You May Be Surprised What Survival Products Worked and What Didn’t

by | Jun 17, 2019 | Emergency Preparedness | 81 comments

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    This article was originally published by Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper.

    When I joined several ladies to take a survival course in Croatia back in May, we all brought the gear we felt we would need if a sudden Zombie Apocalypse arose and we had to get back home.

    Some of that gear was fantastic. Some of it was terrible. And you might be surprised at what worked and what didn’t.

    Now, for the products I didn’t like, I’m not going to name names and bash them. Simply because they didn’t work for us doesn’t mean they’re 100% garbage. I’ll just explain what I disliked about them and you can decide for yourself if that’s a problem you’d have also. You also have to consider that we were using this gear in a specific set of circumstances and your circumstances might be different.

    As well, you may have far more experience than I and using these things might be a piece of cake. This article probably isn’t for you – it’s probably more for folks who aren’t big-time outdoor survival gurus.

    Here’s the scenario in which we were using these items: We were bugging out or hiding out. We were in situations in which we were out and did not want to run into anyone or bring attention to our locations. Discretion is key in SHTF situations. If you were using some of these items at home during a power outage, they would have been just fine.

    Sawyer Mini – YES

    I have carried around a Sawyer Mini for years and assumed that it would work well. I have used it when hiking and drinking water from a clear rushing stream. It worked just fine.

    But on this trip, I used it to drink dirty puddle water and here I am, living to tell the tale. Did it taste like Evian water from the south shore of Lake Geneva, Switzerland? No, of course not. It was far from that rushing mountain stream water. But I lived and now I feel far more confident using my Sawyer Mini in less than desirable situations. I have felt worse drinking tap water in certain cities than I did drinking my filtered puddle water.  I had absolutely no negative effects from this and that water was muddy!

    Portable Camp Stove – NO

    There are a million different tiny portable camp stoves out there in Prepperland. The one we were using was a metal stove that packed flat and assembled quickly. That was the easy part.

    Tending a fire in the teeny tiny opening was ridiculous. I was on my hands and knees, cheek to the dirty ground, stoking a fire with a twig. While we did get the fire going and maintained it long enough to boil water, it was an epic pain and took longer than it should have. It would have been far easier to start a fire on the ground and put our cooking vessel on a couple of rocks or bricks. We would have boiled the water MUCH faster. Heaven help me if I had to actually cook a meal on it. I would have been laying on the ground shoving twigs into that tiny opening for an hour

    The Jet Boil stoves were popular, effective, and practically smokeless, but they are limited because they only work with the fuel canisters. Portable camp stoves no longer have a place in my kit and more than one of us condemned ours to the junk heap.

    Oval Cooking Pot – YES

    One of our instructors, Toby, had a mess kit similar to this one. (I cannot vouch for that specific one – it’s an example to show you what the one I’m  talking about looked like.) If you are cooking with a makeshift stove of a couple of bricks or rocks, the oval shape meant that more of the water (or whatever you’re cooking) is exposed to direct heat than with a round cooking vessel.

    If you’re worried about the fact that it is aluminum, keep in mind that this is not an everyday situation. This is something you’re using when you are on the move so you want your gear to be as light and efficient as possible.

    I actually failed to bring a cooking vessel altogether, which would have been an awful mistake in a real emergency.

    Bright Lights – NO

    Generally, when we think about flashlights and headlamps, we think the brighter the better, right? Well, that’s not necessarily the case. One of the students discovered her ultra-bright lights were far too visible in the dark and the headlamp was so bright it blinded her partner.

    A filtered light is far less obvious when you’re being stealthy. You can get headlamps as low as 160 Lumen and you can get flashlights with filters in various colors, which are good for signaling, or with lower brightness settings. You can also use a scarf or bandana to dim your flashlight a little if you need a moment of light to see where you’re going but you don’t want to alert the whole vicinity to your presence.

    Knives and Fire Steels  – MAYBE

    Most of us had never used a knife to strike a spark with a fire steel. One of the students had gone to a shop and asked specifically for a knife that would work with her fire steel. She tried and tried to start a fire with the knife she purchased, to no avail. It wouldn’t work for any of us, not even the instructor.

    Why? Because it turned out that the knife she was using for it had a type of grind on the spine that made it virtually impossible to use as she wanted. Make sure well before you set off confidently into the forest that your knife and your fire steel are compatible.

    Another student had a flint that turned out to be a crappy fake piece from China that didn’t work at all. Again – test it before you need it.

    99 Cent Lighter – YES

    Sometimes we make things too complicated. In a survival situation, unless there’s some kind of extenuating circumstance that means you have to do things in the most difficult way possible, do things the easiest way possible.

    I grabbed a few extra 99 cent lighters on my way to the airport to put in my luggage and used those exclusively for lighting fires during the course. Between that, twigs and branches I found on the ground, and a sheet of paper I ripped out of my notebook, a fire was mine within a minute in every situation I needed to light one. (I was also able to barter a lighter during the course because I had extras.)

    Freeze Dried Food – NO

    Like most preppers, I have a massive stash of freeze-dried food put back for a rainy day. But if that rainy day happened to occur when I was cooking in less than ideal conditions and trying to be stealthy about it, a freeze-dried meal from any of the top sellers is not going to be my first choice.

    First of all – you have to cook most of them for 10-20 minutes. That means you are going to have to find a whole bunch of fuel to keep your fire in the abandoned building/forest/wherever going for long enough to cook it. Secondly, cooking something for that long is going to produce some very noticeable smells and visible smoke.  Finally, particularly in a bug out situation, you might have to move fast. You might not have time to sit around for half an hour starting a fire and waiting for the food to cook.

    Nearly every prepper I know has a bag or two of freeze-dried meals in their backpack. But as far as bug-out bags are concerned, I think no-cook portable foods like Clif bars, jerky, peanut M&Ms, trail mix, and fruit leather are better options.

    Dollar Store Gardening Gloves – YES

    After our first trip out to see the buildings where we’d be spending time, with all the debris and broken glass, I was super bummed that I had forgotten my sturdy work gloves. When we stopped at the grocery store, I went to the discount section looking for gloves. There were large men’s work gloves that would have been much too big and clumsy on my smaller hands. Then there were those cheapo little gardening gloves you see at every dollar store across the country in the spring – you know the ones with the sticky little rubber dots on the palms and fingers?

    These worked ideally for nearly every situation that I needed them. I was able to move rubble, carefully pick up thorny branches for my fire, and strategically pick up big chunks of broken glass that were in my way. Obviously, these aren’t the sturdiest gloves around but used carefully, they worked for my purposes.

    NOTE: The downside to my dollar store garden gloves? At night, the stark white of them made me stand out like some kind of mime in the forest.

    Button Compass – NO

    We were out in the middle of an unfamiliar area when I was instructed to navigate to a different area. In the scenario, the bridge was out on the easy route, so I had to make an alternate route. Navigating when you can’t read the signs to figure out where you are is a whole new ballgame.

    I needed a compass and I hadn’t brought a good one. However, somewhere in my backpack was a button one I’d tossed in that had come with some kit I’d purchased. I pulled it out to use it and got even more confused because based on where I’d calculated we were, the water that should be in front of us was actually behind us.

    Toby pulled out a known compass that we were sure was working and it turned out that mine was off by nearly 60 degrees. That would certainly have been a navigational issue.

    So really, this isn’t just button compasses. (Although mine was truly junk.) It’s any compass. Make sure before you need it that your compass reads true.

    Little Fold-Up Binoculars – YES

    If you were actually bugging out through a potentially hostile area, you would want to be able to clearly see areas that you were planning to cross through or take shelter. Those nifty fold-up binoculars you get from camping stores (or Amazon) are well worth the price of admission.

    Anything that enhances your senses is extremely useful when you’re trying to be stealthy. It can help you spot obstacles instead of you running right into them, and it can also help you to scope out a place in which you plan to take shelter to confirm whether or not it’s inhabited.

    What about you?

    Have you ever tried any kind of conventional (or unconventional) prepper gear and been surprised by the results? Share what has worked for you and what has not in the comments section below.

    Daisy Luther is the author of 4 best-selling books including Be Ready for Anything: How to Survive Tornadoes, Earthquakes, Pandemics, Mass Shootings, Nuclear Disasters, and Other Life-Threatening Events.


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      1. I have fooled around the bbq and fireplace, for years, and read science related topics. It has just come to my attention that pyrites have been used for flint, by the ancients.

        Rather than the premise that we learn history, so as never to repeat it, what if they were more experienced, and we were more degenerate.

        As for compasses, predictions, and projections, you should generally use more than one ‘witness’ or means of validation. Time and distance are best measured from several vantage points, simultaneously, to see what is corroborated.

      2. Interesting article. Again, people should try their equipment out several times when they are not under duress or a threat. This allows them to become familiar with how it works. As an example, for freeze dried food. I use Mountain House all of the time and keep a list of what I like. I don’t buy stuff in quantity without trying it out. I use it when hunting. Heat water with a JetBoil stove, pour water into foil pouch and stir, seal pouch for the recommended time, eat, stow gear and then move. In a pinch I can pour the water into the pouch and while it rehydrates I can stow gear and move on with the pouch stored in a backpack pocket. When it is ready to eat I remove the food pouch from the backpack pocket and eat as I walk. Time needed to boil the water at 10,000 feet elevation is about 3 minutes. My meal prep time is under 5 minutes if I’m in a hurry. In a real pinch, the protein bars, nuts, dehydrated food works.

      3. I added a piece of commercial ‘fatwood’ that was purchased in bulk from Loews for about $6 total. It contains approximately 60 pieces (thum diameter) x 8″ long. I have seen several examples on-line where a single piece goes for several dollars. Total rip-off.

        I take some pliers and crush the end, twisting and pulling until the wood forms a small pile. It will burn for a few minutes, but it works best if you already have your fuel nearby and ready to stack. For me – worth it.

      4. The only time I would use my knife spline to strike sparks off a ferro rod would be that it was the only thing I had to do so. You can use a few things that’ll work like a piece of broken glass (use gloves or a rag to protect your hand), a sharp piece of quartz,chert/flint as well, the back of your Silky folding saw blade, the back of the file or saw blade on your Leatherman Wave. A good article on what you used and what was good and not so good is very helpful to us here. Thanks.

        • I’ve used the file on my Gerber multitool on a ferro rod to start fires. Takes like 1-3 minutes but it works. Any file or saw blade will work. Some of the elcheapo pocket or fixed blade knives will work but others don’t. I won’t use my BEST folding or fixed blade knife on a ferro rod if it can be avoided.

        • repr sleepr, speaking of a Leatherman type multi-tool, I just bought 2 CHEAP 12-In-1 Ozark Trail Multi-Tools from Walmart for $5.00 EACH. Good quality at a great price. I can’t afford to get the best of everything. Every dollar counts!

          • Justice, I also have a couple of those but strictly for backup. Never hurts to have a spare or two. I like the Gerber better than the Leatherman but that’s just me.

            • Mainly I wanted a back-up and one to put in my medical bag/kit. I’m trying to build out my medical supplies after short changing that area.

            • in the army, a multi-tool is known by a nickname….”gerber”…don’t cut corners here…..DO remember, there are LOTS of variations from gerber. also, when using a firestarter, THE most important thing is to place your tinder on something HARD(rock or log). press down as if trying to slice off a very thin piece of the firestarter down into the tinder(BEST tinder is dryer lint or sisal/hemp rope(must be unravelled!). i usually light the hemp/lint first or second try, but you gotta press down HARD(which makes me wonder if that’s why women couldn’t make them work), many of my younger scouts just can’t push down hard enough to throw them sparks into the tinder pile, until they are shown, then keep at it, and PRACTICE for a few minutes. scrape off some of that magnesium into the pile if you have trouble, but i NEVER use the stuff. also, you can sharpen the back of the blade so it’s a sharp 90* angle, then they throw sparks pretty well.
              when it counts, like when wet/cold and in a hurry, i use the serrated part of the blade to scrape off them sparks. one more thing, have ALL tinder, kindling, and fuel(wood) ready to go. make that spark light, and start piling on kindling, and eventually wood. soft wood is required to make great kindling. anyways, that’s how to build a fire under IDEAL conditions, practice THAT first, then move on to locally-gathered tinder and kindling to hone your skills.

          • Justice, I’ve bought a few off Ebay that were used but in excellent shape for about 35 bux when they go for nearly 100bux new. One had a person’s name engraved on it thanking them for their six years of service. LOL.

            • Thanks, will keep a look out.

      5. There is frequently metal debris, laying around. So, it would be stupid, to use a nice, clean hand tool, to strike a spark. There’s an old-timey striker, that looks like brass knuckles, but I liked the heft and the edges of a big, old bolt. Sorry, advertisers, but some of the best, most-useful tools happen to be free junk.

        • its become a cheesy cliche, but “improvise adapt overcome” is still a good motto

          • Probably, for so long as I could hold a tool, I have played with stuff like this. It’s play and coordination. It doesn’t even occur to me, to go out and buy something, everytime I am mess around a campfire.

            If you’re so efficient, so well-practiced, that it looks like a neat magic trick, to the people looking over your shoulder, they will definitely be interested to learn this.

            If you’re motivated and busy, people will be looking at whatever you are looking at. That’s dynamic.

            Lot’s of my stuff came from my late relatives. Lots of their stuff came from no place good, but still works, or was fixable. Fixing and making basic things is a better survival skill than buying everything, all the time. Sorry, advertisers.

            Cattail under a sticky pine cone.

          • NEC, that’s my motto and nothing cheesy about it.

        • Esse makes a nice hand held tool that has a divot in the center for a bow and drill spindle made out of carbon steel. The edges of the tool have a nice edge on them and will pull showers of sparks off a ferro rod. They are also excellent with striking chert/flint on charred punk wood and char cloth. You can find these at :THE KNIFE CENTER.COM

          • “…bow and drill spindle made out of carbon steel.”

            This sounds most familiar.

            Things should either be so over engineered that no abuse can be too much, or so cheaply replaced that you never fear losing it.

      6. An excellent article, both in content and in potential discussion points. Thank you.

        Quality lensatic compass or map compass are worth their weight, provided you practice. Orienteering events are fun, but you can also test yourself daily with known landmarks.
        In the event you do not have (or cannot create) a compass, you should be acutely aware of your AO, landmarks, features, etc. so that you can at least generally navigate an area and get out of immediate danger

        For what its worth, I have had poor experiences with Lifestraw filters. My personal experience, your mileage may vary. Will have to try a Sawyer

        • A Sunto Lensatic NC2 compass is a decent compass.

          • Those are very nice and are too not terribly expensive for what you get. I have “budget” Sylva’s in the bob/ghb’s but use an Suunto MC2-DLN for orienteering and run n gun type events. I understand the MC2’s can be had under 50 bucks now

          • Repr,
            I’ve had a Suunto M2 for over 25 years. The compass has been discontinued but the newer A30 looks like a good simple rugged compass like the M2.
            The MC2 you mention is a little fancy for me, but looks like an excellent compass.

        • NEC Wrangler, I highly recommend Sawyer products. I have the Mini, All-In-One, and 2 of the Water Filter Bottles which have built-in filters which can be cleaned and never need replacing. Can’t go wrong with a Sawyer.

      7. I’ve always found that assembling a survival kit makes for a better quality of preps than buying a pre-assembled kit. It’s worth the time and extra cost

        • Brian, agreed about putting together your own kit. I’ve never found one pre-assembled kit worth having. You’re much better off making your own and put what you believe is best to have in it.

      8. Introduction to some basic concepts, if you don’t get distracted by the lingo —

        Also, one of the best ways to get lost, is to be fatigued. Unless mind-over-matter materializes a hamburger, you will eventually get to the point where your speech is slurred and you will see things. There is a point of diminishing returns, between being too lazy and using up your physical reserves. Overtraining will break your health, rest assured.

      9. A Vortex Flash hider, much better than the Birdcage that comes on most black rifles. It really hides your flash.

        • Seminole Wind, iy’s weird you mention a flash suppressor. Is this the one you are referring to?

          1. Smith Vortex Arc Helix Flash Hider

          “For a long time, the Vortex Flash Hider was the standard by which most pure flash hiders were judged. The prongs on this flash hider are precisely engineered through some truly exhaustive testing to disperse gasses and unburned powder incredibly well, while also quickly providing a lot of surface area to absorb the heat from the rapidly expanding gasses of ignition”.

          h ttps://

      10. I definitely agree about the freeze dried foods but for different reasons. Those foods are nearly inedible under the best of conditions. I did finally find one entree that was edible, but the manufacturer refuses to sell just that one entree and insists that you purchase a variety of entrees. I have a dog that will eat just about anything and he won’t eat most freeze dried entrees.
        I have a pretty good stash of food but only one 4 serving freeze dried dinner.
        SOLAS survival bars are a very good choice for emergency food as they are designed to survive some very brutal conditions and they will keep you alive in very brutal conditions.

        • one option for “cooking” freeze dried meals is using a thermos of hot water. No need to stand over a cookstove for 20min, and you can keep doing whatever while it sits in your pack.

        • rellik, I have avoided storing ANY freeze dried meals because of; 1) Cost and 2) have heard that they’re not very tasty (“nearly inedible under the best of conditions”).

        • Rellik, agreed about freeze-dried. They are inedible and have way too much sodium content. Same goes for MREs. First time I tried an MRE I got sick. never touched those f#$%ers again. The other items Daisy mentioned are better choices, especially the jerky. Crackers go good with jerky and make a pretty good meal for on-the-go.

        • I also agree about the freeze-dried foods. Back in my assistant scoutmaster days, we tried a few and found them wanting. We did choke down a few, but even with some additions for flavor (not “trail seasoning”–you know, whatever happens to fall from the trees you’re under), these meals lacked much and weren’t particularly filling or didn’t stick to your ribs well enough.

          We turned to assorted books like the Backpacker’s Cookbook, etc. and put together our own meal packets which were quite delicious. I don’t know how long these would keep in a long term situation. It might be worth considering what would work and what could be altered to suit.

      11. Good article except for the NO to freeze-dried food [with a caveat, of course]. All the fd food that I’ve used – not an “expert”, just a camper – Mountain House or home-made usually – has never had to be placed in a pot to cook for 20 min. We always just boil the water, then pour the water into the pouch [true, not good if you are moving, but then how did you boil the water if you are moving?], fold over the top and let it sit for 5 or so minutes. Yes, some smell escapes when you eat it, but a warm meal can be quite a lift to the spirit. After a few days in the woods, you can smell the people as far as the food.

      12. Grandma looked like the babushka lady and said stuff from Aesop’s and European fables, and what we would call borderline nature worship. There wasn’t any gear.

      13. Daisy Luther, great REAL WORLD experience from a Trusted/Reliable source.

        “The downside to my dollar store garden gloves? At night, the stark white of them made me stand out like some kind of mime in the forest”. LOL That painted a vivid mental picture, thanks for the laugh.

      14. The only piece of equipment that I’ve tried recently and was really impressed with was a $29.00 Monocular. The optics were very impressive and they were very portable and light weight. These were “are well worth the price of admission”. You don’t need to spend a fortune to get decent/good optics.

        Like you stated Daisey, “Anything that enhances your senses is extremely useful when you’re trying to be stealthy. It can help you spot obstacles instead of you running right into them, and it can also help you to scope out a place in which you plan to take shelter to confirm whether or not it’s inhabited.”

        • Justice ~ I would be interested in knowing the brand / model of the monocular that you mention.

          I’ve looked at quite a few on Amazon, but each one of them seems to have a lot of negative reviews claiming that it’s junk.

      15. A cheap sleeping bag left me cold. It was filled with some white filler that looked like solid cotton balls, which made it’s way out of the poorly constructed seems. Cheap things are rarely worth buying. Price is no assurance of quality. I’ve learned to buy made in USA or some place known for the quality of the item.

        Good article.

        I would only take peanutbutter chocolate during the winter. If you buy from you can create your own trail mix from their large assortment of nuts, dried fruit, and candy.


        • Honeypot, some things you don’t want to skimp on. For example, a sleeping bag system. When something may be life and death, then it’s best to spend the money for quality. Consequently, I choose to go with the Military 3 Piece Sleeping Bag System, with a cold whether insert from Snugpak (Snugpak Fleece Sleeping Bag Liner).

          Although, I just bought 2 CHEAP 12-In-1 Ozark Trail Multi-Tools from Walmart for $5.00 EACH. Good quality at a great price. I can’t afford to get the best of everything. Every dollar counts!

          • Scootch, did a review of the product at Survival Dispatch. Sootch tests out an Ozark Trail multi-tool from Walmart. This $3.88 tool passes most of his tests including steel screws, aluminum and wire and comes with a carrying pouch.

            h ttps://

        • google “4 part sleep system”, and “surviving the cold shtfplan”. wear military “polypro’s” to bed, and put all clothes in your sleeping bag to keep warmer. if that don’t work, throw a blanket or two on top, to seal in the warmth.

          • Backpackers tip for staying warm in bed:
            Keep a pair of dedicated “sleeping” socks in your kit. When you go to bed, make sure your feet are dry and put on the clean socks. Take them off first thing in the am. Never wear them outside the bedroll, even to go take a leak.

            Happiness in the backcountry starts with your feet, always.

          • buttcrackofdoom and NEC_Wrangler good tips! “Keep a pair of dedicated “sleeping” socks in your kit”. Amen. I even keep them stored in a Freezer Bag to keep them clean and DRY!

            “Happiness in the backcountry starts with your feet, always”!!!

            • “I even keep them stored in a Freezer Bag to keep them clean and DRY!”

              same here! Its amazing how just changing your socks changes you entire outlook on a wet crappy day lol.

            • take a warm rock from the fire inside your sock(s), and put it in yer sleepin’ bag. just remember, river rocks can explode when put INTO a fire(don’t DO that!).

        • I am not dead set on primitive materials, many of which may not even be available to us, today, but I have never failed with the ordinary, old fashioned kind of bed roll and heat sources.

          I feel that many people are looking for a modern convenience, when we have never actually progressed beyond heft and physical substance.

          (Ötzi is probably a bad example.)

      16. Best flint striker I have is a broken piece of an old file I found under an anvil in a barn. Throws sparks like crazy. I’ve been using it as my go-to for nearly 20 years.

        • A good carbon steel file is excellent for striking flint and you can keep it in your pack to keep your hatchet/axe sharp. The best files I’ve found for stirkers are the Nicholson (if you can find them.)

          • strikers.

      17. why comment
        censored anyway

      18. A good place to for survival gear is Great selection and reasonable prices.

        • TDR,
          I’ve had mixed results with SG. I still have a Yugoslavian military border guard overcoat with real wool liner and a West German military issue cold weather overcoat, over 20 years use on both,
          that I purchased from SG, but I’ve been disappointed with many other of their products.

        • I also have bought some decent stuff from the Sportsman’s guide, other stuff, well, not so good. Many years ago I bought a pair of Italian military wool pants from Sportsman’s that had been in storage since the 1950’s. Really neat looking pants. Unboxed them, and wore them to a party. In the middle of the party, I bent over to pick something up off the floor and they split from the back belt loop to the top front of the crotch, leaving me exposed in front of the entire party, who all howled in laughter at me ! Thanks, Sportsman’s guide.

          • Rellik and Rock Roller, sorry, I forgot to mention not all of SG’s products are the best. Some of the European military products like those pants RR mentioned do leave something to be desired. One of their best items I can recommend is the METAL water canteens they carry. I’ve bought several and they all worked just right with no leaks. Avoid the PLASTIC canteens no matter who makes those. Those are notorious for leaking. Metal always lasts longer than plastic.

      19. got a big box of leather work gloves and a pair of welding gloves for handling hot stuff. your gonna want gloves. they will make a good barter item too. they will protect your hands from cuts and help you keep them clean. they are cheap now but will be valuable after shtf. if you think your not gonna do any work your nuts. everything is gonna be done by hand. if your not used to using shovels all day your hands will blister and leak inviting infection. it will be painful to keep irritating hot spots cus you need to keep working with broken skin. get gloves not the cheesy garden gloves or those stupid mechanix ones. get the white leather ones that have the canvas on the top side. gardening for survival is different than doing it for a hobby. get safty glasses too a few pairs you wanna protect your eyes.

      20. Hi Daisy, enjoyed your article. Don’t know what you were using for freeze dried, but the backpacking stuff I use only requires boiling water to be added. No twenty minutes over a fire for me.
        I can boil enough water for my meal and a healthy tea in seven to ten minutes on a fire, and four and a half minutes with my alcohol stove that I made. I backpack for days at time and between the freeze dried meals and what I forage, always eat well. No cook easy calories and protein definitely a plus if beating feet, and wanting to maintain a low sig.

      21. military sighting compass. learn. i did. Army style. & remember, the darkness is ur friend. if ur quiet.

        • Don’t forget your Ranger Beads.

      22. military sighting compass. learn. i did. Army style. & remember, the darkness is ur friend. if ur quiet.

      23. A good striker for a ferro stick is about four inches of a good hacksaw blade.

        My son went hiking in the Alps years ago. I gave him one of those AA powered six inch Fluorescent closet lights in a zip lock bag. We punched a hole in the tab section of the bag it could be hung from a tree and lit up the entire camp site and was quite rain proof. One set of batteries lasted the entire ten days. The first night he put it up, and one by one everyone put away their flashlights, then the bulb warmed up and they were like hang it from that tree that’s 20 feet away it’s like a street light. Now days you can buy similar that uses LEDs and the batteries last even longer.

        Compass, try to find one that is oil filled. It will work in all sorts of moving vehicles.

        Work gloves are a must.

        Freeze dried food. Buy powdered eggs. A lot of Freeze Dried is heavy on carbs, eggs are high in protein. You’ve all eaten them, any breakfast bar that serves trays of scrambled eggs is feeding you powdered eggs. Packets of pancake mix can make pancakes or biscuits, both can be cooked on just a piece of nontoxic sheet metal. Have some tea bags or instant coffee, sucks to withdraw from caffeine. Keep it simple, nuts are great protein, help prevent constipation, and are good fire starters as well.

        • 2200 calories in a 16 ounce jar of peanut butter.,,,excellent b.o.b food. oh, and you BETTER have a file to sharpen them tools, and it’s a PERFECT spark thrower. daisy shood try that one…..once you make fire an easy way, try other ways/materials. DO NOT TRY FIREMAKING WITHOUT GLOVES!

        • If you’re looking to have food high in protein, start killing rabbits. Very high in protein content.

          • but very, very low in fat, which is critical in a survival situation.

            • OK, rabbit wrapped in bacon.

              • I have hunted the mythical baco’bit, and never snared one. ;D
                I must be using the wrong type of snares…

                In all seriousness though, I think the brains edible, I’ll have to dig some and find out. Lots of fat in the brain. Maybe stew it. Not something I’d want to eat unless I ‘had’ to.

                I came across this guys article the other day, and I think it has BOB/GHB potential: ht tps://www.gohunt.c om/read/skills/the-stoveless-backcountry-hunting-food-list-2-0#gs.jvbze0

                No fear, if I was stuck as a refugee with no other means, I’d eat the bunnies, opossum, grubs, and every other da’m thing I could find lol. Hoping to avoid that with planning well

                • LMAO!

                  • Nec Rangler, best to use some gloves sometimes here we have some resident rabbit hunters with beagles skin the rabbits out and might have a cut on their hands and contract “rabbit fever” aka “Tularemia” which can be a serious bacterial infection.

                    • yeah any rabbit that looks slimy inside should be discarded. I keep sets of surgical gloves along with my bird knife for that reason. Never know what a wild animal has until you look.

      24. What freeze dried stuff do you need to cook?
        Everything I have is dried after cooking and might be cold but still tasty, or doesn’t need heat (e.g. lunchmeats, berries or other fruit or veggies, eggs of various sorts).

      25. “First of all – you have to cook most of them for 10-20 minutes. That means you are going to have to find a whole bunch of fuel to keep your fire in the abandoned building/forest/wherever going for long enough to cook it. Secondly, cooking something for that long is going to produce some very noticeable smells and visible smoke. Finally, particularly in a bug out situation, you might have to move fast. You might not have time to sit around for half an hour starting a fire and waiting for the food to cook.”

        This logic works the same way as the unleavened bread, in the Exodus; you’re not supposed to be setting up camp, if on the run.

        Otherwise, you can nibble on something dry; it’s not a holiday dinner.

        Earth and stone can were traditional means of conserving heat.

        • (Pardon my typo. No edit function allowed. )

        Note this article now has at least twice as many comments as the next highest commented article in the past 2 weeks, and 5x more than most of the rest of the articles. EVERY single comment is positive, contributes to the conversation in a meaningful way, and shows considerable interest from your readership. Also note the complete lack of sh!t talking and mud flinging.

        We appreciate all of the informational newsworthy stuff, and occasional enjoy some of the doom p0rn as entertainment but This is the content we want- practical, conversation starting, thought provoking info on general preparedness.

        Thanks for the site, but do take note of this trend when planning future content

      27. Regarding packing enough food/energy for 10 hard days in the field without needing to cook, check out this guys article.
        14.4 pounds, 3100 calories/day, 10.5 days, no cooking required, minimal water required to prep.
        Remove 3 spaces:
        ht tps://ww m/read/skills/the-stoveless-backcountry-hunting-food-list-2-0#gs.jvbze0

        • sorry, 3300 cal, 14 pounds. quoted the wrong stats.

        • Ever heard of constipation? Severe dung compaction in human or animal.. Ever been hundreds of miles from medical services. Ever had to lube finger and then dig out brown compaction from a dog or fellow human that is clogged up? Unpleasant. Alternative is severe illness/death for victim if unpleasant corrective measures not taken.

          Ever seen a bully master seargent airlift medivacted out of front lines because he bullied everyone, taking their peanut butter mre, and chocolate? After two weeks he was emergency Medivacted out, . . . is karma. Clogged plumbing. (Funny as hell. I saw it coming. Said nothing. ? We hated the worthless bully bastard.)

          Point is armchair commandos. Those never away from civilisation, comforts, medical care, You better consider bowl movements and constipation when you propose some of the energy bars, no cook food etc. SHTF altered diet.

          I’ve spent Much time away from pavement. Decades. Seen some people have life threatening issues. They could have died. Clogged plumbing. Seen dogs with very severe issues brought on by field diets. For humans, Trail mix, dried foods, peanut butter, mre chocolate, nuts, trail mix gorp, energy bars, ALL lead to serious problems, especially when water is lacking.

          Listen to some peoples “advice” here at your peril. Issue is “embarassing” for some. Especially new young troopers. They say nothing, then are nearly dead before issue brought up. Can be same said for females and young children camping long term. As a field leader you might want to ask unpleasant questions?:
          socks clean, dry, changed –check
          feet washed, powdered – check
          plenty of water drink if available – hydrated check
          urine color, cloudy, dark, light, clear -staus check
          have you number two’ ed? -when? consistancy?

          When you are miles from help. Or there is no help coming. In emergency under stress. You would be well served to be “gross” and enquire the above questions of those under your charge.
          – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
          NEC wrangler, i disagree with you. i hate censorship. i have always worked to keep those i disagree with around me. Ass kissers agreeing, teach you nothing. Bastards that tell you that your idea is FUBAR, why it is FUBAR, and called me out. Those types may be disagreeable, but I am extremely grateful for what they taught me. I thank them.
          Same in forums. I have the Amercan right to read disagreeable peoples comments. Even if they are wrong, wacked out, have different perspective, they have something to teach. Wrong or right.

          I hate the new censorship policy at this site and through out the net. It is unAmerican. Anti freedom. I have earned the right to speak and be heard. Even if it offends you, hurts your feeling, is hateful, etc.

          • I assume the long winded constipation part of the post is directed at the 10 day backcountry meal plan in the link. I’m not suggesting that as a permanent diet. GHB/BOB’s are meant to get you someplace quick. I suppose if one were planning on being on the road (ie- a refugee) one should be foraging for edibles, many of which provide fiber.
            I’m also not suggesting dehydration. The comment ” minimal water required to prep” means just that- little water is required for cooking. This frees your water store up for DRINKING rather than losing it to evaporation/spillage etc during cooking.

            Your point about “armchair commandos. Those never away from civilisation (sic), comforts, medical care” is surprising given that the article was written by a highly experienced elk/deer hunter who spends considerable time in exactly that environment, and has documented his backcountry diet and changes in it painstakingly for the last 3 years on that site.
            I wont bother going into my own background as anecdotal tales of experience generally gets mocked a bravado right out of the box here. I will say I still run a cookstove in the backcountry though. I like hot food.

            I think we can agree on the root points- this is a great short term way to haul alot of calories per ounce in a non wasteful way. Its not meant to be a permanent diet, that would be stupid, and I’m sorry if it sounded that way

            fwiw, I appreciate the comment. This site “happens” in the comments section, the articles are just the conversation starter.

            • The article clearly states “. And for those that asked, everything went through my body just fine”.
              The ingrediants for his breakfast also had fiber. Chia seeds, flaxseed, hemp hearts.
              I guess anon just saw the picture of prepackaged stuff and assumed

              • Frankly I don’t think he even clicked the link I posted but instead became fixed on “minimal water” and “no cooking required” in my post. I tried to address his concern. Good details on exactly what that guy is eating, why, and how its working out for him in his article.
                Yet another anonymous poster who makes one comment and disappears. Oh well.

          • I did the math on everything in the link I posted.
            homemade breakfast shake: 18 grams fiber
            (chia seeds, 11g, hemp hearts, 3g, quick oats, 4g)
            lunch and snack items: 18g
            dinner item 9g

            Total daily fiber intake in the link: 45g
            Recommended daily fiber intake for an adult: ” 25 to 30 grams a day”
            typical average adult fiber intake: 15 grams per day.

            Thanks for the opportunity to think this through and do some research. I am now certain this would be an excellent back-country menu or GHB/BOB option.

      28. having lived on the streets of Philly for a spell… Got to kow firsthand what will help me in an apocolyptic situation. Had a go bag back then that lasted the entire 18 months i lived in condemed buildings, woods ajacent to the schukyll river, how to survive on the mountains in valley forge. Not hard to do, and a 50L “ruksack” bag is all one needs of gear.

        bolt cutters, hack saw, framing hammer, pipe wrenchs, crowbar… things that can be securely strapped and actually help balence weight on your pack…..and you can squeeze in and out many places sight unseen

      29. 7X50 Quality Binos Yes.

        Small Cheap Binos.. Don’t waste your money..

        BTW.. a Quality set of 7X50 Binos (Specifically) will actually allow you to see longer into the twilight and earlier in the morning .. They gather greater light than you eye unaided can by itself so increase visibility.

        They are obviously not Night Vision but they have similar effect under low light conditions.

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