Finding the best backpacking stove to put in your bug out bag is no small challenge as the range of options is large and models can vary greatly in size, price, and function. Over the years I have tested several popular models of backpacking stoves, so I thought I'd write a review on my experience and thoughts of the various models I have used.
Shopping for survival gear can be a little overwhelming not to mention expensive, especially when prepping on a budget. To help you get the most bang for the buck I put together a list of 11 versatile preparedness items all currently under $10 that are both very useful and good values.
When discussing survival knives, the talk often turns to large style bowie knives, which are big enough to take on the duties of a machete or hatchet yet are still sharp enough to function as a knife. Having never actually used a bowie knife I started feeling like I might be missing out, so I jumped on the chance to test a Cold Steel Trailmaster.
Communication is often one of the most overlooked aspects of prepping. We have become so accustomed to our cell-phones, internet, and TV’s just working that it is easy to forget that there are many emergency scenarios when these forms of communication likely will not work. While searching for a solution for an emergency communication device I came across the Baofeng UV-5RA portable ham radio, and at under $40 I decided to give one a try.
Having some basic tools with you in a survival situation is a must; and multi-tools provide a variety of tool options in a small portable package. I was looking for a reliable, compact, and affordable model that had the basic tools one might need in an emergency. The Leatherman Sidekick met my criteria so I decided to give one a try.
Filtering water in some short term survival situations might be easily handled with a $20 survival straw and they certainly have a place in emergency preparedness; however, their ability to filter large amounts of clean water especially for cooking, cleaning, and non immediate use is limited. A Sawyer water bottle with filter kit caught my eye as being well suited for a wide variety of emergencies; especially should the situation last longer than a couple days.
There is no shortage of cookware suitable for bug out bags; however, when searching for a versatile cook set for my bug out bag the GSI Minimalist immediately caught my eye. It was small, lightweight, affordable, and had a several unique features that didn’t come with other competing models.
One of the major gaps in my previous Bug Out Bag was lack of decent shelter; a new blue tarp from Walmart was assigned the task of keeping me warm and dry. While this was definitely better than nothing it was one of the first items to be upgraded when this project started. I decided to try a Texsport Camouflage Trail Tent for use as a bug out shelter; it is a pup style camouflage tent that sells for about $30.
What is the best knife for a bug out bag? There is no set answer but the best fixed bladed, high carbon, full tang knife with a 3.5" - 5" drop point tip that you can afford is often offered as a solution. While definitions vary, basically on full tang knives the unsharpened metal of the knife blade continues the full length and full (or nearly full width) of the handle instead of just part of the way, this provides additional support and strength of the exposed blade. However, having one knife for all your survival chores is a story of compromise. Here are my thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of various styles of knives for survival applications.
When looking at emergency food ration bars the main players quickly became apparent: Mainstay, Datrex, SOS, and ER Bar. Many of these manufactures make their product in various sizes which are generally categorized by calories with 1200, 2400, and 3600 all being common offerings. Note that these sizes are all divisible by 1200 which is the minimum recommended number of calories you should try to consume per day in an emergency situation. I decided to compare the 3600 calories bars because that size was offered by all four manufactures, and they all were priced similarly at around $10. Furthermore, this large size seemed to be the best value especially when compared to many of the smaller versions which were often nearly the same price as the larger versions.
Whether you are riding out a power outage or fleeing from a natural disaster staying informed is important. While looking for an emergency radio suitable for such occasions I came across the Ambient Weather WR-111B and being a bit of a gadget guy I was impressed by the features and functions available on this model.