Examining this gear list and the items carried by contestants on...
When considering a survival scenario, it’s human nature to fantasize about the ideal case — facing the apocalypse from a multi-million-dollar impenetrable fortress on a perfect plot of land with decades worth of top-shelf supplies. However, these unrealistic fantasies do us a disservice. It’s much more productive to ponder the worst-case scenario and prepare accordingly. If you can handle a disaster with nothing but your wits and the contents of your pockets, you can easily do the same with a pack full of quality gear.
This is why we always enjoy seeing different perspectives on the “$X survival challenge” theme (“X” might be $20, $50, $100, or more). This budgetary constraint forces creativity, prioritization of gear, and careful cost-benefit analysis. When you absolutely have to make every dollar count, you become a lot more discerning, and you realize that the knowledge and skills you possess are far more important than any gear you own.
We recently came across YouTube channel Drop Forged Survival, where creator Chris Thorn posted a 9-part video series called the “7 Day $100 Walmart Survival Challenge.” These include a short introductory video on the gear he selected, one video for each day of the challenge, and a 1-hour live-streamed recap from three months after the challenge. Check out the intro video below:
Although we don’t agree with all of his gear choices, that’s sort of the point. There are many different approaches to this type of challenge, and they depend heavily on your skills, environment, and resources. Watching how Chris approached it can help you consider your own gear priorities.
For starters, we’d skip some of the redundant cutting tools in favor of one higher-quality blade, and swap the costly (albeit convenient) Mountain House meals for high-value staples like dry beans or bulk beef jerky. Someone in the desert would want more water; someone in a cold environment would want a better shelter — you get the idea.
If you’re interested in watching the remainder of the videos to see how Chris fared with his Walmart survival kit, check out the playlist here. For another perspective on this theme, read our previous article, The One-Stop Emergency Shopping Challenge.