By Thomas Conroy
USA --(Ammoland.com)- There’s been a lot of focus lately on disasters and prepping: TV shows like Doomsday Preppers, movies like World War Z. Even the CDC put up a website with plans on how to survive a Zombie Apocalypse.
Of course, if you’re truly prepped for a Zombie Apocalypse, surviving minor things like hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorist attacks or pandemics should seem relatively simple.
There’s something in the water, and it’s probably radioactive, mutated, viral and brain-eating. It seems we’re all gearing up and prepping for when the S finally H’s The F.
Not surprisingly, survival gear and prepper supplies have popped up all over, including at vendors like Brownells. You can find all sorts of really neat gadgets, gizmos and thing-a-majigs to help you survive the Apocalypse, or at least make it through if the power goes out for a day or two. You can also find some items that make you smirk, frown, or just shake your head in amazement.
You think to yourself, Really? Somebody would actually buy that? Some of these things seem goofy, silly, or dare I say it – even dumb – at first, but might actually be quite useful in a long-term, grid-down, Zombie-Apocalypse-ish situation.
Here’s a list I compiled. To make this list, the item has to seem somewhat outlandish at first, but have real-world utility.
Top Five ‘Dumb’ Survival Things You’ll Wish You Had When SHTF
5. Glow In The Dark Rope
Seriously? Is this some sort of sick prop for nerdy basement dwellers with Wonder Woman fetishes? Or just a toy for kids? Glow In the Dark Rope ( http://tiny.cc/309wjx ) has two great features. It’s rope – used by humans for thousands of years to help secure valuables, scale cliffs, domesticate horses, and rig sailing vessels – that glows in the dark.
Have you ever tripped over the lines securing your tent to the pegs in the dark? Never experience that again with glow-in-the-dark rope. Have you ever gotten lost at night while trying to find the camp latrine? Run a length of this glowing rope from your sleeping bag to help you find your way. Lay the rope out in the sun for several hours to charge it, or charge it up faster with a flashlight or lantern.
The uses for Glow In The Dark Rope are limited only by your imagination.
4. Squat Strap
You see the Squat Strap ( http://tiny.cc/uv7wjx ) and you’re not sure if you’re supposed to guffaw, or turn away in embarrassment. Somebody actually thought of that? Well, we all have to go, no matter what. Even during emergencies.
For those of us accustomed to indoor bathrooms equipped with modern plumbing, toilet paper, soap and exhaust fans, going outdoors can seem a bit daunting. The simple Squat Strap makes going in the woods, or wherever, easier.
You simply slip the strap around your lower back, slide a roll of toilet paper over the strap and then around a handy tree, pole or similar large, immovable object, and do your business.
The strap supports you, and you don’t have to squat all the way down where you could contact bacteria, biting and stinging insects, or poison ivy. It also eliminates the chance that you might lose your balance and fall either during or immediately after you’ve concluded your business. Talk about an emergency situation!
The Squat Strap comes with a strong carabiner clip and easily holds up to 650 lbs, before and after your business. You could also use it to drag heavy loads, tie food up into trees to keep it away from scavengers, or for any other task where a short, strong tether or strap is required.
3. Paracord Belts
At first glance, paracord belts ( http://tiny.cc/oy8wjx ) might seem like the ultimate fashion statement for the paranoid prepper. But they do make quite a bit of sense. Making cordage is one of humanity’s oldest survival skills, and taught in plenty of modern survival schools.
For thousands of years, we’ve used string for everything from trapping small animals to catching fish to making shelter, clothing and weapons. Walking around with 50 or so feet of 550 Paracord around your waist is just one way to be prepared should you suddenly find yourself in a survival emergency, cut-off from your normal supplies and gear.
But Paracord isn’t just string. It’s a bundle of several tough strings encased in a tough nylon tube that is itself another string. That means one foot of the stuff actually contains several feet of useable cordage. There’s plenty of string in a paracord belt for whatever emergency arises, plus something to tie your pants up with after you’ve unwoven your belt.
2. Freeze-Dried Ice Cream
Mountain House Freeze-Dried Ice Cream might initially seem like a strange novelty food for a kid’s party. But it has a lot going for it as a survival food, especially in a cold climate. When you’re trying to stay warm, it pays to eat fatty foods. You’ve heard of Inuit muktuk?
Prized in the Arctic as a delicacy, muktuk is whale skin and blubber and has around 130 calories per ounce. In comparison, the freeze-dried Neapolitan ice cream bar has around 110 calories per ounce.
If I had to choose between muktuk and freeze-dried ice cream, I know which way I would lean. Plus the freeze-dried ice cream isn’t necessarily cold. It’s a solid-but-lightweight block that looks, smells and tastes exactly like an ice cream bar, but is the same temperature as the surrounding air. So long as the package isn’t opened, it can last for years. And good food can improve your psychological well-being in a survival situation.
Finally, the freeze-dried ice cream has the benefit of being very light weight. One bar weighs only 21 grams, less than one ounce. You can stuff a whole lot of freeze-dried ice cream bars into your bug-out bag before it starts to feel heavy. You don’t have to add any water to it; just open the package and eat it. That would sure beat subsisting on roots, bugs and worms. Or muktuk.
The first time I saw a can of Tactical Bacon ( http://tiny.cc/wzaxjx ) , I knew it had to be a joke. Surely it was the ultimate gun-hipster marketing scheme. It combines the most-overused and abused word in the gunny world – Tactical – with the ultimate hipster food – Bacon. I laughed at Tactical Bacon…until I actually ate some.
Tactical Bacon is the bomb!
It tastes great. It has a shelf life of at least 10 years, so long as you don’t open the can and store it in a cool, dry place. And it holds 9 ounces of cooked bacon. Before you roll your eyes at 9 ounces, realize that the one-pound package of bacon you buy at the store might weigh as little as 4 ounces after you fry it all nice and crispy. That means the 9 ounces of already-cooked smoky, salty tactical bacon could represent more than two pounds of uncooked bacon.
I once split a can of Tactical Bacon with five or six buddies. We had so much bacon that all of us had at least two nice BLT’s, with bacon left over. There’s usually around 54 strips of bacon per can. Even if you load 5 strips of bacon onto each sandwich, that’s 10 sandwiches plus four strips left over. Mmmm….bacon.
First Impressions Are Not Always Correct
Just because an item appears goofy, silly or downright dumb at first glance doesn’t necessarily mean it is. There are plenty of items that might seem strange initially that could be very useful in a survival situation.
Thomas Conroy is a firearms aficionado and writer who lives in the Midwest.