The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for Survivalists

If you have to buy for someone who spends time in the backcountry this Christmas, these are the best items to choose from

The holidays are fast approaching, but what do you get for the tricky survival enthusiasts on your list (especially the ones who already have two of everything)? Survival gear choices are limitless, making the quest for the perfect gift a tough task. Thankfully, we’re here to help you with some practical gear choices for that special someone (or as a special treat for yourself).

Hults Bruk Agdor Axe

This premium axe offers everything you’d want in a sturdy Swedish-made camp axe, except the high price tag. Hults Bruk

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Maybe there’s something in the water in Scandinavia, or it might just be the combination of world-class steel and long, dark winters. Either way, some of my favorite knives and axes hail from these frosty latitudes and the new Hults Bruk Agdor axe is now among them. This is no little tomahawk or backpack hatchet. Designed for heavy camp and expedition work, this axe features a 28-inch handle and a 2.5-pound axe head made from legendary high-carbon Swedish steel in the classic Montreal pattern. Right out of the package, this sturdy tool is quite sharp and it includes the very attractive leather sheath common to Hults Bruk axes. Easy to swing with great balance, this axe will be a welcomed companion in your hunting camp and around the homestead. Made by one of the oldest axe making companies on earth, it may just become an heirloom to pass down to the great grandkids.

Aqua Quest Safari Tarp

Shelter is one of our top survival priorities. This lightweight waterproof tarp can be a lifesaving gift for anyone who has to fend for themselves. Aqua Quest

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Based in the Pacific Northwest, Aqua Quest knows a thing or two about wet weather gear and waterproofing. This lightweight yet resilient waterproof tarp is made from 70D nylon fabric with a non-toxic dual Silicone and PU coating. The tarp also boasts reinforced stitching, heat taped seams, 19 reinforced webbing tie loops and two very handy lantern loops. The 10×13-foot model weighs just over 2 pounds and comes with a lifetime warranty. Like all tarp shelters, the safari tarp can be set up in a wide range of configurations and used for tasks other than shelter.

Exotac Ferro Rod

Even the best fire starter is useless when it drops on the ground and disappears from sight. For that reason, one of the top spark rod manufacturers has designed a model with big fat sparks and a bright orange color. Exotac

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Spark rods are no exception to the rule that you “get what you pay for” in value. While there are plenty of $1 spark rods on Amazon, they’re not all equal. The Exotac fireROD Ferrocerium Fire Starter is a fire starting tool rated for as many as 5,000 strikes. While other products produce a wide spray of short-lived sparks, this particular ferro alloy produces fat sparks with a longer lifespan than comparable products. The housing is machined in the U.S. from 6061 aluminum and it even has a small waterproof tinder storage capsule in the handle (though it will barely hold a small piece of Vaseline-soaked cotton ball). Available in four pleasing colors, you should pay a little extra for the bright orange. This will help with retrieval, should you drop the fire starter on the ground.

Stanley Cook Set

Your favorite meal may be just a campfire away, with this simple yet effective two-cup cook set. Stanley

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Are you on a budget this holiday season? Don’t worry. There are plenty of affordable gifts for the outdoor and survival enthusiasts on your list. The Stanley two-cup cook set is a simple but effective cooking system that any wilderness wanderer can put to good use. Constructed with 18/8 stainless steel, the vented lid top allows steam to escape and it can also be used to drain liquids when cooking. The locking handle can be extended for stable use, or folded over for space saving travel. The larger “kettle” holds 24 ounces, and has graduated marks going up to 20 ounces. The kit also comes with two small insulated BPA-free 10-ounce tumblers (ideal for hot or cold beverages). By leaving the two tumblers at home, you can drop the kit weight down to a mere 8 ounces. Like most Stanley products, this kit comes with a lifetime warranty.

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Occer Binoculars

When you need to see further than your eyes will allow, a pair of these powerful binoculars can bring distant things into focus for you. Occer

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Occer binoculars are portable and powerful, without the hefty price. These feature 12x magnification and an unexpectedly wide field of vision. Large and comfortable eyepieces are another welcomed feature. Made from ABS plastic and covered with nonslip rubber armor, the binoculars provide a reliable grip with partial water resistance. These pocket size binoculars are easy to use (even one-handed), and very affordably priced (a great consideration during this expensive time of year).

Trailshot Water Filter

Small, light, rugged and reliable, the Trailshot water filter is my new favorite tool for safe water in the wild. Trailshot

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With so many water filters on the market, the choices can seem almost cumbersome. Thanks to its light weight, effectiveness and ease of use, this petite pump-action water filter has floated to the top of my list for hunts, day hikes and other quick trips into the backcountry. I’d still rather have my Katadyn Pocket Filter for a bug out bag or long term use, but the new MSR Trailshot is a great alternative to the much heavier (and much pricier) Katadyn model. The Trailshot water filter is a pocket sized device that is feather light (it’s only 5 ounces) and offers safe water immediately – all you have to do is squeeze the pump bulb. I’ve used this filter on many excursions this year and been very pleased with its easy operation (and even happier that I didn’t ingest any waterborne pathogens).

Beat The Odds Survival Manual

If you have someone on your “nice” list who loves to read about survival scenarios and learn new skills, consider my latest book. Tim MacWelch

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Books have many different facets that can make them a great gift. They can be a storehouse of knowledge. They can teach you a new skill. They even work when the lights go out (though you will need a backup light source to read in the dark). Whether you believe in random chance or fate, this book will walk you through many common emergency scenarios and a few crazier situations as well. Packed with practical skills and steeped in historical precedent, if there was a way to better your odds of surviving – this book will get you there. Just released on Nov. 17, this new title should be a welcomed addition to any survival library.

WetFire Cubes

Looking for something small but impactful? These tiny cubes burn with a surprising fury. WetFire

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While they aren’t a new product, WetFire cubes from UST are one of my favorite survival products on the market today. Each of these small waxy white cubes will burn more than 9 minutes, with flames that are almost one foot tall. They’re very easy to light with the open flame of a lighter or match. They’ll also light with a spark rod, providing you crumble some of the cube into little pieces to enhance their surface area. These fire starters are a “must have item” in survival kits, and a vital fire starting resource in cold wet climates. The small package and affordable price make these fire starters a great stocking stuffer, and even if your gift recipient already has a crate of them, they’ll be glad to have more.