• Leon Pantenburg | Survival Common Sense


Ten holiday gift ideas for the prepper/survival mom or dad

swiss army classic
600 400 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

What Christmas gifts do you give your prepper or survival mom or dad?

Here are some suggestions for the person who may need everything!

by Leon Pantenburg

Everybody needs to carry a small, pocket-sized survival kit wherever they go. If an unexpected emergency happens, (and by definition they are all unexpected or they wouldn’t be emergencies!), the only survival tools available are the ones in your pockets, purse, briefcase or coat pocket.

Maybe your family members are already on the preparedness or survival bandwagon, and are pretty well set up.  Or, maybe they don’t have anything, and see no need to prepare for anything. Either way, here are some suggestions for inexpensive, useful gifts that can come from the kids. Any parent worthy of  the title will appreciate and carry these items, because of who gave them!

Start giving some of these items piecemeal, possibly as stocking stuffers, and soon a complete kit will have been made.

emergency shelter, plastic bags

A plastic bag can make a shelter.

Here are some suggestions, in no particular order, for gifts.  Include a cute little daypack to make it a fun gift!

Large plastic bag: This can fit easily in a briefcase or purse, and has multiple uses. The bag can be improvised into a shelter or raingear, used as a mat while changing a tire, as a way to signal for help or as a container for water. The uses are limitless. You can probably get one free from your local tire store, and the bag can fold down small enough to be easily carried.

Mora Knife: This small, Scandinavian-style knife can be carried in a purse or briefcase, and its convenient size and shape make it incredibly useful. Your survival knife is the one you have with you! A knife is my nomination for the most useful survival tool, and a Mora is one of the most useful survival knife designs!

BIC Lighter wrapped with duct tape and attached pop top: I don’t smoke, but I always have a small BIC lighter, wrapped with a couple feet of duct tape, and with a can pop-top attached, in my pocket. In a survival situation, I hope to “Flick my Bic,” and take care of any firemaking needs. Duct tape is useful for everything. A  pop top to the lighter attached allows you to secure it to a lanyard or piece of cord, so it doesn’t get lost. 

Small notebook with pen/pencil: As a journalist, I feel naked without a notebook of some sort and a writing instrument. This combination can be used for everything from grocery lists, to notes on windshields in the office parking lot, or during an emergency, to record waypoints, directions or emergency phone numbers. A small, pocket-sized notebook is best, so it won’t get left behind.

This combination of water bottles works well. The rigid Nalgene in the middle is used for drinking and the Paltypus soft bottle are used to store extra water in the pack.

Collapsible water bottle: These containers roll up into a tiny package, and can be stashed easily. If you need to carry water, you will have an effective method to do so!

Signal mirror: While the point is to have a  mirror for signaling, mom can also use this to check her makeup and help put in a contact lens! Not to mention, if you have to remove something from your eye, this tool is invaluable!

Cotton balls and Vaseline: To be used as a firestarter. This is a hands-on project the smaller kids can make for Dad. It is a bit messy to put together, but it is a definite winner in the crafts project division! (To learn more, click here.)

Put these items on a keyring:

Swiss Army Classic: This is the smallest, and one of the most useful, Swiss Army Knives imaginable. I’ve carried one constantly on my keychain for at least 20 years, and it gets used virtually every day.

The knife features a small blade, scissors , toothpick, fingernail file and screwdriver tip.  Most importantly, it has the best tweezers in the world for pulling splinters out of kids’ fingers.

First impression of : “What good is that tiny thing?” will soon change to: “How did I get along without it!” You can also get special colors in the handle!

Small, Keychain LED light: This will be one of the most-used items on your keychain. But make sure you get one that has an on-off switch. Otherwise, you’ll get really tired of pinching the light to keep it going!

A keyring survival kit can be the only tools you end up with during an emergency.

A keyring survival kit can be the only tools you end up with during an emergency.

Whistle: Use this for signaling, calling for help or to attract attention in crowds or disaster situations.

Fingernail clippers: This is another item that will get almost constant use.

Small magnesium or ferrocerium stick: For firemaking and signaling. Make sure the parent  knows how to use this!

mary note

My daughter was always leaving me messages in my notebook.

Small laminated photograph of family and/or note in gear: I opened my duffel bag at elk camp in the middle of nowhere, Idaho, several years ago to find little notes from my 10-year old daughter stuck in pockets, rolled-up socks, and in my book.

I put all those notes in my survival gear before heading out into the backcountry. Sentiments such as “I love you, Dad” and “Dad! Come home safe!” reminded me to be safe, and how much I had to lose if I got lost or  injured  in the backcountry.

These little reminders may keep you from giving up, and may be the deciding factor in any survival situation!

Holiday gifts for a prepper/survivalist don’t have to be expensive – they just have to work! Use this season to give the gift of preparedness!

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