An outdoor survival subscription box is a great way to give the gift of adventure to someone you love. Since subscription boxes deliver curated goods month after month, it’s truly a gift that keeps on giving. Well designed tactical subscription boxes focus on a theme each month, helping to inspire the recipient to get outside and use their cool new gear on their very own survival box adventure.
Disclosure: I asked a number of survival box makers to send me samples for this review. I only included the very best ones, and honestly, some of those that didn’t make the cut were pretty terrible. Poorly thought out low value “stuff” like cup holders, power bars & branded tote sacks packed together into a box that didn’t inspire, and just left me confused when I opened them. The outdoor, survival and tactical subscription boxes below are the very best I found, and I’m only recommending those that I honestly thought provided a truly spectacular subscription box.
I’ve heard time and time again that the best gift is an experience, rather than just more “stuff.” But what if you give something that encourages the recipient to go out and have their own adventure? Give the right survival box, and you’re inspiring them to take the box and work from it to make awesome outdoor memories. Even better, what if a new adventure came every single month in a survival subscription box to help them build skills and enjoy outdoor life over and over again?
That’s where survival and tactical subscription boxes really shine. The best ones deliver a curated kit that both inspires your imagination and equips you to get outside and have some fun. A poorly crafted subscription box, on the other hand, delivers a bunch of random “stuff” that may be nifty in its own right, but doesn’t come together to inspire a new adventure.
The whole point of a tactical subscription box is that you’re trusting experts to craft a truly one of a kind gift that delivers a spectacular experience. If the contents are well thought out and cohesive, the recipient is going to open that box, feel a rush of excitement and then carry it all outside immediately!
That’s what you’re giving, that sense of excitement as it all comes together, and the resulting hours or days outdoors experiencing the thrill of nature with your new survival gear.
Beyond the curation aspect, survival subscription boxes generally deliver a really great deal. Since the makers are working directly with equipment manufacturers in bulk, often the subscription box itself costs about half as much as the total value of the contents. That allows you to deliver a lot of awesome for not a lot of money.
I’ve chosen the best three tactical and survival subscription boxes on the market, and each one provides its own unique type of adventure.
- BattlBox ~ Full of high-quality tactical gear, this is a great choice for the gear head in your life. They’re really gone out of their way to pick some of the very best top quality brands and assemble it into a world class kit that will bring out the kid in anyone. (Bonus points, my actual kids couldn’t get enough of it.)
- Apocabox ~ Designed by Creek Stewart, a world-renowned survival expert, this box is the most hands on. Each kit has a survival box mission that gets you building and working with your hands. It’s less gear focused and more project focused, which is just right for my tastes.
- Alpha Outpost ~ These tactical boxes are unique in that everything included is actually made by Alpha Outpost. They work on a choose your own adventure style, where every box has a specific theme. Each comes with a book that describes the scenario, allowing you to live out that adventure for yourself. The equipment is of high quality, and really cohesive around a theme. As a bonus, you can actually pick which themed box to send, or just select random.
Advertising themselves as “Adventure Delivered,” BattlBox provides a well crafted outdoor experience. Their boxes contain “hand-picked outdoor, survival, EDC, and other cool gear.” I was most impressed by the quality of the contents, and they’ve chosen to work with some of the top brand names in tactical equipment. BattlBox offers 4 different survival subscription box options, starting from basic and moving up to pro plus. Each box contains a bit more than the last, so you can make a choice depending on your budget.
They sent me the Pro Plus box for review but included a breakdown of what would have been included in each box they offer.
- Gonzo Auto Knife G7362GR (440C Stainless)
- Mini Fire Starting Kit
- Backpackers Pantry Chicken Piccata
- Preppers Pocket Companion Book
When my children saw this, we immediately had to get outside, start a campfire and get cooking.
- All the gear from the Basic Box Plus…
- Stainless Steel Vacuum insulated Trail Thermos
- S.T.A.T. Tourniquet
A tourniquet isn’t something that most people have in their trail first aid kit, but it’s incredibly useful. It also doesn’t ever expire, so it’ll be there ready for the worst forever. The vacuum sealed thermos has seen a lot of use since we got it, and it’s high quality and doesn’t leak in a pack.
- All the gear from the Basic and Advanced Boxes Plus…
- 2 Way Radios ~ Midland T61VP3 / 32 Mile Range
The kids were ECSTATIC about these, but they’re not simple kids toy radios. They worked flawlessly when hiking even in dense woods, and I actually drove 7 miles down the road into the “city” and got crystal clear reception all the way back home. They’re not kidding about miles of range. I love that they have a setting that receives national weather service alerts too.
- All the gear from the Basic, Advanced and Pro Boxes Plus…
- Baston Gear Knife with S35VN Blade, Titanium Scales & Tanto Point
They call this Pro Plus box the “Knife of the Month Club” and it includes all the previous tactical gear plus a really sexy high-quality knife. I’ll admit I’m not a knife expert, but when I asked my “knife guy” friend he was impressed by this one (and would have loved it as a gift). This level is a good choice for the knife lover in your life, and I have a few I know…
Keep in mind, the basic level also included a nice folding knife as well.
The Battlbox is the definition of a well made tactical subscription box, and it’s perfect for anyone that’s excited about new survival gear.
While my kids really loved the tactical gear in the BattlBox (and the adventure it inspired), I’ll admit the Apocabox was my personal favorite box. The Apocabox is designed by survival expert Creek Stewart, and each month comes with a bit of tactical gear that goes with a survival skills project.
That right, something that you actually have to do to create your own outdoor tool. This box was the most engaging because it’s intentionally designed to make you put in the work towards learning a new skill. That’s the best value in a gift for my money, a survival box that actually teaches you a survival skill.
They offer two survival subscription box options, a basic $50 per box plan that includes both a project and accompanying themed high-quality gear.
The second option is just a project box, that skips the gear and just provides a project to complete for $15.99. I can’t imagine a better deal on a well thought out adventure.
It’s true, the “project” box doesn’t include expensive sexy tactical gear, but it did the best job at getting us outside and working with our hands. I’ve been wanting to build a deadfall trap for years, but it’s one of those things you just never get to. It’s tricky to read online tutorials and then put it into practice in real life.
One of the Apocabox survival subscription boxes included the pre-cut sticks for a deadfall trap, ready for deployment as a demo. It also included uncarved sticks so you could use the finished trap as a model to make your own. We got to play with it for literally hours in the yard and made our own trap start to finish, which was really satisfying. Now it’s set up to hopefully catch the squirrel that’s been living in the ceiling when he comes out for a snack…
Another skills project from Apocabox was just as hands-on, and included a partially finished tomahawk. Yup, it’s crude and it didn’t cost them much money to make. What it did take was ingenuity to think up a really fun project that allows the user to make it their own.
It’s really beautiful in its own rustic way, and since it’s so simply made it’s actually more inspiring than all the sexy survival box tools in the world. It makes me think, “After I finish this one, I’m going to make my own start to finish from scratch. I’ve got this!”
The fact that you’re taking something they’ve started and made it your own, alongside hundreds of others, also inspires a sense of community around each survival box. People share their own homemade projects across social media, and each has its own personality…
I’m less of a gear person, and much more of a skills person at heart. This survival box was perfect for me.
Unlike most outdoor boxes that assemble gear from a variety of existing makers, Alpha Outpost actually makes their own branded gear. All the gear in each box revolves around a theme, and that’s crafted into an adventure scenario with a book included in each box that lays it all out. I was a huge fan of Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was a kid, and Alpha Outpost basically turns that into a real-life adult survival adventure in a box.
Alpha outpost allows you to order any of their past survival boxes, which means you can actually choose which outdoor adventure to send a friend or loved one (or hey, buy for yourself…). I chose the Hades Box, which focuses on campfire cooking. It includes a really nifty collapsable campfire grill that fits into a 1” steel tube, a pocket knife style campfire utensil set along with a camp pot, pan, and thermos. All wonderfully portable and functional, and I’m imagining years of use from this kit.
All survival boxes are $39.99, but they currently have a deal where you can get your first box for just $5. Beyond their curated survival subscription boxes, they also have a gear section where you can order Alpha Outpost made gear a la carte.
Of all the survival boxes, this one from Alpha Outpost was my husband’s favorite. While I loved the Apocabox for the project it provides, my husband was less excited about another project on his to-do list. These kits from Alpha Outpost provide custom made outdoor adventure ready to be had, like a mini vacation in a box. After a long day at work, he’s much more excited about cooking dinner outdoors than he is about carving out his own tomahawk.
I got quite a few sample survival boxes to review, and I was honestly unimpressed by most of what’s on the market. I chose the very best three to share with you, and each one provides a very unique adventure experience.
- BattlBox is a true tactical gear box, perfect for gear heads that love new high tech gear, knives, and outdoor equipment.
- Apocabox is great for the serious DIY survivalist, that just needs a nudge in the right direction and is excited about spending hours crafting their own survival gear.
- Alpha Outpost is a mini survival vacation in a box. Well crafted around a theme, and just enough equipment to make you forget about the rest of the world while you enjoy an choose your own adventure scenario.
Which survival box is right for you?