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Wilderness Survival Kit

Find out what's the best survival gear you can get to put together the perfect wilderness survival kit.

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Living off the land can be an amazing experience and a great privilege.

However, it can also be extremely difficult, and you need special tools and training to be able to do it and survive.

This is why it can be a dire situation when someone needs to survive in the wilderness for an indeterminate amount of time when they weren’t planning to.

However, it is completely possible to create a wilderness survival kit that is portable, straightforward, and supremely useful.

If you take the time to put together a wilderness kit that has the proper bushcraft tools, you won’t have to worry about your ability to survive.

Having what you need and knowing how to use it can be the difference between life and death when you are caught out in the wilderness unexpectedly.

Whittling with a survival knife

Being prepared is even more important when you are planning on making long drives through the wilderness, going hiking or camping, or even if you are planning on staying out in a secluded cabin.

It is always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared in these situations.

The tools that you need to survive in any potential situation the wilderness can throw at you are called, in a general category, bushcraft tools.

Once you know which bushcraft tools you need, you will find it easy to go around and gather food and water as well as build shelter for yourself.

If you are ready to create the best wilderness survival kit, customized to your needs and preferences, keep reading.

We will give you our favorite products to add to your own wilderness survival kit, as well as give you more information about what you need to know to ensure your own survival out in the great outdoors.

It's a popular knife for a reason, and that reason is that it will reliably get the job done.

This knife comes with a matching sheath, so you won’t have to worry about storage.

In a hurry? If you just want to get to our conclusions, here are our top picks and recommendations!

Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How to Create a Wilderness Survival Kit

Now that you've made the good choice of creating a wilderness survival kit for yourself, let’s discuss the decisions you need to make and information you need to know before you set out to make your first purchases of wilderness survival gear.

Are You Buying Or Making Your Items?

It is much easier and more efficient to have a kit on hand that has all the tools you need to survive. However, sometimes bad situations happen and you have been separated from your tool kit with no access to it.

While you should ensure that your kit cannot be separated from you when you are out in the wilderness, sometimes the unthinkable happens.

For this reason, we suggest learning how to make your own wilderness survival tools out of what the environment has on hand.

When you learn bushcraft, you will know what to do in any situation by making the tools you need from scratch.

Effective tool design out in the wilderness can also help you fill in the gaps when you do have your toolset, allowing you to expand the range of what is possible outside of the tools you have on hand.

In this article we will discuss some of the tools that make bushcraft a bit easier, so you can see if this is a skill that you would like to develop for yourself.

As you are studying the bushcraft methods, there are a few different areas of skills that you should brush up on. This includes stonework, whittling, and knapping.

Once you know these three techniques, you will be able to create a wide assortment of tools from scratch with simply what nature has provided to you.

There are five basic tools that you need in order to be super successful at bushcraft. These five tools are hatches, machetes, fixed blade knives, axes, and saws.

You will be able to cut and shape whatever it is that you need when you have these tools on hand.

Bushcraft Fixed Blade Knives

A bushcraft survival knife on a tree stump

First, let’s talk about fixed-blade knives, one of the most important survival items.

We’ll talk about what they are, and showcase some of our favorites on the market that you can order online today.

The best fixed-blade knives are well-made and sturdy. These will give you years of use with proper care.

Fixed blade knives are sharp handheld knives whose blade runs through the handle, allowing them to be very strong and stable.

Fixed blade knives are important because you can do so much with them. These knives are great for whittling, skinning game, preparing a fresh catch, and even for defending yourself if the time comes.

They are smaller knives, so it should be easy to fit one in your camping gear or car emergency bag.

After you are done using the wilderness survival knife, it is important that you clean and dry it so that it does not rust or get damaged. These knives are going to be the most effective for bushcrafting if they are nice and sharp.

They come with a carrying case more often than not, so it will be easy to keep it sharp once it goes back into the carrying case and into your tool kit.

Our Favorite Wilderness Fixed Blade Knives

Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife

This stainless steel knife has a high-friction grip that ensures you will be able to keep a good hold on it while you are using it outdoors.

The Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife also includes a limited lifetime warranty, so you know that this is a company that truly believes in the product that it is producing.

Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

SOG Super Bowie Fixed Blade Knife

This classic bowie knife is great for use in the wild and you really can’t go wrong with it. The black TiNi finish gives it amazing longevity.

The SOG Super Bowie Fixed Blade Knife is a popular knife for a reason, and that reason is that it will reliably get the job done.

This knife comes with a matching sheath, so you won’t have to worry about storage.

Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Elk Ridge ER-052 Fixed Blade Hunting Knife

This knife is simply beautiful, so if you are looking for a fixed blade with a classic look, this is definitely the knife for you.

The Elk Ridge ER-052 Fixed Blade Hunting Knife comes with a leather sheath, but remember that cardboard might be better if you are planning on using this knife in potentially wet environments.

This knife is widely available and has a very affordable price of under $20 at most outdoor supply retailers.

Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you want to learn more about fix blade knives, check out our guide of the best survival knives.

Bushcraft Hatchets and Axes

Survival hatchet in the wilderness

Hatches and axes are going to come in handy when you need to cut wood to do important things for your survival such as building fires and sheltering yourself from the elements.

Fixed blade knives are really only going to be able to cut kindling and small pieces of wood, so it is important to have a blade like a hatchet or an axe that will cut larger pieces of wood for you.

There are very big hatchets and axes on the market, but for an outdoor survival kit, you will want to focus on smaller tools for your bushcraft gear list.

Heavier tools are going to weigh you down, and you don’t want to be tempted to not bring your kit along on a trip or hike just because it’s too heavy for you to carry for long distances.

Like the fixed blade knife that needs to go in your bushcraft tool kit, it is important to keep the head of your hatchet or axe very dry. Having a cardboard sheath to store your blade will help with this.

Otherwise, having a dry cloth on hand can also be a great tool to put into your survival kit so that you can keep your tools at their most effective while out in the wilderness.

It is also important to add a bit of turpentine to your bushcraft kit in order to remove any sap or other plant debris from the blade.

Sap will dull your blade over time, so it is important to remove it after every use. A small travel-sized bottle of turpentine will assist you in this endeavor.

You should also get into the habit of sharpening your survival axe or hatchet blades either right after every use or before every trip.

If you are sharpening your blades religiously, you won’t have a problem with having a dull blade when you get stuck in a survival situation.

When you have a dull axe or bushcraft hatchet in your kit, you are going to be carrying a dead weight that isn’t going to help you cut firewood or build a shelter to keep yourself safe.


Our Favorite Survival Hatchets and Axes

SOG Voodoo Hawk Axe

This survival axe is made of high-carbon steel and has a non-slip grip which makes it great to use in wet environments safely.

The axe is made of a single piece, which is going to greatly increase its durability and ensure that you get plenty of use out of it during its lifespan.

The reason we think that the SOG Voodoo Hawk Axe is a great bushcraft axe to add to your bushcraft kit is that it is so lightweight but still durable and effective.

You won’t have an issue carrying this axe around, which is so important when we are looking for tools that we need to have on the go in order for us to survive the worst conditions nature can throw at us.

No products found.

Snow and Nealley Hudson Bay Axe

If you still want a blade that is made of high-carbon but want a handle with a more traditional look and feel, this is going to be the best bushcraft axe for you.

The Snow and Nealley Hudson Bay Axe has a traditional wood handle that is beautiful to look at.

The combination of lighter weight high-carbon steel and wood ensures that this axe is going to be lightweight and easy to carry with the rest of your wilderness survival gear.

You Save $11.89

Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Estwing E24A Hatchet

This hatchet is made of carbon steel. The leather grip is both beautiful and durable, making this a timeless piece that will look great in any bushcraft kit.

What we love about the Estwing E24A Hatchet is that the head and the handle are forged into one singular piece in the USA, ensuring durability and longevity despite frequent use.

If you are someone who is planning on using your axe or hatchet often for bushcraft, you really can’t go wrong with the Estwing.

Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For even more buyer recommendations for axes and hatchets, check out our reviews of the best survival axes and best survival hatchets.

Bushcraft Machetes

A machete is a bit of a mix between a fixed blade knife and an axe and thereby deserves its own special category.

The long blade is great for cutting, but you won’t be able to fell a tree like you can with an axe or a bushcraft hatchet. Nonetheless, the machete is quite useful out in the wilderness for different reasons.

A machete is an essential tool for bushcraft because it can be used to clear vines and tall grasses that are in your way.

Being able to clear a path can help to keep you safe from dangerous insects and snakes, as well as give you a clear line of sight in order to evade predators such as bears or cougars.

Having a machete on hand will make this process much more efficient and also help you to ensure your survival out in the wilderness.

Like the other blades on our list, you should keep your machete dry if it comes in contact with water, and should clean the blade with oil if needed, and not water.

It is also important to store this blade properly when it is in your bushcraft kit.

Sharpening stones and sharpening tools can be used on a machete to keep the blade nice and sharp.

Like the other blades in your tool kit, you should be doing this before or after every trip to ensure that your blade is nice and sharp when you need it most. This will help to increase your chances of survival.

A machete should be stored in a sheath just like the other blades. If moisture is an issue, a cardboard sheath is going to work best in order to keep it free from rust and keep it working at its best.

Check out this video guide on how to sharpen an axe or hatchet, made by ScottsHobbyz.

Our Favorite Survival Machetes

Gerber Compact Clearpath Machete

You can likely tell by the name of this machete that it was designed for survival in the wilderness in mind.

This is why it is on our list for the best machetes for the essential bushcraft survival kit. The Gerber Compact Clearpath Machete is very lightweight and won’t weigh you down.

It definitely isn’t going to be able to chop larger trees and brush for you.

However, when it comes to vines, thin brush, and tall grasses, you will be able to clear a path for yourself with ease using short, quick strokes.

Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Ontario Knife Co 1-18" Military Machete

This machete is a military-style machete. This is a super high-quality machete, so this is a great choice for the aficionados in the audience or for people who are planning on using their machete very frequently.

The Ontario Knife Co 1-18" Military Machete weighs a little over a pound, so it is a heavier option.

However, if you are keeping the rest of your bushcraft survival kit as light as possible, this will give you a bit of heft to your swing, enabling you to cut thicker vegetation than you might be able to with a lighter weight machete.

The high carbon steel used in this blade stays nice and sharp, even with a lot of use, so you can be sure that this machete will get you through an extended outdoor adventure where you will be unlikely to be able to sharpen your blade.

Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Condor Golok Machete

This machete is made of high carbon steel and covered in a black powder epoxy that helps increase its longevity.

If you are planning on years or decades of bushcraft, the Condor Golok Machete is going to be a great machete to add to your arsenal.

We find that this bushcraft machete has a great weight, not too heavy or not too light, and has an amazing sense of balance to it.

These factors alone make it one of the best machete for bushcraft: a highly versatile tool that can get through all different types of vegetation as we clear paths for ourselves through the wilderness.

Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

We dive into more details on machetes in our dedicated article for the best survival machetes.

Bushcraft Backpacks

Now that you know what types of blades you need and for what purpose, you need a great bag to carry them all in.

The best bushcraft backpack is going to be able to fit all of the above blades, as well as the other survival tools you will need to be able to withstand the elements.

We prefer backpacks that are versatile and have plenty of storage space. There should be straps for holding kindling and some small pieces of firewood, for instance.

You are going to find things in nature that will help you survive, but you might not be ready to use them right as you find them.

Keeping your hands and arms free will help you balance and focus on the trek ahead, so it is important not to carry these materials in your hands and instead store them in your pack.

While we are going to show you some of our favorite bushcraft backpacks on the market, you should know that you can also make a larger bag or carrying case on the go if you use a bit of ingenuity and imagination.

Bags can be made of animal skins. You can also weave together leaves to carry lightweight items.

This can be a great option for carrying things like freshly caught fish or freshly picked berries so that you can feed yourself later.

Backpacks are made of fabric, and fabric is going to get holes eventually. We also suggest knowing how to patch a backpack, and always carrying some needle and thread.

This can help you mend the bushcraft backpack with patches of animal skins. You will also be able to mend your clothes if you get caught on a sharp branch, which will help you survive the elements for much longer. Learning basic skills like this will help you survive in the long run.

You should be looking for a backpack that is waterproof. This will help you keep your blades dry, particularly if it rains, which as we have mentioned is very important in order for them to maintain their effectiveness.

You should also ensure the materials can carry heavy weights, that there are versatile compartments, and that it fits on your body and feels comfortable while you carry a full pack.

Our Favorite Wilderness Survival Backpacks

Arc'teryx Bora AR 63 Backpack

This wilderness backpack checks all of our boxes and it's very difficult not to make it our main backpack recommendation.

The Arc'teryx Bora AR 63 Backpack has a surprising amount of space, is made of high-quality and durable materials, and fits comfortably. This backpack also looks nice, so that is a bonus feature.

Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Goruck GR2

This backpack was designed by a member of the special forces, so you know it is going to be a highly tactical piece of equipment that can store a lot of different items for quick and immediate use.

The material in the Goruck GR2 is also highly durable, so you know you are going to get years of use out of this backpack.

While you can’t carry your blades on a plane with you, we do love that this backpack doubles as a great carry-on item, as it meets all TSA sizing requirements.

Teton Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack

If you are needing a ton of space, the Teton Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack is going to be a great backpack for you.

The largest of the three of our favorites, you won’t have a problem storing everything that you need to survive in the wild if you use this backpack.

Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you want more recommendations of specialized backpacks, check out our guide on the best survival backpacks.

Extra gear for your wilderness survival kit checklist

Now that you have seen our favorite bushcraft tools, you are still going to need to build out your full wilderness survival kit.

Here is a quick and easy wilderness gear checklist to put together everything you need to survive even in some of the toughest environments.

  • Whetstone. A whetstone will help you keep all of your blades sharp on the go. While you should use a better sharpener in between trips, a whetstone can help you if one of your blades get more use than you intended.
  • Fire starter kit. Use one what works for you. Fire is essential, as you need to disinfect food, water, and cauterize wounds.
  • Water purifier. When you can’t use fire to boil water, a water purifier will help you stay healthy.
  • Navigation. Maps and a compass will help you find your way out of sticky situations
  • Cookware. Even just a small metal container can help you cook your food.
  • Clothing. Having an extra set of base layers can help you stay warm and dry if you accidentally get soaked, which could be the key to avoiding hypothermia.
  • Heavy duty boots. You won't always be walking on a green meadow in the wilderness. Good boots can get you through the roughest terrain out there.
  • Shelter. Buying a lightweight bushcraft tent is never a bad idea
  • Bivy bag and sleeping bag. The sleeping conditions in a tent aren't complete without these two items.
  • Wilderness first aid kit. Having a standard bushcraft first aid kit made for these situations is essential.
  • Fishing lines and hooks. You can easily craft a pole if you have these items and catch yourself some dinner. This will give you the energy you need to survive.
  • Paracord. Any serious survivalist knows that paracord can be indispensable for survival.

Wilderness Survival Kit Conclusions

Whether you’re a novice camper or an expert survivalist, having the right bushcraft equipment when venturing into the wilderness can make the difference between a great adventure or a horrifying survival scenario.

We’ve tried to highlight the most important wilderness survival gear in this article, explained why you need it and where to get it.

We also added in the mix some extra items that can be easily forgotten, but which can perfectly round out a great wilderness survival kit.

After all is said and done however, the biggest factor that will increase your chances of survival is how familiar you are with your gear and how well you can use it.

So, go out into the wilderness, practice your survival skills and put your wilderness survival gear to the test!

This wraps up our guide on the best survival gear for your wilderness survival kit.

Make sure you check out our other gear lists and recommendations by navigating with the side menu.

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Hi, I'm Russ!

I've been prepping for a long time, but 2020 convinced me that I need to take it to the next level.

This website started as a way to keep me going forward on the path to being better prepared.

Now, I’m turning it into a complete blueprint for anyone else looking to do the same!
Russell M. Morgan
Telson Survival

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