Survival is not just about prepping or the amusing antics of a television survivalist. Every day, real people find themselves in situations where comfort, if not survival, hinges on their ability to be prepared with the skills and knowledge to get through natural disasters, accidents or other emergencies. Learning all the useful survival skills now can save you and technically beneficial.
A wilderness emergency could possibly happen to anyone, anywhere. When confronted with an unexpected survival situation man has the potential to overcome many challenges, beat incredible odds, and come out a survivor. But just what is survival anyway? Survival is the art of surviving beyond any event. To survive means to remain alive; to live. Survival is taking any given circumstance, accepting it, and trying to improve it, while sustaining your life until you can get out of the situation. And most importantly, survival is a state of mind.
“Better be prepared as always.” This statement is certainly a cliche. You want all the stuff all prepped up to secure a smooth and enduring expedition as possible. Besides getting lost, other events where knowing survival skills is paramount includes being caught in natural disasters, experiencing extreme shifts in weather, accidents causing some form of incapacitation, and many other unforeseen circumstances. So if you are an active person and like to spend time in the outdoors, having some ability with regards to primitive skills can literally save your life and it goes hand in hand with the bear gears and tools as your support resource.
Whether you are planning an epic hiking trip or want to prepare for something a little more drastic, you need the best survival gear for the job.
When it comes to the best survival gear, fire, food, water, and shelter are top priorities. In our list of the top 10 survival gear products, we’ve chosen tools that aid in the fire, food, water, self-defense, security, stealth and shelter building.
At the same time, buying survival gear shouldn’t cost you a lot of money. Early Native Americans and other primitive cultures in the world survived without expensive sporting goods and outfitters.
We live in the modern age, though — in many ways, we have an advantage. Most people need those advantages because going from a wired world to the wilderness comes with a learning curve — one that can kill you if you’re not prepared.
The Top 10 Cool Survival Gadgets and Tools That Can Save Your Life
1. FireKnife Survival Knife
Some would argue you should just bring a lighter, but even a reliable Zippo will have trouble in situations where a FireSteel will just ignite a pile of dry kindling. So, really, if you go camping, even if you’re not technically roughing it at the campsite down the road from your house, you should probably bring this knife along.
The FireKnife is essentially two useful camping tools in one. The first tool should be pretty obvious from the name; it’s a nice half-tang blade from Mora of Sweden with a smooth cutting edge. It’s a fairly simple straight-blade knife perfect for all the little annoying tasks of camping; making kindling, cutting rope, stabbing bears, and so on. In the handle, however, is an equally useful device.
Namely, it goes along with a Swedish FireSteel. The Swedish FireSteel is actually an innovation from the Swedish Department of Defense that’s common issue among militaries, outdoor rescue squads, and other people who have to start a fire very quickly.
Survival Power: You just scrape along it with the included scraping tool and you get bright, hot (as in 3000 degrees) sparks that can easily ignite pretty much anything. It’ll work in the freezing cold, in the soaking wet, and just about everywhere else. So you can see why this particular knife might come in handy if you’re tromping through the woods.
2. The First 24 Survival Kit
It’s a little surprising how many people honestly believe the world is about to collapse. Whether they’re prepping their bunkers or learning how to light a fire using just a polished can lid, a lot of people are ready to run to the woods. Which is where the First 24 survival kit comes into play.
As this is made by Taurus, as you might expect, the anchor of this kit is the Taurus Judge, with some customization by Pro Aim Tactical. That takes a .45 Colt cartridge or a .410 bore shotshell, so it’s not going to lack for firepower.
The rest of the kit includes a Sting survival blade, which is three inches of carbon steel; a six-inch LED flashlight; adhesive emergency lights; a fire-starting kit; a spherical compass, and, of course, batteries and paracord, because every survival kit needs both.
3. BioLite Camp Stove
When a natural disaster hits, you best be ready. That means stocking food, water, and other necessities. However, there probably isn’t much you can do about your power grid. Sure, a battery would suffice, but inevitably that source of fuel will eventually run dry.
The BioLite Campstove is a brilliant solution that solves a whole host of problems. It’s great not just for emergency scenarios, but for those that like to camp. At first glance, it looks like your garden variety portable stove. And don’t get us wrong, it is. But instead of using a petroleum based fuel source, it works with twigs, pine cones, pellets and other biomass, such as pine needles or leaves. And while you cook your dinner, or boil off that bacteria-laden water, you can also power up your phone or just about any 5V gadget thanks to the built-in USB plug.
Not only is it a camping stove, it is also a charger, generating power from burning biomass. You would have to burn hours of fuel to get the stove to fully charge your phone, but in times of need, it could provide that extra spark needed to let you make that pivotal call. A genius survival gadget indeed!
Survival Power: The whole system packs down into a somewhat portable 8.25 x 5″ shape and weighs 2 lbs
4. Blue Freedom
Blue Freedom may sound like a comic book name, but it’s actually one of the most interesting eco-tech projects on Kickstarter, a mini hydro power generator designed to be used just about anywhere there’s running water.
The principles of hydroelectricity are pretty simple: Use the force of moving water to turn a turbine. Make sure that turbine movement generates electricity that can be stored, and then use it or store it in batteries and capacitors for later use. The team behind Blue Freedom just scaled the whole idea down – very down.
Survival Power: The result is a hydropower plant that you can hold in one hand, a friendly-looking, disc-like device with a large fan-based turbine installed in the center. Put it in running water, such as a river or stream, and it will store a charge – apparently, just one hour in a current can create a 10-hour battery charge for common mobile devices like smartphones. It uses an USB port for charging, and is designed to work for common, useful items like MP3 players, GPS units, LED maps, electric razors, and even small camping fridges.
5. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
Safe, purified water wherever you go is what the LifeStraw personal water filter offers you. LifeStraw is the ingenious invention that lets you drink directly from puddles or streams without any of the risks normally associated.
The TIME Magazine Invention of the Year winner uses a microbiological purification filter and comes at a more than reasonable price as well, so it’s accessible not just for the hardcore camper but for everyone who wants it.
It’s been used by both backpackers and relief agencies in third world countries alike. It weighs only 2 ounces and is a perfect tool for extreme survival situations like wilderness survival as well as a tool for providing water safe to drink during an evacuation of a widespread disaster.
Needless to say, this could prove to be a savior if a real survival situation kicks in while you’re hiking, or even just provide some quick relief from dehydration while you’re on a regular trek.
Survival Power: Portable water filters do not remove chemicals and so none are a complete solution to water. Outside of a city following a collapse local water sources may be contaminated with any number of chemicals as industrial runoff leaches into groundwater, making this water unsafe to drink, even with a water filter. In a wilderness setting, though, a Lifestraw should do just fine for you, and be a real life saver.
6. Cammenga Model 27CS Lensatic Compass
With periodic malfunctions in several store-bought compasses, including polarity issues, you want a compass you can count on. Learn proper care for a compass and how to protect polarity, as well as how it’s actually used in the field. Navigation is an essential survival skill; along with fire and water procurement and shelter building, navigating with a compass is a skill taught in Special Forces survival training as well as local survival schools in most areas.
7. SunRocket Sunlight
Boiling water with just the use of sunlight may seem impossible at first thought but the SunRocket Sunlight is here to blow you away. It gives you the power to boil water using only the heat of the sun.
Not only could this prove key for your cooking and drinking needs, it could also prove an essential part of any first aid kit, heating water to sterilize for use in treating injuries. It’s not as expensive as you might think either… A genius survival gadget that could make your day or save your life!
8. Leatherman One Hand Tool
A multi-tool shouldn’t be viewed as a knife with a bunch of other stuff attached. In fact, if you’re really after a survival knife, you should get one separate to a multi-tool, a straight-edged, fixed knife which is far more reliable in crucial situations than one designed to fold away.
However, that doesn’t mean multi-tools aren’t useful. They save a whole lot of space in your bag and can provide all sorts of benefits when you’re dealing with the niggles and hassles of camping life. This Leatherman multi-tool makes handling those hassles even easier, allowing for one-handed deployment of all 16 features on the survival gadget.
It’s also very easy to identify each tool via imprints left on the handle, meaning this is one of the most practical multi-tools about, which at the end of the day, is why you bring along the survival gadget in the first place!
9. Dakota Line’s Ghost Rider Versatile Snares
One of the things a person will learn in U.S. Special Forces survival training is that squirrels, rabbits, and other small mammals can make a quick meal. In the wilderness, all you need to know is how to read the ground around you and recognize areas that small mammals are likely to travel. Then set up a number of small, simple traps around the area (deadfalls, snares, etc) and simply wait for traps to spring.
If you bait these traps you have greater chances of not only catching an animal but catching it faster than if you didn’t bait these traps.
Survival Power: Snare placement can be a key factor to whether or not you catch anything; your ability to know where to set snares relies on you learning and practicing basic trapping skills for capturing small game. Baiting traps with common game foods like nuts, seeds, and berries (and artificial baits) can help boost your sharing success.
10. Zippo Hand Warmer
Ain’t nothing like a hot piece of metal in your pocket to get you through some cold days this winter. The Zippo Hand Warmer uses a platinum-catalyzed glass fiber burner to provide up to 10 times more heat than your average hand warmer.
Sounds like a great compact solution for those in colder areas suffering poor circulation. You’ll look like an absolute boss if you learn how to flick it on properly.
Survival Power: Capable of burning for 12 hours at a time, the Zippo Hand Warmer uses 12 ml of everyday lighter fuel.