The Gear Site for Survivalists

Base Camp Survival Tool Bag

Eventually everything you own that was conceived by a mode of industrial assembly or manufacture will fail.  Even if it doesn’t outright fail, it must be maintained in order to achieve maximum product utility especially for a survival situation.

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to

All of this preparation requires mechanics tools and the skills to use them.  Let’s start with the tools.

Keep in constant perspective though that learning to fix everything from gas engines, to water pumps, to electrical, electronics, survival tool kitdrive systems, and hydraulics, etc. is another whole matter altogether.  Whatever you own that requires mechanical maintenance; learn about it to the best of your ability.  A lot of things you can learn to fix and maintain yourself.

I am not by any stretch of the imagination a mechanic.  I was raised though by parents that owned an auto parts store and an agricultural flying business.  I was around mechanical things all day, so I naturally learned a few things.  It certainly has come in handy to know how to use the proper tools to fix and maintain many things.  I don’t do electricity.

Basic Tools First

Even if you are not particularly mechanically inclined, learning to use a few basic tools is pretty easy.  Like everything else, it just Survival Toolstakes come on-the-job training and practice.  If you have no tools other than one bent screwdriver, a nail hammer, and a Vise-Grip, then start by looking around and shopping at some places that sell basic and specialty tools.  Good places for tool browsing includes Sears, Lowe’s, Home Depot, NAPA Auto Parts, Ace Hardware, and many other local outlets or mom and pop stores.  Check all sales flyers.

Every basic tool bag needs the following items:
1. Screwdrivers, Phillips, Torx and slot sizes, long and short shank.
2. Pliers, regular and needle nose types.
3. Set of open end and box wrenches, inch and metric.
4. Claw hammer and ball peen.
5. Socket set, inch and metric.
6. Vise-Grips, small and large.
7. Adjustable wrenches, several sizes.
8. Cutter pliers.
9. Punches.
10. Pipe wrenches.
11. Allen wrench set.
12. Metal tape measure, 25 feet.
13. Retractable cutting blade.
14. Roll of black electricians tape.
15. Selection of various sizes of pull ties.

This is a basic set of tools. Next you need a good bag to stow and carry them. I like the canvas wide mouth tool bags with strong grab handles.  Get the one with inside and outside pockets for carrying extra items.  Put in a pair of safety glasses.

The Advanced Tool Bag

What else might I add if I wanted to upgrade a basic tool bag to a higher level?  I would add a good pry bar, duct tape, files, tubes of survival_tool_kitoil and glue, a can of WD-40 and Liquid Wrench.  A couple shop towels would be nice and some mechanics gloves, too.  Then add a hacksaw, sheet rock saw, electric drill and bits, and cans of PVC pipe cleaner and glue.  It never hurts to have a zip lock bag of assorted nails and screws of all types.  An industrial staple gun comes in handy as well.  As you shop around, undoubtedly you will find other useful tools to add to your collection.  Having a good quality set of hand tools and knowing something about how to use them will put any prepper in good stead for keeping things maintained, repaired, and running.  This will certainly prove valuable during any prolonged SHTF event.

Photos by:
Dr. John J Woods
B Knee Mess
Matt Gemmell

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