Cord End Whistle

I really like the whistle in the video but didn’t catch the name.

Can’t seem to find it online.



I get asked often about those. It’s called a Cord End Whistle.

Not many people keep a whistle as part of their EDC but it is pretty much Disaster & Emergency Preparedness 101. A whistle is much better than just shouting for help. It’s particularly useful for signalling outdoors but I also believe it has a place for signalling in urban scenarios, such as caught under rubble after a structure collapses, caught in a broken elevator, lost in subway tunnels or dragged by the current during floods.

It’s just good practice to keep one handy. Some people like having bigger ones around the neck or in their keychains, I like to keep it with my flashlight, sort of a signalling combo both audible and visual.

FMS Aerowave Cord End Whistle for Zipper Pulls (Orange) (25 Pack) $22.99

These small Cord End Whistles are the ones I use. They aren’t perfect but they are loud enough. They sell them in bulk and it takes a bit of practice putting them together. I’ll try doing a video showing how it’s done. Once you put together a couple it’s easy enough. If using 550 paracord you have to remove the inner strands in the end that goes into the whistle. Melting it a bit with a lighter and quickly pressing it where it goes in the whistle makes for a near perfect fit.

Take care and good luck!


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”.

What Does a Refugee Carry in his Bag?

The following article is reposted from International Rescue Committee. Please, do check their website and consider making a donation so as to help men, women and children that desperately need it.


What refugees bring when they run for their lives


This year, nearly 100,000 men, women and children from war-torn countries in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia have fled their homes and traveled by rubber dinghies across the Aegean Sea to Lesbos, Greece.

Refugees travel light, for their trek is as dangerous as it is arduous. They are detained, shot at, hungry. Smugglers routinely exploit them, promising safety for a price, only to squeeze them like sardines into tiny boats. Most have no option but to shed whatever meager belongings they may have salvaged from their journeys. Those allowed to bring extra baggage aboard often toss it overboard, frantically dumping extra weight as the leaky boats take on water.

Few arrive at their destinations with anything but the necessities of life. The International Rescue Committee asked a mother, a child, a teenager, a pharmacist, an artist, and a family of 31 to share the contents of their bags and show us what they managed to hold on to from their homes. Their possessions tell stories about their past and their hopes for the future.

“You will feel that you are a human. You are not just a number.”

A mother

Name: Aboessa*
Age: 20
From: Damascus, Syria

What refugees bring when they run for their lives

When vicious fighting erupted in Yarmouk, an unofficial camp for Palestinians just south of the Syrian capital, Aboessa managed to escape with her husband and their 10-month-old daughter, Doua. After crossing the border to Turkey, they spent one week sheltering in another forlorn camp before jumping into a rubber raft bound for the safe shores of Europe.

The Turkish police patrolling the coast stopped them and detached the boat’s motor in order to force them to turn back, but the refugees kept going, steering the boat through the sea’s strong currents with makeshift paddles.

What refugees bring when they run for their lives

Hat for the baby
An assortment of medication, a bottle of sterile water, and a jar of baby food
A small supply of napkins for diaper changes
A hat and a pair of socks for the baby
Assortment of pain relievers, sunscreen and sunburn ointment, toothpaste
Personal documents (including the baby’s vaccination history)
Wallet (with photo ID and money)
Cell phone charger
Yellow headband

“Everything is for my daughter to protect her against sickness. When we arrived in Greece, a kind man gave me two jars of food. Another man gave us biscuits and water when he saw my baby.”

A child

Name: Omran*
Age: 6
From: Damascus, Syria

What refugees bring when they run for their lives

Little Omran, sporting a cheerful blue shirt, is on his way to Germany with his extended family of five to live with relatives. Because his parents knew they would travel through forests to avoid detection, they made sure to pack bandages for scrapes and cuts.

What refugees bring when they run for their lives

1 pair of pants, 1 shirt
A syringe for emergencies
Marshmallows and sweet cream (Omran’s favorite snacks)
Soap, toothbrush and toothpaste

A teenager

Name: Iqbal*
Age: 17
From: Kunduz, Afghanistan

What refugees bring when they run for their lives

Iqbal dragged his weary body out of the boat with only a backpack. The teenager had traveled hundreds of miles and dodged bullets to escape from the warring province of Kunduz in northern Afghanistan, fleeing east to Iran, then traveling by foot to Turkey. Now in Lesbos, he’s uncertain of where to go next. He has kept in touch with a friend who already made the journey to Germany. He has a brother studying in Florida.

What refugees bring when they run for their lives

1 pair of pants, 1 shirt, 1 pair of shoes and 1 pair of socks
Shampoo and hair gel, toothbrush and toothpaste, face whitening cream
Comb, nail clipper
100 U.S. dollars
130 Turkish liras
Smart phone and back-up cell phone
SIM cards for Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey

“I want my skin to be white and hair to be spiked — I don’t want them to know I’m a refugee. I think that someone will spot me and call the police because I’m illegal.”

A pharmacist

Name: Anonymous
Age: 34
From: Syria

What refugees bring when they run for their lives

When war broke out in Syria, the pharmacist’s father would recall fond memories of Germany, where he lived for eight years while practicing medicine there. The pharmacist wanted a similar life of peace and hope. He fled with his family to Turkey, where he met a smuggler who arranged his trip to Europe.

With one bag strapped across his chest, the pharmacist climbed into an overcrowded dinghy with 53 others, including a handful of young children. Miraculously, the group made the crossing safely until, near the shores of Greece, they were met by the coast guard, shouting at them to stop the boat.

What refugees bring when they run for their lives

Money (wrapped to protect it from water)
Old phone (wet and unusable) and new smart phone
Phone chargers and headphones (plus extra battery charger)
16GB flash drive (containing family photos)

“We didn’t realize it was the police. We were told by friends not to stop because they will take you back to Turkey. We didn’t know the Greek language. We couldn’t understand what they were saying. We held the children. I thought to myself, ‘Let me reach the beach and anything you say I will do.’”

Their boat was punctured and everyone ended up in the sea. The pharmacist treaded water for 45 minutes before he was rescued.

[Read about the pharmacist’s full journey from Aleppo to Germany]

“I had to leave behind my parents and sister in Turkey. I thought, if I die on this boat, at least I will die with the photos of my family near me.”

An artist

Name: Nour*
Age: 20
From: Syria

What refugees bring when they run for their lives

Nour has a passion for music and art. He played guitar in Syria for seven years and painted. As bombs and gunfire echoed in the distance, Nour grabbed the items closest to his heart before leaving for Turkey — things that today evoke bittersweet memories of home.

What refugees bring when they run for their lives

Small bag of personal documents
A rosary (gift from his friend; Nour doesn’t let it touch the floor)
A watch (from his girlfriend; it broke during the journey)
Syrian flag, Palestinian charm, silver and wooden bracelets (gifts from friends)
Guitar picks (one also a gift from a friend)
Cell phone and Syrian SIM card
Photo ID
1 shirt

“I left Syria with two bags, but the smugglers told me I could only take one. The other bag had all of my clothes. This is all I have left.”

A family

From: Aleppo, Syria

What refugees bring when they run for their lives

This family lost everything. When they left Syria, each member took one to two bags. During the course of the journey to Turkey and then Greece, their boat began to sink. There were seven women, four men and 20 children. They managed to salvage just one bag among them.

What refugees bring when they run for their lives

1 shirt, 1 pair of jeans,
1 pair of shoes
1 diaper, 2 small cartons of milk and some biscuits
Personal documents and money
Sanitary pads
A comb

“I hope we die. This life is not worth to live anymore. Everyone closed the door in our face, there is no future.”

What refugees bring when they run for their lives

Name: Hassan*
Age: 25
From: Syria

“This is all I have. They told us we could only bring two things, one extra shirt and pants.”

Learn more about the IRC’s work in Lesbos where we provide clean water, sanitation, trash removal and protection and information services to refugees staying in the Kara Tepe camp and other locations on the island.

*Last names omitted to protect the privacy of those interviewed

The International Rescue Committee helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. At work in nearly 40 countries and in 25 U.S. cities, the IRC restores safety, dignity, and hope to millions of families in need.

You can help them with their work and donate here

Photos by Tyler Jump/International Rescue Committee

Earthquakes, wildfires, Floods and Draughts

This week has been a particularly intense one regarding natural disasters.
Wildfires keep burning across western U.S., with over 700,000 acres affected in California. This is 200.000 more than the typical 500.000 acre from previous years.
With a serious draught problem, vegetation quickly turns into kindling which catches and spreads fire easier. Given the climate change temperatures are expected to increase 2 degrees in years to come, escalating the draught problem as well. At the same time, more rain is expected in areas where precipitations are already a problem.
Quoting from
Climate models predict that the addition of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere will shift precipitation in two main ways. The first shift is in a strengthening of existing precipitation patterns. This is commonly called “wet get wetter, dry get drier.”
Warmer air traps more water vapor, and scientists expect that additional water to fall in already wet parts of the Earth.
“But because precipitation has to be balanced by evaporation, we expect a [corresponding] increase in dry regions,” Marvel said.
The second shift is a change in storm tracks, which should move away from the equator and toward the poles as atmospheric circulation changes.

Incidents such as the flood that killed seven people in Utah’s Zion National Park are likely to occur with more frequency and even start affecting areas where they didn’t occur before. This can be particularly dangerous because it means people that simply aren’t used to dealing with these kind of natural disasters will get caught off guard.
At the other end of the American continent in Chile, an 8.3 magnitude earthquake killed 11 and forced the evacuation of a million people.

So folks, a couple quick points come to mind.
1) Be prepared. Natural, and yes, manmade disasters are nothing new. They happen all the time so you need to be well aware of the potential threats in your area.
2) Stay informed! Know what’s going on around you. In many cases people get into trouble because they simply didn’t know any better.
3) Have your kit ready. Everything from your car kit, everyday carry bag, EDC and even the clothes you wear should all be geared towards preparing for the most likely events in your area.
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”.

Victorinox Soldier Knife: Very Good Soldier tool, but a pocket Clip is needed
The Victorinox 2008 Soldier Knife is a solid, capable tool. Tools include a one-handed serrated locking blade, a Phillips screwdriver, a can opener, a small screwdriver, a bottle opener, a large locking screwdriver which is also intended to be used as a prying tool, a wire stripper, a reamer, a key ring, and a wood saw.

The tool comes in Victorinox’s 111mm format, its largest offering. This allows for a generous wood saw and main blade.

The blade combines serrations and a straight edge. About 60% of the blade is serrated, with the straight edge section being located away from the tip, closer to the handle where serrations are usually found in other combo edge knives. This is actually the best layout for a combo edge knife, given that the serrations work best for slicing through tough materials while the straight edge works best for push cutting. Given that pushing further away from the handle increases the distance therefore the force needed to cut, this disposition makes better use of both type of edges.

The Soldier Knife managed to cut various materials without a problem.

I found the Victorinox 2008 Soldier knife to be a solid, practical cutting tool which includes the basic tools needed for its general purpose/utility role. The serrations may not be as convenient at times as a straight edge but it will certainly take abuse better and be able to cut for longer periods of time, especially when in the hands of someone that doesn’t know how to properly sharpen a knife, which is the case of most people in general, including soldiers.

The knife desperately needs a pocket clip. It is light enough to travel in a pocket but the clip would make it so much more convenient. Given that this is a soldier knife I would have liked to see more of a narrow tip capable of better penetration, both for cutting and if used as weapon. Another tool with a metal saw and file combination would have been nice. The same goes for making better use of the scales by adding tweezers and a pen. These would have been of use no doubt for a soldier.

Overall it’s a quality, reliable tool by Victorinox which can be great with a couple personal mods or if Victorinox decides to fix these issues for future versions of this knife.

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”.

Relocated To Spain: Ask Any Question

Hello Everyone,
You probably noticed I haven’t been posting as often recently, both in the website and youtube. This ends right now but I’d like to explain what’s been going on. The reason is that I’ve just moved to Spain and these last couple weeks have been insane. There’s just so much to do, I basically collapse unconscious on the bed every night about 1AM. Fortunately things are getting sorted out and we’re little by little getting back to normal. I already have fiber optic internet installed, so we’ll get back to posting regularly and uploading videos to the channel. I apologize for not keeping up with it but it was at times impossible to do so. I’m also more delayed than usual in replying to emails as well so please have patience.
So, we relocated from Ireland to Spain. Before you even ask here are some of the more common questions. Feel free to ask away any other questions you may have. I’ll be posting a bit more about it and some of the replies may be in the form of posts or youtube videos.
What was wrong with Ireland?
Nothing really. Like a few other good places to live in it has many advantages and a couple disadvantages as well. It’s more about our own needs changing as time went by, especially after four years. Our idea was to live there for some time, experience the culture but eventually go somewhere else. Ireland is not a bad place to spend the rest of your life if that’s what you want. Keep in mind Ireland(the island) is actually two countries. Northern Ireland, a small part up to the northeast, which is under UK rule, and the rest is Republic of Ireland, which is a different country, what most people simply call Ireland. Most people from Northern Ireland just call it Ireland as well. Northern Ireland would be the part of Ireland that has a bad reputation. It is true that Northern Ireland is very much a closed society and mostly not welcoming to foreigners. Although this was of course a negative aspect as immigrants ourselves we didn’t mind much, especially with small children. As out older son turned to his teens this became more of an issue to keep in mind. The simple solution is going for Republic of Ireland instead, which is more open minded, with overall friendlier people. Then again another important factor was weather. It rains in Ireland (and Scotland and England) all the time. The weather is pretty cold most of the time other than a few weeks in summer but its mostly the lack of sunshine that gets depressing. We didn’t mind the first year, or the second, but by the fourth year we at last did miss the sun. That we wouldn’t have fixed moving from Northern Ireland to Republic of Ireland. Still, I very much recommend Republic of Ireland over NI. Both are pretty safe but ROI is just more friendly and modern, while NI can’t seem to let go of its sectarian past. Why did we go to NI ourselves then? Four years ago ROI was still recovering from the crisis and the economy wasn’t doing well, struggling with the bailout. At the same time property was cheaper in NI, we found an good neighbourhood and good school, and at the end of the day moving from NI to ROI is just a matter of getting into the car and driving a couple hours or less without even crossing an actual border or going through any kind of checkpoint when going from one country to the other.
Why Spain?
Spain is in many ways the opposite of Northern Ireland. You of course have much nicer weather, people are friendly and open minded.
The south of Spain in particular offers something you don’t find as easily as you’d think in Spain which is actual Spanish Language. Ironically, in many parts of Spain they don’t speak Spanish. Cost of living is very reasonable. Healthcare is way better than NI healthcare which is basically UK’s NHS, which is free but one of the worst in Europe.
“Spain!? Are you crazy!? There’s no work there, huge economic crisis, it’s about to collapse!”
This I got a lot of. While it is true that like Ireland, Spain went through its own economic crisis, just like Ireland it is slowly recovering and doing better.
How can you just move to Spain?
I have dual citizenship, Argentine and Spanish, This of course means we can live in Spain as citizens, making it a lot easier to do so.
If you have any specific questions feel free to leave them below in the comments!
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”.

Killer uses Google Earth, Targets Isolated Homes


I have enjoyed both your books.  Here is something that goes along with the point you’ve made many times – that an isolated location might actually invite unwanted attention.  Also, a bigger dog is a better deterrent.




Thank you Joe. That was an interesting read.

Adam Deeds told detectives he used Google Maps to search remote areas around Boise and Mountain Home for high-end homes to rob. Dees told investigators he decided to commit a robbery because “that’ll give me money to play with for a while.” Dees admitted to killing Ted, Elaine and Tom Welp. Dees will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

He told detectives he staked out the home and came back after dark, dressed in black, to rob the family.

A door to the garage was open when he returned and Dees used a set of house keys he found in a truck to get inside the house. The home’s security system was disabled at the time. The 22-year-old told detectives had it been armed, he would have left immediately.

He also said he probably would have given up on his plan if the family had a bigger dog.

I never understood why so many people fail to see how in spite of other advantages, when it comes to high levels of dangerous crime, isolation actually works in favour of the attackers, not the defenders. Rather than worrying about refugees heading your way (which by the way are mostly NOT criminals) worry about people like Adam Dees. This is real, it is possible, and as we clearly see it has happened before. On the other hand the idea of hordes of looters attacking everything within a full gas tank distance only exists in fiction novels.

What we can learn from reading the article:

1)Criminals prefer isolated residences away from curious bystanders and neighbours.

2)Criminals can drive cars. If you can get to your “isolated” residence by car, then so can a criminal.

3)Criminals know how to use Google Maps (and Facebook, so careful what you make public there as well)

4)Criminals don’t like alarm, or strong, locked doors.

5)People living “in the country” are more likely to have a false sense of security, therefore neglecting some aspects of home and personal security, mistakenly believing that distance = safety when it comes to dangerous criminals.

6)Criminals don’t like big, strong dogs that are capable of attacking them.

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”.

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”.