Showing posts with label vehicles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vehicles. Show all posts

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Vehicle Gear #1 A Conceptual Discussion

Our recent post Urban E&E/ Get Home Kit got me thinking about this. It also works conveniently because that is the current push in my personal preparations. My initial goal was to beef up the first aid kit there but I decided it was as good a reason as any to re look all the stuff in my vehicle.

I say 'all the stuff' instead of implying it is a cohesive system because there are multiple somewhat independent systems in play instead of one large system. This is complicating for at least three reasons. First because we have to figure out what all we want this stuff to do. Second instead of being sub systems we really end up with different systems that live in the same place instead of say sub systems in a larger cohesive system. Third we have to be cognizant of unintended redundancy/ duplication between the largely independent systems that live in the same place.

In a most basic sense the stuff in our vehicles can be broken down by vehicle stuff or people stuff.

Vehicle stuff would be spare fluids, tire and jack, tools for basic repairs, etc. Depending on your automotive skill set, vehicle reliability and access to repair assistance this could be a little or a lot. If you have some skills and drive a less than reliable vehicle on empty roads a lot a very comprehensive kit would make sense. On the other end of the spectrum a not so handy person with a new ish car might just have jumper cables, a spare tire/ jack, a couple road flares, some fluids and a few basic tools.

People stuff is a bit more nebulous. Personally mine is roughly broken down to the following:
Overnight bag-  A change of clothes, sleeping gear, shoes, toothbrush, etc. Alternate title is 'ho bag'.
First aid- A mix of emergency first aid trauma stuff with everyday type things like band aids, pepto, aspirin etc.
Get Home Bag- Kind of a bug out bag that lives in my car.


Misc- There is some stuff in there that defies ready categorization. For instance a ziplock bag with a spare Glock mag, 50 rounds of 9mm, probably some .22lr an maybe even a .38 speed loader.  Also a set of bolt cutters and a big ole crow bar. I could arguably say it is part of one of the 4 general systems I laid out but I don't really care to.

There are other plausible systems a person could have. They might have a long gun with ancillary stuff or a robust wilderness survival set up. Folks who are often in wild places in cold winters need a sleeping bag, heavy coat, gloves, hat, boots, etc. Nothing else comes directly to mind but other options could certainly exist.

Now we have to talk about constraints. What are the constraints to stuff we keep in vehicles.
-Space. Obviously less of an issue if you drive a full sized truck with a canopy or a Suburban but more problematic in say a little sports car. In any case space is still finite and using it for emergency and preparedness stuff competes with your normal everyday use.
-Cost. If you need to purchase stuff for these systems it obviously costs money. If you pull stuff from elsewhere it is a loss there. Anyway stuff costs money.
-Risk of loss. Vehicles get broken into regularly. An awesome bug out bag with all the coolest gadgets like night vision, FLIR, sat phone, cash and weapons could easily cost several thousand dollars. For all but the richest the loss of that would be very hurtful. 

My intent is to look at all of these systems. First alone and then together. I intend to do posts on each of them.

Your input is welcome now and later if/ when I do future posts on the topic.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Vehicle Discussion Continued

Yesterdays discussion brought up a couple of points worth addressing:

@5:41, Mine is way lower towing capacity than that. Having one that did 5k might be worth looking into.

@5:46, An interesting idea though shipping vehicles is really just not that expensive. Like $300-400ish. Every 2 years that wouldn't be a deal maker. Or maybe have a friend (ideally a cute one;) drive one and get a free trip.

Meister- An SUV and a truck are beyond my budget. I could probably have a truck and a car by the end of summer but an SUV and a truck would be another 6 months.

@730- EMP is not high on my list of concerns but if I can address it as a second order effect of an existing plan I try to do so. Honestly most of the old vehicle reasoning is economic as I can not afford to have a fairly new daily driver and a truck (paying cash anyway which is how I do vehicles). 

Generally truck vs Suburban or Bronco- I would lean truck as one with a camper shell is more versatile. However I have (window shopping) seen some old suburbans with no miles for not a lot of cash.

Diesel vs Gas- I would have to think more about this but I am leaning gas. First it would not complicate my logistics and second the ambiguity of those old Chevy (and also Ford) small block V8's is a big part of why I want to go that way. Down the road I may add a diesel vehicle to the stash, especially if I had a tractor or big generator or something that also ran on it.

Thoughts?

Monday, April 4, 2016

Vehicles

As I look at replacement vehicle options 3 have come to mind.

First replace the smallish SUV with another smallish SUV. Pro- Decent compromise vehicle. Con- Towing capacity sucks. Honestly that leads me to doing things with it I shouldn't in terms of towing which is hard on a vehicle and a disaster waiting to happen. Largely rejected this.

Second is to buy a newish standard sized truck like an F150. Probably a 2008 or so with under 60k miles. Pro is it can tow anything I would want to and gives me a lot of options in terms of space, power, capability, etc. Also I would have a full sized 4x4 truck. Con gas mileage. Most social opportunities are in KC or Lawrence so I go on 45 mile one way drives alone pretty regularly. Mostly it is just me in the vehicle. While fuel is cheap now it won't always be. This plan still has some merit.

The third option is to buy a little commuter car like a Toyota Yaris and a significantly older truck. Use the car to putter around, go to town, etc. Basic daily driver. The truck would be some sort of an older Chevy/ GMC with a standard 350 drive train, pre fuel injection, etc. Cost to purchase both would be roughly the same as a newer truck. Pro- Best of both worlds. Affordable fuel economy for puttering around. Old EMP proof (or easily made so) BOV. The risk of an older truck is negated by having a pretty new reliable vehicle, also just plain having a second set of wheels. Also if I need to go out in bad weather (which we have here) I would way rather risk banging up an old beater than a shiny newish truck. Also this would be roughly as expensive as a newer truck but in two pieces so I could get the car and then a truck in a couple months. Also I would have a full sized 4x4 truck. Con- A truck that old has some risk to it and I am not very mechanical. It might end up being a 5k to buy and a couple grand to get right type of thing. Duplicate expenses for insurance and up keep, tires, etc. When I move I would have to shuttle one out early or ship it.

Thoughts?

Monday, January 4, 2016

All Time #1 Winter Driving Tip

Today I am going to share with you the #1 tip for driving safely in winter (snow/ ice/ etc) conditions. SLOW DOWN!!!

This weekend I had the displeasure of driving through Portland Oregon when it was in cold, snowy, icy conditions. Vehicles were wrecked all over the place. Most were minor one vehicle slides off the road and or bumps the barrier but there were a couple of not good looking roll overs. Interestingly about half the wrecked vehicles were really good winter rigs like Subaru wagons and Toyota 4x4 trucks. The issue was that while increased traction via AWB/4WD does help you go it does not help you turn or stop. So these folks got overconfident and wrecked. Another good example that all the hardware in the world will not fix a lack of skill.

Slow down on bad winter roads. Either leave in enough time or tell folks you will make it when you make it. If the roads are really bad and beyond your comfort zone consider if you even have to make the trip at all. Better to miss an event or even lose a days wages then wreck your vehicle or God forbid get someone hurt.

SLOW DOWN!!!






Saturday, October 3, 2015

Vehicle Discussion Update

Thanks to those who replied to yesterdays post 'vehicle discussion'. You all brought up some excellent points.

-I think two vehicles is the way to go. Something pretty fuel efficient to putter around in most of the time and a bigger vehicle that can tow stuff if needed.

-For the commuter vehicle I plan to hold onto the vehicle I have. The point that an occasional $500 fix is a lot cheaper than a new vehicle with a corresponding loan is very valid. It gets decent, if not amazing, gas mileage and I do not plan on having much of a commute in the near future. Realistically it should have a couple of pretty reliable years of service left.

 -I do not think I want to get a vehicle loan. Honestly if at all possible I plan to be entirely debt free in the future.

-For a hauler/ BOV I agree with Peter's advice to go with a 3/4 ton. Given my need to have a real back seat for the kids it is an SUV or a crew cab truck.
- From my anecdotal research the best values seem to be 80's Suburbans. A truck certainly has some benefits but crew cab vehicles were pretty rare in that period so there are a lot less out there.

-Best of all two vehicles have a lot of benefits. The potential to have a vehicle down for bit is a lot more tolerable if I can start another one and drive to work in the morning. Also I can realistically buy vehicle #2 (an older full sized truck or SUV) with cash. Planning on buying a vehicle every other couple years or so is realistic especially if I am talking ones in the several thousand to 10k price range.

So that is where I think I am going to go. Your input is always welcome.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Vehicle Discussion

Tpals brought it up and well I can not think of another thing to write so here we go. Vehicles.

The vehicle I have and am going to get in the split is a Korean soccer mom SUV. It is a fine enough vehicle for what it is. However the soccer mom SUV has a shade under 140k on the odometer. Korean vehicles aren't the junk they used to be (nor are they the amazing value they were after they fixed the issues but before people realized it) but 140k is getting close to the danger zone. It is showing its age these days.

The goal would be to sell it before it starts to have the kind of issues that cost me money or really falls off the cliff in terms of value. On one hand I could sell it ASAP but an already paid off vehicle is a darn nice thing. If I could drive the soccer mom SUV for a year to let me save up for a newer vehicle that would be great. However that could backfire and instead of being able to sell it for a few grand I end up with NADA out of it. On the other hand buying a vehicle now is a less than optimal option. I am not really at a good place for big purchases.

For the next vehicle I want more towing capacity. Like enough to move a decent sized travel trailer if I choose to go that way for housing down the road. That means a V8. 4wd is a must. Also darn it I have wanted a real no BS truck or awesome SUV for a couple decades and darn it I am getting one for my next vehicle.
If/ when I decide to buy a new vehicle I have a decision to make. Part of me wants to buy an old school, EMP resistant, vehicle like an 80's Blazer or Suburban. The up side is I could buy one comfortably with cash and they are awesome. Anything with a Chevy 350 and associated drive train is about as common as it gets in the US. The downside is those things are about 30 years old, often have some miles on them and there is a real potential to have it $500 the crap out of me.

 On the other end I could get a newish (say 07 or better) SUV or quad cab truck like an F150. The up side is everything except cost. Realistically for something with sane mileage (say under 60k) I am looking at about 20k. This means either hitting my cash reserves pretty hard or taking a loan, neither of which exactly appeal to me.

Then again if I have a long commute for the cost of a newer truck I could have a sweet old school SUV as well as potential, at some point, a little daily driver car to putter around in. Have a sweet older vehicle for that role and if I have a long drive just buy a little car. If cost was spread out by awhile I could probably wrangle paying for both in cash. Best of all that is just if I work far from home. I could realistically drive an 85 Suburban 5 miles to work and 5 back for a long time without any real issues. 

Your input is appreciated.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Technological issues, Weights and Vehicle Kits

I seem to be having some tech issues with my email. Can read but can't answer emails. Hopefully like many of those bugs/ glitches it'll be better tomorrow.

Chris, Sorry I didn't catch that was time sensitive otherwise I'd have responded before the LTIOV. My bad.

Had a late lifting session but it was a good one. Did a few dips and some stretching then worked up to 125x3 on standing press and 300X3 on deadlift both of which are near term (last 90 days anyway) PR's. Could have done a couple more reps of deadlift but form was getting loose which is bad with heavy weights. Think I'm getting into a routine I like. Some results always help reenforce the behavior to actually go to the gym.

Slowly my vehicle kit is coming together. Put a few days worth of food in there. Mostly so I can forget to pack lunch a few times and not need (vs want) to go out to lunch but it's a couple days worth of food. Tossed in a mag light with a reload of batteries and a wool blanket tonight.

Already present were my get home bag, a pretty decent first aid kit and most of a case of water. Do need to pick up maps of the area when I can. A tarp or poncho would be nice too but otherwise that kit is basically done.

Do need to put together a kit to support the vehicle. Off the top of my head it will look like:
2 quarts oil with funnel
AT fluid
Brake fluid
coolant
Could get fancier but that's about it for me. 

It was a pretty long day, much of which was spent writing, so my brain is fried. Maybe I'll be more motivated in upcoming days. Do have a few good posts in my head.

Anyway you all should enter THE SOLO STOVE CONTEST. I added a widget to follow the blog on the bottom right side so that issue should be fixed.

I'm going to catch up on some blogs then go to bed. Good night.




Friday, October 18, 2013

Vehicle Kits: An Open Discussion

Looking to put a kit together for a new vehicle. Figured this is a good time to have a discussion on good stuff to keep in a vehicle. Keeping in mind the goal is to have useable space in the vehicle (vs filling it up with stuff) what would you keep on hand?

What's in your vehicle?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Quote of the Day

"Colors like FDE…..flat dark earth, or as I learned it before kindergarten, brown.:
 -Flight-ER-Doc in reply to Zero's Subaru of War post

My comment on the matter. "I’ve seen quite a few rattle can camo’ed vehicles down here in fairly rural Southern Arizona. I think varmit/ small game hunting rules here are pretty liberal so that might be the reason. Not entirely sure though. To me for a vehicle that’s going to be driven around regularly the OPSEC cost to custom camouflage painting your daily driver vastly outweigh the marginal benefits. Enough vehicles are available in green/ tan that fairly discrete options are out there which will not raise any eyebrows."

Monday, October 29, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a pretty good week here. Ordered the majority of the stuff for Project AR Upgrade as well as some rifle plates. Hit the gym, did some running and ended up losing almost a pound. Put some energy into getting the first version of my GHB reestablished as well as the car kit. Also we picked up a bunch of food to put away.

I'm going to give something new a shot. Talking about my goals for the upcoming week here may help me think through what I want to do the next week and then stay accountable for that.

This week in terms of fitness I plan to lift 3x, run 3x and ruck twice. Going to work on solidifying the GHB and car kit. I am thinking a pretty stripped down get home bag that is sort of an EDC/GHB blend. Just grabbing it every day (or leaving it in the car) is a simple option. For longer trips a heavier dedicated kit will come along. That is however a topic for another day. Also I am going to order some stuff. Been doing some looking and am still trying to prioritize. Might just pull the trigger on a War Belt. Then again there is some long overdue stuff. Also I need to do a review on the Solo Stove which is a pretty cool piece of kit. If I get really motivated I will try to finish up our emergency food box.

Well that is what I have been up to and what should be coming up this week. What did you do to prepare this week?


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?





Saturday, September 29, 2012

RE: Southern Prepper 1 Video Thoughts, What Would I Do..

I posted a video from Southern Prepper 1 a couple weeks back. It has been in the back of my head since then. The things I would do if I KNEW an economic collapse was coming in say 6 months are as follows in no particular order:

1) Secure 6 months of all medications we use.
2) Get a new bike for me (mine was stolen) and ensure the wife's is ready and functional. Stash extra tubes, tires and chains and such.
3) Sell the SUV we shipped from Germany and purchase a small commuter car. Depending on how bad things might get fuel may still be available but more expensive. A little car would let us do things that are not easily walkable at the lowest possible cost.
4) Stash lots of food.
5) Buy a better small solar setup.
6) Finish off a variety of loose ends. Just small stuff really.
7) Have more of my available liquid cash on hand than in the bank.
8) Have developed and refined a couple more systems for light and heavy (vehicle) bug outs.
9) Purchase a small (5X8 or 9ish) enclosed trailer.
10) Store some gasoline.
and one more for the bonus
11) Ensure we had the next 2 sized of clothes and shoes for the kid(s).

Of course I would also pull out everything we have in the bank and stocks and convert it into PM's or readily barter able stuff but that is kind of gaming the scenario. 

Anyway most of this stuff is what we should be doing anyway. Might not be a bad little list to work on.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Vehicle Kits, Get Home Bags, Modularity and Systems

I have been thinking and talking about get home bag's lately. Part of the reason is simply because I was building one and since have been tweaking it. Also aside from whatever may be in your pockets this is the system I see folks actually using the most. Bug out bag's get all the love but I am way more concerned with getting Munsoned in the middle of nowhere than needing to leave home in a hurry or whatever. YMMV.

My get home bag tends to live in our vehicle because it is how I get places and I am rarely far from it. If riding in a carpool it and my normal EDC bag of junk like a coat, lunch, etc get combined and a few things might get stashed at work, like a spare functional set of clothes and footwear.

I do usually keep some stuff in our vehicle. There is a Rubbermaid tub with a flashlight, spare batteries, some tools, coats, some water, some oil and coolant, first aid kit, warning triangles, etc in the back. We also each have dedicated bags with things like a knife, light, lighter, etc. To be honest at some point I went a bit overboard. The back of our full sized SUV is almost full of "my crazy stuff" as Wifey calls it. Things definitely need to get pared down however considering our timeline here it is more like they will be reassembled leaner and meaner on the other end.

Honestly I focus a lot more on the 'kit' than the vehicle part. The vehicle is where this stuff lives as it is a good place to haul stuff and is usually pretty close at hand. I think the contents of a "vehicle kit" could be easily broken down into stuff for you and stuff for the vehicle. The contents of both kits should logically flow from your overall situation. If  you might get stuck for 4-5 days in the hinter boonies during a frigid winter a lot more kit is required than if you work 5 miles from home in balmy South Carolina. Your vehicle side of the kit's contents will depend on need and skill. If you are a mechanic who regularly drives a 30 year old truck in very isolated areas it would be hard to have too comprehensive of a kit. On the other hand if you aren't very handy and drive a newish reliable car on frequently traveled roads very little stuff is needed.

Back to Get Home Bags. John Mosby recently talked about a personal shortcoming in the GHB/ vehicle kit area. Definitely worth reading and if it applies to you taking action. Read about my GHB development here. I think the concept of a get home bag is sound. However, it's contents need to fit your situation and the distances you travel from home. My get home bag will shortly be put into a dedicated bag whose entire job is to sit vigilantly in my vehicle. Some basic survival stuff will still live in my EDC bag because I haul it around a lot. A knife, flashlight, lighter, matches, a few granola bars, etc do not take up much space.

My get home bag is really stripped down and minimalist. This works because I stick pretty near home far more often than not. If I worked 50 miles from home or regularly traveled long distances a more substantial kit would be necessary.

I think different kits might fit better for different situations. I have a stripped out assault pack right now just so I could be a  bit more comfortable on a long walk home. If I was going 50-100 miles from home something more akin to a backpacking setup/ BOB/ rucksack would make sense. The kind of thing that has a couple days of water, food for several days and enough clothing/ gear to meet all of your basic needs for a pretty long time. Maybe I don't want to keep that bag (and the one for the Mrs.) in our vehicle all the time since we really don't need it that often. If we went driving across rural northwestern Canada in the winter more gear would be prudent.

I think that using systems which already exist may be the best way to fit this need. No point in reinventing the wheel here. Sticking with EDC/GHB a la assault pack/ BOB aka rucksack somewhat layered systems may be a good way to fit a wide variety of potential situations/ needs.

Anyway those are my thoughts on kits today.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Great Movie, a Great Blade and Dirty Fun

I watched Acts of Valor this evening. Not sure what to say about it exactly. Watching a movie where the uniforms, equipment, weapons handling and tactics didn't make me repeatedly face palm was quite nice. Glad I bought it.

I have been carrying my cool new Benchmade Griptillian 551 for about a week now. It is still a bit premature for a full review but I only have good things to say about it. Until I got this knife benchmade is the only major manufacturer I hadn't owned. To be honest the price point was higher than I was willing to go for a knife. Two things have changed in that regard. The first is the griptillian model(s) which come in around a hundred bucks instead of more like $150+. Secondly since getting out of school and starting a real job my situation has changed over the last few years. I don't buy knives I would hesitate to use or would be stressed to replace if they were lost or stolen. The dollar value of that has come up over time from about $50 to $100. Between those two now I have a benchmade folder.

Today I needed a part for our vehicle. Without sufficient time to order it online and well I like saving money. Naturally this led me to the junk yard. I forgot to dress down sufficiently for the occasion and had to be careful not to get oily grit or grease on my clothes. Not that they are fancy or anything but worn out jeans and an old t shirt would have worked better. Anyway after some looking I found the part. I yelled to the guy working there who was going about his work to see how much he wanted. I saw his hand go up and it looked like he was saying 5. I said I would leave the money in the office and then he made an exaggerated wave. Turns out he was telling me to just take it. So that was pretty cool.

Going even further from any sort of point I have been enjoying ale's a lot more lately. Can't wait to get back to America and start brewing again. Also hummus is pretty awesome and relative to other comparable options healthy and guilt free.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Running to the Store, Vehicle Kits and Cases

This evening we made a quick trip to the store. It was shortly after dinner and Wifey wanted a drumstick. So we headed to the store, pretty much in the comfortable at home clothes we had been wearing. I had a pair of shorts and a t shirt on with crocks on my feet. Wallet and keys were put into my shorts. I got to thinking about how I would be hosed if anything happened and maybe should grab a knife or something. Then I remembered that we have a pretty good set of stuff in our vehicle. We all have a change of good practical clothes and footwear. I have a good knife in the GHB as well as a bunch of other usefull stuff. Bliss washed over me and we went to the store for icecream.

I have had some serious good fortune to stumble into some quality cases lately such as a hardigg footlocker, and a genuine halliburton briefcase. The fundamental purpose of cases is, just like any sort of packaging, to contain and protect things. Different stuff has different needs. Ammunition and food need to be protected from moisture and oxygen. Ammo cans and big plastic buckets fill these needs nicely. Neither of these products are particularly vulnerable to impact or shock (like bouncing around the back of a truck, not electric) within reason.

However some items are and they require different sorts of containers. Of course you could say wrap an item in bubble wrap and stick it into an ammo can or pursue some other home solution. I can speak about pelican/ hardigg cases with some experience. These products are great but rather expensive. There are other companies like Otter that offer seemingly comparable products at slightly lower prices but I have not used them.

I look at containers as insurance for the items inside. As such it is worth paying attention to the costs involved. A $20 case to hold a couple hundred dollar camera makes sense, especially if the last camera and maybe one before that would still be alive if it had been in such a case. A couple hundred dollar case to protect a hundred dollar Mosin Nagant wouldn't make sense like it would for say a Steyre SSG with a Night Force scope.

Like a lot of folks I have accumulated a few fairly expensive electronics. A GPS, some radios and a solar charger to be specific, as well as the usual camera, video camera, laptops, kindles, etc. Probably a few thousand dollars in stuff and we don't have anything really cool like Gen 3 night vision, FLIR, etc (yet!). If we had to leave in a hurry during a nasty storm or whatever a big pelican case to put that stuff into would make the odds of our equipment surviving go up significantly. For small items that you want to use a lot like camera's a little case is pretty darn handy. Also they are lockable and fairly secure which could be useful.

Personally most of my case needs are met for the time being. I would like a nice rifle case big enough to squeeze a pistol and just maybe a second long gun in. Being able to securely move around a couple guns and have them take some knocks with minimal risk of losing zero appeals to me.

Anyway you might want to put some consideration into how you will protect valuable and useful but relatively fragile stuff under less than optimal conditions. A few cases may be in order.

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.

Thoughts?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I Can Haz Bicycle

We had a pretty good day today. The weather was nice and we got out and did some stuff. A very nice family day. I ended up getting a bike for about a hundred bucks. It is a pretty basic generic 7 speed. It is probably closer to a cruiser than a mountain bike in that it has a comfortable seat and moderately treaded tires but without that whole annoying psuedo vintage hipster vibe.
My plans for it are as alternate transportation. Since my old car got scrapped we have 1 vehicle here and I haven't been doing a great job of sharing during the work week. Walking is fine but it takes time which is pretty valuable. A bike will let me buy back some time and is also kind of fun in nice weather. I did a test ride and can conservatively get to work in about 1/4 of the time the walk takes.

The bike is pretty low speed/ high drag. We try not to spend a bunch of money on stuff we aren't sure is going to get used and the cost was just right. Worst case we are out $100 bucks. The goal is to have a bike for me to use not to get the best bike ever. I have no delusions about it being TEOTWAWKI or Tour De France ready so that is OK. You can always put more money into stuff later.

So Elmo's Riding! Yes, I have a toddler so we watch the same kid cartoons over and over again and they gets stuck in my head. Also lets be honest that Elmo is actually pretty awesome.
Anyway I got a bike today. I may do some shopping for a rack or basket down the road.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Stuff From The Interwebz

How to live in your car

A very nice minimalist chest rig for an AK. I think they also make a 4 mag model. I will probably pick up one of these when I get around to filling out my whole AK setup.

A gal talks about how to carry a gun and a baby. I definitely have a soft spot in my heart for women who carry handguns that are not a) subcompact/ cracker jack box sized or b) in a diminutive caliber like .32 or .380. She is not a big lady or wearing a "I have a gun vest" or a parka.

Highlight, quote and understatement of the day "if your child can get to the trigger that is bad." My .02 cents on that topic. First put on your gun then grab the kid. Kid doesn't go where the gun is because it wouldn't be comfortable for everybody involved. I carry appendix inside waist band slightly to the right. Kiddo either goes on the left hip if he is just riding or in my chest area if I am doing the comforting screaming baby thing. Since we are talking about kids and guns it is worth rehashing my core belief on this topic. Simply put guns are secured or under the physical control of an adult. In other words lock it up or carry it.

Today I have been intrigued by Iceland's reaction to the whole great recession/ economic collapse thing. 1, 2, 3.

Also I stumbled into a new blog Jerking the Trigger andreceived an email about the Open Garden project.

Hope that stuff gives you something to read and enjoy or at least think about. Have a great weekend.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Simplicity

The word simple has gotten a bad rap in recent times. We either think of it as a psuedonym for crappy or ugly or a nice way of refering to the developmentally disabled 30 year old who lives in his mom's basement, rides a bike and does handywork/ semi skilled labor. I don't see it that way.
 
Some of my favorite things are simple. One of my favorite meals is a good steak served medium rare with nothing on it, a potato with some fixings and some vegitables. My favorite drink is Scotch (blended typically but occasionally a single malt if I am celebrating or feeling fancy) with a handfull of ice. In a pinch the ice isn't essential. I like simple guns like AK's, Glocks, pump shotguns and double action revolvers. It is hard to beat a plain black wool pea coat.
 
When it comes to saving and investing simple things make or break you. If you simply live on less than you make and put the difference (after setting some aside for a 'rainy day') into a diversified set of instruments that make money things will go quite well. The way people mess up isn't by (assuming reasonable diversified choices) going with the wrong stocks or mutual funds or whatever but by not putting money away. See it is really simple.
 
I don't think simple vehicles or homes are a bad thing either. A simple reliable vehicle that will run reliable and get you where you want to go is a good thing. Often with reasonable planning you can (GASP) actually pay cash for them. Personally I would rather have a simple home, that I can afford to pay off in a reasonable amount of time and have money to save for the future, fund my child (and his planned sibling yet to be born)'s education and to be comfortable instead of having some cheesy wanna be Mansion which leaves us stretching and straining every month. It doesn't have to be a shack (though a small cabin or cottage if your family situation fits in it) but the idea of a normal modest 3-4 bedroom house with a couple normal bathrooms has slipped away recently. Not that a big house is bad if you can actually afford it but most folks, me included, can't. Why people set themselves up for failure buying stuff they don't need to impress people they don't like escapes me.
 
Simple plans are best too. It is said that a simple plan boldly executed will consistently give good results.
 
My point is that simple things are good. We rarely get ourselves in trouble by doing something in too simple of a fashion. Ever heard of that highly paid doctor who got himself in huge trouble by purchasing and living in a simple little house? I don't think so. Ever heard of an average Joe who got himself in trouble purchasing and living in a McMansion he just couldn't afford? I think we all have to realize that starting with a simple foundation and then, if we are truly able maybe expanding a bit is a prudent course of action. However I think that once we get past the silliness of it all, many folks are pretty happy with simple things and even when able see no reason to move away from them.

Monday, June 28, 2010

New Years Resolutions IPR #2

 Lined through are completed.

My goals for this year.

Personal:
1. Pay more attention to my wife.
2. Travel a lot.

Personal Stuff:
3. We can use a few smaller things like a new TV and another laptop. The main push however is to get a reliable second car which we pay cash for. The first car is still plugging along but I think when we get a better second one and it is relegated exclusively taking me to work and back its life would be greatly extended.

Financial:
4. Stash some more Euro's. Say E400 or so.
5. Contribute 10% of our total take home to retirement.
6. Stash at least a half an ounce of gold  and 40 ounces of silver.
7. Continue to not make stupid choices.
+I do not have any direct goals when it comes to saving money aside from those above. Depending on how Wifey's job goes (how many hours she gets) saving for the much needed reliable car might take 2-3 months or as much as 8 months. If the car gets purchased earlier we will be able to save more, in part because it means we would be making more.

Skills:
8. Take an automotive class.  They offer them on base and I need to know more about car repair. 
This one got replaced by brewing some beer.
9. Be able to setup and trouble shoot a small solar setup.    Sorta mute since I went with a solar charger and a bunch of eneloop batteries.

Preparedness Stuff :
10. A good radio that can pick up everything. Probably a Grundig.
11. Maybe a Berkey water filter and maybe some spare elements for it and the portable filter.
12. A basic solar setup. 

Gun Stuff:
12. Buy a full case of .223
13. Buy a full case of 9mm. (I am going to call this complete because it is funded)
14. Glock 9mm mags. At least 10 and ideally closer to 20.
15. Some M1a mags. At least 10 and ideally closer to 20.
16. A few more spare parts and at least one AR15 full bolt carrier group.

Food Rotation:
17. Get a pressure canning setup and can something. In reality we will almost certainly can more than one thing but it is a very clear is you is or is you ain't goal all the same.

18. Get a dehydrator and dehydrate something. Jerky is good and so are banana slices.

And Just To Get To An Even 20......
19. Get a subscription to Backwoods Home Magazine and otherwise work on my self sufficiency/ preparedness library.
20. Join a gun rights organization.

I would say my goals start at the top in terms of priority and work more or less downward from there. I put more small stuff on here than last time. I tried to outline everything I would like to purchase which costs over a couple hundred bucks. That is mostly because I am trying to purchase stuff in a more dispassionate manner and plan ahead.




Time for discussion. Things are going pretty well. All the more expensive goals have been met. I don't think the canning is going to happen. We would have to order everything including jars and have it shipped here. That really takes any cost benefit out of the thing and would in fact make it cost us money. Not something I am willing to do in that situation.

 The brewing kit is here I am just at an awkward busy time so won't be able to brew for about a month. Really wish I could do it this weekend but putting it into a secondary ferment and then bottling has a pretty specific time line. Some spare parts and the silver should be easy enough. Given that gold might have officially gone insane I'm just going to buy silver anyway.

Our big push right now is paying off my student loan. I don't think it is quite going to happen this year but it will be close. Also I have some other ideas and am working some stuff. A IIIA bullet proof vest and maybe some sort of an optic might be my future.

Oh yeah and click on my advertisers links and  buy lots of their stuff.


Thoughts?
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