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Survival Gear And Equipment To Survive In The Outdoors And Urban Settings

Tim Foley
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Last Updated: July 10, 2021

With stay home orders issued by many governments around the world, we've been receiving questions about how to be prepared for emergencies with the best survival gear and equipment. Useful not only for pandemics, but also power outages, ice storms, floods, even snow storms.

We've put together a list of helpful "survival" tools to help you be and feel more prepared to face obstacles in suburbia – where most Canadians live - from the most likely scenario to the least. By far the most common "survival" scenario you're likely to encounter at your home is a lack of power, making it difficult to prepare food, see in the dark, and stay warm.

Cooking Without Power

There are multiple ways to prepare food in a power outage and survival stoves and cooking tools available to make it easier. Trangia Cooksets (coupled with Ethanol based fuel) can be used indoors, and provides the most simple and straight forward functionality for cooking. The Trangia 25-2 UL Cookset makes cooking without power as simple as cooking with, offering an easy to use cooking service with 2 saucepans, 1 frypan and a kettle. Another good option, but with kettle sold separately, is the Trangia 25-21UL/D Duossal 2.0 Cookset. Another, though a less convenient option, is preparing food outside over a fire. The Bushbox LF Set can be used to cook with wood or any organic material, and also supports a Trangia alcohol burner or any charcoal/pellet fuels. While the Bushbox acts like a mini fire pit, another option is a Forged Iron Tripod/Pot Support which suspends pots over an open fire. Fire starting tools are useful for starting fires in any type of weather, and conditions. Instaflam Firestarters/Tinder work wet or dry, providing 10 minutes of burn time and an easy way to get a fire started. Stormproof Matches or the Kupilka Firesteel 8 are handy fire starting methods, while the EOG V3 Pocket Bellows is especially helpful for aerating a fire, ramping one up when using wet wood.

Cutting Tools - Warmth, Shelter, Food, Utility

At northern latitudes, an axe, a saw, and a knife compose the holy trinity of outdoor survival tools. From these survival tools come warmth, shelter, food collection and prep, and the ability to fashion other tools and implements as needed. The Gränsfors Bruk Small Forest Axe or the Bob Dustrude Folding Buck Saw are great tools for cutting and keeping your fire stoked, or fashioning shelters, while the Mora Garberg Bushcraft Knife is a great multi-purpose knife that can also help prepare food. You might want to have a Knife & Axe Knife Stone on-hand in case any of your tools get dull.

Lighting

It's not easy to find the bathroom in the dark, let-alone prepare dinner. When it comes to light, you don't want to be struggling with a cheap flashlight and trying to replace batteries when they fail in what always seems to be the most inopportune time. Instead, you want a "survival" level, quality flashlight. The flashlight we most rely on and recommend is the Fenix HL50 Headlamp/Stand Alone Flashlight. The headlamp can be attached to the head for hands-free use or removed from it's cradle to either stand on a surface or be used as a hand held light. It's also waterproof and can operate on either one AA (alkaline/NiMh/lithium) or one CR123 (lithium) battery. On a single battery, the flashlight can last 150 hours on low-output and 9h 45m on mid. Another good option for "survival" lighting is a Fenix CL09 Camp Lantern. The Fenix CL09 is a diminutive camping lantern that can output up to 200 lumens and act either as a lantern, or a hand held flashlight. With the diffuser attached, the light is less directed than a flashlight, and it can be hung or attached to metal via it's magnetic base, to easily light up a room.

Staying Warm

Nobody enjoys being cold. We highly recommend Woolpower as choice of "survival" clothing. Woolpower Clothing was in fact originally developed to improve cold weather performance for the Swedish military. The wool material is great for maintaining the precious body heat while wicking away moisture (key to staying warm), and also combats the build up of bacteria and odour (i.e. you don't have to wash it all the time and when you do you can easily hand wash and it will dry quickly). Socks, Long Johns and a Crewneck shirt will keep you warm and cozy, and if you want to curl up and take refuge on the couch, you won't regret doing so with a 100% Loden Wool Blanket.

Water Purification

Humans can survive 30 days without food, but only 3 days without water. In a typical scenario where a boil water advisory is issued, you'd simply boil water on your stove at home, but if an advisory takes place during a power outage your kitchen stove or kettle is no longer an available luxury. If you've prepared yourself with a "survival stove" such as the Trangia Cookset, you've got the means to boil water, but you may want to consider also having Katadyn Micropur MP1 Water Purification Tablets on hand just in-case. They use the same technology that's used in municipal water supplies and have a shelf-life of 4-years.

If you've prepared up to this point, you're fed, hydrated, illuminated and warm. Now let's plan for less likely incidents. You can never be too prepared; right?

Medical Emergencies

We never want or expect a medical emergency, but they happen, and we don't want to be in a situation where an emergency is taking place, and no-one knows what to do. The Outdoor Emergency Medical Handbook is an essential guide to handling emergency medical procedures to treat and care for illnesses and injuries. With regard to the tools to deal with those emergencies, we highly recommend the Mountain Guide Medical Kit but if it isn't in the budget consider at least having the less comprehensive Adventure Medical Kit on-hand.

Emergency Shelter

If for any reason you need to prepare for a scenario where you need an emergency shelter, the 10x10 Esker Classic 2 Winter Camping Hot Tent paired with a Kni-Co Alaskan Jr for Esker Classic 2 Tents Stove will keep you warm and sheltered – even when the temperature hovers at or dives far below 0C.

Material Repair

Rips or Tears? A Exotac ripSPOOL Field Repair Kit will help you take care of that, while FORJ Repair Tape is an incredibly diverse material that can used to repair broken handles, fashion splits, make chains, bolts or pretty much any other item you can think of.

Securing Items

Need to tie things to secure them in place? You'll want military grade rope in the form of 550 Paracord Military Spec or the 750 Paracord Military Spec if those things are on the heavier side, or if want line that takes up little space and is incredibly strong.

Scavenging

Ok, so now we're getting way, way down the likelihood of survival scenarios to prepare for. It's become necessary to hunt fish, mollusks, crabs, birds, snakes, or other high-quality small game food for sustenance. You'll appreciate the genius of the Bushcraft Essentials JV Survival Card.

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

Take care out there!

Tim Foley

Tim grew up spending summers and much of his spare time in the backwoods of Northern Ontario and has been canoeing, camping and hiking ever since. When not running the Canadian Outdoor Equipment Co., you can find him riding his bike, hiking the Bruce Trail, canoeing, or clearing trails, cutting firewood and testing gear out in the bush.
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