Space is a valuable commodity to a prepper or survival enthusiast – there always seems to be not enough. To combat this dilemma when stocking your bug-out bag, hidden cache or home survival kit, it’s wise to make use of the plethora of tools on the market today that include a special benefit: extra survival gear hidden within!
Unnoticed at first glance, many survival gear products incorporate added utilities and equipment in discreet locations within the item. From knives hidden in handles of shovels or axes, to tinder compartments integrated into the frame of a tool, to saw blades that fold out from seemingly nowhere, this hidden gear is valuable and space-saving. Additionally, there are numerous hats, belts and other items that feature secret compartments to store your valuables or micro survival kits.
Take advantage of these multi-use items to expand your capabilities while reducing your load’s weight and volume, freeing your hands of excess gear and utilizing the concept that less can be, without a doubt, more!Survive Outdoors Longer Phoenix
At first glance, you’ll notice the retractable flint that folds out from the odd-shaped handle so you may think firestarter. True, but upon further examination you will find a multi-tool knife that acts as a striker, an integrated signal whistle, a bright LED flashlight and a secret compartment that holds dry tinder. Clip this little wonder to your belt or pack or drop it in a pocket and you’re good to tackle multiple survival tasks.
- Retractable flint folds easily when not in use
- Hidden fixed-blade knife with multiple-use features
- Watertight compartment holds tinder
- Size: 9.2 x 7.5 x 1.46 inches
With a hardy handle for a solid grip and plenty of magnesium, you’ll be starting fire after fire with relative ease. The included lanyard holds a striker with a mini ruler engraved on it, and the odd-shaped cutout is actually a bottle opener, so when the work is done, you’re able to crack open a cold one.
- Creates enough sparks for over 100 fires
- Large, oversized handle offers a firm hold
- Burns hot- over 5,400 degrees (F)
- Size: 2.75 x 1.125 x 6.5 inches
MSRP: $11.99Camillus Carnivore Inject Machete
What can this multi-role machete do? It can gut, cut, dig, saw and chisel through most material with ease. Its titanium-bonded blade treatment ensures durability and performance, while its sure-grip handle allows you to maintain control as you apply the blade’s razor-sharp cutting power. Need some fine trimming too? The Carnivore has you covered with a mini knife conveniently nested next to the tang within its big brother’s handle. Clear hunting lanes or dress your harvest with this great combo tool.
- Overall length: 18 inches
- Main blade length: 12 inches
- Mini knife length: 5 inches
- Blade steel: 420 stainless
MSRP: $39.99Camillus CAMTRAX 3-in-1 Hatchet
Sometimes you need the precision of a saw, while other times, hacking a small log or sapling is the way to go. With the CAMTRAX, you have both. Sporting a 2.75-inch blade, this hatchet is a lifesaver in the backwoods for chopping wood fast. With a quick-flip opening, a 7-inch locking saw blade is ready to pick up where the hatchet leaves off. The third valuable feature is a solid hammer head, ideal for pounding tent stakes or breaking through nearly any hard material.
- Overall length: 12 inches
- Saw blade: 7 inches
- 2.75-inch titanium-bonded treated blade
- Handle and sheath material: Glass-filled nylon
- Sheath has a reversible belt clip and bonus bottle opener
MSRP: $47.98Camillus Catapult Slingshot
A slingshot makes a great hunting weapon when under survival conditions. The Camillus slingshot takes that to the next level and then some. The Catapult features heavy-duty power bands, collapsible arms and an ergonomic handle to provide a firm grip. However, when you need more, it has more! A compass within the handle keeps you on track, a hidden compartment inside holds your steel ball ammo and a firestarter is ready when you need a spark. Even a signal whistle is included. Truly a Jack-of-all-trades.
- Integrated survival tools throughout slingshot body
- Folding arms for easy storage and carry
- Stainless steel and rubber construction handle
- Perfect for right- and left-handed people
MSRP: $36.98Schrade Extreme Survival Hollow Handle Knife
This knife is a workhorse! From its solid steel construction, to its long cutting edge to its textured handle, this survival knife will be your best friend when an emergency strikes. But it’s not only a valuable knife…it’s a storage center for small life-saving gear. The knife’s hollow and watertight handle can hold matches, a small first aid or fishing kit, water purification tablets or other small items you need to keep handy.
- Overall length: 10.3 inches
- Blade length: 5.6 inches
- One-piece SAE-1070 high carbon steel construction
- 7-piece magnetic hex bit kit included
- Includes ballistic nylon sheath
URL BitBrands.comGerber Gear E-Tool
When you need to get down ‘n’ dirty, you need a tough tool by your side. That is exactly the place for Gerber’s military-grade E-Tool. With a carbon steel shovel head and a durable glass-filled nylon handle, this shovel extracts earth at a rapid pace. But, it’s more than a simple scooper. When the shovel head is folded back a hard-core pick is exposed for tough terrain or compacted dirt that needs extra effort. A serrated edge on the shovel is also a handy integrated feature, useful to cut small branches and pesky roots.
- Overall length: 23.75 inches
- Carbon steel shovel head
- Anodized aluminum shaft
- Durable, glass-filled nylon handle
- Weight: 2 pounds, 5.3 ounces
- Compact, tri-fold design
URL GerberGear.comGerber Gear Gator Combo Axe
With a shortened handle and a powerful, sharp head, this axe cleaves its way through any pile of wood in its path. Its textured handle and lanyard hole combine to ensure this axe will stay put in your grip. Stored inside the handle is an added bonus, a fixed-blade knife that comes in handy when precision or more detailed cutting and other camp chores need attention. The ultimate slice ‘n’ dice duo!
- Overall length: 8.75 inches
- Overall knife length: 7 inches
- Forged steel ax head
- Durable Gator-grip textured handle
- Weight: 1 pound, 7.6 ounces
URL GerberGear.comIunio Portable Trowel Shovel
Part shovel, part trowel and definitely full of surprises. What appears to be a simple digging tool is far more than it seems. Incorporated within its stainless steel design are a saw, ruler, hex wrench and a nail extractor and 110 inches of super-strong paracord wrapped around the handle. The tool can be used as a substitute tent spike or a tie-down for your tarp shelter. The belt-friendly carrying pouch ensures this valuable tool will always be nearby.
- Dimensions: 10.43 x 2.87 inches
- Constructed of high-strength stainless steel
- Ideal for camping, foraging and gardening
- Includes carry pouch with belt loop
- Weight: 6.8 ounces
URL Iuniores.comCold Steel Survival Edge Knife
This knife is tough! From its stainless steel blade to its polypropylene handle, durability is the name of the game here. However, a sharp blade is only the tip of the iceberg. Inside the hollow handle, there is a mini survival kit that includes a ceramic sharpening rod, fish hooks and sinkers, wire, fishing line, a compass, a sewing kit and safety pins. Need to add more? No problem, there is room to spare. A weatherproof, super-light sheath rounds out this abundant package.
- Overall length: 9.25 inches
- Blade length: 5 inches
- Blade steel: German 4116 stainless cryo quenched
- Includes mini survival kit
- Weatherproof hard sheath with ferro rod
- Weight: 2.8 ounces (empty)
URL ColdSteel.comZippo AxeSaw
As its name implies, the Axesaw comprises a wood saw and durable axe. Equipped with a mallet head, this three-in-one tool carries obvious benefits. The 15-inch steel saw blade rides inside the axe handle until it’s needed. This tool is truly a triple threat when tackling the outdoors. Removable head cover protects user when the saw is deployed.
- Overall length: 20.3 inches
- 420 stainless steel axe head with 5-inch blade
- Rust and corrosion protected for long-time use
- Weight: 2.6 pounds
URL Zippo.comSlideBelts Survival Belt 2.0
Nowhere else has classic style and high functionality merged to create the perfect accessory for any outing or adventure. This belt looks good and does the job a belt should, while concealing some practical secrets. From its buckle that features a bottle opener, knife, flashlight and fire-striker to its high-tensile strength strap that is designed and built to be tough as nails in nearly any environment, this belt will serve you well.
- Internal webbing provides nearly 1,500 PSI of tensile strength
- Continuous-adjustment notches provide the perfect fit
- Heat-resistant up to 214 degrees (F) before softening
- Fits up to 48-inch waist
- Available in multiple colors
URL SlideBelts.comVictorinox SwissCard Lite
Need a pocket magnifying glass? This little unit has it, and it also holds much more. Contained within its credit-card-size shell are over a dozen useful tools for everyday tasks. From tweezers to scissors, screwdrivers, a small blade and a pen, this little toolkit will probably get the job done, just when you think you don’t have something on you. It even includes a small LED light for emergencies.
- Size: 3.2 x 2.1 x 0.2 inches
- Integrated LED flashlight
- 13 useful tools
- Fits easily in most wallets
- Weight: 0.9 ounce
URL SwissArmy.comWazoo Survival Gear Cache Belt
Whether you’re hiking through the great outdoors, exploring an urban avenue or having dinner with a friend, the Cache belt is there when you need it. Featuring a hook-and-loop closure system and plenty of room for goodies, it will store whatever suits your needs, including cash, knives, bandages, matches, cordage and more. Built tough to withstand the elements and heavy repeated use, this belt will hold up longer than you will!
Top-loading Velcro closure
Holds everyday items and/or survival gear
Ranger band tail keeper resists cracking
Mil-Spec webbing exceeds 2,700-pound break test
Fit up to 52-inch waist
MSRP: Starting at $45Smith’s Pocket Pal X2 Sharpener & Outdoor Tool
This compact sharpener by itself is a great tool for an outdoorsman. However, contained within its durable case are nearly a half-dozen additional tools. From a flashlight, to a firestarter, to a compass, signal whistle and more, you’ll use this unit to hone your survival skills as well as your blades.
- Coarse, medium and fine abrasives
- Includes 2 pull-through slots and a sharpening rod
- Integrated high-pitch signal whistle
- Multi-use firestarter
- Lightweight, compact and portable for outdoor travels
MSRP: $17.99CRKT Guppie
Is it a knife or a multi-tool? Look carefully and you’ll see it’s both. The compact utility blade is useful for everyday tasks, but when you need something more, the Guppie delivers. Its handle holds flat and Phillips screwdriver bits, an adjustable wrench, a bottle opener and a bright LED light to cast some light on your job. Includes a handy belt clip for easy carrying.
- Compact tool fits easily in your pocket or gear bag
- Blade length: 2 inches
- Stainless steel handle
- Integrated bright LED light
- Available in black or gray
URL CRKT.comWazoo Survival Gear Cache Beanie
When cold weather hits, reach for the Cache Beanie. Featuring a snug fit, fine Merino wool and warm polyester fleece, this piece of headgear is a necessity when Mother Nature turns cold. However, there is one more feature that will go unnoticed by anyone but yourself: a card-size hidden pocket to hold cash, credit cards, ID and more. No one will suspect your beanie is a home away from home for your valuables and necessities … and that’s the whole idea!
- 100 percent fine Italian Merino wool body
- 100 percent polyester fleece liner
- Classic chunky 3-inch cuff
- No-snag hook-and-loop pocket closure
MSRP: $89CRKT ExiTool
Having this seat belt cutter directly clipped to your seat belt is a very smart idea. However, the ExiTool has other, more discreet functions as well. A carbide side window breaker is incorporated into the unit to shatter glass and aid escape, while an LED light illuminates your way through murky conditions with just a squeeze from your finger. Improve your chances when driving with this handy lifesaver.
- Attaches easily to most seat belts
- Blade length: 0.5 inch
- Stainless steel blade
- Glass-reinforced nylon body
- 3V CR2032 lithium battery included
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the March 2020 print issue of American Survival Guide.