Semper Fi, 0321 wrote up this piece on some of his favorite Survival Gear. In his part of the world, this stuff can come in handy on a daily basis. It doesn't have to be a SHTF scenario. Picture running off of a snow covered road. Or a couple of wrong turns on a hike. This type of gear could mean the difference between life and death. Be prepared or be dead, it's not a tough choice...
Even before I joined the Corps, I always had a GI canteen and cup. My preference is the old WW2 stainless steel canteen and cup, earlier ones were aluminum, which I despise. They corrode with certain drinks like lemonade and will poison you. The GI's called it "Battery Acid" in WW2, for good reason. During the VietNam war the plastic canteens came out, and water suddenly tasted pretty good. I usually carry a plastic canteen with the cup and cover in summer, I am now going back to the stainless canteen for winter use, you can also heat water in them, keep the cap out of the flame.
While in the Corps, we still had C-rats, and we used the fruit can to make coffeee/hot cocoa. Since MRE's came out, you now have to use your canteen cup to heat water. The military has had several types of canteen cup holders since VietNam, both for heat tabs and the new gel packs (which I have never tried). I have the earlier canteen cup holder which slides upside down around the cup and fits into the canteen pouch. Works fine until you tip it over!
My favorite stove is the German Esbit, used in WW2 and manufactured for both the East and West German post war armies(that's why there are so many variations. I even have a aluminum one from the 60's with the American Boy Scout emblem stamped in it). They were inexpensive, and found in most surplus store, although supply is drying up and costing a lot more recently.
German Esbit Stove
I have lots of US GI heat tabs and just got some German heat tabs, not real cheap either, but either buy now, or lose out. They burn longer and more efficient than the US ones.
Another stove I have several of is the Swedish Trangia, I carry just the brass burner and alcohol bottle(or smaller one) with a homemade tin can stove top. Get a short wide stew can and make lots of holes with an old church key, fit it over the brass burner and you're done. Carry it in a small stuff sack sewn from an old cammy pant leg.http://bushcraftusa.com/forum/showthread.php?t=33132
Swedish Trangia Repair Kit
Swedish Trangia Stove
I carry the Esbit stove(insert 2 heat tabs and a book of matches) and 4 spare heat tabs in a Dutch camo zippered shaving kit, along with other small items like lighter, matches, spare Opinel pocket knife, compass, plastic spork and 1/2 kitchen sponge. And a ziploc bag with coffee, creamer, sugar packets and cocoa mix. Instructions for most any of this gear can be found online, with lots of picture of original and cheap imitations.
Now I have my setup for hot beverages when I get cold/tired and need a break. The canteen/cup combo can fit inside your day pack or on your web gear if going tactical. Several years ago, while elk hunting, it got dark and the temp plunged to about +7' F and we were bone tired from several miles of walking old logging cuts. My friend had just moved here from Texas a few years earlier and I had to still show him the ropes. We had a huge hill to climb via an old skid trail and I decided it was break time, just too tired to go any more. Out came the stove, we loaded up on hot cocoa and energy bars, put frozen gloves on and made it back to the truck around 8pm. Saved our ass, hot drinks and lots of sugar.