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You Are Stranded On A Desert Island. Which 4 Survival Gear Items Do You Take?

You are stranded on a desert island. You can choose 4 of the following survival gear items to take with you. The survival gear you choose depends a lot on your priorities. And it could be the difference between life or death.

25 survival gear items
25 survival gear items you could take with you


What survival gear would we take?

We’ve looked at all 25 survival gear items you could take if you were stranded on a desert island. We considered their pros and cons. In some cases, we would really like the gear but it might be too specific, non-durable, or just isn’t high priority. Actually, a lot of this same survival gear would make a great camping gear list for you summer adventures.


As a survival gear, a tarp is useful for many things. You can use it to build a shelter, to protect you from sun and rain. You can use it to build a half-tent. You can use it to build a still to collect water. A tarp is a pretty good choice.


Sunscreen is necessary to prevent sun sickness, sunburns, and long-term skin damage which may cause skin cancer. But sunscreen may not be the highest priority. Further, you may find some other methods

Toilet Paper

Sure, you’ve used it for hygiene reasons. But it’s probably better as tinder for a fire. Though, you can probably find something else flammable.


If you’re stranded on a desert island, a pot is really good because it’s a container. You can use it to prepare food. But more importantly, you can use it to boil and store water.


Music is great for passing the time and to keep your morale up. But, sooner or later, its batteries will day. And then, well, it’s just a brick. But it would’t be bad for Bob Marley reminding you not to worry and to be happy.

Hiking Boots

Without footwear, your delicate footsies might become injured an unusable. Further, many people underestimate how damaging coral-type beaches can be to your feet. If you don’t have footwear, books are a good choice. They can also double as a container for holding water, though you’ll have to get used to the taste of foot water. Foot water or death? Not a hard choice.

Hand saw

A hand saw is a great tool for cutting wood. If you have wood, it may help you obtain wood for burning. However, a saw is good for cutting, but not necessarily chopping. We expect it would be a lot harder to use a handsaw than you might expect.

Flare gun

A flare gun is a great way to call for help! But the problem is, you can’t use it until someone is nearby. Which means, you’re wasting an item on the possibility–but no guarantee–that someday someone can see a flare. However, if you know how to build a fire, you can make a signal fire just as easily and which will be more long-lasting. We don’t think you really need a flare gun.

Inflatable raft

Some people think they would leave the island on an inflatable raft. We think this is a bad idea. First rule of rescue? Stay put. Sure, maybe if you knew where you were and were just a brave soul, you might be ready for an adventure on the open ocean. And without fresh water, you’ll be dead within a few days (and NO, that water purifier above won’t help you get rid of the salt). We think that most people don’t have the skills for that. You’re a mammal–keep your butt on land.

Flash light

A flash light is nice to have, but probably unnecessary. If you can build a fire, you won’t need one. It’s true, you could probably use the batteries for lighting a fire. But, like the iPod, the batteries will die eventually.

Insect Repellent

Everyone forgets about how badly you can get bitten up. So, insect repellent seems like a GREAT idea. Unfortunately, it has a limited supply. It might be uncomfortable, but you can survive without it.


Awesome idea for a vacation. Not practical for survival.


There’s really no reason to need a compass. If you’re on the ocean, it’s very easy to tell which way is north and south. Either by the North star or the Southern Cross. Or by the direction of the sunrise and sunset.


A mirror could be great for signalling someone from far away. Though, a flat mirror probably isn’t very good for start fires. If it has glass, it may be good for cutting… but we see that as having a limited use.


Vitamins are good. But if you’re finding enough edible food, you probably don’t need to worry about that.

Water purifier

So, you never know what creepy crawlies are in your water. So, if you actually find fresh water, this might be a good thing. Of course, if you have a pot and fire, you can just boil it. Again, some people think they can take a water purifier out onto the open ocean. That won’t do you any good, because a water purifier is just a filter: no filter can desalinate ocean water.

Fishing rod

This depends on the type of island your on. You may be able to spear fish or build weirs to catch them in the tide. You may not really need a fish rod–you might be able to make one.


Rope is a great tool all-purpose, and you could use it for several things depending on what kind of rope it is. Because of other options, we’ll leave the rope at home.

Hunting rifle

Very limited ammunition. No guarantee of things to hunt. Leave it at home.

5 Ounces of Weed

Probably not. Cheech and Chong may approve of its ability to help you pass the time. And it may even kill some pain that you’ll be in. But, once again, it’s necessary for your survival.

First Aid Kit

A first aid kit would be a great thing to have! But it really depends on what’s in the first-aid kit. Many basic first-aid kids won’t have anything that’s terribly useful. If it’s a comprehensive kit, then it might be a good idea to take it.


A tent will provide you with shelter from the sun, rain, wind, changes in temperature, and insects. You can probably use part of the tent in the place of a tarp for water collection. And you may even have a piece of rope or line that you can use as for makeshift fishing line. A tent goes on our list! And this simple Coleman tent is a really good choice.


Unlike a limited-use hand saw, a knife can be used for cutting. You can use it for more types of work, from cutting branches or brush for timber, cutting and preparing food, cutting other materials, and so on and so forth. A knife is really a must-have.


You’re going to need a fire at some point, and matches are the fastest way to get that. Sure, you could mess around with trying to make fire the old-fashioned way. But, it’s actually pretty hard to do. Therefore, we would take the matches as a guarantee (and use them very sparingly).


WILSONNNNNN!!! But really, a volleyball has limited uses. You could probably try to finagle into something, but it would probably be a one-purpose device and there is limited material.

Conclusion: Stranded on a Desert Island

So, our selections are:

  • knife
  • tent
  • matches
  • pot

It may not be as fun as some of the other options, but we think this will help with long term survival. What would you pick?

What to read next?

What do you think?

Written by David


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