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Editor’s Note: This is a very informative article that was originally posted on 5/29/16 by previous owners of this site. Numerous experts participated in the discussion, and we have archived portions of it here for today’s readers who may find it of value. It originally appeared under the title: 16 Preppers Reveal Their Favorite Survival Tool.
From the Original Author: …Since there are thousands of survival products to choose from, how can you decide which one to buy?
To better rephrase the question:
“If you could only choose one survival tool, which would you choose and why?”
(April 2019 Update: Paraphrasing what some of the experts contributed)
Knife (4 Votes)
Knowledge (3 Votes)
All Others (1 Vote Each)
Keep reading to discover why each expert considered these items to be the most crucial for survival.
Note, you can also use the following links to navigate to each professional’s website and/or social media page.
We hope you find some value in this post. Enjoy!
Michael – On Point Preparedness
Recommended Tool: Bolt Cutters
“There is one prepper tool that I have not seen written about too much. However, it is critically important: small bolt cutters. Scenes of refugees climbing through razor wire and border fences bring a stark reminder that we may face similar situations. While these small bolt cutters cannot cut through pad locks or other thick metal, they can definitely chew through razor wire and wire fencing. They are also small enough and light enough to add to your BOB.”
Expert Bio: Michael is the owner of On Point Preparedness, a website dedicated to teaching people how to prepare for any SHTF situation. Since 9/11, he’s been involved in liberty, truth seeking, and preparedness movements across the country. Be sure to check out his site!
Dan – Survival Sullivan
Recommended Tool: Band-Aid
“I know many preppers are going to choose the survival knife or the multi-tool as the most useful survival item and- they’re probably right. But my favorite survival item so far was the one that actually helped me survive: the small and humble Band-Aid. I used it last year when I visited some piers with some friends and injured my fingers. I used it a few days ago when I cut myself while using a folding saw to cut wood.
Many forget the possibility of injury or death in SHTF situations. When you’re injured, you’ll be unable to perform basic tasks, just like I was a few days ago. A small bleeding can prevent you from carrying wood, washing your hands, jumping, climbing and doing anything efficiently. Get an assortment of bandages (that are dirt-cheap, anyway), and keep them everywhere: inside your survival bags, in your gym bag, your laptop bag, your purse and even in your wallet.”
Expert Bio: Growing up, Dan spent a lot of time outdoors. He’s been a prepper since 2014, and today shares his knowledge with people across the world. He’s not a conspiracy theorist nor does he believe in the zombie apocalypse- he’s just a regular guy who wants to be prepared…for anything.
John – Prepper Zone
Recommended Tool: Knowledge
PrepperZoneLogo“Knowledge. When you have knowledge, you can create everything from cutting tools (via techniques such as flint knapping) to constructing cordage (while utilizing both natural & man-made materials around you) all with your bare hands. Understanding how to leverage your knowledge regardless of your surrounding is key to every successful survivalist’s strategy. Equipment alone will not guarantee your survival – ever. You need to arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can prior to a survival situation taking place.”
Expert Bio: John is the founder of Prepper Zone, a site dedicated to teaching people how to prepare for anything- biological attacks, nuclear war, natural disasters, and much more. When disaster strikes, you’ll be glad that you read this articles.
Alan – Urban Survival Site
Recommended Tool: Multi-Tool
“Since I spend most of my time in an urban environment where anything can happen, I like having a multi-tool because it can help me out in a variety of situations. My personal favorite is the Leatherman Wave. The latest model (830040) has 17 tools, several of which can be accessed without even opening it.
(Alan further explains that the knives [on the Leatherman], along with the other parts of this tool – which include scissors, pliers, screwdriver and even a bottle opener and ruler, make it a tool he carries everywhere. The Expert Bio included with his contribution stated that he is definitely the go-to guy if you are looking to survive in a city post-disaster.His website contains loads of information for surviving in an urban environment post SHTF. You can also follow him on any one of his many social media channels.
LeAnn – Homestead Dreamer
Recommended Tool: Knowledge
LeAnn Pic“The most recommended survival tool is not a piece of gear. It’s not the latest and greatest knife or tent, cooking set or water filter. Those are just things that can be lost, broken, or stolen from you and then you’re down to just your hands and head. SKILL is the most important tool out there to survive.
More often than not, it’s not the gear you have that saves your backside, it’s your head. The knowledge and practice of survival skills will serve you long after the knife breaks, the ferro rod is lost, and you have nothing but the clothes on your back to work with.”
Expert Bio: Not only does LeAnn teach people how to become more self-sustainable, but she’s also an avid prepper. From gardening, food storage, recipes, to preparedness articles and more, her website contains a lot of valuable information.
Steve – Let’s Talk Survival
Recommended Tool: Knife
Steve“I live in an urban environment where you can run around in shorts, t-shirt and flip-flops at 2am in the morning in the middle of winter so there is really no need for me to carry tools for starting fires or to building elaborate shelters. I am more concerned with my car breaking down miles from home, buildings falling from an earthquake or being attacked by unruly crowds so if I didn’t have my EDC pack hanging from my shoulder, a Leatherman or Swiss Army-style knife would likely be my go-to survival tool if I could only choose one. But a high-power tactical flashlight would definitely be a close second.”
Expert Bio: Steve’s blog, Let’s Talk Survival, is focused on teaching people about self-reliance and emergency preparedness. At his website, you’ll learn a ton about survival skills and techniques. Check out his website and social media pages to learn more!
Robert – Off Grid Survival
Recommended Tool: Knowledge
robert-richardson-webbox“I’m usually pretty reluctant to give gear advice. What’s good for one person may be totally wrong for another. The best thing a person can do is to get away from thinking they need a certain piece of gear or tool to survive; instead, I recommend stocking up on knowledge. It’s the one thing that can’t be lost, can’t break, and will always be there for you when you need it. The less reliant you are on gear, the better off you will be when something bad happens.”
Expert Bio: Robert is the founder and writer at Off Grid Survival. With 20+ years of experience, he knows his stuff about survival and preparedness. His articles have been featured in major news outlets as he continues to educate people today.
Jason – The Survival University
Recommended Tool: Knife
“Other than my brain, knowledge, and acquired skills, my most valued survival tool is my knife. I could make a primitive knife but having a quality blade at my side makes jobs 1000 times easier. Though I do not need two, I carry two bushcraft style blades with me. The first is a Benchmade Bushcrafter, the second is an ESEE5.
One is smaller for more precision work while the other I use for larger jobs such as chopping or batoning wood. With these two blades I can make just about any other survival item that I need. I can craft a bow, arrow, spear, trap, shelter, dress and skin an animal, defend myself and so much more with a knife. I can use it to fashion a digging stick to dig a seep well to purify water. I can use it to craft a bow drill to create fire. I can skin an animal to make clothing or shelter. There is little I cannot do with my knife.”
Expert Bio: Jason is a primitive survival instructor for Sigma 3 Survival and the Owner of Mountain Man Survival. He owns and operates a survival school located on 1,500 acres of land in Colorado. His website, The Survival University, teaches people about how to survive in the wilderness.
James – Plan And Prepared
Recommended Tool: Cell Phone
(James from Planandprepared.com mentioned the cell phone in his response because he believed it could be of help in the majority of emergency circumstances. As we thought about that further, we like what he said, and would like to add that currently, there are numerous ways today to charge your devices that weren’t quite as mobile a few years ago. For example, something as simple as a solar charger would be a perfect thing to keep on hand.
James also mentioned that “But I know saying “Cell phone” may not be a sexy pick. So in that case, I would say a good, solid knife. With a solid knife and the clothes on my back, I can build a fire and make a shelter depending upon my location. Hence, my pocket knife (and cell phone) is ALWAYS a part of my EDC.”)
Expert Bio: James is a former outdoor survival instructor, and currently works as a police officer in Oklahoma City. He’s a firm believer in being prepared for unforeseen events. You can check out more of his work at his website, Plan And Prepared.
Evan – Know Prepare Survive
Recommended Tool: E-Reader
KPS-Profile-Pic-300×300“My favorite prepper/survival tool is an e-reader. I know it isn’t the most popular or obvious tool, most people would say a knife or flashlight or paracord. But, to me, having a resource that I can consult at any time to find out if a mushroom is poisonous or how to skin a raccoon is invaluable.
I’m never going to remember all that stuff on my own so having dozens of survival/bushcraft/homesteading books in a package that weighs almost nothing and takes up little space is a no-brainer for me. Plus, you can put some fiction books on there to keep your morale up when things get tough.”
Expert Bio: Know Prepare Survive is an excellent resource for learning how to survive any disaster. Here, you’ll find articles ranging from archery to preparedness and everything in-between. Evan also writes gear reviews that are worth checking out.
Chris – The Bug Out Bag Guide
Recommended Tool: Tomahawk
Chrisonlog“My most recommended tool: A Tomahawk. Why: It is a great multipurpose tool that can help make a lot of survival situations easier. You can use a tomahawk for self-defense, shelter-building, cleaning game, hunting, breaching doors and windows, building traps, signaling (banging on another object), fire starting (bang it against flint or use it to build a fire drill or bow saw), cutting cloth to make bandages, and a lot more! The tomahawk has been used by outdoorsman for hundreds of years, it is a reliable tool that is easy to use and serves as a force multiplier when out in the field.”
Expert Bio: Chris is the founder of The Bug Out Bag Guide, a website that teaches ordinary people how to prep for SHTF. If you’re interested in building a bug out bag, he’s the guy to get advice from. Be sure to check out his website for more awesome tips!
Stefan – Knife Scout
Recommended Tool: Knife
about“The best survival and prepping tool is obviously a good knife: If you have nothing but a knife you can survive almost anything. No matter if you’re stranded on a tropical island, Canada’s harsh northern forest or somewhere in the desert in Nevada. A good knife allows you to trap, hunt, skin and prepare food. Dig for water. Make a fire. Build shelter. Fish. Do first aid.
And in the worst case you can use your knife to defend yourself. The most important thing though is that a knife helps you to build other tools: Yeah you could bring an axe, or make one from your knife. Sleds, weapons, traps, a makeshift hammer. The list is endless. A well-chosen knife costs less than $100 and lasts for a lifetime. I am sorry, but if you don’t own one you’re a moron. You can check my website for recommendations on how to choose a good survival knife.”
Expert Bio: Stefan is the founder of Knife Scout, a website where he writes about knives and survival. He focuses on providing readers with honest reviews on the latest survival knives on the market. Stefan also writes about survival backpacks and more.
BG Smith – Bug Out Military
Recommended Tool: Portable Water Filter
“As the rule of three states: water is a high priority item in a SHTF event. One of my favorite Items to help me with water is my Sawyer Mini. I am a firm believer in you need to build your bag around your Sawyer Mini. For the price and size I don’t think you can beat it. You can run it in multiple ways to produce nice clean water for consumption.
In conclusion, you also need a good way to carry your water. The Sawyer Mini can be run in tandem with a camelback or other hydration systems straight off the line. That works well if you need to grab and go then filter later. At 100,000 gallons of clean water for $20 the Sawyer stands alone.”
Expert Bio: BG Smith runs a popular Facebook page, BUG OUT Military. If you’re looking to meet like-minded people in the industry, I highly recommend you join his page. Not only will you learn a lot, but you’ll also be able to connect with people from around the world!
Steven – The Weekend Prepper
Recommended Tool: WaterBOB
“As someone who has lived through three hurricanes, the thing I found the most useful was a WaterBOB. Hurricanes (and all extreme weather events) could cause you to lose power – which means no well water. And even if you are on city water, the storm could stir up the reservoir and cause a boil water alert – sort of hard to do with no electricity. A WaterBOB gives you a full bathtub full of water in a sealer container to keep it clean. It even includes a pump to extract only the water you need.”
Expert Bio: Chris is the founder of The Weekend Prepper, a website that will teach you how to survive any disaster, natural or man-made. From food preservation to self-defense and more, his website is an excellent resource for anyone interested in prepping or survival.
Aaron – Smart Prepper Gear
Recommended Tool: Knife
“Out of all of the survival gear that I currently use, I would highly recommend the Schrade SCHF9 Extreme Survival Knife. Cutting and building a fire will be essential in a survival situation. The Schrade SCHF9 does an excellent job of chopping wood, cutting, fettering and can even be used to spark a flame for a fire. The fire will be essential to keep warm, to purify water and cook food. Chopping wood can also help you build an emergency shelter to keep you safe from any harsh weather. So this knife is something that I would highly recommend as it is capable of performing many functions.”
Expert Bio: Aaron is a 33-year-old prepper from Central Florida. You can learn more about him at Smart Prepper Gear. Here, he not only reviews the latest survival gear, but he also teaches people survival tips and tactics for any SHTF situation.
Cari – American Preppers Network
Recommended Tool: Gill Net
(Editor’s Note: Cari’s suggestion was one that we hadn’t thought of previously, and definitely wanted to keep it in the archive of this blog. I have seen people using gill nets even for sport – that is, not necessarily survival.) “Aside from the basics that we all carry in our gear such as knives and fire starters I would say my favorite thing to have is a gill net. They are light and do not take up much room. Gillnetting is a common fishing method.”
Expert Bio: If you’re looking for quality, well-researched information on emergency preparedness and survival, then check out American Preppers Network. They are followed by people all around the world and are a top resource in the industry.
A huge thanks to everyone who contributed to this article.
Hopefully, you’ve been able to find something of value in it. If you did, consider sharing it on social media. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more survival tips.
Now it’s your turn:
“If you could only choose one survival tool, which one would you choose and why?”