Five Overrated Survival Gear Items
Kevin Felts 04.18.17
When it comes to survival gear, there is a plethora of options on the market. Go to Amazon and do a search for survival gear. The results will be staggering.
A lot of enthusiasm in survival came about after the Rambo movie First Blood. Rambo had his hollow handle knife where he carried a basic survival kit. He killed a wild pig and cooked it over a fire made with matches that were kept in the knife.
Young men such as myself (I was 14 years old when First Blood was released), idolized the self-reliance that Rambo portrayed in the movie.
What happened next? Using the popularity of First Blood companies marketed items as essential for wilderness survival.
Over the past 35 years I bought and tried to use a lot of cheap survival gear. This article is based on my experiences.
Magnesium Fire Starter
The most frustrating and useless way to start a fire is with a magnesium fire starter. The Rambo survival knife I bought in the mid-1980s came with a sharpening stone. The stone was replaced with a magnesium fire starter. The logic was, I would always be able to start a fire.
Close to 30 years later, I can count on one hand the number of fires I made with a magnesium fire starter.
The magnesium shavings are so fine and small they scatter at the slightest movement. Then they have to be put together and hit with a spark. Be careful not to strike the flint too hard, or you might hit the leaf with the knife. If that happens, the shavings will go everywhere and you have to start all over again.
Survival Bracelet With Compass
If you are going somewhere you need a compass, bring a compass.
If you are going to need cord, bring cord.
We all should know the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Someone would be better served by wearing a watch and knowing basic navigation skills than wearing a survival bracelet with compass.
News flash, lighters replaced matches a long time ago.
Replace the waterproof matches with something like a pocket torch butane lighter or even an old fashioned Bic lighter.
If you must have waterproof matches, make them yourself by dipping strike anywhere matches in fingernail polish or wax. I was making waterproof matches myself back in 1984 by using kitchen matches.
Every wire saw I have ever used broke after just a few minutes. In over 35 years, I never found a situation where I said, “I wish I had a wire saw.”
A folding hand saw or machete has been able to handle everything I need around the campsite.
Hollow Handle Survival Knife
The design does not allow for the blade to extend all the way through the handle, which is called a full tang. Where the blade attaches to the handle is a weak point that could result in the blade breaking from the handle.
The hollow handle is too small to carry anything but some matches, fishing line, and a couple of hooks.
In all honesty, the only thing I carried in the handle of my survival knife was matches. A buddy of mine put kerosene in the handle of his knife, then used the kerosene to help start a fire.
Overrated Survival Gear
What items do you feel are overrated?
Maybe you bought something that looked great, but did not live up to the hype?