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

Having some basic survival essential items with you when you’re outdoors is a must and the key to outdoor success. The items you have with you should provide for your basic needs while out and about, both while things are going according to plan and when things get hairy. But the 10 essentials are the bare necessities and a good kit should carry you above and beyond the minimum requirements. Here, we’ll discuss what you should add to your outdoor kit if you haven’t done so already.

First, as a refresher, here’s the 10 essential survival items and what they are comprised of. Take note, a cell phone is not considered an essential.

  1. Navigation (map and compass, GPS with extra batteries),
  2. Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)
  3. Insulation (extra clothing)
  4. Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
  5. First-aid supplies
  6. Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/ferro rod and striker)
  7. Repair kit and tools (tape, patching, thread, etc.)
  8. Nutrition (extra food)
  9. Hydration (extra water)
  10. Emergency shelter (tarp, emergency blanket, bivy sack)

These items can get you to where you need to go and also get you out alive if something goes wrong. But there are some things to add that can aid in your endeavors whether it’s a day hike or a week-long trip.

  • Knife – This can be a fixed blade or a strong folder. This will help you with anything from building shelter, preparing firewood or self-defense. I prefer a fixed blade over anything and will also carry a folder at times. I don’t carry an axe or hatchet due to personal preference. A multitool of some kind will also aid you in making repairs to clothing, sewn gear and hardware. As with any addition to your kit, take weight into consideration when packing.
  • Communication – A cell phone will do as long as it’s only used for communication and not navigation, photography or light. Battery life can drain quickly if the phone is used for anything other than emergency communication. Consider an extra power source or solar charger for extended trips. If you’re far in the backcountry and cell service is out of the question, an emergency locator beacon can be a good way to alert emergency teams to your position. Satellite phones are also an option, albeit an expensive one.
  • Cordage – A good length of 550 paracord can aid in several of the 10 essential systems. The individual strands can be used for fishing line if needed as well as for sewing up torn items. 550 cord can also be used to securely rig a tarp shelter or tie a debris shelter together against an anchor.
  • Water Purification – If your water runs out, you may need more in order to make it out of a survival situation. Not taking proper care of your water will leave you exposed to illness. Carry at least one method of purifying and cleaning water whether it’s a chemical treatment, UV light or cook pot for boiling.
  • Add your own! Your adventure will require its own equipment. Take a look at your kit and see what can be added to help you in the outdoors. Let us know in the comments what you consider your essential survival items.

A wilderness survival knife is an essential tool to keep in your bug out bag. It will help you perform a number of important tasks such as preparing food and cutting branches and rope. And it can be used as a weapon to protect you in case you’re attacked by an animal or another human.

The following features are important to consider when you’re selecting a wilderness survival knife.

Fixed Blade

Fixed-blade knives can be used for a wide range of tasks, including cutting, chopping, skinning and carving. For a wilderness survival knife, make sure you purchase a high-quality knife that can withstand heavy use. A knife is one of the most important survival tools you can have in your bug out bag, so it’s worth doing your research and paying a bit more for quality.

Full Tang

The tang of a knife is the part of the blade that connects the blade with the handle. There are several different tang designs, but the strongest design is the full tang. A full tang knife is one solid piece and the handle is secured to the blade. If the handle breaks off of a full tang knife, it does not render the knife unusable. You can wrap the tang with cloth or a strap and continue to use the knife.


Select a knife with a solid handle, as this design is more durable than other options. The handle should not be smooth, as a smooth handle can become slippery when wet, making it difficult to grip securely. Choose a grooved handle that is contoured to fit securely in your hand. The knife should also have a finger guard that will prevent your hand from contacting the blade in case the knife slips when you’re using it.

Blade Material

Most survival knives are equipped with either carbon steel or stainless steel blades. There isn’t really a wrong answer to which type of blade material you should select as both types have advantages and disadvantages. Many survivalists prefer carbon steel knives because they can be sharpened easily and hold an edge longer than stainless steel knives. Additionally, they can be used to make fire-starting sparks when struck with flint, quartz or chert.

Stainless steel, on the other hand, corrodes much more slowly than carbon knives and don’t require as much cleaning. They also tend to be more expensive than carbon knives. Stainless steel may be a better choice for survivalists who plan to spend time boating in ocean waters or who live near the sea.

There will come a time when all you have at your disposal is what’s in your pockets. Preparedness begins with what you’re carrying. Some choose to go minimal with their EDC, while some carry the kitchen sink. Either way, it is essential to carry tools with you wherever you are.

My EDC can vary depending on where I am or what I am doing, but there are a few essentials that are always on me.

Cold Steel Recon 1 Folding Knife, spear point.
• I bought this knife a few years ago as my first folder. At the time, I needed a utility blade that could perform daily chores as well as outdoor tasks and be a self-defense tool if necessary. A friend of mine had the Recon 1 in a tanto point and I really liked the handle. As soon as I saw the knife with a spear point, I bought it and so far it’s been a great tool. My only gripe now is that it’s a relatively big folding knife and can sometimes be uncomfortable when sitting for long periods of time. Still, it’s proved to be a very useful knife.

Streamlight Protac 2AAA Flashlight
• The price is what caught me on this penlight. The output and runtime have served me well over the years whether it’s walking home from college classes, clearing my car in a dark parking lot or finding my way around the office in a power outage. The bezel is sculpted for use as a defensive striking tool and compliments the strobe function.

Leatherman Sidekick Multi Tool.
• This tool stays with me whether I’m at the office or on SAR missions. I use it for everything from housework to fixing snowboards on the slopes. I also found the can opener works very well as a striker on a fire steel.

iPhone 5S with Lifeproof Fre Case
• The Lifeproof case definitely lives up to its reputation of durability. I’ve banged up my phone plenty and made calls in the rain without worrying about damage to my phone.

Wenger Keychain Tool
• This little tool keeps a blade and scissors handy in times when pulling out a full size knife may not be appropriate.

Freestyle USA Shark XL Watch
• My kick-around, exercise and adventure watch. It’s cheap but not flimsy. It’s been through plenty of mountain, trail and underwater adventures.

Female preppers have unique items to be mindful of when gathering essentials for emergency preparedness. A great deal of emphasis is placed on the generalities of stocking necessities in the event of a bug out, such as food, clothing, and supplies.

What about the specific needs of women? The others are needs most women will relate to, and agree that it’s an essential item to be armed with in an emergency situation.

1. Sanitary and Personal Hygiene Items

This most directly references tampons and maxi-pads. This is a must-have item women don’t want to be in short supply of! As the site explains, these items serve a multi-purpose! They can used as first aid pads or fire-starting material if needed!

Prepare for the necessary medication and first aid for female hygiene needs as well as birth control planning.

2. Self-Defense Tools

Chances are you’ll have some tools that can do the trick if you tote knives, guns, machetes, axes, or other items in your supply trove. Wielding these at would-be criminals is a means of self-defense. On a less violent note, have some self-defense spray that can deter an attacker — or animal.

Choose a weapon that’s easy to use and fits well with a woman’s body type. Firearms and knives that are too large to operate skillfully are dangerous and will be inaccurate.

3. Practical Clothing and Footwear

Don’t overlook the importance of comfort and durability. Even a comfortable pair of medium-height heels won’t work in a preppers situation! Have loose-fitting, comfortable, and warm clothing. Shoes must be durable, strong, and give your feet lasting endurance. You never know how long you’ll be walking or standing when the time calls for it!

Have a supply of clothing designed for a woman’s body shape. Large vests or life jackets that aren’t cut for different body types can be uncomfortable for long-term use and even end up being dangerous.

When you have a strategic plan for what items to store and keep for emergencies you’ll know that everyone will have the specific items they need.

Gearing up for disasters both, big and small, entails a lot of forethought. All angles must be covered, especially when it comes to those things you will rely on most when it is most urgent.

One of the most important things you will depend on during a crisis is your mode of transportation. An auto emergency kit is just prevalent as anything else you will turn to in times of the unexpected.

Stay Powered Up
No matter where you travel it’s crucial that you have extra supplies for your truck on hand. When disaster hits you’ll be able to quickly access the items you need.

  • Jumper cables, battery chargers, a phone charger, and a flashlight with fresh batteries will keep the lights and heat on.
  • Keep a good old fashion road map atlas accessible if you’re without power to use GPS.
  • Antifreeze, roadside flares, and a spare tire with a jack should not only solve some mechanical issues but also draw attention to you if you need help.

Stay Warm
Don’t think that just because it’s summer travel you’ll be warm. If your emergency holds you overnight or the weather changes on you, be ready with protective gear.

  • Blankets, gloves, stocking cap, wool socks and extra boots will do the trick. Make sure you have enough to cover everyone in the vehicle.

Read More: Man Escapes Flooded River After Truck is Submerged

Don’t Go Hungry
You may need to spend some time waiting on help or prepare to travel on foot to get to safety. Keep food and drink accessible for those times.

  • Several gallons of bottled water and energy drinks will keep you hydrated and that’s essential to your overall health.
  • Granola and energy bars that are packed with essential calories will keep your energy up.

Stay Healthy
Keeping your thoughts and plans straight will help you stay alive. Taking care of minor injuries can extend your ability to make it out healthy and sane.

  • Pen and paper will be helpful if you need to abandon your vehicle or if you need to exchange information with anyone.
  • First aid supplies kit  and a small fire extinguisher (ABC type is good) a cheap and don’t take up much room but can keep minor issues from turning major.

Keep Reading: The 4 Types of Items Every First Aid Kit Must Contain

If the power goes out, will you be prepared? Power outages can happen for a number of reasons. Blown transformers, strong winds, natural disasters, and other situations can cause widespread power outages.

The fact is that it doesn’t take much of a disruption to cause an unexpected power outage that affects thousands of people.

Most of us have been taught since we were young that it is important to have flashlights and candles available as light sources in case the lights go out. A lantern with a wide beam is good to have on hand to brighten up a room when the lights go out.

These light sources don’t work without their own fuel, so be sure you have extra batteries and matches available (or propane, if you have a propane lantern). These supplies will suit you just fine if the power goes out for just a few hours.

If you’re faced with a long-term power outage, you’ll need more than just light to make it through. You need to be able to stay warm, cook food, access fresh drinking water, and protect your family.

Make sure you have plenty of warm blankets, sleeping bags or comforters on hand. If the electricity goes out, the temperature in your home may quickly drop to an uncomfortable temperature. Long johns, winter jackets, warm hats and gloves are also good to have to keep you comfortable.

Read More: 3 Questions Every Prepper Should be able to Easily Answer

If possible, you should have a heat source in your home that does not require electricity. Wood stoves are excellent sources of heat, and most are designed with a stovetop you can use to cook food and boil water.

If you don’t have a wood stove, you should consider other options for cooking your food. Camp stoves, outdoor grills or fire pits are great options. Make sure you store extra fuel so you don’t run out just when you need it most.

Store plenty of foods that don’t need to be refrigerated. Peanut butter, crackers, canned tuna, granola bars and trail mix are excellent to have on hand because they don’t need to be cooked. Make sure you also store plenty of drinking water in case the water supply is affected.

To stay updated on the latest news, consider purchasing a battery-operated or hand crank radio. This radio may be your only source of information during a power outage.

If you’re serious about prepping for a power outage, you’ll want to invest in a quality generator. If you live in an area that experiences frequent power outages, you may want a generator that will automatically power your entire house when the power goes out. Otherwise, a portable generator is a less expensive option that will be adequate. Again, make sure you have stored plenty of fuel for your generator.


You could purchase one of many first aid medical kits on the market or you could build your own kit and be familiar with it. This is a good idea if there are special considerations as far as specific medicines you or your family requires.

4 Main Products for First-Aid Kit
Keep four main categories in mind as you create your first-aid kit. These will help you plan and guide you as you take inventory.

General Medical Supplies are the Foundation of Every First-Aid Kit.
These are supplies that are easy to find at any drugstore. They are handy for a variety of needs and are often re-usable and have a long shelf-life. They should form the foundation of your first-aid kit.

  • Include small tools like forceps, scissors, and tweezers. Make sure they are durable and easy to manipulate in the event of an emergency. Scissors that are able to cut clothes and seat belts are an excellent option as well.
  • Don’t forget protective materials like quality gloves, rubbing alcohol, a CPR breathing mask, and strong medical tape. These help you keep your distance from blood and other fluids that you don’t want to get on your skin.

Common Medications Make your First-Aid Kit Versatile and Effective. 

  • Pain medicines are absolutely crucial to keep in your first-aid kit. Common medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen can actually go very far to relieve pain associated with minor injuries.
  • Medicines that are effective against illness related symptoms like fever, diarrhea, and nausea are also essential. Include the common over-the-counter options and you’ll be able to make anyone in your group feel more comfortable.

Be Prepared for any Situation with Wound Care Items.
Cuts and scrapes are an inevitable result of time spent outdoors.

  • Band-aids and bandages of various sizes should be easy to find in your kit. Finding the sizes is the easy part. The challenge is keeping an updated inventory so you aren’t missing a bandage when you really need it.
  • Be sure to pair your bandage supply with items like gauze, trauma pads, medical tape, and antibiotic ointment. A bandage for a wound is only as effective as these other items. They help the bandage stay on and keep dirt, sweat, and bacteria out of the wound as it heals.

Prescription Medication
Doctors aren’t always able to give advance prescriptions, but if you have a long trip planned or know you won’t be able to visit the doctor for a certain period of time, they may be willing to work with you and your needs.


Once your first-aid kit is stocked, be aware of expiration dates, functions of the medications, and how much you have on-hand. Shelf-life of various items should be considered and replaced as necessary.

A recent alert from Petzl has the climbing world up in arms and is serving as a reminder to use caution when purchasing gear your life depends on.

Petzl recently found out that Aspir harnesses sold on eBay had been tampered with and posed a mortal risk to users. Petzl says a third party took new or lightly used harnesses, cut the webbing on the wasitbelt and leg security loops then put them up for sale online.

Petzl calls the modifications malicious and potentially deadly. Climbing harnesses are built to strict safety standards and modifying them in such a way exposes the user to a risk of serious injury or death. Petzl says this was a malicious act, and I believe them. The harnesses have been removed from the market and Petzl is telling climbers with Aspir harnesses to check the webbing in case of tampering.

First of all, I’m appalled that someone would do such a thing. I see no reason why someone would cut up a harness and resell it other than for malevolent purposes, though I can only draw wild guesses on the exact nature. Climbing harnesses are lifesaving pieces of equipment. The modifications done by this third party could cause the harness to fail during a hang or a fall and could injure or kill the user. I hope there is swift justice for whoever is responsible for this.

Second, this is a reminder to be wary of where you get your gear, especially safety equipment.

I purchase a lot of my equipment from retail sites such as REI where I can personally inspect or try on equipment. I usually items purchase online if they’re from a trusted distributor. I only purchase used equipment if I am able to view and try before I buy.

So how can you tell whether your online source is reliable?

The Internet gives consumers the power of knowledge with a few keystrokes. A company’s Facebook page will have reviews and posts from customers. Read through them and look for any red flags. If you’re looking for a deal on a certain piece of equipment, check the manufacturer’s list of distributors.

Doing so may lead you to finding a deal on bargain sites like Amazon, where some reputable companies will put items up for sale.

When you’ve found the equipment you want to buy and are confident with the seller, check the specifications of what you want to purchase. The seller should list the materials used in the product. If something seems fishy or the description of the product is vague, turn away.

For example, I never buy a knife that does not have details surrounding materials such as blade steel, handle materials, etc. Also, the product page may also give you user reviews. Also be sure to check over the company’s return policy if you have any issues or see any defects with the gear you’ve spent your hard earned money on.

Whichever way you want to go about getting your gear, be sure to take your time in checking things over and doing your research. What you buy, for whatever purpose, should be reliable. Don’t put yourself at risk over a hasty purchase.

Click here to read the news alert from Petzl.

Photo Credit: Petzyl

In the folding knife business, there have been few changes in the design of locking mechanisms. You’ve got your liner locks, frame locks, lockbacks, slipjoints, buttons and the Axis and Arc type locking mechanisms from Benchmade and SOG. These locks are tried and true and have lasted throughout the years in a variety of designs and purposes. Some are stronger than others and have become popular because of their reputation.

But with this stability in design comes a relatively slow innovation process. If the locks work, companies stick with them in their knife designs. Something truly unique hasn’t hit the knife market for a while. Now, there’s something that could change that and perhaps be the new staple in folding knives.

Knife designer Andrew Demko has been working on the new AD15 knife and scorpion lock for some time now. Pictures first surfaced on social media in late October of 2015, and now knives with the new locking mechanism have shown up at knife shows as custom pieces. The lock is not on the market yet, though I bet when it becomes available, it will be in high demand.

Demko’s new scorpion lock is unlike anything I’ve seen before. The lock snaps down over the blade with a bar that fits into a cutout. A pin built into the blade gives a second point of contact for the lock bar. A second lock near the pommel of the knife serves as a safety to keep the lock bar from moving when engaged. This type of feature is common for folders that are intended for hard use.

You may already know Demko’s name. He designed the Tri-Ad lock for Cold Steel. The Tri-Ad lock can be described as a lockback with an added stop pin to disperse the forces exerted on the blade. Cold steel has wasted no time marketing the Tri-Ad as what they call the strongest locking mechanism around. There are numerous videos in which the company puts their folders through a variety of torture tests.

I own a Tri-Ad lock folder and I can say that the lock is quite strong and can handle tasks better suited for fixed blades such as batoning wood (of course a fixed blade would be the better option, but it’s good to know my folder can handle a tough task). One significant advantage of the new scorpion lock over the Tri-Ad lock is that it can be easily closed with one hand.

The big question now is whether and when the scorpion lock will go into mass production. While Demko has done work with Cold Steel, there’s no word on whether the company will pick up the design. Since Cold Steel has built a reputation on the toughness of their knives, they would probably torture test the lock before working on production models.

Until that happens, it’s possible the lock will only be available directly through Demko. Custom knives will likely have premium quality materials, but could come at prices that are too steep for some users.

Still, with the market filled with designs that have changed little over time, it’s refreshing to see innovation in the knife world.