Posts Tagged ‘Knives’

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!



Gear Review: Al Mar Eagle HD

Posted: July 20, 2015 in Gear
Tags: ,

I confess… I have been feeling really guilty about neglecting this blog.  I haven’t written in forever and that inertia is so easy to maintain.  An object in motion tends to stay in motion; a lazy object at rest REALLY hates to move again, like ever…  Sorry for the laziness.  Here is a quick post just to get things moving again!

al mar eagle

I received (more like purchased for myself, and my wife gifted it to me) an Al Mar Eagle HD for Christmas.  This is the nicest, most expensive knife I have ever purchased.  Some of you will think I am crazy for spending almost $150 on a knife.  Others will think I am a complete knife rookie because I don’t own a $500 knife.  You can’t please everyone!  I would consider this a moderately expensive knife.  A cheap knife for me is $20.  And for a $20 recommendation I love the Kershaw OSO Sweet.  If you have to spend $500 on a knife to feel adequate then go buy a Chris Reeves Sebenza.  (Very nice knife, I just can’t bring myself to spend that kind of money on a knife… yet…)  So if you tuned out at the mention of a $150 knife go grab the Kershaw.  It’s a great overall knife and you can’t beat the value.  But I digress…

I got the Al Mar Eagle HD for Christmas and have been carrying it ever since (6 months now).  I love this knife.  It is fantastic.  In my mind this is a tactical knife and has defensive implications.  It has a longer 4 inch blade.  Total length is 9 inches.  A lot of folding knives are in the 2.75-3.75 inch range.  A true 4 inch blade is rather rare.  Longer is better for reach and penetration.  This knife is very thin (blade is 0.10 inches) and therefore great for carrying.  It is also light (just over 3 ounces!).

The handle is black G10 (fiberglass impregnated resin) and has a nice Goldilocks texture (not too hard or soft).  It is your standard lock back design.  It has a nice pocket clip and is reversible, it comes tip up (I like it this way).  It has stainless steel liners (increased rigidity) that are skeletonized (decreases weight).  This is a nice touch that a lot of people may miss.  It takes a little extra effort by the knife manufacturer to remove some of the liner to drop weight.  This is a sign of quality to me.  You’ll see this or NOT see this in other knives, so look for it.

This is AUS-8 steel, which is a good medium grade Japanese steel.  For $150 dollars I really wish they had gone with a nicer grade steel, even VG-10 would have been great.  AUS 8 steel is good, but not great steel.  This is really my only gripe about the knife.  By no means a deal breaker, but I’d knock off a half point for it.

Overall I would give the Al Mar Eagle HD a 9.5/10.  I love it.  I carry it all the time.  If it was a higher grade steel I would have to give it a perfect score.  That or they could drop the price down a bit (closer to $100?).  It is HD (heavy-duty not Hi-Def) because it is beefier than its sibling the Al Mar Eagle which lacks the steel liner, and has thinner full flat ground blade.  The HD is a little heavier for more durability.

One other note… To me this is not a beater knife, it’s too expensive.  I always carry another smaller blade for opening boxes or other routine tasks.  Sog Flash 1 or Swiss Army Cadet are my usual companions.  Due to its blade length this knife is bigger and more intimidating, you may not want to whip this out at book club or your next tea party.

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.

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?

Prepper Christmas Gift Ideas

Posted: December 5, 2014 in Gear
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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.


Posted: November 27, 2014 in Gear, Philosophy
Tags: ,

Example of my EDC gear from earlier this week. S&W .38 Special Streamlight Protac Tactical Flashlight 2AA Spyderco Delica Swiss Army Cadet

EDC – Every Day Carry

I would like to introduce the concept of EDC or every day carry.  I would also like to list a few things that you should consider for your EDC.  What is EDC?  These are things that are so important that you should have them physically on your person at all times.  Having these few things with you at all times makes you better prepared and able to adapt to any situation.  I think there are a few basic things that everyone should have.  Once you have the basics you can adjust what you carry to fit your specific needs.  EDC is a microcosm of prepping.

1.  Cell phone – these guys are so powerful knowadays that there really isn’t anything more important to have on you.  Make sure it is charged and ready for action.  Make sure you are familiar with how it works.  Do you have the apps that you need?  Make sure to have important numbers programmed in.  The biggest thing here is make sure that it is charged and that you haven’t drained the battery playing games or trolling Facebook.  A dead phone is  a paper weight.  Having a means to charge it is another great addition.  In an emergency voice calls may not work.  Texting uses much less bandwidth and is more likely to get through.

2. Knife – I have said this before but everyone, yes everyone should carry a knife.  The uses are endless.  Get a small one if you aren’t sure about this one.  The Sog Flash I is a great choice for a small, light weight, first knife.

3. Flashlight – Don’t think this is that important?  Ever groped around in the dark during a power outage?  What happens if you have to evacuate a building through a dark stairwell during an emergency?  Light is essential, you should never be without some means of making light.  Cell phones can work okay for this in a pinch.  I wouldn’t rely on it as my sole source of light.  Plus I want the juice in my cell phone for making phone calls not making light.  Again you can get something very small and compact.  I love this tiny little light – Foursevens Preon.  It is my EDC light most of the time.

4. Concealed carry weapon – this one may be new and “out there” for a lot of you.  I have been carrying concealed for a few years now.  It was very weird for me at first.  Now it is very weird for me not to have a handgun on me.  This goes back to being able to protect yourself and your family.  Hopefully you are never in a situation where you need a gun, but the one time you are you will be glad you have it.  I’ll dedicate an entire post to this at a later date.  Just start thinking about it.  My personal bias at this point is that good responsible people have an obligation to carry.  (Great Nutnfancy video on this topic as well).  It goes back to the sheepdog concept.  There are a lot of other “less-than-lethal” options here if a handgun doesn’t work (local laws, etc).  Pepper spray, taser, baton, etc.

5. Wallet with ID, cash, credit cards.  Make sure you always have cash.  Cash is king in emergencies and during power outages.  I am not a cash guy.  I buy everything with credit cards.  I would recommend having at least enough cash to fill up your car with gas.

6. Keys – A key ring can be good for throwing a small flashlight, knife, or multi-tool on.

7.  Misc – I am a chapstick guy so I always have one on me.  It is also handy to have a couple of band-aids on you.  If you have a medical condition that requires emergency meds you should include these as well.

Your EDC is a great place to start trying to be more prepared in general.  Start with carrying a small knife and flashlight.  You’ll wonder how you ever got along without them.

What do you carry?  What other things do you think are essential?

All-Star Knives

Posted: November 18, 2014 in Gear

The majority of topic requests I get are regarding two things; knives and guns.  So here it is!

There are few things as useful as a good knife.  My personal bias is that you should always have a knife on your person at all times.  They are very difficult if not impossible to improvise when you need one.  A good knife will save your bacon and even slice your bacon when needed.

They come in two basic varieties.  Fixed blade and folding.  Folding blades tend to be more convenient as they are smaller (when folded up).  Fixed blades tend to be sturdier.  If you intend to do heavier work like chopping, prying, stabbing, then a fixed blade may be better.  In general a folding blade is a good place to start.

Like everything in this world you get what you pay for.  Many things make a knife “better” or cost more.  There are different types of blade steel.  Better steels tend to cost more.  I may write a later post getting more into the technical details of knives and steel.

As an intro I wanted to suggest a few different knives at different price points.  There are many, many great knife companies.  Just to name a few: Spyderco, CRKT, Sog, Kershaw, Benchmade, Cold Steel, KA-BAR, and on and on.  Below are some specific examples.  They tend to get more expensive as you go down.  These are all All-Star knives in my opinion.  You can’t go wrong with any of them.  The red links below will take you to amazon for an example of the knife and the current price.

Morakniv – these knives have long been a prepper and survivalist staple.  They are cheap, rugged and an all around GREAT VALUE.  I own 3 or 4 of these.  Great for a bug-out-bag (BOB), car, backpacking, camping etc.  Break it, lose it, loan it out to a friend.  No worries if you lose it.  Made of high carbon steel which is great for field sharpening (holds a great sharp edge).  High carbon steel will rust more easily so wipe it off, clean it and keep a light oil on it.  Or let it rust and buy another!


for a couple bucks more you can get a heavy duty version that I like a bit better.

Morakniv HD

CRKT Drifter – $20 of awesome value.  This is a great, cheap knife.  I use this knife all the time.  It is my beater knife.  If I break it or lose it I won’t cry too much because it is only 20 bucks.  Great starter knife if price is an issue.

CRKT Drifter

Sog Flash 1 – this knife is tiny.  Great knife if size and weight are an issue.  It is assisted opening so it open up lightening fast with a small flick.  Sog does a great job with their pocket clips.  It allows the knife to sit very deep in your pocket (this is good).  I wouldn’t want this to be my primary knife (it’s small) but I often carry it is my secondary knife.  (Yes I often carry two knives!).  A note on legality… assisted opening knives are legal at the federal level but can be restricted at the state level (these are not automatic knives or switchblades) so make sure you know for your locality.  This climbs you into the $30 range.

Sog Flash 1

Sog Flash 2 – this is the big brother to the above knife.  I love this knife.  It is a fair bit bigger.  It is also an assisted opening knife.  Great overall knife with good utility.  The blade profile is full flat grind (FFG) which is great for all around use.  $40 range.

Sog Flash 2

Sog Seal Pup – this is a great all around fixed blade survival type knife.  Decent steel, nice handle, good sheath, full tang (the metal runs as one complete piece from the blade through the handle = sturdier).  All for about $40, great value.

Sog Seal Pup

Spyderco Delica – Oh how I love this knife!  This is probably my all around favorite knife.  It has great form, fit, and function.  It has nicer VG10 steel.  The clip is moveable to any position.  It is light weight.  Still an excellent value at just under $60.  This is my go to EDC (every day carry) knife.

Spyderco Delica FFG

That wraps up this intro post on a few All-Star knives that I particularly like.  They all have slightly different functions and niches.  One knife doesn’t do it all.  So you should buy more than one!  More to come!