Poll: What are the Best Items to Store for Barter and Charity?

Everyone seems to have their own opinions about what are the best items to keep on hand for post-TEOTWAWKI bartering. I did mention a large variety of barter items in the Barter Faire chapter of my novel Patriots  (The chapter titled: “For an Ounce of Gold.”) Of course many of the same items are important to keep on hand to dispense as charity. Since two heads are better than one, and by extension 5,000 heads are better than two, I’m taking a poll:  Please e-mail me your lists of preferred barter and charity items, and I will gladly post them. My …




Radiation Protection Factors for Dummies – by L.H.

When building a homemade fallout shelter in a basement, or on a cement slab inside the first floor, it is important to understand halving thickness and protection factors. First of all, after a nuclear detonation, there will be light, heat, and a blast wave. This essay assumes that you will be out of that target area, with your home and roof intact. If you are close to targets, you may need better shelter than this improvised model. At the end of this essay I will list a few sources showing target maps, fallout maps, blast areas, etc. Fallout is the …




Letter from “Fred the Valmet Meister” Re: Low Compression / Low RPM Stationary Engines

Jim: I just discovered these cool “Hit and Miss” gas engines made in the 1920s and 1930s by Maytag. They were used to power washing machines. Very simple engine; maybe one horsepower. You start it with a foot pedal that leverages a gear to spin the crankshaft to get it going. What a wonderful little engine for a remote location.  These could be used to power the washing machine or even run a small generator to charge up a bank of 12 volt batteries. I noticed that there are currently several for sale on eBay and they even have leather …







Letter Re: The Micro-Farm Tractor

In response to the excellent article, “The Micro-Farm Tractor”, I have to say my best bet for all-around small farm tool would be the diesel all terrain vehicle (ATV). ATVs have quickly infiltrated into many farms today, as haulers, sprayers, snowplows, transport, and so on. You can purchase many available farm accessories that make it into the equivalent of a mini-tractor, as well has many hunting related accessories, since they appeal to the hunter’s market as well, like gun racks, camo, storage, and essential noise-cutting mufflers (very effective units can be had at Cabela’s). I would suggest a diesel unit, …




Letter from Mr. Lima Re: CONEX Containers

Jim, Per the letter from the Blog reader regarding CONEX containers- Yes they are a great way to store bulk supplies at your retreat. I’ve been using them for almost eight years now and have noticed several things when using them. First, try to get one made of “COR-TEN” steel. My father has years of metalworking experience and pointed out one of ours that is made of COR-TEN. It reputedly holds up better. I’ve seen a noticeable difference in the one COR-TEN we have compared to several others not made of it. You might want to weigh the difference in …




Letter Re: Understanding Human Immune System Response to Infection

Hello! I just finished reading Patriots   for a third time – INCREDIBLE book. I’m also a good friend of “Dr. Buckaroo Banzai.” I have a master’s degree in immunology and teach in a nursing program at a local college. My comments are aimed at the general education of the readership of your blog. The immune system operates largely on the function of T-helper cells. There are two main T-helper varieties. One variety (T-h1) deals with intracellular pathogens (viruses, few bacteria) and the other (T-h2) deals with extra-cellular pathogens (majority of bacteria, protozoa, fungi).  What separates these two groups are …




Letter Re: Power Outage Alarms

Jim, Thanks for keeping up the good work. I have inadvertently discovered a great power outage alarm. We were bought a carbon monoxide detector a while back. Whenever the power is cut, or the unit is un-plugged, it WILL wake you up!   I don’t know how long it continues to go off because it is so loud, I get it stopped right away. This is an item we should all have, too, just to detect the carbon monoxide. – Sid










Note from JWR:

Today we feature still another entry for the SurvivalBlog writing contest. The prize is a transferable four day course certificate, good for any course at Front Sight. Get your non-fiction articles submitted via e-mail by the end of November to be considered for the contest. Most of the articles that have been submitted thusfar are fairly general.  Feel free to submit detailed articles on specific topics.  All will be considered for posting.




Jeff in Afghanistan on: The Combat/Survival Mindset

I have been a soldier, police officer, and am now working overseas as a security contractor in Afghanistan. I’ve attended and given a great deal of firearms related training, and over the past few years I’ve started to see a serious deficiency in typical law enforcement and self defense training. The United States is a country filled with people who live lives mostly untouched by serious violence. That fact is a good thing, and is a testament to our country, but it handicaps us in the way we train ourselves and our warriors, particularly our police. I want to cut …




Letter Re: CONEX Containers

Jim, I’ve recently been shopping around for used sea containers [Continental Express or “CONEX” transoceanic shipping containers], primarily to replace the weathered sheds that came with our property. While I haven’t sold my wife on the idea yet, we have been looking at metal sheds, which are more expensive and much less durable. You can purchase sea containers for a fairly reasonable price (approximately $1500 for a 20’ unit). Naturally, I started thinking about other possible uses for them (shelter, fallout shelter, etc.), and wanted to see if you, or any other bloggers, had any experience with using them in …




Letter Re: STANO Components

Hello, I am fairly new to the survival lifestyle and I’m still learning. I’ve been in the military and have been hunting and shooting since I was a small child, so I’m okay there. I’m interested in obtaining some night vision goggles for use after hurricanes (I live in southeast Louisiana) and for patrols if TEOTWAWKI occurs. One of my neighbors is way ahead of me and has actually done some business with you on Valmet parts, etc. He trusts you and I trust him, so I wanted to get your opinion on STANO Components. I assume that since they …




Letter From Argentina Re: Post-Collapse Political Turmoil, Health Care, and Gambling

Mr. Rawles. I read your book and I found it both entertaining and full of information as many others did. I live Argentina, South America where things have been hard after the 2001 economical collapse we suffered. We changed five presidents in one week, if you can believe that, and well… we are struggling to get back on our feet, though it sometimes it seems that it’s impossible. “When it finally seems as if we hit bottom, someone starts to shovel.” I started reading your letters on Survivalblog.com and find them, again full of valuable insight. There are a couple …