Must-Have Survival Gear

Must - Have Survival Gears

You’re a survivalist. Someone who knows what it takes to survive in less-than-desirable situations.

When the chips come down, you’re there to be relied on, and maintain some level of peace and normalcy.

It’s up to you, so you need the right survival gear for the occasion.

We’ve broken it down into different categories to help organize things. There’s obviously a lot of gear to consider, so let’s go over each piece briefly and explain why you need it.

What Exactly is a Survival Situation?

US Floods

A survival situation is one where a higher than average risk is posed of you being injured or killed.

Some argue that their “philosophy” is that everyday is a survival situation. Well, not in this context it isn’t.

We all know that anything could happen at any moment—car crash, heart attack, sudden fall—but we aren’t in a survival situation just because life might happen.

A survival situation is when the status quo changes. When you’re suddenly at odds with the majority, where you’re facing injury or pain, where you might starve, remain lost, or suffer from conditions beyond your control.

Economic collapse, rioting, falling during a hike, avalanches, coyote attacks, hostile takeovers, power grid failure, hurricanes, snowstorms—the list goes on and on.

Those all put you in a position where you have to fend for yourself. You’re in danger, and your instincts are going absolutely wild like a California fire.

You’ll know a survival situation the minute you get into it. But that isn’t good enough; you need to be prepared for them when they happen.

Many survivalists will say the same thing. They never want to be put into those situations, but they’ll be damn ready if it does happen.

Reasons to be Prepared for Every Situation

Army Handing out food after disaster

Starting from the top reason, let’s work our way down this list to put everything into proper perspective.

1. Basic survival. Pit yourself against the odds, and understand the risk of you not making it out alive. That’s going to kick in your survival instincts, and you’ll do anything to survive through a situation.

2. Safety of others. You want your family to survive; it’s just basic human emotions if nothing else. You need them to be okay, so you’ll do anything to ensure their safety.

3. Preserving your way of life. Survival situations are short-term, in most cases. When the curtains come down and you attempt to get back to the way things are, you want to be sure that there’s a life to get back to.

4. Preventing hunger. Yes, it’s similar to just simply surviving in a situation, but starvation is an entirely different fear. Whether it’s just you or your entire family, nobody wants to die by starving.

5. To retain peace. If you’re not prepared, then when a situation strikes, even if you get out of it, you’re going to be left mentally rattled. Your family will feel the same way. If you have a game plan for everything, there’s constant belief in your competency, and people close to you need that.

Must-Have Gear Every Self-Respecting Survivalist Owns or Knows of

Let’s categorize each of these for different purposes, so we can better differentiate what order to acquire these survival items in.


Equipment used to gather materials:

Axe or Hatchet

Axes, or their smaller counterparts are both extremely useful in survival scenarios. For the sake of carry weight and space, a hatchet is probably a better pick.

Gathering lumber for a campfire, to build an emergency shelter, or to whittle away some wood for a harpoon to fish with are all great reasons to have a hatchet for collecting lumber.

Be certain that you have a proper sheath to keep the blade in when not in use. These can also be used for self-defense weapons if need be.

Pocket Knife

The ultimate tool that comes in handy more than anything else. You don’t just need a pocket knife, you need a good one that’s built to last.

High carbon steel, ergonomic handle—you get the drill. These are versatile, and come in handy far more often than you think.

Whether it’s used for self-defense or utility, you’ll be reaching for it time and time again in a survival situation. Use them to clean freshly caught fish, animals from snares, and everything else in between.

Make sure every member of your party is requipped with one.

Water Filtration System

These are probably the most useful things you’ll ever bring with you.

You have personal filters, which are like the LifeStraw—these will create water just for your, and don’t have a way to store more for later.

Then you have gravity-fed systems that clean the water for you as the minutes pass by, and give you more for later.

These are important because you never know how long you’ll have to stay away from home. In the event of a national crisis, you can stalk the radio to find out when the threats have subsided.

For something more likely, such as a hurricane and long-term blackout, these help when you don’t know how long it’s going to be until the power comes back on.


Places that secure you shelter:


Basic shelter. Protection from the rain, from the heat of the sun during summers and hot times, and most importantly, a place to establish some normalcy.

Whatever situation happened, it can’t be good—you’re camping in the wilderness to survive. You’d might as well make the most of a bad situation.

Having a tent at-the-ready makes everything feel a bit less hectic if you have to bug out.

Sleeping Bag or Sleeping Pad

Nobody wants to sleep on the cold, hard ground. Your body lowers its temperature when you sleep, and it gets coldest in the middle of the night as well.

That can spell disaster.

Your immune system is basically on rest mode, and it’s susceptible to a lot of harm. You need a comfortable sleeping bag that’s going to insulate you, or at the very least, a sleeping pad so your bodily warmth isn’t absorbed into the ground below.


It’s impossible to know everything that’s near you when you set up a campsite. In a survival situation where you’re roughing it into the woods until further notice, every night is another chance for something to go wrong.

Unless you don’t let that happen.

Hammocks aren’t just for sleeping above the ground; you can store your food up here as well. Heck, you can put most of your personal belongings up in a hammock.

Depending on the time of year and the climate, you can use a hammock to hide yourself among the trees if other survivors pose a threat.


Items that will store your materials for later use or keep them safe.

Silicone Bags

These are generally food-safe so you can store foraged food in them, as well as leftovers (if there are any) from your rations. Alternatively, they can be used for just about anything else, whether it’s storing wet clothes or trash.

High Denier Nylon Drawstring Bags

Denier is a rating you’ve seen all over the place, but you might not know about. Look at a survival drawstring bag, and see 600D nylon or something along those lines.

The D is for denier, and it signifies how thick the exterior is. How many threads there are, to be precise. You want high denier bags to hold onto your belongings so they don’t get waterlogged or mishandled.

This also makes them tear resistant, and in some cases, puncture-proof. You never know what’s going to happen in a survival situation, whether it’s from nature or not.

Waterproof Survival Backpack

Look, the waterproof part of this cannot be stressed enough. What good is your backpack going to be if your clothes get waterlogged and your bagged food gets soaked?

Waterproofing should be on the exterior as well as the interior. The thicker the thread count on the outside, the better. The higher the denier rating, the better (like we mentioned before).

Gun Holsters

Well, you can’t just carry it over your shoulder with your finger on the trigger.

In most survival scenarios for survival, you do not want to make enemies, you just need to be ready in case they present themselves.

You could run into other survivors, and what are they going to assume if your gun is out or not cased properly? That you’re trouble. Who could blame them?

Whether it’s a sidearm or a full over-the-shoulder case for your rifle, keep it sheathed. Have quick access, but don’t wave it around.

Airtight Aluminum Water Bottles

Once you’re able to clean your water, you need somewhere to store it properly.

Plastic bottles can be okay, but they allow UV light in, which breaks down plastic. That leaches those chemicals into your water.

The last thing you need is a compromised immune system. Ingesting that garbage isn’t going to necessarily make you sick or feel fatigued, but it isn’t going to help, either.

Aluminum doesn’t leach into the water. It’s also better for temperature controlling your water.

If you drop one of these, no harm no foul. You drop a plastic bottle? It could easy split open, and you’ve wasted water that you had to spend time cleaning.


Items that enable you to see at night:

LED Lantern

This will work for the whole party, giving off light in a rough 80 square feet of space on all sides (on average).

That’s enough to illuminate a campsite. It will draw more attention than the fire, but visibility is undeniably important at night. You need a clear perimeter while someone is on watch.

LED lanterns can come solar powered, so you won’t have to rely on spare batteries (though there are also slots for batteries in case you need them).

This will be your go-to light source. Most internal lithium-ion batteries can last for upwards of a month on lower lighting modes.

Zippo Lighter

Zippo Flames

There’s no need to make things complicated on yourself. You need to start a fire, so why fiddle with matches?

Later on, we’ll talk about paracord bracelets, which tend to come with fire starters. Consider those your backup.

This isn’t camping. It isn’t for fun. You need to be able to light a fire quickly and effectively.

A zippo lighter can also be used in lieu of a proper light source if you’re trying to find your way around a cramped space or you’re going outside at night. It’s a great low profile way to get some visibility.

Tactical Flashlight

This works for multiple reasons. First of all, they usually have enough lumens to temporarily blind somebody.

If you’re in a survival situation and somebody is trying to take your supplies by force, this is a warning shot.

Then, there’s the bezel to consider. The rim around the light is usually lightly serrated, making it a non-lethal force to stave off attackers.

As for lighting, these things can often stretch across two football fields. They’re powerful on foggy nights or if you’re trying to flag somebody down.

Most tactical flashlights also come with strobe SOS modes, so if you’re stranded somewhere, you can use it to signal nearby aircrafts to help you out.


If you have a solar powered LED lantern, why would you need a candle?

Because they’re low profile. You can only turn those lanterns so low; they have high lumen outputs, so they draw more attention.

Minimal candlelight isn’t always conspicuous. You can blow the candle out quickly, and light them up with a single match or strike from your lighter.

Plus, what if your lantern’s solar panel breaks, or it’s ridiculously cloudy for a few days? Always comes in handy. Candles are reliable.


Items that allow you to safely travel in the right directions:

Paracord Survival Bracelet

Paracord is amazing. With one bracelet, you’re spending about five bucks, and getting 10-18 feet of paracord—super durable, works as a harness, a rope, hanging a hammock, and anything in between.

It’s excellent stuff, and it just wraps around your wrist until you actually need it. Unravel it, or use the attached tools that also act as a clip.

They usually come with miniature compasses, fire starters, and small blades to cut the paracord with if you need it in a survival situation.

We listed this under travel because it’s something that’s very situational. Travelling means visiting new places, and you might need these tools or the paracord itself in the middle of your trek. We can think of a few situations where it would come up.

Emergency Flares

You’re travelling, and the national emergency is coming to an end. Then you slip and get stuck.

A lot can happen while you’re travelling, and an emergency flare will signal rescuers, or at the very least other survivalists who wouldn’t mind lending a helping hand.

If you get stuck in a situation you can’t get out of, like being stuck in a ravine or being gravely injured, your best bet is to signal somebody.

For this, you’ll either need a flare gun, or to carry that Zippo we mentioned earlier to get things going.

Inflatable Kayak

It might be a bit dodgy to carry, but that’s where the trick of it is.

Inflatable kayaks are usually used by outdoor enthusiasts, but you can’t deny how convenient it would be to have one in a SHTF situation.

Most of them have high weight limits as well, so you can feel comfortable in them when you stow your gear in.

Inflatable kayaks aren’t exactly a cheap purchase, but how many other backpackers are going to have this ultra mobile secret with them?

Whether it’s a river you need to move down or you have to shove off down the coast, it’s convenient to have.

Insulated Hunting Boots

How long are you going to be out? A week? A month? Will home ever be safe again?

Even if it’s not necessarily the right season for it, you need to have insulated boots to help you travel from A to B. Insulated boots tend to come with more ankle support and overall durability as well.

Insulated doesn’t have to mean your feet are going to sweat. You don’t need -25° F temp ratings, just something that can keep you comfortable at about ten degrees or so.

Geared Up and Loaded for Bear

You’ve planned, you’ve prepped, and now you know what you need to survive in multiple scenarios.

When fate comes calling, you’re going to be prepared to fight back and either stand your ground, or effectively run like hell to safety.

Surviving in one of these worst-case scenarios isn’t about bravado, it isn’t about pride or proving who’s right: it’s just about surviving, pure and simple.

If you’re alive, you’re surviving. If your game plan involves shelter, medical supplies, food, energy sources, and a safe haven, then you’re going to survive.

Take this knowledge and this long list of essentials, and protect your family when the wolves come rapping at the door.

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