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10 Survival Gear Items Every Hiker Should Carry

April 16, 2023 2 Comments

hiking survival kit

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Whether you’re just hiking a short distance or camping in a remote forest, you will want some nifty hiking survival gear to keep you safe. No matter how much you prepare for the hike, things like unexpected overnights, bad weather, and injuries can occur. Emergency situations can arise anywhere, at any time. It happens, even to people with a lot of experience. But, if you have brought a hiking survival kit with you, you can better your chances of making it out of danger alive.

Related: The Ultimate Thru-Hiking Gear List For Beginners

Unfortunately, most people have no idea what a hiking survival kit contains. So, to help you out, we’ve created a comprehensive list of 10 essential survival items and tools that every hiker should seriously consider having in their pack.

1. Food – UST Survival Rations

hiking survival kit

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This is a no-brainer. Planning out what to eat after an emergency situation is critical when it comes to survival in the wilderness. Most hikers always bring the tastiest foods for their trip outdoors without considering how long they will last. Instead, go for nourishing foods packed with high calorie.

We recommend the UST 5-Year Emergency Food Ration Bar for any outdoor trip. Each pack inside is capable of providing more than 2,400 calories in total. Hikers can also divide each pack into 6 parts for rationing purposes. The UST Survival Ration Bars eliminate the need to forage for food in situations where you are lost as it is full of vitamins and minerals required to maintain physical functions. It’s lightweight, easy to prepare and you can keep it in your backpack. If it’s a long trip then you should also bring some dried and freeze-dried foods.

2. Water – Lifestraw Universal

hiking survival kit


In any survival scenario, water is by far your most important resource. Staying hydrated is essential to keep your vital organs from failing. You can survive for weeks without food, but only a day or two without water. You need to carry at least 3 to 4 liters of water with you every time you go hiking. But the water you carry won’t last long and you’ll have to find other sources of clean drinkable water if you get lost.

Most of the time, water you find can be contaminated with nasty viruses and bacteria. So, we recommend bringing Lifestraw Universal Kit on your hike. You can use it to filter out contaminants from the water. This lightweight filter can remove 99.999999 percent of waterborne bacteria. It is made up of FDA approved materials and comes with a carry bag. You should also pack in some water disinfection tablets for extra precaution.

3. Emergency Sleeping Bag

hiking survival kit

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When it comes to survival in the wilderness, staying warm and safe from all natural elements is a great concern. Your body won’t be able to deal with cold temperatures, especially at night. If you have to stay overnight but don’t have something to keep you warm then the chances of you getting out alive are very slim.

We recommend bringing the TACT Bivvy Emergency Sleeping Bag on your hike. It’s a sleeping-bag style sack made from a material that can reflect back 90% of your body heat. If needed, the high visibility orange color of this bivvy can even draw the attention of rescuers. The bivvy is designed with sealed seam edges that will help you stay dry in the rain. It weighs only 3.8 ounces so you will have no trouble carrying it in your backpack.

4. Navigation

hiking survival kit

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Navigation tools like maps and compass might be the most important survival gear. Having a map and compass for navigation will really make a difference in your survival odds. One wrong turn is enough to make you go out of the main trail and get lost. It can happen to anyone. Even experienced hikers can lose their way if they’re not careful.

Finding your way once you get lost is going to be difficult if you don’t have a map. Trails can seem confusing and disorienting. You may even get further away from the hiking trail. It’s terrifying to have no way of knowing where you need to go once you get lost. And that’s the very reason, why you need to bring a map with you. Make sure that the map you buy is waterproof. But don’t forget to learn how to use a map and compass before the trip.

Related: How to use a compass and map?

5. Fire Starters

hiking survival kit

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Fire is one of the most important resources necessary for survival. You’ll be able to keep yourself warm and light up your surroundings. Fire can also be used to ward off dangerous wild animals. So, you need to bring a fire starter that is reliable in every situation. We recommend the Überleben Zünden Bushcraft Fire Steel which is designed to start a fire even in wet conditions. Lighters and matches have their limitations and most won’t work once they get wet. The Überleben Zünden Bushcraft Fire Steel features waterproofing and guarantees to last for 20,000 strikes. It’s made up of ferrocerium so you can even use it at high altitudes.

6. Headlamp

hiking survival kit

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You should always bring along a headlamp just in case even if it is only a day hike. A good headlamp is a handy tool to have in your hiking backpack. You never know when you might lose track of your time and surroundings. You may have to spend an entire night out in the woods. And you won’t be able to do much if you can’t see properly. Our eyes become pretty much useless at night. That is why headlamps are important. It will help you see in the dark and won’t keep your hands busy like a torchlight. Both your hands will be free to use for other important survival tasks.

7. First Aid Kit

hiking survival kit

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It is always advisable to bring first aid medical supplies on a hiking trip. A first aid kit is definitely a critical piece of gear for any outdoor adventure. You may get injured or find someone who needs medical help. So, we recommend you to bring the Surviveware Small First Aid Kit on your next hike.

It weighs only 1 pound and can fit in your backpack quite easily. Even though the size of it is small, this first aid kit holds 100 different medical items. The Surviveware Small First Aid Kit comes with a water-resistant carrying bag. But do take some time out to learn basic first aid medical treatments. Don’t use it unless you know what it does. You may make the situation worse.

8. Knife or Multi-tool

hiking survival kit

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In a long-term survival situation, having a multi-tool can be very helpful. A multi-tool is a survival gear that makes your life so much easier when you are out in the wilderness. We recommend purchasing a multi-tool that comes with a quality knife. For those who are new to outdoor survival kit, our 12pc Outdoor Survival Multi-tool Kit is a must-have! This multi-purpose survival gear kit provides essential tools for surviving in the wilderness during emergencies. It’s ideal for “quick fixes” and small casual problems.

9. Paracord

hiking survival kit

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A paracord is a valuable resource when it comes to wilderness survival. It can save your life if used properly. Having a paracord is like carrying around an amazing multi-purpose tool. There are lots of ways you can use it to your advantage in a survival situation.

You can use the inner threads as sutures to close a wound in an emergency. Paracord can also be used to make a stretcher in case your legs are injured and walking is not an option. If you’re not sure which one to buy, we recommend the Friendly Swede Trilobite Paracord Bracelet. It is strong enough to handle loads up to 531 pounds. It’s also covered by a lifetime warranty.

10. Whistle

hiking survival kit


It is important to bring a whistle which can signal other people about your location in case you ever get lost. These are rarely used, but nevertheless essential. The loud sound made by a whistle is very helpful in locating people who are lost. Rescuers can try to listen for sounds that are unusually high pitched in nature.

A whistle is an inexpensive but highly efficient hiking survival gear. We recommend buying the Fox 40 Sonik Blast whistle which is tested out to be one of the best available in the market. It is moisture-resistant and produces sounds up to 120 decibels. So, even people over a mile away can hear it. The Fox 40 Sonik Blast is clearly a must-have survival item for hikers.

Final Thoughts:

hiking survival kit

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All in all, these are our ten survival gears that every hiker should bring when they’re out. No matter what type of hiker you are, you need to bring these essential survival tools and gears with you. By carrying the right equipment, you will not just be able to take care of yourself in any survival situation but also help other hikers. Now that you have got the right survival gears, get out there and enjoy the outdoors.

What survival hiking gears do you use? Share your tips and tricks with us in the comments below!

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2 Responses


September 13, 2022

Very useful article. Tips are great… love that you included the link to the different gear and tools. Makes shopping easy!


April 15, 2022

Very useful article and reminder. Thank you!

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