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There are 3 excellent water filtration options to keep you hydrated this summer. A recent news story relates how a couple hiking in California got lost for five days. They drank water using a LifeStraw® filtration straw to filter water from natural water sources in their area. The story underscores the importance of having a way to purify water while outdoors. Water is one of the four component elements of survival. It is especially important to stay hydrated during the spring and summer. Our outdoor planning should include addressing the need for obtaining fresh drinking water. A water filtration device is an excellent way to ensure that you can have drinking water when enjoying the outdoors. Here are three of the best water filtration devices to consider including in your packing list.

1. Sawyer® MINI

One of the most popular and versatile water filtration items that one can own is the Sawyer® MINI water filter. You cannot survey the many videos on YouTube® on building emergency kits and bags without seeing the Sawyer® MINI as a recommended item on somebody’s packing list. This water filter averages between $20 and $30 at most outdoor stores. As a result, the Sawyer® MINI is a budget-friendly addition to your loadout. I carry one in both my EDC bag and my regular backpack for hiking. There also is one in my vehicle emergency kit. You will not go wrong including a Sawyer® MINI in your water filtration considerations. The Sawyer® MINI is available for purchase at the Sigma 3 Survival Store.

Description

Sawyer offers the following description of this water filter:

The Sawyer MINI weighs just 2 ounces, fits in the palm of your hand, and provides 0.1-micron absolute filtration — removing 99.99999% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera, and E.coli, removing 99.9999% of all protozoa (such as giardia and cryptosporidium), and removing 100% of microplastics. Attach the easy-to-use MINI to the included drinking pouch, use the included straw to drink directly from a water source, connect it to hydration pack tubing, or screw it onto standard disposable water and soda bottles. Rated up to 100,000 filtered gallons of water, the award-winning MINI is perfect for everything from camping with the kids to traveling abroad where tap and bottle water cannot be trusted to kitting out your emergency go bag.

The company also offers the MINI in six colors: black, blue, camouflage, green, orange, and pink. Furthermore, the Sawyer® MINI is functional in several ways. The filter can be attached to a standard plastic water bottle, such as a Dasani or Aquafina bottle. It can be utilized as an in-line water filter with your favorite water bladder, like a Camelbak®. It can be used to drink water directly from a stream or lake using the included straw on one end and attaching flexible tubing on the other end. The Sawyer® MINI is a water filter that will keep you hydrated and on the move in an emergency.

2. LifeStraw

Another exceptional item that one can consider for a water filtration device is the LifeStraw®. As mentioned earlier, a couple who became lost while hiking survived on rationed food and drinking water from natural sources through a LifeStraw® filter. The LifeStraw® is not as versatile as the Sawyer® MINI. However, it is just as useful for drinking water directly from a stream or collected and filtered through a water container, such as a canteen or Nalgene® bottle. The LifeStraw® averages about $20 at most sporting goods stores.

The LifeStraw® is a budget-friendly option to consider as a water filtration item. As with any outdoor gear or tool, everyone has a preference for a particular multitool. The same is true when considering a Sawyer® MINI or a LifeStraw®. LifeStraw® was the first water filtration device that I put in my backpack. I still use them in my family emergency kit.

Description:

The manufacturer gives the following description:

  • The LifeStraw makes contaminated water safe to drink by removing bacteria and parasites, preventing the majority of waterborne disease. Use it for drinking directly from streams and lakes, or fill up a container and use your LifeStraw to enjoy clean water on the go. The LifeStraw has countless shelf life and once opened can provide an individual with more than 5 years of safe drinking water.
  • Durable and ultralight: weighs only 2 ounces (0.10 lbs.) Long-lasting: filters 1,000 gallons (4,000 liters), enough drinking water for an individual for over 5 years
    The microbiological, hollow fiber membrane filters to 0.2 microns and removes: 99.999999% of bacteria (including E. coli), 99.999% of parasites (Giardia, Cryptosporidium, etc.), 99.999% of microplastics
  • LifeStraw® is an outstanding water filter or your children’s backpacks. Unlike the Sawyer® MINI, the LifeStraw® is a single item that can be used immediately out of the packaging. They are easy to use. Therefore, they are very child-friendly. LifeStraw® is an excellent water filtration option to consider for your family emergency or hiking considerations.

3. Aquamira® Tactical Frontier Pro Ultralight Filter

Aquamira® is an industry leader in the water treatment and filtration market. Their chlorine-dioxide water treatment tablets are a standard for chemically treating water in the field. The company offers a variety of water filtration items from water filters to water filter bottles. However, one of the best things to consider as a water filtration option is the Tactical Frontier Pro Ultralight water straw. It is comparable to the Sawyer® MINI. Yet, it is has a rating to filter only 50 gallons of water versus the 100k gallon of the Sawyer® MINI.

The concept for this water filter is as an emergency back up to complement other ways to process water in the field. It is smaller than the Sawyer® MINI. Therefore, it is a great water filter consideration for your EDC bag, ultralight hiking, or day hike on the trail. It is a short-term water filtration solution. By contrast, the Sawyer® MINI or LifeStraw® are solutions intended to be in use for more extended periods in more austere environments.

Description:

Aquamira® describes the Tactical Frontier Pro in the following way:

  • It has a GRN Line Bacteria Filter with up to 500 ml/minute flow rate with a certified filtration for 50 gallons (over 180 L).
  • It is ultralight and compact 2.5 oz. (71 g) packable protection. The Tactical Frontier Pro comes has a replaceable filter design means highly cost-effective extra capacity capability.
  • Connects to bottles, bags, bladders, and gravity systems via UQC quick connects.
  • Includes three pre-filters to extend filter life and remove twigs and debris. Comes packaged in a zipper pouch which doubles as a water collection and storage unit.
  • Miraguard™ Antimicrobial* Technology suppresses the growth of bacteria, algae, fungus, mold and mildew within the filter media.
  • BPA free, chemical free, and iodine free.
  • Filter made in the USA

In Summary

Water is an essential part of survival in an outdoor environment. The following water filters: Sawyer® MINI, LifeStraw®, and Frontier Max are the best options on the market from which to choose. As you plan your next outdoor adventure, remember to consider a water filter straw device to include in your packing list. You never know when an emergency situation may arise. Therefore, be prepared, be safe, and enjoy the outdoors.

Is your emergency survival planning on PACE? The spring outdoor season is upon us. The springtime is a great time to spend outdoors. The plans for your next outdoor experience are almost complete. Many survival experts agree that building redundancy in your gear and planning is essential to ensuring getting through an emergency. A simple method for building those layers is one that is from the military. The process for preparing and organizing your activities and gear is the PACE technique.

Assessing Your PACE

PACE is an acronym for Primary (P), Alternate (A), Contingency (C), and Emergency (E). These are layers of redundancy to ensure essential capabilities are available at all times under any circumstances. The PACE technique applies to the different methods of survival: primitive, bushcraft, military, or blended. However, several questions must be answered before applying this method. First, you need to answer the five W’s of your outdoor activity: who, what, where, when, why, along with how.

Assess Experience and Knowledge

Next, you need to assess your level of experience and knowledge: beginner, intermediate, or expert. Additionally, you should also evaluate the level of experience of others. This should be done especially if you are accompanying or leading a group. You should know yourself and those in your group. Furthermore, each member of the group needs to be aware of the level of experience of the other members of the group. Also, you and each member of your group should know what everyone else is carrying for gear. Thus, it is wise to share each other’s packing list.

Assess Critical Capabilities

Third, assess your critical capabilities supporting the activity: first aid, navigation, communication, security? The definition of critical capabilities are those assets that you or your group possess that if lost would jeopardize the survival of yourself or others. Consequently, that means having a good understanding of yourself and your gear and those of the others in your group. If you are in a group, one technique would be to share each other’s packing lists.

Assess Local Terrain and Weather

Fourth, you need to determine the type of terrain and local weather characteristics. It is crucial to survival planning to know where you are going, what time of the year you are going, and what are the patterns of weather where you are going. Others have found themselves in emergency survival situations due to unexpected weather events, such as flash floods. Consequently, they were underprepared for the scenario. Thus, take the time to really understand the historical, current, and projected weather of the location for your outdoor activity. For example, many people have reported their surprise at how cold the desert can get at night in the spring.

Assess Emergency Assistance Availability

Finally, you should understand the availability and access to emergency assistance near the planned activity site. One of the quickest ways to resolve an emergency survival situation is having a basic knowledge of the support available at your location and how to access it. There was a recent story of a teenage boy who ran almost six miles to a park ranger station to get help for his injured father. The young man could not do that if he did not know how to get to that ranger station. The key to survival planning is gaining situational awareness to better PACE yourself.

PACE Your Critical Capabilities

 

1. P: Primary

For the purposes of this article, the capability that will model the PACE method is communication. However, the PACE method applies to any asset or ability that you assess as critical to the success of your outdoor adventures, such as making a fire, rendering first aid, building a shelter, food procurement, or water processing. Therefore, for this hypothetical outdoor scenario, forms of communication are a critical capability that cannot be lost or activities will cease or lives will be jeopardized.

An example of a primary means of communication is a smartphone. Smartphones are becoming more sophisticated every year. They come with a variety of domestic and foreign plans, as well as applications. Many smartphones can function as satellite communication devices in an emergency where there is no commercial wireless coverage. The implied tasks for keeping a smartphone running in the outdoors is to maintain wireless coverage and to charge the battery. Thus, an essential capability for smartphone use in the field is the ability to keep charging the battery with a solar powered charger.

2. A: Alternate

An alternate form of communication in the field is a hand-held radio (HHR). A hand-held radio is also known as a walkie-talkie. HHR devices come in many forms. These radios can transmit and receive voice communication over a limited distance. However, for communicating with an HHR over an extended range, the ability to relay signals through a repeating tower come into play. As with the smartphone, keeping the battery charged on an HHR in the field is also essential.

3. C: Contingency

The definition of contingency is a provision for an unforeseen event or circumstance. Thus, for survival planning a contingency communication asset may be a Garmin® inReach Mini or a SPOT™ Gen 3 device. These devices are for sending out emergency text messages through a satellite service with geo-location information to help first responders find you. These items are almost a last resort communication device if the smartphone or HHR radio goes down or is lost during an emergency survival situation.

4. E: Emergency

An emergency communications capability is an asset that is for when all of the previous devices malfunction, get broken, lose power, or become lost. An example of an emergency communication capability might be a signal fire, signal flares, signal mirror, air horn, or a signal panel (VS-17). Therefore, an emergency signal capability could be any method that you can employ to communicate to others your location or whereabouts.

Some Final Thoughts

The PACE method is a valuable method to help you think through maintaining essential capabilities while outdoors. There is no right or wrong solution to determining your critical capabilities. Each outdoor activity is different. Therefore, the needs will be different. For example, a day-long fishing trip to a nearby location will be different than a hunting trip to Alaska. The same is true for preparing for emergency disasters. The survival needs for my area and family will be different than for those living in the upper Midwest. Thus, the PACE method helps you to think through the preparedness process and to resource your needs.

There are 5 quality fire starter options to consider for your fire kit. The spring and summer outdoor season is upon us. As we plan to go and enjoy the outdoors, having a good fire kit is an essential part of your packing list. Fire is one of the core elements of survival along with food, shelter, and water. Thus, having a reliable, quality fire starter is an essential part of an effective fire kit to carry on your next adventure. These five fire starters are a great items as your build or improve your fire kit.

1. Bic® Lighter

Most outdoor, survival, and preparedness experts agree that a Bic® lighter is quality fire starter. It is an excellent addition to any level of emergency survival kit. The Bic® lighter is a butane fuel lighter and will work well under most conditions. It produces a flame pretty consistently. Therefore, in an emergency situation, you can not go wrong having a Bic lighter as part of your fire kit. Moreover, carrying one of these lighters in your Urban-Suburban EDC bag is a must.

There are a couple of limitations with the Bic lighters. First, they contain a limited quantity of butane fuel. The next limitation with this lighter is that the thumb-depressed valve can be pushed open. This can cause the butane vapors to escape. Finally, a third limitation of these lighters is that the butane fuel can leak out over time. However, most of these limitations can be overcome by simple hacks or with an Exotac® FireSLEEVE™.

2. Ferro Rod and Striker

The ferro rod and striker another quality fire starter. Ferro rods are a standard item in most bushcraft fire making kits. The ferro (short for ferrocerium) is a metal rod of iron alloy. Ferrum is the Latin word for iron from which the ferrocerium rod gets its name. The ferrocerium rod is a combination of iron (ferrum) and cerium. Cerium is another natural element on the Periodic Table of Elements. Carl Auer von Welsbach discovered the fire making aspects of them when these two metals are combined into the alloy compound, ferrocerium.

Ferro rods come in many lengths, widths and configurations, such as having a wood or plastic handle on one end. The Sigma 3 Survival Store offers one of the best ferro rods and strikers on the market. The ferro rod is 6 inches long and a ½ inch in diameter. These dimensions ensure that the rod will last in the field. Moreover, it will give you plenty of fire making capability long after the Bic® lighter has run out of fuel.
The only limitation with the ferro rod and striker is it does not produce a flame within itself like the Bic® lighter. To gain a flame with this fire making instrument, you will have to possess or obtain a combustible tinder source. For more information on tinder sources check out the article, Four Optional Tinder Sources.

 

3. Exotac® NanoSTRIKER XL™

The Exotac® NanoSTRIKER XL is another quality fire starter on the market. It is one of the most popular ferro rods being purchased by outdoorsman. It has a small diameter (.43 in.) and a modest length (4.17 in.). The striker has the dimensions of a tactical ball point pen. As a result, it fits well into an EDC kit or any level of emergency survival kit. Moreover, it is well suited to be carried into the field on a multiday outdoor activity such as a fishing, hunting, or thru-hiking. As with the ferro rod-and-striker above, you must use this in conjunction with a tinder source. Some optional tinder sources can be Birch Bark, Quick Tender, Wet Fire Cubes, Fire Stix, or some other natural or manufactured tinder.

 

4. UCO Gear® Survival Stormproof Match Kit

Another quality fire starter to consider for your fire kit is the UCO Gear® Survival Stormproof Match Kit. UCO produces the best quality stormproof matches and match products on the market. The Survival Stormproof Match Kit is perfect as a redundancy item in your fire-making kit. Furthermore, stormproof matches are part of most military survival kits. Therefore, you can not go wrong with adding this match kit to your field packing list.

The kit comes with a clear plastic waterproof container. The container measures approximately 2.25 in. long and 1 in. wide. There are 15 water and waterproof matches inside. There is cotton batting in the lid and a paper match striker on the side. Some have complained about the quality of the matches on venues like Amazon®. However, you can purchase this match kit directly from UCO Gear or the Sigma 3 Survival Store if you want to ensure the quality of the product.

5. UST® Spark Force™ Firestarter

The final consideration for a quality fire starter is the UST® Spark Force™ Firestarter. Ultimate Survival Technologies (UST)® makes two versions of this product. The Spark Force™ and the larger Strike Force™. I have owned both products and they are excellent items for your kit. You will not go wrong with either product. The Spark Force ™ is more compact. Consequently, it is more easily stored in EDC packs, your pocket, or your personal survival kit.

The Spark Force™ is 3 in. long and ¾ in. wide. It has a lanyard that keeps the striker and rod together. The casing is high impact ABS plastic. The ferro rod is around 2 inches long. The purpose of this striker is for emergency situations as a backup fire making option. It was not designed to be your main fire starting instrument. Moreover, it is small enough that children can use it when they are properly trained on it.

Some Final Thoughts

A quality fire starter is a crucial item in your survival kit or outdoor adventure loadout. Redundancy items in your fire-making kit will ensure that you can make a fire in an emergency. One of the best fire-making kits on the market is the Sigma 3 Fire Kit. You can read my review of the Sigma 3 Fire Kit if you want more information about it. However, if you choose to build or improve your own fire-making kit, the five fire-starting options listed above will greatly enhance your fire making capability in the field.

Individual survival gear approaches have two common categories: tactical and non-tactical. The two approaches to personal gear feature some common items. However, they also have some stark differences. Therefore, it is essential to have a working understanding of both approaches. It will help you to discern the kinds of resources to purchase and types of kits to build.

In a previous article, we discussed the three popular approaches to survival. The purpose of that article is to familiarize you with the conventional methods of survival in general. In this article, we will close in on the two common approaches people use to purchase and organize their survival gear. There are a few factors to keep in mind when assessing which method to take regarding your survival or prepping loadout.

The first factor influencing your survival gear approach is your experience with your equipment. People tend to fall back on what they are comfortable with in general. How a person organizes their survival or prepping gear is no different. The second factor is knowledge about your survival gear. Most people will only put gear in their survival loadout in which they have knowledge and experience. The final factor governing the approach one takes to survival gear loadout is finances. Some people cannot afford the top-of-the-line survival gear regardless of the approach that they prefer to use to build their kits. Consequently, they look for budget-friendly quality gear to develop their loadout.

1. The Tactical Approach

Overview

The tactical approach centers on finding a military or tactical solution to solving survival and prepping questions. The individual gear that typically identifies this approach is the military surplus items. However, the modern tactical gear designed for the military or law enforcement also falls into this approach. If one prefers the tactical approach to gear and gear organization, then learning how the military or law enforcement personnel use and organize their gear will be of interest. Typically, this approach appeals to those with current or previous military or law enforcement experience.

However, there is a growing interest in this approach among those never associated with military or law enforcement. Military packing lists for various situations helps one to understand this approach. The most common packing list of this type is the ALICE rucksack packing list. Military manuals covering survival gives insight into the tactical approach to survival and preparedness. However, as with anything related to military and law enforcement, gear recommendations and techniques for their organization are directly related to military and law enforcement operations. They are never meant to be duplicated by those not employed in those professions.

Advantages

There are some advantages to the tactical approach. The most significant advantage is the proven reliability and practicality of military gear and its use in the field. Most individual tactical gear in use with the military or law enforcement must meet high standards and pass rigorous testing. Consequently, the tactical gear tends to be of higher quality than its non-military counterparts. Moreover, the way military and law enforcement personnel organize and use their gear also brings some reliability to the tactical approach. For example, many people are interested in how the SOF community approaches survival and prepping. Why? SOF approaches have inherent credibility and reliability. Therefore, desiring to know what gear the SOF community uses and how they organize it is of interest.

Disadvantages:

The main drawback with the tactical approach to gear and gear organization is it can give a false sense of security. A well-known comic artist published a meme several years ago called, Gear-do, a wordplay on the word, weirdo. It shows a soldier all kitted up to kick in doors, who is in an administrative desk job. In essence, the soldier had too much gear for the situation and his good. Furthermore, possessing tactical gear, in-and-of-itself, does not guarantee you will survive an emergency. You have to be proficient in using it.

2. The Non-Tactical Approach

Overview

The second most common way people approach gear purchases and organizing that gear is known as the non-tactical approach. The non-tactical approach to gear and gear organization is a favorite method of bushcrafters and homesteaders. The growing interest in being a “gray man” is also fueling the non-tactical approach. This approach emphasizes gear that reflects the frontier, old west, or everyday carry (EDC) in an urban or suburban setting. Leather and non-camouflage gear is a characteristic of this approach. Weapons preferences also tend to be non-tactical, such as revolvers over semi-automatic pistols. Leather and solid color nylon pouches are a preference over camouflage ones. Furthermore, backpacks tend to be solid colors, like black or grey, without much Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS) webbing, if any.

Advantages:

The main advantage of the non-tactical approach to gear and gear organization is that it facilitates stealth. Those looking to blend into their environment and to avoid confrontation should consider a non-tactical approach. Another advantage of this approach is that it tends to simplify backpack organization into dry bags, stuff sacks, or Ziploc bags. Furthermore, the non-tactical approach offers more variety of colors for a piece of gear than the tactical. Kelty, for example, offers various colors for the Redwing 50 non-tactical packs. There is a limited color choice for their tactical line of backpacks, like the Raven 2500.

Disadvantages:

The non-tactical approach brings some difficulties. The most significant weakness in the non-tactical approach is in the durability and reliability of the gear. Generally, non-tactical backpacks do not feature ballistic Cordura® nylon as the primary construction material. Non-tactical pouches have thin ripstop nylon.
Moreover, the non-tactical approach to organizing gear is to put it into dry bags or cinch sacks. Consequently, this approach may cause a waste of time looking for an item inside a backpack. Whereas, that same piece of gear may be stored in an outside pocket of a 5.11 Rush backpack, ALICE rucksack, or Condor Battle Belt Rig.

Final Thoughts

The approach that one takes to gear and organizing gear will occupy much time and thought. Tactical and non-tactical approaches have advantages and disadvantages. The environment in which you will most likely have to operate during a survival emergency will dictate your preferred strategy. Some people use a hybrid approach. They borrow aspects from both the tactical and non-tactical elements and blend them into a personalized method. However, it is wise also to consider your knowledge and experience with gear and gear organization methods. Therefore, it is helpful to take time to review your approach, the gear you use, and how you will organize it.

There are 3 critical factors about footwear to remember. The footwear that you choose will help you or hurt you in a survival situation. Footwear is one of the standard pieces of gear that transcend wilderness or urban survival scenarios. In a previous article, there was a discussion on how to maintain and care for your feet was the focus. However, footwear, itself will be the topic of this article. I will not discuss a particular brand or style. Yet, the following factors for choosing and wearing footwear will help you decide on the other concerns. Let us see what the critical factors are to consider regarding your shoes.

Proper Fit

Properly fitting footwear is critical for the health of your feet. It is also essential for ensuring your survival in an emergency situation. The purpose of a shoe fluences its design. The fit of the shoe also will reflect how they fit your foot. For example, a running shoe will fit your foot different than a tactical military boot. Therefore, ensuring a proper fit of your footwear should be an essential aspect of what you purchase. There are two keys to remember about finding proper fitting footwear: your foot size and your foot arch.

Foot Size

The length and width of your feet can be easily measured with a device called a Brannock Device. The Brannock Device is the measuring tool that the salesman uses at your local shoe store. However, these measuring devices are available to the general public for purchase. The Brannock Device Company offers instructions on the proper measurement of your feet and the use of their equipment. Moreover, it is essential to know the length and width of your feet when choosing footwear.

 

Some will advise purchasing outdoor footwear that is ½ to a full foot size larger than your actual foot measurement. You should be careful about this technique. Others may recommend buying an equivalent female shoe if you are a male and cannot find footwear in your size. It could cause your feet to get tore up in a long term wilderness survival situation. Remember that outdoor footwear will feel snug and stiff on your feet when new. However, over time, the shoe material will get wet, dry, hot, cold, and muddy. As a result, the outdoor environment causes the shoe material to stretch and become pliable. Afterward, your feet will begin to move and slip within the footwear. Consequently, your feet will develop blisters, hammer toe, and other foot problems. These are problems you want to reduce or avoid in a field environment.

Foot Arch

Another aspect of footwear that is essential to a proper fit is your foot arch. The Brannock device will help measure your foot arch using the heal-to-ball of the foot technique. The technique is useful for finding the beginning and end of your arch. However, arch height is critical also to a properly fitting shoe or boot. Is your arch high, flat, or normal? The arch of your foot will influence if you need arch support insert (orthotics). Some footwear companies make orthotic inserts for their shoes or boots. Thus, your feet and ankles will become fatigued very quickly if you have not accounted for your foot arch type, even if the foot or shoe fits properly in length and width.

 

 

Break Them In

Another critical factor about footwear is breaking them in. Hiking shoes or boots will fit snug when you try them on in the store. However, after a few days or weeks in the field, they will become loose on your feet. There are many techniques for breaking in new outdoor footwear. Military or tactical boots that are mostly leather, such as the jungle boots by Altama®, require some effort to break-in. By contrast, commercial hiking shoes or boots made of a combination of materials, just wearing them for a couple of days or weeks as your primary footwear will break them in.

Another factor concerning breaking in the hiking boot is whether it has a Gore-Tex® liner. When you try Gore-Tex® boots on, your feet feel very snug in them. However, over time that “padded” feeling tends to lessen with the use of the boot. There are several reasons for this. First, Gore-Tex® does not have an extensively long lifecycle. Second, the principal material in Gore-Tex, latex, will lose its elasticity and other properties over time. Additionally, improper care of Gore-Tex shoes or boots will hasten this process.

Proper Maintenance

Another thing to be mindful of about footwear is adequate maintenance. All-leather boots require much more diligence in keeping them maintained than Teflon material boots. Gore-Tex lined footwear should be air dried.

Cleaning Non-Leather Footwear

You do this by removing all of the laces and folding out the tongue to open up the boot to as much air as possible. If you have a 5 to 8-inch tall boot, then you will need to try to fold down the top of the boot if it is flexible enough. Otherwise, just leave it as is. With Teflon or Teflon/Suede combination material, you can use a stiff, but a flexible brush to clean the outside. If your Teflon boots have a Gore-Tex liner, then you can wash them in clean, cold water and let them air dry on your porch or in your washroom.

Cleaning Leather Footwear

In caring for all-leather boots (not suede), you can wash them in luke-warm water with mild dish soap on the outside. Use a soft brush or toothbrush to clean off any excessive dirt. Let them air dry as described above for the Gore-Tex lined boots. You will notice after a while that your leather boots will have some white, chalky residue appearing on the surface of the boot. Do not be alarmed, this is some of the leather salts coming to the surface after being wet.

After the boots have dried, you can take saddle soap and clean off the white chalky stuff. Rub the saddle soap into the leather very thoroughly, this includes the boot tongue and seams. After using the saddle soap, you can wipe the boot down with a damp cloth to get the excess saddle soap off. Let the boot sit for a couple of hours or for a day or two to let the soap work its way into the leather.

When this process is complete, you can apply the boot polish or, in some cases, mink oil, as a way of waterproofing the boot. However, I have found if your boot leather is not waterproofed already with oils, like the Matterhorn Boot, then a boot polish is the first layer of defense in keeping the leather in top condition. You do not have to polish the boot to a high sheen, put the boot polish is critical in preventing the boot leather from deteriorating. So do not ignore its importance.

Final Observations

Footwear is a fun and exciting topic to discuss. Additionally, there two other considerations related to footwear that influence how they fit your feet: socks and lacing. Proper lacing and proper socks are essential to keeping your feet healthy when wearing your footwear. Remember when it comes to boots and the things related to your shoes, what works for you is what is best for you.

There are six essential features for quality backpacks. A great backpack is an invaluable piece of gear. An outdoor adventure will not be very pleasant if one’s pack breaks down in the field. It is important to be able to assess if a backpack will hold up to the rigors of outdoor use. There is varying styles and types of backpacks in a multitude of price ranges on the outfitter market. Therefore, it is essential to know what to look for when seeking to purchase a great backpack.

1. The Fabric Material

The first feature to look for when considering a quality backpack is the quality of the fabric material. There are two basic areas of the backpack of which the fabric will identify it as worthy of purchase: the main compartment and the strapping. As it pertains to backpacks, packs for the outdoors will have straps that function as lashing points (daisy chains), grab handles, gear security, adjustment or compression. The material that comprises the strapping is as important as that which makes up the pack compartments. The denier rating of the fabric is a key to understanding the durability of the material.

There are two popular fabrics that manufacturers use for backpacks: nylon and Cordura® fabric. Technically, Cordura® also is nylon. The difference is that Cordura® fabric is a patented and trademarked type of nylon fabric from the Invista Company in Wichita, Kansas. By contrast, denier is not a type of nylon fabric. Rather, the word, denier, is a measurement of fabric density. For example, the Osprey Xenith 88 backpack uses nylon while the current military rucksacks use the Cordura® fabric. Manufacturers will treat the nylon fabric so that it is water resistant. The type and density rating of the material that makes up the backpack is what one needs to look for when looking for a quality backpack.

Pack-Grade Nylon Fabric

Nylon fabric that is characteristic of backpacks from Osprey® or Kelty® has a fabric description of “pack nylon” or “bag nylon”. It is the same type of fabric common in luggage, gym bags, and ultra-light backpacks, gear bags, and stuff sacks. This kind of fabric has a more smooth texture than Cordura®. Pack-grade nylon fabric can come with a water resistant treatment. Some of the nylon that has a higher denier rating has a texture more like furniture upholstery. Pack-grade nylon can feature a diamond, hexagon, or checkered rip-stop texture. The one weakness with pack-grade nylon is that is less tear and wear resistant.

Cordura® Fabric

Cordura® fabric is a popular material that is characteristic of quality backpacks. Backpacks that are for tactical or rugged outdoor use tend to use this material. The major indicator that a backpack is using Cordura® fabric is that the manufacturer will stitch a small tag somewhere in an inconspicuous place on the pack that says, Cordura® fabric. Cordura fabric has the texture of the legacy cotton canvas. It has a more rough feel to it than regular nylon and requires stronger industrial stitching to make products out of it.

Cordura® makes several types of their fabric. The most common fabric in use with military and tactical backpacks is fabric from their Ballistic Fabric line. The company describes Ballistic fabric as, “Based on the original ballistic woven nylon developed for military body armor, dense, rugged Cordura® Ballistic fabrics are made with high tenacity nylon 6,6 filament yarns and offer enhanced tear and abrasion resistance.” Ballistic fabric has high abrasion resistance and a high toughness for tearing. The fabric also can have a water repellant treatment.

 

Straps, and PALS Webbing

An additional consideration concerning materials integrated on a quality backpack is the strap material. There are three basic kinds of straps or strapping on a backpack: shoulder straps, compression straps, and PALS webbing. Grab handles and daisy chain straps are also part of non-military backpack construction.

There are two kinds of material manufacturers use for strappings on quality backpacks: MIL-W-43668 Type III nylon webbing (1” wide) and MIL-W-4088 nylon webbing (1-2.25” wide). The knock-off U.S. military backpacks manufactured overseas tend to use lower quality strapping. An example of this type of backpack is the Outdoor Products Quest Backpack sold at Walmart. The U. S. Army MOLLE 3-Day Assault Pack and Medium Rucksack are examples of backpacks that use the higher quality strapping materials.

2. Stitching

Another important characteristic to look for in a quality backpack is the stitching of the backpack. The best thread material for stitching is Kevlar thread or heavy-duty industrial strength nylon thread such as that which is in parachute harnesses. It is important to look for the use of double stitching of the seams verses a single stitching pattern. The stitching that connects shoulder straps to the main body of the pack is critical to the pack’s durability in the field. Most backpacks utilize either a reinforced zig-zag stitching pattern or double-stitched boxed-X pattern as is common in parachute harnesses.

3. Closures

A third critical feature to look for in a quality backpack are the closures such as zippers, buckles and snaps. The most common zipper used on tactical and military backpacks is the YKK VISLON® Fin-Type. The most common buckles used on tactical and military backpacks are Duraflex® squeeze-type quick-release buckles by the National Molding Company®. These buckles are made of high-impact plastic. Closure manufacturers also make buckles, snaps, and zippers of stainless steel, aircraft grade aluminum, or titanium. However, these materials are less common due to the need to reduce the cost of manufacturing which keeps quality backpacks within acceptable retail pricing.

 

4. Access

A fourth consideration when looking to purchase a quality backpack is the ease of access it allows to your gear. There are many opinions about accessing the contents within a backpack. Some prefer top access. Others prefer a clamshell or draw-bridge type access. Still other people desire multiple ways to access the contents of their backpack. There does not seem to be a consensus about a preference on accessing a backpack.

Thus, a quality backpack gives the user easy access to their gear as the outdoorsman perceives it. Gear accessibility is important. Preppers, survivalists, outdoorsman, and bushcrafters will not continue to use a backpack that is more frustrating to use in the field than it is worth. There is nothing more aggravating when you are in the field and getting to your gear becomes problematic. Therefore, how you pack your backpack also determines ease of access and not just the construction characteristics of the pack itself.

5. Modularity

The next critical feature that characterizes quality backpacks is the capability called, modularity. Modularity in a pack allows the user to configure their pack for specific situations. For example, the Alps Outdoor Z Commander X backpack is a pack that features modularity which addresses the needs of big game hunters. Another pack that offers modularity features is the 5.11 Rush™ series of tactical backpacks that offer the PALS (Pouch Attachment Ladder System) webbing that allows the pack to be configured for military or law enforcement missions.

6. Wear

A final consideration for purchasing a quality backpack is wear. Is the backpack comfortable to wear for long periods of time? Some backpacks offer the user the ability to adjust the torso length. Other packs have load adjustment straps that connect the shoulder strap with the main compartment or frame. These allow the user to pull the pack closer to their body to shift pack weight off of the hips and onto the frame, whether the frame is internal or external to the pack. Quality backpacks will be comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

 

Final Thoughts

It is important to purchase a quality backpack if you are heading out for an outdoor adventure. These six characteristics of quality backpacks are a starting point for assessing a backpack that meets your outdoor considerations. There is no pack that features all of these characteristics at once. Thus, it is critical that you shop around. The best way to determine if a backpack is a quality pack is to physically examine some packs at your local outfitter store. Take your time and make an informed purchase to ensure years of great use out of your next backpack.

The best compasses for your kit considerations are those of proven quality, durability, and accuracy. The compass that you choose to include in any level of survival or outdoor packing list is one of the essential items in your loadout. As well, there are strong feelings among many about what brand or type of compass is the best on the market. However, the best compass on the market is the one that you have used and are the most confident with when you are in the field. However, the best compasses for your kit are the following:

1. U. S. Army Lensatic Compass

The U. S. Army Lensatic Compass conforms to the military standards published in MIL-PRF-10436N. Also, the military lensatic compasses are made in the United States. The current manufacturer of this compass is the Cammenga Company in Dearborn, Michigan. Of note, the previous maker of these compasses is Stocker & Yale, Incorporated in Beverly, Massachusetts. For example, the two lensatic compasses that I own are from Stocker & Yale. Moreover, you can purchase one of these Cammenga military lensatic compasses at the Sigma 3 Survival Store.

Description:

A lensatic compass is a magnetic compass that uses a magnifying glass to read its scale or dial. The U. S. Army lensatic compass is an induction-damped, handheld, north-seeking instrument with an internal, self-exciting light source, in other words, it is self-illuminating (tritium or phosphorous). The baseplate construction is of high-grade aluminum with a powder coating. The needle moves within a non-liquid filled needle housing. Thus, the military lensatic compass is one of the best overall compasses on the market.

Features:

Cammenga makes this compass with two options: model 3H with a tritium luminous dial (NSN: 6605-01-196-6971) or model 27 with a phosphorous luminescent dial (NSN: 6605-01-571-6052). Interestingly, Cammenga produces these compasses in the following colors: Olive Drab, RealTree® Camo, Black, and Coyote Brown. The compasses have a free-floating needle instead of the needle floating in a liquid (water or oil). They are also waterproof and dustproof under most field conditions. They will function in temperatures between -50°F (-46°C) and 150°F (66°C). The compass is also shockproof is dropped from up to three feet (90 cm). Additionally, they also have two needle options: Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere.

Additional Comments:

Moreover, the lensatic compass is the standard compass in all my backpack load outs. I have other compasses, but my U. S. Army lensatic compass is the one that I keep coming back to when I need reliability, durability, and accuracy. Most of all, I do not have to wait for satellite synchronization or linkage with the lensatic compass. There are no extra batteries that need to be carried in a pack because it is an analog magnetic compass. In addition to these features, the military lensatic compass also fits comfortably into the LC-2 ALICE First Aid Pouch or the MOLLE Grenade Pouch.

Best Uses:

Advanced and Tactical Day and Night land navigation
Orienteering
Hiking & Backpacking
Game Hunting

2. K&R Alpin Sighting Compass

The next type of compass that can be part of your loadout is the mirrored sighting compass. One of the best on the market is the K&R Alpin Sighting Compass. The compass is a product based on input from the German Mountain Rescue Service. These compasses are made in Germany.

Overview:

A mirrored sighting compass is a compass in which the compass dial can be viewed using a mirror while simultaneously sighting an object through the sighing notch or slot on the compass lid. That is why these kinds of compasses are not in the category of being a lensatic compass. The sighting compass is sometimes called the hand compass, forester compass, or cruiser compass. They are one-hand use compasses. Their easy use quickly found them being a favorite of the geology, marine, and forestry professions.

Features:

The Alpin Sighting Compass has several convenient features. The sighting mirror is polished stainless steel. The baseplate, compass lid, and compass capsule are made of high-impact plastic. The result is a compass that is very durable and lightweight. The needle moves within a liquid filled needle housing. The bezel is self-luminating with two large sighting notches (12 and 6 o’clock positions) on the bezel for night navigation. It also has a clinometer to measure incline while traversing uneven or mountainous terrain. K&R has three measurement options for this compass: standard, metric, and mils.

Additional Observations:

This particular compass is an excellent alternative to the military lensatic compass. The large glowing bezel makes it user-friendly for trekking at night. It is easy to use and probably a better option for those unfamiliar with using the military lensatic compass. A rival to the Alpin is the Suunto MC-2 Sighting Compass. Both of these compasses fit comfortably into the MOLLE Gen II Flashbang Grenade Pouch. The K&R Alpin and the Suunto MC-2 compasses represent the best of the mirrored sighting compasses on the market.

Best Uses:

Advanced Land Navigation
Orienteering
Hiking and Backpacking
Game Hunting
Emergency Preparedness

3. Suunto M-3 G Compass

Finally, a third type of compass option for your outdoor activity concerns is the simple baseplate compass. The baseplate compass is the most common type on the market. One can purchase these kinds of compasses with various levels of quality and in various price ranges. The primary use for the baseplate compass is in conjunction with a map.

Description:

Baseplate compasses have a clear plastic base upon which the compass mechanism sits. The sides of the baseplate usually are marked in standard increments. These markings allow the baseplate to function as a ruler for measuring distances on the map. The baseplate also has a magnifying glass embedded for observing small map details. The needle mechanism usually is liquid filled and jewel bearing.

Features:

The Suunto M-3 G Compass has several useful characteristics. The bezel is luminescent. The G model has a globally aligned needle so it can be used anywhere on the earth in both hemispheres. This model also comes in just a northern hemisphere (NH) needle orientation and a southern hemisphere (SH) needle orientation. It is incrementally marked in metric and imperial UTM scales. The compass also has a clinometer for determining the slope of an incline. This compass originates in Finland

Additional Observations:

The baseplate compass is one of the most versatile compasses that one can own. The Suunto M-3 compasses offer the basic navigational needs for most scenarios and applications. They are small enough to fit easily into a MOLLE Flashbang Grenade Pouch. They come with a lanyard which allows attachment to the shoulder strap of most backpacks. These compasses are easy to use and are an excellent option for the occasional outdoorsman or weekend hiker or backpacker.

Best Uses:

General Land Navigation
Hiking and Backpacking
Game Hunting
Emergency Preparations

There are 3 outstanding wood choppers you should consider for your survival, bushcraft, or emergency kit. There are many varieties, sizes, levels of quality, and prices for these tools. These essential tools were developed to address specific local or regional requirements. The ax and machete are pretty standard solutions for most situations. Let us look at the top three outstanding wood choppers that you should consider adding to your field gear packing list.

1. Ax/Hatchet

Background

The ax or hatchet is one of the 3 outstanding wood choppers. They are the standard wood processing tool in North America and Europe. This tool has been in use and in various forms since the Neolithic Period (9500-2000 B.C.) of human history. There are many forms of the axe. The type of bit informs the purpose for their use. The basic types of axes are the felling ax, splitting ax, broad ax, adze, hatchet, carpenter ax, hand ax, mortising ax. Additionally, the hatchet and hand ax are just shorter handle versions of the felling ax.

Purpose

However, the kind of ax that is most popular for outdoor survival is the felling ax. Other names for the felling axe are the woodsman ax or single bit ax. These axes were developed to cut down and process trees common in the forests of North America and Europe, such as conifer, birch, holly, or oak.

Features

These axes usually have two main parts: the handle or haft, and the head or bit. The blade of the ax is the cutting edge of the ax bit. The handle, in a modern two-piece ax, is made of wood or fiberglass. The ax handle averages between 24-36 inches in length. The ax head averages between 1.5 and 3.5 pounds in weight. Some of the best axes and hatchets of this type are sold at the Sigma 3 Survival Store: Hults Bruk Akka Forest Axe and Hults Bruk Almike Hatchet.

Kit Compatibility

Thus, a good, high-quality ax is a must if you live in the forested areas of the United States or Europe. The Hults Bruk Akka Forest Axe is the perfect fit to carry on the outside of a backpack or to fit the vehicle emergency kit of your truck or SUV. The descriptions and pricing for these axes can be found at the Sigma 3 Survival Store. An ax is an outstanding wood chopper for your kit.

2. Machete

Background

The next type of the 3 outstanding wood choppers that you can consider for part of your survival or outdoor kit is a machete. Machetes have been in use around the world for many centuries. There are different styles of machetes with differing blade lengths.

Purpose

The primary purpose of the machete is to clear jungle vegetation. Other models of the machete are used to remove brush or cut small trees in the more arid parts of the world where wooded forests do not exist. Machetes with shorter blades are sometimes used to process game, harvest fruits or vegetables, and to prepare food for cooking. The machete is a very versatile tool. The machete is also an instrument that can be used for self-defense, as is the common practice in other parts of the world.

Features

One of the better machetes on the market is the Ontario Knife Company (OKC) Military Machete. This machete has a blade that is 18 inches in length. The blade material is 1095 high carbon steel. This is a traditional looking machete. It is the same machete currently in the inventory of the Department of Defense (DoD) with an assigned National Stock Number (NSN): NSN 5110-00-813-1286. The military sheath for this machete has the stock number: NSN 8465-00-926-4932. OKC sells a Chinese made nylon sheath separately for their machete. A machete is a valuable tool in any survival or emergency kit.

Kit Compatibility

The machete is an excellent consideration for vehicle emergency kits, backpacking, survival or emergency kits or bags, or a home emergency kit. It has its limitations but it is a versatile tool that that can handle most field and emergency needs. This is one of the outstanding wood choppers that you should consider for your kit.

3. Parang

Background

The parang is a type of machete and it is also an outstanding wood chopper. The parang is the wood cutting tool of choice in most places in South East Asia such as Indonesia or Malaysia. Whereas, the machete is more associated with South America and the Amazon basin.

Purpose

The value that this tool has is its ability to cut desert vegetation such as mesquite trees or creosote bushes. It can process wood for making fires, process food for cooking, and it can function as a self-defense instrument in an emergency.

Features

The significant difference between a parang and a traditional machete is that the parang blade is shorter, with a shallow curve at the cutting edge, and thicker. It looks like it is more akin to the conventional meat cleaver.

A parang has several types and varieties. The blade length usually averages between 12 and 18 inches. The average thickness of the blade is around 3/16 of an inch. The most common blade materials are D2, 1075, or 1095 tool steel. The Condor Tool & Knife Bushcraft Parang and the Ka-Bar Adventure® Parangatang are good examples of quality parangs.

Kit Compatibility

This wood chopper fits well in most backpacks. That is why, depending on where you live, the parang is a viable alternative to the ax or machete as your wood cutting solution for your BOB, INCH, or GHB bags. You will not go wrong with this outstanding wood chopper in your kit.

Final Thoughts

The subject of wood processing tools is one that will continue. This article discusses those tools most commonly used for chopping wood for various reasons related to survival. The preferred choice for a tool that is best for that task is going to fall on a matter of preference, most of the time. As with any tool, there are good manufacturers and poor ones of wood chopping tools. The location that you live in and the types of vegetation that is common there will determine which of these three outstanding wood choppers that you incorporate into your kit.

There are seven essential wearable EDC survival gear items to consider making part of what you carry all times. The main factors that determine what a person carries is location, experience, and necessity. The everyday gear that you take is as simple as what is on the body like watches or items in pockets. By contrast, EDC survival items can be the more sophisticated gear that you place in the bag, pack, or briefcase that you carry to school or work. However, there are a few essential items that one should consider having on your person regardless of location, experience, and necessity. What are these seven essential EDC items that one should wear or carry at all times?

Microlight or Flashlight

The first survival item to consider carrying on you at all times is some type of flashlight or microlight. Flashlights come in many sizes and configurations. The best EDC flashlight is one that you can place in your pocket. One of the best flashlights to consider is the Nitecore MT1C Flashlight. You can buy this item at the Sigma 3 Survival Store. This flashlight comes with a pocket clip and is roughly 3.5 inches long. It will fit in most trouser pockets or leg cargo pockets. This flashlight can also fit in the shirt pockets of most outdoor or tactical shirts. However, there is another type of flashlight to consider.

Another type of flashlight to think about is the microlight or micro-flashlight. These kinds of lights are sometimes called keychain lights. One recommended microlight is the LRI® Photon Micro-Light with a Covert Nose. This light is one that I personally own and is in the EDC survival kit in the cargo pocket of my pants. The second type of microlight is the ThruNite® Ti3 EDC Cree flashlight. This light has a pocket clip and is about 2.75 inches in length. Microlights are very versatile and convenient to carry on a daily basis. What is the next survival item to carry daily?

Lighter

The next survival item to carry daily is a lighter. There are many types of lighters on the market. The most recognizable is the Bic® lighter. This is a disposable butane fluid lighter. These lighters come in two basic sizes: the classic and mini. The mini Bic lighter is a favorite to carry among those who do not smoke tobacco products.
Another iconic butane fluid lighter is the Zippo® lighter. The lighter fluid in the Zippo lighter can be replenished through a cotton felt pad in the bottom of the lighter case. The main reason for carrying one of these kinds of lighters as an EDC item is their reliability. The Bic and Zippo lighters will function under most circumstances encountered on a daily basis. What about tools?

Multitool

The first tool to consider carrying every day is a multitool. Multitools come in various sizes and configurations. The two most reliable multitools are those manufactured by Leatherman® and Gerber®. I personally have owned both Leatherman and Gerber multitools, and each is quality tools. However, I would recommend the Leatherman® Skeletool™ multitool for EDC purposes. It is the right size for carrying on a daily basis without the bulkiness of the Leatherman® Wave™ or Gerber® MP 600™. Yet, the Skeletool offers the same versatility as its larger counterparts.

Pocket Knife

The second tool to think about carrying every day is a pocket knife. There are many opinions about pocket knives and other folding blade knives. A pocket knife does not have to be an elaborate tactical folder for EDC purposes. The intent for pocket knives is that they are tools and not weapons. There are folding blade knives that function more as weapons than tools. The classic stiletto switchblade knife is an example of a folding knife being a weapon and not a tool.

Furthermore, pocket knives come in many sizes and configurations. The most straightforward pocket knife has a single blade, such as the Gerber® Paraframe™. Most pocket knives have, however, at least two blades, one small and one large. Pocket knives can have various blade shapes. The most common blade shape is the drop point and clip point. There are pocket knives that use 1095 high carbon steel in their blades. The Bear & Son C205 Heritage, Walnut Midsize Lock back Folder, is an example of a pocket knife using 1095 high carbon steel in its blades. These kinds of pocket knives are excellent for bushcrafting and other outdoor applications.

However, some of the best makers of pocket knives are Victorinox® and Case®. The recommended pocket knives to carry on a daily basis are the Victorinox Swiss Army Farmer or the Case 6.5 BoneStag® Medium Stockman. These knives have blade lengths that are legally compliant most anywhere. They need minimal maintenance and will do most cutting jobs, such as cutting cordage, making a trap, stripping wire, cutting bandages, box cutting, or letter opening. The Swiss Army Farmer has more features than the Case knife, such as a saw and awl.

Wrist Watch (Solar-Powered Triple Sensor)

The final survival gear item to consider wearing on a daily basis is a solar battery powered triple sensor watch. A good watch is a valuable piece of gear to wear every day. A triple sensor watch has the features of an altimeter, barometer, and a digital compass, hence ABC. The barometer on these kinds of timepieces gives the current temperature when this feature is engaged. The solar battery that characterizes these outdoor watches keeps the watch working all year in all types of weather. The compass on this type of wrist watch is helpful because you do not have to worry about ambient magnetism affecting its reading. For example, the metal from your belt buckle or wedding band will not influence the direction given by the watch as it would your lensatic, baseplate, or wristband compass.

Furthermore, the best solar-powered triple sensor watches on the market are the Casio® Pro Trek™ Pathfinder™ PRW2500T-7 and PAG240T-7. These watches come with a titanium watch band. This watch band is excellent for rugged outdoor activities. Additionally, the more sophisticated smartwatches are great but have their limitations because of the need to update their software periodically. These two Casio watches can be worn every day in every situation. The solar-powered triple sensor wrist watch is an essential survival gear to wear on a daily basis.

Tourniquet

The final item to consider carrying at all times is a tourniquet. These used to be cumbersome to carry so most were stored inside of bags or packs. However, in recent years, manufacturers have started making belt pouches to hold a tourniquet. Blue Force Gear® and Rescue Essentials® sell tourniquet pouches that can be worn on a trouser belt or mounted on MOLLE gear. There are several versions of tourniquets on the market. The two most common are the combat application tourniquet (CAT) and the rapid application tourniquet (RAT). There is a third option available called the ratcheting medical tourniquet. This seems to be growing favorite tourniquet among emergency preppers and SOF personnel. Therefore, carrying a tourniquet should be considered as part of your wearable EDC survival gear.

Great Christmas gifts are hard to find for those who love the outdoors. Everyone has a preference. Yet, there is some excellent outdoor gear that you cannot go wrong purchasing for those who love the outdoors. Furthermore, have you thought about gift ideas for the survivalist, prepper or outdoor enthusiast in your life? Sigma 3 Survival Store is having a Black Friday sale this Thursday. Now is a great time to consider these 6 great gift ideas at a reasonable price.

1. The Sigma 3 Survivor “Ultimate Bushcraft Blade”

The Sigma 3 Survivor knife is a wonder Christmas gift idea, if you are looking for an outstanding bushcraft knife, this is the knife for you. This knife was specially developed with input from the great instructors at the Sigma 3 Survival School. Many of its features were a must-have for us as survival instructors in a bushcraft blade, and this knife includes everything we think you must have for survival. Therefore, the details of the Sigma 3 Survivor knife are below.

Specifications for this knife are as follows:

  • Steel: 1/8″ CPM3v crucible steel
  • Blade Length: 4″ blade length
  • Length: 8 1/2″ Grind: Scandi grind
  • Spine: Very sharp 90-degree spine
  • Pommel: (Unique to the Sigma 3 Survivor), fire making tinder scraper
  • Handles: Green Canvas Micarta, un-polished for increased grip
  • Sheath: Kydex

Furthermore, not only is the Sigma 3 Survivor knife an awesome gift to consider for Christmas, the Emmrod Kayak King fishing pole another gift idea for this season.

2. Emmrod Kayak King Spinning Rod and Reel Kit

Another great Christmas gift idea is the Emmrod Kayak fishing rod. Why not get ready for the Spring fishing season early by considering this great backpacking rod and real system by Emmrod. This handy and practical fishing pole will not let you down in the field. It is designed for stream fishing but is excellent for bank, pier, kayaking or lake fishing. The stainless steel pole will not break under stress like fiberglass poles. Thus, if you like hiking the backcountry to those fishing spots that no one knows about, this is the fishing pole solution to satisfy your needs.

Specification for this fishing pole is as follows:

  • 6 Coil stainless steel rod (up to 15#)
  • Includes D.C.M. reel by Emmrod
  • TPE Hybrid anti-slip handle material.
  • Spin reel seat.
  • Full-length handle
  • Emmrod patented 1/4 turn locking system.
  • Assembled in America.
  • New TPE butt cap with a lanyard ring.
  • Impact resistant nose.
  • Accepts all Emmrod stainless steel rod ends.
  • Breaks down to just 14.”
  • Excellent for open-faced spin reels.
  • Pack weight of just over 8 oz including rod end.

In addition to the great Emmrod fishing pole, have you thought about the fire starting needs as a gift for the outdoorsman in your family?

3. Sigma 3 Fire Kit

Additionally, the Sigma 3 Fire Kit is a wonderful Christmas gift consideration. This fire is an excellent solution to address the fire building needs of both experts and novices to the outdoors. The keyword to describe the kit is redundancy. Unlike most survival kits that offer one or two means to build a fire, the Sigma 3 Fire Kit gives multiple ways to make an emergency fire in a survival situation. The kit covers a multitude of survival considerations for which creating a fire would be necessary. So, what are some essential characteristics of the Sigma 3 Fire Kit?

General Description

The Sigma 3 Fire Kit comes in a Fox Tactical™ Tactical Wallet Organizer. It is a military-style tactical pouch initially designed as a pocket organizer to hold pens, a small notepad or note cards. Inside the organizer are multiple fire making items such as a Ferro rod and stormproof matches. The pouch is small enough that it can easily be belt-carried, stowed in the glove compartment of your vehicle, or stashed in your favorite everyday carry (EDC) bag. What are the features of the kit?

Fire Kit Features:

  • Fire Stix: These are All-purpose tinder sticks. They ignite easily with flame or sparks.
  • Wet Cubes: These are man-made non-toxic fire starting material that burns even on a damp surface.
  • Ferro Rod: It will produce sparks when scraped against a rough surface. It is sometimes called a metal match.
  • Survival Matches: Clear composition case with screw top lid and integrated replaceable striker. Includes 15 matches and 2 paper strikers.
  • Stormproof Matches: 25 matches per pack.

Thus, the Sigma 3 Fire Kit is a great solution and gift idea for those wanting an excellent fire making solution for the field. Moreover, another outstanding kit to think about as a Christmas gift is the Sigma 3 Water Kit.

4. Sigma 3 Water Kit

Moreover, a water kit makes an awesome Christmas gift consideration. The Sigma 3 Water Kit offers a solution to address your water needs while experiencing the outdoors. It is versatile, modular, and addresses the basic requirements for water carrying, procurement, and processing when in any environment or situation. This kit should be an essential item whether you are an avid outdoorsman, work in a large urban center, or live on a rural homestead. What are some of the features of the Sigma 3 Water Kit?

General Description

The Sigma 3 Water Kit comes in a Fox Tactical™ Hydration Carrier Pouch. This bottle carrier is a tactical MOLLE padded pouch with a drain hole in the bottom. It also has three rows of PALS webbing. There is a detachable accessory pouch that also has MOLLE PALS webbing. The style of the water pouch is sometimes called a Nalgene® Bottle carrier. What are the details of this kit?

Water Kit contents are as follows:

Specifications:

  • Total Kit Weight: 1.70 lbs.
  • Total Kit Dimensions: 10 ½” H, 5” W, 7” L

The Sigma 3 Water kit makes an excellent gift idea for this holiday season. Yet, what about shelter considerations as Christmas gift ideas?

5. Aqua Quest Defender Square Camo Tarp 10’ x 10’ (Kit)

Quality, packable tarps are also something that will make an awesome Christmas gifts. There is nothing like being able to get into some shade while out trekking through the wilderness. A tarp is an excellent solution if you are not interested in putting up a more sophisticated shelter. The versatility of a good tarp cannot be exhausted. The Aqua Quest Defender Square Tarp kit is just the solution for hunters, bushcrafters, or wilderness survival enthusiasts. Many shelter options can be employed using this shelter kit. It comes with reinforced webbing loops and stitching. Its seams are heat-taped added durability. It is made of a 70 Denier nylon with a heavy TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) coating. As a result, the tarp provides a waterproof cover in the field. It falls in the category of a heavy-duty tarp, yet it is light-weight and compresses to fit into any backpack.

Kit includes:

  • Square 10’ x 10’ Defender Tarp
  • 6 ‘Boa’ adjustable straps
  • 6 Ultralight aluminum pegs
  • Stuff Sack

Specifications for this tarp kit are as follows:

  • Tarp Weight: 3.6 lbs. (1.65 kg)
  • Total Kit Weight: 4.5 lbs (2.05 kg)
  • Packed Size: 14 x 7 x 3.75 inch (36 x 18 x 9.5 cm)
  • Total Area: 10 x 10 ft (3 x 3 m)

Therefore, keeping dry or out of the sun is important when trekking out in the field. However, what about addressing the sleeping needs as a gift for Christmas?

6. Warbonnet Blackbird XLC (Ultimate Hammock System)

Furthermore, hammocks are great Christmas gift ideas for the outdoorsman in your family. The hammocks manufactured by Warbonnet in Colorado are the best in the outdoor survival market. The Blackbird XLC is their best hammock system that they produce. These hammocks are durable yet lightweight. Most of the Sigma 3 Survival instructors own them. This is professional grade equipment that will last for years. If you want the best hammock system, the Warbonnet Blackbird XLC is the sleeping solution for you. Thus, what are the details concerning this great hammock?

Specification for this hammock system are as follows:

  • Heavyweight Double Layered Blackbird XLC
  • Weight capacity: 400 LBS
  • Item weight (webbing/buckles): 2 lb. 8oz.
  • Item weight (whoopies): 2 lb 6oz.
  • Item Weight (continuous loops): 2lb 2oz
  • Fabric: 70D Nylon (x2)

Moreover, this hammock system by Warbonnet makes a wonderful gift for those wanting a quality hammock by a reputable manufacturer.

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