Wilderness Survival: The Essential Equipment You Need To Have

If you’re going out into the wilderness, it’s important to be prepared. While you can always improvise and make something out of nothing if necessary, it’s best to have the right gear on hand before heading out. 

Here are some items that will help you survive in any environment:

Wilderness Survival Kit: 10 Essentials You NEED
Key Takeaways
Wilderness survival is the knowledge, skills, and techniques required to survive in a natural environment, typically one that is far from civilization or urban areas.
Essential skills for wilderness survival include building shelter, starting a fire, finding and purifying water, and foraging for food.
A wilderness survival kit should include essentials like a knife, fire starter, water filtration, and shelter materials.
To prepare for a wilderness adventure, make sure to bring proper gear and ensure that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to survive in the wilderness.
If you get lost in the wilderness, stay calm, take stock of your surroundings, and try to signal for help using visual or auditory cues.

A Knife

A knife is an essential piece of equipment for any wilderness survival kit. A good knife will help you to build shelters, prepare food, and protect yourself from danger. 

In addition to these practical uses, knives are also useful for carving objects such as whistles or spear points out of wood or bone.

Here are some things to look for when choosing a knife:

Blade length – An ideal blade length is between 4 and 6 inches long; anything longer than 6 inches may be difficult to use effectively in tight quarters like tree branches or bushes (although there are exceptions). 

You should also consider whether you prefer a fixed blade or folding blade style–the former has no moving parts but requires more skill and maintenance than the latter does; folding knives tend not only take up less space but also cost less than their fixed counterparts since they don’t require additional tools like sharpening stones or whetstones in order keep them sharpened over time (this doesn’t mean however; they’re any less effective). 

Finally make sure that whatever type/style you choose has some sort of safety mechanism so it won’t accidentally close while being used–this could cause injury if done repeatedly enough times!

Surviving in the wilderness can be challenging, but having the right knowledge and skills can make all the difference. Check out our guide on wilderness survival tips for beginners to learn more about how to stay safe and thrive in the great outdoors.

A Compass

The compass is a must-have when it comes to navigating in the wilderness. This tool can help you find your way and find your bearings, as well as navigate back home if need be.

A good compass should have a clear baseplate with a rotating bezel and an adjustable needle that points to magnetic north. Some also come with luminous markings on the baseplate so that they’re easy to read even in low light conditions.

Top Compasses for Wilderness Survival

SuuntoM-3G Global CompassCan be used all over the world, High-grade steel needle, liquid-filled, adjustable declination correction, and sighting window with flip-up cover.$39.95
BruntonTruArc 5Luminescent bezel, Measure in degrees or mils, adjustable declination correction, and low profile design.$21.89
SilvaRanger S CompassDryFlex™ grip, scale lanyard, silicon map surface, mirror sighting, and adjustable declination correction.$29.95
SECC4580 Military Lensatic & Prismatic Sighting Survival Emergency CompassGlow in the dark, Thumb hold, Ruler units on side measuring inches and centimeters, and rotating bezel.$9.67
K&RAlpin CompassClear base plate with sapphire jewel bearing, Liquid-filled capsule, adjustable declination correction, and a non-slip rubber grip.$57.99

This table displays a few top brands and models of compasses, along with some of their noteworthy features and respective prices. It can be particularly helpful for those looking for a high-quality compass to bring on their wilderness expeditions.


A flashlight is essential for wilderness survival. It can be used to signal help, find your way through the dark and even provide warmth. 

Choose a flashlight that’s waterproof and has an adjustable beam so you can adjust it according to your needs. Make sure that your battery pack is charged before going out into nature, or take some extra batteries with you in case of emergencies.

If there’s no electricity around when disaster strikes, having a working flashlight will make all the difference between life and death!

From foraging for food to building shelter, there are many real-life strategies and tactics that can help you survive in the wilderness. Discover more in our guide on surviving in the wilderness and learn from the experts how to be prepared for anything.


Paracord is a lightweight nylon rope that can be used for many things. It’s a multi-functional rope that can be used for many different things, and it’s a good option if you have to carry a lot of gear. Paracord comes in various lengths, but the most common length is 100 feet (30 meters).

Paracord has been in use since World War II as part of parachutes and survival kits. The word “parachute” comes from “para” meaning “against” or “opposite,” plus chute which means “fall” or “descent.” When someone jumps out of an airplane they want their parachute to open so they don’t fall too fast! 

The same idea applies when using paracord; this type of cord allows you pull yourself up if something happens while hiking through uncharted territory!

Top Paracord Brands for Wilderness Survival

Gerber GearBear Grylls Paracord Fixed Blade Knife3.25 inches550 lb. tensile strength$27.14
TitanType III 550 Paracord100 ft.550 lb. tensile strength$14.98
RothcoParacord Bracelet7.5 inches550 lb. tensile strength$6.99
Atwood RopeMFG 550 Paracord100 ft.550 lb. tensile strength$9.95
USTParaCuda FS Machete11 inches3 mm-thick blade made of black oxide-coated steel, 5mm green-and-black braided paracord handle$22.04

This table showcases different paracord brands, like Gerber Gear, Titan, Rothco, Atwood Rope, and UST, that offer various models of paracord products with unique features, strengths, lengths, and price points. It can be helpful for those looking for a durable, versatile, and multi-purpose cordage for their wilderness adventures and survival needs.


A headlamp is a must-have for any wilderness survival kit. A headlamp allows you to see in the dark, which can be incredibly helpful if you’re trying to find something or someone in an emergency situation. 

It also saves your hands and arms from the cold if it’s raining out, and it keeps your hands dry if they’re already wet from rain or sweat (or both).

Making mistakes is a part of life and learning, but when you’re in the wilderness, they can be dangerous. Discover the most common wilderness survival mistakes and learn how to avoid them to help ensure your safety and survival.

Matches Or A Lighter

Matches and lighters are a must-have for any wilderness survival kit, but they can be dangerous if not handled properly. 

You should only use windproof matches or lighters that have been approved by the U.S. Coast Guard for marine use. Many brands carry these types of products; here are some examples:

Stormproof Matches – These waterproof matches will burn even when wet and in windy conditions. They’re available from companies such as UST (makers of the famous “Swedish FireSteel”) and Primus Products Incorporated (maker of camping stoves).

Waterproof Lighter – The kind you’ll want should be able to withstand being submerged underwater up to 100 feet deep for at least 30 minutes before starting to malfunction; try Zippo’s classic metal lighter model or another reputable brand like Ronson Cigarettes Company–which has been making them since 1907!

Water Purification Tablets Or Filter

These are a must-have for every wilderness survival kit. They work by removing harmful bacteria and viruses from water, which can be contaminated by animal waste or other sources of pollution. 

With these, you don’t need to boil your water (which takes time) or filter it with something like sand (which takes effort). 

The only downside is that these aren’t as efficient as other methods at removing heavy metals from your drinking supply; however, this isn’t usually an issue unless you’re planning on drinking from a heavily polluted source such as industrial runoff near factories or mines.

When it comes to wilderness survival, knowledge is power. Learn everything you need to know in our guide on the ultimate guide to wilderness survival and be equipped with the skills and information to face any challenge in the great outdoors.

Water Bottles And Containers

Water bottles and containers. You’ll need a way to carry water in your pack. You can use standard plastic bottles, but they’re not ideal because they’re bulky and heavy, which makes them difficult to carry for long periods of time (and if you’re going into the wilderness, you’ll be doing just that).

A collapsible water container will be much more space-efficient and easier on your shoulders when full; however, these can break down if exposed to sunlight or heat for too long so make sure it’s made of durable material that won’t leak easily when punctured (like most plastics do). 

If possible look for something with a wide mouth opening so it’s easier to fill up with dirty water sources like lakes or rivers–you don’t want any nasty critters getting in there!

A First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is a must-have for any wilderness survival kit. It can help you treat minor wounds and injuries, as well as prevent infection and disease. The essential items in your first aid kit should include: bandages, gauze pads, tape (both cloth and medical), scissors, tweezers and antiseptic ointment. 

You’ll also want to have some kind of storage container for your supplies so they’re organized and easy to find when needed.

While there are many different types of kits available commercially today–from small boxes with just enough room for some basic essentials up through large kits that include everything from splints to sutures

it’s better if you make your own customized version based on where you’re going out into nature with minimal supplies since no two people will have exactly the same needs when it comes down to what materials are most useful for treating certain injuries or illnesses during an emergency situation like being lost in the wilderness overnight without food or water!

Disaster can strike at any time, and being prepared is essential for survival. Discover essential wilderness survival skills that you need to have to stay safe and survive in case of an emergency in the wilderness.

Fire Starter Kit

You can’t start a fire without something to light it with. Matches, lighters and fire starter sticks are all options here. If you’re going to have matches or a lighter on hand at all times, be sure to include extra batteries and flints in your kit so you don’t get caught off guard by dead batteries or missing flints.

Fire starter cubes are another great option for starting fires quickly without having to rely on an external source of heat like rubbing two sticks together–they’re small enough for easy transport but powerful enough to get even wet wood burning within minutes! 

They also come in many different sizes so finding one that fits into your survival kit won’t be difficult at all!

Top Fire Starter Kits for Wilderness Survival

UCOStormproof Match KitWaterproof case, 25 windproof and waterproof matches, extra strikers, and integrated striker, up to 15 second burn time.$12.99
ExotacNanoStriker XLFerrocerium and magnesium rod, tungsten carbide striker, waterproof anodized aluminum body, and up to 3000 strikes.$29.99
Light My FireSwedish FireSteel 2.0Durable stainless steel, 12,000-strike lifespan, works when wet, and includes a built-in whistle.$20.40
Gerber GearBear Grylls Fire StarterFerrocerium rod and metal striker, waterproof storage, lanyard to keep together, and pocket guide with fire-making tips.$17.28
ZippoEmergency Fire Kit5 easy-spark tinders, reliable flint wheel ignition, water-resistant, and compact design fits easily into any pocket or pack.$11.99

This table showcases different fire starter kit brands, such as UCO, Exotac, Light My Fire, Gerber Gear, and Zippo, that offer various models of fire starter products with unique features, types of ignition, reliability, and price points. It can be helpful for those looking for a dependable and efficient way to start a fire for warmth, cooking, and signaling in emergency situations in the wilderness.

Bug Repellent, Sunblock And Sunscreen

You will want to protect yourself from bugs and the sun. To do this, it is important to choose the right bug repellent and sunscreen for your environment. In addition to protecting you from these elements, clothing can also help protect your skin from sunburn by covering up exposed areas.


The bottom line is that you need to be prepared for anything. You never know when you might need to survive in the wilderness, so it’s best to be prepared at all times. 

The essential equipment listed above should help get you through most situations, but there are many others out there as well. 

The key thing is knowing what works best for your situation and budget, then making sure that everything has been checked or replaced before heading out into nature

Further Reading

If you’re interested in learning even more about wilderness survival and how to prepare for any scenario, be sure to check out these helpful resources:

10 Items to Add to Your Wilderness Survival Kit – Brunton’s guide provides a list of essential items that you should include in your wilderness survival kit.

Wilderness Survival Tools: The Essential Gear You Need to Stay Alive – This article from The Dyrt covers the must-have tools and gear for wilderness survival, including knives, fire starters, and more.

Survival Gear List: 10 Tools for Wilderness Survival – Wilderness College provides a list of essential survival gear, along with explanations on why each tool is important and how to use it.


What is wilderness survival?

Wilderness survival involves the knowledge, skills, and techniques required to survive in a natural environment, typically one that is far from civilization or urban areas.

What are some essential skills for wilderness survival?

Essential skills for wilderness survival include building shelter, starting a fire, finding and purifying water, and foraging for food.

What items should be included in a wilderness survival kit?

A wilderness survival kit should include essentials like a knife, fire starter, water filtration, and shelter materials.

How can I prepare for a wilderness adventure?

To prepare for a wilderness adventure, make sure to bring proper gear and ensure that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to survive in the wilderness. It’s also important to tell someone where you’re going and when you’re expected to return.

What should I do if I get lost in the wilderness?

If you get lost in the wilderness, the first thing you should do is try to stay calm and take stock of your surroundings. Stay put if possible, and try to signal for help using visual or auditory cues.