Know where you're going! You may be so familiar with your area that you don't need a map, but carry one anyway. You might meet (and remain with) others who know the area less well. Your plans may change, and you may have to go to an unfamiliar area. Topo (topographic) maps show you the terain, like 3D - very useful. Things to carry:

1. Compass - more useful if you learn how to use it correctly. North is not really north, you know?

2. Map of area - TOPO is great and street map also - why not carry both?

3. GPS - lets you mark 'waypoints' (all three, X, Y and Z coordinates: latitude, longitude and altitude) and guides you back to them, in the dark, in fog and even on water (lakes and oceans). Very useful, but due to its battery power, it would be unwise to depend on a GPS completely. Batteries fail or wear/run out. Then what?

4. Binoculars or telescope - even a cheap $15 pocket binocular is better than nothing. Folding telescopes are also useful and compact. I use a Nikon Trailblazer waterproof binocular in a belt pouch, 10 x 30, great optics. Close to $100. Amazingly wide field of view and very clear. Small enough for a pocket. I'd like to find a monocular like the one Jason Bourne used.

5. NVD/FLIR - A monocular NVD (Night Vision Device) is easily within most budgets, at about $150 for the 1st generation cheapies from Russia, green on green. Not spectacular, but hey, you can actually see in near dark (star and some moonlight), and using the IR illuminator button, you can see in total dark for about 30 yards - not too shabby. And it runs on two AA batteries. If you can see in the dark and not be seen, you are empowered. Update: Sportsman's Guide catalog has a NVD for $108, and it's 1-3x.

You can get second and third generation (best and costly) NV rifle scopes, some military surplus, and they can be used on or off a rifle. This kind of gear could be a real game changer. If you are facing dangerous people at night, having a NV scope on your rifle could give you a big advantage. Sportsman's Guide has a Gen 1+ (still green) 4x NVD rifle scope with illuminator for about $400, haven't tried it though. Says the illuminator's good out to 1640 feet. Holy moly.

FLIR (Forward Looking Infra Red) devices see heat (long wave radiation) and show you in various ways (black and white, color, etc.) what's out there in warmer and cooler colors or whatever. At about $2000 for the low end, it's still on my wish list.

If you have the money, this gear could be really useful. To be able to see anything warm-blooded - awesome. I watched some YouTube videos of the war in Iraq, helicopters with FLIR scopes targeting 'hostiles' on the ground from far away. Each person on the ground was a bright yellow or red figure, against a dark background - a sitting duck.


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"This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration!
Our streets will be safer, our Federal Police will be more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!"

Adolph Hitler

Passing of the German Weapons Act in 1935

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
John F Kennedy

Americans are
nine times
more likiely to be killed by police than by terrorists.

The supreme law of this land, The Constitution, has not granted power to the federal government to regulate, register or control guns. The Second Amendment specifically states that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. What part of "shall not be infringed" does the government not understand?

Voting for a political party is like choosing the color of the car that is going to run you over.

"A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."

George Washington