Apocabox – The Manliest Gift Ever

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apocaboxYou say you don’t, but you do. It’s your guilty pleasure, your dirty little secret. If any of your friends or family knew, you’d be crestfallen. No, it’s not your re-gifting habit – I’m talking about your fascination with survival and preparedness. You can’t help but daydream about catastrophic circumstances and what you’d do if you had to bug out or rescue your neighbors from disaster. Don’t worry, dad, it’s not only acceptable, it’s en vogue. So this Christmas season, tell your wife and kids what you really want this year – an APOCABOX!

Sparked by TV shows like The Walking Dead, Survivor Man, Doomsday Preppers, and Fat Guys in the Woods, your love and interest in survival situations and post-apocalyptic living have enabled you to see ways to start a fire when others only see a bag of chips from the vending machine. You wish you could convince your family to go camping for a week without taking an RV or staying on a campground. Aren’t your tired of just thinking about cool stuff like that, though? Fight the urge no longer! Sign up for an Apocabox subscription and let the journey begin!

Created by world-renowned survival instructor, author, and television host, Creek Stewart, “APOCABOX is a subscription based survival box.  Every other month, a hand-selected collection of survival tools, information and gear is packed and shipped direct to your doorstep.  The subscription charge is $50 per APOCABOX + $8.95 shipping.  Your APOCABOX is guaranteed to be a good deal – regularly with a retail value of $100 or more.” Inside each box you’ll find a content list that highlights the features and uses of the individual pieces of gear and their respective cost as well as a rundown of the month’s Survival Skills Challenge.

In October’s box, I received the following:apocabox3

  • Fire Keeper – custom molded Kydex sheath for your lighter
  • 550 Fire Cord – can be ignited with just sparks from a ferro rod.
  • Olympia Granola Trail Bar – decent tasting granola bar
  • “Survival is Simple” Patch – put on your favorite jacket or B.O.B.
  • EDC Inconspicuous Handcuff Key – useful to counter illegal detainment
  • Bug Out Band – I could tell you about this, but then I’d have to…
  • Marbles Razor Knife – sharp & compact; perfect for mini-tin survival kit
  • Solar Parabolic Fire Starter – harness the sun’s power to start fire/burn ants
  • Zombie Tinder – Ghoulish, indestructible fire tinder burns hot as Hell
  • Wild Edible Card Deck – Learn what’s safe to eat in your backyard; helps pass time as it doubles as playing cards
  • Creek’s Going Native Bandanna – perfect for cosplay, preventing sunburn, and filtering water

Many dads today are skipping the golf course, bowling alley, and bar to seize the day with their kids. As one such dad, I love that I got to use my Apocabox to help illustrate things they’ve learned about in school and taught them new skills while enjoying a gorgeous fall afternoon outdoors. The look on my son’s face when he say daddy make fire without matches was truly priceless. My daughter’s thought it was awesome that I now had cordage to use as boot laces that had a special string inside to make a fire quickly in case we were ever stranded on the side of the road – something all too common in The Mitten.

We all know kids are a little more easily impressed than we adults. So what did I think of all the stuff inside? Glad you asked. I was blown away at the sight of some of the killer gear packed inside. My personal favorite is the Bug Out Band, which just barely edges out the parabolic lense for the top spot. Not only did I get those major things, Creek packed in a handful of “smalls” for my EDC and get home bag. Truly, though, the highlight of the Apocabox is the Survival Skills Challenge.apocabox2

Previous months may have been a little more cut and dry, but this go around required a special video link to help teach the necessary skills to pass the challenge. All subscribers focused the sun’s rays at a piece of punky wood and in a matter of seconds (SECONDS!) had a smoldering ember that was ready to be placed into a well constructed tinder bundle. In less than three minutes from start to finish, I had successfully created a life sustaining fire from nothing more than a “mirror” and some dry wood.  To the right you’ll see my tinder bundle engulfed in flames. What an incredible feeling!

No longer did I have to imagine if I’d be able to create a fire without matches. I knew that I could (with full sun, of course). The 550 Fire Cord produced the same exhilarating results after it ignited from sparks that flew off the ferro rod. It didn’t go as quickly as the previous method, but it worked in less than ten minutes. That’s a winner in my book.

Share your love of the outdoors and having a survivalist mindset with your children. It’ll be good for both of you to unplug, whether it be for a few hours or a few days. You can get prepared for that camping trip in the Sierra’s you’ve always dreamed of by first honing your skills and obtaining the proper gear for your bag. Sign up for your APOCABOX here or leave the page open for your spouse to see. She’s a smart lady (she did marry you after all), she’ll get the hint. It’s well worth your money, unlike that Diaper Genie you splurged on. You’ll enjoy learning a new skill and avoid being busted for re-gifting  another reindeer sweater.

Gerber’s Order – An Ideal EDC Blade

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According to Fat Guys in the Woods host, Creek Stewart, “The underlying concept behind EDC is that you are carrying the necessary tools on you to help get you through a survival situation in the event that something unexpected happens.” For most of us, the biggest challenge we’re likely to face is how to get both kids to stop crying at the same time. That’s no excuse for not being prepared for something more intense like, say, your son’s shoestring getting stuck in the escalator or bike chain. As fathers, we’re asked a million questions a day and are expected to have an answer for all of them – which, many times, is a knife. Why not carry one yourself?

I’ve written before about EDC (every day carry) items that no man should be without. The feedback was immensely positive, so I figured I’d cover more on the topic.

Gerber has been producing knives since 1939 and is widely considered as one of the industries standard-bearers. Proudly manufactured in the United States, Gerber’s line of tactical knives is amongst the finest you’ll ever carry. The Order proves just that.

Equipped with a glass-filled nylon handle, over-molded with a rubberized diamond texture, this legendary knife provides a secure grip during cutting, prying, digging and other utility tasks. The Order is surprisingly lightweight (2.6 oz. to be exact), while retaining the balance only found in high quality knives. Sporting a 3.1″ partially-serrated 420HC blade with thumb hole for easy one-handed opening and dressed in a black ceramic coating which protects against corrosion and minimizes reflective surfaces (that is, until it scrapes off from normal use), Gerber gives you maximum bang for your buck.

Regardless of what your dominant hand is, you’ll be able to whip this out and open it to its full 7.6″ length at a moment’s notice with ease. I love that. Seriously. What good is an EDC knife if you have to fight to get it open or if it did so with the fluidity of Campbell’s chunky soup? Quality materials, sharp blade, great balance, and smooth opening function are all present with the Order.

Since I’ve been carrying this knife, I’ve used it a handful of time for various tasks around the house and at work. The Order does the job well and continues to impress me with its reliability. If you’re looking to upgrade your primary blade on a budget or just looking for a companion, this is the knife for you.

You can sharpen small branches for roasting hotdogs and marshmallows, slice an apple at snack time, or -after being alerted to the situation by Commissioner Gordon- cut zip ties off hostages thus saving the day. Most likely, you’ll only be cutting the tags off your daughter’s pajamas and stuffed animals, but still.

It’s been said that it’s better to have something and not need it than to need it and not have it. That statement is just as true for bacon and Nutella as it is for Gerber’s Order. Get yours here.

A Dad’s Ace in the Hole: SOG Access Card 2.0

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It seems like there’s severe weather threatening to wreak havoc on our modern way of life around every corner lately. Tornadoes, hurricanes, super storms, and blizzards. Polar vortex, anyone? And while there’s nothing we can do to prevent an attack from the elements, we can at least be ready for them.

It’s not just extreme weather that inconveniences us, either – it’s the minivan breaking down on the side of the expressway, getting lost on a hike, or that annoyingly loud punk on his cell phone behind you at Starbucks. These are all situations that fuel the EDC (Every Day Carry, for the uninitiated) movement. Okay, maybe I should just let the loudmouth off with a dirty look instead.

More and more, dads are looking for ways to keep themselves and their family safe by preparing for situations that, if not for the right tools or supplies, would make their lives even more miserable than cleaning up puke at 3:15 in the morning. The most common, and cost-effective, EDC tool is the knife. But which one should you pick up?

SOG makes an excellent case for their Access Card 2.0 with its practicality and size. From their website:

Description

The Access Card 2.0 doesn’t grant admission into top secret facilities, but it does give a sense of security! This minimalistic sliver of a knife (3/16″ thick without the clip) won’t take up much room in your wallet, pocket, attached to a ballistic vest, or around your neck. The 2.75″ formidable VG-10 blade opens and closes with one hand like a magic trick and locks with our famous Arc-Lock.

Although every bit of excess weight has been engineered out of the Access Card, you will be surprised at the power it conveys.

 

I’ve been carrying the knife they sent me for review for over a month now and have been happy to have it. I love that it is small enough to fit in my pocket or wear around my neck without being burdensome. The Access Card fits in my hand well despite its slim design and can be opened with one hand in a pinch. This has come in handy opening boxes at work, changing my alternator in the garage, and opening toys in blister packs from the big box stores.

Overall, the SOG Access Card 2.0 is a great start to your EDC kit or a reliable addition to your existing items (extra diapers, pacifiers, animal crackers). The only complaint I have is that it doesn’t lock, like some of their other knives do. Not to worry, though, none of my wife’s kitchen knives have locks either and my kids still have all their fingers.

As one dad to another, it’s a good idea for you to start thinking about how you’d benefit from carrying a knife every day. Far too many tragic news stories on the news could’ve been thwarted and emergencies dealt with much easier if only someone had a good knife on them. Think about, will ya?

A Less-Than-Lethal Way To Defend What Matters Most

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A couple of months ago, ABC News ran a 20/20 special titled ‘Kids and Guns: By the Numbers.’ And while it was a bit misleading, it got me thinking nonetheless.

Regardless of what you think about gun control, the fact remains the same. From Omni Security:

Did you know:

  • Crime in the United States accounts for more death, injuries and loss of property then all natural disasters combined.

  • 1 out of every 24 people is a victim of crime each year.

  • The most common location for victims of violent crime was in their own homes.

  • 38% of assaults and 60% of rapes occur during a home invasion.

  • Every 2 minutes, somewhere in America someone is sexually assaulted.

  • Every 3 seconds, a crime is committed against someone’s property; that comes out to be 1 of 5 households each year.

  • Over 200,000 inmates on parole return to prison each year.

  • A violent crime occurs every 22 seconds.

  • The total amount of money lost each year due to crime is over 40 BILLION dollars.

  • Every 14 seconds, a home is broken into.

With numbers like that, you’d think we were living in Los Santos. Yeesh! Now you know why so many people are so adamant about their second amendment freedom.

Maybe you have small children who love exploring every square inch of your house to find the ultimate Hide-and-Go-Seek spot or maybe you’re not comfortable having a firearm in your home. Or maybe… you know you never want to shoot and possibly kill someone – for any reason. All of the aforementioned reasons for not owning a gun are valid, but that doesn’t mean you should be defenseless. That’s where less-than-lethal options such as the Mace Pepper Gun Distance Defense Spray with strobe LED come into play.

I wasn’t completely sold after watching Mace’s promo video, so I had Mace send me one to test out for myself. After opening the package, the first thing I noticed was how well it fit into my hand. It had a nice weight to it – not too heavy, not too light. It features a thumb-lock safety, trigger activated LED strobe light, and it’s refillable. Each cartridge holds enough vomit-inducing spray for up to seven bursts. The Pepper Gun is user-friendly in that it’s easy to figure out how to load a cartridge. After that, all you need to do is cock it, lock it, and you’re ready to unload.

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In order to test the range and accuracy of the Mace Pepper Gun, I asked my wife if she’d be willing to help. She said, “Yes!” of course, but only if I was the bad guy. (Yeah, now she wants to role-play!) So, I manned up and stood 20 feet away from her, waiting for my beloved to pay me back for all the times I left my socks on the floor. And then I kept waiting.

She couldn’t do it. She said she loved me too much to do this to me, no matter the reason. Not one to back down from a challenge, I quickly told her how I always thought her sister was the cute one, and then WHAM!!! Two direct hits to my ocular cavity.

Don’t worry; it was just water. Ohhhh, you thought she… but then I said… (laughing).

The fine people at Mace want you to know how your defense weapon is going to respond when you’re in crisis, therefore, the gun comes with a water cartridge for practice as well as Mace Pepper Spray, which is a formulation of Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) a natural ingredient derived from hot peppers. Upon direct facial contact, OC Pepper causes eyes to slam shut, coughing, and an intense burning sensation to the skin with extreme discomfort of vision and the respiratory system.

This is something, in my opinion, you can count on to protect yourself wherever you happen to be (unless, of course, your state prohibits citizens from carrying pepper spray. In that case, don’t leave home without a Louisville Slugger.) It’s a great tool to prevent yourself from becoming a victim. In the off chance one of your kids gets a hold of the gun and shoots himself or someone else, you’ll all be happy knowing pepper spray wound is  much more survivable than one involving 9mm Zombie Max ammo.