Best Survival Products List

We’ve chosen these products because they make sense, generally, regardless of the person using them. High quality products that are good at their intended use, selected by a professional in the space, and tested by real world users significantly – these are our favorite survival products to have on hand. These are the BEST SURVIVAL PRODUCTS

From survival in the primal sense, in the wilderness, or in a life or death scenario, to survival in the sense that you have them on hand at your homestead or in your urban apartment in case things go downhill. It doesn’t have to be a SHTF scenario for you to use these high quality survival products, but they are capable in a grid down, or other sketchy situation. 

These items are selected by Benjamin Worthen who has been using them for a long time, and advising companies that make and sell survival, defensive, bush crafting, and preparedness products for 20+ years. 

These lists can be found on the home menu, under the category that applies to them, or on the catch all page with links to all of the product lists HERE

Below you will find the Best Essential Survival Products

You can also listen to this post as a podcast here.

Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool Fieldmaster Pocket Knife

Why the Fieldmaster Pocket Knife?

  • The best mix of compactness, ease of carry and capability for the pocket space, daily usability and money. Period.
  • Simple, small, easy to put anywhere, and still substantial enough to help accomplish normal tasks and also survival tasks.

Benefits/Attributes & Important Notes:

The best tool is the one you actually have on you. That is never going to be a problem with this Swiss Army Knife. These are highly functional multitools without the drawbacks of the competitors in bulk and weight. Sure, you don’t get dedicated pliers, but you get a saw, two blades and a plethora of other usable tools in a tiny package.

Alternatives to this Product:

Victorinox Swiss Army Huntsman Pocket Knife

More Information about Fieldmaster Pocket Knife:

The Fieldmaster includes the well-known larger and smaller blade from the Victorinox line, and that allows easy whittling, shaving and other tasks to be done for wilderness purposes; and the blades are easy to sharpen/maintain. No drama with rust and great for urban duty and real workloads.

Very few people are constantly in a survival situation, so the real world tools like the scissors and Phillips head screwdriver make a lot of sense.  Whereas the saw and awl are legitimate bushcrafting additions, even with their diminutive size.

A workhorse that will be the best EDC/Survival tool you will never not have on your person, that costs less than $50.

Morakniv Kansbol Fixed Blade Knife with Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade

Why the Morakniv Kansbol Fixed Blade Knife?

  • A very good option that outperforms on price relative to capability and value. 
  • Super easy to maintain and can be used for a wide variety of cutting tasks. 
  • Proven quality and exceptional ROI, while being really approachable and versatile, especially with a stainless blade.

Benefits/Attributes & Important Notes:

It’s hard to knock this survival knife, and we are only doing it relative to the alternative which is significantly pricier and harder to maintain (rust specifically). The durability on the MoraKniv is lower, and the edge retention is lower, but it’s a better mainstream day-to-day pick. And both are market leaders here in the space. If you can wrap your head around keeping some rust preventative on the edge and need a tougher “hard use” knife, opt for the ESEE, but otherwise go for the Mora. 

Alternatives to this Product:

ESEE-6 Fixed Blade Knife

This is a case where the alternative is a better overall product, but the general mainstream use cases and price point favor the above product. Both options are excellent. The ESEE-6 is a superior knife if you can handle the maintenance/rust concerns and the price point.

More Information about Morakniv Kansbol Fixed Blade Knife:

It’s a workhorse, especially if it’s not for a dedicated bug out bag or just camping use. The Sandvik blade offers exceptionally easy care requirements and is easy to sharpen.

The 3/4 tang is enough for most hard use cases, and the comfort level of the grip; and value of the sheath and the overall build quality means this is an excellent choice for survival, especially if you want to use it a lot around the house too, as the blade is perfect for a lot of day-in-and-day-out tasks without being finicky, and can take a nice edge – though, it should be noted, edge retention is not overly spectacular relative to the 1095 steel blade of the ESEE listed above as an alternative. 

At the price it’s doubtful you will ever be disappointed in the knife, unless you are comparing it to knives at 5x the costs, and even then, this knife is a superstar.

Potable Aqua Chlorine Dioxide Water Purification Tablets 

Why the Potable Aqua Chlorine Dioxide Water Purification Tablets ?

  • While long-term use of high concentrations of chlorine to clean water for consumption is not recommended, this is a survival specific pick. And it is incredibly effective, if not a bit slow.
  • For those preppers or survivalists not committed to more expensive, quicker or longer-term solutions for water treatment, as a survival tool, this is a best in class. 

Benefits/Attributes & Important Notes:

You need to know that you shouldn’t rely on this treatment option for long-term sustainable, safe drinking water – especially since there is a shelf life on the tablets, but as a failsafe it’s nearly unmatched – at least in effectiveness and safety. We would prefer that every person has multiple ways to yield clean, safe drinking water, but as a failsafe, again, this is a product that makes the most sense, all things considered. For more sustainable purification where bacteria are your primary concern, check the alternative, filter products below by Katadyn and Platypus.

More Information about Potable Aqua Chlorine Dioxide Water Purification Tablets:

There is not much to add here. Chlorine kills bacteria. And bacteria is usually the main concern with untreated water. If you want absolute protection against bad drinking water, you treat it chemically in the field, boil it for 10 minutes or filter it. For the money and resources, this is a best in class.  

620 LB SurvivorCord

Why the 620 LB SurvivorCord ?

  • 550 cord is great for normal tasks. This stuff blows it out of the water for survival specific uses. It’s stronger and you can use it to start a fire easily, it has wire for snares, monofilament for fishing, etc.
  • It isn’t cheap but it is more usable and offers much more value relative to other options. If you need to trust your life to it, use this stuff.

Benefits/Attributes & Important Notes:

Superior versatility relative to regular/standard lines or paracord. And that’s quite a statement considering how usable and capable paracord is. 

Alternatives to this Product:

No alternatives come to mind when you are talking about a survival scenario. Use paracord if you must. 

More Information about 620 LB SurvivorCord :

Seems a lot like the zipper when laid onto the backdrop of “standard” cordage. AS IN: Why would we use anything different than 620 Survivor cord. We assure you there is still a use for buttons or drawstrings (other cordage products), but that in a survival situation, this is the best option. You get a waterproof fire starter, a fishing line and a wire (which when used properly can serve as a snare material), and this, within a cordage that generally performs on par with standard high strength cordage. It just makes sense to have it on hand. Yes, it’s expensive.

UCO 12-Hour Natural Beeswax Candles – Candle Lantern

Why the UCO 12-Hour Natural Beeswax Candles?

  • Not as affordable as soy based candles or even volatile liquid options – that’s the reason these are the better choice – they aren’t volatile and they store well, and they are made of beeswax, meaning they are more versatile.
  • These are the right size for a survival situation. The 12 hour burn time is more than enough to keep you out of trouble over many days if needed, and the size is right for easy distribution throughout go-bags, backpacks, cargo pockets etc.

Benefits/Attributes & Important Notes:

Like water, you need heat in most survival scenarios. This is both a frontline tool, and a safeguard. Having some way to extend fire starting capabilities, over, say just a lighter, or a flint and steel, etc. is prudent. Having guaranteed help in starting a fire in wet conditions is also a no-brainer. Beeswax is more expensive, but it’s useful for a lot more things including some first aid/medical uses and as a binder for tasks. Can’t say that as easily about most of the soy based products on the market. This is not volatile, so it has zero risk hazard, unlike liquid fuels. 

Alternatives to this Product:

Lot’s of competitors, very few alternatives to a beeswax candle.

More Information about UCO 12-Hour Natural Beeswax Candles:

They are expensive – Best in class products are. But this is a different kind of mindset for the dedicated prepper and survivalist. You don’t buy this because you are trying to spend money – you buy this to know that when you need to utilize it, it’s ready for action. Beeswax is simply the best in class solution for an emergency candle – across MANY situations. At home, sure, use soy or volatile fuels, they are cheaper, and can be stored properly. In the wide world of where you might need to count on a candle, buy the best. After all, this is not a list of the “The mediocre survival products”, it’s a list of “The Best Survival Products“.

BIC Classic Lighter

Why the BIC Classic Lighter?

  • Reliability, ease of use, guaranteed function, and hackability.
  • It’s a stalwart performer. Yes it’s better than matches. Yes it’s easy to check if it’s ready/usable before you get into an emergency situation, yes it will save you in a real life or death scenario.

Benefits/Attributes & Important Notes:

The cost of this tool, relative to it’s value makes it a powerhouse. You can look for other articles throughout the site that talk about hacking the Bic lighter, and other use cases for it. This is a truly versatile survival tool. Inexpensive and bulletproof for most situations. 

Alternatives to this Product:

Zippo All-in-One Kit Windproof Lighter

More Information about BIC Classic Lighter:

It’s become ubiquitous because everyone has used one and knows it’s value. It’s really hard to say anything bad about the Bic lighter, except maybe the annoying childproof function. But, this safety inclusion probably makes it the most reliable hidden option on the market, because the chances of losing fuel inadvertently are next to nil. 

OLIGHT Seeker 3 Pro 4200 Lumens Ultra-Bright Flashlight

Why the OLIGHT Seeker 3 Pro 4200 Lumens Ultra-Bright Flashlight?

  • Price and output are spectacular.
  • While it runs hot, the battery life is fantastic, and the compactness is hard to beat for the output.

Benefits/Attributes & Important Notes:

Small, strong, and bulletproof. Forget all the old news media attention you might have heard about OLIGHT, they are probably THE BRAND to beat in terms of innovation at a reasonable price point in flashlights TODAY. This is a fantastic model for high lumen output, though, you may prefer the lower lumen, higher battery capacity of some of the other models by OLIGHT, like the Javelot or Baton2 flashlights.

More Information about OLIGHT Seeker 3 Pro 4200 Lumens Ultra-Bright Flashlight:

Simple, innovative, huge lumen output for such a small size and has very good battery life in infrequent use scenarios. Quality of OLIGHT vs. Competitors is better from a total value perspective, and most consumers will never be able to push the boundaries of a light at this level of quality anyways. This is a best in class flashlight for the money.

Silky Professional Series PocketBoy Folding Saw 170mm Large Teeth (346-17)

Why the Silky Professional Series PocketBoy Folding Saw 170mm?

  • Compact and aggressive. This is a saw that more than makes up for the space it takes up.
  • If you are not planning for concerns in the wilderness, or even as a backup product on a homestead, this compact saw has the performance to keep up with the chores. From traps, firewood for survival, and bushcraft, to weekend jobs around the house. 

Benefits/Attributes & Important Notes:

It’s simple, and it’s as good or better than the normal hand tools you would be using around a standard residence. It’s also got the capability of being put into a bugout bag or a backpack with ease, and provides significant advantages in the wilderness.

Alternatives to this Product:

This is another product for survival that has no natural competitors. It is truly innovative from a size perspective, given its capabilities. A regular mainstream saw could be a viable alternative, but it won’t be nearly as carriable or compact.

More Information about Silky Professional Series PocketBoy Folding Saw 170mm:

A ‘league of their own’, is what Silky has put themselves into. There are no real competitors. The performance and usefulness of the line is unmatched. This is a particularly interesting piece because it’s large enough to handle BIG bushcraft chores, while still being able to be pocket carried in most cases. 

Kelty Noah’s Tarp (2020 Update) Sun Shelter Rainfly

Why the Kelty Noah’s Tarp?

  • Lightweight, easy to understand and usable with a bit of cordage and some sticks if need be.
  • The best small, lightweight product in the space with a still decent warranty – fabric products are hard to get decent warranty for. 
  • Versatile, and exceptional with trekking poles or standard poles to help configure it.
  • Goes from beach to backyard to park, to HARDCORE, possibly even a 4 season shelter in some locations – though heavy rain may not be it’s best test.
  • Did we mention lightweight?

Benefits/Attributes & Important Notes:

Easy to confugure, optional sizing in 9×9′; 12×12′; and 16×16′ sizes, this is a go-to shelter in a snap that has the history and track record to give it staying power. Relative to cheap knock-offs, this is one of the good ones. A decent 1-year warranty stands behind the much better than average build quality.

Alternatives to this Product:

Normal Tarps – though, they aren’t nearly as well thought out for the wilderness space.

More Information about Kelty Noah’s Tarp:

With poles and cordage this is a powerhouse offering that gives shade, heat management, and cover from the elements in a lightweight package depending on the needs you may have. Without poles, it can be rigged to work on trees with cordage, or in a makeshift way as a tent, using sticks. It can be combined with pine needles to improve heat management and conserve body temperature in survival conditions. It can also be used creatively to act as a barrier to keep heat from a fire lingering longer. The construction quality is excellent. The overall package size is more than reasonable from a weight and bulk perspective. 

DATREX Emergency Food Ration Bars

Why the DATREX Emergency Food Ration Bars?

  • Calorie density for value.
  • Shelf life is better than majority of competitors
  • Taste is better than competitors on a dedicated emergency food ration.
  • Configuration of packaging and size makes it easier to stow/carry.

Benefits/Attributes & Important Notes:

This is a great option for a backpack or bugout bag, or as an emergency prep on a vehicle regardless of the areas it’s used.

There are better tasting competitors, but none match the other attributes of Datrex. There are more calorie dense options, but none match the other characteristics of Datrex. 

Alternatives to this Product:

Regular food. But in calorie density and shelf life, it is hard to beat. 

More Information about DATREX Emergency Food Ration Bars:

Datrex is a set it and forget it addition to your survival wares and setup that truly offers value over time, with the high caloric density, the decent taste and the packaging that keeps it shelf stable for a long time, while making it easier to move around. A steak potatoes and salad it is not, but keep you alive – it can.

North American Rescue 30-0023 C-A-T Combat Application Tourniquet Rescue Orange (2 Pack)

Why the North American Rescue 30-0023 C-A-T Combat Application Tourniquet, Rescue Orange (2 Pack)?

  • This is staged as a 2-pack because the mindset is an important part of carrying a tourniquet. 
  • Nothing compares in quality, and this is the original. 
  • Yes you can use a cloth or cordage, but this gives easy application, and more opportunity to save lives/limbs after medical attention is given.

Benefits/Attributes & Important Notes:

The best tool is the one you actually have on you. And if you are concealed carrying, or trying to be prepared, it’s important to have lifesaving equipment where possible, too.  This is an invaluable addition to any first aid kit and should be a part of every serious EDC pack. This is the toughest, most proven Combat style tourniquet available. 

Alternatives to this Product:

Do not sacrifice on quality. The chances you are going to use this kit are low, but it’s a tool you NEED to function perfectly, the first time – every time. DO NOT skimp on a tourniquet.

More Information about North American Rescue 30-0023 C-A-T Combat Application Tourniquet, Rescue Orange (2 Pack):

An important inclusion in any safety setup, first aid kit or serious EDC setup, these are small enough for a front pocket or cargo pocket, valuable in life-saving efforts and offer the strength, durability and consistency that is necessary to ensure it can actually do the lifesaving work it was designed to do.

Surviveware Premium First Aid Kit – Small Kit – 100 Piece

Why the Surviveware Premium First Aid Kit – Small Kit – 100 Piece?

  • Small, with waterproof packaging.
  • Good mix of components.
  • The absolute minimum for most survivalist types.
  • Offers compactness that ensures it’s used more often or stowed in more places. 

Benefits/Attributes & Important Notes:

You can build you own first aid kit – and if you are serious about first aid, you should be doing so. No one will be able to build a kit better than you can for your unique requirements. But, this is a good value. it offers good components and paired with other items on this list of Best Survival Products, you will have a very capable first aid setup. 

Alternatives to this Product:

There are plenty of alternatives to this first aid kit, but it represents a good mix of gear, tools and bandages, and in a compact package that’s easy to have with you in most scenarios. THE BEST ALTERNATIVE FIRST AID KIT? One you build yourself (it’s likely to cost more but be better tailored to your specific needs).

More Information about Surviveware Premium First Aid Kit – Small Kit – 100 Piece:

This piece was chosen because of the other items on our list. We wholeheartedly recommend you build a more comprehensive and more customized first aid kit for your needs, but this is a definite winner in a beginner’s sense, when paired with the other medical items on this list, and when needing a small sized core tool. 

QuikClot Gauze 3″ x 2′

Why the QuikClot Gauze 3″ x 2′?

  • The right quantity for any given trip, small and easy to carry, a no brainer for any real world or wilderness trip.
  • Very easy way to concentrate on more important things if a situation goes downhill fast. You don’t have to worry about a large cut causing decreases in blood pressure, or causing shock as much, when you can clot the cut quickly.
  • Not for a sucking chest wound, but for just about everything else that causes a moderate or higher volume of blood to flow.

Benefits/Attributes & Important Notes:

It’s simple: this is a secondary piece to keep the peace. Kids with large cuts can go into shock quickly. Adults who think they are bleeding too much can be difficult to keep calm. Prepare to handle the situation from a trauma management perspective. Avoid concerns that aren’t life threatening, by stopping them before they become life-threatening. That’s what clotting gauze is great at. A fall down the side of a cliff has more important concerns than the 2 inch gash on the leg, but if the knowledge of that cut is what puts a person into shock, your job just got harder. 

Alternatives to this Product:

This is the original and the best. There are alternatives, but why would you? Proven track record means something. 

More Information about QuikClot Gauze 3″ x 2′:

If the victim is you, this can help to alleviate smaller concerns, so they don’t cause bigger ones. If the patient is someone else, you can help to mitigate secondary concerns with clotting gauze. This is part of a good medical treatment plan, that also takes up a miniscule amount of space. 

Benadryl Ultratabs Antihistamine Allergy Relief Medicine

Why the Benadryl Ultratabs Antihistamine Allergy Relief Medicine?

  • A single allergic reaction can kill you. It’s an absolute nightmare to not know you are allergic to something, and then be away from medical care.
  • It’s the brand name and it’s cheap. It’s a no question addition to ALL first aid and household medicine cabinets. 

Benefits/Attributes & Important Notes:

A bee sting or a spider bite can be life threatening. You can take the initial emergency edge off of such a situation with a Benadryl. Allergic reactions are nothing to shake a stick at – they can kill. But, it’s interesting to note that probably greater than 75% of allergic reactions that are not threatening an airway or are not from venomous creatures are treated with a dose of an antihistamine. e.g. Benadryl. So, having some on hand is just good practice.

Alternatives to this Product:

A generic version of the same medicine: Diphenhydramine. But why? 

More Information about Benadryl Ultratabs Antihistamine Allergy Relief Medicine:

There isn’t a lot to add about this. It’s a few dollars to almost guarantee that you can extend the window for medical treatment in the aftermath of many allergic reactions, significantly. No brainer. But even in serious situations, this may be the one thing that can take the edge off enough to get actual medical treatment. Allergic reactions that are known, and could be deadly should be treated with different methods prescribed by a doctor. e.g. Epi-Pen for known allergies. This author doesn’t hesitate to add: in the last 6 months alone, I’ve used Benadryl and made life MUCH more comfortable for 3 separate people, when they didn’t even know they’d have an allergic reaction – thanks to the 3-4 pills I carry in my wallet. None were life-threatening incidents, but all were adventure ending incidents without the pills.

Cold Steel Special Forces Shovel w/Sheath

Why the Cold Steel Special Forces Shovel w/Sheath?

  • Short, swingable, comfortable, and still versatile. 
  • Come the need for digging latrines, or come the Zombie Apocalypse, this is a great shovel to have on hand – JUST IN CASE. A great tool for wilderness work where you know you aren’t packing out a full sized shovel, because reasons.

Benefits/Attributes & Important Notes:

You never knew you needed a shovel that could decapitate a zombie… until now. This is a single-hand-wieldable defensive weapon that also buries poop. You decide which job to use it for in the moment.

Alternatives to this Product:

No real contenders on this one. It’s the right size, and the right build quality. It’s the best in class for defensive/utilitarian shovels that can be packed. 

More Information about Cold Steel Special Forces Shovel w/Sheath:

Cold Steel makes incredibly proven, but still edgy tools. Sure some of their stuff is a bit fantastical – Who really needs a 2 handed sword in the Viking style? OK, Never mind. Maybe they make a LOT of practical items. But who is judging? If you think you need a shovel that could defend your life in a CQB scenario, then, You. Are. Welcome.

Plasticplace 42 Gallon 4.0 Mil Clear Heavy Duty Garbage Bags 

Why the Plasticplace 42 Gallon 4.0 Mil Clear Heavy Duty Garbage Bags ?

  • Cheap for how many uses can be thought up for these bags.
  • It’s a guarantee that no one who was cold, wet or lost and had even rudimentary wilderness skills would turn down a couple of these bags. 
  • Use to collect water, keep dry, stay warm and retain heat, or to do a million other things – including make a splint, or holding water for later use.

Benefits/Attributes & Important Notes:

These are THICK BOYS! They can hold a lot of weight. They are very puncture resistant unless you’re actively trying to put a hole in them. They are big enough to double layer with a bunch of ground debris to give adequate insulative properties as a makeshift sleeping bag (you’d need 4 to do this effectively). You can guarantee there are no better values for bags of this gauge thickness, and size. We like 4mil thickness because they still maintain lighter weight, but offer very good puncture resistance too. 

Alternatives to this Product:

These are 4mil Bags. They are about the perfect mix between weight, strength and usability that can be found for the money. It’s hard to find better bags at 4mil, and if you’re going up in thickness, you’re paying a lot more. You decide what’s best for you. These bags just make sense.

More Information about Plasticplace 42 Gallon 4.0 Mil Clear Heavy Duty Garbage Bags :

There is not a whole novel to be written about plastic trash bags, but there are a lot of uses. Some of the best are:

  • Holding water if you have to be on the move, and need to boil or filter later
  • Holding leaves as a core body insulator
  • As a makeshift tarp
  • To pick up useful items in an extended survival scenario for moving around

There are a lot more, but you probably get the picture.

We appreciate you listening to our rambling for a bit about what we consider to be the Best Survival Products. We have other lists on this website, which can be found by looking at the header menu on top of the website under the PRODUCTS tab.