Whether you’re roughing it out int the woods for sport, or stranded out there by means outside of your control, having the right tools are essential if you plan on making it back out alive. The world outside of civilization is brutal and unforgiving, and will just as easily take the life or well-being of an unprepared person as it did eons ago, when the first men lived or died by their wits. In this age of information and technology, however, there’s even less of an excuse to not be prepared. Arm yourself with knowledge, and always make sure you have access to these ten items in case life demands you protect yourself from harm.
Keep in mind, these aren’t listed in order of importance, or any other sort of order. After all, any one of these could mean the difference between life and death out in the wilderness.
Portable Water Filter
Water is the basest of human needs, and it should be your first priority when you find yourself outside of civilization. Finding a source of clean, potable water can be a challenge, and natural water sources may have contaminants that could threaten your health. In cases like these, it is necessary to keep a portable water filter on hand for these instances, or find some way to distill water you find out in nature. A portable water filter is especially great for instances when there’s more saltwater than freshwater in your immediate area, or if your nearest freshwater source is murky and suspicious-looking.
Just as important as having a source of clean freshwater is having the means to store it. In some survival scenarios, you may not have access to a permanent water source, perhaps relying on rainwater or dew. Someone stranded next to the largest and deepest lake still ought to have water bottles on hand however, as being able to move around with a source of usable water will help you cover more ground and keep you prepared for especially hot climate, where constant water intake is a must.
A Versatile Multi-Tool
For all of the prepping you can do for potentially dire situations, the fact is you’ll never be able to expect what exactly will happen when thrust into a survival situation. A good multi-tool should help in most cases, however. Something with good pliers, an array of durable blades screwdriver heads should prove to be especially useful, especially if you find yourself stranded with only a broken-down car or some sort of unusable vehicle on hand. If needed, you may need to disassemble it, or repair it if possible.
While most multi-tools will have a number of different blades affixed to them, they’re still no replacement for a quality hunting knife. A sturdy and sharp blade will go a long way in keeping you alive, as a means to defend yourself and as a useful construction tool. Having a good knife that can cut through small branches and twigs is important for clearing out vegetation, or utilizing it for shelter. And, of course, there’s always the knife’s food-gathering applications to keep in mind. A hunting knife ought to be able to take out and skin smaller game.
Fire is just as important to have on hand as food and water, and it often plays an essential part in getting both in a consumable state. Butane micro-torches will be your most reliable tool for this regard, as it will easily set flammable things ablaze when needed. And, unlike flint or matches, a micro-torch can easily build and maintain a fire. Ease and simplicity may be the last things on your mind when you’re fighting to survive, but there shouldn’t be any reason to make acquiring a fire an arduous process, especially when so many other things will require your stamina and alertness.
You will need rope to build shelter or construct traps, and having some on hand will save you the effort of having to make some from the material around you, and the stuff you buy is usually stronger than handmade stuff, being made of nylon or other compound material. Rope is also useful for first-aid purposes, in case one needs to construct a splint for a broken or fractured bone. Rope has a lot of utility to it, from construction needs to hunting needs, and no one out in the wilderness should go without it.
One could argue that, as long as you’re skilled enough with a hunting knife and snares, there’s really no need for one of these. Indeed, because of how loud they are, and how they need to be constantly cleaned and maintained, having a hunting rifle is the closest to a luxury item than many of the other things here. But there is a usefulness to having a good firearm on hand that cannot be understated, and many who are unwittingly thrown into survival situations aren’t going to be experts with knives or traps. If possible, invest in a highly accurate rifle, something even a beginner could use. These tend to be the most pricy of hunting rifles, but when nature demands you defend yourself or hunt for yourself, you can’t afford to waste ammo making inaccurate shots.
Flashlights and other electrical sources of light may seem like another luxury item when it comes to surviving, but they’re still useful in ways that natural light are lacking in. Flashlights, especially those made for survival situations, tend to be much brighter than handmade torches, and are much easier to operate. And when it comes to scouting out the darkness, looking for possible threats to your life or traveling by night to avoid having to travel in the hot daytime, easier is most certainly better.
When one thinks of camping out in the wilderness, one often thinks of bringing an easily constructed, easily collapsible tent to make shelter in. However, these sorts of tents tend to be easily damaged, or much too heavy to carry around often if made of sturdy material. Most survival experts reccomend bringing tarp instead, which is harder to set up than your average camping tent, but is often much sturdier than your average camping tent, and easier to carry around to boot.
Eventually, no matter how good you become at surviving in the place you’re in, you’re going to want to find your way back to civilization. And, for that, a compass is going to be your best bet. There’s a pretty good chance you won’t have the luxuries of a working cell phone or GPS when having to fend for yourself in the wilderness, so having something completely analog to keep your bearings is a must. Make sure you know how to properly utilize a compass, however. Simply holding it up to see which way is north isn’t going to do you a lot of good, especially if you’re not holding the thing correctly.
And there you have ten absolutely essential items for any survivalist out there. Having a good set of tools for whenever you’re away from the luxuries of civilization is an important part of keeping yourself alive, and having the tools to bring yourself back to safety is just as important. Just remember that you needn’t consider yourself a survivalist to suddenly be thrown into a situation where your well being is threatened. Make sure you have at least most of these items on hand, in case the unexpected happens.