How will it keep you alive? If you're stranded in a remote location and spot a search party far off in the distance, aim the laser at your target and move it back and forth to signal them.
What is it? A gadget that produces drinkable water from any source, no matter how contaminated. The Lifesaver purifier bottle ($160) uses activated carbon filters to remove waterborne pathogens and even reduce harmful chemical residues and heavy metals.
The device can filter out impurities as small as 15 nanometers. With that level of precision, it's well equipped to remove Rhinovirus (aka the common cold), which measures in at a relatively plump 30 nanometers, from water.
The Lifesaver doesn't depend on chemicals or electricity to function. Instead it works by simple push action, which makes it an ideal for taking far off the grid. The above TED video explains the technology in more depth.
Alternately, though Camelbak's All Clear Bottle ($99) can't remove chemicals and harmful nonorganic materials, it uses ultraviolet waves to kill microbiological agents.
How will it keep you alive? If you find yourself in an unknown area, the Lifesaver (and to a lesser extent, Camelbak) will enable you drink safely from water sources that may be contaminated. (Note: Neither the Lifesaver or Camelbak canteens can make seawater potable. For that, you'll need a desalination kit.)
Personal desalination kit
What is it? A gadget that removes salt from seawater and makes it safe for human consumption.
HTI's $50 SeaPack Crew consists of a trio of 17-ounce one-time-use pouches. Each pouch filters seawater to remove the vast majority of its salt, leaving the desalinated water to mix with a "fortified powder" to produce half a liter of a "clean, flavored survival drink that provides both hydration and energy." Yum. HTI claims that the pouches will remove 97 percent of the salt from seawater over the required 10-hour filtration period (in 68-degree seawater).
How will it keep you alive? When you find yourself stranded in a rescue raft in the middle of the ocean, a three-pack of SeaPack Crew will make 1.5 liters of the otherwise undrinkable seawater around you safe for consumption.
Solar-charged camping lantern
What is it? An off-the-gird lighting source that doesn't need batteries.
Sears offers a wholesale solar lantern ($35) that collects energy during daylight hours so it can light your way at night-—no batteries required. And if the lantern runs out of stored solar energy, you can use the included hand crank to produce light.
How will keep me alive? If you get lost for any extended period, you'll spend considerable time sitting in the dark. The solar lantern will illuminate your nearby area long after your Duracells have worn out.
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