Showing posts with label bug out. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bug out. Show all posts

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Perfect is the Enemy of Good Enough and Problem Admiration

I have had a couple of discussions where I hit a wall with guys. Good (internet) guys I know reasonably well. The topics were caches and bugging out. I think there are two major issues going on here.

The first issue is these guys are looking for a perfect answer. Perfect answers don't usually exist in situations with finite resources. Unlimited resources can solve pretty much any issue but that isn't reality for most of us.

Finding the perfect answer isn't realistic. There are inherently compromises which must be made. We have to find the best answer that we can. This means looking at where we are willing to cut corners or accept risk.

I am reminded of a time I was selling a used car. The paint was rough and so was the interior. The drive train was pretty good. Price was like $1,200. Some guy was looking at it and said "This, that and the other are wrong with it." to which I replied "Yeah and that's why it is this price."

It would be great to have the perfect set up. I would love to have a few Sarah Conner Terminator Caches, a dozen Jason Borne safety deposit boxes with cash and new ID's, 3 different passports under my real name and houses in each place. Hell, a jet with a pilot to take me between them would be nice too. Fleeing to my awesome compound in some paradise with everyone I really care about and some random hot chicks in my sweet jet Dan Bilzerian style sounds great. Why not? In fantasy land anything is possible.

The thing is that most of us sadly do not live in fantasy land. Being able to apply huge sums of money to problems is not a luxury most people, myself included, have. So what we need to do is realize that in a world of finite resources (money, time, etc) we aren't ever going to get a perfect solution. As our friend Commander Zero recently said "Preparedness is really about resource management in regards to risk reduction – we try to get the most for our money when we take steps to protect ourselves from future problems."

Second is the issue of problem admiration. Guys will see a problem and just look at the issues over and over. They keep staring at the problem. At some point you aren't going to get any new relevant information within the span of time you have to make a decision. Then you have to weigh the issue, pick a number and put your damn money onto the table.

Look at the problems you face. Understand that you have limited resources available in order to address them and that this inherently means you will have to make choices. Take your time. Unless your house is on fire or there is a mugger waving a knife in your face there is time to sleep on it. Do your research and think. You have time but not forever. At some point you will have to decide how to best use the resources you have and execute the plan.

This sort of thing isn't as catchy as talking about what the coolest survival knife is or the 12 items you need for a bug out bag. I know that. I know this type of thing doesn't get the comments and discussion of the "talk about cool gear and validate each others decisions" posts. Honestly I don't care. Selling stuff or making money isn't my goal here. I am trying to work through my own problems and help you all do the same. I hope you choose to use this stuff to help yourselves.

Get out of the problem admiration phase.


Friday, August 31, 2018

Bug Out Discussion Continued

Replies to a recent conversation where I said "When war/ pestilence, etc come to your area GO SOMEWHERE ELSE! You don't need to be buying pallets of surplus razor wire, you need to make sure that your passports are current. ":
 Pineslayer said...
I have to agree on the passport thing, but where are you going to go? Central or South America? Canada or Europe? Do they want you or can you get there when things go shitty?

Can you assimilate on a moments notice?

August 11, 2018 at 9:15 PM
Blogger Aesop said...

All good questions, but imagine asking them of yourself as a Jew in 1937 in Berlin. Then imagine asking yourself the same questions, in 1941.

Or as an Afrikaaner in Capetown. Yesterday.

It would certainly suck to be a socially awkward and barely literate Eastern European living in London in 1912.
But not when the alternative was third class passage to NY on the Titanic.

"Any port in a storm", and all that...
August 12, 2018 at 12:52 AM
Anonymous Pineslayer said...
It does come down to the fight or flight, bug in/bug out debate. When you are threatened by over whelming forces the decision must be made. We are at a cross roads of sorts now. Let the Marxists take the country or over power them. We will all have to make that decision soon in my opinion

Ryan here: My thoughts are as follows.

Leaving your home temporarily because of imminent danger is an easy decision. Get out of the way of the fire/ hurricane/ riot. The idea of leaving for a longer period is harder. You might never get home. The thing is this is only really worth considering when staying home is going to get you killed or some other really bad outcome.

Think of it like you are in the kill zone of an ambush or right in front of a raging wildfire. Staying where you are is going to get you killed. You might not be sure where a safe place is but you know what place isn't! Get out of the really dangerous place right now! Worry about where else to go once you get away.

One thing I would say about America is that it is unique in a couple of ways. First it is a huge country. A massive event can make one area uninhabitable. Hurricane Katrina comes to mind. It may be that you can "bug out" to a few hundred miles away in Arkansas or Texas. The same could be said of a riot in Los Angeles or whatever. In a small country a regional event might mean you have to leave the country entirely but in the big awesome USA it doesn't necessarily mean that.

The other thing I would say is that if your concerns are political in the US the answer may be moving within the US. Things that might potentially happen in California, Illinois or New York aren't anywhere near as likely in say Texas, Idaho or Alabama.


Friday, July 20, 2018

Holy Totes- Peter to the Rescue!

Our friend Peter gave an excellent answer to my question about totes. In fact he wrote a whole post about this. They looked promising and I went down to home depot to check it out. They seemed solid and well designed. For $7 and change a pop I figured why not give it a try.

So I got 6 of them in the size (I think 17 gallon, roughly 2.5 feet by 18 in x 12 in). Size wise I guessed just right. They fit well in my vehicle and with the shelving I already have. That was a lucky happy accident. The bug out stuff will fill 3-4 of them. I plan to get a few more down the road if they work out.

Aesop and Pineslayer also made good points. The Rubbermaid roughneck type totes work. They are durable and perform as designed. They are also regrettably to tall for what I want. I also agree the sterelite el cheapo ones are crap. The ones I have will get replaced, if through attrition.

Totes are a funny thing. They are one of those things that in my head are expensive (and some of the fancy ones like Pelican/ Hardigg, are hundreds of dollars a piece) but really aren't. I will probably buy another dozen over the next few months as part of my efforts to get the stuff associated with preparedness under control.

One thing I plan to do is get a bed which has space for totes underneath. I need a new mattress anyway and a bed frame which is designed for 18" of space underneath will let me keep stuff under there. This isn't strictly necessary now but it would be a benefit. Also down the road I may have some space constraints and it could be important.

Anyway thanks guys. Since this place is no longer monetized one of the biggest ways it brings value to my life is that when I have a question, odds are decent one of you has the answer. Thanks again.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

RE: Maybe I Haven't Been Clear by Aesop

Our friend Aesop wrote an interesting post. I read it and came to a very different conclusion than I believe he was getting at. I was reminded about something our friend Commander Zero said long ago. What is the very first rule of surviving a disaster?

Don't Be There!

Some disasters, particularly hurricanes, are fairly predictable inside 2-3 days. Lots of riots have a lead up time. If a disaster is coming go somewhere else.

There are pros and cons to living in different areas. However once you factor in that the two supposed survivalist havens are overdue for massive events, volcanic and seismic respectively, the intellectually honest are a but easier going on folks living in other areas. Also the inland PNW has real fire issues. What I am getting at is that wherever you live something could happen that makes it untenable.

Inevitably someone will say "Don't be a refugee" or "I've seen 'The Road'".

First of all dial the drama down. By far the realistic threats that face us are localized or regional. Stop worrying about some doomer porn scenario. Driving the family hauler to a Best Western 2 towns over is the realistic situation for most of these 'refugees'. Second even in a full on unlikely situation obviously one does not choose to become a refugee because it sounds like fun. One chooses to become a refugee because it seems like what's at home is even less fun.

Natural disasters are self explanatory. If a huge armed mob is killing everyone who looks like you and they are one town over you should pack quickly then drive in the opposite direction. Unless you have terminal cancer and want the mob to kill you in a blaze of glory the answer is to leave. Personally I would rather lose my stuff then shoot some guys who don't matter anyway, have them shoot me, and then terrible things happen to my family.

The point is that if things get bad you take your .45 and wad of cash then go somewhere else. Somewhere less disastery. People have some fantasy of bug out camping or escape and evasion or whatever. In reality a cheap motel room 250 miles the other direction of the disaster is usually the answer.

It is good to have supplies and plans and all that. Many situations are solved by just staying home. However if nuclear aids meteors are scheduled to land on your house in a day you should spend most of that day getting away from your house. Having plans to bring some survival gear, guns in case things get sporting, etc is important. However the most important part of that survival kit will be the visa that buys the motel room and pizza. Being honest your bug out bag could be a suitcase or a Rubbermaid tote. Discussion of whether the rifle that will sit in the corner by your bed should be an AKM or AR is fun, we all like guns, but probably not the most important thing to focus on.

The point here is that we should, with reason, try to avoid being in areas where we will face disasters. When faced by disasters vote with your legs and get the heck out. To paraphrase Tamra "Don't be there, so you don't have to do that."

Most of the time the answer is to stay home, except when it is not. When it is time to leave better to go a week early than try to go a day late.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Real World Bug Outs Continued

Yesterdays Real World Bug Outs post got a lengthy comment from Aesop that I wanted to discuss. I will post it and my comments will be in italics.

My bug-out prep would be for 5 minutes and 30 minutes, but with kids, I could see a 15 minute instead of 5 becoming necessary.

It always takes more time to parade the troops.

Anything not important enough to grab and load in 30 minutes isn't vital anyways.
BTW, That's 10 3-minute round trips.

I think we could talk in circles about what the right time amounts are. As I look at my list the initial 15 minute time hack is way longer than I would need to do what is on the list. 5 might be a bit optimistic (where are my darn keys right now, etc all) but I could certainly call it 10. It would be 15 at least with kids. 

For the long time I need to think about it a bit more.
So besides figuring what you're carrying, break down those ten (or whatever, your house may be shorter trips than mine) trips into what you grab with each one, based again on triaging priorities. That way, if things get worse, you still got the most important stuff first.

I like the list broken down by trip idea. That is neat. 
i.e. Notional trip List

1) Important stuff - briefcase and B.O.B.
2) comms, backups, maps, compass, GPS, etc.
3) Weapons & ammo
4) Water and filters
5) shelter - tent, sleeping bags, etc.
6) medical
7) tools, traps, & gear
8) food
9) more clothes, boots, etc.
10) more food, water, addl. supplies

(And don't forget the carrier(s) for Fido and Fluffy, their food, bowls, leashes, waste management supplies, etc.!)

This is where the real world part comes in. We aren't fleeing the zombie apocalypse to go camp in the woods or something. Thus a need for a tent and traps and a bunch of bulk food isn't present. I'll be living on a couch or in a cheap motel eating pizza or microwave food from the grocery store. So I do not need to waste time and space on that stuff. Having some capability, like a BOB makes sense but that time and vehicle space would be much more useful for Great Grandmas rocking chair or something. I suppose the specific event and your plan will ultimately dictate. I can see myself ending up with 2 lists, one for an event during normal times and another or the dreaded zombie apocalypse.

More trips?
Make a longer list, as appropriate.

Then print it out.
Then put a house plan map, with trip number items color-coded, circled, and pre-packed into appropriate bags/bundles, on the back side.
Then make several two-sided color copies.
Then laminate them, and put them in appropriate places.

You kind of lost me with the talk of color coding and circling. Pre packing stuff makes sense though. I am pretty much there. Concur about the list. My plan is to firm it up an then do just that.

Anything not hot/cold/time sensitive, as much as possible, should be pre-staged in the vehicle(s), which saves you needless trips.

Pre staging stuff in a risky situation (there is a fire nearby, not quite close enough to evacuate yet, etc) certainly makes sense. Having your normal vehicle loaded to bug out at all times sounds kind of problematic. A full set up ready to go in a dedicated vehicle would be cool if you have one and a relatively secure place to store it.

Aesop said...
(Oh, and it should go without saying, your vehicle(s) should already have a list of items always in them 24/7/365 - tools, spares, flares, fluids, fire ext., first aid kit, etc., and a schematic of where they're stored, and what needs to be checked/replaced, at least twice a year. Just like the .Mil has done with jeeps, trucks, HMMWVs, MRAPs, APCs, and tanks since we stopped using horses. Doing this on the changes back/forth from Daylight Savings Time, which is always a Sunday, gives you winter/summer changeovers, along with swapping out stored batteries, rotating stored food, and changing active batteries in your smoke and CO2 detectors, and checking your household fire extinguisher(s). All of which people have, right? RIGHT?)

I concur with this and have more or less the same set up in my vehicle.

Kids bags being "too hard" is a cop out.

I am inclined to agree with you. The difference is you and I are fairly committed to all of this stuff. Normal folks aren't. So what is an acceptable level of hassle to you is not to them.

If they grow that fast, just put one full set of clothes into the bag once a week with laundry, and swap 'em out. You're gonna wash them and fold 'em anyways, so it ain't that tough. Or even once a month.

So obviously what's really kickin' somebody's butt there is self-discipline.

Excuses are just wallpaper for a pile of crap.

The briefcase idea is always right, going back to the second Bond movie.

Having your passport/IDs, important stuff, emergency cash, and some handy weapons and gadgets in a Get Out Of Dodge case or carryall is Survival 101, going as far back as the WWI precursors to the OSS 100 years ago.

I use a small backpack so I can stuff it into my BOB if needed.

Go over each item on a monthly basis, i.e. one item per month.

E.g., on that list, in February, you'd put fresh road maps, topos, state gazeteers, etc. in your map case, put in fresh stored (NOT kept inside the devices) spare batts for your GPS and handhelds, make sure your personal CEOI (local freqs, buddies' freqs, cellphone, e-mail, and snail mail addys for family, friends, neighbors, important contacts - banks, utilities, credit card companies, insurance agents and companies, emergency resources - Poison control, doctors, hospitals, red cross, state and federal FEMA, and anything else you want/need/think is cool etc. is all up to date and current, laminated, duplicated, etc.

And everything should be in both paper copies, AND a bombproof/waterproof/disasterproof encrypted thumb drive or three. You should have some of those stored/buried/cached offsite in redundantly redundant places, with all your important records archived.

This is on my to do list.

You can also fit more photos than anyone should own on the newer high-cap drives, and save yourself toting cartons of albums of otherwise irreplaceable family pics.

Scanning photos is a great idea. I will add it to my to do list.

For one example, you can put one or more such drives in one of the cute anodized, o-ring sealed aluminum "pill carrier" tubes, go to a close relative's house outside your region, unscrew the center latch of an interior door like a closet, get a paddle bit, and put a suitable hole into the jamb. Deposit the tube, put the latch back in place, screw it down on most of the screws, and epoxy in a broken-off dummy screw head for the remaining hole(s), and unless their house burns down or washes away too, it'll be there until you need it, or get old enough to go senile and forget you put it there.

I would probably just ask them to hold onto said thumb drive for me.

If you have masonry bits and some camo skillz plus a glue gun, you can do this with a brick in a pile, a rock, a tree trunk or stump, a plug/switch box in conduit, or about 1000 other places. The places where you can stash stuff you might want, but don't want to carry are mainly only limited by your imagination.

This kind of thing definitely has some cool possibilities. I am certainly a fan of caches.

And the fatter aluminum tubes about 3" long hold 30+ quarter-sized coins. Imagine pre-65 silver, or 1/4 oz. gold Canadian Maple leaf coins, and each one is a stash of $90-9000 US dollars of actual money. Just saying.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Real World Bug Outs

My friends house almost burned down. There was a fire in the immediate area. It happened during the day when B was at work. Maggy was home with the kids. She realized it was time to get out of there. She had the kids (they are young) pack bags while she put some other stuff together. Thankfully the issue was localized so a friend was able to come over and help with the kids which gave her a lot more freedom of movement.

She mentioned that it was a good thing that it wasn't a real emergency because between their kids bags was "3 pair of underwear, 4 shorts, 8 shirts, and 28 pair of socks."

This got us talking about preparing. I mentioned maybe having some bags ready to go. She, somewhat correctly, said for little kids whose sizes change constantly that would be sort of a constant mess. After some consideration I got back to her and told her what I actually do.

For my kids I keep a kid sized backpack in the car with a full set of clothes, 2x underwear, shoes, a coat and a few small books/ toys. This is basically their bug out stuff. It sits in the vehicle because kids are messy and crazy. Also it keeps this stuff relevant because it fits a normal life role and is getting used somewhat often. 

Other things that came up from this conversation are lists and drills.

Having a list of what you should take helps in stressful situations. Do the thinking when your mind is clear. Also this may well lead you to having things more organized. For example having your important papers in a folder or briefcase with your passports, documents, cash, spare keys, etc together in the safe makes it much easier than doing a scavenger hunt.

I broke my list into 15 minutes and 1 hour. To me much less than 15 is grab your wallet, BOB and run so no point in that. The other time of 1 hour seemed realistic for needing to leave soon but having more time.

Maybe you could do 4 hours and 24 but for me they seem to be getting less likely. Unless you have a bunch of guys to help and several large trailers you will see that the 1 hour plan has your vehicles pretty much packed up.

I am going to firm up my list a little and will publish it, or maybe a sanitized version of it, later.

Drills are important. Even relatively small kids can do stuff. Also if the kids are busy it lets parents be much more productive. Even something as simple as "Get dressed, pack a bag of toys, go to the bathroom and get into the car." would be a huge help. The kid drills are something I am kind of light on. I will have to take a look at Joe Foxs Book.

Anyway what are your thoughts on real world bug out's?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Rally Points

Rally Points
The other day I was watching Fear the Walking Dead. That show did not particularly grip me but I was bored so I watched a few episodes. Of course after various bad things the characters kept getting scattered and not having a good plan. This brings us to Rally Points. 
From FM 7-8 
The leader considers the use and locations of rally points. A rally point is a place designated by the leader where the platoon moves to reassemble and reorganize if it becomes dispersed. 
a. Selection of Rally Points. The leader physically reconnoiters routes to select rally points whenever possible. He selects tentative points if he can only conduct a map reconnaissance. He confirms them by actual inspection as the platoon moves through them. Rally points must--
▪ Be easy to find. 
▪ Have cover and concealment. 
▪ Be away from natural lines of drift. 
▪ Be defendable for short periods. 
b. Types of Rally Points. The most common types of rally points are initial, en route, objective, reentry, and near- and far-side rally points. Soldiers must know which rally point to move to at each phase of the patrol mission. They should know what actions are required there and how long they are to wait at each rally point before moving to another. 
(1) Initial rally point. An initial rally point is a place inside of friendly lines where a unit may assemble and reorganize if it makes enemy contact during the departure of friendly lines or before reaching the first en route rally point. It is normally selected by the commander of the friendly unit. 
(2) En route rally point. The leader designates enroute rally points every 100 to 400 meters (based on the terrain, vegetation, and visibility). When the leader designates a new en route rally point, the previously designated one goes into effect. This precludes uncertainty over which one soldiers should move to if contact is made immediately after the leader designates a new rally point. There are three ways to designate a rally point: 
(a) Physically occupy them for a short period. This is the preferred method. 
(b) Pass by at a distance and designate using arm-and-hand signals. 
(c) Walk through and designate using arm-and-hand signals. 
(3) Objective rally point. The objective rally point (ORP) is a point out of sight, sound, and small-arms range of the objective area. It is normally located in the direction that the platoon plans to move after completing its actions on the objective. The ORP is tentative until the objective is pinpointed. (Figure 3-2.) Actions at or from the ORP include--
▪ Reconnoitering the objective. 
▪ Issuing a FRAGO. 
▪ Disseminating information from reconnaissance if contact was not made. 
▪ Making final preparations before continuing operations; for example, recamouflaging: preparing demolitions; lining up rucksacks for quick recovery; preparing EPW bindings, first aid kits, and litters; and inspecting weapons. 
▪ Accounting for soldiers and equipment after actions at the objective are complete. 
▪ Reestablishing the chain of command after actions at the objective are complete. 
(a) Occupation of an ORP by a squad. In planning the occupation of an ORP, the squad leader considers the following sequence: 
▪ Halt beyond sight, sound, and small-arms weapons range of the tentative ORP (200 to 400 meters in good visibility; 100 to 200 meters in limited visibility). 
▪ Position security. 
▪ Move forward with a compass man and one member of each fire team to confirm the location of the ORP and determine its suitability. Issue a five-point contingency plan before departure. 
▪ Position the Team A soldier at 12 o'clock, and the Team B soldier at 6 o'clock in the ORF. Issue them a contingency plan and return with the compass man. 
▪ Lead the squad into the ORP, position Team A from 9 to 3 o'clock and Team B from 3 to 9 o'clock. 
NOTE: The squad may also occupy the ORP by force. This requires more precise navigation, but eliminates separating the squad. 
(c) Occupation of an ORP by a platoon. The platoon leader should consider the same sequence in planning the occupation of an ORP. He brings a soldier from each squad on his reconnaissance of the ORP and positions them at the 10, 2, and 6 o'clock positions. The first squad in the order of march establishes the base leg (10 to 2 o'clock). The trailing squads occupy from 2 to 6 o'clock and 6 to 10 o'clock, respectively. 
(4) Reentry rally point. The reentry rally point is located out of sight, sound, and small-arms weapons range of the friendly unit through which the platoon will return. This also means that the RRP should be outside the final protective fires of the friendly unit. The platoon occupies the RRP as a security perimeter. 
(5) Near-and far-side rally points. These rally points are on the near and far side of danger areas. If the platoon makes contact while crossing the danger area and control is lost, soldiers on either side move to the rally point nearest them. They establish security, reestablish the chain of command, determine their personnel and equipment status, and continue the patrol mission, link up at the ORP, or complete their last instructions. 
End Block quote. 
Simply put a rally point is a place your group plans to meet if they become scattered. 
Rally points need to be readily identifiable. Saying 400M west won’t work. Have a scattered confused half asleep people try to do that and they will all end up in different spots. On the other hand an identifiable feature such as ‘the abandoned car by the blackberry patch’ is much more doable. 
It is important to consider the circumstances which would lead you to using a rally point. Here are two considerations.
1- A rally point needs to be out of the immediate affected area of the thing that is causing you to leave. For a house fire it might be 50 yards. In violent situations a rally point out of the immediate area (say sight/sound and rifle fire) is appropriate. This distance varies by the terrain. In a city it might be a couple blocks, in dense woods it might be a couple hundred yards. In the plains or desert it might be much further. If you are worried about a problem at the nuclear power plant it might be 10 miles. The point is that you want to reorganize and reconsolidate outside of the immediate threat of the event.
2- Does it matter if people can see you? If you aren’t worried about people seeing you (house fire, concert, etc) then it doesn’t matter. On the other hand if you are worried about being arrested or attacked then you need a more discrete rally point

In a benign but still important civilian context this could be where you meet in a fire plan.
For the sake of this discussion we will make up a family named the Smiths. They are survivalists. The family is made up of the parents and two children who are 8 and 10. Old enough to generally follow basic guidance if it has been practiced but you wouldn’t want them traveling distances alone.
The Smith family has a few rally points for different situations.
Fire- The big oak tree in the front yard. 
The oak tree worked great for a fire but fails the common sense test for danger because they want to escape whatever the danger was. While outside the scope of this article they need a plan. 
Attack- Two rally points. Water and fire. Water is an old broken down pump shack 300 yards away in the woods roughly east of their house. Fire is a small old fire circle some kids used to use in a little depression a couple hundred yards generally west. 
Both of these have an alternate point that leads in the direction of their planned route of evasion. That is outside of the scope of this post and recommend looking at John Mosbys posts on escape and evasion. 
With these rally points the family needs a plan. 
Maybe the plan is for Dad engages the threat at a high rate of fire, ideally with a large capacity weapon like a 75 dr drum for his AK. Once Dad ‘has their heads down’ Mom (with a light pack and her rifle) moves out the side door with the kids, makes for the treeline then heads to the old pump house 300 yards away on the back corner of the property. 
The plan is for Dad to give them a minute to get free then he follows. Dad moved in a different direction and takes a halt at the top of a crest with a big log there and waits a few minutes to see if he is being followed. If it seems quiet Dad moves to the rally point to link up with the rest of the family. 
Moms plan is to wait for 15 minutes or until she hears a continuation of gunfire (after the presumed break when Dad bolts from the house) and then move to an alternate location further away. 
For patrol base/ camp or I would think a home having 2 rally points in opposite directions is the common practice. If the attackers are to the east you would go to the western one and visa versa. Of course in the real world they won’t be exactly 180 degrees apart but they should be in generally opposite directions. 
It would be prudent for the family to cache some supplies at these rally points. Common sense tells us if they have to flee for their lives at 3 am they won’t be idling along with 100lb ruck sacks. A small (certainly sub 40 lb) backpack could be doable but that might not even happen. Say they stash a little bit of water and food, some medical stuff for trauma or boo boos and some loaded mags for their rifles. 2x 5 gallon buckets should do. 
Lastly they have a plan for if they are separated and there is a disaster at the Nuclear base, reactor, spill on the train tracks. The plan is for Dad to get the kids since his work is closer to their school. Mom will probably be home so she will grab as much stuff from the list as she can and head out. After accomplishing their tasks they will leave separately without waiting. They will meet at the Denny’s in a town 20 miles away.
When they travel they want a plan should something happen. Remembering different points is complicated and mundane for a road trip. They have a floating plan (which would really only work in a city type environment) so should they become separated they will meet at the nearest McDonalds. If the McDonalds closes they will go to the nearest Greyhound station. The goal here is places every decent sized town has which are fairly safe and where it is not unusual for a person to wait for some time. 
I may write about this more but my intent is to give you some ideas.
Got Rally Points?

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Reader Question: Bug Out Realities

Harry Flashman said "If you have to flee, where (in general theory) would you go? I'm not asking specifically, just your thoughts. If I had to abandon my compound I'd be screwed. The only place I can think to go in the event of some major Black Swan event would be deeper into the Appalachian mountains, where I would surely starve when winter came. Remember the old guy in "The Road" played by Robert Duvall? I don't want to end up like that."

Ryan here: Harry, There is a disconnect between what I am thinking about and preparing for in this context and what you are thinking about. You are focused on a black swan type event sort of in line with what survivalist authors love writing about. I am focused on events which fall short of that. 

There are many reasons a person might need to leave where they live, if just for a period of time. Natural disasters such as storms, hurricanes, tornados, wildfire, etc come to mind. Social unrest is another. Various occasional events such as gas leaks, overturned rail cars with nasty chemicals, etc happen also. 

The point here is there are a bunch of actual real life (vs survivalist fantasy and or very unlikely events) reasons you might need to leave your home in a hurry. 

These problems also have the advantage of bejng much more manageable than an EMP and cannibal hordes. I am not "bugging out" to be mad max or the man and son from 'The Road', I'm probably going to be in a Motel 6 in the nearest unaffected city ordering take out and talking with my insurance company.

Along these lines my gear is set up accordingly. Stuff like sleepwear, deodorant, an IWB holster for the G19, clothes I could wear in normal society, etc. Sure there is good, water purification, first aid, etc. It is roughly a 50/50 mix between overnight bag and a more conventional 'bug out bag'.

I hope that explains my thinking. 

What you could do? 

For the more likely fire scare, sudden trip to the hospital, race up to see the kids in an emergency you could put together a kit like mine. 

For the black swan/ conventional survivalist scenario. I would find a couple of places that are abandoned or very isolated and cache a bunch of gear there. Lots of effort and implied tasks but it would give it the ability to leave your place quickly and have some logistics. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Organizational Fail- Where the Heck is My 9mm Ball Ammo?

Writing about our failures is never fun. It is always more fun to talk about a cool new toy or something awesome we did. This is not one of those posts.

I needed 500 rounds of 9mm ball ammo today. The reason will be clear later,  that isn't what this post is about. I went to the first place I thought I would find 9mm ball ammo in quantity and it wasn't there. Went to the next place and it wasn't there either. Went back to the first place and really looked.

I thought for a second and went to a third place where I found a can of 9mm ball. Winchester white box from probably 2008. Good solid ammo. Wish they had prices on them to show what I paid.

Anyway this was a big ole ball of fail.  The bottom line is I currently have serious organizational issues beyond the home defense set up level. Access to ammo  isn't a realistic problem it is just a canary in the coal mine. We talked about ammo which I am not really concerned with. In my bedroom I think there are 5 loaded AR  mags between my fighting load (hd) and a sort of active shooter bag. Also at least 3 spare glock  mags. That more than meets any home defense needs I could possibly have.

My stuff both preparedness and otherwise needs to get better organized.  I really don't have any excuse except laziness for not doing this. Currently I don't have anything big going on for most weekends so I could easily put in 3-4 hours 2 days a week working to fix this. Just need to get off my ass and do It.

So what are my goals:
1- MOP-After this weekend which is busy I want to spend st least 6 hours a week (probably on the weekend) on sorting and organization.  The girl I'm seeing works weekends so I have the time. I plan to do this until the organization is done.
2- MOE- Within 30 days have full fighting load, bob and bug out stuff separated, organized and ready to go.
3- MOE Within 60 days have all prearedness related stuff organized.
4- MORE- Within 90 days have all of my various possessions organized. Donate a lot to good will, unneeded camping stuff to local Boy Scouts or survivalists,, sell some stuff and organize the rest. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Reader Questions: Meister on Appalachian Land Purchase or Beach Front Property

Meister said: Looking at a large property purchase. Having issues deciding on location. Appalachia or the coast with a boat. Tough decisions.

Meister asked a question that has a fairly complicated answer. Should he purchase land in the Appalachian Mountains (or that general region) or on the ocean with a boat. For background Meister lives (based on his google profile) in the greater Indianapolis IN area.  I will talk the general pro's and con's of each then hit the questions that would guide my answer if this was a conversation.

Mountain land:
Pro: Cheap
Pro: Low maintenance costs
Pro: Minimal population

Con: If that situation becomes untenable options are limited.
Con: Lots of poverty and drug issues. Of course this is a very local thing but the meth heads in town or a trailer nearby could be a real issue if things get ugly and EBT cards stop working.
Con: May not be the easiest culture to assimilate into. There could be a we/ they thing if stuff got ugly.

Beach land:
Pro: Vast resources readily available. Food storage could be greatly supplemented by shellfish, crab, fish, etc.
Pro: Being able to have either on a dock or a trailer in a shed, a boat capable of intercoastal waterway type travel gives a great supplementary option.
Pro: A little cabin on the ocean and a boat would be huge fun for the family and an anchor to get teen and adult kids to come out for the family vacation for years to come. This is something you could really enjoy.

Con: Population. Beaches tend to be relatively busy places as they are cool. Sure there are some more isolated areas but you have to really look for them. Without googling it I suspect the low population density of the Appalachians is difficult to find on the Eastern seaboard unless you look at extreme norther Maine.
Con: Cost. Your dollars will get a lot less land if it is on the water.
Con: In a worst case scenario being on the water puts a big ole high speed avenue of approach right on your back lawn. Not so long ago Pirates raided small towns and settlements in the American South East because it was easy to hit one and vanish into a maze of islands or get back to a safe haven.
Con: (Boat) Significant upkeep costs. A trailered boat costs money. A boat you have to keep in the water year round or dry dock costs real money to upkeep. I knew an accountant who had a very long conversation with a legitimately wealthy client that in fact no she could not comfortably afford a boat.
Con: (Boat) I would be worried about not having my eyes on such an expensive thing, especially if it was in the water.

Now the thoughts/ questions I have to guide the decision:

Q- Do you plan to keep living in the same area you currently do or relocate?

Thought. Distance- My rough math says the Appalachians (picked Cumberland, TN as an arbitrary mile marker) are fairly close to you, approximately 275 miles so a tank of gas or so. Also it is pretty open country so I wouldn't be TOO worried about making the drive if things got bad. Relatively un populated/ affordable beach front land would probably be in the Carolina's which are roughly 750+ miles (I used Mertyl beach as an arbitrary mile marker). That is a lot further any way you cut it. Also there are a lot of more built up areas in between. A further away place means you are less likely to use it get away (and be around/ check on your stuff) and it will be harder to get to in a worst case scenario.

This is probably the biggest issue in my mind. The ocean is pretty far from where you live. As such this favors land in the mountains. If it was not almost twice as far we might be able to argue for the ocean but......

Q- What sort of scenario do you see happening?

Thoughts: If your concerns run more towards a major financial collapse that runs short of full on grid down Mad Max I would go with the beach land and boat. Better economy (in general) and closer to population centers for work and such. Depending on the boat you have it has the added benefit that if the social/ political situation becomes intolerable you could easily sail down to the Caribbean or Central/ South America for a couple years. Your trade could be practiced underground for enough to keep the families bellies full and a reasonable boat running. The Appalachians are the white third world now, imagine if the EBT cards and government programs were cut off? On the other hand if you see things going full on Mad Max a cabin in a holler with a big garden 30 miles from a town of 3,000 people in BFE Kentucky/ TN would be a good place to be. If your immediate neighbors were solid and the terrain was good folks could do well up in those hills, it has been done before. For that scenario the openness of beach areas and the high speed avenue of approach of the ocean add risk.

This can go either way depending on your concerns.

Q- How much cash do you have for start up? How much for maintenance?

Thoughts: My very rough math says the beach land with boat is going to be a whole lot more expensive than some land in the mountains. Of course if you want a whole lot of acreage in the mountains (like 50+) but just an acre or two by the beach that starts to change things but it's gaming the scenario a bit. Bottom line a given amount of cash will get you a whole lot more real estate in the mountains than on the water.

I don't know your budget so it may or may not matter. However this favors land in the mountains for most budgets. The buy in for a place in the mountains could realistically be 20-30k with almost no maintenance. Beach land is probably going to cost more, then there is a boat to consider. In fairness a boat can mean a lot of things but I inferred more than a little row boat/ skiff. Boats are expensive to buy and have significant upkeep costs. From a family of boat owners I know the adage that they are a hole in the water you throw money into is true. If you had say 20-40 acres with a shed and a cabin and ran onto hard times all you would need is to scrape up cash for property taxes. On the other hand if you want them to stay operational boats cost money on a continual basis. Bottom line the up keep costs of a place on the coast with a boat will be higher.

Anyway if I had to boil this down to a suggestion. Both are fine options but that is a cop out. Unless there is some information I am unaware of I would lean to the mountains based primarily on distance.  The economics and what is better for which worst case scenario can be argued a lot of ways but the distance is very clear cut.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Thoughts on Trailers, Packing out and Organization

Some of these things Peter of Bayou Rennaisance Man has covered over time. I probably should have listened better to him.

-Be very cognizant of weight vs bulk especially with heavier (per volume) items like ammo and liquids.

-If you plan to have a certain set up for say a bug out you would benefit from actually loading it up and getting it weighted at the local scales. Might suprise you and make you want to lighten up on some stuff.

-While I am definitely pro trailer (I bought one and it is a significant part of a vehicle based plan) I would still urge you to, whenever possible, pre position the majority of your gear and heavy stuff where you plan to go. In this regard thinking of a trailer as a portable shelter that can move say 30-60 days worth of stuff as well as items to make a trip, including to a non planned site, much more comfortable has value. Having a big tent, coleman cook stove, expanded (vs backpack level) kitchen stuff such as washing tubs, big frying pan, dutch oven, more clothes, as well as some nice to have guns like a .22, shotgun, etc you wouldn't have room for in a cramped vehicle would be a world of difference. Now I encourage you not to think of it as a way to take your giant stash of ammo and food to wherever you end up going. That is a realistic plan only with a very large double axle trailer and a truck that can haul said trailer.

-Having your stuff organized in sealed containers is vital. I had a bunch of stuff in open, overflowing cardboard boxes. Huge hassle. Sealed rubbermaid type containers are really the way to go. You can grab them, toss them in and stack em. Super easy. Also these are an item that for some reason are expensive in my mind but in actuality aren't. I should have spent like $150 on containers and really packed the stuff I planned to move. That would have saved a ton of time.

-Containers. Get the flexible ones (not the brittle ones that crack if you look at them wrong) with the snap on lids. These are all in various colors so it is not an issue but if you ignore my advice and get the brittle ones don't get the clear ones. Might not want people knowing what is in the tubs.

-Rubbermaid brand containers are a tiny bit more expensive but if you have the coin totally worth it. 

-As much as practical try to stick with standard sizes for containers. It makes stacking a lot easier. Do the same for ammo cans.

-Having a plan is always good. When we get stressed we get stupid and rushed and forgetful. So a simple plan is good. Segregating the evacuation/ bug out tubs in one distinct area is a good option if you can make it work. Then you know to clear out that space/ rack things are good.

-Do a test drive with the trailer packed how you plan to pack it. Might learn some things. For instance with a loaded (honestly too heavy for the vehicle) trailer my gas mileage was cut by more than half.

-Also of course have a layered combat loaded approach to this whole packing thing. EDC stuff and side arms on people. Bug out bags in the vehicle with long arms and probably an ancillary gun or two (shotgun comes to mind) along with some extra ammo, food and water. More of all that in the trailer. Really you are just expanding on the same capabilities due to larger space/ weight availability as we go from small to large in the system.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

RE: DTG Preconceived Notions: "The Bug Out"

First of all thanks to Kenny and Western Rifle Shooters for bringing this excellent post "Preconceived Notions: "The Bug Out" to my attention. Mason Dixon Tactical is a solid site, there are just a finite amount of blogs a person can read with high frequency.

-Unfortunately JC Dodge uses the term 'bug out' differently than pretty much everybody. He uses 'bug to' in the context most of us would use bug out in meaning to go from planned point A to point B. He uses 'bug out' in an open ended way without a planned destination, like I might use 'Batman in the Boondocks'. While seemingly a minor thing the lack of common vocabulary can be significant point of confusion.

-In general it is worth mentioning the primary plan in almost every scenario should be to stay wherever you currently live. With a touch of fairly basic survival planning one can ride out most realistic scenarios in their normal residence. As an aside if you are sure that most realistic survival scenarios would be a serious problem in your normal residence then I would suggest re looking where you live.

-Since we are focusing on the E of bugging out (without a solid planned destination and associated logistics) for the sake of the discussion we are going to largely disregard the options which should be between staying at home and running off to the woods or whatever. So the answers A and C which might be your bug out location or a relatives isolated home then another slightly less desirable plan are largely going to be left out of the conversation. In many ways this is also somewhat realistic because many people do not have that dedicated back up place or a convenient Aunt Milly with a farm in the hinterboonies, let alone two such options. Until a person can save money and build networks to flush those out it might well be strait from P to E.

-Mason Dixon Tactical makes the case that a bug out (without a solid planned destination and associated logistics) should really be around the E of a PACE plan. In non military speak it is the plan you use when all your other, better supported, plans fall apart for one reason or another. You just can't carry that much stuff and being a refugee is a bad plan for survival. Also believe it or not in most of the US there are not that many truly empty places. Off the top of my head. A few deserts in the South West. Some empty parts of the inland west. Parts of the Appalachians and Ozarks and some woods way up North in Maine and maybe Michigan. You might well hike or drive up to that lake, valley, deer camp or camp site and find several groups of people already in the area!

-In general for a bug out to nowhere plan I would try to bring as much stuff as possible then if needed (or lost/ stolen) shrink down from there. Say I started a trip with a vehicle and a trailer. Of course I would want to keep those but maybe to keep going I had to travel through a place I couldn't take the trailer and there was not time to go around, unload the trailer, traverse the obstacles then reload it, etc. So now I am down to the vehicle and its contents. Hopefully that works. Baring that maybe I have a game cart or something and a ruck.

-This would necessitate packing in a tiered way (see a theme?) We would want bug out bag's in the vehicle as a baseline. Beyond that we would extend to a couple more core weapons, extra ammo, a more comfortable tent, first aid gear, some food, water and fuel in the vehicle. The trailer would be a further extension with a nice sheltered space as well as more comfortable stuff, ammo, food, fuel, etc.

-So this land is not ours or under friendly (family, etc) control. Who exactly owns it? The best case would be various public lands have different rules that will likely not matter if thing are bad enough that you are driving out into the hinterboonies to avoid the chaos of the cities. Private land is well private but I would not feel bad about squatting on a major corporations timber/ ranch/ farming land. In this sort of scenario the major regional timber company is probably not going to be functioning anyway. To empty private land of non major corporate type owners that is an option I dislike. One might wake up in that empty cabin to find it's rather unhappy owner standing over them! I would avoid that option if at all possible.

 -If we have a fairly firm location even if it is not ours (otherwise it would likely be the alternate plan) what can we do to firm up the logistical side of this plan? Could we look at clearing out a site a little bit? Could we stash a few key items that are too heavy to carry on foot like say a real axe and saw, a dutch oven and cast iron frying pan, a couple big tarps, maybe some bulk food? If purchased carefully one could get all the tools and such for maybe $200. $200 will buy a lot of bulk food. Say another $100 in packaging and incidentals and we are at $500. $500 will about buy a new Glock 9mm at normal price or pay for a nice weekend vacation in the nearby big city or at the beach. It is an amount that with some planning most people can come up with. While one would not want to exercise extreme caution in burying guns, explosives etc in this manner stuff you can get at the local hardware store is in my opinion a different matter. It might not be entirely legal (consult your local laws, etc) I do not see any ethical issues with it. Could we get a rental storage locker in town 5 miles away putting out stuff most of the way there instead of 50 miles away from the place in our garage?

-I guess the way we firm up a plan to nowhere is to make it a plan to somewhere! After we figure out where we would be well advised to develop the logistical situation.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Greece Revisited

Yesterday I talked about Greece. This morning I was listening to the radio and heard that Greece shut down their banks and is having a referendum on austerity, and by default whether to stay in the Euro, on the 6th. This is bad. Granted Ryan the Greek would have acted awhile back but in general I figured there was a bit more time. Well at this point it is too late for Joey behind the power curve Greek to get his money out of the bank.

I am not saying Greek people should be putting up punji stakes in their yards and turning empty wine bottles into Molotov cocktails but it  is going to be an interesting few weeks/ months.

Now the point SD3 brought up is valid. Leaving is worth considering. This was clearly a glaring omission in my post. Can't see how I missed that obvious point but I did. That part of the discussion is complicated. I sort of talked about the pro's and con's of this awhile back. Family stuff as well as opportunity both at home and elsewhere matter a lot. A person with a deep social network who is happy where they are and doing OK, if not amazing money wise might not want to move. On the other hand a young well educated professional who is not especially tied to a specific area would be well advised to move to Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg or maybe Northern Europe.

Of course the point to physically hold precious metals and or Euro's is totally valid. That is where Ryan the Greek would be. Ryan's pantry would be stocked, his safe would be full of PM's and Euro's and his bank account would be empty. 

Where I disagree with SD3 is that I do not believe the overall level of violence in Greece is going to be particularly high. I could be wrong but I just do not see it. Some rioting seems likely in Athens at this point but if I lived in a small town or village the odds of encountering a notably different level of violence seem minimal.

At the risk of generalizing I would say Europeans, and especially southern Europeans tend to be less economically oriented (cause or result of the countries being economic basket cases I can't say) and more family/ socially oriented. Many of these people are far less likely to immigrate if they are making it, even just barely.

So that is the update on yesterdays post and the current events in Greece.
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