Guest Article: High Quality Survival Tools, by J.F.

Flight Jacket

I like black flight jackets. They are dressy enough to wear to an art reception and common enough to be worn to a junk yard. They’re made of water-proof nylon and have two large button outside pockets, two large inside button pockets, and a pocket on the shoulder. The best one that I have found is sold at Alpha Industries. If you look in the left front pocket, there is a white label that states Alpha Industries Jacket, Flyers, Man Intermediate. On the shoulder pen pocket is a small black label sticking out with a gold sort of “A” on it with three bars on either side of the “A”. This is how you can tell it’s not a cheap one.

Pocket Light

For a little light to carry in my pants pocket, I like the Fenix E11 light, available from Duluth Trading for $40 with shipping. The problem with all the other lights is that they either come unscrewed in my pocket, get accidentally switched “on”, or are very dim. This light has a strong click button on the end so it stays “off” in my pocket, and it never comes unscrewed. It uses a standard AA battery, which makes it easy to carry a spare in your flight jacket. It is very bright at 115 lumens with its LED bulb. It is not much bigger than a AA battery. So, now instead of carrying an extra AA battery, I just carry a second E11 light in case the battery dies, thus providing me with a full backup or extra light for a partner.

Cell Phone Charger Battery

I carry a PowerRocks backup cell phone charger battery, available in Verizon stores. This is the rectangular one, which is bigger than the cylinder one. It has a lot of power and is good for four charges of an iPhone. It charges a lot faster than a car charger, too. It’s about $70 and comes in colors, in case you want to get a second one and need to keep track of which is which.

Cell Phone

I bought a second cell phone, in case everything falls apart with the main cell phone when I am in a jam. I got a T-Mobile flip phone from Walmart for about $40. I put on a $10 minute card every three months. It seems to be able to hold a charge for many months. It’s not very big and doesn’t take up much room. When you get the phone, you go on the Internet and pick the area code you want, and it gives you the number. I put the number on the phone with my label maker. So, if the iPhone breaks, runs out of charge, or if Verizon goes down, I have a completely separate system for the low cost of $10 a quarter.

I carry extra 12v and 110 volt plugs and the charging wire for the iPhone and the wire that goes from the PowerRock to the iPhone. Unfortunately, the flip phone has a big charger and a Samsung-unique plug. Given enough research, one could probably find a better flip phone that could be charged directly off the PowerRock battery.

Odds and Ends

All of this fits easily in my flight jacket pockets along with a nice big pocket knife, bandaids, water purification pills, some medicine that I take, two freshly laundered handkerchiefs, some napkins, a big folding black hat, a pair of gloves, some ear plugs for concerts, a very small backup ball point pen, some large paper clips, a couple of Bic lighters, and a pill bottle full of peanuts out of the shell.

Hobos used to make little lamps from a peanut burning the oil within the nut itself. They would take a paperclip, bore a hole in one end of the peanut, and insert a piece of toilet paper in the hole for a wick and then make a stand of the paperclip to hold the lamp up by drilling into the other end of the nut. It burns for quite some time. Remember, Rudolph Diesel used peanut oil for his first engines.

In addition, in the small pill bottle I carry a push pin for punching holes, a couple of safety pins, different sized nails for boring holes, and bit of toilet paper rolled up in the size of a dice for the lamp.

I also carry a couple of small ziplock bags, which I constantly seem to be using for something. I carry am ATM card for my secondary bank and an extra set of car and house keys. They theory behind the extra keys is that if I get my wallet stolen and not my jacket, I can still get inside my car, get to an ATM, and get into my home. I also carry a couple of twenty dollar bills and a dozen quarters, which can operate a pay phone or a vending machine.

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