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#246019 - 05/20/12 12:11 AM Arizona Survivor / Prepper Expo
comms Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 1502
Loc: Mesa, AZ
On Friday I learned that the next day the first Arizona Survival/Prepper Expo (S/PE) would be going on right up the street from my house. I decided to attend and here is my impressions.

I arrived 20 minutes after the doors opened to find that the main parking lot full. I did not expect this and was actually happy as I really did think it would be a bunch of vendors and no consumers. I'd never been to a prepper conference, expo, convention before.

I stood in line for a few minutes, paid my fare and walked into to the convention room, the main hanger of Falcon Fields WW2 aircraft museum and I was shocked to see the place completely packed with patrons.

I stayed for approximately 90 minutes, which allowed me to stroll the 50 vendors once and return to a few personal choices for a longer browse. I would say there were 4 categories of vendors in order of most prevalent to least; food companies, medical vendors, tactical gear, investments.

Food. There were the usual vendors hawking dehydrated items in prepacked pouches and #10 cans and canning products. One company cleverly sold all the dehydrated products individually and the foil bags and you made your own meals according to your food likes and calorie needs. Cost comparison was favorable and the foods I sampled were actually really palatable. The most notable food company there was for rabbits. They sold rabbits and had a program for raising the rabbits as a method of sustainable food.

Along with actual food was food use products. I watched a speaker give a group lecture on solar cooking and solar ovens (one of many many expert topics held every 30 minutes throughout the day). It was a hit living in Arizona and it being 100*+ today. Also as mentioned above, a large vendor table of canned goods and supplies using Ball canning products. I did see a small grinding mill for around $80, I mention this as I generally see these run much more. Quite a few vendors sold blue water containers in the 35-55 gallon range with all the additions needed, wrenches, pumps and such.

Medical. I honestly could not believe there was so much space devoted to medical prepping. Everything from IFAK supply's to Platoon level FAK to Massive trauma packs and even dentistry kits. Its was amazing and amazingly expensive to buy some of those items. The only thing I purchased at the expo was a pair of EMT shears that came in a dedicated MOLLE pouch. Hard to find those pouches. Lots of quick clot, wrappings, bandages, chemicals. It was overwhelming to think on that scale.

Tactical Gear. Almost every vendor selling actual gear sold Goal Zero recharging products. I like that company though I don't have any of their products. Nothing you could not get for a better price online except for some of the custom camo covers that were for sale. Lots of pouches, bags, packs assorted surplus items. Of note is one vendor had A-TAC camouflage tops, and I was interested in the pattern as I want to get a set. I was impressed. What also impressed me was the amount of surplus stores in Phoenix that I hadn't ever heard off and they had good products. One closer to my house than the one I normally frequent.

Some of you may have watched the show Doomsday Preppers on NatGeo, one of the subjects lived in Phoenix and you may remember him for two reasons, the first is that he had the Crovel shovel and the second he almost blew off his thumb while shooting in the desert with his kids. Apparently he has a prepper company called Gear Up. His table wasn't very big but half of it was showcasing the Crovel, that wicked zombie apocolypse e-tool. That thing is heavy. It must weigh eight pounds. And yeah he still had a splint on his thumb.

The last grouping of vendors were showcasing retreat real estate, worked with people buying gold or silver or just advertising some sort of advocacy group that survival/prepper communities can attract.

I was actually able to take pictures and will post them soon. Or hope to. I have not tried posting photos on here before and this is not a photo heavy forum. But I got some good shots and hope to add them. I also picked up several business cards, so I will try to include some of those names later as well, if needed.


Edited by comms (05/20/12 12:12 AM)
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#246021 - 05/20/12 12:55 AM Re: Arizona Survivor / Prepper Expo [Re: comms]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6897
Loc: southern Cal
Thanks for the interesting post. What items would have been uniquely obtainable from the expo and not available through more conventional retailers?

I haven't seen the prepper chow you mentioned or the Crovel(I don't receive the NG channel unfortunately), but I googled around, much to my amusement. As an archeologist/paleontologist, I am a professional dirt mover, and I am always interesting in finding new tools for that purpose with unique capabilities. I think I will pass on the C-tool.



Edited by hikermor (05/20/12 01:08 AM)
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#246025 - 05/20/12 03:21 AM Re: Arizona Survivor / Prepper Expo [Re: comms]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3135
Loc: USA
Very nice summary, comms. Thanks!

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#246028 - 05/20/12 06:26 AM Re: Arizona Survivor / Prepper Expo [Re: chaosmagnet]
leemann Offline
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Registered: 02/08/04
Posts: 623
Loc: At the soylent green plant.
Excellent summary Comms.

Lee
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#246033 - 05/20/12 01:45 PM Re: Arizona Survivor / Prepper Expo [Re: comms]
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1397
Thanks, comms, for the report.

I'd like to know the name of the company that packs dehydrated food separately so you can make your own food. That's not Shelf Reliance, is it? (This is useful for people with dietary restrictions.)

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#246035 - 05/20/12 02:20 PM Re: Arizona Survivor / Prepper Expo [Re: comms]
widget Offline
Addict

Registered: 07/06/03
Posts: 550
I watched the show on NG when the guy from PHX took off his thumb with a pistol and hung a pig from his patio and whacked at it with a chovel thing. I will not comment except to say that I hope he lives across the valley from me.

Nice report on the convention. Seems a hot market right now, can't say I get it at all. Reminds me of the 1950's and '60's when the "in" people had bomb shelters installed in their yard.
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#246045 - 05/20/12 06:46 PM Re: Arizona Survivor / Prepper Expo [Re: comms]
comms Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 1502
Loc: Mesa, AZ
Blingley, I thought I grabbed a card from the table but I don't think I did, or the website doesn't address the self packaging of meals. I've been trying to find their info online and might PM the organizers, as it was probably the only real interesting food concern I saw that I could not buy online or would have wanted to buy while there. I'll go through my photos and hopefully I snapped a photo of it.

I sampled several of their individual fruit, veggie, meat, products and the fruit especially was very tasty. The corn was amazing. It would be nice to make dehydrated meals to my own likes and calorie counts to put into my own foil packaging (that they also sold). For example, I like fresh green and red peppers but not rehydrated, they always seem to come out limp to me. So I could copy my own favorite Mountain House or Backpacker Pantry meals and just exclude the items I don't like and increase the ones I do, like more sauce and proteins or different noodles.

The 'thumb guy' aka Tim Ralston, seemed like a nice man. My interaction with him across his table was very brief and he didn't seem pretentious or weird. He was nicer, less intense and more natural than say the Constitution/ Arizona Defense Coalition / Survivalist groups. He had a company logo'd deuce & a half parked behind him but his table was small and definitely a prepper table not a survivalist or military surplus table. I don't know if that makes sense or not to make that distinction.
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#246048 - 05/20/12 07:35 PM Re: Arizona Survivor / Prepper Expo [Re: comms]
MDinana Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2186
Loc: Bluegrass
Interesting, thanks for that. Our only shows around here are gu shows - usually include 4-5 vendors for mil-surp, some that have MRE's at decent prices ($60/case). Random advocacy groups. 1-2 food tables (usually bulk stuff/premade stuff). So trolling around that convention sounds like you'd get some more quality stuff.

I must admit, I'm a sucker for the FAK items, even though I'm pretty well stocked. Not like one tends to go through it quickly.

But I could def. take the wife and let her see I'm not too weird!

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#246057 - 05/21/12 11:46 AM Re: Arizona Survivor / Prepper Expo [Re: MDinana]
nursemike Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 789
Loc: wellington, fl
Originally Posted By: MDinana

But I could def. take the wife and let her see I'm not too weird!


Good luck with that. I have tried that exercise several times with very limited success.
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#246079 - 05/21/12 05:09 PM Re: Arizona Survivor / Prepper Expo [Re: nursemike]
MDinana Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2186
Loc: Bluegrass
Originally Posted By: nursemike
Originally Posted By: MDinana

But I could def. take the wife and let her see I'm not too weird!


Good luck with that. I have tried that exercise several times with very limited success.

Evidently, you ARE that wierd wink

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