Tag Archives: EDC

BOBs and INCHes and GHBs, oh my

“Everybody” knows about the “Bug Out Bag”, or BOB.  And many people use the term inaccurately.  There are actually several “flavors” of emergency kits which are not quite interchangeable; I attempted to differentiate between them here:




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Every Day Carry (EDC) for Life (and Survival)

Pretty much every person carries stuff with them “every day”.  These are generally things which are important to the person’s life.  Some of these things can, or perhaps should, have application during an emergency situation as well.  For some ideas on what to have with you, see:



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Ganzo Knives Update

I’m pretty stoked about this brand with pretty decent quality at a very low price, so I did some more research into the whole line, or at least what appears to be the premium folding knife line.  The results are here:






I think I have all the “best” (by my standards and for my purposes) models except one.  Come on, next big sale!  Oh, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for interesting new models.  And maybe their knife sharpeners will become available in the States or through my Ganzo supplier, Gearbest.com



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Ganzo Folding Knives

I’m a big fan of folding pocket knives.  I don’t know how I could get through the day without one in my pocket to clean fingernails, open packages,  dig mud out of my shoe cleats, sharpen pencils, scrape off labels and a myriad of other tasks.  Plus, in an emergency, they provide a reasonably competent means of performing survival tasks.

I insist on being able to open and close my pocket knife with one hand.  Either hand.  Because of this, to my mind, the Benchmade Griptilian with its Axis lock is one of the better everyday carry (EDC) pocket knives with survival potential.  Not perfect, of course, and one problem is the price.  It is not unthinkable for a one time purchase, but since I excel at losing stuff, I am uncomfortable lugging around a $100 or more knife every day.

A Chinese company, Guanzhu Hardware or “Ganzo” makes a line of knives with the Axis lock or an equivalent, and their prices are a quarter of Benchmade prices and less.  Are they as good?  On an absolute scale, not really, but they do give you a significantly bigger bang for each buck than does Benchmade.  And they can be lost, worn or gummed up without causing as much depression.

For my in depth review of a couple of Ganzo models, see here:   http://survivallife.com/2015/12/07/ganzo-g720-and-g717-folding-knives/

Being much impressed with these two models, I searched my Ganzo supplier,  GearBest.com  for other Ganzo models of interest.  Why do I get my Ganzo products from them?  The product line is not generally available in the U.S., although you can usually get most of them from eBay or Amazon.  GearBest is significantly cheaper,  seems to have most of the top end line (G7xx), and  offers free shipping.  Plus they were very helpful to me in my Ganzo investigations.

I went through all 27 models they offer at this time.  There are four “switchblade” models which I ignored, since they are illegal to carry some places I go, but more importantly, I can open a “regular” knife just as quickly and easily, with more safety and reliability.  Also ignored were six models made with steel other than 440C or which do not specify what the steel is.  They might be fine, but I know how good 440C can be, so why risk anything less?  There is one model I crossed off because it seems like the liners extend past the grip; it looks just too weird, with potential of being uncomfortable or at enhanced risk of damage.  Of the remaining models, four have liner locks.  Now, the liner lock is a very good, very strong lock, and usually easy to close one handed with the right hand, but is a bit harder to close one handed with the left hand.  I wouldn’t refuse to consider a liner lock, but I prefer the Axis lock.   Four other models appear to have a significant “false edge”, which in my opinion weakens the tip too much for reliable survival use, and I’m always aware that “everyday” can become “survival” without warning.




I have the G717 and G720 and know all about them from doing the article linked to above.  Of the remaining models, the G710 looked like it might be “better” for every day carry although the blade shape is less ideal for some survival tasks, and the G724M seemed to be a smaller/lighter version of the G720, potentially a substitute for when wearing lightweight/dress clothing.    After receiving these two models, I found that both had the same quality of construction, steel and sharpness as the G717 and G720 reviewed.  In my opinion, the G724M is a great choice for EDC, with all the good points of the G720, while being smaller and lighter, and with a slightly better blade shape.   The G710 is nice too, but the non-standard blade shape (sort of an enhanced spey blade), while quite useful for most EDC tasks, is not optimal for some survival tasks.  Plus, it has the stud right next to the grip, like the G717, so it takes a bit more precision to open.  Fortunately, the lock studs on both these models extend slightly above the grips, so closing them are as easy as closing the G720.


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G735 (stock photos)

One model I missed my first time through is the G735.  Again, a blade shape better for EDC than for survival, but it also boasts a “hook” blade (seat belt/cord cutter) and a “bottle opener” which looks more like it is a can opener.  The G729 and G7291 are similar to a Spyderco model I like almost as well as the Benchmade Griptilian; the main difference between these two models seems to be that the G7291 has a slightly longer, slightly narrower blade.  And finally there is the G716 model which looks nice, but is borderline because the grip panels seem to be as aggressively grooved as those on the G717 (or even more so), and that model was hard enough to clip onto and draw from the pocket.   Note that the G716 is the only high-end Ganzo model which offers a partially serrated blade option.  Serrations have some utility in an every day carry knife, but I’m not a fan of them for a (primary) survival knife.



G7291 (stock photo)

I could probably manage to do without a G7291 and a G716, but since I “must” have a G735, looks like another order is needed.  Hopefully the big GearBest holiday sales are still on…


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G716 (stock photos)







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Folding knives for survival





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Yet another Survival Flashlight Update

A while back, I wrote about the Olight “Baton” or “S-series” line of pocket flashlights  (http://wp.me/p3TYmc-n2).  They have updated the line again, coming out with the S10R, S15R and S20R.  These seem to have the same specs as the previous models; the “R” indicates they are rechargeable.  Since the specs are the same, should you replace the old ones?  I’m not going to, but if I did not already have one of each model (or had infinite funds), I’d be eager to try these.

What do you get in the “R” version?  A glow in the dark ring around the lens.  I’m not sure how useful this is, and it might be a problem if you needed the light to be completely dark for stealth purposes.  Next, all models have the low battery indicator in the switch.  This could be handy, although the old S20 model which claims to have this feature has never indicated “battery low” for me, even though I ran the batteries dry once.  Also, a different brand of light I have drains the battery when off thanks to this feature; they had to send out new end caps without this feature to existing customers.  I have not had this problem with the old S20, but whether it is because they have a better circuit, or the function is not really included or is broken in my light, I don’t know.

The lights now come with rechargeable batteries, which is handy.  But the real advancement is a new charging dock.  Now you don’t have to take out the battery and put it in a separate charger.  Just stick the light, using the built in magnet, to the new charging dock, and recharging occurs.

Are there better (pocket sized) lights out there than the Olight S series?  Not that I know of.  If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

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Survival Flashlight update

A while back, we discussed the importance of always having access to a flashlight of some kind (http://wp.me/p3TYmc-1l).  Unfortunately, I managed to lose my Fenix PD32, and finding a replacement (at a reasonable cost) is proving to be a challenge.  In the meantime, I’ve discovered a real challenger, the Olight “Baton” line.

The Fenix showed some minor disadvantages over time.  It is controlled by two switches, which are fairly easy to handle; however, the selection switch is on the side, which tends to get pressed accidentally a lot.  This was only a minor annoyance, as the only impact was an easily corrected “wrong” illumination level.  I carried it clipped in my front pocket and often found it turned on in there.  Thus I started unscrewing the end cap a quarter turn which solved the problem of unintentional activation, but then it took two hands to turn it on.  This was somewhat more annoying.  It is a bit disturbing that the light “fell out” of the pocket, possibly during when I tripped and fell.  Still, I’m looking for a good sale in order to replace it.

But detesting being “lightless”, I searched for an interim replacement, and Olight came to my attention.  They seem to be brighter than equivalent Fenix lights, and their lowest levels, being much dimmer, last a lot longer.  They are less expensive than the Fenix, or at least are more commonly on sale at this point in time.  Most interestingly, they are operated by one button, which includes a “lock” function to prevent (or at least greatly reduce the chances of) the light from being turned on accidentally.

The premium flashlight companies, such as Fenix and Olight, seem to have a wide variety of lights for various purposes.  This means that you have to be careful when selecting a model.  For instance, the Fenix PD32 is a very good light for survival/emergency usage, while the more available PD35 which appears to be “the same” actually seems a poorer choice in this instance, being brighter but with a lesser run time.  Same with the PD32 UE (Ultimate Edition) which is nearly three times as bright as the standard PD32 with lesser run time.  Also, the LED used seems to be of importance.  One version of the PD32 uses a “S2” LED, which is alleged to have some problems with the color stability, where as the “R5” LED seems to have good reviews.

In the Olight line, the S10 (single CR123), S15 (single AA) and S20 (dual CR123/18650) seem the best choices for our purposes.

Another thing to be careful of is that the companies seem to come out with a new version every so often.  If you go on eBay and look for one of these, you’ll see a wide selection of lumens advertised for the “same” model.  When shopping, make sure you know which is the “latest” version, and go for the one which gives you the best brightness/run time combinations, or if going for an older model with adequate specs, make sure you get a good discount.

My first Olight was a S10 with maximum level of 400 lumens and a “moonlight” mode of .5 lumen which can go for 15 days straight.  This is a tiny little thing, almost too small to handle easily, but it sure does carry like a dream.  The single button control takes a bit of getting used to, but is very usable once you get used to it.  The clip seems excellent and secure, but does position the lens upwards, which means that it gets dusty quickly.  There is a removable magnet in the end cap, which allows the light to cling to any ferrous (iron) surface.  My only complaint is that after a while it started to be difficult to turn on or keep turned on.  Possibly the battery (an old one I had kicking around for years) got weak; a new battery seems to have cleared up this problem.

With the success of the S10, I went searching for a good price on the 2 CR123 version, the S20.  This would be a direct competitor to my beloved PD32.  It has a maximum level of 550 lumens, and the moonlight mode goes for 25 days (600 hours).  It has all the other features of the S10, PLUS it allegedly lets you know when the batteries are done for, which the S10 does not (except possibly by not working reliably…).  In a single AA light, the S15 looks like a good choice, offering 280 lumens and 15 day moonlight mode in a small package (a significant improvement over my Fenix LD12).  An extension tube is available to allow usage of 2 AA batteries; the advantages seem to be limited to an extended run time and perhaps making it a bit easier to hold onto during use.

Again, for the S20, I use an 18650 LI rechargeable battery for everyday use, swapping them out every so often, and have new CR123 battery pairs in my various survival kits.  Note that there are a wide range of 18650 batteries.  2600mah (milli-amp hours, an indication of how much current the battery can supply, for how long) seems to be common.  I’ve found 3100mah and 3400mah from reputable companies, and even greater capacities (up to 5600mah) from “unknown” companies.  I would suggest going with a known reliable battery company, even if the advertised capacity is less, since there is a rumor that these Lithium Ion batteries have been known to catch fire while charging, and in my experience with no-name “ultra-high capacity” AA cells, they don’t seem to last that much longer AND seem to self discharge much quicker.  Will 18650 ultra-high capacity cells have the same problems?  I don’t know, but certainly won’t trust them until I put them through extensive testing.

Update:  S20 has been in use for a while now, and I like it a lot for EDC.  The “lock” function reduces, but does not eliminate, the light turning on in the pocket.  As it faces upwards, you can spot it being on sooner.  I have not run it down to the point where I can evaluate the “power low” function yet.  The magnet in the base has come in handy a few times.  Meanwhile, the original S10 has been relegated to backup, for when even the relatively small S20 is “too big” to carry or if I lose it, too.  The S15 with extension tube (for 2 AA cells) is my “workroom” flashlight at the moment.  Without the extension tube, it beats out the Fenix LD12 single AA in brightness and run time, but I have not replaced the LD12 in my kit.  The S15 may be a better “flashlight”, but the LD12 has two pluses the Olight does not:  1) it flashes “S-O-S”, and 2) it comes with a belt case and that is how the light is carried in my kit; in its belt case attached to the Molle straps on the outside of the kit pouch.



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