20 Items For Outdoor Survival


While there are seemingly countless survival items that you could choose to have with you for outdoor survival, there certainly are items that are more common among those who are asked what they would carry.

In addition, whenever possible, the selection of survival items to carry would likely be tailored for the outdoor circumstance itself.

Survival items that you might carry with you in a small day-pack for a 3 hour summer hike will not be all-inclusive compared to what you might take with you during an overnight in the wilderness, for example.

The time of year, the weather forecast, the geographical region of travel, all these and more will affect your choices if you take the time to analyze them.

Well lets have some fun… I’m going to list 10 items to carry with you for outdoor survival, and you pick 10 more based on some additional ideas that I will list, and/or add your own!

Note: Lets assume that we already have an amount of water and rations, and we are properly clothed for the expected season and weather forecast.


The 5 C’s Of Survival

Cutting, Combustion, Cover, Container, Cordage

1. Fixed Blade Knife (such as the Full Size US Marine Corps KA-BAR)
2. Fire (BIC Lighter / Magnesium firestarter / FireSteel / flint rod & steel)
3. Tarp (Camo Tarp)
4. Stainless Steel Canteen (G.I. Military w/cup)
5. 550 Paracord (U.S. Made – available at

Note: Whatever style of ‘canteen’ that you choose, be sure that it is metal (e.g. stainless steel) to enable water purification via boiling. And, do NOT get one that is insulated (e.g. double-walled) because it is more difficult (time consuming) to boil water in an insulated canteen.


5 More Items For Outdoor Survival

6. Firearm (Rifle 1st-choice, Handgun 2nd-choice)
7. Hand Axe (e.g Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet)
8. Water Filter (e.g. Sawyer Mini)
9. Multi tool (e.g these…)
10. Wool / Fleece Blanket (Polar Fleece)

Note: Wool is great, but Fleece has some advantages… dries quickly and weighs little. However be very aware (cautious) that polar fleece is highly flammable.


List Of Additional Outdoor Survival Items

Okay we need 10 more items in our outdoor exercise of survival. Here are a few thoughts, however add your own (11-20) in the comments below…

Random thoughts:

Steel Pot
Bow Saw
Hammock with bug netting
Folding Saw
First Aid Kit
Duct (Duck) Tape
Snare Wire
Fish Hooks (and line)
Sleeping Bag
Camp Shovel
Cell Phone
Mylar ‘Space’ Blanket
Area Topographical Map
Dry Tinder (e.g. cotton balls w/Vaseline)

What additional ten items might you carry with you for outdoor survival?

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1. rain coat with parka hood
2. band-aids for blisters on the feet
3. my dog who is trained for —–
4. night vision equipment for my rifle
5. extra socks
6. identification since I am not a citizen here on the island
7. local cash(silver)
8. any personal medication
9. extra eye glasses(if I go blind so to speak I am no good)
10.funnel spider anti-venom (real problem here)

“My dog who is trained for_______”.

An old West Marshal trained his dog to, among other things, alert him if anyone entered his camp after he sacked out, his dog would NOT bark it would instead lick his face and wake him up. The Marshal, Orrin Porter Rockwell, would roll out of bed, stuff his bedroll (making it appear occupied and then step out into the darkness to await the uninvited guest who was, more often than not, a wanted criminal.

Instead of becoming a casualty Rockwell would often return home with the body of his assailant draped over his saddle.

Good doggie, good doggie!!!

FOOD! Don’t see that listed. I always carry at least minimal food of some sort. Whether it is some type of energy bars or complete meals, I always have some type of food for emergencies.

LifeStraw or some other type water filtration.

Sawyer mini is listed for filtration

@ texasprepper

Please note in the above article text by Ken.

“Note: Lets assume that we already have an amount of water and rations, and we are properly clothed for the expected season and weather forecast.”


Thank you. I often wonder if some folks even read the article before rushing to make a comment.

Sorry folks, my bad. As you may be able to tell food and water are priorities for me.

Given the uncertain environment of today these are suggestions without listing the normal exterior clothing requirements for staying outdoors for an extended time period.

Potassium Iodine
(12) dry pack hand warmer pairs
camo face paint
leather work gloves
70 meters of climbing rope with accessories,(to make water crossings safer, climbing tall trees, repelling, etc.)
Mesquito repellent
Bar of soap in a zip lock bag.
Plastic garbage bag
Sun block lotion

Additional Items to what you and I mentioned that are not used to help sustain life, but that I will have:

Goal Zero Serpa 100 portable power kit
Sharper Image power-pack (about the size of a smart phone)
Pair of walkie talkies with privacy codes w/earpiece & charging base
Full face respirator with (4) cartridges in its own zip up pouch carried on the outside of my pack for easy access.
Two small flashlights with extra batteries
Thermal scope on my long gun.

For a 3 hour walk/hike. I know we all could actually list hundreds and we probably will, so I’m going to add something I would not “carry”, but would have along…..

A GREAT Dog, My Best Buddy “Blue” to be precise. :-) :)

FYI 115# Black Lab…. and that dog can smell food from 100 miles so I could NEVER be “lost”… LOL


Ok, I’ll be the one, camo TP…

@ Gary Lensman

Camo TP?? Welllll how are ya going to find it when you need it????


@NRP, good one! I know where it’s packed (I really do have some), just don’t drop it.

or camo baby wipes

OK – I know you mentioned necessary clothing, but an interesting item:

Backpacker Magazine had the question posed, “What is the most important item when Backpacking?”
I said “Knife”‘
Most respondents answer: Rain Gear.

@ Survivor 1

Interesting the differences in the thinking of a Survivor/Prepper and a Backpacker huh?


For me I always take my walking stick and either my rangefinder or my night vision binoculars. I like being able to see what’s out there. A weather appropriate hat, extra socks and always a decent pair of gloves. Not sure if that was already part of the clothes in the scenario Ken set up.

I always bring certain OTC meds. besides a first aid kit. Anti diarrhea, antacids. Those things will put ya down when you’re out in the bush. . .

Wow, great timing for this article. Thank you!!

I brought my GHB in to begin the change over to a winter type bag and I’m absolutely sure I have way too much to carry and get home with.

This article will help slim the GHB down to manageable weight for an old lady like myself. The farthest I travel on my own is about 70 miles away from home. If I can make ten miles a day, I’ll get home in a week.

Walking stick
Walking shoes
Collapsible cart would be nice to haul it all in.

I would add these.


I recently caught flack on here for the very large number of items I take with me in several bags and what is stored in my vehicle. I do not intend to carry them all with me, but depending on the scenario, I want options. I also have 5 other family members who need things. They all have their own bags, but they are pretty light.

My philosophy is take as much with you as you can, and start chucking stuff that is not pertinent to the specific emergency once you have a better understanding of what it is. Honestly, in almost every scenario except EMP or government raid, we will all throw the bag in our vehicles to bug out. Even with EMP, you will have time to ditch what you don’t need. A great example of this is in Going Home.

Why not load it up with as much as you can, and then dump what you deem unnecessary once you need to ditch the vehicle, or let another person who is with you and less prepared carry it. At least make 2 bags. One with worst case scenario essentials and another to clip onto it with things you would like to have. Throw them both in the vehicle or have someone else carry the other. Worse case scenario, you ditch the things you would like to have. Otherwise, they would be sitting at your house, which most people are probably not returning to.

You all forgot the most important item. Serpentine belts! If one of those babies snap on you, you ain’t goin’ nowhere. I have a whole trunk full just in case. Many uses other than your auto too. Can be used as a slingshot, tourniquet, swing. Just let your mind wander. You’ll be amazed at the many uses of serpentine belts.

My top suggestions are having knowledge and common sense. Just about everything out there is tougher, faster, better hearing, better sight, more stealthy, better camouflaged, etc. than people are. Nature has a wild balance which means many things out there will hurt or kill you. Think, go slow, and be aware of as much around you as possible.

Don’t get eaten by cuddly bear. Don’t lose an eye to a pine branch. Don’t break a leg by tripping over a tree root. The list is endless.

First aid manual and an edible plants book, more like an encyclopedia (have never typed that word before), still looking for one. Please give suggestions.

Eighteen years in the US Army Infantry….you have to travel light. The lighter the better depending on your travel plans.

Don’t need a blanket. Use a 6×8 light weight reinforced plastic tarp and sleep with your clothes on wrapped in the tarp if needed. A rifle is best but very heavy if you are over 60 years young. A pistol is better—much lighter with 200 rounds. Didn’t see MREs on the list and make sure to fill your canteen–and a second canteen…you will be glad you packed a second canteen with water.

Need Three days rations plus high energy bars and a mess kit. Last items === a durable compass, maps of the area, two sets of dry socks for your feet, silver coins and your cell phone or radio with a crank charger–cell towers might still be operational at times. These items are light weight and easy to pack. You are in survival mode: if you can’t navigate and/or communicate, you’re screwed.

W/O parameters, this question begs for many and varied answers. Survive in the wilderness for how long? Forever and ever, amen? Or, long enough to mount a reclamation offensive on your bug-out location?

I would submit that most of us are not going to make it much longer than 3-4 weeks in a true wilderness survival scenario with a well thought out heavy back pack. After that, luck and the threat level will dictate your ultimate survival.

Having graduated the Army’s VietNam era S.E.R.E. training, you can make it fairly comfortably for about 3-4 days with basically nothing but the clothes on your back(same applies for impromptu “what the heck” spur of the moment over-nighters into the woods.)

It just takes knowledge of building quick shelter from the elements, and the ability to locate water. A decent knife (folding or fixed blade is fine) and a bic-lighter makes it a lot easier. A pocket pistol/revolver provides peace of mind. More than that may bring temporary added comfort, may even put off the inevitable, but unless you are a very rare bird, surviving forever in the wilderness won’t happen.

Not throwing cold water, just injecting realism.

Water, water.
Knowing the edible plants in the area you are in.
More important– knowing the non edible plants.

Remember– water, shelter, food.

I need a book. See reply above.

For continued food gathering I would say a small bow and a handful of arrows plus a couple of rat traps.

What else would I bring with me? By leaving a word to a trusted friend or relative where I am going and how long I plan to be gone. I am bringing more confidence this way.

#11 – Ammo for said rifle or you just have a club.
#12 – folding saw
#13 – sharpening stone for the knife.
#14 – trade headlamp for flashlight
#15 – steel pot
#16 – fishing line and hooks
#17 – clean socks
#18 – 2 triangular bandages (made of cotton) handier than bandanas
#19 – fleece watch cap because I’m bald
#20 – chapstick
trade out the wool blanket for fleece blanket or quilted throw.

Well, I keyed on Ken’s phrase, “the geographic region of travel”.

I don’t know if this means hiking in the Smokies, which I do about every year, or just my daily travel thrown in with the occasional out of town business that is usually about a 2hr drive away.

When I do a day hike, I go prepared for about 4 days in the wilderness… just in case. My travel to and from work is always the same as travel for a few hours away. Many essential items that could not be carried, but could quickly be organized to what I need depending on the emergency.

I do ramp things up when we go out of state. The items in the vehicle are usually what I think I would need to get the family home by foot. This includes a lot of cash and silver. Most sheep will not recognize the magnitude of a situation when it occurs. I will be purchasing an older running vehicle or bicycles along with what ever other items people will trade worthless paper and un-edible silver for. I know it’s a different way of thinking from packing the perfect bug out bag, but the needs will change depending on the scenario. Why not have as many resources available and ditch things that you don’t need.

My BOBs are this way. I have certain bags dedicated to specific firing platforms or certain types of tools. My main bag has ammo/tools/kits for our ARs and .45 pistols. I have other bags for my .40 carbine. One for our .380 pistols. One for my 30-06, which I really want to find a way to take. Some of them are spares for redundancy. One is none and two is one… If I have time, I will throw all the bags in the vehicle or carry as many as I can a little ways and hide them in the woods. Isn’t this better than letting it sit in a safe for someone else to use against me when I return home?


Yes, I know already in Ken’s list


I am thinking a second whistle of a different type…

I cannot yell for long, so if injured or lost, different type would be good idea.

There must be whistles that are louder than others/carry further than others/etc?

Any suggestions?

Definitely the hammock, which can be used on the ground as well. I live in the desert so more water than you think you need.
I like a Malaysian Parang to replace the hatchet/machete.
Fleece over wool, bulkier but lighter.
Sunglasses/goggles are a real boon as well.
I agree that OTC meds especially lotramine, diarrhea sucks, and add stress to a rapid change in diet runnin’ trots.

Thank you Ken.
Hammock with bug netting is something we don’t have.
We have bug netting but no hammock.

I travel light with my BOB along with a few items that Ken listed. I carry large trash bags, These can be used as sleeping bags, rain gear, shelter, etc. keeps the bugs off too.

Just finished a 10 mile day hike along the Bluestone River in Southern WV. Carried enough for the hike and a little extra in case something went wrong and I had to spend the night:
Water (70 oz. Camelback and two extra bottles. Debated water filter, left behind this time because would only be gone 24 hours at worst, normally would bring;
Lightweight fleece;
Goretex jacket;
1st aid kit
fire making materials
Compass (not vital due to river valley, you go one way or the other. Studied topography before I left, knew only easy way out of the river valley)
Duct tape
Parachute cord
Emergency blanket
fixed knife
Thin painters plastic drop cloth for emergency shelter
Bug dope/sunscreen/hand sanitizer
Kahr PM40, two spare reloads. (Usual wood gun 3 inch .41 mag Taurus Tracker)

The only item that I don’t carry from your list is the hammock. That choice is primarily a function of the region where I live (Southwest desert). I would rather trade the weight of a hammock for two bottles of water. Otherwise, a great article. Well done!

I have everything on everyones list and then a little more. I know where im bugging out to if I do have to leave. and I already have a nice shelter made in the mts.wjth the surrounding materials. its a 2 mi. hike past where I have to park at but with a couple of trips, I will be set up right..hope all of you have something similar.we will survive..