What’s the Right Urban Survival Gear to Pack?

Here’s the thing about survival and everything you might know about it—we’re all focused on surviving the wilderness. But what about surviving in the urban jungle

Surviving in the city and surviving in the wild are two different things. The majority of the population in America lives in urban areas. The streets in the city can be just as mean in broad daylight, and when disaster strikes, the survival gear you’ll need will be different from what you need in the backcountry. 

So what should you pack? Read on to find out more:

Your Urban Survival Gear List

With urban survival gear, it’s all about making sure you pack things well so that you can carry everything you need in one go without it weighing you down. The items we’ve chosen are MacGyver-approved and will give you that edge over any ordinary person trying to survive a disaster in the city.

Aside from your phone, here’s what you should look into getting your hands on:


What’s the use of urban survival gear if you don’t have a backpack to store it all in? A plastic bag is out of the question, and so is just strapping everything to your body unless you want to be a walking target. With that said, get a backpack that doesn’t catch attention but is functional enough to store all the things you need to carry with you.


At the top of any prepper’s list of urban survival gear is the tactical flashlight. By far the handiest tool, flashlights help in emergencies such as power outages or when you’re traveling dark roads at night.

Word of advice, don’t go for the cheap-looking flashlights. What you want to put in your pack are quality items, and flashlights are no exemption. Consider the size, the brightness, and how portable it is. A rechargeable flashlight will also do you some good.

Power Banks

Pretty self-explanatory and a great alternative to charging up your gadgets when on the run. But it would be best if you didn’t solely rely on this, which leads us to the next item on our list of must-have urban survival gear.

Emergency Solar Charger

person charging their phone using a solar charger

If you’re in a highly urbanized area, chances are when SHTF, power will be down as well. Power banks will work great, but when it runs out of juice, it’s done. That’s why an emergency solar charger as part of your urban gear will make things better. With it, you can recharge your phone, your emergency radio, your power banks, and even your flashlight.

Water Supply

In an urban setting, getting your hands on drinkable water is going to be hard. You can’t just walk into a store and grab a bottle, nor do you want to fight the crowd of panicked people for that. Supposedly, you should have drinking water on you, 3 gallons to a person.

Still, if you don’t, then you’re faced with a significant problem. So how can you get to a water supply without compromising your safety?

Here are some options if you haven’t got a bottle of water on you:

Four-Way Water Key

Also known as a water spigot key, this piece of urban survival gear may seem tiny, but it may just be the biggest game-changer in surviving a disaster in an urban setting. Commercial buildings usually remove external water handles so that randos can’t use their water supply freely. A water spigot key gives you access to those faucets in both commercial buildings and residential areas.

Water Tablets

If you finally have access to water, having some water purification tablets around wouldn’t be so bad. You can never be too sure if the water you find is clean, and you can’t exactly be demanding with the kind of water you find in these situations.

Portable Water Filter

A portable water filter will be easy to store in your bag and can be a pretty helpful tool in times of need. It’s a good backup to have on you and can do well in both the urban setting and in the wilderness.


When things get tough, a handy multitool can prove to be pretty helpful in stressful situations. It’s one of the first things folks think of when they hear “urban gear.” You’ll want a multitool that has knife blades, screwdrivers, and such. If you’re not too keen on carrying a multitool on you, a wallet multitool might do the trick.

Tactical Gloves

There’s a lot you can do with tactical gloves, and they can definitely help in dealing with the messier stuff. With tactical gloves, you get a good grip on things. You also don’t have to worry about getting minor cuts and getting an infection while doing tasks.

You never know when you might need to move rusty stuff; tetanus is the last thing you’d want. It would be wise to get tactical gloves with Kevlar lining as they protect from cuts, abrasions, and heat. Reinforced knuckles also give that added protection when you’re doing some hard work that involves your hands.


Parachute cord or paracord is a prepper’s best friend. This ain’t a joke. We’re in love with this stuff, and we don’t blame you if you are, too. It’s a versatile tool helpful during medical emergencies where you can use the paracord to secure a splint, a makeshift stretcher, or an improvised tourniquet.

First Aid Kit

When things go down, people panic, and when people panic, sometimes people get hurt. You’ll want to have a first aid kit with all the necessary medical supplies and essentials on hand. Don’t stock up on a full medical kit. Save those for your bug out locations, as you don’t want the unnecessary stuff weighing you down when on the run in the city.

Folding Knife

A folding knife packs a lot of firepower and you can easily hide this urban gear in your pocket or slip it into your backpack. As much as you wanna look cool wielding a machete Rambo-style, you also want to blend in as much as you can. A folding knife? Gets the job done as discreetly as possible. Out of sight, out of mind.

Tactical Crowbar

Scavenging the city when SHTF is a really big possibility. You might even have to get into boarded-up and abandoned buildings and locked rooms. A tactical crowbar will help pry off anything that gets in your way. On the off chance you can’t get your hands on a crowbar, a good alternative would be a multitool shovel since it has parts on it that can help pry things open, too.

Respirator Mask

a respirator mask should be an essential part of your urban survival gear

The air can be your friend, or it can be your enemy. When it’s the latter, you don’t want to be breathing in the bad stuff. A respirator mask like an N95 or N99 should do the trick and protect you for as long as you have it on.

Duct Tape

With duct tape, you can quickly seal off things like food packages and boxes. You can even put broken glass back together with it or use it as kindling to start a fire. In terms of self-defense, duct tape can also be used as handcuffs should you ever need them. It’s a versatile thing to have in your bag, and the best part is that it won’t even cost you that much to get a roll or two.

Emergency Radio

Staying in the know is essential when things go down. You want to hear all the vital info being broadcasted, and a TV is out of the question. Cables might be down, and the internet might not be an option, too.

So what’s your go-to for news and information? Radios. A hand-cranked one will be better so that you don’t have to go looking for batteries to get it working.


You might think that being in an urban jungle, ATMs will be easy to get to. It’s true they might be easy to get to, but will they even be running? Having cash on hand can make all the difference.

We recommend spreading out your money and hiding them in several places. Put some in your wallet, but stashing them in your socks is also a good idea. Also, make sure you have a good amount of small bills and change.


You don’t have to fill up your bag with canned goods, packs of pasta, or your entire prepper pantry. Think about going lightweight with the food that you’re going to have to bring with you.

Remember, you’re just trying to leave the city to get to your next location, so you’ll have a good stock wherever you’re heading. Trail mix and energy bars are great choices, while candy can also give you a nice boost of energy. A few MREs can also come in handy, sustaining you for a few days just until you get to where you need to be.

Fire Starter

Zippos and BICs can come in handy without you even knowing it. These urban gear can provide backup light in an underground tunnel or sewer in case your flashlights are out, and they typically don’t weigh you down.

Some preppers make lighters AND ferro rods part of their urban survival gear just to really cover their bases. Use these as backups if your BIC runs out of juice.

Final Thoughts

Are you ready to put together your urban survival gear? It might seem simple, but it can be a tasking job. Luckily, we’ve laid out the items, all you gotta do is find the right ones for you. Go for quality items that can weather the storm, and you’ll be good to go.

Remember, circumstances can force your hand, so think ahead and plan ahead, too.

Any other urban survival gear we failed to mention? Let us know in the comments!

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