You are stranded on a deserted island, you can choose four items…

First post here. Wanted to share something I saw on Facebook that I thought would be fun.


I took out that spot near the hunting rifle because it had weed in there. I don’t think that’s a very good survival item so lets place an ax there instead as an option.

Don’t just list four items that you would take though, tell why you would choose those over something else and how you would use those items to keep yourself alive.


  • Comments (21)

    • 7

      Good evening Captain Peanut,

      Welcome to TP.com and, if applicable, to the prepper community.

      There was something similiar but serious re same subject in the 2016 Business and Commercial Aviation Magazine. It was how Astronauts would rate items as most important to least important from a list of 15.  NASA also did a rating.

      First, let me reply to your above items with explaination.

      My 4: Water Purifier, First Aid Kit, Matches and vitamins.

      My philosophy is governed by matters of immediate survival.  Thus don’t need hiking boots, the tent, tarp or volleyball.

      I’m writing not knowing if the island is in chilly area such as Kuril Islands of Russia and Japan or hot places like Indian Ocean near Persian Gulf.

      Water purifier; Would seek an up terraine location to look for fresh water and then “purify” it.

      First Aid Kit; Would plan to be exhausted on arrival at island and could be injured. If full of energy and in good shape, some of the items in FAK can be used for other purposes that can help survival.

      Matches; (to reheat left-over pizza from drone delivery …… Just Joking !) to get a fire going after kindling and fuel stockpiled.

      Vitamins; This will supplement my fishing catch.  The fish might have left area for some reason.

      Don’t need the other stuff on the picto-chart. A compass would be useless based on my philo to stay near water supply and shoreline.  I know celestal navigation w/o instruments. I can fish w/o a fishing rod. There are ways to make fish traps. To me – and I have one for the canapy and mosquito net feature – a hammock represents a bad night’s sleep. Why have a hunting rifle when shore line is a better source (although no guarantee; just comparison of efforts required) of healthier foods ?!


      In all seriousless, here’s the Astronaut selection list. My file folders are overstuffed so I didn’t see the page with results; just have the list:

      “Lost on the Moon” exercise Rank 1 to 15 in Order of Importance. 

      Box of matches

      Food concentrate

      50 ft of nylon rope

      Parachute silk

      Portable heating unit

      Two .45 caliber pistols

      One case of dehydrated milk

      Two 100 lb. tanks of oxygen

      Stellar map

      Self-inflating life raft

      Magnetic compass

      20 liters of water

      Signal flares

      First aid kit, including injection needle

      Solar-powered FM receiver-transmitter


      Again, a warm welcome to the TP.com forum.

      • 3

        Thank you for the warm welcome to the forum Bob. I hope I can participate here more frequently in the future, but life is pretty chaotic right now. That is interesting to hear about the astronaut survival items.

    • 7

      Matches would be included for obvious reasons.  Fishing rod would be #2, assuming it is a full kit & not just the rod & reel.  The pot would be #3.  For #4 I’d get the tarp, assuming it is of decent size.  Shelter is important but I’d like to think I could also use it to collect rainwater plus use part of it to condense steam from the pot to make the saltwater drinkable.  If there is freshwater on the island, boiling water in the pot would also make it safe to drink.

    • 7

      Tent – Matches – Pot – Ax

      1. Tent – shelter is key and you will be spendin energy to build somethin. Get inside your waterproof tent and be much more comfortable. Use the rainfly to catch rain run off into your pot
      2. Matches – you’ll die fast without heat. Will also produce light, rescue signalin, and used to make tools.
      3. Pot – More durable and versatile than the water purifier. Can boil water, collect water, and cook in
      4. Ax – Use as a way to chop firewood, build additional shelter, use as a sledge to pound in stakes, and sharpen well to process animals
    • 4

      I would choose a knife, which can be used for many things such as shelter building, defense, and hunting/fishing. A first aid kit has many more uses than just fixing up a scrape. A flare gun and raft will be my next choices because getting off of the island will be a priority. A flare gun can also be used to start a fire if shot into a pile of sticks and leaves.

      • 2

        Curious, what will you be drinking, especially if there is no fresh water on the island?  Even if there is fresh water, how will you purify it?

      • 1

        True… true… 

        Guess I could drink coconut water since we are on a deserted island. But only drinking that for days will give you quite the diarrhea.

        Wonder if there are water purification tablets in with that first aid kit

      • 4

        Most of these deserted islands are deserted for a reason.  Many have no fresh water or wild game.  Some have few, if any trees.  My thought is you should plan on only drinking water from the ocean as well as only getting food from there as well.  Anything else is gravy.  

      • 2

        You are very observant and knowledgeable, that makes sense that deserted islands are deserted for a reason and are lacking in potable water.

    • 3

      Good morning,

      I’m starting the start of a summary.

      Captain Peanut posted something with pictures and the requirement to explain one’s choices. Besides “having fun” both Captain Peanut and thread participants “won” the contest.  We are discussing survival stuff within the umbrella realm of “food, shelter, first aid”. Inherent to “food” is water and inherent to “shelter” is arranging something requiring physical efforts of some sort and therefor must first attend to injuries with first aid kit components.

      Some deserted islands don’t have coconut producing palm trees. Had referenced above the Kuril islands, Ru, Ja. 

      Drinking water from the ocean ? I have a RO distillery and 6 blade windmill. One person can set up if not injured. Otherwise, the poem “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” governs: “Water, water, everywhere ………..”

      Again, just my start of a “summary”.  Let’s take a break before continuing. Time for a game of volleyball. Who the heck is using the volleyball net and hammock for snares and fish nets ?!

      • 4

        Drinking water from the ocean ? I have a RO distillery and 6 blade windmill. One person can set up if not injured. Otherwise, the poem “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” governs: “Water, water, everywhere ………..”

        I think the rules of this mental game are that we can’t bring our RO distillery with us.  🙂   But IMO, even with the constraints of picking 4 items, one can still distill salt water.  Even without fire, you can use the tarp or part of the tent with the pot to make a solar still.  With fire, one should be able to distill even more.


      • 5

        Good afternoon Redneck,

        That was actually my point. Without the needed equipment, hopefully obits are already written “back home”.

        You’ve got better skills than me.  I tried to distill seawater and it didn’t work too well. Maybe if I had a good setup, my improvised solar still would have done better.

        We were a self-appointed experimenting group at the shore, with me being the guinea pig.  One of the team said I’ve got an obligation to share the gold distillate with the team. LOL !

      • 5

        I am glad that many people have gotten more out of this game than just picking four items and that we are discussing real survival principles. 

        Do ya’ll want to keep playing? How about we select four random items and discuss how we can use those for survival and make the most use out of them? Like in Tom Hank’s Cast Away movie where he repurposes some ice skates as a knife and improvised dental removal tool.

        What would ya’ll do with:

        1. Toilet paper
        2. Volleyball
        3. Hiking Boots
        4. Insect repellent
      • 7

        Ok, I’ll bite. TP, fire tinder? Maybe soak up & squeeze out some dew? 

        Volleyball, maybe as a fishing float?

        Hiking boots, maybe use laces for fishing or snares for small animals?

        Insect repellent, not sure what else it’s good for, beyond intended use. Maybe that shiny bottom could flash like a mirror to signal. Anyone know if it’s flammable?

        Bottom line, if those 4 are all you’ve got, your chances are pretty slim!

      • 1

        10 points to you!! I didn’t even think about any of those uses, way to think outside of the box.

      • 2

        Thanks! Fun subject to ponder, glad you posted. 

      • 3

        You sure are welcome. I’ll see what else I can pull up from Facebook to share on here. Thanks for playing 

      • 5

        Good morning CR,

        Depending on the brand and packaging, some mosquito repellents are flammable and some not.

        If in a spray can, it’s the gas propellants that’s mostly flammable. Liquid repellent, like SC Johnson’s brand “Off” has no flammable warning on plastic container regarding the ingredients.

      • 3

        Interesting, thanks Bob!

    • 2

      I would choose a water purifier, matches, knife, and mirror.


    • 1

      First Aid; Pot; Matches; Ax

      FIRST AID: This is obvious. Besides cleaning wounds, and I’m going by the picture of the kit, you have a decent container, probably scissors, other small bottles to use once empty, tape of some kind (though undoubtedly not strong enough for anything but bandages) maybe some quick clot to stop bleeding, something flammable like alcohol.

      POT: Another container you can cook, carry/boil water in. 

      MATCHES: Again obviously to make fire. You can use plastic from the med kit to keep them dry.

      The last one is tough. I always wear durable footwear so more than likely I’ll be in boots or a sturdy tennis shoe. And as far as TP I would just rinse off in the ocean. iPod/volleyball is worthless in this limited scenario; Don’t need a purifier when I can filter and boil water or collect rain water if there is no natural spring or river of some sort; pretty comfortable in knowing my directions (or possibly make a compass) I’m going to go with,

      AX: I could use this to cut fire wood, build shelter, dig, slice, and probably still be able to sharpen. 

      Runners Up: Raft; Tent; Tarp; Rope; Knife