Kyle J. Steenblik

PrepperCon was Great for New Gear

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PrepperCon was held in Salt Lake City this past weekend, and we had a chance to attend.  As one that is a mild camper, and whose idea of survival is a Cliff bar and a bottle of water and a place to sit down and charge my phone in a convention center, I was anticipating learning a great deal.  There was a great deal of education at every booth, and from the guest speakers.  I could have very easily sat and listened to each guest, but I would have missed the abundance of new and useful survival and camping gear, and the companies and products that will allow your home to become more self-sufficient.  I tried to visit every booth, listen to every pitch, and watch every product demonstration I could, and quite honestly, it took a great deal of personal restraint to not max out all my credit cards.

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Bodily Defense: They had a wide variety of flashlight and stun gun combinations.  Most were easily rechargeable, and the staff at the booth were knowledgeable and friendly while the products all appeared to be extremely high quality and easy to use.  I did not test the stun guns on myself, and no one nearby volunteered, so I can only assume they work as advertised.

MMA Archery:  These guys were a lot of fun; they were selling handmade toy archery sets for kids.  My kids had a blast trying these out.  The bows were made from half a PVC pipe, and the “arrows” had friendly foam tips.  They were easy to shoot, and would be extremely safe for any kids to play with, without risk of injury.

Instafire:  This stuff was very cool.  It is easy lighting, wind resistant, water resistant, self-extinguishing, buoyant, and as safe as a candle.  It will light and burn floating on water, it can sit on top of snow and not melt the snow while it burns.  It does all this while not containing any harmful chemicals.  It is one thing that will be going into my camping and emergency supplies.

LuminAID: This was an inflatable, solar charged LED lantern.  When deflated it is compact enough for any emergency or first aid kit.  With a full 7 hours of charging, it can provide up to 18 hours of light.  The whole unit is self contained, and completely waterproof, and obviously when inflated it is buoyant as well.  This is also one for my camping and emergency supply kit, probably going to put a few in the car as well.

Grub Hub: This mobile camping kitchen was incredible.  The design was compact but completely useable.  Frame was all aluminum, and the bags were durable weatherproofed canvas.  Folded and packed it weighed less than 50 pounds, was easy to pick up and carry if the terrain was too rough for the built in wheels to roll.  I wouldn’t call it practical for light camping, but I could easily see this becoming an essential kitchen for most campers.  I’m seriously considering picking one of these up for my next campout.

Motoped: These bikes are cool.  There is no better way to describe these motorized bicycles.  Especially the black-ops bike, if you cannot see why everyone will want one of these I cannot help you.  With an average speed of 25 MPH and a motorized fuel economy of 90-110 MPG, with the fuel capacity of the Black-Ops model, you have a range of up to 500 miles before running out of fuel and having to peddle.IMG_20150502_115913

Pen Blade Knife: This may be one of my favorite highly practical products on display at this convention.  Pen Blade is a disposable, retractable scalpel.  With an x-acto type blade, these are good for any crafting activities, household cutting, or life-saving first aid.  They come in three blade sizes, and come in sterile packaging, at a cost of about $1 each.  You can find them on Facebook as well.  These will be going into every first aid kit I have, and craft supply drawer, and probably in my camera bags as well.

Haywire Klamper:  This field repair tool is a little difficult to describe.  It allows you to take wire and use its tensile strength to bind and clamp objects together.  With this tool, and some wire you could easily repair a splitting or broken fencepost, or tent pole.  The clamp only weighs a few ounces, and is small enough to allow you to work in very tight places.  I tried this out and it only takes a few tries to get the hang of using.  It is one of the most versatile survival tools I have seen, one that could easily see daily use around any house.  It will find its way into my survival kit, camping gear, and toolbox.

Day One Response:  These guys had one of the best water purification and filtration systems I had seen, and there were quite a few at the convention.  The water bag was designed to work with a disinfectant and binding agent that bonds with particulate matter cleaning the water by killing parasites and bacteria and making the particulate matter dense enough to sink the bottom of the bag.  This takes about 30 minutes.  Once the sediment has sunk to the bottom the water would be safe to drink, but their system has an additional filter built in to ensure the water coming out is free of any residual contaminant.  It is a product that is being used for disaster relief, and in countries that have chronic problems obtaining clean drinking water.  This one product would be immeasurably valuable in any survival situation.

Great Basin K9 Search and Rescue(GB K9 SAR) is a non-profit 501 (c) (3), volunteer organization based in Ogden Utah with members in the Ogden Valley, and Morgan and Summit Counties.   They were on hand to offer some practical camping and hiking advice, to educate the public on the invaluable service these dogs offer, and to ask the public for support.  If you can donate, you should, these are incredible people and incredible animals.  A few pieces of advice they gave, for parents, if you take your kids camping or hiking, use your phone to take a picture of your kids next to a picnic table.  This way there is a visual size reference, and a record of what they are currently wearing.  Also, take a picture of their footprints.  These two things can help show any rescue worker, or volunteer what to look for if your children become lost.

Some booths I did not have a chance to spend much time but felt they were worth mentioning nonetheless because I liked the ideas they had, or the products they were promoting.IMG_20150502_115705

Intermountain Vertical Gardens is devoted to bringing a new perspective to personal gardening and to give cutting edge solutions for organic herbs and produce in the urban setting.

Square Foot Gardening A simple system that adapts to all levels of experience, physical ability, and geographical location.  Grow all you want and need in only 20% of the space of a conventional row garden.

Harvest Right had Geodesic Dome portable shelters on display.

Live Life Survival: Offers Wilderness Survival Courses.

Primus Wind Power: Wind powered turbines that can offer portable power.

Solaroo Solar Energy is a company based out of South Jordan, so they are local, and they will help install solar panels on your home to lower your carbon footprint, your energy bill, and dependence on the power grid.  If you own a home in Utah this is very much worth looking into.

You can check out the PrepperCon website for a full list of all the vendors and guest that were present for more information.

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