JWR’s Recommendations of the Week:

Here are JWR’s Recommendations of the Week for various media and tools of interest to SurvivalBlog readers. The focus is usually on emergency communications gear, bug out bag gear, books and movies that have any tie-in to disaster preparedness, and links to “how to” self-sufficiency videos. There are also links to sources for both storage food as and food storage containers. You will also note an emphasis on history books and historical movies. This week the focus is once again on Neccos. (See the last item in the Gear & Grub section.)


Reader Tom in Ohio wrote to recommend:  “Never make yourself dependent on GPS. Always have a backup atlas.” The 2020 edition is now available: Rand McNally 2020 Large Scale Road Atlas

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Reader “Doc Strange” suggested James Rickards’ new book: Aftermath: Seven Secrets of Wealth Preservation in the Coming Chaos

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And speaking of updated 2020 editions: A Guide Book of United States Coins 2020: The Official Red Book.

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I just noticed that for some reason, Bill Cooper’s 1991 book Behold a Pale Horse just jumped back up to #432 in overall sales on Amazon.com. I’m guessing that it was mentioned in a syndicated talk radio show. Although I disagree with some of his UFO assertions, overall I find Cooper’s book some very interesting reading!


Midway (Collector’s Edition)

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Educational Web Pages:

A thorough historical review, at Ammo.com: State Gun Control in America: A Historic Guide to Major State Gun Control Laws and Acts. Special note: The section on Red Flag laws is currently  “must reading.”

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And reading with this will show you that we already have far too many Federal gun laws, that go far beyond the authority of the Commerce Clause: QUICK REFERENCE TO FEDERAL FIREARMS LAWS.

Instructional Videos & Vlogs:

Tim J. sent this:

Earthbag Root Cellar Build | Off Grid Food Storage (Part 1)

“With canning season on the horizon we start the construction of our underground earthbag root cellar that will soon store our precious canned food and crops from the garden.”


Earthbag Root Cellar Build | Off Grid Food Storage (Part 2)

“We complete the underground earthbag root cellar and review the cost to build an invaluable structure on our Alaskan homestead as well as head down to show you the inside.”

Tim J.’s Comments: The late Dr. Owen Geiger would have recommended a few things differently:

  • Filling the bags on the wall, using 2 gallon buckets, and not lifting full bags.
  • A concrete re-enforced bonding beam on top of the wall.
  • Soil stabilizer, but with their particular soil, they might not have needed it.

I’m impressed with this young couple, they got the job done for about $1,300 and a lot of hard work.

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Off Grid Alternative to Air Conditioning? Making a Whole House Fan From a Radiator Fan. JWR’s Comment: A decent home-brew installation technique, but probably a poor choice of 12-Volt car fans. (Much too noisy!)

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SHTF Security Planning (Forward Observer)

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Another video recommended by Tim J.: Animal Bites Intro: Dogs, Cats and More!  (Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy)


Masters of Boogie Piano: Five Classic Albums Plus

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Grand Ole Opry at Carnegie Hall

Gear & Grub:

I consider these an essential for home bulk food storage: Bucket Kit, Five Colored 5 Gallon Buckets with Matching Gamma Seal Lids (one each: blue, red, yellow, white, black)

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Hyskore Cleaning & Sighting Vise

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Bushnell Optics TRS-25 Hirise 1x25mm Red Dot Riflescope with Riser Block, Matte Black

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Mountain House Chicken Fried Rice

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I warned you that their price would go up: Neccos.

Make a Suggestion

Want to suggest Recommendations of your own? Then please send them to JWR. (Either via e-mail of via our Contact form.) Thanks!


  1. Re: Whole house fan

    One thing regarding fitness, health and survival that I wonder about is people’s ability to adapt to temperature variations.

    With more and more of our work time and living time conducted in climate controlled environments that keep us at a constant 72 degrees, I wonder how well people will adapt to the lack of air conditioning and central heat that would be associated with loss of the electrical grid.

    I feel like just in my 57 year life I see people less able to deal with cold or hot temperatures. I feel like back in the 70’s when I was a teenager people young and old were able to work and function better in the cold and heat. Could be my imagination but that is the way I remember it.

    I also wonder if some of the current obesity, diabetes and other health issues that are arising are partly related to are bodies not being forced to adapt to different stressers including temperature extremes. Not the only cause by any means but a contributing factor. There are some in the health and fitness world that are exploring this issue.

  2. The Red Book is good, but if all you want is metal content, get an old copy. Also consider a set of “The Standard Catalog of World Coins” (multiple volumes by dates in 100 year increments)…Again get used copies. Numismatics is all about grades and what the market wants, but identification and metal content does not change! I.E. just how much gold is in that Swiss 20 Franc coin? While you’re at it, pick up a vintage Ohaus 4 beam balance scale… The Cent-O-Gram (311 gram X .01 gram) is a great NON ELECTRIC scale. Armed with these tools you are well on your way to knowing just what you have.

  3. RE: The Simple Coax Dipole Antenna

    I’ve made and field test piles of these compact, very light weight, and cheap and easy to make dipoles for many friends. If only hung from a tree at an arm length, the range of a hand held in dense forest increases an additional mile. When hung at least 15′, the range increase is 2-3 miles.

    Although not the most efficient radiator as it has an impedance bump, under field conditions, it proves to be useful. It’s kind of like having 4WD. Go in using 2WD and should one become stuck, only then use the 4WD to get out. If one ventures just a bit too far, this will get them out. It is also hard to see, and rugged, and can be hung semi-permanently in a tree over an OP (observation post), or a point where a patrol may be at the edge of radio range. And it lends itself to horizontal polarization, reducing an RF footprint by 20 Db’s. Even if only 1 watt is good enough, a horizontally polarized antenna, greatly improves security. And if detected, you will sound as if you are further way than you actually are. And horizontally polarized antennas have a bit better range in heavily forested areas, that may allow one to reduce power.

    Here is an how to make video:


  4. Wow, we have a lot to choose from today. Now, to find some time for sitting and checking it out.

    In the meantime, if you want to see “how they did it before the 20th century” in the northwoods, look into this: https://www.google.com/search?q=pioneer+park+historical+complex&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1

    There are exhibits of early 20th century technology as well. All fascinating.

    We stopped in there on our way through and wished for more time. Very comprehensive tool collection, information on some of the tools’ uses, and an entire building devoted to the CCC which built the infrastructure for many of our state and national parks.

    The fire prevention/suppression info alone was worth my time.

    Carry on

  5. I forgot in my earlier post to endorse the recommendation of an atlas. Little lines on paper helped us get where we were going w/o the guidance of satellite-informed systems.

    Carry on

  6. I like maps. I can read a map. I hate GPS. I have it in my car. It came with the car. It’s off by about 250 feet. I’m sitting in my driveway, I’m trying to set “home” in the GPS. It tells me to go 250 feet due west to be at my home. I’m sitting in my driveway. It’s off when I use it.. It’s slow to respond, it’s too quiet to give meaningful directions. It would have taken me in circles if I let it. Now that I own the car, I need to find someone who can install a hard wired switch to turn the GPS off. I’d also like to have one for the on-board Bluetooth, the on-board WiFi, and the built-in microphone for the hands-free use of my phone. There are software switches, but those are easy to get around. Oh, and don’t forget the Sirius Satellite Radio, I’d like a hard switch for that too. I love the car, but it’s way too connected for my taste.

    The car I had before this one didn’t have GPS, but it had GPS. There was a button on the dash panel that said “Where am I?” It gave the GPS coordinates. So, even without GPS it still had GPS. Speaking of SiriusXM, one of their services works just like OnStar, and they can talk to you without your phone. That means they can also listen in on your conversations if they want to, even if you let the SiriusXM subscription run out. I love most modern technology for the things you can do with it, but I’m really beginning to hate modern technology for the things it can and does do to you.

    The next car (truck) I get is going to be very old.

  7. Charles K. Just curious, why your next viechle ? You know all the negatives of what you have now, but you seem willing to let the powers that be collect what ever they collect for how many years??? Take the thing back, take your hit on the buy back and find an old viechle that doesn’t spy on you. Besides if you don’t get what you really want now, you might not be able to get it later. Just my humble opinion.

    1. VCC, that is exactly why I keep my 1999 V10 truck fully operational for heavy work, and keep my 1985 4×4 3/4 ton pickup for rough duty. Neither has good gas mileage, but I keep them on good running condition and neither has tracking devices built in.

    2. Truth is, the car I have, a 2016 Ford Flex, just fits my wife. She has physical limitations that make it difficult for her to get into a car, let alone a truck, that is either too high or too low. This Flex is my last new car. I should have kept my 2010 Flex. In some ways I liked it better than the one I have now. My other vehicle is an older Explorer, it is too high for my wife. It is no where near as connected. It’s just fine for me.

      The next car, or truck, will be old. I may have to build it up from parts to make it do what i want it to do, and to make it accessible for my wife. The good news is, it won’t cost any more than buying a new car, and it should last until I rot or it does, which ever comes first.

  8. Hello Mr. Rawles I would like to thank you for including my video on using a radiator fan as a whole house fan in your weekly suggestions. I have since installed a PWM controller on the fan so that I can run it at any speed. I chose to use a radiator fan because my battery bank is 24 volts. I’ve tried to run as much as I can straight from the battery to avoid the inverter (or a buck converter) being a single point of failure. Here is a link to the follow up video. https://youtu.be/S4C9g98IAdc Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions comments etc.

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