Ground Insulation When Sleeping Outdoors

Therma rest z lite_I recently did an article on selecting sleeping systems for SHTF. Having a quality sleeping bag is a necessity in most climates, but it is only part of the story. Insulating yourself from frozen ground, ground moisture and wind are also critically important.

Without trying to get into the science of thermodynamics, suffice to say that if you lay your warm body on the cold ground, the ground will win the contest. It is a mass that you will never reach equilibrium with, so it will pull heat energy from your body until you are the same temperature as it is. So you need insulation between you and the ground. Since the insulation in your sleeping bag will be compressed underneath you reducing it’s effectiveness, the sleeping pad is an essential piece of gear in your sleep system.

The R Value

Insulation is measured according to its capacity to resist heat flow. That is called an R value. The R-values are provided by the manufacturers and range from 1.0 (minimally insulated) to 9.5 (well insulated). Thicker pads generally offer higher R-values but are heavier.

Types of Sleeping Pads

Inflatable Air Mattress: Although they provide a lot of comfort compared to sleepingair mattress_ on the hard ground, I feel they have some drawbacks for SHTF survival. For one thing, with hard usage they will leak. I don’t care how well made they are. I used them in the Army (fondly refered to as the Rubber Lady), and without air, they are useless for insulation. If you are bugging out by vehicle, they may have some merit as you can easily inflate them from your vehicle accessory plug using an electric pump. But you really need to have a pad that you can carry with your sleeping bag in your bug out bag for bugging out on foot.

Therma rest z lite_Closed Foam: These are basic pads and are usually lightweight with good insulating qualities. Therma Rest is a company that make an excellent line of sleeping pads. The Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Mattress is a good example. The foam construction is soft on top and dense on bottom. It has an R value of 2.2, weighs 10oz.

Self Inflating: These are foam mattressestrail pro_ that will self inflate to some degree. They offer a combination of additional comfort as well as good insulation: The Therm-a-Rest Trail Pro Mattress is an example. It has an R value of 4.0. It weighs in at 2.7 pounds.

These are just a few examples of the types of sleeping pads you should consider for your survival sleeping system. The idea is to get insulation between you and the ground to retain body warmth in a package that you can travel with.

As always, decide what you need, do your research, and buy the best quality you can afford.

 

 

Body Armor. Should You Include It In Your Preps?

untitledI get this question sometimes from students in my classes, and by e-mail from people who read this blog. So, as an average prepper (if there is such a thing) should you spend the money and effort to get body armor, and if so, what kind? For those who have not been trained in body armor use, there are a lot of misconceptions about this subject.

First of all, there is no such thing as a “bullet proof vest”. Body armor is categorized according to the level of protection that is based on the type of ammunition they will protect against. I read a lot from armchair generals who insist that you must have the highest level of body armor protection available, I.E. will stop 5.56mm and 7.62mm. armor-piercing or why waste the time. Evidently none of these heroes have ever worn this type of armor anywhere other than the dressing room of their local police supply shop. I have. I am not going to go into the large variety of body armor available. I want to discuss concepts so you can understand what you may or may not need/want.

Up to level IIIA, body armor is generally made of woven Kevlar panels. Higher levels will consist of insertable plates made of steel or ceramic.

First lets look at how body armor is rated according to levels of protection, according to the National Institute of Justice rating scheme.Craig_Ballistic_Plate

Level IIA: Will protect against most handguns (not 44 magnums and larger). It is the thinnest and lightest armor.

Level IIIA will stop all handgun rounds, even if fired out of sub machine guns .Will stop shotguns with buckshot.

Level III is when you start the ability to stop rifle bullets and are traditionally hard body armor. Level III armor will stop military 5.56, 7.62 , and 308 . Basically Level III will stop most rifle rounds that are not armor piercing.

Level IV armor will stop armor-piercing bullets.

For more detailed information, check out the National Institute of Justice website. You can download a pdf document that will tell you more about body armor than you probably want to know.

Keep in mind, when we are talking protection, we are talking penetration. Bullets will not bounce off of your armor like you were Superman. Getting a solid torso hit with a high-caliber round, even when wearing a vest rated to stop it, is going to hurt. A lot. And may cause internal damage.

So, should you consider body armor in your preps? What threats are you expecting? Are you anticipating a sustained shoot out with heavily armed opponents? Does your prep plan include the weight of this type of armor ?

While contracting in Afghanistan , the Department of State issued us level IIIA vestsanother%20day%20at%20the%20office and Level IV plate inserts. Protection up to 7.62mm armor piercing. I wore my own IIIA vest and had a local taylor reinforce the bottom seams of the carrier so I could insert the hard plates. The whole set weighed at least 25lbs. Trust me, with all of the other gear I was also carrying, I was sweating like a harlot at a Baptist convention. This level of armor is heavy. Do you really need that? And are you prepared for the limitations of speed of movement it carries? Have you thought about the amount of attention that this level of body armor would bring you? Body armor is like most things in your kit. If you don’t have it with you when you need it, you wasted your time.

If you are planning on staying in a fixed, fortified bug out location, then heavy armor might be useful if you wanted to spend the money on it. But for most preppers, this level of protection is neither needed nor feasible. A more practical approach might be a IIA or IIIA panel set that you could wear under your clothes to be inconspicuous or outside your clothing if you were not worried about people noticing.

If you decide that body armor should be part of your preps, then do your research and buy wisely.

What Skills Can You Barter in SHTF or TEOTWAWKI?

Preppers often think in terms of extra supplies or equipment to survive an extended SHTF situation or even TEOTWAWKI. But at some point, those supplies will run out. And even if you chose the Lone Wolf prepper mode, at some point you are going to have to interact with other people. Very few preppers have the skills and lifelong experience to totally live off the land.

At some point, groups of people will band together. Some will have prior to the event, some after. For long-term sustainability, you better have some skill(s)  that you are good at to barter with. And I don’t think stock brokerage would be a useful one. Once the initial chaos settles down, those who survive will need to be useful.  So lets look at some of the skills or experience that would be useful to others that you might trade for what you need. I will group these into broad categories.

Operation in Nahr-e SarajThe Protector: If you have serious military, police, or security experience, you might be valuable to people who need to be organized to protect themselves. Leadership experience in any of these would be a plus. Can you organize a bunch of former shopkeepers, Wallmart workers, factory workers, stock brokers,  etc. into an effective defense force? Can you teach these subjects as well as lead? Are you familiar with any martial arts? Can you teach weaponcraft?

The Healer: Doctor, Dentist, Nurse, or EMT. If you have any serious training or skills inThe_Doctor_Luke_Fildes_crop the medical professions, you are going to be extremely valuable. Start working now on learning natural healing herbs and ways to provide medical help without the luxury of a staffed emergency room. Stocking up on meds and equipment would be a good idea. You may want to enhance your skills to include veterinary capability.

lossy-page1-800px-NRCSCT07047_-_Connecticut_(716026)(NRCS_Photo_Gallery)_tifThe Farmer: Do you know how to grow food crops? Evaluate soil? Tend food-producing farm animals such as chickens, goats, pigs or cows? You could be the food producer. Can you keep bees? Know how to dig a well?

The Fixer: Having mechanical training in order to repair usable items will be essential.Kovář_při_práci_(Velikonoční_trhy_na_Václavském_náměstí)_055 Are you a car mechanic, a blacksmith, a gunsmith, a plumber?  Can you repair small appliances and small engines? Electronic repair (yes, some electronics will still work and people will figure out how to harness water power for electricity again).

The Builder: Are you a carpenter, or contractor? Do you have experience in architecture? or construction? Can you pour cement properly? Build a wood building? And have you stocked the non power tools that will still work to do it all?

The Householder: Can you make clothes, repair clothes or make soap? Can you spin wool into yarn to make clothes? Are you familiar with canning, dehydrating, sealing, smoking, and storing food? Can you tan and work leather?

The Scrounger: This is a unique individual. Every military unit tries to have one of these. This individual has a viable imagination combined with intense curiosity. His value? The scrounger can look at a pile of scrap metal and see 14 usable tools where everyone else only sees scrap metal. He has an instinctive feeling for where things may have been hidden or stored.Junk99

The above is just an overview sample of skill sets that would be valuable in an extended SHTF or even TEOTWAWKI situation. I’m sure you can think of a lot more. The point here is that if you survive the initial chaos and live to see people coming together again, you had better have some useful skills to contribute to the group, or to barter with. Because there isn’t going to be any “public assistance”.

Peanut Butter For Prepping

Jiff_It’s the food you slap between two pieces of bread and with a little jelly, and feed a hungry kid. (or a hungry you). It’s the midnight munchie sandwich, along with a glass of milk that allows you to go back and get a good night’s sleep. It’s also a valuable addition to your survival stores. It’s peanut butter.

Peanut butter was known to the Aztecs and Incas. It was patented in 1884 by Canadian Marcelllus Edison. So why is peanut butter a good selection for your prepper stores or bug out bag? Because it packs a lot of nutrition in a small package, and space is at a premium when stocking or carrying food.

Protein: A 2-tablespoon serving of peanut butter contains 7 grams of protein. protein is essential to build and repair muscle tissue. Potassium: 2 tablespoons of peanut butter boosts your potassium intake by 238 milligrams. Potassium counters excess sodium in your system and helps your heart function better. One serving of peanut butter has 3 mg of the powerful antioxidant vitamin E, 49 mg of bone-building magnesium, 208 mg of muscle-friendly potassium, and 0.17 mg of immunity-boosting vitamin B6. Peanut butter is also a good source of dietary fiber. One 40oz jar of peanut butter has over 6,000 calories. Peanut butter has been a staple of military field rations since at least the Second World War.

Shelf life: Various sources cite various time lines, but an unopened jar of peanut butter can be expected to last 6-9 months. Some sources will claim at least one year beyond the “use by” day on the label.

Allergy Issues: It is estimated that between 4 and 6% of the population is allergic to peanuts. Make sure you know if anyone in your family or survival group has the allergy.

Why Christmas Matters. ( And Should Matter To Even Non-Christians)

CrusaderDecember 25th is the day that Christians world-wide celebrate the traditional birth of Jesus Christ. The religious meaning to Christians is deeply felt. But Christmas, as well as Christians, are under relentless attack, both in Western Europe, and the United States. It parallels a similar rise in anti-Semitism that is also growing in both places. But Christmas is a symbol of something else, something of vital importance to all people, whether Christian or not. It symbolizes the Judeo-Christian value system that built Western civilization. And the United States in particular. And the concepts of liberty and freedom it was founded on.

Contrary to populist leftist propaganda, the Founding Fathers of the United States were mostly practicing Christians and Jews. The flames of freedom were fanned from pulpits in Churches and Synagogues during the American Revolution. And even though the Founders approached their belief system from differing points of view, theDeclaration_independence underlying principles of the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of The United States were based on Judeo-Christian values. These two documents established the freedoms enjoyed by all Americans and have been a beacon to freedom movements around the world, even freedom movements of Non-Christians.

The Judeo-Christian value system is predicated on the concept that every human being is a reflection of his or her creator, and has certain inalienable rights. These are rights given by God, not by the government. And as such, the one and only responsibility of government is to protect those rights.

This value system brought Europe out of the Dark Ages. It allowed for the founding of the United States of America, a beacon of freedom to the entire world. It is the value system that allows tiny Israel to be an island of freedom and democracy in a sea of Muslim hatred and violence.

The Battle of Long IslandBut this value system is under relentless attack, both by Muslim extremists on the outside, and the leftist populist atheists and agnostics on the inside. Numerous politicians and judges actively attack any symbol of Christianity. Prayer has been removed from schools, Christian monuments are being removed from public places, nativity scenes are being removed from public parks, athletes and coaches are being harassed and even fired for expressing their religious beliefs in public. All in the name of “Seperation of Church and state”. Nowhere in any of our founding documents is the term “Seperation of Church and state” to be found. Nowhere. This is a concept used by the left to pervert the meaning and intent of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution which simply prohibits the government from establishing an official “government” religion, and at the same time allowing for the free expression of religious beliefs.  As a matter of fact, nowhere in the Constitution does it give the Federal judiciary the right to make laws from the bench, or to even declare laws unconstitutional. It simply isn’t there.

The Judeo-Christian value system was the framework that made it possible for theGerard_van_Honthorst_001 Founding Fathers of the United States to form a bastion of freedoms and liberties for all people. believers and non-believers alike. Freedoms that even allow the leftist one worlders to attempt to destroy the very hand that has fed them.

It is the value system that motivated people from around the world to repel the barbaric invasions of nazis, communists, tyrants in various forms, and  Muslim invasions of Europe. It is the value system that will eventually triumph over the current one.

There are too many people in the Western world who claim to be Christians, when in fact, if they were charged with it, there would not be enough evidence to convict them. Too many ‘Pastors” who are more worried about their IRS status, that speaking the truth.

Christmas matters. Because, in effect, it also celebrates the foundation of a set of principles, the Judeo-Christian value system, that allowed the codification of  liberties and freedoms  unprecedented in the history of mankind. Freedoms and liberties that too many people are willing to destroy, along with Christmas.

So, to anyone reading this, believer or non-believer, I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Survival Uses For Honey

Runny_hunnyHoney is one of the most amazing foods you can acquire. And it has a large number of uses in a survival situation. Cave paintings in Spain indicated that humans were harvesting honey as long as 8,000 years ago. Honey is made by honey bees from flowers. There are a lot of different varieties and flavors, but it is the survival benefits we care about here.

So why do you want to consider honey in stocking your survival food, or when foraging in the wild?

Honey is both an antibiotic and an antibacterial.  The ancient Egyptians wrote of using it to treat wounds. When applied to a minor wound, it cleans and protects the wound and promotes congealing of blood. When diluted in your body fluids, it releases hydrogen peroxide, a formidable antibiotic.  When applied on an open wound, the glucose, contained by honey, is diluted and gradually releases hydrogen peroxide. It also helps to prevent bandages from sticking to wounds. Honey when mixed with vinegar can help expel parasites from the body.honey

Honey will actually store for almost ever. If it starts to crystallize, place the jar in a pot of hot water and stir it. Archeologists have found sealed jars of honey in Egyptian tombs that were still fit for human consumption.

Some additional benefits of honey in a survival situation. It is high in B vitamins along with vitamin C. honey is also a good source of magnesium, calcium, copper, iron, sulfur and zinc. Honey will boost your energy level., and boost your immune system. It is good to soothe sore throats and is a natural cough medicine.

Having a stock of honey in your stores or a small jar in your bug out bag could be very beneficial.

 

 

Solar Options For Bugging Out Part 1. Man Portable

suntactic 2Everyone should think deeply on their options in a SHTF situation.  Even if your primary plan is to stay put and bug in, you still should have a bug out plan. A place to go, a route to it, bug out bags pre packed, and a concept on how you will operate while on the go. And a way to power small electronic devices you may be taking.

Anyone who reads my articles knows that I seriously urge folks to have basic skills before relying totally on technology. Use a GPS to navigate? Great, so do I. But you had better know how to use a map and compass in case your GPS fails. And a way to navigate without a compass in case it breaks or gets lost. I do. Alternative power options for your home when you are facing a SHTF situation, especially grid down, are numerous. Backup generators and large solar panels are just two.

6b605359-2819-4526-8a33-9828dce87940__CB325028736_But what about if you are on the move? Either by vehicle or foot? Most of the devices you may be using will be battery-powered either by its own internal battery, or by AAA/AA or D cell batteries. These items would include a cell phone, various sizes of flashlights, battery-powered lanterns, a GPS, emergency radio, two-way radios, any item that can be charged with a USB cable, and a head light to name just a few. To keep these going, you have a choice of carrying a large amount of spare batteries (and the ensuing weight) or using rechargeable batteries. But how can you recharge them on the go without access to electrical outlets? Portable solar panels are one option. A hand powered crank generator is another.

Lets break down our solar equipment possibilities into two categories: Those items light enough to be carried in your bug out bag or on you if you are on foot. And those items that could easily be transported by vehicle if you are traveling in your bug out buggy.

Man Portable Solar Equipment

There is one fundamental truth about a bug out bag: If it is too heavy for you to effectively carry in an emergency, it is useless. You either have to lighten the load in a hurry( and run the risk of ditching a vital item) or move so slow as to be easy prey for any number of threats. So you want to plan your bug out bag carefully. The following items are discussed from the point of view of possible aids to your bug out plan, and not to be considered essential or gospel. Lets look at man portable solar charging kits to begin with.

91GuqIDwCwL__SL1500_Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus. This is a man portable solar panel kit which  includes Nomad 7 solar panel and Guide 10 Plus power pack. This kit weighs in at 1.2 pounds, and the dimensions are    6.5 x 9.5 x 1.8 inches. This would easily fit in your bug out bag.  The power pack can charge AA/AAAGoalZero__V385199228_ batteries. With a D cell adapter, your AAA batteries can be used to supply any D cell item such as a flashlight. The power pack  will  charge AA or AAA batteries. Inputs: Mini USB (5V), Solar port (6.5V). USB Power Output: 3.5W. Solar Power Output: 7W. The battery pack has a built-in LED flashlight. Any AA or AAA* NiMH batteries can be used . You can charge directly from the panel, or from the battery pack. Will charge 4 AA batteries at once. This is one of the more popular portable solar kits and has overall great reviews. There are a number of combinations that can be set up with this kit. Manufacturer claims that you can directly charge a smart phone in 1 hour. You can arrange the panels on your rucksack to charge while you are moving.

The SunJack 14W Portable Solar Charger With 8000mAh Fast-Charge Battery. This issunjack_ another popular portable solar charging unit. It charges an attached battery pack that can then charge a variety of devices by USB. It Folds to compact size of 6.75″ x 9.25″ x 1.75″ – similar to an iPad, and weighs about 2 pounds . These can be had in 7, 14, and 20W power outputs. You can buy an additional battery charger that will charge AA/AA batteries using a USB cable that plugs into the battery.

Suntactics sCharger-5 Portable Solar Charger is another man portable charger. Thissuntactic 2 unit by American company Suntactics is waterproof and weighs 8 oz. You can plug your USB cable into it directly. It r up to 6 watts, outputs up to 5 watts continuous, 1.2 amps, 5 volts. You can buy a supplemental storage battery for it also.

The above three kits are examples of portable solar panels light enough to carry when bugging out and capable of charging devices through USB, and charging AA/AAA batteries which, with an adapter, can also be used in D cell devices. You can buy various adaptors to charge most small electronic devices.

There are a number of useful solar-powered items that are portable enough to go inLuci lanternjpg your BOB. The Luci Foldable Solar Lamp is an excellent example. It will fold to the size of a CD disk. It has 3 Light settings – Bright, Super Bright and Emergency Flash. It is very Light (4 oz.) – Packs Small – Inflates in seconds – Hang Handles top and bottom.

Goal Zero makes an excellent line of solar equipment. Their Torch 250 Flashlight withGoal zero flash light_ Integrated Solar Panel is not only an excellent flashlight, but it had a built-in USB cable and a hand crank. It has multiple light options that allow you to use it as a 250 total lumen output flashlight, floodlight or red emergency light. It weighs 14.4 ounces and measures 10 x 1.8 x 3.5 inches.

Conclusion and Considerations

You bug out bag should be a reflection of your overall bug out plan. Once you have carefully considered what electronic items you will carry with you, then you can evaluate whether a portable solar charger is appropriate. Portable solar panels can be useful if they are used within their limitation. To begin with, charging with them is time intensive. On a bright sunny day it can take up to an hour just to charge your cell phone. All three of the solar panel kits mentioned can be placed over your ruck sack and charge as you go along, however solar panels can also be light reflective. Something to keep in mind if you are trying to move in stealth mode. To get maximum use from them, you do indeed need bright sunlight. The less sunlight you have, the slower they are to charge. Even where I live on the edge of the Sonoran Desert, we have long periods of time where the sky is overcast. Consider the climate conditions in your operational area when planning to use solar charging. And as always, do your research to ensure you buy the proper equipment for your needs.

In Part 2 we will consider solar equipment suitable for vehicle transportation when bugging out.

 

Situational Awareness=Staying Alive

Radar2Note= As I began writing this, the Muslim terrorist attack in California began. It is time to wake up and stay awake in more ways than one people. There are no more civilians in this religious war that has been fostered on us. There never really were. The world is an increasingly dangerous place. Violent crime, expanding terrorist attacks, and the increasing possibility of economic collapse are all wake up calls to anyone with two brain cells working in tandem.  There are no magic bullets to keep you safe at all times. But there are techniques you can develop to give you the best chance. And that’s what it is all about.

Situational awareness is a topic that has been studied and written about for years. As a military and security professional, I have seen countless times where people have been killed or seriously injured because they walked right into a situation that they should have seen coming, and didn’t. The practice of situational awareness would have prevented much of this.

situational awarnessSo exactly what is situational awareness? It is paying attention to what is going on around you. But it much more than that. It is also the ability to recognize when things are not normal, draw the proper conclusion about the anomaly, and make the correct decision as to how to respond, and then acting on that decision. Situational awareness can be developed by understanding one concept and employing one basic technique. The technique is staying in Condition Yellow in the Color Codes of Awareness and the concept is Boyd’s OODA Loop.

The Color Codes of Awarenesscooper-color-code-definition

I wrote a more in depth article on this subject titled Defensive Mindset. The Color Codes.  But for our purposes here, it is important to learn to stay in Condition Yellow. This is a state of mind best describes as relaxed alertness. It is not paranoia. It is the state of  mind that a good driver is in. Head up and moving, checking the mirrors for what is behind and to the sides as well as what is at a distance up ahead. You are aware of what is going on around you 360 degrees and you are prepared to react to any immediate situation. This is the mental mindset you need to cultivate and stay in.  It takes practice, and later we will go over some techniques. If you really don’t understand the various mindsets as labeled by color, I urge you to read the article I linked to above. O.K., so you learn to pay attention to what is going on around you. So what more is required?

Boyd’s OODA Loop

Col. John Boyd

Col. John Boyd

For an in-depth discussion of this, I refer you to my article Boyd’s OODA Loop. No It’s Not A Cereal. Col. John Boyd was a fighter pilot who did a serious study of why fighter pilots won or lost a dog fight. The results of his study gave him a logical system that is applicable in any endeavor in life whether a one on one gunfight, a serious financial negotiation, or avoiding being done in by Achmed trying to get his 72 virgins. Lets analyse OODA.

Observe, Orient, Decide, Act.

OBSERVE= What is going on around you. Especially if it is something happening that concerns you,

ORIENT= Yourself to the situation. This may be a physical orientation, or a quick mental change based on factors such as long-term memory, training, past experiences, and your genetic heritage.

DECIDE= On a course of action based on your understanding of the situation.

ACT= On that decision.

situational awareness._You then start over as the situation developes. This mental process is a continuum of beginning at Observe and working your way through the situation, and the idea is to get inside an adversaries (or situations) loop. So how does this work in real life? A quick example= Terrorist points a gun at you (he has Observed you, Oriented on you, Decided to shoot you, and is now Acting on that decision).  He is committed to an action and you need to disrupt and get inside his loop. You do something unexpected like throw your keys at his face while attempting to escape or fight. You just got inside his loop because now he has to process what you are doing that he didn’t expect and go through the OODA process again because the situation has changed for him.. You are now ahead of him. This is a simplistic explanation but it serves to show how the process works.

Developing a Habit of Situational Awareness0e5587a45a951c15f4dcb5a8514b31c4

Learning to live in Condition Yellow . Keep your head up when walking around. Develop the habit of scanning what is going on around you. Learn to pay attention to all of your senses, including hearing and smell. When using your cell phone in public, stop and place your back against a wall and use your peripheral vision while glancing up and around frequently if texting. Look around you constantly if speaking. When approaching your car in a parking lot, is anybody near it and how do they look? Anyone in the back seat or under it? When in a public eatery, try to sit where you can observe the entrance and know where the exits are. Use windows as mirrors to keep track of whats behind you. At the ATM do you look around to see if anyone is coming up on you? Always try to keep yourself in a position of optimum observation. Once you get into the habit of doing things like this, many other techniques will come to mind.

O.K. so you are alert. What are you looking for?

Do your due diligence. Have you ever walked into a place and felt that something just was not right but you were not sure what?  Well, something wasn’t right. It may not have been dangerous. it may have been something as simple as the flowers arranged wrong. But your subconscious was telling you that something was out-of-place. Trust your instincts, but you have to develop them first.

Schizophrenia_PET_scanBefore you can identify that something is wrong, you need to know what “right” is. Start with your home. You should be so familiar with where you live that you can navigate your house in total darkness. How about your route to and from work? Do you really pay attention to what goes on with the houses and business along the way or do you just focus on following the car in front of you? At your workplace, how well do you know your co-workers? Do you know them well enough to detect if they are acting strange? The places where you shop. What is the normal situation there? Start paying attention to the small details. Really look at things around you as you go about your daily business. Make a game of it. What color eyes did the waitress at lunch have? Can you tell me right now what color the houses on either side of yours are? Can you count the number of windows in your own house from memory? Once you have programmed your subconscious to understand how things should look right, it will be easier to suddenly spot when they look wrong. And once you have Observed that something is wrong, you can quickly Orient yourself for possible action, Decide on what that course of action should be, and then Act on it.

Conclusion

Situational awareness is a combination of staying alert in condition yellow, being able to identify when something is out of order, being trained well enough to draw a proper conclusion, and quickly acting on the decision you made. Stay alert and watch six.

Have A Very Merry Prepper Christmas!

santa-gun-jpg_221736I posted some suggestion for Stocking Stuffers for Preppers earlier,and thought to give a look at some under the tree gifts you might consider for that special prepper in your life (or even yourself).  In these dangerous times, giving family members prepper gifts might be a cost efficient good idea.

kelly Kettle stove set_ The Kelly Kettle

It will deliver about 7 cups of hot water in just a few minutes. Kelly Kettles use natural occurring fuels such as sticks and dry grass etc.

 

Mason jar oil lampsMason Jar Oil Lamp Tops

Once your finished with drinking your White Lightening, turn that Mason Jar into a functional lamp! (or use the White Lightening as the fuel!)

Maxpedition Falcon 2Maxpedition Falcon-II Backpack

Maxpedition makes a quality line of gear. The Falcon-II Backpack is an excellent choice for an EDC or Get Home Bag. Main Compartment: 18″(H) x 9.5″(W) x 4.75″(D). Secondary Compartment: 16″(H) x 8″(W) x 3″(D). Comes in a variety of colors.

solo stove_Solo Stove Wood Burning Emergency Stove w/ Aluminum Windscreen

A very popular and practical stove for the bug out bag.

 

 

Tactical%20RifleThe Tactical Rifle

Every prepper should have a rifle for SHTF. This book is a primer on the tactical use of the rifle by one of the world’s foremost authorities.

 

 

Solar showerLSolar Shower

Stay clean in SHTF and let the sun warm the water.

 

 

 

 

 

weather radioAmerican Red Cross FRX3 Hand Crank NOAA AM/FM Weather Alert Radio with Smartphone Charger

Stay on top of bad weather and charge your cell phone too.

 

sunotoSuunto M-3 D/L Compass

Suunto makes an excellent line of compasses.

 

 

Well folks, just a few suggestions. I hope each of you has a Very Merry prepper Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stocking Stuffers For Preppers

wfxza4czwe5jxlzzpt5lYes, it is that time of year again! Preppers around the world are gearing up for Christmas! Major purchases on lay away, and wish lists being created. I just love the Christmas tradition of the stocking and all the little goodies to be found inside. So I made a list, checked it twice, for all those preppers who were not naughty, but nice. Inexpensive, but useful stocking stuffers for that special prepper in your life!

And what better way to start than the stocking itself! A tactical stocking with manyTactical stocking OD useful features for use after the holidays. Comes in a variety of colors! The following items will fit in it nicely!

Lifestraw Water Filter

The most popular water filter

Life Straw Personal FilterTitanium Spork

Titanium spork

 

Hip Flask With Attached Collapsable Shot Glass

Every Gentleman Prepper should have one! (aso in pink for the ladies!)

hip flask

Emergency Candle

emergency candle_

Quick   Clot

quick clotjpg

Goal Zero 41022 Guide 10 Plus Solar Recharging Kit

Great for the bug out bag

91GuqIDwCwL__SL1500_    

                                                       Cree Ultra Fire 7W300LM

These are really awsome little flashlights and dirt cheapCree ultra fire_

Luci Solar Powered Lantern

Packs to about the size of a CD case and solar charged.

Luci lanternjpg

 Esbit Cooker

This has been a mainstay of campers and soldiers for many years. Great for the Get Home or Bugout Bag

esbit stove_

Columbia River Knife and Tool’s Eat N Tool

Nifty little tool

Eat n Tool_

moda seya 11 Function Credit Card Size Survival Pocket Tool  

Credit card size and stainless steel

moda tooljpg

 

 

 

 

Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener

smiths sharpener_

UCO Stormproof Match Kit with Waterproof Case, 25 Stormproof Matches and 3 Strikers

Matches_

Ultimate Survival Technologies Wetfire Tinder

tinder

 

 

 

 

 

Zippo Emergency Fire Starter, Orange Plastic

 

Coleman fire starter_

Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife

swiss army

 

 

 

 

Well, there you go. Some neat suggestions for stuffing your favorite prepper’s stocking!

 

 

Are You The Storm?

i-am-the-storm 2Although I have been a “Prepper” of one sort or another all of my life,  it wasn’t untill I started this blog that I interacted to any degree with the Prepper community. Reviewing the vast number of prepper websites, I notice that there are different mental attitudes towards prepping. I wonder exactly how many preppers have actually thought about why they want to survive, especially in a TEOTWAWKI situation. So, are you prepping to withstand the storm? Or are YOU the storm?

If you are reading this, then to some degree I’m preaching to the choir. It should be obvious that many storm clouds are forming over us, both in our own country and overseas.  Political storms, social storms, financial storms, religious storms, military storms.  An astute observer of history will not need a crystal ball to see that push is coming to shove in a lot of places and in a lot of areas. Human history indicates that major changes are coming, and by storm. America is over 18 trillion dollars in debt, and most citizens go merrily on their way, many seeking more goodies from government. We are at war with a theocracy called Islam, and most citizens of Western civilization haven’t got a clue about it. The United States has a patchwork grid system just begging to be shut down. Foreign hostile militaries increase vigorously, smelling blood in the weakness of the gutless cowards running the Western nations. Storms. Lots of storms.

But you knew that didn’t you? That is why you began prepping. That is why you are probably reading this.

So Why Are You Prepping To Survive?

Obviously we prep for any serious contingency. Short term issues such as hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. have obvious answers to the above question. You prep to survive in order to go back to normal, or rebuild normal. Because a normal is possible to obtain.  But what about if it all comes crashing down and we actually experience The End Of The World As We Know It?  A number of plausible events could cause that. If it happens on any level, is your concept of survival limited to simply waking up breathing each day? Is just staying alive each day satisfactory for you?  For many people, that will be the end goal. After most of the sheeple die off, many will be content to just wake up alive each day.

I see many preppers concentrating on a defensive attitude that proposes just that.

But not for many of us. I plan to survive for a purpose. To fight to rebuild what the gutless and lazy have allowed to be destroyed. To do all I can to rebuild a society where my grandchildren might just have a chance to actually rebuild a decent civilization. Because there has to be a purpose to life beyond just breathing. Beyond just surviving. There are other storms forming. Storms of people in the United States, The United Kingdom, and Western Europe who are fed up. Who refuse to be sheeple.

In The Meantime

I am a Christian. I refuse to be denigrated for my faith and see my monuments desecrated and torn down to appease the shrill minority. I refuse to be told that I cannot express my faith because it might “offend” someone. I will speak out even though way too many “Christian ” pastors worry more about their IRS standing that speaking out the truth. I have great respect for the nation of Israel and the Jewish people. I will continue to support them against Obama’s anti-semitism.

I am a soldier. Even though I no longer wear the uniform I wore for 20 years, I will keep faith with the oath I took to uphold the Constitution of The United States against all enemies foreign and DOMESTIC. I refuse to accept that Sharia law might have any place in my society.

I am an American citizen and I refused to be disarmed by those who wish to manipulate the sheeple to garner votes. I refuse to accept people who come here as criminals in the night and expect me and mine to support them.

There are many clouds on the horizon, each of them whispering to me that I cannot withstand the storm.

I will continue to whisper back, I AM THE STORM!

Are you the storm?

 

Note: I do not know who owns the rights to the Samurai poster. Credit for the quotation goes to 556 Productions.

The Smart Phone As A Survival Tool

i phone 6Being a bit old school, I finally decided to join the 21st century and bought an Apple i-Phone 6. I did it primarily for business communication as I am handling a lot more now and needed more than just the functionality of phone and text that my old clam phone provided. As I started using it, I saw a number of features and apps that would be useful in a SHTF situation as well as day-to-day survival.

Before I get started, I wish to point out that I am still old school in many areas regarding technology. For example, GPS is great. Untill the batteries die or you can’t get a satellite signal. Then you better have a good compass, a map of your area, and the knowledge to use them. I see technology as an enhancement of your basic skills, not a replacement for them. Keep in mind that these phones are dependent on three critical items: functioning batteries, functioning cell towers, and functioning satellites.

I have only been experimenting with this phone for a few weeks. But I can break down it’s survival uses into the following categories: Communication, Reference Storage, Information, and Navigation. These are some of the features and apps I have been looking at. Most of these either come with the phone, or are available from the Apple App store either free or for as little as .99 cents. Some cost a bit more but are all reasonable.There are a tremendous number of apps available. Some useful, some not. Experiment.

Communication

Obviously phone and text capability would allow you to communicate with either help or family in an emergency. Again, dependent on being within range of a functioning cell tower. One app that may be useful in SHTF is Facetime. This app allows you to make video calls using wi-fi. (assuming you have functional wi-fi during the issue). If you are communicating with a family member and trying to describe a situation or object you can just turn the camera towards it and they can see for themselves. This may be useful in early stages of SHTF.

Reference Storage

Unless you have been living, breathing, eating, and sleeping survival for the last 30 years, you can’t remember it all. Having a set of references handy  and downloaded on your phone could be highly useful. Here are some I like.

011SAS Survival Manual

This is probably one of the best survival manuals out there, and you can download a complete copy to your phone. It also has some interactive features such as videos and photos. One feature I like is the compass feature. This doesn’t use a GPS system. Instead, it takes you through using the phone to find cardinal directions similar to using a watch and is set up to work in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Pretty useful if you lose or break your compass. It will also talk you through sending Morse Code messages using the flashlight on your phone( the camera flash)

010Survival

There are a number of apps that are copies of the U.S. Army survival manual FM 21-76. This is one of the better ones I have found, although the photos are picture negatives. It is easy to navigate, and it has a handy button to turn on the phone flashlight. The compass feature will show you your current location in longitude and latitude and your direction in degrees. It will also show your altitude

005How To Tie Knots 

This is a nifty app that will actually guide you step by step, with interactive pictures, on how to tie a very large variety of knots. Categories include basic, climbing, rescue, surgical, bends, friction hitches, hitches, loops and others. It also allows you then option of downloading a very large number of other knots. This is probably one of the more useful apps I have found, not only for survival, but for daily use if you use rope a lot.

002American Red Cross App

This is a complete first aid manual with some additional features. There are short training courses for typical emergencies, as well as a set of tests. This would be a good app to begin learning first aid on if you are a beginner, or a quick and handy reference for those with experience. Using GPS, it will also show you where the nearest hospital is.

 

Information

Staying on top of occurring events can be critical to survival. The ability to scan emergency and police broadcasts in SHTF can be a valuable asset. There are a number of apps that you can download. The one I am testing is

screen568x568Scanner Radio Delux

This scanner app allows you to select the areas you wish to scan, and then select which departments you want to listen to. You can pre set favorites for quick access and scan for stations close to you. It also has an alert set up so that it will inform you if there is a large amount of traffic on any given channel. There are a lot of scanner apps and this one seems to work pretty well. I can listen to police and emergency traffic nation wide.

002FEMA App

Although FEMA is a dirty word in the prepper community, they do have a useful app that you can set up to get weather notifications from the National Weather Service. You can program it you any location or multiple locations. Useful for tracking ongoing bad weather.

 Navigation

The i Phone has a built-in compass function that can be set to orient on either true or magnetic north. But there are some interesting navigation apps that have potential and that I am trying out.

003Spyglass

This is a highly developed and intricate navigation program. It utilizes the phone’s GPS compass system and enhances it with a tremendous number of features. It uses military developed GPS navigation systems. You can find and track multiple locations, bearings, the Sun and the Moon and stars, in real-time. You can overlay the compass over a live camera image or maps to instantly see which way you are facing. It will enable you to find and track your location, coordinates in geo and military formats, altitude, current and maximum speed and course. Use imperial, metric, nautical and military units. You can observe your and your targets’ positions on maps rotated automatically according to the current azimuth. You can use a variety of street, satellite or hybrid maps. It has the capability to be used as an optical rangefinder similar to the way sniper scopes are used. This is a bit of a complicated program and takes time to learn, but it has a tremendous potential in general SHTF navigation and even tactical applications.

001Galileao Pro

This is a standard map GPS navigation program with one important difference. It allows you to download on your phone a tremendous number of very detailed maps worldwide. By downloading maps of your probable operational area, you can navigate even with the loss of GPS. The maps are very detailed street type maps. I downloaded maps of where I live in both Arizona and Germany, and on my German map can expand it to see the street I live on and even my exact house.

screen568x568Google Earth

For those of you familiar with this program, it is simply the i Phone version of the program you have on your computer. You can use it for route reconnaissance, and to see the terrain of every part of the world that has ever had a satellite flying over it. The value of this program is that you are seeing satellite images that will show more details than any standard map. Useful for plotting bug out routes.

Useful Accessories

If you are going to use your smart phone as a useful survival tool, you need to set up a maintenance system for it.

Protection

Otter caseOtter makes a wide variety of protective cases for all smart phones.  The one I bought has a hard rubber case with a screen shield. It comes with a carrying mount for your belt that will allow you to carry the phone either vertically or horizontally. The case can also be snapped open to provide a convenient desk mount.

Power

This is the Achilles heel of technology. No power, and you have a very expensive non functional piece of plastic to stare at. Obviously, a cell phone charger for your auto car charger_should be a normal part of your EDC kit.

There are a number of external battery power packs that you can get to extend the time your smart phone can operate. But for long-term use, you are going to need recharging capability. This means solar, especially in a long-term grid down SHTF situation. Goal Zero  makes a large variety of solar kits that are potentially useful to the prepper.

One portable kit, the Goal Zero 41022 Guide 10 Plus Solar Recharging Kit is a portable 91GuqIDwCwL__SL1500_solar power kit that will enable you to keep you cell phone charged as well as a number of other devices. It will do the following: Charge up a cell phone in 1 hour, and charge up removable AA/AAA batteries from USB or sun. At 6.5 x 9.5 x 1.8 inches  in size and 1.2 pounds in weight, it is small and light enough to be considered for your bug out bag.

Conclusion

A smart phone can be an excellent addition to your preps. You can communicate, navigate, store maps, and store reference manuals with it. It has a built-in camera and flashlight. But it is cell tower, GPS satellite, and charged battery dependent.  As long as you understand it’s limitations, and don’t substitute it for basic survival skills, it can be a highly useful survival tool.

Front Sight Firearms Training Institute 2 Day Defensive Handgun Class

Front Sight 4As a professional firearms instructor, I know that you never learn it all. And it is important to take additional training from other instructors and organizations to stay on top of your game. So when a former boss gave me a Front Sight Legacy Membership which included a lot of free classes, I took the opportunity to start with their basic 2 Day Defensive Handgun class. So how did it go?

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The Bicycle In SHTF

Montague ParatrooperTransportation could be very important in a SHTF scenario. Each person and each group has different treansportation needs and capabilities depending on a number of factors. We have discussed the aspects of selecting a Bug Out Vehicle, but would a bicycle be a practical alternative or addition?

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Night Vision Considerations For Survival

Yukon Nvnt 400Night vision is a consideration many preppers avoid. Partly because the technology is foreign to them if they never used NVD’s in the military, and partly because of the perceived cost. But before you invest in that next expensive firearm, consider the possibility of a night vision device to go with one you already have. You might be glad you did.

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Land Navigation for Preppers. Part 1 Maps and Map Sources

Topographic_map_exampleIf SHTF, you may have to move, and quickly. Hopefully you have established a bug out plan with alternate routes. But you may have to go into unfamiliar territory. Thats where skill in land navigation is important. This will be a series on basic navigation skills for those who didn’t learn them in the military or other professional organizations.

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