Turmoil really does happen…that’s why we need to be prepared

So…most times, prepping seems to be a theoretical exercise.  “How bad could it get?”.  “What’s the worst that could happen?”.  That’s what people say.  They assume that we are preparing for the zombie apocalypse.  But you know what?  Most of the time, it’s life rearing it’s ugly head and snapping its jaws at us.  Case in point – after over 10 years of running a department at a successful community bank, me and my department got outsourced on April 29th.  I am fine, financially and in every other way.  But there were some folks on my team that I worry about.  They lived on a day-to-day basis, with no thought past the next payday.  I feel bad for them.  I pray for things to work out for them.  And I am fine.  If I never get another job (which would suck), I can still feed my family.  Because I have learned basic skills, in terms of preparation, food preservation, etc.  I don’t want to have to use any of them, but it’s good to know that I can.  And it would make me feel awesome if you guys could, too.  So take a moment – visit www.survivalblog.com, or http://www.thenewsurvivalist.com/food_preservation_techniques.html#mbp_toc_22 or many, many others…figure out how to put away a few weeks’ worth of food just in case your boss decides that outsourcing you makes “good economic sense”.

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My friend BOB

OK, so you’ve decided that you want to be prepared. Maybe you are buying a little extra food each week (with a long shelf life, that is). Maybe you are taking precautions to ensure the security of your home. But what if you can’t STAY in your home? What if a natural disaster, or civil unrest, makes it so that you have to leave? That’s where BOB comes in. BOB is a bug-out bag (other names include INCH (I’m Never Coming Home), PERK (Personal Emergency Relocation Kit), 72-hour bag, go-bag, GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge), and the list goes on). No matter what you call it, your BOB, when properly assembled, may well become your very best friend. But there are lots of things that go into the planning and building of a BOB – I will try to cover most of them in this post.

As mentioned in a comment to a previous post, the Rule of 3 should be foremost in your mind when planning your BOB.  To recap, the Rule of 3 states that you can survive:

  • 3 minutes without air
  • 3 hours without shelter
  • 3 days without water
  • 3 weeks without food

OK, so you’ve got that.  Now – the first thing you want to do is figure out what to carry your stuff in (this is the “bag” in Bug Out Bag 🙂 ).  I use an ALICE pack that I picked up at the surplus store for around 50 bucks – as a former Marine, it is a familiar item to me.  The lovely and talented Mrs. BigBeefyD has an internal frame backpack that we found online for around $100 (ordinarily I wouldn’t recommend buying a pack without trying it on, but I was already familiar with this one).   You can spend a lot more if you want to.  The important thing in selecting the bag is to find one that fits well (or is adjustable) – remember that if you are bugging out on foot, or will eventually be walking, you will be carrying everything you own in this bag.  That’s a bad time to find that the cheap bag you bought on Craigslist has shoulder straps that dig in too tight.  I like packs with a waist belt, as this helps to distribute the load and take weight off of your shoulders.

Next, it’s time to start thinking about what should go in the bag.  At this stage in the game, remember that everything you add to your pile adds to the weight that you will be carrying.  Here is my MUST HAVE list of BOB items:

Water bottle with filter (I use the Sawyer Sp-140, www.sawyer.com, available at WalMart for about $35 – it’s guaranteed to filter 1,000,000 gallons of water at levels exceeding EPA requirements)
Magnesium fire starters (2)
Lighters, disposable (2)
Saw, wood, small with folding grip
Matches, large
Fire starters (see previous post on petroleum jelly-soaked cottonballs)
Radio, crank powered (need connection to re-charge cell phone)
Light stick (Cyalume or similar)
Flashlight, crank powered
Water purification tablets
Deck playing cards
Large clear plastic bags 4
Fishing equipment, misc
Batteries, spare D cell and AA cell
Flashlight with batteries D cell (LED bulbs last longer)
Zip lock storage bags, large and small
Softwipes 2 each – 50 pack
Mosquito repellant
Gloves, utility 1 pr.
Goggles, eye protection, 1 pr
Rags, clean
Knife swiss army
Multi-tool (Leatherman or similar – don’t scrimp on this)
Rain poncho, lightweight
Hatchet (camp axe)
Camp shovel, folding
Can opener (P-38 or P-51 military-style are less than a buck each at surplus stores)
Camp cooker (I like the Solo Stove)
Duct tape
Paraffin, block
Polyrope or paracord, 50 ft
Knife sharpener, small
Camping cook set and utensils
Mylar space blankets (2 minimum)

Some of these things can be combined.  For example, I carry a 5-in-one multi-tool that includes a small shovel, a saw, a small camp axe and a pickaxe all in one unit.  Also, I found a hand-cranked radio/flashlight combo, complete with a USB charging port and adapters for just about every cell phone out there, for around $40.

You also need to include season-appropriate clothing (this should be rotated in and out throughout the year).  I use Ziploc vacuum-sealed garment storage bags to save space.  You should plan on at least 2 pairs of pants, 2 or 3 shirts, underwear, 5 pairs of socks (wet feet will knock you out of the game in no time flat) and outerwear as needed for the season.

You may want to add a tube tent (these are very thin plastic, not a good option for long-term camping, but they do a great job for emergency shelter from the elements).  Barring that, consider putting in more mylar blankets – they are a great building block for decent shelters in addition to their ability to conserve body heat).

In terms of food, I recommend having a few freeze-dried meals (Mountain House or similar), as well as energy bars, dried fruit and nuts, stuff that’s easy to carry and prepare.  I know that some people don’t want to carry anything that requires cooking of any type, but the freeze-dried meals only require boiling water, and the excellent nutritional value makes them worth the effort, in my opinion.

Finally, once everything is assembled, make a list of all of your “stuff”.  As you place it in your bag, note on the list where you put it.  When the list is complete, put the list in a sealed Ziploc bag (or get it laminated) and put it in an easily accessible part of the bag.  That way, when you are trying to remember where you put the firestarters, you won’t end up dumping the entire contents out on the ground trying to find them.

All that’s left to do now is place your BOB where it will be useful.  If you spend a lot of time away from home, I recommend keeping it in your car.  If you spend more time at home, keep it in an area that’s accessible on the way out the door.

Well, that’s all I have for now.  Any ideas or additions to this list are most welcome!

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Survival tip – easy-to-make fire starters

Here’s a short video showing how to make a very easy fire starter.  This is a variation on the standard “cotton ball with petroleum jelly” fire starter.  Lots of folks will just roll cotton balls around in petroleum jelly – this will definitely give you a functional fire starter, but there is a way to make them burn much longer.  By liquifying the jelly, and then dipping the cotton balls in it, you get a cotton ball that is completely impregnated with the petroleum jelly.  This makes it burn much longer (literally 20 minutes of a good, solid flame).  This is especially useful if your primary source of fuel is damp – you need a good, solid, long-burning flame to dry the fuel out.  It’s easy and cheap.  Hope this helps.


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Humility and inspiration…good things to have

Today I volunteered, along with several of my co-workers (most of whom I count among my very best friends in the world) at the Denver Rescue Mission, a local homeless shelter.  We chopped (about a trillion) potatoes, and then served lunch to around 150 people (some homeless, some just down on their luck).  We’ve all heard the expression “There but for the Grace of God go I”.  I experienced that feeling, deep down, today.  I saw so many folks that came for what I considered to be a pretty meager meal, but it was probably the best they have had all day.

Today did two things for me.  The first, and by far the most important, is that it made me remember that I am commanded by my Lord and Savior to serve others.  It’s been a while since I’ve had that reminder, and it was very welcome.  The second was to show me how very important that being able to eat is.  And that, in turn, reinforced my conviction to make sure that, no matter what happens, I WILL feed my family. So yeah, I will keep buying and packing food into buckets.  So that the most important people in my life won’t have the look that so many of the folks at the mission had today.  And if you tell me I am crazy, I will smile and nod.  And I will feel a little bit more ready every day.

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I guess it’s for the children, or something, cuz it sure as hell doesn’t do anything in the real world

So…the Colorado State Assembly is poised to ban magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.  Apparently this will stop gun violence.  I’m not sure how, as they really haven’t explained that part.  I guess that it all hinges on everyone, including criminals, buying into the new law.  That would be neat, wouldn’t it?  Having criminals find a law that they would obey?  I hope they do.  Really.  But let’s face it…they won’t.  They are criminals.  You can pass all the laws that you want to, and they will ignore them.  So what you do, when you pass a law like this, is require me to be WAY more accurate than a bad guy.  Because I only get 15 rounds.  He gets as many as he wants.  All I want to do is to protect my family.  He wants to kill us.  And he gets to use as many bullets as he wants.  How is that fair?  How is that right?  Why do you want me to break the law in order to protect my family?  Or, if you don’t want me to break the law, why do you want my family to die?

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What we do and why we do it

There are a few people that know what I do in my spare time (prepping, training, just generally getting ready).  Most of them ask me why I am doing it.  I am a senior executive at a bank.  I have a Master’s degree in a technical field.  My wife is a doctor.  I am probably the least likely person ever to do what I do.  So I guess maybe some explanation is necessary.

OK, so just to start…our country is in a deep, dark hole.  Our President has decided that the Constitutional design that created co-equal branches of government does not apply anymore – he has bypassed Congress numerous times, and just recently, he decided to bypass the DC Court of Appeals.  He is the closest that we have had to a king since we vanquished King George III in the Revolutionary War.  His administration announced a couple of weeks ago that it is legal to target American citizens with armed drones if the administration “thinks” that they are senior operatives of terrorist organizations.  Currently, that is only for Americans abroad.  But just to put things in perspective – the Department of Homeland Security thinks that I am a potential terrorist (http://www.infowars.com/homeland-security-report-lists-liberty-lovers-as-terrorists/).  I wonder how long it will be before they remove “abroad” from that Executive Order.   Please excuse me if I spend a bunch of time watching my 6.

On top of his total disdain for the Constitution, he is racking up debt at such an insane level that our currency will be worthless in 2 years.

And the North Koreans have successfully tested nuclear warheads and a delivery system.  All it takes is 4 nukes to create an EMP that cripples all of North America.

So that’s why I do what I do.

I’m probably crazy.  I sure as fuck hope so.

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Hello world!

Prepping.  I’ve been doing it for a little while now.  At first I tried to keep it secret from my wife.   But once I got to the point where I was spending money on things that we didn’t need RIGHT NOW, I couldn’t do that anymore.  So I told her, and she still thinks I’m a bit crazy.  I just tell her “I’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it”.  I consider it my job, as her husband, to make sure that she’s OK, no matter what happens.

I started this blog to make a record of what I have done in terms of prepping.  I want to share my resources, because they seem pretty solid, and hopefully they will help you out too.  My main source of good info is the Survival Blog (http://www.survivalblog.com/) – tons of good stuff.  If you don’t look at anything else on that site, you need to at least download the “List of lists” (http://www.survivalblog.com/listoflists.xls).

My prepping today consisted of vacuum-sealing 12 pounds of rice and around 7 pounds of beans.  Enough to keep my family alive for a month when combined with stuff we have in our cabinets.  Am I nuts?  Maybe.  But if the SHTF, I will live a month longer now than I would have if today hadn’t happened.  As I look across the room to the lovely and talented Mrs. BigBeefyD, I feel pretty good about what has happened today.

More to come, I am sure.

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