Posts Tagged With: Survival

5 Ways to be the Luckiest Survivor in the World

by Todd Walker

With only the clothes on his back and a lighter in his pocket, William LaFever survived over three weeks in the Utah desert. His predicament was not part of some ‘reality’ TV show. There wasn’t a host describing the next reward challenge. No immunity necklace. No cameras or medics standing by.

 

Image source

He was lucky to be found alive.

This story is full of teachable moments. Here are some take-aways from LeFever’s brush with death.

1.) Recognize survival situations

Anytime your basic needs go unmet, you’re in a survival scenario – whether you admit it or not.

Seasoned woodsmen, survivalists, and preppers are familiar with the Rule of 3′s: 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food. Unless you find a way to meet these needs, you’re likelihood of dying grows exponentially.

2.) Ask yourself, “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do you, punk?

Luck is Unreliable in Any Survival Situation

The question must be asked…

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Dirty Harry’s classic line makes you re-think dependence on luck. With a 44 Magnum pointed at the perps head, he had to decide if Clint had fired 6 rounds, or only 5.

Don’t roll the dice with Mother Nature!

Your luck increases by applying the 7 P’s (Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance). It’s smart to leave a detailed itinerary with at least one or two trusted friends about your trip plans. Do it even if you’re taking a short day hike, fishing, hunting, or camping.

These safe mini-adventures land many outdoor enthusiast in trouble. Mother nature is not fair and she finds creative ways to toss the unexpected into the mix.

Your itinerary should include these three W’s as a bare minimum:

  • Where and when you’re headed out. Including a map of the trails and area would be useful in affecting a rescue if necessary.
  • When you plan on returning. Your family should know where you’re headed and when to expect your return. If your overnight excursion takes a turn for the worse, they will know you’re in trouble and begin the process of locating and rescuing you.
  • Who and how many are in your group. Are there any special needs in the group (age, special needs, health conditions, male/female, etc.). LeFever’s family described him as having autism. While that might seem trivial to most, it turned out to be very helpful in locating the lost hiker. All humans need water to survive but people with autism seem to be drawn to water. Search-and-rescue focused on following the river. It paid off.

3.) Know your limits

Before being lost, the son called his dad to ask for money.

LaFever said he had run out of money and someone had stolen some of his hiking gear. Authorities said they assumed he was given a ride to Boulder, as he did not have his own vehicle.

“He didn’t want me to come out there,” said LaFever’s father, John LaFever. “He wanted me to send him some money to get him to Page.”

The wise move after someone had stolen his gear and he had daddy on the phone would have been to accept the money and fly or ride home. His decision to go-it-alone with no gear almost cost him his life.

“He made the mistake ‘I know what I am doing and I will be OK,”’ Bronson told CNN. “There are many who have done that and paid the price.” [Emphasis mine]

Could you survive on your wits and a lighter? Forage wild foods? Everything is edible once.

4.) D0n’t leave home without a kit

William was found about 30 miles further along the river than most casual hikers traveled. Even though he had camping/hiking experience, this was not the time to attempt this long journey with nothing but his clothes on his back and a lighter in his pocket.

To his credit, he survived by foraging roots, eating frogs, and possessing one of the most important pieces of survival gear – FIRE.

It can happen to any of us outdoors. Taking a wrong turn or slipping on a root and tumbling down a ravine on a short day hike can turn into a serious situation – especially when you’re close to home.

The I’m-close-to-home mentality turns our preparedness mentality into mush. Spending the night in the woods unprepared can have dire consequences.

For short outdoor outings, a basic kit should include:

  • Water, filter, metal container
  • Fire making material and equipment
  • Cutting tool
  • First aid supplies
  • Cordage and duct tape
  • Signal mirror and whistle (your best chance of surviving is being found)
  • Snack/food
  • Shelter – tarp and/or contractor garbage bag
  • Security – sidearm and extra magazines/ammo

There’s no such thing as basic emergencies. Plan accordingly.

5.) Doing the Stuff makes you the luckiest Survivor out there

Knowledge, gear, and skills are survival aids. When your hands are wet and freezing in a 30 mph wind, that’s not the time to attempt your first friction fire. Have redundant backups.

Practicing your skills with your gear builds knowledge and confidence. Doing the Stuff closes the gap on sloppy skills making you the luckiest survivor in the world.

Do you feel lucky? Luck is unreliable.

What makes you the ‘luckiest’ survivor in the backcountry? Do tell!

Keep Doing the Stuff!

Todd

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Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, Doing the Stuff, Preparedness, Real Life Survival Success Stories, Survival | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Applying the 7 Characteristics of Living Things to Your Survival Plan

by Todd Walker

 

Change is inevitable. Survival is optional.

One of the most liberating days in your life is when you come to realize you are responsible for your own success. No more excuses. No more blame game. You’ve entered the no-victim zone.

The concept of survival distills down to pain management and increasing pleasure. Bingo! You start planning. You spent long hours studying, reading, buying, and mining data to build the perfect system. You attend preparedness expos, interact on discussion forums, devour books, and maybe even start a blog.

Congrats! Your hard work has finally paid off.

Just as you finalize your sacred plan, even before the laminating film cools, some world event or local elected thug makes it a non-perfect plan. An unexpected health issue, job loss, or simply ignoring that nagging gut feeling about your family’s future can blow your plan to nothingness.

The beauty of pressure and time is its ability expose weaknesses. Ignoring science and history, you find yourself driving down the road to your fatal dead-mans curve clinging to your laminated preparedness plan.

I apologize up front to anyone reading this who happens to be “set in their ways” or downright rigid. You’re not going to enjoy what follows.

Adaptability and agility are two key elements you must develop to increase your chance of staying alive. Unplug your laminating machine, grab a pencil, paper, and several erasers because creating a living Individual Preparedness Plan gets messy.

First, let’s go back to your middle school (junior high in my case) science class for a refresher course on the 7 Characteristics of Living Things. And please, no spit-wads hurled at the teacher.

Learning Goal: The student (you) will identify and apply the characteristics of living things to your Individual Preparedness Plan for survival and resilient living.

1. Living things are highly organized, from the smallest part to the largest.

  • Cells are organized into tissue (muscle)
  • Tissue into organs (liver)
  • Organs come together to form organ systems (nervous system)
  • Organ systems work together to form an individual living thing
  • More than one living thing makes a population of these particular things (the population of wild turkeys on your back 40)
  • The population becomes part of a community composed of different kinds of living things (species). It’s were living things live, work, play, etc.
  • An ecosystem is then formed when all the living things, non-living things, environment, and energy come together in their happy place

2. Living things have the ability to get and use energy.

  • Without a constant supply of energy (food) living things die and become food (energy) for much smaller living things
  • For humans, we use energy (food and fuel) to maintain the our core body temperature around 98.6 degrees F – our happy place

3. Living things have the ability to respond (movement) to their environment.

  • Sensitive to changes and responds (movement) to the stimuli in the environment
  • For example, the ability to move your hand off a hot stove (pain), or marry a hot wife (pleasure)

4. Living things have the ability to remove waste

  • Living things use different methods to excrete waste
  • For humans, the simple act of breathing removes waste
  • If a living thing is unable to excrete waste, it quickly becomes an organism formerly known as a living thing

5. Living things grow

  • Living cells grow to a certain size and then divide
  • A living thing turns stuff unlike itself into more stuff like itself – eat kale (plant) and it chemically turns into more of the eater (human)

6. Living things have the ability to reproduce and pass on genetic information to baby living things

  • Reproduction is essential for the survival of the species 
  • All living things reproduce by either asexual or sexual reproduction

7. All living things have the ability to adapt to their environment

  • Adaptation is a trait that helps living things survive in its environment
  • Living things that are better at adaptation increase their survival and reproduction rates, thus strengthening their species
  • Important note: only individual living things have the ability to adapt – species do not adapt, they evolve
  • Variations of individual living things makes the species stronger (individualism)

Now, let’s discuss the application of this mini-lesson to your Individual Preparedness Plan.

When evaluating your IPP to determine if it is living or non-living, all 7 of these characteristics must be present.

If your plan follows just a few on the list, it’s a non-living IPP. To stay in the living category, your plan must show all 7 characteristics. Granted, we are all individuals at different stages of development. Our progress in certain areas may be strong while other areas need immediate attention. A humble analysis will be required, as will ongoing monitoring to ensure you and your IPP maintain living thing status.

1.a. Applying “Living things are highly organized” requires, um, organization. Lists are popular with most preppers. Simply having a list of lists doesn’t mean your organized. Lists will get you pointed in the right direction, but energy and focus are required to fill the list. SurvivalBlog offers the best lists I’ve seen to help organize, acquire skills, and stay on the living things list. You can find the “List of Lists” link on the left side bar near the top of his blog.

Organization applies to more than just stuff. Your living IPP should include finding other prepper populations and building community. Lone-wolf living organisms rarely survive.

Now, if I could only remember where I put my list?

2.a. What’s your plan for “Living things have the ability to get and use energy”? To avoid becoming room-temperature, pay close attention to these basics: food and water. Plan now to secure the knowledge and skills for sustainable food and water – to be converted into energy for your body. We all need energy to push, pull, and move.

Also, since we don’t hibernate, alternative, sustainable methods of energy production keeps us in our happy place, warm and dry. Consider passive solar, geothermal, hydroelectricity, and wood heating. There’s more. Any suggestions?

3.a. Think movement when applying “Living things have the ability to respond to their environment.” Your IPP should include a plan for Getting Out Of Dodge if you sense or see that your present environment will soon be hosting a bunch of non-living things. Keeping a 72-hour emergency kit ready is for smart living things. Or, if you know your environment will be full of non-livers, avoid the rush, make the necessary sacrifices, and move already.

Physical movement takes energy (see 2.a.). Natural selection favors those living things that are able to move efficiently. Stop neglecting your fitness. Nuff said.

4.a. “Living things have the ability to remove waste” must be applied if you plan on being a living thing. Applied to your physical body, elimination is essential. For the purpose of your IPP, the same holds true. Apply the Sherpa Simple philosophy to your stuff. Cleaning out that colon you call a storage closet brightens your day and makes room for useful stuff. Today’s society of consumers collect shiny stuff that, unless eliminated, turns toxic. Eliminate and flush.

5.a. Applying “Living things grow” to your plan. Your paradigm of preparedness should grow exponentially. Your IPP should include specific skills that need to be developed for you to be a well-rounded living thing. This is not meant to be applied to your waist line. What you thought you knew was the best today, changes tomorrow. Stay informed on practical ways to grow physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Remember, to grow, we need energy.

6.a. Applying “Living things have the ability to reproduce and pass on genetic information to baby living things” to your IPP. Is your plan reproducible? Could your neighbor, neighborhood, or community reproduce what you, the individual living thing, are doing? The genetic information of preparedness and building resilience needs to spread to audiences outside the present prepper population. When each newbie living thing begins taking personal responsibility, the community and entire “ecosystem” becomes stronger.

7.a. How you apply “Living things adapt to their environment” is the cornerstone to all living Individual Preparedness Plans. When living things are involved, expect monkey wrenching. Mother Nature keeps a tool box full of monkeys and wrenches. Bouncing back is easier if you have flexibility and redundancy built into your systems. A rigid tree won’t last long in the coming storms.

The problem with life is it changes. Well, it’s not a problem, it’s just reality. As a matter of fact, change is what keeps us out of that state of atrophy. Avoid pain and increase pleasure by applying these middle school science lessons to your Individualized Preparedness Plan.

Change is inevitable. Survival is optional.

If you found this helpful, maybe you could help get the word out by sharing it with your social network, family, and friends. We certainly appreciate all the support we get from you!

 

Also, please follow me on Twitter for updates on our journey: @SurvivalSherpa

 

 

 

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, IPP: Individual Preparedness Plan, Preparedness, Survival | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

DiY Cigar Survival Fishing Kit

by Todd Walker

Every year I get older and my backpack gets heavier. To trim some weight, I began downsizing items in my bag. Here’s a great stove that weighs less than 6 ounces and runs on twigs.

I humped my backpack the other day through the woods with DRG. I immediately noticed the extra strain on my hips. Not overbearing, but noticeable. As I age, I look for ways to lighten my load on stuff I carry – body weight included :) Here’s a great way to shave a few ounces off any fishing kits you pack for your bug out bag, walk-about bag, or hunting bag. It fits in a glove box in your vehicle nicely too.

The idea for my last fishing kit for my bug out bag came from Dave Canterbury. It was made of PVC, which was very sturdy, but weighed more than I liked. This summer I wanted to trim the weight on my BOB. It’s not going to be ultralight, but every pound I trim only makes humping that thing easier. The first piece I tackle is my…well…my fishing tackle.

First, assemble materials. I looked for a lightweight tube for a couple of weeks. I didn’t want glass. Plastic would work. Aluminum would be even better. I found a plastic tube that held a watch on a shopping trip with my wife. I bought it for $5.oo and ditched the cheap watch. The problem with the plastic tube is that I would not be able to use it for boiling water in a survival situation.

Then we stopped by the adult beverage store for some wine. This place also has a nice humidor with a great selection of cigars.

*Aha Moment*

We spent the next five minutes rummaging through stogies looking for the perfect candidate. I needed it to be long enough and with sufficient diameter to hold the necessary fish-catching supplies. I found a cigar, which I enjoy from time to time, with a great tube. It measures 1 inch in diameter by 6 1/4 inches long tube. Being aluminum, I can use it to boil water in a pinch. The picture below shows the difference in sizes of the old PVC kit (bottom) and the new one completed.

Here’s what I used to assemble my kit: Cigar sleeve, duct tape, bank line, electrical tape, 10# fishing line, strike anywhere matches, fire starter, dry flies, artificial lizard, non-lead weights, 3 types of fishing hooks, metal leader, swivels, 2 floats/bobbers, and a snack size zip-lock baggie.

Assembly Process

Step A: Wrap the screw end (or non-rounded end) with about 3 or 4 feet of duct tape. Do I even have to tell you about all the uses for this miracle survival material?  I keep strips of it in my cars, wallet, desk, almost every where I go. Duct tape may not help you catch fish, but I’m sure it’s possible with a little creativity. It’s a utility player that should be on and in every preppers gear and bags.

Step B: Tie a slip knot on the end of your bank line (don’t forget to burn the nylon end to prevent unraveling) and tighten it around the tube next to the duct tape. Wind about 50 to 100 feet of line onto the tube. I used closer to 50 feet to keep the profile of the tube even. Bank line can be used for limb hooks and trot lines in a true survival situation. This allows for passive fishing while you attend to other tasks. [NOTE: Check your local fishing and game laws during rule of law times before using these methods.]

The bank line can also be used for a makeshift fly rod (and other cordage needs). Simply cut a sapling about 8 feet, attach 10 feet of bank line to the end, add a piece of mono filament line to the bank line with one of the dry flies in the kit and you have a hillbilly fly rod rig. When no bait is available for your hooks, use this rig to catch smaller pan fish to use for bait on limb hooks. This is very enticing for larger fish and turtles.

Bank line being wrapped

Step C: Secure the bank line to the tube with a couple of wraps of electrical tape. Again, more tape to use as needed.

Electrical tape wrapped around bank line

Step D: Now you’re ready to add the mono filament fishing line. I used 10# line. I wouldn’t recommend anything below 6# line. (Update: I used 50 lb spider wire for our son’s Christmas stocking). In a survival situation, the last thing you want to see is a decent sized fish run with 4# line and snap it off.

An old technique I’ve used for years is to lay the line inside a book and feed the line onto the tackle. I did this for the cigar tube as well. Tie a slip knot on the end of the fishing line and secure it to the tube where you taped off the bank line. Start rotating the tube to add line. I guess you could wind the line on the tube with you free hand. I prefer to roll the line on by rotating the tube with my finger tips from both ends of the tube. I’m a little OCD. I think the line might accumulate more kinks if you wind it with you free hand.

Add line until you get within one inch of the rounded end of the tube, then double back over the existing line. I added about 50 feet of line to my rig. Next, add a layer of electrical tape to secure the line to the kit. A wide rubber band might work, but I like the tape.

Below is the finished exterior of the kit. By the way, if you haven’t purchased and read “Boston’s Gun Bible“, do so now. I read it yearly.

Step E: Place the strike-anywhere matches, fire starter (more details about this item later), dry flies, artificial lizard, non-lead weights, 3 types of fishing hooks, and swivels in a snack size zip-lock baggie. Squeeze the air out by rolling it toward the top of the bag. Seal the bag and slide into the tube.

Step F: Screw end-cap onto tube and wrap with electrical tape for a water-tight seal.

Fire Starter Note: I made the fire starter a few years ago. It’s jute twin that was saturated with paraffin wax. It literally only takes a spark to get a flame going. Just cut a one inch piece, unravel, and “fluff” to create more surface area for your spark. Another added bonus is that it even lights in wet conditions. I have bundles in all my bags. You never know when you’ll need to cook up those fish you just caught with your new Cigar Survival Fishing Kit!

The only modification I’d add is to make a paracord loop extending from the end of the cap. I’ll add pics when that happens.

Your turn. Got any suggestions to make this better? Please add them in the comment section.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

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Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, DIY Preparedness Projects, Preparedness, Self-reliance, SHTF, Survival | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

I’m Digging on Rules of Three for Hiding a Gun

For any “when it’s time to bury my guns, its past time to use them” patriots, I would recommend reading Claire’s practical guide on why, how, what, and where to hide guns. Plus some cool bonus material at the end. If you’re digging on this article, check out more of her work over at Backwoods Home Living Freedom blog

by Claire Wolfe

Source: Backwoods Home Magazine 

My friend Jack pulled the car into a grassy clearing. We donned rubber boots, fetched a metal detector and digging tools from the trunk, and headed off along a game trail. Our mission: To dig up and test fire a pistol Jack had buried years ago.

The trail disappeared into a wetland, which Jack crossed with confidence. The muddy water was only about six inches deep where he walked, but I couldn’t see the bottom so I waded gingerly after him. It was at this point I discovered that my borrowed waterproof boots — weren’t. I squished along after Jack. By the time I emerged onto dry land, he was standing well ahead of me, next to the stump of an old cedar that had been logged a hundred years ago.

“It’s buried right here,” Jack told me confidently. “Between this stump and that sapling.”

I was dubious. The “sapling” wasn’t exactly a sapling anymore. It had grown into a mid-sized alder tree. Besides, Jack had history with not being able to relocate a buried firearm. Back in 2004, I had mocked him in one of my Backwoods Home Hardyville columns for that very thing, an SKS he couldn’t relocate.

Nevertheless, he set to breaking up roots. I followed with a shovel.

“I didn’t bury it very deep,” he said. “We shouldn’t have too much trouble.”

They’re at it again. The politicians in Washington, DC, and their media mouthpieces everywhere are in full cry, threatening more restrictions on our right to own guns.

In response, Americans are rushing to buy firearms, particularly those that might be targets of the next ban. Without a doubt, many guns are going underground or into other hiding places. When Draconian restrictions take effect, millions more firearms will get tucked into walls, haylofts, hollow trees, and waterproof containers buried in the woods.

There are people who say, “When it’s time to bury the guns, it’s actually time to dig them up and use them.” They have a point. But in fact, there are plenty of good reasons to hide guns, now or at any other time. And we’re not talking about simply concealing a gun to have it handy in home, office, or hotel room. We’re talking about hardcore, long-term hiding — stashing guns against some urgent future need.

My friend Jack, carrying a metal detector and digging implements, heads toward a game trail that leads to the site where he buried a pistol many years ago. The game trail is right in front of him but strangers would be unlikely to spot it because of the quick-growing blackberry bramble that’s obscured it.

Three reasons to hide a gun

You might want to hide a firearm just to have a spare if your others get stolen or damaged in a disaster.

You might want to hide a firearm if you are a peaceable person who is nevertheless forbidden to own a gun because of some misdeed in your past or some arbitrary state law.

And of course, you might want to hide a firearm if you fear nationwide bans and confiscations but realize that you can’t stand alone against the gun banners.

Read the rest here

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

DiY Fire Starter in a Drinking Straw

Hank over at Sensible Survival is at it again. Check out his DiY fire straw and make this your next project.

 

This is one of the best and most convenient fire starters that I’ve come across in a long time.  Many of us know that cotton balls rubbed with petroleum jelly make great fire starters, but they are messy and not real convenient to carry.  This method makes it easy to carry these little fire balls and they won’t leak and get on your clothing or other gear.  All you need to make these is some cotton balls, petroleum jelly, a plastic drinking straw, a pair of scissors, and a small stick.

Start off by taking a cotton ball or two and rubbing them thoroughly with petroleum jells.  While you’re at it go ahead and pull apart the cotton into thin shreds.  Pictured below: top, Rubbing petroleum jelly into cotton balls: bottom, shredded up cotton.
 
Now take the drinking straw and cut it into two 3 inch tubes, and four ½ inch tubes.  Pictured below: Cut up drinking straw
 
The next part is a little hard to describe, but the pictures should make it easier to understand.
1. Use your thumbnail to crimp across the straw about ¼ inch from one end, then fold that end down.
 
2. Now use your thumbnail to make a length-wise crease in the part that you folded down. Then pinch the end together.
 
3. Now take one of the ½ inch pieces of straw and slip it down over the end to hold it closed.
 
4. Turn up the open end of the straw and start stuffing it with the soaked cotton.  I find that it is easier if I kind of roll the cotton between thumb and fingers to make a string out of it.
 
5.  Use the stick to tamp the cotton down tight in the straw.
6. Fill the straw to about ½ inch from the top, then fold the top end down the same way you did the bottom.  Crimp it, put a ½” collar on it, and you’re finished.
 
Wipe off any petroleum jelly that you got on the outside, and you now have a leak proof, waterproof, convenient fire starter that you can add to a survival kit, put in your glove box, or drop in your pocket.  To use the fire starter just cut it open, fluff up the cotton and light it up.  This stuff will ignite easily using a metal match type fire striker.
Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, DIY Preparedness Projects, Frugal Preps | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

Top-Ten-List-Of-Not-Famous-Yet-Preparedness-Sites

by Todd Walker

Photo credit

It’s always interesting to see lists of Top Prepper/Survivalist Websites. Some have defined ways of actually ranking these sites, which lends credibility to the list.

When I started this blog in April of last year, I began to discover so many websites that focus on the vast and deep subject of preparedness and self-reliance. If I add a link to my ever-growing Blogroll and Resources page, it’s because I’ve found the author(s) to be helpful to my personal journey in preparedness. Some of these fine folks I actually network with via email, comments, and occasional guest posts. It’s building community online – virtually.

The blogs I’m about to highlight are not going to be found on the Top Ten Lists making their rounds through the preppersphere…. Yet. However, I find their content original and outside the box at times – which is a good thing. Here’s my Top-Ten-List-Of-Not-Famous-Yet-Preparedness-Sites in no particular order.

The Backyard Provider (A Journal of Honest Food, Freedom, and The Natural World by Michael Patrick McCarty. Just found Mike. Excellent stuff.)

Resilient News (True resilience isn’t any single thing you do. It’s the cumulative impact of the many things you’ve done and the systems you’ve put in motion.)

SchemaByte (Preparedness against job loss, natural disaster, and grid down. Really enjoy his style of writing.)

The Organic Prepper (Daisy Luther – It’s prepping with a different mindset – we stockpile our food with an eye towards avoiding the GMOs, the processed foods, the chemicals and the drugs that are such a part of the North American food supply) Note: If Daisy isn’t on the normal top ten lists, she’ll show up soon. Her excellent posts are showing up all over the net.

Bug Out Nutrition (Applying the science of nutrition to survivor scenarios. JP Martin spends his time slaying the conventional wisdom of foods we eat and store.)

Survival Punk (James Burnette – A Primal/Paleo approved prepper website. His punk attitude isn’t what you might think.)

Prepared Christian (Chris Ray blogs about preparedness from a Christian world-view. Get to know him better here.)

Prepography (The Art & Study of Self-Reliance)

My Family Survival Plan (A survival website/ alternative news dedicated on keeping the American public aware of the daily and future dangers. This blog is growing rapidly.)

Sensible Survival (This is a blog about common sense preparedness for sensible individuals. I’ve posted several of Hank’s articles and ideas here. Sensible stuff indeed.)

I realize there are many more fine blogs and websites out there quietly growing and adding value to the online community. If you’d like to recommend any additional links, please leave a comment and I’ll do a scouting report.

Blogging and writing original value-adding content takes thought, effort, and creativity… and coffee. If you find any of these of value to you, please consider following and supporting their work.

 

Categories: Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival | Tags: , , , | 31 Comments

Welcome to Hunger Games Lite

by Todd Walker

I stopped one of my bright, well-read students in the hall last year to talk about a book he was carrying. I hadn’t read it and I wanted a quick review. I was sold when he said it’s like the world as we know it has ended and tyrants control everything.

Katniss Everdeen Jennifer Lawrence Archer HD Wallpaper

Photo credit

“Do you believe it could happen here?” I asked.

“Oh yeah!” he said.

He’s wise beyond his years. Here’s why.

  • He thinks for himself, making him a target of the collective.
  • He’s contumacious. con·tu·ma·cious – adj. Obstinately disobedient to authority or rebellious; insubordinate

After reading the book on my Kindle, I had to agree with his “Oh yeah!” statement. The similarities between Panem (what’s left of our continent) in The Hunger Games, and our pre-apocalyptic America are noticeable, if you’re paying attention.

Hunger Games (Panem) Hunger Games Lite (America 2013)
Big Brother sees all Big Sis sees all – or wants to
Totalitarian Regime “Soft Tyranny” – trading Liberty for safety
Total Dependence on Regime: Food, Water, Shelter, “Safety” from boogiemen Our Gradual slide into the State of Tyranny: Patriot Act, NDAA, Domestic Spy Drones, 100 years of the Federal Reserve cabal,
Regime Controlled Propaganda Machine Regime Controlled Propaganda Machine
Monopoly on Violence/Force: Resist and face brutal force With the help of the Regime’s Propaganda Machine, dumbing down the masses via government schooling, and our addiction to “free” stuff, Americans are in the Hunger Games Lite. What if we resist?
 

“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” – Aldous Huxley

Katniss Everdeen, the heroine of The Hunger Games, and all people of Panem lived under the boot of a tyrannical regime that promised prosperity and peace but couldn’t deliver. Everyday folk of Panem realized they were only useful tools for the Capitol and staged a rebellion. The Powers That Be crushed the uprising and completely destroyed District 13. As punishment for the masses un-gratefulness and rebellion, the Capitol institutes the Hunger Games to keep the subjects in line. Each of the 12 surviving districts were forced to offer two Tributes (a girl and boy between the age of 12 and 18) to compete – fight to the death. The winner would bring home honor and essential rations (crumbs from the elite’s bountiful table) for their district.

Are we that far from this scenario in America? Do we love our servitude so much that we sacrifice essential liberties for State provided temporary safety?

We are indeed experiencing Hunger Games Lite. We are the most spied upon people in the world. The long and gradual line of abuses have a way of dulling the herd’s awareness of the despots goal. How much information does our benevolent government want to collect to keep us “safe” from terrorism? Big Brother wants it all. Phone calls, emails, social website exchanges, traffic habits, spending habits, and even your thoughts are fair game in our surveillance state. Natural law and Bill of Rights be damned. Inquiring mind-controllers want to know.

Public school students think it normal to be constantly watched and searched without probable cause. They’re trained to leave their rights at the school-house doors. Cameras filming every move is not enough for some school districts. Some schools are turning kids into lab rats in a scientific school maze by forcing them to wear “smart” I.D. cards. These embedded radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips enable anyone with the right technology to track whether the student is using the urinal or toilet. All in the name of reducing truancy. Schools loose state and federal money when students get fed up with the one-size-fits-all meat grinding of schooling and take a mental health day. Remember: Power is for power’s sake. Refusing to wear these badges results in privileges being withdrawn. A tactic all school teachers are familiar with.

Rats!

Speaking of rats. Panem was full of theses nasty human vermin. Our “District 12″ is no different. We are encouraged by those who supposedly know more than us commoners to snitch on fellow slaves. “See something, say something.” Many formerly free people have felt the heat of false accusations turn into lengthy prison sentences. Guilty until proven innocent. Claire Wolfe has written a Free Ebook called Rats! If you own guns, speak or write non-PC opinions, are a political activist, a prepper, belong to a non-mainstream religion, and/or want to protect your privacy, you should read this book. “But I’ve got nothing to hide.” Don’t be naive. Read the book. It’s free!Rats! Book by Claire Wolfe with the Living Freedom Commentariat; cover art by Keith Perkins

In 1735, my ancestors landed on these shores. They fought in the American War of Independence and the War of Northern Aggression (Civil War for the “Honest Abe” worshippers). Research and family stories portray us as a patriotic, individualist, self-reliant, and contumacious bunch. Those qualities haven’t been lost on me. Through thick and thin, my ancestors pasted the “liberty” gene on to me. It’s getting harder and harder these days to practice freedom in our Hunger Games Lite. So here is my short list of tips to help you fight back smarter.

Decrease Dependence

  • Adopt a theme of self-reliance and preparedness.
  • Fight the temptation of petty consumerism. Learn new skills for sustainable living.
  • Read Starving The Monkeys for practical ways to Fight Back Smarter.
  • Focus on natural health, real food, and functional fitness.
  • Build tribe and community

I Prefer Not To

Say, “I prefer not to.” When questioned again as to why not, repeat, “I prefer not to.” This bold, polite, non-violent statement was used repeatedly in Herman Melville’s short story “Bartleby, the Scrivener“.  John Taylor Gatto suggests, and I agree, that if enough freedom loving people would withdraw consent and refuse to jump through all the government mandated hoops, we could slam the door on tyranny in our time. Mr. Gatto used Bartleby’s refusal to comply as a model for stopping the rigged system of state standardized testing. Read more on the Bartleby Project here.

The “I prefer not to” strategy can be deployed in areas other than schools. The hot topic today, following the Sandy Hook tragedy, is gun control. The Regime in Panem, like all totalitarian regimes throughout history, wielded power over the masses by disarming its subjects. Clubs and bows are no match for guns. If the progressives get their legislative way and enact a gun ban, will “law-abiding citizens” comply?

History says we won’t. Just like the days of prohibition and the failed war on drugs, banning guns that look evil will only increase demand – and supply – via the black market. Actually, the war on drugs is not a failure at all. It’s quite a financial windfall for the State. “I prefer not to” give up my guns, full capacity magazines, and ammo. Help spread Bartleby’s spirit of resistance and say, “I prefer not to ___________.”

What happens when “I prefer not to” isn’t enough? Each of us will have a decision to make when that line crossed. The key will be seeing the line and responding accordingly.

“Any single man must judge for himself whether circumstances warrant obedience or resistance to the commands of the civil magistrate; we are all qualified, entitled, and morally obliged to evaluate the conduct of our rulers. This political judgment, moreover, is not simply or primarily a right, but like self-preservation, a duty to God. As such it is a judgment that men cannot part with according to the God of Nature. It is the first and foremost of our inalienable rights without which we can preserve no other.” – John Locke

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Big Brother, Firearms, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Tyranny | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

Sherpa Gear Review: The Idiot Proof Emberlit-UL Stove

by Todd Walker

A light load is your friend. Whether camping, or if necessary, getting out of dodge.

Emberlit1 - Copy

This past weekend, DRG and I unpacked our old bug out bags to winterize supplies and set up our new BOB’s. Thanks Santa! After unpacking, I realized how many shiny survival objects wouldn’t make it back in our new bags. Prioritizing and finding redundancy in items is my plan to lighten our loads. With DRG’s body weakened by her year-long battle with cancer, I’ll be carrying the bulk, if not all the weight if we had to hump on foot to our designated safe retreat.

I’m middle-aged (50 is the new 30, right?), in good physical condition, and could carry the weight in my old BOB. But why put my body through undue stress. I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. But if I did, I’d make losing weight my number one priority. NOT, body weight – weight in my BOB and other burdens weighing heavily on my mind, soul, and spirit. Let’s deal with the physical bug out bag first.

Ounces count – and add up in a bag. I’ve looked for a camp stove that doesn’t require the added weight of fuel containers – something light, self-sustaining, and tough. I’ve built alcohol stoves before, but they require fuel (extra ounces). Presently, I pack a MSR Pocket Rocket Backpacking Stove. It’s just over 3 oz. and very compact. Then there’s the pesky added weight of a fuel container. I love my little stove. It’s just not sustainable unless you pack fuel. I wanted a stove that could run on stuff we walk past and over – sticks and twigs.

Enter the Emberlit-UL (Titanium) stove. Made in America (Utah), this 5.45 oz. stove arrived in my mail box three days after ordering. It would have been sooner except for the holiday on January 1. I ordered from Amazon. Before pressing the buy button, I sent a question to the company concerning whether this model on Amazon came with the Crossbar Pot Adapters shown on the Emberlit website. Within just a few minutes, I had my answer in my inbox. The crossbars come with it.

Upon arrival, I unpacked my new stove excitedly. When disassembled and stacked it measures just over 1/8 inches thick. Instructions for assembling the stove are idiot proof. Being a guy, DRG knew I wouldn’t read the instructions before assembly. I put it together in under a minute, placed it on the open palm of my left hand, and showed her my new creation. Test time.

5 pieces plus the crossbars

5 pieces plus the crossbars

Emberlit3 - Copy

My backyard is loaded with an assortment of oak trees constantly dropping dead limbs. Perfect. I collected a small bundle of twigs, pencil sized sticks, and a few finger sized branches. I set the stove on my fire pit and commenced to make fire. Using wax-coated jute twine and unraveled plain jute for my nest, two strikes on my ferro rod produced fire.

I added my smallest twigs on top of the burning nest to feed the fire in my stove. Then, pencil size sticks were added. The vent holes in the sides of the stove worked well to draft air up the chimney. At that point I added a few shavings of pine fat lighter (fatwood) before adding the largest fuel. I love fatwood for fire starting – not necessary – just fire starter insurance.

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Once I had a decent fire with a few coals in the bottom of the stove, I added water to my Army canteen cup. I advise using the crossbar inserts on top of the stove for smaller cooking containers. The crossbars allow containers smaller than 3 inches in diameter to be utilized.

On other top feeding stoves, one must lift the cooking container off the stove to feed the fire. With the Emberlit design, the feed door allows you to leave the container on the heat source and feed the fire at the same time. The chimney design works well to draw air and efficiently burn the fuel. As the fuel burned, I simply pushed the longer sticks into the stove to maintain the fire. My water reached a rolling boil in 5 minutes. Tea time.Emberlit5 - Copy

The company claims the stove’s ability to support cast iron cookware. I fetched a cast iron skillet, bacon grease, and an egg from the kitchen. No, I don’t pack cast iron in my BOB. I wanted to test the claim of strength from the company. If the stove is on a level, stable surface, it will indeed support a heavy cooking container. I fried one egg with no problems – the way I like them – over easy.

Emberlit6 - CopyEmberlit7 - Copy

I’m very pleased with the performance on my first run in the backyard. I see no reason why it wouldn’t stand up to more demanding, prolonged use. The stove’s sturdy and simple design, weight, and compact size make the Emberlit Camp Stove my favorite. I only wish the storage sleeve was included with the stove instead of being sold separately.

The same stove is available in stainless steel for about half the price of the titanium, but over twice the weight (11.3 oz.). I’m thinking of ordering a stainless steel model for our vehicle emergency kit. The titanium stove cost me $68 including S/H. The overwhelming demand has caused a back order on this item. Go ahead and get your order in if you want one.

The company offers personal customer service and guaranteed satisfaction. Here’s their warranty statement:

“WARRANTY: I want you to be happy with your purchase. Emberlit Stoves and accessories come with a lifetime guarantee. Should your stove fail I will refund or replace it. If you ever have any trouble whatsoever with your stove or questions about your order contact me, and I’ll make it right.”

I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. By the way, I have no financial interest or benefit in this company except that I’m really impressed with their product. I bought my stove with my own funds.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

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Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, Doing the Stuff, Gear, Self-reliance, Survival | Tags: , , , , | 15 Comments

How To Avoid Having A Mountain Pass Named After You

by Todd Walker

Can you get there from here?

Photo credit

Dirt Road Girl loves mapping our trips – even if I know how to get there. She claims I have a built-in GPS in my head. That doesn’t stop her from whipping out her trusty atlas from behind her seat. She’s the first to admit that she’s directionally challenged. She doesn’t use her smart phone map. She likes the paper version.

I’ve been “lost” a few times due to poor planning. Being of the male persuasion, I never admit to being lost. I call it exploring. Here are three strategies that will help you navigate the not so clear path to preparedness in Lewis and Clark fashion.

How to Avoid a Donner Party Bug Out

Over 160 years ago, a bunch of pilgrims hitched about 90 wagons and let the dust fly on the “Great Highway of the West” chasing their dream of a better life. The tragedy that followed in the Sierra Nevada happened to everyday folk like you and me – merchants, teachers, farmers, fathers, mothers, and children. Almost half of the group died.

Keep in mind, they weren’t bugging out as we know the term today. The pressure and stress of bugging out runs through my mind like a bad taco through my business end. If you’ve ever packed for an extended vacation, or visit to the in-laws, you know what I’m saying. I once packed my young family of four and moved to Siberia for 6 months. The amount of stress involved in carrying a two-year old on my back, carry on luggage, my four-year old by the hand, and wife #1 by the feet, was memorable – but doable with modern transportation. How about trying it Donner style with primitive means of locomotion? I now understand why death visited these pilgrims even before the winter snows reduced them to eating each other.

Reading survival fiction makes me go hum at times. Some authors portray what I think would be a fairly accurate journey in the land of TEOTWAWKI. For some, not so much. Who knows what to expect? I’m certain that it won’t be a drive or walk in the park. To get a glimpse of a real-life SHTF event, look no further than the Donner Party tragedy. Their life and death struggle offers many lessons on survival. Here’s a few.

Beware of untested advice

Decisions made by ‘leaders’ of the group didn’t end well. Leaders lead only if they have followers. I’ve seen many self-proclaimed leaders and leaders-by-title in this category. All they’re doing is taking a long walk by themselves…with no followers. It’s always easy to follow leaders when they make good decisions and the journey is easy. No one makes all the right choices. I’ve made many horrible decisions that not only effected me, but those following me. That’s the worst part. Knowing I’ve caused pain to those closest to me. There’s no easy way or short cut to right the ship. And the bigger the ship (group), the longer it takes to turn it in the right direction.

James Reed, the unofficial leader of the party, read “The Emigrants’ Guide to Oregon and California” by Landsford W. Hastings before their departure. Granted, Reed had no way of knowing that Hastings route was untested when they packed their last cast iron skillet on the wagons in Springfield, IL. Hastings claimed his short cut would shave 400 miles on easy trails for westward pioneers. It didn’t. Pay close attention to snake oil salesmen like Hastings. Examining his motives, one finds his vision of building his financial empire in the Golden State. Nothing wrong with making money. However, choosing to follow untested advice from his little book was one cause of the Donner Party’s doom.

Even with new information available along the journey, proving this short cut to be a hoax, the ‘leader’ decided to stay the course. If you’ve read advice or watched videos on preparedness and survival, follow your gut – no matter what the ‘experts’ say. Some in the Donner wagon train followed their gut and a proven route and dodged disaster.

Beware of untested equipment

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There’s nothing wrong with owning quality equipment. In fact, I encourage it. However, all the high-tech gadgetry promoted to ensure your survival is worthless if used stupidly. Mr. Reed had a two-story bug out wagon with extravagant suspension, sleeping quarters, and a stove for heat and cooking. His daughter called it “The Pioneer Palace Car.” This pimped out BOV (Bug Out Vehicle) might have made the journey in tact had the head-strong owner, hell-bent on saving a few miles, not pushed it and his family over the proverbial hill of destruction.

Accidents happen. I get it. This was no accident. He was warned. Here’s an account of Reed’s stupid decision from Legends of America:

At Fort Laramie James Reed ran into an old friend from Illinois by the name of James Clyman, who had just traveled the new route eastwardly with Lansford Hastings. Clyman advised Reed not to take the Hastings Route, stating that the road was barely passable on foot and would be impossible with wagons [Emphasis mine]; also warning him of the great desert and the Sierra Nevadas. Though he strongly suggested that the party take the regular wagon trail rather than this new false route, Reed would later ignore his warning in an attempt to reach their destination more quickly.

If your Survive-O-Meter is pegged on red-alert, back off and reassess. Getting to your destination alive is the objective, right? Experience is a great teacher. Why would Reed jeopardize the lives under his care after hearing first hand advice from an old friend? Pride? Belief in untested equipment? Whatever drove him, it cost him and his party dearly.

Putting confidence in your equipment you personally have never tested is dangerous. I’m afraid too many in the preparedness community fall into this category. My nephew and I had a conversation around the fire pit about his ability to make fire. He told me about his journey to making fire from friction. When he was in middle school, he wanted to make fire with a bow drill using only what he had on his person – a pocket knife and his clothing. He’d read “how to” do it. Now he wanted to test the methods in the book. He gathered wood from behind his house, used his boot lace as cordage, and constructed the bow drill. On the second day and many disappointing hours later, his labor paid off. He created fire from friction! Something I’ve yet to manage, even with training wheels.

Doing the stuff trumps knowing the stuff. Have you tested that new pressure canner, rifle, solar charger, or other shiny survival gizmo?

“In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is.”
– Jan L.A. van de Snepscheut

 

I’ve ignored experience-based advice before and have the scares to prove it. If an alternative route to your “destination” is proven, take it. Weigh the risks and calculate the potential pros and costly cons. Follow your gut. Arriving off schedule is better than dying. Stay prayed up and laid back.

Beware of untested relationships

JIMMY- IRON SHARPENS IRON

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Iron sharpens iron, but there’s a lot of heat in the process. How do you plan for the internal stress that will visit any group on the run to their hide-y-hole? Even if you are able to shelter in place to weather an extended TEOTWAWKI event, plan on tempers flaring. Will arguments over those struggling to keep up or pull their weight with the party end in death? James Reed was banished (some of the group wanted to hang him) for stabbing one of his fellow stragglers. Geez, keep up or die, eh! Other accounts say he killed a teamster for excessively whipping the oxen. Whatever the cause of the attack, it highlights our susceptibility to stress when facing less than predictable situations.

Even if you’re in a group of people you really like and respect, sparks can fly. It would be wise to develop a plan for the added stress and pressure of bugging out or staying put in a world of ‘zombies’ when civilization collapses. The Donner Party had to deal with their own ‘zombies’ – some from within, some from outside their group. Mr. Wolfinger hung back with a few others to cache his wagon in Nevada. Not wise. The survivors in his small group said he fell prey to Indians. The oxen and cattle were easy targets for the natives as well.

From within the group, there was an accidental shooting, minor accidents leading to infection and death, and in the most extreme stage, cannibalism. I’m in no position to judge. I’ve never been close to this kind of extreme survival situation.

In our unpredictable futures (maybe the future is predictable to a degree), it would be wise for us all to heed lessons from the tragic trip of the Donner party. Practicing resilience, self-reliance, and preparedness might keep our names out of the history books.

 

Categories: BOV, Preparedness, Self-reliance, SHTF, Survival, TEOTWAWKI | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

What Does It Mean to “Prepare for the Economic Collapse”?

Two days before Christmas y’all! Our 5 gallon bucket of coconut oil was delivered yesterday. Thankfully the Mayans were wrong :)

Tropical Traditions

Tropical Traditions

I deal with the denial Daisy describes in her article below everyday I walk into my school. Entitlement, dependency, and even violence when their world view is challenged. If you’re able, pay Daisy a visit and lend a word of support.

Still doing the stuff,

Todd

______________________________

December 22, 2012

Last week I wrote an article in response to the media’s vilification of preppers in the aftermath of the horrible tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.  The article was quoted in an article on Yahoo.com, to my great astonishment, and that is when I saw how little most people understand about prepping.  You can see in most of the 4492 comments the article received that many folks just don’t “get it”.

My inbox was filled with a barrage of  hate mail and a number of people felt compelled to leave angry (and rather ignorant) comments on my website. I got messages from people that called me “batsh*t crazy”, messages from gun control advocates, messages from people who directly blamed me and all other preppers for the massacre, and even one particularly hate-filled email from a person who said “I hope that your kids are killed at the next school shooting.

All of this leads me to reconfirm my belief that people sincerely do not understand why we do what we do, and that ignorance leads to fear.

People fear what they don’t understand and hate what they can’t conquer. ~ Andrew Smith

If you go back through history, the “visionaries” or “wise ones” were always mocked at best and feared at worst.  They were  cast out of society to live alone at the edge of the village; children would sneak onto their property to show their bravery; they were burned at the stake as witches and heretics.  Anything the larger percentage of people does not understand is treated as something evil and frightening.

Am I saying that preppers are all visionaries and sages?  Not in a mystical “Joan of Arc” sense – but I am saying that preppers are willing to see the writing on the wall and search for a deeper understanding.

Many preppers are preparing for an economic collapse and the subsequent social collapse that will be close behind.

If you don’t think this is realistic, then you aren’t paying attention to the world around you.

People have this image of hunger – they see it as the skeletal dark-skinned children in some third world country, bellies protruding as malnutrition sets in.

But the face of hunger and poverty today is as close as your next door neighbor. Millions of North Americans can barely afford to put their next meal on the table. They are living in their cars, if they’re lucky, and without shelter if they are not so lucky.

For many people the economic collapse has arrived. Their “end of the world” event has already occurred in the form of a job loss, the foreclosure of the family home, or an illness that has caused such massive personal debt that there is truly no way out of it.  Less than 60% of Americans who are of age to be in the work force have a full time job.  When you tally that, it means that more than 100 million people are out of work.    More than 100 million people in the United States have no jobs.  For more than 100 million people, the economic collapse has arrived in full force.

Read the rest here

Author bio: Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

Categories: Economic Collapse, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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