Survival is a lost art today. Compared to how our ancestors lived, even the roughest cities in the world provide an oasis of modern convenience in comparative terms. The world we live in today is safe, comfortable and convenient. But, just because you might not ever need tactical survival gear is no reason not to have it. That’s because some of this stuff is just plain badass and, sometimes, that’s a good enough reason to drop some coin. It can also might actually come in handy for those weekend hikes in the mountains or camping trip.
In the modern world smaller and lighter is better, so most of these items have been selected for size and weight besides utility.
When I was a volunteer firefighter one of the first things I started carrying routinely was a folding pocket knife. The great thing is you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good quality pocket knife and you won’t feel as bad if you lose it. Sure, you can spend big bucks on a tactical pocket knife but why? I’ve lost two so I stopped spending $100 on them. This Leatherman C33T has a stainless steel cutting blade, a carabiner with a bottle opener and a flathead and phillips screwdriver. The construction is solid and the opening mechanism is reliable.
If you spend any time in the woods at all, whether it’s hiking, camping or mountain biking, a tactical tomahawk is a must have accessory. For some of you this is an updated version of the type your dad might have carried in Vietnam. It’s got a 2.75 inch cutting blade and a flat side for hammering and a pry tool on the end of a glass-reinforced polymer handle. I’ve found these indispensable for backpacking and come in handy in an amazing array of situations.
Another must have for urban survival or a night in the woods is a quality flashlight. I’m willing to spend more on a flashlight than a pocket knife because I lose them less often. The SureFire E2D is rugged and dependable. Not the brightest you can buy at 500 lumens but, in my experience, the brighter lights tend to burn out faster. I’ll trade some bright for more rugged dependability.
The first invention that really did it for our ancestors was fire. Today we seldom need fire, unless you smoke or you’re lighting charcoal. But one of the basics of survival anywhere is being able to make fire and nothing has stood the test of time in that department quite like the venerable Zippo lighter. Little changed from the days my dad carried one in World War II, the Zippo remains one of the most reliable fire making devices on the market. The familiar sound when you flick it open and closed is as much an American trademark as the company brand.
At $11 if you lose it, you won’t be heartbroken. Sure, there are more sophisticated ways to make fire today but few with as much field testing and history behind them.
You can’t go hiking or camping without a paracord bracelet. This is one cool gadget that’s actually made to be used. The good news is it’s $11 and at that price you can use it when you need it and, in the meantime, it looks totally awesome as a fashion statement.
While you’re survival may not depend on having gear like this anymore, it’s still fun to go shopping.