FlipBoard

Welcome to our new Magazine format! All new content will now be brought to you in this easy, new format. All our older content can still be found by scrolling below. Simply click the ">" to start the magazine and navigate via your arrow keys.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Simple survival.

A sleeping bag, of the "mummy" varie...Image via Wikipedia
Survivalism/preparedness gets pretty complicated, pretty fast. Longs lists of stuff that you need to buy and add to a closet somewhere.

Most survival people are gear heads. We like gns, knives, camping stuff, and we like shopping around for it and buying it. But we all know that you don't need to have all of the gear to be "prepared," and there's a slim chance that you'll ever use some of the common survival gear.

Take main battle rifles as an example. They go with survivalism like peanut butter goes with jelly. Its "the" survivalist weapon--a FAL, M1A, Saiga .308, etc. Something semi auto, with big magazines and in .308. Because you "need" that kind of range and stopping power. Now for the question: When have survivors of any US disaster needed to use an MBR to defend their lives and properties? When have normal civvys needed to take 300 or 400 yard shots at bands of looters or home invaders? I'm not dismissing the MBR, I'm just suggesting that it's probably not a "must have" in order for most people to be prepared.

So, what are the need vs the wants? I'm honestly not sure, and the needs will vary with everyone's situation. I think a good rule of thumb is to think "when would I ever use this?" If the scenario that you come up with involves zombies, alien invaders or is otherwise completely far fetched, you probably don't need it.

When someone asks you about how to prepare, what do you tell them? "Well, you need to put together thirty lists and invest tens of thousands of dollars in equipment just in case?" Probably not. We all realize, somewhere in our heads, that you don't need that much crap to be fairly well prepared.

So, here are a few, fairly small and affordable "baseline" things that anyone can do to be more prepared.
  1. Buy a gun and learn how to shoot. Everyone needs a home defense gun of some kind. If you don't have a gun, you're at the mercy of those who do. If you do have a gun--be it a pump action shotgun, AK-47, handgun, whatever--you can defend yourself and your family. The type isn't especially important, though it needs to be able to drop an invader dead. 
  2. Have a month worth of food storage that's fairly easily transportable and can be eaten with minimal preparation. MREs, backpacking food, crackers, peanut butter, poptarts, canned food, cereals, etc. If you're going to store staples, make sure you have a reliable way to prepare them (plan on having no stove, electricity, natural gas). A month will see you through most of what we're likely to face in North America.
  3. Two weeks worth of water, also in a fairly easily transportable form.
  4. Keep your gas tanks filled up and store some spare gasoline.
  5. Have a first aid kit and take some basic first aid training.
  6. Get a tent that your whole family could sleep in, blankets and sleeping bags.
  7. Have some emergency cash savings at home.
  8. Store some basic supplies (food, water, first aid, wool blanket, repair tools) in each vehicle.
  9. Carry some basic gear with you on a daily basis (emergency cash, pocket knife or multitool, water bottle, CCW).
  10. Have a bug out bag or 72 hour kit ready to go; a change of clothes, scans of important docs, etc.

Got any other suggestions for basic survival "must haves"? Comment away.