Putting your first survival kit together is an exciting time. You have undoubtedly spent a lot of time researching the best and most effective survival gear – and there are a lot of ideas out there. It’s easy to get overzealous and include gear in your kit that sounds cool but actually provides little value. Let’s dive into some of these survival impostors.
1. 9v Battery and Steel Wool
Here is a classic “firestarter” that has been wasting precious space in survival kits for years. I won’t lie, when I first came across this crafty combo I felt a little Macgyver-like toiling aimlessly to get a fire started. I eventually got it going but I realized the process was way harder than it needed to be. If all you have is a 9v battery and steel wool and you need to make a fire by all means do so; but I can’t imagine a scenario where you would have these items but not a lighter or something better. Yes, this is a legit way to get a fire going but don’t make your life hard if you don’t have to.
2. Button Compasses
Another shoddy survival item hogging space and giving people false hope. These buttons are complete crap and rarely work as a functional navigation device. It’s also a good idea to avoid anything that has a button compass built-in. With the emergence of popular survivor shows marketers have been slapping these buttons on everything in the name of “survival.” Beware of the button compass!
3. Knives with hollow handles
There are lots of knives with handles you can unscrew in order to stash stuff. You might be thinking “wow, I can use this space to stow my 9 volt battery and button compass!” I am here to save you from making this grave mistake. These knives break the moment you try to do anything useful. As I’ve outlined in my guide to choosing a survival knife, you want a knife with a full “tang.” This essentially means a knife where the blade runs the length of the handle. This adds strength and resilience to the knife so it won’t break easily. You can’t have a full tang with a hollow handle. Do yourself a favor and avoid hollow-handled knives.
4. Cheap Multi-Tools
Multi-tools are versatile and I recommend that you have one; but this is one piece of gear you don’t want to cheap out on. The variety of cheap multi-tools from off-brand companies are garbage. If you’re going to get a multi-tool, just make sure you buy from a reputable brand like Leatherman.
5. “Survival” Credit Cards
Now we’re getting to the truly useless crap. I don’t know who cooked this stuff up but the internet is flooded with these things. They aren’t completely useless however; I’ve gotten more than one chuckle at some of tools they try to cram into these things. They’re more of a novelty “fun” item than anything else. These might make for good stocking stuffers but you certainly don’t want to be in a survival situation with one.
Don’t realize the uselessness of these items until after it’s too late to buy proper gear. Stick with the tried and true gear that pulls its weight in a survival situation!
What do you think about these survival items? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.