15 Most Important Tools for Survival [2021 Guide]

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15 Most Important Tools for Survival [2021 Guide]

With worldwide shortages of materials and rising civil unrest, you never know when you might need to bug out. If so, it’s best if you’re prepared ahead of time with survival tools (that won’t weigh you down).

In this article, I will give you the most important tools for survival that will get you through any situation. So let’s get right to it!

Most Important Tools for Survival

Knife or multi-tool

CELTIBERO Outdoor/Survival/Hunting/Tactical Knife
13 Reviews
CELTIBERO Outdoor/Survival/Hunting/Tactical Knife
  • Handmade knife in Spain. The knives been specially designed for hunters,...
  • Blade Length: 145 mm / 5.70". Overall Length: 275 mm / 10.82". Blade...
  • High resistance black Milkarta handle. Stainless Steel Molybdenum-Vanadium...
  • Kydex Sheath with integrated belt loop allows for safe and secure carry on...
  • ✔ 100% RISK-FREE PURCHASE >>> We've tested this knife hundreds of times...
Roxon 16-in-1 Multitool Pocket
352 Reviews
Roxon 16-in-1 Multitool Pocket
  • MULTI FUNCTION: 19 functions in one. At home, at work, or in the wild,...
  • SUPERIOR QUALITY: Material includes SUS420/50Cr15/Tungsten...
  • WONDERFUL DESIGN: Designed with a safe locking mechanism, can be safer and...
  • FREE GIFT: We offer free high-quality bit groups which help you realize the...
  • SATISFACTION GUARANTEE: We offer 10-Year warranty and excellent customer...

A knife could be your best friend if you find yourself stuck in unfamiliar territory. A good survival knife will let you work on wood, cut rope, and if need be, hunt or protect yourself. You can also choose to get a multi-tool, but that comes down to what you anticipate to use either for.

It is a pretty personal decision, but trust me, it’s one that you want to put some thought into. To help you decide, find one that works well with how skilled you are with a knife, and consider factors like size and weight.

There’s also the psychological safety net that carrying a knife brings. There’s a bunch of them you can choose from, but to get you in the right direction, check out this compact piece from Celtibero. These are hand-made in Spain and specifically designed for hunters, campers, and wildlife enthusiasts.

If you’re interested in a multi-tool, this one from Roxon comes with multiple tools, including pliers, a scissor, ruler, bottle opener, screwdriver, and even a threader. Whatever your decision may be, make sure a good knife or multitool is part of your kit.

Firestarter kit

AOFAR Fire Starter 5-in-1
3,429 Reviews
AOFAR Fire Starter 5-in-1
  • 👍ALL WEATHER FIRE STARTERS: Rugged flint fire starter works in any...
  • 👍FIRE STRIKER : Each box includes 2 Fire Starters can be used thousands...
  • 👍MULTI-PURPOSE FLINT FIRE STEEL:3"Unique design scraper, 5"Rod,Match...
  • 👍HELPFUL:The red waxed flax in Paracord waterproof fire tinder can make...
  • 👍100% SATISFACTION PROMISE: AOFAR provide 2 years limited warranty and...

For the inexperienced, food, water and shelter may seem like all that’s required to survive in the wilderness. But, if you’ve ever watched Bear Grylls do his thing, you’ll understand how building a fire is probably just as important.

Fire helps you stay warm, cook food, boil water, and keeps predators away, so you can get a safe night’s sleep. Now, there are several fire starter kits that you can pick up and they’re all largely the same with regard to how they work. We particularly like this AOFAR one for its simplicity and ease of use.

And if you don’t know how, we suggest you learn how to start a fire on your own, including knowing how to use a ferro rod.

First Aid Kit

Adventure Medical Kits UltraLight
1,129 Reviews
Adventure Medical Kits UltraLight
  • Ultralight and Waterproof: This medical first aid kit is easy to carry on a...
  • Comprehensive Care for Outdoor Adventures: Contains bandages, wraps, and...
  • Perfect for Outdoor Sports and Adventures: This medical kit is ideal for...
  • High-Visibility, Small Kit: This medical kit is in a high-visibility bag...
  • Durable Protection: With proprietary DryFlex bags and a water-resistant...

A first aid kit can be invaluable when you’re out camping, especially if you’re in a situation that involves sickness or an unforeseen accident. Your first aid kit should consist of more than just band-aids and antibiotic creams.

Pack some gauze pads for more substantial wounds and even some splints that will come in handy in case of a fracture. These items can also double as items that will help you start a fire. You can save a lot of time and effort by buying a first aid kit that’s been put together for the outdoors.

Keep one on you at all time as it’s not something you want to forget in your car or leave behind at your campsite when you’re away from it

Check out this kit from Adventure Medical Kits – it comes in its own watertight carry bag and includes all the essentials.


OLIGHT USB Magnetic Rechargeable Torch
3,329 Reviews
OLIGHT USB Magnetic Rechargeable Torch
  • MULTI-FUNCTION SIDE SWITCH: It has several modes to choose from including...
  • 1,150-LUMEN OUTPUT: S2R II can produce a maximum output of 1,150...
  • MOST CURRENT VERSION&PREMIUM BEAM: It's the upgraded version of the popular...
  • PERFECT GRIP AND PORTABILITY: Small squared texture build for perfect grip...
  • HIGHLY EFFICIENT MCC 1A CHARGER:Portable faster charging MCC 1A USB...

Ah, the mighty flashlight.

Being lost in unfamiliar surroundings is pretty daunting by itself, but get caught in a situation like that in the dark, and you’ll find it’s not exactly the adventure you signed up for. Even if you intended to hike only during the day, you should still carry a flashlight or headlamp with you. You and I both know that, sometimes, things don’t go to plan and you may find yourself outside even past sunset.

These Olight ones are a little on the expensive side, but they boast impressive performance and 3 settings: turbo, moonlight, and strobe


Viriber Stainless Steel Whistle
99 Reviews
Viriber Stainless Steel Whistle
  • Samless stell Whistle is used in Life-saving in Emergency and in sports...
  • Whistle crisp sound, without pea ,not moldy, you can use it in any...
  • Whistle made of Food Grade Stainless steel, Safty confirmed.
  • In emergency or sports referee,you can get the same db ,you can save 30%...
  • With hang buckles and chain belt, not easily lost.

A loud whistle is a simple, yet substantial tool when you’re out hiking or camping. A good whistle will be able to cut through ambient sounds and let your pack know where you are, in the chance you do get separated from them. Learning how to whistle a simple SOS in Morse code can come in handy as well.

A whistle can also alert animals around you of your presence. For these reasons, we advise that you keep one on you (like this one from Viriber), maybe around your neck, and not in your kit.


I know, I know; another Bear Grylls reference is a little too much, but you should see the things he does with paracord. I can’t stress enough the importance of carrying a rope with you. The best kind there is for your survival kit, is paracord. I mean, even the military has been using it for years now.

Paracord is made of light, strong nylon and many strands for fiber, making it incredibly durable and essential as a survival tool. You can use it to rig tarps and make a tent, repair gear, or take it apart to create a makeshift fishing line or sewing thread. The list is endless.

Now, how much you want to carry is entirely personal and depends on how long you’re going to stay out, but at the very least, this wearable piece from TecHong comes with a decent amount and some other nifty features.


As hardcore as it would be, you can’t always fashion some twigs and leaves into a shelter; that’s why carrying a tarp is part of this list. During the day, you can use it as ground padding to sit on, or as a cover for your gear. You can also fasten it above you to protect you, or the food you’re cooking, from the elements.

Just like paracord, a tarp is one of the most versatile bits of kit you can carry on you. You can order some off Amazon, or head down to your local hardware store for some.

Space Blanket

Primacare Foil Mylar Thermal Blanket
10,042 Reviews
Primacare Foil Mylar Thermal Blanket
  • Material Type: Silver
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Waterproof and weatherproof foil and mylar emergency thermal blanket for...
  • Mylar insert provides insulation and the foil cover can reflect heat back...
Arcturus Survival Blanket
7,885 Reviews
Arcturus Survival Blanket
  • MANY USES: Can be used as a ground tarp, shelter, tent or emergency blanket...
  • ALL WEATHER BLANKET: This unique blanket features a Mylar reflective side...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT: This blanket weighs less than a pound and will travel lightly...
  • SUPER VERSATILE: Reflects heat, waterproof, windproof, compact, lightweight...
  • 4 REINFORCED TIE-DOWN GROMMETS: Easily hang or secure to reflect or deflect...

We addressed starting a fire to keep you warm, but sometimes it may not be enough. Additionally, temperatures can drop even when you’re out on the move past sunset.

Moisture and humidity play a significant role in how our bodies regulate heat. So if you’re exposed and at risk of getting wet, your body is going to have a harder time keeping you warm. A lightweight space blanket isn’t as effective as a sleeping bag, but they’re certainly much easier to carry around.

These blankets reflect heat from your body back to you quite efficiently and make it easier to stay dry and warm. You can also use the reflective side of the blanket to concentrate sunlight to cook or keep your food warm. Additionally, it can also be used as a supplement to a tarp, if required. You can choose to get multiple small ones or one large one.


Garmin eTrex Handheld GPS Navigator
1,370 Reviews
Garmin eTrex Handheld GPS Navigator
  • Explore confidently with the reliable handheld GPS
  • 2.2" sunlight-readable color display with 240 x 320 display pixels for...
  • Preloaded with Topo Active maps with routable roads and trails for cycling...
  • Support for GPS and GLONASS satellite systems allows for tracking in more...
  • 8 GB of internal memory for map downloads plus a micro SD card slot.Battery...

While a handheld map is an old-school and trusted aid to use alongside a compass, it can be a little cumbersome. Especially in today’s day and age when the efficiency of both can be replicated by a single device. Some of these GPS units can also be used to send out a distress signal, alerting emergency responders to your exact location. Bet your handheld map can’t do that, can it?

Jokes aside, these GPS modules can be an expensive piece of kit, but you can’t really put a price tag on your safety, so consider it an investment. A good one uses satellite signals and so will transmit your coordinates, irrespective of where you’re located. Some are also capable of messaging beyond an SOS signal, so you can let your family or friends know about where you are or what you’re up to.

Garmin is at the forefront when it comes to kits like this, and this Etrex 22X, despite its price tag, is one of the best GPS devices that money can buy.

Topographic Map

Now, if you can’t afford to get yourself one of those nifty GPS’ devices, then a topographic map will do. Even if you’re exploring some trails you’re quite familiar with, having a map in hand will ensure that you don’t get lost or step off-trail. Matter of fact, it may just encourage you to explore some new ones!

While it’s unlikely you’ll get lost on a short hike in familiar territory, it’s also an opportunity to figure out how to read one, for your next big adventure.


Sportneer Military Compass
8,359 Reviews
Sportneer Military Compass
  • PROFESSIONAL GRADE: This professional grade military compass will always...
  • ERGONOMIC DESIGN: The lensatic function increases the reading’s accuracy...
  • MILITARY CONSTRUCTION: Tough and tenacious, the military construction with...
  • PORTABLE: Keep the compass near you with a belt loop attachment, or place...
  • FLUORESCENT: The compass’ interface glows in the dark, so even when night...

Much like your topographic map, a compass is something you should carry with you and learn how to read. It’s lightweight, analog, and can be used alongside other tools to help you make important decisions. There are several, short online courses you could take that will familiarize you with how and what a compass can be used for. If you’re getting started, this from Sportneer is built well and waterproof.

If you are feeling more adventurous, you can also learn how to build your own compass in the wild.

Signal Mirror

Signal mirrors are also referred to as rescue mirrors. These reflectors are virtually unbreakable and are designed to be used as a survival tool. They are basically a mirror that promises longevity. The reflected glimmer from the sunlight can reach about seven miles, alerting someone about your whereabouts.

Water Filtration

I’m sure you know that the average human can survive longer without food, than without water. While starting out, always carry more water than you think you’ll require, but if you do run out, a water filter could literally make the difference between life and death.

Now, clean drinking water can be hard to come by in a forest, and carrying the best water filter will make natural options, like from a stream, safer for consumption. You’ll also need treated water to clean wounds, cook or clean yourself and your gear.

The LifeStraw is an award-winning product that can filter up to 1,000 gallons without any batteries or moving parts. The company claims it removes 99.9% of waterborne bacteria and parasites.

Cooking kit

Yes, clean water is of utmost importance, but at some point, you’re going to need to eat.

Whether you manage to catch a fish or carry along something to cook, you’re going to need something to cook it in. A minimalist cooking kit should consist of a small pot and a small water bottle. We find that harnessing the pot to our rucksack is quite efficient as it doesn’t take up space inside the bag and isn’t too much extra weight.

Dry sack

RuRu Monkey 60L Waterproof Camping Backpack
205 Reviews
RuRu Monkey 60L Waterproof Camping Backpack
  • Comfortable Daypack: This climbing backpack is specially designed for...

Speaking of, a dry sack or waterproof bug out bag is one of the most essential parts of a kit, if you plan to spend more than a few hours out in nature. The right bug out bag will be big and sturdy enough to carry all your essentials.

Tools that are not properly waterproofed may fail you when you need them the most, and that’s a situation that you don’t want to be in. This RuRu Monkey backpack comes with ergonomically comfortable construction and different compartments for all your items.

FAQ About Survival Tools

  1. Is there a survival gear kit you can buy?

Yes, there are several survival gear kits that you can buy. However, not all of them will include the items we mentioned in the list and you will have to make some individual additions. But this EMDMAK camping kit is compact and is quite comprehensive.

  • What is the most important survival tool if you become lost?

This may come across as a little cliched, but if you do get lost, the most important tool at your disposal is your brain. The US Forest Service states on its website that in such an event, keeping a positive mental attitude is the most important. Think about it; all the tools at your disposal will be of little help if you are panicking or distressed.

  • What are the 3 most important things to survive?

The three most important things to survive, in order of importance, are water, food, and shelter. In that sense, make sure you have a reliable water filter, the ability to start a fire on a dime, and a tent or tarp.


Remember, what you have in your bug out bag may make all the difference when it comes to survival. Practice carrying a kit with you even on smaller escapades, and you’ll be a pro in no time. Practice makes perfect after all.

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