In the SEAL teams, if you don’t have the right gear — you don’t come home.
It might be as simple as the extra pair of AA batteries wrapped in tape that made all the difference on a mission in Iraq…
Or that one extra quart of hydraulic fluid that kept my teammate’s heavily damaged helicopter airborne until he was able to safely land it in Afghanistan…
Then there’s the 5 oz. self-applied tourniquet that has saved thousands of lives over the last decade.
The right tools make all the difference. But what are the “right” tools?
I’ve had to rely on each of these tools in many different situations and I can personally attest to their efficacy and lifesaving abilities.
Not only do I cover how each of these tools comes in handy in critical circumstances, but I give specific recommendations for the brands I carry. Take a look below.
1. Watch With GPS: My preference is the Garmin fenix, a rugged, multisport timepiece with GPS navigation, altimeter, compass and barometer — in addition to all of the basic functions of a watch. The extra features help you navigate in unfamiliar territory. This watch also has a great “back track” feature. If you get lost, you can simply follow your path back to where you started. The altimeter is a great tool for knowing your position and telling others where you are, and the barometer will keep you ahead of the game if the weather starts to change. The light on the watch can be used for signaling when attached to a small piece of rope and spun over your head. In the SEAL teams, we called this move a “buzz saw” and used it for signaling aircraft.
2. Tactical Rigger's Belt With D-Ring Buckle: I wear the Elite Survival Systems Cobra Tactical Rigger’s Belt. More than just keeping my pants up, this belt has a heavy-duty quick-release buckle that allows me to remove it quickly and use it as a weapon. The D-ring can be used for emergency descent from a high point, used to anchor someone else or as an attachment point to keep someone close in a low-visibility situation.
3. Multitool: You get a lot of bang for your buck with a good multitool. You can cut with it, make repairs with it, even fight with it. I prefer a more robust set of pliers than the needle nose variety that comes on many brands, including the collapsible “fist pack” size, which is why I carry the Gerber Flik Multi Tool everywhere I go.
4. Water Filter: You can go weeks without food, but you will only survive a few days without water. In a survival situation, you can’t always expect clean water to be easily available, which is why I recommend the SurvFilter. This device uses nanotechnology to filter approximately 300 gallons of pure water — directly from streams, puddles, lakes and more — before needing to be replaced. Independent testing proves this filter effectively removes 99.9999% of contaminants — including bacteria, viruses and chemicals. Click here for a demonstration.
5. Butane Lighter: There are several reasons you may need to start a fire — to keep warm, cook a meal or perhaps signal someone — and you can’t count on a disposable lighter when that time comes. I carry the Ultimate Survival Technologies Delta Stormproof Lighter. It’s waterproof with the cover closed, and the flame is capable of withstanding winds of up to 80 miles an hour without going out.
By amassing this quintessential collection of gear, you will be more prepared to handle any crisis situation and make it home alive. So pick these items up today and be a survivor, not a statistic.