Survival Gear List for Beginners: Surviving a Natural Disaster

Outdoor and survival gear

Creating your own survival gear list is a great way to get started stockpiling essential gear, and probably the best way to remain organized. If you’re not sure what type of gear to include on your list I’ll be going over the basic items you’ll want to keep handy in your bug out bag.

Your Survival gear list should include both basic and personal items that will help you survive a natural disaster or days lost in the backcountry. While these situations are very different, they require many of the same pieces of gearing including:

  • Firestarters
  • Tarp
  • Knife
  • Self-defense weapon
  • Compass
  • Map
  • Dried food
  • Water purification tablets
  • Rope
  • Medication
  • Extra clothing
  • Blanket
  • Canteen
  • Survival hatchet
  • First aid kit
  • Backpack

Purchasing these supplies ahead of time and having your pack ready to go in the event of a natural disaster will help you and your family make it through safe and sound during a chaotic time. The gear included here can also be used if you’re planning a long trip camping out in the backcountry, where you’ll be far away from civilization.

Wilderness Survival Gear

If you’re a beginner, really the best idea is to include many items that you’re already familiar with and know how to use. Considering these items are tools and supplies that you need to rely on during chaotic times it’s important that you know how they work, how to use them, and what they can do for you whether you’re hiking in the backcountry or trying to get through a natural disaster.

The Basics


Basic tools such as steel and flint for making fire, the best survival hatchet, such as the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet, a knife you can use for carving, and a tarp for a makeshift shelter are all great basic pieces of gear that all survivalists should keep on hand. If you’re not familiar with some of these tools, such as the hatchet, then it’s important to practice using it in normal conditions and in inclement weather. Below I’ll go over each piece how they work and what they are used for, to give you a better idea of why you’ll need to carry these tools in your pack.

Essential Tools

If you’re camping out in the backcountry or trying to make it through a natural disaster, the following tools will come in handy for a wide range of tasks:

  • Matches, flint, lighters
  • Flashlight
  • 2 fixed blade knives
  • Whistle
  • Maps
  • Tarp
  • First aid kit
  • Poncho
  • Rope
  • Blanket
  • Canteen
  • Water purification tablets
  • Extra clothes
  • Hatchet
  • Fishing line
  • Multi-tool
  • Cooking pot made out of stainless steel
  • Dried food

Keep in mind that all of this gear will add plenty of weight to your pack. Practice packing your backpack for even weight distribution, and ensure that the weight is something that you’re comfortable handling.

Creating Your Go Bag

Man with Backpack

You may not need to pack your bags using all of the supplies I’ve included here. In fact, you’ll do better if you put more thought into the essentials in your pack and plan based on items that you know you’ll need specifically. To do this you’ll need to ask yourself some of the following questions:

Will you be traveling alone or with a group of people? If you’re traveling alone then you don’t have to pack quite as heavy and you should only bring enough supplies that can last for 3 days. If you’re traveling with other people, such as your children, then you’ll need to prepare their packs and include some extra supplies for them in your pack. Obviously, this will add to your pack’s weight and could have a big impact on how much you can carry and what type of gear you’ll bring along.


The type of gear you pack should also be based on the type of climate you live in. As an example, if you live in a state with harsh winters, then you’ll need to prepare for the snow. If you live in a place that rains several months out of the year than you’ll need to prepare for the rain. If you’re in a rural location, then bringing along a list of edible forest plants is an excellent choice and one that you’ll be thankful for should you run short on dried food and find yourself lost in the backcountry.

Skill Level

Are you an experienced survivalist or a newbie? The more experience you have with the outdoors than the fewer pieces of gear you’ll need to bring along and the lighter your pack will be. The beginner will need to rely on lighters, and basically more than one type of firestarter to ensure their survival in the wild. They’ll also need to bring plenty of other gear. An experienced survivalist can get away with using much less.

How Long Will Your Supplies Last?

Ask any survivalist how much gear to bring and they’ll recommend packing enough supplies that will get you through at least 3 days. Ideally, you would want to bring along enough gear to last you a week or two but considering pack weight, this is probably impossible, especially if you’re a beginner. At the very least ensure you have enough food and water and clothing to survive three to four days during a natural disaster or out in the backcountry.

Personal Health

If you currently have a medical condition such as diabetes, epilepsy, or asthma, then it’s important that you think ahead and keep extra medication on hand in the event of a natural disaster. Of course, coming by extra medication may not be easy depending on your condition. Speak with your doctor regarding an extra prescription that you can keep on hand in the event of an emergency. In many cases most doctors will oblige, however depending on the medication, you may only be able to obtain a certain amount per month. If this is the case, make sure that you keep your medication in the same place every day so it’s easily accessible and not difficult to find in the event of an emergency.

Money on Hand

Money will not be everything when disaster strikes but you’ll need to keep a small amount of cash on hand and be prepared.

Walkie Talkies

Obviously the whole point of creating a bug out bag is to help you easily get through a natural disaster. In the event that cell phone towers are down you’re going to need another way to communicate with friends and family. You can do this by purchasing an expensive satellite phone, or you can purchase walkie talkies that are equipped with an excellent range. If you’re purchasing satellite phones or walkie talkies for you and family members make sure you place one in each go-bag. You should also keep instructions along with the phone or walkie talkies regarding how to use them or what channel you’ll be on.

Prepare for the Worst

Self-defense tools are often a must in the event of a natural disaster where resources are very limited. If you’re not comfortable using a gun you can bring a small knife, pepper spray, or telescopic batons. whichever type of toy you plan on bringing along you must practice using it. Nothing can be worse than being stuck in a dangerous situation in which you must protect yourself but you don’t know how to use the self-defense weapon you’ve brought along.

Related Questions

How Do You Survive in the Wild with Nothing?

If you don’t have much experience in the wilderness, now is the time to prepare. You can become familiar with local plant and wildlife, learn how to make a fire, and take a basic survival skills course. One of these courses can teach you how to dress a wound, how to live off of plant life, and how to make a makeshift shelter in the event of an emergency.

What is the Most Important Skill for Survival?

This is debatable and can often depend on location. For the most part, many survivalists can agree that the best skill to have is learning how to make fire. Others argue that hunting or fishing is the most important skill. In the end, both are as equally important, as is the ability to identify edible plants and locate water.

What are Some Basic Survival Skills?

This can include learning how to build a fire, camp cooking, tying a knot, knowing how to clean and dress a wound, how to purify water, how to make temporary shelter, and how to read and navigate by compass.

Final Thoughts

I have included several items for survival that can help you get through a few days on your own. But considering pack weight you may not be able to bring everything along. This can be especially true if you’re packing for other members of your family. This is where prioritizing comes into play. With the right pack size and careful planning, you can create your own survival gear list that includes special medications, and other personal items that are essential for you and other members of the family.

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