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Outdoor Survival Gear Checklist

Posted by on 5/1/2012 to Outdoor Survival

So you plan on putting yourself to the test and roughing the great outdoors. When deciding what to put in our outdoor survival kit, we would refer to our Survival Priorities post. Based off the 7 main priorities, which gear is the most essential to have?

Here is the quick list… We explain more details further on.

  • Emergency Blanket
  • Tube Tent or Wilderness Hammock (depending where and how long)
  • Cold weather cap and extra sweater
  • Extra socks and gloves (Makes a decent water filter as well!)
  • Flint Striker
  • Cotton balls and dryer lint for tinder
  • Matches and/or a lighter
  • Whistle
  • Yo-Yo fishing reel
  • Snare wire
  • Mini backpacker blowgun
  • Solar flashlight
  • Mini First-Aid kit
  • Knife
  • Compass
  • Starting food and water
  • Water purification tablets
  • Water canteen and a cooking cup

For Shelter and Warmth:

  • Emergency Blanket - We always recommend an emergency blanket no matter where your travels take you. It has the ability to reflect heat away from and towards the body, making it ideal in hot or cold weather.
  • If you are trying to keep your pack to a minimum, then a tube tent with some skills in making a brush shelter should suffice. If your skills are rusty and you expect cold weather, a more substantial tent or bivy shelter should be considered.
  • Of course you should dress appropriately, bring enough clothing that can keep you comfortable in even the worst possible conditions. Remember the head, neck, and core are the most important parts of the body to keep warm.


  • A skilled individual can start a fire efficiently with nothing more than a flint striker of some sort, and we also recommend at least some type of backup/emergency tinder in case nature does not provide. Some people don't need anything but a stick to start a fire, but this will burn way too much time and energy, even for a skilled individual.
  • If you haven't successfully practiced starting fires with a flint striker, then bring a lighter and/or a box of matches, preferably wind and waterproof.

Water and Food:

  • You may not need to bring any water or food related gear if you know nature can provide for you, but I ALWAYS bring something anyway...
  • At the very least you will need a water container, and why not fill it up at least once before you go? I would suggest either a collapsible canteen or water bag, or a canteen with a cooking cup.
  • Same premise with the food, although you may want to forage and hunt for food, it's nice to start out with a little to help get things going or keep as a backup in case things don't go to plan. High calorie foods with minimal weight. My number one choice is this 3600 Calorie Food Bar or related emergency food bars. Energy bars, trail mix, and jerky are also fine choices.
  • A few Water Germicidal Tablets hardly take up space and make a great fall back plan if you can't get good drinking water or have trouble starting a fire to boil your water for disinfection.
  • Hunting and fishing gear! I love doing what I call 'Survival Hunting'. This involves setting traps and my automatic fishing reel, as well as actually hunting small game with my 12" backpack blowgun. Trap setting and foraging skills, along with my Yo-Yo mechanical fisher and blowgun is all I need to be plentiful in the wild.


  • DEFINITELY bring an up to date map of the area you plan on traveling and let people know where you are and how long you should be.
  • A compass is required for map reading.


  • A whistle or survival horn is highly recommended especially for communication among the individuals you are traveling with, not just for rescue purposes. It can also help ward off and alert potentially dangerous wildlife.
  • Consider bringing a set of bear bells either to wear as you travel or to set a trip line around your camp for an alarm system.


  • At the bare minimum I would at least suggest bringing a small flashlight or two. Although if you have room maybe a small lantern. Don't forget extra batteries, or consider getting a dynamo or solar powered flashlight. I keep a small solar flashlight velcroed to the outside of my backpack so it is constantly exposed to the sun and getting charged whenever I have it.

Additional Tools:

  • A knife serves many purposes. Don't ever go without!
  • Cordage is the single next best tool after a knife, in my opinion. Don't go without!

Outdoor Survival Kit Recap

There, this is all I ever bring on my usual trips. Sometimes I add or subtract. I highly recommend coordinating your equipment with other members of the party. For example, there is no reason you should both bring a tent, or both bring fire starting tools, etc... Split it up to carry less if your pack is near crowded.

Blog Comments
Debbie Loeppky Date 5/3/2012 1:17:00 PM
Thanks for the list!
Devin Date 5/11/2012 2:36:00 PM
You're welcome! Feel free to make suggestions, also check back in soon for our 'luxury item' article. :)
maria lena Date 9/11/2017
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maria lena Date 9/11/2017
I really enjoy simply reading all of your weblogs. Simply wanted to inform you that you have people like me who appreciate your work
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