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Survival Tools on a Budget

Updated on September 8, 2014

Survival Tools for Budget Minded Preparation

My idea of a budget may be different that yours. You might think a budget survival knife is one that costs less than $150. I would have a hard time swallowing that cost. Also you might have a different idea what is the most important survival items to have in your emergency kit. I like having a compass in my gear. Maybe you are adept at reading the stars and can do without.

All these below are all items that I would have handy in the event of an emergency or having to survive. They are all useful in the home, camping, in the car or anyplace else you might to survive. They are all low cost alternatives to potentially very expensive items.

They all make fantastic gifts without breaking the budget. Most can be shoved into a Christmas stocking pretty easily or stuffed in an Easter basket.

Survival gear is rather subjective. You can survival gear for your home. For your car. For your person. For camping. For biking. Whatever. I consider these items listed as those are a necessity and always useful in any situation.

I am keen on always having on my person a knife, a way to make a fire, a light and cash. You will find these items in my pocket whenever I leave the house. There are any number of pocket knives that will do all manners of cutting for under $5. There are little pocket tactical flashlights that work just fine for under $6. Get yourself a lighter for $1. Or better yet a magnesium bar for around $8.

Photo credit: Creative Commons from Flickr by TravelKS

Survival Knife

I have a ton of knives. A 3-bladed Old Timer pocket knife is my daily carry. It cost me about $15 back in 1991. They don't make 'em anymore except for crap knockoffs from China apparently. I have a Bear Grylls Gerber Survival Knife that I like. That knife was $30. I've never spent more than $30 for a knife and I've never felt like I needed to in any situation that I've been in.

You can spend an incredible amount of money for survival and tactical knives. Is it worth it? Sure. Some folks love collecting great knives. Expensive well-made knives most likely keep a sharper edge longer. They may be more durable. I wouldn't necessarily knowingly go into the wilderness without the best I could afford.

However, we are looking for a budget survival knife.

Survival Knife Under $10 - Master Cutlery HK-612 Fixed Blade Knife

Survivor HK-612 Fixed Blade Knife 11.75-Inch Overall
Survivor HK-612 Fixed Blade Knife 11.75-Inch Overall

You won't really find a decent "survival knife" under $10. Then again you don't really need one either. You can purchase a fine, full-tang, no-frills hunting and fishing knife under $10 with little problem. This Master Cutlery HK-612 Fixed Blade Knife is a good knife for just about anything and worthwhile to keep in your survival kit. In keeping with the budget theme this knife does not have a typical plastic, carbon or titanium handle but rather one made of chord. It seriously does a fine job. I much prefer a knife of this sort to not be folding. A full tang blade is more sturdy and stronger.

 

Fire Starter

I am a big fan of being able to start a fire wherever I happen to be. If something catastrophic happens I can always start a fire for warmth, to signal, for protection or to cook food. If you are a smoker then you will probably always have a lighter handy to fire up the tobacco stick. Of course the budget friendly lighters are prone to malfunction if they get wet. They also run out of fuel seemingly at the worst of times. That is why I choose to carry a magnesium stick.

You can place one of those bad boys on your key chain and carry it with you wherever you go. They are easy to start a fire with at home or going camping and take up little room. I find one to be incredibly useful and necessary for a survival kit.

Genuine Issue Magnesium Survival Firestarter

Genuine Issue Magnesium Survival Firestarter
Genuine Issue Magnesium Survival Firestarter

Government Issue fire starter. This key chain ready magnesium block is perfect for your survival gear kit. They are cheap enough. Depending on when you look you will always see it under $10. Sure having a stack of $1 lighters are great, but this thing will never run out of fuel or malfunction after getting wet. Grab a couple and through them on your key chain and in your bug out bag. Good to go.

 

Tactical Flashlight

I never go anywhere without the brightest flashlight I can comfortably carry. I spent over $100 for a tactical flashlight that is small enough to fit in my pocket daily. You never know when it might be handy to have a light. Maybe you work in the big city. What if the power goes out and you have to evacuate the building. maybe the emergency lights don't come on. How handy would walking the stairwell be with a bright flashlight? Maybe you have car trouble at night. There are any number of scenarios where a flashlight would be handy.

I have flashlights in virtually every room in my house. In both my wife's and my car. As I mentioned I carry a pocket light everywhere I go.

I was reading a story about the Colorado theater shootings from a former SEAL. He said not many people have the license or training to carry a gun. You can't carry a defense pistol into many places like that theater anyway. He said it would be handy to have a bright LED light that could blind a predator momentarily in time to give you a chance to protect yourself or try to eliminate the threat. So I started to carry a Surefire P2X Fury Dual Output LED.

Not many people want to spend that money on a palm-sized flashlight. I like flashlights so I splurged on one.

But there are plenty of low cost tactical flashlights that will do the job when you need it.

First Aid

Every home and car, even boat, needs a well stocked first aid kit. You can go to the local dollar store and pretty much pull together everything you need for cheap. Bandages, tape, scissors, alcohol, even a plastic case to keep everything handy.

Many folks would prefer to get started with a ready-made basic kit. I don't go for the medic kits. I buy basic kits and add to the supplies as needed. I also replace the supplies I use from the dollar stores as well.

First Aid Emergency Kit

Johnson & Johnson All Purpose First Aid Kit
Johnson & Johnson All Purpose First Aid Kit

At the very least a basic emergency kit will be helpful. If you stick to household first aid kits or those from consumer goods companies like Johnson and Johnson you can get a better deal than those from survival companies. This kit from J&J is perfect for your home and you can stash one in your car or carry one in your bag just in case. $10 is not terribly expensive for the first aid products included.

 

Emergency Preparedness Pack

There are a ton of things that you would want handy that the average person might not be able to carry with them to the office or work or school. It's always handy to have a bug out bag ready to go with everything that you might need for, say, 72 hours. First aid kit, water, food, extra clothes, emergency blanket, whistle, compass, fish hooks and line, soap, toiletries, etc. The list could be endless. But I figure these are typical necessary items to pack.

You can buy a ready made back for hundreds of dollars or put together the items in a budget friendly manner.

What budget items are in your survival kit?

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