Saturday, January 16, 2016

Is Preparedness Category based, Linear or All Over The Place?

A recent talk with Commander Zero inspired this post. Since memory is fallible and I am uncomfortable putting words in other people mouths (especially if I didn't ask to share them) I will not try to quote him. Just assume everything smart comes from Zero and the boring/ stupid stuff is me.

We could look at a few different ways to prepare. Lets discuss some generalities and what I consider the pro's and cons of them.

Category based. Lets say the categories are guns/ ammo, food, energy, comms, medical, tools, gear and misc. We could debate them but for the purpose of this discussion you get the point. You would work on one category until it is complete then go to another, then another, etc.

Pro- Mass. In this way you are going to see significant progress. Seeing progress has a real motivational component in keeping people working.

Con- Not balanced. In almost every preparedness situation you need some stuff in many if not every category. A whole lot of food doesn't cancel out the need for self defense. A great communications system is not a substitute for a spare pair of boots. You get the idea.

Linear- Working to move all categories forward in a reasonably balanced way. Say get ready for a normal black out with a few days of food, some spare batteries and flashlights, a hand gun with some ammo, etc. Next work towards a longer 2 week type event. More food, some sort of power generation plan, a long gun of some sort, water purification, etc. Move on to a nasty 6 week Katrina type event. You get the idea.

Pro- Balanced. You are working forward in a way that relative to your overall level of preparedness there is not a weak link. You aren't all guns/ammo and no food or all commo and no tools, etc.

Con- Progress is slow. Even as a fairly motivated person after a quarter or a year of putting not insignificant resources into preparedness it is hard for me to really see progress. It happened but a little bit in each area isn't very fulfilling.

All Over The Place- Work on what you are interested in at the time.

Pro- By doing what you are currently interested in you are very likely to go hard and make real progress. The newest/ weakest guy in an active ham radio club is going to crush a prepper with a radio and a license. The newest guy in a GSSF/ 3 gun club is probably better than a prepper with a safe full of guns.

Con- This lack of any meaningful plan leads folks to go too deep into their passions and ignore the other stuff at their peril. I have seen guys who are beginning to intermediate level survivalist with not one, or two but THREE 'bug out motorcycles.' Its his life and money but if that guy thinks this is the motorcycle collection is a good preparedness move for his situation he is at best not looking objectively.

What is the right answer.

Personally my core plan is linear. It is hard to do and I do it imperfectly cough clearly I need another AR-15 and G19 cough but it is the goal. Now for hobbies/ spare time stuff I tend, thanks to Chris's excellent advice, to generally pursue hobbies that are helpful for preparedness. Fitness, fishing, shooting, etc.

The difference is past some point with most of these things there is a point of diminishing returns as it relates to preparedness. I will talk fishing since I know a tiny bit about it. Getting a fishing pole, a cheap Wally World spare, a bunch of gear and some sort of cheap (under $500 unless it can be a major food source IE you live on a river/ swamp/ coast) small boat could make sense if you live near water. On the other hand that third $500 fishing pole and a 20k fishing boat are not preparedness items. These are hobby purchases, which isn't a bad thing, just that they should come from hobby money not prep money.

Thoughts? How do you prepare?


Aesop said...

The Pyramid Of Survival:
3 seconds without safety
3 minutes without air
3 hours without shelter/clothing
3 days without water
3 weeks without food

So a solid quality gun or two, and a decent bullet-stopping vest, isn't a bad place to start. It's just a bad place to stop.

Then get the best quality gear in each and every other category you can afford right now.
A canteen and bleach for water supply is yards ahead of hoping the tap keeps running.
A guy with $20 of first aid supplies from the 99 Cent Store now is going to do a lot better than the guy with nothing, but who's saving up to buy a fully-stocked ambulance, eventually. Murphy isn't on your schedule.

And so on for each major category.

Then, over time, upgrade from Yugo to Cadillac level in each category, if necessary making intermediate stops at Camry or Camaro.

Like any good infantryman, a good prepper is always improving his position.
And it does absolutely no good to have a killer frontal defense, but leave the flanks wide open.

When I have an actual castle with years of supplies, and an Abrams tank with back-up Bradley IFV for bugging out to the castle, and another castle in case the first one is besieged, then it'll be time to play.

In the meantime, hobbies that let you leverage your preps - gardening, hobby farming, crafts and skills, camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, shooting, and general physical fitness - are way ahead of bowling and golf, or colleting bric-a-brac and raising koi.

Lastly, you tie in any position with adjacent and supporting units. In the non-military world, that means tribes: family, neighbors, friends, and other LMI.

Ripples in a pond, and PACE apply: EDC pockets kit, Bug Out Bag, Bug Out Vehicle, First/Second/Third line gear, or whatever way you choose to name it, then a Sustainable Retreat, and the groundwork for a self-perpetuating sustainable community.

And always with backups to your back-ups, and Go To Hell options in case things do.

riverrider said...

concur with aesop. linear but with caveats. i was a gun prepper until i found what prepping really was. so linear, by category kinda explains my method. but improving my position is constant. like food. grabbed a bunch of canned for short term, then went all in on superpails of staples, added items to make the staples more palatable, then more staples and so on. big believer in superpails to get the longevity in cheaply and quickly before fleshing it out. a few superpails is a years worth of food for a couple hundred bucks. try that with cans, freeze dried, mre. it'll cost you thousands and won't fit in the house. the pails never need rotation either. made mistakes along the way, like leaving water for last. being on a well in the country gave me a false sense of security. now i'm just adding desserts,topping off levels of first aid and accessorizing the firepower.

Meister said...

I tend to feed my hobbies into part time jobs. Pays for itself and allows me to buy more items I need. I've had some new skills that seems to be fitting into my lifestyle rather well recently. One of those rules is, "The more skill you have, the less stuff you need." If you can scavenge and live off the land to supplement your food intake, you don't have to sore as much food. If you are an avid gardener and have a green thumb, the same rules apply.

I've made the mistake, just like every survivalist and prepper out there has, of going out and buying stuff without the knowledge to use it or use it well. This leads to wasted resources and lost time. It's better to gain the knowledge portion of a skill prior to the purchase of the required items.

That rule goes for just about every item we buy and utilize. Wisdom takes time to harness.

For the most part, I tend to look at the possible disasters and plan for those, then pick the next worst disaster and plan to overcome it. The list continues until you are planning 6 months to a year out, where it's all about the math at that point. Add in Caches and you start branching out and encompassing more logistics than just the math of calories per day.

Find the most probable emergency and start there, the rest will come in time. Start with a 3 day emergency like a blizzard, then a tornado, then a huge earthquake, then a riot and work your way up to an EMP event.

Over working one area can be costly. If you have 10 AR's and 10k 223 rounds, but only a week of food, you will be trading those AR's for food or will be walking to the FEMA camp for your rations.

Sometimes it hurts to not get that super cool new multicam backpack, but is it really better than the alice pack you have in the garage or car? Would that money be better served to have a lifetime supply of heirloom seeds?

Finally, let the past be your guide. Look to the original settlers of the US for what it takes to sustain your family. No grocery stores, hostile natives, limited medical care, limited hygiene, simple tools and NO POWER! If they can do it, so can us "educated" people.

Anonymous said...

I work with three lists.
What I need for long term situation, three or more months.
This is shopped for until all items are in pantry.

Short term, for this month. Extra for pantry, sale of items
we need now.

and the Bonanza List. the unexpected just can't pass this up
sale, or finding of something for which you have been searching for
a long time, at a price you can afford.

Oh, the Always Need/Nice to Have list too, toilet paper on sale,
aspirin, socks, food, aluminum foil, duct tape, tarps, this in not the same as Bonanza this is something always watching for. Coffee tea on sale etc.

these lists can stand alone or blend together, we have planned purchases and purchases of opportunity of the moment, ,not spur of the moment, gratification to buy something I want, this is planned shopping, searching out, actively looking for supplies.

Anonymous said...

I'm kind of 'all over the place' with this. But not with what I'm interested in but what the current situation allows. I have a very small income/budget to use for any preps. I'm aware of what I have, what I need, and what I'd LIKE to have. I put away funds for larger purchases but if a deal on something I need comes my way, I take advantage of the chance. Some funds are NOT touched until the specific item can be had, hopefully at some kind of deal.
I know my geographic area, the chances of some disasters over others, and what it will take for me to bug out. That said, a GHB or BOB is not as important as a manual pump for my well or a small solar power system for a grid-down event.
And just for grits and shins, more of some of what I already have would always be a nice addition.

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