You asked for it and we provided it!
Welcome to the STSC gear page. We ONLY recommend gear that we've tested and found to be high-performing in all four seasons and in extreme climates.
We take our selections very seriously and NONE of our endorsements are sponsored because we know that in an outdoor emergency, a gear failure can cost you your life.
Your survival is our business.
* Note: The gear we recommend is gear that we have thoroughly tested. This does not, however, guarantee that your gear will work or that we are responsible for your gear.
A knife is a critical tool in the outdoors. Selecting one however, can be a daunting task. Here is what we use on our courses, and have worked well for us. We list large and small fixed blades, as well as multitools and Swiss knives for small survival kits. We suggest practice and training not just in their use, but in their care as well.
- The Thomas Coyne Fixed Blade, Woodbear Knives
- Victorinox Swiss Army Knives (Rangergrip series)
- Leatherman Multitools (Rebar)
- Mora Companion, HD, & Survival Models
- Esee Knives
As exposure is the #1 killer in the outdoors, the ability to make a fire in the field is indispensable to man. It will keep you warm, signal your rescuer, boil your water, cook your food, and provide a sense of safety and security. Modern man now has the ability to make a fire, quickly and easily, in almost any condition. All it takes is the right training and gear.
- Esbit Fuel Cube
- Wet Fire Fuel Cube
- Fast Fire Fuel Cube
- UCO Stormproof Matches
- "Sparkie" Firesteel
EMERGENCY SIGNALING EQUIPMENT
Signal, signal, signal. If you've trained with us, you know we push this hard. Should things go wrong when you're far from help, you want to get rescue started as quickly as possible. Have a way to signal searchers both on the ground and in the air day or night.
- ACR/APEX GPS Beacons
- Always Have An Emergency Whistle
- Signal Mirror (Coghlans mirrors will do)
- Signal Tape
- Orion Signals Pen Flares
- Orion Signals Smoke Grenade
- Lights (see our lights section for recommendations on this category)
If you are going to carry gear, it's always good to have a place to put it. Nothing is worse than having a pack fail on you while you are in the field, so it is important to make sure that your pack can hold up to the rugged conditions.
- Osprey Aether or Atmos (the capacity is personal preference)
- 5.11 Rush Series packs
PANTS & SHIRTS
Rugged, provide coverage from UV, plenty of storage room, these are all features of our picks for pants and shirts.
- 511 Tactical Stryke Pants
- Under Armour Sun Shirts
- Columbia Sun Shirts
- Montbell Compressible Down Jackets
- North Face Stretch Thermoball Jacket
Like sleeping in the outdoors? Well now you're gong to love it if you try out a Montbell sleeping bag or a Hennessy hammock. Below are a list of our favorite sleep systems. They come in everything from ultra-light to ultra-comfortable.
- Montbell Sleeping Bags
- North Face Cat's Meow Sleeping Bags
- Hennessy Hammocks
- Thermarest Pads
We can only last three days without water. It is a survival essential. Train in how to locate it, purify it, hydrate with it, and treat it in the field. Below are a list of our favorite filters, chem tabs, and containers.
- Sawyer Squeeze Water Filters (standard and mini)
- First Need Water Purifier
- Aqua Tabs
- Katadyn Pocket Micro Filter
- Osprey Hydration Bladders
- Camelback Hydration Bladders
- Nalgene & Platypus roll up bottles
- Kleen Kanteen Stainless Steel Bottles
- Nalgene Water Bottles
Shelters are a necessity in order for you to survive in harsh conditions, and you should always have a way to make shelter in the field. It can be as simple as the pocket sized "Heatsheet", or as tough as the Grabber e-blanket. It can function as emergency shade in the summer, as a tarp-style shelter in the winter, and as an emergency blanket in mild conditions. Select a bright/reflective color and your shelter is also a signal.
- Adventure Medical's Heatsheets
- Grabber Tarp Style Emergency Blanket w/grommets
- Parachute Cord
- Artificial Sinew (waxed nylon twine)
Because we rely so heavily on our sight, a good light is an important part of your survival gear. It needs to have a strong "lumen" count in order for you to see and be seen, as well as be durable enough to survive the outdoors.
- Klaurus Tactical Lights
- Princeton Vizz head lamp
- Black Diamond Spot head lamp
- Streamlight nano (very small clip on, great for small survival kits)
If you are going to be hitting the trail regularly, you'll eventually need to cook there. Here are some systems we take with us.
- Jet Boil Stove
- Pocket Rocket Stove
- Optimus Folding Titanium Spork
A proper set of thermals will insulate when wet, dry rapidly, and stave off exposure. As your base layer, it's your first step in dressing for cold weather.
- Polartec Thermals
- Smart Wool Thermals
- Military Surplus Extreme Cold Weather Polypropylene Thermals
Treat your feet right. Below is a list of our favorite footwear, from comfortable lightweight mids, to highly-rugged, custom, all-leather boots. These provide protection, support, grip, and durability.
- Adidas Terrex X Swift Mid
- White's Boots
- Asolo Boots
- Merrell Boots
- Smart Wool Socks
- Fox River Socks