10 Multi-Use Survival Tools for Your Bug Out Bag

10 Multi-Use Survival Tools for Your Bug Out Bag

There are so many different ways in which you can build a bug out bag, with countless possible tools and items you might want to pack. Unfortunately, no bag is big enough to store everything, and no man or woman wants to carry all that weight around. This is why, when preparing your own BOB, you need to be as efficient as possible.

Instead of taking two different items, try to find one that does the job of both. These multi-use tools can be very effective and will help you to save space in your bag, as well as lowering its overall weight. When you’re out in the wild, you’ll certainly appreciate having a lighter, more manageable bag to carry around with you.

It also becomes much easier for you to sort through your bag and find the tools you need, when there aren’t fifty different items stuffed inside it. In this article, we’ll go through our list of ten essential survival tools that each have multiple uses.


A Quality Multi-tool

Let’s begin with the most obvious one. You don’t need to be a genius to know that a multi-tool is probably one of the handiest items to pack in your survival kit. These tools are compact, convenient, and can be used for countless purposes. They’ll help you cut down on the weight of your bag, as well as saving an incredible amount of space.

multitool-leathermanHowever, it’s important not to lose your head here. Keep thinking in practical terms and buy the tool that you will actually use, rather than the one with a dozen fancy functions you won’t ever actually need. There are lots of different multi-tools to choose from, but in terms of survival, you’ll need to focus on the most reliable and resistant ones.

You should also ensure that your multi-tool of choice is equipped with a saw, a blade, a can opener, and anything else that could be essential to you.

bug out bag survival essentials - tarp shelter


At a base level, a tarp is used as a barrier between you and the ground. However, if you start to think outside the box, you can see that there are lots of uses for a simple tarp. They can be set up above you as shelters, they can be used for signals or even turned into stretchers to transport injured people.

They are also useful for keeping the rest of your equipment dry, and there are surely many other uses that we haven’t even thought of here. If you’re heading out into the wild, a tarp is a must-have item.

Survival Hatchet

A simple hatcher can get a lot of jobs done. As well as the primary functions of cutting or chopping, most hatchets are also capable of prying things open, digging holes, breaking glass, and opening valves.

In times of need, they can also be relied upon for self-defense. A good hatchet will do the jobs of an axe, crowbar, shovel and wrench, so it’s one of the best multi-purpose tools to have in your kit.


lifestrawAnytime you set off into the woods for an extended period of time, how you are going to find, collect, and process water is a primary concern. While a lifestraw should not be relied on as your primary source for drinking dirty water, it just may save your life when it’s really needed. This is an item that costs under $20, is light, and can be thrown into your go bag and give you the piece of mind that you can process and drink up to 1000 liters of water.

lifestraw features

Survival Whistle

The most simple survival whistle is just a whistle, but nowadays it’s perfectly possible to find whistles that also come equipped with miniature torches, fire-starting gear, compasses, mirrors, and their own containers. These whistles aren’t expensive and can be incredibly useful in survival situations.

paracord survival gear


The list of uses of paracord could go on and on. This cord is strong and reliable, perfect for supporting the weight of your body as you climb or descend a steep area. It can also be used when building a shelter, preparing traps, or even as a simple line to help your clothes dry.

You can also use it for various first aid purposes, like fastening a splint. It’s great to have a line of paracord in your bug out bag.

Sanitary Pads

This might seem like a strange one, but there are actually dozens of uses for sanitary pads. They are an excellent form of tinder and can rapidly help a fire get started, but will also be useful for filtering water. In addition, they can safely be used in place of bandages.

Plastic Bags

Plastic bags won’t take up much room in your pack, nor will they way you down. They can be used for their regular function of simply storing and carrying items, but can also help to keep things dry and allow you to stay organized. They can even be used as a makeshift tarp, if you failed to bring one.

duct tape survival uses

Duct Tape

If you’re out in the wild and want to make your own shelter, you’ll be grateful to have packed some duct tape. It’s very easy to simply tear off a piece of tape and use it for whatever you need. It can help with traps, shelters, and splints, as well as being handy if you need to repair anything.


A simple bandana can be a big aid in survival situations. You can tie it around your head to protect you from the sun, or dip it in water to keep you refreshed. It can also work as a water filter or a bandage replacement, as well as being useful in situations where you need to tie something up and don’t have any tape or cord.

Survival Knife

survival tools - knifeFinally, we come to the survival knife. No bug out bag is complete without one of these knives. A good quality knife can be used for a huge array of tasks including hunting, food preparation, first aid, shelter building, repairs and more. You can also rely on a knife as a weapon to defend yourself in emergency situations.

About the author

Mike Paris

Mike is the editor of NWT Outfitters and as you may expect, an avid outdoorsman... When Mike isn't logged into the NWT backend, he's camping, climbing, hunting, fishing, or doing some combination of the four.

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