HomePosts Tagged "Prepping" (Page 24)

Prepping is something that takes time, some level of commitment and usually finds its roots in some motivating reason or lifestyle characteristics. Preppers intentionally work toward a goal or measurement that can be held up to life for comparison. By preparing to have food stored over the winter, you may have a measurement of how long you can feed your family with those foods you are storing away. Food storage is just one example, but being prepared to a level that most would agree is some measure above their peers, takes work and it is so easy to make excuses to get out of that work.

Prepping follows life and comes, at least in my instance, in phases. There are times when I am more motivated by events in the news to get prepared. There are days when I have a little extra money and I can spend it on some piece of gear I have been meaning to acquire and there are times when I don’t really do anything that you can say would be a common trait of a prepper. I just exist and go about my day like anyone else.

There are phases to everything in life and certainly you can’t stay in a state of high alert all the time or you would eventually burn out. I plan on writing about that topic soon, but for this post I wanted to talk about the excuses people make to not start prepping in the first place. These comforting snippets we say either because we believe them to be true or use them as our get out of jail free card. By simply saying a problem doesn’t, exist we absolve ourselves of any guilt we might feel by doing nothing. It is far easier to say words than to act and today I wanted to try to address some of the excuses for not prepping that I have heard in the brief time I have been doing this.

The audience for these excuses are anyone who thinks prepping or getting prepared for emergencies in life is foolish.

Nothing will ever happen to me – This excuse has several evil step sisters and believe it or not some people believe that you can rely on the bible to escape having to do anything. If you believe something bad will happen to you, you obviously don’t have faith do you? I do have faith but I believe God gives us many things we can use to protect our lives. God has absolute control over everything I believe but he also gave us free will. We can choose to jump off a cliff and I am pretty sure anyone who tries that will die. An often quoted verse from the Bible is Proverbs 22:3 which says:

The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

I know how simple it is to pull a verse out of the Bible, devoid of all context and frame it in a way to match your argument, but this one for me seems consistent with so many other stories, parables and lessons from the Bible. God does intervene in the lives of people, but he also tells them what to do and expects them to follow suit in order to save themselves. Bad things happen all the time and I don’t think it is foolish to guard yourself against danger. If you can see problems happening down the road that could cause you harm and you do nothing about it, you will likely pay the price – one way or another.

The government will come to my rescue – This excuse for not prepping should be the one that anyone with half a brain would know is false. Government was not made to come and fly you off the roof of your home if it floods. You were given reason, logic and intelligence of self-preservation, if nothing else that should be guiding you to safety. Counting on the Government to save you is a waste of time in my opinion and I don’t want to wait around on anyone for the safety of my family. If a bad guy comes to my door, kicks it in and comes inside and says he is going to kill me and rape my wife do you think I am going to be calling 911?

Prepping is multi-faceted, but the core issue is taking responsibility for your own health and safety into your own hands. Don’t expect the government to show up and put you on a boat to happy town. You should have been prepared enough to get out-of-town before you needed to.

The banks will never close in America – They didn’t close in Greece or Cyprus did they? The banks most certainly didn’t close in Argentina either in 2002. Banks certainly wouldn’t have any reason not to give you the money you deposited with them because they are good honest people who have your own interests at heart. Yeah, if you believe that, I have some ocean front property in Arizona to sell you. Banks are if nothing else, in this business to make a profit. Some would say they are making obscene profits and I don’t dispute that but what I do know is they don’t have to give you your money. Ever.

When you deposit your money in a bank, they consider your money theirs and you as an uninsured creditor. You are simply loaning them the money, they get to do whatever they please and if they lose your money due to shady business practices, oh well. Too bad. Don’t believe for a second that if something goes south in the world of finance, that you have any guarantee of access to your money. They may open up in a couple of weeks if they are forced to close and only allow you to get out a small amount each week. Don’t let this happen to you. Make sure you have alternate plans for at least some portion of your finances.

What could possibly go wrong?

There is no way the super markets will ever run out of food – Super markets depend on deliveries of food. They don’t make those pretty bottles, cans and bags in the back room. Just like they don’t make clothes in the store in the mall you go to. When the supply is gone, it has to be replenished. Some people get hung up on the amount of days that a typical grocery store has worth of food on hand. I have heard three days of food as a good guideline and for normal shopping that is probably right. When you go into the store, you will see how many packages of bread of the type you like to eat, maybe 2 dozen packages? What if that store was filled with hundreds of people in one day? How long do you think that food would last?

The grocery store should not be your last resort for food. The grocery store should augment the supply you already have at home which should be more than enough to eat for at least one month. I recommend a year, but you have to start somewhere. You don’t want to be the person walking into the grocery store after panic buying and complaining that there is no food. You won’t win any prizes for guessing incorrectly how much food they have on hand.

The government would never take your guns – I have two words for you, Martial Law. It was most recently implemented in a large-scale during hurricane Katrina and when that happened, they went door to door and confiscated firearms from law-abiding people. They didn’t go into crack town and take the guns away from the gangs, they took them from little old ladies. With the right reason, the government already has laws/orders on the books to confiscate firearms and if you think that could never happen, you must also think the government writes fairy-tales down to amuse themselves. Don’t believe me, just look at the video below.

You might think no person needs guns and that is fine if that is your belief, but I want to have something I can protect myself with. The only reason to take guns away from law-abiding citizens is to remove their ability to fight back. You may also think that the government doesn’t seem worried about anything and they would tell us if we were in trouble. I don’t think that is the case.

I will point out just some of the more interesting Executive Orders that are on the books currently. I am not saying which administration wrote these, but they are still current, so the government has some idea that bad times are possible or else, why the need for the following?

  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990 allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 10998 allows the government to take over all food resources and farms.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11001 allows the government to take over all health, education and welfare functions.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11002 designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11003 allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11004 allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate communities, build new housing with public funds, designate areas to be abandoned, and establish new locations for populations.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11005 allows the government to take over railroads, inland waterways and public storage facilities.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11051 specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11310 grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11049 assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issued over a fifteen year period.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow of money in U.S. financial institution in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when a state of emergency is declared by the President, Congress cannot review the action for six months. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has broad powers in every aspect of the nation.

I can hear someone saying now – “Well, of course the government is in control of those things, I mean they are the government right”? Read it again and take a look at the topics covered by these Executive Orders. The government has plans for things going so bad that they will have to come in and control every aspect of our lives. They see the potential for disaster. Shouldn’t you?

FEMA recommends three days’ worth of food so that should be enough – The last time we had a good winter storm, the roads weren’t cleared near my home for a week. Yes, we got out but that was a simple storm. What if something really bad happens? Do you think three days is enough? What if the power is out during that same storm for 5 days? Would you want to trust that no matter what the situation was, that it would be over, all sorted out, cleaned up and back to normal in three days?

FEMA’s recommendations in my opinion are better than nothing, but they should not be considered all you need. You need to plan for feeding your family forever, not just for three days. Granted, we can’t put millions of pounds of food in our homes, but they still don’t have New Orleans back to the way it was before Katrina. Sure you can buy groceries now, but do you want to take the risk that three days is all you need?

I don’t have money to spend on prepping supplies – What do you spend your money on? Do you get your nails done? Do you pay hundreds of dollars for satellite TV? What about that Xbox? How many times a week do you get a $4 coffee? Are you paying for some music download service so you can hear all of the Johnny Mathis you want anytime, anywhere?

Most of us spend money we don’t need to spend on some luxuries and I do it too, but I have made preparations for my family. I did sacrifice on some of the things I wanted so I could have supplies to keep my family fed, with clean water and shelter and security if our house disappeared tomorrow. Life is all about priorities for most of what we do. If you can look at your family while they are starving and say, sorry Johnny, I had to have the Prime Time ESPN package so I couldn’t buy any more groceries for you, that is on your head.

I don’t have room for extra food in my house – Unless you are living in a van down by the river, you have room. If you don’t have room, get rid of some of the stuff in your house. You can store food under beds, in bookshelves, in your kitchen cabinets, in hall closets, under your kid’s beds, behind the chairs in the living room. There are places to put food if you are looking and not having any place to store food is no excuse. Do you have room for that flat screen TV?

I don’t want people to think I am crazy – I don’t want to see my family hurt or suffering. I don’t care what people think about me as long as my family is safe and alive. I would happily be the brunt of a million jokes than have to look at my family and apologize for not doing what I could to take care of them.

Even if you are completely alone, what do you care what anyone thinks about you? You brush your teeth so you don’t get cavities I hope. You have health insurance if you get sick and car insurance if you get in a wreck. Why is having a little insurance for other emergencies so crazy? Get over yourself and start taking steps to be prepared or you could end up dead. Yes, if you don’t do anything to help yourself, if you keep your head in the sand you might be caught up in a world you don’t like. The worst thing that could happen to preppers if we are wrong is that we spent some money on food that lasts 25 years or guns we never have to use. Which side of that reality do you want to be on?

I am not perfect and I wouldn’t hold my preps up as the end all be all, but I am on that journey toward preparedness. I like to think I am pretty far down that road and I am just trying to get as many others on the path as possible. What do you have to lose besides your life?

Prepping is something that takes time, some level of commitment and usually finds its roots in some motivating reason or lifestyle characteristics. Preppers intentionally work toward a goal or measurement

In lieu of the several disasters that strike the world every day, many individuals feel the need to prepare for the impending doom.

It takes a lot of efforts to adopt the survivor traits of a prepper. bravery, determination and independence are among the popular survival traits you may envision an excellent prepper should have. However, beyond all these traits, a person must have the survival skills and endurance to be classified as a fit prepper.

Sometimes, you can instantly spot the characteristics of a prepper. On the other hand, in certain times, the characteristics for survival are not explicitly obvious. So, how do you know if you can refer to yourself as a prepper?

1. Possesses Strong Family Values

Preppers strongly believe in values of a close family unit. You’ll find that as a prepper, your commitment to honesty and respect within your family is something you cherish the most.

When calamity strikes, you know you’ll be a better prepper simply by just having your family’s support for better or worse. Knowing you have unconditional support makes you feel more confident that you can withstand different challenges disasters may bring.

2. Welcomes Mobilization

An ideal prepper is someone who welcomes mobilization at its best. You know you’ve got what it takes to be a prepper if you value physical fitness for survival. A prepper does not easily give up on running in order to find a way how to plan food stocks wisely in the soonest time possible, when disasters are about to strike.

3. Embraces Diverse Personalities

Having the ability to mingle with people of different personalities makes preppers stand out in the crowd. You know you need to be flexible if you’re determined to pursue prepping. A wide support network is inevitably necessary if you wish to overcome the greatest challenges life has to offer.

4. Listens to What Others Say

An excellent prepper listens in on the stuff people around them say. Having this trait is essential if you want to perfect your prepping skills in the shortest time possible. Perking up when people seem to sense you’re prepping avoids preys on survival food kits you might have in storage, in no time.

Taking action before something untoward happens enhances a prepper’s chances for success in trying to achieve his basic endeavors.

5. Perseveres in Looking for Additional Source of Income

Having additional cash enables a prepper to have more resources to combat the disastrous consequences catastrophes bring. Give in to your prepping survival desire by looking for additional sources of income to ensure you’ll be able to finance survival food and other basic necessities you need in life in preparation for the impending doom.

A prepper is not afraid to get into jobs they may be uncomfortable of having. They will resort to all means in order to boost their income potentials, even if they have never done something like this before. Preppers are not afraid to improve their skills in favor of an available job that will help them to pull in the right income that they need.

6. Knows How to Budget

Looking way ahead into the future is part of prepping. You may prepare for the worst case scenarios ahead of time by learning to budget your finances, and saving monetarily for rainy days. A detailed daily plan will guide you on how to effectively budget your money, as early as possible.

A prepper strictly makes overspending off-limits in his life. A prepper does not procrastinate when calculating his finances on a regular basis. Doing this helps him avoid short and long-term overspending.

7. Does Not Hesitate to Change for the Better

You’ll maximize your chances of survival if you change for the better, as needed. You may want to be more outgoing to develop stronger relationships with others. Doing so will increase your chances of having the appropriate support system to augment your survival potentials. You never have to worry about running out of disaster food supply without a back-up support, if you develop close positive relationship with others.

8. Considers Rural Area A Safe Haven

A low population works things out alongside with preparedness for disasters. A rural area is the perfect place where preppers may take refuge. Of course, it’s easier to overcome catastrophes if the area you live in is not heavily populated.

9. Gets Into the Habit of Gardening

You know you’re turning yourself to become more self-reliant to survive if you grow your own food. Growing your own food by doing regular gardening symbolizes your desire to be independent from food or grocery stores.

Survival relates to refusal to settle for anything that’s easily accessible. Preppers survive by making efforts to make all helpful resources closer within their reach.

10. Takes Risks Fearlessly

A prepper knows that any disaster poses imminent dangers.

You know you’re a prepper if you’re someone who knows the step by step guide for disaster preparedness. Taking risks when utilizing this guide is an integral part of being a prepper. If you’re prepping yourself in combating upcoming earthquakes, of course, you’ll need to risk allotting time to prepare for the disaster comprehensively. You may need to sacrifice leaving behind your favorite hobbies, as you get busy prepping for doomsday.

Make the characteristics of a survivalist and prepper in you; stand out by continually improving your preparedness skills. The little efforts you make in enhancing your ability to prep may pose benefits you never thought would be possible. Subsequently, you’ll find it natural to become better equipped to survive even the deadliest disasters that may come your way.

Sometimes, you can instantly spot the characteristics of a prepper. On the other hand, in certain times, the characteristics for survival are

At some point, the information you have been processing must turn to action. The knowledge that you have been gaining and the perspective of someone who now sees the world differently has to be used to do something for yourself or your loved ones. You must make the choice now to be proactive, to lead and to take control of your life from a prepping perspective because Hope won’t feed you.

In my own prepping journey, there have been phases. Initially I was on a serious information gathering mission and devoured all of the material I could. I can’t nail down precisely what if any event caused me to wake up figuratively, but I do remember strongly feeling that I needed to start thinking long-term about my family’s future and by that I didn’t mean retirement. I don’t think there was any real event like Y2K or any terror attack. There had not been any natural disaster that spurred me on, but there was a gut-level awareness that kept me awake at night and consumed most of my thoughts for a long while; almost like an itch that you can’t scratch. I believe that someone was trying to tell me something and I started listening.

The easiest way to get started for me and most others was the Internet. You can spend days staring at your computer and wandering down rabbit holes getting lost in a sea of information. The rabbit holes are sometimes pretty shallow, but other times if you are curious, go to levels you wouldn’t dream. For me with my background I was able to believe some sources of information easier than others in my same place in life. Initially I was drawn to what some would consider conspiracy theories. I think these are more interesting to the average person if you don’t seriously believe that anything bad ever happens. I on the other hand knew just enough about history and the capacity for evil in the hearts of man that I viewed these theories and concepts with an almost academic view. Instead of saying to myself “that is just stupid”, I would evaluate each and rationalize individual pieces of the narrative. I used each to give me another piece of the puzzle of information but I did my own research and came away with my own opinions. There is an old saying (and at least one cheesy 90’s song that I own) that there are three sides to every story. Yours, Mine and the Truth. I do believe that there is truth in almost everything out there, but you might have to dig for it and that is what I started doing.

This digging spurred me on in my prepping efforts and became my motivation for a lot of different beliefs but I have learned over time that the reasons for prepping are too numerous to count. There are people concerned about space aliens, the shifting of the poles, fires, mudslides, EMP, tsunamis, zombie attacks and adolescent girls with PMS. There are a million scary reasons to prepare and none of them are more “right” than any other. Prepping is frequently distilled down to a reason or threat but I don’t know why. This seems to exist purely to give people a way to shoot down preppers for what they are doing when the reason why doesn’t matter at all to me. That is one problem I have with the Doomsday Preppers show in that they focus on debunking the reason for these people prepping at the end of every segment. Why? You spend 15 minutes watching someone prepare for adverse events and then you hear, “Experts say you are totally stupid for worrying about that”.

Do Something

I don’t want to get bogged down with reasons for prepping. I think it is perfectly fine to just say you don’t want to be caught off-guard in the case of an emergency. This is simple common sense. If your car slides off the road into a ditch in a driving snow storm are you going to be happy you had the contents of your Get Home Bag to keep you and your young kids alive? Sure! Are you going to complain that survival kit was only for when the zombies attack? No. Would you keep it locked up and not use it unless the government started letting the aliens that they have been partnering with finally attack us? Of course not and yes I am being intentionally silly. The bottom line is that bag is there to help you when you need it. The reason you need it doesn’t matter, but what does matter is that you have it when you do need it. That is the best place to start.

OK, so the rather lengthy introduction to this post is over now so what am I trying to say? Take this knowledge you have been amassing and do something with it. I know that some of you are new to prepping. You may (like me) have already spent days researching what needs to go into a Get Home Bag and have the list sitting right next to the bed on your nightstand. Now, you need to go to the store and get the bag. Pack it and take it with you. Having knowledge of what you need is only the first step, action is required for most of that knowledge to be any use to you.

You may have been researching the best shotgun for home defense and have price spreadsheets and are watching the now infamous actions of the DHS and their ammo buying binge, worried that you have waited too late. Do Something! Get out there and get you a firearm if that is what you are looking for and as many boxes of shells you can get your hands on. Thinking about this to the point of inaction doesn’t help anyone. We call this analysis paralysis and you have to break out of that trap.

Chart Your Progress

I am not one of those copious note takers. My wife is and I know a lot of other people who have little notebooks filled with detailed notes about every meeting and conversation. I know one person at work who can just about dictate exactly what was said by every person in every meeting from two years ago. That isn’t me.

What I can do pretty simply though is create simple lists of things I want to work on. For my prepping items I have a couple of spreadsheets to help me track the things I need to focus on. The first spreadsheet started with all of the items I thought I needed to be super prepared for most any contingency and has highlighted some items that I had overlooked. This had things broken down into different categories that I thought were important. I started with Power, Shelter, First Aid, Water, Food, Garden, Tactical and Livestock. Under each category I had lists of items like tents, sleeping bags, spare tarps, water filters, etc. and I used this as my guide to how I was doing. The great thing about a spreadsheet is that you can easily add or modify how the results lay out and add priority or cost to each item.

For my ammo spreadsheet I listed all of the calibers I needed and what my goals were. Then I conducted an inventory of everything I had on hand, made a simple calculation and that showed me where I needed to get to. I still haven’t made it to my goals, but I know right where I am and can easily see what I need to focus on first. I also added cost per rounds and projected what my eventual cash outlay would be to get to where I wanted to. That has since been blown out of the water, but the spreadsheet can easily be updated.

Don’t stop there

Getting started is the hardest part of any project. I view prepping as a lifestyle that you begin slowly and grow into over time. Taking that first step is really all you need to put you and your family on a path to preparedness. Once you have started with putting your plan into place, acquiring tools, equipment or skills to help you, the next phase is to broaden your reach. Talk to your family about prepping. Help neighbors see the wisdom of having some food stored up for a rainy day. Take steps to prepare yourself financially for whatever may be headed down the road and you will see how your perspective changes again. I think you will see that you may become less focused on the boogeyman (and there are many out there) and more on the idea of being self-reliant and prepared for any situation you are faced with.

As with my previous comments about research on the internet, as you start prepping you will identify other areas you may not have considered. Once you start thinking about food storage, that may lead you to think about what you will do after all of that food storage is gone. Planning for your Get Home Bag may logically lead you to consider how your choice of vehicles could impact your preps. Analyzing your defensive options may cause some thought about what immediate threats or strengths you have in your own neighborhood.

The main point is to start. Get into the game and start making positive progress toward your goals. As I said at the beginning, hope won’t feed your family. You have to make that happen and the time is now.

This digging spurred me on in my prepping efforts and became my motivation for a lot of different beliefs but I have learned over time that the reasons for prepping

As editor for Final Prepper, I think it’s fair to say that I might think of Doomsday more than a lot of people. I think all preppers do to varying degrees. I try to imagine a world on the other side of collapse; a future that is soaked in chaos and anarchy, of people on the edge of survival. I think about these things not because I am a deviant psychopath bent on seeing the world burn while I assume some throne atop the wreckage of civilization; I think about the worst our society can become so I am hopefully able to plan in some way for contingencies like this. I figure if I plan for the absolute worst case scenario I will have at least spent some brain-power now trying to figure out solutions to the challenges in my imagination. If nothing happens, that is perfectly fine but I don’t want to be shell-shocked and unable to act if something horrible really does happen. In reality, that may be what happens regardless, but I do consider mental practice a worthwhile exercise.

We talk about combating violence with violence on this blog a lot, but usually from the standpoint of protecting yourself, your home or your loved ones and that is a very real and tangible possibility even now. If you add some SHTF event on top of the regular evil in the world, I believe violence will become extremely more prevalent. We in the U.S. have been largely insulated from violence and war inside our borders anyway for a very long time. Strangely enough, the rest of the world has not. I believe it only takes the right scenario or chain of events for our nation to see tanks rolling down our streets, massive protests with hundreds injured or even killed in the name of ‘restoring order’, martial law, and many thousands arrested for dissent. I also think it is possible for the right trigger event to completely destroy all semblance of society and with it our understanding of law and order. When there are no rules anymore, what do you do?

When there is no more Rule of Law

As preppers we prepare for disasters and unplanned events of all shapes and sizes. I like to believe that the actions I take to be more prepared can be used for millions of different scenarios and enhance the lives of my family even if there are never any disasters. Just the other week, I was fortunate enough to put out a small fire in our home with one of the fire-extinguishers I had purchased expressly because I was thinking about living without the benefit of the fire department. This simple prep we made was able to potentially save our home from burning down. In this case, that small act of preparing for fire actually made me prepared to act in a way that protected my family for a situation I had planned for. Go Figure!

We plan for losing the ability to purchase healthy food, losing access to water, health care and yes for bad guys coming down our street to loot or destroy, but eventually the fires will die down and we will have to restore our own semblance of society. In a worst case scenario, there will likely be no police force. We call this WROL (Without Rule of Law) You won’t have courts, lawyers, probation officers or detention centers paid for and run by taxpayer dollars. What happens when these legal process systems we have relied on to deal with the criminals among us are gone?

At some point in the bleakest future we can imagine, maintaining the rule of law might be our responsibility. Your community might be the police force, the judge and in some cases, the executioner. Instead of protesting police, you may find yourself along with your neighbors in the role of dealing with the bad guys.

All crimes are not equal. Different punishments for different offenses will be wise.

Crime and punishment when the grid goes down

We are a nation of laws and regardless of what you think about the particular laws, civil society needs rules to live by. To enforce the laws we have consequences and those are all sloppily handled by our local governments in various fashion. If you ask me there are entirely too many laws on the books now, but that’s an argument for another day. I do agree that some laws/rules are needed to keep everyone responsible or to hold people responsible for their actions. These will be no less important in a SHTF scenario, but your problem could be codifying the laws your community agrees on and identifying some process for carrying out justice when everything has gone to hell.

In this case I am referring to communities of people. When a group of people are together and relying on each other for mutual support, they will need to answer some questions if they want to formalize a process. Lone Individuals who are on their own will be ruled only by their own individual morals and ethics I think in a SHTF scenario. If you are living out on your remote piece of land and someone comes into your house at night, or is caught stealing some livestock, you will be left to your own devices I think in dealing with them.

In a community and maybe even in large families you will have to deal with consensus and agreement more so I believe unless you plan on running things like the Governor of Woodberry. In order for communities to get along, the rules will either need to be agreed upon or enforced under penalty of threat of violence. For the sake of this article, let’s assume your neighborhood has formed a small survival community, the worst of whatever disaster has passed and now you are trying to rebuild your own society piece by piece. This is TEOTWAWKI here, not some regional disaster that you would eventually recover from.

Justice in a WROL world may mean the death penalty.

What could you possibly have to consider when it comes to the rules and laws of the community?
Who decides what the rules/laws are? – In a survival community, I don’t see anyone electing a single leader, but that could happen. There should be some form of leadership and this can be made up of several adults chosen by the group. The community should identify what rights this leadership has and the extents of any power provided to the leadership. No point in giving someone control over the community who will be a dictator.

What are your rules/laws? – This might sound easy at first, but over time it could become more complex without clear wisdom. I think it might make sense to deal with offenses against people first such as theft, injury or murder. These crimes may have clear-cut victims but for the sake of your conscious, a method of determining beyond a shadow of a doubt; the guilt or innocence of someone is key. You could start with the Bible and use elements of Levitical law, but that will set you up for harsh penalties that may not always seem fair. Do you really want to cut off someone’s hands for stealing? What if the person who stole was a child?

How are the rules shared with the survival community? – If you make a law/rule for your community you will have to ensure that everyone knows about the rules. You can’t simply say, the penalty for dumping poop near the stream is death and start killing people if they didn’t know the rules. Publish the rules in a common place and have a meeting with the community to go over all of the laws and give them a chance to offer feedback or ask questions.

How do you come up with penalties? – You can assume you won’t have access to a prison to incarcerate anyone as punishment for their crimes. Even if you did, you would have to spend resources feeding and taking care of the person. Punishment should be swift and effective so that the community isn’t burdened by the person who committed the crime. Could you make them spend the day in the stocks like they did as recently as the revolutionary war? For the penalty or punishment, this should be agreed well in advance so the rules come with penalties that are publicly known ahead of time by all members of the committee. Outsiders, if they are let in should be notified of the community rules immediately. Another reason to keep them simple.

Who will establish guilt or innocence? – I think an impartial party or group of people should be responsible for deciding guilt or innocence when it comes to punishment. This could be as simple as three people from the community who each get a vote after hearing the evidence. The people chosen could be different for each “Trial” to keep things fair.

How is punishment carried out? – I don’t think the people who decided the laws or a person’s guilt or innocence should be responsible for punishment. In the case of the death penalty, who will be the executioner? Who will slide the hangman’s noose around their fellow community member’s neck? This is not a job for a sick or vindictive individual. It should weigh heavily on anyone responsible with carrying out death in the name of justice.

As many problems as I have with the justice system in our country, I am not excited about the prospect of potentially being responsible for dispensing justice in my community. Again, this is an extremely bleak vision of a future that I don’t believe anyone wants, but topics like this do interest me with the potentials they highlight.

What about you? Have you thought about community rules and laws after a SHTF event?

As preppers we prepare for disasters and unplanned events of all shapes and sizes. I like to believe that the actions I take to be

For all its faults, I still really enjoyed watching Doomsday Preppers from National Geographic. No matter how bizarrely the antics of the preppers who appeared on this show actually were or (in most cases I believe) were framed to heighten the entertainment factor; I was able to pull information from each episode. Each prepper was engaged in more or less what I strive to do every day, but with different resources, approaches and rationale. I really only had two complaints with the show and these are admittedly superficial but tainted the overall experience for some people I think. The first was the ratings which improved over time and then were eventually dropped I think this past season. The second was that each prepper had to state what it was they were prepping for as if anything else were to happen outside of their stated concern they wouldn’t know what to do or the preparations they had made to date would be invalid.

The list of items that these preppers had as their reason for prepping wasn’t as unique as I expected but you did get a little variety in there. I think that most of the shows I saw showcased the preppers as preparing for Economic Collapse, but there were a lot of these self-described survivalists who were worried about violent weather, EMP, nuclear war or meltdown of power plants, pandemics, or terrorist attacks. The small minority were theorizing that we would have the Yellowstone super volcano eruption or that the poles would shift.

What are you prepping for?

I probably wouldn’t have been a good candidate for a prepper on Doomsday Preppers for a lot of reasons not the least of which is that I would never go on any show like that, but aside from that detail I don’t have a bunker, I have not purchased an abandoned missile silo (although that would be pretty neat) and I don’t live out in the boonies in a cabin. I also don’t have the resources that a lot of these preppers seem to have to buy tons of gear, create my own apocalypse bus or tank and I personally am not prepping for one specific thing. If Doomsday Preppers asked me what I am prepping for I would have to say I am prepping for anything.

It isn’t that I am like Chicken Little and believe that doom is lurking around every corner but I approach prepping from the standpoint that you need several basic items to live no matter what disaster happens. I think that viewing your prepping strategy from this standpoint will allow you to prepare for more and be more broadly prepared than someone who is just prepping for a single event. I have said this before in other ways but I think the concept is valuable to preppers as they start the process of prepping.

For example, Ebola has been in the news for the last several weeks and anytime there is a perceived crisis like this search engine traffic from people who are looking into the topics of survival and searching for information on how they can be prepared starts to increase at Final Prepper. It makes sense that there is more interest because the news didn’t stop talking about the Ebola patient for weeks and then we migrated into the possibility of self-quarantine as the option for people to avoid the disease. Naturally we tried to cover some of these topics on Final Prepper as well.

But what about the people who view Ebola as the “Big Thing” they are prepping for? Is it possible that some of these people who were going about their lives happy as a clam before patient zero was found in Dallas but who were momentarily focused like a laser on how to survive Ebola are looking at this all wrong? Could it be that in the rush to prepare for this single potential disaster of an Ebola pandemic that they were missing the bigger picture?

Are you a well-rounded Prepper?

For years I have been prepping for all sorts of different events. If I am being honest I think the most likely man made event could be some form of economic collapse and I am by no stretch alone in that thought. However, what if we don’t have an economic collapse? Will all of my prepping supplies be wasted? Will the time and energy I invested be foolish? Will my family finally get to laugh at me and talk about how silly I was to have Bug Out Bags for all of them or enough food and water to keep my family alive for 6 months?

My family might get to laugh and that is honestly my hope when all is said and done, but I still don’t think that if nothing happens, anything I have done was a waste. I am prepping because I want to take care of my family and that boils down to providing for their needs in a survival situation. It may not be an economic collapse and in reality they might not be in a survival situation necessarily to take advantage of the preparations I have made. It could be a simple winter storm that knocks power out for days. Could we survive a blackout with no preps? Probably, but would we be better off with the backup power we have? Would they be warmer with the alternate sources of heat I have set aside? Would they feel safer with some of the security provisions I have made?

I believe the smarter strategy is to plan to survive regardless of the disaster because we don’t really get a vote. I might not be planning for a flood because I don’t live in a flood plain, but what if some ridiculous weather event caused our town to become flooded? Do you think I would sit back and tell my family too bad? This wasn’t the disaster I had planned for? Maybe I could fashion life preservers from all of the N95 masks and Nitrile gloves we stocked for Ebola?

Five minutes before prom is not the time to learn how to dance.

Call it prepping tunnel vision. I think that is what some people get into without knowing it. If you consume yourself with the most logical threat on your threat matrix you could miss the snowball rolling down the hill that will kill you. I know that some people who for example live near a nuclear power plant are planning for a meltdown, but what if that doesn’t happen and what you are really faced with is a pandemic? Sure the plant could eventually meltdown, but you might have more to worry about in the short-term from a tiny virus than that big nuclear plant.

Reacting to news events is normal and part of me does the same thing to some degree. I use these events in the news to spur me to action, but it isn’t like I haven’t been prepping all along. I might re-inventory my stocks, but the next crisis isn’t making me go out to the store to begin working on my food storage plan. The next threat of social unrest won’t prompt me to think about securing my home or defending it. I guess what I am trying to say is keep your eyes on the larger goal of keeping you and your family alive regardless of the crisis that appears. No matter what you think could happen, you need to be prepared for what does happen and no amount of planning for specific disasters will work as well as a broad-based plan for survival regardless of the disaster. Plan for surprises because you and I both might be surprised at what eventually happens. Will your preps keep you alive no matter what?

I probably wouldn’t have been a good candidate for a prepper on Doomsday Preppers for a lot of reasons not the least of which is that I would never go

Have you ever stolen anything? Chances are that most of us have at least one time in our lives. This could range from the completely innocent act of taking something you thought was yours by mistake, like your buddy’s Metallica CD, to something more heinous like the outright theft of a wad of cash laying on the table. Most of us, I would assume, haven’t done anything like the latter and even if we did, could probably chalk a good bit of this up to youthful indiscretions that you may or may not have already paid retribution for. I would imagine that few if any of us have even thought of smashing a window in or kicking down a door, entering someone’s home and taking anything. I would expect that even fewer of us have busted a store window down, barged inside and reemerged with a flat screen TV or handfuls of new clothes ripped from the rack. They are arguably the same thing though and that is stealing. Whether it’s your friend’s money or the TV from the store in town, if you take something that isn’t yours it is theft, right?

Is there ever a time when it is ok to steal? Maybe you say, we aren’t stealing we are scavenging and that is perfectly fine. Under the right circumstances and in the right situation I would agree with you. So today I wanted to discuss looting vs scavenging and how the two are related and how in a survival situation you could go about scavenging for items that could save your life.

When is it OK to Loot?

For many of us, just about any recent examples of disasters, protests, sports riots or uprisings in various forms illustrate a certain amount of looting. During Hurricane Katrina, looters floated garbage cans filled with clothing and jewelry down the streets. Even before Hurricane Sandy made landfall, people were tweeting their plans to loot the stores. There are usually people in the media or experts who want to explain away this type of behavior and remove any responsibility from the people perpetuating these crimes and associate guilt to societal breakdown. They insist that these people should be held blameless for their actions because of the disaster and the horrible effects it must be having on their lives. I think that in the overwhelming majority of cases that is crap and people who are looting by and large are simply criminals that should be punished. For me, looting is wrong and I can easily make the distinction between looting and scavenging. It comes down to a few basic questions for me.

What are you taking? – The looters in both Katrina and Sandy that I mentioned above weren’t taking items to keep them alive; they were plundering stores to enrich themselves. A flat screen TV is not something you need and could never be reasonably excused as necessary for your life. Jewelry? Clothing could on some very small-scale be construed as needed for survival in the right circumstances, but not if you already have a house full of clothing.

Why are you taking it? – The looter takes what they can get, not what they need. You may argue that these people were poor and they needed those TV’s, that clothing and that jewelry to make their lives better. Maybe they were going to sell those goods for money (not sure to whom) or that they needed those goods as reparations for some injustice 200 years ago. Even more absurd, you could say they needed the clothing to be able to get a better job. Right…

Who are you taking it from? – If you are taking almost anything from an electronics store, jewelry, liquor, or clothing, you are looting. This is what we routinely see on the news and these aren’t people who are scratching to survive, they are just stealing because there are no police around or worse, the police aren’t doing anything to stop them. Bottom line is these people are thieves and in a true grid down emergency, I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t pay for those TV’s with their lives.

In those three examples above, there is no right way to steal. You don’t need anything you are stealing and your life is not in peril if the supplies you are taking aren’t acquired. You are simply looting because you can.

What makes scavenging any better than looting?

Scavenging on the other hand is what you see in almost every dystopic portrayal of a disaster or future where the world has gone to hell in a hand basket and people are eating dog food. If you watch any type of survival/apocalypse movie, the main characters will invariably find some supplies in a department store or abandoned house, maybe in a car somewhere. In the last Walking Dead, two characters found supplies of food in a house they came across. In the movie the Road, they actually found a survival bunker full of food. Food is very definitely something you need to live. I point to movies and TV shows because most of us have never lived through a situation where we had to steal food to live because there simply was no place left to get food anymore. These movies and TV shows are the only example of a future that some of us can imagine in extreme cases. Extreme poverty in third world countries is not what I am talking about here.

Imagining a total collapse of society, not a regional storm; certainly not a soccer game riot, where the supply lines and means of support we have relied on for years are completely ripped out; I can see us all facing a future where scavenging might be required if you expect to live. If we had a zombie apocalypse (I know there is no such thing as zombies…yet), nuclear war, global pandemic or a massively disruptive event that wiped out a lot of people in a relatively short period of time you could find yourself scavenging for items you need to stay alive. I can guarantee if something that horrible happened you wouldn’t be going after the big screen TV’s anymore. You would be looking for food, maybe even a dry place to sleep, anything that could keep you alive or safe. The problem is, so would anyone else who was alive.

Scavenging for food seems very logical under extreme conditions. What if you are wearing boots that are worn or even worse, footwear that isn’t appropriate to walking every day? Would you go looking for new shoes? Would you look for a good pack to carry everything, assuming you didn’t already have a good bug out bag? Scavenging is at its most basic searching for items to keep you alive or that could help you. Scavenging is not looting a brand new TV because you want to watch the game when the power comes back on.

Scavenging is not something I plan to do if people are around or there is the reasonable expectation that whatever event I am going through will be short-lived and that is one of my reasons to prepare. I don’t expect to be effected by short-term emergencies.  I would go into abandoned homes or businesses in extreme conditions if I was fairly certain that the owners were dead or could reasonably assume they would not be coming back. If this was my own area, I would start as far away from my home as possible and work my way backward towards my home. To keep track of the homes I had been in, I would try to have a map. This would prevent me from going into the same houses twice. If I was sheltering in place I would be looking for supplies I didn’t have or ones that could augment the supplies I do have like extra food, medical items, ammunition or items that can be used defensively. How is this different from looting if I already have supplies you ask? In my hypothetical, everyone is gone or dead and I am collecting what would rot to keep me and my group alive. I am not running into a store for a TV because the water rose (temporarily) or the power was out (temporarily).

If you need to scavenge, you have to realize that isn’t act isn’t without risk either. This must be balanced with the risk you face going into these homes, leaving your own and how much the home or neighborhood has already been scavenged by other people. Scavenging for food to save my family’s life is a risk I am willing to take under the right conditions. Getting some new sneakers or a flat screen TV is not.

For many of us, just about any recent examples of disasters, protests, sports riots or uprisings in various forms illustrate a certain amount of looting. During Hurricane Katrina, looters <a

A key but often neglected part of having firearms in your prepping plans is practice. Many people purchase thousands of dollars worth of weapons with the intention of using these in a life and death situation. The truth of the matter is that when you are actually in a life and death situation, your skill is dramatically reduced. The confidence you had with that weapon is gone and fear and stress kick in big time. It is at this most critical time that your skill level and proficiency need to be the highest they can be, but the reality is we are able to muster only a fraction.

Practicing with your pistols before there is an emergency is vital to improving your chances of successfully living to talk about it. If your going into a gunfight, you need to be training for a gunfight. Bruce outlines some steps and exercises you can follow below to become more proficient, to increase muscle memory and hopefully increase your odds of hitting what you are shooting at, before it hits you. Practice these drills as often as you can. They could mean the difference between life and death.

The Crush Grip

The crush grip is one of the elements of Massad Ayoob’s five-point “pre-flight checklist” comprising the fundamentals of solid combat handgun marksmanship (Ayoob, 2012). When a shooter uses a crush grip or hard grasp on the handgun with the thumbs curled down, the curled thumbs promote a stronger and tighter grasp. Thumbs curled down do not shift the windage on one’s muzzle direction. My experience and the results with my students validate that one can shoot with combat accuracy with such a grip.

Furthermore, as demonstrated in Massad Ayoob’s Stressfire combat handgun training program (www.MassadAyoobGroup.com), when a shooter intentionally “gorilla grips” the handgun to the point of tremor, the resulting “wobble zone” results in shot groupings on target at combat distances that are still within a combat accuracy acceptable 3 to 4 inches.

However, there is yet one other essential point. The harder you grasp the handgun, the better you will control the gun. Also, the harder you grasp, the easier it is to isolate your trigger finger. Just perform this little experiment:

Full combat grip on holstered gun.

Make a loose fist with your dominant hand and keep your thumb pointed forward. Now, extend your trigger finger and press your trigger finger to the rear just as if you are working a trigger. If you watch your hand as you do this, you may notice that as you work your trigger finger, your other fingers are also moving. You have not completely isolated the movement of your trigger finger from the rest of your hand. This is called “milking,” and if you do this while you are shooting, it typically results in shots that are low and to the left.

Now make a much tighter fist and curl your thumb down. When you extend your trigger finger and press it to the rear now, as if you’re working the trigger, you will notice that your other tightly clasped fingers do not move in unison. You have isolated your trigger finger. This is one advantage of a crush grip.

The importance of a combat shooting program emphasizes techniques that depend on simple gross motor skills as opposed to complex fine motor skills, since fine motor skills deteriorate under life and death stress.

It is my position that we should practice defensive shooting in ways which are consistent with what happens physically and psychologically if we were fighting for our life. These techniques should feed off of the effects of the body alarm reaction and become more effective under stress. They must be simple gross motor techniques that can withstand the tremors and increased physical strength attendant to the body-alarm-triggered adrenaline dump into the bloodstream. A “crush grip” does this.

Can we and should we train for a gunfight?

My position on the matter is that we can train for when the proverbial balloon goes up and that we should maximize our training time by building skills that we might have to use in a deadly force situation. After all, we carry guns because we just might have to use them in defense of life. Therefore, we had better prepare ourselves by running drills that build skills we might actually use for real.

How to Train for the Gunfight

I have developed a practice drill regimen that runs through some of the core elements of combat shooting. It is doable in a lane in an indoor range. I use this practice drill regimen for my own skills maintenance, and I teach it to my private students. I will outline it here. It requires 100 rounds (two boxes) of ammunition.

Training for a gunfight means building skills you will need if you are in an armed confrontation. First and foremost, you will need good basic marksmanship skills because advanced combat shooting skills involve solid applications, and in some cases, modifications, of the basic skills. Thus, you must master the basics.

These include a solid (power) stance, a solid and stable (crush) grip on the gun, acquisition and maintenance of good sight alignment and sight picture, good trigger control and trigger reset, and good follow-through. Second, you will need good point shooting and retention shooting skills. There will be no time to take your time. You need to be able to fire multiple shots fast and accurately close in, because most gunfights happen within nine feet. And third, you will need to move! The person who stays planted is going nowhere fast, and in fact, may get planted. Conversely, the person who moves rapidly is more likely to emerge from the fight alive.

Drill 4: Elbow Up. Elbow Down.

Drill 1. Basic Marksmanship Drill: Two-Handed Grip (30 rounds)

Every trip to the range for practice should include practicing basic marksmanship to refresh and strengthen the fundamentals. Advanced skills build on the basics. This first drill is a primer. I typically run at least 30 rounds through my primary defensive handgun at five, seven, ten, fifteen, and twenty to twenty-five yards. The handgun is brought on target either from the low ready, combat ready, compressed combat ready positions, or the holster. Typically I begin shooting close-in to build confidence and then increase my target distances.

Basic marksmanship means employing the fundamentals; power stance, hard two-handed grasp on the handgun, good sight alignment and sight picture, good trigger control and follow through (give the bullet time to leave the barrel before the trigger reset and preparing for the follow-up shot). For this drill, I am aiming for precision accuracy. I am essentially running the “one-hole drill” or “focus drill” that I have described in previous articles. This is a take as much time as you need drill to get all shots in one hole using the basics of good marksmanship.

Drill 2. Basic Marksmanship Drill: One-Handed Grip (20 rounds)

This drill is the same as the above drill (incorporating all of the fundamentals) except that now you are shooting one-handed at various distances, alternating between your dominant and non-dominant hands. When you shoot one-handed, it is important to grip your handgun even harder, as you have only one hand on the gun. The harder you grasp, the better you will control the gun. Also, the harder you grasp, as we illustrated above, the easier it is to isolate your trigger finger.


The above two drills use up a box (50 rounds) of ammunition. The drills to follow require another 50 rounds. The following drills should incorporate movement at least some of the time that you run them, to the extent that the range will allow. Obviously, if you are working in an indoor range in a lane, your movement will be minimal. Basically, when you are not shooting, you should be moving. As noted defensive firearms trainer, John Farnam is fond of repeating, “Don’t just stand there like a potted palm.” If you present a static target in a real fight, you just might get planted. So, movement should be incorporated into your gun presentation (your draw from the holster) and movement should follow each string of shots.

Drill 3. Draw and Shoot Two-Handed from Compressed Ready to Full Extension (20 rounds)

DRILL 5 as you aim through point shooting at the target, you are shooting up the target from your initial point of aim/point of impact, sort of like a zipper.

In a real gunfight, you will be firing multiple shots. Typically the fight will begin close in. To prevail and survive, you need to get hits on your assailant before he hits you. And you need to move away from your assailant as you are doing so. Distance is your friend. This drill is

One-quarter hip retention point shooting position.

run at three, five, and seven yards. You begin from two-handed compressed ready. When you give yourself the go signal, start shooting from the compressed ready and fire two to three additional shots as you push your gun out to full extension.

In a fight, you would be extending the gun as you fire and simultaneously move away from your assailant. Note: Your first shot at compressed ready should be taken with your hands at least six inches in front of your chest so that the rear end of the cycling slide will not hit your chest.

Drill 4. Elbow-Up/Elbow Down One-Handed Point Shooting from the Hip (10 rounds)

In this drill, I practice drawing from the holster (strong side) and shooting from retention (which in this drill is the one-quarter hip retention position), as soon as the gun is pointed at the target. A total of 10 rounds are fired. This drill should be perfected first without movement. Once you are comfortable with the drill, then you can incorporate movement. However, if you are shooting on an indoor range in a lane, it may not be safe to incorporate movement into this drill. This is the flow sequence broken down into steps:

  1. Acquire a combat grip on the holstered handgun.
  2. Your elbow swings up as you draw the gun up vertically and clear the mouth of the holster with the muzzle.
  3. Your elbow swings down as you rock your forearm up toward the target with your arm in the one-quarter hip retention position.
  4. You fire one shot as soon as your muzzle is pointed at your aim point on the target.

It is very important to maintain a crush grip on the gun as you run this drill. By doing so, you will have more control over the gun.

Drill 5. “The Zipper” (20 rounds)

This drill is an extension of Drill 4. In this drill, I draw from the holster (strong side), begin shooting from the one-quarter hip retention position as soon as the gun is pointed at the target, and continue firing as I push the gun out toward the target through the half hip, three-quarter hip, and full extension positions. This drill is called the zipper because as you aim through point shooting at the target, you are shooting up the target from your initial point of aim/point of impact, sort of like a zipper.

DRILL 5 as you aim through point shooting at the target, you are shooting up the target from your initial point of aim/point of impact, sort of like a zipper.

Here again, we are practicing getting multiple shots at speed into our assailant. You should start running this drill slowly, and gradually build up speed over several sessions. It is important to do it smoothly in one continuous flow. Here you should “flow like water.” Remember that initially at least, slow is smooth, and eventually, fast, effective and coordinated is always smooth.

Recognize that in reality, you would only extend your gun as you are firing as far as you safely can in order to maintain good gun retention. If you are too close to your opponent and you extend your gun too far toward your opponent as you are firing, you may end up giving your gun to your assailant or his partner.

This drill should be performed without movement while you are shooting, as with all of the above drills. Give yourself time to become proficient at this drill before you incorporate movement into your draw from the holster. Again, if you are shooting on an indoor range with lanes, it may not be safe to incorporate movement into this drill. Again, it is very important to maintain a crush grip on the gun throughout the shooting sequence. Especially when you are practicing this technique, if you do not gorilla grip your handgun, you will not have as much control over it as you need to have.

This is the flow sequence broken down into steps:

  1. Acquire a combat grip on the holstered handgun.
  2. Your elbow swings up as you draw the gun up vertically and clear the mouth of the holster with the muzzle.
  3. Your elbow swings down as you rock your forearm up toward the target.
  4. You fire your first shot as soon as your muzzle is pointed at your point of aim on the target and when your arm is in the one-quarter hip position. You continue firing as you push the gun out toward the target through the half hip, three-quarter hip, and full extension positions.


Training for a gunfight means practicing drills that incorporate skills you will need if you are in an armed confrontation. First of all, you need good basic marksmanship skills. Advanced combat shooting skills involve solid applications, and in some cases, modifications of the basic skills. You must master the basics as discussed above. That is why my practice regimen includes a basic marksmanship component.

Second, you need good point shooting and retention shooting skills. Armed confrontations and gunfights typically happen in seconds. There is no time to take your time. You need to be able to shoot multiple shots fast and accurately. Most gunfights happen within nine feet. You will most likely be fighting one or more assailants who are coming toward you, so you will need to hold onto your gun tightly (crush grip, retention position) and fire multiple shots.

Third, you will need to move, so you need to incorporate movement into your drills! The person who stays planted is going nowhere fast, and in fact, may get planted. Conversely, the person who moves rapidly is more likely to emerge from the fight alive. The drills described above incorporate all of these elements.

A key but often neglected part of having firearms in your prepping plans is practice. Many people purchase thousands of dollars worth of weapons with the intention of using these


Escape and Evasion

Here are some basic instructions on how to avoid getting captured if you manage to escape from kidnappers, terrorists or from a location where things have gone very wrong. We do no encourage people to break the law, but you must understand that in some situations what would be viewed as illegal actions such are breaking and entering into a building or taking supplies are your only option for survival.

Fundamentals of OTR (On The Run)

Part of your SHTF plan needs to be what to do if you have to escape from a hostile situation be it urban or rural, be it your local area or somewhere you’re visiting or doing business. Always ensure you have the basic equipment required to navigate and sustain yourself in the environment you’re in, keep it basic, keep it light and keep it concealable.

  • Your goal is survival and to reach a safe area.
  • If you have a cell phone on you consider if those after you can use it to track you. If those after you have access to the phone company’s networks dump the phone completely.
  • Consider your means of leaving the area: on foot, swim, public transport, aircraft, boat, hitch a lift, steal or hijack a vehicle.
  • After the initial escape try to leave the area as quickly as possible and keep a low profile, remember to blend in with your environment.
  • As soon as you can you need to make contact with friends, family, trusted authorities or friendly Embassies.
  • If you cannot leave the area then you’ll have to go to ground and hide, locations can include; in parks or bushes, busy pedestrian areas, public bathrooms, bars and night clubs etc. Consider what CCTV is in the area and if those after you can access it. If your hiding in parks etc. do those after you have thermal imaging equipment? Consider how long you will have to go to ground for and what are your emergency escape routes.
  • Work out where are you running to and try to leave decoys pointing to different locations; book a train ticket with your credit card but never take a train etc.
  • You will need money if you are very lucky and have a credit card hidden on your person you can use ATM’s but remember this will show your location on the grid. If you are in an area where you’re staying for a while, you could possibly have previously stashed cash with other important documents and equipment in a dead drop for emergencies, your last resort would be to steal money.
  • You will also need clean clothes, if you cannot buy them or get them from a place of charity you would need to steal them.
  • If you need to travel a long distance you will need to find somewhere to wash and stay clean.
  • You will need somewhere to sleep; in urban environments it may make sense to stay away from the usual places homeless people congregate as this would be the first place those looking for you would check.
  • If you do not have money to buy food you could possibly get it from charities, steal it or check the trash cans behind restaurants and sandwich shops.
  • To leave most countries you will need a passport or ID’s, if you have lost yours, you can try to covertly bypass border controls and then make it to the nearest friendly Embassy on the other side. At most borders there may be checkpoints on the roads but go a few hundred meters either side there is usually nothing, maybe a fence. So, if you are using a road get off it a few hundred meters before the border, skirt around the check point and rejoin the road a few hundred yards on the other side. When crossing the border do so quickly, quietly and use all your senses and be alert for any patrols or remote cameras etc.
  • Try to have or get maps, even free tourist guides are better than nothing.
  • Learn to identify north and south without a compass.
  • Always carry and try to conceal an escape compass on your person.
  • Identify and remember prominent objects in the area such as major roads, rivers, mountains, airports and buildings, these will give you reference points when on the move.
  • If you are in a rural area and want to locate people follow rivers, most villages are located around water sources.


Face to face with a street thug? Do THIS
Sometimes it doesn’t even feel like we’re living in America anymore, with…
• Outraged alt-left mobs who burn any American flag they come across…
• Trigger-happy thugs who have ZERO regard for human life…
• Radical terrorists plotting to murder Americans right here in our country…
That’s why an ex-CIA Officer made this brief self-defense video and he’s sharing it FREE with all law-abiding American citizens.

Every Heel Has His (Or Her) Achilles Heel

Escape and Evasion Equipment

The reason for escape and evasion equipment is to help you escape from captivity and stay alive for a limited amount of time. You should carry a minimum amount of non-nondescript equipment as discreetly as possible. Expensive, specialist, flashy military equipment will only draw attention to you, it will be taken away by your captors or during a search and could possibly label you as a spy or police etc. This is something you don’t want as it could lead to you being detained, tortured and executed. This list is a guide to what would be useful for you to have on your person, pick the items you think you would be able to get hold of, conceal and relevant to the situation you’re in.

  • Survival blanket: These are usually silver in color and can be used to provide warmth, shelter, collect water and for signaling.
  • Personal water filter: There are many small water filters on the market that are easily carried in a shirt pocket etc.
  • String or thin wire: This has various uses for example construction of shelters, re-closing cut wire fences, trip wires etc.
  • Wire saw: These thin wire saws can be used to cut wood, plastic and soft metals. Always try to buy those made from multiple strands of flexible wire “commando wire saws”. Beware of cheap imitations.
  • Small lock pick set: Bogata pics, diamond/needle file and cuff shims are easy to conceal and inexpensive.
  • S.O. Tech RSB-L-BLK Riggers SERE Belt – Stash pocket allows you to hide escape tools

    Hacksaw blade: The blade should be broken into 2 to 3 inch pieces to make them more concealable, if possible the ends and backs of the blades can be sharpened.

  • Safety pins: Various uses including first aid, mending clothing, building shelters and picking open hand-cuffs.
  • Razor blades: Small and concealable multi-purpose blades.
  • Flint and steel/Matches: Used for fire lighting to keep you warm or cause distractions.
  • Tinder: Cotton wool or lint etc. used to help you light fires.
  • Hairnet and Condoms: Used for carrying water, the condom goes in the hairnet to stop it from splitting.
  • Water purification tabs: For purifying drinking water.
  • Compass: Chose a small and concealable compass.
  • Whistle & Mirror: Can be used for signaling and distractions.
  • Knife: Chose a small concealable knife that won’t be found and confiscated when your captured or that can get you arrested for carrying an illegal weapon. Neck knives are an option as many searchers do not check the neck or chest areas.
  • Flash Lights: Chose a small concealable flash light, forget the expensive tactical lights, this can be used for light, signaling and distractions.
  • Tools: There are many good multi-pliers type tools on the market that are excellent pieces of kit for escape and evasion but will most probably confiscate them straight away if your arrested or kidnapped.
  • Food: Try to conceal high calorie foods such as sweets, nuts and raisins etc.
  • Money: Probably the most important piece of equipment you can carry. Chose small value notes of a well-known currency, waterproof them and conceal them.


Face to face with a street thug? Do THIS
Sometimes it doesn’t even feel like we’re living in America anymore, with…
• Outraged alt-left mobs who burn any American flag they come across…
• Trigger-happy thugs who have ZERO regard for human life…
• Radical terrorists plotting to murder Americans right here in our country…
That’s why an ex-CIA Officer made this brief self-defense video and he’s sharing it FREE with all law-abiding American citizens.

Concealing your Escape and Evasion Kit

Most commercial escape & evasion and survival kits come in a plastic or metal container. This container can be used to drink from and if it’s metal you can also boil water in it. The trouble with tins and containers are that they are easy to find during a body search and will be confiscated. You want to try to conceal your equipment in your clothing.

  • Jackets: There are lots of places for you to hide equipment in jackets especially if they are lined. Wire saws, matches and money can be sewn into seams and draw cords etc. with lager equipment put into the lining. The lining itself can be used for tinder etc.
  • Travel Vests: These have lots of places to conceal equipment but there is a good chance it will be confiscated. A tactical vest is also an indicator that you are in the security business and a FBI wannabe.
  • Shirts: Sew money etc. into the seams.
  • Trousers: Sew money, wire saws, razor blades etc. in the waistband, hems and seams. Also keep a few bits of candy in your pockets.
  • Belts: Sew equipment into your belt or look at buying a commercial money belt.
  • Shoes: There is a lot of room to hide all sorts of equipment in the heels and soles of your shoes.
  • Underwear: Sew money, wire saws etc. into the seams.

Always dress down and don’t wear clothes that will draw attention to you or that will be taken off you by your captors. Again, this is just a guide to get you thinking, just take a few of the above mentioned items, conceal them on your person and they could make your life easier in an escape and evasion situation.


  Escape and Evasion Here are some basic instructions on how to avoid getting captured if you manage to escape from kidnappers, terrorists or from a location where things have gone very

Fear can be the ultimate motivator. People in a plane that is rapidly plummeting to the ground are suddenly motivated to clasp their hands together and hastily scream a prayer that they haven’t felt compelled to whisper since elementary school. Some live by the philosophy that without fear there would never be an opportunity to exhibit great courage. I disagree that fear should be anyone’s ultimate motivator, and I believe fear-fueled prepping is dangerous and foolish.   Prepping because you have given fear a name such as an F5 tornado, a great flood, civil war, an EMP, a worldwide pandemic, etc. could prove deadly for you and your loved ones. Don’t stock up on food and supplies out of fear, instead be confident in your abilities, gather what you can for any given situation and make it part of who you are, how you think, and how you react.

Fear and prepping don’t mix because the act of preparing for anything requires focus and strategy. Fear is paralyzing and can cause a person to push aside sound judgment. It speaks to the rational mind and causes panic which then turns people into illogical, wide-eyed animals. If you are trying to convince a spouse to get on board with your preparedness mindset, the worst thing you can do is to try to motivate them with fear. First of all, it can backfire and fear can cause some people to not even want to get out of bed in the morning. If you start preaching to them about the pandemic that is all but at their doorstep they might conclude that the end is near and there is no point in going to the grocery store or taking the dog for a walk. Even if you are able to convince them to join your small elite army, they very well could turn into a crazed trigger-happy liability.

Medically and psychologically, fear can wreak havoc on your system. It can affect the immune system, cause cardiovascular damage, and gastrointestinal problems. The body suffers with fear, but the mind is where it really causes problems. Your long-term memories are affected as well as the ability to read non-verbal cues. Decision making is impaired in negative ways and a person is apt to fall prey to impulsivity of actions. In simpler terms, a person could forget where they buried all their caches, fly into an irrational rage, shoot a hole in a water barrel because they mistook it for a zombie, and then drop dead from a heart attack. All this could be avoided had they not been operating out of an unyielding, dark, and portentous emotion.

You should be prepared for whatever may come your way, and you should also have some survival skills under your belt for good measure. Most of all, check fear at the door and develop strategies that ensure a cool head and the ability to maintain a panic-free demeanor at all times.

A tale of two Preppers

Imagine the scenario where PREPPER A has worked themselves into a lather over their fear of Ebola. They have feverishly prepared themselves for a worldwide pandemic. They research the topic endlessly, buy every medical book on Amazon, take some First Aid classes, stock up on medical supplies, buy Hazmat suits, etc. They have sacrificed sleep, quality time with loved ones, and freaked out members of their family only to drive home one day and find that their house and all their preps have burned to the ground. The next day the world is thrown into chaos because of financial collapse and they have nothing they relied on except the knowledge in their head. If there is nothing in their head except ideas of how to deal with a pandemic and the ability to use specific supplies then they are in deep trouble. Now let’s take PREPPER B. This person has stored up general preps such as food, medical supplies, and precious metals. They have invested time in learning the survival skills that will keep them alive in any climate and any chaotic situation. Not only is PREPPER B better than A in many ways, they also have one more huge advantage. They possess the ability to keep their emotions in check and maintain a level head even when circumstances seem at their worst. They will be an asset to their family and community.

Irrational fear can derail your prepping plans. Learn to control it now.

Here four things that can assuage the fearful mind:

  1. Identify: Identify what you are fearful of and what about it causes you the most dread. Now recognize that you have the ability to conquer your fear and that what tortures you most is the unknown. Realize you cannot determine the future and it is impossible to prepare for EVERY scenario.
  1. Skills: Work on learning skills that will test your grit. Imagine scenarios where you don’t have anything to fall back on. Determine the skill set needed for these situations and practice them until you are confident in your abilities.
  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff: Make a list of things that you want to accomplish, but don’t assign a timeline. Be diligent, but not OCD.
  1. Remember: Use scripture or a phrase that keeps your emotions in check. Choose something calming that succinctly defines what your state of mind should be in when you are overcome with the wrong emotions. I, personally, find Psalm 23:4 soothing and comforting. This verse gives me confidence and stabilizes my mind.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Remember, if you have worked hard to fill your pantry, stored up emergency items, and have researched everything you need to know to survive you can still be gripped with anxiety which stems from fear. Understanding that you are where you are and that when you go to bed at night you will be satisfied with what you have and make do if the need arises is key to your stability.

Here is a short list of skills that should be firmly planted in your head as well as your loved ones. And I highly recommend taking the time to teach your children survival skills. Ages will vary, but don’t underestimate the usefulness of our youth. Kids are capable to do much more than most people give them credit for.

Knowing how to treat a wound is an important prepper skill.

  1. Build a fire, especially in the event you don’t have matches and newspaper.
  2. Forage for food that isn’t going to kill you.
  3. Build a shelter.
  4. Run 4 miles without dying. If you have health problems that keep you from running, then at least be able to walk 3 miles.
  5. Find drinking water and know how to produce clean, drinkable water without a manufactured filter.
  6. Plant a seed and grow food. Even if it’s spinach. Then learn how to save the seed from what you produce.
  7. Treat a wound and be able to clean it properly to keep infection at bay.
  8. Fire a weapon with a moderate level of proficiency and clean the weapon afterwards. (If you are working with a minor, then most importantly, if they have never shot a firearm then take them somewhere so they can shoot at a target and see that real guns put real big holes in people and things. Guns aren’t toys and I believe if more people taught their kids about weapons, there would be fewer accidental shootings).
  9. Know how to dress for the weather and use layers properly. Dying from overexposure is a bad way to go and can be avoided with proper layers.
  10. Learn how to read the sky for direction and weather. This skill has been overlooked with the introduction of the GPS.

I will end with this quote because I love it. It sums up the experience and disdain I have for fear. There is no one alive that has never been afraid; what sets us apart and makes us strong and more capable of survival is the ability to conquer it.

“I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.”- Thomas Paine

Fear can be the ultimate motivator. People in a plane that is rapidly plummeting to the ground are suddenly motivated to clasp their hands together and hastily scream a prayer

Jack Frost nipping at your nose? Well, it’s that time of year to worry about getting nipped too hard by our cold natured friend. The colder weather makes me think of issues that I have to watch out for and one of them is frostbite. Frostbite can affect anyone and you don’t have to hike all the way up Mount Everest to feel its effects. As we think of prepping, one aspect we prepare for is bugging out or being without shelter due to societal collapse, natural weather event or some other calamity that causes major upheaval. With winter temperatures dropping, being outside could quickly cause cold injuries. Knowing how to prevent frostbite could be a valuable prepping skill you need to know if faced with that prospect.

The easiest thing to do is stay warm and dry and regulate your body temperature. Make sure you have proper cold weather equipment and you are able to reduce your exposure to the cold. That might prove impossible in some situations. Gloves are often overlooked when we think of prepper supplies but even with gloves, most are not designed to keep your fingers protected against every harsh environment. If wet, even the most expensive gloves will be no better at keeping your hands warm than a wet bag.

What are the symptoms of Frostbite?

Frostbite is an injury caused by the freezing of your skin and the underlying fluids and tissues. Frostbite is most common on the extremities or any typically unexposed areas of skin. Fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks or your chin are where you are most likely to get frostbite because when you are cold, the blood in your body retreats towards the core to keep the vital organs functioning and warm. Severe frostbite requires medical attention because it can literally destroy skin, tissues, even muscle and bones.

How to tell if you have frostbite

The symptoms of frostbite include the following:

  • Initially cold skin and a prickling or tingling feeling. This can be felt in early, less severe forms and most of us have been so cold that we felt numb before.
  • Numbness
  • Discolored skin. It could be red, white, even blue or grey.
  • Hard or waxy looking skin
  • You could experience clumsiness or disorientation due to muscle and joint stiffness.
  • Blistering after your skin rewarms. This is a serious sign of frostbite.

Frostbite generally occurs in several stages and takes time depending on the temperature and your exposure to the cold.

Frostnip – Frostnip is the first stage of frostbite and is what most of us who have lived for any amount of time and been outdoors have experienced. With frostnip, you skin turns red and feels obviously very cold. Your skin could also become paler as in your fingertips which will lead to prickly feelings and numbness. When you begin to warm up you may feel pain but this passes and frostnip does not cause any permanent damage and is usually remedied with some warmer temperature and a nice mug of cocoa.

Superficial Frostbite – The second stage of frostbite is red skin that turns white or pale. As this happens, ice crystals may start to form in the tissue. There is no way you will know that this is happening of course and your skin may actually start to feel warm. If you get out of the cold at this point you may notice that your skin appears blue, purple or splotchy and will start to sting, burn and swell. Blisters may appear 24 to 36 hours later.

Severe Frostbite – The longer you are exposed to the cold, the effects of frostbite damage all layers of the skin including the tissues underneath. Numbness, loss of sensation including any pain or discomfort is a sign that your tissues have died essentially. Your joints or muscles may stop working and you will have large blisters form after you have warmed back up. This is the point that skin turns black, hard and you will start losing things that you used to have. This is not good and it’s very important to recognize the signs of frostbite early to prevent this from ever happening. You do not want to deal with any injuries during a grid down or bug out scenario, but frostbite could lead to worse problems. If you have signs of superficial or severe frostbite you should seek medical attention immediately.

Who is more at risk for developing frostbite?

There are some factors that will increase your risk for frostbite:

  • Medical conditions that affect your ability to feel or respond to cold. Diabetic Neuropathy is one that comes to mind so if you have people in your Prepping group who have diabetes, this is something to watch out for.
  • Dehydration – another reason to ensure you have plenty of water even when it’s cold outside and you don’t think you are losing any from sweat.
  • Alcohol or drug use – You do not want to be too stoned to know you are losing your fingers.
  • Previous frostbite or cold injuries. Once you have been frostbitten, you are more susceptible to the effect of cold again.
  • Infants and Seniors are less able to keep themselves warm.
  • High altitudes reduce the oxygen supply and increases the risk of frostbite.

Warm your hands by sticking them in your armpits.

Warm your hands by sticking them in your armpits.

How to treat frostbite?

Frostnip doesn’t require any treatment and usually just getting warm and dry will reduce any effects from the cold. The longer your exposure, the more risk you have of damage and complications from frostbite. Here are some ways to treat frostbite:

If you can seek shelter

  • Get out of the cold– yes, the simplest things are the best usually. Once you are inside someplace warm, remove wet clothing and dry exposed areas.
  • Gently rewarm areas that are in pain. You can soak hands and feet in warm (not hot) water. Water temperature between 98 and 108 is perfectly fine to restore warmth to your skin. The water temperature should only feel warm and you should have someone who hasn’t been affected test the temperature or you can stick an unexposed body part like an elbow in the water to test if you do not have a thermometer.

If you can’t get to shelter

  • You can warm your hands by sticking them in your armpits as close to the body as possible. We were taught to do this in the Army with our battle buddy and thankfully I never had to put that in place. If we were experiencing frostbite we were supposed to stick our hands in our buddy’s armpits or our feet on their belly. Can you imagine how much fun that would be?
  • If there is any chance you will be freezing again, don’t thaw out! This can exacerbate the condition.
  • Take pain medication like Advil, Motrin IB which should be in your first aid kit.
  • Don’t walk on your feet if they are frostbitten. You can cause more injury by breaking off broken dead pieces of your skin.

Medical Treatment of Frostbite

Assuming you are at a point that you can begin healing, begin with rewarming the skin. As this happens, the skin may turn soft and look reddish or purple. Slowly move the affected areas as you can begin to feel them again. Wrap the tissue loosely with sterile bandaging and elevate any areas to reduce swelling.

Severe cases of frostbite will destroy skin so amputations may be necessary. Again, this is not an injury you ever want to have but in a grid-down environment, make sure you do your best to avoid this.

Jack Frost nipping at your nose? Well, it’s that time of year to worry about getting nipped too hard by our cold natured friend. The colder weather makes me think

In just a couple of weeks a lot of you are going to be making New Year’s resolutions and according to our good old government (not sure why they have to have a webpage to tell us this) the most common resolution is to lose weight. This is a great goal for a lot of people but as preppers we can look at this another way too. Maybe it’s time to trim some pounds off your Bug Out Bag and save your back in the process. For a lot of us, the mythical – perfect bug out bag is one part Swiss army knife, one part hardware store and one part supermarket with a dash of your favorite clothing outfitter thrown in for good measure. Over time in our efforts to be prepared for anything, we have lost sight of what this bag is meant for and traded common sense for comfort, at the expense of weight.

What choo talkin bout Willis?

In my research as a prepper I have watched a lot of YouTube videos about Bug out bags from people all over the world and in many of them you get very well-meaning people who put together pages of items that you simply don’t need. Others have items that could be lighter or who carry too much of a single item when that isn’t necessary. I myself am a well-meaning person so here is my take on some simple steps you can take to lighten your bug out bag but before I get into that, I want to give you my opinion on what a bug out bag should be in the first place.

What is a bug out bag for?

A bug out bag has been called by a lot of names. I have heard I.N.C.H bag (I’m Never Coming Home). G.O.O.D bag (Get Out Of Dodge), the 72-Hour bag, Go Bag and others that crop up from time to time when I think people are just trying to create something new and trendy (S.N.A.P – Seriously Need Another Plan). Whatever you call it, the bug out bag concept was envisioned as a bag to carry everything you will need to LIVE for 72 hours if you only have that bag on your back and nothing else in the world. Why did I put the emphasis on live? That is because a lot of people start throwing everything but the kitchen sink in their packs and it is one of the reasons why I wrote the post “Is your bug out bag going to get you killed?

When you start adding items with minimal practical use or perhaps less likelihood of keeping you alive then you start adding weight. Do this enough times and your bug out bag becomes an unwieldy mess that can cause injuries or worse, get you killed. So what are some ways we can prevent that from happening?

Don’t carry too much water

Unless you live in the desert and I know that some of you do, water should be something that you know how to find and can easily disinfect to make it drinkable. For the large majority of us, packing 3 days’ worth of water is suicide in terms of size and weight and it is really unnecessary. Again, if you live in a desert I am not talking to you, but you really need to evaluate your plans also.

Sawyer Mini is a lightweight hero when it comes to water filtration.
Sawyer Mini is a lightweight hero when it comes to water filtration.

Water sources are everywhere and you only need a good water filter to make all but the nastiest water perfectly safe for drinking. I like pump filters like the MSR Miniworks EX Microfilter and have taken this on several backpacking trips because they are simple and filter water very quickly. In terms of sheer weight and even space reduction, the Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System is a real champ though and in those respects it kicks even decently sized filters like the Miniworks to the curb. The Miniworks weighs 1 pound. The Sawyer mini weighs 2 ounces.

For water I would carry one full litter bottle and have one plastic bladder that I would use to collect water that I need to filter with my Sawyer. Nalgene water bladders weigh almost nothing empty and can roll up to fit in tiny spaces. My plan is to find and filter water as I need it along the way. Could you boil your water instead and maybe save these few ounces or use water treatment tablets? Of course, but you have to have a fire, keep something to boil it in, wait for it to boil, then cool down, lather rinse repeat or deal with the weird taste of those tablets. The filter is the easiest fastest way to go for me and the Sawyer will filter over 100,000 gallons! That is enough to keep you alive for over 200 years if my math is right.

Don’t pack like you are going on vacation

Too many bug out bag lists will contain a spare pair of boots and another change of clothes. Do you need more clothes to live? Maybe if you are bugging out from a nudist colony and you don’t have any on, but you should already have some clothes on. Maybe you need to adjust your wardrobe and put on a good pair of boots before you bug out, but packing another set of clothes takes up space and adds weight; especially if you are packing heavy winter clothes.

Dress in layers and take items that will compensate for a lot of additional items. I would bring a pair of socks so you always have a dry pair, set of clean underwear and not much else. If it was cold I would have a base layer(s) and maybe a fleece, but I might have that on my body anyway. Clothes shouldn’t be packed in place of shelter; you should deal with that separately.

What about my camping towel, deck of cards, favorite coffee cup and my travel pillow? Leave all of that stuff at home. This pack should only have the essentials if your goal is truly to have the least amount of weight you can. If you are running from everything you know for some reason you have bigger problems than a pillow and you will never pack everything you need in all scenarios for all situations so why try?

Use a tarp instead of a tent

Tents can easily weigh 5 pounds so they are prime opportunities for reducing weight. One of the simplest alternatives to packing a tent is to pack either a rain fly or tarp. Tents do not offer much in the way of protection from the elements unless you have a serious mosquito problem and primarily they are for keeping the rain off of you while you sleep and maybe affording some degree of privacy.

For a really nice option that also gives you camouflage, you could go with the Aqua-Quest Heavy duty tarp. This will string up easily between two trees, keep the rain off of you and as long as you were in a wooded area, this could prevent your location from being noticed by passersby. This tarp weighs 3.4 pounds so there are some savings but it rolls up much smaller than a regular tent and you don’t have to worry about those stupid poles and stakes that are always lost. Breaking down and setting up will go much faster as well once you have a simple tarp rigging system down and memorized.

Pack a tarp instead of a tent.
Pack a tarp instead of a tent.

Rain fly’s for hammocks are a similar option but usually weigh a little bit less. It’s the same concept as a tarp but with a slightly different footprint and coverage area. The ENO Pro Fly Rain Tarp only weighs 22 ounces and that is a huge difference from that 5 pound tent.

Look at the weight of your bag itself

Sometimes we can save weight simply by looking at our bug out bag that we are carrying all of this lifesaving gear in. Take just two common bags out there, the Rush 72 by 5.11 Tactical and the Maxpedition Pygmy Falcon II. These bags are not without their differences, but the Rush 72 weighs 4.8 pounds and the Maxpedition Pygmy weighs 2 pounds 1 ounce.

Now I don’t have both of these bags in front of me so the 5.11 could be twice as large as the Pygmy, and with a name like Pygmy, you know it isn’t Super Grande, but the point is your bag also contributes to the overall weight. Maybe if you are looking to shave some pounds and you make some of the changes above you won’t need as large of a bag in the first place. Something to consider.

Lighten your food load

Food is a great place to reduce weight. On one of our first backpacking trips into the woods we didn’t think about weight at all, we thought about pigging out after long days hiking with heavy packs. We had foil packets of tuna, summer sausage, cheese and crackers, whole bags of trail mix, pop tarts and cookies. We never even made it through all of our food that we packed in and in the process of that first backpacking trip learned a valuable lesson. Some foods weigh more than others and you don’t really need to pig out that much to have more than enough to keep you alive.

For a bug out scenario I am looking for a great calorie to weight ratio and one option is G.O.R.P which is simply good old raisins and peanuts. One problem with G.O.R.P is it’s shelf life and ability to handle storage extremes. If your bug out bag is always located in the hall closet or down in the basement where it’s always 62 degrees then G.O.R.P is a great option. The trick is to only eat as much as you need based upon the caloric content. You can’t just eat until you are full or else all your G.O.R.P will be gone the first day.

Other options which are more heat tolerant and long lasting when we look at from a storage perspective are emergency ration bars (my current Get Home Bag option) and freeze-dried food like Mountain House. These are lighter than bringing 6 cans of spam in your pack and can take the heat of a car parked in the summer without spoiling.

Also, these options don’t require you to bring your own mess kit which is another item that isn’t necessary. Just bring a spoon like the Titanium Spork or even an old plastic spoon from an MRE and you are good to go. The Emergency Rations don’t even need that.

Reconsider One Is None

A prepping mantra is “One is none and two is one.” That simply means that stuff happens. Murphy will appear when you least expect him and anything you have can be lost or broken. That single water filter you have could roll down the hill, into the river and out to the ocean. The survival knife you have could be lodged in that great big bear you were forced to scare away from your camp and they might run off into the woods never to be seen again.

The temptation to pack two of everything sounds like great advice but it isn’t necessary or practical in a bug out bag. Could you find a use for two fire starting kits? Maybe. Could you need a back-up rain poncho? You could, but all of your redundancy is adding weight. Think carefully about whether you need this weight or maybe you should just be more careful. If we were talking about prepping supplies for the home I definitely agree that having two is a good idea, but when it comes to hiking through the woods, trying to survive I am less likely to adhere to that advice. I know I could regret it, but we are talking about weight reduction here.

Maybe there are certain items that you could have two of like a knife or a way to start a fire. I have a multi-tool as part of my EDC which has a knife that could be my backup. Also, I have a fire steel and a Bic lighter, but I am not going to carry two tarps in case I lose one.

Sleeping bag Options

Sleeping bags are another item that can weigh a lot and take up a bunch of space. I have a military sleep system that I purchased at a gun show that I love but would never put this in my bug out bag if I was trying to save space or weight. It is huge and heavy. I also have sleeping bags from Wiggy’s that are very warm, but they also take up a lot of space.

You can spend hundreds on very expensive bags that pack down small or you can spend a lot less money, dress in layers and maybe use your survival bivvy to supplement that system. The Recon 3 from Elite Systems is easily half the size and weight of my Wiggy’s and costs a heck of a lot less. Will it last as long as the other bags or keep me warm down to -20? No, but if it is -20 my butt is looking for shelter and a heat source.

So there are 7 ideas for reducing the weight of your bug out bag. What ideas do you have?

In just a couple of weeks a lot of you are going to be making New Year’s resolutions and according to our good old government (not sure why they have

Water is a critical component of life.  Go without any for three days, and your chances of being dead are very high.  We are used to water being available at every tap, water fountain and purveyor of beverages.  The only problem is, this continuous availability of water depends on a lot of infrastructure, and if some or all of that collapses, water is going to “dry up” quickly.  And if you head out into the wilderness, taps, fountains and retail sellers are few and far between.  You should always be keeping an eye out to make sure you have “enough” water and/or a way to get water.

Different Types of Water

Water is water, but not all water is the same.  There is pure water, just combinations of two Hydrogen atoms and one Oxygen atom (H2O).  Generally the closest you can get to this is distilled water.  This is useful and fairly harmless, although it is hypotonic (has a lower solute concentration than do human cells) and can cause hemolysis (rupturing of red blood cells); this is usually not a major concern even if this is all that is available to drink.  Using it on wounds may delay healing a bit; and it might be a problem for people with ulcers (bleeding in the stomach).  But this is still way better than no water.  On the other end of the scale are various degrees of contaminated water, polluted with chemicals and/or biological organisms, which can make you very sick and even kill you.  Salt water can be considered in this latter class as well, even if there is nothing else in it besides the salt.  In between are various types of water, all of which are potable (suitable for drinking without major harmful effects).

Determining what water is potable and what is not can be quite a challenge.  If it is in a sealed container and properly labeled, then it MIGHT be OK.  Labels have been known to be inaccurate (accidentally and even deliberately).  If it comes from a municipal tap, then it MIGHT be OK.  Just ask the people of Flint, Michigan about that.  If it is from a known well, it MIGHT be OK.  My dad’s well was found to contain arsenic.  And if the water is from an open source, such as a stream or pond, there is a chance it might be OK, but the odds are very high that it is contaminated.

Market failure.

Even if some water does not have anything seriously harmful in it, there might be particulates (sand, silt, plant or insect parts and the like) which would make the water unpleasant and/or things which might be only relatively harmless.

During “normal” times, pre-packaged or professionally provided water is usually tolerable, but if the water infrastructure breaks down for any reason, all water is not to be trusted as is.  Open water should always be viewed with suspicion regardless of the state of the surroundings.

Contaminants in Water

There is a tremendous variety of contaminants.  Some are “natural”, such a minerals in water drawn from a well, or silt from the bed of a river.  Some are man-made, and leaked into surface water accidentally or even deliberately; some eventually work their way into the water table.  Some are added accidentally or even deliberately by water distribution networks or packaging.  For convenience, let us group contaminates into particulates, organisms, organic chemicals (contain carbon), inorganic chemicals and salt (a special case of inorganic chemical).

Determining some specific contaminates can be done with a “pocket-sized” kit, but many require chemical tests which may be a challenge for people without lab access.  But you can get a compact “TDS” meter cheap which will tell you the “Total Dissolved Solids” in your water.  As an example, fish tank water gave a reading of 448, tap water read 229, and reverse osmosis water read 17.  We don’t know WHAT contaminants are there, but we have an idea of HOW MUCH.  Some of these meters also measure “EC” (Electrical Conductivity); pure water is an insulator and it is the ions added to it which makes it conductive, so TDS and EC are closely related.


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Purifying Water

There are six common, practical philosophies of treating contaminated or suspected water.  Each has its strengths and weaknesses.

  1. Chemical reaction changes harmful chemicals (usually inorganic) to harmless ones (such as ion exchange), or adsorb (attract to the surface and “grab onto”) some chemicals (usually organic).
  2. Filtration removes particulates and bigger organisms; most filters allow some organisms (particularly viruses) and all chemicals through.  Salt water cannot be purified by filtration and can damage the filter.
  3. Boiling kills all organisms; it is useless against particulates, salt and chemicals
  4. Chemical treatment has pretty much the same effect as boiling, without the cost in fuel, but often adding an unpleasant taste (you are adding chemicals).
  5. Distillation is an extension to boiling which, if done correctly, should be able to deal with biological, particulate and most chemical contamination, as well as salt.
  6. UV radiation kills organisms exposed to it as long as the water is pretty clear; it is useless against particulates, salt and chemicals

There may be other methodologies which I am not familiar with, particularly large-scale, but these six would seem to be those of most interest for survival purposes.

Since no method is perfect, often two or more methods are used together.

Chemical Reaction

The most common form of this is “activated charcoal”.  This is carbon (charcoal) media which has been treated with Oxygen to create a myriad of tiny pores between the atoms, resulting in a massive surface area of potential chemical bonds.  The carbon attracts some chemicals, particularly organic ones, and they bond to the surface (adsorption).  These usually cannot be cleaned, so clog up and must be replaced fairly quickly.  Also, if the carbon media is granular, some dust sneaks out, requiring a pre-flush of the filter before normal use.  Because the intention is for the contaminants to bond with the carbon, we want the contaminants to be in contact with the carbon for a “long time”.  Thus, the better ones of these have a slow production rate, and arguably the “best” of these uses “carbon block” technology where the media is fused together into a mildly porous solid.

You have probably heard of one common Ion Exchange device, the ubiquitous water softener.  It exchanges two sodium (salt) ions for each calcium or magnesium ion.  This is for non-drinking reasons, because calcium and magnesium are often better for you than salt, and tastes better too.  For water purification, the process has two different beads which exchange inorganic ions to produce Hydrogen ions and Hydroxyl (OH) ions, which combine to form H2O (pure water) to replace the chemicals.  Of course, the ions are used up rapidly, they are for a specific list of chemicals, and the beads need to be regenerated.  And of course, this method has no effect on organisms or particulates.  These are fairly rare; an example would be the MB series filters from CustomPure.com which also include carbon filtration for some of the things Ion Exchange won’t handle. They claim it can remove “sodium” which is salt, but I doubt it would be able to handle the amount of salt in salt water.

Water Filtration

Filtration is very simple in concept.  You pass the contaminated water through a medium with holes smaller than what you want to take out.   As such, a key specification for any filter is what size the “holes” are.  This is usually specified in “microns”, or “micrometers”.  That is, one millionth of a meter.  Some claim this measurement (micron) is obsolete, but it still seems to be the measurement of choice for filters.  Some recent purifiers specify their size in “nanometers”, where 1 nanometer is .001 micron.  Keeping with the “metric” measurements, filter capacity (how much water can be processed before replacement) is often specified in Liters (L); for a rough estimate, a Liter is approximately the same volume as a quart, so four Liters is approximately a gallon.

When comparing filters, the one with the smaller holes would seem to be the better choice.  The problem is that some companies have varying sizes of holes, and claim the size of the smallest hole in their filter rather than the biggest.  Since it is easier for the water to get through a bigger hole and much of it does, this can be a seriously misleading rating.  In your final analysis, try to find out the actual percentage of contaminants removed.  This is the most accurate way of determining filter effectiveness.  Another term which can sometimes be used in a misleading manner is water “purifier”.  The correct use of this term is for a unit which removes the much smaller viruses.  Units which remove particulates and organisms as small as bacteria are simply to be called “filters”.

Some filters become “plugged up” quickly and are rated for a specified number of gallons (or liters), while others can be cleaned and restored to service or even are self-cleaning.  Reverse osmosis (RO) is a prime example of purification and self-cleaning.  It forces the water through a semi-permeable membrane and continuously washes any contaminates off of the source side of the membrane.  This is a very effective system (see the TDS meter example above), but requires the water to be pressurized, and worse, the wash water now has an even higher level of contamination than it had at the beginning.  In many systems, you “throw away” as much as four gallons of water for each gallon purified.  I’ve heard of one household system where the wash water is fed into the hot water line rather than the drain, but I’m not seeing how the pressure in that line is overcome.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter – $20

Other filters run the gamut from several layers of cloth or a coffee filter, suitable only for large particulates, to 0.01 micron (or less) water purifiers; from pocket-sized to counter-top and bigger.  Since the smaller the holes, the slower the filtration and the more likely it is to clog up, often filter systems have multiple filters, starting with a pre-filter for “chunks”, course filters for large particulates, possibly some medium-sized filters and ending up with the finest filter.  Smaller holes require more “energy” to force the water through the holes; this can be from gravity, or more effectively, a pump or suction.

In filters (i.e., won’t remove viruses), perhaps the most compact and simplest to use is the “Lifestraw“.  This is rated at 0.2 micron, with a 264 gallon capacity.  It is light, easy to carry and reasonably priced.  To use it, stick the input end into contaminated water and suck the water from the other end just like from a straw.  It takes a few seconds of sucking to start delivering water.  There also seems to be a Lifestraw Steel model, which adds a metal body and an activated carbon filter to remove some chemicals.  This latter part is replaceable, which is good because its capacity is 26 gallons, only a tenth of the main filter capability.  Another popular compact option is the Sawyer Mini system.  This is rated at 0.1 micron, and can be cleaned to provide up to 100,000 gallons of filtered water.  It can be pressurized by squeezing a pouch of contaminated water, or used inline with a hydration pack, from a standard soda bottle, or used as a straw from an open source.

As for portable purification, an example is the pump powered MSR Guardian, rated at .02 microns and with about a 2500 gallon capacity.  Another, bigger option is the Lifestraw Family, rated at .02 microns and with a 2600 gallon capacity.  I found a particularly compact suction powered (straw) system which sounds promising; the Etekcity 1500L rated at .01 microns with a 396 gallon capacity, but don’t know anything about the company.  They have a wide range of products, so it’s not like they specialize in water purification.


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Because requires no electricity, it is ideal for home use, on or off-grid.


A countertop system is an option at a fixed location.  An example of this is the gravity powered Big Berkey (actually, the whole Berkey family).  This company doesn’t provide a micron rating since it can be misleading as mentioned above; they stand on their contamination removal percentages.  Their filter cartridges have a capacity of 3000 gallons per filter element, with two to four elements installed in the system.  More elements don’t filter any better, just faster.  Not only is it very effective against virus (and bigger things), but many chemicals as well.  And you can get an add on filter for each element which takes out Fluoride, Arsenic and a couple of other additional chemicals, with a capacity of 500 gallons per add-on filter.

Tune in for Part 2, which investigates the other four purification methods.

Water is a critical component of life.  Go without any for three days, and your chances of being dead are very high.  We are used to water being available at