Will the Federal Government Be Our Worst Enemy When the SHTF?

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Some are convinced the Feds will be, and some are convinced they already are an institution to be feared by its citizens. In part the fear is based on an executive order signed March 16, 2012, by then President Obama, titled National Defense Resources Preparedness. The order falls in line with the Defense Production Act […]

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Wild Edibles Wednesday: Broadleaf Plantain

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 Wild Edibles Wednesday: Broadleaf Plantain Peek out your window right now. Look at the grass or undisturbed areas in your yard. You will see the broadleaf plantain. Its everywhere. Don’t confuse this wild edible for the banana looking plantain of South American cookery. This wild edible is actually much more effective a plant. This article …

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What Preppers Are REALLY Getting Ready For

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 What Preppers Are REALLY Getting Ready For This article is a great, no nonsense, look at the goals of prepping. I find that there are a number of conflated situations that we prepare for but as the author states, ‘we are all just preparing for an interruption in the day-to-day life we’re used to.’ This is …

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Hiding Out: The Real World Value of Hide and Seek as a Kid or an Adult

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Hiding Out: The Real World Value of Hide and Seek as a Kid or an Adult Its always nice to see an article that tells you fun things are the right things to do. This article comes from a great source and one of my favorites to read lately. Of course, this article isn’t all …

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Finding Order in the Middle of a Disaster

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Finding Order in the Middle of a Disaster If you can keep your sense in the event of a disaster you will have a leg up on much of the competition. Its important that you do your very best to remain calm and that sorta thing. Still, the only way to truly remain calm is …

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MegaCities: The Future of Combat (Time to Move now!)

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 MegaCities: The Future of Combat (Time to Move now!) Some are funny and some are informative and some articles are just plain creepy. This is one such article. The title will make cringe and the video included will make your hair stand on end. What’s so unnerving about this article is its source. You see, …

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Pegroll: the Foldable Tool Oraganiser

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Pegroll: the Foldable Tool Oraganiser I cant imagine a single prepper or survivalist on the planet that wont fall in love with this tool pegroll. The design is fully customizable and can be made to fit any size effort. When I happened upon the article the first thing that came to mind was: BUGOUT BAG. …

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7 Collapsible Weapons: Packable Weapons for Your Bug Out Bag

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7 Collapsible Weapons: Packable Weapons for Your Bug Out Bag Weapons that disassemble or collapse are even more useful for bug out bags. Where every amount of space and weight matters, collapsible weapons can give you the opportunity to hunt and defend yourself as you could with a larger weapon. Not only do they take up …

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6 Comebacks To People Who Call You Crazy For Prepping

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6 Comebacks To People Who Call You Crazy For Prepping If you’re a prepper, then at some point–whether in person or online–someone is going to call you crazy for prepping. They might not use the word “crazy” and instead opt for words like “paranoid” and “conspiracy theorist”, but the meaning is the same. To them, …

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How To Make Dead Batteries Last 8 Times Longer

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How To Make Dead Batteries Last 8 Times Longer This is truely a revolutionary product. This little device could see you through power outages and even save your bacon if you are without a battery charger! Most new batteries contain 1.5V of energy when first bought. The problem is that many devices stop functioning at around …

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Emergency Cell Phone For Bug Out Bag or Car Kit

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Emergency Cell Phone For Bug Out Bag or Car Kit Freed from the need of power outlets, you can use the amazing AA battery-powered SpareOne anywhere within range of a GSM cell tower. Even without a SIM card, SpareOne has one-button emergency dialing (911, etc.), and can be geo-located in an emergency. Waterproof bag is floatable and …

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Build Your Own Earthquake Survival Kit

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

According to the USGS, Each year the southern California area has about 10,000 earthquakes. Most of them are so small that they are not felt. Only several hundred are greater than magnitude 3.0, and only about 15-20 are greater than magnitude 4.0. If there is a large earthquake, however, the aftershock sequence will produce many more earthquakes of all magnitudes for many months. Scientists have not found a way to predict earthquakes and earthquakes have a nasty habit of occurring where a lot of people are living.

Just look at the image at the top of the page. Most of the western coast of North America is covered in earthquake activity. We don’t really doubt that if a big earthquake happens, our lives will be disrupted, but outside of the usual power outages and water main breaks, assuming our house hasn’t caved in, what other situations could we be looking at?

Earthquakes are probably the single most destructive force on the planet when you factor in damage caused by Tsunamis and the earthquake itself. In a serious quake, services such as power, water, communication, emergency response, gas, transportation could all be wiped out in a matter of a few terrifying seconds. If you live in one of those areas above with all the white circles, you have undoubtedly considered what you would do if an earthquake happens, but what do you need to plan for after the earthquake? I put together this earthquake survival list for those preppers who want to put a bag together and prepare for the possibility that their entire world comes crumbling down around them.

What do I do after an earthquake?

Before we get into the earthquake survival kit itself, you must first make sure everything is OK in the immediate minutes after the shock-waves have stopped.

  • The initial shock-waves may only be the first of many that could still cause injuries. Expect aftershocks and use the time between instances to get to a safer place. If you are anywhere near the coast, Tsunamis could occur so immediately seek higher ground.
  • Check your family or group for injuries and move injured people to a safe location.
  • Make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing, footwear and protection for your hands if there is a lot of debris.
  • Make sure any fires are extinguished as quickly as possible.
  • Check radios for extent of the damage and any emergency notifications.
  • You should already have stored water, but if not and the water is still working, it may make sense to fill your bathtubs (providing your house is safe) to use the water for hygiene if the water is cut off.
  • Stay away from power lines and out of damaged buildings as much as possible.
  • Contact your loved ones if possible and let them know you are OK.
  • Go to your prearranged rally point if you are able to do this.

 

Earthquake Survival Kit List

You may be asking how an earthquake survival list is any different from say a Bug Out Bag. For many it may not be much different as we are addressing the same basic needs we all have as humans for survival. The contents of your earthquake survival kit can be stored in a backpack which could make transporting it simpler. Optionally, you could store all this gear somewhere in your home, but with that you risk not being able to retrieve it potentially if the neighbors garage falls on top of your storage area.

A sturdy Backpack will give you the greatest flexibility with mobility. If the situation is so bad that your home or location is unlivable, you may have to make it to a safer location. I like something like the Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG because it is so light and holds so much. It was a major relief on my last backpacking trip, you can get much cheaper backpacks though like the TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack – It’s a third of the price.

Food

  • I always recommend freeze-dried food for situations like this over something like canned food. It’s just lighter and only needs water for preparation. I go with higher-calorie options like Mountain House Chili Mac or Lasagna. Is this super healthy? Nope, but it’s light and will keep you going. Plus, you don’t need to bring along any bowls or plates – just eat right out of the bag. Bring enough for 5 days. You should augment with energy bars. You don’t have room to carry a month’s supply but you don’t know when the McDonalds is going to be back in business.
  • Cook Stove – Yes, you could just start a fire, but a good camping stove is light, relatively cheap and much simpler. For the burner, I purchased an Etekcity Ultralight Portable Outdoor Backpacking stove for my last trip. This replaced my JetBoil Cooking System and I was very happy with the results. The Etekcity is only $10 and folds down to about the size of two decks of playing cards. I am seriously considering purchasing 5 of these and throwing each one in the bug out bags that are in the car to replace current gear. Just screw this to your fuel canister – which I used my JetBoil 230g canister – turn on the gas, light it and you are in business. It even has little feet to sit your pot on.
  • Cook Pot – It’s much easier to boil water in a pot so I would throw my stove into a TOAKS Titanium pot. Super light and you can use this over a fire if needed.
  • Can Opener – I have a can opener on my Leatherman Wave(along with 16 other tools), but you can save a lot of weight and cost by purchasing a few P38 Can openers. You can get them on Amazon, but if you are ever near an Army Navy Surplus store, just run in. They are much cheaper.
  • Aluminum Foil – This can be used to grab hot surfaces or act as a cooking surface itself. Wrap food up in aluminum foil, set it near the fire for a little while, or even on top of your cook stove and give it a few minutes.

Water

  • Water Filter – There are so many water filtration options out there. I recommend a larger Platypus GravityWorks because it has no mechanical parts and will filter a lot of water quickly with not much effort. Optionally, the Saywer Mini is a great alternative. It’s smaller, but much more compact and the cost is much more reasonable for those preppers trying to save money. If you are only considering yourself, the Sawyer would be OK. For larger groups you need more capacity so I would go with a larger option like the Gravityworks.
  • Something to carry your water in. I have two options and it just depends on which I would rather pack in the bag. A BPE Free Nalgene is a great, relatively cheap, lightweight option. Optionally, you could just use any old plastic water bottle you find in the trash (wash it out first). You could go with a stainless-steel water bottle, which would be great if you needed to boil water, but you can use the TOAKS cook pot above for that. You don’t want to carry your water in the TOAKS though, so I recommend something with a lid. The Platypus has an adaptor that screws right onto any wide-mouth Nalgene bottles.

Shelter

  • Clothing – Bring a change of clothes and two pair of socks. Good walking shoes should be on your feet. Depending on weather – Hat and Gloves
  • Poncho and liner – This can double as shelter if you rig your poncho up as a shelter and with the liner will keep you warm. Or it makes a good pillow.
  • Emergency BIvvy – If I leave this off the list, someone is going to complain. I like these better than the simple mylar blankets, but if you already have those, use them.

Security

  • Concealed Carry Firearm – All things being equal, I prefer to carry a firearm if I am forced to defend myself. Your mileage may vary. Carrying while wearing a backpack is a little tougher concealed and you might be tempted to run that drop-leg holster but I would seriously consider whether or not you want to advertise you are armed in a crisis like this.
  • A good full-tang knife – Assume you already have a knife on you but a sturdier option would be better in this situation. I have the Gerber LMF II, but you can get a nice KA-BAR and save $10.
  • Shotgun – As a backup, I would have a shotgun if I didn’t have a better option. Shotguns are cheaper and easily deployed in a violent situation to serious effect.
  • Taser/Pepper Spray – For those who can’t or won’t carry a firearm, you can still protect yourself in many ways. Tasers are a good fall back, lightweight – non lethal, but you have to physically touch the person you don’t want to touch you. Pepper Spray is less effective but can still buy you time.
  • Axe Handle – When all else fails, you may have to go Babe Ruth on someone’s cranium. Swing harder than you ever think it would take to knock someone out.

Miscellaneous Gear and Supplies

  • Cash – ATM’s, Banks, Credit Card readers will all be out of commission for some period after the earthquake. Cash is still relatively easy to carry and store even in higher amounts. Diversify where you have your money (put some in each pocket and hide more somewhere else) so if you are pulling it out, nobody will see the whole wad.
  • Ham Radio – Tons of information about the superiority of Ham radio in a disaster if you want to read this post.
  • Backup ID, copies of Tax documents or bills proving your address.
  • First Aid – There are so many first aid kits out there. You can choose between something more for Boo Boos or go to the other extreme and build your own IFAK.
  • Spare Glasses – You could bring contacts, but I find that glasses irritate my eyes much less and are better in a pinch if there are eye irritants or injury.

Hygiene

  • Toilet Paper
  • Baby Wipes
  • Hand Sanitizer

There are the basic items in an Earthquake survival kit that will give you an advantage if you ever find yourself riding out one in your life. These are just the most basic items I think could give you comfort in times of great crisis. There are always other items you could add.

What would you bring with you?

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Why You Need a Survival Drone

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Why You Need a Survival Drone I am finding lots of solutions in tech lately. I think as preppers and survivalists its our duty to maintain survival skills, bush craft and master the natural world. Still, we cannot pretend like technology will not help us out with all of that. Tech should definitely be a …

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Carry Firearms and Gear – What I Recommend and Why…

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Carry Firearms and Gear – What I Recommend and Why… We have taken in a lot of people over the last decade. We have saved a lot of people from the hellholes of the world. For these actions we are not rewarded. Instead, we had to bring in some of the most horrific members of …

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Paul Craig Roberts Rages “Are You Ready To Die?”

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 Paul Craig Roberts Rages “Are You Ready To Die?” The failings in Washington on foreign policy are adding up. There is no getting around it. We were all worried about foreign relations going forward as things heated up in North Korea, Syria and Russia. Its a terrifying thing. This article details a statement made by …

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Surviving When SHTF – How To Tell When People Are Lying To You

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Surviving When SHTF – How To Tell When People Are Lying To You Trust is hard to find these days when everyone is competing in the rat race. Imagine how it would be when the brown stuff hits the fan. You would have a hard time separating friends from enemies when survival is at stake. …

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Aquaponics- Growing Food with Fish

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Aquaponics- Growing Food with Fish We often get much of our aquaponics information from first hand users that enjoy the benefits of this method of growing food and fish everyday. That is a great source. There is an incredible cohesive relationship between the fish and the plants in a well run system. Imagine producing fish …

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9 Firearm Training Tips to Help You Survive a Deadly Encounter

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9 Firearm Training Tips to Help You Survive a Deadly Encounter We all have guns. Its one of those things that is high on the prepper and survivalists lists. You feel a strange sort of protection just by having a gun. Though you may not have the slightest idea how to use it. The truth …

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A Prepper Looks Back – 10 Years of Prepping Lessons

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Cliché alert!!! – Someone once said (don’t really care enough to google who) that “You should only look back to see how far you have come”. A lot of what we do in the world of prepping is a comparison and contrast. We look at what the guy writing the blog has and turn to look at our own survival preps and judge some of our worthiness/readiness on how we add up. It’s a different take on keeping up with the Joneses but I think most of us still look to others as a yardstick to see how we measure up.

I know that I certainly looked at the stated supplies of others when I first began to get into prepping and maybe that is a natural trait of us humans – some extension of our social or survival instincts. Imagine a caveman walking around and he sees his buddy walking around with a new saber tooth tiger pelt wrapped around his hairy butt and thinks to himself, ‘hey, I could use one of those’. Then somebody thought of putting Molle pouches on that pelt to hold the caveman’s fire making stones and Boom, the survival market was born.

And maybe there is nothing wrong with comparing yourself to other people, at least as long as you don’t feel inferior if you don’t have what someone has or covet what they have in order to take it from them. I personally see gear I would like to have all the time and have since I started prepping, but I don’t compare myself to other preppers as much anymore. I don’t feel like I have anything to prove when I discuss my personal preps. Maybe it’s because I know you can never win that game.

Lessons from a Prepper

I thought of this topic today, like I do so many other topics in a completely random fashion. Sometimes I have to ponder several hours or days for an idea. Other times, like today, they just pop into my head walking down the hallway. I thought that maybe it might be of some value to share some prepping lessons that I have learned in my personal preparedness journey that hits 10 years old this year. It is my hope that some of these lessons will resonate with you and give you comfort, ease any disquiet you have or maybe a laugh. If all else fails, you can look at how silly I am and feel better about yourself. Caveman!

The world is not ending tomorrow

Preppers and survivalists (small S) come to this site and the subject of Preparedness/Self-Reliance for a lot of reasons, but I will propose that most reasons for prepping have Fear at their root. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t consider fear a bad thing at all. We are given the gift of fear so that we will be cautious when we need to. We have a sense of danger that warns us and I have relied quite successfully on this many times in our life. I prepare because I don’t want bad things to happen to my family. Now, that doesn’t mean I walk around scared but it did prompt me to action. You should take whatever motivation you have and act on it, but relax more often that you are uptight. I lived with the near certain expectation of doomsday, economic collapse or government tyranny for the first few years and guess what? We are still here. Don’t get so wrapped around the axle that you alienate family or make bad decisions. Chances are you have plenty of time to get ready.

Unless it does

But, now that I have said that – it’s easy to fall into Analysis Paralysis. For those who don’t know what that means, it is taking too long to make a decision or take decisive action. You have to poop or get off the pot. I know some preppers who have made extremely lengthy and detailed spreadsheets with tabs broken down in all the categories of their prepping supplies – hundreds of rows long. They have calculated the difference from one item to the next in price (shipping included) over 4 vendors. What’s worse is they keep this spreadsheet updated frequently but never purchase any of those prepping supplies. They know what they need to start with, but can’t seem to pull the trigger. The prepper that has nothing but a really great plan won’t be much better off than the person who is caught completely by surprise in a disaster. I recommend starting small, but obtain the basics you need to weather bad events and build as you can. You don’t have to purchase 3 years of freeze-dried food on day one, but don’t sit there and wait for that awesome survival knife to drop another 55 cents. You need to ensure you have the basics.

‘Two is One’ is a clever saying to get you to spend more money

And since we are talking about purchasing prepper supplies – you have all heard this one before: Two is One and One is None. That just means if you only have one of something, let’s say a headlamp, and that goes out or is lost, you have nothing to fall back on. Logic says, that makes sense, right? Redundancy is another word we love to throw out there which means essentially the same thing and I am not saying you don’t need redundancy, or even more than one headlamp. What I am saying is that you shouldn’t apply this to your bug out gear. I have a YouTuber that I really like who shall remain anonymous, but his bug out bag weighs 65 pounds!!! Why? Well, for one thing he has A LOT of redundancy in there. Many knives, saws, clothes, methods of food preparation, etc. Use your judgment on this.

Your Bug Out Bag does not have magical properties

And speaking of Bug Out Bags, they are not a get out of disaster free card. A bug out bag in a best case scenario just gives you options. Simply having a bug out bag doesn’t mean you get to live and everyone who doesn’t have one dies. I fully expect many preppers to have their bug out bags taken off their lifeless bodies because they got cocky, or just unlucky by some opportunistic soul if the worst happens. Bug Out Bags are a means to an end, not the end all be all. Prepare with them, but take their life-saving properties with a grain of salt. They can only hold so much and real disasters suck no matter what you have on your back.

You will never have enough stuff

I wrote a post a while back titled, Are you Ready for the End of Prepping. It’s basic message was that no matter how much water you have stored, how many pallets of MRE’s, tins of survival seeds or cans of Beanie Weenies you have stocked under your bed – eventually it all runs out. If we really go through a real-deal SHTF incident, your supplies are only going to last so long – so the smart money is on planning now to live without all your food storage, electrical tools, generators and anything else you won’t be able to maintain without the assistance of outside help. Yes, start prepping with the basics you can purchase at the store. Begin with a week, but I don’t think you need to sink a year’s salary into food. Start planning a garden instead or look at taking that money and buying a piece of land far outside of the city.

Prior military service doesn’t necessarily make you better qualified to survive

And this is coming from someone who is ex-Army. Yes, when you enlist in the service you get different types of training and much of this has ties into the world of prepping. Depending on the Service Branch, you learn marksmanship, weapons maintenance, team tactics, first-aid, navigation and how to generally break stuff and blow it up. That doesn’t make you a survival expert and doesn’t make you a natural leader. I know some preppers who like to lean on their past service and we aren’t all created equal. Would you give someone who never saw combat the same authority on ambush tactics for example as someone who did 4 tours of Afghanistan? No. But on the flip side, that soldier that did 4 tours (thank you) might not survive any easier than the single mom who is prepared. Different skill set? Absolutely, but that doesn’t guarantee survival or that they know everything. Now, would I love to have 4 Navy seals in my personal circle of friends if SHTF? Of course, but don’t believe for a second that you can’t survive because you have now “official” training. Personal will is a HUGE factor in survival. If you have that, you are in good shape.

Plan on self-reliance, but don’t turn away help

The Lone Gunman is the image a lot of you think of if some disaster happens. You will walk stoically out to the small clearing overlooking the smoldering ruins that used to be the city you live in, taking in the scenery you will turn and walk into the bush – those fools didn’t know what hit them. It’s a good movie plot, but as a society we survived by banding together. Yes, you can survive on your own for a while, but in order to thrive you will need others and it’s better to learn to start playing nice now. Think about how you can survive with as many people as possible. You will be stronger, more capable and you will have more people to talk to when the internet is gone.

You will never know as much as you should and maybe that’s OK.

If I was independently wealthy and didn’t have a wife or kids, or a dog I could devote myself to learning every day. There are so many subjects I wish I had the time to learn. Maybe it’s an excuse, but with a job and simple responsibilities of mine, free time is a luxury I don’t get much of. But, just because I can’t take Krav Maga classes 5 days a week, compete in a CrossFit marathon, learn Morse code and small engine repair while I practice the finer art of leatherworking and blacksmithing in between classes for my EMT certification – that’s OK. I have a pretty good bit of life ahead of me and I have time to learn as much as I need. I won’t get hung up on what I don’t know because I won’t compare myself to other survival experts.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again. Prepping is a lifestyle, not a destination. You can never be Prepared as if that was a mythical position you could obtain. Can we all be more prepared for a wider array of things? Yes and can that mean the difference between life and death? I think so. But you can’t buy the complete package of Prepping on Amazon. It’s a journey we are all waking and it will take forever to get there.

I’m glad you are with me. Let’s keep looking forward.

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How Prepping Can Actually Make You Money

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How Prepping Can Actually Make You Money The act of prepping is one that offers several benefits. The first of all being that we can better our chance of survival. The truth is there are some serious financial benefits that can come from being well prepared. Making moves towards self-reliance and independence. Some of the …

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Get Rid Of Ticks – Guaranteed!

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Get Rid Of Ticks – Guaranteed! After a long day hunting turkeys my son and I were pulling ticks off of us left and right. Later that week I fell into an article about Powassan which is a new virus carried by ticks that is even more dangerous than Lyme. Its a terrifying feeling. The …

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How to Make a Mini Axe

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How to Make a Mini Axe The feel of a good axe or hatchet in my hands is like nothing else. I went 25 years never even considering what a great axe means. Now I am sick with axes. There are so many brands making incredible tools. You can cut wood, trim plants and even protect …

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A Financial Collapse Some Time ‘Between August And November

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A Financial Collapse Some Time ‘Between August And November Why is everyone trying to predict the next financial collapse? People lost a lot in 2008 and stand to lose more. There are people who took a financial hit that changed their whole way of life. Some had to go back to work and others just …

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North Korea Prepping EMP Catastrophe Aimed At U.S. Homefront

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North Korea Prepping EMP Catastrophe Aimed At U.S. Homefront In 2012 I was playing a video game called Homefront. It was one of the best stories I have ever played. America was hit by a high altitude EMP attack by North Korea. They then launched a full scale attack on a crippled military and desperate …

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Prepping With Kids

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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 Diesel Jester. 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.


If you’d asked me 16 years ago if I’d be ready for when the SHTF, I would’ve answered yes without any kind of hesitation. After all, I was single, I was a Ground Team Leader in the Air Force Auxiliary unit Civil Air Patrol, I had worked as an Armed Security Agent, was working in the airlines, and had taken a multitude of camping, firearms, first aid, and survival courses. In the chaos of 9/11 I’d been told that I’d handled myself admirably and with a cool and level head by my co-workers and supervisors. I felt prepared.

Then I met my wife-to-be, moved across the country, and settled into suburban life.

As the years passed my emergency gear went by the wayside, my skills waned a bit, and I had to sell my sidearm at one point in order to afford to move to where jobs were available at due to recession. I didn’t think too much about getting back into emergency preparedness because I had work to do, education to finish, and the everyday chores of life to deal with. It wasn’t until the last couple of years ago when my wife and I became parents of two lovely children that we adopted. Once the process was over, my wife said words that I’d never thought that I’d hear from her:

“I want to prepare for the worst.”

At first you could’ve knocked me over with a feather as I never thought she’d want to become a pepper. Then I wanted to shout my elation at the green light to do something that I’ve been wanting to do again for so long. Heck, I got the go-ahead to buy guns again (Hello AR-7 and Ruger 22/45!). As I started delving back into the world of prepping by looking at articles, making lists, buying supplies, I had to stop for a moment because there was something that I hadn’t counted on having back in my Civil Air Patrol days. There was now a new factor to the equation: Prepping with Kids.

My Children are 9 and 2. I’ve found that I had to modify my lists to suit their needs and capabilities along with my own (especially after seeing a tear-jerking video on Facebook last year about a family bugging out over the course of a year between the daughter’s birthdays). This is what I came up with and your own mileage may vary on how your own situation might be similar or different from my own.

Having kids is certainly an adjustment – both to your every day life and your prepping plans.

What is your disaster plan?

This was the big question for us. What was our plan for when the SHTF happens? Were we going to bug out or bug in? As we live in Alaska now, I realize that we have an abundance of resources around us, a decent community that we live in, and we’re pretty isolated. So bugging out will probably only happen in the event that our town is evacuated for whatever reason. So getting BOBs was high on the list and I started getting the 5-Day Packs available at our local stores. Ultimately it’s going to be a bug-in scenario as all of our resources are where we live along with people that we know and can trust.

But what about your children?

While I love my kids, they are going to be a liability that I’ll need to consider in an emergency situation. Thankfully my 9-year-old has a level head and knows how to decently handle themselves when things get bad. They love the outdoors, can carry a basic BOB on their shoulders, and likes helping mom and dad around the house. I have started taking them to the local gun range to teach safety and shooting with my new .22 rifle and handgun that I mentioned above. I’d chosen those as they’d be easy for my kids to learn on, they’re lightweight and easily concealable if we need to go on a long walk, the ammo is interchangeable between the two of them, and they’ll be effective for hunting small game in the area. My 2-year-old, however, is a big concern as they’re still in diapers. My toddler can walk for maybe a mile and has lots of energy but right now a bug out bag weighs as much as they do! Their needs will need to be met in a time-frame that could last from a week to a year or more. Some of the major things of concern are:

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Milk/Formula

One would think “Costco!” at once for the diaper solution but you also have to realize that your kids will be growing. If the SHTF tomorrow, and you just recently bought in bulk, then great! But if it happens a month from now, a year from now, or two years from now, those diapers that you squirreled away might not fit, especially if you have a growing newborn to consider. So while we’re doing potty training with my toddler, I am being mindful of reusable diaper and wipe solutions and taking into consideration shelf stable milk that I’ll be able to store in the meantime. With reusable diapers and wipes also comes the problem of clean clothes so another thing that I’m in the process of looking at is how we’re going to be doing our laundry if the power goes out and stays out (I’m looking real fondly at my kids’ bike chains now and how I can attach it to a washer cylinder).

Bugging Out with a Toddler

They will never make the walk by themselves so make sure you have a way to transport your younger children and take that extra time/weight into consideration.

There’s only two ways out of our town: Boat and Airplane. Three if you count trekking it across wilderness to the next nearest town but I live in a State where everything wants to kill you the moment you walk out your front door in the middle of civilization (yes, I have had black bears on my front doorstep before with nothing but a pane of glass between us). So walking out of here is not really an option unless we get to super desperation stage, and we’re talking SyFy channel level of desperation in which a glacier is advancing at Mach 5 with a Sharknado on top of it while a San Andres Movie level earthquake is hitting the area. I’d throw in zombies but we’re already so jaded up here with them coming off the cruise ships in droves every summer. Realistically, and in all seriousness, if it comes down to a government enforced evacuation it’s going to be by ferry or by airplane. While I highly doubt that we’ll be able to take our vehicle with us even on the ferry, that means we’re going to have to rely what we can carry ourselves.

HELLO? CHILDREN?

I’m getting there. As I mentioned before, one of our BOBs is the same weight as my toddler. So that means that either my wife or I will have to carry them while the other doubles or even triples up on the bags. In this kind of situation I’m looking at getting a frame backpack for kids that my toddler can ride and at the same time I’ll be able to carry a BOB (if anyone knows of a survival BOB/kid carrier, I’d be grateful for a link). In addition to the above items listed for my 2 year old’s BOB to last for five days, I also have to consider entertainment/distractions while we’re in the process of evacuation. For this I recommend buying multiple versions of your child’s favorite toy and/or stuffed animal and putting it in their BOB. That way if you’re leaving in a hurry, you don’t have to waste valuable time wondering where Mister Bear is at when you have one already tucked away and ready to go. One of your child’s favorite blankets might be something to consider for their comfort and peace of mind if you’re in the process of evacuating with them. If your child is anything like my toddler; then they’re going to want something comforting and familiar that reminds them of home while you’re on the move to safety.

I guess that in the end it comes down to the ages of your kids, what they’re capable of, and how much extra you’re going to have to put away in order to see to their basic needs. As time goes on, we go longer (Lord and Lady willing) without an event occurring, and as your children get older, their needs will naturally change until they’re at such an age that they can reasonably handle themselves in the event of a crisis. They’ll also learn from the example that you set for them and from what you teach them as you prep. These are skills that they’ll have with them forever. Teach them skills to survive, teach them how to keep a cool head, and don’t panic yourself. That, and a little common sense and hopefully you’ll come out of any situation reasonably intact.

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Choosing the Best Rifle Sling – Part 2

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Written by John Hertig on The Prepper Journal.

Introduction to Slings (Part 2)

Last time we looked at the uses, types and history of slings.  Now let us consider how to choose a sling and look at some choices with potential for tactical use.

How to Choose a Rifle Sling

As is usually the case with anything, the first step in choosing the best rifle sling is to decide what you are going to use it for.  For a sport hunting arm, any old carrying strap will do.  A padded one will be comfortable for those long treks, and these are available in nylon and leather.  I tend to prefer the nylon ones as being more reasonably priced.  If you are doing competition shooting, go with what the rules of your events specify; a M1907 model sling might be optimal for some types of competitions.  For a tactical rifle or shotgun, a single point/two point convertible is often a good choice.

Slings are available in various widths.  I would tend to avoid 1″, the most common, when possible.  This is just because the narrower the strap, the more concentrated the weight applied where it contacts the body.  Of course, a sporting sling with a wider padded part would eliminate this concern, and in my day, I found Uncle Mike’s padded slings to be quite acceptable.  They do not appear to be sold these days, but if I were looking for one, I’d check out Butler Creek (same parent company as Uncle Mike’s), who appear to have some models which would be equivalent or even better.  For slings without a wide pad, the 1 1/4″ sling would often be a better choice than the 1″.

Wider slings are available, but usually only with clips for ring mounts.  For a tactical sling, I’d prefer 1 1/2″, and for a heavy tactical gun, I might even search for a 2″ sling.  There are a few padded tactical slings, but my theory is that if they were really superior, there would be a lot more of them.

When considering any sling, check out the “fixed” adjustment.  You want a sling which is big enough for any likely use of yours, without being too big for any use.  The fixed adjustment should be moderately easy to set, but more importantly, not move accidentally.  Some slings also need to have a “rapid” adjustment to switch between modes, separate from the fixed adjustment for size.  Make sure this adjustment mechanism is conveniently located, easily operated, and stays where you put it when it is not deliberately being moved.

Tactical Sling Choices

As mentioned, sport slings are not terribly different from each other, and competition slings tend to be specified by the competition.  The real excitement is in the tactical sling arena; usually a single point/two point convertible sling is a good choice, but there are a bunch of them, ranging in price from cheap ones from China to the $100 range.  Looking for one appropriate for a tactical shotgun, I set an arbitrary limit of $60.  The first one I considered was the Magpul MS3 or MS4, because they are a good company, and frankly, since they have their own QD clip, they “must know what they are doing”.  But they use 1.25″ webbing, which might be a bit narrow for such a heavy gun.  A very attractive one was the Cetacea Rabbit with two rapid adjustments instead of just one, but the 1″ webbing might be even less appropriate than the Magpul.  Finally, I found a 2″ wide one, the e-RUSH (enhanced Rapid Urban Sentry Hybrid) from Urban-E.R.T Tactical.  This is their top model, with all the sling bells and whistles.  They have a lower level model for economy and even a 1″ version if you like the style but don’t need the 2″ width.

Let’s take a closer look at the e-RUSH and the MS3.

e-RUSH sling

This photo shows the E-RUSH Sling transformed into a one point sling for single point use.

With a strap width of 2″, this is one of the better choices I’ve found for heavy long guns – if it will fit you.  Fixed adjustment is a simple sliding buckle providing one foot of adjustment.  The captured buckle means you can’t make it any shorter than two feet, and a very long label on the strap discourages you from getting three inches more than three feet;  there is a flat elastic section included.  Unlike the “bungee” section which is a more common methodology, this is at the forward end of the strap rather than at the butt end.  This is so that if you jump down and the weight of the gun stretches the sling downward, the elastic does not bring it back up to smack into your face.  And it is more comfortable and useful for chest expansion if you are breathing heavily.  The straps and attachments on each end of the 2″ strap are standard 1″.  With this and all the hardware, this means that using the strap like a normal sporting sling, for carrying (muzzle up) or shooting support, is not comfortable, and the moderate adjustment variance makes it too long for this anyway.  With all the hardware it has, you might be able to disassemble it and “build” it for “normal sporting” use, but it might still be too long and even if not, it hardly seems worth the effort.

On the butt end of the sling there is a locking strap system which allows you to attach a female buckle and ring, a female buckle and male buckle, or a female buckle and push button QD socket.  The female buckle is where you plug-in the male plug which is attached to the mount on the gun, and the ring/male buckle/QD socket is where you attach the forward end of the sling to convert it into a one point sling.  You can also attach a “CQB” adapter here instead, which eliminates the two-part buckle between the sling and the gun so it rides a few inches higher.  That is, the gun adapter is connected directly to the sling rather than through a quick disconnect buckle.

Read More: Top 5 Firearms you need to get your hands on now!

The other (forward) end of the sling has the same locking strap system.  This is attached to a fancy two function buckle.  On the top end, there is a small tab, which if you pull sharply, causes the buckle to come apart, giving an emergency exit from the sling.  The other end is a fast adjustment buckle, which allows you to tighten the sling by pulling on the protruding strap end, or loosen the sling by lifting up on the end of the buckle.  This gives you a rapid adjustment of sixteen inches.  On the other end of the rapid adjustment strap is the female buckle which attaches to the male plug connected to the forward sling attachment.  The rapid adjustment strap is handy to pull on to cinch up the system, but when the sling is cinched tight, that strap end can flop around.

Which QD adapters are available, you ask?  All the major ones are available, except for the Magpul one.  You can choose between the stud, the push button, the Mash clip, the HK clip, a locking strap (for a slot or fixed ring), and a version of the Universal Wire Loop using paracord instead of the stiffer and thinner wire (which may make it less versatile).  In order to use the ring to convert from two point to one point, you will have to use the Mash or HK clip on the front, and to use the QD socket to convert to single point, use the push button QD adapter on the front.  Or if you have the male plug for single point conversion, just unclip the front female buckle from the adapter in use, and fasten it to the male plug near the butt end.  This latter configuration allows you to have a female buckle attached to your belt, which allows you to fasten the male plug attached to adapter at the front end of the gun to that buckle to secure the front of the gun when quick access is not needed.

I’m quite large, and at the three-foot adjustment, it is just the right size.  If I had armor or a thick vest, it might not be long enough.  Functionally, this works quite well in one point mode with a shotgun or rifle with a pistol grip or any stock.  In two point mode, it is great for a pistol grip shotgun, but if the shotgun has a full size stock and a shell saddle, the butt end kind of sticks out (because the shell saddle is between the user and the gun.  The adapters which Velcro around the stock and the forearm to provide sling mount points on guns which don’t have them, or have them only on the bottom, work very well, except that putting it on an AR style stock prevents you from operating the charging handle, so should be avoided.

This system seems to meet my requirements for heavy tactical weapons, and is versatile enough that one sling can be used on any one of a variety of firearms.

MS3/MS4 sling

Magpul MS4 Gen 2 Multi-Mission Single Point / 2 Point Sling with Dual QD Swivels Nylon

This is kind of standard and simple in design.  There is their brand clip (MS3) or a QD clip (MS4) on the butt end, connected to a ring or QD socket.  Then the main strap to a buckle tasked as a double loop.  The fixed adjustment for this strap is two slide buckles, giving you about three feet of adjustment and more if you get creative.  The secondary strap gives you two feet of “instantaneous” adjustment and has another Magpul clip or a QD clip, and that’s it.  Simple and clean, it is more streamlined than the e-RUSH, but not as versatile.  You can also get a MS1 sling and upgrade it to a MS3 or MS4.

It is designed as a two point to one point convertible which means it can provide fast access, but no support for increased accuracy.  But it can be “tricked” into working as a standard sling, allowing the use of the “hasty sling” technique as well as muzzle up carry.  You’ll need a ring or QD socket forward and near the butt.  Rings are rare at the butt end, but you can install an unattached QD clip back there and that works adequately as a ring for the Magpul clip.  Then reassemble the fixed adjustment system to be much shorter (there will be a long strap end to feed back into the buckles) and it actually works fairly well for “hasty sling” and “normal” carry.

In its intended modes, it works quite well, with one big advantage and a couple of minor disadvantages.  The big advantage is the Magpul connecting clip.  This attaches to the ring parallel to the strap, rather than perpendicular like the HK or MASH clips.  And it doesn’t twist or rattle or slide around like those others.  With the cross lock, it is secure, yet very easy to attach or detach.  On the downside, there is no elastic element in the strap, so if you have it cinched up tight, you might restrict your breathing a bit.  The width is 1 1/4″ which is better than 1″, but not as good as bigger.  A heavy weapon gets a bit uncomfortable when hanging in single mode for a long period of time, which may not be normal usage.  And the quick adjustment tends to adjust itself sometimes.  Minor negatives, and for a medium or lightweight weapon, this is a pretty good choice.  There is a padded version of the MS1, which if upgraded to a MS3 or MS4 equivalent, might even be acceptable for heavy weapons.

Conclusions

Personally, I’d have any long gun I owned set up for a sling.  When you find you need a sling, it is often too late to install one.  Although I would be too cheap to have a separate sling for every gun, I would have at least one of every type of sling I would need.  I would install studs or QD sockets in every hunting rifle and shotgun, with a nylon padded sling (or two) with the matching clips.  For any competition gun, I’d probably stick with the sling attachments which came with it, and have a 1907 style leather sling (the one from Brownells used to be hard to beat) and any other sling required by a match I might go to.  For a tactical weapon, I’d have an ambidextrous mount between the stock and the receiver, and a mount in front which either was ambidextrous, or could easily be removed and mounted on the other side, as well as standard mounts forward and at the butt if practical.  My choice for a heavy tactical sling would be the e-RUSH sling, and I’d be tempted to get a couple of Magpul clips and integrate them into the e-RUSH since I like them much better than MASH clips and slightly better than QD clips (I won’t have anything to do with HK clips).  If I had several tactical weapons, I would also have a Magpul sling for the lighter ones.

Are there other slings besides Butler Creek, Brownells, Urban-ERT and Magpul?  Of course, there are many; some similar and a few significantly different.  There might be better ones, and from my experience, I can guarantee there are worse ones.  Some are cheaper and some are more expensive; more expensive ones are sometimes better than cheap ones, but not always.  There is often a choice of colors.  Pick the one (or more) which is suitable for your needs and budget.

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The Survival Entrepeneur

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The Survival Entrepreneur Have you ever thought about starting your own blog or product in the survival industry. Maybe you are a person who consumes tons of information on the topic. If so you should truly consider survival entrepreneurship. The truth is there are some significant benefits to taking this path. The benefits go far …

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Be Prepared for the Unexpected

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Be Prepared for the Unexpected We are living on a changing world. There is no getting around that. No matter what reasoning you subscribe to when it comes to the reason for this changing world we are still on it. If you don’t believe its changing than I don’t think you are paying enough attention. …

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Stockpiling Ammo For SHTF – How Much is Enough?

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Stockpiling Ammo For SHTF – How Much is Enough? Answering the old-age question “How much ammo is enough?” is more challenging than actually gathering the ammo. There are all sorts of debates regarding this topic and each person thinks they have the right answer. In fact, the answer is never simple and it’s more than …

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Beyond SOS: Learning Morse Code

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Beyond SOS: Learning Morse Code   Morse Code is one of those things that many people in the civilized world consider to be outdated and not worth knowing. If they even know what it is in the first place! The truth is, though it may be “old” and we have updated and faster ways of …

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What to Do If You Are Caught Without Your Prepping Supplies

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

I travel a pretty good bit for work. When I travel, it almost exclusively by air as it just so happens my co-workers or customers are spread all over the globe. In a perfect world I always have my EDC gear on me but when traveling, especially via plane, you have to make some concessions. When it makes sense I have basic survival gear that I pack, but my luggage has to be checked. I have flown with a firearm on multiple occasions, but what if you are unable to take any survival gear with you? What would you do if you were caught in a disaster without even your trusty survival knife?

In this article I want to go through some situations I personally have in my 9-5 life where I wasn’t as prepared as I know in my heart I should be, and discuss some alternatives when you are caught without your prepping supplies. When all hell breaks loose, are you doomed if you don’t have your full battle rattle on?

What should you be carrying everywhere you go?

EDC. Any prepper worth his or her salt knows that this acronym stands for Every Day Carry. This is the gear you have on your person virtually all the time. These are usually simple items like a folding knife, a flashlight, watch, Leatherman or multitool. Optionally, some people (like me) will add a concealed carry weapon to this list and maybe a compass, lighter or matches and spare cash. The items that make up your EDC are personal, should be appropriate to your daily routine and environment and vary greatly from prepper to prepper. I wrote a whole article about my EDC list some time back.

On any normal day, I have most if not all elements of my personal EDC on me when I leave my house. I have a knife in my pocket, handkerchief (only used it once to help a lady out) flashlight and lighter are housed on my keys and my concealed carry weapon. I have other elements in my work backpack and a ton of gear in my car. If I have nothing more than my car, I can probably live for a week very comfortably – assuming I couldn’t drive anywhere. If I only had my backpack and what’s on my person, that would be a little tougher, but I would have basic lifesaving tools or elements to help me improve my situation. If I only had what is in my pockets I would still be pretty much in the same boat. But when I am traveling, sometimes I don’t have any of my EDC Gear on me. It’s pretty much me betting that I will be OK.

How can you travel without any EDC gear?

I have written before about how to fly with a firearm legally and for most air travel I take, outside of work I still do fly with my firearm. I also keep a mini-go bag in my suitcase with a sawyer mini water filter, knife, fire starter, headlamp, first aid kit and mylar blanket. I have a stainless water bottle too so the basics are covered. But on most trips here recently, I don’t fly with my trusty Glock and if I am not checking bags, knives are out the window too. I can, and still do bring a small, but bright flashlight and hanky with me, but most of what I consider my must haves are left at home. Why?

Convenience.

Yes, Sheer convenience. I am admitting it now before the entire world that sometimes, it is easier to not check bags. If I am carrying my bag onto a plane, I have far fewer options on what I can bring with me but I have many more options with flights. If my flight gets cancelled and I have my bag with me, I can run to another airline. If some weather delays me mid-journey, I can take another route home, or make it to the car rental agencies before my fellow travelers. If any one of a number of hiccups happen with the airlines I don’t have to go into that important client meeting wearing the same outfit I had on yesterday. Which was designed for comfort. Not impressing clients. Convenience.

Lost luggage at Airport.

Now, many of you may be saying to yourselves: “How can Pat consider himself a prepper if he goes and leaves himself vulnerable like that for convenience” and I understand what you mean, but I look at things a little differently. Actually, major points of my philosophy evolve or change over the years. Here is what I know.

In this country, or even pretty much any country I would find myself in for business travel, if anything short of a nuclear bomb went off, I would be able to get the supplies I needed even if I wasn’t carrying them.

Obtaining survival gear in the wild

And by wild I am not talking about a jungle adventure with Bear Grylls. If that’s the place you are visiting, you better have your gear no matter what. What do I mean? OK, let me explain. Let’s say I am traveling in business to Boston, MA without any of the gear I normally carry as EDC and an EMP hits. Assuming, I would be better off with my regular EDC (and I do), where could I replace that gear quickly? Before I continue, let’s list off the basic items again:

Shelter

  • A means of keeping yourself warm, cool, dry
    • Tarp/Poncho/Jackets, Hats, Gloves, etc.

Water

  • A method of making water safe to drink
  • A container for holding water

Food

  • Enough calories to keep you going for the duration

Security

  • A means of protecting yourself from two-legged predators

The list above is only the most basic items for survival, but we can start there. Going back to Boston and an EMP hits. What is the first thing you think everyone will do?

Probably nothing.

That is your time to act. While everyone is complaining that they can’t check the weather or stocks or the latest snapchat on their phones you need to move.  As a prepper, you should be practicing situational awareness. That means a lot of different things depending on the situation you are in, but when it comes to a disaster like this where people aren’t dying immediately, your job is to act. My focus will be obtaining as many survival supplies as I can before the sheeple wake up.

In a situation like that, I would head out to the nearest store. If I was lucky enough to come across an REI or a Dick’s Sporting Goods or even a Walmart you would be all set provided you had cash with you and the store was accepting cash transactions. When I fly, I try to bring $300 in cash with me for emergencies. It won’t do everything, but it could help, especially in a situation like this. For that $300, you could easily get a knife, headlamp, tarp and just about all the other EDC basics I left at home.

But that’s too easy. What if you weren’t in Boston and couldn’t find a sporting goods store to save your life. Then what?

Head to the drug store, hardware store or grocery store but skip past the food isles, at least at first. Go to the smaller section they always have with light-bulbs and extension cords and toilet plungers. Go to the housewares section. They may not have knives, but they could have box cutters. You may be able to find tarps, but if not, trash bags connected with duct tape will keep you just as dry. If you don’t already have a backpack, you should be able to find one of those too that will fit your supplies.

The small local hardware store might be the last place people run, but a great place to find supplies.

Matches will be there too and usually so will lighter fluid. Together, if you keep the matches dry you should be able to make a fire. You will always be able to find some form of flashlight in these stores too but don’t forget to get extra batteries. Hopefully you have shoes that are comfortable to walk in.

We can’t forget food, but skip canned food and grab items that you don’t need to prepare or weigh a whole lot but still provide calories. Think energy bars or breakfast bars and be sure to check the calorie counts if you have time.

What about security? The box cutter or knife would be better than nothing, but you really have to get close in order for those to work. Man has been using clubs since the dawn of time, really, they are still being used all over the world as the post about handmade weapons demonstrates very clearly. You can find some implement and use it as a club. It isn’t what I would rather have instead of my trusty concealed Glock, but it beats (no pun intended) not having anything.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that survival can’t be distilled down to only who has the right gear because I know that many of you could survive if you were dropped naked in the middle of a jungle. Survival is about having the will to live above all else. Skills follow closely, but you can still survive if you have the right mindset. I don’t recommend leaving home without your EDC, but if you have to, or get caught on a late-night Walmart run, you usually will have options. Look for opportunities to give yourself and advantage and maybe you will find that you are much better off than you thought you were.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and stay safe!

The post What to Do If You Are Caught Without Your Prepping Supplies appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Prepping Priorities – What Should You Be Prepping For?

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

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 the Prepper Writing Contest today.


Practical Preparedness – Planning by Prevalence

When we jump on preparedness sites, sometimes we’re immediately struck by the enormous loads of things to buy, do, and learn. We immediately start hearing about WROL, battle rifles, ammo counts in the thousands, pressure canners, INCH/BOB bags and locations, pace count, and primitive skills. World- and nation-altering events such as nuclear war, internet-ending viruses, Nibiru, Agenda 21 and NWO, and the like pop up. They all have their places, but sometimes things get missed and it can make for a very overwhelming introduction. It can make it hard to prioritize where to spend our time and financial budgets even for those with experience and years of exposure to the prepared mindset.

To make it a little easier to prioritize, we can work in stages. We can look at what is most likely to occur in the near future and our lifetimes, and use that information to help us decide where to focus our time, efforts and resources.

Zone-Ring Systems

In permaculture, planning is based on zones. The basic premise is that you start at 0 or 1 with the self or home, and move outward through 2-4 and eventually into Zone 5. The inner rings have the most immediate contact with the resident, while the outer rings are visited less frequently. Other systems also use similar ring concepts of involvement, frequency and impact.

The same can be applied to preparedness, just like we modified a Health Wheel to fit our particular interests and needs. In this case, instead of looking at the frequency with which we’ll make contact with an area, we’ll be looking at the frequency with which things occur and impact our worlds.

Like permaculture, I’ve gone with five general categories. In this case, they are: Daily, Seasonal/Annual, 5-10 Year, Generational, & Lifetime/Eventually/Maybe. There are some examples for the average Western World resident. Later in the article there’s a few tips for planning for and around those most and least-prevalent scenarios.

Zone 1/First Ring – Daily Occurrences

A layoff can be just as devastating as a zombie invasion if you aren’t prepared.

Daily emergencies are those that strike somebody somewhere every single day in our English-reading modern life. While some affect larger groups, these tend to be personal or family related items. They’re the kinds of things the neighbors might not even notice. Some examples are:

  • Layoff, cut hours, cut wages
  • Major bills (roof, medical, HVAC, veterinary)
  • House fire
  • Major injury/developing disability
  • Theft, burglary, mugging
  • Vehicular accident & malfunction (temporarily removing transportation)
  • Temporary power outages (hours to 1-3 days)
  • Personal physical altercation (mugging, home invasion, the drunk at a bar, date rape)
  • Missing person(s), family death

When considering the financial aspects of preparedness, also consider the things that might not affect jobs, but do affect our income and-or our ability to offset daily costs. For instance, an injury that prevents gardening and picking up overtime or a second job as a stocker, pipe-fitter, or forklift driver, or a developing disability that renders an arm/hand weak or unusable and prevents needlepoint, canine grooming, or weaving.

Zone 2/Second Ring – Seasonal/Annual Occurrences

These are the things we can consult our Almanacs and insurance companies to consider. They regularly tend to affect a larger number of people. It might be a block or a street in some cases, parts of a town or county, or might impact a whole state if not a region. They’d be things like…

River ice jam flooding

 

Let’s hope that last stays firmly in the “annual” category or shifts back to the third prevalence ring for most of us. Let’s also acknowledge that in some places and nations, it’s already more common to be caught in crossfire of some sort than it is to live peaceful lives, and for some of them, it’s as or almost as common as paying monthly bills or going out to eat.

Zone 3/Third Ring – 5-10 Year Occurrences

These are the things that happen regularly, but infrequently. Some occur on cycles. Some, as with the natural disasters above, are a nearly predictable cycle. Some aren’t really predictable, per se, but as with tornadoes in one of the nations’ tornado alley or hurricane-prone areas, you learn to expect them. We can expect them to affect a larger area or more people in many cases.

  • Natural Disasters from above
  • Mudslides
  • Major industrial or business closures/layoffs
  • Drought (personal & widespread impacts)
  • Widespread livestock illnesses (such as the avian diseases that pop up regularly)
  • Temporary outages (3-14 days)
  • Changing life phases (child-birth & toddlers, school-age kids, driving-age youths, empty nests, retirements)
  • Fuel cost cycles

Zone 4/Fourth Ring – Generational Occurrences

The span covered by the term “generation” tends to change if you use the strictest definitions. Most account for a generation to cover about 20-30 years. Some examples of things that very much tend to be generational include:

  • Major wars (mental & physical disabilities, income effects good & bad)
  • Recessions, depressions
  • Fuel cost cycles (more extreme)
  • Serious multi-year “weird” weather (droughts, floods, late or early springs)
  • 25- & 50-year flood levels
  • Some diseases

Zone 5/Fifth Ring – Lifetime/Eventual/Possible Occurrences

A lot of these are going to affect not just a region, not just one nation, but many. In some nations and regions, they may fall under the fourth ring of prevalence instead of the fifth. Some of these are also the big-fear “gotcha’s” or clickbait types that seem to draw folks in. Some are truly believed in, and I try not to judge people on what they believe. Poles have shifted in the past, Yellowstone has erupted, we’ve had serious solar effects on power, and asteroids have struck our earth. Will they happen again in our lifetime or eventually? Some almost certainly. Some are a firm “maybe”. Some are … possible.

  • Great Depression
  • Devastating Midwest seismic activity
  • National or global pandemics in the Western world
  • Major Ring of Fire activity
  • Significant volcanic eruptions (the atmosphere-blocking ash type)
  • Major global climate change (for the hotter or colder)
  • EMP, devastating solar activity
  • Nation-crippling electronic-based virus(es)

Alternative Scale Systems

Like permacuture’s zoning, the business world can also give us some scale systems to apply. High-probability, high-reward, urgent-response items are given priority, while lower-chance and less-likely risks are tended to later. We can create the same for our preparedness.

Another way to look at the five rings would be to apply a timespan for event duration. Perhaps 3-7 days, then 3-6 weeks, 3 months, 6-12 months, and 18-months+.

Like using prevalence, using time spans creates a measurable scale that works off a “most likely” basis. Most of us, at some point inside 1-5 years, will have some sort of financial upheaval or power outage that makes the supplies in the first few rings useful.

Ensuring we have everything we need to cook, clean, stay warm (or cool), and pay bills for those periods will keep us more balanced in our preparedness, and make us better prepared for the things that are MOST likely to occur in our near future and our lifetimes.

Applying Prevalence Rings

It’s inarguable that if you’re ready for the New World Order to freeze the planet and then send out FLIR drones to drop nuclear bombs in the midst of a planned or unplanned foreign-nation bank account hack while satellites are inaccessible due to solar storms’ interference, you’re pretty much good.

That’s not a particularly practical place to start and it might not be the best plan for resource allocation unless everything else really is covered.

There are a world’s worth of things that occur on a small-scale, inside homes and towns, that happen a lot more frequently than the dinosaurs and mega-mammals die out.

I see an awful lot of people hyped on one thing that can go wrong and might one day go wrong, but they exclude all kinds of things that do actually happen.

They forget that we sometimes have disasters that mean daily life is taking place all around us, or in the rest of the county, state, nation and world. They neglect fire extinguishers and smoke detectors for the sexy-cool aspects of preparedness like the rifles and Rambo knives.

Fact is, most of us will experience something from the first tier or two in our lives at least once, and for some of us, they’re regular parts of life.

In many cases of upheaval and crisis, we’re still going to want electricity, most likely.

We will still have a job or need to find a new one, will still be expected to present ourselves showered and with money to receive services, will still have doctor’s appointments, hunting and squatting in county-state-national parks will still be frowned on, and combat gear in the streets will still be the exception rather than the rule.

In some cases, the duration of our life-altering events might only be a few hours or days. However, in many parts of the world, those hours or days can be seriously inconvenient if not downright deadly. The ability to keep a CPAP machine running, repair a down or wrecked vehicle, and continue on with life after a squirrel invasion or a tree comes down is just as important as defending the home from looters and making beeswax candles.

Being able to repel the zombie horde does me little good if my vehicle is in poor repair on a daily basis and leaves me stranded on my way to work. 5K-10K rounds of ammo times my 7 platforms sounds nice, unless I don’t keep oil, coolant, jumper cables and fix-a-flat or a mini air compressor in my vehicle so I can limp my way home to them safely – on a daily basis.

Prioritizing instead of jumping willy-nilly – and tracking instead of continuing to add to whatever my favorite prep stash is – can help prevent daily disasters from truly causing upheaval.

Overlap Between Rings

The nice thing about seriously assessing what is likely to go wrong based on prevalence in the past is that we can sometimes make just little twitches.

We don’t have to be ready for all-out neighborhood wars over food, grazing rights, and tickets to the Earth Arks to create that overlap.

A bug-out bag serves as a shelter-in-place kit as well as a “standard” wildfire or hurricane evac kit. Having a month or two of food (or far more) means we can also weather a big bill because we can skip buying groceries.

Image: How’s your insurance coverage?

Preparing by Prevalence

Resources like the Ready.gov site and our insurance carriers can help us determine what goes wrong in our area. We might be well served making maps using the information they give us about regular, fifty-year and hundred-year floods, wind storms, and snow/hurricane routes to apply to our walk-out and drive-out plans.

We can also use their information – like, what is the number-one thing that causes job-loss or vehicle and home damage in our area – to make sure we’re buffered against it.

Pat’s preparedness arc and the article about a balanced wheel (especially the comments) may help even longtime preppers better assess where they stand, and focus or refocus on any gaps between normal daily life and the return of the Ice Age, Dust Bowl, total economic collapse, and other extreme events. They – and the standard FEMA/Red Cross recommendations for 3-7-10-14 days of supplies – can be excellent starting places for beginners.

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The Enemies of Food Storage

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The Enemies of Food Storage This is an article on food safety. In fact, I would encourage anyone who is truly interested in food storage, canning and other ways of growing, cooking and processing foods to take a course in food safety. It is great information for the smooth sailing of today or the rough …

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How to Carry EDC Gear

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How to Carry EDC Gear There is so much written and so much said about the topic of EDC. Those items that you carry on your person Every Day are always a hot topic in the prepper and survivalist world. This article takes an angle that I feel is never discussed. How do you carry …

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Do You Live In A Hotspot For Civil Unrest?

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Do You Live In A Hotspot For Civil Unrest? This is a big topic to get ahead of. You have to be honest about what our country is right now. Those with the voice seem to be angry. They have hijacked the microphone and are not happy. There are also very few outlets preaching unity …

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Babies in TEOTWAWKI – How to Prep Now!

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Babies in TEOTWAWKI – How to Prep Now!  There is nothing more incredible than the sheer helplessness of a baby. They are completely helpless at birth and frankly up until two they are pretty much the same. Even in todays world children in that age range are at a great risk. If the world were …

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How To Be A Successful Homesteader

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 How To Be A Successful Homesteader Any article with that broad of title has to have at least a few great sentiments. When I started into this article I wasn’t sure if it would be a paint by numbers style article or something else. In my head I was envisioning a step by step breakdown …

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U.S. Auto Sales Plunge Dramatically As The Consumer Debt Bubble Continues To Collapse

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U.S. Auto Sales Plunge Dramatically As The Consumer Debt Bubble Continues To Collapse Its not easy to write even a decent article about the economics of our very complicated economy. This article takes a look at car loans and the $199 trillion dollar debt bubble that has been built of these subprime car loans. Have …

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Are You Ready For The Next Influenza Epidemic? How Will You Survive The Next Pandemic?

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Are You Ready For The Next Influenza Epidemic? How Will You Survive The Next Pandemic? The pandemic is a terrifying scenario because once precautions are put in place there is little to be done except hydrate and wait. This piece opens up with some great information about the Great Influenza Epidemic of 1919. This disease …

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How to Seamlessly Camouflage a Hidden Floor Safe

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How to Seamlessly Camouflage a Hidden Floor Safe Concealment is everything. When it comes to preparedness concealment is always a great option. Its an even better option when you are talking about your weapons. Our guns are constantly under attack. It seems we cannot go a week without hearing about the latest piece of legislation …

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When The Grid Goes Down ~ Kerosene

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When The Grid Goes Down ~ Kerosene When I was growing up kerosene heaters were terrifying. They smelled horrific and there were those stories about the fires. Tremendous fires that burnt down rows of homes from the kerosene heater that fell over. This article shed some light on kerosene and its place in the homesteaders …

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Camping: A Great Way To Practice How To Live After SHTF

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Under normal societal conditions, most people tend to view camping as simply a “fun outdoor activity” they sometimes do in warmer weather. For many, camping is actually hopping in the family “camper,” filling up on food, snacks, drinks and fuel, and heading off to some camp site that has electricity and sewage hook-ups.

And while that seems like “roughing it” for most people (because it is), that kind of camping doesn’t really prepare someone for how life would really be if the civil society were to break down for a long period of time and folks were forced to flee the cities for the surrounding countryside.

Even many actual preppers seldom take time to practice their craft – and that’s what true prepping is, a craft that requires learning and mastering certain survival skills. Think about it: When was the last time you dragged out your tent, gear and supplies and headed out to the woods for a weekend of real camping, where you spent the day (and night) practicing your craft?

It’s easy to get into the habit of not wanting to spend a weekend truly roughing it. Most people work hard and want to spend their weekends, holidays or days off relaxing and recharging. But honestly, you’d be surprised how rejuvenating a real off-grid camping trip is, and how taking one often will really come in handy for the day when you won’t have any other choice but to live like that.

Planning and taking this kind of camping trip involves refreshing yourself with several skills. Among them:

— Putting up your tent or building a hasty field shelter,

— Cooking without the aid of modern technology and electricity,

— Patrolling a perimeter for security,

— Working with your various gear,

— Just getting the “feel” of living/sleeping outside of your comfort zone.

Camping the old-fashioned way is also a great time to learn new skills, such as (h/t American Prepper Network):

— Making and using fishhooks: No matter how much long-term storage food you’ve got, you’ll want to stretch it out to make it last as long as possible. To help your food supply last, you’ll need to supplement it by finding additional food sources. One of the most available sources of food is fish, but of course, catching them is another story. You should have some fishing line as part of your survival gear, and some fishhooks as well, but any fisherman knows you can steadily lose hooks to fish that get away. So it’s good to learn how to make them, and you can, using a metal zipper or a tab from a pop can. Just break the loop on one side, pull it to a 90-degree angle and then use a small file or a rock to sharpen the exposed tip.

— Aluminum can stove: These can be particularly handy. Grab an empty soda can, and use a knife to cut a capital “I” in one side of the can – that is, a vertical cut along the length of the can, then two horizontal cuts, one on top of the vertical cut and one at the bottom. Peel open the aluminum to form a “window,” then put a fire starter inside; light it, and you’ve got a portable cooking stove you can use to prepare food or heat up liquids.

— Practice emergency shelter-making: Make sure you’ve got a tarp as part of your prepper gear because it will come in handy more times than you can imagine, but most probably as an emergency shelter. Find a couple of trees that are fairly close together, then take a length of rope and tie an end to each tree, 3-4 feet up the trunk. Then slip your tarp over the rope, and extend each “wing” outward to form triangular entrances on either end. Secure the wings with stakes and viola, you’ve got a water- and wind-proof emergency shelter.

— Pest control: One of your biggest enemies in the wild will be insects, so it’s best to practice how to keep them at bay, as some of them are dangerous while others can inflict painful bites and stings. Find a stick of sage (or keep some in your gear) and toss one into your fire; bugs don’t like the odor of sage, making it an effective bug repellent.

— Make fires: Practice various forms of fire-making. In your bugout gear you should have multiple items used to make fires, from disposable lighters to flint/steel and steel wool/9V battery. Fire will make life so much easier for you, as you can use it for food preparation, sanitizing water, heat, and other things.

There are many more skills to learn and practice. Start taking some time now, while you can, to regularly plan old-fashioned camping trips, and include your family if you have one. Plan on learning or practicing several skills during each trip. Go during hot and cold weather. When the time comes to use those skills, you’ll be ready.

 

Source : www.bugout.news

About the author : J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.

 

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The Every Day Carry Bag aka EDC

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The Every Day Carry Bag aka EDC There are numerous articles written on this topic and most of them claim to be the end all, be all of Every Day Carry bags (also calls an EDC bag). Do a Google search and you will get literally thousands of hits from multiple companies who are eager …

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Hardening Your Home Against Home Invasion

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Hardening Your Home Against Home Invasion As far as my understanding goes it seems that deterrents are one of the most powerful weapons in prepping and safety. I know there are people out there who have been beaten by life and they are hoping that someone breaks into their home one night so they can …

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New To Prepping? 12 Tips To Get You Started

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New To Prepping? 12 Tips To Get You Started If you are new to the prepping world let me first applaud you. You see, this is no easy road. You will be ridiculed for merely planning to protect your family but you are taking on a noble cause that could change everything. The better prepared …

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SHTF Prepping for City Dwellers!

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SHTF Prepping for City Dwellers Highlander “Survival & Tech Preps“ Audio in player below! This is a concept that is hard for many city dwellers. Without proper room how can you possibly prep or create a bug in plan? How many preppers do you know that say they are in an apartment and very limited … Continue reading SHTF Prepping for City Dwellers!

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The 7 Biggest Nuclear Warheads Ever Detonated

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The 7 Biggest Nuclear Warheads Ever Detonated The bigger the nuke, the better. Or that was what the US and Soviet Union thought in the late 50s and early 60s. Times have changed, and nuclear weapons this large have not been tested in a long time. There are not as many of these big boys in service …

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The Urgency of Doing: Knowing is NOT Enough

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The Urgency of Doing: Knowing is NOT Enough Its an old concept in the survival world. The title may not seem like something ground breaking. I think many of us wonder how our skills match up in comparison to our political posturing. In today’s world it is easy to be informed and hard to be experienced. That …

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Specialized Bug Out Bags (And What’s Inside Them)

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featured_man_mountain

bug_out_essentials_stuff‘Bug out bags’ are put together to be grabbed in a hurry. Their use stems from the bags issued by militaries to their soldiers in field situations, and it should contain everything you need to sustain yourself in an emergency situation for at least 72 hours. Ideally, every member of your group or family should have their own bug out bag with their own supplies: The more you have as a group, the better your chances of survival will be.

By Alex Coyne, a contributing author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog.com

Most bug out bags are aimed at meeting the most basic survival needs: That is, they contain a bit of everything for when you need to grab and go, but what if you have some more specialized needs, for example access to technology or your family’s important documents stored separately?

Here’s a look at some specialized bug out bags to go with your main kit, customized for more specific needs. (Note: Most of these are just as useful for camping or hiking as they are for grabbing in an emergency.)

Oh, yeah, and take a look at this link on YouTube for what Dr. Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory keeps in his

#1: The Medic Bag

1_med_bagThe medic bag contains your group or family’s medical supplies. Include a laminated card with each member’s details and medical history; be sure to list their full name, blood type, next-of-kin with the most recent contact details and their allergies. Your kit should also contain antibiotics, painkillers, alcohol, bandages, stitches, burn gel and/or cream, clean wipes, surgical scissors, a scalpel, cotton wool, a syringe (and the knowledge to use it!) and any other medical supplies you would normally keep in your first aid kit or might come in handy where you’re going.  Prescription medication (for chronic conditions) can be arranged in advance with your doctor or pharmacist.

#2: The Bag of Documents

Your family’s important documents can include birth certificates, passports, doctor’s reports, financial information and wills; this is by no means an exhaustive list. We highly recommend that documents like these are always kept organized neatly in the same place, with several digital backups. Consider backing up your information on DVD or Blu-Ray to keep in your bag of documents. Store hard copy documents in plastic sleeves. Make sure your bag can withstand elements like water, and make sure you don’t store your documents with (or next to) anything that can catch fire or explode.

Related: Building a Natural Emergency Shelter With No Tools

#3: The Chef’s Bag

fallkniven_phk_professional_hunting_knife_gutting-birdThere’s likely someone in your group or family who’s been appointed the head chef, and a chef – especially one on the road – could do with some decent tools. The chef’s bag is customized to hold all the tools a chef might need in the field, and this will be up to personal preference. Be sure to ask them what tools they simply can’t do without. Many tools have a portable version. Take a look at the Glamping Fold Up Pan and the Camp Chef Knife Set. The chef’s bag should also contain other chef’s essentials like their most used spices and utensils.

#4: The Hiker’s Bag

The hiker’s bag should be taken if you’re planning on going on a hiking trip. Practicality is your main goal here, and you’re looking to cover all of the bases. Take enough food to sustain yourself on the walk and for a while after should you get stuck, take along your first-aid basics, a knife, a fold-up walking stick, plenty of water and purification tablets, a map and compass and a fire-starter kit. Again, this is not an exhaustive list, just the basics.

#5: The Mechanic’s Kit

The mechanic’s kit is great for keeping in your car by default, and it’s essential if you’re going to be stuck somewhere for a while. Put simply, it’s for fixing things. A wide variety of things. The mechanic’s kit should contain the most portable tools you can find – a simple online search on Amazon will give you hundreds of options for portable tools – and odds-and-ends like wire, cable ties, glue, duct tape, rope, nails, screws, nuts and bolts. Keep documents like your car’s repair handbook (or, say, a general book on DIY and car repair) with this too: Digital backups are available, will take up much less space and can be handy should anyone else who isn’t as handy end up with the mechanic’s kit.

Check Out: Fortifying Your Home

#6: The Herbal Healer

Waterford_Medicinal_Survival_Plants_of_the_Rocky_MountainsWaterford_Press_berries_closeAncient human groups consisted of hunter-gatherers, and modern humans are no different. The herbal healer’s bag is for the gatherer or natural healer, and should contain everything they need to gather, preserve and prepare herbs. Take this along for a hiking trip or when you go out to gather herbs, plants or fruits. A sharp, versatile knife is essential; some cords and clothespins (useful for drying), containers and bags for collecting samples; gloves; a fold-up camping shovel; seeds for starting a garden; plant nutrients; an empty spray bottle; sanitized water and wipes (for various and fairly obvious reasons); alcohol (for tinctures and sanitization). The herbal bag will likely also contain a collection of common herbs that have already been collected: These are up to you. Again, a disc with your library of plant books (with pictures for identification) should go with your kit.

#7: The Tech Junkie’s Kit

Don’t discount the usefulness of technology in a survival situation: As a journalist working online, I realize the value of connectivity. The tech junkie’s kit should be exceptionally well-padded and contain a laptop that can withstand some damage (laptops like the Sony Vaio are small yet durable), replacement cables, an additional camera (of higher quality), blank DVD’s, spare parts, an operating system on DVD (should you need to re-install your system on the go), a power bank or solar power kit, a screwdriver kit, a USB dongle (yes, even if you have a router), a mouse, backup batteries, a backup celllphone and a signal strengthener. (At the very least.)

What do you have in your bug out bag? Have you learned to add anything from yours by reading this article? Use the comments to let us know your thoughts.

Why the US Navy Blue Jacket’s Manual is the Perfect Addition to Your Bookshelf

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Why the US Navy Blue Jacket’s Manual is the Perfect Addition to Your Bookshelf There is an inescapable wave of survival manuals out there. They are plodding at you from every direction like a horde of flesh eating zombies. Every site you visit or link you click, it seems, pushes you towards getting their survival …

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11 Charming DIY Chicken Coops You Will Love

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11 Charming DIY Chicken Coops You Will Love I don’t know about you but I am a sucker for a great chicken coop or project. I love seeing the creativity of others in what they house their chickens in. I think chickens in cute coops help to balance the world ending scenarios that we as preppers …

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Shelter in Place (Radiation Emergency)

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Shelter in Place (Radiation Emergency) Nuclear war is one of those things that can send even the most cool headed individual into a downward spiral. Its because of the overwhelming power and the damaging effects of radiation. Its also because we all know about maniacs who also have nukes. Even more terrifying are the ones …

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Six Ideas for Building a Bug Out Shelter in the Woods

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Six Ideas for Building a Bug Out Shelter in the Woods I spend a lot of time talking about public lands to people. I think it is the untapped bugout gem for those without funds. If you establish a wildlife management area near you and come to know it well it can be just like …

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10 Ways To Save Money Raising Chickens

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10 Ways To Save Money Raising Chicken Of the many benefits that come along with raising chickens, there are a number that can actually effect your wallet. Chickens cost you feed, bedding and the occasional meds for keeping your flock as well as other rare costs. For the most part they are such a giving …

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Tax Free Emergency Preparedness Supplies – Here’s how!

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Tax-Free Emergency Preparedness Supplies – Here’s how! It’s always surprising to find out how few people are taking advantage of what I call the preppers tax cut. I don’t know the full scope of how it hits nationally but I know many states in the Union participate in tax-free weekends for emergency preparedness. This is …

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How to Make a Log Splitter – Kindling Splitter

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How to Make a Log Splitter – Kindling Splitter The minds of regular Americans never cease to amaze me. There are people innovating on a daily basis and their products or ideas just never make it to Amazon. When I look at this article about building a log splitter from rebar I am again reminded …

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WSHTF – When Shit Hits the Fan

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WSHTF – When Shit Hits the Fan At some point, the world is going to end. There are several possible ways it could happen, and each way has a timeline associated with it. We checked out some theories and narrowed down the time frames for these. While a world-ending event is inevitable, it is not …

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Secure Home Gun Storage: The Prepper’s Essentials

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Secure Home Gun Storage: The Prepper’s Essentials What I can say about preppers is that within our ranks we probably have some of the most irresponsible gun owners around. This is not a knock on all preppers. Many people are well trained and do the right thing. Just the nature of what a prepper is, …

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How to Protect Yourself from Robbers

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How to Protect Yourself from Robbers When I think of a criminal and particularly a robber There are two things that come to mind. One is desperation. Someone must be pretty desperate if they are going to put themselves at risk to rob someone. The other thing is justification. In order for someone to hurt …

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The Foundations of Good Community Security

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There Foundations of Good Community Security Its been another week in American and we have seen yet another violent clash between groups. There could come a time when this violence leaves the arena of the main street and makes a block near you. Now it may sound extreme but these riots could also manifest as …

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Caching Strategies For The Smart Prepper

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Caching Strategies For The Smart Prepper There is a lot of discussion going on in the prepper communities regarding caching. However, some people fail to make a distinction between hiding their supplies and caching them. These are two different tactics and a cache should be considered a long-term investment. It’s your main and perhaps only …

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2017 Tactical Tools You Haven’t Seen

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2017 Tactical Tools You Haven’t Seen The question is: can we produce an article about new tactical tools for 2017 that doesn’t include a knife or a flashlight. There are some incredible tools hitting the market every year. The tactical market is deeper than what we often get a look at. When you hear the …

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Considering Building an AR-15 Pistol? Here’s the 411

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Considering Building an AR-15 Pistol? Here’s the 411 This is a very interesting article about the AR-15 pistol. This may be a new concept for you but its one that is really worth exploring. There are legal ramifications that can be taken advantage of with an AR-15 pistol as opposed to a rifle. You will see …

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Want to Save Money? Learn To Live With Less!

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Want to Save Money? Learn To Live With Less! This is a great article about the simple life. For a long time I read about the simple life through others goals, websites and other information transmissions. I didn’t understand what that meant. I had a hard time believing anything in life could be considered simple. …

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The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook

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The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook I don’t know about you but the thought of buying the right growers handbook or seeking out a gardening book of any kind seems like an incredibly daunting task. The truth is there are just too many of those books on the market. It’s not that there isn’t great …

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Tactical Loadouts for Preppers

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Tactical Loadouts for Preppers This is a fun article. Its on a subject that shouldn’t be fun to really think about but laodouts are a good time. A lot of thought went into the various loadouts that are prepared in this article. When it comes to the basic survival response just knowing all of your …

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Should You, Could You, Prepare For World War 3?

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world war 3I can’t ignore the ominous tone of headlines on Drudge Report as well as articles across the internet that a “surprise” nuclear war, a World War 3, is a possibility. Admittedly, with the current leader of North Korea heading up a standing army of 1.1 million strong, with another 8.3 million in reserves, anything is likely.

Oh, yeah. Those pesky “failed” missile tests. No doubt some of them were actual failures, but what if the goal was only to see how far into the atmosphere the missile could reach? Armed with a nuclear warhead, that launched missile may have a chance of creating an electromagnetic pulse near, or over, the American homeland. Read One Second After by William Forstchen to get an idea of what life in a post-EMP world would be like.

It’s all too easy to mock Kim Jong-un — his haircut, portly build, somewhat vacant stare, but as I’ve taught my kids, someone with an IQ of 48 can kill you just as easily as someone with an IQ 3 times that. Kim Jong-un has managed to have his brother assassinated, has brutally cleansed his government of the tiniest sign of dissent, and seems fully in charge of an isolated country of some 25 million citizens.

As of this writing, residents of Hawaii are being told to take this threat seriously and some top leaders in the military are suggesting installing a missile defense there.

Why is it so difficult to imagine him taking on the United States via a missile attack? And if Kim Jong-un backs down, there are significant threats brewing in the Middle East, and Putin’s Russia continues to play its role as America’s arch-rival.

The main problem as I see it is a world that is more unstable than at any time in my lifetime, with war being a very real possibility. Sometimes it even seems there are some in our federal government pushing for war.

World War 3 ushers in more than war damage

When my family first began prepping some 9 years ago, a third World War wasn’t on my list of prepping priorities. Back in late 2008, an economic collapse seemed far more likely, and it is still near the top of my own threat analysis. (If you haven’t made your own threat analysis, follow these instructions.)

What’s important to remember, though, if war hits our homeland, it would result in war related deaths and damage, sure, but virtually everything would be affected: shipping of virtually all products, including medicine, access to healthcare, jobs, the power grid and delivery of power, municipal water and sanitation systems, even relationships. Take a look at the devastation in Venezuela over the past several months to get an idea of a country in crisis.

War here in the homeland would be equally chaotic with the addition of unimaginable damage done by conventional and (likely) unconventional weapons. What would be destroyed? Well, consider what holds our country together: bridges, water/sanitation plants, government buildings, highways, airports, military bases, internet, banking, phone service, you name it.

Additionally, your daily routine will change. You may not have a job to go to, school may not be in session, dentist and doctor appointments may be difficult to come by. Everyone who depends on you now will continue to do so, including pets and livestock animals.

So how do you prepare?

Over the years, I’ve heard survival-minded folk talk about SHTF, WROL, and TEOTWAWKI as though they are something to look forward to. They can test out their cool gear, get to their bug out locations, and live out in real life the survival fantasies they’ve only read about in books.

Okay, maybe I’m being a little harsh, but no matter how well prepped any of us think we are, the reality of a worst case scenario will absolutely be more than we can imagine and there are a multitude of variables that no one can anticipate. One significant step I’ve taken with my prepping is a course at Preppers University. I couldn’t always attend the live classes, but when I did, the chance to ask questions of survival experts was priceless. When I had time, I went back and watched the recordings, too.

Obviously, I’ve been considering this particular worst case scenario for a while and have determined the best course of action for me and my family: prep to maintain the best level of normalcy possible. Think of it this way:

If my income is interrupted, I can prep by:

  • Save money
  • Pay off debt
  • Possibly pay ahead with property taxes
  • Learn additional skills that could generate income
  • Set a goal of paying off our house
  • Teach my kids skills that could be used to earn money

My thought process here is to become as financially independent as possible on my average, middle class earnings. By being very careful with our money we can meet most/all of these goals. If war does come, I’m not going to count on the mortgage company telling me I can continue living in our house if I can’t make payments. Even if the dollar becomes devalued, I’d rather have $10,000 in savings than nothing at all.

If supply lines cause scarcity, we can:

  • Continue stocking up on food, medicine, and other hard goods
  • Get in the habit of cooking meals from scratch in order to utilize the least expensive “survival foods”, individual freeze-dried or dehydrated ingredients
  • Make sure my kids know how to cook from scratch
  • Keep track of these preps so there’s no shortage of anything critical

No one can stock up on multiples of every single item they might ever need, so I’ve been working on covering the basics and covering them very well. Every month we buy a little more food specifically for our food storage pantry. My wife looks for coupons and sales on non-food items, like OTC medications, household cleaners, paper plates, pretty much anything that would come in handy and has a good long shelf life.

If we aren’t able to leave our house, I can have these plans in place:

  • Have supplies on hand and plans in place to homeschool our kids.
  • Keep in mind that entertainment isn’t a luxury but a way to wile away time and take the focus off hardships.
  • Become as self-sustained as possible within the walls of our house and on our 1/3 acre suburban lot.
  • Keep track of the services we use throughout the month and plan to either not use them at all or have the supplies and good-enough skills to take care of them ourselves.

Here, I’m thinking about a nuclear event or pandemic that might turn a quick errand into a deadly trip with no return. Another possibility is active warfare in and around our town and everyday violence and civil unrest (see Venezuela). Are you ready for a quarantine if biological warfare is used? Stuck at home, we would have to rely on ourselves, our preps, and ingenuity. With or without kids, a schedule and routines will be important to maintain sanity, a bit of normalcy, and chores to keep the home in order.

If medical and dental services aren’t available, we can prep by:

  • Stocking up on the over-the-counter meds we use most often
  • Keeping up to date with dental and vision check-ups
  • Annual physicals are on our calendar and we follow up with anything the doctor recommends
  • Working toward eating clean, healthy foods and reaching/maintaining healthy weights.
  • Working out on a regular basis to build muscle strength and stamina
  • Taking as many classes as we can related to medical care and health, and encourage our kids to do the same. (This is possible through Boy Scouts and Civil Air Patrol, to name just two resources.)

This is an area that is so important but I fear it’s overlooked my many preppers, unless you’e talking about how to gouge out a bullet from a body! If you’re a couch potato, who wants to get up and work out? My wife pointed out to me just last week that I’ve gained a few pounds, and I have. With my job getting busier, I haven’t been exercising like I used to. All the preps in the world, though, won’t do you any good if you’re sickly, weak, unable to lift/carry/walk, etc. While preppers with various health issues definitely CAN survive, if you’re able-bodied but just lazy, there’s no excuse!

I’m not going to minimize the impact of a World War 3 on our homeland. When Selco talked about having to scavenge for edible weeds and not having a working toilet, it was very sobering. With the kind permission of Preppers University, you can listen to that talk at this link. Take a listen and in the comments, let me know how you would prep for World War 3.

 

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The Dog Bug Out Bag – A Survival Kit for Man’s Best Friend

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The Dog Bug Out Bag – A Survival Kit for Man’s Best Friend Every dog has its day, and you may want yours to have a few more! Plan for your dog to survive a disaster now so you don’t have to leave them behind when SHTF. Besides just being a great pet, many dogs have …

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Make Your Own Microstill

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Make Your Own Microstill This microstill design and instruction was created to allow someone to make their own spirits. Not a bad tool to have around in a SHTF scenario. I am sure there will be serious addictions that will need to be fed as the stress compiles and resources diminish. You could find yourself …

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Muay Thai Clinch Techniques For Self Defense

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Muay Thai Clinch Techniques The ancient fighting style of Muay Thai has proven itself to be one of the most effective fighting methods in the world. It has forged champions in the UFC and still remains the military martial art in Thailand. This is not a fluke but fighting method that employs the use of elbows, …

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Are Preppers Crazy or Is It Crazy to Not Prep?

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Are Preppers Crazy or Is It Crazy to Not Prep via Preparedness Advice

What do your friends and family say when you tell them you’ve been storing food, growing your own produce or that you subscribe to Mother Earth News?  When they find out that you’re considering raising chickens in your suburban backyard, do they think you’re crazy?  My own friends get this uneasy look in their eyes, and then slowly back away as if they hear the opening notes of  “Dueling Banjos”!

The fact is, human beings have been survivalists, or preppers, for nearly our entire existence.  Foraging, hunting, and gathering wasn’t just an alternate lifestyle for our ancestors but the only means of survival.  Each day, each season brought the possibility of having no water, no food, no medicinal herbs, and no shelter.  Storing as much food as possible, yes, stockpiling!, wasn’t radical, it was sensible.  There was no option to self-sufficiency.

Fast forward thousands of years, and self-sufficiency, by and large, is a thing of the past.  We have forgotten essential, practical survival skills.  Why take the trouble to grow your own food when there’s a grocery store on every corner?  The produce department displays not just one variety of apples but a dozen, all shiny clean and not a worm in sight.  Discount stores offer shoes and clothing at a price much lower than anything handmade.  Most of us revel in the quality and variety of goods that are so easily accessible, but will this era of plenty last indefinitely?

It really is no wonder that preppers seem out of step with most everyone around us.  There are obvious, ominous storm clouds on the horizon, and to us, it just makes sense to stock up on groceries,  learn long-forgotten skills, and make plans for any number of emergencies.

Friends and family may question our sanity, but our ancestors would be proud of our efforts to prepare for an uncertain future.

Want to become a crazy prepper? Check out these articles!

Plant These Edible Flowers in Your Garden Now!

34 Foods You Need in Your Food Storage Pantry

8 Exit Plans Every Serious Prepper Should Have in Place

How to Prep for a Quarantine

The Best Footwear For TEOTWAWKI

Free Manuals to Download on Survival and Edible Plants

 

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Prepping by the Numbers

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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 Xavier. 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.


When planning your preps, you’re faced with a myriad of options and contrary to the popular social campaign to be unique, I urge you to follow the masses. Not only do the masses USUALLY get things right in aggregate, but it can make your life easier in the long run to just go with the crowd. There’s no need to be exotic with your preps. Consider a tiny slice of prepping: bug-out vehicles, electronics, and firearm selection. The same concept can be applied to almost anything you’re prepping for!

Cars and bug-out vehicles

When looking for a car: don’t be exotic. Play the numbers. The most popular small car in America for MANY years going back decades is the Toyota Corolla. The most popular minivan in America for MANY years going back almost a dozen years is the Honda Odyssey. Care to guess which two vehicles I own? They’re not the most stylish vehicles, not even the best performance or features. That’s not why I own them. I own them because they’re EVERYWHERE! This makes it cheaper and easier to find parts for them NOW, and will make it that much easier to find the parts I need after SHTF. If I were to buy a pickup, I’d likely end up with a Ford F-150 for the exact same reason.

The ability to find spare parts shouldn’t be overlooked.

Consider your geographic area where you live now, your path to your bug-out location, and eventually your bug-out location when making these decisions, and what you’ll need to do with the car. I’ve heard that AWD Subaru’s and Toyota 4Runners are common in Colorado and for a good reason.

Having a popular car makes it easy to find parts. Knowing which cars are compatible make it even easier. For example, the Toyota Corolla and the Toyota Matrix (and even the Pontiac Vibe) use the same 4-cylinder engine & drive train & suspension for any given year. When I do work on my Corolla, I use the Matrix repair manuals. The Honda Odyssey, Honda Pilot, and the 6-cylinder Accord share their frame and most engine components. The Toyota 4Runner, for instance, uses the same size oil filter in 2015 that it did in 1988. If you can, having two cars that share the same frame/engine components can simplify purchasing parts; this way you only have to keep one type of spare on-hand. Even if you can’t, at least keep them all metric or SAE, so you only need to carry/own one set of tools.

This can also come into play when you’re planning your preps with a group. If everyone in your group has the same or realistically similar vehicle and one completely dies, it can serve as a Frankenstein parts donor for other vehicles in your group. Your group can share the cost of a parts-pool for your bug-out camp, as it will benefit every member. Even something simple as having the same oil filter or tire-size may save a life in a pinch. Be wary of aftermarket parts on your vehicle if it prevents you from using standard parts as a rip & replace and doesn’t require welding or metal work.

Electronics

Solar Panels give you a tremendous grid-down advantage.

When thinking of survival electronics, the same rules apply – play the numbers. The most likely ways to use electronics after grid down are AA batteries, 12vDC and USB. Without reliable grid power or a generator the most common way of using portable electronics is battery power. The most common battery is the AA. All of my flashlights and most of my radios use AA batteries. They’re readily available, and can be scavenged from many household accessories such as TV remotes or children’s toys if needed. Don’t be exotic. Don’t get stuck trying to find specialized batteries because you bought a tacti-cool flashlight.

Next up is 12vDC power. This is available from just about any car battery so there should be no shortage, at least in the short-term after grid-down. They can be recharged using solar power generators. Inverters are available to make 120vAC available in a pinch for devices such as laptops, though they’re not always electrically efficient. Many popular survival related electronics operate on 12vDC power, such as CB or HAM radios and GPS units. I would recommend having a 12v deep cycle battery and a way to recharge it at your bug-out location. Having cigarette lighter adapters for your accessories can help while bugging out if you encounter an abandoned vehicle and need to make a quick contact with a radio or to recharge. Many smaller capacity 12v batteries can be found in lawn-care equipment, or as backup power for home alarm panels and garage door openers. There are even personal computers that run completely on 12v. These may be useful in short-term grid down events such as local natural disasters or for EMCOMM groups that have a need for digital communications.

USB ports and accessories are ubiquitous in today’s technological world. Understand that USB isn’t a /source/ of power, but rather an interface that I wouldn’t want to be caught without. Most cell phones and tablets charge using USB. Many small FRS/GMRS or even HAM radios can charge via a USB port. I have a small solar chargeable battery with USB interfaces in my bag. Again, having charging cables for each of your devices along the way can facilitate your travels. Travel adapters to take a 12v cigarette lighter to USB port are also very convenient. Try to make sure your devices use the same USB interface or at least stick to the most common plug types such as usb-micro for most Android phones, or the lightning style plug for newer Apple devices.

Ammunition and Firearms

guns, pistols, rifle, revolvers, and ammunition

When looking at purchasing firearms for self-defense or hunting, one of the first and largely asked questions is “what caliber”. Often it comes down to what’s the most powerful round you can reasonably handle or what has the most ‘stopping power’. However, the most powerful handgun in the world is useless if you can’t find ammunition for it. Don’t be exotic. Picking and standardizing on the most common rounds works in your benefit, and thus often cheaper to acquire now; and more importantly are the most easily obtained after SHTF. Even if you create a substantial stockpile at your home or bug-out location, there’s no guarantee it will not be plundered before you arrive, destroyed by malicious individuals or natural disaster, or that you can remain indefinitely at your bug-out location. You may have to abandon it; how much ammo can you carry with you?

For a standard loadout, you pretty much can’t go wrong with NATO rounds or those inspired by them. This means 9mm for handguns, 5.56mm for your light rifle, and 7.62mm for your long-range rifle. A word of caution: use only ammunition that fits your particular firearm. Many other articles available online explain the differences between the NATO 5.56mm and the common .223 Remington round and the inherent compatibility issues that are involved with these two related rounds. A similar discussion should be had regarding the .308 Winchester and the NATO 7.62, as well as ‘standard 9mm’ vs ‘9mm +P’. Also be aware if you carry a backup/pocket/ankle gun in .380, it’s very similar in size to a 9mm. .38 special and .357 magnum rounds are both basically physically identical. Don’t put the wrong round in the wrong gun or you could have disastrous results.

These rounds pack enough punch for what we’re likely to encounter and are small and light enough to carry a substantial amount. If you own multiple firearms for the same caliber, it would be wise that they are identical. This gives 2 primary benefits. The first is part compatibility. You only need to stock one style of part that can match both of your guns instead of having a plethora of parts for different guns. Your accessories and magazines will be interchangeable. If one gun is incapacitated or damaged, it can be used for loaner parts for your other firearm. The second benefit is weapon familiarity when training. Muscle memory built on one weapon can fail you if you resort to your secondary or backup gun in an intense situation. If you are prepping with a group of others, the same wisdom applies: get the same weapon platform.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the ubiquitous .22LR. It’s never a bad idea to have a weapon in this caliber and to stock up on plenty of ammo for it. It’s suitable for both handgun and long-gun usage. All in all a very versatile round. Another highly popular and useful gun not to neglect is the 12ga shotgun. They’re considered very reliable and pack a punch. There are a myriad of options available for ammunition that are almost 100% compatible with any modern 12ga shotgun.

Consider this just food for thought as you plan your preps. This mindset of shooting for the average can not only minimize your costs for prepping, but stretch your ability to survive after SHTF. If we end up WROL and there’s a need to barter something, having the most popular items makes your trading agility that much higher, rather than the high-priced exotic item that can only be used by a select few.

Be the gray-man!

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Should You Plan to Barter in a Collapsed Economy?

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prepper barteringIf our economy ever does collapse and the dollars we’ve saved become worthless, one thing is for sure, a system of bartering will emerge, along with a black market. As you stock up on food and other goods, you may have had the thought, “This would be good for bartering.” Prepper bartering is a very popular topic on most prepper forums and blogs. But is it something worth planning and prepping for?

The weaknesses of barter

Most people think barter is merely “I’ll trade you this for that.” In a pure, simple sense that is so. However, where the rubber meets the road, where theory smacks hard into the face of reality, it isn’t nearly that simple and easy. There are definite drawbacks.

Let’s use the realistic example of a parent in search of an antiobiotic for his child. If he’s lucky enough, he’ll come upon an acquaintance who happens to have a stash of antibiotics, maybe even fish antibiotics that are available in livestock stores or on Amazon. The parent explains his need and requests a week’s worth of amoxicillin.

The owner of that antibiotic now has to make a tough decision. His own loved ones may be in need of those pills somewhere down the road. It may be impossible to purchase any more in the near future, but perhaps this desperate parent has something of value to trade.

Here is where bartering gets interesting because now the parent has to think of things he’s willing to give up in order to acquire amoxillin. Food? A Berkey water purifier? Gold or silver? A firearm? Ammunition? What?

He can offer any number of items in trade but until the owner of the Amoxicillin decides he wants something that is offered, the trade isn’t going to happen. In my situation, I’d be thinking:

  • Food? We already have a year’s worth, and I don’t need any more.
  • A Berkey? Got that, plus a few other water purifiers.
  • Gold or silver? Maybe, but how much am I willing to lose?
  • A firearm? I could always use another but look at what I’m giving up: a drug that could save my own life or my child’s life someday. Not sure it’s worth it.
  • Ammo? Same reasoning as above.

The trade for amoxicillin in this case may be dead in the water and the parent in search of the drug may have to move on and find someone else with that drug stashed away somewhere.

So is prepper bartering something you can count on as a survival strategy? Obviously not. There’s no substitute for being very well prepared yourself and thinking ahead to what you might need.

By the way, if the proposed barter runs into a dead end, guess who is vulnerable to robbery or worse? Yep. The guy who let it be known that he has a supply of life saving drugs. Not smart and may very well become a major reason why many people simply won’t turn to barter. It reveals what they have during a time in which scarcity is the rule.

If you DO want to prep for barter…

First, make sure you are stocked up with the basics for yourself and your family before worrying about adding items for barter. Consider these points:

  • Do you have extra funds to purchase barter goods?
  • What percentage of your prep budget will go into buying barter goods?
  • Do you have room to stock up on items specific for barter?

The next steps are:

  • Review lists of barter goods and consider costs. What items can you most afford and do you have room to store them?
  • Think about which potential barter goods can double as useful items for you if you need to raid that stash. Example: if you never, ever drink alcohol, then maybe you shouldn’t stock up on dozens of bottles of liquor.
  • Consider stocking only items whose uses you know very well. The more you know about them, and thus their usefulness and value, the better a deal you can haggle.
  • Prioritize your shopping list, but be prepared to deviate if a great deal pops up.
  • Look for your chosen items on sale, clearance, or have coupons. Over the counter drugs, nutritional supplements, and cosmetics often show up in clearance aisles.

What to buy for your barter stash

Most barter items fall into two main categories: comfort/luxuries and survival essentials.

Imagine living for weeks or months without a bar of soap or a bottle of shampoo. After weeks without electricity, imagine the incredible value a pack of matches might have. Other suggestions in the comfort/luxuries category are:

  • Nail polish
  • Lipstick
  • Feminine hygiene
  • Cigarettes
  • Alcohol
  • Paperback books
  • Hygiene supplies: soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo
  • Candy, chocolate, chewing gum
  • Anything that will help make life more pleasant
  • Coffee
  • Baby wipes
  • Spices
  • Candy, chocolate

Among essentials that would be welcome in a barter exchange:

  • Ammunition
  • Long-term food
  • Water filter/purification
  • Seeds (Read this article about mini seed banks specific for bartering.)
  • Batteries
  • First Aid supplies, many are on this list
  • Tools
  • Vitamins
  • Over the counter medications and medical supplies
  • Baby supplies: diapers, formula, baby clothes
  • Camping gear
  • Insect repellant
  • Matches, fire starters

You can read long lists of barter-able items here. Remember that skills and knowledge are great for bartering and won’t impact what you have stored away.

The bottom line is to give this some thought, don’t over-spend, and keep your eyes open for bargains.

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Does Your Plan B Include a Second Place to Live If Plan A Doesn’t Work Out?

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Does Your Plan B Include a Second Place to Live If Plan A Doesn’t Work Out? This article is a great look the reality of national debt and cost of living. It also sheds light on a topic that scares all homeowners: property value. It’s a terrifying thought when you imagine something in your area …

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How To Throw Knives For Survival

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How To Throw Knives For Survival As a child we all owned at least one ninja set. It featured the might shurken or throwing star. Whether you came up watching Bruce Lee throwing these or the Ninja Turtles there was always part of you that wondered just how hard it could be. There are companies …

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3 Methods For Handling Human Waste After A Disaster

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3 Methods For Handling Human Waste After A Disaster Human waste is a touch topic, to begin with. It’s one of the more dangerous substances that will pile up over time in a post-disaster world. Human waste is highly infectious and can contaminate water sources and even growing lands. Most of the worst bacterial illnesses …

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An Illustrated Guide to Cooking on a Campfire

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An Illustrated Guide to Cooking on a Campfire There is nothing better than the smell of a campfire burning! There are endless uses for a campfire: a source of warmth, a way to dry clothing when camping, and one of the best uses – cooking. Food cooked over the campfire creates a unique flavour and …

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NSC Report: 17% Drop in Unintentional Gun Deaths

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NSC Report: 17% Drop in Unintentional Gun Deaths We will always have a fight on our hands. Defending the second amendment will be our war and it will carry on for generations to come. Much of it has to do with a person’s unwillingness to understand guns and how they work. Many people have irrational fears …

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34 Primitive Survival Skills All Survivalist Should Know

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34 Primitive Survival Skills All Survivalist Should Know Humans have existed for hundreds of thousands of year and our ancestors have moved from places to places to find a home. It is without any doubt that they possess an incredible willpower and a repertoire of survival skills. The latter, unfortunately, was forgotten over the course. …

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59 Survival Tips, Tricks and Techniques for the Great Outdoors

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59 Survival Tips, Tricks and Techniques for the Great Outdoors The reliance on technology in today’s modern world has left many who travel out into the wilderness for hiking and camping adventures vulnerable if they should lose their equipment. Every year, thousands of people are injured and die from several different causes that all took …

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Prepper Must-Haves – Garden Tools

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

At its most basic, growing food doesn’t take much. At home it can be accomplished with some tin cans and plastic bottles, maybe some storage totes or buckets or drawers that were salvaged for free, and seeds or starts. When we’re working on that scale our hands and a pencil are sufficient.

Most of the time, though, we expand beyond small and tiny containers. Even with some small, modest beds, there are a few tools like hooked three-prong hand cultivators or a small spade that come in handy. When we’re dealing with numerous beds and a larger plot, we want to step up again. If our food production deals with shrubs, brambles and trees, we need a few more things yet.

To some degree, growing style largely dictates what is a must-have item and what can be set aside. Our bodies and health dictate more – as we get older or accumulate injuries, we may need more mechanical help or to spend less time crouched and thus more time with a long-handled tool of some kind. However, for veggie-veggies – not the large-scale calorie staple and protein staple crops like grinding corn, wheat, barley, beans, lentils, and field peas – there are some standards that will apply for most gardeners.

The Underdog

When I see articles about garden tools for beginners, upgrades for old hats, and reviews on the best contraptions to hit the market, there’s one thing that never seems to make it on the pages: Twine.

Maybe the big guys don’t need it. I sure use a fair bit of twine, string and cord in my gardens, though. I also use a fair bit while I’m air layering. Okay, in truth, I use some, and I also use strips of ruined clothing.

We need something to be tying up plants with, though, regularly, and I regularly use cord for parts of my trellises. There are alternatives, like using netting or light-gauge fencing. Cultivar selection for our plants might also reduce or eliminate trellis needs.

Regularly, though, we need to support something, from a seedling tree that needs staked to hanging planters or containers from and above porch railings.

Some decent twine that doesn’t break as we tie the knot and doesn’t rot in a single season will save us a lot of not-nice words. In the long run, it’s worth the money.

It’s also one of those things that really ought to just wander around the garden and outside with us, right there with a handy pair of pliers, pruners, and our pocketknife.

Machines

Stone me now; there’s not the first Kubota, Deere, Gator, or Kioti on my list. Tractors revolutionized the way we farm, made our way of life possible, and made it possible for the human population worldwide to snowball. The thing is, most of us don’t need them.

Sure, a riding mower or an ATV – especially with tow-behind cultivators, furrowers, spreaders or even just trailers – make life a lot easier. As we start cultivating significant properties, move into producing our own staple crops or producing grass hay and grains for livestock, when we start cutting grass straw, we should look in that direction. Until then … they need fuels, they need maintenance, and for the most part they’re a convenience. With the exception of folks who can’t push or pull physically, they’re not necessary for a veggie garden, even a big one.

Tillers/Powered Cultivators might be a must-have or might be a convenience. It depends on our bodies, growing scheme, and the scale of growing. There are some smaller versions where the power head cross-purposes with other tools like weed-eaters, overhead saws, and the tiller, and that’s a right handy tool to consider. Another option would be either electric tillers that can be powered from a running vehicle or charged from a solar battery bank. Because diesel stores so well, diesel-powered machines – or the vehicle that’s going to be used as a generator – might appeal to others despite the upfront costs.

Wood Chipper-Shredders do make my list as a must-have garden item when we get serious about production. So long as we have plenty of junk trees, firewood trimmings, or fruit trees and brambles to feed through them, anyway.

Mulch is an enormous aid in gardening. It saves labor in weeding, prevents soil compaction and erosion, and limits evaporation of rain and irrigation water. While some types of mulch-bed growing creates an alkaline environment that’s tougher on acid-loving domestic veggies and berries, for the most part we can mitigate the pH of our gardens.

Being able to convert bamboo, privet (pre-seed), and tree prunings from living specimens and firewood or construction into mulch is too valuable to ignore that particular machine.

On the other hand, if we’re shy on trees but have the land space, there’s nothing wrong with switching that chipper-shredder for a weed-eater that’s been modified into an electric, gas or diesel powered scythe. It’ll allow us to relatively quickly cut and lay out straw we can use for garden mulch.

Standard Manual Garden Tools

By and large, once we have beds or plots eked out of the ground with either a tiller or a sod cutter, and have dedicated ourselves to maintaining them, getting them seeded with weed-choking cover crops or heavily mulched, we don’t need a whole lot to maintain gardens.

Still, there are some tools that are right handy.

The short list for manual tools for a garden would really be a round-point digging shovel and-or a trenching shovel, a small garden trowel, a hay rake or flat-tined garden rake for leveling and aerating soil or dragging rows for seeds and transplants, a hoe, and in many cases a cultivator of some kind – a weasel, tiller, broad fork, or similar.

A small three-prong cultivator for one-handed or a long-handled, two-handed version can make weeds a much simpler task, and be used for spacing out seed rows.

A garden fork rates pretty highly as well (like a hay fork but with flat, wide tines) since it can be used as a secondary cultivator following a shovel or furrowing plow

Garden by garden, a leaf rake, square-point (transfer, moving) shovel, and both a pointed and a flat-square hoe rate really highly as well.

With them we can turn beds, collect and distribute chipped or leaf mulch and compost, dig in-situ composting trenches and holes, break up soil, level beds and rows, build up triangular and flattened-top mounded rows and beds, and even use them to create seed furrows and cover our beds again.

Mallets

They’re not as ignored and maligned as string, because I don’t use them or see them used quite as much, but I spend a lot of time hammering things. Mallets deserve a little credit there.

I hammer stakes for supporting row covers and baby trees, bird netting, and to keep things from digging under fences. I hammer in supports for new trellises and arbors. I pound in stakes and string line for rows and to mark expansions or areas I want left alone. I tap CMU block into place. I infrequently use nails or stakes to assemble trellises or bounded beds (usually I’m a fan of a screw and a drill for those).

Could I do it with a plumber’s wrench, carpenter’s hammer, or my pruners? Usually. I’d work harder and longer though.

Sometimes the right tool, right at hand, is worth it. Mallets are one of those tools for me, and the shorty 2-3# mallets with a flat square side are one of them for me.

If a garden area is small, and there’s a lot of pre-fab without as much annual assembly season-by-season, a mallet would go down in usefulness.

Power Tools

Having busted on energy draws while discussing machines, I’m going to contradict myself. There are two things that get reached for constantly, especially at the beginning of the growing season, the beginning and early in warm-tender crop seasons, harvest seasons, row-cover seasons, and bed-down-the-garden seasons.

They are my trusty-dusty little drill, and my trusty-dusty little saws-all.

When I say little, I mean that.

As with CCW firearms and EDC/GHB kits, when things are big, bulky and heavy, we don’t carry them all the time. In this case, that means that things get put off or I spend time making round trips to the vehicle.

With lighter, compact tools, they can sit in their bags with a variety of tips and blades, both of them inside a bucket with some string, sturdy pruners, a small hand cultivator, a mini hoe, and a hooked knife. I snag my bucket whenever I’m working in the yard, and whatever I need, it’s right there.

Must-Have’s for the Garden

I have a friend who managed in excess of three acres of just vegetable and fruit production without any fossil-fuel or battery-powered assistance. She does use a “work pig” and her birds, sheep and goats to help her, but the bulk of what she does is by manual labor. It’s possible. It’s not easy, it takes time – especially with livestock – but it’s possible.

I consider it telling that with few exceptions for “block” crops like corn and peas, she doesn’t grow in conventional rows or big plots. She grows in beds, by curving blocks and lines that follow her land’s fairly minor contours. It’s too much work to eke out the space, initially and every year after thaw, to use conventional methods.

It’s also too much work to leave bare earth. The work isn’t just the weed maintenance, but also the water hauling and the amount of time that has to be dedicated to plant health. So she mulches. Her mulches melt away in 12-24 month cycle, but the labor of creating and spreading them works out to be less than fighting more weeds and against harder soil and more evaporation.

If we’re planning to live a power-free or low-power-draw “sustainable” and “self-sufficient” life without the noise or fuels of machines, we might want to consider some of the alternative growing methods and ease-of-gardening methods, just as she does.

Our garden “must-have” tools are going to change depending on those methods.

It’s also going to depend on space. If we have smaller gardens, we can get away with fewer and less-specialized tools. At a market or large family scale conventional garden plot, some mechanization is going to be right on the borderline of a must-have.

Aging and broken bodies may also have to rely on some method that will help them, be it a growing style or machines. That will change the tools they reach for significantly.

The number-one “must” for gardening is to get started.

There are a lot of learning curves specific even to one section of a small yard. No book is going to have every answer, and by the time we’re troubleshooting, we’re already behind the curve. Hard times or a disaster is a terrible time to discover our microclimates, niche pests and diseases, and soil types.

Once we get started, our personal “must have” list will refine itself.  We’ll want backups of what we use most. We may expand to the full array of shovel and hoe and rake types, or we may stick with a few subtly different styles. Over time, we may find that it ebbs and flows.

We can start small and add a few things as budgets open up, working toward those items that multipurpose or have the most value for our lives first, then adding on the things that will allow us to expand and be more efficient. Knowing some of the rec’s and the priorities for them from other growers may help with that, either getting started or expanding.

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Survival Movies. Surviving An Outbreak. Isolation.

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I have not finished watching this video to date, but it has been very good so far. I have a dislike for Zombie movies, & this one is based on a similar scenario, but it is done very well. Well worth watching, set in England.

Building Your Own Firearm (Part 3 – AR-15 Lower Parts)

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Written by John Hertig on The Prepper Journal.

Last time, we finished our look at the legality and mechanics of building your own firearm, particularly the manufacturing of the receiver.  Even though this receiver IS considered to be the firearm, it is not usable as is.  In the next two articles, we look at what is needed to get the firearm functional.  In particular, we will concentrate on the AR-15 style rifles and pistols.  This is because these (and the very similar AR-10 and AR-308) are the most common firearms built from 80% receivers.  This decision will give us the widest choices of parts and tooling and options to experiment with.  By the way, note that the AR in all of these means “Armalite Rifle” (the company which designed this style), not “Assault Rife”.

I let my fingers do the surfing online to find the best combination of apparent quality and price as of February, 2017.  Note that this does not mean this list of parts, prices and sources is still valid, and it was based upon my preferences and budget so may not be the best choice for you and your particular needs.

Once you have a completed receiver which you made for yourself or bought (stripped) through normal firearm purchase channels, you have the basis to easily assemble the firearm.  The bottom part of an AR style firearm, consisting of the receiver, pistol grip, internal Lower Parts Kit (LPK), and the buffer tube kit and stock, is often called the “lower”.  The upper part, consisting of the rest of the firearm, is called, not surprisingly, the “upper”.

The AR-15 80% Receiver

When choosing a receiver, either 80% or finished, the options usually are “cast” aluminum, “billet” aluminum, “forged” aluminum, or some form of reinforced plastic (polymer).  The plastic is likely to be lighter and easier to machine, while the aluminum should be more durable.  There is not that much stress on the lower when firing an AR slowly; the choice between the weakest and strongest lowers can be guided largely by rapid fire requirements and non-firing situations such as dropping it, banging it on something, or applying inappropriate force to the buffer tube or when the upper is hinged open.  The aluminum receivers tend to be of either 7075-T6 (newer, machines better) or 6061-T6 (the previous standard).  The strongest are made by forging, that is, heating the aluminum to where it is softened but not melted, and then forcing it into the desired shape.  Like with knives, this process improves the metallic structure.  Another decent, but often more expensive choice, is taking a billet (block) of aluminum and machining the desired shape into it, potentially providing a more pleasing appearance than forged but with not quite the same strength.   Casting (pouring liquid aluminum into a mold) is the least desirable aluminum choice, not being either the strongest (at least some of them have been known to crack or crumble) or the best looking, and I don’t know why you would choose this option unless you find one dirt cheap, particularly if you are looking for one to practice on.  I couldn’t find any, but I didn’t look very hard.  As for the plastic, there are a wide range of choices; I like the ones which have metal inserts at the points most likely to be affected by stress, and probably will avoid any which do not have those inserts.

Since I plan to try out at least two of the three mechanical methods of crafting a finished receiver (I have a drill press AND a router), and there are three attractive types of receivers to try, I needed to cut down the vast number of choices to a number I could make valid decisions between.  A key factor for me is whether engraving of a serial number and other BATFE recommended text can be provided, as I see following government laws and recommendations to be wise, particularly when the benefits are greater than the costs.

First up would be plastic, which I’m a bit nervous about.  To minimize my concerns, I looked for one which had metal at the stress points, and found the “Liberator” from Tennessee Arms.  It uses fiber-filled nylon with brass inserts at the threaded holes, available in black, dark earth, grey and olive drab; these shades match Magpul stocks color choices.  The cost for the receiver alone is $75, or $99.95 with a one-time use jig which seems a reasonable cost for a single build.  Since the jig is for the drill press method, that is the method I’ll use for this receiver.  Another advantage of this source is that they do engraving of serial numbers and/or a custom image, and I can make an image of the BATFE recommended information.  Their best value is a receiver, jig, set of bits and engraving for $109.  And they were offering a 20% discount plus a quantity discount when I ordered.

Next I looked for forged aluminum, and narrowed it down to a few choices.  From an economy and appearance standpoint, a good choice seems to be the anodized one from www.80-lower.com for $59.95, or $69.95 with FIRE/SAFE marked.  This company offers several multiple-use jigs including the “Easy Jig” so can cover either the router or drill press methods at various price points.  However, they don’t offer engraving.  For that, an alternative is a raw one from Atomic Engraving for $79.99 or an anodized one for $89.99 which include a serial number and BATFE suggested text engraved; they also have an unmarked (except for Fire/Safe) anodized receiver for $64.95.  Another choice is the anodized one from Daytona Tactical for $69.95 with your choice of stock images engraved on one side and for an additional $14.95, they will engrave a serial number and up to four lines of text on the other side.  They also have raw receivers for $44.95 and Cerakoted ones for $69.95, but they won’t engrave either of these because “it does not show up well”.  I’ll use the “Easy Jig” and my router for whichever of these I end up choosing.

Finally, there are a number of billet options.  Since Ghost Gunner has a raw one for $65, which they specifically chose to be used with their machine, this is the one I’d go with if I decide to try that machine.  Although allegedly “any” raw aluminum receiver can be used with the machine, I’d use their specified receiver the first time using this methodology.  As a computer controlled mill, the machine should be able to be programmed to engrave anything desired, so with the machine, I should be able to save money and trouble on any receiver I like since engraving will no longer be a factor in the purchase decision.  If engraving does not enter into the choice, there is a raw one from Daytona Tactical for $59.95 but as mentioned above, they won’t engrave it because it is raw.  They will Cerakote it for $15, though.  And  www.80-lower.com  has one Fire/Safe marked and anodized for $99.95.

One way to improve the search for engraved receivers seems to be to look for “CA Compliant 80%” lower or receiver, which is popping up a lot now due to the new California law.  If the choice is to get a receiver without engraving, but engraving is desired and you are unable to do it yourself, Atomic Engraving will engrave your own 80% receiver (or one of theirs) for $35 to $95 plus shipping, depending on how much engraving you want.

The AR-15 Lower Parts Kit

Basically, this is a set of all the parts which go into the receiver, including hammer, trigger, other controls, disconnector, pins and springs.  Annoyingly, it often also includes the pistol grip, which unless you want a stock (standard) grip, means you end up with an extra.  The trigger guard is not used on receivers which have the trigger guard built-in, typically billet and polymer ones.

The parts are standard from most sources with the major difference usually being quality.  “Mil-spec” (to military specifications) should be the lowest grade you consider, with higher grade parts used as your budget allows or your uses require.  Although a separate hammer and trigger is the norm, you can get a “one piece” drop-in target grade trigger group which can be used instead of the separate parts.  Other high-end parts are available for builds which push the limits of what the platform can do.

For good quality at a medium price, I settled on the Anderson set from Anderson Rifles for $49.70 at a mil-spec level.  If it turns out I need a higher level of quality, there is Spike’s Tactical LPK from Joe Bob Outfitters for $69.95.  And of course there is yet higher quality than that, at a significantly higher price.

Naturally, most LPKs come with the standard right hand only, 90 degree throw, safety selector.  These are adequate but not optimal.  I would prefer an ambidextrous safety, and might as well stick with Anderson who has an ambidextrous selector for $15.75.  It works well, but is wider than the receiver and sticks down enough to be a bit annoying.  A 45 or 60 degree throw safety would be a bit easier to use, and with custom shaped levers, perhaps more comfortable.  But some of these require a notch in the edge of the safety hole (to encourage use only on receivers with the “FIRE” marking appropriately located), which would be difficult to machine at home.  If you use a safety with one of these tabs, it would be easier to grind off the tab than notch the edge of the safety hole.  And if you are really into ambidextrous, magazine releases are also available for $25 and up.

Note that the pins which hold the hammer and trigger in place can, over time, develop looseness, and can even “walk” out of the receiver.  The way to prevent (or fix) this is “anti-walk” or “anti-rotate” pins.  KNS makes a couple of sets for the hammer and trigger pins for up to $40, but you can find their minimal models as low as $20 if you search.  KNS also has spring-loaded takedown and pivot pins for $20 which seems like would be very handy for final fitting, testing, cleaning and changing to different uppers.

The AR-15 Buffer Tube Kit and Stock

The remaining parts of the lower are the buffer tube kit and stock.  Buffer tubes are available in rifle, carbine and pistol lengths.  The buffer tube screws into the back of the receiver, and contains the buffer, which cushions the bolt slamming back, the mainspring, which pushes the bolt back forward into battery, and some mounting hardware.  The stock mounts around or to the buffer tube.  Stocks can be fixed or adjustable (collapsible); complete stock and buffer tube kits can be found as low as $40, but I wouldn’t trust them.  A stock alone for $40 should be adequate though.  On the other hand, you can spend hundreds on the stock, which you should avoid unless you know exactly what you are going for (and can afford it).  Note that there are two common carbine length buffer tube formats, mil-spec and commercial.  Either will work, but make sure all the parts you get are one or the other, since they are not compatible.  Mil-spec may offer a bit better selection of stocks.  Also, be aware that bolts come in different weights, and it is wise to match the buffer weight to the bolt.

For the carbine length buffer tube kit, I’ll get it from the same place as my bolt for $22.95 to get the best match (and attractive price).  If I were building a rifle for which accuracy or long-range was the key factor, I’d get a fixed stock with length and comb adjustments (like the Magpul PRS), which might have its own buffer tube built-in or more likely, requires the rifle length tube.  But “tactical accuracy” is good enough for me, although being big; I’d want it to be big and sturdy, like the Magpul MOE SL-S or MOE SL.

You do not want to use a carbine or rifle buffer tube on a pistol (due to a risk of being charged with possessing a Short Barrel Rifle), and Red Barn Armory seems to have good pistol specific ones by Phase 5 Tactical or Spike’s Tactical for $69.95.  As a cheaper option, Delta Team Tactical has one for $32.99.  And if you want a wrist brace system with the tube, there is the SIG system from Delta Team Tactical for $119.99.

Tune in next time for the upper parts and some useful accessories.

The post Building Your Own Firearm (Part 3 – AR-15 Lower Parts) appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Everything you Need to Know About Prepper Shelters

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Everything you Need to Know About Prepper Shelters Recently I asked a friend if he thought he was prepared for a disaster scenario, something like a  severe weather event or a human-caused catastrophe. He said: “Sure I am. I have a week or so worth of non-perishable food in the pantry and my AR-15 in …

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The Essentials of an Emergency Action Plan

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The Essentials of an Emergency Action Plan When disaster strikes, you need a plan. In a true disaster scenario, panic can easily take over and cloud your thinking. Without a well-rehearsed action plan, you’re sunk. An emergency action plan ensures you have the supplies you need and you take the appropriate actions during an emergency. …

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Top AR15 Varients for Home Defense

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Top AR15 Variants for Home Defense This article talks about creating rifles with alternate calibers in the style of the AR15 particular for home defense. There are many ways to protect your home and many weapons to do so. This article is written with a great authority on calibers and their effects within the four …

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