Gear Shed

6 Essential Survival Tools

From camping expeditions to solo summit attempts, these six items could save your life in the backcountry. At the very least, they’ll make you sleep better at night.

Man-swag that could save your life.     Photo: Gabriel Amadeus/Flickr

Start a fire. Bunker down in a gale. Navigate through the backcountry. Those are all important survival skills that can save your life in an emergency—if you have the right gear in your kit.  

Casio G-Shock Rangeman GW9400NV-2

  Photo: gshock.com

For long treks, check out one of these solar-powered watches. You never need to change the battery, and the timepiece is durable enough to handle the elements: mud, shocks, and water (up to about 600 feet). There’s an electronic compass, altimeter, barometer, thermometer, and even a sunrise/sunset alert. $300, gshock.com

Gearward Fire Cord Waterproof Tinder

  Photo: gearward.com

In certain situations, this 15-foot spool of tinder could be a lifesaver. Cut each section into a two-inch strand, then use the material to get a flame started. The tinder, made from jute cord, is treated with a highly flammable but long-burning paraffin wax that also happens to be waterproof. A single spool can help start about 450 campfires. $10, gearward.com

Zippo 4-in-1 Woodsman

  Photo: zippo.com

The Woodsman is part saw, part hammer, part ax, and part stake puller. The 15-inch bow saw can cut through small trees, while the ax—concealed in a plastic compartment that doubles as a hammer—measures about five inches long. $80, zippo.com

NPower Solar Powersports Charger

  Photo: northerntool.com

Survival camping isn’t always about lighting a fire or building a shelter. For some, it might mean figuring out how to get their electronics running again. This 14-inch solar panel generates 12 volts of power from the sun and comes with battery clamps. The panel can constantly keep your battery charging, or you can use it for reviving a dead powersports battery. $25, northerntool.com

Mancrates Outdoor Survival Crate

  Photo: mancrates.com

Handpicked survival gear that comes in a large wooden crate you can throw in your trunk? Sign us up. This kit includes a combination shovel, ice pick, ax, and saw that’s perfect for clearing an area for your shelter. There’s a paracord knife, a survival blanket, glow sticks, a cooking pot and stove, a meal bar, and a small pack of beef jerky. The crate even comes with a crowbar. $99, mancrates.com

Eagle’s Nest Outfitters JungleNest Hammock

  Photo: eaglesnestoutfittersinc.com

I know what you're wondering. Do I really need a hammock to survive? Probably not, but we're sure you'll appreciate it on those rainy nights when you want to get off the wet ground. Made from 210-denier nylon, this hammock has a mesh tent cover to ward off bugs, and the seams are triple-stitched to ensure durability. Plus, the aluminum carabiners are strong enough to hold up to 400 pounds. The hammock, which is about ten feet long, comes with a stuffsack and weighs about a pound and a half. $100, eaglesnestoutfittersinc.com

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