How to survive? Well, you need stuff to survive, and thankfully, there are companies out that make stuff. Survival stuff, to be exact. This month, we’re exploring some of what’s hot and new.
4-in-1 Hand Tool
The Zippo 4-in-1 Woodsman is, yeah, four products in one. It has a bow saw that can cut oak up to 4 inches in diameter, a hatchet with a 5-inch blade, a stake puller, and a mallet. While it may not be pocketsize, it’s still a must-carry.
All sleeping bags are not created equal. Stay outside and you’ll learn that pretty quickly. What’s intriguing about the Big Agnes McAlpin SL traditional mummy bag isn’t just the name Big Agnes—the lightweight sleeper uses a water-repellent, antimicrobial, and antibacterial insulation material called DownTek. It also has something called Flow Construction: Isotect Flow, an insulation system for contouring to your body and offering up uniform heat distribution.
Information: Big Agnes Inc.
SOG offers the Backcountry Axe, which has a forged head that gives the beef, but a cutout for less friction when axing. The flat-back design gives you a tool for hammering stakes, and the handle has a solid fiberglass core for strength. What’s even cooler is that tucked inside the handle is a saw with an auto-deploying hand guard. The axe weighs 29 ounces and is 16 inches long; the blade is 3 inches.
Information: SOG Knives
Bag o’ Sleep
Another sleeping bag worth checking out is the Phantom 32 from Mountain Hardware. Not that you’ll understand what this means, but it’s Q.Shield 800-fill down with 10d fabric. Translation: warm and lightweight, because it is water-repellent down insulation. It has technology to prevent moisture from sucking up heat, has a six-chamber hood for maintaining even loft around the head (another good component of maintaining heat), among its many pointed outdoor-friendly features.
Information: Mountain Hardware
This is more than the name of an old Drew Barrymore/Stephen King movie. It’s a 20,000-strike flint and magnesium firestarter with a nylon strap, striker, compass, and thermometer. Yes, all in one. It’s waterproof, too. The Survivor Firestarter can be used with propane stoves and lanterns, campfires, grills and pits, or anywhere a fire is needed.
Information: Survivor Firestarter
Garmin’s Montana 650t is a handheld (or it can be mounted) GPS featuring all sorts of outdoor necessities: barometric altimeter, three-axis compass, satellite imagery, preloaded topo maps, and even turn-by-turn directions via a City Navigator SD card. There’s also an autofocus camera, and the unit’s touchscreen display is 4 inches. It’s waterproof and can handle mud and other junk you expose it to. Additionally, it can share your waypoints and routes with other Garmin GPS users. It runs off a dual battery system—rechargeable lithium-ion pack or regular AAs.
Solar Recharging Kit
Goal Zero’s Switch 8 is a power supplier; an 8-watt-hour recharger that can charge a smart phone in about an hour. But beyond the phone, it can power digital cameras, cell phones (you know, dumb phones), tablets, and more. The charge from solar style is 5-10 hours, while the charge from the plug-in switch is 1-3 hours. Interchangeable tips are available. And word on the street is that the company is working on tips for flashlights and fans and even a bug zapper. The Switch 8 is pocket sized, so you can charge anywhere conveniently.
Information: Goal Zero
DeLorme’s inReach is a two-way satellite communicator that lets you get away from it all without getting away from it all. We’re talking to you, Social Media. You’ll be able to send and receive messages to and from mobile phones, fire off emails, and post on Facebook and Twitter. There’s also a Follow-Me/Find-Me tracking and locating feature that coughs up GPS updates. Beyond that, there’s navigation, wireless turns, SOS alerts, an Earthmate app for free downloading of topo maps and NOAA charts, and more. It’s waterproof, impact-resistant, and capable of maintaining a satellite signal lock even in weird locations that GPS might normally freak over.