LAST UPDATED: October 16, 2020
The Best Survival Gear (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Be ready for anything with our favorite survival gear options
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PUBLISHED ON October 16, 2020
Being prepared for an emergency means you must plan for contingencies. This means having access to shelter, water, food, heat, and medical care. However, the nature of an emergency is that it takes you by surprise. You must be ready for anything that comes your way. Surviving a power outage is inherently different than surviving a flood, for example. That’s why it’s critical to find versatile survival gear that is universally applicable.
The best survival gear consists of useful and durable tools that you can use in just about any situation. This way, instead of creating different setups for individual emergencies, you get general tools that work in most survival situations. To help you track down the best survival gear around, we’ve compiled a list of the top options.
This is a well-appointed kit with just about any survival tool you could think of for just about any situation.
Eighteen pieces of high-quality survival gear that is well-organized in a durable, easy-to-carry toolbox.
Can be hard to find replacement items. The kit is smaller in size than you might expect.
A handy and compact filter that can make almost any water source into drinkable quality.
Can filter up to 1000 gallons with just one straw. Doesn’t use harsh chemicals, like chlorine or iodine. No batteries required.
Filtration can be slow and it will not filter out chemical toxins with a micron size below 0.2.
This sturdy knife from Gerber is lightweight and has a drop point blade. With a rubber grip and high carbon stainless steel blade, it is built to last.
It comes with a pocket survival guide from Bear Grylls. It also comes with a military-grade and mildew-resistant sheath.
It is on the pricier side for a knife. Similar versions of the same knife come with a wider variety of survival tools..
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Survival Gear
- Emergency Preparedness. A well-rounded survival gear cache can ensure that you’re ready to handle virtually any emergency that may arise, whether it’s a simple automobile breakdown, or getting lost while hiking or portaging, or an unforeseen injury in the woods or bush when camping, fishing, hiking, or trekking.
- Provides Peace of Mind. Being ready for any situation that may come up helps you to remain calm and know that you’re prepared to handle whatever comes your way. This peace of mind and presence of thought will be invaluable in emergency situations where every second counts.
- Buys You Precious Time in an Emergency. Having the proper tools to deal with emergency situations provides you with the ability to treat injuries, start a fire to get warm and dry, or set up protocols to help you get rescued, all of which can give you the luxury of extra added time to critically assess and plan your strategy for moving forward.
Types of Survival Gear
EDC Survival Kit
EDC stands for “everyday carry” and this kit encompasses only what you would want for everyday situations. It’s small enough to be kept on your person, either in a pocket, bag, or purse for quick and easy access and contains the most basic survival items, such as a pocket knife, needle and thread, safety pins, mini flashlight, lighter, tactical pen, etc.
Bug Out Bag
This is the next step up from an EDC kit. It takes the EDC concept and ramps it up considerably. This kit will allow you to handle long-term survival situations by holding everything you need to get by after a natural disaster or wilderness emergency where help is days away. These kits usually include emergency medical supplies, fishing and hunting supplies, tactical vests or belts, backpacks, and items needed to make shelters and fires for nighttime survival and comfort. They may also have water filters and MREs to sustain you for longer periods.
Founded in 1994, Vestergaard is the company that makes LifeStraw. It prides itself on being an innovative leader in solving global disease issues that negatively impact vulnerable populations. They operate on a humanitarian level, in which their greatest intention is to do good by developing breakthrough products, such as the LifeStraw Universal Water Bottle Filter that help save the lives of disadvantaged people.
RoverTac is a smaller company based out of Northern Cyprus that is committed to the research and development, design, production, and selling of survival tools, like the RoverTac Pocket Knife Upgraded Multitool and many other tactical hammers, multitools, knives, and axes that are ruggedly and uniquely designed to be the ultimate in survival gear. It prides itself on innovation and high-quality design and construction.
Marchway primarily manufactures rugged and ultra-lightweight, high-tech camping gear. It is well known for its ultralight folding camping chair, drybags, and heavy-duty super light camping cots. It has a great reputation amongst serious hikers and backpackers, who appreciate the lightweight, solid construction of its products.
Survival Gear Pricing
- Under $50: Survival gear in this price range usually consists of comprehensive and compact kits, molle bags, camping gear, emergency shelters, and water bottles.
- $50 to $100: Gear in this price range consists of heavy-duty equipment, such as survival shovels, backpacks, hammocks, shelters, and tactical clothing that is designed to withstand the elements and resist harsh weather conditions and temperatures.
- Above $100: This price range is reserved for the most extensive survival kits that will keep you going for days to weeks, plus key large items like solar ovens, EPIRBS, rescue radios, and satellite-linked devices, and heavy-duty equipment.
Good survival gear is constructed from reliable, strong, and truly durable materials that will ensure safety and won’t fail when you need them most. Materials like steel, 400D Oxford fabric, anodized aluminum, blow-molded plastics, and high-tech moisture-wicking fabrics are key features to look for when choosing the best survival gear.
The best survival kits are comprised of well-thought-out and useful items and are extensively designed to be able to handle virtually any emergency situation that may arise. They have a wide variety of items, such as flashlights, knives, first aid supplies, flares, water purification methods, blankets, cordage, and much more than you might think you need.
You want survival gear that you can carry with you without being overly cumbersome or heavy so that you can conserve energy and travel as far as necessary to get to a safe, stable environment. Lightweight survival gear is key if you’re an avid hiker, hunter, camper, trekker, or wilderness survivalist. You don’t want to unnecessarily waste valuable energy lugging a heavy load for long distances.
- Cost. Survival kits can range greatly in pricing, from the most basic kits to the most comprehensive, long-term survival kits. Good, reliable, rugged gear doesn’t usually come cheap, but you get what you pay for. Go for the best gear that you can comfortably afford.
- Waterproofing. Good survival gear will, of course, be fully waterproof and able to withstand complete and total submersion in water or flood environments and still be able to function reliably. Whether it’s matches, flares, flashlights, food packets, or anything else you may need, all of it should work in a wet environment without any issues.
- Restocking. A comprehensive and complete survival kit should be easy to restock from almost anywhere. It’s not full of obscure items that are difficult to find once you’ve used them all up. As your survival supply dwindles, you don’t want to have to search high and low for replacement items.
Best Survival Gear Reviews & Recommendations 2021
The Kosin Emergency Survival Gear Kit is a useful set to keep close at hand, particularly if you want to plan for all types of contingencies. It has 18 tools to keep you safe in any situation. This setup comes in a secure container that’s waterproof and durable enough to withstand the elements. It includes everything from a compass to an emergency blanket, a saw, a firestarter, a flashlight, and other safety tools like a whistle. All of the equipment is heavy duty with several items made out of high-grade steel for added sturdiness.
The purpose of this kit is to help you survive any type of emergency with a focus on natural disasters. It's light enough to bring with you on any outdoor excursion, making it a good choice.
One vital component in a survival situation is hydration. The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter lets you source safe drinking water just about anywhere. It is fairly compact, letting you fit it in with an existing survival kit you own. The straw takes any wild, freshwater source and filters the water to rid it of bacteria and parasites. The end result meets EPA standards for water quality. As a bonus, this straw uses no chlorine or iodine in the filtration process. You can filter up to 1,000 gallons of water with a single straw (less if the water source is heavily contaminated).
It’s easy to use, making it great for survival scenarios. This water filter straw is an affordable way to ensure that your survival kit is equipped with a safe water solution.
If you want a tried and tested product from a top brand, then this serrated-edge folding knife from Gerber is an excellent choice. Also endorsed by survival expert Bear Grylls, it is a sturdy and dependable knife for all of your outdoor adventures. It is made of high carbon stainless steel with a drop point. It has an ergonomic rubber grip for comfort and safety in your hand. It comes with a nylon sheath that is military grade and mildew resistant. The sheath can be carried vertically or horizontally. Compact and lightweight, this knife will not let you down while you camp, hike, and thrive in the wilderness. It comes with a Bear Grylls pocket survival guide with plenty of tips and tricks to keep you alive and safe in emergency situations.
For a knife, it is a little pricey. However, you are paying for top quality as well as a trusted brand. Certain Gerber knives come with emergency whistles and a fire starter, but this one does not.
Regardless of the emergency, your survival gear needs to stay dry. The Marchway Floating Waterproof Dry Bag prevents damage to your emergency supplies. When used properly, it stops your food from getting moldy, your clothes from getting wet, and your firestarter from failing. The bag is able to hold 10 liters of contents (though you can get it in larger sizes). Each bag is entirely waterproof. It’s made out of tarpaulin material with a firm seam to prevent the risk of rips or tears. The sturdy textile won’t puncture, making it ideal for on-the-go purposes. It’s designed to float on water, so it works for storms, floods, and any other situations where dampness poses a threat.
Built to last, this durable container is an excellent way to keep your gear in one place, safe and protected.
If you’re looking for a great all-in-one survival tool, look no further than the FiveJoy Military Folding Shovel Multitool. This shovel is constructed from high-quality, strong, carbon steel and aerospace-grade aluminum that will withstand years of harsh use and tough environments. It’s rust-proof, waterproof, and fracture-resistant. Its clever design allows it to function as a heavy-duty shovel, serrated saw, sharp axe, hammer, and more. It also comes equipped with a hidden rescue knife and saw, paracord, fire starter, bottle opener, and emergency whistle, making it a versatile survival tool that's an excellent addition to your survival gear collection.
Even better, the entire shovel only weighs 1.2 pounds, so you can easily add it to your pack and carry it long distances without worrying about a lot of extra weight that can lead to exhaustion.
If you’re looking for a durable, lightweight, easy to use shelter option, we recommend the Go Time Gear Life Tent Emergency Survival Shelter. It’s a great addition to your survival pack, bug out bag, camping gear, or hiking pack that will keep you warm, dry, and alive in harsh conditions. This two-person tent is fully waterproof and constructed from extra rugged puncture and tear-resistant polyethylene material that will withstand a wide variety of weather conditions. It’s quick and easy to set up, weighs only 8.7 ounces, and can double as a waterproof sleeping bag or space blanket.
It comes equipped with a 550-pound paracord drawstring for set up and a strong, 120-dB survival whistle that can be heard by potential rescuers up to one mile away. The paracord can also do double duty to tie down or repair gear.
When you want a single survival tool to help you tackle any emergency, consider the RoverTac Multi-Tool Survival Axe. It is as compact as a standard hatchet but includes a wide range of features to make survival easier. The axe comes sheathed for safety and opens up to a set of 14 tools. You can use this stainless steel axe as a hammer and saw, helping you build or source firewood. It also comes complete with a knife, bottle opener, and pliers. Featuring a fish descaler, it helps you eat on the go.
By fitting all these tools into a single piece, you don’t have to worry about being bogged down in the wilderness. Instead, this lightweight and versatile axe helps you tackle whatever situation arises without wasting energy by carrying unnecessary supplies. While there are many survival axes on the market, this one is especially durable and unique.
We definitely have to give an honorable mention to the LuminAID PackLite 2-in-1 Phone Charger Lanterns. This extra bright, inflatable LED solar-powered lantern doubles as a phone charger and can be a game changer in emergencies. It allows you the ability to have a reliable communication source and a much-needed light at the same time. The 2000mAh battery provides 150 lumens of light that can last almost 50 hours on low mode, giving you light all night long. It features five brightness settings and is collapsible for easy storage in tight areas. It can be fully recharged in 12-14 hours of exposure to direct sunlight, or 1-2 hours when charged via a USB cord.
This little light is waterproof, shatter proof, and constructed from rugged TPU to withstand harsh environments.
- Do your research. Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting, what it’s made from, and how to use it before you purchase any survival gear. What good is it to you if you can’t use it?
- Read reviews. Good quality survival gear comes from companies with great reputations who have been in the industry for a long time and have many happy customers and a proven track record.
- Think about where you’ll be using your gear the most. If you plan to be in a desert environment, don’t buy survival gear for snowy or cold climates. Tailor your kit to your own personal needs.
- Try your gear out as soon as you get it to see if it will work properly and as advertised. Examine it for quality and reliability. An emergency situation is not the time you want to find out your gear fails you.
What are the top 10 survival gear products?
A: The top 10 survival gear items are:
- Fire Starter - reliable, waterproof, and easy to operate.
- Survival Knife - high-grade and rugged construction that is able to cut through almost anything.
- First Aid Kit - includes bandages, antiseptic, tourniquets, gauze, tape, scissors, and much more to handle injuries in the field.
- Water Filter - be able to get drinkable water anywhere.
- Emergency Blanket - keep warm, or use it as a shelter from the elements.
- Flashlight - allows you to see or be seen at night, making rescue easier.
- Cords - can be used for dozens of different purposes
- MREs - emergency ready-made meals to provide you calories and sustenance
- Compasses - be able to know where you’re going at all times, minimizing your risk of getting lost.
- Proper Clothing - protect your body from hypothermia or overheating.
What is the best survival gear?
A: The best survival gear is constructed from rugged, durable, reliable materials and has a proven track record with many users. It’s practical and useful, and not based on gimmicks or things you don’t really need.
What do I need in my survival backpack?
A: A survival backpack should have the 10 things listed above, but also a lightweight tent or shelter option, flares, a bow saw or axe for cutting wood, plastic bags or tarps to wrap wet items in, a towel, extra footwear, and an emergency radio.
As we’ve mentioned, high-quality construction and materials are what make a great survival item, like in the RoverTac Multitool Survival Axe. Great survival gear is well thought-out in design and purpose, like the Kosin Emergency Survival Gear Kit. A comprehensive and extensive supply of survival items will greatly improve your chances of success in survival scenarios.