Archive | Preparedness

Pro-Tool Industries MAG-NA-FIRE Fire Starter

UPDATE 12/29/2015: Pro-Tool Industries has discontinued the MAG-NA-FIRE. You can view their new STRYKE-ALL Emergency Fire Pack at their website.

The Pro-Tool Industries MAG-NA-FIRE Fire Starter makes me weak in the knees. If you like survival gadgets, you better sit down.


The MAG-NA-FIRE Fire Starter machined from a block of magnesium so it can be scraped with the included scraper and used like you would any other magnesium fire starter. However, it also has a built in pencil sharpener style tinder scraper and a bullet puller so you can use gun powder to start a fire in a pinch. You can also remove the blade from the tinder scraper to be used as a small survival blade and if you plug the holes on the bullet puller it works as a survival whistle.

Are you kidding me? This thing is awesome! Check out the MAG-NA-FIRE at

Tactical Handyman: Ultralight Scissors

I always try to keep a small set of scissors handy because they are useful for everything from gear repairs to first aid. The problem is that most small scissors are either expensive or junk (or both). They either lack the durability necessary to be useful or they are impossible to use if you have normal sized hands.

SwissCard Scissors

A few years ago, I was going through a box of stuff and found a couple of Victorinox SwissCards that I used to keep tucked in some EDC kits. I don’t recall why I removed them from my kits but I did remember that the scissors in these SwissCards are excellent. They are spring loaded which makes them very easy to use even though they are very small. They also tend to be very sharp and they stay sharp for a long time. Perhaps best of all, they only weigh about 7 grams with a small piece of drinking straw (more on that soon) and are 3″ long and 1/10″ thick. In other words, they are small and light enough to pack into just about any EDC, first aid kit or hiking bag.

The scissors are spring loaded to rest in the open position, so if you are going to remove these scissors from the SwissCard to carry them on their own, you will need to find a safe way to store them. I use a small piece of drinking straw. The scissors slip right into the straw which serves to keep them closed. The straw seems to be more than durable enough for this application. It is also very, very light weight.

These scissors are widely available online as replacement parts for around $7 a piece. At that price, you can afford to pick up a couple to stash in all your kits.

Available on Amazon (affiliate link): Swisscard Replacement Scissors on Amazon

Lights Out Saga – You Can Help!

Lights Out Saga Teaser

Many of you are familiar with the book Lights Out by David Crawford (Halffast). It is the story of regular people who are thrust into a fight to simply provide for themselves in the face of disaster. Civilization crumbles around the characters and they are left to pick up the pieces of their once comfortable lives. The book was downloaded more than 3 million times and was later printed independently. Now that book is being made into a film, or a series of films, called the Lights Out Saga and you can get involved.

In order to make a film that deals with themes like this, it was important that the film be made independently. This ensures that David Crawford’s vision can remain intact and undiluted. Several well known manufacturers from around the industry are already involved in making this film a reality including Mystery Ranch, 5.11 Tactical,, the Noveske Shooting Team, and more.

You too have the chance to get involved in making this film happen. The Lights Out Saga crowd funding effort is now live at Indiegogo. This film may not be made without you!

Here is a statement from the Lights Out Saga Facebook Page:

What most people don’t realize is that in spite of our announcement (just yesterday) – we’ve been working on this project for 3 months! This week we’re actually gearing up for a movie shoot in Georgia this weekend, which we’ll use to create a theatrical trailer in the next few weeks. We’ll try to get some stills online this weekend, and look forward to seeing many of our fans on set.

We’re overwhelmed by the support from all of you on our IndieGoGo campaign. Our supporters at 5.11 Tactical, Noveske Shooting Team and others have similarly overwhelmed us with support, and we’re very excited to have all of their help this weekend. Keep it up, and think positive thoughts for dry weather on Saturday in particular! – Travis

ESEE Map and Compass Basics Course – Free Resource


Map and compass skills are somewhat perishable. If you don’t use them from time to time, you can start to lose them. Everyone needs a refresher course once in a while. Thankfully, the good folks at ESEE Knives/Randall’s Adventure Training were kind enough to put the presentation that they use to teach basic map and compass skills online for the benefit of humanity. If you are a seasoned pro or a just a beginner when it comes to land nav, it will be well worth your time to read through these slides.

Check out the Randall’s Adventure Training Map and Compass Basics Course.

Review: Multicam MPIL from Battle Systems LLC

At JTT, we love the Marker Panel, Individual, Lightweight (MPIL) from Battle Systems LLC. They are just so simple to use, so compact and lightweight, and so functional that you can’t help but love them.

Battle Systems Multicam MPIL


Battle Systems told me a few months ago that they were working on a new version of the MPIL that would have only one high visibility side while the other side would be camouflaged. This new version was being made specifically for the needs of some military users who may need to signal within visual range of the enemy. I don’t really have to worry about such things so, at the time, I wondered if the Multicam MPIL would be as useful to me as a non-military user. After actually having one in hand for a while, I think I might actually like it better than the original – at least for some uses.

In Use

The original MPIL stays true to its bulkier, heavier predecessor, the VS-17 signal panel, in that it has an orange side and a pink side. The Multicam MPIL replaces the pink side with Multicam. For the military user, this means that they can flash the orange side quickly and then lower their visual signature immediately with the Multicam side. Its uses for the civilian user were less apparent to me until I actually had one in hand. Once I was able to use one, I found one use that I liked it for so much, that I might like it even more than the standard MPIL…

Now you see me...

Now you see me…

I knew from past experience with the MPIL that it could be lashed to just about any pack easily with the Poli Binas that can be purchased with the MPIL. However, with the original MPIL, you could only choose to cover your pack with a high visibility color. Now, with the Multicam MPIL, you can cover your pack with either a high visibility color or camouflage. This ability has application for the hiker and hunter alike.

The hunter can camouflage just about any civilian pack no matter how loud the color of the pack is. This means you can turn your favorite hiking pack into your favorite camouflaged hunting pack in seconds. Basically, every pack is a hunting pack with the Multicam MPIL.

If you are like me, you don’t like to stand out in the woods, even when you are just hiking or camping. The Multicam MPIL lets me start at the trail head with a normal looking backpack and then attach the MPIL as a camo cover once I am in the woods. I just keep the Poli Binas positioned on my pack so I can quickly clip the MPIL in place.

If you get into trouble and need to be seen or if you need some additional blaze orange coverage while you are hunting, you can simply flip the MPIL over to expose the orange side. It turns your pack into a passive signalling system. You will be visible even if you can’t move. You could do this same thing with the original MPIL but you couldn’t “turn it off” without stowing the panel. The Multicam MPIL lets you keep the MPIL staged on your pack either actively concealing you or actively raising your visual signature.

Now you don't...

Now you don’t…

Wrap Up

The new Multicam MPIL might be the best MPIL yet. A tweak as simple as replacing a high visibility color with a camo pattern has really added some great functionality. I still prefer the original MPIL for some uses like in a vehicle emergency kit or a cold weather kit but if I am headed into the woods, I reach for the Multicam MPIL.

Check out the Multicam and standard MPIL on


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