Survival tools for your go bag: WHAT you should have and WHY
04/25/2024 // Olivia Cook // Views

Equipping yourself with the right tools and knowledge significantly increases your chances of overcoming challenges and returning home safely from the outdoors or during emergencies or disasters. Here is a short list of survival tools that you can conveniently stash in your day pack or everyday carry (EDC) and in your larger emergency survival go bag.

Everyday carry (EDC)

Items in EDCs can vary based on individual preferences, lifestyle and specific needs, but there are several common items that people often include in their EDC kits:

  • Wallet – essential for carrying cash (in different denominations), identification cards, credit/debit cards and others
  • Keys – including house keys, car keys and any other keys regularly used throughout the day
  • Cellular or smartphone – for communication, navigation, accessing apps and various other functions
  • Pocket knife or multitool – handy for everyday tasks, such as opening packages, cutting cords, minor repairs, etc.
  • Compact flashlight or key chain light– to illuminate dark spaces or find items in low-light conditions
  • Tactical pen and notebook – useful for jotting down notes to remember, making lists or capturing ideas on the go. A tactical pen can also serve as a self-defense weapon. Some tactical pens come with a glass-breaking blunt end and extra-sharp ballpoint, which can be used to fend off an attacker.
  • Handkerchief, kerchief, scarf or tissues – for wiping hands, cleaning surfaces or handling unexpected spills, etc.
  • Personal defense items – depending on local regulations and personal preference, you can include items such as pepper spray, a stun gun or a self-defense keychain in your EDC. (Related: How to make homemade pepper spray for self-protection.)
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  • Chap stick or lip balm – great for providing moisture and protection for your lips, especially in dry or cold climates. There are over 20 survival uses for chap stick.
  • First aid supplies – include necessary medications for managing health conditions and addressing emergency health issues, antiseptic wipes or sprays, adhesive bandages, etc.
  • Portable charger (power bank) – to ensure your devices stay powered throughout the day
  • Sunglasses – to protect your eyes from UV rays and glare while outdoors
  • High-energy snacks – include trail mixes of dried fruits and nuts, dark chocolate, raisins and other dried fruits and veggies, homemade energy bites, cheese and whole-grain crackers, etc.
  • Emergency whistle – audible signaling device for alerting when you're in distress; useful for aiding in search and rescue efforts
  • Compact umbrella, poncho or raincoat – items that protect from sun or rain when outdoors

Fire starting implements

Tools such as waterproof matches, lighters and ferrocerium rods are essential for preppers, especially when bugging out. They can help you build a fire for warmth, cooking, signaling or maintaining morale during emergencies.

First aid and medical kit

A comprehensive and customized medical kit contains bandages in different sizes, antiseptic wipes, additional over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, gauze pads, adhesive tapes, tweezers and personal medications. First aid kits are crucial for promptly addressing injuries and illnesses, potentially preventing complications and improving survival outcomes.

Solar or rechargeable battery-operated LED lights

Illumination tools like backup flashlights, headlamps, torches and glowsticks are indispensable for providing visibility during low-light conditions or emergencies. They are also useful for navigation, signaling and facilitating tasks in the dark.


These versatile gadgets, equipped with various functions, offer compact and convenient solutions for a wide range of tasks, including self-defense, shelter-building, food foraging, hunting, fishing, repairs, etc. Multi-tools can bolster your preparedness and adaptability in survival situations.

Navigational implements

Tools like compasses, GPS devices, maps, personal locator beacons, etc. are essential for determining direction and location. They can help prevent you from getting lost and are useful for route planning and facilitating search and rescue efforts.

Paracord and other cordages

High-strength, lightweight and versatile ropes like paracord are invaluable for securing gear, constructing shelters, creating makeshift tools and performing various other tasks. They can also enhance your adaptability and resourcefulness in survival scenarios.

Signal mirror and other self-rescue gear

A lightweight and reflective signal mirror is essential for attracting the attention of rescuers or passing aircraft over long distances. It also offers a non-verbal means of signaling for help in times of emergency.

Space blanket

Compact and reflective in design, space blankets are indispensable for retaining body heat, providing shelter and preventing hypothermia in cold or wet conditions.

Water filtration and purification implements

Water filtration and purification tools are essential for obtaining safe drinking water from natural sources. They can help keep you hydrated and prevent waterborne illnesses in survival situations.

Bartering items

Having items of value that can be used for bartering is an advantage, especially in scenarios where traditional currency has lost its worth and resources are scarce. Items such as alcohol, cigarettes, food items with long shelf lives (e.g., MREs), water purification tablets, batteries and personal hygiene products can be used to trade with others for goods or services you may need.

Preparedness is key to surviving emergency situations. Equip yourself with the right tools and knowledge to increase your chances of overcoming challenges and surviving when SHTF .

Watch this video about everyday carry, first line gear.

This video is from the PreppedInKansas channel on

More related stories:

These important items deserve a place in every bug-out bag.

What’s in YOUR bug out bag? 10 Must-have multi-purpose survival tools.

Top 12 NECESSARY items for survival when SHTF.

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