Skip to Content

Must Have Gear for Successful Wilderness Survival

SHTFPreparedness may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.

The wilderness is Mother Nature’s home. If a situation forces you to end up in the wilderness, you must try to conquer it. If you can’t take an experienced survivalist with you, take the next thing – his stuff. There are a few things that will ensure successful wilderness survival. Let’s look at them.

10 Things You Need For Wilderness Survival

These essential items should be able to keep you alive and comfortable. But stuffing everything you need in a small pack can be a daunting task.

However, with the right information and experience, you can make it. Just 10 essential things can allow you to actually survive in the wilderness for close to two months. Amazing right?

Well, here is our survival gear checklist of items you will need to survive in the wilderness.

This list is in no way exhaustive. Feel free to change or replace any item to suit your specific needs. What is sure is that you will know the most vital stuff to pack as you gain more experience. You can then adjust as you deem fit.

1. Survival Knife

A survival knife or just any knife can prove life-saving in the wilderness. This item has so many applications in everyday camp activities as well as life in general. The versatility of a knife is why many people (me included) carry a pocket knife on them for everyday use.

When it comes to survival, the ideal type of knife is a fixed blade. They tend to be more resilient and durable than folding knives. It is because they lack any mechanical parts that move. Besides, they can cut tree branches and other large objects.

2. Personal Water Filter or Water Purification System

Experts say a physiological human should drink about 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Given that over 70 percent of our body is water, going three days without hydration is a recipe for disaster.

Thus a critical skill to learn for wilderness survival is how to purify water. Along with this skill, you will need a water bottle or a hydration system.

A water bottle is great, but it may carry only limited water. This is not good if you are not sure how long the emergency will last. On the other hand, a personal water filter or purification system will help you make more clean water in the wilderness.

Again, it’s crucial to learn different water purification methods: they will save your life many times over.

3. Raincoat or Rain Jacket

Staying dry might be the difference between being safe and being in danger. Rain jackets are light and easy to fit into your survival backpack: no reason to skip this one. Take a look at these raincoats and choose one for each member of the family.

If you want to be even better prepared, this one was designed for NASA and it has some extras: (a reusable waterproof thermal raincoat and 2 reusable extra large size authentic Mylar blankets).

4. Sunscreen or Sunblock

The summer heat can have serious effects on your skin. Thus sunburn is a real risk in the wilderness. Sunblock can be as simple as a lip balm with SPF. For instance, if you do not protect your lips from the scorching summer sun, it will burn and crust.

Pack some sunscreen to protect your body from sunburn in order to protect your skin. Do you know exposure to severe ultraviolet rays from the sun for a long time can cause skin cancer? Stay safe even when in the wilderness.

5. Cordage (Rope)

Rope or cordage is very important when you are in a survival situation.

The best cord, if you were to ask me is 550-parachute cord (paracord). It is one of the strongest cordages a survivor can ever get. Besides, it is very light and made to take the smallest space. You can simply wear it as a bracelet and pack an extra one for survival.

Cordage will help you hoist food to keep it out of reach of wild animals. You can also use it to build an emergency shelter or to make a splint for broken bones. An amazing property of 550- paracord is how it lengthens when wet. The property is great especially if you need a tight hold on a particular thing.

6. Signaling Device

If you go camping and an emergency ensues, a signaling device would be invaluable. This is because establishing contact in the wilderness may prove futile. A cell phone with service is not a survival situation. Thus, you will need alternative signaling equipment.

A good signaling device is a flash from a signaling mirror. Such a signal can be seen from miles away by aircraft and catch the pilot’s attention. You can then get quick help out of danger.

It is better if you know how to flash S.O.S. Other great signaling devices are whistles, matches, and lighters.

7. Shelter-Building Equipment and Materials

Shelter-building equipment can be as simple as a large garbage bag or a tarp. In a survival situation, you must get a safe place to shelter your body from the elements. Only then can you stay warmer and drier.

A simple way to build a shelter is to use a rope (or cordage), some tree branches, and a tarp. It will take you a very short time to build such a shelter.

8. First Aid Kit

Injuries such as minor to moderate cuts can heal much faster with the help of a First Aid Kit. Any dangling skin or gushing blood can complicate things.

For instance, an open wound left for long can attract pathogenic agents. Such agents can cause nasty infections. A continuous gush of blood can lead to anemia due to blood loss.

However, you do not have to go for big, fully equipped first aid kits. Smaller first aid kits are available for survivalists.

At the very least, a good kit should have bandages, gauze, hand gloves, alcohol cleaning wipes, and OTC antibiotics. You can even improvise one to cut costs.

9. Change of Clothing

At least one change of clothing is necessary for any survival situation. If the one you wear gets wet due to a downpour, it is important that it dries.

Severe moisture pulls a lot of heat from your body. This is because your body needs to focus the energy reserves on creating excess heat. Such heat is necessary to compensate for lost energy reserves.

As a result, you will experience fatigue and loss of brain performance. In other words, it makes you dopey and prone to mistakes that can cost you dearly in a survival scenario.

Wet socks and shoes will predispose you to fungal infections of the toes and nails. Besides, your feet will tend to slide around. The result is a painful blister.

You cannot beat around the bush to gather supplies. These are good reasons for you to include extra socks. Also, remember to buy only synthetic clothing. Cotton will maintain moisture for too long.

10. Camping Pack

Where will you carry the essential items for your wilderness survival if not a good camping pack? Or you intend to cram them in your pocket? Obviously, that’s not possible because doing so will impede the movement of your legs.

A camping pack can take more than the above 9 things you need to survive in the wilderness. It will allow you to carry other extras to make your survival more comfortable. Be careful not to pack too much as to impede your movement. Include those things you cannot do without first and other necessary items later.


I could make the list of wilderness survival gear longer, by adding two things that can save your life. The first is a friend. The second thing is your brain. They are not strictly items but they are vital if you were to make it out of a survival situation.

It is not possible to overemphasize the importance of an extra person. This way, you can keep each other from a hams way. Try to look for someone responsible and agile.

For instance, how would you survive with a broken leg if no one is near enough to help you out? Your own brain is important because you may need to make smart decisions in a split second.