You asked for it, you got it. Welcome to the STSC gear page. Here we recommend gear we've found to be high performing. None of these endorsements are sponsored, and we recommend gear because we've used it in all four seasons, in extreme climates; and it came through for us. We know that in an outdoor emergency a gear failure can cost you your life, so we take our selections seriously.
Fire Making Equipment
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 provides a sense of safety and security. Modern man now has the ability to make a fire, quickly and easily, on almost any conditions with the right training and gear.
Esbit Fuel Cube (burns at 1200F for 10+ minutes, does not light easily with a fire steel. Use matches)
Fast Fire Fuel Cube (burns at 1200F for 10+ minutes, lights easily with a fire steel or match)
UCO Stormproof Matches
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 GPS Beacons
Always Have An Emergency Whistle
Signal Mirror (brand does not matter, Coghlans mirrors will due)
Signal Tape/Trail Tape (bright pink ribbon, at least 20')
Orion Signals Pen Flares
Orion Signals Smoke Grenade
(see our lights section for recommendations on this category)
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.
Smart Wool Thermals
Military Surplus Extreme Cold Weather Polypropylene Thermals
Pants & Shirts
Rugged, provide coverage from UV, plenty of storage room, these are all features of our pics for pants and shirts.
511 Tactical Pants (Stryke & Apex Models)
Under Armour Sun/Safari Shirts
Columbia Sun/Safari Shirts
North Face Paramount 3.0 Pants
If you are going to be hitting the trail regularly, you'll eventually need to cook there. Here's some systems we take with us on a regular basis.
Jet Boil Stove (yes it's worth it, there's even a model that comes with a french press, yes we own it)
Pocket Rocket Stove (if you're going fast and light this indestructible little guy will do the job)
Optimus Folding Titanium Spork (the best titanium spork out there. Tiny.)
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 Burrow Sleeping Bags (the only bags our chief instructor will use)
North Face Cats Meow Sleeping Bags
Hennessy Hammocks (great jungle hammock. will stop torrential rain and makes it easy to collect it for rain water. Very stable with attached bug netting, rapid set up and take down with the optional "snake skins")
Thermarest Pads (we find these to be the most tough and reliable, even in the ultra light category)
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 muti-tools and Swiss knives for small survival kits. We suggest practice and training not just in their use, but in their care as well.
Vicotrinox Swiss Army Knives & Multi Tools
Mora Companion, HD, & Survival Models
As exposure is the #1 killer in the outdoors, 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. They can function as emergency shade in the summer, as tarp style shelters in the winter, and as emergency blankets in mild conditions. Select a bright color and your shelter is now a signal.
Adventure Medical's Heatsheets
Grabber Tarp Style Emergency Blanket w/grommets
Artificial Sinew (waxed nylon twine)
Water Purification & More
H2O 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
Katadyn Pocket Micro Filter
Osprey Hydration Bladders
Camelbak Hydration Bladders
Nalgene & Platypus roll up bottles
Kleen Kanteen Stainless Steel Bottles
Nalgene Water Bottles
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
Whites Boots (custom made)
Asolo Boots (Fugitive model)
Zamberlan Boots (All models. Italian mountaineering company that has a wide fit option, as well as a forward rocker option in fairly lightweight boot models like the Lynx and Guide)
Smart Wool Socks (yes one pair of socks is worth $20+, especially when it feels like new for 5+ years)
Fox River Socks (exceptional warm weather boot sock options and made in the USA)
Montbell Compressible Down Jackets (alpine/alpine light models)
Klaurus Tactical Lights (indestructible, reliable, well priced)
Princeton Vizz head lamp (made in the USA)
Streamlight nano (very small clip on, great for small survival kits)