January is one of the most depressing months of the year for many people. The holidays are over and, let’s face it, most of us probably packed on a few pounds, what with all of the feasting from November and December. Want to know what can cure all of that? Get outside and hit the trail. It is awfully hard to be in a bad mood when you’re in the woods, provided you’re properly attired and prepared for common emergencies.
The hawkbill blade profile is perfect for pull cuts and slashing, which means it excels as a self-defense weapon. Intimidating, of course, and it also makes short work of cutting open boxes and performing other such workaday chores. The Devil’s Claw 2 is 7.38 inches long, with the 1095 blade making up 3.13 inches of that length. It weighs in at 5.6 ounces. Add in the Kydex sheath and you’re up to 7.2 ounces. The blue and black G10 scales provide a positive grip, and the ring keeps the knife exactly where you want it, in your hand.
Kershaw Launch 8
The Launch 8 is an automatic knife that calls to mind the traditional stiletto. It is a lightweight knife, weighing only 2.4 ounces, owing to the anodized aluminum frame. The CPM 154 steel blade is 3.5 inches long. Press the recessed button and that blade snaps into position with authority. Open, the knife stretches to 8.25 inches. The reversible pocket clip keeps the knife in place until you need it. Integrated finger guards keep your hand safe while you go about your business.
The Camp 10 has been a popular machete for a bit now. This new version, in the black and tan color scheme, is often called the Camp Tan. It is big enough to handle serious chores such as processing firewood and clearing brush. It is also small enough not to be awkward for lighter-duty tasks. The handle is really grippy and comfortable to use, even for extended periods of time. End to end, the Camp 10 is 16 inches long with the blade filling 10 of those inches. Without the glass-filled nylon sheath, it weighs 1 pound, 2.3 ounces.
Street Scalpel 2.0
The Street Scalpel 2.0 is a great “get off of me” tool. The ³/16-inch-thick 1095 steel is made for slicing but doesn’t compromise strength. The sheath can be configured in just about any way you can imagine, from inside the waistband to on the belt, scout carry to appendix. It will even work as a neck knife. The Street Scalpel 2.0 has an overall length of 7 inches and a blade that’s 3.13 inches. The knife weighs 3.1 ounces, so it is light enough to carry all day long without discomfort.
Merino wool has long been prized for comfort, warmth and durability. These Hiker Socks are made from 65 percent Merino wool, 32 percent nylon, and 3 percent Lycra. The socks are cushioned, which is a great help when you’re on those exceptionally tiring hikes. They come in four men’s shoe sizes covering 4 through 12- plus. They are comfortable and durable and very well-suited for the long haul.
The FullBore line of boots from Danner is made for real-world use and abuse. They have a cushioning Vibram platform and what they’re calling Megagrip technology for traction. The upper is made from suede leather and breathable mesh. The footbed consists of three layers and is made with breathability, air circulation and heat dissipation in mind. The boots are 4.5 inches high and weigh about 42 ounces per pair. The FullBore boots look just as great when trekking the urban jungle as when you’re out in the sticks.
The Cable Hiker Tactical Boot will keep your feet comfortable, even on the very longest treks. The antimicrobial lining is low-friction and combats odor. The Speed 3.0 outsole is 5.11’s most advanced terrain-taming sole. The boot has a high-rebound OrthoLite footbed that cushions against impacts and reduces foot fatigue. The scratch-resistant rubber toe covering protects feet as well. The Cable Hiker Tactical boot hits that sweet spot combining comfort, quality and handsome appearance.
The appeal of a Baldric Rig is simple. Anything that you can carry on your belt, from a knife to an axe, can be switched to shoulder carry. For example, if you’re wearing a heavy long coat in the winter, you might carry your fixed-blade knife with this Baldric Rig positioned outside your coat so you can access it without having to dig around on your belt. The strap is adjustable from 51 to 59 inches, with holes punched every two inches. High-quality leather and brass make a great looking addition to your winter load-out.
Cordage is a necessity in virtually any survival kit. While you could make it in the field, it is far easier and faster to have some on hand. Kevlar cordage can be used for shelter building, snares, building traps and even as a friction saw to cut through plastic restraints. This small clamshell container holds a full 75 feet of dark green cordage in a package just a couple of inches across and weighing less than 2 ounces. The cordage has a breaking strength exceeding 80 pounds.
The Survival Shirt is made of 100 percent wool with an added windbreaker liner. This makes it exceptionally great in cold weather. Wool retains its warm properties even when wet, unlike cotton. The polyester lining is breathable and waterproof. The shirt has double stitching in critical areas. There are two pockets on the front of the shirt, secured by buttons. It is available in olive drab (OD) green.
These wool pants are perfect when you need to spend extended periods out in the bitter cold. There are numerous pockets: two on the back, two hip, two cargo, and two on the calves. A drawstring at the waist helps keep them up, and there are drawstrings at the cuffs as well. The pants have a four-button fly, so there’s no zipper to get fouled up. Wool has natural properties that prevent odor, making these a great choice for hunting in particular.
It is always a good idea to have redundancy with some of the most important survival needs. Fire is near the top of that list. These Fire Buttons give you tinder and sparks without adding any appreciable weight or bulk to your kit. Sew them on your favorite outdoor coat and you’ll always have the tools to get a fire going. One button is made of magnesium and the other is ferrocerium. Scrape some magnesium into a pile, then strike sparks with the ferrocerium to light it up.
MSRP: $10 (Magnesium); $16 (Ferrocerium)
Titanium is heat-resistant, strong and lightweight, making it perfect for a nice little grill for the pack. This model is laser-cut from a solid sheet of titanium. It works great for cooking food right on the grill or using it in conjunction with a pot or pan. Simply prop it up between a couple of rocks or logs placed on either side of the coals and you’re in business. It measures approximately 4 inches by 10 inches and weighs 5.2 ounces. It also comes with a carrying bag.
Use the PowerBar to juice up everything from cell phones to laptops and more. It has an AC outlet as well as a Quick Charge 3.0 USB port, standard USB port, and even a USB-C port. It is 6.5 inches long and 2.55 inches wide. At 1.5 pounds, it will hardly be noticed in your pack and you’ll be glad you brought it when your phone hits that last bar of power. It is TSA-approved, too, which is a nice bonus.
Sometimes, you want to get away but still have reasonable access to power for your cell phone, tablet, or other devices. The Explorer 240 is an excellent option in that regard. Charge it up via AC, 12V or even a solar panel, then toss it in the truck for later. At 6.6 pounds, it isn’t something you’d typically add to a pack, but it is small enough to fit just about anywhere in a vehicle. It measures 9 x 7.8 x 5.2 inches. The Explorer 240 works great from 32 to 104 degrees (F) and includes two USB ports, an AC outlet and a 12V auto outlet.
This is an extremely lightweight two-person tent. It is designed to provide a large living space without adding to pack weight. There are three internal mesh pockets for your necessities. It has a trail weight of 3 pounds, 12 ounces. Packed up, it measures 5.5 inches by 19 inches. Once set up, the floor dimensions are 84 inches by 51 inches. The sil-nylon fabric and aluminum hardware ensure strength and durability without adding pounds to your load.
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the January, 2020 print issue of American Survival Guide.