Bug Out Bag Supplies: Exotac nanoSTRIKER Ferrocerium Fire Starter Review

What is it?

3 day bug out bagThis is a product by Exotac called the nanoSTRIKER. It is a self-contained ferrocerium rod and striker. This is a pretty cool-looking and ultra lightweight fire-starting implement. It can be added to your keychain or even worn as a necklace. It comes with a small lanyard to wrap around your fingers so you don’t lose the rod while in use. Exotac also makes the nanoSTRIKER XL, which is a bit larger, making the nanoSTRIKER the better tool for those who want the lightest and most compact option.

This is a great tool to have for any bug out bag prepper, as it is a lightweight and reliable fire starter. It is important to have some kind of fire-starting tool in the backcountry, and this one is so light that it is almost unnoticeable on a necklace or keychain.

>>See other emergency fire starters options here<<

How does it work?

emergency-fireThe body is lightweight and made of 6061 aircraft aluminum. It has a grooved design for easy gripping in wet and cold conditions. The case is sealed with rubber O-rings to keep the contents dry when not in use. To use, unscrew the top where you will find the tungsten carbide striker. The striker is durable and provides maximum sparks while striking the rod. It can also be easily sharpened if it becomes dull.

The ferrocerium rod is a very strong and hard material that can be found inside the body. It slides out and can be turned over and screwed back into the body to create a longer handle. Sparks are created when the striker is dragged across the rod. Small pieces are shaved off of the rod and spark. When the rod begins to wear down, it is removable and can be easily replaced.

Ferrocerium fire starters can be best used with dry tinder such as:

  • Dryer lint
  • Grass
  • Shaved wood
  • Cotton
  • Dead leaves
  • Birch bark

Simply bundle the tinder and have other kindling ready to go. Hold the striker and rod close to the tinder and apply light pressure while quickly sliding the rod away from the striker.

checkMark Features

Here is another look at the main features:

  • Comes in black, blaze orange, gunmetal and olive drab
  • Ferrocerium rod good for up to 1000 strikes
  • Ferrocerium rod is 3/16 of an inch and replaceable
  • Comes in waterproof container
  • Body made of lightweight 6061 aircraft aluminum
  • Tungsten Carbide striker
  • Made in the USA
  • Body is 3.4 x 0.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Weighs only 0.6 ounces
  • Includes 2 extra O-rings
  • Hole for key ring or lanyard
  • Comes with lanyard loop

xMark Issues

The handle for the striker is very small and can be hard to grip. Be careful when striking, as the sparks will be very close to your fingers. The lanyard hole is quite small and can be pretty difficult to fit a length of cord through. It can take a few strikes to get a reliable spark going. You will need to bring or find very dry tinder for this to work properly.

Should My Bug Out Bag Have It?

The nanoSTRIKER is one of my favorite tools to have while camping or hiking. Its lightweight and makes a great necklace so you will always have it handy. The rod and striker come in a durable aluminum container that is waterproof and looks really cool. Even if the rod becomes wet it will still work, making it an awesome emergency survival tool to keep in your list of bug out bag supplies. It is always reassuring to know that when all of my fire-starting tools are wet, I still have something that works.

>>Read more reviews on the Exotac nanoSTRIKER on Amazon<<


Read More

Bug Out Bag Supplies: Emergency Rope Review

What is it?

cheap bug out bagParacord is also known as parachute cord, or 550 cord when referring to type III. The first use of paracord was for the US military as suspension lines for parachutes during WWII.

It is now used as a strong general-purpose utility cord and is used by many campers, hikers and survivalists. Many people choose to weave it into a bracelet or necklace and then use as a wearable lightweight and functional piece of equipment with a ton of different applications.

This type III paracord is rated to 550 pounds, which makes it good for many heavy-duty applications. The cord is made up of seven nylon strands that are woven together. Each strand is individually made up of three smaller strands, which is why the rope is called type III. The seven inner strands are protected by 32 strand woven outer sheath. Paracord Planet uses commercial grade nylon for the materials.

>>See other emergency rope options here<<

What makes it so great?

survival-ropeParacord has become an essential item for bug out bags because it is durable and has so many uses and applications. You can remove the sheath and pull apart the inner strands to get even more use out of the cord. When you take it apart, the strength rating of 550 pounds is no longer applicable. However, the sheath and 7 inner strands can be used for thousands of applications. The inner strands have a tensile strength of 50 lbs. each and the sheath has a tensile strength of 200 lbs. The outer sheath can be used for things such as bootlaces and tie-downs. The 7 inner strands can be used for sewing fishing line, nets, shelters, snares, traps, and more.

This is a static rope, meaning it will not stretch when loaded down with weight. The minimum break strength of 550 pounds is for a static load and should not be used in applications that require excessive force to be applied to the rope.

checkMark Features

  • Comes in over 100 different color options
  • Rated to minimum break strength of 550 lbs.
  • 32 strand protective sheath
  • 7 inner nylon strands made up of 3 individual strands each
  • Diameter of 1/8′ or 4mm
  • Less that 1 lb. per 100 ft. of cord
  • Will not rot or mildew
  • Available in lengths of 10, 20, 25, 50, and 100 ft.

xMark Shortfalls

This rope is great for many heavy-duty applications, but is not meant for rock climbing or rappelling and should not be relied upon for body weight bearing purposes. Typically, type III paracord that is made for the military has an identifying color thread inside the sheath. This paracord does not have that identifier, which means that it was not made specifically for military purposes.

Should My Bug Out Bag Have It?

550 paracord around is a great tool that can help you in thousands of different ways. Whether you are hiking or camping or just adding it to your bail out bag gear, it is important to have. It is lightweight and barely noticeable when wearing. Paracord can be used in normal applications as well as emergency situations. For camping and hiking, I use paracord every night to hang my bear bag in a tree. I have also used it as a laundry line to dry clothes, to hang stuff in my tent, and to do quick gear repairs on the run. Durable 550 paracord is an extremely useful piece of equipment that everyone should have.

 >>Read more reviews on this paracord on Amazon<<


Read More

Bug Out Bag Supplies: Emergency Food Rations Review

what to have in a bug out bagWhat is it?

This 72 hours bug out bag emergency food rations (see full description here) from S.O.S Food Labs includes a total of 9 bars and 3600 calories per package. These rations are specifically made for emergencies such as natural disasters, but are also commonly used by campers and backpackers. The ration can be used by one person for three days or by three people for one day. It is meant to provide a total of 1230 calories per person per day. The rations have a 5-year shelf life if the packaging is kept sealed.

This ration is lightweight and easy to store, and is a number 1 bestseller on Amazon for emergency food preparedness. They come in special vacuum-sealed packaging that provides durability and ensures quality even in extreme conditions. The rations take up 20% less space and weigh less than other emergency rations. Each bar within the package comes individually wrapped and provides 410 calories. The company recommends eating the bars within 72 hours from opening the vacuum-sealed package.

These bars currently come in coconut flavor. They have a pleasant smell and taste somewhat like a very dense cookie. The bars are baked, making them different from compressed or uncooked food.

>>See other emergency food options here<<

Ingredients and Nutrition

build the perfect bail out bagThe main ingredients in these bars are sugar, flour, partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening from soybean and cottonseed oils, and cornstarch.

Serving Size: One bar
Calories: 410
Fat: 18g, 7 sat, 3.5 trans
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 15mg
Carbohydrates: 53g, dietary fiber 1g, sugars 31g
Protein: 8g
Vitamin A: 6% daily value
Vitamin C: 15% daily value
Calcium: 2% daily value
Iron: 6% daily value

It is important to note the amount of sodium. A high amount of sodium will result in increased thirst. In the event of an emergency and reduced water rations, increased thirst can result in extreme discomfort. These rations have made an effort to reduce the amount of sodium per bar in order to decrease the amount of thirst created after eating. The bars also include a reduced amount of calories from sugar when compared to other brands.


S.O.S Food Labs emergency food rations are United States Coast Guard, Transport Canada, and SOLAS approved. Approval from the US Coast Guard has become a world standard and these packages have also been approved for a 5-year shelf life. These rations are meant to sustain you until rescue, or until other food becomes available.

  • 9 bars per pack
  • 3682 calories total
  • 6 pounds
  • 5 x 2 x 5 inches

xMark Cons

One of the shortfalls of this product is that although they are reduced in sodium, the dry texture of the bars makes them difficult to eat without water. The bars only provide 1230 calories per day; which is sufficient for an emergency situation, but will leave many people in a state of hunger. For emergency preparedness, you may want to supplement these bars with other shelf-stable foods.

Does My Bug Out Bag Need Them?

It is always important to have shelf-stable food available. The best use for these rations is to store them in your home or bail out backpack for use in the case of an unforeseen emergency. However, while these rations are made for emergencies, they are also great to use when participating in outdoor activities such as camping and hiking. Their minimal weight and durable packaging make them ideal for those who want to move quickly and pack light. In the backcountry, they could be used as a supplement to other foods that you may bring and would work very well as a quick lunch or snack while on the move.

>>Read more reviews on these rations on Amazon<<

Read More

Bug Out Bag Supplies: Knife Sharpener Review

emergency knife sharpener for bug out bagsWhat is it?

Smith’s Pocket Pal Multi-Functional Knife Sharpener is a lightweight and compact tool. It is excellent for sharpening a multitude of different blades and cutting tools while on the go. It includes pre-set carbide blades for course sharpening, pre-set ceramic blades for fine sharpening, and a foldable tapered diamond rod for sharpening serrated blades and gut hooks. A dull knife is a dangerous knife, so having a lightweight and easy-to-use sharpening tool while you are traveling in the outdoors is essential. If you do not have a sharpening tool, you may injure yourself trying to use a damaged or dull blade.

The Pocket Pal can easily fit in a backpack, pocket, or bug out bag. It is great for use in the backcountry because it is small, light, and compact. There is a lanyard hole to help keep it close by. Also, there is a recessed finger grip that allows you to easily hold the sharpener and keep your fingers away from dangerous areas.

>>See other knife sharpeners here<<



The Pocket Pal includes pre-set carbide blades for course sharpening or to reset an edge on a dull or damaged blade. The carbide blades are both reversible and replaceable for extended sharpening. These blades are useful for sharpening dull edges quickly and are only meant for use on straight edge blades. The pre-set angle is 22.5 degrees per side, or 45 degrees total.

For fine sharpening, you can use the pre-set 800 grit ceramic blades. The ceramic blades are also reversible and replaceable, and will finish edges on both straight and serrated blades. The ceramic blades are also pre-set to a 45-degree angle to provide the best sharpening results.

The folding tapered diamond rod can be found on the side of the sharpening tool and is used for honing serrated edges or gut hooks. The rod is impregnated with medium 400-diamond grit.



  • Course carbide blades that are reversible and replaceable
  • 800 grit replaceable ceramic blades for fine sharpening
  • 400 grit foldable tapered diamond rod
  • Lanyard hole for easy transport
  • Recessed finger grip
  • Body is 3.5 x 1 inches
  • Weighs only 0.3 ounces



The Smith Pocket Pal is made for quick and easy repairs while you are on the go. It probably will not give you the sharpest or finest edge possible and may not be the best option for your more expensive blades. Also, with such a small and lightweight tool you can expect to have lower quality and less control when compared to other sharpening methods. However, for its price, the Pocket Pal provides a better-than-average edge, especially while on the go.


checkMarkShould I get it?

sharpening knives while campingAt the end of the day a blunt knife is a dangerous knife. A lightweight and easily portable sharpening tool is essential for any outdoorsman who is frequently using knives in the backcountry. The Smith Pocket Pal is great for backpackers, hikers, fisherman, and survivalists who want to carry a sharpening tool that is lightweight and portable.

The Pocket Pal can be used to sharpen dull tools or repair edges that may have been damaged during use. For its size and weight it does a very decent job of sharpening and comes in at a very reasonable price point. This product is best used on straight edges, serrated edges, and gut hooks. Always be prepared and have the Pocket Pal handy whenever you are traveling in the wilderness.

>>See more information on this sharpener here<<


Read More

Bug Out Bag Supplies: Survivor Water Filter Review

best hiking water filterWhat is it?

The Survivor Filter is a personal water filtration device that is perfect to include as a bug out bag water filter or backpacking water filter for outdoor activities such as camping and hiking. The filter is shaped like a straw, which allows you to drink directly from any fresh water source, or it can be attached to a soda bottle to filter directly into a container of your choice.

If you are drinking from an unreliable water source, water filtration is extremely important. Water impurities such as viruses, bacteria, and protozoa can be found in lakes and streams and have the potential to make you sick. For someone who is traveling in the wilderness, it is absolutely imperative that they have some sort of water filtration or purification to make sure that they do not contract any illnesses, which may prove debilitating or even fatal.

>>See more emergency water filter options here<<

How does it work?

camping water filter for bail out bagsThis product uses a three-stage treatment method with two types of filtration that are easily replaceable. The first stage is a mesh pre-filter, followed by a medical grade Ultra Filter, and finally a carbon filter. The carbon filter is able to remove dirt, heavy metals, chlorine, and bacteria and has a small electro-positive charge to help attract chemicals and impurities. The Ultra Filter uses hollow fiber membranes to treat the water. Both filters can cleanse up to 1000 liters or 264 gallons of water before needing to be cleaned or replaced. No chemicals are used and tests have shown that it will remove 99% of typical bacteria found in water.



The company offers a warranty on the filter and will replace it if there are any signs of structural damage or defect that are not caused by normal wear and tear. Here is a quick look at the features and specifications of the Survivor Filter:

  • 3-step filtration process including carbon filter, UF filter, and mesh pre-filter
  • Carbon and UF filters fully replaceable
  • Filters bacteria up to .05 microns
  • Removes 99% of bacteria
  • Filters 1000 liters or 264 gallons of water
  • Flow rate of 7 ounces or 200ml per minute
  • Weighs 3.5 ounces
  • Integrated cap to keep the mouthpiece clean
  • Body is 1.4 x 1.4 x 7.1 inches



The filter is heavier and larger than some other water filters that are currently on the market. It seems to be a newer product and there are not many reviews for it out there. It can only filter 1000 liters of water, which is great for an emergency situation or short trip, but if you plan to use it regularly in the wilderness, you will find yourself replacing the components often.


checkMarkMy Recommendation

emergency water purifier Water filtration is essential for traveling in the wilderness when there are no reliable water sources, and it’s great to include as a bug out water filter. Without clean water, you could become ill with a number of sicknesses, some of which could be deadly. The Survivor Filter is best for someone who wants to travel fast and does not want to carry a lot of extra water; it’s truly a survival water filter. The average person drinks about 4 liters of water a day, but I usually plan for at least 6 liters per day while hiking. The filter can be used as a primary source of water filtration, or as a backup. This is a great piece of gear to have in the case of an emergency both in the wilderness or at home in your bug out bag.

>>Read more reviews on the Survivor Water Filter on Amazon<<

Read More

Bug Out Bag Supplies: Hand Crank LED Lantern & Flashlight Review


What is it?

This lantern and flashlight by Ivation is a multi-use light and power source that is rainproof and collapsible (see full description here). It is light, portable, and cost effective. It can be brought along on all of your outdoor activities such as camping, hiking or fishing and since it is collapsible, it fits perfectly in your bug out bag. You can also keep it in your home or car in case of power outage or other emergency.



>>See more emergency lantern options here<<

How do I use it?

water proof lantern for survivalThe flashlight can be used when the lantern is collapsed and it is helpful to light your way or spotlight objects for you. To switch to the lantern, simply pull apart the two end pieces. The light will now be dispersed through the translucent plastic material and light up a larger area. There is both a low and high setting for the lantern and flashlight. The lowlight setting produces 15 lumens and the high setting produces 65 lumens. One lumen can be compared to the amount of light given off by one candle. At 65 lumens, the lantern can easily light a small area such as the interior of a tent.

Emergency power can be generated using a crank on the bottom of the lantern. The crank can power the lantern itself, or can be used to charge other devices such as MP3 players and cell phones. After only 1 minute of cranking, it is possible to charge the lantern enough to give off 11 minutes of low-level light, and 4 minutes of high-level light.

Having an emergency light source is important when you are in the outdoors and can also be extremely useful to have at home in an emergency situation. You should always plan on carrying a light source with you while camping or traveling outdoors and an emergency light is essential to every survival kit.


checkMark Features

  • LED flashlight and lantern
  • Outputs 15 lumens at low-level and 65 lumens at high-level
  • Built-in handle that allows the lantern to be hung almost anywhere
  • 300mAh 3.7v Lithium battery that can be charged with the hand crank or via a DC to USB cable
  • Rainproof rubber finishing to increase durability
  • 5 hours of low light and 40 minutes of high-level light with a full charge
  • Includes DC to USB cable and DC to female USB cable
  • Available in orange and yellow
  • 5 x 3.5 x 2 inches
  • 8 ounces


xMark Cons

The pros outweigh the cons on this little lantern, but lets take a short look at what could have been done better:

  • The handle lacks a clip
  • The lantern is not 100% waterproof
  • It has a short battery life when set to high
  • Charging devices with the hand crank is difficult and slow


checkMark My Recommendation

emergency flashlight for bug out bagsIvation’s collapsible rainproof lantern offers a lot of features for a great price. It is lightweight, easy to use, portable, and water-resistant. This lantern is best for short overnight trips or for as an item in your emergency bug out bag. On an overnight hiking or camping trip, you can use it to light your cooking area or the inside of your tent as the handle makes it easy to hang above you. The flashlight is a great additional tool that will help light your way if you need to walk in the dark.

Everyone should have some sort of emergency lighting option. Whether at home or in the outdoors, lighting is essential for your safety. The Ivation Rainproof Collapsible Hand crank LED Lantern & Flashlight is a simple and cost effective solution.

>>Read more reviews on the Ivation Lantern on Amazon<<

Read More