18 Survival Gear Must Haves

With so many choices available for survival gadgets, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. In fact, those who are new prepping can actually spend a ton of money unnecessarily trying to buy every type of supply they will need. It’s actually more important to get the most bang for your buck.

Here are some of the survival items that are most popular for not only new preppers but those with more experience under their belts as well. And we’re gonna start with none other than the…


1. Personal Water Filter

First sold in 2005, the Lifestraw portable water filter won Time Magazine’s ‘Invention of the Year’ and is used by leading NGOs for global humanitarian relief.

  • It’s compact and ultralight-weight, making it the most advanced personal water filter on the market.
  • It’s chemical free and doesn’t use a battery, so you can use it whenever you like.
  • There are no delicate moving parts, which means it’s resilient to damage and won’t break easily in tough terrain.
  • The device weighs only 2oz. It contains cutting-edge technology in the form of hollow-fiber membranes, small porous tubes that allow water to pass through, but prevents contaminants larger than 0.2 microns from entering.
  • It doesn’t rely on batteries!
  • LifeStraw enables you to drink right from water sources, such as puddles, streams and freshwater pools. Simply uncap the caps at each end and submerge the bottom end of the straw in water, keeping the mouth-piece dry. Allow the water to seep through the pores for half a minute, and then suck a couple times to get the flow going.
  • After each use, blow into the end of the straw, to clean and remove debris.
  • You’ll have fresh, bacteria-free water without the fuss. LifeStraw has been lab-tested and proven to remove a range of harmful water-borne bacteria, including Cholera, E.coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter. There’s also no aftertaste when using LifeStraw.
  • Remember that LifeStraw does not desalinate water or remove dissolved chemicals and minerals. It is also not effective against viruses that may be present in the water source. Try treatment tablets if you suspect your water has been contaminated by a virus or human waste.
  • LifeStraw is the perfect device for the light traveler or backpacker, and is an ideal addition to your BOB.

2. Compact Blanket

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Another BOB essential the Matador blanket, this patented super-blanket is versatile and hardy.

  • It’s compact enough to fit into a small bag or purse, yet stretches out to a substantial size of 55” X 44”. It even comes with an ‘easy-pack’ pattern which will guide you in folding the blanket back into its storage pouch.
  • The weighted corners keep it grounded in windy conditions, so you won’t have to worry about your blanket blowing away while you sleep.
  • It’s water-resistant to keep you clean, warm and dry.
  • The anti-puncture fabric will protect you from spiny twigs, thorns, rocks, sand and insects and ensure you have a comfortable night’s rest, even in the harshest conditions.

3. Paracord “Grenade” Survival Kit

There are plenty of these going around.

  • This bomb-proof survival kit contains your basic essentials: fire starter, alcohol pad, tinder, aluminum foil, a fishing kit (including lines, hooks, weights and swivels), a knife blade, and 500lb of Paracord – depending on which one you get. These basics are the hardest to improvise when you’re stuck in the wilderness, so it’s a good idea to have them ready to go in an emergency.
  • Paracord can be lashed, tied or pulled apart to serve a number of nifty uses. Create a sling, use it to tie firewood together, pick it apart for some fishing line or create a pulley line with it. The possibilities are almost endless.
  • Aluminum foil is a survivor’s best friend, and can be used for signaling, cooking and reflecting heat.
paracord rope ladder

4. 550 Paracord

  • This very sturdy paracord contains 7 inner threads, each of which are made up of 3 strands.
  • With a diameter of 1, 8’ and an impressive load-bearing capacity, it is far stronger than the commercially-available 550 civilian cord.
  • It’s easy to cut when needed and the ends can be melted to combat fraying.

5. Fire Starter

  • This is a small fire starter with a metal rod for striking against the ferrocerium rod.
  • The waterproof storage compartment will keep your tinder dry and is large enough to store four cotton balls comfortably.
  • Its lanyard cord will keep the device close to your body. The emergency whistle attached adds extra safety.
  • Besides assisting you in building a quick, robust fire, this fire starter comes with a land-to-air rescue and SOS instruction booklet, to make sure you get help as soon as possible.
  • The device is water-resistant, sturdy and carries a lifetime warranty.
  • A smooth, sweeping motion is recommended when starting a fire with this device. This allows for greater friction against the fire steel and more chances of getting a spark in seconds.
  • Before first-time use, be sure to strip the rod’s black outer coating away to expose the metal beneath.

6. Solar + Hand-Crank Emergency Radio

These are multi-use survival items that let you communicate during any disaster or grid-down situation.

  • You’ll never have to rely on batteries again, because the Solar Handcrank Emergency Radio is solar or hand-powered.
  • It’s a flashlight, cellphone charger, AM/FM radio and alarm hybrid, with a beacon and siren thrown in for good measure: the ideal disaster preparedness gadget!
  • The compact, dependable device contains an integrated rechargeable battery that needs only the sun or hand cranking to charge.

7. Small LED Flashlight

  • This small flashlight does everything you expect from a mini light. Its miniature size, impressive brightness, and adjustable focus make it essential for your EDC or get home bag, illuminating the treacherous path ahead.
  • The design is scratchproof and waterproof.
  • The brightness output can reach around 500 lumens, giving off a blinding effect, a perfect deterrent for unexpected foes.
  • This can be recharged via USB, phone charger, so you can plug it into a small solar panel.

8. Wood Burning Camp Stove

This camp stove is easy to maintain and provides the benefits of both a power charger and a light-weight camp stove, enabling you to charge key items while your meal is cooking.

  • All you need to do is collect twigs or kindling as fuel because it’s able to operate on any biomass available. Say goodbye to heavy, expensive gas that pollutes the environment, weighs down your pack, and may be very hard to come by when SHTF.
  • It’s quick to light, boils fast and is easy to use. This highly efficient stove uses proprietary thermoelectric technology to covert heat to electricity.
  • At maximum burn, the fire can boil a 1-liter pot of water in only 4 minutes.
  • The heat from the cooking fire converts into usable electricity, allowing you to recharge your LED lights, cell phones, USB-chargeable devices and other gizmos while you prepare a hearty dinner. Twenty minutes of charge time gives you 60 minutes of talking time on most smartphones.
  • This BioLite CampStove makes use of renewable sources for fuel and decreases your carbon footprint, without relying on solar power.
  • When SHTF and the power lines are down, you’ll be happy you chose this fuss-free cooker. Plus, you can sit around it and toast marshmallows, if the mood strikes you.

9. Tactical Pen

They do say that the pen is mightier than the sword. This has never been more true for a heavy-duty writing tool like this one.

  • The high-performance pen is not only a tool for jotting down important survival notes; it’s also a self-defense weapon.
  • It has excellent anti-skid properties, complete with a diamond thread designed handle and effective tactical action.
  • The body is made from aviation aluminum material, making it practical and durable.
  • The cartridge is a common size, making replacements easy to come by.
  • It is fully retractable with no mechanical glitches and there is no risk of it leaking even when securely clipped to clothing or belts.
  • This is a solidly-built pen, so it may take some practice to master its textured grip and weightiness.

10. Small Back-Up Knife

Along with your main survival knife, you should definitely consider a smaller EDC knife – just in case something happens to the larger one.

  • This 7-inch, full-tang stainless steel blade is perfect for cutting robust paracord, as a spear head, or for splitting kindling. Plus, it comes with a fire starter, so you’re good to go!
  • The magnesium-alloy fire starter is a small steel rod which can be scraped with the knife blade to create a spark.
  • If your new knife is a little on the blunt side, simply sharpen it with a pocket sharpener.

11. Swiss Army Knife

  • This iconic knife comes with a lifetime warranty and the superior quality of Swiss precision engineering.
  • Its 33 dynamic tools can be used for a myriad of activities, from scaling trout to rewiring an electronic device.
  • The variety of implements, including blades, openers, pliers, scissors, files and saws will cover you in any sticky situation. It even includes a pressurized ballpoint pen.
  • The 3-and-a-half-inch knife fits beautifully into a jacket pocket or BOB, equipping you to take on any challenge the great outdoors throws at you.

12. Hand-Crank Chainsaw

  • The PockeTech is not only a quality high limb-hand chainsaw, it is also light-weight and compact.
  • It can come really handy if you need to cut out a thicker branch to clear your way while bugging out.

13. Waterproof Matches

These are the superheroes of matches. Weather-resistant and reliable, they’re a must-have for any bug out bag, get home bag, or even EDC.

  • Even in bad weather, these strong-lighting matches won’t lose their glow. They’re packaged in a water-tight tube, which includes a waterproof coating and a striking surface.
  • The matches have large heads for maximum burning time and lighting efficiency, even when damp. These aren’t your typical birthday candle lights: they are designed to continue burning until the fuel has been exhausted, so don’t expect them to be easily blown out.

14. Space Blankets

  • These tightly-folded blankets are individually packed in Ziploc bags, making them compact and perfect for light-weight packs. When spread out, it expands to the size of a regular bed sheet.
  • Mylar is designed to keep your body temperature regulated, no matter what the environmental conditions.
  • Make sure you have a good supply of these emergency warmers nearby, because when SHTF, you may be exposed to the elements for hours, even days, before you can build or find shelter.

15. Waterproof Notebook

  • Every aluminum survival pen needs a handy pad of waterproof paper to complete it.
  • This pocket-sized paper pad serves as a preps check list, and is durable, waterproof and tear-proof.
  • Even if your notepad is drenched by a sudden downpour or a leak in your pack, it’ll stay usable, once the slight moisture has evaporated.
  • When SHTF, you’ll need to communicate with others, write inventories, keep logs and take notes on your surroundings. With a 50-page count and unmatched durability, this little notepad is the perfect writing companion.

16. Folding Shovel

  • This steel entrenching tool uses a tempered steel blade equipped with teeth for cutting and slashing.
  • It contains a compact folding shovel and pick, and comes with a nylon carry sheath.
  • When you need to move sand, snow or dirt to clear your path, dig a hole to dispose of waste or dig out a fire pit, a folding shovel is indispensable.
  • The triangular folding steel handle is designed to fit snugly in your hand.
  • In an unpredictable, constantly changing environment, this handy tool is both deadly and effortlessly easy to wield.

17. Portable Solar Panel

  • A portable and consistently reliable power source, it will cover you when you’re off the grid by charging your small devices such as phones, tablets, emergency radios and flashlights.
  • Durable, flexible solar panels can be easily folded up in a BOB for effortless storage.

18. LED Headlamp

  • Equipped with 18 super-bright white LEDs and 2 red, this neat headlamp provides visibility and defense while out in the wild.
  • You can adjust the brightness levels and toggle between white and red lights.
  • It takes 3 AAA batteries, which are included.
  • The secure, adjustable head strap keeps the headlamp in place even during vigorous movement, such as running, gathering wood, or hunting.
  • It’s shockproof and vibration proof, which means you can do almost anything while enjoying reliable, long-life lighting. The high-end white LEDs, with advanced optical design, last over 30 000 hours!

When you’re off the grid, having the best survival gear can make life a whole lot easier. Even for the seasoned prepper, buying gear that’s right for your needs, environment and the kind of disaster you might face can be tricky terrain.

Can you think of any other survival gadget must-haves to add to the list?

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