7 Things You Need in Order to Hunker Down During a Disaster

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Here’s a great article for those who are new to prepping. Unless your home is burning down, getting flooded, or being overrun with looters, or in the path of some other dangerous threat, you’re best off hunkering down in your home during a disaster. With any luck, you can just wait it out until things […]

The post 7 Things You Need in Order to Hunker Down During a Disaster appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Secure This House

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1_secure_this_house_featured

2_secure_this_houseConsider any house, any house at random, or own your house.  You’ve decided, for a whole host of practical and realistic reasons, that if and when a significant SHTF occurs, a Bug In is your best option.  After all, this is your home.  You’ve lived there for years in relative comfort.  You know every inch of it.  You know your neighbors, well, at least by sight anyway, or you should.  

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

For years you have worked on a prepping plan that hopefully would allow you and your family to survive at a fairly decent level of comfort during any SHTF or disaster aside from one that completely destroys your residence.  This plan did not come easy or without some discomfort or sacrifice especially financially.  You are convinced though, you made the right choices so far and for the most part your family is on board, though their doubts may linger.

Related: Fortifying Your Home

Your survival stocks of essential goods include food, water, medical, sanitary, and the basic gear to get by.   All the same stuff that would be in a Bug Out Bag is at the house in storage containers and safe boxes.  Oh, you did a BOB just in case, too.  You think you have all your bases covered.  

Still you fine tune and home, but feel pretty confident you can withstand a SHTF, at least for a good while.  But, what else?  Maybe other fears continue to haunt you?

A Man’s Home is his Castle

3_secure_this_houseHow secure is your house after all?  Could it be breached, easily or with considerable effort?  How much detailing have you put into making your physical residence as break in proof as possible once a SHTF siren goes off?  Eventually, count on people milling around investigating who is home, what is easy to take, or how to get inside your house. Recall the movie Purge?  Yeah, I know, its Hollywood, but the scenario portrayed is none the less pretty scary.  That house was secure, or so they thought.  They had steel shutters that closed and locked electronically over every window and door entry.  Their “lock down” for the Purge was over the top.  Well, I know the system was unlocked from the inside for the movie plot to play out, but the purge pranksters (neighbors by the way) were able to attach chains to the front door and jerk off all the security armament they had in place.  Just saying.  

So, let’s play a game, one that could save your life.  It’s actually fun.  You can do it yourself, with family, or perhaps a prepper teammate or somebody else you know that is prepping like you are.  Exchange the favor to help each other out.  

Being the devil’s advocate is always fun.  Take a legal pad and a red pen.  Walk around your house from the outside noting every weakness you can find that could be exploited by somebody wanting to break into your house during dire circumstances like a SHTF.  

Now, this analysis helps, too, in cases of pure crime like breaking and entering, or robbery, but now we’re talking a full bore SHTF where people are thirsty, hungry, in need of help, or just want to take what you have and kill you in the process.  This could and does happen during real survival disaster situations.  

Repel from the Outside

4_secure_this_houseThe more hardened you can make your house during a SHTF, the more likely you are to repel unwanted advances or threats to your security.  During your walk around take note of these usual weaknesses.  All entry points, doors, windows, garage, patio, fireplace chimney, roof, attic vent outside access points, any place or weak spot that could be opened, pried open, cut into, hacked into, or where an otherwise forced upon entry could be made.  

How protected or locked down, sealed from outside tampering are your utility connections including electricity, natural gas, and water?  This might also include sewer and certainly an external power generator.  These could be cut off in order to force you out of the house.  During a SHTF, devise some way to add extra security to these key resources.  

It is common during hurricanes for residents and business people to cover their doors and windows with heavy duty plywood for protection.  Perhaps such “shutters” could be custom made for your house and stored in the garage.  Special break proof glass could be installed in windows, but the cost factors may well be out of reason.  Seek other options.  

All normal entry points should be double secured with multiple locking systems particularly hardened physical dead bolts and slide locks, not just electronic locks.  Replace exterior wooden doors with steel doors with minimal windows.  A viewing port though would be valuable.  Garage doors should be hardened too, with inside slide locks or lock jams.  

As you do the security analysis of your home from the outside, just ask yourself, “If I could get into this door or that window, or drop a fire cocktail down an open chimney top, then so could anybody else intent on breaking in as well or indeed forcing an evacuation.”

Defend from the Inside

6_The_outlaw_josey_walesIn the movie The Outlaw Josey WalesI always liked those window shutters the old adobe house had so that gun barrels could be moved in a “T” fashion or like a cross port, both up and down, and right or left.  Any defender inside the house could see out of those slits, but also see well enough to shoot out of them.  Outsiders found it hard to target these shutter openings.  I wonder if SHTF shutters could be fashioned like those designed to secure a door or window but still allow them to be shot out of.  Something to ponder I guess.  The point being, if you Bug In and your house is more or less on a security lock down, you may still have to defend your positions from inside the house, aka The Alamo.  Sounds easy, but much more difficult to deploy with doors and windows shut.  Even shooting out an open door or cracked open window can be problematic if not practiced.   This is a training drill you will need to practice.  Do not fail to consider defense of all sides of your house.  

If you live in a two-story house, then the second floor could offer a defensive advantage being able to oversee advancement threats below.  There may also be ways to deploy roofline defenses from the rear of the house.  If your house has dormers with windows, these may be defensive positions as well.  All the possibilities need to be explored.  

Check Out: Handling an Active Shooter Situation

Regardless, you will need plans for defending multiple points of potential attack on your residence.  Hopefully you have other adults or responsible youth that can help out, too.  They will need training, weapons, ammo, and gear of their own or a shared arsenal with ample back up supplies.  

Securing your Bug In residence takes on considerable complications.  Defending it requires even more planning, preparation, practice and execution.  Of course your intent is to survive a SHTF, whatever it is, so step up your prepping plan a few more notches beyond sustenance basics.  There will likely be the opportunity to test it out eventually.  

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3 Ways To Bug Out When SHTF

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Imagine a situation where the world is going into chaos for whatever reason – natural disaster, financial collapse, whatever.  Bugging in is just not an option because your dwelling is in immediate peril.  It’s time to bug out!  But you have to act fast. What do you do? Bugging out is going to be the beginning

25 Things NOT To Do If You Bug In

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There are countless articles and videos with lists of tips, hacks, and things to do if you bug in during a disaster. However, there aren’t many lists of things NOT to do. That is the subject of this video by Reality Survival. If you’ve never bugged in for an extended period of time without power, […]

The post 25 Things NOT To Do If You Bug In appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Prepper Planning Tips for 2017

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featured_new_year_prep

new_year_prepThe coming of any new year starts out of the gate brimming with a plethora of opportunities to achieve many things.  This includes wrapping up goals, projects, and missions from the previous year and a new chance to sit down to lay out the priorities for the year ahead.  All of this should be approached with a fresh breath of air.  You know how it feels and smells just after a big storm has passed, especially a lightning storm that charges the air with fresh ozone.  You can smell it.  Take it in, breath deep, chin up and embrace the coming 12 months with a positive attitude to keep plugging away at your prepper initiatives.  

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

The virtual plague of the past eight years is ending.  Pro or con, this country has slipped into an international quagmire of disrespect and disregard.  We hope this status can be regained in short order. Domestically, the economy is beyond flat.  Regardless of what the administration peeps say, nearly 8 million Americans are out of work and countless more are underemployed.  All of this is seasoning for a SHTF recipe.

The New Political Climate

irs_logoFive generations of citizens have been on welfare now to the point that it is considered the entitlements of all entitlements.  This needs to end, too.  And the “government” still does not get it.  The IRS just rolled back the per diem expense allowance for vehicle business travel for 2017, ostensibly because they say fuel costs are down.  Today at home, unleaded gasoline is $2.19 a gallon.  Up over twenty cents in a month.  An executive order just cancelled more offshore drilling and the huge new oil field in Texas cannot be tapped even if we had the pipelines to transport it to refineries.  All this adds stress to an economic recovery.

Related: Prepper Guns on a Budget

Health care for the working class is in crisis.  My wife and child pay $1100 a month for basic care with a huge deductible.  It is only good for a catastrophic health incident or accident.  Doctor and hospital costs are totally out of control.  My GP’s office charges $65 for a flu shot, while a local pharmacy charges only $25.  Go figure.  And on and on it goes.  

Taking Care of No. 1

money_budget_gunsNot to be purely selfish, but this is the age of taking care of you and your family first, then help others as you can.  This includes the entire realm of personal attentions to health and welfare for you and family, then taking care of business in preparation against any potential threats that might develop this year and beyond. Once you have your own affairs relatively in order, then you can reach out if you choose or then direct your efforts or attention to other projects.  This is a tall order, so there is no better time to take it all on than right now.  Nothing happens all at once.  It’s like a huge marble statue that you chip away at day after day.  You may never see the final product, but you can take pride and honor in the constant effort toward the final goal.  

Review the Current Plan

This is assuming you have a plan or sort of directional guide in hand and that it is written down to pass around, invite comments, add to, take away, alter, shift, redirect, adapt, adopt, and then initiate.  If not, do this first, now.  Perhaps reconsider bugging in or out. For existing plans, review them now, item by item.  If you have achieved some of the steps, check them off and or add comments about parts that need to be rechecked, revised, or completed.  Try to add completion dates so that some achievement schedule can be established.  Otherwise, everything is just floating out there undone or half done.  

Things change all the time.  Adjust your plan according to changes that you anticipate or not.  For example, maybe you plan to acquire a new bug out property or perhaps an RV, camping trailer or other major purchase to give you options during a SHTF event.  Such changes can produce a number of new tasks to accomplish.  Plan accordingly.  

2017 To Do Tips

bug_out_essentials_stuffDefensive security should be reviewed and shored up if lax.  Add new supplies, weapons, ammo, accessories, and gear to fulfill your security needs.  Again, review what you have and then move forward.  Perhaps it is time to beef up your home security with heavier locks, window storm covers or other precautions. This first initiative includes inspection, maintenance, repairs, or replacements of weapons, gear, and equipment already in hand.  Add to this additional time for training, shooting practice, formal shooting course training, and then more practice for everyone.  This should include reactionary drills at the bug in or out location.  Have everybody comfortable to respond as necessary.  If needed, buy an extra firearm and add to ammo supplies.  

Unpack your bug out bags, inspect everything, recycle old out of date supplies and repack.  Inspect the bag, too for wear and tear, zipper function, clean it up.  Refresh the entire kit bag.  Same for other quick grab bags full of gear for a bug out.  Do the same for your EDC satchel, bag, or backpack.  Clean guns, oil knives, refresh batteries in everything, and get the everyday carry squared away again.  

Read Also: Survival Books for Your Bunker

Check out your entire bug in food stocks and supplies both at the bug in locale and the secondary bug out site, camper, trailer or whatever.  Recycle dated foods, snacks, staples like beans, rice, flour, sugar, etc.  Add new canned goods, and other foods you eat regularly. Restock or recycle water stores and add more as space allows.  

batteries_prepReplace batteries in everything you own including house smoke alarms, security system backups, communication radios, AM-FM-Weather radios, flashlights, electronic or regular illuminated gun scopes, rangefinders, bore lights, lanterns, cameras, hearing aids, and such.  Charge or replace vehicle batteries, ATV or SUV batteries.  Replace old batteries in storage with fresh ones.  

Revisit all medical supplies, personal medicines, aid devices, CPAP, and OTC med stocks.  Check first aid kits, refresh as needed.  Add new boxes of band aides, gauze, wraps, bandages, and other medical supplies.  Check stocks on antiseptic ointments, creams, Vaseline, lotions, and other supplies to support health care and injury recovery.  

Do an inventory on all other kinds of consumable supplies.  The list could include all types of paper products from paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates, a variety of tapes, glues, oils and lubricants, grease, chainsaw oil, and anything else other than cooking materials that you use up on a regular basis.  Inventory all types of parts for plumbing, HVAC, motor parts, etc.  

Refresh fuel supplies from regular gasolines, diesel, white gas for lanterns or camp stoves, bottled propane, and charcoal lighter if used.  Ditto on charcoal for outdoor cooking, newspaper supplies for charcoal chimneys, and stock up plenty of matches and butane lighters.  

Now is the time to take advantage of New Year sales, too.  Watch newspaper ad flyers, visit the big box outdoor stores, gun shops, and gun shows to stock up or shop for advantageous price points on gear and stuff you need or want to add.  

A bright horizon comes with 2017 but that is no reason to let our guards down.  Natural disasters cannot be controlled.  Terrorism is still viable and a threat.  Our borders remain open for now.  Crime is still rampant.  There is plenty to be considered about to remain vigilant.  

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The Ubiquitous 30-30 Lever Gun

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lever_action_chamberDear survivalists and preppers, have we gone AR and AK nuts? Hey, you know what, there are viable alternatives to the multi-round, mag latch, muzzle flash black guns so often associated with the bug out movement. For one, this author contends a good ole reliable, lever action 30-30 has a role to play in our survivalist work. Sometimes the best choice is the most iconic one.

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

If you’re into such things, you can revisit the original lever action rifle developed in 1894.  The Henry “load once, shoot all day” rifles, among other efforts, pre-date the early Winchesters that ‘won the American west‘. The 30-30 came a year later as the first American centerfire smokeless powder load.

Even today, the so-called aged 30-30 Winchester remains the benchmark deer hunting cartridge mainly because it delivers ample killing power at reasonable ranges. Still widely available in factory ammo loads using 150-170 grain bullets, the 30-30 is no magnum, but is still effective.

The Outfit that Fits

lever_actions_saleA lever action 30-30 rifle is a versatile bug out rifle for woods, field, or ranch. It can be used for protection, patrol, varmint control, and hunting. These rifles are generally lightweight, handy to wield, and easy to shoot with low recoil. It is just as useful for protecting the bug in residence. The common variety 30-30 lever gun offers a 20-inch tube with some models sporting carbine, or compact rifled barrels. The under-barrel magazine tube holds 5-6 rounds with one additional loaded in the chamber. Sure, not a mag change, but cartridges are easily inserted into the side action loading gate. Lever action cycling is fast, effective, and accurate. What’s more, the lever action rifle is a reliable, well-tested choice. The lever gun is a good alternative fit for many preppers.

Related: Ruger Charger Takedown

As promoted, the typical lever action rifle is a handy tool. It is straight-forward in its use with no complicated buttons, switches, releases or other distractions. This rifle format is easy to load, operate, and chamber. The lever action is a positive camming action that rarely fails to work.

Normally, the external hammer is positioned in a half-cock safe position prior to fully cocking the hammer for firing. Many of today’s new factory lever guns also offer a slide bolt safety lock that is simple to manipulate. First time and experienced shooters will find the lever gun easy to operate. The mechanism becomes second nature.

Barrel lengths of lever guns vary from short carbine lengths of 16-inches to the factory standard barrel of 20-inches. There are some models that have longer tubes and some with intermediate barrel lengths. Shop for what you can handle best.

Lever guns most often come supplied with factory installed open sights, usually a simple buckhorn adjustable sight dovetailed into the barrel. The forward front sight can be a simple ramp or hooded ramp to reduce glare. Most current production lever guns have the upper receiver drilled and tapped for installing a scope mount for an optical riflescope.

lever_action_kid_rifleLever guns weigh in the neighborhood of 6-7 pounds, loaded. Many models have sling swivel studs to install a shoulder sling for ease of carry or for shooting support. They are not cumbersome to tote and can be pressed into service quickly and smoothly onto a distant target. A sling can be carried across the chest to free up both hands for other tasks, yet the rifle can be rolled out of the carry mode and easily shouldered for shooting.

Lever guns usually come with wood stocks but newer versions are now offering black synthetic buttstocks and forearms. Rifle finishes vary from a standard blued metal, matte finishes, or stainless steel models. Select the features that suit your needs and applications best.

The Lever Gun Market

Lever action rifle models are currently available from Winchester, Marlin, Rossi, Mossberg, and Henry Repeating Arms. These manufacturer’s offer models in 30-30, smaller handgun equivalent loads, and heavier loads like the 45-70. The 30-30 remains the moderate alternative.

See Also: The Theory and Practical Application of The Walking Around Rifle 

A new lever action rifle is going to set you back from $450 to upwards of $600, maybe slightly more. They are certainly cheaper than most AR rifles. Sales on lever guns can be found and shopped. Gun shows will have new and used rifles. If you go the used route, just be certain you are confident the rifle is in excellent condition. Stay clear of rifles with rust or an abusive appearance. You’ll know an overused gun when you see it.

Distractors?

lever_action_standingTo be honest, the typical lever action 30-30 rifle is no AR-15. But, let’s not get lost comparing apples to oranges. The obvious distractor could be the loaded ammunition capacity. However, load up the magazine, put one extra in the chamber and use a buttstock ammo holder to carry six more rounds on the rifle. That is plenty of ammo for hunting and deterring threats. Put twenty more rounds on belt loops or in an easy access pouch on your carry backpack. It sure beats lugging along a half dozen AR mags in a heavy, hot front carry vest. ARs definitely have their places, but not all the time. Preppers should always be open to alternatives; adopt them and adapt to them.  Is the 30-30 lever action rifle an ideal set up? Well, no. It probably isn’t ideal for every bug-out or bug-in application. But, it is another choice worthy of serious consideration. Easy to operate, carry, deploy, shoot, and maintain, the 30-30 lever gun has a lot going for it.

Photos Courtesy of:

John Woods

Interested in writing for us? Send a sample of your work and an introductory statement to joel@survivalcache.com. Please use subject line: ‘Write for SurvivalCache/SHTFBlog’. If you’re a good fit, we’ll publish your work and compensate you accordingly.

Surviving Alone

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static_tv_survive_shtfWhat if SHTF?  You are the only one home at the time when it hits.  Your kids are grown and gone.  Your wife is gone at work.  It is dark outside.  You hear nothing; see nothing.  There are no cars on the streets. When you finally venture out of the house early the next day, you see nobody on your neighborhood street.  The following day you find no one on any streets in your entire neighborhood.  You retreat back home and lock down in earnest.  There are no cars on the streets.  Normally you can hear 18-wheelers on the interstate highway just two miles away. Now, nothing.

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Since it hit the fan, the electricity has been off.  City water is still on, thank goodness.  The natural gas stove still works.  For now, that is. Cell phones are dead.  FM and emergency radio channels yield only a static buzz. The police scanner scans and picks up….nothing. What do you do now?

The New Routine

It is time to execute your Plan A, the Bug In Option. Now you fully secure the house and implement your PDWs (personal defense weapons).  Everything is locked and loaded. Various firearms are stationed near primary exterior doors with loaded mags or pouched ammo within reach.  Your CCW weapon of choice is on your waist and an AR is nearby at all times now. Time to focus.  You break out all your prepper emergency gear and supplies. You lay it all out in plain view. Water, food, candles, flashlights, meds, batteries, extra firearms, survival knife, ammo packs, first aid and all else. Everything is organized, grouped, and put within easy access.

ar_resizedYou hydrate, eat, bathe, and rest.  You watch out the windows, moving quietly and judiciously around the house.  At night it is mostly a total blackout, so as not to draw attention from outside.  If you want light to read, or study, or rest, you use an interior room with no windows like a bathroom, closet or laundry room.  All noise is kept to a whisper.  Later, you elect to slip out a back door, well-armed, to recon the yard, street, neighborhood, venturing as far as you dare.  After sundown, that night vision scope really comes in handy.  You stop often to listen, smell, peer, and move cautiously.

The next night you spot a dim flicker of a light in one house down the street. In another house a form of a shadow moves across a corner window. There are still no cars on the streets, no police, no national guard, no planes overhead, and no more highway noise off in the distance. You vow to knock on those two doors the next day, but you change your mind.

Related: Top 5 Worst Incidences of Martial Law in The United States 

Days later the FM radio blares on. The announcement is like a weather warning but not the same. It is recorded and orchestrated. The news is confusing without many details, but some kind of an explosion or more has occurred and this caused a massive grid shutdown. There was no clue given about how extensive it was or how it has affected your general area. It is frustrating.

You learn that this final announcement that came before the full extent of the SHTF event warned everyone to stay put wherever they were and not to venture out. You missed that report, but it explains a lot. You worry again where your wife is and if she is OK. You worry the same for your kids hundreds of miles away. There is no way to know their fate.

Status Observation and Investigation

This worry emboldens you to visit the two houses where you spotted signs of life. As far as you know, the air is not toxic. Birds are flying and squirrels are playing in the yard as usual.  For a moment you see a dog run across the end of the street. Still no people or cars.

Now you wish you had at least met your neighbors down the street, but at least you have the neighborhood directory and look up the names of the residents in those two homes before you knock. You think, at the very least, it is best to be able to call them by name.

In the daylight no evidence of residence can be seen. There is no answer at the first house and no sounds come forth. At the second try a meek, scared voice asks your name. You speak your name and they recognize you as an administrator from the local college. That gives you some credibility, but the guns you carry are a bit discomforting to them.

bug_in_bag_shtf_woodsYou assure them you are no threat, because you are not. They know your wife, so they open the door just enough to peek. It is a relief and a welcome comfort to see another human face. The family inside is from Japan, here now as the husband is an engineer with the nearby automotive manufacturing plant. You are invited in. They exhibit signs of fear and caution, which is expected given the circumstances.

Their supplies are meager as the event has caught them completely by surprise.  With two smaller kids, they have a lot to manage.  They never ask for anything from you.  They have city water, too, with filled vessels in plain view as well.  You note a pan of rice on the stove.  They have one flashlight, but the batteries are dead. You promise to bring them more and some candles.  They are receptive of your visit. They become trusting and kind. You reciprocate.

Read Also: Bug In Contingencies

The man of the house speaks English quite well.  He was coming home when he heard the radio announcement.  He locked up the house and hunkered down.  The guy is smart and displays common sense.  They have no firearms, but you note a golf club at the front and back doors.  Work with what you have,’ you think. You ask about the other house across the street. They have nothing to report.  Their only radio is in the car which they listen to daily.  You assure them of your support and offer to visit them again the next day with some supplies.

On the walk back home, you round the corner and coming down the street is a military vehicle with some personnel walking alongside.  They spot you, armed.  They display their weapons as the vehicle comes to a halt. For moments you stand there staring each other down.  What do you do now?  Fiction or reality to be?

Photos Courtesy of:
Dr. John J Woods
Alex Watson 

 
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PREPPER BASICS Should I stay or should I go?

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PREPPER BASICS: Should I stay or should I go? Bobby Akart “Prepping For Tomorrow” Audio in player below! On this week’s episode of the Prepping for Tomorrow program, Author Bobby Akart will continue his month long discussion of prepper basics. The Prepper’s Conundrum is Bug In or Bug Out—Should I stay or should I go? … Continue reading PREPPER BASICS Should I stay or should I go?

The post PREPPER BASICS Should I stay or should I go? appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

The Bugging In or Out Decision

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I recently received the following email questioning my thoughts regarding the decision to bug-in OR to bug-out, and I would like to respond to it… I came across your website a few days ago and I really like it. I’ve been working (very slowly) on prep since 2008. Since then a lot more prep blogs […]

Escaping the Urban Environment

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I believe there are as many preppers planning a Bug In as there are survivalist planing to Bug Out to either a general area or a prepared site. Not a lot of historical content out there to provide us with lessons learned in any case – Bug In or Bug Out, however there are some good fictional stories that could provide us with trains of thought and likely decision points for either.

My favorite is the Joe Nobody series where Bishop, the main character, and his wife Terri, stay in Houston area suburbs until the security situation and food supplies force their hand and they Bug Out for a remote area in West Texas that Bishop was familiar with – but this site was not prepared, nor did Bishop have caches en-route to assist in travel and survival.

I am not here to tell people that either Buging In or Buging Out is the best course of action. However I am here to state that both need to be considered and if Bugging In you ought to have the contingency plan to Bug Out. And Bug Out plans needs to be supported,…route plans, caches em-placed en-route (both primary and alternate routes as well). You ought to consider a chart of decision points. There would be decision options based on situational factors. An obvious one would be: “Food critical – two week supply left” – Decision Point: Execute Bug Out Plan.

If you spend much time reading prepper or survivalist blogs (including this one) you’ve probably heard the standard advice to get out of any city or heavily populated areas when the SHTF.

This is for good reason and solid advice. There’s no doubt that cities will be dangerous, much more dangerous than areas outside of the city. You can look at Venezuela for proof.

The problem is over 70% of the US population lives in or close to an urban area. The second problem is not everyone has a place to go if they leave their homes.

Escaping to some homestead or rural acreage to save your butt is your best choice, but the reality is it’s simply not feasible for the majority of the population. Most people, if hardly anyone but the most serious preppers, have a second property set up as a survival location or anything resembling a self-sufficient homestead.

Heck, most people don’t have a second of anything because it takes all they make to afford what they do have!

The reality is you have to prep within your means and you can’t live in your head plans of elaborate bug out bunkers, $20,000 bug out vehicles, 20 acre farms, hundreds of lbs of food and water stored at multiple locations, and the like. Truthfully, 97% of preppers will never have any of that.

Should you remove yourself from large population of people then? Absolutely! We’re not saying stay. Get out, and get out at the beginning. But where to go and how to get there is a question and the focus of today’s article.

If you have that 20 acres of land out in the mountains that’s stockpiled to the brim or can meet up with family or friends in a remote location then do it and don’t look back….

These are all great plans…. if you have the money for that second property now or if you have family living on a farm somewhere and the means to reach them.

But what if you don’t have that luxury? What if you want a better plan…

First, let’s consider what your average SHTF city will be like by putting ourselves in one.

It’s a post collapse situation of your choosing. There may not be any food, water, or electricity depending on what scenario you’re most worried about, but for the sake of argument let’s say there are still bare bones basics such as water and electricity.

There are random blackouts, the lights rarely work and the water is generally unsanitary and needs to be boiled. Food is rare but can be bought for a very high price and usually includes a fight.

The city would be under martial law no doubt. What’s left of law and order is currently shoot first and ask questions later. Hospitals and jails are full, and it’s a lot easier to shoot a criminal under martial law than to deal with a situation completely out of control.

What’s left of the police, fire, and EMS are highly understaffed and ran by the National Guard. Their own families are probably missing or bad off, many have left the city or are at home protecting their families and starving with everyone else. Stress is high and never-ending.

The situation is dangerous for you. If you don’t starve to death or get killed by indirect fire the next threat is all of the local gangs that have sprang up and also the desperate people looking for essentials. They are looking for food, water, shelter, gold, jewelry and anything else of value that can be used or quickly sold. A backpack of supplies and gear is a clear signal that you should be robbed to these people.

Your Options

So how do you survive this until things improve? Head to the woods or hunker down? Hit the rooftops or live in the sewer? hmm…

Hunkering down is what most will do and if so your journey ends here. Good luck out there….you’ll have to protect your house or apartment and fight for what you have and fight for what you need. If luck is on your side the worst of it will pass you by, and if you’re unlucky it will all fall on your lap with nowhere else to go.

Some will go lone survivor and travel the city, never staying in one place for long and scavenging what they can. This could work but every day is a gamble. Will you open the wrong door today, or will someone find you while you sleep tonight? Every day you’ll roll the dice one more time. Eventually house will win. House always wins.

Like we talked about before, even if you don’t have another house out of the city or some family nearby that you can get to, you still have the woods. You can stay there once you’re set up or you can travel back and forth from your camp to the city for supplies. The woods give you options.

Why The Woods Then?

Why the woods and not some place in the city, you ask? After all, your house or just an abandoned building offers much more than the woods at first sight. Shelter, security, who wouldn’t want that?

The city has water, food, and other supplies in all these abandoned homes and businesses. You have neighbors and friends to think about after all, and sometimes food comes in and you can fight over some scraps.

So why leave this SHTF “paradise”?

One word: people. People are the real danger of a city. It’s not the buildings or lack of amenities. It’s the guy who wants what you have or the new gang that just set up on your street, or the next riot and the fire that comes with it. The list goes on and on.

A person may be sweet and kind, but people are bastards. It’s the locust mentality. A single grasshopper is harmless, but put them in a group and they transform into a plague of locusts. Groups of people who have their own plans are dangerous when they get desperate or have free run of a place.

There are far fewer people in the woods than in a city, obviously. Going to the woods then is safer. Water and food can be found if you have the most basic of wilderness skills. Shelter can be made. Fire and cooking can be had. Life can continue without the danger of mobs and riots, without people.

Traveling Through the City and Woods

The first consideration is how you’ll move around without being seen. You want to become a grey man, someone who dresses and behaves in an inconspicuous manner in order to avoid any unwanted attention from strangers or authorities.

The New Homeless

Urban travel covers the inner city and the outskirts. There will be many new homeless people living on the streets in these areas, so your best bet for long term movement is to blend in with them.

Movement

Move on foot at dusk and the early night while there is still a little light and if you have some ambient light from buildings or can risk using a flashlight you can continue to move until dawn.

Sleeping

Sleeping on the roof of a two-story building or on a patio cover will give you all the cover you need inside a city. You would be surprised how few predators think to look up when hunting, including us humans. If you cannot get to a roof or if the weather is bad, try to find the inside of an empty building and if all else fails blend in with the homeless but be wary because in this kind of situation everyone is dangerous.

Urban Camo (no, that isn’t a new clothing brand)

You’ll want to be prepared to travel between wooded areas and the streets at least once, and maybe many times if you have to. You’ll need to do this with without drawing attention to yourself. This will mean a unique take on urban “camo”. Wear clothes that make sense for street wear and that are practical in the woods.

Firstly, dress for the season. Nothing says “look at me” more than an over-sized hoodie in the middle of summer, except maybe full camo and high-top boots in the middle of a city.

A pair of OD green pants, a simple brown t-shirt and a black pullover with a pair of trail shoes is an outfit that works for the street and is good enough for the woods. However this is just the beginning, you really will want the ability to switch to full camo once you’re out of the city.

Camo Layer #2

Keep a thin camo long sleeve shirt with dark gloves and a bandanna in your pack. Remember, you want neutral colors found in nature or natural camo patters only. Once you get into the wooded area take a minute to change.

The idea is to add a camo pattern over your main layer and cover any exposed skin. Of course you could go full camo here will a pullover set, or even a complete ghillie suit but those options are heavier and hotter, and if someone looked in your bag they would be a dead giveaway. The trade-off is superb camo.

Pick a camo pattern that will match the season and your area. In a wooded area you want to stay concealed as much possible. You might have caches or shelter in those areas, or you might be followed. Being seen comprises the entire area and there’s no happy ending to being found.

Site Recon and Shelter Building

Your current house or apartment may remain your primary shelter or you may decide to never go back to the city (which would be my choice because I am prepared now with the gear and supplies I need and wouldn’t need to go back).

Even if you decide to stay in your house you’ll want a backup location within a couple of hours hike, or possibly a 2-3 day hike (more on this in a minute), from the city in case your house is destroyed or attacked by looters or other threats.

This location should be within reasonable distance of your house or apartment by foot or bike. It should also have multiple exit and entry points and have a source of water nearby. On the side of high ground is preferable for security.

When I say it should be within a reasonable distance I mean that you should consider:

1.your ability to hike with a loaded pack and how far you can reasonably travel
2.how much food and water you can reasonably carry before you’ll run out
3.how far most people from the city will tromp through these same woods
4.your plans to go back to the city or not

If you’re staying in the woods permanently then push yourself and go as far as you can. You may even want to set up a few temporary camps and travel for weeks. If you plan to go back and forth you’ll have to stay closer to the outskirts of the city, but go deep enough that you can’t see the city or be seen by it.

Think about fire at night and the smells of cooking, and the sounds of gunshots and trees falling. You don’t want anyone to see or hear these.

Once you’ve selected a (nearly) perfect area and done a thorough site recon it’s time to build a shelter. There are many guides for building wilderness shelters so I won’t go into incredible detail here. If you’re lucky you packed a lightweight tent, or at least a sleeping bag and a camo/green/brown tarp.

Find a spot that has the most cover year round. Think about sight lines on the ground and above your head. Look for kudzu, vines, and thick brush that will always be there no matter the season.

Once you’ve locate this area, burrow into the ground cover and make your site a part of it. This way you’ll blend in with the terrain. Keep your clearing to a bare minimum and let the natural undergrowth fill in the dead space and sight lines around the shelter.

Find a spot that has the most cover year round. Think about sight lines on the ground and above your head. Look for kudzu, vines, and thick brush that will always be there no matter the season.

Once you’ve locate this area, burrow into the ground cover and make your site a part of it. This way you’ll blend in with the terrain. Keep your clearing to a bare minimum and let the natural undergrowth fill in the dead space and sight lines around the shelter.

Dispose of any left over materials by breaking them down into a small pile and drying them out. Burn them slowly when they are dry enough. A big pile of freshly cut materials means someone is around and will give you away.

Final Thoughts

Forget about playing Rambo in the woods or I Am Legend in the streets. Urban survival is a skill just as much as wilderness survival. They both have their own rules and if you abide by those rules you’ll be OK, but if you push against nature or man too much you’ll pay the price.

We all need to cultivate and grow our skills, and sometimes that skill is waking down a busy street like a grey man. You and only you can create a realistic survival strategy for your needs. It’s fun to imagine ourselves with backpack and prybar in hand parkouring around city rooftops like some lone survivor ninja, or busting through roadblocks in a vehicle right out of a movie, gatling gun and all…. but that’s not a plan, it’s fantasy.

Another consideration is your urban survival kit. Do you live in a city or on the outskirts of one but have a bag full of wilderness survival equipment and zero urban gear? If you’re wondering what the different is or what you should include we’ve wrote extensive posts on how to build an urban survival kit and how to create a personalized W.E.B. (Work Emergency Bag).

[Source: written by Robert Rickman titled “Escaping A City During SHTF”.
https://besurvival.com/guides/escaping-city-during-shtf]

How to start prepping in 5 easy steps

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I receive emails quite often from people who are new to prepping. A few says they have thought about it for a while, but haven’t really got started. I’m sure it can feel like a daunting and overwhelming process to the beginner. But it does not have to be. Being prepared is really not hard if […]

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Bugging in vs Bugging out – Which is for you?

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When the proverbial “poop” hits the fan, should you ride out the SHTF event at home? Or should you hit the open road for safer areas? This question has perplexed preppers for years. Many preppers prefer the safety and comfort of home, and make their plans accordingly. Others have a sense of adventure and excitement, and […]

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5 Fatal Mistakes To Avoid When You’re Bugging In

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Unless your home is in danger of being destroyed or an airborne disease is sweeping through your town, you’re better off staying at home than bugging out. It’s more comfortable, all your supplies are there, and as long as you have plenty of home security measures in place, […]

The post 5 Fatal Mistakes To Avoid When You’re Bugging In appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Bug In Contingencies

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Though Katrina hit more than a decade ago, I remember it like yesterday.  Forty-eight hours before the pundits at Best Bug Out Housethe National Weather Service finally decided on a landfall location, the local grocery stores were already picked clean like vultures working a road kill.  I only wish I had taken pictures of the mayhem.  I walked the aisles just to see what a premier national disaster does to a localized population of scared people.

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

The hurricane itself would hit land some 150 miles away from our town, but the impact would be felt locally for days, months and years.  Anything fresh was gone, all the fruits and vegetables gone.  Fresh milk, cold juices, bottled water, soft drinks, and most of the beer were gone.  A lot of the meat was gone unless you wanted calves liver or some other weird cuts.  Cold cuts, cheeses, and all that were emptied out.  There was nothing on the shelves that remotely resembled bread, rolls, bagels, crackers, English muffins or anything else you could spread peanut butter or jelly on.  Oh, all that was gone, too.  Virtually everything else in the store food and drink wise had been bought out.  It was a ghost land.  If you had not been in the first wave of panic shoppers 72 hours before the storm hit, then you were flat out of luck.  The question is now and have we learned our lesson that if we plan a Bug In during a SHTF are we any more ready today, than we were ten years ago?

Societal Woes Arrive

Before I get into the meat of prepping your Bug In location for a SHTF, let me relay what also developed in the area SHTF Survivalwhere I live as a result of the evacuation of thousands of people from the Gulf Coast in advance of Katrina.  As fast as they could get north on the interstate highways, we had hundreds if not thousands of people descend upon our city.  Every motel room booked quickly.  Local restaurants were overwhelmed.  Even their food stores ran short.  A fair ground building was set up as a help center to house and feed people.  That situation ended up lasting for weeks.  I visited the site after it was finally closed and it was a virtual trash pile.  You might remember what people did to the Super Dome in New Orleans.  We had the same thing only on a smaller scale.

You Might Also Like: SHTF Firearm Choices

To abbreviate the details, for several months, many of these refugees remained in the regional area.  Crime shot up 200%.  Construction, roofing, and clean up crews flocked into the area from all over the country.  Some literally preyed upon the citizens taking money, promising services, and then disappearing.  It took law enforcement and other authorities too long to get a handle on controlling all of this activity.  It left a really sour taste in the mouths of many, even those poised to help the honestly needy.

My point is, besides preparing your own property to withstand and survive any kind of a SHTF, you also have to prepare for the aftermath.  In fact, in our case the aftermath was actually worse than how the SHTF impacted the region.  At my own house and neighborhood we were lucky.  Sure we went five days without power in August, when temperatures went over 100 degrees but we unofficially bonded together as neighbors to watch things and maintain control over our residential area.  For days, I sat on the front porch eying trucks with out-of-state, out-of-county license plates file down the streets looking for opportunities.  Perhaps it was the AR lying across my lap in the rocking chair that deterred them from stopping at my place.  I hope so.

Home Assessment

You need to conduct a firsthand, thorough evaluation of your Bug In house and property.  If you live in a housing Best Survival Bug Out Bagresidential area, then look around your house and your immediate neighbor’s houses to get a complete understanding of access points, how outsiders might get to your back door, easy access windows, garage doors, or other points of entry.  You may elect not to harden these against oppressive entry because of the expense and hassle, but at least you will know your home’s weak points.  Today, they make all kinds of secure window and door entry covers to keep out everyone but the most ardent determined thug.  If those jacks want in, about all you can do is shoot them out a porthole.

Also Read: Do You Need An AR15?

Most garage doors you can lock down in a variety of ways.  However, like I mentioned above the really talented thieves will have a gas powered disk saw that will slice through an aluminum garage door or some steel home doors in a matter of seconds.  They can also cut through the roof, around window frames, through non-brick sidewalls and other suspect points of entry.  If you do not or cannot protect all of these points, then you have to devise a planning and train to defend yourself from inside.

Hey, Nobody is Home Here!

I’d love to hear from everyone in the comments below if you think posting a sign like that outside would have an Survivalimpact on deterring any unwanted entry.  I have seen metal signs at gun shows that say things like “There is nothing in this house worth your life for breaking in” or whatever.  I am just doubtful such postings would deter anyone.  Perhaps a painted marking on the outside of the house as in post-Katrina that identifies the house as searched and secured as nobody being home?

Related: SHTF vs. TEOTWAWKI

Having said that, I think during any kind of a SHTF either natural or unnatural that you want to maintain a low profile around your Bug In residence, unless you and a survival team or neighbors actively conduct armed patrols outside in full view.  During the day, stay in the house as much as possible.  Use only one exit and entry, one that is more out of public view from the street.  At night, blacken a room you can stay in or keep all windows in the main living area securely covered permitting no light to be seen.  Go outside yourself to double check this. This approach of course is a point of debate.  Is it better to show a presence (armed) or maintain a discrete lack of visibility?  What do you think?

Bug In SHTF Supply Up

This becomes the hard and fast of the survival part.  You have to stock up enough water and food to sustain top_survival_blog_survival_survivalist_teotwawki_shtf_shtfblogyourself for the long haul, while not even knowing what that means.  I think maybe we all hope whatever kind of a SHTF occurs, that at some point, hopefully sooner than later, that calm and public resolve will be returned to normal.  If you are optimistic, then I say plan on sustaining you and your family for a minimum of a month.  If you lack faith in the “system” then you might want to think in terms of six months.  I cannot imagine the efficiency, manageability, affordability, and space to keep enough supplies to hold out at a Bug In (or Out for that matter) for that long.  Perhaps I am self-deluding here?  What say you?

Related: Breaking The Law When The SHTF

I recall when attending the University of Missouri back in the late 60s and 70s that the library in the center of campus was a storage site for supplies in the event of a NBC (nuclear, biological, or chemical) attack.  Big drums of supplies, food, and water lined the basement halls and book stacks.  As I look back today, no way would all those supplies have lasted hardly any time at all for a campus population of say 25,000 students, not counting everybody else.  See my point?

So, anyway, initially think in terms of holding out for a month.  That alone will be taxing enough.  You may decide to go with plastic tubs, cardboard cases, or canisters of commercially available survival foods, MREs or other foods.  I can see that as a good option, expensive, but not a bad plan.

You other options made easier by Bugging In at your own residence is to supply up with tons of canned goods of all kinds to weather the SHTF.  I will not detail here nutritional requirements, quantities, calories, food prep, or such.  There are much better resources out there to study for this information, but do keep these ideas in mind especially how you will “cook” food on what and such.

Just keep everything in perspective in terms of how many people you have to feed, and what their general likes and dislikes are.  If you buy ten cases of potted meat, but nobody will touch it with a ten food pole, then you made a bad choice.  Water supplies could be a real issue.  It would be nice to hope that the sink tap water will continue to flow, but what if it does not or it is not drinkable?  Storing large quantities of drinking water is problematic.  I recommend filling milk jugs or other large gallon water containers to keep in the garage or basement.  Maybe this could be done at the Nth hour before a storm of any kind hits, like they recommend filling bathtubs for extra water.  I would plan on maintaining some water supplies though.  It will always take more than what you planned on.

Also Read: Networking After TSHTF

A survivalist friend of mine maintains a stock of 50 cases of 24-bottles each of plastic bottled water.  He rotates it by purchase dates.  He only has 2-3 people at home to worry about, so I would think this much water would last a while, but who really knows how long?  At least that is a start.

Now, make a list of all the other supplies you might need besides food and water.  A starting list might include medicines, OTC items, paper products, candles, cell batteries, solar panel re-chargers, clothing, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene items, extra eyeglasses, medical/first aid kit(s), back up heater(s), fuels, propane, charcoal, AM-FM radio(s), CB radio, scanner, water filter, fire extinguisher(s), so on and so forth.

Bug In Defense

I hope at a future date to develop another article dedicated in more depth to this subject.  For now, just know and Survival SHTFrealize that you may not be able to simply huddle up in your Bug In home and hope to be left alone.  I suspect or fear for some preppers that are not inclined as many of us are to be aptly prepared to defend ourselves against unwanted intrusions to our domicile.  This can be a very scary situation even for those that think they are prepared.  It is just another reality of the SHTF aftermath.  Let’s be honest, few of us are really prepared to shoot or kill another human being, but it might come to that in defense of our family.  Scavengers are very likely to be about their business of robbing homes and businesses of anything of what they deem is valuable.

Remember the thugs pushing shopping carts down the streets of New Orleans in three feet of water loaded with electronics and other merchandise?  This could and likely will happen even in your quiet little neighborhood, too, depending on how out of control everything gets after the SHTF resides.  Expect it, prepare for it, and hope it never happens.  So, there is a very thin thumbnail sketch of some Bug In contingencies that you may have to deal with and prepare for.  We can sometimes see natural SHTFs like storms and severe weather coming somewhat in advance.  Societal collapses are more difficult to predict.  Some get out of hand so quickly it is hard to react, aka Ferguson, MO.  Of course, planning and preparation is the key to survival.

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How To Bug-In: What You Need To Know To Survive A Grid Down Disaster

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How To Bug-In: What You Need To Know To Survive A Grid Down Disaster I think this is valuable information to know, a lot of us have plans to bug out but a lot of us have not. What if you got trapped or you couldn’t make it to your bug out location. This information …

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A Bug In Plan is an Option You Always Need

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bug inI have been giving a lot of thought to the subjects of woodcraft and bugging out.  One conclusion I have come to is that many preppers would be stuck and have to bug in even if they plan to bug out. This is particularly true if it is a sudden event, for example an EMP attack.  A bug out location that you do not live in or are not capable of reaching on foot may prove to be a wasted investment.

I know of people who have bug out locations that are several hundred miles from their homes.  Even with vehicles, this may be hard to reach in many situations, especially if there is martial law declared. Depending on the triggering event, they may be sizing vehicles and blocking roads.  A bug out location that you can reach on foot within a reasonable amount of time may be feasible. One that is to far away may leave you stuck on the side of the road with few supplies and no real options.

Another factor on traveling to a bug out location on foot is the general health of your family or group.  Are you prepared to leave members who can’t travel due to age or health?  What about if you have several young children?

The preferred option is to live in your bug out location.  But for many of us this is not practical.  We will be stuck where we live and have to survive on what we have at home.  It would be very upsetting to have a large and well-equipped bug out location a hundred or more miles away and not be able to reach it or find it already occupied when you arrived.

This brings me back to my main point.  You need to have sufficient supplies on hand at your home to survive for a significant period of time.  Even if you live in a city apartment you can develop and locate resources in your area that that greatly increase your chances of survival over the masses of sheep,  many of whom may very well leave your area and head for the country.

What I am advocating is that regardless of what type of bug out location you have, you need a good bug in plan.  Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, have more than one plan.

Now I know that there are many preppers who will disagree with me.  But I will bet that most of them are younger in good health and have no small children.  But for us who are older or have young children we have to plan for the possibility of having to bug in.

Howard

 

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Episode 68 Bugging Out VS Bugging In

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Bugging Out VS Bugging In

This week we tackle the ages old debate in the Prepper community. Bugging in vs bugging out. Which one is better? Like many things that depends. We try to tackle some of the instances but you will have to think for yourself.

Many are tied to one or the other. They are staying no matter what. Hurricanes, tornados and toxic waste spills wont deter them. The same could be said for those beneath Mt Vesuvius. If they had warning that is.

Others only focus on the bug out. They have built the ultimate Bug out bag and are ready to go in a second. Sure that bag now weighs a ton and you have no walked a mile in over a decade.

Today we try to break these convictions. Do not be tied to either. Be prepared for both. decide what to do based on the situation.

 

 

 

 

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Survival Gear Review: Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe

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Best Survival Axe

One of the amazing things about the world these days is that small artisan companies like Gransfors Bruks will put Best Survival Axeconsiderable effort into a unique handmade axe with an excruciatingly limited user base and an extraordinary high price.  But in the big picture the Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe is an excellent compliment to the traditional bug out kit as well as all those kits we build for adventure and recreation.  By blurring the line between survival knife and hatchet, the speciality tool that Gransfors Bruks named the Outdoor Axe has further refined the most commonly used space in the cutting industry knowns as survival.

By Doc Montana, a contributing author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

The Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe is not for surgery or first aid, but will easily gut an animal from squirrel to elk. It will carve as well as any two-inch knife, and chop as well as any one pound blade.  Maybe I exaggerate a little, but if you have nothing to compare it with then you already have the best option in your hand. Right?

Chew Your Food

As a chopper, the Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe takes small bites, but its low weight and long handle make for longer Best Survival Axehacking sessions compared to heavier heads. So it is never a question about “if” but rather one of “when?” And for subtler tasks such as carving, slicing and shaving, the Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe melts into your hand when you choke up on the handle forming a wonderful Ulu-like knife with a great finger purchase.

The design of the Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe is often viewed as a contradiction which leads to both its higher price and its lower acceptance due, in my opinion, to a misunderstanding of how to use it effectively.  As an Outdoor Axe, this tool is designed mostly for processing wood. And smaller sized wood at that. Felling trees is the job of the big boys, but when the tree is on  the ground, the Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe comes into play.  Not that you couldn’t fell a tree with this axe, but that would be like skinning a dinosaur with a neck knife. Sure, you could do it, but you might starve to death in the process. Well, I guess that depends on the size of the dinosaur…or the tree.

Also Read: Survival Choppers, Understanding Axe Types

The other aspect of concern is the precision necessary to wield this type of iron with the dexterity necessary for a razor-sharp fast-moving small head to efficiently do the violence it was hired to do.  You cannot simply just whack away with reckless abandon lest the small head will quickly slice off course like a bad golf swing.  Instead the bit must be placed like a scalpel with the belief and conviction that every ounce of effort will finds its way into the cut.  In essence it is like every other professional-grade piece of outdoor equipment.  It will perform to astounding heights when operated skillfully by a talented user.  Oddly, performance downhill skis came to mind when I finally found the sweet spot of this axe.  There was a narrow window in which the Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe will operate at its best. And when it does there’s no better feeling in the world.  Well, maybe I exaggerate again, but like performance downhill skis slicing that perfect carve through the hardpack, this axe give back as much as you put into it and then some.  But only if you use it on it’s terms.  A side note here: you can tell a lot about someone’s skill by the tools they use.  While good tools won’t spontaneously generate mastery, criticizing good tools does nothing but reinforce the limits of skill.

Ironwood Masterpiece

The Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe is a piece of art.  The 14” hickory handle was milled with excellent (but not Best SHTF Axeperfect) grain orientation and branch depth.  The head was hand forged by a real Swede complete with the prominent initials of the axesmith lovingly smashed into the axe’s tiny cheek; the smith Tomas Andersson in this case.  But the coup de grâce of this sculpture is the polished ~inch long metal collar protecting the handle just under the head. The steel collar is designed to take the hit instead of the small diameter hickory handle. With the shaft length two inches over a foot and a oval neck thickness of ⅞” by 1 5/16” inches, it is possible to swing the Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe fast enough and hard enough to generate the forces necessary inflict significantly chopping damage to the workpiece means it can also injury itself when things go sideways. Literally.

Also Read: Trucker’s Friend Review

The palm-sized axe head also tucks neatly in a fist making it a fabulous and pleasant-to-use tool for precise small scale work.  By wrapping one’s thumb and index finger around the cheek just south of the cutting edge, the Outdoor Axe can be wielded rapidly and with both gross and fine motor movements with less concern for the same motions with a large knife.  The direction of the handle, whether towards or away from your body, can alter the balance of use adding another quality dimension over a standard blade.  Rounding out the trailing end of the handle is a mild swell containing a lanyard hole.

A Helping Hand

It should be no surprise that this versatile axe is at home in bushcraft and in domestic survival chores because it was Best Survival Axeconceived and designed with the help of Lars Fält, a noted outdoorsman, survival teacher, author, and gentleman by anyone’s standards. Although Fält wears a the clothes of a mere mortal, he really is the Norse god of survival having put himself in more uncomfortable situations than a humvee full of SEALs.  But back on topic, the Outdoor Axe, like any specialty-use tool, is only worth its 1.2 pound weight and $175 retail price if the user has or wants to gain the skills necessary to safely operate it, and has the jobs that a fellow such as the Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe is qualified.

Also Read: A Baker’s Dozen SHTF Blades

A side note about Lars Fält:  He has three suggestions for attaining the right survival attitude.  I’ll let you look up the first two on your own, but the third deals with breaking big tasks into smaller ones or risk being overwhelmed by the enormity of the situation you now find yourself in.  The transfer of this bit of survival wisdom to the Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe is that many think a big axe is the solution because it does big things.  Big familiar things.  However, even though a small axe does smaller tasks, those little day-to-day survival jobs keep time moving forward with the blood still pumping.  You can only cut down so many trees before you have to do something besides burn them.

Size vs. Length

In the field, the Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe chops better than expected due to the long handle. It is worth using on Top Survival Blogtrees up to six inches in diameter, but go back to the shed for a larger axe if your two hands cannot reach around the trunk. But again, that is not this tool’s forte. Instead, this axe shines when the workpiece is in the meat freezer, not walking around the ranch. A few quick strokes and the trunk is delimbed. A few more swings and the kindling and small firewood stacks up. The handle is even long enough to get a two-handed grip for those jobs that require forceful but precise chopping, or when isometric push-pull rotating strokes are needed to accelerate the axe head in a confined space.

But Wait! There’s More

The shaving-sharp axe bits that Gransfors Bruks is known for was not forgotten here. When the knife-like edge is Best Bug Out Bag Axecombined with a small head, the Outdoor Axe quickly morphs into a kitchen tool. It slices, dices, chops, and cuts. Whether tomatoes or meat, this axe fits right in to the culinary toolset. Just keep the wooden handle away from flame.

Also Read: Crovel Elite Review

When working wood with the Outdoor Axe, one of the big things you will notice is accuracy with which you can precisely score the wood with little concern for a larger meatier head continuing on without your permission.  When making small items like snare posts, tent pegs, marshmallow sticks, even just prettying up the campsite, you will quickly feel a level of power much more than a survival knife, and much more controlled that a full sized hatchet let alone an axe.  And if you have responsible children around the campfire, this Outdoor Axe makes an excellent tool to both introduce and enhance axe skills.  The small diameter handle fits in a kid’s hand like a full-sized hickory shaft does in an adult’s.

From a carry standpoint, the Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe is much like an old-world tomahawk. Not the tactical ones of today, but a forged (and I use that term loosely) head consisting of little more than a bit or blade followed by an attachment hole through which a study stick has been wedged.  Although the Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe has a fairly flat poll (butt or hammerhead-looking face) this axe, like a traditional tomahawk, is designed to engage the world in only one direction.

INCH Bag Best Survival Axe

Using the poll like a hammer-unless designed as such like with splitting axes-will damage the head possibly to the point of breaking it along the thin edges to the left and right of the eye (handle hole). On the other hand, the smoothness of the poll’s edges would make this a decent skinning tool where the animal cape is pried away from the muscle by short punchy strokes once the axe’s poll is sliding around inside the critter.

Also Read: 10 Non-Power Tools You Need For Survival

Rounding out the Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe is the minimalist leather blade cover.  While most Gransfors Bruks Survival Axeaxes have this same type of sheath, one of its features really does work well with this axe.  The single strap and snap design of the sheath also doubles as a belt carry option. By slipping the strap through your belt and snapping the in axe, you can comfortably wear and deploy the axe with similar effort to a sheath knife.  And unlike many other blade bikinis, this one stays put having been sized perfectly for the head that will wear it.  Other specialty axes with a survivalist pedigree have been know to wear an afterthought for a sheath such as the Wetterlings Bushman Axe designed by Les Stroud.  A great axe, but the loose fit on the blade cover is a sacrilege for tools at this level.

Hype to Hip

The Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe is one of those controversial tools about which it is easy to form a quick opinion. Survival AxeFew people I’ve met remain neutral about it.  Some, like me, love it.  Others find the Outdoor Axe a perfect storm of misaligned features.  Too big for this, too small for that. And way too expensive regardless.  While I certainly understand and appreciate opposing opinions, I do have to admit that the wilderness is a much more interesting place to wander with this axe than without it.  The family tree of modern gear is a filled with dead branches as well long lives with many offspring.  But it is also filled with relationships that most folks thought would never survive.  The Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe just might be one of those marriages between functions that goes from hype to hip in one generation. At least that’s where I’m placing my $175 dollar bet.

All Photos By Doc Montana

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Prepper Load Plans – Lessons Learned Now – Don’t Wait!

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TrailerNOTE: This article was previously posted on Your Preparedness Story. 

There are different philosophies out there regarding whether or not to “bug in” or “bug out” and necessarily one’s entire prepping strategy will be based around this.  Like most others I prep on a budget and as such I have to pick a strategy based upon my research, my analysis, my background training, and my own personal situation (geographic, relationships, etc.).  As such I have to make compromises–just like most everyone else.

One of my compromises was my food supply.  Many preppers out there will fundamentally proclaim that you absolutely must base your food stores and stock your larders with the items that you eat routinely.  That does not necessarily work for everyone’s personal situation–those who must move often cannot afford that luxury.  Our food preps must be light, and they must be transportable.  Meaning that they are not necessarily what we would eat in our normal everyday lives.

So, having said all that I fall into a unique category where I prefer the “bug in” approach, while at the same time I have to move to a new home every few years.  That has certainly shaped my own personal prepping strategy and necessarily it has forced me to stay flexible.  Very, very flexible.

And having somewhat of a planning background I’ve always built in contingencies to every course of action.  That being said I’ve always kept a mobile “bug out” option on the table.  And in doing so I invested in a nice enclosed trailer which can haul 2000 pounds of cargo.  In my “bug out” contingency I carefully measured the volume and weight of my foodstuffs, fuel and other vital equipment that I planned to take on the road should the situation call for it.  I thought I had things wired pretty tight…  all up until about forty-eight hours ago.

You see, I’m moving again from the Bunker here in Eastern Krasnovia to the next undisclosed location.  What I discovered was that while I had measured size and weight capacities of most of my kit, what I did not take into account was the weight directly associated with my weapons and ammunition.  Holy shit that stuff is heavy!  Without loading a scrap of chow or a drop of fuel I have managed to fill my trailer with 75% of its maximum load capacity.  That means that I have very little room left in the rest of my rolling stock for the other things I need, like clothing, cooking implements, tools, batteries, electronics, food, fuel, and other miscellanea.  I accurately approximated the weight and volume of most of my stuff except for the weapons and ammo.  Which turned out to be a rather significant oversight.

So in the end this move has been enlightening and extremely helpful in regards to testing the load plans for all of prime movers and trailers.  It’s also brought into sharp focus how as my preps have improved and expanded over the last few years, my plans to move have not adjusted accordingly.  What has become clear is that I must revisit the whole “compromise” principle and figure out under a “bug out” scenario what must come and what must get left behind, now recognizing what my real constraints are in regards to space and weight.

Rehearsals” are the cardinal rule in all military operations and they should be in prepping as well.  I have violated this and taken short cuts…  and it has had the predictable result, in that my plans have been invalidated.  But the upcoming move is a blessing in disguise in that regard.  The move has served as a forcing function and I now see many of the weaknesses in my contingency plans.  This has been both disappointing and educational.  In the end though, it may have served as a critically important lesson that will pay huge dividends in the end.

So, the critical take-away from this is to rehearse or practice your load plans.  Figure out what you’d like to take with you in a “bug out” scenario and then actually load up this equipment and see if it works.  If this sounds like a no-brainer, it is.  But how many of us actually do it?

My advice.  Do it.

It might very well force you to reassess your plans.

Marcus