Posts Tagged With: Survival Equipment

Add a Machete to Your Preps

[Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on KnifeUp and is reprinted here with the owner’s permission.]

What is the Best Machete?

We reviewed the top 3 machetes and found one surprising secret. Unlike most people, I’m sure you’re looking for the best machete because you want to survive the Zombie apocalypse (or just cut down some stuff when hiking, either reason is good in my book). Well, after reviewing the top 3 best-selling machetes, guess what? One of them just plain sucked.

Name Kukri Colossal Bear Grylls
Brand Kabar Trademark Gerber
Sharpness Extreme Dull Very
Weight 1.9lbs 1.28lbs 1.8lbs
Length 17″ 25″ 25″
Material Carbon Stainless Carbon
Sheath Good OK Good
MSRP $66 $30 $55
Amazon $42 $17 $32
  buy now buy now buy now

What makes a Good Machete

These are features that you want in a good machete.

  • Weight. Depending on your task, you might need a heavy machete (for cutting thick branches) or a lighter machete (for carrying on your hip during a long hike). If you don’t know what you are gonna use a machete for, pick a middle of the road weight.
  • Length. The longer the machete, the more it weights. Also, the longer the machete, the more you can cut with just one swing. In addition to that, the longer the machete, the harder it is to carry it around on your hip (not good for hiking).
  • Sharpness. This is self-explanatory. You want a nice sharp blade that will remain sharp for years. Pro-Tip: If you’re cheap and won’t be using the machete a lot, just get a cheap machete and buy a cheap sharpener ;) . This leads right into…
  • Material. Different types of metals hold their sharpness differently. Some metals are quite soft and will get dull easily. Other metals are harder to dull but these types usually rust easy.
  • Sheath. The machete will come with a sheath (it isn’t safe otherwise) and the sheath should be of high quality. It is as important as the machete itself. You would want something sturdy. If you are going to a humid place, choose a synthetic sheath because it’ll resist moisture better.

Ka-Bar Black Kukri Machete

Kabar machete with box


Ka-Bar (pronounced K (like the letter ‘K’)-bar(like the place you buy drinks at)) is a classic name in survival knives. The company originally produced combat knives for the military but now has branched out into other cutting tools. This knife has a 11.5 inch blade and weights 1.7 pounds. We found that this is just the right amount of weight and length to cut items in the woods behind our house with ease. Small branches were sliced in half with just one cut. It also did not become uncomfortable to carry around after an hour.

The handle is the classic Ka-bar grip. It is made of some type of plastic (I don’t know what) but, don’t worry, it won’t slip out of your hands easily. The handle also has a little hole at the end where you can attach some 550 cord to give you a loop to place around your wrist–for those of us who are afraid we’ll accidentally fling the machete across the room. You can also attach a whistle, fire starter, or mirror to the 550 cord.

The knife is very popular on the internet since it is the ninth best-selling hunting knife on Amazon. Other Reviewers stated how the blade came razor-sharp right out of the box. One even mentioned how he has abused his for years and is still in great condition. Get the Ka-bar Kukri machete here.

Trademark Colossal 25″ Heavy Duty Machete

photo of 25 inch machete

This machete is HUGE.

This machete is a little lighter than the last one at 1.28lbs and has a longer blade (20 inches long, or 8.5 inches longer then the last one). This one felt a lot lighter than the last one and, because of its length, felt more adequate for cutting twigs and branches. The length gives this machete tons of power. I agree with one customer who stated that this machete is more like a sword–and it is!

Once again, this machete came razor-sharp right out of the box. After a day of fooling around with my brothers, the machete got quite dull. I don’t think this thing was meant to cut branches. Also, some reviews said that their machete came dull. Eh, this machete isn’t winning a lot of people over.

I, right now, have almost no use for this thing. It is too long to carry on your hip but it would be great if you are going through the Amazon where the vegetation is leafy and not woody. I’m quite sure that they actually made this machete for the Amazon because the blade is made of stainless steel–it’ll never rust in moisture. Most reviews online were mixed about this machete and, for that, I don’t recommend this knife. You can read more about it if you really want to.

Gerber Bear Grylls Machete

Bear Grylls with his Machete

Gerber is a name that any outdoorsmen knows. Bear Grylls is a former Special Forces member and, now, a TV host. The Bear Grylls machete was designed for survival and weights almost 2lbs. This is the heaviest knife we tested. It has a 13.5″ blade. The weight and shortness of the knife made the knife a great tool for cutting down chunks of wood. In fact, we were bored and started chopping up some 2×4′s in the backyard with it. The machete can be used as a hatchet if you find the need.

Read the rest here

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, Gear | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Chainsaw Use and Maintenance for Beginners

It’s Sunday. No better day to catch up on your reading. Grab a hot cup of coffee, adult beverage, or both and crank up your chainsaw skills. Caffeine to keep you alert – alcohol to sanitize the chainsaw gash in your thigh. Joel also wrote a bit recently called What I believed when I was a little boy. Enjoy.

Chainsaw Use and Maintenance for Beginners

by Joel over at Joel’s Gulch

Here’s TUAK’s very first (and possibly last) how-to essay. If you already know how to use and maintain a chainsaw, or if you just don’t have one, proceed no further because this is rather long.

If you do own one and are feeling a bit uncertain on some related matters, click away.

BTW, if you do take the time to read this for information and find it inadequate, please leave a comment as to how it could have been improved. When writing a piece like this it’s very easy to make assumptions about what readers do and don’t already know. Y’know?

This is my Chainsaw. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

The thing to remember about a chainsaw, in terms of its maintenance, is that any time you’re using it you’re beating the hell out of it. A good saw will give you years of good, trouble-free service just like any tool. But that’s only if you treat it right. You just can’t ignore maintenance and expect it to keep running, because a little abuse and neglect goes a long way.

Consider the engine, for example.

That tiny little single-cylinder, two-stroke sucker can only do its thing under full-throttle, at which it’s cranking something like 13,000 RPM. The frictional loads it has to deal with are enormous (more on them later.) It has no liquid coolant, no bath of crankcase oil, and it will drag six feet of sharpened chain links through hard, seasoned wood all day long. Or not, depending on whether you do your part.

So let’s go through the parts of the chainsaw, and what care it needs to keep running right.

Read the rest here

Categories: equipment, Preparedness, Self-reliance | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

DIY Preparedness: Cigar Survival Fishing Kit

by Todd Walker

Improving on a great idea is what I tried to do.

The idea for my last fishing kit for my bug out bag came from Dave Canterbury. It was made of PVC, which was very sturdy, but weighed more than I liked. This summer I wanted to trim the weight on my BOB. It’s not going to be ultralight, but every pound I trim only makes humping that thing easier. So the first piece I tackle is my…um…my fishing tackle.

Step A: Assemble materials. I looked for a lightweight tube for a couple of weeks. I didn’t want glass. Plastic would work. Aluminum would be even better. I found a plastic tube that held a watch on a shopping trip with my wife. I bought it for $5.oo and ditched the cheap watch. The problem with the plastic tube is I would not be able to use it for boiling water in a survival situation.

Then we stopped by the adult beverage store for some wine. This place also has a nice humidor with a great selection of cigars. *Aha Moment*

We spent the next five minutes rummaging through stogies looking for the perfect candidate. I needed it to be long enough and with sufficient diameter to hold the necessary fish-catching supplies. I found a cigar, which I enjoy from time to time, with a great tube. It measures 1 inch in diameter by 6 1/4 inches long tube. Being aluminum, I can use it to boil water in a pinch. The picture below shows the difference in sizes of the old PVC kit (bottom) and the new one completed.

Old PVC kit vs. New Cigar Kit

Here’s what I used to assemble my kit: Cigar sleeve, duct tape, bank line, electrical tape, 10# fishing line, strike anywhere matches, fire starter (more details about this item later), dry flies, artificial lizard, non-lead weights, 3 types of fishing hooks, metal leader, swivels, 2 floats/bobbers, and a snack size zip-lock baggie.

Material needed

Assembly Process

Step A: Wrap the screw end (or non-rounded end) with about 3 or 4 feet of duct tape. Do I even have to tell you about all the uses for this miracle survival material?  I keep strips of it in my cars, wallet, desk, almost every where I go. Duct tape may not help you catch fish, but I’m sure it’s possible with a little creativity. It’s a utility player that should be on and in every preppers gear and bags.

Step B: Tie a slip knot on the end of your bank line (don’t forget to burn the nylon end to prevent unraveling) and tighten it around the tube next to the duct tape. Wind about 50 to 100 feet of line onto the tube. I used closer to 50 feet to keep the profile of the tube even. Bank line can be used for limb hooks and trot lines in a true survival situation. This allows for passive fishing while you attend to other tasks. [NOTE: Check your local fishing and game laws during times of rule of law before using these methods.]

The bank line can also be used for a makeshift fly rod (and other cordage needs). Simply cut a sapling about 8 feet, attach 10 feet of bank line to the end, add a piece of mono filament line to the bank line with one of the dry flies in the kit and you have a hillbilly fly rod rig. When no bait is available for your hooks, use this rig to catch smaller pan fish to use for bait on limb hooks. This is very enticing for larger fish and turtles.

Bank line being wrapped

Step C: Secure the bank line to the tube with a couple of wraps of electrical tape. Again, more tape to use as needed.

Electrical tape wrapped around bank line

Step D: Now you’re ready to add the mono filament fishing line. I used 10# line. I wouldn’t recommend anything below 6# line. In a survival situation, the last thing you want to see is a decent sized fish run with 4# line and snap it off. An old technique I’ve used for years is to lay the line inside a book and reel the line onto the tackle. I did this for the cigar tube as well. Tie a slip knot on the end of the fishing line and secure it to the tube where you taped off the bank line. Start rotating the tube to add line. I guess you could wind the line on the tube with you free hand. I prefer to roll the line on by rotating the tube with my finger tips from both ends of the tube. I’m a little OCD. I think the line might accumulate more kinks if you wind it on with you free hand.

Add line until you get within one inch of the rounded end of the tube, then double back over the existing line. I added about 50 feet of line to my rig. Next, add a layer of electrical tape to secure the line to the kit. A wide rubber band might work, but I like the tape.

50 feet of mono-filament line going on

Below is the finished exterior of the kit. By the way, if you haven’t purchased and read “Boston’s Gun Bible“, do so now. It’s one of my top go-to books for prepping.

Fishing line taped

Step E: Place the strike-anywhere matches, fire starter (more details about this item later), dry flies, artificial lizard, non-lead weights, 3 types of fishing hooks, and swivels in a snack size zip-lock baggie. Squeeze the air out by rolling it toward the top of the bag. Seal the bag and slide into the tube.

Contents in a zip lock bag

Step F: Screw end-cap onto tube and wrap with electrical tape for a water-tight seal.

Screw cap taped

Fire Starter Note: I made the fire starter that guarantees fire. It’s jute twin that was saturated with paraffin wax. It literally only takes a spark to get a flame going. Just cut a one inch piece, unravel, and “fluff” to create more surface area for your spark. Another added bonus is that it even lights in wet conditions. I have bundles in all my kits. You never know when you’ll need to cook up those fish you just caught with your new Cigar Survival Fishing Kit!

Got any suggestions to make this better? Please add them in the comment section. Thanks!

Keep Doing the Stuff,


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Categories: DIY Preparedness, DIY Preparedness Projects, Doing the Stuff, equipment, Frugal Preps, Preparedness, SHTF, Survival, Survival Skills, TEOTWAWKI | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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