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10 Must-Have Items For Your Airport Go-Bag | For The Prepared Traveler

Traveling overseas is a lot more complicated than it used to be (some would say more dangerous too…) Not only are the counter and security lines longer and slower… but your choices in “approved” travel gear seems to diminish with each passing day. Read on to learn about the 10 must-have items for your airport go-bag.

Airline, TSA, DHS rules and regulations are changing daily. And this problem is only compounded when you leave the United States–

Consider the additional scrutiny brought on by the security officials in other countries… and you better make sure the gear that you are carrying abides by the S.O.P. (Standard Operating Procedure) of the nation(s) you are visiting.


Be be prepared to have your gear confiscated…and even yourself detained! Something I’ve experienced first hand.

Being asked to “Please step aside” or… told to “Please come with us.” can put a real crimp in your travel plans — causing you to board late and miss flights altogether.

It can be rather embarrassing when it happens in front of your family… and even more so in front of a long line of strangers, who are left wondering “What’s this shady character up to?”

What’s more– it can be a sizable hit to your wallet when they confiscate an expensive piece of gear that you’ll never see again.

Every officer and agent is different. What may fly with one will not with the other.

So why risk it by flying under assumptions. Be smart and plan accordingly. Don’t ruin yours and your family’s trip before it even gets a chance to get started.

With that in mind, let’s dive into the 10 must-have items for your airport go-bag… along with a few security considerations.

10 Must-Have Items For Your Airport Go-Bag Video From Coach Helder

Item #1: Your Backpack

Your choice in backpack can render most of your equipment utterly useless…

Here’s what I mean…

I have noticed that prepared travelers have some key items on them while traveling. However, their carrying equipment choices render the access to this gear useless.

Their gear is either stowed away and inaccessible at a time of need or thrown into a pack. Without knowing exactly where the piece of gear that you need is and having that pack attached to you at all times renders your gear useless.

Which is why I recommend you get yourself a backpack or ruck that has good staging areas for each piece of your gear.

  • The more compartmentalized that your gear is, the easier it will be for you to get it when you need it. With proper practice you can always get to the item that you want quickly.
  • You also want your pack to be small so that it fits under the seat in front of you. Stowing my bag in the above compartment is never an option for me. I want to have access to my pack at all times. I even take it to the head with me when I am on the plane.
  • Also, the more streamlined your backpack is the less that you will standout. The bad guys tend to survey the area. No need to look like “Tactical Tom” and put yourself on the radar before it is deemed necessary.
  • You also want to have room in your travel go bag for your comforts. Items such as food, headphones, books, hard drives, tooth brush, etc… are all items that have to neatly fit in my bag while I travel. Even the size of my Macbook was an issue when deciding on a travel go bag.

Find out what additional gear you will need and account for that when choosing a pack.

10 Must-Have Items For Your Airport Go-Bag | For The Prepared Traveler backpack

Item #2: Water Purifier

Let’s forget about your water needs at an airport for a moment.

Let’s focus on your final destination — the fact that you could be arriving in strange, foreign lands.

These countries may not be foreign to us in a regular sense but they are certainly foreign to our digestive systems. Having a water purifier is not just for emergency situations but I also use it often for everyday needs while traveling.

I stay in hotels and apartments while traveling overseas. If trusted bottled water is not available at these locations, I go right to my water purifier for my water supply needs.

Make sure that you get a good water purifier, not just a filter.

We focus our thinking on emergency situations but this is good practice even if just on vacation.

We work hard and when we get time off we want to enjoy it. There are fewer worse things that having a stomach virus while on vacation.

It’s difficult to enjoy the sights when your only view is from the bathroom toilet.

10 Must-Have Items For Your Airport Go-Bag | For The Prepared Traveler water purifier

Item #3: Tactical Flashlight

Tactical flashlights are built with the purpose of illumination but… they also have a self defense application.

(Remember, throughout this travel process you are basically disarmed.)

When on the go, all you have on you are the contents of this travel go bag.

The material that it is built from, the position that it is designed to be held in and it’s light pattern selection all have combative use in mind.

Having a good tactical flashlight gives me a bit more confidence in my readiness while traveling. I practice often with my tactical flashlights. I get as versatile as I can with my training so that I gain options in real world scenarios. Where and how your flashlight is carried must be addressed in your personal practice.

The best part of being well versed with a tactical flashlight is that no one will look at you twice for carrying a flashlight in your pocket. But with the proper training you have one heck of a self defense tool that can save your life!

10 Must-Have Items For Your Airport Go-Bag | For The Prepared Traveler flashlight

Item #4: Backpack Body Armor

Even people with similar lifestyles to mine looked at me a bit cross-eyed when I decided to add body armor to my backpack. But look no further than recent events for validation of it’s importance–

A few days ago there was an active shooter situation in the FLL airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. One of the shooting survivor’s recanted the following:

“I felt something hit my back,” he said speaking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “It was only later when I went to the bathroom to check myself out that the bullet had entered my backpack, hit my laptop and then later when I gave my backpack over to the FBI for investigation they found the bullet in the pocket of my backpack.”

Let’s just say that my friends have since changed their minds.

In the FLL airport shooting, the bullet luckily ricocheted and got lodged in his laptop. Things could have been a lot worse if the bullet were a direct hit.

I realize that it is troublesome that we have to add this type of gear to our preparedness but that doesn’t make it any less viable. Body armor has changed a great deal since my days as a active-duty U.S. Marine.

Current backpack body armor choices are ultra-light, fit perfectly in standard backpacks and best of all for me… have become affordable.

I chose my current backpack body armor because it’s military spec & fits perfectly in my airport travel go bag. Body armor is a personal item. You need to keep your needs in mind but you also have to make sure that it fits well in your backpack.

Luckily, body armor comes in many shapes and sizes. Get the best that you can afford and be careful with all the knock-offs available. The last thing that we want from our preparedness effort is a false sense of security.

10 Must-Have Items For Your Airport Go-Bag | For The Prepared Traveler armor

Item #5: Tactical Pen

Before I bought my first tactical pen, I traveled with a thick pen having as a self defense item. A well built pen can cause an amazing amount of damage when used and deployed from a reverse-grip position.

And once I held my first, aircraft grade aluminum pen, I knew I had a serious piece of self defense gear in my hand. As with all the gear that I reference here today… Practice & then practice some more with the gear that you plan to travel with. This goes 10 fold if you plan on utilizing it for self defense.

I own a few different tactical pens. They all have good and bad points. One thing that I want you to keep in mind is that the more “tactical” that the pen looks, the more scrutinized that you will be by airport security as well as law enforcement.

If your tactical pen looks like something out of Star Wars, it’s probably not a good idea to have it in your travel bag or pocket. In my airport travel go bag, I carry a tactical pen that doesn’t have a lot of options. But… It looks like a black pen and nothing more. I can carry it in my pocket and even while in the Middle East, no one looks at it twice.

10 Must-Have Items For Your Airport Go-Bag | For The Prepared Traveler pen

Item #6: Paracord

Serious Survivalists never underestimate the value of basic cordage.

Whether I’m camping or preparing gear for SHTF scenarios, I can never have enough paracord.

The more pioneering skills that I learn, the more valuable that paracord becomes to me. I can fix my travel gear using paracord & I can use it to make field expedient handcuffs on the fly.

Paracord is light and packs easily.

Most of us have paracord bracelets, belts, necklaces and other gadgets made from paracord. But when you need fast access to paracord, having a few feet on extra cordage in your travel bag is always a good idea.

10 Must-Have Items For Your Airport Go-Bag | For The Prepared Traveler paracord

Item #7: Small Dry Bag

My travel bag certainly has some stories that it can tell. It has had everything from wine & beer spilled all over it, to dogs peeing on it. This is just while at the airport!

To be honest, the dog urinating on my bag was not my fault but I do take credit for a few of alcohol spills… One thing that made these incidents a bit more bearable (besides club soda and free cologne samples) was my dry bag.

I keep a small dry bag in my travel go bag with some incidentals and tech gadgets in it. Anything can happen while traveling so it is a smart idea to protect your sensitive gear from the elements that may render them unserviceable.

I keep gear that needs to remain dry in my dry bag. My gear remains protected from bad weather conditions on the tarmac or even worse scenarios that may occur while traveling overseas.

The dry bag is also good for trapping smells.

Food & used under garments have also been relocated to my dry bag while traveling. There are many ways to bring unwanted attention to yourself; strange smells coming from your go bag is definitely one of them. In a pinch, even ziplock bags can help the cause. They are not ideal as a dry bag but certainly better than nothing.

10 Must-Have Items For Your Airport Go-Bag | For The Prepared Traveler dry bag

Item #8: Spork

The sporks I use are made from titanium.

This adds to their super light weight but also make them hypoallergenic.

It may not sound like a big deal but I have issues trusting hotel & restaurant staff at certain places that I have stayed. Let’s just say that I have seen the staff do things or not do things that would make your stomach churn.

I use my spork in airports, hotels & even restaurants while traveling in certain places.

Let’ face it, with the amount of germs floating around any International airport, it is good practice to use your own utensils whenever possible. Your immune system gets taxed enough while we travel. Add in the stress from varied reasons and we open ourselves up to getting sick. Any additional germs picked up from utensils left out in the open, countless fingers rummaging through them… and you can see why a spork is a good piece of gear to have with you.

10 Must-Have Items For Your Airport Go-Bag | For The Prepared Traveler spork

Item #9: Electrical Tape

If you spent any amount of time in the military, you know the endless applications of duct tape.

It repairs gear, builds temporary structures and many field expedient footballs have been constructed with the use of it.

I used to travel with duct tape in my airport travel go bag. But while in Frankfurt Germany, I got a roll of duct tape confiscated and I was questioned privately for a couple of hours.

I haven’t had duct tape in my travel bag since. My replacement? Electrical tape.

It has similar applications to what the duct tape offers and has a smaller profile. I have had a roll in my travel bag for the last 3 years and I have yet to have security officers take a second look.

10 Must-Have Items For Your Airport Go-Bag | For The Prepared Traveler tape

Item #10: Ferro Rod

Everyone is aware that matches & lighters are illegal on a plane.

As a U.S. Marine, we carried Zippo lighters in our pockets. The Zippo lighter was as much a part of our EDC as were our dog tags. I would go through airport security while heading home on a 96 or even a 72 hour pass to visit the family. Then I would go through the detectors after placing my keys & Zippo in the tray and would have my items handed right back to me. I would board the plane and all was good.

Well, things have changed…

So if you want to be prepared and have access to some type of fire starter, carry a small ferro rod.

It is incredibly lightweight and blends well with the pack. I use various ferro rod necklaces and like to show them as a necklace to whomever is inspecting my travel bag. It can be used with my spork in an emergency and causes no harm to myself nor anyone around me.

I realize that it is cliche and even a bit corny but when I needed to decide on whether or not to add a ferro rod to my airport travel go bag I think of the movie; Castaway. Yup, I usually secure the rod in the internal molle straps right then and there. ?

10 Must-Have Items For Your Airport Go-Bag | For The Prepared Traveler ferro rod


I keep other items in my travel bag that I consider staples. But I’m continually testing and reviewing gear. When I find an item that works better for me, my skill sets and the situation at hand, I upgrade my travel go bag accordingly.

I suggest you do the same.

Also, having cool gear is awesome but there is a caveat…You need to know how to use it and use it well!

Even if it is the most expensive, tactical, SEAL approved piece of gear in the world, it is still useless unless you know how to deploy it. Get familiar with each piece of your gear. Train with your gear in light and dark situations. Use that gear while you are freezing and when you are sweating your butt off.

The more that your gear becomes a part of you, the greater your chance of survival using it becomes.

Always Prepared!


For awesome survival gear you can’t make at home, check out the Survival Life Store!

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Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman

Learn to make your own homemade weapons so you’ll have a fighting chance in a survival situation where all you have is nature.

 [You Get One FREE] Weird Little Knife Drives TSA Crazy!

How to Make Homemade Weapons

Why Should You Learn to Make Homemade Weapons?

Let’s say you got lost in the wild, and you somehow forgot or lost your Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto 39LSFT (or whichever is the best survival knife for you). What do you do?

While your situation is most likely not quite as bad as Tom Hanks had it in Castaway, let’s face it. The only way you’re gonna get out of this situation in good shape is to let out your inner caveman.

Let me explain. Our very primitive ancestors lived in a time when every day was a survival situation. Any tools or weapons they needed had to be made from scratch.

So, should you be unlucky enough to have only the shirt on your back while you’re lost in the wilderness, you’ll have to follow suit. Let the training of your inner caveman begin.

Today’s lesson: how to make DIY weapons in the wild with only the resources nature provided you.

How to Make a Knife | Homemade Weapons

Having a knife, any kind of knife is probably one of the best things to happen should you suddenly find yourself in a survival situation. You can use it to help you find food, build a shelter, and defend yourself against wild animals.

So it’s highly fortunate nature is waiting like a momma at a craft table with lots of materials you can use to create one.

1. Stone Knives

Bone, shell, bamboo, wood, or even an old aluminum beer can may work to perform the puncturing function of a blade. You know you’ve seen these a million times when you’re out hiking.

They’re easy to crack or break or shape into a fairly sharp point which will do in a pinch. Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to use a chicken bone or an expertly-shaped aluminum can point to skin, chop, baton, or any of the other necessary functions of a survival knife.

This is where the stone comes into play. I’ll start by saying making a knife out of stone isn’t easy, but it can be done.

You’ll need three things: a core rock, a hammerstone, and a pressure flaker. Remember, you’re going to be smashing these together in true caveman fashion.

So, having stones you can reasonably grip in each hand is going to make your life a lot easier. Although, it’s definitely an option to stand poised over one rock smashing down on it.

You, with a two-hand grip, pounding until you’ve chipped away at it a bit. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

2. The Core Rock

rock formation background | Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman | homemade weapons | deadliest ancient weapons

The core rock is what you’ll be making into a blade. Find any large stone, preferably made from obsidian, slate, chert, or flint with a relatively flat side.

In case you weren’t a rock collector in any of your previous lives, here’s another way to decide if a rock meets the requirements for good knife-making material. Tap or click a rock together with another rock and listen for a ringing sound (like glass).

The more rock sounds like glass, the better it is as a material for your core rock. If you can, choose a rock which is already a bit sharp to reduce the amount of time you’ll need to shape it.

3. The Hammerstone

The hammerstone is a medium-sized, spherical rock, preferably made of granite. It will be used to smash, chisel, chip and shape the core rock.

You’ll be using it to chip off pieces of the core stone and to narrow the edges to a blade shape.

RELATED: How To Keep Your Edge | Knife Sharpener

4. The Pressure Flaker

The pressure flaker, or flaking tool, is a rock with a sharp point to help you refine the blade’s edges. You’ll use your flaking tool after you’ve thinned the edges of the stone with the hammer stone to make the “blade” sharper.

When you start making your knife, you’ll want to be sure to wet the core stone to shorten the time it takes to shape it into a blade. Begin by striking glancing blows near the edge of the core rock with the hammerstone.

Chip away at the core rock until you get the general shape of a blade. Then, use the flaking tool to refine the edges you need to sharpen.

You can also use a stone with a rough surface such as a sandstone to sharpen the edge. Use some rope, cloth, or leather to lash the base and create a handle.

If you are having troubling shaping the rock into a knife, you can opt to create stone blades instead. Check out the videos below to learn how:

Part One:

Part Two:

How to Make a Spear | Homemade Weapons

south african zulu spear | Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman | homemade weapons | deadliest ancient weapons

We’ve talked about how to make a spear using your best survival knife in a previous article. The same principle applies here.

Even without your Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto 39LSFT or whichever survival knife you normally bring with you, you can still make a spear using your newly made stone knife. To make a spear, you’ll need to find a five-foot-long stick tough enough to endure repeated short or long-distance throws.

  1. First, pick the end of the stick which has a more rounded tip and use your stone knife to start shaving to create a spear. Once you’re done, be sure to heat the spear over some hot coals to make your spear sharper.
  2. As an alternative, you can also make a spear by tying your knife onto a stick. Find a stick which is about an inch wide.
  3. Measure about 2 inches from one end of the stick. Mark the point, then split the stick into two until you reach the 2-inch mark, creating a sort of Y shape.
  4. This will create a space where you can stick your stone knife before you lash it on with some twine, cord, or rope. To lock the blade in place, put some moss or lichen in the remaining space.
  5. If you haven’t had time to fashion your knife out of stone yet, you can also use broken pieces of shell or glass or splintered bamboo or bone and secure it to the end of your stick.
  6. If you find a way to split your stick without a knife, you can insert the splintered bone or bamboo into the wedge and tie it off like you would when turning a knife into a spear.

How to Make a Weighted Club | Homemade Weapons

While sharp pointy tools are all well and good, you can never go wrong with a blunt homemade weapon. You can use it for hammering or bludgeoning something such as a weighted club.

The weighted club could be one of the deadliest ancient weapons. To make one, you’ll need the following: a piece of wood around 14-16 inches, a medium-sized rock, and some rope.

  1. Once you have all the materials, you’ll need to wrap some lashing 6-8 inches from the end of the stick.
  2. Split the same end until you reach the lashing in order to create a V-shaped notch. The rock you picked out should be shorter than the length of the split.
  3. Insert the stone then lash it securely (above, below, and across the stone). The lashing on the stick above the stone clamps both sides of the split together providing the first point of security, so it’s especially important to create a good, tight lashing above the stone.
  4. You’ll want to make sure you bind the split ends securely so the stone won’t fall off whenever you use it to hammer or pound on something.

This video from Wannabe Bushcrafter will show you how to make a bamboo knife:

Now, hopefully, you never find yourself in a situation where making homemade weapons is going to be a necessity for survival. But, if you do find yourself in such a quagmire, this little bit of information and inner caveman training may be what saves your life.

Which of these homemade weapons do you want to make? Tell us your progress in the comments section below!

Up Next:

Go to our Survival Life Store to shop some of our favorites self-defense tools and gear!

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***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 11, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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5 Home Remedies For Chigger Bites

Know these home remedies for chigger bites, or better yet, avoid the bug's bites in the first place with helpful tips included here!

RELATED: Top Ways to Deal with Insects [Especially Mosquitos]

In this article:

  1. What Is a Chigger, Exactly?
  2. Where Do Chiggers Live?
  3. Identifying Chiggers Bites
  4. Home Remedies for Chigger Bites
  5. Tips to Avoid Chigger Bites and Chigger Bites Infection

Home Remedies For Chigger Bites

What Is a Chigger, Exactly?

Chiggers are members of the arachnid family. They are extremely tiny, and my guess is you won’t even see them as they jump from the tall grass onto your skin and/or clothing.

Adult chiggers are about 1/60 of an inch and have eight legs. The larvae are red, wingless, six-legged creatures which measure less than 1/150 of an inch.

Because of their red color, you might be able to spot the larvae when they cluster together, especially on white clothing.

What Is the Arachnid Family? It is a large group or class of invertebrate animals where the spiders and scorpions belong.

Where Do Chiggers Live?

Chiggers reside in tall weeds and grass, berry patches, and wooded areas. They could be in your backyard, by the lake, or your favorite hiking trail.

They are most active in summer and fall afternoons – the warmest part of the day.

Identifying Chiggers Bites

Only the larvae bite humans and they tend to choose warm, moist areas of the body.

Chiggers also have claws which help them grab onto your skin. The chigger then attaches its mouth to the skin and injects saliva.

The saliva contains an enzyme which breaks skin cells down to liquid form. Your body responds by hardening skin cells around the saliva, creating a tube (cyclostome) through which the chigger sucks the dissolved skin cells.

Chiggers can stay attached and feeding for several days before falling off.

When the chigger falls off, you are left with reddish bumps. You may notice a bright red dot in the center—this is a remnant of the tube your skin formed in response to the chigger's saliva.

The bumps may look like welts, blisters, pimples, or hives. Bites generally appear in groups and get larger for several days to a week.

While many insects bite exposed skin which is easy to get to, chiggers like to bite in folds of skin as well as places where clothing fits tightly on the skin. Most chigger bites occur around the ankles, waist, armpits, crotch, or behind the knees.

Home Remedies for Chigger Bites

Just remember, no matter what, DO NOT SCRATCH THE BITES! I know, easier said than done. But, breaking the skin on a chigger bite can lead to infection.

Here are 5 home remedies to help with the itching and swelling.

RELATED: Spider Bite? Here’s How To Treat It

1. Vicks Vapor Rub

Vicks Vapor Rub can put an end to itchy chigger bites immediately and will even reduce the risk of blisters. It’s the cooling menthol in it which relieves itching by affecting itch receptors in the skin.


  • Take a hot shower (use antibacterial soap.) Pat dry your skin with a soft towel.
  • Take a small amount of the vapor rub and add some table salt to it.
  • Mix well and apply to the affected area.
  • Repeat if the swelling continues (otherwise, there is no need to repeat the process)

2. Cold Compress

A cold compress can help reduce the itching associated with chigger bites. Its numbing effect helps reduce the sensation of itchiness.


  • Wrap some ice cubes in a thin cloth.
  • Apply the compress to the bites for 10 minutes. Repeat if needed to relieve itching.

3. Baking Soda

Baking soda is another effective remedy to reduce rashes as well as itchiness. It acts as a natural acid neutralizer which helps relieve itching and reduces the risk of infection.


  • Add 1 cup of baking soda to a bathtub filled with cool water.
  • Stir well and soak in this water for 15 minutes and pat your skin with a soft towel. (Do this once daily)

Another remedy using baking soda:

  • Prepare a thin paste of 2 teaspoons of baking soda and a little water.
  • Apply the paste on the affected areas and leave it on for about 10 minutes.
  • Rinse it off with cool water.

Note: Do not use this remedy more than once or twice a day. Never use baking soda on broken skin or open wounds.

4. Oatmeal

Oatmeal contains anti-irritating, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties providing instant relief from itching–one of the common symptoms of chigger bites. It is recommended to use colloidal oatmeal, meaning oats which are ground into an extremely fine powder.

(You can accomplish this yourself by grinding regular oats in a sealed Ziploc bag, using the backside of a spoon to crush the oatmeal.)


  • Add 1 cup of colloidal oatmeal to a bathtub filled with warm water
  • Stir thoroughly
  • Soak in this mixture for at least 15-20 minutes
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day

5. Olive Oil

Olive oil can also be used to get relief from the irritation and inflammation. It is rich in vitamin E and antioxidants which reduce itching and facilitate healing.


  • After rinsing the affected area with water, apply olive oil to the chigger bite.
  • Reapply several times a day.

Another option using olive oil:

  • Mix a few drops of tea tree oil in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and apply on the affected area.
  • Repeat a few times a day.

Tips to Avoid Chigger Bites and Chigger Bites Infection

As summer and fall are prime time for chigger bites, it is best to take the following precautions:

  1. When hiking, stay in the center of the trail and avoid brushing up against vegetation.
  2. Wear long sleeves and long pants when going into the woods.
  3. Apply mosquito repellent on your hands, feet, and exposed skin on your arms before going outside.
  4. Shower immediately after being outdoors and use antibacterial soap.
  5. Wash your clothes in hot water.
  6. Resist the urge to scratch because breaking the skin on chigger bites can lead to a possible infection.

This video from Online Pest Control will show you tips to avoid chiggers and ways to get rid of chiggers:

Chigger bites much like other insect bites aren't only discomforting, they can be dangerous too. Many of these insects including chiggers carry diseases in some cases.

The best way to deal with these bugs is to avoid them or control them with our tips here. But, if you're so unlucky, you also now know the best home remedies to chigger bites!

Have you had to deal with chigger bites before? Tell us how, including more useful tips which worked for you in the comments section below!

Up Next:

Go to our Survival Life Store to shop some of our favorites self-defense tools and gear!

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr!

***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***

Home Remedies For Chigger Bites |

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 28, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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9 Good Reasons To Carry A “Survival Stick”

Arm yourself with a survival stick, get savvy with it, but first, find out why as you read on!

RELATED: Deadly Parasols | Umbrella As A Self-Defense Weapon

In this article:

  1. Survival Hiking Stick
  2. Survival Stick for Support
  3. Fetching/Reaching Things
  4. Walking Staff Weapon for Self-Defense
  5. Balance
  6. Gauging Depth
  7. Carrying Gear and Supplies
  8. Club
  9. Fishing Rod

Survival Stick: An Underrated Multipurpose Tool?

The Survival Stick in History

A walking stick or a survival cane were popular in the 17th and 18th centuries as a decorative show of power and a defensive replacement for a sword. Yet, the truth is our ancestors have been using them for thousands of years, and for good reason…

…They work! Even the animal kingdom is smart enough to know just how useful these are:

(It may be hard to see, but this gorilla is holding a walking stick to gauge the depth of the water as she sloshes along)

A walking stick is not a new or revolutionary idea. In fact, the use of a walking stick predates history and its use continued on for generations including this present time.

Yet, it is one which is more often than not overlooked. When most people think of a walking stick, it is usually paired with a top hat or seen as a crutch for someone with a walking disability.

Far too few people even realize how important a walking stick can be, especially to someone in the outdoors. We will dig a little deeper into the many uses of a survival stick and maybe safely say, it could be the first multi-purpose survival tool.

Practical and Survival Uses for a Survival Stick

Walking sticks are also known as trekking poles, pilgrim's staffs, hiking poles and hiking staff have quite a few different uses:

1. Survival Hiking Stick

Hold the survival stick in front of you and you can use it to clear your way by parting brushes and branches or leaves and thick tall grasses. You can also use it to clear spiderwebs, especially if you're not too fond of spiders.

Other insects, animals, poisonous plants, and even animal dung can get in the way. Use a survival stick to inspect or poke at those things if you are unsure, and never ever your hands or your feet.

2. Survival Stick for Support

Hiker in Caucasus mountains is crossing mountain river | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | hiking staff
Making your way through an uneven terrain will be more manageable with a walking stick for support. Whether you're going up or down, use the walking stick to either slow you down or hold you up.

You can use your walking stick like breaks to keep you from speeding down or use it to latch on to a rock or crevice when you're climbing up. Besides for yourself, you can also use your multipurpose stick as a support for your tarp emergency shelter.

3. Fetching/Reaching Things

It happens–a supply or gear falling on water, mud, puddle or in an area you dare not walk into. You can fetch or reach for those items with a stick.

It also happens where you need an item over a physical barrier and only a stick can fetch the item for you. You can also reach for fruits, nest, or other food sources up a tree or high structure with a stick.

RELATED: Unusual Weapons From Around The World And How To Use Them

4. Walking Staff Weapon for Self-Defense

To use a survival stick as a weapon, make sure it's a sturdy stick with a finished look and not just any stick you found along the way. You can use it to defend yourself from an attacker whether it's human or animals.

I would suggest to train yourself in some form of martial arts using a stick like a baton as a weapon to have a better handle at it.

You can also fashion a spear with your stick by tying a survival knife on one end. Don't throw this spear though or you risk damaging or losing your knife and stick.

Hold on to your homemade spear and only use it to thrust at your target.

5. Balance

Hiker is crossing the river in Sweden | Hiker in Caucasus mountain | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | survival hiking stickWhen you're crossing a log bridge over a stream or you're going through the stream itself or other bodies of water, a walking stick can help you balance so you don't fall over. If you're walking through a muddy or rocky waterbed, a walking stick will help you up.

If you're up for it and if the body of water isn't too wide across, you can also use a long stick like a pole vault to cross over so you don't get yourself wet.

6. Gauging Depth

Relative to crossing bodies of water, a survival stick is handy in identifying dips beneath the waters which could cause you to stumble. You can also use the stick to identify where it's safe to take the next step.

You can also use this simple trick with the stick when you're traveling in deep snow, marshland, and even the dessert.

7. Carrying Gear and Supplies

Use your survival stick to help you carry gear and supplies. Pack your supplies with a shemagh, tie it tight to one end of your stick then place the stick over your shoulders in hobo fashion.

You can also carry more supplies with your survival stick. Even today, a carrying pole is used by indigenous people all over the world to carry heavy supplies you never thought possible.

Hang bags of supplies or jars of water on either side of the pole or stick, putting a stopper like a notch or tie on both ends so they don't fall off. Place the center of the stick over your shoulders and balance your load to your destination.

8. Club

Man carrying blue backpack | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | walking staff weapon
Use your survival stick like a club to knock obstacle down. A pillar of rocks or other objects may be on your way and a sturdy stick can help you safely knock those.

If you are in a building with glass doors or windows or inside a car, you can break the glass with a stick. Make to knock over pieces around your entrance or exit with the stick, too.

9. Fishing Rod

You only need to bring a fishing kit and your survival stick will make a good fishing rod. Tie a line on one end of your walking stick and fish away.

A DIY fishing pole is actually effective and many a fish has been caught this way.

As you guys and gals already know, I am a stickler for carrying things only if they have multiple uses. This guy managed to fit almost an entire survival kit into a walking stick he built from scratch, for under $20.00.

Check out this video from SOS 2054 I found, and find out for yourself, too:

A humble walking stick will indeed surprise you with what it can do for your defense, convenience, safety, and survival. Since you know now the practical and survival uses of this primitive multi-purpose tool, it won't surprise me if it lands a top spot on your list of survival tools for camping, hiking, or SHTF.

What other uses can you think of for carrying a “survival stick”? Let us know in the comments section below!

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**Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 11, 2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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