Critical Survival’s shop on 1960 in Houston has closed. The Economy and lack of Supplies over several months from the Spring 2013 until late Summer forced the closing of the store front. However, Will has purchased the sites from the business and will be continuing the Blogs for you now at the link above. The Forums will be hosted on a separate site but will be linked in later. Thank you again for your patience in this transition.
Over the last several years the phrase “Bugout bag” has become more mainstream. I find it amusing in some ways, as I have always been “Prepared”. I am an Eagle Scout so preparedness is second nature; however, I have been becoming more prepared for every eventuality in the last several years. More people are getting prepped for disasters, I do believe some of this stems from Katrina and people not having faith in Government Services.
Everyone should have some kind of disaster plan.
We are going to focus on Basic Bugout Bags as the Three Day pack variety.
Three day packs contain at least three days of food, water and supplies to enable you to get from one place to another, such as the office to home, school to home or from a disaster to your shelter, camp or rally point. Every member of your family or survival group should have their own pack, but the contents will all be very similar.
First, you need to choose a pack which will work for you. I wouldn’t necessarily go for the military looking pack, as one does not always want to attract attention. When storing these packs at home or in your vehicle you may not want a military style back pack because this might attract unwanted attention as well. The packs that you and your family should carry should be well-made such as a hiking or mountaineering pack, If these are outside your budget you could make do with a well-made book bag. The things to look for when choosing a backpack are, it should have; both shoulder straps pads and a waist support strap. I say well made as a quality brand like a “Jansport”
or something like that. You would not want one these currently cool looking one shoulder strap bags I see everyone carrying around or some cheap brand which will fail when you least expect it. Remember, this bag will carry all of the gear and the things you and your family will need to survive. The easy way to remember what you need, is to understand the Survival Pyramid:
You need Water, Shelter and Fire.
Every Pack should have the minimums below:
- Water: You should have at least 3 days’ worth and the ability to filter water.
- You need at least one gallon or 128 oz water per day to survive, however, depending on the environment you may require more. You can go as much as three days without water, but again, environmental factors come into play, as well as reaching a point where confusion will set in and you may not be able to care for yourself anymore, much less worry about water. My suggestion is a “Camel Bak” with 100 oz. water or carry canteens which are easily attach to your pack or belt. I do not recommend canteens or older style of bladders which strap around your neck, as this can be used against you or worse you can become hung up on something while evading and strangle yourself.
- Ability to filter water. I am a big fan of Survival Straws made by Aquamira. Each straw can filter up to 30 gallons, but will not filter brackish water. We tested this product in a muddy ditch of water and the water was drinkable. Every person should have at least two, one in their pack and another to be carried on their person.
- Ability to make water safe to drink without boiling. I carried purification tablets since I was kid on any back country adventure. I can recall when I was 14 being on a back country adventure with the Boy Scouts. We happened upon a natural spring and the adults who were in charge of the “Troop” suggested that drinking the water without purification was okay. I was the only kid in the Troop who carried the Iodine water purification tablets. The entire Troop had gotten ill, but because I had the iodine water purification tablets I was the only one who did not get ill from drinking the water. I began purifying all of the water from that point on and using a small bottle of iodine water purification tablets made the difference between the boy scout troop staying and hiking out and the situation becoming life threatening. We were very far from Las Cruces, NM which was the closest town for help. No cell phones were available as this was 1985. Aquamire sells a 50 count tablet bottle for less than $8.00 which will make the water drinkable after about 30 mins. If you have an allergy to Iodine, you will need another method. You should again have at least two bottles, I personally would have three. One for your pack, one on your person and a spare with your canteen.
Ability to make water. Yes you can make water; this is a last result method, as it takes time to do. You will need a piece of plastic, a canteen cup or other item which is safe to collect water and non-porous and you can build a solar still. There are many methods of building a solar still and we will cover how to build all of the different solar stills at a later date.
- You need Fire-starting tools or the know how to make fire. Everyone should have a Magnesium Bar and steel in your pack and on your person. I recommend the “Eastern Sports” Magnesium Bar as they are exactly like the military version. Most of the other versions of these iconic fire starters aren’t as dependable in my opinion. “UCO” makes storm matches in a box or in a water tight container
which I have tested on two different occasions. We submerged a match in water then struck and it burned very well. We soaked another in water, struck it, and threw dirt on top of it; the match continued to burn. Lastly, just for the heck of it, we drove a tractor trailer down an interstate and held a lit match out the window going 65 mph and the flame did not go out. Good enough for me and maybe you too. Every person should have matches in their pack, and on their person. You may be thinking why would I have these items in my pack and on my person? If you get separated from your pack you will need some additional gear in order to survive. If you are stopped by some unsavory sorts and they manage to take your gear, they may overlook these small items or allow you to keep them. There are other homemade remedies for fire starting and some other commercial means as well as craft ways to start fire. I cannot tell you every means in this article, but we will revisit some other methods down the road.
- Shelter can be something you make, something you carry or find. For your Three Day pack, depending on how big, how much weight you can carry and what you believe would be best shelter for you; this can be a tricky consideration. On the very basic side, you need at least 50’ (of REAL) 550 Parachute cord, the 550 means tinsel strength of about 550 lbs. x 3, equaling a break-failure around 1750 lbs. For legal reasons I will state: DO NOT USE 550 Cord for Life Saving, Repelling or holding your own weight. You can use 550 for many uses around the camp site, shelter or rally point, but for now, you can use it to help construct a shelter or the three tier gravity water filter. You should have a small tarp or a rubberized poncho as well. I am also a fan of many lightweight three season tents; I have a very old “A” frame tent with poles which weighs nothing. You can use Army Shelter Halves, however, they are a little heavy and that requires you to carry both halves or you and someone else to carry your shelter. This is not a good combination if you get separated then you only have half a shelter. I like the “Adventure Medical Heat Sheets” as these are small, orange and reusable and will also fit the need for keeping you warm. In my smaller military three day pack, I have Heat Sheets, but I also have an old Military Rubberized poncho. My best friend swears by his Marine Corp Poncho especially with the insulation…although it looks like what I like to call Rip-Start.
- Food!!! What kind? This question is often asked and can lead to much debate. Now, I am not going to cover which is right for you as everyone has different dietary requirements or allergy issues.
- I personally prefer Military MREs, the regular issue MRE is about 3,000 calorie and as now there are at least three different menus, but since the time of C or K Rations soldiers have their favorites and those they absolutely will avoid and would rather eat dirt and slugs. One in the modern MRE is Hot Dogs aka Four Fingers of Death. I have packed Three MREs into my pack, but to make them fit better you will need to strip them down to something more usable and packable. To strip an MRE, open and pull everything out. Take all the cardboard out, put the spoon in your top right pocket of your shirt, on your LBE or in your blouse. As a Marine said once, “a Spoon will save your Life”. Take the condiments pack and put this in your pack. A special note about the fruit drink, do not, do not put this in your canteen or “camel bak”! You will never get the taste out! The suggested way to consume an MRE is to eat on it all day. If you feel your electrolytes are getting out of balance or getting heat stroke or exhaustion. You can place the drink mix under your tongue and drink some water. You will be able to absorb the nutrients into your system under your tongue and the water will help you rehydrate. The MRE is not meant to be eaten all at once and you will need to pace yourself as you may need to make it last a little longer. The other known truth is the MRE is also known as “Meals Refusing to Exit”. There are several people that believe that the gum is a laxative. This is false, the gum does have laxative effects and we do recommend chewing it to help with the movement issue!
- Dehydrated Foods such as “Mountain House” and “Backpackers Pantry”. I have tried most of the menus of each; most pouches are good for at least seven years if stored correctly. For those of you leaving these in the HOT Texas sun or something similar the heat will affect your stored food supplies and should be changed out every 12 to 18 months. As with all Dehydrated Foods you will need water to prepare and may require heat as well to cook fully to enjoy.
Every person should know how to prepare a meal from a pouch and you should at the very least have a military canteen cup and spork, pocket knife to prepare a simple meal with. Remember, these are emergency or camping foods and these foods do not always look very appetizing. What you are thinking of, may not be what you have prepared. This is SURVIVAL and you may not have a choice of what you will be eating. Just because you do not like chicken surprise with noodles does not mean you should not eat. Some food is better than no food.
** Your kids should be able to do everything up to this point without you if they need to.
- Bulk Packaged or Home Packaged Foods. You can pack your own foods from your bulk supply if you would like however with spoilage from non-airtight containers, vermin, or insects you may want to avoid doing so. Other packaged foods are available at any grocery store, such as some tuna in flat mylar containers, crackers and trail mix.
*Special note, you will want to have a bear bag or know how to make one from 550 cord and your pack. If you have to leave your camp or gear for some reason, you do not want a four legged critter eating your food while you are gone.
- A knife is a critical tool you will need. We recommend a fixed blade as well as a pocket knife. Stay away from cheap brands or “Rambo survival style knives.” There are many knives now which are serrated; we do not recommend these as a survival knife because they require special sharpeners in order to keep sharp. The Marine Kabar
is an excellent choice for survival; I have a CRKT and a Large Skinning knife as well as a Spyderco pocket knife. With fixed blade knives where you are located may have restrictions on blade length for carry or possession so be mindful of the law in your area. In Texas, starting September 1, 2013 you may have an automatic knife (switch blade) but other states or locales may have a Switch Blade Law and may or may not include Spring Assisted opening knives as well. For every knife or two you should have a stone and some “3 in 1 Oil”. Every person should know the proper way to sharpen their knife and how to use it. A Knife is not a PRYING TOOL or a screw driver. For pocket knives we tested the “CRKT Drifter” from dropping tip down, body down and beat with a 10 lbs. sledge hammer. While we bent the frame busted the tip off, this knife would still function as a knife even after all the abuse, along with the “Ontario Ready Detachment Knife” (which flies well too) and Marine Corp “Kabar”. I do not recommend the “Swiss Army” pocket knives as they do not lock back, as for one, who nearly lost a thumb using one when it closed suddenly while cutting. With the kids, you as a parent must decide what kind, how big and how mature your child or children will be with a knife or tool.
- You may consider a Pocket tool like a “Leatherman”, “Gerber” or “SOG” as an added item for your pack. We carry the “SOG : EOD” in our packs or person. Again, like the knife, this is a personal choice item and you have to decide how it will be used. I will suggest if you have a group of two or more, each person should have slightly different tools in your group so you will cover all the bases, since the tools are configured differently.
- Extra clothing, you will need at least one change of clothes in your pack. If you are using an ALICE pack (medium or large) I recommend using a large heavy grade trash bag inside a second one and placing your clothes in gallon bags to keep them dry. The second trash bag can be used as a poncho as needed. If you are short on space, you can roll your clothes and it will use less space. I keep ACU (IR) trousers and blouse in my pack as a change along with undergarments and wool blend socks. Unless you have some allergy to wool, use wool or a wool blend. Cotton socks when wet will wick heat away and will not keep you warm and could lead to frostbite or other maladies. Wet or sweaty socks should be changed as soon as it is safe to do so. Wool socks will retain body heat and I have worn the military thin OD green ones for years in both -30 winter (as a liner for thicker socks) and hot-humid summers. Trousers, pants or jeans, I like military clothing for numerous reasons as I have worn them in the outdoors for over 25 years in all camping conditions and have performed well. In areas where you have an increased chance of Lyme disease from Ticks and issues with fleas, the draw string on the legs well help protect you along with using boot bands (blousers) to help keep critters out on your pants.
Now, if this is a situation where it is important not to look like the military, any jeans or shirts will do and you can either use Gaiters or tuck your pant into your socks. Trust me; you will want the BDU pant or gaiters. Depending on the time of year, you may need layering clothes, long johns, more socks, gloves and more which we will cover in more detail in another article. Lastly and most importantly you will want a hat with a bill. You need to keep the sun off your face and give you a little shade. I keep a boonie hat rolled up in my pack and I have treated it with water resistant spray three times and let it dry in the sun and these are great to use in the rain if your poncho isn’t pulled over your head. For your kids, as they grow like weeds, you will need to change out the clothing several times to make sure they have clothes which will fit.
- Hygiene is extremely important, both at home and when on the move. You still need to take care of yourself. You need to wash yourself every 7 days or sooner with a biodegradable soap. You will most defiantly want to make sure that all products which might leak into your pack are in a zip lock style bag. You do not need fancy shampoo or perfumes as you do not want to smell too good for hunting reasons and for attracting attention. You can wash yourself in the creek downstream of your camp and you can wash your clothes as well.
- Medical Kit, as always make sure you have three months of medicines on hand, if you have a medical condition that requires medicines to be kept cold or some other grave issue without medicine, you need to speak with your doctor to be prepared properly. As for a General Kit, I recommend you buy the best kit you can first and know how to use everything in the kit, furthermore, then go to a Medical Supply house and buy additional items. When I buy a kit, I am looking for organization, storage room, the bag itself and quantity, quality of included items. I also, add more 2×2’s. 4×4’s, gauze, waterproof and non-allergy tapes, ACE bandages, Surgical pads, headache relief, anti-acids, anti-diarrhea and other over the counter medicines. You should have a small light to check irises, non-mercury thermometer, two EMT shears (high quality) and a few safety pins. As for trauma bandages the Israeli versions are water proof and vacuum packed. For kits you are going to leave loaded for a long time. Heat is not your friend with medical kits nor is wetness and you should plan on inspecting the kits every six to twelve months and updating the contents. I am aware of Professional Kits with all kinds of gear for Professionally Trained persons, unless you have the training or have someone in your group with the training take great care with those kits. It’s great to have extra stuff on hand at Base Camp, but if you do not know how to use something or know the proper way to use something, you can do more harm than good. Your Three Day Pack should have a kit for you and your knowledge level. If you are part of a larger group, everyone will have an individual first aid kit and someone in the group should have a larger kit to carry as well. Tourniquets have their place and can do harm if misused. The American Red Cross can teach you First Aid through Wilderness First Aid and most community colleges as well as for profit schools can teach you more advanced skills.
- The E-Tool stands for Entrenching Tool, there are only a few configurations of the true E-Tool. Most vets will have the three way folding metal shovel. I carry a WWII E-Tool as it has a pick and shovel and several companies make copies. Everyone should have one on their pack. These are useful in building a shelter, building a trench, and can be used as a defensive and offensive weapon.
- You need a Compass not a GPS device and know how to use it. The military lensatic compass should be carried and a spare. (pics here) You should know how to orientate the compass to a map, how to use a topographical map, do triangulation, gauge relative distance and move from point to point either directly or indirectly. Kids should be able to use a compass to find direction. I personally recommend “Be Expert with Map and Compass” by Bjorn Kjellstrom
. You cannot depend on a GPS device to accurately tell you where you are, remember GPS is a US Military controlled item and they can set GPS to accurate or inaccurate or shut the system down not to mention a Solar Storm can take the GPS satellites offline. Besides, we have all seen/heard stories misusing a GPS to drive off cliffs, into constructions sites or to hike around in circles.
- Signal Mirror, just like the name implies. There are cheapo ones out there and overpriced mirrors as well. As long as it is shiny, durable and can carry light at least mile you can use most anything-even old CDs.
- Flashlights you need two, one in your pack (getting tired of hearing it – I bet) and another on you. Now, I have carried “Maglite’s” all my life and they are dependable, but I have recently switched to an “Extremebeam” for my pack and a higher lumen (brighter) light of around 330 lumens. I carry one in my pack, although I do not like the CR123 batteries-one they are expensive and they do not last a long time. For my person, I have a very old black Maglite (if someone is reading this from Maglite- I miss the old kits with the lenses and Velcro case for the light and extra batteries cir 1986-88) on a long lanyard which is wrapped on my belt.
- Extra batteries are a MUST and if you have room a small solar charger so you can recharge the batteries.
- A green filter for blood and tracking and a red filter for night time. A red light will make lines bleed out on a map at night.
- I am not a fan of Survival Fishing kits, but if you have spent considerable time fishing or spear fishing you may want to have a Fishing kit. My belief is most people have never fished in this manner and it can waste energy.
- Pen and Paper, seems odd, but you may need to leave some a note, communicate or write something down.
- Binoculars a small pair is invaluable, a quality brand should be chosen and water resistant as well.
- Sewing Kit is invaluable for clothing repairs, closing wounds (do not use this method without proper training) and tent repairs. A sewing kit is often overlooked when putting together Three Day Pack, also place two pairs of shoe strings and if you wear glasses you should pack a glasses repair kit with your sewing kit and a couple spools of string.
- 550 Cord in addition to the 50’ you have in your shelter kit in another 50’ to 100’.
- A book, something which can occupy your time and if you need to, you have a source for kindling (sorry Chuck).
- Optional Items include a small weather radio (windup) or a Short Wave Radio. Also, you may want a Walkie-Talkie Radio, but remember direction finding works both ways, you will need batteries and know when to use and not use. Furthermore, the radio work on line of sight and just because the box says “Two to Five miles” does not mean they work this distance and I have seen many which would not work on a flat plain more than two blocks. Extra Clothes, Food, Water… just remember not to exceed 33% of your ability to carry a pack.
Keep in mind the “light weight” pack now, might feel like 1,000 lbs. in about three miles.
CARDIO CARDIO CARDIO!!!!!
Lastly, the most dangerous person you will encounter in a Bugout Situation is:
For the past several months, I have been asked about bugging out, taking off in an emergency, or how I would personally escape “Armageddon.” While this is not always an easy question to answer, I thought we would focus on Bugout Vehicles in a multi-part series. We will be discussing all manners of bug out vehicles and some animals as well, considerations to fuel sources from day one to unreliability of fuel over time and sources and resources to consider. Along with ideas, tips, tricks and considerations to how and why you may want to build a vehicle a certain way as well as watching for newer vs. older vehicles in your planning. We will be featuring other’s vehicles and we will be showing some project vehicles we are working on down the road.
What options are out there for a bugout vehicle, what can you afford to buy and how to get the most bang for your buck. We all know money just does not seem to go as far as it did even a couple of years ago and planning or prepping for a disaster can take a toll on your funds. So where to begin?
Well consider how many are in your group, how much supplies, gear and equipment you need to move, are you traveling on roads, unpaved roads or no roads but overland, what kind of fuel you will need, how long are you going to be on the road before refueling and the easy of repairs on the move. Seems like a lot to consider right? No not really. So let’s suppose you are one individual person in the burbs. If it is only you, you might consider sheltering in place at first, at least until the craziness dies down, let’s say about fourteen to thirty days, assuming you did plan for clean water and have food supplies on hand. A single person has several options who sheltered in place. If you have a garage which is attached to the house and you were left alone during the craziness, then you should be reasonably be able to load your vehicle without anyone knowing and be able to leave, but wait. Did you remember to set aside enough fuel? What is enough? Did you make preps for cache of fuel? If not, do you know where to find fuel for your vehicle? Figure a 1970’s car (you remember those land yachts will have a mpg of about 8 to 12 miles per gallon and the pickups had a lower fuel mileage, but fuel mileages for passenger cars would increase from mid-1970’s to the mid 1980’s and in some cases double. Without knowing what kind of mods you have done, I can only suggest you investigate what the original MPG was on your vehicle of choice. As for weight of fuels and water, gasoline weighs about 6 lbs. per gallon, diesel about 8 lbs. per gallon and water about 8 gallons.
The average Jerry can holds about 5 gallons of gas (around 30 lbs. and 40 lbs., diesel). So let’s say an average 500 cc ATV 4×4 holds around 5 gallons of fuel, and you pack another 20 gallons on for a total carried weight of 100 lbs of fuel or four jerry cans, well this will not leave you much room for your rifle, ammo, supplies and food. So for an ATV you would either have to have a trailer (which I do not recommend) or you have to be in a small group of atvs to disperse the fuel and to carry more. The average 500 cc atv can get between 10 and 50 mpg depending on HOW you ride it. If you are creeping or moving at a good speed and not over accelerating or driving like a mad man, you should be able to keep your MPGs up. An Atv as a lot to offer, you get a smaller package in order to move through the burbs and urban environment and you can go off road easily, almost anyone can drive one, but there are some things to be cautionary of.
One, maintenance, you will need someone who can work on the atvs you have and be able to make simple repairs and be able to change tires as necessary, two, you will be exposed to the environment friendly or not, weather and anyone, animal or thing which means to do you harm. Driving atvs can be hazardous to your well-being and those who with you. They can turn over very easily on pavement if you are speeding and take a fast turn- inexperienced riders in your group will be a hazard to them and to you.
What makes a good ATV? For adults, you will want a 500 cc or better Atv, 4×4, with a pull starter. For the most part, they are all automatic transmissions and have a battery, so you will need a way to protect the battery with a Faraday cage. While you may be tempted by a sport model you will not have a good way to tie down gear unless you happen to have an old Yamaha Wolverine which was a Sport to Utility Crossover 4×4 trail quad. You may want to add a snorkel and seal the air box. What is the air box? The air box is where the air filters through to the carburetor or fuel injection. Most of the tires which come from the factory are good tires, but you will want to consider where you live and the weather and environment you will be coming into contact with. As for tools you will want to carry a simple tool kit with metric sockets and wrenches for your ATV, spare spark plugs, and have your tires Slime Tire sealed before you go riding. I would also recommend you get a Winch for the front of the atv. You never know when you might need some extra help getting up hill or moving something heavy out of your way. Finally, most Atvs today do have an 12 volt accessory charger, you will want this if there is not one on your atv. One you can recharge your communication device, your gps (provided it still works) and use the plug for a trickle charger.
BUT, which ATV is right for you? I cannot begin to tell you which ones you should consider. I have owned Arctic Cat, Honda and Yamaha all ran excellent and well. Really comes down to what you can afford as a used atv can be hundreds to thousands of dollars and a new one thousands. Some even will cost as much as a small jeep or older truck, but again it will depend on how you see yourself using the atv. As for an Atv as a survival tool, they make excellent choices for short distances over paved, unpaved and overland transport. They will turn easily and in tight areas where you may not get a larger vehicle and can disappear easier into the woods, but they are loud, can be dangerous to operate and the rider will be exposed. While I did not touch on Side by sides, most of the above is still the same, with the exception to cargo capacity.
Not so long ago I was 365 lbs. and I realized I needed to lose weight, one for my health and two to be effective in a Survival situation. First, before you begin any diet, weight loss strategy you must visit with your doctor and make sure the diet you are going to start whether it is weight loss by caloric reduction, weight loss with exercise or what have you, you get the seal of approval. In my case, I had high blood pressure, was taking Magnesium and Potassium tablets as well as a water pill.
Instead of jumping off the sugar and sodium laced wagon we all like to call modern food. I needed to make some subtle changes in what I was eating. So the first to go was anything canned to fresh veggies or frozen veggies and eating more salads. Heck, I love salads, but like all Americans I do not know this thing called “portion-control” and how much salad dressing do I really need? Next, I gave up my only real vice “Coke”. I have been drinking this, my favorite beverage since I was a kid and I really liked getting it from the fountain, since I always thought it tasted better, but alas, no more sugary drinks including every southern man’s boon…Sweet Tea. Sounds easy huh? Nope, not for a long shot and not for me either, and probably not for any other long time coke, (soda for your guys up north) or tea drinkers. So, now I am drinking water every day and about eight or ten glasses or more. I drink a little more water than most, more so for the water pill, depends on what is recommended by your doctor. What made drinking the water (I know no one everyone says that.) better after leaving such awesome drinks, was in fact “Mio” found in your grocery store. While the calories are nominal, the water additive made the water taste fantastic, but you need portion control here too. I spent about two months changing the foods I was eating and then adding in ground, lean hamburger, Vinson/hamburger, skinless chicken or fish but no more than 8 oz. total. Now, for the hardest part…I spent those months reading and researching diets. I have tried and was successful with the “Akins Diet” when I was trucking in 2002 or so, but my health and activity levels were totally different to what they were then. So, I finally settled on the Medifast Diet and I ordered the sample pack. Just about all the food is in envelopes and takes about ½ cup of water to make and heat in the microwave oven. I eat five of these little meals a day plus the “Lean and Green Meal” in the late afternoons. The smaller packaged meals are about 100 calories each. So I get about 1200-1300 calories daily. What I have noticed most from the Medifast Diet is, I am not hungry during the day and I like most everything they have packaged. To date, I have lost about 85 lbs. on the diet; I exercise up to five days a week doing both cardio and weights.
BUT, why is this important? In a survival situation, if you cannot move on your own over relative distances, carry your pack and be fit, you will not survive. Taking some time daily to do some simple exercises and walking will make a difference. As you get used to walking further and further, take a small backpack with you and start adding a little weight. The rule of thumb is you should be able to carry about 1/3 your weight in your pack. For weights you can use two one gallon bottles and fill them with water (but do this outside, otherwise your other half will be unhappy). There are plenty of gyms out there to use for example, 24 hour fitness (which I like), 19 Fitness and Blast or whatever you have in your area. For the ladies, Curves is ladies only and YMCA also offers classes for ladies only. Invest now in your health, so you can depend on it later.
Critical Survival has sold the rights to this page to another company. This page will be in transition along with the Critical Survival Facebook page.
Now I am not sure how many of you out there watch “Falling Skies” or have seen “Jericho” but I have seen every episode of each so far and I consider what I would have done different based on what I see going on each episode.
If you have spent any time at the shop, we spend a good deal of time discussing what will or might occur or how it could be handled. You can not prepare for every eventuality, but you can prep for the most likely scenarios.
I know on my block for instance, who I can trust and who knows their way around weapons and tactics. I know, when I am with my friends, what to expect and when I am with family, I will have provide more defensive methods as they lack the skills. In your survival or prepping group, do you know the skills and secondary skill sets your group has? You might want to ask everyone, everything they have done. You might discover a trait you were missing. Just food for thought…
Not What You Know….But Who!
I usually suggest when asked what I need to have on hand, well I am asked this quite frequently at my store. I suggest: You have on hand at least one case of MRE’s, pouched food by Mountain House, Alpine Air, Backpackers Pantry or another brand you know and trust. Pouched Foods can last usually seven years if stored correctly. Next, I would have bulk supply, whether it be beans and rice or what have in mylar double sealed containers. As for Mylar you will want FDA grade both in the bags and in the buckets. Most people do not consider this, if they are not FDA grade the previous contents or the containers themselves can leech into the food you have stored. For a five gallon bucket you will want a liner, such as a 7mil mylar bag, and smaller interior bags. You can bulk pack gallons of rice, but for waste and vermin reasons, I recommend you pack in smaller quantities so you can only use as much as you need at one time. Each bag should have an O2 absorber inside, from the smaller bags to the bucket itself. If you are short on space, but have a strong metal container you can use the 7mil mylar bags without a bucket. You will want a metal container to keep out larger pests. Lastly, you will want Bulk Heirloom seeds.
When the power goes out most people start with the fridge and the dry goods, which you should as well, but what happens if the power stays out, or there is a larger natural or worse unnatural disaster?
You will want to crack open your MREs first; you can eat these 3,000 calorie meals for about two weeks, but no longer. MREs have been longing called “Meals Refusing to Exit” but for this scenario, it would be best not to consume more than one per day and not longer than two weeks. Next, I recommend you break into the pouched food, while some are awesome; some others leave something to be discussed or disgusted later. I have had all the Wise Food, most of the Mountain House and Backpackers Pantry as well as some of the Alpine Aire. I enjoyed all, but one of the hardest things to get over is how it looks and tastes as compared to your regular fair, but it will keep you alive and this is numbro uno. You can eat this for the next two to three weeks. By this time, services should be restored, if not, time to change your menu again. After thirty to forty-five days you will start breaking into your bulk foods (weather #10 canned or dry bulk), once you decide to do this, watch how much you are making and reduce waste by only opening what you absolutely need. An opened #10 can will last about a year and half and sealed can 20+ years (if stored correctly); properly sealed bulk mylar or buckets will last 20+ years as well. After breaking into your bulk foods you should be planting your “Victory Garden” with your heirloom seeds. Save MRE’s and pouched foods as supplements when you have to move or to “patrol” your area as the disaster continues. Last thing you want to be is waiting in line for the National Guard or FEMA to dole out supplies. With any of my suggestions, you will need Water and a clean source of it.
I was recently asked about Kerosene Lanterns or White Gas lanterns, and while this not a subject I have thought much about in the past. I recommend either, but for more robust use, I would highly recommend the Cold Blast Hurricane Lantern. I first used the Cold Blast Hurricane Lanterns while I was at Camp Powhatan on the Blue Ridge Mountains Council Reservation Scout Camp. I worked here as the Camp Quartermaster for four summers as well as during Order of the Arrow events. Part of my job there was to maintain the lanterns and rebuild them as necessary.
The globe was really the only part you had to be careful with, unless you were trying to use it for a hammer..but you would be amazed at what people do sometimes. The only other hazard was to make sure you did not turn the wick (flat type) down too far it fell in (takes a bit to fish out) or across thread the cap. If you someone you know in your survival group collects Aladdin Oil Lamps, these will work well, except they are prone to breakage easily-but parts are readily available until the lights go out for good.
In a survival situation having light, when there is none available will help boost morale, but used improperly can lead to disastrous situations. Kerosene if properly stored has a shelf life from three years to many years. We had a 55 gallon drum of K1 we used for over five years in the woods of Virginia and it only became questionable at the tail end of the fourth year, but still was usable until the fifth year.
Merriwether Wild Edibles has recommended the following two books by Samuel Thayer. You may purchase both books and any other product by clicking on the pictures on this site.
The Forager’s Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants
Nature’s Garden: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants