Preparedness and Survival Gifts – Holiday Shopping Ideas 2013

It is hard enough to find the right Christmas present for the important people in your life. What do you get the person who is interested in preparedness, survival or a similar hobby? We’ve put some good, useful suggestions together below, broken down by price point. We’ve found deals, whenever possible, to help you maximize your gift giving dollars and this year’s list is focused on picking out gifts for less than $10 or $25, as well as some nicer high end items, so you can find a little something for everyone on your list.

$10.00 or less

Small gifts and cool little “stocking stuffers”


The Zippo Brushed Chrome Lighter is both classy and a great little fire starter that can run on most flammable liquids for fuel, in a pinch. These are made to last, as the one on my desk right now is almost twenty years old and still lights right up.

A Nalgene 32oz Water Bottle is a good foundation for a small survival kit. It serves as both the kit container and a durable water carrier. Just make sure to add a plastic bag to the kit’s inventory so there is somewhere to put all of the kit’s contents when it is time to fill up the bottle with water. I’ve probably owned half a dozen Nalgene bottles over the years and they are one of the few brands that do not leak.

The Olicamp Space Saver Cup is designed to fit around the bottom of a 32oz Nalgene water bottle, so it effectively takes up almost no space in your bag or pack. It is made from stainless steel and has handles that fold out far enough from the body of the cup that it can be easily used to boil water over a stove or small fire. This is an easy way to make sure that someone always has a way to do a little cooking in an emergency.

At less than a dollar each, the 10 Pack of Mylar Space Blankets is an easy way to put one in every stocking, first aid kit, pack and vehicle. Wrapping up in one is a very crinkly way to help keep someone warm. But, they can also be set up to provide shade or block the wind and rain.

The Doan Magnesium Firestarter is the same tool issued by the military. It does require a sharp metal edge to scrape off a small pile of magnesium shavings and ignite them. But, it has certainly earned it’s place as one of the classic emergency fire starters.

A Stanley 7-1/2-Inch Wonder Bar is a good little tool to keep around for the tasks that a knife is not meant to do, like pulling nails, opening crates or prying the lid off of cans and barrels. It is small and light enough to easily keep in the side pocket of a pack.

The Light My Fire Original Swedish FireSteel is another classic fire starter. It makes very hot sparks that will light a variety of tinder. Firesteels also work after getting wet and can be reused many times, unlike most matches. It is a good item to keep in a survival or emergency kit as a backup fire starting option.

The P-51 & P-38 Can Opener 20 Pack is an example of American ingenuity that has been around since the 1940s. This 20 pack gives you enough of the little guys to keep one handy in every emergency kit and on every key ring. Even then, you should still have enough left over to share a few with friends.

The Stanley 4-in-1 Pocket Screwdriver comes with two Phillips and two flat head bits. The smaller ones are good for some watch and glasses type screws. Since the whole thing is roughly the size and shape of a pen, it is easy to keep one tucked away somewhere convenient.

$25.00 or less

Just be glad you didn’t get a lump of coal….again

The Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family, 3rd Edition is on this year’s list again, as it is still one of the better “catch all” books on disaster preparedness that we’ve found. This would be a good pick for a family member or neighbor who is interested in preparedness or as a reference to keep on your own shelf.


Maxpedition E.D.C. Pocket OrganizerThe Maxpedition E.D.C. Pocket Organizer is a great way to organize “every day carry” items for work or to put together a small survival or pocket-sized get home kit. There is also a smaller version: Maxpedition Mini Pocket Organizer and a larger version: Maxpedition Fatty Pocket Organizer of this item, as well. If you aren’t sure which one to pick, the original E.D.C version is a good size for cargo pants pockets, the Mini is more coat pocket-sized and the Fatty is at home in a pack or laptop bag.


The AmazonBasics 8 Pack AA Ni-MH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries are rechargeable batteries than will not only hold a charge for a year while tucked away in a bag or drawer, but can also be recharged 1000 times.


The Space All Weather Blanket is a more durable version of the common Mylar space blanket. This version can’t fold up anywhere near as small and it weighs a good bit more, but it can also serve as a good tarp or ground cloth.


CRKT’s Ritter RSK Mk5 gives you a good way to keep a “real knife” in a pocket sized emergency kit. It comes packet in an Altoids type tin and is a big step up from the tape covered razor blade that is often used as a cutting tool in these mini-kits.


As far as simple water filters go, the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is about as easy to use as they can get. Since there are no pumps or hoses, they are also fairly inexpensive and have a good track record of field use overseas in third world countries.



The Stylus Pro LED Flashlight is a high quality pen light that is hard to not love. It is small and lightweight enough to work well as every day carry option. The LED puts out more than enough light to handle tasks around the house or camp and can still squeeze six hours of light from a pair of AAA batteries.



$100.00 and up

Because Christmas only comes once a year…


If you are going to be traveling somewhere outside of cell phone tower range, then the DeLorme inReach SE is a pretty neat trick. It is a step up from the average GPS unit, as it allows for two way communication via satellite. You can send text messages to people back home so that they won’t worry or to request their help if you get stuck. The SOS button will get emergency help to your location if things get really bad. 


Every outdoorsman should have a good axe. Sadly, the adage “they don’t make them like they used to” applies to most of the options available out there today. A solid, well made axe is a lifetime purchase that can often be passed down to the next generation. They will always be ready to clear fallen trees after a storm or turn logs into winter firewood, even after the chainsaw runs out of gas. The Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe and Council Tool’s Velvicut Boy’s Axe are two options where you can’t go wrong.

  If it is your job in investigate what goes bump in the night, then the Surefire X300 Weaponlight is a really good idea. It puts out 500 lumens of light, which is basically the same as mounting a chunk of the sun onto a universal or Picatinny rail, so you will have no doubts about what is in front of the barrel. Even if the power is out, this will light up a room… from the other side of the house.

  If you “could only choose one knife” then the ESEE-3MIL-P Fixed Blade should certainly be on the short list of contestants. The blade is large enough to do real work, but without making the knife so long that is it a hassle to carry around. It is also backed up by ESEE’s “you break it, we’ll replace it warranty”, so it is meant to be taken out and used.

  The SilverFire Survivor is a rocket stove that builds on the lessons learned from previous generations. It is both lighter and more efficient than many of the competing designs, but is made tough enough to survive being bounced around in the back of a pickup truck. If you haven’t ever had the chance to play with a rocket stove, you’ll be impressed the first time you cook a family sized meal with a few handfuls of sticks and twigs.

Goal Zero’s Guide 10 Plus is a well thought out and easy to use solar charging kit. It can handle both AA and AAA rechargeable batteries and also has a USB port to keep things like your smartphone up and running when other power options are not available. It isn’t going to keep your fridge running during a power outage, but is a good choice for small devices if you want something well made and simple to use.


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