Last update 5. January 2021.
The dictionary defines survival as the state or fact of continuing to live or exist, usually despite an accident, a lawsuit, or difficult circumstances. As drafters, this is our main goal, although everyone has their own vision of what it looks like in their lives. This list of survival gear is designed to help you stay alive despite difficult circumstances.
But this survival gear will be general survival gear in many ways. If you have most or all of the items on this transfer list, or a reasonable fax, you should be able to handle many emergencies or difficult circumstances.
If you give me a very specific situation, like a power outage and my dog not being able to take medication, this list might not help Fido survive. It should give you context so you can easily consider your own survival gear needs and plan accordingly.
It’s not a basic prep list either. To get started, read our article Preparing 101 – Baby Steps. The survival equipment list below is a checklist, and some of you may look at all the items and wonder how you could pay for all of them.
Preparation is not a destination, it is a journey. Consider this list to be something you should ideally have, but it’s entirely possible to start with nothing. It’s true! To keep track of your training goals, print out this list of survival gear and check off the items as you acquire or achieve them.
This list of survival gear does not include all items or categories – we have specific items for almost every topic on this list, and I will link them accordingly.
This list of survival equipment is not magic. It requires planning and maintenance. You can’t just put these things in the shed and forget about them – but even if you did, you’d still be better off than your neighbors who do nothing. It’s another topic that deserves its own category, but I won’t get into that in this list of survival gear either.
Similarly, having an abundance of survival gear is not the ultimate goal. You need to know how and when to use the equipment below to save a life, perhaps your own, so make sure education and planning are your top two priorities as well.
Before we get to the list of survival gear, for this exercise I’m going to assume that you are at home with your gear. If you’re on vacation or have been kidnapped by a cartel – blindfolded in the trunk of an old Chevrolet, these items probably won’t help you. However, you can use each of these survival items in different ways, which is why there are dual-use items.
If necessary, you can navigate to specific sections using the table of contents below. Without further ado, let’s continue with our recommendations for your survival gear.
Nuclear survival equipment List
The items on this survival gear list are meant to keep you alive, so I started with the basics like maintaining a good body temperature (not freezing or burning), making sure you have enough water first, storing food, and staying safe.
No adequate shelter will kill you faster than anything else, assuming you’re not intentionally shot or killed in any way, so the method of protecting yourself from the elements is a top priority for survival.
A tent is a tent in a house? Yes, I know, but tents can help you in your home too. In the event of a power outage in the winter, you can go to a tent to retain your body heat better than in a sprawling house. If you have some sort of heater for your friends, it’s easier to stay warm in the tent.
In the summer you can sleep outside to enjoy the fresh air and breeze, or if you are evicted from your accommodation, this is your new room. A good tent should be on your survival kit.
The tents are for recreational use, so they are not just survival gear that can only be used in an emergency. Choose a tent that is large enough for your family situation. You may need two smaller tents to accommodate everyone.
Tents come in all shapes, sizes and qualities, but I’ve never agreed with their ranking per person. For example, I had a tent for 8 people, and you could only put 8 people in it if you were stacked like sardines. Take this with a grain of salt and get one that is big enough, but doesn’t have much room to move around.
A quality tent like this would probably be enough for two adults and possibly a small child, with room left over to store bags if needed.
Tarp – Why do you need a tarp when you’re at home? A tarpaulin is a cheap tent if you need it – just hang it between two poles or trees with a bit of string and you’ll avoid condensation shrinkage, and with the right setup you can reflect some heat if you have a fire.
It can be used to temporarily fill holes in roofs. You can make it into a shower curtain or use it to collect rainwater if needed. There are many different tarps on the market, and you can get cheaper blue tarps, but a durable one will last longer. Size and weight can be a factor in survival gear, so I recommend something lighter, thinner and easier to carry like the Aqua Quest guide sail, not to mention the tent pegs that come with it.
If the power goes out and you don’t have access to a burning fire, a good synthetic sleeping bag will keep you warm on cold nights.
Sleeping Bag – A sleeping bag is the best solution to stay warm that we have found without HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). If the power goes out and you don’t have access to a campfire, a good synthetic sleeping bag will keep you warm on cold nights.
That’s why we have different sleeping bags. On the other hand, you may have warm blankets and quilts, but a quality three-season sleeping bag usually comes in a smaller size, and you can easily add it to your sleeping bag when you need to leave the house.
Bivouac magazine – Last minute survival gear like a bivouac magazine is essential when you have no other options. Bivouac bags are a protection in the form of a mylar bag that reflects heat from your body. They are only there to survive, so don’t expect them to sleep every night.
Bivouac baskets are a great idea for a car survival kit or overflow if you have unexpected guests. Their price makes it a good idea to stay warm.
Alternative heat source*.
Ideally, you have backup systems for the modern conveniences we rely on when the network is up and running and everything is fine. Heat reserves are an important consideration when reviewing survival equipment lists. Many of them have fireplaces or wood stoves. These heaters are great, and if this is your installation, you should be good. Provided you have enough firewood cut and prepared.
For those who have a gas fireplace, they are a good option when the gas is on and flowing. If you run out of gas or don’t have a gas fireplace, a kerosene stove is a good and relatively inexpensive alternative heating system.
We keep a 10-gallon kerosene stove in the treated barn so we can pull it out and use it as needed to keep us warm and alive.
I also recommend that you have a spare wick for your kerosene stove and not let it fill up with fuel. This way you don’t have to worry about the fire and the wick stays fresh. I once left a wick in a stove and it was disgusting and moldy, so it had to be replaced.
After making sure our body temperature can be regulated by shelter, our next consideration for survival gear is water. Water is needed even more than food to keep you alive, and although we almost take it for granted today, we may face a survival situation where water is not available or is unsafe to drink. A good list of survival gear should cover both scenarios.
One of the easiest things you can do ahead of time is store some more water in your home.
One of the easiest things you can do ahead of time is store some more water in your home. How much water should be stored in case of emergency? The general rule of thumb is one liter of water per day per person.
This single-gallon requirement takes into account food preparation and hygiene, in addition to the consumption of water needed for health and hydration.
Weather conditions also affect the amount of water that needs to be stored. If you are active in the summer, you need more.
The best way to store more water is in food-safe containers that are not exposed to the elements and are free of contaminants. You can use 7-gallon jugs of water, or for those with less space, water bricks are a good choice for stacking. In either case, you can stack them to reduce the space required for all the stored water. Storing old milk jugs is an acceptable backup plan, but make sure they are very clean before you start storing water in them.
Helpful tip – After a while, the water will break down, so make sure you have a water rotation plan. I have six 7-gallon water tanks that I fill with fresh water every six months. For additional water needs, I am interested in water filtration.
Water filtering individual
At some point, your water tank will be depleted unless you have a large lake or pond on your property. For those of us who don’t, water filtration is the easiest way to make almost any water source drinkable.
What about boiling water? Yes, boiling water is a proven method of killing all microorganisms, but it is very inefficient. First we have to make a fire. You should then have a container to hold the water when it is boiling. Then you have to let it cool down. Even if you do all this, cooking won’t change the accumulation.
To me, the obvious choice is a gravity water filter for your survival gear. Fortunately for us, there are several options.
If you look closely, the two main options seem to be LifeStraw or Sawyer mini. They’re light and portable, but you can’t easily filter much water with these two options – unless you get one of their more complete kits.
The best water filtration device I’ve seen uses two bags. One to hold the dirty water, which is then put through a filter into a bag of clean water. I think even Lifestar and Sawyer have something similar now.
But the model I used and can vouch for is the Platypus GravityWorks high performance water filtration system. Allows you to easily filter water for yourself or another person.
Water filtration unit 2-4
More people means more demand for water, so the same concept of water filtration just applies on a different scale. You can choose a 4 gallon gravity filter or something like the Big Berkey water filter.
Big Berkey is even easier than Gravity. Just pour the water on and it comes out filtered at the bottom. It holds 2.5 gallons and is placed on your table while you wait for it to fill. Berkey replacement filters are also designed to last up to 6,000 gallons, providing more capacity for the family.
Another option is the Patriot Pure Ultimate water filtration system. It holds a little over 2 gallons and the filters hold 5,000 gallons, but it’s a little cheaper than the Big Berkey.
Emergency water filtration methods
With these two water filtration methods described above in your survival kit, you should have enough water to live and thrive in most short-term emergencies. But what if we run into something that takes longer?
You can always boil it, but bleach is another method that is guaranteed to kill organisms if done right. It’s not my preferred method, but in terms of long-term viability, it may be bleaching what you’re looking at.
But I’m not talking about household bleach here, although unscented bleach would be effective. The downside is that it doesn’t last long. Bleach has a shelf life of about 6 months, so don’t plan on using it as an alternative water filtration method.
What’s not so bad, at least for a very long time, is the active ingredient in bleach – calcium hypochlorite. Calcium hypochlorite is a powder with a shelf life of 10 years if stored in a cool, dry place. You can make bleach from it, which you can then use in diluted form to disinfect water.
To learn more about this long-term water disinfection option, read our post-disinfection: From purifying water with bleach to eradicating the Ebola virus – a step-by-step guide. You can buy calcium hypochlorite, store it safely (because the fumes corrode metal and eat through cheaper plastic – first-hand experience) and be able to make bleach to disinfect water for years.
Methods for recovering reserve water
Rain barrels are probably one of the first preparation projects I tried because the benefits are so great compared to the effort to make them work.
We’ve already talked about water filtration, but what about finding or collecting water for filtration? A well thought out water storage plan will also include a way to capture the water collected elsewhere or transport it to your home.
If you live in the desert, your options are much more limited, but not impossible. But for this article, I’m going to look at most people who have access to wild water.
Rainwater Collection System – Rain barrels are probably one of the first preparation projects I tried, because the benefits are so great compared to the difficulties in setting up and operating. An average American household can collect thousands of gallons of rain that can fill barrels for plumbing, cooking or drinking.
Here’s a handy little rainwater harvesting calculator to see how much rainwater your roof can bring you. And hundreds of Rain Barrel projects, like the one below for you, are taking place this weekend.
Other water sources – swimming pools and hot tubs – will work, but chlorine levels and filtration methods still need to be checked to ensure the water is safe to drink. Before I drink something that someone may have peed in, I look for other options.
As for the list of survival gear, I won’t go into detail about the types of food storage that are best, but we have some articles on that as well. I recommend that you prepare for Food Preservation 101 or get back to basics: How to store food for emergencies if you want to know more about food storage plans?
In this list, we will focus a little more on the survival equipment that can be used to manage or cook the rescued food.
30-day consumption of unprocessed/unrefrigerated food for all
In short, we consider it a necessary condition to prepare for survival. If you print out this survival kit list to hang on your refrigerator, you can check this line when your food supply reaches its goal.
In the event of a power outage, keep in mind that the refrigerator and freezer will only keep food cold for a few days. (Assuming the temperature does not freeze during that time) You can spend more time in the freezer if you keep it closed, but sooner or later you will have to eat the food or it will spoil.
Non-electric kitchen consumables
So you have food stored at home, but no microwave, electric stove or oven to cook it. You need a cooking surface so the food doesn’t go to waste.
Stove – A regular stove is the best option in this situation. Many of them have two burners, so you can cook two things at once. We have a Coleman stove like this camp stove and it works very well. In the event of a power outage, it fit easily on the counter and we made delicious meals from it.
Garden Grill – Another option is to use your grill, which is one of the reasons I keep two propane tanks in my shed. That way I have a little extra capacity, and always keep one in rotation. If you’re a purist and you only use charcoal, of course it will work, but the space required to store charcoal will be slightly larger than propane.
In keeping with the theme of the garden, you can also settle for a propane burner. They connect to regular propane tanks and provide a stable platform for heating a pot or pan. Useful for boiling water or cooking turkey.
Rocket stove – A practical option is the rocket stove. You can build your own rocket stove from simple materials or buy one like the EcoZoom Versa. There are also other rocket stoves, such as B. the Brunthmore camp stove.
The advantage of these rocket stoves is that they use ordinary sticks that can be picked up from the ground instead of expensive fuel like propane. As long as you have trees around, you have an almost inexhaustible supply of fuel for your self-sustaining stove.
I call it garden fire because people have been cooking on an open fire since the world started turning. However, for each of the above methods, you must use cooking programs designed for these more difficult conditions.
Fuel Source – For most furnaces it is propane or isobutane. You can find this fuel at Walmart or online, and it’s relatively inexpensive.
Can Opener – Don’t forget that the manual can opener can help you keep all those cans of sausage beans. This may sound strange, but trust me, a can opener should be on your survival kit. Just ask the people affected by the hurricanes when all they had was canned food. If you forgot, you can read how to open a box without a can opener.
Freezing of dried products for long term storage
The last item on our shopping list is just a mention of frozen foods. They have a lifespan of over 25 years and all you need is water. I recommend freezing a good portion of your long-term food supply – if all your other survival needs are met first.
Other food considerations: trapping and hunting is a good option, but in a food shortage scenario, wildlife will not survive for long. They will be hunted to extinction quickly, so I wouldn’t make it the main goal of my plan to survive the food supply. You might get lucky, but you’ll be in the minority.
You think clothes are a given, because who walks around naked these days? That’s true, but just because you have clothes doesn’t mean they’re suitable for survival. Women don’t walk in yoga pants for long, and your tight jeans that only show the right amount of ankle boys will soon be in the trash.
Survival clothing should withstand abuse and protect you in moderation. These are sturdy farm clothes, or at least hiking clothes.
Dress for the elements – you’ll be outside more and may be exposed to a harsher environment, so wear clothes that are appropriate for the task. I have work pants and Carhart overalls that hit hard, don’t tear.
In addition to the durability of the garment, you should also have layering options. If you work outside in the winter, you’ll probably rip that cute puffy jacket pretty quickly. Base layers that wick away sweat are better and cotton will kill you if you get wet, so plan accordingly.
Sturdy work shoes or hiking boots – to protect your feet, pay attention to the shoes. Modi are thrown out of the window in an instant, but you want to keep up with everyone when the situation is bad.
Resistant gloves – Good work gloves are necessary because most of us are not used to working with our hands in the open air.
You can take all the steps you want to protect your family from the elements, lack of water or food, but it doesn’t matter how well they eat and heat if their physical safety is threatened by the wrong people. This is why I, like many others, believe that no list of survival equipment will suffice if you don’t have a physical security plan.
For me, this means that I want to have the resources and faith to respond in the same way to violence or threats against my family. In the United States alone, more than 17.2 million firearms background checks were conducted by 2020. It is not considered an illegal or previously obtained firearm. Needless to say, at some point someone with a gun might cross your path.
Guns are the only realistic choice if you hope to defend yourself, although I list some less lethal options below.
Personal protective equipment List of articles
3 magazine personal pistol – Individual firearms should be near the last line of defense if you have already purchased a complete set of firearms. However, they are a good first option if you are looking for something for home care. You can read more about our recommendations here…. but make sure you have at least 3 magazines for your gun and follow the training. Rifle magazines are often sold out of Gun Mag’s stock.
Personal rifle with 6 magazines – The best option for safety is a semi-automatic rifle. AR-15 and Ak-47 are the de facto standards for most drafters, and we discuss the merits of each in this article, but both are good for protecting your family. Again, training is non-negotiable, and you want to be very proficient with your main rifle. For some reason, rifle magazines are cheaper than most rifle magazines, and Gun Mag Warehouse also has a good selection of them.
Gun or belt holster – Yes, you can store your gun in the back of your pants like in the movies, but it’s only a matter of time. In addition, if you are one of those who like to wear baggy pants, …..
You can use a combat belt, which allows you to place additional pockets on your belt, which are attached and ready to go at any time. I have a Safariland 6005 SLS tactical holster that I redesigned for my belt. Now, I grab my seat belt, I put my gun away, I take the safety off and I leave. It comes with 2 rifle magazines, 2 rifle magazines, IFAK and a drop pack.
You can also get a good Kydex-style holster and hang it from your pants with a strong belt, and you’ll always have a better way to carry your weapon than in the back of your pants.
Ammo for every gun – guns without ammo are just expensive paper rods. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on ammo, but the more you have, the better. You can view and download our free ammo inventory spreadsheet for recommendations on recommended ammo quantities. Start small, but start small.
Cleaning Kits – Pistol shooting produces a lot of powder and chemicals, not to mention the dirt that is constantly being carried around. Make sure your gun is in good condition and ready to fire by making sure it is clean and well lubricated. A good gun cleaning kit is not expensive, but a failure of your gun because you did not clean it can cost you your life.
Rifle Flashlight – A rifle flashlight is not necessary, but incredibly useful. I have a TLR-7 Streamlight 500 lumens on my night stand and a TLR-9 Streamlight 1000 lumens on my rifle. Yes, you could hold a flashlight in one hand and be effective in training, but what if your flashlight isn’t with your gun?
If you are buying a pistol light for your gun, make sure you do this before you buy your holster.
Knives aren’t really my defense tool, but I’m adding them here because I didn’t include the general tools in my survival gear list – again, you’re meant to be at home, and many of these items are already commonplace in your home.
We have many articles on the tools that should be on your survival checklist that you can read in detail. However, a good survival knife is a must on your survival gear.
Fixed blade knives – Pocket knives are great, but for a survival kit, you need a reliable knife that can withstand serious use without breaking. A good survival knife doesn’t have to be ridiculously long (think Rambo) to get the job done. Only two good options – the ESEE Izula-II blades or for something more reliable, my favorite is the Gerber LMF II.
Multitool – Multitools are great inventions, but what I hear from most people is that they use them to open boxes. Honestly, I’ve done the same thing, and it seems like every year we get more and more boxes. However, it is a mistake to neglect the usefulness of these daily carriers.
I have used almost every attachment on my multi-tool at one time or another. Leatherwave won’t let you down.
Axe – Sometimes you need to chop wood, and a survival knife, while capable to some degree, is not ideal. Shafts are cumbersome in some applications, but the shafts are the right size. It is also portable and can be easily handled by people with small frames.
Don’t get tactical tomahawks, get a quality axe from someone like Grunsfors Brooks. Yes, they are more expensive, but in this case you get value for your money.
Less lethal and advanced safety options
Some of you live in areas where possession of firearms is illegal or so restricted that it might as well be. Either way, you still need a plan to protect yourself.
Pepper spray/bear spray – This is essentially a chemical deterrent that gives you plenty of time to escape. The bear spray has a greater range and capacity than a typical pepper spray, and I think the bear spray is easier to use effectively.
Some people recommend wasp spray as a cheaper alternative, but if you plan on defending yourself, I wouldn’t count on bug spray.
Air Rifle – Perfectly legal in many parts of the world and powerful enough to hunt game. Air rifles can be the solution if you can’t get a firearm.
Crossbow – Bows killed people long before pistols and AR-15s. The bow in the right hand can be just as deadly. One advantage is that it can also be used for hunting if you don’t want anyone to hear you.
How about a stun gun? Personally, I don’t want to get that close to someone if I don’t have to. However, a stun gun can be concealed as a last resort.
List of medical devices for survivors
Medical supplies should be at the top of everyone’s survival kit list, for one simple fact. In the event of a crisis, health care will be overwhelmed. Now look at the statistics on COVID-19, which has a 99% survival rate, and they say the hospitals are at full capacity.
Imagine something worse than COVID-19. Imagine if our country were in a bad situation like Venezuela, where people are not going to the hospital during this crisis because the care is very bad. In some cases, you can take care of your family members yourself. You can do it any way you want.
Obviously, doctors don’t go to school for years for nothing. Without serious training, you will be limited in what you can do, but if you are not injured in the head, many injuries can heal on their own provided blood loss is stopped and infection is prevented.
Health and first aid is such a broad topic, and we’ll cover it in more detail in articles like The Importance of a Medical Kit in Your Preparations and The Importance of a Medical Kit in Your Preparations, as well as supplies for those who don’t have a doctor, but here’s a list of survival gear you’ll want to have on hand.
Basic First Aid – Every household should have a basic first aid kit, but make sure you research it before buying one. Most first aid kits are just a bunch of band-aids. You should get something more tangible, like. For example, a first aid kit or a tactical medical bag.
Personal First Aid Kits – the above first aid kit is for home use, but you should be able to administer first aid when you are away from home. The IFAK is designed with the basic elements needed to stop blood loss – enough to stabilize you so you can resume appropriate medical care and treatment.
Medical Information – On average, it takes a lot of training to stabilize a seriously injured person, but you can learn. No, you won’t be a doctor, but there are many excellent reference books that will give you the basics you need.
I cover other printed resources at the end of this article on the survival gear list, but I recommend Dr. Bone’s Survival Guide.
Hemostasis / trauma – Cuts and abrasions are not usually severe enough to warrant serious hemostasis measures, but a tourniquet may be necessary if there is significant blood loss. They are included in the IFAK mentioned above, and you can take a tourniquet with you wherever you go.
The following video explains how to use the sling and how to apply it.
Some incisions require sutures, and the needle and thread method requires good practice. If a seam is needed, a leather stapler is the best option because it doesn’t require elastic hands or fancy buttons.
Strong pain medication – By strong pain medication, I mean pain medication. It can help relieve headaches, muscle aches, and pain due to excessive exercise after an injury or injury. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is good for pain and fever. It is generally less irritating to the stomach and safer for children, but can be toxic to the liver if taken in excess.
Antibiotics – Sooner or later, someone you know will need something stronger than a clean bandage. Antibiotics are used in the treatment of bacterial infections. A cut in a piece of rusted metal when the rust is in place is not life threatening. Without infection control across the globe, bacterial infection can lead to death. But antibiotics do not work on viruses and therefore are not useful for all diseases.
Accessories for first aid
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Anti-trauma cream
- Hand cleanser
- Blood pressure cuff
Sanitary / Hygiene
In the same category as first aid, sanitation and hygiene are important considerations for our list of survival equipment, as poor sanitation can also be deadly. Many of these issues are self-explanatory, but we will explore them in more detail in our article Sanitation for Survival.
- Personal protective equipment
- Bleach or calcium hypochlorite powder (see water filtration and disinfection section above).
List of power failure survivors
The beginning of our power outage checklist starts with the obvious – a way to produce or reuse electricity when it’s not being provided by our local utility.
LED headlamps are infinitely easier and more convenient than flashlights for everyone. Allows you to perform tasks in hands-free mode.
Propane lanterns are a good option for outdoor lighting or for use in a well-ventilated area. They also give off a fair amount of heat. LED lights are a safer option when propane is scarce or heat is not required.
Short-term emergency power supply
In addition to the above list of survival gear, I wanted to include a few guides that I think are important to learn and develop many of the skills you need to survive if you have to use the above gear in an emergency.
For a more complete list, see our Survival Books article.
Introduction to concepts
Cleaning and care skills
Natural remedies/first aid
Which items did I cross off the list in my survival kit?
I have intentionally left out some areas that may be important to some of you. First, I haven’t talked about homeland security at all, but we have the following articles that deal with this topic:
I did not make an announcement for the same reason. This makes this article on survival tools twice as long. If you want more information about the possibilities of interaction, you can read this:
There is a lot to be said for household items and what they cover:
Finally, there are some good items on the list of survival gear. I call it the X-factor and I’m interested in things like body armour, gas masks, night vision and the like. I fully agree that it may be necessary for certain conditions, but I’m also going to address each of those conditions in separate articles.
So here’s a list of our survival gear. As I said at the beginning, there is no magic that can give you these items to survive, but having them and, more importantly, knowing how to use them will help you survive.
What did I miss? Share your thoughts and ideas with me in the comments below and take care!
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