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Monday, December 30, 2013


The National Self Reliance Organization (NSRO) sponsors the Self-Reliance Expos. The expo returned this year to Denver, Colorado on October 4-5, 2013. I also toured the prior Denver Self-Reliance Expo on Sep. 16-17, 2011 here and one last year (May 18-19, 2012) in Colorado Springs. Prior expos have been held in Salt Lake City, Utah (October 7-8, 2011), and during 2012 at Dallas, TX (July 27-28), Hickory, North Carolina (September 14-15) and Mesa, Arizona (October 26-27). Upcoming expos in 2014 will be held in Mesquite, Texas and back in Denver, Colorado. The next upcoming expo is featured here.

As usual, several of the vendors at the expo were SurvivalBlog advertisers. d

Multiple Expo Vendors

These expos showcase a diverse assortment of avid and amiable survival, self-reliance and preparedness presenters and vendors. Many of the companies showing their wares and services there are devoted SurvivalBlog advertisers and readers. I enjoyed meeting several new vendors for the first time as well as those who had been at the September 2011 Denver expo or May 2012 Colorado Springs expo or both. The vendors listed in this paragraph have had a presence at this expo as well as the prior two we've reported on. (Note that some of the vendors listed were listed on the web site, but might not have made it to the show.) Chelsea Green Publishing is always adding new titles to their books on sustainable living, such as From the Wood-Fired Oven New and Traditional Techniques for Cooking and Baking with Fire. Backwoods Home Magazine continues to add new issues which build on their  and popular back issue inventory; we appreciate Dave Duffy's welcoming hospitality and enthusiasm at these shows. Other returning vendors included: American Preppers Network (self-reliance education), Daily Bread (food storage, including freeze dried), DoTerra (doTERRA essential oils), EnerHealth Botanicals (cocoa, coconut milk, meal powder, etc.), Life Sprouts (sprouters with a diverse assortment of sprouting seeds), Directive 21/LPC Survival (water filtration, storage and many other survival products), New Millennium Concepts (Berkey water purifiers), Project Appleseed (Revolutionary War Veterans Association, marksmanship clinics), School of Natural Healing (herbalist education, courseware), Shelf Reliance - THRIVE (food storage, racks, emergency kits), Solar Gadgets (solar phone chargers, flashlights), Sun Oven (solar cooking appliances; they introduced a new model of their popular solar oven, which features sun tracking indicators, larger size to handle larger baking pans, thicker glass, a leveling rack that hangs to minimize spills, and a wind-resistant alignment leg with ground stakes), and 4 Everlight- UV Paqlite (reusable glow sticks--these have been mentioned by several SurvivalBlog readers, and reviewed by Pt Cascio.).

Double Expo Vendors

The vendors listed in this section were attendees of the Colorado Springs 2012 expo as well as this most recent Denver 2013 event. In the arena of Alternate Energy, Lighting and Fuel, returning vendors included ARC Solar Systems (compact portable power systems with a flexible PV component that rolls up into a storage cylinder slightly larger than a sleeping bag) and GO Solar (portable solar power systems). Currency and Exchange exhibitors included Ann Haney Ministries (Living In Abundance Couponing and Swiss America (gold, coins). In the Education, books and media category, we saw returning exhibitors American Preppers Network (self-reliance education), Doom And Bloom (medical preparedness; Survival Medicine Handbook), and Sea Cadets (US Navy cadet programs). Food, Food storage, stores, and distributors were represented by Grandma's Country Foods (foods, spices, milk, preparedness, storage containers, kitchen appliances, contract packaging), My Patriot Supply (heirloom seeds/seed vaults, water, fire, food, survival gear, canning, books), Texas Ready (Liberty seed banks), and Tower Garden (aeroponic vertical gardening system). Shelter and Real Estate entries featured Cedar Log Systems (custom designed cedar log homes). In the Weapons and Defense department, there was Snake Blocker (knives, clothing, DVDs).

A few vendors were at both the Denver expos (2011 and 2013) we've reviewed but not the 2012 Colorado Springs expo reviewed here. These include: Tattler Reusable Canning Lids and Ullrich Insurance.

New Vendors

Numerous new vendors to the expo (at least new relative to those we've reported on within prior expo reviews in SurvivalBlog.) They included: A&E Building Systems (energy efficient building products), Angry American, Aircraft (ArtCraft?) Sports, Atlas Survival Shelter, Attack Pak (balanced load distribution packs/kits), Bar-Ricade (door security bars), Bear Claw Sharpening (tool, saw, knife, scissor sharpening), Big Smoke (Primitive Fire Making), Bill of Rights Press, Bridgford (meat and breads), Ceres Greenhouse (greenhouse renovations, controls, monitoring, consultation), Coast 2 Coast Communications, Colorado Aquaponics (sustainable fish/plant permaculture food production systems), Colorado Custom Sheds (serving Denver metro area), Colorado Cylinder Stoves (collapsable pack/tent stoves, accessories), Colorado Log Furniture Company, Colorado Mountain Man (budget survival/emergency preparedness items), Colorado Safe Outlet (gun safes), Colorado Solar Energy (alternative energy solutions), Coyote RV Inc./Phoenix Pop Up (Custom Campers), Doomsday Preppers Casting, Dragon Heaters (low emissions, high efficiency Wood Burning Rocket Stoves and Heaters), Family Shooting Center, Farris Survival (food, medical kits, water filters), Free Water Systems (rain capture equipment), Genesis Communications Network, Grape Solar (portable power, appliances, small off-grid, residential solar), Greg Brophy For GovernorHandy Sharp (pocket sharpener, magnesium fire starter), Hayes Military Outdoor (1911 pistol grips, camping and survival products, canteen and hydration systems), Health Force Nutritionals (superfoods, rejuvenation, longevity, immunity, cleaning, detoxification, education), Hesperian Health Guides (nonprofit health information and health education source), John Pierre (nutrition & fitness consultant), Just Water (Emergency, Disaster, and Survival Water Filters), Legacy Tractor, Life Straw, Lights Out Saga (motion picture), Liteye Systems (high resolution head mounted displays, micro imaging viewfinders, thermal surveillance systems), LS Tractor (compact and utility tractors, attachments, service), Lustre Craft (waterless, lifetime warranty cookware), Manifold Design and Development (certified passive house consultant), Midsouth Gold (gold, silver, platinum), MinuteMan Rx (life saving medical products used in battlefield or first-responder situations), Modern Harvest (canning labels and jar accessories), Peak 10 Publishing LLC (informational guides/videos on Survivalist, DIY Energy, Health and Financial topics), Penguin Publishing, Protec Sales, Provident Metals, Ready Made Water (home water storage), Republic Monetary Exchange (Gold, Silver, Gold IRAs), Rescue Tape, So Delicious Dairy Free (coconut milk), Top Pack Gear (emergency preparedness kits), Right to Thrive (Front Range backyard farms), Rockin Feet (liquid orthotics), Rocky Mountain Miners, Shelter Works (organic wall/building materials: insulated wood chip-cement forms), Silverfire (very efficient, clean-burning stoves), SunReady Power (portable solar power systems in rugged transportable trunks), Thrive Life (food, food rotation, food storage, emergency preparedness), Tony Dardano, US Navy - Sea Cadets, Vitamix (blender/food appliance), Water Pure Technologies (water storage/treatment kits, accessories), Wilderness Medicine Outfitters (classes: first responder, first aid, specialty), Youngevity (nutritional products), and Young Living (essential oils).

Upcoming Expos

The next scheduled Self-Reliance Expos will be at the Mesquite Convention Center, Texas, April 4-5, 2014 and also back again in Denver at the same venue as this year's event at the National Western Complex, Denver Colorado, Nov 7-8, 2014. These are worthy pilgrimages for anyone within driving distance to these events.

Exhibitors for the next expo (April 4-5, 2014 Mesquite Convention Center, TX) include - lots of familiar vendors and a few new ones: American Preppers NetworkDoom and BloomdoTerraEnerHealth BotanicalsHarvestRight (geodesic domes and portable shelters), LPC Survival (Berkey Water Systems, accessories, food storage, heirloom seed banks, books, mills, tools, etc.), MinuteMan RxNew Millennium Concepts (Berkey water purifiers), Project AppleseedSchool of Natural HealingStorm DormsSwiss America (precious metals, numismatics), Vitamix (high end blender/food appliance), and Young Living.

- L.K.O. (SurvivalBlog's Central Rockies Regional Editor)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Mayflower Trading Company has kindly donated several prizes to add to the Third Prize package, for Round 49 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest, et sequitur. These are: A Nesco / American Harvest Gardenmaster Dehydrator with an extra set of trays, and the book The Dehydrator Bible. These prizes have a combined value of $210. This brings the combined value of the top three prizes to more than $6,000!

Round 49 begins today and will end on November 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

The following is the first article for the Round 49 judging:


Monday, September 30, 2013


Hello Mr. Rawles,
Just a note of thanks to you and your site for leading me to Todd Savage at Survival Retreat Consulting (SRC.)

I read your novel Patriots and that gave me the incentive I needed to pursue a retreat for my family.  I researched the means available to obtain my retreat and that included SRC's ad on your SurvivalBlog.com site.  I was impressed with Todd's well thought out process and the advantage that his own experience in making the journey with his own family brought to the process.  With your recommendation as a tail wind, I hired Todd and I can truly say it was one of the best decisions I have made.
 
Thanks to Todd's diligent efforts, my family now has a retreat in the American Redoubt that is custom-tailored to my family's needs.  But beyond the just the property search itself [which included hours and hours of his videotaping], Todd then introduced me to competent and trustworthy people to assist us with all of our retreat needs [from solar energy providers, electricians, IT specialists, nurseries and pond excavators to name a few.]  His wife met with my wife and was kind enough to answer all of her questions from wood cook stoves to organic gardening and pest control.  To top it off, our families gathered for our first American Redoubt barbecue.
 
Kudos to Todd Savage at Survival Retreat Consulting and kudos to you, Mr. Rawles, for your selection of an excellent site sponsor. - Tom  X. (Formerly of California)

JWR Replies: I do indeed recommend Todd's services. Readers might be interested in Todd's new affiliated real estate agency: AmericanRedoubtRealty.com


Thursday, September 19, 2013


A reminder:

Pantry Paratus is excited to celebrate our second year on as an e-store.  We are looking to expand our digital marketing appeal with real pictures; so in order to do that we are hosting our first annual 2013 photo contest to celebrate all the harvest of this season's bounty.  All the official rules are here, but the basics are these:
-all photos must be original work and submitted to photocontest@pantryparatus.com between Friday, September 6th and Friday, September 20th.
-there are two categories: "Canning" and "Food Preservation."  The first one is easy to define, but the second one can be anything from saving seeds to rendering lard to making jerky--surprise us!
-We have one grand prize winner ($200 of selected merchandise) and one First place winner ($150 of selected merchandise), one second place winner ($100 of selected merchandise) and one third place winner ($50 of selected merchandise) for each category.  There will be seven big winners in all!
-Since people tend to be private about their food supply, people need only supply their name (any name will do really) and a valid email address so if they win we can contact them--or else the contest is pointless, right?
-one entry per person, per email, per category  (e.g. John Smith can submit one (1) entry for "Canning" and one (1) entry for "Food Preservation" from johnsmith@emailaddress.com).


Saturday, September 7, 2013


I just received this announcement:

Pantry Paratus is excited to celebrate our second year on as an e-store.  We are looking to expand our digital marketing appeal with real pictures; so in order to do that we are hosting our first annual 2013 photo contest to celebrate all the harvest of this season's bounty.  All the official rules are here, but the basics are these:
-all photos must be original work and submitted to photocontest@pantryparatus.com between Friday, September 6th and Friday, September 20th.
-there are two categories: "Canning" and "Food Preservation."  The first one is easy to define, but the second one can be anything from saving seeds to rendering lard to making jerky--surprise us!
-We have one grand prize winner ($200 of selected merchandise) and one First place winner ($150 of selected merchandise), one second place winner ($100 of selected merchandise) and one third place winner ($50 of selected merchandise) for each category.  There will be seven big winners in all!
-Since people tend to be private about their food supply, people need only supply their name (any name will do really) and a valid email address so if they win we can contact them--or else the contest is pointless, right?
-one entry per person, per email, per category  (e.g. John Smith can submit one (1) entry for "Canning" and one (1) entry for "Food Preservation" from johnsmith@emailaddress.com).


Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Jim:

I'm planning to get the "Rawles Gets You Ready Preparedness Course." Does it have any details on the shelf lives of foods like beans, rice, canned goods, and vitamins?

Thanks So Much, - K.S.

JWR Replies: Yes, and in fact the shelf life appendix (in tabular format) is quite extensive, spanning 15 pages. You can of course print out a hard copy, for your reference binder.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Mr. Rawles:
If I get the downloadable "Rawles Gets You Ready Preparedness Course" can I print out a copy for my reference binder? Is that considered okay? (I have a giant binder with 4" rings that my husband got in the Navy that we use for all our prepping references, except for recipes.)
With My Regards, - Sheila C.

JWR Replies: Yes, since you are legitimately downloading it, you are welcome to print out a reference copy for your own use.


Friday, July 5, 2013


Ten years ago, my wife and I, as young newlyweds, were living the American dream. Our future was bright. While my wife earned a lucrative salary and I built a successful online business, we were on the road to success.  Our urban lifestyle provided us with everything our hearts desired.  In 2006 everything changed.  With the collapse of the housing bubble and the economy in a tailspin, we woke up to the fact that our easy urban lifestyle was fragile and dependent on factors far outside of our control.  We began to be alarmed at the precariousness of our current situation. We asked ourselves what we would do if the economy continued to deteriorate and we could no longer depend on the comfortable income we had so long enjoyed.  We considered our options and tried to determine what we could do to lessen our dependency on others and build in security for our family’s future.  After much prayer, we decided to radically change our way of life. We put our house up for sale and resolved to move to a remote location and become modern homesteaders. 

Our first step was to find a suitable location. Every weekend we loaded up the van and started looking for off-grid properties.  With an eye towards self-reliance we determined our future property must include four things: 1) a reliable water supply independent from municipal sources; 2) a climate that would support growing our own food; 3) an adequate forest that could provide firewood for heat and lumber for building material; 4) a defendable property far enough from major cities to be safe from the influx of an urban exodus in the case of natural or man-made disaster.  We decided on an area east of the Cascade Mountains in the heart of the Pacific Northwest.

After years of searching we found what we considered to be the perfect location for our future off-grid homestead.  We purchased the land and set to work.  Our new property was bare, forested land. Having a background in construction and site development, I was undaunted by the scope of work needing to be performed.  Clearing land, logging, construction, building roads, installing septic systems and water wells were within my scope of abilities.

Before we started we had resolved to build out of pocket and complete the job debt free.  We had made the necessary preparation and everything was accounted for and a go. What we didn’t consider were the road blocks about to be put up before us by the county building department and the dramatic increase in the cost of building materials. I have been in construction for a long time and am familiar with building department requirements, engineering, and the inspection process.  Very early on I began to sense a perceptible resistance by the building department to sign off on our building plans. It seemed to me we were trying to hit a moving target with continuous requests for changes in engineering and permitting requirements.  I cannot say with certainty that the building department was actively trying to make our life difficult. I think perhaps our project was so far out of their general scope of knowledge that they were reluctant to give approval over fear they may become liable for unforeseen problems in the future.

With the cost of development skyrocketing and the demands of the building department becoming ever more difficult we were quickly reaching the point of no return.  We were faced with a very difficult decision: Do we continue to bang our heads against this proverbial wall or cut our losses; take the remaining money we still had; and purchase a homestead with an intact infrastructure? The thought of pulling up stakes and starting over was heartrending. We had already invested thousands of dollars clearing timber, building roads, and installing a septic system and fresh-water well. We had fallen in love with our future home site and developed relationships with neighbors that continue to this day.

With time and money running low a decision had to be made. We pulled the plug, loaded up the van and hit the road searching for a place we could call home.  I believe my wife and I looked at every  property for sale in the county. Toward the end of a long day of searching we came over a rise in the road and were treated to a spectacular view of the Cascade Mountains.  My wife motioned to me to stop!  To our left stood an old "for sale" sign and a promising homestead property with a modest house and several barns and out- buildings.  We immediately got out of the van and investigated the property. We quickly realized it had everything we had been looking for: strategic location, favorable climate, ample water, timber and nearly move-in ready.  I’m not going to go into the long and arduous process we went through to purchase our homestead, but to make a long story short, we now call it home.

Preparing for the Future.
In late November we took position of the property and moved in. The homestead had been abandoned and was in pretty rough shape. Winter was bearing down upon us and a lot of work needed to be done. Time was running short and the harsh winter snows were looming on the horizon. With my family living onsite in my parents’ fifth-wheel trailer we started to work.  It was as if we had been thrust back into the 19th century.  We had no heat or water in the house. Pipes had frozen and burst. The woodstove was so old and worn that it was no longer safe to use; which would not have helped much anyway since we had no firewood.  This experience was very eye-opening for our family. I was amazed how dependent we had become on modern conveniences like warm water, a furnace with a thermostat, and grocery stores so close that a person need not worry about food storage or maintaining a pantry.  The hardships of our first winter were a disguised blessing. We began to realize many short comings and vulnerabilities in our preparations. It has been said that every boxer has a plan until he gets hit in the nose. Our noses had been bloodied and we resolved our second winter would not be a repeat of the first. 

We needed a plan. My wife and I counseled together to determine our most pressing needs.  As an avid outdoors man I learned and at early age the four things one does if lost in the wilderness: 1) build a shelter; 2) provide a source of heat; 3) secure water; 4) find food.  With a sturdy house and a dry roof we moved to step 2 - provide heat and warmth. We purchased a used woodstove and chimney pipe and installed them in the front room.  With perseverance, determination, and a lot of very wet firewood we had a reasonably warm house.  Just when our conditions started to improve a severe ice storm knocked out our power for nine days.  With the well pump out-of-service we were forced to devise a water source that could operate independent from the power grid.  How difficult it is for the modern mind to shift from the conventional way of doing things.  If you need to pump water you have two options, correct? Either you use an electric or a gasoline powered pump. With the electricity to our home shut off this left only one alternative.  With the nearest gas station many miles away down a treacherous ice-covered road, running a generator 24 hours a day is a less than ideal solution.  One of the most important lessons homesteading has taught me is to stop trying to reinvent the wheel and to look to the old ways of getting a job done.  I searched the internet for an alternative approach to our water problem. Lo and behold I found a 16th Century solution to a 21st Century problem, the ram pump.

YouTube is a modern homesteader’s best friend.  By watching several videos I learned how to build a simple pump constructed of common plumbing supplies that operates on the kinetic energy of falling water. We now had a solution to our water emergency.  By combining this simple pump with a small water tower, we were able to provide water for drinking as well as an adequate supply for irrigating our garden.  I’m not suggesting our grandfathers had all the solutions but much can be gleaned from their past experience and the solutions they devised for similar problems we face today. It seems to me that the modern homesteader who combines the old-tried and true techniques with modern technology can devise simple and robust solutions for nearly any problem. 

With shelter, heat, and water issues sorted we began to look at our food supply. Our first spring was fast approaching as we planned our garden.  We homestead in an alpine forested area where we need to protect our garden from deer and elk. We settled on an area close to the house and began the construction of an 8 foot high perimeter fence and headed down the road to food independence

Fast forward a year and a half.  Life on the homestead is much different.  We have learned a great deal.  My father used to say that it’s amazing how much a man can get done when he has to. This has certainly been true for our homestead experience.

JWR Adds: Be sure to follow their homesteading adventures, videoblogged at Wranglerstar.com.


Monday, June 10, 2013


I heard that fellow blogger Ron (a.k.a. "The Orange Jeep Dad") will soon be leaving Phoenix, Arizona and moving his wife and family (they have six daughters) to their old family farm in Oklahoma. Established in the late 1800s, it has been abandoned since the 1980s when his grandfather became ill. Ron promises to blog about the entire adventure and include videos of how he and his family learn to farm, raise livestock, homestead, and homeschool. We wish Ron and his family the best for their move. Their new life will be quite a ride. And as one who has been living in the hinterboonies and homeschooling my kids for many years, I can say most assuredly: He won't regret it! Be sure to bookmark Ron's site, and check it often.


Thursday, August 16, 2012


Hi Mr. Rawles,
To start, your site has been an inspiration to many people, myself included.  I am a firefighter here in Indiana and what I've noticed is there are so many different places to get info, some good some bad, but it is tough to get some centralized information for local training's.  We started a Meetup group in Central Indiana that is growing fast and it is not a monetary site or a forum, just a centralized place to post training events and meetups around the area.  You are one of the main sites we encourage all of our members to go to for Internet Information and News.  We do not profit at all will list any businesses as a site sponsor for free.  Thanks for your help and thanks for your awesome site.  -W.A.


Friday, May 25, 2012


Following two previously-mentioned Self-Reliance Expos in Denver, Colorado (September 16-17, 2011 (see the SurvivalBlog review here) and Salt Lake City, Utah (October 7-8, 2011), the National Self Reliance Organization (NSRO) began it's 2012 season with another weekend expo in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Returning Vendors

This expo again showcased a variety of enthusiastic and friendly survival, self-reliance and preparedness vendors and presenters. Many of the companies there are loyal SurvivalBlog advertisers. I enjoyed meeting many new vendors in person for the first time as well as those who had been at the September expo as well.

Among vendors returning to the expo with new offerings, Pantry Paratus added a new cheesemaking line to their existing product roster. Chelsea Green Publishing added several new titles to their books on sustainable living, including The Art of Fermentation, The Natural Building Companion, The Holistic Orchard, and The Small-Scale Poultry Flock. And of course our friends at Backwoods Home Magazine has added new issues which will now join the ranks with their extensive and popular back-issue inventory.

Other returning vendors included: American Preppers Network (self-reliance education), AquaPail (gravity-fed portable water treatment systems), Daily Bread (food storage, including freeze dried), DoTerra (dōTERRA essential oils), Emergency and Disaster Prep (food storage products for all types of personal crisis & disasters, backup & emergency power systems), EnerHealth Botanicals (cocoa, coconut milk, meal powder, etc.), FalloutX (radioactivity mitigation), Forge Survival Supply (Survival Cache gear), G & R Foods Inc. (nutritional powders, storable/canned foods, shredded cheeses), Humless (compact portable pure sine inverters with a generous assortment of output connectors), Life Sprouts (sprouters with a diverse assortment of sprouting seeds), LPC Survival (water filtration, storage and many other survival products), National Geographic (film crew for 'Doomsday Preppers' episode interviewing exhibitors and presenters), New Millennium Concepts (water purifiers), Project Appleseed (Revolutionary War Veterans Association, marksmanship clinics), School of Natural Healing (herbalist education, courseware), Shelf Reliance (food storage, racks, emergency kits), Solar Gadgets (solar phone chargers, flashlights), Sun Oven (solar cooking appliances), Ullrich Insurance (broker for various insurance companies), and UV Paqlite (reusable glow sticks).

New Vendors

I counted 39 new vendors, compared with 24 returning ones, so the NSRO expo venue is definitely growing and gaining momentum. In the arena of Alternate Energy, Lighting and Fuel, new vendors included ARC Solar Systems (compact portable power systems with a flexible PV component that rolls up into a storage cylinder slightly larger than a sleeping bag), InstaFire (storage fire starter/fuel), GO Solar (portable solar power systems), SoCal Flashlights LLC (Olight Brand Flashlights), and Survival Bottle (Instafire, flashlights, Legacy food storage, water bottles).

Currency and Exchange exhibitors included Ann Haney Ministries (Living In Abundance Couponing and Swiss America (precious metals).

In the Education, books and media category, we saw new exhibitors Colorado Springs Preppers (a local prepper network; also see American Preppers Network for more self-reliance education), Doom And Bloom (medical preparedness; Survival Medicine Handbook), The Survival Mom (book, a variety of survival products, online classes), Equip 2 Endure (Survival training courses, books), Richard Two Elk - Digital Video (Recording, editing, DVD authoring), Sea Cadets (Naval cadet programs), and Survival Quarterly Magazine (Survival magazine and DVDs. The magazine is edited by Karen Hood, the widow of the late Ron Hood).

Food, Food storage, stores, and distributors were represented by Everest Mountain Foods (freeze-dried and other foods), Freeze Dry Guy (Emergency Prep, Survival Food, Dehydrated Food, Camping Food, MREs), Grandma's Country Foods (foods, spices, milk, preparedness, storage containers, kitchen appliances, contract packaging), JarBOX (canning jar storage systems), Mace Enterprises, LLC - Legacy Premium - Lindon Farms (long-term emergency food storage; 801-369-8887. This brand is carried by several SurvivalBlog advertisers.), My Patriot Supply - Matt Redhawk (heirloom seeds/seed vaults, water, fire, food, survival gear, canning, books), Nova Chocolate (long term storage chocolate), Nutriom (Ova Easy storage eggs - low temperature process), The Pikes Peak Beekeepers Association (local, regional and national apiculture resources), Ready Reserve Foods (emergency preparedness products, disaster survival food and water supplies, ammo. Author's note: these folks have a long track record; their "squirrel logo" cans have been part of our family food storage for decades), Texas Ready (Liberty seed banks), and Tower Garden/Juice Plus (aeroponic vertical gardening system).

The new Health and Medicine vendors were AED Everywhere - Cardiac Science (Automated External Defibrillators), Austere Medical & Practical Preparedness Project (AMP-3 Medical kits & specialty gear), and Washington Homeopathic (Homeopathic remedies).

Shelter and Real Estate entries expanded with Cedar Log Systems (custom designed cedar log homes), Crazy Woman Realty (Buyer's Real Estate Agent), Growing Spaces (Geodesign Greenhouse kits - Author's note: I helped assemble one of these well-made kits for a friend many years ago who knew of my previous experience as an owner-builder of a (now-defunct brand, Cathedralite) dome home kit, in the 1970s. In addition to these and the monolithic domes noted below, (permanent and temporary) geodesic shelter companies such as Pacific Domes and DomeGuys International are worthy of consideration), Monolithic Domes (dome homes), Security Disaster Shelters (Single and Multi Unit Disaster Shelters), and The Shed Yard (Storage sheds, gazebos, garages).

In the Weapons and Defense department, there was OD Green Ammo Supply (303-941-8233), Hickman Rifles LLC (handguns, rifles, shotguns, custom weapons), and Snake Blocker (knives, clothing, DVDs).

The next scheduled Self-Reliance Expo will be in Dallas, Texas, July 27-28, 2012; a worthy pilgrimage for anyone within driving distance. Other expos will held be Hickory, North Carolina (September 14-15) and Mesa, Arizona (October 26-27.) The upcoming Dallas expo is featured here.

- L.K.O. (SurvivalBlog's Central Rockies Regional Editor)


Monday, October 10, 2011


As many of you know, Jan LeBaron, proprietress of Healthy Harvest, died suddenly on September 18th.  Jan touched each of our lives in a unique way through her friendship and her work at Healthy Harvest.  In order to honor her and have an opportunity for closure due to her untimely death, a small group of us decided to organize a simple event for those who would like to gather and reminisce about Jan.  This may also be a great networking opportunity as Jan was always encouraging people to connect and network with new people.   Whether you were an acquaintance or a friend, please join us for an evening of visiting and reminiscing about Jan.  There will be a potluck gathering in the gymnasium at Crossroads Community Church, 7708 NE 78th Street, Vancouver, Washington on Sunday, October 16th at 5:00pm.  If your last name begins with A-M please bring a main dish to share.  If your last name begins with N-Z please bring a salad or dessert to share.  Beverages and plates/utensils/cups will be provided. Please forward this e-mail to any of your contacts who knew Jan, and ask them to do the same, so that we can spread the word. To obtain a head count, please RSVP the number of people attending via e-mail to: froggyfriend23@yahoo.com  


Thursday, April 7, 2011


James:
To follow up on the recent Letter Re: Internet Resources on Preparedness and Self-Sufficiency, I'd like to recommend some more great resource web sites with free, no-copyright files that would be of interest to those who are studying preparedness and self-sufficiency:

With My Regards, - C.D.V.


Sunday, February 27, 2011


I was tickled to see that SurvivalBlog was named as a recipient of a Stylish Blogger award by Judy of the Consent of the Governed blog.

This is a great exercise in fun and mutual back-scratching. Of course, as with any of these blog awards, there are rules. The “rules” that come along with this award designation are (1) I must divulge seven things about myself, and then (2) pay the Stylish Blogger Award forward to fifteen other blogs.

So here are seven things about me…

1.) I'm so secretive about the location of the Rawles Ranch that many of my friends don't know where it is. Nor my literary agent. Nor my book editors. Nor the movie and television producers. They simply don't have a "need to know" unless they come to visit. (And if you are wondering, no, I don't make them wear blindfolds.)

2.) I have a mania for collecting and restoring 1930s to 1950s vintage All-American Five vacuum tube AM-Shortwave radios that can operate on both AC and DC.

3.) I no longer rent table space at gun shows. But I still prowl the aisles at shows as far away as the SAR show in southern Arizona.

4.) Our family has a morning Bible study six days a week. I have found that it is an edifying way to both educate my children Biblically, add to my own knowledge, solidify our relationships, and prepare ourselves for turbulent coming events.

5.) I watch the movies Big Trouble in Little China and Groundhog Day at least once a year.

6.) Many of the plot details and the dialogue in my novels come to me in dreams. When get to a point where I'm stuck in writing, I just suggest to myself that I dream it, that night.

7.) I cannot ice skate or roller skate. (Thankfully, that is rarely required as a survival skill.)

Here are my Stylish Blogger Award honorees (in no particular order):


Saturday, December 19, 2009


James Wesley:
The often-quoted prognosticator Gerald Celente (of The Trends Research Institute) is predicting that the Survivalist movement will go mainstream next year. In a recent issue of The Trends Journal, he wrote:

"Back in the Cold War days, survivalism meant building a bomb shelter and stocking it with enough food to outlast nuclear fallout.

In the late 1970’s, with inflation soaring, Iran raging, and gold and oil prices skyrocketing, survival meant cashing out of paper money and heading for the hills with enough ammunition and pork & beans to wait out the economic and political storms.

In 2000, the Y2K crowd – the most recent breed of survivalists – expecting computer clocks to crash, infrastructure to break down and the world to go dark, were armed and barricaded with enough food to feed an army and enough ammunition to hold one off.

In 2010, survivalism will go mainstream. Unemployed or fearing it, foreclosed or nearing it, pensions lost and savings gone … all sorts of folk who once believed in the system, having witnessed its battering, have lost their faith.

The realities of failing financial institutions, degrading infrastructure, manipulated marketplaces, soaring energy costs, widening wars, and terror consequences have created a new breed of survivalist. Motivated not by worst-case scenario fears but by do-or-die necessity, the new non-believers, unwilling to go under or live on the streets, will devise ingenious stratagems to beat the system, get off the grid (as much as possible), and stay under the radar."

Well, it seems every good social movement deserves its day, and we are finally getting ours. Let's just hope that we don't get tarred with the same brush as the assorted Neo-Nazi/Skinhead/Racist/KKK/Anti-Semite fringe element types, as well as the relative handful of "Gray Aliens Abducted My Baby" types and "Its the End of the Mayan Calendar" Mystics. Knowing the tendencies of the Mainstream Media, they probably will try do do precisely that, by interviewing a few way-out-there whackos, and then attempting to portray them as "typical" survivalists. Lord help us. - Hal F.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Dear James,
In response to the person who asked about military manuals, most (at least US Army) are available online for free, from the following sources:

GlobalSecurity.org

The site has lots of military and world sitrep information updated constantly.

The Federation of American Scientists has tons of military hardware systems information. The pictures are useful for recognizing and there is data on each system's performance, purpose and use.

Also, the US Army maintains the General Dennis J. Reimer Training and Doctrine Digital Library at Fort Eustis, Virginia. It used to be mostly open access, but I believe it's changed to a more restrictive system. It's worth a look. FM 5-103 Survivability is great reading, very informative. One of my favorites! - R. in NH <><


Hi JWR,
The link which an earlier reader posted to Steve's Pages has an excellent copy of FM 3-105 Survivability. This copy has high resolution graphics which are readable, unlike many versions online.

The PDF of the Joint Forward Operations Base Force Protection Handbook and has more modern (Operation Enduring Freedom) knowledge on force protection. Kind Regards, - Craig


Dear Jim,
SurvivalBlog readers can find fairly new versions of all the field manuals you mentioned - FM 7-8, FM 5-15, and especially, FM 5-103 - online at Scribd.com. It is free to register there and you can download these manuals in either text or PDF formats.

The March 2007 version of FM 7-8, Infantry Platoon and Squad, is also numbered as FM 3-21.8. I just downloaded it all 602 pages of it as a PDF. If you only have dial-up, you may want to look for a printed copy as it is a 54 MB file. Thanks for all you do. - John in Waynesville, North Carolina


Sunday, February 15, 2009


I'd like to extend an invitation to SurvivalBlog readers to visit the Baen's Bar Forums, hosted by the sci-fi publisher Baen Books. My forum there has ongoing, detailed discussions of ARs, Mausers, handgun choices, and preparedness, mostly for natural disasters. There are also shameless plugging of my books (since it's my forum). Be forewarned that there is some off-color language--PG-13, not R, and the religion and politics of members varies greatly, though there are other fora we send them to for those arguments. Registration is free, private and not shared.

My subforum is "Mike's Madhouse," and there are a variety of other fora of interest on the site. - Michael Z. Williamson


Thursday, February 12, 2009


Earlier this month, I posted Etienne's guest post Seeking/Starting a Survival Retreat in Virginia / Maryland / Pennsylvania / West Virginia. Today, I had lunch with Etienne de la Boetie and another prepper here in Loudoun County [, Virginia]. We had a long discussion about survival retreats vs neighborhood survival. Etienne is a big fan of the survival retreat concept. He previously had a retreat where he did not own the land but where he was able to store a travel trailer recreational vehicle in which he pre-positioned various preps and supplies. Unfortunately, his friend moved and sold the property. There are four major flaws in the survival retreat separate from your home concept:

  1. There are significant liabilities and social problems with communal retreats where one does not own the property - you are vulnerable to the actions of the others, particularly the property owner.
  2. Property left at unattended retreats is vulnerable to theft and vandalism. This is going to be a growing problem as the economic depression gets worse, especially if we have economic collapse.
  3. Getting to the retreat would be problematic in the event that it is actually needed - particularly in martial law scenarios where the military and law enforcement block traffic at key intersections or in cases where there are fuel shortages.
  4. Relatively undeveloped retreats with a trailer and undeveloped land may not be sufficiently developed for long-term survival and offer insufficient space for storage of the various preps and other items you need. Many of these items would likely be at your day-to-day residence and you cannot assume that you can transport everything at the last minute.

My view is that survival retreats only work if you live there full-time. Furthermore, although remote locations are further removed from the masses, they are also further removed from jobs, markets, customers, hospitals, and many other useful infrastructure and will be harder pressed to gather a sufficiently large group to cover all of the tasks needed in a true long-term survival scenario. Even the best special forces operator cannot defend his property 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Unfortunately, we are rapidly running out of time and it is probably already too late to relocate - especially if relocating means trying to sell your existing home in this real estate environment -- in my neighborhood we haven't had a sale in over eight months and anyone who bought in the last four years and did the traditional 20% down payment fixed 30 year mortgage now has negative equity.

I am a big proponent of the concept that your family, friends, neighbors, and church are your survival group. Yes, I understand that many are unprepared and clueless about both the threats and what they need to do to prepare for them. However, your home is your survival retreat. Strengthen it to the extent you can, but your odds improve exponentially if you can organize your neighborhood and help everyone survive against the threat(s) you are facing in your survival situation. You and those in the group who are better prepared or who have the right skills are the cadre needed to get organized and do what is needed. The rest of the neighborhood are your foot soldiers and do'ers. My philosophy is to lead and organize but that charity starts with those who are willing to help themselves and help the group in the survival situation. In a survival situation, your first challenges are to assess the hazards/priorities/immediate needs, organize the group, secure the neighborhood, and scrounge/barter/trade for needed resources.

Be a leader. There are many things you can do to help develop your neighborhood group of family, friends, neighbors, and fellow church members and increase the odds of the neighborhood surviving:

  • Get to know them.
  • Have potluck dinners.
  • Help them wake up and prepare.
  • Start a garden club to help start victory gardens.
  • Start a community watch program for your neighborhood.
  • Give them a copy of Chris Martenson's Crash Course on the economy DVD. I bought a case of 30 and gave them as 2008 Christmas gifts.
  • Give copies of Holly Deyo's book Dare to Prepare as gifts. I bought a case of 8 and gave them as 2008 Christmas gifts to family and several neighbors who got it and were starting to prep.
  • Store extra preps for charity and be prepared to give when it is needed for survival.
  • Learn about their skills, backgrounds, and interests - on my street we have a former Navy Corpsman/LEO/M16 Instructor/master scrounger/contractor/award winning barbeque chef who "gets it" and is starting to prepare, two nurses, a master gardener, an agricultural engineer / head of the 800-home neighborhood HOA, a Mormon family that does food storage, and six members of the neighborhood garden club run by our master gardener.
  • Buy tools that would be useful that could be shared like tillers.
  • Buy extra seed such as a seven year supply of Survival Seeds and be prepared to provide seeds for neighbors
  • Build a survival library of books and skills that you can use to train them when they need survival skills.
  • Buy several extra surplus rifles such as the Russian Mosin-Nagant or SKS rifles and stock extra ammunition to equip your "community watch" patrols.
  • Invite them to go to a shooting range with you.
  • Be prepared to give honest evaluations of whether individuals should relocate once a survival situation begins to relative's homes or even public shelters if that is the best option for them.

You will be pleasantly surprised how many of your family, friends, neighbors, and fellow church members that are starting to wake up and realize the reality and danger of our current position. This number is increasing every week. Don't simply assume that they are all clueless sheep - many simply need some education and a leader to show them the way.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009


James:
When it comes to real-world advice that applies to real people, Kathy Harrison's article ranks right near the top of the list. There is a sizable portion of the survival community (including my family) that believes that the community retreat model outlined in this article is, for most scenarios, the single best strategy for survival. While there are certainly some scenarios in which a remote retreat would be advantageous, those (in my opinion) are relatively few and unlikely. The community retreat strategy is one that can be used by just about anyone regardless of family or occupational requirements. It takes full advantage of the very reason that people have always congregated together. It's followers are well positioned for recovery efforts that leave out the isolated retreater, and it incorporates one of your key points - live at your retreat.
I look forward to more articles of this type by Kathy Harrison and others. - Stephen in Florida


Dear Mr. Rawles,
The recent post “The Community Retreat, by Kathy Harrison” prompted me to write with some comments about municipal retreats. Her comments are about a community retreat that is privately operated. I recently had an opportunity to see how a municipal shelter/retreat functioned. It was illuminating.

Recently we had a pretty severe ice storm here in the American Northeast. Many folks feel that it was the worst since 1987, when a storm knocked out power for two weeks. I wrote about my experiences with that storm here.

One thing about this storm that was new to me was that it was the first time my municipality had activated its Emergency Preparedness Plan (EPP).

I live next to a municipality of 1,600 people. The Village covers a little under two square miles and has 386 households.

Like most municipalities these days that receive Federal grants, the Village must meet certain eligibility conditions. One of those conditions is that there must be a municipal Emergency Preparedness Plan. This plan describes the village chain of command, who is responsible for what (fire, police, DPW, etc.), how to contact those departments/individuals and what resources they have. It also lists resources available in adjoining municipalities and what resources (fuel, water, etc.) are available within the village.

Another aspect of the EPP is that the village has to have a facility to shelter residents during an emergency. That is what I wanted to address here.

This was the first time the village had activated their shelter plan and I thought it might be useful to describe how it was supposed to go and how it actually went.

When the village wrote the EPP, the plan was that the American Legion [Hall] would be used to shelter residents. The Legion had large open spaces, a large commercial kitchen, was located on high ground and had ample parking. There were large bathrooms with many toilets and sufficient storage for reserve food and cooking items. To this end a trailer mounted military generator was permanently acquired from the Federal government and the buildings wiring slightly modified so that all one had to do was plug the generator into the building, throw a transfer switch and you were good to go. Sleeping cots were stored in the building as well as assorted small items that would allow for sheltering a large number of people. The American Red Cross would set everything up.

Like most municipalities, the village worked very hard on the EPP, sent copies to all the right people/departments, filed it with the Feds and States and then put it on a shelf and never paid attention to it until this ice storm hit. They –never- updated it. The plan was 2.5 years old.

The Legion hall is privately owned. About 8-10 months ago a decision was made by its owners to put it up for sale. When the time came to implement the EPP, the building was no longer available and a replacement had to be immediately found.

The –only- other building available was the Village Hall. It had emergency power and water and as a village owned property was immediately available. The downside was that it was considerably smaller; only about 25% of the capacity of the Legion [Hall]. The Village Hall contained both the police and fire departments so it was being used as a command & control facility. The Red Cross switched gears from Legion to Village Hall. A space was found for about 20 cots but fire and police personnel had to go through this area to meet with their commands. The radio room was right next to the sleeping area and the sandwiches and coffee for the firefighters and cops and everyone else was also in the same room. I don’t see how anyone could have slept.

While there was no disorder or major crime, the police maintained a presence in the shelter that did seem a bit ominous. People were allowed to come and go freely, but it would not have been a stretch of the imagination to foresee a time when people, once entering the shelter would not be allowed to leave. Commander Zero [, the editor of the excellent Notes From the Bunker blog] commented on the New Orleans, Louisiana authorities doing this at the Super Dome: They said that the citizens had [effectively] signed an unwritten contract with the authorities by entering the Dome and that they were being prohibited from leaving ‘for their own safety’. Commander Zero called this the "Guantanodome."

The food supplied to those people seeking shelter in the Village Hall was limited to grilled cheese sandwiches and coffee and water. There were no diapers, no provisions for pets, no toys or distractions for younger children. The bathrooms were small, each containing only two toilets. There was a single television but it’s volume was kept low so as not to interfere with radio communications.

Finally, there was no guidance or protocol from higher authorities on how long to keep the shelter open. After five days or so, staffing the shelter (all the staff were volunteers) became more difficult and a decision was made to close it down. By this time only about 10 people remained and they were directed to shelters in another town. I don’t know what became of those people when those shelters closed. I like to think that power was restored to their homes by then and they went home.

It would be very easy to say that this shows that an individual really should not rely on government in an emergency. In a large way, that’s correct. While I advocate that the goal of being prepared is to prevent having to go to this type of shelter, I do not think one should ignore the need for a municipal shelter. While I will still prepare and strive to not need to leave my home, I will work with the Village hierarchy to update and improve the plan that they have. If I know the village residents have a place to go and resources to draw upon then there will be that many fewer people out scavenging for what I have put aside for me and mine. - RMV.

 

Hi Jim...
It never ceases to amaze me how the majority of US survivalist wannabes adamantly contend they must live in the major cities. Fully 80% of all survivalist wannabes want to hunker down in their urban or suburban homes according to our polls.

Yet, they subscribe to and post 'survivalist' articles to survival forums like my Surviving The Day After list at Yahoo Groups], Rourke's Survival Retreat and Secure Home [list at Yahoo Groups], or Brad's HunkerDown06 [list at Yahoo Groups]. Their topics are often centered around a socialist/communist theme of a secure, remote survival retreat paid for by pooling money and resources of would be members and living a communal existence after TSHTF.

None of that is a viable plan, especially with the coming economic collapse of the USA, worldwide depression, and World War III. But, they won't even consider getting out of the cities now! It's frustrating to survivalists like me.

BTW, I am in West Texas and we are developing a problem here in such a sparsely populated area. Pecos, Texas is about 5,000 people around mile marker 40 on Interstate Highway 20. They have a 3,000 bed county-run prison that houses 3,000 Federal prisoners. Last Saturday night the prisoners rioted and burned out the R2 unit. About 45 days ago they had rioted and burned out R1 unit. My brother is a prison guard there and called during this riot to warn me the inmates were expecting help from MS13 [gang] contact/associates from Mexico.

The night before, a Hispanic youth gang called Brown Pride Gang torched six homes in and around Pecos. Two of those homes had Hispanic families asleep inside. Those responsible have been apprehended and are facing attempted homicide by arson charges. These gang "youths" were organized and incited to commit this attack by MS13 members in Pecos.

Glenn Beck was saying on Fox News that the border violence is intensifying and yet neither the Democrats or the Republicans are willing to close and regulate the border with
Mexico. And to top that off, Beck was warning that Texans will soon get fed up and take matters into their own hands, arming themselves and protecting their families and property from invasion.

This all has an effect on my personal survival plans long term of course. The lack of population, the distances involved here in the desert of West Texas, and the proximity of our paid-for mountain retreat to our paid for farm in the valley puts us in a much better prepared position than 95% of the populace. It has taken years of preparation and planning, though. And, none of it came cheap.

I am still a voice in the wilderness crying: Get out of the cities, now!

Regards, Lawrence R.
List Owner, SurvivingTheDayAfter at Yahoo Groups


Saturday, January 10, 2009


Hi James!
Happy New Year and a belated Merry Christmas! I've just returned from a 'holiday' working on my retreat and found that over the holiday break my e-mail server fell over.
I have added those messages I could recover to my Groups Listing page - but I know I have lost at least a couple of postings .

As a significant number of people access this page [from the link at the Finding Like-Minded People in Your Area page] at your site, [I'd like to] explain what has happened and ask anyone who doesn't see their listing to resend it to me. Thanks, - John @ Survivalistbooks.com


Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Dear Mr. Rawles:
First and foremost thank you for your novel "Patriots" which I am currently reading.

I live in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. As of late there seems to be a rise in the number of "home invasion" type of crimes in this area. Every morning that I go to work I hear about a new incident in the metroplex. This has led me to put inside locks on my bedroom doors and purchase my first gun. I consider myself one of those "know enough to be dangerous" people, but am planning on taking a handgun safety course . I'd like to know your thought on preparedness for these "home invasion" crimes which are on the rise. Once again thank you for your novel which has opened my eyes to just how unprepared I am. Sincerely, - Geoffrey T.

JWR Replies: You've surely heard the phrase "caught off guard." In my opinion, almost the entire American citizenry has been systemically "off guard" since the end of the US Civil War. There are two fundamental weaknesses that make American homes vulnerable to home invasions: a condition white mindset, and appalling architectural weakness. I'll discuss each.

Condition White Mindset

First and foremost is an almost universal Condition White mindset. This refers to the Cooper situational awareness color code for "unaware and unprepared". The vast majority of the urban and suburban population spends 90% of their daytime hours in Condition White. They do a lot of idiotic things, like failing to keep their doors locked at all times, and failing to keep loaded guns handy. Most folks lock their doors only just before retiring each evening. So most daytime and early evening home invasion robbers simply stroll in to unlocked houses and catch the occupants flat-footed. By adopting condition yellow as your norm, and by taking the appropriate security measures, you will tremendously lessen you vulnerability to violent crime, including home invasions.

Architectural Weakness

Secondly, 150 years of relative peace, stability, low crime rates, and cheap energy have worked together to push American residential architecture toward very vulnerable designs. Modern American homes are essentially defensive disasters. They have huge expanses of glass, they lack barred windows or european-style security/storm shutters, they lack defensible space, and they often have no barriers for the approach of vehicles. Another ill-conceived innovation is the prevalence of floor plans that situate the master bedroom at the opposite end of the house from the children's bedrooms.

For the past 25 years, one of the hallmarks of "bad neighborhoods" in the US has been the prevalence of barred windows and beefed-up doors. These are neighborhoods where the prevailing crime rates have pushed the majority of the population into Condition Yellow as a full time baseline mindset. Given the upswing in crime rates that will undoubtedly accompany the coming depression, I wish that everyone in the ostensibly "good neighborhoods" had this same outlook. I don't find it all surprising that criminal gangs now specifically target wealthy suburbs for home invasions, for two reasons: A.) That is where the good stuff is, and B.) These residents are sheep for the slaughter (given the prevailing condition white mindset.)

One of the most chronic defensive lapses is American suburban architecture is exterior door design. Typically, entrance doors either have widows immediately adjacent, or set into the doors themselves. Even worse is the ubiquitous sliding glass door. Nothing more than a brick or a paving stone tossed through the glass and bingo, instant access for home invaders, with the fringe benefit of instant fright and surprise for the occupants just inside, who will likely be startled by the crashing noise and flying glass. SWAT and MOUT trainers call this a form of "dynamic entry". There are umpteen variations. You may recall the use of a piece of patio furniture in Robert DeNiro's dynamic entry of Van Zant's house in in the movie Heat. Another is the vigorous application of a 5- or 6-foot length of steel pipe or a more specialized tool, in (the proven "break and rake" technique preferred by the British SAS and SFOD-D (commonly called "Delta Team") to quickly clear any protruding shards of glass).

America in the Near Future = Welcome to South Africa

In South Africa, the crime rate has been so high for so long that it has changed the way that people live in a day-to-day basis. Every stranger is viewed with extreme suspicion. Automobile drivers regularly refuse to pull over if they are involved in a minor traffic collision, for fear that it is a pretext for a car jacking.

Threat Escalation and Proactive Countermeasures

Modern military planners often talk in terms of threat spirals. In essence, a given threat escalates and it inspires a defensive countermeasure. The ideal situation is "getting inside your opponents threat spiral"--meaning that your anticipate your opponent's next escalation, and proactively take countermeasures, insulating yourself from the future threat.With that in mind, here are some thoughts on potential home invasion threat escalation and countermeasures (perhaps some SurvivalBlog readers would care to add to this list):

1.) More frequent home invasions. The worse the economy gets, the more crime we can expect. Home invasions and kidnappings are likely "growth" areas.

2.) Use of dynamic entry tools by home invaders. We can expect them to use commercial or improvised door entry battering rams and Hallagan tools--like those use by police. This means that just standard solid core doors by themselves will be insufficient. Switching to steel doors and.or adding sturdy cross bars will become common practice.

3.) Possible use of vehicle-mounted battering rams.

4.) More frequent and elaborate police impersonation by home invasion gangs.

5.) Larger, better equipped, and better organized home invasion gangs. Larger gangs will be able to invade a home--conceivably even when there is a party in progress.

6.) The potential use of cell phone jammers.

7.) More elaborate ruses as pretexts to get homeowners to open their doors. For example, not only will the "point man" be dressed as UPS driver, but there will be a very convincing looking UPS truck parked at the curb.)

8.) More home invasions at any time of the day or night.

9.) More use of pepper spray and other irritants by home invaders.

10.) Use of large diversion such as explosives to draw law enforcement to "the other side of town."

11.) More elaborate intelligence gathering by home invasion gangs--researching exactly who has cash, fine art, gemstones, precious metals, or jewelry in their homes. (BTW, this is just another reason to practice good OPSEC.)

Given these possible threat spiral escalations, you might consider building a dedicated "safe room". I can think of no better way to get inside the bad guys' threat spiral. Such a room could serve multiple purposes, including "panic room", gun and valuables vault, storm shelter, and fallout shelter. (And hence, provide you family with solutions for multiple scenarios. The folks at Safecastle (and other specialty contractors) can build these both aboveground or underground, with special order inward-opening vault doors.

You mentioned putting a lock on your bedroom door. This is usually insufficient, since most interior doors are hollow core, they typically use lightweight hinges, and they have insubstantial strike plates. Most of these doors can either be knocked down or knocked though, in very short order. I recommend replacing your bedroom doors with heavy duty exterior type doors (preferably steel) with heavy duty hinges and one or more deadbolt locks. If your house has all the bedrooms isolated on one hallway, then I recommend adding a heavy duty door at the end of that hall, and keeping it locked at night. (Basically a "safe wing" for your house) Then, inside of that safe wing, you should have a far more secure dedicated safe room that your entire family can retreat to, before the outer layers of defense succumb to physical attack.

Redundant communications are important, so you can solicit outside help. Both the master bedroom and the safe room should have hard wire ("POTS") telephones that are serviced by underground lines with no visible junction boxes. Be sure to test using a cell phone, as a backup, from every room. Having a CB radio in your safe room also makes sense. OBTW, one of my consulting clients in New Mexico intentionally installed a vertical 3"-diameter air exhaust vent from the ceiling of his safe room/fallout shelter to his roof. Using a broomstick, he can pop the slip-fit flapper valve loose, and then use the pipe as a conduit for flares from his HK P2A1 flare 26.5mm flare pistol! He reported that he has tested shooting meteor flares "up the spout", and it worked fine. Very clever.

The Ultimate Solution: Designing for Security from the Ground Up

I most strongly recommend that the next time that you move, that you buy a brick or other masonry house and upgrade its security, or better yet, start with a bare lot, and custom build a stout house with and integral safe room, from scratch. As previously discussed in SurvivalBlog, two good starting points for house designs are Mexican walled courtyards and building with square bastions (also known as Cooper Corners). These projecting corners eliminate the "blind spots" that are common to typical square or rectangular houses.

For greater detail on this subject, I recommend Joel Skousen's book "The Secure Home." My novel "Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse" also has some detailed design description for ballistically armored window shutters and doors, as well details on constructing neo-medieval door bars.

If you are serious about custom building or retrofitting an existing house for increased security and/or adding a safe room, then I recommend the architectural consulting services of both Safecastle and Hardened Structures.


Saturday, December 20, 2008


Years ago, when the West entered onto a path of decadence, it became fashionable to deny the historical consequences of permissiveness and bad behavior. As the old standards fell away, new standards of “tolerance” and “acceptance” took hold. With the fall of colonial empires and the upsurge of student radicalism in the sixties, the notion of “barbarians at the gates” became outdated. Heaven forbid that anyone should be described as a “barbarian” or as “uncivilized.” The idea that some peoples were more advanced, that some civilizations had more to offer, was no longer an acceptable way to talk. The fall of the Roman Empire, therefore, had to be billed as a “transition.” The barbarians were not the bad guys, civilization did not collapse, and the Romans were hardly degenerate. One should not use words like “decline” or “fall.” Perhaps such words hit too close to home. Better to deny the very history of decadence. Consequently, Edward Gibbon’s magisterial History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is no longer entirely respectable. In James J. O’Donnell’s expertly crafted, politically corrected version of the fifth and sixth centuries, The Ruin of the Roman Empire, we find Gibbon’s work described as the “long shadow of a short, fat man” darkening our understanding of the Roman world. It is not the fall of Rome that is dark, but Gibbon himself!

The American Heritage Dictionary defines decadence as: “A process, condition, or period of deterioration or decline, as in morals or art.” The fall of the Roman Empire involved an across-the-board decline. This included, as in our own time, a decline in population. Sizeable military defeats shrugged off by the Roman Republic were crippling to the Roman Empire. In the centuries between the battles of Cannae and Hadrianopolis there occurred a loss of vitality. Sophisticated manufactures in the west Roman world largely disappeared within a period of three lifetimes. Literacy, comfort and trade also collapsed. This was the greatest economic downturn in the history of mankind. According to the historian and archaeologist Bryan Ward-Perkins, “In the post-Roman west, almost all this material sophistication [created by the Roman civilization] disappeared. Specialized production … became rare, unless for luxury goods; and the impressive range and quantity of high-quality goods, which had characterized the Roman period, vanished, or, at the very least, were drastically reduced.”

Civilization doesn’t always move in an upward direction. Decline and fall is more than possible; such has actually happened. Over the last five hundred years we have come to think of civilization as barreling forward, plowing the ground for further progress. Nothing can stop the machine-like advance, the steady rate of accumulation. Today we take civilization’s continuance for granted. In this regard, the history of Rome is an irksome reminder.
But we’re smarter than the Romans, right?

The Roman economy began to move downhill around the fourth century. There was widespread enervation, a loss of intellectual acuity within the elite. Effeminacy had taken hold at a time when warfare was hand-to-hand. Incredible as it seems, the Roman Empire became vulnerable to a relatively small number of barbarian tribesmen. After penetrating the empire’s frontier, these tribesmen found easy pickings within a defenseless interior. When the legions were lost or decoyed, entire regional economies were plundered and ruined. In the fifth century, when the western half of the Roman Empire was invaded by barbarians, the city of Rome lost three quarters of its population. That is to say, Rome lost 600,000 out of 800,000 inhabitants. Such was the magnitude of the massive de-urbanization that occurred.

What led to Rome’s weakening? In describing the city of Rome in the middle of the fourth century, Ammianus Marcellinus wrote of the vanity and materialism of his contemporaries. Rome became great through virtue, he argued, and virtue had given way to vice. Decades before the barbarians broke into the empire, causing the economy to unravel, the Romans were focused on entertainment and self-gratification. “In this state of things,” wrote Marcellinus, “the few houses which once had the reputation of being centers of serious culture are now given over to the trivial pursuits of passive idleness…. Men put themselves to school to the singer instead of the philosopher, to the theatrical producer rather than the teacher of oratory. The libraries are like tombs, permanently shut; men manufacture water-organs and lutes the size of carriages and flutes and heavy properties for theatrical performances.”

To borrow a phrase from Neil Postman, the Romans were “entertaining themselves to death.” A great and prosperous civilization was about to disappear. Who aside from Marcellinus was worried about it? From every indication, the good citizen, the concerned citizen, was increasingly isolated and irrelevant. The Roman Empire lost the ability, the willpower and the inner toughness to confront the shabby little barbarian tribes that collapsed its delicate economic mechanism. According to Ward-Perkins, “The dismembering of the Roman state, and the ending of centuries of security, were the crucial factors in destroying the sophisticated economy of ancient times….”
You do not need atomic bombs to depopulate cities or empires. A foreign enemy, admitted inside an empire, can disrupt trade and stop the flow of revenue. Legions cannot be paid, cities cannot be sustained, civilized life disappears. The resulting economic downturn lasted for centuries. According to Ward-Perkins, “The economic change that I have outlined was an extraordinary one. What we observe at the end of the Roman world is not a ‘recession’ or – to use a term that has already been suggested – an ‘abatement,’ with an essentially similar economy continuing to work at a reduced pace. Instead what we see is a remarkable qualitative change, with the disappearance of entire industries and commercial networks.”

Civilization is fragile. Trade can be interrupted and peaceful industry can be knocked out of operation. It doesn’t take as much interference as you think. In his book, The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization, Ward-Perkins describes the fragility of sophisticated economies: “to understand the full and unexpected scale of the decline – turning sophisticated regions into underdeveloped backwaters – we need to appreciate that economic sophistication has a negative side. If the ancient economy had consisted of a series of simple and essentially autonomous local units, with little specialization of labor within them and very little exchange between them, then parts of it would certainly have survived the troubles of post-Roman times…. However, because the ancient economy was in fact a complicated and interlocked system, its very sophistication rendered it fragile and less adaptable to change.”

Our modern economy is more complicated, more interlocked, and more fragile than the economy of the Roman Empire. Specialization has made our society wealthy. If the latter-day barbarians can accomplish what the Goths and Vandals accomplished in the fifth century, the descent into darkness could be rapid and last many centuries. “Comparison with the contemporary western world is obvious and important,” noted Ward-Perkins. “We would be quite incapable of meeting our needs locally, even in an emergency. The ancient world had not come as far down the road of specialization and helplessness as we have….” J.R. Nyquist Copyright 2008.


Saturday, December 13, 2008


Good morning,
While shopping for an antique agriculture book, I found this web site at Cornell University. It is a link to 2,047 antique agriculture books online from Cornell University. Since I farm organically I like to read how the farmers did it 100+ years ago before cheap oil and John Deere tractors. I thought your readers might be interested. - Adam in Ohio

JWR Replies: I must add this proviso: Keep in mind that 19th Century safety standards were considerably more relaxed than today's, so old formularies and "farm knowledge" books often do not include any safety warnings. Use common sense around chemicals, flammables, unwarded gears and cutting blades, heavy objects, and so forth. Stay safe.


Friday, October 31, 2008


Mr. Rawles -
Thank you for your recent mention of my site, TheTraderBlog.com. I am a former Lehman Brothers employee, I worked in New York City on the FX trading desk, but left in 2002, so I am glad to have missed all the recent excitement. I publish my blog in an effort to help me reason through my personal trading strategies, and also like to share my opinion about the markets and related events in general. I have not yet figured out how to make any money off of the site, so for now it is just a great hobby for me. I currently work in an unrelated field, so I have left my information anonymous on the site so as to not risk anything with my current employer.

I have become a regular visitor to your site since August, and coincidentally I have just finished your novel "Patriots" - and frankly I am scared to death about recent developments. In addition to the scenario you laid out, I have also just finished The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe, which describes the potential for an upcoming crisis - right about now - through 2025. Written in 1997, it is also very chilling. So, in addition to my own work and analysis of the markets (I see the DJIA going to the 6000 level over the coming two quarters), the confluence of all these sources really makes me ramp up my preparedness. It is like connecting the dots, and I have just come to a very clear picture. I feel as if I found your site a bit late, and am behind the curve. But better late than never. And thanks to the suggestions in your [audio] CD [that is included with your "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course,] I now have my wife on board! Thank you! Great stuff.

What just happened in Iceland is a microcosm of what can (will?) happen here in the U.S., if in fact the U.S. Treasury bubble does implode. I think a government debt default, USD devaluation and hyperinflation are very probable events into 2009 - 2010. Just how is the [US] Treasury going to finance an additional $2-to-3 trillion in 2009? As always I appreciate the information you publish. Best Regards, - Editor, The Trader Blog


Saturday, September 20, 2008


Hello -
Survival Blog readers might be interested in the Cool Tools web site and e-mail newsletter. The site was originated by Kevin Kelly, who edited Whole Earth Review in the 1980s and also put together several versions of The Whole Earth Catalog, Cool Tools offers one new "Cool Tool" per day.
Far from just being gadgets, a Cool Tool "can be any book, gadget, software, video, map, hardware, material, or web site that is tried and true." All submissions are reader reviewed, they are not just regurgitations of product literature.
There are good recommendations in many categories that might be of interest to Survival Blog readers. For example, backpacking (improvised shelters, stoves, maps), dwellings (building underground homes, yurts, building your home yourself), homesteading, edibles, vehicles (like the Kawasaki KLR 650) and more. A recent entry was from a reader who has been experimenting with alcohol stoves.

Thanks for your work on SurvivalBlog! - John in Michigan


Monday, July 28, 2008


Hi James:
Thanks for publishing my past essay and thanks again for what you do on your SurvivalBlog. Your web site and the consequent path I've traveled since I began reading here has put me in contact with many folks who are pursuing similar courses of action; to take personal action to be prepared, and when possible to discuss and work with others to secure a survivable future.

Please advise me on some of the best and up to date books you've found on food storage. Being new to this line of endeavor, I feel our family needs some better ideas on organizing food and storage methods.

My apologies if you've already covered this topic or already made such recommendations on your site. All Our Best, - Jon F. in New York

JWR Replies: Don't worry about redundancy, Joe. The importance of food storage cannot be overemphasized. Most of what you'll need to know about food storage is available in Alan T. Hagan's Food Storage FAQ, which available for free download. I may be biased, but I also recommend my own "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, available from Arbogast Publishing. It is geared toward stocking up with little more than what you can find at your local "Big Box" store or supermarket. It includes some extensive tables on the shelf lives of various foods.

One often overlooked aspect of food storage is how to cook and bake with the foods that you've stored. Three books on this subject that I strongly recommend buying are:

Cookin' With Home Storage

and,

Making the Best of Basics. OBTW, if you use this link to Lehmans.com, we will get a credit from Lehman's when you place an order for any of their products.

and,

The Encyclopedia of Country Living. (I've heard that the new 10th Edition of Carla Emery's book has just been released. Reader Jeff F., mentioned that his local Costco (in Woodinville,Washington) had the latest edition on sale for $17.99. (The list price $29.95). So check your local Costco.


Friday, April 4, 2008


I've had several consulting clients contact me in recent weeks, all with notes of fear in their voices. They realize that something is horribly wrong with the economy, but they cannot properly isolate and articulate the problem. I haven't been able to calm them, however, because to an extent I share their anxiety. In my estimation, the "something wrong" that we sense is nothing short of a monumental shift in the economic climate.

America is clearly headed for a recession. Most economic recessions are simply a product of the business cycle. These recessions are relatively mild and they often last just 12 to 24 months. The economic engine just readjusts and everything soon gets back to normal. But this nascent recession in 2008 is something radically different, and it won't be short-lived. The current slow down was triggered by a collapse in the global credit market. For decades, the global credit market grew and grew, in an enormous debt spiral. Our neighbors to the south saw trouble coming decades ago, because their economies were at the time more debt-dependent than our own. As far back as the mid-1980s, their newspapers featured political cartoons that portrayed an enormous, insatiable monster that was invariably captioned "La Dueda"--"The Debt". Our cousins in Latin America saw it coming first, but the dark side of the debt nemesis will soon be clear to everyone.

Because modern banking in the western world is based on interest charges that create continuously compounding debt, credit cannot continue to grow indefinitely. At some point the excesses of malinvestment become so great that the entire system collapses. This is what we are now witnessing: a banking panic that is spreading uncontrollably as wave after wave of ugly debt gets destroyed by margin calls and subsequent business failures.

Some economists are fixated on reading charted histories--and unrealistically expect that by doing so that the can reliably predict future market moves. (They can't do that any more than I could predict the bends in the road ahead by keeping a chart of the preceding left and right turns of my car's steering wheel. My apologies for any offense to my friend The Chartist Gnome, but you are fooling yourself.) Although they are working from a flawed premise at the micro level, the chartists do have some things right on the macro level: There are major economic "seasons" and even climate changes. The most vocal chartists like Robert Prechter hold to what is called the Elliot Wave Theory. And the big bad nasty in this school of thought is a Kondratieff Winter. This "K-Winter" is an economic depression phase that the world has not fully experienced since the 1930s. An economic winter does not end until after the foundations of industry and consumer demand are rebuilt. This can be a painful process, often culminating with war on a grand scale. (It was no coincidence that the Second World of the early 1940s was an outgrowth of the Great Depression of the 1930s.)

The US Federal Reserve and the other central banks are furiously pumping liquidity to the best of their ability, but in the long run they will not be successful. At best, dumping billions in cash on the economy will delay a depression by perhaps a year or two. But inevitably, a K-Winter depression will come. And the longer that it is delayed, then the worse the depression will be. Further inflating the debt bubble will only make matters worse. I think that veteran market analyst Jim Rogers had it right, in a recent interview. Take a few minutes to watch that video. Jim Rogers sees the big picture. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that he has gone off somewhere to hunker in a bunker.

"Big Picture" Implications

As I've mentioned before, hedge funds are presently most at risk in the unfolding liquidity crisis, because they use lots of leverage in lending funds that they themselves have borrowed. They borrow short and lend lon, effectively use debt compounded upon debt. Many, many hedge funds will be bankrupted before the end of 2008.

Even more alarming is the scale of global derivatives trading, particularly for credit default swaps (CDS). Derivatives are a relatively new phenomenon, so derivatives contract holders have not yet experienced a major recession or a depression. Thus, it is difficult to predict what will happen in a genuine K-Winter phase. In a perfect world, derivatives are a nicely balanced mechanism, where there are parties and counterparties, and every derivatives contract equation balances out to have a neat "zero" at its conclusion. But we don't live in a perfect world: Companies go bankrupt. Contracts get breached. Counterparties disappear and disappoint. We have not ever experienced a derivatives full scale "blow up", but I predict that when it happens, it will be spectacular.

The scale of derivatives trading is monumental, and the vast majority of the population is blissfully ignorant of both its scale and the implications of a derivatives crisis. There are presently about $500 trillion of derivatives contracts in play. That is many times the size of the gross product of the global economy, but the average man on he street has no idea what is going on. It won't be until after the giant derivatives casino implodes that the Generally Dumb Public (GDP) awakens and asks, "What the heck happened?" Since the credit market began to collapse last summer, the number of new derivatives contracts has dropped precipitously. But whether the aggregate derivative market is $400 trillion versus $500 trillion, when a crisis occurs there will undoubtedly be some very deep drama.

The next decade will likely be characterized by successive waves of inflation and deflation, and perhaps some of both simultaneously, at different levels. Countless corporations, and perhaps a few currencies or even whole governments will go under as this tumult plays out. The current low interest rates will soon be replaced by double-digit rates, much like we saw in the late1970s. The dollar will lose value in foreign exchange, and may collapse completely. The Mother of All Bailouts (MOAB) will result in mass inflation. The bull markets in silver and gold will surge ahead, propelled by economic and currency instability. (Investors will be desperate to find a safe haven, when currencies and equities are falling apart.)

Risk Mitigation

Be ready to "winter over" the coming K Winter depression. That will require: 1.) Prayer. 2.) Friends that you can count on (a "retreat group"). 3.) A deep larder, and 4.) An effective means of self defense with proper training. (For each of those four factors, see the hundreds of archived articles and letters at SurvivalBlog.com for details.)

Since large-scale layoffs seem likely, it would also be wise to have a second income from a recession-proof home-based business.

In the event of a "worst case" (grid down) economic collapse, it would be prudent to have a self-sufficient retreat in a rural area that is well-removed from major population centers. Get the majority of your funds out of anything that is dollar-denominated, and into tangibles, as soon as possible. The very best tangible that you can buy is a stout house on a piece of productive farm land. It will not only preserve your wealth, but living there may very well save your life.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Just a brief reminder that SurvivalBlog does not host its own discussion forum. We recommend a third party forum site: The Mental Militia (TMM) Forums. They have kindly invited SurvivalBlog readers to join them. I don't have my own forums, simply because administering them would be a huge time sink. Back in 1998 and 1999 I was a volunteer moderator at a Y2K forum for Dr.Gary North. That was incredibly time consuming.

Keep in mind that TMM forums are peopled by fellow freedom-loving folks that come from a wide variety of political, social, and religious backgrounds. These include some anarchists, min-archists, Voluntaryists, wiccans/pagans, atheists, and agnostics. TMM posters range from far left wing to far right wing. TMM does have many Christian members, but most are the sort of Christians who are adaptable to politely mixing it up with folks of different philosophies, beliefs, and perspectives. Please be civil and show respect for others, even if they have different points of view.

Also, be advised that some coarse language crops up at TMM forums. It is not a forum for children!

Before writing any post for TMM, please apply the "Auntie Test". Ask yourself: would you write an e-mail to your elderly aunt using the same attitude and language? Enough said.
If you aren't willing to exercise politeness and restraint, then don't visit The Mental Militia Forums.


Sunday, February 10, 2008


Dear SurvivalBlog.com and SurvivalRealty.com Readers:
I wanted to take a moment to thank Todd Savage for the outstanding work that he did for my family helping us become familiar with Northern Idaho and helping us find the perfect retreat. Todd helped us discover Idaho in its entire splendor, helped us manage our expectations properly and never led us astray.

Initially, we had some good ideas on what to look for in a retreat having read both the novel "Patriots" and [JWR's nonfiction book] "Rawles on Retreats and Relocation" more than once. Nonetheless, we weren’t 100% sure what we wanted in a retreat and we decided to look at everything that was available in our price range with very few limiting criteria. We looked at dozens of properties as we spent the next four months looking for the perfect retreat for our family. Todd was there every step of the way. Our searches were sometimes challenging, like the time we ditched our 4x4 at 2 mph and had to bring in a tow truck from Troy, Montana to get us out of a very dicey iced over mountain road in the middle of a heavy snow (fortunately it was only Todd and I that time). Todd, like the truly prepared individual that he is, took everything in stride and resolved the issue promptly allowing us to continue our search in short order.

Throughout the entire process he was professional, meticulous, and motivated. I always felt as though I was his only client.. Todd is also very conscientious and perceptive and quickly adapts to changing situations with his clients’ searches such as the spouse that may only be 95% on board and doesn’t necessarily want to live in a fortified MX missile silo as many of us in the XY [chromosome] crowd happily would. Todd consistently went above and beyond his duties as a Realtor and retreat consultant, previewing properties for us and making sure that we did not waste any time looking at property that would not fit our needs. Flying into Spokane with two preschool age children for a weekend tour of Northern Idaho is not for the faint of heart; Todd’s meticulous attention to detail with pre-generated reports, satellite views and feasibility studies for each property made the treks all the more enjoyable and fruitful.

If you’re looking for retreat property in Northern Idaho you could never hope to meet a better person to help you find the right place. I placed my trust and potentially the future well being of my family in Todd’s capable hands and he came through the way a Marine always does. Semper Fidelis.
From a very satisfied Survival Realty customer, - E.S.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Throughout my life I have been caught unprepared several times and while nothing seriously bad happened, it easily could have.  I have been lost hiking.  My car has broken down in very bad neighborhoods - twice.  I have been close enough to riots that I feared they would spread to my neighborhood, been in earthquakes, been too close to wildfires, been stuck in a blizzard, and have been without power and water for several days after a hurricane.   I managed to get myself out of each situation, I thanked God, and tried to learn from my mistakes.  I could have avoided these situations or made them much less unsafe and worrisome if I had been more aware and prepared.  I have also tried to learn from the mistakes of others so as to not learn everything the hard way.  One group I assisted was a two hour drive into the mountains, out of gas, wearing tee shirts, and had empty water bottles (at least they kept them) (I have made each of those mistakes but not all at the same time). 

I aspire to be more prepared the next time.  My preparedness includes many different aspects.  In my opinion, the most important thing I have done is to learn as much as possible about what to expect and how to deal with those situations.  The other important thing that gives me some piece of mind is that I carry and stock away water, food, ammo, books, and other tools and equipment that should help me survive a bad situation.  Be prepared!

The other inspiration for my preparations is my family.  Seeing my family suffer from lack of water or food would be very hard for me, especially if some easy and cheap preparations could have made a big difference.  Recently, a few friends and family have asked me about my preparations and how they might prepare.  I didn't have a good short answer because I have spent years learning and stocking away.  I thought of myself as more of a student than a teacher in this area, but now I think I do know enough to give some basic advice and refer them to good sources for more.  Hopefully, they (and you) can learn from my mistakes without having to waste time, energy and money on things that don't work.  Of course, I haven't been through every situation or disaster but I have made it through a few tough spots without losing my head.  My advice is based upon what I know to work and also what sounds like it would work with the minimum fuss.  I always prefer the cheap, easy, home-made solution, but sometimes it is worth the cost to get a quality item that is just too hard to improvise or where the manufactured solution is much better (such as a knife).  Keep it simple stupid (KISS) when you can.  With persistence you can get a lot done $20 at a time.

The purpose of this document is to give an overview of preparedness and the first steps to take.  I focus more on the why than the what so that you can tailor your preparedness to your own situation and budget.  I will also cite the best sources I have found for more information.  There is a lot of information out there in books, classes, web sites, and forums. Most of it is good but it is also really repetitious and overwhelming.  This document is only about 15 pages printed out (you are printing important information (not necessarily this) aren't you - since in an emergency you may not have power and need to take the information with you).  I try to keep my important preparedness documents in an expandable file folder with a tie inside a plastic crate.

What are you preparing for?

No one really knows what will be the next survival situation they will face or how it will play out (will it get worse before it gets better?).  It could be getting lost hiking, the car getting two flats in the middle of the desert, a hurricane, a home invasion, an earthquake, or a terrorist attack.  You must assess your own situation and determine what you need to prepare for.  Of course some preparations will be useful in many situations including everyday life, and these are the best type.

In order to get an idea of what to prepare for, look at the types of situations that you or people similar to you have been through.  Also, assess where you live or spend a lot of time such as work and vacation.  We need to learn from the past but without fighting the last war. 

I like hiking and being outdoors, so for me learning how not to get lost and how to stay alive in the outdoors are high priorities.  These skills may also come in handy if I need to walk to safety during a terrorist attack because all of the roads and public transportation are closed.  Living in your house without power or water isn't too different from camping except for the nice roof over your head and all of your stuff.  I have also taken a first aid class.  It is pretty limited in coverage but still useful in a variety of situations.

To assess the likely dangers to where I live and work I used several sources including FEMA (free guide), DHS, Disaster Center, Emergency Essentials, Two Tigers and CBS.  Also, find your local emergency response office.  But don't rely on the government too much for planning or for help.  As we relearned with the Katrina response, their information and advice is far from perfect.  And FEMA has always said it will take 72 hours to respond.  So the way I look at it, during Katrina, FEMA (and local governments) failed to live up to its own low expectations.  But even if FEMA had been able to provide more food and water, you would still be much better off taking care of yourself.  Do you really want to be told what possessions you can hold, when to eat, when to sleep, and live in close quarters with thousands of strangers?  Sounds like prison to me.

It's A Disaster is a good book that will get you started on a plan for most disasters.  Some of their plans are a little passive for me (don't take any risks and follow all FEMA directions) and their kits lack some important things like knives.  Still, it is a very good book and a great start.  Family and friends should be included in your planning and preparations as much as they want to be, but be careful about telling people who you do not trust or know well.  You do not want to become a target in a crisis.

I think one of the best sources for thinking about what you are preparing for and what does and doesn't work is news and first hand accounts.  These are some of the best ones I have found.  A few of them seem kind of glib and bravado but the advice seems sound.

True Stories of Survival

Hurricane Katrina: http://www.frfrogspad.com/disastr.htm

Argentina thread 1: http://www.clairewolfe.com/wolfesblog/arg.html

Argentina thread 2 (some swearing): http://www.survivalmonkey.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2715

Airplane crash: http://www.equipped.com/waldock698.htm

Ground Zero: http://www.equipped.org/groundzero.htm

Karen Hood's Survival Journal (a week in the wilderness) http://www.survival.com/karen1.htm

Sailing to Hawaii http://www.equipped.com/0698rescue.htm

Tsunami http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/c1187/

Alaska http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Rapids/8017/index2.html

A list of stories

Priorities

The survival Rule of Threes:

  • It takes about three seconds to die without thinking
  • It takes about three minutes to die without air
  • It takes about three hours to die without shelter
  • It takes about three days to die without water
  • It takes about three weeks to die without food
  • It takes about three months to die without hope
  • Try to have at least three ways of preventing each of the above (a backup to your backup).

So the priorities are thinking, air, shelter, water, food, and hope.  These are rules of thumb and approximations.  Also, you will likely start feeling really bad before you die so you need to be proactive in addressing these needs.

Thinking
Basically, don't panic and do something stupid.  This is easier said than done, but you can build your thinking skill and confidence by playing ‚Äúwhat if‚Äù games. After reading about the risks to your area and the survival stories above, think about what kinds of things could go wrong and how you would deal with them.  The more detail the better.  What would you do if a cat 5 hurricane was projected to hit your house?  Where would you go?  What would you take?  Would it all fit in your car?  Do you have enough gas to get there if the gas stations are closed?  What if you don't have time to leave? What room in your house is safest (can you reinforce it easily)?

If you are facing a serious situation but no immediate threat, take the time to consider your options before rushing into a course of action.  Take an inventory of what you have on hand and what is around you.  Think of how each item could help solve one or more of your priorities. 

Thinking about these things may be scary but it will be less scary when it actually happens if you have thought it through.  Focus on what you can do to improve things and not on what you cannot change. Thinking can also be more long term as in learning and planning.  I suggest you read some of the sources below and then come up with a plan for several types of situations that you are likely to face.  But don't delay, you can take some first steps outlined below, such as storing water, right now.  You can then read more, take classes and collect useful items.  Preparing is a process not a one time event.

Air
Having breathable air is not something you usually have to worry about, but it is an immediate priority if you do.  First aide can help with choking and bleeding (which causes the body to not get needed oxygen). Hundreds of people die from carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide poisoning every year because of gas leaks and cooking or heating indoors.  Being at altitude can also make it harder to breath.  Finally, a terrorist attack could put dust, chemical, biological, or nuclear contamination in the air or force you into a shelter that needs ventilation.  Be aware of these dangers and have appropriate detectors if possible (smoke, carbon monoxide, etc.).  A wet cloth or hand wipe (carry on airplane) to breathe through can help for dust or smoke.

Shelter

Shelter is mainly about staying dry and the right temperature, but you also want to avoid sunburn, bugs, animals and other dangers.  Your house is your usual primary shelter but it could become damaged or you may have to evacuate.  You should have emergency repair items on hand such as tarps, lumber, shovels, nails, plastic sheeting, crowbars, and a saw.

Your clothes are your first and most important layer of shelter outdoors.  Clothes protect you from heat, cold and abrasions.  In general silk, wool, and synthetic materials are better than cotton especially to keep you warm in cold wet weather. I find cotton more comfortable especially in hot weather, so I compromise and wear a cotton shirt and shorts, but carry a better shirt, pants and socks in my bag, as well as additional layers and a change of underwear.  This makes my pack a little heavier, but I have been cold and wet in the wilds and that is miserable.  For me, a hat and sunglasses are indispensable.  I try to always carry at least a light water resistant jacket or poncho (with a garbage bag as a backup).  For me, boots are the only sensible walking shoes.  Find some that are rugged and comfortable.  Have extra laces and a backup pair.

You can carry a tent, a tarp or garbage bag for resting and sleeping.  A tarp can make a simple shelter or an elaborate one.  Rope, twine and tape are also useful.  You can carry some type of staff or tent poles or make them with an ax or saw.  Mosquito netting is necessary in some places.

You should have many ways to start a fire since most are cheap and compact.  At least have a lighter, matches, and flint.  You can also build a firebed to sleep in if you have inadequate shelter from the cold.

Water
This is a crucial area that can be helped a lot with very cheap and easy actions before The Schumer Hits The Fan (TSHTF).  This is probably the thing you can do with the highest payoff for amount of effort.  The only problem with water is that it is heavy and can take up a lot of room.  If you have storage room and are staying home this isn't a problem but if you are on the move it can become a driving factor in your progress.  Long term solutions are also difficult if your primary water source (city water or well) goes out and you are not near a river or lake. 

Used plastic soda bottles and orange juice jugs with screw tops make very convenient water storage containers.  Just rinse them a few times with hot water. Old liquor bottles and wine box bladders work well too.  I also have several canteens and rugged 5 gallon containers with taps.  The five gallon containers weigh about 40 pounds each and are about as big as can be easily moved (larger drums can go in your basement or garage or under a rain spout).  A few collapsible containers might also be useful because they can be stored and carried empty.  Tap water can last for years without going bad if kept in a cool dark place.  But you should check water that has been stored for clarity and odors.  If in doubt, treat it with one of the methods below.  You can also freeze the plastic soda or orange juice containers (these do crack sometimes when freezing) and use them in a cooler to keep food cold if the power goes out before drinking it.  If you know a disaster is coming fill up any container you can including the coffee maker, crystal vase, bucket, bathtub, sink, and kiddy pool (some of these could be spilled or contaminated but hopefully some will make it).

Most sources recommend about a gallon per person per day.  People consume about 2 quarts in cool low activity environments but much more if hot or active.  You should have at least 2 weeks worth per person in your primary residence (but why not have months worth if you have the room).  If you are traveling by car, three days worth per person is minimum (more for bathing), and if you are walking take as much as you reasonably can carry but at least one days worth (several small bottles are better for diversification if one leaks and also to let you know to start looking for more water before you are on your last bottle).  I also store extra water for washing and bathing.  Here the container doesn't matter quite as much.  I use old liquid detergent jugs.  You should also have at least two methods of sterilizing water. 

The first step in sterilizing water is to get the water as clear as possible.  If it is cloudy, strain it with coffee filters, a clean cloth, or sand.  Or you can let it settle and pour off the more clear water. 

The primary and most reliable method of sterilizing water is boiling.  You actually do not need to boil the water just heat it past 145 degrees for long enough. But if you don't do it right you can get sick.  So to be safe, boil it for 5 minutes if you can.  If you are walking, a metal cup (enamel or stainless) or a converted tin can is easier to boil than a full pot.  You can carry a backpacking stove or a Kelly Kettle.  You can use solar power to sterilize water (in a soda bottle) if no cooking is possible.  Other stoves are suggested below under food. 

To sterilize water with bleach use 2 drops of plain unscented bleach per quart of water (or 8 drops per gallon or 1‚ÅÑ4 tsp per 2 gallons).  If you don't have a dropper you can wet a paper towel and then drip it (wear gloves).  Let the water sit for 20 minutes and then smell it.  If it smells like chorine then its good to go.  If it doesn't, repeat with the same amount of bleach.  If that doesn't work try to find other water.  (Really bad water or salt water requires a still.)  Bleach is cheap but does not last forever - rotate.  Dry Calcium Hypochlorite {sold as "pool shock" bleach) stores much better than liquid bleach but requires an additional step of mixing a solution. (It provides a very inexpensive long term solution to water treatment).

There are also Potable Aqua iodine tablets that are more compact for sterilizing water.  You can also use Tincture of Iodine.  Iodine and chlorine are poisons so be very careful (kill the bacteria not yourself. [Avoid ingesting chlorine or iodine crystals!])

Any of the chemical treatments can make the water taste funny.  You can use drink mixes to make it taste better.  I'm not sure if sports drinks are really better, but Gatorade seems more thirst quenching to me than water.  The powder form is more convenient and cheaper.  You can also make your own sports drink (1/4 tsp nu salt (potassium chloride), 1‚ÅÑ4 tsp salt, 3-6 tbsp sugar (to taste), juice of 1 lemon (or orange), and optional flavoring (Kool-Aid) per gallon of water) or switchel.        

Of course you can spend money for water if you want to.  You can buy prepackaged water or expensive filters. There are backpacking filters but I have found these to be temperamental.  A water bottle with a filter would be a good backup or a straw. You can also go the more expensive route with a good gravity fed filter like this: http://www.doultonfilters.com/gravity.html.  This is a great looking solar still but doesn't appear to be for sale right now. 

If you are a homebrewer (or like beer), you can add some dry malt extract, hops, and dry yeast to your stash.  Beer is boiled as part of the brewing process.  Then the alcohol and hops act as a natural preservative.  For the long term you can get some sproutable barley, grow some hops, and culture yeast.  If you or someone with you doesn't handle alcohol well, skip this. 

Food
Providing food can be as easy or complicated as you want.  The easiest thing to do is simply buy more of any food you normally buy that stores well.  By store well, I mean does not spoil.  Foods like fresh milk, meat and bread do not store well.  Other foods like rice, dried beans and pasta all store well and are cheap.  They eventually lose some of their nutrition but this is gradual and will not make you sick from eating ‚Äúexpired‚Äù food if you forget to rotate.  I do not list exact rotation schedules because every source is different.  Some sources say grains only last one year but most sources say 10 plus years and other credible sources say hundreds or thousands of years.  It all depends upon how it is packed and where it is stored which is discussed below (vacuum packed, cool and dry are best) Canned meats, fruits and vegetables store okay and are more expensive.

How much food you want to have on hand depends on what type of situation you expect and how much you want to spend.  Buying a month' worth of rice, beans, salt, and pasta will not cost much (and is a good start).  You will be a lot happier if you add:

  • canned or dried meat (Costco and BJs have multipaks of Spam, ham, tuna and chicken for under $10)
  • canned or dried fruits and nuts
  • canned or dried vegetables
  • dried potatoes
  • canned or dried sauces (for pasta, chili, etc.)
  • soup mixes (bean soups are cheap) and bullion
  • dried onions
  • parmesan cheese
  • cooking oil
  • ramen noodles
  • peanut butter
  • mayo
  • vinegar
  • sugar and honey
  • powdered milk
  • bread crumbs, stuffing, oatmeal, cereal
  • flour, pancake mix, biscuit mix
  • baking soda
  • cocoa, instant coffee, tea, drink mixes, juice mixes (cranberry)
  • lemon juice
  • dry yeast
  • spices 

Some of these can be eaten without cooking or water if you have to.  Costco is great for the rice, canned goods, bullion, yeast (2 pound box), cooking oil and spices. Don't forget a can opener and other utensils.  Of course you can do the drying (wood or solar) and canning yourself for better quality and lower cost.  The oil, flour, baking soda and yeast (refrigerate the yeast if possible) do not store well and have to be rotated more frequently than the rice, beans and pasta.  You will be healthier if you add some multivitamins.  There are also luxury items like Powerbars, powdered eggs, powdered cheese, powdered butter, food tabs, and meals ready to eat (MREs).

To decide how much you need, you can simply scale up recipes and meals (print some simple recipes that use your stored food).  How much rice and beans would you eat at a meal or in a day if that was all you ate?  A lot probably (make a meal as a trial).  Now multiply that by the number of people and the number of days and you have a ball park of how much to store.  The problem is that you could end up feeding more people than your immediate family.  Who else would you not turn away? (Anyone you wouldn't want to live with normally is not someone you want to be stuck with in a crisis.  That said there is some family I wouldn't turn away even if they deserve it).  Start with the cheap stuff (rice, beans, pasta, salt) and then slowly keeping adding and rotating the other food until you have at least one months worth.  Do an inventory at least twice a year.

Store everything in airtight/waterproof containers inside a tough container in a cool, dry, dark place.  Some things come packed pretty well and can just go in a plastic bucket or crate (cans can be dipped in wax).  Other items should be vacuum packed in small bags or large mylar bags with oxygen absorbers and then put in the plastic bucket with a lid or crate (with a solid latching lid).  If you don't have shelves, you can make shelves out of the buckets or crates and 1‚Äùx12‚Äù lumber.  Put 2‚Äùx4‚Äù's under the bottom shelf to keep it off the floor.

For years worth of food instead of months worth of food we need to move to grain and grain grinders.  The Church of Latter Day Saints are the experts here.  They also have storehouses that will sell to the public if you are polite.  Of course you can buy online but the shipping will be as much or more than the food.  I went cheap and was able to get about six months worth of food for one person for $100.  I stuck to grains (400 lbs/year), beans (40 lbs/year), soup mix (20 lbs/year), and milk (16 lbs/year) (I already had sugar (60 pounds/year), salt (10 lbs/year), oil (5 gallons/year), baking soda and yeast).  I borrowed some of their equipment to pack some of the food, the rest I packed at home in the mylar bags and buckets described above.  The milk is a sticky powder and very messy (think of spilling flour and multiply by 100), repack it outside if possible.  I also bought a hand operated grain grinder to make flour from the wheat.  Then I can make bread (scale this recipe up to one loaf per day for a year as a cross check for a year's supply).  This would be a pretty miserable diet but I think it would keep me alive and healthy if I had enough vitamins.  Because of the sack size I have more of some things than others so towards the end I may be eating paste.  I hope to upgrade later.  For infants you need more milk, oil, sugar, and vitamins from which you can make an emergency formula (breast feeding is better, then you give the extra food to the mother). 

For even longer food solutions you need to farm.  Supplementing your food with a garden or sprouting would also make things last longer and provide some healthy variety.  Its best to have some non-hybrid seeds on hand or save seeds from your garden.  Serious (expensive) seed packages are here.  Have some fertilizer and pesticides on hand but in the long run organic is the way to go.

For cooking you can use a wood burning stove, barbeque, or camp stove in the short run (have some extra fuel on hand).  The Petromax lantern is pricey but well made and also has a stove attachment.  If you don't have one of these or run out of fuel you can build one: a coffee can stove, a bucket stove (avoid galvanized metal), a alcohol stove, a collapsible stove, a tin can stove (simple version), solar oven (portable version), or a clay stove (print directions for making at least one of these).  This is also a good commercial stove for those with cash to burn.  These are much more efficient than an open fire.  You need a good pot or dutch oven for boiling water and cooking.  For more portable food you can go with MREs, make your own or stock what ever you would normally backpack with.

Hope
Hope is different for everyone.  It can be safety, comfort, companionship, or normalcy.  For me it is mainly hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  I can work hard and persevere if I know eventually things will get better.  This means long term planning.  So I want to have what I need in the short term but also have some hope for the long term (so I have gardening tools and seeds in addition to rice and spam).  You also want comfort items such as a book, Bible, game, coloring book, pictures, beer, tea, or warm shower.  Some of these can be dual purpose such as a book about hiking or gardening, survival playing cards, or a novel about survival and perseverance. 

Equipment
There are lots of things you can get, but you can also just organize what you have already.   The number of lists seems endless and what you need depends upon the situation, your skills, and your budget.  Here is what is wrong with the DHS kit  I have already mentioned several items above and list some others here but being comprehensive would take a lot of space (read the links and references for more).  Here are some basics.

All types of camping equipment and tools come in handy but can be expensive (shipping can be expensive too so you may want to make your own, try your local yard sales, craigslist, sporting goods or hardware store first).  You may want a small tent to carry and a larger tent to put in the car.  Sleeping pads are as much for insulation as for comfort (learned the hard way‚Äîyou don't want to be in the cold without some insulation between you and the ground).  A hammock can be multipurpose.  You can try your local hardware store for lanterns or Lehman's (they also have candle making supplies).

I suggest four knives for anyone responsible enough to have one (in general you get what you pay for, but start cheap and upgrade later): a folding lock blade knife (buck and gerber are both good reasonably priced brands), a Swiss army knife (with saw blade) or leatherman type knife (pliers are handy), a solid full tang knife, and a machete or short sword for brush.  A kitchen knife can work until you get any of these.  A hatchet would also be useful.  Keep them sharp.

You need several maps (local, state (small scale and large scale), neighboring states, topographic and road) and a compass.  A GPS is optional but very handy.  There are usually welcome centers along interstates and in some cities that hand out free maps.  The USGS is a good source for reasonably priced maps but sometimes it is a bit hard to find what you are looking for.  They have a catalog for each state that really helps. They are also very friendly by phone but still prefer if you order online. 

You should have at least one non portable (plug in) phone that can be used with the power out.  Medicine, diapers and feminine products will be hard to get.  A generator is great but can be expensive and you must have enough fuel (I don't have one but want one).  Solar powered battery chargers are really slow but might be the only option.

Change your attitude, don't be wasteful, and you can reuse many items. A tin can becomes a cup or pot with a little work.  Use both sides of a piece of paper and then use it as insulation or tinder.  Waste not, want not.  This also minimizes trash as there may be no trash pickup.

Organize your equipment and supplies into different levels and packages

Stuff you almost always carry

You should make a small kit that fits in your pocket or around your neck.  This should include:

  • ways to make a fire (matches, mini bic, flint, etc.)
  • a button compass
  • a small knife or razor blade, broken hack saw blade, small file
  • Swiss Tech Micro-Tech 6-in-1 Tool
  • led light
  • small candle (light or fire making)
  • a saw
  • short piece of wire
  • parachute cord (as much as will fit)
  • iodine tablets
  • sturdy needle and thread
  • individual salt servings
  • food tabs, hard candy, bullion or individual parmesan cheese/sugar (if space permits)
  • freezer bags (water)
  • nails (assortment)
  • trash bag if it will fit (poncho or tarp)
  • dental floss (twine)
  • Advil, Imodium, Benadryl, vitamins, band aids, SPF chapstick any other essential medicine for you or your family (all labeled)
  • fish hooks, split shot, fish line, safety pins.
  • Survival cards can go in kit or wallet (you can make something similar). 

Personal Fanny Pack (or vest)

This should be small enough and attached to you so that you do not put it down even when you take a break.  Take it with you on any hike, drive or emergency.  A large fanny pack works well or Ranger Rick suggests putting everything in a vest and a bamboo walking stick.  You can duplicate some of the items in your mini kit but add substantially.

  • Survival cards or pocket survival guide (or print some out).
  • Knife of your choice (another one can go in your pocket or on your belt)
  • Sharpening stone (or ceramic insulator)
  • Fire materials (matches and tender (dryer lint, cotton balls in Vaseline, small candles, etc.) waterproofed)
  • Magnifying glass wrapped in bandana
  • Pliers if your knife doesn't have them
  • Compass
  • Maps
  • Metal cup (boiling water)
  • 2 small bottles of water
  • Freezer bags (organization, waterproofing and for more water)
  • Small camp soap (or traveler's shampoo)
  • Iodine tablets
  • At least 2 trash bags (clear for still and heavy black for shelter), or tarp and poncho, or space blanket, or light weight jacket with hood (a shell that compacts) or hat
  • Rope, twine and wire
  • Headlamp and extra batteries
  • Candle
  • Wipes (these are multipurpose and are more compact than toilet paper, keep them in zip lock bags (add a little water if they get dry))
  • Gloves and socks
  • Small first aide kit (including prescriptions)
  • Sunscreen and bug repellant.
  • Whistle
  • Snacks (powerbars, trail mix, food tabs, tea, Gatorade mix, bullion, beef jerky, MRE)
  • A GPS, FRS radio, am/fm radio, cell phone, or CB can go in here if it fits
  • Mini binoculars (to spot landmarks, approaching fires, etc.)
  • Notepad and pencil or pen
  • A multipurpose tool is a good backup for the other items.

72 hour kit (or less)

To some, the 72 hour kit is everything they have in their house for disasters.  I think this should be what you take with you if you have to evacuate (even on foot).  If you can't carry 72 hours worth of food and water (that is a lot of water even if you only plan 2 quarts per day), scale it down and put the rest in a car bug out kit that can be used in your house or on the road.  You can also make a similar kit for work or other places you are likely to be in an emergency.  It should be in a medium sized backpack that you can easily carry (get a rain cover for the backpack (or make one)‚Äîthese really help in wet conditions).  Again, repeat items in your smaller kits as you see fit.  Here are some suggestions:

  • It's a Disaster! Book (or print out a similar one)
  • Personal mini-kit and fanny pack or vest (attached to you separately from the backpack)
  • Water (as much as you can fit without making the bag too heavy, you can carry some containers empty and fill them later)
  • Changes of clothes (several underwear and socks, long underwear)
  • Jacket, hat, and sunglasses
  • Sleeping bag or blanket (and compact pad), hammock
  • Soap and other toiletries (comb, nail clippers and razor)
  • Small stove and/or lantern (or directions and supplies for making one of the stoves above)
  • Small tent or tarp and netting, plastic sheeting, tent poles and stakes (multipurpose)
  • Stuff sacks, mesh bags, pillow cases for organization
  • Duct tape
  • Hatchet or machete, folding saw
  • Small shovel
  • Rope, twine and bungee cords
  • Backpacking pot/pan
  • Cooking and eating utensils (kitchen knife, can opener, spatula, spoon, forks, plates, cups)
  • Foil
  • Dish soap, sponge, dish pan or bucket (collapsible) (also a wash basin or bucket), towel
  • Food (Snacks and MREs as well as rice)
  • Vitamins
  • Detailed road maps
  • topo maps
  • Extra ammo
  • Pocket warmers
  • A GPS, FRS radio (everyone with a list of channels to use), am/fm radio, solar calculator, or CB (whatever you have that fits)
  • Copies of important documents, phone numbers, extra credit card, cash, ID
  • Comfort items (book, cards, bible, pictures, coloring books, games)

Car Kit

Keep this in the car if possible.  I used to keep a lot of this in my car but since some of it was stolen, I keep most of it in the house and load it up for longer trips.  I have something similar to the personal fanny pack that I keep hidden in the jack compartment.

  • 72 hour kit
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Jumper cables
  • Seat belt cutter and window breaker (keep within reach)
  • Water (bottles can go under the seats)
  • Matches
  • Gloves
  • Tarps
  • Garbage bags
  • Wipes
  • Maps
  • Driving compass
  • Rope and/or tow strap and bungee cords
  • First aide kit (any medications)
  • Siphon hose for water or gas (do not drink gas)
  • Window washer/scraper
  • Crowbar and other tools (hammer, saw, wrenches, duct tape, fuses, belts, and screws)
  • Ax, bucket and shovel (this is required in some forests)
  • Engine oil
  • Gas can (keep it empty and unused unless you have a place for it on the outside of your car or truck)

Stuff you take if you have to Bug Out

This is stuff that is too heavy to carry in your 72 hour kit but something you can throw in your car (in addition to what is already there) quickly if you need to evacuate.  You might be able to take it in a garden cart if you can't drive but travel by roads is still safe.  Here is an example to help you make your own kit (or here).  Pack it in crates or duffle bags.  Here are some suggestions (what fits in your car will vary):

  • More survival books or books on camping/country/simple living
  • 5 gallon water cans (full)
  • Food (cans and other heavy bulky items)
  • Cooler (grab some ice and any travel friendly fresh items that are still good like cheese, peanut butter, apples, lemons, and bread)
  • Large first aide kit
  • Dutch oven
  • Stove and fuel or barbeque, Kelly Kettle
  • Lantern (Petromax is good but expensive)
  • Unscented bleach
  • Tent and large tarps, rugs
  • Blanket and pillows (sleeping pad, hammock, or cot)
  • Paper plates, utensils and cups
  • Paper towels and wipes
  • Foil
  • Solar shower
  • Bucket toilet (you can store garbage bags, toilet paper, wipes, and soap inside the bucket)
  • Many garbage bags
  • Laundry soap
  • Clothes pins
  • Soap and shampoo
  • Ant traps and insecticides
  • Fishing gear
  • Radio and batteries
  • Several extra fuel cans (enough to get to your destination without refueling)
  • Propane heater with fuel
  • Generator
  • Small safe for guns and documents
  • Bikes (on rack and with pump and tire repair kit)
  • Frisbee or other games

First Aid and Medical Kits

Take a first aide class and more training if you can.  For supplies, the place to start is with a pre-made small portable first aide kit and a larger home or car first aide kit.  These are usually $10 to $20 on sale (but can be $100's if you want).   You can add items from your medicine cabinet and replace things like the cheap scissors that usually come with them. However, these usually are not good for much more than minor cuts and scrapes (going to a hospital/doctor may not be an option or may take a while‚Äîso do your best until you can get to one).  For more serious injuries you probably have to make your own kit.  The best book is Wilderness Medicine, by William W. Forgey.  His suggested kit in the back of the book is great (I learned the hard way I needed some of the items that he recommends and figure the other items are ones I may need in the future).  Amazon and Moore Medical have most of the items if you can't find them locally.  For the house or car first aide kit, I suggest a hard sided box like a tool box.  Dental care is also important.  A toothache is really distracting. A little dental kit like this could make you a lot more comfortable until you can see a dentist.

Other Kits

Make other kits as you see fit.  I have a kit that is mainly in case of terrorist attack (I live and work too close to a likely target).  I have Jane's Chem-Bio Handbook and what to do if a nuclear attack in imminent as well as Potassium Iodide (seven days), plastic sheeting, duct tape, Tyvek clothes coverings,  and a face mask (this is not as good as a gas mask but its what I have).  You can spread this to your other kits if you want.

Security
Protecting yourself from criminals
is as natural as buying a fire extinguisher to put out fires (but more expensive).   Get fences, dead bolts, and lock your windows at night but if someone really wants to get in your home they will.  Police take an average of 11 minutes or more to respond to violent crimes 40 percent of the time (sometimes hours), under normal conditions. A lot can happen in 11 minutes and you are going to wait a lot longer in a crisis.  When someone is kicking in your door, it is too late to go buy a gun.  You are on your own.  Relying on the kindness of someone breaking into your home is not a good bet.

If you are a gun person, pick your own gun.  This advice if for those who don't own a gun or don't shoot.  I suggest a pistol, a rifle and a shotgun for every adult (check you local gun laws).  If I had to only have one gun it would be a shotgun because of their versatility.  A 20 gauge shotgun is more than enough for most purposes including home defense and has less recoil than a 12 gauge.  The Remington 870 is a great choice but many people also like Mossberg.  Take a class on using the shotgun for home defense.  For home defense ammo, I use bird shot.  This will not penetrate and stop a criminal as fast as buck shot but is also less likely to go through a wall and hurt an innocent person.  Make your own decision here based on who is in adjoining rooms and how close the neighbors are.  You can always load bird shot as the first few shells followed by buck shot (keep about 200 rounds on hand because it will be hard to buy in a crisis).  The only options I recommend are hearing protection, glasses, a cleaning kit, a sling (guns with slings don't get set down in bad places as much) and maybe a light or night sights.  I think the factory stocks are fine. 

Next on my list would be a .22.  The Ruger Single Six is a nice revolver that is convertible to either 22 LR or 22 magnum (This might be a better choice as the only gun for some people). Also get a holster for it.  Savage and CZ make bolt action rifles that are great bargains. A .22 is a little small for home defense (it is less likely to stop a criminal in his tracks) but a lot better than nothing.  It is also important to be comfortable with your gun and a .22 is fun to shoot so you are more likely to practice (.22 ammo is very cheap and you can get 1,000 rounds for about $20).  As soon as you are comfortable with the .22 and your budget allows, you should probably upgrade to a larger common caliber (.357 for a revolver, 9mm, .40 or .45 for an automatic pistol, 12 gauge for a shotgun, and .223, .308, 7.62x39, .30-30, or .30-06 for rifles).  Get a concealed weapon permit if your state allows them even if you don't plan on using it (carrying a gun).  Again, these take some time to get so you have to get one before you need it even if you think that will be never.  Also, the required classes are really great and focus mainly on when not to use a gun.  Almost any gun range will offer such a class (and many others that are worth it too).  In general, buying a used gun is fine (simple guns are very durable) but for the guns I recommend here, the premium for a new gun (gun store or some sporting good stores) will probably be less than $100 and probably worth it to avoid any mechanical issues to start with.

Learn the gun safety rules and locking up any guns not on your body is a good idea and a necessity if you have kids (or adults who act like kids) in your home.  For pistols you can get a cheap keyed safe for about $20 (also good for documents).  Then you have to hide the key where you can find it quickly but no one else can.  A combination safe is better but a lot more expensive (practice opening it in the dark).  For long guns you can get a locking cabinet for about $100 (some cases have a good lock and that is a good idea for taking with you in the car), put a lock on a closet, or get a real safe for about $1,000.  Trigger locks are generally a bad idea because you can accidentally pull the trigger when getting them on or off.

If you decide against a gun, at least get pepper spray, a baseball bat, or a flashlight.  A self-defense class would be good too (martial arts classes are good but take a long time to become practical). A bullet proof vest and helmet would be good but neither is inexpensive.  Finally, there is safety in numbers.  Staying with family and friends during a crisis is a good idea if resources and space allow.

First Steps

  1. Buy some unscented bleach and start storing water.
  2. Start accumulating food and other supplies.  Initially, just buy more of the food that you already buy that stores well.  Re-pack as necessary.  Get some food grade buckets or plastic crates and find a cool dark place.
  3. Start reading more about the risks that you face personally and ways to deal with them.  What is your plan to deal with each?
  4. Organize your stuff into personal mini kits, personal fanny packs (or vests), one or more 72 hour kits for each person for each location they spend time, a car kit, a bug out kit, and your house stash.
  5. Practice.  This doesn't have to be a military style exercise.  Try camping and living without power and running water (in your backyard to start with).  Load your car with what you think you would want to take if you had to evacuate.  How long did it take?  Did it all fit?  Try driving back roads to get out of town.  Go hiking with your 72 hour kit. 
  6. Periodically take an inventory and revise your plans.

Books and other sources (in order of relevance and grouped)

Online Resources

SurvivalBlog (the best daily variety of all types of information at a good price too)

Alpha Rubicon (The "Mythbusters" of the survival world. Membership required for most information, great information and more personalities than members)

 

Non-fiction

Fiction
Some of these are a bit far fetched and depressing (worst case) and mainly about TEOTWAWKI  (sing ‚ÄúIt's The End of The World as We Know It, and I feel fine" ) (they are fiction) but still give some good food for thought.

Author's web site: www.PrepareOrDie.com


Thursday, January 3, 2008


Recent comments in SurvivalBlog provided excellent advice on using the public library. You can gain lots of knowledge with no expense, then purchase only those books you want to keep on hand for personal reference. Also, many colleges and universities loan to local residents, so you can use them too, even if you aren't a student.

If your local libraries participate, a great resource is Worldcat. It lets you search for books from home, then go check them out, or get them through interlibrary loan.

What will happen to the Internet when the SHTF? There's no guarantee it will survive. Even if the World Wide Web endures in some form, most of the individual computers connected to it will not. Hopefully by then you will have already downloaded all the free info that's going to help you cope with the new world.

You may want to download a copy of information on this web site or any other web site with useful content. It would be a shame to face some disaster when all the resources of the internet are no longer at your fingertips.

 In preparation for a worst case scenario, it's a good idea to begin now to collect the knowledge that will come in handy later. You can download whole books, save them to jump drives, and keep an entire library in a very small space. All kinds of free manuals, guides, tech tips, and schematics are available on the internet; for everything from firearms to furnaces to computers to appliances.

All of the downloads listed here are in the public domain or allowable for copying. Stay away from sites that may involve copyright infringement. If you use a file-sharing site such as Limewire, Kazaa, or any site that uses bit torrents, you are not only downloading, but also uploading. Your participation involves automatically uploading to other users. If the file is illegal, you are distributing illegal material, not just downloading it. Stay away from these and stick with the legitimate sites listed below.

Keep in mind that some of this information you download might be illegal to use at the present time. You can't practice dentistry on your neighbor just because you have the book. Nevertheless, you have the right to possess this very vital information. After TEOTWAWKI, all bets are off. The information you collect today might save your life or the life of somebody you love.

Many downloads are in Portable Document Format (PDF) form, so to read them you must have a suitable program such as Adobe Reader, which is the free version of Adobe Acrobat. There are alternatives to Adobe that can read PDF files, if you prefer. Some of these files are very large. If your internet connection is slow, it's better to right click and download rather than try to read a huge file online.

Some documents you may want to print out. Others you can just leave on disc. Just be sure to store your drives safely. Not included in this list are the many web sites that are very good resources in themselves. Rather, these are the files you can download for offline viewing at a later time. Download them while you still can!

Project Gutenberg was mentioned as a good place to go for eBooks.

The Smithsonian Institution is another great resource. They have digitized many older books, maps, and documents in their collection.

Wikisource has a nice collection of free eBooks.

One way to search for books no longer in copyright is to use Google Book Search. Check "full view." If it comes up in the search, it can be downloaded as a PDF file.

A good alternative to Google is the Internet Archive which includes books, images, audio, and more. The Internet Archive also hosts the Wayback Machine, which archives copies of an incredible 85 billion pages from the internet of years past.

Over 100,000 free eBooks can be accessed through Digital Book Index

2020ok is a directory of free online books and free eBooks

The British Columbia Digital Library has an impressive Collection, including dictionaries, encyclopedias, and most importantly, the Holy Bible. It also has a Guide to other digital libraries.

Scribd is an online document library of free research articles, eBooks, and other content.

A great resource for home schoolers is the Internet's largest directory of free audio & video learning resources maintained by LearnOutLoud.com.

Check out the postings of Home Schooling On-line Resources on the The Mental Militia Forums, as well as the "Must Have" Books/reference material topic.

More than 3,200 pages related to the U. S. Constitution can be downloaded from The Founders' Constitution

Firearms For any firearm you own or plan to own, you should have a drawing of its Exploded View, which will help identify parts and how they fit together. One of the most comprehensive collections of Exploded Views is the paper edition of the Numrich Arms Catalog, which in itself is a gold mine of information and very inexpensive for a volume of over 1200 pages.

But if you only need certain Exploded Views, there are many places on the internet where you can download them for free:

Gunuts is a good place to start with hundreds of drawings. Another source is The Okie Gunsmith Shop, which is apparently no longer operating, but you can still download drawings and parts lists from its web site.Big Bear Gun Works has another good list. For pre-WWII firearms, check out Gunsworld. For examples of specific firearms manufacturers, see Remington, Browning, and SKB Shotguns

The book, The Defensive Use Of Firearms by Shane C. Henry is available as a download from rec.guns. An enormous amount of additional gun information is available on the rec.guns web site.

There are several good sources for Military Publications: GlobalSecurity.org has a huge collection of Military manuals.

Try Integrated Publishing for access to millions of pages of engineering manuals and documents.

The U.S. Army Materiel Command maintains the LOGSA web site for access to thousands of Army technical manuals.

The U.S. Air Force maintains the Air Force e-Publishing web site.

As mentioned recently, The Small Wars Journal has a Reference Library of downloadable military documents.

The Brooke Clarke web site has a good guide to accessing military field manuals

Surviving War and Nuclear Attack For a basic guide, download How To Survive A Chemical Or Biological Attack.

Nuclear War Survival Skills, along with some other very interesting books, can be found on the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine web site. This book includes plans for the Kearny Fallout Radiation Meter (KFM). If you have not bought a radiation meter, you should at least download the book for future reference. You can also get the Free Plans from The Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Nuclear War Survival Skills is also available on the KI4U web site as an online book, but not as a download.

The Equipped To Survive web site has some free ebooks, as well as books for sale: Survival, Evasion, and Recovery and U.S. Army Survival Manual FM 21-76.

The Volunteer Center of Marin County, California has prepared A Guide to Organizing Neighborhoods for Preparedness, Response and Recovery which you can copy from their web site. 

Medical Resources The Disease Net has a library of downloadable manuals on survival, weapons, emergency medicine, and less serious subjects.

Virtual Naval Hospital is a digital library of naval, military, and humanitarian medicine

The very important field manual, First Aid For Soldiers FM 21-11 can be downloaded here.

One of the best medical handbooks available is the U.S. Army Special Forces Medical Handbook ST31-91B. It can be downloaded free (as well as additional essential guides) from Delta Gear, Inc.

A newer version of the Medical Handbook, plus more great material can be downloaded from NH-TEMS (New Hampshire Tactical Emergency medical support).

The American Red Cross has some of their disaster guides online for download. For most of their material, you have to go to the local office. Some of it can be copied from the Earth Changes Media Survival Tips page. 

The Red Cross Book, First Aid in Armed Conflicts and Other Situations of Violence

The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency book, The Ship Captain's Medical Guide

Hesperian makes available free downloads of its books for medical treatment in primitive conditions. Two highly respected guides it publishes are Where There Is No Doctor and Where There Is No Dentist.

Here is a direct link to the must-have book Survival and Austere Medicine: An introduction. Australian Survivalist Online has several additional Files for downloading.

The Department of Agriculture has a treasure trove of information for free download. This agency maintains The National Agricultural Library, a collection of free information on Agriculture, Food and Nutrition, and other related subjects.

Another USDA web site is the Cooperative Extension Service. Click on the map to navigate to various Extension offices around the country. Don't limit your search to just your own state. Many of them have invaluable information on animals, crops, construction, food preparation and much more for free download.

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) offers downloads about preventing plant and animal diseases, among other topics.

The USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) offers Fact Sheets about food handling and preparation, and emergency preparedness.

Other Important Reference Resources The classic outdoor guides, The 10 Bushcraft Books by Richard Graves are available on the Chris Molloy web site. Free manuals for electronic equipment can be downloaded from eServiceInfo.com. Another source is UsersManualGuide.com. For Ham Radio and Test Equipment Manuals, the KO4BB web site has Free Downloads, as well as LINKS to many other web sites with free downloads. A few examples of repair information for outdoor equipment are Penn Reel Schematics, and Mercury outboard parts.

Paid Services In the unlikely event that you can't find free information on the Net to fix that generator or whatever you need to repair, there are web sites that charge for information. As a last resort, you can check Sam's PHOTOFACT service manuals, or RepairManual.com. Hopefully, that won't be necessary.

The foregoing just begins to scratch the surface. Some of these free downloads are also available as books or CDs from eBay, Amazon or from some of the survivalist web sites. That is fine. Sometimes it is easier to just pay the money and buy the book. But nobody can afford it all, and downloading gives you access to millions of pages - much more knowledge than you could acquire through any other method.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Hello Jim,
I am wondering if there is anyone here in Canada doing the great work that you are doing?

I have just introduced my husband to the idea of getting prepared. I don’t know if I’ve seen one too many movies or if I have a premonition, but I would like to devise a plan sooner rather than later.
I am also looking for a place to escape to, if we (probably) have to get out of our area (which is just on Lake Ontario ). We are thinking that we should go north.

I live less than 30 minutes west of Toronto, in [deleted from OPSEC], which is about an hour from the Niagara Falls border.

Any thoughts or links you would recommend? Thanking you in advance, - Liz G.


JWR Replies: For our readers north of the border, I recommend Survival Bill's Forums. There, you will find an interesting exchange of information, most of which has a distinctly Canadian slant. (The majority of posters are Canadians.) If you intend to "link up" with like-minded folks in your area, I also recommend the quasi-hidden(unlinked) web page sponsored by SurvivalistBooks.com. They have a surprisingly large number of postings from Canadians there. OBTW, if you use this free service, then please be sure to give SurvivalistBooks.com some patronage!


Tuesday, October 3, 2006


Revolutionary War Veterans Association (RWVA) Appleseed Shoot. What in the world can that possibly be? Well if you don't know, you need to read on. What you can learn from those "Revolutionary War Vets" could save your life! The Appleseed Program is one that is dedicated to preserving our American heritage as a Nation of Rifleman.
So what is a Rifleman? The RWVA web site tells us that "The obvious answer is that a Rifleman is an individual with a rifle and the skill and experience to use it, presumably well." But let me tell you from experience it is oh so much more than that. I found the Appleseed program when I was researching what Main Battle Rifle (MBR) to purchase. There are plenty of opinions on which is the best one and why. I began to see that the folks that seemed to make the most reasoned arguments for any particular rifle always added that the buyer has a responsibility to learn whatever weapon they are carrying. Learn it well to be able to put it to its best use....that means training! I finally figured out that the great Boston T. Party, author of the work "Boston on Guns and Courage" seemed to endorse this fellow named Fred.....no last name just Fred, and that Fred was traveling all over the country putting on Appleseed Rifle clinics. As soon as I realized how easy, and inexpensive it was to train with Appleseed I was determined to go. Never mind that the closest one to me would be in Alabama, a nine hour one way trip, my future as a Rifleman was at stake, so I convinced my wife she needed to learn too. We loaded up the car and took off for steamy Birmingham in July.
Every Appleseed starts off with a bit of a history lesson, a reminder of why your there. Lets you know that you are about to take part in something that may be unique even among supposedly free peoples. The right to gather as free citizens, train with, and shoot small arms. Fred himself told the story of men like Isaac Davis. I don't recall ever hearing his name before that day, but its one we should all know. Isaac Davis left his home and his sick children early on April 19,1775. He was answering the call of the muster drum as colonist gathered to meet the British forces marching on Lexington and Concord. The British marched to seize citizens, guns, powder, and shot. Isaac Davis left the relative safety and certain comfort of his home to stand with his fellow countrymen against tyranny, and the oppressions of an unjust government. Before that day was over Isaac Davis would become one of the first Americans to die for the cause of independence. I'm ashamed that I did not know his name. We also heard the story of how much better the colonist used there rifles for positive effect against the mighty British Army. We were reminded of an old and dying heritage and the importance of spreading the word and the skills to others so that this nation can always be a nation of Riflemen. Then we got to the shooting.
The measure used in building a "Rifleman" is the Army Qualification Target (AQT). On the target are printed head and torso size targets that get progressively smaller as you move down the page. At a relatively short range you can simulate firing at man size targets 100 to 400 yards away. You get forty timed shots, ten for each stage. You shoot stage one standing or offhand at the largest target. Stage two is shot sitting or kneeling, simulated 200 yards away. The targets for stage three and simulating 300 yards are fired prone, as are the last stage teeny tiny targets at the very bottom representing a 400 yard distance. Its all timed and a rifleman's score is 210 points out of a possible 250. I was shocked to see my incredibly low score as I approached the target. According to Fred you are either a Rifleman or you are a cook! With my first AQT score I bet the cook wouldn't even have me. I shot a dismal 87 points!
Once you find out where your at, the learning process really begins. There are six steps to firing every shot and your reminded constantly by the instructors to follow the six steps.
Number 1 Sight Alignment, you simply line up the front and rear sights.
Number 2 Sight Picture, while keeping the sights aligned you bring your sights onto the target.
Number 3 Respiratory Pause, this one took me a bit to get through my head. Once you have accomplished #1 and #2 you use the natural act of breathing to set your proper elevation. With the sights aligned and on target take in a breath, watch your sights fall. As you exhale, watch those sights rise. When the target sits atop your front sight post like a pumpkin on a fence, hold your breath, that's the Respiratory Pause!
Number 4 (a) You focus your eye on the front sight. Let the target and your rear sight go a little fuzzy and let your eye focus only on the front sight.
4 (b) You focus your mind on keeping that sharp front sight on your target. This is the big one!
Number 5 squeeze the trigger. But do it while concentrating on #4. Your doing two things here. Keeping that front sight on your target and squeezing the trigger.
Number 6 When the shot fires you call it. Take a mental note of exactly where the front sight was the instance the hammer fell. With practice it becomes pretty easy. This gives you feedback so you can adjust the follow up shots.
Something that really surprised me was the use of the sling. I remember hearing Grandpa talk about using his to steady his shot, but he died when I was far to young to understand what he meant. The Appleseed instructors got me squared away quick. I used a hasty or expedient hold with my basic sling. Simply place your support arm through the space between the Rifle and the sling, reach way in. Get the sling up past you elbow, and above or just below your bicep. Now, bring your hand back under the sling, and then though the space between the Rifle and your sling again. Rest the rifle on your support hand. You will need to adjust things so that when you do this the sling tightens into a nice supportive triangle of sorts. In the different positions you may need to give yourself more or less slack, practice to get it right. Once I got the sling thing figured out I was a good deal more steady and I really began to see my shot groups shrink. A tighter sling is better and in any of the positions you may well have to place the gun into your shoulder with your shooting hand. Its downright uncomfortable at first but once you get the sling positioning right you should be able to hold the rifle up without any help from your shooting hand.
The first position to fire from is the standing or offhand position. Its the one I was most familiar with from hunting and my previous experiences. Offhand is the most unstable and inherently inaccurate position to fire from. Basically you fire from standing only when a quick responsive shot is required such as to a sudden attack or target of opportunity. Most are familiar with it, I found that the addition of the proper sling use made me a better shot from standing.
The next position is sitting. It was demonstrated with both elbows to the front of the knees, rifle slung up snug. Remarks where made that some military sniper types can even get their elbows all the way out and on the ground in a super solid sitting position. Well that may be true, but I'm a 35 year old fat guy and I can't breath when I try that fancy schmancy sitting stuff. The Instructors showed me some modifications. The main point of both sitting and prone is to support the weight of the Rifle with as little muscle use as possible. You want bone to bone support so that your muscles don't fatigue and throw off your shot. I sorta sit back on my bent right leg and put my left leg out, foot on the floor in front of me. My left support elbow goes just in front of my knee and the rifle, slung up, rests, but is not gripped by my left support hand. Its the best compromise for me. My 12 year old daughter can curl up like a pony tailed Carlos Hathcock (if you don't know he was a highly decorated Marine Sniper in Vietnam). But I have to shoot "sitting" like one of those stiff green plastic Army men. Nonetheless I tend to shoot quite well from my modified kneeling position. My situation is what Appleseed Shoots are all about. Experienced Riflemen taught me a great way to overcome my physical limitations and still be a good shot. I have heard of guys that shoot the sitting position from their wheelchairs, the Appleseed staff will help make it work for you.
Prone is where you make your best points on the AQT. The 300 and 400 yard portions are fired in this position. The 400 yard targets are in a word small! And they give double the points of the other portions. In Prone the shooter lies on his or her belly, sling tight around the support arm as described above. Both elbows on the ground. Try and get your support arm as much under the Rifle as possible, I shoot a PTR 91 [a HK91 clone] and the magazine gets in the way. Prone is where a rifle without and external magazine like the M1 Garand really shines. We purchased 20 round mags for my daughter's AR just so she could shoot from a better Prone position. With the 30 rounders she had been using the mag acted like a see-saw and it was destroying her accuracy. In Prone your shooting leg gets pulled up to help absorb recoil. The support leg stays straight and your support foot should lay as flat to the ground as possible so as not to profile too much to an adversary.
An Appleseed Shoot is doing all off the above over and again to build you into a better shooter. The courses of fire are just plain fun. In addition to the AQTs there are some team drills, some shoot out the star like you used to be able to do at the county fair, zeroing drills and a lot more. My wife and I shot about 300 rounds each in two days in Birmingham. When I took my daughter to a different shoot we each fired about 200 rounds in 1 and a half days. When I told a hunting buddy how much you shoot he swore that much shooting was gonna just about wear out the barrel.....some guys have more to learn than others. The things I learned about shooting where perhaps not the most important things I took away from the experience.
The fellowship with like minded folks was worth every dime it cost me to attend the shoots. The chance to meet people from all over the country who are concerned about our rights, our heritage, and our country just like I am was invaluable. As a young boy I remember our Preacher always chastising us to come to Church anytime the door was open, not just to hear the word but to see each other. To draw support and courage from each other. Appleseeds, at least both that I have attended, where like that for me. I had a chance to meet men women and children that think like I do about my country. It was a chance to be a part of a collective will bigger than myself, it was, encouraging! If you can't make it to an Appleseed get trained somewhere! If you have any chance at all to make an Appleseed be sure you do, its worth every moment of your time. Either way be a part of re-building a nation of riflemen!
In a TEOTWAWKI situation, knowing your equipment and how best to put it to use is fundamental. Perhaps no part of preparations are more widely heralded and more misapplied than Firearms. Get trained somewhere! An Appleseed can go a long way in making you and your family much better prepared. Coming together in places like an Appleseed Shoot goes a long way towards preventing a TEOTWAWKI scenario as we build a community bathed in experience and steeped in tradition. With proper training each of your bullets can be precise and effective. Should the time ever come, an endless supply of ammo may not be available. Learn now to make every shot count. Any article that calls upon the memory of the Revolutionary War must include at least one quote from the founding fathers so here it is: "The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us." - Patrick Henry. Good Shooting, - MKH


Friday, September 22, 2006


Hi Jim,
I've been a sometime reader of your blog since last year, and wanted to invite you to submit an article for the first issue of the Carnival of Preparedness & Survival. If you are willing, you can also extend the invitation to your readers. I can't promise to use everything that's submitted, but some of your readers have had interesting things to say, and I'd like to have as much variety as possible in this Carnival. Best Regards, - D.S.

         


Tuesday, March 7, 2006


Hi Jim, Wasn't sure if you were aware that MEG has come back online with an updated website to the Rocky Mountain Survival Group (RMSG). His new site is... Survival and Self Reliance Studies Institute: http://www.ssrsi.org Glad to see him back. Just found him again week before last. Keep up the good work on SurvivalBlog. It's one of my favorites. - Richard Fleetwood
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