Obsolete Prepping Gear
Dr. John Woods 02.06.17
Technology seems to be advancing so fast these days that many of the pieces of equipment and gear preppers used to take for granted either are or will be obsolete soon. That does not automatically imply some of these items no longer have any usefulness whatsoever. It is just that there are some more modern, cutting edge, efficient, and effective pieces of gear available now. That does not always been better.
Think of electronic gear for example. As soon as you buy a computer it is virtually obsolete within a month. Software is being phased out routinely as it is constantly being replaced by upgrades and new operating systems. When is the last time you saw anybody toting a full sized laptop to work or on travel? Those are already replaced by downsized tablets, folding screens, and all kinds of handheld devices.
Soon, GPSs and related tracking units will be replaced by “Fitsnips” or some device worn on the wrist. In a few years all the sonars and depth finders on boats will be upgraded to tiny units running on solar power. Private aircraft will be able to navigate on new forms of automatic pilots capable of take offs and landings without pilot control.
Think of all the other things lost to obsolesce. When is the last time you saw a typewriter? (A what?) What about a mechanical, magnetic compass? Knives are sharpened by electric motors rotating a sharpening belt not by running a blade across a stone. Extension cords are virtually obsolete for all kinds of saws, lawn equipment, blowers, trimmers, grinders, and drills. These now use rechargeable batteries so they can be cordless. Convenient yes, but not always the most durable or long lasting on the task at hand.
A great many of the old, fully serviceable lever action rifles such as the first Winchester Model 94, 30-30 I bought in college in 1970 have now been basically put back in the gun cabinet by an AR, AK, FN, or some other semi-auto, multi-round magazine fed rifle. Sure the 30-30 still has use, but it is no longer considered a prime choice as a survivalist firearm.
And I’d be the last to want to admit it, too, but the same is happening with a lot of the surefire revolvers in .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .41 and .44 Magnum and the old .45 Colt. These have been sidelined by striker fired, semi-auto pistols in 9mm, 40 Cal, and the .45 ACP. The 1911 has had a comeback that nobody can remember since they brought back the real Coke.
Concealed carry just does not seem to work as well with a Colt SAA or a Ruger Super Redhawk. The Colt Python is a collector’s item as is the “Dirty Harry” Smith Model 29 in .44 Magnum. Working gun shows, I can’t give away a good Charter Arms pocket revolver in .38 Special though its utility is still viable.
Even new women shooters looking for a first handgun for personal defense and home security only look seriously at a mag fed pistol. They pass on the reality that the semi-auto pistols are more complicated to learn to shoot well and to operate simply. I wonder how many end up in night stand drawers by the bed, unloaded and unfired.
Speaking of obsolete, look at how we communicate these days–or don’t. People laugh when they see me with my old flip phone, mainly because I cannot text on it. However, it dials the phone numbers in the directory just fine and I can actually talk to someone. For me that is better than having to carry around a pocket dictionary of texting abbreviations. No, seriously, what will we do when the cell tower grid goes down?
I have a set of perfectly good Midland communication radios or walkie-talkies that I used for years at our bug out camp. My cabin mate had another set, so four of us could talk on the same com channel. Now the other three all text on their I-thingies, and I don’t. I don’t even put fresh batteries in the Midland’s anymore. I’ll eventually have to go the I-thingie route, too.
Even the most modern cutting edge phones are hardly even phones anymore. They are databases, information retrieval systems, text communicators, catalog sites, weather stations, news reports, weather radar, and music devices. When the “bullhorn” tone goes off, it is not someone calling but another text, calendar date notice, or appointment reminder.
Really there is nothing wrong with these technologies replacing old telephones except that we have become far too dependent upon them. Once SHTF hits the vortex blower, immediately everyone shifts into a daze as if their world is over. Real communication skills have become increasingly obsolete as a result. This can impact your prep team.
You can’t even have a meeting at work, a bible lesson, watch a sports event (see the people in the crowd on a televised game or car race) or sit around the campfire at deer camp without phones, pads, pods, or something going off consuming everyone’s every second. And let’s not even go there about the guys driving into camp on their ATVs and before the engine is off, they are doing a selfie and posting it on Facebook. Like the world really cares.
Look at clothing technology. Hundreds of years old tried, true, and tested wool has been virtually replaced by a synthetic fabric spun in a chemical lab. Some work, some are worthless. Those “magic” waterproofing liners only tend to leak at the seams or make you feel clammy inside as you create inside humidity, getting colder by the minute.
What happened to tennis shoes? Yeah, those foot coverings you wore back in gym class in high school. That is if you are over the age of 60 and had a gym class. Now, you have to have “hikers” or mountain boots, Yeti boots, Big Foot sandals, or this or that. Sure they probably offer better ankle and foot support for the long haul even at ten times the cost. Just make sure the seams and soles are sewn on and not glued.
Just keep in perspective though that obsolete does not always mean useless. Again, fully evaluate any piece of gear or equipment you add for your prepping. Don’t throw out that old item just for the newfangled one. That obsolete thing just might save your arse one day.