The Army Aviator on Deep Cycle Batteries and Inverters

About batteries: Since 1996 doing my [seasonal] RV living, I’ve been using 16 golf cart batteries: 12 on the back bumper and 4 on the front bumper. They have been adequate for my RV requirements. BTW, beyond the normal stuff, my RV utilizes two networked servers, two workstations, two satellite uplinks as well as three satellite downlinks and my ham radios, all on a 24/7 basis. The inverter is a Trace SW-4024. Then in 1998, I bought the ranch and it, now, uses 16 of the venerable L-16 batteries, purchased from a dealer who wished to rotate his stock. The ranch also utilizes a matching Trace SW-4024.
(For commonality of parts.) BTW, I also have a pair of Trace 12 VDC / 2400 watt inverters in case the big Traces fail. (Yep, I’m stupid on occasion. I didn’t ground the one at the ranch well … Continue reading

Letter Re: The Best All-Around Dog Breed for a Retreat?

Dear Mr. Rawles,
Hi, just wanted to say I loved “Patriots” and follow SurvivalBlog religiously.  Thank you so much for your efforts on behalf of the survival-minded community. A bit about retreat dogs:
A dog is two things – what its breeding have made it, and what its training has made it.  You can’t separate the two.  You can give someone a dog that is ideally suited to a purpose, but if that person doesn’t know the first thing about training and socializing a dog, they will end up with a train wreck that will make their life and the dog’s life a misery.  This is especially true when you figure in back-yard breeders or worse yet, puppy mills where breeding for temperament is the last thing on the breeder’s agenda.  That “purebred” dog you spent retreat money on may just be the worst … Continue reading

Letter Re: Solar and Off Grid Power – an Additional Contact

Mr. Rawles
In your [list of] resources for solar and off grid contacts you must not have been aware of Kenny G. at, who is most likely the most respected install team leader in the U.S. and one of the most sought after consultants in the industry. In many cases he has come in to fix systems installed by less than honest installers, particularly in the Texas. In the local area of Austin, Texas I know of none of his customers who are less than enthusiastic about his products and advice. Austin hosts the largest aggregation of residential off grid installations in Texas, and we talk about it! BTW – the wife and I loved your novel TEOTWAWKI [one of the draft editions of “Patriots”] that we got from you many years ago, before it was published via that publishing … Continue reading

A Home-Based Business–Your Ticket to The Boonies

The majority of SurvivalBlog readers that I talk with tell me that they live in cities or suburbs, but they would like to live full time at a retreat in a rural area. Their complaint is almost always the same: “…but I’m not self-employed. I can’t afford to live in the country because I can’t find work there, and the nature of my work doesn’t allow telecommuting.” They feel stuck.

Over the years I’ve seen lots of people “pull the plug” and move to the boonies with the hope that they’ll find local work once they get there. That usually doesn’t work. Folks find that the most rural jobs typically pay little more than minimum wage and they are often informally reserved for folks that were born and raised in the area. (Newcomers from the big city certainly don’t have hiring priority!)

My suggestion is to start a second income … Continue reading

David in Israel on Sleeping in Comfort

Sleeping can be a real challenge when you are away from your soft American style bed. here are a few
tips to beat the cold and discomfort.
1. Cardboard. Whether it is making a mattress base or a refrigerator box bedroom its insulation to cost ratio is amazing. The box provides wind stop and warmth, even if you are making a barn or a warehouse your temporary home. Trash sacks around the lower layers (not the uppers or, you will soak in condensation) will keep ground moisture at bay for awhile.
2. Earplugs and Sleep Mask. These allow you to sleep during the day or in a noisy environment. They must be used
with caution. Hopefully you have someone in your group who will be available to guard.
3. Booties and Wool Stocking Cap. The booties are extras but if in a vehicle they keep … Continue reading

Letter from John in Iraq RE: Survival Fiction Recommendation

Hello Sir,
Sorry I haven’t had time to send in an update recently. I’ll try to do so in the near future.
I just wanted to call your attention to an excellent short story [titled “The Bug Out”] about an ordinary man and his family attempting to bug out. I found it thoroughly gripping and informative. It aptly demonstrates the perils of being an “armchair survivalist.” It’s posted online at
The [same] author [who writes under the pen name by Half Fast] is also currently working on a novel about surviving in the wake of an EMP event. It’s called “Lights Out.” Haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but if it’s anything like the story it’ll be a real page turner. Please check out the story, and mayhaps post it for your readers. I think they could learn a … Continue reading

Letter Re: Glocks, M1911s, and The Importance of Training

Dear Jim:
Some very good points have been made in the posts on firearms advice – one of the best being to hit with the most bullet you can handle and carry.  The only better advice I could give is:  don’t obsess too much about what you shoot – but do get to a serious combat shooting school sooner, rather than later.  You don’t know, what you don’t know, till you’ve been to a few different schools – no one school has all the answers.  Some are best on weapon handling, some on technical shooting skills, some on tactics, some on Force on Force combat simulation, etc., etc..
Regarding Model 1911s versus Glocks, I do feel that y’all in the 1911 camp are missing the big picture with regards to advice for survivalists versus advice for “gun guys.”
The 1911 is a great weapon, accurate, hard-hitting, and … Continue reading

From Dr. Gary North’s Latest Newsletter: Free Video on The Federal Reserve

Dr. Gary North writes in the latest issue of his REALITY CHECK e-newsletter: “If you get confused about money, the Federal Reserve System, and all this fractional reserve banking stuff, I have a solution. It’s the best 45-minute documentary on the Federal Reserve System that I have seen. The good news: it’s free. Google is launching a new service. You can post videos on line for free. This means you incur no bandwidth expenses. This is a deal! To see how well this works, click here:

OBTW, if you do not yet subscribe to Gary North’s REALITY CHECK e-newsletter, then you should. Subscriptions are free! See:

Odds ‘n Sods

SurvivalBlog reader Dr. Sans Paine recommends the web site as a great compendium on pharmaceuticals, including some very useful data on drug interactions. In addition to their “by subscription” service, their free download data is surprisingly complete and updated frequently.

o o o

I was thoroughly disgusted to see that our local electronics store had a large display of Winchester brand knives, complete with the famous Winchester factory logo. That would be great, except that they were all made in mainland China! For example, the pocketknife/white LED flashlight combo pack (both with prominent Winchester logos) was priced at just $14.99. To be able to retail them at that price, these things obviously had to have been made in China’s laogui (“Reform Through Labor”) prison factory system. The laogui camps/prisons/factories primarily house political prisoners, some of whom have been incarcerated continuously since the1989 Tiananmen … Continue reading

Asian Avian Flu: Network TV Anchorman Tom Brokaw Admits to Storing Food

While many of us were opening gifts on Christmas morning, SurvivalBlog reader “Hamlet” said that he was was
casually watching Tim Russert and his guests on Meet the Press. He reports: “My jaw dropped as Tom Brokaw…told of… family bug-out plans and stored food/water preparations.” The following is brief excerpt from a transcript of the show. (The link to access the full transcript follows.)

MR. RUSSERT: Let me talk about an issue that is of grave concern to people but we don’t know much about it and that’s the Avian Flu, the potential for pandemic. We had Dr. Michael Ryan of the World Health Organization on MEET THE PRESS. Let’s listen to him and come back and talk about how to deal with this.
(Videotape, November 20, 2005):
DR. MICHAEL RYAN (World Health Organization): The avian flu strain has the potential to become a … Continue reading

Letter Re: Rourke on: A Mouse in the House? Retreat Pest Control

Dear James,
I would carry Rourke’s point a bit further. I would never recommend the use of a “humane” mouse trap! Given that hantavirus is transmitted via contact or aerosolization/inhalation of feces, urine or saliva, the last thing you want around is a trap that keeps a mouse alive long enough for you to handle it, whereupon it promptly urinates and defecates. A far better solution is to take a plastic trash bag, place a snap trap inside it and place a bent piece of cardboard in the bag to hold it open and keep the trap from getting caught on the bag when it snaps. Once the mouse is caught, put on your mask and spray the mouse, trap and inside of the bag with bleach/water. Wait half an hour. Then mask up, put on your gloves, seal the bag and dispose of the entire mess.
Some … Continue reading

Letter Re: Deep Cycle Batteries–Resources for Going Off-Grid

What would be the best choice for batteries for a backup solar system, a marine deep cycle, or golf cart batteries? The marine deep cycle batteries I have looked at are “maintenance free.” This provides no way to add water. Would this be a problem, or do the batteries have to have a way to add water even if they are maintenance free?   Thank you,  – HP

JWR Replies: The terms “marine battery ” and “golf cart battery” are used almost interchangeably by some manufacturers,. Both generally refer to deep cycle lead acid batteries with extra thick plates. Technically, a marine battery is designed not to spill, even when a ship pitches and lists to steep angles. But that is hardly a discriminating issue for someone with a fixed site retreat house. Batteries with either designation work fine.

I recommend that you do not purchase semi-sealed “”maintenance free” batteries. … Continue reading

David In Israel on Guard Dogs and Watch Geese

My uncle, a doctor, was living at a remote location in Zambia in the 1980s. They combined several mutts and a single barrel
shotgun with watch geese to secure their compound. Geese are mean and very territorial they get noisy, waking the dog. Another option is several nervous yap-hounds to wake the larger dogs. Unfortunately, most of his survival skill was to throw
money or hire someone to solve his problems so I managed to extract few survival gems from him.He paid over $2,000 [USD equivalent] in bribes for license and shotgun, I am sure he could have had a FAL or AK for that price.
His friend got a [Browning 9mm] Hi-Power and license for around $1000, later that year.