Put these in your stockings

10 emergency preparedness gifts 

Thanksgiving Day is over, and across Van Zandt County, people are preparing for Christmas. While Santa Claus brings toys and candy, I’d like to suggest some durable gifts for emergency preparedness.

One of my buddies suggested an M-35 Army surplus 2-1/2 ton truck for $7,500 from Liberty Hill, Texas. But it’s too big even for a spandex Christmas stocking, and it’s too expensive. Emergency preparedness gifts need to be inexpensive and small enough to fit into your Christmas stocking. Here are my top 10 for 2016:

-BIC butane lighters with transparent sides. You can see how much butane is in them, they light every time, and if they leak butane, it evaporates. I carry matches and flint and steel, but I start my fires with a BIC butane lighter because it is easier and more reliable. For durability, get the BIC brand instead of cheap copies.

-Water filter in a straw. The advertisements show a macho guy sipping water from a splashing Colorado mountain stream. Here we’d be more likely to sip water out of a farm tank. I’ll recommend pre-filtering any water through a T-shirt, sheet, or close-knit cloth. Anything caught in the cloth doesn’t get into the water filter, which will then last longer. The water filter takes out bacteria but not minerals. The water may taste horrible, but it shouldn’t make you sick.

-500cc aluminum water bottle or two. Why aluminum? It dents instead of breaking. You’ll need something to carry water, and I’ve found metal water bottles work best. Prices range from bargain basement to high-dollar Yetis. I recommend the cheapest you can get. All it has to do is hold filtered water and not leak.

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