Top 5 Survival Tools to Take Camping

Even the most experienced campers have to make sure they’re properly prepared for any eventuality. You’re personal survival skills will only take you so far when you’re far from home and faced with a quick change in your fortunes.

If for example the weather takes a turn for the worst or a member of your camping party happens to take a nasty fall you’ll probably need more than just your knowledge of how to survive in adverse conditions.

In the movies the hero always finds a way out of a pickle with just the clothes on their back and an uncanny knowledge of how to survive.

There are more than a few out there that think that they could be that guy if faced with no other choice, but that’s a theory that no one should ever test in our humble opinion. The best survivalists prefer to bring the tools they may need with them rather than leaving anything to chance.

When we’re going to camping there’s only so much that we can pack with us – that’s just the simple truth. The trick is to make sure you have all the essential gear with you without weighing your pack down so much that it’s virtually impossible to carry.

We believe that there are 5 essential survival tools that you should always take with you on a camping trip and you’ll find them revealed below.

Medical Kit

medical kit

The first thing I pack when I’m heading out on a camping trip is a first aid kit. I’ve created my own that has all of the essentials in a nice compact package, but there are good ones available for purchase in camping stores that are just as compact.

When you choose one make sure it has some essential items such as bandages, band aids, burn ointment, disinfectant for cleaning out wounds, and some Steri-Strips are a good idea as well. There’s a good chance you may never need to use your medical kit, but an open wound can quickly become infected if not cleaned out properly.

Most veteran campers have some stories about injuries that have occurred along the way. They happen often enough that you need to be prepared for them.

Survival Knife

survival knife

A good survival knife is another item that should always be in your backpack in our opinion.

It never seizes to amaze me though how many hikers and campers don’t take this simple yet essential piece of survival gear with them. This isn’t because they’ve forgotten it at home, but rather because they simply don’t deem it essential. That’s a mistake as far as we’re concerned.

You don’t have to take a large knife with you, but you should have one in some form or another. I can’t count the number of times I’ve needed a sharp edge for some essential task while camping and my survival knife has always been there to save the day.  

They’re great for cutting rope into useable lengths, opening food packets, and splitting wood for a fire in a pinch. Perhaps you could find a way to do all of these things without a knife, but why try?



If you’re going camping far away from civilization you should always pack a compass. There are campers these days that just don’t think this is necessary as their smartphones are all equipped with a built-in compass. That’s all well and good, but what about when the battery runs out?

A compass that happens to be part of a survival watch is a good option as well, but I prefer an old fashioned standalone magnetic compass that doesn’t require any kind of power source. As long as you’ve taken the time to properly calibrate one of these to true north you should be able to find your bearings quickly and easily.



A compass is great, but it will only tell you the direction in which you’re travelling – it can’t tell you how far you are from your destination. This is where a good map of the terrain comes in.

Again, don’t rely on your technology for something like this. That map on your iPhone won’t do you a lot of good if you forgot to charge the thing before you left home. A detailed paper map of the area is a much better option.

Let’s say for example you come to a fork in a river that’s clearly marked on your map – you know have your exact bearings and with a little bit of help from your compass you should be able to find your way back to civilization.

Lighter or Matches


As a child I had the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks at a summer camp and it was one of the best times of our lives. We learned a lot of cool things about nature and some important survival skills.

One of those things was how to start a fire the same way early humans did thousands of years ago when there was no such thing as lighters or matches. This was a good skill to learn and I’m glad I had the opportunity, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy to head out on a comping trip without any matches or a lighter.

Why make things harder on yourself than they need to be? I’d rather have these modern tools with me and if for some reason they get wet or damaged then I’ll worry about testing those skills I learned all those years ago.

Final Thoughts

 Well there you have it. Our list of 5 essential survival tools you should take with you on every camping trip. The best thing is that all of these items are relatively compact and won’t take up a great deal of room in your pack.

There are certainly other items that you may feel are just as important and that’s an individual judgement call. We simply believe that these are 5 items you should never leave behind if you want to give yourself a better chance of survival in adverse conditions.