Author Archives: Survivalist

The Best Tactical Survival Watches (Jan. 2017)

best survival watches 2017A tactical watch is more than just an ordinary timepiece. Tactical watches are designed for survivalists. They can withstand the elements and stand up to enormous amounts of abuse; you know that even if the power fails, a good tactical watch won’t. The best of these timepieces are scratch, shock and water resistance, and many come with path-finding or navigational features too.

Historically, our preference is for traditional analog models. These have greater longevity and reliability, which is essential if the worst were to occur. The developments in digital watch technology, however, can make even the most hardcore traditionalist change their mind about a digital watch. If you are set on picking up a digital watch, you can usually expect the battery to last about a year. You might want to consider one that has kinetic or solar charging function. However, as with all good survival equipment, the best tactical watches do not come cheap.

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What to look for in a quality tactical watch

When looking for a new tactical watch for personal use or as a gift for friends and family, there are a couple of factors that to keep at the forefront of my mind. As mentioned, the watches’ power source should be considered. You will also want to take a critical look at the materials that the watch is made from. The watch’s main frame (the outer casing) should be metal (preferably titanium steel), carbon fiber or a military grade plastic. These will usually be covered in a hard silicon rubber or a similarly effective shock absorbent material. These materials are all hard wearing and, crucially, light weight.

Watch design isn’t just a matter of personal preference; you are going to want to choose a tactical watch that clearly presents key information and allows the user to quickly and reliably access additional features. Some more expensive tactical watches make use of a so-called ‘negative display,’ a deceptively simple black and white display that makes the information presented really pop out.

The Top Recommendations

What follows are my personal recommendations for the best tactical watches, based on the criteria that I outlined above.

Garmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 230 review

We said above that we prefer analog watches over digital tactical watches, but the Garmin Tactix packs a large number of useful features for survival enthusiasts and serious preppers. Amazingly, this watch packages an effect GPS system, presented through a crisp and clear negative display screen. Garmin has included an interesting ‘backtrack’ feature, meaning that if you lose your way in the wilderness, this tactical watch will help you retrace your steps and rejoin your path. There is also a compass and barometer, and the watch’s lens is scratch and glare resistant.

Despite all its fantastic features, some preppers might feel that relying on GPS and satellites might not be a great long-term bet. Most serious survival enthusiasts will also be competent using a map and compass, too. However, if your budget will stretch to it and you’re looking for a feature packed digital tactical watch, you cannot go wrong with the Garmin.

Casio G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400-1ERcasio g shock watch review

The Casio Rangeman is not the easiest tactical watch to set up, but once you get it running, you will find that it is absolutely packed with features. Another digital watch, it boasts an altimeter, barometer, thermometer, data on sunrise and sunset times and a handy digital compass. Its combination of resin and stainless steel give the Rangeman a distinctive look; obviously, a Casio watch but definitely one build with survivalists in mind.

The watch is durable, functional (once set up) and, in our opinion, a distinctive and stylish piece. The display is large and legible, and the backlighting is strong and effective, which is a significant bonus. Most importantly for a digital tactical watch, this Casio model is solar powered. This makes it a fantastic choice for those of you looking for a digital watch but have concerns about their longevity.

casio gw9400 reviewCasio G-Shock Analog Digital Dial Black Resin Mens Watch GA100CF-1A

Sticking with the Casio G-Shock range, this combined analog/digital watch comes highly recommended. It includes a small digital display for dates, along with alarms and a stopwatch. The display is crisp, and the LED backlight is clear, which assists after sunset.




timex t49928 reviewTimex T49928 Men’s Expedition Digital Compass Watch

Timex has offered a fantastic, inexpensive digital tactical watch for preppers and survival enthusiasts who don’t want to compromise on quality but are on a tight budget.

The watch comes packaged with a surprisingly effective digital compass, lap counter, countdown and configurable alarms. It doesn’t sport the wealth of features included with the digital Casio models (there are no altimeter, barometer or thermometer here), but it is a great tactical watch with incredible durability. Some users report that they find the display unclear, although this isn’t a problem that I’ve personally experienced.

Suunto Coresuunto core wrist watch review

Calling the Suunto Core a watch doesn’t do the device justice; this tactical watch has more in common with a desktop PC! The Suunto Core includes a barometer, compass, altimeter, thermometer, and sunrise/sunset information for over 400 locations. The accuracy of the information provided by the Core is second to none. You might think that a large number of included features could make this tactical watch cumbersome and complicated to use. Nothing could be further from the truth; the Core’s intelligent and intuitive negative display and the interface allow you to access the features and information that you need quickly. However, I found the outer rotational ring is initially quite stiff and difficult to turn.

The Suunto Core boasts a high-end design belies a durable and rugged tactical watch. The watch is comfortable on the wrist and can take any amount of punishment you throw at it. A word of warning, though, the battery lasts for about a year, so if you’re planning on using the Core as a long-term survival tool, then you will want to stock up on batteries (luckily, these are easily replaceable by the user).

Best Camping/Folding Shovel Reviews (Jan. 2017)

best survival shovels 2017

Camping is tough, and that’s part of what makes it so rewarding for the roughly 40 million Americans who enjoy it. It’s not for everyone, it takes a special kind of person to leave behind the comfort, convenience, and safety of city life to test themselves against the unknown challenges that nature offers.

Let’s take a look at some of the best camping shovels for any situation you may find yourself in. On top of that, we’ll include options for any budget, because there’s really something for everyone. First, let’s take a look at some introductory thoughts about packing for camping in general, and then we’ll dive right into the different types of shovels and how to choose the perfect one for the job.

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The old proverb “nothing ventured, nothing gained” perfectly describes why camping is such a rewarding, fun, and relaxing experience. Granted, there are many different ways to camp. There are various degrees of “roughin’ it”, and depending on how you like to camp, you’ll need to choose what you bring along with you very carefully.

  • Are you parking an RV in a campground? You’ll have plenty of room for everything you could possibly need, to packing lightly isn’t as much of an issue. Even if you park the RV and setup a tent nearby, you still really don’t need to be too worried about trying to save space or packing lightly.
  • Or are you going to test your ability to survive in nature? If you’re heading out into the deep woods with nothing besides what you can fit into your pack, things really start to get challenging, with a much greater potential for danger. A shovel may be small but it’s an essential piece of survival gear.
  • Or somewhere in between? If you’re an experienced camper and survivalist, but you still want a more leisurely trip, you can choose an experience that falls somewhere in between camping with an RV or completely roughing it out in the bush with nothing but what’s on your back.

Camping can be dangerous…

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, it just means that you need to put more thought into your preparation. It’s ironic because the less space you have to pack things, the more you’re going to need them.

When you’re in a campground with amenities, you really don’t need all of the extra space and equipment you have in your vehicle, but when you’re hiking and setting up camp off-trail, you’ll actually need a lot of the extra tools and things that you don’t have room to take with you.

The best solution to this conundrum is to simply be careful about what you bring along, and diligent in what you leave behind.

Bringing the right camping tools for any job…

Tools that have multiple uses can be very desirable but only if those extra functions are actually things that you’ll need. The golden rule is to not take along things that you won’t need, but also to be as prepared as possible for anything that you may encounter. Packing for camping can be a full-time hobby, when every extra pound of supplies is going to weigh you down and hurt your performance, it becomes a game of fractions.

best folding shovel

We’re going to be talking about camping shovels in particular right now. A shovel isn’t always something you’re going to need

when you’re camping, but it can definitely come in handy. When you need it you’ll be glad you have it, but the trick is making sure it doesn’t get in the way when you don’t need it.

Why did we spend so much time going over the different types of camping, the weight of your pack, safety concerns, and all that?

Because, and it may sound silly, but choosing the best survival shovel can honestly mean the difference between a great trip or a not-so-great one. It’s not hard to choose the best camping shovel for your particular situation, and now that we’ve emphasized how important that choice is, let’s go over some of the options that you’ll come across while shopping for a shovel to take camping with you.

Picking a Shovel for Camping – Initial Considerations to Make

Let’s get the basics out of the way first. If you’re camping and you’ll have a vehicle nearby, you can opt for a bigger, sturdy, heavier shovel. The more you plan on moving around, or the further you plan on being from your vehicle, the lighter you’ll want to pack. It’s just common sense.

If you’re going to be travelling a greater distance, you’ll need more room in your pack for things like food, water, and absolute survival essentials.

Do you really even need to bring a shovel?

A shovel might not seem entirely essential, and it’s true that in some cases you can just use your hand or a flat stone to dig with, but there are situations when you’ll be glad you brought it along.

Ultra-portable and very compact folding shovels for camping

Let’s start with a very compact and light option, and that’s a small foldable camping shovel. The first one we’re going to review is very small, very light weight, but at the expensive of durability and functionality. The second one weights more, takes up more space, but can get a lot more work done.

The Folding Shovel Trowel Tooludigit-review

The U-Dig-It by Ultimate Survival Technologies is a well-reviewed, sturdy little trowel that folds in half and fits in your pocket. It’s useful for digging a trench around your tent to avoid having all of your belongings soaked in a storm, and it’s good enough to dig out small rocks and to help level the ground before you pitch your tent.

It’s very affordable, and while being sturdy enough, it’s not the most heavy-duty item you’ll come across. None the less, it serves its purpose well. Still, if you’re serious about this, you’ll want to look at our next option because it’s a lot heavier duty, and something you can really rely on when the going gets tough. Best case scenario, you won’t need it. But, what if you do?

Gerber Entrenching Tool Folding Spade for Campinggerber entrenching tool review

Next up is the Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade. This one has a serrated edge so that you can use it to help clear out brush, while also digging up larger rocks. It’s a bit larger than the U Dig-It, but not by a lot. Folded up, this Gerber shovel is still less than 10 inches long, and feels a lot stronger and more durable.

You can use it to saw through the undergrowth, grass, and plants. It will also help you get through tough dirt. It weights a little bit more at two pounds, but if you’re doing any even remotely serious digging, you’ll be glad you took it along. You can find entrenching tools for as low as $10, and at roughly five times that price, this one isn’t the cheapest out there – but you get what you pay for. You don’t want to be out in the thick of it, wishing you’d spent the extra few bucks as you sit there with a shovel that can’t handle the job.

Medium-Size Multi-Function Camping Shovels

Now, let’s take a look at a couple of options that are a bit more versatile. There are pros and cons to camping with multi-tools.

  • On the one hand, by combining certain things you can save space.
  • On the other hand, having functions you don’t need can add extra weight and sometimes these extra features are just kind of forced in, while not actually being quality versions of whatever they’re meant to be.

For example: Having a compass built onto the handle of a shovel can be kind of handy to have, but if you actually need to navigate, you’d much rather have a higher quality and more reliable pocket compass, instead of walking around carrying your shovel in-hand to use a compass worth pennies instead of high-end and better-calibrated one like you’d get from a stand-alone unit.

The Gerber we just featured is somewhat versatile. It has a serrated saw edge, but other than that there aren’t a lot of bells and whistles. If you want some bells and whistles, here’s a cheaper light option and a heavier more expensive option.

FiveJoy Backcountry Folding Shovelfivejoy military folding shovel

This folding shovel by Fivejoy has so many add-ons it’s crazy. It comes packed with a Shovel, Axe, Hoe, Saw, Hammer, Rescue Knife, Wire Cutter, Bottle Opener, Fire Starter, Whistle, Glass Breaker, and lastly a Paracord. Essentially everything you would need to survive a zombie apocalypse, or camping with your family.

The shovel is ergnomic and only weighs, 1.4 lbs. Don’t worry, we thought the same thing, how is that possible. We put it to the test, and the heat treated carbon steel is very strong and can surely take a heavy beating. This is one of our favorite multi-tools and for good reason. It also has the become a staple in our bug out pack.

Outdoor Folding Shovel for Camping with Many Functions by PagreberyaPagreberya survival shovel

The heavier-duty option is made by Pagreberya, has much better reviews, costs about 3/4 of the Fivejoy, and is worth every penny.

This tool includes a shovel (of course), which has a larger serrated edge, a ruler, a pivoting head so that it’s great for digging at different angles.

The handle unscrews to reveal a wide range of extra tools hidden inside such as a screwdriver, a multi-function saw knife, a bottle opener, an emergency whistle, and a magnesium rod to help start fires.

None of these extra features take up a ton of space since they’re all built in. The shovel would be the same size even if it didn’t have them. It can also be used as:

  • A wire cutter,
  • An axe,
  • It has hex wrench cutours and a lot more.
  • It’s a very versatile tool, but it may be overkill depending on what your needs are.

A Full Size Shovel For Your Trunk / Camper

Next up, let’s go over one more option. If you’re looking for a real work house, don’t care about weight or size or all the extra features, and need to do some serious digging at the campsite, you might as well just go with a full size garden shovel. It will work the best. It’ll make the job so much easier.

Bully Tools 12 Gauge Shovel with Fiberglass Handlebullytools 92515 review

This shovel by Bully Tools is right up your alley if you’ve got a lot of digging to do, and aren’t low on space. It’s got a long fiberglass handle so you get great leverage while digging, but it’s not going to slow you down with unnecessary weight. This shovel includes a limited lifetime warranty. It’s not super practical if you’re backpacking, but if you’re loading up the car or truck or camper, and you’ve got some extra space for it, it’ll make life a lot easier.

Final Thoughts & Recap

At the start of this article, we really wanted to emphasize that choosing the best shovel for camping is really a matter of circumstances, and personal preference. Now, you’ve been presented with 5 different options to meet a variety of needs and budgets. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. If you can afford a better tool, buy a better tool. Not only will it last longer, it will be easier to use and a better overall experience.
  2. If you’re on a budget, it’s better to have something instead of nothing. Also, if you’re not putting yourself in any really dangerous situations, and just doing some leisurely camping, you may not need something as durable or reliable. If you absolutely need something you can count of, however, make sure you invest accordingly.
  3. There’s a certain romance to really roughing it in the nature. But if you aren’t experienced, don’t bite off more than you can chew. There’s no shame in having the right tools at the right time, not everybody has to be Les Stroud from Survivor-man.

Recap of The Best Options

Let’s quickly go over each of the shovels that we recommended in this article. Which is the best survival shovel to pick? It depends…

Budget options

  • The U-Dig It Folding Shovel (Small) – Very small and affordable, good for light work.
  • Gerber Entrenching Tool (Small) – Very high quality, folds up nicely, also great value.

Higher-end choices

  • FiveJoy Folding Shovel (Medium) – Extremely versatile and lightweight. Quite possibly our favorite shovel reviewed.
  • Multi-shovel by Pagreberya (Medium) – The more versatile shovel on the list, includes a lot of tools. Great if you need them, not so great if you don’t.
  • The Bully (Large) – Just a classic shovel for serious digging, very reasonably prices, well-reviewed, and high-quality.

The Best Gun Safes

Guns are an important tool for hunting, farming and wilderness survival. When used correctly by experienced owners who respect their destructive potential, guns can be stored safely and securely in the home. However, ensuring that your weapons don’t fall into the wrong hands, whether they be home intruders or young children, is an important responsibility of all device owners. Some States even mandate that you store your guns in a safe or secure cabinet. As a result, if you own firearms, you are wise to consider buying a gun safe.

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Key considerations before you buy.

Before the purchase of a gun safe, it’s good to have an awareness of the various features you should be high-quality. You need to consider the number and type of weapons you want to store in the home and the level of accessibility that you require. You might also want to consider concealed and disguised cases; what could be more secure than something that can’t be seen? Finally, you will want to think about the locking mechanism and durability of the safe.

At the most basic level, preppers ought to consider trigger locks and secure carrying cases for their firearms. Trigger locks are cheap guards that fit over the trigger of a pistol, shotgun or rifle, locked in place with a key, preventing anyone but the owner from firing the weapon. However, neither trigger locks nor carrying cases will stop an intruder from simply taking or removing the firearm, even if they can’t shoot it. Also, if you lose the key, your sufficient becomes inaccessible. While they have their uses, these essential security tools are best used in combination with a high-quality gun safe.

Manual and Digital Lock Safes


Mesa Digital Lock Safe

These traditional gun safes are secure and reliable, although the input mechanisms to unlock them can be inconvenient if you need to access your firearms quickly. One of the best digital lock gun safes on the market is the Mesa Safe MBF6032E 14 Cubic Foot 30 Rifle Gun Safe with Digital Lock. This large safe will pose a significant challenge to any burglar or intruder seeking unauthorized access to your firearms; the 1-inch diameter deadbolts and hinges will resist all be the most brutal attempts to force entry. The safe’s weight (it’s about 670 pounds) means that, even if you don’t securely bolt it, it won’t be going anywhere fast. The digital display is clear, reliable and straightforward to set up.  The Mesa Safe also protects your weapons from fire damage for up to an hour; meaning that if the worst happens to your property you’ll know the contents of the safe will be unharmed and usable upon retrieval. Obviously, there is no such thing as an entirely fireproof gun safe, but this insulation offers additional peace of mind.

Some preppers might be concerned about their gun safe’s digital keypad becoming inoperable without a power source. Preppers looking for a cheaper combination style safe will want to consider the Stack-On FS-14-MG-C 14-Gun Fire Resistant Safe. The combination lock is sturdy and reliable, although be aware that you can’t change this; the manufacturer sets the combination.

The safe is compact, but its lighter weight means that you will want to attach it to the floor securely. Its smaller size means that if you own a large number (i.e. more than 7  or 8) of shotguns and scoped rifles, this might not be sufficient enough for your needs.

For handgun owners looking for a small, discrete manual combination safe, the Gunvault GV1000S Mini Vault Standard Gun Safe is the way to go. This durable safe has simple to follow setup instructions can be easily secreted around the house, allowing for convenient access. If not secured, it is portable and can be taken with you if you are traveling. Be aware, though, the battery life isn’t great on the digital keypad variant of this model.

Biometric Gun Safes


Barska Biometric Gun Safe

Gun safe manufacturers are taking advantage of recent progress in fingerprint recognition technology to personalize access to owners’ firearms. Through recognizing a pre-programmed selection of fingerprints, these safes allow for faster access than the manual or digital safes recommended above. However, there are some negatives to biometric gun safes; they tend to be more expensive, and they require a power source to drive the biometric reading technology – no power means to access to your firearms. Some users have reported concerns about the reliability of the biometric readers on cheaper gun safes, too.

The BARSKA Biometric Safe is a compact gun safe with a two steel deadbolt locking mechanism. Users can register up to 30 fingerprints; users report that the fingerprint reader is reliable and that the gun safe offers owners rapid access to their secured firearms; a real plus for the security conscious prepper. Be aware, though; this gun safe has no fire insulation. BARSKA also offer a larger model which is an excellent choice for survival enthusiasts on a budget.

Gunvault offers a highly rated small biometric gun safe. The Gunvault MicroVault XL MVB1000 Biometric is a premium gun safe that offers rapid access to the stored handguns inside. Unlike most biometric safes, the Gunvault requires the owners’ whole hand print, rather than just one fingerprint. This significantly reduces the chance of the biometric reader failing and falsely allowing unauthorized access to a burglar or intruder.

Also recommended is the GunVault SV500 SpeedVault Handgun Safe, which is available with either biometric or a digital keypad locking system. This gun safe is designed to covertly conceal a single handgun within easy reach of the owner; for example, it could be mounted to the side of your desk for extremely quick access in the event of an emergency. This gun safe offers the owner real flexibility and peace of mind, allowing you to keep a firearm both close at hand and secure in the home at the same time. Keep an eye on the battery life; as the safe is designed to be discrete, there are no flashing lights or beeps when the power is running out. You will want to periodically check the device to ensure that it is always powered up and ready to use.

Best Portable Camping Showers

Imagine you’ve just got back to your campsite after hiking through rough terrain on a hot day. You’re sweaty, smelly and the one thing you want is a refreshing shower like you’d been able to have at home. The only problem is you’re living in a tent, and there are no amenities nearby. Not an ideal situation for a shower is it? Having the best portable shower at your disposal can make it much more bearable.

One of these devices can keep you clean and can also be used to wash dishes or wash your hands after performing grimy tasks.

If you’re seeking some extra comfort for your trip but you’re unsure what portable shower would meet your needs best, continue reading to find out. We have selected a few of the best portable showers based on ratings and reviews. They range from inexpensive, basic models to higher priced devices that can enhance your outdoors experience.

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Types of Portable Showers

When you are looking to purchase a portable camp shower, you will choose between two main types of devices. The first type of showers will come with their own water storage tank or container. All you need to do is fill the tank or container with water.

The other set of devices come with the shower head and pump only. You will need to bring your own water container. Most people just use a bucket, but if you’re in a survivalist situation, you may want to be able to get yourself up and running with a consolidated unit.

Neither option is necessarily any better than the other concerning performance. It’s a matter of what suits your personal needs best. For most people, this won’t be the deciding factor when choosing a portable shower.

Top 5 Portable Camp Showers

There is no shortage of portable showers available. Which makes choosing one for yourself difficult. To help, we have compiled a list of the best portable showers in terms of value, durability, and design.

Ivation Battery Powered Handheld Shower


A nice, warm shower on your camping trip is possible with this handy device. Customer’s love this easy to use, battery powered handheld shower.

One of the most appealing features of the Ivation Handheld Shower is the ability to charge it with a USB connection. You can just hook it up to a car adapter or your laptop. Users of the product report the battery lasting up to 45 minutes or more before needing another charge.

Some campers may prefer something with higher water pressure. But if you’re not too fussy and want a reliable unit that offers great value – the Ivation Handheld shower is a good choice.

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Zodi Outback Gear Battery Powered Shower


Another affordable option for campers who want a simple to use showering solution. To use it, you will need to connect the pump to your own water source (usually a bucket of water). With high-quality 4D batteries, you should be able to get plenty of showers before you need to replace them. This makes it a great option for camping trips longer than a week.

One drawback of many other portable camp showers is the low water pressure. But users of the Zodi Outback Gear Battery Powered Shower commonly mention the high water pressure as one of the best features of this shower.

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Zodi Extreme SC Hot Shower


Looking for something to make your camping trip a lot more comfortable? Zodi has a solution – perfect for hot showers and it can also be used for cooking.

Operating the Zodi Extreme SC Hot Shower isn’t too difficult. The device comes with its own water tank so you won’t need to bring your own bucket. You will need to fill the tank with water and heat the water over the tripod stove which comes with the device. Within just 5 minutes, you can have warm water for your shower or cooking needs.

This is a great device that will meet all your needs. Highly recommended if you go camping more than once a year and don’t like cold showers.

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Pure Clean Portable Shower


For a mid-priced portable, Pure Clean’s unit has a lot going for it. It’s easy to use, powerful, has a long battery life and can be charged with a USB cable. The shower head comes with a hose, USB charging cable, rechargeable battery, suction cap and hook attachment. You will need to provide your own water source.

Many users mention this device is perfect for washing their dog. So even when you’re not out camping, you can still benefit from having one of these. While other devices could also be used at home for washing the dogs, users particularly like this one because it’s very water efficient.

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Coughlan Solar Camp Shower


This is a solid option for anyone wanting a very basic, low-cost device. It comes with a bag which can hold up to 500 gallons of water. All you need to do is fill it up.

Like all the other portable showers, it can be used for washing dishes, washing hands and showering. The big difference is this unit is only a fraction of the price.

At such a low price, you don’t have much to lose. It may not offer all the same features of more expensive devices, but most people would agree it’s better than no shower at all! This could be perfect for a short camping trip but perhaps not an ideal choice for longer trips.

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Other Portable Showers to Consider

Questions to Ask Before Buying a Portable Shower

These portable showers all serve one main purpose – keeping you clean. But some are a little more user-friendly and durable than others.

Even though none of these showers are a huge investment, you still want to get the right one. The last thing you want is your portable shower breaking or running out of battery before you’ve been able to take your full shower.

You should also consider how you will set up your portable shower to give yourself privacy. This video demonstrates one popular set up:

Asking yourself the following questions will help you decide which portable shower will be best for you.

  • Will it be used for camping, or as part of your survivalist gear
  • How often do you go camping?
  • How many people will be using the shower?
  • How long is your camping trip?
  • Will you be using it in cold conditions?
  • Do you have a way to charge a rechargeable battery? (car, laptop..)
  • What is your budget?
  • What do you want to use it for besides showering?


Before setting out on your next camping trip or packing up your survivalist gear, you should take some time to think about whether you’re going to need a portable shower. If you agree you will need one, then consider what features will make your camping trip more enjoyable. For some, a basic unit is enough to keep them comfortable and happy. But others will be more comfortable with something that offers more features like USB charging or a stove for fast heating.

No matter how basic or advanced you want your portable shower to be, you should choose a quality product that is supported with positive reviews. There are a lot of low-quality camp showers on the market that can easily break.

The portable showers above were selected because they all have customer reviews confirming their ease of use, durability, and effectiveness.


All your gear in one place: The Best Bug Out Bags

Few things are more important to a survival enthusiast or serious prepper than a comfortable, reliable and intelligently packed Bug Out Bag. In the event of an emergency, this pack will be the first thing you reach for, and the amount of preparation and thought put into its contents could make all the difference in a challenging survival situation. Bug Out Bags go by a variety of names (our personal favorites are the INCH Bag – i.e. I’m Never Coming Home – and the GOOD Bag – Get Out Of Dodge), but their purpose is clear; this pack should contain everything you need to survive for (at least) 72 hours.

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There are a few factors that make a good Bug Out Bag stand apart from your run of the mill rucksack. The first is extreme durability. Although you’re packing for 72 hours, if you need to Bug Out then your Bug Out Bag is likely to be on your shoulders for a long time to come. You don’t want to have to worry about whether or not your bag can keep up with you. It needs to be well designed with a serious and sensible prepper in mind. A well-crafted Bug Out Bag will let you quickly access your essential survival tools when you need them. It will have numerous compartments (both hidden and obvious) providing you with a range of flexible storage options.

Finally, you want a Bug Out Bag that fits your size and needs; it doesn’t matter how well designed the bag is if it isn’t comfortable to wear while on the move. You probably already have a good idea about which survival essentials you’ll want to pack in your Bug Out Bag; the size, volume and specifications of these objects should also guide your decision making.

Below, I’ve listed a few of the best available Bug Out Bags on the market. Any of these would be a good choice for most preppers and survival enthusiasts.

5.11 Tactical Rush 72 Backpack


The 5.11 is one of the most popular Bug Out Bags on the market. Available in a range of muted colors and camouflage designs, the rugged and reliable bag provides ample space for the diligent prepper. The large front ‘shove it’ pocket lets you quickly store and retrieve big items, while the semi-rigid back support and range of adjustable straps mean you can comfortably shape the bag to your body. Each of the pockets and compartments has been designed with a purpose in mind, meaning this pack allows you to make efficient use of space.

One of the best things about the 5.11 is that it doesn’t look like a Bug Out Bag. This will help the wearer keep a low profile in the event of an emergency. This bag can take a lot of abuse and will never let you down: all in all a solid choice.

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Sandpiper of California Long Range Bugout Backpack


The Sandpiper is a cheaper alternative to the 5.11 Tactical Rush but still comes highly recommended. The first thing that you’ll notice is that this bag is huge! It’s well designed four principal components can fit upwards of 4,500 cubic inches. While this is impressive, remember that the first rule of Bug Out Bag preparation is to pack light, so think carefully before filling all that space.

The Sandpiper has a range of customization options for the wearer’s comfort. It rides well on your back; comfort is a key consideration when choosing a good Bug Out Bag and there are no complaints with the Sandpiper. One small complaint is that the zips are not as well made as those on the 5.11 Tactical Rush; they can become stuck or come apart with repeated use, although this doesn’t happen often. Regardless, this is a high-quality bag and an excellent choice for a prepper looking for a quality pack on a smaller budget.

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Condor 3 Day Assault Pack


The Condor brand is synonymous with quality, and this Bug Out Bag does not disappoint. The three-day Assault Pack is an affordable, customizable and heavy duty bag that all serious preppers and survival enthusiasts should consider. It has seven compartments and can accommodate more or less anything that you might care to put on your Bug Out list. Interestingly, each of the components has grommets for drainage, a feature that you wouldn’t normally expect to see on a cheaper Bug Out Bag. The shoulder straps are widely set and the foam back support is comfortable and goes some way to reducing sweating.

As with the Sandpiper, the Condor’s zips are not of the highest quality. The size of the bag means that it isn’t the best choice for users under 5’6. Otherwise, this is an excellent quality Bug Out Bag that comes highly recommended.

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Voodoo Tactical Mini Mojo Bug Out Bag Review


This is an absolute beast of a bag! It will fit everything you need to Bug Out and probably have space for enough supplies for three or four people. As such, this is an excellent choice for preppers with kids to consider; you could fit everything you need in this one huge Bug Out Bag. The huge main compartment is surrounded by 11 (!) outer and inner compartments, with extra webbing in the unlikely event that you run out of space.

The bag’s hard floor means that it won’t warp or sink in the middle; a real problem for preppers looking to use other duffel-style packs as a Bug Out Bag. The Voodoo also comes with comfortable shoulder straps, meaning you can wear it like a regular backpack.

The Voodoo isn’t cheap, and for a single prepper or survival enthusiast, there will be too much wasted space to justify the purchase. However, if you’re looking for a great Bug Out Bag for the family or if you have large items of equipment on your Bug Out list, this bag really can’t be beaten.

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Best Survival Water Filter

If water wasn’t so heavy and tough to lug around, we would all just carry an unlimited supply with us while camping. We don’t need to tell you how crucial water is for survival, and how terrifying it can be as your supply starts to dwindle while you’re out in the middle of nowhere. As the sun gets hotter, anxiety levels rise, but there is a type of product that’s been gaining more and more popularity lately.

A survival water filter can save your life, save you from dehydration, or at the very least it can give you a little more peace of mind when your water supply isn’t exactly where you’d like it to be. Now, first and foremost, before we even start talking about choosing the best survival water filter, it’s imperative that you bring enough water with you in the first place. But even if you think you are already doing that, it’s a good idea to have one of these water filter straws none the less.

There are more and more to choose from all the time, so we’ve narrowed it down to some of the absolute best choices. They’re all relatively affordable, when you consider the alternative options, so we’ve chosen these straws based on their quality, performance, and also taken reviews into consideration because if most people report a great experience with it, that counts for something.

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The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter


As far as something affordable goes, the LifeStraw is very reasonably priced, and great for what it is. It’s basically a thick straw, and it allows you to drink from water sources that you wouldn’t normally consider drinking from. You don’t need to boil the water first; you can drink it right out of the source.

LifeStraw is probably the most popular brand in this category, and perhaps the most accessible, but we’re going to be taking a look at some other options as well. For example, if you don’t mind spending more money, you can get some pretty neat survival filters. We’ll get to that in a moment. First, here’s a great variation on the LifeStraw, which is particularly useful if you’ll be needing to quench your thirst but won’t be able to stay near the water supply.

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The LifeStraw Go Water Bottle


It’s basically a water bottle with a LifeStraw inside. You can fill it up and take the water with you, without having to stay right at the source. This can be useful in survival situations, or just a slightly more practical option. Instead of bending down and sipping right from a lake, you can just fill up the bottle and filter it as you sip.

There’s a gap between the bottom of the filter and the bottom of the bottle, which allows any dirt or sediment to settle at the bottom of the water bottle, so it doesn’t gunk up your filter and shorten its lifespan. This bottle is great for hiking, camping, backpacking… Everybody that owns it and understands what it’s for seems to love it. Some complains have been a chemical-y taste, but that isn’t a universal experience and ringing it out and letting it soak for a bit before your first use should help a great deal.

However, a major downside is that you’re still limited by how much water you can fit in the bottle, especially with the larger filter taking up a lot of that space, and we prefer to have our water filtered before we’re ready to drink it, so it’s good to go right away. It just feels better to be carrying around a supple of already filtered water, rather than carrying around unfiltered water.

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Katadyn Pocket Water Filter


This is a very cool device that accomplishes a similar goal as the LifeStraw Go, but does it in a much slicker way. Instead of filling up a water bottle and filtering it as you sip, the Katadyn allows you to pump water from your water source, and filters it before it even gets inside of the bottle, so you could fill up multiple bottles at once.

Also, without a big straw inside your water bottle, you can carry more clean water. There’s just something appealing about being able to drink your already-filtered water normally, as opposed to having to suck it through a straw. Drinking through a LifeStraw is tougher than drinking through a normal straw, and sometimes when you’re thirsty enough you just want to chug it.

Now, it’s a bit more than triple the price, but when push comes to shove it’s worth it. If you want to bring two bottles worth of water with you using the LifeStraw Go, you’ll need to buy two of them. With the Katadyn, however, you can fill up as many bottles as you want. It is also rated for 13,000 gallons of effective water filtration.

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Addon: Survival Water Bags

If you opt for something like the Katadyn Vario, and don’t want to haul around extra water bottles, take a look at these water bags. They weight next to nothing and take up practically no space until you need to use them. They’re sterile, and you can filter water directly from your survival filter right into these bags.

Aquamira Frontier Water Filter


If you just want something cheap and simple, here you go. It’s similar to the original LifeStraw that we featured first, so cons include the fact that it’s basically “on-demand”. You filter the water directly from the source and drink it immediately, rather than being able to have clear water when you aren’t right next to whatever your water source may be.

As you can see, there are a few different styles. We prefer the Katadyn because it gives you a lot more options. You can fill up while you’re at a source, and then take the water with you, and you aren’t limited by the size of your single bottle. It costs more, but when it comes to clean water – that’s a price we’re more than willing to pay.

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Every Day Carry: The Best EDC Flashlight

It’s been a long, long time since humans discovered the ability to harness fire, which was our most primitive example of being able to control light. Well, guess what, we’ve come a long way since the first caveman pyromaniacs were setting the world on fire, and our ability to harness light has come a long way since then.

Lightbulbs, batteries, we’re living in a crazy world – can you imagine if the earliest versions of the human could see the types of things we have now? They would be blown away from a flashlight, let alone things like cellphones or spaceships. Despite all of the incredible leaps that humankind has taken, that doesn’t mean we’re living in some perfectly safe, fairytale world where nothing ever goes wrong. Far from it.

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Being Ready for Anything

We take a lot of these incredible achievements for granted. It only takes one bad storm to knock out the power grid and to stop it from reaching your home. All of a sudden your food is starting to spoil, you have no power to cook with, no heat, no air conditioning, wouldn’t it be nice to at least have light?

If you’re on the ball enough to have a high-quality EDC flashlight, chances are that you’ve also got a good stock pile of non-perishables, a backup generator, and a plan in place for the worst. A lot of people don’t, they’re simply not ready.

Having your own source of light that you can rely on, no matter what, can go a long way. It took the cavemen how many hundreds of thousands of years to discover fire? How long are you willing to wait for a light source in an emergency? The whole point is taking care of things yourself, so you don’t have to wait on anyone else to help you.

It’s crucially important to have a quality flashlight. Yes, you can buy little LED lights from the dollar store for a couple of bucks, but is that really what you want to be carrying around on a daily basis? You owe it to yourself, and to our caveman ancestors, to get something proper.

This buyer’s guide will highlight five unique models. Each and every one of these options could very well be the best EDC flashlight for you. They’re all great choices, so don’t worry about picking the wrong one.

We’ve used many criteria to help determine which flashlights deserve your attention and which ones are getting left out in the dark, for example:

  • Value
  • Reliability
  • Durability
  • Style
  • Brightness
  • Quality
  • Features

Vizeri LED Tactical Flashlight


This is a great EDC torch. It’s the most affordable option we’re going to be featuring today. You may gasp at some of the prices of the other ones we’re going to look at, but trust – they’re worth every penny. None the less, we wanted to include something very accessible so that nobody has to leave here empty handed.

Features: Various light modes including high, medium, low, SOS, strobe. Incredibly bright LED lights. Includes a holster and a light diffuser attachment. Much higher quality than the lower tier of flashlights, but entry-level as far as high-performance EDC torches are concerned. A great place to start, and an excellent light to keep around as a spare after you upgrade.

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SOG Dark Energy Flashlight DE-02


The Dark Energy by SOG is a bad flashlight, in a good way. The tactical style has a real mean attitude to it. It’s about twice as expensive as the previous model we looked at, but if you can afford it – it’s a solid step up, it’s worth the extra money. It doesn’t have as many options as some lights, but it does have a tactical strobe.

Features: Attached belt clip. Lightweight, small design. IPX-7 water resistance, Cool White Cree R5 led bulb.

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Surefire P2X Fury Dual Output LED 15/500 Lumen Black Flashlight


This is an intense and powerful torch, and it’s definitely one of the best flashlights for everyday carry. It’s not cheap, and you get exactly what you pay for and more. There’s a reason that it’s popular among security guards, special forces, and other people whose lives can come down to having the right gear.

Features: 1.5 hour run-time at 500-lumen setting, or 46 hours at 15 lumens. High-strength aerospace aluminum body. Meets military specs. Limited lifetime warranty.

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Fenix Flashlights FX-PD35TAC Flashlight


There’s really not a ton to know about a 1000 lumen flashlight other than the fact that it’s bright. Really, really bright. This one, in particular, is also super durable and has tons of super positive reviews. It’s a great choice, so definitely give it a second though if you’re still trying to decide, and you want a lot of power.

Features: Digitally regulated output keeps brightness consistent. Uses one 18650 rechargeable battery or 2x 3V CR123A. Tactical mode. Outdoor mode.

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Streamlight 88031 ProTac Tactical Flashlight


Over 5000 positive reviews, and hundreds of questions answered – this is one popular torch, and it’s no surprise. Speaking of no surprises, there are so many reviews and Q+A’s to read over, and you’ll know exactly, EXACTLY what to expect with this one. So, what can you expect? A darn great light for an even better price. It doesn’t get as bright as some of the other options on here, with a max of 260 lumens on high, and a minimum of 13 on low when you want to conserve your battery. The difference between the two settings is a range of 150m vs. 35m.

Features: Adjustable brightness. 50,000 hour lifetime on the C4 LED bulbs. Powered by two CR123A batteries which are included. High-durability, and many options to choose from to get exactly what you need.

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Our Favorite Portable Camping Toilets

We know that bears poop in the woods, but they’re not the only ones. Many hikers and campers may notice that their bowel movements are less frequent while they’re out on the trail, which is almost like your body realizing how uncomfortable it can be to do your business while camping, and doing you a favor by minimizing the frequency of your pit stops.

In reality, it probably has more to do with the types of foods you’re eating and the amount of excess calories that you’re burning, but none the less, when nature literally calls – will you be ready to answer?

Wild Earth Adventures offers some advice on how to do the deed on the trail, and how to bury it, and the whole nine yards. Without toilets or running water, you’ll need to get a little creative, and things can get a little messy. If you would rather spend more time hiking, camping, hunting, relaxing around the fire, and not having to dread your next defecation, there are some simple products that can make the whole ordeal a lot better. It’s never going to be a GREAT experience, let’s face it, but these portable toilets can certainly be a worthwhile investment.

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Choosing the best portable toilet for camping

You’ve got a lot of different options depending on how portable you’re looking for, how you wish to dispose of your waste, what your budget is, how much space you’ve got, and more. We’re going to cover the gamut, so no matter what you’re looking for – you’ll find a great option here.

Reliance Products Luggable Loo Portable 5 Gallon Toilet


This style of portable toilet is very straightforward. It’s basically a bucket with a toilet seat on the top. It’s great for outdoors, but also just to help you be prepared for any type of disaster. You can purchase bags to go inside of it, making clean-up a breeze.

It basically just gives you a basic, affordable seat to do your business instead of squatting or trying to balance against a tree or whatever, we won’t get too graphic. There are different sizes available of this general style. It’s not the most compact, it doesn’t fold up, it’s just a dead-simple bucket with a seat, but it does exactly what it’s supposed to do and it’s much better than the alternative of not having something like this.

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Camco 41541 Portable Toilet – 5.3 gallon


Similar idea to the bucket, except it has an actual tank that you’ll need to empty out instead of bags. So, it’s good if you want to bury your refuse, but not so good if you want to avoid any potential messy cleanup. If you have a place to throw out your bags, that’s probably the better option so skip this one and check out the next couple choices. If you don’t have a place to throw out your bags, you can empty this tank into a hole in the ground to bury your evidence.

This is more of a “premium” option, it’s obviously fancier than a bucket, but at the end of the day it all comes down to function, so choose the one that suits you best. It takes up a lot of space, which can be an issue.

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Folding Commode Chair Steel Portable Camping Toilet Seat


Here’s a seat that you can use, you’ll just need something underneath to catch your poop, or – as an alternative – you can dig a hole and place this seat right above it. It folds up, and serves as an alternative to catching your droppings and then having to dispose of it. Skipping the middle-man, if you will.

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Thetford 92360 Porta Potti 550E Curve Portable Toilet


Also similar to our famous bucket example that we first looked at, but it’s definitely a step up, and definitely worth the extra cost if you’re going this route. It’s got a toilet paper holder attached, which fits into the lid. It’s also more contoured and comfortable, and nicer looking than a plain old bucket (Not that that really matters…)

It includes a removable inner-bucket which makes it easier to dispose of your waste. You can also put a bag in here, which is strongly recommended.

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Add-on: Reliance Products Double Doodie Toilet Waste Bags

At a few bucks each, these bags are not cheap, but you’ll be glad you have them. They’re not at all like a typical garbage bag. There are two layers. The inner layer secures your waste, the outer layer provides extra protection and a way to carry it. They also contain a special powder to help keep things under control The last thing you want is for the bag to rip open, which is the main difference between these and regular bags – they’re stronger and they’re specifically designed for doodie! They seal up with an extra strong double-zip. You’ll need to bring enough bags to change them every day, or every two days at the longest. Seal them up, they won’t stick, and dispose of them when you return to civilization.
You shouldn’t be afraid to talk or ask questions about this sort of thing, it’s better to feel slight embarrassment for a few moments than to improperly leave your waste just off the trail for the next camper to accidentally step in – or worse! There are all sorts of issues that not properly disposing of your waste can cause, so make sure you’re doing it correctly. When you’ve got the best portable toilet, it’s just one less thing to worry about.

12 Survival Uses for Trash Bags

As a prepper and survivalist there are essentially an unlimited number of uses for trash bags. You truly are only limited by your own creativity. Trash bags are a staple in my bug-out bag and for good reason; they are portable, and cost effective. The standard 13 gallon trash bags you use in your kitchen will work fine. Ideally you want something like a contractor’s bag which won’t rip as easily for patching things like leaks or fashioning a raft.

Remember, these are just 25 of our favorite uses. There are tons more so get creative. trashbagcatchbasin

  1. Collecting Rainwater – Trash bags can make great catch-basins. Elevate one end at a 45 degree angle with branches and allow gravity to pull the rainwater into the basin or even bucket or thermos.
  2. Shelter – This is kind of a no brainer. Trash bags can make great tarps to prevent rain water from getting you and your supplies wet.
  3. Sleeping Bag – Provided you purchased contractor bags you can slip right in and keep yourself dry from the elements.
  4. Life Jacket – If you need to cross a river, blow up the bag half way and ensure it’s tightly closed. Then twist the middle so two separate chambers are created. Place on either side of your body to stay a-float.
  5. Poncho – Probably on every list and it’s because it works. Cut holes for your head and arms and you are good to go.
  6. Wash Your Clothes – Fill a trash bag with water and soap, throw in your clothes and shake around. Allow the soap and water to drain and then refill with water to rinse. Then simply air dry them on a clothes line, maybe even hung by another trash bag.
  7. Hot Shower – Fill a black trash bag with water and allow it to sit in the sun for a while. Once ready, poke holes in the trash bag and enjoy a warm shower.
  8. Prevent Hypothermia – Cut pieces to fit around your arms, legs, and torso. Tape the pieces so they are snug beneath your clothing to prevent body heat from escaping quickly.
  9. Rope – Cutting strips of the trash bag and then braiding them can result in quite a strong para-cord style rope. You might be surprised at just how strong the rope is.
  10. Toilet – Everybody goes! With the off chance that you have a bucket and maybe even some cat litter, you have a toilet on the go. Then again you really only need the bag to dispose of your waste.
  11. Tourniquet – Cut a piece of trash bag and wrap it around your wound and tie it off tightly to stop bleeding.
  12. Ice Pack – In a cold area? Grab your bag and throw some snow or ice in. This works great as a makeshift ice pack.

Again, these are only some of the small number of ways you can take an ordinary trash bag and apply it to a survival situation. Most of them are pretty standard, but others include transporting things like food and water (even trash), insulating your tents, pillow, ground cover, bandages…I think you get the idea.

Trash bags are lightweight, cost effective, and most importantly versatile. They are an absolute must in your bug-out bag and I strongly suggest adding them to your packs. Some important things to note and things you should be wary of:

  • Most trash bags and garbage bags are lined with chemicals to prevent smells and molding. Turning them inside out can help with this, but just be careful when using these for food and water. They may do more harm than good.
  • Thermal underwear, while a great idea, can cause you you to sweat which then  results in your clothes becoming very wet. Remember, stay dry, stay alive!
  • Trash bags come in all different sizes and colors. Black being the most common, but consider other options as well. A yellow bag is more reflective at night and can easily be seen by search teams. Clear might be a better option for a poncho where-as black absorbs sunlight making you sweaty and hot.

If you have a favorite use, feel free to leave a comment and let us know!

Best Dog Camping Gear: A Buyer’s Guide

We put a lot of thought into just about every aspect of camping, and for good reason. Proper planning can, in the worst-case scenarios, be the difference between life and death. A lot of the planning we do before heading to the great outdoors isn’t necessarily about preparing for life and death situations. A lot of it has to do with basic comforts. In the grand scheme of things, anyone with a bit of outdoor survival knowledge really doesn’t need all that much to survive, so a lot of what we pack comes down to comfort or simply making the experience a bit easier.

It’s easy to think about our own comfort, or the comfort of the human members of our family, because let’s face it – they’ll make their discomforts known, loud and clear. There are other members of the family, however, who can’t necessarily do that quite as easily. There’s a growing trend in the camping and outdoors universe, and it’s something that animal lovers are getting behind in a huge way.

Have you heard of dog camping gear?

That’s right, now Rover can enjoy the great outdoors with some extra accessories to boot, and it’s not all about comfort, either. We’re going to be taking a look at products that can not only keep your four-legged friends comfier, but also safer, which is the top priority. Most dogs love the great outdoors, and they don’t really NEED anything, they’ll amuse themselves chasing squirrels, swimming, and just being by your side as you relax and become the best version of yourself with the help of nature.

Our Favorite Outdoor Dog Gear

We’ll be going over some of the best products when it comes to dogs and camping. Are all of these essential things that every dog owner needs to rush out and order immediately? No, of course not. We’re not suggesting that you go and buy every single item mentioned in this article, but there are certainly some products here that are worth considering, depending on your pup.

Not all dogs have the same wants, needs, interests… they’re as unique as the memories you’ll create with them while camping. For example, if you live in Texas, you can skip the section about the best dog boots for snow but if you’re planning to go camping or hunting up in Canada during the winter, it might be worth considering!

Now, for all you dog owners out there (Or people with friends who own dogs that want to earn some Brownie points), let’s take a look at the best camping gear for dogs.

Best Dog Boots for the Outdoors


Winters can get really cold, and uncomfortable for dogs that aren’t used to that kind of weather. If you’re camping in the winter, and your dog gets soaking wet, they might have a tough time drying themselves and staying warm. Megipet makes a versatile pair of booties for dogs that are insulated, with a rubber bottom to prevent slips, and they’re water resistant.

They’re available in different colors and sizes, and are a great choice for any dog, but especially for dogs that might not be used to the colder weather in particular. Sometimes in the winter you’ll come across slush, and then at night it can freeze, so is your dog gets wet they’ll be freezing cold all night.

There are other styles of boots that mostly cover just the paws, but these ones are nice because they keep the entire leg warm, and prevent water from leaking in.

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Ruffwear Approach Dog Backpack


Hiking backpacks for dogs are a very practical way to be able to carry more supplies with you. Your pup can help carry some of the weight, and will be happy to do so just as long as you choose the best hiking backpack for them, something that’s going to be comfortable and practical without putting too much stress on them. They might not whine or complain if the bag isn’t comfy, or if it’s irritating them, because they’re so eager to assist you – so it’s up to you to ensure you’re getting something good for them, they deserve it for being such hard workers!

Ruffwear makes a great quality pack, and even just by looking at it you can tell it’s a lot more comfortable than a lot of the options out there. It’s a saddlebag style, and you can full up both sides with whatever you’d like.

Try to ensure that there’s an equal distribution of weight between both of the attached bags, and most importantly ensure that your dog is comfortable carrying the amount of gear that you give them, especially if you’re going on a longer hike.

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OneTigris Tactical Dog Vest


OneTigris also makes a great dog harness for hiking trips. It includes detachable pouches, and has a very tactical style to it. It’s more versatile and customizeable than the previous option, and still costs well under $100.

The pack features what the military and NATO Forces refer to as Molle on the pack or Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment. If it’s used and trusted by several Military forces, then it’s something you can ensure your dog’s safety and satisfaction with.

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Choosing a Seat Cover / Hammock for your Dog


There’s another product to think about before the camping trip even gets started. When you’re driving out there, you may want to consider getting a car seat cover, in particular the hammock style works very nicely. A waterproof hammock seat cover will ensure that your vehicle stays dry, and will allow your dog to comfortably chill out in the back until you get to your destination.

There are different styles out there, but generally they attach to the headrests of the seats in the front of the vehicles and the back of the vehicle, and they stop the dog from being able to get into where your feet would normally go if you were in the rear passenger seats. The hammock style keeps them up on the rear seats, and protects the seats at the same time.

You don’t need anything terribly fancy, this model by Solvit will definitely be able to handle the job. There are, however, some other styles that have sides to them, which would prevent water from leaking out over the edges, assuming your dog is soaking wet when they get into the car. However, for most typical usage, the Solvit waterproof hammock will be just fine.

It’s cheaper to buy one of these and use it once, than it is to pay to have your car professionally cleaned if the seats get covered in mud and dirt after a camping trip with your dog.

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Should you buy a lifejacket for your dog?


Not all dogs are naturally strong swimmers, and just like people can be overwhelmed and taken under by a strong current, the same can happen to a dog, even if they are strong swimmers. It’s a terrible thought. Just as humans who know how to swim should still wear life jackets while out the water, some dogs should, too.

Outward Hound makes an affordable and very well-reviewed option, which is adjustable to fit a variety of different dogs, and also available in 6 different sizes. Whether you have a tiny little pup or a massive hound, they’ll be safe and secure.

This lifejacket for dogs isn’t very bulky, it’s low-profile. It’s great for boating, if your dog hops into the water for a swim, so that you can easily pick them up and lift them back into the boat, which can be a bit of a concern. Dogs don’t really understand the dangers of a boat motor, either, so being able to quickly grab them and remove them from harm’s way is something you’ll be very glad you have should you ever need it.

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Tips for camping with your dog:

Whether or not you’ve taken your dog camping before, here are some tips and pieces of advice that you’ll want to keep in mind. Taking your dog camping can be a very fun and rewarding experience for both of you, but there are some things you’ll need to keep in mind, and not all of them are obvious.

  • Your dogs are at a high risk for fleas and ticks while you’re camping, so plan to have them checked as you return home. It’s highly recommended to purchase a flea/tick repellent collar for your dog, it might not be 100% effective, but it’s better than nothing. A lot of times, camping and surviving in the outdoors is all about being proactive. Being adaptive is crucial, but it’s better to prevent something than to have to deal with it, if you have the choice.
  • Pay attention to your dog’s mood and attitude. A lot of times, you can tell if something’s wrong by how they’re acting. But don’t let that consume your entire experience, either. Your dog probably will be acting different, and that doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong. They may be acting different because they’re in a new environment, and the wide-openness and busyness of nature can be a sensory overload for a dog that’s used to hanging out inside or just being in the same neighborhood all the time.
  • Make frequent stops on your way so that your dog can stretch their legs a bit, use the washroom, stay properly hydrated, and to get some exercise. All of these things will keep them in great spirits!
  • Pack a first aid-kit specifically designed for your dog. The Humane Society has a great example of the things to pack and what to pack.
  • Make sure you’re not overloading their backpack if you decide to enlist their help with carrying things.
  • Don’t leave your dog unattended in the wilderness. There are natural predators out there, and if your dog isn’t used to being in that kind of environment, they might not act like their usual selves. You need to pay close attention for their safety. There are obstacles in nature that they might not be used to avoiding, or they may see a little critter and their instincts to chase it will take over. In any case, it’s your responsibility to keep them safe at all times.
  • Make sure you clean up after your dog. The last thing the next hiker wants to do is to step in a pile of your dog’s dung and be forced to choose between drinking their water or using it to clean themselves up.
  • Make sure your dog is leashed as a safe distance from your campfire. Make sure their leash isn’t going to get tangled up with anything, such as tent poles, a picnic table, trees, chairs, or anything else.
  • You’ll need to bring a lot more water than usual, remember – you aren’t just packing for yourself, anymore.
  • Don’t wait until you return home to check for ticks, either. You should be doing this periodically throughout the trip. The sooner you can catch those pesky little bugs, the better!
  • If you choose to allow your dog to sleep inside the tent with you, you’ll both be a lot warmed due to the increase in body heat. If you decide to have your pup sleeping outside, make sure they’re protected from the elements and that they’re at a comfortable temperature. It can get surprisingly cold at night, so just keep that in mind.

Camping with your pet dog can be an incredible fun experience, but it adds a certain degree of difficulty that you may not be used to if you’re used to camping alone. Common sense will get you most of the way, having the right products and gear will take you further, and taking some time to plan and think ahead will seal the deal.

Just like there are humans who don’t enjoy the outdoors, believe it or not there are also dogs that won’t adapt well to being out in the middle of nowhere with you. Sometimes, it just takes some patience and an adjustment period, other times it’s just not a part of their nature – and that’s okay, too. But chances are you’ll both have an amazing experience, so pat yourself on the back for taking the time to ensure that they get as much out of the experience as you will.

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