Bug Out Tools
There are certain items which are difficult if not impossible to recreate from raw materials in the wild.
- Cutting & Digging Tools
- Rope & Cordage
- Compasses, Binoculars, & Radiation Detection
- Tarps & Blankets
- Fire Making Tools
- Water Containers
- Communications Equipment
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.
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There are several things to consider when choosing which knives to carry with you in your kit. Make sure they are reliable, and that may mean spending a few extra dollars to make sure you get the best materials.
Typical Price: $120
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. We prefer the flat tops over the serrated tops, so you can handle the knife safely and use it for batoning firewood.
One of our favorite videos about Esee Knives and setting up a sheath for one.
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.
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 might 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.
Typical Price: $174
This is my EDC knife. Easy in the hand, super light-weight, sharp as heck. American made CPM-S30V steel for first-rate edge retention and corrosion resistance. The handle is made from a resin-soaked fiberglass body that's impervious to moisture and stable across fast-changing climates.
Saws & Axes
Typical Price: $24
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.
Silky GomBoy Pro Folding Saw
Typical Price: $40
This is a fantastic Japanese cutting saw that cuts through wood like butta'. 8.3-inch blade length, 8.5 teeth per inch. That's more teeth than Jaws.
Jokes aside, this is a fantastic saw for cutting branches 3" wide or smaller for wood and shelter building.
Typical Price: $60 - $100
Swedish-made axes. Some 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 in your car kit or INCH bag if you live in a remote area.
Typical Price: $75
If you live in a southern climate, where it's more jungle or swamp then forest then a machete will serve you well to cut pathsways through thick underbrush.
The Esee Machete has a 17" black coated 1075 steel blade and a Micarta handle with lanyard hole.
Typical Price: $23
With a pocket saw like this you can cut through some serious logs, if you have the strength and patience to do so. Yes, a ton of effort will be required to get through a 12" piece of wood, but at least you can have the tool available to do so if you have one of these in your emergency survival kit.
This is basically a chainsaw blade attached to handles. One cutting direction makes it easier to pull back and forth. Use two people if you can to make the job easier. Comes with a Ferro rod and striker.
Cutting tools are only good when they are sharp and in good shape. Here's some accessories to keep your blades in tip-top shape.
Typical Price: $12
Knives need to be sharp to be effective. Keep your blades in shape with a good sharpening system. Be careful with the carbide side, it removes a lot of metal. These are good for general or emergency maintenance.
Typical Price: $8
For 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.
Typical Price: $9
These rags use a non-oil solution to protect knives, saws, metal, etc from rust and corrosion. Even works in the cold, unlike some oils. Use before and after field adventures to protect your gear!
There are a bunch of reasons you might need to make a hole: for bathroom use, to hide stuff, to make a shelter, dig car out of snow or mud, you name it.
So if you can swing the space, include a small shovel in your kit, or keep one in your vehicle.
Typical Price: $25
Digging is no fun without a good shovel. Come to think of it, its not really that fun even with a shovel. Shovel is lightweight and durable aluminum alloy, and it collapses down so it's small too. The handle is hollow so you can stuff things in there.
Not the most ergonomic shovel 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
Rope is HUGELY important. This category probably should be at the top if this list.
You'll need rope (paracord) to string up tarps, secure tents to stakes, fashion improvised tools, secure items to vehicles or to packs.
Price: $9 - $50
Paracord! There's nothing prepper's 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, here's 101 uses for it.
You need 250' - 500' to setup a base camp for long term use.
Typical Price: $15
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.
Tarred twine is resistant to oil, gasoline and other strength-reducing chemicals and abrasion.
Tarred twine is great for smaller survival kits, or Everyday Carry kits, since it packs down smaller than paracord does.
Here's a list of tools that are also helpful and you should consider for your survival kits.
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.
Typical Price: $20
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.
Typical Price: $300
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. It's really good to know whats going on out there in the distance, and whether you need to go the other direction.
See out full Vanguard Endeavor ED Review here.
Typical Price: $150
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.
Protect yourself and your family from concentrated radiation, industrial accidents and nuclear disasters with the ultra-compact MIRA Safety Geiger-1 Dosimeter.
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!