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Survival is not just shelter, food, and water.
Survival is a multifaceted way of life that we either choose and we are placed into without a moments notice. Therefore, we must prepare for it. If we do not have a moments notice, then we must create the time to prepare for it ourselves. Survival is also not just finding or building shelter. Survival is not just simply acquiring food and water. Our defensive posture, preparation, and actions are not just about dangerous animals of the four-legged variety, either. In the aftermath of a societal collapse, there will be two-legged predators, also. They are very cunning and deceptive. The human is often deceived by their own brains, while overruled by their instinct, and then take unannounced violent actions towards other humans.
Not all humans are this way, though, but in a survival situation, we must be extremely cautious. Fear is the overall winner with respect to the human intellect. When humans experience fear associated with hunger, thirst, need for shelter, and even of you, their intellect will become that of a dangerous animal, force into action by chemicals of instinct released by the brain. They will not be able to contain their actions, and you should be prepared to not just avoid detection by them, but also to act rightfully on your own behalf to survive another minute, hour, or day.
We may also be herded by a government structure to secure the viability of the human race itself. A person could be hunted down for breeding stock. This is not without merit
Let’s look at a couple of areas where you might be detected from many miles away in the aftermath of technology…..
If in a group, it is advisable to have four points of security out the outer edges of your area to detect any approach person or force of people. You will possibly smell them, here them, or even feel them if their numbers are great. The rumble, noise, and smell of masses of humans is similar to any other group of cattle-like species that is of a consumption style of existence. Any warnings should be convey through silent methods, and the group or village should then go to a serious non-detection mode.
I would strongly suggest that people store dried food that merely needs water to re-hydrate and then eat. This is lighter, simple, and requires no heating source to cook. There are many ready to eat meals available from many sources. I advise choosing the healthiest meals and sources, for optimum personal performance and digestive safety. Some emergency foods contain synthetic compounds which can cause organ damage, as well as other additives that can cause arthritis and mental fog. Basic dried vegetable powder, edible seeds, and long-term storing/rotatable coconut oil with omega-3 fatty acids is best. Dried food weighs 11% of canned food. Keep your food supply as light and basic as possible for taking as much with you if you must go mobile on foot. If your food supply is heavy, you may have to leave it behind if it is necessary to run for your life.
When all other lighting sources are gone, and the world is thrown into darkness, even the smallest amount of light will draw more than just insects. In the darkest of night, even the human eye can detect light from a great distance. Other people could see your light many miles off in the distance and spend many days to reach the source. Humans will be drawn to any possible source of technological comfort, just like bugs to a bug light. It’s best to do everything you can during the day and then hunker down as quietly as possible, resting quietly at night. No music. No media of any kind unless you are checking for emergency updates very quietly.
Your time and energy is best spent focusing on your own area, watching and listening for signs of others. A crew of thugs that prey on others in SHTF may have quietly camped not far from where you are without your detection. The first person to make noise is known by the other. Staying in darkness mode allows you to peer into the darkness around you for approaching or stationary humans that are using light sources. Those you may not detect during they day that are in your area or approaching your area, will possibly give away their position at night. The same goes in reverse if you give away your position with a light source.
Stealth, cover and concealment, command and signals. Many skills I learned not only in the Marine Corps, but as a child. Staying out of the way, being silent, making myself the smallest target possible was the way I grew up. Avoiding detection by police, creating a persona of vulnerability to hide my strengths, and avoiding stupid choices of action, saved my life and limb many times. I even had a police dog five-feet from me without be detected. While I am not and have never been a violent criminal, I did break things out of anger as a child. I never harmed other people.
Talk low and close to each other, even during the day. Use hand signals to communicate when spread out. A group of harmful people could be only a mile away and hear you in the absence of noise generating technology. Do everything as naturally landscaped as possible and with technology to avoid easy detection through unnatural geological patterns in the terrain you occupy and work for food sources. Grow your crops in areas surrounded by other taller plants to hide there existence and stagger plants naturally..
In the aftermath of any level of society’s infrastructure, we must let go of the media sources of music, drama, and distraction, while focusing on tasks of survival. While we might have power back ups and technology, they can be our death sentence if we loudly announce our existence to whomever is evil and listening. Life is no party in this situation of SHTF. Even people that were not normally of evil actions when society was stable, will be highly competitive and just as untrusting as anyone else. They may also evaluate your resources as more valuable to their continued existence over that of your’s.
There are also the sounds of hammering and cutting that can travel very long distances, along will the smells of fireplaces and forges. In order to extend our possible existence, it will be necessary to sacrifice conveniences and pleasure until some level of strength in numbers and stability exists. Avoidance of detection long enough for things to settle down and a proper evaluation of stability can be made, is essential in a collapse of society situation/scenario.
Your clothing, structure, and everything else with your daily lifestyle should blend into the surrounding terrain. That way, you will have less chance of being detected. You will have the advantage over any intruder/trespasser that enters your territory. They may walk right in without detecting you, giving you the advantage to observe them and their possible intentions. They may even walk right through your area and leave onto other pastures without knowing you even exist.
There will always be other humans that want to own or rule you in some way. The more unnoticed you are in SHTF, the less likely you are to be ruled over. You may have to fight at some point, but avoiding conflict is an honorable and practiced tactical measure in every military of the world. Even Tigers, as great in strength and size as they are, avoid conflict if possible to prevent the smallest scratch that can lead to infection and death.
Your health and body functions/movements
If you are being chased and then must hide, you must be healthy enough to control your breathing at a long, slow, and deep rate without passing out. Snipers learn many ways to conceal their position to avoid detection. They not only want to avoid being detected, but also have their original position never discovered if possible. The less known of their skills, the less chance of future detection until their business is done. They must train to relieve themselves of body waste while in the prone position if necessary.
Sweating can also give away a person’s position if they have not neutralized their body smells to mimic the surrounding area. In early mornings that are dry and cold, a person can emit steam if they do not cover themselves well with dry dirt. It is common to rub surrounding foliage and dirt all over one’s self to blend in with the area. The dirt will also soak up the sweat and cover your scent.
If you must relieve yourself, dig a two-foot deep hole quietly and cover when finished. Don’t just merely throw dirt back into the hole. Pack it down quietly and cover the area back up to reflect the common foliage. Someone could step on the hole if it is loose and determine that another human or humans is near. While this may seem “too much” or “extreme” to the common civilian, many military will understand tracking and side with me in this regard. This is life or death in SHTF, not a game.
When I stopped smoking, I could smell someone smoking from almost a mile away on a hike. The Vietcong in the Vietnam Conflict could tell exactly where U.S. troops where by the smell of alcohol and cigarettes. Even the smell of cooking and/or smoking that sticks to clothing and foliage can be used to track a person. This is the same for colognes, body sprays, deodorants, spices, hair products that are not fragrance-free and naturally derived, nail polish, cooking oils, body oils, etc.. The list is very large, because we now live in a society that uses so many body products and consumes so many flavored foods. All are traceable by the keen sense of smell of the natural person that is free of such chemicals.
When we cook in a survival situation, the smells of the heating source and the food, can travel very far. Many miles in fact! These smells can be tracked back to their source. It could take days for motivated people to track the scents back to the source for the bounty that awaits them, depending on their specific needs or desires. If you must cook something, use propane and boil the food. Steam will travel less of a distance than smoke fumes.
Not just everyday people will exist in SHTF. There will be rapists, violent offenders that find enjoyment in harming others, thieves that will deceive you and cut your throat in the next moment, mentally deranged in many aspect of deviant behavior, or religious fanatics that enslave others because they are too lazy to make their own way. Many different peoples of fear and prejudice will be present in such a time, but there will be good people, too. All will be scared, hungry, thirsty, and dangerous to some extent. Why lured them into your camp with smells?
We do not know at first glance or at first speaking with others, whether they are truly good people, or whether they will judge and place their own survival above our’s. In order to avoid as much of these encounters as possible, we must avoid detection as much as possible. All unnatural or naturally offensive smells of the body must be neutralized as best they can be. There are herbs and fruits that can provide antibacterial protection in areas of the body where we usually use store bought products. The scent of these herbs and fruits are more neutral to the environment with regards to smells.
Mint, lemons and limes, oregano, and eucalyptus can be used. I would suggest the eucalyptus as bedding in a shelter if available, and the other mentioned resources for body use. The oregano can be very harsh on skin, but is a great anti-viral. Please remember that what I am offering is minimal in the details of what resources can be utilized. I merely want to convey the necessity to keep smells at the very minimum in SHTF to prevent detection by possibly harmful people. I advise learning as much as you can about naturally attained medicinal plants, anti-bacterial plants and minerals, and other plants for consumption and use in essential hygiene.
This is a tough one!
While rubbing clay all over yourself is somewhat effective, an expert can find you. While covering yourself in a reflective blanket and other material, your size pattern can be noticed by an expert if not blended well into the terrain. While you can use a infrared absorbing material, you can be detected that way by the latest technology not already out on the market. It actually senses the absorption rate of terrain in that area and alerts to abnormalities, just like a metal detector.
While some civilians may own and know how to basically operate night vision and heat detection technology, most of this will be used by experts in the military attempting to find rogue cattle. The best tool in this case is to be under ground or in a shelter that is blended into the terrain around you, prior to the sun going down. During the day is the best time to be moving about quietly. Night is and always has been owned by the apex predator. In SHTF, that will be other humans of ill-intention, even if they regard their intention as noble to the secure future of the human race.
The best action is to lesson your detection risk by limiting your time of exposure to the field of view, regards to a SHTF scenario. This goes for day or night. Do what you need to do for food, water, and other necessities, and them hide. Such is why cockroaches and mice have always been an active part of history since the beginning of time. They are smart, humble, handle extremes well, and are mostly undetectable. Learn from the successful in nature that have never had technology, and prepare appropriate in your overall attitude and principles, before placed in a survival situation.