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Old Survival Tools like Flint and Steel, We Still Use Today

Posted by Jamie Canterbury on July 06, 2018  

Littered within all of humanity’s technological advancements are the old tools that propelled us from caves to skyscrapers. Some of these old tools are still effective and widely used today – such as flint and steel and axes. In this article, we are going to explore 4 old survival tools that still work today.

Flint and Steel

Let’s start with the title tool of this article. The name flint and steel is often misconstrued and used on other fire starting tools. Most common is the magnesium bar and ferrocerium rod combo. A true flint and steel is a combination of a high carbon steel striker with a piece of naturally occurring flint or chert. One of the most alluring parts of the method is that you can recreate it over and over if you know how to identify flint.

The steel and the flint are part of a trifecta that helps create and catch an ember. To be most effective with the flint and steel you are going to need to have charcloth as well. This is a piece of cloth that has been cooked inside a metal container. It chars the cloth without direct flame contact. It’s the same process as creating charcoal. Charcloth will hold catch a spark and turn it into an ember almost immediately. 

Flint and steel is probably the most used tool on this list and is still found in many survivalists camping gear. Flint and steel is still popular today because of its reliability and ease of use. 


One of the oldest hunting tools known to man, the atlatl took the spear to the next level. Before that we were limited to the accuracy and power that could be generated by our shoulder and back. We could not generate near the force, distance or accuracy that we could when the atlatl came in to play.

A carved wooden spear holder offers the spear holder more of a fulcrum to heave the spear from, the atlatl is still used by bushcraft enthusiasts today. The back of the spear will rest on the ridge at the back of the atlatl and the spear will also rest on the body of the atlatl. The user must still hold the spear between his fingers to keep it steady.

The atlatl shines when hunting things like small game. It may sound crazy to run a 3-foot spear through a rabbit but the long spear makes it impossible for the rabbit to run after its been skewered.


The awl is still an incredibly useful tool that can become as effective as you need it to be. The awl is a pointed piece of metal that gradually increases in width as it travels to the base of the tool.

Great for punching, starting screw holes, scraping, picking and even scribing, the awl is an old tool that can still be found in a survivalists backpack and get plenty of use; due to its versatility. 



Axes go as far back as stone tools. They were undoubtedly carried right alongside things like atlatls. What is most incredible about the axe is how it existed both as a tool for survival and a warfighting implement.

The first axes would have been made of crudely sharpened stones and used without handles. We are talking as far back as 1.5 million years ago. The axe is truly an ancient tool. By about 2000 BC history would see the rise of the copper and bronze axe.

Today we have incredible masters of the axe that are using high carbon steel and serious artisanal blacksmithing skills to create the pinnacle of the axe. While they are not built to battle legions, the axe is still a key survivalist tool for chopping trees and basically any cutting or splitting job.


Even as time and technology progress, we still rely on old survival tools to keep us efficient. These old tools are the base of further survival tool advancements. Tools such as flint and steel are still extremely useful to survivalists today and will be in the future.

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