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Periodically, I visit a number of lists to get a bead on both best selling and most wished for items. In the past I would look at lists related to outdoor recreation (which can be found in the second half of this article) but this time around I had some new choices.
Top Emergency and Survival Kit Items
I was able to couple and cobble the “Best Sellers” and “Most Wished For” into a single list that would make any prepper proud. Using these lists, I have found a number of items that have made it into my personal kits.
Below you will find the top ranking items from these lists. They are loosely listed in order of popularity and no surprise, I either own most of them or have them on my personal wish list.
1. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultra light personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out. It weighs only 2oz. making it perfect for the prepper. For more information, see my LifeStraw review.
2. Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets
These lightweight blankets are small enough to fit almost everywhere and have no weight to them. They are perfect for tucking into pockets as you head out the door. I keep some in my car and in my first aid kit. Another great stocking stuffer.
3. Gerber Bear Grylls Fire Starter
Whether you even need to use it or not, everyone should have a quality fire starter in their kit. I have not used this particular unit (I use the Scout) but am impressed with the 2,800 positive reviews. Whichever fire starter you choose, take time to practice using it so you are familiar with the process.
. 4. LifeStraw Family 1.0 Water Purifier
So here is the deal. The LifeStraw Family is a cinch to use and you don’t have to mess with filters. It is good for 4755 gallons and can be purchased for less than two Black Berkey filters. Gravity fed, the LifeStraw Family surpasses EPA standards for water purifiers and removes 99.99% viruses, 99.9999% bacteria and 99.9% protozoan cysts to 0.02 microns. For reliability and ease of use, LifeStraw is my number one choice. Read my review here.
5. Emergency Sleeping Bag with Drawstring Carrying Bag
Next up is this emergency sleeping bag. Great review and value priced, this is one of the few items on the list I do not own yet. I have added one to my shopping cart, however, and will post a mini-review as soon as I can.
6. Pack of 2 Paracord Bracelets with built-in Compass, Fire Starter, Emergency Knife & Whistle
The price for these two paracord bracelets is a good deal. Even non-preppers will not balk at wearing one of these. Each bracelet compactly stores 12 feet of paracord, ready for deployment.
7. Mountain House Beef Stroganoff
I was recently asked whether I thought bulk food in buckets was preferred over freeze-dried meal pouches. For bulk foods such as beans, rice, oatmeal, wheat, pet food, etc. you will save a ton of money doing it yourself. On the other hand, it is good to have some freeze dried meal pouches in buckets ready to go for those times when the power is out and your ability to cook regular meals is limited. I personally have enough in freeze dried entrees to get by for five or six months. They are both in buckets and in #10 tins, mostly from Buy Emergency Foods and Mountain House.
My two Mountain House favorites are Chili Mac and Beef Stroganoff. I promise that you will not be disappointed.
8. MPOWERD Luci EMRG Inflatable Solar Lantern
This is the original Luci EMRG Solar lantern. I have put mine through its paces and it is one tough cookie. It has weathered both a wind storm and rain storm while hanging outdoors for a month. Lightweight, waterproof and shatterproof, Luci EMRG provides ultra-bright, reliable light to guide your way indoors and out, through blackouts or extreme weather conditions.
9. Olive Drab Green Warm Wool Fire Retardant Blanket
This is the first time I have seen a wool blanket on the top 10 and I am happy to see it. I own a similar blanket I purchased at Emergency Essentials and am amazed a warm, yet light weight and compact, it is. I keep my wool blanket in the car at all times. It is 66 x 90.
10. Survival Shack Emergency Survival Shelter Tent
This is another one of those handy items that takes up very little room yet can be a godsend if you ever have to use it. It definitely will keep you sheltered from the rain but note it is not designed for long term survival use. Still, as a rain shelter it is perfect and packaged small enough to fit in a pack without taking up a lot of room.
The following items did not make the top ten this time around but are perennial favorites of mine none the less.
Portable Outdoor LED Camping Lantern – Collapsible
I admit to owning a number of these collapsible lanterns. They use 30 different LEDS and are powered by AA batteries, including rechargeables. Instead of a switch, you turn these lanterns on by extending the lantern from its collapsed condition. There are many different brands available but I have not found much difference between them. Shop by price.
UltraFire Mini Cree LED Flashlight
This flashlight is amazing. It throws a strong beam that can also be adjusted by pulling out the head to create a smaller, more focused light. Because it requires just a single AA battery, it is lightweight and feels comfortable to use in spite of its small size. It even has a clip so you can clip it to a belt or inside a pocket. I am hooked on these Mini-Crees and own at least a dozen.
Gaye’s Note: I own at least 6 of these and probably ten. I need to gather them up for a group shot for you.
Paracord Planet Type III Nylon Paracord
This makes a great clothesline! An ideal all-around utility cord in the field, paracord is tough and long lasting. It is made from 550-pound test nylon and features a seven-strand core for maximum strength. Also, it is manufactured in the United States. Note that some colors may be more expensive than others. Need ideas? See 44 Really Cool Uses of Paracord for Survival.
Maximal Power FC999 Universal Battery Charger
This nicely built charger will charge charge AA, AAA, C, D, N, 9V, Ni-MH, Ni-CD, and Alkaline batteries. It has an LED display so that when you first put a battery in the charging bay, you know whether it is viable for charging or simply bad and ready to go back to the recycle box. Yes it really works, even under solar power. I am not kidding when I say I use this charger 2 or 3 times a week. Read my review: How to Recharge Alkaline Batteries.
Top Outdoor Items
Periodically, I visit both the list of the Most Wished For Outdoor Items and the list of Best Sellers in Outdoor Recreation to see what people are currently coveting. The most interesting thing about this exercise is that I am always finding useful items that are well priced at only five or ten dollars and often less.
Below you will find the items that are currently part of these lists. They are loosely listed in order of popularity and no surprise, I either own most of them or have them on my personal wish list.
3-in-1 LED Vehicle Emergency Flashlight: New to the top 10, this appears to be a pretty fantastic flashlight (and you know how I cover flashlights!). Look at all of those LEDs. There are a total of 29 – 18 white and 11 red. Powered by 3 AAA batteries, this flashlight is rated for over 100,000 hours.
Ultra Bright LED Lantern – Collapsible: This is a new addition to the list. Oh my gosh. I want one. It uses 30 different LEDS and is powered by 3 AA batteries, including rechargeables. Instead of a switch, you turn it on by extending the lantern from its collapsed condition. With a lifetime warranty and over 1,350 close to perfect ratings, I can see why this is popular.
Portable Windproof Waterproof Matches: I have purposely tried to drown these matches in sea water before using them. They light up every time!
Spork2go Spork Set, Four Sporks + Spork Carry Case: The most versatile outdoor eating utensil, the spoon-fork-knife combo makes eating–and cleaning up–on the go a breeze. This is a great price on a set of 4. I paid the same amount for just one. This would make a great stocking stuffer!
Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System: Fans of the Sawyer water filtration systems are evangelistic in their praise. Did you know they only weight 2 ounces and fit in the palm of your hand? Give or take the price is right. Be sure to also check out the Family Color Coded Gift Pack which looks nice.
Tac Force TF-705BK Tactical Assisted Opening Folding Knife 4.5-Inch Closed: This is a newcomer to the list. It currently is ranked the #1 best seller in hunting knives. The reviews raved about this knife so I bought one and can recommend it. See my review: The Inexpensive Tac-Force Speedster Outdoor Knife.
Nalgene Tritan Wide Mouth BPA-Free Water Bottle, 1-Quart: In the past year, I have purchased a number of Nalgene water bottles. These water bottles are BPA free and clean up nicely with a swish of vinegar. I also like the version with a narrow top – actually I prefer the narrow top version. I order mine in purple – just because.
In addition to these items, I have some other bonus items all of which are personal favorites.
Coleman MicroPacker Compact Battery Lantern: I absolutely love this little lantern! It folds down to nothing and the batteries last forever. I have yet to change them since I purchased the lantern two years ago.
Kershaw OSO Sweet Pocket Knife: The sky is the limit when it comes to survival knives. For the beginner, or someone on a budget, a decent quality, all purpose knife is what you need until you have a chance to use it and learn what you like and don’t like, feature-wise, before you invest in something more pricey. Even then, perhaps the OSO Sweet will work out so well that it will become your #1 blade with no upgrade needed.