Four Letters Re: Advice on Camouflage Clothing

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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

 

James:
FYI:, I saw these relevant comments on DefenseTech.org 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.

 

Hi,
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

 

James:
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

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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

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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

 

James:
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:

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

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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: rawles@usa.net

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

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“[I]t doesn’t require expropriation or confiscation of private property or business to impose socialism on a people. What does it mean whether you hold the deed or the title to your business or property if the government holds the power of life and death over that business or property? Such machinery already exists. The government can find some charge to bring against any concern it chooses to prosecute. Every businessman has his own tale of harassment. Somewhere a perversion has taken place. Our natural, inalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.” – Ronald Wilson Reagan

Notes from JWR:

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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.

Chimney Construction, by PrepNow

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I would like to offer some information about my experience with chimney construction and creosote build up. This information does not apply to the typical suburban open fireplace. What I’m talking about is a wood-burning stove designed to heat your home or shelter. There are a number of manufactured fireplaces available that are designed to regulate the amount of combustion air traveling into the firebox and consequently the control the actual burn. These are the most efficient and are the type that we would be using in a structure designed to ride out the future storm.
Construction of the chimney is extremely important. In this case the old ways are not the best. Fire brick and chimney tile will eventually burn out and will not handle many chimney fires. I heated my two-story log home in Montana for years primarily with split pine, which is very susceptible to creosote build up. Due to the construction of the chimney and fireplace I was able to regularly “burn out” the creosote safely.

I constructed the chimney using high quality triple wall stainless steel chimney pipe that was designed with separate air spaces between each layer of tubing. This allows the inner tube to dissipate heat. (Never use the double wall insulated pipe because it will contain heat and can cause extremely high temperature build up in the wall of the tube). The triple wall stainless steel (SS) chimney tubing was then encased in a framed shaft lined with fire rock all the way to the roof. The SS tube extended through the metal roof cap. This cap was removable so that the tubing could be pulled out and replaced if necessary without disassembling the chase and associated walls. Of course a spark arrester was installed on top of the chimney. I installed a vent in the bottom and top of the chase to capture the heat from the chase and reduce any heat build up. The vents incorporated at lead link controlled fire damper so that if there was a fire in the chimney chase they would automatically close. The bottom of the chimney was located directly above the fireplace and connected by a single wall SS pipe open to the room. The entire corner walls and floor where bricked and the stove set on the brick.
The fireplace was a plate steel enclosed box lined with firebrick. There were controllable air intakes on the front doors and also a combustion air vent piped from outdoors with a control damper built in near the stove. These allowed me to shut down the air supply and control the fire level. Most of the time the fire was kept and a fairly low level and consequently contributed to creosote build up in the chimney.
About once a week during the main heating season I would open the air intakes and allow the fire to build up enough to burn the creosote out of the chimney. This can be a little spooky the first time you do it because it sounds like the chimney is going to blast off into space. I chose days when there was adequate snow cover or wet weather in order to eliminate the chance of fire from sparks emitted from the chimney. These chimney burnout’s were generally very small and short-lived due to repeating them on a regular basis. During the learning curve I did have a couple of fires that emitted a large amount of flames and smoke from the chimney. I monitored the heat coming from the chase vents and it never exceeded an uncomfortable level. I also inspected the flue system and no damage was done other than a discoloring of the spark arrestor.
The weak link in a system like this is the single wall pipe between the stove and the chimney. This must be stainless steel, have adequate spacing from combustibles and be inspected regularly.
Another thing to remember is that a small hot fire is much better than a large cool fire. This is accomplished through the control of intake air and will become easy to maintain with practice. More of the gases that create creosote are burned in the hot fire. The diameter of the chimney flue is also important. If sized too large the velocity of the smoke and gases will move up the flue too slowly and will cause build up. Some of the older large chimney’s actually set up a convection current inside the flue drawing cold air from above, heating it and moving back up and out. This also opened the door for an uncontrolled chimney fire because it was self-feeding. A smaller diameter flue creates a higher velocity current fed only by the controlled combustion air thus keeping the smoke gasses a little hotter, moving them out of the chimney and reducing creosote build up.

The important element of this type of heating system is the ability to shut off the supply air. You can literally kill a fire in this manner. A back-up dry chemical fire extinguisher released into the front air damper opening should solve any out of control problem. I never found this necessary but kept one on hand, just in case.
Another point that goes along with wood heating is having a metal roof on your house. This is the simplest way to fire proof your roof and a good standing seam system, (not a screw down), is easily a 50-year roof. I had hand-split cedar shake shingles on mine and was always paranoid about the possibility of it catching fire from either a chimney spark or a forest fire. My next home will have a standing seam galvanized aluminum roof. Pricey, but worth it.

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

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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:

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

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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.

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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…”

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

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A Woman’s Ode to Survivalism, by Deborah (Moderator, JerichoCBS Forum)

I’m not into fashion
I like camouflage
I got surveillance equipment
Stashed out in my garage
I don’t wear many skirts
I kinda like my jeans
And they go so much better with
My bullets and my beans.

Now don’t be thinking that I’m crazy,
Not a sociopath, not even mean,
But if you come a knockin’
Keep your hands where they are seen…..

I got a Smith & Wesson,
AK and Mossberg too,
One Colt, two Berettas,
A Kel-Tec.. Hmm that one’s new

I don’t know when the SWHTF
But I’ll let you in on a secret,
Let you in on my plan ….
I’ve got water, and I’ve got fish
I’ve got ammo in my pockets
And a camera in my Dish.

I got flour, sugar and my salt,
And if you don’t, that’s not my fault

I’m replanting my lawn with berries and their thorns
All just to protect, all just to warn.
Maybe a few bushes, maybe a few vines,
And as far as you know, maybe a few mines…

The pantry is full of canned goods
Closets are filled up too
Everything’s been inventoried
Even all my shoes.

Kerosene is for the lamp light
And matches are a must.
No one knows what I have
For there’s no one that I trust.

Chickens I will raise, maybe some rabbits on my land,
And a nice big garden, to help me feed the clan .
Seeds I’ve got, oh, ain’t it nice,
I got all that and three kinds of rice.

I got flour, sugar and my salt,
And if you don’t, that’s not my fault

I don’t get the hurricanes
No floods or earthquakes here,
Just lots of icy blizzard snow
And Mutant Zombie Deer.

I’m ready for a nuke blast
Solar flares or acid rain
I’m ready for the Bird Flu
When the world gets quite insane.

I’ve done my preps,
Checked them double twice,
Not like in Jericho
Cause folks won’t be that nice.

My BOB is packed ..
Now what did I forget?
Oh yeah, the gennie’s full
And sitting on the deck.

When TEOTWAWKI is finally here,
I’ll be hunkered in my retreat,
family will be near,

And I got flour, sugar and my salt,
And if you don’t, that’s your own d**n fault

Note from JWR:

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Our blog site visit statistics keep growing! There were more than 31,600 unique visitors to SurvivalBlog in the last month, running a whopping 63 gigabytes of bandwidth. (Up 30% from just four months ago!) But, even so, there are still lots of folks that have never heard of SurvivalBlog. Please keep spreading the word. I hope that you will consider adding a linked SurvivalBlog banner or logo to your e-mail footer and/or to your web pages. Many thanks!

Letter Re: Advice on Camouflage Clothing

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Hi James,
When considering camouflage at your retreat what are some of the things you have taken into consideration. I’m just starting to research this and the choices available are a bit overwhelming. Here are my thoughts as they currently stand.

The first choice is whether you want to go with a military pattern or a commercial pattern such as RealTree, MossyOak, or similar. Then there are the in-between patterns like MultiCam that were developed for the military but not yet adopted so they are commercially available, at a premium price. I’m leaning more towards the commercial patterns as their use before the SHTF would not draw as much attention as mil patterns. The big plus in my mind is that after the SHTF these patterns would not be confused with the patterns worn by any military units in the area. Hopefully, this could save you from being identified as a military member and prevent incoming fire from a like minded individual taking out military targets of opportunity. While I’ve heard good things about MultiCam, but I think I would shy away from it because of the above reason. It’s currently in use in the Future Force Warrior program and could be adopted and found in widespread use in the future.

I’ve yet to see a scientific review of the various patterns and their effectiveness; most of the information I’ve been able to find has been on various survival related forums where individuals do their own impromptu tests. It seems to be universally held that the current ACU is horrible in nearly all terrain, with the possible exception of sagebrush country that you’ve mentioned in the past. Oddly enough, from some people’s accounts, the original olive drab (more on the brown side then the green you picture today) still works pretty well, especially when in a mix of light and shadow found under the forest canopy.

When considering your camo, do you pick one pattern to work with all seasons or do you have separate patterns for every season. I live in the northeast, so I figure one pattern could cover you for fall, early winter, and spring. In the dead of winter with a lot of snow on the ground a winter camo with some amount of white would probably work. Then again, you could just add some lighter colored cloth strips by using safety pins or make a white shell as the situation warranted. Movement of the additional cloth in the wind would obviously need to be taken into consideration. In summer, you could still be able to get by with your main pattern as the increased foliage adds to your general concealment. From my understanding patterns that are heavy on the green don’t do as well because the greens unnaturally stand out more often then not. Deer are brown for a reason.

What is your view on various fabric weights of camo for the different seasons? Layering makes the most sense to utilize your gear as much as possible but a water resistant (preferable breathable fabric like Gore-Tex) outer layer is important to keep you dry, especially in the winter. If it is uninsulated it will be usable throughout a larger portion of the year.

Thanks in advance for any insight you may be able to provide. – Jim in Vermont

JWR Replies: In my experience, the finer points of camouflage patterns only make a difference in recognition at distances of 25 feet or less. Beyond that, plain earth brown or good old olive drab–supplemented with gloves and either camouflage face paint (or a British camouflage net “sniper’s veil”)–work remarkably well. Avoiding rapid movement is ten times more important than color, pattern, or shading. I recommend just using one pattern, nearly year-round. (Except when there is snow on the ground, as discussed later.)

In addition to the basics of the effectiveness of camouflage patterns in breaking up the human silhouette, consider that post-collapse retreat security presents some unique challenges. One of these is identifying friend from foe, while maintaining a perimeter of security. You will want to be able to distinguish “the sheep from the goats” with just a glance at long distance. (By long distance, I mean distance too great for facial recognition without aid of optics.) For this reason I do not recommend that survival groups standardize with any of the most ubiquitous patterns, such as BDU Woodland or brown RealTree. It would be far too easy for one or more would-be looters to take note of the pattern that you are using, and dress in that pattern in an attempt to sneak in to your perimeter. In fact, I recommend buying all matching clothing for every family/group member in a pattern that is: 1.) uncommon, 2.) distinctive, and 3.) inexpensive to purchase in quantity. For example, I know of two different retreat groups that standardized with Swiss Alpenflage (which has a lot of red blotches in it–hence it is very distinctive), and one group that standardized with German Flecktarn. Military surplus uniforms in these patterns are available from U.S. vendors such as Cheaper Than Dirt and Major Surplus, Canadian vendors like Global Army Surplus, and British vendors like Flecktarn.co.uk.

In your particular situation–in the woods of New England–one military surplus camouflage pattern that might work particularly well is the British DPM pattern, and/or its first cousin, the very reasonably priced Dutch Army pattern (the two look virtually the same except upon close inspection.) OBTW, Dutch camo uniforms are also available in England from MeanAndGreen.com. It is even possible to do a bit of uniform “mixing and matching”–for example buying all DPMs shirts and smocks, and all East German Raindrop pattern pants. OBTW, if you have a big budget, the commercial All-Season, All-Terrain (ASAT) pattern is remarkably effective. Use of the ASAT pattern is so uncommon that the chances of someone finding a set of ASAT clothing for an attempt at perimeter-probing subterfuge is practically nil.

You are correct that switching to snow camouflage is as simple as cutting up bed sheets. But I know of one group that made very simple snow camouflage ponchos (serape style, with no hood) out of Dupont Tyvek. (Yes, you can order it in rolls of plain white–so you won’t look like a walking “Dupont Tyvek Housewrap” advertisement.) The drawback is that Tyvek is considerably noisier than cotton sheets, but its advantages are that it provides semi-durable and waterproof ponchos that cost less than $1 each!

Retreat Locale Analysis of Maryland, by Al in Maryland

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Here are a few personal observations about the state of Maryland and Montgomery County in particular, where I live. Since I didn’t know where the statistics used for the other states analyzed on SurvivalBlog came from, for the cost of housing, car insurance, etc; I didn’t want to dig up any off the wall numbers, so none are listed. The only exception is for firearms ranking by “Boston’s Gun Bible 2005 ed.”, which I have. I only discuss the main part of the state of Maryland and not the western part which is not as developed. The western part of Maryland is mountainous, very hilly and fairly remote from the rest of the state. Throughout this article I have underlined what I feel are important points.
First are Montgomery County’s official statistics from their web site. “Montgomery County is Maryland’s most populous jurisdiction and it’s most affluent. The County is located to the north and adjacent to the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., and includes 497 square miles of land area. The topography is rolling with small hills.” Population of the county in the 2000 census was 873,341. Population as of January 2005 was 942,000. [JWR Adds: Gee, just your county has almost half population of my entire state, which, BTW has more than four times the land area of Maryland!]
State Sales Tax is 5%. However Maryland ranks number 17 with the highest personal tax rate in the country. Also in Montgomery County’s case, affluent means very high property taxes. The state is now (2007) considering a proposal to raise the sales tax to 5-1/2 or 6% to increase revenue.
Agriculture- Maryland’s crops are mainly corn, wheat and soybeans. However its big cash crop is the Chesapeake Bay crab, which has been caught in lower than normal quantities in the last few years due to pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. In the last ten years there has been an increase in horse farms in Montgomery County (783 farms housing 12,000 horses in 2002). Farmers take their regular farms and board the horses of the more affluent that live in condominiums and expensive houses. Maryland used to be a tobacco producer but with everybody turning against anything tobacco related, a lot of farmers are selling their multi-hundred acre farms to development companies. These development companies are building townhouses as fast as they can bulldoze the land. These townhouses are sold starting at about $200,000 and up, depending on the closeness to Washington, D.C. Choice locations are also developed into neighborhoods of large houses starting at around $500,000, again depending on location and closeness to Washington. It is almost impossible and very rare to find a house for under $250,000 in Montgomery County.
Weather- In the summer, the east coast and the “Washington area” in particular is very hot, 90-100 degrees, and very humid, 70-90%. The official Heat Index in August on some days goes over 100 degrees, usually resulting in a half a dozen deaths of the elderly and sick due to the heat and high humidity and no air conditioning. At night this drops to an average of 75-80 degrees and 70% humidity. Winter in the “Washington area” varies from year to year, but usually drops to approximately 10-20 degrees. Some winters may get colder. Snow may consist of two or three storms of 3-6 inches each, or like in 2004 one massive dump of 24-26 inches in Washington, and up to 36 inches in Maryland. These massive storms result in widespread loss of power, stores being closed and everything coming to a dead halt for a couple of days.
Illegal Aliens (Spanish speaking) are everywhere. Cities and towns in Maryland and Virginia are even building job centers for them, so they can “wait out of the elements” and off the street locations where they congregate (it looks bad). The daily routine is that large and small contractors, yard service companies, and people in general looking for day laborers (Joe home owner digging a drainage ditch, building an addition to his house, etc.) drive up, tell what they want and what they are paying, pick out how many they want, load them up and drive off. Once you find someone you like working with, just have him report to your business. The women clean the homes, watch the children, and buy the groceries for the Yuppie (Young Urban Professional) families with both parents working. This happens because the under thirty crowd (Caucasian and black) for the most part, won’t do hard physical labor, so everybody wants the Spanish because they will work and need the money. A personal observation is that all the fast food places I frequent are 90% staffed by Spanish speakers. I took my brother to the hospital last year for outpatient surgery, and while I was waiting outside the hospital at 3:00 PM, they released nine new mothers with their babies. All were young and Spanish speaking. When I told friends of this later, they called them “Anchor Babies”, automatic American citizens, allowing the mothers to stay in America and access benefits. I saw a newspaper article on a congressman who tried to bring up a bill canceling the law about granting automatic citizenship to babies born to non U.S. citizens. No one in congress would support it and it never came up [for a vote].
In the past few years the larger bank chains, starting with Bank of America, are allowing illegal immigrants to open bank accounts using those Mexican Consulate ID cards as “Legal ID” to deposit payroll checks from companies and contractors. In case no one is aware, this is now normal business practice across America. The Internal Revenue Service then assigns them a “Taxpayer Identification Number” to process their taxes on income earned in America, even though they are not legal residents and do not have a social security number. I guess that’s why there haven’t been any arrests for nonpayment of taxes on income earned. The IRS’s position is that it is a revenue collecting agency, not a citizenship enforcement agency. The U.S. government just wants the money. Maryland is also one of a handful of states that will issue a driver’s license to an illegal immigrant (does not require proof of citizenship).
Politically, Maryland is predominately a Democrat state. The governor elected in 2002-2006, was a Republican (the first Republican in almost 40 years), but it was a very close race. One of the points he ran on was gun owner rights. He was elected and then didn’t say another word about guns for his four years, not that it would have mattered with the liberal Democratic state government. The new governor elected in 2006 is a Democrat who was the mayor of the city of Baltimore (very liberal, anti-gun).
This brings us to the subject of Maryland and guns. Maryland is anti-gun, period. In Boston T. Party’s book, “Boston’s Gun Bible”, 2002 edition, Maryland ranks 43rd out of 51 (50 states plus D.C.). In other words, it ranks as one of the 10 worst states for firearms ownership in America. Maryland’s stance on guns is basically that there are too many deaths by guns (high crime and needless accidents [children]) therefore get rid of the guns and violent crime will go down, regardless of the fact that this has been proven false over and over again. Also, law abiding citizens shouldn’t have a need for a gun. The state of Maryland has a very, very restrictive “Concealed Carry Weapon” law administered by the state police (in other words, No Way). Under the Concealed Carry Weapon Law, the state police use the requirement of having a “good and substantial reason” as a justification to deny issue of a permit. Maryland law states that all private firearms sales (resident to resident) of “regulated firearms” (pistols and assault rifles), must be processed through either an FFL dealer or the Maryland State Police in person. As the buyer, you have to fill out the same paperwork as when buying a new firearm and wait 7 days for approval or disapproval by the state police before you can take possession. And before I forget, “A person may not manufacture, sell, offer for sale, purchase, receive, or transfer a detachable magazine that has a capacity of more than 20 rounds of ammunition for a firearm.” Maryland Criminal Law Code § 4-305(b)
Montgomery County, Maryland tried to pass a law in 2001 banning “Public money” to “any organization that allows the display and sale of guns” on its property, in this case to prevent the “Montgomery County Fairgrounds” from hosting a Gun Show. It went to court and was later overturned but the county promised to rewrite it and try again later. Maryland was watching and supporting the effort from the sidelines. As a result, gun shows no longer come to Montgomery County.
Yes, there are pro-gun and hunting organizations in the state and they are fighting for the cause. But from what I see, the pro-gun groups struggle to muster enough support to fight each battle when the state quietly slips a legislation “clarification” into the legislative process. They are slowly losing the war due to being outnumbered. Most of Maryland has grown into a bunch of young professional office workers and non-hunting people, who are only interested in buying an expensive house and living the good life while they can. These vastly out number the blue collar workers that are still left and are being pushed further outward from the nation’s capital because they can no longer afford to live in the “affluent” counties anymore.
Where to live in Maryland if you didn’t have to work in the District of Columbia (D.C.)? I see only two areas. 1) The north-central part of the state, around the towns of Fredrick (close to a possible nuclear target), Hagerstown (hilly) and Westminster, all of which are growing fast population wise. 2) Western Maryland around Cumberland, which like I said in the beginning is mountainous, very hilly and fairly remote from the rest of the state. You are however close to parts of Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The eastern shore (east side of the Chesapeake Bay) would be good however the ability to get in and out is severely restricted as there is only one land route and two bridges to get to that side of the state. The land route is in the far north by Delaware and the two bridges are at Annapolis in the middle and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in the far south into Virginia. The bridges become jammed with bumper to bumper traffic every summer as everyone travels to and from the seashore. In a crisis situation such as the very rare occasion when a hurricane makes it this far north, the two bridges come to complete stand still as everyone tries to leave and accidents occur by panicky drivers.
My call for nuclear targets: 1) Washington, D.C. area (several bombs, over lapping the surrounding counties including Montgomery County), 2) Camp David, Maryland, presidential retreat (north of Fredrick, outside Thurmont, Maryland, near the Pennsylvania line) and 3) Baltimore (major U.S. seaport). There are also a couple of minor military bases in the state, Andrews Air Force Base (Air Force One and some cargo planes), Aberdeen Proving Grounds (large test facility), and the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. Of course on any fallout pattern map I’ve seen, Maryland is downwind of everything else in the United States, so being a target is not really the problem here.
These are only my personal observations of the state I grew up in, left to serve in the Army for twenty four years and came back to. The state is very crowded, very expensive, and most people are of the mind set to just give the government any power it asks for and it will take care of everything. For the most part they don’t understand or even care one bit about the increasing loss of their freedoms or the Second Amendment. And yes, I am looking into moving. – Al in Maryland

JWR Adds: If I was forced by work or family circumstances to live near Washington, D.C., then I would be more inclined to live in rural Virginia than I would anywhere in Maryland. (Mainly because of Virginia’s more favorable tax and gun laws.) Although it is a long commute to the DC Beltway, the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia may be worth considering.

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Ron L. mentioned the Steve’s Pages web site, which has a wealth of free firearms and reloading information. In particular, don’t miss his plethora of free reloading data, his many free firearms parts lists/exploded diagrams, his guns and reloading books archive, and his free downloadable military manuals. Thanks Steve, for putting together so many great resources! If you find Steve’s site as useful as I have, then please send him a donation.

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PNG recommend this piece: Lessons From Off The Grid: Important Personal Finance Lessons My Childhood Taught Me

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They’re in Deep Schumer: 53,000 recent home buyers in and near New York City at risk of losing their homes. Senator Schumer’s solution: What else would a dyed-in-the-wool liberal suggest? A new Federal government agency.