The 12 Must-Have Wilderness Survival Tools
Jul 11, 2022
Don't Leave Home Without These
Wilderness survival tools vary from person to person, but there are some staple wilderness survival tools that anyone going into the wild green yonder should absolutely have. You’ll want to make sure you grab the essentials before you go all Cheryl Strayed and leave society behind. With that in mind, here are Sēkr’s 12 Must-Have Wilderness Survival Tools!
No, not the song by the Prodigy (although if you’re not a morning person, that song is like ten espressos). Wilderness survival largely boils down to staying warm, dry, and hydrated, and the last thing you want is to find yourself in the wild without a source of heat.
Wilderness survival is often a battle against the elements, so you’ll need to prioritize conserving warmth. Even in the Mojave desert, temperatures can plummet overnight, so be prepared!
That river water may look clear as crystal, but chances are it's full of silt, runoff, and possibly harmful microorganisms. Dehydration can cause delirium, and it only takes three days with no water for you to be at death’s doorstep (you can conceivably survive up to a month without food). Make sure that you stay hydrated, and that the water you’re drinking is clean and pure.
First Aid Kit
Your chances of wilderness survival are slim to none if you get injured. A good first aid kit contains antibiotics, pain meds, gauze, splints, hydrogen peroxide, bandages and surgical tape, enough to prop you up until you can seek proper medical attention.
Having one will help rescue crews locate you if you’re lost or injured. Some wilderness survival GPS trackers have an SOS button that sends your location out if you get stuck, hurt, or just don’t want to walk back down the mountain (don’t use it for that, please).
Flashlight (with extra batteries)
Sunset can really sneak up on you, and no matter how many carrots you eat, you probably don’t have night vision.
Paper Maps or Guides
Wherever you venture, one key element to wilderness survival is knowing your landscape and planning a route ahead of time. Don’t rely on spotty cel service in the wilderness.
Pro Tip: Laminate a paper map to waterproof it and take notes with markers.
Two tarps is basically the ultimate wilderness survival shelter, if you don’t plan on bringing a tent. Tarps keep you dry in the rain, barricade against critters, and work as a stretcher in a pinch.
The rope of one million uses! String up your tarps for a makeshift tent, dry your clothes, or use them to tie on to difficult terrain.
You'll want a sharp blade for shaving tinder, cooking, eating, self defense, and modifying your tarps and paracord.Pro tip: not all knives are made equal. Get familiar with the grip, balance, and weight of your knife, and if it feels awkward or heavy, send it back!
In a wilderness survival situation, it is shockingly easy to become lost (trust us) and your best bet for finding your way to safety is knowing which way you’re going. Get a real compass; don’t rely on your phone!Pro tip: Practice using a compass with a paper map in a local park or wooded area beforehand.
Canteen or Sturdy Water Bottle
Fantastic news! You’ve come across a river and you’ve got your water filter.
Less fantastic news! You’re not thirsty now.
Even less fantastic news! You’ll probably be thirsty again before you know it. Better have some kind of way to transport water with you.