I’ve read dozens, and I mean dozens, of lists telling me everything I need to have with me to survive. Usually there are no surprises. I know a flashlight, pocket knife, and water are musts, but every now and then I come across something that makes me say, “a-ha!” Here are thirteen of my favorites. (NOTE: We’ve updated this list just a bit from an earlier version and added a few suggestions from readers.)
- Lightsticks. You can pick up one of these every time you wander into a Home Depot. They don’t need batteries and can be hung around the neck with a string making it easier to spot everyone in your party when it gets dark. An alternative is the UVPaqlite, which never needs batteries.
- Wool socks and sweaters. People have literally frozen to death wearing their layers of cotton knit tees and hoodies. For true survival conditions, nothing beats wool.
- Upholstery needles and thread. What if a sleeping bag or tent rips and you have no way of mending it?
- Roll of quarters. Handy for phone calls, although payphones aren’t as common as they used to be, and laundromats, but if you put it in a sock and wield it like a sling, you have a handy-dandy weapon! If the quarters are pre-1965 and 90% silver, you have a whole new type of currency.
- Pencils. Forget the pens. They can run out of ink and freeze in cold weather. With a pocket knife, you’ll always have a sharp pencil.
- Super glue. Professional hockey players always have this on hand to seal up small cuts, and the glue itself is harmless. Unless you get it in your eye, like I did. But that’s a story for a different type of post!
- Rubber bands. String just doesn’t cut it when what you really need is a rubber band
- Tampons in a cardboard tube. Did you know a tampon can be fit snugly into a bullet wound? Guys on the battlefield carry these with them. Just be aware that the blood in the wound will begin to clot. Leave it to a medical professional to remove the tampon from the wound. They’re also good for kindling.
- Paracord belt. It’s an accessory and survival tool in one!
- Waterproof wrist watch. Makes perfect sense. I had just never thought of it.
- Animal repellant trash bags. Use these when you’re camping and animals will stay the heck away from your trash.
- Safety pins.
- Dental floss. Besides helping to keep your teeth clean, it makes sturdy thread for mending.
Suggestions from readers? There are plenty! Take a look at all the comments below. Here are a few that we wanted to add to this list.
- A pair of pantihose to wear as an extra layer for warmth, reduce friction to avoid blisters and work as an emergency water filter for removing debris (not bacteria or other microbials). – Shadekat
- Vet wrap to use to hold a bandage or anything else in place. – Mona Baird
- Playing cards. – SgtRock
- One heavy-duty black trash bag for multiple uses, including an emergency shelter or rain poncho. – SgtRock