Friday, November 21, 2014

Quote of the Day

Camping Survival Weekend

Most of us take more time to plan our vacation than to plan for the survival of our family or friends during an emergency. We wait too long or for Black Friday or Cyber Monday hoping to get the best deal. This year we are presenting

Camping Survival Weekend! 

Starting Today - Friday November 21st
You now have the chance to get ahead of the madness and chaos. The fact that we promote preparedness, this weekend we are going to be having our SALES before Black Friday. Now you don't have to wait for some other retailer to tell you when you can save and instead have this entire weekend to stock up. Best of all you will be prepare before any unforeseen disaster that comes calling and enjoy the time you have with your family throughout this holiday season.


Best Regards,
Camping Survival

On a personal and entirely unrelated note:
To MM1, Dude I just saw your comment(s). Would definitely like to get my hands on that Kelty for T&E. Please drop me a line at theotherryan@yahoo.com.

-Ryan

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

AR 500 Body Armor Concept of Use

Mentioned recently that I got an AR500 body armor package from JRH Supply. I have watched the body armor industry in recent years with some interest. Prices have radically dropped on ceramic plates and the steel plate industry has really matured. Bottom line is that body armor is dipping solidly into or very near the common man price range.

Anyway I pretty much had a post formed in my head when I saw this youtube video from Southernprepper1. It hits all the points I consider valid in an enjoyable format.
This is our second set of hard plates, the first one being ceramic. Ceramic plates are a lot lighter and one might argue offer better protection due to the potential for spalling. However they are really a one time use item; ceramic plates are very hard but brittle think concrete. If some strange circumstances led to me taking one in the chicken plate next week I'd order a new plate. Obviously that is a problem for a Patriots world where resupply is nonexistent. Enter the steel plate. They take a hit and are just as good as before. A set put back as a 'just in case' item could be awful handy. So I went out and got one. In due time I would like to get one for every family member. Steel plates also are handy because they are as cheap as you can get in terms of hard class III body armor. These offer a couple of real advantages for survivalists.

Got body armor?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Chicken Update

This hadn't got a ton of explicit discussion so I can see how Harry might have missed it. This spring we got chickens. Have them set up in a chain link dog run with chicken wire reinforcement. We started with four of them. All summer they popped out 3-4 eggs a day. In mid September one was eaten. We got 3 not yet laying hens to replace her.

I won't say the whole thing has been an economic gain but we are eating more, higher quality eggs than before. Also it has been a learning experience and it was something I really wanted to do for awhile. Sometimes a thing can at least in part be it's own reward.

Anyway so yeah we have chickens.

Monday, November 17, 2014

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

Cleaned out the garage and organized a bunch of stuff. Working on eating better.

Bought those Baogeng radios and a water barrel. Also 180 pounds or so each of white rice and beans plus a big thing of sugar.

Also got a set of the very affordable AR500 body armor and a plate carrier from JRH Enterprises and 100 pounds of chicken food.

It was a particularly good week here. What did you get done?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Interesting Discussion on Assault Pack Sized Systems and Rucks at TEOTWAWKI Blog

TEOTWAWKI Blog has been discussing different types of sustainment type systems of the smaller 'assault pack' type as well as the larger more traditional ruck sack type ones. I discussed this general topic not too long ago in

Assault Packs, Rucks and Sustainment Loads Revisited 

and before that with

Field Gear, Fighting Loads, Assault Packs and Bringing It All Together

so you can see my thoughts. Now for the T Blog posts; Bug out Bags and Vehicles which led to Bug Out Bag discussion continued. The second post went a long way to clarify the thoughts of the original post.

The T blog definition of "bug out bag" falls into my level 2.5 umbrella.  These bags are certainly handy. They are small/ light enough to be handy and come everywhere with you. They can reasonably (minus water) sustain a person for a couple days under most conditions. Even if the consumables are expended the tools and gear can be useful even if your tummy is grumbling.

These bags really fall short when they run out of consumables. Not an issue for a fairly limited scenario, like say making the 30 mile trek home if you cannot drive, but if the scenario is more open ended it is obviously problematic. Also these bags are entirely inadequate for cold weather as they do not contain sufficient cold weather gear or a genuine cold weather sleeping bag. I hesitate to give an exact temp but certainly 32 degrees and probably upwards to 40ish though the environment and what people are used to matters a lot.


A full sized hiking/ backpacking type backpack or as many many military types would call it a ruck is larger than any of the level 2.5 assault pack type systems though not necessarily that much so. These type bags have been used by many different groups from the military, hunters and of late recreational outdoorsmen for a long time. In the last 50 years or so generally have some manner of a frame and more robust padding to help support the weight of the bag.

These bags offer the capacity to hold more stuff than smaller bags. This means larger and more robust tools as well as more consumables and better clothing/ shelter options. These bags will let you survive much more comfortably and for a longer period than smaller systems.  My BOB list can be seen here.

It is worth noting the two types of systems we have described are points along a spectrum. A 20 pound assault pack is going to be different than a 40 pound ruck which would be different from a 75 pound ruck. Generally speaking along the ruck lines I find a pretty sweet spot in the 37-47 pound range where you have most of the capabilities of a real sustainment load without being too heavy/ bulky/ cumbersome.

On the discussion of using the two together. Currently my two bags are set up to use separately. One is in my vehicle and the other is with our survival stuff. If I were to transition to using them both together I would need to do a marriage style combination of stuff and then put the newly redundant stuff towards another purpose. Or I could just make it easy and get a basic earth tone type backpack to toss into my ruck empty (note I have a bag that work work for this). The right answer is that my ruck should include a dedicated smaller bag with a modest amount of well thought out stuff in it to use for short day trips if I leave the ruck in a base camp or temporarily cache it.

Anyway I hope this discussion has given you something to think about.










Saturday, November 15, 2014

Productive Saturday

This morning I took the rug rats out shopping and doing errands. Wifey was able to get a bunch of cleaning done while we were gone. Got back and cleaned the garage. It was a big mess and I have been putting off dealing with it. Well today was the day. Put some nails up to hang folding chairs and strollers on. Organized a bunch of stuff. Threw junk away. Reorganized my ancillary gun gear. Also split my general mag storage from one huge container to two large containers. This will make them easier to move around (a 30 gallon tote full of mags and spare parts is pretty heavy) and if/ when I work out the details to store them separately. The garage is now a well organized useful space.

Wifey did some much needed landscaping.

Fired up the chainsaw just because. Going to do the same with the generator tomorrow.

The way things have worked out right now the prep fund is flush with cash. Sadly not FLIR kind of money but I guess I could buy a rifle, if that's what I needed. However since I am preparing not just buying guns I'll probably get some #4 shot in case I need to hunt little stuff, some buckshot for two legged predators and those Baofeng radios if just to finally get them off my list. Of course I plan to order a month or two worth of food also. Also toying with a knife purchase.

Put a couple items up for sale. 

Given that we usually get nothing done on Saturday this was an excellent and productive day.

Additionally I found a source of some more wood so tomorrow I'll probably do that. Also got to rig the tarp over the chicken coop up better. Water is pooling in low points and putting stress on the structure. Given the roof is a redneck setup I made from free components stress on it is sub optimal. Definitely something I need to fix before winter really sets in.

Anyway lots of stuff got done today. Did a little shrimp boil for a late dinner now I'm sitting by the fire. Going to read for a little bit then go to bed.

Hope you all had a great day.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pleased to Announce Our Newest Advertiser JRH Enterprises

JRH Enterprises is an awesome company I am thrilled to welcome to the Total Survivalist team. They are probably best known for higher end products like PVS 14 3rd Gen Night Vision and DBAL I2 IR Lasers (both of which I own. Got my NOD from them and reviewed it here. Also my thoughts on the combo.) and the FLIR Scout I have a serious case of gear lust over.

However they do offer a wide variety of products that appeal to a variety of needs and budgets. Their AR500 body armor combo is a heck of a deal. More to follow on that particular piece of kit. Anyway I am happy to be working with this excellent company. You should check out their site and consider them when making a purchase.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Open Lines Friday 7 NOV PT 2: Preparedness Challenges in the Military

Open Lines Friday is sure making for some interesting blog fodder. Think it is a feature worth trying out with an eye towards becoming a regular thing. I'll play with frequency over time to see how many questions you are all interested in hearing my opinion on. A higher the numbers of questions/ comments/ links will push for it to be be more common, maybe even weekly, while less interest will make me lean towards less often. So if you like this feature chime in with questions next time it comes up and throw links to the posts up on your blogs/ sites/ forums.

Today's question is:

"Hi Ryan...been a regular follower of your blog for the past few years now. Great work, love your opinion/perspective. I'm glad you posed this topic. I'm a military officer of about 6 years now, and the issue I face with preparedness is PCS-ing every 3-4 years. I haven't been able to find a good blog or posting about the difficulties of a mandatory military move every couple of years. I would love to see a post or series about the constraints of having to relocate vice being permanently located at your retreat. What has your experience been with this as a member of the military?"

"Pineslayer replied: Jamison Vincent, think storage lockers, off base, if stateside. A bike that can set up quickly to haul 'stuff' shouldn't gather much attention. Maybe donate food stores when relocating. Any vehicle gives you an edge. Good luck and thank you. "

Ryan here: 
 I haven't specifically hit on this topic though some posts sort of danced around it. Some time ago Commander Zero asked about Preparedness and the Military but it does not specifically apply here.  Some time back I did a post on moving with guns and ammo which does cover part of the question so is worth touching on.I also did a post on Military Families when SHTF that one might want to read.

It is worth noting that while on average I do believe military members move more often, and further, than most other folks the issue of moving is not specifically a military problem. For example in recent years Alexander Wolfe of TEOTWAWKI Blog has moved almost as often as I do.

Specific problems are going to be capitalized. After talking the problems I will touch on potential strategies for mitigation.

PHYSICALLY MOVING: Survivalism inherently leads to the accumulation of gear, tools, and guns as well as bulk/ heavy items like bulk ammo and food.  It doesn't take many cases of 62 grain M855 5.56 ammo (on sale for $359/1k at Lucky Gunner) to get heavy in a hurry. However at least ammo is fairly compact. Using the rough Pastor Joe Fox formula of a 5 gallon bucket full of food being enough for 1 person for 1 month even a 1 year supply for 2 people is a significant weight and bulk consideration. Moving all your stuff sucks and there is no way around it. However in my experience this is overall the least problematic of the issues we are going to discuss. This is because while it is a significant hassle it is over after you get to the other end and unpacked.

On the plus side you mentioned being an Officer so at least your weight allowance should be pretty decent. Get smart on what movers are required to transport so they don't bamboozle you. They have to move commercially packed food which is significant for a survivalist. On the other hand for ammo, fuel, etc you've got to haul it on your own. While you do not control how often or when you move from post to post you do control how often you move within a specific area so get there and figure out a good place to live then stay there. Movers will hold your stuff for (IIRC) up to 90 days then deliver it. That should give you time to learn the area a bit so you don't want to move ten minutes away in a few months.

INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS/ COST AMORTIZATION: Folks who stay in one place can build a nice garden with raised beds and call it good. Every few years they might need some more soil but their setup is there and ready to go. Ditto fences, chicken coops, rainwater catchment, etc all. Additionally since they do not need to redo these costs over time those areas cost per output (cents per egg, dollar a bushel of produce, etc) go down. If you move frequently a lot of efforts will need to be duplicated and there are costs associated with that.

I really don't have many answers for this. Honestly I'm struggling with the problems myself.

SYSTEM REINVENTION. It is not too hard to have four different awesome routes all planned out for each of your three potential bug out locations for a person who is settled in one area with a solid network of friends and family (we'll hit that next). However redoing all of that work every couple years (say 1ish for a PCS school and 3-4 for a duty station) would be downright difficult. Around the time you put up the last alternate cache in your last location it would be time to move. That is to say nothing of the expense involved in redoing these efforts every couple years. This could also be said about gardening, bartering, getting into the gun crowd, etc at your new location. Basically you have to hit reset on a bunch of stuff every couple years.

Putting effort into systems that can be moved easily is the best idea I have to offer. No huge answers here. In many ways our efforts are far less developed than they would be if we hadn't moved several times in the last few years. My system of caches and potential locations would be far better developed if I was able to put money and effort in knowing it would solve problems over the long term instead of just for a couple years. Honestly the best way forward I can see is setting up a fixed location near home and shifting some efforts to that location.

SOCIAL NETWORKS: Since I do not live near home I am not working on relationships or contingency/ MAG stuff there. Also contacts I develop in a location are potentially nice to have for the future but only really good for that location. It is a potential advantage that I am developing contacts, albeit shallow ones, in different places.

The best mitigation here is that I am currently part of the biggest baddest gang in the world, the US Army.

Anyway this post is a bit shy on solutions and for that I am sorry.  My intent is not just to admire the problem. Hopefully I have at least partially helped frame out the problem and offered some solutions to think about.

I'm open to other peoples thoughts, especially if they have struggled with survivalism while living the military life.

Thoughts?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Open Lines Friday 7 NOV Answers PT 1

Note my answers are bold and in italics

wildbillb said...sure, lots of questions.

plans for long-term food production and storage. no store food for 2-4 months.


As to production we have 6 chickens and do our best at gardening. Not going to make a huge dent in caloric needs but we are producing something and learning. The goal is sort of a gradual increase in production each year towards the end of production being a decent percentage of consumption.

As to storage. We TRY to keep a good bit of normal shelf stable stuff we eat around. Peanut butter and jelly, canned stuff, rice, flour, mac n cheese, cereal, oatmeal, oil, etc all.  For the longer term we have a decent bit of long term food stashed in mylar sacks in buckets. Given my lack of real dedicated focus on the details of X jars of this and Y cans of that I'm sure we would have some gaping holes but we would definitely still be eating at the 4 month mark.


short-term: what if property tax goes up to 10x or even just 5x.


This is an interesting point. Generally speaking I do not see property taxes exploding. However I do see them rapidly adjusting up when values rise and failing to drop when they go down. If suddenly your place goes from being valued at 150k to 250k taxes almost double. Add in the economy going to hell and maybe losing your job and that is a real problem.

In the great depression a lot of people lost very valuable land because they couldn't pay the taxes on it. They sold good productive land for nothing to pay the taxes on the plot with the house. I would submit on general principle this means it is worthwhile to consider not only the cost of a home/ ranch/ retreat but the taxes. It is better to buy a smaller place you know you can pay the taxes on no matter what then a bigger place where the taxes would be a stretch.

I would rather have a normal house on 20 acres I could pay the tax on by working part time as a greeter at Wally World than a 250 acre ranch with a huge house and 2 guest houses that had taxes equivalent to an average salary in the county. The reason is I could figure a lot of ways to come up with say 3k a year in property taxes but 30k would be a lot even if things go OK.


short-term: what if banks freeze savings, or charge interest? cash storage options.

I generally suggest keeping a month's worth of cash expenses (food, fuel, medicine, etc) in mixed bills at home. A month's INCOME is even better. If your situation is high risk for a banking freeze, running, etc more money makes sense. If you have a lot of cash just siting around by all means keep some more. Keeping cash covers you for a power outage or a hurricane or a banking holiday.

As to storage options. Commander Zero made a great point awhile back that your biggest enemy in storing cash is generally yourself raiding it for pizza or to buy a new shiny gun, etc. Your scenario matters a lot as does the amount of money we are talking about. If you live alone in a safe place putting $500 in an envelope in your desk drawer is just fine. If you want to keep several thousand dollars at home and have a lifestyle where a variety of people are often in your home it would be smart to get a decent safe and bolt it down. Various cache options are also worth considering. It is worth considering complication here. Say you stash the first $500 in mixed bills in the desk then a couple grand in the gun safe. Go beyond that and you stash the balance in 2 ziplock bags inside a coffee can buried someplace.

short-term: level of crime increases, how to ensure wife/kids are safe during errands, in the home, etc. concealed carry vs escort.

This covers a lot of ground so I will do my best.

You can do some analysis within the general area you live in about crime. With all the databases and information available these days it is not too hard to do a pattern analysis and threat wheel on crime in your AO.

Pattern analysis simply looks at given activities and locations. For the sake of this conversation say we look at vehicle theft, home break in's (no occupants), armed robbery, assault, home invasion, kidnapping and murder. We would then plot the occurrence of these events within the area we are looking at, say maybe a city and greater suburban area or a couple counties.   In the most simple way red pins on the map would be vehicle theft, brown assault, black murder, etc. Obviously more pins in an area is bad.

After that we would take those same occurences and look at time. First would be the day with a 24 hour clock. Next we would look at the week and month. After that we could focus in on other potential variables such as pay checks (1st and 15th for many people), welfare payments, lunar cycles, sporting events, etc.

When you put the two of these together it becomes apparent that while anything can happen anywhere a very high percentage of crime happens in certain areas during fairly predictable time periods.Obviously you do not want to go to those areas much at all, especially at those times.

 In terms of crime where you live matters a lot. If you live in a dangerous place then it is prudent to make financial choices that allow you to move to a safer one. This is especially true in a slow slide scenario where every neighborhood takes a step down the ladder of safety. Live in a slightly less posh place in a safe neighborhood instead of a nicer place where bad stuff happens.

As to keeping the fam safe above what I already said.

 When it comes to homes like anything real estate, location, location, location. Also avoiding displays of compact wealth is prudent.

Even way back when she was my GF I strongly recommended Wifey didn't go to certain places alone, based on an informal threat assessment. If she needed to go there or just wanted to I would tag along.

Also I tend to handle riskier business such as moving around decent amounts of cash or buying and selling stuff.

Wifey has a valid CCW and owns a revolver though she does not carry it regularly. At least she has the LEGAL option and a piece so if she wants to it is doable. Obviously if we had just one reasonable CCW pistol and were going different places that would be an issue.

This last section lacked focus and got to rambling but I hope it gave you some things to think about. Please leave any and all comments for me to respond to.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Saturday Night Music





Definitely not my usual style of music but this song is catchy. Ended up seeing the video, not sure why, and found it entertaining. Kind of a cool retro vibe. Also the gal is cute and about ten pounds on the right side of fat. Hope you enjoy.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Open Lines Friday

If you have a question fire away with it. Could be short and simple or long and complex, or anywhere in between. Preparedness stuff is probably the focus though random stuff is fine too. As to personal stuff it depends and my OPSEC is a big consideration. So I will not share stuff that involves some specific locations or dates but if you want to know whether I like Coors Light vs MGD, what I like on pizza or my favorite action movie that's fine.

Also if you have comments about stuff you want to see on the blog please let me know so I can help address your desires.

I will answer questions at some point over the long weekend.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

Ordered $10 face value in 90% silver and a 1/10th ounce gold coin
Reenforced the roof of the chicken coop
Set up a 'naked bag' to go with my level 2.5 GHB
Split the last of the firewood
Hit fitness pretty hard
Lost 2.5lbs

What did you do to prepare this week?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Cold Weather, Fires, and Minutia

Seems it has finally gotten cold here in Central Louisiana. Well it's hitting the 40's at night anyway. Good morning running weather. Had the first fire of the season Saturday and another yesterday. Sitting by a fire in the evening is very nice and relaxing. Something in that experience is hard wired into the human psyche.

Today the darn dishwasher gave out. I got to messing with it. Kinda didn't read carefully in the manual and unintentionally disconnected the inbound water line BEFORE TURNING IT OFF!!! So uncomfortably hot water started spewing everywhere. Wifey came into quite a mess of spewing water and me quite uncomfortably trying to get the line reconnected while getting spewed in hot water.

Eventually got the line turned off then we cleaned up the giant mess of water on the floor. Thankfully at least I got it reconnected OK so we can have hot water while figuring this mess out. Will do some research and see what to do next. Hopefully we can fix this because it has already been an expensive month and we're rolling into the holidays.

Had planned to write something smart about the elections tomorrow or something but my time was spent messing with the washer. Talk to you tomorrow.
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