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What are the Top 10 Survival Items?

June 22, 2021 10 min read

What are the Top 10 Survival Items?

You never know when you are going to face an emergency situation. Because of this, it’s important to be prepared for anything. But what survival items are the most important? 

  • Water
  • Food
  • A reliable source of light
  • Flint/Matches/Lighter
  • First Aid Kit
  • Cell Phone/PLB
  • Knife
  • Rope
  • Compass and map
  • Binoculars

  • Having a few simple items can make the difference between life and death. Keep reading to see some of the things that you should always have available. 

    • Water

    One of the most important parts of any survival situation is a reliable source of water. Up to 75 percent of the human body is comprised of water. Because of this, you need to make sure that you are taking in water daily. If you don’t, it won’t be long before dehydration begins to set in. There are a few signs that your body is dehydrated. This includes; 

    • A dry mouth
    • Stopping sweating
    • Muscle cramps
    • Feeling lightheaded
    • Having heart palpitations 

    Once you start to experience these symptoms, you need to get more water. If you don’t, the situation will get worse. Most people can go for a maximum of three days without drinking any water. Even if you do get help, it will be a while before you recover. You might have to spend 24 hours in the hospital with an intravenous drip. There could still be long-term health effects. 

    Because of this, when I’m asked what is the most important survival item I respond with water. Without this, a situation can turn grim very quickly. There are a few ways that you can make sure that you have a constant supply of water. If you are going on a hike, it’s a good idea to carry an extra bottle of water. If you are at home, you can install a water tank.  This will catch the water every time it rains. 

    Though one of the best solutions is filtering water. This will allow you to turn any freshwater into a source of drinking water. There are a few ways that you can filter water. For example, you might get a tablet. Or you can get a straw, which filters as you suck water. You can also kill off the bacteria if you boil and strain the water. 

    • Food

    Food is just as important as water. Without enough food, starvation will begin to set in. This will be a painful process. You will begin to experience hunger pains. Eventually, your body will start to convert muscle mass into food. The worse it gets, the more severe the symptoms get. It can begin to take a toll on your mental health, causing you to make poor decisions. 

    There are a few ways that you can make sure that you are never run out of food. First, you can pick up a few extra items you go to the shops. It’s recommended that you keep a two-week supply of food at home. This will be enough to get you through most natural disasters. When deciding what foods you want, stick to ones that have a long shelf life. Usually, this will mean selecting canned foods. 

    If you are heading out on a camp or hike, you can take along a few dehydrated meals. These are very light, often coming in pouches. All you need to do is add some boiling water and you have a healthy meal. 

    • A Reliable Source of Light

    In the aftermath of a natural disaster, electricity is one of the first services to be affected. Even if you have solar panels, it’s good to be prepared for an outage. If you are going hiking or camping, you’ll want to take along a flashlight. This ensures that you will be able to make camp for the night. You can also use it to signal passing vehicles. 

    There are plenty of lights that you can use. These include;

    • Flexit Headlamp Series- The headlamp is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment. You’ll be able to wear it around your head. This leaves your hands free to tackle projects. 
    • Illumidome Mini Waterproof Lantern- Sometimes, you want something that will light up a wider area. In this case, a lantern is your best bet. There are a few things that help set this model apart. There is a strap at the top and double hooks on the bottom. You can use these connection points to attach it to your backpack, tent, or just up high as an overhead light. It is very powerful and comes with four settings. Furthermore, it will last for a long time, running for 100 hours. 
    • Flexit Flexible Flashlight Series- The biggest advantage of this type of flashlight is how adjustable it is. The shape-lok head is a flat rubbery type surface that can be bend, curved, and manipulated into many shapes. This will let you create many lighting types and focus the light where it is needed most. There is also a hanging clip so you can attach it to everything from shelves to backpacks. 
    • BAMFF Tactical Flashlights- One of the most versatile items is a tactical flashlight. These are compact enough to fit into your pocket. They are very powerful, allowing you to illuminate items from a distance. STKR Concepts offers a wide range of torches to choose from. This will let you find the size and brightness that will work best for you. 

    Each of these will excel in a different situation. Because of this, it can be a good idea to pick up a few types of lights. This ensures that you will be prepared to face anything. 



    If you are going camping or hiking, it’s a good idea to take a signaling mirror. This is very small and won’t weigh a lot. If you need to signal a passing vehicle, you can use the reflection of the sun. This will create a strong beam of light. At night, a strong flashlight beam can be used to signal for help. 

    • Flint/Matches/Lighter

    A fire can be very helpful in a survival situation. You can use it as a source of heat. It can be used to cook food or help purify water. You can even use it to signal passing vehicles, getting you help. Because of this, you must know how to start one. You’ll need to follow a basic series of steps. 

    1. Gather your firewood, you need to find dry logs. These will be easiest to light. 
    2. Get your kindling. 
    3. Form a mound of kindling. Avoid pressing it too tight, you need to make sure that the fire can get enough oxygen. 
    4. Get some of the larger sticks, space them above the kindling. You should be aiming for a teepee or pyramid shape. 
    5. Light the kindling. As it’s burning, add some smaller sticks and twigs in the teepee pattern. Eventually, the flames will set some of the larger sticks on fire. Once they are burning, you can add some logs. 

    It’s also worth noting that you don’t want to risk the fire getting out of control. This will make your situation a lot worse. There are a few ways that you can prevent this. Clear the area of your firepit of grass, leaves, and any other flammable objects. It’s also a good idea to have a bucket of water on standby. 

    • First Aid Kit

    It’s a good idea to know some basic first-aid, even if you aren’t facing an emergency. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure to keep a first aid kit handy. These don’t need to be big, but you will need to make sure that you have a few essentials. These include; 

    • Band-Aids
    • Bandages
    • Disposable gloves
    • Notebook and pen
    • Stainless steel scissors
    • Alcohol swabs
    • Gauze
    • Thermal blanket
    • First aid booklet

     With these essentials, you should be able to deal with almost any situation. However, you’ll also need to make sure that you know the emergency contact numbers. This will ensure that you can get help when you are facing a serious situation. 

    • Cell Phone/PLB

    It’s important to make sure that you can get help. The most common way of doing this is with a cell phone. However, this raises a potential problem. You won’t always be able to get reception. This is especially true in remote locations, like campgrounds and hiking trails. 

    In this case, you might want to turn to a satellite phone. This will give you better reception, though it won’t always be reliable. You can also use a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). These will issue a signal, which will make it a lot easier for rescuers to find you. 

    If you are planning on going on a camping trip or hike, tell friends and family before you leave. Make sure to explain how long the trip will be and where you will be going. Call them when you get back. This ensures that, if something does go wrong, people will know where to look for you. Plus, it’s a great chance to tell everyone about your adventure.  

    • Knife

    In a survival situation, a knife can be one of the most important tools that you have at your disposal. There are plenty of ways that you will be able to use it. One of the most obvious examples is as a way of gathering food. You can also use it to slice through branches and vines. This can be very useful when you are preparing your campsite. 

    There are a few things to look for when choosing a knife for survival. First, you’ll want to consider the length of the blade. How long it should be will depend on the way that you are planning on using it. For example, a longer blade can be useful for clearing through brush. But a smaller knife will excel at more intricate tasks. 

    Another element to consider is whether you have a fixed blade or a folding knife. Folding knives can be easier to carry and store. But a fixed blade will often be stronger. You should also aim for a knife that has a strong handle. You can use this as a rudimentary hammer. 



    • Rope

    One of the most useful and versatile survival items is a rope. There are dozens of ways that you will be able to use this in a survival situation. Some of the most useful uses include;

    • Using it to form a shelter
    • Forming traps
    • Climbing over obstacles

    If you are going hiking, you can put some rope at the bottom of your backpack. It won’t weigh you down and can come in very useful if you get into a pinch. Alternatively, you can get a paracord wristband. When you get into trouble, you’ll be able to untie the wristband. This will give you a strong lightweight cord. 

    You might also want to take the opportunity to learn a few knots. Something like the bowline can be a great choice. It forms a strong loop, which can put around a tree or rock. You can then use these things as an anchor point. If you want to construct a shelter, the square lashing is the ideal choice. You can use this to form a strong crossbeam, which you can drape a tarp of leaves over. 

    • Compass and Map

    If you are planning on heading out for a hike or camping trip, you’ll need to make sure that you have a good compass with you. You may move off track. If you don’t know how to get back to safety, it can be a recipe for disaster. 

    Some people will prefer to use a GPS. While this can be a good tool, it can also be unreliable. You shouldn’t count on getting satellite coverage. Going old school with a map and compass will solve this problem. As long as you have these, you should be able to navigate. 

    • Binoculars

    A good pair of binoculars should be a staple for any hiker. These serve a dual purpose. When everything is going well, you will be able to use them to look around the area and appreciate its beauty. However, when things take a turn for the worst, you’ll be able to use them to scope out a new route. This can be a great accompaniment to a compass and map. You can use them to identify important landmarks.  

    When you are picking your binoculars, you want to focus on two elements. First, pick something that will be durable. It can help if it comes in a pouch. This stops dirt and dust from getting into the eyepiece. The second element that you need to look for is optical zoom. This is how much magnification you will be able to achieve. 


    What Emergency Supplies Should I Have at Home?

    So far, we’ve focused primarily on what you should take if you are going hunting or camping. However, it’s important to make sure that you are prepared in your own home as well. There are a few things that you should aim to include. This includes;

    • First aid kit 
    • Personal hygiene items
    • Reliable torch
    • A good supply of non-perishable food items. If possible, try to have at least two weeks' supply.  
    • Supply of batteries
    • A mix of flashlights
    • Battery-operated radio. This is the best way to hear official communications
    • Pet food and anything else that your animal requires

    Gathering all of these items at once can be a huge job. Because of this, you might want to make a checklist. Prioritize these items in order from most to least important. Food and water should be at the top of the list.  Then, slowly work your way through the list. Getting all the supplies you need. 

    There are a few other things that you can do to make sure that you are prepared. First, it’s important to make sure that you know the evacuation routes. These can come in very helpful during a natural disaster when you need to leave your home in a hurry. If possible, you want to have a few routes to choose from, in case one gets blocked off. 

    Another good idea is to have your valuable items close at hand. This will allow you to pack a suitcase if you need to leave the area in a hurry. It can be a good idea to invest in a fireproof safe. This will make sure that your important documents will be protected from most natural disasters. Having this paperwork will make it a lot easier to get your life back on track after the event is over. 

    Finally, look at the threats in your local area. This will allow you to get more prepared. For example, some areas will be prone to natural disasters, like fire or flood. Others will be subject to political unrest. Sometimes, you will have something that you are preparing for.

    Final Thoughts

    Some people ask me what is the best survival gear? I believe this question has a simple answer. Whatever helps you get out alive. When it comes to survival items, you don’t need to turn into Bear Grylls. But, getting a few simple items will greatly enhance your chance of surviving a harsh situation. This can be anything from getting lost when hiking to a blackout. So, use these tips to help you start getting prepared for whatever comes your way. 

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