Friday, August 16, 2013

I think people have a misconception about TSHTF

I'm usually too busy doing my own survival stuff, running classes, backpacking, and all that to really pay too much attention to other bloggers or whatever in the survival space.

However I do on occassion read a blog post if something catches my eye.  Now to be honest, things like "what to stock" is almost always something that I read because it helps me spot things that I might be missing or haven't thought of, or forgotten, or whatever.

I am regularly astounded however by some of the things people list either as a "necessary" bug out bag item or as something that should be stocked at your BOL.

THIS POST is an example of what I'm talking about.  Mimeograph machines??? Are you serious?

Look, your BOL is a location that you stock for when something goes really bad.  If your BOL is in the same goegraphic area and there's a natural disaster then your BOL won't be habitable anymore than your home is.

The truth right now however is that what is going on makes me think that your BOL is going to be much more useful should the US government declare some form of martial law.  Given the positively insane amount of ammo that the Department of Homeland Security is buying (1.6 billion rounds at present, enough to wage full scale war for 30 years) combined with the ever growing purchases of food supplies by FEMA, purchased in a way that seems to be purposely interrupting the supply chain of emergency food for preppers ... I think it's a fairly likely scenario.

Especially when you figure that the US is currently buried in an ACTUAL yearly deficit running at 75% of GDP and an ACTUAL debt load rapidly approaching 200 trillion dollars, is going to mean that sooner or later the US is going to "pay" for the debt by currency inflation.  That will lead to actual massive inflation and THAT is when the crack down will occur (I call it "Syria in the US").

Understand that a massive crackdown by the US government against the citizenry (effectively eliminating the "pesky" constitution) means several very important things.

1) The electrical grid is going to be closely monitored.
2) Various types and flavors of "law enforcement" personnel are going to be actively looking for people trying to be independent
3) Satellite technology means that any gun stashes that you THINK you have hidden are actually well known

Here's what I'm saying.

If (when really) TSHTF you need to be as invisible as possible.  You need to be able to live without electricity or gas.  If you think the government isn't going to use satellites to find homes being heated that aren't on a known electrical grid or getting fuel oil from known suppliers you are sorely mistaken.

Should the US government do exactly what it looks like its preparing to do, living anywhere in the US is going to be difficult no matter how great your BOL is.

In fact I'm going to go farther.

Unless the US decides to perform a wholesale takeover of both Mexico and Canada then I am rapidly coming to the belief that you need a BOL in both locations.  I say both because which you go to will depend on a number of factors.

One in the wilderness of far north Canada (where bothering you is more trouble than its worth) or very deep into southern Mexico  (area south of Monterey) where again its just not worth messing with you.  Or better yet, go farther south still into Honduras, Belize, or El Salvador (all of which are beautiful by the way).

Each has its own pros and cons.  If you go north, you can set yourself up with things like electricity and fuel oil and you can be exceedingly independent.  The culture up there is a culture of independence, of making it on your own and bartering for the few things you do need.

However it is extremely cold and you had better know what you're doing to survive up there.

On the flip side, if you set yourself up south of Mexico you can go into the wilderness areas there an live quite comfortably thanks to a very temperate climate.  However you have to understand how to survive the storms.  The great thing about both places is that you can set yourself up with electricity generation using both solar and wind.  (again, inside the US you'll be found if you do this and "brought to heel")

All of these things are why I keep saying the same thing ... all survival sooner or later is primitive survival.  If you're going to go south of Mexico or into the Canadian Wilderness you'd better be fairly skilled in primitive survival.


A BOL inside the US is now useful only for a natural disaster and THAT means that your BOL needs to be in a different geographical area than where you live.  Of course actually getting to your BOL during or even shortly after a natural disaster is probably going to be difficult if not actually impossible.

Start thinking about setting up BOLs outside the US should the economy collapse and martial law is declared.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The ugly truth about survival that too many survivalists miss

I run more than a few free survival classes.  In fact most of my survival classes are free.  I rarely charge for them.  It keeps me and my family in practice (my kids help out with them a lot, my wife isn't as interested) and we all get to meet some pretty cool people.

Anyway, my son was over trying to coach an older man about how to build a fire using a bow drill.  After a few minutes (and seriously only a few minutes) of working the bow and the bit he throws the stuff down and says, "This is stupid! I don't need to know how to start a fire like this.  My bug out bag has three different methods for helping me to start a fire and I have tons of stuff for doing it at my BOL.  I'm done wiping myself out on this nonsense!"

So I stopped the whole class.  I started by stating there were lots of valid approaches to survival and gave my "spiel" on that.  Then I asked who agreed with the guy.  Of the class of 18 people, four others raised their hands.

So let me tell you what I told that class...


If we are working under the assumption that a major collapse of the world economies is coming and that we are all going to be needing our BOLs sooner or later ... then it is also true that sooner or later your fire starters or other fancy fire starting equipment is going to stop working because it will wear out, or run out of fuel, or whatever.

So if you are of the opinion that a long term collapse of the US is coming, then you must learn how to start a fire using primitive skills such as a bow drill (easiest) or fire plow (which requires A LOT of effort).

Better yet, learn how to start a fire both ways and be proficient in both.

In fact, starting a primitive fire using a bow drill by necessity means something else ...

That you know how to make cord and rope on your own.  In fact in my opinion there isn't ANY survival skill more valuable than learning how to make "cordage".  Without knowing how to do this, in a survival situation you are basically screwed.

Let me see if I can break this down for you.

The single most important resource (other than air) is water.  You must have plentiful drinkable water if you expect to survive.

Sooner or later, your iodine tablets will run out, your filters will have ran their useful life, and the bulb on your UV lights will burn out.

That means boiling water, and that means starting a fire.  Again, a bow drill fire is unquestionably the easiest way of starting a fire.  The "problem" with the bow drill is that it needs some kind of cord or rope.

Now because I view coradage to be so important, I have a lot of it stored in various places.

The problem is that sooner or later, rope will fray and break, nets will need repair, and so on.  That means if a bow drill is the easiest way of starting a fire (without fire starters) then you have to assume that sooner or later you're going to have to start that fire with cord you make yourself.

You need cord to make the bow, to start the fire, that boils the water (cooks the food, gives warmth, heat for cleaning/sanitation and on and on).

You see, I have what seems to be a unique view of survival.

In any survival situation, you have to think about obtaining plenty of clean water on an ongoing basis.

That has to be your first thought.  But to be honest, clean water on an ongoing basis is most easily done with fire.  So really, fire has to be the first thing you do in any survival situation.

A fire can be used to generate smoke that makes it easy to find you if you're lost or stranded or whatever.

It purifies water, generates heat, and on and on.

The minute you find yourself in a survival situation, probably your first thought needs to be to creating a fire.

Again, the easiest way of doing that is with a bow drill and that just might mean that you have to create your own cord (at least it will sooner or later)


I don't know about you, but struggling just to stay barely alive in a constant state of near starvation doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun to me :-D

If you want to "sur-thrive" instead of just survive, then you MUST know how to make cord and turn that cord into nets for fishing and trapping.

You MUST know how to weave baskets (also for trapping both fish and wild animals).

You also MUST know what natural fibers are available for clothing (beyond animal pelts) and how to convert plant fiber into some kind of cloth.

To my mind, the following are absolutely basic survival skills that any true survivalist MUST possess:

  1. How to create cord and rope
  2. How to a fire using a bow drill and a fire plow and do it safely so you don't start a friggen wildfire
  3. How to use your cord/rope to build a net for fishing/trapping
  4. How to weave baskets (fishing/trapping and of course just storing things)
  5. How to actually trap/net fish, animals, and birds
Now, different people are good at different things.  Even though I know how to weave baskets ... honestly I kind of suck at it.  My wife however is extraordinarily good at it.

That doesn't mean I just let the skill go for myself however!

The five skills listed above should be possessed by EVERY survivalist.  With them, if the person that is good with something should be incapacitated due to injury or illness (or God forbid death) the entire group doesn't perish because one of what I call "lynchpin skills" is now gone.

EVERYONE should possess those five skills.

A very close #6 skill that in my opinion everyone should possess is self defense (and as I've said multiple times, I mean close quarters hand to hand combat self defense like you learn from Krav Maga or Brazilian Jui-Jitsu).

It's from here that we can talk about hunting as probably a #7 survival skill.  However I don't see this one as something that everyone should have to do.