Note from JWR:

It’s your last day! More than 675 SurvivalBlog readers have bought Foodsaver vacuum packing/sealing systems at the special December $59.99 sale price. We get a little “piece of the action” for each order. So this a is a great way to save money and to support SurvivalBlog in the new year. Don’t miss out on this sale! You can buy a FoodSaver v2830 for $59.99 (originally $169.99) with free Standard Shipping for orders over $100, directly code L8FAV28 at checkout. This sale ends at midnight Eastern Time, tonight. By buying foods in bulk and re-packaging them in more handy (single meal size) vacuum bags, you can save a lot of money on your grocery bill. You can also vacuum pack Mason jars! (These come with a wide mouth Mason jar adapter as an included accessory.) But be sure to get an additional regular mouth Mason jar adapter, for … Continue reading

Two Letters Re: The Best College Degrees for the Next Depression?

College is alarmingly pricey. As a child of the 1970s, I grew up understanding that you either got a useful degree or paid your own way.

I contend that the most useful education currently is learning a trade. Welding, auto repair or electrician’s certification will pay the bills through the rough times as people choose to repair instead of purchase. As times get better, some of those trade school credits may transfer to a college and you are on your way. What is that architecture degree, but about a year of drafting plus three tortuous years of art…the discovery of use of light and space…with a dash of engineering. One of the coolest people I know, was a blacksmith who got his doctorate in physical chemistry. You never know where your trade may take you.

Art comes in many mediums that must be learned such as welding for … Continue reading

Two Letters Re: Seeking Advice on Assembling Web Gear

In a recent post you mentioned unbuckling your ALICE belt when going prone. I learned a little trick in ROTC using a carabiner and two pieces of 550 [parachute] cord. First, adjust belt the way you want it. Second, tie the two pieces of 550 cord onto the end of the ALICE belt and hook them together with the carabiner. Adjust the length of the 550 cord to get the slack needed when going prone. This allows you to keep your belt buckled but when you need additional slack, just release the buckle and the 550 cord keeps the belt from flopping around too much. Don’t tie the 550 cord together, as the carabiner allows you to unhook the belt quickly if you fall into a creek or river and need to dump your LBE – Bill N.

Dear … Continue reading

Odds ‘n Sods:

 Reader N.L. spotted this useful article at the Backwoods Home magazine web site: Bury a gun and ammo for 15 years. (BTW, I consider a subscription to Backwoods Home magazine for families that are seeking genuine self-sufficiency.)

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Eric flagged this Wall Street Journal piece: Bumpy Crop: Farming’s Sudden Feasts and Famines, As Grain Prices Rise and Fall and Perhaps Rise Again, Growers Struggle to Navigate a New Age of Volatility and High Costs

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The Werewolf (SurvivalBlog’s correspondent in Brazil) must have been thinking about the snow-bound Great White North when he spotted this snow bike and sent us the link.

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The Economatrix sent all these: Wall Street Makes Gains as GMAC Gets $5 Billion LifelineUS Confidence Sinks to Record LowsHome Prices in … Continue reading

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“While 2008 will probably be best known as the year that global stock markets had their values cut in half, it was really much, much more. It was a year in which every major asset class – stocks, real estate, commodities, even high-yield bonds – suffered significant double-digit percentage losses, resulting in the destruction of over $30 trillion of paper wealth. To blame this on subprime mortgages alone would be to dismiss an era of leveraging that encompassed derivative structures of all types, embodying a belief that economic growth was always and everywhere a certainty and that asset prices never go down.” – Bill Gross

Letter Re: Home Invasion Robbery Countermeasures–Your Mindset and Architecture

Dear Mr. Rawles:
First and foremost thank you for your novel “Patriots” which I am currently reading.

I live in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. As of late there seems to be a rise in the number of “home invasion” type of crimes in this area. Every morning that I go to work I hear about a new incident in the metroplex. This has led me to put inside locks on my bedroom doors and purchase my first gun. I consider myself one of those “know enough to be dangerous” people, but am planning on taking a handgun safety course . I’d like to know your thought on preparedness for these “home invasion” crimes which are on the rise. Once again thank you for your novel which has opened my eyes to just how unprepared I am. Sincerely, – Geoffrey T.

JWR Replies: You’ve surely heard the phrase … Continue reading

Letter Re: Seeking Advice on Assembling Web Gear

I love the questions on web gear. Best advice I can give, having gone through multiple iterations of trying this and that, is to divide up your load. What do I mean by this?

In the military they have a “combat load” and an “approach load” concept. Your “combat load” is the web gear that you see troops with all the time – their “battle rattle.” On the other hand the “approach load” is similar to what we would refer to as a survival load (roughly).

The major problem with web gear is that it does not work with any backpack that has a waist belt unless you set it up to not carry anything on the pistol belt unless it is carried with a drop leg (thigh) type of setup. Oops, no ammo pouches or canteens on the pistol belt. That means that forget the cheap ALICE gear etc. … Continue reading

Odds ‘n Sods:

In the wake of the real estate collapse comes inevitably: Squatters: The latest real-estate menace. (A hat tip to Hoffmama.)

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Several readers sent this: As if Things Weren’t Bad Enough, Russian Professor Predicts End of U.S. (Of course, consider the reliability of the source.)

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David D. mentioned that Farm Show magazine has lots of articles with energy saving ideas, including: “Wood Gas Generator Produces “Free” Power”, a Coal-Fired Grain Dryer, Biodiesel Generator Powers Up On Veggie Oil (or Almost Any Oil) , and Manure Furnace Burns All Kinds of Waste.

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Florida Guy mentioned another Nanny State scheme: Oregon attempts mandatory GPS car tracking of all new autos

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The latest Glut-‘o-Gloom from Cheryl: Kerkorian Sells Off Remaining Ford SharesContinue reading

Notes from JWR:

Just three days left! More than 625 SurvivalBlog readers have bought Foodsaver vacuum packers at the special December sale price. I consider a home vacuum packer & sealer a key item to own for family preparedness. These greatly increase the storage life of foods. They also allow you to inexpensively buy foods in bulk and then pack them in single meal sizes. This capability alone will make the Foodsaver pay for itself in less than a year. And if you get the optional regular mouth Mason jar vacuum sealer attachment for an extra $8.99 your Foodsaver will be even more versatile. (They all come with a wide mouth Mason Jar attachment as a standard accessory.) We get a little “piece of the action” for each Foodsaver that is sold using our link. So this a is a great way to save money and to support SurvivalBlog! Don’t miss out on … Continue reading

From the SurvivalBlog Archives: Inflation–Past, Present, and Future

It has been said that nothing is inevitable except death and taxes. But personally, I add inflation to that list. Inflation is an insidious hidden form of taxation

We’ve been robbed! According to The Inflation Calculator, what cost $100 in 1905 would cost $2052.36 in 2005. The U.S. dollar has lost 95% of its value in that time. (If you were to buy exactly the same products in 2005 and 1905, they would cost you $100 and $4.87 respectively.) The inflation rate jumped considerably in the 1960s and 1970s. It is no coincidence that the U.S. Treasury stopped minting real silver coins in 1964.

Even it this current era of supposedly”low” inflation, the depredations of inflation are inexorable– but just slower. It is like watching a 50 pound ice block sitting in the sun. The real rate of inflation is presently about 6.5%. Thus, you need … Continue reading

Two Letters Re: Jerry Cans Killed Nationwide by California Political Correctness

Mr. Rawles,
I just wanted to get the word out to all that have not heard yet, all non-CARB (California Air Resources Board)-approved fuel cans will be no longer be sold nationwide [in the US] after January 1, 2009. That means you will not be able to buy any more of the ever-so-useful NATO gas cans to store fuel in and I assume any other fuel can that does not meet this new regulation. I know this is a little late to post this, I just found out myself a few days ago. I talked to Maine Military Surplus this morning and they still have a few left and are expecting a new shipment soon although they had to pay more for the latest ones. With shipping these were just over $26 apiece. Anyone who thought this was a free country needs to think again.

Continue reading

Letter Re: The Best College Degrees for the Next Depression?

longer this [economic death spiral] goes on, the more it looks like this is going to be at least a decade before normality returns. So, if you’ve got a teenage kid you’re probably thinking, what kind of career (assuming we don’t totally melt down at a societal level) path he or she should take…

I was talking to someone the other day and he told me his kid was studying art. “Oh, I asked, is he any good?” He replied “No, not really.” This family man is spending good money, money that could be put into preparations into a liberal arts education? Idiot.

Even if his son were Michelangelo reincarnated, who is going to pay for artwork in a depression. It’s not like he is going to get a stipend from the Medici family and work on family portraits of the rich and famous.

I’d like to ask … Continue reading

Odds ‘n Sods:

Kurt reminded me that the US Army’s Survival Manual (available for free download in PDF) has and appendix on Edible and Medicinal Plants. It includes a lot of color photos, which makes it a lot easier to identify plants.

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Some good news, especially for those of us that plan to stock up on winter-formulated gas: South Carolina gasoline hits 91 cents per gallon

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Robert S. in Las Vegas e-mailed to alert us: “While out shopping for post-Christmas deals yesterday we ran into a great deal on 20# propane cylinders (the standard BBQ size). We have a multi-fuel generator as well as several backup heating and cooking systems that use propane and maybe some of the SurvivalBlog readers do as well. Some of the stores called The Great Indoors are closing and going out of business. I … Continue reading