What Are the Best Tactical Tools for Camping and Survival?

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The best tactical tools for camping and survival don’t have to be hard to find. If your tactical boots are ready to head out into the woods, you must ensure you get the rest of your equipment ready.

Before you can shop for each product, you have to take some time to figure out what you need. Here’s a quick guide to the most basic tactical equipment and where to buy it.

1. Fire Starters

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Fire starter tools come in handy in camping and survival situations where you need to warm yourself, cook food, ward off predators, or boil drinking water. 

You can use different tools to start an outdoor fire, such as matches, magnifying glasses, fire pistons, signaling mirrors, steel wool and battery, flint and steel, and rubbing sticks to produce friction. 

Each fire starter type has advantages and shortcomings that define its suitability for wet or dry wood conditions. 

Flint and ferrocerium or magnesium rods are among the best you can buy, such as the Freigeist Esprit Libre Fire Starter, which features a ferrocerium rod that sparks when struck to ignite your tinder. 

The Freigeist Esprit fire starter also works as a multi-tool that comprises elements like an emergency whistle, ruler, 10ft paracord, map scale, carabiner, and hex wrench. 

2. Survival Knife or Multi-tool With a Knife

Carving wood shavings with a knife blade

A survival knife is a must-have tool when venturing outdoors on a camping trip. A sharp blade is useful when you have to cut items like food or carve off wood shavings to start a fire if you don’t have tinder. 

The Mossy Oak Tactical Knife is ideal for survival situations and hunting or camping expeditions. Plus, it comes with a fire starter and a sharpener. 

Alternatively, you can choose to carry a multi-tool. This option gives you more leverage as you have the right tool when the need arises, including pliers, multiple knives, and other tactical tools.

The US-built Leatherman Wingman Multi-tool is an excellent option with its 14 tools, which include a knife. 

3. Compass and Topographic Map

Carrying a compass and topographic map on an outdoor trip helps you find your way out of a place more quickly if you get lost. However, you must be able to read the two tools accurately. 

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Sportneer Lensatic Military Compass, Compass for Easter Gifts, Baptism Gifts for Boys, Catholic Gifts for Men, Camping Survival Compass with Carry Bag for Hiking Hunting Outdoor
  • PROFESSIONAL GRADE: This professional grade military compass will always lead you in the right direction. Ideal for camping, military usage, emergencies, and anywhere the beaten track takes you
  • ERGONOMIC DESIGN: The lensatic function increases the reading’s accuracy with a lens on the rear sight that magnifies the card dial – so you’ll always get an accurate reading
  • MILITARY CONSTRUCTION: Tough and tenacious, the military construction with waterproof and shakeproof properties is built to survive the harshest of hikes
  • PORTABLE: Keep the compass near you with a belt loop attachment, or place it safely in your pocket with a carrying case, so you can keep your hands gripped on the mountain you’re scaling
  • FLUORESCENT: The compass’ interface glows in the dark, so even when night falls, you can still soldier on

The Sportneer Military Lensatic Tactical Compass is ideal for camping, hiking, and hunting trips since it’s waterproof and easy to carry in your pocket or using a belt loop attacher. 

4. Water Filtration Device

A portable water filter is another must-have outdoor tool. Once you have depleted your drinking water, you’ll survive by drawing water from streams or shallow wells. 

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LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel, and Emergency Preparedness, 1 Pack, Blue
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Even in the wild, what may look like clean water may be contaminated, necessitating a reliable water filtration device, such as the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, to remove microplastics and waterborne pathogens

You can alternatively carry some water purification tablets if you can’t bring a water filtration device. 

5. Space Blanket and Tarp

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In addition to building a makeshift shelter when camping or in survival mode in the wild, you need a space blanket to reduce heat loss and keep your body warm. 

You’ll also need a large tarp to cover your tactical gear and protect it from precipitation and strong winds. 

6. Tactical Folding Axe

You can use a tactical folding axe survival tool for vital activities such as chopping and splitting wood, hunting, gathering and preparing food, hammering nails and tent stakes, self-defense, and sawing. 

Folding axes are actually multi-tools whose functionality depends on the number and type of tools incorporated. Other common elements include fire steel, bottle opener, and whistle. 

7. Tactical Folding Shovel

Digging with a tactical folding shovel

A folding shovel survival tool works the same way as a folding axe because it also has different elements. 

Survival Shovel Multitools, Tactical Portable Folding Backpacking Camping Shovel, Ultimate Survival Tool for Hiking, Fishing, Car, Outdoors
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Besides the shovel as the main element for lightweight shoveling, it may also feature elements for opening bottles, hammering, whistling, lighting, breaking glass, sawing, and starting fires. 

8. Tactical Flashlight/Headlamp

A tactical flashlight or headlamp is another must-have for outdoor activities in dark areas or those that extend into the night. 

9. First Aid Kit

Bandaging injury in the woods with first aid kit

A first aid medical kit can quickly become too much clutter to carry on an outdoor expedition, but you can save yourself the trouble by only carrying the essential equipment. 

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Your camping medical kit can feature basic first aid items like bandages, medicines for various medical conditions you may have (such as asthma), dressings, tourniquets, and disposable gloves. You may also want to include a card with personal information, just in case.

10. Paracord

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Paracords are lightweight ropes made of resilient nylon and fiber strands that are ideal for outdoor use, such as hauling, tying, repairing tactical gear, ripping apart to obtain sewing thread or fishing line, and rigging tarps. 

Survival experts recommend carrying a paracord at least 100 feet long, which might prove helpful if things turn nasty in the wild. 

11. Signaling Mirror/Signaling Whistle

If you get lost in the wild and can’t find your way out, you can use a signaling mirror or whistle to alert others of your location and need for help. 

The signaling mirror reflects light from the sun, making it possible to alert a search party passing overhead in a plane of your whereabouts. You could also use it as an ordinary mirror when applying sunscreen. 

A signaling whistle also serves the same purpose as the mirror, only that this time you use sound rather than light to alert people nearby of your presence. 

A whistle with more decibels will enable you to find help easier if there are people near you. Blowing it could also scare wildlife away. 

12. Bear Spray/Pepper Spray

Both pepper spray and bear spray are excellent self-defense tools that can help you incapacitate your attacker momentarily to give you a window to escape or think about what to do. 

Pepper spray works well on human attackers and small predator animals. Bear spray is a better choice for larger predators like bears, which aren’t affected much by pepper sprays.

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