Super Simple Tips to Trim Ounces from your Bug Out Bag

Super Simple Tips to Trim Ounces from your BugOut Bag

Written By Morry Banes

What’s the difference between a really smart prepper and an average one?

Let me get straight to the point, I believe that a really good preppers out there take things a step further. That one extra step is being prepared for the fact that a real life situation will probably prove that you can never be completely prepared.  Sounds complicated but it really comes down to making your bug out bag (BOB) more flexible.
Do not take what I just said the wrong way and start packing things for every scenario that you can think of, but think in terms of what you can do to include things in your BOB that can be used in more scenarios.

Let’s take a step back here and look at the basic things that are most likely in your BOB right now and see if we can spot places where you could’ve done a better job.  So, it all comes down to walking straight down that yellow brick road that stands between having a BOB that’s versatile enough on one side and having one that will be bulky and heavy and only make things more difficult on the other.

1. Water – you would think that everything there is to say about water needs has already been said, but we are looking at things from a different angle here, trying to trim down some weight and bulk.
We can’t shrink down our 3-4 liters of water but we can:

  • Use a collapsible water bottle to save space
  • Extend the life of our water purification filters by adding coffee filters

2. Food – Think dense. When I say “dense” I mean calorie density.  I am all for simplicity here – to cover my food needs my 3 day BOB only includes: energy bars, 3 cans of anything protein (one for each day) and a light backpacking stove.  It’s so easy to overkill with bulky backpacking meals.

3. Clothes – boots, military style pants, a poncho, 2-3 pairs of socks, 1 pair on long underwear and one pair of thermo skin tight underwear suit, 2 short sleeve t-shirts.
Mentioning thermo skin tight underwear here might raise some eyebrows, but it packs so small and can make so much of a difference that it’s shame not to have it there.
Most of the preppers I know and talked to had significant space to peel in their BOBs just by cutting down on those 5 t-shirts and that second pair of pants. A skin suit a huge space-saver and much more versatile.  And yes, if you don’t have a bandana in your BOB, it’s back to the drawing board for you.

4. Shelter and sleep – again, simplicity is key to effective packing. Two tarps, a thin foam pad and a light sleeping bag adjusted to the temperatures you are expecting. I’ll never get onboard with the concept of a tent in a 3 day BOB.  A simple tarp is much more versatile.

As I said, when thinking about your BOB, don’t list endless scenarios in your head but think about items that can cover scenarios you’ll probably never think of.  You might want to read that sentence again.

5. First aid – one more thing that I’ll never get on board with is getting a factory made, pre-packed first aid kit. Building your own kit will not only save you space but the research alone will develop neurological pathways that will just deploy in the time of need.

6. Tools – this one is a biggie. First of all it’s essential to get it right because it’s the “outer wall” of everything we talked about and secondly, it’s the single point that can shave the most weight of your BOB.  If you are thinking screwdrivers, scissors, knives, bottle and can opener, let’s take a step back.

How about a multi tool?   I have to tiptoe in my wording here because many preppers might be offended if I talk about a multi tool like I came up with the idea.  But you would be surprised how many people aren’t really awake to the true value of a multi tool, and a lot of those who are don’t give that much thought to two basic questions:
1. multi tool pieces vs. standalone pieces
2. survival knife vs. a multi tool

Let’s get some clarity here:   If you play your cards right and choose wisely you’ll probably be able to replace a lot of standalone pieces of tools like pliers and wire cutters with a single tool.  No beating around the bush, my BOB includes a regular heavy-duty multi tool, a medical multi tool and a survival knife.

Allow me to give you my reasons here that also might give you some pointers for choosing your tool:

  • I stay away from glitter and shine and go for sheer usability in a multi tool (think Leatherman and Gerber).
  • Scissors in a regular multi tool will never be sturdy enough for your BOB. So, I’ll need standalone scissors. But instead of getting regular scissors I go for a medical multi tool that comes with sturdy heavy duty scissors. This covers the scissors issue but gives you so much more.
  • There’s no way around a proper survival knife for your BOB. None of the blades in the multitools are not even close to being as sturdy as that in standalone knife.

Getting things right here will probably cut the weight of the tools you carry in half.
I promised some clarity so let me share my choices:

Gerber 600 with a blunt nose
Leatherman Raptor
SOG Seal pup knife

Final thoughts

You can trim some serious “fat” from your 3 day BOB just by rethinking a few things using the pointers I offered in this article.  The end result – a lighter more flexible BOB free of fluff that you’ll probably never use and packed smartly with things you’ll really need and use.

Live smart and survive smarter,
Morry

About the author:
Morry Banes is an blogger in the field of multi tools, safety and preparedness. He runs a multi tool blog at bestmultitoolkit.com.

Morry is an ex multitool factory worker and today he owns a small hardware store in Tigard, Oregon, collects multitools and shares his passion by writing about them.

 

10 Biggest Bug Out Bag Mistakes

10 Biggest Bug Out Bag MistakesThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

When I started being interested in preparedness, I read everything I could in books and blogs to find out what I need to do.  For the purpose of this article, the bug out bag is the one you will take with you to get out of your home in a disaster, not knowing if you are coming back anytime soon.

I had the strong desire to prepare all at once, and as soon as possible.   Every survival site I read stressed the importance of having a bug out bag, or “get out of dodge” (good) bag.  So I jumped in right away.  Looking back, I probably should have spent a bit more time researching instead of rushing.

Here are some of the most common mistakes with bug out bags.

1.  Buying a pack without trying it out thoroughly.   I saw this pack that were highly recommended by another website, and it looked like it had a lot of room.  The guy who reviewed it said it was a similar style to something the military used, so I figured, they go outdoors a lot so it must be good.  And it looked cool.

When the bag came in I was fascinated with all the compartments.  Then I tried to carry it.  The bag weighs about 5 lbs by itself!  When you add all the contents it got so huge, and not at all suitable to my small frame.

Fortunately, my nephew needed a backpack when he came to visit us.  He is 6’2 and built like a football player.  The pack fit him just fine so I gave it to him.

Lessons for this mistake:   Try out a backpack thoroughly before you buy it.

  • Visit a sporting goods store like REI or Academy.  Have a salesperson fit you with the right size and shape.  Not all bags are built for your stature, and carrying a pack that does not fit will eventually start bothering you.
  • Place weights inside and walk around.  These stores actually have bean bags of various weights that they fit in your pack to simulate carrying a full backpack.
  • Walk around the store for 10-15 minutes and see how it feels.  I actually got a little sore around the shoulders and legs after trying out so many but eventually I found the right one.

2.  Choosing a bag that is attention grabbing.

In my opinion, the bag should be low-key, in muted colors so it does not attract a lot of attention.  If you are trying to evacuate, you don’t want to garner attention from the wrong crowd, who may assume your are someone who has lots of supplies and an easy target.  Choose plain brown, black, navy or grey in a nondescript design.

Don’t pack items outside that bag that jingle or chime, which also attract attention.

3.  Not carrying enough water

Water is one of the top needs for survival and so you need to pack enough of it.  You may even have a water purifier or iodine tables but if there is no water source, you are in big trouble.

4.  Packing too much stuff

Although the rule of thumb with packing the bag is that it should be a maximum of 1/3 or your weight, that does not mean you will be comfortable carrying your bag.   People tend to overpack.    For a free tool that will help you plan your bug out bag contents, check out The Bug Out Bag website’s Plan Your Bug Out Bag Contents with our Free Tool.   Imagine if you were packing to walk out of the city in dangerous conditions.  You don’t want to be over-encumbered at a time like this.  Choose your items carefully and reduce weight before anything happens.

5.  Not having a bug out bag for the kids.

Even though you will end up carrying most of your kids’ supplies, they can still use a small bag where they can store their snacks, small toys or stuffed animal that will give them comfort in an emergency.

6.  Not getting into shape

A couple of weeks ago, I was driving in a busy street when I noticed a guy walking along the sidewalk with a full backpack..  It was early in the morning, but the temperature was already climbing, and the heavy humidity was making it hard to breath.  The guy, appeared to be in his 40s-50s, was dressed in a t-shirt, walking shorts and hiking boots.  He was walking briskly, but he did not look like a hitch-hiker or traveller.  I figured he had to be getting in shape, either for a backpacking trip, or for a walk out of the city, in case of disaster.  I concluded this guy has the right idea, getting in shape before an actual emergency forced him to walk out.

Even though getting in shape is not technically having to do with the bag, being able to carry it comfortably is crucial.

7.  Not having anything to repair the bag

You should carry a small sewing kit in your bag so you can repair it if a strap breaks or a tear develops.  A heavy duty sewing awl would be ideal, but a small sewing kit with enough needles of various sizes will suffice.

8.  Being unfamiliar with the contents and compartments of the bag

Make it a point to check the contents of your bag at least every season.  Change the clothing to the appropriate season and weed out old items that may have leaked, dried up or expired.

Be familiar with all the compartments of your bag and organize it.  That way when you need a specific item, you know exactly where to find it.  You’ll avoid having to look in each pocket and having to pull out contents.

9.  Packing sharp objects without proper covering.

Axes, knives and machetes are often included in bug out bags, either inside or outside.  Make sure they are sheathed or at least have the edges wrapped to avoid injuring someone or tearing up the the bag.

10.  Waiting until SHTF to pack

Don’t wait until an emergency or disaster to pack.  If you do not want to have a packed bag, make a list of everything you need while you are thinking straight and keep the list in the bag.  At the very least have all your items inventoried so you know where everything is.

Hopefully, you will never need to utilized a bug-out bag, but if you do, you’ll be glad you put some thought into packing your bag properly.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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Build your Grab and Go Binder

Grab and Go BinderIf you haven’t done is already, now is a good time to build your “grab and go binder.” This is your handy document keeper that you keep in a safe but accessible place that you can easily grab in the event of a dire emergency and you need to run out of the house.

If you’ve already got one, it’s time to review and update it.  Lots of new documents may have been generated this past year:  insurance policies get renewed, cars get paid off etc., and it is a worthwhile activity to weed and toss out the old and replace with the new.

Normally we keep all our important documents in a fire-proof safe.  Our previous plan was to take the entire safe and run out the door in the event of an emergency.  Based upon what I’ve learned reading various survival sites regarding lightening your load when bugging out, I have revisited that idea and feel we need to keep the items in a binder in case we run out on foot.  The safe would be too heavy to carry!

I found a sturdy binder among our used school supplies and added plastic sleeves to protect the documents.   I am adding the following documents into the binder:

  • birth certificates
  • passports
  • marriage certificate
  • personal records such as baptism, confirmation records
  • social security cards
  • school records-diplomas, report cards
  • vaccination records
  • vehicle ownership record/ “pink slip”
  • credit card statements and other bills
  • printout of address book
  • insurance policies
  • checking and saving account statement
  • retirement account statements
  • apartment lease

You will need to personalize this list according to your own situation.    For example, homeowners would need copies of deeds and home loan documents etc.  Needless to say, guard this binder in a secure place:  loss of this binder will lead to identity theft, since it contains all your personal and financial information.

It only takes an hour or so to put these documents together.  But having a grab and go binder will save you a lot of time and effort in the event of an emergency.

 

Water is one of the biggest needs when it comes to survival.  Whether bugging out or sheltering in place, you can never have enough clean water for survival: For your water purifier needs, please visit:

 For beginning preppers

DebtProof Living

Why Books Should Be Part of Your Bug Out Bag

Survival booksWhy Books Should Be Part of Your Bug Out Bag, Guest Post by Chris

Are you prepared for disaster? Do you think you will cope if the ‘big one’ strikes tomorrow? If you have answered ‘yes’ to those questions you most likely already have a ‘bug out bag’, a pack containing everything that you might need in the event of a catastrophe; food, water and emergency supplies to last for up to 72 hours following the breakdown of urban infrastructure.

Many people purchase electronic gadgets that can contain a great deal of information, including disaster plans, satnav apps and a wealth of other vital information, and are quite content in the belief that these gadgets will be enough to see them through difficult times until normal life can be resumed. Sadly, these people do not think about what would happen if those electronics are affected by the disaster and do not function when the time comes to use them.

It is wise to choose a small, but important selection of books to put into the bug out bag, regardless of the room they take up and extra weight that they add – these books can save your life just as much as the heavy water that is vital to survival.

Maps and an Atlas

Knowledge of the terrain and surrounding environment can save time and energy, helping a party of survivors make their way directly to a designated meeting point or safe haven. Without a map to guide them, in the event that satnavs are not operational, it is entirely possible for a party to get disoriented and lose their way, even in a relatively small and well-known area.

Medicine and Emergency Treatment Books

There are volumes available on the market, which provide a full comprehensive list of common illnesses and injuries and, more importantly, how to treat these conditions both initially and as a long term measure. This kind of information can save lives as shock, blood loss and sepsis can kill injured people once the excitement and drama of the disaster has passed. Knowing how to recognise early warning signs and stave off impending infection is an important factor in surviving such an event.

Survival Manuals

A good survival manual should cover the three basic needs of man: food, shelter and warmth. Hopefully, you will not have to resort to trapping wild rabbits or eating insects, but in the event that it does become necessary, the information on how to build effective traps and which insects can be safely consumed will come in very handy indeed! Shelters can be constructed from a variety of materials and a survival manual should have a host of handy tips to aid in construction and make the shelter sturdy and effective against wind and rain. Some of the contents of the bug out bag should be something to make fire, from the more primitive but still effective flint to modern lighters and fluid to refill them. It is always useful to know another way of making a fire, either rubbing two sticks together or by focusing a beam of sunshine through a magnifying glass or pair of glasses, and the manual should detail all that information and more.

Your bug out bag must be ready and waiting at all times, and should be kept somewhere easily accessible. A disaster can occur without a minute’s notice and can have a completely devastating effect on your regular, everyday life. By preparing a bug out bag, you are displaying your readiness to accept the inevitable and move on – ensuring your survival in the days and months before normal life can resume.

Author bio: Thanks for taking the time to read my article! I’m Chris an outdoors enthusiast and a keen survivalist and work at SimplyHike.co.uk. I’ve been writing and blogging about the great outdoors for the last two years and you can find more of my articles at http://blog.simplyhike.co.uk

Get the real deal. Whether bugging out or sheltering in place, you can never have enough clean water for survival: For your water purifier needs, please visit:

 For beginning preppers

Good ideas for building a food storage plan can be found here:

DebtProof Living

Don’t Become a Boiled Frog – The Need to Respond Appropriately to Problems

 

Boiling water

   It is said that if you slowly increase the water temperature, a frog won’t notice and will eventually and passively die in the pot.

 

The following is a guest post from David Spero at Code Green Prep.

Yesterday, Bernie wrote about Five Reasons Why You May Have to Bug Out Even Though You Don’t Want To.  It is very important to realize that sometimes we need to bug out, but our inertia, our fear of change, and our positive hope that problems will quickly abate – all these things prevent us from responding as quickly as we should.

Much of what we think about and prepare for involves a sudden massive disaster that occurs with little or no warning.  We consider the effects of a sudden EMP or power grid failure that almost literally switches our lives and lifestyles from normal to nothing as quickly as flicking a light switch.  Not only is the event sudden, but it is also ‘in your face’ obvious, and we know we have to respond urgently quickly.

But we sometimes overlook the slower sorts of disasters that might also overwhelm society as we know it, and end up, not immediately, but gradually over time, with a Level 2 or 3 scenario [ed: see David's definitions of Level 1/2/3 scenarios here] just as seriously as a sudden unexpected disaster.

The real danger of the slower unfolding disasters is that by the time we even realize they are enveloping us, we might find our options have become constrained and reduced.  This is akin to the story of how to kill and cook a frog – you place it in warm water, then very slowly increase the temperature.  The frog won’t even realize it is being cooked, and by the time the water has reached boiling point, the frog has succumbed.

Examples of Boiled Frogs

Although there is some debate as to the truth of being able to truly boil a frog this way, there is no debate that society as a whole has experienced some amazing 180 degree turns on issues.  Activists seeking to bring social change have learned that the best way to make a major change is not to attempt a sudden revolution in public thought, but rather to make a series of gradual changes.  There are many examples of this.  To offer up several – and without expressing any moral judgment, but merely observing the huge change in social values that have occurred, we point to :

(a)  Drunk driving.  Two or three decades ago it was normal and acceptable for people to drink as much as they wished and then to drive home, somehow.  People would boast about their crazy/dangerous driving the next day; and if they were pulled over, they’d usually be let off with little more than a warning.  As you surely know, today people are ashamed to admit to driving drunk; the fines and penalties (including imprisonment and alcoholism treatments) have gone up and up, and the permissible levels of blood/alcohol have gone down and down.

(b)  Gay marriage.  It is not all that long ago that people could be sent to prison in some western nations if they admitted being homosexual, and it was widely ridiculed and decried by most people in general.  Now the opposite applies – people can be sent to prison for ‘hate crimes’ if they express a dislike for gay people, and society is inexorably tilting towards allowing not just gay relationships but also passing to such people all the rights and privileges of marriage and allowing gay people to be married.  One advocacy method used by gay rights advocates is to ‘name and shame’ people who oppose them – people are now embarrassed and ashamed to admit they dislike the thought of gay sex.

(c)  Guns.  A couple of generations ago, gun ranges were to be found in the basements of many schools.  Guns were common in schools and in society as a whole.  Nowadays, if a child even draws a picture of a gun in a schoolroom, they are liable to be expelled under a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards guns in schools, and anyone bringing guns into a school is likely committing both a federal and state crime.

Okay, enough on that – point well taken, we hope.  In all these cases, the changes did not occur overnight, but have instead evolved, little by little, over years and even decades and common social custom now is pretty much the complete opposite of what it was a generation or so back.

It can be the same thing with negative situations – they start off subtly and slowly, and at first seem temporary, but as time passes, what was temporary becomes permanent, what was a problem becomes the new normal, and so it goes.  By the time we realize we’re in a severe situation, our options and ability to respond positively have diminished.

We’re not saying that an EOTW disaster would happen quite that slowly (although it might), but we are pointing out that things have a habit of ‘catching us unawares’ if we’re not closely monitoring whatever the process is that is evolving and thinking through its implications.

Furthermore, the reality is that no matter how keen a prepper we are, few of us really want to activate our prepping plans, possibly prematurely, and there’s also a subconscious inertia and resistance to change that will unduly delay our responding to events that need a timely response.  We need to be alert to changes and ready/willing/able to respond to them at the appropriate point – a point which of course should be before rather than after the time at which it becomes too late!

Some Slow Disasters

Let’s now think about some types of slowly evolving ‘disasters’ that might occur.  These tend to be more economic in nature than anything else – the first two examples are country-wide in nature, the third is regional, and the last two are more personal.

Electricity cost/shortages

We have seen electricity shortages come and go over the years, particularly in California in 2000 – 2001.  With the continued restrictions on building just about any type of new power station these days, it is far from inconceivable that electricity may not become in short supply again – a situation initially masked by it simply becoming more and more expensive, and then perhaps becoming rationed.

The ugly flip-side of the moves towards ‘smart energy management’ is a shift away from our universal expectation that electricity should always be available to us, whenever we want it, and for whatever purpose we need it for.  As we know from our planning for ‘grid-down’ futures, at present electricity truly is one of society’s greatest blessings, and whether we pay 5c or 50c per kWhr, it is a great value.

At what point would you decide that electricity had become too expensive and too short in supply, and in effect respond by going ‘off-grid’ and ‘growing your own’?  For an apartment dweller, this is of course more difficult because you don’t have vast expanses of roof to line with solar cells, or much control over the energy efficiency of your dwelling.

Petrol cost/shortages

Some parts of the country have seen gas prices brush and even break through $5/gallon on occasion in the past, sometimes for months at a time.  How long will it be before gas prices reach $5/gallon, all the time, everywhere?  And then $6?  And $7?  Even $10 and $15?

If that sounds unlikely, think of this.  Less than 25 years ago, gas was under $1/gallon.  It has gone up in price almost five-fold in 25 years.  For decades, petrol and other oil products were steadily reducing in price each year (in real terms after adjusting for inflation), and then they sort of flattened out, and now they are increasing at rates greater than inflation.  Here’s a useful graph showing prices from 1896 forwards in the UK, and here’s a spreadsheet of prices in the US from 1949.

Proponents of the ‘peak oil’ theory predict that gas prices will skyrocket in the next decade or less.  At the same time, it will become in shorter and shorter supply.  The latest move towards shale recovery has bought us some more time, and some more oil, but the ‘greenies’ are objecting and fighting this as furiously as they can.  A large – and growing – sector in our society doesn’t wish us to have access to cheap oil products.  They wish us to become oil-poor, as a way of – they believe – ‘saving the planet’.  In any case, as we’ve seen, even our domestic oil is going up in price, simply to match the market increases in oil prices worldwide.

At what point, at what price, will you say ‘enough already’ and give up on your present gas-based lifestyle?  What will you have/use/do as an alternative?  If your apartment isn’t centrally located, or at least close to good public transport, how will you respond?

Water cost/shortages

One of the biggest constraints on growth in much of the country is the availability of fresh pure water.  It is hard to know which is the bigger blessing in our modern lives – abundant affordable electricity, or abundant affordable water.  Happily, we presently have both, with the worst form of water shortages typically being nothing more severe than some restrictions on washing our cars during some of the summer months.

But the cost of water is steadily increasing, while its availability is becoming more and more constrained.  Last year (2013) we saw some of the worst droughts in decades affect crop production in much of the mid-west; all that means to us as consumers currently is little more than increased prices for meat, wheat and corn based products.  But with a decent steak now costing $15/lb or more – three times what it cost a decade or so back – how much further will we allow the costs of the basic essentials of our diet rise?

Even if water (and sewage) costs are built in to the rent you pay, you know that if the landlord has to pay more, then your rent is going to go up too.  At what point do these costs (and possible use restrictions) cause you either to move to a new region, or to retreat from normal society and to set up an alternate lifestyle, independent of your increasingly problematic and expensive city water and sewer services?

Unemployment

Maybe you lose your job.  Maybe you don’t get another job.  Month after month, you see your savings dwindle, and also, month by month, as time passes you become less and less appealing to potential employers.  All employers prefer to hire someone who is already employed, and all employers feel uncomfortable and worried if they see a person who has been out of work for many months.

As each month passes, you have less and less remaining capital.  At what point do you switch gears and change objectives and either move to another city to find work there, or instead ‘bug out’ for economic reasons, and switch to building a self-sustainable low-cost life elsewhere?

Neighborhood Decay

This is an interesting one (it has happened to me).  What happens if the area you live in starts to suffer from evolving urban demographics and becomes increasingly down-market?  The good news is your rent might stay the same or drop.  The bad news though – the nice middle class people who used to be your neighbors are leaving, and are being replaced by people you’re less comfortable living alongside.  Crime rates start to increase, and so on and so on.

At what point do you bail out yourself?  Do you simply move across town, or to a different city entirely, or is that the point where you move to your retreat?

Faster Evolving Disasters Can Catch You Unawares Too

Although we’re talking primarily about how a slow change in something can catch you unawares, by gradually evolving from insignificant to significant without you realizing or anticipating it, similar affects can come from faster developing problems too.

For example, and as Bernie mentioned yesterday, a forest fire heading your way.  At what point do you respond to the potential of being trapped?  Sure, you could rely on waiting for the authorities to officially notify you and command you to evacuate, but you might then find yourself with too little time to do a well planned well prepared bug-out.

The Longer You Wait, the Fewer Your Choices

The longer you wait to respond to a negative event, the less well able you can do so.  As you burn through your cash, it becomes harder and harder for you to consider options that don’t immediately start to bring in a cash flow again; and as you get closer to certain doom, your alternative options become fewer in number and less desirable in nature.

Furthermore, when it comes to an actual bug out situation, there is a world of difference between getting out of Dodge a day before the hordes all start to mass-migrate, or being part of the throng of evacuees because you dithered and delayed.  The day before, you can drive out of town on relatively uncongested roads and with the rule of law still more or less in place.  The day after, the freeways will become parking lots, the mobs will be rioting, and the rule of law will be disintegrating.  Any successful bug-out plan must have, at its core, the ability to act quickly and before the main mass of people slowly sluggishly start to respond.

We’re not saying you should panic the first time things turn sour on you in any part of life and living.  But we are saying to be careful about slow creeping problems that take away your independence and freedom, little by little.

The biggest problem people face is knowing when to say ‘enough, already’ and to activate some sort of formal response to a problem that has been gradually worsening.  Let’s look at one more example before considering a solution.

Don’t Lose ‘The Auction of Life’

If you’ve ever attended an auction, or browsed eBay, you’ve probably ended up buying something you didn’t want to buy.  I’ve bought a ridiculous car that I could barely drive off the lot, and I’ve paid way more than I told myself I would for things that I didn’t need.

Even when not being foolish yourself, you’ve surely seen countless examples of other people getting caught with the ‘auction fever’ which is the reason why auctions can work so well (for the auction house and seller).  We get caught into the excitement of the event, and we are also influenced by the people around us.

How many times have you told yourself ‘I won’t bid on this because I have no interest in it, nowhere to put it, and no need for it’ and ended up leaving the auction with the item under your arm?  How many times have you told yourself ‘I’ll bid up to $xx and then stop’ and ended up bidding way over that amount?

We all know how and why this happens.  But somehow, that knowledge doesn’t stop it from continuing to happen into the future.  Now for the ‘Auction of Life’.  This is one auction you can’t afford to mishandle.

The real trap in the ‘Auction of Life’ is that we keep revising the ‘trigger events’ we set ourselves.  We run the risk of recalibrating them and pushing out further and further the scenario which triggers our response.  We keep ‘bidding’ more and more in the ‘Auction of Life’ long after we reached the point where we’d dispassionately and originally told ourselves we’d stop.

How can you prevent this from continuing into your future?  That brings us to :

The Need to Create Lines in the Sand

Enough of auctions.  Let’s look now not at an example of the problem, but an example of the solution.

If you’ve ever attended a good self-defense class, you’ve been taught about the need to create clear ‘lines in the sand’ – events that clearly signal that the person who you are concerned about has evil intent, and events which cause you to confidently respond appropriately.

For example, you don’t like the look of the people walking towards you, so you cross the road.  If they cross the road to intersect with your path, that’s a clear ‘line in the sand’ that has been crossed.  You then might choose to turn the corner or cross the road back again – if they cross the road again too or follow you around the corner, then you know, for sure, this is not random circumstance.  Two lines in the sand have been crossed.  You might then call out – ‘Stop, Back Off, Go Away’.  If they continue towards you, you then present your pistol and say ‘Stop or I shoot!  Back Off!  Go Away!’

If the person still moves towards you, you then know ‘Okay, so he crossed the road to follow me when I did, then he crossed the road back to keep following me when I did, he ignored my warning, and now, with my gun pointed at him, he is still ignoring me’ and that gives you the confidence to know that your next action – an extreme one, but now an essential one, is justified and appropriate.

The key thing is having the confidence to act decisively on a major life-changing event.  In the example above, if you don’t have the confidence to act decisively, you risk becoming a victim rather than a victor, and if you don’t have the clear decision making process in your mind, you’ll be dithering for too long and suffer the consequences.  If you keep ‘raising the stakes’ in this ‘Auction of Life’ you’ll find that you’ll be the loser.

It is the same with anything else.  You need to set lines in the sand so that when they are crossed, you are aware of the event and ready with an appropriate response.

For example, you might decide ‘If gas prices reach $x, I will get an ultra-fuel efficient car’ and you might further decide ‘if gas prices reach $(x+y) then I will move from my current suburban lifestyle in which I need a car to an alternate lifestyle where the essential things are either within walking distance or conveniently served by public transport, or reachable by bicycle’.

There are other things, too.  You might decide ‘When the taxes in this state exceed the taxes in (another state you’d like to live in) then I’m going to make the move’.  You might decide ‘If this state restricts firearms and my right to self-defense, then I’ll move to a state with a more enlightened social policy on such things’.

Summary

Don’t risk becoming a boiled frog.

Create ‘lines in the sand’ that will sound alarms in your life when events cross over them, so that you realize ‘Hey, this is very different to what it used to be and what I want it to be’ and to allow you the freedom and flexibility to respond to changes in your life and lifestyle and life standards before it becomes too late to do so.

In particular, monitor the changes in your local environment and compare/contrast them to the changes in possible bug-out locations.  Maybe things truly are better somewhere else in the US, and maybe you should act positively to respond to the chance of a life-style improvement in such a better location.

David Spero publishes the Code Green Prep website.  He has a masters degree in business, has lived and worked internationally, speaks several languages, is a nationally accredited firearms instructor, a licensed ham radio operator, and a respected voice in the Prepper community.

 

 

Get the real deal. Whether bugging out or sheltering in place, you can never have enough clean water for survival: For your water purifier needs, please visit:

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5 Reasons Why You May have to Bug Out Even Though You Don’t Want to

One of the most hotly argued points in the prepping community is whether it is advisable to “shelter in place” or stay in your home or bug out when there is an emergency.  Many preppers would readily choose to shelter in place to be close to their emergency supplies.   Staying put would also be easier if you have no bug out retreat or destination.  I say it really depends on the type of disaster you are facing, so there is no definite answer to the shelter in place versus bugging out question.  Even though we would all rather stay at home, there are five reasons you may have to bug out:

1.  Natural disaster in your immediate region.   When hurricanes approach, people are asked to evacuate if they are in the direct path of the storm.  We’ve seen from previous disasters that in some cases, people in the worst hit areas who decided to stay put and become stranded and drowned.

2.  Fire approaching.  If you live in an area prone to wildfires, and one is headed in your direction, you will be asked to evacuate.  Authorities go around the neighborhood announcing the threat and give residents about 15 minutes to pack up belongings and head out.

3.  Industrial accident causing chemical spills, poisonous emissions or nuclear disaster.  We’ve all heard about the recent anniversary of the Fukushima, Japan earthquake and many of the areas affected have still not recovered.

In Houston, certain neighborhoods that are close to industrial sites have been affected by chemical spills and noxious gases.  In some cases, these neighborhoods have been evacuated.  Residents are able to return only after the “all clear” has been issued.  If you live in an area that can potentially be affected by these short term emergencies, have your go-bag ready and in a handy place at all times.

4.  Infrastructure has widespread damage.  If you live in an area that was hit by a disaster and has no electricity or water, with no estimate on when the fix will be made, you may want to get out and stay with relatives or friends for a while if you can.  If there is no water for a long period of time, sanitation will become compromised.  Similarly, if you live in an area where it gets hot or cold enough to endanger your health, and there is no power to make the house liveable, then you will be forced to leave the area.

5.  Post disaster, widespread looting/crime with no law enforcement available.  If you decided to stay put during a disaster but later find that there is no longer any “rule of law” being enforced in the area, then it will become too dangerous to stick around.  You may want to stay and defend what’s yours but if there is a risk you become overrun by a greater number, then you must consider bugging out.

No one wishes for any of these situations to happen, but the possibility exists.  The choice whether to stay put or bug out is entirely personal and will change according to circumstances.   Picturing various scenarios and what you would do in each one will help you make your own decision when the time comes.

 

 

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A Review of No Rinse Personal Care Products

No Rinse Personal Care ProductsI received an assortment of No Rinse personal care products for review.  No Rinse is a line of “waterless” personal care products, hair care, body wash, bathing wipes etc. It is made by CleanLife Products LLC, which has been in business since 1948.  No Rinse has been used by NASA, military personnel, hospitals, home health agencies, and for disaster relief.

The Test

To properly test No Rinse, I skipped taking a shower on a Saturday, then again on Sunday.  I also went on a 45 minute run on both days.  It was not a super hot day, but it was muggy.  After the Sunday run, I got very sweaty and really needed a shower.

I tried the No Rinse shampoo first, on sweaty, slightly matted hair. If you’ve ever colored your hair, using hair dye on dry hair, you will know what this feels like.  Not quite soaked but wet and very slightly sudsy.  It does not lather up like shampoo.   I have straight, course hair and I worked the No Suds through the scalp to the ends of my hair.  Then I towel dried.   After the hair dried it still felt just a tad heavier and not as clean as water rinsed hair, but it was fresh smelling and better than unwashed hair.   If I water was scarce, I am sure I would appreciate being able to clean my hair this way.

Next, I tried the body wash.  According to the instructions, you can apply the wash directly to your skin or use a washcloth.  I did not really want to be spilling liquid so I did the wash cloth method.

No Rinse2

I used the No Rinse in the wash cloth and wiped the entire right side of my body.  The body wash had a pleasant smell, like a “powder fresh” type scent, but not overly strong.  I have a sensitive nose and tend to get allergies from strong smells but this scent did not bother me.  After I finished my right side, I did a self check.  My skin felt clean and there was no sweaty smell.

I tried the wipes on the left side.  Again, the result was good.  The scent was fresh and the wipes cleaned the skin very well.

I had the kids try the antibacterial foam and they liked it a lot.   Kids of all ages get germy, and the foaminess encourages them to clean their hands.

All in all I consider the No Rinse test a success.  Being able to stay clean in an emergency protects your health as well as helps maintain morale.  Consider keeping a supply of No Rinse in the car for long drives, in the emergency kit and the bug out bag.  No Rinse products can be purchased from distributors or from the No Rinse Amazon Store.

 

 

What to Do if Your Bug Out Vehicle is Too Small

Prepping in small spaces is a topic we’ve discussed, but we have not discussed space issues in a bug out vehicle.

Many city dwellers are trying to save on gas, and are downsizing to a smaller vehicle.  Several relatives have switched to small economy cars or hybrids after getting tired of high gas prices.  If you live in a city, there is always a chance you may need to get out, hopefully you will be able to drive out while you can.

Now is a good time to evaluate your bug out vehicle, before any emergency happens.  Here are some considerations:

  • Number of people riding with you.
  • Trunk/storage space
  • Gas mileage
  • Ability to drive in flooding and rough terrain
  • Height of the car
  • Condition of the car

How much supplies you want to take with you?  You’ll need to be choosy about what will go into your bug out vehicle.  I realize many preppers favor “bugging in” instead of driving out.  I can understand it is much easier to shelter in place.  But everyone needs a “Plan B” in case you have to flee an immediate danger in the city.  You will need essentials such as water, food, shelter (tents etc), your bug out bags.  If you have pets you will also need space for them and their supplies.  You may also need a gas can or two, depending on the situation.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Clean out your car thoroughly.  I know people who carry a lot of clutter in their trunk such as sports equipment, bags of clothes they need to donate or take to the cleaners, even trash.  I’m not judging anyone, but if you happen to have junk in your car, get rid of it.
  • Maintain your car.  Are you overdue for an oil change or tune-up?   Do your brakes need replacing?  Are your tires balding?  I have been guilty of all of the above at some point in my life when I kept putting off repairs due to budget constraints.  Do your best to get your car serviced.  You don’t want your car to break down when you are trying to get your family to safety.
  • If your car lacks space for emergency supplies, now is the time to look into ways to increase storage space:

Roof luggage rack

Roof luggage rack

Roof Cargo bag Rooftop cargo box or rooftop cargo bag

Cargo Carrier

Cargo carrier

Before you buy, check the specifications carefully to make sure the space extender you are buying will fit your car.

Low budget idea:  If you have a built in roof rack, mount items on the rack with rope and a black or brown tarp,  but you will will need to practice doing this to make sure everything is secure.  Not very attractive, but if you are trying to leave in a hurry then you may not care about appearances, just try to avoid attracting attention.

You could also find these items used.  As people change cars, they will not be needing the old rack for the old car.

I’m not an expert on cars, and you may find other solutions work better for you.  Space in your car may someday be as critical as the space in your home.  The good news is, these space extenders are useful to have even if no emergency ever happens.

 

 

For beginning preppers

 

 

We’re Still Talking to Nobody – Part 2

Today we continue with our interview with Joe Nobody, author of multiple survival books.  If you didn’t catch the first part, please visit the previous post.

4. What are some key features that you look for in a bug out location?

 A: Here is what I look for in a BOL:

- Is there good water and the potential for non-linear food sources (fishing, hunting, gardening, fruit trees)?

- Does the location support hiding in plain sight? Stealth is always the best defense

- Can I defend the location if eventually discovered?

 People, in a long term collapse, will be the problem. Always keep this in mind when selecting a location. I don’t like sounding heartless, or as if I dislike my fellow man, but unless you are worried about the dead rising from the ground, what else is going to threaten you? Packs of wild dogs?

5. Most city dwellers feel they have to remain within, or close to the city due to their jobs, kids’ schools – how do you work around this?

 A: Let me be clear. I find the chances of collapse, SHTF or TEOTWAWKI very unlikely. The sky is not falling, and the United States Government will not disappear overnight. With that being said, my preps are always dual purpose. My bug out equipment is also camping equipment. Camping is fun for my family, so I get a dual usage from the time/investment.

If my job required me to live in the city, then I would live in the city and prepare as much as possible to bug out. I would pick some recreational activity that I felt added value to my life – something that my family and I enjoyed. Hunting, fishing (boats make an excellent bug out location in the right circumstances), bird watching, rock climbing…you get the idea. I would focus on what was good and fun and yet still helped with my preps. Probably 99% of the population loves some aspect of nature. Embrace that aspect, and use it to motivate you to prep. Just going camping for one weekend will teach you so much about preparing you won’t believe it. 

 Don’t let preparing run your life. Make preparing, and the peace of mind that comes with being prepared, a natural by-product of your life.

6. If you had the freedom to do it all over again, which state in the United States would you pick to have your bug out home and why?

A: To quote Davey Crocket, “You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas.” For me, Texas offers the best compromise of life, both pre-collapse and post-collapse. Since I find it unrealistic to plan for a bug out location that is far from my everyday home and work, Texas just fits.

Really, different folks prefer different areas based on what is important to them and how they want to live. Some people avoid states with strict firearms ownership laws. Another valid consideration is the average annual climate as northern environments might not provide year-round food gathering. A high population density is a negative variable as well. Some folks would prefer to “close ranks” with just their immediate family, while others prefer the security of a group of people sharing resources and skillsets at the same bug out location.

Personally, I would choose friends, family and local knowledge over some perceived prepper panacea thousands of miles away. 

7. In a large scale disaster, grid down situation, if you don’t have a bug out location, is it better to stay put OR take your chances bugging out and finding a spot far from dense population?

A: This is a very difficult question as the circumstances of both the event and the skills/equipment of the individual come into play. Some people may become refugees, while staying put may result in becoming causalities. Each individual should make a plan based on that person’s own capabilities and skills. JOB ONE: HAVE A PLAN

(Editor’s note:  I asked for “just one” for the next two questions as apartment preppers tend to have limited space and may not be able to keep multiples)

8. For those readers of my blog who love weapons, if you were limited to one rifle and scope, which one would you pick and why?

A: This is a “loaded” question (pun intended). No matter what I answer, I’m sure to get hate mail over this one. Regardless – here goes:

Rifle – A Patriot Ordnance Factory 7.62 (.308) with a 16.5 inch barrel. I would mount it with an ELCAN Specter DR 6x optic in .308 reticle. Now, this weapon is not for everyone. I just described over $5,000 in equipment. But, you said “one rifle,” and this would be it.

Why? Like everyone else, I study forums, reviews and blogs before I purchase weapons. But the ultimate evaluation comes from my own personal experience. I have several POF rifles and have found them to be the most reliable, longest-lasting AR15/AR10 long guns made. There is little compromise between accuracy, reliability, and combat power, and that is VERY rare in the world of weapons. Both my son and I have this exact model, and both are sub-MOA weapons that NEVER fail with quality ammo. What more can you ask for?

As far as the ELCAN goes, I first saw these being used by the Canadians in Afghanistan. (A salute of respect to our northern cousins – you fight well) I like the ELCAN over an ACOG or other holographic optics because:

-         I can change it from long-range scope to close quarter optic in less than a second.

-         The ELCAN gathers light slightly better than an ACOG, so it works better at long range when using night vision or at dusk/dawn.

While the Aimpoint T1 is king of the hill concerning battery life, the ELCAN’s aren’t bad either. The ACOG, of course, doesn’t require any batteries but the light strip eventually will wear out. While I have several ACOG optics on various rifles, again, you limited my choice to a single piece.

9. If you had to choose just one pistol, what would you choose and why?

I would go with a Glock 23 (Gen 3). Now, before a riot breaks out over this pick, let me say I don’t even own a Glock. I only carry 1911 model pistols for fighting. So why would I switch if I could only choose one handgun? The Glock’s reputation for ease of use and reliability are well-earned. If I had family members who might have to use the weapon, I want something that is simple, safe, holds a ton of rounds and has reasonable fire power. I would probably go with a 9mm due to commonality of ammo. While I would never carry a 9mm onto a battlefield (I’m a .45 bigot), we are talking survival and preparing here, and this would be my choice. 

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to let your readers get know Joe Nobody a little better. If the ideas above help a single person with their preps, then we have all had a good day.

A big Thank You to Joe Nobody for your willingness to answer a bunch of questions! 

Click on the image below to visit Joe Nobody’s website.

 

An inexpensive but helpful tool to keep track of supplies (Iphone or Ipad users)

Don’t forget to check out our friends at http://PreppingGuys.com for gear review and preparedness projects!

Apartment Prepper Talks to Nobody – Part 1

The following is Part 1 of Apartment Prepper’s Interview with Joe Nobody

I have read Joe Nobody’s books, Holding Your Ground and Holding Their Own and found both to be well written and full of information for any prepper.

Before we go any further, here is a quick background on Joe Nobody from the biography on Amazon:

Joe Nobody (pen name for the author who wishes to keep his identity confidential) has provided systems, consulting and training for the U.S. Army, Department of Homeland Security, Office of Naval Research, United States Border Patrol as well as several private firms and government agencies which cannot be disclosed.He is currently active in this area and for the security of his family and ongoing business, wishes to remain anonymous.

He has over 30 years of competitive shooting experience, including IPSC, NRA, and other related organizations. He has been a firearms instructor and consultant for over 30 years and holds the rights to a United States Patent for a firearms modification.

I heard his recent interview with Jack Spirko’s Survival Podcast and was going to write about my impressions when I decided to take a chance and ask Joe for an interview myself.  He kindly agreed and was very accommodating about answering several questions.

1. Since space is an issue with many apartment preppers, what are your thoughts about using a climate-controlled storage facility to store some of your preps such as guns, bulk foods etc?

A: In my first book, Holding Your Ground, I actually recommend this option for apartment dwellers. The trick, of course, is to find storage close by where you can safely go back and forth to access your stash. Depending on the type and duration of a collapse, this might be a challenge. I wouldn’t worry about its being climate controlled. In a grid-down collapse, the AC will be off anyway. Plus, there is no need to be concerned about the climate if it is stocked with items that do not require temperature or humidity control. You may have to stay inside of your apartment for several days until the civil unrest dies down.

Some other ideas for a cache:

- A van or pickup (with a camper shell or locking cover) in the parking garage. If you think society is going down the slippery slope, go fill it up with goodies. A 4×4 pickup with a camper shell is, from my point-of-view, about the best bug out buggy there is. It won’t attract attention, can holds a ton of preps (well, .75 ton) and is inexpensive/robust.

- An unoccupied unit in your complex. You should always know where these are if things look like they are getting out of control. If the grid is down, bands of starving people are roaming the city looking for places to loot, then the building manager is not likely to mind if you use an empty unit for storage.

- My old building in Chicago (I lived on the 44th floor) rented storage closets in the basement. That area would hold a lot of supplies. Not all buildings have this feature, but you might check with the complex manager on what they recommend for storage.

2. Acquiring a bug out location seems out of reach for many apartment dwellers who don’t own any property — what steps did you take to get your bug out location?

A: In my first apartment, I had family within escape distance, and they would welcome me in – should SHTF. Later, I had to get creative, as I didn’t have the financial means to properly prepare, and my job forced me to move often. Here are the things I looked for:

- Hunting leases often have cabins or old houses. While primitive, they would beat living in a tent.

- At one point in time, I purchased full camping gear and had it ready to go in a backpack. If society all went to hell, my plan was to drive/walk to a remote area with good water and few people. I knew enough to live off the land.

- Many people develop friendships or relationships with rural land owners close by. I know of one couple (in the metro Cleveland, Ohio area) who love to square dance and met local farmers through those events. Over time, they developed a close friendship and thus a bug out location was born. No matter what size city your apartment/condo is in, there are always nature programs, farmer’s markets, bird watching societies – whatever. Establish a relationship with someone who has a good bug out spot and would welcome you if TEOTWAWKI occurs. One piece of advice – focus your limited resources on one specialty or type of supplies that allows you to ADD VALUE if you have to show up after a traumatic event. My value was always my experience with weapons and supply of ammo. Yours may be medical knowledge and medical supplies. Earn your keep if you are staying with someone else.

- Used campers are an option for a BOL. So are boats. These items are often inexpensive and many “pop up” models of campers can be towed with the average sedan. Pick a state park or other remote area with good resources if you have to get out of metropolis.

- Some years ago I found an RV rental facility not far from my apartment. I rented one for the weekend to “learn the ropes.” My plan while living in that city was to run down and rent an RV to bug out in. If everything went to hell, I wasn’t going to be worried about my credit card balance. I would advise everyone to execute a dry run. Driving one of these big machines takes some getting used to and the supplies you will need differ from the average camping trip. 

3. What were the biggest obstacles to getting a bug out location and how did you overcome them?

My mindset was always my biggest obstacle. It seems like I always spent my limited funds on something else (I just gotta have that big screen TV) and procrastinated on allocating funds or time towards a BOL. This is easy to do. Some news report (on that big screen TV) would come on and I would say to myself, “I should’ve saved that money for a pop-up camper to use in case this city goes nuts.”

The biggest part of preparing is discipline. Fiscal, mental, light, noise, physical fitness, reading boring books on survival plants…you name it…those that survive post-SHTF will require strong discipline. It can be developed with some effort, and I have found my quality of life is better overall by having done so. The same mental discipline I use for preparing comes in handy for a lot of life’s normal activities.

Editor’s note:  Joe covered some great ideas for apartment preppers, and there is more to come.  Please feel free to voice your questions and comments below.  And don’t forget to come back and read Part Two of the interview on my next post!

Click on the image below to visit Joe Nobody’s website.

 

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Get the real deal. Whether bugging out or sheltering in place, you can never have enough clean water for survival: For your water purifier needs, please visit: