Christmas is just around the corner. If you are a prepper, know a prepper, or want to be a prepper, I can help you make some good gift choices that might pay off in a disaster. To keep it simple, I have divided gift choices into the following categories: Shelter, Water, Food/Cooking, Tools, Fire, Lighting, First Aid, Communications, and Packs.
Shelter – As far as the rule of three goes, a person can survive for three hours in extreme conditions without adequate shelter. In the event of a disaster, it’s important to have something with you to make at least a temporary shelter. In this way, you can be out of the elements until you can move along or until help arrives. For lightweight, ease-of-use, and packing reasons, I recommend a tarp. A great one to look into is the Dry Top 8 X 10 Silver/Brown. A tarp like this should be configurable in a number of ways to provide shelter for 1-3 people from sun, rain, wind, snow, etc. It’s also light enough and compact enough to fit in just about any pack. You might also consider the US Military Tent Half Shelter, which is basically a floor-less tent. Of course once you have a “roof” over you head, you might want to have a warm night. Pack a set of these SOL Blankets from Adventure Medical to retain your body heat. They come in a 2 pack and weigh 3.2oz each. Another option is the Adventure Medical Kit SOL Emergency Bivy. The emergency bivy is more like a sleeping bag, weighs the same as the SOL blankets above and comes with its own stuff sack.
Water – A human can survive for up to 3 days without water. However, the longer we go without water the harder it becomes to concentrate, and do basic tasks. Therefore, water is very important and should always be on hand with ways to acquire more. I believe it’s important to have three different types of water containers: a collapsible type, a hard plastic Nalgene type, and a metal bottle. The collapsible one is neat because it weighs almost nothing and when empty takes up hardly any room or weight in a pack. A good choice for collapsible is the 4 Water 2 Go Foldable . A hard Nalgene bottle can stand up to hard use and hold water purification tablets without damaging the bottle. Although Nalgene is the brand of choice it’s not the only one out there. I would check into the 1000ml Dark Grey Plastic Bottle. A metal water bottle is more durable and can be used to boil and help purify water. A good metal one is the Stanley nineteen13 SS.
Water Purification tablets are one method of purifying water and will remove harmful microorganisms. However purification tablets
may cause an odd taste in the water and will not remove harmful chemicals. In this case you may want to select a filter that will remove microorganisms and/or chemicals. You will have to think about what you may encounter on your travels or in your area should disaster strike. A good UV filter is the SteriPEN Adventurer…and will kill microorganisms. A good straining filter is the Katadyn Vario…which removes microorganisms and harmful chemicals. Lifestraw also makes a great product that easily fits in any bag and allows you to drink directly from the water source.
Food/Cooking – Humans can live without food for up to three weeks. It is best to have some sort of food on hand, when disasters strike. 72 hours of food for each person in your household or group is a good start. Food choices are very personal. Here are a few links to various food choices available. It is also important to have lightweight cooking gear on hand to re-hydrate food, boil water, and so forth.
MREs (Meal ready to eat) are some of the most common survival food eaten or carried in a disaster kit. I recommend trying all food under normal conditions to make sure they can be tolerated without any problems. Our Military personnel eat these foods during field operations around the globe. The cool thing about them is the ability to eat them right out of the package or heat them up with no fire required. If you want to try one before you buy an entire case, here’s a good way to do so. Many people also store backpacking food which is usually re-hydrated with boiling water in less than ten minutes. There are many manufacturers of backpacking food available. Again I recommend trying before you buy in bulk. I personally enjoy the Mountain House brand on many backpacking trips in Arkansas, West Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, etc. Here’s one to try that I have enjoyed many times. You also need something compact, durable, and light enough to cook, re-hydrate food or boil water in. I highly recommend the Jetboil Flash Personal Cooking System for this purpose. You can cook with it, boil water in under 5 minutes, and its very compact and light. The entire cooking system will nest into the cup for easy transport. It also comes in a multitude of colors.
Fire – The ability to make fire is very important for heat, light, andcooking. You should always have at least 2 or 3 ways to create fire in your disaster/survival supplies. Please see my article on fire building, here on the APN, for more information.
Lighting – Lighting is also very important to: See in the dark., and signaling others. Like fire starting methods, always carry multiple ways to produce light. Please see my article on survival lighting here.
Tools - A good prepper has a handy knife and/or a multiple-use tool with their supplies or on their person at all times. I have used knives and multi-tools by many manufacturers. My favorites, by far, are the Kershaw Serrated Burst Speedsafe Knife and Gerber Paraframe I Knife. I own and highly recommend the Leatherman Camo Multitool which I have had for a number of years. I like the locking feature of all the tools and prefer the two-handed deployment of the pliers. You just never know what you might come across.
First Aid - A good prepper is always ready for the unexpected. A good first aid kit is essential for survival. One for the home or vehicle is the Johnson & Johnson All Purpose First Aid Kit which should handle most of your basic needs easily. A good one for more remote areas is Adventure Medical Ultralight and Watertight Kit, which comes in a variety of sizes. I also recommend becoming certified in get CPR and First Aid training from a local provider.
Communications – The ability to communicate with other members of your group or for outside assistance is paramount. You may even just want to know what is going on out there. Please see my article on Communications for more information. You can find it here.
Packs – You will need a decent pack to carry all of this gear in. Depending on your intended purpose, most if not all of the above gear can fit into a shoulder bag such as the UTC Multifunctional. If you prefer a backpack, try the NC Star VISM in Black. The black color does not stand out like an army green saying, “Hey! I got stuff come rob me!“ Also, there are plenty of pockets and attachment points for expansion later.
Summary – Here are some gift giving ideas for fellow preppers or maybe even yourself. Remember, having a bunch of gear can help you in a disaster. I highly recommend whatever gear you have that you practice extensively with it. In this way, you will know how to use it best when disaster strikes. Be careful out there! Merry Christmas and Happy Prepping!