This is the Gentleman’s Handbook, a recurring series on situational awareness, preparation and etiquette for the modern man. This month: Winter Survival.
Even the man who has everything might be lacking in one department: having everything he needs to survive the year’s least survivable season.
Don’t worry, this isn’t some feel-good homily on love and winter and priorities. This is about ice axes. Avalanches kits. First-aid kits that double as flasks (and zombie repellents!). Basically, the tools you’ll need to get out of winter alive in case things go South — something you should have done, considering the weather.
Herein: ten things — all very compact — you should pack during this increasingly blustery season.
Stay frosty. Or don’t.
1. Your battery for everything: Weego Jump Starter
A pocket-sized device that can jump-start a car up to 9.6L gas/4.8L diesel ... and charge your phone or laptop. Up to you to decide which one’s the real emergency..
2. Your airbag/jacket: Smart Ski Airbag Vest
The French company In&motion just debuted a true bit of “wearable” tech at CES: a vest with small sensors in the back that can detect a loss of balance on the slopes ... and deploy an airbag in under 100 milliseconds should you take a tumble.
3. Your news source during power outages: ETON FRX3
We got one of these post-Sandy. Essential for communication, especially in phone/power dead zones. Includes: an AM/FM radio with weather band alerts, a USB charger, an LED flashlight and an emergency beacon, all wrapped up in a sturdy, hand-cranked (and solar- and battery-powered) case.
4. Your phone: SpareOne
An emergency phone that runs on two AA batteries (for 15 years) and features a dedicated Locate and Alert button (which notifies five people of your choice of your location with one touch), plus a flashlight, panic siren and SOS signal for closer emergencies.
5. Your (handsome) emergency climb assistant: Kronos Ice Axe
They dub it the first “T-rated” (for technical) ice climbing tool made of wood — a material that stays warmer than metal and dampens the impact of the axe hitting the ice. Plus, it’s a looker.
6. Your flashlight: LED Lenser P7.2
The sturdy, lightweight 7.2 allows for focused beams at a longer distance (around 260m), as well as an up-close reading light (for maps).
7. Your old-school compass: Suunto MCB Amphibian Compass
Don’t rely on the iPhone for directions. This lightweight mirror/compass is attached to a nylon lanyard, floats on water and features a clear base so you can chart your course easily on a map.
8. Your first-aid kit (and more): VSSL
Because your flashlight has too much wasted space. This water-resistant aluminum cylinder/LED beam is packed with various cold-weather necessities — a wire saw, waterproof matches, trail markers, fire starters, Marine-grade rope and first-aid supplies — all organized in compact tins that fit inside the tube. (They also huck vessels for emergency tents, booze and, ahem, zombie attacks).
9. Your credit card emergency kit: The Jackfish Survival Holder
A place for all your cards, plus a compass, screwdriver, blade and iodine water purifier. Drawback: Not available until April.
10. Your compact avalanche helper: Black Diamond Deploy Shovel
A curved, trapezoidal shaft collapses in the blade of this shovel, meaning you’re saving space while saving yourself. Pair it with an emergency three-antenna beacon and probe for extra avalanche safety.