Archive for December, 2014

Last Minute Christmas Ideas from Sog

Posted: December 19, 2014 in Gear
Tags: , , ,

sogI’ve highlighted multiple Sog knives that I really like in prior posts.  As I was purchasing one as a Christmas gift I noticed that Amazon has selected Sog knives on sale for 15% off.  Amazon’s prices are usually the best I can find anyways (especially considering shipping) so an extra 15% is a good deal.  If you have Amazon prime you can get any of these shipped free with 2-day delivery.  Amazon prime is really helpful for all my prepper needs.  If you’ve waited till the last-minute and need gift ideas consider these favorites.  If you or someone you know needs to adopt the philosophy of every day carry and having a knife, these are a great way to get started.

Sog Flash 1 – small, elegant, light weight.  This is my EDC knife if I need to go very small and minimal.  Otherwise it is my back up knife.  10/10 form, fit, function.

Sog Flash 2 – big brother to the Sog Flash 1 above.  It is a full-sized folding knife.  This gets a lot of time as my main EDC knife (with the Spyderco Delica).  Good sized blade.  Great assisted opening action = fun and tacticool!  Really nice value with the 15% off.

Sog Seal Pup great fixed blade knife ready for any tactical, survival or camping situation.  Comfortable grip and good overall size, length, and weight.

Sog Aegis – I don’t own this one yet but have handled (maybe fondled it is a better description) it quite a bit in the store.  Really nice knife.  Good steel (Aus 8) with a very nice TiNi (black) finish that makes it even more durable and rust resistant.  Assited opening.  One of my other favs is the Sog Flashback but that one isn’t on sale.  This one is currently a better value with the discount.  The Aegis has a better overall size and shape (thinner) than the Flashback so it is easier to carry.  Standard (Awesome!) Sog clip allows for deep pocket carry.  Sog does pocket clips right.

Sog Fasthawk Tomahawk – Need to dispatch a band of zombies while chopping some wood?  Well this is your tool my friend.  This thing is just fun.  I haven’t done any hard chopping with this (I have an axe after all) so I can’t vouch for that application.  It should do fine with some light duty chopping work.

Sog Flash 2 Tanto – This is the same as the above Flash 2, but in a tanto blade (triangle tip) that is better for tactical applications.  It will hold up better to piercing and thrusting than the Flash 2.  It also has the TiNi finish which is more durable and better for a tactical application (black vs shiny metal).  This also illustrates that most of these knives are available in different configurations.

Sog Trident – Another all around great knife from Sog.  I love the jimping on the spine of this knife.  It runs from the handle onto the blade.  It gives your thumb good grippy purchase on the blade which helps with control and decreases slippage (slippage = bad laceration.)  It is also serrated.  I don’t usually like my smaller knives to be serrated but there are applications where this is a must.  If you need to quickly cut through a seatbelt for example you want a serrated knife.  I like this type of knife for first responder type applications were you need to cut clothes, seatbelts, cordage, etc.

The discount ends Dec 22nd.  These knives are a great value at anytime (I have paid full price for all of them and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again) but the extra 15% off makes them special buys.

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Previously, I have discussed food and water storage.  These are absolutely essential to your preparedness plan.  I would shoot for a 3 month supply of both before moving on to anything else.  Make this a priority.  I feel more comfortable having a year supply of food and water.  Once you have some food and water stored away there are a lot of other non-food items that are great to stock-up on.  Below is a list of some things to consider adding to your supplies.5019211728_24378d4e65_n

  • Aluminum foil – myriad of uses, least of which revolves around food and cooking.  Get the heavy-duty stuff.
  • Batteries – These have an amazing shelf life.  They are good for 10+ years.   After that they just don’t have the same charge as fresh but still have an appreciable amount of juice.  AA, AAA, C and D are great to have assuming you have electronics that use them.
  • Blankets – you may not have heat or be able to afford it
  • Paper plates
  • Plastic utensils
  • Paper/plastic cups
    • The above plastic/paper products may allow you to avoid doing dishes.  If water is scarce it is easier to just toss these and conserve water.
  • Medical supplies
    • Alcohol – can use as fuel as well as first aid
    • Peroxide – many great uses in addition to first aid
    • Gauze
    • Bandaids
    • OTC medications
    • Prescription medications
    • Anti-bacterial soap
    • Nitrile gloves
    • N95 Mask
  • Soap – bath, hand, dish, laundry, get it all!  Ivory and Dawn have a lot of great cleaning uses as they are quite mild (rugs, leather, delicates)
  • Hand sanitizer – hygiene is going to be important to avoid illness
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Tooth paste – dental hygiene cannot be overemphasized.  It may be hard to get dental care.
  • Tooth brushes
  • Deodorant – not essential but a nicety
  • Duct tape – you can’t ever have too much of this.  What can’t you do with duct tape?
  • Safety pins – assorted sizes
  • Sewing supplies
    • Needles
    • Thread
    • Cloth
    • Buttons
  • Tarp
  • Storage bins – the plastic Rubbermaid ones.  Great for storing and moving things around.  Offers good protection for food and supplies.  Great for water storage in a pinch if you know the water is going to get shut off.
  • Weapons
    • Knives
    • Guns
    • Bat
  • Candles – light, starting fire, and some warmth
  • Alternative energy
    • Solar
    • Battery bank – 12v DC deep cycle (marine)
    • Generator
  • Toilet paper – self-explanatory.  Never have too much.
  • Portable toilet – luggable loo
  • Paper towels
  • Fuel
    • Gas – add a stabilizer like Stabil or Pri-G to increase storage life.
    • Diesel – add stabilizer
    • Lamp oil
    • Alcohol
    • Propane – small canisters as well all large ones.  Great for cooking and heating.  The small ones will make great bartering items.
    • Gas cans
  • Tools
    • Hammer and nails
    • Screwdrivers and screws
    • Wrenches
    • Pliers
    • Axe
    • Hatchet
    • Handsaw
    • Chainsaw – extra chain, oil, fuel
    • Nails
    • Screws
    • Wood
  • Cordage – twine, 550 paracord, rope.  Very hard to improvise.
  • Can opener – manual.  Don’t find yourself without this.  Opening cans gets real tricky otherwise.  Have multiple.  I keep at least one dedicated opener sitting with my food storage.  Have 2 or 3.
  • Bleach – cleaning, sterilization, water purification
  • Vinegar – cleaning, cooking, making volcanoes
  • Garbage bags
  • Plastic sheeting – cover broken window, patch roof, make a quarantine room
  • Books – reference and entertainment
  • Deck of cards or other games
  • Bullets
  • Tubing – siphon
  • Canning supplies
    • Jars
    • Lids
  • Pens/pencils
  • Paper

This list is designed to get you thinking about other items you might like to have on hand during an emergency.  It is by no means exhaustive.  There are a lot of other greats things to stock up on.  What would you add?

IMG_3795Antibiotics save lives.  As such they are great additions to your emergency preparedness plan.  We take for granted that for millenia people died from simple bacterial infections.  Tuberculosis was the most common cause of death in the early 1900’s.  We have ready access to antibiotics today, but during a disaster that access may disappear.  It is a good idea to have some stock of antibiotics on hand.  Antibiotic use is complex and best left to medical professionals.  My suggestion would be that you have some stored away but still seek medical guidance regarding the proper administration of them.  I would also recommend getting some education about these medicines in case you ever had to use them with no medical guidance.  I will offer a brief primer on this topic today.

Sir Alexander Fleming is credited with the discovery of penicillin, the first antibiotic.  He noticed that a certain mold inhibited the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, a common bacteria.  Even very small concentrations stopped the bacteria from growing.  Interestingly, Staph is almost completely resistant to penicillin nowadays due to antibiotic overuse.

Antibiotic is a broad word that literally means against life.  We typically use it to mean antibacterial, but it includes antifungals, antihelminths, antivirals and antiprotazoals.  Today we will only be addressing the antibacterial aspect.  Antibiotics work because there are differences between our cells and that of the bacteria.  Each antibiotic has a mechanism of action that either kills or inhibits the growth of bacteria.  That being said all antibiotics (and medicines in general) have a critical point where they are toxic to people as well.  Accurate dosing is very important.  This is even more critical in children.

Plea – please do not buy and use these antibiotics on yourself or family.  Do not get these out of your food storage and start taking them at the first sign of a sniffle!  It is dangerous.

Allergies – Certain people have reactions to medications.  Antibiotics are common offenders.  Truth be told a lot of people’s supposed allergies are nonsense (you don’t inherit them from your parents for example).  BUT a true allergy to an antibiotic can be life threatening.  Anaphylactic reactions are possible and deadly.  You can kill someone by giving them the wrong antibiotic.  They may not even know they are allergic.  You cannot give penicillin, amoxicillin, ampicillin or any penicillin derivative to someone with a penicillin allergy.  There is a sister class of drugs to penicillin called cephalosporins.  You cannot give these to someone with an anaphylactic penicillin reaction.  Are you starting to appreciate the complexity here?  There are many other types of allergies as well, some just specific to one type of drug.  Sulfa is another common allergy, you cannot give them bactrim (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole).

Types of bacteria – there are a lot of different kinds of bacteria.  Gram-positive, gram negative, aerobic, anaerobic, and more.  Different types are sensitive and resistant to different antibiotics.  You have to treat different infections with different antibiotics.  One antibiotic doesn’t treat everything.

  • Gram-positive – Gram stains are used to stain the cell wall of the bacteria for observation under a microscope.  Positive means the cell wall stains and is easily visible.  Includes Staph and Strep.  Skin bacteria are typically of this class.
  • Gram-negative – The cell wall does not stain well.  These can cause severe and rapid systemic toxicity and sepsis (severe infection into the blood).  This class includes Haemophlus influenza, E. Coli, pseudomonas, Neisseria, etc.
  • Anaerobic – these bacteria don’t require oxygen to survive and grow (Aerobic require oxygen).  Dental infections and abscesses can often have these type of bacteria.

Side effects – antibiotics can cause a lot of different side effects.  Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, rash, hives, kidney damage, liver damage, etc.  These are known side effects and not even allergies.  For example Gentamycin can cause profound hearing loss and Rifampin causes your tears and saliva to turn bright orange/red.

Common Antibiotics Good for Preppers –

  • Amoxicillin – penicillin derivative.  Treats a wide range of infections, good for Strep, syphillis, Lyme disease
  • Cephalexin (Keflex) – Cephalosporin, good coverage for gram positive infections.  Often used after surgery (good skin bacteria coverage).
  • Metronidazole – anaerobic (mouth, bowels) coverage as well as giardia, some amoebas and worms.  Often combined with other meds to create a broad spectrum antibiotic (cipro, cephalosporin, etc)  Not for kids or pregnancy.
  • Ciprofloxacin – Good for respiratory infections, GI infections, urine infections, bacterial diarrhea.  Not for kids or pregnancy.  Treats anthrax.
  • Clindamycin – Treats staph, strep, pneumonia, anaerobic infections.  Good for penicillin allergic patients.  Has efficacy against resistant staph (MRSA).  Usually about 60% chance it will work against MRSA (varies by geography).
  • Bactrim – Respiratory infections and urinary tract infections.  Has some efficacy against MRSA.
  • Doxycycline – Sinus, respiratory, malaria.  No kids or pregnancy.  Concern about toxicity after expiration date (tetracycline as well).
  • Azithromycin – aka Z-pack.  Good broad antibiotic that treats respiratory, Strep, Lyme disease.
  • Erythromycin – alternative if penicillin allergic.  URI, pneumonia, Strep, Lyme, Chlamydia.  Okay for pregnancy and kids.  Old drug rarely used anymore.  May be hard to get.
  • Augmentin – good broad antibiotic.  Combo drug with amoxicillin.  Cannot get this as fish antibiotic, but I add it in case you can get some.

Storage – 

Keep them in a cool, dark, dry place.  Avoid heat.  Keep them sealed in the container they came in.  Most of these should be good for many years.  See exception of tetracycline/doxycycline.

Conclusion – 

This is a list of a few antibiotics that you could consider stocking up on.  They are all available (except augmentin) at FishMoxFishFlex.  Some of them come in different strengths.  Forte being the bigger dose.  I would probably get the Forte version as they are closer to the dose an adult would take.  For example Fish Mox (amoxicillin) comes is either 250 mg or the Fish Mox Forte is 500mg.  Typical adult dose for this is 500mg TID (three times a day).

During a breakdown or disaster antibiotics would be worth their weight in gold.  They would make great bartering items.  They will literally save lives.  I attempted to illustrate some of the complexity regarding their use.  This is really just the tip of the iceberg.  I hope you appreciate how complex this is.  This isn’t like taking Tylenol for a headache.  There is a reason they are prescription only.  We haven’t even addressed dosing yet.

A lot of doctors use this book (myself included) to help know what antibiotics to use as well as dosing.  It is a great resource.  It is quite small and could be kept with the antibiotics.  It is meant for doctors.  You would have to spend considerable time getting familiar with the book and learning what all the technical lingo means.  You would probably need a college level course on pharmacology and microbiology to really make sense of it.  Regardless, it would be a good reference to have.

IMG_3792Having a well constructed bug out bag (BOB) is a great addition to your preparedness strategy.  Really, it is one of the cornerstones of preparedness.  These are called many things; 72 kit, Go Bag, Get out of Dodge Bag (GOOD), and so forth.  “A rose by another other name…”  Essentially it is a kit that provides you with your basic needs for 72 hours.  If you have to get away quick, aka “bug out” you grab this on the way out the door.  Disasters like hurricanes, fires, floods, civil unrest, etc can happen suddenly.  You want this kit ready to go at a moments notice.

I highly recommend this book Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag by Creek Stewart.  It is easy to read and more thorough than this post.

Rules of thumb:

  1. Pre-prepared: have this packed and ready, ideally by the door
  2. Portable: Easy to carry.  You may be walking with this thing.  A good packpack works great.  I use an internal frame backpack.
  3. Light-weight: Again you may be carrying this thing for miles, lighter is better.  Try and keep your pack below 25% of your bodyweight.  This is still pretty heavy.  For me this is a 45-50 pound pack.  I wouldn’t want to carry this for 15 miles a day and I have quite a bit of backpacking experience.  If in doubt go with less weight.
  4. Extensive: You want to be prepared for a lot of circumstances and scenarios.  Works against #3.  I would personally rather have a little more weight if it means being more prepared.
  5. Custom: Don’t buy a premade pack.  Buy the right pack for you and fill it up with your needs.  It is a project.  It takes times and effort.  It is not cheap, but your life may depend on it.  Get the best quality you can afford.
  6. Evolve: Your BOB (I shall name you BOB and henceforth you will be known as BOB, and BOB will be your name) should change and evolve as you try new things.  It isn’t just a bag you make, set aside and forget.  Get it out at least once a year and review the contents.  Replace items that expire.  Be one with BOB and he will be one with you.
  7. Everyone: Every adult and teenager needs their own pack.  Children will need to be accounted for in the adult packs.

Essentials: 20 Things to get your started

  1. Pack – I have an REI internal frame backpack.  It holds 65L.  It is my older backpacking rig.  This is a place to spend a bit more money.  Make sure you try them on and get what fits.  They make packs designed for a woman’s body shape as well.  One size does not fit all.  You can easily spend $200-$300 on a pack.  Make sure it has a hip belt.  You want most of the weight on the hips, not the shoulders.  You can use other things to make your BOB but I think a backpack is ideal.
  2. Food – you need 72 hours of food.  Remember that you can survive 3 weeks without food so you don’t need a ton of food.  The longer you go without food your energy levels start to drop.  Mental and physical fatigue set in.  This can be very dangerous in a survival situation and this is why food is essential for your BOB.  You must be awake, alert, and at your best.  I would get one MRE with heater, Survival rations, a freeze dried entree, and assorted snack bars.  This gives you some quick and ready foods.  At least one hot meal (MRE) with no fire.  The survival rations and snack bars are easy and can be eaten on the move.  The FD meal requires fire to heat the water.  Man are these good when you are cold and hungry.
  3. Stove – you need a way to heat water.  You may need this to sterilize water or for cooking.  A backpacking stove works well like the MSR Micro Rocket.  They are dependent on the canisters which is their major drawback.  I like them because they are so simple and reliable.  They don’t work well in very cold temps.  Another more versatile option is a stove that burns liquid fuels like white gas or kerosene, MSR Whisperlite.  I have been using these for years.  They are slightly more complicated and less reliable than the canister stoves but offer added flexibility.  The Esbit Emergency Stove is another great option.  Just light the little fuel cubes and you have a nice little stove.  The military has used these for years.  I like to have one of these in one of the other packs in the family as a backup.
  4. Water – You need 3 liters of water per person, minimum.  More if it is hot and you are working hard.  This is mostly just to drink and prepare food (FD meal).  I like to carry my water in a Nalgene bottle (has measurements), a metal canteen (army canteen works great as well), and a soft collapsable pouch.  They should all be full of water in the pack.
  5. Water purification – I have a Sawyer water filter, Life Straw and Micropur tablets as a back up.
  6. Shelter – a lightweight backpacking tent works well here.  Again, these are pretty pricey.  This shouldn’t weight more than 2-3 pounds per person using it.  Tarps can work as well.  You need one above you and one for ground cover.  You should get backpacking tarps.  Regular old blue tarps from the hardware store are very heavy and bulky, not ideal.  You also need skill and practice with making shelter of a tarps.  Requires cordage, planning, knots, stakes, etc.
  7. Fire – you need multiple ways to make fire.  Water-proof matches, lighter and a striking flint are what I carry.  A cheap Bic lighter will work great.  Using a striking flint is much harder than it looks.  It takes practice.  Practice making fire at home or camping with all of these.  There is an art to making fire and it takes knowledge and practice.  I would also recommend packing some fire starter.  My preferred method is to take cotton balls and soak them with vaseline.  Rub it in really good and smash them down.  Carry a few in ziplock bag.  When needed pull the cotton ball apart and fluff it up again.  The vaseline will cause it to burn for quite a while.  These are cheap, lightweight and reliable fire starters.
  8. Clothes – Hypothermia is the number one outdoor killer.  You need appropriate clothes.  I like at least a long sleeve shirt (wicking – NO COTTON), a fleece for warmth, fleece cap, gloves for all occasions.  It can get cold at night even in the summer.  In the winter you need more clothes.  Layers are always better than a huge bulky jacket.  Layers are actually warmer and more versatile.  You may want to add a heavy fleece or wool sweater.  Wool and synthetic fibers are the best outdoor materials.  Don’t use cotton anything including blue jeans!
  9. Sleeping system – a sleeping bag is probably the simplest option.  They are either synthetic or down.  Down is warmer for the weight, but more expensive.  Synthetics are supposedly a bit warmer if wet.  I can’t say from experience as I try really hard not to get my sleeping bag wet (good shelter).  You need some sort of ground pad, a cheap closed cell foam pad works great.  Inflatable ones work too.  Some experts recommend a heavy wool blanket instead of the sleeping pad as it still works when wet.
  10. Knife – a good knife is an essential part of your bug out bag.  Every bag should have one.  I have tried different configurations.  Currently, I have a Morakniv in each bag.  They are light, cheap and a fixed blade.  I also have at least a folding knife on my person.  A bigger fixed blade knife, like the Becker BK2, would not be a bad idea if you can handle the weight.  A good multi-tool is also hard to deny including.  Check out the multi-tool all-stars post for suggestions.
  11. First Aid Kit – Keep this fairly small and in a waterproof container.  Make your own or customize a premade one.  Adventure Medical Kits make some decent options.
  12. Light – check out the flashlight post for ideas.  I prefer a headlight  (currently this Energizer headlight) and usually have a small back up light.  Carry extra batteries.  Lithium or alkaline, not rechargeable for this application.
  13. Rain gear – A good waterproof, breathable rain jacket is a must.  These can get pricey but are worth it.  At least get a Frogg Toggs poncho if nothing else.  It needs to breath.  Plastic is not a great option, you will get soaked underneath from perspiration.
  14. Gloves – work gloves.  You need gloves to protect your hands from all of the abuse you are going to heap upon them.  Protect your hands and feet!  I like these Mechanix Wear gloves.
  15. Trash bag – get the thickest heaviest-duty trash bags you can.  Typically they are called contractor bags or drum liners.  You can line your pack with this and put everything inside to keep it dry.  This is a great all-purpose item.  It can serve as a ground cloth, shelter, poncho, rain catch, etc.
  16. Duct tape – get good quality tape like Gorilla tape.  The uses are endless.  Wrap it around a pencil, plastic card, or around your Nalgene bottle.
  17. Cordage – I usually carry 550 paracord.  There are other options, just have something.  Again the uses are endless, but it is very helpful for making shelter.  Required if you have a tarp.
  18. Cup – metal so that you can cook and heat water in it.  I have this Toaks titanium cup, super light.  If you are in a group a larger pot is very useful rather than heating things one cup at a time.  Toaks pot and pan would work well.  Make sure to pack things inside the pot and pan which will help protect and keep whatever is inside dry.
  19. Medications – make sure to have a couple weeks of any essential medications (anti-seizure, heart meds, etc) in your bag.
  20. Shoes – You want a good pair of shoes or boots for walking long distances.  You must protect your feet.  These need to be broken in beforehand.  I would just set these beside or tie them to the bag.  Throw them on before you bug out.

The above items should get you started.  These are just suggestions.  Customization is important.  For starters if you just have an old backpack that you put some food, water, a light, a knife, and some extra clothes in you would be better than the majority of the population.  You could probably get this bag together in a day or two.  Then start working on the other things.  Good luck and have fun.  Get to know BOB, he is your friend!

What do you think?  What do you like to have in your bag?

There is a saying in medicine, “When you hear hoofbeats think horses, not zebras.”  In medicine we refer to odd, rare, horsesor interesting diseases as zebras.  They are exotic, rare and a bit funny looking.  We like to talk about these, but rarely actually see them.  This adage reminds us to think of common things first.  Preppers are also guilty of this and often like to prep for zebras.  Zombie Apocalypse anyone?  I mean seriously, that is what you are prepping for?  You would be better focusing on prepping for horses.  What are prepping horses?  Well let me tell you!

*Disclaimer: if the fear of the roving dead gets you jazzed for prepping then I am totally cool with that.  Prepared is prepared.  Its usefulness will translate regardless of the disaster.  I do however think it behooves you to consider the more common pitfalls.

Prepping Horses:

  1. Personal disaster: 
    1. Job loss – most everyone has been affected by this in some way.  This is one of the most likely disasters you will face.  The rule of thumb is it takes 1 month of searching per $10k of yearly salary.  So at $60k you are talking a 6 month job search.  Things could get really tight and difficult during this time.  Oh, that year’s supply of food you have stored away… it’ll come in really handy about now.  I know multiple people who have been in this exact situation.  My parents for one have lived through this scenario and benefited greatly from their food storage.  This is also a great reason to have an emergency fund.  3 months worth of expenses (mortgage, cars, food, utilities, etc) is a good goal.
    2. Death – any loss of a family member is going to have far-reaching implications.  It is going to be disruptive and likely have financial ramifications.  If the bread-winner dies it will morph into the above as well.
    3. Disability – A work related accident, car accident, bike crash, etc, can all lead to long-term disabilities.  Injuries to the back, brain, and limbs can have devastating repercussions.  What if you can’t work anymore?
    4. Health problems – this one can be really pernicious.  One day you may be fine and the next you may get a cancer diagnosis.  Diabetes, stroke, and heart attacks are all very common and have far-reaching effects.  Health problems can affect the young and old.  As you get older these tend to pile up a bit more.  This will affect us all at some point.  You may have to take in and care for an elderly family member or parent.  These things can be financially taxing.
    5. House fire – according to the U.S. Fire Admin there were almost 1.4 million house fires in 2011 with 3,000 deaths.  Fire safety, evacuation plans and drills are all prudent.  A bug out bag by the door is a great idea (obviously, don’t go back for anything!)  Having some food and water stored in other places would also avoid a complete loss of your preps.
  2. Natural disaster:  These are going to be somewhat specific to where you live.  If you live on the coast you will have different disasters to prepare for than if you live in Kansas.  Think critically about your unique situation and how you can prepare for and mitigate these disasters.  They are too broad to cover in detail here.  I have seen a few of these in my life.  Chances are you have too.  Have a plan, evacuation may be necessary.  Being ready to quicklyevacuate may save your life.  Again, a well thought out bug out bag by the door is a prudent idea.
    1. Tornado
    2. Hurricane
    3. Flood
    4. Tsunami
    5. Earthquake
    6. Wild fire
    7. Blizzard
    8. Drought
    9. Heat wave
    10. Thunderstorms/Lightning

The point of this post is to illustrate some of the more common disasters that you might face in your life.  Being prepared will mitigate the effects of these things.  Food/water storage, emergency funds, and bug out bags are all great ways to get prepared for these prepper horses!

As a side note check out the page links at the top of the homepage.  The Gear List and Books pages are full of great items for your consideration.  Also check out the links section to the left for other great websites with useful information.

There are few things in this world as important as light.  “Let there be light” is the third verse of the Bible!  Accordingly, this is an essential component of your EDC.  Everyone should carry a knife and a flashlight, period.  Here are some great options for light.  Don’t be caught without light, and with these great options there really is no excuse!  Do you have any idea how many patients I have treated for injuries where they were walking around in the dark?  Too many to tell.  A $30 flashlight would have saved them thousands of dollars (needs to be on your person).

foursevens_logoIntro to flashlights:

Lumens – a measure of intensity of the light, aka brightness

Bulb – produces the light, these are all LED.  Superior brightness, life and battery usage efficiency.  No need to get anything else.

Bezel – the face of the light where the light comes out.  Some lights have tactical bezels which are scalloped and slightly sharp for striking in a defensive role.  This adds utility and let’s be honest is just plain cool.  Tacticool!

In general I like to go with AA or AAA flashlights as these are the most common and cheapest batteries.  Your rechargeable batteries will also work.  You are most likely to find these batteries at a store.  Good to go with common.

Put good alkaline batteries in your emergency lights, Energizer or Duracell.  Better yet put Energizer Lithium batteries in your emergency lights.  They are the most powerful with the longest life.

Panasonic Eneloop batteries are great for frequently used lights.  These are the best rechargeables out there.  They don’t self discharge very much at all.  Self discharge means that most rechargeable batteries lose their charge very quickly and are dead within a few days (They eat themselves, ewww!).  They drain themselves over time.  Regular alkalines don’t do this very much at all and are very shelf stable.

See the gear list for links to Eneloops and a great charger for them.  You really want a good charger so spend the money up front.  The charger that comes with the Eneloops is junk and “dumb”.  It will ruin the batteries much quicker.

All-Star Flashlights: 

These are all amazing lights at least 9/10 on my scale.  Most are 10/10

  1. Foursevens Preon 1 – this one just might be my absolute favorite flashlight.  It is just amazing.  It is just slightly (and I mean JUST slightly) larger than a AAA battery.  It puts out a whopping 84 lumens on high.  This thing disappears in a pocket.  If you are new to carrying a flashlight get this, it will make the transition easier.
  2. Fenix E12 –  Single AA light with 130 lumens.  Not nearly as size efficient as the Preon 1 (but nothing is).  Meaning, that the flashlight is a bit bigger than just the AA battery (not much though).  Nice grippy surface (knurling).
  3. Foursevens Preon 2 – this is more like a penlight.  It uses 2 AAA batteries.  Think of a longer version of the Preon 1 flashlight. If the added length and weight is tolerable to you (it should be, it is still very small) you get much more light.  It puts out 192 lumens.
  4. Streamlight TLR-3 – this is a weapon light.  This sits on the rail of my Glock handgun.  It will mount on really any gun with a rail.  I have more expensive weapon lights but this one is probably my favorite.  Factoring value and function this light is awesome.  Simple, bright, rugged, durable, you can’t go wrong.  If you own a handgun you need a good weapon light.  Target acquisition and confirmation are essential for defense and safety.  You have to see what you are shooting at.
  5. Foursevens MMR-X – This is more of a full-szed tactical flashlight.  That being said it isn’t terribly big.  It puts out a whopping 800 lumens.  Still light-weight at 5.2 ounces.  It has a lithium-ion battery which gives you great output and it is rechargeable.  It comes with a little USB adapter to charge it.  Tactical bezel for striking and defense in a pinch.  You can wear this on a belt.  It would fit in a pocket but is a bit big for me to use it that way.  I typically throw this in a gear bag.  It can also be mounted on a weapon with an adapter.  Great all around light with multiple uses.
  6. Streamlight Protac – This is a good value flashlight.  Rugged, tactical, bright.  Decent size and weight.  You can get it in AA or AAA.  Both are great.
  7. Blackdiamond Spot – this is my current go to headlight.  This is my main backpacking light.  Headlights cannot be beat in terms of utility and flexibility.  It makes your life so much easier to have your hands free.  Backpacking, I take this and my Foursevens Preon 1 as backup.  Last trip my buddy whipped out his light, while we were pitching our tents in the dark, only to find his batteries dead (seriously man, c’mon!).  Luckily for him (and me) I had my backup and loaned it to him.  I was seriously tempted to tell him tough crap to teach him a lesson (I didn’t!).  BUT the lesson here is often you need to be prepared for other people.  Most people aren’t going to be as well prepared as you.  Sometimes spares and backups are for others!

Wrap up:

There are a lot of great flashlights out there.  The above are some of my favorites.  I have carried all of these lights in different capacities and have put them through their paces.  You may have noticed that I recommended a lot of Streamlight, Foursevens and Fenix.  This is because I think they are right in the sweet spot of quality and value.  I like to buy good quality stuff at the best prices.  Most of us aren’t Navy Seals where a light failure means death.  These guys carry things like Surefire flashlights which tend to push $200-$300.  They are great lights but a bit pricey for most folks.  Some of you may look at the above recommended lights and think “holy cow, even these are expensive!”  (Just remember I didn’t recommend the $300 Surefire!)  Again, you get what you pay for.  I tried to provide you with the best value.  Quality isn’t cheap.  Spend a little more to get a good quality light.  You’ll thank me later!  May your path be iluminated!

In my introductory post on food storage I recommended getting extra of the foods you already eat.  If you are completely new to food storage I still recommend starting there.  Once you have a bit extra stored away it is time to go “beyond the basics.”  What do you do next?  Below is a list of tried and true prepper food storage staples.  Let’s make a run to Sam’s Club and load up a cart (imagine whatever warehouse store you want here if Sam’s offends you – it’s just and example…)sams club

  1. Peanut butter – packed with calories and protein.  Plus it tastes great.  Sam’s has 2 packs of large 40 oz Jif.  Grab a couple of these.  They have a 6 pound Peter Pan container as well.  Both are just under $10.  PB is shelf stable for years.  I like to try to rotate it as we use it.  You can also buy PB powder in #10 cans from companies like Emergency Essentials = much longer shelf life.
  2. Pancake mix – grab a 10 pound bag or two for $7.  Nothing beats just add water (this is a simplicity thing, you can obviously just make it as well).  Make sure to grab some syrup as well.  Syrup can also make other things more edible (like oatmeal) as well.  Just picture the movie Elf.
  3. Oats – speaking of oatmeal.  Get quick oats or regular oats, or both!  Good for cooking and breakfast.  Large bags or individual packets.  Both are good.
  4. Flour – grab a 25 pound bag of flour for about $7 as well.  Great for bread, biscuits, tortillas etc.
  5. Sugar – grab a 25 pound bag of sugar as well.  Sugar is nice because it is very shelf stable.  Just keep it from getting wet or absorbing water.  (FYI no oxygen absorbers for this or salt, more on this later)
  6. Salt – get 4 large boxes of food service salt, regular old iodinated stuff.  They are about a buck each so get more if you want.  Too much salt will never be an issue.  (Except in your current american diet, but I digress.)
  7. Baking soda – get the large orange bag, super cheap and already stored very nicely for you $7 for 14 pounds..  Essential for baking.  Good for cleaning as well.
  8. Baking powder – 60 oz for $6.  Essential for baking.
  9. Yeast – get a brick of the instant stuff and toss it in the freezer.  Essential for bread.
  10. Beans – get the biggest bags of whatever beans you like.  Get some variety.
  11. Rice – you want white rice.  Brown rice although more nutritious goes bad much more quickly.  25 pounds – $9.50.
  12. Canned meat – lots of options.  Get all of them.  Canned beef, chicken, tuna, Spam.  Don’t forget the spam!  It is just ham and a bit of pork shoulder all mashed up.  This will serve as your bacon in a pinch.  Drop the loaf of meat out (man that is so wrong…) and cut it real thin like.  Then fry it up until crispy.  We did this last weekend as a family test and guess what?  Everyone ate it!  Even my picky kids and wife.  Try it if you don’t believe me.  The canned meats are quite a bit more expensive than the above stuff but you will be glad you got them.
  13. Oil – the cheapest and easiest route is to get the huge jug of fry oil.  This is essential for baking.  35 pounds for $20.  It comes as a big jug in a box.  Set it aside in a dark corner of your basement.  I am not going to argue with you about how unhealthy this is!  We are talking about survival and starving to death!  You will love it and eat in that situation!  Survival is about calories not so much nutrition.  If you can’t bring yourself to get this then get peanut oil (for much more) or other oil that does not offend you so deeply.  Smaller jugs can be placed in the freezer.  This has the added perk of keeping your meats and stuff colder longer during a power outage (think of it is a cold battery, or block of ice, which it is…)
  14. Soup – nothing like just add heat right?  Or for that matter don’t add heat and pretend it is gazpacho.  Lots of options and varieties here.  Just get what you like and can afford.  Get variety.
  15. Spices – Sam’s is great for this stuff.  Get lots of different spices.  You’ll need this to make things edible and add variety.  Black pepper, red pepper, garlic, etc
  16. Canned fruit – you can get huge #10 cans but I would probably get the packs of smaller cans.  You may not want to eat 60 oz of peaches all in a few days.  Get what you like.  Get some variety.
  17. Canned vegetables – same as above.
  18. Drink mix – you will drink more water if it is flavored, this is science.  May also help get your kids to drink.  We also want the Vitamin C which may become scare (fresh fruit).  If you are working hard surviving the sugar is helpful as well.  Tang is good choice.
  19. Pasta – I prefer macaroni noodles but anything works.  1 pound x 6 packs for $4.
  20. Spaghetti sauce – need something to go on all of those noodles.  You can also get cans of cheese sauce.
  21. Honey – obvious uses.  Interestingly this is one of very few things that has an indefinite shelf life.  It never goes bad.  Makes sense to store it.  Expensive though.
  22. Powdered milk – can make milk or cook with it.  Lots of protein.  4.4 pounds for $15.
  23. Candy – M&Ms, hard candies, etc.  This stuff is very important as a moral booster.  Also good for kids.

Now run over to Home Depot or Lowes.  Get some 5 gallon food grade buckets.  NOT the orange Homer buckets, they are not food grade and can leach chemicals into your food = bad.  Ask if you are not sure.  They are usually labeled as food grade.  Get the appropriate lids.  While you are there grab a rubber mallet for securing the lids.  They also make these handy wrenches for prying the lids off the buckets.

Even better order these Gamma Lids.  They are worth their weight in gold.  They are wonderful for things you get into frequently.  I like to get different colored lids to easily identify the contents.  White for four, yellow for noodles, etc.

In a later post we will get into the specifics of how to store the food to make it last longer.  There are lots of fancy techniques like nitrogen flushing, freeze drying, dehydrating, vacuum sealing, canning, pickling, and oxygen absorbers.  For now I would put the flour, sugar, oats, rice, beans, salt into buckets with lids.  This protects the products from water and a bit from air.  Most of the other stuff is fine in the container it came in.  Next we will get into mylar bags and oxygen absorbers which will make this stuff last even longer.  Use the stuff in the buckets and refill them as needed.

Prepper Christmas Gift Ideas

Posted: December 5, 2014 in Gear
Tags: , ,

leatherman waveSo Christmas is around the corner and you’ve still got shopping to do.  Here are some great prepper related ideas for your loved ones.  There is nothing like giving a gift that gives back!

$10 Gift Ideas

  1. Double USB Car Charger – Most USB chargers put out 0.5 Amps.  This puts out 2 Amps per port.  It will charge your phone much faster.  Ditch that piece of junk that you got with your phone and use this.  If you don’t have anything to charge your phone in the car then buy this right this second!  Also nice because it has 2 ports so you can charge your significant other’s phone or tablet as well.
  2. 3.4A USB Wall Charger – wall version of above but even better because it puts out 3.4 Amps.  Again faster charging.  Technically $12.

$20 Gift Ideas

  1. Kershaw OSO Sweet – this knife is Oh So Sweet!  Decent weight.  Great feel.  Sturdy, with a nice blade.  I dare you to find more knife for under $20
  2. Rite in Rain – tactical clicker pen and notebook.  Works in almost any conditions, even wet!  Great for a bug out bag or car kit.
  3. Mechanix Wear Gloves – These are my favorite all-around gloves.  Great fit, great dexterity.  Light weight but rugged enough to save your hands from a lot of abuse.  I wear these for just about everything.  They are in my BOBs, car kits, tactical gun kits, etc.

$25 Gift Ideas

  1. Fenix E12 – this single AA flashlight is small, light and puts out 130 lumens.  It has a nice tactical look and feel.  Great EDC light.
  2. Bestek 150W Inverter – This awesome little inverter plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter and then has a normal AC plug to allow you to run normal household things off your car.  The device needs to draw less than 150W.  It also has 2 USB ports for added versatility.

$35 Gift Idea

  1. Sawyer Water Filter – This water filter is lightweight, easy to use and just plain awesome.  This $35 gem has totally replaced all of my expensive water filtration systems for backpacking.  Great for a bug out bag, car kit, backpacking or for an emergency water filtration backup.

$40 Gift Idea

  1. 5.11 Taclite Pro Pants – I love these pants!  I wear these everywhere, anytime I can.  You’ll never need another pair of pants again.  Light weight water-repellent fabric.  Lots of great pockets.  Lots of color choices.  I really like the Tundra color (kind of an olive-green).  These are a 10/10.  They have also gotten cheaper over time.  I used to gladly pay over $50 for these.  They are under $40 at the time of this writing.  These are truly Hall of Fame pants!

$60 Gift Idea

  1. Spyderco Endura – very similar to my beloved Spyderco Delica but slightly larger and who doesn’t like a bigger blade?  Awesome knife and comes in many great colors.
  2. KA-BAR Marine Knife – this full-sized knife is a beast.  For the times when a folding knife won’t do.  This is a true survival and combat knife.  Been used by the Marines for decades and it is easy to tell why.  Don’t mess with a guy holding one of these.
  3. Sog Flashback – This knife is just plain cool.  It is an assisted opening knife so once you get the blade moving it flings open on its own.  It is the next closest thing to an auto-knife or “switch” blade.  The tanto blade, black titanium nitride finish, and silver metal handle make this knife pretty cool looking as well.  If you need a tacticool knife for someone this is it.  It will be sure to impress.  (I won’t tell you how long I have sat there just flipping this knife open and closed)

$80 Gift Idea

  1. Leatherman Wave – fantastic all-around multi-tool.  Suggested multiple times in other posts.  This list wouldn’t be complete without it.  10/10 tool.

$100 Gift Idea

  1. Kelly Kettle – this little stove is highly efficient for boiling water.  Perfect for freeze-dried meals, sanitation, etc.  It burns just about anything but little twigs, bark, and wood chips are perfect.  Perfect addition to your food storage in case the power is out and you need warm water.  Also great for camping.  All work and no play make Jack really pissy if he doesn’t get his hot chocolate in the morning.

Essential Prepper Medications

Posted: December 4, 2014 in Medicine
Tags: , ,

Your family emergency preparedness plan should include medications.  Some of these may be life saving.  Some of them may be quality of life saving.  Having a good stock of medications on hand is prudent.  These are all very shelf stable.  Keep them in a cool, dry and dark place.  Disregard the expiration dates.  These are arbitrary made up numbers based of nothing at all.  No science whatsoever goes into these seemingly important dates.  The government, in its infinite wisdom mandates that these be on there.  The companies comply because they have to.  It is also great for the companies because you then keep buying the same things over and over.  The government has a study (they try to keep it quite) that looks at the efficacy of medications decades later.  They test the drugs they stockpile for the military.  Guess what?  Nearly everything they tested was totally fine decades later.  They found that Tylenol lost of bit of its potency but none of the meds were dangerous or anything.  So be educated and warned.  Don’t toss those “expired” (big, huge, exaggerated, air quotes!) meds!

  1. Acetaminophen – Generic for Tylenol.  Good all around pain-killer safe for just about anyone.  Can cause liver toxicity, stay under 3000-4000 mg/day.
  2. Ibuprofen – Generic for Advil.  Great pain-killer.  More powerful pain-killer than Tylenol.  600-800mg dose is anti-inflammatory.  Can be taken with Tylenol for added pain control if stronger meds are not available.  Can cause kidney toxicity.  Stay under 2400 mg/day.
  3. Aspirin – Generic for Bayer Aspirin.  Often overlooked pain-killer.  Don’t take with other NSAIDS (ibuprofen, naproxen (Aleve), etc)).  Inhibits platelet function = blood thinner.  Good if suspected heart attack or stroke.
  4. Diphenhydramine – generic for Benadryl.  Anti-histamine (allergies), sleep aid, anti-nausea med.  Makes most people pretty drowsy.  Give to someone if they are having an allergic reaction or anaphylaxis.
  5. Cetirizine – generic for Zyrtec.  Non-drowsy allergy med.  Great if you need to be active and working (no Benadryl here).  May make some people a bit drowsy.  Can’t take with the above – same class of drugs.
  6. Ranitidine – generic for Zantac.  Different type of anti-histamine for reflux and heartburn.  Typical OTC dose is 75mg which is pretty weak.  150mg is “maximum strength”, you can take 300mg if needed (doctor directed if available).  Can also give this in anaphylaxis in addition to Benadryl.
  7. Bacitracin – antibiotic ointment.  I like this better than triple antibiotic (Neosporin).  Can still cause skin sensitization but less so than neosporin.
  8. Clotrimazole – generic for Lotrimin.  Antifungal, great for ringworm, jock itch, athletes foot and vaginal yeast infections.
  9. Hydrocortisone – 1% is the strongest OTC you can get.  Good for eczema, rashes, bug bites.
  10. Loperamide – generic for Imodium.  Anti-diarrheal.  If things get bad sanitation is going to be a big problem.  Diarrhea is going to be rampant.  This may be a life saver.
  11. Caffeine – in general I don’t like caffiene and think it is vastly overused.  BUT if you are pulling guard duty or driving your pimped-out bug out vehicle and have to stay awake and alert this may be helpful.  Use sparingly and try to avoid in general.
  12. Meclizine – generic for Bonine.  It is an anti-motion sickness medication.  It works as an anti-nausea medication.  If some one is profusely vomiting dehydration is an issue.  This may help.  SImilar concept to diarrhea.  Benadryl will work as well if you don’t have this.
  13. Potassium Iodine – these tablets are often called radiation pills.  I want to dispel a myth here.  These pills help protect your thyroid (which is very sensitive to radiation).  It does nothing to protect anything else.  It may help a little from getting thyroid cancer from radiation exposure years down the road.  They are good to have but as you can see somewhat limited in their scope.
  14. Docusate – generic for Colace.  Stool softener.  This and senosides or Senna are both safe meds for constipation.  Other constipation meds need a bit more expertise.
  15. Antibiotics – I list these for information.  I think they are a great, awesome, and a wonderful thing to have saved up.  They will literally save lives.  The problem is they are somewhat complicated to use.  You need specific antibiotics to treat specific things.  You need specific, weight based doses.  They can be toxic and are down right dangerous in the wrong hands.  If you stock these get advise from a doctor.  If you stock these you need a doctor to tell you how to use them.  These are not OTC as you know (in the U.S. at least).  You can buy these online as fish antibiotics.  They are a little known prepper secret.  (Less so nowadays with the internet).  They are the exact same drugs from the same manufacturers intended for fish so you can buy them.  My go to source is Fishmoxfishflex.  I will write a separate post on this because the demand exists.  Please, please heed what I said above.  Fish Mox Forte is amoxicilin (500mg) and Fish Mox Flex is cephalexin (500mg).  Both are all around good drugs.  You can’t give these to someone with a penicillin allergy.  Again, you have to know what you are doing.  But if you must stock something these are both good choices.

I think the first 10 items are the most important.  I would start there.  Please feel free to ask questions.  As always have good written instructions for everything stored with your medications.  Get some education about how and when to use these things now before you need it.

Buy them in bulk from Costco or Sam’s.  Most drug stores are an unbelievable rip off.  You can find a lot of them on amazon from Costco.  Get the rest at Walmart or the like for the best prices.  Lastly, check your local drug store.

Emergency Car Kit

Posted: December 3, 2014 in Gear
Tags: , ,

Winter is upon us.  This is a great time to build an emergency car kit if you don’t have one.  If you already have one (you get an attaboy!) this is a good time to review and update it.  We spend a lot of time in our cars.  Most of us travel thousands of miles per year.  This is a great place to target some of your preparedness energy!

I would like to relate the tragic story of James Kim and his family.  He was a senior editor for CNET.  I pasted most of the article from Wikipedia to save me the time of rewriting it.

After spending the 2006 Thanksgiving holiday in Seattle, Washington, the Kims (James, Kati, and their two daughters, Penelope and Sabine) set out for their home in San Francisco, California. On Saturday, November 25, 2006, having left Portland, Oregon, on their way to Tu Tu Tun Lodge, a resort located near Gold Beach, Oregon, the Kims missed a turnoff from Interstate 5 to Oregon Route 42, a main route to the Oregon Coast. Instead of returning to the exit, they consulted a highway map and picked a secondary route that skirted the Wild Rogue Wilderness, a remote area of southwestern Oregon.

After encountering heavy snow at high elevation on Bear Camp Road, they turned, by mistake, onto one of hundreds of unpaved logging roads supervised by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). A road gate intended to prevent such mistakes was open despite BLM rules requiring that it be closed. Media outlets reported that vandals had cut a lock on the gate, but a subsequent investigation showed that BLM employees had left it open to avoid trapping local hunters and others who might have ventured past it.

Early on the morning of November 26, the family stopped because of fatigue and bad weather. As more snow fell around their immobilized Saab 9-2X station wagon, the Kims kept warm by running its engine. When the vehicle ran out of fuel, they made a campfire of dried wood and magazines. Later, they burned their car’s tires to signal rescuers. Search efforts began shortly after November 30, when coworkers of Kim filed a missing persons report with the San Francisco Police Department. After investigators learned that the Kims used their credit card at a local restaurant, search and rescue teams, including local and state police, more than 80 civilian volunteers, the Oregon Army National Guard and several helicopters hired by Mr. Kim’s father, Spencer Kim, spent several days looking for the family along area highways and roads, to no avail.

On December 2, James Kim left his family to look for help, wearing tennis shoes, a jacket, and light clothing. He believed the nearest town (Galice) was located four miles away after studying a map with his wife. He promised his wife he would turn back the same day if he failed to find anyone, but he did not return.

On the afternoon of December 4, John Rachor, a local helicopter pilot unaffiliated with any formal search effort, spotted Mrs. Kim and her two daughters walking on a remote road. After he radioed the family’s position to authorities, the three were airlifted out of the area and transferred to a nearby hospital.

On Wednesday, December 6 at 12:03 p.m., Mr. Kim’s body was found in Big Windy Creek.  Lying on his back in one to two feet of icy water, he was fully clothed and had been carrying a backpack which contained his identification documents, among other miscellaneous items. He had walked about 16.2 miles (26 km) from the car to that point, and was only a mile from Black Bar Lodge, which, although closed for the winter, was fully stocked at the time. An autopsy revealed that Kim had died because of hypothermia and that his body had suffered no incapacitating physical injuries. The medical examiner who performed the autopsy guessed that Kim had died roughly two days after leaving the vehicle.

James Kim and Family

There was an excellent 2 hour-long special aired on 20/20 called “The Wrong Turn”.  This tragic story illustrates how easily something like this can happen, to anyone, at anytime.  There are a lot of lessons to be learned from this.  The one thing I want to underscore is the usefulness of a well thought out emergency car kit.

As usual you can buy car kits premade.  This is better than nothing but I would recommend making your own as it will be better and cheaper.  This looks like a decent kit but I don’t have hands on experience with it.  AAA Severe Weather Road Kit

Emergency Car Kit List:

Put this all in a backpack, duffel bag, or Rubbermaid plastic bin and leave it in your car

Jumper cables – longer and bigger is better.  Smaller gauge numbers mean bigger cables = good.  Go with 8 or 6 gauge.  Heavy duty jumper cables.

Wool blanket – wool works even when wet.  A sleeping bag or heavy blanket works here as well.

Heavy Duty Emergency blanket – Not the flimsy foil things.  Get the Grabber Space Blanket.  It will reflect heat.  It is substantial.  Get the orange one to double for signaling.

Extra clothes – have the appropriate warm clothes in general.  We get spoiled with warm cars, warm homes and offices.  Exposure kills.  Have extra (for everyone).

  • Jacket
  • Beanie
  • Work Gloves – I like mechanix wear
  • Shoes/boots
  • Warm gloves

Ice scraper

Extra food – crackers, trail mix, jerky, anything with calories.  I like these Emergency Survival Rations.  They are used in survival rafts.  They are good for at least 5 years regardless of temperature (very good if sitting in your scorching hot car).  They taste like flatbread cookies.

Bottled water – Gatorade and sugared drinks may provide needed calories.

Knife – having a good knife or multi-tool is a huge must for your car.  Check out the All-star knives post

Tools

  • Multi-tool – having a leatherman wave or similar would be a huge addition to any car kit
  • Wrenches
  • Screwdrivers

Flashlight – a headlight comes in very handy if you are attempting any repairs.  Blackdiamond Spot is a great headlight.  Energizer headlight is cheaper and decent.  I would also consider a nice big D-Cell flashlight.  D-Cell Maglight is a great flashlight.  It has a lot of mass and could be used in a defensive role.  It puts out a lot of light.  Put high quality alkaline batteries or even better lithium batteries in your emergency lights.  I like Energizer Lithium batteries and Duracell alkalines.

Spare batteries

Duct tape – do yourself a favor and get gorilla tape it is amazing stuff

Whistle – you will lose your voice quickly when calling for help.  A whistle carries much farther and doesn’t fatigue.

Shovel – useful for digging out of snow if you get stuck

Cat litter (good for traction in snow and ice)

First aid kit

Fire extinguisher

Fire (ability to make it) – lighter, matches, flint

Extra cash

Battery powered radio

Ham radio

Emergency reflectors or flares and bright-colored flag

Tips:

  • Keep your car at least half full of gas
  • Tell people where you are going and how you plan to travel
  • Check weather before travel
  • If stuck make yourself visible
  • In general it is better to stay with the vehicle.  It is your best source of shelter.  This is of course situational.
  • Adjust as appropriate for your environment
  • You can always use your floor mats for traction if you get stuck in snow (place in path of tires)

This list is just a starting point to get you thinking.  There are lots of useful things.  What do you have in your kit?