Survival Gear 

 November 10, 2020

By  Mike Millerson

You know it without anybody’s advice: having survival gear maximizes your chances of survival, whatever hard situation you may happen to be in. Such essentials as a compass, knife, bug-out backpack, pocket radio, first aid kit, or even an ax are great assistants of any survivor. Read the article and find out more about the gadgets and materials that can save your life one day.

What if it’s the end of the world or at least an extreme situation when you have no safe place anymore and should rely on your survival gear?

People usually are not prepared for such cases and events, and when a disaster happens, they suffer or even die. But there is a way to be sure that you are well prepared in the face of danger.

If you have already started to collect all the equipment needed, you still might not be sure about the completion of your shopping list. Is there a way to understand that you are fully equipped? Yes! That’s why we have created a detailed list of things you may need, including a survival knife and other useful items. With our list, you can be sure that you and your family will be safe from any kind of threat that suddenly appears.

It is easy to remember that you need a flashlight, a lighter, a generator, or a tent to survive in unpredictable circumstances or wild nature. But there is also a bunch of survival gear that you could forget about or even be unaware of. Let’s look at our page with a great list of the top 57 useful survival tools.

We should warn you that our list consists of only instruments. You will not see any supplies here: the things that can end because survivors will, for instance, eat them. The list of gear will reveal only the tools of high mobility you might use forever. The gear is split into themed sections for your convenience. We also added photos and videos, all rights reserved, to understand how every tool looks easily.

Before we start, check our preppers list. Our bug out bag list is our there as well.

Tools to Filter and Clean Water

Water is essential for humans’ bodies, and everybody knows that. You can survive for a while without food, but the length of your life will be cut quickly without liquid. In a situation of emergency, you will not necessarily have access to fresh and clean water.

However, there is a smart solution. It’s useful not only in case of emergency survival but also for camping-hiking moments. Here is the list of tools that will help you prepare water to drink it: filter and clean it.

1. A Bottle for Water

survival gear


Because water is a vital thing among survival items that everyone needs in an emergency moment, you have to ensure that your survival kit has a reusable water bottle. Imagine how stupid it is to finally reach a place where you can get the water, be completely thirsty, and don’t have an opportunity to create a drinking water stock.

The best solution would be a bottle of metal like stainless steel, not plastic. It will give you a chance to obtain boiling water. Be careful and consider bottles with one wall. If you get the bottle with a double-wall, it may explode when you warm it up.


2. Sawyer Mini Water Filter

A vital tool in your survival kit in conditions of emergency and no access to drinking water. With this filter, you don’t have to worry about catching tons of illnesses that occur when you accidentally consume water with bacteria or viruses.

This water filter will get rid of tiny parts and germs that pollute water and dangerous for your stomach. With this Sawyer Mini filter, you can be sure that your water is safe, and you won’t be affected by hazardous poisoning. Don’t forget about water purification tablets, an essential thing that you should add to the filter so it works.

If you want to see this filter in action, here is a video with a thorough review.

Survival Tents and Shelters

Ok, it is essential to consume water and feel your body with drinkable filtered liquid. But what if you suddenly find yourself without a place to sleep? Natural disasters may lead to a situation when people don’t have houses anymore, and everything is destroyed.

In wild nature, not having a particular survival shelter may cost lives. It is hoped that you will accidentally find something in the forest to lie down and not die because it’s freezing. But it’s smarter to protect yourself with a tent or something like that, isn’t it? And how about a camping-hiking situation?

Here are our preferable options regarding survival tent types:

3. Hammock

We got used to thinking of hammocks as pieces of furniture that help you lie down and relax. Here is a hint: survivors often use unique survival hammocks in emergency cases.

Imagine you are alone in a forest full of wild animals. How can you sleep on the ground, knowing that a bear can eat you for its dinner any time soon? This is why you may need a survival hammock in your survival kit. It is also easier to carry: you can roll a hammock up, and it will be a light thing compared with a huge tent.

4. Survival Tarp

Though survival tarps might seem a bit unreliable, trust us, a survival tarp is a lifesaver if you seek shelter. However, you shall spend a fair sum in a tarp of the highest quality. Economizing, in this case, is not an option.

Spend some time to find a tarp that ensures you will survive: it should be waterproof and firm. The most preferred material is ripstop, and your tarp should have plenty of spots for setting up and anchoring. If you make the right choice among the tarps, yours will protect you from any weather whim: from hard rain to a snowstorm. In the video review below, you will see an example of a great survival tarp.

In our list, you may find additional information about a survival tarp.

5. TACT Bivvy

bivy sack TACT Bivvy is an indispensable thing for all the shelters listed above. It is a warm, saving blanket that fits emergency cases perfectly. A bivy sack may fit as well. It’s surprisingly light: usually less than 10 ounces, easy to carry even for a kid.

This emergency blanket will help you not freeze even if the temperature reached 70 degrees Fahrenheit below zero.

6. Tent for Cold Weather

We have to admit that in some places, a tarp would not be enough. Because of the awful winter, with low temperatures and cold winds that blow constantly.

If you live in a cold place, consider buying a special tent for cold weather. A canvas tent may also be an option. The obvious disadvantage is the weight of the survival tents: usually, they are over 10 pounds each. But the result is worth it: you will be safe in the coldest forest.


You may check additional information in our guides about cold weather tents and survival tent choosing.


You see the word “weapons” and think: are we still talking about surviving in wilderness or an emergency case? Yes, we are, and we consider weapons an inevitable thing that should be included in a good survival kit.

We have chosen a couple (eight, to be honest) of things that you can use to defend yourself in unpredictable circumstances.

7. Bow

Bow A survival bow gives you an option to shoot, defend, or hunt without making any noise. With a bit of accuracy, your enemy will be unconditionally defended.

A firearm is useful, of course. But what if you need to hunt wild game and be unseen and unheard? Using a silent and quick arrow is better here than a loud gun.

8. Firearm

There is plenty of firearms (for instance, a survival gun or a good survival rifle) on the market, and to choose the perfect survival rifle or gun, you have to keep in mind several parameters: from precision and reliability to size and weight.

Think twice and explore some reviews before picking the best gun to help you survive because there are so many!

9. Homemade Survival Weapons

You can always apply your savvy intelligence to create some DIY survival weapons at home. It all depends on your brain, skills, and imagination.

Think of the ideas and get inspiration from the history of gun making. We didn’t always have automatic production of things in factories. Besides the satisfaction that you will get after you had produced something with your hands, you will get a survival weapon and spend money only on the materials that are usually cheap.

10. Bore Snake Pen
Bore Snake itself is not something that will defend you. But to shoot with your gun, you will need to clean it. And this is why you need a Bore Snake, which is a cleaning rod.

Every weapon has a different bore size, so choose carefully.

11. Tactical Pen

In the hands of a professional, a tactical pen turns into a dangerous weapon, but you can have one in your backpack just to be sure.


Also, check our tactical pen detailed guide.

12. Crossbow

An updated version of a survival bow, a crossbow of good quality, will be even greater in terms of silent shooting and precision.

If you are stuck in a forest and trying to feed your family with wild game, a crossbow is a perfect option.

13. Pepper Mace or Spray

A pepper spray is a useful thing, not only if you have to survive in the wilderness. Plenty of young girls have it in their clutch or pocket to defend if they meet a burglar or a rapist. So, the field of application is quite broad.

Among all the trademarks, we recommend Devil’s Juice. It has one of the highest Scoville rates (around 3 million), and the drop can be lethal. The mace is also convenient: you can prevent the approaching threat easily.

14. Stun Gun

Along with a pepper mace, a stun gun is a fantastic way to protect yourself if a threat is close. The electricity will punch an enemy and at least will make him or her fall.

A stun gun useful item to get a chance of running away and surviving and a popular non-lethal weapon.

Items to Start a Fire

When we speak of surviving, starting a fire is essential knowledge. An extreme situation may not be generous with perfect conditions, and you may often face awful weather and circumstances that will make a fire starting almost impossible.

But with some smart survival items, your chances are higher. You will find a lot of opti Tesla-Coil-Lighters ons because fire is one of the priorities in crazy conditions. Everybody needs them not only for emergency survival but for camping as well. Let’s see what’s on our list.

15. Lighter

It’s obvious: a simple survival lighter is the easiest way to get fire in most cases. But a regular lighter won’t work. You need a special one.

Take a closer look at premium products that will help out in terrible weather, like Tesla lighters. Middle-class Zippos are also fine but not the best. If you take the cheapest and ordinary lighter, your chances of success might slowly vanish, so we recommend to have a reliable Tesla device or any other brand backup.

16. Fire Laces

emergency-pocket-stove This item’s name reveals the secret: fire laces are your shoelaces that can start a fire. They have a special Ferro rod that works and a striker that you have to attach to your boots.

Absolute must need: you don’t have to carry fire laces with you, because you will be wearing them anyway!

17. Permanent Matches

It often happens that a match extinguishes before you even use it. Of course, if we are talking about ordinary matches. Check out our survival waterproof matches.

To prevent such a case in surviving conditions, always keep a spare pack of permanent matches in your pocket. Those survival matches are not afraid of water, and with waterproof matches, you will be able to light a fire in any conditions.

18. Fire Striker

Unfortunately, all lighters and matches can end, but you will still need fire. A fire starter is a deal, with thousands of strikes and possibilities to start a fire. You will have to learn a bit about using the Ferro rod, but the result of using a fire striker will impress you in the end.

19. Tinder Box

Grylls-Tinderbox We are used to hearing the word “tinder” in the context of the mobile dating app. But tinder is still the easiest way to start a fire! This item speaks in a language of efficiency.

And a tinder box is a great tool that will help you to get some tinder. Those boxes are equipped with shredders that will cut the wood into the tinder quickly. The fire-maker box’s content that you get after shredding and any fire starting tool will start a fire in a blink of an eye!

Gear with Blades

20. Knife

A survival knife is on the top of the bladed stuff for survivors. Every person that cares about his or her emergency kit has already purchased one.

You can use a survivalist knife in numerous cases that it has every right to be called an irreplaceable tool. Experienced survivalists also recommend taking a closer look at a unique survival machete.

21. Credit Card Tool

Some readers of this article who are not experienced in surviving yet might smile here. But a credit card is not only a method to pay but also a fantastic tool to survive.

A bladed card consists of over ten useful and tiny instruments that will help you survive, including a thin card knife. You can easily save money by buying it or a multi-tool that will fit in your pocket. Among all the products, check out Rescuecard or Survival Business Card.


22. Axe or Hatchet

You can easily imagine a case when you need to cut a tree of a massive piece of wood. Unfortunately, a knife will not be enough. So, an ax or a hatchet seems to be irreplaceable in a survival kit, especially in the woods.

What’s the difference? The size and weight. A survival ax is a bit more massive than a survival hatchet. Anyway, their abilities are almost the same.

Nowadays, there is a two-in-one option: you can find a hatchet with a pickaxe as an additional feature built-in the tool.


23. Multi-tool

A Multi-tool is a survivors’ must-have, especially for camping. Besides the knife and other useful things, it has pliers. It is a significant advantage that usually attracts consumers.

Even though a good-quality tool is pricy, consider providing yourself with it because sometimes your fingers and arms are not that strong. We recommend you to buy the tool that will have needle-nose pliers.

24. Shovel

A shovel with a blade is not a prominent survival tool. Many experts consider it useless. But it has several advantages: only with a bladed shovel you can dig deep and get rid of pounds of mud. You never know when you might need a shovel to make a trench, do you?

25. Blade Sharpener


Last but not least: without a blade sharpener, your knife-using will turn to failure through time.

Don’t forget to purchase a great sharpener and make it a part of your kit. Without it, all your knives and other bladed tools will be useless.

Rescue Tools

Sometimes you just get lost, left alone in a forest. We have listed the instruments that help you survive, but how about what will give you a chance to be found? Those light and tiny tools are essential and will improve your emergency preparedness.

26. Signal Mirror

Signal-Mirror Some survivors forget about this tool and consider it unnecessary. However, signal mirrors can save you in camping or emergency survival.

You can use it in two fatal cases: when you get lost in the woods or have no lighter or matches to light a fire.

With the magic of sunlight and signal mirror, a survivor may draw the rescuers’ attention, looking for lost people using a helicopter or a plane.

The fire option is not that simple and might take some time. Though, with some tinder, it’s easier. And we have warned you about the tinder box already!

Another positive side of the mirror is its size. Signal mirrors are usually small and light, so you can put them in a pocket and carry them just in case.

27. Survival Whistle

With this noisy instrument, you will be able to find help from someone you can’t even see: the ability of a small whistle spreads wide through miles. You can be exhausted to scream, but whistleblowing is easier and practical, of course.

A distinctive but recognizable sound of a whistle will let others know that a person is in trouble. Among the market leaders, you will see Survival Frog, which is a good option among survival whistles.

Gear for Communication

28. Walkie Talkie

In the wild nature, where you cannot use a socket to charge your phone, it must be a way to communicate with your group members.

Walkie talkies are a solution: you can exchange voice messages immediately at a distance (a couple of miles but still). Check out these survival portable means of communication.
Eton-SCORPION-Solar-Powered-Flashlight 29. Radio

Again, we don’t have Wi-Fi or stable internet in emergency survival. And we still want to feel connected to the world and find out some information: from the weather forecast to the news.

With a survivalist radio that needs no batteries or a socket, you are all set. Just go through the radio waves, and you will catch a channel eventually. It’s great not only in survival cases but also in a camping-hiking situation when you can get bored and start missing others’ voices. Check out the Eton Scorpion II hand-cranked radio, a great product of high-quality that will not let you down.

Illumination Gear

30. Headlamp

It is easy to explain what makes a tactical headlamp a popular emergency tool. Your hands will be free! You won’t have to carry a torch, and having a spare hand to pick something in case of survival is vital.

Also, imagine first aid when it’s dark. You need both hands and a source of light. A headlamp of good quality would be perfect!

31. Tactical Flashlight

You cannot be sure that you will survive without a critical source of light: a flashlight. Darkness comes not only in moments of emergency and survival. For instance, when you go to regular camping, it’s not only daylight that surrounds you. Finally, sometimes your apartment runs out of electricity because an incident had happened on the transmission lines.

Experienced survivors never ignore a flashlight in their emergency equipment. Don’t forget to put it in your backpack, too. If you get lost among all the products and trying to sort out which is the best, check out the FireHawk flashlight.

32. Lantern

A good quality lantern can be a powerful illumination source that will light your camping tent or help you survive during the night in an emergency. The market is full of different products, so you have an opportunity to select the perfect lantern that will fulfill your lighting needs. We recommend picking survival lanterns that work using the power of the sun.

Other Gear

We have reviewed the basics of the survival kits that everyone should consider when preparing for an emergency. In the following section, we have gathered the elements that might be necessary as well. But time goes by, technologies keep developing, and new protection products enter the American market. If you go through this list and feel a lack of some instruments, please contact us and suggest your ideas. And of course, before you finish online shopping for necessary gear and press a “close cart” button, recheck our list.

33. Watch

The further time goes, the fancier gadgets are, and a watch is not an exception. Even those who don’t plan any surviving activities tend to wear a watch that will show them some data besides the time. Consumers seek a watch with various settings that will reveal their fitness achievements and burnt calories, follow their sleep, and delicately wake them up in the morning.

Watch that attract survivors typically have high impact resistance. You will also find out some info like the altitude, the temperature, and other parameters in our survival watch guide. We have a favorite watch model: Rangeman Master of G Series watches that might suit your goals. Garmin is also famous for its smartwatch.
34. Bandana

Without a doubt, a survival bandana is a useful element of survival kits. Why? Because it doesn’t weight much and doesn’t take much space, but it can protect you from the burning sun. A survival bandana is also essential for your first aid kit: imagine if you have to stop the bleeding and no spare cloth. A neck gaiter is also a great survivalist item.

35. Bike

Not a prominent item of your kit. Yes, it is large compared to other things we have mentioned, and it is inconvenient to carry if something extraordinary happens.

Though we can’t exclude the possibility of EMP strikes, a petrol ending or breakage of public transport, anything can happen, so you should be prepared and have an option to move around. A bike for surviving now is capable of carrying you through the mountains and terrible roads. Check out this survival bike.

36. Stove

After all the fire lightning options that we have suggested, we can include a survival stove in a range of “luxury surviving.”

If you need to cook survival food or get warm, the instruments mentioned above will help, even though the process will be prolonged. But of course, a stove makes the life of survivors and cooking easier. Some of them can produce electricity, too. If you often go camping and prepare survival food, a rocket stove is worth buying.

37. Gas Mask

Of course, this is not an essential thing to survive. The cases when you die because you didn’t have a gas mask are rare. However, nobody knows what can occur, and without breathing even for a couple of minutes, the end will be near.

Unexpected air pollution or a disaster on a nuclear power station are things that, unfortunately, had happened before. And the inhabitants were not prepared at all. Maybe keeping a tactical gas mask in your room just in case is a brilliant idea?

38. Compact Binoculars

This item gives you an edge over your enemies that try to harm you while surviving or camping. With binoculars, you will be able to see at a long distance and prevent threats trying to approach you but don’t see you. Compact binoculars will make you aware of suspicious movements and things to keep you safe.

39. Snares and Traps

Of course, if you are smart enough, making a snare or a hidden trap will not be a hard task for you. However, having an option made by experts that is ready here and now might be useful. You can have a couple of spare traps but read the instructions thoroughly to use them correctly.

40. Perimeter Defense Alarms

If you want to stay discreet, these defense alarms will help. They will notify you with a sudden noise if someone approaches, and you will have time to leave silently while the enemy is shocked, trying to come to their senses.

Noizy alarms are also a useful element for camping in wild nature. Imagine a bear slowly getting to you while you and your family are asleep. The alarm will serve you to survive and avoid quick death.

To find out about booby traps, check our guide.

41. Fishing Pole

Some nature lovers go camping only because of a tasty fish soup that they will cook on an open fire. But to get fish, you might need a pole and other accessories!

Standard poles can be too big for camping or emergency. However, the market can already suggest the poles that weigh almost nothing and are convenient to carry. Try looking for a pocket fishing pole. Besides this option, you can search for a telescopic or a short rod.

42. Fishing Tackle

Well, we got the pole, but what should we do to attract fish? Having a fishing tackle with you is never unnecessary if there is a need to get some fish and cook emergency food. With hooks, fake worms, and other tackles, you will easily deal with the fish situation.

Without a tackle box, you might need to create your own hook that may not be attractive for the fish. Not the best option in a case where you just need to survive, right?

43. Spork

Okay, we have written many words that prove the importance of a knife in your kit. But what about a spoon and a fork? Kitchen utensils are the thing that even the experienced survivors can omit.

A spork is a simple and genius thing in a list of tools that combine numerous functions. It will fit in your pocket and help you eat anything from a plate: from soup to meat that you have to cut.

Of course, a camping tent is not a restaurant, and nobody will take your orders. But with a spork, you may feel civil and comfortable in any condition.

44. Survival Saw

This item saves lives in the woods! A special survival saw brings you relief when you realize that you have nothing to cut a tree or a wood piece. The saw’s key advantages are its weight and shape: comfy to carry and easy to use.

45. Portable Solar Charger

We have already warned you that you will not think much of charging your phone in case of emergency and threat of death. However, some moments when you’re trying to stay alive are related to using your gadgets.

Imagine getting lost somewhere and having your cell phone working. You can immediately open an app with digital maps, use GPS, and navigate yourself. The battery is dead.

For such cases, a portable solar panel charger is a saver of lives. All you need is a bit of the sun.

Let’s look at another example. You have planned a fantastic trip where you will both hike in the mountains and travel between different countries. Of course, it’s possible to write everything down in your notebook. But nowadays, being able to turn on your phone anytime and check your notes there sounds much better.

Among the winning offerings, you may see the Anytime Charge Power Bank Solar Charger. We recommend this portable charger to complete the set of gear that will help you survive. A portable solar generator would be a great upgrade.


46. Belt

Lots of men and women wear belts every time they go out. There is a special tactical belt for survivors and campers, a useful thing with pockets, details, and other stuff. A tactical belt is an essential item in your gear.

47. Cup

If a bottle is a must, a cup is optional. But it gives you a chance to eat freeze-dried food for your breakfast or drink some tea with comfort. Survival cups don’t take much space anyway.


48. Bolt Cutters

An item you will need in case the world stops living according to the laws. If you have to break through metal chains and various locks, bolt cutters are essential.

49. Battery Boost Charger

A vital thing if you plan to escape by car. This survival charger will save your battery if it suddenly stops working. Using a boost charger is much better than hitchhiking and going somewhere with someone you don’t know, right?

50. Slingshot

If you are a good shot, a slingshot is a wonderful idea. You probably won’t defend with it but shooting some game with rocks in a forest is possible.

51. Backpack

We have offered you 50 pieces of gear already, but you should have a reliable bag to put them somewhere. Numerous backpack options on the market will let you choose the perfect size, fabric, number of pockets…

We will leave a review on the Combat Bag produced by EVATAC so you can get an idea of special bags for survivors.

52. Poncho

A survival poncho is handy on a rainy day in everyday life. You will be happy not to get wet in unpredictable cases. Poncho will not take much space, but you will likely not get sick if you wear it under the heavy rain. Don’t forget to pick a poncho with a hood.

53. Paracord

A popular item among survivors, paracord can serve in tons of moments when you need to tie and connect something. Paracord is reliable and more comfortable to use than duct tape. There are over 15 ways of using these strong threads of unique material. A paracord bracelet is a must in your gear. Check out other paracord projects in our guide.

54. Compass

Getting lost in the woods is not the best way to start a day. Consider adding a compass to your gear, and the best option would be an outstanding military device. Usually, such compasses never make mistakes.

55. Tactical Boots

While surviving, you’ll probably have to walk miles and keep your feet safe and warm. Regular sneakers won’t work. Consider purchasing tactical boots of the highest quality that you will be able to use to survive and while walking and camping in a forest.
my medic 56. First Aid Kit

Survivors in extreme conditions can’t avoid incidents that lead to injuries. If you don’t clean the wound, the results can be lethal. With a first aid kit, you will be all set with medical stuff like painkilling pills, disinfectant, and a bandage.

We prefer MyMedic kits because of the elements inside and the size. Try MyMedic Solo kit or Recon kit models.

Additionally, see our guide about first aid kits.

57. Tactical Gloves

Survival is impossible without quality footwear. If you aim at long-term survival, invest in the survival gloves.


Why do I need survival gear in 2020?

Honestly, you always need this kind of gear, not only in 2020. History nows a bunch of moments when people were not prepared and died quickly. Wars, natural disasters, terrorism. Unfortunately, we are all surrounded by threats, and survival gear will help to prolong your existence.

How to buy inexpensive gear?

Nowadays, buying things is easy with the help of the internet. Try online shopping, don’t be lazy to spend some time on thorough research, and you will find cheap gear of good quality quickly.

Where to buy the best survival gear?

Again, the internet and online markets will help. However, if you prefer choosing stuff offline, consider visiting specialized markets and military shops.

What are the three essential survival contents that should be included in a survival kit?

Every person chooses his or her gear, considering the circumstances and the events they can predict. Everything is individual, so we have suggested essential elements in the first half of our article. We guess that the essential contents would be devices that help to drink without a problem, start a fire, and sleep in the wilderness.

Which survival gear can I make?

As we have mentioned, you can try making primitive weapons. Also, if you are a skilled tailor, try creating your poncho or backpack. The more experienced survivor you become, the more ideas will appear.

Mike Millerson

A former USA Army sergeant and a highly educated survivalist and prepper with a degree and interest in Engineering and Electronics, Mike Millerson applies his extensive expertise in survivalism, homesteading, backpacking, hiking and hunting, spreading his deep knowledge about handling emergencies and prepping for them reasonably and effectively. In the core of his principal mission is a desire to be a helpful guide into the world of survival for all those who seek practical advice in the rapidly changing world.

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