Survival Gear I didn't Need

Survival Gear I Didn’t Need And Shouldn’t Have Bought – A Couple Of Real Examples

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How does posting survival gear I didn’t need and shouldn’t have bought help you? I’m hoping by posting a few of my mistakes, you might benefit by finding a more direct route to preparedness and self-sufficiency.

Jumping in blind and head first caused an expensive set-back on several levels. Sharing some of those setbacks every now and then just might help you. That is why I’m sharing the survival gear I didn’t need.

It certainly isn’t to trash talk any of the gear because most of it is great gear. I’m listing some of the survival gear to help tell the story, not to discourage you or anyone else from buying it. It just wasn’t the right purchase for me at that particular time. Like buying a 10-second car at 16 or buying a flashlight to light a fire.

This Is One Of The Reasons Next Step Survival Exists

Running around blind and following the advice of the good people on YouTube was a costly mistake. Seriously, we’re talking about a few thousand dollars if I’m going to be honest with myself. On the wrong stuff. Ouch!

I should have made a plan, a budget, and stayed on target. I was trying to do too many things at once.  Hiking, Bushcrafting, Prepping, and whatever survival trick or skill I could find online.

The setback wasn’t only in survival gear I didn’t need but also in time wasted on the wrong things. How far did I set myself back by wasting time and money while focusing on the wrong things?

I could go back over twenty years talking about survival gear I didn’t need but still spent the cash. I’ve been hiking and camping since the mid-80’s. All through the 90’s I carried a ton of gear in a tractor-trailer and hiked all over the country. Weekends away from home were adventures in the mountains, woods, or even dessert.

Fast forward to just a couple years ago when I lost my mind. LOL I don’t know if I just got hooked on Amazon or I thought I was going to be the next Bear Grylls but I was getting so many packages that the UPS driver added me as a Facebook friend.

Survival gear led me to prepping and then things really got a little crazy. Rather than boring you with my life story, I’ll give a couple of examples. Unfortunately, this is just a small sample of gear I probably didn’t need.

Want An Example Of Survival Gear I Didn’t Need And Shouldn’t Have Bought?

Probably my biggest example of buying the wrong gear was my sleep and shelter kit. I bought a pretty expensive tactical tent, military sleeping bag, air sleep pad, and even a heavy duty camo tarp. Oh, trust me, this gear looks tough when it’s setup.

Let’s look at MY cost – not what it costs today.

☑ Snugpak Scorpion 3 four season tent: $237.50.
☑ Klymit Static V lightweight sleeping pad: $54.95.
☑ Military Modular Sleep System 4 piece 4 season with Goretex bivy: $169.19.
☑ Aqua Quest Defender Tarp 10 x 7 ft – heavy-duty waterproof nylon shelter: $79.99.

Total Expense: $541.63

Okay, $500 is a lot of money in my world but I can see spending that on gear needed to shelter you while you sleep.

Here’s the problem with my new tactical gear: I couldn’t really use it.

It was too heavy for my bugout bag. I mean, that’s why I bought it, right?

Back to the drawing board and more research.

So I bought a lighter tent, a lighter sleeping bag, and even a lighter pad. I bought some of this gear locally and don’t have the receipts but I do know it was even more expensive than the Amazon purchases I listed above.

For example, one of the lighter items I upgraded to was an Aqua Quest 10′ x 10′ Ultralight Waterproof Rip-Stop Sil Nylon Backpacking Rain Fly Shelter.  I paid $84.99 for this tarp back then so for five bucks more my rainfly weight went from 2.7 lbs to 1.5 lbs. Funny, I didn’t even need this tarp with a tent, but I use it religiously these days.

Now I’m WAY over a thousand dollars and haven’t spent a single night outdoors. But I have some cool gear, right?

Wrong. A recent “hike” and overnight trip taught me a valuable lesson.

Once I’d laid on the sleeping pad, inside a tent and sleeping bag for a few hours, I awoke with pain almost everywhere. I almost couldn’t even stand, much less walk. This was some serious pain. I spent the rest of the night, by myself, a few miles from my car, trying to make a chair out of logs and my sleeping bag. It didn’t work.

The Lesson Learned

“I don’t have the perfect roadmap drawn out, but I do know which roads I’ll never drive down again.” ~ Brittany Burgunder

To first learn from our mistakes, we need to understand the mistakes we made.

☑ I didn’t think things through. I didn’t consider the weight. Big mistake.
☑ I misjudged myself. I thought I was tough enough to carry a 50+ pound pack. Wrong.
☑ I’m old. It turns out my old bones don’t like sleeping on the ground. The truth hurts.

So what it took to learn what I actually needed was to get out there and train. For me, that involved getting out there in the woods. For you, it might be something entirely different. The key is get out there and do it.

May I rant for a second? I’m concerned how many people I see on YouTube saying their packs are too heavy but they’re in shape. Or worse – “Those soldiers are out there with a lot more weight so I just think about how hard it is for them. We just need to deal with it.” Really? Okay buttercup, keep telling yourself that.

Use your gear. Train with your gear. Your survival gear will only assist in saving your life. You have to own the knowledge, skill and confidence to pull off that kind of miracle. Hey, that’s brilliant! Quick, somebody write that down. LOL

By getting out there and experiencing a few solo overnight hikes, I learned I prefer hammock camping with a tarp shelter.

Watching YouTube videos and reading Amazon reviews would have never taught me what I needed. Yes, I’ll admit, YouTube did help me find hammock camping, eventually.

At least that ultralight rain fly came it handy. 😉

Want Another Crazy Survival Gear Purchase Mistake?

I feel this might help someone going through the same silly process right now.

I got lost hiking. For me, that’s not that unusual. I almost always violate common sense and go off trail. Way off the trail. Sometimes over a mile and then set-up an overnight camp. Call me crazy but that’s part of the fun.

One weekend I got so turned around I literally had to spend an extra night in the woods before I found my way out. Even then, I was over five miles away from my pickup truck when I found a road – on the wrong side of a lake. 🙂 I was well-equipped and not in any danger so I wasn’t really worried. It did make me want a better GPS than my phone that loses signal in the deep woods.

So when I made it home, I logged onto Amazon and started looking for a reliable hand-held GPS.

☑ I bought a Garmin 64st with With ANT+Bluetooth and US TOPO for $287.94.
☑ Then a 32 MB Scan disk: $15.79.
☑ An ArmorSuit MilitaryShield for $9.98.
☑ Let’s get the Garmin vehicle power cable for $15.86.
☑ We need a case too, right? Let’s get a Garmin 64 GPSMAP case cover for $28.95.

Now I have $358.52 invested in gear I thought I needed – but didn’t.

A map? yes. A compass? Absolutely. Maybe even a Bushnell GPS BackTrack Personal Locator, which is what I  actually carry into the woods these days.

Most Of That Survival Gear Is Gone Now Or Well On its Way

Selling Survival Gear I Shouldn’t Have Bought

Here’s more survival gear I didn’t need and shouldn’t have bought – possibly with a better solution.

☑ Then: ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag
          Now: Kelty Redcloud 110 Hiking Backpack
☑ Good: MalloMe XL Hammock Straps
          Way Lighter: Hammock Whoopie Slings w/ Soft Shackles
☑ Impressive: Ka-Bar Army Fighting Knifew/ Sheath
          Now: I love knives and have many but I’d been better served with the less expensive Morakniv Bushcraft Carbon Steel Survival Knife with Fire Starter and Sheath.
☑ Then: Voodoo Tactical Mini Mojo Load-out Bag
          Why? This is really cool but I don’t even remember what I bought this thing for.
☑ Cool: Vietnam M1966 Jungle Hammock – I’m way too big for this thing.
          Now: ENO Eagles Nest Outfitters – CamoNest XL Hammock. I might record a video on my hammock and tarp shelter set-up. IT IS SWEET!

Let’s Look At Some Steps To Consider When It Comes Top Survival Gear, Prepping Or Life In General

1- Have a workable plan – step by step.

2- Stay focused on one major goal at a time, not a dozen different directions.

3- Use your survival gear and train with that gear.

4- Experience the situation before throwing big bucks at the gear.

5- Be honest with yourself, your life may depend on it one day.

6- Take action daily.

7- Build on your knowledge and learn new things.

Instagram post.

I’ll Close This Thing Out Now

I could go all day on survival gear I didn’t need and shouldn’t have bought but did. No regrets, I’m a slow learner, but I think I got it now.

This article first appeared on Next Step Survival.

Stay focused with a clear plan and objective.
Brian Hawkins, out.

Brian Hawkins

Father, grandfather, Veteran, animal lover, law-abiding taxpayer, homeowner, trucker, and a United States Citizen. Oh, and I'm also a prepper, survivalist, responsible gun owner, and hiker.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Mic Roland

    So, you decided your old bones didn’t like sleeping on the ground. Totally understand that. Given your desire for reducing pack weight, what was your solution for sleeping?

    1. Brian Hawkins

      Hi Mic, I use a lightweight Sil Nylon tarp and hammock now. It’s much lighter and it’s a lot easier on my body. I’ve spent many nights out on multi-day hikes using this system and I love it.

      I do have to admit that I haven’t stayed out overnight in a below zero environment yet but I will this winter. I have a lightweight under-quilt and top quilts so that does add more weight to the pack for winter months but still under the tent and sleeping bag.

  2. Gail

    I am disabled and cannot get up if I wind up on the ground. Tents with a sleeping bag are out of the question. It is funny I never thought of a hammock. Thank you for that. I will have to study and investigate hammocks and accessories. Have you any suggestions on where to look?



    1. Penny

      Hi Gail, I am disabled also. I use to tell my children if a bear came into camp they would have to throw me at it. Because, I could not get out of the air mattress taco I had been sleeping in. My solution for tent camping is a 1. Colman instant up 10×10 Cabin tent you can stand complexly up in it to dress, also buy the rain fly. 2. Buy a ergonomic camping lounge chair (all the RVer’s use them & they come in wide width too ) , the chair kicks back so you can sleep in it. I bought a mesh fabric chair for fast drying, so if a sat in it with a wet bathing suit it would be dry to sleep in by bed time. 3. I put a yoga mat in the chair and then my blankets. 4. Lay all the way back & put your feet on something to keep you laid back. I still can tent camp with this method!

  3. James

    I am also in a wheelchair. I use a portable TransAid Hoyer Lift. To get off the ground. Breaks down, fits in the back of my jeep. Can lower me onto the corner of an air matrice. Most times I just camp in my van, it has a back seat that turns into a comfortable bed.

  4. Bradley Clarke

    Good day! Six years ago I began hammock camping with a home made stop rip nylon hammock with a light weight sil tarp. Some of my best adventures I have had with this shelter and sleep system. The heaviest rim I carry is a woollen blanket in winter. No sleeping bag. I do use a bag in a bottom sleeve in the hammock and adapted a picnic water proof light weight under quilt. In summer I just use. Pad and a reusable Emergency blanket over my ridge line. Works great. My first purchases were too heavy and bulky. But experience only helped to find better designed equipment that was much lighter and fit easily into a 15 kg pack load. Plus food. Love hammock camping and learnt so much from Shug’s videos. Thank you. See you on the trail. Brisbane Australia. Brad

  5. dale

    At least I can now say there is another that has spent too much on gear. Packs, sleeping bags, radios, etc. I can store them for the apocalypse. Now, 20 pounds less and same results. Great article.

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