12 Multi-Purpose Gear Items For Your Emergency Survival Kit

Travel & LeisureOutdoors

  • Author Shane Montana
  • Published May 11, 2018
  • Word count 1,054

Your emergency survival kit should be compact, light-weight, and contain sufficient gear to support you for several weeks if need be. Your kit should contain as many items as possible that serve multiple purposes. Here is a list of the top twelve items, and some of their uses.


This is one of the most important item

in your kit. While accessories will

vary, a good multi-tool may contain pliers,

wire cutter, wire stripper, multiple

Blades, can/bottle openers, various

screwdrivers, nut drivers, scissors,

tweezers, ruler, awl, etc.


Although not very compact, a machete is

lighter than most hatchets and serves more

purposes. If you have a machete and a

multi-tool in your kit, you will not need a

hatchet or a knife. The only function lost

with this elimination is the hammer on

the back of most hatchets, but sticks or

rocks will work just fine for most

hammering needs in survival situations.

Blades are made of many different types of

metals and alloys, in different tempers and

thicknesses, widths, lengths, styles, and

shapes. Handles are made of many different

types of materials in many different shapes

and sizes. A good survival machete will

have a semi-flexible blade 18 inches or

longer that is easy to sharpen, yet keep

a good edge with moderate use. Most

importantly, the handle MUST be comfortable

and fit well in your hand. With a machete,

you can perform any task that can be done

with a large knife or hatchet. It can also

be used to dig or pry, or as a formidable

weapon. Install and use a wrist lanyard

when chopping or swinging a machete.


The most common type of para-cord has a

tensile strength of 550 pounds. That is far

heavier than needed for most survival uses.

The diameter of this cord is 4mm. That

doesn't sound like much, but it adds up.

Shop around and smaller diameter cord

can be found. Cord with a tensile strength

of 200 - 250 pounds is quite sufficient and

has half the bulk.

There is an endless number of uses for

para-cord. Use it to erect and build

shelters and useful camp furnishings,

repair clothing and gear, as a sling for

containing and carrying loads, bundles of

firewood, boughs, reeds or grass for

bedding, pull dead branches down from trees

for firewood, boot lacing, belts, snares

and traps, "burglar" alarms, binding

splints, and secure bandages in place, fire

starting material... the list goes on.

Carry a minimum of 30'.


Get a good heavy-duty brand name roll. Use

it to repair clothing, boots, tools, and

equipment, construct shelters, furnishings,

and implements. Use it to relieve hot

friction spots on feet to prevent blisters,

and wrap around hands for makeshift gloves.

Twist into a "rope" if needed, which is

good for making snowshoes. It also makes a

good mousetrap and decent fire starter.


A 200' spool of waxed dental floss can be

invaluable. While important for maintaining

good oral hygiene, it can serve other

purposes such as repairing small items,

sewing and stitching clothing, boots (or

even skin), making tools and weapons, or

used as fishing line.


This can be galvanized, stainless steel or

copper. The more flexible the better. Use

it to repair gear items, make snares and

traps, and at the fire pit to suspend a pot,

meat and other foods over the fire to cook.

A grill or "toaster" can be made with wire.


A black 6-mil heavy-duty sheet 6'x8' or

larger. Use as a wind block, lean-to,

shelter roof, rain-fly, ground tarp,

blanket, poncho, and to protect gear and

clothing from rain, snow, and dew fall. Use

to collect and store water, make a solar

still. The black color absorbs sunlight

creating heat which will help keep you warm

and will generate more water quicker than

clear plastic when used as a solar still,

and it may be more visible to rescuers in

certain terrains and conditions.


The reflective qualities of a space blanket

are ideal for reflecting your body heat

back to you, or campfire heat toward you or

into your shelter. Used along with the

plastic sheet there are many combinations

and configurations that can be incorporated

to provide shelter and/or bedding. A space

blanket is shiny like aluminum foil on at

least one side, which is good for signaling

rescuers under sunny conditions.


Use for lighting, warmth, cooking, lighting

fires, or signaling at night. Melted wax

can be used for waterproofing leather

boots, and thighs, knees, and seats of

cotton pants. During "bug season" include a

citronella candle to ward off insects. If

out of water and your mouth is dry, chewing

on a clump of wax will generate saliva, and

it may help curb hunger pains. The act of

chewing helps blood circulation in your

head which may result in a more alert

brain, which is good in a survival



1 or 2 Gallon-size bags are ideal for

packing clothing items, food, toiletries,

and other gear items. Use to collect and

store water. The 1 gallon-size bags can be

worn over socks to keep feet dry, or on

your hat or head to keep your head dry.

Sandwich bags work great for holding

smaller items. Worn-out bags can be used to

start fires.


Paper towels are good for not only the

obvious everyday uses we find for them, but

also serve other uses such as; note paper

and wound dressing, filtering sediment from

drinking water, and toilet paper.


Fritos and Doritos snack chips are the best

choices. While not the healthiest food

available, it will still provide fuel for

your body, and much-needed salt which helps

prevent muscle cramping. Fritos and Doritos

highly flammable. Use 2 or 3 as tender, or

light the whole single-portion bag for a

quick fire in wet conditions.

When assembling your kit, think of other

uses an item might serve or other items that might serve its purpose. Consolidate to

eliminate the need for several single-purpose items to reduce the weight and space requirements of your kit. Assemble your kit

to suit your particular needs, but keep it simple and streamlined with multi-purpose survival gear items and face your next

survival situation with confidence.

Shane Montana has been a Hunting and Fishing Outfitter and Guide in Montana for over 25 years. Utilizing the knowledge and experience acquired from this career, he currently manages a website selling survival gear and camping equipment. His store can be found at https://www.survivalgearshack.com.

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