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Pocket-Sized Survival Gear

Thursday, November 3, 2016 5:16
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Pocket-sized Survival Gear

Pocket-sized Survival Gear Pocket-sized Survival Gear

For survivalists who pride themselves on always being prepared, pocket-sized gear is often the most useful. The fact is, gear you can’t keep on your person won’t be available when you need it the most. That’s why pocket-sized tools, though small, are powerful and reliable. But what is the most useful pocket-sized equipment for the savvy survivalist? Here’s a look.


This may be the most obvious item on this list, but a multi-tool like a Leatherman or Gerber is an indispensable tool. With multiple knives, screwdrivers, scissors and more, both brands have a plethora of options that have an extensive collection of tools, or lighter, slimmed down models for those who want to cut down on weight. Gerber’s tools have a lifelong warranty, while Leatherman’s lasts 25 years. Leatherman’s also come at a slightly higher price point, but are name brand and have a reputation for durability. Whichever you choose, you’ll have a reliable tool wherever you go.

The Altoids Box Kit

While many companies make and sell their own pocket survival kits, like Whiskeyfox, you probably know what items you will need more or less of on your adventures. The absolutely essentials, after your multi-tool of course, can all be fit in a metal Altoids box. For instance, a smaller, lock-back knife may be handy. As will a Zippo lighter, magnifying glass, matches, Band-Aids and alcoholic wipes, a razor blade,and a roll of medical tape. This can all fit in an Altoids canister if you’re economical with space. Remember, you’re the one who knows just what and how much of each supply you might need depending on your plans and the environment you’re in.


There are some tools that won’t fit in an Altoids tin, however. The company Vigilant Trails makes a nifty pocket fishing kit that includes hooks, weights, lures, line, knife and even a rod alternative. This kit is great for those who expect they’ll be near a body of water, like a lake or river.

If you get caught out overnight, you may need an emergency blanket. Emergency blankets are light, cheap (at around five dollars a pop) and made of plastic that rebounds your own body heat back at you.

While a GPS was once too large for a pocket, backcountry GPS devices from Garmin have slimmed down and become much more power efficient. The Garmin eTrex 30 weighs a paltry 4.8 ounces, has 25 hours of battery life and a 2.2-inch screen and is made specifically for backcountry hikers and survivalists. The eTrex 30 is also one of the cheapest GPS devices on the market, so you won’t spend an arm and a leg. Of course, with the holiday season right around the corner, stores will have special sales on tons of outdoor equipment. This is the time of year to get the most bang for your buck.

If you have a ready water source in your vicinity and don’t plan on leaving it, the LifeStraw is a straw that lets you drink directly from a river, stream or pond by filtering the water before it hits your lips. This is the smallest, simplest water filter system on the market.


Alex Clark-McGlenn is a graduate of the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts Writer’s Workshop. His fiction is published in the Best New Writing 2016 anthology, The Cost of Paper,, and others. In his spare time he enjoys cycling, soccer, and reading. He lives the Pacific Northwest.

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  • ExLibris

    Re: GPS

    There are also some EXCELLENT GPS Android “Apps” available for FREE at places like the Google Play Store, the Apple equivalent, and more. Paying a few dollars more for a “Pro” or “Upgraded” version may obtain more features, but the basics are avalable for free.

    One I tried was so accurate it effectively pin-pointed the parking spot I pulled into at the local mega-store…in real-time.

    The downside is, that the phones as GPS units aren’t as efficient as that “eTrex 30″ with battery life. I get about 8 hours of continuous GPS on my phone. You also need to make sure you get an app that can work off satellites only and does NOT depend on cell towers working.

    One that I like is “GPS Status and Toolbox”, the Pro version is a few bucks, and adds waypoint tracking. But, the free version has a LOT of features and functionality. I installed it on a $40 Android phone and it works great.

    Also, a dedicated GPS unit like the eTrex 30 works alone. It won’t ask for access to possibly sensitive information.
    Be aware that your phone Android version must be at this time, Version 4.0 or higher. In addition, many of these cellphone/mobile “apps” requires that you ALLOW the program access to certain parts of your phone. In some cases it’s contact lists, email, network, photos, etc. Basically, in EVERY “app” you use, whether Android or Apple “apps”, you have to trust the program writer won’t abuse that access. To see which possibly sensitive items the program requires access, look at the “Permissions” tag on the Google Play Store (or whatever your “app” source is).

    Be aware that even if you are NOT using this GPS “app” you may ALREADY be allowing other “apps” to have access to your sensitive data on your cellphone or tablet. You may be unable to “uninstall” apps to reduce this exposure…however make sure you don’t uninstall an “app” your cellphone or tablet may absolutely require in order to run the way you expect it to.

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