REI, we had a saying about how much gear one should bring camping. It went something like: "One already wastes too much by not bringing enough." What we meant by this is to be careful in the pursuit of going "minimal" in the backcountry because you may end up in a situation where you really needed something you didn't bring and not what you did bring.
To that end, something I will now always bring with me while hunting, fishing and camping is a Survival Strap. On a recent camping/fishing trip I tried took apart one of the bracelets the company sent to me. I was surprised just how easy it was to take apart and use. Unraveling one of the Wounded Warrior Project Survival Straps, I was left with about 10 feet of paracord, some fasteners and a metal plate.
In a pinch, paracord is one of the most useful items you can have with you. There are entire websites out there devoted to its uses. I would recommend that anyone who ventures outside at least some of the most basic knots: Taught-Line Hitch, Figure Eight Knot, Square Knot, Clove Hitch (my favorite), and the Bowline.
One of the unique and useful things about paracord is not only is it rated up to 550 pounds of test strength, but it's made up of about seven smaller strings inside, each of which can be unwound to smaller (fishing line-size) strings.
After unraveling the Survival Strap, I set out to make a few snares that I had learned as a young boy playing in the woods. The blog, The Art of Manliness, has one of the better posts showing the basics of snares. Once you learn the theory of the "engine" you can then adapt it to a variety of landscapes. Here is another useful document on snares and traps.
With the provided paracord (and a knife) I was able easily set up both a rabbit snare and the fish snare (both featured on The Art of Manliness). While I did have hooks with me because I was fishing, I could easily see fashioning a makeshift hook from the Wounded Warrior Project plate. (Note: please check your local regulations before actually snaring fish or game. I did not actually snare any animal when testing this product.)
In short, the Survival Strap is comfortable and reliable, and with their new Fishtail series, they are sleek.
Now for the giveaway! Survival Straps provided me with a couple extras that I will pass on to you. If you would like the chance to receive a free Wounded Warrior Project bracelet (just like the one pictured below) and a key fob (over $50 package!), all you need to do is leave a comment below explaining a survival use for which you would be grateful to have a Survival Strap. I will choose a winner at random on August 20, 2012. Good luck!
(To date, Survival Straps has donated over $566,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project through the sales of these bracelets!)