ALL SURVIVAL GEAR IS NOT CREATED EQUAL
There are some people that think that survival gear is the same thing as “backpacking gear”, or “military gear.” In their heads, they all kind of mean the same thing, and are used interchangeably.
News flash–all “gear” is NOT created equal. And while there is definitely some overlap, REAL survival gear is focused squarely on 1 thing–keeping you alive. It doesn’t have to be fancy, expensive, ultra-mega-super-duper-feather-lightweight, or brand name. It doesn’t have to come in “olive drab”, “coyote tan”, or “tactical black.” (and if you are looking more for “sportsman’s gear” or general outdoor gear, you should check out Ryan Templeton’s site GearLobo).
REAL survival gear needs to be durable enough to not fall apart, and affordable enough that you can actually buy it. As a secondary consideration, and whenever possible, survival supplies need to be small enough to be realistic for the space you have (both around your home, and in your bug out bag). And for extra credit, the best survival gear should have multiple utilities.
Just to help color the picture a little bit more, here are a couple examples:
Survival Gear Is NOT:
- A $300 designer knife
- A $2000 custom-built 1911
- A $350 North Face Coat
Survival Gear IS:
- A $40 knife that can take some abuse
- A $400 used Glock 19
- The same North Face coat, bought at a 2nd-hand store for $25
SURVIVAL GEAR FOR YOUR HOME
Survival gear isn’t always in a backpack. In fact, I would argue that for most people, the supplies and equipment you have in your house are more important, and will be more used in sustaining life and getting through emergencies, than the stuff you put in your BOB.
Shelter and Protection From The Elements
Water Preps For The House
Food Preps For The House
Security Preps For The House
Medical Preps For The House
Alternative Energy Preps For The House
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Tools and Other Preps For The House
SURVIVAL GEAR FOR YOUR CAR
Having preps in your car is a BIG deal. It just is. Think about what a dangerous activity driving is to begin with. For 90% of us, it’s the most dangerous thing that we do everyday. And then consider just the sheer distances that cars take us.
In an hour driving in our cars, we can be a week’s journey from our home by foot. Cars are incredibly complex and fragile machines, so if they do break down, there is a high likelihood that many people will not have the knowledge or equipment to fix them.
And lastly, the lifestyle that we live, and commitments that we make make travel by car a daily necessity. Outside of a handful of urbanites, pretty much nobody works, lives, goes to school, goes to church, or hangs out with friends within walking distance anymore.
Add it all up, and the bottom line is that traveling by car is a high-risk and frequently occurring activity, that we should be well prepared for. To make things simple, for each car I have, I like to have a rubbermaid tote for my “car” preps (jumper cables, fix a flat, etc), and a duffel bag next to it for the “human” preps.
Survival Supplies to Keep the Car Running:
Shelter Preps For The Car:
Water Preps For The Car:
Food Preps For The Car:
Security Preps For The Car:
Medical Preps For The Car:
Alternative Energy Preps For The Car:
Survival Gear for Your Bug Out Bag
While many of the supplies that make sense for your home or car survival kits apply similarly to your bug out bag, the gear for your bug out bag needs to be particularly lopsided in one area: protection from the elements.
Because unlike an emergency that you weather from your home or in your car, a true bug out situation may find you without shelter. And remember, exposure to the elements is a faster killer than hunger or thirst. Keep that in mind when you are putting together your kit (whether you follow any of my other suggestions or not), and allocate your space and money accordingly.
Sheltering Preps For Your Bug Out Bag:
Water Preps For Your Bug Out Bag:
Food Preps For Your Bug Out Bag:
Security Preps For Your Bug Out Bag:
Medical Preps For Your Bug Out Bag:
Alternative Energy Preps For Your Bug Out Bag:
Everyday Carry Gear
The concept behind everyday carry gear is simple–designate certain gear as things that you commit to carrying every single day. The application of what that means however can be broad. For some people this could mean a firearm, or a special pouch full of supplies. For other people it might be a little Altoids tin kit with fish hooks and fire starters in it, and for others still, it might be as simple as carrying some tools or gadgets on a key ring.
Everyday Carry Knife
A knife is probably the most common mainstay of everyday carry. Some people choose to carry folding knifes, and others fixed blade knifes. People carry knives in their back pocket, front pocket, or even carry fixed blade neck knives. Some people carry more than 1 knife on them. I personally prefer a really small folding knife. For the last several years, my everyday carry knife has been the Kershaw Cryo.
Why is a knife such a common item?
A knife has many uses, but they virtually all boil down to 2 larger concepts: CONstruction and DEstruction. All of the cutting, stabbing, and poking functions of a knife are essentially wrapped up in these.
Everyday Carry Flashlight
A flashlight might be the next most popular everyday carry item. There are a million different kinds and sizes of flashlights, that take different batteries and have special features. The point is, it’s nice to have a light when you need one!
I personally like an EDC light that takes 1 AAA battery. These lights are incredibly small, and can be found with a push button tailcap, a keychain attachment, and several different modes (brightness, etc). In short, a lot of usability, in a small package.
Everyday Carry Gun
How about an everyday carry gun? Well, many people include firearms as part of their everyday carry gear. A gun is something that will hopefully never need in your lifetime, but better to not need it and have it than the reverse.
You can find all calibers, makes, and body styles, but in general, what makes a good everyday carry gun is small size. Many gun manufacturers make a “compact” and “subcompact” version of their pistols, specifically for people that want to carry their firearms concealed.
Everyday Carry Keychain
An everyday carry keychain is a great place to keep a couple items. Many people carry pepper spray, flashlights, flash drives, CPR masks, and small knives on their keychains. These items are small, and 1 or 2 of them can be easily stashed on your keys without being too big of a pain.
Everyday Carry Multitool
Multitools are awesome for our modern environment. In addition to a knife blade, you get pliers, screwdrivers, scissors, bottle openers, and a bunch more. The big boy version of a Swiss Army Knife.
I’ve found that the trade-off with carrying multitools is that they weigh a fair amount more than an average folding knife, and that the actual knife blade on a multitool is not near as good as a knife blade on a dedicated folding or fixed blade knife. The lockup on a multitool is usually extremely good, but this can also make the tools a little bit harder to open and close.
Everyday Carry Medical Supplies
What kind of medical supplies? Band-aids, bandages, tweezers, disinfectant, and other items that are small. A small tube of super glue is a really good prep to have, because it can be used in lieu of sutures or stitches, if there is a serious injury away from good medical care.
So, What’s The Best Everyday Carry Bag or Container?
People use all kinds of everyday carry bags and containers to carry their gear. Some people use a small pouch or an Altoids tin. Other people use a full-sized tactical pack. Still other people (like me) use some kind of improvised, home-made container. Some people don’t use a container at all, just carry a few loose items in their pockets.
As with everything else, it doesn’t really matter what you have your everyday carry gear in, as long is it is something that helps you to actually carry your “everyday carry” gear every day.
My Personal Everyday Carry
When I first committed to start carrying something every single day, I could only commit to carrying a floss container. Because I hate having things in my pockets, even that was a stretch for me. So I ultimately downsized to a mini Altoids tin.
This is what I carried in my floss container:
- 2 bandaids
- 2% tincture of iodine (for disinfecting cuts and scrapes as well as purifying water)
- 40′ of waxed floss (as emergency cordage)
- 1 large condom (reason why below)
- 2 non-Asprin pain reliever tablets
- 1 Energizer LED light
- 1 miniature lighter
- 6′ duct tape
And then here is a look at my streamlined, mini Altoids tin carry:
I also carried a 3″ folding knife in my back pocket, and an encrypted flash drive with emergency information on it on my key chain. I also decided to scrap my flimsy shoelaces and replace them with more durable, all purpose paracord. While it ended up being a little bit tricky, 6 feet of paracord was definitely a welcome addition to my EDC (especially considering that prior to this, my only cordage was some dental floss).
The Craziest Everyday Carry Item…
In his book, Cody mention’s something that I personally had never heard of before–using condoms as an emergency water carrier. Although I’ve seen them used as water balloons before, I’d never thought of using them as emergency water carriers.
They’re only the size of a quarter, and weigh practically nothing. And most of all, their capacity is ASTOUNDING. As you see in my video, I ran a “capacity test” on one condom and filled it in my tub with nearly 3 GALLONS of water (11 Liters)!
That’s more than any water bottle, hydration bladder, or even ziploc bags that you’re going to be carrying.
Granted their are some limitations. The biggest, is that condoms are fragile–especially when filled to capacity. So realistically, they would not be a good first choice of something to carry water in. However, if you are staying put, and need to take advantage of storing all the liquid you can, they can definitely make do in a pinch.
Survival Gear Is Just a Tiny Part of Living Self Sufficiently
If your goal really is to live self-sufficiently, than a pile of survival gear cannot give you that. Proper mindset, planning, and 100 other things contribute to an overall lifestyle where you are in control.
One of the biggest ingredients however, is a thoughtfully-planned, self-sufficient homestead. A place where you can generate your own food, water, and energy. A place that is a resource generator, not merely a resource drain.
Here at Homestead Launch, our goal is to help you establish a place exactly like this that fits your family, and your life situation. We work with professionals all over the country to help you take steps in your area. If you are interested in how you can get going on your homestead, you can start by taking our free 3-minute assessment. We create a personalized blueprint of recommendations and advice tailored to your goals. If you have specific questions, you can also contact us here. Self-sufficiency is an exciting journey–we look forward to traveling it with you!