Technically, many more of the items in your BOB can be called' tools'. This is my collection of useful gadgets that get jobs done.

1. Multitool - All-in-one folding pliers with knife, file, saw, screwdrivers and on and on. So useful I carry one on my belt and use it almost daily - Leatherman WAVE ($70). Another, cheaper one, I carry in my backpack, a Cobalt from Lowe's ($15) works well for the money.

2. Folding knife - so handy, I keep mine clipped to my front pocket and use it more than any other knife. Applacian Trail, 3.5" blade, all stainless steel, handle with wood inlays, seat belt cutter and glass breaker on the end. Good knife. Update: Now using the Smith and Wesson First Response, same style, stronger. Ground the point to a drop point - it was too blunt.

3. Fixed knife and sheath - When you need a strong blade, this is the one you use, not your folder. Splitting wood, hacking, prying, digging - all jobs for a solid knife, with the tang the full length of the handle. Forget the 'survival' knives with hollow handles and cheap trinkets (fishing hooks and line, matches...) inside. Those are for kids and ignorant adults. Sooo tacti-cool, until it's in two pieces! (see also Defense, the list near the bottom)

Excellent In-Depth Video on Selecting a Fixed-Blade Survival Knife

4. Machete and sheath - For clearing a trail, cutting brush, making a shelter from trees or bushes, splitting larger wood, making pointed stakes or poles or a spear... Mine is 18" overall, 11" straight blade, tapers from 1 1/8" to just under 1". Some prefer a hand axe, I prefer the long blade. If you drive the point into a block of wood, you can use it as a second handle, like a draw knife, to shape wood. Keep it really sharp and you can use it as a knife on many tasks, like carving.

5. Folding shovel - I can dig it. Some kinds of digging just go faster with a real (though small) shovel. Dig a trench around your tent to prevent flooding. Dig a latrine. Dig a tunnel, a cache... Mine folds small, locks open. $10 at Wally's.

6. Folding saw - Sure, a wire saw is nice, but give me an 8" folder and I'm on it. Wire saws are good as backups and for really small BOBs (actually survival kits). If you have big stuff to cut and must cut a lot, the larger folder, with large handle and sharp blade, is the way to go. I like mine so much, I strap it under my fanny pack BOB instead of a wire saw. Yes, the saw is big for a small BOB, but if you have to make shelter fast from wood, a big saw is nice.

7. Wire saw - Yes, there is a place in your full-size BOB for a backup saw, a wire saw. Very small, no reason not to have one. If your main saw fails, rusts, gets lost or stolen, you can party on, well, not really, continue sawing anyway.

8. Sharpening stone - To keep your edged tools sharp, a stone is the tool. For casual, touch-up sharpening, I prefer 180 and 320-grit black, waterproof sandpaper on a flat surface. Like having a huge stone.

9. Screwdriver and bits in the handle (no, not a 'survival' screwdriver) - For small repairs, like radio, pistol, etc.

10. Vise grip - Sometimes you just can't hold it well with pliers. I use it as a small vise, while bending wire or other metal, great for making hooks and rings, etc., like fixing a backpack with odd parts. Coat hanger wire is best for this.

11. File - for working with metal, sharpening things, cutting grooves in wood or metal. My choice is a 6 or 8" flat/round (flat one side, rounded on the other).

12. Wire - baling wire and coat hanger wire are great for making and repairing things.

13. Drill bits - they are small and light, no need not to have a few. So how can you use drill bits if you don't have a cordless drill? Make one! No, not the battery kind, the spindle-and-bow kind, as in fire-starting. The spindle tip is split into four equal quarters, and the inside corners are trimmed just enough to grip a drill bit, by inserting it as in the chuck of a cordless drill and then wrapping twine around the spindle and tying it. In place of drill bits, you can use sharpened nails, wire and other small bits of metal or shards of glass and stone. Another option is the pump-drill, which has a weight on the spindle and a horizontal stick with a hole in the middle for the spindle and a thong or cord from its ends to the top of the spindle. When you pump the stick, the cord twirls the spindle, the weight keeps it spinning and wraps the cord around the spindle, ready for you to push down on the stick to twirl the spindle in the opposite directions.

14. Fishing/trapping gear - I'm a vegetarian and have no use for these things, but you might still eat dead animals and would do so if bugged out, so here is the category for all of that stuff, fish hooks, whatever. Most survival books tell what you need. This is the only topic about which I answer no questions. You're on your own, carnivores. You might prefer this item listed under food.

It may appear that I have omitted some important items. I just categorize differently. Look here for them:

Sewing - Repair
Compass - Navigation
Fire-making - Fire
Misc. - Misc.


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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