Don’t Forget the Work Gloves
It’s easy to get seduced by the flashy side of preparedness. By this I mean the assault rifles, the freeze dried foods, the exotic off-grid energy systems, etc. I’m not saying that these things don’t have a place in preparedness; I’m just saying that sometimes we place a little too much emphasis on these big ticket items and forget about the small, mundane things that will be part of day-to-day life in a long-term survival situation. For example, do you have a back-up supply of work gloves?
Think about it, self-sufficient living involves a lot of manual labor. Right now, I work outside on my farm about two hours a day; maybe four to six hours a day on weekends. A lot of this work involves wearing leather work gloves. I’ve never really kept track of it, but I would estimate that a pair of work gloves lasts me about nine months. In a total self-sufficiency environment I can see that dropping down to something like six months or less. You could opt to just work without gloves and put up with the pain until your hands get tough; but it’s about more than pain. Remember, you are now in a situation were ever cut, scrape, or puncture could be life threatening. No antibiotics to treat an infection; no tetanus shots to prevent lock-jaw. A cut on the hand could kill you as dead as a bullet. So you really need to wear gloves if there is a chance of injury in what you are doing.
Now think about what would be involved in making a pair of work gloves. You would have to harvest the hide. Then you would have to tan the hide (trust me when I tell you that this is a pain, even if you know what you’re doing). Then you would have to cut out the leather (assuming that you already have a pattern), hand-punch the leather with an awl, then hand-stitch the gloves together.
Recently, one of the hardware chains had work gloves on sale, five pair for $5.99. A great price considering that I usually pay four to six dollars for one pair. I went down and bought ten pair and added them to my survival storage. They’re not exotic, and they’re not expensive, but they are an everyday necessity if you plan to survive. While we’re on the subject of gloves, do you have extra winter gloves? I keep two pair of lined pig skin gloves for winter.
I also have two pair of rag-wool gloves without fingertips. These are very handy when you are doing something that requires a good deal of manual dexterity, like screwing a small nut and bolt together or working a combination lock on a gate. I also wear these gloves when I’m picking dewberries and black berries. They are a real help at protecting your hands from those itchy thorns while leaving your fingertips free to pluck berries off the vines.
I use a pair of insulated wool mittens when hunting in cold weather. The tips of the gloves fold back and expose your fingertips so that you can use a bow and arrow or pull the trigger on a rifle. Very handy. I keep several pair of Playtex gloves, the kind that your mother used to wear when doing dishes. These are good for butchering game and processing hides. And lastly, I have two boxes of non-latex exam gloves to use in medical emergencies. I also carry a pair of these when I’m hunting so that I can wear them when field dressing game. This may seem overly cautious to some, but a twenty cent pair of gloves is a lot cheaper than treating a case of tularemia that you catch when dressing an infected animal. So there you go. There’s nothing very exotic about gloves, but when you are in a survival situation they can sure make a big difference in the quality of your daily life. So spend a relatively small amount of money and prepare yourself with a good selection of gloves.