It has been somewhat hectic around the house lately with it being the holiday season, finals in school, and just a lot of stuff going on. Money being tight due to holiday shopping hasn’t made it any easier either. But just like i said in my last post, don’t let that slow you down. I’ve been able to work out a couple of good deals here and there, one of which got my hands on a new fire-starter.
On the front of the box it advertises that it will be good for about 3000 strikes, with sparks being up to 5400 degrees Fahrenheit. Supposedly designed for the Swedish Defense Department, this little toy works wonderfully. It is pretty common sense on how to use one, but otherwise there is pretty good directions on the back of the box. It notes that you can also use a knife on it, which i tried for fun and it worked even better. I would guess this is due to either the increased length of the blade to make longer contact with the starter, or due to being able to get a better grip on a knife for full even, solid strikes. IT cant e seen in the picture, but there is a safety whistle built into the striker, so you can cross that off your list of extra things to carry.
All in all, I would highly recommend having one of these. They can be had for pretty cheap, I’ve seen them for anywhere from $10-$20, with this particular one costing $12.99 according to the sticker on the box. They are small and useful and will last much longer then any other fire starting method I can think of.
- Light My Fire Swedish FireKnife (gearflogger.typepad.com)
So during one of my regular trips to my local Walmart, I finally came across an item I had been hoping they would be restocking, the SOG Fasthawk tactical axe. here is alink to the manufacturers site: http://www.sogknives.com/f06tn-cp.html. While the site lists the price as $50, I was able to get mine for only $20 at Walmart.
It seems to be very well made. Solid feel to it, no wobble from the head or weak metal used. The handle might be a little small for people with larger hands, but for me personally, I think it feels good. Some people online have said that it can get hard to hold on to if it gets wet or your hands get sweaty. I did not use it vigorously enough to find out, but if that did become a concern, I would recommend just using some Plasti-Dip on the handle. I have used that stuff on a lot of other hand tools and found it works great.
The blade does seem to be very sharp. A good way to check how sharp something is is to see how well it cuts a piece of paper. While its not as sharp as a knife to where you can start the knife on the edge of a piece and it will cut right into it, this edge of the Fasthawk does cut very smoothly and without tearing once it is going. I was able to hold the axe with the blade sitting edge down on a piece of paper and as I pulled the paper out from under it, it cut it perfectly. I could honestly use it to cut wrapping paper for the upcoming holidays if I so desired.
I am no tomahawk thrower, but I did look it up on YouTube and many videos did show it was quite easy to throw and worked well in that use also.
About the only issue I did have with the Fasthawk was the sheath. It opens and closes fine, but the problem is that your supposed to use it to attach it to your belt. The loop is very narrow so it would not work with wider, more hefty belts, usually what I consider to be duty belts. Also, the loop is fixed (no velcro or snaps to take it off) so you have to make sure to plan on wearing the axe for a while because you would have to undo your belt to take it off.
Size wise, it is pretty small. About 12.5″ long, and about 6.5″ across the head. It weighs in at only 19 oz which I would consider to be pretty light. This is probably due to the handle being fiberglass reinforced nylon, and the couple holes in the head to lighten the amount of metal. It would be easy to find space to bring it with your camping gear, or bug out bag. And it would probably be quite useful in both situations.
If you have any other questions about the SOG Fasthawk, just leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer. Or just comment anyways.
So lately I have been discussing prepping with a good friend of mine, and whilst we both like the idea of doing it, we both feel that it is out of our financial reach to do so. Luckily I am a bit more optimistic then him though, and refuse to just give up on it for now. There are many ways that you can always keep up your efforts, even without having cash on hand. So here are a couple thoughts I have to help encourage myself, and hopefully anyone else who may be in the same situation.
1. Network, network, network. Always keep trying to network with like-minded people. You do not have to necessarily go through and tell each other exactly what supplies you have, or where you are going to bug out to, but its good to share ideas and suggestions. Not only will this help you come up with new ideas, but it may also help you find holes in your own plans.
Also, not only ideas can be exchanged. You may find out that you have extra supplies that your new found friend may be in need of, or vice-versa. One of my new coworkers was a corpsmen in Iraq and not only has plenty of knowledge, but also usable things, and he does not mind sharing. Like my most recent freebie:
Yes, its not 100% complete, but it was free, and a darn good help in building my FAK. Also, since he has actually had to perform emergency treatments, I asked him to write me up a list of other supplies for my kit. My assumption is that if he had to use it, then its definitely practical enough.
2. Research your plans. This is very important, especially if you are always tight on funds. Make sure you are spending your limited funds where they need to be spent. I do not know how many hours I will just go through page after page on the internet comparing different products and reading reviews, so that I know when I finally do get around to making that purchase, I know it is a good one. While you are not actually getting anything at that time, your time spent will be worth it when your able to get the most for your money. And I am not saying to go and buy the cheapest product out there, but rather the best for the money.
This can be applied to more then just items too. Say you have a plan with your family on where to meet, take the time to make sure that your plans are feasible and come up with alternates or ways to deal with obstacles. If you have only one plan, your not going to realize the problems with it until it is too late.
3. Practice. It could be practicing different medical procedures, how to use different tools, operating in darkness, or being without power, having all the knowledge in the world will do no good if you do not know how to apply it. I am not saying to go an practice amputating an arm, but more simpler things like using a tourniquet will still seem as complex if you’ve never done it before. A big one I would suggest is practice setting up your shelter. It will at least be a lot easier to learn a new skill while you have some cover.
4. Exercise. Get out and go for a jog, do a couple curls, just about any physical exercise is better then nothing. Do not worry about being able to bench press a few hundred pounds, or squatting the same. A thing I have always noticed is people always seem to neglect stamina training. Being able to lift a 100 pound backpack is very different from having to carry it for a good distance while on the move. I always think of a story my dad used to tell me about when he used to work in a distribution warehouse. There was basically two groups of people there, the big, bulky muscle heads and then the little skinny feather weights. Know who got more work done? The featherweights. The muscle bound hercules wanna-be guys could only load a couple heavy objects onto the pallets before they got tired. While they were taking a break, the little guys are scurrying around like ants to get the job done. It might have taken more then one guy to load a heavy object, but they didn’t have to stop after doing it. I am not saying to stop working hard at the gym, but make sure you can work hard for a long time.
5. Focus on other things. Stressing about not having everything you want right now is not going to solve anything. Get/plan/practice/exercise whatever you can at that time, but then call it quits for the night. You want to be able to keep calm and collected if something does happen. If all your thinking about is what you haven’t gotten ready yet, that is all you will think about when it comes time to act. For example if your house is on fire, if all your thinking about is not having that fire extinguisher you’ve been drooling over, then you may not be thinking about the garden hose that you could be using, or it might delay you simply calling for help.
So I hope all this will give some encouragement in times when it is needed. Sometimes your up, sometimes your down, but that doesn’t mean you are out. There are plenty of things that you can be doing even if you don’t have the extra funds right now. Prepping is a marathon, not a sprint.
So time for my first product review! Something I think everybody needs to have, matches! I recently purchased these at a local outdoor recreation store, but I have seen them at mil surplus stores, and I believe also at superstores like Walmart/Target ect. They cost me around $3 for a pack of three boxes, with 40 matches in each one. Weighing in at a measly 9.41 grams per box, I would say it should be easy to find a reason to keep a few boxes of these available in all locations, your BOB, BOV, BOL, everywhere.
They had no problem lighting. I tested five of them right out of the box and they lit up immediately. I then took 5 more and ran them under the faucet, still no problem lighting the first three. So with the final two I had out and had run under the water, i even dampened the lighting area on the box and tried to light them. Took a couple strikes, but still lit.
I did notice they burned very quickly. I am guessing this is due to the wax coating that is on the matches to waterproof them. I do not feel this is a bad thing though, as it also helped produce a pretty good size flame compared to normal match.
So first off, hello and welcome to my new blog! I am usually not very good at sharing my life with the outside, so hopefully this will help me open up while sharing my experiences while preparing for disaster.
A little about me. Currently I am 25, with an amazing girlfriend (might as well be my wife) and beautiful daughter. I have been working full time since I was 16 and have been, for the most part, independent since moving out at 18. Not only do i still work full time, but I go to school full time and have the family to manage, so I am always very busy. Being pretty stupid when I was younger, I racked up a good amount of debt (what young adult doesn’t anymore?) and saved nothing. Well over the last couple years, especially since my daughters birth, I have realized I need to start being adult, worker, father, and boyfriend/husband. I am still in debt, but have paid down a lot and have started to save when I can. A little more then a year ago is when I decided to go back to school in hopes of being able to better provide for my family.
This is kind of an evolution on that idea. Not only do I need to be able to provide for their lives now, but also for the future. That’s where preparing comes in for me. I want to be ready in case something happens and changes our situation. I want to be ready to cope with unforeseen obstacles that may come our way.
That is one thing I would like to address right off the bat. I am not trying to prepare to survive the end of the world PERIOD! But more along the lines of some drastic change in the way it is, whether on a personal or global level. It could be something as losing a source of income, to a natural disaster, or something more serious such as a state of civil unrest or societal collapse. Terms usually associated with this kind of planning is SHTF (shit hits the fan), or TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it). The second is a bit extreme sounding, but I do not mind it due to the AWKI on the end, as we know it. It makes it usable for any dramatic change, not literally just the end of the world.
In this blog I will share good deals or ideas I come across, maybe review different products I get, and just share about what is going on in my life.