survival wisdom within the pages as the author is an experienced survival expert, some idea generating tips for assembling equipment like making a survival stove with a NUWICK candle, food, water, shelter... all the basics so, it would be wise to assemble at least a minimal kit for your car or truck. As in the book however building a kit is a process best done slowly as your budget allows. And having some equipment on hand in an emergency just makes sense. Preparedness.

The book does not include everything that you might need or want in your kit: car, truck or boat and had some glaring drawbacks.
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