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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Product of the Day

Gerber 46036 Compact Folding Saw

*I've had one of these on my wish list for my BOB for awhile now. Time to get off my butt and buy one.

From the Manufacturer
As pull saws go, Gerber Exchange-A-Blade Saws more than hold their own. The stainless steel blades are as sharp and durable as the dickens, whether you're using the coarse blade on wood or the fine blade on hardwoods or big game bones. After all, they're designed to be 1/3 more efficient than typical handsaws. Include one of these in your gear, and you're good to go.

Tarp Shelters

Tarp TentLight backpackers and hikers often run into a problem when trying to decide what to do about shelter. In some cases building shelters from natural materials can negate the need and the added weight of a tent. However, if you can’t find the appropriate building materials to construct a shelter, not having a tent can turn into a real problem.

Enter the tarp! A good tarp is both lighter and cheaper than the even the lightest of tents and has a number of advantages that make it much more attractive to a light backpacker.

Wilderness Tarp over Hammock

Why Tarps make a good shelter for light hikers and backpackers.

  • Tarps are great in the rain….. No one wants the hassle of setting up a tent in a rainstorm, and building a shelter out of natural materials can take hours. A good tarp can be put up in less than 60 seconds and can help you stay dry until the rain stops.
  • A tarp is far lighter than any other type of backpacking shelter.
  • Tarps are cheaper that tents.
  • When combined with a hammock they make a great outdoor shelter.
  • Tarps are a great backup plan, in case you can’t find natural materials to build a shelter with.
Original: http://offgridsurvival.com/tarpshelter/

Quote of the Day

"Perhaps catastrophe is the natural human environment, and even though we spend a good deal of energy trying to get away from it, we are programmed for survival amid catastrophe."
-Germaine Greer

'Be Very Quiet'

A father and son went hunting together for the first time.
The father said: 'Stay here and be very QUIET. I'll be across the field.'
A few minutes later the father heard a blood curdling scream and ran
back to his son. 'What's wrong?' the father asked. 'I told you to be quiet.'
The boy, bless his heart, answered;
'Look, I was quiet when the snake slithered across my feet.
I was quiet when the bear breathed down my neck.
I didn't move a muscle when the skunk climbed over my shoulder.
I closed my eyes and held my breath when the wasp stung me.
I didn't cough when I swallowed the gnat.
I didn't cuss or scratch when the poison oak started itching.
But when the two squirrels crawled up my pant legs and said,
"Should we eat them here or take them with us?"
Well, I guess I just panicked................'

Got a new flashlight

I've tried to keep a flashlight close at hand for the last few years. I have a cheap led light in every room of my house. I keep a surefire g2 on my nightstand. I keep a 115 lumen led in my bob. I keep an led light in my glove box and a cheapo xenon in my GHB in my trunk. I also put an led light in my wife's glove box. Needless to say I am an advocate of having a source of light handy no matter where you are.

I've also been experimenting with everyday carry lights that I can easily carry in my pocket. After breaking at least 3 of the little keychain LEDs within a few months each I finally gave up on them and got a $3 Rayovac pen light at Wal-Mart. That one actually served me pretty well. If you're on a budget but you need a flashlight that you can easily carry in a pocket I'd recommend that one. I carried it for several months and finally lost it a few months ago. Ever since then I keep finding myself in situations where I reach for my flashlight just to realize that I haven't gotten a new one yet. Finally I stopped at Wal-Mart to pick up another one today. They were out of stock. While I was considering whether or not I should try to track down an "associate" and have them try to find one in the stock room I remembered playing with a Streamlight stylus pen-light at a local police supply store not too long ago.

Off I went to the police supply store. Luckily it's right next door to my regular liquor store. Since I was going to be stopping there anyway it wasn't even out of my way. I walked in, looked around at all of the cool police stuff, got annoyed at the fact that they charge "normal" people $100+ more for their guns than they charge LEOs and finally walked over to the flashlights. The last time I was in here I remember them costing $20. This time they were only $15. Score!

The Streamlight claims to have a 60 hour battery life on it's packaging. That's a non factor to me, though, since I never changed the batteries on my Rayovac. The Rayovac used AA batteries and the Streamlight uses AAAA batteries so if I ever do have to get new ones it will be much more difficult to replace the batteries on the Streamlight. I don't expect to have to change the batteries on this one anytime soon, though, so it's not a big deal to me. One thing I can say about the Streamlight is that it's MUCH brighter. It's also a little bigger. It's thinner but longer. It fits nicely in my pocket, though, so that's pretty irrelevant. It's built a lot sturdier and I can see it lasting significantly longer. Also, the ring with the hook that you hook onto your pocket is replaceable. One thing that annoyed me about the Rayovac is that it was a bit cheap and flimsy and eventually wore out. Being able to replace that will be a nice feature since I probably lost the Rayovac solely because of that hook wearing out.

The Streamlight that I decided on is quite a bit more expensive but it's also a lot more durable. The batteries will be more expensive and harder to replace than the Rayovac's but since the battery life is so ridiculously long it shouldn't be an issue. They both fit nicely into my pocket. As far as I'm concerned everyone should have a small flashlight on them whenever possible. Not everyone can wear a larger sized flashlight in a holster on their belt, though, so a pocket light is really the only option. Those stupid, flimsy, little led keychain lights aren't worth crap in my opinion. If you want something that will last then a Rayovac pen light is a decent option if you're not willing to spend more than a few bucks. If you want something that's really bright, well made and durable then I'd highly recommend the Streamlight. At $15 it's still a lot cheaper than most other decent flashlights on the market.

Original: http://theurbansurvivalist.blogspot.com/2009/01/got-new-flashlight.html

Link of the Day

Misc.Survivalism Generator FAQ


Fairly comprehensive page of generator information.

Audio Podcast: Making Do With What You Have

icon for podpress Episode-116- Making Due With What You Have [38:57m]: Hide Player | Play in Popup | Download

This is my first show after returning from my vacation that ran from Dec. 25th till January 4th. We took that time to go up to our retreat property in Arkansas and do some improvements and got the opportunity to run a bit of a “readiness drill” that we had not planned.

Tune in today to hear…

  • A reminder that I want, enjoy and appreciate your feedback even when you disagree with me
  • Global Warming” strikes again (smirk) the roads in Dallas are iced over and I am broadcasting from home
  • How we dealt with our well being out of service for three days during our vacation
  • Saved by our rain catch system, you learn to appreciate a flushing toilet
  • Using a wheel barrel for additional rain water catching, it worked and it was what we had
  • Building raised beds with native stone (pictures coming soon)
  • Considering a pool, there are more then one advantage to one
  • Thinking about “improvements” the difference between country and city improvements when considering resale value
  • The strawberry tower, an idea that will produce strawberries year round
  • Chery bushes that produce in their first year
  • Cant afford a rain barrel, how about a 10 dollar rubber maid trash can from Walmart
  • Using your mind to improvise what you have on hand and the advantages specific to your situation
  • 100-200 dollars cuts your hot water costs forever
  • Some cool container gardening ideas to get production in any home
  • Cheap grow lights? Check Walmart again, 10 bucks each including bulb and fixtures
  • Consider “dwarf” trees and bushes if you plan to move in the next few years, take your trees with you when you leave

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show.

Original: http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/making-due-with-what-you-hvav

Are you making goals for the new year?

Are you making goals for the new year? If so, I would highly recommend setting a home storage goal for this coming year. Obviously, your goals need to be personalized to your own circumstances and finances, but here are some possibilities:

For the Beginner:
*Save $10 each month towards home storage purchases.
*Save $10 each month towards a financial reserve.
*Complete your water storage (28 days per person).
*Complete your three-month supply.

For the Intermediate:
*Set aside larger amounts for home storage and financial reserves.
*Add monies to your financial reserve in order to have three months' worth.
*Store nine months worth of grains and/or beans for your longer-term supply.
*Rotate your water supply.

For the Expert:
*Inventory and replace items in your three-month, water, financial, and longer-term supply.
*Expand your longer-term supply to include nine months of powdered milk, salt, oil, and/or sugar.
*Expand your financial reserve beyond three months' worth.
*Expand your preparedness supplies to include emergency kits as would be appropriate for your area and circumstances.

As I indicated earlier, this post was written before the Church scooped me. :o) If you want some other ideas for goals, click here to read the suggestions found in this month's Ensign.

Original: http://iprepared.blogspot.com/2009/01/happy-new-year.html

SHTF: Defending Suburban Home

I have been reading a SHTF fiction piece which takes place in an upscale neighborhood in a major metropolitan area.

Defending a neighborhood described in the story is near impossible. I can think of more than a few reasons why.

1) You have to depend upon your neighbors.

I don't know about you, but I don't think many of my neighbors even own a gun, at least not as far as I can tell. I have one neighbor who I know is an avid hunter and owns some sort of a "security supply company" which sells bullet proof vests, body armor, helmets and that sort of thing. Besides what he does, I don't know if anyone else has any other useful experience or supplies.

I would not want to depend upon my neighbors. How many of them are anti-gun? Or believe the "authorities" should handle the problem? Or might report my having "stuff" to the authorities? Or might feel sorry for those willing to steal or kill in our neighborhood because they were "economically distressed"? You can't count on everyone believing and acting the way you do.

I add to this the common line I hear from others about their neighborhoods "Most of my neighbors are vets/blue collar/like minded. I am sure we will stick together". My advice is to guess again unless you have a plan and pseudo-organization in place to defend the neighborhood.

2) Too much property

Most neighborhoods are spread out. They border other neighborhoods full of people you do not know. A high rise, strip mall or apartment complex might be next door to a neighborhood which changes the dynamics in multiple ways.

Are there creeks, woods, fields, or empty lots adjoining your neighborhood? Can you and a handful of other homeowners honestly patrol and effectively cover this type of territory?

Just watching the four sides of your home is enough for one home owner, now try watching all sides of your neighborhood.

3) You say no, the neighbor says yes

So you have a group of neighbors who agree to watch the neighborhood 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You and the guy next door are on sentry duty for the front of the neighborhood. A car rolls up and some young guys says he and his two friends are home from college and want to see his girlfriend. You say no, go home. Your friend wants to get along and says "we didn't discuss this happening. What say we give the kid a break?". While you two are arguing, College Boy and his homies pull 9's and fill you both full of lead.

How about this? A car load pulls up and they are friends of yours. "We know you are prepared, John. Can the family double up with you?". Other guard says "no way", we have enough to deal with. You say its my house.. blah blah blah.

And so it goes. Neighbors who have a casual nod and hello relationship while getting the morning paper are suddenly co-survivalists in an urban compound with nothing in common or plan in place. Recipe for disaster.

4) Too many liabilities

A gang of 10 or so bangers show up and try and raid a few homes. The neighborhood patrol goes out to meet them and when the bangers are surrounded one grabs a little girl as a shielf and hostage. Maybe it is your daughter or your next door neighbors.

Or maybe the bangers go out in a blaze of glory? They fire wildly into the nearby homes, all made of brick and wood, and the rounds tear into whoever and what ever is in their path.

Or maybe they just decide to start burning the close together homes until everyone comes out to get shot or captured?

Regardless, there are too many variables to go wrong in an all out defense.


The only home I would defend would be my own and maybe a few next door neighbors I know very well.

I would also follow my Suburbia Defense Strategy outlined here. It is a longshot but it is better than walking patrol with a bunch of middle aged Rambos on Wisteria Lane.

Other than that, your best bet is to get out of dodge when the time permits.

Original: http://survivalism.blogspot.com/2008/12/shtf-defending-suburban-home.html

SHTF: The Road

Unless you have been under a rock or in your bunker for the past two years, you have heard of The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Forget that it is an Oprah book club book, whatever, rather that it is a masterpiece of literature.

The Road describes a world where everything, all life, people, animals, plants, are dying off after a cataclysmic event. (Although the book does not say, to me it is obvious an extinction event, such as a massive meteorite storm or comet strike has taken place. Other reviewers love to pontificate, incorrectly, that the the story describes "nuclear winter" after a man-made nuclear war).

Amongst this ruin, we have a man and his son, both unnamed, traveling across this blasted and cold land moving south where they hope there is warmer temperatures and food.

The story is about survival, but it is more about love and keeping hope in the darkest of times. Something we here understand and appreciate all too well.

Heavy handedness aside, let's get down to practicality. If you have read The Road, you probably thought what I did - "How could I have survived in that situation?"

As I read The Road, I figured out these few lessons:
- Be prepared - duh. But really prepared with food for several years, ways to grow more and preserve it in adverse conditions, to have a retreat well off the beaten path and obscure from passers by and have plenty of ammo for your weapon.

With that in mind, is there anyway anyone could survive that cold desolate world described in The Road? I'd like to think there is, after all, there were communes and survivors who had not yet degenerated into cannibalism and despicable acts.

To get started..

Don't be a refugee - Lesson one. The Man and Boy are wandering with all their worldly possessions. Around every corner is death and destruction waiting for them. Rather than walking to death, we know to have a retreat ready before the day happens.

Retreat location is everything - we don't know how the disaster took place, but we do know from The Road that pretty much everything above ground was affected. So having an underground shelter would be advantageous. Further, the shelter should not be too far north (colder), near an earthquake zone (falling asteroids could trigger a quake) or near the sea (flooding). So somewhere in the southwest or lower Plain states would be nice.

Our shelter must be over a deep aquifer for our well to go. Something with water for years and unaffected by the elements. So a well is mandatory and having the pump run on wind or another renewable power source is mandatory

Next, our shelter must be large, very large to house what we are going to stock it with.

Food,food,food - the characters in The Road are starving most of the book. We will need to stock our shelter not for a few months, but for years. That means the some sort of list of foods and schedule of consumption:

Year one, two - canned and packaged food.
Year three - long term storage food such as grain, rice, beans, powdered milk, honey, cooking oil.
Year four through seven - more long term grain, powdered milk, honey and oil. Retort foods such as Emergency Essentials, Meals-Ready-To-Eat for variety and as a treat.
Year eight and on - Underground food production garden with grow lights and hydroponics. Continued use of grains. Small scale animal production such as pygmy goats and chickens.

That was my estimate, so I went to the food calculator and entered in my data. Here is what I got..

First, I figured in seven years worth of food with four big people and one little person consuming - so that (7 x 4) + (7 x 1) x the estimated annual amounts.

That would mean
Grains - 9436lbs
Fats (oils, etc) - 413lbs
Beans - 1848lbs
Sugars - 1883lbs
Milk - 2359lbs
Plus a bunch of cooking essentials like baking powder, yeast, salt, etc.

Using this same calculator, I would increase the number of years I plan to stay in the shelter and stock accordingly.

It is a lot to consider, but think about the core food, grain. Only 10K lbs would feed five people for 7 years.

So the shelter has to be huge. I figure that I would have to buy a truckload of grain at a time, although I think a grain truck carries about 20,000 lbs so one would be enough. Just having a place to store it would be a chore.

With food and water covered for our post-The Road world, we need a few other essentials.

Power - Solar is out and the electric grid is down. The wind still blows and wind power may be are only option. We have to keep the wind mills running in all the dust and ash, and discovery will always be a problem. But if the windmills are running outside and our shelter is underground hidden from view, other refugees and bandits will pass them by hopefully and move on.

The windmills would store their power in deep cycle batteries and would power cooking, heating and lights.

The other option would be to have several thousand gallons of propane stored underground around my bunker. It could be used for cooking, heating and powering a generator.

Wood and coal fire would be out as the smoke would have to be expelled and that would attract others.

Washing, toilets and personal hygiene - all I wanted to do when I was reading The Road was the desire to take a shower. Having wash facilities would be crucial as would be toilets. The waste would have to be used for fertilizer in the growth rooms for vegetables and fruit productions.

Water from the bath/shower would be reused for watering the plants. Waste from the animals would be used for earthworm production and fertilizer.

What else would we need? Clothing, including changing sizes for children as they grow. Shoes too.

Vitamins as our diet becomes progressively more limited. Medicine as the chance of minor infections spreading becomes a real issue in our closed bunker environment. Having a sun lamp or tanning bed for artificial sunlight and vitamin D production would help too.

I would want to have at least four or five families in the shelter. We would probably be down there, with very limited exposure to the outside world for 7-10 years judging from the book. At that time, most of the die off would have unfortunately happened and then we could wait for the world to hopefully heal itself.

Could you survive the world of The Road? Most likely not based upon what I read. But thinking about solutions to problems is what we should do and do often. However, some survival situations are simply too big to grasp and plan for.

Original: http://survivalism.blogspot.com/2008/12/shtf-road.html