I don’t fly super often, but when I do, I always get anxious about not having any self-protection gear with me. It’s one of the most common topics that comes up here at Shadowfox Headquarters. What non-lethal self-defense gear you can take on a plane is a common question. Let’s look over what you can take on a plane.

First off, before you try to slip something past TSA agents, give this list of “What Can I Bring” from the TSA website a good look over.

Tactical Pens

Tactical pens are good punching and glass-breaking tools. (Read for tips on how to use tactical pens for self defense.)

The TSA website doesn’t specifically list tactical pens as an allowed or banned item. I have flown with tactical pens in my checked bags, and used them at my destination, then flew back with them in my checked bag. I didn’t want to try carrying it in my carry on bag and risk them taking it. Checking it is a good option, but it leaves you defenseless during the flight. After talking with other people who have flown with tactical pens, I don’t think there’s any consensus on whether or not they will get confiscated. It depends on where you are and the agent and if they have nothing better to do that day or not, it seems.

Millwall Bricks

Carrying on a broadsheet newspaper isn’t a bad idea. You can use it to make a Millwall Brick, so named for its use by the Millwall Football Club in England. Several large sheets of newspapers rolled up tightly and then bent so it’s held in the hand turns the sheets into a solid, hard blunt instrument.

A Roll of Coins

It doesn’t matter if it’s pennies, nickels or quarters. Use whatever fits in your hand.

A Padlock

A basic Master Lock can be held in the hand or strung over a sock or bandanna and swung.

A Flashlight

A sturdy flashlight can not only be a club, it can give you life-saving light if there’s an incident at night or in the dark of a plane cabin.

Your Body

Learn some self-defense moves so you feel comfortable using your hands, knees and elbows if you have to. Enhance your situational awareness skills with these suggestions written by Shadowfox’s firearms instructor.

This company, Imaginactive, comes up with some of the coolest things we’ve ever seen. And maybe never will see. Because the things they come up with are strictly ideas but they are the coolest ideas ever. Take this,the Paradoxal. It’s a concept for a commercial supersonic/hypersonic passenger aircraft that can fly at Mach 3 in a sub-orbital trajectory between distant parts of the globe in a fraction of the time a normal place would take.

Check out the video the company made.

I’ll wait while you watch the video. Seriously.

The engine is a Rotary Ramjet air breathing engine, which I had to look up but is apparently an engine propelled by hot exhaust gases and expanded air. Rocket engines, by contrast are propelled by a jet of hot gases caused by fuel combustion. The Paradoxal would be able to fly from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia, in less than 3 hours, with 50,000-feet-high views of the Earth and space. From that far up you would be able to see the Earth’s curvature.

And you wouldn’t even have to jostle for a window seat. The Paradoxical has a large, theater-like room for passengers that faces forward to the long leading edge of the craft, so everyone would get a great view.

Please make it real.

Image from imaginactive.org


When you travel, you might feel limited in what survival gear you depend on, because you can’t always take your important items with you. If you’re flying on an airplane, TSA has strict guidelines regarding the type of products and their sizes that you’re allowed to carry on board and pack.

Review the following checklist for survival items you can take on an airplane. The good thing is that these items don’t take up much space and whether you travel regularly or just once in a great while, you’ll feel better knowing that you can be far from home and still be prepared.

1. Sunblock. Sunblock is an essential everyday item to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. If something unexpected happens — especially in a sunny or tropical location —  sunblock will be a lifesaver. Take a small bottle with you, no more than 3.4 ounces.

2. Portable water filter and pouch. The pouch is a container that can give you filtered water in case of an emergency. Taking these survival items on a plane is ideal because it consumes minimal space when empty.

3. First aid kit. Take a basic first aid kit with you that includes common medication and wound care items.

4. Hand sanitizer. Small bottles of hand sanitizer will pass TSA screenings. For obvious reasons, this product will make traveling more sanitary by helping you keep the germs in check of the billions of travelers have touched multiple surfaces you’ll encounter. An extra bonus to hand sanitizer is that it’s highly flammable and can assist in starting a fire, a major survival tool in emergency situations. Keep the size limit to 3.4 ounces.

5. Baby wipes. If a situation arises in which you can’t shower or bathe, baby wipes will suffice for hygiene. Take a small package with you on the plane.

6. BIC disposable lighter. This brand is highly advised since it’s more dependable than other “flimsy” lighters, according to The Preppers Dome. Fire is a vital part of survival, so you’ll want something reliable.

7. N95 masks. Respirator masks will help you avoid contracting contagious diseases and shield you better from harmful particles in the air following a disaster. The masks are good at preventing the inhalation of smoke and many other trace particles.

8. Compass. A compass can aid in navigation when you’re in a place you aren’t familiar with. You’ll at least know which direction you’re heading with a compass in hand.

9. Space blanket. These blankets fold into small squares and go far in keeping you warm, and shelter you from the elements. It has a dual purpose in that it can be used to alert search planes with the shiny side that reflects light. Invest in a high-quality blanket because the dollar store brands are prone to tearing the first time you use them.

10. SAS Survival Guide. This is a miniature guide that has 625 pages of clear, precise instructions for a variety of survival situations in a broad spectrum of environments. It’s a great survival item for preppers to take with them on an airplane.

11. Solar lantern. New models like the “Luci” light are plastic and inflatable. They deflate to a very compact size which makes them perfect for tucking into a suitcase.

12. Scissors. Check to see if TSA regulations regarding scissors change with time, but in the past they have allowed scissors with blades up to 4 inches.

Traveling comes with a lot of challenges, especially when you may be worried ensuring your safety. Even though you can’t bring obvious self-defense weapons such as firearms or knives in your carry-on bag when traveling by plane, there are some effective tools you can pack for self-defense that are unlikely to arouse the suspicion of TSA agents. Here we present 5 self-defense tools you can carry on a plane.

1 – Pen

When used properly, a pen can make an effective self-defense weapon. You don’t even have to have a special tactical pen to cause some damage and fend off an attacker, although tactical pens offer reassurance and a writing utensil. Hold the pen in your fist with the sharp point extended out about an inch so you’ll be ready to stab the attacker as necessary.

2 – Monkey’s Fist Keychain

A paracord monkey’s fist is a great self-defense option that shouldn’t be an issue for plane travel. The monkey’s fist consists of a ball bearing that’s wrapped securely in paracord. To avoid the potential of confiscation, you should make sure the ball bearing is of a relatively small size so that it looks more like a key chain and less like it’s meant to be used as a weapon.

3 – Sock Full of Coins

So far, there are no regulations about the number of coins you can carry in your carry-on baggage. Some survivalists load a sock with coins as a self-defense tool when they’re traveling. It might not be the most menacing-looking tool, but you can use it to inflict some serious pain on your attacker.

4 – Rolled Up Newspaper or Magazine

With practice, a rolled-up magazine or newspaper can be an effective self-defense tool. Roll it up tightly toward the spine to contain the loose edges of paper. You can use rubber bands to keep it in its rolled-up position so it will be ready to use in case you need it.

5 – Flashlight

A flashlight can make a great self-defense weapon in a pinch. Although there don’t seem to be any rules against carrying a flashlight in your carry-on, it might not be worth packing an expensive tactical flashlight just in case the TSA agent decides it’s worth confiscating.

Although these tools can help you defend yourself, the best weapon against an attacker is training and preparation. Realistically, you cannot predict when you may find yourself a victim of an attack. If your TSA-approved “weapons” are still safely stored in your bag, you won’t have time to access them and fight off your attacker. In addition to carrying these helpful tools, it is a great idea to get training in martial arts. Many martial arts schools offer self-defense training to help you mentally and physically prepare for an attack.

Image of tactical pen courtesy of gerbergear.com

Autumn Veatch, 16-year-old girl, was flying in a small 3 passenger plane when it crashed over the weekend in the Pacific Northwest. Her step-grandparents who were with her still haven’t been found, but she used survival skills to get out alive.

The plane left on July 11 from Montana but never made it to its’ final destination. They encountered bad weather and couldn’t avoid slamming into a mountain. After the crash, she stayed near the wreckage for a full day before bravely deciding to take her survival into her own hands

Covered in bruises and burns, she managed to hike for two full days in the dense and dangerous forests of Washington state and was eventually found by a motorist.

Amazingly, she had the presence of mind to follow a drainage creek to a river, eventually finding a nearby trail. She pushed herself without food or water on to an eventual trail head where she was spotted.

She’s been treated for minor injuries and dehydration, but has emerged from this heartbreaking tragedy alive.

The inspiring story of her survival serves as a reminder that staying prepared for desperate circumstances is always a good idea. Her fitness of mind and body played a crucial role in helping get out of dense forests and endure intense stress.