What Essential Items Does Every Survivalist Need For Their Shelter?

Every good survivalist will have a plan to get away from the place they are in at that point. It could be anywhere, a residential home, an apartment in the city, a cabin in the woods, even a different survivalist shelter that you just set up.

What Essential Items Does Every Survivalist Need For Their Shelter?

No matter where it is, you will need to have the items readily available to construct and fill another bug out shelter at any point.

However, just what those items can be is a little vague. We all know the big ones – food, fresh water, etc. – but beyond those it gets a little subjective and is all about your opinion of what you need.

With this in mind, we have decided to create this article to discuss the different items that every survivalist worth their salt will want for their shelter.


We will begin with the basics, as even if you feel you are completely prepared, there may be something you dismissed as irrelevant or just missed when you got your shelter together.

These are the things you want for the most basic of shelters, that may last you for a few days or weeks:

Non-perishable Food And Fresh Water

We mentioned this earlier, but it is worth repeating. If you are going to a survivalist shelter, you want it to have some food and water.

You have no idea what state you will get to the shelter in – you may be malnourished and dehydrated due to unforeseen circumstances.

Therefore, have some food that can last years (like canned food or rice) available and a sealed supply of fresh water (like in a sealed drum or barrel).


Many people think that you only need one set of clothes, which is false. While you only need two or three sets of different clothes, you still need them.

This is to keep your body warm and safe. If you get caught out in a rainstorm and are soaked through or are camping on a cold night, you will need some dry clothes to stay warm.

Bugs will bite you without clothes on and the clothes will chaff after a period of time without changing, causing rashes.

A Knife

Knives are the outdoors man’s best friend. With them, surviving is 100 times easier, as you can cut cordage, logs, make tools, skin animals, cut up meat, create markers, and so on.

They have endless uses, and you should always have one spare – even a tiny one – in your cabin.

First Aid Kit

Shelters are often built in stunningly beautiful environments, far away from civilization, that are also mires of disease and potential infection.

A small wound that is not noticed quickly or not cleaned properly can become infected quickly and even kill you.

As such, a first aid kit is incredibly important to maintaining your health when you are on your own.



Now, we have the very basic things you need for a survivalist shelter, let’s talk about the other things that you will need if you plan on staying for an indefinite period of time:

Portable Battery-powered Radio

Radios will keep you informed of many things, including weather events, natural disasters, evacuation instructions, and other problems that you need to know to survive.

Also, they can be godsends on lonely nights when you just need to hear another voice for a while.


While a knife can get the job done if needed, an axe is the best construction tool around.

It can cut down trees, split firewood, and generally deal with lumber really well, which is what you need if you are making a long time shelter or need to do repairs.

Water Purification Tablets, A LifeStraw, Or A Way To Produce Clean Water

If your shelter (Check out Bug Out Shelters You Must Know How to Build) is designed for long term use, you are going to need a way to get or make clean water for the foreseeable future.

This can be through tablets that purify the water, using equipment with filters inside that clean the water as you drink – like a LifeStraw – or making your own method of cleaning water (ours involves boiling the water, then filtering it through sand and charcoal).

A Way To Make Fire

Having a fire can mean life and death. It can keep you warm, scare away wildlife, and cook your food, so you don’t get sick.

To make a fire, you are going to need a tool to do so. This can be a supply of matches or a lighter, but these will run out eventually, unless you hoard them and their fuel.

The other option is to get a steel and flint fire starter. They are cheap and last for years.

Sleeping Bag And Survival Blanket

Sleeping on the cold ground or without any protection will likely sap your strength and make you ill.

As such, you should purchase a sleeping bag to go in your shelter. It will keep you warm on cold nights and help you feel refreshed.

You should also get a survival blanket in case your shelter fails during a storm or a cold night, so you can wrap yourself up until the weather event passes.

Compass And Maps Of The Area

If you are going to shelter for a while, you need to know the area well. Having a topographical map will tell you the layout of the land, and having a compass will stop you getting lost and allow you to get around easier.

Duct Tape

When your shelter is breaking, but you haven’t found the right log or object to fix it, a quick, temporary fix can be made with duct tape. It can honestly be a lifesaver and last for weeks – even months.


There are just some things that you should always have in a survival shelter. Without them, surviving on your own is insanely tough and can cause major problems for you and your ability to survive at all.

It doesn’t have to be all of them, but having some of the items on this list will help you in your endeavors.

Tim Roth
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