The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods:

SurvivalBlog presents another edition of The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods— a collection of news bits and pieces that are relevant to the modern survivalist and prepper from “HJL”. Are you planning on upgrading to a new iPhone X? You may want to think twice about that.

U.S. Customs

We are all familiar with the abuses of customs agents and the so called “Constitution Free Zone” near the Canadian or Mexican border. We’ve all heard stories of people who attract the attention (willingly or unwillingly) of the agents at these entry points and get beat up, tasered, abused and even have their property confiscated. But this is a new one for me. Reader G.G. sent in this article on a U.S. Citizen who was exiting the U.S. into Mexico and ran afoul of agents. He subsequently had his truck confiscated under the civil asset forfeiture laws. Apparently, he had a magazine containing 5 .380 rounds that he forgot about and was accused of weapons running. So far, it’s a two year running legal battle because he has refused to give in.

Is This Racist?

SurvivalBlog reader D.B. sent in this Paul Joseph Watson video asking the question “Is this racist?” The media gives a pass to rappers hanging white children, yet censures an accidental bad word uttered by a vlogger. Interestingly enough, the full video can be shown on YouTube, but a conservative vloggers comment can’t have an excerpt without the commenter’s video being censured. It’s a crazy mixed up world.

Reasons to not own iPhone X

Reader DSV sent in this article on three reasons gun owners shouldn’t own one of the new iPhonesthree reasons gun owners shouldn’t own one of the new iPhones. Obviously tounge-in-cheek, but well worth the read and I agree with all three reasons. I especially like the fact that for the price of the iPhone X, I could own another gun. Right now, you can even pick up a classic like a 1911 or an AR-15 for less than this phone.

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Doubling down on reason two is this article on how the police could just point the phone at your face to have the facial recognition software unlock your phone. No longer would they need you to give them the passcode. Somewhere in the back of my mind a question is forming. What happens when you’ve just been roughed up by one of the out-of-control, militarized, police forces? Can the phone still recognize your face when you are swollen, battered, and bruised? Does that boot-print on your face interfere? I know those are not common occurrences, but they do happen with more frequency lately. What about calling 911 after you’ve just been beat up on the street?

TacGun Training

TacGun is a team focused training, utilizing small unit tactics with live force on force training and competition that helps to develop teamwork, physical fitness and leadership skills. Max Velocity offers the standard tactical training, but also has some upcoming events which specifically feature an element of competition. If this sort of training interests you, you should check out the training calendar.

Arm Yourself!

There is more than one way to arm yourself. Reader R.V. sent in this link to a couple of videos that give an excellent source on understanding how the Constitution was formed and why it is so important. Did you know that in terms of countries that are governed by a continuous Constitution, the United States is actually the oldest country? One of the reasons this is so is because of the work that the founding fathers put into creating that Constitution. This is actually a free online education course and no registration is required to view it.

Consider a Cooler

Mike Williamson, SurvivalBlog’s Editor at Large wrote in with this useful advice:

One of the issues people with minivans, hatchbacks and other trunkless vehicles face is where to hide the bail out bag or kit. Either it has to fit under the seat, travel with the operator, or be left in view where it might be stolen.

I recommend a cooler. Not a new, wheel-rolly, pricey snack SUV, but a basic old Coleman or similar drum or box. You can find one dirt cheap at most surplus, closeout or thrift stores. A few scratches make it even less interesting to observers.

Stash your bailout bag in the cooler. It’s far less likely someone will break into a car to steal what should be sandwiches and drinks, and if they do, you likely have worse problems.

Certainly, you can rely on a box of junk for concealment. But the cooler offers other advantages.

  • First, it keeps your gear waterproof if you choose to just carry it that way for a bit. Or you can use it to stow dry clothes and bedding.
  • Second, it means you also have a cooler to keep food you acquire in. You can even insulate that further with the dry clothes or bedding mentioned above.
  • Third, it floats, as long as your gear doesn’t outmass its displacement. Or you can use it empty as a float for yourself, a child, a casualty or other needs.
  • Fourth, a square cooler with a folding lid can be the basis of a one person weather shelter, keeping your head and shoulders dry, your tentage or cover off you to allow breathing room.
  • Fifth, if you choose orange, it can assist in locating you in a peacetime emergency.

Stick a cheap cooler in the back of your car, and it becomes both a useful peace of kit, and convenient camouflage. – Mike

Rainwater cistern

SurvivalBlog reader T.J. sent in this video from homesteadonomics on how to install a culvert cistern. It’s not a complicated install and is neat and clean. If you can’t afford an underground plastic cistern, this may present a good option for recovery of rain water.

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News Tips:

Please send your news tips to HJL. (Either via e-mail of via our Contact form.) These are often especially relevant, because they come from folks who watch news that is important to them. Due to their diligence and focus, we benefit from fresh “on target” news. We often “get the scoop” on news that is most likely ignored (or reported late) by mainstream American news outlets. Thanks!


  1. I’m shocked that everyone is focused on the racism issue of a man making a video of hanging a child. The color is secondary to the inappropriateness of the act in any rightful culture

    1. @MIO,

      It is irrelevant what you are doing. Only in a police state can the government demand all information about you. It’s a basic right of privacy. I get that some bad people do bad things but because they do that doesn’t mean you give your right to privacy as a human.

      1. True but it didn’t happen yet and there’s a reason for that. All this appears to be is an article from someone not wanting the police to use that method and being really worried and paranoid enough to blow the rally cry horn.
        The only people I know of that worried about it are child porn creeps, drug dealers and terrorist.
        Being into Preparedness is not going to be that worried about it as no one cares especially with the number of LEO that also prepare.

        1. Actually, it hasn’t happened yet with an iPhone X. It has happened with other types of phones and this is an extrapolation of that.

          So, it sounds like you have the idea that unconstitutional searches are OK because if you haven’t done anything wrong, you haven’t got anything to hide and they won’t find anything. By extension, it sounds like you are saying if you object to a search, it is a sign that you are guilty. Do you feel that way about searches of your car or home?

          1. You are correct that it has happened with similar devices or conditions and those rulings have come down and everyone is pretty much trained up on it by now.
            There are a lot of unconstitutional things that can happen but haven’t or won’t and that list will grow with technology advances. I’m saying rather than just throw it out there and side with law breakers who originate the claims, that have not nor will not happened, look closer at the subject.
            If it does happen it will also get tossed and be inadmissible.

          2. You have nothing to fear, if you have nothing to hide

            Joseph Goebbels
            Hitler’s propaganda minister.

            If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

            Sean Hannity (oops)


            I agree with you. It’s about the fundamental human right to be left alone. For those who have a copy of our Constitution; the bill of rights is all about human rights. The fundamental human right to self ownership, the fundamental human right to justly acquire and maintain ownership of property, unencumbered, in particular by government edict, and finally the fundamental human right to defend your life, liberty, and the property that you have justly acquired.

            Amendments 3 through 8 are a sampling of encumbrances on property rights. Amendment 9 is a reminder that our fundamental human rights include but are not limited to the first 8. Amendment 10 is a vast limitation on the general government that if the States do not grant a specific authority to said general government, then those authorities reside solely with the Sovereign Nation-States of these united States or with the people.

            I am always amazed at how many people, even those who should know better, are so willing to ignore their own human rights.

            And all for the glory of “Rome”.

    1. The 100-mile limitation may be mandated in some departmental rule, or law, but it is still arbitrary, and could be changed any time the fedgov thinks it needs to be changed. Evidently, parts of the federal judiciary already recognize no limit on federal authority, anywhere. Argue for your shrinking rights when you must, but try not to look like a target.

  2. All minivans & SUV’s made in the last 10-15 years have dark, tinted windows in the back, hiding anything stored in the back. It’s also possible to put a dark blanket over a backpack.

  3. The articles about the iPhone are misinformed as the same concerns about divulging your fingerprint exist on some Android phones today. The key is to turn your device off before being taken from police. On boot, both systems require passcode entry which cannot be compelled. As for theft magnet argument, many Android phones do not have home buttons and are just as large. It means nothing. Also, Android and Windows phones have to have updates validated by both the device maker and the service provider, often delay critical security patches for months. Point is, don’t vilify just Apple. They’re all unscrupulous corporate entities. Pick your poison, or don’t own a smart phone at all.

    1. The face recognition issue is also bypassed in the same way. Power off the phone before it’s taken. I’m sure within weeks we’ll see the same tech announced by some Android device maker.

      1. @Jason,

        I trying to visualize the confrontation as you try to power off your phone and the police are trying to take it away from you… If they know that is your goal, that could get interesting.

    2. I would suggest not enabling this technology if it’s on your phone if you’re concerned. Thieves can do it to. Many financial apps use fingerprints for authentication now on the iPhone.

  4. Additionally, a cooler will mitigate the temperature swings endemic to car interiors while parked. Used one years ago to protect camera and 35mm film I kept in my car from the high temps during Florida summers. As noted, less likely to be stolen than a camera bag. I used a cheap styrofoam cooler. Even less likely to be taken.

  5. I wonder how accurate the iphone X face recognizer can be. Can it distinguish between a standard face and one where you stick out your tongue? Or maybe some strange face gesture? If so, then the police or crook can make you stare at the phone all day and nothing will happen.

  6. I like the idea of using a cooler to camouflage your “get home bag”, or “get out of dodge bag.” At one time, my wife had her survival pack stored in the trunk of the car, hidden inside a trash bag for OPSEC while she had the trunk open in public places. For some reason, it had to be temporarily removed to make room for something else that allowed it to be stored. It was placed in our garage where we also keep our other trash. My son gathered all of the garbage bags in the garage on collection day and didn’t think anything about it. Several days later my wife went to retrieve the bag for a road trip when she started asking where it went. Needless to say, that was a hard lesson learned and won’t be repeated. There wasn’t any firearms in the bag, but there was over $100 cash, a few silver one ounce rounds, full box of 10mm hollow points, AM/FM/shortwave radio, MRE’s, a LifeStraw water bottle, leatherman tool, etc. You get the idea. Still sore of the incident.

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