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13 Best Survival Camping Gear Items

When you need to get away from it all and spend some time in the woods, you need to be prepared. Before you head out for that next outdoor adventure, here are 13 camping survival products you should be sure to pack up and take with you.

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The Importance of a Camping Survival Kit

A basic survival kit is an essential must have item on any outdoor adventure to help keep you safe if disaster strikes. Each year, hundreds of people die while adventuring in the outdoors and thousands of search an rescue missions are performed. It is important to be well prepared with the right survival tools and gear to avoid disaster. Often, people aren’t sure exactly what they will need and why. You don’t need to be a skilled expert to keep safe while camping, here are 13 best survival items to be sure to include in your camping survival kit.

Mini Water Filtration System

Don’t get stuck in the woods without water. This mini water filtration system fits in the palm of your hand and weighs just 2 ounces. It removes 99.99999 percent of all bacteria and protozoa to ensure you won’t get sick on the trail.

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Fire Starter

Matches are great until they get wet. Having trusty fire starters that light even when wet will ensure you’ll survive the cold and fight off any nearby predators come nightfall. “It sparks up pretty well, and it’s lighter than my other flint and steel combination I own. I’m using this one from now on,” one buyer said.

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Small Hand Axe and Saw

Having a small hand axe or saw can make getting through a survival situation a bit easier, as you’ll have a way to cut down branches for firewood or make a shelter. This hand axe and saw is lightweight and comes with a plastic case. “Handled occasional chopping and sawing off branches up to an inch in diameter pretty well, no breakage of any kind. Reasonably sharp out of the box, easily sharpens with a file. Overall inexpensive starter axe/saw combo, functional as a light duty camping tool,” said one buyer.

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When the sun goes down, you’ll want to make sure you can see as complete darkness can make even the most experienced campers disoriented. This headlamp has five light settings and is water resistant and the battery lasts for days. It also allows you to go hands-free, unlike flashlights.

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While the GPS on your phone is a great tool, a compass is a great camping survival item to have on hand in case you need to help navigate your way home safely. This multifunctional military tactical compass features a fluorescent light so you can read data at night. It’s also waterproof and shakeproof. “I like this product for my uses of camping and hiking. I bought the camo design. I find that it is well-made and accurate. After exposure to light for a couple of minutes it will glow in the dark,” said one buyer.

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First Aid Kit

Never head into the woods without a first aid kit. A camping survival first aid kit should be light, but also contain items such as gauze, tweezers, antiseptic and aspirin or ibuprofen. This first aid kit contains 299 essential first aid supplies and comes in a clear plastic case.

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Waterproof Poncho

Make sure to include a waterproof poncho with your camping survival gear. This poncho will keep you dry and has a hood with a cord adjuster to keep rain out of your face. It’s lightweight so you can pack it in with the rest of your supplies. It also has eyelets on the hem for use as a shelter or ground sheet. “It’s breathable as a poncho and fairly easy to set up as a tarp if you know what you’re doing. Mine comes in at 8.4 ounces. Definitely a good choice for a budget rain gear/shelter combo,” said one buyer.

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Emergency Whistle

Include an emergency whistle in your camping survival gear in case you get lost. This whistle provides up to 150 decibels so it can reach much further than your voice alone. The package includes two whistles with key ring and two carabiners and lanyards. “Excellent quality, extremely lightweight and compact. Do not have to worry about getting damaged, very sturdy. Piercingly loud. I was also pleasantly surprised by the quality of the extras (carabiners and lanyards). The lanyards were better quality that much of what you find in stores,” said one buyer.

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Survival Cord/Rope

A cord or rope is an important survival item as it will help you climb steep trails, tie bundles of firewood and even drag any animal you’ve hunted and killed. This survival cord was originally designed at the request of special forces in Afghanistan and includes cords for fishing line, jute tinder to quickly start fires and a multi-purpose wire. “I have been teaching primitive and emergency survival skills for around 18 years now. The Titan Survivor cord is exactly what I have been looking for as it replaces four different items that I had to carry before,” said one buyer.

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Emergency Blanket

An emergency blanket will help you retain body heat in survival situations. This emergency blanket is waterproof, windproof and moistureproof to help you stay dry in damp, wet, rainy and cold environments. It can also work as a ground cover or sleeping bag liner. “From the natural disaster you didn’t expect, to the camping trip gone wrong, the multitude of various uses these blankets can provide is abundant to say the least. Love that they can be cut, arranged, and utilized to individual needs and scenario,” said one buyer.

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Signal Mirror

If you happen to get lost in the woods, a signal mirror will help search and rescue helicopters spot you. Store it in your first aid kit to protect it from getting damaged and so you can find it easily. This signal mirror aims reflected light flashes up to 25 miles away. “Nice little signal mirror. Accurate aiming. A little small for use as an actual mirror, but would work in a pinch,” said one buyer.

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Survival Knife

A reliable knife should be added to every camping survival kit. A survival knife will allow you to sharpen sticks, cut strings and skin any animals, if needed for food. This knife has a bottle opener and glass breaker, along with leather sheath for carrying. “Very impressive look and quality. The knife is sturdy, has good balance and good grip. The sheath made from real leather. The knife arrived with a razor sharp blade. Will come very handy during camping trips. Well worth the money,” said one buyer.

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Dry Backpack

Carry all your camping survival gear items in a dry backpack. This model is waterproof and can be used as a flotation device and to keep clothing and gear dry. It is the perfect 40L (not too big, not too small) size and has six pouches to let you store three days of food and water, along with any other items you may need.

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Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.