Bug-In Checklist: If Disaster Strikes…Are You Prepared?

Odds are that you have been in a situation where you were stuck indoors without power or water due to some sort of natural caused event. If you haven’t, I’d wager a bet that you will at some point. We take for granted the convenience of turning on a faucet, firing up the stove and cranking up the A/C or furnace. When the power goes out or the water stops flowing, we seldom worry that it won’t be restored in a matter of minutes or hours. Natural disasters seem to be happening all too often these days, but with a little forethought and preparation, you won’t be left dependant on others to stay safe and comfortable until things are restored.

Hurricanes, tornadoes, snow storms, flooding and fires are a part of nature and they don’t usually give you much warning and time to prepare. My wife and I recently went through 3 days and nights without public power and water supply and were unable to leave our home due to a large wildfire. Although I had prepared for a natural disaster of this nature, it still was a great learning experience and I’d like to share our story. Continue reading

Headlamp Roundup: Princeton Tec Fuel | Petzl e+Lite | Petzl Tactikka XP

Certainly one important piece of gear that should be included in any degree of bug out bag is illumination, ie a flashlight. Whether your bag is meant for short term emergencies, a three day survival bag or a long term bug out bag, a quality flashlight is crucial.

If you were to go online right now and start shopping for lights your head will start spinning as there are an endless amount of options. Handheld, head mounted, LED or Xenon, AA or AAA batteries, $12 or $120; which one will get the job done? We’ve picked a few different options when it comes to headlamps that we recommend depending on your requirements for both use and budget. Continue reading

Review: MSR MiniWorks Microfilter

The MSR Mini [$72.92 via Amazon] is very simple to use and has a good output-per-pump ratio. More importantly, the water tastes CLEAN and nobody gets sick. Also, it requires no chemical additives but still claims to filter everything but viruses. The chance of contracting a waterborne virus from a U.S. lake or stream (think Polio, Hep-A, SARS, and a few others which you have probably had vaccinations for) is far lower than getting sick from bacteria or parasites. If this still bothers you, you can still boil your clear, clean-tasting water just to be sure.

The maintenance on this filter is very simple. The unit breaks down into 4 major parts, and the wrist pins on the pump assembly are quick-release squeeze-and-push types. You can literally have this thing stripped down and cleaned completely in about 5 minutes, and that includes the sterilization of the filter element. A couple dabs of silicone grease or even chap-stick is all you need to lube it up when you are reassembling the unit.

It’s a great filter that I have used on many hiking trips. It pumps fast and is very handy. At 16 oz. it is not the lightest filter on the market but its design makes it very field maintainable.

The only down side that I could find with the product was that the filter is somewhat delicate. This could pose a threat if you didn’t have available replacements in a survival situation.

Review: Bear Grylls Survival Tool from Gerber

Here is my review of each component of the Bear Grylls Survival Tool from Gerber:

Pliers: The cutters are extremely solid. Whether you are stripping a wire or cranking down a loose nut it’s one of the most used items on this multi-tool. They are spring loaded and come pre-sharpened.

Wood Saw: The saw has a really aggressive profile. This seems to be the only tool that is as big as possible, and it needs to be. With a little elbow grease you can cut up some pretty sizable pieces of wood.

Scissors: It will cut paper, plastic, string, small ropes or paracord with ease. I think essentially it will cut anything you can fit in between its blades. (rocks or metal excluded)

File: What can I say…. It’s a file. On any prolonged stay in the wilderness one can offer up some of the finest manicure/pedicures on this side of Patagonia.

Serrated Blade: It can be useful when cutting through tendon on the hind quarters of a deer but you lose a little blade length because of it. It’s sharp out of the box and works well with the flint stick.

Small Flat Head: I use it on a daily basis. It is standard but I couldn’t get by without it.

Medium Flat Head: Although it is much less standard to include two sizes, I’m glad Gerber did. When it comes to standard hardware you are much more likely to find a larger slot than a smaller.

Pierce: This was very well designed. I was able to dispatch a can of its lid quickly to empty my mornings bacon grease with zero potentially dangerous slips.

Bottle Opener: I’m not sure of the validity of including this tool in modern society. I really have only used it to open my adult beverages. I don’t mind the inclusion on your everyday multi tool, but this is a SURVIVAL tool and I feel they could have come up with something more useful (gut hook or punch tool).

Philips Head: If you want to be picky it could be a size or two larger. (So you don’t strip screws) In all reality I use it either when I’m too lazy to get a real phillips head out of the tool box or if I just don’t have one on me. It saved me several months ago when my radiator hose blew off and all I needed was a phillips head to tighten down the hose clamp.

Review: Schrade Key Chain Pry Tool With Seatbelt Cutter

The Schrade Ti Tool ($22.38 on Amazon) is a sweet little multi-tool for your keychain.. Sure, you’ll mostly use it to open beer bottles, but you never know when its other features could save the day. The aerospace-grade titanium construction means its stronger than steel and so light that you will barely know its in your pocket. The seatbelt cutter is great for cutting rope, wires, paracord, etc.. and its designed so that you wont accidently cut yourself on its super-sharp blade.

Schrade Ti Tool Features:

  • Bottle Opener
  • Flat Head Screw Driver
  • Pry Tip
  • Scraper End
  • Cutter
  • Wrench Driver that Accommodates 1/4″, 5/16″, 3/8″, 7/16″, 1/2″
  • Lanyard or keychain Hole
  • Anti-Scratch Stonewash Finish

The 10 Essential Groups of Supplies for Your Survival Kit

There’s many schools of though on what should go into a “bug out bag”.  It all comes down to personal preferences and also factors like location, family-status, short vs long-term, etc.  We compiled this list to serve as a starting point for a general 72-96 hour pack for one person.  If you have pets, check out this post on recommended list of items to pack for your cat or dog.  Please continue to do your own research and feel free to leave tips in the comments below.

The 10 Essential Supply groups for Bug Out Bags:

Military Advanced Expeditionary Assault Pack Backpack

  1. The Bag
  2. Water
  3. Fire & Cooking
  4. Food
  5. Shelter
  6. First Aid
  7. Tools
  8. Electronics
  9. Clothing
  10. Comfort Items

The Bag
Choose a decent sized assult or tactical camouflage backpack matching your local terrain.  If you can spend the extra money, look at the FDE brand, specifically the 5.11 Rush 72 Back Pack. Or if you’re on a budget try Riot Gear’s Military Advanced Expeditionary Assault Pack Backpack (pictured right).  Some must-have features to look for in a good bug-out bag: Bladder pocket, molle straps, weather proof.

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Review: Kershaw Scallion Frame Lock Serrated Knife


The Kershaw Scallion ($39.57) is a small, well-built stainless steel pocket knife that makes a great every-day carry. A good friend of mine gave me this knife as a gift a couple of years ago and I have carried it with me on a daily basis ever since. Its even got my nickname laser engraved on it (thanks Cummings)!

What I Like About It:

  • Its easy to open with a flick of the thumb.. pretty cool when you need to use it quickly.
  • The combo serrated/traditional blade makes it versatile for various tasks.
  • The build-quality is obviously top-notch…it feels awesome in your hand – like a tool that will probably last a lifetime.
  • The built-in clip is sturdy and perfect for attaching to your pants pocket..
  • The low-profile design makes it a perfect pocket knife.. its there when you need it otherwise you dont really feel like its weighing you down.

Disaster Preparedness for Your Dog or Cat

With just a little bit of planning and preparation, you’ll can be ready to evacuate your home AND take your furry friends along in the event of a disaster.

Here’s our list of essential items to stock for your dog or cat. Pack and store these items together in a secure, dry area like your garage. When disaster strikes you can just grab the crate, the pets and bug out!  We’ve also taken the time to recommend some quality products for most list items.

Mountainsmith Dog Pack

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