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  • Survival box from Jason Kottke

Survival box from Jason Kottke

25.00 50.00
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Survival box from Jason Kottke

25.00 50.00
sold out
  • My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
  • Magnifying Glass
  • Foraging Card Deck
  • Knot Tying Kit

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  • My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
  • Magnifying Glass
  • Foraging Card Deck
  • Knot Tying Kit
The outdoors has been a trending topic in our household for many months now. My wife has been backcountry skiing and hiking out West twice in the past year and a half, and as a family, we’ve hiked to the top of one of the highest peaks in VT, skied, gone canoeing, foraged for ramps, mushrooms, and fiddlehead ferns, and done half a dozen other things of that sort. This activity, along with an article I read recently on the difficulty of reinventing modern technology after a catastrophe, led me to think that survival would be a good topic to explore with this Quarterly mailing.
— Jason Kotke

What's in the box?

The outdoors are difficult to come by in NYC, so we spend quite a bit of time in the car traveling to more outdoorish places. One of our favorite in-car activities is listening to audiobooks, and one that we’ve listened to several times is My Side of the Mountain. In the  book, 12-year-old Sam Gribley leaves his family in NYC to settle in the wilderness of the Catskill Mountains. Sam learns how to make fire, catch dinner, build shelter, and construct clothing. He even snatches a baby peregrine falcon from his mother’s nest and trains him to catch food for him. A paper edition of My Side of the Mountain is included in this package, and Sam’s exploits served as a guide for the rest of the included items.

The outdoors are difficult to come by in NYC, so we spend quite a bit of time in the car traveling to more outdoorish places. One of our favorite in-car activities is listening to audiobooks, and one that we’ve listened to several times is My Side of the Mountain. In the  book, 12-year-old Sam Gribley leaves his family in NYC to settle in the wilderness of the Catskill Mountains. Sam learns how to make fire, catch dinner, build shelter, and construct clothing. He even snatches a baby peregrine falcon from his mother’s nest and trains him to catch food for him. A paper edition of My Side of the Mountain is included in this package, and Sam’s exploits served as a guide for the rest of the included items.

There are many ways to start a fire without matches, but one of the simplest is with a magnifying glass. You also need the Sun, though, so Seattleites and residents of Macquarie Island in Australia might want to try another method. It’s relatively easy to find something light and dry around you for tinder, like leaves or birch bark or pine needles or even the end of a  Q-tip. The Sun, as you may have heard, is remarkably hot—so it only takes a few of its rays focused onto a tiny spot to generate some serious heat. Using similar optical principles to the magnifying glass, huge mirrors have been fashioned into solar furnaces that are capable of temperatures upwards  of 6300°F.3 Overkill for surviving overnight in the wilderness, but a smaller array of mirrors would be more than capable of cooking your dinner, should you be able to actually catch (or  find) something edible.

There are many ways to start a fire without matches, but one of the simplest is with a magnifying glass. You also need the Sun, though, so Seattleites and residents of Macquarie Island in Australia might want to try another method. It’s relatively easy to find something light and dry around you for tinder, like leaves or birch bark or pine needles or even the end of a 
Q-tip. The Sun, as you may have heard, is remarkably hot—so it only takes a few of its rays focused onto a tiny spot to generate some serious heat. Using similar optical principles to the magnifying glass, huge mirrors have been fashioned into solar furnaces that are capable of temperatures upwards  of 6300°F.3 Overkill for surviving overnight in the wilderness, but a smaller array of mirrors would be more than capable of cooking your dinner, should you be able to actually catch (or 
find) something edible.

Now that we’ve got the fire sorted out, let’s think about food.4 Plants are probably the easiest food to procure in the wilderness, mostly because they don’t move at 30 mph like a rabbit. And this deck of cards featuring edible plants makes the job even easier. The cards feature the greatest hits of foraging—the low-hanging fruit, if you will—like mint, nettles, dandelion, saguaro, and  blackberries.

Now that we’ve got the fire sorted out, let’s think about food.4 Plants are probably the easiest food to procure in the wilderness, mostly because they don’t move at 30 mph like a rabbit. And this deck of cards featuring edible plants makes the job even easier. The cards feature the greatest hits of foraging—the low-hanging fruit, if you will—like mint, nettles, dandelion, saguaro, and  blackberries.

Knot tying prowess is pretty far down the list of skills that will keep you alive in the wilderness, but if you’re stranded for an extended period, the ability to lash this thing to that thing with a bit of string might come in handy. This is the part of the package I’m most looking forward to. I’ve started fires with a magnifying glass and foraged for plants, but I can’t tie knots worth shit. I’m left-handed and my square knot attempts always seem to come out as granny knots.5 There is one knot I can tie, a double locking half hitch. I used to go flying with my dad and afterwards, we’d tie his plane down with several of those. Won’t ever forget that one.

Knot tying prowess is pretty far down the list of skills that will keep you alive in the wilderness, but if you’re stranded for an extended period, the ability to lash this thing to that thing with a bit of string might come in handy. This is the part of the package I’m most looking forward to. I’ve started fires with a magnifying glass and foraged for plants, but I can’t tie knots worth shit. I’m left-handed and my square knot attempts always seem to come out as granny knots.5 There is one knot I can tie, a double locking half hitch. I used to go flying with my dad and afterwards, we’d tie his plane down with several of those. Won’t ever forget that one.


What customers are saying...

Just got this survival kit in my @Quarterly mailing. Am so ready to take on the Canadian wilderness. #jak05
— Anders
Got my very first shipment from @quarterly. I love getting mail! #JAK05
— Mitchell