Teenage Survival Part 2: Tools

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By Josh •  7 min read

Having the right tools for survival is important at any age. If you are a teenager then acquiring these tools can be difficult depending on your age and local laws. One thing you can do is prove to your parents that you are up the task. 

Back and Forth Between Capt Bart and Josh

Capt Bart

The toughest part of survival preparation is to get into the proper mind set. This is going to cost you things and make you think about things that at your age most teenagers don’t even consider.

If you are serious about survival preparation, you must consider your lifestyle. Do you play high school sports?  If so, which one(s)? Football is a great game but even if you discount the possibility of injury think about the time spent in practices that would be more beneficially spent in preparation.

Survival prep is a way of thinking and a way of life. One hundred years ago a 16 year old was considered a fully-grown adult with all the responsibility of being an adult. Today you are treated as little more than an over sized child.


One of my own personal frustrations is being treated like a small child, and being babied through everything. Responsibility is a tool that cuts two ways, it is a wonderful thing to be in charge of your own actions, but at the same time when you mess up or do not perform to your best ability, there is only yourself to blame.

Capt Bart

Physical condition is important but the conditioning for many sports activities is not sufficient reward for the time invested. Runners and swimmers build endurance differently than football. Sprinters are conditioned differently than long distance runners.

Think about what is needed in your situation and, if you choose to play sports, select the one that will bring the most benefit to your efforts. Be aware that if you were into sports before you began to think about survival, there will be questions about why you stopped playing. Be prepared for the question but be aware that “I’m into prepping now” is probably is not the best answer.


Sports are a fantastic thing, they provide an opportunity to exercise, and are an outlet for that excess energy that needs to be expressed creatively. I was recently roped into playing soccer with our local home school group, but if I had my choice, I would most likely choose to participate in a form of martial arts which is something that we will discuss later on in the series.

Capt Bart

After the mind and body, the most important tools for a survivalist may well be the simplest to have. At the most fundamental level you need an edge for cutting, a container for drinking and a way to bind packages together.

In many places even a simple 3-inch blade pocketknife will throw the school system into full-blown, lock down, hysterics. With ‘zero tolerance’ as a substitute for rational thought, care must be taken not to get crosswise with the system.

Rambo knifes are out of the question. Actually, ‘Rambo’ anything is out of the question for you. My recommendations are a Leatherman tool and a Swiss Army Knife. Neither one is seen as threatening yet each has a blade suitable for cutting rope or cloth and a can opener.

As I write I have both on me and I am on a Federal reservation where ‘weapons’ are illegal.  If you have a choice, NEVER be anywhere that will not allow you to have at least one of these items.


I have been a blade junkie since the day that I turned seven and was permitted to own my first pocket knife. I am not even going to try to cover how to select and use knives properly here, as we already have articles out on the topic.

But I will say that the cutting blade, is THE most important tool to the outdoors-man and survivalist. It is as important as the sword is to a warrior or teeth and claws are to the lion.  With a good blade you can chop, stab, slash, saw, baton, skin, and whittle fine objects. I personally feel very exposed and under prepared when I am not carrying a knife.

Capt Bart

If the home environment allows, a folding knife like a good Case or Buck with a 4 to 5 inch blade is a great rough country blade. My Buck has a serrated edge over part of the blade because that is excellent for cutting the webbing of a seat belt in an emergency.  The serrated edge is one of those ‘evil’ things that some progressives would outlaw so be careful here.

Remember rule number, 1 ”DO NOT GET CROSSWISE WITH YOUR PARENTS OR THE LEGAL SYSTEM.”  Part of the reason for being a ‘gray man’ is to preclude you coming under surveillance as a ‘terrorist threat’.

Your choice of hobbies can be of help here. If you are into electronics, a government signal corps knife from eBay for $10 is ‘necessary’ to work the wires and such.  Two blades and a screwdriver, but it is a knife.

If you are taking up geo-caching you might need that larger knife in the brush. You might even need a small machete (never need the large one) for moving brush and checking for snakes.  A small camp shovel to help uncover the cache, a set of local area maps and a good compass would also help. Since you might be out where there are few amenities, a decent water bottle would also be a good idea.

If you get into ham radio, you have an alternate communication skill, a need for wire and parachute cord for antennas and backup power sources to power your radios during field day events and emergencies.  Field day could also mean tarps for shade or rain protection.

Woodworking gives you tools that work in a grid down scenario if you plan well. After all you don’t want to spend a lot of money on power tools so older style hand tools are the way to go.

Amateur astronomy gets you a good set of optics and perhaps a green laser. Those things can be seen for miles, just be sure not to point them at aircraft. It is illegal and can cause real harm.


I can’t really add anything to what Capt. Bart has said here. As I have said before, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE RESPECTED IF YOU DO NOT SHOW RESPECT TO OTHERS!
With respect comes responsibility, which as also mentioned before, is a wonderful thing. With responsibility comes ability, that is the ability to proficiently and safely perform the tasks necessary to both survive and to thrive in the process.

Capt Bart

Think about your hobbies and use them to help you prepare for possible events. The right choices can even help you combine several activities. Scouting is a good umbrella group for all manner of activities that relate to survival.

One hobby to pick up is reading, even if you are already doing many of the others. Not survival books, you don’t want to be seen as a nut case. You are interested in history, especially the history of the westward expansion and the ‘country folks’ (aren’t they funny people?)

Magazines like ‘True West’ and ‘Backwoods Country Home’ have a ton of information about how folks lived and live off the grid but they are not ‘SURVIVALIST’ junk.  Louis L’Amour wrote excellent western stories as well as good sea and adventure tails. There is much to be learned from them about living without microwave ovens.


I am a scout, and I have got to say that it is not the organization that it once was. If your motivation for joining scouting is purely to learn survival skills you will be sadly disappointed.

As I mentioned in part one of this series, reading is something that costs nothing but opens up a world of knowledge. I am similar to Captain Bart in that I am something of a Louis L’Amour nut, I own more than half of his books, and can personally attest to their value. Lessons to be learned include tracking, stealthy movement, basic tactics, and more.

Read Teenage Survival Part 1: Before Their Time (Click Here)


Josh is a Boy Scout and an avid outdoorsman. He specializes in knives (and other such tools), various knots & lashings, traditional skills such as blacksmithing & woodworking, bushcraft and fire starting. Read his full interview here.