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Essential survival items

40 Essential Survival Items

Essential survival items

Essential Survival Items

With today’s modern conveniences it is almost impossible to imagine any circumstances which could lead to a survival situation. Most assume therefore survival equipment is only necessary when marooned on a desert island. Such circumstances seem so unlikely that they needn’t even be worth contemplating. But what if I told you that you are more at risk from such a survival situation within your own home? Consequently essential survival items could be the difference between life and death in a crisis.


This idea is deemed merely ridiculous mainly due to the elusion modern society provides us. Do you remember last time you experienced a power cut? ‘Oh’ you said ‘hopefully it will be back on soon’. 10 minutes go by and you are all trying to find out how long this will go on!

You go to Google the problem, oh there’s no internet! After noticing the neighbours lights are also off you sit back and wait. All of a sudden you discover you have to talk to the people you live with! This can all seem rather strange!

collapse of civilisation

After an hour of frustration and touchiness everyone is miserable and bored. Furthermore people today simply do not realise just how much the digital age has led to separation from reality. Flashing images and answers at the push of a button have left us irritated by the slightest inconvenience. Being bombarded by digital information has unfortunatly left us unable to concentrate and generally confused by our own existence.

A fragile system

The truth is economic systems which carry our day to day supply chains and services are very delicate indeed! The more urbanised and reliant we have become on technology the more inefficient we are when surviving crisis. Furthermore society has provided us with a comfortable, cosy bubble to live within that can go pop at any moment.

As remarkable as this sounds many forget that incidently just 80 years ago the world was at war! As a result millions of people were killed, gassed and starved.


Bombs fell from the sky, military planes flew with propellers and fired machine guns. It’s important to understand we live in a fragile moment in history where consumerism is out of control. Natural resources are consequently being depleted at an amazing rate and we may be on the brink of ecological disaster.

Many therefore do not seem to realise that one simple event in the world could lead to our way of life collapsing forever. In such an event stores would be empty, lights would go out and our water supplies would simultaneously run dry.

social unrest

Without getting too hysterical let’s just look 10 scenarios which could lead to societies collapse.

Economic collapse

Social unrest



Cyber attack

Climate change

Biodiversity collapse

Natural disasters


Oil Depletion

Whether you think these scenarios are likely to play or not there is nothing wrong about being prepared. To have some basic survival items in the home could be the most important thing you ever do for your family. For this reason we have put together the top 40 survival items to keep in your home just in case.

Bushcraft wild camping equipment

40 Essential survival Items

Water purification tablets

In the event of a crisis it is estimated that 90 percent of people will die in the first three weeks from dehydration. If mains water is cut or contaminated harvesting water from the landscape may be your only option. Purification tablets will kill water bacteria and viruses.

Water purification tablets

Water purification tablets

Purification straw

Water purification straws allow you to fill up water bottles and storage containers while sterilising water. If you are on the move and do not have time to boil water these can be invaluable. These can be found at online retailers we will leave a link to some good ones on Amazon here.

Water purification straw

Water purification straw

Fire steel

Fire steels are metal rods that can produce a dense cluster of sparks when another metal object is forced down its length. Thee can produce sparks even when wet and can last for years. Usually dry, combustible material is gathered to create a starter nest. This can take a spark easily and could be essential for fire making in a crisis when all fuel lighters have run out.

fire stick

Fire steel

Refillable lighter

Refillable lighters are an essential commodity and first port of call when in a survival situation. These can provide a quick and simple method of making fire for cooking, staying warm or boiling water.

Wild camping lighter

Camping zippo lighter

Wood burning stove

Wood burning stoves are a priceless commodity in a survival or crisis situation. Not only can they be fuelled with split wood but sticks, cardboard or even paper. This can allow you a potentially endless source of natural combustible fuel for any potential emergency. These come in a range of designs and sizes we have linked to a great model here.

Bio Lite USB stove

Biolite USB wood burning stove

Boilable water canteen

Metal water bottles are great for transporting water from location to location but they can also be used to boil water. Some of the best examples of these are metal canteens with cup lids and handles. These can be used as a miniature saucepan for heating up food.

Boilable water canteen

Titanium boilable water canteen 

Dehydrated rations

You never know when a catastrophe will occur and you will have to survive on what you have in storage. The problem with food is it is usually in a perishable state. An efficient method of keeping as much food to hand for survival is in dehydrated form. Incidentally these are high in carbohydrate and protein. The best are large wholesale bags of lentils, pulses, rice and flour. These can store for years and simply require adding water to prepare.

Dehydrated camping rations

Dehydrated camping rations

Bug out rucksack

In a survival situation you never know when you are going to have to scout for resources. The reality is you will have to carry all your equipment with you and the best way to do this is with a Bergen. A Bergen is a large military backpack soldiers use to carry all their survival equipment with them. You may have to flee the city for the countryside if looting gangs come knocking. In this situation a bug out bag will be essential.

Military Rucksack

Berghaus Vulcan Rucksack 

Dry bag

A dry bag is an essential part of the bug out bag or Bergen. These can be put inside the back pack to keep all essential items dry. Equipment such as spare clothes, food rations and electrical equipment can be stored inside these. These come in a range of shapes and sizes, this one is sold on Amazon here.

Wild camping dry bag

Rucksack dry bag

Military tarp

Military tarps are large, robust waterproof sheets with robust corner rings and loops. These can be used to erect shelters and keep essential items dry when out in the wild. These can come in very handy in a survival situation especially in the wild.

Unigear wild camping tarp

Military tarp


In a catastrophic event you simply never know if you will have basic shelter in times of bad weather. Tents can range in size and sophistication but in a survival situation can be vital. This is especially the case if you have to break out of urban areas on foot to search for food.

Coleman survival tent

Coleman survival tent

Sleeping bag

A sleeping bag if kept dry will give you a place to sleep warm at night. In a crisis or survival event there is no guarantee you will be able to keep warm enough not to perish. This is especially true if you have to head for the hills to escape looting mobs to survive. It is always wise to have enough of these for your whole family.

Yeti fever zero sleeping bag

Yeti Fever Zero Survival sleeping bag


Having some form of heavy duty string or cordage like para cord can save your life in a survival situation. Therefore it is always extremely wise to have a roll of it handy encase of an emergency. Para cord can be used to erect shelter and even make animal traps in the wild. We have linked to a military grade para cord here.

stealth camping paracord

Kombat para cord


Rope can be a very useful thing in times of crisis or survival situations. For hauling along materials or even climbing over obstacles rope can be an essential part of the survival kit.

Climbing rope

Climbing rope with carabiners 

First aid kit

Access to basic medical supplies will not be possible in a collapse therefore having at least a first aid kit will be essential. Plasters, bandages and pain killers are essential in a crisis we have linked to some compact first aid kits here.

Wild camping first aid kit

Camping first aid kit


Heavy duty camping and survival knives are one of the most useful tools in the survivalist’s tool kit. These knives can ultimately be used for butchery, hunting, chopping timber and even spearing animals when hunting. Every survival kit should have a knife and we recommend a one designed for bushcraft. We have a link to this example below.

Survival knife

Survival knife


Axes are amazing tools which can help you to fell small trees, harvest firewood and even be used for defence. All three of these uses could be very likely scenarios in a survival situation. At the very minimum a small hatchet should be included strapped to your bug out kit.

Bushcraft axe

Survival axe

Sharpening block

A sharpening block is useful to keep all your tools like knives sharp and in great working order. In times of crisis the throwaway society we are used to will cease to exist. Having good quality gear and maintaining it properly will be the only way for a sustainable future.

Sharpening stone

Diamond sharpening stone

Water proof clothing

If a survival situation arises in the wilderness or where you live you will need a means of moving in all weathers. Waterproof clothing can allow you to work and get important things done whatever the weather throws at you. In a crisis wet clothes and cold conditions can result in death. Having good quality waterproof clothing can be very useful.

waterproof jacket

Waterproof tarp jacket

Military boots

Having a decent pair of good quality military grade boots will be essential kit if the worst happens. If society collapses the days of professionally made foot wear will be over. It is worth not only having one pair but having a few encase the worst happens. Comfortable waterproof boots like magnums are great for this they are comfortable and hard wearing. I have linked to some of these on Amazon here.

Military boots

Military boots

Fishing kit

A small fishing kit consisting of line and fish hooks can be extremely useful in survival situations. If the grid is out permanently multiple baited hooks can be set up along watercourses. At a guess I would say having around 100 hooks and many rolls of spare line could be a life saving way to gather food.

Fishing kit

Survival fishing kit

Solar battery charger

Solar powered battery chargers could give you a sustained method of keeping some electrical gadgets going. This could give you the upper hand in a survival situation especially when providing power for things like torches.

solar battery charger

Solar powered battery charger


Torches are extremely useful especially in the winter months! It is always good to have a heavy duty one with spare batteries encase the worst happens. Powerful torches can also be used to send morse code and signal rescue. They can also be very useful for spotting fish in shallow water at night for spear fishing.

Wild camping torch

Maglite military torch


Candles always seem like an outdated nicety, until the lights go out! These were peoples primary source of light for over 2000 years. Having a good supply of candles can be the difference of pitch black boredom in winter or light.

Survival candles

Candle pack

Diesel Generator

These are fantastic especially as they can utilise used vegetable oil for fuel. Generators are great but bear in mind their use will be limited for only a short while if a collapse happens.

Diesil generator

Diesel Generator

Wind up radio

Assuming there will be some form of continued transmission in a crisis! A wind up radio will be an off grid method to finding out what is going on in the world. In addition it could be your only hope of connecting to the outside world.

Wind up radio

Wind up radio


A compass is always a default, essential, survival item and everyone should have one. We have linked to a good one on Amazon.

Survival compass

Survival compass

Chain mail gloves

Any gloves are beneficial but these protective gloves will not get soggy if wet. Chain mail gloves are fantastic at protecting your hands from sharp thorns and rocks.

Chainmail gloves

Chainmail gloves

Digging spade

A digging spade will come in useful for a wide range of projects during a survival situation. Digging for water, shellfish and even growing your own food are just some of these.

Digging survival spade

Heavy duty digging spade

Bow saw

Bow saws can be used for small scale construction, building shelters and harvesting fire wood. These can be very useful in a crisis. There are actually some folding bow saws which can fold away into your equipment.

Foldable bow saw

Foldable bow saw


A whistle is a great way to alert people of your presence at distance. This could be to alert people of danger or help you getting rescued in a survival situation.

Camping whistle

Camping whistle

Water tanks

Large water tanks can be a vital commodity in a crisis. It has been estimated that if mains water failed the urban population would be dead within three weeks. Having barrels of stored sterilised water could be the difference of survival or imminent death!

280 litre water storage tank

280 litre water storage tank


It is sometimes underestimated what a great invention the bicycle is. As a matter of fact bicycles could allow you a sustainable method of travel in the event of a catastrophe.

Bike packing bike

Lightweight 21 speeds mountain bike 


Flares are very similar to fireworks and are usually used for getting attention during a survival mission. In a crisis these can also be used as a defence against looting gangs and predatory animals.

Odeo Flare

Odeo Flare

Hunting bow

Having a well made hunting bow and a good supply of arrows is an effective survival tool. Not only will it help you catch game for food in addition it can also be used for defence.

Hunting bow

D&Q Hunting bows

Air rifle

These are great for hunting small game such as rabbits and pigeons. In the right environment an air rifle and ample pellets could feed you indefinitely.

air rifle


Not everyone has access to firearms! On the whole only rural people with the correct licenses have access to these. Although firearms are not popular with general opinion to the contrary these are extremely useful for survival. Self defence and hunting are both good reasons for this.

Fire arm

Heritage seeds

Not many realise the inevitable collapse of civilisation would mean growing your own food. Having a good supply of robust and traditional vegetable seeds will inevitably become very important. Here are some links to these.

seed collection

Vegetable seed collections

Heavy duty transparent plastic

Rather a seemingly, simplistic survival item but these can be extremely useful. These can incidentally be easily made into cloches for growing winter vegetables. They can also be used to condense drinking water from undrinkable forms of moisture. Having a large roll of this handy is therefore a great survival commodity.

Clear Heavy duty plastic sheet

Heavy duty clear plastic sheeting 3 x4 metres

Vegetable oil

This is probably something you will not want to be hauling through the wilderness! Having said that large stores of oil can have many benefits in a crisis. Most organic oils and fats can add calories to food, make firelighters and even be burned as fuel. If surviving on rations at home a large industrial container of vegetable oil is liquid gold.

Vegetable oil for survival

I hope you have enjoyed our article of 40 essential survival items for the home. Did it help with your search? If you enjoyed reading why not share it with your friends? It’s important that they are also prepared encase the worst happens. In addition If you think we have missed anything please comment in the section below.

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