by Todd Walker
SOS – Shiny Object Survival lures preppers into a false sense of preparedness. You see it. You even lust for it. You gotta have it. You start imagining how cool it would look strapped on your back. You save up to buy that SHTF-proof bug out bag with a built-in Rambo Night Vision Navigational System. Congratulations! You’ve got your fist in the coconut.
I remember telling the story of hunters in Africa using shiny objects in a coconut to capture monkeys to Sunday School class years ago. The hunter would drill a hole in the anchored coconut large enough for the monkey to fit an open hand in and grab a shiny trinket. With the object clinched in his fist, he hears the hunter approaching, but is unwilling to escape to safety with an empty hand. His unwillingness to let go lands him on the dinner table.
I have no clue if they hunt monkeys this way. But it paints a parable of many modern preppers suffering from SOS.
Shiny objects use to reek havoc on my attention like a kid with ADHD in Ms. Higginbothom’s 45 minute lecture on the importance of participles. It is hard not to want the latest gadgets shimmering on your computer screen. In the midst of Great Depression II, I ask myself and the reader, does it make sense (cents) to buy shiny objects?
Five Shiny Objects Every Prepper Should Buy or Make
Here are five areas where buying shiny objects makes survival sense and cents. Dave Canterbury has a video on his 5C’s of Survivability here. His system is based on the ability to conserve hydration, core temperature, and calories.
1.) Cutting tool: In any survival situation, a cutting tool is on top of the list. It can be used to make the remaining four C’s listed below. When buying, find the best you can afford. The “best” doesn’t always mean the most expensive. I own several knives in a variety of price ranges. My go to blade while camping and hunting is my Mora neck knife. I paid under $15 for it a few years ago. You can spend more on a knife, but my Mora has held up to the dirt-time-test (actually doing the stuff).
2.) Combustion: You don’t have to be a pyromaniac to appreciate the importance of fire. Boiling water, cooking, controlling core temperature, and signaling rescue are just a few uses. Making fire for survival burns lots of calories without modern combustion devices. While you could go all hardcore pure-primitive and stick to only bow drills, I think you’d be making a big mistake to not buy fire starters.
I have the Sparkie Fire Starter Orange in a couple of my kits. I like this fire gadget because it allows me to start a fire with one hand if I had to. Pack several different fire starters for redundancy: strike-anywhere matches, butane lighter, fire steel, etc.
Don’t forget to pack quick starting tender. I’ve used cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly, but prefer my DIY tender: jute twine saturated in melted wax or crayons. Fat wood (called fat lighter’d where I came from) is a great fire starter. It’s the resin rich heart in dead pine trees. The key is having something that lights YOUR fire with ease in crazy conditions.
Cordage: I can make my own cordage. But it makes sense (time, energy, and money) to stock up on commercial cordage for emergencies. So I keep copious amounts of paracord in all my kits (BOB – bug out bag, GHB – get home bag, hunting bag, car kits, and survival bracelets). The many uses of cordage include, but not limited to: traps, tarps, medical slings, water procurement, DIY hammocks, lashings, sutures, climbing, and for the fashion conscious – matching survival bracelets :). Buy it!
Covering: I’m a tarp man. You may be a tent woman. Whatever you choose, it must be something that offers weather protection. Controlling your core temperature is priority. “But I could build a debris hut,” you say. That’s a fine skill to have and practice. However, building shelter from scratch burns a great deal of calories that could be conserved if you packed a tarp in your kit. In hot, humid climates, dehydration is possible in your prized debris hut. Plus, they aren’t mobile. Buy covering!
Container: It’s just a cup! Taken for granted, the humble container is in Dave’s five C’s for good reason. His TV partner, Cody Lundin, notes that entire civilizations have been built around containers. Again, you could make a container for cooking in the bush after you finish your debris hut using natural cordage you cut with the flint-knapped knife you crafted, but only if you didn’t pack this essential shiny object.
It’s great to be able to make all of these items if you have the skill and time. If not, go buy these five essential shiny objects! You’ll be glad you did.
Doing the stuff,
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