Tuesday, January 21, 2014


11 Underrated & Overlooked Survival Gear Items!
Always be open to new possibilities when it comes to survival!
For survival gear enthusiasts who have been around for a little while, there are a good number of survival gear items that, at this point, most of us are quite familiar with. The "old guard" of the survival gear world may shudder at our proposal to consider some newer, more unusual or perhaps just a bit overlooked survival gear items, but we feel like you deserve more than just the status quo in terms of survival gear options. We are pretty sure that you are well aware of "Swiss Army" knives, Leatherman multitools, MREs and paracord "survival" bracelets at this point. How about we take a closer look at some far less conventional survival gear items? Some that are a bit less cliché?

Sure, we get it... How can survival gear that is tried and true... survival gear that has earned it's rightful place among the ranks of it's elite survival gear "champion" counterparts... How can proven survival gear of this caliber ever become "cliché"? Well... we as a species are constantly discovering, innovating and inventing new ideas, methods and tools for every aspect of our lives. Why would this not be the case for our survival gear? What amazing innovations have been made on the survival gear front that you may be missing out on? What are some relatively recent survival gear innovations that you might not be aware of and might want to consider for your packs and kits?
There is absolutely something to be said for the old adage, "If it ain't broke don't fix it!". There are countless examples (well beyond just the survival gear realm) of how you simply can't improve upon the original... especially in the case of bushcraft, woodcraft ("Nessmuk" anyone?)and wilderness survival (which by default tend to be about primitive skills and doing things the way they used to be done with tools and materials of old). But in actual "survival" (disaster preparedness, prepping, survivalism, bugging out, etc.), where ideologically standing "true" to the old ways is less of a priority, we can and should be open to new ideas and innovations. There's a time and a place for tradition, but there's also a time and a place for choosing the right tool for the job... even if that tool seems a bit "newfangled" upon first impression.

In an actual "survival scenario" where you are genuinely trying to stay alive and ensure your survival... this is really not a scenario where you want to get particularly ideological (say, "purist" or "self-righteous" just for example) about your survival gear. In fact... your best option would probably be to remain open to any and all advantages that you can leverage, new or old.

So just in case you are interested in considering a few less conventional, frequently overlooked and completely underrated survival gear items, you are going to want to check out the list on our 11 Underrated and Overlooked Survival Gear Items page found here:

11 Underrated Survival Gear Items

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Blizzard survival!
Blizzard survival at it's best!! ;)
So... last evening around 6PM we lost our power. It was almost completely dark and the windchill outside was -40 degrees!! We had just gotten well over a foot of snow and... I went into FULL FLEDGE APOCALYPSE mode. 

My wife Erin and I both immediately grabbed our head lamps. Next I grabbed my Goal Zero battery backup and light, Erin grabbed every candle in the house, I centralized all flashlights, snapped some chemlight sticks... 

Then I grabbed the Mr. Heater and slightly less than a dozen canisters of gas, gathered all sleeping bags, survival blankets, down blankets, hand warmers, etc. 

Had Erin fill up all pitchers and food safe containers with water while we still had water... 

Pulled the MSR Pocket Rocket stove, camp cookware, MREs, canned bacon, etc. ... 

Pulled the solar/crank radio off the “survival shelf”.

Next, I ripped out all of my reflective mylar survival blankets and Gorilla Taped them around our doors and windows to keep heat in and cold out. 

After an hour into going into full fledge "Zombie Apocalypse Mode" and wading through every piece of survival gear I owned, ranging from a bin full of survival knives to another full of molle pouches, I was sweating my tail off and needed a break. We were now officially set up for the 2014 Blizzard Apocalypse, so Erin decided to open a bottle of wine we had on hand to help us "endure" this thing. We were ready. Bring it, "Blizzard Apocalypse"!! In fact... throw a few zombies at us why don't ya??? 

Took one sip of my wine and... our power came back on. I now had "apocalypse" crap strewn all over the entire house. First thing out of my mouth... "Man, I have so much crap to up now." My wife started laughing her ass off!!

I was actually kinda SAD that our power came back on!! What is WRONG with me???

Erin and I now know that we can officially survive one hour without power. We are so proud right now. ;)

Where did my glass of "apocalypse wine" go?

Sure, our "crisis" only lasted for an hour (It was incredible how quickly the temperature fell in our house in a single hour!), but many of our friends and family in our local area went without power for days!! We were lucky, but we were also prepared in case we were not! The road conditions were too bad to go help people or get to a home with power and heat. Even though my story is a bit ridiculous and hilarious and a funny story to tell now (all my friends love ribbing me for it), they KNOW and RESPECT that I was fully prepared should the situation have been worse for us!

Here are just a handful of the items that we "deployed" quickly for this emergency just to give you some ideas and inspiration for preparing your own home and family for a power outage or natural disaster!

UVPaqlight Large
UVPaqlight Large long lasting glow in the dark mat to conserve
battery power!

Cyalume Light Sticks
Cyalume Light Sticks

Grabber Outdoors Original Space Brand All Weather Blanket
Grabber All Weather Reflective Blankets

16 hour survival candle
16 hour survival candle

Goal Zero "Light A Life" LED lantern
Goal Zero "Light A Life" LED lantern

Headlamp attached to a "frosted" pitcher for
an improvised lantern!

My wife diligently filling up any and all containers with water!
She's a keeper!

Survival kitchen all set up with MRE's GSI cookset,
MSR Pocket Rocket stove, fuel canisters, and silicon "squishy
bowl" dinnerware!

Cheap mylar blankets taped over all windows and glass doors
to help keep heat in and cold out!

Another LED light behind a big water container to amplify
light! GREAT trick!

Decorative tea light candles even came in handy!

Better shot of the mylar space blankets employed... AFTER
the lights came back on.  ;)

Front door covered with mylar too!

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Survival Knives
Survival Knife Assortment
Survival knives are arguably the most critical asset in all of your survival gear, but with thousands upon thousands of survival knives to choose from, how do you know which survival knives are going to be the best for you? It's not an easy question to answer until you learn a few important criteria regarding survival knives.

There are so many variables to consider when choosing survival knives. What style of survival knife should I choose? What brand of survival knives is best? How much should I spend? Size? Materials? All important questions to answer when choosing from the multitude of survival knives on the market today, but even these variables are just the tip of the iceberg.

The first thing you need to determine before choosing any survival knives is... how do you intend to use your survival knife? What tasks do intend to perform with it? Do you want a survival knife that you can rely on as a rugged chopper for processing firewood and use almost like a machete or hatchet so you don't have to carry these additional items? Do you like to leverage your knife for rougher and tougher tasks like prying, scraping or digging? Or do you plan on carrying a separate machete or hatchet in your kit for these "tougher tasks" and would prefer a more intricate cutting tool for more detailed cuts like making triggers for traps or more precise bushcraft camp tasks? Are you planning on using your knife to process fish and small game? Do you plan on using your knife as a weapon for self-defense, or simply as a tool to help you accomplish tasks?

You see, how you plan to use your survival knife should be the primary determining factor in choosing the right survival knife for the job. Larger, longer and thicker knives are better for chopping and batoning, scraping, digging and your more labor demanding tasks. But these knives are not nearly as well-suited for more intricate tasks like making precise cuts like feather sticks, survival trap triggers, pot hangers, etc. This is why many outdoorsmen and women actually choose to own and carry several different kinds of survival knives, each serving a different intended purpose.

It's obviously not realistic to carry a designated survival knife to serve each and every possible specific survival or outdoors task, so choosing a knife that can serve as many of those tasks as possible really well is the way to go. For this reason it would be a great exercise to make a list of the tasks that you would ideally like to be able to accomplish with your knife, evaluate those tasks (are they mostly demanding tasks or lighter-duty precise tasks, etc.) and choose a survival knife that would best fit the tasks you intend to use it for.

As usual, there are exceptions to every rule. In the experienced hands of a veteran woodsman or woman who truly knows how to leverage their survival knives, surprisingly intricate tasks can be accomplished with surprisingly large and cumbersome survival knives. The same is true of smaller and lighter duty knives. Many experienced survival knife users can also accomplish incredibly demanding tasks with their much smaller knives designed for much more intricate work... but this comes with experience, knowing the limits of your tools and what to reasonably expect of them, and knowing the proper techniques for doing such tasks safely and without risking damaging your knife.

If you are interested in learning more about survival knives, you can read about on our Choosing the Best Survival Knives page.

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