HomePosts Tagged "SHTF" (Page 18)

I used to think people who were constantly talking about government conspiracies, doomsday and all the other scare tactics were spouting wild theories. I still do for the most part… Recently, I got a different point of view when I re-read the article 8 Reasons Why Prepping is Good for You.When you boil preparing for unusual situations or prepping down, all it really means is that you turn back the clock and return to a simpler time when people were independent. In simpler times money was kept in the home, personal debt was rare, people cooked the food they grew and got a lot of exercise in the process. We have situations every day that we need to be ready for so let’s see how your prepping skills work out in these situations.

Floods – in the past, Louisiana had several days of flooding rains. Roads were flooded and people were cut off from stores and medical centers, many people were stuck in their homes. If they had stored some food, water and extra medical supplies they did better than those that didn’t.

Stuck on the Road – Accidents, storms and traffic jams on the highway have caused people to be on the road for hours and even days. If you have your go bag packed with extra blankets and food you will be glad to have it, and thankful that you learned some self-reliance.

EarthquakesEarthquakes occur more often than you think and there is very little warning when they are coming. As a veteran of a couple of earthquakes I know they have a wide range of damage. Power may go out, roads are often impassable and you are left separated from family. If you remembered to make an emergency plan with your family you will find out quicker whether they are okay or not. Communications are often jammed so if power is out you will need to have a solar-powered battery charger to try to get through on jammed lines. It can take days.

Water Contamination – Water contamination seems to pop up on news stories at least once a month. Your prepper skills would have taught you to have bottled water on hand or to have the equipment to make drinkable water on hand. Stores often don’t have often have enough for an entire community.


Do you know how to make drinking water safe if what is coming out of the tap isn’t?

Hurricanes – While hurricanes vary in strength and size, they all come with a lot of wind and rain. When Hurricane Irene struck New England back in 2011 trees came down, bridges were swept away, shopping centers were flooded and power lines went down. The damage was widespread; the effects of the storm were felt long after the storm departed. The people and companies that did the best were the ones that had back up power and extra supplies.

Fires – Fires usually require a quick exit from a building or even a large area. If you have prepared in advance, your important papers will be in a place where you can grab them quickly and go. This will not only give you peace of mind, it will make the recovery much easier on you.


iBeek® Portable 10000mAh Dual USB Solar Battery Charger

Winter Weather – Ice storms and blizzards are some of the prettiest storms; and with that fresh look comes cold problems. The storms are very destructive. In 2008 an ice storm hit New England and New York. The roads icing were the least of the problems. Power was down for weeks; the grid had to be replaced in freezing weather. Many New Englanders are ready for storms but weeks without power tested even the hardiest people. The people who depended on power to heat, cook and shower and that had no other heat source had to go to shelters or to a family member’s home to keep warm. People stood in line in restaurants to charge their phones so they could check on friends and family. The sun shone strongly right after the storm, your solar battery charger will be very useful on one of these days.

Financial Health – There is one area of being prepared that we can use on a daily basis and that is finances. Many of us have gone into debt for things that we don’t really need. The prepper lifestyle encourages debt free-living and skills like cooking, and home medicine that save money and encourage good health.

Relationships – Any activity your family does together forges your relationships. Prepping activities are no exception. Getting prepared for unusual situations is an opportunity for everyone, especially children, to have confidence, build skills and learn independence.

Education – Prepping is like attending a new school. You still learn plenty, you just don’t sit in a classroom. Here are just a few of the lessons you get at Prepping School:

Science: Growing and preserving your own food not only teaches children where food comes from, you create family memories for years to come. I still remember picking apples, blueberries and strawberries in the field, then coming home and helping my Mom and Grandmother cook with them. We also had a garden and I remember my Dad’s tips on planting tomatoes and cucumbers.


Solar power is an option for off grid and prices are coming down.

Physical Education: Our modern lifestyle has cut out a lot of the exercise that people in a simpler time got by walking more and doing more labor themselves instead of having a machine do it. Planting a garden and then harvesting that garden require exercise and fresh air. If you hunt for your own food you walk quite a bit in the wilderness. You can also take your family on hikes to find things like the nearest water source and medicinal plants. When you map the route you are teaching and learning mapping skills and geography.

Alternative Energy – Designing and constructing a solar or wind powered system is a lesson that gives children a useful skill that will last throughout their lives. They may even start a business based on the experience. Solar, wind and hydro energies are going to be a big part of our children’s lives. Teaching them how to use them correctly is an important lesson.

Raising Animals – When you raise animals for food you have to research which food is good for them, build them a pen and make sure they have a warm dry place to stay. Their medical needs must be taken care of as well. This is a lesson in building, responsibility and science.

Health– More exercise is just one health benefits of getting prepared. When someone is hurt and cannot get to the Dr. or clinic the medical supplies you have and skills you learned prepping will be needed. This is a good science lesson for the kids. Learning to heal others could influence their career choice. When you help someone by cleaning their wounds and healing a sick person you gain confidence. It worked for my Grandmother. One of the home remedies she used was an egg poultice which was used as a drawing agent. When my Dad welded he often got metal slivers deep in his skin. He would apply Grandma’s poultice to the sliver and cover it with a bandage. A day or two later the silver would be in out and my Dad was happy.

Peace of Mind: The peace of mind just knowing you are ready is priceless.

With all the benefits of prepping, maybe we should all live like the world is ending. We would build better relationships, get more exercise and eat better.

I used to think people who were constantly talking about government conspiracies, doomsday and all the other scare tactics were spouting wild theories. I still do for the most part…

Being able to take care of one’s own self. I cannot express the importance of this simple phrase. We are a family of ten. Yes, ten. Our children consist of two girls and six boys and range in age from three to eighteen. The workload that is required just to keep our family clothed, fed and living in a clean environment is beyond my sole capabilities. There isn’t enough time in a day to accomplish the many tasks that are waiting for me as the sun comes up each day.

It is out of necessity that our children have learned to do many things for themselves. “Many hands lighten the load” comes to my mind on most days. I am so thankful for those small but many hands. Our family has made the concept of self sustainability a central part of our children’s training. I have felt an urgent need, from the birth of each child, to make sure that they are prepared for the many possibilities that may occur in their lifetimes. We want our children to be aware of, and have respect for, the dangers that exist in this world. Poisonous snakes (we live in central Texas), drowning ( we have a swimming pool) and fire arms (we hunt), make up a very short list. Having the wisdom to protect themselves from danger is not enough though. We also want them, as much as possible, to be able to care for themselves.

Nobody gets a free ride

From a very young age we have encouraged our children to meet their own needs. This hasn’t always been an easy thing for me to do. I get a lot of satisfaction from serving my husband and children and making their lives more comfortable in the process. Doing things for others makes me feel really good. However, I knew that this selfishness would be detrimental to their training. Thankfully, being in a large family and the life lessons that come from that, have done a lot of the training for us. Instead of sitting hungrily, waiting for me to finish teaching a math lesson, my children realized rather quickly that their stomachs would stop growling much sooner if they got a snack for themselves.

We also require, very early, that they get themselves a glass of water when thirsty, bathe independently (but supervised for the very young), and put on their own socks and shoes (backwards is fine) before going outside just to name a few. At the age of seven our children go through what I like to call laundry boot camp. It is at this age that they take on the sole responsibility of doing their own laundry. Several of my friends have expressed surprise that I require this of my children at what they feel is too young of an age. My response usually goes something like this, ” If they can work their video game controllers, then surely they can figure out how to work a washing machine”.

If our children express frustration with the difficulty of these tasks we assure them that they just need more practice. We are purposefully slow to intervene when we see them struggling with a task, thus affording them more independent practice. If they display anger, we will not intervene at all. This is to teach that there is no place for anger when things don’t come easy and we are mindful to tell them so. We always aim to push them just past their comfort zones when difficult situations arise. The look of great satisfaction that spreads across their faces when they achieve something that they never thought they could do is absolutely wonderful. Don’t get me wrong, we are a team and we help each other in many ways each day. Lots of jobs require more than one person. And the more mundane tasks always go more quickly with a little company.

However, I have repeated, “If you are capable of doing something for yourself, then you should”, more times than I care to remember. Society could stand to learn this lesson. Nothing makes me sadder than watching the pitiful tantrums displayed by selfish, impatient and unthankful children. I cannot help but think that these will be the future looters of our local businesses should a SHTF scenario arrive.

Living outside of the city, raising animals, butchering, gardening and allowing lots of free time (we love homeschooling) has caused our children to master many outdoor skills. We have paid close attention to identifying and providing the tools necessary for their individual talents. They routinely receive fishing equipment, pocket knives, fire starters and flashlights for Christmas gifts each year. They don’t want toys that entertain for a day. They would rather be provided with something they can use throughout the year when they escape into the woods each day.

Recognize their individual strengths

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My oldest daughter is our go-to for anything related to animal illness or injury. She is both gentle and patient. She has hand-raised several orphan animals, both domestic and wild. She has also brought many of our animals back from death’s door. One of my sons has mastered starting fires in less than prime conditions. I have watched him spend hours in the backyard perfecting his skill. Guess who we call on when we can’t get the fireplace going in a cold day?

Another son is content doing even the most mundane and repetitive tasks all the while remaining joyful and thankful. This is more helpful than you could ever know. It is because of his willingness to always offer help, even without being asked, that has caused him to be a jack of all trades. He is invaluable to us. In a SHTF scenario I could easily put them in charge of specific tasks that would utilize their individual skills, knowing that they would be up to the task.

We spend our summers doing lots of camping. All of our children are excellent swimmers and fishermen. Even our five-year old can clean a fish. The ones who are too young to clean fish happily pull the heads off of the minnows that they caught in their minnow traps, sprinkle on a bit of lemon pepper, lay them on a sheet of foil and place it on the fire. They also know how to make a fish trap, pitch a tent and cook outdoors. They are never more happy than when roughing it outdoors. Their eyes brighten when having conversations about how we would handle a crisis and who would be responsible for what should the SHTF someday. They are very happy with the skills that they have mastered, as are we. However, we have made it a point to make them aware of the great suffering and dangers that would occur in this nation should that day ever arrive.

Having the mental tenacity to do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and possessing the skills to do so is an incredible thing. These qualities are becoming increasingly harder to find. I mean, who cares about that college degree if you cannot even manage to get yourself to work on time, and then have the discipline to stay off of social media all day when you do finally arrive. Sadly, this is a true representation of many of the young people leaving college and entering the workforce these days. Many of them simply don’t possess any work ethic at all. I believe this is directly rooted to a lack of proper training. Training that should have begun when they were very young. It has been said that it is easier to mold a child than to fix a man. Our children have already, and will continue, to encounter this type of self-serving person.

I noticed many years ago that our children were very giving, even when there wasn’t thankfulness on the receiving end. I was glad that we hadn’t raised selfish children, but it did raise some red flags. How can we make sure our children are generous but not taken advantage of? I wanted them to be able to decipher between being helpful and being used or an enabler. This is where that trusty phrase “if you are capable of doing something for yourself, then you should”, comes back into play. If they can live up to that standard for themselves, then, so can others. Knowing when to say no is an important lesson as well. Ultimately, we have striven to teach them that each person is responsible for themselves. However, having a community, or family, of like-minded, self-sustaining and hardworking individuals to share in the work as well as the rewards is a wonderful thing indeed! Blessings!

Being able to take care of one’s own self. I cannot express the importance of this simple phrase. We are a family of ten. Yes, ten. Our children consist of

Winter Property Assessments
When we think of winter prepper project idea, we commonly think of things that can help us beat or evade the cold and less about spending time outdoors. However, there’s a lot that winter (or early spring) can tell us about our properties, both for planting decisions, siting various things around our property, and for mitigating some of the weather that comes with winter and spring. A lot of it is information that’s hard to come by in late spring and summer. Winter is also an excellent time for indoor projects. This article will talk about the outdoors and assessments, but later I’ll hit a mix of projects we can tackle at the kitchen table.

Snow Drifts

Snow drifts can be useful guides for our homes – and an excellent test of how “tight” our winter gear is. Looking at where snow piles up and which sides it accumulates on tells us where the winds blow to and from in winter. That tells us:

  • Where not to site tender crops and perennials – Those winds will create a colder micro-climate even into planting season that can stunt or kill off our plants, or delay planting season for us. They can also wreck a borderline shrub or tree for our area, whereas with a little more protection our hardy kiwifruit or cherries would have been fine and full-sized.
  • Where not to plan our backup/outdoor kitchen (nothing like standing outside grilling in a gale)
  • Which direction to face doors on new construction of sheds and animal buildings, so that snow builds up on the opposite side, limiting how much we dig to open doors and how much cold air enters every time we open that door.

  • Where we want to put gates, so that something is helping to put them in the lee of an accumulation zone, again, to limit digging while caring for livestock.
  • Where we might want to create a windbreak or series of buffers for house doors – Stack wood, build a shed, or erect a screen of some kind around the doors in our homes, either panels of soda bottles or salvaged windows, or even just mesh screen, anything to diffuse the wind. It limits how much cold air enters with us, as well as can create an initial mudroom for brushing and shaking off snow before we even get to the drip zone of our house.
  • Where we might plant a windbreak of hardy, screening shrubs and trees to protect crops (there’s a specific way to plan those)

  • Where we want to stack wood, so that we don’t have to get a faceful of rain or snow or sleet collecting it, and so we don’t have to dig/chip it out as often.

Similarly to tracking winter winds, we also want to be aware of summer winds, especially in areas where summer and autumn storms will rip away flowers or drop not-yet-ripe fruit. There are other ways for finding those directions and wind strengths.

Pooling & Running Water

Water is essential for life, but too much of a good thing can be bad. Locating the paths water takes and the places it collects and stands can do several things for us. The key to reducing water damage to buildings, the land, and our plants, and to using it most efficiently, is to locate both the areas where it pools and stands, the areas it’s running fastest, and the points of origin. The origin points are both where it’s entering our property, and how it’s getting there.

Sketch a simple plat map of the property or areas on the property, and make notes during rains, snows, and melting periods. It’s as simple as looking, although some stomping to see how sodden an area is is invaluable. Winter and spring with their typically greater wetness levels are ideal for finding a property’s water trends.

Permie S’s  – Locating the pathways of water on our property allows us the opportunity to Slow It, Spread It, Sink It & Store It. That might be creating swales or keylines to increase infiltration or to move the water somewhere we’d prefer it, building hugel beds in a system to absorb some of it and redirect some of it, or seeing if we can harness it in pools or water catchment systems at the point of origin.

Frost Pockets – Those places that water pools in a storm or melt cycle are going to be the low spots. Low spots tend to collect frost early and late in the season, damaging plants that are located there. They’re also going to periodically turn into a skating rink in winter, which can make them a poor place to park vehicles or situate the shed with the feed in it.

Cold Water – Soil temperature affects plant germination and growth. Crops like corn won’t germinate at all in cold soils, and cold-soaking rains can stunt or kill off other warm season crops as well. While it’s less of an issue in later seasons, locating crop fields where they’re regularly inundated with cold spring rains and winter snow-melt runoff can damage our density and yields, or delay our plantings by weeks or a full month and a half in some places.

Oops – It looked dry enough, and it was solid getting out … right up until it wasn’t. Knowing the sodden spots of our property ahead of planting – now or in a disaster – can help us avoid losing time or seed on soils that stay soaked late in the season and re-soak quickly in rain storms.

Standing Water & Soaked Soils – Pretty much any seed can be pre-soaked to speed germination, but that’s a temporary thing, usually numbered in hours. Seed packages mention “damp” or “moist” soil because it’s one of those “too much of a good thing” cases. Inundated soils will increase rot in both seeds and seedlings, costing us days or weeks as it dries out. Our planting can also be delayed if we site our crops in areas that don’t consistently dry out until weeks after the traditional start date for our area just because we can’t get a tractor or push tiller in.

Wet fields can also lead to delays in harvesting first-cut hay, decreasing its quality and possibly preventing later cut(s). Cutting by hand is laborious and while it allows increased access over a tow-behind, there’s still loss potential from ground rot. Wet green hays that are baled also sometimes spontaneously ignite, which can cost us not only feed, but our livestock and sheds, if not our homes as well.

While most of the water checks can be done just by visualizing the surface, in this case, it would not hurt to walk around with some hollow bamboo or a steel pipe, a tulip planter, or a skinny fencepost shovel. We want to stab down into our soils every 2-3 days after heavy rains and during the periods leading up to our planting dates (and after) to see when exactly it dries out.

We also want to repeat this process after we seed if we plan to expand later, because little is worse than heavy rain cycles that leave us staring at wasting crops from our windows as our plots turn into bogs and lakes. Tracking the water on our property during the traditionally wettest periods of the year can help us avoid that.

Pasture/Paddock Damage – Areas that collect water are a bad idea for livestock. Sodden soils don’t hold grasses and dicots very well. Hooves and claws end up tearing the plants free and destroying the roots, even when the turf starts off in good condition. Likewise, damp ground increases bacterial and viral diseases and causes additional hoof, foot and feather conditions. Once those pastures and paddocks are bare earth, it’s hard to reestablish growth if livestock stay in place. Rebuilding the turf – even a mixed “weedy” field – requires feeding off hay and grains and in most cases reseeding.

Untreated pasture problems will only compound over time.

There are fixes that work for smaller animals such as chickens, but they commonly involve planting specific things that help absorb water (willow, bamboo) and then allowing those plants time to establish so the birds maintain their size without wrecking them, or mulching to depths of 6-18”. Deep mulching isn’t a terrible idea for chickens anyway, as it helps limit waste buildup and gives cooped birds an activity (poking through the mulch for critters) but that mulch does have to be replaced. It can be anything, from chips we do ourselves from firewood cuttings to pine needles and raked leaves, but in some warm, humid areas the sheer volume needed is going to be prohibitive.

In the long run, it’s typically just better to do something else with those areas.


There are always exceptions to a rule. In the case of frost pockets or saturated soils, especially the cold water of early spring and resulting from winter snow melt, we might decide the delays in planting and pasture rotations are worth it. One reason might be if the surrounding areas are elevated with thin soils, and end up dry for the rest of the growing season. We might install hugels or* swale systems on the slopes surrounding a pocket for our veggies, or plant them for silvopasture or fodder shrubs, and choose to take the delay for main crop calorie staples rather than have to find a way to irrigate those.

*OR; Or is an important word. In this case, it means one OR the other, not both unless you are a hydrologist who has crunched the numbers. We can create a potential for bad things to happen by combining the two – there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

We can also buy growing season in sodden areas if we need to by switching to raised beds – conventional soil-filled bounded beds, unbounded Eden-style or lasagna-style low beds, or hugel beds – anything elevated and able to wick up only as much water as it needs. There are tradeoffs to anything in life, though, and raised beds and aquaponics are not going to produce large scale calorie staple crops for the most part.

Similarly, we might eschew one conventional wisdom about wind direction to take advantage of a different conventional wisdom or an entirely unrelated element of our property.

It’s about prioritizing what we need most. Knowing is half the battle, though. If we don’t know what conditions can hurt or help us, and where they are, we can’t even begin to prioritize which trees or woods to harvest and which to let stand, where we want to locate small livestock, a kitchen garden, pastures or annual crop plots, or perennials.

Winter Wonderland

We can take advantage of the winter wonderland outside our doors in a lot of ways, and in another article I’ll hit some that are ideal for a shed or kitchen table. The biggie in this article, though, are the ways winter’s snow and mud can help us plan.

Here are a few more projects to consider for wet and icy months:

  • Identify the slick spots and deep mud (before we run/drive across them to escape a fire or intersect a bad guy before he closes on our homes; shipping pallets or some logs may be all we need to avoid getting wet, muddy or bogged down in wet seasons)
  • Identify animal tracks and paths (wildlife, but also how many loose domestic pets we’ll have to deal with)
  • Lay out weed exclusions for beds before the weeds even sprout
  • Locate the sunny spots for greenhouses, cold frames and hoops
  • Get rid of hornets while they’re slower from the cold
  • Check the accesses to our non-faucet water options – Maybe it’s figuring out that we need to bed down our water catchment annually and come up with a new plan, maybe it’s making sure we can get to a creek without chancing frosty shores and thin ice, or devising a method for filling up our camelbacks and buckets without getting all that close. Especially if we really do plan on hauling water from creeks, physically troubleshoot it now, on the worst days, when there’s still 911 and a running vehicle available.

Running water is undercutting ice at the edge of a creek here – that’s a slick or collapse disaster waiting to happen even as narrow and shallow as they are if we’re planning to fill jugs and buckets here.

  • Check the roots of trees near buildings and fences during washouts and melts (Are any exposed enough to worry about coming down?)
  • Whack down invasives like privet, kudzu, and baby oak sprouts now when seeds are less risk and before they get any bigger – it’ll help keep you warm
  • Figure out the change-of-season habits for deer and rabbits (don’t count on rut patterns in deep winter)
  • Find the drafts/leaks in buildings, and deal with them (Draft/leak hint: When it’s snowy/icy, look for drips and steam in an otherwise socked-in section; warm air is getting out of those spots. Insulate or patch them.)

Our yards in winter and early spring can offer some of the best information about our properties. It’s worth taking a stroll and making some notes. There are also tasks that are just easier without insects, snakes and heavy growth, and while plants are dormant. Winter can still be a time to rest, but if we want our properties to be most efficient, a few outdoor tasks here and there can make a big difference in our planning.

Winter Property Assessments When we think of winter prepper project idea, we commonly think of things that can help us beat or evade the cold and less about spending time

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

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 Part 1, we discussed the conundrum of water; how it was necessary, but safe water is not always available.  We listed what could contaminate water, and mentioned the six practical ways to fix this.  Then we investigated the first two of these methods.  Here is the investigation into the other four methods.


Boiling is a very simple concept; bring water to a boil for a few minutes and anything biological is killed.  This process does not do anything for any particulates, salt or chemicals, and requires a source of heat to get and keep the water at 212 degrees F (at sea level; the temperature goes down as the altitude goes up).  A useful item to always have in your water bottle or canteen pouch is a stainless steel cup into which the bottle nests.  Not only can you boil water to kill organisms, but can melt ice or snow to get the water, and cook in it.

Bring water to a boil for a few minutes and anything biological is killed.

Chemical Treatment

As an alternate to boiling contaminated water to kill the organics, you can poison them.  Fortunately, they are more sensitive that we are, and the amount of poison needed for them is not enough to bother us.  It can taste bad, though.  The common choices are Chlorine or Iodine based.  Chlorine can be cheap (think standard bleach), but is unstable (has a short life span), leaves a bad taste, and the residue left behind is suspected of causing some cancers.  Iodine deteriorates on exposure to sunlight.  It also leaves a bad taste and is dangerous for people with some thyroid conditions.  The iodine taste can be alleviated with Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) after it has completed its work.  Although you can use the liquid forms of these chemicals directly, they are subject to deterioration and the potential to leak all over everything, and need care to avoid overdosing.  A tablet purification system is more practical.  The “best” treatment seems to be Katadyn MicroPur tablets, which uses Chorine Dioxide.  This formulation increases the effectiveness and durability, and keeps the chlorine taste to a minimum.  Aquamira is generally considered the number two tablet, also Chlorine Dioxide based, and the number three rated tablet is often considered to be Potable Aqua, which is iodine based (they now also have a Chlorine Dioxide product which has not been evaluated yet).

Cryptosporidium cysts have a high resistance to poisoning; Chlorine Dioxide will do it, but it can take as long as four hours.  Iodine is not reliable against Cryptosporidium.

For something completely different from tablets or liquid, there is the Potable Aqua PURE device.  Solar powered, it takes a salt and water brine mixture and produces a Chlorine and Peroxide purification liquid.


Each chemical has a temperature at which it transforms to its gaseous form (boiling point); this temperature varies inversely with the surrounding pressure.  For water, of course, this is 212 degrees Fahrenheit at sea level (1 Atmosphere of pressure).  If you capture the gaseous form of water and cool it, it turns back to liquid water.  This process is called “distillation” and the apparatus is often called a “distiller” or “still”.  If the liquid (contaminated water) is a mixture of compounds, then some of the chemicals may “boil” (transform to gas) at lower temperatures than water (alcohol is one such chemical), and some at higher temperatures.  Thus, in order for this to be effective at purifying water, you must NOT capture, or contaminate your cooling apparatus with, any vapors prior to the water boiling AND keep the temperature below the boiling point of water until all (or at least most) of the low boiling point contaminants are gone.

And this can take a while, since some of these chemicals (like alcohol) REALLY like being mixed with water.  And you have to remove the cooling apparatus before the water has all boiled away AND keep the temperature from rising above the boiling point of water so no other contaminant is boiled off.  Theoretically, with care, you could get perfectly pure water using this methodology.  In practice, that is often not the case, but the results can be adequate.  Most often, this apparatus consists of  a tank which can be filled with contaminated water, situated over a fire or other heat source, and a way to capture only the steam from water and run it through tubing, which uses open air or a liquid bath to cool and “condense” the steam back into water.

If you capture the gaseous form of water and cool it, it turns back to liquid water.

Many of the commercially available distillers are “one piece”, so should not be relied on if there is much chance of low boiling point contaminants.  Most of the rest seem to be “screwed together”, so it might not be practical to keep the collection and condensing parts free of low boiling point contaminants.  The WaterWise WW1600 seems like it might allow you to just add-on the collection part when the water is boiling, but it looks freaky, the reviews are not very good and the price is too high for me.  There is another option, the Prime Water distiller, which appears to allow placing the collector/condenser after the water is boiling (make sure you have a way to avoid getting burned by the steam), and it is quite low-priced.  They appear to be low producing though; the models they list are specified as only putting out two or four quarts of distilled water PER DAY, and I’m not sure how easy it would be to avoid re-contaminating the output, since it is a bowl which floats in the contaminated liquid.  Then there is the Gravi-Stil from SHTFandGo, which can be set up either as a distiller or a filter, and the non-auto-fill version looks like it could be made to do the job.  Or if you already have or can get two large pots, they have the D-Stil light which looks like it would be fairly easy to use in our desired manner, and the price is not too bad.

Distillation takes a lot of fuel, and does waste some water; some might escape as vapor and as the remaining contaminants in the liquid increase, production of water will decrease, eventually resulting in having to discard it.  You might lose as much as four gallons of water for each one gallon purified, but with good temperature control and care, should be able to get the losses down significantly.

This works, but often you spend more water (as sweat) building the still than you get back from the still.

There is also the concept of the “solar still” which uses solar energy to cause evaporation (the other way a liquid can be transformed into a gas) which is then condensed back to pure water.  This can be a hole in the ground covered with an appropriate plastic film.  This works, but often you spend more water (as sweat) building the still than you get back from the still.  Nowadays, there are “one piece” solar stills.  These are essentially “balls” or “bags” which enclose contaminated water, and uses the sun to evaporate the water and condense it back into a clean container or area.  Note that you don’t want to use this system with any water with contaminants which “boils” at a temperature less than water, such as from a car radiator.  An example of this is the Aqua Mate solar still similar to those included in lifeboat survival kits to purify sea water.  A variation on this is a “transpiration” still, which captures the water given off by a living plant during photosynthesis.  Since the plant draws water from the ground, this can produce small amounts of water continuously.  If a living plant is not available, this methodology will also work on plant clippings which contain moisture, but only as long as moisture remains.  The Hydro Kit from Survival Metrics is an example of this.


Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is effective against organisms, and highly portable units such as the SteriPen are available.  I don’t trust them because they require batteries or other sources of power which may or may not be available, they are electronics which are subject to failure or an EMP, and if there are any particulates in the water, it is possible some organisms will be “shaded” from the UV and survive to wreak havoc.

The SODIS method is very easy to apply: A transparent PET bottle is cleaned with soap. Then, the bottle is filled with water and placed in full sunlight for at least 6 hours. The water has then been disinfected and can be drunk.

Solar disinfection (often called SODIS) adds heat and sometimes other techniques to UV, only needs sunshine and would seem to be a more reliable methodology, although it takes a lot longer.  It is sometimes done with special containers, but can be approximated with standard PET/PETE (clear plastic, recyclable mark “1”, somewhat flexible) bottles with all labels removed.  PVC bottles should be avoided, as chemicals from the container can be added to the water.  Clear glass bottles will work as well.  An interesting option is the Puralytics SolarBag, which not only is an effective SODIS container, but contains a mesh which is designed to treat organic contaminants and heavy metals.

Choosing a Water Treatment Methodology

Unfortunately, there is not really a universal solution.  You need to evaluate what is likely to be in the water and go from there.  Here is a summary of the common methods and what they can usually handle:

  Filter Purifier Reverse Osmosis Boiling Chemical Treatment UV SODIS Distillation Activated Carbon
Volatile Organic Compound NO NO YES NO NO NO MAYBE YES YES
Inorganic Chemical NO NO YES NO NO NO NO YES MAYBE

As you can see, for a fixed location with a regular water supply, a distillation or RO system can be a good choice, or if fuel will be a problem or water is limited, a large Purifier with an Activated Carbon stage.  For portable use, a small purifier with an activated charcoal stage would seem the best bet, but this could be a bit hard to find at a reasonable price, with the possible exception of the water bottle based Sport Berkey.  As an alternative, multiple methods might serve.  Boiling, Chlorine Dioxide tablets, UV or SODIS, followed by a filter with an activated charcoal stage would seem to cover everything practical.  Alternatively, a filter followed by an enhanced SODIS like the SolarBag would seem to be about the same.  For salt water, distillation or RO seem the only practical options.

Finally, don’t get a water treatment methodology and assume you are good.  Some of these things have been known to break or fail or get used up; water is not only a requirement for life, but an immediate requirement.  Always have backups; either duplicates or alternate methods.  For instance, have distillation or RO AND a Big Berkey or equivalent at a fixed location, and coffee filters, a metal cup and MicroPur tablets, a portable purifier with Activated Carbon or Sport Berkey, and possibly a SolarBag or Hydro Kit in a bug out bag or other mobile methodology.  It is a good idea to test your systems where practical.  For instance, I ran my tap water through a Sport Berkey, and there was no change to the TDS reading, although I expected at least the Chloramines to be removed.  I talked with a dealer, but she has not responded yet, so I guess I’ll have to go to the company.

Note that in addition to being able to purify your water, you should have ways to collect it for purification, and store or transport it after purification.  If you are going to be using chemical treatment, make sure your container is appropriately sized for the chemical used.  I like 1L water bottles since my chemical tablets are designed for that volume, but they are a bit hard to find, and don’t fit into some of the carriers.  Stainless steel is my favorite, but there is nothing wrong with some plastic bottles as long as you have that stainless cup it nestles into.  In small kits, I use 1L sample bags.  Whenever possible, I like to also have a hydration bladder; it might not be optimal for purification, but it is hard to beat for transport and continual hydration.  A length of surgical tubing can help you get access to water you might not otherwise be able to get to, and has other uses as well.  A clean cloth or “Survival Sponge” can help you collect water from dew or condensation.

In Part 1, we discussed the conundrum of water; how it was necessary, but safe water is not always available.  We listed what could contaminate water, and mentioned the six

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.


This weird device will do just that – SAVE YOUR LIFE in a crisis.

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

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.


This weird device will do just that – SAVE YOUR LIFE in a crisis.

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

Everyone has a personal bias they bring to any situation they are placed in. Your mental baggage is formed in part by who you are (your life experiences, how you were raised, personal beliefs or principles) and what you think you know (skills, training, history, and evidence) combined with the various factors of the situation or how it relates to you in terms of personal risk/reward. Put 6 people in a room and catch the room on fire, you will have 6 different responses at least internally to what each individual is thinking and is capable of doing. Or at least that is what I think.

I do believe that for whatever reason – and I know smarter people than I have studied and diagrammed this out millions of times – that each of us has our own opinion based upon, for lack of a more scientific term, what we feel in our gut. How our gut gets programmed is a science arrived at by the specific disciplines I mentioned above more or less I believe and maybe 1 part supernatural, but regardless of how we get to what we are; each of us brings our own perspective to everything we do. It is no different with potential threats we all consider when we are talking about SHTF and how best to prepare for those threats as we see them in our own minds. What is our gut telling us about the various threats and how should we react knowing what we think we know and dealing within the realities of our current lives?

All of this is to say that we all have different opinions on what is important. We all make our own determinations as to what is reasonable for us individually and each of us comes to the subject of prepping, with respect to the threats we visualize, from a different point of view. How in a world of so many various viewpoints and opinions, advantages and limitations can anyone say they have a concrete step by step plan for all people that will guarantee safety and security without fail?

The bottom line is you can’t.

I take with a grain of salt anyone who proposes to sell you a 10-step program that promises to solve all your problems. You should look at the information on Final Prepper the same way if we start doing that. Even from my own perspective, I speak in generalities more often than some people are comfortable with because I believe that you have to make the best decisions for yourself and your family based on what your gut is telling you. I can share areas of consideration that I can argue make sense, but I can’t make the specific detailed decisions for you because I am not you. I don’t know what you know. I don’t live where you live. I may never go through the same things you go through and I may not act the way you would act when confronted with the same information.

Too often we look for the easy way out and I am just as guilty of doing this as anyone from time to time myself. We just want a magic box of preparedness that we can stash in the closet that will give us everything we need. We don’t want to think about what is in that magic box and we don’t want it to take up too much space or require us to pay attention to it from time to time. We just want someone to send us the box that will do anything we need it to if we have a disaster. People want to be prepared just by owning a “kit” and then having that box checked, we can go on with our lives. Preparedness to me isn’t just about having stuff (your survival kit), it is taking steps in a direction that puts you on a path to preparedness that you are constantly traveling. The destination is never reached.

I don’t believe there is any magic kit of preparedness that you can purchase. There isn’t a single list of prepper supplies that will cover any and every contingency that you could ever be faced with but I do believe there is a strategy you can follow that can guide you down the right path towards being better prepared for any crisis. So absent the rationale of the specific threat itself which we might all disagree with; what do we all as humans need to do to be prepared for any crisis that we face from Alien invasion to Zombies? (Note to the new reader to Final Prpper, that signifies A to Z… not that I only believe in highly improbable events)

Physical health and ability are just as important as having the gear.

Are you physically prepared for any crisis?

I can’t imagine that too many people would argue with the statement that a physically healthy individual is better prepared to handle any crisis. I have discussed this on Final Prepper before and this isn’t a new topic by any stretch on prepping blogs, but I see so many people who are out of shape but believe they are going to be running through the woods with a giant overloaded bug out bag on their backs. Have you gone to almost any store and looked at the overall physical health of people? I would say that where I live, a majority are toting an extra 100 pounds on their mid-section. I shouldn’t need to pull up statistics on obesity in the US, but survival in great measure depends on strength, endurance and the need for hard work and movement. If any of these are difficult to do on a normal day, how do you feel it will be when it is raining aliens from another planet?

All joking about aliens aside, even if you have the latest bulletproof vest, survival rifle and all the tactical battle gear in the world, that doesn’t mean you are prepared as well as possible to survive. Even if you have 500 cases of the best freeze dried food on the planet, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a heart attack carrying it up the stairs. If you aren’t able to run a couple of miles, carry that bug out bag for a few days or work hard in your yard all weekend without pulling something or being laid up the next week with body pains; you should consider how this might affect your overall chances at surviving anything.

This is not directed at the more senior of us out there who may have age related health issues, but if you are a 30 year old man who can’t do any push ups, couldn’t run 2 miles to save your life, but have spent thousands of dollars on the must-have prepper gear you should stop and think about getting physically prepared now. If the crap hits the fan chances are you won’t be able to do a Jillian Michaels workout in your living room fast enough to get in shape before you need to.

Are you mentally prepared for any crisis?

I think the mental angle of preparedness is more important than just about any other aspect of prepping when you consider everything that goes into forming, executing and possibly modifying your preparedness plan. Going back to what I said at the start of this article, you can’t simply buy a ton of gear, lock that in a safe and call yourself prepared. There is a mental component to analyzing data that changes daily. Certainly having supplies stored up is a component, but mentally you have to work through the problems of figuring out what supplies you might need and in what quantities. You will have to adjust for your own environment so that could involve researching alternatives and there is your own reality. You may have small children that require different approaches than an older teen for example might need. Prepping is a lot of thought and it is this process of research and a lot of trial and error that has informed my prepping plans more than any book.

In addition to knowledge, mentally you have to consider the various outcomes possible from some of these scenarios you are preparing for. It doesn’t matter if you have the best handgun in the world. If someone comes to your home intent on harming you or taking your supplies, are you prepared to use that handgun? What good is stocking up in the first place and purchasing a weapon for security unless you have made the mental decisions about what you will do if ever placed in that situation? In the end it will boil down to what you actually do and your mental preparations need to take this into consideration. The magic box isn’t going to think for you.

Are you logistically prepared for any crisis?

I saved this for last because it is less important in most respects than the other two in my opinion. I believe knowledge trumps stuff, but stuff can and will benefit you. It is very important to have water on hand for example, but without it, the person who will be better prepared is the person who can go get water, disinfect it and live when it runs out. These two people are both capable of obtaining water for at least the short-term and that may be all that is necessary. Another way of looking at this is the person who doesn’t have any water stored, but is able to go out and acquire it may be putting themselves at greater risk that the person who has it stored at home.

A well-rounded prepper should both know how to make do without supplies and ideally have those supplies at their disposal when they are needed. This gets into subjects like food storage, having a garden that is producing, having first aid supplies and self-defensive weapons. I am not advocating having a lot of “stuff” without knowing how to make it work for you, but if you do have a fully stocked pantry, a working garden or livestock that you can depend on for food if the stores are no longer working, you may have an advantage over the person who knows how to create a snare to trap small game; at least initially. Long-term Daniel Boone will be better prepared, but in the short-term I wouldn’t advocate relying entirely on your ability to acquire food in the forests.

In addition to supplies, you may have to move. Are you prepared to leave your home if needed? I know my personal plan is to shelter-in-place, but I know that can change. If it does, my family has prepared to go on foot. We have options should my perfect disaster situation not work out like I hope. Going back to mental preparation, this backup planning and strategizing will help you.

Prepping gets distilled down to simple lists and advice, but there are tons of things to think about. I personally think the act of thinking about the various topics benefits each of us. Certainly conversations on this blog inform others so I welcome the dialog.

Have you thought outside of your magic box?

Everyone has a personal bias they bring to any situation they are placed in. Your mental baggage is formed in part by who you are (your life experiences, how you