Sentinel Handbook

Tips for security, safety, and crime prevention volunteers

Archive for the ‘Equipment Tip’ Category

7 Reasons to Buy Bugout Gear the Pros Use

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By Becky Blanton

 I’m pretty convinced that those sweet little alcohol stoves I made out of Coke cans will be awesome when I’ve been separated from my bugout bag thanks to the zombie apocalypse. If aliens or a sinkhole that swallows the one road to my house come between me and my bag of serious survival equipment; I know where I can turn for a portable heater to make coffee or boil water for tea. After all a Coke can stove and a bottle of Heet or rubbing alcohol beats having absolutely nothing else right?

But when I do have my bugout bag and all my awesome survival goodies and the fecal matter has hit the fan what do I want? Not a Coke can stove if I can help it. I also don’t want to suck water through a sock stuffed with dry grass and sand, or an old t-shirt stuffed into a disposable water bottle. I want to be prepared with the real deal, like the stuff I’d find police using on or or a top consumer rated site like:

I want gear that is going to stand up to anything that invading zombies, aliens, government forces, and a starving Honey Boo-Boo can throw at me.  So I don’t shop the designer camping stores, or cram my bag with homemade stuff I learned to make in arts and crafts on YouTube classes. I find out what the pros (police, military, hard-core survivalists, professional outdoor guides) are wearing, using and buying.

Yes, it’s great to have a backup plan for filtering water, putting up a shelter, and fending off starving neighbors in case you become separated from your own gear.  Find all kinds of “deals” and learn to craft a tank or bunker out of common ordinary household trash on YouTube; but don’t depend on turning trash into survival treasure if you can afford the good stuff. That’s a backup plan, not your go-to plan. Here are seven reasons you need to buy the absolute best survival equipment you can afford:

  1. It will survive the apocalypse. Zombies, nuclear war, Russian Spetsnaz  (special forces) squads and even being left in the rain or stuck in the ground because you were so freaking tired you just forgot to repack or sheath it. You can drop it, hit it, pound it with rocks, drag it 20 miles down a rocky trail and the chances it will still work are extremely high.
  2. Whether it’s a tent, a sleeping bag, a stove, a frying pan or a pocketknife, it’s been designed by engineers and pros, and tested by professional outdoor guys who get paid to live in extreme environments trying to break gear year round. It’s typically not made by children in third world countries working 23-hour days. People who buy equipment that costs more than your monthly mortgage payment demand quality.
  3. When you realize that you need more guns, bullets, beef or beer and you have no money, you can barter that $400 knife for some serious supplies and gain a few weeks more of life until you can barter it back.
  4. Whatever it is, it will always work. It will always work because if it’s a knife it’s made out of stuff like carbon and molybdenum by men who live, breath and argue about the best steel composites 24/7. If it’s cookware or stoves, it will be made to withstand anything you, your kids, family and clueless bugout buddy can throw at it. It will not be cheap tin or aluminum that will dent and burn if you leave it on a hot campfire too long.
  5. It will perform like it was designed to perform. It won’t break when you’re putting too much weight, pressure, or stress on it. You won’t have to worry about it snapping in your hands or becoming shrapnel because it exploded when it got too close to a campfire.
  6. Camping at Jellystone, or the local KOA for a weekend is one thing. Surviving a nuclear war, defending your family, living in the woods for five to ten years while the planet heals is another. When the poop hits the fan that you can’t pop down to the local Wal-Mart for another frying pan, dull knife, cracked water filter, leaking shelter, the bugout bag whose straps have torn off the pack, or the minus zero sleeping bag that falls apart a week into your living off the grid.  The zombies will have already looted both Wal-Mart and any other retailers.
  7. Survival means survival of the fittest, the best equipped, the toughest, strongest and most prepared on all levels. That means knives that stay sharp, tents that repel water, water filters that function even when you step on them.

 If those aren’t good enough reasons to convince you to invest in really good equipment (at least knives, shelter, filters and bugout bags) as you can afford it, then you probably aren’t all that serious about surviving whatever life, and the apocalypse have to throw at you.


This entry is from a special guest blogger, and dear friend, Becky Blanton. Becky is a ghostwriter, TED Global speaker and a former police officer and police academy graduate. She ghost writes ebooks and books about survival prepping, camping, gear and a variety of topics. This is her second guest blog for this site.


Written by Silver Sentinel

March 9, 2014 at 12:11 pm

The Importance of Batteries On Patrol

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A recent incident at work made a simple problem into a huge headache. A set of cold AA batteries in a flashlight, as well as a cold cellphone battery, left one of my co-workers stranded in the dark and out of communications range. Both problems could have been avoided with a little knowledge and foresight. Cold batteries do not die in cold weather, rather the chemical reactions inside of them necessary for discharging power are inhibited.

One solution is to take the batteries out and warm them using body heat, or other low heat non-flame source. Never use a direct high temperature heat source, or flames, to warm batteries as this can damage the batteries and make them unsafe. Do not replace cold batteries with fresh (and equally cold) new batteries. If you need to keep your battery operated devices warm, you can slip one or two hand warmers into a pocket, or into a small insulated cooler/lunch pail.

If you have gear that needs to be kept warm, but isn’t regularly carried, or worn, keep the gear in an insulated Go-Bag, and leave the bag in your office or vehicle. Remember to take your Go-Bag home with you at the end of shift so your equipment isn’t left unused in freezing temperatures.

For convenience, try to get all of your equipment to use only AA batteries. This makes it easier for you rather than carrying two or three different sized sets of batteries. It also allows you to swap out batteries between pieces of equipment if needed. There are cellphone chargers that use AA batteries, allowing you to still use your phone should its battery stop working.

Written by Silver Sentinel

January 12, 2014 at 5:52 pm

Patrol Tip: Always Carry A Flashlight

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A small battery-operated flashlight consisting...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the most important tools you can ever carry on duty, night or day, is a flashlight. In the old days, flashlights were larger and more cumbersome, but today’s flashlights can easily fit in one hand, and can be clipped onto a belt or inside your pants pocket comfortably. Remember, it is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

Whether you are a security guard on station, or community safety volunteer on patrol, you will come into situations where you need personal illumination. Unexpected power outages, entering into dim interiors from daylight, looking under vehicles or desks, etc, are all examples of when you might need extra light to be able to see. Some models of light even give you the option to use them for effective self-defense.

Qualities of a good flashlight:

  • Long battery life while in use
  • Powerful long-range beam (preferably 100 Lumens or stronger)
  • Weather proof
  • Shock/drop resistant
  • Sturdy metallic body
  • Uses LED “light-bulb”
  • Can be held and operated easily with one hand

Qualities of a bad flashlight:

  • Takes specialty batteries that are not available locally, or that take three weeks to arrive from over seas
  • Flimsy activation switch, or twist to turn on
  • Only stays on when button is pressed
  • Uses old-style bulbs (do not handle being dropped well)
  • Poor quality construction (plastic and thin aluminum do not resist accidental damage well)
  • Heavy/long bodies (large mag-lites are still good lights, but also present additional problems)

You can expect to pay $15-$25 for a good serviceable flashlight. DO NOT ENTRUST YOUR SAFETY TO A CHEAP FLASHLIGHT!

Two later articles, in the planning, will deal with using flashlights for self-defense, and tricks for seeing better in the dark.