Most of the country didn’t have much of an autumn, so here’s hoping winter exits quickly and spring approaches fast. Snow camping can be fun, of course, and there is something to be said for crisp winter air filling the lungs. But not much compares to the sight of spring wildflowers blooming. Mother Nature waking up is a glorious thing and something that is best experienced on the trail. Here are some amazing new products for you.
Before you head out the door, make sure you have what you’ll need in case something goes awry. Let’s face it, for all of her beauty, Mother Nature can be fickle.
Expedition Watchband Compass Kit
It starts with an oil-filled compass that is water-resistant down to 100 meters. It has a black face with glow-in-the-dark markings. The compass rests in an aluminum bezel casing with a glow-in-the-dark gasket. This casing is made to slide right onto most NATO-style watch bands. Don’t have a watch like that? No problem, as it also comes with a silicone carrier that slips easily on to a pack strap or belt loop. Of course, you could just drop this great products into a pants pocket, too.
Tuck the CEO into a shirt pocket and most people will assume it is a pen. That’s by design. This is a low-profile option that is well-suited for environments that might be less than friendly when it comes to knives. The blade is just a hair over 3 inches long. Fully open, the knife stretches to 7.625 inches. Its handsome appearance is nonthreatening to any co-workers who see you using it to break down boxes or open mail. At just a couple of ounces, the lightweight CEO might make you forget you have it, until you need it.
PDW Ti-SST Survival Stash Tube
The name means Titanium Survival Stash Tube. It has a built-in oil-filled compass and a milled striking channel for strike-anywhere matches. The main attraction, though, is that you can fill this tube with matches, tinder, a small ferrocerium rod, and more (not included), then twist on the cap and toss it into your pocket. It is only about 4 inches long, so it’ll fit just about anywhere in your pack or on your person. A silicone O-ring seal keeps water out. Some users wrap the tube with the included Type 1 survival cordage.
Pro Trek PRT-B50 Watch
If you’re on the hunt for a watch that can do just about anything and look great doing it, whether you’re in the field or the office, the PRT-B50 series might be the perfect fit. Available in several color schemes, this watch is loaded with features. The quad sensor detects compass bearing, barometric pressure/altitude, temperature and counts your steps. The watch is equipped with a link function, so you can pair it with an app using Bluetooth so you can track your data. The watch tells time, too.
TOPS Knives Poker Fixed Blade
It started as a project to make a knife suited for working with leather. The design was inspired by the Japanese kiridashi, with a sort of chisel ground edge. After attending a couple of Martial Blade Concepts’ classes, designer and TOPS Knives General Manager Craig Powell tweaked the design a touch, adding the ring at the base. Thus was born the Poker. Suitable for everything from leather and woodworking to self-defense, the Poker comes with a Kydex sheath that can be set up for a wide range of carry options.
TOPS Viking Norseman Fixed Blade
Sometimes, you really need a big blade. The Norseman, one of several knives designed by Kyle Lamb, owner of Viking Tactics, is just the ticket. It is almost a foot long, with the 1095 blade taking up 5.88 inches of that length.
The canvas Micarta handle scales are virtually indestructible and the handle is contoured for great grip retention, even under hard use. The included Kydex sheath holds the knife securely. The blade has been finished with the well-known TOPS Acid Rain finish, too.
PDW Ti-FS MK2 Lighter
With an appearance inspired by the classic pineapple grenade, this lighter is easy to grasp, hold and use, even in wet or cold conditions. At just under 2 inches high, the lighter will hardly be noticed in your pocket. It uses standard lighter fluid and flints (extra flints are included). An O-ring seal keeps the lighter dry and ready to use. Milled from titanium, the MK2 lighter is made to last and endure real-world use and abuse.
Streamlight Enduro Pro USB
Headlamps have come a long way since the days of heavy, hot spotlights that were more trouble than they were sometimes worth. Streamlight’s Enduro Pro USB model has two modes, each with three power settings. The spot is for distance and provides 200 lumens on the highest setting. The flood mode puts out 145 lumens on high and extends to about 30 meters. As the name would imply, the light’s internal lithium polymer battery is charged via USB.
5.11 Tactical Surplus Jacket
With classic military styling coupled with pockets galore, the Surplus Jacket is ready for action, even if the only thing on your plate is a run to town to meet the guys for drinks. It is available in green, black or brown. Its hood rolls up and zips into the collar when it isn’t needed. The jacket is equipped with the 5.11 RAPIDraw system, which provides access to your weapon without opening the coat. The Teflon treatment repels stains and keeps you looking great.
Vanquest IBEX-35 Backpack
The IBEX-35 is a great multiday pack that has tremendous gray-man appeal. It has a clamshell opening design, giving you fast access to everything you might want or need inside. The sleeve in the main compartment is perfect for hydration bladders or a laptop.
It also has one of several loop-faced MOLLE-Air panels for expansion. This pack has an upgraded suspension system, so you can carry heavy loads with ease. The elastic sternum strap and padded pull-forward waist belt also help in this regard.
Maxpedition Entity 16 Sling Pack
The Entity 16 is an ambidextrous sling pack. The main compartment has an internal sleeve for tablets. There are several pockets inside and out, allowing for excellent organization of your gear and equipment.
It has a dual-access CCW compartment at the rear of the pack, giving you easy access to your weapon no matter how you’re carrying the pack. The front opens fully so you can see what you have and find what you need, while the padded shoulder strap provides great comfort for the long haul.
5.11 Tactical A.T.L.A.S. Mid
This is a mid-height boot that will help mitigate the stress of working with heavy loads all day long. The All-Terrain Load Assistance System that is built into the A.T.L.A.S boot, hence the name, will keep you going with enhanced support and stability.
The boot also features foam cushioning and toe and heel protection. Even if you’re on your feet all day, every day, the Ortholite footbed provides long-term comfort. The A.T.L.A.S. boot is also a great option for hiking and backpacking, given its high-traction outsole.
Tope Lucky 7 Fixed Blade
Dan Tope has been carving a name for himself in the knifemaker community for the last few years. His Lucky 7 model is an excellent option for someone looking for a fixed blade for everyday carry (EDC). The CPM 3V steel will take an edge and keep it throughout hard use.
The blade runs 3.47 inches long and the knife is 7.0 inches long in total. Available handles include black G10 and brown canvas Micarta. Those with large hands will find it has a hair over a three-finger grip. A high-quality leather sheath rounds out the package.
MSRP: Starting at $269.95
The CanCooker lets you combine all your meal’s ingredients into one cooking vessel and make a complete dinner with minimal fuss. Simply load vegetables and meat into the cooker, add 12 ounces of virtually any potable liquid, seal the lid and add heat from any common cooking source. In less than an hour, your food will be steamed to perfection and the Companion’s nonstick coating means cleanup will be a breeze.
Streamlight Syclone Work Light
The Syclone is a USB-rechargeable work light. It has a magnetic base and a stowable hook, both of which are great for when you’re working under the hood of the truck. The spotlight setting produces bright white light for normal use, while the flood setting uses Streamlight’s proprietary Color-Rite Technology for use in paint matching, wire identification, and other tasks where color detail is important. Both types of light have three levels of illumination. The head swivels 360 degrees and is adjustable with one hand.
360 M9 Adventure Kit
The 360 M9 Adventure Kit combines a single-walled stainless steel 30-ounce bottle with a durable purifier and straw, giving you all you need to stay hydrated no matter where you go. The purifier has a lifespan of 40 gallons.
When it hits that point, water will simply stop flowing through it. It will filter out up to 99.999 percent of harmful biological and other contaminants. If need be, the purifier and straw can be removed and water can be boiled right in the bottle.
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the March, 2020 print issue of American Survival Guide.