The Top 15 Survival Tools For Any Wilderness Adventure

survival tools

Did you know that an average person can survive in the wilderness for 21 days without food?

According to a study published in the Journal of Western Medicine, the mortality rate of wilderness visits accounts for 0.26 per 100,000 individuals.

So, if you are planning to go on a long, wild camping trip with the gang, you must put the essential and best survival tools in your backpack!

In this article, you will learn about the top 15 must-have wilderness survival tools that might save you when disaster strikes.

15 Survival Gear & Tools For SHTF

1) Fire Starter

fire starter

One reason why people take adventures in the wilderness is that they want to relax and be with their families and friends while enjoying a campfire.

However, a fire starter is not used just to enjoy the view while making memories.

A fire starter is one of the best survival tools and it is needed during a wilderness trip to make you survive the cold and for you to be able to cook during your adventure.

If you are not knowledgeable of how to make a campfire out of the materials you see in the woods, it is therefore advised to bring fire starter items such as matches, lighters, or strikers.

In case of emergency situations, having these small survival tools will not require you to take a lot of time to build a fire.

Also, you must place these fire starters in a water-proof container and you can pack some candles and other tools for building a fire.

2) Survival Knife

survival knife

Of course, before planning for outdoor survival, you have to anticipate that there are many possible disaster strikes you can face such as branches blocking the way, etc.

For this reason, having a full tang knife or a knife with a sharp edge with you as one of your survival tools is so important that you can also be surprised you might use a knife for sharpening woods during hunting!

When choosing a knife, make sure that the knife you are about to bring is lightweight and has a sharp edge (and it can stay sharp forever).

A knife with a carbon steel blade or one with a navy seal is most recommended but not essential.

You can consider those foldable multifunctional (multi-tool or pocket knife) ones that come with screw kits and a bottle opener.

Based on personal preferences, I will go over the multi-tool compared to a regular sharp knife because a multi-tool is way handier for me especially because I have small hands.

Lastly, there are also some multi-tools bags where you can contain all the tools including a survival hatchet.

3) First Aid Kit

first aid only

No matter what kind of outdoor survival it is, a first aid kit must always be with you as it is the only way for you to survive cuts and bleeds.

Splints and other accidents may happen in whatever camping trip you plan so, you can put some bandaids and anti-bac ointment on your kit and if possible, you can also pack some gauze and triage bandages.

Aside from these, you can add supplemental survival tools such as pressure dressings.

Also, take note that a medical kit is not just needed during a camping trip. Instead, it is critical to be placed inside your cars and homes.

Some multi-tools contain a seat-belt cutter as well. You can make this a supplemental survival tool.

4) Map and Compass


If you have heard about or watched the movie ‘UP’, there is this techy GPS. It was a gadget from modern technology that a child in the character lost.

Eventually, because of this loss, the characters are no longer aware of where they currently are and they do know where they are heading to.

Relying on a GPS from your smart phone is fine but once a signal is off the track or your battery drains out, dangers could arise.

This makes a compass and a map important survival tools for bringing you back on track no matter where you are.

These survival tools (compass and map) are only handy and lightweight survival items and there is no reason for you not to bring them.

Of course, you want to save your life from a zombie apocalypse right?

Then, you must not get lost! You must find your way using these tools!

5) Emergency Whistle

emergency whistle

Personally speaking, I always let my child carry a whistle with him whenever we go on a trip.

A whistle is a great voice for those who are lost on track and since a whistle is handy, this survival tool must always be brought during a wilderness trip.

If you plan to bring one, a plastic whistle is recommended since it is more lightweight, floats, and it does not rust compared to the metal tool.

Some multi-tools also contain whistles. If you can find one, you may consider it as well.

6) Ropes and Cords


Ropes and cords are also critical survival tools while being in the wild.

According to a study in Boston, wild animal attacks in the wilderness are rare but possible to occur.

Thus, when you plan to go on hiking or adventure in the wild, bringing ropes and cords such as cordage is necessary. 

Cordage such as metal wire or nylon string may be lightweight but it can help you climb up a tree if you are avoiding a wild animal!

Take note that when you buy this survival gear, do not rely on the price. Instead, choose the quality one as this makes a big difference on the actual day you need them.

You can also take duct tape as your supplemental tool. This tape can work on cordage.

7) Water Purification System

water filter

As said, you can survive in the wilderness without food for 21 days but you cannot survive for about 72 hours without water!

Thus, you have to stay hydrated by drinking water.

Since a bottle is a fine tool, this might not last long when risky events occur. 

Yes, you may locate some water sources but if you have a sensitive stomach, this might make you sick.

For this reason, a water purification system or a water filter is needed when you do a long, wilderness trip. 

You can consider using water purification tablets or water filter tablets since these are handy and easy to store in your bags.

According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Sciences, water purification tablets can provide clean water that is within the limits of the World Health Organization.

8) Flashlight or Headlamp


If you plan to stay in the wilderness for half a day, a flashlight is not required.

But, having one is still critical in case of an emergency since you do not know what could happen next especially if it is your first time to venture into an unfamiliar location.

There are many lightweight and handy flashlights in the market today but you have to make sure that the one you will buy is heavy duty and it does not use battery charge too much.

Also, bring some spare batteries as your additional emergency power supply!

9) Fishing Line and Hooks

fishing hook

Packing a lightweight fishing line and hooks is a smart choice for adventurers.

In case you bump into a survival situation, gathering foods you can consume is needed and this will make you need this fishing line and hooks survival items.

In case you get into streams, you have survival equipment that is easy to use for fishing time!


10) Shelter

foldable tent

To find shelter or the one where you will sleep to let the night pass is important when it comes to survival.

Wild animals or insects may harm you while asleep. That is why having the essential shelter kits and different tools is necessary.

a) Foldable Tent

First and foremost, when talking about shelter, a tent is needed especially during bad weather.

Although you can make one out of the materials you see in the wild, having a ready-to-use tent is preferred.

Again, when buying survival gear like a foldable tent, choose a lightweight, secured, and easy to assemble camping tent.


A mattress is a great additional camping tool if you know that you will be staying in the wild for a longer period.

Aside from giving you insulation, a camping mattress can provide better sleep quality during a long trip.

There are many camping mattresses available in the market today but make sure you get a lightweight foam mattress.

c) Sleeping Bag

Sleeping bags are also recommended wilderness survival tools.

There are many foldable ones and some provide additional warmth as well during the night.

d) Solar Blanket

solar blanket

Also known as solar covers, these tools give you warmth during the night. Since these survival tools are foldable and easy-to-carry tools, trying to pack them into your backpack is worth the try.

If you want, you can also try a space blanket.

A space blanket is also a thermal blanket that can keep you insulated.

11) Proper Clothing

Take note that camping or going on an adventure in the wild is not about your OOTD.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, 4 out of 100,000 individuals who take wilderness adventures die each year because of hypothermia.

Thus, choosing the right clothing is necessary to protect yourself from harm.

12) Signal Mirror

signal mirror

Signaling mirrors are another lightweight survival kit that you must always bring on your adventure.

As these survival tools help you find a reflection from the sun and attract attention during an emergency, glass is recommended over plastic ones.

To protect these survival tools, it is advised to keep them in your medical kit.

If you want to build a fire, you have to split wood. But, it is not usual to bring an ax during a trip!

So, in case you want to build a campfire using woods, cutting some is needed.

But how can you do this without a saw?

a) Bow Saw

Since a bow saw is kind of big, consider getting one that comes with a lightweight but extremely durable material.

It is also advised if you get to choose a metal-framed one for easy cutting of big branches of firewood.

b) Wire Saw

Compared to a bow saw, a wire saw is more lightweight.

Also, a wire saw is a foldable survival tool and this makes it a great choice.

14) Cooking Pots

Cooking Pots

When we talk about cooking pots, we talk about small, portable stainless pots.

There are some stainless water bottles with stainless covers, and personally, these covers can work for cooking food, too!

If you have some small stainless lunch kits, you can bring some and fill them with some snacks and aluminum foil.

You can then remove the snacks in case it is about time for you to cook food.

15) Candies


During an earthquake drill way back in high school, one of my teachers told me that I should always have some candies in my pocket.

I never understood that until I went camping.

Having some snacks is great but having some candies is better especially in an emergency situation.

At least, you have something to eat that makes you feel full even for short periods without having to cook food until you find your way back to the streets again.


The Takeaway

Indeed, survival kits are important during a wilderness trip.

They might look like small tools but they can actually save your life during emergencies.

However, take note that knowledge about camping in the wilderness and having a fit mind and body is just as important as these tools.

When planning to go on a wilderness trip, always think of the possible dangers.

There are many survival kits in the market but always go for the survival kits that are convenient for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the most important survival tool on a wilderness trip?

According to some survival experts and Bear Grylls’ survival kit, a survival pocket knife with a sharp point and edge is the most important and essential survival tool during a wilderness trip. But, take note that a first aid kit, some snacks, and emergency shelter are also necessary aside from a knife tool.

Is a glove a survival gear?

Gloves are considered one of the survival gears or tools and they must be worn depending on the weather conditions. Usually, these gears are used at night to insulate the hands during a negative temperature in the wilderness.

What should a first aid kit contain?

The basic tools in a first aid kit include bandaids, anti-bac ointments, gauze, and bandages. There are times when adventurers can also include iodine to prevent infections from some wilderness cuts.