Airplane Friendly EDC

“Oh but FerFAL, I can’t carry any EDC because I fly all the time…” Nonsense.
First, your mind and body. Those are you main, most important tools and TSA won’t take those away from you… yet. Take care of them and they’ll be by far your greatest asset when you need them.
Besides, all hope is not lost and although knives are a clear no go there are small tools you can have that can be extremely useful. I actually ended up using all three in my latest trip, one way ticket to Spain (more on that later).
Left to right:
VERY old keychain tool. I think it’s the first one I bought a long time ago. How old? Man, probably 20 years old, way before this was all more mainstream and way before the acronym EDC even existed. I think the brand was called Microtech, leave a comment below if you know the brand for sure. The model has now been copied by cheapo manufacturers but if you want something similar there’s the Swiss Tech Mtcss Micro Tech 6 In 1 Keyring Tool, or the more complete Swiss+Tech ST53100 Micro-Max 19-in-1 Key Ring Multi-Function Pocket Tool.

Swiss+Tech ST53100 Micro-Max 19-in-1 Key Ring Multi-Function Pocket Tool. $8.54

Classic Bullet Space Pen by Fisher. This one is a true classic, so much that the Bullet Pen has been exhibited for years in the New York Museum of Modern Art. Its tough, slick, very compact, the cartridge writes on nearly all surfaces, writes upside down, its even supposed to work in space. Besides that, once deployed it’s a damn solid piece of metal. “Tactical” pens have more of a karma or are downright considered concealed weapons depending on your luck at airport security. If its considered a concealed kubotan you may end up behind bars, at least for some time, and yes people have gotten in trouble because of them in U.S. so keep that in mind when traveling. The Bullet pen on the other hand has no such problem. I have used t for surprisingly hard poking and even prying without breaking it so yes, if you have to jam a pen into a terrorist’s face this is not a bad way to go. Just don’t remove and lose the clip like I did because it will roll all over the place.

Fisher Space Bullet Space Pen with Clip, Chrome, Gift Boxed (400CL)

Fisher Space Pen Men’s Bullet Space Pen with Clip $17.57

DQG SPY CREE XP-G2 R5 4C Neutral White Tiny Titanium LED Flashlight
There’s something pretty cool about carrying the smallest flashlight in the world and having it with a titanium body. Maybe not your first option, but then again its surprisingly bright, its rechargeable, and again the wow factor/conversation piece thing is definitely there. I don’t carry it all the time but that day I did I ended up using it and it worked very well in putting a lot of light where I needed it.

DQG SPY CREE XP-G2 R5 4C Neutral White Tiny Titanium LED Flashlight

DQG SPY CREE XP-G2 R5 4C Neutral White Tiny Titanium LED Flashlight $77.48

Folks, take care and be prepared.

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.


Thoughts on EDC Knives

Hi Ferfal.

I have been a long time reader of your blog now & very much enjoy the information you put out & sensible discussion you promote.
All those sensible topics aside….lets talk knives.
I am emailing to let you know that Heinne Haynes in the UK is offering the recon 1 bowie, part serrated for £50. I purchased one very recently as I was intending to get a voyager but at the current price it meant I got a sabre grind bowie, triad lock & all G10 handle scales with no extra liners for a few pounds more than a large voyager.
I saw recently you are looking at a tanto. If you dont take the jump this may be of interest to you.
I am very happy with the Recon 1. Its very light for its size & though serrations were something I moved on from with knives years ago these came super sharp & have eaten every material I have needed them too as it has been the gardening/BBQ knife for the last month.
I have also finally bit the bullet & bought a XL vaquero as the recon impressed me so much & the steel change Cold Steel have adopted makes me think the affordable AUS8 models will no longer be produced. It will be a collectors piece…unless I am travelling certain places. :-)
Though I sort of agree on your argument on the strength on the sabre grind vs the FF grind, I think in real world terms the reason Full flat has come back to the fore is that the popularity of knives driven by the USA means that lots are being used as they are carried but by individuals who do not actually need a knife for work. The only job these knives end up doing is food prep & so buyers look for a knife that they feel excels in that area.
I think its interesting that the the tanto style kershaw is the knife whose tip broke but you still have faith in it & believe another tanto will be better. It might. But it might be better to admit that no folding knife is really suited for prying & get a prybar tool for the keys instead.
Personally I like ffg. I have carried SAKs since I was 11 & have never snapped a tip as I used the main screwdriver if I needed to lever something.
In recent years the best knfe purchases other than SAKs I have made have been an Fallkniven F1 clone (admittedly 5mm thick) & a Spyderco resilience.
The latter is the travel knife (as well as a SAK obviously) that has travelled with me both locally & internationally for nearly 5 years. I have never found the FFG to be a problem. The Resilience has been camping, climbing, worn for water sports & made a thousand sandwiches. Its cut fish to wood to plastic even copper wire. It has & will drill a hole in things. I expect a point to do that. I do not expect it to jimmy a locked door open. :-)
Whatever you purchase or have purchased, I will look forward to your review & discussion about it.
I also wanted to add that your coverage of merino wool has followed mine own adoption of it in recent years, mainly because the budget supermarkets in Europe have made it affordable for the ordinary joe who isnt an adventure sports expert.
Have you tried quick wicking tshirts for sports & bamboo tshirts for travel? The latter, like merino, has such slick fibres that bacteria cannot cling so they do not smell after several days of wearing. They do not dry ultra fast but they still dry quickly when wet compare to cotton. They are also lighter.
Please keep writing.

Hello Matt, thanks for your comments and suggestions.
The Recon 1 is a pretty solid knife. Light and strong with a well-designed blade and handle. Amazon has it for a very good price.

Cold Steel Recon 1 Tactical Knife with G-10 Handle Clip Point and Black Blade

Cold Steel Recon 1 Tactical Knife with G-10 Handle Clip Point and Black Blade $51.93

The Kershaw Lifter tanto tip broke because it’s a pretty steep, fragile tip design. Great for penetration and detail cuts, but more fragile given the angle of that particular blade design. Cold Steel tantos are less steep, shorter and stronger.
Clip points are fine too, I do like them a lot and as you know I’m a big fan of the Vaquero design, which has a pretty thin Nogales-style tip.
Regarding clip points vs tantos, just check this video from Cold Steel themselves. If you look closely, see how in 00:10 the tip of the blade if broken, probably from when wacking the spine and the tip hits the table.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Re: Oregon, Idaho, Washington and California: Over a million Acres burned

Hi Fernando. The reason for these massive fires is three fold. The first reason has to do with the US Federal government’s policy of fire suppression in our back country which has allowed the vegetation to grow in an unnatural and unhealthy thick way. This has been going on for decades. The second reason is due to the precipitation becoming less in the Western US throughout the 20th century which has been on going into the 21st century. This includes both the summer and winter precipitation. However the winter precipitation is the most important precipitation for the forested mountains and plateaus where the majority of these massive fires are occurring. The snow pack has become less and less every passing decade. The third reason is due to the ever increasing amount of irresponsible people that are using these lands. They are not making sure their camp fires are dead out before leaving camp or they are intentionally setting them for various reasons.

This year Arizona has not had any major fires and here is the reason for that. For about the past 8 months, the Federal government has been conducting massive amounts of controlled burns throughout the state. Basically they are just ground fires that are set in a forested area that consumes most of the small vegetation and blackens the tree trunks. They have also conducted some of these types of burns in our desert and grassland areas as well to remove some of the vegetation. The idea behind these controlled burns is to mimic nature’s lightning set fires in order to remove the vegetation that fuels these massive fires. Prior to this year, controlled burns were practiced in only a handful of Arizona’s back country on a regular basis. Those areas had only small fires occur there. While the areas with little to no controlled burns, which was the majority of Arizona’s back country, had some of the worst fires occur. Hopefully, the Federal government will start conducting controlled burns in these other states where the fires are burning this year.


Nightmare Monday as Stocks Plunge around the World

Today we’ve seen some of the worst decline in years as people lose faith in the market and rush to sell, hammering major indexes, with the S&P 500 losing nearly 6 percent last week, it’s worst weekly slump since 2011. The Dow took a big hit, at times down 1,000 points.
This has been mostly fueled by the crisis in China, with the economy slowing down globally but most of all China’s inability to find ways to regain people’s trust in their market.
The U.S. Dollar has lost ground to the Euro and chances of the Fed increasing interest rates are pretty low. Although oil has reached record lows under $40, gold and silver have gone up, the typical shelter during times of trouble.
So how bad is it really? It’s bad, but not terrible. You could even say it was a good time to buy, “”blood in the streets” type of situation. The market is in a way adjusting after a perhaps unreasonably high period and on the long run this adjustment may bring parameters back to reality rather than keep inflating the bubble until it pops. People sometimes forget that its both a bull and bear market.
It is important to keep calm, diversify assets so as to compensate any shift of power, and keep an eye both on the Chinese stock and the US economic growth. Any red flags you should notice, that’s the direction where you’ll see them pop up first.

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Reply: Oregon, Idaho, Washington and California: Over a million Acres burned

Fernando, I looked at numerous areas in California, Nevada, Oregon, and Idaho for a rural homestead. With the exception of some desert areas in NV, nearly all of the areas I looked at have burned to some extent in the past few years.

IMO it is unwise to think that one is safe from crime in a rural area, but one only has one LONG route of escape in case of fire. In the Sprague River/Moccasin Hill fire last year in Oregon, “survivalists” who had chosen the area for its remoteness found their escape route blocked by fire and had to submerge themselves in ponds so they wouldn’t burn to death.

There was a murder/suicide incident in Montana earlier this year where a paranoid “survivalist” killed his family and set his cabin on fire before shooting himself. He lived at the end of a long, rutted dirt road that took 45 min to travel via 4×4 vehicle, and the cops and firetrucks had an awful time trying to get to his cabin.

That road was the only way in or out of his homestead, which was located deep in a forest. He had called a friend and said that he would kill himself, or else nobody might have ever found him out there. Sometimes I wonder what people are thinking to go live in such remote areas.

Before Collapse

Here’s something from a bit further North, in Canada… basically the fires moved so quickly, people didn’t even have time to gather their things, they just had to literally run. That makes an argument for the importance of physical fitness as well!


Thank you folks for the interesting comments. I sure do agree. I believe many people practice selective risk assessment, simply to justify their personal preferences regarding where they live. They focus on the aspects they would hope such a choice would present an advantage while completely overlooking the disadvantages of living in such places, some of which are far more likely than the extremely unlikely events they are theoretically preparing for.

Oregon, Idaho, Washington and California: Over a million Acres burned
Wildfires have devastated hundreds of thousands of acres across the Northwest.
One of the States that was hit the hardest was Idaho with over a quarter million acres. In the southeast corner of the state, the fire has razed more than 265,000 acres in Owyhee County. In northwest Idaho, the fire affected around 21,000 acres including the Old Greer, Kamiah Gulch, Lawyer 6 and Adams Grade. Nearly 53,000 acres burning in Clearwater Complex. A 70 year old woman died in Kamiah when escaping the flames. Mandatory Evacuations and closures are in place.
The high temperatures combined with the draught has become a cocktail for disaster regarding wildfires.
It is worth noticing that many of these areas are often specifically selected by preppers and survivalists who believe that seclusion provides a greater degree of safety and is a strategically wise decision.
Important Lessons that must be learned
1) I’ve said it before many times and I’ve written about it in my second book, “Bugging Out & Relocating”: You can’t live in your Bug Out Location. The minute you live there it is no longer an alternative place of residence for when your main place of residence is compromised because such a place just became just that when you moved to live there. The “We moved to out BOL” mentality is critically flawed and it is in moments like these when it becomes obvious why such an attitude can be dangerous. Thinking you already live in an alternative place often means little or no thought is given to a true BOL and Bug Out plan.
2) Selective risk assessment. It often happens that people only focus on the things they do enjoy and overlook the ones they would notice if they were capable of a more objective analysis. Thinking that living away from cities means you’re safe from all dangers of society while overlooking more likely threats such as these means that risk threat analysis wasn’t very accurate or objective. Floods, storms, fires, earthquakes, draughts, all potential emergencies must be taken into account and estimated how likely they are of happening again.
3) If you must go, go.
Fire can move at incredibly fast speeds due to wind. Personal possessions sure aren’t worth dying for. If mandatory evacuations are in place its probably because of a good reason. Don’t hesitate or overestimate your capacity of fighting a fire and find safe shelter. Make sure you have a bug out plan in place, with the needed Go bags and a strategy around which the entire family is organized.

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Preparing for El Niño: 5 Tips

All signs indicate that this will be a strong El Niño winter in the west coast. Powerful storms and strong winds are very much guaranteed, so what can you do to prepare?

How to prepare for a destructive El Niño winter
A little preparation can go a long way into mitigating any damage and some common sense during the storm will improve your odds greatly.
1)Before the storm, check with your insurance company to verify that you have the proper amount of coverage for floods.
2)Clear drains and gutters and remove any trash or other loose items that could be blown away by the wind or that could end up blocking the drains.
3)Stock up on food, prescription medications and water. Keep your kits in order in case you have to evacuate. Have both a proper Bug Out Bag (BOB) and a VIP bag for your very important papers. It’s a good idea to keep these in a ziplock bag to keep them dry. Also, have a backup copy in a removable thumbs drive.
4)Take lots of photos and make a video of your possessions for insurance purposes. It’s a good idea to film the exterior of your home before the storm in case you need to make a claim afterwards.
5)During a flood, avoid walking through flooded areas and make sure you stay away from downed power lines. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you off your feet and a car can be carried away by just 2 feet of water.

Carlos Galiano señala  en dirección de su casa mientras vadea a través de un área inundada en Olivera Provincia de Buenos Aires. (Natacha Pisarenko / AP)

Argentina is also suffering one of the worst floods in recent years. Thousands have lost absolutely everything. Some of the top donations requested? Clothes, rain boots, diapers, shelf stable food and tools.

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.