Getting hold of the best survivalist gear can be difference between life and death. Wilderness survival is a difficult endeavor that requires many tools and skills.

This guide will show you what we consider to be 7 of the best and most vital pieces of bushcraft and prepper gear, with an explanation as to why they are are so important to have.

It is important to remember that tools are a not a substitute for skills and knowledge.

Being in the wilderness with a firestarter without knowing the difference between kindling and tinder may result in many cold and dark nights without warmth.

Over-reliance on gear instead of skills can lead to the death of otherwise healthy people. It is important to practice with and understand these tools before depending on them for your survival.

1. Water Filtration

Water is the second most essential component of survival, behind oxygen. This resource is used by our bodies to flush out body waste, comprises most of our blood cells, regulates body temperature, and is key in tons of other functions.

Without it, you simply die. This is why it is so important to have a stable and safe source of water.

Drinking tainted or unsafe water can prove lethal. Diseases such as Cholera, Malaria, Diphtheria, or any other number of nasty pathogens can exist within tainted water. Contracting one of these can lead to diarrhea and vomiting.

These conditions are typically non-fatal with modern medicine and access to stable food and potable water, but being in the bush complicates this modern luxury. The last thing that you need in a survival situation in the wilderness is to contract a life-threatening disease.

Recommended Survivalist Gear

The Lifestraw is an excellent filtration system that is easy to use. Simply place the bottom end into any water source, clean or not, and drink through the straw.

This tool filters out 99.9999% of bacteria, weighs only 2 ounces (57 grams), and has a lifespan of 1,000 gallons (3785 liters).

The simplicity of this tool combined with its effectiveness makes it ideal for preppers and survivalists.

Another option is the Sawyer Mini Filtration System.

This tool has the same easy method of use, but filters up to 100,000 gallons (378,541 liters) of water. It also comes with a bladder that can be used to store extra water.

2. Survival Knife

Cutting tools have been used since the dawn of man to aid in our survival. They are useful for self-defense, hunting, carving wood, and dressing our prey.

Man first used shaped rocks for cutting, which later received the innovation of the handle. Eventually this evolved into the modern knife.

Not all knives are created equally. Many salespeople will peddle junk. In a survival situation, you only want the best.

There are two knives that I would trust my life with: the KA-BAR, and the Swiss Army knife. Both of these are crafted with high quality steel, and have more utility than just a cutting edge.

Recommended Bushcraft Gear

The KA-BAR has origins with the U.S. military, and was widely used during World War II in the Pacific theater.

It is incredibly sharp, durable, and most importantly it is full tang. Part of the blade is serrated, which is useful for sawing. Very few other knives can stand up to the durability of the KA-BAR.

The Victorinox Swiss Army knife is an iconic tool, and ideal for survivalists or preppers. One of the most useful variants of this is the Trekker, which has a one-handed locking blade.

Boasting 12 tools in total, this tool is the king of utility. One of the best tools it has is a miniature saw that is capable of cutting through thick wood.

3. Hatchet

Gathering and splitting wood can only be done effectively with one tool: the hatchet. Knives can be used to split wood, but they will eventually dull.

An axehead relies the power of slamming a wedge against the wood to split it, as opposed to the cutting power that a knife uses. This makes it much more efficient at splitting wood, and also means that they do not necessarily have to be sharp.

To put it simply a hatchet is simply the best way to gather wood for survivalists.

Easy access to wood serves several purposes. It can be used for a source of warmth, as well as a building material. The importance of having heat and shelter cannot be understated, especially in the colder climates.

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If Glock made a hatchet, it would be the greatest chopping tool in the world.

Unfortunately they don’t, so the Smith & Wesson SW671 is the next best thing.

Full tang, solid, sleek in design, and extremely durable, this is the tool that you want to bring with you on your bushcraft adventures.

4. Firestarter

Survival in the bush relies on having access to a fire. Not only is it important for cooking food, but it can keep help protect you from the elements, as well as ward off predators.

Many different tools exist for starting fires. Magnesium strips, strikers, lighters, matches, road flares, and hand drills are some examples of ways to start a flame.

The ideal survival tool is one that the user is familiar and proficient with. Simplicity, ease of use, and re-usability are the best qualities in a firestarter.

While a road flare might be the easiest way to start a fire, it can only be used once. A hand-drill can be used time and time again, but not everyone is capable of starting a fire with them.

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The easiest to use and most reliable tool is the striker. These can be reused a ton of times, and the mechanics behind them are simple.

The FireSteel is a striker developed by the Swedish military that can be used upwards of 12,000 times.

Even though this is a simple tool to use, please practice safety and become proficient when using this before relying on it in the wilderness.

5. Improvised shelter

The elements of nature have been a challenge that humanity has had to face since the dawn of time. In one way or another, the environment seems to want to kill us.

The best protection against nature is to have a shelter set up. However, it is difficult to carry around a shelter when in the bush or wilderness.

When there is little time to set up a structure from scratch, the next best way to protect yourself is through improvisation.

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The most inexpensive and effective form of shelter is a mylar thermal sheet. These can be used as blankets, bedding, or setup as a tent.

This type of protection is extremely lightweight and is very versatile. They are entirely waterproof and windproof, and help to retain up to 90% of body heat.

Multiple sheets can be tied together to create larger structures. The overall utility of mylar makes it an essential prepper and survival item.

6. Trauma kit

An injury in the bush can make a day go from bad to worse. Especially in survival situations, it is critical that trauma is treated and that further injury is prevented.

An ideal trauma kit can treat all forms of physical injury, and can save your life.

As with all tools, a trauma kit is only useful if you know how to use it. It is possible to exacerbate injuries, especially head and spinal trauma, with improper medical care.

Seek out at least basic first aid kit before rendering aid.

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One valuable kit is the Lightning X Products Emergency Kit.

This contains everything needed to treat the most likely injuries in a survival situation.

It comes in a compact and durable Molle pouch.

This is a worthwhile investment and ever serious survivalist needs to have something like this in their kit.

7. Rucksack

A rucksack, or even just a regular backpack, is a valuable tool to have when in the wilderness. Many times during a survival situation movement for survival is a must.

A rucksack is a tool that facilitates movement by allowing for you to keep all of your essentials in one durable and mobile package.

The key characteristics of a good pack are that it is durable, lightweight, and has enough room to carry all of the essentials for survival.

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There is no universal pack that fits the needs of everyone. But there is one that fits most bills: the TETON Sports Scout 3400.

This pack has an internal frame, is lightweight, and has a lifetime warranty.

It is very comfortable, with several adjustable straps that allows it to conform seamlessly to your body.

Final Thoughts on the Best Survivalist Gear

So there you have it. That was our grand run down of the best survivalist gear on the market.

In truth I would be lost without each and every one of those tools. They have each proved incredibly useful countless times over the years and I am sure that they would make useful additions to your bushcraft and prepper gear. I hope you enjoyed the list!

We welcome discussion at Go Apocalypse and i’d love to hear from anyone with an opinion on the topic of survival tools, prepper gear or bug out bags in general.

Love the list, hate it or just want to make a point about something we have said they comment below!