Windson Low Tech

Kit Archeology

Got some kits back that I packed in 2004. Unused; the smaller one still sealed. The first one is an aviator vest general scope survival kit in a tobacco can modeled alongside the old SAS kit, and the second one is an urban utility kit with instructions and packing list on the outside – printed on waterproof paper and typeset in 4pt in a special font that is used for telephone books.

The batteries in the Photon light are still good, but electrical tape seems to get funky after almost ten years…

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Project Black Box:

The idea of this project was to make people look at what they do and reassess the way they do tasks. At training days or events people look through the wares and grab everything they perceive they need. Its great to have them without a doubt, but off duty some don’t carry those tools. The aim is to show them that they can think and problem solve off duty or if the situation they are in leaves them with those items removed/lost. Part of the training for Royal Marine Commandos involves dropping them in the middle of no where in Scotland with a base layer, boxers, boots with no laces and nothing else.  This enforced mindset of finding problem solvers to their own situation is invaluable. Finding yourself in a situation where you have escaped, or on the run, without the gear you would normally carry, but having your brain accept the P.M.A (Positive Mental Attitude) to find alternatives offers the greatest boost to your survival and success. This test works in a similar way and has been conducted at other peoples homes to leave them in unfamiliar surroundings to find solutions or items they can use.

So here is my BlackBox. This one challenged me to not look at my usual stash to obtain parts for a part of a standard belt kit. I wanted to find things in the garage, shed or the special place men have somewhere. The Thing Drawer! (The little place you throw all that stuff you don’t want to throw out as it will come in handy at some point.) So lets get a look at the contents of this one.

  • Waterproof paper, perfect addition for making notes, or for drawing maps before dropping into a valley.
  • Fresnel Lens, 4x magnification with medical and firelighting uses.
  • Signal Marker panel, makes night time signalling simple. Exceeds US coastguard spec. Found it in the pack for my mountain bike.
  • Water sterilisation tablets. I carry these in everything, Im always out and Im never without these or the water bag.
  • 1.5" cyalume. Discovered in the tackle box, a great addition to have handy. Only four hour but some light is better than no light at all.
  • Six feet ultra thin 100Ib coated steel. Found in the tackle box, its strong, handy, versatile and too good to pass up.
  • Three scalpel blades, found in the first aid kit in the garage. Loads of uses and easy to use.
  • Water bag, one litre, always in my pocket.
  • Five tindertabs with a mini firesteel in one. Ive been carrying these in my pocket for some time. The compact sizes is enough for an emergency.
  • Sailors sewing needle. A great addition to the kit, found in the garage in a box with some other items. A nail or tack would work just as well.
  • Folding saw, found in the bike pack, not sure why its their but its a tool worthy to have. Ideally a folding razor saw would be the better solution but I’ll take it as part of the box.
  • Pencil, I found a few in the garage while digging around, cut one down to save space.
  • Multipack items. Safety pins with about three feet of the ultra strong cord I use for some of the other projects. A compact fishing kit if nothing else.
  • Bobby pins, a great universal tool. A P38 can opener, 99 documented uses for these so who could resist one. An old plain dog tag. A mirror for checking yourself, signalling etc. A compass also.

So, there is a lot in the box and still space left which to me is best left to add more things you find while out and about. I can think of a lot of uses for each item and for me that justifies its addition. Some of the items are not the highest quality as they were from the garage or around the house. It will work when you need it too making any situation better.

Upon reflection its an interesting exercise to free your brain from the normal routine of training offered and expand your thought process into other areas. Having the right tools for the job is by far the best foundation for success, there is no denying that. We all know that real life can separate you from those tools and leave you far from the canopy of your comfort zone. This demonstrates your ability or failure to solve problems with other tools, even if you have to make them. Highlighting a weakness in your skills helps you plug a gap. This can in turn boost your survival ability should you need it.

From seeing the kit offered by pcordnsuch, or the other kit offered by wndsn some of the items seem to be a staple essential. There is no right or wrong and thats important to note. What you think would serve you and your lifestyle may differ greatly.

My thanks to everyone who got involved, and if you have a go yourself let me know what you opt for. My special thanks to a good Para friend who spent three weeks working on his kit and when I saw it he had filled it with water sterilisation tablets and condoms. I’ve really not laughed so much in a long time. He was using condoms for water carry he claimed but he had an awful lot of them! My thanks also to others who took part and filled the boxes with lists from manufacturers and highlighted my point. They are now going back to look at the kits more closely and from continued emails and conversation they are starting to think a little more freely. My sincere thanks to everyone who took part, and thanks to those that have been called away unable to complete their boxes due to being on duty.

For mainstream items for your EDC dont forget the Law Industries Store


The NATO - Peyser Brass Button Compass will fit, but it adds a lot more bulk. The better choice would be the small, limited run compass that CountyComm offers. Titanium Nano Bogotas, a ceramic blade and a polymer universal handcuff key round out this set. The CountyComm Brass Button Compass is bulky but so is the key. 

For a flatter mod, you could utilize two, very small and cylindrical Neodymium Magnets as ESEE does in their Izula E & E Wallet. Along with some dental floss or Kevlar Cord, you can make a gross direction compass. Then exchange the key for two Titanium Shims, keep the Ceramic Blade and the Nano Bogotas as is. 


A couple of new pieces of gear showed up recently. The first was the limited edition wndsn reflective patch. The second was an ocean blue Radiance Light from Law Industries. This all fits in perfectly with my SSB2.

The patch is pretty cool. The reflective material is very visible, my iPhone doesn’t do it justice. I was even able to get some reflection from the Radiance Light.

law66 said that the Radiance Lights were pretty bright, he was right. Very easy to use, just charge and let it shine. These will glow all night long with less than 10 minutes of charging. I even got one for my wife.

SSB2 and Murdered Out Disruptive Thinker Patch from oscardelta.

All around good kit for EDC or bugging out.


Windson Low Tech

Personnel Recovery and Survival Kit / Soft Storage Case

Remember the RFQ for the Navy SEAL’s (Naval Special Warfare Development Group) survival kit? There is a hard case and a soft one. Here is a version of the soft case that I built to the specs.

It’s basically a flag patch with velcro “sewed to back with a slit in order to store and retrieve contents below yet hold contents down while worn.” Nothing more.

Large enough for the contents –

  • Hacksaw Blade, 2.75” L
  • Ceramic Razor Blade
  • Moleskin Adhesive Patch, 1.75” x 2.5”
  • Kevlar Thread, 24” in length
  • Fishing Leader/Downrigger Cable, Multi-strand, 24” in length
  • Suspended Navigation Magnet
  • Ferro Cerium Rod, 1.75” L x .125”W
  • Cotton Ball, Impregnated with wax.
  • Bobby Pins, 2 small, 1 large
  • Handcuff Shim (Pick)
  • Universal Handcuff Key

Short Bogotas should fit in there as well. The picture shows the loaded case on the sleeve of a TAD Gear Ranger hoodie.

One more thing… note that there is no fishing gear in the kit.

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Windson Low Tech
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Mini SERE Pouch

Another one from my mate law66, this one in its simplicity an ingenious bifold design.

Webbing and Velcro. Nothing more. Two stash pockets folded against one another and closed with Velcro.

Loaded with some e&e kit, the pouch can be carried slipped into a pocket, on a lanyard or necklace (as shown on OD’s APEK), or wrapped around a belt or some other webbing.

A very versatile little pouch almost bomb-proof, and with the loop-side of the Velcro that will be added to the production version, you can sandwich the pouch between any two pieces of gear with hook and loop areas.

Looks like the mini pouch will be available at OD soon.

Windson Low Tech

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Windson Low Tech

@SnakeDr APEK x @Wndsn GTFO Bracelet

Bracelet modification: Friction saw, handcuff key (the next iteration of the key looks like it can be worn even more simple), tungsten-carbide wheel (thanks, @law66), ceramic window breaker, shim. The shackle has some weight to throw, just in case…

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[Windson RoE]

Windson Low Tech

Weaponizing Glow Sticks

If you have a glow stick, you have a tiny amount of 30% hydrogen peroxide, which is useful as a GTFO agent if combined with a reducing solution.

A glow stick is a housing for two chemical solutions, which give off light when they are combined. Before you activate the glow stick, the two solutions are kept in separate chambers. The phenyl oxalate ester and dye solution fills most of the plastic stick itself. The hydrogen peroxide solution, called the activator, is contained in a small, fragile glass vial in the middle of the stick. When you bend the plastic stick, the glass vial snaps open, and the two solutions flow together. The chemicals immediately react to one another, and the atoms begin emitting light.

Now, we want the hydrogen peroxide, for that, we open the outer housing of the glow stick, discard the dye solution and carefully retrieve the glass vial containing the H2O2.

Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical compound with the formula H2O2. Hydrogen peroxide is a strong oxidizer and is used as a bleaching agent and disinfectant.

If you can find a reducing agent, you’ll be able to create a violent chemical reaction which may give you the tactical advantage you need. (This is where your vitamin C tabs come in handy…) Even if you don’t find a reducer, 30% H2O2 is highly irritating by itself, to the eyes for example.

Of course, and obviously, doing surgery on glowsticks isn’t the most elegant way to procure H2O2, but if you only have a glowstick or two, be aware that you can improvise a surprise distraction with them.

It’s never about following specific recipes but always about the awareness and the ability to improvise what you need with what you have, in whatever conditions or circumstances you are. If you do train like this, and experiment and try different things, you’ll increase your chances of successful E&E and have more confidence even if stripped of your kit.

(Schema from Glowstick Factory)

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Windson Low Tech

Bracelet Knots

Since bracelets are easy to make and either too cheap or too expensive, I don’t sell them (except for the really dark arts…). Here are the knots I am using:

The signature Wndsn GTFO bracelet is held together by a double-looped-Poacher’s Knot, which creates a secure sling, but prevents degloving by giving in to stronger force.

The Wndsn Simple bracelet is made using a Sliding Double Fisherman’s, again, non-degloving through self-loosening loops.

Finally, the Wndsn Fishhook bracelet is using two knots, the Duncan (Uni) Knot for the loop and the Snell Knot for the hook, also, giving in to potentially hazardous tear.

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[Windson RoE]


Windson Low Tech

How to Efficiently Charge Glow in the Dark Materials

You may wonder why sometimes, your GITD items are brighter and glow longer after mere seconds in the sun compared to when you spent all the time charging them with some artificial light source. Here is why.

Choosing a bulb to charge your glow in the dark items

The brightness and type of bulb determines the efficiency at which phosphorescent material charges. Efficient bulbs not only charge faster, but can obtain a brighter level of glow.

For example, a black light shining on a glow surface for 30 seconds will cause that surface to be 10 times brighter than a flashlight on it for 6 hours. Under black light, most pigments will get to 80% of their charge within seconds, 90% over 30 seconds, 95% over about 2 minutes, 100% in about 10 minutes.

Here is a list of light sources in order from most to least efficient:

  1. Direct Sunlight
  2. Black Light Tube
  3. UV LEDs
  4. Fluorescent Bulbs / long tubes
  5. Compact Fluorescent or CFL-spiral tube, screw-in
  6. Incandescent / standard light bulb
  7. Blue/Purple LEDs
  8. White LEDs

The efficiency of light as a phosphorescent charging source is determined by its brightness and its spectrum. White light is comprised of equal amounts of all of the colors, such as red, green, and blue. White light bulbs typically also emit ultraviolet (UV) light, which is the “color” above purple in the spectrum, which humans cannot see.

Each part of the spectrum affects glow in the dark materials differently.

  • Red light actually discharges the glow pigments.
  • Green light is neutral.
  • Blue light inefficiently charges the pigments.
  • Ultraviolet light efficiently charges the pigments.

A standard incandescent light bulb emits similar amounts of the four colors above. The green does not affect the glow pigments. The red discharges and the blue charges in similar amounts, which results in a cancelation. The result is that only the ultraviolet is working to charge the phosphorescent pigments.

Therefore, when using a 100 watt incandescent light bulb as a charging source, only about 10-25 watts are working to actually charge the pigment. Therefore, a 60 watt black light bulb will far outperform the nominally higher powered white light.

The ultraviolet spectrum is broken down into subcategories depending on wavelength:

  • 450 - 400 nm Violet, (visible light)
  • 400 - 320 nm UVA, Long Wave, Black Light
  • 320 - 280 nm UVB, Medium Wave
  • 280 - 100 nm Short Wave,  Germicidal

Long wave ultraviolet (UVA) used for true black lights is relatively safe on the eyes. Medium and short wave ultraviolet light can do damage to eyes. Ideally, for black lights, you would use 365 nm LEDs. 

  • Lower frequency light will more effectively excite the material.
  • If the frequency is outside the absorption range for the material, then it won’t work.


Most plastic glow-in-the-dark objects do not glow internally, it is a finely divided pigment: copper-doped zinc sulfide (for pale green). The copper sites in zinc sulfide absorb blue and ultraviolet light (mostly high frequency), which creates an excitation in the electronic structure of the solid. In the phosphor of a fluorescent tube or a TV set, that excitation decays back into visible light (always slightly red-shifted in all cases) very quickly. (If you turn off a TV in a totally darkened room, you can see the screen glow in the dark for almost a minute). Copper-doped zinc sulfide can be engineered to decay very quickly (fractions of a second) and brightly. It can also be engineered to have much deeper electronic energy holes so that the conversion of excitation back to light requires hours to climb out – the glow-in-the-dark effect. All in all, it depends on the intensity of the glow produced, the amount of energy stored within the material’s lattice and the time of exposure to a high-intensity wavelength.


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[Windson RoE]

Windson Low Tech

The Towel

I recently replaced the bandana that I carry at the bottom of my bag with a towel. It has all the uses of a bandana, plus a couple more: it actually soaks up water, it can be used as a rag if needed, as a groundcloth to sit on, a washcloth, etc. Very useful.

Two more references:

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • Makeshift waterboarding

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[Windson RoE]


Windson Low Tech

Marker Panel

Received from Law Industries for testing. Preliminary handling shows that –

  1. The panel folds down to below wallet size and weighs next to nothing.
  2. It is extremely bright and reflective in the sun and during low-light conditions.
  3. No-brainer item; no excuse for not packing.

Immediate thoughts –

  1. Everything that can possibly be folded down even further, should be, and the vacuum packacking could just as well be credit card sized.
  2. The loops would work even better were they made out of some flexible, thin bungee cord.
  3. Safety pins. Three.

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[Windson How Tos] | [Limited Edition Patches]


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Thank you for three sets of lockpicks @law66 (and goodies).

One standard Bogota set and two variations all in full size and nicely cut, I am going to smooth them a bit though—because that’s how we like them. I wish there was a Euro version too, even though with some practice, it doesn’t really matter. Great quality nonetheless!

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[Windson How Tos] | [Limited Edition Patches]