Survival prepping is no longer the stuff of fringe elements obsessed with such trivialities as nuclear obliteration. Unrest both at home and abroad, combined with crazy weather, serve to drive mainstream Americans to devote a bit of thought to what they might do if the world goes sideways. As a result, survival gear and training have really taken off. At no place is that more noticeable than the National Preppers & Survivalists Expo.

The 4th Annual NSP Expo was held in Lakeland, Florida, this year, drawing exhibitors from around the country. As usual, the people at the Expo were friendly and the gear was simply fascinating. We Americans are a resourceful lot quick to devise innovative solutions to our problems. Here are my top five favorite new products from the recent Expo.

aLOKSAK waterproof storgae

aLOKSAK
The aLOKSAK waterproof storage sacks are made from heavy-duty plastic and are remarkably effective. Available in a variety of sizes, aLOKSAKs protect everything from cash to cell phones to assault rifles from water and the elements. Just drop something in the sack and squeeze the top shut. Think a Ziploc bag on steroids. The resulting package is hermetically sealed and waterproof down to 200 feet. The aLOKSAK provides 100-percent protection from water, humidity sand or snow. For more information, visit loksak.com or call 239-331-5550.

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Potable Aqua PURE Electrolytic Water Purifier
Add a little table salt to the Potable Aqua PURE Electrolytic Water Purifier and you can purify up to 60,000 liters of drinking water. The purifier itself is roughly the size of a small cell phone and sports a built-in solar cell on one side. Add a little brine (saltwater) to the device and activate it. The purifier bubbles a bit as it electrolytically splits the chlorine out from the saltwater. The subsequent concentrated mixed oxidant purifying solution is a combination of peroxide and chlorine that can be added to corrupt water to kill 99.9999 percent of bacteria as well as 99.7 percent of cryptosporidium spores. Cryptosporidium is a heavily armored little microbe that is notoriously tough to eradicate.

The saltwater brine solution can be carried in a sealed plastic container the size of your thumb and be subsequently used to purify more water than you might reasonably drink. As the PURE device is solar powered, it can operate just about anywhere. Just pour the resulting oxidant purifying solution into a canteen or water bottle, shake it vigorously, let it sit for the prescribed period of time, and then drink up. For more information, visit potableaqua.com or call 800-558-6614.

Powertac X3000 flashlight

Powertac X3000
Powertac flashlights are all rechargeable and can actually be used to charge subordinate devices like cell phones via built-in USB ports. They come in a variety of sizes, but the largest looks like the fat end of a baseball bat. Where a really powerful tactical light produces 500 lumens of light, the X3000 produces 3,000 lumens.

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Ancillary LEDs shine in red, green and blue, and the effective range of the light is reported to be nearly half a kilometer in darkness. The X3000 incorporates seven steady beam configurations and five strobe settings. While the X3000 is numbingly bright, on its lowest setting it will still burn for a month on a single charge. For applications where size and weight are not critical, the Powertac line takes flashlights to a whole new level. For more information, visit powertacusa.com or call 919-239-4470.

SkySaver resuce and evacuation system

SkySaver
Chances are if you work or live in an urban area, you spend a lot of time a fair distance above the ground. As a result, if faced with a building fire or active-shooter scenario, the only reasonable avenue of escape might be a window.

The SkySaver device is a remarkably compact backpack device that stashes discreetly in an office or elevated bedroom. It only takes moments to strap on the backpack and secure the crotch strap to put the SkySaver into action. Snap the hook into a pre-installed anchor. Another alternative is to improvise an anchor out of substantial furniture or the structure of the window. Crawl out of the window and the SkySaver safely lowers you up to 260 feet to the ground at a docile rate of 2 meters per second. The SkySaver requires no advanced training to use and accommodates up to 300 pounds. For more information, visit skysaverusa.com or call 855-759-7283.

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Survivalist Vaults
The engineers at Survivalist Vaults produce air- and watertight vaults adequate to protect guns, ammunition, valuables and important papers from prying eyes and thieves. The basic model comes with a tube of industrial sealant to seal the lid. The resulting container can be buried, sunk to the bottom of a lake or built into a garden. When the time is right to access your stuff, simply dig up the box, rap the corner sharply with a hammer to break the seal, and you are back in business. For more information, visit survivalistvaults.com or call 407-455-1147.

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