Letter Re: You are Only as Good as Your Equipment

I am a two-year every day reader of the SurvivalBlog, and going through most of the entries that people write I have noticed that the majority of people believe that in a post SHTF scenario we will be faced with daily battles with marauders trying to take or food and goods. This brings people to the assumption that they must only stock up on only ammunition and firearms. As we all know as readers of this blog that when SHTF we will not have grocery stores or any of the facilities that we take for granted as of today. We will be forced to live of the land and retrace our roots and enlist the skills that our forefathers had for generations.

I see many post on the importance of quality firearms and keeping them well maintained, but I rarely ever see a post on the importance of stocking up on and using good quality tools and equipment. “You’re only as good as your equipment” that is something I was told by my grandfather and father for as long as I can remember. I grew up on my families farm in northern Connecticut. We mainly were a vegetable farm but started taking on livestock as a hobby some years back. Everyday we use tools to fulfill or chores and duties around our farm. Whether its to plant or fix the equipment, we use or tools every single day. In a post SHTF situation we will not have a local Tractor Supply Store or Sears & Roebuck to go and pick up a new hammer or axe every time we break the handle. What you have is what you will be forced to live with for as long as things remain the way they are or you can barter a neighbor for theirs. In my years of farming I have generally found that a well maintained older tool will out last and function ten times better than most new light weight (cheap to maintain cause plastics easier to work with than forged steel) heavy duty models. This has always been the case, until my fiance got me a new axe after my main one broke this winter. 

As odd as it may sound my father and I are lumberjack hobbyists. Once a month we pack a lunch and head to the woods looking to find the perfect tree then take it down the old fashioned way with our axes. This wood will then become fire wood or if the wood is of quality it may become a mantle piece or a coffee table. So after breaking my main axe and only having a few small axes, hatchets and mauls left I was getting antsy on finding a replacement. I went to local stores such as the Tractor Supply Store and Sears & Roebuck, and didn’t find any of there tools up to my standards, this frustrated me being that our monthly date in the woods was coming up soon. Then my Fiance brings me this light weight fiber glass foreign job called the Fiskars 28″ Chopping axe the day my father and I had set a date for the woods. She swore by this company being that she is a seamstress and uses there scissors everyday and also uses their Reel Mower to mow the grass around our house and barns. During the walk through the woods I got nothing but sly remarks and under the breath snickers from my father. He had his double bit Michigan style axe made by Vaughan with a beautiful hickory handle and I had this gray and orange hollow handled axe with an almost parkerized looking head. We got to the tree and my father insisted I took the first swing, and upon my fourth or fifth draw back I realized I loved it.

Now the point of my post here is not to tell you how fun filled my day with my father was cutting down trees, but for the first I have found a well quality modern tool that stands up to everything I can throw at it. When going and looking at the prices of the Fiskars brand products I have found that anybody can afford these tools even on the tightest survivalist budget. After being so surprised with the quality of the axe I finally took a look at my fiances Fiskars Reel Mower she has been begging to show me. Now being a farmer I try to get everything done in the fastest most consistent manner as possible, so when I mow I mount a 70″ mowing deck to my Kubota. Until now this Reel Mower was just a tree huger novelty my newly gone-green fiance had been begging to show me. After looking at this mower I found that to the survivalist and post SHTF farmer and retreat owner this is the closest thing to a gas powered mower you can get. This Reel Mower has everything from adjustable blades to change the height and perfect spacing between the deck and the blades so sharpening the blade could quite possibly be a thing of the past with this mower.

Since receiving this axe I have gone ahead and replaced my splitting maul with the 28″ and 36″ Splitting axe, picked up a 14″ hatchet and an axe and knife sharpener all manufactured by Fiskars. These high quality axes all have fiberglass reinforced handles advertised as indestructible. I also purchased their innovative rain barrel system that separates the leaves and debris from the water which can be linked up to numerous barrels for as much free water storage as your budget will allow. The water out of the system is almost drinkable as it is, but I have taken it a step further fitting two Brita water filters to the end of the hose where the water enters the barrel. This ensures the water is safe enough for my animals to drink from, along with my family on those hot summer days.

if you haven’t heard of the company Fiskars, you may have heard of their sister company Gerber. These two companies both use the same quality materials and are both baked by a lifetime no-nonsense warranty. With all these quality features and materials whether your in a post-TEOTWAWKI situation or just want quality tools to get the job done without having to sacrifice all your money Fiskars seems to be the way to go. – Christopher R.

JWR Adds: Since I’m a Finnophile (I love everything made in the land of SAKO and Valmet), I have a weakness for Fiskars products. I not only have several pairs of their scissors, but also some of their axes, splitting mauls, and brush axes. I even have a Fiskars-made Valmet rifle bayonet. But I bought that more as an investment than anything else, since they are incredibly scarce.