Monday, June 25, 2012

Maxpedition Tactical Can Case

When Maxpedition introduced its Tactical Can Case, I thought it was rather silly. Designed to fit two cans of "chew" like Skoal or whatever, I figured I wouldn't have any use for it. When I got my iPhone, I found a use and a new excuse to buy another nifty pouch.

Here it is on the side of my Falcon II. It is constructed of 1000D Cordura nylon and is available in five different colorways - Black, Khaki, OD Green, Foliage Green and ACU. It is approximately 4 inches in diameter by 2 inches thick. There is a small slip pocket on the front. Being round, it works very well for things like headphones, phone chargers and other small coiled-up wires:

Inside, I have my iPhone charger/cable and headphones. (I use Skullcandy Smokin' Buds - they're a huge improvement over those awful things that come with the iPhone/iPod. I added a cordlock to the little bag they come in). The whole interior is lined with a soft fleece-like material which prevents scratching. Sewn to the inside back is an elastic strip that keeps the USB cable wound up.

It attaches to standard PALS webbing with a single 3" Malice Clip, TacTie or similar device. I suppose you could attach it to a belt using the same method, but the addition of a belt loop would have been nice.

Overall, I like the Tactical Can Case. It works well for the way I use it and it, like all of Maxpedition's products, is built to last.

Semper Paratus

Monday, June 18, 2012

Survival Tabs

I first learned about Survival Tabs prior to Y2K, but I didn't try them til years later. Evolved from the early space program in the 1960's, they come in two flavors - Vanilla/Malt and Chocolate. A full description can be found on their website, so I will skip that part for now.

These are some of the Chocolate ones. The manufacturer claims a ten year shelf life. The bottle above was packed five years ago. I opened it right before I took this photo. I don't know what "fresh" Survival Tabs taste like, but these tasted just fine. There was no hint of oldness or funkiness. I like the flavor of Survival Tabs. I can eat them like candy. They're sweet, but not sugary. The Malt ones taste a little like Whoppers without the chocolate coating. I like them as a snack.

It is also claimed that twelve tablets provide a full day's nutrition. I don't know about that, but they do help out a lot when there is not much food around. I haven't tried to go on Survival Tabs alone, but they make a great supplement.
I was reading the ingredients and noticed that they contain potassium iodide. Potassium iodide blocks the thyroid gland from absorbing radiation in the case of a nuclear emergency. I don't know if there is enough in these to get the job done, but it's something to think about.

The bottle is a bonus. It fits in a 1 quart USGI canteen carrier and functions as such. It was very easy to rinse out and had practically no aftertaste. The opening is wide enough to accept ice cubes. When filled up to the neck it holds a full 40 ounces. I was surprised. It doesn't look that big. If you choose not to re-use the bottle, it is made of recyclable #2 HDPE.  

Survival Tabs are available at the link provided or on eBay. They go for about $32 a bottle. They can be had for $24 if bought in bulk. I have some, you should, too.

Semper Paratus

Improvised Zombie Weapons

When I was a museum security guard, I had a lot of time to think about stuff. To break the boredom, I would play mental games like "If There Was A Zombie Outbreak Right Now, What Would I Do?". Then I would start looking for things I could use as a weapon and a way out. Along with that game, I would play "Zombie Or Survivor?". In that game, I would just watch people and try to determine which way they would go. That would increase my odds of survival.

With all that in mind, I was looking around the house and found a few items that might prove themselves useful against a sudden flare-up of the undead.


At 14 inches long and seven and a half pounds, this thing is a skull-crusher deluxe. I put both collars on one end and added a 2.5 pound weight. The collars by themselves would mess something up, but the extra weight makes this a real face-hammer.The threaded end provides for a sure grip and it can easily be weilded with two hands. Weightlifting equipment is a great defense option if there's not much else around.


The Folding Entrenching Tool or E-Tool has long been an important part of the soldier's individual equipment. Overall, it is about 24 inches long and weighs around 2 pounds. It can be used fully open for digging or chopping, or with the blade at a roughly 90 degree angle like a hoe. It folds up compactly and fits easily into a backpack or it can be attached to the outside, or to a belt, with a G.I. or aftermarket carrier. One side is serrated and can cleanly sever a zombie's head. Everyone should have at least one of these; kept in your car or your Bug-Out-Bag or wherever it's easy to access. They can be found at most military surplus stores and eBay.


I found this little gem at a garage sale several years ago. Its uses are similar to that of a crowbar, but it's not as sturdy. It's 36 inches long and weighs around three pounds. The pointy end could be used for a cranium stab and the hook would keep it from over-penetrating. It could be used as a climbing aid or to retrieve dropped items. Its length is a bit of a penalty, though. It is difficult to carry compactly and it could get snagged on something or grabbed by a zombie.


If I were faced with a sudden outbreak and I could have only one weapopn/tool, it would be a 24 inch crowbar. It is the single most useful item I could find. Simple and nearly indestructable, the crowbar can inflict a lot of damage. It can be used in many ways such as, prying, digging, pounding, smashing, reaching or pulling nails. It can be used to open doors, "break and rake" windows or smash a zombie's face. I won't leave my house without my crowbar.
The business end of a 24" crowbar.

A 12 inch crowbar is also very handy. I keep one on my backpack.

This is a few of the many items one may find around the house. Except for the crowbars, I shied away from the toolbox for this post. 3 and 4 pound hammers will thump a zombie, but they're not good for much else.

All the props above are made by me. The skull is a Budget Bucky skull.

Semper Paratus

Saturday, June 16, 2012

EMT Utility Shears

I usually don't buy cheap stuff because it's...well, cheap. But sometimes I'll find something that's useful and a good value. EMT shears are such an item.

Besides being cheap, they're also very easy to find. A quick eBay search turned up 480 results. They can also be found at surplus stores, gun shows, dealers of law enforcement and tactical gear and many other places. If bought in bulk, they can be had for less than 75 cents each. The red ones pictured above I found on the side of the road more than 20 years ago. I keep them in the kitchen drawer and use them frequently. That's 20+ years of service for a cost of $0. You can't get a much better value than that. They come in many colors, including all the standard military colors (black, OD, Tan, Foliage, etc.), as well as many fashion colors and Safety Orange. There are "tactical" versions available with black oxide coated blades. The black ones shown above are painted. They are available in two sizes - 5.5 inch and 7.5 inch. Those above are all 7.5".

These shears are a great addition to any EDC kit. I don't think I need to explain how scissors are useful. There are custom sheaths and carriers available for EMT shears, but since the tips aren't sharp, they can safely be stuck into a pouch or pocket. Mil Spec Monkey offers a nice sheath here. Since they are so cheap and useful, I might start selling them in my eBay store. Stay tuned...

Semper Paratus

Friday, June 15, 2012

Magpul Field Case for iPhone 4/4S

A case for an iPhone 4 is about as simple as a device can be and there is a seemingly infinite number of choices to suit one's own needs and style. I was happy to find that Magpul is one of those choices. Magpul is committed to keeping their design and manufacturing in the United States. Like all their products, the Field Case is made in the U.S.A. (and retails for $9.95).

The Field Case for iPhone 4/4S is one of three styles offered by Magpul. The others are a version for the iPhone 3G/3GS and the Executive Field Case for iPhone 4/4S. It's a one-piece sleeve made from the same material as the Original Magpul device. It comes in six colors - Black, OD Green, Tan, Foliage, Orange and pink - but it might be difficult to find some colors, like pink. Mine is OD Green.

Like most iPhone cases, it just snaps on the back. It's very easy to install, but hard to remove. There's a little lip that catches over the edge of the phone's metal frame, preventing it from slipping off. That, and the semi-rigid material make it fit snugly and securely. It has a look that is consistent with Magpul's overall aesthetic. It is designed after the PMAG. It works well with the rest of my gear.

The Magpul Field Case isn't fancy, but it does what it's supposed to do, and well. That's how all of Magpul's stuff is - simple, functional and durable. That's what it's all about.

Semper Paratus

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Maxpedition Fatty Pocket Organizer

So let's get to it:

The Maxpedition Fatty Pocket Organizer is the first new piece of gear I've bought in a while. As I mentioned earlier, I got to where I was carrying very little in terms of basic EDC gear. Part of that was that I wasn't traveling much. Part of it was that I stopped caring. Now that the current zombie craze is picking up steam, I have something to get excited about. You can't leave your house in a post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested world without some basic tools for survival. The Fatty is one way to keep some of them contained. Here I have one in Khaki (0261K) shown with an Orange Tac-Link by ITW Nexus (sold seperately.)

Actual outside dimensions are about 7.75"h x5.5"w x2"d. (I say "about" because it's cloth - it can be smooshed.) On the front there is a 4.5"h x4.75"w mesh slip pocket that closes with hook and loop. Above that there is a 2x3 inch square of loop material for patches. It is designed as a drop-in pouch and will fit in the cargo pocket of any BDU or ACU-type pants. You can also drop it into your pack or bag, of course.

On the back there are three rows by two columns of PALS webbing for attachment to other gear. Shown here with two 3" TacTies in Foliage Green - also sold seperately. There is also a grab handle attached with box-and-X stitching. The finishing is beautiful; there are no loose ends showing.

On the inside left, there is a 5.5"h x 4.75"w slip pocket, an elastic organizer with 9 divisions, a key clip and a loop for dummy-cording.

On the right, there is a zippered pocket and an elastic organizer with six divisions. There is an elastic loop in the middle. The MagLite fits a bit loose, but the loop keeps it from rolling around. The right side is deeper than the left. That's my Gerber multi-tool. I don't remember what model it is. The elastic holds it snugly.

Here it is with a few more things inside. On my phone, that's a Magpul IP4 Field Case (I'll say more about that later). On the right is a Maxpedition Micro Wallet. Also shown is a Tac-Link in Tan (everything here is sold seperately, of course!). The knife is a CRKT M16-13M. On the inside also, the construction and finishing are beautiful. The seams are all taped and there are no loose ends showing anywhere. The zippers function perfectly. If I could ask for anything, it would be for some padding, maybe just on the front half or possibly a dedicated phone pocket.

Overall, I am very happy with this pouch. It's compact, versatile and it does what I wanted it to do. I like this pouch, but I like all Maxpedition pouches. Maxpedition builds some of the best gear on the market. I have been using their stuff for several years, and I have yet to be disappointed. It's thoughtfully designed and user-friendly. It's obvious that Maxpedition takes user feedback seriously. I am loyal to Maxpedition as a brand and it is my sincere desire to become an authorized dealer. It's good stuff and I want to share it.

There are still a couple of small things I want to get to keep in here, like a Pocket Widgy tool from County Comm and some mini EMT shears. I also want to go over some suggested EDC items, but I'll save that for a future post. Til then, be safe.

Semper Paratus



I haven't posted for six months. It's not that I didn't have anything to say, I just didn't know what. Plus, by now, what I could say would fill a book. Suffice it to say  that I've been through a lot of changes. I let a lot of things go in the process of figuring out what I want. Well, now I know.

I've been fascinated with military clothing, gear and accessories since I was 5. That was the original focus of this blog in the first place. But at some point, I started to move away from all of that. I sold most of my guns and a lot of the gear I thought I had no use for. Part of why I did that was because I needed the money. Part of it was because I didn't really know what I did want. But it's bigger than that.

I was in search of an identity. I've played so many roles in my life, I've never quite known who the hell I really am. But, over the last year or so, a couple of things have become abundantly clear:


I have been living at a pretty hard-core survival level for several months. Not on the street, but not far from it. It's been difficult, to say the least. But, I have a lot to be thankful for.
Living at this level provides several things. For one, you learn what you really need. The list is short. Food, water, shelter, clothing, heat/fire, communication and transportation. Same as in any survival situation. The rest is fluff.
Second, you learn what you're capable of. Resourcefulness has long been one of my strong suits, but I've pushed that beyond what I knew was possible. A somewhat-minimalist lifestyle has served me well. Being from the working class has helped me develop skills that I can apply across a broad range of situations. There's a saying: "We've done so much with so little for so long, that by now, we could probably do anything with nothing." There's a lot of truth in that.
Third, you learn who your friends are. Not much more to say about that. My friends know who they are, too and I love them and thank them very deeply.
Last, you learn what's important. The process of letting go brings a lot of clarity. By letting go of what I thought I didn't want, I figured out that I really did want it after all. What do you want to be when you grow up? What were you passionate about as a child? That should be your first clue.
Many of us act like we are the victims of our lives and of the circumstances and situations that get heaped upon us - and that we have no choice. I'm here to tell you that that's not true. You always have a choice. I'm also here to say that I acknowledge that - whether consciously or unconsciously - I chose my life and all that that entails. I am not a victim, I am a survivor. "That which doesn't kill me, makes me stronger".


Always have, always will. Pouches, pockets, packs, zippers, buckles, bungees, bags, boots, straps, belts, BDU's, ACU's, ALICE, name it, I fucking love it. I never was very interested in actually being in the military, as much as I just loved the clothing and equipment. I love the look, the feel, the design, the functionality...all of it. And now it's time I started doing something about it.


You may have noticed that I changed my display name. I've also changed my eBay user name to the same. It was about time. I wanted something that better reflects where I am now. But, why that?
"SURVIVOR" for all the reasons above, but more.
You may have noticed that the "Zombie Apocalypse" is a pretty hot topic right now. Who knew that "Zombie Apocalypse" would become a household term? I love it. I'm finally in my element. I've also noticed that there are a whole lot of companies jumping on the zombie bandwagon. I love that, too. Emergency Preparedness companies have been around for quite a while, but this is the first time we've ever been preparing for zombies. And I really love that. To find that something that I have admired for so long has finally made it to the mainstream is like a dream come true.
BUT - all these companies share one thing in common - they all treat the "emergency" as something that hasn't happened yet. What if we approached it from the other side?
"EDC" stands for "every-day-carry". That should need no explanation, but just in case, it's the stuff you keep with you to get you through your daily life. I've been an advocate of preparedness for a long time now, but I did reach a point where I was leaving the house with practically nothing: phone, wallet and keys only. I felt, and was, unprepared. I know better than that.


SURVIVOR-EDC is the name I've chosen to reflect my philosophy, my experience and my commitment to providing others with high quality, hard-use gear and information for their daily survival. I will be doing gear reviews and sharing things I've made and learned. And, as I am able, I will be listing more items in my eBay store.

I'm back, and I look forward to having a really good time...

Semper Paratus