Years ago I used to be an impulse buyer and I didn’t put much thought into the process other than knowing I wanted the item. This was especially true when it came to outdoor gear and survival gear.
In a relatively short period, selling survival gear has become a big business. It went from a few small groups of companies offering quality items to opening the floodgates and saturating the market with knockoffs and overpriced junk.
It was during this time that I changed my shopping process up because outdoor and survival gear can be so important, and I also ended up with my fair share of bad products. After all, I wasn’t buying a coffee maker or a DVD player but items that my life might depend on.
I adopted a few practices for buying survival products that I wanted to share with you in hopes that they will help you get what you need.
Survival Gear Shopping Tips
What Will I Use it For?
This is an important question to ask yourself before purchasing. Since knives are a popular item, let’s use that as an example. Most people who are not into knives get one to be able to “cut stuff.”
Knives come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. Some are better suited for certain tasks than others. “Cutting stuff” is fine but what do you want to be able to cut? Will you mainly be cutting soft materials like cordage and tape? Do you plan on using the knife to process wild game, process wood into tools and traps, or use the knife for self-defense?
Some knives are a “jack of all trades” and can do all of the above, but they don’t excel at any one thing. So, ask yourself what exactly you will be using the product for and where (the environment can play a big role in the effectiveness of a product). By answering this question, you should have better luck finding a product that will fulfill your needs.
Beware of The Word “Survival”
As I mentioned earlier, this type of gear has become a big business and the word “survival” is attached to everything. Survival knives, survival bows, survival flashlights, survival ponchos, and on the list goes.
Some companies use this term merely as a marketing measure to get you to buy into a lesser quality product while other companies use the term accurately and honestly to deliver a quality product for a specific need.
Don’t be fooled into buying something just because it has the word “survival” attached to it. Likewise, just because a product doesn't have the word survival attached to it doesn't mean it won't work. The last time I looked at an ax at a hardware store, they were not labeled "survival axes."
Do Your Research!
At some point, we are all guilty of not doing our research on a product before buying it. I get it, we all have busy lives and sometimes we just want to buy something now and be done with it. By not taking the time to research a product, there is an increased risk of getting an item that won’t hold up.
The good news is that with the internet, it is easier to research a product than it used to be. There are reviews on company websites, seller websites, independent sites that do product reviews, and channels like YouTube where you can watch the product being tested.
I would also encourage you to look at the materials used to construct the product, this information can make a big difference in the overall quality of a product.
Finances are always a concern and I’m not going to sit here and tell you how to spend your money, only you know what is best for you. However, sometimes we do get what we pay for and saving money on an item that may not work when you need it doesn’t seem like a good deal to me.
If you do your research to find a good, quality product and it is an essential item, it may warrant saving up for a while and spending extra on something that will work. Remember, this is gear that you intend on using in a survival situation.
I wanted to share some of these tips with you because over the years I have seen more than my fair share of products that are nothing more than gimmicks and overpriced junk.
I hope you are fortunate enough to never be in a survival situation but if you take the time beforehand to prepare and make good choices with your gear purchases, you will be in a much better position should that time come.
Thanks for reading, stay prepared, and shop wisely.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. Bryan is a published author with Fox Chapel Publishing. In 2019, Bryan authored the book, Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide. In March 2021, he released his second book, Paracord Projects For Camping and Outdoor Survival.