From David In Israel: On Passive Solar Water Heating

After Passover the weather in Israel always turns hot and clear. Perfect weather to save money.
American hot water heating is always on and is always wasting electricity or gas.
Passive solar is cheap and simple plus it can be supplemented with electrical on cold days.
It is law that every home have a passive solar water heater so I get to see the design on every house,
being in the West Bank I also see that the Arab homes and mansions will always have at least one dud shemesh (sun water heater)
If a commercial model is too expensive the construction would be simple and cheap: The collector is about 1.5M x..75M x 7-to-8cm deep panel placed at the lowest south facing part of the roof. Hoses carry the water up to the “dud” or tank which is as high as possible … Continue reading

Letter From Michael Z. Williamson Re: Countdown to Collapse


In response to Rosy the Bull, I have to say I’m not so pessimistic. I heard similar dire warnings about how the US economy would collapse at $3 a gallon gas, and it didn’t happen. A great many countries in Europe and Asia, with smaller economies than ours, are paying over $6 a gallon now, which as a percentage of per capita income is five to ten times what we’re paying.
As to the comments on nuclear attacks, those are inaccurate. Depleted Uranium is barely radioactive, and its danger is as a colloidal heavy metal toxin. The dangerous radionuclides from nuclear blasts are dangerous because of their short half life. It takes days for most to reach safe levels, months for a few. Even most of the area around Chernobyl is now repopulated, and that was a far more toxic contamination than most nuclear weapons. (The Ukraine insists … Continue reading

Three Letters Re: Folding Fighting/Utility Knife Recommendations?

Good to see your using the CRKT knives. They are very affordable. I also like the 12 series tantos. Thery have a good portable size. I followed the link that you provided. I hope you didn’t pay the $48.00 price though, I sell that same knife on eBay for $34.99. Go to ‘Knife Brigade’ if you are interested. I can normally beat the prices of most of the other vendors. I’m just happy to get $10-to$15 dollars over what I pay per knife (guess I wont be getting rich). Best Regards – Jason
P.S. Remember–Monday May 1st is ‘American Buy a Gun Day’


Hi Jim,
I’ve been reading your blog for several months now and really appreciate all the work you put into this.
I just wanted to comment on your recent survivalblog post relating to knives.  I’m in no way affiliated … Continue reading

Letter Re: Brushy Hillsides: Better to Leave As-Is for Erosion/Landslide Control

I’ve been reading your superb site for some time and have learned a lot. There’s lots of interesting and helpful stuff.

As a family, we are about to leave the shores of ‘Airstrip One’ [England] and have purchased a few acres of Greek island to return to our smallholding roots. Our patch, in common with most places in the Med, is in an earthquake zone and we own a hilltop and steep slope. The area is also prone to brush fires in the summer.

My query is, should we cut back the vegetation on the slope for fire suppression or is the need to prevent land-slip, either by earth tremor or seasonal rains, more of an issue? Many of the locals simply cut back to bare earth, but there is a significant amount of landslip in these places and we do not want to awaken one morning and … Continue reading

Letter Re: Folding Fighting/Utility Knife Recommendations?

We have a copy of your novel “Patriots” published by Huntington House; and even had the 8.5 x 11 [self-published] precursor to the book. I’d like to ask you a question. Do you know of any tactical/SERE knife evaluation forums out there.
I’d like to obtain the best folder out there for my son. I have an old Al Mar SERE, but am curious if anyone has compared the various folders such as Al Mar, Masters of Defense, Benchmade etc.
Keep up the great work, James! – R.S. in Ohio

JWR Replies: I am by no means a knife expert. (Although the Memsahib claims that I am a seasoned expert at buying knives.) My general preference is for folding knives. Why? Because you will almost always have a folding knife in your pocket. Big sheath knives get left behind–often when they are … Continue reading

Letter Re: Springfield Armory XD Series Polymer Frame Pistols are the Ars Nova

Dear Jim,
I love the site and have learned much. As soon as I can scrape together some extra money, I will be joining the Ten Cent Challenge.
“Some Guy” wrote about the lack of availability of spare parts for the XD series pistols and the lack of certified armorers. One is true, the other is patently false. Springfield has indeed been less than forthcoming with spare parts. Most of this seems to be just a lack of manufacturing capacity. If I remember correctly, they can barely get enough parts to make the pistols, let alone keep extras around. Why no third party has taken up the slack, I have no idea. They do, however, have a lifetime warranty which Springfield is quick to honor. Also, the weapon is built rock solid, even passing the fabled Glock abuse test, and it is only the odd pistol that needs … Continue reading

Odds ‘n Sods:

Yikes! Copper is at $7,000 per ton!

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The folks at Safecastle mentioned that they give substantial discounts (generally 10-20%)to Survivalblog readers –for everything listed in their eBay store . All you have to do is mention SurvivalBlog when you e-mail your requests for quotes. Some of Safecastle’s highest volume product lines are Maxpedition, Mountain House, JetBoil, and Katadyn. BTW, it is better if you e-mail Safecastle at rather than using the eBay message system.

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Take the time out to read Dr. Peter Hammond’s great piece about Switzerland. This is something you don’t read in most history books.

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SurvivalBlog reader Dutch in Wyoming notes that America is experiencing another unintended consequence of our debt-financed Asian buying binge: The death of our oak tree forests.

Note From JWR:

Yesterday I took a “speed hike” day with #1 Son and and #3 Son here at the Rawles Ranch,. (I’m trying to lose a few pounds and get in shape for a four day course that the Memsahib and I plan to attend at Front Sight, later this year.) While on the hike, we got our best view ever of the beavers on our neighbor’s pond. They are cute, but destructive critters. They have been busy for the past two years. Their dam has raised the pond’s level by a couple of feet, and this has increased the pond’s surface area to nearly six acres. (It was formerly only about five acres.) They have also decimated the trees that used to ring the north end of the pond. Since they are rapidly exhausting their food supply, I suspect that the beavers will abandon their lodge and move further up-country next … Continue reading

Letter Re: Ponds, Aquaculture, and Pond Predators

Hello James,
In the event of a TEOTWAWKI scenario, as discussed previously on your blog, food and water will become critical in supply. My query is to seek out knowledge from within your following on newly constructed ponds as a water and food source. Here are my questions:
1). What type of fish replenish the most rapidly while offering a genuine nutrition?
2). What types of fish are compatible or necessary to keep a full circle eco-system continuing?
3). How many fish can you support per cubic yard of water?
4). Should food be introduced into the water until the young are established?
5). What predators, (i.e.- ground/air living) would be a potential food source or havoc on your newly established “eco-system”.
I don’t recall any lengthy discussions on this subject. Any advice would be greatly welcome! – The Wanderer
Continue reading

Letter Re: Peak Oil, Hyperinflation, and Economic Collapse

Hey James,
Hope you and your family are well. I have read many books on the coming economic collapse and Peak Oil, your opinion and also your readers comments on SurvivalBlog. For quite a bit of it, I agree. However, I doubt we’ll see a true TEOTWAWKI because of a lack of
oil or even a complete collapse as some are predicting. One thing people are forgetting is the HUGE (1.5 Trillion barrels or so) of oil deposited in oil shale in the Western United States. At $35 per barrel of oil, it becomes profitable to start producing oil and gas from oil shale. So I wouldn’t be too worried about peak oil just yet.
Personally, I believe that we will see inflation to the point where they classify it as hyperinflation (prices going up 100% over the course of 3
years), … Continue reading

Odds ‘n Sods:

The much-publicized Iranian oil bourse, conducting trades in Euros, opens for business next week.

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SurvivalBlog reader R.B.S. (who kindly sends us several links every day) spotted this interesting site: The U.S. Gas “Temperature” Map. As you can see, Wyoming has some of the lowest prices–proving yet again that the Free State Wyoming folks made a good choice for their locale.

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An interesting thread on the pros and cons on the various commercial versus military camouflage fabric patterns is underway over at The FAL Files.

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This Generator Site has some great links in the left hand bar. (At least 50 links.)

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The Buckshot’s Camp May-June Newsletter is now available for free download. As usual, there is some very interesting reading–and as always, it is in Buckshot’s unique writing … Continue reading

Note from JWR:

Today we welcome Captain Dave’s, our 24th advertiser. They have some great products at very competitive prices. Also be sure to check out their extensive free survival FAQs, and copious links.

We need 40+ advertisers to make a go of this, so please contact anyone you know that might be an appropriate advertiser and ask them to consider getting an ad. You can tell them that our ad space rates are very low, especially compared to magazine advertising. A small ad is still just $55 per month!

And BTW, whenever you contact any of our advertisers, please let them know that you saw their ad on SurvivalBlog. Thanks!

Peace of Mind in Turbulent Times–I’m Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

When I meet new folks, they typically ask what I do for a living. I mention SurvivalBlog and then the topic of survivalism inevitably comes up. A few ask: “How can you sleep at night, worrying about all of that?” My reply is: ” I sleep very well, know ing that I have done my best to ensure the nourishment, health, and safety of my family. I would only lose sleep if I went to bed knowing that I was under-prepared.” I am tempted ask them in turn (but being diplomatic in polite society, I generally refrain): “How can you sleep well at night, with at most a week or two food in your pantry, minimal first aid supplies, no stored fuel or backup method to heat your home, no communications gear, no alternative lighting method beyond candles to last a day or two, no method to transport or treat … Continue reading