Survival tools, including water purifiers, fire starters, blankets, headlamps or Survival Straps, a product that puts 10 feet of 550-pound-test parachute cord into a bracelet, aren't the sexiest of items.
They're insurance policies that add weight to your pack and hardly ever are used.
But, when they are needed, they can be life saving.
It's foolish to enter the woods or wilderness without the 10 essentials. For about $24.95, it's not a bad idea to add Survival Straps to the never-leave-home-without-it list.
Survival Straps are made by a Florida company that donates half the proceeds to the Wounded Warrior Project, a veteran's support group.
The company's Website shares stories of people who have used the Survival Straps for a variety of uses from securing beer cans to a bumper after a wedding to bracing a broken leg.
One family reported using the Survival Straps as a collar for a puppy. Another person used the straps as a tourniquet for his leg after being ambushed while serving in Iraq. They were used to strap skis to a broken leg after a man tumbled down a cliff.
"Wear it, unravel it, survive it" is the product's motto.
Here's how it works: Survival Straps come in a variety of sizes and custom designs, but basically it's a bracelet or wrist band made of tightly laced cord. Stainless steel shackles are used as a clasp.
If needed, the user breaks a small plastic seal and unwinds as much cord as needed.
I put it to the test in my office where there was no wind, no rain, no sub-zero conditions.
Here's what I liked: This is a great addition to the 10 essentials on the trail, or for outdoor work -- including you heroes who serve in the military.
It's lightweight, highly portable and easy to find. Wearing it on your wrist means you don't have to search through a stuffed backpack to find it.
And, if you need to deploy the strap in an emergency, the company will replace the product for free. Just mail the opened strap back with a story about what happened.
I'm not going to return the one I opened, but I do want to share my experience.
It took me about five minutes to get the strap to deploy. I admit I hadn't read the instructions, but then I'm not sure I'd remember the instructions if I was out on the trail or in the field with an emergency.
It doesn't unravel on it's own. You need to untie knots, which could be tough in a downpour or in the cold.
Still, this will replace the coil of line I used to bring with me in my survival kit. It's much smaller and lighter, and it's for a good cause.
Plus, it's available in about 1,000 color combinations. Yes, they do come in sport's teams colors, so the purple and gold of the Huskies is available. So, of course, is Oregon's green and yellow.
Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3447; email@example.com.
Buy the Survival Strap at www.survivalstraps.com or 800-971-3360.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the length of the parachute cord in the bracelet.
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