Top 10 Multi Purpose Survival Tools for Your Bug Out Bag

Multi Purpose Survival Tools

Here at The Bug Out Bag Guide we strive to build the best survival kit using a philosophy of practicality and efficiency. An excellent way of practicing this mindset is to utilize multi purpose survival gear to meet the needs of our Bug Out Plan. Multi purpose survival gear items improve our survival kit in multiple ways:

  1. Save Space – Why bring 3 items when you can use 1 do do the same jobs? Consolidating items to save space will free up room in your Bug Out Bag to carry other useful survival tools or more food and water.
  2. Save Weight – We have covered at length the perils of weighing yourself down with everything plus the kitchen sink, and have even built a tool for you to check your own Bug Out Bag’s weight. Reducing the number of items you carry will pay increasing dividends the longer you have to travel.
  3. Increase Simplicity / Reduce Clutter – The more items you pack the harder it will be to find what you need. Stick to the essentials – Pack less and improvise more for an efficient survival kit.
Multi Purpose Survival Tools
The Original Multi Purpose Survival Tool

Our Picks for Multi Purpose Survival Tools

We have researched long and hard and compiled a list of the best multi purpose survival tools below. For most categories, there are a great many options of items to consider while building your best survival kit. We have made a recommendation of the best we could find where applicable for those who do not have the time or inclination to search on their own based on utility, size, and weight. However as always, you need to choose the best items for YOUR survival scenario.

Survival Hatchet

These come in many flavors but most of them will do the jobs of a hatchet (obviously), pry tool, shovel, and wrench. We should look for any opportunity to remove high weight to volume ratio items such as steel tools to build the best survival kit, so being able to leave behind any of these is a good step. For more info check out our in depth reviews of the BEST survival tomahawks here.

Survival Whistle

These are generally quite cheap and are cover a lot of the basics. Most survival whistles combine a compass, dry container with the whistle and some even have a fire starting flint within.

Multitool

Anything with both the words “multi” and “tool” in it is worth having a look at. There are a great many options for multitools – focus on weight and practicality when looking. Are you going to really NEED the one with the allen key and corkscrew? Stick to the basics of a straight blade, saw, and can opener (like this one here) and add what few other options you see fit. Some bonus items that are rarely thought about are a magnifying glass and USB stick. These come on some multitools and can be used to start fires and store important family records, respectively. If you want to learn more about choosing the right multitool for survival, you can check out our article here.

Tarp

There is so much you can do with a tarp, it is a multitool all in itself. Besides the obvious of keeping gear dry and being used as a shelter, they can also be used for signaling and be easily turned into a stretcher to carry injured party members.

Plastic Bags

It is good to have a few of these as they have many, many uses and are very light and small. Plastic bags can be used to carry water, keep clothes and fire starting kits dry, store food, and organize small items.

Survival Knife

We covered Survival Knives generally in our Bug Out Bag Essentials post but they are so useful it is worth re-hashing here. Generally you are better off getting a solid, full tang knife from a trusted knifemaker such as Ontario, Camillus, Becker, or Gerber. Stay away from hollow handled survival knives if at all possible. The small amount of storage space will not make up for the overall inferior build quality. For more information on choosing a good knife for any outdoors situation, check out our comprehensive guide by CLICKING HERE.

Duct Tape

Good old duct tape, where would the world be without it? Duct Tape can be used as an emergency bandage, to secure a splint, to reinforce or repair waterproofing, as a rope replacement for shelter building, and taped over sore spots to prevent blisters.

Bandana

A bandana can be moistened and tied around the neck to help keep you cool, be used to filter water, will protect you from the sun, be used as a bandage, be utilized to tie on a splint, or be a replacement for rope in tasks such as shelter building.

Paracord

This is a small, strong cord that can be used in shelter building, ascending or descending inclines, as a clothes line, to fasten a splint, or to build a snare. Read out article about paracord uses and storage here.

Sanitary Pads/Tampons

These are often overlooked but are highly versatile. In addition to its intended use, a sanitary pad can be used as a bandage, it can be shredded and used as tinder, and it can be used to filter sediment from water.

BONUS: Your Brain

I know this is a list of the Top 10 Multi Purpose Survival Tools but this is really worth mentioning. Your own brain is the most valuable multi purpose survival tool that you have. Your mind contains the willpower to persevere in a dire survival scenario, and as importantly, the ability to improvise and modify your Bug Out Plan to overcome unforeseen problems. Rely on your own thinking before any of these other tools we mentioned, it will get you out of most sticky situation.

Top 10 Multi Purpose Survival Tools

We have build the table below to help you consider multi purpose survival tools when planning your bug out bag list. You will see in there Our Picks for the best items that meet our basic survival needs. If you click on the image for any of these, you will open up a window to Amazon.com where you can conduct further research on this item or others like it to see what best meets your needs.

 Multi Use ItemOur PickItems it can replaceUses
1Survival HatchetOntario SP16 Spax Tool
Hatchet, Pry bar, ShovelCut, Pry, Break glass, Punch holes, Open/close fire hydrants and gas mains, Open manholes, Self defense
25 in 1 whistleSE - Whistle - 5-in-1
Fierstarter, compass, waterproof container, matches, lighter, signal mirrorSignalling, navigation, firestarting, dry container
3MultitoolLeatherman Sidekick Multi Tool

knife, saw, can openerCut Wood, Clean animals, Harvest plants, Slice rope, Shelter building, Self devense
4Plastic BagsWhatever is in your kitchen pantryDry Bag, Fire starting kit containerBackup water container, Dry bag, Store food, Organize small bits of gear
5Survival KnifeGerber LMF II Infantry Knife

Camp saw, hatchet, can be used for nearly any bushcraft task.Food gathering, First aid, Shelter Building, Navigation, Fire starting, Self defense
6Duct Tape3M Utility Duct Tape
Rope, BandagesEmergency bandage, Repair waterproofing, Shelter building, Prevent blisters
7BandanaHead for Survival Triangular Bandana
Triangle Bandage, HatEmergency Rope, Wet it and tie around your neck to keep cool, Sun Protection, Arm sling, Compression bandage, Filter sediment from water
8ParacordArmy Universe Nylon Military Paracord

Rope, some first aid itemsShelter building, Climbing/descending, grapelling hook, Tie on a splint, Build a snare
9TarpHeavy Duty Tarp
Emergency Shelter, Signal MirrorKeep items dry, Keep you off the ground when sleeping, Made into a stretcher, Used as shelter, Used for signaling
10Sanitary Pads/TamponsWhatever is already in your hygiene kitBandages, TinderFirst Aid for bleeding, Start fires, Emergency water filter, Femenine hygiene

Conclusion

There are many multi purpose survival tools that can be utilized to save space and weight in your Bug Out Bag. Carefully consider the pluses and minuses of each when building your Bug Out Plan and Bug Out Bag Contents List in order to build the best survival kit for YOUR survival scenario.

Your Thoughts

If you thought this post was helpful, please Like, +1, or Share it using the social media buttons at the top of the page! What do you think of these multi purpose survival tools? Is there an additional use for any of them that you know of? Is there any other survival gear that you would recommend? Please let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!

7 comments on “Top 10 Multi Purpose Survival Tools for Your Bug Out Bag

    1. Hi DJ,
      Making your own custom kit is always better in my opinion. However, if you are inexperienced or do not have time, buying a premade one can be a good option.

      Chris

  1. I really appreciate the thoroughness of this article, but I have to call you out on the survival knife choice. United Cutlery makes stainless steel p.o.s knives. I own that very model shown and the blade wiggles badly in the handle. This is because it has no tang to speak of to accommodate a hollow handle.
    You need to get a 6 to 10 inch, full tang, carbon steel knife that has a blade no thinner than 1/8 of an inch. Many Ontario knives meet these requirements, and Ontario’s knives are just as tough as their Spax. You can get knives by cold steel, buck, and scharade that are also bullet proof and wont break the bank.
    Hollow handle knives are a gimmick, and the paltry amount of gear that they hold cannot make up for their weak construction. Don’t bet your life on a Rambo wannabe blade. Get something that you can rely on with your life.

    1. I agree with Mike in his statement that United Cutlery is a very substandard company. Also, the ONLY decent quality hollow handle survival knife that I’ve seen is made by Randall and costs several hundred dollars. I would never choose a hollow, storage handle knife for main line survival purposes. You are definitely best off purchasing a quality carbon steel blade by Ontario, Camillus, Becker, Cold Steel, etc. Also, while some stainless steel alloys are excellent for knife blades, generally speaking they are subpar when compared to carbon steel. Rust is not an issue to those who know how to maintain a blade and good carbon steel has far superior edge holding ability.

      1. Jerry,
        Thanks for your feedback and I think you and Mike are right. I have updated the article to remove reference to hollow handled knives and encouraged people to go for a full tang, well made blade.

        Thanks for your input and for sharing your knowledge, I appreciate it.

        Chris

  2. Just an observation.
    You list a saw as an item/tool for the Leatherman Wingman Multi Tool under the Top 10 Multi Purpose Survival Tools. As far as I can tell, the Wingman does not come equipped with a saw. The next comparable model with a saw would be the Sidekick.

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