Survival Gear – An Overview

survival gear

What is Survival Gear?

Survival gear consists of any item(s) which would become useful should you find yourself in dyer straights with the universe.  Don’t think it could happen to you?  Hurricane Katrina literally took New Orleans by storm in 2005.  Over 1500 people were killed and millions were displaced and forced to leave their homes.  These folks had no clean water, no food – nothing.  Survival gear goes a long way and there’s nothing wrong with having a few bug out bags (also referred to as 72 hour kits) on hand.  Another staple piece of gear which I think everyone knows the need for would be a good flashlight.  Make sure to check out our article on three very popular flashlight brands.

Scenarios which call for survival gear

Survival gear helps to ensure that someone can survive in harsh conditions. If disasters strike, families could be forced to leave a house and venture out into barren wilderness. A car could break down and leave a driver stranded on a deserted highway. Fires, floods, hurricanes or earthquakes will force people to be prepared for any event. Weather conditions could present hazards from sleet, frostbite, hail, snow, sunburn or heavy rain. Forests have natural wildlife that will be dangerous when a family is forced to make a temporary camp. The typical plan includes enough supplies for three days.

Common examples and uses

hiking-bootHiking boots protect feet from the hazards that are on a rugged trail, such as sharp stones, spiny bushes or snakes. Heavy socks cushion feet, which might be injured with blisters. Sunglasses protect eyes from sun glare and from flying objects, such as tree leaves. A jacket can provide warmth and offer a cushion of protection from sharp branches.

emergency-tarpA plastic or woven tarp
can be used to construct a shelter that will provide a barrier from rain or harsh sunshine. Sleeping bags offer a source of comfort and warmth. The bag can be rolled into a bundle and used as a cushion for support or as a shield. A temporary camp may be enough until some kind of help arrives in the area. In contrast, some families may be forced to keep moving because emergency teams will not come to the area.

A compass will help someone to travel in the correct direction and away from danger. Flashlights provide illumination in caves or during travel at night. Heavy gloves offer warmth and protection for hands. Twine or rope enables someone to be able to lash a shelter together or make emergency repairs to equipment. Rope can also be used for rappelling down mountains or steep ledges. The hikers could lash each hiker to the same rope, which provides greater safety.

sog-multitoolA Swiss Army knife or multi-tool has a blade and multiple tools. I personally swear by SOG multi-tools.  A hiker may be forced to trim thick bushes or cut fallen tree branches that will be used for fires. The tools may be used to repair emergency equipment. A backpack could be slashed and cut during a fall from a ledge. Duct tape or wire can be used for temporary repairs, which are important because the gear cannot be immediately replaced.

A tactical backpack is the most versatile kind of equipment because the load is concentrated on the upper back area. People need to have food, water and shelter. When someone is hiking, that person may be challenged by carrying the gear. Hands are free for using weapons and clearing a path. The backpack should be water repellent and durable. A vest is useful for carrying gear in the pockets while the backpack has been left on the ground.

The basic survival gear

The basic survival gear should include a weapon, compass, flashlight, twine, Swiss Army knife, nail clippers, comb, hat, notepad, pen, hammer, food, water, gloves, pliers, first aid kit, small pot for cooking, matches, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, sunglasses, backpack, hiking boots, socks, jacket, sleeping bag, duct tape, metal wire and a plastic or woven tarp.

Additional Gear

If hikers can carry additional weight, they may want a blanket, vest, small saw, rope, shampoo, mouthwash, moisturizing lotion, towel, poncho and clothing.  For more information on gear, please visit our Know Your Gear section!


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Meet the Author

I'm a former US Marine, full-time father and husband, and part-time survivalist. I like old things, like music, furniture and time-tested survival technique, but there's always a place in my heart for new technology such as weapons and sleeping bag fill. I'm here to share my knowledge and experience, and I hope you'll share yours as well.

4 comments… add one
  • Dean Oct 15, 2015, 5:40 pm

    Great explanation on what a survival bag is and the multiple uses for one. This article will be a great resource that those being introduced to survival or prepping. Thanks for the share!

    • Mike Nov 18, 2015, 2:19 am


  • Thomas Leith Oct 23, 2015, 12:18 am

    > dyer straights

    dire straits

    Thanks for this. I want a pack frame to carry a climbing treestand with & I think the ALICE will work.

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