Shopping for gifts for your favorite prepper can be challenging and exciting, even if you are a non-prepper. While there are many types of preppers, they will all appreciate something from our Top 21 Gifts for Preppers. This list covers top-rated and useful gear they (or you) need to survive and thrive when Things Go Wrong.

Note: All images shown are from the manufacturers' websites.

1. Life Straw

life straw

If there is anything on our list that we consider indispensable, it would be the Life Straw personal water filter. According to the manufacturer, the Life Straw membrane microfilter removes 99.999999% of E. coli bacteria, 99.999% of Giardia and Cryptosporidium parasites, and 99.999% of microplastics. Each Life Straw filters 1,000 gallons. ($20)

2. Ferro Rod Fire Starter

fire starter

If the Life Straw personal water filtration system is the most important part of a prepper’s kit, a good ferro rod firestarter is a close second. Depending on the situation, the ability to get a fire started could mean the difference between life and death.

We recommend the Light My Fire Swedish Firesteel Army as our top pick in ferro rod fire starters. Popular among preppers and campers, it provides an incredible 12,000 strikes at 3,000 degrees F in any type of weather. The Swedish Firesteel Army is a military-grade fire starter first developed for the Swedish Army. (Bet you didn’t see that one coming!)

This fire starter is noted for the copious amount of sparks it gives off and the ease of getting a good strike. The Swedish Firesteel Army comes in Cocoshell, Rusty Orange, and Slaty Black. ($22)

3. Backpack


Backpacks come in many sizes, from small grab-and-go bugout bags to giant 85-liter packs you’d have to be King Kong to comfortably wear.

The Deuter Aircontact Core 50 + 10 is our top recommendation for a 55 L bag under $300, which should be large enough to carry all your important gear. It comes in Reef/Ink, Graphite/Shale, and Almond/Teal. ($230)

4. Tarp


A tarp can be many things — ground cover, an A-frame tent, sunshade, emergency blanket, or something to hide your gear when covered with natural foliage. Our Top Pick is the Aqua Quest Safari 10x10. ($120)

For harsh climates, The Aqua Quest Defender is an equally good choice. They both come in six colors: Boulder Camo, Olive Drab, Stealth Gray, Forester Green, True Terrain Camo, and Woodland Camo.

5. Poncho


Rain ponchos are the emergency “keep dry” solution for rain and snow. Many are made of very lightweight plastic, saving weight at the expense of durability.

Our Top Pick is the Sea To Summit Nylon Tarp Poncho. It weighs about twice that of a regular poncho but is large enough to shield a large backpack comfortably. It also has the benefit of converting to a basic tarp shelter. The Sea To Summit Nylon Tarp Poncho comes in Royal Blue and Apple Green. ($70)

6. Tent


A tarp and some paracord can make a perfectly serviceable half-tent, but if you don't want to share your sleeping arrangements with spiders, snakes, and mosquitoes, you’ll want an actual tent.

While we liked the roominess and ruggedness of the NEMO Dagger OSMO 2P tent, we were put off by the hefty $530 price tag. The 1.6 kg Marmot Tungsten Ultralight UL 2P tent provides a better bang for the buck at a lighter weight. ($380)

7. First Aid Kit

first aid

Common advice among survival experts is to build your own first-aid kit to fit your particular circumstances. That doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to use a pre-built kit as a foundation, though!

The Adventure Medical Kits MOLLE Trauma Kit 1.0 provides an excellent base from which to build your custom first-aid kit. In addition to various bandages, gauzes, and medications, it includes 2 ft of Quick Clot hemostatic gauze. Two cloth button straps allow you to secure it to your backpack.

The Adventure Medical Kits MOLLE Trauma Kit 1.0 comes in Khaki and Black. ($60)

8. Paracord


Paracord is an indispensable part of any prepper’s kit. The 5col 550 Type 3 Nylon Paracord is actually mil-spec, even rated for use in parachutes. It’s available in Orange, Black, Camo Green, Coyote Brown, and White. A 250 ft spool is $37, and a 50 ft spool is only $12.50.

9. Multitool


A multi-tool can replace more than a dozen regular tools in one compact package. Our favorite is the Leatherman Wave+ 18-in-1 Full-Sized Multitool. Made in the USA, the Wave+ includes pliers, wirecutters, wire strippers, knives, mini saws, spring-action scissors, ruler, can and bottle openers, files, and flat-head and Philips head screwdrivers. The Leatherman Wave+ multitool comes in Black, Stainless Steel, and Stainless Steel and Black Oxide. ($105)

10. Waterproof LED Flashlight


A survival flashlight needs to be both waterproof and multi-functional. Our choice for a multi-functional survival flashlight is the 1000-lumen Nitecore MT21C adjustable right-angle flashlight.

The MT21C can be used as a regular flashlight or with its head turned 90 degrees, clipped to a pocket or strap with the titanium-plated steel clip. At a little longer than 5 inches, it is easily slipped into a pocket or pack pouch. The MT21C is both waterproof and submersible to 2 meters and has five brightness levels. ($60)

11. Survival Watch


Deluxe survival watches can cost $800 or more. While these watches have built-in GPS, the tiny screen makes this functionality difficult to use. Instead, we recommend a dedicated GPS device. This lets us pick a good survival watch that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Our choice is the Casio SG100-3AV Twin Sensor watch. Water-resistant to 200 meters, the SG100-3AV’s digital compass also features a sensor that can record temperatures from 14 to 140 degrees F (-10 to 60 degrees C). The blue-green backlight and large readout make the Casio SG100-3AV easy to use at night. It comes in three styles. ($70)

12. Headlamp


The Black Diamond Spot 400-R is our pick for a rechargeable headlamp. Rechargeable via a micro USB port, it also has an integrated battery meter display showing the % of remaining power.

This 400-lumen headlamp is waterproof to one meter. It features four settings, including strobe in either white or red “night vision” modes. The Black Diamond Spot 400-R headlamp comes in Graphite, Octane, Optical Yellow, Azul, and Bordeaux. ($65)

13. Solar-Powered Hand-Crank Radio


We recommend the Midland ER210 Weather Alert Crank Radio for an affordable multi-power emergency radio. Easily portable at 6.5” 2.8” x 1.9”, the Midland ER210 can run on solar power, by hand crank, or by 2600 mAh Li-ion battery that is good for up to 25 hours of operation.

It receives AM, FM, and NOAA weather channels with automatic weather alerts, and can be used to charge smartphones and tablets. ($50)

14. Solar Charger

solar charger

The BigBlue SolarPowa 28 is a popular choice among preppers for a portable, efficient, and lightweight solar charger. According to BigBlue, their Powa series of solar chargers have a solar energy conversion rate of up to 24%, compared to a 15% conversion rate for rivals.

Easily foldable and carried in a bugout bag, the SolarPowa 28 has three USB-C ports for charging devices with built-in protection against overheating or overcharging. ($70)

15. Canteens


Every prepper needs a reliable canteen, so why not go retro with a Goetland Stainless Steel WWII Military Style canteen kit?

Made from food-grade stainless steel, this 1 qt canteen comes nested in a 0.5 qt stainless steel cup with folding handle. Experts recommend a stainless steel canteen for boiling water over a fire instead of aluminum, which can split its seams from the heat. This canteen has a nylon olive drab cover that can be connected to a belt or strap. ($25)

16. Kelly Kettle


We found the Kelly Kettle Base Camp cooking kit while looking at survival camp stoves and immediately knew this would be our top pick.

The Kelly Kettle Base Camp Ultimate Kit has everything needed to cook for a group of people. The stainless steel Base Camp kettle with firebase is designed to heat water fast in any weather condition with very little fuel. It heats 54 oz of water in just a few minutes, using scavenged wood fuel such as sticks, bark, and pine cones.

This kit also includes a “hobo stove” that fits on the firebase to make a small stand-alone wood stove. Cooking supplies include a 29 oz pot with a pan that doubles as a pot lid, a folding grill/grate with gripper, two nesting stainless steel cups (one 17 oz and one 12 oz) with folding handles, and two stainless steel plates.

All of this packs and stacks together inside a 13” x 8” carrying bag for a total weight of 5.2 pounds for the entire camp kitchen setup. ($175)

17. Cooking Pots

cooking pot

For those larger off-the-grid meals, we picked the Fry-Bake Alpine set. Fry-Bake camp cookware was developed in 1979 in cooperation with the National Outdoor Leadership School and is used in their wilderness training expeditions.

All Fry-Bake pans are made from tempered aluminum with an anodized hard coat that can be easily cleaned, even with river sand or scouring pads. (This is not a non-stick coating.) They can be used to fry, steam, saute, and even bake.

The Fry-Bake Alpine pan set includes an 8” diameter pan that is 1-½” deep, with a capacity of three cups. The pan and lid together weigh under 12 oz — a quarter of the weight of a similarly-sized cast iron pan. ($73)

18. Budget Handheld GPS


The Garmin eTrex 32x is our choice for the best handheld GPS under $300. It has a 2.2” sunlight-readable color display with 240 x 320 resolution, 8 GB of internal memory, and support for both GPS and GLONASS networks. Additional external memory can be installed in the microSD card slot. It can operate for up to 25 hours on two standard AA batteries.

The Garmin eTrex 32x differs from the 22x by including a three-axis compass, barometric altimeter, ANT+ wireless compatibility, and the ability to upload custom maps. We considered these additional features worth the extra $100 compared to the $199 22x. These extra features give the Garmin eTrex 32x Handheld GPS the same accuracy as more expensive models while meeting our budget price point. ($299)

19. Survival Hatchets


There are nearly as many opinions as there are hatchets on which is the best for prepping. Our pick is the Gerber Bushcraft 15” Hatchet.

The Bushcraft hatchet features machined reliefs on the head and an angled handle for deeper, more accurate cuts. The synthetic handle is ergonomically designed to reduce fatigue, with cut-outs to reduce weight and rubber grips that allow you to safely choke up when cutting.

The most interesting feature of the Gerber Bushcraft hatchet is the water-resistant storage compartment in the end of the handle. This compartment has 5 ft of paracord and enough room for a mini lighter or fire-starting material. The only knock on this otherwise excellent hatchet is that it is not pre-sharpened. The Gerber Bushcraft 15” hatchet is available with a Grey or Coyote Brown handle. ($70)

20. Field Knife


A proper survival knife is indispensable. Our top pick, the ESEE Laser Strike, hits all the right notes. It measures 10” long with a 1.38” wide, 5” blade made from 1095 carbon steel that extends back into a full tang. The blade has an anti-reflective black powder coat finish.

The Laser Strike is a sharp, solid knife that does things you might think impossible with a blade this size. It works equally well for chopping campwood, as a prep knife, or as a skinning knife. ($130)

21. Compass


The Suunto MC-2 NH mirror compass is our pick for navigating remote areas the old-fashioned way. This professional-grade compass features a steel needle balanced on a jeweled bearing, sealed in a liquid-filled capsule. The needle is painted red on the north-pointing end with a luminescent mark for low-light conditions.

The plastic bezel is marked in 2-degree increments, with the cardinal points (North, South, East, and West) highlighted with luminescent markings. The MC-2 NH is balanced for the Northern Hemisphere and includes a clinometer for measuring slopes.

The clear baseplate has a built-in magnifier, a protractor with orienting lines, and red scales in inches and centimeters along the edges. The siting mirror has a notch on the top and a semicircular hole at the bottom. The mirror doubles as an emergency signaling device. The Suunto MC-2 NH Mirror Compass weighs a mere 75 grams. ($70)

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Steven Cochran

Steven Cochran

Precious Metals Market Analyst | BS University of South Florida (2002)

A published writer, Steven's coverage of precious metals goes beyond the daily news to explain how ancillary factors affect the market.

Steven specializes in market analysis with an emphasis on stocks, corporate bonds, and government debt.