Hunters tote three tiers of gear afield. Everyday-use items—binoculars, spotting scope, flashlight, spare clothing, calls, cell phone, and food and drink for the day—are first tier items: stuff necessary for getting in and out of the field and keeping you comfortable while you’re there.
Second-tier selections, while perhaps not daily-use, are items that hunters hope to use: digital camera, knife and sharpener, game bags, deer drag, pack boards, or a small block and tackle. These items are for documenting, processing, and removing the animals we’ve successfully killed.
Third-tier—but not third-string—items may ride along for years without a single use, and because of that it is very tempting to leave them at home. These are survival supplies, and frankly, if I never again needed to use a first aid kit, space blanket, spare batteries, emergency fire starting supplies, compass, spare food and drink, rain poncho, or my spare kidney, I would be ecstatic. That would mean that I’m doing fine. However, I sure as hell won’t tempt fate. Nor should you.
SOL (Survive Outdoors Longer) recently introduced a palm-sized savior ideal for when —not if—the shit hits the fan. Called the Origin, it is six ounces of security in a compact, clever, and waterproof ABS-plastic package designed to house only the essential survival tools. Perched on top of the Origin is a swing-open signal mirror visible up to 20 miles away. Flip it over, and three removable pieces are tucked into the case’s body. The first two are the Fire Lite sparker, able to produce over 5,000 sparks, and the quarter-sized button compass. The third item tucked in is a folding knife integrated with a whistle and a simple LED flashlight, because cutting needs don’t cease at dusk.
The rest of the goodies are housed inside the main compartment, where fire tinder, 150-pound test cord, stainless steel wire, foil material for reflecting heat, and an emergency sewing and fishing kit reside. Also included is a foldout with 62+ life-saving tools and techniques by a ruggedly bearded Buck Tilton (thank God they chose a real-deal dude—not Bear Grylls—and for that we thank them) with great information to assist in a survival situation.
While the Origin can’t replace our greatest survival tool—our brain—it’s great to have on hand when something goes wrong. It’s also great fallback for your lost, forgotten, or broken tools in the field. A spare knife never hurt, especially if you’re boning out a bull elk with no sharpener. Spare cord? Dead flashlight? Broken lighter? The list goes on. Bottom line: The Origin is a tiny piece of gear that will pay big dividends in a nasty situation.