Home Survival 101 Urban Tools For Beginners

Urban Tools For Beginners

by Survival Dispatch Staff

If you ask anyone who has trained in wilderness survival, they will tell you that three of the most important tools are the knife, saw, and axe. Shelter can be constructed, wood can be chopped for fires, and snares and traps can be crafted with just these three tools. 

But there are countless other urban tools for beginners to use.

You may still want to consider adding more tools to your kit without compromising compactness. A pry bar, a set of lock picks, multi-keys, and wrenches can be just as useful especially in the urban area.

In this article, we’ll run you through the different urban tools to kick off your kit:

  • Knife
  • Saw
  • Axe
  • Prybar
  • Lockpick
  • Keys
  • Wrenches


No survivor wants to miss a foldable knife on their list. But bringing a low-quality knife is just as good as bringing a ruler to camp. This is a go-to tool for most tasks or problems that you may come across. 

A fixed blade is a great tool as well. When making trap triggers or fish hooks, you would want a thin blade in your toolkit. This comes in quite handy for tasks that need some detailing. Although if you come across more taxing jobs, you might need a thicker and heavier blade. 

You can count on a heavy-duty knife like the ESEE 5 whenever you need it for anything. It can be a pry bar if you ever need it. It also drives through relatively thin steel like drums. This knife hacks through a drywall in case you ever need an escape route. And hopefully you won’t. 

The uses of a high-quality blade are endless. When it comes to gearing up, you only want the most reliable for the toughest times. 


The urban survivor cannot go without a saw in their arsenal. Needless to say, it is infinitely useful in the wilderness, but is just as useful for the urban survivor. 

Travelling in built-up areas is a navigation challenge. Doors, gates, and fences are just some of the barriers to name a few. Only a high-quality saw, like a simple hacksaw, can cut through nearly any chain or padlock. 

If your kit can’t pack a full-sized saw, there are available grips with interchangeable blades.You can easily install a Sawzall-style blade and many other useful equipment. These types of items might seem a little harder to use, but they will allow you to carry an essential tool that can either cut wood, metal, and even concrete. 

With an assortment of blades in your kit, you will have a light and compact tool that is able to cut through any likely barrier you might encounter. 

Even though chopping firewood is not as necessary – although still possible – for the survivor, the urban environment still poses several tasks that a quality cutting saw will surely see through. 


I have mentioned earlier that a high-quality knife can drive through a wall. But an axe, or a small hatchet, can do this at a much quicker and more efficient rate. Not to mention, it can also make short work of an interior door.

In the wilderness, an axe is for cutting up firewood or busting up pallets, to name a few. The poll can even be used as a hammer to smash through different obstacles. 


As for now, we could only imagine bashing our pry bars against zombie heads. While the zombie apocalypse has not started yet, we use our pry bars for practical purposes that are more likely to happen in real life.

You can pry doors open, break windows, and drive through a wall

The prybar can also be used for securing doors. It can also be used to lever a pallet, filing cabinet, or other heavy objects in front of a door to slow down or even stop pursuers. You would feel more secure in a space using a pry bar to lock yourself from the inside.

During scavenging outings, the pry bar can be used to break open crates, boxes, and cabinets. This cheap and simple tool should not be overlooked by any urban survivor. 


Brute force is the only skill you need in order to use the tools we have covered so far. These tools certainly get the job done, but they make a lot of noise. Hacking, sawing, or chopping all make quite a racket while being done. 

If you ever come across situations that require finesse, you need to have a lock pick.

Lock picking is a special skill that has a learning curve and is also perishable. It is just like working out. When you suddenly stop, you might lose all that you have gained or gained what you have lost. Not only can this help you enter locked doors, but also access padlocks, cabinet locks, and anything unlocked by a key. You leave no trace once you have mastered this skill.

With the right set of picks, you easily access storage bins to look for supplies. Pick a door knob and you can enter a secure room while keeping the locks functional. Padlocks are everywhere and most of them are easy to pick. 

Do not even worry about traditional dial style locks. You can gain access and deny them from unsafe people. It slows them down and forces them to make enough noise to alert you while you prepare for your next step. 

Being able to quickly defeat locks is just as critical as knowing how not to destroy them. The picked locks can be reused in case you might ever need them.


Most commercial buildings are equipped with a hose bib that requires a key to access and switch on. Easily available online, a four-way water key allows you to access water in the urban area.

An elevator pit is a place that most people would not consider as a hiding place. But it is a secure place for a survivor to spend the night in. 

An elevator door key is another tool to consider. This is a metal tool with a shaft and hinged end. Insert the key into the hole and turn it to allow the hinged end to fall over. The hinged part pushes a plate and allows the exterior door to be pulled apart. 

Add in a length of rope and some carabiners. This is necessary for you to access the elevator and descend it even if the power is out. Tie a rope and other necessary items that is long enough to fashion a Swiss Seat. This will rappel you out of danger. 


A crescent wrench or a small pair of channel locks are other tools that might come in handy. A multi-tool is great until you have to use more than one tool at the same time. If you need to defeat a rusty bolt or nut, you might need to pair your multi-tool with either wrenches mentioned.

With just a few more tools and a lot more preparation, you feel more at ease navigating an urban environment. The urban dweller needs to hone skills just as well as a wilderness survivor.

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