Survival Gear You’ll Be Amazed to Know You Actually Don’t Need

Survival gear is about quality over quantity, requires over wants, functionality over caprice. If you donat need it, you shouldnat have it. I learned this the hard way. As a kid, I remember getting my first survival kit. It was something inexpensive from the mall, with little more than a few tidbits. Nonetheless, I was overjoy by my little box of fishing hookings, candles, Morse code instructions and a plastic compass. One night, I decided to test out my survival skills by camping out in the forest behind my house. Tent in one hand, box in the other, I had childish fictions of catching fish and living like the king of the forest. Iad are totally off the grid, surviving off my own cunning.

By 9pm, I was back home, feeing a reheated dinner Iad missed a few hours earlier.

My first attempt to go it alone was a total failure. In component, it was inevitable; I was, after all, just a kid. My survival box was barely and help, either. With the exception of a small flashlight , none of the items in the box were particularly useful then, and surely not now. In fact, if thereas one thing Iave learned since that disappointing night, itas that having the right gear for the job is critical.

In the past, weave published plenty of articles on what various kinds of survival gear you should have. New preppers should check out this list of basic gear. If youare putting together your own bugout suitcase, this checklist is your best friend. On the other hand, itas all too easy to forget that while thereas plenty of things you do need in a survival situation, thereas just as much survival gear thatas completely unnecessary.

In this list, weall be looking at survival gear that shouldnat be in your basic survival kit or bug out. Some of these items might have once been a good notion, but are outdated by newer alternatives. Some were just bad ideas to begin with, or are just too cumbersome to be worth the effort. Whatever the reason, you donat require any of this stuff on you in a survival situation.

Survival books

Books are a survivalistas best friend, but even the closest of friends need time apart. As any bookworm knows, volumes can get pretty heavy, pretty quick. Indeed, the best place to store an important book isnat your rucksack a itas your intellect. So instead of stuffing your bugout container full of reading material, try to read and memorize your favorites long before SHTF. If thatas not possible, then transcript anything particularly important into a more compact notebook. Alternatively, consider investing in a Kindle or similar, which can allow you to carry a library in your pocket. The downside, of course, is the need to recharge every few days.

veggiefrog/ Flickr


Once upon a hour, every survival kit had to include a few candles. The rationale is simple: candles are lightweight, easy to light and donat rely on energy. They can be broken but still run, and you always know how much employ you have left. Today though, candles are far too anachronistic, and there are plenty of decent flashlights that will do just fine.

Ordinary, lousy matches

Another anachronism, matches simply arenat as great as most people think they are. Theyare unreliable, finicky and die the minute they get a drop-off of water on them. Waterproofed matches are much better, but personally Iad instead invest in a reliable waterproof lighter. Throw in a cheap backup lighter or two from the gas station, and youare good to go.


Iam always shocked by how many survivalists carry basic toiletries, like deodorant in particular. To be fair, I canat run a night without my toothpaste, so I guess we all have our weakness. Nonetheless, toiletries should never be considered a priority item. Realistically, a serious bugout suitcase can almost always go without any toiletries at all. If this sounds like a tall order, then at the very least consider investing in an all-in-one soap. One tried and true alternative is Dr. Bronneras, a multi-use Castile soap. It can be used as a toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, kitchen detergent and more.

Aluminum foil

Many survivalists swear by aluminum foil a and no, itas not to protect against the X-rays from Pluto. The notion is that aluminum foil can be used as an improvised bowl for boiling water , among other things. Itas become so popular, that aluminum foil is now a pretty common addition to many store-bought survival kits. In reality, this foil isnat especially dependable. For evidence of this, grab some foil right now, fold it up and carry it around in your pocket for the rest of the week. Odds are, itall come out a crumpled mess of shredded trash. Now ask yourself, would you really trust that foil with your life?

Canned food

I once knew an old British World War II veteran who swear by spam. aA can of spam and some crackers is all Iall need, a he used to say. Iall always respect him, but itas unarguable that canned goods simply canat be considered an appropriate food item for the modern survivalist. Dehydrated snacks are simply superior by almost every measure. Theyare lighter, easier to pack and can include far less garbage. Plus, theyare usually easier to split up into smaller rations if necessary.

For most outdoorspeople, dehydrated dinners usually boil down to either dirt cheap ramen or overpriced ready attained snacks from the hiking store. While both options are penalty , nothing beats a DIY dehydrated dinner. Dehydrating food is amazingly easy to do, and simple to preserve and store. If youare looking for recipes, check out our list of 15 easy things to stimulate with a dehydrator.

Ten thousand firearms

We all know that guy: heas got an AR-1 5 over one shoulder, an antique AK-4 7 over the other, and about half a dozen side-arms in his underwear. Presumably, he also has a trolley full of ammo in tow.

Donat be this guy.

Sometimes, less is more, and any hunter knows that guns are pretty damn heavy. If you havenat yet discovered this too, you are able to after a few hours of hiking with a rifle. Or, just watch this old MythBusters segment, which exists to remind us all that none of us will ever be the DOOM guy.

Backup items

Thereas a few backup tidbits that make sense: an extra lighter, a few spare pens, batteries and the like. However, you donat need backup versions of every piece of gear in your bugout container. As already mentioned, one gun is just fine; so is one stove, one filter, one everything. All of your gear should already be tried, tested and guaranteed to stand up to whatever you plan on throwing at it. The only things you should consider doubling up on are small items mentioned above, or anything that you severely suppose might violate. For instance, a spare torch or phone could make sense.


Okay, Iam not suggesting you go naked when SHTF. Instead, merely one set of dres should do you just fine. Fashion is barely a priority when we’re talking about survival gear, and every spare shirt is just another dead weight that they are able to a well, leave you dead. Only bringing whatever is suitable for your climate, and donat bother with that extra pair of socks.

Hollow handle knives

Just. Please. Donat.

In all seriousness, there are some good quality hollow knives out there. The Cold Steel Bushman is one example of a great knife that happens to have a hollow handle, but thatas not what weare talking about here. Instead, my gripe is with hollow knives where the handle is used as a receptacle for tidbits such as a compass or firestarter. It might sound like the perfect survival gear, but oh , how incorrect you are. These knives are finicky, easy to breach and create more problems than they solve. Just get a decent full tang blade, and call it a day.

Over-sized, chunky first aid kits

Those big metal boxes with red traverses on them that you see in office houses were never intended to be moved, let alone be used as survival gear. They sit on a wall, and mind their own business until a desk jockey gets a paper cut. In a survival situation, you want something lightweight. A standard cloth pack should be fine, while a Tupperware container or similar can offer a little more protection for its contents. Either style, keep it as small as is practicable, and avoid metal for now.

Anything thatas already on your multi-tool

Screw drivers, hammers and mini-saws are great, but you donat need them in a survival situation. Tools like these are heavy, and unnecessary 99 percent of the time. If you do, however, was of the view that you simply canat leave home without these items, then consider investing in a good quality multi-tool.

If your bugout purse looks like a toolkit, then youave done something wrong.

Cheap multi-tools/ Swiss Army imitations

Speaking of multi-tools, donat buy something that will break after a day or two. Ditto for overloaded Swiss Army knives. Admittedly, many survivalists totally multi-tools altogether , noting that so many are cheap, shoddy and unreliable. This isnat entirely true, and there are plenty of good quality multi-tools out there. Donat be stingy, and merely buy survival gear you can rely on.

Marco Verch/ Flickr

Plastic eating utensils

As an avid hiker, most people I know tend to favor plastic cutlery on the trail. It attains sense, with plastic being lightweight. New plastic products are always becoming ever more durable, and thereas a good mix of range. Having said that, plastic eating utensils are a waste of your money if used as survival gear. What you gain to its implementation of weight, you lose to its implementation of reliability. Sooner or later, your plastic spork is going to snap, and the plastic bowl will divide down the side. For me, the latter happened when it was full of steaming hot ramen a nice. Donat stimulate my mistake, and stick to metal.

Wire envisage

Good quality wire saws are okay, but sadly the market is overwhelmingly flooded with cheapies. As a piece of survival gear, they’re overrated. Almost every store-bought survival kit nowadays contains a wire find; most will snap within an hour of intense utilize. So unless youare a hitman planning on garroting person in a dimly illuminate apartment, just buy a knife.

Excessive cutlery

While weare on the topic of cutlery, letas talking here excessive eating items. You donat need a cook pot, bowl, fork, dining knife and spoonful. Instead, all you need is a solid cooking pot, a fork and the ability to slurp like a pro. Alternatively, Korean-style metal chopsticks work great, too. Theyare chronically underrated by us westerners, and are somewhat more versatile than a boring old fork.

Flare firearms

Unless youare planning on an extended vacation on a desert island, “youre supposed to” donat need a flare handgun in your backpack.

Flare guns are heavy, and almost always unneeded. If you really find yourself in a situation where you need to bring attention to yourself, merely use a small, handheld mirror. A mirror doesnat need to be loaded.


Some people like to use mallets for hammering in their tent peg. Putting aside the fact that a pure bugout shouldnat actually include a tent, thereas almost never a need for a mallet. Even if youare planning on bringing full camping gear for some reason, the mallet will still be a dead weight. Unless youare camping in a parking lot, tent pegs can easily be hammered down with a boulder. If youare having trouble with this, then you might have bigger problems.

Anything longer than your forearm

No list can encompass absolutely everything, and Iam sure Iave missed something here. So as a general rule, you should severely question carrying any bulky items. If itas longer than your forearm, taller than your knees or otherwise merely damnably heavy, then you might want to reconsider carrying it.

Your ukulele/ hipster guitar/ bongo drums/ pan pipes

Itas been a long day, and everyone is sitting around the fire, exhausted. Then, that hipster in your group starts strumming some tunes on his organic, fair-trade ukulele. Itas usually around that moment when everyone else is losing his will to live.

Want to know more about survival skills? You’ll love these articles!
15 Ways A Knife Can Save Your Life In A Survival Situation
Car Survival Kit: 12 Must Have Winter Survival Items You Need

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