This wilderness survival guide wouldn't be complete without acknowledging this; hands down, skills are much more important than gear when it comes to wilderness survival. You can buy and collect all the best gear in the world, but what happens if you forget it? Or lose it? Or use it up? Then you'll be relying on yourself - your skills. With that said, it is still good to learn about wilderness survival gear and put together a wilderness survival kit. Just don't' depend on it.

Popular modern methods for purifying/treating water include filtering pumps and chemical treatments, such as iodine. These can be efficient and effective solutions if you have access to these items in a survival situation. An herbal treatment is another method in which water may be purified from viruses and bacteria. Grapefruit seed extract is sold as a water purifier, although there is some debate on whether or not it is one hundred percent effective. The most widely used and proven method for safely purifying water is boiling. Bringing water to a boil and allowing it to continue to boil for 2-3 minutes will kill bacteria and viruses.
A human being can survive an average of three to five days without the intake of water. The issues presented by the need for water dictate that unnecessary water loss by perspiration be avoided in survival situations. The need for water increases with exercise.[4] Since the human body is composed of up to 78% water, it should be no surprise that water is higher on the list than fire or food. Ideally, a person should drink about a gallon of water per day. Many lost persons perish due to dehydration, and/or the debilitating effects of water-born pathogens from untreated water.
A good read and a very good list to ‘pick and chose’ from – I try to carry ‘multi-person items as much as possible – cuts down on the weight – as a ‘senior citizen’ the packs I carried years ago I can’t carry now so I have to make changes that match my physical ability – Also a good idea on up-dating – at least every three months or seasonal (which also changes pack size and contents) Lastly, don’t just put a bag together – take a weekend and use it occasionally – carry it distances in different terrain – make sure you have the physical stamina to bear the load – it’s useless if you can’t ‘take it with you’..
The mind and its processes are critical to survival. The will to live in a life-and-death situation often separates those that live and those that do not. Stories of heroic feats of survival by regular people with little or no training but a strong will to live are not uncommon. Among them is Juliane Koepcke, who was the sole survivor among the 93 passengers when her plane crashed in the jungle of Peru. Situations can be stressful to the level that even trained experts may be mentally affected. One should be mentally and physically tough during a disaster.
Hunting, fishing, and trapping are also significant endeavors, ones that take much time and practice. These are also skills that are often times unnecessary in a short term survival situation. However if you are in a wilderness survival situation for any length of time, you'll want these skills. Throwing sticks, bow and arrow, primitive fishing, spear fishing, and primitive trapping are all important to learn.
For a cup, I originally got a Kupilka Cup to carry along. It’s a very good cup, and one that a lot of ultralight campers use. It’s made out of a composite wood/plastic so it’s very sturdy and insulates well. It was just too small for what I wanted, even though it’s only 3 ounces. Instead, I oped for a Snow Peak Titanium H450, double-walled cup. The double walls make it so your drink doesn’t get cold right away but also means you can’t cook with it. A much more popular option is the Snow Peak HotLips Titanium Mug, which you CAN cook in, but it loses heat quickly and you need the little rubber things on it so you don’t burn your lips. Also, the one I got doesn’t have a handle on it (because it doesn’t need one), so it saves a little space. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the new cup in these pics. The cup FINALLY came in. It does work great though. Even though it’s titanium, it doesn’t burn your lips when you’re drinking something hot like a single-walled cup would. Here’s a pic:
I have to agree with Steve: I have a bug out bag ready in case the SHTF. That doesn’t mean that there’s going to be a lot of “safe places” to run to. If we get together with like minded people, we can make a long term plan. The only reason for a “three day bag” is if “they” are coming for you specifically and you can go to another sane location. I personally have packed a .22 revolver and 200 rds., carry a .38 Special and pack 100 rds., and shoulder a Saiga .223 carbine with 200 rds. of “penetrators”, FMJ, and some soft point if I need to take a little larger animal. And, another thing, if you pack “pills” in a baggie and happen to get stopped along the way, you can bet on a trip to the station!
The more you know about nature, the better you will be able to survive in the outdoors. To be great at wilderness survival, beyond the basic survival skills, requires an in-depth understanding of a variety of nature skills. For example, wildlife tracking skills allow one to effectively locate wild game for food, and knowledge of herbal medicine allows one to heal illnesses with wild plants. Especially for the situation where you may choose to purposefully practice survival living for a lengthened period of time, naturalist knowledge is absolutely invaluable.

It is easy to improvise most things on this list but some can’t be improvised so easy on the go, thing is if you are bugging out to a safe area you can possibly keep things minimalist, and if you are lucky enough to legally obtain firearms then a reliable compact pistol such as a Walther P22 or Springfield XD 40 can be teamed up with either take down .22lr rifle (AR7-1022tdr) or .40S&W carbine so you can have close in capabilities and also reach beyond the typical shotgun toting highway raider.
I’m not sure if it has been stated, but thank you for your service! I am so happy I happened upon your page! I immediately was impressed by all the information you have on here. It is almost like sitting across from you having coffee and you are giving us your best info, and I truly appreciate it, I don’t feel so out there in the dark! I will continue to explore your site to glean. Thank you again, and I mean it this time!

Slid into the back of my backpack is a sheet-sized Fresnel Lens. It weighs so little that it didn’t come up on my scale and since there’s a flat spot that it fits into nicely, it effectively takes up no weight. It’s a no-brainer to get one of these. Here’s a quick video I did showing how easy it is to start a fire with one of these if you have a sunny day and some dry stuff laying around:

Packing a bug out bag can seem overwhelming as the task of not forgetting something important can be daunting. There are many checklists out there that will tell you the essential items you should always keep in your bug out bag. You can buy an already packed Bug out Bag, like this one here- Urban Survival Bug Out Bag, which contains essentials items like food, water, and a first aid kit. You can also check out our Bug Out Bag Checklist and personalize your bag yourself.


I have a Harley handkerchief that they gave me at the local shop on Veteran’s Day last year. It can be used to filter out all the big stuff and to soak up small puddles. You can also brush it on tall dew-covered grass and plants as you walk through and wring it out into your mouth, although that won’t taste too good. Much better than using your socks though.
or, I’ll give you a very serious and concrete example, I live in a highly seismic area, if the reason I’m fleeing is the earthquake, I will have to take my backpack really running, but I would hate to run down some unsafe stairs, with a heavy backpack that contains an ax, a bow and a rifle, on that occasion quite useless, but if for another reason I am running away from my house to never go back, or to take a long journey, then maybe even the carpenter’s scrap metal must be taken rushed.
If your bag is so heavy that you can’t carry it more than a few miles, you’ll have to ditch some of the items, anyway. And what’s going to happen if you have to run from attackers, jump walls, and climb fences? Having a bag that’s too heavy could get you killed. Ideally, a bug out bag should weigh about 15% of your body weight, assuming you’re in decent shape. 20% of your body weight should be the absolute maximum.

You might be surprised to see food so low on the basic survival skills priorities list, though we can survive for much longer without it as compared with shelter and water. Remember "The Rule of Threes": humans can survive without food for roughly 3 weeks (though I'm sure you would not want to go that long without food!). Thankfully, most natural environments are filled with a variety of items that can meet our nutritional needs. Wild plants often provide the most readily available foods, though insects and small wild game can also support our dietary needs in a survival situation.


Slid into the back of my backpack is a sheet-sized Fresnel Lens. It weighs so little that it didn’t come up on my scale and since there’s a flat spot that it fits into nicely, it effectively takes up no weight. It’s a no-brainer to get one of these. Here’s a quick video I did showing how easy it is to start a fire with one of these if you have a sunny day and some dry stuff laying around:
Earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes can cause you to leave your home or even be trapped there. Roads could be blocked due to fallen trees, power lines, or even damaged earth from the natural disaster. Rescue crews can not be in all places at once. You may have to wait it out for quite a while before its over. You won't be able to go to the store or to the corner market.
Tenacious Tape is not the kind of survival gear you won’t use every time out but when that rogue branch falls on your camping tent and rips your fly you’ll be thanking your lucky stars you have it in your bag. It can prevent a difficult situation from turning into a life threatening one. Tenacious Tape is completely weatherproof and won’t ever wash out. It doesn’t leave any tacky residue and is also machine washable. It’s the kind of quiet innovation that elevates the outdoor experience for everyone without making a lot of noise and is essential survival gear for any outdoor aficionado. Available in 3” or 20” rolls and a variety of colors.
The first is a signal fire—and the first rule is to put it out in the open for visibility. That means hilltops or clearings in a forest where nothing, like a cliff face or trees, will disperse the smoke. Create a platform to raise the base of the fire off the ground so moisture doesn’t saturate the wood. Save your absolute best combustible material for your signal fire to guarantee a quick light. Once the fire is lit, pile on green branches, like pine boughs in winter, to produce thick smoke. “It’s not about warmth, it’s about 15 seconds of smoke,” Stewart notes. “That’s about all you’ve got when you hear a plane before it’s out of sight.”
It is easy to improvise most things on this list but some can’t be improvised so easy on the go, thing is if you are bugging out to a safe area you can possibly keep things minimalist, and if you are lucky enough to legally obtain firearms then a reliable compact pistol such as a Walther P22 or Springfield XD 40 can be teamed up with either take down .22lr rifle (AR7-1022tdr) or .40S&W carbine so you can have close in capabilities and also reach beyond the typical shotgun toting highway raider.
A Bug Out Bag, also called a BOB, I.N.C.H Bag (I’m Never Coming Home Bag),Get Out of Dodge Bag (GOOD Bag), or 72 Hour Bag is usually designed to get you out of an emergency situation and allow you to survive self-contained for up to 3 days. A lot of people plan their Bug Out Bag to sustain them for much longer than that, but there is always a limit to what you can carry on your back and a 3 day target is a good place to start.
I’ve had several times in just daily life that I’ve needed a wrench. Can’t hurt to have one if you’re out trying to survive and come across something that needs to be disassembled. Measuring tapes are useful to make sure you can fit something to something else and don’t have both of them together. I have a fiskars hatchet but it’s a different tool. Chopping a 9″ log is a lot of work but sawing it is pretty easy.
You sir are an inspiration. My EDC is decent and moving on to build my BOB. Your list is comprehensive and explained very well. To those wanting GW to build their bag… move on. You need to do the work yourself because he isn’t going to be there to hold your hand when SHTF! Plus, I find a lot of my “additions” at thrift stores/garage sales. “Oh, I can add this to my bag!” always is in the back of my mind. Prepping doesn’t happen overnight… it’s a mind set.
I’ve seen that 1/3 of your body weight number getting tossed around a lot. Any idea where that comes from? In Afghanistan I tried to keep my pack around 35 lbs so I was never over 75 or so with my weapon, ammo and body armor. Even then, walking all day with that much weight is brutal when you’re not used to it. I’d hope most people would shoot for around 35lbs total in a bugout bag. Add in a weapon and some ammo and you have another 8-10 lbs if you take a rifle. It adds up quick.
“You want to stay high and dry,” Stewart says. Avoid valleys and paths where water may flow toward you (flash floods get their name for a reason—they can deluge a low-lying area in minutes). Choose a campsite free from natural dangers like insect nests and widow-makers—dead branches that may crash down in the middle of the night—as well as falling rocks. Ideally, you want to be close to resources like running water, dry wood (from which you can assemble your shelter and build a fire) and rocky walls or formations that can shield you from the elements.
When faced with unexpected emergencies like a fire, flood, or survival situation, being prepared with the right emergency gear not only ensures you’ll survive, it also means you can do so comfortably. Having the right emergency gear means the difference between having shelter, water, food, first-aid, and warmth during tough times and having nothing to rely on. Our selection of supplies are also the perfect choice for outdoor enthusiasts.
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