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Gear

Although some take delight in the fact that they are skilled enough to head into the backcountry with nothing more than the clothes on their back and a good sense of direction, for the rest of us, a collection of quality gear is essential to our survival. Keep it organized and in good working order and it will serve you well when you need it.

> Build your kit with redundant backups. If you lose your only knife, you lose a key piece of gear. When packing, take a pocket knife, possibly a belt pouch with a multi tool and fire kit with a few items, then have a redundant larger cutting tool in your pack. If you lose or use up these recourses, you will have a back up.
— JAMIE L BURLEIGH, ONEFOOTINTOTHEWILD.COM

> Always carry the Five Cs of survival: cutting tool, cordage, combustion, cover, container. These Five Cs are generally the most difficult to make or replicate in nature.
— JAMIE L BURLEIGH, ONEFOOTINTOTHEWILD.COM

If you plan on building a survival kit, make sure you plan and build it according to your personal skill level and local climate. — JAMIE L BURLEIGH, ONEFOOTINTOTHEWILD.COM

> Choose a wilderness style blade made of a high-carbon steel that, when struck with a hard rock such as flint or quartz, will produce a spark large enough to ignite charred material or some funguses. — CLINT JIVOIN, WILLOW HAVEN OUTDOOR

> Cold steel is brittle steel. Before using an axe in freezing temperatures place the head of the axe inside your jacket for several minutes. This will slowly raise the temperature of the steel so that it is less likely to chip during use.
— CLINT JIVOIN, WILLOW HAVEN OUTDOOR

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> Make sure you put your survival gear to the test before it really counts! Don’t wait until you’re in an actual life threatening situation to try out your survival knife for the first time only to find out you made a bad purchase.
— CLINT JIVOIN, WILLOW HAVEN OUTDOOR

Mix Mountain Dew, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide together to make a homemade chemical light. — KEITH BRADFORD, LIFE HACKS

Don’t over pack. Walking long distances with a heavy pack strapped to your back is extremely difficult. Pack you bag with the essentials and have a second bag with desirable items. If you need to shed weight along the way, the second bag can be left behind, given away, or traded for other supplies.
— RICHARD DUARTE, SURVIVING AN URBAN DISASTER

Have a well-stocked supply of toilet paper, paper towels, disposable plates, plastic utensils, paper cups, heavy-duty plastic garbage bags, five-gallon plastic buckets with lids, antibacterial wipes, gels, soaps, and other personal hygiene products.
— RICHARD DUARTE, SURVIVING AN URBAN DISASTER

Always keep the contents of your Get-Home Bag current; rotate your supplies often. Test your equipment periodically to ensure it is working properly. Remember, the day you need it, you will need it desperately.
— RICHARD DUARTE, SURVIVING AN URBAN DISASTER

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If batteries become too cold they may no longer work. To avoid this, protect your electronic devices in a good insulating material and carry them as close to your body as possible. — GREG DAVENPORT, SURVIVING COLD WEATHER

Make a life vest from two condoms and a shoelace. Blow up each condom until it is approximately 18 inches long, tie off the ends and lash each condom end to each other. Sturdy latex is surprisingly rugged and will not pop.
— JOEY GREEN, LAST-MINUTE SURVIVAL SECRETS

You can boost a cell phone’s signal with a soda can. By cutting the body of the can so it opens up like wings around the side of the phone, it acts as a parabolic reflector.
— JOEY GREEN, LAST-MINUTE SURVIVAL SECRETS

Pine sap and charcoal can be heated and mixed to create an amazing natural epoxy, a glue-like substance.
— CREEK STEWART, BUILD THE PERFECT BUG OUT SURVIVAL SKILLS

COOK FOOD WITH A CLOTHES IRON

The iron’s adjustable dial can be used to adjust the temperature.

Linen: 445°F
Cotton: 400°F
Wool, polyester, silk: 300°F
Acrylic, nylon: 275°F

 

Editors Note: A version of this article first appeared in the May 2015 print issue of American Survival Guide.