Survival EDC (Every Day Carry)

survival-edc

If SHTF, and I’m talking FULLY BLOWN, do you have what you need to Rambo your way to safety? A Survival EDC is an easy way to make sure you have the gear needed to blast through any situation – wherever you are. You are not always going to have your bug out bag. You will not always be in the best location possible. But, if you include important survival gear in your EDC rig then you will always have what you need to get out of dodge.

Let’s start with the most important piece of survival EDC:

1.) Knife

Tactical-Knife-For-Urban-Survival
The Smith and Wesson Survival EDC Knife

 

Put me naked in the middle of an urban death trap…but don’t leave me without a knife. Trust me, I’ll make it. With a good knife you can shank your way through the most grisly situations. But a knife is not just for self defense. You can cut yourself out of a twisted seat belt, break windows, cut cordage, dig, carve, baton, and an endless host of other survival tasks. What knife specifically do I recommend? The Smith and Wesson Tactical Knife is a solid choice. It’s a folding knife so it’s not a pain in the ass to carry and comes fully loaded with a ton of features. The glass breaker is especially handy and surprisingly functional. The blade? Sharp as a razor.

2.) Tactical flashlight

This tactical flashlight from Fenix is nearly indestructible and throws a serious beam of light
This tactical flashlight from Fenix is nearly indestructible and throws a serious beam of light

 

A fully blown SHTF situation isn’t going to wait around for daylight to crack off. If SHTF and it’s dark, you’re going to need a solid flashlight. The Fenix PD-35 is the greatest tactical flashlight to grace the EDC of many survivalists. It doubles as a self defense weapon, blinding anybody unfortunate enough to catch a beam to the face. Imagine, RAMBOING through a fully blown SHTF situation and blinding everybody who comes at you violently. When the apes descend on the streets, that’s when you know its time to start beaming mofos. The serrated edge makes the PD-35 an effective melee weapon as well. Hit em with the beam and then CRACK EM with the edge.

3.) BIC lighter

Start fires, light cigarettes etc. The BIC lighter is a truly ingenious piece of technology when you think about it. Thousands of years of historical progress packaged up nicely in an easy to use fire starter. Start barrel fires to stave off the deathly cold nights in the city, start survival fires when you’re balls deep into the wild with nobody to rescue you. How did you end up so far from civilization? Plane wreck, train wreck, hiking accident, I don’t know – just don’t leave home without your lighter.

4.) Money

Preferably in many different types of denominations. Even in the case of a full system meltdown, people will still associate money with value. When the apes descend on the streets, they might have goods you need. Barter for these goods with the money you have. Plus, what are the chances of a fully blown SHTF? Perhaps unlikely. It’s more likely your town/city experiences a widespread power outage. In this case, ATM’s and credit card machines will be non functional. The only way you can pay for goods is the cash you have in your survival EDC.

5.) Water / Food

Always carry water and food with you wherever you go. Pack some in your car or in your EDC backpack. If SHTF goes fully blown, you might be walking a long distance before you’re able to secure food and water. I like to pack Clif bars, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, etc.

6.) Multi Tool

free-edt-multi-tool

A good multi tool is an extremely versatile piece of survival EDC gear. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good one either. In fact, RIGHT NOW, our friends at survival life are giving one away for FREE (just pay S+H.) And before you tell me that it’s a piece of crap, I have news for you – this is a very solid multi tool and you would be wise to snatch one up before they stop sending them out.

What do you think?

Is this list missing anything? Do you think my survival EDC is a crock of crap? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

SHTF Supply List

shtf-supply-list

Fully blown nuclear attack. Terror cells have infiltrated your home town. Fires are wide spread and mankind is quickly devolving back to a primitive and violent state of the ape. Now is the time to start checking off items on your SHTF supply list. But, what exactly do you need to survive a fully blown SHTF situation? let’s break down the list in terms of what the physical body needs to survive.

Self defense

shtf-self-defense

When TSHTF man will descend down the scale of evolution and become more violent and ape like. Remember, society is only 3 missed meals away from total anarchy. When the food trucks stop running, when the grid goes down, apes will rule the streets and kill for whatever scraps they can find. The following gear will assist you in escaping and defending yourself and/or your family.

Survival knife – The go to weapon of choice for any close quarters combat situation. I can think of no better knife then the Cold Steel SRK. This is the blade of choice for the Navy Seal training program and for very good reasons.

Tactical flashlight – Stabbing people not quite yours style? You can disarm an attacker by blinding them. The Fenix PD-35 is excellent tactical light that shines bright even in broad daylight. The beam of light blinds potential attackers and it comes with a serrated edge which can be used as a melee weapon.

Weapons + ammo – What better way to defend yourself then with a fully stocked armory? You might not have a complete arsenal at your disposal but a shotgun, rifle, or a pistol is the most effective way to defend yourself against serious threats. Make sure you have enough ammo.

Bug out bag – Your bug out bag is what’s going to hold everything on this SHTF supply list. It needs to be durable and capable of holding 72 hours worth of supplies.

Required reading – ultimate list of tactical backpacks

Food

Atleast 72 hours worth. If TSHTF chances are you will have to bug out of your home. Keep your escape vehicle stocked with a bug out bag with 72 hours worth of food for you and your family. This will hold you over until the situation is returned to normalcy or you reach your bug out location. The food you pack should be non-perishable and nutrient dense. Think nuts, seeds, dried fruits, canned foods, Clif bars, tuna, peanut butter etc.

Water

shtf-water

How could we forget water? It’s the most essential resource to man on the planet. Your ability to survive is hinged on securing clean water when there might not be a readily available source. Water filters like the life straw are cheap, light, and filter out most of the impurities and bacteria found in dubious water sources. Snatch up a couple of those to have on hand in case of emergencies.

Required reading – everything you need to know about purifying water

Shelter

Not all of us have cars. In fact, the situation might require you to leave your belongings completely behind. In this case, you will be operating out of the equipment you packed in your bug out bag. Tarps are lightweight but tents offer you more protection at the cost of extra weight. So, do you choose the tent or the tarp? Check out the pros and cons of each of these shelter setups here.

Additional SHTF supply list

  • Ferrocerium rod
  • Bic lighters
  • Matches
  • Headlamp
  • Paracord – rig shelter, spare boot laces, tie downs, etc
  • Medical kit
  • Extra clothes / socks / underwear
  • Toiletries – TP, toothpaste, brush, general hygiene
  • Trash bags – collect water, waterproof gear, etc
  • Battery bank – charge your phone / electronics
  • Stainless steel bottle
  • Mini radio

Bonus Gear #1

sillcock-300x195

One of my favorite pieces of SHTF gear is the sillcock key. Perhaps you’ve seen those faucets where you need a special tool to turn them on. With this key you can tap into any commercial water supply and open any water valve. There could be thousands of gallons of fresh water with enough pressure to fill your cup for days. Not many people will have this tool so you really have the whole supply to yourself.

Bonus Gear #2

Our friends at survival life are giving away a free multi tool – just pay shipping and handling. And before you start saying this thing is a piece of crap, let me tell you, this tool rivals Leathermans best products. Strong, sturdy, and extremely functional. I recommend you snatch one up before they run out of them completely –  I can’t imagine they will be doing this for much longer.

free-edt-multi-tool

 

Did you enjoy this list? Tell us all about your opinions in the comment section.

 

 

Best SHTF Boots Review

shtf-traffic

News flash – if you have to bug out chances are it’s going to be by foot. If SHTF there might be no easy way to leave the city unless you’re doing it on foot. Traffic congestion will reach staggering proportions and trap those who think they can easily leave in their car. It’s important to have a good pair of SHTF boots you can count on to get you to safety.

Why do you need SHTF boots?

Your feet are a critical component to bugging out and getting to safety. If anything happens to your feet it’s going to be very difficult to move around. Time and speed is of the essence. Your boots are shields for your feet. Have you ever walked around in a pair of wet shoes? It’s a miserable experience. Wet feet are also a major drain on your overall moral. I don’t know a single person who likes walking around in a pair of wet shoes.

What’s in important for SHTF boots?

Ankle support – A good pair of boots should give your feet and your ankles ample support. If you’re tromping over uneven surfaces for long stretches of time you’re going to want strong ankle support. Twisting an ankle in an SHTF situation should NOT be on the menu.

Waterproof – It only takes one puddle to turn a pleasant hiking experience into a miserable one. Wet feet are a breeding ground for blisters. Blisters will dramatically slow you down and place you in a lot of pain. A good pair of waterproof boots will protect your feet from the elements. I prefer a Goretex lining although there are a lot of other waterproof materials available.

Quality – Boots are one thing you do not want to cheap out on. Crappy boots will fall apart fast because they are made with inferior leather. A good boot will stand the test of time and last you for years. Cheap boots might be an attractive option but you will have to continually buy them. The soles will grind down fast, the laces will break, the eyelets will snap off etc. Go for quality when you buy SHTF boots and you will not be disappointed.

The best SHTF boots

shtf-boots
My pair of Vasque GTX Boots when they were brand new

I own a pair of these. They are the St Elias GTX boot by Vasque. I’ve owned them for years and have put them through the ringer. They’ve gotten me through multiple thru-hikes and are my go to hiking boot. In the winter I wear the boot every single day. Only recently I noticed the soles and tread are beginning to show their age. Absolutely bombproof.

I’m sure there are other boots but I don’t have much experience with them. I haven’t had to buy any other boots because these have lasted me for so long. They’re completely waterproof thanks to a Goretex lining and super grippy on the tread. The soles are made by Vibram and I got to say, these things really dig deep into loose gravel, rock, wet grass etc.

The ankle part of the boot laces up nice and tight. I have skinnier ankles than most. I will say that these boots do have a thinner profile than many boots out on the market. If you have skinny chicken legs and a narrow foot like me then this is your boot. However, if you have a normal or larger foot then they do have a wider boot you can purchase too. Same model just in a wider profile.

When you put on the boot you can instantly feel the support and the quality. If you order them online make sure you order a half size up from your normal boot size. Vasque boots run a half size smaller than most boots. You can see in the reviews that most people recommend a half size up. I got mine at REI so I was able to try them on at the store – I ended up going with the 10.5 even though I’m a 10 so keep that in mind.

The same pair of boots after 1.5 years of abuse! A lesser boot would have disintegrated by now.
The same pair of boots after 1.5 years of abuse! A lesser boot would have disintegrated by now.

On a final note, this is a heavy boot made for serious hiking/backpacking. Is it overkill for an SHTF situation though? I don’t think so. I appreciate the rugged construction and the weight doesn’t really bother me. However, if you prefer a lighter boot that is also high quality and waterproof, Vasque also makes the breeze 2.0. It looks like the GTX model except in a lighter build.

Final thoughts

Whatever SHTF boots you go with make sure they are up to the task of protecting your feet. Waterproof boots are the way to go and provide ample protection from the elements. Don’t go cheap and remember – protect those feet at all costs!

 

 

The Core SHTF Gear List

shtf-gear-list

The proverbial doo-doo has hit the fan and now you have to rely on your own wits and gear to survive. You did pack a bug out bag didn’t you? Do not fear if you haven’t put one together yet – I have written a complete SHTF gear list to give you some ideas for what you need. Most of this gear is core to your kit and I have included a few pieces of gear that will make life easier.

Let’s crack straight in to the list.

Backpack – It goes without saying that you’re going to need something to hold all of your survival gear. Your backpack must be large enough to carry all your gear and strong enough not to break down half way through an SHTF situation. Tactical backpacks are the way to go. Here is a giant list of tactical backpacks.

Knife – The single most important piece of equipment on this SHTF gear list. There are two primary elements to consider when choosing a survival knife – the knife blade must be fixed and the tang must be full. A fixed blade knife means the blade does not fold in to the handle. They require a sheath to protect your person when the knife is not in use. Fixed blade knives are much stronger than the folding type varieties. Full tang means the metal part of the blade runs all the way through the handle. Full tang adds strength to the blade. You’re going to want a strong knife in any survival situation. Repeat after me – fixed blade full tang.

Required reading – choosing a survival knife

Paracord – You never know what you’re going to need it for but you always find a use for it. Paracord is extremely versatile and has a number of tactical applications. You can easily rig up a shelter for the night using a bit of paracord and a tarp. If you learn how to rig up shelter in this way you won’t need to carry a bulky tent. Trust me, you’re going to want to pack as light as possible.

Stainless Steel Bottle – This piece of gear functions as a water bottle and a pot to boil water. If you run across sources of water it’s always a good idea to boil or purify it. The last thing you want to contract in an SHTF situation is a water borne pathogen – unless of course you enjoy explosive cases of diarrhea.

Water Purification Methods – You can boil water in your stainless steel mug but boiling takes time and you don’t always have the luxury of waiting around. It’s wise to carry a packet of water purification tablets as well as a water  filter. Water is too important of a resource to rely on only one method of getting it.

Required reading – everything you need to know about purifying water.

Firestarters – It’s time to go back to ancient times. Fire is an integral part of human life. In an SHTF scenario you might have to start a fire to cook food, boil water, or signal for help. BIC lighters and waterproof matches are easily found at any outdoor shop. I like to carry a ferrocerium rod as a backup. While it can be tricky to get going, a ferro rod is a tried and true method you can always count on with a bit of practice.

Required reading – 5 epic survival fires and how to build them

Trash bags – Ah yes, the mighty black trash bag. I call these guys the unsung heroes of the city. You can create shelter, waterproof important pieces of gear, make a parka, collect water, and a carry out a host of other survival related tasks. Trash bags are so light there isn’t a reasonable excuse not to have them. This is something you probably have at your house under the kitchen sink or in your garage. Grab a few of them and stuff them in your bug out pack.

Tarp – lightweight and versatile. Use it to make shelters, make a ground cover for a solar still, collect water, etc. Make sure you get one with grommit points along the edges. Sure beats a tent when it comes to weight.

Flashlight – a full blown SHTF situation isn’t going to wait around so you can have ample lighting. If something happens at night a tactical flashlight will be an invaluable piece of SHTF gear. Tactical flashlights like the Fenix PD-35 double as effective self defense weapons. The brightness temporarily blinds anything unfortunate enough to catch a direct light blast to the face. Serrated edges also make for a competent melee weapon! Double win.

3 days of food and water – Pack 3 days worth of food and water unless you fancy hunting your food. Many SHTF situations will resolve themselves fairly quickly. This food and water will see you through the hairiest parts of the situation. If for some reason things boil over to the 4 day mark then its time to really start considering long term survival options.

Medical kit – Grab a ready made first aid kit or set aside a few things you have around the house. Items like bandages, gauzes, and anti-septic liquids might prove to be invaluable.

Extra socks – You might be walking a lot so pack extra socks. It’s really crucial to protect your feet, plus, putting on a new pair of socks feels like a new lease on life. Sweaty cheese foot is an absolute drain on morale. If you’ve done any amount of hiking in dirty socks you know this feeling.

Clothing – Pack clothes appropriate for your area. Synthetic fabrics like polyester are preferred over cotton. Cotton holds water and does a terrible job at pushing moisture away from your body. Wet clothes puts you at risk for hypothermia. Fabrics like wool or polyester wick away moisture and keep you dry. They will even keep you insulated if they get wet.

Final Thoughts

This is the core of any decent SHTF gear list. There’s a lot of stuff you could throw in but it’s a treacherous slide down a path of potentially including too much. It’s easy to get overzealous and include gear you think you need but actually don’t. Stick to the items on the core SHTF list and it’s smooth sailing. I recommend packing all this stuff in your B.O.B and taking off into the woods for a few days. Learn how to use the equipment and get used to the weight of the pack. If you think can handle more weight, by all means, include more gear.

By using the gear on this list you will familiarize yourself with the skills required to survive an SHTF situation. In the end, it is your skills that keep you alive – NOT your gear!

Stay safe and survive my friend…

 

 

 

 

12 Best Tactical Backpacks For Your Survival Gear

best-tactical-backpacks

So, you’ve been diligent on fulfilling the task of collecting all the essential survival gear. Across your room – a sprawling spectacle of the gear you found on the Bear Grylls official survival checklist (just kidding.) There is only one problem – you do not have a backpack to put all this stuff in. More specifically, you do not have a tactical backpack to put all this stuff in. Did you think all this was going in the Jansport bag you’ve had since freshman year of High school? Not if you’re serious about busting out of a full blown SHTF situation.

Read this post for an in depth bug out bag checklist.

What is a tactical backpack?

Tactical is a term to used to represent gear that has a functional or practical use in specific situations – usually military or high intensity situations where the gear you have must hold up to pressure. Tactical backpacks are backpacks designed with heavy use in mind. They are extremely durable and have features you typically don’t see on normal backpacks – external Molle for example. Molle is external webbing designed by the military to add extra storage space to the pack. It’s been a standard on tactical backpacks for a long time. When you buy a tactical backpack you can be damn sure the thing is going to hold up to whatever you put it through. For this reason, they make great bug out bags.

Let’s crack into the packs.

Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack

tactical-ghost-backpack
The Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack

This is a 31.5 liter that packs in serious versatility. The Ghost tactical backpack features a main storage compartment as well as a detachable external pouch. 500D cordura materials makes this pack extremely durable. One thing I really love about this pack is the slimmer/taller profile than most tactical backpacks. The entire pack looks super clean – especially with laser cut Molle running the exterior of both the main compartment and the detachable pouch. Deeply padded in all the areas that matter, primarily the back plate and the shoulder straps. The Ghost also has a 2.5L hydration bladder pouch built straight into the main compartment. I could see the Ghost tactical backpack being a great SHTF backpack and a competent pack you could take out hiking or backpacking.

Spec Ops Ultimate Assault Pack

spec-ops-backpack-molle
The SPEC OPS Tactical Backpack

Another extremely durable pack boasting unique design features you won’t find in other packs. For one, the High-Vis material lining the inside of the pack is actually quite nice. The sharp contrasted background allows you to easily locate items in your pack visually. The zippers and buckles on the Spec Ops are hands down the strongest I’ve ever seen on a pack. They are seriously well built. Thick zippers and thick buckles are crucial to having a functional pack for years to come. But what about pack space?  This tactical backpack features 3 main cargo areas and a hydration pouch giving you 40L of raw storage capacity. That’s a good amount of space. I find that 30L is not enough but 50L is too much. 40L hits the sweet spot. 1000D nylon makes this pack virtually bombproof. This pack also has a unique blend of both traditional and laser-cut Molle on the externals of the pack.

Monkey Paks Tactical Backpack

Monkey Paks Tactical Backpack
Monkey Paks Tactical Backpack

Don’t let the name detract you from thinking this is not a serious pack. This is a full blown tactical backpack in a smaller profile. It’s one of the smaller packs on this list but it packs in massive punches in a few key areas. One, this pack is going to be a lot lighter than most. This is crucial for those who value speed and efficiency over all else. Bulky packs will slow you down and you probably don’t need half the gear you packed in it anyways. The Monkey Paks tactical backpack comes with 5 pouches including a hydration pouch – and best of all, the hydration bladder is actually included with this one! Everything from the zippers to the waterproof 600D nylon material is just as rugged as the other contenders on this list. At $40 USD, you can’t go wrong.

Protector Plus Military Tactical Backpack

Protector Plus Tactical Backpack
Protector Plus Tactical Backpack

Do you want to go full blown pack mule status? I know many guys who go balls to the wall no matter what they do. If SHTF, you know they’re going to have every single survival widget packed and ready to rock. The Protector Plus tactical backpack features a ton of space – up to 80L. That’s more than enough room to pack for 2 – 3 people including yourself. All of this space is sectioned out between the main rucksack and 3 external pockets. You have one zippered pouch on the front and 2 side pockets – all of them generous in size. This pack is waterproof and completely solid. You have Molle on the externals so you could load it down even more with extra Molle compatible pouches.

Arcenciel 40L Tactical backpack

Arcenciel Tactical Backpack
Arcenciel Tactical Backpack

Storage pockets…storage pockets everywhere! One thing I see people discuss on forums is the lack of storage pockets on tactical backpacks. Many packs are rucksack style and designed only with raw storage capacity in mind. The Arcenciel 40L tactical backpack breaks this trend and delivers extreme storage organization in a sturdy, military grade profile. You will find yourself discovering new pockets all the time. This pack has plenty of space to store all your critical gear and enough Molle to add more if need be. Lots of design options too. Rainfly included.

USMC Assault Pack

USMC Assault Pack
USMC Assault Pack

Yes, the same pack they use in the United States Marines Core. It goes without saying that this pack is well built and absolutely bombproof. You could throw this thing through a wood chipper and still use it to bug out. This pack features an internal frame and detachable top lid. In total there is 70 Liters of internal space. You will find it easy to lash gear to the externals of the pack with the many buckles and Molle webbings. Definitely the most well built, bombpoof pack on this list.

5.11 Tactical Rush 72

shtf-backpack-rush-72
The 5.11 Rush 72 Hour Tactical Pack

If you’re an avid reader of this blog you know how much I talk about the 5.11 tactical Rush 72. It’s one of my favorite packs and for lots of reasons. Tactical backpacks tend to look very military. I like packs that can keep the durability of a military pack while looking somewhat civilian. The 5.11 Tactical Rush 72 delivers. 1050D nylon makes this pack one of the strongest on this list – damn near waterproof with an extra layer of water resistant coating. Lots of meshed pockets too including a fleece lined top pocket for scratchable pieces of gear. You’re still going to want to keep your smartphone scratch free in an SHTF situation right?

>>>Read my full review of the 511 72 Hour Rush<<<

Condor 3 day assault pack

Condor 3 Day Assault Pack
Condor 3 Day Assault Pack

 

This is a simple and durable pack. There is nothing fancy about this tactical backpack and that’s a good thing. For those of you that just want a pack that’s going to last, this is your pack. The Condor 3 day assault pack is a no frills, practical bug out bag. It has a number of pockets including space in the main pouch for two 3L hydration pouches. This is a really solid backpack with nothing that over complicates the process of bugging out.

Kelty Eagle 7850

Kelty-Falcon-4000
The Kelty Eagle 7850

Kelty is a traditional backpack manufacturer but they over delivered with the Eagle. This is a true to the word tactical backpack built for serious MOUNTAIN OPS. This is a stuff and go pack. Definitely not for the type of person who demands that everything be neatly organized. The Kelty Eagle 7850 features a large 66L “dump and go” style cargo sack and a detachable lid pouch that can be used as a fanny pack or shoulder sling. Simple yet versatile. The front zipper you see opens up to the main compartment of the pack giving you easy access to your gear. I have to admit, I’m starting to prefer ruckstack style backpacks over the traditional clam shell style. It’s easier to get to gear and easier to load up at a moments notice. Don’t overlook the Kelty Eagle if you’re in the market for a tactical backpack.

Camelbak Motherload

The Camelbak Motherlode
The Camelbak Motherlode

Camelbak, the leading manufacturer of fine hydration packs has entered the tactical market with a strong competitor. The Camelbak Motherlode is a surprisingly capable tactical backpack. On the front you have the traditional Molle webbing that comes standard with any solid tactical backpack. Also on the front you have an admin pocket with generous storage space and all kinds of pockets to stay organized. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Camelbak if it didn’t come with a top of the line hydration bladder. The more I take my Camelbak out the more I appreciate the convenience of having a hydration bladder readily accessible. Pair a pack like this with a portable water filter and we’re talking serious versatility when it comes time to bug out. One thing to note is just how comfortable the Camelbak Motherlode is. It’s got thick padding where it counts. If you’ve done any amount of hiking or backpacking you know the last thing you want is a shoestring backpack strap digging into your traps the whole time.

NPUSA Tactical Daypack

NPUSA Tactical Day Pack
NPUSA Tactical Day Pack

I’m including this one here because of the raw value. For $40 the NPUSA daypack can’t be beat. And don’t let the name fool you either – this pack is more than capable of going full pack mule status with 32 Liters of storage. Of course, the external Molle adds to the functionality and what you can carry. 600D nylon material gives this pack the strength and durability required to blow through any survival situation without busting halfway in between. Lots of value here that can’t be passed up.

Pinty 600D Tactical backpack

PINTY 600D Tactical Pack
PINTY 600D Tactical Pack

If you really want to go total value mode then this is your pack. It’s an overall solid pack with only a few cons. For the price though you really can’t complain. I wouldn’t have this pack on the list if it wasn’t fully capable of handling the roughest conditions. It’s built durable like the other packs but with a smaller profile. It’s a 20L pack which is significantly smaller than the other ones. You’re going to have to pack smart – you definitely won’t be taking any bulky tents with you in this one.

Which to choose?

I know this is a massive list of tactical backpacks. It’s hard to make a choice with so many options available to you. If I had to boil it down to the absolute best pack on this list I got to go with the 5.11 Rush 72. It’s such a quality pack and heavily tested. You won’t find too many people who have problems with the 5.11 line of products. Simply the best in the business. If price is an issue the NPUSA tactical daypack is the obvious choice. It’s durable and large enough to carry all your essential gear.

With that said, don’t wait until its too late to snatch one of these packs up. You never know when the shit is going to hit the fan!

What is The Best SHTF Backpack?

best-shtf-backpack

Have you been thinking about putting together an SHTF backpack? It’s a good idea – and not just because we’re on the brink of total atomic warfare. There are many situations that require you to bug out of your location. Think floods, power outages, fires, etc. These are all very common. Having an SHTF backpack with all the gear you need to survive is crucial.

A B.O.B worth buying

Your B.O.B (bug out bag) must fulfill 2 primary requirements:

  • It must hold all of your gear
  • It must NOT fall to pieces the moment it’s exposed to a real life SHTF situation

There are plenty of options available to you. Molle packs feature military grade durability and tons of storage space. These are great packs and will last you forever. Military grade packs have been battle tested to withstand even the harshest environments.

You might also be considering a standard backpackers backpack. These are lightweight packs and have a lot of versatility options. Weight is an important consideration. You don’t want to buckle under the crushing weight of an SHTF backpack that’s too heavy. The backpack itself weighs a considerable amount so choose wisely.

Whatever you choose make sure it can hold 72 hours worth of food, water, and supplies.

Required Reading – Building the ultimate bug out bag

The 5.11 Rush 72

shtf-backpack-rush-72
The 5.11 Rush 72 Hour Tactical Pack

 

The 5.11 Rush 72 is a best of both worlds bag. It has all the durability of a military pack while including the versatility of a backpackers pack. It’s a very roomy and well designed pack for lots of different uses. You can even use it for your day to day adventures. It looks civilian enough not to draw attention in public. The thing about military packs is you look like you’re up to something. You look like you might have important gear.

This could potentially make you a target for violent crimes. In an SHTF situation, everything is up for grabs and there are no rules. Men with violent tendencies in normal society will go completely ape shit. I prefer to blend in. The 5.11 Rush is the perfect bag to go full incognito mode.

72 hour SHTF backpack – The bag is designed to carry 72 hours worth of gear. You won’t have any problems stuffing 3 days worth of supplies into this thing. There are generous pockets all over the pack for gear storage.

Built tough – When I say built tough I mean tough. The whole pack is made of bombproof 1050D nylon and coated with a waterproof treatment. The zippers are thick and the stitching is borderline overkill. You could throw this thing into a wood chipper and it would come out unscathed (okay, don’t try this.) But you get my point. This bag will outlast you. Pass it on to future generations if you’d like.

It also has a ton of Molle webbing. You can easily attach external Molle compatible storage pouches to the outside. This extends the functionality of the pack. Molle is great stuff for increasing the versatility of an SHTF backpack.

Comfort – Military packs are often ridiculously uncomfortable. They weren’t built for comfort in mind. I guess comfort was a low priority during the war. The shoulder straps are almost paper thin and cut deep into your traps while you hike. The 5.11 Rush 72 is super comfortable and generously padded in all the places where it matters – shoulder straps and back plates. Dense foam makes hiking long distances much more bearable.

Pack mule status – You could overload this thing to the max. External loops make it easy to lash gear to the outside. The pack is durable enough to handle a monstrous load. There’s even loops on the bottom to attach bulky stuff like your tent or your tarp.

Final thoughts

Overall the 5.11 Rush 72 is one of the best bug out bags out there. Really, if you want the best this is the best shtf backpack to get. However, any bag will do as long as it’s made well and can carry all of your gear. Once you have your pack you can get started getting stocked up on all the essential gear. Don’t get caught unprepared!

 

 

Essential Survival Gear To Rambo Your Way Out of Any Situation

essential-survival-gear

Aliens have abducted you to study the crafty ways of the human species. They tell you they’re going to drop you in the wilderness – 100 miles from the nearest city. But they aren’t complete assholes. They allow you to choose 10 survival items to take with you on your journey. What do you choose and why?

This is what I would choose:

Stainless steel water bottle – 100 miles from civilization? You’re going to need something to carry water. Stainless steel offers a number of advantages over plastic – the ability to boil water being the most significant advantage. The stainless steel is durable and won’t bust on you half way through the mission.

Water purification tablets – Boiling water to drink takes forever. Water purification tablets are a much quicker way to secure any water you find along the way. Water from creeks, rivers and ponds are great sources of water but may contain harmful pathogens. The water isn’t going to taste great but that’s okay – survival is not a 5 star restaurant experience. You can leave a bad yelp review when you get back to town.

Fixed blade knife – Even those outside of the tin foiled sphere of the prepping/survival community know the importance of a good knife. You might not know that fixed blade is the only way to go. Fixed blade knives are stronger than the folding types and extremely resilient. The knife is the most important piece of survival gear so don’t get the wrong one.

Paracord – Highly versatile. Use the paracord for rigging shelters, making fishing line, bear bagging your food, and a ton of other survival tasks. Another crucial piece of survival gear.

Tarp – Use the tarp in combination with your paracord to fashion a 5 star shelter for the night. Why not ask for a tent you say? A tent is heavy and going to slow you down. This is survival, not a backyard camping excursion with smores.

Ferrocerium rod – a ferrocerium rod is a reliable method to generate lots of sparks. Lighters and matches can get wet. Steel rods do not and will always throw sparks. Use the back of your knife as a striker.

Lighters – Let’s be honest. Starting a fire with a ferrocerium rod looks cool but it’s far from easy. Carry a pack of lighters in a ziploc bag to make your life easier. The key here is redundancy. Always have backups of your most important survival gear.

Light medical kit – The wild is a completely different environment than the cushy air conditioned place you’re reading this from. It’s chock full of danger around every corner. Nature in the raw has not been softened to fit the delicate requirements of man. You’re gonna get cut, bruised, and bitten. Prepare for these realities with a proper med kit. Antiseptic liquid, compression wraps and guazes at the bare minimum.

Hunting rifle – The aliens said anything didn’t they? You’d be stupid not to ask for some kind of rifle to hunt with. What, you think you’re going to build your own bow and arrow and take out medium sized game? Not without mucho practice mi amigo. At least with a hunting rifle it’s more or less point and shoot. Oh yeah, don’t forget the ammo.

Extra socks – Ever heard of trench foot? It’s the last thing you want if your main mode of transportation is your chevrolegs. Protect your feet at all costs. Wool socks prevent blisters and won’t retain moisture like cotton will. Wet socks combined with friction is a recipe for gnarly blisters.

That about wraps it up. Your new alien friends will admire how resourceful you are. Don’t let the human race down. Show these aliens what 10,000 years of evolution has done to your survival faculties.

 

 

Condor Bushlore Knife Review

condor-bushlore-review-featured-image

I’m always on the look out for inexpensive knives worthy of my belt in the bush. I kept hearing about the Condor in survival forums. People were raving about the blade while others had some reservations about its utility as a true bushcraft knife. Needless to say I checked it out. There are certainly pros and cons to consider. Let’s crack into the review.

Specifications

Blade TypeFixed
Blade Length4 5/16 inches
Total Length9 5/16 inches
Blade Thickness3 mm
Blade MaterialCarbon steel with Scandinavian grind
Weight10 oz
TangFull
Sheath IncludedRoger

First impressions

condore-bushlore-side-profile

I ordered the blade from Amazon. It arrived promptly and I immediately began the procedural unboxing ceremony. I love this part of the process. I don’t know why but I thought it would have been heavier than it actually was. It’s a very lightweight blade. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a lightweight knife – but you will be limited with what you can do. Processing thick firewood will be very difficult. Many survivalists will interject at this point and tell me that knives aren’t meant for wood batoning. I don’t believe this, my bk2 has served me quite well in this department and it’s lighter than a hatchet.

There was one aestetic feature I had a good laugh at. The knife looks like a steak knife. This is largely due to the Condor Bushlores hardwood handle. You wouldn’t give it a second look if it came out of your knife block in the kitchen. I actually love the utilitarian look. It’s refreshing to see something unique and different.

The handle is made of hardwood and would be easy to sand down to create a more ergonomic fit for your mitts (there’s also a micarta version available.) On the end you have a lanyard which I personally never use, but I respect the function. The sheath is simple, functional, and bears the logo of the Condor right on the leather – a nice finishing touch.

Now, were talking about carbon steel with a Scandinavian grind. Carbon steel requires a bit of maintenance to keep the rust away and scandi grinds tend to be fragile – but just because I say fragile doesn’t mean you have to treat it like the worlds finest china. Take care of the blade and you will have a trusty companion for years.

Performance

Time to dive deep into the nitty gritty. How does the Condor Bushlore stack up in the bush? I like to take every blade I review straight out into the bush for a proper pounding. I see how well it performs in a variety of tasks:

Making feather sticks – A knife should be sharp enough to feather a piece of kindling using the tip portion of the blade. I found the blade was not all that sharp straight out of the box. Feathering a piece of kindling required me to choke up on the handle and use the thicker parts of the blade for leverage. As you can see, it still got the job done:

making-feathersticks-condor-bushlore

I have no doubt the blade will sharpen right up with some leather. I wouldn’t take a stone to it this early in the game.

Batoning – My favorite part. In my opinion, any good bushcraft knife should baton wood with ease. The Condor Bushlore carries itself well but the blade is too light to go full mad-man-mode. I did not feel like I was going to break the blade but the weight is certainly a disadvantage. The short length of the blade does not lend itself well to batoning – and you’ll notice it curves into a drop point. A proper baton requires a nice straight portion of the blade to really drive deep into the wood.

batoning-with-the-condor-bushlore

Overall this blade did great for smaller pieces of kindling but dropped the ball with the bigger pieces. No big deal in context of the price compared to other knives. Tasks like carving and skinning game would be so smooth with this blade, I have no doubts about that.

Final thoughts

There’s a lot I like about this blade. Is it my favorite? Not by a longshot. But for the price the Condor Bushlore is a strong companion in the bush. With the right care the blade will sharpen to a razors edge and last years.

Thanks for checking out the review of the Condor Busholore. Post up with a comment below and let me know what you think about this knife.

 

 

 

 

Morakniv Bushcraft Black Review

Mora knives have become a mainstay choice for survivalists who note the blades quality and value. Mora knives are inexpensive compared to other knives but still bring a lot to the table. The Morakniv Bushcraft knife is an exceptional blade that stays true to the brands reputation as a quality knife manufacturer. As I’ve tested, the Morakniv Bushcraft black can certainly take a beating in the bush.

Specifications

Blade TypeFixed
Blade Length4.3 inches
Total Length9.1 inches
Blade Thickness3.2 mm
Blade MaterialCarbon steel with DLC anti-corrosive coating
Weight5.7 oz (with sheath)
Tang3/4 inches
Sheath IncludedRoger

Pros

Morakniv-bushraft-black-with-sheath

What I really like about all Mora knives is how sharp they are out of the box. The Morakniv Bushcraft Black is no exception. This knife is sharp as hell straight out of the box. I repeat – this knife is dangerously sharp. Most knives do not come this sharp right out of the box. Second, the blade is the thickest blade you can get on a Mora knife. You can really beat the crap out of this thing and it will still come back for more. Taking the Mora out into the bush was a treat and not once did I feel the blade wasn’t up to the job. It handled all the camp tasks with ruthless efficiency.

I have quite a heavy hand when it comes to wood batoning – I can tell you I came down hard over the spine and not a single dent. Carbon steel for the win. Speaking of the spine, it’s got a flat 90 degree ridge – something I always look for  in a survival knife. A flat edge makes it easy to use with your ferrocerium rod. I don’t consider a knife a true survival knife unless it has this feature.

The handle is crafted with a rubbery material. I found it to be super grippy.

Cons

morakniv-bushcraft-black-tang
3/4 tang? Really?

My first big beef with this knife was the 3/4 tang. I always stress the importance of buying knives with full tangs. Using it though, I can’t see how another quarter inch of tang would benefit this knife. It’s already strong as an ox. I think this whole full tang business is psychological down to a certain point. A blade with a half tang is certainly a disadvantage. The tang starts to become a non issue once you hit the 3/4 mark. Still, I wish they would have put a full tang on this thing.

My second beef is with the handle. It’s one of those things where you’re either going to love it or hate it. The Mora Bushcraft Black comes with a curved handle – this seems to be a signature design element in all Moras. I found it to be less than ergonomic in my hand but I’m just use to straight handles. I can see how it would be suited to the grip of some users and perhaps an advantage if you’re carving.

My last beef is the sheath. Overtime the rubber wore off of the blade where it met the sheath casing. Because of this it doesn’t quite snap in securely like it use to. Not really a big deal – I don’t judge a knife by its sheath but its something you might find important.

The Verdict

I stand behind the Morakniv Bushcraft Black. It packs a lot of bang into an inexpensive package. While I still use my Bk2 most of the time, I always have the Mora around close by. In fact, I prefer it for finer tasks like skinning. It’s a hell of a lot sharper than the Bk2.

Great bush knife. I would even say it’s a great general knife to have on hand. Definitely the knife you want if you’re crunched for cash but still want a ridiculously sharp blade that holds an edge. And by the way, the sheath comes with a ferrocerium ride that throws a surprising amount of sparks! BONUS.

Ultimate Bug Out Bag Checklist

bug-out-bag-checklist

Increasingly unstable times calls for extraordinary preparation – or at least a proper bug out bag. We have assembled the ultimate bug out bag checklist along with some seasoned advice so you can prepare yourself for anything that blasts through – because you never know when they’re going to drop the nuke. When I say ultimate I mean ultimate. There’s a lot of gear on this checklist you don’t need depending on variables like location, your skills, and your unique bug out situation. Let’s crack into it.

What is a bug out bag?

A bug out bag is a special backpack filled with short term supplies to help you get to your bug out location. The supplies you carry will aid in your survival and see you through tough times in the short term. At the bare minimum it will have 72 hours worth of food and water. It is not designed for an extended stay in the wilderness and shouldn’t be seen as a long term survival solution. Your bug out bag only needs to get you to your bug out location or see you through a rough situation until normalcy is restored. Additionally, your bug out bag will have tools to secure or improvise resources for longer periods of time.

Reality check

bug-out-bag-checklist

When most people think of “bugging out” they have a romantic notion of escaping into the woods and living off the fat of the land. They assume that impending doom and “full system meltdown” is right on the horizon. This is very unlikely. It’s much likelier that you get caught in a snowstorm or you lose power for a couple days. Maybe your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere with zero cell reception. Many of these scenarios require you to bug out and seek resources. Having a bug out bag with the resources you need is crucial to making it out through these situations.

Crucial considerations

Your plan – What is your plan if TSHTF? Where will you bug out? How far is your bug out location from home/work? Will you walk? Like Denzel Washington in the book of eli, your actions need a purpose and a plan. Your plan will govern what you pack in your bug out bag.

Your physical strength – Your bug out gear will be carried on your back. Most people drastically underestimate their own physical strength and stamina. The weight of your bug out bag needs to be taken into consideration, along with your own willingness to lug said weight. Your bug out bag is no good if you crumble under the load. Consider that you might have to walk a considerable distance to safety and ask yourself – will you be able to carry all of that gear? Next weekend go out on a camping trip with your friends. Take whatever you think you’ll need for the trip. If your experience is like most new backpackers, you probably packed way more gear than you actually needed. You will inevitably find yourself ditching the heavier stuff in favor of lighter alternatives. This is the spirit of the lightweight backpacker. In fact, your pack for a backpacking trip is essentially a bug out bag!

Your resourcefulness – The more resourceful you are the less gear you need to survive. This comes down to raw survival skills. Knowing how to use your gear is crucial. Knowing your environment is just as important. If you know where to find clean water then you don’t have to carry as much. If you know how to make shelter with a couple garbage bags and a bit of paracord then you don’t need a tent. Packing a bug out bag is like packing for a backpacking trip. Assess your skills and pack accordingly.

Best bug out pack?

The genesis of any B.O.B. is the humble backpack of course. You have many options available to you. Packs can be broken down into military or civilian types. Read this post for a detailed analysis for the pros and cons of each. In short, military packs are bombproof compared to their civilian type counterparts. They can be picked up for cheap at any military surplus store. Civilian packs, on the other hand, are lighter and offer a range of design options and versatility. Some of them even rival the durability of military packs. Civilian packs are more expensive due to the commercialization of the hiking industry.

At the end of the day, a bug out bag only needs to meet 2 requirements.

1.) It must hold all of your gear

2.) It must not fall apart on the road

Stay away from bags with cheap zippers and material that feels like it could tear apart at any second. A popular option is the Rush 5.11 72 hour bag. It’s a best of both worlds choice – the durability of a military pack with the versatility of a civilian pack.

Ultimate bug out bag checklist

Let’s get into the gear. The first section will cover the 4 core components of any effective B.O.B. – fire, shelter, food, and water. This is the gear you need at the bare minimum. The second section will cover secondary make-life-easier items.

Fire – fire is a necessity in a survival situation. If you’re trapped outdoors a fire will keep your body at an ideal temperature for survival. Fire also cooks your food, provides a moral boost, and serves as an effective way to signal. Keep at least 2 methods of making fire in your bug out bag for redundancy.

Shelter – exposure to extreme elemental conditions will kill you faster than anything else.

Food –  72 hours worth of food. Here are some ideas, and remember, survival is not a culinary experience. Pack foods that are high carb, high fat. The foods that deliver your body the most bang for the weight. Also, non perishable!

  • Dried nuts/fruit
  • Clif bars
  • protein powder
  • Tuna packets
  • Snickers
  • etc

Water – 72 hours worth of water. There is no exact science on how much this is exactly. Everybody is wired differently and the amount of water you need depends on a number of variables like how much you sweat, what you eat, etc. My advice is to bring as much as you can carry. Scout your bug out route ahead of time and identify locations where you can get fresh water. This will reduce the amount of water you need to carry in your B.O.B. Packing a water filter is another way to reduce your in-pack water supply. You can filter water from local ponds, lakes, rivers and other potentially dubious sources. Read my guide to purifying water.

Upgraded B.O.B

The above is a skeleton version of any decent B.O.B. It’s lightweight and has everything you need to survive for 72 hours. But what if you want to make life a little more cushy? There are lots of gear options that will make life easier if you’re willing to bare the load. Here is a complete list of items you should consider.

Knife – I almost included this in the skeleton list because of it’s raw practicality. A knife is a truly versatile piece of gear and some argue it’s the most important gear in your pack. You can’t go wrong with the Kabar Bk2. Required reading: How to choose a survival knife.

Flashlight – Ever been camping without a flashlight? Life becomes very dark and difficult. I recommend a headlamp to free up your hands to work around camp.  If you have the extra cheddar the Fenix PD-35 is an amazing tactical flashlight and doubles as a self defense weapon.

Hygiene – Alcohol wipes, toothbrush, toothpaste, tampons, hand sanitizer, toilet paper – you know the drill. Anything you use on a regular basis to keep clean and hygenic.

Upgraded sleep system – Tarp and paracord not your thing? Don’t let me keep you from your creature comforts. Just make sure your tent has a waterproof bottom and a good rain fly.

Duct tape – A million and one uses. Repair ripped shelters, tape trash bags together for make-shift shelter, compression wrap for wounds, heal and protect blisters, fly trap, DIY handcuffs etc. Don’t bring the whole role though – wrap a few rounds of it over a pencil or your BIC lighter.

Plastic spork – Use the spork to eat any food you come across.

Multi-Tool – A good Leatherman multi-tool is a versatile piece of equipment. The built in tools can be used in many scenarios: Cutting up cardboard for shelter, opening food canisters, removing secured items, cutting cordage, etc. Don’t leave home without one boys.

Sillcock key – Ever seen a water faucet with no handle to turn it on? These water sources are on every commercial building and accessed with a tool called a sillcock key. Even if the power was offline there’s a good chance there is enough pressure left to fill your water bottle. On large buildings these sources could amount to hundreds of gallons of water. This tool is easily acquired at any hardware store.

Water Bottle – A good water bottle will store any water you come across in the city. Using the sillcock key above you can easily keep your bottle filled for a good while. Opt for the stainless steel varieties to boil water in a fire. Stainless steel containers will add extra weight to your pack but are more versatile than a plastic bottle.

Gloves – You want to protect your hands from all the sharp edges and glass you will be handling. A good set of gloves will give you a better grip if you need to climb structures and prevent cuts and scrapes. Your hands are too important not to protect. Pick up a pair at your local Home Depot or hardware store to get ones with a good fit.

Garbage Bags – Industrial strength garbage bags are versatile pieces of gear. They are waterproof so you can use them as a make-shift rain coat. Garbage bags can be laid flat to create a dry sleeping system and durable enough to collect and hold water.

Pepper spray – If you aren’t trained to take down an assailant with your bare hands then pepper spray is a great tool to include in your bug out bag. In desperate situations you can’t rely on people being civil. A face-full of pepper spray will stop an attacker right in their tracks.

Dust mask – Put on the dust mask if you’re going to be exploring abandoned buildings for shelter. The dust mask will help protect your lungs from inhaling harmful particles. This becomes more important if you’re surrounded by collapsed structures or buildings that have recently been destroyed. They are also useful in the event of an influenza outbreak. The dust mask is a very light piece of gear and extremely affordable.

Shemagh – a classic trick to stay warm at night is to keep your head and neck covered. A shemagh is a multi purpose article of clothing that has a number of practical uses. Besides, who doesn’t want to look like a ninja while they’re bugging out?

Water purification – Having a way to purify water will reduce the amount you need to carry in your pack. I’ve written a complete guide to purifying water here. Water filters like the Life Straw are extremely cheap and lightweight. Throw one in your bug out bag and call it a day.

Battery bank – Useful to recharge your phone and other electronic devices. Survival might depend on your ability to make a single phone call. SHTF situations do not take your smartphones battery life into consideration before striking.

Clothing

bug-out-clothes

The clothes on your back are just as important as the gear on your back. They are your first line of defense against the elements. Here are a few tips to pack the right clothing for your bug out bag.

No cotton – Cotton retains moisture and sticks to your skin. This creates prime conditions for hypothermia. Your clothing should keep you dry and wick away moisture. Even in the cold your body will sweat – especially when you’re tromping around with a bug out bag. It’s crucial to stay dry. Opt for wool clothing like smart wool or a polyester fabric.

Layered system – dressing in a layered style makes you highly adaptable to changing environments and body temperatures. You can easily remove layers or add them depending on the situation. Remember, the key is to stay dry and keep the body at a healthy temperature. A common layering system involves 3 layers:

  • The base layer is the layer next to your skin. This layer should be made of a wool or polyester (synthetic) fabric and wick away moisture.
  • The insulation layer is a warming layer – typical fabrics include wool, fleece, or down goose feathers. These types of fabrics trap heat close to the body.
  • The shell layer is your protection from the elements. This can as complicated as a $400 dollar jacket or as simple as a trash bag. This layer serves to protect you from the rain, sleet, and snow.

Boots

Protect your feet at all costs. Regular shoes degrade quickly and don’t support your feet very well. I’m partial to a good pair of waterproof hiking boots. Material like Goretex is waterproof and breathable. A mid size hiking boot will also support your ankles. Generally, a good boot will last you years. I’ve worn a pair of these everyday for over a year and they’ve held up like a tank.

Final thoughts

Not many people have the money to go out and buy an ultimate bug out bag. I recommend you start small. Put together the skeleton version of this bug out bag first and then slowly expand it. Once you have the gear you need, take it for a test run. Get out of dodge for a night and hike to someplace local where you can experiment with your gear. While this won’t simulate a real SHTF scenario it will allow you to familiarize yourself with all your gear and test your physical stamina. You will quickly get an idea for what pieces of gear you do and don’t need. The bug out bag is always a work in progress. Have fun with the process but be serious when it comes time to BUG OUT.

Have any additions you would make to this list? Leave your comments and criticisms below. Thanks for reading and be sure to subscribe to the email newsletter.