Many of us share a fear of becoming lost in the wild, and while most of us will not experience this there is always that possibility. The best thing we can do is to be prepared, as much as we can be, and hope for a good outcome. Proper preparation comes with bringing the right tools along, and while many of the products we offer on Point Below are based around survivability scenarios, today I wanted to discuss how these items can work in tandem. We embody the idea of 'better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it', coupled with the reality of how much weight and space that those tools can take up. I believe that all of us should carry a few basic tools if you plan to venture outside the realms of modern civilization, even if you believe you may not need them. Let's take a deeper dive into our categories and the items we offer to discuss the reasons why we have those particular items.
Fire Starting Tools
From our iconic Electric Lighter to the more basic Ferro Rod, having multiple ways to start a fire is always one of the best things you can have in your pack. While the lighter can be considered the primary method, it's also not entirely infallible. Just like a butane lighter can run out of fuel, the electric lighter can run out of power all the same. If you have some fuel on you, you could certainly top off a butane or other liquid fuel lighter if you have the supply on you, just as ours can be recharged. The need to bring that extra fuel container adds weight, which is why our electric option provides a benefit as one power source serves multiple purposes rather than just the one. It's pretty likely you'll have a way to recharge your mobile phone, camera, or some other electronic device that you carry regularly, and the electric lighter fits as another addition to that ecosystem.
Regardless that it can be recharged, there is also the reality that it could entirely fail. In those cases, you would want to have methods that don't rely on fuel or power, such as a Fire Starting rope or Ferro Rod. These methods are almost always reliable, but do take some additional experience to get the most benefits out of them. Sure, you can use an entire rope to get a big fire going quickly - but without any knowledge on how long your survival situation will be, you would want to preserve this as long as possible. A Ferro Rod lasts a considerably long time, but does take some experience to do effectively.
Shelter and Protection
No matter what I always keep a disposable poncho in my backpack. Not only can it keep my mostly dry in a sudden rain storm, it also has a multitude of other purposes if the situation calls for it. The plastic on these is durable enough to use as walls in a shelter, or pieces of it to create protection from the wind and elements. Most of these types of items will be a one size fits all size, meaning that for most of us they will likely be oversized, which is actually perfect for the crafty things you could do with this item. If wind and rain isn't a major concern, having plastic on hand for things such as rain water collection, water filtration, and generating black smoke in a signal fire, these lightweight poncho packs are worth way more than the weight they add.
If a heavy duty option is needed, the Life Tent product we offer provides a significantly larger shelter but will take up a bit more space and weight in your pack. This product does provide more benefits with the added weight, such as a reflective orange exterior to be more quickly identified, as well as a thermal reflective interior to help with retaining body heat. This is a better option for at least two people, allowing for some load to be split amongst your party. The biggest benefit being that it's basically instant shelter, saving you lots of time and energy in terms of trying to craft something you may or may not know how to do.
The human body can last weeks without food, but only a few days without water. Water is the most important thing, which is why I always say to pack more than what you think you need. That being said, that supply may run out, whether or not you packed accordingly. Backup options such as a Water Straw, or other filtration methods are a great backup option, allowing you to maintain a constant intake of clean water. This does require a water source to be nearby, so if you are in an arid environment you would have to change to water collection methods to maintain some sort of water intake.
Items like the poncho mentioned above work great for both rain water collection, but can also be used for evaporation collection in a desert environment. Some deserts will have water if you dig down, but most of that will be undrinkable in that state. Evaporation collection uses the naturally occurring process of water evaporation, but using a plastic cover can force the water to form into beads, eventually falling down onto a collection vessel. This isn't a certainty, especially in the desert, but does provide some options in those cases.
A light source, cordage and/or tape, and an edged tool are something that can be found in any prepper or backpacking kit. What you choose to fill those needs can vary greatly, but it's important to have something that fits either need. A light source is pretty self explanatory, but looking at the flashlights or cap lights we offer, the idea being that they work in the same ecosystem as our lighter. Rechargeable with the same battery pack you might use for your phone, this allows you to make sure you have a light source when you might need it. Having to carry extra batteries generates extra weight and waste, while the same rechargeable battery pack can power all of your devices when they need a recharge. Our cap light can recharge itself while also being hands-free, so this adds an additional benefit to that product over a traditional hand held flashlight.
Cordage comes in a variety of packages and amounts, and we actually include cordage on many of our products in the form of a lanyard. Cordage, or tape, have a basic, but important use. Securing anything, whether it be for a shelter, a sign, or repairing your clothing, are something that everyone, regardless of their skillset, can likely find a use for. Carry what you think you may need based on how much room you are willing to provide, but it's important to always have a usable amount.
An edged tool, whether you prefer a bushcrafting knife, a hatchet, or just a multi-tool with a small knife, something will always be better than nothing. Cutting tools will always have their place in any outdoor setting, and as a result have also earned their place upon the hips or backs of enthusiasts everywhere. Whether you have a primary option, a secondary option is always a great idea. Especially if you encounter a survival situation, the failure of your edged tool can be detrimental to your entire survival capability.
Finally, in our modern age, a battery pack or solar panel recharging system have become a must have. Cell phones, wireless headphones, and cameras have rechargeable batteries. In order to keep those powered many of us have likely added some sort of charging system in our kits to keep those devices powered. While we offer a direct charge solar panel, the combination of a solar panel and battery bank is the premise for our standard and super charger options.
All of our options listed above will add only a few pounds to your pack at most, but will provide miles of usage. The savvy survivalist can stretch that even further, but for most of us, these tools will be sufficient in the event of a worst case scenario. Having the right tools not only provides a better chance of survivability, but also peace of mind, which goes a long way.