Note from JWR:

Get your entries in for Round 12 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 $2,000!) 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. Round 12 ends on September 30th. Remember that articles that relate practical “how to” skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging. Just send us your article in .txt, .rtf. or .doc format, via e-mail.

Three Letters Re: Garage and Yard Sales as a Retreat Logistics Source

Hi Mr. Rawles,
I’ve also been able to pick up a lot of gear and most importantly, books, at yard sales and junk stores that sell books for $1 or 25 cents each. I was able to pick up a home medical advisor from the 1920s for 25 cents in maine, I have also bought numerous books on small scale farming, canning, food storage, and living off the grid from the 1920s for a dollar each. Much of the information would be relevant to a post-TEOTWAWKI, as it was written for farmers or rural residents that didn’t have access to electricity and largely lived off the land.
Regards, – Sam


I saw the letter about garage and yard sales and had a related comment. I used to live in the suburbia of North Denver and they had what we called Junk Days. More … Continue reading

Weekly Survival Real Estate Market Summary

Today we are pleased to present: a market analysis for Northwest Montana and Part 1 of our initial analysis of New Zealand.

Northwest Montana Market Analysis
This analysis is presented by the newest Approved Retreat Realtor, Viola K. Moss in Libby, Montana. Congratulations Viola!

The market for properties in beautiful northwestern Montana continues to compete for retreat-minded buyers. As the real estate market goes, the good news is that this is the second most desired location in the nation (after the southwestern Arizona area); the bad news is that many have to sell their current property to relocate here. Here in Lincoln County, I have personally seen prices quadruple since 1999 and double in the last three years.

Last year, appraisals could hardly keep up with the increased market demand sales. As a domino effect this year resulting from the real estate downward spiral in the rest … Continue reading

Odds ‘n Sods:

Chuck G. pointed out this article: USAGOLD’s Top 25 Quotes on the Credit Crisis of ‘O7

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Our friend Peter in Switzerland sent us the link to some field trials of the Beta CMAG (100 round double snail drum for M16, M4, and M249 SAW) in Iraq. This confirms my earlier observations when testing Betas here at the Rawles Ranch. My biggest complaint about the Beta mag is not jamming problems (which typically are minimal if it is kept clean and properly lubricated.) The biggest drawbacks are its weight and noise. When loaded, the drums have an annoying rattle (as the cartridges shift forward and backward), when walking. And when moving at a jog or a run, they sound like maracas in a Mexican band. Rattling noises like this are a tactical no-no verging on suicidal. Another drawback is price. For … Continue reading

Note from JWR:

The high bid is still at $210 in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction for a for a new-in-the-box Hydro Photon UV Light SteriPen Water Sterilization System with solar charger and pre-filter, kindly donated by Safecastle, one of our most loyal advertisers. This very popular water sterilizer product package normally sells for $225, plus postage. See the details on the SteriPen and solar charger here. As a bonus for this auction, I’m also including autographed copies of three of my books: Rawles on Retreats and Relocation, SurvivalBlog: The Best of the Blog – Volume 1 and my novel: Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse”. (Together, these books have a retail value of $82.) The auction ends on September 15th. Just e-mail us your bid.

Two Letters Re: Temporary and Permanent Obstacles for Retreat Security

Here in Iraq the Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) threat is very serious. Obviously at home we won’t be able to set up the complex entry points seen on a US Forward Operating Base (FOB). However a lesson can be taken from the Iraq Outposts. At the Combat Outpost (COP) where I am stationed (Joint US/Iraqi Army); the entry is well defended. Using HESCO barriers to create the lane, the ‘gate’ is simply a 2 1/2 truck with armor plate welded on one side. This truck is parked across the entry way. This can be quickly moved and is decent blast protection. The traffic lane has jersey barriers set up to create a series of switch backs, to force the vehicle to slow down. At the end is a small bunker and tower that allows one to place fire on anything that may try to … Continue reading

Letter Re: Waterproof Storage of Blackpowder


All black powder attracts water. Before a hunt or shoot, I empty the powder in my horn into a shallow earthenware bowl, then set it in the oven warmed to about 200F for a few hours. My stock of powder is in the airtight cans I bought it in. black powder is one of the few products that has not been noticeably improved in the last 250 or so years. It also does not ever deteriorate in storage as long as it’s kept dry. The Lewis and Clark expedition carried their powder in lead boxes which were soldered shut. They capsized one or two of their canoes in the Salmon River in 1803 or ’04 losing several rifles and some of the lead boxes containing US government issue powder. In the 1960s (IIRC) that portion of the river went dry during the fill-up of an upstream dam … Continue reading

Letter Re: Useful LifeHacker Articles

A recent entry on your blog from ‘Tanker’ gave the link to a video on the Lifehacker web site. The last video he mentioned was made by a poster named KipKay. I have been a fan of KipKay’s for several months. He posts regularly on Incidentally, for each video he is paid and he has made approximately $55,000 from his creations. He has several videos that may be of interest to your audience. Below are the links and a brief description of each. Please decide if any of these merit inclusion on your blog. His official web site is

In this video he shows how to turn an ordinary AA Maglite into a laser capable of popping a balloon or lighting a match.

In this video he shows how to make an underwater camera housing for … Continue reading

Odds ‘n Sods:

From Money and Markets, (by way of SHTF Daily), Marty Weiss provides this sage analysis of the real estate market and the liquidity crisis: Final Warning!

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Stephen C. in Iraq mentioned this piece from The Economist: The agonies of agflation: “As oil prices stay high, wheat prices hit an all-time peak of over $7.50 a bushel for December delivery at the end of trading in Chicago on Thursday August 23rd.”

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I just heard about a blog dedicated to “Survival, Preparedness, News, and Resources” vis-a-vis the Asian Avian Flu: Bird Flu (H5N1) Daily

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.” – Justice Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, West Virginia Board of Education vs. Barnette, 1943

Letter Re: Purchasing Modern Firearms Without a Paper Trail

My Rawles,
I am recently new to your SurvivalBlog web site. I have thoroughly enjoyed trying to catch up and read the thousands of posts. While I have always felt the need to be prepared for any eventuality, I have recently began more intensive preparations up on food, ammo, water and learning every thing (like making soap) that I can.
I have grown up around guns and hunting my entire life. Of the four guns that I have, 12 gauge, 16 gauge, .22 [rimfire] rifle and 9 mm pistol, I have only purchased one myself: the 9mm pistol. The other three were given to me as gifts by grand parents (generally ones they had and no longer use). The reason I am emailing you is that, while I do not want to go to jail for doing anything illegal, I am interested if there are ways to purchase … Continue reading

Letter Re: Garage and Yard Sales as a Retreat Logistics Source

Dear Mr. Rawles
I have read your novel [“Patriots”] (several times) although I do need to get the [latest] expanded edition. And I finally talked my wife into reading it. I loved it–by far my favorite book of all time.
Okay onto my two cents. I just thought it might be a good idea to mention to everyone the value of going to your local garage sales. I work third shift and have been able to find quite a few good deals over the past years. This year I really focused on survival needs and I think I did okay. I got a Camelbak pack and bladder (never used) for $2, a wheel barrel for $3, and a pry bar that is used by fire departments to open up cars for $7. (These retail for $265). I’ve also purchased ammo, candles, lamp oil, and several other … Continue reading

Letter Re: Advice on Construction a Hiding Place for Precious Metals

I’ve got a plain, white, lidded bucket of coins (that’s the way the dealer packed them for me) on the floor of my guest bedroom closet. Above it is an old daypack with vital papers and bugout money. The closet, like most folks’, is full of shoes, coats, caps. I’m counting on [Edgar Allan Poe’s] The Purloined Letter idea.
My thinking is that the Bad Guys will go first for the master bedroom–and that’s where I’m well prepared to meet them.
On the other hand, if I have to bug out quickly, I will have these things ready to pick up and move out. – Bob B.

JWR Replies: Here is another example of “in plain sight” hiding places; I have a friend that for many year has used a 100 ounce silver bar as a doorstop, with its markings turned down toward the … Continue reading

Letter Re: Resources for Researching Retreat Locales

Hi Jim,
My wife and I will be moving to Montana in the near future. While researching a location for our future home, we found the following links to be especially helpful for state tax and cost-of-living comparisons.

Overall Tax Burden by State

State Income Tax Rates

State Sales Tax Rates

Cost of Living Comparison

Sincerely, – Jeff H.

JWR Replies: Thanks for sending those very useful links. I just added them to my Retreat Areas web page.