13 Survival Items You Won’t Need in the Wilderness

OK, they may not be completely useless but we are trying to assemble our survival bags with the least number of items. We need to keep our bags as light as possible, and do it all without breaking the bank.

man ready to hunt with his backpack, rifle, bandana and hat
man ready to hunt with his backpack, rifle, bandana and hat

So if you’ve even thought about buying some of the items below, I’m hoping this will change your mind (particularly since you’ll get alternatives to each of them).

Keep in mind that, although some of these things are convenient, they might not be necessary, particularly if your bug out bag is heavy and you’re trying to shave some pounds off of it.

Foldable Chairs

Folding chairs are nice if you’re planning a barbecue, but do you really need them in a survival situation? My guess is that you won’t. I wouldn’t even put them in my bug out vehicle; I’d rather stock it with other emergency supplies or just leave empty space for something I may obtain later.

Flare Guns

Flare guns are something that are best suited for a survival expedition than a bug out bag, unless you plan to bug out in a mountain area.

If you’re not in the mountains, you probably won’t have any trouble finding people. In fact, I’d be more worried about not being found.


  • a signaling mirror
  • colored duct tape
  • waterproof matches + cotton balls soaked in Vaseline
red duct tape hanging from tree branch to mark trail
Red duct tape like this one hanging from tree branch to mark trail will help you find your way back should you get lost.

The problem with flare guns is that unlike signaling mirrors, they have no alternative uses.

Cheap Survival Knifes

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Your survival knife is just not something you want to compromise on. You need something good. Mine is a Morakniv Companion MG and it’s one of the best out there. It’s very affordable, too.

Wire Saws

Most wire saws aren’t that good anyway and some of them even break when you fold them!

Alternatives: knives, axes, chainsaws, anything you can use to cut things.


There’s no need to tell you a lot of the survival items are made in China so, needless to say, a lot of them are just cheap knock-offs. There are plenty of good multi-tools out there, such as the ones from Leatherman.


You’ll find toothpicks are easy to make if you have wood and a knife. And, besides, floss is way better AND has more uses than toothpicks.

Trekking Poles

Some people love trekking poles, others don’t. Depending on your health and your fitness level, you may or may not want to pack these. You can always use your survival knife to cut a nice wooden stick if you need it later.

Plastic Forks, Spoons and Knives

Ever cut your tongue with a plastic spoon? Ever broke your plastic fork and had the fork tines remain inside your food? Then you know what I’m talking about. Metal utensils are the best.

Besides, in a long-term SHTF scenario, you’re much better off using metal utensils because you’ll have less garbage piling up.

Burning plastic won’t work, so you might as well sacrifice a little bit of water to wash the ones made of metal. And if you can’t afford to spare a little bit of water to do wash dishes, you’ve got bigger things to worry about.


Now, I’m not trying to say condoms are useless, it’s just that keeping them as back-ups inside your bug out bag to carry water is somewhat of an extreme scenario so, unless you’re looking to get lucky along the way, I’d suggest you keep them at home or your bug out location.

Lock Picking Devices

Again, you may use one at some point, but it shouldn’t be that high on your shopping list. There are just more important things to do.


…and other things you’d take for entertainment purposes such as a harmonica or a guitar. Unless you’re good at them, maybe.

Rambo Knives

They’re useless because they break. A lot.

Any Item You Don’t Know How to Use

It doesn’t matter if you have it, what matters is you know how to use it. SHTF situations are no time to learn new skills. Make sure you carefully analyze and practice every tool and weapon you buy.

useless survival items pinterest image

8 thoughts on “13 Survival Items You Won’t Need in the Wilderness”

  1. Ever been shot with a Flare Gun? I think not! when I drove a big rig a lot of truck drivers carried 20mm flare guns. No lic. crossing state lines no problem

    1. That is smart on the road. I don’t own one but in the sticks I have 2 long bows, a med sized cross bow and a wrist rocket style slingshot. I can shoot rocks or arrows with that. At home I have favorite items. On the road, I meet the law. And hope to defend myself if needed.

  2. good common sense advice,,,what I liked best was…. use quality items not cheap…..I would rather have a $1.69 Bic lighter then a 69 cent generic… but thats me

    1. Bemused Berserker

      That’s a Huuge “You’ve Got That Right,” on Bics over cheapo 5 for a $1.00 Lighters. I spent an awfully cold night years ago, thanks to a cheapo lighter that leaked its butane out during the hike in.
      I also recommend buying the light colored Bics, because it’s easier to see the level of fuel remaining than the dark colors. I also put a 5/8″ ID 3/32″ thick “O” ring around the top. It slips under the fuel button lever and prevents it getting pushed by other items in my bag or pack.

    2. Only brand I will buy. Found some in a store that had been closed 10+ years that I did some work on for a new owner and they worked! I bought a bunch of the Multi-purpose ones with the long snout like you would want to light a fire with. I have these to use with the gas stove in my apartment. Gas works with no power but the igniter needs AC, forget using the oven. Has one of those blasted glow-bars.
      LOL even found Twinkies wrapped in cellophane on a shelf. Even rats and mice passed over them for other stuff. Opened one for fun and it was still “Fresh” if that’s the right word.

    1. As a kid I might have but I preferred a metal plate and enameled cup or a simple mess kit. I can eat or drink or cook with them as desired. I guess you realise a bird wing, handful of grass or your hat can fan you as well.
      If I wanted entertainment I’d carry a harmonica or a deck of cards on my pocket.

      1. Bemused Berserker

        I have a small guitar that straps to my pack. It goes with me. Yamaha made them and called it a Guitalele. Smaller than the Travel Guitars, and tuned a fourth higher. I bought my wife a reproduction Baroque Pochette (pocket) Violin. A lot smaller than a regular violin.
        Music, for us, is a huge morale booster.

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