A Good knife.
It will serve you well through good times and bad. A knife gives you the upper hand in
unexpected circumstances. It's one of man's oldest and most useful tools, and it was probably our first
step up the ladder from rocks and pointy sticks. It's useful in a thousand different ways in everyday
life. It can do everything from opening Fed Ex boxes to cutting the jammed seatbelt of a car crash victimthat you're rescuing. You can find low-end, entry level knives at sporting goods stores or Wal-Mart for $10-$20. That's really the minimum that I'd spend on a knife- with the exception of the Mora and Opinel brands.
Opinels are really useful, tough knives with old school look with wooden handles and a rotating
locking ring for the blade. The Opinels are a little bit chunky because the use a rounded handle instead of flat sides. Moras are popular with the molded plastic handles and sheaths. They save money on the handle but use a good steel in the blade. RagweedForge.com is one of the more popular places to get the Moraknives, he has a good selection, low prices, a good reputation and he's been around for a long time.http://www.ragweedforge.com/SwedishKnifeCatalog.html
Suggestions from cheapest to most expensive:
Box Cutter. It's lightweight, cheap, disposable and razor sharp. Better than being a monkey with a pointy stick, or being completely empty handed.. It will work for cutting ropes when you're tied up and taken hostage, plus it's razor sharp for killing the hostage takers after you freed yourself and the
cute female hostages that will reward your bravery with endless lovemaking sessions.
The Low end Smith and Wessons seems to be slightly better than the Paki made convenience store knives. But the BEST deal is the Opinel at $8-$12 + $2 S&H from opinel-usa.com. That's only $10 for a well-made knife that locks solidly and has a blade made from good quality carbon steel, and will outperform ANY other knife in that price range.
$15 - $20
Gerber Paraframe - fairly sharp, fairly lightweight, fairly cheap @$15;
Kershaw is a trusted name that had really come on strong in the budget knife category in the last few
years. They have folding knives in a variety colors and blade designs that are well respected and well
liked. The OD2 model is a great value, but also take a look at the Chill and the Clash.
The Ka Bar Dozier is heavy duty and under $20
The CRKt Drifter doesn't get much attention, but people that know good knives know that this model is a helluva bargain..
This list should get you started, but if you want to jump in with both feet, Check out the Kershaw Leek -around $70, or my favorite the Benchmade Griptillian for $100.
A Decent Flashlight
Even a small keychain flashlight can be really handy when you need it. I've used my
keychain light to help change a tire in almost pitch black darkness and it was worth it's weight in gold-especially when trying to find the right jacking point underneath the car.
Imagine this- it's a regular day of grinding it out at work when - BANG- the lights suddenly go out...
your coworkers are panicking... lost and adrift without a leader- when you spring into action.. using your keychain flashlight to rescue the office hotties that have flocked to the only real man of action to be found - you!. If you want small, you can get keychain lights for $1-$10 dollars. Dollar stores are good sources for cheap ones. The Rayovac model I have is $2 at Wal-Mart. If you want something nice, look into the INOVA LED micro lights. They can go anywhere- keychain, zipper pull on a jacket, backpack shoulder strap, or in an Altoids emergency kit etc. The INOVA lights run about $10 online, and Amazon has them.
You can also get a 3 pack for $20. I've also found the INOVA lights at a local sporting goods store for $8.
For tactical operations, the hardcore operators are using the blue or red LED's so they are harder to see at night when checking maps or reading secret orders after you land on the beach of some 3rd world worker's utopia. Red light makes it harder to check wounds or see blood, so go with the blue for maximum tacaticoolness. The INOVA's are even recommended in the SAS Survival Guide, they are rugged and extremely bright despite their small size.
I'm also a big fan of the little LED flashlights that use 3AAA batteries and cost anywhere from $1-$5
(for what seems to be the same flashlight). These are tiny wonders of modern engineering and
Machined aluminum construction
O-Rings for water resistance
For a dollar!
Possibly one of the best bargains in the world!
I've even seen them in 5 packs for $4. I buy them and hand them out to everyone I know. Carry extras
and you can give them to people you see walking after dark. I might even hand some of them out on
Halloween for people that don't have flashlights. I've even attached them to my bike's handlebars with
zipties for a very cheap and very functional headlight!
For a buck!
Moving up the scale a little bit, you can find a decent LED flashlight for under $10 at any sporting
goods store or big discount store like target or Wal-Mart. I'm currently using an Eveready brand with 3 LED's that's quite bright for its small size. It has a very slick surface on the body so I wrapped it
with a piece of athletic tape and then wrapped some paracord around it for better grip.
For carrying in the car or truck, I think it's hard to beat the Maglights. They're under $25 for the 3
D-cell version, and the new LED version seems to have overtaken the original version in popularity.
Either one will double as a skull smashing club for red light ruffians or parking lot loudmouths.
If you want to get into the higher end flashlights like Surefire and Fenix, you'd be best served by
checking out a forum like http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/forum.php
or for the budget minded there's: http://budgetlightforum.com/forum/flashlights/18650/reviews
In between the $10 and the $30 lights, there are some really incredible bargains available in the form of imported CREE lights. Deal Extreme is probably one of the best sources for inexpensive imported items. Be careful- it can be addicting. http://www.dealextreme.com/c/cree-flashlights-901
A Real Razor
Few things give off the aura of old school badassery like a nice razor. Not one of those
purple hued, plastic, vibrating face dildos- but a real deal, made from steel, razor. The same kind of razor used by the men the first walked on the moon. A good razor is the mark of a free man in control of his world and his destiny. I will be covering this subject in a future article. but if you wanted to improve your shaving today- go get some decent shaving cream and a brush. One of the main reasons guys have irritated skin from shaving is because they use crappy aerosol 'shave cream'... that stuff is garbage.
Real men shave with a proper shaving soap and a brush. The easiest to find is probably the Kiss My Face brand. Use their store locator to find someone locally that handles their products.
The list of stores is also interesting to explore, you may find some really cool shops near you that you didn't even know where there! You can find a shaving brush for under $10 at most stores that sell shaving supplies. Target will sometimes have really nice shaving stuff at good prices, but not all stores will have the same items, so you need to do some local foraging for supplies..
A Rugged Backpack
A backpack is one of those things that epitomizes freedom, and action. backpacks were
one of the first inventions that let move from one place to another and carry all his belongings with
Men with backpacks have conquered continents, and have formed the basis of every army on earth for the last several thousand years.
Backpacks are along on every story of epic journeys.
Backpacks give a man the ability to at any time say- "screw this, I'm leaving."
You can pack a few days’ worth of food and some clean socks and chart a new course and change your destiny.
It's time to upgrade form your little Jansport pack that can only carry a sandwich and 2 T- shirts to a
manly pack that can carry enough to 2 or 3 days of rugged, manly living.
The cheapest backpacks are usually military surplus. You can find the "ALICE" type medium sized
backpacks for $20 all day long. They'll work without a metal frame, but if you can find one with the frame it will let you carry more weight. As Alice pack with frame can be had pretty easily for $50 or less, and maybe much less if you'll look around a bit before buying. You can find good deals on Ebay and Craigslist.
In the $50-$75 dollar range you can score some really nice used gear in either U.S. surplus "MOLLE"
gear, or used civilian gear, or entry level 'tactical' type bags.
The current surplus U.S. gear has built in polymer frames and lots of pockets that are easy to access
from the outside.
Civilian type backpacks are found at garage sales, pawn shops, Ebay and Craigslist. I bought one that
still had the price tags on it and was half of the retail cost. Kelty is probably the biggest name in
backpacks, and you can find good deals from Kelty and other companies at REI.com, Sierratradingpost, uscav.com, brigadeqm.com, (us cav and brigade qm have the popular and semi-inexpensive Condor brand),
Check Cheaper than Dirt or Sportsman’s Guide for surplus deals- but make sure they're actual military surplus and not cheap imported crap that won't last. The fake ‘surplus’/military stuff is best avoided- like most things, you get what you pay for.
In civilian gear, the Kelty Redwing is probably the best all around value backpack made and is what most people get for their first "real" backpack. They run $89-$110 when new, and sometime you can find them barely used for half price if you'll check pawnshops and craigslist. There have also been reports of Redwings being available at deep discount in the "bargain bin / closeout" section of some of the larger outdoor websites like Cabellas.
A Solid Bike
Mankind’s noblest invention.
It can carry you on adventures, it can be an integral part of your healthy lifestyle. You can use it to run to the store for milk, or to cruise for women in the park.
It will still work even if SHTF and gas goes to $20 a gallon.
Bikes come in a few main flavors- road bikes with skinny tires, and off road bikes with big squishy
tires. Road bikes are easier to ride for long distances, but the lightweight components don't hold up as
well when they come in contact with curbs and potholes. Off road or mountain bikes are harder to
peddle for long distances, but they laugh at curbs and potholes.
If you're in possession of plenty of ducats, head to your LBS- Local Bike Shop and see what they have in stock. The higher level of service is well worth the few extra dollars you may spend. They'll also know the local conditions and can give you recommendations on gear. If you're more budget minded, Craigslist is your best bet. You can find lots of low mileage bikes in good condition if you'll be patient and spend a week or two looking.
I wouldn't recommend buying a used bike that you can't ride.
If the tires are flat and the chain is rusted, you could be looking at another $50 in parts plus your time to install and repair things. For more info , visit the world of bikeforums.net. Possibly the best source of bike- specific info on the interwebs.
Bonus # 6 - a pen that not made from plastic. When it comes time to sign you name on important documents- employment paperwork, contracts or girls phone numbers, a nice looking pen conveys that you are successful, sophisticated and sexable.
There's a nice stainless steel pen that available at just about any office
supply store or big discount store- the Zebra brand model 701. It's durable- if a bit utilitarian
looking- and can be upgraded by swapping the stock ink cartridge for one from a Space Pen. It's tough enough to use for an emergency shank if the need ever arises to stab someone ( and that's one reason it's so popular among cops) and costs about $8. The 701 has a cheaper cousin called the 402 which features a rubber grip on the stainless steel barrel and moves it from the dressy category to the
Speaking of the Fisher Space Pen, those are still popular- mostly because they work really well. They run around $30 and are crammed full of neat features- it writes upside down, or even in zero gravity! Try that with your cheap ass Bic disposable... it writes in any temperature- from minus 30 to 250F! Your clothes will burst into flames before the Space Pen quits!
The Parker and Cross brands are also popular choices, but Cross seems to have fallen out of favor when they moved production to China and many users feel that the quality has suffered.
Parker makes an entry level ballpoint called the Jotter. These pens are more about function than flashy looks, but make a good everyday type pen that isn't as likely to be "borrowed" and never returned. Around $7, but they're a 2 piece design that isn't as shankworthy as the stainless steel Zebra pens.
For a $20 ballpoint pen that doesn't look like something you used in 3rd grade, Parker is hard to beat.
The have a couple of different styles, including the "classic' and the newer 'urban" style... how a pen is "urban" is beyond me, but that's the name they chose. Parker is a well-established brand and can be
found online or at just about any office supply store.
There is also a fantastic selection of handmade pens available from individual penmakers that can also be customized in your choice of size, shape, color and finish. Most use nice woods that are turned and polished, but there are also some great examples that use synthetic or exotic materials too. Pens can be as addicting as flashlights, cars or crazy women, so chose well.
PROTIP: For everyday office use- most people rave about the Pilot G2 pens. I became a convert after
trying them. The flow really well and write smoothly and they come in wider tips that I prefer. They are well worth the $1 price tag.