Top 10 Kickass Tools You Could Possibly Own For REAL WORLD Survival Situations Of All Kinds. Images – Amazon (with permission)
Introduction: If you’re a survivalist, outdoors person or simply a hard working individual who just likes to solve problems and get things done, then you KNOW that a kickass toolkit is a superb investment. There are many situations in which good tools can save your life…
Here we present our top list of tools for the survival-minded, that we personally have put to the test! These not only will make fantastic additions to your survival gear, but will find everyday use in countless scenarios for the working and physically active person who likes to get stuff done. These tools are for people who like to be out there making it happen.
Note that this is a 21st century toolkit which does include some hi-tech items. So this is not your “marooned on a desert island with nothing except two sticks and a coconut” kit. This is a real-world kit that equips you for innumerable possible scenarios that you are actually likely to face today. Note – we are not going to cover knives in this tutorial because that’s a huge topic in its own right.
Alright, let’s get down to it! All the links on this page are to the Amazon page for the item, so you can see the reviews for yourself: You will see that all the tools we chose have received loads of 5 star reviews from people who put them to the test.
1) Cordless Reciprocating Saw
These tools have a legion of fans and for good reason: They rock. If you are doing any sort of demolition or ‘cutting your way out of a problem’ a good reciprocating saw will blast through it in no time. They are beautifully portable, powerful… and with a selection of the right blades, can take on most materials.
Case in point, recently we had a winter ‘situation’ that is all too common for people who live out in the country: Tree fallen across dirt road in the middle of nowhere… trapped between other trees so there was no way to drag it with the vehicle… and no other way round. Problem? No problem! Because we had a Hilti Reciprocating Saw in the trunk, with 2 full batteries and a pack of 12″ branch cutting blades.
We were able to trim off all the branches and then cut the trunk and drag it out of the road. The saw will go through a limb or trunk up to about 10″ thick – and you could quite probably cut something bigger if you did it in stages (and have enough batteries).
What’s great about this tool is that for many branch cutting jobs where a noisy, fuming, dangerous chainsaw would previously have been the only way, the recip. saw can handle it with no problem.
Another area in which a reciprocating saw excels is demolition work. Equipped with the carbide-tipped blades, they can cut through wood with nails! Fun times! 🙂 So with a pack of blades and a few batteries on rotation, you can essentially cut any wooden structure into chunks and dismantle it… piece of cake. Together with a wrecking bar (see below).. and some good coffee… you could pretty much demolish a timber-framed house.
The Hilti is expensive but you don’t have to spend that much. Best value for money in our view: The Dewalt 20-Volt Reciprocating Saw.
2) Wrecking Bar
A survival kit and general toolkit essential – and one that puts a smile on your face! 🙂 Just get one! You’ll love it. My favorite one is the Dead On Annihilator. I could almost write poetry in praise of this beast. I LOVE it and I have definitely given mine some real abuse. I’ve demolished rooms, obliterated a 10ft tall brick chimney in a few minutes (that was super fun!), pounded rocks, broken through concrete and pulled big nails from old redwood. Despite trying my best, I simply haven’t managed to hurt this tool and it is the reigning world champion against everything I have tried it on.
For tearing apart 2×4 house framing it’s great. The opening at the end is just the right width to grab the side of a 2×4 and give it some serious twist. The bar also doubles up as a regular hammer and nail puller when need be.
It needs hardly be said that in an off-grid / survival / zombie takeover situation the number of uses for something like this is countless.
Other kick-ass wrecking bars to consider:
Stanley FatMax Xtreme 55-120 FuBar III (rave reviews. I have one of these also and it’s a beast!)
Trucker’s Friend All Purpose Survival And Demolition Tool – Combines a Axe, Hammer, Pry bar (also got loads of 5 star reviews)
If you need to up your firepower even further, consider a “Spud Bar” (also known as a digging bar) – which is essentially a 6-foot heavy steel bar with a spike at one and and a chisel point at the other. This is one of those tools that comes in handy again and again. When something else isn’t quite serious enough for the job, this is. I moved an entire tool shed full of tools that was not sitting correctly on its foundations with one of these! That’s how much leverage you can get. It’s the ultimate pry bar as well as being awesome for digging into extremely hard ground. If you are using it for breaking concrete or similar, wear safety goggles. And before you go jamming into the ground, be absolutely sure there are no electrical cables down there.
3) Knipex Wrenches
Ok so these are on the higher end of the price spectrum for hand wrenches / cutters – but there is a reason for that: They are superb: From the badass Hi Leverage Mini Bolt Cutter (90% 5 star reviews on Amazon, which is awesome) that can power through surprisingly thick steel for a hand tool; to the 10″ Adjustable Wrench which has with a genius mechanism that just makes it easier to use than other brands I have tried. Knipex makes a complete range of these tools and they all have superb design and build quality that puts them at the top of their class. They are also made from very high quality steel and should last a lifetime. Top investment.
If you are going to buy just one Knipex tool for general purpose, a good place to start is the 10″ Cobra Pliers. But be warned, shortly after you have started using this one, you will want to collect more! These are a top Xmas gift.
4) Fiskars Shop Snips
The Fiskars Titanium Nitride Shop Snip is a general purpose pair of “mega scissors”. These have astonishing cutting power and withstood all kinds of abuse that we threw at them. These will surprise you with their awesomeness, and then you won’t want to be without them. A great, convenient and lightweight tool to have on hand for all kinds of work.
5) High Quality Work Gloves
Another item you will never catch me without. Proper work gloves are the difference between tearing through a project and tearing through your hands. They are an absolute essential – not only for safety, but will increase your productivity when doing rugged work.
I tend destroy gloves and boots fast because I have this tendency to go at what I am working on like a tiger. The result of this is that I have personally abuse-tested most of the work gloves out there. There are numerous great brands – so find the ones that work best for you and then buy a stash of several pairs so that you can replace when needed. You want something that has great grip, flexibility, durability and protection. They should have super-tuff pads on the fingers that wood splinters and so on will not go through. If you find that you still get splinters and cuts despite wearing gloves… you need tougher gloves.
Get in the habit of putting your gloves on before you start any kind of work, rather than after you cut yourself. You’ll learn. 😉
My personal faves are the Dead On Python gloves, but all these brands get my thumbs up:
Wells Lamont Synthetic Leather Work Gloves.
Dead On DO-803XL Python Anti-Vibe Glove.
Estwing EST7790XXL Premium Multi-Purpose Work Glove With Cut-Resistant Aramid Stitching Synthetic Leather Re-Reinforced Palm.
Also worth checking out are the cheap pigskin gloves but they are more cumbersome, meaning you have to take them off and put them back on more times during the day. Great for concrete work because that destroys gloves faster than anything else I can think of.
6) Pure Sine Wave Inverter
An awesome item to keep on board your truck or car; these can give you AC power to run tools, computer, charge your phone, you name it.
Why pure sinewave and not the cheaper “modified sine wave” inverters? Important question! The modified sine power is not considered ideal for sensitive electronics and even for tools. It is a known fact that the “dirty power” these provide can shorten the lifespan of the devices it is attached to. Pure sine is “clean power” which protects your gear and minimizes the risk of failure. Pure sine inverters are more expensive but they are the pro choice.
A good quality inverter is an investment. You will often find “cheapie” inverters boasting huge power in big letters.. but then you buy it and find it won’t power the device you bought it for. The reality is that the power ratings of these cheapie inverters are exaggerated and the quality is crap. My go-to brands are AIMS and Xantrex:
Xantrex PROWatt 2000 Pure Sine Wave Inverter.
AIMS Power 3000 Watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter.
Some quick tips on rigging up an inverter: Don’t skimp on the cables. I would generally advise to get the chunkiest inverter cables you can sensibly attach. Double up if need be. Before buying inverter cables, check your current draw. Having heavier cables than you need is a great idea due to the power loss with thin cables – and having thinner cables than you need is considered dangerous as they can overheat, with potentially disastrous consequences. For a residential installation, check code requirements of course.
Here is a Heavy Duty 1/0 Inverter Cable Kit for example.
The cigarette lighter outlets in the car are typically weak and not suited to inverter use – you will either burn the fuse or simply not get the juice you need due to voltage drop. If you are kitting out a survival vehicle, a great sinewave inverter is a superb investment – but have it professionally fitted (a good car audio shop should be able to do it right). It should attach directly to the battery, with the fuse at the battery end not the inverter end (very important!) There are several other critical points of installation such as using rubber grommets if you run the cable through drilled frame, so as to prevent the sharp metal from wearing down the insulation. You will also need an appropriate gauge fuse for the high current supply.
7) Cordless Impact Driver
Probably the one tool I own that gets the most use. Armed with a selection of screws, drill bits and assorted driver bits you can take on innumerable projects with these. I consider this a survival tool and just an overall 21st century essential.
The DEWALT DCF887B 20V MAX XR Li-Ion Brushless is the one I use and love. We sure put these suckers through their paces on a construction project:
• Putting in 2 1/2 inch #10 Simpson screws straight into 4×6 old growth redwood timber, not pre-drilled. These are noted badass screws that are code rated for their shear strength. The impact driver is so powerful on the high setting that if you are a bit too enthusiastic you can shear the screw without even noticing! Amazing power! And really great trigger control, you can not only blast it but do the delicate quarter-turns with much greater precision than the older generation of tools – leading to higher finish quality and also reduced costs in damaged materials.
• Pulling out old 4 inch philips-head screws from an old deck that were rusted in.
• Putting in TimberLOK and Simpson Strongdrive / Strongtie screws… no problem. Everyone on the work site agreed that these things rock and I caught subtle looks of envy from the other guys.
Honest tip – get two. I have zero regrets about this “tool splurge” and in fact I am thankful that I decided to do it. Not only does this save time when you are drilling and screwing, because you don’t have to change bits, but it also enables you to hold a piece of wood with one hand, and switch from drilling to screwing without having to let go of the wood or change position – meaning not only greater speed but greater accuracy.
Get the big batteries for more kickass power. The 9Ah flex volt power packs are crazy powerful.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t list one of these. They are all slightly different, and an exploration of each would be beyond this tutorial. So my tip would be to try out a few and pick the one you like best. The Gerber MP600 is a fine multitool. But personally I prefer a Leatherman “Wingman”. Either is a great choice – just get the one you like best!
9) Survival Credit Card Tool
The beauty of credit-card survival tools is that you get a multi purpose tool that is inexpensive and ultra-portable. So you can keep one in your wallet and you will actually have it with you , unlike bigger tools that often get left behind due to the inconvenience of lugging them around everywhere!
A cheap-but-highly-rated example is this 11-Tools-in-1 Stainless Steel Credit Card-Sized Survival Tool.
There are also some fancy ones around nowadays such as this 60+Tools in One Universal 3.0 Toolcard with Leather Case. Would make a great gift!
10) Survival Shovel
Needing little explanation; a survival shovel is a fantastic investment with a wide variety of uses. Whether it’s the old-school military spec folding shovel or a more fancy “tactical” one such as this Military Portable Folding Shovel [17 inch Length] and Pickax with built-in survival kit (pretty cool, check it out!) , the survival shovel is a vital piece of kit that many overlook. Keep one on your truck or backpack and you just upped your survival game.
There you go! These 10 tools alone will enable you to face all kinds of random situations and McGyver your way out of them. You will also be in a fantastic position to help those around you. Now it’s over to you: Which other kickass tools would be part of your essential toolkit? I’m already thinking of more… Sledgehammer. Sump pump. Crowbar. Metal file. Whatcha got? Let us know… 🙂
For the ultimate list of tools of all kinds, check out this Giant Database Of 375+ Tool Manufacturers.
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