It is crucial to be prepared for any given situation, whether you are living an off-grid lifestyle, training for extreme scenarios, or just enjoying your weekly camping and hiking trips. There are millions of people in the U.S. and around the world who visit national parks and go hiking, but many of them get lost, seriously injured, or worse. If you want to live and see another day, you need the best survival gadgets.
Here I decided to share my list of the best survival gadgets and gear available in the current year, so you will always be prepared. It is not necessary to be an expert survivalist, just know what tools you need when the worst happens. Thus, you will never be surprised by anything, and you will definitely succeed.
Must-Have Gadgets for Survival and Emergency Scenarios
- Must-Have Gadgets for Survival and Emergency Scenarios
- The Basics
- Sleeping Bag
- Essentials that are a bit more intense
- For Those Who Are Really Ready to Bug Out
- Best Water and Food Related Survival Gadgets
- Best Survival Flashlights
- Best Navigational Gadgets
- Best Shelter and Safety Gadgets
- Additional Survival Gadgets and Tools
- How to Choose Survival Tools?
A prepper’s bugout bag is his lifeblood. Preppers typically keep two bags: a three-day bag and a two-week bag. It’s not a terrible idea to have something that you can easily grab that has everything you need, just in case you need to leave quickly.
Having to manage in the dark is worse than being lost in the backcountry, being trapped in an emergency, or even trying to get through an emergency. It’s always wise to have a headlamp or at least a small pocket-size flashlight on hand, even if you’re only planning a day hike.
Survival Knife/ Multi-Tool
In deciding on the right multi-tool, a good tactical knife, or combination of the two, there is a lot of personal preference involved. Choose a tool whose features are in line with your skills and the types of tasks you anticipate performing, as well as the appropriate size and weight for your kit.
People feel safer carrying a knife, while others prefer just a multi-tool that won’t draw attention. You can chop firewood with compact machete-like blades, like the Karen Hood Chopper.
Check out the Leatherman Style CS multitool, which includes scissors, a file, knife, tweezers, a bottle opener, and a mini screwdriver. Even tactical pens are available in case you need to jot down notes during an emergency. Always keep it in your pack, no matter what you choose.
When illness or an accident puts you in a survival situation, a medical kit can be invaluable. Other items that can double as survival tools should be considered beyond Band-Aids and antibiotic ointment for cuts and scrapes. ACE bandages can be used for a variety of purposes, along with gauze pads for larger wounds, splints for supporting fractures, steri-strips to help close wounds with uneven edges, and alcohol prep pads.
A first aid kit designed specifically for outdoor survival will save you a lot of guesswork. Keep one with you at all times (the last thing you want is for it to be in your car at the trailhead or in your campsite a few miles away when disaster strikes). Furthermore, it’s a good idea to keep a separate first aid kit in your vehicle, especially if you’re frequently car camping or living in a van.
Kaito shortwave radios were recommended by most of the experts because they’re rugged and water resistant, have solar and plug-in charging capabilities, and they pick up broadcasts around the world.
According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, food, water, warmth, and rest are the most important. Fire starters are perhaps the most important survival tool you can have in your kit, since they’ll help you cook food, boil water, stay warm, and sleep safely without worrying about predators.
Fire starters come in many different types, but one of our favorites for sheer utility is the Firebiner, a carabiner equipped with a blade and a farro sparking fire starter.
A power bank (used to charge phones and other devices) that can be powered by multiple sources, including the sun, is highly recommended by survivalists. The Kodiak brand power bank is rugged, water-resistant, and has an emergency light. They also recommend several reliable options that will jump start your car and are extremely small, such as the NOCO Boost. There’s also the Jackery Power Station, which features dual USB ports, a car port, and an AC outlet. Both the NOVOO Explorer 10,000mAh and Anker PowerCore 10,000mAh are the right mix of ruggedness, size and weight, capacity, and performance, enabling you to charge your phone or other devices perfectly.
Energizer and Panasonic Eneloops last a long time on a shelf, so they are popular among survivalists. Nevertheless, all of our experts agree one thing: whatever batteries you buy, make sure they are rechargeable.
An emergency sleeping bag keeps you warm and basically serves as a survival shelter. The most preferred sleeping bags of the experts are those which come with a 120-decibel survival whistle that can cut through trees and wind. This whistle helps you signal your position in case of an emergency or if rescue is needed, while staying warm and safe.
Even in extreme conditions, staying warm can be a big challenge in survival scenarios. Particularly in alpine or desert environments, temperatures can drop quickly after the sun goes down.
Even with warm daytime temperatures, moisture or humidity can have a big impact on the body’s ability to retain heat. You will have to work harder to stay at a safe temperature if your clothes or body are wet. Despite their light weight, these lightweight blankets aren’t a replacement for a sleeping bag. They reflect your body heat back at you very effectively, helping you to stay warm and dry.
You can also use a space blanket as a survival tool in other ways. The space blanket can be used as a reflector to cook food using the sun or a candle. It can be used to signal for help or indicate which way to go. As part of your shelter construction, you can even use it as a supplement to a tarp or ground pad.
Many emergency checklists recommend bringing a puzzle to keep yourself entertained, but you should forget the puzzle and bring a deck of cards instead. The experts prefer cards because of their small size, portability, and numerous games that can be played with them.
You can also get cards with survival information on the back, turning your diversion into a mini cheat sheet.
Bleach isn’t the only cleaner that works. Lysol and Pine-Sol also keep things germ-free so that everyone stays healthy. If you like bleach, you can use any unscented, unadulterated bleach.
It might sound extreme, but at some point, you’ll probably wish you had food. The food question is approached differently by each of our experts. Lisa Sutton, a homesteader from Michigan and popular YouTuber Prepper Potpourri (both grandmothers) are big fans of canning and dehydrating. Although these processes take a little know-how, they are practical and sustainable, especially if you grow your own food. Both like the All American Canner and the Excalibur Dehydrator. When you’re not ready to make your own food, our experts recommend stocking your pantry with non-perishable foods such as canned and dried goods, and peanut butter. “Think of very very simple meals, like oatmeal, [and] meals where you can open up a can of soup or chili and pour it over the rice and have more calories and more servings,” says Survival Mom, who goes into more detail about this in her book. And make sure you get stuff you actually like: “Don’t stock up on beans and rice if you don’t eat beans and rice,” Sutton says.
Mountainhouse is recommended by Survival Mom, Prepper Potpourri, and David at Preppers Survive if you want more variety and are thinking about adding freeze-dried food to your stockpile. Sutton recommends products from Thrive Life, “because they are real food, not prepackaged, high carb, high sodium emergency foods” like typical emergency foods tend to be. Hawke likes MREs (which aren’t technically freeze dried and are now available to civilians), Power Bars, beef jerky, and meals from a company called Wise Foods, whose empty containers can apparently be used as toilets. Don’t forget the condiments, he says. R.C. recommends any junk food since it’s “full of sugar and preservatives and is good for survival,” if nothing else. Rogue recommends “morale-boosting foods” such as macaroni and cheese, packaged cookies, raisins, dehydrated fruits, popcorn, and chocolate.
Humans can only survive without water for about three days. In addition to always carrying more water than you think you’ll need for your hike in case of delays, you should also have some sort of water filter on hand.
While you wait for help or hike out, you may need to collect and treat water to stay hydrated. Water may also need to be treated so you can use it for cleaning wounds, repairing gear, or cooking food.
Water can be purified in many ways. Boiling (you’ll need something metal for that), using water purification tablets, or using filtration systems are the easiest methods. For individual use, the Life Straw and the O-Zone Pen are highly recommended by our experts. A LifeStraw gravity bag removes lead, parasites, bacteria, and chemicals. Additionally, it can be used as a straw alone, with a plastic bottle, or with an in-line hydration bladder. Sawyer Mini is an excellent option for those who need a smaller option for a purifier.
Essentials that are a bit more intense
According to our experts, Heatsheets are the strongest and lightest option available. Lightweight ones are available, but they rip easily. The two-piece option makes it easier to stay covered.
Emergency Survival Whistle
Wilderness applications call for a good, loud whistle. It is one of the most important survival tools when you frequently go into the backcountry where people are few and far between and wildlife is abundant.
The sound of a whistle at least 100 decibels will cut through ambient noise and travel great distances. It will also alert animals like bears to your presence. If possible, keep it attached not just to your backpack, but also to your person in case you get separated from it.
Choose a reusable P-100 respirator, which offers the highest protection possible, blocking out 99.9% of contaminants, as opposed to an N-95, which filters out just 95 percent of particles and isn’t oil-resistant.
There are four different kinds of fire extinguishers – ordinary combustibles, grease, electrical, and metal – and we think you’d rather not have them all. The best option is a standard home model, which is versatile and inexpensive.
Alternative cooking vessels
It’s important for every household to use at least one alternative way of warming and cooking food and heating water, and solar cookers don’t require any fuel storage, so they’re a great alternative. Rocket stoves require a very small amount of biofuel and are highly efficient. Coughlin’s steel-coated canned-heat stove is sturdy enough for heavy pots and has covered sides that block the wind. It works with any canned fuel and folds flat when not in use.
When you find yourself without heat at home, seal off one room that has the fewest number of windows or anything that will allow cold air to enter, and set up a tent in that room. Such a tent is a good choice for cold weather since it’s warm and small enough to fit in a small space.
For Those Who Are Really Ready to Bug Out
If you don’t have a tent, plastic sheeting or a nice tarp can be used for many things: from collecting rainwater for drinking to [making] a traveling shelter [and] sealing off areas to prevent germs or bad air from entering.
According to experts, duct tape is a survivalist’s best friend because it is used to fix everything from leaks to stabilize broken limbs.
It is recommended that you have a plan, preferably written out, and, if not rehearsed, at least discussed with your family and memorized. Because when you’re frozen in indecision and panic, you start making really bad decisions. Survival supplies should be stored in accessible places that are known by family members, and you should know how and when to use all the items you’ve gathered and test them all. Store important documents, photos, and other items in one place. The best bag for this purpose is the Fulllife fireproof and waterproof bag.
Personal Hygiene Products
It is common for people to carry a stockpile of personal hygiene items in the event that infrastructure and supply chains are affected. This alcohol-free No-Rinse Body Wash can do the job without taking up too much room in your bag.
Signals and Maps
Plan FEMA locations and evacuation routes on your map using a compass and a mirror.
You should educate yourself about what you can and cannot eat in the wild and get a book on the subject.
For waste disposal a shovel is an excellent tool to do the job.
In case of a power outage, keep a 2000W generator like this one in your garage so you can keep your refrigerator running and charge your phones.
If you keep 5 gallons of gas in the garage, you can fill up your car once a month and then go to the gas station to get the tank refilled with fresh fuel.
With a folding portable solar panel, you can charge your devices directly from the sun. Most solar panels come with USB plugs, so phones and other devices can plug in directly. It can be done outside or through a sunny window.
With a collapsible solar lamp like this, you can stash it in a backpack, glove box, or anywhere without taking up too much space.
Even if you’re going for a flat, short hike in a familiar area, you should always carry a topographic map.shoIf you step off trail, even in your most familiar haunts, it’s easy to get lost.even in your most frequented stomping grounds. Even if it’s unlikely that you’ll get lost on a hike or backpacking trip, it’s smart to learn how to read a topographic map. It could be a life-saving survival tool, and a fun way to learn more about the area.
Best Water and Food Related Survival Gadgets
There are many purposes for starting a fire in the wilderness: keeping warm, cooking, keeping animals and insects at bay. This terrific survival fire starter is wind-resistant and easy to use. However, this is not just a survival fire starter, it’s a 3-in-1 emergency tool! The survival fire starter is also equipped with a compass and a 150 DB SOS whistle.
Life is impossible without water! No matter what you choose to do, whether it is hiking, camping, climbing or just taking a walk outside, you should always have clean water on hand. LifeStraw water filters are amazing survival gadgets! It uses a filter that can remove up to 99.9% of parasites, bacteria, and microplastics from water, so you can drink clean water wherever you are.
The device’s microfiltration membrane can remove all kinds of bacteria, including salmonella, cryptosporidium, and E. coli, and Giardia parasites. Basically, you can add water from any water source to the LifeStraw and immediately get clean drinking water.
It’s not just any water filter. To ensure its safety and reliability, the LifeStraw has been thoroughly tested in laboratories. You can drink up to 1,000 gallons of safe and filtered water with the filter. The average person drinks less than this amount in a year, so this amount is sufficient.
With this amazing portable camping stove, you can cook food and boil water in a matter of minutes, while also charging your phone or other electronic devices. You can feed the fire with sticks and twigs around you instead of fuel.
BioLite Campstove 2 includes an integrated 2600 mAh battery to charge your electronic devices, as well as an LED dashboard. This way, you can easily control the fan speed, and also get accurate information about the fire’s strength and battery level.
With this amazing device, you can prepare nutritious meals for up to 5 people, depending on what size set you get. The Camping Cookware Set, approved by the FDA, contains many useful pieces. There are sets of 9, 12, 13, 18 or 23 pieces available. Despite being light, compact and small, it contains everything you need.
An easy way to start a fire is using a lighter, but this is not your ordinary lighter. This lighter is designed especially for outdoor activities and the survivalist, and here is how: it has a waterproof design so water don’t get inside the lighter, even when it’s raining. It is also flameless and windproof, so it’s perfect for many outdoor activities like hiking, camping or even start a fire in an emergency situation to keep warm or signal your location, no matter the weather condition.
Best Survival Flashlights
In dark times and places, a flashlight can provide light and signal for help. The 3-in-1 utility flashlight does all this and more. With this flashlight, you get:
- Flashlight: Bright 1,200 lumens with 20X zoom
- Lantern: Ultra bright lantern that extends from the handle of the flashlight
- SOS beacon: Red SOS strobe mode if you find yourself in an emergency situation
It is made from aircraft aluminum and has a magnetic base, so it can be used hands-free. The flashlight has five modes: high, medium, low, lantern, and SOS.
The flashlight is very bright and long-lasting. It has three settings: high, low, and strobe. It’s perfect for both indoor and outdoor activities, including inside the house, walking the dog, hiking, camping, fishing and much more. The J5 Tactical V1-Pro flashing is strong, compact, water-resistant, and can even survive being dropped 9 feet.
No matter where you are, you can signal for help with this great device. With the Garmin inReach Explorer+, communication between two devices is possible via the global Iridium satellite. In order to use the Explorer+ feature to activate an SOS system or contact the search and rescue monitoring system (works 24/7), a satellite subscription is required.
You probably have your cellphone or GPS device with you, so why carry a compass as well? Electronic devices may malfunction or break from time to time. It is possible to be in an area without cell or satellite coverage. That is why a compass, especially this Eyeskey Multifunctional Military Lensatic Tactical Compass, an Amazon’s Choice product, can be invaluable.
The device is military-grade, which means it can be used for years and years in any weather condition.
Best Shelter and Safety Gadgets
Take a look at it. You always have an emergency survival shelter with you, no matter where you are or what the weather is like outside. Isn’t this amazing? More than 500 people have rated this gadget 4.7 out of 5 on Amazon, making it a must-have gadget and gear for survivalists!
This emergency tube tent is engineered and designed for 2 people. It is lightweight and compact (8.7 ounces), so you can take it anywhere.
Additional Survival Gadgets and Tools
A must-have device for your survival. The 1TAC Paracord bracelet is made of military-grade parachute cord and features a strong paracord, which measures 9′ and can withstand tension tensions up to 550 lbs. In an emergency, you can unravel it and use the cord. You can make a tourniquet, tie it, and more. It is suitable for any weather.
In the wild, a real survivor needs a high-quality knife. Featuring a full tang and a high carbon steel blade, this knife can help you gather materials for shelter, start a fire, open cans, cut bandages, dress wounds and more.
The knife weighs 13.7 ounces and measures 10 inches long. It feels balanced in your hand and is very comfortable. In addition, there is an oversized bolster to keep your hand from slipping toward the blade when you lean into the cut.
How to Choose Survival Tools?
Always be prepared for the activity you are about to undertake. There are different situations that can surprise you. That is why it is crucial to have the right tools to keep you safe and get you out of trouble.
There are six factors to consider when choosing survival tools and gear: type, use, size and weight, practicality, durability and versatility.
- USE: Know how to operate the devices and gear you bring along with you at all times. Once you’ve used some devices a few times, their operation comes naturally to you.
- Weight and size: These parameters vary from one device to another. It is therefore crucial that your survival tool is neither too heavy nor too weak so that it will not slow you down. Nowadays, most survival tools are lightweight or even ultralight, such as the LifeStraw water filter.
- Type: Many items in the survival category are designed for the same tasks and purposes. The question is, how do you choose? Survival requires three essential tools: a water filter, a compass, and a flashlight (a first aid kit may also be necessary). On the second level you’ll find a GPS, a blanket, firestarters, and other survival tools. Make sure you choose the appropriate gear for your activity and that it is also optimized for the environment. Make sure your gear is centered around water, warmth, shelter and a beacon system so the rescue services can locate you. Take only the gear you need for your specific task and activity.
- Versatility: By combining several survival items into one device, versatility means minimizing your backpack. You can save space in your backpack by using multiple tools that can be used for many purposes. Remember to consider the other factors I’ve just mentioned. Multi-tools, cookware sets, and 3-in-1 utility flashlights are examples of versatile tools.
- Durability: When choosing a survival tool, this is also a very important aspect to keep in mind. An item that does the job well and lasts a long time is what you need. Breaking or failing a survival tool in the middle of its use can mean the difference between life and death. Don’t combine multiple items and pieces into one device, as it may not work and will probably fail. There are exceptions, such as the aforementioned multi-tool, which combines multiple tools into one. If possible, choose items that are durable and strong enough to handle multiple tasks.
- Practicality: Only carry items that are necessary for your activities and goals in your backpack. You shouldn’t pack redundant heavy items that will slow you down and tire you out. Don’t forget to study the terrain and the essence of your future activity, and bring only what you really need. If you spend more time outdoors and in the wilderness, you’ll be less dependent on devices and less burdened.