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Published Nov 14, 2022 11:01 AM
Help the prepper, bushcraft enthusiast, or aspiring survivalist in your life stock up on gear with these practical gifts. Even general outdoor enthusiasts can benefit from a more comprehensive survival kit. From hand crank radios to the best handheld GPS to a portable camp stove, we’ve rounded up 21 of our top recommended outdoor survival gifts that fit any price range and interest.
If they are an established survival expert, they may have many items on the list below. The best way to avoid duplication in their prep is to ask them if they need any items or want to bolster the things they already own. Get them some classic consumables like dehydrated meals or fire starters when in doubt.
A handheld GPS device and a topographic map can be beneficial in any survival situation. The Garmin GPSMAP 66i is a rugged and durable handheld satellite device featuring Garmin TopoApp mapping and inReach technology. The larger display screen makes sending and reading messages easier and navigating as you travel. Even if they’re on a long expedition, they can trust this device will last thanks to 35 hours of battery life in tracking mode and up to 200 hours in expedition mode. It is an investment, but if you are gifting someone that goes into the backcountry often (especially alone), having a device to help with communication, navigation, and SOS rescue capabilities is priceless.
If you’re shopping for more of a paper map person or if they already have a subscription to something like OnX or AllTrails and don’t need the functions of a handheld GPS, the SPT Gent 4 Satellite Messenger is a great option. Although this device has no mapping capabilities, it will use their satellite location to send messages and their location. They can preprogram check-in messages to send to loved ones, so they know where they’re are camping. Then, in case of an emergency, it can notify emergency personnel that they need assistance and send them their exact location. A subscription is required to access messaging and SOS capabilities.
Best Fire Starter: FireFlame
Best Fire Starter
Consumables like fire starters are useful in and out of emergencies. The FireFlame Quick Instant Fire Starters are some of our favorites because they are entirely waterproof. Your giftee can keep them in a survival pack or use them the next time they’re camping to light a fire. The packaging appears to be plastic, but it is a compressed vegetable oil that makes it waterproof and ensures there are no toxic chemicals or odors when burning. Each pouch should burn for around 8 to 10 minutes.
A survival kit is only complete with a quality compass. Suunto has a variety of excellent compass designs, and we recommend the Suunto MC-2. Designed with precise directional measurement and balanced for global use with Metric UTM scales, it includes a sighting hole and notch to ensure accurate bearings along with a clinometer and a declination adjustment tool. Other more minimalistic varieties exist if you are shopping for a beginner, but this compass is one of the best in terms of functionality and ease of use.
Best First Aid Kit
Whether they’re into backpacking, bushcraft, or need a better emergency kit for car travel, the Surviveware First Aid Kit is an excellent addition. There are a variety of first aid kits that you can buy or make, but we like the Surviveware brand for its durable carrying case and comprehensive options. This particular kit is easy to use, with exceptional organization inside and a few options for carrying. If this one isn’t the right fit, check out smaller and even fully waterproof kit options from Surviveware.
Best Survival Backpack
Every survival expert wants a comfortable and durable backpack. We prefer backpacking packs since they are designed for long distances, made from durable materials, and offer excellent options for organization. Osprey has many backpack options, so we encourage buyers to try them on and get them fitted in person. However, the Osprey Atmos AG 65 is an excellent backpack size for standard backpacking trips and to hold all their survival essentials. Even better is that Osprey has a repair or replacement policy, so if anything goes wrong with the pack, they will fix it.
Best Water Filter
The LifeStraw Peak Series Water Bottle may not be the best of the best when it comes to efficiency in water filters, but it is one of the more convenient and compact options. Since the LifeStraw filter is built into the water bottle, it allows the user to drink directly after filling with no wait time for filtering. The squeeze bottle is also functional when filling up other water bottles. It is affordable and easy to carry and your giftee can use it for day hikes, backpacking, or as a backup in a survival kit.
Best Camp Stove
Having a camp stove and fuel of any kind is ideal for survival, but what happens when you run out of propane? The Solo Stove Lite runs off organic materials, meaning your giftee can move from camp to camp while collecting sticks, pinecones, leaves, and other organic materials to cook your meals. It tends to be more efficient for boiling water than traditional fires and allows for a more contained, smokeless flame. It is lightweight, durable, and can boil water in 8-10 minutes.
Best Hand Warmer
If they’re a fan of hand warmers, the Zippo Refillable Hand Warmer is a must-have. Available in both a 6-hour and 12-hour size, these refillable warmers are effective and far more efficient than the single-use variety (plus they create less waste). They come with a device to make adding fuel to the canister easy and use a flameless heat source (catalytic burner). Pair with a Zippo premium hand warmer fluid for the perfect winter gift.
A multi-tool comes in handy during everyday situations, but especially when they’re in the backcountry. Leatherman is a classic, trustworthy option for a multi-tool. The Leatherman Surge Heavy Duty is their largest multi-tool with the longest blades and replaceable tools. All Leatherman tools have a 25-year warranty, but these tools are well-known to last a lifetime or more. The Surge contains 21 tools and is available in two color options.
The best survival hatchet is durable, portable, and versatile. The Gerber Pack Hatchet is all of those things while still being affordable. It retains sharpness really well and has a full tang construction with a stonewall finish. The rubber-wrapped handle is comfortable to hold and it comes with a nylon sheath for safety while carrying. The size makes it easy to carry on the outside of a pack, on their belt, or inside of a pack. We chose this hatchet for the performance and because the size makes it one of the best backpacking options.
In subzero temperatures, not just any old winter coat will do. The PolarForce Parka from Refrigiwear is effective in frigid conditions as low as -40°F thanks to its water-repellent exterior and protective polyester insulation. Available in sizes S to 5XL, it features a detachable hood with a warm faux fur lining, plenty of pockets, and adjustable cuffs to keep out the wind.
A proper survival kit needs a quality radio. The Kaito Ka500 has a hand crank generator, solar plane, and several other power options. It is made from durable impact- and water-resistant materials. The versatility of powering the radio is ideal for emergencies, along with the comprehensive coverage of AM and FM stations. There are pre-programmed NOAA weather channels for real-time updates in emergency situations (USA and Canada only). Some other features include charging ports for other devices, an LED flashlight, an SOS beacon light, and a reading lamp.
BioLite has a variety of rechargeable headlamp options available, and the BioLite 750 is one of our favorites. It has a max output of 750 lumens, and the batter can last up to 150 hours on low. It has front and rear light modes, including the front red vision, white flood, strobe, and burst modes. The rear modes include solid, strobe, and red visibility. All modes on the front and the rear are dimmable. While the back is fixed, the front panel tilts down. It is a bit heavier, having a front and back panel, but the band’s fit prevents the device from bouncing or moving around while hiking or running.
Reliable power sources are essential for survival, or at least they make it a lot easier. The Goal Zero Torch 500 is a versatile light source that can be used for camping, working at home, and as a trusted light source in a survival kit. It can function both as a flashlight and a floodlight, both with three light settings. The built-in clip gives your giftee space to hang the light when needed, and the solar panel on the back gives them the option to recharge it with the sun.
Best Power Bank
With all the power bank options on the market, solar-powered is the clear winner for any survival kit. The BigBlue 3 is a solar charger that converts up to 24% solar power into energy. It is a lightweight and compact option compatible with small electronic devices. The only downside to this product is that it can’t store electricity or large electronics like laptops. It can charge both Apple and Android phones and small battery packs, speakers, watches, GPS devices, and tablets.
Best Survival Blanket
The Arcturus All Weather Outdoor Survival Blanket is more than just a blanket. The versatility of this blanket makes it stand out from the rest—your giftee can use it as a tarp, shelter, or blanket—and its reflective Mylar side is very effective at creating a radiant heat barrier. Weighing around 3 pounds, it isn’t as small or compact as the emergency space blankets we are used to seeing, but the overall size and functionality of the blanket make it worth it. It is made from waterproof materials and is equipped with ten reinforced grommets to make shelter building a breeze.
Best Dehydrated Meals
Dehydrated meals are suitable for backpacking and survival prep. The Good To Go Food Kit Assortment contains delicious dehydrated meals handmade in the USA. They are lightweight, easy to store, and come in various flavors to meet dietary needs. All their meals are gluten-free, and they have vegan options. They’re excellent for building a survival food storage or for folks that backpack often.
Sitting at $100, the VSSL Camp Supplies Mini Kit is a durable outdoor kit that packs many essentials. It comes equipped with a compass, fire starter, rope and razor, sewing kit, some first aid supplies, and an LED light. The case is waterproof and comes with a lifetime warranty. All of the VSSL kits are made to be nearly indestructible, compact, and easy to pack. The case is made from military-grade aluminum to ensure the contents stay intact and dry no matter the conditions.
Best Under $50
This year, give the gift of knowledge and help the aspiring survivalist learn the ins and outs of bushcraft. This classic field guide is written by Dave Canterbury, a well-known survival instructor. Even if your giftee isn’t interested in being a prepper or strictly a survivalist, this guide gives them the knowledge they need to thrive in a backcountry setting. Plus, if they ever end up in a survival situation, they’ll know what to do and how to survive with what they have. The book covers making tools, protecting yourself from the elements, and safely collecting/cooking food.
Best Under $10
There are plenty of very affordable stocking stuffers that fit the survival category. An emergency whistle, a camp stove, and stormproof matches are a few options. While all of those are excellent choices, we always recommend stormproof matches for a survival kit of any kind. These matches come in a waterproof case and are guaranteed to stay lit even after being submerged in water. Your giftee can carry these when backpacking, so even if their lighter runs out of fuel, they’ll have a reliable backup on hand.