Posts Tagged ‘Flashlight’

DSC00175You have less than two weeks until Christmas… Of course you haven’t managed to get all (or any? it is called preparedness after all..) of your shopping done yet.  You need some ideas? The Preppermanniacs have been clamoring for more gift ideas.   Not to worry, Preppermann has got ya covered!  With 2 day shipping from Amazon Prime you’ve got all the time in the world.  Check out last years gift ideas for even more suggestions.

Training – Grab your loved one the ultimate gift of knowledge and skill!

  • Self defense course – maybe Krav Maga
  • Gun Training  –  Nothing beats hands on 1 on 1 instruction, but if you don’t have access to any local courses check out the DVD series by Magpul
  • CPR or First Aid
  • Wilderness Survival Course
  • Cooking Classes – don’t know how to cook, bake, boil water?  Maybe a class would help get you started.
  • Gardening – hook up with your local County Agricultural Extension, they usually have free classes.  Join a local community garden and get practical experience growing your own food.  Start a square food garden.

Knives – nothing says I love you like something sharp and shiney.  A guaranteed hit with any guy.

Leatherman Wingman Multi Tool – I really like, nay LOVE the Leatherman Wave, but the price you can get almost 3 Wingmans.  The Wingman is really a great multi tool for under $30 at the time of writing.

Spyderco Byrd Cara Cara2 – One of my all around favorite knives is the Spyderco Endura or slightly smaller Delica.  They both run around $60.  The Byrd Cara Cara2 is basically a Chinese made budget version of the Endura.  Still produced by Spyderco under the Byrd line but under $20.  It isn’t as nice (steel, material, fit, finish, etc) but for a 1/3rd the cost it shouldn’t be.  Don’t get me wrong this is a remarkably good knife for the money.  If $60 is a ludicrous amount of money for you to spend on a knife (don’t read the next paragraph) then this knife is for you.  A great stocking stuffer.  This is the kind of knife I like for a beater knife.  If I happen to lose or misplace it I won’t shed a tear.

Spyderco Paramilitary 2  This knife is just plain ridiculous.  It is made at Spyderco’s flagship, American facility in Golden Colorado.  The quality of this thing is off the hook.  The steel (S30V) is top notch.  The weight and balance are great.  The G10 laminate scale handles have the perfect Goldilocks amount of grip.  If you need a nice knife for someone this will do it.  I got it in the sweet digital camo coloration and love it.

Knife Sharpener

Spyderco Sharpmaker – if you are buying knives for someone it would be nice if they had a way to keep them sharp.  This is great sharpener that won’t break the bank.  Pair the sharpener with a nice knife and you have a nice themed Christmas gift.  It comes with an instructional DVD and pamphlet to help you get the hang of it.

  • If you look at this gift guide it reads like a total homer advertisement for Spyderco, Leatherman, and Olight.  This really wasn’t intentional.  These companies just make great stuff for the money.  I actually came up with all of these ideas independently of each other, they just happen to feature some of the same great companies.

Lights – Olight is just killing it lately.  They are making fantastic lights at great prices.

Olight S1 Baton – this is your new EDC flashlight.  Very small and light weight.  It dissappears in a pocket.  It takes a CR123 battery (I usually like AA or AAA better for convenience) and puts out a mind blowing 500 lumens.  Great clip too.

Olight Valkyrie – This is a weapon light.  Throw it on your Glock 19 or any handgun with a rail.  If you have a handgun for home defense you must have a flashlight with it.  Better yet, put a flashlight on it!  You must be able to see and positively identify friend or foe.  No friendly fire accidents here.  Enter the Olight Valkyrie.  It takes a CR123 as well (you should stock up on these).  It puts out 400 lumens and has a throw of over 100 meters.  The quality, fit and finish are top notch.  I love the feel and placement of the buttons.  This thing just blends perfectly into my Glock 17, its current home.  I suspect they designed it specifically to fit perfectly with Glock pistols.

Olight M20SX Javelot – Need a bigger light?  This is it.  This is more of your typical handheld flashlight.  It is handsized but still quite small and portable.  It puts out a retina scorching 820 lumens (seriously don’t look at it).  It has a much more tactical feel to it with strobe and tactical bezel for self defense in a pinch.  It takes two CR123 batteries or 1 large rechargeable Li-ion 18650.  I bought this to use as a weapon light on my AR 15, but like it so much I haven’t mounted it yet!  It will make a great weapon light with the accessory mount.

Grain Mill – are you storing wheat in your food storage? (You should be…)  You need a way to grind that wheat.  Whole wheat berries are edible (with some work) but if you want bread you need to grind it.

Victorio Hand Grain Mill – this baby runs off good old fashioned muscle power.  You crank it by hand.  If the power grid goes down you will be glad you have this.  The amazing Wondermill below will function as a nice paperweight when electricity has gone the way of the dinosaur.  But you, in your infinite prepper wisdom will be cranking away making precious powder gold sans the juice.  And you will be cranking away, and cranking and cranking…  Better yet buy two of these.  And make sure you have 10 strapling children to run it.

Wondermill – grinding wheat by hand is A LOT of work.  It is labor intensive and time consuming.  It is almost comical how much you have to crank for a pitiful amount of of wheat flour.  If you have electricity you’ll want an electric mill.  Enter the Wondermill.  We have had one for years and it is amazing.  We use it all the time.  This is a universal prepper staple for a reason.  It is great quality and has a nice powerful 1250 watt motor.  This is a two-edged sword as 1250 watts is a pretty good amount of energy.  It is marketed as quiet which is quite funny because it sounds like a Harrier Jet in my opinion.

Bread Maker – If you are grinding wheat you will want some way to make bread.  The old fashion way (make dough, knead, let rise, put in pans, cook…) is great but labor intensive.  A bread maker is very quick, simple and most important… automated.  Takes a couple mins to add the ingredients and push start.  60 mins later… presto!  Hot bread.  You’ll need electricity of course.  Steven Harris has a nice podcast on using an inverter hooked to your car to run a bread machine.

Improve your families health now by grinding wheat and making home-made, nutritious whole wheat bread.  Much healthier than white bread (don’t eat this crap).  Far tastier than store bought wheat bread.

Oster 5838 Bread Machine – this is a relatively cheap little bread maker that works great.  I have it for emergencies.  We typically make bread the old-fashion way and bake it in the oven.  You can use a bread machine to make all kinds of other things like pizza dough.  You can even let it make the dough, let it rise and cook it in your own oven.

Zojirushi BB-CEC20 Home Bakery  – if you are going to get into bread making prior to the apocalypse (a good idea for practice and health reasons) you might want to invest in something a little nicer like the Zojirushi.  It makes horizontal 2 pound loaves of bread.  Just look at the name, this is no mere bread machine it is a home bakery!

Water Filtration – For portable and simple filtration get a Sawyer or Lifestraw.  These are great stocking stuffers.  For filtering a lot of water for a family get Berkey.  These are highly regarded filters and a prepper staple.  Fill the top canister and let the dirty water filter via gravity into the bottom chamber.  The clean water is then drawn out by a standard spigot.  It takes some time but this is the best way to filter the large amounts of water that you are going to need.  Remember to buy extra filters.  A lot of people use these to filter their tap water for regular consumption.  They come in a range of sizes, I would get the Big Berkey or Royal Berkey for an average sized family.

Well there are just a few Christmas gift ideas for preppers, survivalists, emergency preparednessers, etc.  Let me know if you have any other ideas or recommendations.  Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Preppermann

Advertisements

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 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!