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Survival Blog

  • Military Surplus - What is Real, What is Not

    One of the benefits of being involved in the survival industry is access to military surplus equipment. Military surplus is a wide-open market with items in various condition that could be from any decade. This can mean anything from an ammo pouch mixed in with hundreds of canteens to canvas gear bags filled with tiny Tabasco bottles. The vast majority of the items we receive are related to the items we carry. And then, there are the knock-offs.

    The survival industry offers an impressive variety of items to choose from. So much so, it can be difficult to distinguish between genuine items and “knock-offs”. Other companies feature items with descriptions such as "USGI - Type", "GI -Type", or "Military Approved" without any evidence of military endorsement. These items find themselves in our surplus pallets when a serviceman replaces missing issued gear on their own. And Impressively, some are almost indistinguishable from the genuine thing.

    Every time we come across these ingenuine items, we realize that less experienced buyers may not be able to tell the difference. We understand that people need to prepare themselves on a budget but this doesn’t mean you have to settle for second-rate equipment. Knowing what to look as you shop for genuine United States Government Issue (USGI) Military Surplus (MilSurp) is very important when you want to ensure you are getting the real thing.


    National Stock Numbers

    Look for an obvious set of words and numbers printed directly on the item or on a tag attached to the item. This is known as the National Stock Number (NSN) and indicates the manufacturer. Often using the same numbers for multiple items, this number verifies authenticity.

    Ex. the Genuine Issue US Military Surplus Canteen Coverhas the following NSN printed directly on the nylon cover:



    NSN 8465-00-860-0256


    Other Than MilSpec

    Avoid items that advertise “US-type”, “USGI-type”, “MilSpec-type”, etc. This may seem obvious but these companies are openly advertising the fact that the item is not military quality. Even a small item like a P-39 or P-51 Can Opener will have, at the least a "US" stamped into it. Inspect items closely, if you can. If you are shopping online, ask your supplier directly for the NSN number or a close up image of the stamp.


    Best Glide A.S.E. Offers Military Quality!

    When you choose to buy from A.S.E., you can trust that are items are genuine military issue. We proudly feature the NSN directly in the product descriptions. Plus our items are selected by an agent acting for the DRMO - Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office – for the U.S. Department of Defense. We even offer items in various conditions to meet the budgets of all our customers. Items in “Used”, “Very Good” and “Like New” condition often have a "DRMO" stamped or printed onto it. This indicates the military has replaced this item in their inventory and this item is approved for distribution to approved markets.

    We inspect, categorize, and package, usually right out of the crate. Buying military surplus often, we don’t expect items to be new or un-issued unless advertised as such. Many items have small tears, rips, holes, large stains, etc. though all items are very usable. We're sure to be very clear in our descriptions with several levels of description depending on the condition of an item.

    The United States Government equips its troops with some of the finest equipment in the world. A lot of what ends up as MilSurp can still be utilized for many years to come. We are always looking for the best deals on quality MilSurp that we can pass on to you at the lowest prices. One thing we can promise: If we wouldn't use it - we won't sell it. Keep an eye on our site for new items, especially in the MilSurp category - we've got some good stuff on the way!


    Remember - " Fortuna favet præparaverat  -  Fortune Favors the Prepared!

    This entry was posted in Uncategorized on October 16, 2012 by Patrick Carey.

  • If You Didn't Bring It - You Don't Have It - Part II

    If you have read the newspaper or Internet news sites this week, you may have caught the story of the two fishermen in Alaska who had quite an adventure. It seems that they were in their fishing boat miles offshore when they experienced hydraulic failure (I love boats but have a limited knowledge of some of their systems - I assume the hydraulics control the rudder and also the planing / pitch of the lower unit) and, were also dealing with eight-foot waves.

    Well, they were twisted around and the bow of the boat nosed-into a wave as the stern of the boat began to flood. They grabbed what they could, one of the items being a four foot deep and wide plastic bin. The other man grabbed the lid and into the water they went as their boat sank. The fellow who was hanging onto the lid was able to grab a Survival Suit, and spent the next two hours fighting his way into it while staying afloat and hanging onto his floating plastic bin lid.

    In the process of the one man working his way into the Survival Suit, the two Alaskan fishermen were soon separated by the wind and waves. The man in the plastic bin kept himself occupied by bailing the water out of the bin, and gave himself pep-talks and probably went through a thousand repetitions of everyone's favorite small-craft song "Row, Row, Row Your Boat." The man in the survival suit made it to shore and flagged-down a passing boat that was coincidentally full of Law Enforcement officers who were going out to look for the overdue fishermen. The man in the boat was spotted and rescued by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew.

    I am sure everyone is happy for the rescue of the two Alaskan fishermen, as I know I am because I also know the potential outcome should have been opposite of the actual outcome. The fact is, these two men are very fortunate to be alive. They left for their Coho Salmon fishing trip without telling anyone of their plans, they did not have a working radio on board their craft, and they did not even have a mobile ("Cell") phone with them.

    Call it what you will, but I believe sometimes Providence looks down with a sympathetic smile and allows a bad situation to have a pleasing outcome. It does not happen often, but once was enough for the two Alaskan fishermen. It is the quintessential example of "I'd Rather Be Lucky Than Good" that we examined in a previous blog. I won't argue the point because the point is these two, in spite of their lack of preparation, survived what ninety eight out of one hundred other fishermen in the same situation might not have.

    If you go out on fishing and / or hunting trips, if you go camping or hiking, if you walk cross-country ... if you do any activity that might place you in harm's way while doing it, PLEASE at least let a friend or family member know when you are leaving, where you are going, how long you should be gone, and when you should return. Take good and reliable communication gear with you. If you are going into the wilderness or out on the water and will have no mobile phone coverage, please consider one of these:  or, maybe a newer type of accessory that that enables you to use your Mobile Smart Phone as a GPS text messaging unit:

    These two guys apparently had some sort of Survival equipment on-board - hence the Survival Suit. One does wonder though who would have ended up with the suit had one not been able to use the plastic bin as a boat. It is exactly this sort of situation that gives us pause to reflect on many things, and prompts us to check our own preparations and our own Survival equipment. Our mental preparations for such an event as these two fishermen went through are also worth meditating upon. If ever a time a positive attitude was needed - it was then.

    The Survival Suit was on-board "just in case", and the plastic bin probably held their catch or bait. What they had was all they had. When the time comes will any of us have what we need to survive? It's worth thinking about.

    Remember - " Fortuna favet præparaverat  -  Fortune Favors the Prepared!"

  • If You Didn't Bring It - You Don't Have It: An Example of Survival Basics

    Although stories of extreme survival aren’t unheard of, there are some stories that leave a lasting impression. Stories of ordinary people in dire circumstances strike us the most because they almost always occur in normal situations. Whether it's a young man trapped by a bolder or a couple stranded in the snow with a nursing infant, we often find ourselves wondering why they weren’t more prepared.

    For those of us in the survival industry, keeping survival items around is second nature. We realized that some don't take the time to consider all the bad things that could happen. Few people plan to be trapped in a terrible situation. Regardless, you can literally save lives by keeping even the smallest survival kit in your home, car, backpack, or boat. Aron Ralston’s harrowing tale of 127 painful hours best exemplifies how even the most knowledgeable can fail to consider basic survival guidelines.


    The Story

    For those that are unfamiliar, Aron Ralston is an accomplished mountain biker, rock climber, and avid outdoorsman. In 2003, Ralston was rock climbing in Canyonlands National Park in Utah when a suspended boulder trapped his hand against the canyon wall. Unfortunately, he brought minimal equipment and forgot to tell anyone where he was going. Armed with a gallon of water, five chocolate bars, two burritos, and a muffin, he began to try to free himself. Because it was only a day hike, he had nothing to keep him warm and no way of alerting people to his dilemma. Ralston desperately tried to free himself with his climbing gear as he recorded the event with camera equipment. He ran out of rations after 5 days and, with little hope of rescue, Ralston was forced to consider an extreme option. Using an off-brand Leatherman multitool, he freed himself by amputating his own arm.


    Preventable Mistakes

    Impressively, he was rescued just four hours after amputating his arm. Ralston left for his trip, trusting his skills with little equipment to back up his plan. Despite having enough food and water to last several days, his lack of emergency planning, signaling equipment, and protective clothing stands out the most. If it hadn’t been for a nearby family, the distance from help coupled with a lack of first aid could have done him in. Whether you are simply going for a day hike or preparing for a week-long trek in the woods, there are some survival essentials and skills that you must have.


    Always Remember

    • Make a plan and communicate with others; this applies to all circumstances. When going on a venture, always tell at least one person where you are going and when to expect you back. It is impossible to count on rescue teams when no one knows where to look.
    • Carry equipment that compliments the environment. Despite years of outdoors experience, Ralston brought only what he needed for that day. Always consider the possibilities of the environment. It is essential to carry several tools that can signal for help. Carry at least two signal devices: whistle, signal mirror, signal panel, or emergency strobe light, .
    • Educate yourself and practice skills before going into the wild. Ralston was educated enough to understand his arm would require more than a simple amputation. He was also acutely aware of his symptoms as he struggled with dehydration and loss of circulation. Knowing basic first aid skills and taking the time to practice is just the beginning.


    Aron Ralston’s bravery and determination for survival is most important survival skill he had and ultimately it saved his life. He faced desperate odds with little hope of rescue yet his survival psychology ultimately led him to safety. Ralston was an educated and experienced hiker and outdoorsman; however, his story best exemplifies the concept of “if you didn’t bring it, you don’t have it”.


    Remember - "Fortuna favet præparaverat  -  Fortune Favors the Prepared!"

    This entry was posted in Uncategorized on August 28, 2012 by Patrick Carey.


    Ralston, A. (2004) “Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Basis of the Motion Picture 127 Hours”.

  • 6 Questions to Ask When Buying Survival Equipment

    As the survivalist and prepper way of life becomes more popular, the options for survival equipment become more diverse. Amazon alone features over one million results for ‘survival equipment’ and Google produces an impressive 16 million results. When we think of the ideal qualities in survival equipment: simple, effective, low-maintenance, and indestructible is just a start. If the options for fire starters alone could yield thousands, possibly millions, of results, people need a guide to help them decide what qualities they should be looking for.


    1. Does It Have Utility?

    The item should obviously perform as advertised but we value survival items that are multi-functional and offers utility for numerous tasks. Ex. is the emergency blanket strong enough to be used as a makeshift shelter?

    2. Does It Do What It's Advertised to Do?

    Many companies advertise items that ‘last forever’ or work ‘rain or shine’ but do they really? Consider buying two items and trying one at home; you gain practice while testing the reliability of essential items.

    3. Is It Durable?

    According to Murphy's Law, the conditions in which you have to use survival equipment will likely be very poor. Will it work under poor conditions? Will it work when it has to? How long will it last you? Does it have an expiration date?

    4. Is It Dependable?

    Survival items should not only work when you need them, they should continue to work regardless of conditions. A fire starter that only works 5 or 6 times will not be very useful.

    5. Can You Carry It?

    This has more to do with how the item will fit in your pack, pocket, or vehicle? Items should be light-weight and compact. Consider how much everything will weight together because food and water rations often make up a lot of weight.

    6. Is It Affordable?

    There are a lot of high quality survival items on the market yet not all truly offer high-quality utility. Fire-starters that cost $80 often feature identical designs compared to more affordable models and tend to be overly complicated. We tend to offer items at various price points in order to help customer chose what works for them.


    Depending on the item in question, there are likely other things to consider (customer reviews, child-friendly, etc.). However, the above questions apply to all of the items we consider for inventory. We pride ourselves on the methods and standards we use in choosing our products. We’ve spent years collecting and purchasing equipment based on our own survival adventure experiences. A.S.E. was founded following our own experiences trying to gather equipment for a series of wilderness treks. Our products are chosen based on personal experience, military knowledge, consistent research, and customer feedback in order to update and maintain our products. If you are looking for survival gear that meets all of the criteria and more, A.S.E. features kits, gear, and accessories for any need.


    This entry was originally posted in Uncategorized on August 11, 2012 by Brian Greenlee

  • Survival Equipment Requirements for Alaskan and Canadian Air Travel

    As survival and adventure enthusiasts, not too long ago we choose to plan several flights from the southern United States, through Canada, and into Alaska. As we packed our Cessna, we had to make sure we packed for every possible circumstance. Both Alaska and Canada require specific survival equipment before flying in their airspace, according to government regulations. Before our trip we gathered everything, we needed, plus a few extras, but we found ourselves struggling to find exactly what we needed.

    Through a great deal of shopping and research we finally had everything required: the equipment, the airplane, and our adventurous spirit. We found ourselves completely mystified by the beauty of the “Great Alaskan Wilderness”. As we few over 3,000 miles, we were shocked by how truly wild the Alaskan and Canadian wilderness truly was! After seeing the wilderness below, counted ourselves lucky for the survival equipment they required.


    Flying Through Canada

    Think of survival equipment as a secondary insurance policy. Although flying this terrain is considered safe, there is always a possibility of something serious happening, especially in areas where help is far away. Due to the vast expanse of unpopulated and wild terrain, Canadian authorities used to be extremely thorough in their approach to required survival equipment; however, deregulation has left rules undefined and vague. Canadian statues require the means for starting a fire; providing shelter; purifying water; and signaling distress. More information can be found at

    The former regulations can be considered a guideline for all DIY survival kits. The items required were specific in terms of value and quality, for example acceptable rations are “Food having a caloric value of at least 10,000 calories per person”. They also required: cooking utensils, matches, compass, axe, flexible saw, a stove and fuel (certain conditions apply), 30 feet of snare wire, fishing equipment, a gill net, mosquito nets, tent, sleeping bags (conditions apply), snow shoes (when expecting snow), signal mirror, pyrotechnic distress signals, knife, survival manual, and a conspicuity panel (Signal Panel).

    Although Canada is known for its aggressive bear population, we DO NOT recommend carrying a firearm into Canada on your trip. Canadian Customs have strict regulations regarding firearms which may cause problems for you in the future; handguns are prohibited and all long rifles must be registered. Consider carrying an airhorn or other loud noise making device instead.


    Flying Through Alaskan Glacier Fields

    The Alaskan state laws are more lenient and less specific compared to former Canadian regulations. Found in the AS 02.35.110 section of the Alaskan statutes, air travelers are required to carry: rations for each occupant to sustain life for one week, an axe, first aid kit, a survival fishing kit, knife, fire starter, mosquito head nets (much needed!), and two signaling devices.  They also require a set of snowshoes, a sleeping bag, and one wool blanket per occupant during winter months. There is no longer a requirement to carry a “survival” firearm. More information can be found at


    Preparing to Travel

    Any prudent traveler should carry at least the minimal survival equipment; enough to take care of immediate needs when rescue is far away. Although regulations are vague, it is essential to prepare for any possibility. For minimal expense, you can have a basic survival kit that could save your life.  Adventure survival equipment offers their own Alaska Aviation Survival Kit that was created in conjunction with Let’s Fly Alaska. Whether you purchase a premade survival it or make your own, remember:

    • First aid items can save your life
    • Always carry at least two signaling devices
    • Clothing, shelter, and fire provide essential heat
    • People can survive without food but water is an immediate need
    • Include a small, inexpensive survival manual, regardless of skill or knowledge


    Fortune Favors the Prepared!

    Information from this article was published in a copy of Cessna Owner Magazine and Piper Owner Magazine.  It is reprinted here with permission from the author.


    This entry was posted on August 9, 2012 by Brian Greenlee.

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