This is just a list of items I believe everyone should keep around for survival. Remember that survival situations are many and you may require different gear for different situations. I'll add more as I think of them.

1. High Decibel Whistle. Sure you could yell as loud as you possibly can but you may lose your voice long before anyone finds you. With a whistle your greatest threat is dizziness from panic and exhaling too much.

2. Firestarter and the knowledge to create a good fire even with substandard materials. There are many different manufacturers these days but regardless of who you purchase it from a good product to have is Firesteel. It uses magnesium sparks at approximately 5,000° F so even wet tinder lights. Contrary to what you may have seen in the movies, save any kind of flares or fuels until the very end or you find yourself needing to signal a vehicle or plane and unable to do so.

3. A good knife is always your best friend. Whether it's sharpening a spear, preparing a fresh kill, cutting cord for your shelter or whatever since the dawn of time even before we had fire cavemen were using chipped rock as knives. A few suggestions would be a stainless blade if you don't need a good quality steel so it can double as a signal mirror and forget the camo pattern. There are a lot of things you may want to lose in the wilderness, your knife isn't one of them.

4. Water Filtration. When you're lost in the woods you have no idea what is upstream of your drinking source. Water filtration can be a charcoal filtration bottle, a pot to boil in, or tablets that dissolve directly in the water without the need to boil or filter. Also, if at all possible try to skip questionable water sources, filtration systems aren't foolproof and you shouldn't see it as your duty to see how far you can push the limits.

5. MREs. Sometimes the fish don't bite and the deer can't be found. Plan to have some back up MREs in case of long stretches of scarce food, but use them as a last resort. Also, understand the kind of food your body will need. In very cold climates you will need twice or more calories than a temperate climate and while you can survive off of your body's fat reserves for a while it also consumes a small amount of your muscle protein in the process weakening you. You need a higher than average protein intake in survival situations, especially if you are exerting yourself building shelter, searching for food and water and so on.

6. Rope. Sometimes there's a small cliff you need to climb down or maybe you need to lash together a raft or shelter. One of the simple things everyone overlooks until it's too late.

7. Radio with weather band. This may seem trivial now in the age of iPods and mp3 players but knowing if that blizzard is coming can make all the difference while you're building your shelter. There are wind-up models now that don't need batteries.

8. Foil blankets. These are harder to find these days but are reported to reflect up to 80% of your body heat. When stored they take up less space than a pack of baseball cards. Never hurts to keep a couple in your pack just in case.

9. Flashlight. There are several "survival" style wind-up flashlights on the market. They're not very good when compared to similar battery powered models but sometimes you need to travel after dark or explore a cave and making a fire lit torch isn't always an option.

10. GPS or compass. This one's a no-brainer. Nobody wants to hike for three hours in a circle. As long as you know a general heading to find people a compass will do you fine. You can even make a wilderness compass using a needle or pin and u puddle of water in a pinch. Don't forget, there's always the shadow-tip method to find north using two sticks and tracking the sun.