Survival Gadgets that Work!

During my 10+ years in survival I have seen hundreds of survival gadgets come and go.  Many of which I thought were clever, but would never make it, and others I thought would be great to have.  It is kind of like the fidget spinners.  They were extremely popular, and even bushcrafters were using them to make friction fire, but I knew the craze would die off.  Many survival gadgets are like that, but I wanted to share a few that I think are extremely useful:

Some of favorite survival gadgets that I use on a regular basis:


The Spool Tool

There is nothing worse than tangled paracord (cordage).  If you have ever done any shelter building with cordage then you know what I am talking about.  The Spool Tool is amazing because it holds up to 100 ft of paracord, and it has a cutting blade and spot to hold a mini Bic lighter.    I absolutely love this thing.

Exotac FireSleeve

This nifty gadget is great for keeping your Bic lighter dry.  I love kayaking, and in the winter time it is essential that you have good fire starters that will work even if they get wet.  The FireSleeve is a waterproof case for your Bic lighter.  It also has a rubber flap to slide over the gas button so it stays lit.  I did have to remove the child safety to get the flap to stay.  Overall great gadget for the price.

SpeedyJig Pro Paracord Bracelet Jig Kit 

I love survival bracelets, and they make excellent gift for kids and kids at heart.  Unfortunately a lot of them are overpriced, or the bracelet doesn’t fit right.  The great thing about the SpeedyJig is it is easy to use, and you can get the perfect fit every time.  Once you get the basics down then you can begin adding things to make it the ultimate survival bracelet.  I have one with some fishing line, hooks, jute twine, and even a small ferro rod attached to it.

Worksharp Guided Field Sharpener

This amazing knife sharpener will get your blade extremely sharp.  Even if you have no experience sharpening knives the guides help you get the perfect angle for bushcraft.  I used to always struggle getting a consistent edge on my knives until I started using this handy gadget.  You can also sharpen serrations and fish hooks.  I love it’s versatility, and not only does it have diamond plates it also has a ceramic rod and leather strop on the sides.  I won’t go into the field without it.

MPOWERD Outdoor 2.0 – Inflatable Solar Light

These amazing lanterns are great for backpacking because of their portability and weight.  They are extremely light, and they pack up nice and compact.  The inflatable design turns the light from and ordinary lamp into a bright lantern.  The best part is it is solar powered.  I had the opportunity to use one of these first hand recently during a search and rescue training I was doing.   It wasn’t no spotlight, but it lit up the area really well.  I plan on taking two with me when I go to the Jungle in June.

There are several gadgets out on the market right now, and there are sure to be hundreds more, but these 5 are winners in my book, and if you are looking at picking up any of these items be sure to support Sigma 3 and purchase from the links provided.

Thanks for Reading!
Justin “Sage” Williams
Director Sigma 3


Quick Bugout Bag Checklist

The term bugging out is a term survivalist preppers and some military use when talking about getting out of a certain situation.  A bugout bag is a handy set of ready to go items that you can just grab and go.  Some people prefer the term “B.O.B.”(Bug Out Bag) or “Go Bag.”  The general rule of thumb is to have enough supplies in your bug out bag to survive at least 3 days, although sometimes bug out bags are made to last 7 – 21 days, and even indefinitely.

Depending on your skillset and how much survival training or knowledge your posses it is possible to survive with a knife alone. Even the most skilled survivalists would rather have more tools with them than just a knife. I mean why would you want to make surviving harder on yourself.

We have compiled a list of must-have items that our Instructor’s recommend, as well as a list of items to put inside your bug out bags.  These items could vary depending on the climate you live in but for the most part, they will stay the same.

3 Day Bugout Bag Checklist – 3 Days is the bare minimum amount you will want to have enough supplies for.  Having enough water and food can easily be packed into a small bag. The 3 day kit is designed to meet your initial needs.  It provides for the key components to any short-term survival situation.  Shelter, Fire, Water, Food, and Security.  It is designed to get you by for the first 72 hours until you can resupply or relocate to a safer, more plentiful location.  Other than food and water your 3 Day B.O.B. should contain :

21 Day Bugout Bag Checklist – Beyond those primary needs you will need to extend your kit.  When building out your bug out bag consider keeping it modular.  You should be able to simply attach your 3 Day Bag right on to your 21 Day Bag.  This prevents you from having to pack all the same items into two separate bags.  In addition to your 3 Day Bag, your 21 Day Bug Out Bag should include:

INCH Bag “I’m Never Coming Home”Checklist  – You can’t possibly carry enough supplies to last forever, but with some training, you could survive for a very long time and possibly indefinitely.  The INCH Bag contains all the items in your 3 and 21 Day Bug Out Bags, but also includes everything you feel like you can’t live without.  In the event your home becomes uninhabitable due to disaster or hostile environments you will want to secure invaluable items.  This could include everything from photos, family heirlooms, and items that bring you joy and fulfillment. The list of INCH Bag items is only limited by your ability to transport those items.

This list is provided to give you some options. You may not need to carry every item on it. Just things to consider.

Preparedness is key, and having a quick bugout bag ready to go at a moments notice could be the difference between survival and worst case scenario.  In closing, the items recommended in this list have been tested in the field by experienced survival instructors.  Show your support, share and shop the links provided in this blog post.

Thanks for Reading!
Justin “Sage” Williams
Director Sigma 3

The Best Sleeping Bag

The conditions outside will dictate everything, and could encompass thousands of different temperatures and climates.  For this article we will be highlighting some of the Best Cold Weather Sleeping bags.

When it comes to wilderness outdoor activity there are really only 3 types of buschcrafters.

  1. The “Arm Chair Bushcrafter” – Enjoys the virtual arena of the outdoors, and finds enjoyment in the entertainment side of survival.
  2. The “Avid Bushcrafter” – Enjoys physically getting outdoors, and actually training in survival skills.  They enjoy the occasional overnighter, but many times their outdoor activity is dictated by the conditions (weather/climate/etc.).
  3. The “Active Bushcrafter” – Enjoys testing themselves, and finds joy in challenging conditions.  They like to see how their gear functions in less than ideal circumstances, and will typically stay out multiple days, as their schedule permits.

Depending on the type of bushcrafter you are, you may not have a need for a sleeping bag, but if you are a serious outdoorsman then an adequate sleeping bag is vital.  (Unless of course you are solely a primitive skills practitioner.)

I have spent many nights sleeping on the cold ground with improper sleeping gear.  When I first got into survival I was convinced I only needed a wool blanket to make it through the night, and although I still love wool blankets, in harsh environments they simply are not enough.  Even the natives would use large thick animal hides such as elk or buffalo.  I have found after years of training that I still prefer a quality layering system.  That is why the Military Sleep System has been so popular, but over the years technology has evolved.  Many companies now are making quality high end sleeping bags that are light weight, compact, and affordable.  With the right sleeping bag you can easily survive in sub-zero temperatures, and when you add a simple wool blanket or down throw you will be able to comfortably sleep in negative degree temperatures.

Here are some of my top picks for the Best Cold Weather Sleeping Bags:

These are in no particular order.

Don’t forget to add a sleeping pad:

Things to Consider when Choosing a Sleeping Bag:

  • Budget: “Buy Once, Cry Once” is our motto, and it is important that you get the best sleeping bag you can afford.
  • Size: Be sure to purchase a sleeping bag slightly larger than you think you need.
  • Temperature Rating: Be sure to do some research on what the bags insulate R value is.  Make sure it is rated for the necessary temperature.
  • Comfort: The size of the bag usually indicates the overall comfort.  Large bags tend to have more padding, and provide more comfort.
  • Shape: Sleeping bags come in all shapes and sizes.  Mummy style bags are usually warmer, but are more restrictive to movement.
  • Temperature Control: Think about where the zipper placements are, and preferably choose a sleeping bag with a head cover.

I wish you the best of luck on your next overnighter, and hope this simple sleeping bag list is helpful.  Be sure to check out the video below, share, subscribe, and shop using the links provided in this article.  Support Sigma 3 and shop


Justin “Sage” Williams 
Director of Operations
Lead Instructor
Sigma 3 Survival School