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Improvise Adapt Overcome!
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Ok, there are a lot of cheap Chinese knock offs of good gear out there. In a SHTF scenario we need to be able to really trust our gear, so going for the best deal is not allways the brightest idea. For these things we really have to bite the bullet and buy from good, trusted and reliable sources.

What gear in particular is too essential to take a chance on?

Here is my list:

1. Your knife. I suggest getting it form a known source, with a good reputation. There are too many Chinese knockoffs out there. For example, that KABAR you just got for $12.00 from dirt cheap.com? it's gonna break when you need it most...it's not a real KA BAR.

2. Get a good back pack. Military packs are best if you are looking to save money, but don't get a $24.00 pack and expect it will work as good as the $80.00 name brand one that it looks like. It's gonna rip and dump all your gear when you are under fire or really counting on it.

3. Get a GOOD tent. Last thing you want is your cheapo to be full of holes and leaks when a storm comes up...or in my last case a drizzle....

4. Get a GOOD sleeping bag. I recommend Wiggy's bags personally, but there are other good ones as well.

5. Good footwear. A new pair of comfey Rebocks is way better than cheap army boot look alikes.

6. A good compass

7. Good fire starting supplies. A fire steel, magnesium block, anything but a bic lighter or zipppo that will fail when you need it.

Anyway, that is my basic list, what is yours?
 

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I agree with the point, but most of this stuff can still be had 'cheaply' is terms of cost. Just don't go cheap on quality. I assume that's what you meant.

I also don't know why people hate on lighters. I have NEVER had new lighter fail on me. In fact, I have never had a lighter fail for any reason other than being empty. I have had matches fail many times, for a whole host of reasons. I have and recommend having both, but i don't understand the problem people have with lighters. It seems to be an elitist or purist thing to me.
 

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I'd ditto that list :thumb: and add water treatment & cold weather clothes.
I carry bic lighters but wrap a rubber band around it to keep it from
draining out while in my pack and my mag bar is a back up.
 

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Hi Royal Dragon


You included........

6. A good compass



What direction does a cheap compass point?
most cheap stuff does the same job, at least for a little while. But usually it breaks much much sooner or effectiveness degrades quickly, or accuracy is sacrificed.

Cheapers knives may rust, not hold an edge, or even break
cheap compasses may stick, lack useful features, or be fragile.
Etc
 

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Improvise Adapt Overcome!
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Discussion Starter #8
Breakage is a big issue with knives. The cheap ones are generally made with lower grade steels, and over heat treated to force them to hold an edge...which makes them brittle...very brittle.
 

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How's it with stains?
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Good list...I'd have to add practice to it though. All the quality equipment in the world does you no good if you're not comfortable with it nor know how to use it. Practice makes perfect and we really have to put serious time and effort into using anything we have in order for it to work well when we need it to. It'll take more work on different items depending on the individual but regardless, we all need training...especially considering the soft culture/society we live in these days.
 

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Ok, there are a lot of cheap Chinese knock offs of good gear out there. In a SHTF scenario we need to be able to really trust our gear, so going for the best deal is not allways the brightest idea. For these things we really have to bite the bullet and buy from good, trusted and reliable sources.

What gear in particular is too essential to take a chance on?

Here is my list:

1. Your knife. I suggest getting it form a known source, with a good reputation. There are too many Chinese knockoffs out there. For example, that KABAR you just got for $12.00 from dirt cheap.com? it's gonna break when you need it most...it's not a real KA BAR.

2. Get a good back pack. Military packs are best if you are looking to save money, but don't get a $24.00 pack and expect it will work as good as the $80.00 name brand one that it looks like. It's gonna rip and dump all your gear when you are under fire or really counting on it.

3. Get a GOOD tent. Last thing you want is your cheapo to be full of holes and leaks when a storm comes up...or in my last case a drizzle....

4. Get a GOOD sleeping bag. I recommend Wiggy's bags personally, but there are other good ones as well.

5. Good footwear. A new pair of comfey Rebocks is way better than cheap army boot look alikes.

6. A good compass

7. Good fire starting supplies. A fire steel, magnesium block, anything but a bic lighter or zipppo that will fail when you need it.

Anyway, that is my basic list, what is yours?

1. For sure you need a good knife. But that doesnt mean you must spend $100 or more for it to be good. You can buy a good quality knife which you can beat the hell out of for $20 if you understand what your looking for. Most people I find, do not. Also, understand that 1 knife is not a do everything knife. No one knife is built to do everything comfortably and well, if at all.

2,3, &4. Backpacks, sleeping bags & tents - Make sure to match up your gear for how you will be using it, and the climate you are in or are likely to be in. And regardless if you buy "cheap" or "expensive" gear, non of it is worth a damn if you dont take care of it and clean it, and know how to use it to its maximum effect. Dont be shy to read the owners manuals on proper care and maintanence, you paid for those instructions after all, use them.

5. Shoes, I agree, but keep in mind a comfy pair of reeboks wont be comfy after 2 months in the woods. I suggest a good rugged pair of all around boots for rough use such as long hikes, hunting, out in the mud and rain, and a good pair of whatever for more casual, all the time wear. Keep both of them clean and well maintained, dont let mud stay caked to them, dry them out if possible after they get wet. And for the love of cheesecake, break them in so they dont tear your feet up when you need them most, especially your boots. Having extra insoles, shoe laces on hand is a good idea, not to mention a simple shoe repair kit. Gutted 550 cord makes very durable shoe/ boot laces, plus can be used in emergencies.

6. Couldnt agree more, but no how to use the piece of equipment please. I also wouldnt rely on only 1. I suggest 1 really good compass, and at least 2 other little stand by compasses which you can keep on you and have for light use.

7. Fire starting stuff - good advice. Bics are the best hands down if you keep them dry. Keep them in zip lock bags. 1 mini bic can start hundreds of fires, and is easier to keep than matches. But as the OP pointed out you cant rely on only a bic, nor should you only have 1 source to start a fire. I personally like magnesium fire starters, but what ever you choose, again make sure you can use it in a wet, cold, dark, situation and carrying some light weight easy to use tinder is well advised as well. Hundreds of threads on all of that stuff.

8. I'll also add 550 cord to the list and a nice tarp of some sort. So many uses from those items alone you could write a book. Nails are also so often over looked and can be used for so many wonderful things if your out in the woods. I dont mean a box or anything, but 5 or 6 are light weight can can be your best friend.
 

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Don't forget the .45
Which you also don't want to go cheap on ;)

As mentioned, cheap in price doesn't always mean cheap in quality. Knives for example. A Mora (fixed blade) or Opinel (folder) are excellent knives that you can beat the heck out of and will last forever, and either can be had for around $10-15.
 

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Improvise Adapt Overcome!
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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)

5. Shoes, I agree, but keep in mind a comfy pair of reeboks wont be comfy after 2 months in the woods. I suggest a good rugged pair of all around boots for rough use such as long hikes, hunting, out in the mud and rain, and a good pair of whatever for more casual, all the time wear. Keep both of them clean and well maintained, dont let mud stay caked to them, dry them out if possible after they get wet. And for the love of cheesecake, break them in so they dont tear your feet up when you need them most, especially your boots. Having extra insoles, shoe laces on hand is a good idea, not to mention a simple shoe repair kit. Gutted 550 cord makes very durable shoe/ boot laces, plus can be used in emergencie
s.

Reply]
I have done extensive local hiking, and camped at Starved Rock state park for weeks at a time during my life. I have to say, hands down gymshoes are much better than boots. I have been keeping my old ones to hike in rather than throw them out when I get new ones. have never had blisters, or had to prepare for foot related care, like packing mole skin and such. The Rebocks I have now have actually seen years worth of hiking, and are just as comfy now, as ever. This is after being mud caked, soaked, walked dry etc...for years after thier civilian use had been out grown.

Most people wear gymshoes all the time because they are comfortable.

also, they breath and can be walked dry in wetter conditions, so that helps eliminate foot fungus and such. Boots are breeding grounds for fungus and blistering infections.

My Dad was a boyscout leader. He had a group on a hike once. One of the kids had a pair of boots that caused really bad blisters on his feet. In order to hike the kid out my Dad had to cut the toes out of the boots. I have had boots myself, ones that were well broke n, and had problems on hikes with blistering and such. When I was young, my friends and i would go on hiking/camping trips around our area. Over the campfire we would all sit there and discuss various foot care methods for use with our hiking boots.

Since I adopted wearing moccasins, I noticed that those conversations, and issues never arised. Seeing the vast superiority of moccasins, I later realized gymshoes were just over grown moccasins,so I started wearing them on hikes, and never had another foot issue again.

You couldn't pay me to wear boots on a hike now.
 

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Improvise Adapt Overcome!
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Discussion Starter #14
Which you also don't want to go cheap on ;)

As mentioned, cheap in price doesn't always mean cheap in quality. Knives for example. A Mora (fixed blade) or Opinel (folder) are excellent knives that you can beat the heck out of and will last forever, and either can be had for around $10-15.
Reply]
Agreed. My point though, is when you have a KA-BAR that normally goes for $54.00, is available for $12.00, brand new in the box. It's not Ka bar, but a cheap Chinese knock off that will break when you need it.
 

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5. Shoes, I agree, but keep in mind a comfy pair of reeboks wont be comfy after 2 months in the woods. I suggest a good rugged pair of all around boots for rough use such as long hikes, hunting, out in the mud and rain, and a good pair of whatever for more casual, all the time wear. Keep both of them clean and well maintained, dont let mud stay caked to them, dry them out if possible after they get wet. And for the love of cheesecake, break them in so they dont tear your feet up when you need them most, especially your boots. Having extra insoles, shoe laces on hand is a good idea, not to mention a simple shoe repair kit. Gutted 550 cord makes very durable shoe/ boot laces, plus can be used in emergencie
s.

Reply]
I have done extensive local hiking, and camped at Starved Rock state park for weeks at a time during my life. I have to say, hands down gymshoes are much better than boots. I have been keeping my old ones to hike in rather than throw them out when I get new ones. have never had blisters, or had to prepare for foot related care, like packing mole skin and such. The Rebocks I have now have actually seen years worth of hiking, and are just as comfy now, as ever. This is after being mud caked, soaked, walked dry etc...for years after thier civilian use had been out grown.

Most people wear gymshoes all the time because they are comfortable.

also, they breath and can be walked dry in wetter conditions, so that helps eliminate foot fungus and such. Boots are breeding grounds for fungus and blistering infections.

My Dad was a boyscout leader. He had a group on a hike once. One of the kids had a pair of boots that caused really bad blisters on his feet. In order to hike the kid out my Dad had to cut the toes out of the boots. I have had boots myself, ones that were well broke n, and had problems on hikes with blistering and such. When I was young, my friends and i would go on hiking/camping trips around our area. Over the campfire we would all sit there and discuss various foot care methods for use with our hiking boots.

Since I adopted wearing moccasins, I noticed that those conversations, and issues never arised. Seeing the vast superiority of moccasins, I later realized gymshoes were just over grown moccasins,so I started wearing them on hikes, and never had another foot issue again.

You couldn't pay me to wear boots on a hike now.
Thats funny, I guess to each their own because my experiences over the years have always been the exact opposite. I never heard of someone with a decent quality boot who actually had them broke in give them blisters, however tennis shoes have been known for years to be a mistake when people take them out for long hikes.

I am glad your reeboks have held up for you as they have, I have never had so much luck with tennis shoes. If a pair of tennis shoes last me 2 to 3 years of just normal wear, I feel like I have gotten some value out of them, let alone using them for any length of time out doors in any capacity. My jungle boots I was issues back in 93 however are still the most comfortable shoes I can wear and still holding up. Albiet I have had them resoled 1 or 2 times over the years.

I also like boots for breaking bush in really thick woods. More protection along the lower leg and ankle. I have a pair of "snake proof" boots I wear often while hunting out in Louisiana, where we have alot of poisonous snakes and they offer me protection that tennis shoes simply can not. Unless I wanted my feet soaking wet all the time, and vulnerable to thorns and no snake protection at all I wouldnt dare wear tennis in the woods down here. Other areas I have been in, sure I can see it. Decent hiking boots amongst other boots can also offer you some ankle protection in rough terrain where you may roll an ankle as well.

I have never had any foot issues what so ever at all with any boot or tennis shoe for that matter other than when I choose to break them and have gotten blisters. So I am fortunate in that matter I suppose.

But I do take care of my feet when I am out for any length of time as well. Normally have foot powder, and always extra pairs of dry socks.:thumb:
 

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Hi Royal Dragon


You included........

6. A good compass



What direction does a cheap compass point?
I'll tell ya I was in the £1 the other day just browsing and I came across some compasses, who knew North was in 5 different directions :eek: 5 compasses pointed in different directions.

Royal Dragon, I'll agree to a point with what you've said to a point. The point being I dont see people living outdoors day in day out hefting
around "branded" goods.

That said 2 things I go out my way for quality wise are boots and my choice of knife, everything else is easy enough to make do, improvise or just plain make myself.

Boots need to be fitted correctly, or else you'll suffer, I prefer highlegs for both ankle support and comfort.

Knives are VERY much a matter of personal choice I know of very few people this side of the pond who prefer a khukri over a "normal" bushcraft style of knife.
 

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1. Knives- One just wont cut it. I have a A2 survival best knife I own. Im not gonna use it to dig a hole thats what the cheapo is for.

2. Screw the .45 get a rifle. Ive been in 4 live gunfights in Iraq yet to see anyone except 1 dead insurgent use a pistol. Go with a M-4 bushmaster or colt. If you like Ak's get a damn Arsenal Ak not a cheapo that cant hit crap past 80 yards.

3. Backpack- As stated get Day Assault Packs. They look more civilian and no camo plz get black if you must. Alice Packs are ok they are getting cheaper by the year though.

4. Water Filter- Get a top of the line one here. If its not 100 dollars dont buy it.

5. Sleeping bag/Tent- Get Season 3-4 here that covers the cold weather which is a killer in the field.

6.Magnesium starter nuff said.

7.Rope Rope and more Rope para. I suggest 500ft worth but there is always room for more.

8.Mess Kit- Nothing worse than a rusty ass mess kit. Get swedish there the best Ive used for the money.

9.Boots/Shoes- I prefer oakley Assault shoes for the special forces. They are rugged like a boot but easier on the feet.

10.Friends- Get some quality usefull ones. They dont have to be survival nuts like us. Just good honest ppl you can rely on in a crises. The lone survivalists is a dead survivalist.
 

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I Love Guns
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one thing i never go cheap on is a sleeping bag...u can get a good sleeping bag for around 100$..well worth every penny next is a tent...cheap teats are ok if u know howto take care of it and seal the seams...all tents leak in time i say get a tarp and a hammock but thats me ...footware is one of those things that u get what u pay for ...so don't go cheap ...guns...again u get what u pay for...me i got for quality over quantity ...
 

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I like K-bars, PAL WW2 issue, and older Bucks. Check e-Bay for some deals. The Buck 119 is a Bowie style and will work very well for hunting as well as shtf situations. If you shop these can be had for under $50.
 

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1. Knives- One just wont cut it. I have a A2 survival best knife I own. Im not gonna use it to dig a hole thats what the cheapo is for.

2. Screw the .45 get a rifle. Ive been in 4 live gunfights in Iraq yet to see anyone except 1 dead insurgent use a pistol. Go with a M-4 bushmaster or colt. If you like Ak's get a damn Arsenal Ak not a cheapo that cant hit crap past 80 yards.

3. Backpack- As stated get Day Assault Packs. They look more civilian and no camo plz get black if you must. Alice Packs are ok they are getting cheaper by the year though.

4. Water Filter- Get a top of the line one here. If its not 100 dollars dont buy it.

5. Sleeping bag/Tent- Get Season 3-4 here that covers the cold weather which is a killer in the field.

6.Magnesium starter nuff said.

7.Rope Rope and more Rope para. I suggest 500ft worth but there is always room for more.

8.Mess Kit- Nothing worse than a rusty ass mess kit. Get swedish there the best Ive used for the money.

9.Boots/Shoes- I prefer oakley Assault shoes for the special forces. They are rugged like a boot but easier on the feet.

10.Friends- Get some quality usefull ones. They dont have to be survival nuts like us. Just good honest ppl you can rely on in a crises. The lone survivalists is a dead survivalist.
Bdog---

I have a Rock River M4. However, I don't think of it as the one I would take with me if needed; my 10/22 and 590 12ga are on that list. I might need some schooling though.

I've never been in the field, so I go by your advice on this one... Wouldn’t an M4/AR be a little too high maintenance in a survival environment? How well do they hold up when they can't be cleaned frequently? Or is that just a misnomer?

I would love to take my M4, I was just always under the assumption that it requires too frequent of attention to function properly in a survival mode; time and resources beyond what one my have access to.
 
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