Prepper Podcasts for the Preparedness Community If you are taking steps to get really prepared for the future podcasts are a tool that must be used. With today’s technology you can take a podcast wherever you want. These podcasts are on your phone and with Bluetooth tech you can link them up to your car …
Is Your Clean Water Really Clean This article is a stirring look at the idea of clean water. It takes a look at several common ways that we clean water both at home and on the trail. Its an exciting topic because we all want to believe that our water filtering method offers us the …
The Coming Great Wealth Transfer While economic topics may not be the most exciting, I have news for you, they are necessary. If you plan on being prepared and understanding the threats you face as a nation you need to get your hands on some material that is readable on the economy. An article like the …
50 Items for Your Home Medical Kit From Tess Pennington, on of the best authors in the business of preparedness, comes an article that really breaks down the do it yourself home medical kit. This article is the one article you will need if you are looking to learn about and create your own medical …
The term “bug out vehicle” gets thrown around a lot in the prepper community, but it almost always refers to a car or truck of some kind. That is great if you have a family, but if you’re single and in good shape (or have a partner who is also in good shape) and don’t […]
How to make an Emergency Water Filter The bio filter is a powerful tool in your survival kit. We all know the importance of being able to filter water. Cleansing water is such an important part of any survival situation. No matter how good you are at building shelters or making fires, if you drink …
In the 21st century, we are all connected. Population growth, mass urbanization, deforestation, climate change and increased travel have dramatically increased the risk that familiar diseases will spread and mutate, and new ones will emerge. As people enter new spheres of biodiversity, they come into closer contact with other species, increasing the risk of viruses jumping from animals to humans, and then spreading more widely.
Unseen Enemy is an essential exploration into the increasing threat of emerging infectious disease outbreaks and their impacts on society. Meet healthcare workers, disease detectives and families who have experienced the horror and devastation of Ebola, Zika and Influenza epidemics and emerged deeply changed.
OFFICIAL CNN FILMS PRESS RELEASE:
UNSEEN ENEMY, about the potential looming crisis of disease pandemics, will debut as a CNN Films broadcast for a World Health Day presentation Friday, April 7 at 9:00pm Eastern on CNN/U.S. The film, which is exclusively presented by Johnson & Johnson, will then replay at 12:00am Eastern. All broadcasts will have limited commercial interruptions.
UNSEEN ENEMY is narrated by Emmy® and Golden Globe award-winning actor Jeffrey Wright and is written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Janet Tobias. CNN’s chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, MD, is an executive producer and consultant for the film. Philanthropist Paul G. Allen, known for his catalytic leadership during the 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak, is also an executive producer.
Tobias embedded with some of the world’s top pathogen hunters and medical professionals for more than three years, crisscrossing the globe for UNSEEN ENEMY, to track outbreaks of Zika, Ebola, and influenza. From inside the hot zones in Brazil and Liberia, the film includes doctors who detail their heroic and often hazardous work from the front lines of the outbreak response. Doctors and researchers describe how they encountered the diseases, and how they are fighting the pathogens to save patients.
While the headlines of deadly outbreaks are alarming, Tobias’ film makes the case that successful containment can be achieved with coordinated efforts of medical professionals, researchers, governments, communicators, and the public. Two historic examples support her case. World-renowned epidemiologist Dr. Larry Brilliant, guides viewers through his difficult decisions as he worked on the teams that forcibly vaccinated the last remote villagers against smallpox. Others describe how the global spread of HIV/AIDS could have been stopped if governments and public health bodies had acted more deliberately to warn the public. Dr. Brilliant warns now that there may be 30 emerging human pathogens that have the potential to become epidemics.
“The public plays an essential role in the fight to contain and eradicate diseases like Ebola, Zika, and influenza,” said Dr. Gupta, about his engagement in producing UNSEEN ENEMY. “It’s always been my goal to bring the best scientific and medical information to viewers so they can make informed decisions that improve their health. The situation is urgent, but information can help make us less vulnerable,” he said.
In addition to the premiere broadcasts on World Health Day, UNSEEN ENEMY will encore Saturday, April 15 at 9:00pm and Sunday, April 16 at 2:00am Eastern, with a short, CNN-produced companion special. The special will feature CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Anderson Cooper with a discussion on the existing vulnerabilities to disease outbreaks and the tools needed to close the gaps in disease response.
“Because we witnessed epidemics up close during filming, our team came away with hope that we can win the fight against them. Around the world, there are dedicated scientists, innovative technologists, heroic doctors and nurses, as well as survivors, moms, dads, sisters, and brothers, who understand we all have a role to play,” said filmmaker Janet Tobias. “It’s only by each of us doing our part that we will win the battle.”
Profiled in the film to demonstrate the wide range of expertise needed to defeat the next global health crisis are:
**Laurie Garrett, a Pulitzer prize-winning health journalist explains why flu is one of the world’s potentially most serious pandemics and also why public health authorities need to shift current priorities to effectively meet the next crises;
**Soka Moses, MD, a heroic young Liberian physician, left his family to treat Ebola patients at the height of the epidemic that ravaged his nation;
**Peter Piot, PhD, renowned microbiologist and director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, helped identify the Ebola virus in the 1970s and explains why the global spread of HIV/AIDS was not inevitable;
**Peter Sands, a global financier, explains what the next global health crisis could mean to global markets and geopolitical stability;
**Vanessa Van der Linden, MD, is a pediatric neurologist who sounded the initial alarm about a rise in microcephalic infants, following a Zika outbreak. Van der Linden even used a social media app to help gather data about the disease pattern; and,
**Gwen and Terry Zwanziger, parents of a teen who died of flu complications, now urge other parents to become informed about preventive vaccines and advocate for more money for flu research.
Carole Tomko, general manager and creative director of Mr. Allen’s Vulcan Productions, said, “We believe, and we’ve seen proof, that information is aid. In absence of vaccines, human knowledge paired with behavior modification is the most effective way to slow the spread of contagious diseases. UNSEEN ENEMY is a prime example of how Vulcan Productions combines storytelling and technology to ignite audiences to respond to big challenges. It is our hope that this film will inform and prepare individuals, and global society as a whole, for the very real global health crisis we are facing.”
In addition to the telecasts on CNN, Unseen Enemy will also stream live for subscribers via CNNgo on Friday, April 7 (www.CNN.com/go and via CNNgo apps for AppleTV, Roku, Amazon Fire, and iPad). The film will be available the day after the premiere (Saturday, April 8) via CNNgo. For additional information about the film and other ways to watch it, please visit: www.takesallofus.com.
Learn more about the film UNSEEN ENEMY.
How to Survive a Flood Severe flooding is one of those disasters that affect millions of Americans every years. These floods costs untold billions in damage. Yet, we rarely see them highlighted on prepper and survival websites. This article features a powerful flood article that helps put it in better perspective. There were more flood related …
The Retail Apocalypse The economy is something that peppers always have their eyes on. Many times we look at markets to get a grip on what is happening to the American economy. How are house prices, oil prices and those types of things. This article is about the condition of the retail market. It …
Is Your Home SHTF Ready? Host: Highlander “Survival & Tech Preps “ Audio in player below! Is your home SHTF ready? We will find this out and perhaps give you a few ideas of what you could do or expect if you’re not “Home Ready”. With the growing threat of everyday random violence even the best … Continue reading Is Your Home SHTF Ready?
I generally agree with the premise that skills are far more important than stuff, and that knowledge weighs nothing. There are skills that benefit us, every single day and definitely in a disaster – on any scale. However, sometimes collecting knowledge can be a pricey and time-consuming prospect. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn, but we need to prioritize as with anything else. We also have to honestly assess our preparedness level, plan, and current lifestyle. Pat’s Preparedness Arc is perfect for this.
Exceptions & Assessments
There are exceptions to some of what I’ll suggest. If you’re a wilderness adventure enthusiast or work in extremes, you already know it. If you truly have lots of free time but zero money after lots of cutbacks, and you have materials/resources lying around and don’t have to buy anything, okay.
If somebody is just into history, a reenactor, a hobbyist, I’m also not talking about that. Mental health clause – you need an outlet. However, interests are just interests and don’t belong in the “but it’s useful/preparedness” category of our time and financial budgets. It belongs under our entertainment budgets.
Please remember those caveats as you read the list. I’m talking about somebody learning from scratch specifically as a survival/preparedness skill in lieu of practicing, buying, or learning something else.
I also hear the argument put forth that somebody’s going to learn a skill or trade because then they can barter it. That is absolutely true in some cases (medical, mechanics, midwives). In others …
We have to ask ourselves: How many people who are preparing or not preparing are actually going to be around and need that particular skill? How do we plan to find those souls who are unprepared to do it themselves, but are expected to have surpluses worth our time and labor to trade for us?
Below are a few things I regularly see pushed as a must-have skill. I’ll break down the pro’s and con’s, and cover alternatives.
Alternatives After Assessment
Would it be better to develop the knowledge of how to find water by recognizing terrain and land cover patterns, a map of streams and springs in the area, and the physical strength to carry and drag water-level weight through woods, on crappy roadsides and ditches, and repeatedly lift buckets and containers out of a downed well or deep cut with cord, or over the side of a pickup?
Could we instead spend time locating buckets, storage totes, and barrels, the used and wrecked pieces of furniture and equipment on Craigslist and Freecycle to turn them into water catchment, and the afternoon or afternoons it takes to assemble them, to limit the amount of time we even have to go out hunting water?
Water is always going to be a focus for me, but there are other skills, too.
Gather wood for the stove/grill and practice cooking and canning on it. Learn hauling and tying knots, and practice felling, branch removal, and topping on consecutively larger trees. Learn to change your own oil and bike chain. Figure out how to unclog a drain using supplies and tools you already have on hand. Walk on the ditch verges and wooded hills to strengthen ankles.
We have to ask ourselves how important primitive skills are instead of something like wrapping a sprain, turning off water and gas mains, producing and finding food, mending a fence, sharpening a blade, rescuing a drowning/choking infant or child, and backing a trailer.
Fire From Scratch
Let’s start off with a super controversial one – yay!
First, I’m not talking about finding dry tinder in wet woods or making a feather stick. If somebody’s out in the woods regularly, the potential of injury in a downpour makes them worthwhile in the crisis stance. As a through packer (I think they call it ultralight now, but my bag was never light) and multi-day paddler, those are things that saved me time and energy for my hot meal.
I’m talking about Survivorman fire starting, primitive fire starting. If you happen to have a battery and steel wool, more power to you. It was never in my pack for fire tools.
Second, if you’re a remote-creek kayaker, canoe trekker, or a hiker, get a few pill bottles to stuff with wet-weather or DIY-coated matches and a few cotton balls or some dryer lint, and start wearing one around your neck and carrying one in a pants pocket. Get a ferro rod and block or a windproof cigar lighter, and replace the chain with 550 cord to wear on your belt or pants button or the snap of your life vest or knife. Keep another set duct taped to the bottom of your water bottle or glasses case.
No belt or knife? No glasses? Don’t worry about fire from scratch then. It takes a long time to master starting a fire with a bow and starting it with a lens requires a lens. If you don’t have a knife to make shavings and the bow and start the notch, there’s a stick and another stick, and you’d be far better served spending the time making a cocoon-style debris hut.
Matches/Lighters versus Primitive Skills
People do get lost in the woods, and eventually we absolutely will run out of matches and lighters on a homestead.
We’ll run out of them faster if we’re using smaller fires for short periods and thus starting them regularly. They can break, leak, get wet and grody, and strike-anywhere are harder and harder to find so you have to figure on the striker strips getting worn totally smooth, especially if we buy the big bulk boxes.
Learning to find tinder in wet woods is time-consuming enough (and worth it for some/many).
If you’re only bugging-out to a BOL, not in an INCH situation, or if you’re a boater, fisherman, hunter, hiker, or outdoors enthusiast, throw in a cigar lighter so wind is less of a factor – they fit in a Gerber case inside bags or small plastic bottles with matches and other fire-starting materials pretty well.
For a homestead/bug-in situation, we can say three meals and a snack a day, plus morning coffee. Starting five fires is pretty generous and buys time for us to learn how to bank a fire for coals and keep one going.
Say it takes us a couple broken/burn-out matches to get one started, so we need three matches per fire. Using 15 a day for a year gives us a total of 5.5K matches.
Bricks of 100 small kitchen match boxes run $8-15 bucks each for 3.2K matches – two would cover our needs for $20-$30. My dollar store also carries match books cheaper (not my first choice).
Or we could buy one of those multi-pack bricks for $10-15, and hit Amazon for a 100-pack of disposable lighters for $20 and a set of three big boxes of 300 matches for $7-$10. That gives us 4K+ matches and 100 lighters for $37-45.
We can store them in our currently empty canning jars, or spend $5-6 at the dollar store to get candles or nail polish or lacquer to waterproof them and some baggies to keep them in. Strikers and blast matches, cigar lighters that work even in whipping Montana winds, run in the $4-$12 ranges.
Yes, it costs money. Yes, if you already have the knife, tromping into the woods to do it like Bear doesn’t.
Tromp into the woods learning to not make noise, recognize animal sign, and recognize landscape features that promise water instead.
There are multiple situations (and future practical, everyday skills) that benefit from that knowledge.
Soap – Making vs. Buying
Let’s start with the basics of soap. There’s a couple of modern recipes, and a link to the history. About halfway down, that one breaks soap making into three stages of lye, fats, and combination – which is where we’d be at a total pioneer homestead or “My Side Of The Mountain forever” INCH lifestyle.
- http://www.diynatural.com/how-to-make-soap-2/ – cups conversion
- https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/how-to-make-soap-with-milk/ – one of many for milk, still need oil
- http://spadet.com/soap-making-history-and-techniques/ – from scratch
I’m going to discount any soap making as viably sustainable if it’s using a fat or oil that’s not locally produced. That’s including people who buy the glycerin soap blocks. (For soap making – no comment on other uses.)
That’s the whole argument about sustainable, colonial and primitive skills – they’re for when there is no store and we run out of things.
If you need palm oil, you’re storing something and you might as well store the finished product. (There are exceptions, like the many balms and other uses for various oils.)
Some basic soap-making starter kits are available for as little as $10-15. Better will run as high as you like. I couldn’t find one that already included a scale (soap making is one of those things that requires weights according to some experts, although others have converted recipes to volume).
$10-15 for a kit isn’t much, absolutely. However, soap requires those rendered animal fats or oils. Those aren’t in the kits, and some of the ones I’ve seen in recipes are pretty pricey.
Too, in a crisis, especially if we’re living off grass-fed livestock and wildlife and the diet food of garden produce, fats and oils are going to be precious to keep our bodies functioning.
There’s still tons of bar soaps available at the dollar store and <$1 at Walmart. Some are travel sized and singles in boxes. However, options are available in 2-packs and 3-packs of standard-sized bars. So for $10 I can get 18-27 bars of soap and still pay tax.
If I’m inclined, I can cut that down, get a bottle or two each of Dawn and pine cleaner for dishes and laundry, floors, and surfaces, and still get 14-18 bars of soap.
I once figured that between bathing and washing my hands and face, I run through a cake of soap a week, so I need more than $9-10 worth. I need more in the neighborhood of $20-$30, and about a shoebox of space. For laundry, surfaces and dishes for a year, and surface cleaning, depending on household, I need a couple of free liquor boxes and another $20-30 for liquid cleaners, even buying from the dollar store. (The dollar store is not the cheapest per ounce or most compact form, but they are incremental purchase and use sizes.)
Cost doesn’t apply for the folks who plan to have fatty pigs and cattle, and use their wood ash. For them, the comparison is strictly about time. For a lark, sure, jump one weekend. But weigh out what else could be learned, what other materials cost, and what family ties could be strengthened with a different activity.
Soap is compact. They are sensitive to dampness, so they need a Ziploc bag, lidded can, or plastic tub. There are environments where dry soaps melt, but most of North America could keep them in a shed. So will the ingredients for making soap, or finished homemade soaps.
Rendering suet for tallow
Some will still think it’s worthwhile. To each their own, but please refer back to the general premise and Pat’s arc to be sure it’s the best use of your resources and time as you stand now.
On the flip side, totally learn how to make suet and tallow if fatty animals and materials are present. They have a ton of uses, provide a storable sustainable fat source, and they fill very real needs in a self-sustainable lifestyle.
Hides and making useful items from hides is 50-50 with me. On one hand, I know a woman who makes a bundle from it, and if you have rabbits or hunt deer, you have hides. On the other hand, should the world collapse to colonial and pioneer day levels if not the Dark Ages, lots of humanity will die fast enough for me to find underroos, sheets, work boots, and socks should I need to go out past my X date – they aren’t exactly the things being grabbed in today’s riots.
If it’s going to be a side business, sure, jump – after you do some market research. If it’s a niche market half-hobby, jump.
If it’s something on the to-do list because it seems like a great skill … maybe consider jumping on a maps website, finding farm fields and nearby specialty farms, making some non-nut cookies or muffins to carry, and sharing that you’re interested in breaking away from city life, would the nice farmer be willing to work out some kind of tag-along for labor deal so you can get a good idea of what’s involved.
Another option useful in disasters of all kinds is mapping power-line cuts to avoid traffic jams, snow and flood evacuation routes, and directions and A, B, C routes to and from kids’ schools and the school evac rally points.
Skills versus Stuff
Nine times out of ten, I would argue that knowing is better than having. However, there are exceptions – usually because of the time and-or resources they require, and sometimes because of the space.
There are lots of things that we should know just to be well-round humans, let alone homesteaders or – if inclined – nomads. However, sometimes we waste our precious resources learning something that only benefits most people during a very specific type of disaster, or a total breakdown and reversal that lasts for 5-10+ years.
Sadly, a lot of people who push and learn those lack the skills and supplies to survive long enough for some primitive skills to become valuable again. Some of those skills come at the cost of things that can benefit us, right now.
There are all kinds of things to do without spending more money or spending time on something with highly specialized skills and low-likelihood needs.
I figure I’ll get hate mail for the concept and for the specific few I listed. I just want people to weigh their to-do and to-learn lists so that they can prioritize based on where they already stand and where they want to go.
If there’s true need and potential – and sometimes there is – or it’s just a hobby, there’s nothing wrong with any of the primitive skills. I think most of us, though, have something we would be better served learning, practicing or building than the three listed.
It is not a matter of if but when you will have to face the consequences of a disaster. Thousands of people are affected every year by natural disasters such as tornadoes, floods and super storms. Not to mention that there are even man-made disasters that can drastically change your way of life. If you … Read more…
What Kind of Prepper Are You? Though no one likes to really be labeled, the fact is we all fall into some category or another. When a disaster strikes, there is generally a lot of noise, chaos, injuries, and panic. People are running everywhere or simply standing in shock, others are trying to help, and …
5 Tips to Start Your Apartment Garden What I like most about this article is that it addresses an issue that many frightened preppers deal with. I am talking about those stuck in condos or apartments that feel like they have no ability to grow their own food. These restrictions could be do to space …
For most of humanity’s existence, entire countries were run by little more than glorified warlords. Although today we take the concept of individual rights for granted, the vast majority of people had never heard of such a thing until a few hundred years ago. As democracy began to shape the face of the Western world, […]
Top 10 Barter Items Every Prepper Should Have Along with those items that you store for your own personal use there should always be a little bit stowed away for the purposes of bartering. You know the average American doesn’t have much cash stored in their home. Once that cash runs out, if the ATMs …
How Cherokees Used Trees for Food, Medicine, and Craft There are those articles that stir ideas, that offer small smatterings of information often prefaced with a bold title. These articles are very important to the content of the community. This article is not that type. This is a well crafted and thoughtful article filled with …
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Growing Vegetables In Pots – Choosing Plants That Thrive Not everyone has the chance of having a lush vegetable garden. Most of us have to deal with the lack of gardening space or arable land. Living in an urban environment requires for you to find alternatives to your gardening plans. However, there is always a …
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Gray Man Secrets of a Surveillance Operative The infamous gray man is a topic covered pretty often and with a collection of great info throughout the internet. What makes this article unique is that rather than get the information from another prepper, survivalist or ex-military officer the source is much more connected. We have information …
Survive a Winter Storm Power Outage Winter storms must affect more people in the nation than another disaster. They hit giant metro areas like Boston and New York City. Even with underground power lines and a fleet of powerful plows the city and surrounding areas can be paralyzed by powerful winter weather. If the power …
9 Ways our Homestead Cooks Off Grid I learned early in my prepping career that stoves can die on you! Particularly electric stoves. They are just not the best single option for the average home. The power goes out and now you are stuck with eating out or eating cold. When you talk about a …
If you find yourself in a survival situation and realize it’s time to get your family on the road to safety, most of us are going to hope we can rely on our vehicle. All things being equal, a properly maintained vehicle of just about any configuration and size is going to be better than humping out-of-town under the power of your two feet. You can carry more stuff, further, faster and a vehicle affords you a little more protection.
However, one of the very real risks we face when we are trying to make our escape is that the way will be blocked with too many other cars. In evacuation situations, such as hurricanes, we see news reports of traffic backed up for miles and hear stories of people sleeping in their cars, running out of gas and getting into fights. This is certainly a possibility, but if you are prepared to bug out and act quickly ahead of the crowd, you could largely avoid this fate. In a dangerous survival situation, you want to be on the road, hopefully to your destination safely before anyone else even knows what is happening.
But there are no guarantees in life and so as preppers, we have backup plans. We have our bags ready to go, caches planned along our multiple routes and with some luck we will make it to our bug out retreats even if we must walk there. Vehicles can break down or become stuck and if this happens and we are not prepared, you could find yourself leaving the family bug out mobile parked, when you could have kept going with some simple supplies.
Those alternate routes could lead you through areas that aren’t paved over obstacles that could put a halt to your forward progress, but with this off road checklist, you could be able to unstuck yourself and keep going.
Off Road Checklist – Getting your vehicle out of a bad situation
This list isn’t for the type of off roading enthusiast pictured galloping through the mud hole above, but for the prepper looking for a little insurance should you find your self on back-roads without the advantage of AAA. Now I know that not everyone is going to see a need for some of these items, but if you plan on going off the paved roads, some of these items could help you.
Jack and tire iron to change your tire – I’m going to start with some of the more obvious choices, but you should never get in your vehicle and set off on a road trip, certainly one that holds the fate of your family without the ability to change a flat tire. Off road terrain is rougher than asphalt and your average commuter tires have weaker side walls than off road tires. These tools and a spare will get you back on the road in a short time, but you must make sure you have them, AND know how to use them.
Spare Tire, Full Size – And since we are talking about tires… a full-size spare is going to allow you to go faster and will put up with more abuse, like those high-speed J turns you will be doing to get away from the zombies or the mutant biker gangs.
Tire repair kit – But what if someone shoots a hole in one of your tires as you execute that flawless J turn, keeping your family safe? Or as you are careening through the industrial park a hunk of metal punctures your back spare that you just put on before the evasive maneuvers? A tire repair kit may be able to get you back on the road.
Fix A Flat – To inflate that tire. Either that or a good air compressor you can connect to your battery to get aired up and going again.
Basic Tool Kit
Just an assortment of items you can use for minor or major repairs if you have to.
- Wrenches (standard and metric)
- Adjustable wrench
- Sockets (standard and Metric)
- Electrical tape
- Allen wrenches
- Spare Fuses
So that was the basic items, but if you are traveling across really rugged terrain, and assuming you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, the following items can be used by you, hopefully with another buddy in another vehicle to get unstuck.
- MaxTrax – These lightweight traction pads can get you out of snow, sand and mud easily. Just wedge them under the tire that is slipping and slowly roll out. There are cheaper knock-offs but I have read varying reviews on their durability. They stack nicely too.
- Tow strap – If you are stuck in mud or sand, sometimes you will need some assistance getting un stuck. If your buddy has a trailer hitch, you can connect up and use the tow strap to pull your vehicle out and get back on the road.
- More Power Pull – Don’t want to mount a winch to the family car? No problem, bring the winch along with you. The Wyeth 3-ton Ratchet puller works just like a winch in terms of physics, but you supply the power. You can attach to a tree and ratchet yourself out of that sticky situation. A winch is a nicer option, but that requires a more permanent commitment to your vehicles aesthetics.
- Shackle or two – You can use these for connection points if you have them on your vehicle’s frame or to connect to straps.
- Chain (Grade 70) – Can handle a load up to 6,000 lbs. For serious hauling chores.
- Receiver Hitch with D-Ring – Even if you don’t have a bug out trailer you are dragging along, that factory trailer hitch of yours can be used as a recovery point. Slide this in before you hit the trail and you will be ready to pull or be pulled.
- Snatch block – Doubles the capacity of your winch.
- Shovel – Because sometimes you will need to dig yourself out. Also works for burying number #2.
- Axe – You might need to chop some branches to get an unobstructed connection for your winch cable or a downed tree could be blocking your path on that old logging road. Bonus would be a chainsaw, but not everyone would do that.
- Gloves – With just about any work like this gloves protect your hands and give you a better grip for safety. Buy 12 pair..
What did I forget? I already know that some of you will have a long list of items and that’s what I would like you to share with the group. What’s in your off road checklist?
The War Against Germs and Parasites This is a very interesting article about germs and parasites attributed to wild game. Much is written about how to procure wild game and how to hunt it quietly in a post SHTF situation. There are even some great article on butchering and storing meat. Where this article shines …
How to Survive a Real Life WROL Situation WROL means “Without Rule of Law” and it describes the complete breakdown of society and the rules that maintain order. This is the setting of many post-apocalyptic movies and books. It’s also what is happening in Southeastern Brazil right now. We can learn a lot from observing …
Top 10 Homesteading and Preparedness Books There are so many resources in the digital world that its easy to forget about the importance of the old paper world. I feel like no group can better portray the importance of paper knowledge like preppers. There is also just something nice about a good book. It has …
Hone Your Axe Skills to Functional Fitness There is something about a strong hickory handle and a hand forged head that has been slammed by a craftsman over and over again. When I first picked up an axe with the right intentions I realized there was something electric about it. This article offers a look …
EDC Survival Flashlight Buyers Guide 2017 Owning a great EDC survival flashlight is not about a fear of the dark. A powerful flashlight is about insight. The better insight you have on a situation the safer and better off you will be. I have used quality flashlights professionally and personally for years. There is no …
Surviving a Blizzard The whiteout conditions of a serious blizzard are no laughing matter. In listening to NYC officials talk about preparing for this most recent blizzard they spoke about how prepared they were to handle the snow but it was incumbent on people staying in and out of their way. This made me think …
Analyzing 4 of the Best Military Surplus Rifles In this age of newest, biggest and best its hard to imagine anyone would read this article and consider using older military surplus rifles. Still, there is something that trumps the aforementioned, and that is your budget. If you are looking for a rifle and do not …
Wilderness First Aid Basics: Surviving Injuries in the Outdoors Surprisingly enough the average American is very uneducated on first aid basics. Though, we are watching the outdoor adventure market grow by leaps and bounds. The only thing we can assume is that more people are heading into the wilderness than ever before. There are some …
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Modern cities are not natural in that they are artificial unnatural centers of human existence. Cities rely upon energy and resources from elsewhere to enable their existence and survival. These resources come from mostly invisible and intertwined complicated ‘just-in-time’ distribution networks and systems, and life in the city wouldn’t exist without them. Systemic risk? Yes, […]
Just about every prepper has stored some food and water in case of a major disaster. That’s one of the first things you began to stockpile right? But did you ever stop to consider ways and means of cooking your food in a serious SHTF scenario? Unless you have a month’s (or more) worth of […]
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Family Tips for Effective Preparedness Anyone who is taking on preparedness knows that one of the biggest hurdles towards preparedness is the family. It sounds insane but most people have a hard time explaining the need to spend money, spend time and prepare for disasters. I know it sound counterintuitive to the survival of those …
Create a Personal Hygiene and Sanitation Kit Personal hygiene and sanitation are two of the most often overlooked parts of the prepping and survival world. They are not as cool as tactical pants, guns and food storage. The truth is hygiene and sanitation will be the first and one of the most dangerous threats in …
Create a Personal Hygiene and Sanitation Kit Personal hygiene and sanitation are two of the most often overlooked parts of the prepping and survival world. They are not as cool as tactical pants, guns and food storage. The truth is hygiene and sanitation will be the first and one of the most dangerous threats in …
How to Use a Wire Snare Many people think that hunting is a pretty easy endeavor. In fact, I have been in arguments about how unfair the hunters advantage is. For those of us who hunt we know it couldn’t be further from the truth. In a true survival situation you will want to focus …
Pack Your 72 Hour Emergency Kit by Category This article is a list of the various categories that should be considered when you are building your 72 hour bag. The uses for a 72 hour bag are varied and the bag should be tailored to the specific task. Is this a camping bag, bug out …
Preppers Food Storage List There are so many food storage articles on the net. The best part is that most of them offer some great information. This article is one of the more comprehensive articles out there. It features about 30 food items and how to incorporate them into your food storage plan. It is …
Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Paul. 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 my family and I moved to a different house, I noticed the nice couple we bought the house from, left a lot of things in their garage. At first, we thought they forgot to bring them along with them as they were in a hurry.
But when I got a better view of the items, they were pretty useless. What am I supposed to with old knickknacks? However, something interesting caught my attention. There were at least 5 gallons of old gas.
It would be a waste to throw it away, the question now is – what to do with old gas?
Does Gas Go Bad?
This has been heavily debated over the years, and it’s still being argued up to this day. Some say that it’s only a myth that gasoline goes bad, and as much as I would love that to be true (as I can save more) that’s not really the case. Once it has been left ignored for a period of time, its quality will eventually degrade slowly. And the results of using bad gasoline would mean you’d have a hard time starting the engine.
And sometimes, it doesn’t run at all.
The reason why this happens is because gasoline has intricate characteristics. One of which is volatility. This means gas is quite sensitive of vaporizing. Because of this, it results to vaporizing unnecessarily when it’s not being used. That’s why whatever is left of its volatility and capability to combust appropriately will reduce.
How To Tell If It’s Gone Bad?
It’s pretty simple to tell, you’ll be able to recognize it by its color and smell. Once your fuel has been oxidized, it’ll become darker than usual. Also, try to have quick whiff if possible, there are cases where its fragrance turns sour.
Just to make sure, get two containers and fill one of them with your old gasoline, and the other with fresh gasoline. You’ll evidently see the difference with them both. You may check out this video on filtering old gas.
How Long Is the Life Span of Gas?
It’s actually pretty hard to tell. I mean, you could say that you’ve only bought the gas yesterday. But it doesn’t say anything about how old it really is. Chances are, the moment you’ll use the fuel, it’s already a month old.
Read More: Avoid the Lines: How to store fuel long term
Also, there are other gasses which have a better oxidation than other fuels. That alone, makes it pretty hard to spot right off the bat. But if you want to be on the safe side, it would be better if you don’t store your gas in a container for more than a couple of months or so. However, that’s pretty hard to live up to.
Use old gas in Your Mower
Surprisingly, a lot of people use it for their engines. I tried doing it, and it worked perfectly! I don’t only use it for my lawnmower, but I also use it for a leaf blower, pressure washer, and chainsaw. Trust me, it still works perfectly fine. However, I do want to advise you that it would be better if you’re going to mix it with new gas as well.
The ratio should be around 6:1 (new gas: old gas) a lot of people use this technique. Although there are others who would use it for their car engines, I wouldn’t recommend it. This is especially the case with newer cars. For extra safe measures, keep this in your mind: Old gas for old engines.
Kill Ants With old gas?
Fire ants are probably my lawn’s number enemy – accidentally stepping on them is a literal pain! Luckily, you can use it to kill the ants with fire.
Go grab your old gasoline, and pour it down on a hole. After doing so, you have to bury the mound appropriately. You don’t have to light it up, it’s enough to fume the nest out. After a short amount of time, it will kill then queen ant, and the entire nest dies along with it. You may also use it to kill unruly weeds in your yard, just make sure that you’re using it on an area where you don’t plan on growing anything for a long time.
Recondition old gas!
For those who want to securely recondition the gas, you may use Pri-G for your fuel treatment. It goes beyond expectation, it doesn’t not only repair gas, but it’s an excellent product for negating the destructive effects of ethanol contamination in fuel.
And as an added bonus, it’s ideal for preventing small engine breakdowns. It’s able to repair your lawnmowers, chainsaws, and weed trimmers while stabilizing gas. I do want to warn you that this doesn’t run so smoothly if it’s directly applied to old gas – it must be mixed together with a new, fresh one. When you do this, it’s able to keep it fresh for about a year and 3 months.
Start Reusing Now!
Personally, this is an amazing discovery as I’m able to save a lot from this – who knew old gas could be useful? Don’t forget, if you want to make your time with old gas and engines a more productive one – use Pri-G, it will automatically recondition your old gas like magic. But you do have to mix it up with new gas.
Here’s what you should do right now:
- Compare your old gas with a new one
- Check if it has gone bad or not
- Get yourself Pri-G
- Mix your old gas with a newer one
- Use it for your home tools
Soap Making and Soap Recipe This time of year it may be pretty common for you to have a fireplace full of ashes. By this time of the year you have also probably exhausted the many areas that you can sprinkle ash upon. The compost piles have had their fill and the garden cannot take …
Shelter in Place Kits – How Duct Tape and Plastic can Save Your Life Like Broadway Joe once said “First, I prepare. Then I have faith.” The Shelter in Place kit is not one you want to find yourself using if you can help it. As a matter of fact, you will probably need …
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7 Tips For Successful Defensive Shooting Your EDC gun can prove quite useful in a defensive shooting scenario if you know how to handle it. I’m not talking here about pointing at the target and squeezing the trigger. Everyone can do that, however it is where the bullets end up that counts. The drills you …
Two-Story A-Frame Cabin This tiny house could change your life if more ways than you can imagine! If you are like me and can’t afford a big fancy cabin for a retreat or even a bug out shelter, this 2 story, half A frame tiny house may just be your saving grace. Yes it’s small …
Prepper Acronyms: Common Survival Acronyms to Know SHTF, BOB, TEOTWAWKI… Whether you embrace the shorthand or not, the fact remains that there is a lot of it out there. It has almost evolved into an exclusive language where you can hold a whole conversation without using layman’s terms. I’m pretty used to this myself, there …
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Have you ever thought sometimes that Prepping is all work and no play? To the uninformed, prepping and preppers by association are consumed with fear and doom. Who wants to live a life where all you think about are bad things happening to the people around us? Many people I have talked to, who don’t understand preppers think we just sit around scared, paranoid and in fear of that knock on the door or the plague that could wipe out 80% of our nation but that isn’t true at all. At least for most of us. I think in some ways it is the people who never consider prepping that walk around in fear. Fear of terrorists, of people who have different opinions, of those who aren’t vaccinated, of someone who might own a firearm, of people who want more freedom and, well you get the point.
I have said before that the message of prepping is hope, not doom although you must choose how you look at things. I prepare because I want to be ready if something horrible happens, but I am prepping to survive whatever “it” may be. I don’t have a fatalistic view on my chances of survival, only what may necessitate me having to employ measures to ensure it. My wife and I had this same conversation back in the beginning as she saw (put up with) my ongoing efforts to get my family more prepared. She viewed my outlook on the future as extremely bleak. She couldn’t imagine a world like I was preparing for and wondered what was the point in living through those conditions. Since then she has seen that I am actively engaged in trying to protect my family to the best of my ability so that we can survive and hopefully help others in a calamity. She knows that I want to be part of the team helping others and that I don’t want to depend (or myself become a burden) on emergency services.
But other people can focus on the negative and get mired in the events we are prepping for more than the outcome we are trying to achieve so with this post, I want to give you some ideas for hobbies that preppers can participate in that can do two things. First, these hobbies for preppers will give you skills that you can use in a survival situation but can also enrich your life right now. Second, these hobbies will help you focus on the goal of surviving if for some reason you have gotten a little mired in the thoughts about the future and have become a little negative in your outlook.
Best Hobbies for Preppers
Below I have listed 16 of the best hobbies for preppers in no certain order that can give you training and encouragement in your abilities.
I lumped these three together because they are so similar but I have often advocated backpacking as a way to both test and practice your bug out plans. There are some that disagree with me, but when you are preparing for a backpacking trip into the woods, you need to consider all the same things you would as a bug out. The only exception usually is security.
Backpacking trips require you to lay out and plan for one or more days living in the environment, usually away from civilization and returning safely. You have to carry everything on your back, navigate trails, inclines declines, obstacles just as you would in a bug out scenario. Best of all you get to see how carrying all your gear will feel at the end of a day. How far did you make it? Is there anything you realized you forgot once you got out into the woods? If you had to do it all over again, what would you change?
Hiking and Camping are similar but with a good bit less risk. With hiking, we are usually talking about day trips back so minor preparations are needed, but still a great activity and you can learn a lot about yourself and your own physical ability. Camping, when done from the convenience of a car and a camp site is the least like bugging out on foot, but could mimic a vehicle bug out scenario and it’s just good to get out of the house, into nature and spend time away from it all with family and friends.
Geocaching is a fun activity that I started a few years back with my children and passed the interest off to a son-in-law who is now sharing it with his children. Geocaching is a great way to learn how to use a GPS unit to find items hidden and this ties directly into your own plans to stash prepping supplies in caches along your bug out route.
While playing this “game” you learn simple navigational skills but perhaps more importantly, how people hide items, how to find them and it really makes you think out of the box in some cases. Finding a hidden ammo box in the woods is one thing but finding a micro cache in the middle of a downtown business district is something altogether different. Another great activity to do with kids as they get to join in with finding the hidden caches and discovering the interesting objects people have left behind.
In a grid down scenario, any activity that makes you more adept at bringing home food is a good one in my book. Hunting is a natural in that respect and it can teach you more than simply shooting at game. You can learn how to stalk prey, how to appropriately camouflage yourself and your movements, you can learn to identify game trails and habits of the game you are looking for.
Hunting allows you to employee various tools and methods to achieve your intended results. Firearms, bowed weapons, snares and traps are all useful and can give you great experience if you must depend on hunting to feed the family.
Can you fix things? When is the last time you changed your own oil? Do you even know how to do that? While I can admit that some of the newer cars aren’t really set up for you to perform your own maintenance, that shouldn’t stop you from learning if you have the notion. As I have gotten older my need to work on my own cars has decreased but I still have manuals and have been known to turn a wrench when it’s necessary.
Knowing how to do basic repairs to your vehicle is a great skill and it can start with simple things like changing tires, belts, batteries and hoses to more complex projects like replacing water pumps, alternators or half-shafts. With the right tools and a manual for guidance or YouTube, anyone can do practically anything you need to repair your vehicle. This can save you money and could be vital if for some reason we aren’t able to take a vehicle to the shop to get it fixed.
Like hunting, this hobby can put food on the table as well as be a simple, enjoyable way to get outside and spend some time either alone or with friends. Fishing can take on many different styles, but the basics are the same. Sometime the gear is different.
In terms of putting food on the table and being in a place where you are able to store food away, gardening is one that we should all be doing. As I mentioned in a post the other day, in a disaster, your food won’t last forever so you need a backup plan for your backup plan.
Gardening can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. Many people start with a small plot and grow tomatoes, but if you are aiming to be able to put up enough food to last your family through the winter and up to the next harvest, a little more land and time will be required. Start learning how to grow your own food now, what your solid conditions are like, how to compost and you will be one step closer to being ready to have your garden provide everything you need.
What does paintball have to do with prepping? For starters, it can teach you team tactics, simulate military maneuvers to achieve objectives and deal with some of the stress in combat. OK, before anyone screams at me, I know this does not compare to real combat. Bullets go through walls much faster than paint balls do but if you look at this as training and you treat your surroundings as though the paint balls are real bullets, it can be beneficial and instructive.
Air-Soft is lumped in here too with the same benefits and less mess. As long as you understand the difference between cover and concealment, both of these games can teach you lessons. If nothing else, you can see how out of shape you are from running and hiding behind obstacles.
This hobby might be one of the most expensive for preppers, but if you already have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, getting off-road isn’t impossible and you can learn how to drive off the pavement and see what obstacles your vehicle can overcome. Communities like Overland Bound offer instruction, support, ideas and events to practice the skills needed to successfully go off-road.
Combine off-roading with camping and you have the makings of a really good vehicle bug out practice scenario. When you plan to go out with friends you can practice your bug out load plan, vehicle to vehicle communications with CB or Ham, land navigation with maps or GPS and field recovery when you get stuck in a mud pit that “didn’t look that deep” or break a part on the trail.
One of the most important requirements for owning a firearm is practice so that you are proficient in the safe use and handling of this tool. Part of this I believe is being able to hit what you are shooting at and when your life depends on accurately hitting a target you are going to wish you had all the practice in the world.
Marksmanship can apply to pistols, rifles and even bows. Starting with paper targets and learning the fundamentals is key to getting better, more confident with that weapon and when the time comes you need to use it for hunting, practice or self-defense you can’t have enough training under your belt.
Orienteering combines racing with map reading. You can do this on your own or join a group like Orienteering.org. Timed races put individuals or teams though a course where you have to find your way with a map, compass and find different points along the way.
Want to create a secret treasure map to your hidden cache in the middle of 10,000 acres of forest? This is a good way to practice. It also helps with terrain recognition, and the obvious skills of map reading and how to use a compass.
More of a chore for some people than a hobby, exercise is one of the most critical components to being able to survive in a grid down or SHTF scenario and it’s one thing we most easily overlook or choose to ignore. Being able to move yourself from point to point, lift heavy objects repeatedly, perform manual labor and still have the strength to stand watch with alertness in the middle of the night is not something we can ignore.
Exercise can come in many forms, from simply walking during your lunch hour each day, to lifting weights, riding bikes, to following a routine from an app on your phone while you watch TV at night. The point is to do something to make sure your body is ready for the rigors of a stressful situation when you are faced with it.
When the SHTF, you already know that violent acts will become more pronounced. We see it every day now even though all the major systems we depend on are functioning normally. Having the ability and skill to defend yourself is important to all preppers. I carry a concealed weapon almost every day and so do many of you, but what if you aren’t able to take that weapon and someone threatens your life?
Self-defense classes help you avoid dying in a fight. You can choose from dozens of activities like boxing, Krav Maga, Judo, Karate, Taekwondo, Brazilian Jui jiitsu and countless others but they can all be used to keep you and your family safe while at the same time giving you focus, increasing your fitness levels and bolstering your confidence level.
You might be thinking that beekeeping is going to be too advanced but in reality, it takes about the same amount of time and means as gardening or other outdoor hobbies. In recent years, beekeeping has grown as a hobby to help families grow healthier plants while also helping the families be more self-reliant.
Keeping bees can not only help your garden and fruit orchards produce more, but you also get the benefits of honey, which can be stored forever and wax which can be used in making soap, candles and healing salves to heal minor scrapes or burns.
Ham Radio operators can still communicate if there is no electric power, satellites or cellular service. That is the primary reason they are the go-to method of communication for preppers as well as emergency response teams in virtually every large city. With the right equipment, Ham operators can talk to people in other countries using technology that was around in the early 1900s. If some disaster knocks out the cell phone service, emergency communications can be routed through Amateur Radio and you can keep in touch with others in your family, group, region or state easily.
Ham or Amateur radios fall under the control of the FCC and there is a licensing process associated with being able to communicate on the radio. To speak on the air legally, you must first obtain your Technician level license and a call sign from the FCC. Your name and information will be listed in at least one public database and this information is freely accessible to anyone who wants to look.
By now you probably are more than aware that if the power grid goes down, just about all of the food preservation capacity we have is lost. Yes, we have canned food, but grocery stores rely heavily on the refrigerated containers to keep meat and dairy product fresh. The freezers we all have rely on electricity too so in a true collapse how will you keep that bounty of vegetables around for longer than a week or two? It must be preserved.
From root cellars to pickling, canning and salting people for millennia have been storing food without the convenience of refrigerators or freezers and with a little work, we can do the same thing. Start small with making pickles from cucumbers you get from the store or better yet, your garden. Move up to veggies, soups, salsa and spaghetti sauce or stews. You can even can meat!
How can piloting one of those annoying remote control gadgets help you in prepping? Well, it is a hobby I have been wanting to try for a while for a couple of good reasons. First of all, it looks fun, but the ability to fly a drone with an HD camera 400 feet up in the air could have serious grid-down prepping advantages. The one drawback is the FAA requires registration and they have a lengthy list of rules. Most of them I see the rationale with, just hate the process.
Mostly it is about the ability for intelligence. You can fly a drown over your retreat location to get unobstructed surveillance to see who is coming from miles away. You can verify threats before they are close enough to do you any harm. Optionally, you could use a drone to advance scout a route you were getting ready to take on foot or to determine if that old logging road you are using has an ambush roadblock ahead. Or get really cool video of your kid’s soccer game.
So who is still with me? There are just 16 hobbies for preppers but I know there are so many more than can be used. What hobbies do you find help your prepping skills?
One of the persistent myths about prepping is that it requires spending lots of cash on fancy survival gear. However, much of what may prove to be extremely useful in a big disaster/SHTF scenario might already be lying around the house. Those old bicycles collecting dust in your garage are the perfect example. Not only might a bicycle represent the ultimate stealth bug-out vehicle, pedal power can also be utilized in a number of other useful ways if and when the power grid goes down.
First, let’s consider the use of bicycles in a survival situation in terms of what they were originally designed for: transportation. When you consider that gasoline can only be stored for a few years at the most and that there likely won’t be any gas stations open after a societal collapse, the lowly bicycle becomes more and more attractive as a survival transportation solution.
Add to this the fact that bicycles are virtually indestructible if maintained properly and boast a potential lifespan of several decades, and you’ll begin to see the practical potential of bicycles in a long-term survival scenario. Bicycles are easily repaired and maintained, requiring only a few tools and a bit of technical knowledge along with some spare tires, chains, chain grease and oil to keep them functioning properly.
The stealth aspect is a huge advantage as well. Bicycles produce virtually no noise, which could be a lifesaving advantage if you need to travel undetected. Silence is also crucial if you’re out hunting game, and that brings us to another great advantage of bicycles: they can go many places other vehicles cannot. A solid mountain bike is capable of traversing some of the roughest terrain imaginable at quite respectable speeds.
If you’ve got deep pockets, there are several manufacturers making bikes designed specifically with survival scenarios in mind with lots of cool attachments and features such as camouflage paint, but a decent mountain bike can be customized at home for a lot less money. It is easy enough to add a rack that can carry a fair amount of extra gear or supplies, and if you want camouflage, just grab a couple of cans of the preferred colors of spray paint.
The potential of pedal power in a survival situation goes far beyond mere transportation. Bicycles can be converted to drive all sorts of machinery in situations when there is no electricity available from the grid. In fact, bicycles can be used to generate your own electricity. With the new, longer-term storage capacity battery technology now emerging, it is conceivable that pedal power could could supply all of the electricity you will ever really need when the SHTF.
Many of the devices that require an electric motor can be driven by human pedal power. A water pump, for example, can be relatively easily modified to be powered by a belt connected to a bicycle frame and pedals. The possibilities are quite broad; sewing machines, weaving looms, grain threshers, and wood and metal lathes can all be powered by pedals.
There are plenty of DIY plans available online for these types of uses of pedal power. I have included several links below, and once you understand how to convert a bicycle to drive one machine, you’ll have the basic knowledge to come up with your own ideas for harnessing this marvelous, non-polluting, highly efficient form of power generation.
Perhaps you’d like a pedal-powered ice cream maker, for example? Since you’ll be burning all those calories while making your own delicious post-apocalyptic homemade ice cream, you’ll be able to thoroughly enjoy eating it, free of guilt!
Source : www.naturalnews.com
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Bugging Out By Car When It Hits The Fan Most of us cannot afford a bunker or underground shelter to hunker down during a SHTF event. Even more, few people out there have a fortified house that can withstand a natural or man-made disaster. When hunkering down is not an option, you will have to …
Group Prepping Vs Solo Prepping | episode 140
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Surviving A Fall Through Ice If you were to fall through ice into freezing water that is over your head, do you know what to do? What if there is a current? Even if there’s people with you, they may not be able to assist you without falling in, too. Do you know how to …
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The post Want To Disappear From The Grid? Here’s What You Need To Know appeared first on Urban Survival Site.
I love modern technology, particularly the electronics that allow me to communicate so quickly and easily. Even so, the loss of that capability – for whatever reason it’s lost – doesn’t have to be entirely devastating. We communicate not only without our electronics, but without noise all the time.
I tap my wrist, hold up my hand with my fingers splayed. Across a room, instantly, I’ve told someone they have five minutes, or that I need/want five minutes. I tap beside my eyes, point in a general direction, and then point lower or higher in an aisle of a store. It tells somebody at the other end that I found what we’re looking for, or that I want them to look at something, and then where more specifically that something is.
We do it nearly instinctively, some of us more than others. While hand gestures especially change meaning culture to culture, the ability to communicate without speaking is inherent to our species. It has been since before the first cave painting.
Recently the topic of communication without radios came up. The possible reasons for a non-radio life are pretty varied – a generator or solar panels with significant damage, low winter light, extended-time crisis when even rechargeable batteries are exhausted, seasons and locations when it’s hard to get messages through, EMPs and solar storms, neighbors who have the skills to survive but don’t have the same EMP-proof stockpiles we do, newer homesteaders and preppers who can survive but haven’t moved into serious “thrive” supplies yet.
There are also times we want to communicate, but don’t necessarily want to be heard. Hunting and tactical reasons are two of those.
History and modern technology have given us a lot of options to work around those possibilities and needs. Here are a few.
Morse code can be applied to a lot of communication options. While it’s primarily associated with radios, it was once a common ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communication method using light instead.
Navy signalman using Morse –
It wasn’t until I started looking for an image online that I realized how dependent people are on the blinker-clicker features of their flashlights for light-transmitted Morse. If you have a milspec light that can take that abuse, great.
If not, cover and uncover your flashlight with your hand. It’s still fast and easy.
For some of us with broken and aging fingers, and for people who are turning their lights on and off to get the same effect, it’s not only actually easier, sometimes faster, it’s also going to save your light a lot of wear and tear.
You can use a laser pointer for it as well, or cover and uncover a battery-candle-oil lantern with a box (or an oatmeal tub, coffee can, small ones with your hand).
Light stands out like it’s cool at night. Even a little green-red-blue laser light. It travels a long way when it’s dark-dark.
If you’re only trying to not stand out to everybody with one of those insane fifty-yard beams and you’re working from a set, expected position, you can signal by flashing the laser light or a flashlight into your palm or onto your chest, onto a tree or certain wall that’s visible from another location but not most of the property.
If you anticipate the need to really not be seen by anybody but your LOS partner, carry a flattened toilet paper roll wrapped around your small flashlight. (Flattened but tube, not sliced.)
When you’re ready to send a message back to the house, to the other side of a building, along the length of a wall, or down a roadway, cup the tube in one hand so you’re blocking the back, and stick the front of the light just inside it. Or, hold a laser sight/pointer just outside it.
The roll contains the light, so only somebody facing you sees it. If you want, add a mirror or a white disk to the palm to make it a little easier for that person to see.
I pretty much prefer those two general methods, regardless, because you stand a really good chance of blinding the person you’re trying to signal, or at least giving them dots in the eyes, especially with a pointer.
The sea services have been using specific flags to communicate since some of the earliest days, from pirates warning about trying to run from them, warning others that illnesses are aboard, to requesting assistance. This site has a list of international signal flags, their phonetic name, and the navy/maritime meanings.
The phonetic name becomes valuable, because some of the meanings at sea translate directly or with minor modification to things we face on land, too. The Morse, semaphore, or ASL of the phonetic name can be flashed or signed to convey a whole thought or message, just as a flag would.
The flags can be made – painted on boards or drawn on cards to use in windows or to be flashed, or drawn in chalk on a wall or sidewalk as needed. It doesn’t have to be fabric, or flying in the air.
Any flag, banner, or windsock at all can be part of group and neighbor communication.
If we all normally fly the local team’s colors, but somebody puts it at half-mast or upside down, they could be saying they need help – or they’re ready for harvest/planting assistance. One person with a weather station might say rain, so a blue banner goes up. A black cross on yellow might mean a woman went into labor and the local sheep keeper would be welcome as a midwife. A black dot might mean there’s sickness – don’t come calling.
A flag might also just mean all’s well here, and a quick snip to drop it on the way past alerts all the rest that the gunfire wasn’t practice, it’s real, or that there’s a fire-fire, not burning waste or smoking out bees.
We can get as creative or simple as we want.
Another powerful tool in the box for sending messages visually, with the same alpha-numeric capabilities of Morse, is semaphore signaling – that signalman out there with the two bright flags or cone lights. Semaphore flag signaling was also once done using a single flag in just four positions (you can find it called wigwag signaling as well).
With two flags, there are fewer combinations to remember, but you also have to have two flags – and hands – available. For both, a larger line-of-sight space is required so the flags can be seen.
Established Shorthand Codes
Various established codes provide shorthand communication for “Suspicious vehicle” (10-37), “your keying is hosed and hit every branch of the ugly tree on its way down” (QSD), “Report to [location]” (10-25), “stand by” (QRX), and “Be super-duper quiet” (“Do not use siren or flashers”) (10-40).
Those are all phrases we might use, from communicating across a yard or across a farm, as a simple survivor with a neighbor or family, or as a group with defensive and patrol forces. 10-codes especially have a lot of preexisting elements that are of use in many situations.
They can be transmitted with clicks, whistles, a pipe smacked with a hammer, marker on a dry erase board, flashed/blinker lights, or using semaphore flag(s) and hand signals.
We can also easily modify or truncate existing codes.
“QRO” (are you troubled by static noise) can become “do you hear anything”.
10-81 (breathalyzer report) becomes “just a drunk”.
10-90 (bank alarm) can become a prefacing code for an audio or visual alarm, with the location following it.
As with cop and amateur radio codes, there are hospital codes that can apply or be readily modified to fit life without radio communication. Heavy equipment operators and divers also have signals we can steal and modify. Knowing the common motorcyclist signals can be applied to daily life as well as serious disasters.
Military Hand Signals
Whether we’re ever planning to clear a house or a yard with another person or not, military and police hand signals also have applications for many situations. The numbers alone are useful. There are also action-information signals that are pretty handy.
The difference between “stop” and “freeze” gets used with my dumb dog 20 and 200 feet from our house with some regularity. I prefer to just go extract her or the ball from my pots and planters, but sometimes I just want her to stay generally where she is while a car passes. “Go back” translates to “out/away” in our world – I want her to back away from me, usually while I’m playing with sharp things or might squish her.
I originally thought it was just my quirky father telling dogs, the rest of the family, and hunting buddies that we were going to the vehicle with his “steering wheel” gesture. For a while I though the military had stolen the “down” signal from hunters with dogs.
Turned out, not so much. He just modified them from his military days.
Even without need for silence, it’s just really easy to whistle or clap a hand once, tap a window, ring a triangle, and then make a quick gesture, as opposed to shouting fifteen times or hiking out to somebody.
The gestures themselves are rooted in military hand signals we each learned (decades apart). In most of my lifetime’s applications of them, they’ve had no military bearing at all. But like the ability to say “I love you” a last time from a window, or immediately flag a distress signal in a boating-savvy community, they entered into our world and stayed in use.
American sign language has some of the same benefits as the everyday-everyone useful military signals. There are a world’s worth of truncated single-gesture shorthand signs, for everything from “man” or “female child” to “taking lunch”. Deaf-mute people are able to hold the same sophisticated conversation as speaking and hearing folks. The addition of spelling and broader concepts to military hand signals allows ASL signers to be more specific across even distance, silently.
It’s also just a handy skill to have and might increase your employability when you stick it on a resume.
As with flags and hand signals, we can take cues from history and modern eras with leaving drawn symbols – or flashing cards and posters – as well.
Here’s a fairly comprehensive listing of WWII symbols. It wouldn’t be completely crazy talk to go with another nation’s symbols, such as German or Russian, if you want to keep the information a little more segmented, although there tends to be a lot of commonality.
The old hobo symbols can be a little tricky. I can think of three or four for “safe water” alone. It also means adjusting from “black spot of death” and “X marks the spot” to slashes and X’s are bad, and dots are good.
However, from “dangerous man” and “vicious dogs” to “rickety bridge” or “avoid this in rain”, there are many apply, whether we’re planning on a community, thinking “Kilroy” situations, or just making notes for family or a core group.
The symbols also allow us to quickly and easily annotate our own maps for areas of concern or resources.
The limitation to all of these is line of sight. But in some to many cases, being able to communicate even from a driveway to the house, the length of a hall, or stacked in a ditch, without making noise or taking a lot of time, makes them worth considering. There’s a good reason many of them have never faded from use, even with today’s technology.
If you want to communicate at range in the dark, you’ll need flashlights or pointers, (or oil-candle lanterns if your non-radio needs are expected due to long-duration interruptions in shipping). For us, that’s balanced, because we have lights on us, almost always, but not always a cell signal and not always a radio. That might not hold true for everyone.
Hand and flag signals are limited in range, while light carries longer distance. However, blinker-light comms is only really reliable at night. I may be able to use red boards, car windshield heat reflectors, or white flags to increase range in the daytime.
The number-one piece of gear for longer-distance communication without electronics is going to be binoculars or a scope.
Day or night, if I can’t see what you’re sending, clearly, we have delays or miscommunication. They’re inexpensive enough and should be part of most preparedness closets anyway.
If you’re mostly in brush country and are only talking about distances of double-digit yards, don’t break the bank there – there are more important things. If you’re looking at using blinker lights and somebody climbing a windmill or water tower daily or weekly to do a neighborhood-town flag check, a simple scope should work.
It’s also a lot to learn.
Instead of planning to use all of them, maybe take notes, print guides, but cherry pick. The very basic hand signals (heard, saw, numbers, armed or unarmed, child, adult, animal, danger, recover/relax, say again) and basic Morse code would take priority. 10 and Q codes can be added on. A few flags or graphics to represent ideas or situations follow.
Radio Silence Backups
The point is not to discourage anyone with fifty-five million more things to learn or buy. It’s that we have lots of options even if electronics-driven communication becomes unavailable. With any luck, there are some ideas here that can add some resiliency and redundancy to existing plans.
And, since a lot of it is learning based, not resource based, non-radio comms can be a way to improve preparedness with free-inexpensive skill building while saving up for purchases.
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The Most Important Survival Skills According to Grandpa When people think about survival skills, they tend to lean more toward things like starting fires, making shelters, gardening, hunting, and being able to filter water. While all of these are indeed fantastic survival skills, they are actually secondary to the most important skills that people …
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23 Free Workshop and Shed Plans This is the mother load of free workshop and shed plans. Spring is pretty much here so that means you need a great looking shed to potter around in and look awesome! Whether you’re just dreaming it or you’re ready to build it, the backyard workshop is the ultimate …
7 Tips For Bugging Out Faster If the SHTF no warning and you were forced to bug out, how long would it take you to get out of dodge? This is a very important question. You probably have lots of supplies you’d want to load into your bug out vehicle, but that takes time, and …
The Next Gen of Preppers Regardless of what you may think or feel about the millennial generation, there are certain things about them that have far exceeded their parents’ generation. Information, for example. All they’ve ever known is to Google search. They have little to no concept about the Dewey decimal system, cassette players, or …
Plenty of articles talk about how to make large supplies and other preparations for various emergencies. In what follows, I want to take a different approach: I’m going to give you nothing but quick, down-to-earth tips of what to do and what not to do when these 4 disasters strike. Keep in mind that, although […]
Fire can be a beautiful thing to behold; knowing how to make fire is an essential skill that kick-started the next phase of human evolution, and it’s been keeping us alive ever since. As majestic as it is, fire is equally dangerous and will become deadly if unprepared. Fire can cross your path in several forms: As a way to create warmth; to send a signal; to prepare food and boil water; it can be as simple as lighting a cigarette or a campfire, or you can be faced with the wrong end of a ranging forest fire.
By Alex Coyne, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog
Here’s what you should know about fire…
The three elements of fire.
This is basic high school science, yet something a lot of people discard when in an emergency. Fire needs heat, fuel and an oxidizing agent to burn. This is known as the Fire Triangle, and it’s vital when you’re making a fire or trying to kill one. (Fire needs 16% oxygen to burn; the air around us contains approximately 21%).
Have a fire starter kit.
Fire starter kits are cheap and there are thousands available for order on the internet; take a look at some of the options on Amazon.com and make sure that you have one as part of your survival kit. You’d rather have it and not need it, right?
If you make your own fire starters, do it carefully.
Many frugal survivalists prefer to make their own fire starter kits at home instead of buying them. That’s great, as long as you do it safely. (One of the most disastrous examples I’ve seen was an enthusiast who made his own portable kit in a small tin, then placed it next to the fire: It heated up, and the results should be relatively obvious. Store combustibles safely. It’s fire. Be careful).
Read Also: PureFire Tactical Survival Fire Starter
Don’t rely on matches.
Matches are a go-to for many avid campers, but it could also be their biggest mistake. Yes, there are ways to light wet matches – take a look at this article on WikiHow to see how – but that is not a chance you can afford to take when it’s your survival being put at risk. You’ll very likely be safer with a flint fire starter kit.
Certain woods are poisonous when burned.
Know how to identify different types of woods, and know which are poisonous when burned. Novice fire starters often collect any wood they can find for their fire, only to be told by the locals later that they should have stayed away from it – or, in the worst-case scenario, serious illness or death occurs. Some include Elder wood, poison Sumac, and poison oak. Illness or death can occur from fumes, and any food prepared over a poison-wood fire could kill you.
Know how to treat a burn.
Common remedies for treating a burn include the application of some sort of fat or oil: Mayonnaise, butter, cooking oil or margarine. DON’T. This literally adds fuel to the burn, and it can lead to anything from infection to grilling your burn wound like a steak. Emergency guides generally recommend immediate cooling of the burn until help can be found – cold, sterile water. Have burn gel as part of your emergency kit, always.
Putting out fires are different.
Depending on what kind of fire you’re looking at, the way you put it out differs. Never grab the nearest thing and throw it on the fire; in many cases, that’s going to be an accelerant like alcohol, petrol or paraffin. (Also, never pour water on an oil fire. You’ll turn a fire into an inferno). Have a fire extinguisher handy, and keep baking soda and sand nearby. Remember how fire has three elements? Remove its oxygen.
Don’t forget smoke inhalation.
In most house and forest fires, the cause of death isn’t being burned alive, but smoke inhalation. Symptoms can include a dry cough, dizziness, nausea and potentially coughing up blood. Go down, because heat travels upwards and smoke tends to be less dense at the bottom. Fire can also be dangerous in other ways, like falling debris and burning embers.
Burnt food is carcinogenic; keep an eye on that fire!
Hone your barbeque skills at home when you’re not in a survival situation: Learn the tricks behind fish versus chicken versus beef; you can even bake on an open fire if you know how. Keep in mind that when food burns, acrylamide forms – this is a carcinogenic and obviously dangerous to your health.
Putting out camp and food fires are essential.
Put simply and in the words of an anthropomorphic bear, only you can prevent forest fires. Always make sure your fire is properly extinguished (and a fire that looks dead isn’t always), never leave a fire unattended and don’t put your tents, sleeping bags, gear or combustibles too close to the fire. Sand is your best friend for putting out smaller fires, so always keep a bucket or two nearby.
Send us your best fire starting tips for in the field (or at home) through the comments.
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Imagine a situation where the world is going into chaos for whatever reason – natural disaster, financial collapse, whatever. Bugging in is just not an option because your dwelling is in immediate peril. It’s time to bug out! But you have to act fast. What do you do? Bugging out is going to be the beginning
DIY Homemade Healing Neosporin Cream Knowing how to make your own Neosporin like boo boo cream is a great skill to have. This recipe is a great natural alternative and cheap and easy to make. This homemade ointment consists of powerful essential oils, herbs and beeswax that quickly address pain and stinging while reducing the …
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How To Freshen and Clean Carpet Spots with 2 Natural Ingredients If you have carpet you know how annoying stains can be. I found a great NATURAL way to clean them and this works great to freshen the carpets too. These 2 natural ingredients are that good they will tackle and clean away the toughest …
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Homemade Apple Cider Recipes To Die For My grandma made the best apple cider from an old English recipe. My mom has an old dutch recipe that is pretty good too. I went hunting the internet for a collection on apple cider recipes that I could share and I think I have found a …
How To Make Papercrete Papercrete is the ultimate building material for preppers, homesteaders, and off grid living enthusiasts. It is easy and cheap to make. It also could solve your paper and cardboard recycling problems. Literally! You make these building blocks by using old paper or cardboard. The process to make papercrete is easy and if …
It just isn’t realistic to think all of our prepping supplies will hold out forever. My family, friends, and I may have devised the best survival plan there is, even better than most of the selection of “you can make it” books at the big box book store. But, as time dwells on, the supplies will dwindle. Maybe our Bug In survival scheme has enough food stocked for the millennium. Good for us. Tell me again how long that is? Not unlike the Lord’s return if you believe in that survival book, we know not when the end comes. So, how do you plan for it?
By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache
Likewise, my loved ones and I had the forethought and the financial commitment to branch out to secure a designated Bug Out backup survival location. This comes complete with a farmhouse, water well, and rural power. A backup generator with a 1000 gallon fuel tank surely ought to last long enough until stability returns. Well, we hope so anyway.
At the Bug Out, our panty is chocked full of long term foods, a mix of food types, and tastes. With the available water we can mix up just about any variety of menu concoctions for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a few snacks thrown in. We are among the lucky ones to have provisioned so well for the long haul.
Time Bears On
We’re six months into the SHTF and doubt is starting to creep in. The food stocks have gone past the first three rows in the cabinets, and now variety selections are waning. Everybody is getting tired of canned meats, and if they eat another helping of tuna, they may start to grow gills. Everybody’s eyes are not green with envy, but green from all the green beans and green peas. Sure we are fine, but we all want something more, something different.
Our Bug In residence is only two blocks away from a wooded area, and open sage fields teeming with natural life, both plant and animal. The Bug Out escape house is near a huge forested area. So far, neither area seems to have been approached by anybody else in the immediate area. Scouting hikes provides good Intel that nobody seems to be using these available resources. It’s time to take advantage of this situation.
Hunting Becomes Necessity
This section is not so much about how to hunt, but more emphasis on the why we should. Apart from whatever food supplies we laid by in store, we should be mixing in available game meat to supplement our diets. Actually this should be done from the get go. This makes our pantry supplies extend further well into a longer period of unrest or instability, or no new food supplies at the usual outlets. We have to learn to supply some of our own food resources. The argument here too is for the value of this supplemental food source. I am not a nutritionist, but everything I read about food recommends that protein is a good thing. In a SHTF survival situation, adding meat to a diet would seem to be a very wise move.
Read Also: Fallkniven Professional Hunting Knife
What will you hunt? If you have never hunted before and nobody in the group if there is one has never hunted, then you need to start to learn how now. Books, videos, hunting television, seminars, and other participation activities can bring you up to speed fairly quickly. I highly recommend a good library of hunting books, and everything to do related to the subject.
Now, if you are an experienced hunter already, then you know what to do. Generally this activity is initiated by on the ground scouting to inventory what game might be available to harvest. This can be done by simple stealth hikes into prospective hunting areas. Maintain as secret and as low a profile as you can. Once you fire a gun to hunt, then you have given notice of your presence. Archery is also an option to consider.
Scouting can also be accomplished to a certain degree by observing via optics from a distance away. You must have good binoculars and or a spotting scope to do this part well. You are looking for obvious signs of game movement, tracks, deer rubs, and other game sign. Visual confirmation of game in the areas is a really good start.
What game might you expect to find? Naturally this essentially depends on where you are in the country. The United States is very blessed with a long list of wild game species available for pursuit via hunting. The short list is white-tailed and mule deer, elk, antelope, goats, sheep, big bears, big cats, wild hogs and wild turkey. Small game could be rabbits, squirrel, raccoon, and such. Upland game will include all kinds of bird species from quail, dove, woodcock, pheasant, grouse, and the list goes on. If water is around, you may find waterfowl in ducks and geese. Find out what is normally available where you live and where your Bug Out site is located. Your state wildlife agency will have a web site and likely pamphlets for this information.
For hunting you will likely already have the necessary firearms including a decent, accurate, scoped rifle, one of at least .30 caliber, but a .223 or others can be used with the correct hunting type ammo. Small game can be hunted with a rimfire rifle or handgun. A shotgun will be useful for birds, waterfowl and small game. Have a variety of shotshells on hand besides self-defense type loads. Certainly, you can add all types of hunting gear and accessories including hunting clothing, camouflage, knives, game bags, and everything else to help you secure the game meat you need.
Sport Fishing for Sustenance
When we highlight hunting, we do not mean to slight or ignore the freshwater or saltwater fishing opportunities where you might reside during a SHTF. As you have prepared for hunting, also prepare for fishing. Fish are a high priority, good quality food to add to the menu. As with game animals, research what fishing opps are available to you and which types of fish can be caught. I won’t list all the possibilities here, because the variety is so regional. You should know your area well enough to know about fishing lakes, rivers, streams, and even small rural farm ponds, any water source that might hold edible fish. Take the same advice on fishing as with hunting, if you do not know how.
Stock up on basic fishing tackle, rods, reels, line, lures, tackle supplies, hooks, weights, etc. Have the whole shooting match on hand. Again, a good book on general fishing will describe what to buy, and how to use it. You may find also like hunting that fishing is a good recreational activity as well. You’ll need that as well to support mental health during trying times.
This is my own weakness beyond knowing how to grow a garden. By all means make plans and provisions for growing a garden of any size. As you know Mother Nature also provides many sources of plant life that can be eaten raw, added to salads, or cooked. Again a good regional resource book will be valuable for finding greens, flowers, seeds, legumes, mushrooms, wild fruits, and other plant-vegetable life that is indigenous to your area. This resource will be valuable so you’ll know what to gather and how to process it for food.
Related: Tree Bark as an Emergency Food
So, obviously this was a quick treatise just skimming the bare essentials of food harvesting skills you will need to acquire and practice. Ideally, you have stored up enough food stuffs to grind it out over a long period of time. However, it is just smart to learn to supplement these supplies with fresh foods found in your local habitats. Learn now what these resources are in your area, how to harvest or gather them as supplemental food sources.
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How the Early Pioneers Preserved Food and What They Ate Imagine living in an era when there is no refrigeration. Ever thought about the foods our pioneer ancestors ate, and ancient people before them? Foods from 150+ years ago or long before that. Compare that to the “food” we eat for decades before we woke …
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6 Trees Every Survivalist Should Know & Why Being a prepper/survivalist is a great lifestyle. I am loving it and haven’t looked back. There is always new information to be learned and this article is proof of that for me. Trees give us wood for our campfires. They provide structure to our shelters, materials from …
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10 Disturbing SHTF Threats Most Preppers Haven’t Prepared For When SHTF it will be a scary and confusing time. Hundreds of thousands of people that are not prepping will be sitting ducks. Even preppers will be after reading the article in the link below. The article goes over 10 real threats that could affect us …
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How To Build A Drip Irrigation System For Under $100 A drip irrigation system can save you time, money and conserve water. This drip irrigation system can be turned on and left to do its job without you having to stand over it to monitor its progress. Using water wisely with a drip irrigation system …
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Top 7 EDC Items You Should Carry Every Day Obviously, you can’t carry your bug out bag with you at all times. You might have it nearby, such as in your office, by your front door, or in your car – but you can’t have it physically on you at all times. You should still …
How To Use Zip-Ties in An Emergency Situation Your imagination is the key to survive an emergency situation. It doesn’t matter if you’re stranded in the woods or in the concrete jungle. Putting your mind to good use and using the items you have can save the day. Having a few simple zip-ties in your …
20 Long Lasting Foods That Should Not Miss From Your SHTF Pantry I recently realized I never really thought about how to stay alive during a long term survival scenario such as an EMP that could wipe out the entire electric grid for many, many years or an economic collapse like in Venezuela. It’s only …
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I admit it – like most gun culture involved individuals in America, I also got way too caught up in building an “ultimate” AR-15. While I didn’t go as wild as some, I definitely spent way more money buying and trying different setups until I settled on my current “Goldilocks”configuration. I use and shoot the hell out of that AR – it’s my SHTF “gotta go!” rifle – but I’ve figured out with actual use that the rifle just has a lot going on for occasional range use, training, and scouting/small game hunting. It’s heavy for an AR, to boot.
By Drew, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog
The basic rifle uses a Windham Weaponry 16” heavy barrel SRC upper, modified with a Troy low-profile gas block, 13” Troy Alpha rail and aluminum Sig Sauer flip-up BUIS. The lower has a Magpul MOE grip and a Magpul ACS stock, both stuffed to the gills with extra springs and pins, small sample tube of CLP, a spare firing pin, and a full complement of CR123 batteries for the 1000-lumen Fenix PD35 TAC light. With the rubber-armored Aimpoint Comp ML3 red dot optic and steel LaRue M68 QD mount, the rifle weighs over nine pounds with a full 30 round magazine and BDS sling. It’s set to go for a SHTF event and is a very capable, reliable, great-shooting rifle. You could ask almost anyone and probably get the reply that it has everything one might need on an out-the-door grab-and-go SHTF AR platform.
But does this AR have things I don’t absolutely need (besides weight)? Since building that SHTF rifle, my mind has been drifting occasionally to a “KISS” (Keep It Simple, Stupid!), rifle that is lighter, has no frills, and just works for a variety of uses and missions. I recently assisted my father with assembling a rifle that he dubbed his “ULWC” (Ultra LightWeight Carbine) that utilized a lot of really high-end lightweight parts and a dash of simplicity to create a nice, functional AR that tips the scales at under 7 pounds with a micro red dot optic and 20-round P-Mag. I wanted to straddle the line between the weight of my father’s ULWC, the utility and mission of Doc Montana’s “Katrina Rifle”, and what I had built already. Nothing battery-powered, (though retaining the capability of mounting a light) just tried and true simplicity.
Opportunity Provided By Colt
I’ve had a Colt Match Target Sporter HBAR for years, and I never really shoot the rifle anymore due to its competition-designed setup: it is a standard AR-15A2 configuration, with a 20” very heavy barrel, non-removable rear “carrying handle” adjustable sight, and fixed rear stock with added weights. The rifle shoots great, but its 1:7 rifling rate of twist means that it doesn’t group my preferred 55-grain bullet handloads very well – the 1:7 twist spins the fast-moving little pills too quickly, and the rifle grouped badly with 55-grainers as a consequence. I didn’t want to stockpile another bullet in the 69-75 grain range and develop another handload for a rifle that didn’t have the capability to mount an optic optimally, so the rifle sat in the safe and gathered dust for a long time.
However, one day I was talking with my brother about possible upcoming AR builds, and he said, “why don’t you just throw a collapsible stock on your Colt?” A light bulb went off. I have built up a cadre of friends and local shops who were very capable of excellent AR builds and had all the tools I hadn’t accrued yet….so indeed, why not modify the Colt? It possesses all the basic upper and lower receiver ingredients for a great KISS rifle – it just needed a different barrel and stock configuration. I rooted through the couch cushions for extra change and set to work once I had the funds.
The configuration I knew I’d go to was one I’d had in mind for years: Dissipator, baby.
I remember being quite young – probably before my teens – and perusing through the many stacks and stacks of gun magazines my father had accrued: my earliest firearms education. I remember seeing an a picture of an AR-15 that still sticks with me – it looked like a mean-looking chopped-off standard AR-15A2; and really, that’s what it was. Later in life, I found that the then-Maine-based company, Bushmaster Firearms, had put a name to the design that Colt had pioneered years ago: The “Dissipator.” A classic Dissipator is a standard AR-15A1/A2 with the barrel – usually 20” on a standard A1/A2 – lopped off to a handier 16” length. The flash suppressor sat just beyond the fixed tower front sight and full-length rifle handguards, giving a stubby, businesslike appearance. But even in my now long-gone younger ages, I knew that the rifle had a longer sighting radius for better accuracy, while boasting the handier CAR-15 shorter overall length.
Original Dissipators had issues with reliability; they had a full-length rifle gas system on a carbine-length barrel. Gas impulses and resulting short dwell time were funky and the guns had a habit of not cycling properly unless the gas ports were opened up significantly. Modern Dissipators usually utilize M4-pattern barrels and carbine-length low-profile gas systems under full-length rifle handguards, with the fixed tower front sight not being utilized as a gas block, as per the usual.
Today, things have come full circle. After the A3/M4 AR variant reared its head, sprouting its myriad spawn and video game experts, shooters started to realize that the extra handguard length meant more rail room for more goodies and sling mounts. It also lead to a longer sight radius for any attached sights, and with the modern arm-extended “C” clamp method of holding the rifle, more space to muckle onto the forward end of the rifle and not get your phalanges cooked medium rare. You’ll see many modern builds are actually de facto Dissipators – short barrels with full-length handguards/rails growing around them, and sights that are placed almost to the muzzle. Hey, if it works, people will figure it out eventually, right?
But I’d figured out long ago that it looked purposeful and damned cool. And I was gonna get one, dammit. Or, y’know, in this case I’d build one.
Putting the Puzzle Together
Okay, so I had a Colt rifle and the entire interwebs to help me figure the best way to modify it. Really all I needed was a barrel, appropriately-lengthed gas tube, and a collapsible buttstock. I’d had the receiver extension, end plate, buffer spring, and carbine buffer kicking around already, waiting for a build. I sourced a black milspec Magpul CTR stock from the local Cabela’s, and converted the lower from a fixed A2 stock to a 6-position telescoping rear stock one evening after dinner. Mission one complete.
Now for the upper receiver modifications, which were going to require more digging to make sure I did things right. I searched the catacombs of online sources for a couple days, looking for the proper barrel for my build. I definitely did not desire another heavy barrel; nor did I want a flyweight barrel and its walking groups. Finally, I found that my local boys at Windham Weaponry do indeed offer Dissipator setups – I could have bought an entire completed Dissipator upper receiver, but settled on just the barrel and gas tube to replace the 20” heavy barrel that was on the Colt. In the Dissipator models, Windham Weaponry offers a heavy barrel setup, as well as a stepped, lighter M4-pattern barrel. I opted for the latter, and was 100% confident I’d have a great barrel; I’ve personally toured the Windham Weaponry facility, and their quality control is second to none. Every person who works there is fiercely proud of their product and what they represent. As stated before, my other AR build has a W-W upper, and with a good field rest, that rifle will keep 4-5” groups at 200 yards with no issues if I do my part behind the Aimpoint.
Windham Weaponry offers the ability to purchase directly through their website and I could have installed all the hardware, but I wanted to support another local business. I called on an old schoolmate, Jeff Furlong at Furlong Custom Creations in Raymond, Maine, to order the parts and assemble them to my upper. I’d had a custom kydex holster made by Jeff years ago, but had never had any rifle work performed. He has a stellar reputation for his builds here in the area, so I called on him to help with the build. Jeff helped me sort out what I wanted and needed, and he got to ordering the barrel and necessary accoutrements from Windham Weaponry. While he was at it, I asked him to source a set of black rifle-length MOE MLOK handguards from Magpul, and a new charging handle. He had a BCM Mod 4 charging handle in stock, so we threw that on the pile of parts.
I dropped the upper off at Furlong Custom Creations, and less than a week later, I got the message that the parts had arrived and the new parts were assembled on the upper.
And the Survey Says….
Huzzah! I buzzed up to Furlong Custom Creations to collect my upper. Jeff remarked that it looked “badass” with the Magpul handguards, and I was inclined to agree. Though aesthetics aren’t exactly the only thing we aim for with our ARs, you know we all smirk inwardly with unabashed satisfaction when another gun guy tells us our rifle looks “badass”, or some variation thereof. I probably would have skipped back to my truck if it wasn’t for the icy driveway.
Once home, I reunited the old receiver mates and assembled the newly transformed upper onto the Match Sporter lower. The end result was, in my eyes and hands, delightful. The weight sits just a bit further forward than a standard M4, and the handling qualities are excellent. The initial handling time I got with the rifle, comparing it to its fully decked-out brother, made me like the Dissipator more and more – maybe there really was something to this simple, lightweight thing.
The first range trip was short – I barely got it on paper at 50 yards before the Maine 4th Keyboard Commando Brigade showed up at the pit with their AKs and .45 Glocks and started performing breathtaking 7.62 drum dumps and even occasionally hitting their Bin Laden targets. I packed up and headed home before the cops showed up.
I finally got a few minutes to do some accuracy work while on my lunch last week, and the results were very good. With Federal 55-grain FMJBT ammunition, I was able to keep 5-shot groups to 1” or so at 50 yards offhand. Benched groups at 100 yards with the same Federal load hovered in the 2”-3” range – adequate for the purposes I need. I’ll try a few different factory loads and also try a handload – but for all intents and purposes, I’m happy with groups this size from an open-sighted rifle. My old Winchester Model 54 in .30-06 shoots 2-3” groups at 100 yards with open sights, but will cloverleaf three rounds at the same range when scoped – so I know that the larger groups at long range are due to my aging Mark 1 eyeball’s capability, and I’m fine with that. I accept it, anyway.
Though I’ve only run about 300 rounds through the rifle thus far, I have been very happy with the package and the performance. Reliability has been flawless – though one really can’t gauge long-term results from just a few rounds downrange.
A Couple Additions
I didn’t want – or really, need – to add a bunch of crap to this rifle; I wanted to maintain the KISS principle to the best of my abilities. Light weight and no-frills are the core concepts in this build. In my mind’s eye, I only needed two accessories: a good sling, and the ability to mount (and dismount) a light.
For the sling, I ordered a Magpul MLOK-compatible QD sling mount, and attached the circular mount at the 10 o’clock position, as far forward as I could place it. The Magpul CTR stock already had a quick-detach sling swivel mount built in, so I sourced a pair of Midwest Industries Heavy Duty QD sling swivels from Amazon. The space in between the swivels was filled with an adjustable Wolf Grey Blue Force Gear Vickers Combat Application sling to keep the whole rig in place on my body. For those of you who haven’t tried a Blue Force Gear Vickers sling, they are phenomenal and highly recommended.
For illumination, I obtained a 3-slot MLOK picatinny rail attachment point, which I mounted at the 2 o’clock position, also as far forward as was allowable. The small, simple rail is just the right size to mount a Streamlight TLR-1, which can be activated by my support hand fingers without adjusting my grip. Simple, easy, tough…and with enough illumination power for what I expect to use the rifle for.
Possible future upgrades that are not necessary for this rifle to complete is mission, but are desireable to help improve user-friendliness:
- a three-dot tritium sight set to replace to stock A2 adjustable sights, as budget allows – but with the Streamlight mounted, the need for the illuminated sights is negated mostly. If I don’t go with tritium sights, a finer post front sight will find its way on the rifle.
- An Odin Works extended magazine release is definitely on the list; they are a vast improvement over the stock magazine release, and I install them on all of my AR platform rifles.
- A Magpul MOE Enhanced Trigger Guard will also be installed in the future to allow for improved access to the trigger with gloved hands. They are more smoothly contoured as well, and don’t have a tendency to shave skin on my fingers as badly as the stock sharp-edged metal one. I saw a screaming deal for a BCM extended trigger guard, so that was ordered and installed on the rifle instead of the Magpul part.
Defining the Mission for my KISS Rifle
While some may say the need for this rifle may be vague or non-existent, it fills a very vacant hole in my lineup. I’m very fond of running guns that are sans optics unless I need them; I like the lighter weight and better handling qualities…a good aperture sight setup is all I need for 90% of my rifle use. I’m comfortable and pretty quick on target using the built-in, non-removable sights. For a few bucks, I can always drop some cake on a new flat top upper and have the Dissipator parts swapped on, once my eyes finally give out (I’m fighting it as long as I can, dammit) and I require an optic to keep my rounds heading in the right direction with anything resembling a modicum of precision.
But, what will I do with this rifle? I’m glad you asked. Like the aforementioned Katrina Rifle engineered by Doc Montana (check out his article here for a similar rifle concept that is different in execution), I built a rifle around an idea that requires a simple, light, rugged, and above all, reliable rifle that is capable of security detail/protection, hunting, and scouting. Light weight is essential so that the rifle can be on my person perpetually if the situation demands it. In a true disaster or SHTF event, having a lightweight rifle as a force multiplier may be the difference between life and death – and if the rifle is so heavy or obtrusive that you leave it at home standing in the corner, it is of no benefit. This KISS rifle is also a second primary rifle, so that I may outfit my teenaged-but-larger-than-me son with an effective rifle in case of severe emergency and extra security is required.
I also wanted a platform for my KISS rifle that was easily serviceable, with parts readily available, either aftermarket or from salvaging “found” guns if needed – the Colt fit the bill flawlessly in that department. However, since the Colt is an older “pre-ban” (is that still a bragging point anymore?) rifle, it has larger .169” trigger/hammer pins, not the Milspec standard .154” pins. This necessitates a couple spares taped to the inside of the Magpul MOE grip….just in case. A complement of easily-lost detents, springs, and pins also reside in the grip cavity along with a shortened 1/16” hardened steel pin punch and a small sample tube of CLP. I like being able to effect small repairs and lubrication in the field if necessary, but big parts replacement, if required, and deep cleaning can be carried out at the home/BOL armorer’s bench.
Read Also: The AR-15 Bolt Carrier Group
The rifle will likely stay at the homestead, but remain ready to fulfill its duties with a ready complement of four loaded (and regularly rotated) and ready-to-rumble Magpul P-mags for immediate danger work, or a couple five-round magazines with a small-game/varmint handload in case I don’t feel like taking my Walking Around Rifle for a jaunt in the woods.
This KISS Dissipator (KISSipator?) fulfills all the basic requirements I was looking for when I started building the gun in my head. I got the Dissipator I’d been dreaming of for 20 years, and was able to tailor the long lusted-after rifle and its few accessories to fill a hole in the SHTF arsenal, all while not overloading the rifle with gadgets and battery-powered weights. Mission accomplished.
The Sum of its Parts
The Dissipator configuration is a great choice if you’d like the longer handguards for mounting and grasping real estate, but without the added cost and/or hassle of free-floating rails. Really, if I didn’t want to retain the capability of mounting a light to the gun, I could have left the standard A2-style handguards on the rifle, mounted the sling to the standard swivels, and had a great rifle for even less money. As it stands, the cost for the barrel and gas tube assembled to the Colt upper, BCM charging handle, Magpul MOE rifle-length handguards, Magpul CTR rear stock, Blue Force sling and mounts, and the MLOK attachments is $407.00 – much less than the cost of a new, high-quality rifle (with no accessories!), even in this heyday of the AR rifle and aftermarket parts glut.
Check Out: Windham Weaponry
And keeping it simple? That’s a personal choice. I like having a rifle that is 100% effective at its intended job without any additional tactical detritus that weighs the rifle down and requires a larger stockpile of batteries. I was pleasantly surprised at the utility of this rifle, even without all the gadgetry installed. The fixed rear sight A2 platform is the ultimate in platform simplicity and ruggedness, and may even be the direction you want to go in if you’re looking for these same qualities in a SHTF rifle.
What are your thoughts on this setup? A waste of a good Colt, or the right direction to go in? Sound off in the comments with your thoughts if you have a minute to share.
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