Archive for November, 2014

Essential Prepper Guns

Posted: November 30, 2014 in Gear
Tags: , ,

What are the only 3 things a U.S. Marine needs to fight?  Beans, bullets and bandages.  I covered the “beans” part yesterday.  I’ll cover the bandages part in the near future.  Today I want to talk about the bullets part.  Guns are an essential part of any preparedness plan.  As I discussed in the post “The Sheepdog Concept” there are some really bad people out there that have no reservations about hurting, robbing, raping and killing.  Gun ownership is a basic part of being an American citizen.  Our forefathers thought it so important that they made it the 2nd ammendment.  I would like to offer a few suggestions about a few types of guns that are useful for home defense and preppers.

Remington tactical 12 gauge

Remington tactical 12 gauge

Shotgun – a 12 gauge shotgun is a very versatile weapon.  It makes a great defensive weapon.  It is also a very versatile hunting weapon.  It can shoot bird shot, buck shot and slugs.  You can take fowl and deer with ease.  Contrary to popular belief you do actually have to aim them.  They don’t just fill the room with lead.  True, they do spread a bit, but not near the degree most people think.  For defense I would carry 00 buck shot.  00 buck usually has about eight 30 caliber pellets (steel balls) that travel at 1300+ FPS (feet per second).  For purely home defense you may be better off with regular bird shot.  It is still lethal but won’t over penetrate as easily.  (Over-penetration is when bullets pass through the walls of your house with the chance of hurting someone on the other side.)  There may be no more versatile prepper weapon than a shotgun.  These are also fairly inexpensive compared to other guns.  I like the Remington 870 and Mossberg 500.  You can get them for $300-400 dollars.

22 Long Rifle – Often underrated and overlooked… the venerable 22 long rifle.  Look no further than the Ruger 10/22.  There are bazillions of these out there in the world for a reason.  They are super reliable, fun to shoot, accurate and very versatile.  They have almost no recoil and are great weapons to learn to shoot with.  They are rumored to have taken more deer than any other weapon.  Not a great weapon for larger game, but the point is that it can be done.  They are great for small game like rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, etc.  If you are in a survival situation you don’t need a deer everytime you need to eat.  Small game are probably more important.  These are also very reasonably priced.  The above Ruger 10/22 can easily be obtained for under $300.  This wouldn’t be my first choice for a defensive weapon, but it could work in a pinch.

Glock 17

Handgun – Handguns are well suited to carry on your person.  They are ideal for concealed carry.  Throw one in a bug out bag or car.  They are easy to transport.  They can be found in a variety of calibers.  Opinions are endless about which caliber is best.  I like 9mm for all around use.  It has decent balistics and stopping power.  The recoil is fairly mild.  9mm is a very common caliber and should be fairly plentiful.  It also tends to be cheaper which is good for training.  I am a huge Glock guy.  My first handgun was a Glock 19.  They are as reliable as the day is long.  I would bet my life on my Glock.  Truth be told there are a lot of great handgun manufacturers.  Ruger, Smith and Wesson, Sig Sauer, Colt, Springfield, etc.  One thing to note about handguns is they have relatively limited “stopping power” compared to a rifle or shotgun.  Most self defense people consider a handgun a “get to my rifle (or shotgun) weapon”.  They are great back-up weapons.

Large Caliber Rifle – Rifles are iconic weapons.  If you lived in the old west you almost always had one on you.  Soldiers carry rifles into war.  There are hundreds and hundreds of types of rifles out there.  They are long range weapons with devastating power.  You can take down any game with the right rifle. Need to protect a perimeter?  This is your weapon.  Rifles can reach out to 700-800 yards easily.  Assuming you have the skill to make the shot.  For a good all-purpose caliber I like .308 Win.  The bullets are very common and easy to find, partially because militaries use them.  Again this is good from a cost standpoint as well.  30-06 would be a close second in my opinion.  These two rounds are right in the middle of power, ballistics, and recoil.  There are many other great calibers out there.  There are many great rifle makers out there.  Browning, Remington, Marlin, and Ruger are just a few I have owned.  Getting a good scope really makes these bad boys shine.  You can easily spend as much or more on the scope than the rifle.

Colt AR-15

Colt AR-15

Tactical Rifles – These tend to be shorter rifles with high capacity magazines.  The two most iconic are the AR-15 (M16) and AK-47.  Common magazines hold 20-30 bullets.  You can easily carry multiple extra magazines adding up to a lot of fire power.  They tend to have less recoil than the above rifles and are easier to manage.  I will probably write another post about the AR-15 vs AK-47 debate.  In short, I tend to like the AR-15 platform better because it fits me better.  There are a lot of good AR manufacturers out there.  Rock River, Colt, S&W, Daniel Defense, etc.  These weapons are great at short range and long range.  An AR-15 is generally accurate out to 600-700 yards.  You can get an AR-15 for about $700 but realistically they will set you back about a grand.

So the ultimate question arises.  What should I buy first?  Well that is a complicated answer.  If you have no gun experience then just start with the 22 long rifle.  Get a Ruger 10/22 and start shooting.  This will ease you into shooting.  If I could only have one weapon (oh the horror!) I would probably get a 12 gauge shotgun, but that really hurts me to even think about having only one gun.  If I had to pick two I would get a rifle or shotgun and a handgun.  If I have to patrol my neighborhood for looters, maruaders or zombie mobs I would grab my AR-15 and Glock 17 (full-size 9mm).  Each of the above guns fits a defined roll in my system.  It would be best to have them all.  If I had to acquire them in order I would get 1. shotgun 2. handgun 3. 22 long rifle 4. Large caliber rifle 5. AR-15.  This considers versatility and cost heavily.

Guns are a pretty solid investment.  They hold their value very well.  If things every get bad they will be worth their weight in gold.  Having a couple extra on hand is never a bad idea.  Remember, two is one, and one is none.  Things break, get stolen, or get lost.  Have a backup.  You may also need to arm a friend or family member who isn’t as prepared as you are.

Lastly, a word on safety.  Lock up your guns and keep them away from your children.  Teach your children about guns, this will keep them the safest.  Be smart and safe when using guns.  Guns aren’t dangerous, people are dangerous.

Advertisements

Food Storage – Getting Started

Posted: November 29, 2014 in Food Storage
Tags:

Yesterday I talked about the tale of the grasshopper and the ant.  The ant was a perfect example of being prepared by storing food.  So how do you get started with food storage?  It would be great to have a year’s supply of food on hand, but this is quite a large undertaking.  Where should you start?  What should you buy?  Ponder the old adage, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”  You aren’t going to just get a year’s worth of food in one day.  Start with getting 3 days worth of food, then a week, then a month, then 3 months and then a year.  How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time!  How do you store a year’s worth of food?  One day at a time!

The inevitable next question is… what do I store?  Wheat, MREs, freeze dried meals?  While all of these are well and good; I would not recommend starting with them.  They may ultimately play a role in your food storage plan, but let’s forget them for now.  Start simple.  Remember KISS?  Keep it simple stupid.  Just start by buying a little extra of what you already eat.  Next time you are at the grocery store get an extra couple jars of spaghetti sauce and an extra couple bags of spaghetti noodles and set them aside.  (Again, assuming this is what your family eats).  Buy the same brands and everything.  This familiarity will be very welcome in an emergency which is bound to be tense and stressful.

If money is tight (and when isn’t it?) just set aside and extra $5 or $10 a week for food storage.  Do what you can.  Do something, do anything!  Grab a few extra cans of soup, vegetables, and fruit.  Canned goods are a great place to start and are usually pretty cheap.  Canned tuna is a great source of protein if you eat it.  Get canned chicken if that is better.  You get the idea.  Aldi can be a great source for stretching your food storage dollars

The next step is to get some things in buik.  Buying in bulk is cheaper and makes your food storage dollars go futher.  Costco and Sam’s Club are great for this but Walmart will do as well.  Rice is a great prepper staple.  Pair it with beans and you have all of the essential amino acids (protein!).  Again, I would only get this if you already eat it or are at least amenable to eating it.  Make sure you know how to cook rice and beans the old fashioned way.  It isn’t quite as easy as you might think.  Beans take a lot of lead time to cook (days!).  Grab a 20 pound bag of rice and a 20 pound bag of beans (pinto, black, navy, etc).  20 pounds of each of these is a lot of food!

At first start with things that don’t require much to eat.  Things that only have to be heated or cooked with water are ideal.  Rice, beans, noodles, canned soups and vegetables, etc.  Again, keep it simple.

At this point I wouldn’t worry too much about how you store these things, but I would like to mention a couple things.  Light, oxygen, and moisture are the enemy of your stored food.  You want to store things in a cool, dark, dry place.  They will last longer.  We will get into this more later.  Canned food addresses all of these issues with the exception of temperature.

To reiterate.  Just start buying a little extra of what you already eat.  Start by getting a few days of food stored up.  You are on your way!  Don’t forget your water as we discussed previously (water storage).

Thanksgiving

Posted: November 28, 2014 in Philosophy
Tags: ,

I like many of you have a lot to be thankful for.  I have a beautiful family, nice home and a couple cars.  I have plenty of food to eat and a warm bed to sleep in.  Compared to a lot of people in the world I/we live in great prosperity.  We are truly blessed to live at this time of great technological wonders (like blogs and the internet that make sharing information so easy).  I would like to make two suggestions on this day of Thanksgiving.  There is a good possibility that things may change for this worse.  The national debt is approaching 18 trillion dollars.  We may experience a depression or even economic collapse.  Our lives could change dramatically any day.  I hope this never happens but think we should be prepared for the possibility.

1.  Start now by thinking about and acknowledging all the things you have to be thankful for.  What in your life truly matters?  Take time each day to be thankful.  It shouldn’t be too hard to identify A LOT of things you have to be thankful for.  Ingratitude is a cancer and a real shame.  You don’t realize what you have until it is gone.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Don’t live with the regret that you didn’t appreciate what you had.

2.  Take this time of relative of wealth to get prepared.  Store up extra food, water, and supplies when they are abundant.  Today the grocery store shelves are full.  They may not be tomorrow.  Everyone is familiar with Aesop’s fable “The Ant and the Grasshopper.”  In summary, the grasshopper spends the warm summer months singing.  He sees the ant working hard to haul an ear of corn home.  He asks the ant what he is doing.  The ant replies that he is storing food for winter and suggests the grasshopper do the same.  The grasshopper scoffs at the idea.  He says “Why bother about winter, we have plenty of food at present.”  Winter comes and the grasshopper is starving to death.  He sees that the ants are surviving comfortably on their stored food.  He realizes it is best to prepare now for times of need.  This fable has never been more applicable.  People have an odd disconnect with this fable.  Everyone understands and agrees with the moral but very few people actually apply it.  Most people are the grasshopper and look at the ant as odd or weird.  They can’t accept that winter will eventually come.

Let us all be more grateful for what we have.  Let’s strive for better perspective and focus on the things that really matter.  Let’s take advantage of the warm summer months that we currently enjoy and get better prepared.

Happy Thanksgiving!

EDC

Posted: November 27, 2014 in Gear, Philosophy
Tags: ,
IMG_20141121_154637_310

Example of my EDC gear from earlier this week. S&W .38 Special Streamlight Protac Tactical Flashlight 2AA Spyderco Delica Swiss Army Cadet

EDC – Every Day Carry

I would like to introduce the concept of EDC or every day carry.  I would also like to list a few things that you should consider for your EDC.  What is EDC?  These are things that are so important that you should have them physically on your person at all times.  Having these few things with you at all times makes you better prepared and able to adapt to any situation.  I think there are a few basic things that everyone should have.  Once you have the basics you can adjust what you carry to fit your specific needs.  EDC is a microcosm of prepping.

1.  Cell phone – these guys are so powerful knowadays that there really isn’t anything more important to have on you.  Make sure it is charged and ready for action.  Make sure you are familiar with how it works.  Do you have the apps that you need?  Make sure to have important numbers programmed in.  The biggest thing here is make sure that it is charged and that you haven’t drained the battery playing games or trolling Facebook.  A dead phone is  a paper weight.  Having a means to charge it is another great addition.  In an emergency voice calls may not work.  Texting uses much less bandwidth and is more likely to get through.

2. Knife – I have said this before but everyone, yes everyone should carry a knife.  The uses are endless.  Get a small one if you aren’t sure about this one.  The Sog Flash I is a great choice for a small, light weight, first knife.

3. Flashlight – Don’t think this is that important?  Ever groped around in the dark during a power outage?  What happens if you have to evacuate a building through a dark stairwell during an emergency?  Light is essential, you should never be without some means of making light.  Cell phones can work okay for this in a pinch.  I wouldn’t rely on it as my sole source of light.  Plus I want the juice in my cell phone for making phone calls not making light.  Again you can get something very small and compact.  I love this tiny little light – Foursevens Preon.  It is my EDC light most of the time.

4. Concealed carry weapon – this one may be new and “out there” for a lot of you.  I have been carrying concealed for a few years now.  It was very weird for me at first.  Now it is very weird for me not to have a handgun on me.  This goes back to being able to protect yourself and your family.  Hopefully you are never in a situation where you need a gun, but the one time you are you will be glad you have it.  I’ll dedicate an entire post to this at a later date.  Just start thinking about it.  My personal bias at this point is that good responsible people have an obligation to carry.  (Great Nutnfancy video on this topic as well).  It goes back to the sheepdog concept.  There are a lot of other “less-than-lethal” options here if a handgun doesn’t work (local laws, etc).  Pepper spray, taser, baton, etc.

5. Wallet with ID, cash, credit cards.  Make sure you always have cash.  Cash is king in emergencies and during power outages.  I am not a cash guy.  I buy everything with credit cards.  I would recommend having at least enough cash to fill up your car with gas.

6. Keys – A key ring can be good for throwing a small flashlight, knife, or multi-tool on.

7.  Misc – I am a chapstick guy so I always have one on me.  It is also handy to have a couple of band-aids on you.  If you have a medical condition that requires emergency meds you should include these as well.

Your EDC is a great place to start trying to be more prepared in general.  Start with carrying a small knife and flashlight.  You’ll wonder how you ever got along without them.

What do you carry?  What other things do you think are essential?

Let’s talk about storing water.  I think this is an often overlooked part of food storage.  Even if people think to store water they tend not to store enough.  People just expect clean water to keep coming from the tap.  Water is crucial for most meal preparation.  All those beans and rice you have stored are pretty worthless without water to cook them in.  Remember you need about 1 liter of water per person per day just to drink.  You need about a gallon a day for drinking, cooking, and washing.

The best, safest, and easiest way to get started is to store some water for emergencies.  Lets talk containers.  You need clean containers that will stand up to storage life.  The cheapest thing to use is 2L soda bottles (other sizes work fine as well).  Soda bottles are “over engineered” for water because they are designed to hold pressurized soda.  This is a good thing.  Just take your recently emptied bottle of Pepsi (cause Coke is nasty) and rinse it out thoroughly.  Then fill it up with clean tap water.  Put the cap back on and store it away.  The tap water has plenty of chlorine, no need to add anything to it.  Don’t clean the bottle with soap or chemicals.  You can use a dilute bleach solution to sterilize the bottle – 1 tsp of bleach per liter of water.  This is good practice but if you are too lazy to do it and the result is less or no water stored; then just forget it and get water in bottles!  There is a great saying in prepping and survival.  Keep it simple stupid or KISS.  This definitely applies to storing water.  Just do it.  You can never have too much.

Do not store water in milk jugs.  There are two main reasons.  Number one, they are designed to degrade (lots of them in landfills) and they will get holes in them over time.  Secondly, they aren’t safe to store water.  The milk gets imbedded in the pores of the plastic and will eventually act as a growth medium for bacteria.  You cannot sterilize them.  Don’t do it.

There are a lot of myths about storing the water directly on concrete.  Don’t worry about this.  If all you have is bare concrete floor space the bottles will be fine on there.  There does not appear to be any truth to the myth that chemicals can leak into your water.  If you are worried place them on a piece of wood or cardboard.

I really like these containers (Aqua-Tainer).  You can find them at Wally world or Amazon.  They hold 7 gallons.  Water weighs 8.34 pounds per gallon.  Therefore these weigh 58.4 pounds.  I find this amount to be about the most I want to be moving around.  They are sturdy and have a nice spigot already attached to the inside of the cap.  Water bricks are great for compact storage and organization.  They are a bit pricey for the amount they store but for you space freaks and obsessive compulsives out there they may do the trick.  They fit together like legos.

There are a lot of good options for storing larger amounts.  50 gallon barrels are a classic.  Just remember that they weigh well over 400 pounds when full and really cannot be moved.  The problem with anything large like this is the shipping cost.  You have to find these locally.  Also make sure to have something on hand to get the water out of the larger containers.  Also remember when filling large containers that you have to use special hoses.  They are the white ones designed for RVs  (Neverkink 50 ft.)  You can’t use a regular old garden hose, they have lead in them.

Lastly, I would recommend you have some way to purify or filter water.  There are only two ways to completely sterilize water.  Boiling and iodine.  Rule of thumb is to boil for 10 mins.  This is overkill but remember KISS.  The major drawback to boiling water is that it is energy intensive.  I am not going to get into iodine in this post.

I like Berkey water filters.  You may need to filter a lot of water for your family.  These are pretty simple.  Fill the upper chamber and let gravity pull the water through the filter element into the lower chamber.  It is a bit slow but it frees you up to do other things.  These are also very high quality filters.  As always get back-up filters.  The old saying 2 is 1 and 1 is none always applies.  There are a lot of other filter options.  I have used MSR and Katadyn backpacking filters.  They work great but are A LOT of work as any backpacker knows.  I have been using Sawyer filters on all of my most recent backpacking trips and they are awesome (and very reasonably priced!).  I think these are perfect for bug out bags (BOB) and as back-up filters.

You can buy purification tablets as well.  There are a lot of options but Katadyn Micropur tablets are the best out there.  These are also great for a bug out bag and as a back-up to the above options.

Bottom line.  Just start storing water in soda bottles.  Grab an aqua-tainer next time you are at Walmart.  When money allows grab a Sawyer filter.  Having a few gallons stored away is exponentially better than nothing.  Start with baby steps and build your comprehensive water storage plan a bit at a time.  Good luck!

Multi-tool All Stars

Posted: November 21, 2014 in Gear
Tags:

Thanksgiving is upon on us and you know what that means.  Christmas is just around the corner.  I have had a few people ask me about gear recommendations for that special someone.  I have to say that it warms my heart that you guys are even thinking about “prepper” gear as gifts.  First check out the All Star Knife post I wrote a few days ago for ideas.  Nothing says I love you like a sweet knife.  I wanted to get another quick gear post out there with a few multi-tool recommendations.

There is nothing quite as versatile as a good multi-tool.  Need pliers, screw drivers, scissors or other gadget?  Need to pull out a splinter or bad tooth?  Got a loose screw?(puns, sheesh)  Well look no further than these great muli-tools.

Swiss Army Cadet –  (as usual click on the name in red and it will link you to the product in amazon) This first one is more of a “Swiss Army knife” than a multi tool.  It is the simplest of the lot.  I love this knife.  It has exactly what you need and nothing more.  Knife, file and a couple screw driver blades.  I can’t tell you how many times I have used the screw driver blades to pry on something.  (Please don’t pry with your knives!)  I almost always have this guy on me.  The blade often serves as my back up blade or beater blade when I don’t want to beat up my tactical knife.  It is small, light weight and thin.  I can’t stress enough how important light weight and thin is.  I have really come to appreciate thin over the years and this bad boy is THIN.  Comes in a few different colors as well.

16-juice-s2

Juice S2

Leatherman Juice S2 – The leatherman Juice is an awesome multi-tool.  It has pliers, drivers, and scissors.  Make sure you get the S2 version, the CS version has a cork screw and mini saw.  Both of which are totally useless in my mind.  The S2 has a great pair of scissors that really make this thing shine.  It has exactly what I want in a good multi-tool and nothing more.  This is also quite a bit smaller than your standard leatherman.  Again saving you on bulk and weight.  This is my go to multi-tool.

Leatherman Micra – if you want something reallly small this can go on your key ring.  It packs quite a bit in such a little frame.  The best feature is a great pair of scissors.  Am I the only one that ALWAYS needs scissors?  You may sense a bit of bias in my selections because I have found that scissors get the bulk of the work.

Leatherman Wave – This is the full-sized (and full-priced) grand daddy of the group.  It is large and in charge, but again no more than it needs to be.  Awesome multi-tool.  Tough as nails.  Large knife and pliers.  It has a real phillips head screw driver.  The scissors are okay, but at least present (more than I can say for a lot of multi-tools).  Get this if you have to have the biggest and baddest.  It comes with a sheath so you can show of your pride and joy on your belt.  You won’t look like a tool or anything! (man, the puns, I am killing it!)

I have had a lot of other brands of multi-tools.  Swiss Army, Gerber, Sog, and Buck off the top of my head.  Most of them are decent but leatherman seems to knock it out of the park over and over again.  The above 4 options are what I find to be the best of the best.  I couldn’t imagine going without any of them.  If I had to start with one of them I would get the Juice S2 but the Cadet would be very close behind.

As always add your suggestions in the comments.

The Sheepdog Concept

Posted: November 21, 2014 in Philosophy
Tags:

I would like to introduce something to you called “The Sheepdog Concept.”  This idea belongs to Lt Col Dave Grossman who relates that he was introduced to it by an old Vietnam veteran, retired colonel.  It goes something like this.

“Most of the people in our society are sheep.  They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident.”  Lets just say 95% of the population are sheep.  You may even hear them referred to as sheeple.  Most sheeple are decent, hard-working folk that just want to go about their business.  They can be a bit oblivious at times but are basically harmless.

The problem is that there are wolves out there.  Wolves like mutton and lamb chops.  “The wolves feed on the sheep without mercy.”  These are evil people who take advantage and have no remorse about hurting other people.  You better believe that they exist.  They are a very small population, let’s say 1-2%.

Lastly, there are sheep dogs.  Lets say the remaining 3-4% of the population.  The retired colonel relayed “I am a sheepdog.  I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.”  Sheepdogs love the sheep.  They cannot stand to see the sheep hurt.  They will put themselves in harms way to protect the sheep.  They are peaceful people who have the capacity for violence when needed.  God bless our police and soldier sheepdogs who put themselves in harms way to protect us.  There is also something called a civilian sheepdog who is similar to the professional sheepdog.  They too will help the sheep.

A sheepdog does not seek confrontation or violence.  Neither will it run from it.  A sheepdog will fight to protect the sheep.  There is a recent story of the shooting in the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa.  A terrorist walked in and murdered the soldier at the door.  He then went on a rampage within the crowded building.  Kevin Vickers, a 58 year old, sergeant at arms heard the shots, grabbed his pistol and ran toward the violence.  He confronted the terrorist and at point blank range shot and killed the terrorist.  He undoubtedly saved many lives.  In his words “I engaged the suspect and the suspect is deceased.”  He is a true hero and the definition of a sheepdog.

The odd paradox here is that the sheep really don’t like the sheepdogs.  They look a lot like wolves.  They have the capacity for violence.  The sheep are scared of the sheepdogs and don’t really understand them.

The point of this is that we all have a decision to make.  Are you a sheep, wolf or sheepdog?  It is okay to be a sheep.  Being a sheep has some drawbacks.  When the wolf comes you are at its mercy or you must rely on the sheepdog to save you.  I advocate the way of the sheepdog.  I prefer to control my own destiny and that of my family.  I believe we all have a responsibilty to protect the greater good.  Don’t rely on the government or anyway else for your wellfare.

There is a great video by Nutnfancy linked below.  I encourage you to watch it.  It is 37 minutes long and much more thorough than this post.

Nutnfancy “The Sheepdog Concept”

What would you guess are the two most important things you could do to prepare for anything?  Store food?  Store water?  Store guns and ammo?  Buy an old ballistic missile silo and convert it into a sweet bug out bunker?  All these things are useful but I would suggest something else entirely.

The two most important preps are…

1. Knowledge

2. Fitness

Knowledge

Let’s start with knowledge.  Knowledge weighs nothing.  You can take it anywhere.  It is always with you.  The more knowledge and skills you have the better prepared you will be to handle any obstacle.  Knowledge truly is power.  An extension of knowledge is skill.  This is the physical application of knowledge.  This often requires some sort of physical mastery.  I am a surgeon.  Initially I read all about surgery in books.  Then I watched surgery.  Then I assisted in surgery.  Finally I was able to perform the surgeries after years of practice.  I have spent well over ten thousand hours studying and practicing surgery.  I have both knowledge and skill.  Start by acquiring the knowledge.  BUT and this is a big BUT (no pun intended) you need to PRACTICE.  Amateurs practice until they get things right.  Professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.  If you read a book about rubbing sticks together to make fire don’t assume you can now do it.  Go try it!

How do you acquire the knowledge you need?  Well, this is a great start.  READ!  Find people that know more than you and learn from them.  I’ve added a books link at the top of the main page.  Look over some of those and start there.  Watch you tube videos.  Listen to a podcast on the way to work.  Two great references that I have relied heavily on are listed in the links section.  There is a youtube video channel by a guy named Nutnfancy.  He has thousands of videos.  Most of them are gear reviews about knives, guns, flashlights, tools and so on.  I rely heavily on his videos to make informed purchases.  A lot of my gear comes from his recommendations.  The survival podcast is a daily radio show with a wealth of knowledge.  Download the episodes and listen to them on the way to work.  I will continue to highlight sources of great information throughout this blog.  The internet is a great resource for prepping and survival.  Get learning!

Fitness

Fitness?  Really?  Yes!  The better health you are in, the better you will be able to survive life’s challenges.  Just think about running from a hungry bear or angry mob.  If you are too out of shape to run a mile (or 100 yds?) things might end badly, quickly.  If the economy turns south and you need to chop wood daily for hours on end to heat your home, could you do it?  Most of use could drop a few pounds and this alone would dramatically improve our health.  Build strength as well as endurance.  Perform functional movements with weight that replicate actual things we do in life.  Lift and carry heavy objects.  Run, jump, bike.  I have been doing crossfit lately and it is just one example of a system that fits these kind of goals.  Do something active daily!

Health is huge.  Make it a goal to get healthier.  Eat better.  Eat more fruits and vegetables.  Are there chronic medicines you could get off of if you lost weight and ate better?  What if these medicines were not available or very expensive due to an economic depression or collapse?  What would you do?  This is another consideration of preparation and food storage.  Don’t forget to stock up on some extra meds.  More on this another time.

Obviously, there is no one size fits all approach to fitness.  Everyone has different circumstances.  Enlist the help of your physician.  I would say that there is at least something all of us could do to improve our health and make our lives better for it.

Let me make one quick plug about working out.  You need to perform some sort of weight training.  Building muscle is largely overlooked, especially by women.  This is a huge mistake.  Muscle burns calories passively throught the day.  The more muscle you have the more calories you burn.  You effectively increase your metabolic rate by increasing your muscle mass.  Now let me stop you right there.  I can already hear the women saying, “But I don’t want to bulk up!”  (it is like nails on a chalk board to me)  Stop it!  This is just utter non-sense.  Balderdash, garbage, insanity.  YOU WILL NEVER BULK UP!  I shouldn’t say never but for this purpose I am going to.  You would have to lift so much weight (huge weights), for hours a day, for a very long time to “bulk up”.  Just ask any skinny guy that has ever tried.  Start with body weight exercises (your own body is the weight!) like push ups, pull ups, etc.  Mark Lauren has a great book and app called “You are your own gym“.  It costs less than $9 and is delivered immediately to your tablet or phone via Kindle.

Wrap up

Make it a goal today to acquire more knowledge and get in better shape.  Your life will be that much better for it.  Reading this counts for the knowledge.  Now go do 15 push-ups, doctors orders!

All-Star Knives

Posted: November 18, 2014 in Gear
Tags:

The majority of topic requests I get are regarding two things; knives and guns.  So here it is!

There are few things as useful as a good knife.  My personal bias is that you should always have a knife on your person at all times.  They are very difficult if not impossible to improvise when you need one.  A good knife will save your bacon and even slice your bacon when needed.

They come in two basic varieties.  Fixed blade and folding.  Folding blades tend to be more convenient as they are smaller (when folded up).  Fixed blades tend to be sturdier.  If you intend to do heavier work like chopping, prying, stabbing, then a fixed blade may be better.  In general a folding blade is a good place to start.

Like everything in this world you get what you pay for.  Many things make a knife “better” or cost more.  There are different types of blade steel.  Better steels tend to cost more.  I may write a later post getting more into the technical details of knives and steel.

As an intro I wanted to suggest a few different knives at different price points.  There are many, many great knife companies.  Just to name a few: Spyderco, CRKT, Sog, Kershaw, Benchmade, Cold Steel, KA-BAR, and on and on.  Below are some specific examples.  They tend to get more expensive as you go down.  These are all All-Star knives in my opinion.  You can’t go wrong with any of them.  The red links below will take you to amazon for an example of the knife and the current price.

Morakniv – these knives have long been a prepper and survivalist staple.  They are cheap, rugged and an all around GREAT VALUE.  I own 3 or 4 of these.  Great for a bug-out-bag (BOB), car, backpacking, camping etc.  Break it, lose it, loan it out to a friend.  No worries if you lose it.  Made of high carbon steel which is great for field sharpening (holds a great sharp edge).  High carbon steel will rust more easily so wipe it off, clean it and keep a light oil on it.  Or let it rust and buy another!

Morakniv

for a couple bucks more you can get a heavy duty version that I like a bit better.

Morakniv HD

CRKT Drifter – $20 of awesome value.  This is a great, cheap knife.  I use this knife all the time.  It is my beater knife.  If I break it or lose it I won’t cry too much because it is only 20 bucks.  Great starter knife if price is an issue.

CRKT Drifter

Sog Flash 1 – this knife is tiny.  Great knife if size and weight are an issue.  It is assisted opening so it open up lightening fast with a small flick.  Sog does a great job with their pocket clips.  It allows the knife to sit very deep in your pocket (this is good).  I wouldn’t want this to be my primary knife (it’s small) but I often carry it is my secondary knife.  (Yes I often carry two knives!).  A note on legality… assisted opening knives are legal at the federal level but can be restricted at the state level (these are not automatic knives or switchblades) so make sure you know for your locality.  This climbs you into the $30 range.

Sog Flash 1

Sog Flash 2 – this is the big brother to the above knife.  I love this knife.  It is a fair bit bigger.  It is also an assisted opening knife.  Great overall knife with good utility.  The blade profile is full flat grind (FFG) which is great for all around use.  $40 range.

Sog Flash 2

Sog Seal Pup – this is a great all around fixed blade survival type knife.  Decent steel, nice handle, good sheath, full tang (the metal runs as one complete piece from the blade through the handle = sturdier).  All for about $40, great value.

Sog Seal Pup

Spyderco Delica – Oh how I love this knife!  This is probably my all around favorite knife.  It has great form, fit, and function.  It has nicer VG10 steel.  The clip is moveable to any position.  It is light weight.  Still an excellent value at just under $60.  This is my go to EDC (every day carry) knife.

Spyderco Delica FFG

That wraps up this intro post on a few All-Star knives that I particularly like.  They all have slightly different functions and niches.  One knife doesn’t do it all.  So you should buy more than one!  More to come!

Getting Started

Posted: November 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

People often ask “How do I get started?”  This is a great question.  Preparedness is a huge task.  Let’s look at it from the angle of what is going to kill you the fastest.

1. Oxygen

2. Temperature (thermoregulation)

3. Water

4. Food

Oxygen – you will die in minutes without oxygen.  I can’t really help you prepare for this.  If the oxygen is all of the sudden gone we are all screwed, no need to prepare for this!  (See, one thing off your list already!)

Temperature – most people think that lack of water kills you first.  Wrong!  You can die in minutes from environmental exposure either hot or cold.  Maintaining regular body temperature (98.6 degrees F) is called thermoregulation.  Clothing and shelter are your most immediate concerns in any survival situation.  Luckily most of us already have shelter and clothes.

Water – you will die from lack of water in a matter of days depending on the situation.  Dehydration is a major factor in any surival or emergency situation.  You must have access to clean water.  I can’t over emphasize this enough.  Rule of thumb – 1 gallon of water per person per day.  (Water for drinking, washing, brushing teeth, etc)  This goes up quickly if it is hot and or you are working hard and sweating.

Food – you can go weeks to months without food.  It takes quite a long time to starve to death.  The last 2-3 weeks will be very miserable.  Most of us could go quite a long time with all the extra fat we have stored.

More posts to follow on each of these things!

In the interest of getting started I would recommend getting one of the two fiction books in the book section.  One Second After or 299 Days.  Both are fantastic reads and you will learn something.  They are very entertaining stories of things that could happen.  (Currently One Second After is only $2.99 on kindle – awesome deal!)  They will scare you a little bit and this, for the most part, is a good thing.  Nothing like a healthy fear to spark that prepper fire in your soul!