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Perpetual gear finds thread

I often come across cool gear and preps online, so I figured I’d make a thread to drop this stuff in vs. just putting it in the company Slack like I normally do.

I’ll kick it off with these small Knipex CoBolt S compact bolt cutters (71 31 160), which are a newly released variant on a set of cutters I already have in my BoB. I have the XL version of these cutters in my bag, but I’m hearing that the new compact ones are insanely capable for the size and weight. So I’m thinking of picking some up (with the recessed edge).

I tend to really go for the Knipex tools because they’re German made and extremely high quality. I use their pliers in my shop, and have a very compact set of their pliers in my wife’s BoB.

(Also, I’m thinking it may be cool to do a perpetual deals thread where we can post sales on preps that we come across.)

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  • Comments (53)

    • 3

      A techy friend of mine was on FB wearing one of these. Looks really slick. Does anyone have any experience with them?

      https://o2canada.com/

      • 2

        Another mask find via FB, this from an advertisment. Looks kind of interesting:

        https://castlegrade.com/

      • 2

        Reviews of o2Canada seem to be a mixed bag. I’ll be disappointed if it turns out to be yet another good-looking scam, they’d be a good EDC mask you can wear everywhere without raising eyebrows, on paper.

      • 3

        I contacted them and am trying to score one for review.

    • 2

      Has anyone tried airsoft goggles for eye protection? I’ve been using lab goggles, but am thinking of something like this:

      https://www.valken.com/Goggle-V-TAC-Zulu

      • 2

        That appears to be a 2x cost rebrand of the Pyramix I-Force

        which I have been considering; I mentioned it in a thread about ‘goggles for protesting’ a couple of weeks ago. Main disatvantage in my mind is that it’s probably not airtight enough to keep tear gas or other eye irritants out. 

      • 2

        Thanks, I’m going to buy these and see how they are.

      • 3

        Ordered via Amazon. They’ll get here in a day or two and I’ll try them out and update.

      • 2

        I ended up buying a pair. I sealed the vents with silicone (so I could reverse it later if I wanted to), and by pulling the straps tight, I believe they would probably keep tear gas out? Not really sure. The anti-fog coating on the inside is getting a little hazy after a few wears around the neighborhood to test. I might just wash it out and use liquid soap as a homebrew anti-fog coating instead. The lenses seem very thick and sturdy, so hopefully the awesome impact rating is accurate. 

      • 2

        I can confirm. No tear gas or irritant protection.  No stand alone sealed eyeware or goggle has worked for me besides maybe 15 seconds of protection. Even then the outsides are so close to your eyes you will 9/10 times get irritants built on the rim into your eye just by moving them off of you, triggered a second reaction.

        For that you need a correctly sized full face or gas mask.

      • 2

        Yep. I’ve been wearing them, but there are holes for ventilation that allow ingress of aerosols, so the protection value is lower than real goggles or a gas mask.

        I think it’s better to have these on that nothing, or even just regular glasses (or shades), but they’re not enough.

    • 2

      The Knipex bolt cutters look nice (and I love Knipex), but Felco C7’s are about the same size and can go through 7 mm diameter of mild steel (as the name implies). I could be wrong, but I suspect you would find that they offer a significantly better capability-to-weight ratio. 

      • 2

        I checked those out, and they look sweet. I’d love to do a bake-off on the blog, at some point.

    • 2

      I got this Schrade SCHF56L in for testing, and wow is it better than the Schrade SCHF36 that’s the main budget pick in our knife guide.

      It’s the same price and materials, but the ergos are way better. There is a small sharpening choil, so it’s easier to sharpen than the larger SCHF36. Plus, it’s lighter, better balanced, and the handle is more comfortable. The blade design is IMO a little more flexible, too.

      I really really love this knife as a budget survival/bushcraft pick. I may do a more extensive review, and it’s definitely going into the next update of our knife guide.

      • 2

        Thanks for this Jon.  I ended up getting these for our BOBs and if we upgrade in future they will go into the GHBs.  I was suprised by the heft, size and fit for both my smaller female and husband’s large hands for such a budget pick. I’m no knife expert so having your opinion here was definitely influential. 

    • 2

      While I’m on the topic of things that I’ve recent found to be better than our guide pick, I’ve been using and carrying a Leatherman Free K4 for a few months now, and I think it’s better than the Skeletool CX as an EDC pick.

      It has the following things going for it vs. the CX:

      • It weighs the same (or a little less, I think). So it doesn’t fee bulkier in the pocket.
      • The clip is far better. I always had retention problems with the CX, and finally lost one and had to replace it. Not so with the Free.
      • It rides better in the pocket. There’s something about the CX that just gets in the way. Despite the fact that the Free K4 is thicker, it just stays out of the way far better than the CX.
      • I rarely used the CX’s pliers.
      • I constantly use the K4’s scissors.

      So as much as I adored the Skeletool CX for the years I carried it, I really love the K4 and consider it to be a major upgrade.

      • 3

        Has anyone ever tried out the LuminAID PackLite Max 2-in-1 Phone Charger? It’s a solar charged light and cellphone charger. Looks pretty good to me, especially since it’s supposed to be waterproof and sandproof. 

        Solar Phone Chargers

        Here are some other specs:

        • 150 lumens of bright LED light on Turbo mode
        • Can run for up to 50 hours on Low mode
        • Recharges via solar power in 16-20 hours of sunlight
        • Recharges via USB input in 2 hours
        • The USB output port will recharge your phone in 2-4 hours depending on the type of phone
      • 3

        I haven’t, but that looks awesome! If you get it, it would be awesome to read a review in the forum if you can do it. 🙂

      • 3

        +1 on wondering about this one and if the phone charger is worth the weight vs. the light only version.  

      • 1

        This product hits a pet peeve of mine.

        Immediately (and with most other LED lights these days) we see how white the light is – a great recipe for completely knocking out your night vision and screwing up your melatonin production. I get it when a flashlight has it, because I’d expect the bright light to disorient other people and animals somewhat, but with a lantern like this everyone’s a casualty.

        I’d really like to see more low kelvin (2700k or softer) portable LEDs, but of course going daylight (5000-6500 kelvin) is a cheat code for getting more lumens out of your lights. Probably has to do with LED technology. At least you’d think they could include a less bright, more warm option as part of the various brightness settings on these things. From what I saw of the video, it doesn’t seem like the dimmer settings are a warmer color.

        I really enjoy my Philips Sceneswitch lights for this reason. Where’s my Sceneswitch version of this lantern? :p

        I’d also like to know how the plastic handles being expanded and scrunched up over time… Whatever I’m buying should be as close to “buy it for life” as possible.

      • 2

        Good thoughts.  I also think the daylight option also helps with color recognition (blood being a key one) .  My peeve is how many manufacturers don’t include the color temperature in the description.  This one did at least.  Their lantern version comes in 3 options:  5000K, 2700K and multicolor.  Odd they didn’t copy that model in their battery charger version.  I think the handles are more like silicone.   I’ve not gotten to play with one yet, though.   And at their site, a popup indicated that a new one with a larger solar panel is coming (based on the image).  

      • 2

        Yes, I see now that the $25 lantern-only version has different warmness options. Still, as we see here with the phone charger lantern, the first version of a new [insert thing here] with LED lighting is usually a daylight color. Often a second warmer version never comes… Though this brand may be an exception.

      • 2

        Time will tell on that one.  I’m holding out for the larger solar panel version they teased about.  That will be the proof in the pudding for the warmer vs cold white options.  

      • 2

        They now have a warm white option for the phone charing version: https://luminaid.com/products/packlite-max-phone-charger?variant=32299183636567

        No color temperature info – darn.  I’m still hoping for more mAh and/or faster charging in the next version.  Given I have a AAA pen light in my FAK, this will possibly fill in as backup lantern, solar charger and portable power for much less weight.  

      • 2

        The new larger panel Luminaid landern is out: https://luminaid.com/products/titan-2-in-1-phone-charger

        It’s got a red mode (+) and is heavier (-).  Hmmmm

      • 2

        I have one of these and I really like it! It can illuminate entire workspaces during power outages and the handle can accomodate carabiners or a tie so it can be hung pretty much anywhere. It doesn’t sit quite flat when inflated due to the phone charging port and the inflation hole but it’s not a functional issue so it doesn’t bother me. I only acquired it this summer so I can’t speak to how well it would charge in low-light conditions like those found in winter instead of in full summer sun or how durable the plastic will end up being.

        I have kept it fully inflated since getting it, which may increase it’s longevity. I’m thinking of getting a few more to keep around the farm in the event of a power outage. The fact that it only comes in daylight cool white light hasn’t bothered me when I’ve used it, and to me it’s worth the trade off with not including a warm light option because of the brightness. 

      • 2

        There’s now a separate Forum on solar lanterns.  I pointed them over here as well for @Camille’s experience post.

        https://theprepared.com/forum/thread/recommendations-for-solar-camping-lanterns/#reply-26756

        There’s a mpowerd lantern that is just like the luminaid that is having a 40% off Labor Day sale. 

      • 2

        Thank you for doing that! 🙂

      • 1

        Technically it’s just another thread :p

        All the threads together are a forum.

      • 2

        😛 point taken.

      • 2

        Ooh, this is a hard choice for me. I’ve been wanting to switch to an EDC multitool as opposed to the non-ideal setup I’ve been using for a couple years now: the small-sized Leatherman Squirt PS4 or Gerber Dice with occasionally a pocket knife on me as well.

        But the thing that’s been giving me pause is that I really like and use both the pliers and the scissors on any multitool! I’m trying to decide which one I don’t mind using the smaller version of so that I can decide between the Skeletool CX and the Free K4 (I’ll still have the Squirt PS4 or Dice on my keychain).

        One downside to the K4 in my use case: I try to avoid carrying intimidating things like knives on my person (I’m a dark-skinned guy often in poorer neighborhoods where, frankly, officers can be a bit eager about things like this) so carrying the item that is more obviously a multitool (the Skeletool) may be an advantage.

      • 2

        FWIW I’m not sure the Skeletool is much better. Leatherman multitool blades in general look “cool,” which is to say intimidating. The Skeeltool CX blade has that fat midbelly section and the punched holes that make it look like some kind of exotic knife. I’m not really a fan of the aesthetic. It looks dangerous. The Skeletool does look more like a multitool at first glance though, while the K4 just looks like a folding knife. As long as no one opens up the blade.

      • 2

        Strong point, Carpium. Even aside from the knife, the Skeletool overall has a very “tactical” aesthetic. I think the long-term solution for me is going to have to be outside Leatherman… the Victorinox SAKs are much more obviously multitools as opposed to knives, and I think I can settle for the weaker pliers.

        Currently I’m comparing the Handyman, the Deluxe Tinker, and the the Evolution S557. All have similar (or slightly lower) weights than the Skeletool and the Free K4. The shapes don’t look like they’re going to be quite as nice in-pocket, but the addition of a keychain-clip (the TEC Accessories P7 comes highly recommended) should hopefully address that problem.

        We’ll see, though. I’m very new to the SAK side of the multitool world so I’m taking my time with the research.

    • 2

      I just finally committed and purchased an Outdoor Vitals Atlas Hybrid 15F sleeping bag. https://outdoorvitals.com/collections/all-sleeping-bags/products/outdoor-vitals-atlas-hybrid-0-degree-lofttek-sleeping-bag I’ve been using a North Face Cat’s Meow 20F  in the last 30 years (like 10 times) and had planned to put it in the BOB, but it’s heavier, bulkier and in my recent late evening tests, isn’t as warm as it once was or in comparison to my husband’s Marmot Trestles 15deg XL.  I must say I’m impressed with the Atlas and I’ve not yet actually slept in it.  In the late evening comparison test, it was the warmest yet and most comfortable.  I really like the center zip as it made it more versatile (reading, using as a quilt in warmer temps) and was generally better for this squirmy side sleeper.  It also creates the spots for the shoulder baffles which are small attached blankets that fill in around your neck that are just plain genious. 

    • 4

      The ClampTite tool allows you to use stainless steel safety wire to make a super-strong low-profile hose clamp when the S has HTF and you need a durable critical repair done ASAP.  The size of the repair is limited to the length of the wire.  You’ll need to watch a video and practice a few times, like a lot things in the prepper space, but it will put a huge grin on your face the first time it comes in handy for you.

      Premium Marine* ClampTite Tool – CLT01L

      103957550_1958366210965174_4238596095852757117_n

      • 5

        This is great! I think these quick-fix repair type items — hose clamps, safety pins, even sewing kits — are underrated in prepper circles. When you need them they can make a major difference, but we often don’t even think about them until it’s too late.

        I wonder if there’s not a potential kit we could put together that’s like, “field repair things you probably didn’t think about but that could save your bacon,” with stuff like this in it.

      • 3

        I agree that repairs are really good to include in prepping.  My car kit includes hose clamps, zip ties and spare fuses.  I’ve also had a hose clamp with a bit of rubber tubing temporarily fix a leak in a copper pipe in my house until the plumber could fit us in.  I’ve got a gear aid repair kit with extra tenatious tape destined for my BOB as it will mend a variety of items – also very lightweight.

        https://www.rei.com/product/783048/gear-aid-seam-grip-field-repair-kit

        Recently having the need to fix a pair of glasses, an eyeglass repair kit is also on the list – lesson here:  one with long and short screws as the one I had luckily had a long enough one for the broken pair.  The one I purchased for the BOB did not.  And given that we have needles in the FAK, adding in some heavy duty thread is quite small/light that would help with mending a lot of things that duct tape would not.  Just need to ensure the needle’s hole is large enough for the thicker thread (don’t think mine is right now).  

      • 2

        Looks like it could beat the hell out of my old milspec wire twister.

      • 2

        I bought one of these and it just came in.  I am going to use it to redo an air hose I built for my truck.  I will report back here with some pics and thoughts on it.

    • 3

      Costco has been carrying boxes of Mountain House emergency meal kits. I’ve  picked up a few boxes over my last couple of trips to Costco. I think they were around $65 if I remember correctly. 

      sorry for the sideways pic, I’m doing this from my phone  

      D08473A8-B08F-4F56-A74D-DF13EFC0C729

      • 3

        I saw them as well this weekend.  Decent price of ~$70  in LA for 15 pouches.  I know that they typically range from $6-10 per pouch.  These have been sold out on the Mountain House website recently.  So this is good news.  

      • 2

        That’s a really good price. Thank you for the heads up! Did you see any other meal kits on sale?

        I hope people that would ordinaily walk right past are giving them a 2nd look. 

      • 2

        Not freeze dried meals with the extreme shelf life. They were well stocked with their normal fare of pouches of heat and eat food (I like the indian curries) as well as canned goods like tuna, sardines, spam, chicken, beans, olives.  Didn’t seem to be low on much of anything.

      • 2

        I just got a flyer in the mail from Costco.com where they are advertising a “Chef’s Banquet ARK 2020 Food Storage Kit” for $99. Claims to have 2020 cal for one person for 30 days with a 25 year shelf life. Don’t see it on their website yet but the prices aren’t valid until 8/27 so it may not be posted. Don’t know how good of a paranoia bucket it is tho!

    • 3

      Isreali M15 Gas Mask

      I got one of these before the price jumps. You can still find them on eBay for low prices here and there. I have a lot of experience with full face respirators with my line of work, but these are far easier to breath through. Not only that they have projector boxes so you can talk without being quiet and muffled, something I have always hated. 

      Great field of view. Anti fogging system. Incredible seal and fit. Low profile so can be worn woth head gear. Drinking straw as a bonus to consume liquids without removing it.

      • 2

        I didn’t know about projector boxes. I guess I don’t know much about respirators in general. Sounds really useful. Is there a downside to them at all?

      • 2

        There really isnt besides the minor field of view and increased insulation changes you would normally expect, as far as respirators go these have incredible FOV.

        Industrial full face respirators you cant talk though at all, their filters are a bit cheaper. great FOV, bulky and you will bump against more stuff than the M15 gas mask.
        Generally this mask is all pros compared most other full face respirators. I havent observed any cons.
        Not everyones concern, not even one for me really, but you can cheek weld long guns with it as well, which you really cant do with the full face respirators.

    • 3

      Since you also mentioned cool items with sales. I’ve recently purchased the ThruNite Ti3 which is a well reviewed single AAA LED flashlight (the size of a finger) for about $3 each – but must purchase a lot of 5. I don’t know if this is a permanent deal or if they’re offloading stock to make way for a new model. It’s a waterproof light that fits into the FAK, has 3 light levels and comes in cool and warm white (that’s for you @Carpium. 🙂

      https://thrunite.com/shipping-for-ti3-giveaway/

      • 2

        The Ti3 is a lovely little device, like many of ThruNIte’s devices. While I EDC a larger flashlight with a longer battery life + a magnet + a UI more to my liking, I also keep the Ti3 on my keychain because it’s so lightweight and I can hand it off to others easily.

      • 2

        Sounds like you have a good option.  Which flashlight do you EDC?  

      • 2

        Oh, sorry, I should’ve mentioned. It’s the Olight S1R Baton II. It’s a great little tool, but note one major drawback: it uses a proprietary battery. It charges via a magnetic USB charger, which makes it incredibly convenient for my daily use, but from a prepping perspective it’s frustrating that it doesn’t use a more standardized battery. Oh… and it’s only available in cool white.

    • 4

      I’ve struggled for about a decade with portable 12V battery backup systems for use in grid-down or off-grid situations.  Through ignorance and negligence I’ve managed to ruin several hundred pounds of flooded lead-acid deep cycle, Gel cell, and even a high-dollar aerospace AGM battery in the process, as well as purchasing several hundred dollars worth of various 12V battery chargers.  And that doesn’t even include solar charging equipment.

      For years I’ve wanted to move on to lithium storage solutions, but it hasn’t been a simple path.  I’ve developed a level of confidence when using individual Li-ion cells (3.7V 18650 cells from LG, Panasonic, Sony, Samsung), especially the protected varieties produced by Orbronic and the flashlight companies, but I just never could work up the courage to make up my own battery packs for 12V applications by stringing a bunch of these cells together.  The chances of a fire/explosion due to mistakes on my part when wiring them up with a battery management board just wasn’t worth the risk.

      But I’ve finally found my solution for 12V storage and am in the process of moving on to LiFePO4 technology, specifically the excellent battery packs produced by Bioenno.  This lithium chemistry hits the sweet spot in terms of safety, energy density, portability, and maybe even price when looked at over the long haul. 

      I started out with their 20Ah pack with Anderson Powerpole leads and was totally blown away by the performance I got in testing.  I’ve since purchased their new 70Ah pack from Powerwerx and was equally impressed.  Just this week I placed another 20Ah pack direct from Bioenno, since Powerwerx listed them as being out of stock (I get most of my Powerpole stuff from them and typically order some of that stuff whenever I get a new Bioenno battery).  I was contacted yesterday by Bioenno and they informed me that they also don’t have that pack in stock but wondered if I’d be interested in their 40Ah pack with a charger at no extra charge.  Hells, yeah!  It was delivered today and I couldn’t be happier.  I can recommend both Bioenno and Powerwerx without reservation, the money I’ve left with them has been money well spent.

    • 1

      Lifestraws are 50% off (so $9.99) on Amazon during Prime Day (i.e., for the next 48 hours).