Not everyone needs a rubber ducky pool thermometer in December, but I do..
Well, really it is not for me, it is for Survival 101 students so I can gauge the temperature of the creek for the “man in the creek” drill. Luck would have it that the local pool shop had a good selection and even luckier was that there is an Army-Navy store right beside it.
Tucked off Foothills Mall Drive in Maryville, you can find a nice selection of military clothing and outdoor gear. I was happy to find brown polypro glove liners, which I hunt in all winter. Most outdoor stores just have black or blue, so I was happy to find and buy them.
I got to talking with the friendly owner, Eva Murphy, and found out that after running a surplus store in Billings, Montana for 20 years. Eva said that they started out as Civil War memorabilia collectors and the store evolved from there. Wanting to escape the frigid winters, They migrated to Tennessee and Foothills Army Navy opened up five months ago.
Being a small business owner myself, I told Eva I would give her a shout out on the blog tonight.
Like any surplus store, you will be able to find plenty of knives, a mix of new and used equipment, and a variety of tactical and outdoor gear.
What did I personally like that I saw? Well, gear that I have actually used and carry. They had a good selection of polypro and fleece..
My favorite firesteel, orange please..
Mountain House meals for your emergency pack..
And the patrol bag from the military sleep system sold separately (or the whole system)..
Now what I am going to say something that will probably bring the wrath of every internet survival expert out there crying me to be hung by a paracord noose and flogged with firesteels..
If for some magical reason I was thrust into the vortex of unreality where I could only have one item to survive outside right now, it would be a sleeping bag, not the all mighty knife.
It took decades for that simple lesson uttered by Mors Kochanski to our class 15 years ago to sink in, but after experimenting, researching, and seeing wilderness emergencies first hand, it has taken root.
Take Dimwiddie’s ordeal for example..http://americasroof.com/wp/archives/2004/12/24/hiker-rescued-after-stranded-4-days-on-at-nearr-inadu-knob-in-smokies/ Laying in his sleeping bag for four days kept him alive, but if he only had a knife, Rangers would have found a corpsicle.
While I teach people to build shelters and fires if they are caught out unexpectedly, I always drive home how many calories it consumes and how hard it would be if their wrist or leg was broken.
What if they threw a lightweight, synthetic sleeping bag in a dry sack and stuffed it down at the bottom of their pack with a bivy or tarp? Coupled with a good puffy jacket, the 40 degree bag will now get them down below freezing, Hopefully they replaced the backpack frame sheet with a cut down sleeping pad to insulate from the ground as well, and now they have a solution that works when injured, conserves calories, and will afford better sleep.
Two and a half pounds of lifesaving insurance for $40. Sure there are lighter, better synthetic bags on the market, but they are 5 times the price. Quilts and woobies are other great options, but if you move much in your sleep, you will wish you had a bag, and once again, more expensive.
I have bought several of these over the years and they are floating in both our vehicles and in our packs. Good gear for a great price.
If you are out and about in the Maryville area, stop by and welcome Eva to the area..
Foothills Army Navy – 821 Foothills Mall Drive Maryville, TN 37801 (865) 977-0090