I'm a big fan of survival shows. My favorites in order are Surivorman, Dual Survival, Man vs Wild, Man, Woman, Wild, Extreme Survival, and Naked and Afraid. I also have several books on survival including the SAS Survival Handbook, Hawkes Green Beret Survival Manual and Hawkes Special Forces Survival Handbook.

After watching numerous shows, reading these books, and my own experience, it occurs to me that there are several things that are just not fun to do without the right tools. Because of that I came up with my list of the four things that one should always bring with them when playing in the outdoors to ensure a successful survival situation should they find themselves in a world of hurt.

  1. A good fixed blade knife. I personally like the Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro survival knife. Say what you want about Bear, his knife series made by Gerber is top notch. Also it comes with a fire steel (Which is my number two thing you should always carry with you, so it saves space). If you want to carry a good knife, but prefer Les Stroud, you can get his knife from Camillus that includes the same stuff as Bear's plus a few extras. A really good "no frills" knife is the simple KA-BAR trusted by Marines.
  2. A good way to make fire. I prefer to use fire steel (ferrocerium/flint striker). You may think the best thing to do is bring matches or a lighter, but in reality matches get wet and there is a finite amount of them. Lighters fail, and in cold weather can become difficult to get going. Fire steel will work no matter the weather, no matter if it is wet or not. If you don't have fire steel (Or another good way to make fire) then you will have to try and make fire by friction... Good luck with that.
  3. A good way to carry water, and treat water. I always bring with me my army canteen set. It comes with a canteen and a stainless steel canteen cup that I can use to boil water when I run out of the water I brought with me. When watching these survival shows they often find water, but have a hell of a time figuring our how to transport it and treat it so it is safe to drink. With the canteen set you will have that headache licked!
  4. Cordage. I never leave home without my homemade paracord bracelet. You can also buy paracord bracelets. That way I always have cordage available to me to do stuff like make shelter or set traps. Paracord is great because it is strong (Holds up to 550 lbs) and also has seven inner strands for doing stuff like fishing or setting snares and traps. You can bring whatever you like, but having the bracelet ensures I always have cordage with me when I need it. I also took it a step further and made a paracord hat band which means tons of cordage. Check it out:

    Besides my hat and bracelet, I've also replaced my shoelaces on my hiking boots with 550 cord as well. You can never have too much cordage!
There you have it, in my opinion if you have these four items while trekking out in the wild, you should do fine and life will be a little easier on you. I like to live by the Boy Scouts motto of "Always Be Prepared". In fact I keep these items in both my car and my truck because you never know.

Do you agree? Disagree? Do you have a different list? Let us know in the comments.