Why Most Outdoor Survival Gear Falls Short
99% of people who recreate outdoors do so unprepared. For some reason, search & rescue incidents are on the rise. Now more than ever people are venturing into the backcountry without the proper safety gear and the problem continues to grow. The good news is that you can take simple steps to protect yourself. A survival kit and some smart skills are your keys to staying safe when the unexpected hits. But while you might have the skills, most of the survival gear on the market may actually be working against you.
What kind of gear are we talking about here? Endure Survival Kits was recently published in Gear Junkie. One of the points the author, Daliah Singer, made is that certain gear that is sold by the thousands every year ends up in the survival kits of the 1% of people who actually do carry a survival kit in the backcountry. It is a problem that the people actually carrying survival kits, more often than not, are simply carrying gear that will not hold up to the test of time.
What survival gear is on the market? you may want to reconsider:
Mylar Emergency Blankets - You may have seen one of these in a survival kit available on the market. They are included in the majority of survival kits for sale.
Have you ever met anyone who has actually used a mylar blanket?
We have tested mylar blankets in the field and frankly, they are not worth the few dollars they cost. Our in-field tests over the years have shown a 4 mil thick polyurethane bag provides excellent Shelter that traps all of your body heat around you. One of the biggest things to consider when purchasing a survival shelter is how well the shelter will help you avoid condensation build up. This is always a big concern for survival shelter as you may be in there for a long while. A reliable survival hhelter should allow you use of your hands and feet so you can move around for important tasks such as keeping your fire going or signaling to help.
Cigarette lighters, strike anywhere matches, flint and steel or anything particularly small, with small part or anything that has moving parts that may fail. If it can fail, it most likely will. We have tested nearly all of the firestarters on the market and nothing we have tested comes close to being a sufficient firestarter (particularly in harsh conditions) than a quality ferrocerium metal match or stormproof matches.
“Survival” cards, fishing kits, spears, harpoons or any "survival" items that help you procure food may not need to be included in your essential survival kit. When we are talking about practical, outdoor survival for real-world situations going without water is way more important than survival without food. The human body can survival 3 weeks without food and only 3 days without water.
Key chainsaws, folding saws, and axes are items do not recommend. Alternatively, we recommend a quality fixed hand saw instead of an axe. Axes can be very dangerous while any saw with moving parts will have a chance of being compromised much more than one with a fixed blade and no moving parts.