Choosing The Best Survival Subscription Boxes
Calling all dads, former Boy/Girl Scouts, nature enthusiasts, and hypervigilant brains who love being prepared for emergency situations…
We’re here today to examine the 3 best survival subscription boxes and we’d like you to join us. Who knows? It could be a matter of life and death.
How Survival Subscription Boxes Work
From survival gear as basic as flashlights to advanced, specialized knives, survival subscription boxes are pretty much exactly what they sound like: Survival. In a box.
Okay, it’s a little more complex than that. Top survival subscription boxes offer a range of items designed to prepare you for hiking, camping, and staying alive in the wilderness.
Boxes may offer on-the-go, non-perishable food that stays edible for years, water purifying technology, sleeping bags, fire-starting kits, rope, backpacks, all sorts of blades and knives, and other gadgets and gizmos.
The best survival subscription boxes are usually delivered on a monthly basis, meaning you would receive a package of stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive goods to add to your collection each moon cycle.
Survival subscription boxes are targeted towards mostly men who are avid campers, hikers, dads, and lovers of the great outdoors, but really, they are useful to anyone and everyone.
Sure, you might pshaw at the idea of needing a weirdly specific blade in your tool kit, but you never know what life and this beautiful, generous earth will throw at you.
… And the best survival subscription boxes benefit is that these items aren’t just random knick-knacks that you’ll look at once and never use. These are random knick-knacks specifically designed to be needed.
For most of the time, when you’re not in an emergency situation or when you’re not even camping, you aren’t using your survival gear. But here’s the kicker: it’s already doing its job by simply being in your possession in case you do really, really need it one day.
Survival is quite literally our most basic need, so these items are necessities even when you don’t need them. It’s all about preparedness.
If you asked wilderness experts how to survive in an emergency situation, they’d tell you to always be prepared. That’s step zero, because, you know, emergencies aren’t usually scheduled events. They happen spontaneously, without warning, in a panic.
The best survival subscription boxes = panic diffusers. Plus, they aren’t just for survival. They are also for everyday folks who geek out on surviving in the woods by making fires and creating shelter from harsh weather conditions just ‘cause.
Three cheers for destroying fears and loving survival gears.
The 3 Best Survival Subscription Boxes
Our research of the best survival subscription boxes found BattlBox, Nomadik, and The Dude Bag to be the best of the best.
If we were judging on names alone, we’d have to give it to The Dude Bag just for the sake of being funny (like, imagine telling your buddy you received your “Dude Bag” of the month).
Prepare for a delivery of info about each subscription, packaged neatly and efficiently in the sections below.
Find out how each box works, what they offer, and how each is special in its own way so that you can choose the one that’s right for you and your wilderness needs.
About the brand:
Daniel Dabbs is the survival junkie who founded BattlBox in 2015. Inspired by his fiancé’s BirchBox makeup subscription box, Dabbs decided to make a box for people like him, who loved camping, hiking, wilderness, and general survival gear.
Headquartered in Milledgeville, Georgia, BattlBox has grown so much in their 6 years running that in 2020, Dabbs and his teammates premiered as the stars of a Netflix reality show Southern Survival.
What’s the heart of the BattlBox? Glad you asked. Dabbs made BattlBox so that every month, his fellow outdoors adventurers could experience the joy of opening a new package of goodies to feed their hobby and passion for gear.
Along with the monthly subscription box, BattlBox has a shop of individual items you can purchase if you either missed them in the subscription or want more of what you loved from your boxes.
BattlBox separates themselves from competitors by offering BattlBucks rewards. This loyalty program is for both subscribers and customers of the shop, so everyone wins. Each purchase earns you more points that can be redeemed for tangible survival stuff.
What You Get:
As one of the best survival subscription boxes, BattlBox delivers a variety of outdoorsy tools for things like water purification, fishing, shelter, EDC (everyday carry), food, and more.
The subscription is targeted towards men, especially Southern men that you can see from the Southern Survival Netflix show.
There are 4 boxes to choose from, starting from the most basic package to the most advanced survivor:
- Pro Plus
In Basic, you’ll get the basics: survival manuals, smaller knives and knife-like tools, first-aid stuff, food kits, and more. Usually, the box has 3-5 items in it.
Advanced fellas get an extra 1 or 2 items. Past ones have included more advanced knives, saws, water storage treatment, gas cans, blankets, and travel mugs/cutlery.
Pro boxes get another 1 or 2 items on top of the Advanced package: they have included travellable appliances like stoves, lanterns, firestarters, and GPS messengers.
Lastly, the diehard subscribers of the Pro Plus box get an extra, pricier item, usually a specialized, advanced knife.
And that’s the BattlBox, one of the best survival subscription boxes out there. Technically it’s four of the best survival subscription boxes out there.
Delivery & Cost:
So, what’s the real deal on BattlBox? No, seriously, here are the deals:
- Basic – $30/month
- Advanced – $60/month
- Pro – $110/month
- Pro Plus – $160/month
Each of the boxes is delivered monthly unless you skip a month or cancel. You are billed on the 15th, so if you would like to cancel ASAP and receive not one more BattlBox, then do so before the 15th.
BattlBox says no refunds, unfortunately. Once you’ve paid, you’ve paid. If you cancel after the 15th, you’ll receive and pay for the next box. The same goes for items purchased from the shop: no refunds.
For damaged products, they send a replacement, so you won’t have to do return work.
The company only ships to American and Canadian survival enthusiasts and shipping costs depend on what you have ordered and where it’s headed.
About the brand:
Once upon a time (okay, 2016), Patrick Hines founded Nomadik. Seeing more and more subscription boxes emerge for makeup lovers, artists, fandoms, fans of personal hygiene and other random interests, Hines decided it was about time for an outdoorsy, survival box.
His vision led to Nomadik, now one of the best survival subscription boxes out there.
Headquartered in sunny San Diego, The Nomadik is both a subscription box and a shop where you can buy the high-end survival stuff of your dreams separate from mysterious monthly boxes.
Nomadik sets themselves apart from the competition by offering tailored boxes. You take the online Gear Quiz and then the computers compute a customized box for you.
Another Nomadik specialty is the choice of subscription renewal: every month, 6 months, or 12 months.
What You Get:
Nomadik boxes are allegedly worth about $50, so you’re getting a deal when you sign up for this monthly dedication to outdoor survival.
Each month, 3-7 high-end products are sent to subscribers. The boxes are themed, giving them a fun, spirited edge and a vibe to feel out when you’re checking out your new goodies.
Though the boxes are a mystery, as a general rule, Nomadik includes gear and gizmos for fishing, hiking, and camping adventures, such as backpacks, flashlights, rope, and food and drinks.
The online Nomadik Quiz asks you these 4 questions to make your box customized to your wants and needs:
- How often do you adventure?
- Choose your ultimate adventure: Roadtripping, Camping, Relaxing with a view, or Day Hike
- Would you rather pack light, be agile, or pack heavy, be prepared?
- Would you rather post up in one spot or be on the move?
Based on your answers, the quiz will hook you up with a customized version of the Nomadik package.
Delivery & Cost:
Boxes are shipped around the 24th and you are billed either on the 1st or on the 15th, depending on if you signed up in the first or second half of the month.
Plans renew on the 4th, so make sure to cancel auto-renewal before then if you don’t want to continue on with the Nomadik experience.
The prices and billing system works a bit differently for each delivery option:
- 1 Month – $33/month billed monthly
- 6 Months – $31/month, $188 billed twice a year
- 12 Months – $30/month, $360 billed once a year
We don’t judge, but if you’ve got commitment issues, choose the 1 Month to be safe. The other options require lump sums of money to be paid for several months of deliveries that, at the time of buying it, you might not even be sure you’ll like.
You can skip months and cancel auto-renewals through the hassle-free Nomadik website. For returns and refunds, know that shop sales are all final sale. For boxes, you can return them within 14 days of receiving them under the condition that they are totally unused.
Awesome news for internationals: Nomadik ships outside the US. The only catch is that you don’t qualify for free shipping, but hey, at least you can get the box at all.
#3: The Dude Bag
About the brand:
It’s a struggle to find info about The Dude Bag, who founded it, their story, mission, and so on. What we do know is that they were founded in 2017 and their headquarters are chillin’ in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
The Dude Bag sets themselves apart from the other best survival subscription boxes with their boxes being “hand-picked by Air Force and Marine Corps veterans.” At least that’s a start as far as answers about who the dudes behind this company are.
What You Get:
A monthly box of survival stuff galore. Targeted towards “dudes” apparently, the brand has, like other survival subscriptions, a mostly male demographic.
But hey, anyone can be a dude. Especially if you love camping, fishing, and other activities where you immerse yourself in the outdoors and feel alive.
The website is vague on the details about what you get, and social media isn’t helpful either, but just know that the monthly box will indeed be for wilderness fans and lovers of all things survival in the great outdoors and the dude-ly adventures that await.
The company does give these examples of things that you might unwrap in your monthlies: “Multitools, hatchets, hammocks, flashlights, coffee, headphones.”
Other stuff that can be seen in the example photo of the bag/box: a firestarter, hand chainsaw, some kind of knife or ax thing, and a survival whistle. Sick.
Also, the dudes at The Dude Bag promise to get you stuff that you wouldn’t think to buy but could end up being a must-have, ‘where have you been all my life?’ kind of product.
Find out exactly which magical tools, gadgets, and survival needs that you’re missing out on by signing up, amigo.
Delivery & Cost:
Let’s talk prices, shall we?
The Dude Bag monthly sub is $65 plus $15 shipping costs. There’s only one monthly option for payment and only one box you can add to cart, rather than a range of basic to advanced packages. Just one type of Dude Bag.
Billed monthly on the 15th, the box is then shipped out in 1-3 days to arrive at your doorstep after a long, or not so long, adventure to you. Follow your box’s journey as it travels to you via the tracking info you’ll be sent.
When you first sign up, you’ll be charged the $65 plus $15, and the first package sent will be next month’s mysterious box.
The brand does only ship to the US, so international folks miss out on being certified dudes with bags, sorry.
As far as returns and refunds, you can get a replacement product sent to you if your item arrives damaged. Send photos of the damage to customer service and they’ll approve a free replacement.
The website says you can cancel anytime but you also need to give 30 days of notice for cancellations to take effect, so “anytime” kind of has a flexible definition here. But luckily, the cancellation process is easy-peasy lemon-squeezy and done through the site portal.
How to Choose the Best Survival Subscription Box
Congrats! You’ve now found yourself at the end of the individual brand reviews. Now we address the elephant in the room: How do we pick which one? I mean, gee, they all sound great in their own ways and lacking in others.
Have no fear. Here is what you should consider when picking your perfect match among the best survival subscription boxes:
- Your interests
Now’s the time to be selfish. Tune into yourself and pick out which parts of the survival subscription awesomeness you are most excited about. The camp-fiery passion(s) of yours that inspired the buying itch. The reason(s) you’re reading this article right now.
Are you most into fishing, camping, hiking, the occasional frolic in the forest, recapturing the magic memories of your Boy Scout years, or camping in your backyard via tent, sleeping bags, and a dedicated imagination?
What we’re trying to say is this: different boxes favor different interests more than others. Don’t believe us? Exhibit A, B, and C below.
BattlBox prioritizes knives and knife-like tools, technology like GPS trackers, and appliances like mini stoves. This is a great box for you if you’re interested in survival boxes for the gadgets.
Nomadik caters to the adventurer. The explorer. The nomad. The aspiring nomad. You’ll find a lot of basic outdoorsy things like backpacks, travel mugs, first aid tools, warm-you-up blankets and hats, food, and even travel journals.
The Dude Bag is for the survivalist with equal, or at least more well-rounded, interests in outdoor living and activity-ing. If fishing, camping, and hiking are all your top passions, and you’re looking for new tools and supplies for all these purposes and more, then Checkout.
There are so many beautiful gifts that the earth provides to us out of the kindness of her heart: trees, flowers, water, other animals… unfortunately, money isn’t one of these.
Budget is definitely a factor in your purchasing decision because purchase = money and what if your wallet = empty?
With survival subscription boxes, some brands offer multiple tiers of subs—from a small, economic, basic package for a beginner to the most advanced, pricy package for a master of survival.
With that firmly in mind, you can compare the price of your chosen tier with the price of competitors who only offer one box.
Consider how many things you are getting for how many dollars you’re spending, how high-end the products promise to be, and whether the monthly expense will be a worthy, invested partnership or a summer fling that you’ll get over in two months.
Also, think about things like shipping costs and deals, as some brands have frequent promos while others don’t.
This point is pretty self-explanatory, but consider it if you want your subscription to be your own. Do you trust the chef’s choice or do you need accommodations of your own?
Really, there are several ways that boxes can be customizable, including:
- Various sizes of boxes to choose from
- Tailored items in the box depending on interest
- Time/money commitment
BattlBox offers several boxes, from basic to advanced, with a range of prices to choose from.
Meanwhile, Nomadik tailors the actual contents of the box—what kinds of goodies will appear for you depending on what your ‘thing’ is, whether that be camping, exploring, or just hangin’ around. The brand also offers 1 Month, 6 Month, and 12 Month plans to choose from.
How customizable and special do you want or simply need your monthly gift from the postman to be? That’s all up to you.
- Shipping and Returns
How much does shipping cost? Some brands have sweet, sweet free shipping while others don’t give you that same courtesy.
If you live outside of the US, it obviously matters if the subscription ships internationally. Definitely a dealbreaker. Then, how fast is delivery? Do you receive shipping insurance? When is the subscription shipped each month?
When it comes to returns, you have to know what’s up. Some brands don’t have them, others allow you to return items if they are unused, and the rest only allow returns of damaged items. Find out what the return or no-return policy is so you can be prepared in case.
Now, good luck, be safe, stay alive, and go find the survival subscription box of your dreams.
Looking for other top brands? Check out these curated lists below: