Bug Out Tools
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There are certain items which are difficult if not impossible to recreate from raw materials in the wild. These are:
- Cutting & Digging Tools
- Rope & Cordage
- Compasses, Binoculars, & Radiation Detection
- Tarps & Blankets
- Fire Making Tools
- Water Containers
- Communications Equipment
So you should make sure you represent each of these items in your emergency kits in some way. Without these basic items, even the most hardcore survivalist will have a hard time of it. Look, your bug out plan should not be to run out to the woods and wait it out, that's really not going to work out that great if you think about it. But if you do wind up having to spend some time there, and even if you don't, these are the basic tools of human survival you should have.
Check out our Tools Product Reviews
Knives & Saws
There are several things to consider when choosing which knives to carry with you in your kit. Its has to be reliable! You need to know what you need to do with it, too. That means learning batoning and sharpening.
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Price: $75 to $160 Read more about our ESSE Knife setup here
These are awesome knives. Full tang design, which means the metal of the blade runs through the handle. This adds substantially to the strength of the knives. Made of 1095 high carbon steel. Go for the flat tops rather than the serrated, so you can handle the knife safely and use it to make firewood.
ESEE Knives Izula Black Izula-B Survival Kit
This little Izula makes a great neck knife (one you wear like a necklace.) Light and durable, exceptionally sharp and strong. Buy in this survival kit of buy separately. We use these for cutting food, or small woodworking needs. Easier to handle than its bigger brothers for the delicate work.
Leatherman New Wave Multitool
Everything but the kitchen sink in this little guy. We included it in the cutting tools because it has knives but its so much more than that. You probably already have one of these lying around somewhere, but make sure you have an extra available for your bug out bags - so you aren't searching around for it if an emergency strikes.
Bahco Laplander Folding Saw
Light-weight 8" blade. Handy for cutting small branches for firewood or structural/trap elements. Easy to lose if you drop in the woods, you should put some bright tape on it to make it easier to see. Not for use with pizza.
Husqvarna Multipurpose Axe
Price: $70Swedish-made axe. One of the best you can buy - and since your life might depend on it - you want the best you can get for cutting firewood and making shelters. Must have item.
US Made. Excellent materials. More useful for the folks in SE US than an axe. The grip is slippery, add tennis-racket tape, file in finger grips, or use paracord.
Chainmate 24-inch Survival Pocket Chain Saw
If you don't feel like carrying around the saw, here is an other option, though not as good of an option. If you have room in another pack this could be a good addition. Easier to use with two people, but even then its a bit of a pain cutting anything bigger than a couple of inches.
Knives need to be sharp. Keep your investment in tip-top shape with a good sharpening system. There is a great review and walkthrough of it on Youtube here. Be careful with the carbide side, it removes a lot of metal. These are good for general or emergency maintenance.
Lansky Dual Grit Sharpener
Price: $8For larger blades like machetes and axes its easier to use the puck shaped Lansky Dual Grinder. Its small and lightweight, and does a great job on all types of blades and sizes.
These rags use a non-oil solution to protect knives, and guns, etc from rust and corrosion. Works in the cold, unlike some oils. Use before and after field adventures to protect your investments.
Sea to Summit Nylon Pocket Trowel
Price: $13Digging is no fun without a good shovel. Come to think of it, its not really that fun even with a shovel. Shovel is lightweight nylon, and it collapses down so its small too. The handle is hollow so you can stuff things in there.
SOG Specialty Knives Entrenching Tool
Not the strongest in the world, but in a pinch this foldable entreching tool should work. Doesn't weigh too much. Its not a full sized replacement by any means, but unless you're trying to dig in frozen ground it should work out OK.
Rope & Cordage
Rothco 550lb. Type III Nylon Paracord
Paracord! There's nothing preppers love more than paracord. With all the fuss about it, there must be something to be said for carrying some with you in your emergency kits. To get an idea of what you may need it for, heres 101 uses for it.
SGT KNOTS Tarred Twine / Bank Line #12 and #36
In his book Bushcraft 101, Dave Canterbury recommends carrying two sizes of tarred twine in your back #12 and #36. He uses the #12 for making nets and fishing, and the #36 for heavy lashings or bindings and guy lines. It's resistant to oil, gasoline and other strength-reducing chemicals and abrasion.
Ever use Gorilla Tape? It's like duct tape on steroids. Very useful, very important to have with you. An easy way to carry it: get a expired credit card and wrap as much tape around it as you care to.
Compasses, Binoculars, & Radiation Detection
Cammenga Lensatic Compass
Price: $47 Learn How To Use a Compass
Military grade. Made of metal and build to take a beating. Directional sight helps you to take bearings on distant objects. Glow in the dark dial. For those folks who live out in the boondocks, this will be a must have.
Suunto A-10 Field Compass
This compass is for the rest of us - less expensive but still formidable. Don't go for the chinsy small round plastic compasses and think they will get you anywhere but lost. The clear acrylic its made of makes it great for using with topographic maps. Bring it to the mall and see if the kids can navigate to the stores and back to the car.
Timex Expedition Trail Compass Watch
Price: $54 See our Review here
Waterproof, shock-resistant, indiglo night light, and a built in digital compass! Built in declination, but you need to calibrate it when changing your greater geographic location. We've worn it daily in and out of the water, mud, you name it. One of out most favorite pieces of gear and the most used.
Vanguard Orros Compact Waterproof Binoculars
Having a decent pair of binoculars may not be must have item for a 72 hour bag, but it is a nice thing to have within a broader kit. These aren't the best in the market by a long-shot but are reasonably priced and have good optics. Waterproof too.
RADEX Advanced Radiation Detector / Geiger Counter
Well this is something you hope you never want to use, but maybe its a good idea to have one available. Its not something we've been able to thoroughly test ourselves - so we have taken the experts opinions on this one, and this piece seems to meet the muster for the price.
15-Pc. Emergency Survival Fishing Kit
Now you could probably put something together yourself for the price of this kit - you may wind up with more product than is included as well, but this is an easy way to get it all in one place and make it simple. Its all packed in a nice little tin. No Altoids in there!
NEXT STEP: Bug Out Communications