What is the most Important Survival Item?
In the post “What are the top ten survival items”, the emergency heat blanket came out on top of them all. It finished with a high score because it was versatile in all manner of conditions and environments. Therefore, when we look at what is the most important survival tool, we will look at versatility. However, instead of the environment I will focus on the item’s versatility across a number of essential survival tasks.
In order to determine the best survival tool, I will put each item into a spreadsheet and score it in each survival task. Items will be given points out of 5 for how well it covers a particular survival task. One “useful” point will also be given for each task that the item scores in – Up to a maximum of 7 points.
Let’s see if having a bottle opener on a folding shovel will make all the difference to your survival! Ha, it won’t. However, before I do the spreadsheet, I think the knife will do well and should be the one to beat.
Online Tool Reviews
Often, when I watch product reviews on survival tools or knives, the reviewers will put the product through unlikely survival tasks. And then proclaim the tool or knife didn’t perform very well in that function! Possibly ignoring the fact that the knife may not have been designed for that use. Or, that you would even need to use it that way.
For example, one review I watched on hybrid Parang style knives, the reviewer proclaimed that it was no good at “Baton work”. He was trying to split a nicely sawn 18″ x 10″ log with the different types of hybrid knives. Using another smaller branch or baton, to smash the end of the blade until it split through the log, hard work indeed.
My first thought was why he was trying to split a 10″ log? And why is it so nicely sawn to 18″ in length. It looked more like camping to me and that he’d forgotten to bring an axe! Let me be clear. Carrying a giant, heavy hybrid knife just so you can split 10″ logs, is ridiculous and definitely not survival fit.
Tools That Are Fit for Survival
Furthermore, if that was your only knife? Then bashing into a log just so you can have romantically sized firewood? Is even more a ridiculous thing to do. Make sure when you watch reviews you keep in mind the essential survival function of the products. And not the meaningless tasks the reviewers put them through.
To put that rant into perspective. And as you will read in the “What are the 5 Basic Survival Skills” post, I will explain. Expending that much energy, by chopping firewood into nice pieces, will not be an option in a survival situation. And if it’s not an option, then that knife or tool will not be an essential one to carry.
The essential purpose of a hybrid type knife, is to bring multiple, unique elements of knife design together. With the Parang hybrid design you get outsized chopping performance over a traditional hunting knife’s capability. It doesn’t mean you go and chop down a large tree with it! Or, carry an increasingly bigger blade until you can bulldoze an entire forest.
How to Identify A Good Survival Tool
Firstly, you need to identify the essential purpose that you want to get out of the tool. Secondly, the tool will need qualities that make it stand out from competitors. For instance, the purpose is obvious with fire starting tools, so the tool will also need to have other qualities. To standout in its category, the tool will need to start a fire from spark and also provide fuel.
An example of that would be a ferro/mag rod. As it has both a spark and a tinder to get the fire going. Opposed to just a flint and striker, which requires you find a fine tinder to advance the early fire stages. Another example of this quality, would be the Trench lighter, it has a flint striker and a rope tinder.
Undoubtedly, all of these tools will require good tinder to advance to igniting the kindling sized fuel. However, the fact some have tinder, just makes them a fitter survival tool and the ones to choose.
Is Modern Survival Gear Any Good?
While ferro rods and trench lighters have been around for years, things like plasma lighters are relatively new. Some brands tout over 1000 ignitions but even half of that will get you through a survival situation. Also, with a properly prepared feather stick, a plasma lighter may ignite it. Without needing a finer tinder and by just the plasma’s lighters sustained heat.
The problem with some modern survival tools is the afore mentioned “Bottle Opener” syndrome. That’s where you see a bottle opener included with survival tools available online. Usually as part of a “12 survival tools in one”, tool as well. A bottle opener is a camping tool and not a survival tool.
What Is A Survival Tool?
For the purpose of this spreadsheet. I will include tools or items that can be used to perform essential survival tasks. For example, a fire lighting device is a survival tool, as too is an axe or knife. They are all tools that you can use to assist in carrying out vital survival tasks and increase your efficiency.
The Survival tool spreadsheet is available for you to use when you subscribe to Essential Survival. There will be no ads, special offers or opt ins when you subscribe, just a community of people who are serious about survival.
I will share the occasional survival tip or story that I think will help with essential survival education. Most importantly, when you subscribe, you can educate me on survival with your own personal knowledge and experience.
So, if you’re tired of seeing bottle openers on survival tools, then subscribe and help change the conversation on essential survival!
Essential Survival Tools Spreadsheet
I really like how these spreadsheets determine the value of survival items against any situation you can imagine. The best part is that when you score the items yourself, it will be more accurate to your situation. For example, for someone who lives in cooler climate, they would score certain tools differently.
Also, it will mean individuals will score tools differently, based on personal knowledge and experience in the tools uses. You may know a trick or two that others don’t and therefore value that tool higher than me.
Lastly, using this kind of assessment and planning will ensure that you have the right gear for the right place and time. Make sure your gear is fit and essential for your survival needs! Read the next post detailing their uses and why these survival tools scored the most out of the group.
What is the Most Important Survival Tool – Top Ten
- Multifunction Folding Shovel – 37 pts
- Knife – 31 pts
- Parang/Machete/Hybrid Knife – 29 pts
- Axe/Hatchet/Tomahawk – 28 pts
- Heat Blanket – 25 pts
- Rifle/Handgun – 24 pts
- Standard Folding Shovel – 21 pts
- Paracord – 20 pts
- Fire Starting Device – 18 pts
- Multitool and Flashlight – Tied on 15 pts