By EJ Snyder

Photo by Hults Bruk Almike

When it comes to the outdoors and gear, I try to never cut corners, and the gear I take out into the wild has to be good, reliable, durable, and make life a bit better or more efficient. One relies a lot on their gear out on an adventure, especially when it comes to survival. I remember back in the army when the flavor of the day was lighter kit (gear) because, as I said, ounces equal pounds and pounds can equal misery. I was in the light infantry, a foot soldier, so we would try to find lighter but high-quality gear to use. It sure paid off, because it allowed us to move faster and farther and have less wear and tear on our bodies. It’s a lesson I have kept with me ever since, and still use today. So, I was recently at two trade shows, SHOT and the Great American Outdoor, both of which showcase the latest and greatest gear coming out. It’s how I start every year, always on the lookout for good gear to update my kit. Here are some of the items I plan to try out this year to see if they make my permanent gear list.

GEERTOP Wood Burning Camping Rocket Stove: I really love stoves like this for their portability, being made of durable, rustproof, high-quality stainless steel and able to fold up flat at approximately 6” X 9” with a weight of 0.78 kg…that’s a winner. The other great thing about these stoves is you don’t have to purchase or carry fuel for them, as you can just process wood in the field for it. They can also use coal, dry leaves, or sticks as fuel. This rocket stove is designed and upgraded by using the chimney-effect concept. It burns more efficiently and saves fuel. By starting combustion, hot air rises and cold air is sucked up more and more from below, creating a draft phenomenon to improve combustion utilization efficiency and create powerful thermal power. It is easy to assemble and cooks things faster and more efficiently, and uses less wood to get the job done. It disassembles quickly and stores easily taking up little room. See it on Amazon.

DARK ENERGY Poseidon Pro Battery Pack: I am rough as hell when it comes to electronics, and being in the outdoors in all kinds of weather conditions and rugged terrain, I have destroyed battery packs and been left with the inability to recharge critical gear like GPS, sat phones, etc. That can be a life-threatening situation in an emergency. No Bueno! So, when I linked up with Dark Energy and found this battery pack, I was stoked. Super tough and durably built with Armor Flex technology, these things are said to have survived being crushed by 1,000-plus pounds, falls from 75-plus feet, and even the shock of high explosives. Now that’s tough, and its outer shell is made of resilient, steel-like polymer that has been tested to the extreme. Rated at IP68, it lists the capability to be underwater for 45-plus minutes. This will truly be the last charger I will ever need, with its cutting-edge engineering giving it an incredible ability to long life, with the capability of retaining 70-80% of its life up to 3-plus years (and they even froze it in a block of ice for four weeks). It really has been tested to the max, and I was seriously impressed with it. It is a power bank with 37.74 WH (10,000 MAH) power capacity, is long-lasting, and gives the ability to recharge many items for longer periods. It is only the size of a smartphone and weighs approximately 9.6 ounces. Its Power Pulse technology also charges items faster than the average battery pack. It currently comes in high-visibility orange, black, and camo colors, and heir cool Carabiner Pro has a knife and several tools. See it on Dark Energy.

HULTS BRUK ALMIKE Hatchet: I love a good pack axe and Hults Bruk has been handcrafting them in Sweden since 1697 and are well respected within the axe community. It comes with a 16-inch curved hickory shaft handle, offering great leverage for tree felling, chopping wood, and light-duty outdoor tasks such as pounding stakes, making kindling, and other chores. The one-pound Swedish steel head is designed to maintain its sharp edge and, when not in use, is protected by an included leather sheath. Not a bad little powerhouse coming in at 1.75 pounds. See it on Amazon.