As survival kit’s go credit card survival tools are some of the very smallest, but I generally find these pocket tools to be rather difficult to find a use for. There are very few ‘card tools’ that I think are worth carrying or using, most of them are basically just odd-shaped pieces of metal featuring tools so small or blunt that they are completely useless.
There is one however that I have been carrying for several years well over a year now though and have found very useful, it is different from most tools though, most of its features are not just shrunk down versions of full-size tools, which is great because there is eventually a point at which a tool becomes too small to be very useful. It doesn’t feature screwdrivers or other features which let’s face it you should have access to on a pocket knife. What it does feature is a lot of small consumable items useful for outdoor survival, fish hooks, collars for snares, arrowheads, needles, and a frog gig.
The Readyman Wilderness Survival Card is produced by READYMAN, a company founded by American special forces veterans and outdoorsmen. They produce a lot of other products including tourniquet’s and other wallet tools which honestly don’t hold the same appeal or usefulness to me as many of them feature lock pick tools and escape and evasion kit which I’ll never have a use for.
Their wilderness survival card is great though and I have used it regularly, not because I’ve been in lots of survival situations but because my career outdoors presents me with plenty of opportunities to use some of its features.
You will need some additional tools or a bit of improvisation to make use of all these tools as the saw feature on the card is fairly useless, it might cut string but certainly won’t cut the wood you need for your arrowheads or spear shaft. It isn’t large enough to grip and is too flexible.
The snare collars have been quite useful to me as I use snares quite a lot for work and a couple of times I’ve found that I’ve been a few locking collars short and been able to use the ones here instead.
I have used snares in a professional capacity ever since starting to work as a pest controller at age fourteen and later trained as a gamekeeper and deer staler where I used snares even more and now I train a new generation of gamekeepers to use snares too. The difference between my regular use of snares and improvising them in a survival situation though is that my snares are all made of wire, in a survival situation they might have to be improvised from shoelaces, paracord, natural fibers or whatever else you can find, the 1/2 mm thick steel of the wilderness survival card will bite into a slice through these fibers rendering your snare useless.
A snare collar is useful when you are using wire snares as the wire is impossible to knot so these collars allow you to lock the snare securely onto a peg or anchor securing the snare to the ground without the need for knots. In a survival situation, your snare material will probably allow you to knot it so these collars might not be as useful as they first appear. However, they can be improvised as little spinners and combined with your hooks for catching fish. Spinners are a great way of luring fish if you don’t have natural bait. Even with natural bait, they are the perfect way to catch larger predatory fish which wouldn’t normally show any interest in the kind of bait you could easily find.
Although I am keen on the hooks and there is no doubt that they will work, they are flat rather than round steel which means they will be weaker, also the flat eyes of the hooks and needles are quite sharp and may cut through your thread or line if you aren’t careful.
The arrowheads, snare collars and the needles do exactly what they say on the tin although some of the other features are less useful. I’ve mentioned the saw already but perhaps it could be fitted with a little handle to make it more useful. The awl is far too flexible to be really useful and the ‘tweezers’ don’t really work at all. What the awl and tweezers can do though is be improvised as larger needles as they both have holes in that would make a good eye.
Perhaps it’s more because other survival card tools are so useless that this wilderness survival card appeals to me so much but it has proven useful a few times already, the needles and snare collars have certainly come in useful and overall I’m impressed by it.
If you’re interested, you can find it here on Amazon.com.
Geoff has a background as a professional game and deer manager. He has put his years of experience to good use and now lectures at Hartpury College, one of the UK’s leading providers of land-based education.
He specializes in training game and wildlife managers who will work in professional game management, conservation, and other outdoor professions. He's been teaching at colleges for eight years and, in that time, has worked at some of the most prestigious land-based colleges in Britain.
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