Preparedness Basics – Water

Originally posted 12 May 18 on AP.

Water is the second cornerstone of all the building blocks (right behind shelter and fire) within the world of preparedness and survival, and is right next to the air we breathe in importance. Water is more important than food, because we can last longer with a good supply of water and little food than we can with little to no water and a good supply of food.

To that end, it’s important from time to time to revisit the importance of planning for the supply, purification, and amount of water needed for each person in your family or team. It’s really not that difficult to prep a good water supply that will last through most situations when remaining in place, and the purification tools available are relatively cheap on average, and only basic information is necessary to properly purify water for human consumption.

Water that’s not purified, or ‘non-potable’ water, such as captured rain water, is useful for hygiene (so long as it’s not ingested) and saves the purification agent (if only using a filter and not a purifier) used for water to be consumed. Be careful, though, in warm weather, to keep saved rain water covered to minimize parasite growth.

A good rule of thumb for storing water is to obtain several six to ten gallon water jugs with spigots, such as those used for camping (some folks like the 55 gallon plastic water drums to keep in their basements or garages, and that’s fine as far as it goes.  Remember they’re not too mobile as they weigh more than 440 pounds when full!)  They are very reasonably priced, and when determining how many to get, simply having one or two per person in the home is usually sufficient for most disaster/emergency conditions not expected to last more than a week or ten days.

When you purchase your containers, take a quarter cup of bleach, add it to the container, and then add about a quart of tap water. Shake the container so that the heavy bleach mixture gets into any small crevice for about a minute, and drain. Allow the container to dry thoroughly before adding more water for storage, and you have disinfected your container of any possible pathogen or vector larvae  (this is an old service method taught to me and we were required to do this every time we were issued different canteens or water containers.  It’s a great way to prevent illness or parasitic internal adhesion).

When you fill your containers, fill as completely as possible in order to have as little air as possible in the container. It should be understood that the person filling the containers should have disinfected their hands as well as the working area (such as a mud sink or the head of the hose or spigot) used to fill the containers. Once the water container is sealed with as little air as possible, store the water in a cool, dry, place not exposed to direct sunlight. The water will last for years. If you’re anxious about it and don’t trust the water, change it out every nine to twelve months and use the old water to water your garden or house plants or to wash the family dog. DTG experiments have included drinking water stored for well over a year with no adverse effects when treated and stored as described.

For water purification at home, I’ve opted for the Sawyer brand of water purifier in conjunction with others for non-stored/prepared water that will fulfill my personal needs when on the move.  I got mine at Great Lake Survival Company, here.  I like having a bucket that will purify over a million gallons for home emergency use.  Simple, too.  Dump the water into the bucket, and gravity feeds it through the purification element.  Everything that comes out is potable.  The kit lets you use your own bucket, too, so you can rig it any way you’d like.  I bought a food grade six gallon bucket, used the provided drill (by hand, because the plastic bucket isn’t thick), and then assembled the hose in about a minute.  Bam!  Covered at home.  And, because it stays empty, I could, if I needed to do so, take it with me in a vehicle for short term emergencies.

Some of the agents you can use to purify your water:

  • Stabilized Oxygen – This one is the most expensive, about $20 per bottle, and I keep a bottle in my ‘go bag’ and one in my water bladder case. Basically, for 100 ounces (my water bladder size), I put 128 drops in filtered water to purify.  I use the brand pictured, but there’s many out there that do as good a job.  I’ve used this with ‘wild’ water (that which is found in running streams or spring fed ponds/small lakes) after running the water through a strainer, and have never had any ill effects.  Some folks don’t like it, but it’s still a viable option.  Have a care:  It is caustic, so putting a drop or two on your tongue will burn the inside of your mouth.

  • Bleach: If using bleach to purify water, the bleach must be unscented, uncolored, with no additives whatsoever. Then, 8 drops of bleach per gallon of clear water; 16 drops of bleach for cloudy water. After adding the bleach, let it sit for 30 minutes or so.  Personally, I would wait 45 minutes, but that’s me.  I’d also add some flavor, just as I would with water purified from Water Purification Tablets like we were taught by our squad leader in days of old, but it’s not essential to do so.

  • Water Purification Tablets:  Pretty much best used when mobile or in temporary location when you might have to go mobile quickly.  The picture above is USGI, but there are plenty of commercial offerings out there.  Pros are that it does a great job on a quart or two of water, cons are that you have to let it dissolve in your canteen/water reservoir, shake it, and let it sit for at 30 minutes and it tastes really bad.   See the earlier note on adding a flavor agent.

If you want better water from your city system, or your well, you can purchase a variety of water filters/purifiers that range in price from very inexpensive to very expensive. Just as anything else, you get what you pay for, so buyer beware. Listed below are a few that DTG has experience with and recommends:

Zero Water Filters:  The Zero Water system costs under $80 for it’s gravity fed filtration system and removes all dissolved solids from the water. DTG staff use this in their homes and reports are all positive.  It does NOT remove pathogens or bacteria.  That’s where the two step process of filtering and purification comes in (along with, for me, the Sawyer Bucket System).

Berkey Water Filters: The Berkey models are on par with the Zero Water, and have a full range of gravity systems that can range into a few hundred dollars. There are also web sites that demonstrate using the Berkey filter elements to make an ‘on the cheap’ model that will work fine, however ‘rustic’ it may look in the kitchen.

Sawyer Water Purifiers:  The Sawyer systems are really good for personal use in a ruck, on a harness, or in the home.  They’ve got just about everything covered, and it’s my preferred system.  Your mileage may vary, and that’s fine – just make sure you have some purification/filtration capability!

There are many more water systems on the market, some less expensive; some unbelievably high in price; the objective is having good, potable water to see you and yours through an emergency. Planning now will ensure you have something that will become priceless in a disaster situation.

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General Purpose Knives – An Opinion

Posted at AP* on 13 Apr 19.

*Originally posted with a pic of my Wall Model 18, which offended the sensibilities of a couple readers.  Maybe the Randall will assuage their angst.

While reading this piece, keep in mind the DTG definition of ‘General Purpose’:  Does does many things very well, some things good, and only a few things poorly.

Here’s our specs for a general purpose knife:

  • Full Tang (must)
  • Blade 6 to 9 inches – 8 inches is optimum:  Longer blades can do almost everything a small blade can do, but small blades can’t do half of what large blades can do when it comes field work.
  • Blade Style – Bowie clip or Drop Point (if clip point, false edge sharpened)
  • Blade Thickness – 3/16 to 3/8 inches (1/4 inch is the ideal, steel dependent)
  • Full Hilt – Provides good protection for the user’s hand – a lot of folks don’t care for them, but they do serve a very good purpose
  • Butt – Any butt that can be used for hammering on occasion
  • Grind – Scandi or Hollow (do not recommend convex as field sharpening is ‘problematic’)
  • Brand – Your call on that, but remember you generally get what you pay for.

For the budget minded, who just can’t afford a Randall, Wall, Black Jack or Bravo series, there are the Case XX, Kabar, Camillus, and Ontario USMC Combat Knife/Bayonet on ebay.  YMMV.  If you’re one of the folks just starting out learning field craft, they’re great general purpose blades that can withstand about 99% of the use requirements training in the bush will come up with as well as the abuse new users will inflict on their knives.  I carried a Camillus version for many years on active duty, and it served me well.  Once I learned how to properly sharpen a knife, it also stayed razor sharp.  In the 80’s we had Gerber Mk II’s, but they weren’t general purpose, so I’m not going to go into them here.  I finished up my career with a ‘real’ Kabar and put it on my hunting rig after retiring.  This Kabar is now carried by my son in law, and before I gave it to him, I literally gutted and quartered a rag horn Elk with it (had no choice; but that’s another story) and a good sized river rock in he Queen’s River drainage in Idaho.  It worked, but I wouldn’t recommend it as bone saws, hatchets, and drop point hunters do the job a lot easier.  The knife performed well; the finish on the butt was marred, but the edge held through it all.  Digression complete.

My first ‘step up’ in the ‘general purpose’ category was a Blackjack reproduction Randall Model 1 , which I really liked, until I got my first Randall 1-7 about 6 years after I retired.  Economics have a lot to do with our choices of knives, which is why I had a Randall 12-9 with a 14 grind made, and gifted the Model 1 to a favored family member after a surprise bonus.  Now I carry a Randall 1-8 from time to time.  It’s a hybrid, technically speaking, as Randall describes it as a ‘product improved Bowie’ and it was designed for troops to use in combat in WWII.  The 12-9 is now with another family member.  On my ‘go to’ SHTF harness, I carry a Chris Reeve ‘Green Beret’ knife.  In my SHTF survival set up, a Wall Model #18 with a 7 inch blade.

On the ‘Green Beret’ knife, some years back, ‘Weaponsman’ (deceased 18 April 2017 – former Green Beret) who had a great blog and shared his experiences and knowledge, wrote a post on ‘Legendary Knives of SF’ and described the current issue Reeve’s made SF knife, the ‘Yarborough’ named after its designer.  Civilians and non-SF military can’t get one – only graduates of SF qualification can.  However, Reeve’s made a very similar knife for civilian/non-SF military purchase – ‘The Green Beret’ and I started saving my pennies because of the construction (bomb proof), the design (sublime, in my opinion) and materials used.  It even came with a Spec-Ops type sheath with the plastic sleeve felt lined and the keeper fitted to the knife.  I’m not a fan of hybrid plain & serrated edges, so I chose the plain edge.  My multi-tool has a fully serrated blade if I need one, but that’s my preference.  Yours may be different.  All in all, the Reeve’s ‘Green Beret’ fits DTG specs for a GP knife….and then some.  We’ll see how she works in the field one day soon.

The reason for all of the above is to illustrate that If you are looking for a general purpose knife, get the best you can afford – a GP knife is not something you want to skimp on.  Stay away from ‘specialty’ blade shapes and points, such as the tanto, dagger, or saw backed blades because they are not great designs for general use as a tool.  They’re great for what they were designed for, but not typical field work, which is why, in my own day, my unit carried at least five edged tools/weapons with us to do those things our GP knives could not do as well:

  • USGI Issue ‘Boy Scout Knife’ – A great tool for opening ‘c’ rations and other small chores.  (We also had a ‘john wayne’ or P-38 strictly for can opening, too.) The one below is a Camillus model made in 1978, about the same year I was first issued one.

  • M-7 Bayonet – Something to sharpen and carry if you didn’t have anything else; a lot of times used for opening ammo and ration cases.
  • Cammilus ‘Combat Knife’ – General purpose blade kept sharp and carried primarily for survival uses.  Took quite awhile to get an edge on it because the grind fights getting/keeping a good edge.

  • Gerber Mk I ‘Boot Knife’ – Last ditch weapon carried in a manner that allowed access from just about any position.
  • USGI E-Tool – Filed edge basically for digging in and chopping wood (if the edge was sharp enough) – team boxes always had a few medium and fine files for this purpose.
  • USGI Machete – Team tool for clearing areas to bivouac in, typically inside the perimeter.

The reason I stated five, and then listed six, is that not everyone had a boot knife, Cammilus, Machete or E-Tool.  The boot knife and Cammilus were private purchases (tacitly approved for use in the field) and the machete and E-Tool were typically ‘buddy team’ items, with each member of the buddy team carrying one.

Today, teaching survival or any skill within SUT, I typically carry a small e-tool on my ruck, a small tomahawk, a ‘GP combat knife’ on my LBE, a multi-tool, and sometimes a small folding knife as a back up.  So that’s 5…even today.  This image is from the company I purchased mine from, which, for a time, was ‘product improving the hawk by dyeing and permanently affixing the head to the shaft and wrapping the handle with US made 550 cord.  I never go to the field without it.  Makes building shelters and other ‘camp’ chores a breeze.

So, back to knives.  There’s a very important thing that must be done with your knife, once you select and purchase it – remove the factory ‘wire’ left on the blade from initial edge sharpening.  Easily done in a few strokes with a very fine stone and a very light touch.  Understand that the burr or wire, is sharp, but your blade will be sharper if you remove it.  You’ll know it’s there by rubbing your finger crosswise against the edge (it doesn’t feel ‘smooth’).  Be very careful when you do this so you don’t end up needing a suture or two.

Digression on sharpening technique:  A good way to see if you’re following the factory edge angle is to take a sharpie type pen and color a small section of the edge, maybe an inch.  Then stone it.  If you’re taking the color off evenly, you’re right on the money.  It’ll take a few strokes to do this, but it’ll pay off as you learn how to keep the knife ‘factory’ sharp by using the same edge angle to touch up the blade.  Doing this by hand is an art that has to be learned with patience and repetition.

Next, for your newly acquired GP knife, USE it for it’s intended purpose.  Carry it on your gear, whether it’s civilian hunting or SHTF kit.  Just like carrying a rifle all day and making it an extension of your body, you need to do the same thing with your knife.  One way is to use it as a camp knife when you’re out on weekend camping trips or attending classes to increase your expertise.

A caution here:  Do not abuse your knife.  Well, you can, if you can afford to buy another, or are doing it purposely to see how much it can take (all knives have their failure point), but you really don’t need to torture test a well-branded knife that has a great reputation.  An example:  A folding knife I carry from time to time in my hunting set up is a Buck 110.  Bomb proof knife.  Has a good edge and keeps it.  Great choice for a folding GP knife.  However, I don’t play ‘mumbly peg’ throwing it into the ground or a tree or otherwise abuse it.  I clean it after I come out of the field (just like a rifle/pistol), make sure it gets a drop or two of lubrication after being out in wet weather or if it gets submerged for one reason or another.  It’s a flat-good knife that I help stay that way.

So, there you have it.  General Purpose knives – specs, and a bit more.

Feel free to leave a comment on your choice of a GP knife and why you chose it.

 

Back Home – Posting to Resume Most Ricky Tick!

DTG ruck

Well folks, I had a great year over at American Partisan; I wrote 43 posts on various topics averaging a post every 10 days or so.  The material DTG provided was pretty steady.

Like I said, American Partisan was a great place to be and a terrific opportunity, but after a year, I decided to come back to my own place.

I wish all the crew over at AP well, and from time to time, you may see a link to articles posted there that I find informative, and you might see them linking to articles here.

Basically, I just finished a nice year long walkabout with some great people, and am really glad to be back at my primary base of operations.

Tell your friends!

In the mean time, I’m throwing my ruck on and going for a nice long walk….

PSA: “They’re Coming for Your Guns!” is NOT Paranoia When it’s TRUE!

From the ‘Free Thought Project‘ via Wirecutter.

Ron Paul: Republicans, Democrats Teaming Up for Federal Gun Confiscation Bill

A source inside the US Senate has reported that Republicans and Democrats are teaming up and using the recent tragedy in Texas as the impetus to push through a massive federal gun control bill.

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In an email Tuesday night, former Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul released an ominous statement claiming that a source they have in the Senate revealed Democrats are teaming up with Republicans to push through a massive gun control bill.

According to their source, as Paul explained, “Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are teaming up with Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to ram through one of the worst nationwide gun confiscation schemes ever devised.”

The gun confiscation bill, according to Paul, is designed to disarm Americans without any due process. The senators are using the recent tragic shooting in Texas as the impetus behind the law—in spite of the fact that this law would not have prevented the shooting at all.

As the Free Thought Project has previously reported, some states have already begun implementing laws like this one. Using mass shootings as a their ammunition, states have enacted “Red Flag” or “Risk Protection” laws which allow police to confiscate a person’s weapon before they are ever given a chance to defend themselves.e two men were suspected of committing a crime, nor had they committed a crime.

Under the fifth and fourteenth amendments, due process clauses are in place to act as a safeguard from arbitrary denial of life, liberty, or property by the government outside the sanction of law. What’s more, neither of the men were granted their sixth amendment rights to be confronted with the witnesses against them. In both cases, simple orders—under new laws—were issued, arguably arbitrarily, which stripped these two men of their property.

In spite of what officials and the media claim, when a person is stripped of their constitutional rights, albeit temporarily, without being given the chance to make their own case based on what can be entirely arbitrary accusations, this is the removal of due process.

As Ron Paul explains, this removal of due process could soon be a federal law.

Under so-called “Red Flag” or “Risk Protection” Orders, anti-gun family members, neighbors, or associates could have your guns taken away based on mere accusations without any real due process or trial.

In secret court proceedings, where only your accuser is present, judges could determine that you pose a “significant danger” to someone, including yourself.

Imagine your surprise when a heavily armed SWAT Team arrives to seize your lawfully owned firearms.

It would then cost you tens of thousands of dollars in court costs and weeks or even months to try and convince the court they made a mistake.

To be clear, no one here is advocating for people determined to be mentally unfit to be able to possess firearms. However, they need to be determined to be mentally unfit before they lose their rights.

To those who may be in favor of such laws, consider the following: There is no way to stop an estranged spouse from calling police repeatedly and telling them their ex is threatening to cause harm to others. While the man in Florida had his guns taken for being psychologically unfit, the man in Seattle simply open-carried a pistol and looked out of windows and his guns were taken because his neighbors thought it was strange.

Anyone, any time, now has the ability to claim someone else is a threat and have police take their guns. One does not need to delve into the multiple ‘what if’ scenarios to see what sort of ominous implications arise from such a practice. What’s more, police in some states now have the power to deem you a threat at any time and legally disarm you—due process be damned.

This is the exact scenario that Donald Trump advocated for in February.

As Ron Paul explains, this is entirely unconstitutional.

The words of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution are so easy to grasp:

“. . . the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

There were no asterisks and no footnotes. There are no sentences that follow which start with the words “unless” or “however.” The right to defend your life and property shall not be infringed by the government.

Period.

Paul’s Campaign for Liberty has set up the Defend the Second Amendment Directive where citizens can sign a petition to demand their Senator not pass this blow to freedom and self-defense. You can sign it here.

Please share this article to let your friends and family that saying, “they are coming for our guns,” is not a conspiracy theory.

Anti-Gun Social and Cultural Marxists Weep – Good Guy Takes Out Bad Guy WITH A GUN!

From ‘Downtrend.com‘:

ARMED CITIZEN KILLS POTENTIAL MASS SHOOTER IN OKLAHOMA

Liberals love to mock the idea that a good guy with a gun can take out a bad guy with a gun, saying it’s absurd that an untrained non-law enforcement officer could possibly save lives and stop an armed madman. It happens all the time and liberals get around this fact by ignoring it in favor of their bogus anti-gun narrative. They will most certainly brush off what happened in Oklahoma when a potential mass shooter was stopped dead in his tracks by a hero with a gun.

Fox News reports:

A man “opened fire” Thursday in an Oklahoma restaurant, leaving at least four people injured, before he was fatally shot by a bystander, police said.

The gunfire unfolded at about 6:30 p.m. local time at Louie’s on the Lake in Oklahoma City…

The unidentified shooter entered the restaurant and fired his gun, Oklahoma City Police…added that four people had been injured.

The man, police said, “was apparently shot-to-death by an armed citizen” outside the restaurant and there was “no indication of terrorism.”

Another thing that there is no indication of is a mass casualty event, thanks to a good guy with a gun. Police report that one of the injured was in serious condition but there are no reported fatalities besides the gunman. Of the 4 injured it appears that only two were shot and they are expected to survive, including the one in serious condition.

The two gunshot victims are described as a mother and daughter who were at the restaurant celebrating a birthday. The police at this point do not know if the gunman knew the victims or if this was a random attack.

There’s obviously a lot of things that aren’t known about this shooting, but one thing is for sure: an armed good guy took out an armed bad guy. Whatever the motive of the gunman, whether he wanted to commit a mass shooting or was targeting someone specific, he went to the restaurant to kill people and was stopped by an average person who was carrying a firearm.

I guarantee that everyone at that establishment who wasn’t killed is glad they don’t live in a liberal city and state where people are denied the right to carry a gun. I’m sure they are also thankful that there happened to be a hero present in the face of evil.

So the way it works on the left is that when an insane person breaks dozens of laws and kills people in a gun-free zone, they blame the gun. They don’t however give the gun any credit for stopping a potential mass shooting. I tend to believe that people are responsible for the things they do, both good and bad, but if liberals are going to blame guns when people use them for bad things, they ought to praise guns when people use them to save lives.

The liberal media of course will not spend any time on this story because it’s not “sexy” like a mass shooting and it doesn’t help promote their anti-gun agenda. It’s kind of hard to argue that people shouldn’t be allowed to own guns when a person with a gun saved so many lives.