Posts Tagged ‘Survivalism’

how-prepped-are-you

Running a prepping supply company, I’ve been asked, “Don’t you think preppers are obsessive?” My short answer to that is, “Yes.” But the long answer makes a bit more sense…

Personally, I’ve been prepping for about 4 years. In that time I’ve gone through the same phases that most do when they start. I built up my 72 hour kit and bug-out bag, then I added a week’s worth of MREs. I eventually started to build up a healthy supply of other non-food items (I’m sure you can figure out what I mean). Finally I compiled my long-term food and water stores.

But even though I feel ‘adequately’ prepared, I can never shake that feeling of needing to do just a little bit more. I find myself constantly watching the sales…looking for the deals. I also feel the need to upgrade my existing preps. I find that I surround myself, and my family, with my preps…reviewing them…and wondering if I can upgrade them to a higher quality.

If I was to take my previous statements and replace the word ‘preps’ with another word like ‘flowers’, most people would say I had a green thumb and loved practicing it. But why is it that I can’t have a discussion outside of the prepper realm and about prepping and not have others turned off?

While some have tried to explain to the masses that, for the most part, preppers are just normal people with a keen eye on the big picture of the world (kudos to The National Geographic Channel), most media outlets are insistent to make preppers out to be the live-in-a-compound, conspiracy-theorist, end-of-the-world type of people. Ironically, most of those people turn out to be liberal extremists. But with so many sources making up lies about preppers, it’s no wonder that the general population considers us to be extreme militants wanting to take over the world. It just goes to show how easy it is to manipulate the minds of others.

But because I hear it so much, I find myself struggling with the question, “Are you obsessed with prepping?” And when I really thought about it, the answer dawned on me. The short answer is “yes”. Yes I’m obsessed…with protecting my wife and family. Yes I’m obsessed….with living and not just surviving. Yes I’m obsessed…with making sure that our freedoms and liberties will never end.

So does prepping equal obsession? Perhaps it does.

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5 Cs of Survival

If you’ve been in or among the prepping community long enough, you’ve probably heard of the Five C’s of Survival. But unless you actively practice your prepping and survival skills (like anything else) you can easily forget them. With that in mind, we thought it was a good idea to revisit the basics and also introduce anyone who is new to survival and prepping. So here we go with the list and their explanations.

  1. Cutting Tool: The best choice for this would be a sturdy, full-tang survival knife. But ultimately a tool that can be used for anything from cleaning fish to splitting kindling. You may also want to consider a multitool to accomodate several other needs.
  2. Combustion: This can be anything from a magnesium stick to a blow torch. But practicality should come into play here. Being able to spark a fire is critical in a survival situation. Since most fire starting tools are small and lightweight, it’s not a bad idea to have multiple options with you…say, a lighter and waterproof matches and a magnesium stick.
  3. Cover: We’re not talking about a hat here. An emergency shelter is a necessity in a survival situation. You need the ability to quickly erect a precipitation and cold-resistant covering to keep you dry and warm in the event of an unforeseen night outside. The good news is that almost anything will suffice. A poncho, wool blanket, tarp, or even a plastic garbage bag will serve the purpose.
  4. Container: In a perfect world a 32-oz. stainless-steel water bottle would be your best bet. But we’re talking about survival so any device that can hold water without leaking and survive over an open fire will work. Staying hydrated is fundamental in an emergency, and you want a durable container for storing and carrying water. You also need to have the ability to boil the water to kill any microbial organisms.
  5. Cordage: Now, if your one of those people who can fashion rope from plant materials in the backcountry, great. But for the rest of us, make sure that you have a good 100 feet of 550 cord (paracord). From stringing together a shelter to bundling up your bug out bag to hanging your wet clothes up to dry, the number of uses are almost limitless.

pantry

So you’ve decided to stock up a bit on your next grocery store run? Great! Welcome to the world of prepping. Joking aside, most people don’t even realize that there’s a little ‘prepper’ in all of us. Every time someone feels the need to take advantage of a 10-for-$10 sale or a buy one get one free deal, they’re actually stocking up for the “just in case” scenario. But what a lot of people do for the bargains, preppers do on purpose. While there is some logic to stockpiling grocery items, we do need to address a few concerns:

First, while most grocery-store-grade canned goods have added preservatives, to help with shelf life, most of them are just sodium-based (i.e., salt). This method of food preservation dates back to biblical times when salting was the preferred method for preserving fish for long water voyages. Now, while sealing up the cans helps extend the life of the food way further, it really only lasts about a year from the time that the cans were sealed at the factory before the food begins to break down its raw chemical structure. At this point the food is no longer edible. Unless you’re very diligent about rotating these items, there’s a good chance that they’ll expire long before you can eat them all. And nobody should want to take a chance with tainted food during an emergency.

Second, most canned goods are in a “ready to eat” status which means all you have to do it heat it up and enjoy. With the exception of concentrated soups, most canned food does not require the addition of water to prepare it. This means that you are storing the water with the food. While some might argue that this is a good thing, it could also be the difference between having a couple weeks of food on your shelves and having several months of food. Water takes up A LOT of space. It also weighs a lot. One (US) gallon of water weighs over 8 pounds (8.35 lbs. = 3.79 kg.). Adding that much bulk and weight to your prepper pantry can really take up a lot of space. And when you think about it, isn’t the goal to have as much food on-hand as you can possibly store the bottom line?

Third, while most people who stock up on food, they also plan to have it at their fingertips should the need arise. We can’t ever rule out the need to abandon our fortress of solitude. Bugging out requires a lot of planning. It also can require a lot of food. Grocery store items don’t exactly scream “lightweight and portable”. If you consider a typical bug out scenario you need to assume that most people will have to move their food (along with everything else that they’re taking with them) either up or down stairs and probably into a vehicle of some kind. It makes sense to limit items that already contain moisture to a very, very small amount.

So, what’s the alternative? I doubt most are ready to go out and eat sticks and bugs that they find in their back yard. That’s why my motto, “Always have a plan C” comes into play. Three plans that cover many solutions. Plan A: Have enough ready-to-eat (grocery store sourced, if desired) food on hand for every member of the family for 3 to 5 days. Plan B: If the crisis still exists, you should plan a few days of MRE’s (meals ready to eat) and cook-in-the-pouch meals. While they may not be as tasty as plan A, they are just as nutritious and they require virtually no prep time and very little water. And plan C: If you’ve exhausted the first two, you should have many days’ worth (some would argue years’ worth) of long-term freeze-dried food storage and water on hand.

What, exactly, you should stock for plan C is another story (and another article that we’ll address later). But you should think about how handy you are in the kitchen. And keeping the water stored as a separate item gives you far more versatility than the grocery items. Stabilizing the water in dedicated, sealed containers ensures up to 5 years of freshness before rotation is required.

As you build your stockpile of edible gold, keep preparing for “Plan C”. But make sure that logic follows every step. Consider the worst case scenario and use the logic and reasoning skills that God gave all of us.

Ashcloud

So you have your bug out bag(s) set to go…great! You’ve taken the time to pack enough supplies to last for 72 hours and you check it every 6 months to make sure everything is up to date. But what do you do now? Preparing for bug out isn’t just about the bag…it’s also about the plan to actually bug out. We’re going cover some of those points.

Create scenarios

While most people don’t like thinking about doom and gloom, most preppers don’t have a problem with it because they know that this is how they prep their gear. But war-gaming should also take into account what you should do if you are on the losing side of the equation. Depending on where you live the scenarios will be different. Northern states will need to plan more around winter emergencies. Southern states will need to plan more around summer emergencies. Consider the typical weather patterns in your area. Also, consider your location to water sources. Those who live near flood-prone areas need to consider which direction they may need to travel to get away from the rising water levels.

Don’t just focus on natural disasters though. Man-made disasters can be just as deadly as natural disasters. Civil unrest, biochemical hazards, and nuclear disasters are quite probably in today’s world. Keeping you and your family safe during your travels is extremely important. Just like money, the weakest defensible point is during the transportation phase between banks. Take precautions and be prepared to defend yourself and your family. Make sure that you are trained in some form of self-defense.

Consider your location

Since most of us don’t sit at home all day, every day to wait for the end of the world, we need to establish meeting points or rallying points. Most of us have jobs that take us away from our homes and our families. We also have children that may be in places such as school. A typical family where both parents work and the kids are in school needs to be well planned out in the event of a disastrous situation. Questions like: How will the adults communicate if the cell phone network is down? Who is responsible for picking the kids up from school? Do we go home from there or do we have a rally point? If we don’t go home, who will have or have access to our bug out bags?

Also, in regards to location, think about how many other people may be trying to flee the area where you live. Depending on the scenario, some roads may become impassable (snow, flood, road block). What if you are limited in the number of routes to your destination due to man-made or natural obstacles? Experts will tell you that 36 hours is the magic number during any emergency before panic can start to set in. How long should you wait until you bug out?

Plan A, B, AND C

Once you have these scenarios defined look at your plans carefully. Which plan is the best? Which plan is the easiest? Which plan could be easily foiled? Prioritize the plans that you think are the best ones. As the prepper saying goes, “Always have a Plan C.” Everything preppers do should be in at least double-redundancy. 3 plans to evacuate your home and head to greener pastures.

Drill baby drill

So you have it all figured out? Great! Now test your plans. You might be surprised at the obstacles that you find. If your plan includes densely populated areas, consider the amount of traffic that would be multiplied if everyone decided to do the same thing at the same time. Be prepared to adjust or re-prioritize your plans as you go along.

Finally, run real-time drills with your entire family on a regular basis. Now this may feel a bit weird the first time you do this but, trust me, it can save your life later. Use these drills as time to work out the kinks. Time your drills (what we can measure we can improve). When driving, don’t take into account things like stops signs and traffic lights as there is a chance these may not be working during the actual emergency and nobody is really going to care much about getting a citation. But don’t break any laws during the drill either. Assume places like gas stations and grocery stores will be without power so don’t expect to be able to fill up your gas tank or grab a bite to eat. Try to make the drill as realistic as possible without getting into trouble. You should also consider adding stress and antagonism to the drill. Because if the SHTF, the adrenalin will surely be flowing.

When all is said and done. Have a meeting will all of the participants. Discuss what worked and what didn’t. Discuss how to change or improve your steps. Think about things that you took with and consider if you need to make changes to your equipment list. You will thank yourself later.