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Survival Gear for Short Term and Long Term Survival

Think about the difference in these two scenarios:

  • Short Term Wilderness Survival

  • Long Term Urban Survival

What are you Preparing For? In the survival and prepping world there is a lot of confusion about what to prepare for. I don’t mean which major cataclysmic disaster, rather what, duration, and what areas to prepare for most.

The tools, skills, and situations that one should prepare for in the wilderness can be very different from those you prepare for in an urban survival situation. For one thing, the human threat in a short-term wilderness survival situation is almost nonexistent.

However, in a long term survival scenario you are going to have to plan thoroughly for the human threat. Understanding the variability in survival situations and what you are planning for will assure that you are efficient with your money and your time.

Short Term Survival

If you are preparing for short-term survival you are looking to sustain yourself over a couple of weeks at most. There are some basic prepping items you need to consider, and you need the right tools to execute on these. Let’s look at some of the best survival gear to have for short term survival.


In a short-term survival situation water is going to become an issue in about 24 hours. Sure, the story is you will die in 3 days without water, but the truth is you will be feeling incredibly uncomfortable after about 24 hours without water.

To remedy this, you should have some sort of small filter like a Sawyer Mini to get water into your container or bottle. Plastic containers like Nalgene bottles work great, but you need a stainless steel water bottle (non-insulated) if you want the option of boiling your water also.


In short-term survival, you are going to depend on fire to assure you are warm and dry. If you are wet and cold in even moderately cool conditions, it can be the end of you. Hypothermia will set in and you will die. This can happen surprisingly fast without shelter or fire.

The Any Weather Fire Kit by Self Reliance Outfitters is the answer to fire needs in all conditions. This kit gives you several fire solutions:

  • Pathfinder HD6 Ferro Rod

  • Pathfinder Multi-Fire Tool

  • Pathfinder Mini Inferno

  • Exotac Matchcap XL

  • UCO Stormproof Matches

Pack a little dry tinder in your pack and you cannot fail with this kit.

Temporary Shelter

In a short-term survival situation, you can invest in a high-quality tarp, some plastic stakes, and quality cordage to solve your short-term shelter issues. Of course, you need to know how to make a shelter with that tarp. This is a skill that is easily enough learned.

All-weather blankets are the most affordable options for this, and they also reflect heat back at you. There are bigger and better options, but these blankets can be used to make simple lean-to shelters. You can even wrap yourself up completely and just overnight in the blanket. It’s not ideal but it will keep you warm.

Long Term Survival

A long-term survival situation is going to require more robust survival gear. You are going to have to make greater strides in all aspect’s survival. Let’s look at some of the survival gear you will want on hand for a long-term survival situation.

Food and Water

You aren’t going to want to depend on that Sawyer Mini on the long term for large scale water sourcing. A larger scale container for boiling or something like a Katadyn hiker pro will give you the ability to filter more water, faster.

As far as food is concerned, I would recommend packing some simple metal traps that can be used to catch substantial meat sources. The meat will sustain you better than other types of food. A survival fishing kit will help a lot as well.


You are going to need to process wood for many things. This could be for long term shelter or just firewood. To do this you are going to want at least three metal tools.

  • Axe

  • Saw

  • Strong Fixed Blade Knife


For long term survival scenarios, you are going to want something that is repeatable and effective for thousands of fires. That is going to be a sturdy ferro rod. Get yourself a 1-inch thick ferro rod that can take a beating and make fire after fire.

For long term survival you will also want to consider things like “next fire” mentality where you create things like charcloth to get the next fire started with ease.


One of the often-neglected parts of long-term survival is the means to end it. I mean rescue. How do you get rescued if you cannot find your way out of a bad situation? One of the most effective methods for long term survival rescue is having a signaling device.

Something like a quality signaling mirror is going to make all the difference. This means you will be able to shine a light on the eyes of people in boats, planes, or even those on the adjacent ridge. This signaling device could be the difference between life and death.


Since we are all on limited budgets and have limited time frames to devote to preparedness and survival its vitally important that we know what we are preparing for. It’s very easy to be seduced by marketing and design. Survival gadgets of all types abound.

It will always go back to the basics of survival. The only difference is going to be how long you must depend on the tools and skills you have.  These should be comparable to the duration you are planning for. You don’t have to be a master buschrafter to deal with a short-term situation. However, you better have some skills if you plan on being stuck in the woods for a month or more.

Another tip is to start with short term survival and grow into the long term. Its nearly impossible to start off knowing how to survive for 3 months in the woods. You must build up to get there. Make a little progress each day and it will go a long way.

Above all, stay focused.


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survival knives from viper
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