Archive for February, 2012

The Barbie Bug Out Bag

Posted: February 28, 2012 by Barbie in Bug-out Bag
Tags: ,

Honestly, I haven’t put a lot of effort into my bug out bag so far.  I’m sure that’s a deeply shameful thing to admit, but I’ve been planning with two major scenarios in mind:

1.  An extremely localized SHTF (think wildfire or hurricane) in which I can just hop in the car and drive across the state line to the Boy Scout’s house to wait it out.  In that case, my bug out kit basically needs to be a few changes of clothes, a day or two worth of dog food, road trip tunes, and a shitload of Skittles for the drive.

2.  A TEOTWAWKI situation where there’s not really anywhere else to go, so I might as well just bug the hell in and ride it out.  For that reason I’ve been stocking up on stuff I’ll need so the Chihuahua and I can just lock ‘er up tight and bug in.

I really haven’t prepared for some kind of ghillie suit wearing, machete swinging, Man vs Wild situation.  It’s not really my style.

Sorry, folks.  You’re not going to see me eating rattlesnake chitterlings anytime soon.

Leave me in my home situation, with my stockpile and my things, and I think I can survive for a pretty long time post SHTF.  If I have to go on some kind of wilderness adventure, I don’t see it ending well (nor do I really see a point).  I’ll do what I have to do to survive, but going feral is pretty much going to be my last resort.  That being said, my focus for the bug out bag is more along the lines of “what if I get stuck in really bad traffic during an evacuation and run out of gas.”

So let’s get down to the deets:

The bag is an old North Face backpack I picked up at a thrift shop for 2.99 – it’s got lots of room to store stuff, lots of hooks and straps to hang things from, and it’s super comfortable.  As an added bonus, it’s not overly tactical-looking so hopefully people will assume it’s full of clothes and lip gloss or something.  I’m pretty happy with it, espcially for the price.

And now for the contents.  So far, I’ve got:

Two pouches of tuna fish

A four day supply of dog food in Mylar with an O2 absorber

Four emergency Mylar blankets (actually, three blankets and one I made into a dog sleeping bag)

Two P-38 can openers (why, I’m not sure)

Two cheap emergency rain ponchos

A Zippo windproof lighter I scored off eBay

A tube of Burt’s Bees Lip Balm (go ahead and laugh)

A spare leash for the dog

A list of important phone numbers

Several Ziploc bags (for keeping things dry)

Spare socks and undies

A packet of baby wipes

A box of protein bars

Water purification tables

70 SPF sunscreen (seriously, I’m the whitest cracker on the beach – I’ve had sunburns that rendered me incapacitated for days)

 

Clearly, I’ve got work to do.  Without a lot of intense thought, I can already see where an LED head lamp would come in handy, and some cold gear like gloves and a hat are a necessity (70 degrees feels chilly to me).  I wouldn’t mind having a Katadyn water filter bottle either.  Some cheap sunglasses might be a lifesaver, too.  And some bug repellent, and maps, a basic first aid kit, more food…

We’ll be revisiting this.

Learning Survival Skills

Posted: February 25, 2012 by Sarge in Bug-out Bag, Survival Skills
Tags: , ,

As I think about what I’m going to load in my bug out bag(s), I tend to panic a little realizing that I am in no way a survivalist. I will never have a survival tv show, and I wont disappear into the woods for weeks on end to live off the land. I thought about buying tons of survival skills books and trying to learn everything I could.
Then I thought, “Fuck all that noise”. I have neither the time nor the patience for that. Once I decided I wasn’t going that route, I started trying to find another way to learn myself some useful stuff. I came up with a game plan.
There are probably a lot of people out there that are like me. You don’t have a ton of free time, and you couldn’t survive all that long on what you already know. So here is my proposal. Learn what you can, when you can, from whoever offers you any kind of knowledge. Stuff that will be vital, like basic lifesaving, you should memorize. We should all probably be able to make a fire using basic tools, as well. However, what about all that other stuff, like making shelters and creating traps to catch small animals? Try buying old military how-to books. The military put out all sorts of literature on survival, first aid, weapons maintenance and use, and anything else you can think of. These are typically paperback, and short and concise. There is no fluff. Pictures are simple and easy to follow.
I plan to buy them (they are typically cheap, and available at gun shows/surplus stores, and through mail order), and stash the small, useful ones in my BOB. I’ll read through ’em, or at least skim ’em first, so that I know whats there. My thought is that I will then have the information at hand, without having to memorize a ton of stuff.

http://www.armynavyshop.com/07-books-army-navy.html

These guys have some, but there are a lot more available.  I bought one for my SKS that covers maintenance and use.

Sarge

So, last night the doorbell rang, the dog was losing his flipping mind, and I realized I should totally install a peephole in the front door.  Sometimes I’m curious about who’s on the other side, but not enough to risk opening the door to find out.  I get tired of the vacuum salesmen who offer me a four-pack of Charmin’ if I’ll just let them do their presentation.

Yes, I could totally use more shit tape to add to my cache, but I can get 24 rolls for like eight bucks, which means you’re offering me $1.33 to not only listen to an annoying presentation about a vacuum I don’t want, but to LET A STRANGE MAN INTO MY HOUSE.

Seriously, WTF are these people thinking?  Does anyone actually take the bait?

Also?  If it’s after dark and you haven’t called ahead of time, I’m not opening the door.  There are too many crazies out there, and I don’t want to have to answer my door with a loaded handgun every time, so that door is staying closed.

Anyway.  Back to the peephole.  If I want to see who’s at my door without actually opening it, I currently have to peek through the front window blinds like a crackhead.  So I was thinking, what if shit hits the fan and like a police officer comes to the door to tell me I need to evacuate and I don’t get the message because I think it’s the Jehova’s Witnesses and I don’t want to answer?

I was all set to go to Lowe’s and buy a peephole and a big ass drill bit when I started to think about it I realized that using a peephole after TEOTWAWKI is a surefire way to get yourself killed.  I mean, think about it like this.  You’re all bugged in, feeding on your stash of Cheetos and Twinkies and basically living it up.  And then one day, someone knocks on your front door.  You’re pretty sure it’s nobody you care to speak to, but curiosity gets the better of you.  Suddenly, just as you press your piggy little eye up to the peephole, BANG!  BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!

You’re shot right through your own front door.  And then the shooter busts a window, climbs through, and suddenly *he’s* feasting on your Cheeto supply.

I’m serious, folks.  It could happen.

So now, I’ve started thinking about other ways to keep tight surveillance on my front porch.  I toyed with the idea of a camera system, but the minute the power goes out, you’re screwed. And then, I had an idea that borders upon genius. I need a fuckin’ parascope.

When I was a kid, we had this plastic periscope toy, and that thing was awesome.  You could totally sneak up on someone to spy on them, and provided they were deaf enough not to hear the giggling, it would totally work.  We used to sneak out of bed at night and use it to try to watch whatever my parents were watching on TV.

So I was thinking, if I could build a parascope and mount it into the front wall of the house, I could use that bitch to see who was at my door, without standing in front of the target zone myself.  I Googled “How To Make a Periscope out of PVC Pipe” and discovered I’m not the only jackass who has thought of this!  Literally, the third link that came up was about building a Periscope for your Bug Out Location. Damn, did I feel validated.  Make fun of me now, assholes.

As an added bonus, any leftover PVC could be used to build a potato cannon which could be a good nonlethal weapon for home defense (the downside?  launching your food supply 200 yards into the neighborhood).

Plus, I needed an excuse to huff PVC cement.

How Many Bug Out Bags Do I Need?

Posted: February 22, 2012 by Sarge in Uncategorized

As I sat in my tenth meeting today at work (They seem to pay me to move from meeting to meeting.  I provide no input, and give no reports.  I don’t take notes either), writing down all the things that seemed like they would be useful in a bug out bag, I came to a realization.  I want to pack way too much into my bag.  Most people talk about a bug out bag being for 72 hrs., but what if it becomes everything you have forever?

In the event of a “localized disaster”, like a hurricane or wildfire, I need a bag that can sustain me for a few days or a week until I can get back to my property and begin to rebuild.  What happens if we get hit by nukes?  What if the zombies start showing up one town over?  If the bag on my back is all I have to start over somewhere else, I’m going to cram everything I might ever have considered to be in any way useful into every available pouch on the damn thing.  Then I’m going to tie shit to the frame, and carabiner shit to that.

So what solution is there?  Do I just pack light and hope to get through, pack heavy and discard stuff if need be, or pack two bags, and pick one based on the situation?  As it stands now, I’m going to pack one bag, with more than I would need for 72 hrs. afield.  I have a limited budget, so there is no way I can afford to prep two bags.

My goal will be to include the types of things that I would need to feed myself off the land, protect my well-being, and keep myself as warm and dry as possible.  I might have to ratchet strap my bag to get it small enough to fit out the door, but I figure it’s easier to get rid of extra shit than it is to add shit you don’t have.

 

Sarge

Ya’ll.
I finally had to call this little experiment of mine.  It’s not that I was out of food – on the contrary, I would have been good to go for another week or more.  I just couldn’t stand any more.  I hadn’t had a real fruit or vegetable in two weeks.  Sure, there had been tomato sauce on my tortellini, which fulfilled the nutritional requirement.  But it’s just not the same as eating a real tomato.  I needed a salad.  Bad.
So, today I was walking through the breakroom with my lunch bag full of chili and rice, and someone was peeling an orange.  I didn’t see it, but I could smell it. I almost started drooling.
I haven’t had an orange in over a month.  Usually, I eat a couple a day. The smell?  It was killing me.And I got to thinking, what if shit hits the fan on Thursday?  What if I never get the chance to eat another orange because I was too busy doing some dumbass experiment right before it all fell apart? 
Wouldn’t it suck if I spent the last of the time when I had access to more than beans and rice, EATING BEANS AND RICE?
So, on the way home from work, I went grocery shopping. 
Folks, it was a great project.  I’m glad I did it for a month.  I learned *so* much about myself, and what I need to store to get by.  I learned that I could eat chili every single day and not get tired of it.  I learned that I can eat a can of kidney beans, right out of the tin, and love every bite.  I also learned not to take an orange for granted.
Honestly?  I would encourage anyone to try this at home.  And then take what they learned and apply it, in their preps and otherwise. And then?  Live a little. Not a lot.  Don’t go blowing your savings on jetskis and champagne, just appreciate what you’ve got. The world as we know it may not last.  Enjoy it.  Because when it’s all over, there will be plenty of time to eat beans and rice.

Board Games

Posted: February 20, 2012 by boyscout556 in Preparation
Tags: , , ,

Yes, board games.  These will be some of the items I will pack in my bomb shelter when I finally have the time, money, and place to build one.  Lets face it, you can have all the food in the world, along with all the necessities for survival, but being stuck in a room the size of a hotel room will drive you crazy.  That is unless you’re like the guy from the movie rocketman.  Otherwise, you should think about packing some things to keep you busy: board games.  A deck of cards or three might be a good idea also, anything that will occupy you when you have no where to go and nothing else to do.   Although this all only works if you have friends, and lets face it if you actually have friends you wouldn’t spend all your money on a bomb shelter.  So, I guess, rethinking this maybe books would be better.   Either way, think about the down time you’ll have after the SHTF and figure out how you’re going to spend it without going insane.   I realize these wont be necessary in a BoB or BoV as surviving will be taking most of your time, and the rest should probably be spent resting.  But keep in mind that if you’re stuck somewhere, having something to do will make the time go a lot faster.  Surviving TEOTWAWKI is more than just having the supplies, it’s a mental marathon.

How am I supposed to decide if I need to bug out, or stay put and settle in?  I had no idea how to answer the question, so I did what I do at work all day anyway.  I made Excel spreadsheets.  Why the hell not.  First, I built a spreadsheet that calculates a value for bugging out versus a value for staying put.  My idea was that the higher value would be the right choice.  I used things that I thought might affect the decision, dealing with preparation, availability of resources, etc.  I then averaged them for two groups, the stay and the bug out.  I then divided them by another factor, based on relative closeness to a major population center, and number of people in that population center.  Lets be honest, cities are going to be absolute mayhem when SHTF (Think post Katrina New Orleans).  I filled out the spreadsheet for my values, and this is what I came up with.

Then, just toying around, I built a table, creating a score for distance vs. population, where a higher score is achieved the further you are from a city, and the smaller that city is.  I then created two graphs to compare the effects of changing either distance or population changes.  Check it out.

There is no science invovled in either of these.  I don’t give a shit.  If you want a copy of either to toy around with, or if you have suggestions on how I could improve either, shoot me an email at survivorsarge@gmail.com.

 

Sarge

So, I’m still working on depleting the pantry, and I’m more than a week past my original projection.  With the exception of coffee, I haven’t bought any groceries in almost a month.

Not to worry, ya’ll.  I’ll be OK if an ice storm hits – I’ve been using the money from my grocery budget to buy tons of canned goods for the long term storage.  I just haven’t bought anything to eat now.

Anyway, I figure I’ll probably make it another week or so.  Technically, I could survive longer on what I have, but it would be nothing but rice, croutons, and plain noodles at the very end.  I’ve decided to call this thing once I can no longer eat a reasonably healthy and balanced diet on what I’ve got left.  And I’m happy to know that my wild ass guess of how long I would last was too short by half – it gives me some hope that we’re all better prepared than we think we are.

But really?  This shit is starting to get old.

It’s not that I’m bored of eating the same thing day in and day out.  On the contrary, tonight I dined on blackeye peas stewed with a healthy dose of Tabasco sauce and topped with crumbled goat cheese – it was freaking fantastic.  I must get a goat.  In addition, I still have cans of pumpkin that I’ll make into pumpkin sage pasta sauce.  I’ve got Kalamata olives, which will go nicely in a cold Orzo pasta salad with olive oil and lemon juice.  I’ve got two chicken breasts left that will make a delicious Thai curry with my last can of coconut milk, and some pork that will be shredded into a chipotle chili.  There’s no boredom here.  But damn if I’m not sick of having limited choices.  I’m so used to being able to stop by the grocery store to indulge whatever food whim grabs me.  It’s rarely anything fancy, it’s usually something like grandma’s Hamburger soup – a meal she used to feed her family of eight on a fixed income, and a classic comfort food for me.  Whenver it’s cold, I get a taste for that soup.  Not having hamburger, or carrots, I haven’t been able to make it.  It’s started to wear on me.  Frankly, it’s a little bit depressing.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that as you’re stockpiling food for long term storage, give some thought to those comfort foods you take for granted.  We’ve all got that one food that we crave when we’re sick, and the food that we want when we start to feel better.

Then, as you plan your food storage, try to include these foods.  Whether it’s Macaroni and Cheese or Chicken Cacciatore, if it’s a morale-booster for you, find a way to make it from stockpiled ingredients.

Because when the shit hits the fan, you’re going to need all the morale you can get.

I was thinking about condoms recently.  Dont ask me why, but I started to think about what you can use them for.  I know fornication is the first thing that comes to everybody’s mind, but they can be used for other things.  It’s true!  If you think about what a condom was originally meant to do (keep two fluids separate, looking at it from a scientific standpoint) you realize that it has a lot of applications.  Ever been pushed into a pool and thought “man I wish my “insert electronic device” here was waterproof”?  Well a condom can be used to keep small things dry.  Lets say you have a watch that you’re fond of, but you need to ford a river.  If you had a few condoms in your BoB you could wrap up your watch to protect it.  really anything smaller than, well you know, can be stored in a condom to keep it dry and actually on second thought condoms have an amazing amount of stretch.  I mean check out this video of a kid pulling one over his head: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vle-tpbJPs&feature=fvst.  You can store small fire arms in them to prevent rust or keep dirt out of the barrel of your rifle/shotgun.  Conversely if you need to keep something moist for some reason (I’m drawing a blank right now on something that needs to be kept moist other than cake, and I wouldn’t even go that far, but I suppose that you could do that experiment you do in first grade where you germinate some seeds in a bag except use a condom instead) it can be put into a condom for storage.  Condoms can also be used for water collection/storage.  Obviously they are not indestructible, or even particularly strong but they allow you to collect a sizable amount of water.  Condoms are extremely small and lightweight.  They can be easily stored and transported.  They are impermeable.  I mean really the uses are endless.  Laugh if you want but I going to keep a few with me.  And finally don’t forget to wrap you tool.

But really, don’t take my work for it.  Take his: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vle-tpbJPs&feature=fvst

On a side note I suggest un-lubricated latex condoms, otherwise things could get messy.

I’ll have to confess something.  The real purpose in my being involved in this blog, from my standpoint, is to force myself to think through and plan for whatever comes.  If this blog does not become the most talked about thing on the internet, I will be okay.  Thats not to say that I don’t want people to read what I have to say.  To the contrary, I would love input.  If you read something I’ve written, and you have a better idea, fire it off.  If I think you deserve the day’s Asshat Award for your comment, I will probably let you know.  Otherwise, input is both welcome and appreicated.

Onward to BOV prep.  I spent 4 years maintaining HMMWVs for the military.  14 months of that was in Iraq, with an infantry unit.  I spent weeks at a time driving around hostile territory with grunts, waiting for their shit to break down, so that I could try to fix it with few tools and fewer parts.  Grunts are hard on shit.  If there is a way to destroy something through use, they can and will find it, quickly.  Through experience, I figured out what my toolbox needed, what it might need, and what it did not need.

If you are not able to fix basic vehicle problems on your own, you shouldn’t bother bringing tools, or parts.  Hell, don’t bother prepping, cause you’re probably fucked anyway.  If you are able to fix basic stuff on your own, teriffic.  You may be able to extend your BOV’s range by a few hundred miles if something breaks.

To establish some basics, you are not going to rebuild an engine, replace a transmission, or change your brake pads while bugging out.  If your vehicle reaches that point, time to go it on foot.  That being said, don’t bother packing the manual, or the specialty tools.  The tools you do need include open-box wrenches in common sizes (8mm to 20mm if your shit is made in Japan, Europe, or is new, 3/16 to 1″ if your shit is made here in the US, and is a little older).  Be sure of which you need ahead of time, so that you don’t carry twice the shit.  Also bring 3/8″ drive sockets in the same sizes, plus a ratchet and breaker bar.  A pair of vice grip pliers, a pair of slip joint pliers, some needle nose pliers, and a pair of channelock pliers will be useful.  Various sized phillips and flathead screwdrivers will be lifesavers.  A decent prybar and a good sized BFH (Big Fucking Hammer, its a technical term) are always good.  I would also throw in a bottle jack (powerful and compact) and a wrench able to remove your lug nuts.  A razor knife is great in a pinch, and a cigarette lighter could prove useful.  A pair of jumper cables will help if you need to transfer vehicles, or get yours moving again.

To go along with the tools, bring an 8′ length of hose, at least 1/2″ diameter.  You can use this to siphon fuel from other vehicles.  Some 3/8″ hose would be good as well.  Between the two, you can replace a decent number of transmission/power steering type lines.  A selection of various hose clamps won’t do you wrong either.  Bring some solder and  electrical tape, as these combined with the lighter will give you the ability to repair wire damage.  Bring at least one tube of High Temp RTV Silicone, as you can seal all sorts of things with it.  Also, grab a can of WD-40.  You can use it to get water out of engine electronics or weapons, and you can protect metal from corrosion with it.  Get a spare serpentine/V belt that fits your vehicle, as that is a quick easy fix if it goes.  A tire patch kit is an affordable way to keep the rubber round, but you need a small compressor to go with it.  I have one that runs off my cigarette lighter socket in my car.  It kinda sucks, but it puts air in tires, so it stays.  Bring a gas can along so that you can gather as much fuel as possible whenever possible.  Also, bring a couple quarts of your vehicles specific engine oil, tranny fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluid if you have room. 

Remember, you can always replace one vehicle with another on the road.  You can’t replace yourself.  If your shit is hard busted, leave it and move on.  You can always come back for gear if you need to.  If you don’t have room for a lot of tools and shit because you have a 5 seat car and 4 kids, two dogs, and a hamster to pack in, then don’t take the tools.  Tools without any parts won’t help you much, and parts with no tools won’t do shit for you either.

Just some thoughts,

 

Sarge