October 20, 2023
Affiliate Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. We earn from qualifying purchases.
Man has carried and used gear since he figured out a sharpened stick will help him stay fed. In my mind I see a sharp flake from a fallen rock cutting the foot of a primitive man and the knife was realized! This led to other gear, for hunting, making leather and sewing. Protection from the elements and the ability to start fires when necessary were a huge boost to the advancing technology of man. Bags and pouches to carry gear and tools for a roving life were necessary as two hands could only carry so much. Much has changed since then, but quality gear is still just as important today. Here are 10 items to consider adding to your kit.
I recently made a modified Roycroft pack frame from an oak sapling, using only a knife. What knife? A Victorinox Trekker. This model comes in a few configurations, I chose a straight edge with no serrations and the Phillips bit instead of the corkscrew. The saw is one of the most effective saws of its size I have ever used. It easily cut the oak with little effort. The other tools are a large and small screwdriver, a can opener, an awl that doesn’t have a sewing eye, and the standard toothpick and tweezers. The blade has a cutting edge of three and an eighth inches. The saw is a bit longer at three and a half inches. The one bit of kit that I wish was included on the knife is a nice slim pocket clip that holds the knife secure without impeding its use. Until I find one that suits me I use a bit of cord that goes through the lanyard loop to hang outside of the pocket. This is a very handy tool which can perform variety of useful functions. It is well-designed and nicely made. Highly recommended.
P-38 Can Opener
Love it or hate it, the P-38 can opener is a useful bit of kit which has been around since 1942 in the K and C-rations. Every veteran from World War II until the introduction of the MREs knows what they are and have undoubtedly used them. I still have the one that was issued when I was earning stable duty cleaning up after the elephants as Hannibal crossed the Alps. This is a simple but very effective very small can opener. With it being small it can be kept with you, such as on your keychain, as any vet will attest. The P-38 is a simple device that consists of two pieces, one is a flat rectangular bit with a spurred notch under a bent loop that holds a semi-sharp billhook looking piece that will lay flat. The good ones are made of stainless steel, cheap ones are galvanized and will peel and rust. Using the P-38 is relatively straightforward, you hook the spurred notch into the cans rim with the rectangle at a ninety degree angle. The bill hook’s point is placed onto the can’s surface, then you twist the outer bit pushing the hooked bit through the can’s lid. Then simply slide the P-38 forward and repeat all the way around the top of the can.
Ferrocerium rods have become a go-to for fire starting carried by the survival prepper crowd and it seems everyone has their own brand. Survival Cord has married a wax infused hemp fire rope to a ferrocerium rod via an aluminum holder made to hold both. The ferrocerium rod is glued into a groove cut into the aluminum chassis which has a hole bored down the length for the fire cord. A scraper that is curved to fit over the ferrocerium rod when carried has a sharp edge and a toothed end. The sharp edge is for scraping the ferrocerium rod and the toothed end works well to open up the fire rope to better catch the sparks. Once ignited the rope will burn up to three hours with one quarter of an inch exposed. That would be enough time to get even a stubborn fire going.
UCO Rechargeable Arc Lighter and Flashlight
Fire is essential to surviving in most rough conditions as Murphy is rarely kind enough to throw you a bad day with perfect conditions. UCO (Utility, Comfort and Originality) is not the first to do a plasma lighter incorporated into the butt of a flashlight, and like the others it works well with a 1400 degree F ignition point. It provides efficient, simple to use and windproof ignition of your fire starting material. It has a 340 mAh Lithium Polymer battery that powers the plasma lighter and flashlight and is rechargeable with a micro USB cord. The plasma lighter under the flip-up buttcap does its arc magic by simply pressing the single control button. Close the buttcap and hit the button and the light kicks on. It has three settings: High, Low, and an Emergency Flasher. On high the output is 100 lumens, while not the brightest light on the market I find it is more than adequate for most of my mundane tasks.
Dragoon Unlimited Zippered Poncho Liner
Ask any Veteran what their favorite bit of kit was, and you will likely hear about the poncho liner. I know when Hannibal was issuing kit back in the day I fell in love with mine. One of the modifications you could get at the local tailors was a zipper sewn in which allowed it to be used as a sleeping bag. I never did do this to mine, as it was rather pricey but I never forgot about it either. Last year I ran across a zippered poncho liner that intrigued me so I bought one for testing. It came in nicely rolled and in a stuff sack, I ordered it in Woodland camo as I like that pattern. The liner measures out at 84 by 60 inches with a long zipper around three sides to make it into a light bag. It has another half semi-circle zipper for the head to go through, which is handy if it is tied into a poncho. Included is a head pad that rolls up with the liner and fits into the stuff sack. This is a nice addition and it is made from the same ripstop poly with a poly fill. Overall this poncho liner is a nice two pound addition to any kit.
Klarus EDC Mi2 Light
Small Keychain lights are an out of the way EDC carry that you will be more likely to have on you when you need it. The Klarus EDC Mi2 light is a handy compact keychain LED light. This has a rechargeable 120 mAh polymer battery and it uses a micro USB cable for charging. This gives it a runtime between 1 and 24 hours, as the output is infinitely variable between 1.5 to 40 lumens. One and a half lumens don’t seem like much until its bottom of a mine shaft dark, then it’s a beacon. I’ve heard it called a moonlight setting. Click the power button once for Low (1.5 lumens), double click it for High (40 lumens) or press and hold to adjust anywhere between 1.5 and 40 lumens. At only .32 ounce and at just 2.1x1x.38 inches it’s small and light, so you will not notice you have it until you need it. This is a very handy back-up light. It’s bright enough to be useful, small and light enough to always have it with you, it’s tough and reliable and easy to recharge. Better still it’s inexpensive at only $11.95.
SOG Poweraccess Deluxe
Multi-tool pliers have been a common EDC carry for many years. The ones I have used for decades are the SOG Power pliers. The head on this model is gear driven and doubles the input power on the bitey end. My latest buy is a SOG Poweraccess Deluxe which comes with a Cordura sheath that has a compartment for a bit holder and hex bits. The ability for it to be able to use bits and ¼-inch drive sockets greatly increases the versatility of this tool. True to multi-tools this has multiple tools stored in the handles that fold out and lock in place as needed. All the handle tools can be accessed without having to open the pliers. The folding tools include an aggressive saw, a straight knife blade, a serrated blade, a large flat screwdriver, an awl with sewing eye, the ¼ socket driver, a tiny flat screwdriver, a medium flat screwdriver with a bottle opener, a Phillips head driver, a can opener, a file, and a lanyard ring. Most of the tools I like to have and normally use are included on this model. I just wish it came in Titanium.
Fallkniven CC4 sharpener
Keeping your tools sharp is important in any aspect of usage. Sharp tools require less force to cut and are generally considered safer. I like that a sharp tool allows me to work better and easier. Some methods of sharpening blades have been carried since the invention of the cutting edge. The Vikings carried a stone tied to their belt. I usually have a stone close by, and the one I find I use most often is the Fallkniven CC4. This is a bi-material stone consisting of a ceramic stone married to a ceramic sapphire stone. I use the ceramic side for edge touch up. The coarser grey side I employ for really dull edges or for sharpening field machetes.
The medieval pricker was a useful all in one multi-tool. It is essentially a sharpened spike of iron or steel that was used as an awl, fork of sorts, drill, digger and even an improvised weapon. It was a simple tool that had many uses back then. In the same vein is Grimfrost’s Viking Eating Picker. Made from iron it measures 6.3 inches in length and has a pointed tip. It can be used for eating in place of a fork, and whatever else you can come up with. I made a sheath for mine, as it helps to keep me from accidentally driving it into myself. One evening at work I had a skinny jar of garlic stuffed olives and I forgot my fork. What to do? I retrieved the Grimfrost Picker from my car, problem solved and it reached the bottom. I’ve used it for a variety of tasks such as drilling holes in wooden toggles I had made. A simple tool that has multiple uses always has a place in my pack.
Flexcut Carvin’ Jack 2.0
This is a folding pocket knife sized woodcarving tool that many people overlook. It has six folding blades with the classic carving edges: the Chisel, Carving knife, Hook knife, V-Scorp, Gouge Scorp, and a Straight Gouge. This knife is made to be used dominant hand specific so be aware when you buy one. I’ve used mine quite a lot over the years. The square handle does not look like it’s a joy to use but I found it has a good feel in many different methods of holding. In my kit I keep this handy as it’s a great tool for making camp tools like spoon and bowls. The Flexcut come with a strop that fits the shapes of the blades, but mine is long gone. In its place I’ve learned to use the ceramic stones.
The articles was originally published in Be Ready! Magazine. You can find an original copy at OSGnewsstand.com. If you have any thoughts or comments on this article, we’d love to hear them. Email us at FirearmsNews@Outdoorsg.com.