When time is of the essence, you need to be able to think and act quickly. Survivalists understand how critical this requirement is, and prepare carefully-packed survival bags to have on-hand during an emergency.
A bug out bag (BOB), is a portable kit composed of all the survival tools one could possibly need to outlive a disastrous situation. If it’s packed with the best survival gear, a bug out bag should be able to sustain you for at least 72 hours—thus inspiring The SEVENTY2 Survival Backpack.
Avoid being another search and rescue statistic and come equipped with a survival toolkit to call upon during unexpected emergencies. In 2016 alone, The National Park Services reported evacuating and flying 2,383 passengers during rescue missions, showing just how common emergencies are and how prepared you need to be.
If you’re unsure which is the best survival gear to include within your bug out bag essentials, read through this list of high-quality survival items that can keep you prepared for whatever life throws your way.
Qualities of Good Survival Tools
It’s important to understand what makes a good survival tool versus what constitutes a low-grade product. Space is limited, so be sure to fill your kit very selectively.
High-quality equipment has certain characteristics that are beneficial to survivalists and can better your chances of making it out of danger. In order to procure the best survival took kit, keep your eye open for the following qualities:
- Size: As noted, you’re severely limited when it comes to the space you have within your survival kit, so the size of your survival tools should be among your top priorities. Whenever possible, go with the smallest, most compact option available. Look for good survival tools that are easily collapsible and concealable.
- Weight: In order to bring your survival tools on any adventure, you’ll want them to be as lightweight as possible. Take advantage of materials that are light in composition, but make sure they’re still tough enough to do their job. A lightweight windbreaker, for example, is great to have on hand, but without a thermal layer it may be ineffective.
- Practicality: Don’t weigh yourself down with unnecessary items. You might feel confident about the ways in which you can use a can opener, but is it essential if you already have a multi-tool on you? Try to reduce the number of items you carry; the longer you travel, the more grateful you’ll be.
- Durability: If you’re downsizing and relying on that multi-tool, make sure it’s durable enough to handle a variety of tasks. Don’t settle on cheap survival tools as they’re typically poorly manufactured and made with weak material—you want to be sure that you can count on your items to perform their assigned tasks during an emergency.
- Versatility: Finally, high-quality survival tools are versatile and can help you save weight and room within your kit. Why bring three items when you can use one to do the same job? Find efficient survival gear which can easily be converted to switch functions and execute a different task.
Now that you know what to prioritize when shopping for the best survival tools, read through this list of the most important items to include in your survival kit for when times get tough.
Top Survival Gear
Survival gear includes the items that will address your most basic survival needs: food, shelter, warmth, and so forth. If you’re trying to curate the best survival kit, make sure you pick up the following essentials:
- Head Protection
Hats are handy in survival scenarios for a variety of reasons. They can help keep you cool and protect your face against the harsh sun. Conversely, as the temperature drops at night, a hat will prevent heat from escaping through your head and can assist with keeping you warm.
When you’re stranded in nature, survival depends on weathering the roughest environments Mother Nature may throw your way. These jackets can help protect you against the elements by maintaining your body heat. As an added bonus, they’re incredibly small and lightweight, so they can easily be added to your survival kit.
- Rain Poncho
If you don’t want to include a windbreaker, be sure to at least bring along a rain poncho on your expedition. If you want to survive, you’ll need to stay dry, otherwise, you risk exposing yourself to hypothermia and a multitude of ailments. Ponchos are small and take little space within your survival kit.
- • Survival gloves
It’s important to keep your hands warm, so pick up a pair of gloves designed for cold weather. The best survival gear should never impede your dexterity, so make sure your gloves are not only durable, but also textured so they won’t interfere with your ability to operate any survival tool.
- Spare socks
You cannot afford to get trench foot or severe blisters as you struggle to survive, so it’s imperative to rotate a fresh pair of socks daily. Opt for socks made from wool material, which is thick, warm, and comfortable when walking long distances. Pack a pair, wear a pair, wash, dry, rotate, and repeat every day.
A pair of safety goggles can help you see clear when the air quality is poor while offering eye protection if you need to use your survival hatchet. Use a comfortable, lightweight pair that offers a snug fit.
Bandanas are some of the best survival gear because of the many benefits they can provide someone in a dire situation. Wear a bandana for sun protection or dip it in water and tie it around your neck to stay cool. Use it for personal hygiene, by wiping and cleaning, as a bandage, or to immobilize a splint. They can even be used as a rope to complete a variety of tasks, so don’t leave home without one.
- Air filtration mask
If you don’t have a bandana, you should pack an air filtration mask. When particles are in the air or smoke pollutes your environment, you’ll need to find a way to breathe. Don’t overlook this potential lifesaver; the best masks are super thin and won’t occupy much room in your bug out bag.
The best survival bags include a tourniquet. This device can stop the flow of blood through a vein or artery, compressing the limb to help prevent you or a loved one from bleeding out in the event of an injury.
- Survival belt
You should also consider wearing a tactical belt before trekking off on your adventure. Not only can this gear assist with carrying necessary items such as safety pins and carabiners, but they can also be used as a survival tool when necessary. With a strong enough belt, you can create tourniquets, attach tow lines to haul heavy items, or bundle firewood for easier carry.
- Survival watch
Unless your outdoor survival skills include the ability to tell time by the length of your shadow, pick up a survival watch to help you keep track. Knowing how much time has passed is essential if you find yourself in a scenario in which you have to ration water or food. Find a watch that’s waterproof and can recharge itself using a solar battery. Pro tip: look for a timepiece with a built-in compass to serve as a multi-purpose survival tool.
- Water bottle
Hydration is paramount when it comes to staying alive. You may be able to find water along the way, but prepare for the worst and include your own drinkable source just in case. It might make your survival kit slightly heavier, but this one’s worth the weight.
Even if you consider yourself a cunning hunter, it’s smart to bring along some calorie-dense nutrition to sustain you during times of survival. Find some survival bars which are bereft of preservatives, can ensure a long shelf life, and are easy to ration.
It may seem unnecessary, but you’ll wish you had sunscreen if you find yourself unprepared in an arid climate. The harmful UV rays from the sun can lead to severe burns and blistering, in addition to depleting your energy level. A hat, long sleeves, and pants go along way for sun protection, but keep sunscreen on you for the worst of days.
There’s no reason you should neglect to bring a whistle with you; they’re light, take up very little space, and are your first step in communication when things go wrong. Find a very loud whistle you can use to signal your crew when you need help, or to alert someone passing by to your presence.
- Crank Radio
Whistles can only be heard by those within close enough range. If you’re headed to a desolate area, be sure to bring a crank radio to communicate when things go wrong. Two-way walkie-talkies are great for small groups, but hand-crank radios don’t need batteries—and will provide the ultimate relief when informing you that help is on the way.
- Solar charger
Solar chargers may be more reliable than batteries during a crisis, so consider picking one up as your power source. You should never rely solely on a cell phone for survival, but if you bring one along, use your gear to recharge it once you get within reception range.
As it begins to get dark, you’ll start kicking yourself for forgetting your flashlight. Make it a permanent fixture within your survival kit and purchase a secondary one for the home. Be sure it uses an ultra-bright LED bulb, and think about adding a headlamp to free up your hands.
- Chem lights
Chem lights or glow sticks are helpful illumination gear great for lighting up an entire area versus one specific spot. Use it while setting up camp; if it’s bright enough, people may be able to see the light and come find you.
- Survival tent
When it comes time to set up camp for the night, bust out your compact survival tent to shield yourself from the elements. Make sure it’s waterproof so it not only maintains heat, but also repels moisture, keeping you warm and dry. To increase warmth, line the outer edges of your tent with leave, brush, grass, or anything else you can find in the area.
- Thermal blankets
Don’t waste precious space on a sleeping bag; pack a Mylar thermal blanket instead. This unique material both insulates and reflects heat, protecting you from the cold and/or sun when you suddenly find yourself in an emergency situation.
- Heat packs
Those adventuring in frigid temperatures should give extra thought to heat pads. Once activated, the best survival gear can provide soothing warmth for up to ten hours or more. You may think hand warmers are unnecessary now, but might think again when your hands are shivering too bad to function.
- First aid kit
Hopefully you weren’t injured when the crisis unfolded, but despite the most rigorous cautionary measures, accidents are still a possibility. Bring a compact first aid kit to tend to any potential wounds you may incur. Letting an open sore fester can lead to major complications.
- Hand sanitizer
If your first aid kit doesn’t include hand sanitizer, be sure to pick some up. Not only can it help sterilize wounds, but it will assist with keeping bacteria at bay when you need to use the restroom.
- Prescription medicine
Lastly, don’t forget to pack at least a three day supply of any prescriptions you may be taking. What might have been basic wilderness survival can turn into a life-threatening ordeal if you’re missing critical medicine for your heart or pressing health concerns.
Top Survival Tools
Survival tools are similar to survival gear, and these terms are often used interchangeably. The difference is that a tool is an instrument or apparatus that can be used to accomplish a variety of advanced tasks while stranded in nature. By adding these top survival tools onto your must-have list, you can tactfully master your environment and find your way out of a disaster scenario.
The best survival kits include a multi-tool that performs many jobs. In addition, these survival tools commonly include pliers, scissors, saws, and even can openers.
Even if you know where you’re going and how to navigate your way through the backcountry, you should still carry a GPS device with you. If you need to radio for help, relaying your exact coordinates could save time during search and rescue efforts—potentially saving your life.
If you don’t know where you’re going, and are unfamiliar with the region you’re exploring, it’s doubly important to have a compass with you. This survival tool can help orient you if you get lost, preventing you from wandering aimlessly in circles.
- Fire starters
Making fire is the first thing you should do in an emergency; use it to boil water, cook food, provide warmth, increase safety and send smoke signals. If you know what you’re doing, fire strikers are great tools and far more reliable than traditional butane lighters.
- Match case
When gas fails, matches are smart to have on hand. They won’t be much help if they’re wet, however, so place them in an airtight, waterproof case.
- Magnifying glass
When wind is an issue, a magnifying glass can be used to intensify the sun’s heat and start a fire. This method takes practice though, so get the hang of it before your life depends on it.
You’ll need tinder to get your fire going, which can usually be found on the ground. In the worst case scenario, where everything is wet and covered with rain, you’ll wish you had some tinder in your survival kit (so be resourceful and use another flammable material you might have on you, instead).
- Sanitary pads or tampons
These are good to have regarding the above advice. In addition to their intended use, they can be easily shredded for tinder when resources are limited.
- Plastic bags
To keep that tinder dry you’ll need to pack waterproof storage for your survival tools. They’re very light and compact, so consider bringing more than one and use them to keep items dry, store food, and even carry water.
- Signal mirror
A mirror is a good survival tool that can be used to signal your location. When aimed at a target, you can send flashes of light intended to alert others of your location to be rescued more rapidly.
Reflective tarps can also be used as a signal mirror, while offering shelter and wetness protection.
- Zip ties
Use these multi-purpose survival tools for nearly everything. They can keep most things attached—from tree branches to snares—and weigh next to nothing, so add a handful to your bag before taking off.
- Duct tape
Similar to zip ties, duct tape can be used to solve a host of problems. Use it as an emergency band aid, repair waterproofing, or to act as a rope replacement.
A paracord, or a small, strong rope, can be used to traverse steep terrain, build shelter, hunt, protect food from bears, and build a fire. Look for one at least 100 feet long to take full advantage of this survival tool’s versatility.
- Fishing line
In addition to catching protein, braided fishing line can help repair fabric and is unusually strong—even when compared to rope. Keep a small spool in your kit alongside your other materials.
- Sewing kit
Packing a sewing kit to mend any clothing, tarps, or survival gear isn’t a bad idea should something rip while you’re on the trail. In extreme situations, it can be used to stitch a wound, so even rough and tough survivalists know the importance of this item.
Find a foldable shovel that can easily be attached to your survival belt or backpack. Most people don’t realize how important they are until they actually need one, but the ability to dig holes for shelter or trenches for water can save your life. Many survival shovels are multi-tools with attached picks and blades for versatile usage.
- Water filter
Drinking unsanitary water is one of the fastest ways to get you in a world of trouble while you’re trying to survive. Water filters are therefore one of the best survival tools since can help keep you hydrated until you’ve reached safety. They’re smaller and lighter than you may think, and you never know when you’ll need to rely on one, so definitely add it to your kit.
- Water pouch
If you don’t have plastic bags, you might need a way to collect water while you’re stranded. These compact cases can collect and carry liquid, allowing you to funnel water into your filter more efficiently.
- Water syringe
A syringe is a good survival tool to complete your hydration preparation. It can not only clean your filter, but can also help wash out cuts and wounds.
- Survival knifə and sheath
All survivalists will tell you the critical importance of keeping a knifə in your kit at all times. This multi-purpose tool can get you through just about anything. When picking out your survival knifə, upgrade to a stainless steel metal instead of a high carbon blade; the former is a much better compromise between toughness, strength, edge holding and resistance to corrosion.
- Survival hatchet
Your hatchet will help you chop wood, clear a passage, kill animals, and if necessary, defend yourself. Just be sure your blade is safely sheathed and concealed.
The best survival kits include a pickaxe in addition to a hatchet. These pointed blades can break up surfaces of the earth, allowing you to climb an otherwise non-traversable ascent. If you find one attached to a shovel, you can pack one multi-tool instead of two separate items.
- Pepper spray
To defend yourself from predators, have pepper spray within reach. This non-lethal, self-defense survival tool is super small, but has a reach of 10-20 feet, allowing you to protect yourself at a safe distance.
Finally, in your last-ditch effort to signal for help, you’ll be relieved to have brought a flare gun along. These are incredibly effective at communicating distress during an emergency by firing a burst of light high into the sky. They’re simple to use and can be seen from far away, increasing your chances of survival in desolate areas.
Personal preparedness is your responsibility—and one that you shouldn’t take lightly. Remember that every moment counts in emergency situations, so be sure your survival kit is neatly organized before you find yourself frantically rummaging through your survival kit.
Instead of tasking yourself with gathering the best survival gear and the best survival tools, call on The SEVENTY2 Survival Backpack. Created by experts, this bug out bag will give you the confidence you need to act quickly when things go array. Shop the Uncharted Supply Co. so you never need to fear getting stuck off the grid.