Must-Have Survival Gear

Survival gear is not only necessary to help you beat the odds during a disaster or crisis, it's also fun to buy and research.

The possibilities and specifications of emergency gear are nearly endless. Some survivalists have nothing more than a few survival kits and a food store, while others have full-blown arsenals, underground bunkers, and enough food to last until the end of time.

Begin With the Basics

Before you go loading up on high-powered rifles and night vision goggles, you'll need to get the basic survival equipment first, like food, water, shelter, first aid, and tools.

Refer to our other articles to learn more about the initial preparations you should be making, before diving into the heavy-duty survival equipment.

Once you have the essential survival gear stocked up and stored, you should begin turning your attention to other items that will give you an advantage over whatever elements you're facing after a disaster or catastrophe occurs.

Survival Tents

If you're required to survive out in the wilderness, a lightweight yet durable tent is your best option.

Skip the tents that are over the top and require complicated assembly – purchase a tent that has a one-piece design, or one that has four or less posts. In a survival situation, you need a tent that you can quickly disassemble and pack.

Read more on survival shelters here.

Storage and Transporting

For storing large amounts of food for a long time (10-25 years), you should consider purchasing food grade buckets, mylar bags, and oxygen absorbers.

These three things will extend the shelf life of many essential food items, like flour, rice, and beans, well beyond conventional packaging. Be sure to check out our Survival Food Storage article for an in-depth discussion.

If you have to leave your permanent shelter, you'll need a way to keep your survival kit organized and easily portable. Most basic survival kits can fit inside a standard book bag, suitcase, or duffle bag, but once you begin investing in more advanced survival gear, you'll need something larger and stronger to transport it all.

Internal frame backpacks are a great choice for carrying heavy loads and they can withstand a lot of abuse and use. Internal frame backpacks help minimize shifting and movement of the pack, and distribute the weight evenly across your back and shoulders.

External fame backpacks are also available, and can often hold more and are easier to load and unload, but they may not be as comfortable.

Survival Tools

You'll need a variety of tools to help you out in a survival situation. A recurring recommendation in preparedness gear is investing in quality supplies. If it breaks when you need it most, chances are you won't be able to replace it easily.

A good multi-tool should include all the essential tools you might need – pliers, Phillips and flathead screwdrivers, multiple blades, scissors, file, saw, and a can opener. Just in case something happens, you should keep at least two with your survival gear.

A hammer is another handy piece of survival gear you should always have around. Don't settle for a cheap hammer with the head attached to a wood handle – get one that is one-piece steel to ensure it won't break.

A rubber mallet might also be a good tool to have around for soft strikes to prevent damaging whatever you're hammering. A hatchet or camper's axe is another essential tool you should include in your survival gear preparations. Again, look for one that is one-piece steel.

Magnesium firestarter should be part of your survival gear list. Click for more info.

Every survivalist needs a variety of fire-starting tools. Of course you can include waterproof matches and lighters, but if those two items should fail, you'll need ways to manually start a fire. Add one to your survival gear list.

Several small, portable fire starters are available, like magnesium plates and flint rods. These items, when struck with a metal object (usually included) create very hot sparks, which will catch your kindling on fire.

Flashlights and lanterns are essential survival gear items and you should always have a few durable flashlights and lanterns of multiple sizes, and extra batteries. Solar-powered flashlights are also available are great additions to your storage of traditional flashlights.

See our Ultrabright 1000 Solar Reading Lamp for a trustworthy and energy free light source.

Binoculars are great to have around for scoping out potential threats and resources, and for helping you plan your route when traveling. Get a pair that folds easily, is made of durable material, and includes a case.

Cooking Devices

Cold food is tolerable for a while, and dehydrated/freeze dried food without the water is definitely not acceptable, but in order to create the proper results one needs to be able to boil water and to cook many of your emergency food stores. To do this of course one needs a source of heat in order to be able to cook...and there are many and varied sources of heat generation and means of cooking in all kinds of conditions and situations.

A rocket stove is an efficient and economical means of cooking using only available bio-mass fuels that one might scrounge up from your surroundings, kindling, twigs, dry grasses, husks and even dry "buffalo chips" if need be. See our line of Silver Fire Rocket Stoves

An even more economical way of cooking is of course solar, because so far no one has been able to regulate this market and source of energy and as long as you have sunshine you can very effectively cook using just the power of the sun.  See our very comprehensive site on everything Solar Cooking.

Hay Box Cookers (Hot Box, Thermal Box Cooker) are a unique way of cooking and at the same time presserving your limited and possibly scare fuel resources.

This form of cooking was quite common in many areas of the world during the depression years and even so in the United States.

Read more about the Hay Box Cooker on our sister site: Hay Box Cooker

Survival Knives

A great survival knife should be part of everyone's survival gear setup.

Click to read about the best survival knives

The construction, quality, and durability of a good knife will go much further than a $10 knife you can buy at Wal-Mart.

When you're faced with a dire situation that requires extended use of a knife, you don't want it breaking in your hand after a few uses – you need something that can survive the test of time.

Fixed blade knives (non-folding) are the knives of choice for survival. Your survival knife of choice should have a blade of at least six inches and should include a well-made sheath. While you can invest in a variety of different knives, ensure you do your research on the best survival knife before making a purchase.

Survival Firearms

Guns might be a controversial subject for some people, but when in a survival situation, there's nothing better to protect you than a good firearm.

A variety of firearms are available, such as rifles, shotguns, and pistols, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your situation, you may want a rifle that is easy to take apart (take down) for easy transportation.

Of course, you'll need plenty of ammo as well.

Now, Acquiring your survival gear without going broke...

Equipment Sourcing

It is expensive trying to put all of your gear needs in order, so we thought we would give you a source for some ongoing deals, bargains and sales on used, slightly blemished and open-box items that are offered through one of the largest online retailers in

They may not be the first site to go to for Survival and Emergency Preparedness items, but they can be a good source for many of your standard and basic outdoor and camping items that are essential to your survival and preparedness efforts

Go from Survival Gear to the Cantinawest Survival home page

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