Preparing for an outdoor adventure means packing the right gear: water, food, bike helmet, sunscreen, and more. But how many people are prepared for the “unexpected?” A flat tire or getting turned around in the woods can mean the difference between a two hour trip, a two day survival situation, or even never returning from your adventure at all. Are you prepared to survive in the wild if the “unexpected” does occur?
“Surviving” is not just a situation reserved for the great outdoors, as people push further into the suburbs, we are more than likely to encounter bears, big cats, and other animals that would love to chow on us for dinner while roaming local trails just outside our own door. Sure, a firearm can provide the protection, but it can also land you a criminal record if you are carrying without a permit or carrying in an area that firearms are prohibited. Plus, ammunition is heavy and a firearm can become damaged in the rain. Mace can provide protection, but it cannot kill a rabbit or squirrel – for sustenance – if the situation gets that desperate.
A slingshot, in the right hands, can provide both food for survival and protection from wildlife. It won’t have the killing power of a firearm against a large animal, but it may hurt one enough to allow you and your family to escape. A modern slingshot (a.k.a. a catapult, or katapult for you European readers) is fairly lightweight, compact, and accurate; and the current models on the market are a far cry from a rubber band attached to a Y-shaped stick seen in cartoons. They have fiber optic sights, mounts for flashlights, and stabilizer weights just to name a few features. But, as we are seeing with a number of products, most slingshots are imported from China. One company has not followed that trend and is still making their product line in America. Trumark Slingshots of Boulder, Colorado has been continuously designing and manufacturing their slingshots in the U.S. since 1953.
The first Trumark Slingshot was invented in the winter of 1953 by Howard Ellenburg and his sons. This prototype was bent into shape using a few simple tools and the bumper of a 1946 Willy’s Jeep (what could be more American than that, right?). The wrist brace, made from a dog collar, was incorporated to allow more power and provide stability to this first model. Though that first slingshot was successful, each prototype featured new innovations.
Today, Trumark has a number of different models, from the “classic” WS-1 that is very similar to the original prototype to The Bat that features fiber optics, counter balance weight, and a holder for a Mini Maglite flashlight. For those looking to conserve space in a pack, the S9 line does not feature a wrist brace and has a clear handle that doubles as a storage area for the ball bearing or marble ammunition. There are other models that feature storage in the handle, but the clear handle of the S9 allows the user to quickly assess the amount of ammunition.
The Trumark slingshots are very reasonably priced with none price above $29.95 – there is even a model under $10. If the Latex band or “Powerband” ever breaks, new ones can be purchased directly from Trumark for under $5, along with safety glasses, targets, and ammunition. It is wise to use marbles or steel balls as ammo instead of rocks. The abrasive texture of pebbles can prematurely break the Powerband causing a dangerous situation.
If you enjoy being active with your pooch, they are not left out of the slingshot fun. Trumark also produces a dog toy, the Woofball. This toy has a rubber ball attached to a Latex band that can be launched up to 150 feet using the included handle. Best of all, it is under $15 and is also made in America.
Preparing yourself properly for an outdoor adventure will help you survive the unlikely event that something goes wrong. More than likely, a slingshot or other type of survival or “protection” piece of equipment will never be needed. But just in case the need ever arises, being prepared is much better than being sorry, and an American-made Trumark slingshot might just provide that little bit of help to “sling” you out of a sticky situation.