I have been without a vehicle of my own for some time now, this was not good because it meant that when I was alone at home I had no transport in case of fire or accident. The X-Trail SUV we had we sold to one of our 3 sons. My Volvo wagon I gave to another son. My Youngest son bought a Triton Dual Cab Diesel 4WD with a drop side tray.
We replaced the X-Trail with a Hilux Dual Cab Diesel 4WD with a hard canopy. I just bought myself a Triton Dual Cab 4WD Diesel ute, and I am very pleased with it so far. We also have a property vehicle, a 4WD Lada, which we use only on the property for transporting fire wood and generally getting about, mending fences.
I’ve written about bugging out in the past, it’s a popular concept with many relevant ties to everyday life and unfortunately it’s also a concept rooted in many prepper fantasies. Realistic bugouts happen quite frequently due to localized natural disasters, folks have to leave their home with very little notice hoping that it will be there when they are allowed to return. Forest fires, flooding or even chemical spills come to mind when considering the need to get out and quickly. Many folks prepare for these scenarios and many do not, those who do not are usually the ones on television telling the news how all they could salvage was what they could grab in a few minutes.
I should dedicate at least one paragraph to the prepper bugout fantasy, the one where martial law is declared and the suburbanites pack up the pickup trucks and head to the woods to establish a community. Crops are gown, shelters are built and the resistance war is waged in a glorious effort, something something et al. It’s a good fantasy but not one grounded in reality, I’ll just leave it at that.
My Bugout Necessity
I’ve you’ve been following along recently you’ll know I’ve relocated to a pretty remote area of the country, one where fire is certainly the biggest threat to our existence. Fire can happen quickly and when it’s dry, as it is now, it is a huge consideration which must be taken very seriously. Evacuation (read: bugout) plans are standard in this part of the country and one must be ready to execute at a moment’s notice.
Time Sensitive Plans
In speaking with my wife we have determined that we should have layered plans in place which are all predicated on the amount of time available. Certainly if we have a day to leave there are actions we would take and also items we would pack which would far exceed those determined necessary if we only had 5 minutes to leave. The point is that we have gone through the home and identified those items and also the load plan (single or multiple vehicles) associated with taking various items. Generally we lean towards irreplaceable things (photo albums, heirlooms) and vital documents as top priority and work our way down from there. In a zero time available scenario its ourselves and the dogs, everything else can meet the fate of the flames.
Multiple Courses of Action
Our first choice would obviously be vehicle transport out of our location. However there is truly only one way in and one way out, so if that is blocked moving on foot has to be an option. We have scouted this possibiliy and included it in our plan and a second course of action should the road be blocked and impassable. It is important to consider the highly unlikely and plan for it, never assume that because something has always been….that it always will be.
Off Site Storage Redundancy
I suggest this for everyone reading this post. Have multiple sites away from your primary residence were you can store goods and supplies or vital docments. We have a backup storage facility as well as a safe deposit box where we keep vital documents, never keep all of your eggs in one basket so to speak. If we were away from the home and it all went up in flames we would have redundacy off site. This is a crucial capability which ties in to continutity of operations.
It should go without saying but there are some generalities that go with being prepared to bugout which transcend location. A list of these follows, this is off the top of my head so it is not complete.
– Vehicles never parked without a minimum of 1/2 tank of fuel
– All family members briefed on bugout strategy
– Rehersals of bugout strategy
– Predetermined linkup or destination points
– Items identified and staged for quick loading
– Load plan (how you will pack) rehearsed and understood
– Multiple Egress points identified and understood
– Communication plan understood and rehearsed
The Bottom Line
The necessity for bugouts is a very real one and should not be overlooked. Have a comprehensive bugout strategy which ties in more than one way to get it done. Speak with your loved ones about it and conduct rehearsals, it could save your life one day.
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 …
The post Prepper Acronyms: Common Survival Acronyms to Know appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.
If you are like me you’ve spent countless cumulative hours in various big box stores, outdoor stores, dollar stores and even at swap meets looking for useful or even just cool preparedness items. It can get to a point where you are once again standing in front of that vending machine in the break room, you know everything that is in the machine but you stand there anyway pondering your next move. Boring.
Why not let someone else make that choice for you with respect to your next move? Granted I wouldn’t roll the dice and let a stranger mail me my next firearm (even if they could) , but for smaller less “big decision purchase” items why not give it a go. There is something to be said for anticipation and the unknown and at the price points offered by SHTF Club one really can afford to take a leap of faith…besides you can cancel at any time per their website. Here are the plans they offer as well as some additional information.
A new mystery box every month. (Usually ships around the 15th.)
Three tiers – Basic: $19.99, Pro: $49.99 and Elite: $89.99.
The $19.99 box is guaranteed to be worth more than what you pay.
The $49.99 box is guaranteed to be worth more than $80.
The $89.99 box is guaranteed to be worth more than $120.
Cancel or renew at any time.
So your next question is probably going to be, what’s in the box? According to their website it’s some variation of (but not limited to): knives, fire starters, emergency prep (SOS), hydration, survival gear, hard use tools, paracord and other accessories. You are probably thinking, well that’s cool but how good is this stuff? I’m glad you asked because I should be receiving a box from them in the next few days and will be reviewing the contents inside. Some of my thoughts are:
Are the contents worth the price of admission?
What about the quality of the contents? Good knife or $5 OTC at Ace Hardware type knife?
Relevant to preparedness?
Presentation: How packaged, as in neatly with applicable instructions for those who may need them or dumped in a box?
I am fairly confidence that I will be pleasantly surprised with this product, after all they have good reviews out there and seem to be serious about advancing the preparedness message. I will follow up shortly with a review but in the meantime, check out their website for yourselves and see if anything strikes your fancy.
On the surface things seem to be moving along rather swimmingly. The story line goes something like: improving economy / Dow trends / more jobs / less National Debt / and just a general feeling that things are going better, whatever that means. I for one can appreciate that gasoline is not $4/gallon but that doesn’t make me any sort of expert. A quick browse of the standard prepper-ish websites reveals mostly the same headlines that were there in 5-7 years ago, not so much on TV about prepping anymore because life is good. It’s so easy to get complacent in times like these after all, Trump is Prez and he will make America great again….right?
It’s tough to prioritize prepping when there really doesn’t seem to be a sense of urgency. Back in 2010 folks were snapping up a years worth of food for storage and plotting potential bugout locations if and when T-SHTF. Now a new car in the drive might not necessarily be a bad thing, along with that trip to the Bahamas. Previously prioritized preps (maybe a solar addition and gardening) are on the back burner and the discussions among friends about potential courses of action with respect to threats have all but subsided. The planning and execution phase has been replaced by the complacent phase.
I believe there is a huge opportunity now to advance prep priorities while maintaining a good life balance and still enjoying the fruits of one’s labor (read: nothing wrong with vacation). Here are a few reasons why.
- The pressure isn’t there. A few years back when people believed the sky was falling folks were scrambling to play catch up, tossing credit cards at preps and making poor decisions.
- Demand is relatively low for whatever products / materials you might need or what to stock up on. Ammunition, storage food, water storage devices, medical kits.
- It’s ok to experiment. Start that garden now and see just how difficult it can be to grow your own food, try planting various seeds to see if store bought perform better than those stored prepper seeds you have on a shelf in the basement.
- Save Money. Pretty self explanatory but needed to be mentioned. If the job is paying more try to save more when times are good.
The above listed are just a few reasons why I believe that now is the time to take advantage of this lull in the action, calm before the storm if you will. I’ve often quoted Mark Steyn when he stated (reference the economy): “Something that cannot go on forever, will stop.” Any number of things could happen to disrupt this current state of relative calm which we are in and it might be next week, 2 years, 5 years and so on. If you look at some of the major prep blogs out there folks in the comments section have been calling for a collapse based on evidence every year for the past 10 years….”surely 2010/11/12/13/14 is the year” they said. Here we are in 2017 coasting along on what I believe to be ice that is thicker than others would imagine. If it all comes crashing down at that point we’ll all have what we have and it will be the mad scramble once again. Use this time wisely for surely, at some unknown point in the future things will not be so great. The expanse and impact of whatever it is that will occur, maybe the economy contracting or even collapsing, is anyone’s best guess.
What are you preparing for and how do you prioritize accordingly? There are some very real threats out but all of us are limited on time and resources. Even the independently wealthy prepper with all the time and money in the world could not prepare for and mitigate risk for every potential disaster which exists in the world today. With that in mind there must be a calculated balance, prepping for threats in a common sense way which does not over extend our resources or take up too much time (read: getting bogged down).
I see this two ways: High Probability / Low Impact vs Low Probability / High Impact. Where you are in the world and you current state of readiness determines how you break the threats out and prepare for them. A few examples follow.
High Probability / Low Impact
- Bugout necessary because: forest fire, flooding, train wrecks and spills chemicals etc.
- Storm causes power outage for a few days or even a couple weeks
- Job loss
- Stuck on the side of the highway broken down in winter storm
- Droughts cause water shortages
Low Probability / High Impact
- Supervolcano in Yellowstone erupts
- Total financial collapse globally
- Asteroid strike on earth
- WW3 with nukes
- EMP Strike destroys the grid
From the list above (and there are many more) you can see that “impact” to us is relative, you might think a job loss is tough but indeed it is relatively low impact compared to the Supervolcano erupting (especially if you are in the fallout zone).
I’m sure at some point most of us used to watch the OPSEC fail show Doomsday Preppers, where people would state which disaster they were preparing for. Countless time and efforts were being poured into prepping for that one thing but what if that one thing never came to fruition? What if all that time and money toward an underground bunker could have been redirected toward something(s) which would have a better impact to mitigate more plausible scenarios? Granted there is some definite crossover with respect to preps but all of those hand crafted Faraday cages probably won’t come in handy as supplemental income if a job loss happens.
There are no guarantees with respect to preparedness. You could be that guy with seemingly everything going right: community, preps, land, crops, animals, et al and that flood / fire comes through and wipes it all out. With that in mind I think it is important to strive for excellence but also have the mental agility to be flexible, to adjust and prioritize as necessary in order to remain effective. All of the items I listed above could happen so I’m not discounting any of them, yet as stated time and resources are limited so use them wisely. Make your own high prob / low impact vs low prob / high impact list and plan accordingly.
You’ve probably heard of something called a coronal mass ejection (CME), otherwise known as a massive solar flare, and you probably know it could be very bad for the United States if the we happened to be facing the sun when it impacts earth. A large CME has the potential to have devastating impacts on everything from our global positioning systems (GPS), satellite operations, space operations, aviation and even our power grids, knocking them offline in an instant and destroying critical power grid infrastructure. A CME is one of several extra-terrestrial events that could possibly impact earth that are collectively referred to as space weather. Although much less likely, an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) can produce the same impacts, most commonly seen as a result of a nuclear explosion. In a world where international terrorism is a real threat, the possibility of an EMP weapon being used against the United States is a real concern. Experts agree that a direct impact from a large CME or a successful EMP attack is an existential threat to the United States that could instantly bring an end to our modern civilization.
On October 13, 2016, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order — Coordinating Efforts to Prepare the Nation for Space Weather Events that outlined the country’s contingency plan in the event such weather events lead to significant disruption to systems like the electrical power grid, satellite operations or aviation, stating “It is the policy of the United States to prepare for space weather events to minimize the extent of economic loss and human hardship.”
With this EO, President Obama ordered that the federal government takes steps insure that the national infrastructure is secure in the event of a space weather event. The National Space Weather Strategy and Action Plan ( PDF ) was announced a few days later in conjunction with President Obama’s executive order, along with a PDF of The Implementation of the National Space Weather Action plan, complete with a White House official summary. The official pages aren’t up on WhiteHouse.gov, but here is the latest information I could find on those too.
After years of Congress knowing about the problem and failing to take action, I was pleased to learn that the President did what he could through the executive office to try and protect the critical infrastructure of our nation. However it is still up to Congress to set aside the funds to follow through and take action in support of the specifics laid out in this order.
So what does this mean for me and every one of you concerned about national security and the protection of our extremely fragile power grid infrastructure? The phrase “Within 120 days of the date of this order…” is used repeatedly in this executive order. If you take a look at the calendar, we are at that point right now. I’ve read for years about how everyone knows this is a threat, yet no one is willing to take action. Well, the former President did what he could do in response to a lack of action by Congress and now it’s our turn. Call your United States Representatives and your United States Senators and ask them to take action on President Obama’s executive order to coordinate a national response and strengthen our national power grids against the possible catastrophic impacts of a massive CME or electromagnetic pulse attack. Find your US Representatives and your US Senators and urge them to take action on this very important initiative today.
SHTF vs TEOTWAWKI? We often use SHTF and TEOTWAWKI almost interchangeably but they are not the same thing. For the first week or two, they may be almost identical. Law enforcement may still be in place well into the TEOTWAWKI event. In many scenarios we won’t know if it is TEOTWAWKI for weeks or months. …
I have a vast array of interests that add flavor and color to this wonderful life of mine. A few of those happen to be the idea of apocalypse and what impact it may have on the baseline human condition, our sometimes crazy weather and it’s impacts on this incredible world, and a deep rooted love of history, especially when either of my previous two mentions are somehow involved. In her recent work Surrender The Sun, author AR Shaw has offered up a shiny bobble that I simply could not ignore. So, the real question is would it live up to my wild imaginings of where it may take me?
Full disclosure, AR Shaw is a friend, a very nice lady and I have read her work before. That is precisely the reason I want to be careful in this review to only speak to the work and my impressions of it.
Given the interests I listed above that originally secured my interests in the book, in Surrender The Sun, Shaw did not disappoint.
Want to end life as we know it?
Let’s do it.
How about a naturally occurring catastrophe?
What if I told you it’s all happened before and it will happen again?
Awesome. Bring it on.
In this cataclysmic, blizzard driven romp of a story, Shaw does a wonderful job of world building. I could feel my lungs ache and burn in the frigid temperatures as I stood on the lake shore staring out as wisps of blowing snow spun out and across the body of water’s frozen surface. To further my immersion in this white-bleached, wintry wasteland, Shaw effectively weaves a sense of intimate foreboding throughout the tale as I witnessed Bishop standing like a granite mountain as he shepherds flame-haired, Maeve and her party through the seemingly never-ending storm. Both natural and man made.
In short, if you share any or all of the interests I mentioned earlier, take a chance on Surrender The Sun. The story and the world are engulfing and satisfying. The author also does a good job of touching on some of my other interests too like preparedness and just what it would feel like to realize that you cannot prepare your way out of a situation. After all, it seems that is where things would get really interesting anyway, right? There will come a point when reading this book where you will find yourself standing alongside Bishop and Maeve, each of you asking yourselves the same question. Now what?
Jump into the deep freeze and grab your copy of Surrender The Sun today. To keep up with everything going on with AR Shaw, be sure to check out her blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.
It seems like every year there is talk of an imminent economic collapse. 2017 is no different. With the economic deck stacked against Trump, I don’t have much confidence that he, alone, can turn things around. After all, the national debt is completely out of control and has doubled in the past 8 years. Sooner or later, the piper must be paid and preppers who breathed a sigh of relief when Trump was elected, may want to think again, as I wrote about in this article.
So, with continued predictions of economic collapse, I asked Mac Slavo over at SHTFplan blog to share with my readers his insights into how a family might survive following a collapse of our money system. Here is his answer, in his own words:
Economist Mike Shedlock defines money through the eyes of Austrian economist Murray N. Rothbard as, “a commodity used as a medium of exchange.”
“Like all commodities, it has an existing stock, it faces demands by people to buy and hold it. Like all commodities, its “price” in terms of other goods is determined by the interaction of its total supply, or stock, and the total demand by people to buy and hold it. People “buy” money by selling their goods and services for it, just as they “sell” money when they buy goods and services.”
What is money when the system collapses and the SHTF?
In disaster situations, the value of money as we know it now, changes, especially if we are dealing with a hyperinflationary collapse of the system’s core currency. This article discusses money as a commodity in an event where the traditional currency (US Dollar) is no longer valuable.
In a collapse of the system, there will be multiple phases, with the first phase being the “crunch”, as discussed in James Rawles’ book Patriots. The crunch is the period of time directly preceding a collapse and the collapse itself. Too often, preppers prep for “the crunch” and fail to realize they will have to be ready to survive for many months, if not years afterwards.
Initially, the traditional currency system will maintain some value, though it may be rapidly depreciating in buying power. For those with physical, non-precious metal denominated currency on hand (paper dollars, non-silver coins), spending it as rapidly as possible is the best approach. In Argentina during that country’s many economic collapses, if someone received a check in payment, the immediately rushed to cash it, knowing that it was losing its value minute by minute. This short Kindle document, written by a survivor of that time in Argentina’s history, details that event.
It is during the crunch that ATM machines around the country will run out of currency as people aware of the rapidly devaluing dollar will be attempting to withdraw as much money as possible. This immediate increase in money supply, coupled with the population’s general knowledge of the currency depreciation in progress, will lead to instant price increases for goods, especially essential goods.
And, forget the classic “run on banks” that have been depicted in old movies, including “It’s a Wonderful Life.” A modern day “run” simply won’t happen. Rather, the electronic system that moves money from a billion different points to another billion points will simply be turned off. In a split second, all access to funds will cease, and there will be no point running to a bank to get cash, since banks will be in lockdown mode and, in any case, they hold very little actual cash.
If your physical cash has not been converted into tangible assets, this would be the time to do so. Acquiring as much food, fuel, clothing and toiletry items as possible would be the ideal way to spend remaining cash before it completely collapses to zero, as it did in the Weimar inflation in 1930’s Germany or Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation in recent years. This family survival and prepping manual has in depth advice for preppers at all stages.
During the initial phase of the ‘crunch’, precious metals will be a primary bartering tool, but this may not last long. The old survivalist adage, “You can’t eat your gold,” will become apparent very quickly. In a total breakdown of the system, food, water and fuel will be the most important tangible goods to acquire, and for beginners, this list of where to start with food storage is invaluable.
Consider someone who has a two-week or one-month supply of food on hand. Do you believe they would be willing to part with that food for some precious metals? The likely answer is no. There will be almost no bartering item that one would be willing to trade their food for once it is realized that food supply lines have been cut. At that point, it’s anyone’s guess as to when supplies, food and otherwise, will be replenished.
That being said, since most will not barter their food, not even for fuel, the next recognized medium of exchange by merchants, especially those selling fuel, will be precious metals. For the initial crunch, silver coins, especially recognizable coins like 90% silver quarters, dimes and half dollars, along with one ounce government mint issued silver coins, like US Silver Eagles, will be accepted by some, probably most, merchants. For those trying to flee cities to bug-out locations, silver coins of the aforementioned denominations may be a life saver, as they can be used to acquire fuel. While it’s recommended to have gold as well, the issue with gold is that its value is so much higher than that of silver. Breaking a one-ounce gold coin into ten pieces just to buy a tank of gas will not be practical. It is for this reason that having silver on hand is highly recommended. Packing at least $25 – $50 worth of silver coins in each bug-out bag would be a prudent prepping idea.
In a total SHTF scenario, silver and gold may eventually break down as a bartering unit, as contact with the, “outside” world breaks down. One reason for this, is that the fair value price of precious metals will be hard to determine, as it will be difficult to locate buyers for this commodity. As well, the vast majority of people will not have precious metals of any kind for barter, so other forms of currency will begin to appear.
This, however, does not mean that you should spend all of your precious metals right at the onset of a collapse. Precious metals will have value after bartering and trade is reestablished and once the system begins to stabilize. Once stabilization begins, the likely scenario is that precious metals will be one of the most valuable monetary units available, so having plenty may be quite a benefit. At this point, they could be used to purchase property, livestock, services, and labor.
Water as currency
Water is often overlooked as a medium of exchange, though it is one of the most essential commodities for survival on the planet.
For those bugging out of cities, it will be impractical to carry with them more than 5 – 10 gallons of water because of space limitations in their vehicles. Due to the weight of water, 8 lbs. per gallon, it’s very difficult to carry much if getting out on foot. Thus, having a method to procure water may not only save your life but also provide you with additional goods for which you can barter
An easy solution for providing yourself and others with clean water is to acquire a portable water filtration unit for your bug-out bag(s). While they are a bit costly, with a good unit such as the Katadyn Combi water filter running around $170, the water produced will be worth its weight in gold, almost literally. This particular filter produces 13,000 gallons of clean water! It’s a must-have for any survival kit.
Because we like reserves for our reserves, we’d also recommend acquiring water treatment tablets like the EPA approved Katadyn Micropur tabs. If your filter is lost or breaks for whatever reason, each tablet can filter 1 liter of water. In our opinion, it’s the best chemical water treatment available.
Clean water is money. In a bartering environment, especially before individuals have had time to establish water sources, this will be an extremely valuable medium of exchange and will have more buying power than even silver or gold on the individual bartering level.
Food as currency when SHTF
In a system collapse, food will be another of the core essential items that individuals will want to acquire. Survival Blog founder James Rawles suggests storing food for 1) personal use, 2) charity, and 3) bartering.
Dry goods, canned goods, and freeze dried foods can be used for bartering, but only if you have enought to feed yourself, family and friends. They should be bartered by expiration date, with those foods with the expiration dates farthest out being the last to be traded. You don’t know how long the crunch and recovery periods will last, so hold the foods with the longest expiration dates in your posession if you get to a point where you must trade.
Baby formula will also be a highly valued item in a SHTF scenario, so whether you have young children or not, it may not be a bad idea to stockpile a one or two weeks supply. (For parents of young children, this should be the absolute first thing you should be stockpiling!). In addition to water, baby formula may be one of the most precious of all monetary commodities.
Another tradeable food good would be non-hybrid produce seeds, but the need for these may not be apparent to most at the initial onset of a collapse, though having extra seeds in your bug-out location may come in handy later. If you currently have a productive garden, check out these instructions for creating your own mini seed banks for barter or sale.
Fuel as currency in a post-SHTF world
Fuel, including gas, diesel, propane and kerosene will all become barterable goods in a collapse, with gas being the primary of these energy monetary units during the crunch as individuals flee cities. For most, stockpiling large quantities will be impractical, so for those individuals who prepared, they may only have 20 – 50 gallons in their possession as they are leaving their homes. If you are near your final bug-out destination, and you must acquire food, water or firearms, fuel may be a good medium of exchange, especially for those that have extra food stuffs they are willing to trade.
Though we do not recommend expending your fuel, if you are left with no choice, then food, water and clothing may take precedence.
For those with the ability to do so, store fuel in underground tanks on your property for later use and trading, and this article provides vital instructions for storing fuel safely — a major consideration.
Firearms and Ammunition
Though firearms and ammunition may not be something you want to give up, those without them will be willing to trade some of their food, precious metals, fuel and water for personal security. If the system collapses, there will likely be pandemonium, and those without a way to protect themselves will be sitting ducks to thieves, predators, and gangs.
Even if you choose not to trade your firearms and ammo during the onset of a collapse, these items will be valuable later. As food supplies diminish, those without firearms will want to acquire them so they can hunt for food. Those with firearms may very well be running low on ammunition and will be willing to trade for any of the aforementioned items.
In James Rawles’ Patriots and William Forstchen’s One Second After, ammunition was the primary trading good during the recovery and stabilization periods, where it was traded for food, clothing, shoes, livestock, precious metals, and fuel.
Clothing and Footwear
We may take it for granted now because of the seemingly endless supply, but clothing and footwear items will be critical in both, the crunch and the phases after it. Having an extra pair of boots, a jacket, socks, underwear and sweaters can be an excellent way to acquire other essential items in a trade.
As children grow out of their clothes, rather than throwing them away, they will become barterable goods, and one possible way to earn an income during this time could be running a second hand clothing store.
It is recommended that those with children stock up on essential clothing items like socks, underwear and winter-wear that is sized a year or two ahead of your child’s age.
Additional Monetary Commodities
The above monetary units are essential goods that will be helpful for bartering in the initial phases of a collapse in the system. As the crunch wanes and recovery and stabilization begin to take over, other commodities will become tradeable goods.
Another important monetary commodity after the crunch will be trade skills. If you know how to fish, machine tools, hunt, sew, fix and operate radioes, fix cars, manufacture shoes, or grow food, you’ll have some very important skills during the recovery period. It costs very little, if anything, to acquire skills and survival knowledge, and, in the worst of times, those are things that cannot be taken from you.
Guest post by Mac Slavo from SHTFplan, updated by Noah, 1/2/17.
This season we are trying a slightly new garden method, just to see if it works. This will be our three sisters garden, corn, beans & squash. This method of making a garden bed is known as Hugelkultur .
I will be making a video of this later when the crops are up, but right now this is as far as I have got. I dug a trench first & filled it with garden refuge, cut grass & weeds, heavier tree trimmings on top of that, some old garden edging logs that we have replaced, then the soil on top. I did add some chook manure before adding the soil to help break down the refuse.
When I started mounding the earth, I soon realised that I was not going to have enough soil to cover the highest logs. I did not want to bring more soil from elsewhere or use our compost that we needed for our other garden beds, so I removed two of the top logs.
My thanks to Stephen M.C. for bringing this news video to my attention.
NASA scientist: Earth is overdue a dinosaur-killing asteroid strike, and we’re woefully unprepared.
When I look at today’s young people, majoring in things like video game design and gender studies, I have to shake my head. Many expensive degrees today almost guarantee a life spent as a Starbucks barista. As well, in a post-SHTF world, those degrees will be worse than useless. The years spent in classes such as “Games and Culture”, “Gender and Representation of Asian Women” and “The Invention of French Theory”…oh, my. Those hours could have been so much better spent studying things that are real, meaningful, and have true significance in the world around us, as well as having practical applications that might be of some actual help.
But, I digress. In the future, as we see the value of our dollar decline, increased civil unrest (although that may provide occasional income opportunities for gender studies students), and a chaotic world, there are a few “professions”, if you will, that could reap huge benefits and income. Just to name a few:
Gunsmith — In a world where violence becomes more common place, armed defense and offense are going to become the hallmarks of a survivor. Want to protect yourself, your family, and your property? Then your firearms had better be in working order 100% of the time. In a future in which law enforcement agencies are disbanded or barely functional, a citizen’s firearm will be his or her own first line of defense. What better career for such a time, and a cool hobby for right now, than becoming a gunsmith? The NRA has information about the trade and suggestions for gunsmithing schools at this site. If you’re not able to attend a school, then a good manual or two, like this one for getting started and this one for learning advanced gunsmithing skills, and a set of basic gunsmithing tools can help you get started.
Midwife — As long as there are men and women who coexist anywhere near each other, there’s going to be a need for midwives and, actually, anyone with the skills to help birth a baby. In a real TEOTWAWKI scenario, life expectancy will decrease and the lives of a mother and newborn will become more precarious. Midwife training is available across the country, including community colleges. Even a single class to learn more than just the basics of childbirth could easily save lives, and if nothing else, a good midwife’s guide to pregnancy and birth is worth adding to your library.
Herbalist — As Obamacare has made the medical field a virtual landmine for medical professionals with onerous regulations of every type imaginable, many have left the field. Now, imagine trying to find a random physician for a major medical crisis when everything hits the fan. That’s when alternative medicine will truly come into its own. My family has experienced good results with certain herbal treatments — slippery elm lozenges for my daughter’s cough, for one. My wife takes Boswellia to help with a chronic cough during allergy season. It works nearly as well as an OTC drug like Delsym. I’m very aware that herbs can and do cause side effects, which is why becoming a trained herbalist would be a darn good profession in a SHTF world. Additionally, start growing medicinal herbs that help with common ailments, such as headaches, stomach aches, and to boost overall immunity. Right now, my family buys herbs in capsule form, and occasionally teas, but in the future, Amazon Prime won’t be there for that quick 2-day shipment, so one of my goals is to build up our backyard herb garden.
Beautician — Now, hear me out on this one! A few months ago, as a student in Preppers University, I had the chance to hear a Bosnian war survivor, Selco, talk about the realities of trying to live life on the front lines of a war. He was asked if, during that time period, the women still tried to look attractive. He chuckled and said, “Yeah, the women still did their best to look good.” Now, in my own personal, albeit somewhat limited experience, I’ve noticed that women always, always want to look their best. Before the birth of our second child, my wife found an attractive nightgown that would look good in photos and after he was born, she fluffed up her hair and put on some mascara. Crazy? Yes, but you can’t argue with the multi-billion dollar beauty business and chances are, no matter what happens, women will still want a haircut and, if possible, color and highlights. Men, too. (Some of them. Maybe.)
Forager — One other piece of information I picked up from Selco’s talk was the importance of foraging. In his town, one old woman knew how to find a few edible plants and was able to forage for them to provide food. Depending on where you live, start researching the edible plants in your area but be very careful with this. On some plants, the leaves may be edible while the roots are poisonous or, in other cases, the plant parts aren’t edible until cooked. Learn more about foraging in this book, one of the best and written by a local Texas foraging expert. Whatever you can forage can be either dried/dehydrated or canned to preserve it for longer term storage.
Seamstress — If you’ve ever traveled in very poor parts of the world, you undoubtedly noticed the well-worn clothing, to put it politely. Modern laundry facilities aren’t usually available, so clothing quickly becomes faded, tattered, and frayed. In such a world, what if you could alter clothing to different sizes or use old jeans to create a brand new pair. Not many have these skills anymore, and they would be worth learning. It’s also a good reason to stock up on sewing supplies like thread, needles, pins, fabric, bobbins, and a treadle sewing machine.
And now for the vices…
The vice businesses, think gambling, drugs, liquor, and prostitution, have always done well, regardless of economics. There will always be customers for these things and, sadly, as times and people get more desperate, those who make a living this way will thrive at the expense of those addicted to their products.
Obviously, I’m not recommending any of these professions, but it’s good to keep them in mind if and when you see society deteriorating. You’ll see an increase in the business of vice and, along with that, a rise in crimes of all types, including organized crime. Hey, with law enforcement scattered or out of the picture altogether, what else would you expect?
Gambling — People either hooked on the thrill of the roll of the dice or in dire need of just one lucky roll will provide plenty of customers for even primitive gambing establishments.
Drugs — Across the globe and throughout time, people have found ways to get high on one thing or another. Back when I lived in the Pacific islands, chewing on a betel nut gave a good buzz, if you were into that sort of thing. Mushrooms and plants of all kinds have been used to produce hallucinations, euphoria, excitement, and a host of less positive effects. This article explains that homemade heroin may become a reality. TEOTWAWKI absolutely will bring an increase in drug production and sales, along with more addicts.
Liquor — I suppose this may not be a vice, depending on which side of the aisle you sit, but I included it in the category because that’s where it has typically belonged. Back in the 30s, my wife’s hillbilly relatives had a front porch still, and as far as I know, they may still be producing homemade moonshine. However, home brewing has come a very long way since then, and if you know how to make a decent beer, wine, or some other alcoholic concoction, you could be set for life. Of course, historically, organized crime usually wants a piece of this type of action, so that life could be shorter than you might expect.
Prostitution — As a dad, this one bothers me a great deal. I’ve seen the devastating consequences of child prostitution in East Asia and human trafficking here in the United States. In a desperate world, one’s body becomes a form of currency and many families have sold their sons and daughters simply to stay alive a few more months. In many parts of the world, this isn’t a “lifestyle”, it’s survival. Knowing this, prepping and moving toward a self-reliant life becomes even more important. I never want one of my family members faced with no other option just to stay alive. In a SHTF world, you’d better believe pimps and prostitution rings will flourish.
Pornography — Yet another soul-stealing “profession”. I see no reason why it wouldn’t continue to thrive in a world with little law enforcement and individuals of all ages willing to risk anything in exchange for food, water, and shelter.
How will you earn a living post-TEOTWAWKI?
There are many skills and professions that will be in demand in a post-TEOTWAWKI world. I’ve listed just a few
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Drugs and TEOTWAWKI = Crazy People? I found a detailed article on drugs post SHTF, I had not thought about this much as myself and family members are not on anything that would be detrimental to our health, mentally and physically if SHTF. After reading this article it has made me think more about maybe …
I once did a horticultural analysis of a property way out in the scrublands. The owner had good clean water, no real neighbors, a great location… and hot, fast-drying, mineral-poor sand that was really, really bad for gardening.
There was no couching it. I had to tell him: this area just won’t cut it for most of your planned annual gardening projects. It will barely support much in the way of fruit or nut trees.
What it did have was a decent amount of native American persimmon trees. They were dwarfed by drought and stress, but they were strong and alive. That said, I saw very few with fruit.
With antive persimmons you deal with a variety of drawbacks. Unlike their cultivated Japanese persimmon relations, they’re dioecious. That means you have male and female trees – and you need both to get fruit. The male won’t make fruit but it does provide the pollen that allows the females to fruit.
Japanese persimmons are self-fertile, plus they make hefty, sweet fruit that’s very worth growing. They’re also regularly grafted onto American persimmon rootstock.
Seeing the wild trees gave me an idea: why not use the existing trees as rootstock for Japanese persimmons? They’re already established and growing in poor soil, making them a perfect support for a higher-producing and delicious variety of improved persimmon!
Sometimes our first observations aren’t the best. You might see a crabapple with lousy fruit in your yard and think “I hate that thing! I’ll tear it out and plant a good apple in its place!”
Step back and think about it: maybe that tough tree is a resource you can use. With grafting you can go nip some twigs off good apple trees and just graft them onto the tree you don’t like. If it’s a happy and healthy mature tree, use it! If you can graft fruit trees, you can grow more food for less money.
Another interesting factoid to consider: you know those stupid ornamental pears people grow for the blooms? You can graft REAL pears onto them. There are folks doing that in California right now by illegally “guerilla grafting” street trees:
Doesn’t that change the landscape a bit? Ornamental trees are generally a non productive liability… productive trees are a serious asset. If you’ve got ornamental pears, plums, peaches, apples, etc… why not switch them up by grafting on some good varieties?
Grafting In Local Woods and Property
Here’s another thought for you.
In my neighborhood there are wild persimmons growing here and there around the block. Some of these are on empty lots and in unused property with absentee owners. We don’t know how bad things are going to get in the future so it makes sense to grow as much food as possible near our houses… even if that food is on other people’s land right now.
Wild persimmon fruit is only found on 50% of the trees (since the other half are male). That fruit is about 1″ in diameter, plus it’s astringent and seedy.
I have Japanese persimmons in my yard that make fruit that looks like this:
That fruit is as large as a beefsteak tomato and just as delicious (if not more so).
Though the legalities are rather grey, I don’t think anyone would really mind if I were to take buds off my Japanese persimmon tree and graft them into the wild trees here and there around the neighborhood. People will find it rather puzzling, sure – but be upset by it? I doubt it. Heck, at the very worst all I’ve done is improve somebody’s tree. Hehhehheh.
Just thinking out loud here. In your local woods you may have quite a few trees growing which could be judiciously improved, turning them into fruit-production machines rather than marginally useful wild specimens.
Grafting Is Easy
I know what many of you are thinking: “All the above is nice, Dave… but I don’t know how to graft fruit trees!”
I understand that feeling. I was in your shoes for a long time. Grafting was something that seemed… complicated. Planting beans? No big deal. Drying fruit? Easy.
Grafting? OMIGOSHNO! THAT LOOKS HARD!
Well… it takes a little whittling experience (unless you go this route)… and a couple of decent tools… but it isn’t really hard. If you’d like a quick illustrated guide, click here. Though it states that wood should be dormant, I’ve been able to successfully graft in summer here in Florida, at least on loquat trees.
One of my favorite (and most successful) ways to graft is called “veneer grafting.” At my site you can see how I saved the genetics of an improved loquat tree hit by a string trimmer by grafting some of its buds onto some seedling loquats.
Don’t worry about messing up. We all mess up. There’s no harm in trying something new.
This spring I grafted a big, sweet improved plum onto a sour native plum tree. I did five grafts – one took:
Now, in the fall of the same year, that branch is about 3′ long. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to have it bear fruit this coming spring.
Get yourself a sharp pocketknife, some pruning shears, a roll of grafting tape and your courage… then start experimenting.
Grafting can help you get food from unproductive trees and lots – harness it and you’ll be just that much more prepared for an uncertain future.
The post More Food from the Wild and Your Yard – Graft Fruit Trees! appeared first on .
What is Apocalyptic Survival?
If you don’t see tobacco as important to survival, I feel for you.
I’ve been growing it for years (and you can too) and during the worst days of the crash, when I was unemployed, watching friend after friend go broke and seeing folks lose their homes right and left… a good cigar was one of the few simple pleasures that made things better, at least for 45 minutes or so.
That’s not to say I was rolling my own. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to master that skill – but this video has given me some hope that I will one day:
The packing of the interior seems to be where my attempts always fall short. I’ve noticed that the elasticity of the tobacco leaf on the interior wrapper also presents problems, though I’ve been working on hydrating it better and my last couple of attempts did quite a bit better.
Sometimes it’s “try, try again,” especially when you don’t have a teacher locally.
If you don’t think you can manage to roll cigars, you might try making your own pipe tobacco or even grinding snuff with a coffee grinder. That works really well and ladies totally dig the snorting and sneezing associated with this arcane pleasure.
If all else fails, it’s pretty easy to roll a cigarette, too, but I don’t go in for those. It just doesn’t pack the “awesome” that a cigar does.
Trust me, though: if SHTF, tobacco is going to be a highly desirable commodity, no matter how it’s processed or consumed. Learn to grow it, at least – then pray you can find a Cuban friend to roll it for you.
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Sponsored by 5.11Tactical
When non-preppers think about how to survive the end of the world, they usually think about hoarding supplies, finding a secure place to store them and hunkering down to wait it out. It’s a nice fairy-tale, but in the real world, when SHTF, true survivors have to know how to hit back.
While it is important to stock up on supplies that you might need to survive TEOTWAWKI, having all the supplies in the world won’t help you if you can’t get to them when an apocalypse event strikes. What about defending all your supplies from desperate people trying to get them? What about protecting yourself and the people you care about? What if a flood or fire break out and you end up stranded with nothing? Even if you do manage to make it back to your supplies and feel safe, what happens when the inevitable occurs and your supplies run out?
Fitness is the First Step to Survival
The truth is, prepping is about skill and knowledge, first and foremost. Knowing what matters most is the true key to apocalypse survival, and having the skills to do whatever it takes to keep going isn’t about buying stuff; it’s about building your skill-set. That’s why the first step in learning how to prepare for the end of the world is always getting your body ready to handle whatever might come your way. In reality, every moment is an opportunity to train for the end of the world.
The Elements of Physical Fitness
Endurance. Strength. Flexibility. Creativity. These are the essential elements of apocalypse survival and training. The good news is that there are plenty of opportunities in your everyday life to increase your overall capacity to execute these skills – if you make the time for it. Here’s a quick guide on how to physically prepare for SHTF:
- Endurance. There’s just no way to build your stamina without getting after it, every day. Endurance is quite literally a marathon sport. Even if it starts with a simple walk, find a way to get moving and keep moving every day. Aim to continually increase the amount of physical activity you do, the kinds of activities you try and their level of difficulty.
- Strength. Bodyweight exercises are a great way to strengthen and tone without a ton of equipment, while there are a range of targeted activities like CrossFit and Krav Maga that can help you home in on and improve your weakest skills.
- Flexibility. It may not seem very tough, but staying limber is essential to staying alive. Stretch while you strengthen, and you’ll be able to do more and recover faster after intense physical activity.
- Creativity. Diversify your training to see the greatest results. Try different combat methods and improvise with the environment around you to identify your strengths and weaknesses while making it easier to respond effectively, whatever your situation or surroundings.
Apocalypse Training Techniques
Ultimately, fitness training for SHTF situations is about applied knowledge, not book learning or simulations. The people you’re fighting against when SHTF won’t follow the rules of sparing or good sportsmanship. At TEOTWAWKI, you’ll be fighting for your life with whatever you have available. That means you need to be prepared to fight on all fronts.
Train in three ways for maximum effect:
- Functional Training. Use what’s around you to build practical strength, like tires, ropes and more. This idea is the cornerstone of CrossFit and parkour training.
- Combat Training. Learn how to defend yourself in a lethal situation without a weapon. Mastering a martial art that’s specifically designed for tactical fighting like Krav Maga can be your greatest protection in an apocalypse situation.
- Tactical Training. Firearm training is a no-brainer. Having a gun won’t help you if you don’t know how to properly use it or don’t consistently practice and improve your shooting skills.
When deciding how to build your skills in each of these three areas, think about the ultimate goal of any technique you learn. Your primary objective is to survive, not simply one-up your assailant. Find tactics that will help you stay one step ahead of an opponent both mentally and physically. Approaching your training this way is how to survive the end of the world. Survival isn’t about winning a trophy or a championship belt. It’s about making it out alive.
Tactical Survival Training for TEOTWAWKI
If you really think about it, it makes sense to focus on developing the kind of skills that will serve you under pressure when preparing for the end of the world. You won’t be facing rainbows and words of encouragement in the end of days. When training with firearms, spend the majority of your time building and practicing fundamental skills so they become natural reflexes when you’re fighting for your life, rather than focusing on tricks and complicated techniques that will take time to recall.
The tactics you have to think about are the ones that will do the most damage when it’s time to make a split-second decision in a fight or flight situation. It’s better to stick with tactical techniques that complement what naturally happens in your body and brain when adrenaline spikes. This means sticking with methods that retain your accuracy and control, even when you’re under serious stress.
Practice the Basics. Then Practice Differently.
The first key to effective firearm use is mastering the basics, including your stance, grip, target acquisition, sights, trigger control, follow-through and ability to disarm an opponent. Here’s a quick breakdown of each and what you should focus on to improve your fundamentals.
- Power Stance. Improving your overall fitness level will help you find a stable, mobile and balanced stance when shooting your gun, but it takes practice to find the power stance that will protect you from recoil, while letting you stay agile, aggressive and in control.
- Grip. Make your grip firm, tight and with your thumbs curled down. Firearm expert and master trainer Massad Ayoob calls this the “crush grip,” and it’s one of the five elements he considers most crucial to have in your arsenal before firing a gun (Ayoob, 2012).
- Target Acquisition. This skill covers the rapid vision transition that must occur after you’ve spotted a target and before you shoot. Practice adjusting the focus of your eyesight from a natural target to your sights quickly so you program the movement into your eyes’ muscle memory.
- Sight Alignment and Picture. Two essential yet separate elements of proper shooting, sight alignment requires that your front sight be centered between the rear sights with your rear sights horizontally aligned, while sight picture is the relationship of your sight alignment to your target for accurate execution. Understanding the relationship between sight alignment and picture takes practice and depends on your individual gun.
- Trigger Control. Your grip will go a long way toward improving trigger control, which is the act of pulling the trigger without pushing the nose of the gun up or down, jerking the trigger or otherwise disturbing your aim. Smooth and consistent squeezing is key.
- Follow-Through and Reset. Follow-through is about squeezing the trigger until it stops moving, while reset is about getting the trigger ready to fire again. After your follow-through, practice releasing the trigger to the point of reset and firing again. Sometimes, the trigger break and follow-through positions are the same, sometimes not. Your trigger reset is rarely the same position where the trigger rests when untouched. Practice to determine both the follow-through and reset positions of your specific guns.
- Disarmament. Whether you’re facing a knife, gun or concealed weapon that you can’t identify, you have to know how to disarm an assailant coming at you with a weapon – not only to protect yourself from other people, but also to anticipate how someone else might try to disarm you and prevent it.
There are a few simple drills that can help you get the basics ingrained in your brain, round out your shooting skills, and give you the confidence and versatility you need to shoot well when SHTF. Remember to practice shooting both moving and still targets, work with both two-handed and one-handed grips, and incorporate movement into your tactical training. If you aren’t shooting, move.
You should test out different kinds of firearms, including rifles, shotguns and handguns, and practice drawing and shooting them all until you find the weapons that work best for you. Your gun will do you no good if you can’t draw it fast enough and shoot it accurately. Practice in low light environments, try shooting multiple targets to improve your agility, and practice safely shooting from behind cover and concealment. All of these techniques can give you a huge tactical advantage in a lethal confrontation.
Mental Readiness: The Real Key to Apocalypse Survival
Mental preparation is about conditioning yourself to handle the inevitable emotions during an apocalypse. Fear, concern, hopelessness, helplessness, defeat. Being better prepared than most can itself be a liability, since you can’t save everyone and trying to could ultimately end your own life. How will you determine when to stand firm, when to offer help and when to move on?
Mental preparedness doesn’t mean being weak. In fact, working on assessing, identifying and controlling your emotions will improve your ability to stay assertive, aggressive and in control instead of breaking down in the face of disaster. Often, appearing aggressive is enough to keep weaker would-be threats at bay, without the risks of direct engagement.
Having a strong mind and body and the right functional, combat and tactical training will go a long way to getting your ready for TEOTWAWKI – much more than stockpiling supplies can ever do. I hope this article gave you a good understanding of where to put your focus to really prepare for SHTF. If you get after it and train to improve a little each day, you’ll be better prepared than most when the end of the world arrives. Good luck.
The post Apocalypse Training 101: Learn How to Survive the End of the World appeared first on The Prepper Journal.
If your eyes are open right now, you know Western Civilization is in trouble. Now is the time to start survival gardening.
Today we share 7 survival gardening secrets that will get you off on the right foot.
1. Grow Near, Not Far
This is one of those “secrets” I can’t repeat enough. Don’t put your garden beds at the edge of your yard. Put them where you’ll see them. This will keep pest problems from becoming plagues. If your chickens are digging up the corn, you’ll see it… instead of finding bare ground and chicken tracks a week later. You may think you’ll be out there in the garden every day, but “out of sight, out of mind” holds truer than most of us would like to admit.
2. Healthy Soil is Key
Make sure the ground you’re trying to garden upon is suited to it. A reader recently sent me pictures of the land she is hoping to plant as a food forest. I took one look and shook my head.
The ecosystem was obviously Pine Flatwoods: acid sugar sand, poor mineralization, a clay layer, intermittent flooding and droughty conditions.
When even the weeds look sick, you may need to hunt for a better spot. Though it’s possible to grow a food forest there – barely – a better use for the ground would be for growing timber and blueberries, not survival gardening or food forests.
If that was the only land I could get, I would turn to livestock such as goats, chickens and cattle for my calories, rather than plants.
If you are stuck with poor conditions all over your yard and need to garden, I recommend deep mulching the worst areas if you have the material – and if you don’t, then double dig or broadfork the soil, then feed it well with a wide range of nutrients. Planting nutrient-accumulating chop and drop species for mulch and compost is another good idea.
3. You don’t Need Lots of Compost
Having tons of organic matter is great but most of us don’t have that luxury. It’s hard to make enough compost (though I greatly expand the possibilities in my book Compost Everything) so you need to get creative. My favorite method is to make an anaerobic compost tea with a wide range of inputs. Manure, urine, seaweed, saltwater, fish guts, kitchen scraps, Epsom salts, weeds, grass and leaves – if it has some decent nutrition in it, I will pile it in a barrel, top off with fresh water and let it rot for weeks, then use it as a diluted fertilizer for my crops. Like this:
It (literally) stinks but can save your life in a survival gardening situation.
4. No Irrigation? No Problem
If you get a decent amount of rainfall during the growing season, you may not have to run irrigation to your gardens. Instead of planting intensively in tight spacing, clear more ground and increase the space between plants and rows. I grew a corn patch this way as an experiment one year and had fine luck.
Since then I’ve done the same with cassava, pigeon peas and winter squash.
Wide spacing and clear ground will keep your plants hydrated as root competition will be reduced and they can find the moisture in the soil with less difficulty. Steve Solomon’s book Gardening Without Irrigation is available online for free – download and read it for good in-depth info.
You can’t do this in all climates but you might be surprised how many farmers pull off irrigation-free gardening and where they are able to do so.
Want To Know Where To Find Hidden Water Sources For Irrigation?
5. Urine is an Excellent fertilizer
This ties in with the anaerobic compost tea idea but it’s quicker. Urine contains a range of minerals and lots of much-needed nitrogen. In many countries it’s been used instead of chemical fertilizers and I think it makes more sense. I’ve seen rich, green gardens and trees fed on nothing but urine. It works.
Dilute urine with water so it doesn’t burn the plants with nitrogen and salt – I find six parts water to one part urine works well. I’m feeding some weak pumpkin vines this way right now and they’re really starting to perk up.
6. Calories First!
I shouldn’t have to say this, but we gardeners aren’t always the most practical people on the planet. We like the challenge of growing interesting things and we also love our culinary treats. Fresh tomatoes, cilantro, hops. These are all great – yet if you’re survival gardening, you’re not hobby gardening.
You need to find the best staple crops for your area and concentrate on those primarily.
As I’ve written before, plant calorie crops first – then plant some patches of nutrition crops next.
Keeping yourself from starving is more important than the potential nutritional deficiencies you might face later.
I would argue that in most case you could probably meet many of your nutritional needs through wild plant foraging for greens, nuts, berries and game.
Finding caloric staples is harder.
Plant roots, winter squash, beans and grain corn first in most climates. Also – Jerusalem artichokes and white potatoes are good in the north, cassava, sweet potatoes and African yams in the Deep South. Dent corn is your grain corn for the South – flint corn for the north.
This ties in to my next tip:
7. Snag Seeds Locally
Buying seeds through the mail from a seed company growing crops in a different climate isn’t the best way to prepare for a crash.
If the plants were cultivated for seed in Southern California but you live in New Hampshire, the varieties may not be well adapted to your growing conditions. This is why I seek out local varieties of vegetables at farmer’s markets, farmer’s stands and local gardeners.
See a stack of pumpkins on a stand by the road?
Ask the farmer if he grew them locally. If he did, buy one and save the seeds. Ask around for bean varieties that do well in your area. Pick up local grain corn from the farmer’s market if it’s being sold for decorations in the fall.
Keep your eyes open.
You want those seeds which will make plants that can handle your levels of sunshine, pests, humidity, rainfall and everything else. Local is good – start hunting!
I buy pumpkins all the time and save their seeds. In this video you can see how I do it:
I have been known to screech to a stop by a roadside farm stand because I spotted a variety not currently growing on my farm.
The survival gardening secrets I shared today will put you in good stead in a crisis but they’re just part of the story. You can grow your own food in a crisis but it’s very important to start right now.
I highly recommend you pick up my Survival Gardening Secrets program and learn. Get growing – and may God be with you.
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Any vehicle in an emergency is better than nothing at all, but if you want the most practicle & advantages of vehicles, then you need to get a good 4WD (four wheel drive). I had three 4WDs when I lived in the Territory, we lived off grid, & it was the only way to get around. We had two Toyota Land Cruisers, a short wheel base & a ute, & we had a little Suzuki. I would still have the SWB, but it was stolen from our property whilst we were away looking for land interstate.
Now we live in New England NSW, & up until now we have had a Nissan X-Trail SUV. However, the wading depth (depth of water it can drive through) on this vehicle is only 400mm. Of late it has been very wet here, I would say the wettest we have experienced in the past 30 years. Weather conditions are changing!!! We have a creek to cross to get into town, as again we are living off grid in a forest. The alternate rout out & back in if the creek is in flood is all dirt & it too is subject to a lot of water.
So, we decided to get a full blown 4WD, we do already have a 4WD unregistered property vehicle (Lada), but it can not be used on the road. We sold our SUV to my Eldest son & his family for an affordable price. It is better than the ordinary sedan that they had. What we purchased is a Toyota Hilux twin cab diesel ute with a canopy on the back & a bull bar. We also added a rear view camera, & we are getting LED bar lights fitted to front & rear. So far my wife is very pleased with this vehicle, though it is larger than she has been used to driving. I love it, it gives me a feeling of security knowing that my wife can get home at night no matter which rout she has to take.
In the survival community, the term “SHTF” (shit hit the fan) get’s thrown around a lot, but what exactly does it mean? The truth is, there is no single meaning. It just depends on how you want to use the term. If world war 3 has started, the shit has hit the fan. But if […]
Whenever the headlines carry news of a new law that limits our 2nd Amendment rights, conversations will often come around to the subject of burying guns or creating a survival cache of some sorts. If not firearms, people talk about burying silver and gold, ammunition, cash, important documents, even caching food storage or fuel on the path to a bug out location. I even know of people who bury gear at their bug out location in the event it is compromised before they reach it.
By Joe Nobody
While I know of no law that would prevent someone from stashing stacks of canned beans and birth certificates, one must be fully aware of the laws in his/her own locale when it comes to burying guns or ammunition. Take the state of Massachusetts, for example: The law requires guns to be stored in a specific manner. All guns, when not in use, with the exception of primitive firearms, must be stored or kept “secured in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device,” to prevent unauthorized use. Penalties are assessed even if no underage person obtains access (source).
Also Read: “Holding Your Ground” Book Review
I’m no lawyer, but it’d seem to me that you’d be violating the law if you’re burying guns in Massachusetts. So – stay mindful of the laws in your area if you’re seriously considering the subterranean storage of guns or ammunition. Even if you find it is legal – is it safe or wise to do so? What if a stranger discovers to tomb? Could children? Those are questions for you to answer. Stay legal. Stay safe.
Guns, ammo, gear, precious metals, and most anything you deem necessary can be buried in a variety of different containers, the extent to which goes beyond the scope of this post. Here we’re focusing on one type of container, the Mono Vault. The Mono Vault is a ready-to-bury storage tube. Constructed of a one-piece molded body, there are no joints along the sides or on the bottom that could leak.
This type of product represents the simplest, fastest, most convenient way to get your goods safely in the ground. Looking like a large PVC pipe with sealed ends, it functions in much the same way. While the tubes do not come cheap, once one goes about pricing similarly-sized PVC pipes, and factors in the value of one’s time, there’s a new appreciation and understanding of the pricing, and the product itself. The tubes come in a variety of different sizes, and all function in the same manner, but for purposes of this post, we’ll be looking at three in particular: the 110s, 130s, and 248s. Each has similar construction, coming in either black or olive drab. The “s” denotes standard wall construction of 1/4”. The top of the containers have a large-mouth spin-on lid with o-ring seal, and atop that sits another cover, the “Burial Shield,” that looks much like the top of a landmine.
Also Read: Implementing A Secondary Survival Cache
The 110s has an inside diameter of 9 3/4” and an inside depth of 7 1/2”. The 130s has a diameter of 9 3/4” and a depth of 23 3/8”. The Mono Vault 248 has a whopping diameter of 12 1/4” and a depth of 45”! Dimensions, diameter, and depth – blah, blah, blah. The real question here is – how much stuff can you cram into these things? Well, we found out. This is the Mono Vault 248 with everything we crammed into it:
- A mid-length AR with collapsible stock, five 30-round magazines, and 1,075 rounds of 5.56,
- A Ruger 10/22 and 1,275 rounds of .22lr,
- A Remington 870 shotgun and eighty 12-gauge shotgun shells,
- A S&W Shield with spare magazine and 450 rounds of 9mm,
- A crank-powered radio,
- A large survival knife,
- Small pair of binoculars,
- A small bag of various “survival” tools (fire-marking products, few first aid products, etc.),
- Small solar panels for charging batteries, and best of all,
- #10 Can of Freeze Dried Food Storage.
Look into the top with all of this gear, there’s still room for more. If we’d been more careful with the packing, made boxed ammo into loose ammo, we could have easily double the amount of ammo and packed another 45 servings of freeze dried chocolate drink. For the 130s, we packed what you see pictured:
- A mid-length AR with collapsible stock (upper separated from lower), five 30-round magazines, and 925 rounds of 5.56,
- A S&W Shield with spare magazine and 450 rounds of 9mm,
- A crank-powered radio,
- A large survival knife,
- Small pair of binoculars,
- A small bag of various “survival” tools (fire-marking products, few first aid products, etc.),
- Small solar panels for charging batteries, and best of all,
- #10 Can of Freeze Dried Food Storage.
For the Mono Vault 110, we packed what you see pictured:
- a S&W Shield with spare magazine and 100 rounds of 9mm, and best of all,
- #10 Can of Freeze Dried Food Storage.
Burying Your Mono Vault!
Bury your tube before filling it, or you may be carrying a very heavy tube. The makers of the Mono Vault write: “Your Mono Vault will float. While this is great on the water, it is not so good in burial applications. Clay soils of an excavated hole can inhibit drainage of any water that may collect. Water collected in the hole can impart tremendous floating forces on your Mono Vault, driving it to the surface and then some. It is advisable to anchor your vault effectively with appropriate compaction or the addition of hardening or sealing agents. A few sacks of concrete in the clean bottom of your backfill can serve to anchor the vault to the bottom of the hole. Use caution with concrete in the vicinity of the lid as most concretes will shrink as they cure and may cause some distortion of the vault and critical sealing surfaces. Choose your site carefully to avoid natural drainages that may direct water to your vault. Slightly sloped or cresting locations may be best.”
Surround the tube with crushed stone before back filling it could offer additional protection. If you’re concerned about the possibility of someone hunting for your cache with a metal detector, you can always throw rusty, scrap metal (old nails, cans, etc.) around the site to help throw people off.
Also Read: Raid Routes
The manufacturer also writes: “In high frost areas where the ground freezes deeper than the cover soil, it may be advisable to cover your Mono Vault with a piece of foam insulation below the cover soil and extending a couple of feet out from the perimeter of the vault. This insulation can reduce freezing of the soils around the neck of the Mono Vault and the resulting pressures and possible distortion. Be aware that such insulation can also slow snow melt so don’t use a square piece that will leave an unnatural looking residual snow pile.
The landmine-looking Burial Shield will help direct water away from the lid, and it protects against possible shovel damage as it is being recovered. The shield will keep the lid area clear of dust and dirt that could otherwise enter the tube when you open it, potentially compromising the unit when it’s resealed.
How Are You Going To Mark Your Site?
Are you going to be able to find it when it’s time? You can identify the site by remembering natural landmarks, making note of them, or by using a portable GPS—just make sure you have good satellite reception. A 10’ difference could mean a whole lot of digging in search for it. There are additional products you can buy to protect the contents. “NoRust” storage bags are available for guns, and your standard desiccants will work wonders for sealing moisture out. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could always use cosmoline on your guns. And remember—never whisper about the location of your cache! What would YOU bury? How would you bury it? I welcome your comments.
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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Bobcat-Prepper. 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.
I recently completed reading “World Made By Hand”, and its sequels “The Witch of Hebron”, “A History of the Future”, and “The Harrows of Spring” by James Howard Kunstler. In each book, he covers one season in the life of carpenter Robert Earle and his neighbors of Union Grove, New York after waves of epidemics have caused the collapse of modern society. The survivors live (and die) in a world similar to the early nineteenth century in daily life and technology. They have almost given up on progress, until Brother Jobe and his New Faith followers arrive in town, buy the old high school, and restart the local economy with their beehive of activity. I learned that some folks have a resiliency to overcome awful circumstances, and will strive to rebuild a society that works on some level. Also, food will taste much better when it is made by hand!
The reason the America of “World Made By Hand” (WMBH) is stuck in the 1800s and cannot be as productive as today’s society, is the lack of cheap energy. America’s bounty was built on cheap energy, pulling ever-greater amounts of coal, oil and natural gas out of the ground for very little cost. Oil deposits that were close to the surface were used up first, and then as our technology developed throughout the twentieth century, we consumed deposits that were deeper and provided less return on investment. Likewise, the easy-to-access coal deposits have been used up, while plenty is still available with heavy excavation machinery and electrical power for lights, elevators, and ventilation. These fuel sources have allowed us to achieve a technology and productivity unthinkable two hundred years ago.
Here are a few ways that our world today could quickly end up “made by hand”:
1) An EMP weapon detonated over America’s heartland fries the electrical grid and most electrical devices. The 2004 congressional EMP report estimated that 90% of Americans would die within a year from starvation, violence and disease. Without electricity, we cannot pump the oil, refine it, or transport it to consumers.
2) A fast-moving epidemic that kills or incapacitates as few as 10-20% of Americans could easily set our society on a downward path, as employees critical to our power/transportation/food distribution systems die or, out of fear of contagion, refuse to show up to work.
3) A cyber-attack shuts down our power grid for a couple of weeks, American cities are torn apart by riots, looting, and chaos, and the American economy goes up in flames.
Most American workers today have jobs that would vanish in an instant once the power goes off, and the oil stops flowing. Stock trading? Gone. Marketing? Gone. Car sales jobs? Useless. If the worst happens, have you given any thought to how you would be making a living post TEOTWAWKI?
How could you thrive in a “World Made By Hand”? By getting a job from the 1820s.
Let’s look at how people made their living 200 years ago, at the end of the Industrial Revolution but before the discovery of oil near Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1859. Which skills were in demand in a country of 9.6 million citizens? According to this National Bureau of Economic Research report from 1966, the top areas of employment in 1820 were:
Agriculture – 2.47 million workers (78.8%). After any world-altering disaster, everyone would put growing food first, and it is a good idea to become a master gardener now. Jobs associated with the farm could include field laborer, livestock care, animal husbandry, butcher, food preservation, beekeeping, and many more. “Squire” Bullock has a good feudal system going outside Union Grove, with all of his workers living on his estate and taking most of their pay in food.
As food-raising efficiency and preservation get better and business efforts organize, there would be opportunities for the WMBH economy to emerge, for a few workers to specialize in other areas like:
Trade – Estimated employment of 150,000 (~5%). Jobs associated with trade could include traders (deal makers), warehouse ownership/management, warehouse workers, retail shop ownership, and retail shop workers.
Construction – Estimated employment 150,000 (~5%). Much of building construction was done by farmers and their slaves in the 1820s, so the actual number of dedicated construction workers during that time period seems lower than actual level of work done. I can foresee survivors building outhouses and smokehouses for themselves, but very little construction done otherwise. Investing money and labor into new construction requires construction supplies, hope and economic growth, and there would be very little of that after SHTF. The residents of Union Grove did not build a thing until Brother Jobe’s congregation arrived, and gave the town the economic jolt they needed.
Domestic Service – 110,000 workers (3.5%). Servants did the housework for the folks better off, but there were very few mentioned in WMBH, and rightly so – a poor economy would allow few to afford such a luxury.
Transport (Ocean & Rail) – 50,000 workers (1.6%). These two modes of transport would be much reduced after oil is unavailable. The heroes of WMBH travel primarily by walking and horseback, but they also use horse-drawn wagons, mule-pulled flatboats traveling through canals, and small sail-powered cargo ships on the Hudson River and Great Lakes. These are great ways to move food and supplies, but they require a long lead time to learn to build/retrofit boats, breed more horses or other beasts of burden, and develop productive and safe trade routes. If Kunstler ever writes a fifth WMBH book, I hope he will have a wood- or coal-powered steam engine come through Union Grove – that is when you would know America is coming back.
Teachers – 20,000 workers (0.6%). Sorry, teachers – after SHTF, there will be no school board to hire you back, no property taxes to fund your paycheck, and most of the curriculum you teach now will be irrelevant anyway. What purpose will be served by kids learning the themes of Shakespeare’s plays and writing a 1000 word compare-and-contrast essay? Children will be needed to shoo the crows from the corn, pull weeds, and do all the chores the adults are too tired or big to do. When they are older, the children can work in the family business, apprentice with a craftsman, or work for wages (in some form) as a day laborer.
Fishing – 14,000 workers (0.5%). Without refrigeration, the jobs in this area will be scarce, but with the right fishing expertise, worm farming equipment, poles, nets and salt, a fisherman could do quite a business providing much-needed protein to the surviving community.
Mining – 13,000 workers (0.4%). Coal would be a much-needed commodity in a WMBH to get machines running again. Coal is valuable because it is eleven times as energy-dense as wood, but the business is problematic. Coal mining by hand is hazardous, back-breaking work. It was often performed by children in the old days because of the nasty work environment and low ceilings, or by slaves in some countries and times. To get coal out of the ground without petroleum-powered equipment would require a conveyance system of cars and tracks, or baskets and strong backs. Picks, shovels and lanterns would be needed, and a few canaries to warn of methane pockets, too.
I live in coal country, but the mines have been closed so long that few folks remember where the mine entrances are; an old coal mine map could be the start of a prosperous business in a long-term collapse.
Cotton Textile – 12,000 workers (0.4%). In an SHTF scenario, people worry about food, not new clothes, right? It is only as the societal collapse of WMBH unfolds over ten years or so, that poor quality clothes like t-shirts and cheap jeans fall apart under harsh conditions, and Union Grove folks look for new clothes made by hand from the tailors of Brother Jobe and his New Faith Church community.
Raising cotton (or flax or hemp) is beyond most gardeners’ ability or interest, but to have the supplies, equipment and ability to grow, card, spin and weave fiber into cloth would be a great asset in any long-term scenario.
Sewing clothes from store-bought cloth, on the other hand, is a lot more appealing and achievable today. A seamstress could also alter clothes for survivors losing weight, children growing up, or adjust clothes “inherited” from those who didn’t make it.
Iron/Steelworkers – 5,000 workers (0.2%). Due to the high fuel requirements, large equipment, and high skill required to smelt iron and forge steel, I didn’t even mention mining iron ore earlier. I don’t think our society could do it for a long time once the mills shut down. There would be plenty of steel left in our buildings and cars for recycling into hand tools, if life turned south.
To these categories of 1820 employment, I would add for your consideration:
Security – Federal or state soldiers, local police, and private security for businesses and wealthier families may all be needed. One would need to be proficient in firearms, sword and knife fighting, and hand-to-hand combat, depending on the situation and weapons available.
Craftsmen – Blacksmith, tanning/leather-working, carpenter, brewer, gunsmith, cheese maker, and baker. All typical jobs you might find in any European town for hundreds of years.
Doctors and Health Care Workers – The medical profession is especially important to preserving life after SHTF, and yet its effectiveness will be severely hampered by the loss of power, equipment and supplies.
Medical doctors will have only their senses and brains to figure out what is wrong with a patient internally, as X-rays, MRIs and lab tests will be a thing of the past. Their stamina will be tested by the flood of new patients arriving at their doorstep with work-related injuries and third-world diseases like cholera, dysentery, and typhus. Nurses, lab technicians and even veterinarians may be recruited and trained to help treat the crowds. Specialists will be needed to modify some equipment for non-powered use, herbalists to provide medicinal herbs in the wild for treatment, and scavengers may be helpful to find medications in abandoned pharmacies or homes.
Lumber and Firewood – Woodsmen would be vital to providing the main power source for the community, young men with axes and saws to turn the remaining forests into fuel for warmth, cooking and for many of the jobs above.
Very few people today can do the WMBH jobs listed above. We are used to power tools, internet access, and an accessible supply chain to help us get our jobs done. Think hard about your unique skills, and determine if they would be useful after SHTF. If not, acquire and hone new skills to complement your own, buy or build new manual equipment, and figure out new supply and demand chains to allow you to make a living in a “World Made By Hand”.
The .300 Blackout is an effective round that bridges some of the wide gap between a .223 and a .308 as well as allowing an AR15 platform rifle to encroach on the ballistics territory of the venerable AK 47. Plus the 300 BLK has the benefit of easily going subsonic making it about as quiet as possible given the mechanical noise of operating a rifle’s action. Adding to the quiet excitement is that the difference between a traditional AR15 in .223/5.56 and one in 300 BLK is little more than a barrel swap. That’s right, everything else might be interchangeable between the two.
Chicken or Egg?
Wildcat cartridges can successfully address niche ammo needs, but unless the specific cartridge was blessed by Sammy (properly SAAMI or Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute), the cartridge would not get the widespread support needed to be taken seriously by the big gun and ammo manufacturers let alone the general shooting public. AAC, or the Advanced Armament Corporation in collaboration with Remington Defense ironed out the kinks in the wildcat .300 Whisper cartridge getting formal SAAMI joy in 2011 which is why the .300 Blackout still has that new car smell.
The .300 Blackout is a 30 caliber solution that grew from a set of needs not the least of which included the use of existing AR-style magazines while maintaining the same mag capacity, the use of M4-style platform uppers and lowers; being ballistically similar to the AK 47 round of 7.62mm x 39mm, and be a higher-mass barrier-penetrating bullet while maintaining low recoil and high performance through short suppressed barrels. Oh, and best of all, easily running both supersonic and subsonic in the same rifle with absolutely no change in the gun. In fact, it is this latter capability that 300 BLK owners find most attractive. So the .300 Blackout can drop a deer at 200 yards, or lob 30-cal lead downrange with little more noise than a cycling bolt.
AK 47 rifles are near impossible to run subsonic due to the gas system. And they are certainly not able to interchange between supersonic and subsonic on the fly. Major adjustments and tuning would be needed. In the case of the .300 Blackout, it is a cartridge deliberately made to run flawlessly in an AR rifle in both subsonic and supersonic. In fact, the high bullet weight of the subsonic 300 BLK ammo is not just to slow down the bullet (F=MA in Newtonian physics) but also to provide enough of an equal and opposite force to cycle a traditional AR bolt and buffer (Newton’s Third Law of Motion).
While the initial ballistics of a 300 BLK running subsonic are very similar to a .45 ACP, the bullet shape of a .300 Blackout provides a much better trajectory and deeper penetration. A 220 grain 45 caliber slug flying out the pipe of a handgun designed prior to 1911 is much like a forty-five caliber musket ball. On the other hand the .300 Blackout behaves more like a 7.62×39 round causing death hundreds of yards away. A .45 ACP will bounce off cowhide at distance while the 300 BLK should still shatter bone.
300 BLK ammo in the supersonic variety did pass my Walmart test. That means it is sitting on the shelf at the local Walmart right now. However, I was unable to locate any subsonic .300 Blackout ammo at the any nearby Walmarts. Of course subsonic 300 BLK ammo was available at almost every gun store and big box sporting goods store I checked so the stuff is common. And the Walmart gun clerk did say they’ve had 300 BLK subsonic ammo in stock before, but it was elusive as 500 round bricks of .22 long rifle.
Related: 10 Basic Tools For Your Armorer Kit
The ammo choices for 300 BLK in supersonic was varied across price and performance. I found plenty of boxes of 20 from $16 all the way up to almost $50. Subsonic rounds hovered around $20-$25 and there was rarely more than one choice at any given store.
Changing a .223 AR 15 into a .300 Blackout can be as simple as swapping barrels. The complete upper, lower, magazines and gas system might work just fine with the 300 BLK. Usually there are a couple other parts that get changed out as well, but truly in a nutshell, it is just a barrel switch. So a best-case conversion to turn your .223 AR into a .300 Blackout is 1) remove your .223 barrel, and 2) install a 300 BLK barrel.
Changing barrels on your standard direct impingement AR is fairly straightforward, but does require some tools. The undeniable tool is a barrel wrench which is usually part of a multi-function armorers tool like the Magpul Armorer’s Wrench. But in order to turn the barrel nut, you must remove the gas tube. And in order to remove the gas tube, you will need to remove the gas tube cross pin using a 5/32nds punch (gently push it out from left to right).
With the gas tube removed, you can unwind the barrel nut freeing the barrel from the upper receiver. You can reuse the gas tube if its in good shape and the right length, and maybe even reuse the gas block as well assuming it works with your barrel and handguard. In my case, I opted for a new low profile gas block because I am going from a Magpul MOE polymer handguard mounted on a 5.56 barrel with an A2 (triangular) front post. The Midwest Industries free-floating handguard I’ll be shrouding the 300 BLK barrel with will need a new gas block. So it was Yankee Hill to the rescue.
Also Read: How To Trick Out A Cheap AR15
Backing up for a minute, there is an essential tool that makes barrel removal and installation every so much easier and that is an upper receiver vise block. The vise block is a blockish clamp that wraps the upper receiver like a glove allowing the whole unit to be clamped in a vise without concern of damaging or warping your upper receiver. Add a torque wrench to round out your toolset and you’re as good as done.
The .300 Blackout went into military service in July of 2015 when the Netherland’s Dutch Maritime Special Operations Force (NL-MARSOF) ordered 195 carbines chambered in 300 BLK. According to an uncited Wikipedia article on the .300 Blackout, it has an effective supersonic combat range of about 500 yards. Flying subsonic, 200 yards is pushing the limits of effectiveness outside of threats made of paper. Now before anyone goes all sniper on me, most folks, and let’s be honest here, are not able to shoot reliably to 500 yards even under ideal conditions. In fact, 200 yards is a very reasonable and ethical hunting distance. In my particular case, I intend on hunting with this rifle in thick woods where a 50 yard or less shot is common. I grew up hunting in such places with a Winchester Model 94 30-30 which is an excellent “brush gun” as we liked to call them. Iron sights were plenty good at these distances.
I also intend to hunt with a suppressor, or silencer if you want to retain the original name that its inventor Hiram Maxim called them back in 1902; the “Maxim Silencer” to be exact. On a side note, a movie in 1946 was made about Hiram’s life and titled “So Goes My Love.” But reading about the movie, it doesn’t sound like there is any gunplay in it, let alone any silenced fire.
Factory loads of 300 BLK come in several popular bullet weights. In general, those bullets over 200 grains slide down the pipe under the 1100 feet per second speed of sound while anything lighter breaks the sound barrier with a boom. Since most of the powder is burned within the first nine inches of barrel, near total performance can be achieved in very short barrels. To avoid paperwork and a tax stamp and months of delay, I opted for a 16” barrel literally off the shelf at a local gun store.
I already had a SilencerCo Omega suppressor so adding a can to this build was a no-brainer. In fact, that Omega is most of the reason I went down the 300 BLK road in the first place. A suppressed subsonic .300 Blackout literally is only as loud as the bolt cycling and bullet impacting.
Related: Firearms Maintenance When SHTF
All this is not without a problem. And it’s potentially a big one. A .223 or 5.56 round will cycle into a 300 BLK barrel, and possibly the reverse is true. This means you have to practice proper ammo management. At no time can you risk mixing up or mixing together your mags or your ammo.
There are various solutions and products to keep your ammo act together. The Blackout Band is a silicon bracelet you wrap around your 300 BLK mags. Some folks run different colored mags, while others mark their mags in personal ways. I chose to dedicate Magpul’s sand colored mags to my .300 Blackout with the intent to dye them later to a more fun and useful color. So at the moment, white mags for the Blackout. No exceptions. There is an ever growing number of tales where someone had a loose 300 BLK round that found it’s way into a .223 mag only to blow the gun apart when it was stripped off the top of the mag by the bolt and the trigger was pulled.
And as I noted in my review of the Magpul D-60 drum magazine, not all ammo containers for the .223/5.56 platform are completely interchangeable. In fact, some are downright dangerous. But since .300 Blackout ammo is easily twice to three times the price of .223 rounds at a minimum, getting sloppy with Blackout ammo shouldn’t be a popular problem.
It should go without saying that a 30 caliber subsonic suppressed round with a 200 meter range should have endless uses. Hunting is obvious as is protection. But let’s put a finer point on that protection thing. A bolt cycling is noisy but only within a very limited sound radius. Add snow or thick brush or trees and the noise of a buffer spring boinging and bolt clanking will not travel far. And the thump of bullet impact is evidence that it’s too late to do anything about it. Unfortunately, the 30 caliber bullet leaving the muzzle under the speed of sound drops like a mountain pass after a hundred yards, and like a double-black diamond ski slope at 200 yards. Beyond that it’s ballistics curve would be a boat anchor.
The Downside of Loud
And speaking of sound suppression, if you ever plan on popping off a round indoors, you will want to minimize the bang or risk temporary disorientation and permanent hearing damage. Sorry to be a buzzkill here, but I do have trouble taking seriously anyone who plans on using a short-barreled AR or AR pistol with spiked muzzle brake as a home defense weapon. One boom and it’s all over for most involved. Better get that first shot right because you will be too stunned for a follow up shot. Kind of like flash-banging yourself and loved ones.
Also Read: Review of the Glock 42
Just as a gas-powered generator makes an unwanted and unavoidable racket, and a campfire makes unwanted smoke and smell, firearms make unwanted noise. So having a silent solution with more umph than a pistol is a good thing. And when things do go noisy, you have a 500 yard solution at your index finger’s fingertip.
Given that the 300 BLK is still young enough to have spots it’s not surprising that reloading your own brand is the go-to option for the more-than-curious. There are limited factory ammo options for subsonic bullet designs often leaving the big game hunter to settle for either throwing projectiles faster than sound or launching barely hollow-pointed varmint rounds downrange to settle the score. But the big news here is that there is actually a selection of subsonic 300 BLK ammo on the shelves of the big boxes. So something’s going in the right direction these days.
Let’s see how this all works out. Stay tuned for Part 2.
All photos by Doc Montana
This article is for informational purposes only, please consult a gunsmith before you make any changes to your rifle.
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I don’t normally post doom-and-gloom articles. In my opinion, constantly obsessing over disasters that could happen is a waste of energy. You’re better off focusing on your preps and enjoying your life. However, I think it’s a good idea to poke one’s head up every now and then and see what’s going on. And over […]
The post 13 Catastrophic Events Which Could Lead To An Apocalypse appeared first on Urban Survival Site.
I used to wait for spring with bated breath. I would watch for a good day for tilling, go out and buy a bunch of transplants and seeds, and then have a wild and crazy weekend tearing up the earth and putting everything in the ground.
Thinking ahead? Naw… I had Spring fever! I wouldn’t think much about gardening until the seed catalogs started arriving… and then I would mostly browse and dream.
My nice garden beds were a good supplement to our diet but they weren’t a huge part of it. I was playing around with pretty beans and purple peppers, a few garlic plants, an heirloom corn I wanted to try… but it was haphazard and not planned for a long-term food security situation.
About a decade ago I realized how shaky the world was getting and knew things had to change. I also realized that just tearing up the ground and tossing fertilizer around wasn’t the way to ensure our piece of land was going to be healthy and strong enough to grow all of what we might need in a crash.
Even if you do work hard to build the soil, growing “all you need” is a tall order and it’s one even I haven’t reached yet… though every year I get closer. In 2015 I hit 1,000lbs of produce from our gardens (counting the random produce my children ate before it hit the scale) for the first time and the curve keeps going up.
The reason? I now work on preparing year-round by clearing and digging new patches of land, producing compost, planting fruit and nut trees and testing crops to find varieties that will go through the cold, the heat, the pests and the many diseases that want to rob us of our gardening sweat and toil. Much of this knowledge and experimentation culminated in my Survival Gardening Secrets course.
This fall, Chet and I want you to get ahead of the curve and get growing on a larger scale that takes less money out of your pocket and puts more produce on your table.
Here’s how you can build a fall garden – and an upcoming spring garden that will keep you fed through the year.
Let’s start with chickens.
Chickens Are Gardening Machines
When you pull out the gnarled remains of your summer tomatoes and squash, why not let chickens do the hard work of preparing your fall garden plots?
Get a good chicken tractor or fenced area in place around that plot and let those claw-footed tilling and manuring machines go!
My friend Larry built this simple chicken tractor for about $150:
He raises a good portion of his large family’s meat in there while improving his lawn. If you did the same thing with a garden plot, you’ll reap the benefits of all that turning and manuring. Chickens will compost in place while ridding your garden plot of stinkbugs and cutworms. I’ve pulled out a mess of spent vegetable plants from a garden bed and have been amazing to see just how many destroying insects are crawling around in the suddenly uncovered shade area beneath the brown stalks. Chickens turn those pests into eggs!
While this is a GREAT approach if you have a flat lawn, this sucker gets real heavy to pull through loose garden soil, up hills, in and around tightly planted Orchards or over raised Garden beds, which is why Chet Created these plans for a more light weight Chicken Tractor:
The Ultimate Portable Chicken Tractor
Paul Gautschi of Back To Eden fame has a different approach. He uses his chickens to make good soil in their pen, which he then sifts and takes to his garden beds. If you have a big problem with predators snagging your Kentucky Fried goodness, this is another approach worth considering:
Kill the Weeds While the Sun Shines
I used to avoid using plastic in my gardens. Then I discovered its power for weed killing and I haven’t looked back.
If you have an area you’d like to garden but you haven’t gotten around to tilling it yet, summer and fall are the time to use the remaining heat of the sun to get it ready for later.
Get yourself some thick sheets of clear plastic and put them over the area. Pin down the edges with rocks or logs and let the sun create a weed-destroying greenhouse effect that will kill what you don’t want without removing the good biomass of all those weeds. They’ll bake and put humus into the soil beneath that plastic, then you can get out there and loosen the soil with a broadfork (this one from Meadow Creature is my favorite) or spading fork, then get planting when you’re ready.
When you till you turn up a lot of seeds that are waiting in the ground. When you kill with tarps this is less of a problem. I used to prefer black plastic until I saw some tests that were done side-by-side. Now I’m in the clear plastic camp.
An Alternate Approach
If you want to kill the weeds and really improve the soil long-term (and if you don’t have a big problem with pests like snails and slugs in your area), sheet-mulching is a good approach. The downside of sheet mulching is how much material it takes to cover a large area. If you have a friend with a tree-trimming company, great. If not, it’s not easy to get everything you need.
I successfully knocked out a persistent patch of Bermuda grass by putting down a double layer of cardboard and then stacking a foot of tree company mulch on top of it for a year. Back when I tilled that same area I had a very hard time keeping the grass from invading my beds and sapping the life from my tender domesticated vegetables.
One of my favorite ways to improve the tilth of the soil and reduce the water needs of my crops is to deeply double-dig garden beds. This is hard work but it’s good work. If you double-dig a garden area it adds more oxygen to the soil, improves the drainage and helps your crops delve deeply with their roots so they can get what they need in the soil.
I once did a test where I created a perfect square foot garden bed and a double-dug bed in sand that had only been amended with a half-inch of compost on top. The double-dug bed gave us about the same yields but needed a lot less watering. It also ate up a lot less compost, as a “proper” square foot bed is 1/3 finished compost. That’s too much pile-turning for me!
If you dig a garden bed well and then don’t step on it, it can stay loose and friable for a year or more. Pick areas where you can expand your garden beds while you’re planting your main beds in the fall, then get digging. If you’re not going to plant them right away, cover the area with tarps – or even better – woven plastic professional landscape “fabric” and then they’ll be ready to go when you need them. You can also dig beds and plant them with bags of beans, peas, rye, buckwheat, lentils, fava beans, chick peas, mustard or wheat seed from a local organic grocery store with the bulk bins. That’s a cheap way to cover the ground to keep out weeds while improving the soil at the same time. Sometimes I make a big seed mix from these bins, scatter it on the ground and rake ‘em in. As a bonus, you often get a bit to eat from these beds.
Double-digging is time consuming but when you dig a bed here and there on nice days, you’ll find eventually that you have a lot of long-term space in which to plant.
Get Composting Now
Composting used to be a chore for me. Now that I’ve realized Nature doesn’t care all that much about turning and aerating and that jazz, I’m having a lot more fun. After over a decade of extreme composting experiments, I even wrote a popular book on it. I’ve composted meat, sewage, pasta, paper and all kinds of other naughty things and my gardens just keep getting better and better. There are two main ways I compost without much work.
The first way is to choose a garden bed that I think could use some help and then start piling up compostable materials there, like this:
The other way is even cooler. It’s borrowed from the Koreans and isn’t anything like most compost most Westerners have seen.
All you do is find materials you want to compost and throw them in a barrel of water to rot down and ferment. I pick highly nutritional items such as urine, manure, moringa, seawater and comfrey to start with, then add whatever else I have around. Like this:
That looks insane but it works.
Let that rot for a few months and then thin it out as a liquid fertilizer for your gardens. It’s the bomb and it grows some danged good corn. Corn is needy, so if that crop likes it… imagine how the others will do!
On the downside, it smells horrible. Get a clothespin for your nose and don’t worry about it. And don’t pour it right on anything you’re about to eat. That’s nasty. It’s best for the establishment phase of a garden up until a few weeks before harvest. It’s also powerful growing magic for fruit trees.
One thing you absolutely DON’T want to do is buy compost or manure for your gardens.
Why? Because a lot – and I mean a LOT – of compost, manure and straw now contains persistent long-term herbicides that will utterly wreck your beds for a year or more. Don’t believe me?
I’ve read a lot of stories like this now and it happened to some of my own beds almost 5 years ago. Don’t let it happen to you.
BONUS IDEA: Plant Fruit Trees!
Fruit trees are really cheap compared to their potential yields.
What is an organic pear worth? Maybe $2? Imagine getting 400 of those from a tree you paid $25 for! That beats the heck out of most investments. Yet many of us don’t want to wait the 5-10 years it takes for impressive yields on fruit trees.
I used to feel that way… and then I got older. I plant on being here in a decade. Don’t you? Then get planting.
Plant more fruit and nut trees than you ever think you’ll need. Every fall, plant more. Go, drop $500 on fruit trees. Seriously. Get them in the ground, mulch around them, water them for the first year or two… and then, each spring as you plant your new garden beds, watch them wake up and grow. Eventually they’ll bear a few beautiful fruit. And then more and more and more. You can dry and preserve them. You can turn them into wine or hard liquor with a still. You can barter with them. You can fatten pigs on the fruit that falls. You can make incredible pies and cobblers, serve your children sun-ripened apples and peaches.
Look – just do it. Don’t wait to plant. Plant now and in the future you’ll look back and thank the “you” that is reading this right now.
We haven’t even covered all the potential vegetables you can plant in a fall garden yet… but what I’ve shared in this post will hopefully get you thinking long-term about your survival gardening plans. Get those chickens working. Get those weeds torched. Dig some new beds. Start some batches of compost. When you have the proper groundwork in place, your cabbages and turnips will almost grow themselves.
And so will the purple peppers (shh!).
Want More Survival Gardening Ideas?
Grab a copy of my Survival Gardening Secrets course that teaches you how to grow enough food to feed your family, even after the gardening centers close and you can no longer buy seeds, fertilizers, or pesticides to keep your garden alive.
The post Your Getting Started Guide To Fall Gardening Like Your Life Depended On It: Part I appeared first on .
The AR-15. AK-47. M1A. Glock 17. SIG Sauer P226. Colt 1911. S&W M&P. CZ-75. Beretta 92. Ruger 10/22. H&K MP5. Walther P22. All of these firearms each have an army of diehard pundits in the firearms world. You probably have at least one of them incorporated in your SHTF plans. It’s possible your very life and chances of survival will depend on one of these some day. However, they all have a common weakness, a vulnerability that can reduce these fine pieces of weaponry to single-shot, barely useful clubs: the detachable magazine.
Even though modern magazine designs, construction methods, and materials are top-notch, they can still fail. Neglect, slightly bent or damaged feed lips, worn magazine springs, sloppy followers, and/or just plain, simple dirt will positively destroy the functioning of an otherwise flawlessly-working gun…and these problems can be virtually undetectable if you don’t know what to look for. Therefore, magazine maintenance should be of the utmost priority – just as important as the cleanliness of the firearm – for anyone who plans on relying on an autoloading firearm when the chips are down.
Related: PMAG Torture Test
However, firearms with detachable magazines aren’t the only problem guns – your grandfather’s trusty old Winchester 1894 .30-30 lever action could have magazine problems. So could the Remington 870 you leave with a loaded magazine in the closet in case of emergency. If your gun is a magazine-fed repeater – detachable or fixed – that feeding system needs to be taken care of. It’s your gun’s lifeblood…and by extension, that means it could be your lifeblood as well. Magazine maintenance is probably the most purposely neglected (“I’ll get it later…”) and/or forgotten aspect of gun cleaning, but it could be considered one of the most important. (We’ll address fixed magazine guns in a future article.)
The Detachable Magazine
The detachable magazine comes in a myriad shapes, sizes, lengths, capacities, colors, and methods of construction. However, the vast majority of “box” magazine designs have similar components: the magazine body, the magazine follower, the locking plate, and the baseplate. Rotary type magazines (such as the Ruger 10/22’s nifty little cartridge feeder) are a bit of a different animal, but the principles are the same – they just keep the cartridges in a circular holding pattern inside the magazine, instead of in a straight vertical stack. Generally, magazines are very simple in design, and really, with just a bit of semi-regular maintenance and cleaning, they will be virtually trouble-free. Most of the parts don’t require replacing or fixing; the only component that may need to be replaced is the magazine spring if the magazine hasn’t seen any damage.
Concerning the spring: you’ve probably heard/read the age-old debate: does leaving magazines loaded for an extended period of time weaken the springs? The general consensus from magazine manufacturers seems to be that leaving them loaded, even over years, does not induce spring failure. Far and away, the most common cause of spring failure is the fatigue caused by constant loading and unloading. Nobody can put a finger on an exact number of rounds that it takes to make a magazine spring fail, so a good way to keep an eye on things is to get a paint marker or silver Sharpie and number your magazines.
Also Read: SHTF Armorer AR15 Bolt Carrier Group
Try to keep a general round count of the number of rounds that have been put through them if possible. When one of your magazines starts to fail or cause firearm malfunctions, (this usually takes thousands of rounds) check the magazine’s round count and use that as a guideline for the other magazines of the same make and capacity. Replace the magazine spring accordingly, at appropriate intervals. Some of us may never run enough rounds through a gun to have to worry about this issue…but it’s always good to have an extra magazine spring or, even better, extra magazine(s) kicking around, just in case.
Another issue: If you drop your magazine on the feed lips and bend them, you have a problem. Most magazines I’ve run have never had a spring failure, but have suffered damage from being dropped onto the feed lips. If you have a polymer magazine like a Magpul PMAG, chances are pretty good you’re still in business. However, steel magazine bodies that have damaged feed lips are probably not worth keeping.
Related: Survival Armorer Basic Kit
You can try to bend them back to factory spec, but the metal has been fatigued, and now has an excellent starting fracture point for future breaking or malforming. If you’re not in a dire SHTF situation, pull the magazine apart, keep the baseplate, spring, and follower, and junk the magazine body. It’s not worth the headache and possible failure to try making the old magazine work. A new magazine is a few bucks – a failure in a survival situation could mean death. Don’t hedge your bets if you don’t have to.
The same goes for the magazine body: if you accidentally step on a steel/aluminum magazine, check the sides of the magazine for dents or damage, and try to run some rounds through it. A pinched magazine body might not have clearance to allow rounds to be loaded, or to be fed. This has happened to me before with metal bodied GI-issued AR magazines…all the more reason to look into polymer magazines like the excellent Magpul PMAG.
Also Read: Boston Shooting Bible Review
An excellent basic test, especially for AR magazines, is to load the magazine up to capacity, and then turn it upside down and briskly smack the baseplate at the bottom of the magazine. If rounds fall out, chances are excellent that your feed lips are out of spec or your magazine spring does not have sufficient strength to keep enough tension on the rounds to feed the gun reliably.
Related: Review of Magpul PMAG D-60 Drum
You will find some older or smaller gun designs have steel bodied magazines with welded or silver-soldered fixed baseplates. For these, there’s not much you can do but baby the magazines you have and keep spares. They’re probably from an older design, so for the purposes of a SHTF gun, I might consider going a different route with a modern firearm platform design that utilizes magazines that can be disassembled for cleaning and parts replacement.
Likewise with many older .22 rifles with tubular magazines under the barrel or in the buttstock. The magazine spring and follower are encapsulated in a (usually) brass tube that slides down into the magazine body, over the cartridges. This is a well-used, much-loved and reliable system, but if that follower tube gets dented or bent, you’re out of business. Maintenance on the follower tubes is also difficult, and replacement parts are getting harder to find. It might be worth looking into a more modern design like a M&P-15/22 or Ruger 10/22 for a SHTF gun.
Stay Tuned For Part II
All Photos By Drew
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Andy was pulling duty on bug out perimeter security. We had heard shots coming from the woods at the far west end of our prep team property. This was not an unusual occurrence out in the rural area where we have planned our long term bug out existence. None-the-less it is always discomforting not knowing who might be unlawfully accessing your property lines. He left out on his Honda ATV to scout the end of the road line which was roughly two miles west from our camp area and cabins.
Keeping a Watchful Eye
Unfortunately for us, the west end is paralleled by a railroad track, the side of which allows for easy access down our north-south property line. We have often chased unauthorized trespassers from the area and even poachers shooting deer from the railroad tracks across our property line. Usually just a presence in the area thwarts any unwanted activity. So, a regular series of drive by cruises on an ATV is enough to let outsiders know we are about the posted area.
On this patrol as Andy drove by an open utility power line right-of-way that comes through our land, he noticed an ATV sitting near one of our deer hunting stands. Upon close examination with binoculars, he could see somebody sitting in the stand seat. He immediately put out a call on our camp radios for backup (might as well be melodramatic about it).
Also Read: Leatherman Raptor Review
Another owner and I showed up in the clear view of the guy sitting in the stand. At this point, he hurriedly climbed out of the stand, jumped on his 4-wheeler, but it would not crank. He immediately abandoned his ride running off into the woods. The three of us noted he was carrying a hunting type rifle, which is a situation that could often turn dicey. We were glad he fled the scene.
A call to wildlife authorities went non-responsive, so the lesson as a prepper/survivalist is to never count on help from anybody else. You’re basically on your own. We decided not to chase the trespasser down, but we did confiscate his ATV and turned it in to the police station in town. The police officer said he knew who owned it and would put out the appropriate warning to stay out of our place. Yeah, right.
Maintaining a Safe Distance from Threats
Had this situation escalated into a confrontation, it could have turned ugly. I think the point that we outnumbered him helped, but what if Andy had been alone in camp? Had this been a real life SHTF event, the trespasser/poacher might have stood his ground just as well.
Related: Technology & Survivalists
In these circumstances, the decision-making point is critical. I don’t know of anybody that really wants to get into a shootout over somebody crossing a property line, but what if the offending party takes the offense? I mean in this day and age thugs are killing shop owners or citizens on the streets for $5 bucks. It would be nothing for a trespasser to fire off a few rounds to settle the issue. The question is, will you (we) be ready to defend our position?
In a life and death situation, you can bet we are prepared to defend ourselves. But we want to be smart about it. Slinging lead might well put a stop to the advance, but it has to be dedicated targeting with some purpose. That purpose might not be to wound or kill somebody, but it might be just to peel some bark off a nearby tree. Preppers have to be ready for any such contingency whether bugging out or bugging in at the home residence.
Related: Bug Out GPS
Part of this “targeting” is knowing what we are shooting at especially given the firearm we hopefully are carrying at the time. The preference would be to maintain as maximum a distance as possible to make our own position more difficult to target from an adversary. Judging those distances has always been a difficult task to learn and practice. This is where modern technology steps in to help.
Enter the Nikon Prostaff 7i
It may sound unusual to the Survival Cache readership that I might suggest adding an electronic rangefinder to your prepper gear list. As a big game hunter all over America and Europe in years past, the use of a rangefinder was a normal occurrence. As a prepper now, it occurs to me the usefulness of one for those applications. And as to our prepping/survival tasks, the use of a rangefinder is still helpful for collecting vital game meat for the table. In longer range shooting attempts, it is good to knowingly nail down the exact distance to the targeted animal, be it an elk or a white-tailed deer. They are useful, too in ranging predators or nuisance game animals you may wish to dispatch before they grab your little Molly pup out of the camp yard.
This ranging principle works also for defending your property rights and or any site you may have picked to bug out on private or public lands. Is that band of 2-3+ unknowns crossing the fence at 300 or 400 yards? It would be nice to know. For this job let me recommend the new Nikon Prostaff 7i Laser Rangefinder. I have had one in hand for several months and the neighbors get tired of me ranging them in their yards. I can hardly wait for hunting season next month for further in the field testing. The 7i can range from 8-1300 yards. Yep, 1300. Too far to shoot, but plenty of range to make further decisions. Its magnification of 6x helps immensely to “paint” the target in yards or meters by user choice. The unit’s eye relief is 18.3mm which is really good if like me you are wearing eyeglasses. It uses one CR2 Lithium battery. It lasts forever, but buy a spare.
Also Read: 4 Things To Consider When Bugging Out
This Nikon’s size is only 4.4×1.5×2.8 inches. It is small and easily handled in the palm. Its objective diameter is 21mm so it lets in plenty of light for spotting targets. It also has a built in angle compensation which is super if you happen to be in an elevated position, or downhill from a ridge. The unit is also waterproof, which is always a good feature.
The Prostaff 7i is black in color, but has an orange stripe across it. You may think this trivial until you drop it in the grass or the forest floor. Controls are easy to learn and use and are very intuitive. The unit’s cover is grainy which aids in its gripping. There is also a provided neck lanyard, which I recommend using, then slipping the rangefinder into your shirt pocket. For prepping to hunt for food or protect your family from distant threats, a rangefinder is a highly useful piece of gear. The Nikon’s cost can be shopped around for about $270 or cheaper. Add it to your Christmas list now.
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Home is where the heart is and for most of us where our preparedness stash is. Should some localized or regional disaster (or worse) take place I’d like to think we would feel better about addressing that situation surrounded by what is familiar to us (read: having loads of preps and self sustaining infrastructure in place). While this does not guarantee our safety or survival it truly is a best case scenario, the opposite end of that spectrum being 1000 miles away from your home with a paperclip and pack of bubble gum if T-SHTF.
There is a sobering reality to all of this and that is the fact that being in and around home base constantly is not practical for many. Travel dictates that we need to be away from home and in some instances for months (or more) at a time. That is what I will address in this post, running split operations with the reality that you just might not be able to get back to your home and family if something bad happens.
Here’s the Setup: Split Operations
I’ve lived apart from my home, preps, family for months at a time. Usually work related, it means that we could be hours or even days away when it comes to drive time. While I’d like to believe that if something bad were to take place I’d be able to drop what I was doing and rush to my wife’s side in a flash that is simply not the reality of the situation. When living apart necessary steps must be put in place to ensure sustainability for the short and potentially long term. What does that mean? It’s like this, if the power goes out for two days because of storms have I set my wife up for success with our backup power situation? What if a snow storm cuts power and access to basic necessities for 2 weeks, will she be able to get through it with minimal stress and discomfort because of preparedness steps previously put in place and rehearsed? These are highly probable and relatively low impact events. Yet what about a truly worst case scenario which would mean us hoping to reunite at some point but being forced to make it on our own in the near term? Who truly knows how things would play out as there are so many variables but I have to be confident in the fact that I’ve done everything in my power to set both of us up for success.
Tips for Split Operations
Essentially this boils down to common sense and understanding that one cannot guarantee success for any given scenario, but putting measures (and backups) in place certainly increases one’s chances. Below are some tips that I’ve come up with over time for running split operations.
90/10: When I roll out I usually take the equivalent of 10% of my preps with me, leaving the majority back home with my wife. Those preps that I have are usually what I’d need when mobile and once I get to my destination I can supplement by purchasing new. This usually means snagging enough supplies to sit out a localized disaster for a few days or even weeks (at most). Again the majority stays back home with my wife as she would need it, it’s not practical for me to haul around and should I be able to make it back to my place I’d want all my supplies waiting on site for me.
Rehearsals: It’s one thing when I’m home and am able to do most of the heavy lifting but what about when I’m not? This is not to say that my wife isn’t perfectly capable of doing some hard labor but let’s face it, I’ve spent more time doing it and she doesn’t mind that. A perfect example would be when I was almost 1000 miles away and a storm hit knocking power out. We had rehearsed the procedure for moving the generator out, hooking it up, starting it using the choke and fuel shutoff valve and operating the transfer switch. When the time came she was able to accomplish this task and all was good. Had we not rehearsed it the task would have been exceedingly more difficult I’m sure.
Worst Case: In a worst case scenario it’s understood that we’ll simply have to make due in our own set of circumstances. That is a reality that many fail to acknowledge and as such they never prepare for it.
The Bottom Line
There are folks out there who haven’t spent so much as a weekend away from their spouse or kids, I am not one of them. If you are like me and travel for work or have to live away from your family for months at a time because of other circumstances put some thought in to your split operations plan. Set yourself and those left behind up for success with the understanding that you might not always be there for them.
Thinking about investing in a portable solar generator to protect yourself and your family during power blackouts? Watch out. Most of the so-called “best” solar backup generators promise far more than they deliver.
Ordinary people pay good money (often way too much good money) to buy energy security for tough times, only to find they’ve bought a piece of expensive, short-lived solar junk that delivers no security at all. But things can be much better for you.
Portable solar generators really do have something to offer, but only if you know enough to avoid being fooled.
This blog shines a light on the most common dirty solar generator secrets. It explains some of the typical design limitations and false claims in plain language, but more importantly it shows you how to get yourself the kind of real, reliable, long-lasting solar energy protection you and your family need. No tricks, no slimy language, just plain facts on how to build, maintain and expand your own super-reliable solar generator so you can take effective responsibility for yourself.
Dirty Little Secret#1: Most ready-made solar generators deliver way too little power
Some of the most heavily publicized models claim 1800 watts of output. That sounds impressive, but there are two major problems. First, 1800 watts is not that much power. One measly toaster oven uses 1500 watts; a water well pump needs more than 2000 watts on start-up; even a simple coffee maker needs almost the full 1800 watt output.
The second problem is that an 1800 watt rating says nothing about how long a solar generator can deliver that much power. Most can’t sustain their rated maximum output for more than 30 minutes. What good is an 1800 watt solar generator when it won’t cook more than a couple of pans of bacon or make a pot or two of coffee before dying? There are ways to do better, but you need to understand how.
Dirty Little Secret#2: Almost all portable solar generators recharge way too slowly.
The claim to fame of solar generators is that they need no fuel, make no fumes and create no noise. This is completely true. Trouble is, it’s only a half truth. What the sneaky sales pitches never explain is how long it takes to recharge the internal batteries in the solar generator so you can use it again. For example: If you make a pot of coffee and fry a pan of eggs, your solar generator will be dead until it recharges again. The crazy thing is, it will take 9 or 10 hours in full sun to make that recharge happen. Many ready-made solar generators take at least 15 times as long to recharge as they do to deplete. Want things to be different? The best way to make that happen is with off-the-shelf components assembled into a truly high performance system.
Dirty Little Secret#3: Most ready-made solar generators cost way more than the components they’re made from. WAY more.
One of the slippery tricks of solar generator marketers is to talk about them as a black box, revealing nothing about what goes on inside. But the fact is, there’s nothing technologically new or innovative about a “solar generator”. It’s a marketing term. Solar generators are nothing more than a combination of four components the world has had for a long time. These include:
- Photovoltaic panel that converts sunlight into electricity
- Battery to store electricity generated by the panel
- Charge controller to make sure the battery doesn’t get over charged
- inverter to convert the DC power from the battery into AC power of the kind used to power ordinary, plug-in items
The thing about building your own portable solar generator is that you can mix and match the best quality components and keep spare parts on hand. It’s a huge benefit.
Dirty Little Secret#4: Most solar generators can’t be repaired
While it’s true that ready-made solar generators include the four main parts above, they’re combined in a way that stops you from fixing them. One part breaks and you’re toast. Not only do you not have power, but you’re out a pile of money. The really valuable part of building your own solar generator is that you know the system inside out. It probably won’t break if you use good components, but it if does go down you’re the best one to fix it.
Ready To Build Your Own Solar Generator For 1/2 the Cost?
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Dirty Little Secret#5: Ready-made solar generators can’t be expanded
This is related to the lack of repairability. When you buy an ordinary, ready-made solar generator you can’t upgrade the inverter, you can’t add a bigger battery, nor can you increase the photovoltaic surface area or install a better inverter. Solar energy is such a good thing that you’ll want to do more of it. That’s where a build-it-yourself approach can’t be beat.
Dirty Little Secret#6: Leading solar generator vendors use sneaky language
Buying a solar generator should be about facts you can express with numbers, not the kind of hyped sales language that’s commonly offered these days. All you really need to know to make an informed buying decision about a particular unit comes down to the answers to five simple questions:
- What’s the maximum continuous power output?
- How long will the unit run without sun?
- What’s the recharging output of the solar panel?
- What’s the purity of the AC output?
- How much does this thing cost?
But the reality of solar generator marketing these days is long on emotions (very long) and short on clear technical details. One of the highest profile solar generator marketers right now is using a slippery,1500 word snake oil pitch that includes dishonest phrases such as:
That’s just silly. No matter how good a solar generator is, it’s dishonest to call it a “true breakthrough”. All the technology behind a solar generator has been around for decades. You could have built one in 1983 if you knew how.
Really? 1800 watts can hardly be described as “maximum” power. And minimum time? What does that mean when it takes most ready-made solar generators at 10x to 15x as long to recharge as it does to discharge?
Technically this is true, but just barely. It only applies to the smallest gas generators. It’s completely dishonest to say that an 1800 watt solar generator that can operate for less then an hour at full output is a wise replacement for a gas generator. And then there’s the cost of the 1800 watt solar generator being sold by these guys. It’s currently $3295 which is a complete and royal rip off. Don’t fall for it. For $1000 less you can build a bigger, better, more reliable, expandable, rebuildable solar generator of your own. Think about it. If you figure you need a solar generator at all, don’t you need to know the thing inside and out?
Don’t Wait To Build a Portable Solar Generator Before It’s Too Late…
These days we all need some kind of power backup. Our safety and security is more dependent than ever on energy, and the world is more volatile and less predictable. Just be sure you place your faith in a technology you truly understand, something you can repair, upgrade and improve. After all, why trade the mystery and vulnerability of dependency on the grid for the same kind of mystery and dependency on someone else’s over-priced, under-engineered “black box” solar generator. You can do much better than that if you take charge of things yourself.
The post Six Dirty Little Secrets About Portable Solar Generators appeared first on .
If you are watching the news and following events you know that the country could be in major crisis with very little notice. The average citizen in Venezuela had little time to prepare for the collapse of their economy, and the author of this book lived through Argentina’s multiple collapses and can give you tips for preparing and surviving.
An economic collapse, an EMP, war — these worst case scenarios are part of the reason we all prep, so that we can handle the unexpected. But suppose you have a few hours notice? What are the 10 last minute things that are most important?
Here’s a list of my suggestions:
1. Contact your friends and family and let them know what is happening. Get the kids out of school, get home from work, in other words get your group together in one location.
2. If you are bugging out to a stocked retreat, load the car, fuel up, gather extra gas cans, and leave now. You can complete the rest of this list en route and when you arrive. Before you leave, make sure you have a destination. You do not want to become a refugee.
3. Make a last minute trip to the grocery store. Buy items that you are short of, but at the very least, grab useful items like batteries, candles, matches and all the canned meats you can carry. Grab any other other last minute supplies you need. Don’t forget extra fuel. Be sure to store it in proper containers for safety.
4. Check your prescriptions and go to the pharmacy and get any refills you can. While there, stock up on the over-the-counter medications your family typically needs.
5. Check your water supplies. Are all containers filled and in good condition? If you have a waterBOB, fill it now,and have 2 on hand if you have 2 bathtubs. If you don’t have a waterBOB, fill your bathtub and all extra containers that you have on hand. Locate your water filters and make sure they are ready to use.
6. If it appears the power will go out, get your generators or other sources of off-grid power ready. It should be done even if you will be using kerosene lanterns, a propane cooker, or anything else that doesn’t rely on generator power. You may need that generator in the middle of the night, so test it and have it ready to go at a moment’s notice.
7. If you have a freezer full of food, implement your plan to preserve it. If this is going to take some time, wrapping your freezer in blankets can help keep your food frozen for a longer period. If you own a Yeti cooler, as your freezer begins to warm up, keep as much meat as possible in the Yeti. This will buy you at least a couple of days before it must be cooked.
8. If the weather is cold and you will lose heat, get your blankets, sleeping bags and cold weather clothes ready. If it is hot, make sure that your group is dressed appropriately for the weather and has plenty of water to drink and battery-operated fans to help avoid heat-stroke.
9. Make sure that your first aid and medical supplies are easily accessible. This medical kit is especially well-equipped.
10. Implement your security plan.
These 10 last minute things can be accomplished in a short period of time if you do a bit of pre-planning. For instance, if you are familiar with the layout of your nearest grocery store and where the important items are, you may be able to gather things up quickly.
If you have more than one vehicle and multiple drivers, you’ll be able to simultaneously pick up the kids, get the cars gassed up, run by the grocery store, and be on the road quickly. Be prepared to act fast and without hesitation. If you are wrong and nothing happens, you won’t have lost much and you will have had a good drill.
UPDATED on July 27, 2016.
Have the read the national newspapers today? Did you watch Fox News, read Drudge, or get any of dozens of news flash emails? Are you planning to attend the next city council meeting where you live? How about the school board meeting? How do you know what is going on where you reside? Do you care? Did you take notice that the Massachusetts Attorney General just changed the states gun laws? How about Magpul’s departure from Colorado to Wyoming and Texas?
Winchester is expanding its ammunition manufacturing in Mississippi, when Illinois was once Olin’s stronghold. Do you wonder why all of a sudden these companies have changed residencies?
Are You Awake?
How are you feeling about national health care these days? Have you applied? Were you amazed at the personal information you had to reveal? Did your doctor ask you if you owned guns on your last visit? It’s on the form. Are you the least bit paranoid that the NSA is checking up on all your emails? Maybe mobile phone calls, too? If you belong to certain political factions in American like the Tea Party, do you fear the IRS is double checking your tax returns?
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Does it bother you in the least that illegal immigrants are pouring across the southern borders under the guise of being refugees fleeing oppressive Central American governments? Are they poor kids, abandoned by their parents? Does it matter that 90 percent of them have been shown to be teenagers? Will they be carte blanche given citizenship with full entitlement benefits and voting rights in just a few years?
I just attended a local state university wildlife management course and was lectured by a state wildlife biologist that told us if we have a deer camera on our private property to take pictures of deer using corn as an attractant that we now have to have a state permit to do this. Oh, and on the permit we are to provide the GPS location of the camera on our private land. NOT!
Do you keep up at all with the numerous Executive Orders doled out on a regular basis? Did you notice the one recently stopping the importation of foreign manufactured AK-47s? Well, maybe Norinco will start making them here. Where am I going with all this that impacts our prepping and survival planning? Truth is I am not sure what the depths of the impacts are yet? If product importations are restricted then supply and demand kicks in making that product immediately more expensive in the short term and eventually non-existent in the long term. Is Tula or Wolf ammo next? I don’t personally use it for my own reasons, but you might. What if you can’t buy it any longer? All of these events can be classified as jurisdictional creep. You can just Google the term if you want to read more details and headlines.
Boil the Frog
You know the story. A frog is put into a beaker and the flame is turned up ever so slightly. The water warms slowly. The frog does not react to the water getting increasingly hot until it is too late. Soon enough the water is boiling and the frog is cooked. In terms of political fodder as the provisions of our American constitution are constantly diluted, we go on about our daily business of working, raising families, and paying out taxes not noticing we have suddenly lost some of our freedoms. It’s all incremental like the boiling water.
One day you wake up and you have to pay an entry fee into the national parks we are supposed to own as Americans. Didn’t our taxes paid on April 15th cover that? Non-resident hunting and fishing licenses escalate in price every year somewhere, even though we pay the Pittman-Robinson tax on firearms and ammunition purchases for that federal money to be turned back to state wildlife agencies. Are we not all Americans in one nation?
Are your taxes raised incrementally all the time? Federal tax brackets change, deductions are reduced or disappear, state taxes increase, sales taxes increase and municipalities can add their own little tag on percentages, local property taxes go up as the county tax collectors suddenly decide your home is arbitrarily more valuable today than it was last year.
To add further insult to injury, they have relabeled taxes to “enhancement fees” or surcharges, alternative payments, etc. If nothing else, politicians that enact these taxes are certainly creative when it comes to repackaging the taking of money from our pockets.
Diligence and Awareness
Like it or not jurisdictional creep slips up on all of us all the time from all fronts around us. It comes from the federal government down through the state houses, the county courts to our local city halls and community centers. It comes from hordes of agencies with oversight control of everything we do from registering vehicles, building permits to add a garage onto the house, postal regulations, gun registrations, health permits to bury a septic tank or a body in a casket, permits to cut a tree in the yard, neighborhood restrictions on the types of roofs we can have or where we can park our cars and on and on and on.
Also Read: A Community To Die For
A big part of our on-going responsibility as preppers is to stay on top of these things. You can plan, scrounge, buy gear, store food and water, buy guns and learn to shoot, locate a Bug Out option site, learn to light a fire in the rain, or put up a tent in the pitch black, or lock down your Bug In home, but if you pay no attention to what is going on around you outside of your little world, then how prepared for a SHTF are you really? As a prep friend of mine says, “When to pull the trigger?” is the most critical aspect of prepping for survival. We have to stay current on world events, national news, local stuff and other critical communications such as catastrophic weather on the horizon from hurricanes, tornadoes, to polar blasts. Don’t get stuck somewhere on a bridge when it hits.
As preppers we have to be a lot more sensitive to the water getting warmer. Ideally your plan is in place, and you can Bug Out at a moment’s notice. I don’t know how realistic that is for most of us. We may be at work, wife at a job on the opposite end of town, and two kids in two different schools. Work out the contingencies and know what to do. Monitor the jurisdictional creep and how it slowly but surely alters your lifestyle. Remain ever vigilant. – John
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If you’ve been to a shopping center or a mall lately you’ve probably noticed how many people these days are totally plugged into their phones or other electronic gadgets. It is even worse today now that the Pokemon Go craze has hit the world like a tidal wave. I was in the big city of Augusta, Maine recently, which isn’t that big, and was reminded of how many people are constantly plugged into their toys. Kids, young adults, and increasingly even the Baby Boomers are getting attached to their phones.
Wicked “Smaht” Phone
Don’t get me wrong, I love my smart phone too or “wicked smaht phone” as we say here in Maine. It has my calendar, social media, weather, Google, and all the awesome things that make this day and age so damned busy. Over the last year I’ve found myself with my face in its screen more and more. Facebook, Messenger (that insidious Facebook messaging app,) and Snapchat. What I found was that my ability to concentrate was going to hell because of all the instant gratification I was giving myself. I’d be working on something, Messenger would ding, and I’d immediately pick it up to see who was saying what. We have a group of people that all hang out together and when we can’t get together we go back and forth on Messenger.
Over the last couple of weeks I haven’t looked at Messenger or Facebook at all. I uninstalled Snapchat. Oddly enough I don’t feel as driven up as I used to. Once I turned off the dinging sound and stopped other notifications coming in it was like someone gave me an extra hour or two every day for other things – like writing this blog post. Not to mention my stress level dropped to what I would consider “normal” levels with our current crazy lives.
Also Read: Death By GPS
Have I given up using my cell phone for everything? Not when it comes to education or listening to music. I like the ability to read anywhere with the Kindle app. I love listening to podcasts on my ride to and from work, so there’s an hour a day of otherwise idle time that I’m learning something. Awesome! I also have a pretty good library of music I listen to – everything from Classical to Rap. (But I still mostly listen to Pink Floyd.)
The difference is that I’m back in charge of my phone instead of it being in charge of me. With no dings or beeps coming from it every five minutes or less I no longer have the Pavlovian reflex to drop whatever I’m doing and see who’s doing what. Now, you’re only as connected as you allow yourself to be, of course. The choice is totally up to you.
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.” –Henry David Thoreau
As you can see disconnecting from civilization is hardly a new concept. Thoreau talked about it back in the 1800′s and I’d be willing to bet many people in a changing society often looked to the wilderness with longing in their hearts with the desire to slip the constraints of civilization.
I’ve tried to have conversations with folks when their text alert was going off constantly, their email was dinging, and Facebook was chirping telling them there’s a vital comment on their latest humorous post that needs liking. To say it’s frustrating is an understatement and I’m sure you’ve all had that same experience.
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I usually go out in the woods at least once a week and that’s a perfect time for me to unplug. It’s nice to put the phone down and just listen to the wind blowing through the trees. My young kids – four and seven – like to come out with me and they climb trees, play with sticks, dig around in the dirt, ask if they can play with the fire and generally do what kids are supposed to do in nature. It’s awesome.
If you haven’t done it lately give it a try. Head out to the woods, or park, or whatever you have available to you, turn your phone off, or better yet leave it at home, and connect with a family member or friend, or just sit there and listen to the wind blow or the rain fall. It’s a great experience and I think it’s something we all need from time to time.
People love their earbuds. And truth be told if you want to listen to loud music I’d just as soon you put in your earbuds and listen to it that way; however, when you do you take away your ability to hear what’s going on around you effectively cutting your situational awareness down to nothing. If you listen to loud music and read Facebook (or whatever social media you’re into) at the same time you’ve effectively turned into a zombie shambling down the side of the road without the ability to see or hear. Have you ever seen people walking down the side of the road with their backs to traffic and plugged in so that they can’t hear that trailer-truck sneaking up behind them?
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The other day I listened to a podcast about visual intelligence where Amy Herman discussed this very topic. (Listen to the podcast here.) She told a story about how she was waiting to get on the subway and a man who had obvious mental problems was walking up and down the platform talking to himself. Then he took out a knife and cut himself before going back to having his one way conversation. Meanwhile people stood around plugged into their phones not realizing the potential danger literally right next to them. When the train pulled up they all got on the same car together oblivious of the threat boarding with them. She walked down to the other end of the train and avoided what might have been a bad situation.
If you do feel the need to plug in to your phone, instead of using the two earbuds and blasting at full power I would suggest using a Bluetooth ear piece instead. These little guys fit in your ear leaving one ear free to hear what’s going on around you. They don’t have the cable either so you can leave it holstered on your hip, or stored in your purse or backpack, so that if danger does appear suddenly you have both hands free to react without fear of dropping your phone or having your hands tied up. Listen at a reasonable volume and you’ll still be aware of what’s going on around you (although still somewhat diminished) and you’ll be able to hear and assess danger in your environment. Cheap bluetooth earbuds start at around $25 and are well worth the investment.
The Dark Side
Another facet of using a Smartphone is that you no longer have any privacy. Guess what? When you use Facebook and the GPS to post a selfie of you drinking a beer at the local watering hole some people see it don’t think it’s anywhere near as cool as you do. I’ve read stories where people posted pictures or videos of themselves driving drunk and got busted because their friends reported it. Now that’s just plain stupid, both the drunk driving and the posting of it.
Other than stripping away your own privacy the government also has the ability to track every movement you make. I’m not saying they do… but I’m not saying they don’t either. I don’t want to launch into a long paranoid discourse of how “Big Brother” is reading every text you send, checking out the movies you’re watching, or listening to your phone conversations, but they certainly could if they wanted to.
Ever hear of someone getting lost in the woods and they find them by pinging their cell phone. It ain’t that hard to do folks. Even if your phone is turned off it will still return a signal, so don’t think by turning off your phone you’re slipping off the grid. The ability to spy on smartphone communications is too shiny a toy for many folks in law enforcement to resist. Now someone will say, “Aww, Jarhead, you’re just being paranoid, dude! People can’t do that sci-fi stuff!”
Ever heard of Stingray? That’s the code name for a secret technology used by police to trick your cell phone into thinking it’s connecting to a legitimate cell tower, when in fact it’s really a device being used by the police. Check out this story of how a guy named Rigmaiden discovered it and exposed it (click here).
What Happens After TEOTWAWKI?
All this talk of unplugging from the matrix is great, but what happens when TSHTF? As you know it wouldn’t take much to turn that communications device into a piece of plastic and dead electronic chips.
Increasingly, we are using our smart phones for more than just simple communications. We bank with them, shop with them, learn on them, get entertainment from them, rely on them for navigation, get our news from them, keep our schedules on them, and so on. I’ve come to rely on my phone for many things, but I always try to keep paper backups or local copies of the important stuff.
Now imagine if all of a sudden there were no more electronics. Let’s say North Korea hit us with a few nuclear airbursts and destroyed 80% of our electronic grid with a well timed EMP burst. First of all, our entire culture is now run with computers. Nearly every facet of your day to day life relies on a computer chip of some kind. Everything from turning on your stove to starting your car requires a computer of some sort today. All of a sudden our whole society is brought to its knees with a few well timed nukes.
If you’ve seen the movie “American Blackout” or read the book “Lights Out” by Ted Koppel, you can get a good idea of what we could expect with a grid down scenario. The scary thing is that I’m not sure they went deep enough into what might actually happen. Second of all, a good percentage of our population has come to rely heavily on these devices and will now have to turn elsewhere for their information, communication, and entertainment. Initially we’ll all have to find ways to cope without our electronic nanny attached to our belts.
How to Prepare
Other than doing what we’re doing, which is prepping for an event like this, there’s not much we can do about the first scenario. Most scenarios we prepare for all have to do with the grid going down. Hunker down, protect yourself and your family, and ride it out is about the best we can do.
The second scenario – the one where everybody is going through phone withdrawal and trying to figure out how to operate in a society without instant communication and gratification -will be a different kind of hardship. Luckily we can prepare for that one a little better simply by unplugging once in awhile. I like to play guitar, draw, read books, and play with my kids as well as practice my wilderness skills. It would suck without the electronics, but I’d get used to it fast enough. After all, I lived through the 80’s when there were no cellular gadgets or personal computers.
Also Read: Off Grid Mobile Phone
Now, it’s true I’m painting this picture with a broad brush and a good many people out there aren’t dependent on a cell phone. But in the developed countries it’s unusual for people *not* to have a smartphone these days.
Again, I’m not bashing people who own a phone or tablet, but I am suggesting you take a little time now and then to explore nature the way it was meant to be experienced. Let your kids go out and get dirty. Take them into the woods and let them see spiders, and trees, and all that nature has to offer. My two kids love being outside. I even take them out in the winter on showshoes. If you’ve never seen a four year old on shoeshoes I invite you into the forest with us next year when we have three feet of snow on the ground again. It’s awesome to see and my seven year old is like an old pro on them. So the question is are you prepared to unplug? Try it for a day and see how it feels.
Sound off below!
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About the only tangible aspect we have for a real bug out is the bug out bag. Sure you might have a BOVehicle or BOLocation, but BOBag is often the beginning and the end for most lightweight survivalists and preppers. The problem is that unlike taking a cruise to Alaska, or a family trip to Disney World, pretty much nobody you know has bugged out in the pure sense of the verb. Now while I would actually like to keep it that way, the point of this blog, and your reading of it no less, is to cover the bug out contingency the best you can. Unfortunately, most of the words about bugging out and bug out bags in particular are recycled from questionable sources or where someone played connect-the-dots using military-grade playbooks.
By Doc Montana, a contributing author of SHTFBlog & Survival Cache
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Over the years I’ve read many of the same recycled advice columns about setting up a bug out bag. And I’ve listened to podcasts from information purveyors whose bug out plans were gleaned from a Boy Scout camp out in fifth grade. As I consumed the advice I’d pick and choose what I wanted to believe based on my past experiences, and what made logical and practical sense. But I could only take so much non-information or bad ideas before I stopped listening or reading. Not that I have anything against recycling because I’m actually greener than most (many of us who dabble in off-grid solutions are), but that it seems nobody else will step up and risk being labeled as a heretic only to be chained to the proverbial internet post and flamed by the those who own recycled advice has just been challenged.
Above the Belt
Before reading further, here are my ground rules: First, this is about bug out bags or BOBs, not Get Home bags, not 72-hour bags, and not any of the other short-term carryovers or disaster-specific bag variations. Second, obviously rules can be broken, but you need logical reasons to break them. Skill and experience will make up for some lack of equipment, but so too can good equipment make up for lack of skill. To a degree anyway.
And third, this article was written with the intent to shake some popular beliefs that are repeated ad nauseum across the internet whether or not the parrot has ever tested their own advice. Everything I address here is based upon my real-world experience. Of course you are free to do and say what you want, but when the fat lady sings you better have chosen wisely.
1. Do have a very big bug out bag
So-called bug out experts seem to fixate on backpack size because of noble but misguided intentions. The inaccurate but common belief is that a big bug out bag will be overpacked and impossible to carry. In reality, that logic just enforces my belief that the one giving the “smallest possible bag” advice has never done anything big outdoors. There are five main reasons you want a big bug out bag.
1) You can pack more (but see topic #2 below for more on this).
2) Big packs carry heavy loads much better than smaller packs. They hug the body and distribute weight so a 30 pound small pack is a pain, but a 30 pound large pack is almost invisible (but see topic #4 below to get it right).
3) You can use a large pack as a sleeping bag or bivy sack.
4) You can always carry air. Nobody is going to make you fill all available space in your pack.
And 5) If you leave home with a stuffed small pack, you cannot add to your load as you go. So unless you are bugging out on a commercial airline flight, you can forget about carry-on size limitations and do this right.
2. Do pack everything you think you might need
For some reason many bug out bags are packed with more good ideas than real-world supplies. There is a prevalent fear that “too much” is bad. Well, I like to say that you cannot dump out what you don’t have. Imagine an EMP caused you to hit the “go button” on your bug out plan. A month before, however, you cut down the size of your bug out bag assuming that the 30 mile jaunt to your bug out location (BOL) would be easier with a minimalist carry.
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But just as you head out the door, your neighbor fires up his EMP-proof truck and offers you a ride in the right direction. No time to pack more, so guess what, you just made a colossal mistake in packing and you haven’t even left yet! If you neighbor happens to drive a Chevy Luv packed to the gills, then you can dump out that case of Dinty Moore Beef Stew in order to wedge your bug out bag onto your lap. Or better yet, keep it loaded and duct tape it to the hood of the truck.
3. Ignore the weight of your bug out bag
Similar to #2 above, weight can be a false prophet. Consider why you are concerned with weight. Is it to make your pack lighter just because? Well, does it really need to be lighter? Or what will you be able to do with a lighter pack that you cannot do with a heavier pack? And how light is light? Or how heavy is heavy? I hear supposedly informed preppers toss around numbers like 25-35 pounds. Well unless you are running to your BOL, the weight of your bug out bag is just one of many variables that can be adjusted on the fly. How you ask? By dumping out what you don’t need or can no longer carry.
But if you are constantly mumbling something about pounds being pain, then you will have to make big decisions without waiting for all the information you could gather. Instead of cutting corners ahead of time, prepare to ditch weight as needed. Water is a great ballast choice and can easily be substituted with air (see point #1 above). By the way, that old adage about three days without water and three weeks without food is nonsense in a bug out. You might survive those numbers adrift in a raft then rushed to a hospital, but certainly not walking around and doing survival work.
4. Do buy the very best you can of everything
Any internet list of “best” equipment that often further qualified by being under a certain price. And that has failure built-in from the start. Buy your tools and equipment based on need, quality and performance instead of price. I’ve read lists of the best xyz under $50 or $99 with full knowledge that a massively better option is just a couple bucks more than the artificial cost ceiling that was chosen by the author for little more than dramatic effect. If you really need to pinch pennies, go with used equipment.
Since a real bug out has little margin for error, the fewer points of failure you you bring with you the better. The problem is that most folks have not pushed equipment to the point of failure so they don’t know just how dangerous a cascade of failures can be in a survival situation. Every year people die in the backcountry as one failure or injury multiplies into many.
Related: Jarhead’s Bug Out Bag
Someone gets disoriented snowshoeing. They take a tumble in the powder filling their coat with snow that melts dampening their cotton clothes just as sun begins to set. Numb hands cannot start a fire so they continue on. A turn left at the big tree and they would have found their previous tracks and the way home. But instead they went right and tomorrow morning their frozen corpse will be discovered by the rescue dogs on scene. Then the spokesman for the S&R folks will again share the news cycle in an impromptu press conference highlighting the list of user errors for the umpteenth time.
5. Do skip all the military/tactical/police advice
Well, maybe not skip the advice, but certainly put it in perspective. Some of the big differences between the bug out and M/T/P perspective is that a bug out is a deliberate run and hide while the M/T/P response is to engage or start the fight. Consider what M/T/P life is like compared to the reality of a bug out. Sure a select fire weapon is effective, but unlike M/T/P you won’t have a supply chain feeding your machine gun, or an ambulance parked just behind the yellow tape. Instead, take the advice of those whose activities are closer to the bug out.
My models are mountaineering, rock climbing, canyoneering, deep mountain four-wheeling, extended backpacking and camping, winter camping, backcountry skiing, adventure racing, long-distance bicycling,mountain biking, sailing, river rafting, ultra-marathon trail running, big game hunting, forest fire fighting, and off-grid life in general. To transfer the knowledge to the bug out bag, you can first start with the equipment. If you want quality outdoor equipment, then you have to pony-up for the tools that the serious outdoors folks count on for serious outdoor adventures. So perhaps a trip to the local REI will be more helpful bug out-wise than wandering the aisles of the big box gun store yet again.
5.5 Don’t skip all the military/tactical/police advice
In fact, embrace all the tactical aspects you can even if you look like a mall ninja’s mall ninja. Just like the overstuffed bug out bag, the tactical look can come and go as needed, but will never be available unless with you at the start. A common mistake that is batted back and forth by students of the bug out is whether or not to look tactical, especially in the departments of clothing, pack and loadout. But the funny thing is that most discussions end there.
Also Read: 10 Must Haves For Your Bug Out Bag
In reality, you have plenty of options that straddle the lines of both worlds. I have a highly tactical-looking bug out bag in the form of a Eberlestock G4 Operator. It’s a bohethomith in any language, and plays an operator in real life and on TV. Nobody would mistake the G4 for a family camping rig especially with a rifle sticking out of the top like a high frequency whip antenna on a Humvee. But in less than a minute, I can completely house the pack within a rain cover of my color choice whether light green, olive green, tan, or FDE. And the smooth fabric hides all the MOLLE, webbing ladders, 5.11 side pockets and ammo pouches. The rain cover does nothing for the size, or the rifle antenna, but it does totally neutralize the overtly aggressiveness of a tactical backpack.
For smaller daypacks, the same game can be played by simply tying or pinning fabric onto the pack, or even making the pack wear a sweatshirt. Since the daypack is much like a human’s upper torso (which it’s designed to hug), you can dress it up in human clothes to your heart’s content. The same is true for your tactical clothing. Wear your operator threads under loose-fitting street clothes, and when needed just jump into the nearest phone booth and morph back into Superman.
6. One is plenty
The funny thing about redundancy is that it is usually practiced on the easiest and funnest targets like knives, fire starter, and guns. While I don’t discount the importance of those three areas for backup, I think some future bug outers are hiding low quality behind claims of redundancy. I’ll take one good knife, one good flashlight, and one good gun over two or more lesser of any of the above. If you are worried about losing your tool and needing another one, then I suggest being more careful. Save the redundancy for those things that likely will break and create a catastrophic disadvantage. If you want to start a list of redundancies, begin with footwear. Yea, I know. Where’s the fun in that?
7. Don’t plan on bartering
I often read recycled “intel” that stresses the inclusion of barter items in the bug out bag. The problem with this type of thinking is that it wastes valuable space and weight on something for someone you haven’t yet met and who will likely not need it. Focus on you and your plan, not that of some imaginary future person . And worse, many of the commonly suggested barter items are purely superficial. Gold? Silver? Ammo?
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Would you trade your food for a box of .303 British cartridges? How about some pre-1964 quarters for your fish antibiotics? Or some small yellow fragments that may or may not be gold for your extra warm clothes? Not this guy. I’ll engage in barter as needed with what I have at that time. Most likely it will be for skills over objects, and especially not for those things that require intrinsic and agreed upon value like gold dust.
8. Carry cash in large denominations.
Everywhere I’ve traveled around the world, good old American greenbacks have value. The exchange rate might not be in my favor, but bills with dead US presidents are always accepted. Traditional prepper lore is to carry small bills such as fives, tens and twenties. But the flaw in this wisdom is three-fold. First, it assumes that reasonable prices will remain active during the bug out. I sincerely doubt that bottled water will be a buck a pint or a box of 9mm for a single Hamilton will be the norm.
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Instead I’m betting that everything will be $100, or if not my $100 bill will beat your pair of twenties when fighting over that last case of canned soup at the gas station. Expect price gouging by packing enough financial firepower to overcome the competition and also the hesitation of the sellers. Let the zeros do the talking.
9. Don’t rely on Paracord for much of anything
Handy yes. But only one solution of many you will need. Paracord is by far the most popular prepper noun that doesn’t involve nitrocellulose or carbon steel. But as far as cordage goes, it’s main benefits are that it’s cheap and colorful. Paracord was pretty much an afterthought on my outdoor adventure checklist during the first three-fourths of my life. Instead I chose specialized cordage for particular duties. Thread, string, twine, fishing line, kevlar cord, dynamic rope, static line, one-inch tubular webbing, and so on. In fact about the only thing I use paracord for is to attach tents to anchors, and hanging food bags in trees. Paracord is the duct tape of rope. A catch-all solution with no specific job. But today it seems that paracord is the prepper’s dream material and is used with reckless abandon as if its presence alone will ensure survival. Learn your cordage and knots. Then use the proper rope for the job.
10. Do eat jerky
The bug out is an endurance sport so why would you take advice from someone who rarely pushes themselves to any physical limit. One piece of faux-wisdom I hear often is to skip certain foods during the bug out, and beef jerky seems to be singled out more often than not. The folksy wisdom seems to have your best interest at heart, but in reality it misses the point. Yes, jerky is salty so you will need to drink water. But you need to drink water anyway and at a level commensurate with the endurance sport you are now playing. If you avoid jerky because you are delinquent in your hydration needs, the problem is with you, not the jerky.
Also Read: Have You Tested Your Bug Out Bag?
The only way to learn about the demands stressful endurance activity will place on your body is to play around with endurance. So take your nutrition advice from those folks who routinely push themselves in directions that parallel the bug out and pack your bug out bag with those nutritionally dense foods that power our super athletes whether world class bowhunter or marathon runner, Tour de France rider or ocean swimmer. Coffee and donuts might be the preferred pre-mission breakfast of SWAT teams, but don’t count on lasting long in the real world on that diet.
11. Do rely on technology
Of course technology can fail. I’m not stupid. But technology can also give you a massive strategic advantage in terms of speed and precision. A compass and a GPS are two completely different items that have a slight bit of overlap. Yet I know plenty of folks who swear the GPS is a disaster waiting to happen while the compass they carry but don’t know how to use will save their life. All a compass does is point north. The rest is knowledge, skill, and geometry. Cell phones are magical when they work and I fully intend on using mine until it stops just as I plan on extracting all possible benefits out of every other electronic device, cable and charger I own. Half of all bug outs will happen at night, and using a compass in the dark is hardly forward thinking.
It might keep you walking in a straight line, but navigationally speaking, you’re screwed unless you have the terrain memorized in which case you don’t really need the compass. Bic lighters are technology as are gas stoves, binoculars, red dot sights, laser rangefinders, night vision, and semi-automatic pistols. And I intend to use all of them to their fullest potential. Sure a failure of my lighter and gun could have me rubbing two sticks together and whittling an atlatl, but, as I like to say, I’ll burn that bridge when I come to it.
So there you have it, my eleven and a half bug out mistakes that are not mistakes. I’m not sure this list will make a dent in the information recycling efforts of the average prepper, but it is my survivalist intent to provide a place you can point to when you want to question the popular advice, experience or even motives of the classic prepper. So steer them towards this article and they can blame me, not you.
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Yet another mass shooting has turned an unwelcome light upon civilian ownership of semi-automatic rifles derived from military weaponry. These are usually erroneously called assault rifles, by the press, a misnomer that there seems little point in continuing to correct. The public has been made to see these as assault rifles, and has been convinced that they are evil and have no place in civilian hands. We can argue our points, and try to correct misrepresentations; but sometimes discretion is the better part of valor, particularly where the law is concerned. You can’t fight city hall. A fight deterred is a fight won. This is where the idea of low profile weaponry comes into its own.
By Neal, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache
Ideally, we are looking for something that does not stand out or draw attention to itself, yet is still capable of providing sufficient firepower. So we do not want military derived guns, with bayonet lugs, flash hiders, aggressive looking assault style stocks, or military finishes. On the other end of the spectrum, we also do not want single shot rifles, bolt actions, or anything else with a slow rate of fire. We want something that fires a sufficiently powerful cartridge to get the job done. So a traditionally designed gun, with a good rate of fire and a respectable amount of power is needed.
Happily, this hardly limits our choices at all. They are:
This was the original assault gun. Created at a time when most guns fired a single shot, and many muzzle loaders were still around, the lever action gives a lone individual the capability of firing off as many as a dozen rounds as fast as the lever can be worked. Working the lever and firing fast was nicknamed, a frontier drum roll. The failure of the military to immediately adopt these guns was responsible for a number of slaughters. Ironically, at the battle of Little Big Horn, Custer’s men were armed with the standard single shot trap door rifle, while an estimated 200 lever action rifles were in the possession of the natives. This is thought to have made a major contribution to his defeat.
By modern standards, the classic lever action holds up quite well. As an example, see the table below. It can be seen that, compared to the AR-15, the modern copy of the old Winchester is better in almost every way. It is slightly smaller, slightly lighter, fires a more powerful cartridge, and nearly matches the rate of fire.
|AR-15||Winchester (Marlin) 92|
|Weight||6 pounds, 4 ounces||5 pounds, 14 ounces|
|Rate of fire||150 per minute (semi)||12 per minute|
|Energy||1308 fp||1630 fp|
Disadvantages are that a lever is slower to reload, when reloading becomes necessary, it has a somewhat lower rate of fire (though it still fires pretty quickly), and as a general rule is not as accurate as a good semi-auto, though this is a matter of debate. Considerable as it is, the 10 round magazine capacity is not equal to the twenty or thirty round magazine capacity available for the AR-15.
Also Read: 6 Reasons Why You Need A Shotgun
Still, the point here is that the classic lever action is plenty good enough, considerably less expensive, and far less likely to be banned, restricted, or require licensing than a modern military style semi-auto. These are considered hunting arms, rather than military pieces, and will not draw undue attention when being carried in the woods, or wherever else.
Maligned, ignored, or seen as a specialty gun, the pump is faster than you think. It is surprisingly, one of the more popular deer rifles, and is useful in places where using a semi-auto for hunting is illegal. Like the semi auto, it does not require you to remove your attention from the sighting plane. This is the most popular action style for shotguns, but was somehow never embraced to the same extent in rifles. The only major manufacturer of this action type in a useful caliber is Remington. In its various guises as the model 760, 762, 7600, and model 6, there have been something like a million and a half of these rifles produced, and they are still in limited production today.
This is basically a semi auto rifle with the slide working action bars to cycle the bolt. In the semi auto version (the model 740, 742, 7400, or model 4), a gas piston does the job. The guns are target accurate, and made the news shortly after their introduction when a US shooting team used them to place first in a competition in Norway. I have always been able to get all of my shots into a single hole at 100 yards, which is plenty good enough for defense.
The pump compares well to my benchmark AR-15 in a comparison table below. The pump is slightly longer, and a bit heavier, but fires an overwhelmingly more powerful cartridge. Rate of fire is nearly the same, and with a box magazine, reload is just as fast.
|Weight||6 pounds, 4 ounces||7 pounds, 8 ounces|
|Rate of fire||150 per minute (semi)||20 per minute (estimated)|
|Magazine||20 (30)||4 (10)|
|Energy||1308 fp||3000 fp|
Where the AR-15 beats the pump is in its larger capacity magazine, though for a rifle, I still think 10 shots is plenty. Additionally, the AR-15 is three inches shorter and a pound lighter. At distance, the pump’s 30-06 will completely outclass the .223 of the AR-15. Closer in, the higher magazine capacity of the AR-15 gives it an advantage. Most important, for the purposes of this article, the pump Is not nearly as threatening, does not have the assault rifle stigma, and is less likely to be restricted, banned, or scrutinized.
If you must have a semi auto, get one that does not shout assault rifle. I admit to owning several AR-15’s, an HK-91, a pair of Calicos, an M1A, a Thompson, and a few other high profile firearms. I rarely leave the house with them. They are high profile weapons. If we ever lose control of the government to the extent that weapons bans go into effect, these are the first guns that will be confiscated, taxed, or tracked.
Related: Best Survival Carbine
When I want to shoot semi- auto, I take my Marlin Camp Gun. Marlin made these in two versions, one that took standard M1911 .45 magazines, and the other that took standard S&W 9mm magazines. These are wonderful guns, sadly out of production, that are traditionally designed, easy to shoot, and look a bit like junior’s grown up 22 rifle. They are not threatening, and are unlikely to draw any unwelcome attention.
Related: The Katrina Rifle
When compared to the classic AR-15, the camp gun is about the same size and weight, with the same rate of fire, and approximately the same magazine capacity. Both have box magazines for fast reloading. The AR-15 has a significant advantage in cartridge power, but the advantage is less applicable close in. While these guns are no longer made, they can still be found for far less money than what an AR-15 will cost. They also have the advantage of taking standard, cheap, available magazines. Ruger made something similar with its Police Carbine line, also discontinued.
|Weight||6 pounds, 4 ounces||6 pounds, 7 ounces|
|Rate of fire||150 per minute (semi)||110 per minute (estimated)|
|Magazine||20 (30)||15 (25)|
|Energy||1308 fp||608 fp|
Browning and Remington, have both been making traditionally styled semi auto hunting rifles for decades. The Browning BAR, and Remington 740, 742, 7400, and Model Four series have been taking deer, elk, and dangerous game for almost a hundred years. Both are semi-automatic, both have removable box magazines, and both are reasonably light and handy. The BAR is quite expensive, but the Remington is no more costly than a decent bolt action rifle. These rifles take full sized cartridges, and can even be chambered for magnum rifle rounds. They are probably better for the individual survivor than a military assault style rifle.
A weapon that is confiscated will do you no good when things go bad. An illegal weapon that gets you tossed in jail will subject you to your own personal SHTF. Neither will enhance your survival. Someday SHTF will happen. It may occur within our lifetimes, and it may not; but it will happen. No civilization lasts forever. In the meantime, the rifles listed above are legal most places, unlikely to cause you any grief with the local authorities, and will serve you will in a SHTF situation.
Stay low, stay out of trouble, and survive.
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In July of 2013 Geraldine Largay was hiking the Appalachian Trail in Maine by herself after her partner had to leave because of a family emergency. She was 66 years old and had a poor sense of direction and when she went off trail to use the bathroom she got lost and couldn’t find her way back. She tried to send a text using her cell phone, but there was no signal. Her remains were found two years later by a surveyor about two miles off the trail. Her journal is now shedding light on what happened. You can read her story here. This is one of those stories that eats me up, because with just a little training it could have been avoided.
If you’re wondering how someone could walk a few steps off the trail and get completely lost allow me to offer an explanation. The northern Maine wilderness isn’t like the lovely forests that Thoreau wrote about in Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Those woods are thick and dark and beautiful and you must be on your guard because they are unforgiving of mistakes. The trees grow close together and walking through them can be like pushing through a rack of clothing at a department store where it’s so tight you literally have to put your head down and bull your way through to make progress. On several occasions I’ve walked through the woods around my house within feet of a trail and never saw it because of how dense the forest can be.
It would be easy to walk a little ways off the trail out of modesty to get out of sight of someone walking the trail behind you and then get turned around. You start walking in the direction you think the trail was, but you don’t see it. Second guessing yourself you turn back and walk a ways in the other direction. At first you’re a little nervous and feeling sheepish that you can’t find the stupid trail, then eventually you start to panic because you know you’ve walked three or four times the distance you walked in and now you know you’re lost. The trail could be five feet away at this point and it would easy to miss.
I know what it’s like to be in trouble in the area Geraldine was hiking in. As a matter of fact I broke my ankle on the trail in the 100 Mile Wilderness not too far from where she got lost. You can read part one and part two of that story if you’re interested. I too ran into the problem of not having cell phone coverage, but I wasn’t really surprised by this fact as we’d had limited coverage during most of the hike.
So what do you do if you get lost? Since she had a full pack lets assume that we have food for a few days and full equipment for a long term backpacking trip. This sets us up pretty good for survival.
Wilderness Survival Tips
This is an acronym for Stop, Think, Observe, and Plan.
Stop: Stop moving. There’s a good chance that you’re feeling panic right after you first figure out that you’re lost. The urge is to run and find the trail. Don’t do it. Chances are good you’ll get even more lost or hurt yourself as you go flailing through the woods.
Think: Get your head going. Let the panic go. Once you start thinking you can:
Observe: Look around you. What can you see or hear? At this point hopefully you haven’t gone dashing through the woods looking for the trail. If so you’re probably still within sight or at least hearing distance of it even though you can’t see it. Take out a whistle and blow it sharply three times or yell every thirty seconds or so. Keep an eye out for people hiking. Listen for people hiking.
Plan: What’s your best course of action? Do you have a compass with you? Do you know how to read it? How much food and water do you have? Do you know where north is? Do you have a tent and sleeping bag?
2. Don’t trust electronics to save your life
Too many people today enter the wilds of America with the assurance that their cell phone, or GPS, or whatever will save them if they get in trouble. The truth is that if you trust your life to a piece of gear that runs on a battery or can die if it gets wet, then you are putting yourself in mortal danger without realizing it. In the woods here in Maine a cell phone signal is a luxury and there are no stores to replace batteries that have died. Take one with you for sure, but don’t pull it out expecting it to save your life. That way if it doesn’t work you won’t be disappointed.
3. Know how to use your gear
One of the saddest things about Geraldine’s situation is that she had a compass in her pack, but she didn’t know how to use it. If she could have spent an hour with me I could have showed her the basics of land navigation and she wouldn’t be dead right now. If you put a piece of gear in your pack know how to use it. A compass is not an ornament and when navigating from point to point it can save your life, but you must know how to use it.
4. Always have an emergency azimuth
Before going on a hike anywhere, you need to look at a map of the area where you’ll be operating in. Usually there will be a road, or a river, or some kind of land feature that will act as a handrail for where you’re hiking. For example, if you’re hiking a trail and there’s a road that parallels the trail five miles to the south, then south is your emergency azimuth.
Related: How To Use An Emergency Azimuth
If you wander off the trail, set 180 degrees on your compass and follow it until you hit the road. It might be a long five miles bushwhacking through dense forest, but if you follow the azimuth (or direction) you will eventually run into the road.
5. Always know where you are
As you move along the trail make sure you know where you are on the map. If you cross a stream or river find it on the map and you’ll know exactly where you are. If you’re hiking east and walk off the trail to your left what direction is that? If you said north then you’re well on your way to surviving. Let’s say you walk left (or north) far enough and lose sight of the trail and you want to find it again. Which direction would you follow on your compass to get back to the trail? If you said south congratulations, because you’ll find your way back to the trail and instead of it becoming a deadly situation this incident will just be a little blip on your day.
6. Leave a detailed hiking plan with someone
If there’s any one thing I’m guilty of not doing this is the one. Quite often I won’t hike a trail, but set out to bushwhack to a new place. Instead of saying, “I’m going to hike the trail up Ragged Mountain,” I’m more likely to say, “I’m going to follow an azimuth of 277 degrees magnetic until I get to the rockfall at the base of the mountain, then I’m going to hike 256 degrees to summit,” if I say anything at all. I pledge to be better in the future about leaving a detailed hiking plan with my wife before heading out. Either way, at least make sure someone has an idea of what general area you’ll be, because if you get hurt or lost they’ll have no idea where you are.
7. If you’re lost, make camp
This will prevent you from becoming even more lost. Geraldine was two miles off the trail, but in those woods it might as well have been 200. As soon as you figure out you’re lost, stop moving. Set up your tent and make yourself comfortable.
Start a fire in a clearing. Start it using dry wood then add leaves or green wood or whatever you can to make it smoke. The more smoke the better. Use a whistle to blow three sharp blasts from time to time. The louder the better. If you have a mirror use it signal aircraft that might be looking for you. Set up a bright colored poncho or one of those reflective emergency blankets in a clearing. Anything you can do to draw attention to yourself is good.
9. Remember the Survival Rule of 3′s
You can survive:
3 minutes without air
3 hours without shelter
3 days without water
3 weeks without food
These aren’t actual rules of course, but guidelines to help you organize your activities should you get lost. Thus, shelter is more important than food using this model. If you have a tent and sleeping bag, then you can move quickly along the priority list to water. Once you have a water source then you can start thinking about food.
If after three days I haven’t been found or haven’t seen any sign of activity like a helicopter circling around looking I will probably try and self rescue, but that’s based on the fact that I’ve done a lot of wilderness survival, land navigation, backwoods hiking and camping, and have tons of experience. If you’re from the city and all you have is a couple of classes and a few hikes along well beaten trails under your belt, then you might want to sit tight. Carefully evaluate your situation. Ask yourself, “Does anybody know where I’m hiking?” If the answer is yes then you might want to stay put.
If the answer is no, then perhaps you’ll want to start moving. It’s hard to give a definitive answer because everybody’s situation is different. I probably would have advised Geraldine to sit tight because her husband had a good idea of where she was hiking and he would be able to alert the authorities to her general area. Unfortunately, she moved further off the trail looking for a cell phone signal and made it impossible for rescuers to find her.
Also Read: Maine Primitive Skills School Review
Each survival situation is different. The actual key here is to be as prepared as possible for any situation while out hiking. Other tips might be don’t hike alone if you’re a novice, carry a good first aid kit, and on and on. There are many things you need to take into consideration when going on a hike like the Appalachian trail and the more research you do and the more experience you gain the better off you’re going to be. I’ll leave you with this advice. Even though I’ve said it before it’s worth saying again: learn how to read a map and compass and if you put something in your pack know how to use it. It could save your life.
Sound off below!
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I love military gear. Some people hate it for various reasons, but to me this gear has proven itself on the battlefield. It’s constantly evolving and being updated as technology changes, but it’s always being put to the test. Another good reason is that you can usually get it relatively cheap after it’s been used at Army/Nave stores or other discount stores.
Today we’re going to talk about sleeping bags. There are thousands of sleeping bags on the market and it can be a tough decision to try and figure out which one you should use if you have to bug-out. Sleeping bags tend to be expensive as well and who wants to spend $300 on a new sleeping bag that’s going to live in a bug-out bag and see the light of day once a year when you go in to check the gear? Leaving a newer sleeping bag compressed will eventually cause it to lose it’s loft ending the usefulness of the bag.
There are a couple of types of military sleeping bags I’d like to compare and contrast today.
First, let’s go back to the ’80s when I was in the Marine Corps as a fresh faced youth. The bags we used back then were much heavier than the ones used today. I usually rolled mine up and tied it to the outside of my ALICE pack and carried it around that way if we were going to be marching. I spent a lot of time in artillery, so luckily we could just throw our bags on the back of the 5 ton trucks when we were moving around.
The standard bag back then was the Bag, Sleeping, Intermediate Cold Weather (ICW) and its Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) cousin. I spent hundreds of nights in both of these bags and never got cold. The ICW bag weighed about 7 1/2 pounds and surprisingly, so did the Extreme Cold Weather; however, the ECW bag also came with a liner for really cold temps and that added some to the weight. I slept many nights at -40 degrees Fahrenheit and never felt unduly cold in the ECW bag. Most of my nights in the ICW bag never really fell below freezing and I never felt cold in it either.
Related: M1951 Fishtail Parka Review
These are mummy type bags with drawstrings that you can use to pull the hood of the sleeping bag tight around your head in cold weather. One of the things they told us to avoid was sleeping with your head down inside the bag. This puts a lot of moisture inside, which can cause you to get cold. However, I did this many times without getting cold, so I leave it up to you try it for yourself. When the temperature is below zero your natural tendency is curl into a ball and try and get your head as far from the biting cold as you can. Some people wore a balaclava and others, like me, wore the wool watch cap to bed. They also advise sleeping with the parka mits over your feet to help keep them warm. Although I never did this it makes sense if your feet get cold.
One night I was camping with my dad just off a frozen lake here in Maine. The wind was howling and the ambient air temp stood at -20. He couldn’t believe it when I stripped down to my undershorts, t-shirt, and wool socks and climbed into my ECW bag. I was shocked to see that he had brought a kids Charley Brown – type sleeping bag and froze his ass off all night. I gave him my field jacket and some other stuff, but I could still hear his teeth chattering all night long. It didn’t take him long to get himself a good warm bag after that night!
The New Gear
Now let’s talk about the more modern military gear. The new Modular Sleep System (MSS) bags are made by Tennier Industries and come in four or five parts depending on the model you get and is rated between 50 and -50 degrees Fahrenheit. There’s a lightweight patrol bag rated for between 30 and 50 degrees. The Intermediate bag is rated for 30 degrees to -10. There’s a compression bag you can get that’s a good modern day addition that will compress the MSS down to one cubic foot. The one piece I really like is the bivy, which is basically a personal tent. It’s water resistant and has a cover over the face I found useful in cold weather.
Like I mentioned earlier, you can separate these bags and use them independently or together. I slept in the lightweight patrol bag in 40 degree weather and found I was a little cold though it’s rated between 30 and 50 degrees. I’ve slept in the intermediate bag in 30 degree weather and was reasonably warm in it, but I wouldn’t want to try it in -10 degree weather by itself.
Also Read: SHTF Sleep Deprivation
If you combine all three components and you’re sleeping in your polypro underwear they say it’s good to about -50. The coldest I’ve slept in the combined sleep system was around -10 and I was comfortable, although I wouldn’t want to attempt -50 in one of them.
One thing I had to learn was how to ventilate properly. When I first got in the bag I zipped up all three components and was too warm. So I unzipped the inside sleeping bag down to my belly button and cooled off until I was comfortable. As it got colder I zipped the inner bag up a couple of inches at a time until I was in full mummy mode with the bivy closed and covering my face. I liked this feature as it meant I could breathe outside the main bags without getting moisture down inside them.
Also Read: Mil Surplus Sleeping Bag Review
Over all this bag is much closer to the civilian bags on the market today. They are far lighter than the older bags and more versatile; however, they are a little more expensive. They also compress down nicely and can fit in your pack a little better, although I found that most quality civilian bags rated for the same temps will compress more and be a little lighter.
As mentioned earlier I like the bivy. One thing I’ve done is take the bivy from one of my Tennier sleeping bags and put it in my Get Home Bag (GHB.) By itself it doesn’t offer much in the way of insulation for warmth, but during the non-winter months it would be ideal for get home purposes. Open it up, climb inside with your clothes on, and you basically have your own personal tent. Put it on top of some pine or fir boughs, or a pile of leaves, and you’d even be comfortable while you grabbed a couple hours of tactical shut-eye.
When to Use These Sleeping Bags
So when is the best time to use these bags? The older bags would be good:
– When you’re on a budget
– When you don’t expect to be carrying your bag anywhere
– When you want to be sure you’ll be very warm
– If you are dragging it on a sled
The newer sleep systems would be good:
– When you expect to be hiking and need a lighter bag
– If you have a little more money to throw at them
– When compression is important to you (pack space)
– When you need a bag you can split up for different purposes and climates
Overall they are all pretty good sleeping bags. I bought a pile of the newer ones at once and still have a few kicking around. There’s a link on their site for a Retail Outlet and you can pick up individual gear there as opposed to bidding at Government Liquidation. One thing you might try though: if you have a few like-minded friends looking for pretty good sleeping bags or other military gear pool your funds and bid on a lot of sleeping bags. Split the shipping costs and you might be able to pick up twelve to twenty sleeping bags for a few hundred bucks like I did. I sold some of them, but kept four or five for family and friends and have loaned them out to friends several times when we went camping and our friends didn’t have any gear during a bug-out. You might also need to loan to family during a bug-out. Ya never know, folks.
If you have questions about bidding at Government Liquidation let me know and I’ll do my best to answer them. I spent a good deal of time on this site a couple of years ago and got a pretty good feel for it.
Questions? Comments? Sound off below!
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Is there a compelling reason to justify selecting, creating, and stocking a back up supply hide? This is a subject I have spent considerable time researching over the past several months. My conclusions are not hard and fast, because I realize first and foremost that every member of the Survival Cache family has different survival prep priorities, goals and objectives. Creating another survival cache of goods is not for every prepper. And don’t be confused by my use of the terms secondary or intermediate, because I mean them to be interchangeable.
Why Create Other Cache Hides?
Here’s the scenario. You work downtown in a medium or large city. The commute is several miles from home and it takes up to an hour depending on the traffic congestion to get to your office or work site. Your wife and kids work and go to school in the opposite direction. By noon there is a report of severe weather coming in. A glance out your office window reveals dark, ominous clouds rolling in your direction. It is obvious the winds are picking up and it starts raining. What do you do?
You call your wife and tell her to gather the kids and head to your predetermined secure Bug Out location, which is a rural farmhouse built to withstand nasty storms. When you finally negotiate the traffic and arrive at your Bug Out locale, what have you done to prepare at that site for an extended stay? Did you cache out the site?
Related: Monovault Burial Vault Review
Scenario No.2 is different. You live downwind only 40 miles from a chemical plant that has experienced a melt down. You have been ordered to evacuate your home and you have zero time to pack anything. The whole thing catches you off guard. You gather your family, jump in the SUV and speed down the driveway praying you can find a motel somewhere down the highway in the safe zone. The nearest town is another fifty miles down the road. Perhaps you wish you had stashed a cache of supplies somewhere else away from your home just in case? Maybe just a hidden plastic sealed vault with some emergency food, water, medicine, and some other supplies to carry you over.
Obviously we could create an endless number of “what if” SHTF scenarios in which the creation of a secondary supply cache would have proven extremely beneficial. Questions arise about where, what, how much, how long, and such. It seems as though some of these questions could prove quite problematic to having a secondary cache. I guess the question will always remain just how practical it would be to build out a secondary supply hide. For me, the tough issue would be setting aside critical supplies in a potentially vicarious location where expensive goods might deteriorate over time or be discovered by somebody else or even be gone when I needed it.
Some would say to cache out at a distant family or friend location where it would be secured. Others advocate the extreme of burying it somewhere in the wilds hoping it will endure the natural elements. All questions worthy of poised thought and planning. But for the sake of consideration for proper prepper planning, let’s consider the possibilities.
The Cache Bag
Perhaps this could be considered nitpicking, but what if we created a smaller version of a Bug Out Bag that contained perhaps some of the same stuff, but in smaller emergency type quantities that we could cache in one or more locations for “on the run” situations. This would be an intermediate grab and go bag on our way to a more permanent Bug Out location.
It is not to be kept at your fixed home living domicile, though I suppose it could be in the car trunk or in the back of the SUV. The idea though is for it to be hidden out at an in between location from Home A and Bug Out Location C. The Cache Bag is posted at Site B. The location could be a friend’s garage, a known business location such as a warehouse of an associate, or the upstairs closet of an aunt somewhere along the travel route. There could be multiple Cache Bags hidden at alternate routes all eventually leading to your final Bug Out hold out.
These supplies are meant to sustain you until you reach your final pre-planned destination during the SHTF. This would differ from larger Bug Out Bags that would be intended for an extended starter supply bag once you traveled direct from your home or office to the Bug Out site. This Bug Out Bag would be kept at home or in the vehicle if secure. The Cache Bag idea is also not a substitute for well supplying your final Bug Out locale in advance. I realize this is taking a fine line, but one principle of prepping is to remain flexible and to consider multiple options. Frankly, we’ll never really know what options we have until we’re in the middle of it hitting the fan.
Packing a Cloaked Hideout Cache
One has to realize in this day and age that we could be displaced from our homes sometimes on very short notice as a result of any number of circumstances such as the examples opening this treatise. If we are away from our primary residence at that time, then we may realistically not have time to gather supplies or essentials for our evacuation or escape. We may need gear, supplies and equipment hidden elsewhere either before we can get to our Bug Out site or as an alternative to that Bug Out site.
Such a cache is meant to be hidden long term and retrieved in the event of a SHTF. As mentioned above there could be many options for hideout places. You have to pick ones you are secure about and comfortable with. What sort of goods should we plan to pack into a hideout cache?
Also Read: If You Only Have 4 Pieces of Gear
The list should be kept short, concise, and focused on essential needs. One list might include some clothing items geared toward seasonal weather, everyday use toiletries such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, shampoo, a comb or brush, wet wipes, washcloth, small towel, some cash and coins, perhaps some candy, energy bars, and some water. Consider a shelter top, tarp or heavy duty plastic leaf sacks. Other items worthy of consideration to cache based on an assumption that your evacuation might be due to a natural disaster that could have possibly destroyed your home, neighborhood, or town and thus you could suffer the loss of critical items like important documents.
You might want to strongly consider copies of credit cards, essential keys such as duplicates for your vehicles and house, insurance papers, social security cards, banking information and account numbers, and critical personal files you might wish to copy onto a flash drive. Any other personal important items as well perhaps birth certificates, legal papers, your will, home mortgage information and titles to your house and cars. Pack a supply of any required medications and perhaps some over the counter items such as aspirin, Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, antacids, and any other items you may normally use on a regular basis.
All of these items could be cached securely in a 58-gallon molded survival barrel with a waterproof screw on top. These containers are available from many sources and could be buried or just well hidden. There are many other products out there as well to be used for caching supplies, gear, and goods for a long term storage plan.
Maybe What Not to Cache
Personally I am a bit squeamish about packing weaponry and ammo in an intermediate hideout cache. I want that kind of gear with me the entire time. A few extra boxes of ammo maybe, but I’m not putting an AR or a pistol in a ground vault. You may decide otherwise. Check shelf life on food products you cache. A number of MRE meal packs would be good and expected to last a while. Store bought granola or energy bars may not last that long. A few bags of purpose-driven survival food would work. Again the idea (hopefully) is for this secondary cache to just tide you over in route. You decide how many days of rations and supplies you want to hide out.
It is reasonable to consider that any SHTF escape plan could be interrupted, altered, compromised, or become a dead-end effort. You may have initially worked out a plan to get from Home A to the final Bug Out site C in two days. What if the roads are blocked, gangs or zombies are controlling or raiding points of exit. It might take you to alternative routes and a much longer protracted scenario to reach safe haven.
Start setting seconds of gear, goods and supplies aside to build out your Cache Bag. Keep focused on the idea that this is not your final destination so it is not imperative to put your best stuff in a secondary hideout location. Save the best stuff for your more permanent Bug Out site.
I hope you guys can think of a cajillion (that’s more than a million!!) other things to put into a secondary cache. We are counting on your thoughts to supplement ours. Use our comments section to post your ideas and suggestions. We are all in this together so please share your lists.
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Fresh off watching Mad Max Fury Road for the second time, I am almost ready to drop some cash on airfare and tickets to attend the increasingly popular Wasteland Weekend. For someone like me, a publisher of post-apocalyptic fiction and survival nonfiction, it’s like a dream event right up there with attending the annual SHOT Show in Vegas. Wasteland Weekend… don the roughed up leather jacket, scrap metal and cut rubber for shoulder armor, make a wild Mohawk and prepare to party with post-apocalyptic peeps for an entire weekend.
By DG, founder of Prepper Press
I’d roll into the event in my… on my… hmmmm. Post-apocalyptic ATV? Yes! Now hold up, before you all-too-serious folks dismiss this post, read on as I’ve included more practical SHTF information in the second half. But for now, how would I get to a post-apocalyptic ride like Max’s off road motorcycle? There’s some obvious takeaways here, mainly dirt, scuffs and randomly secured blankets and bags. The ATV, though, while slower than a dirt bike or motorcycle, may be better equipped for riding through the wasteland. It can carry more gear!
Racks & Boom Sticks
Spikes – I didn’t get this far, but if I was going to Wasteland Weekend with an ATV, you can bet there’d be spikes all over it to ward off people and enemy ATVs. The easiest route would be welding pieces of rebar to the rig, but that would likely be more apt to risk hurting the rider than anyone else, but in a Fury Road scenario, you don’t want people jumping onto your ride – let them impale themselves on that pig iron.
Antlers – they look kinda cool, don’t they? All post-apocalyptic like? Horns would also work, ideally Texas long horns. They’re not very practical, but they can offer an imposing appearance, a symbol of… something, I’m not sure what, but I like them. They give the ride character, like it’s ready to butt heads.
Fury Road Boom Sticks – you know the explosive spears they toss in Fury Road to disable vehicles. You need ‘em. I made replicas, took wicker tiki torches, spray painted them black, and “boom” goes the stick – at least we pretend, but if loaded with tiki fuel, it’d do something.
No, I didn’t end up going to Wasteland Weekend, sadly. If I had, traveling from Maine wouldn’t really make arriving in an ATV probable, but maybe someday. In the meantime, the boys had fun pretending to be war boys.
Beyond Appearance, More Practical
So you’re not planning to hit Wasteland Weekend with an ATV or looking to make an “art car” for Burning Man Festival. You’re of the more serious mind, practical and logistical, and you’re certainly not going to waste time and energy making what equates to vehicle cosplay. The ATV is still an obvious asset to have should SHTF, as any fast, light, off road transportation would be. What you need to know.
ATV Specific Gear
Zombies (a.k.a. unprepared urban dwellers invading your neighborhood) are on the hunt and you need to get out of dodge – ASAP! You saddle up your ATV ride, but with what? It calls for some special “insurance” items:
1. A Jerry Can and mount. You can’t roll without gas. One of these cans will carry 5 gallons of spare gas. Double the tanks if your machine can fit them and your planned route warrants it. Want a better idea? Check out the RotopaX gas packs, they’re made for ATVs.
2. A winch. Well duh. Do I really need to explain this one?
3. A basic commercial patch/plug and compact tire pump. That will take care of most tire-related troubles. Toss in some spare headlight bulbs as well.
4. An axe or quality saw. Don’t let a downed tree block your path to safety (and it doubles as an anti-zombie tool).
5. A trailer – that’s right. It’s a whole lot easier to pull gear and there’s a lot more room. You can easily triple your load capacity with a trailer. It’s a no-brainer. Just make sure to get one specific to the task with enough ground clearance to meet your needs.
6. GPS – mounted to the front.
7. Gun carrier – again, for obvious reasons, unless you want it accessible and ready to go at all times. Then figure out an attachment that works for you.
“But wait,” you say. “Fire that ATV up and you’ll be heard a few miles away, eliminating any hope of OPSEC.” They’re called “ATV silencers” and they’re readily available on Amazon and other sites. “Silent Rider” is a popular brand. Did you hear that? No, me neither.
ATV Bug Out Bag – How’s it Different?
So your bug out plan involves departing by ATV – lucky you! Not only can you travel faster, but you can carry more gear. I’m not going to rehash what goes into a bug out bag as I’m sure many of you know, but the ATV allows you to double, or even triple, up on some key pieces of equipment. My advice? More water and more food. Perhaps some additional gear pertinent to your locale (extra blanket, sun hat, etc.). Still, put all of that “stuff” inside a backpack just the same. Who knows what you and your machine might encounter. Plan to bug out by ATV, but be able to take essentials with you by foot if necessary.
The ATV, under certain circumstances, can make a wonderful survival vehicle and/or post-apocalyptic ride. This all assumes you need to get from point A to point B, and the ATV will facilitate that. It could also have utility in a SHTF situation. Say, for example, you need to get firewood or carry water in a trailer, things of that nature. Remember to be mindful of your ATV’s load capacity. You don’t want to exceed it. Ideally you’d come under capacity. Keep your ATV maintained, and ride safe, ride hard!
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It’s no longer a matter of settling for canned food for dinner. If we are forced to live through a grid down scenario, it’s whether or not you’ll have any food at all. It’s about dealing with starving people, who, in their desperation, will try to forcefully take what you have.
I have listened to a lot of people lately complain about their kids and how all they want to do is sit in front of screens. Ironically while these people are telling me about their “lazy” kids, they are checking their phones and physically, appear to be the indoor/ couch type of person. I am extremely tired of hearing how lazy children are these days when their supposed role models are no better. Kids will imitate those they spend the most time around. If you are an active individual they too will be active.
By Tinderwolf, a contributing author of SHTFBlog & Survival Cache
Likewise, if you are lazy and you show them that technology is the most important activity to spend their time on, well they will follow suit. Having your kids be active as soon and often as possible is paramount. Start off small and keep it going. You don’t have to plan some fancy trip to the mountains for a week straight. All kids really want is attention and consistency. My kids were going through a phase where they enjoyed pirates.
Related: Get Your Kids Outside
So, I got a hold of a bunch of old half dollars (non-silver) and various other coins and planned treasure hunts. I would hide the “treasure” in the yard or at park and then make up a treasure map. Be creative and don’t make the map too difficult to read. I drew mine with crayons or markers, added various landmarks that they would easily identify and added a North, South key on it.
I took it one step further to make the map look older by rubbing used coffee grinds all over it and crumpling up the paper. Sometimes they would have trouble finding their way and I would make up very simple riddles or clues for them to figure out. This simple activity got my kids outside, introduced them to reading a map, used their imagination and they had an absolute blast with this game. I found what works with my kids so they enjoyed this activity and now they ask to go on treasure hunts all the time.
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Learning how to fish is not only fun (in my opinion) but is a critical skill to learn. From my experience, my kids got bored pretty quickly when I first took them fishing. I found they stayed interested in the process much longer when we were catching fish. The easiest way to accomplish this is by not fishing for the biggest fish in the pond but rather, fish for the little ones. I would always find a spot on shore where I knew I could dip and pull little Bluegills and Sunfish out of the water with regularity.
When my kids knew they could get their own fish they wanted to completely take over the process and soon they were sitting next to me doing everything themselves. As they get older make the fishing experience more challenging. Instead of using a store bought pole have them make their own from a tree branch or have no pole at all. I found what works with my kids to make fishing fun and now they ask to go all the time.
Also Read: Everyday Survival Kits
I first took my kids camping in my mom’s backyard. They helped me sent up the tent, laid out the bedding, collect firewood, and sorted out all of the other particulars. It was important to me that they didn’t rely on just a tent for shelter so we made other types of “forts” to play in. We used a tarp and other natural materials to create different kinds of structures that could be used for shelter. I had them do everything when the time came to create a fire. Creating a scavenger hunt to find the materials kept them interested in the process.
I gave them a very small Old Timer knife to scrape tinder and cut small twigs. Once the ingredients for the base of the fire were ready I had them use a lighter to get the fire going. When they saw that little flame grow and grow into a warm life giving fire, their eyes got as big as silver dollars. This made the frustrating process of them using a fire rod much easier as they had the knowledge and drive to see that fire again. I found out what works for my kids and now they want to go camping, they want to learn different methods for starting a fire, they want to create their own shelters.
Related: Family Survival
What I found most interesting with my kids were the questions they would come up with on their own. I was not introducing them emergency situations or prepping but getting them involved in outdoor activities and skills that many don’t become involved with anymore. As time went along the questions they had were prepping and emergency situation related. “Dad, what happens if you can’t get food from a store?” “Dad, what do you do if you get hurt and no one is around?”
I fostered these questions and treated them gently like a small ember of a fire. Never doom and gloom the situation until you have to. You have to find what works for your kids to keep them interested and having fun. I used the same methods as mentioned above to teach them gardening, food storage, self- defense, navigational skills and the list goes on. You are the adult, you are the role model, you not only have to show them (and yourself) how to take the first step, but how to keep putting one foot in front of the other in the pursuit of a more fulfilling, skillful lifestyle.
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Power down all the empty, time consuming aspects of your life and get involved. Sometimes teaching others is easy and sometimes it makes you want to hit your head against the wall. One of the most important aspects to teaching others I have found, is that I learn just as much, if not more, from those I am teaching. Get out there and remember, have fun!
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Prepping takes time and preparation. This is essential whether you are doing a Bug In at home with family, a few extended family, neighborhood friends, or a Bug Out solo or with a partnership team. Just know that the more numbers you add, the more complicated and difficult things suddenly seem to become. It is inevitable I guess. Either way you will be facing the daunting task of learning, teaching, practicing and perfecting your TTPs or Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures. Far be it for me to preach to you guys all the details of that approach, so I will just highlight some priority topics.
Look at the Survival Cache site under the books section to get some heavy duty reading materials on the subjects at hand. There is rarely a substitute for building a foundation of basic knowledge regardless of the subject. I have probably quoted this before but this comment by Patrick Rogers in SWAT Magazine just about says it right. “When all is said and done, practice does not make perfect. Practice only makes permanent. If we strive for only for mediocrity that is all we will ever achieve.”
Also Read: Review Henry Arms AR-7 Survival Rifle
That is the bottom line with survival prepping. We can read all we want. Attend seminars and take courses to expose ourselves to knowledge. Watch all the You-Tubes we can, but if we never try to perform these skills ourselves, then we are just kidding ourselves in the worst way. And I point the same finger at myself with many of these things. We have got to do better.
Do yourself a favor whether a Bug In or Bug Out alone or with others, conduct a SWOT analysis. These are Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The easy way to do this is to use different colored sticky pads for each of the four SWOT concepts. Have your family, group, or team write down ideas on each topic and stick them to the wall or white board under each category. Compile them, consider them, debated them and then prepare for them.
SWOT Analysis is a commonly used management tool for developing teams to work better toward common goals but also to learn more about the challenges you face as a team. It can be a fun process, if you anoint someone with leadership skills to guide the process and control the discussions.
In terms of practicality, I can only imagine how difficult if not actually impossible to train or prep for every possible contingency. You have to take stock of where you live for example and look at the most likely worst threats. Where I live we are subject to tornadoes, and hurricanes. This year is the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. There will be more. There are tornadoes every year that rip apart entire communities in my home state. What if one hit your house, or mine or the neighborhood down the road knocking out all power for a month?
Where I live I am 60 miles as the crow flies from a nuclear power plant. What if ISIS somehow bombed that or an insurgent slipped in with a suitcase dirty bomb? Impossible you say? Better rethink that line of denial. Am I spending a lot of time on how to recover from a nuclear plant meltdown? Nope. Do I know what I need to do to get ready for the aftermath of a tornado or hurricane? Yep. You have to regionalize your prep plan when it comes to the potential for natural disasters where you live. Then get our TTP priorities in order and initiate action.
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Then you can start to concentrate or parallel your prep for unnatural disasters such as an economic collapse, a bank closure, widespread power grid lock down, communications crash, epidemics of all kinds (Dah, like what…..measles?), and other SHTF events that are out of our control except for the survival part. Work to those ends. Heed your SWOT, even if all you do in that regard is one for yourself. You have to know where you stand in your world.
Training the Undesirable Tasks
Do not spend all your training time on the things you like to do or already do well. For example, most of uspreppers like guns and shooting. We make a critical error if we dwell on firearms defense and protection to the neglect of many other things. Sure it is important, but if you starve to death or die from weather exposure without shelter, then what have you gained but weapons left to rust.
Stock up your canned goods or dry pack foods. Learn to light a fire in the wind and rain. Get your reserve fuel stocks in order including cooking stove fuels. If you Bug Out, know how to assemble your tent in the dark or by flashlight. Work your “pack and jerk” plan which is to say have supplies ready to go, ready to toss into the pickup bed or SUV at a moment’s notice.
Also Read: You’re a 1000 Miles Away and the SHTF
Don’t just buy a can or bag of survival food. Buy some then prepare it. See firsthand if it is edible or if you spit it out. Can you light that Coleman lantern or replace the mantle screen? Can you sharpen knives, and axes? Have you tried to put a tourniquet on someone? Can you break new ground for a garden, hoe it, and plant it? What would you try to grow? You could actually try that in your backyard this summer.
Maybe a good start to this end would be to make a list of the things you dislike doing the most, then dedicating at least some time to those tasks. Perhaps there is a person on your team or family that might actually enjoy that task. Let them plan for it and lead the practice. Hey, SHTFBlog fans, what are the prepping tasks you hate the most? Tell us in the comments below.
Adverse Conditions Training
Train and practice in good weather and bad. SHTF knows no fair weather birds. In fact many naturally occurring SHTF’s are severe weather incidents. As I look out my office window right now the temperature has dropped 20 degrees in three hours and a winter advisory is out for the evening and tomorrow. How would you like to camp out tonight? It would be a perfect time to test your skills and your will. See, this is just another reason I plan to Bug In.
Related: 1 Pistol, 1 Rifle, & 1 Knife
Suppose right now you lived in Boston and maybe you do. How was that walk to the corner market just to find many items gone from the shelves because restocking was impossible on the impassable roadways? How many times can you dig out the sidewalk or driveway? Are these conditions starting to wear on your psyche? Getting a little edgy are we?
I suppose within nine months we will see a spike in the birth rate in these areas impacted by adverse winter weather. Did your prep plan factor in another child or a first one? Now you have other issues and concerns to deal with. So, don’t just pick the blue sky park days to get outside to execute some of your prep plans. As nasty as it might seem and will be, whether freezing cold or super hot and humid, when a SHTF really does come, the environmental conditions will be real all year long wherever you reside. Know this, prep for it and practice for it.
Plan For Training Then Execute
Neither planning nor training is like reading a book then putting it up on the shelf to collect dust. You may well know how to overhaul that garden tiller motor, but have you done it? A few months ago you bought a new AR for defensive perimeter work and a bright shiny new red dot optic for it. How many rounds have you put through it to date? One box is not nearly enough regardless of the cost of the ammo. Can anybody else in your family or on your team shoot this weapon with reliable accuracy?
Every component and aspect of your prepping plan has to be executed at some point in order for the plan to be effective. Well, there’s a no brainer if I ever heard one. It’s just reality that most of us have longer lists of things to accomplish on our prep plan than we have yet to do. I am with you brothers. You are not alone in the prepper wilderness.
Also Read: Raising A Prepared Kid
For me, I am the best planner, I create impeccable detailed lists, and am a thinker of things to be done. But I am the worst at doing them in a timely manner. My wife on the other hand is a doer, but plans nothing. Whatever she buys she never reads the owner’s manual, while I pour over one for days. She’ll plan a project, have half the tools needed, and always forget some critical phase of the deed. I hope she doesn’t read this. You’d think we would complement each other, but as you know, it doesn’t work that way. Which one of us is it again that is from Mars?
Again, I think the best most prudent approach is an incremental one. We simply cannot do everything at once anyway, though our thought patterns may be able to work and plan that way. If we continue to postpone the inevitable, we are likely to get caught with our pants down around our ankles with Brian Williams there on the chopper flying overhead, but passing us by.
Also Read: SHTF – Women & Sex
I’ve never had to really survive a tough SHTF yet, but I cannot imagine any part of it being much fun. I had to “survive” nearly a week without air conditioning and electricity from Katrina in August heat. It was grossly unpleasant, but it was only 5 days. What if we had to do endure that for a month, a year, longer? Get your TTPs in order and things will go much easier down the road.
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Technology seems to be something that splits most preppers down the middle. For some, stocking up on all the latest survival gadgets is an essential step to take to ensure preparation for potential apocalypse.