Calling BS on Commercial “Survival” Tools

By Wyzyrd – Editor-at-Large.

Now, I do like my Gerber multi-tools. I have a few, and they’re always close at hand. Multi-taskers are generally a good thing. Sometimes, we must all harken back to the late Robert Heinlein’s words. “If I’m building a rocketship, I won’t bolt a cast iron bathtub to it, just because I have one.” This goes double if I’m getting charged double for the bathtub.

I have recently been besieged by ads for a “prepper-product”, that, while perfectly-useful, just offends my “cheap hillbilly hacker” aesthetic. Not a “left-handed smoke shifter” from my Boy Scout days, but enough to make me say “WTH??” out loud. This is not so much intended as a critique of 1 product as a reminder that you can probably do better if you just look around you. You know best what you need, whether fire, food, first aid, vehicles,etc.

bg tinderbox 2

The “Bear Grylls Tinderbox”. Not at all a bad idea. Our ancestors always carries horn or waxed leather tinderboxes. The inability to make a fire can be the difference between life and death. Waterproof container – good. Shredding blade – good. Magnifying lens – OK. Signal mirror – can be useful. $30+ cost… WTH????

As a Seasoned Citizen Prepper, part of your job is to say “WTH??” and call BS for less-experienced folks. Think outside the box. The box is NEVER your friend.

Take a trip to your local megamart. Pick up a box of zip-top sandwich bags. $2 for 50 – waterproof storage, check. Go to the kitchen aisle, find the cheapest “zester/shredder” – about $8. When you get home, cut it in 1/3s with a hacksaw and file the edges – now you have 3 – check . Go to the art supply aisle, and get 3 metal-body pencil sharpeners for $1.49 each. (plastic ones on the school aisle are $.50 each, but they go ‘crunch’ if you step on them, just sayin’. Stick in a dry twig, twist a few times, instant tinder… maybe a cooking skewer, too.) – an extra.

“But, Wyz..”, you may say, “that one has a signal mirror and a magnifying glass..”.

Go to your local Dollar Store. Pick up 3 cheap makeup mirrors, and 3 eyeglass repair kits for a buck each (you also get a small screwdriver and eyeglass screws, in addition to the magnifier – I go through a lot of these). Don’t need these? Don’t get ’em.

You’re now in at about 15-21 bucks for 3 kits. Don’t ever be afraid to say “WTH??” and do it yourself. YOU know best what you need. Your kits won’t be orange and ‘tacticool’. OOOOPPPPSS, it happens :)

[From Rourke: Totally agree. I have seen tons of examples that you refer to that look all fancy and demand a ridiculous price. There are a few items out there made for the “prepper” that are actually useful and inexpensive.  Hard to see the gold amoungst all the……stuff.]

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