It is said that prepping is not a movement or a philosophy. It is a way of life, and a way of life must accommodate changes in life. Having squarely arrived into my “Golden Years,” I was reluctantly forced to take a fresh look at my prepping agenda. Not exactly a newbie to the game. I’m still eating Year 2000 Problem (Y2K) food, I have accumulated food, gear, and training over the years and have reached a somewhat reasonable level of comfort. However, we all know what happens when we start feeling confident. After a few recent practice drills and equipment purchases, clearly it was time to make some adjustments. What I would like to do is offer a somewhat tongue-in-cheek (with some exaggeration) summation of some key areas of Age-Adjusted Prepping and then illustrate the changes required.
Note: Throughout this article I’ll be using a new acronym: What the Experts Say (WTES).
Bug Out Bags
What the Experts Say (WTES): Should weigh between x and xx pounds and should only contain essential items, which are different depending on which “expert” you consult. Forget the camouflage or olive drab (OD) green. The bag should not look too military. You want to blend in, you know, the “Grey Man” concept. Not to worry, I have this grey man thing down pat. Every morning, I look in the mirror and see the grey hair and beard. Now, for the age-adjusted, bug out bag, mine is not military, did not cost $350, and is stuffed with way more than essentials. Yes, it is too heavy, but at my age I will not be trekking 20 miles a day; and when I hit my limit, the contents of my bag will insure that I will be warm, dry, and well fed.
WTES: A combination of dehydrated, home, and commercially-canned goods, and round out your supply with freeze-dried products with a shelf life of 25 years. Alright, good plan, we went that route including food preserved from our garden. Also, over the years, we have gradually (because of the cost involved) acquired a reasonable supply of freeze-dried storage food. The age-adjusted problem, we have limited space for storage for our food so future purchases will concentrate on bulk products such as rice and beans. The freeze-dried stuff is nice but expensive and at our age the 25 year shelf life is probably irrelevant.
WTES: About one gallon per day per person is recommended. This is all well and good, but we once did a drill which involved no utilities for 24 hours. I am not talking about a simulation. We literally cut everything off. We managed pretty well but found that we used much more stored water than we anticipated. Even though we do have source of water approximately a half mile from our house, I just don’t see us lugging five-gallon containers to and from the source every day. Our age-adjusted prepping plan includes increased storage containers and rain barrels.
While on the subject of utilities, when we moved to our current location, we heard stories of a massive ice storm which occurred several years ago and long-term, power outages. As soon as funds became available, we invested in a propane heater which was not electric dependent. The propane supply is used primarily for emergencies, thus giving us a backup heat source. Backup heat is a really big deal when you wake up in the middle of the night with no electricity and a house colder than a politician’s heart.
WTES: We should stockpile, antibiotics, vitamins, wound-care products, required medications, and the tools to perform minor surgery. Not only the should we stockpile the materials, but we should take courses which teach us how to use all these materials. Okay, I have no argument with any of that, but in the age-adjusted medical game, several items fall into the required medications which are ibuprofen (commonly known in our age group as “Vitamin I”), Ben Gay and Metamucil (especially if you are consuming a lot of MREs). Rounding out the list are several Ace bandages to hold everything together. Oh, and about that surgical kit, I will not be stitching myself nor anyone else. I have converted from the needle to the staple kit. Having one used on me has convinced me it is simpler and less painful.
WTES: You need a main battle rifle, a long-range bolt gun, a shotgun, a .22 rifle for small game, and of course a side arm. Well okay, that’s great if you can do that, but in the age-adjusted world, I have decided I can narrow that down to one weapon. Now, I just need to find out where I can buy an AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter. If the Apache purchase falls through, then I am back to the rifle. The experts say I should be able to hit a man size target at 300 hundred yards with iron sights. Are you serious? I can’t even see a target at 300 hundred yards. My last eye appointment confirmed that the iron sights have long since given way to red dots and scopes, mil dots and bifocals are not very compatible. Besides, even if I hit a target at 300 hundred yards do you think these old knees (even with the Ace bandages) are going to carry me that far to confirm it?
WTES: You should have buried caches of food, weapons, and ammo at different intervals along your bugout route. Age-adjusted prep says, “You have got to be kidding me! I can’t even remember where I left my car keys, let alone a buried treasure.” I know, I know, draw a map, but then I must find the map. I will have to make do with what’s in my car or pack.
Bug Out Vehicles
WTES: One should have a 1980s vintage nine-thousand, horse power, four-wheel drive, pickup truck with a lift kit and tires big enough to require a rappelling harness and rope to exit the cab. Age-adjusted prep says, grey man approach applies here, the soccer mom mini van filled with carefully hidden supplies and a Glock within arm’s reach, will be my exit instrument and hopefully innocent looking enough not to arouse Federales’ interest when attempting to pass through a roadblock. Add some mussed up grey hair and incoherent babbling and this should be enough to convince the gate keepers to let the old codger through, he is harmless.
Defending the Home Front
WTES: You should have high ground, a clear 500-yard kill zone, intruder alarms, booby traps and six German shepherds constantly patrolling the perimeter. Great, if you have the finances go for it. The age-adjusted prep says pensions don’t finance compounds. I live in the burbs and will just have to rely on a brick house to deflect most small arms fire.
A wise man (and I wish I remembered who, but I’m old), once said, “If you wait till the attackers are at your door, you have already lost the battle.“ Embracing that philosophy, I intend to practice numerous medium-range patrols, ambushes, and sniping to keep the bad guys at a considerable distance from the home front.
WTES: You need to be connected with a group of like-minded individuals, you need to sleep sometime and a number of people to share the chores and contribute to the security certainly makes sense. We all know the pitfalls of forming a mutual-assistance group so carefully screen your potential members for the skills, abilities and correct mindset. After all, these are the people to whom you are entrusting your life. Age-adjusted prepping says to carry the selection process one step further. If you are a member of the social security clan, consider trying to recruit some young people into your group. This can be a win-win situation.
I recently watched a video on the Internet where two teenagers were completely mystified trying to figure out how to dial a number using a rotary-dial phone. Clearly the majority of today’s youth do not possess even the minimum skills required for survival. However, some are willing to learn, so in exchange for your knowledge, they are willing to provide labor to the heavy-lifting jobs. This arrangement also insures the necessary skills and knowledge will be passed on to future generations.
In conclusion, although we are a bit long in the tooth and must make adjustments in order to compensate for skills and abilities that have diminished over the years, do not count us out, especially military veterans. Although I served, I was never deployed to Vietnam, but many of my friends were and I can tell you these men are beyond tough and can adapt to any situation. Although this definition applies to veterans of all wars, I can only speak for my generation. So, if you are a young person trying to get your prepping house in order, I suggest you find some vets of any generation to join your team, and don’t rule out us grey beards. We may not know how to tweet or Snapchat, but we do know how to protect our friends and family.