Top Tools You Will Need for Urban Survival

To be prepared for an urban survival scenario, you will need to assemble the supplies and tools that will make it significantly easier for you to survive.

Let’s outline and discuss some examples of these things you will need and the reasons for them, in alphabetical order:

Air Pump (Hand Powered)

An air pump
An air pump

You can use a hand-powered air pump to inflate the tires on cars, ATVs, motorcycles, and bicycles. Is it going to take a long time? Absolutely, so you’ll need to practice patience; but if you no longer have electricity it’s really going to be your only option (as air compressors rely on electricity).


A drill
A drill

You can use a drill to fasten metals together. When it comes to construction and woodworking, a hand drill is an absolute necessity.

First Aid Kit

A basic but complete first aid kit
A basic but complete first aid kit

Because you will no longer be able to call 9/11 for emergency medical assistance, you’ll be on your own when it comes to treating injuries.

A complete home urban survival first aid kit needs to contain each of the following:

  • Tourniquet
  • Gauze pads and bandages of varying sizes
  • Medical tape
  • Compression bandages
  • Medical scissors
  • Blanket
  • Handheld mirror
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Prescription meds
  • Ibuprofen and Tylenol
  • Neosporin
  • Rubber medical gloves

This is hardly a complete list, but it’s what you’ll need to have ready to go at the bare minimum.

Hammer and Nails

Hammer and nails
Hammer and nails

The hammer is perhaps the best powerless tool to have if you could only have one. With just a single hammer and a carton filled up with nails, building a shelter or boarding up your doors and windows becomes significantly easier. A hammer could also be an effective close quarters self-defense weapon as well.

Pry Bar

For scavenging missions, a pry bar would be absolutely essential for breaking into abandoned homes and buildings to find important supplies that have been left behind. Most home supplies stores have pry bars.



Communication should be a top priority in a major disaster so you can communicate with the outside world and hopefully get an idea of what’s going on.

Here is a list of radios and communications equipment that you will want to have:

  • Walkie-Talkies (1 per family member, with spare batteries)
  • HAM Radio (make sure you get trained and licensed to use it)
  • GMRS or FRS Radio

Saw (Crosscut and Handsaw)

The next thing that you’ll need is a powerless saw. Seriously, there is no easier tool to use for cutting down trees – which you’ll need to do, especially if you need to build a shelter or build up your firewood stockpile. Go with both a handsaw and a crosscut saw as both can be used for specific purposes. A handsaw will be better for more precise work while a crosscut saw is excellent for sawing down entire trees.

Screwdrivers and Screws


After a hammer and nails, you’ll want a powerless screwdriver and screws. You can also use a screwdriver to help build a shelter, board up your house, and (perhaps most importantly) for making critical repairs. It will be imperative for you to collect a variety of screw sizes for different situations.


Classic shovel
Classic shovel

You should have at least two shovels in your possession. The first should be a classic shovel with a long, fixed handle that you can use for digging things such as trenches, shelters, latrines, burying waste, or planting food.

You’ll also want a tactical folding shovel that you can keep folded up and secured to the outside or inside of your bug out bag. This is a shovel that you can bring around with you should you need to evacuate your home. You can also buy models that feature a serrated blade on the side so they double as a saw (and as a weapon, for that matter).

Signaling Devices

Basic signaling devices are things you will want in your home, car, and in your bug out bag. They can be used to both signal for help and to alert others to danger.

Examples of signaling devices that you will need include, but are not limited to:

  • Mirror
  • Flares
  • Laser points
  • Fire-starting devices (ignite a pile of greenery to create white smoke)
  • Soda or beer can (polish the bottom with chocolate to make it shine)


Just as you’ll want several different sizes of screwdrivers and screws, you will also want different wrench sizes as well – in addition to bolts and nuts. As with the hammer, the wrench can be a hugely effective self-defense weapon in close quarters.


vika-makeenko is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival