Perspectives: Give gifts that promote preparedness

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: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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19 Comments

  • modigliani December 8, 2014 at 9:42 am

    This is an interesting article (despite the unpleasant photo that accompanies it and has the feel of war), and I was tracking all the way until I got to this paragraph:

    “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.”

    Suddenly an article about useful items veered off into an insulting and defensive political statement about “us” and “them.” People may be averse to “preparedness” for many reasons, Mr. Hyde, and they are not necessarily power seekers who want to control you. You’re really not that important in the big picture. Most people are more interested in controlling their own lives and destinies, so please get off the high horse and stop adding this kind of inflammatory statement where it doesn’t belong.

    This is journalism at its worst.

    • Joe Smith December 8, 2014 at 11:07 am

      And the worst part of the joke is that they let this Hyde character blather on and on on the radio…

      • modigliani December 8, 2014 at 12:55 pm

        Joe – maybe the worst part is that so many people around here listen to him. It’s the arrogance that that blows me away.

    • The Rest Of The Story December 8, 2014 at 11:19 am

      People like him and his ilk represent humanity at its worst. So why are you surprised?

      • modigliani December 8, 2014 at 12:58 pm

        You’re right, Rest…I guess I continue to be a cock-eyed optimist. It’s a shame he’s allowed so much latitude in the local press. Is there any other source of real news around here?

        • The Rest Of The Story December 8, 2014 at 7:51 pm

          The Independent is pretty good.

  • Joe Smith December 8, 2014 at 10:40 am

    One of the best gifts you can give is to help someone find a good hiding place for their guns for when Obama comes to take them…

  • Emily December 8, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Very useful, possibly life-saving information here. It wouldn’t hurt us to move away from the glitz and glamour, and electronic thrills and think about being a little more independent. Thank you Bryan

  • Koolaid December 8, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Psssssst! Hey! Obama is gonna take yer gunz!

    • Dubya December 8, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      He also wants your republican voting card too

  • Roy J December 8, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    I am going to agree with Modigliani on this one; it’s all well and good to celebrate the birth of Jesus by giving gifts to friends and family, and if Bryan wants to give ’em camping gear and snake bite kits, wonderful. But I think we should draw the line at using Christmas to spread awareness of Armageddon, or to invite the neighbors to come dance around an Apocalypse tree. Plenty of time to do that all the rest of the year round.

    • Joe Smith December 8, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      Well nothing spreads the joy of Xmas more than a gas mask, an ak47, and 10,000 rounds of ammo. But you better hide it all when Obama comes to steal the guns!

    • Zonkerb December 8, 2014 at 2:17 pm

      Sorry Roy… But this is a no dancing zone

    • Koolaid December 8, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      Invite the neighbors over to drink the koolaid.

  • Joanna December 8, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Ahhhh, no one sucks the fun right out of a holiday like good ol’ Perspectives Guy. I can see his children opening their gifts, halfheartedly saying “Geeeee, thanks Dad for the foil emergency blanket. That’ll be really handy if I ever get stranded and need to bake a potato. Much better than an Xbox…Yaaaay…”

    • modigliani December 8, 2014 at 4:52 pm

      LOL, Joanna…and MREs are so much better than candy canes…

    • Joe Smith December 9, 2014 at 5:40 am

      Perspectives Guy doesn’t seem real bright to me

  • Mr Rogers December 9, 2014 at 3:14 am

    Hello boys and girls. can you say armored piercing rounds and lock and load and anti tank rocket launcher and say…. one step closer and I’ll blow ya to smithereens

  • Delong December 9, 2014 at 8:48 am

    There’s nothing wrong with preparing for the worst but why make this political?

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