It’s time to tear things up! When you just need to remove a floor or a door that’s standing in your way, a hammer is fine if you have lots of time. However, ripping boards out with a crowbar is faster. When survival is on the line, time can be of the essence. I looked for the best survival crowbars around, and you’ll be pleased with what I found.
A Long History (The Short Version)
People have been using these ingenious levers to remove wood and stones from wherever they’re wedged for a very long time. Crowbars have been around since some time around 1400 or possibly earlier. They were once called Iron Crows. William Shakespeare famously used the term in Romeo and Juliet, but there are many famous references to this useful tool.
A lever like a crowbar is one of the six simple machines that humans first used to help aid us on our rise to technological prowess. Along with its companions, the axle and wheel, the inclined plane, the pulley, the screw, and the wedge, levers like a crowbar have been helping humans achieve great things since before Archimedes in the 3rd century BC.
Though the philosopher made the six basic machines famous, their many uses were known all over the world. Even cultures that never invented the wheel, like those in the New World, had levers. People have been finding better ways to move or remove things since prehistory.
The Many Uses for Crowbars
Though most people use crowbars to pry off boards when they can’t otherwise get the nails or screws removed, there are other uses. A good crowbar will replace a hammer for nail removal. Digging bars are a special type of crowbar used to help dig holes for posts. Moreover, a good bar makes a great melee weapon, and they’re legal to carry.
Important Note: Legal to carry is not the same as legal to hit someone with. Please don’t take a crowbar around with the intent to beat on other people. You will probably go to jail, and that makes survival a lot harder.
Types of Crowbar
You can classify crowbars in several ways. There are numerous specialized types of pry bars, but the following are the general categories of crowbars.
- The first way to class a crowbar is by type. The most commonly used varieties; the digging bar, the prybar, and the wrecking bar, are what most people think of when discussing crowbars.
- The second way to break them down is by size or length. Generally speaking, the longer your crowbar, the more weight it can pry apart.
- Third, crowbars can be classified by the material used. Most crowbars are either carbon steel or titanium. The latter is both stronger and more lightweight. Unfortunately, it’s also more expensive.
- Lastly, crowbars can be broken into their shapes. These are the Cylindrical, Hexagonal, I-Beam, and Oval. I-Beam crowbars are the most resistant to bending. Hence they’re among the most commonly used of all the types. Specifically, a gooseneck, carbon-steel I-Beam, is the most common crowbar.
What’s In a Name
Crowbars have numerous different names, but they’re all levers with a bent end. The most common names are crowbar, crowbar, jimmy, jimmy bar, jemmy, gooseneck, fubar, fubar, pry bar, and prybar. The terms jimmy and jemmy are more common in the UK and Australia. Additionally, the term is often a reference to using a crowbar for breaking and entering or other illegal activities.
There’s a common misconception that the crowbar is named in reference to slaves in early America who often used them as tools. A persistent myth says that crowbars are named for Jim Crow. In fact, the name predates American slavery. The name probably derived from the similarity to a crow’s foot.
Top Five Best Crowbars For Survival
Any tool that’s going to be the best for survival has to be useful for more than one task. Crowbars are inherently perfect for this already since they have multiple uses. However, I’ve found some incredible ways to step up my survival game with these fantastic multifunctional crowbars. Leave the basics to the uninformed masses. Grab one of these upgraded survival ready crowbars instead. Here are my top five best crowbars for survival.
1. Stanley FatMax Xtreme 55-120 FuBar III
We’re starting with the largest crowbar and working our way down to the smallest. This wicked crowbar is thirty inches long and boasts a board gripping end to help you get a hold on whatever you need to get out of your way.
- Extra length means you can pry a whole lot more weight than any of the smaller options.
- Precision balance gives you the ability to pry or swing with confidence, depending on the job you have in mind.
- Stanley makes excellent tools. Going with a well-known and reliable name is always a good choice.
- The only serious downside to this tool is the size. At just eight and a half pounds, the weight isn’t excessive, but it is a bit hard to carry or conceal something so large.
Find your FuBar here.
2. Off-Grid Tools Trucker’s Friend Demolition & Multitool
The Trucker’s Friend may be designed to help with driving large trucks, but it will also get you through whatever the apocalypse, or a lesser emergency, might throw at you. The tire chain hook is especially useful if you’re a truck driver, but with a plethora of other useful features, this crowbar is off the chain.
- A shock-absorbing handle means you won’t have to worry about a hard swing hurting your hands if you use the ax feature.
- They are made in the USA. Buying local helps support the US economy, which is a great bonus. You can feel good about owning the Trucker’s Friend in more ways than one.
- No need to replace gear this well made. With hardened carbon steel and a Nupla fiberglass handle, this is one pry bar multi-tool that is built to last a lifetime.
- The sheath is not included, but you can pick one up easily enough.
Try out a Truckers Tool here.
3. Vaughan Rage Demolition Hand Tool
At fifteen inches, this particular crowbar is long enough to do big jobs without being too bulky. The name is spectacular, and so are the uses for this tool. There are a hammer, chisel punch, and gripper jaws on this tough hand tool. Moreover, at just a bit more than two and a half pounds, Vaughn Rage is easy to carry and conceal.
- Multitools mean you don’t have to carry so much gear to do the same jobs. Anything this useful should already be in your BOB or at least your tool shed.
- A manufacturer’s warranty is available. That means Vaughn stands behind their work, and we can respect a company that makes a good product and backs it up too.
- The value for quality is outstanding on the Rage. You’ll love the price as much as you enjoy the tool itself.
- At a medium size like this, you don’t have the same leverage as a bigger and heavier model, but it’s not the smallest and most portable item you could get either. Honestly, that’s not much of a ‘downside,’ but I couldn’t find any solid cons to put in this column.
Check out Vaughn Rage right here.
4. Schrade SCHPB1BK Pry Bar
The Schrade SCHPB1BK Pry Bar is small but mighty. The five-fifty paracord handle makes for a solid grip. Plus, you have the added advantage of having some paracord in the palm of your hand if you need it. As portable pry bars go, this seven-and-a-half-inch wonder is all you need.
- Small size and lightweight, just four point one ounces, doesn’t take away from the strength of this little pry bar. It’s just right for smaller jobs.
- Easy to conceal is always a nice bonus. You can put this in any bag or gear stash quickly.
- Open doors with this tool easily. The Schrade is precisely the right size to open up most doors you might need to get inside.
- No Warranty. To be fair, not every product offers a guarantee, and this is one of those products. Nevertheless, it’s sturdy and ultra-convenient.
Scope out Schrade’s small wonder here.
5. Binglinghua Portable Crank Crowbar Keychain
At a mere seventy-six millimeters long and just 0.64 ounces, you can’t get a tinier crowbar. When you need a mini hand tool that can do the job of something much larger, this keychain-sized crowbar is for you. Tiny prybars are ideal for the little jobs, or they can double as a weight in your fist if you get in a brawl.
*I’m not suggesting you fight with anyone, and you should check your local laws before using anything for a hand weapon.
- The paracord handle gives you an excellent no-slip grip.
- You can stash this in a pocket or anywhere else.
- A stainless steel body means your mini crowbar won’t rust.
- People mistake this for a gag item, even though it’s no joke. This could actually be listed as a pro, but there was nothing else to put down as a con.
Buy your Binglinghua here.
Picking the right survival crowbar is simple. Take a look at what other heavy and bulky items you need to replace. Then all you have to do is decide what you want your multitasking tool to do. Any of my top five makes a great bit of it for your bug out or bug in supplies. No survival gear cache is complete without a decent pry bar in the mix.
I suggest you strongly consider a large version for your home and vehicle. Then add a medium survival prybar to your BOB. Plus carry a tiny version in your EDC. Crowbars are that useful.