Do NOT call yourself a prepper unless you stock these 10 indispensable survival items.
1) A big, sharp Knife:
This is simply the ultimate survival tool! It also doubles up as a handy weapon.
Be it cutting paracord, building a shelter, hacking through foliage, opening tins or simply chopping some meat – you will be quite helpless without a knife.
You can also tie a knife at the end of a long pole (branch) and make a spear, which can then be used for self-defense, hunting and fishing. The fact that sharp, knife-life objects were amongst the very first tools carved by cavemen proves how versatile a knife really is.
2) A fire starting kit:
Fire acts as an excellent rescue signal; it provides warmth, protection against wild animals and also facilitates water purification.
Ideally, a fire starting kit should include three things:
- A box of matches
- A lighter
- A flint stone (like the one Bear Grylls carries around).
By doing this, you are equipped for all types of situations. If you run out of matches or if they get wet, you have a lighter and if your lighter runs out of fuel, you still have the flint stone.
Keep in mind that starting a fire with a stone spark is not as easy as shown on TV. It requires practice and patience. So practice starting fires in your backyard with a flint. If you forget or lose your fire starting kit, you can create fire using just dry wood – check out this video to see how it’s done – then try it yourself!
3) Water purification kit:
Without access to clean water, you risk death in as little as 24-48 hours.
Contaminated water can cause poisoning, diarrhea and a host of other illnesses. So always carry a water bottle with you – keep one in your car and replace the water regularly.
Of course, the water in your bottle will not last you forever and hence, it is a great idea to keep some purification tablets on you as well. However, these too provide only limited protection against contaminants. If you want to ensure an abundant supply of drinking water, you should invest in a Lifestraw Go water bottle.
It has a very efficient filter mechanism with a lifespan of 1000 litres. Replacement filters can also be bought separately. This highly acclaimed water bottle removes 99.99% of harmful bacteria and parasites and is an absolute life saver in times of an emergency.
4) Emergency medical supplies:
A basic first aid kit includes the following items:
- OTC pain killers and antibiotics
- pain relieving gel and/or spray
- surgical spirit (rubbing alcohol)
- hydrogen peroxide
- surgical tape and a pair of scissors.
- Check out our Blog Post 21 MUST Have Items for ANY First Aid Kit for more info on this.
Keep a first aid kit in your car and at home. Find out where the first aid kit is located at your workplace. Learn how to treat cuts, bruises, abrasions and insect bites.
Simply having a kit is pretty much useless if you do not know how to use it.
IMPORTANT: Include an insect repellent cream or spray in your first aid kit. Mosquitoes can be extremely lethal – Half a million people have died due to malaria in 2015 alone.
5) Food supplies:
Honestly, we take food for granted. We simply buy it at the store. Many times, we don’t even cook our own food – we eat at restaurants or purchase ready to eat.
Go to a forest near you and try to find some food there – it is a frustrating task and takes up lots of time and energy. More than likely, you won’t find anything to eat even after trying for hours.
In a survival scenario, you need to have your wits about you. You need to focus on finding/building a temporary shelter and signalling for rescue. You do not have the luxury of cooking a leisurely breakfast!
Hence, your survival prep is hopelessly incomplete without at least 2-3 weeks worth of food supplies (preferably more).
Store something calorie dense like preserved meats (fatty cuts), dried fruit (weighs little and provides a burst of energy), chocolate etc.
6) Signalling equipment:
A fire is a very good rescue signal. You can add rubber or wet wood to the fire to create lots of smoke. However, chances are that despite having a fire starting kit – you might not be able to build a fire.
The area may be flooded or it may be raining heavily. Also, in certain situations, there is just not enough time to build a fire – you need to signal immediately.
Flares are your best bet during such times. Some of these can be quite large and cumbersome to carry. Some need to be fired from guns.
Our favorite are the pen flares: these are light, efficient, compact and go up as high as 150 meters. Keep 3-4 around at all times! A whistle is another neat little signalling tool – does not hurt to have one on you.
7) A flashlight and additional batteries:
Survival becomes much harder at night. You risk disorientation due to lack of light. You also become much more susceptible to falls, attacks from deadly creatures etc.
Your sight is your most important sense so keep a good, powerful flashlight with you whenever you are out camping. The flashlight application on your mobile phone provides weak lighting at best and it will probably not suffice for long.
Your phone will run out of battery power and then you will essentially become blind if you fail to build a fire in time.
8) A GPS device, Map & Compass:
Will help you to navigate through the world effortlessly. However, remember that this too runs on a battery and hence, it is nothing but dead weight if there is no electricity.
This is precisely why you must also carry a compass and a map. These are not as convenient as a GPS but hey – they are highly reliable and weigh almost nothing.
9) Paracord 550:
Is incredibly strong and has innumerable uses – from fishing to building shelters.
We also suggest getting a paracord bracelet you can take with you at all times. They have a ferro rode and striker tucked into the bracelet & give you over 80 FEET of fully functional cordage!
You can get your free paracord bracelet here (just pay $4.95 for shipping & handling)
10) A plastic sheet:
Preferably a bright colored one (yellow or orange) as this makes you highly visible to rescuers.
- A plastic sheet can protect you from rain.
- It can help to galvanize a shelter.
- It can be used to protect electronic goods from rainwater.
- You can also wave it around to signal for rescue.
Bonus tip: Get yourself a Swiss army knife! It is small but incredibly useful. Packs quite a punch!
If you want to truly thrive in a SHTF situation, then you have to actually practice survival. Go out in the woods on weekends and practice living there.
Learn about gathering food, building fires, first aid techniques etc. so that when the time comes, you are well prepared for it.
Simply reading survival articles on the web is not enough.
Yes, it pays to be well versed in theory but nothing can beat practical experience!