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.

 

 

SHTF Training HOW TO

SHTF-training

Have you been paying attention to recent events? A discerning eye can easily see we are on the brink of a fully blown SHTF situation. But, this isn’t a reason to panic. With a calm mind a willing heart, anybody can put themselves through a DIY SHTF training course – because luck favors the prepared.

The SHTF training method

How does one actually prepare for a fully blown SHTF situation? What should you focus on? These are important questions to ask but must be framed in context of what an SHTF situation is. The thing about SHTF is you never know when it’s going to hit. You never  know where you’re going to be when things decide to crack off. It’s not like things are going to wait to explode when it’s convenient for you.

The nature of SHTF situations is random. With that said, let’s crack straight into the core SHTF training you need to become highly skilled in any SHTF situation.

Being adaptable

SHTF-training-adaptable
Train yourself to be adaptable in any situation

Because SHTF situations come as a surprise you must cultivate an adaptable demeanor towards life. Nothing must phase you. You must cultivate the ability to adapt to any situation you find yourself in. This is simply a matter of training your mind to be adaptable in situations where things don’t go your way. Maybe you make dinner reservations and you get to the restaurant only to find out the hostess who took your call never wrote your name down on the books. Instead of crying, take the lead and make a decision. Instead of being a victim make a choice to be pro active about the situation.

Being proactive

Lets be honest, life throws a lot of shit sandwiches your way. In fact, it would appear that life is simply one shit sandwich after the next. When you’re confronted by a tough situation you have two choices – being reactive or proactive. Being reactive places you in the role of the victim. Victims don’t get anything done in life. They wait on the sidelines hoping for somebody to come and save them. Unless you’re a super hot princess trapped in a tower and guarded by dragons, nobody cares about you. It is up to you to dig yourself out.

Physical fitness

SHTF-training

Your physical health will benefit you greatly if things go south and you have to move. Your physical body is your primary mode of transportation. You have to maintain the body or else it’s going to run like an old beater car chocked full of rats nests. Stagnation breeds disease. You don’t have to adopt some ridiculous diet or exercise program to get in shape either.

You can start by walking around the block or going for long walks. You can throw on your bug out pack and go hiking. None of this has to be boring. Going on hikes with your family or friends is an easy and fun way to get in shape. Pack some healthy foods and get out of the house.

Your SHTF plan

Do you have a plan in place if SHTF? If you don’t you should put one together straight away. Where will you go if you have to bug out? How will you communicate with friends and loved ones? How will you communicate with family if the grid goes down? These are all things you need to think about before TSHTF.

Graywolf survival has a very comprehensive guide on the matter.

Final thoughts

You can see that SHTF training is all about mindset. It’s about being flexible in chaotic situations. It’s about keeping your cool while others are freaking out. You can’t train for a nuclear bomb or a fully blown riot but you can train your mind to adapt to situations you aren’t used to.

Always be cool. Always be prepared. This is the formula for ultimate survival.

 

ESEE 3 Knife Review

esee-3-review

The ESSE 3. A short chode style blade with mighty power in the hands of a true survivalist. The ESEE 3 catches a lot of flack for having a shorter blade. Does this mean the ESEE 3 can’t be used as a full fledged survival knife? Let’s crack straight into the review and discover the true power of the ESEE 3.

Specs

Blade TypeFixed
Blade Length3.88 inches
Total Length8.19 inches
Blade Thickness0.125 inches
Blade Material1095 steel / Plain edge / Drop point
Weight5.2 oz
TangFull
Sheath IncludedYes

The blade

esee-3-blade

The ESEE 3 once again sticks with ESEE’s tried and true blade material – 1095 carbon steel. This steel is extremely sharp. You’re not gonna have any problems slicing through seat belts, making feather sticks, or cutting cordage. Super sharp. One of the sharper knives on the ESEE line of knives. This is partly due to the blades thinner profile. A thinner blade means a sharper edge. Definitely sharp as hell compared to the ESEE 5 – which is sharp but nowhere near the sharpness of the ESEE 3.

The handle

esee-3-handle

Again, we’re talking about the standard Micarta handle you see on all the ESEE knives. Rock solid handle. It’s got a nice little choil indentation to really get a solid handle on the blade. This knife was made for carving and skinning. The handle feels very natural in hand. Well balanced.

Performance

This is the part where I take the blade out into the wilderness for a proper pounding. I put each knife through a rigorous set of tests out in the bush. If a knife doesn’t survive I leave it at home where it collects dust forever. I’m excited to report the ESEE 3 did quite well on all the tests except wood batoning.

Making feather sticks – This blade is extremely sharp. It took very little pressure on my end to make feather sticks from hard wood. All you need to do is angle the blade and simply smooth your way down the wood. Watching the wood simply curl over and feather is one of life’s greatest pleasures.

Making feather sticks with the ESEE 3 is a breeze
Making feather sticks with the ESEE 3 is a breeze

Batoning wood – batoning wood is one of my all time favorite things to do around camp. There is something so satisfying about coming down hard over the spine of your knife, and watching a piece of wood split right down the path of the blade. Can the ESEE 3 baton wood? The answer is yes, you can. But it’s not going to be easy and you’re limited to only batoning smaller pieces. The shortness of the blade on the ESEE 3 doesn’t make this the greatest knife to baton wood with. It’s much better suited to carving, wood working, skinning, and cutting.

Final thoughts

It’s a true pleasure working with this knife. Much more so than with the big and bulky ESEE-5. If you’re looking for a true to form survival knife in a smaller profile, this is your blade. Sharp as a razor and very easy to handle and maneuver. Oh yeah, I really enjoy the modified glass breaker pommel on this blade. You could easily bust through a window shield or defend yourself if you had to. That’s going to do some serious damage to anything it comes into contact with.

Do your belt a favor and pick this knife up today. It even comes with a sheath!

SHTF is Coming

shtf-is-coming

SHTF is coming and it’s going to come hard folks. I’m talking about full scale nuclear war with all the major super powers – Russia, China, North Korea, and the USA. The monkeys who have taken this world over do not respond to diplomacy. We have sociopaths in the political system and they will stop at nothing to gain it all.

They will kill, assassinate, and do whatever it takes to come out on top of the monkey pile. Human consciousness has a long ways to go before we are able to see through the illusion of competition and control.

How do I know SHTF is coming?

You don’t have to be an economic or political scientist to understand basic human nature. Left to their own devices humans will carry out brutal orders and employ strategies to secure their position at the top. We have observed apes in the wild and understand their violent tendencies. We have observed humans time and time again taking their tribes into war. We are not that different from the apes.

Think back to the endless wars. People like to reminisce about the “good old days” but I got news for these people – history is filled with one shit sandwich after the next. Sure, there are times where things are relatively peaceful, but largely, history is filled with wars, racism, sexism, and lots of other lower consciousness attributes. It is only a matter of time before the monkey mind goes full retard on the global scale.

Passive culture

The internet has opened the informational flood gets. There are millions of ways the general population can pacify themselves into thinking everything is okay. Meanwhile, the rich are getting richer by pulling on political strings and taking advantage of the poor.

It’s not the riches fault. It’s our fault for allowing it to happen. It’s our fault for thinking that whining and complaining are going to get things done. It’s our fault for not understanding the true nature of humans. The political and economic systems are ran by the smartest apes.

The smart apes make millions to billions of dollars. The dumb apes work for wages and then complain about their situation. Because their situation is so grim they turn to social media to distract themselves. They might get online and bitch about the presidential candidates. They are under the illusion that this complaining is getting something done. The fact is, they accomplish nothing and serve to pacify themselves even further in the most ignorant and unconscious state of mind. Meanwhile, the rich get richer.

The solution

So what’s the solution to all of this? Currently, all the smart apes are at the top making most of the money. The sociopathic apes are up their too with their hairy fingers on the nuke trigger. What can be done about this? Not a whole lot if you ask me. We have seen movements like occupy wall street come and accomplish nothing despite making a lot of noise.

The elite apes do not care what you have to say. Your “informed” opinion about the current state of politics and globalism doesn’t even reach their radar. There is a machine here that has gathered a lot of momentum in a direction that won’t benefit 99% of the human race.

There is nothing me, you, or anyone else can do about that. We can hold hands, smoke weed, and sing kumbaya all we want – nothing is going stop this machine from taking a giant shit right in the middle of our peace circle.

When they start dropping the nukes that’s when you know it’s real. Many of the dumb apes will be confused as to why this is happening. After all, they spent so much time telling the world about their worthless opinions on politics. Plus, they voted for a president that had the best interest of the people right?

The smart apes like me and you will prep for the inevitable. We will prep for total economic and political collapse. Believe me, as soon as they can they will colonize mars, and here’s the kicker – only the mega wealthy will have a ticket.

In a hundred years time the earth will resemble blackened char from years of nuclear warfare. Only the smart preppers will be around to keep the human race alive. The earth will regenerate itself and its resources over time. Preppers will create a new earth from the ground up.

They will benefit from a much lower population of people. The law of nature states that only the smartest and strongest survive. Those that are left will be much smarter than the ones who perished in the war.

Do not be afraid. Do your preps. Stock up on ammo. Stock up on the knowledge it takes to survive even the worst of the worst.

When you are prepared nothing can surprise you. You no longer get angry at the rich because you are prepared with abundance and knowledge. You yourself are rich because you understand what’s going on.

Go forward with the knowledge that you are ready for anything – because SHTF is coming.

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 SHTF Lone Wolf

shtf-lone-wolf

When SHTF you might be thinking about going Lone Wolf. Is this a good idea? Sometimes it might be easier to grab the shotty and blast your way through the madness with nobody to slow you down. You live and die on your own. Hey, it worked for Denzel Washington in the Book of Eli right? While your mission might not be as noble, the logistics of going lone wolf could be in your favor.

Let’s crack into a few of the key advantages and disadvantages of going lone wolf.

Advantages of going lone wolf

Speed –  Going lone wolf has a number of significant advantages. The first is speed. You can get the hell out of dodge as fast as you possibly can without worrying about stragglers. I for one hate having to wait for people on hikes. The hike always takes hours longer than it has to because of slow, out of shape hikers. You can easily blast through a situation at your own pace.

Stealth – Going solo gives you a clear advantage when it comes to concealing your location or staying hidden. Less people means less of a footprint. Less people making noise, less people stepping on crunchy leaves, less people who don’t know how to stay hidden. Think about if you have to go on the run. Complete military take over or localized terrorist attacks would force you into adopting a stealth mindset and plan. More people just means more chances of getting killed in a situation like this.

Resources – More people means more mouths to feed. If you’re the only one with the skills to hunt guess who everybody expects to feed them? You can’t simply catch food for yourself and eat in front of everybody. Do this and they will turn against you in the most violent of ways.

Disadvantages of going lone wolf

Not possible in all situations – How the hell are you going to go lone wolf with a family? There are some situations where going lone wolf isn’t morally right or appropriate. You have to do whatever it takes to protect those you love. Getting your family and friends into a safe location is always priority number one. It doesn’t matter if they are fat and stupid!

Less versatility – Bugging out with a group of people has advantages. Everybody has a unique skill set they can bring to the table. The collective skills of everyone in the group can come together in a very effective way. Some people could hunt, others can collect water, there will be people who can operate comms, people with military experience etc.

Less protection – I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be caught in the middle of a 3 on 1 fight. In a group you can stick together and protect each other. There is power numbers. Together we stand but divided we fall!

Company – Do you really want to be alone through all of this? I don’t know about you but I get weird if I don’t socialize at least a little bit each week. Having company, especially through a rough SHTF situation, could be the one thing that keeps you alive – at least mentally. A big part of survival is mental so don’t overlook the power in numbers.

Final thoughts

As you can see, going lone wolf has its advantages and disadvantages. If you truly dislike people and don’t have any family, going lone wolf is the only way for you. But, if you have a family and friends then going lone wolf simply isn’t practical or the right thing to do.

The decision of going lone wolf will be hardest for those who only have a group of loose acquaintances. Do you roll with those around you or go solo? They aren’t exactly your family so there isn’t any reason to stick around. But, they are the only people you know. What do you say? Will you be going lone wolf if TSHTF? Let us all know in the comments.

 

 

Bear Grylls vs Les Stroud – Who Wins?

Bear Grylls and Les Stroud – two notorious T.V. personalities with their own survival shows. Each one takes a different approach to survival. Bear Grylls is popular because he drinks his own urine and repels down steep mountain slopes with bailing twine. Les Stroud is noted for his calculated approach and “real” survival skills. Now, if you put these two in an ultimate survival situation, who would win and why?

Bear Grylls

bear-grylls

Bear Grylls in his hit show “Man vs Wild” takes his viewers on a wild expedition of survival. Him and his camera crew go balls deep into the most challenging environments to test his skills. Bear Grylls is not shy when it comes to getting naked, jumping into raging rivers, climbing trees, repelling down cliffs, or even drinking his own urine. He is also not afraid to eat whatever nasty bug crawls across the landscape. Each episode shows Mr. Grylls taking part in some fairly aggressive stunts that make you question the validity of the show.

Some say Bear Grylls is all hat and no cattle. In other words, critics of Bear Grylls say he is only in it for the money. Some go so far as to say he never even spends the night in the places he films. When filming is over he goes back to a cozy 5 star hotel where he eats the finest foods and drinks the finest champagne.

If we take a look at what we see him do on T.V. we can deduce a few things. One, most of his stunts are ridiculous and outright dangerous. Many of the situations he puts himself in can result in broken bones, twisted ankles, or other serious injuries. His habit of getting naked and jumping into the coldest rivers is downright stupid at times. In some episodes you can easily see that he could of simply walked alongside the river to reach his destination.

Man vs Wild is definitely entertaining to watch despite the obvious misinformation. But, does this make Bear Grylls an incompetent survivalist? Just because his show focuses on entertainment doesn’t mean Mr. Grylls is incapable in the wild, right?

Les Stroud

les-stroud

Les Stroud is the man behind the hit show “Survivorman.” Mr. Stroud’s show differs greatly from Man vs Wild in many key areas. Les films the entire show himself. He doesn’t have a crew of people he goes out with. If somethine goes wrong he has to figure things out himeslf. He does not have a team of experts to help him through situations. This puts him at greater risk in my opinion and gives the show a more authentic feel. Because he films everything himself you get an up close and personal feel for what it really takes to survive. Mr. Stroud is well known for saying things like “you’re one twisted ankle away from death.”

He constantly delivers sound advice and spends a lot of time educating you face to face. He stresses the dangers of getting injured in a survival situation. You never saw him doing crazy stunts that could get him gravely injured. His approach to survival was always calculated and informed. I feel that Survivorman was educational and did a lot of good teaching the real nitty gritty details of what it takes to survive.

Stroud also trained under real experts and has been a student of primitive living for many years. I consider Stroud an overall good guy who knows what he’s talking about.

Who Wins?

As far as entertainment value goes the cup goes to Mr. Grylls. He is fun to watch and there is never a dull moment. If it came down to surviving I got to go with Mr. Stroud. If I was stranded on a desert island and had to choose a partner, I’m going with the guy who’s been studying this stuff his whole life. I’m going with the guy who knows what it takes to survive. My hat is off to both these gentleman but the winner in this survival competition is clearly Stroud.

ESEE 4 Knife Review

ESEE-4-review

Welcome to the ESEE 4 review. Thinking about grabbing yourself an ESEE knife? The ESEE 4 is a solid option and boasts a number of features that make this blade a very competent companion in the bush. As always, I take every knife I review out into the bush for a proper pounding – this is the only way to gauge the true effectiveness of a survival knife. Let’s crack straight into the specs.

Specs

Blade TypeFixed
Blade Length4.5 inches
Total Length9.0 inches
Blade Thickness0.188 inches
Blade Material1095 steel / Plain edge / Drop point
Weight8 oz
TangFull
Sheath IncludedYes

The ESEE 4 blade

ESEE-4-blade-pic

The blade itself measures in at 4.5 inches. The material in question is the infamous 1095 carbon steel common to ESEE knives. The blade came razor sharp straight out of the box. Carbon steel is well known for taking a wicked edge but requires more maintenance. Carbon steel is more prone to rust than stainless steel and must be cleaned and maintained to prevent damage to the blade. It sounds as if carbon steel is delicate but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you go to slice into a nice summer sausage – I’m talking razor sharp.

The ESEE 4 handle

esee-4-handle

ESEE uses a micarta handle on the ESEE 4. This stuff is durable and feels good in hand. I found I could easily grip the ESEE 4. Having medium sized hands the handle feels perfect. One thing I didn’t like about the ESEE5 was the monstrous size of the handle. It was hard to get a grip which made it hard to use the blade. The handle on the 4 is perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Performance

What good is a knife if it only looks cool? When I take I knife into the bush I need to perform a variety of tasks. Wood needs to be batoned, game needs to be skinned, wood needs to be carved etc. If a knife can’t live up to these tasks then you need a better knife. I put the ESEE 4 through a brutal regiment of testing. I went full mad man mode on this thing, doing my best to inflict as much damage as possible to the blade. I only use the knife in this way for reviews. Obviously you would not stress a knife out this much on a day to day basis.

Let’s crack straight into the stress test.

Making feathersticks – making feather sticks is a great way to test a blades sharpness. If a blade has a decent edge it will smooth alongside the wood and create beautiful feather sticks for fire making. The ESEE 4 performed well in this test. Running the blade alongside a piece of dry wood yielded very fine wood shavings. It took little pressure on my part to produce these shavings. This is a big win for the ESEE 4.

esee-4-making-feather-sticks

Batoning wood – my favorite part of any knife review. I came down over the top of the spine with brutal power. I must have looked like a mad man to anybody watching. It chopped straight through even the hardest wood and always came back for more punishment. I was worn out quickly far before the blade gave any signs of slowing down. I will say that it isn’t the best for batonng wood. Because of the shorter and thinner blade it won’t baton as well as, let’s say, the ESEE 5 or the ESEE 6. It comes down to basic physics. A longer thicker blade will simply baton better than a shorter thinner one. With that said, batoning wood with the ESEE 4 can be done – and done quite well.

Final thoughts

The ESEE 4 is a great blade. I can see this blade being a great knife for smaller tasks like feather sticks, carving, and skinning small game. I wouldn’t call this the ultimate survival knife. It’s a competent knife with a sharp as hell edge. Really, what more could you possibly want in a knife? I think the ESEE 4 stacks up well in the bush and you’d be doing yourself a huge favor by snatching one up as soon as possible. It will serve you well as a constant companion in the bush.

 

 

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…