Four Letters Re: Advice on Camouflage Clothing

Mr. R
Nice article. I’ll agree that the new ACU is terrible, and that MultiCam is pretty good. Problem is it’s currently limited, hence mucho expensive

I’ll second how effective ASAT [pattern camouflage] is. Years back we went backpacking up in Bandelier [National Monument], which is a mixed environment with evergreens, deciduous trees, brush and grass, amidst rocky canyons. My son walked out into a field in bright daylight and sat down with an ASAT big-bandana over his head and shoulders. Gone! Even with some light wind moving brush he stayed gone. We did this a few more times as we moved into canyons and up into woods. Gone!

They currently have sales on seconds and imperfects, and the bandanas, gloves and hats are reasonably priced. The fabric would be great for ponchos, backpack covers, and simple groundsheet shelters – MurrDoc


FYI:, I saw these relevant comments on of the new military ACU pattern from guys in the ‘field’: The ACU (as I have seen in both the woods of Georgia and the desert &
urban areas of Iraq) is pretty much c**p. Yes, I agree it works well if you are lying still in a gravel parking lot or next to a large moss covered live oak. Any other circumstance, though, you are truly "Ghost Recon". I work at the Recon Surveillance Course 4th RTB at [Fort] Benning, and teach camouflage here. The grey pattern sticks out like a white ghost. At nighttime it gets highly illuminated by the moon and stars. The ACU is pretty much the joke of the Army. Joke’s on you. Thank God I am a Marine!
And, for those interested in the methods and study used to choose this new pattern you can find a very interesting synopsis document (in PowerPoint format). Regards, – S.H.


I just wanted to point out to you and your SurvivalBlog readers the new camo designs being created at Hyperstealth. There is plenty of reading and good information about camouflage. They also have some BDUs for sale, unfortunately the best are sold out, but perhaps they will be reissued in the future. – Tom


I trust all is well with you and yours. About this camouflage thing. After going from the old green/olivedrab to grey flight suits to Vietnam green jungle fatigues to the tiger stripe, back to green fatigues and then to nomex in grey and nomex in green and then on to the stylish BDUs and then to desert and now to Digital, which I still think is dumb and now to civie clothing, I still think the best camouflage clothing is the original Green/OliveDrab fatigues. To make them into effective camo, just lay them out on the ground, lay some local branches with leaves or needles on top of the fatigues, dust them with flat black spray paint. Flip over, do the other side. Let dry and wear.
May not be fancy or stylish, but it surely is functional….. and cheap. Used that method a lot thru the career and it works.
Functional during the day and you simply disappear at night.
Maybe somebody can explain the new army digital camo to me. IMHO, it just looks dumb. (At least Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children went for dual color versions) At the range, I can look down the firing line and past a certain point, I see this line of green blobs that stand out from absolutely everything. Even in an urban environment it doesn’t work well unless you have a particular penchant for being noticed. Just been a point of confusion to me. Best Regards, to all. – The Army Aviator

Letter Re: Swords and Bows for that Dreaded Multigenerational Scenario

Mr. Rawles:
I would like to add to the article "Swords and Bows for that Dreaded Multigenerational Scenario" [that appeared in SurvivalBlog back in September of 2006, with lots of follow-up letters in the following week.] I have been a closet survivalist for some time now and thought it prudent to learn several old world skills. Metalworking was one of the skills I put a high value on and for good reason, knives, spears, swords, and arrowheads are all important if in a "multigenerational" situation. Also knife making is a fun (and maybe even profitable) hobby.
The comment on leaf springs having internal micro cracks due to repetitive stressing is technically true, but if the correct procedure of annealing and re-hardening is used, all previous stresses are eliminated. They even have what is called a "tribal" knife makers guild that only uses salvage from junkyards and scraps from cabinetmakers and hardwood floor installers. They also practice using all hand tools, no electricity! A very friendly bunch that helped me understand knife making and metallurgy are at the Knife Network and Blade Forums. Regards, – TJ

Two Letters Re: SHTF Shopping

Dear Editor:
SF in Hawaii had some good ideas in his post on Imminent SHTF shopping. However, I strongly disagree with his plan to pick up chicks and rabbits at the last minute — "Items that require maintenance that you don’t want to deal with pre-SHTF (i.e. guard dog, male and female rabbits and chicks (for raising meat) and the food and housing that they will require." It requires skill and experience to successfully raise rabbits and chickens, skill and experience that don’t come in a few minutes time. (It also requires skill and experience to train and handle a guard dog, not to mention that good guard dogs aren’t just sitting around waiting to be snatched up in any emergency.) It also requires skill and experience to raise the food for all of these animals. I would add, in case anyone is thinking of it, that larger livestock, such as goats, sheep, cattle, and horses, require even more skill and experience. IMO, these are not last minute items to acquire. (Ditto for gardens, as has been mentioned before on SurvivalBlog.) If you think that you may want, or need, livestock of any kind in the event of TSHTF, then make the sacrifice of time now, and learn how to raise and care for them successfully , before the emergency hits! I was raised on a farm, and have been keeping poultry and dairy goats for most of the last 24 years, and I still make mistakes at times, or find myself lacking a critical piece of information. It helps to be part of a network of other people raising the same kind of livestock (although you can get a lot of MISinformation that way, too, if you aren’t careful — sometimes even from veterinarians who ought to know better).

I’ll tell you about one error I made just a few days ago. I was planning to worm a doe who had just kidded (did you know that goats need to be wormed the day after they kid? See, a critical piece of information that the last-minute guy wouldn’t have had any clue about!). I set the tube of Ivermectin wormer on the shelf above the milking stand while I did chores, and at some point it got knocked off the shelf. I didn’t notice that it had fallen down until I saw my ten-month-old farmcollie pup chewing on it. Other than being a little upset that she’d damaged the tube of wormer, so I couldn’t worm the doe, I didn’t think anything of it. I completely forgot that many collie-breed dogs, including some English Shepherds (she’s mostly English Shepherd), are sensitive to ivermectin. About three am I woke to the sound of claws scrabbling in Bonnie’s crate at the foot of my bed. She was having ‘seizures’ (technically severe muscle spasms, as she was conscious and knew me). She managed to stand long enough to stagger out of her crate when I opened the door, but then collapsed and got steadily worse until I was able to get her to the vet’s office as soon as they opened. (I have a large-animal vet, and she was out on a farm call, or we’d have been in there sooner.) For the last four days, my poor little pup has been nearly comatose. Yesterday when I visited her, she opened one eye (she’s lying on her side and can’t move) and looked at me, and raised her eyebrow. That’s all she was able to do. I’m hopeful that she will recover — internet research indicates that with support, dogs usually do recover fully from ivermectin ‘intoxication’, as they call it. But it is going to take several weeks for full recovery, and in the meantime, I’m without my dog. (That’s not even mentioning the expense of all this!) In a SHTF situation, that could be extremely dangerous.

I could give all kinds of examples of things people need to know before they jump into keeping livestock, common mistakes (many of which will kill your animals), and some things to think about in case of SHTF that might not apply during ‘normal’ times. Maybe I’d better just write an article! But I hope people get the point that if they expect to rely on livestock for their food, they need to start now! Never mind the inconvenience! – Freeholder, in Oregon


I found SF’s comments on putting off your shopping until apocalypse eve to be interesting and thought provoking. It also reminded me of the time I popped into the local Sam’s Club [warehouse store] as Hurricane Isabella headed up the coast towards Baltimore. While this wasn’t predicted to be a major storm for us, and we were expecting a glancing blow at best, I found the place to be pretty well picked over of anything immediately useful. All of the AA and D sized batteries were gone, as were all of the Maglite flashlights. I also noticed that the usual stack of small propane canisters for Coleman stoves and the like were gone as well. They did have plenty of food though, and a lot of bottled water, although the water aisle had obviously taken a good hit. I don’t usually buy bottles of water, but I bought a couple of cases that day just to throw into the freezer as a hedge against a power outage.

The lesson I learned that day was that, if there’s something you think you’re really going to need in a time of emergency, buy it now. Wait until the last minute and it will probably be gone. People in general may not be very well prepared, but they will pick a "big box" retailer clean the moment any perceived threat appears on the horizon. I guess this is something we all know, but it is probably worth repeating.- Tim in Baltimore, Maryland

Odds ‘n Sods:

Hawaiian K. mentioned an article about a piece of "appropriate technology": Multimachine — a truck-parts-based machine shop for Africa

   o o o

Any of you that have copies of my recent non-fiction books should update them with our new mail forwarding address. Please see page 207 of Rawles on Retreats and Relocation (Appendix B) and page 239 of SurvivalBlog: The Best of the Blog – Volume 1 (Appendix A)–they should both get penned with this new mail forwarding address:
James Wesley, Rawles
c/o Elk Creek Company
P.O. Box 303
Moyie Springs, Idaho 83845 USA

I have just updated the electronic copies at Cafe Press, (the publisher), so any copies ordered henceforth will have the address corrections already made. Note that our e-mail address is still:

Notes from JWR:

Because of some difficulties with lost mail addresed to me in Reno, we have severed our contract with our Reno-based mail forwarding service. We’ve now made arrangements to have our mail forwarded by a trusted friend. There still will be an up to two week delay before we receive your mail. But now we know that we will be getting all of your mail! The mail is forwarded to us here at the Rawles Ranch once every two weeks. Thanks for your patience. From now on, please use the following address for sending us snail mail. (Ten Cent Challenge subscriptions, books orders, sample or review merchandise, and so forth.):

James Wesley, Rawles
c/o Elk Creek Company
P.O. Box 303
Moyie Springs, Idaho 83845 USA

Today we present the last article submitted for Round 9 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best non-fiction article will win a valuable four day "gray" transferable Front Sight course certificate. (Worth up to $1,600.) Second prize is a copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, generously donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. I will again be sending out a few complimentary copies of my novel "Patriots" as "honorable mention" awards. If you want a chance to win the contest, start writing and e-mail us your article for Round 10, which begins on April 1st and ends May 31st. Remember that the articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

Letter Re: Macroeconomic Implications of Large Scale Ethanol Production in the U.S.

Hi Jim
I have run across some information that I thought might be of interest. I am in the food business and come in contact with a lot of people in the food industry.

One of my associates is in the frozen fruit and vegetable business. He has been telling me the effect that W’s ethanol incentives are having on the agriculture industry and it is quite alarming. I have not
researched this, so don’t have facts and figures to back it up, so take it for what it is worth.

This situation seems to have mysteriously stayed out of the mainstream media and the only thing that I have seen about this is that tortilla prices in Mexico have risen drastically because so much
corn is being grown to produce ethanol and the Mexican guvmint is trying to use price controls on corn.

There is a lot more to it than that. Apparently, the guvmint has made it so attractive to grow corn and soybeans for ethanol that a lot of farmers are switching out of other crops in order to grow corn
and soybeans
. There are a couple of reasons for this. You get a guaranteed price. I have never been a farmer, but I know enough to know that that is unusual for a commodity. The farmers also get more money for the corn and soybeans going to ethanol production than they would selling it for feed. Corn and soybeans are not only used to feed cattle but also pigs, chickens and turkeys. This means
that cattle ranchers, turkey farmers, pig farmers and chicken farmers are having to pay more for feed.

The other attractive thing about this for farmers is that if you are growing corn, it doesn’t matter what the quality is, if it has some type of fungus or blight or has turned brown. They pay the same money
for all of it.

The effect that this is going to have on the food business is very far-reaching. A lot of farmers are now switching over to corn and soybeans. Case in point is peas. Peas for canning and freezing were very short last year and are expected to be short again this year. The reason? Fewer and fewer farmers are growing peas because they can make more money growing corn and soybeans. Remember,
farming is no longer like the painting, "American Gothic". It is agribusiness run by the likes of Cargill, ADM, etc. They go where the money is.

Here is a link to an interesting article that discusses this on a local level.

I don’t know if this is true, but what my friend told me is that even if all of the arable land in the U.S. were put to corn and soybeans for ethanol, it would not make a dent in the amount of oil that we
have to import.

I also don’t think that most people know just how much of our food is imported. A very large quantity of our fresh fruits and vegetables are now imported. Many of the ingredients that go into food products manufactured here in the U.S. are imported. The majority of our canned meats and seafood are imported. Much of our canned fruits and vegetables are imported. More so in #10 cans than in the retail cans that you see in stores.

A good case in point is a canned bean packer that I work with. They are located in Illinois but they were telling me that a large percentage of their dry beans are imported. They pack a large amount
of organic beans and the majority of those are imported. Since the beans are all packed in the U.S., there is no indication on the cans that the raw material is imported. Pasta sauce is the same. Much
of the tomato paste that is used to make pasta sauce is imported. Virtually all canned tuna is imported. Even the big brands like Bumble Bee and Star Kist have offshore plants where they
pack their tuna.

My assessment of this is that between what is happening with domestic farmers and the decline of the US Dollar, food prices are going up, big time. Best Regards, – Kurt

Odds ‘n Sods:

Eric S. mentioned: India Mark II extra deep hand pump by Suksha Exports

  o o o

Reader RBS sent us this bookmark: The California real estate meltdown begins: Foreclosures up 79% and "short sales" up 10 times from last year’s figures.

   o o o

Speaking of foreclosures, reader JLM sent this: Foreclosure Wave Bears Down on Immigrants. It includes this frightening statistic: "Nationally, 375,000 high-interest-rate loans were made to Hispanics in 2005, and nearly 73,000 of them are likely to go into foreclosure…"