Get into Gear!
Tried, tested, and true. These gear recommendations are unsolicited and come directly from our rigorous field testing.
As with all gear, you should make sure that you test it yourself, before you need to depend on it. Don't rely on other's reviews. Make sure you take your gear out of the box and play with it yourself. Learn how to use it, so that you don't have to struggle with it when you are in the middle of a survival situation.
*Please note that these are our gear recommendations and that we are not responsible for whether or not the gear works for you.
We look for comfort, durability, and protection in a great pair of boots. Boots we recommend are: Vasque, Merrell Boots, 5.11 Boots, Asolo Boots, Smart Wool Socks, Darn Tough Socks, Fox River Socks, and Adidas Terrex X Swift Mid.
Layers are key to fighting off exposure. The base layer should be skin tight, moisture wicking material. The thermal layer should be larger and keep you warm, preferably down, fleece, or a standard puffy jacket. The shell layer needs to be breathable, and wind and water proof. Our tried and true are Polartec Thermals, Smart Wool Thermals, North Face Stretch Theromball Jackts, and Montbell Compressible Down Jackets.
Clothing offers protection, both from sun and from obstacles in your way. We recommend a bandana, 5.11 Stryke Pants, Work Gloves, Under Armor Sun Shirts, Columbia Sun Shirts, as well as a hat to cover your face and the back of your neck.
Knives & Multitools
A knife or multitool is a very personal piece of gear. It needs to fit your hands and your needs as well as being durable and reliable. We recommend WoodBear Knives, Victorinox Ranger Grip 58 Hunter, Leatherman Rebar, Zach G - 2 Arrow Knives, Buck Knives, Esse Knives, Mora Companion HD or Survival Models, or any full-tang knife that fits you.
You never want to need to rely on making fire via bow drill or other friction techniques. Take the stress out of this important necessity and carry Esbit Solid Fuel Cubes, UST WetFire, UST 1-Handed Sparkie, UCO StormProof Matches, and any Ferrocerium (Ferro) Rod that works for you.
Signaling is important if you ever want to get out of an emergency. This gear should be lightweight, virtually indestructible, and brightly colored. We recommend the Orion Emergency Whistle, Coghlan Featherweight Mirror in acrylic, any flagging tape in fluorescent pink, UST Survival Blanket 2.0 in orange, ACR/APEX GPS Beacons, Orion Pen Flares, Orion Smoke Grenades, and lights (see the Lighting section below).
The ability to clean water is a luxury. Don't go hiking without these necessities: Kleen Kanteen unlined stainless steel Water Bottle, Saywer Mini Water Filter, Katadyn Micropur Purification Tablets, Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets, Osprey Hydration Bladders, Camelback Hydration Bladders, and Nalgene/Playapus roll up bottles.
Getting a good nights sleep is so important. Stay warm, dry, and comfortable with this gear: The NorthFace Cat's Meow 22 Sleeping Bag, OR Alpine Bivy, REI Passage 2 Tent, Thermarest Pads, Hennessy Hammocks, Montbell Sleeping Bags, 550 Parachute Cord, UST Survival Blanket 2.0, and Grabber Tarp Style Emergency Blanket with grommets.
If you have nothing, buying a pre-made first aid kit is a start. However, as you continue to venture outside, you need to personalize it. We have Nitrile Gloves, Emergen-C powdered drink, a black Sharpie, a few non-stick 4" by 4" gauze squares, gauze rolls, tweezers, a headlamp, Bandaids, duct tape, Benadryl, SAM Splint, and a manufactured tourniquet. For more details, attend our First Aid or Wilderness First Aid course.
Having a pack you can rely on and that fits you and your fear well is so important. We recommend Osprey packs (size will depend on your comfort and the task) for backpacking/hiking, and 5.11 packs for a rugged urban pack.
Hot water is spirit boosting after a cold day. Some gear to make your life easier are the Jet Boil Stove, the Pocket Rocket Stove, and the Optimus Folding Titanium Spork.
In nature, we are at the mercy of the sun to light out way. Great man made lighting options are ones that you can use hands free and energy efficient. We love Black Diamond Storm Headlamp, Luci Inflatable Solar Lanterns, Klaurus Tactical Lights, Princeton Vizz Headlamp, and Streamlight nano.