Survival and Bushcraft Knives

As a seller of outdoor survival gear I setup at a lot of outdoor shows and gun shows as a vendor. It never fails; most people will buy cheaply made gear over quality made gear, even if their life may depend on it, when it comes to cost. I see this at every show I‘m at. I sell good quality survival and bushcraft knives and then I have to carry cheap china made knockoffs that I wouldn’t trust my life with, but at least ¾ of my knife sales come from the cheap knives. I understand people want to save money somewhere but a knife is a very important tool for survival and you don’t want one that is going to fail you when you need it most. I carry multiple pocket knives and a couple of them are cheap pocket knives but I always have one good quality knife with me at all times if possible.

Before you just go to the store or knife show and find yourself staring at knives trying to pick one out to buy without even knowing what you want in the knife or what your intentions are for it, figure out ahead of time what your purpose is for this knife and what characteristics you want this knife to have. It’s never a good idea to buy survival or bushcraft tools spontaneously. You will most likely regret it and you’ll probably end up with a tool or item that doesn’t quite fit your needs. Below are a few examples of some things you should answer before purchasing a survival or bushcraft knife.

Answer These before Going to Buy a Knife

• What is your intended use for the knife?
• How much use will it get?
• Is it a backup knife or your main survival or bushcraft knife?
• Do you want a high carbon steel or stainless steel blade?
• How long do you want the blade and handle to be?
• How thick would you like the steel to be?
• What material would you prefer the handle be made out of?
• Do you want a good hefty knife?
• What kind of grind do you prefer the knife have?
• Do you want serrations on the knife?

Questions to Ask Well Looking at Knives

• Is it comfortable in your hand?
• Is the knife to long or to short?
• Will the knife slip out of your hand if the handle gets wet?
• Is it full tang?
• Where was the knife made?
• Does the knife look and feel durable?
• Does the knife have a good quality and durable sheath?
• Will the knife easily fall out of the sheath or does it lock in?
• Is the sheath to bulky that you won’t wear or use it?

These are just some sample questions that you should ask yourself before and well you are buying a knife. There are a lot of good quality custom knife makers out there, so you can custom make a knife to fit what you want. You can have a custom knife made at a very reasonable price if you look around online. There are also some quality knife companies that have decently priced survival and bushcraft knives available. Tops, Mora, Condor, Bushcraft Northwest, Blind Horse Knives, Esee, Falkniven and Gerber (only the U.S. made knives) all make great survival and bushcraft knives and some of them are very reasonably priced. Mora is a great entry knife into bushcraft and they are very inexpensive. They are made in Sweden.

Personally I try to buy knives that range from $30-$200, maybe even up to $300. I’m afraid that if I spend much more than that, I’ll be afraid to actually use the knife for its intended purpose. You can also, if you have the equipment, toy around with making your own knives. There are a lot of YouTube videos available to help you make your own knife.
My point in all this is to say that when it comes to a knife or any other survival tool that is going to take a lot of abuse and that your life may at some point depend on, it is not worth saving a little bit of money well sacrificing quality and durability. A better quality knife will last you much longer in the end. What knife do you carry for survival or bushcraft purposes? How much did you pay for your knife or are willing to pay for a quality made survival or bushcraft knife?

BLOG Update 4/09/14

I have to apologize for the lack of blog posts lately. Now that the weather is getting warmer it will become much harder to keep the blog posts coming regularly. I will try my best to add 3-4 new posts per week but that may end up being a bit less once in a while. It is not because of lack of desire at all. I enjoy writing posts and sharing what survival tricks I have learned as well as learning from others responses. With the coming of spring it brings warmer weather, it also means outdoor shows, gun shows and craft shows. I find myself in a very busy season as I just finished a show this past weekend and will be set up at a gun show this coming weekend as well with more shows to follow.

My 550 para cord products sell very quickly at these shows, which means I am very busy at work making more for the next show and each consecutive show as well. I am not complaining by any means. I am thankful that people love my hand made and American made products enough to pay for them; it just means less time for other things.

Of course with the warmer weather it also means time spent hiking, backpacking, camping and kayaking as well. So as you can see, between the outdoor activities and shows I can become very busy, as we all do this time of year. Then there’s the wife’s list of things needing to be done around the house. So as we all do, I’ll try fitting as much as I can into these warmer seasons and my blog might suffer a little bit. Again I appreciate all of you that chose to follow my blog because you find it valuable. Without you there would be no reason to bother writing or typing, I guess I should say. I will do my best to keep the quality blog posts coming, in between all the craziness of life.

On a side note we just received a shipment of RIBZ Wear front packs in. We have added two new colors to our inventory as well as some new sizes, so hop on over to our website and grab the one you want before they sell out again. They do seem to go quickly. As far as I am aware of, everything we sell is in stock right at this moment. If you are in need of any custom para cord work feel free to email me. We do custom projects frequently.

I am toying around with the idea of offering complete customizable emergency/bug out bags on our website. Let me know if this would be of interest to anybody. I don’t want to waste my time if people aren’t interested. Thanks in advance for your input. So what crazy plans do you have for this spring and summer? Are you going to take that big hike that you have been dreaming of, climb that impossible looking rock face or take that long boat/camping trip? Thanks again for your support and hay maybe we will run into each other enjoying the beauty and peacefulness of nature.

Survival Bracelets

With all the popularity over “survival bracelets” the past couple years, I wanted to draw your attention to some survival bracelets that are made of much more than just cordage. Each bracelet is built and hand tied by us here at Armstrong Survival Gear LLC (family owned and operated). All of our cord is American made and weight tested. We try to put only quality parts into our products and we make changes periodically to better our products not to cut costs at the expense of customers.

Each of these bracelets was designed by me to help cover different needs that people would have based on their survival situation and level of expertise. Some people desire to carry and rely on as little gear as possible and others want to carry and rely on as much gear as possible. So I designed different bracelets for each of these types of people. From our base model the Fire Bracelet, which is very basic, to our Explorer Bracelet which has everything you could want in a survival kit you can wear on your wrist.

We have four models of survival bracelets. They are the Fire Bracelet, the Beaver Bracelet, the Minimalist Bracelet and the Explorer Bracelet. Each model contains different products that will help aid you if you ever find yourself in a survival situation. Here is information as well as specs for each model of bracelet.

 

Fire Bracelet

You’ll have everything you need to get a fire started; fire steel, a striker, tinder and paracord for making a bow drill. We’ve got your back!
Contains:
• 550 Paracord
• Whistle Buckle
• P-38 Can Opener
• Fire Toggle
• 2’ Jute
*optional quick tinder with ranger band

 

Beaver Bracelet

This bracelet will give you the help you need to build a shelter or to start a fire. We’ve got your back!
Contains:
• 550 Paracord
• Whistle Buckle
• P-38 Can Opener
• Fire Toggle
• Ranger Bands
• Compass
• Wire Saw
*optional quick tinder with ranger band

 

Minimalist Bracelet

Here is a simple bracelet to take care of some basic needs of survival, from starting a fire to being able to fish for some food. We’ve got your back!
Contains:
• 550 Paracord
• Whistle Buckle
• P-38 Can Opener
• Fire Toggle
• Ranger Bands
• Compass
• 30’ 50lb braided fishing line (won’t be a tangled mess)
• 2 #8 hooks
• 2 weights
• 2 swivels
*optional quick tinder with ranger band

 

Explorer Bracelet

Explore the great outdoors with peace, knowing you have the very best survival bracelet available. We’ve got your back!
Contains:
• 550 Paracord
• Whistle Buckle
• P-38 Can Opener
• Fire Toggle
• Ranger Bands
• Compass
• 2’ Jute Twine
• 18” Snare Wire
• Wire Saw
• 30’ 50lb braided fishing line (won’t be a tangled mess)
• 2 #8 hooks
• 2 weights
• 2 swivels
• 18” 45lb lead
• Dry Fly
• Bobber
• 2 safety pins
*optional quick tinder with ranger band
Here is the link if you would like to check out any of our bracelets: http://armstrongsurvivalgear.com/category/survival-bracelets/

 
My goal in creating these survival bracelets was to better something that many people were already wearing anyways. Why not better your chance of survival by wearing a bracelet that contains many aids for survival instead of one that only carries cordage? I like all my gear to be as versatile and multi functional as possible, thus the reason I designed these bracelets. These bracelets can be worn daily, thrown in an emergency bag, clipped to your backpack or clipped to your belt loop for easy access. If you are an avid outdoorsman, outdoors women or are just preparing for a possible emergency, these survival bracelets may be of interest to you. Do you wear a 550 para cord bracelet already? What limitations or capabilities does your current bracelet have?

One side note:

Our bracelets do not carry anything for water purification other than purifying water over the fire that these bracelets can help you start. I was going to include water purification tabs when I first designed these survival bracelets but the purification tabs do expire and I didn’t want people to rely on something that may not be any good when they need it most. What I would recommend doing if you order one of our bracelets is to get some Aquamira purification tabs and slip one or two tabs in their packaging underneath one of the ranger bands. This way you will have easy access to the tablets and you can change them out periodically as they expire.

Quick Tip #6

Carry some moonshine, everclear or any grain alcohol that is 80 proof or higher, in your emergency bag, bug out bag or in any pack you may use for the outdoors. You can use the alcohol to start a fire by soaking some tinder in it. This will also help if you are dealing with wet tinder. You can use the alcohol as the base for many herbal remedies. If you lack any other type of antiseptic, you can pour or dab some of the alcohol onto the wound. You can use the alcohol as a mouth wash as well. In a survival situation it is not recommended to drink the alcohol because it is only going to dehydrate you (but hay that’s up to you). You can also soak some rags in the alcohol and wrap them around sticks to make torches to be used at night for light or personal protection. There are many survival uses for high proof alcohol which is what makes it a great survival tool to add to anyone’s kit, as long as they are over 21.

Ultimate Survival Kit

I don’t want to state that this is a review of the Ultimate Survival Kit simply because I designed it and would of course be biased in the reviewing of it. So think of this as more of an informational piece letting you know that this kit exists.

A few years ago I set out to try to buy a survival kit that had everything I needed it to have, was compact and light, not half full of useless junk and had good quality items in it. What I found in searching around online and at local stores was that either survival kits were incomplete, half full of useless junk that I wouldn’t trust with my life (to keep the price down) or highly overpriced for an incomplete kit. Because of this, I decided to put my own kit together that incorporated products that were the best on the market, a kit that is very versatile, reasonably priced and full of things I would trust with my life. So the Ultimate Kit was born.

The first thing I decided right away was that I wanted everything to fit inside an Otterbox. These cases are awesome and help make the kit very versatile. They float, are water proof and are crush proof. What better case to use for a survival kit that you need to trust with your life! Next, I decided that I wanted a couple of options for starting fires as well as some tinder, a signaling device, an emergency blanket, a good quality pocket knife, an emergency fishing kit, a compass, a small saw, a light, an emergency whistle and some way of filtering or purifying water.

So I sat down and scoured the internet, read a lot of reviews, tested different items out and tried to design the kit so that it would fit in the smallest Otterbox that I could. What I came up with, and sell on my website is the very same kit that I now carry with me when I head out into the wilderness. Whether I am kayaking, backpacking, camping, hunting or anything else outdoors I always carry this survival kit with me. I also have one of these kits in my emergency bag/bug out bag. You can’t beat its quality and strength for a small survival kit. Here is the info I have on my website pertaining to the Ultimate Survival Kit:

“Our Ultimate Survival Kit is the perfect kit to carry with you on any outdoor adventure! It only weighs in at 1.5 pounds! It was designed to be as compact as possible, yet be able to float, be strong and contain most of what you would need in a survival situation. We feel we’ve accomplished this!

This Survival Kit contains: an orange emergency blanket, a StarFlash mirror, a Pocket Chainsaw, a “pico” style light, 12 Industrial Revolution Stormproof Matches, a 4seasons Spark Lite with 10 Tinder-Quik fire starters, a Jetscream whistle, one of our Survival Pods (20feet of 20lb test fishing line, 2 hooks, 2 swivels and 2 weights), a pin on compass, a Gerber mini paraframe pocket knife, a Frontier Filter (water filter straw) and its all contained in an Otterbox 3000. There’s even room to fit your favorite bag of tea and a small piece of hard candy or stick of gum. You can take it camping, hiking, boating, fishing and hunting as well as any other outdoor activity where you would find it useful and may need a tough survival kit handy. This is the same kit we here at Armstrong Survival Gear trust our lives with when we go on an outdoor adventure, shouldn’t you?”

Again my goal was to create a good quality survival kit that did not incorporate any junk products just to keep the price down. I think quality and usability matters more. This kit is designed as a survival kit not a first aid kit. You can fit some band aids as well as antiseptic wipes inside the case for minor injuries if you would like. What kind of basic survival kit do you carry and use? Have you tested the contents of your survival kit? No matter what survival kit you carry, whether bought premade or put together yourself, make sure to test all of the contents to make sure you are familiar with how they work, they work like you expect them to and that nothing is defective.

Extra Tip: I wrap 550 para cord around my kit so that I always have good quality cordage with my survival kit.

Quick Tip #5

Here is a simple check list to get you started building an Emergency Bag/Bug Out Bag

  • A good quality bag like a Rothco medium transport
  • 72 hours worth of food or more
  • A couple of bottles of water
  • A water filter or purifier of some sort (Aquamira Filter Bottle)
  • A simple cook stove and cook pot
  • A good quality Full Tang Knife
  • Multi Tool
  • A simple survival kit (contains fire starters, fishing kit, signaling device, emergency blanket etc)
  • Basic First Aid Kit (add medications)
  • A Simple Shelter (Lightweight Tarp and Tyvek ground cloth)
  • Lightweight Sleeping Bag
  • Headlamp (batteries)
  • Backup Flashlight (batteries)
  • Two way Radio (batteries)
  • Dust Mask
  • Work Gloves
  • Hard Candy
  • Some Instant Coffee or Tea Bags
  • Toiletry Bag (Small Shovel and Toilet Paper in Diddy Bag)
  • Zippo Lighter
  • Emergency Rain Poncho
  • 100’ of 550 Para Cord
  • Roll of Duct Tape
  • Small Weather Radio
  • Bandana
  • Ziploc Bag with a copy of all important documents
  • Walking Stick
  • Deck of Cards
  • A Local Map
  • Extra pair of socks
  • A small note pad and pencil

Optional

  • Hunting implements (snares, rat trap, slingshot, guns etc.)
  • Things for personal protection
  • Extra Food

Quick Tip #4

Since this winter has been so ridiculously cold and brutal I thought that I would give you all a quick tip on how to set yourself up to be able to survive a broken down vehicle or a stranded vehicle, whether because of weather related problems or mechanical malfunctions. Most people carry cell phones on them, so you should not have a problem letting someone know you are in trouble unless you are in an area with no service. One thing I do as soon as I get into my car is to plug my phone in so that it is charging. This way if you break down or get stranded you know you will have power in your phone. The last thing you want to do is to pull out your phone when you need it most and find out it is dead. Three things I highly recommend that you carry in your car are a quality sleeping bag that is rated to go into the negative digits, some form of food that does not need cooking and a bottle of water. If you break down and have no idea when you will be rescued climb into the sleeping bag right away (this will conserve your heat) and place the water and food in the bag with you. This way you will slow down your heat loss and your water and food wont freeze. Also by having the food and water in the bag with you, you won’t lose heat because you had to open the bag up and go looking for your food and water which by now might be frozen. The last thing you want to have to do is to bring a bottle of frozen water into your sleeping bag to thaw it out well also being very thirsty. I hope these simple tips help somebody and like all of you I sure can’t wait until spring.