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Gear Reviews

The most recent 50 product reviews are listed below. To locate older reviews please use the “Posts by Category” dropdown selection tool (the best method) or the search box both found in the right-hand sidebar. Otherwise click on any link below that perks your interest. Thank you.

Occasionally I will review a backpacking/emergency/survival product I have purchased and let you know how worthwhile it is. After years of trial and error, odds are pretty good that if I write about the product here it is something I strongly recommend. Additionally, I’m open to doing honest reviews of emergency products or books if you would like to send me a demo; use this contact form and choose “product / book review” as the subject line.

The Simple Survival SMART Book Review

Image SourceA few days ago I was asked to review this book titled The Simple Survival Smart Book by Patrick Shrier. As I’m always happy to try and learn more, especially from people usually smarter than I am, I obliged. And, amazingly enough I read the whole darn thing (most of it, anyway) the first two days I received it… finished the last of it this morning. According the Amazon description: “When the SHTF you are going to want to have this book in your rucksack. What is inside is the basic knowledge you will need to ensure that you are not a victim when the State of Nature returns. Combining the knowledge of a lifetime of woodsmanship and 23 years of Combat Arms experience in the US Army I have broken all the most critical tasks and requirements down into a simple reference Guide to help the average person get a grasp on what they need to be able to do and have to survive if society were to collapse tomorrow.” Amazingly, that sounds exactly like what ... continue reading...

Review of Family Survival System Course

family-survival-systemWell over a year ago now, I spent some time and reviewed David Morris’ Survive in Place Course and was relatively happy with it as the course provided me with more information that I honestly expected. This year I decided I was going to keep searching for other useful survival courses, those that I could learn from and of course you, the readers, as well. And so I started with something that definitely “hit home” for me, and that’s this Family Survival System. After all, I have a family and children to protect. Now, from watching and listening to the sales pitch video the course promised to show me: the true risks in America right now and how to prepare for them how to use the trash in your garbage to provide enough water for your family for a month how to ensure your family never has to go without a hot meal how to save a life, even if you have no medical experience the types of guns to have and what to do with them exactly what knowledge to have and ... continue reading...

Prepper Pete Prepares: An Introduction to Prepping for Kids + Book Giveaway

SourceA while back I was asked by the author to review his book on preppping for children, titled Prepper Pete Prepares: An Introduction to Prepping for Kids. I happily said sure! Introducing the concept of being prepared to children–especially young ones–can be difficult for some parents to get the concept across. You know why you should discuss prepping with your kids, you just may not know how. After all, children tend to have short attention spans and, well, it’s all grown up stuff to them anyway. That’s where a colorful book aimed at children can help… I found myself smiling as I read the book–the illustrations were certainly appropriate–and the message was a good one, discussing both reasons why you might be prepared and some good things to do to get better prepared. Obviously, this book is for children so it’s not like he’s telling you how to do anything, just the what and why in very general terms. And, while my kids are probably a bit too old for this book, I did ask my youngest (who’s eight) ... continue reading...

NUUN Hydration Fizzy Tabs Review by T.R., EAL

nuunHi peeps, Today I would like to show you a product that in my opinion works very well, and should be in every BOB and preppers inventory. I’m talking about the NUUN Hydration fizzy tablets. I first found these in the local grocery store chain, in the vitamin section, you can also find them at health /fitness stores. They will run you about $5 per tube. I live in the desert and understand the dangers of dehydration, if you exercise or do work in almost any environment, dehydration could creep up on you when you least expect it. I have tried all the ”sports” drinks for this, all of them are disgustingly sweet, over flavored, and seem to make you more thirsty because of all the unneeded flavoring. This is where the NUUN tablets differ, they are lightly flavored, very lightly, NO SUGAR or sweetener, and unlike other products, they replace salts that are lost as you sweat, your body needs salt to help regulate itself. I gave this product a test run in one of the most ... continue reading...

The Amazing 2000 Hour Flashlight eBook – a MUST Have!!

amazing-2000-hour-flashlightRon Brown, the author of The Amazing 2000-Hour Flashlight eBook, contacted me a few days about it and I immediately went to Amazon and bought a copy. After all, 99 cents for such good knowledge is a steal! Though hundreds of pages long, it’s a fast read, includes plenty of images, and explains the process step-by-step that even I couldn’t screw them up. Obviously, I can’t tell you how to make your own 2000-hour flashlight but I can show you the results of my own experiment this weekend. First, however, here’s the book description from Amazon: “The Amazing 2000-Hour Flashlight” shows how to add a 30-cent resistor to a $5 flashlight and create a light that produces useful illumination for 2000 hours on the same battery. Detailed instructions. 54 illustrations. A half-hour project. No soldering required! The standard for “useful light” is defined and various lights compared to it. Brand names and part numbers and where to buy them (Home Depot, Radio Shack, etc.) are all identified. Related topics include bypassing the resistor, rechargeable batteries, how to substitute ... continue reading...

Review of SurvivAmino – a Survival Protein Supplement for Your Bug Out Bag

survivamino-pills-1A few weeks back I was asked if I would review SurvivAmino, a survival protein supplement designed with preppers in mind and, specifically, for your bug out bag. Initially, I was hesitant to do the review because I wasn’t sure how in the world I was going to review a bottle of pills! Eventually, I agreed and wound up deciding that the only way I could review these was to take them for a week and report how I felt. But, I wasn’t just going to add them to my diet… I was going to remove as many protein sources during that time as I could from my diet and see what happens. After all, that’s the entire purpose of these pills, right!? So, I cut out all meat, seriously cut back on dairy and eggs, didn’t eat a thing with beans (my wife appreciates that), and avoided nuts (I don’t eat many anyway). I started this a little over a week ago and began supplementing with SurvivAmino pills instead. Now, the directions say to take 5 pills ... continue reading...

Review of Hoppe’s BoreSnake – Easiest Rifle Cleaning System Ever!

Source I’d never heard of the BoreSnake until a few months ago and, to be honest, I’ve only used it once since I bought it but I could immediately tell I’m already in love with it! The BoreSnake is without a doubt the easiest way I’ve seen to clean a long gun. Since I wasn’t sure about what to expect, I purchased a lesser expensive one for my .22 rifle just to see what it’s like. FYI, you’ll need to purchase the appropriate BoreSnake for your rifle caliber and know that they also make BoreSnakes for shotguns and even handguns. Using it is super easy: just drop the weight through the breach, feed the cord attached until the weight exits the other side, then grab the brass weight an pull the entire BoreSnake through and, voila… you’re done! Here’s a great video describing it and showing how to use the BoreSnake: Obviously, this isn’t a deep clean but it’s a great way to quickly and easily clean the dirtiest part of your rifle. Personally, I’m not so sure how useful this product is for ... continue reading...

Review of The Western Front – Fictional Account of a Post-SHTF World

western-front I was asked by the author if I was interested in reviewing his book, The Western Front, and though I said yes I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure I would make the time to read a novel anytime soon. After all, I can’t remember the last time I actually read a book for enjoyment and not trying to learn something. Well, I can happily report that I sat down this weekend and wound up reading the whole thing! Needless to say, I did enjoy the book and, as you might suspect, it’s about life here in America after major collapse, specifically Texas and neighboring states. I should note while I’m thinking about it that the book follows three or four main characters back and forth from chapter to chapter, which is similar to Rawles series of novels if you like that sort of writing. Personally, it’s not for me but I enjoyed the story well enough to not let it bother me too terribly much. The easiest way to describe the book is to just let you ... continue reading...

Review of 11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life

11-steps-ebook Over the 4th of July I mentioned that Gaye (from BackdoorSurvival.com) and George (from UrbanSurvival.com) were giving away their eBook titled “11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life.” Since that time I had the opportunity to read it and choose to review it here. Obviously, the book details 11 steps as Gaye and George see it to living a better life, a strategic life, that is. They define living strategically as: “Living strategically – by our own definition – means living a life full of abundant adventure while embracing the tenants of simplicity and sustainability. It means being healthy and reaping the benefits of bounteous friendships and caring relationships. It means living a life full of happiness and readiness, without the burden of wanting to be someone else or someplace else. It means liking yourself and moving forward with this business of life with animated spirit and optimism.” Okay, that sounds a little fluffy if you ask me but as you read their definitions of each step you’ll understand it’s truly the tenet–the ultimate goal–if you will that ... continue reading...

Review of Cold Steel GI Tanto Knife

cold-steel-knife As much as I would like say I have dozens of cool knives like this one, I don’t. So, when I got this knife a while back I felt a bit like a kid at Christmas. For starters, the knife blade is seven inches long, a bit too large to carry around on the streets in most states but definitely a good length for long term survival if you ask me. It’s a full tang blade–I wouldn’t do with less–and is made of 1055 carbon steel. Here’s the nerdy explanation: “1055 steel is right on the border between a medium and a high carbon steel, with a carbon content between 0.50%-0.60% and with manganese between 0.60%-0.90% as the only other component. The carbon content and lean alloy make this a shallow hardening steel with a quenched hardness between Rc 60-64 depending on exact carbon content. These combination of factors make this one of the toughest steels available because, when quenched, it produces a near saturated lathe martensite with no excess carbides, avoiding the brittleness of ... continue reading...

Assorted Video Reviews: Packs, Knives, and Water Bladders

Assorted Video Reviews: Packs, Knives, and Water BladdersHere’s an assortment of recent YT reviews that you might enjoy. They include reviews of the 5.11 Tactical Series Covert 18 Conceal Carry Backpack, CamelBak Hydrolink Tactical Pump, Ontario Utilitac II, and 5.11 PUSH Pack. continue reading...

LifeStraw Review and Giveaway! (by AreWeCrazyOrWhat?)

I recently got turned on to this blog (AreWeCrazyOrWhat.net) and I like what I see. This week she’s doing a review of the LifeStraw water filter, explaining all the in’s and out’s and is even throwing in a giveaway for the next handful of days. You can enter via Facebook or for those who refuse FB you can use your email address too. Enjoy! continue reading...

Contest Post: Mil-Tec Flecktarn 50L Pack Review by T.R., EAL

flecktarn-pack-1Today I want to talk a little bit about a very handy piece of equipment that I have used on a daily basis for over a year and a half now. It’s the Mil-Tec 50 Liter backpack. I had, and I guess still have, a German Flecktarn camo pattern obsession. I used to travel quite a bit for a living, it was part of my job at the time, and I would go through the El Cheapo day packs like water, they just could not hold up to the demands of my profession. When the last one started ripping apart at the seams, I decided it was time to get something that I knew could take it, or at least have a better chance. The first thing I went looking at was real military day packs, or patrol packs as they prefer to be called. I saw several, but unfortunately I’m picky about patterns… and unfortunately the Germans are the only ones that issue Flecktarn (the Russians do also, but its a poor rip off of ... continue reading...

Reviews of Seychelle Water Filtration and Live Fire Fire Starter by DesertSurvivalist (videos)

Sadly, I didn’t have time to write my own review this week, so DesertSurvivalist is going to fill in without even knowing it. He recently reviewed the Seychelle Water Filtration water bottle as well as the Live Fire fire starter (can only seem to be purchased at NorCalSurvival.com), both critical areas of outdoors preps. The first video is of the water bottle and second is the fire starter… continue reading...

A Look Back at Several Past Reviews (were they worthwhile purchases?)

I thought I would do something a bit different today and look back at some of the previous reviews I’ve done now that I’ve had some more experience and exposure to these products and let you know whether they’re still worthwhile purchases or not (links point back to the original reviews)… Whistler 800 watt inverter – since actually writing the review (not since posting it) I had the opportunity to fiddle with it a bit more and after realizing I simply cannot start my car while using the inverter–still not sure why–I find this inverter works flawlessly. I’ve used everything from my laptop to a small television and even briefly ran my dehydrator, it all seemed to be powered just fine. Again, the entire purpose in this inverter was to run a refrigerator but it’s nice to know other things will work too. SafeGuard Stealth Concealable Brand Vest Body Armor – I’ve only bothered to wear the vest two more times since the original review (both all day events) and I’m still super happy with it. In ... continue reading...

Review of Whistler 800 Watt Power Inverter

This inverter is one that Steven Harris of Solar1234.com recommends as being a viable option for powering a refrigerator if the power goes out. And, to be honest, that’s the sole reason why I choose to purchase it as I have no other major appliance that I feel MUST be powered during a grid-down situation. That said, I could have procured a larger inverter to power more appliances but I figured I should take Mr. Harris’ word for it and not get greedy. Likewise, he also stated that 800 watts is about the right power output you need from an inverter in order to operate most refrigerators and freezers. In other words, a much smaller 200 watt inverter isn’t going to cut while a larger one is probably wasted money. So, about THIS inverter. It couldn’t be much simpler to operate. Just connect the two provided cables (a positive and negative) to the screw-in terminals on the inverter and then clamp the other ends to your vehicle battery (or any 12-volt source for that matter) just ... continue reading...

PurifiCup Water Filter Review and Giveaway (by CommonSenseHome.com)

One of these days I’ll start really reviewing my own gear and supplies again, but for now check out this PurifiCup Water Filter Review and Giveaway. The review discusses what it is, how it works, answers a few questions, and provides you an opportunity to win one free. Of course, you can just opt to buy one from Amazon if you like. continue reading...

Review of PowerPot V (by INCH Survival)

Considering that it’s camping season again, you might be interested in one of an assortment of camping stoves that generate small amounts of power to charge devices like phones such as this PowerPot V Review by INCH Survival (also includes pictures and brief video overview). I’ve been contemplating something like this for a little while now… just have to pull the trigger one day! continue reading...

Review of SafeGuard Stealth Concealable Brand Vest Body Armor

I’ve been wanting to purchase body armor for a long time now. But, to be honest, I don’t know a darn thing about it and I’ve always felt like it was way too expensive for somebody like me to buy it… boy was I wrong! Anyway, I spent some time reading the info about body armor here and learned quite a bit. First Impressions Over the past few days I’ve had the opportunity to review this SafeGuard Stealth Concealable Body Armor (ballistic level 2, stab level 1) from SafeGuard Armor. My first impression–being a complete newb–was that I was surprised at how lightweight and thin the vest really was. For something that’s supposed to protect my vitals from a bullet, I expected… well, more girth and weight. Not only is it relatively lightweight–I measured about 4.2 pounds on my trusty bathroom scale though they say up to 5.5 pounds depending on size–it’s surprisingly thin; I didn’t try to measure the vest but if it’s much more than a 1/2 inch in thickness I would be surprised. In fact, not one person ... continue reading...

Review of Rite in the Rain All Weather Journal (by Equip 2 Endure)

I didn’t have time to do a review this week but I thought this review of the Rite in the Rain All Weather Journal by Equip 2 Endure was a good one to consider. I keep a Rite in the Rain journal for our bug out bags and think it’s a good product. FYI, it’s a video review… continue reading...

Review of Fight, Flight, or Hide. The Guide to Surviving a Mass Shooting [Kindle edition]

This weekend I had a chance to review the book Fight, Flight, or Hide. The Guide to Surviving a Mass Shooting by John Forsythe. The title intrigued me because, like many security-related scenarios, I feel woefully under-prepared. Understand that this is a Kindle book, not a hard copy book. As I’m getting more and more into online books I’m finding them easy to read, usually much less expensive to purchase (such as this one), and easily included in my digital library. As for the book, it is broken down into a dozen chapters–though it is less than 60 pages in total length–and covers a variety of areas to consider, from preparing for a mass shooting, to the “roles” one might find themselves in during such an event, as well as chapters on how you might better prepare yourself, what might be your best strategies in the moment, and more. By and large, I enjoyed the book. The author did what I feel is a good job with discussing such a “touchy” subject. That said, I would ... continue reading...

Review of Scottevest – Travel Vest for Men (and Women)

I didn’t have time to do my own product review this week but I did find this nice video review of the Scottevest by TheUrbanPrepper. We actually had a post a few months back about a similar idea titled An OPSEC Get Home Bag by MorrisB that talks about the same idea. Here’s a link to buy the vest at Amazon if you like and this is the review… continue reading...

Review of Preppers Home Defense Book by Jim Cobb

A while back I purchased Prepper’s Home Defense: Security Strategies to Protect Your Family by Any Means Necessary written by fellow blogger, Jim Cobb, of SurvivalWeekly.com and Survival-Gear.com. Apparently he’s written quite an assortment of other books on prepping but this is the first for me. I must say that this is the first book in a long time that I choose to read cover to cover because this is an area of my preparedness that I really feel is inadequate, at least, with respect to preparing our home and family for a real SHTF event. That said, the book didn’t start off with anything I could outright do (like beefing-up my doors) but, instead, discussed the overal idea of a security plan, concepts that are critical to overall security, and actually posed far more questions than answers. I must say that was a little disconcerting as I was looking for answers and not a million things to ponder. Granted, many of the questions posed are truly pertinent to developing a good security plan and mindset so I ... continue reading...

Review of O2 Cool Portable Fan

I know it’s the wrong time of year to talk about portable fans but I recently purchased this for upcoming spring and summer camping and, of course, couldn’t help but fiddle with it. That said, it’s also useful for emergency power outages which is another big reason why I bought it. Upon initial un-boxing, I was pleased. It’s looked fairly solid, though made of plastic, and was relatively lightweight (without the batteries). Speaking of which, it can be run on both a provided AC power cord or eight (8) D-cell batteries… yup, I said eight batteries, which is something to keep in mind before buying. Since I knew that going in I didn’t care but I do need to stockpile more D-cell batteries. As my interest was for use without AC power, I immediately opened up the battery compartment and proceeded to insert batteries; there was no need to read the directions… it’s all self-explanatory. I should say that the innards of the fan battery compartment were a bit flimsy for my liking, including the battery compartment ... continue reading...

Review of Mr. Buddy MH9BX 4-9K BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Radiant Heater

I should start by pointing out that this is the smaller Mr. Buddy portable heater (there is a larger unit that produces about double the BTU output but uses two propane canisters rather than one). A few details, from the associated Amazon page: 4,000- to 9,000-BTU radiant heater for spaces up to 200 square feet Approved for indoor/outdoor use; clean-burning; nearly 100-percent efficient Auto shut-off if tipped over, if pilot light goes out, or if detects low oxygen levels Fold-down handle; swivel-out regulator; connects to propane tank (not included) Measures 9 by 14-1/5 by 14-2/5 inches; 1-year limited warranty I would also mention that it uses either a single one-pound propane canister OR it can be used with a 20-pound tank but MUST use a specific extension hose made for use with the Mr. Buddy heaters as it has a built in regulator (because use of the extension cord bypasses the built-in regulator which can be very dangerous): You’re also going to need a fuel filter with the above hose (I believe there is a hose that is more expensive but doesn’t ... continue reading...

Assorted Reviews (CardSharp2, Benchmade 300, Steripen Journey)

Assorted Reviews (CardSharp2, Benchmade 300, Steripen Journey)As I mentioned a few days ago, I didn’t have time to review anything I own personally (due to being out of town) so here are a few recent video reviews of the CardSharp2 Credit Card Knife, Benchmade 300 Flipper Knife, and Steripen Journey Water Purification Pen, enjoy… continue reading...

Review of Getting Home: Making It Back to Your Family After Disaster Strikes

I had a chance to review a new book this weekend titled Getting Home: Making It Back to Your Family After Disaster Strikes (links to Kindle book). I first want to mention that EVERY book I’ve ever owned has been a hard-copy, this is the first book that I’ve read completely online via Amazon’s Kindle store and I must say that I’m quite impressed with the entire setup. If you’re unaware (like I was) you don’t actually need a Kindle to read such books. You can read them entirely online via the Kindle Cloud Reader or even various tablet apps, I got one for the iPad and it works great. What’s even better is that you download (they call it “pinning”) a Kindle book to your computer so that you can read it offline (only works with Chrome and Firefox browsers, not Internet Explorer). Anyway, the point is that you might be able to use this feature to prep books digitally, just like using Real Player to download YouTube videos! And the best part is that ... continue reading...

Review of Columbus Family Size Washboard

Review of Columbus Family Size Washboard The very first thing I noticed about this Columbus Family Size Washboard is that it was much smaller than I had anticipated. It stands at most two feet tall and includes a rubbing surface area of roughly 11″ x 11″. I guess I didn’t bother to pay much attention to the dimensions when I bought it since I assumed a family-sized washboard would be, well… bigger! Of course, you’re only working on one article of clothing at a time, rubbing different sections of the clothes each time, so maybe it doesn’t have to be that big. While I don’t have a lot of experience with it (I used our recent washing machine problem to test it out a bit) many people swear that it’s large enough to clean towels, yet small enough to work well on socks. I can say that I feel the unit is sturdy enough to put up with some abuse. Before using it, I tried to see how well-built it might be (by twisting and pulling at various angles) and without trying REALLY hard it didn’t seem to ... continue reading...

Review of Tenergy T-2299 Universal Smart Battery Charger With AC/DC Plugs

A while back I purchased this Tenergy Universal Smart Battery Charger as my primary battery charger. I did so for two main reasons: it has the capability to plug directly into a car’s auxiliary outlet using a provided DC plug and it can charge all manner of rechargeable batteries, from the common AAA- and AA-cells to C- and D-cell batteries and even 9-volt batteries as well. Though I currently do not have any rechargeable batteries besides AAA- and AA-cells, I do eventually intend to purchase several D-cell and maybe even some 9-volt rechargeable batteries in the near future. My first impression after unpacking was that the unit was BIG or, at least, bigger than I had anticipated; in fact, it is two or three times the physical size of my previous battery charger. I’m not sure what I was honestly expecting because it does need to fit up to four D-cell batteries so it has to be much larger. Anyway, it’s now a permanent fixture on my countertop. Obviously, the first thing I wanted to do ... continue reading...

Review of Thermos Stainless King 16-Ounce Food Jar

I’m a fan of vacuum thermos jars and have always stuck with larger (1 quart or more) Stanley brand jars. This particular Thermos brand food jar is simply a smaller option that seemed like a better idea for our bug out bags or short term emergency because it takes up less space and is lighter-weight. At 16 ounces (one-half a quart) it is really a one meal per person (at least per adult) food jar. According to the Amazon product page: “The stainless king food jar has thermax double wall vacuum insulation for maximum temperature retention, hot or cold. The unbreakable stainless steel interior and exterior keeps the food jar cool to the touch with hot liquids and sweat proof with cold liquids. Wide mouth is easy to fill, serve from and clean: lid doubles as a compact and insulated serving bowl. Full-size telescoping stainless steel spoon included.” When looking for a food jar such as this one, double-walled vacuum insulation is the way to go. This design can keep foods hot (or cold) for several hours. In fact, ... continue reading...

Review of Energizer 7 LED Trailfinder Headlight

I recently purchased the Energizer 7 LED Trailfinder Headlight off a recommendation of Steven Harris of Solar1234.com because I was in the market for a new headlamp. After removing it from the package there was some basic assembly required, including attaching the headband and installing the batteries. One thing I noticed was that the battery compartment door was initially a bit difficult to remove but after first removal was no problem. I should point out that the battery door is secured in place with nice and secure clips but, once removed, is very precariously attached to the unit with a flimsy pieces of plastic (I guess it’s plastic) and seems to me to be something that could easily break. This is not a huge deal to me because the flimsly plastic serves no purpose other than to keep you from losing the battery compartment door but I would have preferred something a bit better. I would also like to mention one more slight detraction, and that is the fact that the on/off (and change light mode) button is somewhat ... continue reading...

Review of RazorPit Men’s Razor Blade Sharpener

A reader comment in my So, I’ve Been Saving My Disposable Razors Lately post pointed out that I could extend the life of the razor blades I’ve been saving using a product I hadn’t heard of before: the RazorPit. This sounded like something I NEEDED to try so I bought one immediately, even without reading reviews! According to the Amazon product description: RazorPit Saves You Money up to 90% on Razor Blades RazorPit Increases Shaves per Blade from 10 Shaves to 100 Shaves RazorPit features a Patented Friction Razor Sharpening and Cleaning Technology RazorPit Sharpener Works on All Razors and Razors Blades RazorPit is Made from Recyclable Materials and Reduces the Waste of Disposable Blades Those are some bold claims. So, I tried it myself and what I found was encouraging. First, the RazorPit seems to be a very smooth piece of molded rubber and honestly nothing more. To use, apply shaving cream to the disposable razor head and then, with firm pressure, push the blade along the RazorPit in the opposite direction of normal use four times, rinse, dry. That’s it. I ... continue reading...

Review of PRI-G Fuel Stabilizer (Hands-Down the Best Available)

I had an opportunity this week to get my hands on a bottle of PRI-G fuel stabilizer, something I had been meaning to do for quite some time. For many, many years I’ve always used Stabil as my fuel stabilizer because it’s what’s been available locally. Sadly, PRI-G is difficult to find at times but you can certainly buy it online (such as on Amazon). For a long time I’ve heard nothing but good things about PRI-G (or PRI-D for diesel fuel). From various reviews to expert opinions, I had to try it! Honestly, the only way I know to review it is to compare PRI-G to what I currently use, that being Stabil. The *best* way to review them would be to treat fuel and wait for years on end but I didn’t want to wait THAT long so following is the next best thing… Let’s start with cost. An 16-ounce bottle of Stabil on Amazon costs a little over $11, while a 16-ounce bottle of PRI-G on Amazon costs almost $26. A little math says that a bottle ... continue reading...

Review of Gerber Gator Machete Jr

I figured this review would be a nice way to bring in the new year… with something big and sharp! Although, I do not own this particular machete, I did enjoy this review from StealthSurvival. And considering the price is under $20 all day long, you can’t go wrong. You might also enjoy this video review (by a different person) as well: continue reading...

Sealskinz Waterproof Socks by T.R., Editor-at-Large

Hello Guys/and gals, When planning what clothing to take with you, when space is limited. I found an item called Sealskinz, they are basically waterproof socks, the manufacturer also makes other items, but I have not tried them and in all honesty, am not going to order them, so if anybody has something other than the socks, feel free to chime in here. I live in AZ, not the best place to try out cold or wet weather gear, but I did live in Maine for a few years and remember the conditions there, that is what prompted me to buy a pair. You never know where you will end up in your travels. These socks have a strange feel to them and seem to be multi layered in different fabrics sewn together………I’m not a scuba diver, but that is what it reminds me of. They are thick and not at all like regular fabric socks we are used to. The only ” field test ” I have done is to fill the bathtub up ... continue reading...

Molle II Large Rucksack: A Better Bug Out Bag by T.R., Editor-at-Large

Today I want to talk about the US Army Molle II large pack. There is a lot of discussion about what to use as a BOB. This is what I use. This is the current issue Molle pack with Generation 4 frame. I highly recommend this pack, mine is in multicam, however most of them on the market are going to be ACU ( not fond of that myself ) and less expensive because of that. As I pointed out in another post, I prefer to use military surplus when I can for my field gear, I have a few reasons for that.  Unless its foreign army surplus, such as a lot of German equipment, military gear, by specification MUST be made in the US, that means higher quality, the German stuff in many cases is of superior quality to our own. The modern US surplus uses the Molle system, this is important, no two people are alike and the molle system is all about customization and options. I cant tell you how many times I looked at ... continue reading...

German Army 4pc Utensil Set by T.R., Editor-at-Large

In my field gear, I tend to use military surplus whenever possible, as I know it will be suited for a decent amount of abuse. One thing I picked up, about 4 to be exact, is the German Army four piece utensil kit. This may be considered a luxury or an unnecessary item to some people, and again, what works for you is a choice only you can make. For me, this kit is something that comes in handy and makes life easier in camp or in the hotel room. This kit is issued to German soldiers, and are full size utensils, they are made of stainless steel, you get a large spoon, fork, serrated butter knife, and can opener. The can opener holds the compact unit together, it is tension fit, with the knife handle locking into the inner lip of the spoon. German quality kit. continue reading...

Cold Steel Tanto Knife: A Rugged Knife for Your Preps by T.R., Editor-at-Large

Today I’m going to start with the Cold Steel G.I. Tanto fixed blade knife. This is a knife that I have literally abused in the worst way now for over two years at work and in the field. I cant say enough good things about this knife. It does have its short comings, but for a general use and abuse, hack and slash blade, this is a good one to have. I originally ordered it because it was cheap, yes I want reasonable quality for a fair price. Because of the price, I was not expecting a whole lot out of it other than something to use at work, that I didn’t mind destroying. When it arrived (ebay) The first thing I noticed was that the knife was substantial, it’s on the heavy side, which I like. It weighs about the same as a standard Bowie knife. The next thing I liked was that it was razor sharp out of the box. I could shave my arm with it. The Tanto shape blade takes a bit of ... continue reading...

Review of Henry AR-7 (22 Rifle for Bug Out Bag)

The Henry AR-7 is a fun little .22 rifle that I happened to win some time ago in one of Rourke’s writing contests at ModernSurvivalOnline.com. Since then I’ve had opportunity to use it several times and have been very happy with it. If you’re unaware, this particular rifle is perfect for a bug out bag because it disassembles and stows conveniently in the stock. According to the Henry website: “Like the original Henry US Survival Rifle, our latest take on this innovative, semi-automatic rifle is lightweight (just 3.5 lbs) and highly portable. At just 16 ½” long (when all the components are stowed), it fits easily into the cargo area of a plane or boat or in a backpack. And because it’s chambered in .22LR you can carry a large quantity of ammunition, without adding much weight to your gear.” Assembly and dis-assembly takes only a minute at best. Simply remove the components, attach the receiver to the stock using a barrel nut, then screw down the barrel nut and you’re set… you can’t get it wrong. Strangely, the biggest problem I’ve ... continue reading...

Showdown!: Mountain House Freeze-Dried vs. Wise Food Freeze-Dried Pouches

I figured I would spend this week reviewing two popular choices in freeze-dried pouch foods: Mountain House and Wise Food (click image on the right to enlarge). There are certainly other manufacturers but this is what I’ve bought and have used in the past. If you’re unaware, freeze-dried food pouches such as these are great for bug out bags and to a lesser extent, car kits. I like to keep several food pouches in our bug out bags as a “just in case” option. Originally, I was going to attempt to compare products head-to-head but I found that I didn’t have any pouches that were exact matches between these two manufacturers, so I figured it wasn’t fair to do that. Instead, I choose to compare them using generalities in a handful of major categories as best I can… Packaging and Weight If you look at the above picture (you might want to click to enlarge it a bit) one very striking difference is the fact that the Wise Food pouches are much more flat than the Mountain House pouches. This ... continue reading...

Review of Trent iTorch 5200mAh External Battery Charger

A few weeks back I bought this Trent iTorch 5200mAh External Battery Charger off of a recommendation from Steven Harris of Solar1234.com (and frequent guest on TheSurvivalPodcast). I never really thought that I would need something like this. After all, I included a basic AC adapter in with our bug out bags for my wife’s iPhone, we have a DC charger for her phone in the car, and we even keep a charged prepaid phone in the car as well. Why would I need one more piece of electronics? Well, the more I thought about it the more I came to realize that I couldn’t necessarily rely on an external power source, be it a wall plug or even a car to power our (likely) one and only two-way communication device when we’re bugging out. Who knows if the cell towers would work, whether the phones lines will be jammed, or what, but I decided a lack of power wasn’t going to be my bottleneck. Anyway, this battery pack is capable of charging a variety of devices, including ... continue reading...

Review of Stansport Kerosene Lantern

This kerosene lantern by Stansport is a viable option for the budget-minded prepper and was recently included in this lantern comparison. While I prefer LED lanterns for the safety concerns (especially with having young children) and propane lanterns for the sheer convenience and brightness (particularly while camping) the lowly kerosene lantern certainly has it’s place in your emergency preps. No doubt there are far better kerosene lantern options out there if you expect to use it regularly, however, this budget model could serve the average suburban prepper well enough. I purchased a few of these from Walmart a while back since kerosene is a relative last resort in lanterns for me. As for this lantern, it’s what you would expect… not the best of construction but I don’t expect it to fall apart after one use either and it hasn’t. Of course, it is made of thin metal and a glass globe so I wouldn’t want to drop it. As expected, it includes an adjustable wick. I think it holds up to 8 ounces of kerosene fuel which ... continue reading...

Comparison of Lanterns: Propane vs. Kerosene vs. Battery-Powered

Since I’m into lighting options these days, I figured I would compare the three most commonly used lanterns: propane, kerosene, and battery-powered to see how they stack up to each other. In this case, I’m comparing a Coleman Two-Mantle Propane Lantern, Stansport Kerosene Lantern, Rayovac Sportsman LED Lantern, and I threw in another small battery-powered the Dorcy Mini Brite Lantern as it’s been a camping favorite with the kids for quite some time. Pricing ranges from under $10 for the Dorcy to about $35 for the Coleman propane lantern. I figured the easiest way to compare them is to put them in a table and list the following attributes: costs (for unit and others besides fuel), anticipated working times (according to manufacturer estimates or my best guess), fuel to working time cost (comparing cost of fuel to estimated burn time as cost/hour of use), relative brightness (via my own pictures), and my comments at the end. Image / Brightness (click to enlarge) Costs Working Time Fuel/Time Cost ($/hour) Unit = $34.99   OTHER COSTS: Additional Mantles=$6.99 Safety Post=$39.99 (used to connect and raise lantern to 20 ... continue reading...

Are Emergency Water Packets a Waste of Money? (a Review)

I was rummaging through the depths of my emergency supplies last week when I happened upon several emergency water packets that I totally forgot I had. Originally, I had them in our bug out bags but years ago I must have decided to do something else because these particular packets have manufacture dates of April, 2007 and expiration dates of March 2012 and I clean out my bug out bags at least yearly. Anyway, since they’re only slightly “expired” and I probably wasn’t going to use them for any real purpose anyway, I figured I would test them out a bit. As you can see, this review isn’t starting well and I can honestly say that they’re not something I would suggest you pack in your bags as there are better options. For starters, they’re only a bit more than four ounces of water per packet, which is slightly more than 1/2 of a cup of water. Depending on who you ask, your physical exertion level, body size, climate, food intake, and so on, the average amount of fluids most ... continue reading...

Review of Sons of Liberty Academy

This week I’m going to talk about something that you cannot actually purchase, but I felt it was so eye-opening and perception-altering that it deserved not only a mention but a real review. What am I talking about? Well, for the past month or two I’ve been listening with perked interest to the Sons of Liberty Academy. It is a 40+ hour video course (yes, I said 40) designed by Chris Duane who also runs dont-tread-on.me (and probably a few other things). When I started listening I didn’t realize how long the course was; I figured a few to several hours at most… not even close! In the beginning I listened with zeal and focus. However, as the course continued, I found I couldn’t sit and listen to an entire module at a time (some were just way too long) and my attention began to wander to other computer uses. That said, I stuck it out over the course of about two months and I’m generally glad I did. What’s the course about? It’s simply about, in Chris’ viewpoint, how ... continue reading...

Review of Sawyer Just Drink Inline Water Filter (SP121)

I recently purchased the Sawyer SP121 Just Drink Inline Water Filter as a really long term water treatment option. While I have Berkey filters and plenty of chlorine bleach, I wanted something that could seemingly last forever if treated well and not break the bank at that. This particular Sawyer water filter seemed to fit the bill. You can learn more about Sawyer’s water filter technology here. Specifications To get started, here are some specs about the filter from Amazon: Biological Filtration: Sawyer Water Filters offer the highest level of biological filtration Removal rates: (7 Log Bacteria 99.99999-percent, 6 Log Protozoa & Cysts 99.9999-percent) 1 Million Gallons Guaranteed 0.1 Micron absolute hollow fiber membrane inline filter Use with a pump to prefilter, on a faucet adapter or inline in a hydration pack According the the box and Amazon description, the filter should be able to treat 1 million gallons of water. This was a big reason for me buying it. In fact, if you do the math, 10 people could utilize 10 gallons (or 100 gallons total) of water per day from this filter ... continue reading...

Review of Krav Maga: An Essential Guide to the Renowned Method–for Fitness and Self-Defense by David Kahn

I choose to pick up this Krav Maga book by David Kahn a few weeks ago with the intention of trying to learn a few self defense moves before the economy collapses Not really, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to at least be exposed to something new. Now, let me be perfectly clear that a trying to learn martial arts from a book has got to be akin to learning to play piano by just reading the notes and never actually touching a piano. I know that. In fact, it cannot be anywhere near as effective as a simple DVD and is definitely no substitute for hands-on instruction in a classroom. That said, I got the book mostly for the exposure as I’ve heard a lot of good things about Krav Maga and wanted to know more about it. This book started out as expected with an introduction to Krav Maga, a bit about it’s founding, the philosophy, and so on; all of that was ok to hear but I wanted to know how to ... continue reading...

Review of Sold Out After Crisis Course

I recently had an opportunity to review another preparedness course, Sold Out After Crisis, that intrigued me. After all, who doesn’t want to know what may not be available after a crisis? I certainly did. This course comes on a CD-ROM (only playable on a computer) and includes the following as PDF files: 37 Food Items Sold Out After Crisis Water Purification and Storage “Survival Report” Food Storage Guide – Survival Stockpiling Off-Grid Survival DIY Backup Power Survival Gardening A link to a Platinum Upgrade is also provided if you choose not to upgrade when purchasing. The upgrade includes many additional resources–too numerous to list here–some of which weren’t really preparedness-related in my opinion (such as Fixing Your Credit). Having said that, there are other resources that may certainly be preparedness-related (such as Home Security and others) but I can’t vouch for it as I do not have the upgraded package. …back to the main course… The first part, 37 Food Items Sold Out After Crisis, is the heart of what I wanted to read. It discusses the 37 food items you expect, perishables, cooking, ... continue reading...

Review of First Alert Battery Operated Carbon Monoxide Alarm

I know it’s not a fancy new stove, knife, or firearm, but a simple CO alarm is equally important as any other equipment you can purchase. Remember that winter is coming very soon and you need to always be thinking safety first. This First Alert CO400 Battery Powered Carbon Monoxide Alarmseemed to fit the bill nicely for what I wanted. You see, a while back (many months) my CO alarm quit working inexplicably. Long story short, it has a built-in timer to quit working after 7 years! What a bunch of nonsense. Anyway, in the garbage it went and new CO alarm was added to the list. Since winter was just over I didn’t bother with buying a new one until now. Anyway, I didn’t want to spend $30-40 on a new fancy one. This one was less than $20 and the best part is that it is battery operated using 2 AA batteries. Of course, a drawback is that it is ONLY powered with batteries and cannot be plugged into the wall outlet like my previous one was. Ultimately I ... continue reading...

Review of Dr. Bones Trauma Plus Module With Medic Bag

I’ve been considering purchasing this medic bag for a while now, in large part, because it was designed by the wonderful folks who started DoomAndBloom.net. If you’re unaware, Joe and Amy happen to be among my all-time favorite preparedness bloggers and I couldn’t recommend their website more highly. In fact, I recently reviewed their Survival Medicine Handbook that I absolutely enjoyed. To be honest, I’ve put off purchasing this bag because (from an untrained eye like mine) the bag seems quite expensive. That’s why I was glad to see it reviewed by another medical professional, SkinnyMedic on YouTube. As with most any pre-made kit, you could probably create the kit for a bit less money if you had the time and experience to do so. That said, it would be difficult to correctly duplicate all of the medical supplies that are already contained within, especially since there are plenty of medically-unique items (e.g., hemostat, trauma dressings). Remember, this bag is designed for the “when no help is coming” situation. The best part is that it’s all conveniently ... continue reading...