Survival prepping for some has become a fad, but for some it’s serious business and making sure you have the right products could mean life or death if the SHTF. Due to the large influx of product competition prices have become lower for gear like solar panels and water filters. Still, sorting through tons of products can be difficult for a new preppers that are looking a good bang for their buck on survival gear.
We have had the opportunity to review several products that we highly recommend based on our personal experience as well as taking into consideration other public reviews around the web. Some of these products are pricey and high tech and others are simple, but yet practical. If you’re looking to start or update your bug out bag this is a good place to start to get some ideas for your planning.
If you’re looking for an advanced tactical bag, you should check out the following review of the Source Tactical Double D 45L Hydration Cargo Pack. The price point on this pack is elevated, but for good reason. Made from 500d Cordura Fabric, the pack is a very solid option for your bug out bag equipped with hydration capabilities.
The British military actually contracts with Source Tactical for their gear, so you know it’s up to quality standards if you’re considering wear, tear and the brute punishment the pack can endure. The bag is equipped with YKK zippers so you can really utilize the bag’s 45L capacity without worrying if the zipper might bust. The buckles are duraflex on the hip-belt, compression straps as well as the sternum strap making this reconnaissance/assault cargo pack nearly invincible. It was designed specifically for ballistic vest integration as well.
The Double D 45L pack is equipped with the WLPS hydration system making this bag suitable for any mission. The Taste-Free™ System Glass-Like™ Liner technology in the water bladder and hydration tube ensures that you never get a plastic taste in your water. The Bacteria-Free™ System Grunge-Guard™ Antimicrobial technology stops bacterial growth for the life of the system. The Technologie Glass-Like™ A multi-layer Polyethylene film utilizing SOURCE’s Glass-Like™ technology prevents build up essentially making the system self-cleaning and virtually glass-like. So, in other words – you don’t really have to clean it and if you do, it’s not very often because these technologies prevent the build up and grime that you usually see in hydration bladders. Also, the Widepac™ Wide Opening Access Patented slide closure makes for easy filling, draining and cleaning.
The pack sports contoured, padded mesh shoulder straps as well as padded mesh back cushioning for ventilation – keep you cooler. It also includes velcro straps for easy line rigging for coms or tubes.
The Double D also comes with an aluminum suspension system with T formed bars and an adjustable boomerang-shaped hip-belt that can also be removed. The sides of the pack comes with MOLLE webbing for mounting accessories as needed. There are also slots for radio antennas or can be used for cable routing. It also sports two 25mm buckles for mounting a radio holder carrier, with an additional horizontal compression strap for stabilizing the radio.
The bag has a transporter flap with pockets that can be used for gear such as a rain jacket, helmet and other accessories. The pockets are 3L and expandable for extra packing room and quick access.
The top of the pack features a 2L top lid pouch and a zippered pocket for quick access to small essentials.
All in all, I really thought this bag to be 10 out of 10 on all fronts. It has just about everything you could ask for in a mid-sized tactical pack. The hydration system is a huge bonus as well as the durability of the bag itself. The only thing I see missing would be compression straps for the bottom for hauling gear, but you can’t have it all!
If you want to find out more information about this bag you can visit the Source Tactical Gear website or read even more reviews by going to the Amazon.com listing.
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I always enjoy reviewing solar products simply because it’s amazing how they work – in this case it’s a portable solar charger made by EnerPlex. I recently discovered their company on Facebook and was pleasantly surprised at their gear and product line. Much like their competitors, they offer a full range of solar panel products from panels to power storage devices. Luckily I had the chance to review three of their products, the EnerPlex Kickr IV Solar Charger, the Jumpr Stack 9 and the Jumpr Quad.
Let’s start with the EnerPlex Kickr IV Solar Charger – the first thing I noticed was how light the panels are! If you’re packing tons of gear into a bug out bag, as a prepper you know you want to keep the weight down. I’ve owned a few other portable solar chargers and they are double the weight of this one. This panel is a 6.5 watt panel and outputs using a standard USB port at 1.2 Amps and under standard conditions can charge portable 5v devices as quickly as a wall outlet. Below are some further specs on the unit:
Unfolded: 774mm(30.5″)/185mm(7.3″)/2mm(0.08) Folded: 225mm(8.8″)/185mm(7.3″)/2mm(0.08″)
Power: 6.5 Watts Unregulated/6.0 Watt, 5 Volt System Regulated
Solar Cell Type: CIGS
Output: 1.2 Amps (USB Port)
Warranty: 1 Year
I wish it had a 12v output but I can live without it. With it being so light, it’s worth the addition to my 72 hour bag. It also comes with several elastic bands to help keep the panels folded shut or can be used to mount it in a prime spot for charging.
The Jumpr Stack 9 is a very cool product. Most of these portable solar chargers are being equipped these days with slimline lithium polymer batteries or being sold as an accessory which are capable of charging your phone or other 5v devices 3-4 times depending on their capacity. Usually they are outfitted with a standard micro-USB inputs for charging directly from the solar charger, in this case the EnerPlex Kickr IV and an output USB port for charging your devices when the sun isn’t out. It also comes with a handy and super bright LED! Another cool addition is that there are built-in phone connectors, micro-USB and lightning connector outputs coming off the side of the device. They can be pulled out to charge and then pushed back in when you’re finished – that feature alone will allow you to charge up to three devices at once. The Jumpr Stack 9 is a 9400 mAh battery so it will charge your phones, tablets, cameras easily and quickly – just like a wall outlet.
Another cool feature is the ability to “stack” (hence the name) the batteries if you buy more than one, using the magnetic stack and charge functionality built into the device. You’ll see several pins along the bottom of the battery where they stack together, so you can absorb all the power from the sun throughout the day, which will allow you to charge larger power hungry devices. Below are additional specs:
Product Dimensions: 130mm(5.12″)/68mm(2.68″)/20mm(0.8″)
Battery Capacity: 9,400 mAh
Battery Type: Lithium-Polymer
Recharge By: 0.4-2A Micro USB or Stack, Charge, & Chain Port
Output: USB Port/Tethered Micro-USB/Tethered Lightning
Power Output: 1A/2.4A
Warranty: 1 Year
The Jumpr Quad serves the same basic purpose that the Jumpr Stack 9 does, however it charges AA and AAA batteries instead of the one solid lithium polymer battery. This is highly useful for communication devices such as walkie talkie radios, flashlights and other small electronic devices that don’t have built-in batteries. The Jumpr Quad comes with four AA nickel rechargeable batteries. The device has a super bright LED along with the typical micro-USB input and USB output. It does require you to charge the batteries in pairs but doesn’t make you charge all four at the same time. The bottom of the charging unit has metal connectors inset for AAA batteries, so no additional accessory is required to fit them. Below are some additional specs on the Jumpr Quad:
Product Dimensions: 104mm(4.1″)/47mm/(1.9″)/27mm(1.1″)
Battery Capacity: 1,000-2,300 mAh (AA-AAA Batteries), 4,000-9,200 with all 4 batteries and Quad powerbank
Battery Type: NI-MH
Recharge By: Micro-USB
Output: USB Port
Power Output: 1 Amp
Warranty: 1 Year
I really loved EnerPlex’s version of portable solar equipment. It’s really durable and rugged which makes it perfect for preppers and outdoorsman alike.
The UV Paqlite is really unlike any product I’ve ever reviewed, but wow it is cool – especially if you’re into alternative ways to light your campsite or have some small illumination around the house at night. At first I thought this would be a “one and done” glow in the dark product, but I was totally wrong.
The UV Paqlite contains glow crystals that recharge from any light source endlessly – yep, they will charge forever unlike those glow sticks you pick up at your local outdoor store. The light is packaged in a vacuum air tight pack to keep them waterproof and lightweight which makes it great for camping. Instead of wasting your batteries using flashlights for ambient lighting, this thing will do the trick for hours and hours with just a few minutes of exposure to a bright light source. Simply expose it to the light source and hang it up in your tent and you can literally read by the light it emits.
The UV Paqlite can provide up to 10 hours of light throughout the night with a 1 minute charge from direct sunlight, 5-10 mins with ambient room light and 40 seconds charge time with a 60 lumen light source. The coolest thing is that this rascal will never expire and has no shelf-life. I’m overly impressed with the claim that it will last forever. Not many things do in our world!
I’ve taken a few photos below showing the product itself as well as the small keychain version Alexis from UV Paqlite graciously sent me. You will see that you can read by the light very easily and it’s super bright in a dark room.
If you’re looking for a solid campfire stove that’s lightweight and durable you should check out this cool product from 180 Tack. The 180 Stove is a compact backpacking stove that provides a dimension of 6″ x 7″ for cooking or boiling water. There are no hinges, screws or special tools to assemble the stove. The 180 Stoves comes in 6 pieces that interlock and can be put together in less than a minute and weights around 10 ounces. It folds away into a compact and sleek design that will slide right into your backpack, reducing the weight burden tremendously.
The 180 Stove uses natural fuels like twigs, leaves, grass or other organic matter in the environment. There’s no need to pack propane or other fuels to increase your load. Just use what’s around you to do the cooking. The design of the 180 Stove allows you to separate your fire from your surroundings making it a safe alternative to an open, unguarded flame. 180 Tack does sell ash pans to get your fire off the ground, but they are sold separately. I simply used some aluminum foil in my demonstration.
It comes in a reusable 5 mil plastic pouch that serves as a great carry bag for your backpack or carrying water in an emergency. The stove is American made in Golden, Colorado!
If you’re interested you can find the 180 Stove on Amazon.com or by going directly to the 180 Tack website: 180tack.com. Be sure to subscribe to get notifications on future product reviews.
With so many USB powered devices floating around these days, there’s definitely a market for keeping something handy nearby if you need a quick charge. If you use your cell phones, GPS devices or even your GoPro you know how quickly those batteries get depleted. It’s more of a hassle if you’re not near your car – for example, hiking or hunting. Even more importantly it can be a real help to charge or even run a walkie talkie if the batteries are wasted in a SHTF scenario.
You’ve probably seen comparable portable solar chargers out there. This one is unique in the fact that it can be coupled with and is actually sold directly from SunJack with an 8000mAh lithium-polymer battery. You can use the 4 mono-crystalline solar panels to charge your devices directly from two 5V USB ports, or you can collect the energy using the battery so you can charge later. The battery also has two 5V USB ports with 2A output on each allowing you to charge up to 4 smart phones and 1 tablet on a full charge. The battery is also equipped an LED light that is helpful if you’re in the dark trying to figure out how to hook everything up.
The actual SunJack 14W Solar Charger comes in a nice sturdy fabric cover with a zipper mesh pouch with a sleeve for securing the battery in place and it’s a great place to store your USB cords and carabiners. The panels also come equipped with sturdy loops for using carabiners so you can hang it on your backpack or even from your tent making it super easy to charge your devices while you do other things. The SunJack in full sun will charge the devices at speeds identical to your wall outlet at home. It’s size and portability make it a real winner for preppers to consider for their bug out bags or 72 hour bags. The dimensions are 6.75″ x 9.25″ x 1.75″ and weights around 2 pounds with the battery.
A portable solar panel such as the SunJack 14W is a critical item in any emergency or disaster preparedness kit. Just imagine the grid going down and not having a way to recharge or even provide light. SunJack also sells a camping light accessory that’s great for grid down scenarios to provide ambient lighting. The light uses USB power and can hang using the built-in loop on the bulb. It’s 340 lumens and is equivalent to a 40W incandescent bulb.
If you’re interested in purchasing the SunJack 14W Solar Charger + the battery, you can buy directly through SunJack.com or you can order each part separately from Amazon.com.
If you know me well then you know I’ve always been a fan of flashlights, LEDs or anything that illuminates. It’s amazing how long LEDs will run on lithium batteries these days. Throw in a solar built-in solar panel and you have a nice rechargeable battery-powered LED emergency light – the MPOWERD Luci EMRG Solar Lantern. MPOWERD has created a nice compact LED emergency light that deflates for storage and inflates for nice ambient lighting.
On the east coast we’re known for hurricanes and you may remember Super Storm Sandy that crippled the power grid in the Northeast. Residents went weeks without power which meant no lighting. This type of situation is unusual for that part of the country, but it shows you that you never know what might happen and you should always be prepared with some bare essentials such as batteries, food, water and some form of light. The Luci EMRG Solar Lantern is perfect for a scenario such as this. It’s lightweight, waterproof and shatterproof. It has different levels of LED brightness for lighting and has a high visibility red emergency SOS flasher that can be seen from afar.
It’s a great addition for your bug out bag or 72 hour bag because of its compact nature. The Luci EMRG Solar Lantern is also a great lighting companion for camping or backpacking trips. It really does put out a fair amount of usable light as you can see in my video review below. Being a prepper, you know that keeping things as compact as possible is hugely important. LED bulbs, lightsticks, flashlights can be bulky at times. the Luci EMRG flattens down to about 1 inch and will slide just about anywhere in your bag. So that’s a real bonus for saving space and weight at only 2.6 ounces! It also comes with a one year warranty from the manufacturer.
You can charge the battery in full with about 8 hours of full sun, but as I mentioned, the LEDs will run on such low power that it isn’t always required to have a full charge. Lithium batteries have a built-in mechanism that keeps the battery from draining completely so you don’t have to worry about killing the battery with overuse.
I found the Luci EMRG to be a very usable addition to any emergency kit. You can never have enough lights and I’ve certainly added this one to my collection.
Exposure to the elements in mother nature is the biggest concern if you are bugging out in the wilderness or possibly trying to get to your bug out location on foot. The last thing you want to punch your clock is hypothermia especially when it’s usually something you can take measures to prevent with a few preps. Protective gear such as clothing and shelter will help keep your core temperature up and keep you dry, which is a main key in surviving cold temps. The Sea to Summit Nylon Tarp Poncho serves a dual use piece of gear acting as a poncho and a full blown tarp for two people.
The Nylon Tarp Poncho is just another great ultralight product by Sea to Summit. Outfitted with button snaps along each side, the tarp easily converts from a poncho to an ultralight two-person shelter in seconds. It’s double stitched, tape sealed and has a 3-panel hood construction. The tarp poncho has looped points that can be used to secure it down with sticks or stakes to create a makeshift shelter. It’s 57 inches long and 104 inches wide completely unfolded, which is a lot of coverage for a shelter. Packed away it reduces down to 6.5″ x 3.75″ x 4.5″ and weights only 13 ounces, making it a perfect fit for your 72 hour bag or bug out bag. It comes in two colors, but I like the green because it will blend with the environment more. However, if it you pack to be rescued, blue might serve a better purpose if your goal is to be seen.
The Nylon Tarp Poncho also comes with a carrying bag and a draw string for the hoodie.
Overall I found the Nylon Tarp Poncho to be consistent with the quality that’s exemplified by Sea to Summit. Everything is super duper lightweight which is a huge bonus for me if I’m preparing a loaded bug out bag. Being able to convert it to a tarp or poncho just by snapping a few snaps is great. It’s cool when you can make a piece of gear multi-use.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Sea to Summit Nylon Tarp Poncho you can find it on Amazon.com.
This is a product like I’ve never seen before and it’s a great addition to your prepping gear. Shelter is a primary concern especially for those that have a bug out plan in mind. While you can construct basic shelters in the wilderness, during an emergency you can expend valuable time and energy on creating a habitat from scratch. You can eliminate that necessity and get your shelter off the ground with the Tentsile Connect.
I was pretty stoked to see the package at my doorstep. I’ve had limited experience using tents, let alone one that suspends itself from trees! Having a place to make you feel secure and safe in the wilderness helps you get a good night’s rest and boosts morale in an emergency situation. With your shelter in the trees, it also helps you keep a low profile to potential predators. Understanding how to set it up was easy and can be easily done with one person.
Tentsile makes four different tree tents – the Tentsile Connect is the smaller and lighter tree tent in their product line. It can sleep two people inside the tent, but you can add a third person by using a hammock beneath. The Connect comes with a removable fly sheet in which you can choose from five different colors, including camo! The fly sheet can be hooked together securely underneath the tent to keep in the warmth. It can also be pegged in the ground to create a 120sqf covered area to get everyone out of the rain or wind. The base of the tents all come in the bright green with the only difference being the fly sheet. You can get as creative as you want when hanging the tent and is easily configured to fit the tightest of spaces. It can also be connected with other Tentsile Connect tents in a trilogy super-camp.
The Connect is a great option if you’re going way off the beaten path due to its weight at only 12 pounds. It’s cheaper and the most versatile of their entire product line because it can be suspended between trees, columns, trucks or boulders. The most common thing people complain about when being in the wilderness are the bugs. The Tentsile Connect features a full insect mesh to keep all the creepy crawlers out. The mesh can be rolled up with loops and hooks at its four access areas to keep the Connect completely open. The Connect also sports two small mesh pockets inside the tent as well as an elastic backpack strap to hold your bag in place.
Below are some additional quick specs on the Tentsile Connect:
Set up time 10 minutes
Size: 2.6 x 4.2 x 4.2m / 9 x 14 x 14′
Pack Down Size: 59 x 20 x 20cm / 20 x 8 x 8"
Floor area: approximately 5sqm / 50sqf
Dry porch area at ground level: 6sqm / 60sqf
Doors: x 4
Height: 100-120cm / 3-4′
Weight: 7kg / 15lbs (once experienced, you can save up to 2.kg / 6lbs by dropping 2 ratchets from your system)
Poles: 2 x 8.5mm diameter anodised aluminium alloy
Roof: Tear resistant insect mesh
Flysheet: 190T PU coated waterproof polyester 3000hh in a choice of colors
Floor: 240D Inclined joint nylon-polyester composite fabric (green) reinforced with 15+ meters of seatbelt
Please note: the floor color is green on all tents.
Ratchets & Straps: Heavy duty, plated, industry grade buckles – 2.5 tonne minimum breaking strength
Maximum Capacity: 2 adults and their gear or 1 adult and 2 children
I was really won over by the Tentsile Connect. It’s a great conversation piece and everyone just loved the idea that it was off the ground, especially the women! The setup process was very easy once you learn how to use the ratchets correctly. Once you get the hang of picking out the right trees and the spacing, it’s really a snap. I would say alone it took me about 20 minutes to setup. With some help, it could be done in 10 minutes if you know what you’re doing. I was truly impressed with the durability of the tent and the rugged feel of the material and stitching. It is tear resistant and have seen videos with people even putting their dogs inside, so it’s claw proof too!
If you’re looking for a great addition to your bug out bag, consider the Tentsile Connect.
They offer free shipping worldwide and even plant trees for any purchase you make. If you’re interested, head over to their website and check out their different models.
I’ve had the opportunity review quite a few pocket stoves recently. You may have seen my review on the Emberlit Original Pocket Stove, which is the larger version of Emberlit’s stove line. If you want to go even lighter, you should check out the Emberlit FireAnt Titanium Pocket Stove. When I say, lighter – I really mean it. The FireAnt is made of titanium, weighing a total of 2.8 ounces and collapses completely flat for easy storage.
This is Emberlit’s newest wood stove making it the lightest stove they offer. The FireAnt is designed to burn wood and organic fuels however, its versatile design allows the Emberlit FireAnt to integrate with Trangia or Esbit spirit burners. This model also comes with a handy tray that can be used for utilizing solid fuels such as Esbit or LiveFire.
I like that it doesn’t require any tools to put it together. That last thing you need to is to fill your pack with unnecessary tools that will add extra weight. The FireAnt, like their Original Stove assembles using an interlocking feature that can literally be done in a matter of seconds.
In my review I decided to test it using a pot of water to see how long it would take to boil. Within about 10-12 minutes of adding wood to the stove, I started to get some bubbles. Keep in mind, it was a bit damp outside when I tested it, so you can expect much faster response times when it comes to boiling in a dry environment. Always do your wood gathering up front so you can constantly add fuel to the stove to keep it hot. The Emberlit FireAnt is a smaller stove, so you you have to add fuel more frequently than you would using the larger Emberlit Original Stove.
It was a total blast trying out the Emberlit FireAnt Pocket Stove. I love the fact that Emberlit’s products are made right here in the USA. I always try to support quality American made products when it makes economical sense. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how rugged and durable their products are made. I also have their Emberlit Strike-A-Light made with carbon steel. I absolutely dig this flint striker and you can read more about that in a past article I wrote.
If you’re interested in learning more about the FireAnt, you can check it out on Amazon.com or by visiting Emberlit’s website: emberlit.com.
Bandanas are one of the most versatile items you could have in your bugout bag in terms of the number of uses they have. They really could save your life in a number of ways. I’ve most recently jumped aboard the bandana train not specifically for survival uses, but when running or hiking they are nice in keep the sweat out of my face as well as covering my skin in the hot sun, however they are a great addition to your list of survival items. A couple of years ago I bought a few bandanas off the web knowing for certain they wouldn’t be large enough.
My head is rather large for the typical bandana size and they’re hard to even tie in a knot and I hated the flap that would never tuck in. You can buy oversized bandanas, but they can get expensive and usually fade and look terrible after a couple of washes – like my digital camo version I bought.
With that being said, I ran across Hoo-rag! If you haven’t heard of them they sponsored one of our biggest giveaways a couple of weeks ago and everyone loved them. They are a sleeved or tube-based bandana that allows you to use them in a variety of fashions. They are extremely lightweight and will keep you warm or keep you cool when needed. Not only that, they come in a variety of different designs. In particular I liked the more intimidating look – the “Jeeper Reaper” as well as their tactical bandanas to go along with our prepping theme, but they have something for just about everyone.
I was impressed when I first got my package in the mail. Doug and everyone over at Hoo-rag takes pride in their products. You can tell by the package design and the actual quality of the Hoo-rags and they’re always coming out with new themes or designs to appeal to a larger customer-base.
You can actually buy these off Amazon if you have a Prime account (free shipping) or you can buy them directly off their website.
I really have enjoyed using mine for cold weather and also when I’m out in the sun and there’s just a wide variety of survival uses too long to list here.
If you’re looking a solid tactical flashlight, you should check out Fenix Lighting’s line of LED flashlights. More specifically, I got the chance to review the Fenix UC35 Flashlight and I can’t say enough good things about it. My initial reaction was how solid and durable the flashlight felt. If you’re out camping or working outside a lot, you need something that can hold up to the punishment since I’m always dropping flashlights or stepping on them. This flashlight passed that test with flying colors.
The Fenix UC35 is made from aircraft grade aluminum and sports an awesome grip that fits your hand perfectly. For further protection it comes with a durable sheath/holder case with a belt loop. It’s also IPX-8 waterproof even with the USB charging port exposed. It also comes with a limited lifetime guarantee.
The flashlight boasts an impressive 960-lumen output LED that can illuminate up to 220 yards – more than two football fields in length! The LED is powered by a rechargeable 3200 mAH Li-ion battery that’s charged through the micro-USB port. The Fenix UC35 also comes equipped with a charging indicator to show the charging process, which is handy. The battery also comes with an over charge and over heat protection feature. It also has reverse polarity protection so you can’t put the battery in wrong.
The light comes with 5 brightness modes and a strobe feature. The Fenix UC35 is turned on and off by a button on the bottom of the flashlight body. The different modes are achieved by pressing a button beneath the charging port near the top of the flashlight body. The button also glows in the dark which is handy. Holding down the button will turn on the strobe light which is useful as a defense mechanism.
If you’re looking a solid tactical flashlight that won’t leave you in the dark, consider the Fenix UC35.
I’ve reviewed several water filters in the past but most didn’t filter large amounts of water at once, at least without a lot of labor involved. I’m not taking anything away from other filters, because some of them serve their purpose if you need a quick drink of water on the run. The Platypus Gravity Works Filter is a great solution for preppers in need of filtering water in mass and it does it a lot quicker than traditional filters.
The Platypus Gravity Filter works using physics and hollow fiber technology. Instead of tiresome pumping or sucking through a straw, you can fill the 2 liter dirty bag with dirty water, then watch as it passes through a water line into the filter which then empties into a 2 liter clean water bag. All you have to do is hang it up and let gravity do the work.
There are several pieces that come with the system that allows you to configure the filter in three different ways. The first is directly into the clean water bag. You also have the option of filtering it directly to a bottle or water bladder. In my video, I used the standard method of attaching it to the clean water bag. The clean water bag also has a bottle cap on it so you can drink directly from it.
The Platypus Gravity Filter comes in a nice carry bag that will slide easily into your bug out or 72 hour bag. It comes disassembled in several pieces so you have to figure out how to piece it together, but it’s a snap once you do it once. The water line also comes with a clamp that acts as a shut off valve so the water will not filter until you release the valve.
The filter attaches inline between the dirty water and the clean water bags. The Platypus will filter down to 0.2 microns and releases water at a rate of 1.75 liters per minute. That’s a lot of water in a short amount of time compared to other water filtration systems. The filter has a life span of 1500 liters, so that’s over 750 uses before you need to replace it. In a survival situation, you need a minimum of 3 liters of water per day. If only one person is using the filter, you can get 500 days of use. That’s a lot of water coming through such a small device. The system can also be backflushed in the field in seconds!
You can get the Platypus Gravity Works 2.0L Water Filtration System directly from the Platypus website or if you prefer, you can find them on Amazon.com as well.
If you decide to bug out when the SHTF – you always want to pack light and carry only the necessities. Food, water, fire, shelter and if possible a means to communicate usually top the list of essentials. Ensuring you get a good night’s rest can mean the difference in life or death. Getting sound sleep means you think clearly and make good decisions that ultimately could jeopardize or save your life. Tents tend to be a bit bulky to haul around and heavy and it’s good to get off the ground a bit to avoid the creepy crawlies if possible.
Hammocks are a great alternative to tents and are far more comfortable. You don’t need mat or air mattress to sleep comfortably which will also reduce the weight of your backpack. The Trek Light Gear Double Hammock is my hammock of choice. Weighing only 20 ounces this hammock will give you a 6.5′ x 10′ space that will support up to 400 pounds. It’s comfortable for two people but is extra roomy with one person because you can lie down flat by positioning yourself diagonally for even more comfort.
The Trek Light Gear Double Hammock is breathable, water resistant, quick drying and made from anti-rot parachute nylon material that sheds moisture and dries quickly in the sun. It’s triple stitched to ensure durability in the areas that need it most. It also comes with a three year warranty.
Rope and carabiners do not come with the hammock and are purchased separately as accessories, which they call their “easy hanging kit“. I highly recommend purchasing the kit as well since the rope is already pre-knotted which makes it easy to adjust right out of the bag. The s-hooks are included as part of the hammock so no need to purchase those separately. The carrying bag is part of the hammock itself which makes it extremely convenient to break down and pack up. You can also use the carrying bag weighted down as a sling to throw the extra fabric over you to act as a mosquito net or cover.
Consider making this part of your bug out bag and if not, they’re great to have for camping or the back yard. There’s truly nothing like relaxing in a hammock. If you’re interested in purchasing the Trek Light Gear Double Hammock, you can find it on Amazon.com or you can buy directly from Trek Light Gear.
Special note: For every hammock purchased Trek Light Gear plants a tree in your honor in an area around the United States that desperately needs reforestation.
If you enjoy gadgets with a great purpose, then you’re going to like the SunJack Waterproof LightStick. Not only is it a light source, it also is a charger for small electronic devices such as a phone, GoPro Hero and can be rigged up to charge your HAM radios or walkie talkies. If you plan on using it outdoors, no worries because it’s waterproof up to a depth of 6 feet of water. It makes an awesome addition to your bug out bags, 72 hour bags or emergency kits.
The SunJack Waterproof LightStick has 3 levels of brightness with the highest setting emitting around 350 lumens. I like it because it’s an ambient light and not as directional as a flashlight. If you’re working on something where you need good lighting, this works much better than a flashlight – unless of course you are wearing a headlamp. It can provide over 40 hours of lighting on one charge and also has an emergency flash for distress signaling. On the lowest light setting it can provide up to 46 hours of light.
The charging aspect is really cool. On the end of the stick it features a USB output port rated at 2 amps – this means it will charge your phone as if it was plugged into your outlet at home. Due to its built in battery pack of 5200mAh it has the capacity to charge three smartphones! Just above the USB output, there is a mini-USB power input so you can charge it from your computer or through an AC wall adapter with a USB port.
On the other end of the SunJack LightStick is a glow in the dark power button that allows you to cycle through the various modes. When cycling through the different modes there are four blue LEDs that indicate how much power you have left in the battery, four being completely charged. There are also two places to attach lanyards so you can hang it or attach it where ever you’d like.
I would highly recommend the SunJack Waterproof LightStick to anyone that is in the preparedness niche. If nothing else, it’s a great tool for an emergency kit, whether you are diehard prepper or not. If you’re interested in learning more check it out on Amazon.com where you can usually find it on sale.
If you’re bugging out or trying to keep your 72 hour bag light, you know that water can add many unneeded pounds to your back. If you think you’ll be in an area with an abundance of water, think about packing a water filter instead. While hydration packs are cool, when acting alone they’re a one and done solution to water. The Survivor Filter can replace up to the equivalent of 1000 plastic water bottles. It’s great for reducing waste and extra weight in your pack.
The Survivor Filter offers the highest level of filtration on the market today offering three levels of filtering to your water down to 0.05 microns. It utilizes an ultra filter, a carbon filter as well as a mesh filter to ensure your water is safe to drink up to 264 gallons. The body itself is made of ABS plastic and is durable, but lightweight at only 3.5 ounces and can be disassembled to replace the filters easily.
One thing I noticed was how quick the water was being filtered. It processes the water at around 7 ounces per minute. That’s pretty fast considering the water is being pushed through three filters! I also like that the mouth of the device has a cover to keep everything nice and clean.
Another awesome feature is the threaded opening that will allow you to screw the Survivor Filter onto a standard threaded bottle (ie. soda bottle). You can fill up the bottle with dirty water, screw on the filter and drink. It will also attach to most hydration bags as well if you want to be mobile while filtering your water. Please note that this filter is not to be used with a salt water source. It will not desalinate salt water.
I thought the filter was great! The filters worked as intended and the taste of the water was perfect. I could not tell a difference in the filtered water vs. bottled water. It’s a prepper must have for sure.
This is by far the largest bag I’ve reviewed and it has a great price point for an entry to mid level tactical bag. The Paratus 3 Day Operator Tactical Pack by 3VGear.com sports nearly 3000 cubic inches! It’s a monster and carries everything but the kitchen sink. This rascal is heavy duty, double stitched in just about every place imaginable and made of durable 600d nylon. It’s modular design gives it versatility to make the bag highly customizable.
The 3vGear Paratus Pack comes with a detachable rapid deployment pack that boasts nearly 500 cubic inches. It’s attached using MOLLE as well as velcro and snapped reinforcements. The pack also comes with 2 detachable MOLLE pouches for extra space and several D Rings, compression straps and fasten points for endless customizations. The Velcro ID panel is cool so you can use your own morale patch.
The bag comes with heavy duty military nylon zippers. You don’t have to worry about the zippers busting if you load the pack down with lots of gear. The quality of the zippers are carried through on the deployment pack and MOLLE pouches as well. The shoulder straps are padded and have a mesh backing to allow you to stay cool. The backing of the pack is relief cushion allowing for maximum cooling – so no sweaty backs. The shoulder straps have attachments equipped with magnets to hold they hydration hoses in place. The hip belt helps takes the load off your shoulders and balances it on your hips. The hip belt buckle is heavy duty and has two adjustments, one behind your waist and the other in front at the buckle.
The pack comes equipped with the ability to support a dual water bladder system (sold separately). You can carry double the amount of water or throw a sport or energy drink in the other. It has two separate hoses that run through the top of the pack and attach to the shoulder straps using the magnet system I mentioned earlier.
When I received this package in the mail, I was very surprised at the size of the pack along with all the organizational compartments that accompany it. Unlike other packs where you have one main compartment with everything thrown in, this one is very well thought out and there’s a place for everything imaginable. The ability to customize the bag to your liking is a huge bonus. The durability and rugged feel of the 3vGear Paratus Pack doesn’t make it feel like a mid level pack at all. Now, it isn’t a Maxpedition Pack – as those are top of the packs – however it’s a heck of a deal for about half the price. So if you’re on a limited budget, I would say this bag would be more than enough for the average prepper. Not everyone needs the top level packs especially if they are going be rarely used and thrown in a car as a get home pack, so take that into consideration when buying any type of prepping related gear.
I’ve reviewed several different types of water filters that come with the filter built into the container itself. While the stand alone filters like Sawyer and LifeStraw are cool products, there’s something to be said for having a nice container to transport the filtered water easily without a bunch of hassle. It’s also never a bad idea to experiment with other filtration products to see which does the best job for the money.
The thing that stood out the most with the Grayl Quest Water Filtration Cup in comparison to the other products I’ve used is how sleek and well-made it is. The other is how you actually filter the water – it works like a french press. It’s different in that you don’t suck the water out directly through the filter. The filtration happens long before you drink it. Now whether it’s more effective using that method, that’s up to you to decide.
So basically the filtration cup has two main parts, the BPA-free plastic container and the 18/8 stainless steel container. You pour the non-potable water into the plastic container to the fill line. Next, insert the stainless steel container (with the attached water filter) into the plastic container by pressing down which forces the water through the filter. The water then fills the stainless steel container – then it’s ready to drink! The whole process takes about 15 seconds and it’s recommended that you filter water two times initially to break in the filter, then it’s one pass through for the remainder of the filter life.
Another cool feature about the Grayl Quest Water Filtration Cup is that you can attach three different, unique filters (Tap, Trail & Travel) which are easily distinguished by color. Each has a certain level of things it’s able to filter, tap being least effective and travel being the most effective. You can read more about their abilities by visiting the Grayl website.
It’s a heck of a product that I would recommend as a prepping product as well as a general household filter. It’s great to take on hikes or to the gym and it doesn’t scream “look at me, I’m a water filter bottle”.
It’s always cool to review a new product that I’ve never seen before. I was surfing the web and ran across this nifty device called The Pocket Shot. Essentially it’s a slingshot alternative that uses a rubber latex pouch attached to a circular casing to launch the ammo into the target. You just drop one of the steel balls into the pouch, pull back and let’r rip. The manufacturer boasts its ability to shoot projectiles at 2-3 times the rate of a regular slingshot and up to 350 feet per second.
Now that’s moving! Let me also add that while this may look like a toy, it is a weapon. If you let kids use this, please supervise them at all times.
The Pocket Shot ships with the standard (black) pouch. You can purchase the pro (blue) pouch separately for more range. Swapping out the pouches is really easy using the lid that ships with it. You can see how to do that in my video below. I like the size of it because it’s compact and can fit easily into my bug out bag or EDC. Most manufactured slingshots are bulky and take up a ton of room.
I gave a whirl in the backyard by setting up a paper grocery bag for some target practice. With only three shots I was able to hit the bag about 30 yards away. Aiming and controlling the shot wasn’t difficult at all. Once I finished, it was an easy clean up – just throw the ammo and other accessories into the attached pouch and screw the lid on. Instantly organized and completely waterproof.