Friday, August 14, 2009


There is more to survival than just guns. Didn’t I read some news recently about some survivalist type that starved with his family in some back woods cabin. He had a half dozen rifles with him, but no bags of rice and beans. He sounded like some non-murderous Ted Kazynski style wacko. But I bet he thought he could survive with his SKS and an AR style M4gery.

Well, none of us are prepared for a huge disaster, like a level 4 zombie outbreak or an EMP blast that fries every last piece of solid state electronics in North America. To be best prepared for that we’d have to be in a large isolated community of 5000, preferably walled somehow, filled with like minded people and with self sufficient acreage for farming, diverse cottage industry, and, extensive defensive capabilities. Even then, an organized force of 20,000 could come in an wipeout this well armed Shaker-esque community, this Galt’s Gulch. Not to mention how the feds would look a little askance at such a place, and it couldn’t be really hidden.

Failing that level of preparation is where we live in the reality.

I’m sure not a few readers have a few canned goods in surplus in the event of a Katrina-esque, or longer duration, disruption. And to that end we also have made other preps.

I, too, have taken measures.

One of the measures I’ve taken to is to acquire a decent sleeping bag. I’ve always admired the modern military ‘sleep system.’ It’s 3 bags in one, and you can add or shed layers depending on the temperature. It replaces the moderately warm nylon bag I got in boy scouts and the 60 year old Mil Surplus bag my dad used to use. That mummy bag of the Army of the 1950’s is truly confining and isn’t quite long enough for me, anyway. The newer bag as a bit more foot room.

Best part about this kind of survival gear that would go in a larger Bug Out Bag (or frame backpack) is that you can use for less dire, and much more FUN, circumstances. It’s been years since I’ve gone backpacking for fun, and I want to be able to do that. With rugged gear. It’s dual purpose, just like firearms. Sure a firearm can save your life by stopping bad guys that mean you harm, but we all know it is hella fun just plinking or competing in matches, or even just accumulating.

And the best part about this Army Sleep System? I’ve seen new ones close to $300 and used surplus for around $200, but I found this bag on Amazon for $89. Not bad at all.

Next up? A good expedition style 2-man tent. Expedition means ‘rugged.’ It’ll be more durable. Expedition also means ‘expensive.’ When someone calls these things 2-man what it means is ‘1-man comfortably, and 2 if neither needs to roll over.’

After that, I’m searching for a good backpack to carry all this stuff. I still have the one I used in Scouts, but it’s bright red and there are much better ones available now.

What else? There are very teeny and light alcohol burners out there for cooking. I want to try one with Everclear grain alcohol and see how it works. Why Everclear? Because you can mix it with Kool Aid and get your drink on. You can also use it for first aid. Or in trade. There is also stoves out there that use small twigs and wood shavings, and they intrigue.
Cookware is already available. You just need a pot to boil stuff in and a pan to fry stuff in. I’ve also gotten the bug to try camp food that was available 100 years ago. Smoked meats like bacon, dried legumes, cornmeal, that sort of thing. And canned stuff like Dinty Moore stews and Bully Beef. But I’m not above porting around Mountain House freeze dried stuff. I live off of that on 50 mile hikes 25 years ago. MRE’s can also be an item.

What else? I have a good poncho (not those disposable plastic kinds) and appropriate canteens.

And SIGBoy recommended a boot. Footwear has always been my downfall. I have a hard time finding shoes that work for me. In Scouts, the others made fun of me because I went on a hike in the rain in Tennis Shoes. They were right, my feet were wet immediately. Thing is, it only took 15 more minutes for their nice, treated, hiking boots to be just as soaked. Now they were wearing heavier shoes than me, and theirs carried more caked on mud, adding to their misery.

So, a tent, a pack, a stove, and boots.


Paladin said...

I dig that sleeping bag... I'm putting it on my list. I've lusted after that style for a while, but wasn't willing to drop two bills on one.

Add to your list a good firstaid kit. Not one of the ready made ones that's a glorified bandaid holder, either. Make your own.

The tent that rides around in the back of my truck is pair of shelter halves rolled up with stakes and poles inside, army surplus. Sturdy as hell, but on the heavy side for toting on foot.

Water purifier, if you can afford one,- tablets if you can't. And something to carry water in (canteen or hydration bladder). I'll assume that you also have things like a good knife(s), some sort of cookware, lighter/matches, etc.

That would be it, for bare minimum. You can add whatever else you want, and can carry. But if you can't shelter/feed/water youself and you can't fix yourself when broken - nothing else will matter.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

got a post on that coming up, Paladin.