If you had to run into the woods with 20 items and never come back, what would they be?
Here are my items:
#1 TRACKER KNIFE
It acts as a great survival knife. Its design makes it very versatile for survival.
#2 FRESNEL LENS (magnifying lens)
A lighter can start hundreds of fires. A fire starter can start thousands of fires, but a fresnel lens can start fires indefinitely. It can't light fires at night or when it's cloudy, so for that reason, I don't recommend it for cloudy and dark places. However, I was thinking when 10 years has passed and your fire starter is no longer working, you will be wishing you packed a fresnel lens instead. If you get a fresnel lens that is big enough, assuming you can carry it with you, you can also cook food with it without leaving a smoke trail, melt and shape metals, and warm rocks to keep you warm at night--all great advantages of a fresnel lens over a regular fire starting item. Magnifying glasses and solar fire starters are nice too, but I think they are easier to break.
#3 GI CANTEEN KIT
A canteen kit gives you the ability to purify water and cook food. It's a nice combination of a water bottle, pot, and stove that packs up nicely.
#4 SURVIVAL SEEDS
It's amazing that so many people don't have seeds in their long term bug out bag or survival supplies. You need seeds. They result in easy food. Don't rely on hunting, fishing, trapping, foraging. Farming is much easier. If you have seeds with you, you've taken a major step in the direction of good survival odds.
A military sleep system is a really good option for staying warm and dry. It has 3 different layers to suit many needs. If you are going to be in a really cold place, you should spend more and get a sub zero capable sleeping bag/bivvy.
#6 HUNTING RIFLE
A hunting rifle with the works--suppressor, scope, night vision scope (converter?), thermal imaging scope(?), and extra magazines. This is for hunting and protection.
Load up on ammo for that rifle.
Instead of bringing a survival guide with you, why not take a whole survival library? That's what the Survival Sage is. It's over 10,000 pdf files or 1.2 million pages of survival information on a micro sd that can be popped into an electronic device like an e-reader and powered by a solar panel charger or some other device. This is all the information you'll need to know in order to survive, thrive, and revive civilization after society collapses. When you need to learn how to do something in a survival situation, you can simply look it up on your survival sage.
#9 EMERGENCY RADIO
This will allow you to receive communication from the outside world if there are any broadcasts going out, which is crucial for your sanity and plans for networking and growing your survival community. The Kaito Voyager KA500 is a good one. It comes with all the bells and whistles, like a hand crank, charging options, a flashlight, reading light, solar panel, AM, FM, Weather Band, and Shortwave.
You may not realize it, but buckets have so many uses in a survival situation. They will make life easier and save you time.
#11 FIRST AID KIT
You'll want everything you'll need to treat minor injuries, major injuries, and treat common illnesses, like infections. OK, so this isn't just one item, it will be many items, but in one kit.
Shovels are important for digging a hole for an outhouse, a well, a root cellar, a fire pit, a subterranean home, irrigation canals, tilling the ground, preparing garden rows, and many other things.
#13 RAT TRAPS
These can be used to trap squirrels and other small animals. They are easier to set up than snares or other types of traps and some say they are more effective. Make sure to anchor them down, so the animal doesn't run away.
A tarp can serve 3 main purposes in a survival situation: you can make a cover and they will keep you dry, you can catch rain water with them, and you can create a fish pond with them. But in this case, since we only have one, it will serve as cover from the rain and catch water.
Many uses obviously.
To chop firewood and construct things.
#17 WATER FILTER
Katadyn makes a pocket water filter that can filter 13,000 gallons and has a 20 year warranty. This thing is small and perfect for guaranteeing clean water for a long time.
#18 MYLAR ZIPLOCK BAGS
These will be great for food storage. They can be filled with dry food like jerky and they are reusable too.
#19 DESICCANT PACKS
These packs absorb moisture. They can be put into the mylar bags with your dried food to help preserve it. These packs are reusable.
Here's your first hygiene item. Taking good care of your teeth will be important.