Showing posts with label Camping Survival. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Camping Survival. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

On Gear Consolidation: Stocking Deep n Caching vs Churning



T Blog wrote a post On Gear Consolidation that I have been thinking about.


Also a few years back I sold off a few guns to fund Project AR. They were either oddballs or outliers from the rest of my collection. I do not miss any of them. Selling stuff you no longer have a use for makes sense.

Now selling something useful I have a bit harder time with.

If you can afford it there is a lot to be said for keeping the servicable rigger belt with the clip you don't love as a back up belt, especially if it will fetch a negligible price.

Ditto for that $400 AK you bought a decade ago when such things were available.

It is worth considering if these items have a purpose. Do they fit into some part of your plans or is it just more junk?

It is also worth considering what the cash is going to purchase. Is it fundamentally making our situation better, neutral or arguably worse. If you want to sell odds n ends to buy super pails of food then rock on. On the other hand if you are selling that AK to spend on $400 tactical urban operations Crye Precision pants so you can look like some 'operator' on youtube that is stupid.

Something to consider is what sort of loss you take by selling that item. Some items like guns hold their value pretty well, especially if purchased used. Other items, with any degree of use, have values fall my a third or even half. These items I would have a hard time selling if they had any use because what you'll get out of them might not be worth it. Especially if you are a person always chasing the coolest new thing selling kit for a 30% write off to buy new stuff all the time will add up in price.

Alexander mentioned the false economics of holding onto stuff because it means you cannot cash out that value to acquire new stuff. I would agree but at the same time the economic power of already purchased gear cuts both ways. I could not have afforded to go out and set up my operational cache in one shot. That being said while it did theoretically represent value it was all stuff purchased years before sitting in closets and storage bins. I just about put that together from stuff on hand. Now I have a pretty good setup that really didn't cost me anything. In the next couple years I plan to set up another cache or two the same way. These are in my mind a great way to use serviceable stuff that is lying around, especially if you would take a decent write off by selling it.

While I do lean more towards the backup and cache side of the house I am planning (if I ever get off my butt) to sell some stuff I either no longer use or have in excess of my (redundant and paranoid) needs. This is mostly about clearing up some space and leveling out my stuff than anything else.

What do you all think?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Get Home Bag Revisited

 A few day ago I talked about my get home bag. It was bloated and a bit too heavy. It was 17 pounds dry and that due to an oversight (weighted it part way through the set up) did not include my HPG Serape in a pouch jerry rigged on top or some off my survival stuff in my HPG kit bag. So the total weight was probably closer to 23 pounds.

I went back and looked at it. Took out some stuff. There were a few more batteries than I probably need in there. Replaced a full roll of toilet paper with a half used one. Took out redundant baby wipes. Took out some bulkier food like an MRE and a couple things of top ramen. They will be replaced with lighter food. My food plan is to have about half eat on the go stuff like granola bars, peanut butter, etc and half dehydrated. Took out some 550 cord, that stuff is important but for this kit 20 meters or so is plenty. Took out a couple 5 hour energy shots. Took out the straps to hook the bag to body armor or a MOLLE vest. They will be stored elsewhere and added if I think there is a realistic chance of using them.

The hardest decision was replacing my HPG Serape with a wooby. The wooby is significantly less bulky and I suspect lighter. It isn't as warm but one does what one can. Between all my clothes, a fleece cap, wooby and a casualty blanket I will live through most typical winter weather down here.

I added my sawyer mini water filter, an extra lighter and a few candles.

As it stands now my bag weights 17 pounds with a quart of water in it (so 15 dry) which is right about where I want it to be.  That includes the wooby and survival stuff which was in the kit bag and moved to the backpack.

Need to add
-Silk weight top
Need to purchase
-freeze dried food in pouches 3-4 meals worth of it.

That stuff will add a little bit of weight but it will still be around the weight range I want to keep it in. Will post pics and a detailed breakdown when I get motivated to do so.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Book Review: 299 Days Books 1 and 2

Today I am going to be discussing the book series 299 Days By Glen Tate . I will be discussing the first two books in this post. Really I think the line between them is artificial so for the rest of this discussion they will be treated as one book.

Overview: This series of 10 books follows a man named Grant Madsen, his wife, family and friends living in the PNW through a partial collapse. It starts with the main character’s youth then goes through his childhood through college. His childhood was in a rural town in coastal Washington. He learned lots of skills but it was pretty bad growing up poor with an abusive alcoholic father. From different things I have heard that roughly mirrors the authors childhood which is unfortunate and I feel for the guy.

In college the author meets a girl and falls in love with her. They end up getting married. He becomes a lawyer and she becomes a doctor. They get jobs and settle into a comfortable upper middle class to kind of rich type life. Some years go by and he becomes a fat comfortable suburban guy. He refers to this period as ‘the Docker years.’

At some point the conservative lawyer realizes our system is quite vulnerable and decides to start preparing. He does so without the knowledge of his wife. The main character continues preparing for bad times. He is stashing food and buys a gun. He ends up becoming a regular at a local gun shop and buys a decent stash of guns and plenty of ammunition for them. Eventually after getting close with some of those guys he ends up meeting a group of people who shoot regularly together. He becomes friends with them and ‘the team’ shoots together regularly. The team also gets some training and advice from ‘SF Ted’ a Special Forces soldier stationed at nearby Fort Lewis.

At some point in his preparedness journey the main character ends up basically having a cabin fall into his lap through an early inheritance. He purchases a small but nice cabin with an unfinished basement on the water in a small inlet on the Puget Sound. His cabin is about 45 minutes from town.
The collapse happened very slowly at first over a few years. It started with economic problems. Eventually the stock market crashed, debt ratings were downgraded and the government couldn’t borrow any more money. They actually had to make cuts. Not trimming growth by 2% or vague cuts in the future but actual tangible cuts now. The unions got pissed and so did people on various benefit programs. There were large protests. The economy went into a death spiral. States started having diverging outcomes. California got particularly ugly but Texas was managing some of the same issues with much better outcomes. As fuel became more expensive goods were not moving so stores became empty. That part was pretty standard but it stopped there, short of a full on collapse. Things were bad though the power stayed on and some businesses were still open. Overall I think this is a very realistic scenario.

Onto the usual format

The Good:
A very realistic scenario is laid out. In fact one could argue some of the things mentioned in the book are already happening. In fact I heard in an interview with the author he had to slightly change some parts of the book because events he talked about did in fact occur. In particular the author highlighted the different outcomes rural and urban areas as well as different states will face. This is extremely valid because a collapse would have very uneven outcomes in this regard.

The characters were very plausible. First of all their skills, finances and the percentage of income they put into preps is realistic. They did not have a Special Forces medic or a master machinist whose hobby was running an organic hobby farm. 30 year old couples are not buying 40 acres with a nice house and a barn in cash then somehow making 100k a year out in the hinter boonies. Second of all they are flawed, Grant Madsen is preparing in secret because his wife wants nothing to do with any of that, one guy is really fat, older people cannot quite perform like younger ones. People have feelings and emotions and tempers.

Stepping away from characters but staying along the lines of realism I think the characters levels of preparation were far more representative of the overall preparedness/ survivalist community than many other fiction books. In books it seems that people are either super prepared or just normal folks who might happen to have some useful items around. It’s like all survivalists have a years worth of food, lots of guns and all this other cool stuff. In reality many people’s preparations are uneven as their resources were spent in areas they enjoy the most. It is not uncommon to see guys with a few grand in guns n ammo but not a month worth of food or women with huge stocks of buckets full of food but no way to protect their selves (of course these are stereotypes’ and don’t apply to all).

Relationships are also portrayed realistically including the honest fact that some spouses are not on board.

Every survivalist fiction book has to balance putting out some meaningful lessons through the story with the risk of turning into a disjointed half nonfiction ‘how to’ book. In the worst of these I have seen several pages of various military survival manuals and or standard ‘100 items to survive’ or ‘food storage guidelines’ stuff put in word for word. This book did a good job of straddling the line by giving some good core points yet not letting it detract from the book or break up the story.

The Bad

There was cheesy use of words like ‘gunfighter’ and ‘military contractor’ to describe members of ‘the team.’ I found it a bit cheesy and tacticool. Maybe it is me being a military guy and being long over those sort of things but it just irked me.

The break between books one and two was pretty artificial. It is almost like the author was writing one big book and said ‘We’ll split it at page 350’ with little thought to a logical breaking point. As such a person would get a weird impression if they only read book one not like a cliff hanger per se but of the book just ending.

Every character in the book seemed far more worried about other people’s feelings than I think folks are in real life.

It concerns me a bit that the impression was given that somehow a bunch of guys who don't know what they are doing going out to the range and shooting a bunch somehow means they are trained. They referenced getting a bit of help from 'Special Forces Ted' but unless it was pretty organized I am uncomfortable saying that replaces quality training by someone like Max Velocity or another organized type class.

Coming back to the preps the characters in the book had made. I hesitate to critique this too hard because Glen Tate the author did what I think was an accurate and honest portrayal of many prepared folks. That being said there were some significant holes in their plans.

First almost nobody had body armor. The characters had ‘tactical vests’ though I’m not sure if they really meant the cheese vests of late 90’s and early 2000 vintage or plate carriers or chest rigs. Anyway if I recall only one character Bill ‘Pow” had any actual armor. These characters, especially ‘the team’ spent a bunch of money on guns, lots of gear and ammo cans full of 5.56, 9mm, 12 gauge and 7.62x39 but couldn’t drop a few bills on plates. Guys on ‘the team’ had spare rifles and a couple had expensive shotguns like Benelli’s. The thing is rifle plates are simply not that expensive any more. For $450 or so you can get a setof AR500 plates in a plate carrier. At that price point with a bit of planning they are solidly in a normal middle class guy’s budget.

Their lack of plates was inexcusable. To illustrate the point Grant had 2 AR's, 1 AK-47, 2 AK 74's, a Remington 870, 2 .40 Glocks, a .38, a .380 and a 10/22. For the cost of one redundant rifle or pistol he could have had plates.  The characters were also universally without night vision capability. Given the much higher price point of anything better than Gen I this hole is still understandable but a couple characters seem like people who might have that sort of gear.

Water filtration/ purification was only mentioned briefly, IIRC Grant purchased a Big Berkey at some point. There was no mention of water storage in the books.

The medical preps they made were quite light. In the book it was excused as Grant Madsen (the main character) ‘Didn’t know how to use that stuff so he didn’t buy it.’ The explanation made a lot of sense to me till I put that together with the fact that HIS WIFE IS AN ER DOCTOR! He could and should have stashed all sorts of stuff. That is one of the few situations where the ’32 piece Czech surplus Stainless Surgical kit’ from Sportsmens Guide actually makes sense.

The biggest single hole I identified was ‘the team’ showed up with basically no food. On one hand this is accurate as a lot of tactical (or tactical wanna be) folks aren’t really survivalists/ preppers so they would not store food. However not even having enough food for an ice storm or power outage is just silly. It also seems the group had no stored fuel (except 2x 5 gallon cans Grant stashed at the cabin) or and very few gas cans.

Overall impression: I enjoyed these books and think you will too. They definitely spurred some thoughts that might lead me down productive roads. I will review book 3 as soon as I get around to it.


Friday, January 30, 2015

1k Cache: Some Options That Make Sense To Me

Urban Escape and Evasion
Glock 9mm or .40 if that is your thing($400)
Mags n ammo $100 (500) I'd like to have 3 mags and 100 rounds of ammo.
Burner cell phone $30 (530)
Knife, folding. A basic CRKT or Kershaw. Anything decent at that price $25 (555)
Backpack day/ kid school bag sized either cheap new one or better used one $25 (580)
Boots, surplus $20 (600)
Flashlight, small $20 (620)
Belt and holster $40 (660)
Good will clothes and hat $40 (700)
Cash in small bills $300 (1k)

Rural Escape and Evasion/ Minute Man back up
Military pattern rifle $500. Whichever AK or AR you can find first at this price point. Something like a Mini-14 would suffice. 
Mags and ammo $150 (650). I'd like to have at least 5 or so mags and enough ammo to load them at least once.
Carry system for mags n such$30 (680). Probably ALICE though maybe you could piece together something with a FLIC MOLLE vest.
Basic gun cleaning stuff $20 (700). Probably a toothbrush, a rag and some lube.
Gently used boots, probably USGI issue. $20 (720)
Decent set of used clothes from the good will. Ideally good durable stuff in earth tones. Includes a hat and belt.$40 (760)
Poncho in earth tone. $30 (790)
Fleece, jacket and hat used or Wally World. In earth tone. $20 (810)
Grab and go food. Granola bars, a couple tuna pouches or whatever. $20 (830)
Cheap binoculars. $20 (850)
2x water bottles and 2 bottles of water purification stuff. $30 (880)
Backpack to put all this stuff in. $30 (910)
Medical kit. Very ghetto IFAK and a few feel good items like ibuprophen, bandaids, etc$20 (950)
Mora kniv $15 (965)
Remaining $35 can pad the gun and ammo budgets a bit.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Reflections on My 14.5in BCM Mid Length Carbine "Project AR"

Alexander Wolfe of T Blog is thinking about upgrading his AR-15 to a BCM upper. I started a comment at his place then decided it was going to turn into a post of it's own. I built a BCM 14.5in mid length a couple years back. It's a great rifle and I love it. Some reflections on the overall experience of setting up and using this rifle might help my buddy out, plus also everyone, myself included, loves to talk about their cool toys.

What worked out well:

-The choice of a BCM upper and bolt carrier group. It's great. BCM is IMO a producer of legitimate professional grade rifles on par with Colt. That being said they hit that mark without getting into the stratospherically expensive boutique semi custom range of Daniels Defense, Knight, Noveske and Larue with 2-3k plus price tags.

-Standard weight 14.5in barrel. I toyed with the lightweight barrel idea but decided against it after a couple very experienced people (former SOF NCO's) said to go with a standard weight. Upon reflection after a couple years with the gun I am glad I did it. I can shoot all day long in 100 degree temps without barrel heat being an issue. There are lots of places to shave weight on an AR but A) the barrel is not the place to do it and B) fundamentally it's a light rifle anyway.

As to length 14.5in is as short as you can get without  treading into the (now especially nebulous) AR pistol territory. This is good for moving in and around vehicles as well as structures. Before the barrel length and velocity argument starts our guys in Iraq and Afghanistan have killed enough bad guys out past 400m with M4's that, at least as far as this guy is concerned, any debate about this not being an effective fighting rifle is moot.

-Upgrading the muzzle device. Call it a flash hider, call it a comp, call it a break, whatever. There are a lot of really good options out there at a variety of price points. The BCM comps look good and come in at a wallet friendly price. The only reason I can see not to upgrade the muzzle device for a pinned/ welded barrel, where it is a lot harder to do it later, would be for a really budget conscious build.

What I have mixed feelings about:

-Mid length gas system. It's a bit softer but not like these things are shoulder busters anyway. It makes replacing parts a bit more complicated. I like it but from both the accessorizing and scavenging parts angles a standard carbine length has advantages. My half hearted current answer to this problem is that I'm keeping the one I have but do not plan to get another mid length system on a future rifle.

-Battlecomp. Don't get me wrong I like it a lot but it is worth noting my concept of use for this rifle was 'build it so I won't go back and do it again in a couple years' so budget was not a primary driver. Also looking back I'm not sure those funds wouldn't have been better spent going towards an upgraded trigger or a rail (we'll get to that). Then again I wanted the BCM comp but they were between versions or something so it was perpetually out of stock at the time.

What I'm not so sure about:

-Not buying a rail right away. I was trying to keep the price sane and the fixed front sight of a normal A2 style gas block appealed to me. That combined with a pinned receiver made putting a rail on it down the road a problem. Combining that with my rail preference (free floating and not a quad rail) made it a downright hassle. I ended up with a nice and surprisingly affordable free floating MIDWEST INDUSTRIES S S G/2BLACK 12rail but it was a big hassle that could have been easily avoided. 

To the specifics of Alexander's situation:
- You can't go wrong with a BCM build though I do recommend a standard weight barrel.

-If you choose to run with this plan I would build a whole rifle. The upper is at least 75% of the cost, more if you factor in rails, optics, lights, etc. Would you have two trucks and swap a set of rims and tires between them.

-I am solidly in the 'keep the old rifle for a rainy day' camp. Use the older cheaper rifle as a 'truck gun' or make an operational cache.

-As an outside of the box idea if the only thing that really bothers you about the current rifle is the carbine length handguard why now just change/ cut down the gas block then put on whatever length rail you want?

Don't get me wrong, the last thing I'm trying to do is talk him out of buying a great AR. I have a very similar rifle and love it. If there are other reasons, including just wanting something shinier, to purchase the new rifle then roll with it. However if the hand guard is the only problem with the current rifle that is an easy fix. Instead of being a several hundred dollar project it would be 2 or 3 bills.

Anyway I hope it helps Alexander with his project.

What do you all think?

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Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Few Months Without Power In Your Current Location



Pastor Joe Fox put out another excellent video. It has a lot of interesting thoughts on his last 2 years of living off grid. Also when he is honest and mentions propane being the 'dirty little off grid secret' as well as lamp oil, batteries and of course gas. Anyway that is not the point that caught my interest. Pastor Joe said something to the effect of "...at some point the grid is going to go down, most of you are not going to 'bug out' but will instead stay where you are. Think of the things you would want to live for a few months without power." That stuck in my head. Of course I got to thinking.

-Another 55 gallon water barrel for storage along with 3 more 5 gallon jugs.

-A rainwater cachment system.

-Three more 5 gallon propane tanks. Also a couple dozen of those little green propane tanks.

-More 92 octane non ethanol gas. (I plan to fill up all my cans with it when I rotate them.) Another 6 5 gal cans would be perfect.

-10 gallons of kerosene.

-A case of oil for various lubrication needs.

-Lots of lamp wicks.

-Ancillary chainsaw stuff. Lots of 2 cycle and bar oil, spark plugs, a spare chain, sharpening stuff, chaps.

-About a hundred dollars worth of eneloop rechargeable batteries (in addition to what we have now).

-The only real expensive item (though the total cost is adding up fast) is a Goal Zero 32201 Boulder 30M Solar Panel  and a more robust battery setup probably also by Goal 0. Something like the Goal Zero 23000 Yeti 400 Solar Generator

-Maybe a serious antenna set up for my Grundig 350dl. If I was relying on it for regular news and needed to reach further, more consistently, it would be handy.

-A better grinder.

-A dutch oven. 

-Condiments, particularly stuff that goes with bread, rice and beans. Stuff like cheese and butter would be great also.

-100 pounds more each salt, sugar, and oatmeal.

-200 pounds each of rice, beans and wheat.

-3 cases each of chili, stew and peanut butter.

-About a dozen cases of canned fruit.

-Several things of both kid and adult multi vitamins.

-250 pounds of chicken food. A metal trash can or two to store it in.

-250 pounds of dog food. A metal trash can or two to store it in.

-A full spool of 550 cord.

-Various structural repair stuff: screen material to fix screens, a couple (above what I've got) rolls of clear plastic, a couple (above what I've got) 10x10 tarps, a couple packages each of small and large zip ties, 3 rolls of duct tape/ 100 mph tape, 4 rolls of generic/ bailing wire, 5 pounds of various screws, 10 pounds of various nails. If I could conveniently find the space about 4 sheets 4x8ish of 3/4 inch ply wood would be nice.

-Various shoe/ clothing repair stuff: Some shoe laces, a couple dozen spools off various thread, 2x shoe glue, some mink oil,  a few yards each of cotton, denim and flannel.

-A pick axe.

-A spare shovel.

-Another machete.

-Another knife sharpening set.

-A gallon of mineral oil.

-Chimney cleaning stuff.

-4x FRS radios.

-More various hygiene stuff. Soap, shampoo, conditioner, feminine stuff, etc

-A few boxes of band aid's. They are so handy and my kids love em.

-A stash of antibiotics.

-You could note a lack of gun and ammo stuff in this post. Don't get me wrong in this situation I would like to have 500 rounds of .38 special, 500 rounds of .308, a thousand rounds of 12 gauge split between #4, buckshot and slugs plus another case each of 9mm and 5.56. That being said I am sitting on a pretty decent stash of ammo. Honestly aside from .22lr and small game shot for hunting and just maybe a rifle round or two for a deer or hog I do not see going through much ammo. Sure fights could happen but if I dip a notable fraction into my stores things are going very badly and I am realistic enough to know a guy is only likely to win so many fights, especially when medical attention is lacking.

-As to guns I would really like to have an AR pistol with a 10.5-11in barrel. About when the grid dropped a person might just say to heck with it and put a real buttstock on one but the sig arm brace's largely negate the issue. The concept of use would be as a bedside CQB gun and general PDW.

Beyond that we are pretty OK in terms of firepower. We could trade/ loan/ give some guns out if needed and still exceed our core needs by a good margin. 

There are probably some other things but none of them really come to mind. I am going to weigh this exercise very heavily in my 2015 New Years Resolutions.

Thoughts?

Friday, November 21, 2014

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

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?

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.

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.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

RE: Bayou Rennaissance Man: How to Prepare Under These Conditions

Bayou Reconnaissance Man wrote an interesting post How To Prepare Under These Conditions.

The basic highlights of the question:
I'm stuck with an unemployed partner and teenage kids who can't earn their own living.  We haven't been able to afford reserve supplies for an emergency, yet it's clear that even harder times are on the way.  I want to build up reserves for my family to help cope with them, so I'm selling a bunch of our stuff at garage sales and through Craigslist.  By mid-November I hope to have $2,000 to spend.  What's the best way for me to use that money?

(Peter's notes) A bit of background:  she lives with her husband and two kids, a boy of 15 and a girl of 17, in a small suburban home in a Missouri city.  The local crime situation wasn't bad until recently, but it's getting worse as economic hard times bite deeper.  The family owns one older car free and clear - they sold a second, newer vehicle when they couldn't afford the monthly payments.  The mortgage on their home runs about $650 per month, which isn't too bad if both of them are earning, but for the past year her husband hasn't been able to find work.  Her income isn't enough to cover all the bills.

Peter added his thoughts in a subsequent post. It is worth reading both of these posts before continuing.

Ryan here: 

We need to look at the issue of the family income and housing situation separately from the question of how they could potentially prepare.

Due to a limited amount of information I have to make some assumptions which will be based on general trends and may or may not be accurate for this particular person.

One particular assumption based on the tone of the whole conversation is that we are talking about a fairly small ($$$) wise gap between their current situation and making it. This assumption is largely because folks tend to buy homes slightly proportionately and we aren't talking about a $2,500 mortgage here, we are talking $650. Of course any income gap over basic expenses is an issue but this problem is more manageable than a much larger one.

The income/ budget/ housing situation can be broken into 4 main areas: income, income stimulus via selling stuff, overall budget and housing.

Income: First and foremost this family has an income problem. Dude (dad or male partner/ whatever) needs a job time now. Unless there is some information I'm not tracking, like he is paralyzed, has terminal cancer, etc, Dude needs to be a man and start providing for his family right blankety blanking now. End of story.

Since he has been unemployed for a year I assume things are not going well finding a job in his previous field in their area. Maybe Dude needs to seek lower prestige/ compensation work in his chosen field. A legitimate mechanic becoming the oil change guy at Quicky Lube or a journeyman carpenter fixing decks and building sheds won't feel great or pay as well but we aren't trying to get rich, we are trying to keep a roof over the families heads and food on the table. The advantage of this COA is that if he gets a foot in the door and proves to be a decent worker when a better job (that he is qualified for) opens up he should be a lock. A potential additional option for Dude exists if his skill sets lend themselves to odd job type work and he has the gear to do it on his own.

 Another option is to get a very low skill anyone can do it type job. Dude could be a temp worker at UPS and sort packages, mow lawns, dig ditches, sweep whatever. This is not the forever plan. The goal is to keep things going till he can get back into a better job.

Honestly Dude needs to get the first job he can find. I really don't care if it is swing shift mop boy at Show World. He needs a check time now. I'm not 100% sure he is in a funk but it would fit with the long term unemployment. Once he gets back to doing something, anything, hopefully he can get back into something better.

One could say you can put effort into job searching and be picky in relation to your options. If the family was making it on Momma's income then he has time to be picky and look for a job at his leisure. If they had a 50k safety net that would replace his income for a year I'd say he can be picky and have some lazy mornings or whatever. In this families situation I would say job searching is his job right now so he should do it from 8-4 every day. Given the inability to wait he has to take any job he can do.

Ditto for Dude potentially going to a different location from the family for awhile. Maybe dude needs to work someplace else for awhile to make the family budget work. Depending on his skill set(s) some parts of the country, specifically south Texas, the Gulf Coast and North Dakota are booming. Many of these jobs have employees work long days for a stretch then have more time off. Several weeks on and a couple off is not uncommon. This would work well for him to be able to stay busy (and not bored/ lonely) wherever employment is then spend some time at home.

Again I do not know the whole scenario and maybe there is a valid reason for this long term unemployment and not getting any sort of job but were I the spouse (of either gender) when the family is in this situation a serious conversation would have happened awhile back. This person needs a self esteem boost and a loving but firm push out of apathy in the right direction.

As to the kids. Personally as a father (of little ones) I am disinclined to tell school aged teens they have to get jobs to help the rents fill an income gap, doubly so when a parent is not working. However letting them know that we will meet their needs for shelter, clothing and good it might not be exactly as well as we (and they) would like.

(Slipping into the budget part because it makes sense to finish this small part here. I wouldn't ask them to put their part time earnings toward my mortgage problem. However they would be nicely informed, in as soon as possible, that their basic needs would still be met by us but any desire for fashionable clothes, cell phones, spare cash to go to the malt shop, etc all were regrettably going to be unfunded by the family budget. If they want these things in the near future they would need to earn the money to pay for them.)

Income stimulus via selling stuff: In his response Peter hit on this a fair amount. Admittedly part of the original question mentioned her selling some stuff to free up cash for preps so that is a big factor I imagine.

I do not find selling stuff to help with the economic situation to be a meaningful option unless they have some big ticket items like a 10k Harley in the garage, gun/ stamp/ coin collection sitting around it's not going to do much to close this gap.

As to selling stuff for preps. Selling unused items to buy preps is a fine idea.

Overall Budget: This has  probably been done already but it is worth relooking the budget. Things that used to fit might need to be cut out for awhile. The short term prioritization of food, energy, mortgage, insurance, bills is probably a good way to look at it.

Wifey brought up an excellent point. Since Dude isn't working he could look at it as his job to save as much money as possible. Cutting coupons, making bread from scratch, making lunches for people to take to work/ school instead of eating there, etc.

Housing: Peters comment about relocation are valid. If they want to stay in the area and want to try and make it work that is one thing but it doesn't seem like they really do. Additionally the potential implications of being come after for the balance of the loan are worth looking at though if the family is in effect judgement proof (no significant assets, big retirement accounts, etc) it is less of a concern than if they had 100k in an IRA and another property.

The amount of equity in the home is a big consideration here. If they have 50k in equity in the house  I'd say fight like hell to hold onto it at least long enough to sell and get that money out. On the other hand if they are underwater or have a few grand in equity that would be eaten by various home selling costs it's probably not worth the emotional struggle to prolong the matter.

The cost of other housing in the area (if they choose to stay there) is a consideration too. While home ownership has costs if the complete mortgage including taxes, etc is $650 and an apartment is $650 moving to one won't really save money.

Overall (again I do not know their income level, etc) it does not seem these folks bought an unreasonable home. It's not like they have a $1,400 a month mortgage and a $2,400 take home or something. These folks do not seem to have a house problem, they have an income problem.

Onto the prep discussion:

Really conflicted about this as I am pretty into preparedness and all that stuff. That being said I honestly do not think this family needs to be worried about making preparations for some SHTF or economic collapse scenario. It is my belief that they are currently in a pretty nasty situation that if handled wrong could potentially leave them 'outdoors' and that this gal, and by extension her spouse, need to focus their energy( emotional as well as physical), time and resources towards figuring out the situation they are currently in. All the way from the short term of next months bills, the mid term goal of them getting the income up enough to stay current on essential bills including the mortgage and the long term goal of replacing some or most of their income so they can get some breathing room, have some financial stability and get this stress out of their lives.

Also if they are intense and fix this problem in 3-6 months and are back to normal in a year think of the energy, intensity and resources they would be able to throw at preparedness,

Put it like this: Lets say there is a bear out in the woods near your home being a jerk and eating people but there is an angry wolf in the kitchen. Yes the bear is bigger and more dangerous but THE WOLF IS IN YOUR KITCHEN. The bear *might* be a threat someday but THE WOLF IS A THREAT RIGHT NOW!!! Also if the wolf kills them today it doesn't matter what great plans they have for the bear whenever it maybe shows up.

I cannot in good conscience recommend putting any meaningful amounts of money (if a few batteries, cans of food or a box of ammo for the family gun makes you feel better than by all means) into preparedness until the family is:
A) Current on basic bills. I do not care about a visa card but do care about the mortgage, water, sewer, electric, insurance and the like.
B) Making enough money to stay current with basic bills and life needs, even if at a new lower standard and.
C) They have $1,000 saved for Dave Ramsey's baby step 1

However since it is part of the discussion. 2k rough breakdown:
Food- $600 to start. Split between easy to eat stuff like canned goods, PB&J, etc and rice n beans.
Water filter- $150. Basic Berkey setup like a Go Berkey Kit. Or if handy you can do the bucket and black filter element  route. Total $750.
Alternate cooking source- $80. I would go with a basic 2 burner Coleman camping stove and several gallons of fuel. Purchased used these can often be had under $50. That leaves thirty bucks for fuel. Total $830.
Lighting- $90. A couple good candle lanterns and a bunch of candles. Say that runs $60. Spend $30 on batteries for whatever flashlights are already in the house. Total $820.
Medical- $80. We could square this a lot of says. Lets say they spend about $30 on some sort of decent basic first aid kit (or find a knowledgeable friend to help them assemble one) and the rest on OTC drugs and various disposables: band aids, Tylenol, benadryl, 3x5 gauze, etc. Total $1,000.

Defense- $600. There are a lot of ways to go here. I laid some out in my Basic Guns series. Peters recommendation for a good basic pump shotgun like a Maverick 88 or Mossberg 500 is sound. Personally I would try to get a handgun. That is a whole nother ball of wax. I like revolvers but if you don't care about common calibers a Makarov or whatever commie nation clone in 9x18 can be had for under $200 USD and ammo is dirt cheap. If you want to stick to wheel guns and are willing to shop a serviceable (I would ask to test fire) Taurus or Rossi .38 can be had in the same price range. Toss in some ammo in 9x18 or .38 special [Incidentally Lucky Gunner has a case of CCI Blaser .38 special ammo for $329/1k] and call it $250.

Used pump shotgun such as a Maverick 88 or Mossberg 500 in 12 or 20 gauge. Factor in about $200 for the gun, $70ish for a case of bird shot to get everyone familiarized, some buckshot at least 100 rounds though 250 rounds of buckshot would be even better, a  few slugs and that closes out defense.
 Total $1,600

Additional Fuel- $225. Fill up whatever gas cans they have, ditto the BBQ grill. Maybe get an extra 5 gallon gas can and fill it up or extra fuel for the Coleman stove. If there are decorative storm lanterns in the house get some fuel for those. Whatever is left after that goes to batteries for flashlights, the ambiguous AM/FM boom box, etc. Total 1,825.

Hardware This and That- $100. A roll of clear plastic to temporarily replace a broken window, a tarp, some duct tape, a but of rope, etc. Logically fill some shortages in existing tools and stuff. Total $1925.

Comfort Items- $75 (Remaining Balance). During hard times it is nice to have some comfort items. Mom likes tea or coffee so get some. Dude likes salted pretzels so get a few bags. Kid #1 likes gum so get some. Kit #2 likes chocolate so get a couple big bags of M&M's.

Total 2k. (Edited to include: Think I messed up the math on this by a C note. It's too late and I'm too tired to go back through it. If that is the case pinch a few bucks from each category to get it back to 2k.

So those are my thoughts on that. What do you think?




Saturday, October 25, 2014

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Libertors, Emergency Funds and Random Thoughts

I finished the new Jim Rawles book Liberators: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse . It was excellent. Started working on the review and should have it done in the next couple days.

TEOTWAWKI Blog wrote an excellent post on Emergency Funds. This utterly non sexy part of preparedness is equally important and ignored in survivalism. The honest truth is you are going to need $500 to pay for a car repair or an unexpected doctor visit or cover a short paycheck than you will need a case of Tula 7.62x39 hp ammo (on sale for $229!) for the family AK or fish antibiotics.

You, yes you, seriously need an emergency fund. I do not care what sort of preps you have put back you need cash. Buckets full of rice will not put a new transmission in the family hauler a hundred and fifty miles from home.

As Alexander Wolfe noted it is prudent for some of this money should be in physical cash and readily available. It doesn't take much for the credit card system to fall apart in a disaster as there are a lot of potential points of failure. How much physical cash should you have on hand? I think for most people a months cash expenses (typically food, fuel, incidentals) is a pretty decent starting point.

It was not an accident that I picked a months cash expenses over a $$$ amount. The reason is dollar amounts do not factor in your situation. Jamie of My Adventures in Self Reliance is single and lives disability [Due to a medical issue, not the point of this post. Only mentioned it because it speaks to her income and applies to this situation]. $500 would last her a whole lot longer than Justin C's family of 8.

As of late I have started putting a little bit of money into different kits. $40 in various small bills will help in a lot of scenarios. I keep a fair bit of cash in my wallet shooting for around $200 and using $100 as 'zero' but maybe somehow I could end up with my bag but not wallet.

The idea of an S&W Shield is popping into my head again. Maybe next month.

Anyway I've got to go read some stories. Should have the Liberators review out for you tomorrow.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Ammo Delivery Day!!!

Today a couple boxes showed up at my door. The first was 200 rounds of Remington Premier Gold Match 168 Grain plus a bit of overage to zero a scope and the second was a case of 7.62x39 Wolf.

The Wolf was sort of an impulse purchase based on the ban on some Russian AK's. It honestly shorted the prep fund which means some other projects will slide to the right but I'm not sad to have my ammo situation a bit better off. In 2 months things will be moving fine and I'll still have the ammo.

It might seem like I've gone into overdrive on ammo lately. In part I am making up for a tendency to not get something squared away before buying the next cool new gun over the years. Also my biggest take away from Firearamagedon was the need to have some ammo for training, test fires, zeroing new optics, etc that is separate from my operational stash. Obviously this meant buying ammo.

Furthermore I have tentatively penciled in some sort of a gun related hysteria for the general period of the 2016 election cycle. It makes sense to purchase a bit more ammo now then go harder into food or the titan ready water barrel system I really want a bit later.

Remember smart people buy when the prices are low then hold or sell when they go up. Suckers miss the low points and only buy when prices are way up.

Have you been taking advantage of the good prices on weapons, mags and (excluding .22lr) ammo?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Stormy All Over

The weather here in Central Louisiana has been crazy. This morning it poured down rain, calmed down for a bit but was still a cool mid 70's and dark. This afternoon it dumped down rain again. I suspect we've had a few inches of rain today. When it rains like this everything floods down here. The general lack of meaningful terrain combined with the clay soil makes for water pooling up all over the place in fields, slightly low points in roads and the like.

As to the world it is all pretty much going to hell in a hand basket.

Pretty much the entire Arab world is a mess. Specifically Syria and Iraq have significant issues as of late. I have been meaning to talk about them in detail but that is for another day.

The Israelis invaded Gaza early this morning their time. This most current bout of that old fight seems to have started with 3 Israeli teenagers getting killed which lead to various retaliatory measures which were answered with rocket attacks. That led to the Israeli ground invasion.

Oh yeah and somebody, probably Russia backed paramilitary and or Spetznaz rebels, shot down a commercial airliner over Eastern Ukraine. It was a Malaysian flight (talk about bad luck after the Lost plane crash) that seems to have been predominantly full of Dutch people. For one this goes to show  the chaos of that situation. For two this sort of incident can draw the public eye and lead to other nations getting involved. Reference the Lusitania.

Our friend Harry talks about all this stuff as well as how our economy as well as our Southern Border are entirely screwed

Some days are certainly worse than others but this one does not seem good.

Here at TSLRF we recommend investing in canned food and shotguns. For those who already own a smooth bore or two put your money into shotgun shells.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Pre Power Outage Test, Drill and Checklist Sorely Needed

We get power outages down here when it rains heavily, especially for a few days in a row. Usually it is an hour or two. It has been raining real hard and flooding south of here so my threat meter was pegged a bit higher. If power dropped it could be widespread and maybe even last awhile. 

The weather down here has been nuts for the last few days. It's like a monsoon or something. Tons of rain and thunder/ lightning all over the place. We had a couple blips in the power. It seemed prudent to take some steps. Here is what I did. Not saying this was really thought out or perfect by any means, it is just what I decided to do between aproximately noon and two.

-Started the dryer to finish the load that had been sitting in the washer from this morning. (Incidentally I was trying to get ahead on chores so I'd already washed clothes and ran the dishwasher.)

-Went to the store for a couple bags of ice. One to toss in the freezer and another for the cooler.

Incidentally and almost surely due to the power brown out's the small stores card reading machine was down. Between the ice and some snacks it was $9 something. The guy was apologetic and I paid cash. That left $143 in my pocket. I considered hitting the ATM but didn't bother. We keep cash at home so it wasn't a concern. If a hurricane was coming I'd grab more cash, mostly so we could spot friends or co workers some if needed. Left the store.

-Plugged in the power supply.

-Plugged in Goal 0 battery powered lantern I'm testing.

(More on both of these later after I do some more testing)

-Nuked some leftovers for lunch.

-Filled up the bathtub water bladder. These things are pretty cool and can really work for semi predictable events like hurricanes or power outage. I really need to save a bit of coin then swing by Titan Ready Water to get a couple of 55 gallon barrels or even better one of their hydrant storage systems to boost out water storage to more acceptable levels.

-Took a shower.

After that I was pretty much done with everything I wanted to do. The storms are supposed to continue through early tomorrow. I don't really care much as I'm prepared for what is expected.

Again note that I'm not saying these actions were perfect. I had a realization that we might lose power then acted.In fact I'm open to your thoughts on what I could do better. My realization is that it would be awful handy to figure out what, in order of priority I would want to accomplish then make a list so it is easy.

Do you have a checklist for power outages? Pre outage and post or just one of them? If you don't mind sharing I would be quite interested in what is on your list. By all means answer in the comments section.

Thoughts?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Official Results

To recap here is what the excellent prizes are:

1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.

 The winners are:

Mike P-18
Kang-16
Carry Alert-15
Prairie Patriot-10
Meister-9
Jake-8
Max Velocity-6

If you won please contact me using the email your post was submitted from  and include your mailing address within 7 days. Note that #1 gets to pick between the Lucky Gunner stuff or the HERC so please specify. I realized I still need to figure out the wild card so I'll do that ASAP. 



Saturday, June 7, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Entry #21- Kang

Today I am proud to bring Entry #21 of our Fighting Load Contest by Kang

We'll be talking chest rigs and battle belts as well as guns and get home bags/ assault packs. Get yours together to win some great prizes including:
1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.
Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value).
For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time before the contest is over.


The contest is closed and this is the last entry that will be posted. Voting will start early next week. Voting will run for about a week and will decide the winner's who get the prizes. Onto the Entry.....


My Fighting Load  -- Kang














This is my complete fighting load, including chest rig, plate carrier, battle belt, rifle, and 'assault pack'. The rifle is a bushmaster/rock river AR mutt with an eotech 512 (because AAs are easier to find), a magpul STR stock for carrying replacement batteries, light, BUIs, single/double point sling and ready mag system that lets me carry 2 mags on board for extremely rapid reloads (excuse the pink tape...). To Be Done: the rifle is lined up to be painted once temperatures permit.

Chest Rig



  
   
The chest rig is an HSP D3 chest rig, it carries 4 rifle magazines, 2 pistol magazines, multitool, admin stuff (notepad, pencils, etc) and an Israeli bandage.  To be done: I need to purchase another tourniquet to go in/on my chest rig.

Battle Belt




The battle belt is an HSGI sure grip padded belt with riggers belt.  It carries 2 Esstac single mag pouches for quick reloads and 1 Esstac pistol pouch.  A dump pouch, tear away first aid pouch (with israeli bandages, tourniquet, gloves and other stuff), a 1 liter water bottle pouch that holds my 1st line survival gear (steel water bottle, cordage, firestarter, compass, water purification, folding knife, gun lube, etc) and has a giant Shadowtech bushcraft blade whose name I don't recall (I can't say enough good things about Shadowtech's blades, check them out).  Finally a G-code holster carries a Springfield XDM9 as my backup firearm. To Be Done: I need to replenish my stock of Datrex ration bars after I introduced them to my daughters.

Plate Carrier

       The plate carrier is a Mayflower from Velocity Systems.  I have ceramic front and rear plates, and steel side plates.  The D3 chest rig snaps directly onto the plate carrier, and additionally, I have two 3 magazine pouches in the side plate pockets (for a total of 14 AR magazines, if required and 4 pistol magazines), and a 'flat' style Source 3 liter hydration carrier attached to the rear (I've found it's really hard to carry packs with one of the standard cylinder style hydration pouches on your back).

Assault Pack

 


      Last is the 'assault pack', which is a Tactical Tailor bag whose name escapes me.  It carries a standard camelback 3 liter hydration bladder (total of 7 liters of water immediately available), enough ammo for 10 magazine reloads in bandoliers / stripper clips, a Striplula for rapid reloading, poncho, cordage, headlamp, spare batteries, food, and firearms cleaning kit. To Be Done: more food, I think. See Datrex bars above... Also, I just realized I carry no additional 9mm ammo.
The best aspect of the D3 chest rig is how modular it is.  I can carry just the rig on its own, strapped to the plate carrier, as in the above pictures, or I can even attach it directly to the assault pack.  I can wear just the chest rig under a jacket or even a sweater if I'm trying to be low profile.


 The assault pack even fits quite nicely on the back of my 3rd line gear pack.

Ryan here: As always thanks for the entry. I should note Kang used this setup at Max Velocity's 5 Day Combat Rifle and Contact Drill /Patrolling class and it worked well for him. As to the setup I like it a lot. Modular and good for a variety of situations. General notes:
1) Do not see a way to purify more water. He could have a little bottle of the purification pills someplace and have overlooked mentioning it. If not I'd add some and or a small filter like a Sawyer Mini.
2) The assault pack has plenty of ammo which is great but I would look at the clothing situation. At a minimum a set of spare socks would be prudent.
3) You mentioned an IFAK type kit but what about more common injuries? Some band aid's, asprin, moleskin, etc is a good idea.
4) You hit on it (think it got eaten) but incorporating some food into your fighting kit and more into the assault pack is a good idea.

With those modest additions (that can probably be found lying around in 20 min at home) this is an excellent setup.

Thoughts?
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