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Survival Gear Checklist

Survival Gear Checklist
When it comes to being prepared for any unexpected situation, having the right survival gear is crucial. Whether you’re an avid outdoors enthusiast or just want to ensure your safety in case of emergencies, this survival gear checklist is a valuable resource. From essential tools like a reliable flashlight and multi-tool to essential supplies such as water purification tablets and a durable tent, this checklist covers all the must-haves to keep you protected and prepared. Let’s take a closer look at some of the essential items that should be included in your survival gear checklist. Learn more about the Survival Gear Checklist here.

Table of Contents


When it comes to surviving in the great outdoors, having the right clothing is essential. Layering is key to staying warm and comfortable in any weather condition.

Clothing layers

Start with a thermal base layer, which is designed to keep you warm by trapping your body heat. Look for materials like merino wool or synthetic fibers that wick away moisture from your skin. These base layers are perfect for chilly mornings or when the temperature drops at night.

Insulating layers

On top of your base layer, add insulating layers like fleece or down jackets. These layers are meant to provide insulation, trapping warmth close to your body. They are lightweight, breathable, and can be easily packed into your backpack when not in use.

Waterproof outer layers

To protect yourself from rain, snow, or wind, you will need waterproof outer layers. A good quality rain jacket and pants will keep you dry and comfortable during wet weather. Look for materials that are breathable, yet waterproof, to prevent moisture from building up inside the clothing.

Hat and gloves

Don’t forget to protect your extremities! A warm hat can prevent heat loss through your head, while gloves keep your hands warm and dexterous. Look for options that are moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and weather-resistant.

Extra socks

Take care of your feet by bringing extra pairs of socks. Invest in high-quality, moisture-wicking wool socks to prevent blisters and keep your feet dry. Having dry and warm feet can make all the difference in a survival situation.

Sturdy footwear

Choose footwear that suits the terrain you will be facing. Hiking boots with good ankle support and a strong sole are ideal for most outdoor adventures. Ensure that your boots are broken in before your trip to avoid painful blisters.

Protective eyewear

If you are heading into bright or snowy conditions, protect your eyes with sunglasses or goggles. They will not only shield your eyes from harmful UV rays but also reduce glare and improve visibility. Look for options that offer UV protection and have a comfortable fit.

Face mask or scarf

In dusty or cold environments, a face mask or scarf can provide protection and warmth. It will keep your face shielded from wind, dust, and other particles. Opt for breathable materials that won’t restrict your breathing.

Rain gear

In addition to a waterproof jacket and pants, consider bringing a compact and lightweight poncho. Ponchos are versatile and can be used as an additional layer of protection against the rain or as a shelter if needed. They are easy to pack and can be invaluable in an emergency situation.


Having a reliable and comfortable shelter is crucial for survival in the wilderness. Make sure you have the following items with you:

Tent or tarp

A sturdy tent or tarp provides protection from the elements and insects. Choose a tent that is lightweight, easy to set up, and durable. Look for a model that is suitable for the number of people in your group and the expected weather conditions.

Sleeping bag

Invest in a high-quality sleeping bag that is appropriate for the expected temperature range. Sleeping bags are rated based on temperature, and it’s important to choose one that will keep you warm during the coldest nights. Consider the insulation type, shape, and weight when making your selection.

Sleeping pad

To ensure a comfortable night’s sleep, bring along a sleeping pad or camping mattress. This will provide insulation from the cold ground and cushion your body, improving both warmth and comfort. Look for an option that is lightweight, easy to inflate, and thick enough to prevent discomfort.

Emergency blanket

An emergency blanket, also known as a space blanket, is a lightweight and compact addition to your shelter kit. It reflects your body heat back towards you, helping to retain warmth in colder conditions. It can also be used as a makeshift shelter if necessary.

Bivy sack

A bivy sack is a lightweight and compact alternative to a tent. It is essentially a waterproof sleeping bag cover that provides protection from the elements while minimizing weight and pack size. Consider adding one to your shelter kit for emergencies or as a backup option.


Protect your tent or tarp from moisture and punctures by using a groundsheet. This extra layer helps prevent damage to your shelter and keeps you dry. Look for a groundsheet that is durable and fits the dimensions of your shelter.

Camping stove

A camping stove allows you to cook hot meals and boil water, even in remote locations. Choose a stove that is fuel-efficient, lightweight, and easy to use. Consider the type of fuel it requires and assess your needs based on the duration of your trip.


Don’t forget to bring enough fuel to last throughout your trip. Whether you are using propane, butane, or liquid fuel, ensure you have an adequate supply to meet your cooking and heating needs. Consider the duration of your trip and the efficiency of your stove when estimating fuel requirements.

Cooking utensils

Pack a set of lightweight cooking utensils, including a pot, pan, and utensils for stirring and serving. Look for compact and durable options specifically designed for camping. Consider the number of people in your group and choose utensils that can accommodate your needs.

Lighter or matches

Having a reliable fire starter is essential for warmth, cooking, and signaling for help. Carry a waterproof lighter or a pack of matches in a waterproof container. Consider windproof and stormproof options for reliability in adverse conditions.   Discover more about the Survival Gear Checklist.

Food and Water

Sustaining yourself with food and water is critical when surviving in the outdoors. Here are the essential items to include in your survival pack:

Non-perishable food

Choose non-perishable food items that are lightweight, high in calories, and provide essential nutrients. Look for options like energy bars, dried fruits, nuts, and dehydrated meals. These items can be easily packed, require minimal preparation, and offer sustenance during emergencies.

Water bottles or canteens

Carry sturdy water bottles or canteens to transport and store water. Opt for BPA-free containers that are durable and lightweight. Consider the number of people in your group and the duration of your trip when selecting the capacity of your water bottles.

Water purification tablets

In situations where clean drinking water is scarce or questionable, water purification tablets can be a lifesaver. These tablets kill harmful bacteria and viruses, making water safe to consume. Always have a supply of water purification tablets in your survival kit.

Water filter

A water filter is another way to ensure access to safe drinking water. Look for a compact and lightweight filter that is effective against bacteria, protozoa, and other contaminants. Consider the filter’s lifespan, flow rate, and ease of use when making your selection.

Heavy-duty water container

For storing larger quantities of water, consider a heavy-duty water container. These containers are designed to withstand rugged conditions and can hold several gallons of water. Look for options that are stackable, collapsible, or equipped with a built-in spout for easy pouring.

Portable water heater

In cold temperatures, a portable water heater can be a game-changer. These compact devices allow you to heat water for hot drinks, rehydrating food, or personal hygiene. Consider the type of fuel it requires and the heating capacity when choosing a portable water heater.

Fishing gear

If you are near a water source that contains fish, having basic fishing gear can provide an additional food source. Pack a lightweight fishing rod, fishing line, hooks, and bait. Familiarize yourself with local fishing regulations and techniques before relying on this method for sustenance.

Snare wire

In a survival situation, snare wire can be used to catch small game, providing a valuable food source. Look for lightweight and flexible snare wire that is easy to set up. Educate yourself on proper snaring techniques to avoid unnecessary harm to wildlife.

Personal water filter

For individual use, consider carrying a personal water filter. These compact filters are designed to be used directly from a water source, allowing you to drink safely on the go. Look for options that are lightweight, easy to use, and have a long lifespan.

Utensils and cookware

Don’t forget to pack basic utensils and cookware for food preparation and consumption. Include items like a lightweight pot, pan, utensils, plates, and cups. Look for options that are designed for camping, are easy to clean, and can be nested together for efficient packing.


Knowing where you are and where you are going is crucial in the wilderness. Ensure you have the necessary tools and equipment for navigation:


A compass is a fundamental tool for orientation and navigation. Choose a reliable compass that is durable and easy to read. Familiarize yourself with basic navigation skills and how to use a compass before venturing into the wilderness. water purification methods for survival 1

Map of the area

Always carry a map of the area you will be exploring. Topographic maps provide valuable information about the landscape, trails, and potential hazards. Choose a map that is detailed, waterproof, and suitable for the specific region you are visiting.

GPS device

A GPS (Global Positioning System) device can be a valuable backup to a compass and map. Look for a handheld GPS that is rugged, has a long battery life, and is easy to use. Familiarize yourself with its functions and features before relying solely on a GPS for navigation.


A whistle is a simple yet effective tool for signaling for help. Choose a whistle that is loud, lightweight, and waterproof. Attach it to your backpack or clothing so that it is easily accessible in an emergency.

Signal mirror

A signal mirror can be used to reflect sunlight and attract attention from a distance. Look for a mirror specifically designed for survival situations, with a sighting hole and a protective cover. Familiarize yourself with how to use a signal mirror effectively.

Landmark identification

Learn to identify and recognize prominent landmarks in the area you will be navigating. These landmarks can serve as reference points and help you orient yourself within the terrain. Take note of distinctive features like mountains, lakes, or rock formations.

Flare or signal flare

In dire situations, a flare or signal flare can be used to attract attention. Look for flares that are designed for outdoor use, are waterproof, and have a long burn time. Familiarize yourself with local regulations and usage guidelines for flares.

Topographic map

In addition to a regular map, include a topographic map of the area. Topographic maps provide detailed information about elevation, contours, and terrain features. This additional knowledge can be invaluable for route planning and navigation.

Spare batteries

If you are relying on electronic navigation devices or lighting equipment, don’t forget to bring spare batteries. Consider the battery life of your devices and the duration of your trip when estimating the number of spare batteries required.

Markers for route tracking

Consider bringing markers like flagging tape or brightly colored ribbons to mark your route, trail, or important landmarks. These markers can be useful for retracing your steps or indicating potentially dangerous areas. Always practice Leave No Trace principles by removing your markers when you leave the area. how to find food in the wild 3  

Tools and Equipment

Having the right tools and equipment can make a significant difference in a survival situation. Be prepared by packing the following essential items:


A multi-tool is a versatile tool that combines a variety of functions into one compact package. Look for a multi-tool with a knife, pliers, screwdrivers, and other commonly used tools. Choose one that is durable, compact, and suitable for outdoor use.


A quality knife is an essential tool in any survival kit. Look for a fixed-blade knife with a sturdy construction and a sharp edge. Knives can be used for various tasks, including cutting, carving, self-defense, and preparing food.

Ax or hatchet

If you are planning on building a shelter or a fire, consider carrying an ax or hatchet. These tools are designed for chopping wood and can make the task much more manageable. Choose one that is lightweight, durable, and easy to handle.


A compact folding shovel can be a versatile tool for digging fire pits, latrines, or makeshift shelters. Look for one that is lightweight, durable, and has a serrated edge for cutting through roots and tough soil.

Duct tape

Duct tape is often referred to as “the handyman’s secret weapon” for its versatility. Carry a roll of duct tape in your survival kit for various repairs, makeshift gear, or emergency situations. It can be used to fix clothing, gear, or create improvised tools.

Paracord or rope

Paracord or rope is an essential item for various survival tasks, such as securing shelters, hanging food away from wildlife, or creating improvised tools. Choose a strong and lightweight option that is durable and has a high weight capacity.

Headlamp or flashlight

Having a reliable light source is crucial, especially during nighttime or in dark environments. Carry a headlamp or flashlight with spare batteries to ensure visibility and safety. Look for options with different brightness settings and a long battery life.

Portable radio

A portable radio can provide you with important weather updates, emergency broadcasts, and communication during a crisis. Choose a radio that is compact, durable, and has multiple power sources like batteries or solar charging.


In addition to spare batteries for your navigation and lighting devices, consider bringing extra batteries for other equipment like radios or GPS devices. Carry a variety of battery sizes to accommodate different devices.


Having a reliable firestarter is essential for staying warm, cooking, and signaling for help. Carry waterproof matches, a lighter, or firesteel in a waterproof container. Practice fire-starting techniques and familiarize yourself with the surrounding regulations before starting a fire.

First Aid

Being prepared for medical emergencies can save lives in the wilderness. Pack a comprehensive first aid kit and familiarize yourself with basic first aid skills. Ensure your first aid kit includes the following essentials:

First aid kit

Invest in a well-stocked first aid kit that includes bandages, gauze, adhesive tape, antiseptic ointment, and other essential medical supplies. Look for a kit that is specifically designed for outdoor use and covers a wide range of injuries and ailments.

Prescription medications

If you require prescription medications, ensure you have an ample supply for the duration of your trip. Pack them in their original containers and keep them in a safe and accessible place. Consult your healthcare provider for specific instructions and advice.

Pain relievers

Include over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen in your first aid kit. These can help alleviate pain and reduce fever. Consider the duration of your trip and include a sufficient supply of pain relievers.

Antiseptic wipes

Antiseptic wipes are essential for cleaning wounds and preventing infection. Look for individually wrapped wipes that are convenient to carry and use. Use them to clean cuts, scrapes, or other injuries before applying bandages.

Bandages and gauze

Pack a variety of bandages and gauze pads of different sizes. These can be used to dress wounds, provide support, or apply pressure to stop bleeding. Look for options that are sterile, non-adhesive, and easily accessible.


Tweezers can be a useful tool for removing splinters, ticks, or other foreign objects from the skin. Choose a pair with a fine-point tip for precision. Disinfect the tweezers before and after use to prevent infection.


Carry a pair of small, sharp scissors for cutting dressings, tape, or clothing in case of an emergency. Look for scissors with rounded tips to minimize the risk of accidental injury.

CPR mask

Consider adding a CPR mask to your first aid kit. This compact device provides a barrier between you and the person receiving CPR. It can be particularly useful in emergency situations where there is a risk of infection.

Emergency phone numbers

Always carry a list of emergency phone numbers, including local authorities, emergency services, and any other relevant contacts. Keep this list in a waterproof container or laminate it for protection.


If you are prone to allergies or insect bites, include antihistamines in your first aid kit. These can provide relief from allergic reactions and help manage symptoms like itching, swelling, or redness.  

Fire and Light

Fire is not only essential for warmth and cooking but can also be a valuable signal for rescue. Be prepared with the following fire and light essentials: how to start a fire without matches 4


A lighter is a convenient and reliable way to start a fire. Choose a waterproof lighter with a strong flame. Keep it in a safe, dry place within your survival kit.

Waterproof matches

Waterproof matches are an excellent backup to a lighter. They are designed to ignite even in wet conditions, ensuring you can start a fire when needed. Store them in a waterproof container to protect them from moisture.

Fire starter

A fire starter, such as a firesteel or magnesium rod, can be a reliable alternative to matches or a lighter. These tools create sparks that can easily ignite dry tinder. Practice using a fire starter before relying on it in an emergency situation.

Emergency candles

Emergency candles are compact and lightweight sources of light and heat. They can provide warmth in a confined space or act as a backup light source. Look for long-burning candles with a stable base.


A reliable flashlight is essential for navigating in the dark or signaling for help. Choose a flashlight that is durable, water-resistant, and has a long battery life. LED flashlights are often preferred due to their brightness and energy efficiency.


A hands-free lighting option like a headlamp is incredibly convenient in a survival situation. Look for a headlamp that is lightweight, comfortable to wear, and has adjustable brightness settings. Ensure you have spare batteries for extended use.

Glow sticks

Glow sticks are a safe and reliable source of light in dark conditions. They are inexpensive, lightweight, and don’t require batteries. Pack a few glow sticks in your survival kit for emergencies or for marking your location.


A lantern provides a broader area of light, making it ideal for illuminating campsites or shelters. Opt for a compact, battery-powered lantern that is lightweight and has adjustable brightness settings. Consider how long the lantern can last on a single set of batteries.


Don’t forget to bring extra batteries for your flashlights, headlamps, or lanterns. Consider the battery types required by your devices and ensure you have the appropriate spares. Store them in a waterproof container to protect them from moisture.


If you are in an area with ample natural resources, firewood can be an essential item for starting and maintaining a fire. Familiarize yourself with local regulations regarding collecting firewood and practice Leave No Trace principles.


Staying connected with the outside world can be crucial in an emergency or survival situation. Carry the following communication tools with you:

Cell phone

A cell phone is one of the most common forms of communication. Ensure it is fully charged before your trip and carry a portable charger. Keep the phone turned off or in airplane mode to conserve battery life when not in use.

Portable charger

A portable charger or power bank can keep your electronic devices charged when you don’t have access to an electrical outlet. Look for a portable charger with a high capacity and multiple charging ports.

Two-way radios

Two-way radios are an effective way to communicate with others in your group or nearby individuals. Choose radios with a long range, clear sound quality, and a durable construction. Familiarize yourself with the radio’s operation and channel settings before your trip.

Signal whistle

A signal whistle is a simple yet effective tool for attracting attention and signaling for help. Choose a whistle that produces a loud sound and is easy to use. Attach it to your backpack or clothing for quick access.


Flares are powerful signaling devices that can be seen from a significant distance. Familiarize yourself with local regulations and safety guidelines before using flares. Keep them in a waterproof container and ensure they are easily accessible.

Emergency radio

An emergency radio is specifically designed to receive weather alerts, emergency broadcasts, and other critical information. Look for a radio that can be powered by various sources like batteries, solar, or hand-crank. These radios often have additional features like a built-in flashlight or USB charging port.

Spare batteries

Always carry spare batteries for your communication devices. Consider the battery types required by your devices and pack an adequate supply. Store them in a waterproof container to protect them from moisture.

Locator beacon

A locator beacon or personal locator beacon (PLB) is a distress signal device that can be used to alert emergency services of your location. These compact and lightweight devices transmit a signal via satellite. Register your PLB before your trip and familiarize yourself with its operation.

Satellite phone

In remote areas with limited cell phone coverage, a satellite phone can provide a lifeline to emergency services. Satellite phones are expensive and often require a subscription service. Consider renting or purchasing one if you plan to venture into areas without reliable cell phone coverage.

Crank-powered radio

A crank-powered radio is an excellent backup option for receiving emergency broadcasts. These radios are powered by hand-cranking, eliminating the need for batteries or external power sources. They often have additional features like a flashlight or phone charging capabilities.

Hygiene and Sanitation

Maintaining proper hygiene and sanitation practices is crucial for your health and well-being in the outdoors. Pack the following items to stay clean and minimize environmental impact:

Toilet paper

Toilet paper is an essential item for maintaining hygiene in the wilderness. Pack it in a waterproof container or resealable bag to keep it dry. Practice Leave No Trace principles and dispose of used toilet paper properly.

Wet wipes

Wet wipes are a convenient alternative to traditional washing methods when water is scarce. Look for biodegradable wet wipes that are gentle on the skin. They can be used for cleaning hands, face, or other parts of the body.

Hand sanitizer

Keep your hands clean and germ-free by carrying hand sanitizer. Choose a sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol for maximum effectiveness. Use it before eating or preparing food, after using the toilet, and whenever necessary.


Pack a small bar or liquid soap to maintain proper hygiene during your outdoor adventures. Choose a biodegradable soap that is gentle to the skin and environmentally friendly. Remember to use soap at least 200 feet away from water sources to avoid contamination.

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Take care of your dental hygiene by carrying a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste. Look for toothpaste that is eco-friendly and safe to spit out in nature. Practice proper toothbrush sanitization by rinsing it thoroughly or using an antibacterial cover.

Feminine hygiene products

If necessary, pack an adequate supply of feminine hygiene products like tampons or sanitary pads. Choose products that are compact, lightweight, and odor-proof. Properly dispose of used products by following Leave No Trace principles.

Trash bags

Always carry multiple trash bags to pack out your waste and keep the environment clean. Choose durable bags that are thick and puncture-resistant. Separate your trash according to type (organic, plastic, etc.) to facilitate proper recycling or disposal.

Ziplock bags

Ziplock bags are versatile and can be used for various purposes during your outdoor adventures. They can keep small items organized, store wet or dirty gear, or keep essentials dry. Opt for reusable bags to reduce waste.


Pack a lightweight and quick-drying towel for personal hygiene or drying off after swimming. Microfiber towels are an excellent choice due to their compact size and high absorbency. Choose one that is large enough to wrap around your body comfortably.

Portable shower

If you have access to a water source, a portable shower can provide a refreshing and cleansing experience. Look for a compact and lightweight shower system that is easy to use and heats water efficiently. Practice Leave No Trace principles by using biodegradable soap and disposing of wastewater responsibly.

What Should I Include in My Wilderness Survival First Aid Kit?

When preparing your wilderness survival first aid kit, there are a few essential items you should include. These wilderness survival first aid essentials consist of adhesive bandages for cuts and scrapes, sterile gauze pads and adhesive tape for larger wounds, antiseptic wipes for disinfection, tweezers for removing splinters or ticks, and pain relievers like ibuprofen. Additionally, don’t forget to include a compact emergency blanket, hand sanitizer, and a whistle for signaling help in case of emergencies.


Finally, don’t forget to pack the following miscellaneous items that can make a difference in a survival situation:


Carry some cash in small denominations as a backup in case of emergencies. It may come in handy for unexpected expenses or situations where electronic payment is not possible.

Identification documents

Always carry your identification documents like a driver’s license or passport when venturing into the wilderness. In case of an emergency, these documents can provide valuable information to rescuers or authorities.

Survival manual

A compact survival manual or guidebook can offer valuable knowledge and tips for wilderness survival. Look for a comprehensive guide that covers essential skills like first aid, navigation, and shelter building. Familiarize yourself with the contents of the manual before your trip.

Can opener

If you are packing canned food, don’t forget to include a lightweight and compact can opener. Look for a can opener that is easy to use and durable. Choose one that can be attached to your keychain or packed within your cooking utensils.


Protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and glare by wearing sunglasses. Choose sunglasses with UV protection and polarized lenses for improved visibility in bright conditions. Look for a comfortable and durable frame that suits your face shape.

Emergency whistle

In addition to a signal whistle, carry an emergency whistle to alert others of your presence or to signal for help in an emergency. Look for a whistle that produces a loud and distinctive sound. Keep it easily accessible, attached to your backpack or clothing.

Pencil and paper

Having a pencil and paper can be useful for leaving notes, recording important information, or playing games to pass the time. Choose a waterproof or water-resistant notebook and a durable pencil or pen that won’t easily break.


While a compass is already listed in the navigation section, it is essential enough to include here as well. A compass can be a lifesaver in a survival situation, helping you stay on track and navigate your way to safety. Familiarize yourself with how to use a compass before relying on it.

Dust masks

In dusty or smoky environments, having dust masks or respirators can protect your lungs from harmful particles. Look for masks that have a high filtration rating and a secure fit. Ensure you have enough masks for everyone in your group.

Entertainment items

To maintain morale and pass the time, consider including entertainment items such as playing cards, books, or small games. Choose lightweight and compact options that can easily fit into your pack. Remember to balance entertainment with the demands of survival and preparedness. how to build a bug out bag 1 By ensuring you have the necessary clothing, shelter, food, water, navigation tools, equipment, first aid supplies, fire and light sources, communication devices, hygiene products, and miscellaneous items, you will be well-prepared for any survival situation. Remember, prevention and preparedness are key to a safe and successful outdoor adventure. Get your own Survival Gear Checklist today.