Participants should wear comfortable street clothes and be prepared for an active 2 hours of physical training.
Register here! (Registration closes August 5th!)
Knife and Tomahawk 1 is a 2 hour clinic being offered by Mr. Robert Nichols, Master certified Instructor at Union's United Tae Kwon Do Academy. He has more than 20 years martial arts experience, including 10 Black Belts from different schools and organizations. He is a 2 time inductee of the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame, 2012 Instructor of the Year, and 2013 Ninjutsu Master.
The course will cover the theory and fundamentals of using a fighting knife and tomahawk for striking, cutting, hooking, and trapping. The price includes a training knife and training tomahawk which are yours to keep so you can practice what you've learned in the clinic. Knife and Tomahawk 1 will be presented at Union's United Tae Kwon Do Academy at 2020 Morris Ave. Union, NJ 07083 on August 15th at 1pm and is sponsored by Black Bag Resources, LLC.
Participants should wear comfortable street clothes and be prepared for an active 2 hours of physical training.
Register here! (Registration closes August 5th!)
ION 2014 was an absolute blast! I saw lots of great friends and spent three days running the Black Bag Resources booth. The best part was helping folks set up their gear. On several occasions, I got the opportunity to lend my expertise and help customers build a vest or chest rig. I also helped lots of nice folks adjust, modify, or add to their existing gear. Overall feedback was great, and hopefully I hear back from a bunch of you about your future needs. To everyone who stopped by the booth to make a purchase or just to chat, I thank you.
Black Bag Resources also released 3 new shirts this past weekend, with special ION pricing. Now those shirts are available to everyone!
The 2014 Black Bag Resources T-shirt is here! This year's "bag man" T-shirt is LEO themed in honor of the men and women who wear the badge and quite literally "go out looking for trouble." Navy Blue t-shirts with yellow print. Available in sizes L, XL, and XXL. Other sizes available via special order.
Last year we had the insanely popular 2013 "Problem Solver" shirt. This year, we're offering the 2014 "Supply Interruption Specialist" shirt, affectionately referred to as the 'Bridge Burner.' If you can interrupt your enemies' supply lines, he can no longer fight. Similarly, sometimes you just have to burn some bridges to accomplish your goals. Red shirt with black print. Available in sizes L, XL, and XXL. Other sizes available via special order.
The third shirt is NOT available on our website!
All the Black Bag Resources t-shirts are limited to a one year run. Once they are gone, they are gone forever. Because I often get requests for discontinued shirts, this year I am re-releasing the ORIGINAL "Who's Watching Your Back?" t-shirt! This time around it is a red shirt with black print, instead of the original black shirt with gray print. So, how do you get one? You have to come see me! These will only be available at events, classes, and face to face sales. Available in sizes L, XL, and XXL.
People often ask me to sell them "survival kits." I'm not a fan of the idea. Your survival requirements are far too personal and specific for a prefabricated kit. Invariably, something gets missed or left out, or, worse yet, the company selling the kit loads it with the cheapest junk they can get in an effort to maximize profits. It is my philosophy that you have to build your kit yourself. I can guide you, help you figure out your needs, but I'd be doing a disservice if I tried to do it for you. You need to have 100% confidence in every item in your kit. It isn't what you buy, it's what you learn, know, and do. There is no substitute.
But you guys want packages, and as the saying goes - the customer is always right.
Here's my plan: I'm going to start assembling product bundles. I'll put together packages of items that make sense and function well together, quality items I use myself, at a discounted price. These bundles will save you a few bucks, meet customer demand, and coincide with my philosophy that you have to build your kit yourself.
Here's the first of these combos: Dave asked for a small bundle to cover fire and water. Obviously, I want you to add to this, but here's a bundle to get you started. (There's two of these combos ready to ship.)
H2O Pouch, MOLLE compatible, insulated, with a small outer pocket to hold everything together.
Nalgene Bottle, 32 oz, Glow-in-the-dark, wide mouth bottle can be used to protect the other items in the combo.
Light My Fire Spork, bright orange so it doesn't get lost, this is my favorite camp chow utensil.
Safe-Light PALight Survival flashlight, white LED, the best small light in an emergency. Check out the article here.
Stainless Steel Cup, nests with the bottle and can be used to boil water.
Magnesium Fire Starter, reliable fire starting capability.
Paracord Bracelet, convenient multi use cordage, can be disassembled to make a sling or fire bow/drill.
BBR Bandana, has a million uses, including pre-filter for your water.
BBR Keychain, because they're cool, and I know you want one.
Total value: $87
Black Bag Resources Price: $75
What should you add? Start with Tincture of Iodine, available at your local pharmacy, which can be used to treat wounds and treat (decontaminate) water the same way Iodine tabs would. A small "first aide" kit with some adhesive bandages and ointment is always handy. A small sample or travel sized bottle of hand sanitizer has multiple purposes. You can wrap some duck tape around the bottle or add a flat pack. A piece of tin foil can be used as a wind screen or a lid for the steel cup. A heavy duty zip seal bag can be used to catch or carry additional water and takes up very little space when empty. Make some fire starters from dryer lint or cotton balls and petroleum jelly. Finally, a piece of hacksaw blade as explained here.
And there's no reason to stop there. As I've stated earlier, you know best what you need. You might even add this combo to a larger kit.
The new 2013 Black Bag Resources Bandanas have arrived!
The latest batch are 27" x 27" of 100% pure cotton with the logo printed on one corner.
So what's the big deal? Cotton bandanas are a handy everyday carry and survival item. There's a reason the Boy Scouts include a neckerchief as part of their uniform.
The BBR Bandana can be used as/for:
The unobtrusive logo is on only one corner.
We also have the original 24" x 24" BBR Bandanas.
The list goes on and on and is only limited by your imagination and skills. You can tie them and twist them, or even sew pockets in them to suit your needs. I carry one everyday, and I'm constantly finding new uses for it.
Some uses are mundane. Some are adventurous. Some are only for the BOLD! >>>
They go by many names- Space Blanket, Survival Blanket, Emergency Blanket- but thermal reflective blankets all share one common feature: a metallic side designed to reflect heat back towards the body. I have used lots of these in various designs over the years and they will all improve your heat retention. They can be used in various ways: like a traditional blanket wrapped around your body, as part of a wilderness shelter to reflect your fire's heat back toward you, to cover the windows in your home during outages to prevent heat loss, etc. Where they vary is their size, weight, and durability which in turn determines how you use and utilize them. Here's my take on a few:
Generally referred to as a "space blanket", this is the most common and inexpensive example of a thermal blanket. You can find something similar in any outdoor store or the camping section in department stores for less than 2 or 3 dollars. The one in the photo is from Coghlan's but there are several manufacturers that make them and they are all pretty similar. They weigh only a few ounces, are packaged small, will absolutely work to reflect heat, and open to about 50" by 80", all of which makes them a popular choice for camping or emergency kits. However, there are two issues with this version that have lead me to choose something else for myself. The first is that these blankets are very delicate. They tear easily and even a small tear "runs" destroying the blanket quickly. The second is that they are nearly impossible to repack. Even with two people trying to fold it, these blankets are so light and hard to control that most people end up just wadding the thing up and shoving it into a pack or pocket- which in turn ends up tearing the blanket. The result is the blanket only lasts for one or two uses. I personally consider it an expendable/consumable item and treat them with about as much care as a disposable paper plate. Obviously, the small size and light weight are the trade-off to the fragile nature of the product. I no longer use this type myself, but you can decide if it is appropriate for your needs.
Survive Outdoors Longer is part of the Adventure Medical brand and they make several great products including their "Survival Blanket." The one pictured is the 1-2 person model and it is substantially stronger and larger (60" by 96") than the "cheap" emergency blanket above. SOL uses a "vacuum-metalized polyethylene" in the construction and the result is a plastic that stretches but does not easily tear. Punctures and tears that do occur don't "run" and can be patched with duck tape. The blanket is packaged in a reusable zip seal bag that is larger than the factory packed blanket- which means even if you can't perfectly re-fold the blanket it WILL fit it back into the package. The SOL Survival Blanket is a great option for those who don't want a full sized nor a cheapo disposable thermal blanket. While it's more than twice the size of the 2 dollar thermal blanket, the SOL offering is still pretty compact and only weighs about 3.5 ounces. For my purposes, this is the minimum standard for a thermal blanket and it is well worth the few additional dollars it costs. I choose the "two person" size for my outings because it is just slightly larger than the "one person" (56" by 84").
The "All Purpose Thermal Blanket" from Coghlan's is a pretty substantial product at a reasonable price. The blanket is packaged in a mesh bag with a velcro closure that can also be used for storage. I will admit that Coghlan's can be hit or miss as far as quality with some items, but this is one of their best products. It is far more heavy duty than others on the market and can be used repeatedly to build wilderness shelters or to improve the temperature rating of your sleeping bag. It has corner grommets and a mesh reinforcement throughout the thick material. It is made of a "softer" plastic material that is almost rubbery and allows it to be folded without developing cracks. It weighs in at nearly a full pound and measures 50" by 79" when open. It packs to about 8" by 11" and almost 2" thick, so it also takes up more room in a pack. Personally, I feel it is worth the size and weight because of it's strength. It doesn't need to be replaced often because it is so durable, and this is the one I bring on my outings.
Grabber Outdoors also makes a great heavy duty "All Weather Blanket." When open, it measures 60" by 84" and weighs 12 ounces, so it is slightly larger and a bit lighter than the Coghlan's brand blanket. The Grabber blanket is also reinforced throughout, has corner grommets, and it has more of a tarp feel to it. Grabber uses a four layer process to manufacture their thermal blanket and the result is a great product that will survive for years of adventures. The only issue I've had with this model is that after 3 years it started to develop small holes where it was folded. I consider this minor and part of normal wear and tear.
Size and weight are always a big consideration when packing for an adventure, outing, operation, or emergency kit. While I prefer the costlier, bigger, and somewhat heavier thermal blankets because of their enhanced durability when compared to the inexpensive "space" blanket, ultimately you decide which thermal blanket is right for your needs.
Somewhere in your gear or emergency kit is a magnesium fire starter. You know- the one that looks like a block on a keychain with a ferro striker in the side (this is the one we sell from Coghlan's). You learned how to use it years ago: scrape shavings of magnesium off the block and strike the ferro to ignite the shavings or other tinder. You were taught that you could use your knife as long as it was made from carbon steel and had a good sharp edge to strike with. The problem with using your knife as a striker is that it can be hard on the edge or you'd end up shaving too much material off the ferro insert- shortening the life span of the fire starter. Here's a cheap solution that turns the fire starter into a complete tool and saves your knife from unnecessary wear.
Fire starter and Hacksaw striker.
Pick up an inexpensive hacksaw blade for less than $3 and cut a 3-4 inch piece off the end. (I use a Dremel tool with a cut off wheel.) Attach that piece of hacksaw blade to your fire starter with an 8-12 inch piece of paracord. The serrated edge of the hacksaw striker does a good job at both shaving the magnesium and striking the ferro insert. The cheap little piece of hacksaw blade has the carbon content needed to generate a spark and stands in for your knife as the striker- taking one of your knife's chores off the list it has to perform. With some practice, you can short stroke the end of the ferro rod with the hacksaw stiker using just a little bit at a time.
Tape + Card = Awesome!
We all know there's about a million uses for duck tape/duct tape/100 mph tape. No matter what you call it, it's one of those items that always proves handy. Just when you think you've got most of them figured out, somebody comes up with another trick. In this case, my buddy Tony showed me a way to make this essential tool more portable.
I've seen people who will wrap just about everything they carry with duck tape to make sure they have it on hand, but I've found that it can inhibit some items from being as useful as they should be. Tony's trick is to take a standard US business card and wrap it in duck tape. This gives you a convenient way to carry a flat pack of several feet without the bulk of a roll. It also means you can keep it handy without cocooning your other gear.
During a recent conversation with a gentleman I consider not just a client but also a friend, we turned to the topic of "prepping" or preparing for disasters. He's a smart guy, his family is on board with the process and he has a lot of his bases covered: a 3 month food supply, stored water, first aid and medical training, military experience, weapons and ammo and solid skills to use them, and more. I was surprised when he told me how worried he was about his family's situation and began describing what he felt were deficiencies in his preps and his plans. I'm going to paraphrase and elaborate on some of what I told him.
You must maintain a positive outlook. Do it now. Do it when things go bad. Understand that you can do it. Everyone involved in prepping does some war-gaming -a mental exercising of working your way through a disaster or other scenario- from time to time. If you do it often enough, you will eventually come up with a situation you are not ready for. (Let's see, I know if the power goes out for the night I have flashlights ready with fresh batteries I change every 6 months. If the power goes out for a week I have a plan to go stay with so-and-so because we've already discussed it. If the power goes out for a year and aliens invade with armies of radiation babies... What will I do?) It's the nature of the beast, you can't possibly be ready for every imaginable scenario. War-gaming is a good and fun exercise, but you need to focus on Threat Assessment- the reality of how likely you are to encounter a specific scenario- and prepare accordingly. (I know my area floods every few years and that knocks out power for up to a week. I'm going to set myself up for that. The flooding also has a habit of contaminating the water supply, so we'd better put back some stored water, too.) Don't get upset about the things you don't have or the skills you haven't learned. There are all kinds of cliche quotes that fit here: " Rome wasn't built in a day" or "The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step." Here's my philosophy: Your preps should always make you feel better about your situation- not worse. If just today you came to the realization that you need to be better prepared for a situation, congratulations, you are doing better than you were yesterday. If you went out and bought a simple $1 first aid kit to keep handy, congratulations, you are doing better than you were yesterday. If you spent last Sunday learning how to make fire without matches, congratulations, you are doing better than you were and you should feel good about yourself! The process is continual. It's great to continue down that path and learn more and be ready for more situations. You'll also learn along the way that situations can and do overlap, and something you prepared for a year ago set you up pretty well for another scenario you're working on now.
What you'll need to avoid is the paranoia of writers trying to sell books and retailers pushing the latest gizmo. They use fear to motivate you to part with your money. (Now before anyone throws a penalty flag at me: Yes, Black Bag Resources, LLC does retail merchandise. However, I will never pressure anyone to buy anything. I simply tell you what works for me- if you'd like to use the same item, I try to make it available to you.) You do need to re-examine your skills and preps from time to time. It's good to have someone else take a look, too. They may find something you missed. However, this is only good to the extent that it shows you what areas need improvement. When you identify them, work on them, but do not loose your positive attitude regarding your situation or your preps.
Your preps should always make you feel better about your situation- not worse.
You asked for it, and Black Bag Resources delivers! PALight Survival is now available with Green LED. The green LED is NVG compatible as well as visible to the naked eye. The green light is great for preserving your natural night vision, or for use without disrupting team mates actively using NVGs.
Also in stock, and EXCLUSIVELY available from Black Bag Resources, PALight Survival with INFRA RED LED! The Infra Red LED is invisible to the naked eye but is extremely bright when viewed through Night Vision Devices. Use this model as an additional illuminator for your NVGs, or attach it to your gear and set it to strobe for IFF (Identify Friend or Foe) operations.
Please note: Safe-Light has discontinued the Survival IR model. Black Bag Resources has acquired all remaining units, and once they are gone- they will be gone forever.
Black Bag Resources received the first shipment from PALight today. We currently have Survival models in stock with black bodies and white LEDs. The first 6 orders will also include one red "signal cone" at no extra charge!
Black Bag Resources Blog
News, projects, products, and tips from the owner.