As a SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) instructor in the military, Staff Sergeant James Mitchell had witnessed countless trainees face the grueling challenges of survival in some of the harshest conditions on Earth.

Today, he found himself leading a group of young soldiers through a simulated training exercise in a remote, dense forest.

Manly Must-Haves: Survival Gear for Every Guy
A U.S. Air Force Airman Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape candidate struggles to break through dead mountain cedar undergrowth at Camp Bullis, Texas, Aug. 17, 2015. SERE candidates perform a timed ruck march evaluation through rough terrain carrying 65-pound rucksacks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Chad Chisholm/Released)

Their mission: To evade enemy forces and survive in the wilderness until rescue could be arranged. For the soldiers, this exercise was a test of their training and the survival gear they had been issued.

The scenario began with a mock capture by enemy forces. James and his fellow instructors confiscated the soldiers’ primary weapons, leaving them with only their survival gear and their wits. The soldiers were dropped deep within the forest, and the clock started ticking.

James emphasized the importance of their gear as they set off on their survival journey. Each soldier had been equipped with a compact but comprehensive survival kit. Their packs contained essentials like fire-starting materials, water purification tablets, a small first-aid kit, a multi-tool, and even a compact satellite communication device for emergency situations.

Throughout the training exercise, the soldiers relied on their gear to stay hydrated, nourished, and protected from the elements. The importance of their gear became especially evident when they needed to start a fire in the pouring rain to keep warm and dry.

Manly Must-Haves: Survival Gear for Every Guy
Students of Arctic Survival School listen to Senior Airman Kyle Dige and David Wolfgram, Air Education and Training Command Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape instructors, December 10, 2021 on Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Detachment 1 of the 66th Training Squadron is responsible for training defense department and allied forces in harsh arctic survival situations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Keith Holcomb)

As they navigated through the challenging terrain, the soldiers used their multi-tools to build makeshift shelters and traps for food. Their satellite communication device allowed them to send periodic distress signals, maintaining contact with the rescue team tracking their location.

Days turned into nights, and the soldiers encountered various obstacles, from wildlife encounters to harsh weather conditions. But with their training and the right gear, they persevered. They knew that their gear was their lifeline, enabling them to stay focused on the mission and increasing their chances of survival.

Finally, after several arduous days, the soldiers received word that their rescue was imminent. With the aid of their gear, they had not only survived but thrived in the wilderness. James couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride as he watched his trainees being safely extracted from the forest.

survival gear
A Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk from Fort Wainwright succesfully simulates an arctic rescue December 10, 2021 on Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Detachment 1 of the 66th Training Squadron is responsible for training defense department and allied forces in harsh arctic survival situations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Keith Holcomb)

This survival story from the perspective of a military SERE instructor underscores the critical importance of having the right survival gear, especially in high-stakes situations. Properly equipped with the right tools and training, individuals can overcome the toughest challenges, evade adversaries, and live to see another day.

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Survival Gear Every Man Should Have

Medical Kit

Introducing the Rhino Rescue IFAK Trauma Kit – your ultimate solution for comprehensive first-aid preparedness in any emergency scenario. Whether you’re at home, in the workplace, or out on an outdoor adventure, this all-inclusive kit is designed to provide you with the vital tools needed for rapid response and effective trauma management.

survival gear

In an unpredictable world, having the Rhino Rescue IFAK Trauma Kit by your side means you can face any situation with confidence. Equipped with life-saving materials carefully selected by experts in emergency medicine, this kit is your steadfast companion for managing critical incidents.

This trauma kit is engineered for versatility, ensuring you’re prepared for a wide range of emergencies. From minor injuries to life-threatening situations, the Rhino Rescue IFAK has your back. Whether it’s a simple kitchen accident, an outdoor mishap, or a more complex crisis like a natural disaster, you’ll find the essential supplies you need to make a difference when every second counts.


Introducing the NedFoss 15″ Hatchet, a trustworthy companion for outdoor enthusiasts and campers. This hatchet boasts a robust construction with a blade forged from durable carbon steel, ensuring it can handle even the toughest outdoor challenges. With a total length of 15 inches, it strikes a perfect balance between portability and power, making it easy to carry and wield during various tasks.

survival gear

The beech wood handle provides a comfortable and secure grip, reducing hand fatigue as you tackle chopping, splitting, and kindling duties. Safety is a priority, which is why we’ve included a retro leather sheath to protect your hatchet during storage and transport.

Versatile and dependable, the NedFoss 15″ Hatchet is your go-to tool for splitting firewood, prepping kindling, and engaging in bushcraft activities. Don’t miss the chance to add this versatile and durable hatchet to your outdoor gear collection.

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Fixed Blade Knife

Introducing the ESEE-4, a versatile and rugged fixed-blade knife that’s designed for the wild. Crafted by ESEE Knives, the ESEE-4 is the go-to choice for outdoor enthusiasts, survivalists, and adventurers.

This wilderness model boasts a longer and thicker 1095 steel blade, ensuring durability and dependable performance even in the toughest conditions. Whether you’re camping, hiking, or navigating the great outdoors, the ESEE-4 is your trusted companion.survival gear

Its molded polymer handle offers a comfortable and secure grip, making it easy to handle in any situation. From slicing and chopping to more delicate tasks, this knife is up for the challenge.

Choose the ESEE-4 for its reliability, quality, and legacy of excellence in wilderness knives. Elevate your outdoor experience with a tool that’s built to withstand nature’s demands. Get your ESEE-4 today and experience the difference for yourself.

Survive Like Rambo (First Blood), with only a knife

Rambo: First Blood” is a movie favorite of mine and was my first introduction to the toughness of Army Green Berets. This article highlights what John Rambo accomplished with his fixed-blade knife.

Survival is all about mindset and preparation. To survive any catastrophe, you must understand the essentials. A knife, whether fixed or folding, is incredibly versatile and challenging to replicate in a survival situation.

To survive, you need clothing to regulate your temperature. In the movie, Rambo quickly improvised clothing from an old tarp using his knife. Keeping your knife sharp is essential for cutting materials like this.

Shelter is crucial for protection from the elements and predators. Rambo used his knife to cut and gather materials for an improvised shelter, emphasizing the knife’s importance in survival situations.

In every disaster scenario, having the minimum essentials for water/food, clothing, and shelter is vital. The knife can assist in fulfilling these categories, from procuring food to creating clothing and shelter.


The iconic Rambo First Blood knife, designed by Gil Hibben, is synonymous with John Rambo’s rugged character. This combat knife features an 11-inch stainless steel blade, a durable black micarta handle, and a handguard for safety.

In the movie, Rambo uses the knife for survival tasks and self-defense, showcasing its versatility.

“Rambo: First Blood” highlights the importance of mindset and preparation in survival situations. A versatile knife like the Rambo First Blood knife can play a crucial role in ensuring the essentials of water, food, clothing, and shelter are met, as demonstrated by John Rambo in the film.

Survival Shovel

Survival shovels are versatile, compact tools that are indispensable in various emergencies. Designed with multi-functionality in mind, these shovels go beyond simple digging. Modern survival shovels often feature integrated tools such as saw blades, bottle openers, and fire starters, making them valuable assets in a survival kit.

One key advantage of a survival shovel is its compact and foldable design, allowing for easy storage and transportation. Whether you’re building a shelter, digging a fire pit, or even using it as a defensive tool, the survival shovel’s sturdy construction ensures reliability under pressure. High-quality materials like carbon steel or reinforced aluminum enhance durability, ensuring the shovel withstands harsh conditions.

In addition to their practical uses, survival shovels can be life-saving in navigation and signaling. Many models include reflective surfaces or built-in compasses, aiding orientation and rescue efforts. Some shovels come with serrated edges, ideal for cutting through tough vegetation or rope.

Investing in a well-made survival shovel can significantly enhance your preparedness for unexpected situations. It’s a compact powerhouse that combines essential functions, ensuring you’re equipped to handle various survival tasks efficiently.


The Gerber Diesel Multi-Tool is a formidable combination of rugged durability and effortless usability.

This powerhouse is not just your average multi-tool; it’s the behemoth of versatility, designed for the toughest tasks, and it even boasts wrist-flick deployment for added convenience.

survival gear

This is the industrial-strength tool you’ve been searching for, uncompromising in its performance. It fearlessly takes on any challenge, no matter how formidable. Each stainless steel tool within is not just larger than the norm; it’s engineered to be exceptionally robust. Safety and security are paramount, and that’s why every component locks firmly in place thanks to the reliable Saf.T.Plus system.

While you might consider settling for a lesser tool, why subject yourself to the frustration of inadequate equipment? When you can own the multi-tool that dominates in any situation. Meet Diesel, your go-to tool when you can only carry one. With the Gerber Diesel at your side, you’re always prepared for whatever comes your way.

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Water Filtration

Experience versatility, speed, and user-friendliness with the 24oz GeoPress Water Filter & Purifier Bottle. Say goodbye to complex setups, and the need for suction or squeezing, and say hello to a groundbreaking solution that produces 24 fl oz (710 ml) of pristine, purified water in an astonishingly quick 8 seconds (at a rate of 5 liters per minute).

It’s as simple as this: Fill. Press. Drink! Just draw water from any potentially suspect freshwater source, press down on the ground or any nearby surface, and voilà, enjoy clean, filtered, and purified water wherever you roam.

Designed with the intrepid hiker, backpacker, traveler, camper, hunter, or global adventurer in mind, this innovation delivers unrivaled versatility, user-friendliness, and rapid water flow, catering to your hydration, refilling reservoirs, and culinary needs. It’s the ultimate solution for on-the-go water filtration and purification that guarantees effectiveness across all seven continents.

**A bonus tool when it comes to sourcing water in an urban landscape is a Sillcock key; a small and affordable tool used for operating water spigots on commercial buildings.

Incorporating a sillcock key into your urban survival kit or survival bag can grant you access to water in situations where natural water sources are not readily available. It’s important to bear in mind that the mere fact that water flows from a tap does not guarantee its safety for consumption. Always exercise caution and use a suitable water filter when sourcing water from unfamiliar sources.


Increase your survivability with the Arcturus All Weather Outdoor Survival Blanket – an indispensable companion for hikers, campers, and boaters. Crafted for versatility, this compact and lightweight blanket easily stows away in your backpack, making it an essential addition to your outdoor gear.

survival gear

Featuring a robust waterproof exterior paired with an aluminum reflective layer on the interior, this blanket is a true marvel. The aluminum side efficiently reflects up to 90% of your body heat, ensuring warmth even in challenging conditions. Compact and weighing a mere 1.4 lbs, it expands to a generous 5′ x 7′ when fully deployed, and it comes complete with its own carry bag for hassle-free portability.

The aluminum side boasts a range of uses, from heat reflection to creating a radiant barrier or signaling for assistance. On the flip side, you’ll find two layers of durable polypropylene, providing the flexibility of a blanket, tarp, or shelter for all your camping, hunting, backpacking, or boating needs. Consider keeping one in your car trunk as a vital component of your survival or winter kit.

For added utility, all four corners feature reinforced grommets, allowing you to stake it to the ground or suspend it as an overhead shelter. Designed not only to reflect heat but also to temporarily mask your infrared heat signature, this blanket offers valuable camouflage in the IR spectrum.

survival gear
Dramatically Reduce Your Infrared Signature

Excerpt from Patriot Dawnhe had taken an old style BDU camouflage pocho; on the bottom side he had placed a Mylar thermal space blanket, one of the green ones so it remained tactical. On the top side, the side that faced up when the poncho was used as. ashelter, he had laid a swathe of drab colored cloth. Onto this cloth he had sewn strips of burlap and camouflage cloth…The effect was that the Mylar blanket blocked the heat signature from the person underneath, the poncho allowed it to be strung up and kept the rain off, and the cloth on the topside gave it more of a natural surface appearance to aerial surveillance.”

Further enhance your concealment by adding brush or a ghillie blanket on top, effectively reducing your heat signature while minimizing your profile. The Arcturus All Weather Outdoor Survival Blanket is your trusted ally, providing comfort, versatility, and enhanced survivability in the outdoors.



With the shelter, you’ll need some type of cordage to properly secure it in position.

Paracord is an indispensable addition to any survival kit for several reasons. First and foremost, its remarkable strength and versatility make it a vital resource in a wide range of emergency situations.

survival gear

Composed of multiple inner strands, paracord can be unraveled and used for a multitude of tasks, such as building shelters, securing tents, crafting makeshift repairs, or even fashioning snares for hunting or trapping.

In a survival scenario, having paracord can be the difference between successfully constructing a shelter or being exposed to the elements, as well as between procuring food and going hungry.

A Way To Make Fire

Introducing the Titan Stormproof Matches, the pinnacle of UCO’s match technology. These matches are renowned for their exceptional performance, boasting an impressive burn time that surpasses all others in UCO’s lineup.

When it comes to withstanding fierce winds and extreme storms, the Titan Stormproof Matches are your ultimate choice.

survival gear

Similar to the reliable Stormproof Matches from UCO, these Titans are incredibly easy to ignite, ensuring you can start a fire effortlessly even in challenging conditions. What truly sets them apart is their remarkable ability to reignite themselves after being submerged in water, making them a true survival essential.

In this comprehensive kit, you’ll receive 12 Titan Stormproof Matches, providing you with an ample supply for your outdoor adventures. Additionally, the kit includes three replaceable strikers, ensuring you’ll always have a dependable means of lighting your matches.

To keep your matches dry and ready for action, the waterproof case is included, offering protection even in wet environments. For added convenience, an attachment cord is also part of the package, ensuring that your Titan Stormproof Matches are always within reach when you need them.

With the Titan Stormproof Match Kit at your disposal, you’ll be fully equipped to handle the most adverse conditions nature can throw at you. Whether you’re out camping, hiking, or simply preparing for emergency situations, these matches are your reliable companions, ensuring you have a consistent source of fire when you need it most.

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The BAOFENG UV-5R 8W is a high-power two-way radio designed for ham radio enthusiasts and other radio communication needs. It offers a maximum output power of 8 watts, which provides an extended communication range compared to lower-powered radios.

survival gear

This radio supports dual-band operation, typically covering VHF (Very High Frequency) and UHF (Ultra High Frequency) bands. This allows for versatile communication options and compatibility with a wide range of frequencies.

There’s a discussion on Reddit about whether the 8W version of the BAOFENG UV-5R is worth it compared to the 5W version. This suggests that people are interested in the performance and value of this radio.

The BAOFENG UV-5R 8W radio is an excellent choice for SERE, bug-out, or societal collapse situations. With 8W output power and dual-band functionality, it offers extended communication range and versatility. Its portability and rechargeable battery options make it ideal for on-the-go use, and its affordability widens accessibility. Consider this backup communication option for comprehensive preparedness.

If having a radio like this seems overwhelming to learn and operate, there is a company, Radio Made Easy, that not only sells the above radio, but they send it to you already programmed (for your area) and ready to go out of the box.

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The Princeton Tec EOS is the ultimate companion for outdoor enthusiasts, designed to fulfill every adventurer’s dreams. Crafted with durability in mind, this remarkable flashlight is built to withstand the rigors of the great outdoors.

At the heart of the EOS is a single long-throw Maxbright LED, carefully encased in a rugged, watertight housing. This design ensures that the EOS is ready to tackle any challenge that nature presents, whether you’re navigating a remote trail, setting up camp at a wilderness site, exploring steep slopes, or crossing fast-flowing streams.

No matter where your outdoor journey takes you, the EOS is your reliable source of illumination.

survival gear

What sets the EOS apart is its versatility, thanks to four distinct output modes: high, medium, low, and flash. This array of lighting options allows the EOS to adapt to various scenarios while ensuring that it maintains its brightness throughout its battery life.

Whether you need a powerful beam to light up the night or a more subdued glow for reading or close-up tasks, the EOS has you covered. Plus, with its efficient power management, you can trust that the EOS will provide consistent and dependable lighting for extended adventures.

A Pack to keep your survival gear in

The RUSH 24 2.0 Backpack is a true companion for the modern adventurer, offering a harmonious blend of generous storage, unwavering durability, and impeccable functionality. Whether navigating the urban jungle or venturing into the wilderness, this backpack is designed to meet the diverse needs of today’s explorers.

survival gear

With newly integrated features like a padded laptop sleeve, expanded eyewear storage, dual top pockets featuring internal slip pockets, and a discreet CCW pocket, this updated version of the RUSH 24 2.0 Backpack enhances daily convenience and adaptability.

survival gear

Its remarkable MOLLE attachment points and capacious storage compartments ensure efficient organization and easy access to your essentials. Distinguished by its sleek Center Line™ design, this backpack seamlessly complements any setting. The contoured yoke shoulder strap system guarantees comfort during extended wear, while the back panel ventilation channels optimize breathability by reducing contact area and allowing warm vapor to escape.

survival gear

A robust water-resistant fabric coating wards off moisture, preserving the dryness and integrity of your belongings. Additionally, the RUSH 24 2.0 Backpack is compatible with the 5.11 RUSH Tier System, providing the flexibility to customize and modularly attach accessories and pouches, offering the utmost in versatility and performance for your adventures.

Experience the pinnacle of adaptability and functionality with the RUSH 24 2.0 Backpack – the steadfast choice for those who demand reliability and innovation in their backpacking gear.

Wrapping it Up!

Embracing the spirit of preparedness is not only a mark of wisdom but also an embodiment of masculinity. Equipping oneself with the right survival gear empowers men to navigate the unpredictable challenges of life with confidence.

From wilderness adventures to urban emergencies, these essential tools serve as a testament to resilience and resourcefulness. Whether it’s the rugged utility of a multi-tool, the warmth of a high-quality thermal blanket, or the reassurance of a versatile first aid kit, survival gear for men is more than just equipment—it’s a symbol of readiness to protect and provide for oneself and others.

In the face of uncertainty, these manly must-haves stand as a testament to the timeless virtues of preparation, adaptability, and self-reliance.