Top Ten Items You'll Need for Survival

Survival Kit

Whether you're going into the woods for a hike or deciding to stay out there for a few days, you'll need some gear. Everyone has their own kit they would recommend, but I've compiled a list of ten items that I think are most important, based on combining different lists. 

Of course, these will differ depending on your situation. For example, a beanie might not be as important if you're in the desert. If that's the case, substitute an item for something more important to your terrain.


A knife is arguably the most important item in your kit, no matter which type of terrain you're in. There are so many uses for a knife, but a few off the top of mind are as follows:

  • cutting rope
  • creating weapons
  • self-defense
  • opening packages
  • boredom relief
  • creating fire starters (ie: bow drill)
  • cutting trees for shelter
  • building emergency shelters (cutting branches, cutting tarp, etc)
  • cutting cloth for bandages (if you don't have a first aid kit)
  • so much more; you discover many more uses through experience


ParacordCordage can be anything from para-cord, rope, string, to fishing line. The uses for good cordage are endless. This is why many survival items also come with para-cord on the handles, inside your shoelaces, etc. 

  • trapping animals and fish
  • hoisting food to keep away from wildlife
  • climbing
  • building emergency shelter
  • making splint for broken bones or twisted/sprained joints
  • lashing poles
  • tent repair
  • fishing line
  • attaching gear to pack/carrying items
  • many more

Hat / Beanie

If you're in a cold location - something warm like a beanie. If you're in a warm location, a brimmed hat to keep the sun off of your skin.

  • sun protection
  • rain protection
  • keep warm/dry

Water Bottle

No matter what environment you're in, without water, you die. Because of this, you'll need something to store water in. If you can bring a metal water bottle, you can boil water inside of it to kill any parasites, melt snow, etc.

Signaling Equipment

If you're in a rescue situation, you want to get found. Loud noises, bright lights, or any way of getting attention of would-be rescuers is key.

  • Light / Flashlight
  • Whistle
  • Mirror (for signaling and reflecting)

Compass and Map of Terrain

Before you embark on your journey, it's important to know where you're going, and where you can escape. Being prepared with a topographical map and a compass before you enter is a great way to stay safe. 

Shelter Material

Emergency ShelterIf you're in a true survivor situation, you probably didn't pack a tent. However, it's great to bring the materials to build a last minute shelter to be able to survive the night. 

  • Tarp
  • Garbage Bag
  • Emergency Blanket
  • Cordage (see above)

First Aid

If you get cut and can't bandage yourself, you're very likely to get an infection which can lead to much more difficulty. Get yourself a small kit or at least some bandages and antiseptic. 

Pack / Backpack

You'll need a way to carry all of the stuff you're bringing with you and the stuff you find. Anything that you come across in a survival situation is fair game. If you come across something useful, you'll need to be able to keep it. You can also keep the stuff you've built, like weaponry, traps, or shelter.

Fire Starting Kit

Whichever way you're wanting to start a fire, not only should you practice at home, but you should know what sort of stuff you'll need.

  • Lighter
  • Matches in waterproof container
  • Magnesium rod
  • Bow Drill (Advanced)

Hopefully if you're headed into the wild you'll have the kit you needed all along, and hopefully you'll have more than ten items. This list isn't exhaustive to every environment, but should get you by in most scenarios.