Top Five Best EDC Flashlights for 2015

With so many great options available, choosing the best everyday carry flashlight is not an easy task. For the flashlight collectors or “flashaholics”, things have never been better. There’s hundreds of great lights out there, but which one should you carry? The flashlight industry is constantly evolving along with LED technology. Every year lights are brighter and use less battery power. A +100 lumen single AAA keychain light was unthinkable just a few years ago but today a 162 lumen 1xAAA light lives in my keychain (Thrunite Ti).
A survival-minded approach will help us narrow down our options considerably in spite of how overwhelming the offer out there can be. We want dependable, reliable flashlights. We want a brand that we can trust, enough lumen output for whenever we need it but also low modes for saving power when going without electricity for an extended period of time. Ideally, the light will take readily available AA and AAA batteries although CR123A are becoming more common and they do provide the most power for tactical lights. Strobe for disorienting attackers, beacon and SOS modes for signaling, these may be literal life savers during emergencies.
For the modern survivalist, the EDC flashlight (and most gear in general) is chosen keeping in mind a two-tier application: On one level the item, in this case the flashlight, must be useful and viable on a general purpose, every day use level. You’ll use it for looking into boxes, checking for things dropped under furniture, walking across a garage without turning the lights on, or walking across the parking lot at night without stepping on mud and getting your feet dirty. On another level, the flashlight should perform on a worst case emergency scenario. It should allow you to find people when someone gets lost while hiking along a trail. It should allow you to signal for traffic to stop if there’s an accident. It should run for several hours, maybe even days if power goes down after a disaster. It should be capable of temporary disorienting an attacker. It should take common batteries you may be able to scrounge. It should be capable of signaling for help when wounded, lost or otherwise stranded off the beaten track.
As you can see, we are asking a lot from this flashlight. Although there’s no one flashlight that is perfect in every way, these are some of the ones that fill all these niche applications the best:
Zebralight H52w AA

Zebralight H52w AA Headlamp Neutral White

Zebralight H52w AA Headlamp Neutral White $64.00

The H52W is one of the most powerful 1XAA lights in the market today with an output of 280 lumens on high. It can also take 14500 li-ion batteries, which brings the maximum lumen output up to 500 lumens on high for one minute before dropping back to 280 lumens. The H52W has programmable brightness levels as well as beacon and strobe modes, making it easy to suit personal preferences. The H52W is a 90 angle light which combined with the strap turns the Zebralight into a headlamp, freeing one hand for use compared to normal hand-held lights. It also has a Low battery alert function. With great construction and design the Zebralight is as of right now one of the most capable flashlights in the market. For those that like these functions but prefer a normal straight reflector configuration, there’s the Zebralight SC52.
Streamlight Sidewinder Compact II

Streamlight 14512 Sidewinder Compact II Military Model Angle Head Flashlight, Headstrap and Helmet Mount Kit $75.45

If you could only have one flashlight for the end of the world the Streamlight Sidewinder II would be it. It can be used as a headlamp or hand-held light. It’s a true mil-spec torch, tough as nails. It has various output modes and LEDs to choose from, including red, IR and blue (green in some versions). The included head strap turns it into a useful headlamp. Maybe its most impressive capability, the Sidewinder Compact II can digest most small batteries you come across: CR123A, AA, AAA, 14500, 10440, 16340. The downside is that the high mode is not as bright as in other models and the shape makes it less comfortable to carry than smaller, cylindrical tube format lights. Other than that, the Sidewinder Compact II is THE survivalist’s flashlight.
Eagletac D25C

EagleTac D25C Clicky 453 Lumens Cree XM-L2 U2 $54.90

The Eagletac D25C is a simple, no-nonsense 1XCR123A flashlight. In spite of the compact size, which is one of its strengths, it has a lot to offer: Tough and well made. Cree XM-L2 U2 LED. Maximum output is 453 Lumens (with 16340 li-ion) . You won’t bash anyone’s head in with this light but tightening the head it goes into “tactical” mode, high and strobe, while loosening the head allows you to access the different brightness levels, moonlight, beacon, strobe and SOS for general purpose and emergency signaling use. The D25C is one of the most compact CR123A clickly flashlights in the market. The Tintanium D25C looks fantastic.
Fenix PD22 Ultimate Edition

Fenix PD22 (PD22UE) Ultimate Edition 510 Lumen CREE XP-L LED Tactical EDC Flashlight $69.95

Featuring a Cree XP-L LED, the latest edition of the PD22UE uses a CR123A battery for a maximum output of 400 Lumens but also officially supports the use of 16340 batteries for an output of 510 Lumens which will run for 45 minutes. Modes include turbo, high, medium, low, strobe and SOS which can be accessed using the side switch.
The P22 is a classic EDC torch made by a reputable manufacturer. It is clearly intended as a tactical/utility light and should serve you well on both roles. The P22UE is also one of the few lights that officially approves the use of 16340 li-ion batteries.
SureFire E1D Defender

SureFire E1D Defender Dual-Output $170.47

The E1D is as close as it gets to a pure breed tactical light in an EDC pocket format. This is a light flashlight collectors have wanted for some time, often modifying the larger E2D so as to make it a shorter single battery light. At 300 lumens the E1D may not sound very impressive but Surefire tends to underestimate its own lumen output. Surefire quality is legendary, its built like a tank and the strike Bezel makes for a nice compact defensive tool. There’s not a lot of output modes to choose from, its either the 300 lumen high or 5 lumen low. 5 lumen is a good amount of light for low battery drain yet enough light for most close range utility tasks. A strobe mode would have been a nice addition, although 300 lumens should be enough to disorient an attacker when dark.
FerFAL

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”.

 

Man fights three armed robbers with a Katana (GRAPHIC CONTENT)

Covered in blood: In the panic, the thieves only managed to steal the equivalent of £278 and fled in a Peugeot 206 car which was parked outside
When it comes to crime, some of the weirdest, craziest incidents happen in Argentina. Before you continue reading, some of the images below are very gory.
* WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT BELOW*
http://www.clarin.com/policiales/Ataco-ladrones-samurai-legitima-defensa_0_1338466392.html
49 year old Dias Costa suffered a home invasion in his house in Cordoba, Argentina. Once inside the house, the three criminals armed with two handguns, started hitting Mr. Costa and his wife. When they tried to enter his son’s bedroom, Mr. Costa grabbed a katana sword he had hanging on a wall and attacked the criminals, cutting them in their hands, arms and face. The fleeing criminals left in a vehicle along with an accomplice that was waiting outside but the driver crashed shortly after due to blood loss. The four criminals continued their escape on foot, but the blood trail was so big cops only had to follow it to a nearby house to capture the attackers.
Dias Costa and his family have since received threats from the attacker’s family, forcing them to relocate elsewhere for their own safety.

 

Stitched up: The man has been left with a huge scar from where surgeons stitched his face back together

Lessons learned today:
1) Make sure your house is hardened. Good doors, locks and alarm.
2) Make sure you have a firearm for self-defense.
3) Even if you win the fight, that’s not the end of it. The bad guys’ family and accomplices may force you to bug out and relocate elsewhere so as to avoid retaliation. This is very common in Argentina and other countries where crime is particularly bad. You just don’t know what may force you to bug out one day.
4) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: In very close quarters and in the hands of a person that knows how to use it, a combat blade will do more damage than a handgun.
5) Oh yes, don’t bring a knife to a gun fight, but if you do, make sure it’s a big one and know how to use it!

FerFAL

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”.

Monsanto is Killing us with GMO and Pesticides


25 years after being denied by the Environmental Protection Agency, the World Health Organization has declared that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide, “probably” causes cancer in people. This is done using the same mouse study that was supposedly used to deny such allegations.
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/28/business/energy-environment/decades-after-monsantos-roundup-gets-an-all-clear-a-cancer-agency-raises-concerns.html?_r=1
Roundup is the most used pesticide in the world, so its no surprise that where Monsanto rules, cancer does so as well. The only reason why we don’t hear more about this is because Monsanto pretty much owns the food industry by producing both the patented genetically modified Roundup Ready crops seeds used to grow food and the Roundup pesticide used along with it.
Here’s an interesting video explaining how Monsanto cherrypicks data to fit its own agenda. If you have more time, watch this longer documentary on Monsanto. The World According to Monsanto


FerFAL

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”.

Advice on Cash and Precious Metals When Bugging Out

Hi Fernando
I was just wondering, a quick question out of curiosity.
When you moved into the EU, you left Argentina with most of your
belongings.
Did you bring precious metals, like bullions/ coins etc, or did you
sell them before you left?
Now, if you brought them, how did you do with the declaration of PM in
customs?
I live in EU as well, and I know that you are allowed to travel within
EU with PM, no problem (but some declaration in some countries and
quantities), but how does it work with lots of PM going in to the EU?
Do you know?
I have your first book (The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse), and I recommend it all the time. Maybe you
mention it in your second book “Bugging out/ relocating”, but haven’t
read it yet.
Take care, Pete

A checkpoint in Crimea.

Hi Pete,
I actually took very few belongings when I left Argentina. It was pretty liberating to be honest. Preppers love talking about all the stuff you need for your INCH bag (I’m never coming home bag) or kit. They are so attached to their “stuff”, the INCH bag discussion quickly turns into the INCH trailer as folks keep piling up the material belongings they can’t figure living without. Ironically enough, and as someone that actually did this “I’m never coming home” thing for real, I could have left with nothing at all in terms of gear and supplies. All I needed was the plane tickets, passports and savings to start over elsewhere.
Regarding your question, I didn’t have a problem because even though I was taking cash and some precious metals, I was all within the limit of what you can bring in without declaring.


How much cash and gold can you take to or from the United States or EU?
It works the following way. There’s no real limit as of how much cash or precious metals (PM) you can bring or take out of the US. What you have is a limit of how much you can travel with without declaring. In the case of US, that limit is USD 10.000 and that’s for cash, precious metal or any other “monetary instrument”. If you have more than USD 10.000 worth of cash in any denomination or equivalent monetary instruments you have to declare it and fill a form FinCEN 105 called “Report of International Transportation of Currency and Monetary Instruments” . This form is intended to stop terror funding, money laundering and drugs, and will of course raise a big red flag so you probably want to stay under 10.000 USD when traveling. Keep in mind, this limit is for the entire group that is traveling together. You can’t travel with other people, family members or associates, and distribute the money among everyone.
The European Union has a somewhat similar limit. In the case of the EU the limit is €10.000 or its equivalent in other denominations, or monetary instruments such as precious metals, diamonds, etc. The big difference is that in the case of EU, for persons travelling in a group the € 10.000 limit applies to each person individually.
At the end of the day, it’s a good idea to have different options and diversify.
You certainly need cash for getting around and precious metals are a great asset to have as well in case of a serious currency devaluation. If you have to travel, I would stay within the limit and use credit cards or debit cards instead. It’s a good idea to have a bank account in the country you’re planning to bug out to so as to be able to quickly transfer funds if things start looking bad. A foreign bank account can be your best financial asset when evacuating or bugging out abroad. If nothing else, open an account in Canada next time you’re visiting. It’s easy enough for Americans, you don’t need some fancy Jason Bourne secret swiss bank account.
When it comes to precious metals, one of the things I learned was that even a small amount of money in silver can get very bulky and very heavy.

2015 American Gold Eagle 0.5 ounces

Preppers like silver because its “cheap”, meaning you don’t need to break the piggy bank to put aside a couple silver eagles each month. Soon enough you can have a pile of silver, but this is not be as practical during an emergency as you may think. At a 70 silver ounces per 1 gold ounce ratio, gold coins are far more compact. Thinking of a scenario such as the one playing out in Ukraine, with checkpoints where you are likely to get stopped and “liberated” of any money that you may have, being able to hide your values is of great importance. 1/10th of an ounce gold coins are very compact, about the size of a dime, and a ½ ounce Gold eagle is about the size of a quarter. You could even hide them in your wallet along with your pocket change coins. A wallet with a couple 20 dollar bills and a few coins jiggling in the coin pocket of the wallet wouldn’t look all that suspicious. Stacks of neat plastic tubes full of silver Eagles are likely to be taken away at such checkpoints. People in Ukraine have hidden cash and other valuables in baby diapers. Small coins could even be swallowed. Gold rings and chains have been swallowed throughout history when escaping persecution. Again, don’t underestimate the importance of a bank account in a foreign country. It just takes a couple minutes to access your account on your cell phone and send money abroad, with a bit of luck you may be able to do so before all hell breaks loose and accounts are frozen. If you don’t have such an account, this won’t even be a possibility for you no matter how you saw it coming before the masses.
Diversify and be smart about your money for emergencies and worst case scenarios. In cases like these, planning and having a good strategy will go a long way and make all the difference in the world.
FerFAL

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”.

Kershaw Rocks!: Broken Kershaw Lifter Update

 

Kershaw Lifter Folding Knife with SpeedSafe $23.29

About five months ago I did a review of the new Kershaw Lifter. At that time, for 19 usd, that was a no brainer of a deal. The knife looks good, feels good, and is well put together by a well-known company with a lifetime warranty.
Ironically enough, a few days later I ended up breaking the tip of the Lifter. Maybe I applied a bit too much force to the tip when cutting some wood, maybe the heat treatment of the humble 3Cr13 blade material wasn’t done properly. The grainy texture of the exposed broken tip suggested this. I decided not to waste any time and sent it back to Kershaw so that they could take a look and decide for themselves it was within warranty or not. Today, a few weeks later after sending it back, a brand new Kershaw Lifter was delivered to my door!


Today the Kershaw Lifter costs around 23 usd, which is still very reasonable for the knife you’re getting. I personally find the blade geometry very appealing. Although I wouldn’t abuse the tip given that its quite fine for a tanto, it still allows for detail cutting while the recurved portion of the blade is great for slashing and you can safely apply as much force as you want. It’s a very functional shape for a 3.5 inch blade. The Speedsafe assisted opening system is very fast when used along with the flipper. The blackwash finish simply looks fantastic and the entire knife just looks well-worn, tough and plain cool.
If you want to spend a bit more money, maybe check my Best EDC Folders for 2015 post, but for 23 bucks, the Kershaw Lifter is hard to beat.
FerFAL

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”.

Life in a war zone: How people in Ukraine adapt to Survive

Interesting article about how people are surviving in war racked
Ukraine. Note that for many, having enough money is a priority. Also,
when entrepreneurs smuggle in food, they distribute it in the center
of town. Not once is barter mentioned, and only once is a garden
mentioned.
http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/soviet-era-survival-kicks-in-for-ukrainians-in-rebel-wasteland/ar-AAav7j0?ocid=mailsignout
A-

Thanks for the email and link.

It is very interesting indeed. These are the real-world experiences I always try to learn from. Sometimes its new ideas, sometimes its the revalidation of old ones, happening and being used yet again.

A pack of stray dogs follow women walking past a a burnt out shop in the Kievsky district of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on April 2, 2015

A burnt out shop in the Kievsky district of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on April 2, 2015. Notice the pack of stray dogs. This brings back memories of Argentina. When people cant even afford to feed themselves, they get rid of their pets. This is bad, but it could be worse. The next stage is when you stop seeing stray dogs any more (that’s when people are desperate enough to eat them.)

Lets recap on some of the lessons learned:
1)Cash is still king, as it usually is. Never underestimate how useful a roll of USD can be, anywhere in the world, from New York to Ukraine.
2)Financial mobility is a great asset. Whenever possible, take the time to open an off shore bank account. This can be one of your best assets.
3)During desperate times, food becomes a priority. Stock up on food, grow your own in your garden to supplement you supplies.
4)Cash, medicine and diapers are on high demand.
5)You need your “papers” to move around. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Spanish civil war, Argentina’s dirty war during the 70s or current eastern Ukraine, you’ll still be expected to present your “papers”. Make sure you have your passport and other important documents.
6) Usd1.000 still makes for a great bribe. Again, cash is king.
7)Living far from town and isolated is still a bad idea, even in occupied easter Ukraine. “Aid is distributed in the center and people living on the outskirts just don’t get to it in time because city transport isn’t working,” said Filimonov, 32. “We brought 130 packages of food to Debaltseve and a long line appeared near our bus in minutes. Those people were really hungry.”
8)Curriers are on high demand. They will travel to other cities where banks and ATMs still work so as to get cash for their clients. ”Mariupol, under government control, is a hotspot where couriers show up clutching stacks of bank cards to withdraw cash. Donetsk coal mines often select one employee to make the journey and collect wages for his colleagues.”… “You see lines of 50 to 100 people at ATMs and there are can be scuffles.”

FerFAL

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”.

Top 10 tips for Drought and Water Preparedness


California is experiencing the worst draught in the last 1000 years and residents will need to cut back 25% of water consumption. The American west overall is suffering some serious droughts and thousands are already being affected. With a growing population and industry the existing water resources are lacking and this is a problem that is likely to affect even more people in the future.
Here are some tips to prepare for draughts and water shortages in general. Keep in mind, water is an essential supply you should have anyway, drought or not. A number of disasters or simple water line repairs can leave you without water for days at a time. Even an earthquake, which is very likely to affect the west coast in the next twenty years, would damage the water infrastructure and leave people to provide for themselves. We saw how desperate people got due to lack of water in just a matter of hours during the 2010 Chile Earthquake.
Here’s what you should keep in mind.
1)Store actual water. Don’t just have a filter or some bladder to fill. Store water, at least a week’s worth of water for all family members. You should have at least a gallon for each person per day. If you can store even more water, that’s highly recommended.
2)Not all water is used for drinking. Actually, most water will be used for cleaning, flushing toilets and watering your plants. Over 50% of water used in America goes to watering lawns alone. While you may have to cut back on watering your lawn, you’ll still need to water your orchards or gardens if you are producing food. You can use rain water for such things, so it’s a good idea to collect rainwater in am outdoors container.
3)Get a good water filter such as the Big Berkey and pure, unscented bleach. You can use either one or both for treating your water if needed.
4)Try storing some food for emergencies that requires no cooking and no added water. Canned food is usually good that way. Still, you will have other staples that need to be cooked and use water. Make sure its food that cooks fast and uses relatively little water.
5)Get a rice cooker and use your lid in other cook wear. The use of lid prevents the waste of water through evaporation, it also helps cook faster. I’ve been using a rice cooker for about a year now and it saves a considerable amount of electricity compared to ovens and electric cooktops. It also makes great use of small amounts of water, making it one of the most water effective ways of preparing rice and other vegetables.
6)Try not wasting water in general so as to contribute to preserving water. Don’t let the tap water running when brushing your teeth, don’t take unnecessary long showers, try washing your car with just a bucket of water.
7)If the drought persists, you can also change your house garden so as to use more arid climate plants that require little or no water. Parts of the lawn can be replaced with more decks, or dry floors that don’t need watering.
8)Drink enough water. In spite of there being little water to go around, do stay as well hydrated as possible. Take electrolyte drinks and check your urine color. It should be as clear as water when fully hydrated. Pay particular attention to small children and older people.
9)A two gallon garden sprayer can be used to improvise a quick shower in the bathroom. This is a priceless treat when going for several days without water in the middle of summer. Wet wipes can be used when water can’t be wasted on showers. Hand sanitizer keeps your hands clean while not wasting water.
10)Have plans to bug out and relocate if necessary. Small towns may suffer the lack of water the most, being sacrificed to provide for larger population areas. Even in a supposedly self-reliant homestead water wells may dry up due to draughts, leaving you with no other option but to relocate.

FerFAL

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”.

Generator’s carbon monoxide kills eight in Maryland

A man and his seven children, age 6 to 16, were found dead on Monday in a home in Princess Ann, Maryland.
Police believe the deaths were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. Rodney Todd Sr., 36, and his seven children were found dead inside the locked house and no foul play was suspected. The house had no power and a generator that had run out of fuel was found inside.
While researching to find more information about this tragedy, it was heartbreaking to find so many similar incidents. Carbon monoxide poisoning is without a doubt the silent, cold weather killer.
Always remember:
1)NEVER run a generator indoors. No matter how cold it is, there’s no excuse. It will get you killed along with the rest of your family.
2)Get a CO alarm installed immediately if you don’t have one already. The Kidde Carbon Monoxide Alarm goes for $19.57 in Amazon. Don’t hesitate, your family sure is worth 20 bucks. A smoke detector alone will not work. Get a proper Carbon Monoxide Alarm.


3) Always err on the side of caution when you have any open-flame device. Camping cookers and stoves, propane and kerosene heaters, you always need to make sure you have proper ventilation. When operating unvented heaters crack the window open a couple inches. Personally, I prefer not to run one when sleeping. I’d rather warm up the area and turn it off just before going to sleep, better safe than sorry. Some kerosene heaters and the indoor propane heater Mr. Heater F232000 do have a Low-oxygen safety shut-off feature but this is a second layer of protection and it does NOT replace a dedicated carbon monoxide alarm.
FerFAL

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”.

Benchmade Griptilian‏: Opinion after Using it for 12 years

Fernando—
You reviewed your favorite EDC folding knives, including the one I have carried for 12 years—the Benchmade Griptilian.
Having lived with this knife for so long, I have some positive and some negative opinions about it:
1. The size and the contours of the knife are very acceptable for EDC in whatever pocket I want to carry it in. The two-position tip-up pocket clip allows me to carry it left- or right handed. The “jimping” or serrations on the top and bottom of the handle give it good gripping characteristics. The blade is plenty big for a convenient pocket-carry knife, and the dual thumb-studs make it easy to use left- or right-handed.
2. The edge holding is less than desirable. It has 154CM steel in the present blade, but it just does not live up to the claimed edge retention characteristics of this steel. The knife originally had another blade (partial serrations) which also did not hold an edge very well. I sent it back to Benchmade and had them replace the blade for that reason—and at the time opted for a plain-edge blade. If you have suggestions for a brand + blade steel that holds an edge under normal casual use—that would be nice to learn.
3. The pocket clip has the same drawbacks as most of those on the market—It is sturdy and works well at keeping the knife in the pocket, but it catches on things I don’t want to get damaged (door frames, furniture, car seats), and it is awkward when it does snag something in public places. The solution I have used to soften the clip and to “round” its corners is to apply two layers of electrical heat-shrink tubing to it.
4. The Axis Lock is smooth, and it seems to be sturdy and lock up very well. However, the blade can swing open whenever the knife is moved through certain ranges of motion such as if it is dropped accidentally or if it is pulled out of the pocket quickly and at certain angles. I have come close to grabbing the knife when the blade was in the process of coming open from inertia—and could have been cut if I had not been careful.
Bottom line, I would prefer a knife that has this size and contour, has a different closing mechanism that reliably prevents the blade opening accidentally under normal use, and has a steel that retains a good edge during everyday use around the house. And if it came with a furniture-friendly pocket clip—that would be a bonus.*
Larry
*Note: The original Spyderco Endura and other knives had an integral molded plastic clip on the handle. While it (like any) clip could catch and rub on things, it would not hang up as much as a flat metal clip, and it would not do as much damage to furniture etc. The drawback was that the plastic clip tended to weaken over time and potentially break, it could not be repositioned for alternate carry modes, and it was not replaceable.

.

Benchmade Griptilian Knife $93.25

Hello Larry, thanks for sharing your experience.
I know what you mean regarding metal clips catching onto stuff and scratching everything from furniture to cars! I too miss the old Cold Steel and Spyderco molded plastic clips. You never had to worry about scratching anything with those. On the other hand, removable spring steel clips are clearly stronger and can be adjusted to different positions. I prefer tip down carry myself, which prevents the type of problem you describe and eliminated the risk of cutting yourself on a slightly opened blade when trying to draw it.
When it comes to steels 154Cm shouldn’t be that bad, its supposed to be a well performing mid-range priced steel. Then again, all knives need to be sharpened after use eventually. Some hold on a bit more, but there’s no magic steel out there, they all need sharpening sooner than later. At least in my opinion, I don’t worry too much about how long it stays sharp, I ‘m more interested in toughness and to some extent I prefer a knife that is easy to sharpen rather than a hard blade that holds the edge for a bit longer, but wastes your time a lot when sharpening. If you’re looking for better steel maybe you want to try out the Spyderco Endura4 in VG-10, which should hold an edge longer although I’m sure you’ll miss the ergonomics of the Griptilian. For a fantastic steel, you want to try ELMAX powdered steel, which is one of the main reasons I like the Zero Tolerance ZT 0561 so much. The Kershaw  Knockout also has ELMAX steel.
FerFAL

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”.

Best EDC Folders of 2015 (so far…)

Ok folks, quick list of some of the best options out there. If you’ve been following this website or involved in any way in the survival and preparedness community you probably understand why you should have a knife with you at all times and since carrying a six inch fixed blade on daily basis isn’t exactly practical or even realistic for most of us, that’s probably going to be a folding knife.

Here I’d like to take a second to comment on the usefulness of pocket knives per se compared to fixed blade knives. If you can get away with carrying a machete with you on daily basis then more power to you, but if you’re limited to a folder then know there’s nothing wrong with that either. For hundreds, no, thousands of years, men have carried and used folding pocket knives. In fact, our ancestors carried knives that in most cases were significantly weaker than the ones currently available, with inferior steels, locks and construction. Still, with a bit of care and basic maintenance, those pocket knives were invaluable tools which served them well during decades of honest use.
Today, the pocket knife serves that same purpose and the offering has never been better. Folders are more practical, faster and stronger than ever. For everything from peeling fruit, eating a streak, opening mail to carving wood or even defending yourself if needed a good folder is an invaluable tool.

Throughout the years I’ve developed a standard of what I consider to be a good survival folding knife. It’s nothing very specific but I do look for certain things. First, I want quality. You can have quality at bargain prices or you can have it paying dearly for it but to me quality is important. I want a knife made by a manufacturer I know I can trust. I want a solid, reliable knife. Your folder should be able to take a certain amount of abuse, not because you plan on doing stupid things with it, but because someday it may be called upon it to do more than just cut. You may need to pry with it, maybe even fight. I also want a big enough blade. Four inches is ok. No smaller than 3.5” inches. Five inches would be better. You can easily carry a four or five inch blade folder in your pocket with no problem.
Premium steels are nice to have, but I’m happy enough with a well heat treated cheaper steel. Many times fancy pants steel are heat treated to such hardness levels that they become fragile when abused, making them great for cutting thousands or pieces of manila rope, but snapping when prying a stuck door with them while a cheaper steel may get the job done without breaking.
I want well designed handle, something that offers some finger protection and has a clip that can be adjusted at least on either side, with a four position clip being ideal. It should open single handed with ease and lock solid.
With these considerations in mind here are my top choices:

Cold Steel 29TLT Voyager Large Tanto
Cold Steel Voyager Tanto Large $38.81
This is the most affordable knife in the list and in all honesty maybe the best bang per buck you have today. Make no mystake, the Cold Steel Voyager is a beast of a knife. The clip point version with its full flat grind has somewhat of a more fragile tip, but you don’t get that with the saber grind tanto version. Maybe AUS8 steel isnt anything to brag about, but its works well enough and you do get the Triad Lock, which is clearly one of the strongest locking mechanisms in the market. If size isnt a problem for you, go for the XL version.
What about my favorite Cold Steel knife, the Vaquero ? That’s a beast of a knife, but more inclined for defensive use and best used along with a smaller utility multitool.


Spyderco Resiliance $39.19
The Tenacious is a beloved budget classic that has been around for several years now but forget about it and go straight for the bigger brother. The blade has a full flat grind, but it somewhat compensates that by being pretty wide and overall plain large. Opens fast, has a flat profile, G10 handle, I’d say it’s a great knife for anyone looking for a big knife but wants an easy to carry flat profile.


Spyderco Endura 4 $65.35
The Endura4 is the most classic of all Spyderco knives. The Endura 4 is deceivingly large and strong yet so easy to carry. Great VG-10 steel, pretty good ergonomics and four position clip. The tip manages to be fine yet very sturdy thanks to the saber grind. I would avoid the full flat version given that the saber grind is sharp enough but much stronger.

Benchmade Gryptilian $93.25
An all-time classic, functional folder. Benchmade has always been highly regarded by military personnel and the Gryptilian is particularly appreciated by those that know knives. Great blade geometry, very nice 154CM steel and a very comfortable handle. You just cant go wrong with it.


ZT Zero Tolerance 0561 Hinderer Collaboration $209.80
Crème de la crème. Made in USA, Titanium framelock construction, 3-D machined titanium and G-10 handle, premium ELMAX steel, Hinderer design, this is as good as it gets in a production knife.
What’s your favorite EDC knife and what do you use it for the most? Leave your comments below!
FerFAL

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”.