Sunday, September 17, 2017

Testing Prepper Gear - Two Wins and a Fail

I recently had the opportunity to field test three pieces of my prepper gear. All three pieces of gear are items I purchased and kept in my survival bag (a.k.a. bug-out bag). 

Two of the items worked very well and will remain in my survival bag. The third item proved to be a complete fail, and has been permanently removed from the bag. I also learned a couple of important lessons from this exercise. Here are the results:

Pocket Chainsaw
The Pocket Chainsaw - Worked extremely well. I was able to cut down and cut up a 9+ inch diameter cherry tree with nothing but my pocket chainsaw and my own muscle power. I did learn a few things: 1) A gas-powered chainsaw would have been much easier and faster, of course, but it and a can of gas won't fit in your bug-out  bag. This is a viable alternative. 2) You need to have a lot of strength and stamina to really use this - fitness matters. By the way, using a pocket chainsaw is a GREAT upper body workout! 3) Wear gloves (you should include a pair of work gloves in your bug-out bag anyway). 

The Laplander Folding Saw
The Laplander Folding  Saw - My folding Laplander saw was a smashing success. I used it to saw up a lot of branches between a half-inch and 3-inches thick. It cut up those branches easily. This saw is very sharp and tough!  It definitely earned a permanent spot in my survival bag.  

The Light-weight Hatchet -  Having a light-weight hatchet in your bug-out bag sounds like a good idea, but in reality it proved to be a complete fail. The sharpness of the blade wasn't really an issue - it was decently sharp. Rather, the problem was that this hatchet was simply too light-weight. Without any weight behind it, you simply cannot generate enough force to really cut anything know matter how hard you swing it.  Normal hatchets have a wedge head with the heavy hammer part of the hatchet directly behind the cutting edge, allowing the force of your swing to be multiplied by the weight of the hatchet. By taking away that heavy wedge in order to make the hatchet lighter, it destroys the effectiveness of the hatchet. A complete fail, and I have removed it from my survival bag.

This field test of my prepper gear points out why you should use all your prepper gear before the SHTF. It will both help you learn how to use your gear and help you determine what gear really works and what gear only sounds like a good idea.  So, I am adopting a new slogan - KNOW YOUR GEAR!