Get in the spirit by supplementing your self-reliance supplies.
“It’s always time to supplement or upgrade your self-reliance and preparedness supplies.
This month’s gear guide covers a wide swath of necessities and solutions that will help you round out your kit and your skills. And, with most of them costing less than $50, you’ll still have plenty of cash left over for that weekend getaway … to see your in-laws.
Ozark Trails Three-Piece Cookset
A decent three-piece stainless steel cook set for less than $10? Surely, people said, it must be a pile of junk at that price. As many learned, though, its quality far exceeds the price. The three pieces consist of one large pot, one medium pot and a lid. The pots nest together to save space in the pack. Stainless steel can easily handle the high heat of campfire cooking and is relatively easy to clean. This is a great set for someone just wanting the basics for short trips.
- Large pot is 2 quarts; medium pot is 1.44 quarts
- Weight: 22 ounces
- Lid and pots have folding handles for compact carry
Superesse Faraday Hank
The Superesse Faraday Hank is far more than just a way to cover your nose when you sneeze. Because hackers can use portable RFID scanners to surreptitiously steal information from your credit cards without the cards ever leaving your wallet, you can wrap your wallet with the Faraday Hank; it will thwart the hacker’s scans. It could even shield your phone from a dreaded electromagnetic pulse (EMP). The Hank consists of a soft fabric layer coupled with a nickel-and-copper ripstop fabric lining.
- 12×12 inches
- Protects against RFID and EMP
- Comes in a variety of styles and colors
Bugaboo Base Camper (Medium)
For many people, a power outage can mean a cold dinner. This eight-piece nesting set is great—whether you’re cooking over a camp fire or on the backyard barbeque—and offers many of the conveniences of indoor cook sets.
- Includes 2- and 3-liter pots, 8-inch frying pan, two strainer lids, cutting board, pot gripper and stuff sack
- Teflon coated for nonstick performance
- Compact carry and storage size of 9.1×9.1×5.4 inches
- Weight: 2 pounds, 10 ounces
Sawyer MINI Water Filter
Having the means to reliably filter water is critical. The Sawyer MINI is one of the most popular water filters on the market—and for good reason: It works. It is also one of the most versatile filters. It can be used with a hydration pack, attached to a soda bottle, attached to the included water pouch or used with the included straw to drink directly from the source. The MINI removes over 99 percent of all bacteria and protozoa, keeping you safe from illness, whether you’re in the jungle or at a sketchy roadside motel.
- Includes a drinking pouch, straw, filter and cleaning plunger
- Weight: 2 ounces
- Colors: green, black, blue, orange, pink
AquaBrick Water Storage Container
Water storage can be problematic. It can’t be made smaller or lighter. Simply put: Water is what it is. Cases of bottled water are great, but some kind of bulk water storage is often desirable, too. AquaBricks hold up to 3 gallons of water each, and stacking them is like playing with giant Lego bricks. The AquaBrick weighs about 2 pounds empty, so a full one will weigh around 27 pounds—heavy, but not impossible to move around. A large mouth makes it easy to fill and empty the AquaBrick.
- BPA-free, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic
- Dimensions: 18x9x6 inches
- Also holds up to 20 pounds of food (great for storing kibble for pets)
Goal Zero Yeti 150 Portable Power Station
Power outages can occur anytime, but summer storms seem to be the most common culprit. The Yeti 150 is a great backup power source for lights, phones and many other devices you need to work, especially when the lights go out. The Yeti can be charged with your wall outlet, a solar panel or even your car’s 12V outlet. It can then power your devices via its AC, USB or 12V outlets. Goal Zero recommends keeping the Yeti connected to a power source when not in use to keep the battery topped off and ready to go when an emergency strikes.
- Dimensions: 7.75×5.75×6.75 inches
- Weight: 12 pounds
- Charge times: AC outlet/6 hours; car 12V outlet/8 hours; solar panel/varies depending on the size of the panel
Fiddleback Forge Fat Rope Stick
Being able to make fire with natural forms of tinder you scrounge in the field is a necessary skill. But even the experts hedge their bets and carry some form of ready-to-light tinder—just in case. The Fat Rope Stick is incredibly easy to use. Simply cut off a small chunk from the end, fray the fibers, and light them with your favorite ferrocerium rod or flint and steel. As a bonus, the plastic outer covering prevents the tinder from fouling your other gear. Take that, cotton balls and petroleum jelly!
- Length: 6 inches
- Diameter: 1 inch
- Weight: 2.54 ounces
MSRP $22 (3-pack)
Survival Resources Aqua-Pouch
The 1-liter Aqua-Pouch from Survival Resources is the perfect solution for those who want to have a water container for emergency use but don’t want to be encumbered by a canteen or large bottle. The Aqua-Pouch features a gusseted bottom that allows it to stand upright when filled—which is rather convenient. Two grommets at the top make it easy to attach cordage and carry it like a shoulder bag. It will stand up to both boiling water and freezing it.
- 6.5×10 inches
- Can be rolled or folded when not in use
- Constructed of 5.2ml FDA-approved food-grade plastic
Po-Boy Neck Knife Rig
In a survival situation, two of the best tools to have with you are a knife and a way to make fire. This leather neck rig from Jeff “Po-Boy” Luke is a great way to have those items with you at all times. Each rig is made to order to the customer’s specifications. These are handmade products, and thus, there might be a short wait. But that also means the neck rig you receive is absolutely unique and designed specifically for your needs.
- Built to last, with rivets and hand stitching
- Includes lanyard, giving you cordage to use in an emergency
- Custom designed for the folding knife and ferro rod you want to carry
SOL Traverse Survival Kit
Many preppers have set up small, pocket-sized survival kits, often using a popular mint tin as a container. SOL has taken this basic concept and brought it into the modern age. The Traverse Survival Kit starts with a metal tin with snap closures to keep the contents protected. Inside are supplies for meeting basic needs: water, shelter, fire and signaling. The Traverse is a great option for someone needing a basic kit to toss into their jacket pocket when going on a short hike or to keep in the car … just in case.
- Water: purification tablet and 1-liter water bag
- Fire: Fire Lite striker and Tinder Quik tabs
- Shelter: SOL emergency blanket
- Signaling: Mini Slim Howler rescue whistle
- Size: 6.25x4x1.5 inches
- Weight: 6.1 ounces
Survival Resources 72-Hour Personal Hygiene Kit
Being able to brush your teeth and run a comb through your hair, especially after having to bug out, can have a tremendous psychological impact and also increase morale. The 72-Hour Bug-Out Personal Hygiene Kit is small enough to stash in any pack or bug-out bag and will also fit in your glove box. This kit arrives packed in a resealable, 4×5-inch plastic bag.
- Bar soap and conditioning shampoo
- Toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss
- The Lightload towel unpacks to 12×17 inches
- Comb, cotton swabs and antibacterial wipes included
Wazoo Survival Gear Cache Cap
What looks like an average ball cap has six different storage compartments hidden inside. The brim has one large pocket with a hook-and-loop closure and two small slots that are perfect for pens, pencils or a small ferrocerium rod. Inside the hat, itself, are the other three pouches—one large and two that are each about the size of a credit card. Cash, ID, a few adhesive bandages, spare car key and more all fit into the hat without any problems.
- One size fits most via an adjustable hook-and-loop strap
- 100% cotton
- Charcoal gray
Flexipack MOLLE Tactical Shoulder Bag
When venturing out for a simple day hike, we often want to bring a water bottle, as well as a snack and perhaps a few survival essentials … just in case. This shoulder bag fits the bill quite nicely. It has both PALS webbing and MOLLE straps. The padded, adjustable shoulder strap is removable. The interior compartment is lined with PVC to keep things easy to clean and includes two pockets, as well as a drawstring closure. Toss in a water bottle, a couple of granola bars, your favorite pocket survival kit and a paperback book, and you’re ready to hit the trail.
- Exterior dimensions: 12x4x6 inches
- Constructed of 600D polyester
- Available in black, coyote brown or olive drab
Practical Self-Reliance Book
You could lounge with the latest whodunit, but your time might be better spent learning more about how to become more independent. Practical Self-Reliance by John D. McCann is an excellent primer on the subject. In this 300-plus-page book, he covers everything from food production and preservation to alternative power and even getting out of debt. If you long to become more self-reliant, this is an excellent source to start with.
- 250-plus photos and diagrams
- 326 pages
- 16 chapters
Everyday Work Shoulder Bag
If you—or, perhaps more accurately, your co-workers—chafe at seeing anything that looks tactical, this Everyday Work Shoulder Bag might be just the ticket for your EDC loadout. This heavyweight cotton canvas bag is filled with many different pockets and storage compartments that are perfect for keeping your gear and supplies organized. At the same time, the handsome and low-key look of the bag won’t attract undue attention. The bag includes a shoulder strap, as well as an attached top-carry handle.
- Exterior dimensions: 8.75x5x11 inches
- Available in brown and olive drab
- Constructed of 100% cotton canvas with leather accents
Doom and Bloom SURVIVAL!
Playing a board game is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon with the family. Now, you can add learning about survival strategy during game time. Doom and Bloom’s SURVIVAL! is a family-friendly game that involves putting together a group of survivors while scavenging for supplies and avoiding raiders. The central disaster is a pandemic that wiped out most of the population. The goal is to accumulate food, water, medical kits and other essential survival supplies and then move them and your family to a new location to start life over again. While it is slightly more complicated than Chutes and Ladders, older children will have no trouble catching on.
- Includes everything needed to play the game
- 2–4 players
- Comes with eight miniatures to use as play tokens
4 Directions Bushcraft Ferro Rod With Striker
While ferrocerium rods are merely a basic tool for fire making, there is no reason they can’t also be nice to look at. This ferro rod and striker set from 4 Directions Bushcraft is both. The handle on the striker is handcrafted from osage orange wood. Unlike many run-of-the-mill strikers on the market today, this one has four very sharp 90-degree edges—perfect for thousands of scrapes against the ferro rod. The ferro rod is ½ inch thick and 5 inches long. Both striker and rod are equipped with lanyard holes for easy carrying.
- Set comes with ferro rod, striker, carabiner and 550 paracord lanyard
- Striker is approximately 5.5 inches with handle
Rothco Advanced Tactical Bag
This shoulder bag could be the perfect solution for those looking for something larger than a belt pouch but smaller than an actual backpack. The 2-inch-wide, padded shoulder strap is adjustable and comfortable over the long haul.
It has a dedicated water bottle pocket, as well as five different storage compartments that are accessible without opening the front flap. Inside, the main compartment has two interior pockets, as well as a drawstring enclosure to keep contents dry. The rear zipper pocket is perfect for concealed carry, too.
- Main pouch: 8x4x8.5 inches
- Constructed of 600D polyester
- Available in olive drab, coyote brown, black, ACU digital camo, MultiCam and woodland camo
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the July, 2017 print issue of American Survival Guide.