Who am I?
I started on my survival journey in the Army as a Geospatial Engineer, or a 12Y. I learned how to use GIS to make maps. Route analysis based on risk and effectiveness, helicopter landing zones, and many other things. I graduated from the National Geospatial-Intelligence College (NGA-NGC) after enlisting in the Army.
Now I am Public Saftey focused IT guy for a medium-sized Fire Department in Central Texas. With my training from the Army, hanging out with Fire Fighters and Emergency Management, and as an IT guy, I think about survival differently than most other preppers I meet. I use a risk matrix so I can assign each piece of gear a unique value combining how important it is for survival and how adaptable it is. A Risk Matrix helps me by taking into account how likely something is to happen and how severe something could be. And I test out my ideas by hiking and backpack camping.
Army Training + Computer Systems Training + Backpack Camping
Using the risk matrix to identify the type of gear, I then get on Amazon and look for the most affordable gear with the highest reviews and post those links on my site. You can find these by clicking on the Survival Gear tab above. You can click on the links, add items to your cart in Amazon, and then come back here when you're ready to get your next piece of gear. I balance affordability and quality depending on the item and how many times it is going to be used.
When looking through the gear I recommend on Amazon, I use the Survival 3's to determine how much something will be needed in a survival situation, what I call survivalness, and the risk matrix to severity and likelihood something will be needed. Then I factor in the cost and total reviews and how high something is rated. Really though you should see the gear as a good example of the size and price point and a lot of little things come down to personal preference. So a lot of times I will recommend what I have and use and then two similarly priced alternatives and if it's really life-saving, like a water filter, I will recommend buying more than one.
Survivalness = Likelihood + Severity + Affordability + Necessary Redundancy
These days I am an avid hiker and camper and use a lot of the gear that I suggest here when I go camping. I think that backpack camping is a great way to practice real-world survival. As a backpacker, you carry your home on your back. A tent, sleeping bag, food, and water and if you can't carry it you learn to do without it. So that colors a lot of the way I see things. Some say "I'd rather have it than not need it", whereas I believe "If I need it, I'd have it".
I want to be prepared with gear that can help me adapt to what is most likely to happen and the most severe scenarios. I believe in an adaptable approach to staying safe. No piece of gear can save your life if you don't know how to use it. So getting the gear is the first step and practicing with it is the next step. The best way I have found is to go camping overnight using only what I can carry.
Thru-Hike Backpack Camping = Best Way To Practice Survival
One last thing to consider is how I rate gear. A big factor is going to be looking for single points of failure in an item. We will take a folding knife as an example. The weakest point of the knife is going to be the folding mechanism. If that breaks you can no longer use it as designed. So the single point of failure is the folder action which is why I never recommend any folding knives or any items with single points of failure if there is an alternative without one.
Next is gear that has multiple uses. I tend to not recommend something that does too many things because it will not do any one thing as well as something designed to do just that. So something that is single-function is what I tend to look for.
Single Points of Failure -vs- Single Function Use
So go explore. Your first stop should be to learn about the Survival 3's, then the Risk Matrix, then get into the gear and building your different bug out bags. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
FEMA IS-00100.b Introduction to Incident Command System
FEMA IS-00200.b ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incident
FEMA IS-00212.b Introduction to Unified Hazard Mitigation Assistance
FEMA IS-00276 Benefit-Cost Analysis Fundamentals
FEMA IS-00317 Introduction to Community Emergency Response Team
FEMA IS-00319a Tornado Mitigation Basics for Mitigation Staff
FEMA IS-00320 Wildfire Mitigation Basics for Mitigation Staff
FEMA IS-00393.b Introduction to Hazard Mitigation
FEMA IS-00520 Introduction to Continuity of Operations Planning for Pandemic Influenzas
FEMA IS-00522 Exercising Continuity Plans for Pandemics
FEMA IS-00700.b Introduction to National Incident Management System
FEMA IS-00800.c National Response Framework
FEMA IS-00907 Active Shooter
FEMA IS-01300 Introduction to Continuity of Operations
FEMA IS-2200 Basic Emergency Operations Center Functions