Examining this gear list and the items carried by contestants on...
Big Agnes Stagecoach
45L, 85L, and 125L
Starting at $240
While we’re not saying that a duffel with wheels should be your bug-out bag, we’re saying it’s exponentially easier to roll your gear than to hump it on your back. Think camping trip or going on vacation. The Stagecoach provides loads of room in an incredibly sturdy but flexible container. It’s made of 420-denier, three-line ripstop fabric that’s tear, puncture, and abrasion resistant. It features 100-percent waterproof fusion-welded seams. And the base is made of a compression-molded EVA bottom with super durable 1,200-denier polyester fabric. This rolling duffel also has a kickstand for stability, padded grab handles, and dual shoulder straps if you need to throw it on your back instead.
Mountainsmith Mountain Tipi
110 by 95 by 68 inches
You could call it a comeback of sorts. The Mountain Tipi was designed more than 30 years ago and became popular with hunters and backpackers who needed a backcountry basecamp. Today, it’s back with a modern update. It can be set up as a tipi with bug nest, a standalone tipi, a standalone nest, or as a fast fly. The nest features No-See-Um mesh while the fly is made of 40-denier Sil-Nylon ripstop. They both work easily with a single pole — made of 7000-series aluminum alloy — that has an adjustable height between 5 feet 2 inches and 5 feet 8 inches. The Mountain Tipi has a single door and a two-person layout, ideal for a solo adventurer or a couple who want a lightweight, versatile shelter.
Real Avid Smart Drive 90
Hammer surface, magnetic parts tray, polycarbonate lid with slide lock, and more
If a long-term survival situation does happen, you’ll need to keep your tools running at optimal states with limited resources. This is especially true with firearms; it’s not like they’ll be a post-apocalyptic armorer opening up shop at every overrun street corner. No, you’ll have to make repairs yourself. Fortunately, Real Avid offers all sorts of useful tools, including the Smart Drive 90. This 90-piece gunsmithing kit includes everything from a scope turret tool to 87 standard and metric black oxide-coated gun bits. Plus, it comes with an LED-enabled bit driver that — when paired with a “close-quarters” driver — uses Real Avid’s Force Assist system to precisely tighten screws or loosen stuck ones.
GSI Outdoors Escape HS 2-Liter Pot
Hard-anodized aluminum, nylon, silicone
For years, your choice of camping pots was between silicone and metal. The former offered space savings and lightness while the latter performed faster and was more fuel efficient. Now you don’t have to choose. The Escape HS 2-Liter Pot combines a collapsible silicone body with an aluminum heat sink base that’s coated with Teflon. GSI Outdoors says that its pot saves 53 percent volume, cooks 30-percent faster, and uses 30- percent less fuel than traditional cookware technology. The aluminum lid has integrated straining holes as well as silicone thumb pads to insulate hands from heat. Plus, it collapses down to a 1.9-inch-thick disc for easy portability.
Columbia River Knife & Tool Black Woods Chogan T-Hawk with Sheath
Ryan Johnson of RMJ Tactical offers some wicked axes for a premium price. But for the blue-collar worker, forking over four C-notes for a tomahawk can be a tall order. Fortunately, CRKT often teams up with him to mass produce his designs and offer them at more affordable levels. Take this model for example. This CRKT.com exclusive offers the popular Woods Chogan T-Hawk with a new look, courtesy of a black magnesium phosphate coating on the 1055 carbon steel head for increased corrosion resistance, a firewood-burned Tennessee hickory handle for a darker aesthetic, and a quality leather sheath. This two-handed ax features a hammer on the backend and weighs just shy of 2 pounds.
Utah Knife Works UKW Survivor Knife
Utah Knife Works owner Mark Russon says that almost 40 years ago his father, Robb Russon, came up with the design for what would eventually become the Tom Brown Tracker knife (which appears in the 2003 film The Hunted) but never got credit for it. So, the younger Russon gave his dad’s model a 21st century makeover and renamed it the UKW Survivor. While we don’t have the space here to investigate further (Russon’s side of the story is on his website), we did get a chance to review his new knife. Each section of it serves a survival purpose. For example, the spine’s sawteeth is for sawing or notching branches, while the utility hook is for processing game. Made of 9Cr18MoV stainless steel with a glass-reinforced nylon handle, the UKW Survivor is a jack-of-all-trades tool that’ll win over some bushcrafters … and maybe even a few Tom Brown fans, too.
Streamlight Siege X USB Lantern
Just when we think Streamlight can’t make its lanterns any better, we’re proven wrong once again. The Siege X USB is the latest rendition of this popular series and features a small frame that packs plenty of power. Its white LED has three modes, with a max runtime of 4.5 hours and a high output of 325 lumens. For emergencies or preserving night vision, it has a 1.6-lumen red LED that can run for 22 hours or flash SOS for 90 hours. It can run on two CR123A lithium batteries, or you can recharge it by plugging the USB cord directly into its included 18650 battery. The IPX7 waterproof lamp is also loaded with more user-friendly features than we can list, from an integrated D-ring to a recessed power button to prevent accidental activation.
GPO USA Passion 10×56 Binoculars
With 10x magnification and GPO’s proprietary lens coating technology, the Passion 10×56 offers powerful clarity at great distances — a vital ability, whether you’re hunting for big game or watching out for marauders in a post-SHTF situation. These binoculars feature a magnesium body that shaves some ounces without giving up any strength or durability. The lenses have GPObright coatings, which allows up to 99.7 percent of available light to pass through each optical surface. What does that mean? What you see is clear even in low-light conditions. While they’re not the lightest binos we’ve tested at 2.58 pounds, the Passion 10×56 is both waterproof and fogproof, and comes with neoprene strap, hard case, hard-case strap, cleaning cloth, and lens covers.
SITKA Gear Hanger Work Henley LS
89-percent polyester, 11-percent Spandex
If you’ve spent any amount of time in the great outdoors, you’ll know that extreme heat or cold can kill you, but it’s the insects that’ll drive you insane. Fortunately, the Hanger Work Henley LS can help with that. It’s a casual-looking performance shirt that’s been treated with Insect Shield technology, which helps to repel ants, ticks, flies, chiggers, midges, and mosquitoes. Plus, it has Polygiene odor control that inhibits bacteria’s ability to grow. And on top of all that, this attractive Henley provides a blend of stretch, comfort, and moisture-wicking properties — letting you enjoy the outdoors without the bugs or stench.
Diamond Brand Great Day Backpack
3 pounds, 2 ounces
If this pack gives you that vintage vibe, that’s because Diamond Brand has been around since 1881. Yep, the 19th century. So it knows a thing or two about making durable goods, such as the Great Day pack. This 24.5-liter bag features a water-resistant YKK zipper that runs down the center to provide full access to all your items, adjustable straps that let you switch to sling carry, and detachable front pockets that can be used as standalone sacks. There’s also multiple but subtle PALS webbing so you can attach keys, carabiners, or other gear. This backpack is made in the USA from 18-ounce canvas with wax and a durable water- resistant coating.
Pyramex Venture Gear Tactical Overwatch Sunglasses
Black, OD Green, and Urban Gray
Sun’s out, shades on. At least if you want to maintain healthy eyes and full situational awareness this summer. Unfortunately, not all of us can afford to plunk down two Benjamins for a pair of Oakleys or Smith Optics. Fortunately, there’s the Overwatch. These sunglasses don’t just look good, but are also a solid piece of eye protection, having passed the U.S. military’s MIL-PRF 32432 high-velocity impact standards. The antifog, scratch-resistant polycarbonate lenses provide 99-percent UVA/B/C protection. Meanwhile, the soft nosepiece and rubber temple tips offer daylong comfort.
Wenzel’s Farm Snack Sticks
11, including teriyaki, beef with bacon, and jalapeno cheddar
$32 for a 16-count box
Everyone loves to stock up on survival food, but no one really loves to eat it. There’s a reason why MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) are often called “Meals Rejected by Everyone” (due to their manufactured taste) and “Meals Refusing to Exit” (due to their constipation-inducing nature). Fortunately, Wenzel’s Farm has come out with its line of Snack Sticks made of real meat from real animals raised on real farms. They’re naturally smoked, have no MSG or artificial colors, and are a solid source of macronutrients. (A 1-ounce Jalapeno Cheddar Stick has 5 grams of protein and 8 grams of total fat.) Plus, every individual package (which comes with two Snack Sticks) has a shelf life of 12 months. While it won’t replace a meal in a post-disaster scenario, it can boost morale or tide you over until you can hunt your own game.