Prepper Book Festival 8: Tools for Survival

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Since the first of the year I have been gathering up hand tools and putting together supplemental tool kits to stow in my emergency kits.  These tools have, for the most part, been small, lightweight versions of our primary tools and items that I tend to use day to day while living life.  My thought is “if I use them now, imagine how useful they will be in a survival situation”.

With that introduction, I want to tell you about the latest entry in the  Backdoor Survival Prepper Book Festival 8.  James Wesley Rawles, founder of, is back with one of the most unique books I have seen come across my desk: Tools for Survival: What You Need to Survive When You’re on Your Own.

Tools for Survival by James Wesley Rawles - Backdoor Survival

What is unique about this book?  It is all about tools: shop tools, garden tools, cooking tools, medical tools, defense tools and a whole lot more.  It is a fantastic reference for putting together the right tools you need to get by in a world where modern conveniences, such as electricity, may not be available.

Filled with common sense (“buy used but not abused”), Jim has put together a reference that will lay out what you need and why you need it.  Interspersed with what I call Rawles-isms, there are lots of tips along the way with a dose of motivation.  My kind of book!

Of course there is an interview with all-new questions, plus, one lucky will win a copy of Tools for Survival for free.

Enjoy the interview then be sure to check in below to learn about the giveaway.

An Interview with James Wesley, Rawles, Author of Tools for Survival

One question on everyone’s mind is what they would do if a disaster or even a collapse occurred in their own back yard.  If that happened to you, would you bug-in or bug-out and why.

In my case, living in a remote and lightly-populated region, I would definitely “bug-in” unless there was a localized disaster, such as a forest fire.

If you did decide to hunker down and bug-in, what items would you include for comfort?  Or would you?

To help maintain a positive attitude in trying times, I believe that it is important to have copious reading material (a Bible and a large stack of novels) as well as some comfort foods.

Everyone has their own favorites, but keep in mind that stimulants like coffee and chocolate should be minimized, since the stress level might already be quite high.  And of course the shelf life of some foods and candies are limited, so plan accordingly.

And if you decide to store any hard candies, then children must be taught to never bite down on them.  Having a family dental emergency in the midst of a larger emergency would be a VBT.  (A Very Bad Thing.)

Home defense and protection from the bad guys is a big deal.  That said, not everyone is prepared or even qualified to use firearms.  What do you recommend in that case?

Everyone who keeps a weapon for self-defense should get the best training available. I’ve often been quoted as saying: Owning a gun doesn’t make someone a “shooter” any more than owning a surfboard makes someone a surfer.

The modern world of survivalism is full of pundits, poseurs, and Mall Ninjas.

Preparedness is not just about accumulating a pile of stuff. You need practical skills, and those come only with study, training, and practice. Any armchair survivalist with a credit card can buy a set of stylish camouflage fatigues and an “M4gery” carbine encrusted with umpteen accessories. Style points should not be mistaken for genuine skills and practicality.

Go to a firearms training school like Gunsite, Thunder Ranch, or Front Sight. That training could literally save your life, or the life a loved one.

These days, it seems as though a new book about survival or preparedness is released daily.  How is your book different from the others and why should we read it?

I believe what makes the book different is its emphasis on 19th Century tools and skills.  To my mind, those represent the most appropriate level of technology for times when the power grids disappear.

What is your favorite survival, disaster, or post-apocalyptic film or TV show?

From the standpoint of outdoor survival, I most enjoyed the movie Jeremiah Johnson, starring Robert Redford. The outdoor survival consultant for that film was Larry Dean Olsen, and his influence was quite apparent!

It is said that everyone has a book inside them.  What advice do you have for the budding author?

My advice is to write a lot (since practice makes perfect), write about the topics that you know best, and find the best editor available from within your circle of friends.  Never submit anything for publication until it has had at least two edits!

The Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific next Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article.  Please note that the winner must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

The Final Word

I love the emphasis this book makes on not just acquiring tools, but learning how to use them.  There is also a strong emphasis on knowledge and as Jim says, “knowledge is portable with the most important tool being the one between your ears.”  Now where have we heard that before.

In addition to chapters on the tools themselves, you will find suggestions for your retreat/survival library and a useful glossary.  All told, this is a reference you will want to add to your collection.

Good luck, everyone!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!  In addition, SUBSCRIBE to email updates  and receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Spotlight:  Tools for Survival: What You Need to Survive When You’re on Your Own

In his earlier bestselling nonfiction book, How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It, James Wesley, Rawles, outlined the foundations for survivalist living.

Now, he details the tools needed to survive anything from a short-term disruption to a long-term, grid-down scenario. Rawles covers tools for every aspect of self sufficient living, including:

• Food Preservation and Cooking
• Welding and Blacksmithing
• Timber, Firewood, and Lumber
• Firefighting

Field-tested and comprehensive, Tools for Survival is certain to become a must-have reference for the burgeoning survivalist/prepper movement.

Bargain Bin:  For your convenience, here is a list of all of the books in the current Backdoor Survival Prepper Book Festival as well as a link to the books mentioned by today’s author.

Prepper Book Festival 8 – Non-Fiction

Tools for Survival: What You Need to Survive When You’re on Your Own
The Organic Canner
The NEW 2000-Hour Flashlight
The Garden Pool – Feed Your Family From Your Backyard Ecosystem
Survival Savvy Family: How to Be Your Best During the Absolute Worst
Doctor Prepper’s Making the Best of Basics Family Preparedness Handbook – Version 12.5
The Prepper’s Financial Guide
Saving Jimani: Life and Death in the Haiti Earthquake
The Age of Earthquakes: A Guide to the Extreme Present
Practical Prepping: No Apocalypse Required: An Everyday Approach to Disaster Preparedness

Prepper Book Festival 8 – Fiction

After the Crumble (Volume 1)
A Time to Endure (Strengthen What Remains)
Aftermath: A Story of Survival
Resurrecting Home: A Novel (The Survivalist Series)
Game Changer

Plus: The Preppers Guide to Food Storage

No list of books would be complete without my own book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage.  The eBook is only 99 cent plus the print version is available for less than $6.00.


Shop Emergency Essentials Sales for Fantastic Deals!

For over 25 years Emergency Essentials has been providing the highest quality preparedness products at great prices.  Plus, each month they feature sales that quite honestly are fantastic.  This month note the great sale prices two of my favorites, the Mobile Washer (Hand Operated Washing Machine) now only $14.95 and the Tote-able Toilet Seat and Lid, now only $11.79.



Need something from Amazon (and who doesn’t)? I earn a small commission from purchases made when you begin your Amazon shopping experience here. You still get great Amazon service and the price is the same, no matter what.

Amazon has a feature called Shop Amazon – Most Wished For Items. This is an easy tool for finding products that people are ‘wishing” for and in this way you know what the top products are.  All you need to do is select the category from the left hand side of the screen.

The Amazon Top Most Wished For and Best Selling Outdoor Items
Emergency Preparedness Items from
Shop Amazon Tactical – Great Selection of Optics, Knives, Cases, Equipment
Amazon Gift Cards

Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!


A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food at Half the Price – Now Available

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Prepper Book Festival 8: Tools for Survival — 80 Comments

  1. I’m want gardening tools. Shovel, hoe, rake and I agree a good saw, axe and machete. And the needed items to sharpen them with and keep them in condition. Materials to make new handles would be nice!

  2. Ax, saw, knife and it was darn hard to only pick three! There are three people in the house so can I pick three each??!!!!!

  3. I would say an ax( back side can be used as a hammer), a good knife and a shovel. But, I’d prefer a tool box and shed full of tools.

  4. This sounds like the perfect reference for us. Being ‘newbies’ to prepping we don’t always think of everything in the right way. I have seen some mini tool sets offered at Emergency Essentials and thought they would be useful if we had to leave the area but never thought far enough for other tools we would need too.
    Thanks for offering this book – if I don’t win I will definitely have to look into purchasing it.

  5. Full tang knife that comes with sheath and fire steel. Small stainless steel pot with lid.
    Large Nalgene bottle.

    If I had three more tools…..tarp, paracord, fishing kit.

    Love James Wesley Rawles. His information is always spot on. Really hope to win his book. Thanks for the opportunity.

  6. Since you didn’t specify that they had be hand tools… my picks would be, chainsaw, tiller, pliers. hubs literally wears pliers on his belt all day every day, he wouldn’t be without them, he uses them all the time here on the stead.

  7. For those who didn’t know what I was referring to in my earlier post the venture 6 tool converts to a shovel, saw, hammer or hatchet an comes in a pouch that will attach to your belt. I felt that it would be great if we had to leave quickly as it would be lightweight and easy to carry.

  8. Oh, man what a challenge. Well If a firearm can be considered as a tool, I would have my sidearm, a Leatherman multi tool, and a good to excellent full tang knife, although this is by no means adequate for any prolonged disaster.

  9. 1 large pot
    2 machete or large sharp knife
    3 fire starter or cigarette lighter

    Pot to boil water/cook food. Machete to cut brush to make shelter and fires, plus protection. Fire starter to ease the starting of a fire.

  10. A good bow saw, heavy duty shovel, a go-devil (ax on one side, sledge on the other-it’s a ‘southern thang’)
    Thanks for the opportunity to win a book by Rawles. His stuff is the most useful I’ve read.

  11. His advice to seek out a gun training range should be followed by one, and all.Even the hunters, and trainers can miss a shot, so practice, practice, practice. I would love to win this book, a book full of greatly needed advice.

  12. The three tools I’d like to have would be: an ax, 4 in one screw driver (the kind that has 2 philips and to slot bits), and a small level.

  13. The first 3 tools thought of were knife, rope and trowel. Then I thought instead of the rope I would want a screw driver but now after reading everyone elses’ comments I’m not sure. Except for the knife, would definitely want that. I really need the book to help me decide.

  14. I formulated my answer before I looked at the comments, and I noticed several people had the same tools on their lists. Shovel, knife, and saw. But I might want to swap the shovel for an axe.

  15. I’m a tool freak. I admit it. Paring down, and what to have on hand is crucial. Musts: 1 ax, not 3. 2 knives per, not 6. and the multi tool, 1 per, not 3. It’d be So hard to leave my tools behind, but if I had to carry them I’d leave ’em.

  16. Three tools; axe, knife and good whetstone for sharpening. For short term emergency situations a water filter, firestarter and warm clothing!

  17. Eeepp! This is a tough question. Ummm … A knife, a shovel and an ax. Glad I don’t really have to limit my tools to three.

  18. loved the interview and that the tools are from the 19th c. because we will be back 1oo years or so if we go off grid. And agree that books are tools in themselves. I would most definitely want a Bible and novels in my library should the SHTF.

  19. This is a tough one…… an axe, multi tool and folding shovel. There are other things but they are small and already packed in bag. Would love to have this book!

  20. I think a tool/s for defense. I don’t like guns …except if I must hunt.
    What else would help…..I can wield a pretty good baseball bat!

  21. Depends on what you define as tools. Multi tool, axe, shovel, unless you define a fire starter as a tool instead of as an absolute necessity that you would never leave the house without, then fire steel, multi tool, axe.

  22. If I could only have 3 tools for living off grid. I would pick a good knife, fire starter, and a rifle with ammo.

  23. tools – knife, machete, hatchet and axe along with a good rope – that will get you far into the bush or woods and put you in a good situation

  24. Tools would have to be the one I have on me at the time of a disaster happening at the moment. My multi tool, pocket knife, and lighter.

  25. Only 3? Wow, that’s a super hard question, but I think some kind of home defense weapon (aka rifle/shotgun/pistol), a sharp knife and a hatchet. All can be used for defense & hunting purposes, plus you need a sharp knife to cut meat, whittle sticks into “spears” to roast your meat, etc., and the hatchet to chop up dead & down tree limbs to make a shelter or build a fire.

  26. My multitool which has a knife in it, water filter for my kitchen tool, and shovel to dig out (since I’m in earthquake country!)

  27. A good fixed blade knife, a good handsaw and a good axe. With those you can build almost anything needed.

  28. Kay, I bought my daughter the Kershaw OSO Sweet knife as a stocking stuffer. I should have read the description more thoroughly because it is spring assisted and I think it is even illegal to own in Washington. I live on San Juan Island in WA. I Googled Washington knife laws and read this. Have you ever checked into the legality? I could use it on our property but I’m not sure I want to carry out in public.

    Bob A.

    • The OSO Sweet is not actually spring assisted. Instead it has a lever that is used as a manual assist. If it were illegal in Washington State, Amazon would not ship it to us. (You do know that I live out by Roche Harbor, don’t you?)

      Anyway, not to worry. It is perfectly legal to carry in our area.

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