The Unexpected Benefits of a Bullet Proof Vest

As any good Survivalist understands the art of survival lies in preparation. This can mean learning and understanding a variety of new concepts, training your body and improving your fitness, or collecting useful equipment. All of this is vital to survival, as it will set you in far better standing in any potentially hazardous situation. As part of this preparation, you will likely find yourself learning about interesting new ideas and products, as well as learning skills you may not have considered before in the past. One such example is body armor, which far too few know anything about. However, a bullet proof vest, for example, can be of great benefit to any Survivalist, in many different situations.

The first thing to understand, however, is what exactly body armor is. The term ‘body armor’ can refer to many different products, all of which have different advantages and disadvantages and can offer you protection against different threats. The most common example of body armor is a bullet proof vest, which naturally offers protection against bullets. It can also offer protection against any number of attacks, however, thanks to the materials used in the vest.

The soft Kevlar used in most bullet proof vests is capable of absorbing and dispelling large amounts of energy, which is what allows it to stop bullets. This also means that it will mitigate some of the impact of any attack, and in transportation accidents in particular bullet proof vests have proven to be useful in preventing otherwise fatal injuries. This is one of the reasons why body armor is a useful piece of equipment for Survivalists, as it provides easy protection against a variety of threats.

Indeed, one of the major benefits of body armor is that it is far more accessible than ever. As the industry develops, armor is increasingly becoming thinner and lighter than ever, meaning even high grade protection can be worn comfortably for extended periods. This means that you can wear a vest in almost any environment without being hindered in terms of movement or comfort.

Similarly, almost all armor is available in both covert and overt styles, meaning it can be worn underneath or over clothing respectively. Covert armor is of particular use to most, as it can be worn underneath clothing. This means that you can wear a vest anywhere, allowing you to be prepared for the worst no matter where you are. Moreover, some manufacturers provide covert vests that utilize materials specifically designed to help keep the wearer cool, making it exceptionally comfortable.

Of course, it is not only ballistics that you will need protection against, particularly if you do find yourself in a post-societal environment. While bullet proof vests can, as we have seen, mitigate the damage caused by a number of things, it cannot stop edged or spiked weapons. This means that anything with a sharp edge or a spiked point can still cause you serious injuries even when wearing a bullet proof vest.

Stab or spike proof vests will often still have some ballistic protection, because of the protective capabilities outlined above. However, they will also use additional materials like chainmail and plastic laminate that can provide a tough surface to stop weapons like knives and needles. One of the surprising benefits of this is that a stab or spike proof vest can help protect against animal attacks, helping defend against teeth and claws.

As you can see, body armor is a useful and easily accessible item that can greatly benefit anyone. However, for those who pride themselves on being prepared and ready to face the unexpected, a protective vest can provide numerous benefits in a comfortable package, and should be considered by anyone who expects to face injury.

The Value of a Tactical Vest

There is no denying it, tactical vests look cool. I mean, we’ve all grown up watching movies where the action star wears one of these like a uniform. In the sense that we all want to be Jack Bauer, we want to wear tactical vests, because they look cool, so they will make us look cool, they are tacticool. But is there also a point?
I was sent an Omega Elite Tactical Vest from to review (and they have a good selection of others if you don’t like this particular style, so check them out). The tactical vest comes with a variety of pockets for magazines, flashlights, the one I got even has an integral handgun holster. If all the pockets were preloaded it might come in handy in an emergency situation, you can quickly slip it on and have everything you might need with you. The material is very heavy duty, but of course, it isn’t kevlar, and I’m not sure this would fit over my kevlar vest, I guess I should have asked for a size larger. However I do think it would be helpful against sharp or blunt weapons, or fists. The back is a very large pocket accessible on the inside that you could load body armor into I believe, but no such option exists for the front.

The fit is good, the size 26 fits me snugly with my 42″ chest and 32 inch waist. I’m 6’5 and it rests at the top of my hip bones with belt looks available to holding it down to attach to a belt, though I do not detect it wanting to ride up at all.

I could see keeping a vest like this, all read to go, in your home or truck for emergencies, but in my
opinion the greatest value for it is that it can be readily adapted to look as though it is a uniform. There is a velcro location on the front right pocket for a name or other sort of identification strip. There is no location on the back though I would add a patch. Because you see, I believe the primary value in this sort of thing is reducing the chance of friendly fire. It is illegal, of course, to pretend to be a police officer, but there is nothing illegal about calling yourself security. So I would deck this out with “Security” patches on front and back. Those, combined with the vest, should give just enough pause to hopefully prevent you being shot by a good guy should you in an incident where you have to use a firearm for self defense. That, the uniform nature of the vest, is what I see as the true value in this products.

Now sure, in a straight up TEOTWAWKI event, where you might be wearing this day in and day out, the value of this sort of item is obvious, but what are the odds of that happening? I think the odds of a temporary emergency, while also slim, are much more likely, and in those situations the last thing you’d want is to be mistaken for a bad guy. Functional suggestion of a uniform might be useful in those situations.

LifeStaw GO

I’ve seen it called the “Must Have Survival Gear of 2014″ the LifeStraw Go is, in my opinion, making a strong case to be included in any survival kit.

In the 17 survival situations I have been in… just kidding, but how often in the shows (that yes, are often scripted or manipulated) on TV do you remember someone eating water they shouldn’t, or being forced to make that decision? The human body can only survive 3 days without water, water aids should be the a primary focus of any survival kit. You should always include a sheet of plastic so you can make a solar still or collect rain water if possible, and you should always include a water purification method, be it a tablet or a filter.
LifeStraw Go
So LifeStraw Go is a self filtering water bottle. You fill it up with the most rank stagnant water you can find, and then just drink, your suction action pulls the water through the filter, or straw, and it cleans it.

I’ve seen of course filtering straws before, and that makes sense as a survival gear item, but what happens when you need to walk away from the source of water? A vessel to carry water is always a good idea, this kills two birds with one stone.

The bottle itself is made of “BPA-Free Tritan” if you care. Personally, I don’t. The Europeans have even so far declined to ban BPA, and they ban everything. It seems pretty strong. I’d prefer an aluminum bottle, or stainless steel, because then you also have a cooking vessel (everything in a survival kit should be a multitasker!) Maybe next year.

The hard date. This thing will filter down to 0.2 microns, they say it’ll get rid of 99.9999% of waterborne bacterial and 99.9% of waterborne protozoa, in addition to particulate matter of course. The filter is good for 1,000 liters or 264 gallons. It clocks in at 6.7 ounces empty and includes a sturdy carabiner to latch it into belt or backpack. Theoretically you could construct a survival kit to fit inside of it and have a nice sturdy package. It holds 22oz when full, and promises to filter the following bad guys (among others): e.coli, campylobacter, vibrio cholera, pseudomonas aeruginosa, shigella, salmonella, giardia lamblia (beaver feaver), cryptosporidium parvum, entamoeba histolytica.

Originally developed to save lives after natural disasters (like you could parachute a bunch in to an area hit by a natural disaster – like after the Haiti earthquake I think more people died from disease than houses falling on them) the company wishes to continue to give back, so for every one of these you buy one school child in Africa gets clean water for a year (they say).

When hiking/camping you probably need a water bottle anyways? You could use this (though, if you do have clean water, you’re eating into the 256 gallon lifetime limit), and if you’re putting a survival kit together, you need a water proof container to pack it in, why not this? They sent me one for free of course, but I’ll definitely be clipping it on my belt when I hit the trail. Water is something you definitely can’t live without, and this will vastly increase your hydration options. LifeStraw Go is available from

Book Review: The Weekend Homesteader

The Weekend HomesteaderThe Weekend Homestead by Anna Hess is a compendium of a variety of homesteading tips, tricks, and tasks. It is arranged, in a relatively unique fashion, by month of the year. Though obviously some tasks can be done at times other than where they’re listed, and it isn’t applicable for all climates.

Ms. Hess is a blogger and I congratulate her on a book deal but ultimately I feel as though the book feels like a blog given physical form. She touches on a wide variety of topics, and if you were a complete neophyte to self sufficiency or homesteading I might recommend it, but the book tends to be a jack of all trades and a master of none. On most topics it goes into little depth. I found it about as fulfilling as an article at eHow. Chances are, if you pick up the book, you already know the shallow information about all these topics and what you really need is depth, but depth is not provided.

Sometimes she goes off on tangents about budgeting or finances, and while the advice might work for her, it isn’t as universal as she may have made it seem. She blurs the line between fact and opinion on those topics somewhat, and comes off as less of an expert. When she sticks to her knitting, homesteading, she does better.

All told, the book feels like a bunch of blog posts printed out and stapled together. Rather than buy a book one could just read a blog or participate in a forum community. Beginners looking for a simple read to familiarize themselves with a wide variety of topics quicky would do well to get the book, most others I think can pass.

SafeGuard’s Stealth Body Armor Kevlar Vest Review

Body armor, aka a bullet proof vest, is something you probably don’t need, probably. But if you did suddenly need it you’re not likely to want to be without it.

Stealth Vest

You don’t necessarily need someone who wants to kill you to need it.  Many people who need bullet proof vest for their work will be issued it by their employer, but not all. Your employer may feel your life isn’t at risk but you simply may not agree. Professionals such as lawyers and doctors can be threatened. Lawyers who defend criminals make obvious targets, but I have known doctors in city hospitals to find themselves in the middle of gang fights that can spill over into the ER after wounded from the first round at taken there, not to mention psychiatrists who work with the mentally unstable or anyone who might have narcotics store in his office.  People who regularly care for or transport valuables such as jeweler or gold assayer may also feel the need, or someone who works in a pawnshop.

Outside of work I think it’d make sense to wear a vest when hunting. People die every year from hunting accidents, it absolutely cannot hurt. I also think, next to a locked shotgun, we could also stand to have a bullet proof vest in every school. A lunatic gunman could strike anywhere, and we can’t go through life being paranoid, but this is relatively cheap insurance. Even if you worked in an office, having one beneath your seat in your cubicle could save your life one day. Remember too it doesn’t just stop bullets, but also knives and other sharp projectiles, which could strike you out of malice or the result even of just an accident. If you work in any sort of dangerous job where you wear a hard hat, a lightweight vest might be called for.

Of course, if you’re here reading this you likely have already come up with a reason why you’d want a vest.

Safeguard’s stealth vest weighs in at 5 pounds and I found it very light and comfortable to wear. I got a size large, and am 6’5 with a 42″ chest and 31″ waist, it fit me fine around. The protection completely covered my rib cage though it ended at my bottom rib, leaving my belly and lower back bare. I’ve worn chainmail armor as a costume at time and that clocks in at 30 pounds, so in contrast this 5 pound vest was barely noticeable.

SafeGuard’s stealth line is meant to be, well, stealthy, meaning you can easily hide it under clothes, and I definitely noticed this to be the case here. There isn’t much padding up around the shoulders so it doesn’t look bulky under even a button down shirt. At most it will make your chest look a little larger, which isn’t a bad thing certainly.

Stealth Vest Construction Detail

Of course, the ultimate review is on how it works. So I put an ad for a volunteer on craigslist. No one responded, I cannot imagine why. I’d love to be able to tell you that I was wearing this and it stopped a 9mm bullet and saved my life, but I can’t. I suppose I could deck a watermelon man out and go out and ruin it but that wouldn’t be a good test. Kevlar works on a body, and not by stopping damage, but by stopping penetration, you’ll still get blunt force trauma as it hit by a baseball bat. So the watermelons would get destroyed. I lack the sort of ballistics dummies needed to do a real test, and I don’t think I’d want to mess up the nice vest I got anyways. So, for now, I think we’ll have to take it on faith that the kevlar inside will work.

Depending on size and selections it is available for about $500 direct from the manufacturer.

Independent reviews of products in the survival, prepping, homesteading, outdoors, gardening realms.