Surviving is good – I’m fairly certain most would agree with that.  However, the length that some will go to adequately ensure their survival varies dramatically.  On one hand, you have folks who recognize the need for disaster preparation, yet invest no time or money in “just-in-case” measures.  They’re confident that the experience they got from two months in the Cub Scouts 30 years ago will “all” come back to them if they need it.

Monovaults with AR15Then on the other end of the spectrum you have a set of extremely hardcore survivalists – the wannabees, if you will.  I call them that, not because, they want to be something that they’re not, but because so much of their life has been spent preparing for doomsday that they “wannabee” thrown into the middle of a Red Dawn-style land invasion, a zombie apocalypse, or any other chaotic event that would allow them to tie 50 different knots, sew a head wound, cause a head wound, and finally eat that lasagna MRE.

Personally, I’m right there in between, but I just picked up a new tool that can fit into any game plan, regardless of how serious you are about slogging through a disaster; the Mono Vault.

The Mono Vault is, to put it simply, a gun storage container, and all MV models, from the pistol-accommodating 107, all the way up to the stout 248, can be carried by hand or slung over the shoulder for easy transportation.  That said, the similarities between Mono Vaults and ordinary portable gun storage pretty much end there.

For one, they can hold a ridiculous amount of firepower.  The aforementioned model 248, for instance, is 12.25” in diameter and 45” deep.  That’s large enough to easily store a few AK-47’s and a thousand rounds to boot.  My personal application is slightly less explosive, but we’ll get to that in a minute…

Mono Vault with backhoeLet’s say for a second that you have a handful of Class III Kalashnikovs that you want to safely hide away, just in case the President patches the economic crisis long enough to come take them away from you.  Guys like Edward Teach have taught us that the best way to safely hide our treasure is to bury it.  One huge perk Mono Vaults offer is that they’re designed ideally for caching firearms and ammunition underground for years at a time.  Their heavy duty shell, constructed out of ¼” thick polyethylene, is strong enough to support the weight of an earth mover, and its patented design sports a gasket seal built to keep out water in any conditions.  These things are basically time capsules on steroids (I hate the “steroids” cliche, but it fits so perfectly).

While it’s nice to know that I have the option of safely burying my stuff for 20 years, I picked up my MV with different intentions.  My family and I travel a lot – by car, plane, even boat on occasion, and regardless of where I am, I like knowing that if our car breaks down on a secluded road in the mountains, or we capsize on a sailing trip, the odds of my family’s survival (ideally surviving comfortably) are pretty decent.  A Mono Vault can float, it won’t let water in, it can get thrown from a car, and run over by a semi, and I’ll still have the equipment and supplies that I need to effectively stay alive – my firearms included.

underground gun storageThe emergency backpack I put together a while back contains all the bare essentials that I need if I’m ever unfortunate enough to experience a forced evacuation, and while I’m absolutely keeping it around for a rainy day, it has its limitations.  If it falls into a lake, or rolls down a cliff, I’m probably screwed.  Not to mention, short of a compact pistol, it makes lousy gun storage.  With my new Mono Vault, I have my gear and my guns locked up, protected from physical damage and I have them all in one tightly sealed location.

Last weekend, I went through my basement, my closets, and my garage, and pulled out anything useful I could find to stock the new Mono Vault for a rainy day.  With this little project, I’ve not only put to use a ton of perfectly good supplies that was just gathering dust, but I created a bulletproof disaster prep kit that I can take anywhere…in fact, I’m throwing it in the back of my car and heading down to Carolina tomorrow.

My Mono Vault 152 is about 50” deep and almost 10” in diameter – here’s what I was able to pack into it with breathing room to spare:

A Remington 870 12 gauge shotgun, a Remington 597 rimfire rifle, an S&W M&P 40 pistol, four magazines, a concealed carry holster, a ZCORR shotgun bag, over 100 rounds of mixed ammunition, a single sleeper tent plus stakes, zip ties, over 50 ft of rope, a 12×12 tarp, a first aid kit, a camping stove, water pouch, water purifier filter and tablets, half a dozen high calorie Mainstay bars, a folding shovel, a hatchet,  two Bowie knives, a guthook, a head lamp, a tactical light, a Leatherman, leather gloves, some fire-starter fuel, waterproof matches, $80 cash, and 10 yards of duct tape.

survival gear

Mono vault overhead

packing gearI separated the majority of the gear into sections, and packed each section into an individual bag to make it easy to pack and quick to find.  For example, I put the tools together in one bag, and food, purification tabs, and first aid kit in another.  I placed the tent and tarp at the bottom and stacked the bags on top.  I lined the long guns around the perimeter, and placed the handgun and cash at the very top (sometimes I use the M&P as a carry gun, so I wanted to get to it without digging around).

Like I said, all the gear is perfectly functional – it was just scattered around my house, and wasn’t being used.  The same can pretty much be said for the guns (with the exception of the Smith and Wesson); I bought the 870 at a Police auction a few years ago for $50 – the Akron police force dinged it up moving it between lockers while it served its duty, but aesthetics aside, it’s still a versatile and dependable firearm.  The 597 is a terrific little 22, but again, I got it for a steal, and I hardly use it.  All my gear (along with the Bud K Trench Bowie ;)) has a much greater purpose in my new Mono Vault action pack – it’s like I’ve given it a new lease on life.

Monovault lockI got the 152 from, along with a few accessories.  I picked up the shoulder strap to make it easier to haul around, the humidity gauge to measure the moisture in the container (the MV keeps moisture out, but it can still get in when the lid is opened), and a simple locking system to keep unauthorized users from getting in (namely my daughter).

A couple things I’ll note is that I’d recommend picking up a ZCORR rust prohibitive vault liner.  I used one of my individual ZCORR bags to keep rust off the 597 and the knives, but the vault liner provides protection for all metal objects in the entire container.  The protection lasts up to 20 years, so it’d be nice to just pack them in and not worry about corrosion for a while.

Wearing the Mono Vault 152I should also note that for grab n’ go survival, the model 152 might not be for everyone – especially the way I packed mine (heavy).  There’s me wearing the sucker to the right (if you’re wondering what the FatMax FUBAR tool is for – it’s for the zombies – they’re allergic to head trauma).  I’m 6’4” and 265 lbs, and though I could walk around wearing it comfortably, it would probably be a bit grueling taking it on a 10 mile hike (I’m thinking about reinforcing the shoulder strap with a little foam padding).  If you’re smaller than me, and you plan to pick up an MV for mobile application, I might recommend the 130s.  They have the same diameter as the 152s, only they’re almost 20” shorter.  A 130 provides gun storage deep enough to accommodate a Mini-14 with a folding stock, or an AR with separated lowers and uppers, and it’s a lot easier to manage if you plan to carry it any distance.

Needless to say, I’m pretty pumped about my new purchase – it’s gun storage with unlimited options.  While I plan to haul this one around with me, I might just have to pick up a new one down the road to bury my treasure.

Stay safe!