Top 20 Must Have Survival Tools When Hiking or Camping in the Wilderness

Nature is undoubtedly beautiful and breathtaking, but it is also unpredictable and dangerous. One bad storm or taking a wrong turn can leave you stranded and lost, sometimes for days on end. Because this is a probability that anyone can face when venturing in the wilderness, you will want to be as prepared as possible for the worst-case scenario so you can optimize survival chances. Whether you are going for a camping trip or partaking on a strenuous hiking adventure hundreds of miles away from civilization, you should always have these top 20 emergency survival gear on hand.

1. Map of The Area - No matter where you are going in the wilderness, always bring a map of the area with you. It can point out specific trails, water sources, and maybe close by civilizations that can help you back to safety. Hopefully, you will not need to use it, but if you do, you can be confident in the direction you are going.

2. Outdoor Water Purifier - Water found in nature can still be highly contaminated and could lead to severe bodily ramifications. Still water can have bacteria and waterborne viruses in them that can make you extremely sick. Since you need water to survive, carry a lightweight, portable water filter with you, so you do not have to worry about drinking unclean water.

3. Stormproof Lighter - Unless you are an expert in starting a fire with two sticks, you will want to have a lighter or two with you. Though any lighter can work, the best one would be a stormproof brand so you can be confident it will work even in wet conditions.

4. Flashlight with Extra Batteries - As night falls, the last thing you will want is to be stuck in the dark. Though starting a fire can help with this too, a flashlight is a great secondary light source. It can also be used to flash a plane or helicopter down as they pass overhead.

5. Small First Aid Kit - This may not be something you want to carry with you since it could be a bit on the larger side, but it can be a great way to fix any small injuries holding you back. Pack some band-aids, ointments, tape, and other handy products that could help you if you get hurt.

6. Compass - Compasses have been around since ancient times, and are still highly popular today. Compasses are small, easy to store, and great for giving you direction when lost. Mix this with your map, and you will surely be in a much better condition by knowing where you are located.

7. Survival Knife - A survival knife is a no-brainer tool to have in case of an emergency. From cutting down branches to build a shelter to having a weapon on you as self-defense against habitable animals, a knife is a multipurpose tool to have on hand at all times.

8. Emergency Survival Sleeping Bag - You never know how long you are going to be lost for, and trying to sleep with the rain, wind, and cold elements can cause severe bodily harm, like hypothermia and pneumonia. By having an emergency survival sleeping bag that is waterproof, insulated, and folds up small for easy and secure storage is ideal to stay safe while resting.

9. Whistle - Whistles are a fundamental tool to have for anyone going into the wilderness. Whistles are excellent devices to catch the attention of someone when your voice cannot carry out effectively. It is also a vital survival gear to call for help in case you are injured and cannot move.

10. Duct Tape - Duct tape is an exceptionally diverse product and ideal for survival situations. You can use it as a UV protective layer, as a bandage, fix damages like clothing tears, and can help keep a shelter sturdier.

11. Emergency Radio - If where you are going does not have cell service to make phone calls, then invest in an emergency radio as a backup. If you are close by enough to civilization, then you can use a radio connect and reach out for help. For more insight, the best kind for emergencies is a hand-cranked radio so you can obtain signal even without power. These can also be excellent cell phone chargers as well.

12. Cords - By having two 3m or more of high-quality nylon cords, you are significantly putting yourself at better survival odds. Cords can be used to build shelter, tie off injuries to slow down blood loss, and can be great for carrying heavier objects with you to ease the strenuous burden.

13. Signal Mirror - Just the like the flashlight scenario, a signal mirror is great at catching the attention of someone passing by overhead in an aircraft, or perhaps someone casually going by on a distant boat. They will be able to see the glare and see where you are quickly.

14. Extra Food - You do not know when your next meal will be, so have extra food that is packaged and can last a long time is great for reducing the likelihood of starvation. Non-perishable consumables like protein bars and energy bars would be good options to stock up on.

15. Extra Clothes - Like mentioned before, mother nature is unpredictable. Seemingly dry conditions can turn wet, windy, and cold. If you want to be more comfortable and reduce the risk of hypothermia, extra clothes, preferably waterproof, is a must to pack with you.

16. Fishing Line and Hooks - Fishing is a perfect way to obtain sustenance while stranded. However, you do not need to bring an entire fishing pole with you and take up space. You can easily make your own fishing pole out of a long stick, some fishing line, and a hook.

17. Pepper Spray - Pepper spray is another self-defense item you should have. If you tried warding off predatorial animals with a knife, but they are staying resilient, then having backup pepper spray could save your life in those circumstances.

18. Hand Gun - Though guns are not favorable to some, it could help you with getting small and large game meat much easier than trying to come up with handmade traps with the little energy you have. If you are capable of carrying this weapon, consider adding this to your emergency survival gear list.

19. Multi-Tool - A multi-tool, like what Leatherman produces, is fantastic to have a lot of valuable assets in one place. Usually, these contain small knives, scissors, screwdrivers, etc. that can cover a wide range of needs.

20. Family Pictures - This may sound strange, but having family photos with you can keep your spirits high and give you the motivation not to give up. When you are in the middle of the forest for days on end, a simple reminder that you have a family at home can drive you to keep pushing.


It is a harsh reality that you may find yourself in an emergency when your fun wilderness trip went wrong. Though it can be scary and unplanned, it does not mean you have to be unprepared. Utilize the emergency survival gear listed above so you can optimize your chances of making it out of the wildness in one piece. It may seem excessive now, but you will surely be glad you invested if you ever find yourself in a detrimental situation.

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