6 survival gear must-haves to save your life

6 survival gear must-haves to save your life

by Kurt Knutsson

Former Navy Seal, Mark L’Hommedieu, 46, found himself in the remote Columbia River Gorge to help but instead took a bad spill on his dirt bike that thrust him 40 feet toward a ravine and into a creek. After he pulled himself from the water, it was his next action that is getting all the attention of survivalists around the world.

Realizing he’d broken his leg, an arm, some ribs, and collapse one of his lungs he did not give up. Mark’s Navy SEAL training kicked in and in a matter of short time, he’d taken out his shoelaces to secure a spare iPhone charging USB cable against his leg creating a make-shift splint.

It worked and Mark was able to hang in until backwoods hikers ran into him 24 hours later and signaled a rescue by climbing up to the higher ground to reach 911.

It got me thinking about my own survival instinct and training that kicked in while trapped in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina.. and how that one experience has taught me to have some basics ready to go just in case.

You know, you can be exposed to anything anytime, and if you don’t know how to deal with it and look after yourself, you’re toast! Hurricanes, tsunamis, falls, even radiation exposure where you can use equipment like a portable geiger counter for example. There is so many pieces of information where knowing them could save your life, so you have to make sure you pay attention to some survival tips in case of the worst. That’s why you’re reading this I’m sure!


Here are my top 6 must-have items to have for surviving the unexpected in life.

If you ever catch up with me in New York, Los Angeles or any corner of the world, these items won’t be far from my reach at all times:

1) Spot X with GPS Messenger

 Spot X with Bluetooth 2-Way Satellite Messenger

I go nowhere on the planet without this emergency GPS beacon that can summons help in seconds via satellite and send an “I’m okay” message to family and friends.


More of my beacon picks here


2) Leatherman Skeletool

5 Survival Gear Items That Can Save Your Life

7-tools in one. Stainless steel won’t rust and this all-in-one tool at just 5 ounces acts as emergency pliers, a sharp blade for cutting, wire cutters, large bit driver, removable pocket clip and bottle opener. Ironically the most unrated but super valuable low tech survival items seldom get the attention they deserve. Get it here.



3 & 4) Reinforced duct tape and nylon ties.
5 Survival Gear Items That Can Save Your Life 5 Survival Gear Items That Can Save Your Life

These two items are miraculous in a disaster. A couple of nylon ties and secure a knife to the end of a stick to help you catch fish and fight off the wild. No access to a first aid kit? A standard issue of reinforced duct tape can cover a wound and keep you alive for all of about $3.



5) American Red Cross First Aid App

The American Red Cross First Aid App in both Android and Apple IOS versions is the perfect rescue tool to have on hand. It will help you manage a disaster and succeed at teaching you how to keep a level head until help arrives. Once you download it, you won’t need wifi connection to get a lot of use from it in a pinch. iOS Android


6) LifeStraw

5 Survival Gear Items That Can Save Your Life

Chosen by leading NGOs for humanitarian relief worldwide the LifeStraw at $17 on Amazon will keep you from going thirsty when water supply goes bad in a disaster. LifeStraw removes a minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria (>LOG 6 reduction) and surpasses EPA standards for water filters. It’s super lightweight and easy to fit into any bag. You’ll want one LifeStraw per person. Time Magazine Invention of the Year winner and already in use by millions around the world. This superlight LifeStraw uses no batteries and no chemicals to clean the most filthy water making it safe to drink. Get it here.



Storm survival essentials: Your ultimate gadget guide

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5 Best Portable Chargers for any occasion


Are there any tools I left out? Share your favorites in the comment box below.




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Cheryl June 14, 2015 - 8:16 am

I also have a first aid kit completed with essential oils that I can use for many medical issues as well as other things like cleaning, and pest deterrence .

George Sisk June 14, 2015 - 9:06 am

where can I purchase the Spot GPS Messenger?

Kurt Knutsson June 14, 2015 - 10:43 am

Visit their website here: http://www.findmespot.com/en/

Michael Andres Palmieri June 14, 2015 - 9:20 am

portabke, solar powered phone charger?

Larry June 14, 2015 - 10:23 am

It might be nice to be able to make a fire…

Kurt Knutsson July 21, 2015 - 8:56 pm

You are very correct. I guess I took that one as a given. Ironically, I just got off the phone with a Polynesian fire dancer who explains that Hawaiians first learned about fire from volcanoes and only later learned how make fire on their own. Keep those waterproof matches handy!

Candace June 14, 2015 - 11:34 am

Can the survival app be downloaded to my pc ?

Kurt Knutsson July 21, 2015 - 8:54 pm

One thing you may want to think about when it comes to survival apps and gear is that you will want to avoid relying on power supplies to use them. I would avoid putting them on a PC even if it’s possible. You are also likely to want to be flexible and mobile during an emergency and at times when you would lean on survival apps and gear. A PC is not as easy to keep powered when all hell breaks loose in your world.

Angela June 14, 2015 - 1:10 pm

I would add a paracord keychain or two to my gear. They are great to attach to the zippers of a backpack to have on hand. To can tie things down, together, or even fishing.

Preston North June 14, 2015 - 4:41 pm

Here are a couple of small, cheap, yet useful items to add to your list:
Magnesium Fire Starter- $2.49 at Harbor Freight
Some plastic wrap and small, rugged plastic bowl or cup for condensing water from damp earth
(Dig hole until you hit damp earth. Place cup/bowl in bottom of hole. Stretch clear plastic wrap loosely over hole being careful not to knock dirt into cup/bowl. Place rocks or other small items around edge of plastic to hold it in place. Drop pebble or small, heavy object in center of plastic over cup/bowl. Heat from the sun will penetrate plastic, warming the earth in the hole. Moisture will evaporate from the earth and condense on the plastic, running down to the low point created by the pebble and drip into the cup/bowl.)
Hope this helps.

Lisa June 17, 2015 - 5:27 pm

I have the paracord bracelet.I have one for each of my family members in our Go Bags. Plus a bunch of other items.

TexaJester July 4, 2015 - 9:40 am

I’m a long-haul truck driver. I carry a knife that has a window smashing knob and a seatbelt cutter, and a “trucker tool” that includes an axe and claw hammer built together.

One thing I would include is a whetstone or other knife/axe sharpener.

If room permits, a churchkey (an old-fashioned can and bottle opener – round on one end, and a sharp triangle on the other) is great. (If theworst happens, and you come upon an abandoned store or home that still has some canned goods, it’s worthwhile to be able to OPEN the cans!)

Another is a hand-powered chain saw – it’s essentially a chainsaw “blade” that has handles on either end, and can cut through small trees with minimal effort.

At home, or in your car, you can have an emergency candle/heater with a 5-lb coffee can (metal, not plastic!), a roll of toilet paper, and a bottle of rubbing alcohol. you pour the alcohol in the can, set the toilet paper in the alcohol, wait for the paper to absorb the alcohol, then light the toilet paper. It will burn like a wick in a hurricane lamp. This works best in a small area, like a car, but be sure to have a window cracked for frsh air. It won’t keep you warm, but it will help keep you from freezing to death. (I have used this when I was caught in a severe snowstorm and my diesel fuel gelled up [a phenomenon of diesel is that below about 15°F, it becomes a gelatine] and my motor stalled – no more heat!)

Dusty July 13, 2015 - 1:09 pm

I highly recommend John “Lofty” Wiseman’s book on survival “SAS Survival Guide”, it is available on Amazon and other book vendors. His survival kit which you make yourself is very small and realistic, including 3 ways to create fire. It is #1 in Amazon’s hiking and camping guides.


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