SHTF Survival: 10 Survival Tools That Should Be In Your Survival Pack

Let’s be honest, survival is not something you want to gamble your life on. Meeting your basic needs during a disaster is key to survival, and having the right set of tools to fall back on is paramount in your preparedness endeavors.

The ten tools listed below are some of the most important survival tools that should be in your 72-hour bags or survival bags. Of course, other items can be included, but these essentials are a must-have for every survival pack. Practice using these tools regularly so that you know their capability and their strength.

  1. Water Treatment: We simply cannot live without water. The more energy you consume, the more water your body will need. Having a means to purify water in a survival situation will help keep you hydrated, your brain functioning properly and your focus on survival. In addition, if you sustain an injury, water can be poured over the wound for cleaning. I recommend investing in a LifeStraw Go Water bottle of Katadyn Hiker Pro water filter.
  2. Compass and Map: Knowing which direction you are headed and where you need to be are essential. Keep maps of your surrounding area in your preparedness manuals, in your car and in your survival bags.
  3. Fire Starter, flint bars, matches or lighter: Having a way to produce fire can help you cook food and keep warm and prevent hypothermia.
  4. First Aid Kit: You do not want to be caught in a survival situation without a first aid kit. This kit assists in injury treatment and helps prevent infections from perpetuating.
  5. Mirror: Used for signaling, checking face for wounds, looking at your back for wounds/ticks, and can be used to start fire.
  6. Rope or Paracord: This can be used for making snares or assisting in making other traps lashing branches together to build a shelter, assisting in first aid (splints, tourniquets, slings), or to make survival tools such as spears.
  7. Survival Blanket or Bivvy: A bivvy or survival blanket can be used as an emergency shelter, sleeping bag or can be an extra layer added to your existing sleeping bag if you are expecting a cold night. Read more about the product here.
  8. Multi-tool: Used for notching or more complex woodworking skills, opening cans, altering equipment, medical uses, if snare wire is around wire cutters can cut it.
  9. Lighting: Lanterns, light sticks, flashlights, and headlamps can help you find your way if in the dark. LEDs, solar and hand crank will get you the most for your money.
  10. Survival Knife: Survival knives should be made of good quality steel. Invest in one you can rely on. Make sure it is well made, is strong enough for rough field use, and is the best you can afford. K-Bar is one of my favorite knife brands.

Bottom line is your preparedness tools are your life line and without them, you could be ill-equipped in a survival situation.

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published August 27th, 2013
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10 Responses to SHTF Survival: 10 Survival Tools That Should Be In Your Survival Pack

  1. Bo Whalen says:

    I live in a rural area outside any city limits. We have had people drive up and park in the driveway for no apparent reason. What is the best way to discourage this in the future?
    I have a pistol handle 16ga pump shotgun, 380 pistol and a 22 rifle. Where can I get what I need in this area (zip code 35115)?

    • Ken says:

       I had the same problem; cars parking in my long driveway, for no apparent reason. I snuck up on one car, turned out they were just smoking a joint. Checked out a few more cars, they were all using my driveway as a safe spot to smoke cannabis. I put a sign at the end of the drive way “Private residential driveway. Not for public use”. I haven’t had a suspicious vehicle since. No need for my guns, just a simple message.

  2. Good article, however i might suggest some method of food procurement, whether it be knowledge of wild edibles, (or include a book for identification in your pack), snare wire or inner strands form paracord (which i would pack instead of rope) and how to use it, and a small fishing kit just to name a few.

  3. Keith Savoy says:

    According to you:

    “Mirror: Used for signaling, checking face for wounds, looking at your back for wounds/ticks, and can be used to start fire.”

    How do you start a fire with a mirror?

    • @ Keith,

      You can use a mirror to shine a concentrated beam of sunlight onto a fuel source, such as dried grass or twigs. Hold the grass or twigs in one hand, and aim the mirror underneath in such a way that it catches the sun’s rays and directs them onto the fuel source. A mirror is not the easiest thing to make fire with and requires a bit of patience, but in a pinch, it will create the right conditions for fire to start and build.

  4. Freedom says:

    May I suggest a refinement to the list?

    #6 – Rope.

    True rope is rarely useful in the field and weighs a lot, and takes up a lot of room in a pack. 

    When I was in the Army and a Ranger, we spent a lot of time in the field and we found that 550 Cord (parachute cord) is much lighter and can be used for many more purposes then a typical rope, and was much cheaper then an actual nylon/fiber rope. 

  5. Ranger Dan says:

    Tess Pennington I would be interested in knowing if you have ACTUALLY done this .. in all of my decades of remote outdoor camping I have NEVER seen anyone start a fire by simply using a mirror .. I have seen it with a magnifying glass — and two pairs placed on top of each other — but while a mirror will reflect the sun – i just do not believe that the beam will be focused enough to start a fire… 

    I have seen though mirrors be used to heat water in a pipe for sterilizng and heat

    If you have actually done this then I stand corrected … 


    • @ Ranger Dan,

      Thanks for your comment. My apologies for the confusion. I should have been more specific when making the suggestion on the mirror. While in theory, a mirror can concentrate enough of the sun’s rays to create fire, you will get more success if the mirror is concave or parabolic. While I have not personally done this, we have experimented with magnifying glasses and other non-traditional fire starting methods. Here are a few examples of how to use concave mirrors.

      In the video a high school class is using a concaved mirror to burn plastic:

      And here’s a way to manufacture a parabolic mirror out of shards of mirrored glass:

      Thanks again,


  6. Justin says:

    Bo Whalen:
    for your driveway lurker problem Id suggest a motion activated spotlight, with the photocell covered so it activates even in the daylight.  Fix the light so the will see it come on and aim it twards their car.
    A friend of mine has the same problem with people deer hunting, they just park in his driveway 20 feet from his house day and night and think he wont notice or care.

  7. JW M says:

    You need to include a way to sharpen / keep sharp your knife.
    A dull knife is a very dangerous thing.

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