Through any disaster, emergency, or survival situation, tools will serve a very important function. As my dad always told me: the right tool is 80% of the job. After a major disaster whether natural or manmade, having these items that can serve specific functions will come in handy. While we have collected a lot of tools over the years, for this blog we’ve tried to condense them down to options that can serve multiple purposes, will give you the most bang for your buck, and are easily transportable. But did we succeed in our selection of items? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. So let’s jump in to cover five essential tool categories, so let’s jump in.
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Before we get into specific tools, let’s first discuss safety. Make sure you have a good pair of safety glasses. A simple splinter to the eye or some other type of eye injury during normal times can be treatable, but when hospitals are over capacity after a disaster, they’ll have to triage injuries and you may not be able to get help. Also a note about multi-tools. While it’s recommended you carry one of these in your EDC, we don’t really cover this tool in this blog as we want to get into more specific tools that would work much better. Having said that, let’s cover the main categories. If you’re interested in picking up any of these items, we’ll post links in the description section below.
1- Storage & Basic Tools
One of the most important things you should consider when preparing the tools you will need to have in your home is the bag where you will store them. Using a roll-up tool bag offers a lot of advantages. They’re light, easy to organize your tools, and you to carry them like a toolbox or spread them open for easy access. But if you already have a toolbox, hey, roll with it.
Here’s a few basic tools to start off with to add that serve a multitude of purposes that are not stored in any particular pocket:
Axe or hatchet. These serve multiple purposes apart from just processing wood: the back can be used as a basic hammer, you can process game, and they can provide self defense.
Mini crowbar or prying bar. Need to access a structure after an earthquake or tear things apart? You’ll be glad you had this.
OK, let’s look in the first pouch of what we consider “basic tools”:
Adjustable wrench and channel locks. Need to loosen or tighten bolts of various sizes or just need to grab on to a pipe?
A universal socket and socket wrench sure beats having to carry a complete set of sockets to tighten and loosen bolts.
Needle nose pliers, vice grips, and regular pliers allows you to grab, hold on, and manipulate things.
Multi-bit screwdriver allow for general construction and deconstruction. You may want to also consider a mini ratchet screwdriver which gives you more torque and more options.
Allen keys and star wrenches allows for loosening and tightening.
Silcock key allows you to open water spigots on most commercial buildings.
The pounding category covers all of the blunt force tools you will use for various applications..
We went with a ball-peen hammer as a claw hammer wouldn’t fit. If we need the claw aspect missing, we can use the crow bar. With a ball-peen hammer, their head is stronger than the usual claw hammer. You can use them for shaping softer or heated metals to make other tools like spear points, hooks, and knives.
We also keep my leather gloves in this same pouch. These gloves are great at protecting your hands, which is critical when you do any work involving cutting, hammering, slicing, and so on. Having necessary hand protection ensures you prevent injuries which could easily worsen.
3-Slicing & Separating
This category includes the tools used to separate, slice, fillet, saw, or cut materials apart. Aside from a survival or wilderness knife, you should also have other types of cutting devices for different uses like for medical purposes, precision cutting, and dressing animals.
A survival or wilderness knife is essential. You can use it to cut and carve wood for stakes, shelters, traps, spears, make a fire in the wild, process animals for eating, and of course, self-defense. We also keep a sharpening device to ensure my blades stay sharp.
For slicing, Xactos are small, affordable, and practical. They’re great for precision cutting and in a pinch, could be used for medical purposes.
For more heavy duty cutting of thicker materials, we went with aviation snips.
Next is a small hacksaw. This tool is suitable for cutting metal, wood, and plastic. Just be sure to have the right blades based on what you’re cutting.
A wire cutter for cutting and stripping wires will also come in handy.
4-Tying & Connecting
This category includes the tools used to secure items together. Sometimes things break or we just need make sure they don’t separate. This is where these come in handy.
The first tool you will need under this category is a sewing kit with an assortment of needles and threads. Whether sewing a structure for shelter, stitching clothing, or tying a suture, needles are the smallest item in your toolkit with, perhaps, the most significant utility.
Also include several feet of fishing line which takes up very little space and has more utility than just for fishing.
Zip ties are another essential tying tool which are strong, small, and have a variety of uses. You can use zip ties to build shelters, organize items to save space, and just overall bind things together.
Duct tape is another must-have survival tool in your kit. It’s small in size, making it easier to store, but it has hundreds of uses.
You should also have several carabiners in your tool kit for tying and connecting. Just make sure you get the ones that are solid and sturdy.
16 Gauge Coil Mechanics wire can be used for heavier applications. It is sturdier and stronger than the previous items listed for tying and will fasten more solidly.
You also should consider carrying a small amount of nails and nuts and bolts to secure items together if needed.
JB Weld is a must have to ensure 2 things stick together.
Bungee cords for those times when you have to strap items together.
The miscellaneous essentials category contains the tools that we don’t typically think of but are critical to have inside our survival tool kit.
A basic headlamp allows you to focus on the task while keeping your hands free.
A small wood saw can help process items quickly.
A C-Clamp can hold items together you may be working on.
Teflon plumber tape makes make sure you don’t have to deal with leaks.
WD-40 helps lubricate and loosen stubborn nuts and bolts.
Multi-meter allows you to quickly understand what you’re working with when dealing with electrical issues.
We originally were going to include 550 paracord, but was on the fence about carrying around a bunch of cordage. Instead, we tossed in a small amount by adding this paracord bracelet. If you think we should opt for 100 feet instead, let us know in the comment section.
Many of the tools we already have in our home for fixing and installing things can also be used to help us survive during a collapse. The kind of tools that you will need to have will depend significantly on the environment that you are living in and the crisis you are facing. From the bag to the type of use: hacking and pounding, slicing and separating, or tying and connecting, tools are an essential survival items. Make sure you pay up for high-quality tools that will last and understand their uses. I also think of the saying before making purchases: buy once, cry once.
Also, be sure to check out our other blog entitled 15 Low-Cost Survival Items. That blog also details some great tools to have on hand for other applications.