OPINION – Now that Black Friday’s mindless binge shopping has come and gone, it’s a good time to put some thought into Christmas gifts that require a little deeper contemplation.
As a person who long ago discovered the peace of mind and practicality of personal preparedness, I love to give gifts that promote a self-sufficient lifestyle. Unfortunately, there are relatively few people who have actually lived this lifestyle enough to recognize its benefits.
Water barrels, cases of food storage, and emergency medical supplies can be a little too overt for those who haven’t given much thought to prepping. Instead, I’d like to offer some ideas for emergency prep items that can be thinly disguised as Christmas presents.
As an aside, quality is king when it comes to preparedness items. It’s worth paying a bit more for items that will not break or fail at the worst possible moment. This is an investment in gear that should last for a good long time.
Sturdy, waterproof footwear is a great place to start. A pair of good quality hiking boots can make a world of difference in the event of an automotive breakdown far from civilization. They also provide a great excuse to get out and enjoy the remarkable hiking trails of Southern Utah.
Sleeping bags are another high priority preparedness item that can also be used purely for recreation as well. When traveling during the winter, having a warm sleeping bag in your vehicle promotes peace of mind should you find yourself stranded unexpectedly. The motorists who spent 12 hours stranded in the Gorge last year know all about this.
A high quality multitool made by Leatherman or Gerber can be worth its weight in gold when it comes to solving problems. With an assortment of screwdrivers, pliers, files, saw blades, knives, and even a can opener, having a multi-tool within reach is a good idea at any time.
Cast iron cookware may not sound like a preparedness item, but it’s very durable and simple to maintain whether you’re cooking over a modern stove, a wood stove, or a campfire. The Dutch ovens and pans you cook with today could still be in service with your grandchildren many years from now. Best of all, you don’t have to wait for an emergency to cook with them.
Solar cookers are another alternative means of cooking. Here in Southern Utah where we have around 300 sunny days each year, a solar oven or solar burner can be put to use even in the dead of winter. In an emergency where fuel is scarce or utilities disrupted, solar cooking is a viable option. My kids have had a lot of fun learning to cook with ours.
One final gift suggestion is a personal hydration system such as a Camelbak, along with a LifeStraw or other water microfilter. Clean water is essential to life. Having a means of purifying water and carrying it could make all the difference in an emergency situation.
Likewise, anyone who enjoys mountain biking, hiking, skiing, or any other form of outdoor adventure, will find their hydration system or water bottle useful anytime of the year.
The idea behind these gifts is not to turn someone into a full-blown survivalist, but to provide them with items that are practical, fun, and can also spark further interest in personal preparedness. The transformation to becoming more self-reliant often begins when something unexpected comes up and we discover that we’re actually prepared to meet it.
It can be something as simple as having access to an emergency source of light when the power goes off. Or having a proper first aid kit within reach when someone gets a cut. Knowing that you have options is empowering.
The person who is prepared, has a greater ability to chart his or her own course. For those of us who still value our autonomy, this is a far better option than taking orders from bureaucrats or depending upon the kindness of strangers in order to meet our basic needs.
The people who seem to have the strongest aversion to preparedness are the power seekers who recognize how it removes us from their direct control. This is why they tend to portray preppers as delusional, antisocial, or dangerous.
When we are capable of providing for ourselves and others the necessities that an increasingly corrupted system cannot or will not provide, we retain the power to withdraw our consent from those who would presume to rule us.
Helping others appreciate the liberating power of self-reliance is the type of gift that enhances our personal freedoms whether in good or bad times.
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Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and opinion writer in Southern Utah. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
Email: [email protected]
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