Early man started out with nothing more than the advantages provided by opposable thumbs. Life was tough and no aspect of survival was easy or efficient. Even the most basic parts of staying alive required extensive effort and no small amount of luck. Eventually, our ancestors’ thinking process began to kick in and they slowly started to create, use and improve tools. The most basic tools, such as hammerstones and sharp stone flakes, came first and were followed by others that made life a little easier and less of a constant struggle.
While the mere existence of tools won’t increase the likelihood that one will survive an emergency, the skilled use of the tools in this collection can help you take care of more than just the rudimentary elements of survival. Modern materials and designs mean less time can be spent on satisfying the core necessities and more time can be dedicated to improving your overall situation.Benchmade 365 Outlast Folder
Rescue situations often require more than one “right tool,” so why not have all those tools in the same place? The 365 Outlast, with the new Benchmade OPTION lock, does just that. The strength and versatility of the AXIS lock on two blades gives you the confidence needed to get the job done. The S30V drop-point blade opens quickly with the traditional thumb stud and the thicker, fully serrated, opposing-bevel 3V blade uses the integrated O2 wrench hole for its deployment. The carbide-tipped glass breaker and integrated rescue hook round out this tool’s capabilities.
- Overall length: 8.41 inches
- Closed length: 4.82 inches
- Main blade: Drop point, CPM-S30V, 3.59 inches
- Secondary blade: fully serrated, CPM 3V
- Handle: G10
- Reversible tip-up/-down pocket clip
This compact and truly useful camping cutlery set includes separate knife, fork and spoon that are made of 440 stainless steel. The three pieces are connected to and separated from each other with an innovative fastener technology. Brass-colored bolsters combine with the dark brown laminated wooden handles to give this tool a classic appearance.
- Overall length: 7.4 inches
- Knife blade length: 3.3 inches
- Blade thickness: 0.10 inch
- Weight: 6.3 ounces
- Blade lock type: Slipjoint
The Yacare benefits from time spent in the field by TOPS’ GM Craig Powell, who designed this knife after seeing similar machetes in Costa Rica. The Yacare is made of 3/16-inch 1095 steel with TOPS’ Acid Rain finish with well-contoured handles. The design functions well as a medium to heavy machete, and with its all-belly blade, it bites deep into vines, thickets, and wood. The wide blade, high grind, and weight balance come together to create a machete that you’ll want to use when the need arises.
- Overall length: 15.5 inches
- Blade length: 10.25 inches
- Blade thickness: 0.190 inch
- Handles: Black Micarta
- Weight with ballistic nylon belt sheath: 25.4 ounces
On the trail, the most important meal of the day is the meal you are about to eat. Gerber’s ComplEAT tool has the bases covered with a fork, spoon, spatula and four-function multitool that nest for transport as well as snap together to convert into functional tongs. Cook and eat with solid utensils that won’t let you down.
- Spatula with serrated cutting edge
- Fork with long tines
- Deep-basin spoon
- All parts nest for storage
- Can be configured as tongs
- Bottle and can openers
Based on their popular Companion model, the Companion Spark is also a reliable tool that is easy to maintain. The blade is made with Swedish stainless and provides exceptional edge retention. The soft polymer handle offers a good grip, fits the hand well and still feels good after extended use. A high-quality firestarter stores conveniently in the handle and works well with the 90-degree blade spine.
- Overall length: 9.37 inches
- Blade length: 4.1 inches
- Blade steel: Swedish stainless
- Handle: Polymer/TPE
- Firestarter is built into the handle
- Total weight: 6.9 ounces
- Belt sheath: Black polymer
The Siege X is a handy combination lantern and flashlight. In lantern mode, it will illuminate a wide area with up to 325 lumens. Or, you can turn it on its side and activate the flashlight at the top for a directional beam of 300 lumens. It also has a 1.6-lumen red lantern function to save your night vision and battery. It uses an included USB-rechargeable 18650 battery or it will accept two CR123A batteries (not included). Can be placed on a level surface, carried or hung right side up or hung upside down.
- Flashlight mode has 40- and 300-lumen outputs
- Lantern mode has 30-, 170- and 325-lumen outputs
- Battery level indicator
- Water resistant to IPX7 standard
- Impact rated at 2 meters
- Height: 4.35 inches
- Weight: 7.2 ounces (with 18650 battery)
The Stiletto is about the size of a healthy folding knife but it performs like a champ when you need to throw some serious light on something. With two switches, you have the option of selecting from three outputs while the tactical switch gives you a choice between the high-output and strobe modes.
- Primary mode outputs: 5, 250 and 650 lumens
- Tactical mode outputs: 650 lumens and strobe
- Rechargeable lithium polymer battery included
- LED battery status indicator
- Polymer body/hard-anodized aluminum head
- Dimensions: 4.45×1.8 inches
- Weight: 2.8 ounces
When you take eye protection seriously, protect your vision with a brand that has supplied eyepro to the military for many years. The new Aspect from Wiley X doesn’t scream “tactical” while the shatterproof lenses meet ANSI High Velocity and Mass Impact standards and block 100 percent of harmful UVA/UVB radiation. The T-Shell coating resists scratches for longer service life and a zippered protective case, leash cord and cleaning cloth are included.
- Premium hinge springs
- ANSI Z87.1 safety rated
- Lightweight high wrap frame
- Thin temples with rubber tips
If you want to start your gardening early, protect plants from freezing or avoid mold from early fall rains, GROWPOD has you covered. The GROWPOD is easy to set up and take down and can be used for a short time or left up all year around. Based on Advanced Shelter Systems’ desert-tested frame and covered with heavy 350-gram ultra-clear greenhouse cover, this unit can stand up to strong wind, rain and sun. The GROWPOD is portable, so you can take it with you if you have to move to a new location.
- Can add up to 1.5 months to growing season
- Light and easy to store when not in use
- Reinforced at stress points
- Diameter: 11 feet
- Maximum height: 6 feet, 4 inches
Maximize your communication range with the 15-watt Midland MICROMOBILE MXT115 GMRS two-way radio. This radio can broadcast up to 50 miles, in unobstructed environments. It easily mounts in most vehicles and communicates with all GMRS radios. This radio features all eight repeater GMRS channels for massive transmission and reception ranges. The detachable antenna with a magnetic mount makes deployment quick and easy, especially in vehicles. The MXT115 has 15 high power GMRS channels and 142 privacy codes.
- NOAA weather alert
- USB outputs for charging mobile devices
- Multicolor LCD backlit display
- Silent operation
- 12-volt power cord with auto adapter
- Dimensions with bracket: 5×5.25×1 inches
Whether used for an auxiliary bug-out bag or a foray into the city, the Pygmy Falcon II is the way to go. The large main compartment handles bulky goods and a smaller exterior space organizes personal items or small electronics. Its unique Y-shaped compression strap aids in the bag’s structural integrity, and its exterior webbing is ideal for adding pouches and accessories.
- Shell fabric: 1,000 D ballistic nylon
- 3D breathable mesh padded back and shoulder straps
- 270-degree main compartment zipper
- Side mesh 32-ounce water bottle pockets
- Dimensions: 9.5x8x17.5 inches
The HE515CT is part of Holosun’s Elite product line. This Micro Red Dot sight features an all-titanium housing with fully-protected adjustment turrets. The battery housing is accessible without removing the sight from the mount and the built-in solar back-up system provides power even when the CR2032 battery is dead or missing. Using the Multi-Reticle System, the HE515CT allows the operator to switch from a 2 MOA dot to a 65 MOA circle dot with a push of a button. It has ten daylight and two night-vision-compatible settings and includes a kill flash, lens covers and a QD mount.
- Parallax-free with unlimited eye relief
- Multi-Reticle System (MRS)
- Shake Awake Technology
- CNC-machined Titanium Housing
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the November, 2019 print issue of American Survival Guide.