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

Monday, March 23, 2015

Taxes and Trailer?

Got the taxes taken care of for the year. Since it isn't April we are doing better than usual. I am pleased to say we did better than expected which was nice. Things worked out just right to drop us into a lower tax bracket. Will have to look at if we can strategically make that happen for 2015 also.

With these unexpected gains we are looking at purchasing a trailer. Something enclosed either a cargo trailer or just maybe a small camper if we can find one light enough that is still in the budget. This would greatly aid in traveling and camping with 2 kids and 2 big dogs. It would also really be handy in a variety of preparedness type situations. More research will be done and we will talk more later. Exciting times.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

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

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

Assault Packs, Rucks and Sustainment Loads Revisited 

and before that with

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a pretty good week here. I ordered the stuff to move forward with Project 870 which is long overdue. Also picked up a castle nut wrench and a wool blanket. Repacked the Bug Out Bag which is good. While not explicitly blog related I worked to knock off eating out. Right now I'm home alone so it's easy and very tempting to just grab something. Last week I ate out once on Friday night so that was good. Got a chef salad for lunch today because I was craving something fresh and green like crazy. Only halfway went shopping last week so fresh and green haven't been on the menu for awhile. This week I'm going to dial it up a notch and try to keep cooking but work in more veggies n fresh fruits. Suppose this means I do need to go shopping pretty quick here, like tomorrow. Between that stuff, finishing Point of Impact and some projects at home I've been a pretty busy beaver.

This coming week I am going to finish the project at home. Hopefully the stuff for Project 870 arrives this week so I can get going on that over the coming weekend. Other than that it's just sustained excellence on all fronts.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Tab Clearing

I prefer rifles to shotguns but for those looking to defend home and hearth on a budget the pump shotgun (Rem 870 or Moss 500) is a capable weapon at an awesome value. Inside the house a $400 shotgun is almost as capable as a $1,200 AR. Given that shotgun fights do not last long I would be quite comfortable with the more affordable option.

Street Robberies and you is a pretty interesting post over at ARF. Of course we do not KNOW the author but it rings of truth to me. My thoughts: Making eye contact is significant. First it shows you are aware of the person, second that you could probably identify them. Third like the article says you can show you have a gun in a way that probably (I'm not a lawyer, blah, blah, blah) does not cross into brandishing territory but gets the point across. The universal hand on the gun under clothing is a pretty solid "you don't want to mess with me, I'm packing" indicator. If you do those 2 things the odds somebody is going to attack you unless they know/ believe strongly you have something really good to take (lots of cash, drugs, etc) drop to about nil. Good for a read and some thought anyway.

Along those lines take the damn ear buds out of your ears and put your blankety blankets smart phone away whilst you are walking and driving. Also pay attention to what is happening around you and pack a heater.

Bayou Renaissance Man replied to my recent Bugging Out Revisited post that this article at his place may be of interest.Good stuff worth reading.

Lastly 6 Abandoned Sites that would make Great Supervillan Lair's.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Bugging Out Revisited

Our discussion yesterday brought up some interesting points. I think the idea of bugging out gets misinterpreted and overblown to the point of silliness. Folks get into a "bug out" vs "shelter in place" argument about philosophies and locations and all that junk. Let us just take a step backwards. In taking this step backwards we are avoiding going to magical WROL fantasy land and instead will deal with realistic scenarios.

I look at most things in life from the same psuedo military mindset, it's just how I have grown up. Going to the grocery store is a supply run, errands in town are a patrol of sorts, bugging out would be a hasty withdraw, etc. Obviously I temper the security posture to the specific event but the same general considerations apply to most situations.

My preference whenever possible is to ride out whatever may come at home. We are in a safe place, pretty well prepared and set up to be reasonably comfortable under less than ideal circumstances. Given what may happen in our area the odds are high we can simply ride it out here. Personally I do not see a need for us to "bug out' due to weather or a storm as we are pretty far from the coast. Short of some so sort of chemical spill or natural gas problem I see us being able to shelter in place through whatever.

That being said obviously the first way to successfully avoid the downsides of a disaster is to simply not be there. In choosing where to live we can take a variety of factors into consideration to lessen these risks but that is a topic for another day. If a major disaster is coming to our area it might just be prudent to leave. Hurricanes are a prime example of this. If you live on the coast and a big hurricane is coming the smart thing to do is to pack up as much important stuff as you can and de ass the area before the hurricane comes. 

When I speak of bugging out I generally refer to a short term move to avoid a nasty regional disaster. The best place to watch the Hurricane is from a Holiday Inn 500 miles inland. Strictly speaking you don't really need any cool survivalist stuff or kits to do this. Sure it is smart to have some jerry cans of fuel to make sure the family hauler can get to the Holiday Inn and having some bags packed is a good idea. I would be inclined to bring Bug out Bags and some other kit with us but the only stuff we'd really use would be CCW handguns and the all essential survival tool, the credit card.

Of course we could end up camping somewhere at which point considerably more gear would be needed and food might be hard to come by. This brings us back to more of a heavy bug out scenario. Bayou Renaissance Man did an interesting post on this some time ago.

Despite the unlikeliness of needing to leave our home I find it prudent to prepare for that eventuality. Why do I think this? Most places have at least 1 risk that may lead to them needing to leave in a hurry. I think this because bad things can happen in life and it is prudent to be prepared for them. A safe place up in the mountains can be overcome by fire. If a person finds themselves needing to evacuate with only 20-30 minutes notice it would be awful nice to have a plan so they can get the most important irreplaceable stuff, papers, photos, cash, pm's, the pets, a few guns and some survival stuff into the car instead of a single handgun, half the animals and a box of granola bars.

It is important to remember that in real life the smart thing to do against overwhelming localized danger is to leave.  Sitting in your bunker while it gets burned up/ flooded/ smashed is stupid. Go someplace else and rebuild after the disaster if needed. On the other hand in magical WROL fantasy land where displacing doesn't mean going to the Holiday Inn in Anytown Arkansas to ride out the storm but instead your own family version of The Road one might look at it differently. However applying that dire scenario to everyday life NOW is just silly.

So those are my thoughts on that.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Bug Out Vs Operational Pack Out and Survival Gun Discussion With American Mercenary

Packing for an Operation vs Packing to Bug Out
Interesting reading. In my mind a bug out is just a different type of operation with a more nebulous end time and few, if any enablers.

Inevitably the discussion went to firearms. Personally my "go guns" are the same guns I would take in a bug out situation though if going by vehicle I would beef it up to our survival guns by including my Ruger 10/22 and a Remington 870. The latter 2 guns are included in the heavy bug out to round out a basic firearms battery and since they are good food gathering weapons.

In a predominantly nonviolent wilderness based scenario I'd be rocking a .22 pistol if it was planned or a Glock 9 if unplanned and a pump 12 gauge as wilderness walk out guns. Those guns give a lot of options in gathering food and could protect me from dangerous game.

Back to the discussion of more man portable options American Mercenary returned with
Using a .22lr adapter as part of your fighting/ bug out gear
One of the unique attributes of the AR is that it's barrel is compatible with .22 lr ammo. Some time ago a .22lr adapter was made for the Military eventually followed by several civilian models. I have one of them. I would say it is sufficiently accurate, if just marginally, to serve as a backup way to procure game. Given that an adapter, a mag and a couple hundred rounds of CCI stingers would probably fit in a 16 ounce "Tall Boy" can I think that is a huge ability for an individual who needs to carry an AR-15 but wants some food gathering capability. With a simple swap of the bolt and magazine you can hunt with .22lr and save the 5.56 for bigger game.

The topic of .22lr dedicated upper's came up also. These are inevitably more accurate than the bolt swap kit but I can't see a reason to carry one around. It's 75% of the hassle of carrying a second rifle without it being a functional rifle. I'd rather have a second .22 rifle if I was going this way.

 .22lr pistols came up which I think has a lot of promise. They are of course harder to shoot well than rifles but are also less bulky. That being said .22 pistols can be plenty accurate. A friend and I went shooting once. He brought along his Father's .22 pistol just for fun. It was a bull barreled stainless Ruger with an el cheapo red dot on it. We were able to keep golf balls moving out to 20 yards or so with it easily. I'd say it would be an excellent squirrel gun.

I mind the idea of swapping a centerfire pistol for a .22 much more palatable than sacrificing a fighting rifle. Honestly for a combatant WITH A RIFLE a pistol is just icing on the cake anyway.

So those are my thoughts on that.

Friday, November 15, 2013

James Yeager Bug Out Experiment #4 of 7

James Yeager is a pretty polarizing figure (to say it mildly). He makes a lot of brash points, many of which are right or at least have some legitimate points. Anyway enough about him and onto this series. This video series has been quite interesting. It has touched on concept of use and names of bags, survival vs bush crafting, the importance of systems that work together and all kinds of other stuff. I am probably going to touch on those topics, among others, soon. Anyway I am eager to see where the next 3 videos go.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

RE: Rhodesians, Masada, von Trapp and ham-hocks...

One of my individual failings is procrastination. How this manifests itself in the blog is that I often have a great idea for a post then sit on it. The idea is a bit too labor intensive or whatever so instead of pulling together the energy to do it at the end of a hard day I put it off. Sometimes this means another blogger will do a post that is so comparable to what I planned to write that my great idea became redundant. Occasionally that blogger just does a much better job of saying what I wanted to than I did, sometimes to the point I find myself taking notes. This is one of those times.

K wrote a great post over at CSG called Rhodesians, Masada, von Trapp and ham-hocks. Read it.

Many things can threaten a person's location. It could be a formerly quiet easy going area starts to have a lot of violence against your racial/ ethnic/ cultural/ religious group. This violence is largely ignored, if not implicitly condoned by the police and political types inevitably largely from the common group. Could be a nice quiet area like the American South Western border region turns into a very dangerous place with lots of violent crime and organized criminal enterprises.

The point is that if the trend in your local area is folks like you getting dead it is time to move before you join the dead group. Better to be alive starting partway over somewhere else than suffer a horrible premature death alongside your family.

It could be that your house burns down.

The point is that there are numerous reasons you might need to relocate, potentially on short notice.

Now I am not much of a "Bug Out" type of guy. Honestly I have 2 small children, going anywhere on foot is quite impractical. Granted most situations I see coming fall short of widespread total collapse  and I do not live in a violent urban center so that isn't an issue but our answer 9/10 times is to stay home. Unless crazy weather is coming and they tell us to go, or something crazy happens. In case that happens we work on plans.

Often the answer is just to leave for awhile. Wait out the fire in the forest at a Holiday in 50 miles away watching the TV, go to central Texas to ride out a coastal storm, etc.

Got Cache?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bug Out Trailer- James Yeager Style

Only additions I would make are a few low watt LED lights with a small solar panel and a battery bank (could also charge AA's, etc) and maybe a folding table scavenged from an old travel trailer for rainy days. Very cool project I would like to emulate some day in the future.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bug Out Dinner- Ramen Style

As usual this bug out meal starts with the Solo Pot 900. My Solo Stove is sitting this one out as open flames are sort of uncool during the spring/ summer in dry fire prone Arizona.

The convenient measuring marks on the side were helpful. Just don't have enough good things to say about this pot.

Good old Top Ramen. Not what you call peak nutrition but it will fill you up and keep you going.

I substituted an egg for the tuna fish. The reason is those little foil packets are fairly expensive and eggs are cheap. Dinner was good. Had a couple of the little candy bars that live in our food bags for desert.

Dinner was cheap and pretty decent. Would get bored eating it every day but thankfully I do not need to do that. Since dinner and lunch are the same thing this pretty much covers me going through the meals individually. Some day this coming week I will eat a whole day of bug out food as a trial run.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

Organized a bunch of our bug out food.

Ordered a DBAL IR laser. Unfortunately it is a couple/ few weeks back ordered.

Got cash to buy the rail it will go on, either they are out of stock or Troy's website is less than user friendly. Meant to call them today but it didn't happen.

Broke down and ordered a Swack Shack.

Got 100 rounds of 12 gauge #8 shot. Small game loads are something I'm not long enough in shotgun ammo so it is being addressed. Plan to get a case of #4 shot in the next few days.

Made a big grocery store trip to restock a lot of things that have been used up.

Been putting more consideration into eating well and exercising.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bug Out Breakfast- Oatmeal Solo Stove Style

My Bug out Cooking setup. A day's worth of food, trusty Solo Stove and Solo Pot 900. The case is for the camera, not sure why it's in the picture.
I cannot claim credit for this idea. Stole it from Viking Preparedness some time back. My food bag contents is 2x oatmeal, 2x top ramen, 2x tuna, a half dozen random granola type bars (whatever we had), 1x big snickers bar, 1x peanut butter, a few instant coffee packs and some various munchies. My food setup is pretty 'bar' heavy. Generally in the field I don't stop to eat. Tend to snack a bit during the day then eat a big meal before going to bed. Aside from mild personal taste differences the only difference between Pastor Joes setup and mine is that I put the accessories into the day's bag. The reason I did that is so I could put the day's food into a side pocket or other more accessible place and go all day. Also it helps IMO to keep a day's munchies separate so you can make easier rationing choices and not all of accidentally eat the last day's munchies.  Don't think there is a right or wrong there, just different techniques.  

My cooking tools. The Solo Stove and Solo Pot 900.  Like this setup a lot. The stove not having the fire rest on the ground is good in dry terrain like the desert where I currently live. I would be comfortable scraping away a small spot (or finding a rock to set it on) then cooking, albeit carefully, with the solo stove. For packing it really helps that they nest together. An MSR type 1qt pot and some other sort of stove would function similarly but take up a lot more space since they would not nest. When the stove is inside the pot there is some empty space. I'm thinking about putting together a little spice and condiment bag to keep in there. It would give me some more options for flavoring.

Breakfast and the pot it goes in. Simple and easy. I did not go with the instant coffee, sticking to the normal drip instead. The reason for this is that instant coffee sucks. I know it sucks and do not feel a need to practice drinking it when an option I like is available.
The measurements on the side of the solo pot help you measure water which is nice.

Didn't bother to take pictures of myself cooking with the solo stove or eating oatmeal. You all know what that looks like. Anyway all was well on the chow front, my oatmeal tasted like oatmeal.

Today I learned a couple thing about my bug out/ whatever food system. 1) Need a plan for washing dishes. A little thing of soap plus a sponge is probably the answer. 2) Before I do this for lunch a fork would be really nice. A spork might be the long term answer.

Probably going to do my bug out lunch tomorrow. The reason I am doing these individually, aside from lunch getting away from me today, is to evaluate the meals individually before putting it all together. This way if for example I feel a bit weak or hungry I will know a given meal (the only change from my normal diet) was the problem instead of it being something in the overall food plan. After testing all 3 meals I will do a day of bug out food.

What are your cooking and food plans? Have you tested them? If so how?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lines of Gear and Go Bags/ Assault Packs/ Get Home Bags

Alexander Wolfe wrote an excellent post today discussing Go Bags and Bug Out Bags. I am going to talk about my thoughts on 'lines' of gear. In doing so we will talk about go bags/ assault packs/ get home bags and such. 

First line gear is the most basic survival and defensive gear. You really shouldn't be leaving home without it.
Military- Survival gear (knife, fire, etc) and weapon with reload. For most deployed personnel the weapon is an M4 variant but that doesn't really matter.
Civilian- EDC/ Survival gear and potentially CCW pistol with reload. You can see mine here and also a lot of other peoples.

Second line gear is your 'fighting load'. It stores ammo, water, basic first aid stuff, a small radio, maybe a more substantial knife, etc all.
Military- Old school would be your LBE or whatever and a rifle if your first line gun was a pistol. The contemporary equivalent would be body armor, a chest rig if your pouches aren't mounted strait to the vest.
Civilian- There are a lot more options but the basics are the same. Ammo, medical, maybe a more substantial knife, water, etc. This could be a direct or linear descendant of some military system of a smaller lighter setup designed to more closely suit civilian needs. War belts and Active Shooter kits fall into this category.

Third line gear is for sustainment over a longer period. Depending on how your stuff is set up and the conditions the second line is good for a short operation or up to a day or so.The third line is for sustainment beyond that time frame.
Military- Ruck Sack with food, water, warm clothes, hygiene stuff, batteries, maybe ammo, etc all. Set up to sustain an individual within their current environment for a reasonable amount of time.
Civilian- Large bag with food, water, warm clothes, hygiene stuff, batteries, maybe ammo, etc all. Set up to sustain an individual within their current environment for a reasonable amount of time. This is where the BOB AKA 'Bug Out Bag or INCH "I'm Never Coming Home Again" type systems fall.

We could quibble about what exactly should go where and other minutia. However it's basically the way our military operates these days so I do not think many folks would disagree with the general concept.

So now we are back to the Go Bags/ Assault Packs/ Get Home Bags. I will briefly discuss my thoughts on them then move forward.

The 'Go Bag' is pretty much set up to supplement your fighting load. More mags, medical stuff, food, batteries, etc all. It typically stays in a vehicle and is grabbed to resupply or if you need to bail out on foot.

The 'Assault Pack' is used to carry equipment beyond your fighting load needed for a particular mission. Potentially that could include bino's/ spotting scopes, batteries, clothes, food, additional ammo, explosives, breaching gear, land mines, signaling equipment, etc all.

The 'Get Home Bag' is a bag designed to have sufficient stuff to get a person from where they are to back home. Generally set up smaller and lighter than the 'bug out bag' though one mans BOB might be another's GHB.

So where do the Go Bag/ Assault Pack/ Get Home Bag fall into this general system?

We could analyze the exact composition of every single kit or just make it simple and call them level 2.5. That is sort of awkward but since these kits are typically a split between supplemental fighting load and short term sustainment I think it's the best fit. This is further made awkward because many civilians do not have a 'fighting load' in their general commonly carried systems. They may have a hodge podge of stuff floating around their vehicle or a few spare mags in their level 2.5 system. Also I find the conceptual level 2.5 useful because the level of sustainment is generally for a shorter period of time than the more traditional Ruck/ BOB 3rd level of sustainment.

Yes I categorize these systems in the same range. Furthermore I would go as far as to say they are just variations of the same kit adjusted to different circumstances. A soldier or contractor operating out of a vehicle will probably have a go bag. Inevitably some chow and supplemental clothing plus life's random junk (paperback book, MP-3 player, gum, flashlight, etc) can slip in there. Really while the bag might vary that isn't any different than an Assault Pack. These kits exact composition varies in part based on your fighting load. I've seen contractors who wore 2-3 spare mags for their rifle and 1-2 for the pistol (often in a ghetto made war belt from some pouches and a spare rigger belt) then carried a bag with more of each plus smoke/ grenades/ etc. If for whatever (IMO foolhardy) reason a person in a highly kinetic situation goes with way their  2.5 line is going to have a lot of ordinance in it. On the other hand a guy carrying 8-12 mags on his body has more room for a spare sweater in the 2.5 line.

To me the 'Get Home Bag' is a civilian equivalent of the same kit. It is a fairly small purpose built kit designed to help you with a specific mission, in this case getting home. They tend to be far lighter on ordinance than a soldier or contractor's Go Bag/ Assault Pack. The reason for this is simple. Despite some folks Red Dawn or whatever militia porn fantasies the odds Joe Everyday is going to need a first aid kit, some chow, a coat and a flashlight are a whole lot higher than that he will need an AR with a dozen magazines. Now if you want to carry a dedicated fighting load plus a 'Get Home Bag' type setup good for you but as a survivalist do not carry the ammo instead of the sustainment stuff.

So anyway those are my thoughts on that. I am eager to hear yours.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Solo Pot, Perfect to go With Your Solo Stove

The good folks at Solo Stove have got a pot to go with it called the  Solo Pot. They look like a solid piece of kit which is to be expected considering the source. Aside from being stainless steel and generally well made another big plus is that the Solo Pot can nest with the stove inside it. The capacity is 900 ml AKA just a bit less than a liter. Right about perfect for 1-2 person cooking of simple dishes. The pour spout and volume markings in ounces and liters are also nice touches.

I really enjoy using my solo stove and am looking forward to testing the companion pot in the near future. Maybe I will use it test some more survival food. Likely the pot will go right alongside the stove in my bug out bag. Anyway I figured you all would want to know about this cool product.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Go Boxes- An Open Discussion

One of the failures fun little surprises of my road trip down here was that somehow or another I left with a camera but no charging cable. To compound matters the camera only had 1/4 charge. After taking pics throughout the trip and of our new place (to send to Wifey) it finally kicked the bucket; right when I went to take the pics for this post. So I failed and there will be no pics.

The basic goal of this project is to have ammo cans that are loaded up to grab and go in case we need to evacuate or whatever. These are designed to feed the weapons we would rely on in a disaster which if you are too lazy to click on the link are as follows: M4agery, Remington 870, Glock 9mm, .38 Special and a Ruger 10/22. Somewhat arbitrarily I included ammo for the 30.06.

Initially I figured that what I want would take 2 cans. Decided to pack them the same just in case something happened. The cans are M249 SAW boxes.

Can contents is as follows:
.223- 200 rounds
30.06- 60 rounds
12 gauge- 20 buckshot, 20 slugs, 60 game shot (I went light on buck in favor of small game shot, some choices had to be made as shotgun ammo is really bulky. Likely the bag of 50 rounds of buck and 10 slugs that sits on top of the safe would come along which would help things in that department.)
.22- 550 rounds
9mm- 100 rounds JHP
.38 Special- 50 rounds JHP
PMAGs- 2
Glock 17 mags- 2
Ruger 10/22 mag- 1 (just saw this gaping hole this morning. Since it isn't exactly tactical these would be super easy to miss.)

Can A also includes holsters for the G19 and Wifey's .38 as well as an old USGI M16 ammo pouch and a basic cleaning kit. Can B includes a pouch that can hold shotgun shells. Note this stuff is for backup purposes. It is not our primary gear, just something to have just in case life happens and something is forgotten.

Note when looking at numbers remember there are two cans each of which have the same ammo and mags so we actually have 400 rounds of .223 not 200 and 120 rounds of 30.06 not just 60, etc.

I wanted to do these for a broad based scenario. Like the weapons they feed the goal is to be able to protect ourselves and if needed harvest a variety of game. Now that cans are more logically organized it is easy enough to grab all the .223 to go fight the Chinese from the hills or whatever if a situation calls for it.

Anyway I am curious about your thoughts and if you have done something like this. I know Alex Wolfe from TEOTWAWKI Blog did something similar.

So please tell me what  you think.

Am I on the right path here?

Should I consider changing anything?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday Group Discussion

I stumbled onto a new (to me anyway) blog called Preparing Your Family. They seem like good folks.

A recent discussion of groups (1, 2) got me to thinking about group dynamics. Specifically the whole "retreat" host and guest thing. I had a nice post mostly put together then realized I wrote it awhile back in response to Bayuo Renaissance Man's discussion of hosting a bunch of people displaced by Katrina. So I guess if you aren't up on what we have been talking about then read the links.

Anyway that is all I have for now.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Random Thoughts on Kits

I have pretty much pulled everything we have lying around or locally available for my GHB. Everything else will get ordered today or tomorrow. Stuff is chosen and funds are available but I am on the fence about a couple things that may go in the order. These new "sawyer"  water filtration systems look promising and for the price I may give it a shot.
I have noticed a few things about kits lately that seem worth discussing:

The name a person uses for a specific kit almost meaningless but we have covered that already. It's purpose is probably a lot more meaningful anyway.

There seems to two sort of schools when it comes to kits. There is the "generic" kit school and the specially designed school. The generic kit folks would say that a get home bag aka GHB should have these things. The specially designed folks would want to know a bunch of stuff like where you live, how far you are trying to go, what your plan is, etc. I think they are both sort of right. The generic kit folks are right in that they probably give a 75% solution for most people. Kits need stuff like a knife, fire, water and water purification, shelter (clothes and or sleeping), etc in varying quantities. The specialized folks are (outside of a rare person with terribly unrealistic plan) right in that kits should be driven by your skills, situation and plans. More often than not, excluding a rare person with a really unique situation, the specialists just end up adding and/ or subtracting a few things from the generic kit lists anyway.

In putting things together I have definitely realized you need redundancy in common items. I do believe in a sort of modular nesting concept where your EDC blends into a sort of survival kit, which flows into a get home bag, maybe all this contributes in some way to a BOB, etc. However life doesn't always work that way and each kit should be able to stand alone, certainly in key areas.

That means you probably need stuff like knifes, flashlights, water bottles, etc in some quantities. Not necessarily the same exact items but broad areas to fit different kits. The perfect flashlight to be on your key chain is not the one you want to use to set up camp at midnight. This means you probably want to think about the roles and expectations of tools in different kits.

To further complicate things you really want stuff in kits to be dedicated equipment. To me the whole point of a kit is having a thought through and organized set of stuff ready to go and in the right place when you need it. Otherwise you don't have a kit so much as a bunch of good stuff strewn all over your house, car, storage area, etc all. This means you either need to be really good about borrowing and replacing stuff, which nobody ever actually does, or have additional redundant stuff for common use.
The exact bar for what to get a spare of and what not to is based on our situation. For most people I think something like $50 or so makes sense. So that means the knife/ flashlight/ socks/ waterbottle/ etc all in a kit need to stay there. Certainly in the case of big ticket items like GPS's, guns, sleeping systems, etc common sense dictates some things may have to be added to the kit before taking it out or borrowed as needed. A big prominent tag on the front of a bag that says what to add and where it is located is a good way to make sure you remember those items.

Since most of the stuff we are talking about here is fairly inexpensive this redundancy really isn't a big issue. Also it is helpful with overall redundancy in that if you have 4 good knives the odds you will end up losing or breaking them all is slim. The process of figuring out what works well for each nitche could help the old "equip a friend" stash. A knife/ flashlight/ pouch which is slightly less than perfect for your situation is a lot better than no knife/ flashlight/ pouch.

Another thing that it is worth remembering is that you don't have to get the absolutely perfect best stuff on the market right away. I certainly do not recommend junk as it is alwys false economics. The thing is that you can replace servicable stuff with better stuff piece by piece over time. A $40 knife can be replaced by a better (or maybe just cooler if we are being honest) $85 knife around your birthday or a $75 on sale pack can be replaced by a perfect $400 pack when you have taken care of some other things and have the ever rare surplus cash lying around. This will also help with the whole redundancy thing and the "equip a friend" stash.

Even if you are not so worried about getting home or bugging out or whatever putting together kits is a pretty good way to really look at what you need in context instead of just a bunch of stuff on some big list.
In terms of general themes on the short term you are mostly looking at disposable stuff. You are carrying food to get you to wherever. Water is sort of an exception because it is so darn heavy. For just about any sort of plan you need to be able to make questionable water safe to drink. TP, baby wipes and generally stuff that is going to be consumed is the short term answer. All kits need some of this stuff if just for emergencies and convenience. However at some point a plan just cannot be supported by stuff on your back and you need to transition to things to get food, make shelter, etc.

Maybe you have a ridiculous cross country bug out planned. Of course you hope to use a vehicle and may even have some caches but the odds of that failing or needing to take substantial detours are high. In any case for this type of situation stuff like a .22 rifle, fishing gear, some traps, etc would probably be good to have. Even if you are super duper prepared and live at your "retreat" having a "grab in case of being overrun" bag is probably smart.  Anyway that is all I have to say about that.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Reader Question: SHTF Hygiene and Clothes Washing

I have an idea for a blog article-or several- that I think you may be uniquely qualified to expound on. There are a vast majority of us that have never, or are unable to, serve in the military.
You're active duty military; what I and many others would like to know, is how you do your day to day maintenance while out in the field, away from all the comforts of home.
I think it would make a good read if you could tell us the necessities of our life if TSHTF and we are suddenly without water, electricity or heat. We know much about sponge bathing, washing in tubs with a wash board and making our own soap, but how do you do it while trying to stay out of the field of fire/ being discovered?
How do you wash your personal clothing(skivvies, socks, BDU's, etc.) when out in the field?
If you do these things, what do you use to wash them in and what do you use for detergent? How do you clean yourself, and with what?
So please give this some thought and see if it is an idea you would be willing to tackle.
Iron Tom Flint
TOR here, I wrote a couple posts that give us a place to start. This post on field hygiene covers part of the topic pretty decently. Also this post on Dysentery, while a bit light hearted is worth checking out. Also here is one on primative laundry.  Now onto the specific questions.
Q: We know much about sponge bathing, washing in tubs with a wash board and making our own soap, but how do you do it while trying to stay out of the field of fire/ being discovered?
A: Staying out of the field of fire is easy, if people are shooting at you or immenently going to shoot at you it is not the time to do laundry. Sorry if that was a bit short, from here forth I will try to answer the questions as I believe they are intended, not word for word.
For short term stuff I would use my field hygiene advice from above. Typically military operations are short enough in duration that laundry isn't a huge issue; though that is a relative term as I have worn a single uniform for a month without washing it. Another option is that things are so crazy that you have bigger stuff to worry about. Delaying washing is easier when weather is relatively cold. You would be pretty nasty after wearing the same clothes in the South or Middle East in the summer.
As to avoiding being discovered. If I was really worried about someone discovering me I wouldn't be doing laundry. I definitely wouldn't do laundry in some sort of escape and evasion situation, a hide or a patrol base.  That being said a really small fire made of dry wood (especially in the woods or down in some micro terrain) is pretty hard to see from beyond 50-100 meters. All you would really need is enough to heat up some water which doesn't take a bonfire.
However to make it easier lets say you are in a fairly quiet but non permissive enviornment. Maybe you and the spouse are trying to get somewhere on foot or using forest service roads and obviously don't want any attention. Maybe you are some sort of G and folks are sort of passively patroling your area, doing recon patrols to check out movement, signs of people like fires, etc. Whatever, it really doesn't matter. The point is that you aren't imminently worried about people trying to kill you but do want to keep a low profile.
One simple and old school option is to take a bar of soap and your clothes into a body of water and wash them. This has the benefit of washing your body. Obviously your situation would have to be reasonably secure and this is a lot more fun in 80 degree sunshine than 30 degree snow. I have seen socks washed in canteen cups, I suppose the same could be done with underoos. Also the good old bucket or a dedicated water jug (the military ones have pretty big mouths) works.
Q:How do you wash your personal clothing(skivvies, socks, BDU's, etc.) when out in the field?
A: Often the answer is to stash the dirty stuff and wash in after the operation is over. Other times we scrounge up some big tubs or whatnot. I have seen organizations where leaders bought some old school type laundry stuff to fill urgent needs.
Q: If you do these things, what do you use to wash them in and what do you use for detergent?
A: I have seen and used normal commercial detergent and plain old bar soap.
Q:How do you clean yourself, and with what?
A: Baby wipes are a great way to go. If heating up water is practical a washcloth and a bar of soap is nice and makes you feel a bit more human. As to how it is pretty much laid out here.
Anyway I hope that is helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions. If you remember one thing take care of your feet.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lessons Learned- Katrina Bug Out Host

While catching up on my favorite anarcho liberterian Claire Wolfe's blog I saw a real gem. Bayou Renaissance Man lived through the general disorder in the Gulf during Katrina and Rita and more significantly hosted some folks who bugged out from the coast and New Orleans. I strongly suggest that you read it.

My thoughts and or things I want to emphasize in no particular order, are as follows:

1. If you are in a place where you could end up hosting folks bugging out from a natural disaster, riot or whatever I would be absolutely crystal clear about what you can/ will offer. Can you take the Tom Smith nuclear family, the nuclear family plus Granny or host an entire Smith reunion. Same for pets, if you can take the cat and dog but not their 7 draft horses then make that clear. Also it would be good to tell them what you can offer in terms of accomodations and resources so they can make appropriate plans.

As a potential visitor I would plan on being able to be as self sufficient/ able to contribute as possible. I would also want to be sure that whatever people/ animals/ etc I am bringing are fine with my host. Coasting into the farm on fumes to find out that they aren't cool with Granny or your draft horses would be quite bad. I would also want to know if there were any particular things that it would be especially helpful for me to bring, either in general or if possible by talking to my host before leaving. Coordination is a good thing. If they have 30 cords of wood cut I probably don't need to cram any into my vehicle and that space might be more useful for dried goods or fuel or ammo or tools or whatever which the farm is a bit light on. I would also plan to help out in a variety of ways while I was there and at least offer and be ready to compensate for any supplies I used.

2. Have physical cash on hand. I typically suggest a month's worth of cash living expenses which is probably sufficient. It is worth considering that your friends/ family/ the folks whose place you go to might not have been prudent enough to keep cash on hand. For a loan of a couple hundred bucks you could really help out somebody close and gain some favor. That is a much easier decision if it isn't taking proverbial food off of your table. In other words you might want to stash some extra to share.

3. Priority of packing vehicles would vary for a short term disaster or something more serious. Off the top of my head: people and pets, bug out type bags, personal defensive weapons (at least a pistol per adult, a defensive rifle, maybe a shotgun and or a second rifle) with ancillary stuff, emergency food, small momento's like a couple photo albums and the family bible or whatever, cash and precious metals, essential documents, additional food and camping equipment, high value compact items like guns and then entertainment stuff and whatever you want to take and still have space for.

4. Plan for entertainment, particularly for small children. Stuff that doesn't require batteries like books, toys, coloring books, etc.

5. Google maps lets you select to avoid freeways and bridges. Most other services seem to have similar options. If the one you use has the politically incorrect "avoid ghetto" option use it also.

6. While it is not nice or sensitive to say I would recommend that you do not live in a place with a large disenfranchized welfare population.

7. Even if the place you are in allows open carry I would plan on concealing my handgun while out and about. Some idiot LEO might think that all of a sudden the laws don't apply and it is just not worth dealing with. So no I would not be rolling around wearing body armor and a chest rig carrying an M4 and rocking a drop holster. Lets be honest, if things are really that bad I don't plan to be walking around anyway. A concealed pistol is discrete which is a good thing.
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