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  • February 21, 2014

    Survival Gear Review: Aurora 2SA Fire Starter-0

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    If you’re already a fan of ferrocerium spark rods, then you know how indestructible and long lasting they can be. These fire starting tools are completely unaffected by water, which would kill your matches or even some lighters. Spark rods are also impervious to the degradation of time. The spark rod you’re using now will work just as well in a few decades, providing you don’t lose it or use it up entirely. But before you run off and buy the first product you see, you should know that not all spark rods are equal. I recently had the chance to work with a product from Solo Scientific, a company who is committed to keeping production in the U.S. Here’s what I found out when I got the opportunity to light stuff on fire with their Aurora 2SA.

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  • November 21, 2013

    Survival Gear Review: The Streamlight Microstream Flashlight-0

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    LED flashlights have come a long way over the past few years, and shrunk in both size and price. I recently received the Streamlight Microstream as a gift (thanks, Wes!) and here’s what I thought of it. Spoiler alert: great stocking stuffer, if you’re planning that far ahead already.

    From the size of the light and the AAA battery enclosed in the package, I was expecting the Microstream to perform like a typical keychain light: Handy, but for short-range use only. But when I installed the battery and clicked it on, I realized that this little sucker is bright.

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  • November 14, 2013

    Survival Gear Review: The Chinook BleederPAK Trauma Kit-0

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    Traumatic injuries can end lives in minutes. Gunshot wounds, deep punctures, and long lacerations can leave the unprepared person helpless as precious blood spills onto the ground. These types of injuries require specialized gear, like the kind found in the new Chinook BleederPAK ($30).

    Why carry a separate trauma kit? There are a number of good reasons to have this type of gear in its own container. First, it speeds up first aid application. You have the needed supplies in one pouch ready to go at a moment’s notice. Another point to consider is if someone is bleeding profusely, you’re going to get blood (and maybe other fluids) on all of the gear in a single-compartment medical bag.

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  • October 25, 2013

    Survival Gear Review: The Chinook MinimalistPAK First Aid Kit -3

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    When you hear the word “minimalist,” you probably think of something that is stripped down to the bone, and maybe to the point of being ineffective. But this certainly isn’t the case with the new Chinook Medical Gear MinimalistPAK. Being on a bit of a first aid kick lately, I was eager to check out this company’s version of the bare essentials.

    The kit was bigger than I expected it to be (though it does fit in a BDU pocket), yet lightweight at 9.2 ounces. Everything is contained in a waterproof zip-top plastic pouch, that measures 4 by 8 by 2 inches in size. Upon opening the kit, there was a nice assortment of quality supplies for basic first aid, even some name-brand stuff. The kit contains medicines, dressings for bleeding and wound care, and a few unexpected extras like a space blanket and rehydration salts. I don’t think you could purchase all the contents separately for the cost of this kit, a respectable $24.

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  • October 10, 2013

    Ultra-light Bug Out Bag-7

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    The typical Bug Out Bag is often overstuffed with less-than-critical materials, but there are five pieces of gear that you absolutely must have in any good Bug Out Bag (and they might be the only components included in an ultra-light BOB). Every ounce should count in a situation where you must leave your familiar world behind and subsist on your own. Here is the minimum of what you’ll need. 

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  • October 7, 2013

    Survival Gear Review: The Land Shark Survival Bag-0

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    If you’re looking for the mother of all space blankets, the heavy-duty Land Shark Survival Bag ought to fit the bill. Designed to suit the needs of a variety of persons, including pilots and soldiers, this bivy-style heat-reflective survival bag can be deployed on land or at sea. Though it seemed heavy and bulky as I first opened the package, I could quickly see that the quality far exceeded my expectations. And here I thought it was going to be just another space blanket.

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  • April 18, 2013

    Paracord Bracelets: 10 Practical Uses (Other Than Fashion)-5

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    Is it just my imagination or are an awful lot of folks on the trail, at the shooting range, and at hunting camps wearing some kind of parachute cord bracelet nowadays? What started a few years ago as a practical way for soldiers, firefighters, and outdoor adventurers to carry some extra 550 cord has mushroomed into a multi-million dollar business serving fashion-conscious urbanites and true wilderness aficionados alike.

    Since bracelets and jewelry were invented, they have been worn mostly for looks. Decorative wear typically doesn’t usually do anything. But a few years ago, Survival Straps came into the market. Standing apart from most bracelets in human history, these bracelets actually do stuff, and the company has grown from a family business which began at a kitchen table in Florida to become an industry leader in survival bracelets and a staunch supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project and American law enforcement, fire, EMS, and military personnel.

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  • January 11, 2013

    Survival Gear Review: The Gomadic Sunvolt-0

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    The Gomadic SunVolt portable solar power station was designed to provide the electrical power to charge your devices as quickly as a wall charger does in your home. This can be ideal in the event of an emergency situation where you require a power source, or in “off-grid” living situations such as campgrounds, hunting camps, cabins, sailboats, and homesteads.

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