Zombie Apocalypse Paracord Survival Gear INC
Here is an article Jeremy wrote about the Z.A.P.S. Gear Survival Grenade for Disaster Survival Magazine, minus the redundant photos and video links that can be found elsewhere on this site.

A SNIPER’S SURVIVAL KIT

By Jeremy McIlroy

President of Z.A.P.S. Gear and designer of the Z.A.P.S. Gear Survival Grenade

WHETHER YOU are a novice or an old hand, if you spend any time in the outdoors, sooner or later you will find out just how unforgiving nature can be. Maybe you’ll wander too far off the trail or take a wrong turn. Maybe it will turn dark sooner than you thought it would, and your cellphone won’t have signal or battery. Maybe you’ll become injured. Accidents can happen at any time, sometimes through no fault of our own. Will you have what you need to make it through the night and the next day and the next? Did you remember to tell someone where you were going to be? What will you do? Do you have the equipment you need to survive? Do you have the knowledge and the will to make it through an extended bad situation? Sometimes bad things happen whether you’re ready for it or not.

As a Marine scout sniper, I received survival training for multiple climates and situations. One of the first things we are taught is to have a survival kit and to keep it with us. Having a kit can make a huge difference as some tools are exceptionally difficult to improvise with just natural materials. Keeping the kit with you is important because you can’t predict exactly when something bad is going to happen to you. They taught me that it is better to have and not need than to need and not have. Your survival kit should include equipment that will allow you to make shelter, make fire, gather and purify water, gather food, signal for help, navigate, and provide for first aid. The survival kit I put together in the Marine Corps included items for each of these categories. Several of the items have multiple cross-category uses, so I was able to keep the overall weight down, making it easier to carry. I bagged the items, wrapped them with parachute cord, and carried them in a cargo pocket, since clothing items would be the last thing I would lose if I needed to ditch any of my gear in a hurry in a combat situation.

Now that I am out of the Marine Corps, my survival kit has a name, a new look, and additional items. I call it the Z.A.P.S. Gear Survival Grenade, and boy does it look good.

The first thing you may have noticed about the Z.A.P.S. Gear Survival Grenade is that it includes quite a bit of parachute cord. Paracord is an extremely useful item to have with you because it can be used for so many different things. One of the sayings we have in the Marine Corps is that “You can fix anything with enough 550 cord and duct tape.” With at least 45 feet of 550 paracord, you’ll have enough. We call it “550 cord” because it has the ability to hold up to 550 Lbs. before breaking.

The seven internal strands of cord are what give it its tremendous strength. These inner cords can be removed if necessary to make fishing line, a gill net, animal snares and traps, or other small jobs that require cordage. The inner cords are protected by an outer sheath of nylon which can also be used alone if removing the inner strands was necessary. The inner strands have a tensile strength of 50 Lbs. each, and the outer sheath has a tensile strength of 200 Lbs. Probably the two most common uses you will have for the paracord are in making shelter and; when used with the load-bearing snap link and steel shackle, to assist with climbing.

A user’s guide is included in each survival grenade for two reasons: One, I know that not everyone has had survival training or experience outdoors; and, Two, survival situations are stressful, and under stress, sometimes even people who have had the training forget what they were taught. The user’s guide gives directions on how to use the items included in the survival grenade as well as general survival tips to follow to give yourself the best chance for making it through whatever situation you may find yourself in. It is laminated for durability and water resistance. It is also available as a free digital download at www.zapsgear.com so you can have a copy on your phone or other favorite device. This will enable you to mentally familiarize yourself with the contents and their uses before you face a real world survival situation in which you would need to deploy the survival grenade’s contents.

Existing shelter like a cave, mine, tree hollow, or stable rock overhang would be optimal for conserving body heat in climes with cooler temperatures or to wait out bad weather, but if those aren’t available you can make your own shelter with the local vegetation and the included paracord, wire saw, duct tape, or maybe even the candles. The saw can be used for cutting wooden poles from tree branches. The cord can tie your wooden poles together into a shelter frame on which you can stack other poles and water-shedding leafy branches.

The candles are included in the shelter-making category because they can be used when making a snow cave. When you’ve made your hollow area in a bank of snow, light your candles inside and wait until the snow inside begins to melt and drip. Then you blow out the candle and wait for the snow to refreeze. Result: stable, hard-shelled snow cave.

There are several ways to gather and purify water with the contents of this survival grenade. There are individually wrapped purification tablets with instructions, but you can hold, transport, and even purify water with just the gallon bag if the tablets run out. Fill the bag with water, seal the closure, and set it out in the sun for the day, preferably on a surface that is less likely to puncture the bag—like soft green leaves or a spare t-shirt. The sun’s UV rays will kill the nasty microscopic buggers that cause humans so many problems after drinking untreated water. Clear water will take half the daylight hours before it is safe to drink. Cloudy water may take the whole day. Plan accordingly. Another way to purify water is to fashion a small bowl out of the included sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Start your fire, fill the bowl with water, boil the water with the bowl in the fire, remove, and allow the water to cool before drinking.

For food gathering, the Z.A.P.S. Gear Survival Grenade includes ready-to-deploy animal snares as well as fishing kit: hooks, sinkers, swivels, and fishing line. A small knife blade falls into this category as well because it can be used to craft arrows and hunting spears as well as make the necessary cuts into your fish and small game that you catch.

You’ll need to be able to make fire so you can keep your core body temperature up in the safe range, especially in places where the temperature drops dramatically over night. You’ll also appreciate a hot meal after hunting, fishing, and/or trapping food; but first you have to have fire. For fire starting materials, we’ve included a ferro-cerium rod and striker, cotton balls for tinder, and three stormproof matches—for when you only have a limited amount of time to make a fire. The ferro-rod is good for thousands of strikes. The jagged teeth on the striker make getting sparks off of it super easy. The cotton balls catch sparks readily and burn long enough to light the flammable materials you gathered locally prior to starting the fire. If you somehow lose the ferro-rod and striker, you can make an old fashioned fire bow and drill out of the paracord.

There are a few life threatening situations that would require you to have the ability to make a fire within minutes. Using the ferro-rod might take too long. For example, if you’re out hunting and you happen to fall through the ice on a lake. You manage to pull yourself out and get to shore. You could very quickly go into hypothermia if you don’t get a fire going. For situations like this there are the stormproof matches. They light in seconds and burn regardless of wind or weather. They typically burn for 15 to 20 seconds. As a test I’ve lit them and dropped them into water. They burned for 5 or 6 seconds—underwater.

Sooner or later someone will realize that you are missing. They will send people out to find you. There will be ground crew as well as air crew and possibly crew on boats if that is called for as well. You’ll already be looking for them, so you might just see them first. To make it easier for you to get their attention when they might otherwise overlook you, the Z.A.P.S. Gear Survival Grenade includes several signaling devices. The first is the aluminum foil panel. The AL foil unfolds to roughly two square feet of highly reflective surface area. Catch the sun and point it at the search and rescue crew or overflying aircraft. The AL foil can catch their attention at night as well. If you are asleep in your shelter without setting up the foil, S.A.R might miss you, but their flashlight reflecting off of the AL foil you hang by the entrance will bring them right to you. For audible signaling we’ve included a whistle. This could be useful for calling for help if you are trapped somewhere out of sight or in an area with abundant echo potential, but if you are in an avalanche-prone area—watch out! To round out the signaling category, we’ve included fire starting materials. That’s right, signal fires are still a good way to call for help across the distances for their visibility at night as well as their smoke during the day.

During your survival situation you might decide at some point to try to walk out of the area instead of waiting for help to come to you. As navigation aids each survival grenade comes with a button compass, weatherproof paper, and a pencil. The compass will give you the cardinal directions, which may be all you need. Hopefully you have a map of the area you are adventuring in because that is not something I can include in these survival kits. The paper and pencil will help you record distance or take notes or make your own map should returning to the scene of an emergency be necessary; like if your buddy broke his leg, and you decide to go find and bring back help for him.

Hopefully, if you find yourself in a survival situation, you will not also need medical attention because then your chances of survival take a serious hit. For minor first aid needs, though, each survival grenade comes with cotton balls, duct tape, needle and thread, a small knife blade, and paracord. Notice some of the items that are listed cross over in multiple categories? There’s a reason for that. For minor to moderate bleeding, you can plug the hole(s) with the cotton balls and secure them in place with duct tape. For severe bleeding on your extremities, you can wrap paracord around the extremity and a stick several inches above the bleeding wound. Twist the stick to tighten your improvised tourniquet. Tie it off when the bleeding stops. I would make the paracord cover at least an inch wide area of the leg or arm before tightening. If you use a single strand or too narrow of an area with multiple strands, you risk later amputation—not a very desirable outcome. The needle and thread can be used for removing splinters and possibly suturing a wound, should the need arise. You might need the knife blade to cut away clothing around a wound or remove dead skin from wounds that threaten infection. The two large safety pins also have a use for first aid. If you have a casualty in your group and they are rendered unconscious with the risk of suffocating on their tongue, while a bit gruesome, you can use one or both safety pins to keep their tongue from falling back down into their airway. Poke the safety pin down through their tongue and back up through their lower lip then close the pin. This will keep the airway open for breathing. Still not a good mental image off of that one.

Other useful items that are included in the Z.A.P.S. Gear Survival Grenade are the load-bearing snap link and steel shackle which can be used with the paracord to assist with climbing or lowering gear to someone who has fallen out of arm’s reach.

Opening the Z.A.P.S. Gear Survival Grenade is quick and easy. A glow in the dark pull cord gives you the opening start point even in complete darkness. Just pull on the glow in the dark pull cord while holding the grenade body firmly in hand. This will pull the end of the paracord out from under the wrap that holds the compass. Refer to the included photo if this doesn’t make enough sense to you. Once the end of the cord has come loose, the grenade can be unraveled to access the kit contents literally in a matter of seconds. Then it’s just a matter of getting through the outer duct tape and getting the kit contents that you need first. Each survival grenade comes in a draw string pouch. This will give you somewhere to keep the contents after you have opened the Z.A.P.S. Gear Survival Grenade.

The large snap link makes attaching the survival grenade to a belt loop or a backpack very easy. To wear it more securely on your person, put your belt through the outer wrap of paracord on the back of the survival grenade.

I have put my training, experience, and a lot of thought into designing this survival kit with the hope that it will save lives. No one wants an accident to happen when they go out into the back woods, but sooner or later it will happen to someone. Don’t go out without preparing beforehand. Thank you, and be safe.


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