The Best Survival Towel: Staying Dry and Getting By

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The Best Survival Towel: Staying Dry and Getting By A towel may seem like a useless luxury item at first glance. The bulk and limited functionality make them not worth their weight and size to include in a bug out bag or get home bag. That very well may be the case for your conventional …

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Survival Gear Review: Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag

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1_featured_Hill_People_Gear_Recon_Kit_Bag_SW-Victory

3_Hill_People_Gear_Recon_Kit_Bag_with_backpackHill People Gear is a unique company nestled in Grand Junction, Colorado. It is not just the exceptional quality of their bags, but Hill People puts a modern and even tactical twist on ancient solutions for humping gear in real-world situations. So practical and effective are their solutions, that Most Mall Ninjas would shy away from the more convenient kits because they would be unsure what their friends would think.

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

Hill People Gear has a line of what they call Kit Bags. In a nutshell, a Hill People Gear or HPG Kit Bag, is a sophisticated pouch you wear on your chest. It rides solidly with four 1.5 inch straps snugging the bag to your sternum, only of which one has a fastex buckle while the other three straps in the “H-harness” have adjustment sliders. All the straps reconnect on a mesh backside panel that can comfortably ride under a backpack if needed.

Rugged Versatility

I’ve grown to love the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag. Whether walking the dog in the mountains, or hunting, or doing some recon around the bug out location, the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag is my go-to go-bag.

I’ve carried the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag with a .22 revolver and auto, with 9mm and 10mm Glocks, and even my anti-bear Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan in .44 Magnum. While you feel some handguns more than others, none are too much.

Related: Birksun Backpack Review

4_Hill_People_Gear_Recon_Kit_Bag_wearingIt’s hard to underestimate the efficiency and convenience of a Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag right in the middle of your two hands. If your lifestyle runs heavy on adventure, you might discover that there are few places on your body that are not occupied already by essential gear. When fly fishing in the cold rivers, my waders go to my belly. The Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag works fine in the available space. When skiing with a pack that just might not be accessible depending on the situation, the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag works fine. When mountain biking and unlikely to want a daypack, let alone a backpack, the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag is an excellent choice. And when backpacking with 65 pounds and 6000 cubic inches of gear, the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag provides a convenient source of gun, survival gear, or navigation instrumentation. Or in my case, all of the above.

Hill People Features

The Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag strap system places a mesh panel square on your back with all buckles and adjustment sliders on the front side. Wearing the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag under a backpack is truly a non issue. Even under a coat is a fine choice.

On the forward facing side, no less than eight columns of three rows deep of PALs webbing gives you near-unlimited accessory options. And even if not PALing the PALS, you can can use the webbing ladders for knife pocket clips, pens, and anything else that needs a nylon shelf to secure it.

When carrying a handgun in the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag, you can either drop it in the main pocket, or use a velcro holster or barrel securing accessory. The Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag has  a 1.5 inch velcro strip running vertically up the center of the bag. There are plenty of options including my favorite, the  Maxpedition Universal CCW Holster.

5_Hill_People_Gear_Recon_Kit_Bag_Ruger_Alaskan_homeFor larger guns like the .44 Ruger Alaskan, I prefer to to have it floating in the main compartment of the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag so it’s easily accessible with a pull from either the right or left hand. I also want the gun to be something that could fall out into my hand in the off chance I am upside down when the bear moves in for the kill. This is not so far fetched when skiing, fishing, or mountain biking. Having to navigate a holster might take too long, or demand too much effort.

Check Out: How to Pick the Best Personal Protection Firearm

6_Hill_People_Gear_Recon_Kit_Bag_adminstration_pocketOn the administrative side, the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag has a thin front-end zippered pocket with two 4.5 inch organizational slots in addition to the overall pocket space. The first thing you might notice when handling the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag is that it is not big nor thick. It lacks the depth of heavy fanny packs, which is a good thing. To be an effective chest rig, the gear cannot be big. I’ve had overbuilt and oversized front-end storage options, but they interfere with the very activities that keep us limber and nimble when it matters. Heck, if you are just a pack mule than you can strap on a backpack as easily on your front-end as your back.

The Verdict

7_Hill_People_Gear_Recon_Kit_Bag_overallWhen wearing a Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag, it is noticeable…for about five minutes. Then the Kit Bag blends into the background. So much so that the first time out with one, you will likely think that everyone should have one of these. They are really that good. In fact the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag literally melts into your wardrobe quickly becoming and absolutely essential part of your outdoor routine.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that the price of the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag limits it to the serious. Weighing less than 14 ounces but costing over a hundred dollars, the Hill People Gear Recon Kit Bag can only be indispensable if you can afford it.

 

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Valley Food Storage Dehydrated Peanut Powder.

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For those wishing to stockpile foods for long-term storage, there are a number of options. There are many companies that specialize in dehydrated foods, and the best advice you can get is to decide what you are going to need, and sample a variety from different companies. And there are a large choice of food types and menus.

Valley Food Storage is one of the major players in the industry. I tested their white bean and lime chili and found it really good. So when I was given another choice of item to test, I decided on the peanut powder. My main interest is in lightweight and easily stored items that would be functional and nutritional either bugging in or out. Peanut butter is a popular staple with survivalists for a number of reasons which I described here where I wrote about the real deal.

Peanut powder is made by compressing peanuts to remove the oil and fats, and then grinding them into powder. This provides a lightweight substitute for the much heavier actual peanut butter. So how does it stack up against the real thing on the two issues I see as most important: Nutrition and taste.

Nutrition

The table below is the label off the Valley Food Storage package. One serving consists of two tablespoons. One serving will contain 7g of protein, 70 calories, and 4g of total fat.

This is the label off of a regular jar of Jif creamy peanut butter. It also has 7 g of protein, but has 180 calories, and 16 grams of total fat

The peanut powder has and equal amount of protein, but a lot fewer calories, fat and sodium. But you are also talking a lot less weight for the amount of protein.

Taste Test

Easy to mix, it is 1 for 1 water and powder. I mixed two tablespoons of powder with two tablespoons of water. It mixed easily and rapidly. It wasn’t as thick as regular peanut butter. It tasted good, but needs a bit of sugar for my taste. Easily done in the field with small sugar packets.  It is advertised as good to mix in things like yogurt or cereal, or juice. OK in a bug in situation, but maybe not so practical on the move.  It would make a lightweight protein additive for such things as crackers, etc. It would also lighten up the blandness of survival food.

Conclusion

Lightweight and tasty protein supplement for a survival situation, but it has the same water dependent drawback that all dehydrated food stuffs have. I have placed one bag in my food stash and will let the wife enjoy the other in her breakfast yogurt.

Available from Valley Food Storage

Filed under: Azweaponcraftprepper, Equipment Reviews, Survival and Camping, Survival and Prepping Tagged: Bug Out Bag, Prepper food, Survival and Prepping

What Kind of Prepper Are You?

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What Kind of Prepper Are You? Though no one likes to really be labeled, the fact is we all fall into some category or another. When a disaster strikes, there is generally a lot of noise, chaos, injuries, and panic. People are running everywhere or simply standing in shock, others are trying to help, and …

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51 Items Most Preppers Forget to Add to Their BOBS

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51 Items Most Preppers Forget to Add to Their BOBS If you’re relatively new to prepping and starting to gather supplies, you may be feeling somewhat overwhelmed. Don’t worry you are not alone. For the first two years that I was prepping, I felt like I really didn’t know what I was doing either. Other … Continue reading 51 Items Most Preppers Forget to Add to Their BOBS

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You Have Your Bug-Out Bag – Now What Do You Do With It?

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featured_road_through_forest

winterfire-300x225One thing I constantly try to keep in mind is that not everybody is familiar with the great outdoors. Recently I had a conversation with a friend at work who told me he had a bug-out bag full of good gear, but when we talked it became evident that he didn’t have a real solid plan of what to do with it in case he actually needed to bug-out. So I thought I’d write a short guide on what do do with your bug-out kit once you actually have to step outside the door with it.

By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Let’s assume you have the basics of what should be in a good camping kit. Remember the Survival Rule of 3’s?

1. You can survive three hours without shelter
2. You can survive three days without water
3. You can survive three weeks without food

This means you’ll need shelter, water – carrying some and with a wait to purify it, and food.

Let’s further assume that this bug-out (or camping trip) will last for three days and you want to go off grid where there is no electricity or other people in the area. We’ll also say that you’ve cleared the trouble area and now it’s time to enter the woods and set up camp.

In your pack you should have a shelter of some kind such as a tarp, tent or bivy. You’ll also need water and food, and a way to navigate such as map and compass. Don’t forget a first-aid kit! Add in some basics such as a knife, flashlight, sleeping bag, water filter, mess kit, stove, fuel, etc, and pretty soon you’ll have a pretty heavy pack with lots of gear. (See this post about keeping your pack weight down.)

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

So now it’s time to bug-out. What are the actual first steps you take? As silly as it might sound make sure you’ve got your pack(s) ready to go. When you’re satisfied that all is good go ahead and shoulder it. Make sure it fits properly and the waist and shoulder straps are cinched properly.

Check Out: The Survival Staff

Open the door and start walking.

I know that sounds a little silly, but stay with me.

glock_19_katrina_pistol_trijicon_streamlight_tlr2_surefire_with_gerber_lmf-2Now, if this is a full scale event with millions of people trying to get out of Dodge don’t be shy about taking care of yourself. If you have a gun carry it to where you can get to it easily. Very likely that someone who hasn’t done the planning you have might decide that your stuff looks pretty good and they’d like to have it for themselves. A gun is a great way to dissuade them if comes down to it.

In The Woods

ominous_forest_coldNow you’ve reached the patch of wilderness that is your destination. What do do? One of the first things you should have done is look over your map or Google Maps and get a sense of the land. Is there water in that patch of woods? If so are they lakes, streams, or rivers? Any cliffs or mountains? Swamps? Are there roads or trails? What’s out there that might benefit or hinder you? Where’s the nearest road in case you get lost? What’s the azimuth to it? The more information you have about the area you’ll be working in the better off you’ll be.

Now that we have a map and a better understanding of the area it’s time to pick a location for a camp. When I’m camping I typically look for a spot near water, but high enough not to be bothered by rising water if it rains. If possible, talk to people who’ve camped there before and ask them what the land is like and if there’s anything to watch out for.

Next to a lake or river on a high bank is usually a good spot. Spots like these will likely draw in other hikers/campers/refugees as well, so keep that in mind when selecting your camp. If you’re planning on burning wood make sure there’s plenty of dry dead wood in your area that will burn good. Standing dead is your best choice.

Watch out for “widow makers.” A widow maker is a dead tree or branch on or over where you’re setting up that might fall down during a high wind. Nothing will ruin your night like a widow maker crashing through your tent and killing you.

Camp

Once you’re happy with your area it’s time to set up your tent. (I’ll assume we’re using a tent in this scenario, although a tarp or poncho would work just as well.)

Clear the area of debris where your tent is going to be. Rocks, roots, pine cones, any of these things can make an overnight feel like a week if it gets under your sleeping mat. Once your tent is set up put the sleeping pad and sleeping bag inside, grab your axe/hatchet/saw and head out to get some firewood.

Related: Cold Weather Survival in a Blizzard

shelter_fire_camping_out-2As mentioned earlier, standing dead wood is your best bet. If you find wood lying directly on the ground it’s likely to be wet, damp, and/or punky and probably won’t burn very well. Tree’s that are standing, but dead, will offer a great source of firewood once you’ve cut them down. I usually have a small saw and don’t cut anything bigger than four or five inches at the base, which makes dragging and processing the wood a little easier.

After you cut the tree down don’t cut it up yet. I like to leave it at tree length as much as possible and carry it back as one unit, then cut it up when I get back to camp. Make a good stack of wood so you’ll be able to have a fire well into the evening. If you’re depending on the fire to keep you warm gather as much wood as you think you’ll need, then add some more. An all night fire burns a lot of wood!

Eating

If I’m doing a long distance hike I’ll primarily take freeze dried foods, which aren’t bad, but then again they rarely make me jump for joy either. But anything tastes good if you’re hungry enough!

At dinner I would advise using a fire to heat your water and food and save your stove fuel for when you really need it. When I’m in the field dinner is usually my biggest meal. I like to eat, hang out around the fire, then go to bed when I get tired.

Breakfast is typically a quick affair where I’ll either something simple like GORP, or heat up water for oatmeal and instant coffee. If you’re not moving you can use a fire to heat your meal. If you’re packing up and getting ready to leave you could probably use your stove to heat the water. This isn’t a hard and fast rule though! If you’d rather have a small fire before you get going go ahead. Just make sure your fire is dead before you leave.

If you’re on the move lunch is another quick meal. When I’m walking I like to stop for lunch somewhere high if possible and enjoy whatever view I can. If you’re trying not to be seen there are all kinds of places where you can drop your pack and get your stove going. My lunches are typically quick and easy to prepare, maybe some Oodles of Noodles and an energy bar, or if I don’t want to cook some GORP or trail mix might do the trick.

Moving

gps_compass_lostWhen you’re moving from place to place you need to keep accurate track of your location. You can do this by using a GPS unit or a map and compass. Being old school I like the map and compass and I highly suggest that you get a little schooling on them if you don’t already know how. If you’re on a bug-out and the S has really HTF then you don’t want to rely too heavily on anything that uses batteries.

If you’re moving site to site leave yourself a little wiggle room on the amount of time you expect it will take you to get there. I’ve pulled into a site after dark on many occasions and it can suck setting up camp in the dark after a day of hiking a heavy pack through the woods. Do what you have to do. Sometimes being in the woods on a long trip sucks and you just need to suck it up.

Conserving Your Resources

When I talk about conservation I’m thinking more about conserving your supplies as much as possible. Drink from streams with a filter if possible and save the water in your canteen. (But do drink. A lot!) If you’re sitting around the fire at night there’s no need to have your headlamp or flashlight going. Keep them off and save the batteries. If it’s the right time of year you can fish and pick berries to help offset what you eat.

Bathroom Breaks at Camp

When you’re traveling a bathroom is no big deal. Just step off the trail and do your business. Bury everything when you’re done.

If you’re in camp you’ll need to designate a spot for pit stops. I usually like to walk about fifteen steps from camp, but at night you’ll realistically probably only walk a few steps away before you let fly. Unwise, but understandable, especially if it’s cold. Better for everyone if you all have the discipline to go to the prescribed bathroom spot.

Summary

Now you have a basic idea of what an off-grid camp out looks like. A bug-out to the wilderness won’t be that different except you’ll probably be more on the alert for other people while you’re out there and will probably want to practice more light and noise security.

Every camp out is different, but they all share the same attributes and in order to get good at it you need to get out there and do it. Practice, practice, practice!

If you’re nervous start by sleeping out in your backyard or at a campground. As you get more confident head out into the wilderness for longer stays.

Talk to people who’ve camped in that area and see what they have to say. Is a gun necessary due to animals? Does it rain a lot? Etc. Ask questions about where they camped and how they made out. Ok, if you have questions or comments sound off below!

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What should be in emergency kit?

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A friend of mine lives in Northern Idaho and recent cold weather and a windstorm had her living without power.  They had to figure out how to stay warm during a power outage for 10 days!  With the cold weather and storms moving in, I’ve had several people […]

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Best Tactical Backpacks of 2017: Reviews, Features, & Our Top Picks

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Tactical Backpacks: What Are They and Why Do You Need One?It was not a good day.For the first time in over 15 years we drug our sorry butts back to the trailhead in defeat, with the loss of our gear as evident as the loss of our pride. Broken straps, lost cell phones and water …

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Interactive Bug Out Bag List

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Interactive Bug Out Bag List While you can purchase a premade bug out bag, creating a custom kit is the preferred option since it allows you to choose exactly what you want to pack in your bag. However, when assembling your kit you need to make sure not to overpack so that you remain mobile …

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INCH Bag Survival Kit: Red Dawn Edition

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Some of you are probably asking, “What in the world is an INCH bag?” Most survival sites focus on everyday carry bags and bug out bags, but it’s a good idea to have an INCH bag as well. It stands for, “I’m Never Coming Home.” An INCH bag is the ultimate end-of-the-world bag, the kind […]

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Keeping Pack Weight Down If You Need To Bug-Out

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bug_out_open_roadYou’re at home one night and the power goes out.  Hackers have taken down the grid and you need to bug-out to your sister’s house a hundred and twenty miles away.  Traffic is gridlocked and no one is driving anywhere anytime soon.  You decide to bug-out on foot with your pack. Six miles down the road, you’re dying from the weight of the pack.  It feels like you’re carrying a Volkswagon on your back because you’ve got so much stuff in it. There’s a lot to be said for sticking to the basics when you build your bug-out bag.

By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Back in the dark ages (early 1980’s) when I was in the Marine Corps, a full pack for a basic infantry man ran about sixty pounds.  That was the canvas shelter half, poles and stakes, sleeping bag, food, mess kit, clothes, etc.  Lord help you if you were the machine gunner or radio man because that added a lot more weight to what you had to carry.

Stick to Basics

bug_out_roman_legionaries_marchingI remember going on forced marches for ten or fifteen miles and suffering because of the weight.  You eventually get used to it, but I wouldn’t say I ever came to enjoy it.  I soon learned what was important and what wasn’t and ditched the excess stuff.  Apparently this has been a familiar theme through the ages because during the Civil War soldiers started out with haversacks weighing forty to fifty pounds, but soon learned to drop the excess weight and only get by with the essentials.  I’d be willing to bet the same has held true for soldiers going back to the Roman legions where they were sometimes estimated to carry up to eighty pounds – a ridiculous amount of weight.  But then again, they were professional warriors and when they signed up it was for a much longer tour than four years like the average tour today.  Roman soldiers underwent conditioning marches that were brutally hard.  Vegetius wrote in De Re Militari:

To accustom soldiers to carry burdens is also an essential part of
discipline. Recruits in particular should be obliged frequently to carry
a weight of not less than sixty pounds (exclusive of their arms), and
to march with it in the ranks. This is because on difficult expeditions
they often find themselves under the necessity of carrying their
provisions as well as their arms. Nor will they find this troublesome
when inured to it by custom, which makes everything easy.

Our troops in ancient times were a proof of this, and Virgil has remarked it in the following lines:

The Roman soldiers, bred in war’s alarms,
Bending with unjust loads and heavy arms,
Cheerful their toilsome marches undergo,
And pitch their sudden camp before the foe.

Lighten Your Pack

As you probably surmised from the title, this post isn’t about soldiers and their pack weight.  It’s about you carrying less weight so that you can bug-out effectively if it ever comes down to it.  Unless you spend every day hiking a sixty pound pack fifteen or twenty miles, the likelihood of being able to do so when the SHTF are slim to none.  From the section above I reiterate:

Nor will they find this troublesome when inured to it by custom, which makes everything easy.

Chances are good that you’d be stopping along the way and ditching gear, thus you really need to focus on packing just the essentials.  I’ve seen packs on Youtube and in blog posts that a Clydesdale couldn’t carry.  They’ve got everything in there from three changes of clothing to enough ammo to fight off the zombie apocalypse all by themselves.  And the kicker is that quite a few of those people are about fifty pounds overweight and the act of actually carrying it more than five miles would probably kill them.

The Essentials

So what exactly are the essentials?  This depends on you:  your skill level in the woods, your fitness level, your bug-out plans, your destination, and your mission plan.

hike_march_bug_outThe worst case scenario is a full scale bug-out, meaning that you’re taking off and you need to live out of your bag for a minimum of three days, but probably longer.  If you’re careful, you can probably get away with forty to forty-five pounds.   This includes a tent, sleeping bag, freeze dried food, a quart of water with water filter, spork, small cook pot and stove, fuel (unless you’re carrying a small woodstove like a Solo Stove), lightweight poncho, and other essential gear. If you buy the lightest gear (usually the most expensive too), you should be able to have a good kit that weighs in the forty pound area.  I hiked a piece of the 100 Mile Wilderness in Maine and my pack weighed forty-four pounds when I started.  I spent a lot of time getting that pack weight down, but it was worth it.  I also spent weeks leading up to that hike walking the road with the same boots I’d be wearing and carrying the pack to get used to the weight.

Read Also: Get Outdoors!

Rather than run through all the scenarios, I’ll list out some of the things I carry in my everyday woodsman kit and why I carry it.  I’ve managed to pare the weight down to about twenty to twenty-five pounds (depending on how much water I carry) and I’ve found this to be an acceptable weight as I’ve gotten older.

Then again, I also have a lot of experience in the woods and feel comfortable entering the forest with what some might consider minimal gear. I consider my kit to be a GHB or Get Home Bag, meaning I’ll only carry it about 30 miles in a worst case scenario, which for me is walking home from work.  I like to move fast and light and not be seen if at all possible.  So rather than carry weapons I choose to leave that weight behind and avoid confrontation.  I suppose the worst thing is someone steals my bag from me, which means I’ll be that much lighter on the way home.

Let me say up front that many of you won’t agree with my philosophy on firearms and that’s fine.  I live in Maine and in the area I’ll be walking through, people are unlikely to cause me problems.  If you live in the city and carrying a big pack loaded with shelter, water, and food makes you a fat target, then you’ll probably want to consider carrying a gun as protection.  Again, this all comes back to your situation and threat assessment.  But keep in mind that guns and ammo are heavy, so choose wisely.

To survive a night or two in the wild here’s what I carry for the basics:

  • Military Grade Poncho
  • Survival Knife
  • Firesteel and Lighter
  • Three Freeze Dried Meals (minimum)
  • Small Flashlight
  • 1 Quart Steel Water Bottle and Filter
  • Pot Set with Homemade Alcohol Stove and Four Oz of Fuel or Small Woodstove
  • Small Plastic Cup and Five Coffee Packets
  • Multitool
  • Map and Compass
  • Bandana
  • Titanium Spork
  • Gloves and Hat in Cold Weather
  • Sleeping bag/Wool Blanket
  • Notebook and Pen

This pack weighs between 20 and 23 pounds depending on the extras I put in.  If you’re going to rely on the above kit as your guide, other things you’ll  need to add to the list:

  • Experience in the wilderness/bushcraft skills
  • Much time spent evaluating and using each piece of equipment
  • Overall physically fit (weights and aerobics four to five times a week)
  • Skill with map and compass

Wilderness Survival Skills

packing_light_gear_minimumThe more you know about wilderness survival the less gear you have to carry; however, the longer it will take you when you have to set up camp.  It’s a trade off and you need to be able to judge yourself and the situation in order to make the best decisions.  A few days ago I took the following kit into the woods and made a shelter using no tools whatsoever.  I used two trees to break sticks to length and used fir boughs for insulation.  I used a lighter to get the fire going, but that was the only man made item I used.

Related: 15 Ways to Start a Fire

shelter_fire_camping_out-2It’s important that you tally up your knowledge, experience, and skills in addition to the gear you’ll carry. All of these things are important when trying to figure out the best way for you to bug-out. It’s also important to weigh your weaknesses.  For example:  if you’re overweight or otherwise not able to carry a pack for a long distance, you’ll need to make alternate plans.  Bugging in might be your best option, so instead of preparing to leave, you plan for an extended stay in your home or apartment.  But I digress.

Summary

In order to get your pack weight down you need to focus on the essentials.  My advice is to lay out everything you could want, put it in your pack (if it will fit) then take it for a walk.  If you can do three to five miles with that weight without much trouble, congratulations!  You’re probably going to be ok.

If you find yourself struggling after a mile or two, take your pack home and start going through your gear and eliminate stuff you don’t need.  Got a big flashlight that holds four D cell batteries?  Get rid of it and get a small halogen light that uses a couple of Triple A’s.  If you’re walking alone and have a three man tent, ditch it for an ultralight single man tent. That will save you five or ten pounds right there.  That’s the kind of mindset you need to bring to your gear.

Visualize what a camp out will look like and keep that thought in your head as you go through your stuff.  Always challenge a piece of gear.  Some of it will pass the test, but some of it won’t.  Don’t be afraid to cut back. I believe that speed in getting out of an area will be vital and it’s hard to do if you’re chained to a sixty pound pack.  After all, we’re not Roman soldiers!

Do you think a pack should have everything and the kitchen sink, or do you think a minimalist mindset is best? Let me know in the comments below. Questions?  Comments? Sound off below!

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How To Build The Best Bug-Out Bag

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Life can throw a lot of different situations at you in a hurry, situations you might never see coming. With the world in the state it’s in, it can be easy to get scared and start feeling like you need to be prepared for “the worst.” The secret to having some peace of mind is being prepared ahead of time for the unpredictable. Because the very worst that can happen is a disaster in which you are unable to care for yourself or the ones you love. That’s where having the best bug-out bag comes in handy.

Article Originally published by Kelli Warner

The best bug-out bag is ready when you need it and contains everything required for living away from civilization for at least 7-days. A bug-out bag assumes that there may come a time when, for whatever reason, you have to leave your home and not return for at least a few days. It also assumes that, should things be so bad that you have to leave your home, you won’t be able to drive down to the local Wal-Mart and stock up on everything you’ll be needing. So it’s important to spend some time ahead of the disaster, assessing your current situation and needs, as well as anticipating your needs down the road. Creating the best bug-out bag you can for your family

 

What Is A Bug Out Bag?

Several types of emergency preparedness kits are commonly referred to as a Bug Out Bag or BOB. Each serves a different, though sometimes similar, purpose in being prepared for whatever might come your way. An everyday carry kit contains emergency essentials that you keep on your person at all times. These are items that will help you survive emergency situations and daily challenges more easily. A get home bag is designed to do just what the name implies, to get you home. It contains more gear than you would carry on your person every day, and you would typically keep it at your office or in your car. A bug out bag is an emergency kit that provides everything you need to survive for up to a week without any outside contact or resources.

It may help to think of the three types of bags this way: In the event of a disaster, your everyday carry gear gets you from where you are to your get home bag. Your get home bag gets you to your bug out bag. And your bug out bag is designed to keep you safe for an extended period of time.

 

Identifying Your Needs

Different factors mean different needs. Things to consider when mapping out your bug out bag should include:

Where do you live? Living in a rural or urban environment will influence your needs during a survival situation. If you’re likely to face survival in a disaster-stricken inner city environment, you may require self-defense and demolition tools more than shelter and fire starting materials. However, most people will likely attempt to make it to a wilderness area to wait out whatever situation they’re getting away from.

 

Where would you go if your home were no longer safe? Planning ahead gives you the opportunity to get a feel for the land and map out various strengths and weaknesses. If you require a map for your chosen area, you’ll want to include one as you pack your bug out bag.

How will you get there? Depending on the type of disaster, there’s the possibility that you’d be on foot. You may need two destinations, one you can reach by car and another by foot. If you were able to “bug out” in your vehicle, all the better, but you want to pack your bug out bag with the thought that you’ll be carrying it a long way. Keeping that in mind will help you to make realistic weight limit decisions. You could always keep an extra bag of “nice to have” items close by to throw in the back of the truck or car if you can drive.

Who depends on you? Few people live in a vacuum. If disaster struck, who would look to you for help? Do you have children in the home? A spouse or partner you need to consider? Keep these people in mind when planning your bug out bag. Involve them in planning and have them, or help them, pack a bug out bag for themselves, as well.

Unique medical needs? Do you, or those you care for, have any unique medical needs that should be considered? Rescue medications like inhalers and Epi-pens should always have a priority place in any emergency preparedness.

Once you’ve identified your needs, along with the people who will need you, make a plan with your family or extended group. Choose an area where you’ll gather should the need arise. Each person should have prepared their own bug out bag and be able to get there independently. For parents with children, consider their age and capability when creating a family disaster plan.

What Should Go In The Best Bug Out Bag?

Water – the human body can only last up to 72 hours without water. You should plan for at least a liter of water, per day, per person. Carrying all that water may not be practical, but you should have at least some packaged water in your bag, as well as ways to sanitize water for future use. Water sanitation tablets or a simple filtration system can be the easiest and lightest to pack.

Food – You’ll want food you can eat now, and ways to get food in the future. Protein bars, MREs or other dehydrated meals, jerky are great. Canned goods may be considered, but they add weight and bulk. There are many pre-packaged emergency foods available commercially. When choosing food, remember to take into account any food allergies or severe sensitivities. One of the last things you want to deal with in the bush is a severe allergic reaction.

Food preparation – Don’t forget that you’ll have to prepare your food. Be sure to include things like:

Clothing – This is a variable component, depending on your personality, region, time of year, etc. Layering is the name of the game. Some suggestions:

  • Lightweight long sleeve shirt
  • At least one pair of long pants – you might consider “zip off” convertible pants
  • Hiking boots (on your feet) and an extra pair of shoes, if possible.
  • Underwear – a change or two, it’s up to you
  • Good socks – several pairs of moisture-wicking socks
  • Fleece jacket – medium weight jacket for layering
  • Hat with brim
  • Gloves – winter or work gloves
  • Poncho
  • Neck protection – A scarf or gator, for sun or cold

Shelter and Bed

  • Tarp – must have
  • Tent – optional
  • Sleeping Bag – must have
  • Ground pad – optional
  • Extra blanket – optional

Fire – You really can never have too many methods for starting a fire. Choose at least three to pack in your bug out bag:

Tinder – You’ll want to pack several types of tinder, just in case:

  • Cotton balls coated with Vaseline (keep them in a baggie, or they’ll make a mess)
  • Paper
  • Pine chips
  • Cedar shavings
  • Dryer lint
  • Commercial fire starters, there are many

First Aid – There are several very good first aid kits available commercially. If you want to put together your own, you’ll need at least:

  • Alcohol pads
  • Band aids
  • Bandages with tape
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Vaseline
  • Sunscreen – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and all that
  • Insect repellent
  • Super glue for closing wounds
  • Medical needs – Inhalers, Epi-pens, blood pressure medications, etc.

Hygiene

  • Wet napkins
  • Hand sanitizer
  • All purpose camp soap (dish soap or bar soap, whichever you prefer, or both)
  • Mirror (hygiene and signaling)
  • Small towel and a cloth
  • Toilet paper (you’ll thank us later)
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Personal hygiene needs – deodorant, feminine hygiene products, a brush or comb, ponytail holders if you have long hair, etc.

Tools – It’s easy to get carried away when it comes to tools. Because it’s important to keep the overall weight and bulk down, you’ll want to choose combination tools whenever possible:

  • Survival knife – you may already have one as a part of your everyday carry gear, but make sure you have a backup.
  • Multi-tool – there are many on the market, get one that gives you the most bang for your buck.
  • Hatchet or machete – you won’t want to do everything with your knife, so taking something heavier makes sense.

Lighting – Always have at least primary and one backup light source:

  • Flashlight
  • LED lamp
  • Headlamp
  • Glow sticks
  • Candles
  • Extra batteries

Communication – Consider that your cell phone may not work in an emergency. You might want to have a short wave radio, or some other means of communication with you, as well.

Cash – Travel funds. It’s a good idea to have some cash, and perhaps some gold or silver bullion coins, as well.

Local Map – Even if you’re familiar with the area take a map. Not having one could be disastrous.

Compass – you may already have a compass combined with your analog watch. If you do not, include one in your bug out bag.

Notepad and pencil – This is a good place to keep important numbers and addresses. Without a cell phone, many of us wouldn’t remember a phone number to call if we got the chance.

Self-defense – The need for a bug out bag implies that you are trying to survive. Take with you the best means of self-defense that you have. Include non-lethal means, in addition to whatever weapon you might choose to carry: whistle, pepper spray, etc. If you carry a gun, take extra ammunition, 25 rounds minimum.

Misc. items – Make choices based on your abilities, lack of ability, carrying capacity, space, etc.:

  • Paracord – Must have – 50′ is a good start
  • Bandannas – several cotton bandannas will come in handy for a variety of uses.
  • Duct tape
  • Garbage bags – 55 gal contractor bags are best
  • Resealable bags – four or five, gallon and quart size
  • Sunglasses
  • Sewing kit
  • Fishing Kit
  • Binoculars
  • Face paint (optional)
  • Snare Wire

How to Choose

The fact is, unless your bug out bag is a camper hooked to a truck, you just can’t take everything. That would be camping and not bugging out at all. So at some point you’ll have to make choices based on space and weight limitations. You’ll need to consider the distance you’ll be traveling, as weight can really add up over miles. Being able to get a pack on your back and walk across the yard is no test of your ability to get from point A to point B with it. Remember, the best bug out bag is the one you have when you need it. Having more than you can safely carry, could force you to make decisions about what to leave behind, while already under stress. That won’t set you up for success.

The weight recommendation for men is up to 20% of their body weight. This is an outside max, and assumes peak physical condition. Ten to 15% is a much more realistic weight goal. The weight recommendation for women is 10% to 15% max.

Everything has weight and takes up space. Refer back to your planning phase; remember to choose those items that you are most likely to need first, and add to it as space and weight allow.

Choosing a Good Pack

Keep a couple of things in mind: a compact bag, packed full, with no extra space, is going to be the easiest to carry. A larger, loosely packed bag, even with equal weight, is more uncomfortable. So choose the smallest bag that will still accommodate the volume and weight that you’re targeting. Remember, too, that the bag itself weighs something. Choosing a light but durable bag will be vital to having the best bug out bag possible.

Assembling Your Bugout Bag

Packing things flat, or rolled very tightly, will allow you to fit more in less space. Make a list of items along with their weight. Start packing the most important, keeping track of the overall weight as it grows.

Don’t overestimate your ability to carry your pack for hours at a time. This is a costly mistake that may land you without the survival gear you need. Once you’ve carried a too heavy pack as far as you’re able, you’ll have to lighten it beyond the recommended weight in order to finish your trek. That’s lose lose. Proper packing, keeping your weight limit in mind at all times, is a vital part of preparing the best bug out bag possible.

Be Prepared, Not Scared

Once you’ve packed your bug out bag, take it out for a weekend of camping and survival training. Practicing your survival skills in a non-stress environment insures that you’re ready, physically and mentally, when the challenge arises. Skills that are only in your head, may not serve you well in the field. After a weekend of surviving with your bug out bag, unpack, re-evaluate and repack. Did you find that you needed things you didn’t have? Did you have things you didn’t need, or that would have been better traded out for a different item? Preparing for the future, and whatever eventualities it may hold, allows you the peace of mind to relax and enjoy the here and now. If you’re prepared, you don’t

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How to Create an Urban Emergency Evacuation Kit for Work

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How to Create an Urban Emergency Evacuation Kit for Work Natural and man made disasters can force offices full of workers to evacuate. In big cities a disaster may also affect public transportation. In an emergency, you may be on your own and forced to improvise. Here’s how to create an Urban Emergency Evacuation Kit …

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50 Items You Forgot To Put In Your Bug Out Bag

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50 Items You Forgot To Put In Your Bug Out Bag A bug out bag is never really complete. Not only do you have to rotate the food and batteries and make sure everything is still in working order, you also have to ask yourself two questions: 1. Is there an item that would be …

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The Importance Of A Get Home Bag And A Great Starting List

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The Importance Of A Get Home Bag And A Great Starting List I am sharing this article as I know a lot of you are new to prepping or just looking if it’s something you could do. This artcle is actually from a new prepper who shares her get home bag with us all and …

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50 Survival Items to Put in Your Kids Backpacks

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50 Survival Items to Put in Your Kids Backpacks If you’re in a survival situation and you’re on foot, your own bug out bag is going to be all you can manage. If you’re a parent or grandparent responsible for children in a survival situation, you can’t possibly carry everything they will need. It’s going … Continue reading 50 Survival Items to Put in Your Kids Backpacks

The post 50 Survival Items to Put in Your Kids Backpacks appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Build a Longterm Survival Supply Bag

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bug_out_bag_materials-2

bug_out_bags-2Some preppers and survivalists might scoff at such an idea.  After all, beyond the initial 72 or so hours of a bug out scenario, most would think you’d be surviving out of more permanent supply sources than another bag or storage box.  Well, you might be, or in some cases, you might not be.  SHTF happens.  The idea of a secondary supply bag then may not seem like such a bad or farfetched idea.

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

Every bug out plan however perfectly executed may not pan out exactly as planned.  You may have cached out a perfect bug out hiding location, a camping spot, another shelter at a long range destination or other hold over site until calm returns, or a new lifestyle starts.  But what if you don’t make that back up site right away or at all?

Related: 10 Bug Out Bag Essentials

What if there are delays or outright changes in the plan altogether?  What will you do if roadblocks hinder your progress or throw you off on an entirely new route, one you have not practiced or are even familiar with.  Suppose riots, armed threats or searches deter you?  If any of that happens or more, you’ll need additional survival provisions to survive.  

Defining Long Term

prepare_SWOT-2This is obviously the hard part.  During any kind of a SHTF, time frames simply cannot be nailed down, or likely even predicted.  Everything is in flux, and I mean everything.  If you were even successful at getting away from your primary residence, or work with family in tow if that is part of the plan, then you will spend some time in travel.  You may have calculated the Bug Out trip in advance knowing how many hours or days it will take to arrive at your back up location, SHTF housing or secure site.  Assuming that all works out.  

As a suggested back up plan then, or a sort of supplemental Plan B, one should also prepare for the potentiality of an extended short term situation turning into something more.  But what?  It seems reasonable all else being equal to have emergency provisions beyond the 72-hour scenario for a minimum of two weeks at least with the possibility of a month not being unrealistic.  

Back Up Bag Scenario

jeep_offroad-2Let’s be truthful here, too.  In most real Bug Out situations, you do not want to have to plan to abandon your vehicle to hike on foot.  It could happen, but it is not a best case scenario to strike out into the woods with a one bag source of supplies.  Most of us are simply not equipped physically or emotionally to hike off into the sunset to try to “live off the land.”  Perhaps the top tier of survivalists could, even for a while, but it is the toughest plan to achieve.

If it comes to it, should you become detoured, plan instead a hide in place by the vehicle on an abandoned road, under a bridge, or other place where your vehicle could be parked relatively safe, and out of sight.  Then plan to camp there with your vehicle and supplies as long as you have to or indeed as long as you can.  Doubtless this could be a highly “iffy” situation, but it could happen.

Also Read: Knee Deep in Bug Out Vehicles

The vehicle then becomes your fort, your storage container, tent, and thus offering some measure of security and comfort.  But, you’ll need the extra extended supplies, goods, and gear to make this viable until you can move on or be forced to hunker down there.  

Then later, if you do reach your intended secondary site, these back up provisions can be used there in addition to what you may have already cached in place or hidden along the way.  To be honest, if Plan A never works out, and Plan B’s provisions are expended, then basically all bets are off.  

You may have to then shelter in place, wherever or whatever that turns out to be.  It is not without consideration to think about a scrounging plan as well, but hope it does not come to that.  Always remember many others are out there vying for the same limited sources of supplies or even what you have already secured.  

Secondary Bag Priorities

Granite-102-side-1_436a00ed-364d-440b-a93f-172e6f472a16_1024x1024-3By bag, this could be a very large zippered duffle type bag with triple or more interior space than your initial 72-hour Bug Out type bag.  Ideally, it would need sturdy grab handles on each end and perhaps the sides.  Loaded such a bag will be heavy.  Two people will likely be needed to load it in a vehicle. But, honestly, it does not have to be a bag at all.  There are some very large, and of course heavy when loaded as well, storage boxes that can withstand a lot of abuse.  These can be packed, locked, and stored in a ready grab spot as a throw in bag/box.  This may not be an option for every prepper, but it is a backup worthy of consideration. Again, this bag or box should be provisioned with enough additional consumables and gear to manage the two weeks to a month or even longer term.  

It would seem the highest priority should go to food, and water, or additional equipment to convert questionable water sources into acceptable water, as not enough could be transported via this plan.  Food supplies, also need to be light, and offering long term viability.  This means a large quantity of quality pre-packaged survival foods offering maximum variety and palatability.  This implies commercial survival foods, dry packages, freeze-dried, and or MRE type meals.  Frankly, you can forget carrying canned goods and such as the weight and volume would be too much to handle.  

Though debatable as personal choices, a good cooking mess kit should be included as meal prep would be more than munching a protein bar at this point.  Minimalist type gear is important, but necessary anyway.  

Bug_out_bag_flashlight-2Add to the long term bag more gear.  An axe, more tarp covers, more medical supplies especially medications needed for specific disorders that require treatment.  Rope, rough wood saws, a hammer, large nails/spikes, batteries, more matches and butane lighters, candles, more flashlights, zip bags, heavy duty trash bags, work gloves, a knife or two more.   Water storage bags would be helpful.  Include light fishing gear and/or nets.  Add whatever else you can manage.  Seasonal clothing as space permits or yet another soft bag?  

Add more ammo, perhaps a thousand rounds each for a primary rifle and handgun with half that for a shotgun.  Add one or two more weapons if convenient.  Sounds extensive?  Expensive?  Perhaps.  You have to make that judgement on what you can handle.  These goods are carried by the vehicle and stored there during travel or roadside camping, perhaps for the endurance.  

The long term survival bag (LTSB) then is provided to extend the usual 72-hour initial Bug Out period as or if needed.  It certainly could come in handy and also in the end supplement what has already been stocked at some alternative sheltering site.  It’s just an idea, but one acted upon soon and in hand rather than merely wished for later under more dire circumstances.  

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The Cheapest Bug Out Bag: 11 Steps and Less Than $100

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The Cheapest Bug Out Bag: 11 Steps and Less Than $100 Yes, you could throw together a cheap bug out bag for practically free. But will it help you survive when SHTF? You could also spend all your money on a bug out bag and let it sit in a closet and never look at …

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Top Reasons for Bugging Out from Economic Collapse or Catastrophic Disaster

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Top  Reasons for Bugging Out from Economic Collapse or Catastrophic Disaster

 

If you haven’t considered the horrendous consequences of a major catastrophe, you could be one of the first casualties in just the first few weeks or even days that follow.

A look at disasters that have struck third world countries shows how fast and how easily large numbers of people can die when not prepared and when criminals descend on the vulnerable.

Here are 7 reasons why you need a Bug Out Bag

Reason # 1 for Bugging Out

Supplies of food and water — GONE

Food Shortages – All supplies of food and water that come in to a metropolitan area have been destroyed. Within hours there are no stores or gas stations open and selling anything. Panicked and desperate crowds of people gather in both the streets and now looted and ransacked shopping districts. Roads and bridges may be out. Buildings and several homes and apartment buildings may be on fire. Around the area cries of sadness can be heard as people mourn lost or dead loved ones. If there are collapsed buildings other cries can be heard, those of people pinned and or partially crushed beneath buildings and other debris.

From street to street, chaos, rubble, fires

I can describe the possible carnage in multiple ways, as the carnage and destruction can be different from street to street and neighborhood to neighborhood. Gas pipes may have ruptured and exploded on one street. Broken water mains or sewer pipes may be flooding the ground up above on another.

Gunshots

Gunfire and even gunfire from automatic weapons may be unfolding elsewhere nearby. But who’s gunning it out with who?

Are Army troops setting up martial law and encountering resistance from local citizens? Are the police or national guard at war with local gangs? Is there an ISIS supporter seeing this disaster as his personal opportunity for Jihad on his neighbors who won’t convert or whom he knows are openly Christian or Jewish?

The police … or a pissed off psychopath in a clown suit

Or is it just a pissed off psychopath with his arsenal of weapons and ammo going berserk because, as far as he can tell, the world is coming to an end. With no belief in God, or belief in Hell, he can do whatever the hell he wants to whomever gets in his way. … The sound of automatic gunfire followed by screams of pain and terror. This shooter is gunning down anyone he can, finally letting out all that anger and disdain for human life he’s been holding in all these years. If he has any disdain for a person of another skin color, well whatever that disdain is they may be his first targets …

Race vs race.

Psychopath on a rampage.

Overzealous government troops in a desperate bid to enforce martial law.

Reason # 2 for Bugging Out

Escape the SHTF Circus of Terror that is Coming to Town

Riots – Every where you look, SHTF. In some cities, literally it’s a circus of terror. But haven’t we seen the signs that this day is coming? Didn’t Jesus warn us in different gospels about a terrible day coming to our planet for unbelievers and those not right with God? He said there would be signs in the heavens and signs in the earth. Maybe, just maybe, one of those signs that is taking place as I write these words has to do with clowns; you know those same clowns headlining the news and social media currently… I’ve studied the Bible’s Revelation many times over the years and my conclusion about Revelation is still the same. Revelation is a circus and it’s God unleashing one judgment after another, including the supernatural and a flood of demons, and a flood of evil and violence and disasters, and anything can happen, and it does.

A serious question we all need to ask ourselves is this: Is Revelation finally at our doorstep?

Panicked and Desperate Mobs with No Food or Water

Where ever you are in the region, one thing is for certain you decide — it’s time to Bug Out before those panicked mobs of people down in the city or just across the railroad tracks on the wrong side of town descend on your safe community or neighborhood just a short distance away.

Waiting for FEMA — But FEMA Never Comes

Most of the mobs may be likely to stay near their homes and apartments the first few days, hoping for relief agencies like FEMA or the Red Cross to fly in supplies from helicopter and air drops from overhead planes. But if those supplies never come, for the first time in life these panicked mobs are going to experience true hunger.

When that happens, things are going to get desperate for a lot of them. And desperate people are known to do desperate things. Expect several suicides. Expect several to turn to violent crime, and that includes street gangs and those who already employed as career criminals.

With the police spread thin and short handed, street gangs and career criminals are about to have a hay-day taking whatever they want from whomever they can.

Street gangs are survival predators

Today, street gangs are filled with survivalists, just not the kind you’re thinking of. A lot of these gang members have a predatory survival instinct. In some neighborhoods every day can be a fight for survival as they compete with other gangs in the area and against other dangerous elements. A lot of these gang members have an eye for spotting opportunity and preying on any weaknesses they see in another gang or possible drug dealer working that area. They are constantly looking over shoulders for police while at the same time robberies and murder are common place in the worst neighborhoods of the biggest cities.

Black Gangs, Mexican Gangs, White Gangs, Asian Gangs

Gang leaders and safe houses can have stocks of weapons and ammunition, purchased with drug and blood money both, and stored away for those times that gangs perceive possible turf wars with other gangs, or simply as a second income stream, as they supply people with guns and ammo both and at a price.

Asian gangs? If a major city near you has a China Town, guess what they also have well armed Asian gangs. Mexican gangs? You don’t have to live near Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, or Denver to have a threat from Mexican gangs. If you live in any kind of region near the Mexican border there’s a good chance that Mexican gangs may cross what will now be an unprotected border and head up into U.S. towns looking for loot or anything else they can get there hands on.

White gangs include one percenter bikers, neo-nazis, Russians who are American citizens (we have Russian gangs in several cities or just low level Russian mafia) and general white street criminals from major cities and towns across America. They run drug houses, car theft rings, robbery and extortion activities, the list goes on.

Reason # 3 for Bugging Out

Street gangs and mobs descend on outlying communities

Street Gangs – Some gangs may claim areas as their own, and then deplete all supplies within those areas (often taken by force) before moving on to another area to look for more supplies.

Statistically, around the U.S. and other nations, large cities will have countless numbers of gang members and a number of violent criminals as well as those desperate mobs who seek out the “prosperous” and “peaceful” communities just a few miles out. Scattered in that number fleeing major cities will be high level sex predators … Can anyone guess how a number of these sex predators are going to react to a situation where lawlessness has come to the region; families are separated, parents are missing or may be dead; children wander the streets lost, confused, looking for help. Police are spread thin or nowhere to be found. God help us …

Should you bug out with your family?

That depends on several things. You may be far enough from population centers where you live currently in an outlying community or distant town and bugging out won’t be as important in the first few weeks or months as it is for someone who lives a lot closer to those desperate mobs of people.

Though even if you are in a relatively safe area, any number of events can take place that may make bugging out essential from day one.


RELATED : 10 BUG OUT BAG MISTAKES THAT CAN GET YOU KILLED


Reason # 5 for Bugging Out

Nukes and or Dirty Bombs

Radioactive Fallout from Dirty Bombs or Nuclear Weapons – For a lot of people, that may be to escape radioactive fallout from a nuclear weapon that has just decimated a major city within 50-100 miles and now a radioactive cloud is being carried in your direction by the prevailing winds. Not a lot of people can claim they have a radioactive chemical mask for just such an occasion, yet it is a critical piece of survival gear for residents who live within 100 miles or so of a major city that one day may get nuked. At one time, there weren’t many places in the U.S. to purchase from. But with the growing concern of a nuclear conflict, a lot more are being sold in the U.S. and at reasonable or even low prices. Finally, a Civilian gas mask rated for a nuclear or chemical emergency is available at a lower price. Israel has long lived under a constant threat; a protective mask along these lines is standard fair for citizens (as well as knowing what to do in a nuclear or chemical emergency and access to bomb shelters throughout Israel.

It’s worth mentioning here: We need a lot more bomb shelters in the U.S., though several do exist across the United States often near state or city government buildings; check with your local municipality whether or not your area has a bomb shelter and who has access to it in a nuclear emergency; it might be for local officials only).

Putin has told Russians to leave America and get ready for nuclear war

Right now in world news Vladmir Putin has ordered Russian citizens to be ready for a nuclear conflict with the United States, to know where bomb shelters are, and to have the supplies and know-how for surviving nuclear attack. One of those supplies is a chemical mask rated for nuclear radiation.

If you’re a Russian living in the U.S. he’s advised that you get out. Some say this is just talk meant to scare the West into believing that Russia means business and is not to be messed with. Whatever the reasons for these words, we should see it as a clue that future months ahead could lead into an actual war with Russia.

Should you get a chemical mask rated for nuclear protection?

Chemical masks are already well known in Israel as they live under a constant threat of chemical attack.

But even if years go without any attacks the threat will continue to remain. One day it might happen; it might happen to us as well. Better to have a protective gas mask close by and even in the trunk of your vehicle ‘just in case.’

Terrorist bombs major university; chemical weapons

This goes for students and teachers also. A small chemical bomb is an easy way for a homegrown terrorist to attack a local university. Police stations, government buildings, nightclubs, business districts, sporting events, and shopping malls are also at high risk for chemical bombs — or any kind of bombs for that matter.

I’m not talking about military scale bombs. The small scale bombs I’m referring to are much easier to build and scatter around a local region. (I may have received good information that this is going to be a commmon danger in the months ahead; people are going to die; in other words, it’s going to start happening, and then continue to happen.)


RELATED : How to Bug-In: What You Need to Know to Survive a Grid-Down Disaster


Reason # 6 for Bugging Out

What if a nearby dam is destroyed?

Attack on Dams and Water Supplies – For others forced to bug out, it could be a dam that is destroyed a few miles away that is now flooding the entire valley where you live, sending hundreds of thousands of people on a sudden evacuation into the countryside and toward higher ground. Your city, shopping malls, and schools are suddenly gone — buried under flood waters.

Could a dam really be destroyed? That just depends on the size of the bomb and the desire of a terrorist or attacking government to inflict terror and mass casualties. Several dams could already be pinpointed on an attacker’s maps of cites to destroy in the first wave of an attack; several water reservoirs may have been poisoned by any number of highly toxic chemicals (though risk of this is said to be minimal — nothing is for sure though; what if the water is poisoned at a local treatment plant where a homegrown terrorist works full time?).

Some nukes can be delivered by truck or van

While some nukes could be small enough to fit in a vehicle (after being smuggled into the U.S.) and then driven to a major city and detonated (one of the Pentagon’s current fears), others may have been fired from a small boat or cargo ship off shore (one of New York City’s current fears and something that the Coast Guard is constantly monitoring for).

Nuclear danger from international flights

An even easier way to get a nuke into the U.S.? How about arming “China Air” with a nuclear bomb before it ever leaves China on a routine international flight and then finally detonating that bomb just as the airline is on its final approach and descending toward Los Angeles International Airport. In just a few seconds and a blinding flash of light:

Los Angeles … gone forever.

More nukes are streaking across the sky fired from missiles just off U.S. shores

Several nuclear tipped missiles may shortly after streak across the sky toward several destinations across the U.S., those near the coast would be the first destroyed.

Major dams … power plants … military bases … government buildings … business districts… possibly even toward the head offices for FEMA and Homeland Security. (If you want to make sure the U.S. doesn’t recover from a nuclear attack, don’t just bomb major cities — bomb our critical infrastructure and emergency responders.)

The more thorough an attacking enemy is with their plans, the more they can ensure that the United States of America never recovers.

That realization makes it that much more likely that the first wave of an attack will be more than just a first wave — it’s likely to seem like a flood. It will be catastrophic.

Expect disasters on a Biblical scale

Jesus said in Matthew 24: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man…” But then in the Book of Peter, further in the Bible, we’re told “the end will come like a flood” and also told that the end judgments are reserved for “fire.” So it won’t be another flood of water that God uses to judge the world; we can expect something different. It’s going to be big. It’s going to be bad. It’s going to be ugly . Important questions are answered along the way: For example: Why is God going to judge the world for it’s evils? And … is there any way to escape it? (Yes, there is. Click on the link to learn how to get your life right with God today — before all Hell breaks loose. Because it’s coming. The time is short.)


RELATED : Using A Slingshot As A Survivalist Hunting Weapon


Reason # 7 for Bugging Out

Bugging out may not be a choice — if you stay, you die

Get Out of Dodge – When it comes to bugging out (or bugging in, which basically means to “shelter in place”), the fact of the matter is this: Even if you could win a reward for “prepper” of the year, anything could happen that forces you to flee your home and preps and escape on a bug out into the hills or nearby wilderness. A sudden evacuation may be a matter of life or death — or imprisonment in a concentration camp of some sort ran by some new governing power in the area.

In this case it’s just you, your bug out bag, a good pair of boots, for a lot of people that includes firearms, along with everything you managed to pack into your backpack. If you have a family, they better have their bug out bags packed as well.

Source : secretsofsurvival.com

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6 Reason to Add a Coat Hanger to Your Bug Out Bag

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6 Reasons to Add a Coat Hanger to Your Bug Out Bag What kind of non-conventional gear have you acquired for your bug out bag? From pennies and razor scooters, to chopstick and pantyhose, I have seen a lot of things suggested for get-out-of-dodge kits. While I am a big believer that a cluttered bug out …

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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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Uncommon Items for Your Bug Out Bag

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swim goggles

We all know what our bug-out bag essentials are, right? 90% of the items we packed are pretty much the same for all of us… but what about the other 10%?

In this article I want to give you a list of “uncommon” survival items that some people have in their backpacks. Not just because it’s fun but because I want to give you some fresh ideas on what to pack. If, by the end of this article, I get you to say “Yeah, that sounds like a great idea, I’m gonna add item number 7!”… then the article is useful and I haven’t written it for nothing. If I fail, feel free to share your own weird survival items in a comment below so you can improve on this list.

Caveat: I’m not saying you need to start packing all these items. These are just a few ideas that may or may not make sense to your particular situation. Your bug-out bag essentials should have priority and you should always keep your backpack as light as possible by only packing what you need.

#1. Floss

Floss is lightweight, takes very little space and hard to find post-collapse. But the really cool thing about is that it has a bunch of other uses, such as tying things up, to use it as fishing rod and so on.

#2. A hand-crank chainsaw

Hand crank chainsaws are ultralight, compact and can be used in both rural and urban scenarios. You never know when you come across a tree that your car is helpless against.

#3. Fishing net

Do you have rivers near your location? A net might bring you much needed food besides the little you’ve already packed.

#4. A hand fan

If high temperatures are a concern, a hand fan might be a lifesaver. Small, compact, lightweight and cheap – perfect for a BOB.

#5. A razor

A razor has many more uses besides shaving (which won’t be a priority when disaster strikes, anyway).

#6. A foldable skateboard

Skateboards allow you to travel at speeds of over 10 miles per hour while walking is usually done at about 3mph. The fact that you can also fold it means you can put it in your bug out bag (though I have a feeling you’ll take it for a spin every once in a while).

#7. Tweezers

Cutting your nails without tweezers is hard. They take little space, they’re dirt cheap and might be unavailable when the brown stuff hits the fan. You might want to consider putting them in a Ziploc bag to avoid water getting to it and getting it all rusty.

#8. Condoms

Condoms have many uses besides the obvious one: they allow you to carry water, they can be used as a flotation device or even as a lens to start a fire (by filling them with water).

#9. Swim goggles

I’m not trying to scare you by telling you you’re gonna end up in a river somewhere, fighting for your life but, if you do have to cross one, wouldn’t it be better if you were equipped?

Besides, you can use these googles in other situations, such as when there’s tear gas or when you give your kid the important task of trying to spark a fire.

#10. An alarm clock

I know a bug-out bag is supposed to be as light as possible but some people think an alarm clock could be useful. This is NOT something I personally pack (or intend to) but maybe you want to…

#11. A Frisbee

Frisbees have more uses than just for playing. You can use them to sit on or to prepare food on them for example.

#12. Fly fishing lures

You’re gonna want to fish, at least that’s what most bug-out scenarios suggest…

#13. Pipe cutter

This could be really useful in urban scenarios where you’ll encounter a lot of pipes. Let’s not forget that PVC pipes have a lot of uses pre and post-disaster as long as you can cut them to the desired length.

#14. Paper clips

There are dozens of uses for paper clips, from lock picking to using them as a worm hook, zipper pulls or even to make a small chain. You may also want to keep them in your edc kit, your car’s BOB, your get home bag and so on.

#15. An extra pair of underwear

Needless to say, you may not have the luxury of having your wardrobe with your when it hits the fan. But an even bigger question is, what will you do if the only pair of underwear when bugging out is the one you’re already wearing?

Put an extra pair of underwear in your bug-out bag. In fact, make that two, and you can thank me after SHTF.

 

Ok, those were it. I realize I could have added a lot more of these unusual items but I tried to stick to the ones that you will actually need. Take this article with a grain of salt and, if you feel the need to add some of these items, how about you build a second BOB with non-essentials that you may or may not be able to take with you as you evacuate?

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B.O.S.S. Survival Kits Review and Giveaway!!!

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Stanford Outdoor Supply has two B.O.S.S. Survival Kits worth checking out.  The first is a 127 piece Fishing and Hunting Kit.  The second is a 33 piece Fire Starting Kit.  In previous posts, you’ll find articles on assembling a mini fishing kit and fire starting kit but I get the occasional […]

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Survival Gear Review: Therm-a-rest LuxuryLite Mesh Cot

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survival cot

Does you bug out plan include a truck, car or ATV?  If so, you may want to take a peek at the Therm-a-rest Survival CotLuxuryLite Mesh Cot, which is made in the USA.  What we liked about this cot vs. other cots on the market is the low profile that keeps you off the ground but will still fit into a normal camping tent.  When combined with a sleeping pad and warm sleeping bag, this cot can keep you warm and dry.  The downside of this cot is of course weight.  The ability to be off the ground is not worth the weight in your pack.

By Murphy, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

This is strictly a luxury item which is why it is called the LuxuryLite Mesh Cot.  When you have an item that weights over 3 lbs, it better be something that feeds you or has to do with water.  You would be much better off with just a normal Therm-a-rest sleeping pad for your bug out bag.  With that said, we tested it, slept on it and loved it for car camping or if your bug out plan has a car or truck involved.  It also is nice to have as back up bed for kids or visiting families if your space is limited.  It beats sleeping on the floor.

Video Review

Specs

Regular L XL
Width 24 in / 61 cm 26 in / 66 cm 30 in / 76 cm
Color Blue Blue Blue
Weight 3 lbs 9 oz / 1.62 kg 3 lbs 15 oz / 1.81 kg 4 lbs 7 oz / 2.01 kg
Length 72 in / 183 cm 77 in / 193 cm 77 in / 196 cm
Packed dimension 18 x 6 / 46 x 15 18 x 6 / 46 x 15 18 x 6 / 46 x 15
Top fabric type PVC Mesh PVC Mesh PVC Mesh

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Prepper Guns on a Budget

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money_budget_gunsIf you were charged with putting together a basic 3-gun set of weapons for prepping and survival use, how much money would you need to spend to get the job done.  If you are new to this game, then this may be a perplexing question.  It is one I highly recommend for some judicious research, reading, inquiry and shopping. After all, in a tight situation, your life may depend on the answer. There are a multitude of choices. Think of this guide as a baseline for your budget picks.

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

Let’s suppose we gave you $1000.  Could you assemble a weapon’s set including a basic handgun, a rifle, and a shotgun with that amount?  We’re talking good, serviceable guns, too, not rusted junk either.  Let’s explore the options.

A Presumptive Assumption

shotgun_prep_budgetBefore we wrestle with the suggestion of a mere three gun weapons set, know we are simply laying out the most basic defensive weapons deployment for personal and property security, hunting, and other prepper uses.  We know full well that most preppers will have many more options, but we have to start somewhere, then build on it.  For the purposes of these recommendations, we are limiting our selection to one handgun, one rifle, and one shotgun.  The idea is to suggest that such a cache could be acquired for at least $1000, possibly less.   And we are not necessarily talking used guns either, but that option should be left open.  There is nothing wrong with used guns in great condition.  

Our choices may not be your choices, as there are many, many options in today’s gun market.  Enough so as to be rather confusing to those just getting into prepping and deciding that some form of personal protection in the manner of firearms may be needed.  To that end, our suggestions are focused to fit these restrictive budgetary limitations.  

The Basic Prepper Handgun

For practical purposes here, we are not going to engage in a full or detailed dissertation on all the potential choices as to handgun type, brand, model or caliber.  Thus we are not going to mince words either.  

Read Also: The Katrina Pistol

handgun_bug_outThe recommended choice for a first prepper handgun or rather pistol to be used primarily for self-defense is a semi-automatic pistol chambered for the highly common and widely available 9mm.  Sure there are other choices, but this is a solid middle of the road choice between the .380 ACP and a .45 ACP.  Sorry, but the .22 rimfire is not on the list for defensive purposes.  

Why a pistol and not a revolver?  For a one gun choice, the capacity to quickly change out loaded magazines is paramount.  Indeed, revolvers may be easier to learn to handle and shoot, but they are too slow to reload under most conditions.  A pistol is a better choice when used correctly.  

With very careful shopping, a consumer can find a 9mm pistol in the $300-400 range, $500 tops.  Among the list to inspect would be the SCCY (pronounced sky), Beretta Nano, Glock 43 (used), Hi-Point, Kel-Tec, Ruger LC9 (used), Ruger P-Series, Smith and Wesson (used), Stoeger, Taurus and perhaps some others.  There is no evaluation of these models here, just cost considerations.  

As with all gun purchases, a trustworthy gun dealer can steer you to a quality gun either new or used to suit your purposes.  Just do your research, inquire of other shooters, and go into any gun deal with eyes and ears wide open.  

The Survivalist Rifle

ar_15_budget_rifleNow it gets a bit tougher.  It would be easy to simply suggest getting an AR-15 platform rifle in 5.56/223 or even perhaps the .300 Blackout or 6.8 SPC for a bit more power.  You make that choice, but know the AR-15 would be a good choice.  For some, a bolt action rifle would be good, too.  An AR could be used with basic open sights, but likely a bolt action will need a scope for an extra cost.  Optics could be added later of course.  Either can be used for hunting.

Right now AR prices have moderated especially since the election and the 2nd Amendment scare is over for now, we hope. Dealers overstocked thinking Hillary would win.  Now they are trying to sell off their inventories.  Right now is a good time to buy an AR.

Working gun shows regularly, I have seen new, in the box ARs selling for slightly under $500, $600 tops depending on the exact model.  Check out these brands: DPMS or Bushmaster.  They offer utility bare bones models.  Used ARs can be found, but inspect them thoroughly before buying or get a return guarantee if possible.  Avoid buying somebody else’s trouble.  

As with the pistol, the AR rifle offers quick change magazines that can be pre-loaded and ready.  Under dire circumstances sustained fire can be critical.  The AR accessory aftermarket is loaded with options.  For a basic first prepper rifle, the AR is hard to beat.  

The Elementary Smoothbore

shotgun_stock_ammoBuying a decent shotgun is probably the easiest of the triple threat.  Recommendations are easier, too.  Buy a pump action shotgun, either a classic Remington 870, a Mossberg 500 or Savage in 12 gauge.  Get serious and forget the 20 gauge.  Stick with a basic hardwood stock, but synthetic is OK if the price point is right.  An ideal defense shotgun would have a barrel of 26-inches or less.  The 20-inch tactical barrel is easier to handle indoors and around barriers.  Make sure the barrel accepts screw in choke tubes so the shotgun can be used for multiple purposes such as hunting.

Related: Survival Shotgun Selection

Good, serviceable used pump shotguns can be found for less than $200.  New ones can be found for $269-329 with some companies offering rebates as well.  I just saw an H&R Partner Protection model at Academy for $179, new.  There may be additional sales after the New Year begins.

If you work hard, shop smart, and have some luck, this 3-gun set can be bought for $1000 or close to it.  Next as appropriations become available start stocking ammo.  How much?  At least 1000 rounds each of pistol and rifle ammo and 500 shotshell rounds.  Again, these are starting places.  

Undoubtedly, these recommendations will spark debate, criticism, and opinions.  We welcome that.  The ultimate goal here is to outfit new preppers with the basic gear they need to survive a host of SHTF scenarios.  

Survival Books for Your Bunker

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survival_book_bunker_books_in_bunker_featured

survival_book_bunker_cat_books_in_caseBe honest, you probably own somewhere between a handful and a shelf-full of various survival and prepping oriented books. And you have the intention of reading them, but know that you probably won’t unless you absolutely must. My personal survival oriented book collection occupies about eleven linear feet of shelf space. While the books address many topics, they fit into about a half dozen specific genres. There are the military survival manuals, the medical and first aid tomes, those pages that address wilderness lore and primitive skills, general prepping, hunting, tracking, gardening, game preparation, food storage, a few odd tangents, and plenty of survival stories. So how to take my library on the run?

By Doc Montana, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

survival_book_bunker_waterproof_caseFirst, the bunker. I chose the Pelican Storm Case iM2400 waterproof polycarbonate container. If the end of the world is more of a whimper, then this case is overkill. But if it’s more of the bang I suspect it will be, then this Pelican is just the bird for the Storm. The size is about the same as a small suitcase, and was chosen to provide some focus to the bunker, but not to limit this to a Top Ten List. Additionally, weight and size need to play a role in your decision making. If I Bug In, I have all my books, magazines, manuals, and pretty much everything else in my prepping world. But if I have head to my BOL (Bug Out Location) then I need a single, durable, waterproof package that just might contain my entire Library of Alexandria.

Importance of Purpose of Bug Out Books

survival_book_bunker_tracking_navigation_trackingLike many with a survivalist/prepper bend, I tend to accumulate books about all aspects of survival from pet first aid, to boobytraps, to gardening within a square foot, to firearm repair. But as my library increased in weight, I decided what I really needed is a Bug Out Bag Of Books or BOBOB. Or another name I use is my Survival Book Bunker or SBB. In other words, a consolidation of reading material chosen specifically for when one must take the survival literature show on the road. Bug Out Books are not about Bug Out Bags (that ship has sailed), but instead the necessary skills that might be needed in the future to survive and thrive post Bug Out.

Read Also: Prepping Advice From Books

Lately, however, I have admitted to myself that I won’t be reading many of these books cover to cover but rather just referring to them or studying their table of contents so I know the gist of the book. And instead of putting the books back on the shelf, I have decided to build a portable bunker for them when when I have to throw the Survival Book Bunker (SBB) in the back of the Bug Out Vehicle (BOV) when I head to my Bug Out Location (BOL) with my Bug Out Bag (BOB).

The books I’ve selected are not in stone. They are just the best representatives of the different categories or genres of books that I think will be mission critical in a true Bug Out situation.

Current Book Categories

 survival_book_bunker_military_survival_army_sas1. Advanced strategic survival techniques: These books are the military survival books that address situations across all terrains, weather, and adversaries. They often lean towards the escape/evasion/short and long term survival from a non-apocalyptical point of view. But no matter the perspective, they are the broad-spectrum information antibiotic for survival. If you don’t have these books, you might not need the rest of the books in the bunker.

2. First Aid and Emergency Care: This category of books should need no introduction. But what it does need is a variation of complexity. For some who might use this Book Bunker, basic first aid might be a new skill. Others however, might be advanced and need guidance in surgical techniques for removing bullets and suturing wounds and cauterizing arteries. And not just for humans. Animal care might be part of your kit. I know Pet Vetting is part of mine.

3. Primitive skills and Woodlore: Books in this pile are geared towards self-reliance and off-grid life. They include topics about solid shelters, cooking, toolmaking, and pretty much anything else you might need for long-term life in the woods. There are plenty of sub-genres in this category including hunting and gathering, long-term food storage, long-term shelter building, tanning hides, making cordage, and literally basket weaving. On a side note, my particular copy of “Wilderness Living and Survival Skills” is autographed and signed by both authors. I’m not sure it will improve my chances, but everytime I see the signatures I will know I am not alone in the survival world.

survival_book_bunker_woodlore_wisdom_game_processing4. Gardening and Food Preservation: Maybe 50 or 100 years ago, a basic understanding that everyone would have is how to preserve game, salt meat, and can fruit. Not that those skills are difficult, but rather just elusive in today’s technofied world. But luckily they can be regained rather quickly with a few minutes of reading, and a few hours of doing. Gardening? Well that is another matter entirely. Gardening, like marksmanship, is a skill gained through practice and experience that is also perishable. But when it comes to food production, the stakes are a little higher to getting it right the first time.

5. X-Factor books: There is room for a few in my Survival Book Bunker for a couple tomes about boobytraps, parameter security, and a few other unmentionable topics that might provide a level of security and survival advantage beyond the suggestions in mainstream literature. And I’ll just leave it at that for now.

MIA

A few topics are missing from my Book Bunker. I might add them later, but for now I will leave them as just concerns on the horizon. 

Farming and Ranching: Frankly, I would find it more likely that I would stumble across a library of books on animal husbandry than I would find a herd of cattle in need of an owner.

Blacksmithing: A couple of hundred years ago i would have worried about making my own ironworks including blades. But today I am going to reserve my Book Bunker  space for dead-on needs over imagined scarcity. In fact, for blacksmithing I would need much more gear in my BOB than just a book on how to forge metal like a hammer, anvil, bellows, and shop.

Drug chemistry: While it would be nice to grab a handful of whatever is around and formulate some broad-spectrum antibiotics, in reality the chance of cooking up some perfect drugs for your needs is pretty slim. In the end, I will leave my chemistry needs to medicinal plant guides and chicken soup for colds.

Related: Five Best DIY Toothache Remedies

hugh_glass_illustrationSurvival Stories etc.: There is an entire shelf of books that no longer have immediate relevance because, as I noted above, “That Ship Has Sailed!” These books including general preparing, how to Bug Out, what to consider with your Bug Out Vehicle, where you should put your Bug Out Location, and what you should cache in your BOL. Also of lesser consequence are lists of supplies, and the endless pile of survival stories (although there is still plenty of successful data mining to do if you have the time).

In the end, if you toss in a Bible of your persuasion and a copy of the US Constitution into your Survival Book Bunker you should be good to go. Think I missed something? Add your suggestions in the comments.

Best Bug Out Bag Survival Foods: The Ultimate Guide To Picking The Perfect Food For Your BOB

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Best Bug Out Bag Survival Foods: The Ultimate Guide To Picking The Perfect Food For Your BOB

The ultimate guide to choosing food for your bug out bag. Learn what to look for, what to avoid, and see what we chose for our own personal BOB’s.

Do you like to be hungry? Does a growling stomach and crashing blood sugar inspire you to walk 10 miles with 60lbs on your back? Yeah, me neither.

That’s why it is so important to add some food to your BOB. You don’t have to throw the whole refrigerator in your your bag, you just need energy rich foods in your bag.

You may be thinking, “well, no duh”, but you would be very surprised how many preppers believe a simple snare trap and a can of spam is all they need in their Bug Out Bag or 72 hour kit.

Trapping game is unpredictable to say the least and it’s a lot harder when you’re on the move and, if you’re using your BOB/72 Hour Kit, you will most certainly be on the move.

A few heavy cans of over-salted soup from the grocery store isn’t the answer either. Nor is a ziplock bag of trail mix going to provide enough calories for extending hiking, especially if the terrain is rough.

Why Food Is Usually An Afterthought

So why does your average prepper expect little more than a couple of cans of beans and some picture frame wire to provide something so important and so basic as food?

Overconfidence in their situation and skills for one. Bad information on how “easy” it is to trap game and forage food is another. Both can be done, but not reliably and not while you’re constantly moving.

Sure you might snag a rat or two (yum…), or maybe find 30 calories (a handful) of berries as you go, but that’s nothing compared to the hearty meal you could have if you prep.

The Problem

The problem is that most food is heavy (or is in heavy containers) and it takes up a lot of space in a bag. You can only carry so much stuff.

For some reason many preppers believe the answer is to simply not carrying much, if any, food with them. A classic case of throwing the baby out with the bath water.

If all of your food is in cans your pack is going to get very heavy very fast. You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve seen five or six cans of food on the side of a trail, left by a backpacker who learned their lesson the hard way.

Likewise, if all your food looks like something a squirrel would eat you’re going to have a hard time carrying enough of it to sustain a high calorie diet and you will be hungry and exhausted after the first day.

The Answer

It’s simple: a prepper must maximize the amount of calories and nutrients of their food, not only per ounce but also per cubic inch.

1. We must find the best calorie dense foods, meaning that each ounce of that food contains a significant amount of calories compared to other foods, that also provide an ideal (or as close as we can get to ideal) percentage of fats, carbs, and protein.

2. Then we must look at these foods objectively and choose the smallest sized portions that will meet our daily calorie needs.

Only then can we truly compare foods for our BOB and declare which are the best bug out bag foods and which should be left on the shelf.

Your Unique Calorie Needs

Before we can begin we must define how much calories you need. Without going into a whole lot of scientific reasoning (but trust us that it is backed by decades of serious science), use this calorie calculator by Active to determine your daily calorie needs.

Be sure to check “active” under the activity level because you will be very active. The number you get is how many calories you need to maintain your current weight under moderate activity.

Here’s the catch, “moderate activity” doesn’t include hiking through the woods for days with 40lbs on your back. Since bugging out is indeed extreme on your body physically and mentally you will burn roughly 25% more calories than someone who lives an active lifestyle.

So, to compensate for how tough this will be, add an additional 25% to your calorie needs.

thelostwaysbookChoosing The Best Foods

For everyone who wants to skip the how and why and jump straight to the best bug out bag foods, here they are….

For everyone else, let’s get to the details. When choosing the best food for your bug out bag there are several things we must consider about the food themselves. These are:

  • Shelf life
  • Calories & Nutrients
  • Weight
  • Size
  • Taste
  • Cost
  • Preparation
  • Water Needs

Shelf Life

Always check expiration dates. Remember, food for your bug out bag should last at least several months (or years preferably) before going bad. MRE’s, emergency food bars, Dried fruits and nuts, and some packaged foods fit the bill.

These sorts of items have long shelf lives, keep well in most climatic conditions, and provide tasty and nutritious meals when needed.

MRE’s and emergency food bars last years, sometimes decades, but you should at least check them every now and then. Ideally you should rotate your food every few months.

MRE’s and food bars will be ok as long as the package is still sealed. Also remember that expiration dates are not a true indicator of lifespan, it’s a “sell by” date for stores.

Use common sense and don’t waste. Emergency food bars, for example, are good for several years after their expiration dates. Amazingly, they’ll still taste about the same too.

That doesn’t mean you can pack it and forget it though, you should still rotate your bug out bag food preps every now and then, twice a year during daylight savings time is a good plan, or at least check the dates around News Years Day.

Where you store your bug out bag also matters. Is your food going to sit in your hot car trunk every day for two years? You need to only pack foods that won’t spoil, or plan to store your bag elsewhere. Heat is the biggest enemy of food preservation.

Rule Of Thumb: Don’t buy anything under a six month shelf life.

The Winner: Emergency food bars (8-10 years) tie MRE’s (8-10 years).

Calories & Nutrients

Walking on flat ground with a 30-50 pound pack on your back is going to burn more calories than anything you do in your daily life now.

If you hiked for 8 hours you would burn close to 5,000 calories (see Your Unique Calorie Needs above to calculate how many calories you’ll need). A heavier pack (or heavier belly) or hiking through hilly terrain will burn more calories.

For instance, running from people with machetes will use much more calories than walking across a parking lot.

Plan to replace roughly 25% more calories per day than you use now.

The food you eat should put back those calories and nutrients each day, or else your body will begin cannibalizing itself. First your body taps into your fat stores (which is good), but if you’re not feeding your body a proper mix of fat and proteins by day two or three you actually start eating its own muscles.

What muscles you ask? Surely it’s your legs or arms, right? Nope. One of the first places your body cannibalizes for protein is your heart and intestinal muscles. After that it’s your liver and kidneys. Genius, I know.

That’s why people who haven’t eaten for long periods of time get very constipated when they do find food. Their intestinal muscles are just too weak to work. Don’t let this be you.

Pick foods that have complete macro-nutrients – carbs, proteins, and fats.

Again, there’s a catch (the body is a complicated thing). After reading that you might decide to focus on high protein foods, but for our purposes (bugging out) we need a lot of straight energy more than anything.

For that reason you should pick items that are high in carbs and calories first. then focus on high protein foods with a moderate amount of fat. Carbs will give you the energy you need, calories will keep you going, proteins will let you rebuild your muscles (and keep your body from cannibalizing itself), and fats will make you feel fuller for longer and are very necessary for organ health.

Vitamins and minerals are good to have, mostly to relieve cramps, but in reality your body isn’t going to care if you don’t feed it a perfect balance of vitamins for two to three days. That said, packing a bottle of multi-vitamins is a good idea since they are cheap and weigh little.

MRE’s and emergency food bars are both nutritionally balanced but MRE’s weigh a lot (we’ll talk more about that in a minute) and food bars are lightweight and cheaper.

An Important Note On Emergency Food Bars And Calories

There are two ways to eat emergency food bars. You can ration the entire pack over a three day period if you’re staying in once place, or you can eat the whole pack every day if you’re on the move. Since we’re talking about bugging out, and that means a lot of walking, we’re assuming you choose the latter throughout this guide. Let the situation dictate how you eat them, but pack for a worst case scenario.

Secondly, emergency food bars are one of the most calorie dense foods on the market, but they can still leave you wanting more (about 800-1,000kcals per day). You can either stick with one pack and maybe lose a couple of pounds but you’ll be fine and should not feel hungry, or you can get one extra pack over what you’ll need and eat an extra 1,200kcal bar every day.

Rule Of Thumb: Plan to replace 4k-5k calories per day, and do it with nutritionally balanced foods.

The Winner: Emergency food bars (1,200kcals / meal) tie MRE’s (about 1,200kcals / meal).

Weight

If you took everything out of your bag and weighed it I bet food and water are your heaviest items. Obviously the more your food weighs the heavier your bag will be, so food with a high calorie to weight ratio is a must have.

ultimate-bug-out-bag-food-guide-cookingA common misconception is that MRE’s are lightweight. They’re not.

Remarkably, many MRE’s weight more than caloric comparable foods from the grocery store. MRE’s are made to be complete meals, but lightweight they are not.

MRE’s average about 1.3lb to 1.5lbs for each meal. That means that MRE’s would add a whopping 14lbs to your pack for three days of food. Compare that to food bars which add less than 5lbs for the same three days.

Again, food bars are made to hold as much calories in as little space as possible, so they are usually the most lightweight food by design but they can leave you wanting a little more if your’e really hiking it.

Whatever you choose, avoid anything in a can. There are better foods in better packaging with a comparable cost.

Rule Of Thumb: Look for the most calories per oz, then look at the macro-nutrients.

The Winner: Emergency food bars (4.8lbs for 3 days)

Size

So we’ve covered weight, but what about size, or how bulky an item is?

For example, a 1 gallon ziplock bag of G.O.R.P. is kinda lightweight but it’s bulky and you have to worry about it coming open.

Save the space at the top of your bag for things you need to get to quickly, not for things that might spill easily.

MRE’s might seem like a good choice because they are flat and will not spill, but when it takes about eight to ten of them to meet your calorie needs for three days you end up with half a bag full of MRE’s. In the end they take up a lot of space in your bug out bag.

Again, cans of food are a no-go because they take up a lot of physical space and adds a lot of unnecessary weight.

Rule Of Thumb: Avoid cans and look for calorie dense foods in flat packaging.

The Winner: Emergency food bars (most packs are 4 3/4″ x 4 3/4″ x 2″)

Taste

Don’t take taste for granted! Sure, it’s easy to say you’ll power through pomegranate and fish flavored protein powder for a week, and it is possible if you’re hungry enough (ok, maybe not), but you’re going to hate it and you’re going to hold back vomit with every bite.

After a day or two of eating a food you don’t like your taste buds rebel big time. Your brain starts shutting down and refuses to eat any more. Don’t put yourself in this situation.

Always test your preps, food included!

Don’t ever buy survival food and stick it in your bag without tasting it! We highly recommend buying a couple of different flavors at a time too, that way you can alternate the flavors and keep your taste buds from committing suicide.

Pro Tip: Our favorite tactic is to combine emergency food bars with great tasting workout bars like the kind body builders use. Treating yourself with a workout bar throughout the day will keep your energy and spirits up, and your taste buds will thank you. Plus they are high in protein and carbs that you need.

You could even put your food choice to a serious test and live off them for an extended weekend. You’ll know by day three if it’s right for you.

MRE’s taste pretty dang good, about like a microwavable meal. Food bars usually taste somewhat bland by design but most of them taste something like a sugar cookie. Trail mixes taste good, but they can get boring after a few meals and they don’t pack enough calories per oz.

Rule Of Thumb: Buy many flavors to mix things up, and always put them to the test.

The Winner: (let’s be honest) Store bought groceries, and taste is objective anyway.

That being said… our personal picks are (in order):  MRE’s, pemmican, emergency food bars, G.O.R.P., workout bars, bean & rice mixes, and peanut butter.

Cost

Your food costs won’t be a big deal, but it is still something to keep in mind. Some foods, such as MRE’s, can really add up, but even the most expensive food bars would only cost a grand total of nine bucks a day.

bug-out-bag-food-homemade-food-bars-458x687Compare that to what you pay to eat per day right now and you’ll see it’s actually a bargain.

MRE’s are the most expensive option, averaging about $6.50 per meal. The second most expensive is prepackaged survival food in bags.

You could do what many of us do and make your own food too. You could easily eat for under $5 for the same 3-4 days if you make your own foods.

Survival bread, pemmican, high protein and carb food bars, and G.O.R.P. are so easy and cheap to make that you’ll wonder why you haven’t been making them for years.

They’re great daily snacks around our houses and also excellent emergency foods to have on hand.

Rule Of ThumbCalculate the price per calorie on nutritionally balanced foods for a baseline number to compare foods, but remember that calories per oz is far more important for a bug out bag.

The Winner: Making your own (varies, but about $1.50 per day for our examples), followed by emergency food bars if you want something pre-made (about $3/day if rationing, about $9/day if not).

Preparation

Prepping food is the enemy of efficiency for anyone bugging out. Preparing food puts you off guard, wastes daylight, can give away your position, and burns calories. Any serious prepper will immediately recognize these as major problems.

The best bug out bag foods will require no prep time, or be as minimum as possible. The worst foods for a bug out bag, like cans of food and other grocery store items, usually require a fire and clean water which may be outright impossible to handle two or three times a day (or ever) if you’re bugging out.

Prep time is usually a trade-off with cost. While a food bar costs about $1-2 per serving and has zero prep time, something like our Super Easy Survival Bread costs about $0.15 per serving and takes about 30 minutes to make four servings.

Fire is an OPSEC issue, so is the smell of cooked food. This isn’t a camping trip, staying hidden might mean not having a fire or the time and ability to cook. Fresh food over a campfire smells great and an unwelcome guest (human or animal) might want to join you for dinner. Keep this in mind when choosing your food.

Cooking food could be impossible for a dozen different reasons. Don’t make it your only option.

Finding and purifying water is another issue, and so is bringing an extra half gallon or so just to prep some grocery store foods or just-add-water survival pouches.

The best bug out bag foods will require no prep time, or need minimal prepping (like mixing pouches together) right before you eat them.

Rule Of Thumb: Prep your food now and keep it rotated, or get zero-prep foods.

The Winner: Emergency food bars (zero-prep) and MRE’s (minimal prep)

RELATED : HOW TO MAKE BILTONG, THE BEST SURVIVAL FOOD

Water Needs

When it comes to bug out bag foods your water needs are two-fold:

  1. How much water it takes to make the food
  2. How thirsty your food will make you

Shockingly (sarcasm), you will have to add water to just-add-water survival pouches, usually about a cup. Other powdered or dehydrated foods may also require water.

Some MRE’s are notoriously over salted and will make you drink a lot more water, so will nuts and dried fruits. G.O.R.P. will also make you thirsty, and foods like peanut butter will need some water to get them down. Cans of soup and meat are way too salty and cause you to waste a lot of unnecessary water compared to if you has simply packed something better.

Non-thirst provoking foods

There are special “non-thirst provoking” foods that were specially designed to prevent any feelings of thirst after eating them. They do this by carefully balancing their salt and moisture content, among other things. Simply put, they don’t dehydrate your body and they don’t dry your mouth out.

What are these miracle foods you ask? You guessed it, emergency food bars!

Any water you find must be purified, either by boiling (which will not remove chemicals) or with a very good water filter like a LifeStraw, or a Katadyn Vario, or a Sawyer Mini.

Rule Of Thumb: Stick with foods that do not require water to prep and look for foods labeled as non-thirst provoking.

The Winner: Emergency food bars (non-thirst provoking & require no water) and MRE’s (require no water, but some will make you very thirsty).

Overall Winners

Given everything above, and extensive field tests done by many expert survivalists spanning decades…

….There is one food product obviously far above the rest: Emergency Food Bars.

Food bars pass every test with flying colors. Not only do they store well for at least 5 years or more, but they also have scientifically perfected calorie and nutrient ratios that are spaced out into many bars that can be rationed out to meet the unique situation you’re in or eaten in a single day to provide maximum calories for heavy hiking.

They weight little, are easy to pack, take up minimal space, taste pretty dang good, cost very little, have zero prep time, are non-thirst provoking, and require no water to eat.

They are not messy, they don’t melt, they don’t smell, they don’t need a fire or water, yet they do fill you up. You actually feel full after eating a food bar, and that’s the best part.

In short, food bars are the perfect bug out bag food. 

MRE’s come in second place. They are full meals ready to go and will last about 8-10 years depending on the temperature you store them in, but they are heavy, can be overly salty, and by far are the most expensive choice.

Canned foods come in dead last for reasons that I hope are now very obvious to you.

Pro Tip: Don’t pack canned foods, but do bring a can opener so you can eat all the stuff everyone else leaves behind!

The Alternatives

Life is all about choices. The food in your bug out bag is very personal and you should consider all the alternatives. Try living on a few different foods for a weekend and make the best decision based on your own wants and needs. Just be sure to keep calories and nutrition in mind.

Alternative bug out bag foods include things that no normal healthy person should eat exclusively on your average day (college students not included).

Here are some alternative ideas for your bug out bag food supplies.

RELATED : A RETURN TO THE OLD PATHS: HOW TO MAKE PEMMICAN LIKE THE NATIVE AMERICANS

Pemmican
Pemmican is a traditional Native American food that dates back to time forgotten. It’s a complete meal nutritionally and extremely calorie dense, supplying upwards of 2,500 calories per pound depending on the types of meat and fats used.

Native Americans would eat pemmican exclusively for weeks at a time on long hunting trips with no ill effects, just don’t plan on eating it for years at a time because it’s high fat content has lead to plaque buildup in the arteries in native tribes who live off of pemmican.

Traditional pemmican is dry jerky, fat tallow, and berries mixed thoroughly together and packed into a sausage. The final product resembles bratwurst.

Modern DIY pemmican is made with the same ingredients but skips the packing into sausage step to save money and trouble. It can be stored in ziplock bags or old butter tubs just as easily, there’s nothing special about the packing. Many times it is rolled out into strips.

The taste has been described as anything between a cookie (what?) to a fatty meatloaf or a hearty beef stew (this is typical). In truth the taste depends heavily on the type and amount of meats and fats used as well as how the fat was rendered. It can be an acquired taste and there is absolutely a fatty grease flavor, so sometimes salt and spices are also added to taste.

Pemmican can last upwards of 50 years without refrigeration if made properly and joins hardtack on the list of longest lasting survival foods. However, poorly made DIY pemmican may only last a few days before going rancid, so follow the directions.

While pemmican can make a decent bug out bag food, the cost of buying pre-made pemmican is extreme, around $35-$50/lb. The cost of DIY pemmican depends on your local meat costs but will be significantly cheaper, around $9/lb for the finished product.

You would need about 2lbs a day to meet calorie needs, or about 6lbs total for a BOB/72 hour bag. That means pre-made pemmican would cost upwards of $300, and homemade pemmican would cost about $54 for a three day trek.

With its high cost and possibility to go rancid if not made properly, and with the current cost of emergency food bars around $27 for a three day trek, it’s hard to score pemmican higher on the best bug out bag food list.

Just-Add-Water Survival Meal Pouches
These include things such as the mountain house and coleman pouches. They last about five years and have about 600 calories per pouch. They cost about $5-10 each and weight about 1/2 lb.

They work best with boiling water so you may want a fire, and a pot to boil the water in…which basically defeats the purpose of eating out of a pouch…and even if it says on the pouch that you don’t need to boil the water before adding it you’ll still have to have purified water (either by boiling or filtering) before using.

G.O.R.P.

bug-out-bag-food-gorp-298x300“Good Old Raisins and Peanuts”, also known as G.O.R.P., has been a hiker’s go to trail mix since pretty much ever.

G.O.R.P is full of calories and nutrients and is simple to make. The problems with G.O.R.P. is it feels like more of a series of mini snacks than a meal and all the salt can make you thirsty. You’ll go though it by the handfuls quickly so packing enough to last 3-4 days can get heavy.

Some people swear by it, but most get tired of it when it is the only food available.

Ramen Soup
Cheap (six for a buck and change!), full of carbs, some protein, and tastes good. The calories per oz are pretty good too. You could do a whole lot worse than ramen soup, and you could do a lot better too. You need more fat, and the seasoning packages will just about kill you with salt if you eat them day and night.

Only use half a packet and bury the rest (it smells strong and will spill in your bag). You’ll need a fire, clean water, and a pot, so this is a meal with serious prep time compared to everything else. It works ok on paper but in a real life emergency you might be stuck with a bunch of useless hard noodles.

Candy Bar
Just don’t. It will melt, it will be messy, you’ll get ants in your bag, the sugar rush will die as fast it comes, and you’ll be hungry an hour later. No, a snickers isn’t a complete meal despite what their ad agency says. Just don’t.

Pro Tip: If possible, don’t pack all your food in one bag and if you’re with a group have everyone carry a little food. You could also use molly pouches and a tactical vest to secure food directly to your body. This way you will still have food to eat if something happens to your main bag.

Peanut Butter
Gooey, sticky peanut butter is a great food item for your pack. It has a high calorie to weight ratio and 1 tbs of peanut butter provides 190 calories. It’s also high in fat and moderate in protein, and it tends to stick to the ribs so you feel fuller longer. Bring some high carb foods and you have something to work with.

Not to mention peanut butter makes a great bait for small critters.

The down side is a jar of PB is bulky and doesn’t last very long (one to two days max for your calorie needs), you’ll eat way too much saturated fat if you down a whole can, you’ll drink a lot of extra water, and high temps will ruin it.

Whatever you do don’t get the natural PB for a bug out bag, it’s too runny.

Pop Tarts
Yes, I said pop tarts. Are they healthy? No. Are they a complete meal? Hell no. Will they give you some energy and a fun motivation after two days of straight food bars? You bet your favorite knife they will. I always include a foil pack of two pop tarts in my bag to give my taste buds something to look forward to after a hard couple of days on the trail.

Workout (Protein) Bars
These are not emergency food bars, they are the kind of snack bar you would eat before (or after) a day at the gym. They are usually way overpriced and have too much of one macro-nutrient or another.

They are not made to be full meal replacements, even the so called meal replacement bars.

Most are light on calories to help you cut weight, the exact opposite of what you’re looking for.

Don’t pack them as your exclusive food, but do include one or two as a treat for yourself. Motivation comes in many forms. Sometimes it’s a granola bar.

Canned Food
Let’s stop here and pretend for a minute. Let’s pretend you’ve ignored all the advice and decided to buy a bunch of canned soup and meats anyway. Maybe some canned beans too because every prepper packs beans and rice, right?

Not only is your pack way too heavy and bulky, but even the low-salt soup and meats are way too salty (hope you have lots of water to drink) and the veggies and beans equal little calories and almost no macro-nutrients so you’ll need a half dozen or so cans every day to meet your calories. Does your back hurt yet? It’s going to!

“No problem”, you say, you’ll just abandoned some of your food to lighten your pack… and now you’re trying to hike through the woods on 1/8th the calories you need. But hey, at least it was easy at Wally World to fill the buggy with all those cans, that are now laying in a pile by the trail….

You’ve screwed yourself because buying off the grocery shelf was easier. Now let’s go back in time to where you read this article (hey look, here you are) and make a better decision. Suddenly, now you’re a better prepper.

RELATED : How to Make Your Own Pancetta

Bean and Rice Mix
Rice is cheap, so is red beans. if you buy a bag of both and mix them together you get a high calorie and nutrient rich meal. You can’t store brown rice for long, the fats go rancid, and exclusively eating such high carbs for every meal is going to mess your insulin and sugar drive which means an eventual energy crash.

A big bag of rice and beans will weigh several pounds and ziplock bags can get spilled. It requires clean water, a pot, and a fire. Oh and don’t forget to soak the dried beans overnight before cooking…. while you’re hiking through the woods and maybe dodging people with guns.

This meal might look good on paper but in reality it takes a lot of prep. Don’t fall for the rice and bean trap, look elsewhere for bug out bag food.

Canned Meat
Spam, vienna sausages, tuna, chicken breast, sardines. Except for sardines in oil, canned meat provides a lot of protein but that’s about it. The calories and other nutrients are low compared to other more lightweight meals.

While sardines may be natures nearly complete miracle food, their smell attracts every animal (beast and man) for a half mile or more, and some people will never eat a sardine no matter how hungry they are.

Most canned meats are high in salt, which means you’ll be thirsty. Even the low-salt options are packed with too much salt, especially spam.

Mac & Cheese
Mac and Cheese is probably the easiest food you can make on a campfire. It’s not a complete meal and it requires a fire and clean water. If you can’t cook it you’re stuck with useless food. It may be a fun pick-me-up and worth throwing in a box if you have kids who are addicted to it, but realize it’s just a snack.

Final Thoughts

Watch out for too much sugar. Foods with too much sugar and carbs make you hungrier about an hour after eating. Avoid white carbs (breads, rice, potatoes, etc) and look for foods that are a complete meal in one to avoid energy crashes.

Don’t keep anything with fats or oils for more than 3-6 months or it will go bad. Avoid salty food to save water and literal headaches from blood pressure spikes.

Don’t overdo the calories in one sitting, spread them out over the day.  Look for a food with a balance of calories, carbs, protein, and fat that spreads the calories out over 3-4 daily meals.

Avoid overly spicy or sweet smelling food or it will make all your other food smell just like it. Seriously though, avoid spicy food altogether when you’re out in the field, your back side will thank you.

Realize that nature wants you to eat a variety of foods. Getting everything you need in a single product that is lightweight and small in size rarely happens in nature. Look for a man-made alternative such as emergency food bars for the special needs of bug out bag or 72 hour kit.

lw2

Source : besurvival.com

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GORP: The Better Bug Out Bag Survival Food

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GORP: The Better Bug Out Bag Survival Food A lot of people carry emergency food in their backpack. It’s a great idea. It’s a good fail safe in case you can’t find or catch something to eat when you’re out in the wilderness. Most people carry some sort of dehydrated food. Some carry energy bars. …

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The post GORP: The Better Bug Out Bag Survival Food appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

10 Bug Out Bag Essentials

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bug_out_essentials_stuffCall this back to basics, or getting started from the get-go, but there are as many varieties of opinions on bug out bag contents as cats have lives.  And then some.  Then there are the definitions of exactly what constitutes a bug out bag, but no two preppers or survivalists bags are the same much less their contents. So, up front, let’s politely agree to disagree if this suggested list varies from yours.  After all, my bug out bag is not your bug out bag.  Your circumstances are not the same as mine. 

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

You may live in a congested mega-city.  Others live in rural areas or in the suburbs.  All of these conditions allow for differences in what we put in a bag to grab on the way out of the house, office, or vehicle.

Bag for Bugging Out or a Body Bag?

My idea of a Bug Out Bag is a single source medium sized bag with the bare minimum of supplies to last 24-48 hours with some potential stretch.  This bag was created to last long enough to get out of Dodge to an alternative secure location or to a pre-determined supply cache or a more permanent pre-supplied bug out location.

Related: More Tips for your Bug Out Bag 

This Bug Out Bag is not intended to be a long-term supply resource.  It will not weigh a hundred pounds or contain long range subsistence or gear for a camp out in the wilderness.  Your bag may be designed for other types of missions or alternative plans.  That is fine.

Bug Out Bag Priorities

handgun_bug_outThis is where the fight of opinions usually starts.  What to pack first and what items are most likely to be needed initially with other bag items being needed or available as the bug out ensues.  It is easy to argue that the choice of any self-protection defensive weapon, most likely a handgun and ammo should be readily available for access or as appropriate worn in a weapon ready condition.   Let’s accept this as the first item in a bug out bag.  

Sure, when you grab your bag to jump in your escape vehicle or head down a long flight of stairs to evacuate a work site or other location, you may be darn thirsty or maybe even needing a boost of energy from a bar, but first, you’re going to want to secure your mode of personal protection.  From there the other items in the bag don’t matter in terms of priorities until they are needed.  So, grab a drink, but go slow on it.  Some of the items in your BOB you may not end up using at all, but it is nice to have them along just in case.  

Read Also: Knee Deep in Bug Out Vehicles

So, here are the ten items of basic need or utility I place in a BOB.  Other than the pistol, no particular order of priority.  Also, note, there is no suggestion of which specific item or brand to get or have, just the categories are listed here.  You figure out what you want on your own.  

The Other Nine Essentials

Meds or OTC.  If you have to have certain medications to live, then you best have them.  This goes for diabetic supplies, heart meds, or any other life essential medicines.  Support that with over the counter pain medications, antacids, antiseptics, etc.   You can keep these in the original bottles or boxes, or get a little personal med kit to store them.  Just organize them so you can find what you need quickly.  This could include a small, basic first aid kit, too.  

Water.  Have several bottles of water or a canteen.  Have more in your vehicle, but always carry some along.  Make the judgement on how much to carry balancing weight and volume in the bag with your hydration habits.  

Food Items.  Pack energy bars, not candy bars.  These should provide carbs, but some real nutrients as well.  Small bags of nuts, trail mix or other snacks that are not junk food.  Check the contents and calories ahead of time so you know how much to take along.  Again, you can store additional food in your vehicle, assuming you get to it.  

knife_handgun_bug_outKnife.  Have some sort of cutting instrument.  You choose, but be practical.  Remember, reliability and function are absolutely crucial. You may not need that huge Bowie knife on a bug out.  A good, solid, sharp folding knife that locks for safety works.  Multiple blades are great, but not the 87-blade-tool version.  I could be talked into a multi-tool that has a good cutting blade.  

Flashlight.  Gotta have one or two.  Pick a light that is super durable, extra bright, uses standard batteries, and has shock resistance in case you drop it, which is likely.  Some like to add a red or green lens cover for clandestine hiding or in vehicle use at night to reduce drawing attention to your location.  

Cell Phone/communications or News Radio.  A way to call or get calls is important, so long as the towers function.  Add to that a good basic emergency radio even a hand crank variety.  You need to get news and government broadcasts if there are any.  Ironically, even being able to get a music channel can add some comfort factor during a stressful situation.  

Firestarter.  If your travel plans get waylaid for any multitude of reasons, you may have to stop over and spend the night somewhere.  A fire can be a great comfort and under some conditions a lifesaver.  So, have a selection of ways to ignite a fire from simple matches, butane lighter, or a strike stick.  Pack a tiny bag of wax soaked cotton balls, too.  

bug_out_clothingSeasonal Clothing.  Pack a jacket, preferably a rain jacket that doubles with some insulation with a hood.  Depending on the season, add items like a warm hat and gloves, or a lightweight shirt, jeans or shorts, hiking shoes-boots and socks.  Of course, pack according to your environment. If you are in more northern environments, be sure to have warmer clothing. Additionally, more clothes should be kept in your vehicle.  

Cover Tarp and Cord.  Finally, if you have to camp out, have a temp-tarp.  Staying in the vehicle may or may not be comfortable.  A good cover will give you extra options.  

There, that’s one BOB equipped and ready to run.  Is it perfect?  Hardly.  Some can do with less, others will admittedly want to add more.  That is why we are all individuals.  Regardless, have one, supplied, packed, and ready to grab.  

Photos Courtesy of:

Dr. John Woods

9 Tips For Packing Your Bug Out Bag

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Bug out bags are for disasters that strike without warning. If you wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of your world falling apart, all you’ll have time to do is grab your bag (or bags if you have a family) and hit the road. The ability to pack up and […]

The post 9 Tips For Packing Your Bug Out Bag appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Dirt Cheap Survival Recipes

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Many preppers conclude the economy in the U.S. will collapse gradually, rather than overnight due to some cataclysmic event. Either way, your ability to find and secure meals for you and your family becomes the difference between life and death for your family. So, how do you prepare to survive in a world where food is scarce, and money is tight?

Following a SHTF event, the only certainty will be unpredictability. Depending on the event, your location, and how long it takes for the country to recover your options for cooking and food storage will change. Practice making a variety of different cheap survival recipes so that no matter what type of situation you find yourself in, you are ready to put a meal together that will satisfy your family. Below are several different ideas for your survival meal arsenal:

Lessons from the homeless:

Chicken livers come in a carton and cost around $1.00. Boil with salt and pepper in either water or chicken broth. The beneficial thing about chicken livers is just a small amount with some whole grain bread, and a cup of milk will stave off hunger for several hours.

Pouches of instant potatoes are relatively inexpensive, typically under $1.00 at the local Walmart. Ramen Noodles are another very inexpensive food; you can buy six to 12 packages for under $2.00. Both are simple to cook as they require only boiling water. For variety, mix the instant potatoes with the ramen noodles to create a high- energy food called “ramen-bombs.”

Pasta is a great food staple to have on hand, and it can be used to create a variety of meals. Cook pasta and drain. Fry several eggs over medium and sprinkle with salt and pepper if you have it. Combine the eggs with the pasta and throw in cooked veggies, cheese, or meat. You can also mix cooked pasta with any salad dressing on hand and add fresh vegetables for a great pasta salad that will fill you up.

DIY Survival Recipes

If you are lucky and are thinking ahead, you will have the time and resources to create dirt cheap survival recipes to have on hand when SHTF. Sometimes, survival is about preparing to think or in this case, cook, outside the box.

You’ve probably made toast in a toaster at some point in your lifetime, but have you ever thought to try grilled bread? Use your barbecue grill or even a campfire with a grate. Grill the bread till it’s golden brown. And if you have cheese on hand, you can melt it between two pieces of bread and make a really tasty grilled cheese sandwich.

If you correctly store cornbread mix, you can make delicious johnnycakes or cornmeal hoe cakes in a skillet of cast iron over a campfire or even on the hot rocks of a fire. Add some syrup or sprinkle with sugar for an extra treat. If you must stay on the go, put leftovers in a zip lock bag so you can carry them with you as a snack on the road.

Native Americans relocated their camp several times a year as they followed the animal herds. They carried Pimikan, typically made from dried powdered meat such as elk, bison, moose, or deer, it was a portable food adopted by fur traders in later centuries who called it. Pemmican. Practice making this cheap survival food and add it to your stockpile. It needs no refrigeration and when properly made, can last for decades.

Lessons from Redneck Campers

Include corn in your garden, or in a pinch scavenge ears of corn from a roadside field, wrap in aluminum foil with some butter and cook in the coals of a fire. If you prefer a grilled taste, soak ears of corn in water and cook on a grate over the fire to grill it. You can cook with the husks on or remove before cooking depending on your preference.

Stock up on those Pillsbury cinnamon rolls or biscuits in a can. When the power goes out, simply wrap the dough around a stick, and pinch the ends so that it won’t fall off. Hold the stick over your BBQ grill or campfire until the dough is a golden brown. Slather with butter and enjoy a tasty treat that you can carry as you eat it.

Include heavy duty aluminum foil in your stockpile of supplies. When SHTF, lay out a large section of foil and add chunks of potatoes, onions, or whatever vegetables you have on hand. Top with a chunk of butter and a little salt and pepper and then wrap it all up and cook over hot coals or the BBQ grill.

When SHTF, you may have food available that you can cook but will need to think outside the box a little when it comes to cooking without your traditional stove or oven. Planning ahead and knowing how to make some of these cheap survival recipes will help sustain you and your family whether you bug in or are forced to bug out.

Alternative Backcountry Food Options

 

The post Dirt Cheap Survival Recipes appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Bug Out Bag Documents: Best Guide On How To Make Them

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Bug Out Bag Documents: Best Guide On How To Make Them
Bug Out Bag Documents: Best Guide On How To Make Them

Bug Out Bag Documents

Today we’re going to talk all about bug out bag documents. It is maybe the most neglected prep but one of the easiest and most important. 

Bug out bag documents are all the important documents you will need in a disaster stored in a binder usually ready to go. 

I’m talking about things like copies of your driver’s license, bank account numbers, and phone numbers to your local utilities. 

In the event that you need to bug out, you do not want to be wasting time trying to find these documents. And you definitely do not want to be without them. 

After hurricane Katrina, many were left without ID’s, insurance cards or banking access. That caused some major headaches. People could not access their bank accounts without their debit cards or Id’s. 

 

With these bug out documents, you will have these with you. You my prepper friend do have your bug out documents ready right?

If the answer is no I’ll help get you squared away. I am by no means perfect. My own documents need to be updated. So this is a good time to go through what needs to be done.

 

 

Personal Identification

Personal identification is I believe the most important bug out document you can have. In many cases being able to prove who you are is invaluable. 

There are several ways to carry backup identification. Some will work better for different uses. You won’t be buying beer with a picture of your driver’s license on your phone for example. 

For many of the official documents, like a license, I prefer to have an official duplicate. Most places will not accept a photocopy of an id. Although there’s no reason to not also have photocopies. 

I put birth certificate first on the list for a specific reason. It is the one id used to get all the others. 

Years ago when I read the anarchist cookbook I remember the part about getting a false Identity. It went like this. Get the death certificate of someone about the same age as you that died at birth. Use the death certificate to obtain their birth certificate. Take the birth certificate to get a social security card. Once you have the Social security card and Bith certificate go get a photo ID. 

So with the actual copies in your Bug Out Bag documents, you will need to be careful they are not stolen. They would be an identity thief’s wet dream. 

  • Birth Certificate
  • Social Security Card
  • Drivers License
  • Concealed Carry Permit
  • Passport
  • Mail From A Bill
  • High School, College, GED or any other diploma or certifications. 
  • Titles to your car and home

 

Financial Info

In the event of a disaster, you are going to want to be able to access your financial institutes. We’ve already covered the ID part of the equation. 

The easiest way to do this would be to have spare debit/ credit cards. But I can’t bring myself to tell you to keep spare debit cards in your car. Unless you have the best identity theft protection on those cards. Even then it’s not a great idea. 

You should keep the bank account numbers, routing info, and phone numbers to the branches. There are a million different ways to encode the numbers to keep them from being stolen. The easiest is to increase or decrease all the numbers by one. 

You can keep the debit card numbers, pin, expiration dates and security code. This can be used in online shopping, like ordering a hotel room online. Also, you might need that info to cancel a card. 

Without a debit card, you can still go into a bank with your ID and banking account numbers and withdraw money. 

I added having the info on local coin shops on my Bug Out Bag documents list. I’ve never seen this one another site and don’t know why. In a disaster, there are a few reasons to know where your local coin shops are. 

In a disaster, you might want to convert your precious metals into cash. During my move to my tiny house, I had a cash shortage and had to sell some coins to cover the move. I would rather hold onto coins for the long term but in an emergency, you can sell them.

In a situation where you don’t want federal currency, you can go convert it to precious metals. If the economy was tanking or we went into hyperinflation this would be necessary. 

  • Paystubs
  • Income Tax Return
  • Contact Info For Banks
  • Info For Any Debt you have
  • Info On Local Coin Shops

Important Phone Numbers

On this bug out bag documents we’ve covered a lot of phone numbers already but let’s add a few more. 

  • Friends and Family
  • Hospitals
  • Local Emergency Numbers
  • Your Work
  • Utilities
  • Hotels
  • Kids School
  • Insurance Providers
  • Legal Counsel

 

 

Bug Out Routes

I like to have three places to bug out to in an emergency. And three ways to get there.  

There are several ways to do this.  I like to use Google maps.  

Map the directions, choose show satellite view and print .  You can even use a highlighter to mark the route.  

Have  the directions in written form too. 

Put the maps in plastic sheets or have them laminated .  

Having maps of your nearby cities and state are nice to have.  

I  usually grab maps of the nearby states if I pass through them.  

Checklist Of Things To Do In A Bug Out

One of the things I add to my bug out bag documents is a checklist of things to do and remember.  

Mike and I did an entire podcast on bug out checklists. worth a listen to go deep on the subject.  

The items on the checklist are time sensitive .  If the pyroplastic flow from a volcano is heading your way forget the checklist and go.  

If you have more time you can spend more time going over the checklist .  

Some of the things to go on there are cutting off the gas to your home.  

If you’re not coming back ever grabbing any food you can eat from your refrigerator is worth it.  

If you do plan on coming back and power is out you will want to empty your fridge. 

Anything left will become a toxic mess. 

If your anything like me you always forget something when leaving for a trip. 

Having a checklist will help ensure you don’t bug out and forget something vital to your survival.  

Condensed Survival Info

Having  condensed survival info is great to have. Yes, You can carry small survival books like the SAS Pocket survival guide

Even better is to type out important info yourself on a page or two. Things like how drops of bleach to sanitize water for drinking. 

A few wild edibles in your area can be included with pictures. 

Basically some of the easily forgotten bits of info you might need. 

Digital Version

I have been talking about making a physical binder for your bug out bag documents. Another way to have them is on an encrypted thumb drive. 

A few years ago I showed you how to build your own to save a ton of money. Check out how to make an encrypted thumb drive. The thing looks bomb proof too. 

With digital copies, you can carry backups to your backups. 

Using Your Phone

 While writing this article I realized that a smartphone could easily replace all of the bug out bag documents. 

You can store all the contacts info in there. As well as multiple ways to actually contact them. When the  phone lines  are down  you can get a text or a Facebook msg through. 

You can take high definition pictures and scans of your id and documents. 

You can map your bug out routes and download them to be available offline. 

With downloaded pdf and kindle books, you can have all the survival knowledge available. 

Best of all you always have your phone with you everywhere you go. Once locked thieves can’t get your info. 

I would still recommend having physical copies but there is no reason to not have your smartphone be your bug out bag documents as well. 

Conclusion

Bug out bag documents are not the flashiest thing.  Documents are not cool. 

But they just might keep you alive.  

Having the right items in your Bug Out Bag documents is one the most important preps to have.  

And most of it can be put together for free.  So It just takes a little time on your side. 

I’ll be updating mine and showing it off in the survivalpunks group on facebook.  Go join the fun and show off your documents too. 

 

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The post Bug Out Bag Documents: Best Guide On How To Make Them appeared first on Survival Punk.

5.11 Rush 72 Backpack Review

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It is hard to describe to people who just don’t get it…Why buying the right backpack is so damn important.It isn’t until you are knee-deep in disaster that you realize that buying the cheaper, not so expansive model was not one of your finest moments.Always keen to learn from my mistakes – and the trip …

The post 5.11 Rush 72 Backpack Review appeared first on Know Prepare Survive.

Survival Hax Survival Shovel

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survival_shovel_1_1024x1024One of the fun things about doing a survival blog is that manufacturers and dealers will often send you one of their items to test. I have some definite policies on this. I do not accept money for the review. I get to keep the item. And I will only write an honest evaluation. When Sara of SurvivalHax offered to send me one of their survival shovels I was glad to test it.

Before I discuss the shovel, let’s define what a survival shovel is. For my purposes, it should be lightweight and small enough to fit in a bug out bag. It should be sturdy enough to perform some basic functions. These would include digging a cat hole, digging a fire pit, digging a water run off trench around your shelter, driving tent stakes, and shoveling snow or sand from around a stuck vehicle tires. If you are planning on doing more heavy-duty digging, then you will need a larger tool. The SurvivalHax survival shovel will perform it’s intended functions very well.

This little shovel is basic military style with a folding spade and pick. This design was initiated by the Germans in WW2 and quickly copied by the United States and many other countries. The shovel has a two piece hollow handle which screws together and the end survival_shovel_6_1024x1024cap unscrews and has a ferro rod fire starter. Both handles are hollow. It also comes with a carrying case, as well as a lifetime warranty. When the shovel is unfolded it is 24 inches (2 feet) long. Its collapsible size is 8.6 x 8.2 inches. The head of the shovel is made out of manganese steel with a rigidity rating of 42-46. The handle is made out of steel as well, while the orange adjustment nut is aluminum alloy. It weighs in at about 2 pounds.

The blade is serrated on one side like many other shovels of this size. And like most of it’s counterparts, the serrated edges as well as the blade edge need to be sharpened with a file. This is not a criticism.   A few minutes with a file and the serrations and flat edge are nice and sharp. Again, most shovels of this type need to be sharpened. The three rivets that hold the blade to the mount seem solid. At 2 lbs. weight, it is solid enough to pound tent stakes in soft to moderately hard soil. I took the shovel out back and used both the pick and the blade to dig  around a bit. The soil here is gravely on top, sandy under. Both the pick and blade worked well and the locking nut stayed tight. There were no dings or bends to the blade.

survival-hax-shovel-dissassembledThe handle is a two piece hollow affair that screws together. The threads for both the handle and the end cap are cut clean and screw together with no problems. I recommend lubricating the threads lightly.   The black finish is smooth, actually slick. I solved this problem by wrapping the handle in paracord.

This not only adds no real weight, but gives a more solid grip on the handle as well as providing additional paracord for my kit. As the end cap is a ferro rod fire starter, I decided to use the hollow space to enhance  fire making capability. I took 5 Vaseline impregnated cotton balls and wrapped them in a plastic bag. I attached a piece of paracord to one end and a military p-38 can opener to the other. It works like a pull through with the p-38 being the weight that allows the sack to be pulled into or out of the tube. In addition, I have found a p-38 to be an excellent striker to use on a rod. I tested it on the rod that came with the shovel and got good sparks. I haven’t decided what to use the space in the upper handle for yet. Perhaps kindling.

The carrying case is adequate to store the two pieces nicely in a rucksack, but only has one belt loop and would probably not be too durable for long-term wear on a belt. If you wish to carry it that way, a very inexpensive military surplus e-tool holder can easily be found.survival_shovel_7_1024x1024

Summary

The SurvivalHax Survival Shovel is a well made, lightweight shovel of a proven design that is small enough to fit in a bug out bag, or under a vehicle seat and comes with a lifetime warranty. The hollow handles give you the option of storing additional items of your choice, which most other shovels of this type do not have. Mine is now in my get home bag in my jeep. Available on Amazon or SurvivalHax

Filed under: Azweaponcraftprepper, Equipment Reviews, Survival and Camping, Survival and Prepping Tagged: Bug Out Bag, Survival and Prepping, survival shovel

Natural Disaster Prep: Essential Supplies for a Local Emergency

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A disaster caused by a severe storm, earthquake, volcano or other natural event can happen at any time. Although you should always prepare for a natural disaster based on the types of emergencies that occur in your geographic region, you should also prepare by having the following supplies in emergency kits in your home, office and vehicle:

Medical Supplies

Natural disasters often cause physical injury to people and pets. These injuries can range from small scratches and cuts to broken bones, burns, concussions and blocked airways. Set up a tote or pack with the most important common medical supplies, including bandages, antiseptic, burn cream, wraps, antihistamines, pain killers, splints, cold and heat packs, and a folded heat reflective emergency blanket. Additionally, add an emergency event common injury and treatment guide to your kit and a 30-day supply of medicines sealed in a water-proof plastic zipper-style bag.

Clothing and Blankets

Sometimes a disaster forces individuals and families to relocate at a moment’s notice. Pack at least three outfits and a week’s worth of underclothes and socks in your kit along with a tightly rolled up regular blanket secured with a belt. Although an emergency heat blanket is smaller and great for short-term use, it’s also wise to have a non-thermal regular blanket handy for more frequent use when you’re displaced from warm conditions for longer than a day. You can also use the blanket to cover the ground to create an eating area or as a privacy screen at a shelter.

Activated Charcoal Filters

Dehydration is always a possibility after a natural disaster. Although you might add bottled water to your natural disaster kit, a water purification system offers a more lightweight and long-term solution. You can easily buy activated charcoal filters to add to your emergency kit. Keep them in your kit or even a backpack to remove many types of contaminants and impurities like dirt, sand and organic and inorganic chemicals from rain barrel, stream, river, lake and other water sources.

Non-Perishable Foods

Beyond clean water, you also need to have access to nutrient-rich foods. Regularly refresh your emergency natural disaster kit with non-expired granola bars, dried fruit, vegetable chips, canned foods and other non-perishables so that you don’t have to worry about dealing with low energy, poor thinking and hunger right after a natural disaster. Don’t worry about the expense of creating your emergency kits. You will see that the upfront investment of time and money was well worth it when a disaster happens.

Written by Rachelle Wilber

Cold Weather: The Great Equalizer

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featured_cold_frost_winter

forest_cold_winterFor preppers, cold weather has to be the worst of the elements.   In some parts of the country we are just entering the phase of the harshest part of winter. It has been pretty mild in most cold zones, but Mother Nature being as she is, I expect that to change.  Remember, if you saw the Seattle-Minnesota NFL playoff game last year, the air temp on the field was at or below zero not counting the -10-20 degree wind chill factor. How would you like to be outside during a SHTF in that?

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

How do you prepare for and survive a bug out with outside temperatures in the teens or worse? It is the ultimate challenge in my mind. Cold has a way of sinking into the soul. Can you remember photos of the German Army marching in to Russia in WWII?   How about Valley Forge with soldier’s feet wrapped in mere cloth because no boots were available? I shiver just thinking about it. Cold can zap your spirit and take your life.

Structural Preparation

But like any other part of preparing for a SHTF, preppers can prepare for cold weather, too. First and foremost some kind of shelter has to be paramount. You simply cannot sustain yourself in zero temps huddled under a tarp cover. Even a cloth or nylon tent is sketchy. One exception might be a high quality outfitters wall tent with a good wood, propane, or gas stove inside. Protection from cold, wet and wind is essential to survive the winter months.

Related: Tarp or Tent Debate 

Better yet some kind of a fixed house, barn or structure. Doors and windows can be sealed and walls insulated. A wood stove or even a fireplace would generate some heat to stave off the penetrating impact of the cold. Kerosene or propane gas heaters could also be deployed. If you live or escape to where it could be cold, then plan now.

Camping trailers are an option, too, as a bug out shelter in addition to being available for regular recreational use.   If considering a trailer to tow, shop for one with good wall and floor insulation and a good heating system. Most likely a heater and cook stove will be fueled by propane, so plan for ample supplies for a long term stay if needed. Try to park and anchor a trailer out of prevailing winds with a tree line screen or other protective block.

Clothing Matters 

Obviously proper clothing is an essential defense against cold.  That cotton hunting outfit will not do. Forget the blue jeans for driving winds and snow. And don’t be fooled by some highly marketed super fabrics either. Many of them fail in the cold. Go for well insulated outfits and or wool. Wool from head to toe will provide better body heat retention than just about anything else, even when wet.

Read Also: It’s Winter – Don’t Go Hiking Without Proper Clothing! 

Though you’ve heard it many times until you’re dizzy, layering is still the best strategy. Use wicking layers against the skin and work out from there. Then, just like a wall thermometer, as you heat up or cool down, you can adjust by taking off or putting on layers. Don’t forget a good hat or beanie to stop body heat from escaping through your head. Use a scarf for the neck.

Get proper boots, and gloves, too. If there is a driving wind, then a protective facemask adds warmth and skin protection as well. Cold weather boots such as Schnee’s or Kenetrek boots with the wool liner inserts provide exceptional foot protection from the cold. Your boots should be totally waterproof and well insulated.

frost_tree_pine_winterSupplemental heat can also be added to the exterior of the body by using the chemical heat up pads that can be placed in gloves, boots or as body wraps. The ones that stick on the bottom of socks add an extra measure of warmth for cold feet. Place them on top of the toes and the bottom for even longer heat generation. There are battery operated or rechargeable boot heaters, too, but these require extra batteries or access to a power source to recharge them.

During super cold you have to eat right and hydrate more than you might think. Internal ovens  fed with protein foods with a good mix of carbs.   Cold weather will drag on your mind and body. Prepare ahead to withstand it and you will survive it.

All Photos Courtesy of:
John Woods

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Choosing a commercial bug out bag

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A bug out bag should be loaded with all the essentials that enable you to survive for more than three days.  Since making a bug out bag requires some serious thought and planning, there are those who prefer buying a pre-packed, commercial bug out bag. If that is the case here is what you should … Read more…

The post Choosing a commercial bug out bag was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Survival Gear Review: Kelly Kettle Ultimate Camp Kit

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kelly_kettle_fire_top

kelly_kettle_openedThe Kelly Kettle was developed by the Kelly family in Ireland and has been in use for over one hundred years. The kettle has a simple yet very effective design for boiling water.  The body of the kettle is a doubled wall construction with a hollow core.  When the kettle is placed over the hobo stove, the heat is directed up the center, hollow portion of the kettle and out of the top.  Since there is a much larger surface area being heated, the water boil time is greatly reduced.  The excess heat coming out of the top of the kettle can then be used as a cooking source while your water is being boiled.

By Tinderwolf, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

The stove uses biomass for its fuel, meaning that any natural source of combustible material can be used. The more I talk about the Kelly Kettle to folks the more I am amazed that people have not heard of it.

My Experience

I filled the kettle up with water and set it off to the side while I started my fire in the hobo stove base.  I always carry a few pieces of Fatwood with me as they are filled with resin and hold a flame very well. I used the Fatwood and other biomass that I found to get the fire going.  Once I was satisfied with my base fire, I placed the kettle filled with water on top of the hobo stove.  It is important to note that when you are boiling water you must keep the silicone stopper out of the kettle.  If you have the stopper inserted, too much pressure can build up inside the kettle and you will experience a nasty side effect.

Related: Weighing The Options For Drinking Water

Once I had the kettle on top of the heat source, I began my stopwatch.  I then placed the cooking top accessories in the chimney opening so that I could cook a pot of soup.  Within five minutes the water was at a rolling boil and my soup was hot enough to eat.  The small pot grabber accessory came in handy when the pot was ready to be taken off of the heat source.

kelly_kettle_cookingI took the kettle off of the hobo stove base and equipped the grill top. It was the perfect size to cook a sausage link.  Five minutes later I had a great grill tasting sausage.  With the grill accessory still in place, I decided to try using the pot cover, which can also be used as a small frying pan, to cook an egg. The size of the pan is just right for a single egg to be cooked.  Cooking directly above the hobo stove worked well, though I’m sure the cook time is diminished. There are two ways in which to feed fuel into this system.  You can feed fuel from the bottom directly into the hobo stove or you can feed the fuel directly into the chimney of the kettle. Feeding the fuel from the top and into the chimney is the recommend way in which to feed your base fire.

Pros & Cons

As the list is very short, let’s begin with the negative aspects of this system.  Since the Kelly Kettle uses biomass as fuel, there is no real good way in which to adjust your heat output like you can with a fuel canister system. The only way to do so is to stop feeding the fire and let it die down on its own.  With a fuel canister system you have much more control over the heat output.  When comparing this to a fuel canister system, starting the fire and keeping the fire fed is going to be more work with the Kelly Kettle.  It’s also going to be more difficult if you want to have a smokeless fire depending on the fuel available. The Kelly Kettle is also much larger and weighs more than a small fuel canister accompanied by a grill base.

See Also: Water Purification and Survival

kelly_kettle_water_pouringFor me, the pros of the Kelly Kettle system far outweigh the cons. If you are traveling long distance or off the grid for an extended time, you will always be able to use the Kelly Kettle provided you have fuel. You have the option of the kit being made out of aluminum or stainless steel.  Aluminum will obviously be lighter but more difficult to clean. The stainless steel will add more weight to the kit but it will be much more durable and easier to clean. The entire base camp kit which includes a kettle, a hobo stove, two plates, two cups, a pot with lid, pot base, pot grabber and a grill all fit into an easy carry bag.

Conclusion

Some might look at the price for the Large Base Camp kit in stainless steel as a bit pricey, coming in at $170.  I try to save money on gear when I can but when it comes to main items in my kit, I believe you get what you pay for.  The Kelly Kettle is a good investment. This particular model is the largest that Kelly Kettle offers and works wonderfully if you are going to be setting up camp in a location for a couple of days. Because of its size, it is probably not something you are going to want to be packing and unpacking several times a day through your travels.  I have placed this model in my large pack that I use for longer outings. For smaller, quick day trips I plan on later purchasing one of their smaller models.

Photos Courtesy of:
KellyKettleUSA

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The Mission Drives The Gear

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gear_drives_mission

Preppers are notorious for caching stuff. Gear is our life. We can’t seem to get enough of it and at the same time we could camp_bugout_gearprobably all have a huge garage sale and never miss half of it. Have you ever really thought what you are going to do with all that stuff?  If you are not a list person, I recommend you become one. Gear management is just as big a part of survival prepping as planning for it in the first place. With a comprehensive inventory, you can not only get a handle on what you have amassed in terms of survival gear, but you can review it, refresh it, and begin to task it for specific missions.

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

Achieving a balance between too much and just enough is the difficult part.  You want to be mobile but at the same time, you must be thoroughly prepared.  This guide will help you achieve this balance and fine-tune your bug out bag.

Re-Do Your EDC

What do you keep stashed in a daily carry bag?  Is it designed to sustain you for a day in case of an emergency or a longer time frame?  Is there a weapon and support supplies in that bag?  Where is it stowed, in the vehicle, or do you carry it into the office each day?  How discreet is its carry and your protection of it?

How often do you recycle the supplies in this bag? If you keep several loaded magazines for a pistol, these should be rotated, beretta-pico-3unloaded for a time, and then put back in service again.  Every 6 months ought to be about right so spring tension does not memorize.  The gun itself should be wiped down with an oil cloth every couple weeks especially if you live in a high humidity region.

Related: Knee Deep in Bug Out Vehicles

Life sustaining supplies in this bag should be used regularly and replaced, too. Drink the water on the way home, then replace it with fresh bottles every week or so.  If you have energy bars, GORP, or other eats, then keep them fresh. Nothing is worse than opening a zip lock bag of raisins and M&Ms only to find them melted into a slurry.

Essential, too, is keeping this daily carry bag as efficiently stocked as possible.  If you find, upon opening the bag, that it contains items never or rarely used, then reconsider the necessity of these items.  Don’t over weigh a bag you have to carry or may have to tote for miles during a SHTF.  Occasionally lay everything out on the floor and reassess each item’s usefulness.

Revise Your Escape Plan

In the same vein, if you travel out of town with the family either on business or a combined vacation, the stuff you take to supply might be different. You might want more gear for personal defense including a more powerful long gun.  This may mean packing a half dozen mags each for a self-defense pistol and perhaps an AR.  You may find you have other stuff rarely used that you could sell or trade for needed items.

Overnight stays will mean more clothing, more personal care items, and regular medications for the longer time frame. Double check your packing lists to make sure you have everything you need. If you are driving, consider taking a supply pack with extra food and water.  Be sure to have a cell phone charger. Kids along? Have more stuff for them, too.

Before you leave, let your neighbors know where you are going, give them phone numbers, notify police you will be gone, and secure your domicile.   Suspend newspaper deliveries and mail or better yet ask a trusted neighbor to bag them for you.  That way, other outside sources do not know your travel plans. Put lights on timers so it appears like people are home.  Double check locked doors, set the alarm and be sure the garage door closes.

Prioritize the Bug Out Plan

Be sagacious: assess your plan. If it is to escape a severe storm threat like a hurricane, estimate the time out of the area and pack accordingly for what you hope will not be a terribly long time. This then assumes your residence is not damaged or outright destroyed. Ask yourself if your redundancy is over extended having accumulated too much stuff or several of the same kinds of items.

Also Read: More Tips for Your Bug Out Bag 

Put your plans to escape in action. Ideally you are going to family or friends or a predetermined hotel location. Execute your bug out plan that you worked out well in advance of any incident. Pack and take only the items you need for this scenario.

For a worst case scenario, hopefully you have a plan. Maybe it is an escape to another house in the country, or a spot where you have set up a permanent trailer for housing or even a dedicated camping trailer. Ideally you have cached and stashed essentials at this location including food stuffs, water, fuel, tools, gear, and everything else you might need to stay for several months. This situation may finally mean to grab all those bug out bags you have spent years packing and fine tuning. This gives you important time to choose what gear is needed for the mission. Excess stuff can be contributed to a team effort or sold off for revenue to buy other more essential gear.

Mission Drives the Gear and the Plan

Again, the specific mission drives what gear to pack and take.  As a prepper, try to avoid just buying all kinds of stuff that looks great but is not really purposed as it should be.  Prepper budgets are usually stretched enough without buying extra neat stuff that is never used. This goes for every category of gear, too, including weapons, and ammo.  If you go overboard, then do it on water, food, and medical supplies. Lighten your load of unnecessary gear.

All Photos Courtesy of:
Dr. John Woods

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21 Survival Uses For Paracord

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paracord_uses_multi

Paracord used to be used as the suspension lines for parachutes. After landing on the ground soldiers would cut the cord from their chutes because they found a multitude of uses for the light weight, durable cordage. Today, paracord has become incredibly popular not only with the military but with the civilian sector as well.

By Tinderwolf, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Why Paracord?

The most commonly used type of paracord is type III.  Type III has a minimum strength of five hundred and fifty pounds, which is why most people refer to it as 550 cord. Paracord is a nylon kernmantle rope which means there is an inner core of nylon strands incased by a nylon sheath. paracord_uses_orangeThis type of rope construction gives way to its strength and the variety of tasks it can accomplish. Type III paracord generally has seven inner strands but can have up to nine. Given that it is made out of nylon, paracord is fairly elastic and mold resistant. One of the reasons it is so versatile is that you can cut the outer sheath and use the individual core strands as well. Years ago, paracord only come in black or olive drab but with its grown popularity you can now purchase paracord in virtually any color that you want.

Below is a list of how I have used paracord.

  • Shoelaces
  • A line to hang up wet clothes
  • I have used one of the inner strands as fishing line and yes I did catch a bluegill. Some people have even made fly lures out of the paracord.
  • I have braided ropes
  • I have made monkey fists for the purpose of weighing down one end of my ropes. This makes the task of throwing a line over a tree branch or from a boat much easier.
  • Bracelets, while stylish, can be undone for emergency cordage. I recommend a double cobra weave as you will have twice the amount of cordage available.
  • Belts
  • Lanyards, I caution that if you make or buy a paracord lanyard make sure it has a break away clasp or on it.
  • Long gun slings
  • I have used the inner strands and an upholstery needle to sew shut a rather large hole in one my packs and it has held for over a year now. I also sewed shut a hole in my driver’s side truck seat which due to climbing in and out, gets a lot of wear and tear. Six months later it is still holding strong.
  • Rock slings
  • Hammocks
  • Tow lines, for vehicles and boats
  • I have tied down loads in my truck bed
  • Knife handles
  • Keychains
  • Bottle wraps
  • Dog leashes
  • Snares
  • Dog collars
  • Dental floss. While somewhat uncomfortable to use it will serve the purpose if you get popcorn stuck in your teeth around the campfire. 

Conclusion

The uses for this cord are only limited by your imagination. Generally paracord is sold in either one hundred foot hanks, or one thousand foot spools. Personally, I like the one thousand foot spools because you can cut the length you want for a specific job in mind. If you are going to be paracord_uses_greenmaking other items from the cord, such as bracelets and slings, having the extra cord on hand in case you make a mistake is definitely worth having the spool on hand. Given it’s plurality of uses and durability, any survival scenario is improved by paracord. I would be very interested in hearing what you have all used paracord for and your experience with it. So sound off and keep making adventures!

Photos Courtesy of:
Fabio Bertoldi
Rutxer
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How much ammo in your bug out bag?

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I have always believed that when it comes to bugging out, (click the link to learn about when it’s time to bug out) speed is your friend. I have written articles in the past stressing the need to keep your Bug out bag/Get home bag, light weight. The faster you get to your destination, the […]

The post How much ammo in your bug out bag? appeared first on Plan and Prepared.

5 Essential Items To Have On You Even When You’re Out Of Reach Of Your Bug-Out Bag

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camper-1214603_1280

Image Source: Pixabay.com

By The Survival Place Blog

When an emergency strikes, the fact is that you don’t know where you’re going to be. You should have your bug-out location which is primed for long-duration stays. You should have a bug-out bag if it you need to trek it there. But how do you make sure you stay safe while you’re moving to get your bug-out bag? The fact is that you need to be prepared at any time. Here are some of the essentials you should make sure you have.

Protection

The simple reason that the Second Amendment exists is that we have a right to defend ourselves from whoever poses a fatal threat to us. In the case of a true emergency, you don’t know who can be a threat to your safety. Exercising your right to bear arms is important. But so is making sure that you’re doing it responsibly. When you carry, carry securely and within the law. Gear like those from We The People Holsters can help you do that. So can knowing what open and concealed carry laws apply.

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Image Source: Pixabay.com

A knife

A gun is for protection, but that’s not the purpose of carrying a knife. When carrying a knife, you’re going to be subject from different rules depending on where you are. Make sure that you’re following the law of whatever state you’re in. Prepare the correct knives in advance. These will help with using cordage, cooking, first aid, and all kinds of techniques necessary for survival.

Water

When it hits the fan, water is going to be one of the most valuable commodities in the world. But even more valuable that fresh water is the ability to make it yourself. Besides a water container, you should use a few tools to make it easier to get drinkable water. Filters are only one part of it. Water purification tablets and devices can make sure that you have access to fresh water so long as you have access to any water, period.

First-aid

We all carry first aid equipment in our cars and our homes as a matter of convenience. When you’re in a survival situation, convenience is no longer an option. You’re going to need it on you because you might not have access to medical treatment. You need to treat wounds as quickly as possible. Even small first aid kits you could carry in a fanny pack allow space for extra tools like cordage, as well.

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Image Source: Pixabay.com

A light

Operating at nighttime in a survival situation isn’t usually the best of ideas. But it is sometimes avoidable, especially if it all goes down in the darker seasons of the year. Nowadays, there are long-lasting high-power flashlights that you can easily fit in your pocket or on a belt loop. Visibility when dealing with things like first aid or purifying water is essential.

The world may flip on its head any day now. Make sure that you’re responsible for staying prepared for the moment that happens. You need to abide by the law whilst preparing for the moment that you have to become entirely self-sufficient.

This article first appeared at The Survival Place Blog: 5 Essential Items To Have On You Even When You’re Out Of Reach Of Your Bug-Out Bag

Filed under: Bug Out Bags, Prepping

11 Lightweight Alternatives To Common Bug Out Bag Items

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Bug out bags are easily one of the most popular concepts in the prepper movement. Even people who aren’t preppers associate bug out bags or go-to bags with emergency preparedness. For these reasons, the bug out bag is often the first thing new preppers put together. They make a huge list of all the items […]

The post 11 Lightweight Alternatives To Common Bug Out Bag Items appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Bug Out Bag Packing Tips For Optimum Travel

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A bug out bag is one of the items that needs to be carefully put together in order to provide comfort for the owner. This bag is intended to keep you alive for 72 hours or more and its organization is as important as the items it holds. The bug out bag packing tips listed … Read more…

The post Bug Out Bag Packing Tips For Optimum Travel was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

The Importance of Your Knife and a Backup Bug out Bag

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from D. Couger. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


Let’s first deal with the easier of the above listed two points: the backup bug out bag. I was talking to my best friend a while back and I brought up the bug out bag that I had made him as a birthday present and I asked him if it’s still in his car. He said no and I asked why not and where it was? He stated that it’s at home and that if the SHTF that he would be rushing home to his wife and it would be there. I then said, you may not make it home without having that bag. What if something happens to your car and you need to hoof it (I then had to list a couple of possibilities of what might happen to the car, auto accident, roads closed or impassable, EMP, etc.). Then I explained that if you’re forced to walk or jog and something else causes you to be out there longer than a couple of hours, you will be damn glad that you have that backpack full of all the supplies you need to survive. He was quiet for a minute then said that he hadn’t given that much thought and he would put the bag back in the car.

I won’t go into details about what is in the bag as various preppers have gone through the bug out bag checklist many times in the past but I will tell you this. I have two cars and two motorcycles (one each for the wife and me) and I have a bag for each vehicle. I also have another bag ready in the house in the event that I need to grab and run and don’t have time or the opportunity to get to the cars or bikes. The bags for the cars and house have all the exact same things in them but the bags for the motorcycles are by necessity smaller, and thereby have fewer items in them. They do have all the most needed items in them and I could get by with just those and of course, during the course of surviving, I would hope to pick up a bigger bag and add more needed things as I came upon them. I also have my computer bag with me at work and that has the bare essentials in it just in case I have trouble getting out to the parking lot where my car is.

The point of all of this is, you need a bag for any possibility that may arise for exactly where you might be at any given time. It would be terrible if after all the thought, time and effort put into making a bug out bag, that when you need it the most, it’s not within easy reach. That would be the epitome of Murphy’s Law, so prepare ahead of time by thinking all of the possible scenarios that could keep you from reaching your bag(s).

The Importance of Your Knife

StatGear 99416 Surviv-All Outdoor Knife with Firestarter, Sharpener & Cord Cutter

Now onto the importance of your knife(s), as my best friend (yes, the same one as mentioned above) once said, if you need a knife then you’d better have more than one. A knife is not just a hand-held weapon, nor should it just be a survival tool. For our purposes (preppers) it needs to be both as well as a third option-an offensive projectile. Most folks would say that a really effective survival knife is not suited for throwing and they would be partially correct, except for the fact that ANY knife can be thrown.

The best survival knife will have a blade length of between seven and ten inches with serrations on the top edge of the blade (to be used for sawing). However, the best knife for offense will be double-edged and can be as short as three inches and still be a deadly weapon and usually balanced nicely for throwing. I cannot offer any quick insights into how to throw a knife, but I can tell you this, again, any knife can be thrown (just like most tools can be thrown). Do a search on you tube for “how to throw a knife” and you will find many great instructional videos that will help you learn this.

Here is a VERY important thing to remember, do not go with a cheaper priced knife, no matter if you use it for survival or for combat, as your life might depend on this knife and a cheaper priced one will definitely let you down (and of course, when you need it the most). Having a sharp, easy to deploy survival knife can help you face almost any obstruction you may face in the wilderness. Your knife needs to be able to help you procure food, and help to cook it as well. It needs to be strong enough to help build your shelter, dig a hole and assist with the cutting of wood for a fire.

I have a ten inch survival knife, complete with a hollow handle that holds the basics: fishing line and hook, water-proof matches, compass, etc. and it is made from high carbon steel. I do not recommend stainless steel as it doesn’t retain its edge very long and is susceptible to bending and/or breaking. I also have a hunting knife with a six-inch blade made with a full tang (made of one single solid piece of metal) which are superior to partial tang or rat-tail tang blades and are capable of performing heavy-duty tasks like prying, digging and pounding. Also, make sure the grip around the handle is not made from a slippery substance as that can either cause you an injury or worse, your death. Hard rubber or a polymer is recommended as it won’t get slippery and will absorb some of the shock if you are using it as a tool. If you are buying a knife for your backpack, bug out bag or just for your camping/hunting supplies, make sure it fits comfortably in your hand. If the handle is too big, you won’t get the full benefit of the knife’s capabilities. If it’s too small, it could become a dangerous item for you (when a knife slips from your hand, they have a tendency to cut something that you didn’t want cut, usually another part of you).

survival-knife

My survival knife hangs in a leg sheath at my side and I have a few other knives in and on various spots on my back pack, my belt and on my web gear. These other knives are smaller, some are folding knives and some are fixed blades but all are the best that I could find as even a small folding knife can be used for almost anything that the above listed survival knife can do so I wanted the best quality available. Make sure that you have at least one knife that is a skinning knife, to be used as a cutting tool for removing the hide of game animals or for cleaning a fish. This will usually have an extremely sharp short thin curved blade that will keep the tip from puncturing the hide or spearing the meat. A gutting knife is also good to have but most fixed blade knives can serve this purpose if you are trying to keep your bags overall weight down.

I have two smaller fixed blade knives that are spear pointed with nylon wrapped cord for a handle. These are for making into a spear for fishing, hunting and/or as a long defensive/offensive weapon. These can be attached to the end of a long branch by using the cord to secure it. I also have one machete type knife that has a 17 inch blade (stored in a sheath attached to my backpack) to use for a brush clearer and also as a longer defensive/offensive weapon.

In conclusion, no matter how many knives you get, or the type, remember these basics: 1. If you need a knife make sure you have more than one. 2. Get the best quality that you can afford. 3. Think about what uses you can get out of the individual knife. And lastly, make sure it fits your hand!

If you liked this article, please rate it.

The post The Importance of Your Knife and a Backup Bug out Bag appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Building Your Bug Out Bag Infographic

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Building Your Bug Out Bag Infographic

For this week’s infographic Monday I chose one on Building Your Bug Out Bag. If you are like me then you can never get enough about bug out bags. I really need to do the post on my BOB that is long overdue. This infographic I found on Pinterest saved from The Prepper Project

Building Your Bug Out Bag Infographic

Building Your Bug Out Bag Infographic

I mostly agree with them on the items in Building Your Bug Out Bag Infographic. Bug out bags needs to fit basic survival needs. Beyond that, it is a lot of personal taste. One of the items mentioned in the infographic is a Bible. This is a heated debate in the survival community. Many can’t imagine

One of the items mentioned in the infographic is a Bible. This is a heated debate in the survival community. For many, it’s impossible imaging not  having their book of faith with them in a survival situation. Others say it’s too much weight and not worth it. To me, it is a personal matter and beyond debate. I would urge you to cover your basics first, however. 

I fully agree with a Hennessey Hammock as a shelter. My hammock is my go to shelter  for  years and love it. I lived out of my hammock for extended camping trips before happily. I can’t imagine ever going back to ground camping. Especially not for an extended time. 

Enjoy the infographic. 

 

Building Your Bug Out Bag Infographic

Building Your Bug Out Bag Infographic

What’s in your BOB? Anything Special or Unique? Let me know in the comments!

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The post Building Your Bug Out Bag Infographic appeared first on Survival Punk.

Basic Survival Gear for Long Term Treks

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By Jack Neely, The Tactical Guru. As a hiker, outdoorsman or a survivalist enthusiast, you’re basically as safe as your survival gear. The same way a fisherman cannot go fishing without a good fishing rod or a hunter without a crossbow, you also shouldn’t venturing out in the wild without a survival gear. And in this case, we are talking about a homemade survival gear. The best thing about creating your own survival gear is that it allows you the […]

The post Basic Survival Gear for Long Term Treks appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

7 Essential Items in Your Emergency Survival Kit

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You do not know when an emergency or disaster may strike you. It is important to stay prepared and alarmed since safety is a must precaution for almost everyone.

However, staying prepared for the emergency ensures that you have the right kind of items in the survival kit. Whether you are moving out of the house in an emergency such as earthquake or hit by a landslide during a hike, it is a necessity to have some of the essential elements in the survival kit box.

As per the rule of the federal Government, people need to stay self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. So when you are placing the items in your survival kit make sure that they will be able to help you sustain and fight for your life at least up to three days.

So while you decide what to take in your survival kit first make out where you are going to need it. Is it your car where you need to use it? Are you going to use it while hiking or simply you need for a camping?

Whatever your plans maybe it is important to have seven essential items in your survival kit. They are –

  • Water
  • Food
  • Proper Lighting and Communication Mode
  • First Aid
  • Survival Gears
  • Sanitation and Hygiene
  • Proper Shelter

Water among all the items mentioned here is the utmost important. It is important to have a three-day supply for water for every person. Along with food, there should be enough food mostly dry to sustain a life for three days.

A flashlight is important for the night and dark places, a radio, extra batteries, mobiles with travel chargers and few emergency contact numbers.

Never forget to place both prescribed and non-prescribed medicines in your survival kit. And the choice of the makeshift toilet is the best way to survive an emergency and take care of your sanitation and hygiene. As for shelter, have sleeping bags or tents to give you warmth and good sleep anywhere.

If you ensure that your survival kit has these items, then you are sure to tackle an emergency or disaster single-handedly up to 72 hours.  The below infographic created by More Prepared, an emergency preparedness experts, will explain everything in detail.

 

bug out bag, survival gear, emergency survival kit

 

Mina Arnao  is the Founder/CEO of More Prepared, the emergency preparedness experts for over 10 years. More Prepared’s mission is to help families, schools and businesses prepare for earthquakes and other emergencies.  Mina is CERT trained (community emergency response team) and Red Cross certified.

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https://www.youtube.com/user/ moreprepared

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How to Make a Survival Kit for Emergency Situations

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Survival kits are much more than bags needed to survive the harsh conditions in some nameless wilderness, they are actually useful for a variety of applications. The term “survival kit” is somewhat misleading, as it implies that the kit contains everything that you need to make it out of the woods or some such thing. … Read more…

The post How to Make a Survival Kit for Emergency Situations was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Top 3 Hacks for Packing Your Survival Gear

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Run! Sometimes that’s the only answer to life-threatening situations. At this point, there’s no telling what type of state the country will be in a year from now… or even in months. Complete anarchy? War? Rebellion? A collapsed economy? One can never really tell… Not to mention, there’s always the threat of the next big natural disaster, which can leave every man and woman to fend for themselves with what packing gear they have on them.

Regardless of what danger pops up next, it’s important that you are ready and prepared for the unexpected. Let’s review three effective tips for packing your survival gear in a bug-out bag or your car trunk.

 

Picture Source: The Bug Out Bag Guide

Tip 1: Kill Several Birds With One Stone. For those who love to over-pack, it’s time to tone it down. Practicality is our first main focus when packing. Items with two or more purposes are what you want to add to your bug-out bag or car trunk in case of emergency. Here are a few easy examples of how you can apply this:

 

  • Clothes and Blankets: Experts suggest packing clothes and blankets for protection and warmth. Convertible, zip-off pants for adaptability and cargo pants with plenty of pockets for carrying items are two great examples. Other items can include working gloves, boots, thermal underwear and a waterproof jacket lined with fleece. In other words, pack strategically so that you will always find yourself at a comfortable temperature regardless of the weather conditions.

 

  • Tools and Gear: Duct tape is versatile, so it can be very handy for emergencies. It can be used to repair a tent, to create a sharp weapon or even used to create a splint for injured limbs. (mini duct tape rolls) A few other great items to consider are superglue (seals small cuts and repairs broken equipment), aluminum foil (water containment, mirror signaling and food preservation), trash bags (rain gear, containers, homemade insulation blanket), mini binoculars (great for scouting food if hunting, and locating friends and foes), and bandanas (eye patch, dusk mask, ear muffs, sling).

 

Tip 2: Every Inch Counts. It would be great if, in an emergency, you could just pack up your whole house and take it with you. But it’s not that easy. With limited space in your bug-out bag or car trunk, you have to be strategic and creative. Here are a few quick tips for compacting items.

 

  • Packing Tip 101: Roll your clothes instead of folding them. It takes up less space.

 

  • Fill Your Shoes: Pack socks and any small items inside your shoes.

 

  • Protection: Slip any breakables into your socks before packing them.

 

  • Reuse Bottles: Reuse old medicine bottles to store cotton swabs and sponges that can be used for cleaning wounds.

 

  • Case for Chords: Use an old sunglasses case to keep all of your electronic cords and charges in.

 

Tip 3: Easy Access. Another thing to pack in your bug-out bag is common sense. If packing an actual backpack, all of the less frequently used items should go at the bottom of the bag. Meanwhile, the heaviest items should go closest to your back, with the lightest items farthest from your back. From there, the most used items (maps, guides, cameras) should be placed at the top of your back.

The same concept applies to packing a car trunk. Keep things such as your tents, tent poles and sleeping bag deepest in your car trunk. Keep clothes and daily essentials more accessible, as you will need them more often.

Final Words: In order to survive the next big disaster, you must think ahead and prepare for all possibilities. Above all, remember that the most important focuses for packing are practicality, dual usage, space efficiency and accessibility.

 

The post Top 3 Hacks for Packing Your Survival Gear appeared first on American Preppers Network.

57 Bug Out Bag Gear Ideas You May Not Have Thought Of

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57 Bug Out Bag Gear Ideas You May Not Have Thought Of Have you thought of everything for your bug out bag? This article will almost definitely give you at least one idea of what you should have in your bug out bag that you haven’t though of yet. Obviously, you need to have some …

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Ten reasons to keep cash in your bug out bag

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We are used to swipe our credit cards every day and get the items we need, we even use our phones to pay for the things we desire. However, in the event of a regional emergency, your credit cards will become useless for quite a while and this is why it’s important to keep cash … Read more…

The post Ten reasons to keep cash in your bug out bag was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Bug Out Bags, Get Home Bags and EDC

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Bug Out Bags, Get Home Bags and EDC Forrest & Kyle “The Prepping Academy” On this live broadcast of “The Prepping Academy” join Forrest and Kyle as they discuss: everyday carry items, get home bags, and bug out bags. These are literally the backbone of prepping. The items you carry with you can literally make or … Continue reading Bug Out Bags, Get Home Bags and EDC

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The Best Bug Out Bags To Buy

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The Best Bug Out Bags To Buy The first and most important item in every Bug Out Bag List is most likely the bag itself. It doesn’t take long to realize that looking for a bag to use for your bug out bag can be a daunting task.There are plenty of options and an exhaustible …

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Prepper Pocket Pistols

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survival pistol

The essential idea behind a pocket pistol is to carry it concealed on your person in the event of immediate need.  During an active Best self defense pistolSHTF event, a prepper-survivalists may have multiple opportunities to engage their pocket pistol for a wide variety of reasons.  It might be needed to get out of the office and home or out of the driveway to get on the road toward your Bug Out destination.  It may be needed to thwart a threat at the front door or in the parking lot.

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

When things go south during a natural or unnatural event, self-defense and family/team protection can quickly become a top priority.   For this reason, a pocket pistol has to be chosen very carefully with deliberate intents in mind at all times.  A pocket pistol has to be small enough to be carried easily, but it must be retrieved quickly to put into play.  Then it has to carry enough power to be an effective defensive threat.  The shooter has to be trained and proficient in doing this.

Pocket Power

The first round of the debate starts with the size of the hole in the end of the muzzle.  The primary contenders are the .380 ACP, best concealed carry ammo.38 Special, 9mm, and maybe with a select few shooters, the .45 ACP.  See, I have already stepped on somebody’s toe by not mentioning this round or another such as the .40 Cal.  Some 10mm fans might be offended.  And if you are just getting into shooting handguns, start with the .22 rimfire from the get go, but then move up.  Skip the rimfire for self-defense as it just has too many limitations for serious protection work.

Related: Buying SHTF Ammo

The bottom line here is to choose a caliber with which you are confident in using and in a best concealed carry ammohandgun you can shoot well.  Any one in this first list will perform well in the right hands of a properly trained and experienced shooter.  The days are gone when the .380 and the .38 Special were considered wimps.  Even the 9mm was slighted not all that long ago.  Forget that.  Ammunition manufacturers have stepped up the game with new highly potent and accurate self-defense loads new on the market.  Many new offerings by Hornady, Remington, Winchester, Federal and others have laid to rest the arguments about these rounds being too weak for self-defense protection.  Make your choice.

Gun Choices

To simplify things I generically used the term “pistol” when I am really talking about both semi-auto pistols and revolvers as well. best concealed carry pocket pistol Believe it or not, a good revolver in the hands of a competent and confident shooter becomes an awesome defensive combination.  The “pistol” is certainly a popular choice but by no means the only one or even the best one in every instance.

Related: A Case For The Revolver

A top of the line revolver such as many by Smith and Wesson, Ruger, Charter Arms, Taurus, and a few select others are good choices for prepper pocket pistols.  An intriguing new revolver that I have yet to see or handle is the Kimber K6s Stainless in .357 Magnum, which of course can handle .38 Specials including hearty +P loads.  This ought to be a grand pocket pistol, pricey, but extremely well made as all Kimber’s are.

Pistol wise there are just so many choices, the average or new prepper to the horse race is going to quickly get bogged down in decision-making over features, fit, grip, handling, magazine loading, pointing, slide cycling, sight alignment, safety mechanisms, weight, size, carry and concealment considerations.  These are a lot of things to think about when picking out a good pocket pistol.  Among the competitive leading makers of pocket pistols, you have to look at the Glock 42 and 43, the Ruger models LC9 and LCP, several from S&W including the Bodyguard and their 9mm series.

Related: 10 Tips For Concealed Carry

Remington has out a new .380 pistol to look at in earnest.  Others worthy of a look include the Kimber Micro Pistols, the Solo, Ultra models, and some of the downsized 1911 versions.  In this marketplace, there is no shortage at all of models, brands, and versions to examine for use as pocket pistols.

The Wrap

In the selection process, canvas internet recommendations from noted sources like Survival Cache.  Check with reputable gun best pocket pistoldealers, and nose around at shooting ranges, and gun shows.  Handle and inspect as many different gun models as you can get your hands on.  Shop where the inventories are large, selections and prices are competitive.  If you know a cop, then ask them their opinions as well as other preppers and survivalists.  Gather all the information you can as you make your choice or choices.

The pocket pistol profile is a lightweight, small, 2-4 inch barreled handgun designed to be easily carried actually in the pocket or in an IWB (inside waist band) or OWB (outside waist band) holster.  It has to ready to be drawn quickly and deployed into action at a moment’s notice.  Besides picking the right gun in the right caliber for you, proceed to knowing your gun.  Learn it, clean it, take it apart, and get intimate with it.  Spend a lot of quality time on the shooting range running it through the paces.  Shoot your new gun at realistic confrontational distances.

Also Read: Gum Creek Vehicle Pistol Mount Review

Forget 50 yards.  Concentrate on 7 feet to ten yards.  Punch those paper plates in the center.  Practice quick reloads with a fresh magazine or a 5/6-round speed loader.  This is a learned talent all its own that requires lots of practice to perform smoothly and securely.  Practice, too, withdrawing your pistol from your pocket and carry holsters.  Dress up in the role of concealed carry to see how all that works out.  Get in and out of your vehicles to test those moves.  It all takes practice.  Just keep at it.

Get your concealed carry permit so you’ll be legal.  Start to tote your pocket pistol on a regular basis.  Carry it around some to get used to the weight, feel and tug of it on your body.  At home or discretely work with drawing your pocket handgun in practice, unloaded of course.  Learn that sight plane down the barrel and pointing that muzzle nose to the target.  If you have to depart your office, home, or vehicle during a SHTF event of any kind, you are going to want some measure of protection.  A pocket pistol can help fill that role.  Make your selection with earnest consideration, then move full forward to learning to use it effectively.  It could save your life or the lives of family members, a prep team, or others caught exposed.

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Top 5 Bug Out Bag Mistakes

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I’ve written several articles about prepping mistakes and how to avoid them, but when I came across this video by Survival Know How I realized I haven’t talked about bug out bag mistakes. This is something most people don’t think about. How do you mess up a bug out bag? Just put the things you […]

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10 Threats You Might Face When Bugging Out

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com When faced with a choice to stay home or bug out, most people would prefer to stay home.  But if there were some kind of widespread collapse, you may not have a choice but to evacuate.   In normal times, you could easily drive out of town and not have to worry about threats, but if it were a SHTF scenario, it would be totally different.   There will be many threats, and thinking about […]

The post 10 Threats You Might Face When Bugging Out appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

SHTF Armorer: Magazine Maintenance – Part 1

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Best Survival Gun

The AR-15.  AK-47.  M1A.  Glock 17.  SIG Sauer P226.  Colt 1911.  S&W M&P.  CZ-75.  Beretta 92.  Ruger 10/22. The Best Survival Gun H&K MP5.  Walther P22.  All of these firearms each have an army of diehard pundits in the firearms world.  You probably have at least one of them incorporated in your SHTF plans.  It’s possible your very life and chances of survival will depend on one of these some day.  However, they all have a common weakness, a vulnerability that can reduce these fine pieces of weaponry to single-shot, barely useful clubs: the detachable magazine.

By Drew, a contributing author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog
This post is Part I of a series.

Modern Flaws

Even though modern magazine designs, construction methods, and materials are top-notch, they can still fail.  Neglect, slightly bent or damaged feed lips, worn magazine springs, sloppy followers, and/or just plain, simple dirt will positively destroy the functioning of an otherwise flawlessly-working gun…and these problems can be virtually undetectable if you don’t know what to look for.  Therefore, magazine maintenance should be of the utmost priority – just as important as the cleanliness of the firearm – for anyone who plans on relying on an autoloading firearm when the chips are down.

Related: PMAG Torture Test

However, firearms with detachable magazines aren’t the only problem guns – your grandfather’s trusty old Winchester 1894 .30-30 lever action could have magazine problems.  So could the Remington 870 you leave with a loaded magazine in the closet in case of emergency.  If your gun is a magazine-fed repeater – detachable or fixed – that feeding system needs to be taken care of. It’s your gun’s lifeblood…and by extension, that means it could be your lifeblood as well. Magazine maintenance is probably the most purposely neglected (“I’ll get it later…”) and/or forgotten aspect of gun cleaning, but it could be considered one of the most important. (We’ll address fixed magazine guns in a future article.)

The Detachable Magazine

The detachable magazine comes in a myriad shapes, sizes, lengths, capacities, colors, and methods of Best AR15 Magconstruction.  However, the vast majority of “box” magazine designs have similar components: the magazine body, the magazine follower, the locking plate, and the baseplate.  Rotary type magazines (such as the Ruger 10/22’s nifty little cartridge feeder) are a bit of a different animal, but the principles are the same – they just keep the cartridges in a circular holding pattern inside the magazine, instead of in a straight vertical stack.  Generally, magazines are very simple in design, and really, with just a bit of semi-regular maintenance and cleaning, they will be virtually trouble-free.  Most of the parts don’t require replacing or fixing; the only component that may need to be replaced is the magazine spring if the magazine hasn’t seen any damage.

Concerning the spring: you’ve probably heard/read the age-old debate: does leaving magazines loaded for an extended period of time weaken the springs?  The general consensus from magazine manufacturers seems to be that leaving them loaded, even over years, does not induce spring failure.  Far and away, the most common cause of spring failure is the fatigue caused by constant loading and unloading.  Nobody can put a finger on an exact number of rounds that it takes to make a magazine spring fail, so a good way to keep an eye on things is to get a paint marker or silver Sharpie and number your magazines.

Also Read: SHTF Armorer AR15 Bolt Carrier Group

Try to keep a general round count of the number of rounds that have been put through them if possible.  When one of your magazines starts to fail or cause firearm malfunctions, (this usually takes thousands of rounds) check the magazine’s round count and use that as a guideline for the other magazines of the same make and capacity.  Replace the magazine spring accordingly, at appropriate intervals.  Some of us may never run enough rounds through a gun to have to worry about this issue…but it’s always good to have an extra magazine spring or, even better, extra magazine(s) kicking around, just in case.

Another issue: If you drop your magazine on the feed lips and bend them, you have a problem.  Most magazines I’ve run have never had a spring failure, but have suffered damage from being dropped onto the feed lips.  If you have a polymer magazine like a Magpul PMAG, chances are pretty good you’re still in business.  However, steel magazine bodies that have damaged feed lips are probably not worth keeping.

Related: Survival Armorer Basic Kit

You can try to bend them back to factory spec, but the metal has been fatigued, and now has an excellent starting fracture point for future breaking or malforming.  If you’re not in a dire SHTF situation, pull the magazine apart, keep the baseplate, spring, and follower, and junk the magazine body. It’s not worth the headache and possible failure to try making the old magazine work.  A new magazine is a few bucks – a failure in a survival situation could mean death.  Don’t hedge your bets if you don’t have to.

The Body

The same goes for the magazine body: if you accidentally step on a steel/aluminum magazine, check the sides of Survival Rifle Magazinesthe magazine for dents or damage, and try to run some rounds through it.  A pinched magazine body might not have clearance to allow rounds to be loaded, or to be fed.  This has happened to me before with metal bodied GI-issued AR magazines…all the more reason to look into polymer magazines like the excellent Magpul PMAG.

Also Read: Boston Shooting Bible Review

An excellent basic test, especially for AR magazines, is to load the magazine up to capacity, and then turn it upside down and briskly smack the baseplate at the bottom of the magazine.  If rounds fall out, chances are excellent that your feed lips are out of spec or your magazine spring does not have sufficient strength to keep enough tension on the rounds to feed the gun reliably.

Related: Review of Magpul PMAG D-60 Drum

You will find some older or smaller gun designs have steel bodied magazines with welded or silver-soldered fixed baseplates.  For these, there’s not much you can do but baby the magazines you have and keep spares.  They’re probably from an older design, so for the purposes of a SHTF gun, I might consider going a different route with a modern firearm platform design that utilizes magazines that can be disassembled for cleaning and parts replacement.

Likewise with many older .22 rifles with tubular magazines under the barrel or in the buttstock. The magazine spring and follower are encapsulated in a (usually) brass tube that slides down into the magazine body, over the cartridges.  This is a well-used, much-loved and reliable system, but if that follower tube gets dented or bent, you’re out of business.  Maintenance on the follower tubes is also difficult, and replacement parts are getting harder to find.  It might be worth looking into a more modern design like a M&P-15/22 or Ruger 10/22 for a SHTF gun.

Stay Tuned For Part II

All Photos By Drew

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Survival Gear Review: Fällkniven A1 Pro

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Best Survival Knife

Being a restless survivalist, I find the endless pursuit of the best single knife to be both a noble Fallkniven_A1-Pro_survival knife_river-work_teotwawkione and and endless one.  Or so I thought.  The Fällkniven A1 Pro may have brought an end to my quest for the perfect survival knife, and become the life-long quest of other like minds.  Could the Fallkniven A1 Pro be the best survival knife?  The knife to end all survival knives?  Let’s consider it.

By Doc Montana, of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog 

Is the Fällkniven A1 Pro the Ultimate Survival Knife?

The Fällkniven knife company has decades of experience at the unique and effective intersection Top Survival Knifebetween necessary traditions and technological innovation. Some knife brands lean so far to the innovative side that they never quite fully bake an idea while others swing the pendulum too far the other way and hold a knife design to archaic steel and features that work well, but are far from what’s possible.  Not that I’m encouraging the use of performance enhancing chemicals, but I am thrilled that Fällkniven has put its indomitable and proven A1 knife on steroids. And the results are astonishing.

Department of Redundancy Department

What makes the A1 Pro survival knife so amazing is that Fällkniven took an already amazing knifeTop Survival Knife and made it even more amazing.  And as one who considers himself an aficionado of survival knives, I don’t say this lightly.  The Fällkniven A1 Pro is related to the A1, but kind of alike a tough kid that has a Navy SEAL for a big brother.  The A1 Pro  is a complete and total upgrade of already high performance option.

Taking a step back, let’s look at how the Fällkniven A1 Pro came to be, and why the A1 Pro will not have be a serious contender for the World’s Best Survival Knife for a long time.  Fällkniven began building on the Swedish blade traditions back in the early 1980’s.  It’s F1 knife was chosen as the singular survival blade for the Swedish Air Force.  And the F1 also gained respect and notoriety as an excellent solution when a smallish survival knife is needed.  What makes the F1, and later the A1 and now the A1 Pro such definitive blades is their steel technology.  And a few other things.

Now this is a Knife

Jumping ahead, the Fällkniven A1 quickly became a survival success story by providing the Best Bushcraft Knifeessentials and much more.  By laminating two supersteels, into a configuration that makes it not only outperform most other high end blades, but its combination of blended steels in a single blade puts the Fällknivens out of reach of other knives in overall strength, raw performance and technical prowess.

Also Read: Fällkniven F1 Survival Knife Review

But what happens when a purveyor of extremely high end blades takes a step back and assesses the performance of its own best edges, then turns up the volume on one of its best sellers and highest achievers.  Well, I guess you get the A1 Pro. So it’s official. Fällkniven goes to 11!

The Fällkniven A1, the original one, was a test bed for all things survival.  It pushed the limits of laminated steel giving the serious knife user a glimpse of what’s possible when performance outweighs tradition. From that point on, the world got a taste of things to come.  Now imagine Fällkniven taking everything good about the A1 and pumping it full of steroids.  The passing similarities between the A1 and the A1 Pro are only apparent from a distance.

While the grip size is the same, the material is different and the sometimes-debated finger guard Fallkniven_A1-Pro_survival knife_diamond-stone-DC4shape is reversed. And best of all, the already thick blade is even thicker and made of a ultra-high end cobalt-laminated steel.  The sheath is beefier and stronger.  The edge is a more refined convex shape. And the knife comes in a presentation box that doubles as a waterproof container complete with Fällkniven’s professional quality diamond sharpening stone, the DC4.

Brass Tacks

The A1 Pro contains a core of cobalt steel rather than the VG10 of its father.  Cobalt steel (CoS) Top Survival Knifecontains about 2.5% Co, along with a slightly higher chromium content. This magic mix of alchemy provides a better edge that stays sharp longer while hovering around 60 on the Rockwell (HRC) Scale.

Related: ESEE 6 Knife Review

Cobalt steel is not a recent phenomenon for Fällkniven. It was experimented with in prior Fällkniven knives including the KK and the PC.  As the results came in, it was clear that cobalt steel was the next go-to steel when the best was desired.  Add to that an “Improved Convex Edge” and you are on the literal and figurative bleeding edge of cutlery technology.  Cobalt steel blades truly are playing with sharpness at the molecular level of steel, not just the crystalian level.  In other words, sharp is a cousin, and cobalt steel is your filthy rich uncle.

Thick as a Brick

Seven is the new norm.  At seven millimeters thick the blade has added strength beyond the already ridiculous strength of the regular A1.  And that strength has extended into the grip with a thicker and wider tang that, like the A1, extends the all the way through and out the other end.

Consider the Bar Raised

Fällkniven admits that to claim something “professional” requires a corresponding and honest Best Survival Kniferaising of the bar. And Fällkniven delivered to an astronomically high level.  At the time of this writing, the Fällkniven website shows the A1 Pro as “sold out.”  Think about that for a moment.   In a world hip-deep in survival knives priced from the same as a couple gallons of gas to more than a car.  Then Fällkniven comes along and makes survival knife along with its dozen other survival knives already on their resume.  And this newcomer sells out before most folks even hear about it.

What’s in the Box?

The Fällkniven A1 Pro arrives inside a black watertight plastic box complete with foam liner and Top Bushcraft Knifeembossed lid.  Inside the box is the Fällkniven A1 Pro knife, it’s sheath, and Fällkniven’s DC4 diamond sharpening stone.  The box is a nice touch and Fällkniven encourages its use for storing other things like electronics. It’s not quite a Pelican but certainly more than a Plano.

The stone is an excellent choice. In addition to high end survival knives, Fällkniven also makes top notch kitchen cutlery and the tools to keep them razor sharp. The DC4, or Diamond/Ceramic 4-inch stone has a gold diamond surface of 25 micron grit on one side and a synthetic sapphire ceramic stone on the other. In addition to being able to sharpen the hard laminate supersteels, no lubrication is needed for smooth sailing.

Also Read: Smith’s Pocket Pal Knife Sharpener Review

The zytel sheath is an upgrade over the standard A1 model.  The Pro sheath is beefier with more Survival Knife Reviewpronounced strengthening fins. It also is more adaptable to MOLLE and other attachment systems with its inch-wide wings that will accept horizontal straps.  The Pro sheath uses the same riveted strap for a belt loop and friction retention.  In lieu of the thumb ramp present on the classic A1 sheath, the strap’s ear has the job now.

And the Knife

Even a cursory glance at the A1 Pro says this knife is all business.  From the grip to the guard to Best Survival Bladethe blade to the frighteningly thick spine, this knife demands respect.  At 11.2 inches overall length, the A1 Pro is not for the faint of heart or for those with low muscle tone.  The 6.3 inch blade, while not the longest tool in your bug out bag, is actually plenty for any confrontation with a human or larger critter outside those of the Grizzly variety.

Unlike the regular A1 knife that used a Kraton plastic for a grip material, the A1 Pro takes a cue from the Fällkniven F1 and runs Thermorun plastic on the handle of the A1 Pro. To quote myself in my review of the F1, Thermorun, “As an olefin thermoplastic material it is extremely durable, and has great properties for a survival knife grip. Thermorun is an electrical insulator, resistant to weathering, impervious to most chemicals that a knife would encounter, and pretty much ignores temperature changes. It feels great in the hand with just enough rubbery texture to keep the blade from sliding around, but still firm enough to avoid that tacky feeling of softer plastic grips.”

Also Read: Parry Blade Knife Review

Like the regular A1, the tang of the A1 Pro extends throughout the grip and out the top.  However, Fällkniven did upgrade the tang by making it larger, thicker and tapered.  But the real change is in the finger guard.  On the regular A1 the guard was covered in the same Kraton plastic as the grip, and leans just slightly back towards the hand.  The finger crossguard on the A1 Pro is polished, stainless steel, thicker welded to the frame, and opens out towards the blade.  Why this is important is due to some index finger strain when using the regular A1 for repetitive long-duration woodworking tasks.

Sorry About That

Fällkniven is apologetic about the price of the A1 Pro.  They defend the higher cost of the A1 Pro A1 Pro Knife Review(presumably compared to the regular A1) because of the more expensive steel, more expensive grip and guard, and more expensive containment and sharpening solutions included with the A1 Pro.  But frankly, if one compares the A1 Pro to anything custom, the A1 Pro seems mainstream in its pricing.  Either way, at the time of this writing, Fällkniven lists the A1 Pro as “sold out” so discussion about price are somewhat recreational.  Personally, I find the price of the A1 Pro completely reasonable, but like any pro-level piece of equipment, it only seems expensive if you don’t have the skills to extract the benefits from it.

Riding Into The Sunset

Like many preparing for SHTF events and the likely WROL that will follow, I’m always looking Best SHTF Knifefor the next big thing in bladeware.  Until now I was restless, always looking over my shoulder to see what else was out there.  But with the A1 Pro in hand, a calm settled over my quest for the ultimate survival knife.  Fällkniven’s Pro version of one of the world’s best survival knives, their own A1, as moved the bar so high that most general arguments are moot. With the Fällkniven A1 Pro on the scene, the quest for perfection is now simply a question of preference.

All Photos By Doc Montana

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5 Common Bug Out Bag Mistakes: Don’t Let These Kill You!

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A bug out bag is arguably one of the most important items during a SHTF event simply because it’s responsible for supplying the daily necessities that you will need during the bug out period (before reaching your bug out location). Because it’s so important, you really don’t want to be missing out on anything while you …

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Bug Out Flashlight Wisdom: Part 2

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SHTF Flashlights

Part 1 of Bug Out Flashlight Wisdom addressed modern LED lighting and the single CR123-cell flashlights in Best SHTF Flashlightsparticular. In Part 2, flashlight features and operational wisdom will be discussed.  I can tell that the dust has not yet settled on flashlight interfaces in the same way it has not yet to settle on computer operating systems, gun safeties, and even knife blade locking mechanisms.  I have three different flashlight switch options in the same brand of flashlight.  And another light that has a user-specified programmable interface that you access with three quick twists of the bezel.  I had to get YouTube help just to figure out how to program my light.

By Doc Montana, a contributing author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog
This post is Part II of a series.  To read Part I (click here)

But in the end, this is all for you.  Once you go down the rat hole of choice, there is no end to the possibilities Best SHTF Flashlightswhen there’s no limit to money and electric circuits.  I’ve got variable 0-100 lumen lights, high-low, low-high, single speed, three-speeds, and even considering Surefire’s new line of “IntelliBeam Technology” actually does the brightness adjusting for you depending on how much light is already falling on the scene.  I guess it means I’m old if I had to stop and think about that one.

A big choice with the switch is whether or not the light can be turned on using a flat surface instead of a thumb.  Recessed switches can prevent unintentional activation of the light, while protruding switches allow the light to be activated with a crude tap on the butt.  Both have their place.  I prefer shrouded switches, but find that exposed buttons are great for brief on/off lighting and weapons lights.  Also, exposed switches usually prevent the light from standing on its tail for a feeble attempt at general area lighting.  And in Surefire’s absurd fashion, they managed to make some of their tail switches peek out above the shroud enough to prevent solid tail standing, but not enough to activate the light. Some of those engineers in Fountain Valley really need to get out more.

Other brands have split the difference shrouding only 50% of the tail switch in two 25% barriers on opposite sides of the ring.  A flat surface cannot activate the light, but any smaller protrusion can be used as a surrogate thumb.  Of course tail-standing with that design is out of the question.

Programming Interface:

The choices within any individual flashlight can be a simple on/off, to a complex multi-bright-multi-Survival Flashlightstrobe-SOS programmable interface.  Or anywhere in between.  There are three considerations when thinking about the interface.  The first thing to think about its if the interface is even necessary for your needs.  Some lights like the 4Sevens are programmable and then hold the lighting sequence until changed. Other brands require a specific set of clicks on a switch meaning both that the choice can be ignored or must be memorized.  Other than that, it’s a crapshoot as to what will happen when a user tries different click or twist combinations.  Maybe something, maybe nothing. Maybe the worst possible choice for the situation.

The second consideration about the interface is which way you want it to cycle.  Defensive lights cycle from brightest to dimmest while utility lights cycle from dim to bright.  Other lights might cycle through a series of dim to bright to strobe, etc.  All lights have their advantages, but you will need to carry the the light that best needs you anticipate.  Personally, I prefer only two stage lights that have low or brightest or brightest and low.  The Surefire Fury goes from 20 lumens on first click to 500 on second click.  My Surefire E2D Defender goes from 500 lumens on first click to 5 lumens on the quick second click.  Both have their place in my daily carry.

Also Read: How People Will Act After TEOTWAWKI

And the third is consideration has to do with if the interface is if it’s something that you actually memorize. For instance, the 4Sevens lights have a triple rotation of the bezel to access the interface before you can fiddle around to what the blinking light means.  Other interfaces, like the Streamlight, might be as simple as clicking through the secondary bezel-mounted button, or with a set of quick-clicks of the tail switch.  Some other lights have rotating bezels with different features, while others have different degrees tailcap depression.

As much as  I’m a fan of modern technology, I like a simple, predictable interface that I can toss across the room to a child when necessary that will work 100% of the time.  For me, that’s Surefire and Fenix. However I do love my small 4Sevens lights and use Streamlight AA, AAA, and CR123 lights in Bug Out Bags, Truck glove boxes, and daily carry.  But trust me, when the S H’s the F, I’ll grab my Surefires first, no questions asked.

Bezel Design:

The Bezel is the business-end of the flashlight.  It is responsible for the light throw, the shiny reflection, and Survival Flashlightsin some cases, the sharp rim or crenulations that can crack skulls, scrape DNA, and inform those nearby that the light is on when face-down on a smooth surface.

The reflector inside a flashlight can be smooth, rough like an orange peel, or of high-tech geometry blasting the beam in an efficient and desired way.  Orange peel reflectors are the new hotness.  Long gone are the hot spots and dark spots of the D-cell Maglites.  The new norm is uniform light spread across the entire landscape. Seriously, if you haven’t yet experienced quality in hand lighting projection, then you’re in for a pleasant surprise.  There is a reason some light cost over a hundred bucks and it’s not just the American fingerprints all over the manufacturing.

Also Read: Self Defense or Murder

Crenulated bezels, or those with raised bumps like the turrets of a castle or scallops on a knife blade, are both fighting weapons and essential indicators of when the light is on, but face down on a flat surface.  The raised regions of bezel, or crenulations, make tiny dull knives that focus the impact onto a smaller sharper surface when shoved into flesh. And the spaces between the crenulations allow light to seep out indicating that the batteries are in use but going nowhere.  Frankly, I am surprised how many times I encounter a face-planted flashlight dumping photons into a tabletop, countertop or floor. It seems everyone but me parks a running light down on its lens.

Pocket Clip:

The thin metal strips of spring steel that parallel the flashlight’s body are a simple idea that just cannot seem Survival Flashlightsto evolve beyond its knuckle-dragging stage in life. Flashlight pocket clips, not unlike folding knife pocket clips, run the gamut from passing usefulness to better-off-without-it. The clips vary widely in design, shape, grip strength, direction, and location. Some even play both sides and don’t work well in either direction, while others have mastered the skill of ineffectiveness in only one orientation. Surefire has a well-developed clip that grabs a pocket edge quite well with the lens down, but also has an oversized wrap-around portion of the clip that gives a second carry option as well as grabs nicely to the bill of a baseball cap.  Only problem is Surefire lights are known for being a little big and can be heavy so you might need to snug up the cap’s retention on your skull.

No matter the clips shape, the one thing I want for sure is the ability to remove the clip. Not to keep it removed, per say, but rather to take it off and bend it how I want. Mostly the clip needs tightening to my personal specs, but occasionally, I want to increase or decrease the shovel angle on the clip’s tip to either slide into my pocket with less help, or reduce its stress on my pocket or thigh because it pokes out like a figurehead on a wooden ship.

Paper or Plastic?

Most lights today are made of one or two of three materials.  High end lights for non-explosive conditions usually run aluminum throughout.  A few are titanium, but those are definitely outliers.  Drop down a price point or two and you find plastic and polymer.  The final material is a Lexan or similar hard plastic that is often transparent.  My preference is aluminum when titanium is not available.  Although I don’t notice any weight difference between the two since the quantity of metal in a flashlight is pretty low given the strength requirements of such a device.

Also Read: Murphy’s Laws of TEOTWAWKI

Aluminum does have it’s downsides including higher cost, need for proper anodizing, and care when threading together the components.  Aluminum can be milled to much finer tolerances than synthetics so they are usually noticeably more refined.  That is the quality aluminum flashlights, not the junk ones in the hardware store checkout line.   But aluminum does scratch, dent, and sink. Plus, it seems that only those cheap Chinese dollar-lights next to the cash register are the only ones that truly embrace my love of bright colors. Surefire seems to think silver is a major departure from the norm.

The use of plastic can cut the cost of a light in half or more for roughly the same output performance by the same company. However, the flexible nature of plastic means that a hard blow will likely knock the stuffing out of the light whereas a quality aluminum one would just get bruised.  A good indication of how well a light will stay together under stress is found in the number of revolutions holding the components to each other. Two complete rotations is the minimum for high quality. If less than two, wear your seatbelt.  If less than one, wear a helmet.  Fenix lights use up to three rotations to keep their heads screwed on tight, and Surefire is at least two spins. And when twisting the pieces, notice the smoothness of thread interaction.  Many quality lights use thick durable threads, and even squared off thread tips.  While lesser lights, even those that might spin two or more times use such paper-thin threads that you can bend the head off the body even when screwed down tight.  Not all threads are created equal.

Batteries are Life

My barn full of lights run on everything from button-cell batteries to 18v rechargeable packs, but many of my Bug Out FlashlightsEDC and bug out lights run on CR123 batteries.  And if you ask to borrow a light, you will get a tube full of  AA batteries.  I divide my lights up across three categories:  Those that will be stored for later/emergency use, those for high performance use, and those for general or anticipated use.  CR123 batteries ride in my stored and high performance lights, and AA and AAA batteries ride in my general use lights.

The reason for the dichotomy is simple: cost.  To get maximum performance out of a high end light, you need fresh batteries.  Most modern LED lights only run their maximum output for a short time, then they step down their output according to available voltage.  Finally, there will be no difference between high and low. So if you want a blinding bright blast you will need full power batteries.  And since maximum output runtime is measured in minutes, every second of on now is a second of lower output later.  Usually this is not a problem because the output of a high end flashlight is plenty so even halving the lumen count is still triple figures. But halve that again, and you start to sense you are at a disadvantage.

Also Read: 3 Reasons Not To Stock Precious Metals

Rechargeable batteries are a great idea that is gaining more traction in the market.  However, there are many nuances and persnickety flashlight circuits out there so using high-powered rechargeables is on a case-by-case basis.  That said, some companies are going full on into the rechargeable side of EDC lights beyond the key fob lights discussed here.  The Factor Company is pushing the edges of tactical and EDC formfactor lights including micro-USB rechargeable flashlights that can take regular batteries if needed.

It’s a Wrap

Having to bug out is never a good thing, but having proper lights solutions at hand can certainly make the difference between life and death.  Whether feeling your way through a dark stairwell, or cutting corners through garbage-filled alleyways, or jumping over downed timber at night on the way to your bug out location, proper lighting is likely the first of your bug out tools to be put to the test.  While some like to say the best flashlight is the flashlight in your hand, I like to say the best flashlight is the best flashlight to have in your hand.  Junk can get you killed as fast or even faster than lack of experience.  Lighting solutions, like firearms and survival knives must mirror your talents and expectations because when you put your life in your flashlight’s hands, you must know it’s limits as well as its dedication to your mission.

All Photos By Doc Montana

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The Bugout!

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The Bugout! James Walton “I Am Liberty” This show may turn into a two or three part series on the Bugout! An in depth look at the bug out from start to finish. Its much more than just the bag that should be considered. For starters the most important decision you make will have nothing … Continue reading The Bugout!

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Ask yourself these questions when a crisis arises

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We prepare for the worst and we do everything we can to assure the safety of our loved ones. However, a crisis can hit unexpectedly and the timing and manner in which you act will determine your odds for survival. Before you start evacuating or hunkering down, there are some questions you need to ask … Read more…

The post Ask yourself these questions when a crisis arises was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Haversack! What’s in Yours?

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Haversacks were in use during the American Civil War, as recounted in Grant’s memoirs, “In addition to the supplies transported by boat, the men were to carry forty rounds of ammunition in the cartridge-boxes and four days’ rations in a haversack.”

In 1910 the U.S. Army adopted the M-1910 haversack (or M10) as the standard back pack for all infantrymen. The pack is essentially a sheet of rugged khaki-colored canvas that folds around its contents (bedroll, clothing, daily rations, and assorted personal items), and is held together by flaps and adjustable buckle-straps. The two shoulder straps are designed to attach to a web belt or suspender configuration. – Wikipedia

Brought to us by Shamans Forge Bush-craft, Blackie talks to us about some of the items he carries in his haversack and their purposes. He really brings things into perspective about how we should carry our items by explaining why he carries them that way. He introduces us to his pal Nugget and tells us a little bit about how he came to know his woods buddy. He has a trick to store duct taps that is amazingly simply and genius.

What’s in your haversack? Otherwise known as a knapsack, rucksack, or small pack. Do you try to carry everything in one bag or  in different locations on your body? Please feel free to leave a comment or your story in the comment section below. For more articles on every day carry items lease click here.

 

For more articles on every day carry items lease click here.

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How To Make A Swedish Torch

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Ever wanted to know how to take one piece of firewood and turn it into a stove/torch?  Wonder no more.  This is an introduction to the Swedish torch.  As with anything there’s a dozen ways you can use this concept; from taking your chainsaw and cutting a pile of notches in a log for a long burn to doing it how I did it here, by taking a small chunk of firewood and splitting and cutting it into smaller pieces with my survival knife.

By Jarhead Survivor, a contributing author at SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

Check out the Swedish Torch video:

The Steps

First you need a chunk of wood.  In this example I used a 3 inch thick piece and about 14 inches long just to see how it would work.swedish torch  I wanted to make sure it would light easy, so I used a dry piece of fir tree that had been standing dead for a long time.  I split the wood using my TOPS Survival Knife then whittled the inside down a little to make a chimney.  Once the wood was split I whittled about an inch or so out of the four quarters before putting them back together again.  I also cut a notch into the wood that would be the place where I lit the fire about two or three inches up from the bottom.  I also had an old wire coat hanger I used to tie it together at the bottom of the log.  What I did there was wrap the wire around the bottom of the wood and then used my multi-tool to tighten it up so it wouldn’t fall apart after it started burning.

Lighting the Torch

Now I had a stick of firewood that had been split, hollowed out, had a hole carved in the side, then wired back together again.  I swedish torch front viewgathered the driest smallest sticks I could find, which typically come from the dead branches of a fir or pine tree.  I broke these little twigs into even smaller pieces and stuffed them down the “chimney” hole from the top.  Don’t stuff too much wood down or it will block the flames and you won’t get a fire.  If this happens simply pull some of the wood out and try again.  Next I lit a piece of birch bark and put it into the side hole (the fire place – if you will) then let it burn up and into the dry twigs I’d stuffed  into the top.  I wound up blowing on the fire for awhile and for awhile I didn’t think anything was going to happen.

Related: Make A Fire With A Bow Drill

It actually felt similar to blowing on a “bird nest” when you’re trying to light a fire with a coal made from a bow drill.  At first nothing happens, then bam!  There’s a beautiful flame burning.  The top of the torch lit like it was supposed to and burned reasonably even from the top down.  Nothing in nature is ever perfect, but I was really pleased with how it performed.

Duration

This particular Swedish Torch lasted maybe a half hour or so.  If I’d made the log bigger it would have lasted a lot longer, but since swedish torch top viewthis was just a test I was happy with the way that it went.  The Swedish torch isn’t really meant to be a torch.  It’s not like in the movies where the hero walks into the cave and grabs a torch covered with cobwebs that’s obviously been there for fifty years, then lights it and it burns like the sun for three hours while they explore the darkest reaches of the cave.  Could it be used as a torch if you wanted to walk through the woods?

Also Read: How To Make Your Fire Last All Night

You could probably get away with a few minutes of walking through the forest or a dark cave with it, but I wouldn’t want to depend on it for any length of time.  I’m not sure how it would perform being moved around when it’s really meant to be a stationary fire.  Would I do it if I had to?  Hell yeah!  You can always make something that is adaptable, so always try and look for more uses for something if possible.

Make It Into a Stove

I was also able to take my canteen cup and put it on top of the log in such a way that when it burned it was heating water.  It didn’t swedish torch boiling water in a pottake too long for it boil a cup of water, maybe seven or eight minutes, which is totally acceptable in the bush.The next time I make one of these torches I’m going to cut a notch in the top in such a way that it will hold the pot and still be able to burn freely at the same time.  I left it flat on top and it burned ok, but I had to offset it so that it didn’t smother the fire.

Overall Impressions

I liked the Swedish Torch for several reasons.  First, it’s economical.  It doesn’t swedish torch burning outtake a lot of wood to keep a small fire going for a reasonable amount of time.  It’s not going to throw a lot of heat, but you’ll be able to warm your hands over it with no problem.  It’s a great way to throw light if you don’t have a candle, lantern, or flashlight, or if you just want to use it for atmosphere sitting next to your fire pit.  You can heat water on it without having to make a bigger fire.  Of course the downside to it is there’s some work on the front end to fashion it and get it lit.  If I were to spend a night out without man made light, I’d probably make four or five of these and have them laying around.

Questions?  Comments
Sound off below!
Jarhead Survivor

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Jurisdictional Creep

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Best Survival Tips

Have the read the national newspapers today?  Did you watch Fox News, read Drudge, or get any of dozens survival_shtf_teotwawki_food_storageof news flash emails?  Are you planning to attend the next city council meeting where you live?  How about the school board meeting?  How do you know what is going on where you reside?  Do you care?  Did you take notice that the Massachusetts Attorney General just changed the states gun laws?  How about Magpul’s departure from Colorado to Wyoming and Texas?

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

Winchester is expanding its ammunition manufacturing in Mississippi, when Illinois was once Olin’s stronghold.  Do you wonder why all of a sudden these companies have changed residencies?

Are You Awake?

How are you feeling about national health care these days?  Have you applied?  Were you amazed at the gun grabbers agree tyrantspersonal information you had to reveal?  Did your doctor ask you if you owned guns on your last visit?  It’s on the form.  Are you the least bit paranoid that the NSA is checking up on all your emails?  Maybe mobile phone calls, too?  If you belong to certain political factions in American like the Tea Party, do you fear the IRS is double checking your tax returns?

Related: A Brief History Of Martial Law

Does it bother you in the least that illegal immigrants are pouring across the southern borders under the guise of being refugees fleeing oppressive Central American governments?  Are they poor kids, abandoned by their parents?  Does it matter that 90 percent of them have been shown to be teenagers?  Will they be carte blanche given citizenship with full entitlement benefits and voting rights in just a few years?

I just attended a local state university wildlife management course and was lectured by a state wildlife biologist that told us if we have a deer camera on our private property to take pictures of deer using corn as an attractant that we now have to have a state permit to do this.  Oh, and on the permit we are to provide the GPS location of the camera on our private land.  NOT!

Do you keep up at all with the numerous Executive Orders doled out on a regular basis?  Did you notice the one recently stopping the importation of foreign manufactured AK-47s?  Well, maybe Norinco will start making them here.  Where am I going with all this that impacts our prepping and survival planning?  Truth is I am not sure what the depths of the impacts are yet?  If product importations are restricted then supply and demand kicks in making that product immediately more expensive in the short term and eventually non-existent in the long term.  Is Tula or Wolf ammo next?  I don’t personally use it for my own reasons, but you might.  What if you can’t buy it any longer?  All of these events can be classified as jurisdictional creep.  You can just Google the term if you want to read more details and headlines.

Boil the Frog

You know the story.  A frog is put into a beaker and the flame is turned up ever so slightly.  The water warms taxation-is-theft-salesslowly.  The frog does not react to the water getting increasingly hot until it is too late.  Soon enough the water is boiling and the frog is cooked.  In terms of political fodder as the provisions of our American constitution are constantly diluted, we go on about our daily business of working, raising families, and paying out taxes not noticing we have suddenly lost some of our freedoms.   It’s all incremental like the boiling water.

One day you wake up and you have to pay an entry fee into the national parks we are supposed to own as Americans.  Didn’t our taxes paid on April 15th cover that?  Non-resident hunting and fishing licenses escalate in price every year somewhere, even though we pay the Pittman-Robinson tax on firearms and ammunition purchases for that federal money to be turned back to state wildlife agencies.  Are we not all Americans in one nation?

Related: Civil Asset Forfeiture – Policing for Profit

Are your taxes raised incrementally all the time?  Federal tax brackets change, deductions are reduced or disappear, state taxes increase, sales taxes increase and municipalities can add their own little tag on percentages, local property taxes go up as the county tax collectors suddenly decide your home is arbitrarily more valuable today than it was last year.

To add further insult to injury, they have relabeled taxes to “enhancement fees” or surcharges, alternative payments, etc.  If nothing else, politicians that enact these taxes are certainly creative when it comes to repackaging the taking of money from our pockets.

Diligence and Awareness

Like it or not jurisdictional creep slips up on all of us all the time from all fronts around us.  It comes from the federal government down through the state houses, the county courts to our local city halls and community centers.  It comes from hordes of agencies with oversight control of everything we do from registering vehicles, building permits to add a garage onto the house, postal regulations, gun registrations, health permits to bury a septic tank or a body in a casket, permits to cut a tree in the yard, neighborhood restrictions on the types of roofs we can have or where we can park our cars and on and on and on.

Also Read: A Community To Die For

A big part of our on-going responsibility as preppers is to stay on top of these things.   You can plan, scrounge, buy gear, store food and water, buy guns and learn to shoot, locate a Bug Out option site, learn to light a fire in the rain, or put up a tent in the pitch black, or lock down your Bug In home, but if you pay no attention to what is going on around you outside of your little world, then how prepared for a SHTF are you really?  As a prep friend of mine says, “When to pull the trigger?” is the most critical aspect of prepping for survival.  We have to stay current on world events, national news, local stuff and other critical communications such as catastrophic weather on the horizon from hurricanes, tornadoes, to polar blasts.  Don’t get stuck somewhere on a bridge when it hits.

As preppers we have to be a lot more sensitive to the water getting warmer.  Ideally your plan is in place, and you can Bug Out at a moment’s notice.  I don’t know how realistic that is for most of us.  We may be at work, wife at a job on the opposite end of town, and two kids in two different schools.  Work out the contingencies and know what to do.  Monitor the jurisdictional creep and how it slowly but surely alters your lifestyle. Remain ever vigilant.  – John

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How To Build The Ultimate 25 Pound Bug Out Bag

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How To Build The Ultimate 25 Pound Bug Out Bag There are a lot of things that people pack in their bug out bags for survival and sometimes even for comfort. Unfortunately, you can’t have everything because you can only carry so much. A lot of people throw around weights like “no more than 50-60 …

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Documentation To Take If Bugging Out

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1912_Birth_Certificate_Ken_BakerOften times when we think of bugging out we consider a number of tangible things: Vehicle to use, equipment, food, water, and defensive weaponry to have readily available for a quick move out are just some of the things to consider.The bug out bag itself is the center piece of much of the conversation in regards to prepping and survival. When planning on bugging out, there are a wide range of scenarios you need to consider. Is this a short-term trip to avoid a oncoming natural hazard, and you plan to return home eventually? Or is it a total societal breakdown? Or any of the hundreds of possible scenarios in between?

Many people who prepare to evacuate their home in any number of scenarios often fail to seriously consider one of the undeniable truths about bugging out depending on the severity of the crisis. You may not ever be able to go back to your home. And if you are able to eventually return, it is probable that all of your possessions will be gone, the home possibly destroyed, or even someone else now living there. So the next issue to consider is the distinct possibility of having to start your life completely over either at your old home or elsewhere. This is going to require important documents on your part.  Lets take a look at the two ways to carry documentation, paper and digital, and the types of documents you may want to consider. Remember, you are prepping for any number of situations, not just TEOTWAWKI. You should carry copies of important documents with you even when you go on vacation. You should also have a set in a bank safe deposit box. Remember redundancy? What happens if your house burns down when you are gone?

BF-AB155_02docJ_E_20110701215220Paper

Paper documents have the primary advantage of being readily accessible should you need them. Unless you are carrying a computer and printer in your bug out kit, you should have paper copies of your most important documents. And you need to keep them in a waterproof container of some sort. Keep in mind that paper can get heavy. You should limit your paper documents to just the bare essentials. But here are some recommendations of what you will probably need hard copy of:

  • Us-passportTwo forms of I.D. for each adult in the family. Preferably picture I.D.
  • Passport will work as one of the above. If you do not have one, get one. Even if you do not plan to travel.
  • Social Security cards.
  • Birth certificates (certified) for each family member.
  • Copies of all insurance policies( auto, life, guns, etc.)
  • Marriage Certificates( certified)
  • All property deeds.
  • Immunization records, if not complete medical records for each member of the family.
  • Vehicle registration documents, and title if they are clear.
  • Any unique documents that effect your identity: DD-214, adoption papers etc.
  • Bank records with all account numbers.
  • Prescriptions, both medical and eye glass.

Digital

As well as the hard copies above, you should have digital copies of them and any other documentation you may want to re construct ( family fotos, business records., etc.). You can place them on an encryption disk. Granted, you won’t be able to use them until you have access to a computer, but they are small, light, can hold much more information than you want to carry hard copy, and be safely encrypted. You can getSandisk Cruiser_ this ScanDisk Cruiser Fit  with built-in software very inexpensively.

Kindle Paperwhite_Another digital answer is a small tablet such as the Kindle Paperwhite. The advantage of this system is that not only can you store readable versions of your documents, but you can also store a large number of digital reference books such as survival books, weapons manuals, etc.

Every individual and family has a different situation and different needs. But to determine what documentation you should take with you in an emergency evacuation, short or long-term, ask yourself this question:

“If all I have is the rucksack on my back, what documentation would I need to reconstruct my life?”

 

Filed under: Azweaponcraftprepper Tagged: Beggining preppers, Bug Out Bag, bugging out, Survival and Prepping

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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DIY Beer Bottle Cap Fishing Lures

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DIY Beer Bottle Cap Fishing Lures Being able to catch your own food in an emergency situation is vital. Make fishing lures out of beer caps and have fish for dinner 🙂 We may laugh about this article, but this may just mean the difference between starving and surviving. The basics of this project are …

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11.5 Bug Out Bag Mistakes That Are Not Mistakes

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Bug Out Bag

About the only tangible aspect we have for a real bug out is the bug out bag.  Sure you might have a BOVehicle or BOLocation, but Best Bug Out BagBOBag is often the beginning and the end for most lightweight survivalists and preppers.  The problem is that unlike taking a cruise to Alaska, or a family trip to Disney World, pretty much nobody you know has bugged out in the pure sense of the verb.  Now while I would actually like to keep it that way, the point of this blog, and your reading of it no less, is to cover the bug out contingency the best you can.  Unfortunately, most of the words about bugging out and bug out bags in particular are recycled from questionable sources or where someone played connect-the-dots using military-grade playbooks.

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

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Over the years I’ve read many of the same recycled advice columns about setting up a bug out bag.  And I’ve listened to podcasts from information purveyors whose bug out plans were gleaned from a Boy Scout camp out in fifth grade.  As I consumed the advice I’d pick and choose what I wanted to believe based on my past experiences, and what made logical and practical sense. But I could only take so much non-information or bad ideas before I stopped listening or reading.  Not that I have anything against recycling because I’m actually greener than most (many of us who dabble in off-grid solutions are), but that it seems nobody else will step up and risk being labeled as a heretic only to be chained to the proverbial internet post and flamed by the those who own recycled advice has just been challenged.

Above the Belt

Before reading further, here are my ground rules: First, this is about bug out bags or BOBs, not Get Home bags, not 72-hour bags, Survivaland not any of the other short-term carryovers or disaster-specific bag variations.  Second, obviously rules can be broken, but you need logical reasons to break them. Skill and experience will make up for some lack of equipment, but so too can good equipment make up for lack of skill. To a degree anyway.

And third, this article was written with the intent to shake some popular beliefs that are repeated ad nauseum across the internet whether or not the parrot has ever tested their own advice. Everything I address here is based upon my real-world experience. Of course you are free to do and say what you want, but when the fat lady sings you better have chosen wisely.

1. Do have a very big bug out bag

So-called bug out experts seem to fixate on backpack size because of noble but misguided intentions. The inaccurate but common belief is that a big bug out bag will be overpacked and impossible to carry. In reality, that logic just enforces my belief that the one giving the “smallest possible bag” advice has never done anything big outdoors. There are five main reasons you want a big bug out bag.

1) You can pack more (but see topic #2 below for more on this).

2) Big packs carry heavy loads much better than smaller packs. They hug the body and distribute weight so a 30 pound small pack is a pain, but a 30 pound large pack is almost invisible (but see topic #4 below to get it right).

3) You can use a large pack as a sleeping bag or bivy sack.

4) You can always carry air. Nobody is going to make you fill all available space in your pack.

And 5) If you leave home with a stuffed small pack, you cannot add to your load as you go. So unless you are bugging out on a commercial airline flight, you can forget about carry-on size limitations and do this right.

2. Do pack everything you think you might need

For some reason many bug out bags are packed with more good ideas than real-world supplies.  There is a prevalent fear that “too most common bug out bag mistakesmuch” is bad.  Well, I like to say that you cannot dump out what you don’t have.  Imagine an EMP caused you to hit the “go button” on your bug out plan. A month before, however, you cut down the size of your bug out bag assuming that the 30 mile jaunt to your bug out location (BOL) would be easier with a minimalist carry.

Related: The Best Food for your Bug Out Bag

But just as you head out the door, your neighbor fires up his EMP-proof truck and offers you a ride in the right direction.  No time to pack more, so guess what, you just made a colossal mistake in packing and you haven’t even left yet!  If you neighbor happens to drive a Chevy Luv packed to the gills, then you can dump out that case of Dinty Moore Beef Stew in order to wedge your bug out bag onto your lap.  Or better yet, keep it loaded and duct tape it to the hood of the truck.

3. Ignore the weight of your bug out bag

Similar to #2 above, weight can be a false prophet.  Consider why you are concerned with weight.  Is it to make your pack lighter just because? Well, does it really need to be lighter?  Or what will you be able to do with a lighter pack that you cannot do with a heavier pack? And how light is light? Or how heavy is heavy?  I hear supposedly informed preppers toss around numbers like 25-35 pounds. Well unless you are running to your BOL, the weight of your bug out bag is just one of many variables that can be adjusted on the fly. How you ask?  By dumping out what you don’t need or can no longer carry.

But if you are constantly mumbling something about pounds being pain, then you will have to make big decisions without waiting for all the information you could gather. Instead of cutting corners ahead of time, prepare to ditch weight as needed.  Water is a great ballast choice and can easily be substituted with air (see point #1 above). By the way, that old adage about three days without water and three weeks without food is nonsense in a bug out. You might survive those numbers adrift in a raft then rushed to a hospital, but certainly not walking around and doing survival work.

4. Do buy the very best you can of everything

Any internet list of “best” equipment that often further qualified by being under a certain price.  And that has failure built-in from Survivalthe start. Buy your tools and equipment based on need, quality and performance instead of price.  I’ve read lists of the best xyz under $50 or $99 with full knowledge that a massively better option is just a couple bucks more than the artificial cost ceiling that was chosen by the author for little more than dramatic effect. If you really need to pinch pennies, go with used equipment.

Since a real bug out has little margin for error, the fewer points of failure you you bring with you the better.  The problem is that most folks have not pushed equipment to the point of failure so they don’t know just how dangerous a cascade of failures can be in a survival situation.  Every year people die in the backcountry as one failure or injury multiplies into many.

Related: Jarhead’s Bug Out Bag

Someone gets disoriented snowshoeing.  They take a tumble in the powder filling their coat with snow that melts dampening their cotton clothes just as sun begins to set.  Numb hands cannot start a fire so they continue on.  A turn left at the big tree and they would have found their previous tracks and the way home.  But instead they went right and tomorrow morning their frozen corpse will be discovered by the rescue dogs on scene.  Then the spokesman for the S&R folks will again share the news cycle in an impromptu press conference highlighting the list of user errors for the umpteenth time.

5. Do skip all the military/tactical/police advice

Well, maybe not skip the advice, but certainly put it in perspective. Some of the big differences between the bug out and M/T/P INCH Bag Mistakesperspective is that a bug out is a deliberate run and hide while the M/T/P response is to engage or start the fight.  Consider what M/T/P life is like compared to the reality of a bug out. Sure a select fire weapon is effective, but unlike M/T/P you won’t have a supply chain feeding your machine gun, or an ambulance parked just behind the yellow tape. Instead, take the advice of those whose activities are closer to the bug out.

My models are mountaineering, rock climbing, canyoneering, deep mountain four-wheeling, extended backpacking and camping, winter camping, backcountry skiing, adventure racing, long-distance bicycling,mountain biking, sailing, river rafting, ultra-marathon trail running, big game hunting, forest fire fighting, and off-grid life in general. To transfer the knowledge to the bug out bag, you can first start with the equipment.  If you want quality outdoor equipment, then you have to pony-up for the tools that the serious outdoors folks count on for serious outdoor adventures. So perhaps a trip to the local REI will be more helpful bug out-wise than wandering the aisles of the big box gun store yet again.

5.5 Don’t skip all the military/tactical/police advice

In fact, embrace all the tactical aspects you can even if you look like a mall ninja’s mall ninja.  Just like the overstuffed bug out bag, the tactical look can come and go as needed, but will never be available unless with you at the start.   A common mistake that is batted back and forth by students of the bug out is whether or not to look tactical, especially in the departments of clothing, pack and loadout.  But the funny thing is that most discussions end there.

Also Read: 10 Must Haves For Your Bug Out Bag

In reality, you have plenty of options that straddle the lines of both worlds. I have a highly tactical-looking bug out bag in the form of a Eberlestock G4 Operator.  It’s a bohethomith in any language, and plays an operator in real life and on TV. Nobody would mistake the G4 for a family camping rig especially with a rifle sticking out of the top like a high frequency whip antenna on a Humvee. But in less than a minute, I can completely house the pack within a rain cover of my color choice whether light green, olive green, tan, or FDE. And the smooth fabric hides all the MOLLE, webbing ladders, 5.11 side pockets and ammo pouches. The rain cover does nothing for the size, or the rifle antenna, but it does totally neutralize the overtly aggressiveness of a tactical backpack.

For smaller daypacks, the same game can be played by simply tying or pinning fabric onto the pack, or even making the pack wear a sweatshirt.  Since the daypack is much like a human’s upper torso (which it’s designed to hug), you can dress it up in human clothes to your heart’s content.  The same is true for your tactical clothing.  Wear your operator threads under loose-fitting street clothes, and when needed just jump into the nearest phone booth and morph back into Superman.

6. One is plenty

The funny thing about redundancy is that it is usually practiced on the easiest and funnest targets like knives, fire starter, and back up iron sightsguns.  While I don’t discount the importance of those three areas for backup, I think some future bug outers are hiding low quality behind claims of redundancy.  I’ll take one good knife, one good flashlight, and one good gun over two or more lesser of any of the above. If you are worried about losing your tool and needing another one, then I suggest being more careful. Save the redundancy for those things that likely will break and create a catastrophic disadvantage. If you want to start a list of redundancies, begin with footwear. Yea, I know. Where’s the fun in that?

7. Don’t plan on bartering

I often read recycled “intel” that stresses the inclusion of barter items in the bug out bag. The problem with this type of thinking is that it wastes valuable space and weight on something for someone you haven’t yet met and who will likely not need it.  Focus on you and your plan, not that of some imaginary future person . And worse, many of the commonly suggested barter items are purely superficial.  Gold?  Silver?  Ammo?

Related: A Real Emergency Fund

Would you trade your food for a box of .303 British cartridges?  How about some pre-1964 quarters for your fish antibiotics?  Or some small yellow fragments that may or may not be gold for your extra warm clothes?  Not this guy.  I’ll engage in barter as needed with what I have at that time.  Most likely it will be for skills over objects, and especially not for those things that require intrinsic and agreed upon value like gold dust.

8. Carry cash in large denominations.

Everywhere I’ve traveled around the world, good old American greenbacks have value. The exchange rate might not be in my favor, Get Out of Dodge Bagbut bills with dead US presidents are always accepted.  Traditional prepper lore is to carry small bills such as fives, tens and twenties.  But the flaw in this wisdom is three-fold.  First, it assumes that reasonable prices will remain active during the bug out.  I sincerely doubt that bottled water will be a buck a pint or a box of 9mm for a single Hamilton will be the norm.

Related: How to Choose an Urban Survival Bag

Instead I’m betting that everything will be $100, or if not my $100 bill will beat your pair of twenties when fighting over that last case of canned soup at the gas station. Expect price gouging by packing enough financial firepower to overcome the competition and also the hesitation of the sellers.  Let the zeros do the talking.

9. Don’t rely on Paracord for much of anything

Handy yes. But only one solution of many you will need.  Paracord is by far the most popular prepper noun that doesn’t involve nitrocellulose or carbon steel. But as far as cordage goes, it’s main benefits are that it’s cheap and colorful.  Paracord was pretty much an afterthought on my outdoor adventure checklist during the first three-fourths of my life. Instead I chose specialized cordage for particular duties.  Thread, string, twine, fishing line, kevlar cord, dynamic rope, static line, one-inch tubular webbing, and so on. In fact about the only thing I use paracord for is to attach tents to anchors, and hanging food bags in trees.  Paracord is the duct tape of rope.  A catch-all solution with no specific job. But today it seems that paracord is the prepper’s dream material and is used with reckless abandon as if its presence alone will ensure survival. Learn your cordage and knots. Then use the proper rope for the job.

10. Do eat jerky

The bug out is an endurance sport so why would you take advice from someone who rarely pushes themselves to any physical limit. Mistakes for bug out bag One piece of faux-wisdom I hear often is to skip certain foods during the bug out, and beef jerky seems to be singled out more often than not.  The folksy wisdom seems to have your best interest at heart, but in reality it misses the point.  Yes, jerky is salty so you will need to drink water.  But you need to drink water anyway and at a level commensurate with the endurance sport you are now playing.  If you avoid jerky because you are delinquent in your hydration needs, the problem is with you, not the jerky.

Also Read: Have You Tested Your Bug Out Bag?

The only way to learn about the demands stressful endurance activity will place on your body is to play around with endurance. So take your nutrition advice from those folks who routinely push themselves in directions that parallel the bug out and pack your bug out bag with those nutritionally dense foods that power our super athletes whether world class bowhunter or marathon runner, Tour de France rider or ocean swimmer. Coffee and donuts might be the preferred pre-mission breakfast of SWAT teams, but don’t count on lasting long in the real world on that diet.

11. Do rely on technology

Of course technology can fail. I’m not stupid. But technology can also give you a massive strategic advantage in terms of speed and Survivalprecision. A compass and a GPS are two completely different items that have a slight bit of overlap. Yet I know plenty of folks who swear the GPS is a disaster waiting to happen while the compass they carry but don’t know how to use will save their life. All a compass does is point north. The rest is knowledge, skill, and geometry. Cell phones are magical when they work and I fully intend on using mine until it stops just as I plan on extracting all possible benefits out of every other electronic device, cable and charger I own. Half of all bug outs will happen at night, and using a compass in the dark is hardly forward thinking.

It might keep you walking in a straight line, but navigationally speaking, you’re screwed unless you have the terrain memorized in which case you don’t really need the compass. Bic lighters are technology as are gas stoves, binoculars, red dot sights, laser rangefinders, night vision, and semi-automatic pistols. And I intend to use all of them to their fullest potential. Sure a failure of my lighter and gun could have me rubbing two sticks together and whittling an atlatl, but, as I like to say, I’ll burn that bridge when I come to it.

Blame Game

So there you have it, my eleven and a half bug out mistakes that are not mistakes. I’m not sure this list will make a dent in the information recycling efforts of the average prepper, but it is my survivalist intent to provide a place you can point to when you want to question the popular advice, experience or even motives of the classic prepper.  So steer them towards this article and they can blame me, not you.

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A List of Items that are in My Bug-Out Bag

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What's in Your Bug Out Bag

This list is highly dependent on your location. In North Idaho we have real seasons. Snow in winter. Hot summers. The contents of this bag needs to be rotated accordingly.
You also don’t want this bag to be 80 pounds. If you have to actually hike out 80 pounds will feel super heavy rather quickly. Some of these items could be in your Everyday Carry (EDC), but I can’t make that decision for you.
Remember, skills are better than any gear. Knowing how to build a shelter is better than carrying a 2 man tent or tarp.

SHELTER

Small Tarp
Rope
Paracord
Grommet kit
Sleeping bag

TOOLS

Folding shovel
Folding bow saw
Leatherman multi-tool
Solar Charger ~ This will come in handy. Odds of a grid down situation are small so you will still have technology.
Flashlights
First aid kit
Essential Oils
Hand held radio

FOOD/WATER

I suggest a quality water filter straw. Water is heavy and hauling it could be cumbersome. A reusable bottle, like this HydroFlask, would be ok.
Water purification tablets don’t take up much room either.
Mountain House freeze dried food is portable.

CLOTHING

Change of clothes ie: good socks, underwear, long sleeve and short sleeve shirts
Hiking boots or good hiking shoes.
Zip off leg pants

FIRE/COOKING

Matches in waterproof carriers (3 different ones)
Flint & steel – plus back ups for your backups
Magnesium fire starter (like this one)
Bic lighter
Cotton balls soaked with vaseline
Backpacking stove. This one has great ratings and is affordable.

HUNTING/FISHING

Snare wire (and knowledge of how to set) Thompson is a good brand. More found here
Foldable fishing rod/reel
Small fishing kit packed in a .410 shell
Guns and ammo

This list could be exhaustive. Again, you will have to carry it all so consider that when packing.

Survival at Home has some great articles covering BOB’s:
Why you Need Glow Stick in your Bug out Bag
Dollar Store Preps
Top 3 Bug-out Bag items People forget

You can also find lots of bug out bag books on Amazon.

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The post A List of Items that are in My Bug-Out Bag appeared first on Mama Kautz.

Low Profile Survival Weaponry

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Best Survival Rifle

Yet another mass shooting has turned an unwelcome light upon civilian ownership of semi-automatic rifles derived from militaryBest Survival Rifle weaponry.  These are usually erroneously called assault rifles, by the press, a misnomer that there seems little point in continuing to correct.  The public has been made to see these as assault rifles, and has been convinced that they are evil and have no place in civilian hands.  We can argue our points, and try to correct misrepresentations; but sometimes discretion is the better part of valor, particularly where the law is concerned. You can’t fight city hall.  A fight deterred is a fight won.  This is where the idea of low profile weaponry comes into its own.

By Neal, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Ideally, we are looking for something that does not stand out or draw attention to itself, yet is still capable of providing sufficient firepower.  So we do not want military derived guns, with bayonet lugs, flash hiders, aggressive looking assault style stocks, or military finishes.  On the other end of the spectrum, we also do not want single shot rifles, bolt actions, or anything else with a slow rate of fire.  We want something that fires a sufficiently powerful cartridge to get the job done.  So a traditionally designed gun, with a good rate of fire and a respectable amount of power is needed.

Happily, this hardly limits our choices at all. They are:

Lever action

This was the original assault gun.  Created at a time when most guns fired a single shot, and many muzzle loaders were still around, lever action gunthe lever action gives a lone individual the capability of firing off as many as a dozen rounds as fast as the lever can be worked. Working the lever and firing fast was nicknamed, a frontier drum roll.  The failure of the military to immediately adopt these guns was responsible for a number of slaughters.  Ironically, at the battle of Little Big Horn, Custer’s men were armed with the standard single shot trap door rifle, while an estimated 200 lever action rifles were in the possession of the natives. This is thought to have made a major contribution to his defeat.

By modern standards, the classic lever action holds up quite well. As an example, see the table below. It can be seen that, compared to the AR-15, the modern copy of the old Winchester is better in almost every way. It is slightly smaller, slightly lighter, fires a more powerful cartridge, and nearly matches the rate of fire.

AR-15 Winchester (Marlin) 92
Weight 6 pounds, 4 ounces 5 pounds, 14 ounces
Length 39” 37”
Rate of fire 150 per minute (semi) 12 per minute
Magazine 20 (30) 10
cartridge 223 44 magnum
Energy 1308 fp 1630 fp

Disadvantages are that a lever is slower to reload, when reloading becomes necessary, it has a somewhat lower rate of fire (though it still fires pretty quickly), and as a general rule is not as accurate as a good semi-auto, though this is a matter of debate. Considerable as it is, the 10 round magazine capacity is not equal to the twenty or thirty round magazine capacity available for the AR-15.

Also Read: 6 Reasons Why You Need A Shotgun

Still, the point here is that the classic lever action is plenty good enough, considerably less expensive, and far less likely to be banned, restricted, or require licensing than a modern military style semi-auto.  These are considered hunting arms, rather than military pieces, and will not draw undue attention when being carried in the woods, or wherever else.

Pump action

Maligned, ignored, or seen as a specialty gun, the pump is faster than you think.  It is surprisingly, one of the more popular deer rifles, and is useful in places where using a semi-auto for hunting is illegal.  Like the semi auto, it does not require you to remove your attention from the sighting plane.  This is the most popular action style for shotguns, but was somehow never embraced to the same extent in rifles.  The only major manufacturer of this action type in a useful caliber is Remington.  In its various guises as the model 760, 762, 7600, and model 6, there have been something like a million and a half of these rifles produced, and they are still in limited production today.

pump_rifle_low_profile_survival_weaponary

This is basically a semi auto rifle with the slide working action bars to cycle the bolt. In the semi auto version (the model 740, 742, 7400, or model 4), a gas piston does the job.  The guns are target accurate, and made the news shortly after their introduction when a US shooting team used them to place first in a competition in Norway.  I have always been able to get all of my shots into a single hole at 100 yards, which is plenty good enough for defense.

The pump compares well to my benchmark AR-15 in a comparison table below.  The pump is slightly longer, and a bit heavier, but fires an overwhelmingly more powerful cartridge. Rate of fire is nearly the same, and with a box magazine, reload is just as fast.

AR-15 Remington 7600
Weight 6 pounds, 4 ounces 7 pounds, 8 ounces
Length 39” 42”
Rate of fire 150 per minute (semi) 20 per minute (estimated)
Magazine 20 (30) 4 (10)
cartridge 223 30-06
Energy 1308 fp 3000 fp

Where the AR-15 beats the pump is in its larger capacity magazine, though for a rifle, I still think 10 shots is plenty.  Additionally, the AR-15 is three inches shorter and a pound lighter.  At distance, the pump’s 30-06 will completely outclass the .223 of the AR-15.  Closer in, the higher magazine capacity of the AR-15 gives it an advantage. Most important, for the purposes of this article, the pump Is not nearly as threatening, does not have the assault rifle stigma, and is less likely to be restricted, banned, or scrutinized.

Semi-auto

If you must have a semi auto, get one that does not shout assault rifle.  I admit to owning several AR-15’s, an HK-91, a pair of Best Survival GunCalicos, an M1A, a Thompson, and a few other high profile firearms.  I rarely leave the house with them. They are high profile weapons.  If we ever lose control of the government to the extent that weapons bans go into effect, these are the first guns that will be confiscated, taxed, or tracked.

Related: Best Survival Carbine

When I want to shoot semi- auto, I take my Marlin Camp Gun.  Marlin made these in two versions, one that took standard M1911 .45 magazines, and the other that took standard S&W 9mm magazines.  These are wonderful guns, sadly out of production, that are traditionally designed, easy to shoot, and look a bit like junior’s grown up 22 rifle. They are not threatening, and are unlikely to draw any unwelcome attention.

Related: The Katrina Rifle

When compared to the classic AR-15, the camp gun is about the same size and weight, with the same rate of fire, and approximately the same magazine capacity.  Both have box magazines for fast reloading. The AR-15 has a significant advantage in cartridge power, but the advantage is less applicable close in.  While these guns are no longer made, they can still be found for far less money than what an AR-15 will cost.  They also have the advantage of taking standard, cheap, available magazines. Ruger made something similar with its Police Carbine line, also discontinued.

AR-15 Camp Gun
Weight 6 pounds, 4 ounces 6 pounds, 7 ounces
Length 39” 35”
Rate of fire 150 per minute (semi) 110 per minute (estimated)
Magazine 20 (30) 15 (25)
cartridge 223 9mm
Energy 1308 fp 608 fp

Browning and Remington, have both been making traditionally styled semi auto hunting rifles for decades.  The Browning BAR, and Remington 740, 742, 7400, and Model Four series have been taking deer, elk, and dangerous game for almost a hundred years. Both are semi-automatic, both have removable box magazines, and both are reasonably light and handy.  The BAR is quite expensive, but the Remington is no more costly than a decent bolt action rifle.  These rifles take full sized cartridges, and can even be chambered for magnum rifle rounds.  They are probably better for the individual survivor than a military assault style rifle.

Surviving Today

A weapon that is confiscated will do you no good when things go bad. An illegal weapon that gets you tossed in jail will subject you to your own personal SHTF.  Neither will enhance your survival.  Someday SHTF will happen. It may occur within our lifetimes, and it may not; but it will happen.  No civilization lasts forever.  In the meantime, the rifles listed above are legal most places, unlikely to cause you any grief with the local authorities, and will serve you will in a SHTF situation.

Stay low, stay out of trouble, and survive.
Neal

Photos By:
Neal
John Ronald

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10 Lightweight Items for Your Bug Out Bag

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10 Lightweight Items for Your Bug Out Bag Every prepper knows that a well-equipped bug out bag can mean the difference between life and death during a natural disaster or SHTF scenario. The tendency is to want to stuff as much equipment as you can into your bug out bag just in case you need … Continue reading 10 Lightweight Items for Your Bug Out Bag

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DIY – Survival / Bug Out – Hunting Fishing Cooking Kit

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DIY Survival Food Kit

In a survival or emergency situation you’re going to be burning calories fast – so food will become a critical need to maintain your morale, stamina and most importantly, your core body temperature.

But you can only carry so much food, and it runs out quickly if you don’t have the right tools to catch dinner on your own.

So let’s build a modular, everyday-carry, survival FOOD kit – that will allow you to cook, hunt, trap and fish and is designed to clip onto a bug-out bag, slip into a pack, throw in a vehicle or keep close by… just in case.
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Here Are the Core Item’s You’ll Need for Your Survival Food Kit:
!.  A MOLLE Compatible 4-inch by 10-inch pouch
2. A GSI Outdoors Stainless Steel Cup / Pot
3. A Stanley Camp Cook Kit
4. A 4-ounce Stove Gas Canister
5. A Compact / Lightweight Burner
6. Some Emergency Food and Spices
7. A Fishing Kit
8. A Mini Sling Shot…
9. And a Few Other Items that We’ll Talk about in a Minute
Our Pouch…

DIY Survival Food Kit
First… to store, transport and protect this kit I’m using the Condor Water Pouch (just like the one I used in my recent survival water kit video).

It has a large main compartment that will hold our cooking gear and emergency food, and a smaller front pocket that will hold our fishing, hunting, trapping and survival gear.

Let’s start by assembling our cooking supplies…

Our Cup…

DIY Survival Food Kit
First, I’m using the GSI stainless steel 20-ounce cup (which holds over half a liter). It’s durable, has flip-out handles, is designed for using over an open fire or on a camp stove.

Our Cooker…

DIY Survival Food Kit
Next we have the Stanley Stainless Steel Adventure Camp Cook Set that holds nearly a liter when filled to the top (although it’s rated for 24 ounces)… AND because it’s single- walled, it can be used for boiling water, making stew and cooking whatever you like in the back country.

It has volume marks on the side, a flip-out locking handle and a vented lid that can also be used as a strainer.

DIY Survival Food Kit

This set comes with 2 nested 10-ounce (or 296 ml) cups that we’re NOT going to use in this kit… so we’ll set them aside.

Now, inside our cooker we can fit a 4-ounce gas canister, which is fuel for our mini-cook stove as well as 3 individual packs of peanut butter, that contain about 190 calories in each pack. Peanut butter also makes a great bait for trapping squirrels.

DIY Survival Food Kit

We also have…
6 Water Purification Tablets
2 – 18 by 18 inch pieces of heavy duty foil for cooking
A salt and pepper shaker
A container of sugar
Soap for clean up
And 2 ounces (or 60 ml) of oil for cooking

DIY Survival Food Kit

With all of this stuff inside, place the cooker lid on top and snap the handle in place to hold the lid tight.

Next, we have a small scrubbing pad to put in the GSI cup.

And check this out… this cooker nests perfectly in our GSI cup…

and our cup and cooker combination all fits right in our Condor pouch! Voila!

DIY Survival Food Kit

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To Further Complete This Kit

DIY Survival Food Kit

I found an affordable and compact burner that easily attaches to our stove gas canister and has fired up every time without a hitch. It comes with a protective nylon pouch and is sized to fit snugly inside the pouch, on top of the Stanley cooker pot.

Then add a few tea bags and some coffee beans wrapped in small zip lock bags… the coffee beans can be chewed for a quick caffeine boost… but you might like to add chocolate or something like that.

In the pouch lid I was able to fit about 2 servings of high protein instant oatmeal
AND below this… about 7.3 ounces (or 208 grams) of Trail Mix, both in heavy-duty quart sized freezer bags.

DIY Survival Food Kit

You can add whatever nutritious and packable food you like.

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Now let’s take a look at the Hunting, Fishing Trapping and Survival Items that go into the front pouch.

Eating Tools

DIY Survival Food Kit
First, we have a stainless steel, 3-in-1, knife, fork and spoon kit – similar to the one I used in Boy Scouts. It’s durable and fit this kit better than any of the other spork type utensil sets that I own.

Fire Starters

DIY Survival Food Kit
Next we have a lighter which I taped up so it doesn’t accidentally discharge all the gas.

And for a fire-starting back-up, I’m including the Exotac Ferrocerium FireROD with a waterproof tinder compartment and a cottonball that I’ve loaded in there.

Now We Need a Knife

DIY Survival Food Kit
I chose my Old Timer 44OT pocket knife because it’s small, has 4 blades and is great for food preparation, processing game and small bushcraft chores. I can also use one of the extra blades to strike the ferro rod to start a fire.

A Light is Always a Handy Tool

DIY Survival Food Kit
And I don’t have much room… So I chose the super small LED Maglite Solitaire. It takes only 1 AAA battery so I was able to fit a spare.

Fishing Kit

DIY Survival Food Kit
For a fishing kit… I decided to use the Uncle Flint’s Survival Fishing Kit II which includes a nice variety of gear for catching just about any freshwater fish. They even include a list of all the components in this kit so you can replenish the kit after use AND it’s all packed into a durable tin that fits just right in the front pouch of our food kit.

Snare Kit

DIY Survival Food Kit
Also from Uncle Flint’s Survival Gear, I picked up 2 Small and 1 Large Cable Snare, with salt for bait and a useful instruction sheet. Then I added enough 24-gauge wire for 2 or 3 squirrel pole snare sets.

Hunting Kit
And last, but not least, I wanted a sling shot for hunting small game to be in this kit. So I came up with a Good, Better and Best sling shot solution for you to choose from.

First… for a Good Solution…

DIY Survival Food Kit
You can grab a ready to go, tubular sling shot band with pouch (for a few bucks) and improvise a sling shot in the back country.

For a Better Solution…

DIY Survival Food Kit
I found the accurate, affordable and small Top SHOT slingshot from Pocket Predator – I’ve added an extra band with pouch and sealed it all in a heavy duty freezer bag for storage in this kit.

And for the BEST solution…

DIY Survival Food Kit
I picked up the Pocket Predator SERE takedown sling bow / sling shot. Mine is made of Black G10.

The SERE assembles quickly, using a pin, and is easy to shoot.

Converting the SERE to a sling bow is a snap. Simply insert the arrow rest pin (that stores in the handle butt) into the top hole.

DIY Survival Food Kit

Now I can accurately shoot the three-piece takedown arrows (with expanding broad heads) that I’m taking along.

The SERE all packs up small in a freezer bag (with an extra band) and fits nicely in this kit.

To carry Slingshot ammo, I’ve repurposed 3 Chap Stick containers – filling two with .38 caliber and one with .44 caliber ammo.

DIY Survival Food Kit

Bonus Tip
If you want to pack more slingshot ammo, and feel more confident with your slingshot shooting than your trapping skills, you could eliminate the snare kit and substitute 150 rounds of .38 caliber steel or lead shot.

Regardless of what sling shot option you choose… all the survival, snare, fishing and hunting gear fits into the front pocket of this pouch.

DIY Survival Food Kit

NOW… If you choose to take arrows along… one, 3-piece takedown arrow should fit nicely through the MOLLE webbing… on either side of the pouch, leaving some extra room for paracord.

 

We’ve just taken a look at a modular, add-on, hunting, fishing, trapping, survival food kit that you can build for bug-out bags, vehicles and home emergency kits that can help you keep calories flowing into your body when you need them most.

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10 Tips For When You Get Lost In the Woods

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Best Bushcraft Survival Tips

In July of 2013 Geraldine Largay was hiking the Appalachian Trail in Maine by herself after her partner had to leave because of a family emergency.  She was 66 years old and had a poor sense of direction and when she went off trail to use the bathroom she got lost and couldn’t find her way back.  She tried to send a text using her cell phone, but there was no signal.  Her remains were found two years later by a surveyor about two miles off the trail.  Her journal is now shedding light on what happened.  You can read her story here.  This is one of those stories that eats me up, because with just a little training it could have been avoided.

By Jarhead Survivor

The Maine Woods

The North Maine woods as seen from Mt Katahdin

The North Maine woods as seen from Mt Katahdin

If you’re wondering how someone could walk a few steps off the trail and get completely lost allow me to offer an explanation. The northern Maine wilderness isn’t like the lovely forests that Thoreau wrote about in Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts.  Those woods are thick and dark and beautiful and you must be on your guard because they are unforgiving of mistakes.  The trees grow close together and walking through them can be like pushing through a rack of clothing at a department store where it’s so tight you literally have to put your head down and bull your way through to make progress.  On several occasions I’ve walked through the woods around my house within feet of a trail and never saw it because of how dense the forest can be.

It would be easy to walk a little ways off the trail out of modesty to get out of sight of someone walking the trail behind you and then get turned around.  You start walking in the direction you think the trail was, but you don’t see it.  Second guessing yourself you turn back and walk a ways in the other direction.  At first you’re a little nervous and feeling sheepish that you can’t find the stupid trail, then eventually you start to panic because you know you’ve walked three or four times the distance you walked in and now you know you’re lost.  The trail could be five feet away at this point and it would easy to miss.

I know what it’s like to be in trouble in the area Geraldine was hiking in.  As a matter of fact I broke my ankle on the trail in the 100 Mile Wilderness not too far from where she got lost.  You can read part one and part two of that story if you’re interested.  I too ran into the problem of not having cell phone coverage, but I wasn’t really surprised by this fact as we’d had limited coverage during most of the hike.

So what do you do if you get lost?  Since she had a full pack lets assume that we have food for a few days and full equipment for a long term backpacking trip.  This sets us up pretty good for survival.

Wilderness Survival Tips

Typical forest in Maine.

Typical forest in Maine.

1. STOP!

This is an acronym for Stop, Think, Observe, and Plan.

Stop:  Stop moving.  There’s a good chance that you’re feeling panic right after you first figure out that you’re lost.  The urge is to run and find the trail.  Don’t do it.  Chances are good you’ll get even more lost or hurt yourself as you go flailing through the woods.

Think:  Get your head going.  Let the panic go.  Once you start thinking you can:

Observe:  Look around you.  What can you see or hear?  At this point hopefully you haven’t gone dashing through the woods looking for the trail.  If so you’re probably still within sight or at least hearing distance of it even though you can’t see it.  Take out a whistle and blow it sharply three times or yell every thirty seconds or so.  Keep an eye out for people hiking.  Listen for people hiking.

Plan:  What’s your best course of action?  Do you have a compass with you?  Do you know how to read it? How much food and water do you have?  Do you know where north is?  Do you have a tent and sleeping bag?

2. Don’t trust electronics to save your life

Too many people today enter the wilds of America with the assurance that their cell phone, or GPS, or whatever will save them if they get in trouble.  The truth is that if you trust your life to a piece of gear that runs on a battery or can die if it gets wet, then you are putting yourself in mortal danger without realizing it.  In the woods here in Maine a cell phone signal is a luxury and there are no stores to replace batteries that have died.  Take one with you for sure, but don’t pull it out expecting it to save your life.  That way if it doesn’t work you won’t be disappointed.

3. Know how to use your gear

One of the saddest things about Geraldine’s situation is that she had a compass in her pack, but she didn’t know how to use it.  If she could have spent an hour with me I could have showed her the basics of land navigation and she wouldn’t be dead right now.  If you put a piece of gear in your pack know how to use it.  A compass is not an ornament and when navigating from point to point it can save your life, but you must know how to use it.

4. Always have an emergency azimuth

compass, direction, bearing, azimuth, hiking

Taking a compass bearing or azimuth in the wilderness.

Before going on a hike anywhere, you need to look at a map of the area where you’ll be operating in.  Usually there will be a road, or a river, or some kind of land feature that will act as a handrail for where you’re hiking.  For example, if you’re hiking a trail and there’s a road that parallels the trail five miles to the south, then south is your emergency azimuth.

Related: How To Use An Emergency Azimuth

If you wander off the trail, set 180 degrees on your compass and follow it until you hit the road.  It might be a long five miles bushwhacking through dense forest, but if you follow the azimuth (or direction) you will eventually run into the road.

5. Always know where you are

As you move along the trail make sure you know where you are on the map.  If you cross a stream or river find it on the map and you’ll know exactly where you are.  If you’re hiking east and walk off the trail to your left what direction is that?  If you said north then you’re well on your way to surviving.  Let’s say you walk left (or north) far enough and lose sight of the trail and you want to find it again.  Which direction would you follow on your compass to get back to the trail?  If you said south congratulations, because you’ll find your way back to the trail and instead of it becoming a deadly situation this incident will just be a little blip on your day.

 6. Leave a detailed hiking plan with someone

If there’s any one thing I’m guilty of not doing this is the one.  Quite often I won’t hike a trail, but set out to bushwhack to a new place.  Instead of saying, “I’m going to hike the trail up Ragged Mountain,” I’m more likely to say, “I’m going to follow an azimuth of 277 degrees magnetic until I get to the rockfall at the base of the mountain, then I’m going to hike 256 degrees to summit,” if I say anything at all.  I pledge to be better in the future about leaving a detailed hiking plan with my wife before heading out.  Either way, at least make sure someone has an idea of what general area you’ll be, because if you get hurt or lost they’ll have no idea where you are.

7. If you’re lost, make camp

winter camping

Jarhead Survivor on a winter campout.

This will prevent you from becoming even more lost.  Geraldine was two miles off the trail, but in those woods it might as well have been 200.  As soon as you figure out you’re lost, stop moving.  Set up your tent and make yourself comfortable.

8. Signal

Start a fire in a clearing.  Start it using dry wood then add leaves or green wood or whatever you can to make it smoke.  The more smoke the better.  Use a whistle to blow three sharp blasts from time to time.  The louder the better.  If you have a mirror use it signal aircraft that might be looking for you.  Set up a bright colored poncho or one of those reflective emergency blankets in a clearing.  Anything you can do to draw attention to yourself is good.

9. Remember the Survival Rule of 3′s

You can survive:
3 minutes without air
3 hours without shelter
3 days without water
3 weeks without food

These aren’t actual rules of course, but guidelines to help you organize your activities should you get lost.  Thus, shelter is more important than food using this model.  If you have a tent and sleeping bag, then you can move quickly along the priority list to water.  Once you have a water source then you can start thinking about food.

10.  Evaluate your situation and make a decision based on your facts. camp fire pit

If after three days I haven’t been found or haven’t seen any sign of activity like a helicopter circling around looking I will probably try and self rescue, but that’s based on the fact that I’ve done a lot of wilderness survival, land navigation, backwoods hiking and camping, and have tons of experience.  If you’re from the city and all you have is a couple of classes and a few hikes along well beaten trails under your belt, then you might want to sit tight.  Carefully evaluate your situation.  Ask yourself, “Does anybody know where I’m hiking?”  If the answer is yes then you might want to stay put.

If the answer is no, then perhaps you’ll want to start moving.  It’s hard to give a definitive answer because everybody’s situation is different.  I probably would have advised Geraldine to sit tight because her husband had a good idea of where she was hiking and he would be able to alert the authorities to her general area.  Unfortunately, she moved further off the trail looking for a cell phone signal and made it impossible for rescuers to find her.

Also Read: Maine Primitive Skills School Review

Each survival situation is different.  The actual key here is to be as prepared as possible for any situation while out hiking.  Other tips might be don’t hike alone if you’re a novice, carry a good first aid kit, and on and on.  There are many things you need to take into consideration when going on a hike like the Appalachian trail and the more research you do and the more experience you gain the better off you’re going to be.  I’ll leave you with this advice.  Even though I’ve said it before it’s worth saying again:  learn how to read a map and compass and if you put something in your pack know how to use it.  It could save your life.

Questions?  Comments?
Sound off below!
-Jarhead Survivor

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Fire Starter Kit

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One prep I find very useful this season is a fire starter kit.  It’s particularly helpful when camping with a light rainfall or in the morning when the dew sets in.  My experience has taught me that when tinder is damp starting a fire canRead More

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Quickest Way to Start a Fire

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Building a fire may look easy but for most people it takes some practice.  The quickest way to start a fire is with a fire starter!  Fire starters are designed to start quickly, burn hot, and last for a couple of minutes.  This allows tree branches that are placed […]

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2 Types Of Military Sleeping Bags To Use On Your Bug Out

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Best Military Sleeping Bag

military sleep system - intermediate - patrol - bivy

This picture shows the bivy, the intermediate bag, and the patrol bag.

I love military gear.  Some people hate it for various reasons, but to me this gear has proven itself on the battlefield.  It’s constantly evolving and being updated as technology changes, but it’s always being put to the test.  Another good reason is that you can usually get it relatively cheap after it’s been used at Army/Nave stores or other discount stores.

Today we’re going to talk about sleeping bags.  There are thousands of sleeping bags on the market and it can be a tough decision to try and figure out which one you should use if you have to bug-out.  Sleeping bags tend to be expensive as well and who wants to spend $300 on a new sleeping bag that’s going to live in a bug-out bag and see the light of day once a year when you go in to check the gear?  Leaving a newer sleeping bag compressed will eventually cause it to lose it’s loft ending the usefulness of the bag.

By Jarhead Survivor

There are a couple of types of military sleeping bags I’d like to compare and contrast today.

Old School

First, let’s go back to the ’80s when I was in the Marine Corps as a fresh faced youth.  The bags we used back then were much heavier than the ones used today.  I usually rolled mine up and tied it to the outside of my ALICE pack and carried it around that way if we were going to be marching.  I spent a lot of time in artillery, so luckily we could just throw our bags on the back of the 5 ton trucks when we were moving around.

tennier military sleep system - bivy - intermediate - patrol - compression sack

This is the Tennier System (4-Part). The fourth part is the compression sack in this picture.

The standard bag back then was the Bag, Sleeping, Intermediate Cold Weather (ICW) and its Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) cousin.  I spent hundreds of nights in both of these bags and never got cold.  The ICW bag weighed about 7 1/2 pounds and surprisingly, so did the Extreme Cold Weather; however, the ECW bag also came with a liner for really cold temps and that added some to the weight.  I slept many nights at -40 degrees Fahrenheit and never felt unduly cold in the ECW bag.  Most of my nights in the ICW bag never really fell below freezing and I never felt cold in it either.

Related: M1951 Fishtail Parka Review

These are mummy type bags with drawstrings that you can use to pull the hood of the sleeping bag tight around your head in cold weather.  One of the things they told us to avoid was sleeping with your head down inside the bag.  This puts a lot of moisture inside, which can cause you to get cold.  However, I did this many times without getting cold, so I leave it up to you try it for yourself.  When the temperature is below zero your natural tendency is curl into a ball and try and get your head as far from the biting cold as you can.  Some people wore a balaclava and others, like me, wore the wool watch cap to bed.  They also advise sleeping with the parka mits over your feet to help keep them warm.  Although I never did this it makes sense if your feet get cold.

One night I was camping with my dad just off a frozen lake here in Maine.  The wind was howling and the ambient air temp stood at -20.  He couldn’t believe it when I stripped down to my undershorts, t-shirt, and wool socks and climbed into my ECW bag.  I was shocked to see that he had brought a kids Charley Brown – type sleeping bag and froze his ass off all night.  I gave him my field jacket and some other stuff, but I could still hear his teeth chattering all night long.  It didn’t take him long to get himself a good warm bag after that night!

 The New Gear

comparison icw bag - tennier sleep system

Hilary models the ICW old style military sleeping bag. Next to her is the Tennier Systems (4-Part) sleep system

Now let’s talk about the more modern military gear.  The new Modular Sleep System (MSS) bags are made by Tennier Industries and come in four or five parts depending on the model you get and is rated between 50 and -50 degrees Fahrenheit.  There’s a lightweight patrol bag rated for between 30 and 50 degrees.  The Intermediate bag is rated for 30 degrees to -10.  There’s a compression bag you can get that’s a good modern day addition that will compress the MSS down to one cubic foot.  The one piece I really like is the bivy, which is basically a personal tent.  It’s water resistant and has a cover over the face I found useful in cold weather.

Like I mentioned earlier, you can separate these bags and use them independently or together.  I slept in the lightweight patrol bag in 40 degree weather and found I was a little cold though it’s rated between 30 and 50 degrees.  I’ve slept in the intermediate bag in 30 degree weather and was reasonably warm in it, but I wouldn’t want to try it in -10 degree weather by itself.

Also Read: SHTF Sleep Deprivation

If you combine all three components and you’re sleeping in your polypro underwear they say it’s good to about -50.  The coldest I’ve slept in the combined sleep system was around -10 and I was comfortable, although I wouldn’t want to attempt -50 in one of them.

One thing I had to learn was how to ventilate properly.  When I first got in the bag I zipped up all three components and was too warm.  So I unzipped the inside sleeping bag down to my belly button and cooled off until I was comfortable.  As it got colder I zipped the inner bag up a couple of inches at a time until I was in full mummy mode with the bivy closed and covering my face.  I liked this feature as it meant I could breathe outside the main bags without getting moisture down inside them.

Also Read: Mil Surplus Sleeping Bag Review

Over all this bag is much closer to the civilian bags on the market today.  They are far lighter than the older bags and more versatile; however, they are a little more expensive.  They also compress down nicely and can fit in your pack a little better, although I found that most quality civilian bags rated for the same temps will compress more and be a little lighter.

Tennier Sleep System and ICW bag side by side.

Tennier Sleep System and ICW bag side by side.  The Tennier bag is NOT compressed in this picture.

As mentioned earlier I like the bivy.  One thing I’ve done is take the bivy from one of my Tennier sleeping bags and put it in my Get Home Bag (GHB.)  By itself it doesn’t offer much in the way of insulation for warmth, but during the non-winter months it would be ideal for get home purposes.  Open it up, climb inside with your clothes on, and you basically have your own personal tent.  Put it on top of some pine or fir boughs, or a pile of leaves, and you’d even be comfortable while you grabbed a couple hours of tactical shut-eye.

 

When to Use These Sleeping Bags

So when is the best time to use these bags?  The older bags would be good:

When you’re on a budget
When you don’t expect to be carrying your bag anywhere
When you want to be sure you’ll be very warm
If you are dragging it on a sled

The newer sleep systems would be good:

When you expect to be hiking and need a lighter bag
If you have a little more money to throw at them
When compression is important to you (pack space)
When you need a bag you can split up for different purposes and climates

Overall they are all pretty good sleeping bags. I bought a pile of the newer ones at once and still have a few kicking around.   There’s a link on their site for a Retail Outlet and you can pick up individual gear there as opposed to bidding at Government Liquidation.  One thing you might try though:  if you have a few like-minded friends looking for pretty good sleeping bags or other military gear pool your funds and bid on a lot of sleeping bags.   Split the shipping costs and you might be able to pick up twelve to twenty sleeping bags for a few hundred bucks like I did.  I sold some of them, but kept four or five for family and friends and have loaned them out to friends several times when we went camping and our friends didn’t have any gear during a bug-out.  You might also need to loan to family during a bug-out.  Ya never know, folks.

If you have questions about bidding at Government Liquidation let me know and I’ll do my best to answer them.  I spent a good deal of time on this site a couple of years ago and got a pretty good feel for it.

Questions?  Comments? Sound off below!
-Jarhead Survivor

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Survival Gear Review: Escape & Evasion Gun Belt

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Shark Tank Belt Review

Since the Bronze Age belts have been worn by all ages and all genders.  A belt round the waist is a fashion statement money belt review(1), holds utility essentials (2), and is safety equipment in all manner of work-related and recreational applications (3). And it is those very same three aspects of a special purpose belt that make it an essential component of anyone who considers himself prepared.  The Escape and Evasion Belt addresses the three components through style, function and strength.

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

Only in death will I relinquish my belts.” – Manny Pacquiao

As well as being a stiff leather gun belt, the E&E has three inside zippered pouches that will easily hold a few simple tools and some cash. The nickel-plated brass buckle is first class and won’t raise a single eyebrow unlike tactical belts of any flavor. But the buckle’s heft will certainly make a good weapon, and make short order of car windows and most other non-bulletproof glass when at the flying end of a yard-long lever arm.

More Than Skin Deep

The main body of the belt is pure English harness leather which is one of the few best choice for a belt there is. The CIA Money Belt1.5 inch thick cowhide looks as good as it feels. To avoid the effects water and sweat, the leather crafters in the mountains of Utah used polyester thread instead of cotton. And to take the picturesque illusion of a magical belt further, the edges of the belt are burnished with 100% pure beeswax from Heaven.  Ok, maybe not Heaven, but a small farm in Colorado. Almost the same thing, right?

Also Read: Tips For Flying With A Gun

The quality continues on the inside as well.  Using YKK zippers, a long service life is expected. But still, as and Escape and Evasion Belt, you won’t be opening and closing the zippers every day.  YKK is known as the world’s largest zipper maker and arguably the best zipper on earth.  Despite their implication a 2007 price fixing case with other zipper cartels, YKK has a stellar reputation for quality and durability.

My Lowdown

In the three zippered slots in the belt, I have the following:
1. One full lenght (12”) hacksaw blade that has 18 teeth per inch.  Any more teeth and it will struggle with wood, and Best Money Beltany fewer teeth and it will be difficult to cut metal without the blade in a frame with handle.  While I could snap or cut a hacksaw blade into halves or thirds to make it more compact or flexible, the reality of needing a functional hacksaw blade for a true E&E situation necessitates having a long draw and enough length for real cutting and a real handle.

2. Another pocket holds $500 in cash in five $100 bills.  Some think smaller bills would be a better choice, but I figure that a $100 bill will work anywhere a $20 would.  And the bribe factor goes up proportional to the denomination. Imagine an auction breaking out for the last few gallons of gas.  Two zeros beats one zero every day of the week.

3. A metal handcuff key resides in another pocket.  I’ve tried to come up with scenarios where I might need the key yet still be wearing my belt.  I figure that there more possibilities that the key will be handy to help someone else in a jam rather than me needing it personally.  But you never know.  And yes, I know that a handcuff key is one of the easiest things to fabricate out of almost anything, having the right tool for the job is more than just a cute saying if one needs to shed some bracelets because I also cannot come up with a scenario where time is not a major factor.

But Wait, There’s More

Other E&E tools can include lock picks, wire, even Kevlar cord.  I don’t plan on adding any first aid equipment in myJason Hanson Belt E&E belt, and while thinking about that omission, I realized that it might be hard, make that impossible to use the E&E belt as a tourniquet.  Since the E&E belt moonlights as an excellent gun belt, it follows that it won’t make the tight turns necessary to stop blood flow.  On the other hand, it seems that this Escape and Evasion belt will provide a solid platform for towing cars so it will certainly provide enough strength to save your bacon when you need a lift…or to be lowered.

Last Chance

The main idea behind the Escape and Evasion Belt is to have some survival essentials around your waist at all times and without further thought.  While the E&E belt is not the end-all-be-all, it does serve an important purpose in many survival scenarios.  And should the need never arise, you still have an exceptionally nice gun belt that can be worn every day.  And if that is not already enough to convince you to enjoy the comfort of an E&E belt, the idea of a 100% American made product should be.

Related: SHTF Wardrobe List

Each E&E gun belt is made by hand in Cedar City, Utah by a real American worker.  Each stitch, each hole, each rivet.  I understand the allure of inexpensive Chinese products when some mass-produced overseas copy costs half of what an American made one does.  But like the old saying goes that “You are what you eat,” where you put your money is not only confirmation of your patriotism, but a testament of your conviction to America.

All Photos By Doc Montana

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The Shower that Fits in your Bug Out Bag

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The Shower that Fits in your Bug Out Bag Designed as a lightweight alternative to the much heavier solar showers, the Simple Shower weighs in at under an ounce and is a great addition to the bug out bag where every ounce matters. The Simple Shower is a little device that turns just about any …

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How Much Gear Should You Put In Your Bug Out Bag?

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How Much Gear Should You Put In Your Bug Out Bag? The question of how much gear should be in a bug out bag has always been a contentious one. You can’t carry everything, and you’d have a hard time surviving if you didn’t carry anything (unless you’re Les Stroud or something). The answer as to how …

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Upgrade the Food in Your Bug Out Bag

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Upgrade the Food in Your Bug Out Bag Guest Post by Dave Asprey First off, thank you to the good people here at SHTFPreparedness for featuring me on their blog. I’ll start by introducing myself. I’m the founder and CEO of the Bulletproof Executive and the bestselling author of The Bulletproof Diet. I’m also a …

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Implementing A Secondary Survival Cache

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How to bury a survival cache

Is there a compelling reason to justify selecting, creating, and stocking a back up supply hide?  This is a subject I have spent Best Survival Cacheconsiderable time researching over the past several months.  My conclusions are not hard and fast, because I realize first and foremost that every member of the Survival Cache family has different survival prep priorities, goals and objectives.  Creating another survival cache of goods is not for every prepper.  And don’t be confused by my use of the terms secondary or intermediate, because I mean them to be interchangeable.

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

Why Create Other Cache Hides?

Here’s the scenario.  You work downtown in a medium or large city.  The commute is several miles from home and it takes up to an Best Way To Make A Survival Cachehour depending on the traffic congestion to get to your office or work site.  Your wife and kids work and go to school in the opposite direction.  By noon there is a report of severe weather coming in.  A glance out your office window reveals dark, ominous clouds rolling in your direction.  It is obvious the winds are picking up and it starts raining.  What do you do?

You call your wife and tell her to gather the kids and head to your predetermined secure Bug Out location, which is a rural farmhouse built to withstand nasty storms.  When you finally negotiate the traffic and arrive at your Bug Out locale, what have you done to prepare at that site for an extended stay?  Did you cache out the site?

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Scenario No.2 is different.  You live downwind only 40 miles from a chemical plant that has experienced a melt down.  You have been ordered to evacuate your home and you have zero time to pack anything.  The whole thing catches you off guard.  You gather your family, jump in the SUV and speed down the driveway praying you can find a motel somewhere down the highway in the safe zone.  The nearest town is another fifty miles down the road.  Perhaps you wish you had stashed a cache of supplies somewhere else away from your home just in case?  Maybe just a hidden plastic sealed vault with some emergency food, water, medicine, and some other supplies to carry you over.

Obviously we could create an endless number of “what if” SHTF scenarios in which the creation of a secondary supply cache would have proven extremely beneficial.  Questions arise about where, what, how much, how long, and such.  It seems as though some of these questions could prove quite problematic to having a secondary cache.  I guess the question will always remain just how practical it would be to build out a secondary supply hide.  For me, the tough issue would be setting aside critical supplies in a potentially vicarious location where expensive goods might deteriorate over time or be discovered by somebody else or even be gone when I needed it.

Some would say to cache out at a distant family or friend location where it would be secured.  Others advocate the extreme of burying it somewhere in the wilds hoping it will endure the natural elements.  All questions worthy of poised thought and planning.  But for the sake of consideration for proper prepper planning, let’s consider the possibilities.

The Cache Bag

Perhaps this could be considered nitpicking, but what if we created a smaller version of a Bug Out Bag that contained perhaps Best Way to Store Guns Undergroundsome of the same stuff, but in smaller emergency type quantities that we could cache in one or more locations for “on the run” situations.  This would be an intermediate grab and go bag on our way to a more permanent Bug Out location.

It is not to be kept at your fixed home living domicile, though I suppose it could be in the car trunk or in the back of the SUV.  The idea though is for it to be hidden out at an in between location from Home A and Bug Out Location C.  The Cache Bag is posted at Site B.  The location could be a friend’s garage, a known business location such as a warehouse of an associate, or the upstairs closet of an aunt somewhere along the travel route.  There could be multiple Cache Bags hidden at alternate routes all eventually leading to your final Bug Out hold out.

These supplies are meant to sustain you until you reach your final pre-planned destination during the SHTF.  This would differ from larger Bug Out Bags that would be intended for an extended starter supply bag once you traveled direct from your home or office to the Bug Out site.  This Bug Out Bag would be kept at home or in the vehicle if secure.  The Cache Bag idea is also not a substitute for well supplying your final Bug Out locale in advance.  I realize this is taking a fine line, but one principle of prepping is to remain flexible and to consider multiple options.  Frankly, we’ll never really know what options we have until we’re in the middle of it hitting the fan.

Packing a Cloaked Hideout Cache

One has to realize in this day and age that we could be displaced from our homes sometimes on very short notice as a result of any How to bury a survival cachenumber of circumstances such as the examples opening this treatise.  If we are away from our primary residence at that time, then we may realistically not have time to gather supplies or essentials for our evacuation or escape.  We may need gear, supplies and equipment hidden elsewhere either before we can get to our Bug Out site or as an alternative to that Bug Out site.

Such a cache is meant to be hidden long term and retrieved in the event of a SHTF.  As mentioned above there could be many options for hideout places.  You have to pick ones you are secure about and comfortable with.  What sort of goods should we plan to pack into a hideout cache?

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The list should be kept short, concise, and focused on essential needs.  One list might include some clothing items geared toward seasonal weather, everyday use toiletries such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, shampoo, a comb or brush, wet wipes, washcloth, small towel, some cash and coins, perhaps some candy, energy bars, and some water.  Consider a shelter top, tarp or heavy duty plastic leaf sacks.  Other items worthy of consideration to cache based on an assumption that your evacuation might be due to a natural disaster that could have possibly destroyed your home, neighborhood, or town and thus you could suffer the loss of critical items like important documents.

You might want to strongly consider copies of credit cards, essential keys such as duplicates for your vehicles and house, insurance papers, social security cards, banking information and account numbers, and critical personal files you might wish to copy onto a flash drive.  Any other personal important items as well perhaps birth certificates, legal papers, your will, home mortgage information and titles to your house and cars.  Pack a supply of any required medications and perhaps some over the counter items such as aspirin, Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, antacids, and any other items you may normally use on a regular basis.

All of these items could be cached securely in a 58-gallon molded survival barrel with a waterproof screw on top.  These containers are available from many sources and could be buried or just well hidden.  There are many other products out there as well to be used for caching supplies, gear, and goods for a long term storage plan.

Maybe What Not to Cache

Personally I am a bit squeamish about packing weaponry and ammo in an intermediate hideout cache.  I want that kind of gear Best Survival Cachewith me the entire time.  A few extra boxes of ammo maybe, but I’m not putting an AR or a pistol in a ground vault.  You may decide otherwise.  Check shelf life on food products you cache.  A number of MRE meal packs would be good and expected to last a while.  Store bought granola or energy bars may not last that long.  A few bags of purpose-driven survival food would work.  Again the idea (hopefully) is for this secondary cache to just tide you over in route.  You decide how many days of rations and supplies you want to hide out.

It is reasonable to consider that any SHTF escape plan could be interrupted, altered, compromised, or become a dead-end effort.  You may have initially worked out a plan to get from Home A to the final Bug Out site C in two days.  What if the roads are blocked, gangs or zombies are controlling or raiding points of exit.  It might take you to alternative routes and a much longer protracted scenario to reach safe haven.

Start setting seconds of gear, goods and supplies aside to build out your Cache Bag.  Keep focused on the idea that this is not your final destination so it is not imperative to put your best stuff in a secondary hideout location.  Save the best stuff for your more permanent Bug Out site.

I hope you guys can think of a cajillion (that’s more than a million!!) other things to put into a secondary cache.  We are counting on your thoughts to supplement ours.  Use our comments section to post your ideas and suggestions.  We are all in this together so please share your lists.

Photos By:
John Kercher

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