The Arizona Survivalist Show: Five Tools You'll Need to Survive, Well, Anything

Last weekend, preppers, survivalists, and the curious descended upon the Arizona Wing Commemorative Air Force Museum for the optimistically named 1st Annual Arizona Survivalist Expo

It's good to know that the people who make a living preparing people for the End of the World as We Know It (TEOTWAWKI) don't think it's all going to come to fire and tears this year . . . or maybe they'll just hold the next expo in the ashes of the fallen. 

Either way, we learned a few very valuable lessons on how they plan to survive.

5. Hostile Hare's "Sustainable Food Supply!" a.k.a. the Rabbit Condo of Death: I'll let their marketing material speak for itself:

"A single New Zealand rabbit will give birth to one litter every 45 days."
"It costs $30 to $40 to feed one adult per year, each female providing 300 to 375 pounds of meat per year!!"

The flyer goes on to explain how cheap it is to feed rabbits and all their uses beyond being delicious. What they were selling was a three-level cage for raising a veritable army of inbred rabbits from a stock of one female and two males. Clearly not a survival strategy for the squeamish.

4. The Crovel: Tim Ralston is probably the most well-known prepper in the country, catapulted into the spotlight by an appearance on National Geographic's Doomsday Prepper show.

He's formed a company called GearUp, which caters to the prepper community. His flagship product is the crovel, the most aggressive entrenching tool ever made.

It's basically a multi-tool shovel with knife sharp edges that make useful as a weapon, too. Here's an educational video of Ralston using one to hack up a pig carcass. For those of you in the zombie survival crowd, it's a real world version of the "Lobo" from World War Z. Don't get too excited, though. The crovel costs over $100 and there's currently a 60-day back order on them.

Actually, if you really love zombies, Marauder Tactical Training offers a two day "Zombie Survival 101" course.

3. HydroPack water filtration: This is actually a very slick hack of a water filtration system. It's basically a plastic bag with a reverse-osmosis filter on one side and a proprietary blend of sugar and science on the inside.

You throw the bag into any water source, including raw sewage apparently, and it slowly fills with safe, drinkable flavored water. You pull it out, wash it off, and use a straw to pop it open like a humanitarian Capri Sun.

Ralston's PR guy, Scott Conditt, demo'd the hydropack by pulling one out of a bucket of dirty and water. Surprisingly, it tasted pretty good, like a watered-down sports drink, and I didn't suffer any side effects later in the evening.

2. Emergency Food That Tastes Like Food: This was a bit of a shock. Both Helton Tool and Shelf Reliance were offering samples of their freeze-dried vegetables and fruits. While the food is designed to be rehydrated with water, you can actually pop it your mouth and eat them like broccoli/strawberry/etc. chips. And they tasted pretty much like they're supposed to. My reaction to eating a handful of dehydrated peaches could be summed up like this.

1. The Prototype NAX: Conditt says this is a "hatchet/ax/tomahawk/survival knife hybrid." Practically, it felt like a short machete with a spiked end. Conditt said that the NAX pictured above had just rolled out of one of GearUp's factories the day before and was still being tested. In fact, in a follow-up e-mail, he said that customers with big hands complained about their getting fingers stuck in the brass-knuckle portion. As a result, they're planning on redesigning the NAX to be less of a swollen-finger hazard.

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Ando Muneno
Contact: Ando Muneno