Picture of 10 Essentials for Wilderness Survival
Having been camping since I was a boy, I've gained much experience in preparing for such events. Through this experience, I have developed a list of basic gear I bring so I will "be prepared" (BSA motto) if I am caught in a survival situation.

Please note, these items will not keep you comfortable, they will keep you alive. Feel free to add or change any of these items to suit your specific needs. As you gain more experience, you will begin to learn what does and doesn't work for you, and can adjust accordingly.

Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Knife.

Picture of Knife.
The number one most important thing I make sure to bring is a knife. They have so many uses in every day camp activities and life in general. If you find yourself in a survival situation, your chances of survival are infinitely increased with a knife. I always have a pocket knife on me for everyday use and camping.

Fixed blade knives are ideal. They are more durable and resilient than folding knives as they do not have mechanical movement. They are also better for cutting large objects such as branches. Folding knives are great for a backup and less demanding tasks.

- cutting rope
- creating weapons
- opening packages
- boredom relief
- creating fire starters (ie: bow drill)
- building emergency shelters (cutting branches, cutting tarp, etc)
- cutting cloth for bandages (if you don't have a first aid kit)
- cutting bandages
- so much more; you discover many more uses through experience

Knife maintenance:

- If your knife becomes dirty during use, be sure to clean if off before you put it in your pocket. Ideally you would use a damp towel or rag, but if that is not readily available, I wipe it off on my pant leg. Never leave your knife wet as it may rust.

- Before I leave for a camping trip, I always check to make sure my knife is sharp. This will keep you safe during usage as you will not have to apply extra force in order to cut things. Dull tools are dangerous!

- Be sure that your knife blade is not loose (if it is a folding knife). Folding knives can loosen over time, and this dangerous. If your knife becomes loose, there should be a screw which attaches your blade to the knife housing. Just tighten this screw.

General safety:

- Don't cut toward yourself

- Make sure people are out of your "blood circle". This is the area within range of your knife in hand while your arm is extended.

1-40 of 150Next »
darman12 (author) 1 year ago
Thank you everybody who is commenting, particularly those sharing tips and experience. Viewers will really benefit from all of your help! This kind of interaction is what makes the Instructables community so great, and I truly appreciate it :)
what i love """"""everybody who is commenting, particularly those sharing tips and experience. Viewers will really benefit from all of your help! This kind of interaction is what makes the Instructables community so great""""""""
darman12 (author)  georion1 year ago
What do you mean?

Your right about cotton clothes.

Jeans actually lower your chance of making it through if wet or damp.

Modern backpacking stuff much better, drying very quickly and packing small.

Try Rail Riders or

Tyvec is good to have a few square yards around, much tougher than everything else.

Great 'ble

Selectivity may not be possible in a SHTF scenario. Two years in vietnam, 23 years military service and government provided survival training in water, rain forest/jungle, arctic, general and escape/evasion techniques have helped quite a bit with the knowledge, skills and abilities. Age and interpersonal relationships provided just enough info on character assessment and risk management to make it a tad easier in terms of knowing who or what is not worth being selective about and weapons handling with firearms, edged and primitive stock provide the rest. But, when it comes to survival, all the gear, training and knowledge won't be worth diddleysquat without the will to live!

hillbillyRJ3 months ago
I really liked your forum, and a lot of the comments were really good as well. 550 cord is a must have love that you put that in there. I'm planning for a week long survivalist trip and looking for things I may have missed and its a solid list for a top 10 minimalist survival guide. Great work! Luckily I will have 2 other competent people not far and room for guns ammo and fishing supplies. To the person that commented about fishing, a very basic fishing kit would include fishing line, a hook, and a split-head sinker, you can use your hands to find worms or crickets for bait and local to the area you are in is always an advantage. This is a very simple but effective method using minimal tools and saving tons of space.
Try wool, i have heard it can keep you warm even when wet.
Wool is very effective at maintaining heat even when wet but not a polywool blend try to find 100% wool but it can be hard to find.
Ravirar1 year ago
Nice 'ible! You should maybe add weapon of some form that is lightweight and compact and is powerful enough to kill an animal for hunting purposes. You could also add a really loud pop gun or noisemaker to attract help or scare away animals. Also, have a rain proof jacket with hoodie that has elastic wrist ends. They will keep you dry and warm, and the one I have can fold into it's own pocket and has a strap design so that when you push the pocket then the jacket becomes a pouch. I got it for 8$ at a sports store. Another thing to add would be a means of finding food easily, like fishing gear or freeze dried packets, and a stainless steel pot.
Good weapons would be a slingshot cheap and easy to obtain with practice it is great to squirrels and other small game. If your wallets aren't as empty as mine, a .22 pellet gun is light weight and effective at 700+ fps (feet per second) or larger guns if you wish. I take a .22 a 12 gauge and a crossbow if I'm camping with a small box of shells an Allen wrench set for scope adjustments and a 5.00 tin of .22 pellets
I forgot to mention: GOOD SURVIVAL KIT DUDE! :)
darman12 (author)  Ravirar1 year ago
darman12 (author)  Ravirar1 year ago
Thanks for the comments :)
AidanS9998 months ago

Everything makes sense but, if you are going out in the wilderness aren't you going to need fire? I would recommend flint and steel or another fire starting tool. Otherwise great job!

Flint and steel are good, but if you can find a magnesium stick it is much better because it still works when wet. Check Cabelas or other outdoor outfitters
rajeevprabhu3 months ago

...Use a woolen shawl instead..

Capitalist1 year ago
Ok never climb with para chord on lead fall or top rope fall with slack and you are toast. Please never climb with parachord for your safety and your belayerssafety. This is a great tutorial by the way I need toad some of these to my bug out bagas I have not considered them.

I absolutely agree with ktbman. Never try climbing or hanging yourself on this string. Prefer to use other reliable tool for the same..i.e. alpine, rope or webbing.. Otherwise parachord is a great multi-tool. In tropical countries the palm and jute string are used for various tasks, And let me tell you they are equally strong and a cheep option, though not as so good looking...

darman12 (author)  Capitalist1 year ago
Thanks :)
survival croc4 months ago
Thanks for this me and my two friends are going to play a three day survival game and we can only pack ten thungs
SparkySolar8 months ago

I love this instructable thank you so much

SparkySolar8 months ago

I love this instructable thank you so much

SparkySolar8 months ago
This is very nicely done
847MicRoss1 year ago

Any water sac I had used eventually started tasting funny by the end of it's first season. (Yes I cleaned it)

I have a kleen kanteen now for water and or cooking

THE carabiner or some other type of attachment is a must. My water kanteens are on the outside left and right pockets of my bag and I dont want to loose them by having them fall out.

William!1 year ago
Awesome instructable! does anyone know what knife that is?
darman12 (author)  William!1 year ago

Thanks :) The knife was a gift a number of years ago, but I looked around and found it online:

alexmac1311 year ago
very nice - for the clothes spare a dry sack - you can haul extra water to camp - seal it up to hide food when tied up in tree
I wouldnt call some of these "necesities" but they help out
eblackman11 year ago
Bang on. All are essential items, I would add food though, then again you can forrage if you know what to look for.
darman12 (author)  eblackman11 year ago
Thanks for the comment :)
poofrabbit1 year ago
Just wanted to say congratulations on being a finalists in the Great Outdoors Contest! This was a fantastic instructable! Good luck!
darman12 (author)  poofrabbit1 year ago
Thank you very much, I appreciate it :) There are 18 finalists and 18 prizes, so I have for sure won something! It's a first for me so I am super excited no matter what happens!
kouker1 year ago
I'd rather get a space blanket for $20. It's more versatile, much larger, lighter, warmwr, and sturdier than any garbage bags (I've tested many kinds of garbage bags myself).
I would like to SELL you a $20 space blanket. I find them under $5...But yes, much better than a 3 mil. garbage bag!
Ever try the 3mm contractor garbage bags? Those things are almost impossible to rip, as they're meant for hauling away huge amounts of sharp, heavy material created during construction.

The problem I find with expensive kit is that you tend to buy less of it, and therefore can get caught out. A $20 space blanket might be incredible as gear, but it's not going to be helpful if you only have 1 and it's not with you when the worst happens. At around 75 cents a bag for the 3mils, you can also afford to stash several in your backpack, car, etc. without breaking the bank.
Sure I did. The conclusion - too heavy and too bulky for EDC, as you need 2 or 3 to fit inside comfortably. For the toughness - that's true for hauling construction garbage, but in the real outdoors life the soft plastic durability is not that good. The surface is quite quickly absorbing the dust, what makes it really fragile with time, especially with help of the sun's UV radiation. Also it's stretching way too easily, so you will have issues tying it with a rope and keeping the shape under the stress. In fact, these bags are meant to be disposable, single use solution.

By the way, the ultimate DIY ground tarp option, which I have discovered so far, is Tyvek - amazing durability and extremely lightweight!
I'm very concerned with this, but will try and stay within the "be nice" policy.
First off, basic outdoor survival does not include "change of clothes" it should be correctly stated as "additional layers of clothing appropriate to the weather conditions expected/forcasted and should always include raingear.
Secondly, while I'm glad you talked about synthetics/avoiding cotton and the danger of moisture, you defeated having that information by posting a picture of all cotton clothing. Pratice "KISS" (Keep It Simple Stupid"). Use the "Cotton Kills" statement and tell people they could die by being wet. Wilderness temperatures are often 10+ degrees lower than "in town" and even the smallest "mountains" can have 25+ degree change above tree-line.
tneufeld1 year ago
As an outdoorsman myself I can say this is great advice.
darman12 (author)  tneufeld1 year ago
Thank you very much :)
darman12 (author)  tneufeld1 year ago
Thank you very much :)
1-40 of 150Next »