What Do You Need To Survive In The Wild? ( Top 29 Items )

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Your main problem with surviving in the wild will probably be related to either food or water, although you can carry as much food and water as you possibly can, but sooner or later you will run out of them. At that point, you will have to rely on your skills and your tools to survive for longer periods of time.

Surviving in the wild can be fairly difficult for people who do not have experience or the necessary survival skills. A lot of people find comfort in the idea that they have a lot of gear, but the problem is that most people will have a difficult time surviving in the wild for longer periods of time, even if they do have all the items which they need to survive. You have probably seen some survivalist shows where the start will have to survive with just a couple of tools.

In the wilderness getting fresh water should be your priority, the average person can only survive without water for around 3-4 days. Even if you find a local stream you still have to filter it as it may contain dangerous parasites and bacteria, my personal recommendation is to get a high-quality water filter that lets you drink right out of a stream Click here to check it out on Amazon.com
On TV this might seem fairly simple and even easy, but what they do not tell you in these survivalist shows that how well prepared mentally the star of the show is, and how much they do know about the area. Most people even with all the necessary items for survival will struggle, on the other hand, there will be people who will thrive with something as basic as a knife and a fire-starting kit. All the items which you would want to carry into the wild will aid you in surviving.

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They will make your life a lot easier, but if you do not have the necessary knowledge on how to find water, build a shelter, or even start a fire then no amount of gear will help you. Believe it or not but a lot of people think that they will simply ration their food and water so it will last a long time, while this is a good idea, but the problem is that you will use a lot more food and water, especially if you are moving a lot at some point you will have to find fresh water and food.

A lot of people will make lists of 20 things you need to survive in the wild or 10 things you need to survive, these are just arbitrary numbers and they should not be taken seriously, your goal is to have enough items which will ensure that you have the necessary tools and items to survive for longer periods of time even if thing go wrong, so bring with you as many items as you need.

If you have the skills on how you can survive then your gear will help you out and make surviving a lot easier. There are people who actually are able to survive in the wilderness without any gear or tools, if you want to know how to survive in the wilderness with nothing then check out my recent article How to survive in the wilderness without supplies? ( In 6 Steps ).

What Do You Need To Survive In The Wild?

When venturing into the wild, several essential items are crucial for survival. First and foremost, water is vital to prevent dehydration, so carrying a water container or having the means to collect and purify water is essential. Next, shelter is crucial to protect against harsh weather conditions, so a sturdy tent, tarp, or at least a reliable means of constructing shelter is necessary. Fire-starting tools, such as waterproof matches or a lighter, are indispensable for warmth, cooking, and signaling for help. A reliable knife is a versatile tool for various tasks like cutting branches, preparing food, and self-defense.

Adequate food supplies, such as energy bars, dried fruits, or canned goods, provide sustenance when foraging opportunities are limited. Navigation tools, including a map, compass, or GPS device, are vital for finding your way. Basic first aid supplies, including bandages, antiseptic, and pain relievers, help treat injuries and alleviate discomfort. Finally, appropriate clothing, including layers for warmth, rain gear, and sturdy footwear, is crucial for protection and comfort. While these items are important, knowledge, skills, and a calm mindset are equally crucial for survival in the wild.

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The first thing you will need to survive in the wild is a shelter, this can be a simple tent or a makeshift shelter. Just keep in mind that during nighttime the temperatures will drop and it will get fairly cold, even during the summer. Your first goal should be to shelter yourself from the elements, no point in having some fancy tactical flashlight when you do not have a tent or you lack the skills to make a shelter.

Sleeping bag

Surviving in the wild will be a challenge, but you can make things a lot easier or difficult for yourself. My personal recommendation is to get a well-insulated sleeping bag, even if it is summer. Way too often people will sleep in close contact with the ground, this way they will lose a lot of body heat which might end up in developing hypothermia, and yes this can also happen during the summertime. If you are not a fan of sleeping bags then check out my recent article ( Top 19 ) Alternatives to sleeping bags.

Cooking pot

Most people who have experience in living off the land in remote areas will tell you that a cooking pot is priceless. Not only you can use it to cook food, and boil water but you can also use it to get water. In addition to this, you will also use your cooking pot to brew tea, which will be extremely useful during the wintertime.

Water filter

Sooner or later you will have to find more water, the problem is that water from streams might be contaminated with dangerous bacteria and parasites. Although the water might look clean and even taste good, you can never know if upstream there is a rotting animal in the stream.  Do not confuse a water filter with a water purification system, there are two different things, once you filter your water, it is still a good idea to boil the water as water filters will not be able to filter out viruses. If you are a fan of off grid living then you will love these off grid TV shows, for more information check out my recent article ( Top 29 ) Best off grid tv shows.


If you want to know how to survive in the wild, then you will have to not only have a good axe but also how to use it. Basically, when it comes to survival there are two types of axes that you should know, a small axe which is good for chopping off small wood and building shelter and it has a fairly narrow head, the second type of axe is a larger axe which has a fairly broad head, this is for splitting logs. My recommendation is to go with a smaller axe as it is more versatile and make sure that it is cast from iron and not welded as you might break them at the welding point sooner or later.

Fixed blade knife

Most survival “experts” will recommend you get some fancy tactical knife that probably has 20 plus different items on them, most of them useless. Surviving in the wild is hard work and you better have a good fixed-blade knife. I do not recommend folding knives as these have an inherent weak point in the midsection, right where all the pressure will go if you force it.

Fire starting kit

There are a lot of fire-starting kits that you can find online, most of them are fairly simple to use and they do work. Just as a backup plan, you should also know how to start a fire without using any tools or how to get a fire started with wet wood, for more information check out my recent article How to start a fire with wet wood? ( Fast & Easy ).

Finding water in the wild

You should get as much water as possible, my personal recommendation is either to get foldable water bottles or water bladders, as these will not occupy so much space in your backpack. Plan accordingly and have enough water for at least 72 hours, even if your trip into the wild only lasts for one or two days.

Finding food in the wild

When it comes to food you should avoid food items that have a short shelf life, otherwise, you might end up having a lot of rotten food. In addition to this also get some food bars, these taste fairly bad but have a lot of calories, and you will use these in case of an emergency.


If you are planning to build your own shelter then it is a good idea to have a saw with you. As long as you do not plan on using the saw on taking down trees then you could use a folding saw as it doesn’t occupy so much space.


At first, you will probably have no idea what to use the paracord for, but the longer you stay in the wild the more useful it will become, from building a shelter to making traps.

Hand-cranked radio

You will probably not have a good signal in the wild, but you will have signal in some elevated places like on top of a hill, use this to gather information about the local weather and to relax.

Map of the local area

No matter where you go, you should always have a map of the local area with you. Do not rely on your smartphone as you will not be able to access the local map without the internet, and chances to have internet in the wild are fairly slim.


Without a compass, you might get lost fairly easily, especially in a dense forest, as a backup plan you should also learn how to know where is North, which I have described in detail in the first article which I mentioned in this post.


You can either use a poncho or a raincoat, to protect yourself from the rain. The main reason why I recommend a poncho instead of a raincoat is that with some rope you will be able to make a small shelter with a poncho extremely fast, like when you have a small fire and it has started to rain.


If your trip takes you into an arid area, then it is a good idea to get some sunblock, in some situations, this will be extremely necessary.

First aid kit

Depending on how long you will stay in the wild, sooner or later you will have small cuts and bruises all over your hand. Some first aid kits will have a lot of useless junk in them, just so that they can say that they have over 200 items, you will have to filter out most of the junk as only a fraction of them will actually be useful.

Hand-cranked or solar phone chargers

It is no guarantee that you will have a signal in the wild, but what is guaranteed is that you will not find a socket in a tree to charge up your phone. When it comes to phone chargers you can either use a hand-cranked charger or a solar charger, but you would be better off with a hand-cranked charger as it is more reliable.

Work gloves

If you are not used to getting your hands dirty and working with your hands then it is extremely important to get some work gloves, without it you will get a lot of small cuts and bruises.

Insect repellent

Depending on the area where you are going and during what period of time you are going, you might want to think of getting some insect repellant, especially against mosquitos.

Filament line with hooks

You do not need fancy fishing gear to be able to catch some fish, all you need is some fishing line and some hooks, as for the bait you can use almost anything that you will find in the wild.

Survival guide

There are a lot of survival guides on the market, try to find a good pocket-sized one that also comes with illustrations to make it easier for you.


Sometimes due to the weather conditions, you will have to make a small hole in which you will make your fire, although during summertime you can do this with your axe or even knife, but if the ground is frozen then you will need a shovel.


Not a lot of people bring utensils with them, but they will make your life a little easier.


Nights will get extremely dark in the wilderness, especially if there are clouds present. Either get a hand-cranked flashlight or get a normal waterproof flashlight and get some batteries, the solar rechargeable flashlights are simply the best although this will depend on the manufacturer.

Edible wild plants guide

If you run out of food, you will have to know what kind of plants are edible, most regions will have such a guide at their local book store, just make sure to get one that is about the local edible wild plants.

Extra clothes

No matter how hot the climate is, you will still need some extra clothes, who knows you might get wet and at that point, it would be a good idea to change to dry clothes. In addition to this if you are planning to stay for a longer time in the wild, then it is a good idea to rotate your clothes.


In case things go wrong and you get lost, you will probably start shouting if you see some people in the distance, but if you are malnourished and dehydrated you will find it extremely difficult to shout loud enough so that they hear you. In this case, it is a good idea to have a whistle as it doesn’t take a lot of effort to make a lot of noise with a whistle.


Before going into the wilderness, make sure that you learn as much about the local flora and fauna as you can. In addition to this try to look at weather forecasts also and if the area where you are going is prone to natural disasters like wildfires or floods.

Personal hygiene items

Most people will neglect their personal hygiene when it comes to survival in the wilderness, but this might get them in a lot of trouble later down the line. Make sure you have the necessary items to wash your teeth, body, and clothes, and to wipe where the sun doesn’t shine. If you are wondering what are your options for cleaning yourself without a shower then check out my recent article How to get clean without a shower ( Top 10 Options ).

Key Takeaways

  • Having a sturdy shelter to protect yourself from the elements is crucial. It can be a tent, tarp, or a well-constructed natural shelter using branches, leaves, and other materials available in the environment.
  • Access to clean drinking water is essential for survival. Learn how to find and purify water from natural sources such as rivers, streams, or by collecting rainwater. Water filtration or purification methods like boiling, using water filters, or chemical treatments are vital.
  • Understanding basic foraging and hunting skills can help you find food in the wild. Learn to identify edible plants, berries, and nuts, as well as safe methods for trapping small game or fishing. Carrying emergency food supplies or a basic fishing kit can also be beneficial.