Night vision capability is a common area of discussion among preppers, but it is typically not as high on the priority list as other essential gear such as food, medical supplies, firearms, and ammunition. While the cost of night vision technology prevents many from looking into it seriously, it provides many advantages in a survival environment.
The dark can be a scary place. Whether it is because the power is out in a high population environment or you are in a rural area, a survival setting will have many dark hours in a day. The single most heavily relied upon sense for humans is sight. Night vision provides an early detection capability that is critical for providing security. It also will not give away your position with the right equipment and proper use. The US military has had the night vision advantage over every adversary since the Vietnam War. This is the reason why the military has planned so many operations at night and has had such a high success rate.
The other often overlooked advantage that night vision capability provides is psychological. The psychological effect is twofold, positive for the user and negative for the non-user. Knowing that you have a visual capability advantage over others, or at the least are not at a disadvantage, is priceless in a situation where security is in question. Difficulty seeing leads even the most experienced professionals to be doubtful and apprehensive. The best form of security is deterrence. If you can detect a potential adversary before they can detect you and give them a reason to doubt their safety, they will likely retreat without incident.
It is also worth mentioning the usefulness of night vision for light discipline. Much like deterrence, blending in to not become a target can be the best form of defense against potential security threats. Standard night vision devices work by amplifying light making them the perfect tool to check for light leaks. You’ll be amazed at what you missed if you have never used them before. Additionally, if would be attackers are using night vision to identify possible targets, it is critical that you use it as well to not attract attention and give yourself the best possible chance for survival.
Any survival situation requires that the basic needs of food, water, and shelter be met. Preparation can mitigate the need for food procurement for a time, but for any longer term survival situation, obtaining a food source will become necessary. One of the most important considerations for food planning is to ensure your plan is adaptable and diversified. Using night vision to aid procuring food will unlikely be the first option in your plan, however, it can aid in versatility.
Night vision provides two significant advantages for food procurement. First, it gives you flexibility. If the situation dictates that it is safer or more effective to gather food at night, you will have the flexibility to do so. It can also help increase your chances of success. If you are forced to hunt at night, a night vision rifle scope will certainly produce a higher success rate than hunting without one. Second, it can allow you to gather food without alerting others to your actions. Due to security concerns, it might be wise to accomplish required tasks such as food gathering in a way that makes it difficult for others know of your actions. In a TEOTWAWKI environment, night vision can give you the ability to effectively procure food while not highlighting your activities to others.
While bartering leverage isn’t unique to night vision, bartering diversity is something for preppers to consider. While anything of value can be used for bartering, night vision has a few distinct advantages. First, in any survival situation where bartering is a factor, it is likely that night vision capability will be in short supply. Availability, along with the tremendous tactical advantage it provides will make it highly valuable. Night vision devices also have a unique size, weight, to value combination that is hard to match in useful gear. If you have Bug Out Bags and want to maximize the efficiency of the space, night vision can serve a dual purpose as both a capability and a form of currency.
Night vision gear will give any prepper a substantial advantage in a survival environment. It provides game changing capabilities for security while also being useful in other areas. It could ultimately be the difference maker in a survival situation and is essential when preparing for the worst case scenario.
Adam Alm is a night vision and outdoor enthusiast. A former Air Force fighter pilot, Adam gained night vision experience in combat missions and, more recently, with commercial night vision products. Originally from state of Washington, he now owns and operates ViperEyes.com, a night vision store.