HomePosts Tagged "prepper gear"

Your EDC gear that you carry daily can be used in millions of ways. It could be something as trivial as having a light to shine into a dark room for greater visibility or as serious as a weapon to defend your life or the lives of others. We carry and advocate EDC (Every Day Carry) to place tools on your body or within ready access that can make whatever situation you are faced with easier, safer or more survivable.

Some of the items I carry on my person (practically) everywhere I go are my concealed carry weapon, a folding knife, multi-tool, flashlight and bandana. Naturally, I have the more common items like a cell phone and a watch, usually some paracord and a Nalgene bottle of water in my bag but I don’t carry much more than that. This allows me what I consider are the basics that can be used in situations to provide me with an advantage.

For additional capacity I have my Get Home Bag or Bug Out Bag in my vehicle that has pretty much anything I would need in all but the most dire circumstances to live for 72 hours or more. I don’t have that on my person, but it is in my vehicle so when I am venturing away from home, those additional supplies are with me as well.

But there are supplies and gear I can expect to use that fall outside of the ideal mission for a Bug Out Bag. I don’t really want to raid that bag anytime I need something because I will then have to remember to put it back. Additionally, I don’t want to overload my bug out bag with gear I might not be able to use effectively in a bug out scenario. I don’t want unnecessary weight that could slow me down. Enter the vehicle EDC gear concept.

What is vehicle EDC gear?

Your vehicle EDC gear are supplies that can easily be stored in your vehicle that can give you advantages in situations where survival or simple convenience require them. Just like with my personal EDC gear that I have on my person, I might not use any of my vehicle EDC gear on a day-to-day basis. I might not use it for months or years, but it is there if I need it.

Your vehicle EDC gear extends your regular EDC gear but it doesn’t take the place of your Bug Out Bag.

Some of your vehicle EDC items can be stored in smaller pouches like this one.

Important factors to consider when choosing your vehicle EDC gear list?

Every person is different. We have different vehicles, different resources, and different commutes, live in different climates and have different priorities and concerns. The items I am listing for my vehicle EDC are ones that I have chosen based upon what I can see myself possibly needing on any day where I live and commute daily. My list isn’t set in stone and has and will evolve over time. Your list might look different and that is perfectly fine. This exercise is simply looking at what items could augment your daily carry EDC and make life a little better if you encounter an emergency.

The amount of time you spend in your vehicle, the work you do, the vehicle’s mechanical condition and what you may be able to fix, if needed all play into consideration for this list.

What vehicle EDC gear should you consider?

So with all of that out-of-the-way and without needing a tractor-trailer to haul everything, what are some ideas for vehicle EDC gear that could help you?

Water

We never used to carry water in any of our vehicles until I got into Prepping. It wasn’t long after that my wife decided that she didn’t like the thought of being stranded in the car with small children in the heat of the summer. Water is possibly the easiest thing you can do to affect your survival situation no matter what you are faced with. You can either buy a case of water and keep it in the trunk or fill up some stainless steel water bottles and store them. The stainless steel will prevent the plastic leaching into the water when it gets really hot, but don’t forget about them when the temperatures drop down to freezing. I lost a perfectly good SIGG water bottle this past winter due to that and some of my gear had mildew damage for sitting in water for I don’t know how long.

Food

Not everyone carries a set of jumper cables anymore. Would you have some in an emergency?

This one might be up for debate. I know some people will say you should always have some spare food in your vehicle, but choosing the type of food is a little trickier because again you have to worry about it spoiling in the heat. Even if that isn’t an issue, you have to prepare it unless you buy something that requires no cooking. I have two mainstay emergency rations in my bug out bag, but I don’t have any spare food in my car. Would this be completely different if I was on a cross-country trip or commuted more than 10 miles to work? Yes, but as it stands right now I don’t.

Vehicle Maintenance/Misc.

Some of the items don’t apply to all vehicles and to all people. If you have zero mechanical skills for instance, there really isn’t any value in putting tools in your car is there? One could argue that maybe you should learn how to fix vehicles and I can see some value in that, but for me if my car broke down and I couldn’t see something very simple I could fix, I would start walking if there weren’t any other options. I wouldn’t be pulling the engine apart trying to see if I could fix some broken part with duct tape.

  • Jumper Cables – This should be a no-brainer. My kids have run the battery down in our car while my wife was inside shopping. She wasn’t in there long, but it doesn’t take long running the fan in the summer, lights on and radio blaring to kill a battery. She had to call me because she didn’t have any jumper cables. It would have taken all of two minutes to get her back on the road, but because nobody around her had any, or was offering to help she was temporarily stranded. Needless to say, she had jumper cables that night.
  • Duct Tape – Getting back to my point above, I don’t expect anyone is going to be fixing a flat tire or mending a broken axle with strong duct tape, but that stuff sure does come in handy. You probably don’t need an entire roll either, just wrap some around your water bottle for emergencies.
  • Fluids (as necessary) – Again, this is vehicle dependent. I don’t carry any fluids because my vehicle doesn’t go through fluids that I should worry about it. Some people have older vehicles that needed the occasional topping off of oil or coolant. If that is you, plan accordingly.
  • Flat Tire Tools – The simplest option is a good old can of fix a flat although sometimes that can cause more havoc when you take your tire into the shop and they refuse to fix the Tire Pressure sensor. The jack and wrench that come with your car are the bare essentials. They will get the job done, but not as easily as a beefier jack and lug wrench. Make sure the spare is full when you top off the other tires too. You don’t want to get a flat tire only to find out your spare is empty.
  • Spare Gloves – A good pair of mechanix gloves or even simple leather work gloves will come in handy if you have to get your hands dirty. It is much easier to put on a set of gloves than to get grease off your hands.
  • Tarp – Another multi-use item. A tarp can provide protection from rain. You can lay on it instead of muddy or frozen ground if you have to get under the car or it can protect the inside of your car from getting dirty.
  • Gas Can (empty) – Again, this is one that I don’t personally have only because I am pretty much always filling up when my tank gets to half-full. I could regret this one day, but for me it isn’t needed at this time. If you do get one of the newer style (which are practically worthless, thank you California) be sure to get a Gas spout and modify the can so it actually pours.
  • Basic Tools – Back to the initial point. Tools are great if you know what you are doing. If you can’t find the hood release, or recognize the big parts under the hood, this probably won’t do you any good.
  • Demolition Hammer – This might be a luxury item but if you ever need to beat the ever-loving crap out of something or just hammer some tent pegs in, a big hammer will come in handy. Doesn’t take up too much space either.

A good multi tool has hundreds of uses.

Survival/Safety

  • Multi-tool – The multi-tool goes in the duct tape category. Actually, for most people, this might be the only tool that you need. No, it won’t allow you to remove the water pump, but it can take on a myriad of smaller tasks.
  • Spare Magazines – No, I don’t mean People Magazine or the latest Oprah. In addition to my concealed carry weapon, I have a weapon in my car. It is my EDC backup. Usually, there are a few more on long trips, but I always have spare magazines for each weapon ready to go.
  • Seat Belt Cutter/Glass punch – The likelihood that you are going to be involved in an accident that requires you to cut your seat belt or shatter your window to escape is remote, but having something like the resqme car escape tool is cheap and provides some extra peace of mind.
  • Rope – I have some general use Polly rope if I ever need to tie something down to the roof rack. Paracord is a suitable alternative too and takes up a lot less room.

First Aid

Most of the time you will need a first aid kit in your car it is going to be for either headaches or minor boo-boos. You likely won’t need the Elite First Aid fully stocked medic bag unless you drive up to a war zone or horrific accident and have the skills and training to know what to do. However, a good first aid kit gives me peace of mind. I don’t plan on surgery, but I do have some celox quick clot, some blood stoppers along with my own IFAK. If nothing else, I can help stop bleeding if I need to until help arrives. Then I’ll pop some aspirin and go back to my car.

A good handheld ham radio will work in disaster scenarios to communicate when traditional methods are out.

Communication/Navigation

Getting lost is half the journey, right? Well, if you have all the time in the world to kill and plenty of gas, maybe that sounds nice but I usually don’t go for joy rides. Have you ever been given the wrong directions on your GPS? We have. I have had Google Maps tell me to get off the highway at one exit, drive back to the previous exit and turn around again. Yes, like an idiot I followed it. GPS might cease to work, or due to some other reason, you can’t use it. I like to have backups.

  • Road Atlas – Rand McNally has simple and low-cost maps that you should have in your car. Throw it in the trunk for emergencies.
  • State Atlas – I also have a state atlas for my state that will help me get out of my neighborhood (figuratively speaking here) if the roads are blocked and I need alternate routes.
  • Cell Phone Charge cord – You should have a spare cell phone charger in your car at all times. These are usually less than $20, plug into a USB to cigarette lighter adapter and can keep your phone going.
  • Ham Radio w/Battery Charger – I have one of my Baofeng handheld radios in my car in case all else fails. This also has FM frequencies on it if I need to listen to local news/radio.

General Purpose

  • Pen/Pad
  • LED Flashlight
  • Headlamp – Superior to a flashlight in a lot of cases due to the hands free nature.
  • Light Stick
  • Spare Batteries
  • Lighter
  • Toilet Paper
  • Shop Towels
  • Trash bags

Weather Dependent

The weather where you live greatly affects this list so I am not going to get too specific. I think people who live in colder climates already know the importance of keeping some supplies just in case.

  • Cold Weather
    • Tire Chains – or all-weather tires
    • Wool Blanket –I like a wool blanket better than the space blankets although it is more expensive and takes up more space.
    • Tow Strap – I now have a 4X4 so I have a tow strap just in case I can pull someone out who has fallen into a ditch. Again, this doesn’t make sense for all vehicles.
    • Proper footwear
  • Hot Weather
    • More water, electrolyte solution
    • Hats to block sun

What to store your vehicle EDC gear in?

Now, what do you store all of this EDC gear in? If you are building your kit out I would suggest you compile everything first and then choose a suitable container or containers for holding this gear. Some gear makes sense to be kept with similar associated gear and the potential for use might dictate where you place it. For instance, you might have food and any cooking supplies in one container. The vehicle you have will obviously dictate where some of this goes. The general purpose items could go in a glove-box, center console or a molle visor attachment.

I have different gear spread over the vehicle, but the majority sits nicely in a plastic tote from Rubbermaid. It’s there if I ever need it and I am not surprised at how often my vehicle EDC gear has come in handy. Maybe some of these items could help you out.

Your turn! What do you keep in your car that I missed?

Your EDC gear that you carry daily can be used in millions of ways. It could be something as trivial as having a light to shine into a dark room

For many preppers, a firearm is a must-have item for dealing with the aftermath of a potential SHTF or grid-down event. Firearms in the hands of properly trained individuals can prevent as well as cause death, so their use and acquisition isn’t something to be taken lightly. We routinely talk about firearms under the security category when I am mentioning the 4 things you should focus on when you are prepping, but simply having a weapon isn’t the end. You can check the box on having a firearm in your SHTF arsenal, but to be better prepared, you should look at what else needs to be planned for with that firearm to ensure that tool doesn’t become an expensive paperweight shortly after you need it.

Don’t get me wrong; just the fact that you have a firearm and a box of ammo is an advantage should you be called on to protect or defend your life, but history has shown us in order to be more fully prepared, there are other considerations that you need to account for and these topics are what I wanted to bring up today on the Prepper Journal. What are all of the other things you need to consider for your safety and protection that you may need to maintain that firearm and conversely your ability to protect yourself if the grid goes down?

Why do you need weapons if the grid goes down?

Before we get into the SHTF weapons checklist, I wanted to briefly paint a picture for you. Some disaster has happened and society is in chaos. Let’s take the example of an economic collapse which as I discussed the other day is a real and tangible threat our country faces. When millions (more) are out of work, services are cut and there are shortages on food, gasoline, power and protective services of police, people will get angry. Once they are angry, people will get desperate and once people get desperate, you better watch out.

A firearm is only a tool, but it is a tool designed to inflict mortal damage on your opponent. In the case of a desperate individual breaking into your home, would you rather have a firearm or harsh language? For me personally, I want firearms to be a tool my family has at our disposal in a case just like this. Above all things, I hope I never am forced to use a firearm in defense of my life or the lives of anyone in my care, but the pragmatist in me doesn’t believe for a second that people are always good deep down. I know people can be evil and act in ways that are dangerous. To believe anything else is foolish I believe so I prepare for evil and dangerous people while hoping I will never see that.

What are the best weapons for SHTF?

So if you are still hanging with me by now and don’t already have a firearm, you might be asking what are the best weapons to have on you in a STFT scenario. This question can be answered many different ways and I have actually written on this subject before. If I am looking holistically at an array of weapons you need for many different STHF scenarios, I would make similar recommendations as in our Top 5 Firearms You Need To Get Your Hands On Now, but this is an ideal scenario, not just what is necessary.

I have also recommended a shotgun as the best weapon for home defense under the assumption that if you only had time/money to purchase one weapon, what would that be. For a SHTF scenario, I think I have changed my mind somewhat on the best single weapon to a pistol. I read a post from FerFal who has his own blog. Ferfal lived through the Argentinian economic crisis and he makes a compelling case for the pistol as the best weapon for SHTF and I tend to agree with him. The main reason is that a pistol over any rifle or shotgun is highly concealable. Even if there is an economic collapse, life won’t immediately turn into Mad Max so as FerFal rightly proposes, you will still have to function in society for some time before you can whip out your camo outfit and go running down the streets geared up for battle.

The right pistol can be used for home defense easily and as I mentioned above, you can take it outside with you concealed so you can also have protection away from your home. I do still think that ideally you would have more weapon options, but a pistol would seem to be a priority for living in the immediate aftermath of any SHTF fallout.

What else do you need for SHTF?

OK, so for the rest of this article we are going to assume you have procured a SHTF weapon of some form, likely a pistol but what else would you need? A firearm is just a tool like I said and that tool needs several things to function ideally in bad situations for a long time. When we are talking about SHTF, you aren’t getting much worse than that and we will also assume a trip to Walmart or your local Sporting Goods store is out of the question.

Do you have supplies to keep your firearms clean after SHTF?

Ammo – Any weapon you have is going to need ammo and many people have asked me how much ammo do you need. Each person has to answer this question for themselves. I know some preppers who will say you can never have too much ammo. These people plan to not only never worry about running out, but logically state that ammo will be more valuable than precious metals after a collapse. Selco, who runs SHTFSchool.com and who lived through the Bosnian War where his city was under siege for years wrote that he personally gave all his gold for ammunition. Now, he says he keeps 2000 rounds per weapon. Your mileage may vary but consider how much ammo you need if you can never go to the store again. How much do you think you would need for one week? For one month? For one year? Purchase Hollow-points for damage and ball for practice.

Cleaning supplies – Sometimes we overlook how many weapon cleaning supplies you might need. Imagine the worst scenario. Do you have enough cleaning supplies for your weapons to last? Do you have a portable weapon cleaning kit? Do you have all of the right brushes for your various bore sizes? Do you have spare oil and cleaning solvent?

Magazines – Most new pistols will come with one or two magazines, but what if you lose one? What if during the chaos of a firefight, home invasion or attempted car-jacking you have to change magazines and in the panic, leave one on the ground that you aren’t able to find? Do you have spares to replace what could be lost? What about your AR-15? Do you have enough magazines for a load out and spares to replace those if you have to ditch your gear for some reason?

Holsters – This is one thing I think most people overlook and that is a good holster for your pistol. Sticking this down your pants isn’t the ideal way to carry concealed so a good holster is really important to have if you plan on carrying that firearm around with you. I would opt for a good concealed holster first and then get your go to war holster if you need one after that. Most people will only ever need a good concealable holster.

Spare parts – Things break all the time and you won’t be able to log on to Amazon.com to get 2-day free shipping in order to be resupplied after SHTF. You can now purchase spare parts for your weapons online easily so it may make sense to have spare parts on common items that may need replacing(if any) on your model of firearm . One of the reasons I like sticking to one weapons platform is that parts are interchangeable in many cases. I am partial to Glock so some of my magazines, all component parts and some barrels are interchangeable with different Glock weapons I own.

Training – Training is crucial because even if you have the best firearm in the world, pallets of ammunition and enough spare parts to last a lifetime, you still need to know how to use that weapon. Training at a minimum should enable you to safely use the weapon to hit what you are aiming at. You should be comfortable reloading ammunition, changing magazines, clearing jams or malfunctions and taking the weapon apart and putting it back together for cleanings. There are all forms of advanced tactical training courses out there too, but know the basics first.

I think that if you have a plan to keep a firearm for self-defense and you foresee a situation where you could be putting this weapon to use in a bad scenario, you should consider the checklist above. Do you have these bases covered? Did I miss anything?


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

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The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

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4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

For many preppers, a firearm is a must-have item for dealing with the aftermath of a potential SHTF or grid-down event. Firearms in the hands of properly trained individuals can

Natural and man-made disasters happen often without warning. Hurricanes, blackouts, terrorist attacks — you name it, anything could happen in a blink of an eye. In such situations, a well-prepared bug out bag with at least 72 hours worth of supplies is crucial to survival should events force you to evacuate from your home and expose you out there. And since every luggage space and weight counts, your bug out bag essentials should be lightweight, heavy-duty, and versatile. Add to or personalize this bug out bag checklist depending on your needs, but make sure you have all the bases covered. Read on to learn more about what to pack for survival.

Never Forget Water

Water should be at the top of every emergency survival list as the human body can only go on for three days without hydration. Prepared For Survival says a minimum of one liter a day per person is a must, along with water filters and purification tablets to treat water for additional supply.

Fuel With Food

While a person can survive longer without food than without water, you will need every ounce of energy to get you through any crisis. Opt for food stock items that are high in calories but do not require much space or preparation. Canned goods like beans, meats, and the like can be opened and eaten while on the go. Another option are preparing your own emergency food supply to which you just add water.

Survive With A Knife

And no, not a pocket knife. It may be more convenient to tote around, but you will need something more substantial for serious chopping of food, cutting of ropes, and even defending yourself when the situation calls for it. Bring one with a length between 4” and 6”, according to this Instructables knife guide.

Tools To Start A Fire With

With fire’s many important uses — cooking food, boiling water, providing warmth and comfort, and sending out a rescue signal — you better bring waterproof matches or lighters to ignite sparks. For an excellent homemade fire starter, use cotton with petroleum jelly, which, according to The Prepping Princess, can also be used to prevent wind burns, lubricate tools, and so on.

Heal Quick With A First Aid Kit

You can buy this at drug stores or better yet, create your own. In any case, Red Cross recommends first aid kit essentials such as medications, bandages, gauzes, and the like that should enable you to deal with illnesses, wounds, fractures, and so on while waiting for further medical assistance. Red Cross also advises that you update your stock regularly.

A Dose Of Survival Clothes

Rich Johnson of Getting Out Alive emphasizes the importance of the right gear for staying dry, keeping warm, and protecting your vital body parts such as your head, hands, and feet. For these, he suggests that you ready your clothing made of wool or synthetic material for insulation, head cover, trail shoes or boots and socks, and leather gloves.

 

Makeshift Shelter To Survive Any Weather

Away from the comfort and security of your home, you need to protect yourself from the heat or the cold so you can better go about your activities or simply rest. Decide on a lightweight sleeping bag or camping tent. For more affordable options, Creek Stewart of Willow Haven Outdoor recommends packing a tarp or a poncho. Don’t forget to include a rope or parachute cord and duct tape to secure your shelter.

Bring On The Lights

Aside from flashlights, consider glow sticks and LED lights, headlamps, and key chains, as Prepared For Survival suggests. Secure a supply of high-quality batteries; bringing lighting items will be in vain without those.

Communication Devices

It is crucial to still be able to receive and transmit data even if the usual modes of communication fail. Choose the right phone, radio, or walkie-talkie for you that will suit your desired specifications and budget. As with lighting items, prepare a good supply of batteries.

A Stash of Cash

Lastly, you should have cash on your person. Again, cash, not a credit card. Have it ready in smaller bills. Prepare change as well.

Once you have determined the bug out bag contents that you need, choose a portable backpack that is big enough to hold all of them. Since you would never want your bag to give up on you, invest in a backpack durable enough to withstand extreme conditions, but comfortable enough to carry for extended periods of time. Bags with plenty of compartments provide strategic ways of stuffing your survival essentials into your bug out bag.

With a clear understanding of these emergency survival staples, you will be able to customize your bug out bag essentials based on your needs and wants. So what are you waiting for? Put your bug out bag together now so you can confidently face whatever disastrous event that may occur any time in the future.

Natural and man-made disasters happen often without warning. Hurricanes, blackouts, terrorist attacks — you name it, anything could happen in a blink of an eye. In such situations, a well-prepared

Imagine a gathering of 10,000 preppers at a convention somewhere in the heart of Las Vegas and at that convention every single prepper had brought their own fully stocked bug out bag. The same bug out bags that each person had diligently packed using checklists gleaned from various prepping blogs, YouTube videos and their own personal experience. I would bet that a high percentage of them, maybe 90% or greater would have one very simple piece of gear in there somewhere along with the fire-steel, water filters, emergency blankets and survival knives. They would all have a survival fishing kit.

The survival tin, which is usually the container for the survival fishing kit is I think one of the most discussed pieces of gear in prepper circles. A quick search on YouTube finds well over 100,000 videos of preppers showing the contents of their tins, opening up the survival tins they receive from internet shopping and discussing the range of life saving implements they have been able to squirrel away in the confines of these small boxes.

I think the survival tin is so popular for a couple of reasons. They are really simple to make, just grab an assortment of items that you think can help you out if you are ever faced with some life or death survival scenarios. All you need, generally speaking are items that many of us already have lying around our homes somewhere. I put the contents of a sample survival kit below.

Most of us can see the utility in having these items in our possession. The survival tin is designed to hold this potentially life-saving gear in a relatively compact form that is easy enough to slip in your pocket everyday as you head out the door. This is a mandatory part of many prepper’s EDC gear and I agree that if you had this in your pocket and were dumped in the middle of nowhere, next to a river at 0 Dark 30, you would be much better off than someone who had nothing. At least you could use the flashlight to see your way to using your flint and tinder to make a fire. Then you could take the survival fishing kit to catch a nice big trout for your sustenance. But for the rest of us who aren’t subjected to the life of a hypothetical Bear Grylls episode and aren’t dropped anywhere, does a survival fishing kit make much sense at all or is it wasting space in our bug out bags, backpacks and pants pockets? Is it giving you a false hope for food that might never materialize?

A survival fishing kit doesn’t have to be complicated or take up too much space.

Does it make sense to have a survival fishing kit in your Bug out Bag?

I am not a big fish eater to be perfectly honest, but I grew up fishing with my friends in the neighborhood where we lived. In our area we had two fairly decent sized lakes within a short walk through the woods. In these lakes, we caught plenty of brim, crappie, bass and even a catfish or two. I completely understand the rationale behind having a way to catch fish as food and if you get lucky, a decent sized fish or even several smaller fish could provide a nice meal which if you are starving, could save your life.

There are dozens of survival fishing kits already assembled.

But fishing isn’t just as simple as throwing a hook into the water. Along with that survival fishing kit, you need the right bait, a good bit of luck and a small amount of skill and patience. Come to think of it, a lot of hunting activities share those traits. I think that many preppers assume that if they only have that handy little survival fishing kit in their bags they will be bringing a feast back to the campsite with ease. This is yet another one of the myths that I think preppers believe about bugging out to the woods.

I think that having the ability to even try your hand at fishing during a survival situation is going to come down to several factors but the top two that come to mind are your location and your availability to fish. Are you bugging out where there are any lakes, ponds or rivers with fish in them? Are you on the move? Can you stop and risk the exposure of fishing? Can you afford to alert others with a fire and the smell of fresh fish cooking? How large is your group?

You might argue that the supplies you need for a good fishing kit are so small and insignificant when it comes to weight that they are good to have anyway. I can buy that, but I think that some people are hanging their hopes on their perceived ability to put food on the blanket and simply having some hooks, weights and fishing line in your survival tin doesn’t guarantee you will catch anything or even find a place to fish in the first place.

What goes into a good survival fishing kit?

The contents of a survival fishing kit are pretty basic and true to the survival tin idea, they don’t need to take up much space. Could you fashion your own hooks with a soda can tab or natural materials and leave the fishing kit at home? Sure but for the size and weight I would rather have the real thing. Fishing line is hard to replicate in nature and it really doesn’t cost much at all to put these supplies together.

A good survival fishing kit should have at a minimum:

  • 50 ft. of sturdy mono-filament fishing line. 20lb test or higher will reduce the chance of it breaking. You can use a stick to wrap your line around similar to how a kite string works.
  • Assorted hooks for the fish in your area
  • Bobbers or you can use any material that will float like a piece of Styrofoam or wood.
  • Sinkers
  • Fishing lures or fake worms, whatever works best for your area. If you don’t know just ask the guy behind the counter at the place you are buying the fish hooks.


If you have fishing supplies at home, this should be easy to pull together or if you would rather buy a pre-built kit they have plenty of survival fishing kits online and most are less than the price of a meal out. Knowledge of basic knots that won’t come undone easily will help you here also. It would really suck to finally catch a nice fish only to have the hook come off the line as you are nearing shore and your dinner swim away into the deep.

So what is my answer to the question I posed at the beginning? I think because they are so compact and could give you the ability to catch fish if the right situation presented itself, a survival fishing kit makes a good addition to your bag. I would only expect to be able to use this in certain situations/locations though and not as a reliable source of food for survival. It’s the same with snares and traps, they can catch game for you but you have to be incredibly lucky to have an animal wander through the woods to your trap in the first place so don’t bet the farm on these two methods unless you are already living remotely well before the collapse. These make good supplies to have in my opinion, but not realistic food gathering options unless you are extremely lucky in a bug out scenario. Once the dust has settled and you are all living like nomads, then a good fishing kit would be a great idea.

What do you think?

Imagine a gathering of 10,000 preppers at a convention somewhere in the heart of Las Vegas and at that convention every single prepper had brought their own fully stocked bug

Everybody loves a good deal and when I see one I try not to pass it up. If I do, I am usually reminded of that great opportunity that I wasted at some point in the near future and have a Homer Simpson “Doh!” moment where I slap my head in disgust. Fortunately for me, I was able to take advantage of what I considered to be an excellent opportunity to get a piece of very high quality survival gear for a ridiculous price.

I was at a gun show recently and as I was scanning the tables I noticed a vendor with sleeping bags laid out. I noticed that they were the military style sleep system so I went over to take a look. He had one on display opened up and invited me to inspect it further which I did. I knew that these were surplus, but on inspection it appeared very close to new. The only signs of wear really were some slight fraying along the edge of one zipper but the bags were in great shape. What sold me was the price and $75 later, I walked out of that gun show with an awesome piece of equipment for a huge savings.

Military Sleep System

For some background, the Modular Sleep System as it is officially called was designed by Tennier Military Products specifically for use by the Military. It is also known as the Extreme Cold Weather sleeping bag. The system itself consists of 4 pieces counting the sack. The bags all join together giving you a Lego set of sleeping options. You have a green Patrol bag, black intermediate bag and a woodland camouflage waterproof bivy sack. Each piece can be used by itself or in conjunction with the other pieces to give you a system that is rated to keep a soldier warm to -20 degrees.

In warmer climates you can use the patrol bag by itself which is rated for use at 30 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The Intermediate bag is designed for use in cold climates ranging from -10 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Add them all together and you should stay nice and warm at temperatures lower than most of the country normally sees. If you are wearing long johns and a fleece, the modular sleep system is supposed to keep you warm down to -50. I don’t believe I will ever get a chance to test that but if I do, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Why was I looking for a sleeping bag? Actually I wasn’t, but that is the way the last couple of gun shows have gone for me. I walk in there looking for one thing, but end up walking out with another. No matter how many times I pass the tables with the nice Barrett M82 beasts on them I can’t do more than linger. I spend my time going up and down each aisle because from time to time you can find great deals. I wasn’t really looking for any specific firearm although several caught my eye so after making my rounds once I came back for my second pass.

I have Wiggy’s brand sleeping bags that I purchased for my wife and myself. The motivation was camping, but I wanted to have something that would last in other environments and situations too. The bags are well built and very nice but they aren’t small. The model I have doesn’t have a cover or sack over the bag but it is supposed to be warm down to -20. My feet were a little cold at 26 this past year and that was with long johns and socks so I don’t imagine 40 degrees colder would be any better.

Last year I also went with my son in law to the woods for our yearly hunting trip and he had his issue Military Sleep system and I admit that I was impressed with the options he had. We didn’t have this system back when I was in the service and all I got was a regular bag. No cover or liner went with it and my son-in-law talked about sleeping out in a field in the middle of a rain storm and staying nice and dry. Plus this equipment was made in America which is more than what the major bag manufacturers can say. Impressive!

All of these thoughts came to me as I was standing at the gun show looking over the Military Sleep System bag that had a lot of great benefits and a super price so I bought it. I don’t believe you can find a better piece of sleeping gear for the price I paid. Brand new these sleep systems cost $499 on the US Calvary website. If you get a comparable bag made from Wiggy’s with a bivy cover it will be about the same cost.

You can find these older systems yourself out on Ebay, but make sure you are getting military surplus and that the bag is manufactured by Tennier. There are knock-offs from China out there which won’t be anywhere near as good and the new models are made with ACU camo pattern.

If they have actual photos, you should try to match up the NSN# from the Military

Camo Green Patrol Bag- NSN # 8465-01-398-0685, X-long NSN # 8465-01-452-1688

Black Intermediate Bag-NSN # 8465-01-398-0687, X-Long NSN # 8465-01-452-1690

Woodland Camouflage Waterproof Bivy Cover-NSN # 8465-01-416-8517, X-Long NSN # 8465-01-452-1695

Black Stuff Sack-NSN # 8465-01-398-5428

Good Points and Bad Points

I’ll start with the bad points first. This bag is a beast and the whole setup weighs about 11 pounds. If you are worried about weight you should consider that. With the weight comes bulk. The sleep system comes with a compression sack, but you aren’t going to be able to roll this up into a nice tiny Chihuahua sized ball and throw it in your cargo pocket. I can handle the weight if needed, but a smaller frame person won’t. It is also something you have to consider if this is your plan for a bug out bag. Is it possible to carry this bag? Absolutely, and soldiers do it every day but you may want to adjust weight in other areas.

The good points are construction, price and utility. This bag is made of heavy duty rip-stop nylon and Gore-Tex. Anything that the military uses is designed to stand up to abuse so you can rely on these bags by Tennier lasting you for a very long time with normal use and care.  The price is unbeatable and I have even seen some places on Ebay that are cheaper than what I found. If I could go back to the gun show right now I would buy a few more. These bags can be used in place of a shelter if needed so you don’t even have to have a tent to stay warm and dry. And, they don’t have to be used for camping only. If your power goes out in the winter, this would give you a great way to stay nice and toasty without power or a fire.

So, if you are in the market for a sleeping bag that will keep you warm and cozy in a wide array of environments, is made in America and will last you a lifetime of use I would look into picking up a Military Surplus Sleep System. You won’t be disappointed.

Everybody loves a good deal and when I see one I try not to pass it up. If I do, I am usually reminded of that great opportunity that I

This is not your uncle’s camping axe!

I am not an expert with edged weapons, even though I have a trunk-load of them, including the old Buck hunting knife that my Dad gave me when I was a teenager many moons ago. So with that said, I wanted to share my latest prize, which was a Christmas gift from my son-in-law who is a serving USMC Officer who enlisted in the Corps and became a sniper. After his combat tour he was ‘mustang-ed’ into the officer’s program, and our entire family is very proud of him.

So back to my ‘gift’… I have seen and held a few axes, including what are known as ‘battle axes’, which have little utility in survival situations. The particular axe that is in the photos herein was designed and is built to USMC specs as a tactical survival axe by Elite Tactical. The USMC Tactical Survival Axe is no ordinary survival axe… it carries in its design the experience of the USMC.

The USMC Tactical Survival Axe

This axe is the real-deal, bad boy! The first thing I noticed when I picked it up is that it is a balanced instrument. As I said, I’m not an expert in edged weapons, but I strongly suspect that this axe could be effectively used as a throwing weapon (with practice). It is built like a tank and utilizes a combination of a corrosion free heavy-duty nylon fiber handle and a special stainless steel alloy for the axe-head. In addition to the large edge for chopping and splitting wood (etc.), the opposite pick end is effective for a host of uses, including piercing light gauge steel. So as we see, this unique axe is a hybrid between a camp axe and a battle-axe.

There’s more to this tactical axe than expected

But there’s more to this axe than meets the eye… the end of the handle has an ‘O’-ring sealed threaded cap complete with a very useful length of paracord. And when you remove this robust cap, set inside the heavy alloy handle cap is a high-quality compass! Inside the axe handle is another spring-loaded container that protrudes when the cap is removed, and inside that cylinder are additional goodies; a stainless steel fishing hook, a nice long length of fishing line, a bandage, a striker and half-dozen waterproof matches. There was room, so I added a curved sewing needle and nylon thread suitable for suturing flesh wounds or mending clothing to my kit.

You can get more details about the USMC Tactical Survival Axe by going to this specs page.

Being prepared today means being ready for tomorrow.

This is not your uncle’s camping axe! I am not an expert with edged weapons, even though I have a trunk-load of them, including the old Buck hunting knife that my

For many preppers, a firearm is a must-have item for dealing with the aftermath of a potential SHTF or grid-down event. Firearms in the hands of properly trained individuals can prevent as well as cause death, so their use and acquisition isn’t something to be taken lightly. We routinely talk about firearms under the security category when I am mentioning the 4 things you should focus on when you are prepping, but simply having a weapon isn’t the end. You can check the box on having a firearm in your SHTF arsenal, but to be better prepared, you should look at what else needs to be planned for with that firearm to ensure that tool doesn’t become an expensive paperweight shortly after you need it.

Don’t get me wrong; just the fact that you have a firearm and a box of ammo is an advantage should you be called on to protect or defend your life, but history has shown us in order to be more fully prepared, there are other considerations that you need to account for and these topics are what I wanted to bring up today on Final Prepper. What are all of the other things you need to consider for your safety and protection that you may need to maintain that firearm and conversely your ability to protect yourself if the grid goes down?

Why do you need weapons if the grid goes down?

Before we get into the SHTF weapons checklist, I wanted to briefly paint a picture for you. Some disaster has happened and society is in chaos. Let’s take the example of an economic collapse which as I discussed the other day is a real and tangible threat our country faces. When millions (more) are out of work, services are cut and there are shortages on food, gasoline, power and protective services of police, people will get angry. Once they are angry, people will get desperate and once people get desperate, you better watch out.

A firearm is only a tool, but it is a tool designed to inflict mortal damage on your opponent. In the case of a desperate individual breaking into your home, would you rather have a firearm or harsh language? For me personally, I want firearms to be a tool my family has at our disposal in a case just like this. Above all things, I hope I never am forced to use a firearm in defense of my life or the lives of anyone in my care, but the pragmatist in me doesn’t believe for a second that people are always good deep down. I know people can be evil and act in ways that are dangerous. To believe anything else is foolish I believe so I prepare for evil and dangerous people while hoping I will never see that.

What are the best weapons for SHTF?

So if you are still hanging with me by now and don’t already have a firearm, you might be asking what are the best weapons to have on you in a STFT scenario. This question can be answered many different ways and I have actually written on this subject before. If I am looking holistically at an array of weapons you need for many different STHF scenarios, I would make similar recommendations as in our Top 5 Firearms You Need To Get Your Hands On Now, but this is an ideal scenario, not just what is necessary.

I have also recommended a shotgun as the best weapon for home defense under the assumption that if you only had time/money to purchase one weapon, what would that be. For a SHTF scenario, I think I have changed my mind somewhat on the best single weapon to a pistol. I read a post from FerFal who has his own blog. Ferfal lived through the Argentinian economic crisis and he makes a compelling case for the pistol as the best weapon for SHTF and I tend to agree with him. The main reason is that a pistol over any rifle or shotgun is highly concealable. Even if there is an economic collapse, life won’t immediately turn into Mad Max so as FerFal rightly proposes, you will still have to function in society for some time before you can whip out your camo outfit and go running down the streets geared up for battle.

The right pistol can be used for home defense easily and as I mentioned above, you can take it outside with you concealed so you can also have protection away from your home. I do still think that ideally you would have more weapon options, but a pistol would seem to be a priority for living in the immediate aftermath of any SHTF fallout.

What else do you need for SHTF?

OK, so for the rest of this article we are going to assume you have procured a SHTF weapon of some form, likely a pistol but what else would you need? A firearm is just a tool like I said and that tool needs several things to function ideally in bad situations for a long time. When we are talking about SHTF, you aren’t getting much worse than that and we will also assume a trip to Walmart or your local Sporting Goods store is out of the question.

Do you have supplies to keep your firearms clean after SHTF?

Ammo – Any weapon you have is going to need ammo and many people have asked me how much ammo do you need. Each person has to answer this question for themselves. I know some preppers who will say you can never have too much ammo. These people plan to not only never worry about running out, but logically state that ammo will be more valuable than precious metals after a collapse. Selco, who runs SHTFSchool.com and who lived through the Bosnian War where his city was under siege for years wrote that he personally gave all his gold for ammunition. Now, he says he keeps 2000 rounds per weapon. Your mileage may vary but consider how much ammo you need if you can never go to the store again. How much do you think you would need for one week? For one month? For one year? Purchase Hollow-points for damage and ball for practice.

Cleaning supplies – Sometimes we overlook how many weapon cleaning supplies you might need. Imagine the worst scenario. Do you have enough cleaning supplies for your weapons to last? Do you have a portable weapon cleaning kit? Do you have all of the right brushes for your various bore sizes? Do you have spare oil and cleaning solvent?

Magazines – Most new pistols will come with one or two magazines, but what if you lose one? What if during the chaos of a firefight, home invasion or attempted car-jacking you have to change magazines and in the panic, leave one on the ground that you aren’t able to find? Do you have spares to replace what could be lost? What about your AR-15? Do you have enough magazines for a load out and spares to replace those if you have to ditch your gear for some reason?

Holsters – This is one thing I think most people overlook and that is a good holster for your pistol. Sticking this down your pants isn’t the ideal way to carry concealed so a good holster is really important to have if you plan on carrying that firearm around with you. I would opt for a good concealed holster first and then get your go to war holster if you need one after that. Most people will only ever need a good concealable holster.

Spare parts – Things break all the time and you won’t be able to log on to Amazon.com to get 2-day free shipping in order to be resupplied after SHTF. You can now purchase spare parts for your weapons online easily so it may make sense to have spare parts on common items that may need replacing(if any) on your model of firearm . One of the reasons I like sticking to one weapons platform is that parts are interchangeable in many cases. I am partial to Glock so some of my magazines, all component parts and some barrels are interchangeable with different Glock weapons I own.

Training – Training is crucial because even if you have the best firearm in the world, pallets of ammunition and enough spare parts to last a lifetime, you still need to know how to use that weapon. Training at a minimum should enable you to safely use the weapon to hit what you are aiming at. You should be comfortable reloading ammunition, changing magazines, clearing jams or malfunctions and taking the weapon apart and putting it back together for cleanings. There are all forms of advanced tactical training courses out there too, but know the basics first.

I think that if you have a plan to keep a firearm for self-defense and you foresee a situation where you could be putting this weapon to use in a bad scenario, you should consider the checklist above. Do you have these bases covered? Did I miss anything?

For many preppers, a firearm is a must-have item for dealing with the aftermath of a potential SHTF or grid-down event. Firearms in the hands of properly trained individuals can

A critical prep that you have to plan for including in your bug out bag is water. When I first got into prepping, I had people saying that they would carry all of the water they needed in their bug out bags. If you figure 3 gallons (1 gallon per person per day), that would simply not be wise or possible for most people for very long. Then I started seeing people say they would pack 3 liters of water. That’s better, but 3 big plastic bottles is almost 7 pounds, not to mention you must have space for them. Not the end of the world, but not insignificant either.

One of the ideas I try to promote is to watch the weight on your bug out bags and not overload them. I recommend this for a lot of really simple reasons. If your Bug Out Bag is too heavy, it will hurt eventually. It might not hurt when you first take off walking, but it will eventually. In addition to rubbing you raw and potentially causing injury, you will be more off-balance and less able to quickly move. If you can’t move out of danger quickly enough, that bug out bag could get you killed. The better idea is to pack your bug out bag in a way that is as light as possible while still maintaining the essentials you need to survive for up to 72 hours. Don’t go minimalistic for the sake of making the scales proud, but you should look carefully at the overall weight.

Water, Food and ammo, possibly a tent are all great places to shed pounds from your bug out bag and today we are focusing on water. I have personally tried a few different water filtration methods and wanted to highlight the pluses and minuses for you today on Final Prepper as I see them. Hopefully this information you will make sure the bug out bag water filtration options you choose will work well for you if you ever need to use them.

In addition to being less heavy than simply carrying your water on you at all times, these bug out bag water filtration options will give you increased range and capabilities. Instead of being limited to only the water you are able to carry, it is easy to filter an extra liter or more from sources along your route. All the while, ensuring that the water you are drinking isn’t going to make you sick.

MSR MiniWorks EX Water Filter

This first filter I tested is one I have owned for years and up until recently used on my backpacking trips. The MSR MiniWorks EX is a great water filter that is activated by a manual pump. You simply connect the hose, stick that into the water and screw your Nalgene bottle or dromedary bag onto the bottom of the filter and start pumping. In just a few minutes the water from your  source will be pressed through the filtration system and with a little time, you will have a full bottle of clean water to drink. Filtering a standard Nalgene bottle like below probably took 3-4 minutes.

msrminiworksfilter

The MSR MiniWorks EX was my first backpacking water filtration. We loved it when we had to depend on it in the woods.

I would take these down to the river and fill up everyone’s water bottle as well as two 48 ounce bladders we had when we stopped. The bladders were to refill bottles and went toward coffee and reconstituting our freeze-dried food.

So, good and bad about this filter. First off, I like the fact that this is pretty simple to use and you don’t have to get down into the water to collect anything. The water tastes great and the pump has stood the test of time for the most part. I did have one pump stop working on my wife when we were on a backpacking trip. Fortunately, I had two filters so we had some redundancy built-in. Pumping does take you a little while and the pump isn’t the lightest or cheapest option. Once you return from your trip you need to clean the filter element, usually with a scrubbing pad to get the gunk off of it and let everything dry completely for a few days before you put it away.

MSR MiniWorks Features

  • Ceramic/carbon Marathon™ EX element effectively removes bacteria and protozoa including giardia and cryptosporidia
  • Also removes unpleasant tastes and odors caused by organic compounds, such as iodine, chlorine and pesticides
  • Filter can be cleaned over and over for maximum field life with no tools required
  • Bottom screws onto an MSR Dromedary® Bag or Nalgene® water bottle for easy operation (both sold separately)
  • Easy dis-assembly lets you troubleshoot and maintain the MSR MiniWorks EX filter in the field

Weight: 14.6 ounces

Cost: $84 on Amazon.com

I also found this excellent review of the MSR MiniWorks EX from Black Owl Outdoors for those who like to watch videos.

Sawyer Mini

When I first tried out the Sawyer Mini I thought this was the best invention in the world at least from the standpoint of water filtration options for preppers. The filter was extremely lightweight, compact and could filter hundreds of thousands of gallons. The Sawyer Mini could be used as a straw to drink from a water bottle like the life straw or from the included squeeze bag that comes with it.

The cost, low-weight and ability to filter so much water is an incredible advantage, but using either the squeeze bag or a standard water bottle has some drawbacks in my opinion. You are still only filtering on demand unless you squeeze the water into another container and that isn’t always the most practical. One of the reasons I don’t think the LifeStraw is the best option for me in all cases.

sawyerwaterfilter

You can use the included squeeze bag to collect water and the Sawyer will make it safe to drink.

Sawyer Mini Features

  • Hollow-fiber membrane offers a high flow rate; sip on the Mini like a straw and it filters the water while it’s on the way to your mouth
  • Filter will also fit the threads on the included Sawyer 16 fl. oz. reusable pouch that you can fill at a lake or stream and then use to squeeze water through the filter
  • 0.1-micron filter physically removes 99.99999% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera and E.coli; removes 99.9999% of all protozoa, such as giardia and cryptosporidium
  • Filter will also fit the threads on most bottles of water that you buy at a grocery store; can also be used as an inline filter (adapters and hoses not included)

Weight: 2 ounces

Cost: $20 on Amazon.com

I also found this review for perspective from Preparedmind 101

Polar Pure – Crystal Iodine Water Treatment

The third option I tried is Polar Pure. Polar Pure is a Crystal Iodine water treatment, not a filter. The bottle holds actual iodine crystals you might be able to see in the photo below. The process is for you to fill the bottle with water and let this sit for 1 hour. At the end of an hour you have something like concentrated iodine brine that you can use make almost any water safe to drink. There are simple to follow instructions on the bottle and even a hand-dandy gauge to tell you how many capfuls of the solution your water will need to be safe. The number depends upon the temperature of the water.

polarpure

Polar Pure uses iodine crystals to disinfect water.

You pour the recommended capfuls into your 1 liter water bottle and let it stand for 20 minutes before drinking. When you are done, just fill the bottle up with water again and it will be ready for your next treatment in another hour. This relatively small bottle will last for up to 2,000 liters of water, although I don’t know who would count them. When the iodine crystals are gone, so is your ability to use this to make your water safe.

Iodine, unlike the micron water filters above can kill viruses. Giardia, mentioned above is caught by the water filters, but if you have something like hepatitis or polio in the water, the simple filtration method above won’t work. Now, the question becomes, do you have to worry about viruses in the water you are drinking or just organisms that can make you violently ill?

The Polar Pure bottle is one that I would carry with me as an extreme back up for highly questionable water. The science is good on making your water safe. Iodine has been used for a very long time, but the bottle is glass. You could be in trouble if this is all you have and it is broken. Additionally, iodine will make your water safe, but it won’t filter it out so if you pour yourself a big cup of slightly brown pond water and treat it with iodine, it will be perfectly safe for drinking – brown pond water. Filtering your water first through a handkerchief or something like coffee filters at a minimum would be better. Some people use Polar Pure plus another filter for the ultimate in safe water.

Weight: 5 ounces

Cost: $20 on Amazon.com

For those who want to see the polar pure in action, there is a good video from Provident-Living-Today.com

Platypus 2L GravityWorks Filter

The last item I tried out for my bug out bag water filtration decision process was a relatively new purchase. I had heard about the Platypus GravityWorks Filter system from one of the readers on Final Prepper when I was initially looking at the Sawyer answer to the same functionality. The Platypus was almost half the price so I decided to give this a try because it looked like the perfect solution to me.

platypusdirty

Keeping the bags separated is easy with clear labels.

The Platypus 2L GravityWorks Filter is a two bag system. You have one bag for water collection and it is very simply labeled “Dirty”. Your dirty water goes in here and it has a wide opening at the top which works very similar to a zip loc bag. This wide opening allowed me to collect 2 liters of water from the creek very quickly and easily. You can see my test water isn’t a crystal clear glacier spring so the bag’s label was very appropriate.

platypusbaghang

The Platypus Bag system has a simple attachment system to hang your bag of water to be treated up on a tree, bumper or anything higher than the clean bag. Gravity does all the hard work.

Another nice feature were the connectors. The Platypus GravityWorks has a quick connect so you can collect your dirty water and either pack it out for filtration later or carry it back to camp. The filter element snaps in and you are ready to filter.

platypusquickconnect

The Platypus filter element snaps into the reservoir quick connect and you are all set to filter water.

platypusgravityworks

This system is fast. I only filled up about 1 liter but it was filtered in less than 2 minutes.

Once the filter is snapped in, the water will flow almost immediately. The tube running from the filter has a stopper that you can use to quickly pinch off the flow while you hook up the clean bag. As long as the bag of dirty water is higher than the clean bag, the appropriately named GravityWorks filter will take care of all your heavy lifting while beautiful clean water flows into your empty bladder.

This system will hold 2 liters of water which I think gives you a lot of water for the average person. You can also just filter two liters, then collect two more liters of dirty water for later. You will be carrying four liters of water with you at all times. Two filtered and two that needs to be filtered.

Cleaning this system is as simple as lifting the clean water bag up over the dirty water bag and squeezing your clean water bag. You will see the dirty sediment flow back into the dirty bag and you know your filter is clean when that stops.

Platypus GravityWorks Filter Specs

  • Easy, Pump-free filtering
  • Fast! 1.5-liters per minute
  • Weighs as little as 7.2 oz. (203 g)
  • Ultra-Compact
  • Meets all EPA & NSF guidelines for the removal of Bacteria and Protozoa, including Giardia, Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Salmonella and Cholera

Weight: 7 ounces

Cost: $79 on Amazon.com

And I found this review from Outdoor Gear Lab that shows the larger 4 Liter system.

So What is the best bug out water filtration system?

This question isn’t something I can answer with a definitive statement that will stand for all time or in all situations, but I will share some of my thoughts. My idea of bugging out involves living possibly for some time in forested terrain. I plan to be on the move and I don’t want to slow down more than I have to for rest. Water is crucial for life so I don’t want to have to go to more trouble than is prudent to acquire it. Additionally, if I am strapping a pack on my back and walking out the door, I have to plan for being on my own so to speak for potentially much longer than 72 hours.

I have considered both caplets like the Portable Aqua Water Filter tablets and I even own some of them, but they last for a finite amount of time. The standard bottles will give you I think 25 quarts of water. With a hike for three days in the summer, enough for food and your bottle will quickly be cleaned out. It will go faster if you are sharing.

platypuswaterfiltration

I had all of this clean, fresh tasting water in a little less than two minutes.

The LifeStraw product is one I just don’t think is practical. It is a great idea, don’t get me wrong, but I for one don’t want to be forced to stick my head in a puddle just to get a drink. I want to take giant gulps of water if I am thirsty and I want to be able to take water along with me. Sure you can fill up empty bottles and drink out of them with a LifeStraw, but I think there is a better option.

The MSR Filter pump has usually been a great filter, but because it is mechanical, I have had one give me troubles. I was able to repair it eventually, but that wasn’t a good sign. I should have back-ups anyway I know, but I would rather go with a more stable platform and the MSR is heavier than all of the other options I have tested.

What about boiling water? Sure you could do that, but you have to build a fire first and then boil your water, then let it cool down. Do you want to do all of that in the heat of summer? Even in winter, that fire might be nice, but to go through all that effort for drinking water seems like a fall back plan, not the first option.

Iodine crystals like Polar Pure seem to be the best option for killing viruses, but like I said, their bottle is glass. One slip out of your hands onto a rock will end your water filtration options for that bug out trip. Even if you don’t drop it, I prefer to drink water as soon as possible and wouldn’t want to remember to keep my iodine warm for effectiveness.  I think Polar Pure makes sense as a back up, but not the sole method of water filtration in a bug out scenario. For Backpacking trips Polar pure is a great idea. If you have the time to leisurely prepare your water, I think this is a good option.

The Sawyer as it is would probably be my second choice because of the weight and size. I would have to fill a large reservoir, something like the 48 ounce Naglene Bladders and rig up some way to squeeze filter a larger amount of water into my bottles. Not the best, but it is incredibly light and could get the job done.

What about items like the SteriPEN that use UV light to make water safe to drink? What about EMP? What if it breaks? What if you run out of batteries?

I think that for me the GravityWorks system from Platypus is the easiest and fastest way to collect water that will be clean and fresh tasting. With it’s fast flow rate, I can grab a 2 liter bag of water, hook up the filter and throw them both in my bag if needed and keep on going to a safe location. This seems to offer the most capacity with the fastest filtration time and easiest system to learn and remember. I can teach my kids how to use this in about 2 minutes which is about the same amount of time it takes to produce 2 liters of clean water.

That is my take on the best bug out water filtration options. What do you use?

A critical prep that you have to plan for including in your bug out bag is water. When I first got into prepping, I had people saying that they would

Planning a day hike can teach you so many skills that you can incorporate into your bug out plans. I have advocated that longer backpacking trips are extremely valuable for the lessons you can learn from them, which apply directly to any plans you have of strapping that heavy pack on your back and hiking into the local forest. A day hike gives you similar opportunities to learn, practice your bug out plan, and get some great exercise at the same time in the beauty of nature. What’s not to love?

You shouldn’t just walk into the woods unprepared though even when by definition; a day hike should have you home at night. Accidents happen and that is one reason why I am a prepper. I like to think that even small day hikes present opportunities for me to be able to take care of myself or my family if something unexpected happens.   Do you think Aaron Ralston, famously portrayed in the movie 127 Hours didn’t plan to make it home that night he left? Aaron spent over 5 days trapped by a giant bolder and was only able to free himself by first breaking, then cutting off his own arm. Talk about survival!

Each year there are numerous people lost or stranded in the wilderness so it makes perfect sense to me to pack for unplanned visits to the woods.

All of that isn’t to say that I think you should bring your full Bug Out Bag with you, but for some of you that might be a good idea to see how it feels after a few hours. My wife and I did this before our first backpacking trip to try out items like our portable stove, water filtration items, eat some of the freeze-dried food we would live off of in the wilderness but most importantly to see how lugging our new backpacks full of gear felt. That short day hike taught us a lot about our packs so I put together this list below for any of you who might be considering the same thing  on a day hike scale.

Day hike checklist

Feel free to print this day hike checklist off and use it for your own adventures. The items I list below are just suggestions. Where you live , the environment you will be experiencing on your day hike and personal abilities should all factor into your own choices, but this list should cover the basics needed for survival.

DayHikeChecklist_

A day hike checklist will help you be prepared for unforeseen situations.

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Map and Compass – Who wants to get lost out in the great outdoors? Having a good compass and a map of your area are very important for anything but the shortest hikes in a National Park where the trail is well-marked and usually less than a few miles. Maps are more important if you aren’t familiar with the area, the terrain is treacherous,  steep or the environment is harsher (think Grand Canyon). National Geographic Trails Illustrated Maps are excellent and usually available for most of the larger destinations. These maps are waterproof which is a huge plus if you sweat like a beast or are planning to ford the local river to punch your bad ass hiker card.

You also need to know how to use that compass and be able to read a map.

Sun Protection

Sunglasses – Sunglasses, especially polarized lenses are a must have if for nothing else than looking cool. Seriously, sunglasses will protect your eyes and keep you possibly from loosing your footing in the gaze of the setting sun.

Chap stick/Lip Balm –This is one thing that I never used to carry until I went backpacking in the winter one time. Usually I never use chap stick, but this one time I had a cold and my nose was stuffed up which meant I was breathing out of my mouth. Eventually, my lips were nice and chapped so some good lip balm, although it isn’t a life saver, sure makes the journey smoother. Yes I said that.

A good headlamp doesn’t have to cost a fortune and can be a lifesaver if you are walking in the dark.

Hat – I try to always wear a hat when I am in the woods. In the winter it is something to keep me warm like a toboggan or I can go Crocodile Dundee with my Outback Trading Company River Guide hat. Nothing beats one of these if you are caught in the rain. They also do an excellent job of keeping the sun off your face. In hotter weather a lighter option might be better like the OR Helios hat.

Protective layers – In the wintertime this is usually more of a thought but even in the summer I plan for something should the temperatures drop or I am forced to spend the night in the woods. This can be as simple as a capilene base layer or a shemagh. When you are hiking you are burning energy that keeps you warm. I try to plan for what I would want as clothing if I couldn’t move.

Light – Always have a light with you. My flashlight is part of my EDC kit and even sitting here at my computer, I have a flashlight on me. When I am going hiking I always take a headlamp as well because I think they are superior when you are walking in the dark. These come in all prices but you don’t have to spend a fortune on a good headlamp.

First Aid Kit – I don’t expect anyone to take the supplies to be able to suture their arm if they have to hack it off with a dull multitool, but a good first aid kit should always go with you. I have the ultralight first aid kit from Adventure medical, but I augment this with a tourniquet and an extra blood stopper bandage. We have had to break into the first aid kit on multiple occasions for simple cuts and scrapes to aspirin.

Ability to make fire – You may be forced to spend the night in the woods and if this happens to you it makes sense to have something to make a fire with. Normally if I am out on an official backpacking trip I have several methods just in case, but for day hikes I have a simple Bic lighter that I have wrapped about 3 feet of duct tape around just in case. This way I can easily start a fire if needed. I keep this in a waterproof case and obviously you can also take a magnesium striker as backup.

Tools – It may sound like overkill but I take a knife and my multitool. I don’t lug my big end of the world survival knife on day hikes but I have my favorite folder as well as my Leatherman which should cover just about any need I have. Even if that need is to saw a bone in half.

Camelbak Antidote 100 oz. capacity and tough as nails.

Food – A lot of people take off into the woods thinking they will be back in a few hours only to find themselves stranded for a couple of days. Now, you won’t die technically for a pretty long time from starvation but I always pack some food in my backpack . If the duration of the hike is longer, I will even pack an extra day’s meal. This can be as simple as an MRE although there are lighter options like a Freeze-dried pouch of something like my favorite, chilli-mac, or a few Cliff bars or some trail mix. Even if you don’t eat them, it is a good idea to have them just in case.

Water – This can be as simple as a bottle of water or a water bladder. I have grown to appreciate the usefulness (and capacity) of my Camelbak Antidote 100 oz. Plus, I don’t have to stretch my arms behind me or take off my pack to get a drink. If I am going to a new place then I also pack my Sawyer Mini water filter so I can resupply if needed. I haven’t had to use that yet as the Camelbak has always been enough for my hikes, but you never know.

Shelter – For me I usually just have the simple emergency mylar blanket or a survival bivvy . They aren’t perfect, but they are better than nothing. I wouldn’t likely put a sleeping bag in a day pack. You might argue that you should be able to build your own shelter and I agree, but what if you are trapped by a bolder or for some other reason aren’t able to build your favorite debris shelter? Options.

Extra items – Depending on the location I will take a GPS to back up my map reading. Sometimes I will take extra batteries for the electronics, but usually I just put fresh rechargeable batteries in there before we leave. Other nice to haves are dependent upon how much room I have in my pack like a mat for sitting down that I made out of a piece of reflective insulation material. It’s very lightweight and could even double as a signaling device. I will also take a trash bag sometimes because they, like duct tape have a lot of uses. My packs all have whistles as well. You will have other items you want to bring.

What items did I miss? What do you pack on your day hikes?

Planning a day hike can teach you so many skills that you can incorporate into your bug out plans. I have advocated that longer backpacking trips are extremely valuable for