RECOIL OFFGRID

ESCAPE AND EVASION EVALUATION

According to the Shoninki, a medieval ninja document written by Natori Masatake in 1681, the “essential gear for shinobi,” a ninja, was:

» Amigasa: 編笠 – Wide-brimmed straw hat
» Kaginawa: 鉤縄 – Grappling hook
» Sekihitsu: 石筆 – Slate pencil
» Kusuri: 薬 – Field medicine
» Sanjaku Tenugui: 三尺手拭 – Three-foot cloth
» Uchitake: 打竹 – Striking bamboo (tool for starting fire)

The ninja’s purposes included espionage, escape, and evasion while surviving in isolated and austere conditions. Traces of these purposes are still visible in the tools they carried.

Kits specifically designed to aid individuals in avoiding and escaping capture from hostile forces trace back to WWII. During WWII, members of the British RAF (Royal Air Force) and USAAF (United States Army Air Force, the precursor to the United States Air Force) were issued specialized escape-and-evasion kits. The British Ministry of Defense, Section 9 (MI9), commissioned Christopher Hutton, a British Intelligence Officer, to create and distribute the kits to Allied servicemen.

As times have changed, so has the need for escape-and-evasion tools. It’s no longer just high-risk military personnel who find a need for these to implements. Everyday people from all walks of life recognize the value of gear and training, including travelers, aid workers, and people living in urban environments who face an increased risk of abduction. Irregular custody comes in many forms. These include home invasion situations, domestic violence, targeting by criminal groups because of your nationality or socioeconomic class, or simply finding yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time. This reinforces the idea that it’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

To be clear, tools only work if you know how to use them before you actually need them. Seek quality training in how to use your tools before you bet your life on any of them. There are many instructors out there today providing this type of training — do your homework and choose wisely.

This article highlights several purpose-built counter-custody kits, or SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) kits as some refer to them.

For the purposes of the review I took each

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