Complete Guide to Survival Gear and Survival Essentials

Shop Quality Survival Gear

When shopping for survival gear you usually get what you pay for. Most gear is produced and sold in such high quantities that the margins are relatively slim. That means that when you pay for a product you're actually paying for the materials, labor, and technology required to develop, manufacture, and distribute the gear.

When an emergency actually occurs you want tools and supplies that hold up to the challenge. 

Don't Buy Gimmicky Gear

There are a ton of survival gimmicks out on the market. We've tested a bunch of them and the fail so easily when used in real life situations. Avoid cheap products and gimmicks. 

For example, my son got a knock-off Swiss Army Knife as a gift. He took it on a Scout camp. When he got home he walked in and showed me 3 broken pieces: the blade, the body, the saw. The knife didn't even survive a campout.

Shop on a Budget

Most of us can't buy all the survival gear we need in one shot. It makes sense to set aside a budget, prioritize the gear we need and buy the next item on the list when it makes sense. You'd be surprised how quickly your gear builds up when you shop at regular intervals.

About This Article


Table of Contents

  1. Shop Quality Gear
  2. Top Rated Survival Gear Catalog
  3. Choosing Quality Gear
  4. Survival System
  5. Gettings Started

Top Rated Survival Gear Catalog

We only add survival gear to our catalog that has a great rating, great test results, or comes highly recommended. We've actually used most of the gear or have seen it in action before we list it here. Since we don't do the product fulfillment we can't warranty the gear but we strongly recommend it.

Shop these top product categories:

Emergency Kits

Ready-made and ready for survival

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First Aid Kits

First aid kits and supplies

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Survival Gear

Essential gear for survival

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Emergency Water

Water filters and containers

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Emergency Food

Food storage and production

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Emergency Shelter

Survival tents and shelters

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Recently Added and Reviewed

We add new gear and supplies regularly. Here are some of the most recently added items.

22 03 12 12 41 38 original 600x600 quadkit emergency kit QUADKIT Emergency Kit
21 11 10 11 15 47 original 600x600 arcturus wool blanket Emergency Wool Blanket - L
21 11 05 17 05 12 original b09dqzpjsv epg ifak lg main red Excursion First Aid Kit Organizer (Tactical, IFAK, MOLLE)
21 09 17 13 04 48 original b09dqs7yzh epg ifak black main Excursion Field First Aid Kit (Tactical, Compact, IFAK)
21 10 01 14 39 47 original b09dr49ctv epg gear compact black main Excursion Gear Organizer (Tactical, Compact, MOLLE)
21 10 01 14 37 48 original b09dqz9vnl epg gear black main Excursion Gear Organizer (Tactical, Full Size, MOLLE)
21 04 30 17 14 04 original b0936lymf4 Hot Strike Ferro Rod Fire Starter
21 09 17 13 31 33 original b091mmz1w8 main charcoal Emergency Wool Blanket - XL
21 10 19 00 35 51 original b091mtmysf Heavy Duty Survival Multitool
21 02 22 12 37 42 original 600x600 propane heater Propane Heater
21 02 22 12 37 33 original 600x600 pepper spray Pepper Spray
21 02 22 12 37 17 original 600x600 duct tape Duct Tape
21 02 17 12 27 57 original 600x600 life vest Emergency Life Vest
21 02 17 12 23 28 original 600x600 bleed stop Bleed Stop
21 02 16 14 06 35 original 600x600 book scouting wilderness first aid Scouting Guide to Wilderness First Aid
21 02 16 14 06 20 original 600x600 book scouting survival Scouting Guide to Survival
21 02 16 14 01 23 original 600x600 sog fixed knife SOG Survival Field Knife
21 02 04 13 14 26 original 600x600 sog power access SOG PowerAccess Survival Tool
21 01 28 13 39 49 original 600x600 2 person tent Kelty 2-Person Tent
21 01 28 13 10 11 original 600x600 backpack Teton Backpack

Choosing Survival Gear

There are a few well known guidelines to follow when shopping survival gear. The goal is to find and acquire great gear you can rely on in a pinch.

Shopping Guidelines

  1. Buy quality gear - Choose quality gear you can rely on. We're not saying to always pay the most for your purchase - we're saying make sure you don't buy cheap, unreliable gear. You'll need to depend on it at some point.
  2. Prioritize your purchase - Our checklists prioritize the gear you need. Buy it when it makes sense for your budget. Buy it in order of importance.
  3. Organize your items - Stow the gear in pouches and packs so you can find it when you need it. Some people use their gear in day-to-day activities. It can wear out and get lost. Make sure you have your quality gear in a place you always expect.

5 C's of Survival Gear

The most essential survival tools and supplies can be remembered in these 5 words:

  1. Cutting - Get a quality knife or multi-tool. You may need to cut food, wood for shelter, cord, and many other things. A great cutting tool can be your most valuable tool
  2. Combustion - Fire is super important as well. You can cook, keep warm, provide light, protect against animals, etc. A great firestarter is a critical resource.
  3. Cordage - Make sure you have paracord handy. You can build shelter, make weapons, fix clothing, secure gear, suspend food, etc. 50ft of paracord should be a minimum.
  4. Container - You'll want a number of containers. Organize your gear in pouches, bags, and bins. Store water and food in their containers. Invest in the right containers.
  5. Cover - Staying out of the elements can be lifesaving. Use a tent, camping tarp, or make a shelter. It's best to have a waterproof option on hand.

Survival Priorities

You should prioritize your gear purchase based on the survival priorities (listed to the right). We can survive only when the top priorities are taken care of. For example, if we're bleeding out from an injury having a food source doesn't really matter. We have to take care of the urgent items first and then stay busy solving the next challenge.

Be sure to purchase your survival gear based on the most critical priority first.

Survival Priority List

Priortize your gear and supplies based on this list.

  1. Air
  2. First Aid/Mental Health
  3. Communication
  4. Tools
  5. Shelter
  6. Warmth
  7. Water
  8. Food
  9. Hygiene
  10. Self Protection
  11. Extra Clothing
  12. Container 


Survival Priorities Explained

Emergency Kits and Survival System

There are a number of ways to buy or build a kit. We strongly recommend looking at your survival gear as a system. We also recommend building your survival system over time so you can stay on a budget. We've divided our recommended system into stages.

Explore the whold survival system

Stage 0: EDC

(personal kit)

The items you commonly carry with you are called "every day carry" items. Most people carry a wallet, watch, purse, pocket knife, multi-tool, jewelry, etc. If you plan ahead, you can carry normal items that have survival functions.

Explore Stage 0: EDC

Stage 1: Emergency Essentials

(personal kit)

Certain emergency items are essential to survival (see the 5 C's above). We recommend investing in these items first and organizing them in pouches you can transfer from your day pack to your go bags, etc.

Explore Stage 1: Emergency Essentials

Stage 2: Go-Bag (Bug Out Bag)

(personal kit)

There are a number of types of go-bags. We recommend assembling a bug out bag. You'll be mobile and ready for a lot of emergencies with a robust survival bag like this.

Explore Stage 2: Bug Out Bag

Stage 3: House Kit

(household kit)

If you are evacuated and have some time to pack up, we recommend taking your house kit. It has community gear that is too bulky for a go-bag. It includes tools, water containers, first aid items, etc.

Explore Stage 3: House Kit

Stage 4: Bulk Supplies and Equipment

(household supplies and gear)

During emergencies where you need to shelter in place we recommend building a 1 year supply of food storage, large quantities of water, and having equipment on hand for power and long term survival.

Explore Stage 4: Bug Out Bag

20 10 27 02 34 06 original 600x600 survival system   2 person

Survival Kit - 2 Person

Overall Best Ready-made Emergency Kit

Buy on Amazon
20 10 27 09 57 46 original 600x600 tactical full

First Aid Kit - Tactical

Tactical, Portable IFAK First Aid Kit

Buy on Amazon
20 10 27 06 37 15 original 600x600 trauma kit   small

Trauma Kit - Small

Advanced First Aid Gear and Supplies

Buy on Amazon
20 10 27 02 35 55 original 600x600 personal survival kit   pocket sized 1

Personal Survival Kit - Pocket Sized 1

Pocket sized survival kits for emergencies

Buy on Amazon
20 10 27 02 32 27 original 600x600 emergency kit   72 hours   family

Emergency Kit - 72 Hours - Family

Best 4-Person 72-Hour Kit

Buy on Amazon
20 10 27 02 30 58 original 600x600 emergency kit   72 hours   4 person

Emergency Kit - 72 Hours - 4 Person

Best Ready-made 72-Hour Kit

Buy on Amazon

Getting Started with Emergency Gear

If you're just getting started with your emergency gear it can seem a bit daunting. Here are some tips to get you going:

  1. Start with the essentials
  2. Find the right checklist that matches your household
  3. Set a monthly budget - don't get overwhelmed with a huge price tag to get it all - buy the urgent items first
  4. Be disciplined - once you have emergency supplies, only use them for emergencies
  5. Keep your checklist handy so you can acquire new gear and supplies regularly

1This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
2 As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
3 Most reviews are based on personal experience from one of our content editors. Some are based on research and the opinions of other reviewers.


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