Not so much for most of my readers--I'm sure you've got pretty solid kits already--but to demonstrate to newbies and those casually interested that a decent kit can be put together for not a ton of money.
For a more complete kit, still built with a budget in mind, check out the $40 a week series.
- Mora gets the nod here - the Military Mora is $16 on Amazon. Hard to beat a Mora in the under $20 price range.
- Two BIC lighters - $2
- Three pack of road flares - $6.50 at Autozone or similar. The kit is light on warmth stuff, so we want to make sure you can start a fire in lousy weather!
- A zip-loc of dryer lint or petroleum jelly cotton balls - free
- 4x 1L water bottles from the grocery store - $4
- Stainless Canteen Cup - $9.50 on Amazon
- Iodine tablets - $6.50 on Amazon
- Space All-Weather Blanket - $15 on Amazon
- Two or three contractor grade trash bags or drum liners - ~$4; can fill with debris for insulation and makeshift sleeping bag
- Bungee, cheap tent stakes and 50 feet of 550 cord - around $12
4000 to 5000 calories of low prep, shelf stable food. A big bag of trail mix and some protein bars will get you there pretty quickly. ~$20.
- Flashlight/Headlamp: A $20-$25 light. The Streamlight Propolymer 4AA is one example of a solid choice for the money - 67 lumens for 150+ hours. I haven't found a really cheap light that I've been impressed enough with to recommend. The cheapos I've tried (Costco, a couple from Amazon) have gone through various states of breaking within the first few days.
- Additional batteries for the light - $4
- Duct Tape - Steal some off that roll you've got kicking around the house: Free
- Safety pins, heavy needle & thread: ~$3 if you don't have it lying around already
- Hand sanitizer: $1
- Baby Wipes: $1
- 100% cotton Shemagh: $10
- Work Gloves: $5 from the hardware store
- Pocket AM/FM Radio: $9 on Amazon
For a pack, I would be really surprised if all this did not fit into a 5 gallon bucket, which you can get for $5 or so bucks at the hardware store. Alice frames are $25 on eBay, and then you bungee that bucket to the frame. The 5 gallon bucket gets you a big container and stores everything water tight. Or you could just get an old ALICE pack for $35-ish.
Most people have some kind of freebie duffle bag or old backpack laying around the house that could be made to work, too.
You could cut some corners on the above to squeeze the pack into the budget - drop the shemagh and replace with an old t-shirt or two, canteen cup for a #10 can, space blanket for a hardware store tarp, drop the road flares for some matches, paracord for hardware store line, go cheaper on the food, etc.
Pretty much a list off the top of my head - and certainly not perfect or without its holes. BUT, good starting place for those on a tight budget or putting together multiple kits. I'd look at adding a decent sleeping bag, compass, etc. down the road.