Top 10 essential survival items you must carry with you

If you’re planning on getting off the beaten track and enjoying time in the great outdoors, it’s important you plan and pack with safety and survival in mind. Packing a few essential survival items could mean the difference between life and death, and with a bit of planning, you can ensure your next trip into the wilderness is one you will survive no matter what curveballs are thrown at you.

In this article, we share some of the essential survival items you need to carry to ensure a safe experience, no matter the length of the trip or the terrain you might be exploring.

Essential survival gear you need in your backpack.

You can’t carry everything, including the kitchen sink; however, you can do some serious planning to ensure that the core survival items you are including are going to get you out of sticky situations and help you survive tough terrain.

Here are some of the best survival items recommended for your backpack:

1. Survival knife

This one is an essential survival item; that’s for sure. There are so many factors that will be unexpected when you are in the wilderness, and a good quality survival knife is the key to ensuring you remain out of trouble and well equipped in a range of situations. Perfect for cutting string, sharpening sticks, and even skinning animals you might have hunted, a survival knife is something you should always have sharpened and ready to use at a moment’s notice should you need it.

Survival knife
Survival knife

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2. Firestarter

When you’re out in the woods or the wilderness, one of the basic essential survival items has to be fire, which means you need a fire starter to speed up the process and ensure you can get a fire started quickly. Fire is not just a way to warm up but a solution for cooking, boiling water for drinking, and bathing. Ensure you bring along enough fire starters for the duration of your outdoor activities.

3. First aid kit

No matter where you hike or travel, a first aid kit should be a must-have item in your survival kit. Being outdoors and in the wilderness means you are possibly exposed to a range of factors that could result in the need for basic medical treatment. Take the time to plan your medical kit. While you don’t need to include everything in your medicine cabinet, you should include strapping for a twisted ankle, basic medicine, and also dressings that are designed to stop bleeding. This is definitely an essential you need while traveling. 

First aid kit and medical supplies
First aid kit

4. Map and compass

You need to know what direction you’re headed when you are out in the woods or wilderness, and a map and a compass are the basic tools to help you navigate your way during travel.

Map and compass

5. Appropriate clothing

When you are in the woods or the wilderness, it is imperative you wear appropriate clothing to suit the terrain, temperature, and the type of hiking or exercise you will be carrying out. You may need to consider whether you will need to wade through lakes, rivers, or streams as well so that you are adequately prepared, and you are wearing clothing that suits all the conditions.

6. Small saw

Packing a saw is always a great inclusion due to the fact that you can cut through logs and firewood to help ensure you have the warmth and heat overnight. There are some great compact saw options that aren’t going to weigh down your pack that is available in survival stores and camping stores.

Small saw
Small saw

7. Nylon string

Used for fishing, to hang up your clothing, or even as a food line, including nylon string or metal wire, can be a lifesaver on a wilderness or survival experience. There are some great products on the market that offer high-quality solutions for your survival needs.

8. Emergency whistle

If you need help or require attention, an emergency whistle and even a mirror to capture the attention of emergency crews is a sensible inclusion to your essential survival pack.

Emergency whistle
Emergency whistle

9. Water 

It is a bit of a no brainer; however, it should be included as an essential survival item. You should do some planning and research as to the freshwater options on your expedition. Regardless, carrying fresh water is vital.

Lots of water

10 Flashlight

If you can’t light a fire or you are stuck in a situation where you require light or need to scope out unfamiliar terrain, a flashlight is important and can help to provide the support needed on a survival trip.

At the end of the day, do your research and ensure you are packing adequately for the time you are spending outdoors and the environment you are entering. Every situation is unique, and you should speak with someone with experience of the area you are planning to explore before setting off on your adventure.


How do I know what to bring when I am going on a hike in the wilderness?

Above all, it is imperative that if you are heading into the wilderness, you have the knowledge and fitness to ensure you will be able to cope should you need to tap into your survival techniques.

There are plenty more essential items you can include; however, by ensuring you include the ten we have listed above, you can have the peace of mind that you have the tools along with the mental and physical fitness to get out of the wilderness in one piece.

For a full outline of the best survival items to include when you are out hiking or exploring the wilderness, be sure to have a chat with an expert in essential items to guide you on the best brands and options to meet your needs.

Based on the time of year, the terrain, and the type of expedition you are embarking on, there is a range of good options for essential survival gear. It is always best to speak with an expert to discuss options to suit your situation as well as your budget.

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