Yesterday, I shared my background and how I retreated to my retreat cabin for 83 days. I reemerged a changed person, maturing from “Doom Prepper” to someone with a greater appreciation for life and nature. I made some changes to accommodate my family and life situation. Still, I found contentment in living what would I would have considered a certain death trap years earlier. How did I do it?
My Answer: P.M.C.T.
P.M.C.T. stands for Prayer, Mindset, Confidence, and Training
Without faith in something you are truly lost. Whether it is God, peace, humanity, or puppy dogs, you must find something positive and uplifting to motivate you. I allowed myself to be consumed in a sea of negativity and impending doom. Only by surrounding myself in the miracle of God’s glory in the woods was I able to swim out of the riptide that tried to drown me. I get it. The world is a miserable place full of liars, cheats, and psychopaths. It always has been. Rise above it and make your world a better place for you and your family. After all, that’s why we prep.
One of the first things I did to rebuild on a solid foundation of prepping was to research actual collapse events. Not the fantasy, fiction, and hypotheticals but actual accounts of survival. There are countless stories of real people who have survived the terror of societal breakdowns due to economic collapse, war, famine, and genocide. They prove some things we already know, like the importance of toilet paper, stored food, weapons, and barter, but these stories also disprove some of the most common misconceptions that run rampant in Internet forums and some post-apocalyptic fiction novels. The story of “Ferfal” during the collapse of Argentina in the 90’s, Sarajevo under siege from snipers, and Venezuela today are just a few of the real-life survival stories we can learn from to improve our strategy and mindset.
Years ago, a dear friend of mine worked for the Metropolitan Police in Washington D.C. Southeast Division. At the time, Southeast D.C. was one of the most dangerous places on the planet with rampant crime, including murder, assault, robbery, and gang warfare over drug territory. I was asked by my friend to do a ride-along over the course of three days, and I jumped at the opportunity. This was the ride-along where you were required to sign a waiver and wear a bullet-proof vest. I didn’t realize it then, but it gave me great insight to what our streets will look like in a WROL situation.
The patrol car I was riding in was under constant threat from random gunfire and thrown bottles. We might as well have had a target painted on the side. I learned conflict resolution when dealing with extremely hostile people. Surveillance techniques and how the underbelly of society thinks and moves was critical to learn. I recommend everyone go to your local police or sheriff’s office and inquire about participating in a ride-along in one of the shadier parts of town. In a world where most people have never engaged in so much as a heated argument, this will boost your confidence if faced with potentially explosive situations.
Whatever you are doing now for training your mind, body, and spirit to deal with a WROL world, you need to do more. Try going one week living on nothing but survival rations. Fast for several days. Weight train to failure. Go camping. Split wood by hand. One of the most crucial things I do, in addition to a strenuous workout regimen, is concealed carry. For years I put off getting my CCW permit for fear of being “tagged” in some government website for persecution when the SHTF.
Well, guess what? Chances are that you and I have already been put on some sort of list just by our Google searches or Amazon purchases, so why walk around waiting to be a victim today? If you can’t discreetly carry a weapon in Kroger while surrounded by liberal soccer moms, your face and body language will give you away when the time comes when you must carry everywhere to defend your life. Exercise your freedoms; practice your concealed carry technique and methods so that it’s second-nature when it becomes a matter of life or death.
The Bug Out Bag
Like the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game, it always comes back to one common item we all need more training with— the Bug Out Bag. My personal journey down the Bug-Out-Bag rabbit hole began with the ubiquitous Kelty Redwing 50 liter bag for summer use, and progressed to the larger Kelty Redwing 80 as a winter bag. The Kelty Coyote 80 is a large bag, and I was guilty of putting way too much stuff inside of its cavernous central compartment and numerous zippered pockets. It held stuff that I would probably never use and weight that I didn’t need to carry.
In April of 2016, I actually put this self-created monstrosity on my back and performed a test carry for nine miles on one of the tougher sections of the Appalachian Trail in central Virginia. After what can only be described as a near-death experience, I came to the conclusion that minimalism is good and if we ever have a SHTF event that requires people to actually use their bug out bags, scavenging discarded items left behind by the overzealous and out-of-shape will be commonplace.
After that hike, the weight of my pack moved to the forefront of my concerns. I have now condensed my vehicle BOB contents down to the bare essentials and have switched to the new Osprey Stratos 24 hiking backpack. I train with it every day, and it draws no strange looks at the local park or on the street. It has been carried for hundreds of miles, and thanks to ultralight camping gear, my base weight with ten days of food comes in at just under 20lbs.
I never intended this to be a “10 Things to Survive the Apocalypse” article, but it has proved to be somewhat therapeutic for me, and I hope it will help someone no matter where they are on their path of preparedness. It is so easy, in these times, to be convinced that there is no hope for humanity. I continue to prep, follow current events, and train for, what is at best, an uncertain future. We cannot be certain of what tomorrow holds for any of us. What I am certain of is that God has placed me where he wants me at this moment, and he will put me where I need to be in the future. Thank you all, and God Bless.
“If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.” Thomas Paine
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been another entry for Round 72 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- An infrared sensor/imaging camouflage shelter from Snakebite Tactical in Eureka, Montana (A $350+ value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A custom made Sage Grouse model utility/field knife from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
- Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a $125 Montie gear Gift certificate.,
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value), and
Round 72 ends on September 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.
Good thoughts. I, too, have been plagued by the “I don’t want to be away from my stuff” mentality…it can be paralyzing and negatively impact all those you touch. Thanks!
Can you tell us what is now in your BOB ? What did you take out? What do you recommend? Sounds like you are using more of a hiker mindset with very light gear?
I enjoyed your article immensely. Though not as dramatic, I have been going through a similar mental switch. Thanks for talking about it so eloquently.
It’s almost heresy these days to put conditioning, living in the present, and gaining skills through dirt time, but that’s the truth of it.
Thank you for an excellent article. It is reassuring that there are others that have gone through similar thoughts and actions. It would be very helpful to understand what you recommend for the BOB. I’d love to get to 20 lbs. Thank you!
20 lb pack for a 10 day hike sounds dreamy…I am not an experienced minimalist hiker and would love to know what’s in there and how you shed weight. Thanks!
Thank you! I, too, would like to see your BOB list. A knee injury has challenged me to limit what’s in my emergency get-home bag, and a new look at it would help. Prayer and trust in the Lord is also at the top of my list; and now we’re working on skills.
This article strikes close to home for me. I went from readin Infowars, Breitbart and Drudgereport all day long to hardly ever, and my stress/worry went down ten-fold. You said perfectly what I think I learned, too: the world is sinful, be prepared, enjoy your family, th end.
Great post. Praying, trusting, and doing what we can to be prepared is all we can do. To the other commenter, I have stopped listening to the news 24/7. My mind only needs so much of that. I am not sitting with my head in the sand, but certainly not filling it with junk either.
Thank you all for the kind words, and for taking the time to read the story of my ongoing journey.
In response to the contents of my BOB:
By no means do I proclaim this to be the final answer to my needs or yours. It is what I have found to work for me in my particular area. I had to constantly remind myself that this would not be a camping trip, it is not an I.N.C.H. bag, and my only mission was to get to my BOL as quickly as possible. I also assume that I will already be wearing one set of climate appropriate clothing.
1. Osprey Stratos 24-quite possibly the most comfortable bag I have ever worn. The suspended trampoline mesh back panel is heavenly and you can store extra clothing and gear behind it if necessary. Rain cover included, doesn’t draw unwanted attention.
2. ENO DryFly tarp-this can be used as a stand alone shelter and can be configured in multiple ways; completely waterproof.
3. ENO Sub-7 hammock w/ Atlas straps-I tried ultra-light tents that cost more than my first car and just couldn’t get it to work for me. I can put this hammock up even in low light, in less than a minute. My part of the country is very mountainous with plenty of trees and almost no flat areas. Hammock simply works better for me.
4. MSR Pocket Rocket stove w/ 2 4oz fuel canisters.
5.GSI Halulite Minimalist Ultra-light cook set-the MSR fuel canisters nest perfectly inside; includes spork and koozie
6.Katadyn Hiker water filter and 1 LifeStraw for water purification.
7.Leatherman Wave multi-tool
8.Black Diamond Headlamp- white and red dimming LED’s with one set of spare AAA batteries
9.Medical kit-only the most commonly used bandages, a tourniquet, OFF wipes for bug repellant in summer, anti-diarrhea pills, Advil, dental floss, several packets of alcohol, iodine, bug sting wipes. I squeeze all of this into a slip-on, elastic fabric knee brace.
10.Clothing-1 pair PrAna Brion hiking pants, 2 pair Darn Tough wool hiking socks, packable polyester shell rain jacket, 1 green/black shemagh. I also carry a spare set of contacts and glasses in a hard case.
11.750ml stainless steel water container w/ screw off cap.
12. 1 roll of toilet paper with center cardboard removed, 1 pack of baby wipes, small toothbrush
13.Fire kit-3 BIC lighters, magnesium block, and a flint striker in waterproof container
14.Fishing kit-narrow 50ft roll of Kevlar, braided, green line with 6 hooks; assorted crimp-on lead weights.
15.Food-instant coffee singles, single serve energy drink mixes, several tea bags, Clif bars, Cup-o-Soup packets, instant oatmeal packets, crushed Ramen noodles,4 life-boat rations bars. GNC offers small packs of multi-vitamins that provides energy and daily vitamin requirements. I carry 8-10 of these packs. All of this I fit into a 1-gallon zip lock bag.
16. 4″x5.5″ New Testament-waterproof Sportsman’s Bible
17.25ft of 550 cord, 2 velcro all-purpose straps.
18.Eton hand-crank radio w/flashlight-the one from Wal-Mart, $30
19.Maps-Virginia and Tennessee for me. I also made my own laminated map of the most likely routes I would be taking. Most of this is through farm country along Interstate 81 and after years of travelling this route, I marked abandoned grain silos, dilapidated barns, or anything that would provide discreet shelter, before lamination.
I add a lightweight Kelty Cosmic 20 sleeping bag in the winter.
Like most of us, I carry various coats, hoodies, gloves, boots, flashlights, and knives in my truck and will sort through these items when the time comes.
Remember: Pounds=Pain! This is only the minimum to get to a pre-determined location. It will not be comfortable and most likely will be miserable. Your only goal should be to carry just enough to stay alive and get to where you’re going quickly and discreetly.
Yannow, as I get older, I’ve come to realize that what is really going to floor even preppers are the things that come out of nowhere. Who would have predicted the Gulf of Mexico BP oil spill in 2010, but it did and for a while, it appeared that the poisoned water would have a very large effect on Americans. Its a good thing it didn’t – not many were prepared to walk away from their hard won work on their retreats.
What are your plans for your wife and child. What do their BOB’s consist of
Thanks for your question. My wife carries an identical bag in her vehicle, with the addition of several female related items. If forced to leave from home, we have 3 separate bags, each loaded according to weight. Dad carries the ammo and majority of survival gear, Mom carries the clothing, some gear,and medical supplies, Daughter carries food and toiletries.
Interesting article and appreciate your thoughts on the mental evolution of prepping.
I have also “progressed” past the need to be near my stuff. The only problem I have is that I travel very frequently for work, both across the US and the world. I have a fairly condensed list of items I always pack in my carry one backpack and/or my checked baggage. Obviously the biggest fear is the long trek home with minimal gear.
That scenario still keeps me up at night.
Thank you, outstanding perspective, very insightful and useful! I am always amazed and thankful for the wealth of knowledge so freely shared here….
I am so glad you mentioned Ferfal from Argentina. His book was very instructive and destroyed many myths in day to day survival when a economy collapses.
My friend and I call his book the Argentina Man.
The bottom line is prepare for the best and trust The Lord.
I am glad you mentioned Ferfal of Argentina.
Another excellent example is Bill Bonner and his ranch in Argentina that he lost to locals and corrupt government even though he has millions.
Just prepare the best you can and trust The Lord
I am speaking from south texas, make sure your bugout bag includes a very good comfortable lightweight life jacket.thanks