Survival Gear: Field Tested & Rated in Alaska

First off, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself, and when possible test gear prior to going to the field so you know how to use survival gear before you actually need it in a survival situation.

LifeStraw Water Bottle

Besides having bottled water and H2O purification tablets, I also had my Lifestraw water bottle with me wherever I traveled in Alaska.

I used it on almost every river I fished in Alaska as well as lakes in the arctic. Other than a little silt in the water bottle from various rivers (they were very silty) the water was clean, clear, cold and safe to drink.

Field Survival Rating: worked like a charm, didn’t get sick. water tasted great. see video at end of post.

field testing lifestraw in Denali

Bear Spray

Fortunately I didn’t have to use the bear spray. But I had it with me whenever I was out in the wilderness along with a whistle, which is used when in the woods to alert a bear that you are there.

Field Survival Rating: better to have and not need it, then need it and not have it.


I carry a fire starter in my EDC kit, as well as my first aid kit and other gear bags. I always use it to start a campfire or a fire pit.

Field Survival Rating: easy to use and makes a good fire.

campfire in Talkeetna

Garmin inReach Explorer +

This was either clipped to by belt or to my backpack and never left my side. I used it to track my travels, create waypoints on hikes but more importantly to send real time GPS updates to my wife and family, plus two emergency contacts.

I would share my start location and time and the Garmin would automatically update it live on my mapshare. It also served as a SOS device, in case it was needed, which it wasn’t.

Field Survival Rating: never go out in the field or off-grid without it!

Compass / Analogue Watch

I always have a compass with me when in the field, and I always have an analogue watch, which can be used very effectively as a compass. Pictured below is my Rolex Explorer II and using it as a compass in a bush plane on the left and on glacier on the right. (see video on how to use a watch as a compass here).

Field Survival Rating: compass is like the bear spray, better to have and not need it then need it and not have it

Buck Knife

There are a lot of knives I could have taken to Alaska including my Buck 110 folder, my Gerber Strongarm tactical survival knife, my Marine K-bar, or any number of other knives I own. I decided to travel light and have the best gear suited for the job.

I took a Swiss Army Huntsman knife for everyday stuff, a multitool for light work, and this Buck Vanguard hunter as an all around field knife.

I used it to cut rope, wedge out a rock and to make sandwiches.

Field Survival Rating: did the job well from cutting rope to slicing tomatoes.

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