Here’s the home site. Make it a daily stop!
EDIT: The following is not to be construed as to how much ammo you should own, but rather, what is carried on your person. Our recommended absolute (that means if there’s just no possible way to get more, which there is as ammo is WAY more affordable now) minimum is to have 1,000 rounds per rifle and 500 rounds per pistol owned in reserve, which does not count that which you use to keep your skills honed, which should be about 750 to 1,000 rounds per year with your rifle, and 500 to 750 rounds per year on your pistol.
A good question posed that has numerous answers based on the conditions you may find yourself faced with.
Here’s a few basic questions to help you find out what’s right for you:
The amount of ammo you should carry on your LBE/person depends entirely on the answers to these and other questions to get to the amount that would most likely work, but there are some general parameters you can use to start your evaluation. Doesn’t matter what caliber; a lot of people have the AK platform and the 7.62×39 or 7.62X54. For brevity, I’m keeping the scope of this Op-Ed to the 7.62NATO and 5.56NATO. Adapt from there to whatever caliber is your choice.
First, the platform you have is going to have a direct impact on how much ammo you can physically carry when balanced against your fitness level. Here and on other training blogs, the cry of, “MORE PT!!” is echoed regularly by bloggers and students after attending classes and learning first hand that being in shape is the foundation of being able to do what you need to do. So, take that in and let it burn in, real good. Get into the best shape you can get. Digression complete.
Back to the platform. 7.62NATO weighs a lot when you start putting loaded 20 round mags on your LBE (kit). The most I’ve carried is 13 (12 on the LBE; 1 in the rifle), and that was not typical. That’s 260 rounds. In the ruck I had another 200 rounds in bandoleers and another 4 mags on the outside of the ruck in pouches. 540 rounds of 7.62NATO is extremely heavy. So, back to PT if you’re chosen caliber is 7.62NATO. Long, long walks with a full ruck, LBE, and a rifle to get used to it is your requirement. As you go, move to inclines, rough ground, and so forth, because that’s what you’re going to be dealing with once you get out of populated areas. I carried the M-14 type rifle (civilian) doing training, walks in the hills, and on shooting excursions at local ranges for about 20 years before I realized I was getting to the age that I might want a lighter rifle and ammo so I could carry more during a SHTF situation, because truly, if S does HTF, you’ll be carrying all the ammo you need for the rest of your life….or so I’ve heard.
A realistic load (at least for me and my situation) was to go down to six 20 round mags on the LBE, one in the rifle, and still keep 200 rounds in bandoleers (complete with mag charging spoons pinned to each bandoleer) in waterproof bags in the ruck where I could get to them easily. 340 rounds was a lot more manageable to me with that platform. I still conditioned with ruck walks of up to 10 miles with the pack weighing anywhere from 35 to 80 pounds, depending on the training day/cycle. It helped, and still does. (Notice a pattern here on PT and fitness level?)
5.56NATO allows you to carry a lot more in the way of ammunition, and from reports from people who spent a lot of time in the last 10 years in Afghanistan shooting people, it does a really good job. Not quite as good as the 7.62NATO, but everything’s a trade off. With the 5.56NATO, shot placement is KING, which means you have to actually SHOOT WITH YOUR GEAR ON (I know, I’m digressing a lot) REGULARLY when training! Right now, I carry eight 30 round mags on my LBE, one in the rifle, and another six in my 3 day pack or ruck (along with 210 rounds in a bandoleer inside if my personal DEFCON is elevated). So, that’s a total between 420 and 630 rounds, situation dependent, and they noticeably weigh less than my full load of 7.62NATO when I carried it. Some guys like to carry 13 mags (390 rounds) between their LBE and rifle, and another 360 rounds in their rucks either in mags or in bandoleers. That’s 750 rounds! They are much younger and in much better shape than I am. I am working on the PT. Can’t do anything about the wear and tear of years lived, though. So, I carry less than they do. Plus, should things go South, I’m figuring I won’t be doing much ‘snoopin’ and poopin’; that’ll be for the younger guys.
Here’s the bottom line for how much you should carry: You have to figure out what works for you and balance it against the threat you’re planning for, your physical capabilities, your GOOD planning, projected daily activities, how fast and how far you think you’ll have to move, what resupply may be available along your route or at your future location. That’s why your pack list will continuously change to one degree or another as you learn and try to improve what you carry in the way of ammo and equipment in terms of Return On Investment for effort expended and the capability of the item in question to help keep you alive. If you were to reduce everything to a simple equation, it would be this: Ammo, water, food, essential survival gear/equipment, all else.
The one factor you can influence that will have the most bearing on how much you carry? Your fitness level. Do more PT!!
REPRIEVE UPDATE: The Nation, having been granted a reprieve (unknown longevity) due to the election of a non-Marxist Chief Executive, is now able to start on getting their collective shit together, preparedness wise. Read the whole thing, including the scenario, and replace with your own as you see fit. It is still a valid 10 week program; hopefully, if you’re a newbie to prepping and survivalism, you won’t go back to sleep now. That could prove fatal, situation dependent, not only for you, but your family. Careful consideration is called for.
I’ve gotten a consistent number of requests to re-post this for folks just starting to understand what they might need to consider. Feel free to add any other helpful comments for the brand new folks.
Last update: 17 October 2016.
The only update I can add to this is during the ensuing time, no matter who wins on 8 November, there’s sure to be violent fall out to either forward an agenda by the Transnational Globalist Marxists or to attempt to cause an outright civil war that would necessitate the suspension of Constitutional protections (what’s left of them) according to the powers that STILL BE. That being the case, YOU, yes, YOU have until 20 January to get yourself and your family’s ‘shit’ together. Follow this outline if you can, and add something else in it: Study and training. Across the board. First priority: First Aid/Medical training. Then food storage. Then survival. Then tactics & weapons. This is not contradictory. Yes, you need to know how to effectively use a weapon, but you also need, desperately, how to tend to wounds, injuries, infections and disease not typically seen in a ‘normal’ setting. You need to know how to purify water; how to put up food so it will last, you need communications training, you need intelligence training (Culper’s got the best out there that I’ve seen, but you look around and find out for yourself).
Bottom line: Your entire existence from now until 21 January needs to be one of study, exercise, training, study, frugal purchasing, setting up your home or ‘hidey hole’ so your family can make it, and so on.
Remember, there’s an old saying that I live by: “There are no victims, only volunteers….”
H/T to a commenter, “Doug” @ 10/6, 7:07, over at Wirecutter’s place, for the inspiration to update this post again .
It’s been over
6 8 10 years since I wrote this under my since retired ‘nom de guerre’, and a very good friend of mine at Western Rifle Shooter’s Association again asked me if I’d mind updating it (same one who asked last time). This is a good base plan for folks you might know just waking up to the fact that things are spinning faster in the vortex than ever before, and this might be the best last chance for them to get themselves in gear. Feel free to add or take away as your situation and local area conditions may require. This is by no means the best or only plan, rather, one that may help someone with no knowledge or skills. There are other good perspectives on this subject out there, and they shouldn’t be discounted. Much like this one.
You may be thinking, “WORST case?? What could POSSIBLY get any worse than this?? There’s nothing I can do. Things being the way they are, it’s basically over…all we can do is wait for the hammer to fall.” Well, for one thing, that’s not true! Many folks just like you don’t agree with or believe that perspective in the slightest! There’s a lot you can do! And, if this plan helps get you thinking of what you can do instead of what you can’t do, we all might just benefit from your action! In fact, if enough folks begin to think about what they can do, we just might avert the “worst case” and many more of us may live through these ‘interesting times’ that are certainly headed our way! So, while you’re reading this, keep that thought in mind, ok?
This plan is divided into two parts: The items required and the timetable to do it in. Remember, prudent people see danger coming and prepare while the foolish do nothing (or just sit at their keyboard and ENDLESSLY BITCH about how terrible things are) and suffer for it. To put us all on an equal footing for the case presented, let’s get ready to plan by using the following scenario as a back drop:
To be sure, ten weeks, especially today, when national and world tensions increasing by the hour, can seem to be a very, very long time in terms of ‘getting prepared/trained/fit/mentally ready’ to protect and defend your family, neighborhood, community and country from marauding apocalypse zombies coming from whatever direction or source you care to focus on. For now, rather than looking at a fictional futuristic even, let’s look at what’s happened in the last 7 years incrementally. Taken from a comment a Knuckledraggin’ My Life Away, here. (Note: Original edited for clarity and brevity.)
So, how do you get ready for an imminent disaster affecting the entire nation like that? Not possible you say? Think for a moment: The Law of Unintended Consequences usually provides extreme results beyond those anticipated or planned in any situation it becomes involved with. So, that being said, let’s examine this, even if only from an academic perspective.
First, consider the description. It’s certainly beyond possible; these things have happened and are happening. But is it nefarious in design?
Many seem to think so, but what’s relevant as you read this is what you think. Consider current affairs in Eastern, and now, Western Europe. Examine current affairs in our own country. Consider the publicized plans of various agencies to quell ‘civil unrest.’ Think about the publicized military exercises that name military veterans and religious groups as ‘domestic terrorists.’ And then, before you go any further, make a determination: Is this a bunch of paranoid “tin foil hat” crap or maybe, just maybe, is there something to this and you, gentle reader, need to do something positive to take care of your family and friends. If you had the time (which you don’t, believe me), you could do your own investigation from objective sources, file Freedom of Information Act Requests (FOIA) and find that it is, in fact, not only plausible, but the stage is being set every day for just such an eventuality.
If you decide the facts don’t support your personal preparedness, just toss this out. Delete. File 13. Trash. Round file. I hope you enjoy your life and are prosperous. Read no further.
However, if you decide facts presented do support getting started preparing, you have much to think about, much to do, and much to gain in the way of putting yourself, your family and your friends in a better position of an increased chance of living through it.
Think about it. I’ll wait. You’re still here?
Ok, let’s get started.
Before anything else you have to understand that you have very limited time in the way of making purchases (you never know what is going to be banned next by Executive Order or agency decree, or as things get sportier, how much and how fast prices will sky rocket on necessary items), so you need to read this, comprehend it, and take decisive action! No putting this off until after the “fall colors trip” or after you get that new flat screen tee vee (you and your family’s gratification should be realized by getting what you need to survive what’s coming!). Everything mentioned herein will get more expensive by the day (bit by bit, but one day it’s going to take off, then, as time grows shorter, by the hour). Example: Right now you can get a 1200 round case for $
490 $550, shipped (about .41 .46 cents a round). Tomorrow? One more ‘mass shooting’ could bring a panic like the one after Sandy Hook, and you’ll be paying a dollar a round and be glad if you can find it. When you take into account the old axiom that you have 1,000 rounds per rifle in reserve, and 3,000 per rifle on hand is only adequate for SHTF/WROL scenarios, you might want to start some budgeting. Soon as you finish reading this. The old rule of, “you snooze, you lose” will take on major significance to you personally in this case, because what you lose might just be your life, or at the minimum, what’s left of your tattered freedom!
So, what’s the very first thing you do? Simply, start a PT program. See the paragraph on packs below. Fitness is the foundation upon which your preparedness plans, tools, and actions should be built. There are many out there; find the one that’s right for you. Make sure if you haven’t exercised hard in a long time that you get medical clearance; dropping dead from a heart attack doesn’t do your preparedness planning any good, nor does it help your family. Once you’ve gotten into your exercise program and have made some progress getting over the ‘sore muscle syndrome’, start including walks with your ruck (pack) on for varying distances, light weight at first, and add to it as time goes on.
Now, what’s the first thing you buy? You can argue all you want about it, but the simple answer is to take stock of what you have on hand FIRST, because that will be your determining factor. A weapon is essential, but if you have a rifle (even a .22) but you don’t have something that will either provide or help you get things you must have to live you don’t necessarily need a weapon first. Like what? How about a water purifier of some sort? How about non-perishable food items? How about hygiene items? The list can go on, but the point is not to presume that a bigger, better weapon is the first thing. It may very well be the first thing you want, but you must make yourself think in terms of needs based upon what is instead of what may be or is not. For the point of discussion, though, we’ll assume you don’t have a weapon at all and start there, because if you don’t, you need a weapon more than anything else. No weapon, no protection…where it counts…at home.
So, what do you get? A pistol? Shotgun? Rifle? There are as many opinions on the subject as there are weapon choices, but most are influenced by the likes and dislikes of the expert. Most times, getting a general purpose weapon (something that can do a great many things well, some things good, and only a few things poorly) is the best choice. Especially if you don’t have unlimited funds.
So, simply put: Get a Rifle.
All things being equal and you have reasonable vision and average muscle control and dexterity, if you can only have one weapon, make it a rifle. A rifle has more power, more ability to stop and put down any target at ranges in excess of a pistol/revolver or shotgun’s maximum effective range. A quick example of “knock down” power (aka terminal velocity): A 300 Winchester Magnum with a 200 grain bullet that hits its target at 1,000 yards (to illustrate how far this is, you would have to take 36 inch steps every second for 16 and a half minutes to walk 1,000 yards) with more energy than a .44 Magnum does at “point blank” range. Get the picture? Something or someone hit with a rifle goes down and usually does not get back up. Period. But on the chance they do, a follow up shot will settle the issue. Only after all other basic necessities are acquired should you consider getting a pistol, especially if you’re on a limited budget. So then, which rifle? Simplicity is the key here, especially as you may have only shot a rifle a few times in your life or others who will use the rifle fall into that category. So, you need a rifle that’s easy to learn to operate, doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, is fairly accurate, and won’t take all the money you have available to purchase. Here’s an example that fits those requirements:
The K98 or M48 Mauser (later model) is rugged, can take down anything in North America, ammunition is cheap, and it’s maintenance requirements are extremely simple! Cost: Depending on if you get a Yugoslavian M48 or go for the WWII German, you can pay as little as
$250 (prices are rising!) for “Service Grade” for the rifle and about $500 $575 for a case of surplus ammunition. So, for about $750 $950 or $800 $1,000 or so, you have the weapon category taken care of. Remember, the K98/M48 is a good general purpose rifle, but it is purely for defense. It’s a bolt action, and as such, aimed fire combined with it’s large projectile and ability to punch through light barriers is its advantage. These relics have another really good advantage to them in that if all else fails, they are superb clubs and will put down whomever they are hit with. If you have a bit more disposable income, or you don’t need extensive training or are ex-military and want a more prolific weapon that you may have had some familiarization with, you may want to consider the ubiquitous AR-15 carbine family or its descendants. Try to get one chambered in 5.56mm rather than .223 caliber. The differences are minute, but the 5.56mm chamber can take the differences in pressure from the .223 more easily than the .223 chamber can take the 5.56mm pressure differences. It’s a peace of mind thing.
These will cost you anywhere from $800 to $1500 (no change there, as of today), depending on the source, and the price for a case of 55gr Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) will run
$350 $450 and up per 1000 rounds for M-193 55gr. M-855 is still available; get it while you can. Another option at this point might be the 77gr “Open Tip Match (OTM). It’s barrier blind (means it will go through the barrier) and still do a number on the zombie. You’re going to pay twice as much as you will for 55gr or 62gr, (about $900 per 1K shipped – when you can find it) but you get better performance, so seek good advice from friends with expertise and then make your choice. Next, you have to add in an absolutely minimum five seven 30 round magazines, so that will be another $88 to $180 at the bare minimum, again, depending on your source and type of magazine chosen (Magpuls are more expensive than ‘old school’ AR magazines, but they take more of a beating from some reports, and they have a model with a window in the side along with a ’rounds left indicator’ which is handy). So, at the low end, you’re talking about $1,350 ; at the high end, $1,975 or more. About twice as expensive as the Mauser set up, but it’s your call. Remember this: The more complex the weapon, the more intricate the cleaning and maintenance requirements are and the increased amount of training required to effectively employ it. (ABOVE ALL: Learn appropriate weapon safety and handling! LEAVE NOTHING TO CHANCE!!) This estimate doesn’t include necessary maintenance and cleaning solvents, either. A good lube is your friend; we recommend a couple: Frog Lube and Gunzilla. You can find them anywhere. And if you choose the AR, it doesn’t take an awful lot, so a bottle can last quite some time.
A quick disclaimer: All costs have been taken from September 2016 advertisements, and likely price increases will occur depending on local, national and international situations.
To be sure, there are many other fine weapons you could go with, but the two examples cited above give you an idea of the spectrum you can operate in when you are getting your “kit” together. If you know someone who is experienced and knows military pattern rifles well, ask them what they think, but stay focused on ‘general purpose’ in your evaluation and choice. The various blogs in the ‘liberty/preparedness/patriot’ community are a treasure trove of information, but again, stay focused on ‘general purpose’. The 1,000 round examples with each rifle are considered to be a minimum of what one would need to stay viable in a scenario such as described above for an extended period. Something else you need to know: You are your own supply chain. You cannot count on having someone to provide extra, so everything you have needs to be able to fill more than one function. Additionally, when/if things go South, and you are lucky enough to join with others who are like minded, showing up with a good, general purpose rifle and a case of ammunition will go a long way in their determination whether or not to let you stay.
Ammunition: Just like with the weapon category, there are many, many types of ammunition you could elect to purchase. The examples above were military surplus “full metal jacket” or FMJ examples (except for the OTM – it has a small open tip, so technically, it’s not, “full” nor is it a true ‘hollow point’). FMJ is a good, all around general purpose bullet for self-defense purposes. It doesn’t expand like hunting rounds do, but it rarely fails to chamber and can reliably kill any animal or adversary you need it to take down (especially if you pay attention to shot placement, which means learning to become accurate as possible). If you’re just starting out becoming prepared, don’t waste your time and money trying to get several types of ammunition for different purposes; get the FMJ and use the money you have left to get other items you’ll need. As previously mentioned, the standard “rule of thumb” is that for each rifle you depend on, 1,000 rounds should be held in reserve to ensure you have a reasonable supply if ever needed. That means you should buy at least 1,500 rounds, so you can get proficient with your choice as soon as possible. 500 rounds will get you started, so long as you are properly trained. And remember, without ammunition, a rifle is basically an interesting paper weight.
Food: All food considered for this sort of emergency planning must be non-perishable and easily transportable. Not necessarily very light (though that helps a LOT), but transportable, meaning compactable, easily packed, able to be put in other containers, water/moisture proof, etc. Power bars, granola, tuna kits (especially the foil packet), peanut butter, honey, dried soups, etc. Light is good. Heavy, not so much, but heavy food is better than no food. And, if you are sheltering in place, think ‘compact’ rather than weight. Also calculate that you want to build your pantry until you have at least 90 days of food for however many you have in your home.
Or, you might be in a position that you have to transport on foot the things you need in order to stay out of the net cast by the nefarious elements in the scenario at the beginning of this paper. For example, if you have the choice between canned soups that are ‘ready to eat’ and ‘condensed’ soups you add water for preparation, the condensed soups should get the nod, because you get relatively the same volume of soup for about a third of the weight. Taking that a step further, if you have dried soup mixes that are vacuum sealed and water tight, you should choose those because they’re about 5 to 10% of the weight of the condensed variety, and you can pack quite a bit more, which extends your ability to live without going to the store (which might not be an option, either). Get the picture? Here’s a good source recommended by JC Dodge at Mason Dixon Tactical.
You could also choose the ubiquitous “MRE” of military fame or the freeze dried foods mountain climbers use. You could choose to take your entire stock of canned foods in your vehicle (just make sure you use these first incase you have to abandon your vehicle and you don’t have a pack horse handy!). What is essential is that you have a average of 1700 to 2000 calories a day per person in your party for a minimum of 14 days especially if you have children with you. You’ll find you actually need more than 2,000 calories per day if you’re in survival mode (moving a lot, outdoors a lot, and under extreme stress while moving and living outdoors), or in winter conditions, but averaging 2K calories (not empty calories, either, like candy) comprised of a 1/3 balance of protein, natural fats, and carbohydrates will keep everyone able to do whatever needs to be done. If you were using full MRE packs, which would mean each person would have to be able to carry 14 MRE’s. That’s a case plus 2, which is a lot, and heavy. Don’t despair, however. Creativity counts here. Through experimentation, I’ve found that 4 MRE tubes of peanut butter and one MRE pack of “trail mix” (peanuts, raisins, and ‘chocolate discs’ (military jargon for M&M’s) equals 1350 calories. Add in a 400 calorie “energy bar” and a protein bar with 20 grams of protein, you have the 2000 calories for one day. This little recipe also has almost the perfect mix of fat, protein, and carbohydrates required for optimum nutrition for a limited time on the 1/3 rule. To be sure, you’re not getting natural nutrients that green leaf and other vegetables supply, but that can be overcome with a bottle of ‘Juice Plus’ veggie or fruit supplements for each person. Weighs about 3 ounces and provides all the vegetable nutrients you need for 2 months by taking two a day (120 capsule size). You know what you and yours can and can’t eat (due to allergies). So you have to make the decision. The bottom line is that you need food for a couple of weeks (this is just travel food) and for at least 6 months (absolute bare minimum) in your pantry at home (or at a pre-selected location that you might be travelling to) against the possibilities of interruption of the supply chain.
Remember, our scenario here is national martial law reinforced by UN ‘peacekeepers’ which will profoundly impact the supply chain that operates mostly with over-the-road trucks, and a shut down of the interstate system would be just about required for this scenario to work. And that could easily happen if all they concentrated on were the truckers and requiring them to hold their cargo in place until ‘clearance’ came through.
When it comes to food in your pantry, or ‘larder’ as I call it, a quick word of caution: Do NOT tell everyone you know what you’re doing!! ESPECIALLY ON SOCIAL MEDIA!!! Especially if they’re not ‘like-minded’! Keep your preparations to yourself, even from your extended family unless they’re doing the same thing you are. Even then, keep information disclosure minimal. If emergency conditions do occur, the unprepared will remember and either show up at your door demanding what you have or they’ll turn you in to the “authorities” for ‘hoarding’ to gain favor or food.
Now, to continue, make sure you have things like cooking oil, flour, dried beans, yeast, and sea salt in addition to the various canned and comfort goods. One way to increase the size of your larder so it’s not noticed by anyone, including store employees wondering why you have 5 shopping carts full of canned goods, would be to added 4 to 6 items of whatever to your ‘normal’ list each shopping trip. Or, start shopping at the various ‘clubs’ such as Sam’s, Costco, and others that routinely see people buying large amounts of foodstuffs. As you go through and categorize your items at home, cycle through them, using the oldest first and replacing those with ‘new’ items with much later expiration dates.
Lastly, water has to be added to the food category, as many meals, especially those with dried ingredients, require the addition of water for pre-cooking preparation or rehydration (in the case of some beans, soup mixes, or other dehydrated offerings).
In “normal” circumstances, people use several gallons a day for hydration, hygiene, and cooking purposes. In a scenario such as the one we are planning for, this is one of those things that must change immediately! Chances are that water could/would be cut-off as a measure of control or as a result of utility workers not being allowed or able to reach their workplaces. The bottom line is that to depend upon a municipal water system in our scenario is just asking for trouble! To mitigate that possibility, two water sources must be developed.
The first, for the home, is stored water. Storing water isn’t difficult or very expensive at all. All you need to do is go to your local discount house and get one 6 gallon water container for camping (you know, the one’s with the spigots?) per person. They’re about $12 each. The cost for the ubiquitous American family of four would be under $50. Once at home, take ¼ cup of unscented chlorine bleach and ¾ cup of water, mix it, and rinse out each container. Let it sit for 10 minutes or so, then rinse again with clean water and let it dry. Now fill it to the brim and add 8 drops of the same unscented bleach per gallon (48 drops from an eyedropper for a 6 gallon container) and fill it up with water to the brim! Try not to leave any air bubbles. Put the lid on it snugly, and keep it in the basement out of the way. Just as it is, this water can be used for two years with no ill effects for anyone who drinks it. If in doubt, you can always add 8 more drops of bleach per gallon after the first year, year and a half or so has gone by and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before you consume it. A smart move is to rotate the water out once a year (if things don’t go South before then!). Take the old water and use it for whatever you want. I personally water my wife’s flowers and the vegetable garden. You can also get something called, ‘Stabilized Oxygen’ and add it to suspect water, about 10 drops per 8 ounces, wait 5 minutes, and drink it with no ill effects. The oxygen that’s in it attacks and kills all bad things swimming in it. I’ve used it on pond, stream and lake water, and have had no ill effects. It costs about $20 a bottle on Amazon. The brand I use is from ‘Dexterity Health’. I also put 120 drops in my camelback when I fill it and it keeps well. I recently used the camelback for a weekend with water that had been in it for a year, and it tasted great and again, no issues.
In reserve, if things get really bad, you always have your hot water heater to drain as well as your pipes once the water supply is cut off. The key is to drain from the lowest point in your house as soon as you know you’ve lost water pressure (usually your basement). Then, turn on the cold water and fill up your containers until the water runs out. Don’t turn on the hot water! Not yet, anyway. Wait until you know for sure the supply of cold water is not coming back anytime soon. In the mean time, get a section of hose with the female end; 8 feet is more than enough. Attach it to the bottom of your hot water heater. You now have a way to drain your hot water heater into a container as you need it. Most homes have 30 to 50 gallon (or even larger) water heaters, which are a superb reserve that will extend your range of comfort, nutrition (cooking water), hydration, and hygiene for quite awhile, relatively speaking. Apartment and condo dwellers, unless they have individual water heaters, only have the option of getting to the lowest spigot in the facility and getting extra water that way.
What about if you move out? You need something to ensure any water you forage is safe to drink. First, forget the hype about filters that have filter openings larger than 0.1 microns. Larger micron openings are not guaranteed to purify your water at all. So you need something a bit better. This option is the best option currently available today, but it is relatively expensive – almost as expensive as your rifle. But look at it this way: This system guarantees at least ONE MILLION gallons of purified water from any source. The risk of cooking, drinking, and washing with contaminated water is virtually nullified!
The basic model costs $52/ If you have an extra $125, get the Sawyer Point ZEROTWO™ Bucket Purifier Assembly Kit
This small, lightweight filter kit can provide up to 170 gallons of clean water per day. Assembly Kit Includes: Hole Cutter, a Sawyer Point ZeroTWO™ 0.02 Micron Absolute Inline Water Purifier, adapter, hose, Filter Cleaner, Filter Hanger, and detailed instruction book. All you have to provide is a 5 or 6 gallon bucket and assemble it. Talk about mobile! Here’s the link: http://www.greatlakesurvival.com/water-purification-products.html
Caution: Don’t fall prey to the idea that “doing it on the cheap” will be just as good as spending everything you can afford to spend. Cheap is as cheap does! You get what you pay for! You skimp, you lose! This would be the time, if you didn’t have the cash, to use your credit card or savings. This is THE rainy day you’ve been saving for! Get the very best you can afford! Get the picture?
Medications: Everyone needs to know that they should always have on hand at least a three month supply of required medications for any emergency! To do otherwise is risking certain death, especially in the scenario we’re operating under. Whatever it takes to get your med supply up to par, do. If you have refills, get them as quickly as possible and keep the spares in a “go kit” that you cycle through, just like your larder. Aside from those meds, put a large bottle of aspirin, a large bottle of multi-vitamins, a super-sized box/package of mild laxative, a super-sized package of Amodium AD, 3 large tubes of Neosporin Plus (this has pain reliever), a couple small bottles of Oil of Cloves (dental pain reliever), 100 yards (do the math) of unwaxed dental floss, 1 pound of sea salt & 1 pound of baking soda (best tooth paste when mixed 1 to 1 and can be used to augment food supplies), a large box of assorted band aids, and 2 large bottles of hydrogen peroxide. Why peroxide? It is a superb disinfectant and can be used to treat most foot related problems (athlete’s foot, etc), periodontal disease (rinsing daily for five minutes – don’t swallow, though!), disinfecting small & large cuts or abrasions, etc. Spend $167 on this item:
FAMILY SIZE M17 FULLY STOCKED TRAUMA MEDIC BAG
The Large M17 Medic Bag is a great bag with a very nice set of contents. The G.I. style issue bag itself can be carried by the carrying handle or the back pack straps. The bag folds out three ways for easy access to all the contents.
The FA110 measures 16”x10”x13.5” and weights 12.25 lbs.
Color for this bag is Olive Drab
Contains 320 items, including:
5 Skin and Eye Wash,1 Skin Probe, 1 Hand Sanitizer, 1 Scalpel handle #3, 1 Hand Soap, 2 Scalpel Blades, 1 Calamine Lotion, 6oz., 1 Pen Light, 1 Burn Spray, 2 Suture Sets, 1 SAM / Universal Splint, 1 EFA – First Aid Book, 4 Multitrauma dressing, 6 Safety Pins, 2 BleedStop Bandages , 2 Pill Bottles, 4 Bandage Gauzes, 2”x5yds., 6 Pairs , Latex Examination Gloves, 2 Elastic Bandages, 6” , 14 Pain Relievers, 12 Elastic Bandages, 2” , 1 Tourniquet, 4 Sterile Pads, 4”x4”, 2 Irrigation Syringes, 10 Sterile Pads, 2”x2” , 4 First Aid Cream Packages, 10 Abdominal Pads, 5”x9” , 4 Triple Antibiotic Packages, 2 Eye Pads, 2 Burn Aid Packages, 2 Triangular Bandage, 5 Tape, Rolls, Adhesive, 1”, 100 Bandage Strips, 1”x3”, 15 Alcohol Wipes, 5 Butterfly Strips, 15 Iodine Wipes, 10 Bandage Strips, 2”x3”, 15 Antiseptic BZK Wipes, 10 Knuckle Bandages, 15 Clean Wipes, 3 Instant Ice Packs, 6 After Bite Wipes, 1 Stethoscope, 2 Ammonia Inhalants, 1 Lip Treatment, 1 CPR Mask, 1 EMT Shears, 7.25”, 2 Airways, 2 Stainless Steel Hemostats, 2 Tongue Depressors, 1 Pair of Tweezers, 1 Box of 100 Cotton Tips, 1 Petroleum Jelly
Here’s your link: http://www.greatlakesurvival.com/medical-rescue-kits.html
Lastly, as it will save you some emergency treatment, if you’re still of child bearing age and you will have intimate relations with someone who could get pregnant or make you pregnant, get a good supply of condoms or a cervical cup. You don’t want a pregnant woman trying to deliver a baby in a bad situation!
Transportation: If you stay in place any longer than 24 hours once a national “state of emergency” has been declared, you’re most likely going to be stuck there for at least a few weeks unless you have an alternate mode of transportation other than your car, truck, SUV or mini-van. But let’s say you decide if this scenario happens, you’re jumping in whatever you have and hitting the open road. Great! First, though, don’t count on too many gas stations being open, or if they are, expect very, very high prices. A good “rule of thumb” is to quadruple the prices you see today and expect to pay that amount, in cash, per gallon! With prices hovering within range of $2.50 a gallon today, and projected to climb, figure $10 to $15 a gallon or more and for a 20 gallon tank, you need to have $300 (to be on the safe side) or more in cash on you to fill your tank once! If the gas station takes plastic, all the better! (Tip: When paying, don’t pull your wad out where others can see it. Nothing might happen immediately, but you may be followed from the gas station.) The bottom line is that you need to expect that gas will be very expensive and not on every street corner. It will most likely be ‘rationed’ as well, as the unprepared howl about ‘hoarding’ and ‘price gouging.’ You can mitigate your fuel needs by doing a couple things: First, never, and I mean never, allow your tank to get below half full! This gives you a 200 mile buffer (most vehicles get 400 miles on an average tank of gas) so that if you couldn’t refuel at all, you can at least get to a more survivable area. Keeping your tank half full also decreases the amount of cash you need just for fuel by 50% from $200 to $100 or more. The rest of your cash can be used for barter or purchasing necessities you find along the way (like more ammo or food). Second, consider the purchase of at least three 5 gallon gas cans (make sure the nozzle fits an unleaded gas coupling in modern vehicles), fill them up, and treat them with ‘Sta-bil’ gas stabilizer (the blue stuff). This will make sure the gas stays “fresh” for quite some time. Then, if nothing bad happens, cycle the gas through your lawn mower or other small engine that always seem to be out!
Some folks have opted for the All-American ATV or “Four Wheeler” that can take one to two passengers and all your gear. A major advantage to these little transports is that they do not need roads. They can also ford many streams and rivers of 3 feet or less in depth. The problem with these machines, while fun as well as useful in certain applications, is that they are terrible on gas mileage, and you can hear them coming for a long, long way unless the owners have spent the money necessary on buying certain after-market mufflers that reduce their signature to almost that of a car. Additionally, you have to have cash for refueling and plan to carry one five gallon fuel can on the machine as well to give you twice the range.
Lastly, map out a route that doesn’t take major roads like the interstate out of your area. Secondary and surface streets are the way to go. After you map it, drive it. A few times. Find out what areas are good, what are bad, and make route adjustments so you’ll have the most trouble free route out of your location to your “hidey hole”.
So, what happens if you can’t get out in your vehicle or you run out of gas? That ever present old stand-by, ‘shanks mare’, comes into play. You’ll have to walk and pack your goods. This eventuality means that you’ll need to be fit enough to walk for some miles with about 50 or more pounds on your back! (A good pack to start with is the large ALICE frame pack, that can be found on eBay. Don’t get the Chinese knock off! The frame is famous for breaking. A good example will cost about
$50 $80 or so before shipping; so figure $100. Be picky. Sure, there are other more modern packs available. Whatever you decide on for your pack, make sure it’s in an earthtone color and fits. Our staff here uses the newer USMC FILBE, but it’s somewhat expensive, as other more ‘tacticool’ packs. Function is key here. I used a large ALICE for 18 years and didn’t have any major problems.) Impossible you say?? Nope. Not at all. Start your fitness upgrade today. After you read this, go out and walk around the block. Do one sit up. Do one push up. There. Not so hard. Tomorrow do the same thing and the day after, walk a little further and do two sit ups and two push ups. Repeat until you’re doing a couple sets of sit ups and push ups with 25 repetitions and walking 3 miles fast! This goal can easily be accomplished in 10 weeks! Most likely, if you’re “average”, you can do it in 5 weeks, and then have the bonus of getting in even better shape by Inauguration day! Walking in the cold, by the way, is good for you! Remember, PT is God’s gift to those who wish to extend their lives.
If you have to go on foot, you need to make sure you have very good boots or shoes (do not skimp on your footwear!), maps, and a compass (and know how to use it). There are “how to” sites all over the internet on this subject – a five minute search will bring up a nice variety. There are also schools for those who like having someone show them personally. Here’s one: https://defensivetraininggroup.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/essential-skills-land-navigation-1-2-2425-april-2015/
I do not recommend a GPS because it can be used to fix your position by an aggressor and the satellites all GPS units use will, in our little scenario, have an error margin of up to 100 meters programmed into them for civilians to make them useless. You’ll also need batteries (lots of them and the weight adds up and the supply is finite!). You see, an aggressive government like the fictional one in our scenario will not want you to have the same accuracy in navigating as it does. The best compass in my experience is the USGI compass, now made by Cammenga. It’s about $80 on average, but it’s worth every penny! You can get yours here: http://www.greatlakesurvival.com/navigation-products.html
If you can only afford one, fine. Just take care of it. If you have a chance to get two, do it! There’s an only rule you need to try to follow: “Two is one and one is none”. Sure, redundancy is repetitive (pun intended), but it’s better to have a spare and not need it than need a spare really bad and not have it. Having a couple people trained on the compass makes sense, too, because the two can check each other when making determinations.
You can also get a base plate compass with a Declination adjustment built right in that will help you a lot! The one we use is a Suunto MC2. Ebay and Amazon has them for about $50 or so. We use and teach both at DTG. Redundancy is a goodness thing.
The one advantaged the Suunto has over the USGI Lensatic is that the declination adjustment allows you to measure azimuths on a grid map and skip the conversion process from grid to magnetic and magnetic to grid when performing plots (more on that when you take our Land Nav course). An example of something else you can do is to use a map similar to the one below as a guide. It’s not a road map. It’s the Rand McNally rail road map of Michigan. All those tracks are still out there. Some have been made into “rails to trails” venues, but the track beds are still there and can be used for our purposes. You can parallel these routes while staying off main roads and out of sight and still get to where you’re going. Your object in the next ten weeks is to choose a primary and an alternate route and go for a ride or two to get a mental picture of the area you might have to traverse on foot. While you’re at it, choose some spots you could ‘hole up’ for a night or two that wouldn’t be readily noticed or attractive to others. Make sure they’re concealed and far enough away from the major commercial route (tracks or highways) so that your noise can’t be heard your movement won’t be picked up by casual observance. Mark them down on your map with just a ‘tick’ mark or two. These spots could be your temporary shelter in storms or when you needed to stay still and rest.
Shelter & Field Gear: You’re going to need some things here. And not a tent, either. Tents are not so hot because they blind you to what’s outside, they keep condensation inside them, and they’re not super-fast to take down. From experience in all seasons, to include deep cold winter, I recommend a simple tarp/poncho shelter. There are many types out there from the surplus USMC ‘field tarp’, which is great for one or two people without their packs, or the ‘Noah’s Tarp’ that has all sorts of loops sewn in that can take 3 people with their packs and keep them out of the rain and wind. Again, you get what you pay for, so don’t fall prey to shrewd salesmanship. ‘General Purpose’ is key, and that’s another reason I recommend the tarp system. You’ll need some 550 cord and you’ll have to learn a few knots, like the bowline and the trucker’s hitch, but it’ll be well worth it.
Now that you’ve got something to keep the wind off of you, to stay warm, you need insulation. And, in that light, the best insulation you can get is to make sure you get a “30 below” sleeping bag for each person that will keep you warm in the winter and in summer, you can lay on top of it. You can spend as much as you want on a sleeping bag or sleeping bag system. Just remember “Caveat Emptor” – Buyer Beware! You get what you pay for! A good, well-priced bag is from Wiggy’s. It’s their “Superlight” bag and costs as little as $130 when on sale. You may also want to get a FTRSS overbag for an additional $130 and have a -40 below bag system. Add a poncho liner and poncho for hot summer days or cool fall evenings. This will cost about $45 for a set. So, for about $300 per person, you’ve got all 4 seasons covered, and can stay warm in the coldest places. Wiggy’s bags, by the way, are used exclusively by my instructor staff when participating or teaching survival classes. We’ve learned from experience how good they are. Wiggy’s can be found here: www.wiggys.com You can also get your Wiggy’s bag from http://www.greatlakesurvival.com while you’re getting your water purification equipment.
Well, let’s pause and see how much we’ve committed financially here:
At the most, getting all high-end gear, you’ve committed about $4,000 and at the least, about $2,000 on the low end for a weapon, ammo, water purification and storage, fuel costs, food, shelter, and a very small amount of field gear.
Between $200 and $400 a week for 10 weeks to spend on making sure you survive and thrive. People spend more than that on junk food, cable and beer these days. Learning to take care of yourself and your loved ones is not expensive or difficult – all it takes is discipline. Only you can provide that.
Speaking of “surviving and thriving”, there’s one written source you need to have to read for the 10 week period. It’s called, “Six Ways in and Twelve Ways Out” It’s a compilation of US Ranger knowledge on how to make it in all sorts of scenarios. You can get it for $15 from http://www.usrsog.org/manu.htm post paid. Best book you can get on the subject!
Buy it. Read it. Apply it. You’ll be glad you did. Other field gear you’re going to need is a good knife. A plain old USMC KaBar with a 7 inch blade is about the best you can get for the money. Sure, you can get a good Cold Steel knife or something else that you spend lots of money on, but the problem is if they’re more expensive than the KaBar and don’t have that many advantages over the KaBar for the price, why spend the money, especially with only 10 weeks to prepare? Remember to stick to the basics! KaBar knives can be had all over the internet from between $40 to $50. It will not let you down. Remember this about a large bladed knife: It can do everything a smaller knife can do reasonably well, but a smaller knife can’t do a lot of the things a larger blade can do. Like when you need to hack branches when building shelters, or need to butcher a deer, prepare a meal, etc. The other edged weapon/tool you’re going to want and need is a tomahawk. It’s a great tool to make your life more bearable and a formidable weapon (provided you have taken the time to learn to use it, which can only be done effectively by being taught), both physically and psychologically. You’ll want your hawk to have a hardened hammer and blade which is superb for making cooking tools, stakes, etc. The one I recommend is the Cold Steel “Pipe Hawk” which you can get for less that $50 if you look. It’s light, strong, and takes an edge very well. If you decide you want to add one to your gear, it’s one of those ‘got everything else, so I can get this now’ and if you do, get yours here: http://www.greatlakesurvival.com/survival-tomahawks.html
Other very important field gear and equipment are: Toilet paper (2 rolls per person minimum, 3 for females), a “spork” (spoon/fork hybrid) made out of aluminum (against breakage), a “utility pot” (can be a canteen cup), 4 tooth brushes per person with the handle cut in half (weight/space reduction), parachute cord (at least 200 feet), a fire starting device (BIC type lighter as well as sparking device and the knowledge on how to use it) .
You will also want to consider a FRS/GMRS type walkie-talkie, spare batteries, flash lights (small LED are best), spare batteries and some spare batteries. Get the point? You’re going to need some batteries.
For carrying this gear on your person, you’ll probably want a Load Bearing Vest or harness. You can pick these up cheap on the internet. We prefer the “H” harness and a ‘battle belt’, but each person has their own preferences. Some like vests; others more exotic set ups. Below is similar to what we prefer. Sure, it’s old school, but it’s inexpensive, and it works. Like there’s no tomorrow. Remember, this is to get set up quickly making every dollar count.
As for clothing, make sure it’s not bright and at least doesn’t clash with your surroundings. If you’re going to be moving through or staying in urban areas, you don’t want the latest camouflage pattern; if you’re moving through or staying in a rural area, you definitely want some surplus GI camouflage uniforms (with all insignia removed) or better yet, Coyote Brown or Grey pants and jackets. You can find old woodland BDU uniforms very cheaply at garage sales, on the internet, and so forth.
Make sure you have weather appropriate clothing as well: Cold weather boots, socks, underwear, etc. Frostbite can kill you.
These are most of the items you’d most likely need to survive a scenario from an equipment perspective. But what about the “people” angle? Contrary to what some think, no man is an island and you can’t do it all by yourself.
You need support – a team member, someone to watch your back. Oh sure, some folks have large families and can delegate those tasks, but many, many others, just have themselves or a spouse/significant other. And, usually, that spouse/significant other is not trained nor has the discipline to handle the more arduous, but very mundane tasks required.
So, what do you do then? You get yourself a “buddy”. You can do that in the 10 week time period handily. Start checking out your friends. See which ones seem to be alarmed with what’s going on as you are. Then, find a time to speak with them alone and “test the waters”. If they agree and want to do something, give them a copy of this and get to work.
While getting your equipment and supplies together, draft and develop your plan. Will you:
Once you have your buddy and you begin to build trust between you and learn each other’s (both individually and group) likes, dislikes, habits and so forth, you can still find another “buddy team” to partner with. That gives you a group from 8 to 24 or so, depending on family size. The logistical requirements are more complex, but if each handles his own family/team, it’s not so overwhelming. At the same time, you and your buddy(s) need to start studying. If the internet is still up, go to Scribd and download and read this book, “A Failure of Civility”. Go to Amazon.com and get a copy of Dr. Joseph P. Martino’s book, “Resistance to Tyranny”. Start here at our blog and read everything on training, basic skills, and so forth. That ought to keep you busy for the entire 10 weeks, and then, later, if you have the money and things haven’t imploded, get yourself to a good school for face to face training. All of the blogs or sites listed above either offer training or can direct you to a reputable one, depending on your needs. Do your research and focus on schools that are teaching survival skills, not just warfighting.
The next issue is leadership. Teams just won’t work as a committee. All your members will have input, sure, but someone has to make the hard decisions. This may be the most complex issue you need to solve: who will you or your little band trust to make those hard decisions, and will the group follow that person? It’s not about popularity, either. It’s about ability and reason. The best case scenario for you would be to have someone in your group who’s an experienced leader either in business or prior military (not just being in, but being in and being a leader!) which will provide you a foundation of discipline for your chosen leader. The leader has to be secure enough to listen to others, humble enough to know others may have a great idea, selfless enough to put the group before his own needs (everyone always gets fed and watered before the leader), and tough enough to make the decisions that won’t be popular sometimes. Admittedly, a tall order, but it has to be done. Your leadership discussions may cause one or two to fall out of the group. That’s going to happen. If it does, let them leave with their self-respect. Don’t hurt their pride or “throw them out”. That’d be the worst thing you could do! Remember, we’re talking about a whole new paradigm here: Martial Law. If someone leaves and goes away with their pride intact and holds no hard feelings, they won’t be so likely to turn you in to the “new” authorities. They just might, however, if they have a chip on their shoulder or want to “pay you back” for some slight, real or imagined. Be conscious of this group dynamic! Now a word on being a good follower: As your leader builds trust and earns your respect, you are obligated to be a good follower. Don’t get involved in any back-biting, sabotaging, or otherwise dysfunctional group behavior. This is for real, and bullshit adolescent games will only get you killed. Do as you said you would do; do as you’re asked, and always, to the very best of your ability.
Networking follows: If the net is still up, find others close by or in the area you are moving to (if you can) that feel as you do, at least on the face of it. Start a dialog and listen carefully! Be nice! Help them do things. Be a good neighbor. Don’t get involved in chest thumping or penis measuring contests. They should exhibit about the same anxiousness you have in networking. If they’re too open and promise the moon for nothing in return or if they’re so closed they accuse you of being in the “enemy” camp, you don’t want anything to do with them. Look elsewhere. Common sense and values are key here.
Finally, develop your “line in the sand”. This is that one thing that will cause you to execute your plan. An example would be the actual deployment of foreign or UN troops anywhere in the United States. That action is an obvious declaration that the compact of the Unanimous Declaration and the Constitution of the United States has been discarded; once discarded, the Rule of Law is completely dead and buried.
So, as I said earlier, this is a “quick and dirty” discussion on how to plan and what to do in the 10 weeks between now and the middle of May. How it comes out, we’ll all know soon enough, I guess.
Timeline wise, here’s an outline that may help:
Week 1: Inventory, evaluate and prioritize equipment needs; evaluate available funds; begin fitness program.
Week 2: Incorporate weapon familiarity training into schedule; gather fiscal resources and begin purchases.
Week 3: Dry fire; look for “buddy”; evaluate friends on like-minded concerns; begin to educate your family/spouse/significant other.
Week 4: Help “buddy” start preparations; continue equipment gathering. Begin training immediate family members.
Week 5: Determine “GOOD” location (if any), map route, and do initial route familiarization trip. Modify route as actual conditions warrant.
Week 6: Determine “line in the sand”; if you can, zero your rifle and get range time. If not, continue practice with dry fire.
Week 7: Look for like-minded people in GOOD location and at home. Network.
Week 8: Pack newly gathered equipment into GOOD kits and locate near transport.
Week 9: Continue preparations; family/network education & planning.
Week 10: Dress rehearsal; clean weapons, check equipment, food, etc. Continue to increase fitness level, refine preparations, seek more training.
By the time you’re through the 10 week plan, the general election will have occurred, and you’ll be able to use the ensuing time between now and January, when the new president is sworn in, to further your preps and training.
Lastly, remember, you’re adapting a new way of life here. Not some sort of paranoiac, delusional “everyone’s out to get me” mindset, but one of careful evaluation of what is and what can occur, and a solemn determination to keep freedom alive. Because this is just the beginning-once all the people in the country doing this get their “sea legs”, the long journey undertaken to reclaim our freedoms and reign in a government removed from the Constitution has just begun.
Timely re-post, 3rd installment.
Putting it all together, when you’re making up your ‘Get Home Kit’, it will most likely be made up from several components that include clothing, sustainment, and personal defense items. It most certainly won’t fit into one small or medium day pack, especially when the weather turns colder. Right now in my vehicle, I have a small storage container that contains the following:
The pack contains all other items, so when I grab it, I don’t have to think about it. I stow it next to the storage container and I’m off. I can add or delete any other items I might deem necessary for a single trip as circumstances warrant. For example, if I’m traveling to or through heavy snow country or winter storms, I may include snow shoes, trekking poles, heavier gloves, insulated pants, water purifier, utility pot, a small stove (the 120 hour emergency candle doubles as a stove), comfort foods, small shovel, hatchet, etc.
Whatever you put together, as another professional, JC Dodge over at Mason Dixon Tactical, is wont to say, “ounces make pounds and pounds make pain,” so make sure you can, in fact, carry it. Over-packing is a serious drawback, and as such, let your decisions be based on NEED v. WANT balanced against your environment and trip plans. Wirecutter provides a good explanation of what his kit includes, here.
Your fitness level is directly related to your probability of making the trip home on foot. Remember that, and take appropriate measures. Don’t plan on being able to drive, though every mile put behind you in your vehicle helps immeasurably in your effort to get home to protect your ‘precious cargo’. Discipline in your fitness regimen will save you from regret during the ‘real thing’ when you’re trying to get home and just don’t have what it takes.
Keep the primary objective in mind at all times: GET HOME WITHOUT INJURY IN ORDER TO PROTECT PRECIOUS CARGO. Only pack and carry what you actually need to achieve that objective. And during the trip, every thing you do should be guided by that objective as well.
Timely re-post, installment 2.
Using the building block concept, we laid the foundation of the, ‘Get Home’ kit with clothing necessarily kept in your vehicle against the time you may have to get home in SHTF circumstances. You can read that here. It’s essential to understand that the clothes you wear to work or to a gathering for function might not be suited to a long walk or being in the elements overnight, and, being such a liability, could, in fact, be the factor that defeats you in your attempt to get home to your ‘precious cargo’.
The next item to consider is your personal protection. Your choices in today’s market are limitless; your choices when compared against the scenario you’re preparing for are not. The environment you’re going to operate in has a great deal to do with what you will carry.
First, understand the entire purpose is defensive in nature; not offensive. Do not make the error of engaging in any ‘wargaming’ that includes you being fired on and ‘taking it to them’ from whatever ‘walking dead’ or other show you may have seen. Your primary mission is to get from wherever you are when SHTF happens to your home with no hostile engagement whatsoever if you can help it. Add to that the weight factor. Whatever you choose can’t be so heavy that it becomes a burden to you because your fitness level is not what it should be, and unless you have a regular PT routine that includes strength and stamina exercises as well as long walks with heavy packs, you’re not in the shape you should be. You may want to get started on that……today.
Now that we know we are going to carry a defensive weapon, it will most likely be a pistol. The ‘why’ is simple: AR’s, AK’s, shotguns, or whatever don’t fit the bill because of their typical alarm raising capability when seen by people in their residential areas. They possess this capability because they’re not very concealable and when someone sees you peacefully walking toward where they are and identifies that you have one of these visible (especially if you’re carrying it in a ‘patrol carry’ position), they will raise an alarm, and if S has HTF, some neighbor or mutant biker zombie might engage you with their AR, AK, or shotgun, which will most likely significantly delay or defeat you in your primary mission to get home, as there will most likely be only one of you and unknown numbers of them. Maybe not, but in any event, you’re stacking tolerances against getting home if you’re carrying it openly. “Ah,” but you say, “I can break it down in my back pack!” Absolutely – if you choose to do that, it could come in handy in certain emergency conditions where you have no way to avoid a really bad situation. You’re still going to have a pistol, though, for ‘immediate needs’, right? Getting to your broken down AR, AK, or shotgun will require you to put it together and load it, which can take precious seconds if you’re being attacked, and if you haven’t sought and obtained a secured, covered position in this scenario. Remember, the bottom line here is that your primary and best defensive weapon for a Get Home Bag will be a pistol. If you have a carbine or shotgun in your pack, it’s going to have to be, by necessity, broken down and undelployable for immediate needs. Your pistol can be on you and concealed, ready to deploy in a second. Carry as many loaded mags as you deem prudent. Depending on what you carry, 5 to 9 is more than enough, especially if you select a double stack capable pistol that has 13 to 17 rounds in each mag. Make sure you have a good holster for the pistol, too. Make sure that you wear and practice with your pistol and holster regularly (goes without saying, right?).
Next up, as it is not total societal break down….today….and we are still subjected to laws we may not agree with, ensure that you get appropriate licensing to carry your chosen pistol. (NOTE: This post is not about the constitutionality of such laws; so don’t go off on a tangent.) It is prudent to get this done. Many law enforcement types may help you in one way or another or minimally let you pass in any semi-SHTF scenario if you are a CPL (Concealed Pistol License) holder. They know you’ve had a background check and are most likely not a criminal type. Circling back to the AR, AK, and Shotgun paragraph, what reaction do you think ‘Officer Friendly’ is going to have in the same scenario with you walking down the street with what most consider an offensive weapon displayed (open carry laws notwithstanding; we’re talking about SHTF scenarios here)? Probably not the same as your contact when you politely inform him or her (if that is legally required) that you are licensed and carrying and trying to get home. Always keep in mind the primary objective: Get home to your precious cargo intact.
Recommendations? Glock 17 or 19 and 5 mags with 2 mags on your belt and 2 mags in your pack. Your mileage may vary. Also, this is not an argument for or against a particular caliber or pistol. Carry what you will. Personally, I’m a 1911 guy. Been shooting one for half my life. However, understanding that under stress I will not rise to the occassion but sink to the level of my current training and physical abilities, I chose the Glock because it’s idiot proof, accurate, can reacquire a target more quickly (for me), and with 124gr JHP’s, provides enough ‘fire power’ to meet or exceed my expectations of performance. Mag wise you may carry more or less; remember it’s your pack and you will determine what you do.
Knives are next. You’ll want omething that can take a beating and keep an edge. It will be your primary tool for helping you weather a storm or setting up a place to rest (unless you find a structure that is somewhat safe to stay in) by making a shelter. The most useful folder for this kind of kit is a multi-tool. Typically, they have two blades and an assortment of tools. You might also want a simple folding knife as a back up. Recommendations? Either a Gerber or Leatherman Wave or similar. Look on eBay. You can find used ones for very reasonable prices. You’re after function, not looks on this. For the folder, the CRKT spring-assisted are very nice; your local laws (again, we’re not debating which laws are good here) will govern what you can carry with you. We like any knife that can open with one hand for emergency use (say, helping cut someone out of a seat belt after a car crash or something similar). As always, whatever you choose, get the best you can afford balanced against the robustness of the product.
First Aid naturally follows the subject of defensive tools. An Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) focused on cuts, sprains, blister management, and minor pain relief (aspirin/tylenol) with a tourniquet thrown in for severe emergencies is essential. If you’ve got small packets of Celox, great. You can certainly take your S has REALLY HTF IFAK with chest seals, et al, just make sure you’ve got what you will most likely need on your trek home. Again, your mission is to get home in one piece, not engage barbarian hordes.
Next is navigation. You’ll need a couple tools. First up is a road map. The most recent road map of the area you may be traversing either on vehicle or on foot. In some states, you can write the Department of Transportation and get one free, like in my state, Michigan. Here’s the link if you’re interested. If absolutely necessary, you could follow the roads by ‘hand railing’ (not walking on them but paralleling them) if you didn’t have a compass or a sense of direction. This is much easier if you’re trained in land navigation and terrain association (we’ve got a class on that coming up in the March/April time frame, stay tuned for details.) In addition to the map, a compass can certainly help you determine direction if you become disoriented due to inclement weather or darkness if you’re traveling at night (which is not a bad idea, but more on that later). The compass doesn’t have to be a top of the line instrument, either. Something that will give you general directions will suffice, like the Suunto wrist compass or something similar. Just make sure it’s in your pack right next to your map. An additional ‘nice to have’ item would be a mechanical pencil (if it’s really cold out, the ink pen you choose might not work) with a small note pad.
Shelter is next on the hit list. A light tarp and 50 feet of 550 cord ought to be included, along with an ’emergency blanket’ (we like the ‘casualty’ blankets that are OD on side and silver on the other due to their more robust construction) to keep warm if you have to stay over night or dry out from a wet or cold storm (snow, freezing rain, rain).
Fire Starters. A ‘fire steel’ or ferro rod with a striker and some easily lit tinder (cotton balls soaked in vaseline, drier lint, etc). You could, if you didn’t mind the weight, add in a 120 hour emergency candle (I and my wife keep one in each of our vehicles in case we end up in a snow bank somewhere). It’s not that heavy, but as a friend of mine is want to say, “Ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain…” when it comes to carrying a load. We like the ‘Fire Steel’ brand itself because of their construction and ease of use when hands are cold.
Food. 30 to 35 gram protein meal replacement bars. At least 4. That’s a couple days. Light, no muss, no fuss, done.
Water. This can be tricky in the winter time, as freezing becomes an issue. I keep 4 bottles near a heating vent in the vehicle so that whenever I’m on the road, they’re at least liquid while I wait for help or start out on my trek home. I change the water out every 6 months at the latest.
Toilet paper. Have a roll. ‘Nuff said.
The pack it all goes in. First, don’t use a ‘tactical’ camouflaged, MOLLE with a lot of different pouches hanging from it. You don’t want to draw attention or look like anyone special that might have something worth taking. Go buy a used, serviceable, ugly pack that’s not too big. Maybe what we call a 3 day or ‘assault’ style pack. In any event, get an earth tone or a grey or something. Garage sales or flea markets are a great source for a pack that you’re not going to carry much, and will spend most of the time in your vehicle waiting to be used. Right now I’m using a sling bag that I received as a present. It has too many MOLLE straps on it for my taste, but it’s black and I have nothing on the outside of the pack. It also looks like a small overnight bag when in my vehicle, so it doesn’t draw a lot of attention.
Lastly, remember weight considerations. You’re going to carry this all the way home. A good idea is to pack it up and take some practice walks in the clothes you would wear for varying distances. You’ll have a much better idea of what you need to do with your pack and contents and will get in better physical condition at the same time. Win-Win!
Mike Garand dropped us a note and the book is for sale again. $53 w/free shipping. See it here.
This is the best reference available to put a plan together for protecting your local neighborhood. Get it while you can.
Watch this again.
This dramatization promises to be a great teaching video that demonstrates various survival techniques that will work. Note the size of the ruck sack, personal and equipment camouflage, and how he moves. If one were moving from Point A to Point B (the safer location), one might use some of the techniques demonstrated. Last note: PT…can’t carry a full ruck (ammo, food, water, etc), rifle, web gear without being in shape.
A good friend posted this awesome video that shows one type of training scenario you can run that involves multiple skills you should be practicing if you are truly a Survivalist. Realistic scenario based planning, training, and preps (not the fantastical BS so many do because it makes them feel like they’re in the military) is what you should be doing. Is this scenario possible? Sure, especially in Alaska. Is it probable? No clue. We don’t have a Damned crystal ball, so it’s train for the worst and hardest to survive scenario, and the rest are easier.
American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE
Next up from shelters is what we sleep in. Up front, know this is entirely temperature range dependent. What works where I am in summer may be way too much for you if you’re, say, in central Texas or central Utah. But put it on your checklist: A good, quality, sleeping bag. Or at least several good, quality components that can make up a ‘taco’ (improvised sleeping bag). If going the commercially manufactured way, the one we recommend is the Wiggy’s FTRS system. Wiggy’s bags actually repel water away from the fibers and provide more real warmth due to the insulation used than similarly or higher priced bags. Here’s a link to Wiggy’s that explains how and why it works so well. His bags are extremely durable, and get better when they’re laundered. An added benefit is that he runs specials on a routine basis if you’re saving your pennies. His bags also come with a pretty robust stuff sack, which, after a liberal application of Camp Dry or other waterproofing spray, will keep your bag nice and dry, especially if you have it stored inside your ruck. Here’s an anecdotal example of a young man purposely soaking his Wiggy’s bag and sleeping in it in winter:
We use the FTRSS over bag for 2 to 3 seasons (it’s good down to +35) backed up with a, “Sea to Summit Reactor Extreme Thermolite Liner.” Until we actually break down and load the main bag, too, we might throw in a ‘woobie’ (aka, ‘poncho liner’). I’ve been asked why don’t I just use the main bag, and the answer is simple: Layering. In summer I might not use anything but my woobie, or if it’s an unusually cold summer night, I might throw on the Sea to Summit and woobie. I like to have the option. About mid-September though, the main bag goes in the ruck. DIGRESSION WARNING: Another nice thing about Wiggy’s bags is that they can be compressed in the stuff sack or your ruck indefinitely and not ruin the pile (meaning the cold rating). It’s all in the fiber used. That means you can keep your ruck loaded up for use most of the time (personally, I take mine apart a couple times a year to inspect for damage and let the sleeping bag air out (my old school habit). I walk with my ruck already packed regularly, so there’s a better chance of something being out of whack. Deep winter is a subject for its own post, so it won’t be covered here, except to say that you don’t want to have to relocate in winter if at all possible. Make sure you’ve got yourself into the best place you can be with plenty of food, water, and warmth. You don’t want to try to spend the winter in something like this….even from just a hygiene perspective, let alone a comfort and day to day living perspective. Sure…it can be done, but it’s a last resort. Which, by the way, you need to be trained in and practice (consistent pattern here, I know….training, practice, fitness, training, practice, fitness) regularly as these skills are all perishable to one extent or the other. End of digression.
If you’re going the quality component method, there are a great many good products out there. It’s your choice. Something that will help you make a choice is to get some good training in survival, which always includes learning about improvised shelters and insulation. And trust me, staying warm is all about the insulation…with a little bit of wind consciousness thrown in. I’ve made and slept in parachute panel sleeping bags with natural insulation and stayed warm enough to sleep, but remember, if this is your choice, you’re going to spend a LOT of time gathering your insulation material, and if everything’s already wet, you’re SOL for that type of set up. To keep dry if it gets wet after you’re in the bag/shelter, you need a couple of FEET of insulation, give or take, with the rule of thumb being MORE is better when trying to stay warm and dry. Check this example out:
That’s why I prefer the commercially available bags designed to keep me warm and dry. Less time needs to be spent achieving resting state. And know that time spent equates to energy expended, and as you’re moving a good distance to your ‘hidey hole’ or ‘fall back’ or ‘retreat’ or…whatever you’re calling it, there is a chance that you may exhaust yourself, depending on your fitness level, distance, and the quality of food and water you have available to you while you’re en route. A great dramatization of someone ‘evading’ is here. Only the first installment is available currently, but as the presenter is vouched for by someone I trust implicitly, and have known of him for some years now, I suspect that it will stay realistic and demonstrate various skills and scenarios you could possibly face while employing your SHTF kit.
As far as what we’ve put together so far, we’re talking quality equipment (what priority are you putting on your life?) which should be the best you can afford. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s not a ‘knock off’ and can do what it advertises, including anything you see here. If you have a problem with the quality of anything we’ve recommended, please, by all means, let us know, because A: we have no interest in the products other than they work and we own them, and B: we will always go to a superior product, test it, and then either talk about it…or not, depending on the outcome.
So, we’ve got boots, socks, packs, hydration, food, hygiene, shelter, and sleeping covered. Next installment we’ll delve into basic clothing. Hint: It ain’t all about the latest and greatest camouflage pattern adopted by our armed forces, either.
Here we are at shelters already. I’m going to cut to the chase and (possibly) tick off a few readers at the ‘get go.’
Forget a tent. Period. It’s too bulky, too heavy, and is not a ‘multiple use’ item. Further, when you’re inside one, you won’t have an advantage of increased warmth (without generating it by a heat source), and you’re blind. Imagine, if you will, the photo above, and you were snug in your tent, not hearing anything….until right before you unzipped the fly and looked out….to see an inquisitive bear (not necessarily a Grizzly, as pictured). Now you’ve got to do something about the bear and all the shit inside your tent from involuntary bodily functions, possibly the bear has run off from all the screams of those in the tent with you, and the ensuing ‘circular firing squad as everyone with a weapon decides to shoot/kill/scare off the intruder.
The mind boggles with the comedy of it all.
Forget the ‘one man bivy tent’ as well. It’s a cocoon. You’re trapped and blind. If you must have a waterproof covering for just yourself, then get over to Wiggy’s and get one of his waterproof sleeping bag covers. They’re on sale at 20% off right now. At least you’re not blind. And they DO work. One caveat: They are truly waterproof, which means your bag will be wet from condensation when you wake up. This isn’t so bad in deep cold, because you can air the bag and literally ‘freeze dry’ the condensation on it, and then turn the bivy bag inside out and do the same. Warm weather requires a bit more airing out to dry it.
So, what’s the ideal SHTF shelter? In the simplest terms, a tarp shelter. It keeps the wind off (which is how you stay warm), let’s you see out at all times, at least in one, and up to 3 directions, depending on your set up, and is fairly cheap, depending on the material you choose. In deep winter with good snow cover, I’ve used a simple 6X8′ white tarp and had my shelter disappear from observation (camouflage is always a good thing). The drawback is that it’s noisy setting up and taking down, because the tarp is a heavy plastic and makes noise when being folded, except in really warm weather. Again, it’s all about the quality and how much you can and how much you choose to spend.
Here’s what I currently use and recommend:
I got mine here though I don’t know if they still stock it or have replaced it with something similar. I do know that I’ve used mine in all 4 seasons and it’s worked out very, very well. Room enough to configure as I need it for whatever I’m training for and I can fit me and 2 other people and rucks inside (tightly, but it works). There are other good ones; this is just what I use. I did add some 24 inch long bungees to the outfit to give me some versatility in setting it up, so I know the ounces I’m adding means I have to sacrifice somewhere else. The color is basic light forest green (kind of OD) that is flat with no shine, even when it’s wet. Blends reasonably well, especially if you site your overnight location somewhere off the beaten path in as much flora and fauna as necessary. Nice sunshade in super bright/hot weather, too.
When you set up your shelter, keep in mind that you want the opening to be pointed at your primary field of observation, and you want your shelter to be sited in an area that doesn’t attract attention and won’t be noticed by anyone passing through. You’ll also want to ensure you are at least slightly elevated (drainage) and about 30 to 50 meters away from any water source. Yes, I digressed again.
What shelter tips do you have?
Next installment: Tools.
UPDATE: With the mild winter coming to a close, you need to be getting out with your pack and putting some miles under you. Don’t waste the advantage of early warmer temperatures!
A reasonable question, especially if you are thinking, “Well, no matter what happens, we can walk out of here….”
Maybe. Maybe not. It really depends on what you’re doing now, today, in relation to the following thoughts. But let’s set this up for the sake of discussion. Remember, this is not to discourage you, but to give you something to consider and measure what you can do now, today, versus what you might have in your mind that could be considered unrealistic.
If S were to HTF right now, let’s say you sheltered in place for several weeks to get yourself ready (let’s say for a minute you have what you need to take off for your ‘hidey hole’ and your SIP time was used doing ‘dress rehearsals’ with the family on doing with less and changing habits), how far are you going to be able to walk a day with very little sleep (someone’s got to stay awake at all times to make sure your family doesn’t fall prey to marauders when you’re sleeping, you know….) and diminishing calorie intake (comprised of protein, fat, and carbs)? What about water? Have those covered, do you? You know the water sources along your route and have a quality filter/purifier so you can replenish your water containers along the way? Do you know how much water you personally require when carrying a heavy load for a long distance? How much of your space is taken up by toilet paper (if you have more than one female in your family, you understand how much of this stuff they use in comparison to males)? While nice, TP is bulky, unless (another smart move) you buy a metric ton of compressed toilet paper wipes (100 pieces for less than $13!!) that you sprinkle water on. Even those take up some room.
They’re worth it, though. 2 packs weigh about 12 ounces and take up small room for the 100 individual pieces (100 times wiping one’s butt, male or female) which is one less thing that will be a major irritant, especially the first time you tell your wife, daughter or son that they need to wipe their butt with grass or leaves (let alone if they don’t know what poison ivy/oak/sumac leaves look like…don’t even want to GO there!), but I digress.
15 miles? 10? 5? 2? How far do you have to go to make it out of ‘hostile territory’? Live in a city? Have gangs? Remember, the S has HTF, and you can’t count on your local PD to keep the marauders at bay.
Some things you’re going to have to take into consideration if you think you can ‘just walk out’ without any forethought:
This could go on….and on…but I think the point is made. Yes, walking out of a troubled area post SHTF is, in fact, an option that should be explored and planned for if at all possible. However, to do it successfully you’re going to have to do some serious pre-planning and training, starting off with getting yourself in a LOT better shape. You will have to brutally assess your family, if you have one, and take steps to make sure they can pull their weight (however small that may be) and teach them various concepts such as ‘silence’ while walking out. You can hear the sweet, melodious, high pitched voices of children for a long, long way…..there’s a reason Native Americans universally taught their children from birth not to cry or make much noise. The ability to remain quiet often meant the difference between life and death.
Need training? We can help. Drop us a line at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’