Top 7 Wilderness Tools for Survival in the Forest

The ability to turn mundane purposeless objects into useful tools allowed us to set foot on the path to civilization. The moment our ancestors understood they don’t have to climb a tree to get fruit from it is a remarkable milestone in the history of humanity. We don’t think about it that often, but there are few things we still do with our bare hands. Various tools have permeated every aspect of our lives to a degree when we cannot imagine our existence without them. And we are not even talking about gadgets: it’s hard to imagine a cooking process without all the utensils or a cleanup without even a simple broom, not to mention robot cleaners. Even though the value lies in one’s ability to utilize tools, the objects themselves are as valuable as proficiency with them. Wilderness survival is one of the spheres where tools are a crucial aspect of success. If you take the time to read through a couple of survival guides, you’ll learn that the overwhelming majority of them assume a reader has an extensive survival kit that helps perform basic survival tasks. Even a simple knife raises your chances of living through an emergency survival situation, let alone a complete survival kit. Our hunting store compiled a list of seven tools crucial for your survival. The list is not exhaustive, since there are plenty of other useful items, but the seven we mention will allow you to get through almost any situation, come hell or high water.

survival tool kit

Fire Starter

Everybody heard about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Our basic physiological needs are at the base of the pyramid, and satisfying them always comes as a top priority. Food, water, warmth, and rest might be hard to come by in the wilderness, but once you secure them, you can consider yourself an accomplished survivalist since the most taxing tasks will have been completed. Fire is vital for every one of those needs: it helps you cook food, boil water, stay warm, and sleep comfortably. Making fire is also one of the most arduous survival tasks, so a little help is more than welcome. There are many types of firestarters, and it doesn’t really matter which one you choose: matches, lighters, flint and steel, battery and steel wool, or some other type. Choosing something reliable that can be activated regardless of external conditions is always a safe choice.

Water Cleansing Means

The second item on your survival equipment list should be a water cleanser. You can pack several bottles of water instead, but they will take up the precious space that is already limited and add extra weight nobody needs. The Give a man a fish phrase suggests we learn to use tools instead of acquiring finished products, and even though a random phrase is not the most reliable source to base your choice on, such a course of action seems pretty reasonable. You will still need to find a water source, but unless you find yourself in a desert, that is a perfectly doable task.

There are two steps to making water safely potable: filtering and purifying. The difference between the two lies in working principles: filtering removes bacteria and debris through physical sieve-like tools, while purifiers are chemical or disinfecting elements that kill viruses and microorganisms too small to be caught in a filter. It’s highly recommended to have both of those tools lest you should get ill from contaminated water. You can also utilize the fire starter to boil water, eliminating parasitic organisms that might have contaminated the water. However, water filters and purification tablets are still a safer choice that won’t take any of your precious water away. 

wilderness survival kit list


A multitool is a survivalist’s Jack of all trades, one of the best survival tools you could possibly get. If you are ever forced to choose only one item from the list, go with it. When you have something to cut things with, you’re able to get the rest of the things you need for survival. Even a plain survival knife, being a less versatile version of a multitool, is an invaluable helper in every survivalist’s effort to, well, survive. You can choose between the two or get both at once, but a thing-cuter is a must. A multitool provides its wielder with numerous instruments such as scissors, tweezers, pliers, awls, a set of cutlery, and whatnot – configurations vary significantly. At the same time, a plain survival knife has less versatility to it but possesses a much stronger blade that might be more suitable for cutting wood. We suggest you take both, but either should work if you need to choose one. 

First Aid Kit

Even though getting lost in the forest is already a less-than-inspiring scenario, there are many ways in which that situation could get even worse. Getting injured is a severe impediment on your way to living through a survival situation. While injury or illness limits your mobility and working capacity, the inability to treat either of them introduces significant risks to your health. To mitigate them or at least reduce their immobilizing effect, you will need a first aid kit. There are many varieties of first aid kits, and luckily for all nature-lovers, there are dedicated kits for outdoor survival. Such kits contain everything you need to dress a wound, support a fracture, or treat the most popular diseases outdoorsmen come across. 

First Aid Kit


A rope is an indispensable tool that can help you build a shelter or rescue a companion in distress. But there is one thing better than a regular rope. A paracord. This lightweight nylon rope was originally used in suspension lines of parachutes, but today is widely utilized in a wide range of activities, outdoor survival included. A paracord has a break strength higher than any tactical rope, which, combined with its lightweight properties, makes it an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts. Rigging tarps, tying things together, all other possible applications you can come up with – a paracord can be a reliable helper in any scenario.

Space Blanket

Even though the chances of you dying from hypothermia in a night forest are negligible (unless it’s a colder season and you just got out of a lake), staying warm is still a vital item on an outdoor survivor’s list. This part might be quite challenging to fulfill, though. Depending on the environment, you may find it variably difficult or even impossible to start a fire, which leaves you with few options for staying warm at night (The Revenant illustrated one). However, one item can solve this problem at once without taking up much space in your backpack. A space blanket is a low-weight, low-bulk, blanket made of heat-reflective, plastic sheeting. Similar material is used for the exterior of spacecraft for thermal control, hence the name. You wouldn’t call them cozy, but when it comes to functionality, they are second to none. 

Most important survival items

Bear Spray

Remember us saying your “lost in the woods” situation can get much worse? Meeting a wild predator is definitely one of the complications that would bring the difficulty of your survival trip to a true survival level. The thing about predatory animals is that they won’t necessarily try to bite your head off the moment they see. They might choose to avoid you, but to rely completely on that means entrusting your fate into the paws of a wild beast. If you are not too fond of that idea, we suggest you get a means of self-defense. Bear sprays are the ultimate form of conventional pepper sprays that can hit the target from a long distance and have a bigger zone of effect. They won’t inflict permanent damage but will deter the animal from continuing their attack.

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