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The new survival gear to be found in OFFGRID #44 includes some items that do not technically qualify as life-saving equipment, on the outside. But dig deeper and we find that culture and community are vital to both surviving communities and often defines the ones that thrive. Here's a few things to look for, from coolers, to books, to clothing, to patches.
DIMENSIONS: 3 by 2 inches
Before he became America’s O.G., George Washington was first the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. By all accounts, it was an underfunded, under-supplied, and poorly trained force. Yet under his leadership, it defeated the world’s largest maritime superpower at the time. This PVC morale patch depicts the general on bended knee, praying at the army’s winter encampment at Valley Forge. It’s a simple design that conveys so much history, emotion, and patriotism. You can wear it as a source of inspiration whenever you’re faced with what seems like overwhelming odds. Or maybe to just express your love of country this Independence Day. Plus, it glows in the dark and has a Velcro backing to make it easier to attach to your hat, pack, or jacket.
DIMENSIONS: 5 by 3 by 1.2 inches
Whether you’re packing for a weekend of camping, prepping for the Atlantic hurricane season, or just about to head out on a road trip, having an emergency radio is vital. The ER10VP can alert you of incoming inclement weather — and the best part is that it’s so small you could carry it in your pants pocket. It has an AM/FM radio with digital clock, a wrist lanyard, and headphone jack in case you don’t want to wake up the family during your early morning check-ins. Plus, it comes with three Midland AA batteries. If that’s not enough, the radio also has an LED flashlight with three modes: high, low, and SOS strobe.
MSRP: $18 (paperback), $8 (PDF)
Boris Milinkovich knows a thing or two about being prepared. He has served as an officer in federal law enforcement and as a member of the Canadian Forces Intelligence Branch. Nowadays, he’s the head of True North Tradecraft, a security consulting firm specializing in the training of non-destructive covert methods of entry, counter-custody, and personal security. The second edition of his book is an updated and revamped primer on urban survival and disaster preparedness, and it’s packed with tips, tricks, and entertaining tidbits. It covers the usual topics — fire, water, shelter, etc. — but also provides insights into electricity and power backups and prepping in small spaces like condos and apartments. While it’s not massively in-depth, it’s a great starting point for beginners and good practice for seasoned planners.
COLORS: Various, including Black, Edgy Denim, and Fossil Multi
Longtime readers of this publication will know that we’re big fans of apparel made of wool, even if it’s summer wear. Don’t let popular misconceptions fool you; sheep’s clothing is breathable, quick drying, moisture wicking, and odor resistant — all key attributes when things heat up. And when the temps drop, it’ll still keep you warm even when wet. That’s why the Multifunctional Headwear from Buff USA is so useful. It might look like a neck tube, but it’s actually a versatile piece of apparel that can be worn more than 10 ways. For example, it can be a neck gaiter, a bandana, a headband, or a face covering. The design is just as versatile as its super fabric.
DIMENSIONS: 27 by 20.5 inches (open)
If you’ve ever tried to store your knives in a pack, box, or plastic bin, you’ve realized that not only will they be unable to fit in an organized manner, but they’ll also get dinged up in transport. Enter the Alder Waxed Canvas Roll Up, a vintage solution to an age-old knife-nut problem. This rugged roll has a half-dozen pockets that are each 6 inches deep and 4.5 inches wide, more than enough room to protect a small collection of your knives, sheaths, and ferro rods that need to travel with you. It’s made from 100-percent waxed cotton using a specialized process that was created 200 years ago, giving the roll lifelong weather resistance and a cool, distressed look over time. Made in the USA.
DIMENSIONS: 9 by 5.5 by 4 inches (large), 9 by 4.5 by 3 inches (medium)
MSRP: $59 (large), $39 (medium)
This WANDRD pack looks like your standard toiletry bag … until closer inspection reveals a rugged, smartly designed model that has “best in class” written all over it. The front section has a zippered pocket, two divided mesh pockets, and a jewelry snap loop (so you don’t lose your rings). The main compartment has another zippered pocket, space for your travel-size items (toothpaste, shampoo, etc.), and an integrated antimicrobial sleeve to protect your toothbrush head. Plus, the back panel has slots to air out your razor and toothbrush. Made of weather-resistant ripstop and YKK zippers, this WANDRD pack works on a whole other level. Oh, and it comes in two sizes, which can be clipped together to create a mega toiletry bag.
WEIGHT: 4.6 ounces
In some circumstances, you can certainly eyeball an object in the distance and estimate how far away it is. But when it comes to a dire situation, you don’t want to leave your survival to chance. Whether you’re hunting for sustenance in a post-SHTF world or on a search-and-rescue mission looking for a stranded hiker, precision is vital. The Laser Range Finder 800 provides accurate distance management with the push of a button. Nitrogen purged with a fully multi-coated optical system and 6x magnification, this Hawke Optics model has a range of 6 to 800 meters (7 to 875 yards) and an accuracy of 1 meter (3.2 feet). It’s also waterproof, fog-proof, lightweight, and ergonomically designed to fit in your hand.
COLORS: Black, Red
The Smith & Wesson Tri-Fold Wallet is a throwback to an era when cash was king and leather was everything. It has slots for up to 12 cards, a main compartment for bills, and vegetable-tanned cowhide that’s both durable and refined. As the name implies, it folds over on itself twice, producing a thick but narrow profile to make room in your pants, pack, or jacket pocket. It also has a RFID-blocking liner, though that’s mostly a moot point given the encryption technology of credit cards these days. Still, this S&W model is a well-made handcrafted wallet that can be a classy, old-school addition to your everyday-carry (EDC) loadout.
WEIGHT: 70 pounds
There’s nothing in a survival guide that says you can’t enjoy good eats while you’re off the grid. The HitchFire Forge 15 is a two-burner grill that mounts directly to the hitch of your vehicle, allowing you to save valuable trunk space while also freeing you from the invisible chains of the campfire. Now you can cook anywhere you park (though it can detach for tabletop use). Using 16-ounce propane, the Forge 15 has an 18×22-inch cooking space and can serve eight to 10 people. Moreover, it has two hideaway prep tables, an integrated bottle opener, and anti-theft padlock and hood-latch security. This is an ideal investment for folks who want total culinary control during their camping, overlanding, tailgating, or bug-out adventures.
COLORS: Black, Blue
This ain’t your granddaddy’s lawn chair, that’s for sure. The SunShade Rocker is a foldable rocking chair with a mini canopy, giving you a relaxing resting spot at basecamp, the range, or the beach. The SPF SunShade is made with UPF 50+ fabric and adjustable, so you can move it as the sun does. GCI’s Spring-Action Rocking Technology looks like hydraulic shocks but provides a smooth rocking motion. Plus, the arm rests also have a cupholder and a convenient phone pocket. While the chair weighs 13 pounds (obviously this won’t be a part of your bug-out gear), it supports up to 250 pounds and comes with a large-mouth carry bag for easy storage and transportation.
OUTSIDE DIMENSIONS: 23 by 15.5 by 15 inches
’Tis the season for camping, fishing, tailgating, and barbecuing. That’s when this 27-Quart Terra comes in handy. Thanks to its 2-inch-thick walls, 3-inch-thick lid, R5 insulation, and leakproof lid gasket, it restricts air flow to seal in ice retention so that your drinks and food stay cool for the day. Speaking of which, it can hold up to 24 cans and a bag of ice. On the outside, the Terra has two heavy-duty, UV-protected latches, two secure tie-downs on either side that double as handles, and four hydro-turf traction feet to prevent slippage. And it has an opening for a lock to prevent unauthorized beer consumption. It’s made in the USA from hemp-filled polypropylene — which is a strong, sustainable bioplastic.
COLORS: Battle Brown, Black, Flint, and Ranger Green
With the mercury rising, it’s time to stretch your legs and let them breathe. The Trail 9.5-Inch Shorts are ideal for hikers, runners, or shooters who need the technical performance of athletic apparel but the capabilities of cargo pants. Made of 87-percent polyester and 13-percent elastane with a durable water-repellent finish, they offer durability, flexibility, and plenty of cargo capacity. There are eight pockets, including useful back yoke pockets that fit a smartphone, tools, or magazines. The thigh pockets have zipper closures while the hand pockets have reinforcements for knife pocket clips and such. And while these shorts are designed for outdoor pursuits, their versatile aesthetics let you fit into any casual urban environment, whether it’s a family picnic or a grocery store run.