The Best Survival Gear List:Life-Saver in an Emergency

If you facing an emergency situation, having the right tools and gears can make big difference.  It is best to identify the best survival gear you can for common scenarios beforehand.

I’ve spent the time to identify tools you will need under such circumstances. You can use this list to get the gears you need based on the situation you are preparing for.

In this article, you’ll find my picks for fire making tools, first aid supplies, weather and navigation gear, and much more. Along with these gears, I have included resources that show how to use these tools properly and when to use them.

Let’s take a look.

Fire Building Gear: What You Need to Stay Warm

You ability to make fire may play avital role in your survival. You need fire for multiple reasons – to keep warm, to cook food, to keep insects and animal away.

There are many different ways to create fire and once you find your preferred method, you should practice in a non-emergency situation.

Practice lighting a small fire somewhere that it is safe to do so. You will need some fire starting equipment, some tools to help you gather wood. These are my picks for the best survival fire gear.

  • Fire steel
  • Waterproof matches
  • Wet fire tinder
  • Machete
  • Camp axe
  • Lighter
  • Battery and wool

Cold Protection: The Best Gear for Cold Temperatures

If you live in an area which has severe winters, you probably have many of the gears you need to protect yourself from the cold weather.  However, sometimes it is easy to overlook somethings, so be sure to take a look at the list below.

Some areas experience extreme temperatures variations from day to night. In the desert, the temperature can vary from 100 °F in the day to 32°F overnight. You may also get hit my unseasonal snow storm in areas which may generally not receive snow.

If you are out for over 24 hours, you may have to sleep outside. You should plan for warm clothing, heat sources and tools you may need to beat the cold temperature.


  • Warm Jacket
  • Snow shoes / boots
  • Gloves
  • Warm woolen clothing
  • Face Mask (Ski mask)
  • Warm socks

Heat sources

  • Propane heater

Tools and Gear

  • Shovel
  • Mylar / Space blanket
  • Cold Weather Sleeping bag

Water Protection: Staying Dry Will Keep You Alive

If you’re out in the rain for long, it will leach the heat right out of you, and make you miserable. Who needs that with everything else you may be dealing with? Water survival gear is not only for people in hurricane prone areas, you may have to face rain and water if you are outside your shelter

To stay dry you will need rain gear that will keep you dry. A poncho is a good starter gear as it will keep you dry and is light weight but may not gave the same level of protection in heavy rains.

To protect your belongings from water damage, you will need various types of covers. You will also need protective covers for the electronic gadgets you may have.

Protect yourself

  • Raincoat
  • Rain hat
  • Rain pants
  • Poncho
  • Parka
  • Mens / Women’s rain boots
  • Umbrella
  • Goggles

Protect your belongings

  • Tarp
  • Plastic stretch wrap
  • Zip lock bags
  • Waterproof casing for your electronics
  • Waterproof boxes

Shelter: Protection from The Elements

Shelter is one of the big 3 basic needs – food, water, shelter . You need protection from the cold and wet, and a tent offers better protection than clothes. You also need a safe place to sleep.

You can improvise a shelter if you have to , but a tent that’s easy to put up will more efficient, and more durable. You’ll also want a tarp as added protection – either over the tent, or when there’s not enough space for the tent.

We’ve added sleep solutions because getting a good night’s sleep can be just as important as food and shelter. Without sleep your reaction times will be slower, and you won’t be thinking as clearly .

  • 4-season tent
  • Tarp
  • Sleeping bag
  • Hiking hammock
  • Bivy sack

First Aid Kit: The Very Basics in Staying Alive

You don’t want to be unprepared for a medical emergency. You’ll need bandages, medical tape, splints, and many other items . The more the better.

Sometimes, though, you need a small, quick and easy to grab kit . Maybe you don’t have time or the space for a full kit. For emergency first aid, make sure you have the most important items.

No matter how minimal your first aid kit, you’re going to need more than the five items we have listed here. These are a great place to start, but please take the time to do some research and make sure your kit is properly stocked .

  • Superglue
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Advil
  • Wound dressing
  • Splints

Navigation and Communication Gear: How to Get Where You Want to Go

Just because you can follow a map from A to B when you’re driving doesn’t mean you can follow a wilderness map with topographic markings and contours . Familiarize yourself with the maps of your local area, and areas you intend to head for in case of a disaster.

Make sure you’re comfortable with using a compass . You might be able to depend on GPS, but not always, and not everywhere. This is definitely an area that needs redundancies.

Using a ham radio in an emergency is another useful skill . Become comfortable with how it works. You’ll find there are ham radio clubs in most areas, and they probably offer how to courses.

  • Maps
  • Compass
  • GPS Device
  • Flares
  • Ham and/or CB radio

Illumination: Lighting Up Your Workspace After Dark

Light is going to be useful for both continuing to work after dark and for keeping predators away. In many situations, glow sticks are a surprising useful tool to have .

Having both short term and longer term options is a good idea . Flashlights with batteries will last for a while, but having a manual crank version can be a real life saver.

A sturdy oil lantern will last you for a long time and some emergency long-burning candles can be really beneficial. This is another area where redundancies are important.

  • Emergency candles
  • Glow sticks
  • LED headlamps
  • Oil lantern
  • Hand crank flashlight

Water Collection and Purification: Staying Hydrated Safely

This is another one of your top three survival needs. You need to be able to collect, filter, purify, and then store your clean water.

That fresh mountain stream filled with cool crisp water is actually full of bacteria . For filtering and purifying your water, you can rely on bleach, tablets, or boiling, plus a filter to remove larger organisms .

For water storage, small portable canteens as well as rain barrels, and other large, long-term options are needed . Having a store of water on your property before disaster strikes is good planning as well.

  • Canteens
  • Water collection tank
  • Water filter
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Water-purification tablets

Food supplies: The Best Foods for Short and Long Term Emergencies

You’ll need quick and easy food in the short term and then long term storage food . Eventually, you’ll need food gathering equipment, but we’ll get to that later.

MREs are an easily stored food item (Meals ready to Eat)
, and will help you get through the first days. They’re somewhat expensive, and not the tastiest, but they’re quick and efficient. They’re also self-contained – you don’t need to add anything else to them.

Have a look at our short list of must-haves, but know that there are a lot more items you should keep in your pantry . From staples to food for bargaining, you’ll need an extensive storage.

  • MREs
  • Rice
  • Salt
  • Canned food
  • Energy bars

Cooking Gear: Making the Most of Your Food Supplies

Most of us have done campfire cooking, but have some backups. Learn about building pit fires , or even build yourself an outdoor oven . Build an oven now and you’ll be even better prepared.

Keep a ready supply of recipes on hand too. You’ll want to know how to do things like canning, preserving, and pickling . And you’ll also want recipes for how to cook once you no longer have a kitchen.

A Dutch oven is a great tool for outdoor cooking . And aluminum foil has lots of uses .

  • Camp stove
  • Can opener
  • Dutch oven
  • Aluminum foil
  • Cast iron pan

Power: Keeping the Electricity On as Long as Possible

While you still have cell service charging your phone is a must. And for as long as you can, being able to use electricity will be a bonus .

Prolong the life of your electronics with several different charging methods. You might be able to rely on a car phone charger, but you’ll also want some back up plans for generating electricity .

Figure out what your primary needs are going to be, and plan accordingly. There are some great DIY power generation ideas for living off the grid that you can get started on now, so you’re ready for later .

  • Solar Charger
  • Batteries
  • USB Solar charger
  • Generator
  • Car phone charger

Documents and Finance: Proof of Identity and Currency

Personal documents will be essential . Insurance papers, medical records, and contact information should all be kept in waterproof containers.

You’ll also want family photos, genealogy records, important books, and other items that have personal meaning . If your house is flooded or burnt down, these will be irreplaceable.

Make sure you also have financial options. Not many of us carry cash anymore, but if the system breaks down, you’re going to want paper money. Gold is likely to become a base of the new economy , so having some you can use as currency or for barter is a must.

  • Personal Identification
  • Family photos
  • Credit card
  • Gold
  • Cash

Hunting Gear: The Most Efficient Ways to Catch Prey

Fresh meat is great for energy and will help with morale. Furs and leathers will be of use in preparing for the winter. Hunting is a critical skill and one you should learn ahead of time .

You’ll want a variety of hunting methods such as with guns, slingshots, and snares . You can even build dead fall traps.

The easier meat is to acquire, the better off you are. That’s why snares and traps are a great option . You won’t expend a lot of calories setting up traps, and the gains will be plentiful.

  • Rifle
  • Snare wire
  • Ammo
  • Slingshot
  • Binoculars

Fishing Gear: Catching Fish as Easily as Possible

Fishing is going to be just as important as hunting. Fresh fish are plentiful and full of calories . Fishing also requires less of your energy to accomplish, making it more lucrative.

Even better, use a yo yo trap . Set it and leave it to work while you do something else. You can also set up funnel traps with material you find outside .

Know how to clean and prepare fish . Have a few different cooking methods including how to dry fish. If you’re successful at catching lots, you’ll want to be able to preserve it for days when the pickings are leaner.

  • Fishing pole
  • Fishing lures
  • Fishing line
  • Fishing net
  • Yo-yo traps

Gardening Gear: Planting a Vegetable Garden for Long Term Survival

Gardening really only comes into play if you’re looking at a long term survival. If you have the space in your yard, start a garden now and preserve the food .

The tools of the trade include the obvious shovel, rake, and hoe , or you could consider having a cultivator. A tiller would be great if you think you’ll have gas to keep it running. Or if you’re on a good sized farm, the sort of plow a horse could pull.

For seeds, look for non-hybrid vegetables and start saving the seeds from the produce . Label and date them as you collect the seeds and you’ll have what you need for next year’s planting.

  • Seeds
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Hoe
  • Shears

Clothing: The Best Gear to Keep You Warm

A lot of clothes these days are not built to last. Thin materials mean a short lifespan. Have good, well-made clothes that will last for years .

You’ll want wool clothing as it is heavy duty, holds heat even when wet, and it doesn’t get wet easily . Of course, it’s also fairly heavy, but still gives an advantage.

Good boots and gloves will be a huge benefit in protecting hands and feet. A bandana is a multi tool that you’ll be thankful for . And a wide brim hat is great for keeping the sun off.

  • Hiking boots
  • Wool socks
  • Gloves
  • Wide-brim hat
  • Bandanas

Safety: Stay Safe from Animals and People

There are lots of different threats out there and you’ll want to have methods for dealing with all of them. With animals or people, bear spray or pepper spray is a great close contact deterrent.

Having a firearm and ammo is a good way to keep threats at bay, as long as you know how to use one safely. Be sure they are legal in your area.

Survival whistles should be part of every survival pack . They are much louder than a human voice and can be used to summon help or scare away threats.

  • Bear spray
  • Pepper Spray
  • Firearm
  • Ammo
  • Whistle

Vehicle Gear: Keep your Vehicle Running Long After the Mechanics Are Gone

In addition to having a survival kit in your car in case you get stranded , it’s a good idea to have the components you need for car repairs.

Many of us rely on mechanics to fix even basic car problems . When things go south, you may not have that luxury. Have the basic tools on hand, and learn how to use them.

An emergency repair shop will be good for your own vehicles and will be a good bartering tool . Make sure you have repair manuals for your vehicles on hand.

  • Jumper cables
  • Gas
  • Spare tire
  • Tire repair kit
  • Oil

Tools: The Best Multi-Use Items

These are the multi-purpose tools that will help you out with repair, camp setup, hunting, fishing… Just about everything. By definition, that means having a multitool in your survival kit .

You should also have a sewing kit – it can be used for so many things . Sewing clothes, first aid, fixing canvas, or repairing fishing net just to start. Your backup for most of these repairs is of course duct tape.

The paracord is a must-have. It has dozens of applications, and you’ll probably find dozens more . A lot of people have paracord knotted into a bracelet or belt so it’s easily accessible without taking up valuable space in your pack.

  • Sewing kit
  • Multi Tool
  • Duct tape
  • Shovel
  • 550 paracord

Reference Books: Knowledge Is Your Best Tool

So many of us rely on the internet for everything. Having a wealth of information at the tips of your fingers is very handy . But it’s highly likely that at the very least the power will go out, if not the entire communication system.

Have books or printed pdfs that cover a wide variety of topics – wilderness living and surviving off the land are two great references to have on hand . You’ll also want identification books – particularly for edible plants and mushrooms.

Homesteading and farming are important books to have . Make sure you keep your books somewhere waterproof.

  • Survival books
  • First aid books
  • Edible plant and mushroom identification
  • Homesteading references
  • Bushcraft

Other: The Random Items You’ll Need

These are the random assortment of items that don’t fit into any other category. Or maybe a better way to put it is that they fit into every category. Last but not least.

Knives are incredibly useful tools that you’ll find you need for far more situations than you’d imagine . The more you have on hand the better off you’ll be – within reason, of course.

Tarps and paracord are two items you can never have too much of. And cable or zip ties are one of those all-purpose items you’ll find are needed for a variety of situations .

  • Fixed blade knife
  • Pocket knife
  • More paracord
  • Cable ties
  • More tarps

Knowing what you have and what you still need is an important part of survival preparation. Hopefully you were able to add to your own list and take away some new and useful information. Let us know what you have on your own list in the comments.