Time and time again, Thomas and I have repeated our belief that it’s completely possible to practice survival, whether that’s bushcraft and wilderness survival, or urban survival and household preparedness, without breaking the bank. You can have great gear, have it be exactly what you need, and get it for a fraction of what equivalents would typically cost others. It’s completely possible.
Today we’ll be taking a look in particular at wilderness survival and bushcraft staples – trying to show you with specific items just how plausible it is for you to get the basics you need to begin practicing your outdoor survival skills with a completely affordable dollar amount – $150. Bundles will each have a survival knife, a water purifier, a fire starter, a container, a bag, some snare wire, some cordage, as well as items for heat, for water resistance, and to help with rescue. More could of course be added, but these are what Thomas and I feel are most beneficial as standard basics.
While it can be very tricky choosing the right gear and having a bill that stays under-budget, it can actually become an exciting challenge you can set yourself – to only get what you need and no more. You can walk away with a pretty damn well-rounded survival bag filled with the majority of the gear you might need for under $150 – so no more excuses guys! Time to get in the field.
(Please note that price on Amazon do change, and so while I have listed the prices of items as I saw them on Amazon, that may fluctuate by the time you get to the Amazon page yourself. I apologize for this, but my point still stands, a very good wilderness survival kit for under $150 is completely possible).
DIY Wilderness Survival Kits Under $150
Wilderness Survival Gear Budget Bundle #1
Total Cost: ~$120
Wilderness Survival Gear Budget Bundle #2
Total Cost: ~$142
Wilderness Survival Gear Budget Bundle #3
Total Cost: ~$139
Wilderness Survival Gear Budget Bundle #4
Total Cost: ~$148
Wilderness Survival Gear Budget Bundle #5
Total Cost: ~$145
If you’ve taken some time to read through all the items on these lists, you’ll notice the fact that a number of the items have been repeated from one bundle to the next. That’s partly because some of this gear is a steal – you can’t often get a high-end compass for roughly $15 (huge tip of the hat to Suunto for that killer price!). Snare wire you might be able to get for under $8, but I couldn’t find it for less on Amazon (though I certainly may have missed something, so if you spotted a cheaper price for the same thing, let me know!). You could probably also pick some up at a dollar store and/or hardware store for cheaper.
The two most expensive items on your lists will typically be #1 your bag, and #2 your survival knife. The bag doesn’t have to be expensive, in fact it’s a cost you can completely ignore if you’ve already got a good one lying at home, but for some reason there don’t seem to be too many high-quality bags for budget pricing around. There’s a couple of awesome steals, but they’re a bit hard to come by! Gotta dig for sure if you’re in the market for a good bag. In terms of your survival knife, I’m sure you already know this, but to keep prices crazy low, just pick out your favourite Mora, and grab that. They’re extremely affordable, come at prices that can’t really be beat, and you don’t have to question whether or not they’ll be good – they will be.
A lot of the items that help you cut down costs are items that have multiple uses. The Gerber Bear Gylls Ultimate Pro is one such item, and though I know many people hesitate to even test it out because of branding, we did actually get our hands on one for a review, and you’d be surprised how well it holds up in the field.
It’s definitely worth considering if you’re like me and don’t like having too many loose items in your bag (I’m always afraid something will fall out, as I’m not the most graceful person alive…). The firesteel and knife sharpener are attached very well to the sheath of the knife (they’re definitely not going anywhere), while the survival whistle and hammer are on the knife itself. Pretty convenient carry as well if you ask me.
I think one of the the best items mentioned above, added to multiple lists in fact, is the Adventure Medical Kits Heatsheets Survival Blanket. I love that thing. Thomas and I can easily squeeze in, as it’s meant for two people, it can replace a tarp, and its orange colour means it can be used to flag down some eyeballs in case you get lost and are looking to get rescued.
My next favourite of the items mentioned above is probably the Olicamp Space Saver Cup. I know that sounds like a weird item to pick out, but I think it’s hella convenient. You can hold extra water in the bottle to carry around with you, and use the outside components as pots to boil that water if you ever need to. Great potential for cooking that regular plastic water bottles wouldn’t have. It also fits really nicely together and is extremely compact for what it is, which, as I’ve mentioned, is a huge plus in my opinion.
The Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel 2.0 Scout is also a great deal because you’re getting a high-end firesteel, and a really nice survival whistle to use in case you need to be rescued, for quite a good price.
On top of the staples you buy, I would also throw in a ziplock bag filled with any helpful items you already have lying around the house: disposable lighters, aluminum foil, matches, a magnifying glass, a small pack of kleenex for tinder: things like that.
In Case You’re in the Market for Budget & Discount Survival Gear
If you’re interested in grabbing some inexpensive survival gear from outdoor retailers like Cabella’s, REI, and Patagonia, take a look at our massive list of knife & outdoor retailers’ sale, deal, & clearance pages! All the best outdoor gear discount pages to visit linked to on one page.
There’s also plenty of cheap, yet high quality survival gear that’s a great price whether or not it’s on sale. If you’re interested, take a look at what we think the best bang-for-buck survival gear products are at the $5, $10, $15, $20, & $25 price points.
Now Let Me Know What You Think
Let me know in the comments section if there’s any items you think should have made it to these lists but didn’t quite get there.
Also let me know which bundles you actually like (Thomas’ favourite is #2!), or if there are any you could see yourself improving on! Always looking for a great deal!