91 Gallon Gasoline Storage Project for Emergencies

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Preparedness is always about improving your foxhole, going from where you are to the next level bit by bit based on prioritization and available resources.  I currently have multiple 5 gallon containers on site which I cycle fuel storage through, but with three vehicles with a total tank capacity over 70 gallons plus two generators I need more improve my position.  We all store food, water, medical supplies and more but tend to neglect fuel which is a life source for many in times of need.  Granted unless one has a thousands of gallons on site it’s not a long term solution but for immediate needs when faced with natural disasters having a fuel source beyond that of the standard 5 gallon can be an enabler.  Here are a few factors that I considered when building my fuel storage plan.

  • Affordable (Less than $1k total).
  • Mobile, not buried in the ground.
  • Relatively easy to build, instead of buying a more expensive all inclusive option.
  • Minimum of 50 gallon storage capacity which does not require cycling through every few months.

My plan involves taking my existing 5×8 trailer which I bought from Lowes a number of years ago and adding a tank and pump to it.  This 91 gallon tank will weigh around 675 lbs full and that’s easily accomodated with the 1600lb trailer capacity, it will be a unit I can keep on the property or take with me if I need to go mobile.

The Trailer

 

The Fuel Tank

Concept

I plan on mounting this fuel storage container to my trailer, but only after laying wood down on the trailer to create a more sturdy surface.  This container will be able to provide a reasonable amount of fuel storage on site and will also be portable in case we have to bug out with multiple or even one vehicle.  In instances were gas stations are out of fuel or lines are long this would be a a huge advantage, along with having more storage on the trailer for other items.

Bottom Line

Self reliance is a massive advantage when it comes to preparedness, whether it be generating one’s own food or having a fuel source on hand.  While not the best solution possible this project will provide my family with some piece of mind knowing that we do not have to rely on local sources (in the short term) in times of need, and should the power go out for a few weeks at a time we will be able to run our generators with no problem.  Anyone else have a fuel storage plan or project?  Let me know!

 

Hurricane Irma: This is why we PREPARE.

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I’m preaching to the choir but it had to be stated.  If you take a look at what is going on right now in Florida it is a classic case of why preparedness should be a critical part of one’s life.  Folks are lined up around the block for bottled water that they will never get a chance to buy because the shelves are already empty, the next opportinuty to collect supplies probably coming when the National Guard sets up a distro point.

Long lines form at Costco in Florida as residents brace for Hurricane Irma. Image @ KITV Channel 4

Think about these components of preparedness and how they could apply in this situation.

Bugging In:  Having the necessisary supplies (food, water, even gasoline) on hand to stay in place for weeks even without power and without having to rely on outside sources.  Even if the water supply became unusuable for a period of time it would not be a major factor.

Bugging Out:  Having all of the necessary supplies to quickly displace, be self sufficient while on the move knowing that critical items were along for the ride.  Ability to move without having to stop to refuel until out of the danger area, secondary location already identified and ready / willing to accept visitors.

Security:  Understanding that in long term power down scenarios there will be no shortage of folks looking to take advantage of thin law enforcement coverage.  Having a security plan in place in order to address this.

First Aid: Folks could get hurt, not only having the equipment on hand (not just a first aid kit, but things like IFAKs, IV kits etc) but the training in order to employ these properly.

Communication:  Cell phone coverage most likely will go down, having a secondary and tertiary plan (HAM radio).

I could go on and on but the main point is this:  taking initiative and remaining proactive while times are good so that when the tough times come, the only difference is this is now a time for execution and not rehearsals.  I’ve stated this many times, if one is primarily prepping for EMP strikes and WW3 / Martial Law, priorities are misplaced!  The greatest threat all of us face come in the form of localized or even wide spread natural disasters.  Hurricanes, flooding, tornados, wildfires, earthquakes etc.  It’s too late for the folks who are just now lining up hoping to catch a case of bottled water at the grocery store but hopefully many will learn from this experience….sadly most will not.

 

Your Bugout / Survival Vehicle Achilles’ Heel

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I have a large truck, it’s capabilities are extensive.  I can haul people and gear with the full size cab and large bed, I can tow or even winch my way out (or others) of trouble.  The powerful V8, 6 inch lift and large tires have gotten me through all sorts of mud, deep snow and even difficult off road trails where airing the tires down was a necessity.  Large steel bumpers with beefy mounts on the front and rear not only improve the look of the truck but are much more sturdy than the standard plastic / thin aluminum near worthless bumpers that come standard on most trucks.  Yet with all of this, my truck has a major vulnerability that has showcased itself 3 times in the past year: flat tires.

Yes, I have a full size spare and the equipment to change it out but that takes time.  Also if you are on a slope or any sort of area that is not flat pavement it can be a huge challenge to jack up a lifted truck with all that weight.  The point being that all of our vehicles, to include those with run flats (yes, I’ve owned a car with run flats that actually caught a flat) have this similar vulnerability.  In a bugout or survuval situation, all the prep and planning can be stopped short by a simple roofer’s nail.  What if there is a fire, flooding or some other natural disaster and you have to make a quick exit and whoops…tire sensor comes on and now you are on the side of the road at a stop where every minute is precious.  You need to be able to recify this quickly in order to get moving, here are a few items that I have in my vehicle which can help with this.  You will notice some redundancy built in here, that’s intentional.

Slime Flat Tire Repair Kit:  All the basics to repair / seal flats with a small compressor to assist in airing up the tire.  Relatively cheap and good for most vehicles, easy to use.

ARB Tire Repair Kit:  I found that I needed a much more robust tire plug kit when I snapped the handle off of my cheap plastic kit trying to plug a tire.  Trying to ream and subsequently plug a 10 ply tire required the use of a rubber mallet and some force, better to have this kit on hand when the chips are down vs something of lesser quality which could (and probably would) fail.

Smittybilt  5.56 CFM Air Compressor:  This is my primary compressor and it is very powerful, easy to use and quite handy.  My wife messaged me via her satellite communicator that she had a flat tire (no cell service) a while back.  I hopped in the truck and went to her location, an obvious hole directly in the sidewall of her tire which was not repairable.  I looked at my watch and knew the tire shop was 15 minutes away and would be closing in about 25 minutes.  I had 10 minutes or less to make something happen, as we live in the moutains it is not like our options are that of those who live in the city or suburbs.  I quickly plugged the hole and pulled out the compressor, it aired the tire back up in seconds…we were on the road very quickly headed to the shop.

The Bottom Line

This isn’t a new topic and almost borders captain obvious territory, but I know everyone who has been driving for a while has caught a flat and there is never a convenient time for this to happen.  I would also guarantee that a few choice words accompanied the realization that a tire was flat, because it always sucks.  Folks in Houston had to evacuate under duress, I was discussing the possibility of having to evacuate our location if fire ever threatened.  In times like these calling for AAA, waiting for a tow or even taking the time to jack the car up and swap to a spare (that might be buried in the trunk under lots of gear or supplies) isn’t optimal.  Time is of the essence and having the right kit to deal with a flat quickly can make all the difference.  I’ll leave you with this with respect to a spare tire, should you need it…when was the last time you checked the psi on that bad boy?

 

The Danger of Too Much Preparedness

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I know a guy who entered into the prep world maybe 6 years ago, and boy did he ever. He absorbed every bit of information from all of the alt news websites and prep blogs, ran up his credit cards over the course of a year buying up stacks of supplies and guns and knew without a shadow of a doubt that SHTF would be happening in the next year (but surely not more than two). One year passed as he bought more storage food and other supplies, two years passed and then three. Fast forward to year five and he began selling his guns and preps as other priorities in his life came into play. Now 6 years later he is no better off than when he started and probably still has quite a bit of debt. Too much preparedness and not enough balance / perspective and this is what you get.

The story above is not dissimilar from many out there, folks who jump out of the gate at full speed gobbling up supplies and knowledge almost in the hopes that some sort of catestrophic event will take place in order to justify their actions.  In contrast if my body of work, in the form of many years of preparedness, results in no action take and dusty emergency supplies I’ll happily take it.  That would mean that my family never had to endure the hardships which I was preparing for, that I got it wrong and those who live their lives only worrying about the next day were right (or lucky).  Yet as demonstrated by the hurricane that is pounding the gulf coast as I type this and those who will be facing lengthened power outage / bugout situations, the need for balanced preparedness comes around more often than many like to acknowledge.

The Need for a Baseline

There are basic prep needs that are readily known to most in the community, some people probably meet these needs without even calling themselves preppers as most are/should be common sense.  While it won’t require one tuning into Alex Jones and maxing out the Visa card at the prepper convention, a certain mindset and acknowledgement that one could end up in at bind is necessary.  Those facing the aforementioned hurricane would have done good to have a few days of food and water, a decent first aid kit stocked with necessary meds and a vehicle with a full tank of gas / a few extra full gasoline cans.  Basic stuff.  Folks actually can go from zero to having a good baseline in one afternoon with a couple hundred bucks and a trip to Costco.

Analysis and Prioritization

This is where things get a little sticky and folks tend to go overboard.  What are you preparing for?  “Everything!  EMP, Nuclear War, Supervolcano, Martial Law, Drought, Stock Market Crash and ohbytheway that thing were the poles reverse.”  While I must admit there have been a few times where I got spun up (if you recall Ebola) for the most part I’d like to believe things remained practical with respect to preparedness around here.  Sure one can acknowledge the EMP threat and war game it, but to dwell on it seems like a waste of time and energy.  What we don’t want is to be like my friend where things spiral out of control and we get burned out in a sprint, disappointed and disollusioned when the big one doesn’t take place.  If you’ve been around this for a while and have checked some other blogs / alt news sites you can go back 10 years and without exception predicitons of calamity / collapse are in no short supply.    “There is no way we get through _______ (whatever year) without a major collapse and here are the key indicators!”  5 years later…

In order to avoid all of this it becomes essential to conduct an analysis of YOUR situation and prioritize accordingly.

  • What are the biggest high probability threats in your local area?
  • What resources do you have: Time, Money, Friends etc?
  • How can you mitigate the top 3 threats via 2 courses of action?
  • How can you monitor if those threats are going to manifest themselves?
  • What’s the 6 month, 1 year, 3 and 5 year plan to shore up things, acknowledging all at once is not an option?
  • Taking all of the above into account, is there a numbered checklist which prioritizes efforts toward the goal?

The above is just a sample I came up with but as an example, my threat list would include forest fires and being snowed in without power for a few days or weeks at time.  Flooding, hurricanes and tornadoes not so much.  Based on my threat analysis I would begin to prioritize and plan in case I had to take action..and on it goes.

The Long Game

I believe one of the shortfalls that we all can fall victim to is not taking account the long game and by that I mean years or even decades.  Unfornately there are those out there who want to justify their preps, hoping for an EMP to hit (yes, those morons exist) or some similar calamity to befall their area.  We need to play for the long game, constantly shoring up our preps / skills / relationships / resources over an extended period of time understanding that yes indeed at some point something could happen.  This is why preparedness should be a lifestyle and a balanced one at that.  Enjoy life, take the family out, don’t be afraid to travel beyond a 20 mile radius of the homestead.  The long play wins in this scenario and it probably always will.

The Bottom Line

All of this circles back to one thing: practical preparedness.  Once a baseline is established this is a race that the tortise is poised to win, not the hare.  Sound discipline, logic and a good plan of action are key in a successful preparedness journey.  Those who jump out of the gate and overload themselves with “I’m a prepper!” are only setting themselves up for disappointment.

 

4 Storage Food Mistakes You Might Be Making

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This past weekend my wife and I organized our storage / preparendess area.  We did this together so that we would both know where items of note where, instead of me just taking on the task and her having to dig for something in my absence.  We have various storage items sorted by category on heavy wooden shelving (or on the floor, example 55 gallon drums of water) and other items on commercial grade restaurant stainless steel shelving.  Mostly these are canned food items which are within easy reach, useful when making spaghetti and one is out of Ragu.

While organizing the stash we discussed where our current needs were, mostly this revolved around items we constantly use and did not have enough of. Various spices, cans of vegetables or even things like Nutella or bottled Mayo.  I think folks need to have these conversations and evaluate what their food storage situation is like, not just for some major SHTF event but a 2 week power down scenario.  The worst thing one can do is get online, drop a few grand and toss some food storage boxes in the corner just in case.  What follows are a few other potential mistakes folks might be making with respect to food storage.

Buying in Bulk

Don’t get me wrong, I too buy in bulk so let me narrow this down a bit.  For everyday items like the aforementioned can of corn, it’s nice to be able to go down and grab a can for the evening meal.  Yet if all you have are the giant bulk cans of corn, the type that would feed a family of 10 or would have to be tossed in the fridge for leftovers (for days) it might not be the best idea.  It is a bit more expensive to buy the smaller cans but that will ensure that you actually cycle through the food instead of looking at a giant can of yams and thinking, I’ll never eat all that (and moving along).

Not Layering Your Storage (Diversify)

I’ve preached this from the beginning, having various types of layered food storage.  You need items which are ready to eat with no prep at all, think MRE’s or even some canned food items.  These can also be easily transportable if the need arises for a quick bugout.  Next in line would be meals that must be prepped but are still easy to utilize, think Mountain House meal packs or similar, boil some water and you are in there.  A final option would be the large #10 cans where actually going through a decent amount of meal prep would be required.  Layering food storage allows for optimum flexibilty and that is a good thing.

Not Buying What You’ll Eat

There you are walking through the dollar store and cans of potted meat are on sale for 50 cents each, you buy $100 worth with the thought that if times ever get tough you won’t mind eating potted meat.  10 years later all those disgusting cans of potted meat are still sitting on a shelf with zero chance of being cycled through.  When it comes to our canned food storage we typicallly buy items that we can cycle through and eat on a regular basis, while I believe that canned food expiration dates are suggestions I’d like to keep things moving on a first in first out basis if at all possible.

Not Cycling Through Food

I sort of touched on this in the previous bullet point but for many of the items which are considered perishable, it’s important to cycle through them.  This evening we made some tuna salad with cans of tuna that expired 2 years ago, I feel perfectly confident that they will be fine but I might have been a bit overzealous in my tuna purchases originally.  The point is if you buy things you will not eat willingly you’ll end up wasting food as it essentially sits on a shelf and rots.  Cycle through it replacing with never items to keep things as fresh as possible.

The Bottom Line

Wait until the next big storm in your area and then go to the grocery store, watch the folks scramble to fill their carts and baskets with items that will probably only last their family another 3-5 days at best.  Having a good storage food cache on site at your location is a key component of prepardness, while building that stash try to avoid many of the mistakes listed above.

 

Prepper Website Founder Todd Sepulveda!

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Prepper Website Founder Todd Sepulveda! Host: James Walton “I Am Liberty” Listen in player below. There is something about a man alone with his mic that really makes me excited to podcast. I cannot help but enjoy the journey we take each week together. Every so often though I happen upon a guest that is … Continue reading Prepper Website Founder Todd Sepulveda!

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SHTF Gear Box Unvieled: $154 worth of stuff for $89

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Two bladed instruments which were in the box

I finally got around to opening the gear box from SHTFClub.com and was pleasantly surprised at the contents contained within.  Remember, this is a subscription program and there are three tiers:

  • Basic Plan: $19.99/mo
  • Pro Plan: $49.99
  • Elite Plan: $89.99

Originally I was a bit skeptical because after all, why would I pay to receive a box of unknown items when I could simply go to the store and do it myself.  The reason I believe is threefold.

1- Convenience.  Every month you’ll have a box arrive on your doorstep of items which adds to your stash, many of these items you probably would not get for yourself in the first place.  Additionally since you can cancel at any time, let’s say you don’t want to continue after 3 months it’s no problem.

2- It’s like Christmas, every time.  I’ll admit there was a part of me that enjoyed opening the box and then being surprised at what was contained within,  the crossbow pistol had the little boy inside of me ready to plink at trees all around the house.

3- You get more than you pay for.  I added up the individual retail cost for all items contained in the Elite ($89) box and came up with $154.  That’s a pretty decent savings if you ask me.

Full Contents of SHTFClub Box

Pictured above are all the contents of the box, what follows is a list of each and the retail price which I found online.

Cobra Crossbow: $32
S&W Field Watch: $22
M48 Sling Bag: $29
Survivor Knife: $14
Tomahawk Axe: $17
Splint: $10
UV Glostick: $6
Keychain: $5
FM 5-31: $13
Kale Seeds: $2
Wise Foods: $5

Total: $154

Some general thoughts about the contents of the kit are that while not  the most highspeed ever, almost all of it could be useful.  I’ll admit the crossbow is sort of a novelty item but the watch would make a great backup and the Sling Bag is already in my wife’s car as a replacement trauma kit bag.  Both blades are backup and not primary tools but the UV Glostick is something that I have used successfully in the past on backpacking trips, I’ll definitely strap it to the outside of my wife’s pack.

Over the shoulder bag

The real question is, do I think there is value in this program and would i continue to participate in it going forward?  The answer is yes, but I would have to see what the second and third box contained before deciding to move forward with the subscription, or maybe scale back to the Pro ($49) program.  If you are on a tight budget this might not be for you, but if you have a little bit to spend knowing that you will get more than you pay for I’d say give in a shot for a month or two.  I was pleasantly surprised at the contents of the box and I think you would be too.

 

The Complacent Phase vs Prepping When Times Are Good

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On the surface things seem to be moving along rather swimmingly.  The story line goes something like: improving economy / Dow trends / more jobs / less National Debt / and just a general feeling that things are going better, whatever that means.  I for one can appreciate that gasoline is not $4/gallon but that doesn’t make me any sort of expert.  A quick browse of the standard prepper-ish websites reveals mostly the same headlines that were there in 5-7 years ago, not so much on TV about prepping anymore because life is good.  It’s so easy to get complacent in times like these after all, Trump is Prez and he will make America great again….right?

Complacent:

adjective
1. pleased, especially with oneself or one’s merits, advantages, situation,etc., often without awareness of some potential danger or defect; self-satisfied:

It’s tough to prioritize prepping when there really doesn’t seem to be a sense of urgency.  Back in 2010 folks were snapping up a years worth of food for storage and plotting potential bugout locations if and when T-SHTF.  Now a new car in the drive might not necessarily be a bad thing, along with that trip to the Bahamas.  Previously prioritized preps (maybe a solar addition and gardening) are on the back burner and the discussions among friends about potential courses of action with respect to threats have all but subsided.  The planning and execution phase has been replaced by the complacent phase.

I believe there is a huge opportunity now to advance prep priorities while maintaining a good life balance and still enjoying the fruits of one’s labor (read: nothing wrong with vacation).  Here are a few reasons why.

  • The pressure isn’t there.  A few years back when people believed the sky was falling folks were scrambling to play catch up, tossing credit cards at preps and making poor decisions.
  • Demand is relatively low for whatever products / materials you might need or what to stock up on.  Ammunition, storage food, water storage devices, medical kits.
  • It’s ok to experiment.  Start that garden now and see just how difficult it can be to grow your own food, try planting various seeds to see if store bought perform better than those stored prepper seeds you have on a shelf in the basement.
  • Save Money.  Pretty self explanatory but needed to be mentioned.  If the job is paying more try to save more when times are good.

The above listed are just a few reasons why I believe that now is the time to take advantage of this lull in the action, calm before the storm if you will.  I’ve often quoted Mark Steyn when he stated (reference the economy): “Something that cannot go on forever, will stop.”  Any number of things could happen to disrupt this current state of relative calm which we are in and it might be next week, 2 years, 5 years and so on.  If you look at some of the major prep blogs out there folks in the comments section have been calling for a collapse based on evidence every year for the past 10 years….”surely 2010/11/12/13/14 is the year” they said.  Here we are in 2017 coasting along on what I believe to be ice that is thicker than others would imagine.  If it all comes crashing down at that point we’ll all have what we have and it will be the mad scramble once again.  Use this time wisely for surely, at some unknown point in the future things will not be so great.  The expanse and impact of whatever it is that will occur, maybe the economy contracting or even collapsing, is anyone’s best guess.

 

 

SHTF: High probability low impact vs Low probability high impact

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What are you preparing for and how do you prioritize accordingly?  There are some very real threats out but all of us are limited on time and resources.  Even the independently wealthy prepper with all the time and money in the world could not prepare for and mitigate risk for every potential disaster which exists in the world today.  With that in mind there must be a calculated balance, prepping for threats in a common sense way which does not over extend our resources or take up too much time (read: getting bogged down).

I see this two ways: High Probability / Low Impact vs Low Probability / High Impact.  Where you are in the world and you current state of readiness determines how you break the threats out and prepare for them.  A few examples follow.

High Probability / Low Impact

  • Bugout necessary because: forest fire, flooding, train wrecks and spills chemicals etc.
  • Storm causes power outage for a few days or even a couple weeks
  • Job loss
  • Stuck on the side of the highway broken down in winter storm
  • Droughts cause water shortages

Low Probability / High Impact

  • Supervolcano in Yellowstone erupts
  • Total financial collapse globally
  • Asteroid strike on earth
  • WW3 with nukes
  • EMP Strike destroys the grid

From the list above (and there are many more) you can see that “impact” to us is relative, you might think a job loss is tough but indeed it is relatively low impact compared to the Supervolcano erupting (especially if you are in the fallout zone).

I’m sure at some point most of us used to watch the OPSEC fail show Doomsday Preppers, where people would state which disaster they were preparing for.  Countless time and efforts were being poured into prepping for that one thing but what if that one thing never came to fruition?  What if all that time and money toward an underground bunker could have been redirected toward something(s) which would have a better impact to mitigate more plausible scenarios?  Granted there is some definite crossover with respect to preps but all of those hand crafted Faraday cages probably won’t come in handy as supplemental income if a job loss happens.

There are no guarantees with respect to preparedness.  You could be that guy with seemingly everything going right: community, preps, land, crops, animals, et al and that flood / fire comes through and wipes it all out.  With that in mind I think it is important to strive for excellence but also have the mental agility to be flexible, to adjust and prioritize as necessary in order to remain effective.  All of the items I listed above could happen so I’m not discounting any of them, yet as stated time and resources are limited so use them wisely.  Make your own high prob / low impact vs low prob / high impact list and plan accordingly.

 

Next Level Prepping: A Life Changing Event

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I sit and type this with a cool mountain breeze coming through the open door.  Only the sound of the keys clicking and birds chirping, along with the wind pushing the trees around ever so gently.  If I take a moment to glance up from the keyboard, as far as the eye can see and from left to right is National Forest.  No other houses in view, only God’s creation and the sun beaming down rather intensely.  I’m not sure if this is the perfect prepper paradise but for my wife and I it’s very close.

Let’s recap shall we.

I’ve always been one of those self reliant types but could never break the mold society had for the family.  Our last home was great but it was the typical suburban, strip mall a few miles away, totally reliant on the grid and surrounded by neighbors establishment.  I’ve always said that our (then) circumstances reflected the majority of preppers out there, you play the hand you were dealt and do the best with what you had. I believe that’s why this blog continued to be so popular, even when my own posts started to get few and far between.

The Present

If you’ve been reading along over the last year or so you’ll know that my wife and I made a cross country move.  It was a big leap of faith as we had been at our previous location over 12 years and had established roots.  Yet the desire to do something more and to finally do what we’d always discussed, to take the risk and let come what may.  Now we are here and it’s a very different life, one filled with challenges which we continue to learn from (and which I want to share with you all).  With respect to prepping in general I feel that this new life sets us up for success in ways we could not have imagined before, yet it’s also about a desire to generally break the mold which modern society has set for people.  Since moving here we’ve given away one TV and rarely turn on the other, my cell phone doesn’t ring because there is no signal.  The nearest store is a gas station and that’s 5 miles away, most of it being dirt roads winding down the side of a mountain.  We can’t order food, we can’t grab an Uber ride to go out, we can’t order PPV movies or stream Netflix because the Sat Internet is too slow, we can’t do many of the things that were available to us before but it’s been amazing stepping away from all that.

There are benefits that we are quickly discovering with this new life as well.  Our home is position in such a way that it is very secluded.  We do have a couple neighbors on our “street” (more like a trail with drop offs and various wildlife within view) but they are spread out and all very self sufficient.  Anyone that comes down toward the house either lives here or they had better be delivering a package.  My wife once said as we were looking at the place, “well if T-SHTF not too many folks will be coming up here.”  Absolutely.

There have been some lesson’s learned thus far and I’d like to share them with everyone, some might be able to relate or even provide tips as well.

Help is a long way away

  • Where we used to live there was State Patrol, Township Police, Sheriff, City Cops.  Now there is the local Sheriff and Deputies and a few remote fire stations, the nearest level 1 trauma center is over an hour away.  What does that mean:  be extra careful when doing things like splitting wood, cutting with miter or table saw, handling firearms, et al.  A call to 911 means someone could be here in…20-30 minutes?

You have what you have

  • This is a common phrase with respect to prepping in general, if the balloon goes up you’ll have what you have and make due with it.  Living out here in a relatively remote situation it has become evident in everyday life.  There is no running to the store to pick up that thing which was forgotten, a stockpile of most used items (toilet paper to coffee creamer and everything in between) is a reality now more than ever.

Community is key

  • I have met my two neighbors, which I’ll refer to them as even though they aren’t exactly close.  They are very handy and used to this life which is a great thing.  I was briefed on the importance of being ready to bugout in case of fires, it’s for real up here.  I should point out that I have always advocated that localized natural disasters are a more relevant reason to prep than wondering if an EMP strike will take out the grid (although that is still a possibility).

Wildlife is a very real consideration

  • I carry a gun every time I’m outside the home and it isn’t for people.  Maybe I’m a little paranoid but I have been warned that mountain lions have been spotted in the area, by that I mean next to my home.  I think awareness is key obviously but running around with the dog(s) you can never be too careful.  I’ve also been told that if the garage is left open, bears will be inside poking around.  Fantastic.

Communication plans are very important

  • This one is huge with respect to my wife and I and how we travel.  We have layers of communication which I’ll probably write about later, whether around the home (2 way radios) or going to and from (sat commo).  Cell phones just aren’t reliable and if one of us gets in a pinch we need to be able to reach out.

Nice to have is now essential to have

  • Backup generators come to mind immediately.  Getting snowed in with no power for a week or so is a very real possibility.  A winch on the truck is another item, I’ve already used it twice to recover stuck vehicles.  A third item would be a deep freezer full of various meat (in addition to all the other supplies) and the list goes on and on (trauma kits, air compressor, a cord of wood outside for the wood burning stove…)

New ways of doing things

  • Getting used to the wood burning stove has been a fun experience.  It will heat most of the house if done correctly using a fan.  Before anyone mentions it we have had it inspected and cleaned out, safety first!

Fitness

  • We live at almost 9000 ft elevation.  Simple things like splitting wood can become a challenge up here, even walking the dog over uneven terrain takes much more effort than it did at sea level.  While there is a “get used to it” component fitness is huge.

I’ll wrap it up and change gears for a bit.  Across our country for many life seems to be good right now.  People have become complacent once again and long forgotten the very real economic issues we faced less than 10 years ago.  Threats to our society are greater than ever and I would be lying if that did not factor into the decision to make the move we did.  If nothing happens and we simply enjoy the mountain life and learn to be more self reliant that’s fine with me.  Yet if any number of the threats that exist do materialize I’d like to believe we are better positioned to face them than where we were before.  It’s always about improving your “fighting position” and we continue to do so, I hope you will too.  More to follow as we continue on this journey.

 

4 Things Wrong With Your BugOut / Survival Bag

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I recently spent a few days out in the backcountry wilderness living out of my bag, miles away from the nearest town and long out of cell phone range.  It was myself and my dog hiking a few miles a day at over 10,000 feet in elevation, getting in touch with nature and evaluating some gear. When out in that sort of environment one figures out really quickly what is essential and what is fluff with respect to gear, what works and what doesn’t.  Since the bugout / survival bag is what we rely on to hold all of our essential equipment it stands to reason that this piece of kit should be near the top of the list with respect to how well it is taken care of.  Unfortunately that isn’t the case in many instances, so here are 4 things that might be wrong with your bugout / survival bag.

1- It hasn’t been unpacked in 6 months

Cooler temps are approaching so does the gear in your bag reflect that?  How long has it been since you completely emptied your bag, took and inventory and re-packed it?  Far too often gear is packed and then allowed to sit which means folks forget what is where and items often expire.

2- It doesn’t have hydration bladder pockets

Water is everything out in the wilderness and you must have a good way to not only carry it but access it while on the move.  Many good packs have built in hydration bladder pockets on the sides allowing for a 2 or 3 liter hydration bladder to be stuffed down in them.  Run the hose down over the shoulder and drink while on the move, hook up a mini sawyer in line water filter for drinking river/lake water.  The days of strapping canteens to a belt or the back of the pack are long gone for most, as there are much improved methods for carrying water.

3- The gear inside it has been chosen based on theory, not practical application.

Folks tend to buy gear based on other people’s opinions and there is nothing wrong with that, but has that gear been tested out in the field?  Has the tent actually been set up, fire starting material tested, stove been used to cook food?  Maybe there is a hatchet or other cool looking tool in there that is completely unnecessary, only way to find out is to get out there and test the gear.

4- It was purchased wholesale for $25 online.

It’s true, you get what you pay for.  To build a quality pack you need quality materials and folks who know what they are doing.  Time for design, R&D, manufacturing and advertising.  All of these things are built into the cost of the product (a good bag in this case) so that the company can remain profitable.  I know this seems like basic information but it stands to reason that a bag that runs $25 on the rack cannot possibly hold a candle to a pack that runs $350 or more.  The type of materials in the more expensive pack will be more durable, the zippers and fasteners will be better, the internal frame and shoulder straps will be much more comfortable and on it goes.  There are some good compromises out there which folks on a budget can look into but one must be careful when choosing a good bag.  Go cheap and by the time mile 5 arrives you’ll be sorry you did.

 

Split Operations: Separated from your home base.

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Home is where the heart is and for most of us where our preparedness stash is.  Should some localized or regional disaster (or worse) take place I’d like to think we would feel better about addressing that situation surrounded by what is familiar to us (read: having loads of preps and self sustaining infrastructure in place).  While this does not guarantee our safety or survival it truly is a best case scenario, the opposite end of that spectrum being 1000 miles away from your home with a paperclip and pack of bubble gum if T-SHTF.

There is a sobering reality to all of this and that is the fact that being in and around home base constantly is not practical for many.  Travel dictates that we need to be away from home and in some instances for months (or more) at a time.  That is what I will address in this post, running split operations with the reality that you just might not be able to get back to your home and family if something bad happens.

Here’s the Setup: Split Operations

I’ve lived apart from my home, preps, family for months at a time.  Usually work related, it means that we could be hours or even days away when it comes to drive time.  While I’d like to believe that if something bad were to take place I’d be able to drop what I was doing and rush to my wife’s side in a flash that is simply not the reality of the situation.  When living apart necessary steps must be put in place to ensure sustainability for the short and potentially long term.  What does that mean?  It’s like this, if the power goes out for two days because of storms have I set my wife up for success with our backup power situation?  What if a snow storm cuts power and access to basic necessities for 2 weeks, will she be able to get through it with minimal stress and discomfort because of preparedness steps previously put in place and rehearsed?  These are highly probable and relatively low impact events.  Yet what about a truly worst case scenario which would mean us hoping to reunite at some point but being forced to make it on our own in the near term?  Who truly knows how things would play out as there are so many variables but I have to be confident in the fact that I’ve done everything in my power to set both of us up for success.

Tips for Split Operations

Essentially this boils down to common sense and understanding that one cannot guarantee success for any given scenario, but putting measures (and backups) in place certainly increases one’s chances.  Below are some tips that I’ve come up with over time for running split operations.

90/10:  When I roll out I usually take the equivalent of 10% of my preps with me, leaving the majority back home with my wife.  Those preps that I have are usually what I’d need when mobile and once I get to my destination I can supplement by purchasing new.  This usually means snagging enough supplies to sit out a localized disaster for a few days or even weeks (at most).  Again the majority stays back home with my wife as she would need it, it’s not practical for me to haul around and should I be able to make it back to my place I’d want all my supplies waiting on site for me.

Rehearsals:  It’s one thing when I’m home and am able to do most of the heavy lifting but what about when I’m not?  This is not to say that my wife isn’t perfectly capable of doing some hard labor but let’s face it, I’ve spent more time doing it and she doesn’t mind that.  A perfect example would be when I was almost 1000 miles away and a storm hit knocking power out.  We had rehearsed the procedure for moving the generator out, hooking it up, starting it using the choke and fuel shutoff valve and operating the transfer switch.  When the time came she was able to accomplish this task and all was good.  Had we not rehearsed it the task would have been exceedingly more difficult I’m sure.

Worst Case:  In a worst case scenario it’s understood that we’ll simply have to make due in our own set of circumstances.  That is a reality that many fail to acknowledge and as such they never prepare for it.

The Bottom Line

There are folks out there who haven’t spent so much as a weekend away from their spouse or kids, I am not one of them.  If you are like me and travel for work or have to live away from your family for months at a time because of other circumstances put some thought in to your split operations plan.  Set yourself and those left behind up for success with the understanding that you might not always be there for them.

 

Smart Prepper’s Guide to choosing the Best Tactical Boots

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By: JM @ Sole Labz

Smart prepper’s guide to choosing the best tactical boots

Navy Seals have a saying: “There are two ways of doing things, the right way, and again”. Smart preppers know, however, that SHTF scenarios leave no room for do-overs.

Your top sidekick in all-hell-broke-loose scenarios is a good pair of tactical boots. Call me crazy, but you’re only as strong as your feet in a bug out situation. Better make those two soles and a bit of leather count since all of your agility, speed and overall performance will depend on them.

War, hiking, army and people concept - close up of soldier's foot in army boot

War, hiking, army and people concept – close up of soldier’s foot in army boot

Being on your toes equals being ready, like a racer itching for that gun to go off. It means you’ll have a proper response no matter what happens, and that’s what prepping is all about for me.

Your feet are a crucial bug-out tool

Benjamin Franklin said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

As I see it, a large part of prepping IS preventing. Not to mention there is no “cure” when bad times catch you with your pants down.

Bottom line – no matter how good of your bug out plan is and how safe your potential refuge is if your feet can’t take you there. So, let’s make sure that doesn’t happen.

What to look for

Good tactical boots should keep all feet maladies at bay (blisters, plantar fasciitis, sore spots…); protect you from the elements, the surrounding terrain and possible toxic spills. They should feel like second a skin whether you’re darting through a concrete city labyrinth or taking a slow rural hike to your shelter for bugging out.

Most importantly, they must be a good fit to your scenarios, so what we’ll do in this guide is go through the types of tactical boot and analyze the potential scenarios and surroundings it’s right for.

Human foot pain with the anatomy of a skeleton foot

Human foot pain with the anatomy of a skeleton foot

With those criteria in place, we can tackle tactical boot types and situations they “live for”.

Let your tactical boots “rise to the occasion”

Military or tactical boots have gone a long way from combat hotspots around the globe to civilian feet.

Well known for their rugged build, they offer superb protection without sacrificing the functionality. They were made to fit the needs of soldiers/marines in terms of war and that speaks volumes about why they should be one of the paramount of your bug out plans.

Let’s go over basic types…

Standard issue tactical boots

This combat boot is manufactured from waterproof, hardened leather. It’s designed for extra ankle and foot stability on the nasty terrain, encountered often during training or combat. They also offer good foot protection and grip.

Image3_standard_issue_boot

The first known combat boot comes from foot soldiers of Ancient Rome. Their hobnail boots were named caligae.

In the USA, infantry regiments of the war of 1812 wore calf-high combat boots. Until American Civil War, ankle-high boots made of lasts were issued. There was no left or right boot, rather, they molded to the feet of the wearer over time. Needless to say, they were a pain to wear. Jeff Davis boots were introduced in 1858, and that’s where our story really begins.

These would be your jack-of-all-trades among tac boots. They’ll do just fine if your main concern is dreadful terrain standing between you and safety.

Jump boots

Standard gear for airborne forces and paratroopers, they were first introduced during WW2.

The US Original M1942 “Parachute Jumper” featured reinforced, rigid toe caps and extended lacing. This was aimed at providing better support for toes and ankles during rough landings. They’re often laced in cobweb or ladder style for even more ankle support.

Image4_jump_boot

They were developed simultaneously in numerous countries, but as far as the USA goes, it all starts with William P. Yarborough. He designed them for 501st Parachute Test Battalion in 1941.

As far as prepping goes, these will offer excellent protection from rugged, uneven terrains that’ll cause you to jump constantly from one area to the next. They’ll be lifesavers if your bug out includes a parachute jump and terrible if you take off on a longer march. They are heavier and less flexible than standard issue, especially if they’re cold or still breaking in.

Tanker boots

They saw mass production back when George S. Patton was still a captain.

Their main thing is using straps instead of laces. That made sure nothing will get caught into the moving parts of the machinery. It also comes handy when you’re sprawling through dense bushes or area filled with tree roots and branches.

Image5_tanker_boot

They’re almost fireproof, so if high temperatures are a part of the scenario… The material is leather, so toxic chemicals won’t reach your feet in case of a spill.

They feature gusseted tongue, so no debris will get inside. Steel toe guards are also there for extra protection paired with steel or plastic guards for shank and heel. Metal inserts are in the sole ensuring perfect pierce resistance.

Tactical boots for extreme weather

War is always about location, reaction time and preparedness. Here are some combat boots that’ll give you an upper hand when temperatures go sky-high or sub-zero.

Jungle Boots – Made before WW2 in Panama. They weigh aprox. 3lbs and were designed for optimal drainage while keeping insects, sand and mud out. They don’t keep the water out but drain it through the eyelets and dry up really fast afterward.

They saw the battlegrounds of WW2, Vietnam, 1st Indochina war, Operations Iraqi Freedom, Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom…

Image6_jungle_boots

So, if you’re running for your life through jungle-like areas, these are your ticket out. They’ll also do nicely in cold weather since you’ll be insulated from the ground by breathable insoles.

Desert boots – An improvement on Saudi Arabia recipe made by Norman Schwarzkopf.

They are made of rough suede and feature nylon siding and laces. The thread pattern is Panama-styled. There are no steel plates or drainage vents, which prevents heat retaining and sand from getting in.

Image7_desert_boots

Iraq and Afghanistan come to mind as perfect examples where US forces used these.

They’ll keep you running in high temperatures without much maintenance. Bottom line, if desert or some tropical areas are your bug out chess board, these are the way to go.

Military boots for extreme cold- There’s not a single positive way cold weather affects our feet. Plenty of negative ones, though.

This is where we want proper insulation provided by GoreTex. It’s a waterproof Teflon-coated membrane with microscopic pores for breathability.

They can also feature insulating layers made of wool, rubber or felt, depending on the model and purpose.

Let’s wrap up this run down of tactical boots

I learned a long time ago that ill-preparedness always gives birth to despair once the disaster strikes; it doesn’t care whether you’re counting on it or not or whether you’re ready or not. It just happens.

I’ll leave you with one of the great truths of life: “Unspectacular preparation is always followed by spectacular achievements”.

Stay safe

 

2016 Predictions

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted but thought to come back strong with some 2016 predictions.  Let me know what you think!

1- There will be no economic collapse.  The stock market will not crash, at least not in 2016.

2- Hillary will be president.  Read that again.  Hillary will be president and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.  She has been anointed by TPTB and quite frankly I believe that none of our votes matter, the whole thing is an exercise in futility (read: sham, rigged, smoke and mirrors).  She will advance the agenda, not of the people but of those who are truly in charge.  I should note it is my personal belief that all of the other candidates are assholes and would do no better.  If I am wrong and Trump / Cruz et al gets “elected” we are equally as screwed.  Trump is an elitist D bag of the highest order and if you think he gives a damn about you…

3- Gun Control will move forward slightly and then gain even more traction.  The current President will do what he can with Exec action which probably won’t amount to much, but after bullet point # 2 happens….

4- A run on all things guns and ammo, believe it.  If you don’t have it stock up now, you have been warned.  Once she is elected guns and ammo will fly off the shelves like nothing any of us have ever seen before.

5- Terror attacks.  I hate to say it and I don’t want to believe it but the reality is we as a nation are vulnerable.  Look for more terror attacks by assholes screaming about their god in 2016.

6- People like you and I will take the above into consideration but continue to prep wisely and in moderation.

Any thought to add, leave them in the comment section below.

 

PRACTICAL TACTICAL NAMED A ‘TOP PREPPING RESOURCES’ WEBSITE

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BEST 250 PREPPER WEBSITE

Talk about a wonderful way to start the day…..

I woke up to an email this morning to find out that Happy To Survive has named Practical Tactical among the top 250 prepper websites with top prepping resources on the interwebs.  This marks the second time we have been ranked among the best in the business when it comes to helping you and yours become more prepared for whatever may come down the road.  We are especially proud of being included in this group as we are rubbing shoulders with some of the folks that we consider to be the very best at what they do, which is helping others increase their level of preparedness and personal resilience like Peak Prosperity, Resilience, Willow Haven Outdoor, James Wesley Rawles Survival Blog and Prepper Website just to name a few.

 

This recognition means so much to us for a number of reasons, but mostly because it gets right to the heart of what we strive to make Practical Tactical all about….helping others become more prepared and resilient in their every day lives.  Our work with Practical Tactical is not a full time deal.  My wife (and partner in the venture) and myself both maintain full time jobs, raise our baby girl, as well as entertain our vast number of other interests that make our life experience worth living and for us that is the key to preparedness.  Prepping does not have to take over your life or darken your outlook on the world.  Rather, we hope to show you that being prepared is something anyone can do and that it, in fact, frees you from the stresses of worrying over the circumstance that you are NOT prepared and allows you to get out there and enjoy all that this wonderful life has to offer.  The list states that it is cobbled together in no particular order, but just to be included among such a fine group of individuals and projects is a wonderful honor in itself.

 

You can find the complete list here.

 

 

 

 

Politics and Preppers Podcast Episode 51

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The TrackingPoint AR Series Precision Guided Firearm. A Prepper gun you might ask? Not in my opinion, it just cost way to much $9500 is what I found but I’m not sure the average Prepper can even get one. Impressive weapon yes but at that price it just cost to … Continue reading