It’s 2017, and much as we might wish otherwise, the world isn’t any safer than it was a few months ago. Violent weather remains a threat in many parts of the country. A number of nations are saber-rattling, and the possibility of social unrest ebbs and flows with current events.
Even if you don’t feel threatened by these troubling events, it’s still a good idea to have your survival gear in order. We’ve got a few suggestions to help prepare for the worst while hoping for the best.
Food and Water, and Medical Essentials
It doesn’t matter how cool or technologically advanced your survival gear is, if you don’t have an adequate supply of food, water, and medical supplies, you’re in trouble. One of the best ways to lay a good foundation of all three is to purchase a pre-made emergency survival kit and then customize it to your needs. Kits are especially important for those of us who live in apartments or who regularly hike, hunt, or camp.
Personal Water Filter
Hopefully you’ll have access to clean water in an emergency, but that isn’t always possible. You certainly don’t want to drink from puddles or streams—who knows what microorganisms might contaminate the water? You’re already in a serious situation—adding a gastrointestinal disease to the mix will just make matters worse.
Products such as LifeStraw offer a solution. Compact enough to slip into a pocket, LifeStraw uses a microbiological purification filter to remove most microorganic threats. It’s no substitute for a stockpile of clean water, but in a pinch, it might just save your life.
Flint and steel strikers have been used to start fires for centuries, but using them requires a certain amount of know-how. Modern fire strikers are much easier to use, generating cascades of sparks reaching temperatures over 5,000 Fahrenheit and quickly turning dry kindling material into a life-saving fire. Look for a set approved by the International Survival Instructors Association.
Solar Powered Torches and Radios
Advances in solar power have made significant contributions to survival gear. A combination crack-powered and solar-powered torch or radio helps you keep a light on in the darkness while staying informed. Small portable solar panels can also be used to charge phones and tablets, increasing your communication options (and potentially adding some entertainment as a welcome distraction when you’ve got some downtime).
Let’s be clear—a multitool is no substitute for a proper survival knife. Having said that, it makes a decent back-up knife and offers an array of screwdrivers, Allen keys, pliers, and other gadgets you might need in a pinch.
In an extended emergency, you might have to provide your own sustenance. A good hunting rifle is ideal, but you don’t want to waste ammo on a squirrel or small bird. A good quality slingshot allows you to hunt small game without your rifle, and is silent to boot.
Some survival gear, like food and water, is essential. Other items, while you can survive without them, help keep you feeling positive about your situation. A solar camping shower, filled with non-potable water, becomes a luxury item when you’re grimy and sweaty. A chance to wash up provides a much-needed emotional boost as well as, well, reducing the unavoidable odors that come with survival situations.