Archive for the ‘Preparation’ Category

Along Came a Sandy

Posted: December 11, 2012 by Sarge in Bugging In, Preparation
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My wife thinks I’m nuts. Her opinion is based on a large number of things, and I will concede that she has some valid points. She is convinced that I am one purchase away from hoarder status (I blame tv) because I tend to buy more of stuff than I need, and refuse to throw stuff away (who wouldn’t keep 3′ long sections of pressure treated lumber?). The addition of my prepping habit has not helped my cause (“you bought more ammo cans?”).

The whole issue changed faces recently. In the days leading up to the landfall of Hurricane Sandy, we were told that our area could get some flooding, and possibly significant wind damage, which might result in days without power (which did happen in our region, but thankfully not at our house). My wife scoffed at most of this stuff, until about noon on the day the storm was supposed to hit us. The weather folks said we would be seeing high winds in the overnight hours.

I suggested that perhaps it would be a good idea if my wife, while doing her weekly grocery shopping, picked up a couple gallons of water. I also recommended that she ought to consider filling up the car with gasoline, just in case. On both of these points I caught some ridicule on her way out the door. While she was gone, I checked all of my flashlights (I have many, all part of my hoarding) to be sure that the batteries were good. I got out the candles I keep in the basement, made sure I had my Zippo filled with fluid, and generally prepped the house for possible high winds and power outages.

When my wife returned, she seemed a bit out of sorts. When I asked if she was okay, she said “the grocery store was a madhouse, and they were all out of gallons of water, so I had to buy bottles instead.” I asked why the change of heart, and she said that with everyone else seeming concerned, she got nervous. I think the whole prepping concept hit home for her for real when she heard about the gas rationing in the NYC area. She still thinks I’m crazy, but she has gotten a little bit more accepting of the whole idea.


Too many mint tins

Posted: April 9, 2012 by Sarge in Bug-out Bag, Preparation
Tags: ,

I obsessively eat Altoids mints at work.  I don’t mean I pop one in my mouth and enjoy the flavor as it dissolves, either.  I throw 3 or 4 in at a time, and then chew them like a five-year old with a Tootsie pop.  My excuse is that its cheaper than the smoking habit I kicked a few years back.

I save all the tins (I think that’s 3/4 of why I eat them in the first place).  I have 20 odd tins in the basement with my bug out bag, and another 5 or 6 on the workbench in the garage.  The ones in the garage get used to store small parts, nuts and bolts, and the like.  Of the 20 in the basement, only three have anything in them.  One is my “fishing kit”, with a handful of fish hooks, a couple sinkers, and some fishing line.  I’m hoping I can fashion a fishing pole and dig up some bait if the need arises.  Its better than no fishing gear at all, either way.  The next tin has a Bic lighter, a box of “waterproof” matches, and a pack of new flints and a wick for a Zippo lighter.  I also have a can of Zippo fluid, but it won’t fit in the tin.  The third tin has, well hell, I’m not even sure if I have stuff in a third tin.  I plan on setting one up with a hundred bucks or so and a credit card, with the idea that bugging out may be for a localized reason, and having something on hand would be really helpful in that case.

I use more of them for other small stuff that would otherwise be easily lost in a bug out bag.  My plan is to paint them all so that their contents is easily identified by their color, etc.  If and when I actually get to this point, I will post some pictures.  If you have other ideas for tins, write me a quick note.  I know there are other ways they could be useful.




When my grandmother passed away, I was fortunate enough to have inherited her small collection of cookbooks.  I love flipping through them, not just for the fun retro recipes for elegant desserts (Baked Alaska, anyone?) but also for the comments Grandma wrote in the margins:

“Do not use cherry Jell-o.  Makes an atrocious color!”

“Ken (my granddad) hated this.”

Just as good are the recipes and tips she clipped from magazines and product packages and carefully tucked between pages.  I guess I love them because I feel like I’m getting a glimpse into her life as an Air Force wife.  Grandma was a pretty private person, as well she might have been.  She’d been through a lot, between having grown up during the great depression and marrying an airman.  There’s a reason they say “Military Wife:  Toughest Job in the Military.”

When they were stationed on the coast of Louisiana and a hurricane came roaring up the gulf, my granddad had to pilot his aircraft inland to Kansas, leaving Grandma behind to fend for herself and two kids under the age of five.  She was a very stoic lady.

So you can understand how much I love finding these little tidbits of her life.  The other day, I was looking for Grandma’s famous Jell-o salad recipe to take to a retro cooking party, and I re-discovered these two gems.  These would date back to when they were stationed at Wurtsmith AFB with the Strategic Air Command (SAC), probably in the mid 1960’s.

The first is a newspaper article urging housewives to keep a two week supply of food on hand.  It even offers a suggested list of items appropriate for a family of four.

I love it – and I love the little notes that tell me this article had Grandma’s strict attention!

Next I have a “Dependents’ Disaster Control Checklist” distributed by SAC at Wurtsmith.  It provided clear instructions on what the women and children were to do in the event of an emergency.

It even includes what to do in a Broken Arrow situation.  Pretty badass.

So there you go.  My grandma (and probably yours) was prepping before prepping was trendy!


Mission Statement

Posted: March 7, 2012 by Sarge in Preparation

Everybody has a mission statement these days.  Most of them are cheeseball crap.

I’ve decided that I need a personal mission statement.  In reality, I would just take all of these quotes and make them into my mission:

But that seems too easy.  So here goes:

I will at all times consider my situation

I will work to continually prepare my family

I will encourage each member of my family to prepare themselves

I will spend my money in a way that increases my ability to survive

I will always lend a hand to others when possible, especially in hard times

I will do my best to joyfully undertake all tasks

I will not bow down to any man, or any government that would infringe upon my right to protect myself

I will expect no help from others, and demand nothing more than I have earned

I will not live my life in fear of the future


Some of this stuff is already built into me.  Some of it I may never achieve.  Either way, I’m going to prepare for what comes my way.  If it all goes to hell, and you happen to be on your way past, stop in for while, but don’t be offended if I keep one hand on my shotgun.



Every Day Carry

Posted: March 1, 2012 by Sarge in Preparation, Weapons and Tools

Shit hit the fan yesterday.  Well, it did in my life.  My 9 hour work day turned into a 16 hour adventure.  By adventure I mean shitfest.  See, we’ve got all this new equipment coming in at work (75 million worth).  None of it works the way it is supposed to.  Therefore, I get to spend all my time at this equipment suppliers shop.  My desk is not at the shop.  I have stuff I need in my desk.  I don’t have shit at this shop.  Hell, there isn’t even a gas station within a couple miles of this place.

So here I am, at this shop.  I have to gather and analyze a bunch of data.  Luckily, I am somewhat prepared.  I carry a Zebra F-301 compact in my pocket, so I can write shit down.  I have to cut open a bunch of boxes of parts and shit, and NO ONE has a damn knife.  I do.  My employer said I’m not allowed.  I kindly said F U (in my head.  I wouldn’t say it out loud.  I need my job).  So I can cut open the boxes.  Terrific.  We worked until 11:15 pm.  Apparently no one else got hungry.  I did.  This is where I failed.  I had no extra food on me, or in my car.  I had a $20 bill.  Vending machines won’t eat 20’s.  I had 50 cents in my pocket.  This kept me to the bottom tier of vending machine food.  Thank God there were some bright orange crackers with “cheese” between them for 35 cents.  That was dinner.  I do always have a water bottle with me, so I did have something to wash them down with.

So shit hit the fan, in a small way.  I was somewhat prepared.  Next time, I will be more prepared.  I have a first aid kit in my car.  Now, I’m going to add a can of chili and some granola bars.  I will continue to carry a knife.  When not working, I keep a sidearm handy.  I always carry some cash, but I think I’ll start keeping some small bills tucked away just in case.  I might start carrying my multi-tool agian.

I like gadgets and shit, so I cruise the internet for cool stuff to carry around.  This site is all about every day carry gear, and I like peering into other peoples pockets in this manner:

This next site spends a little too much time on watches I can’t afford and  camera gear, but the guy does great reviews, and sometimes they come up with some awesome stuff (like titanium keychain rings).

Take some time and go back into the archives.  Thats where the good stuff is.



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



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:  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:

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

I recently returned from a weekend ski trip with a few friends which reminded me of something.  It can get really freaking cold sometimes.  The conditions were lovely and it was a great time, but getting back to my point, by the end of the day, the wind was picking up and the temperature at least felt like it plummeted.  This made me think about my BoB and the clothes I have packed.  I realized that I’ve packed for the spring and fall relatively well, but if I had to take off now I would probably freeze to death the first night if I couldn’t keep a good hot fire going.  If I had to bug out in the middle of the summer, I would be carrying way more clothes than I would need and not nearly enough water.  With this in mind I think I will start checking the inventory list that Sarge suggested I make, and updating whats in my BoB based on the current season.  I suppose that this would be a relatively simple concept (as I just compelted a google search and came up with multiple posts about seasonal BoBs: (this one also gives a very good checklist for a BoB)) but I didn’t think about it until this last weekend.  Good thing the nothing hit the fan.  I would suggest checking your BoB for the correct  supplies about every two to three months, or when a drastic change to your local weather occurs.  Ensure in the summer you have extra water, lightweight clothes, and sun protection of some kind or another.  In winter extra warm clothes and blankets (I suggest those space blankets that fold down to the size of a thin wallet, yet somehow can keep you really warm) and definitely some form of fire starter.  Spring and fall you need clothes that are cool enough when you’re moving about during the day, yet warm enough to keep you comfortable at night.  Again going back to my Boy Scout days, wear layers.  They can be easily shed as you warm up, and then replaced as it cools down.  It’s also a lot easier packing many thin layers of clothing rather than a few bulky layers.  They can also be removed and replaced from the BoB as necessary for season changes.  Another thing I remember from Boy Scouts is that cotton kills.  The reason they said this was that cotton can absorb an absurd amount of water, and then it takes an enormous amount of energy to remove said water.  If you are wearing this soaking or even damp cotton, guess where that energy to dry it comes from?  That’s right, you.  Wearing fabrics like wool and polypropylene will wick the moisture away from you skin, keeping your energy loss to a minimum.  They also dry more quickly as they cannot hold as much water.  So with all that in mind I suggest you go check your BoB to ensure you’re prepared for the current weather and not the weather you would prefer.

My paracord dog leash- Part 2

Posted: February 13, 2012 by Sarge in Preparation, Weapons and Tools

If you missed part one, go read it, or this will probably be useless.

Step four part 2:

Step five:  Keep weaving.  You have to keep this up until you hit the other end.  It takes time and patience.  As you go, be sure that you  keep your lines running in the same order, or things get twisted up at the other end.  I had to un weave and re weave mine part way twice because I got careless.  Tighten things up some as you go, and take your time.  When you come to the end of one stick, start on the next, overlapping by one loop.

Step six:  When you get 12 or so inches from the end, insert your quick link.  Keep the weave going in the normal pattern on either side.

Step seven:  Weave until you hit the end with the ring.  Snake the loose end of the cord through the weave so that it ends up on the same side as the sticks.  Finally, loop it through the ring once.

Step eight:  Start backing the stick at the ring end out, replacing it in each loop with the loose end of the paracord.  Continue this all the way through, until you are back at the clip end.

Step nine:  Once you have it passed all the way through, and all the sticks are gone, tie it off to the clip.  I actually tied mine off to the original end of the paracord, but you can use whatever method you like.  Before you make your knop permanent, I would recommend working the cord some, so that all the excess in individual loops, etc., get worked out.  This will make more sense once you’ve gotten started.  To finish it off, take a match or a lighter to the ends of the cord to melt them.

Hope this is helpful to someone.  This same principal can be applied to other things.  I made a sling for my SKS using this same idea.