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Ultimate survival tool

Whaddayathink? It's tactical*! Dual bottle openers!

*As far as I can tell, "tactical" means you can use it to kill...

Hi I do think so that it is useful .

If I only had a nickel for every time I’ve need to cut a brick in half...

I really hate that word (tactical.) Take a junky dollar store backpack, color it “coyote” instead of blue or pink, and it immediately becomes worth 3 times as much. And speaking of “coyote,” has anyone ever actually seen a coyote that color?

Not going in my pack.

I do like an aluminum shovel in the snow. 

Who need BC survival skills when yer' kin dig yer' self a revetment.


I just learned a new word, revetment. Cool. I like that. I have a dictionary app that has audio pronunciation, dictionary, medical, science, encyclopedia. Synonyms and other features. It is used often. 

As for a folding shovel, I found a stellar example in an outdoor store that was mentioned in Ed Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang, Bob’s Bargain Barn. The store no longer exists but I still have the two $5 German entrenching tools with wooden handles, super strong shovel and spike/pick digging features. Never thought about hiking or backpacking with it but one is always in my vehicle and has dug out my stuck vehicle or repaired and old road/track so I could get to me of the most magnificent car camps Arizona Strip, a very cut off place. 

The second shovel is one of my heavy duty home gardening tools. They are decades old and will outlast me. 

Never had or used one! 

Bob's Bargain Barn - ahh, memories!!  BBB was a great source for outdoor gear for me, a college student in the 50's - pretty decent stuff, mostly mil surp.  BBB supplied most of my early gear and it worked, for the most part.  Somewhat later. I discovered  Gerry and Holubar and acquired really good stuff.

I still have some items from BBB, even today.

hikermor said:

Bob's Bargain Barn - ahh, memories!!  BBB was a great source for outdoor gear for me, a college student in the 50's - pretty decent stuff, mostly mil surp.  BBB supplied most of my early gear and it worked, for the most part.  Somewhat later. I discovered  Gerry and Holubar and acquired really good stuff.

I still have some items from BBB, even today.


It was indeed an iconic place for those of us in our salad days who needed reliable gear. They did have a lot of mil surplus but other mid level gear from companies too. And if Hayduke shopped there all the better. I still have a 5x7 tarp I go there, all delaminated but still works for a sun shade and okay for light rain. 

I moved on to the Summit Hut and still shop there despite REI and Sportsman’s Warehouse. Online some too of course but there is a real pleasure walking through a real gear shop.

@BigRed: I have seven of these. I keep one strapped to each hip for EDC needs, one in my backpack, one in my vehicle, and the other three buried around town for bug-out purposes. I have to fight, like, three zombies every day.

@ghostdog: Love Sportsman's Warehouse. It's like the old B&W Campmor catalogues come to life. 

ironically, the think that sucker seems least suited to do is shovel snow. i suppose it doesn't matter when you can shatter bricks and glass with it.  never know when you're going to lead the final assault on Fort Apache....with a shovel.  black diamond has a bunch of good, light snow shovels with handles that extend.  

I like my big-bladed all-metal Leki shovel with extendable handle. A little harder to fit in the pack than my wife's BD, but it moves more snow when, say, building igloos or digging up avy victims (something I hope never to have to do, but I try to stay ready). Different strokes for different folks.

My snow shovel is familiar to those who remember gear from the 1970s, it had a small red plastic tee handle on a wooden shaft.  The aluminum shovel head fit over the end of the shaft, and a collet ring is used to clamp the head to the shaft.  I do like the modern light weight shovels but prefer a smaller shovel head in my older years.


I should makes videos of me smashing bricks and glass with rocks from my backyard, and then sell the rocks. Tactical rocks, anyone?

Not even cleaved chert or anything. Just random rocks.

I keep a real GI E-Tool in the trunks of our cars "just in case" we need to dig out of snow, mud, sand, etc. Can't hurt.

Eric B.

But yeah, yer brain is the "ultimate survival tool".

After that I'd take either my 19" handled Council Tool Wood Craft camp axe or my Helle GT sheath knife. The axe would likely be better B/C you can actually butcher an animal with it as well as chop wood, defend yourself against a charging chipmunk and look b@DA$$ with it hanging from a belt sheath. Aldo good against light sabers when thrown accurately. 

Eric B.

Survival tools...

The most important tool depends on the scenario.

In the cold, it is something that keeps you warm.

In the heat, it is what keeps you cool.

In the wet, what keeps you dry.

In the dry, what hydrates you.

But in general:
Assuming this is not a lost camper, most important is that which facilitates getting you out of trouble, such as good shoes, a bicycle or motor vehicle.  I live in So Cal.  I learned a strong earthquake will shut down easy assess to water and other fundamentals, and  for weeks.  No "survival" kit the authorities advise you to assemble will provide support long enough to cover you until help arrives; should you have a prepper style survival cache for a long term crisis, you will likely lose it to the desperate.  Hence I want to get away from trouble.  Often the best way to survive most situations is just walk out of it!  Earthquakes involve limited geography - one can find resources outside the radius of devastation, usually less than ten miles away.  And reliable transportation will get you out of bad weather, or facilitate a member of your party to get help for stricken ones, etc.  My quake survival kit is cash, credit cards, walking shoes and a bike.

Second on my list is a way to draw the attention of rescuers.  It does no good to survive the initial event, only to perish because you could not evacuate, and SAR was unable to locate you.  Having the means to make lots of smoke is a sure way to catch their eye.  This often requires only a reliable fire starter.  But on solo trips where the route crosses terrain lacking fuel, I will bring a few smoke flares. 

The next important imperative is means to prevent hypothermia and heat stroke, while waiting to be recused, or en route while self-recusing.  It can take days to dehydrate; but just hours to perish if core temps are out of range. 

Access to water.  If you are self-recusing, and more than a few hours from safety, you will not get very far unless unless you have water available along the way, or a means to transport it.

Things like heavy shovels, axes, guns and testosterone driven attitudes all have lighter or less specialized alternatives.  I am wasting energy and time hunting or building a structure that requires lots of fabrication effort, if my primary objective is getting back to civilization.  You are usually better off conserving energy if waiting for SAR, or, if you are self evacuating, to focus energy on the task of traveling to safety.

My POV may seem woefully inadequate, but experience tells me otherwise:  I have escaped being snow bound at high altitude, and friends escaped a situation when winds blew their tent away.  We had dedicated "survival kits" of only a few items (i.e. space blanket, hurricane lighter, whistle, flares, etc.) all of which fit inside a pocket size stuff bag, augmented by whatever other stuff I have at hand.  Alas, Eric's comment, that the brain is the most important survival tool rings true.


October 27, 2021
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