Festivus gift ideas – the

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Well, the day after Thanksgiving usually marks the beginning of the Chrismahanakwanzakah season. For me, it means that Festivus is right around the corner.

So, what’s the thoughtful shopper to get for the LMI in their lives as gifties for this coming gift-giving season? Well, obviously ammo and freeze-drieds are always nice gifts but sometimes you gotta watch your pennies. So, I’ve undertaken it upon myself to present some ideas for those who want to let the bunker-dweller on their list know that they were being thought of, but still don’t want to spend a lot of money. Because, let’s face it, some folks are $10 friends, some are $20 friends, and some are $50 friends. That’s just how it is.

So, with a little under four weeks to go, here’s the first part of a suggested gift list. We’ll start off with nothing more than ten bucks.

Swisskey – Kinda useful, but always cool for the ‘neat!’ factor. I use it mostly for opening mail at the post office although it has served well in it’s capacity as a screwdriver for small detail work.

Gerber Artifact – I find this one a bit more useful than the previous item. The replaceable xacto blade is handy and the ability to be used as a handy little prybar is very appealing. A little bulkier, but the apocalypse won’t be won with carbon-fiber and ultra-light materials.

Silva Carabiner 28 – No reason not to have a last-ditch compass hanging off your zipper pull or your hunting bag. Not for precision mapwork, but when you need to know which way is N-NW so you can “Get to da choppah!” you don’t need much more than this. Plus, Silva is usually good stuff.

Improved Military UTM/MGRS Reader & Protractor – Speaking of knowing where youre going, these thigns are awesome when used properly in conjunction with a map. They let you get down to some very, very fine coordinates and make maps much more useful. They make a circular version of this template as well, but I like the straight edges for measuring distances and drawing lines. Use this with your UTM-marked map and you’ll wonder how you ever navigated without.

Tuff Quickstrip Black 6 Round – Pack of 2 (.44/.45/.460 Caliber) – I’m a .357 kinda guy, but I know lotsa folks still packing wheelguns like the .41, .44 and .45 calibers. Bianchi still makes their SpeedStrips in .38 so I’m cool on those, but they never made them for other calibers. This company makes them for the bigger calibers that Bianchi ignored. Flatter than a speedloader and ‘universal’ to pretty much any swingout-cylinder revolver these things are a great way to carry spare ammo for faster (but not fastest) reloading. Drawback: Made in China. Can’t have everything, it seems.

Mainstay Emergency Food Rations – 3600 Calorie Bars (Single) – Nice for adding bulk to a Christmas stocking. I see these as a very limited use item, since freeze drieds are lighter and taste a lot better. But, for leaving in a vehicle these are almost the perfect food…impervious to temperature shifts, non thirst-provoking, long shelf life, high calorie content. Just the thing for when you let James Kim plan your roadtrip. Beat’s spending weeks stuck in your car eating M&M’s and lint.

Israeli Battle Dressing and Blood Stopper Compress – Some day there might come the time when the rest of your life is measured in that thick red stuff pouring out a new orifice that you didn’t have five minutes ago. You can’t scoop the goop back into your body but you can keep what you’ve got left from leaving with one of these. The Israeli version gets high praise in the survivalist forums…I’ll take their word for it because this is not the sort of product I can ‘real world’ test without causing more damage to myself than I’m willing to inflict. (Although someday there might be someone willing to inflict it for me, which is why we have these.) As a side note, anyone ever actually see any footage anywhere of the IDF using these things?

I should also point out that these items make excellent gifts for yours truly. (Shameless plug.)