Notes for Saturday – April 30, 2016

Today is the birthday of sci-fi novelist Larry Niven (born April 30, 1938). Along with Jerry Pournelle, he co-authored the survivalist classic Lucifer’s Hammer. April 30th is also the birthday of Ed Yourdon, who was born in 1944.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 64 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $12,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Tactical Self-Contained 2-Series Solar Power Generator system from Always Empowered. This compact starter power system is packaged in a wheeled O.D. green EMP-shielded Pelican hard case (a $1,700 value),
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate that is good for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
  3. 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,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chrome-lined barrel 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, which can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Gun Mag Warehouse is providing 20 Magpul PMAG 30-rd Magazines (a value of $300) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt; (an equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions),
  6. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  7. The Ark Institute is donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package (enough for two families of four) plus seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate (a $325 retail value),
  8. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  9. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating an AquaBrick water filtration kit with a retail value of $250, and
  10. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. 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,
  2. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  3. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  4. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  5. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
  6. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  7. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  8. Safecastle is providing a package of 10 LifeStraws (a $200 value)
  9. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A $245 gift certificate from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
  3. 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,
  4. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  5. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  6. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  7. Montie Gear is donating a Precision Rest (a $249 value), and
  8. 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).

Round 64 ends on May 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.

A Holistic Approach to Packing a 72-Hour Bug Out Bag- Part 2, by C.T.

Water. Though you may die after three days without water, that is most likely in ideal conditions with low exertion. If you have ever gone hiking before, you know that after an hour or so you are pretty parched already, and by the end of a single day you will be pretty much functionally depleted of water and in desperate need of rehydration. Especially if your bug out happens to be in the summer or a very hot time of year, water is going to be the most important element you need to keep going effectively.

This is where knowing your bug out route is essential. If there are going to be places you could refill from natural sources, you don’t need to carry enough water to get you all the way from Point A to Point B. If you have a short (under three day) bug out route that crosses or follows rivers or free standing water, carrying a lightweight water filter should meet most of your needs. If you are planning on traveling with a larger group and will need to supply water to multiple people, it may make sense to carry a higher output water filter designed for hiking, such as the Katadyn Hiker Pro. Depending on your length of trip and general murkiness of the water in your area, you may want to pack a spare filter and a few coffee filters that you can place over the front end tubing (and use a rubber band to secure it) that goes in the water source to minimize the amount of work your internal filter needs to do. If you want to go really light weight or have redundancy in your water purification options (a very good idea), using iodine tablets is probably your best bet.

Water is absolutely essential to survival and keeping yourself in peak condition. If you will not be able to refill as you go, you need to pack all of the water you need to get to your destination. This is where understanding the amount of weight you can carry is essential. The amount of water you will need is dependent on your physical condition and the climate and terrain you will be covering. A safe bet is 0.5 liters per mile you need to travel. Since water weighs about 2.2 lbs per liter, you can see how this can add up quickly.

A 10 mile route will require 11 lbs of water. If you can only comfortably carry a total of 30 lbs, you need to plan on carrying 1/3 of that weight in water! Even longer routes will require more. This is why, if possible, you should plan a route that has access to water refill points so you don’t need to carry everything all at once.

How much water should you carry if you plan on refilling? A safe recommendation is to have at least four to six liters of water on you at all times. Try to fill up at all available water sources.

The question becomes how do I store all this water? The inexpensive and easy way is to set aside some 2-liter soda bottles (that you have thoroughly cleaned and filled with fresh water) with your bug out bag. Smaller plastic bottle sizes can also be used and packed in free places in your bag.

More “professional” water bottles include Klean Kanteen (a metal bottle that is strong enough that you can boil water in it if necessary) and Nalgene bottles. If you plan on hiking extensively in your free time, an investment in a water bladder could be a good idea. These require a little more maintenance than a water bottle, but they have the convenience of a straw attachment so you don’t need to stop to pull out your water bottle every time you want a drink.

Food. Last on the list of basic necessities is food. For many this may be surprising. The human body is capable of surviving for about a month without food. Of course, your physical and mental capabilities will degrade significantly during this time. Anyone who has spent time with a woman who easily gets “hangry” without snacking through the day knows the importance of food for morale and to keep your body going in prime condition.

Food is an area where weight is a great concern. Different types of food have different types of preparation requirements. You need to find the right food type for you that balances weight, preparation time, and calories.

There are four major types of food we will look at:

  • Wet Foods
  • Dry Foods
  • Freeze Dried Foods
  • Meals Ready To Eat

“Wet Foods” are meals that already have moisture added to them. These include canned soups and most canned goods. A can of pre-made soup will require no effort to prepare or eat other than opening the lid. However, wet foods usually weigh a significant amount. If you have a very short trip planned, wet foods may make sense for you. By choosing foods that don’t require any preparation resources you can make up for the added weight by not needing to carry a stove or cooking pots. Just make sure to pack a light weight can opener and utensils.

“Dry Foods” include foods that do not require any water to be added but do not have large (or any) amounts of liquids in them. These are items like trail mix, beef jerky, and granola bars. Since these don’t have any water added, you need to make sure you drink plenty of water when eating them to aid in digestion. You end up carrying the water for them anyway, when you think about it.

While they are not ideal as a sole source of food for a hiking trip, there are a variety of high quality hiking bars that pack nutrients and calories. Clif Bars are a great brand, which packs energy in a bar and actually tastes good. Other brands include Power Bar, which also have protein and energy. Carrying some dry food in addition to other types makes sense, since you can snack throughout the day so you aren’t starving by the time you stop walking.

“Freeze Dried Foods” are popular for camping and hiking. Basically these are dehydrated meals in a serving packet. You heat up water and add it to the packet, stir, wait a few minutes, and presto you have a tasty hot meal. The advantage of these is that they are low weight on their own. The downside is that you still need water for them, and you will still need to carry that water with you. So the weight savings can actually turn out to be negligible, if you don’t have a source of fresh water near your camping site. The other downside is that in order for them to work, you need to be able to boil water. This requires a fire and a pot. This is all weight that could be avoided by picking a different type of food.

If you do choose to carry Freeze Dried Food, a small camping cooking set makes the most sense for heating water. The JetBoil system is a low weight option for quickly bringing water to a boil. You could also try making a Penny Stove, but remember to pack enough fuel and you will need a separate pot for boiling water. In a bug out situation, making an open fire to boil water will probably be very difficult and draw unnecessary attention. I recommend that you plan on not making any open fires until you arrive at your Point B. If you are using a stove, make sure you pack a Lighter to start the flame. A backup source of flame that will not get damaged if it gets wet (say you fall in a stream on your bug out route) also should be packed if you will be dependent on fire to heat your food. The Light My Fire system makes sense for this. They even sell their striker in a package that fits inside a Mora Knife, if you are looking to hit two birds with one stone.

With either wet or dry foods you need to make sure you have utensils for eating them. Use your primary knife for any cutting needs, but bring a spoon and fork for eating. Or better yet, bring a spork!

“Meals Ready To Eat” (MRE’s) are pre-packaged meals that are, surprise, ready to eat! Devised by the military to answer the same questions we are struggling with here, MRE’s are meant to keep deployed troops fed when they are away from supply lines or on an extended mission. A MRE will usually consist of a primary course with some sides. A heating packet is included so you don’t need to worry about boiling water to warm the food. Taste on these is not usually top notch, but the advantages of not needing separate water or cooking supplies make them a very good choice for a bug out situation.

MRE’s are available both in military surplus styles or in “civilian” versions. The military ones are to military specs, but the problem is that you have no idea where they have been. They may have sat in a shipping container in Afghanistan for a year at 130 degrees Fahrenheit before they made it to you, in which case they will have a drastically shortened shelf life. A safer option is buying a freshly-made version from a reputable source. Sure-Pak sells MRE’s by the case or individually. Make sure you get MRE’s that have the flameless heaters included.

Now that you have the essentials of air, shelter, water, and food covered, it is time to think about the unexpected. There are a few more areas that it is wise to pack for.

Medical Needs

Health problems may be both expected or unexpected. If you have any chronic illnesses or issues, you need to plan for them. Diabetics should have extra insulin and injectors packed in their bag. If you suffer from asthma, it is essential to place at least one extra inhaler in your bag. People with severe allergies should carry an EpiPen, and if you are taking any medications on a daily basis you should have at least a month’s worth stored in your bag to account for the trip and any time you spend at your destination until things calm down.

In addition to planning for expected medical needs, you should also have a medical kit that can handle most smaller emergencies. You shouldn’t plan to do a root canal on your trip, but at least think about cuts and scrapes. A pre-packaged medical kit, such as the Adventure Medical Kit Day Tripper is a good start, since you get a pouch and most of the basic supplies you need. A kit like that can then be customized to your expected needs by supplementing in additional items like sun screen packets, hand sanitizer, bug spray, chap stick, and moleskin.

Don’t forget basic hygiene items as well. Simple things like a toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant can make life seem somewhat normal, yet they don’t add much weight. Plus, if you keep your bag in your car you will have them on hand if you need them during normal times.

Specialized Equipment for your Route

Depending on the route you have picked to get to point B, you may need some specialized tools. If there will be multiple chain link or barbed wire fences, pack a pair of mini bolt cutters to help get through. (Just don’t get shot cutting someones fence, and I recommend paying for repairs once the emergency is over.)

On a more extreme level, if you don’t see a way around crossing a river on your route, consider packing an inflatable boat that could get you across and then be ditched. What you will need depends on your route; think critically about any obstacles you will face!

General Tools for Your Bug Out Bag

Up to this point, we have talked about tools that fulfilled a specific purpose within the “rule of three” philosophy. In this section we will look at more general, common sense tools that you will also want to have available. These go without saying. Hopefully, you can figure out the use for each of these:

Once you have all your gear assembled to make your trip, you need somewhere to put it. Naturally this is the “bag” part of “bug out bag”. Now many people get all excited at this point and buy some sort of tactical bag with Molle attachments for all of their accessories. I think we can all agree the Molle type bags look awesome and are very functional. If you just have to get one, then do it. However, if you are really thinking tactically, any advantage you get from being able to attach items to the outside of your bag will be far outweighed by the negative perception it forms in many people’s mind. I instantly go on alert when I see someone with military gear, and I assume they are carrying concealed. Is that how you want everyone you come into contact with to treat you? It makes more sense to have a normal camping style backpack in earth tones that will not stick out like a sore thumb.

Either way you go with the bag, just having a 72-hr Bug Out Bag of some sort puts you ahead of 90% of the population.

Good luck getting from A to B.

Letter Re: Velcro on Tactical Gear

Hugh,

Concerning your request for information, I have never had issues with Velcro on my dive gear. (It’s found on Buoyancy Compensator pockets mostly.) However, on tactical gear, snaps or magnetic clasps are the most silent and easiest to use without issue. With Velcro there is always the possibility that a second, third, or fourth “tear” will be needed if all the hooks haven’t disengaged. With snaps or magnets, it’s far easier and undeniably quieter. If I’m changing mags in a hot zone, the last thing I want to telegraph is my current position by a “riippp” of the Velcro releasing. – J.D.

Economics and Investing:

America’s Pension Problem – A story of two ants.

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China Is Hoarding Crude At The Fastest Pace On Record

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Apple reports first revenue decline in 13 years – Sent in by RBS

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Costco likely to raise annual membership fee – They still rate higher than their rivals, but they are obviously feeling the squeeze of this non-recession recession. They did, however, leave the door open to not raising the fees if they need to avoid it due to the competition.

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Dollar Stores Defy Retail Headwinds – In the meantime, Dollar stores are beating Walmart at its own game– importing and selling cheap Chinese junk– but doing it in neighborhood stores rather than mega-stores. But if Walmart is propped up by the government (via welfare), how much more so will these stores feel it?

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SurvivalBlog and its editors are not paid investment counselors or advisers. Please see our Provisos page for details.

Odds ‘n Sods:

A Photo Gallery of a Super Survival Kit: 18 Deer-Camp Essentials. I’m not sure a snore guard makes my list, but each to his own. – G.G.

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RBS sent in the link to this article on Canada’s Proposed Gun Law. (No centerfire rifles allowed)

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National sheriffs’ group, opposed to federal laws on guns and taxes, calls for defiance. Sent in by W.C.

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From the Desk of Mike Williamson: The Fourth Amendment and the Fruit of the Poisonous Tree

Even if this is outlawed, it’s easy enough to RFQ for publicly gathered data from a company in say, China, who furnishes it, and for enough money, will hack our networks under laws legal there but not here, and then sell the USG your data, likely cheaper than they can do it themselves.

Or, people will just give it to them in the form of all the social media postings they make.

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Several readers sent in the link to this article. It’s good to know there are still some adventurous souls out there. Experience: I am 16 and live alone in the wilderness

Hugh’s Quote of the Day:

“Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock. As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 36:37-38 (KJV)

Notes for Friday – April 29, 2016

Don’t forget that Safecastle’s Mountain House food sale ends this Saturday, April 30. Both the 30-year #10 cans and the 12-year pouches are seriously discounted, up to 46%. Get in on the sale while you can.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 64 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $12,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Tactical Self-Contained 2-Series Solar Power Generator system from Always Empowered. This compact starter power system is packaged in a wheeled O.D. green EMP-shielded Pelican hard case (a $1,700 value),
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate that is good for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
  3. 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,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chrome-lined barrel 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, which can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Gun Mag Warehouse is providing 20 Magpul PMAG 30-rd Magazines (a value of $300) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt; (an equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions),
  6. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  7. The Ark Institute is donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package (enough for two families of four) plus seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate (a $325 retail value),
  8. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  9. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating an AquaBrick water filtration kit with a retail value of $250, and
  10. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. 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,
  2. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  3. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  4. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  5. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
  6. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  7. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  8. Safecastle is providing a package of 10 LifeStraws (a $200 value)
  9. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A $245 gift certificate from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
  3. 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,
  4. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  5. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  6. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  7. Montie Gear is donating a Precision Rest (a $249 value), and
  8. 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).

Round 64 ends on May 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.

A Holistic Approach to Packing a 72-Hour Bug Out Bag- Part 1, by C.T.

A 72-hour Bug Out Bag (a.k.a. Get Out Of Dodge bag) is a pack filled with the necessary items to sustain you while you walk from an unsafe location to a safe location. Usually the scenario is that “home” is no longer safe and you need to go to some predetermined “bug out” spot. This could be either a friend’s or relative’s house, a family cabin, or a government shelter. Basically, you are going on a hiking trip with an expected start and end point on a pre-planned route during what will most likely be a time of great personal and local stress. The objects you put in this bag are to help you make this trip. They are not intended to allow for long-term survival or to help you restart civilization when you get to the other side, as thinking for the long term in this situation will distract or potentially cause you to fail in getting from point A to point B.

This article will go over three main topics– 1) Picking a bug out location, 2) Picking a bug out route, and 3) Packing for the journey.

Picking A Bug Out Location

As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. The most important part of having a 72-hr Bug Out Bag is having a pre-planned destination. This idea of having a set A to B distance to travel is what separates a 72-hr Bug Out Bag from a Refugee Bug Out Bag. Before you start throwing camping supplies into an old backpack, it is absolutely essential that you know where you are going. The distance and obstacles between you and your destination is what determines how you will pack your bag.

Where should you go? This depends on your unique situation.

A safe haven in a crazy time should:

  • Be populated by people you trust,
  • Have resources available to support you when you get there, and
  • Be within a walking distance that is achievable with your current level of physical fitness.

Some people have family members that they get along with great that live within walking distance. Others have a friend that meets this requirement. Maybe you have a cabin where you plan to ride out a storm. Pick the place that is right for you.

If you do not own the location that you plan on going to, it is essential that you ask the people who live there for permission to come there in a time of emergency. The last thing you want to do is survive a harrowing journey and get turned away at salvation’s door because you weren’t as good friends as you thought you were.

By asking ahead of time, you get the idea on the other person’s radar and allow opportunities to make the second requirement of a safe place happen. If they are fine with you crashing at their place, they will probably be okay with you leaving a container with some food and supplies at their house so you wouldn’t be a burden if you showed up unannounced.

In this case, it’s a good idea to stock a sealable storage chest with food and other supplies that you can store at your bug out location. If there is an emergency and you get killed on the way to your bug out location, at least they are your friends and someone you like will be able to use your stuff.

When I was looking for a bug out location, my in-laws seemed to have the perfect setup. Located near a clean lake, rural, and with a tight knit community. I asked my father-in-law if I could store some food at his place so we wouldn’t be a burden in case we had to crash at his house in an emergency. Initially he said I should just pack up my own stuff and bring it with me if it was necessary. So I built a “to-go” food crate that I stored at my apartment. The next time we saw each other, he asked if I had done my part. When he learned I had, he realized I was serious, and after some research of his own he ended up buying a full year’s supply of dried food to prepare for an emergency and be ready if my wife and I did show up someday.

Finally, it is unrealistic to pick a primary bug out location that is a 30 day walk away. If there is an emergency going on that forces you to take such a trip without a vehicle, the odds of you making it are realistically slim.

If you plan on bugging out with a your super zombie apocalypse jeep and can’t imagine leaving it, you have already failed. Disaster planning is about planning for worst case scenarios. The odds of a disaster happening where you need to leave your house and head out on your own where all roads are still passable is highly unlikely. Having an ideal location a few states away is fine, but don’t neglect to plan for an emergency where you will be forced to travel only as far as you are willing or able to walk.

Picking A Bug Out Route

Once you have selected a destination you would go to if an emergency forced you to leave your house and normal infrastructures, like hotels are not available, you need to look at the route between point A and B.

Google Maps can prove to be invaluable for this task. Here are some questions to ask as you look over route options between points A and B:

  1. Are there any natural obstacles? (rivers, mountains, deserts, valleys, et cetera)
  2. Are there any man-made obstacles? (bridges that may be closed or blocked, containment walls, natural choke points where traffic will stop, et cetera)
  3. Are there any major cities or towns to pass through? (more people, more problems)

Pick a route that will have the least resistance. It makes sense to plan a few different routes, both for foot travel and vehicle travel, if you are able to take your car. Ideally, if you leave from your house early enough you may be able to beat the rush and take your car and have the luxury of being able to bring more supplies than just what you can carry on your back, but make sure you consider which routes will be better for walking or driving.

Once you have at least three routes to your location picked out, print out the step-by-step directions on Google maps with the pictures for each step. You can pack these in your bag.

Try driving or hiking each of the routes, once you pick them; you may be able to notice shortcuts or potential problem areas that you couldn’t see on Google.

Packing For The Journey

Now that you have selected a bug out location and identified the route you want to take, it is time to start thinking about what you need to bring on your trip.

The 72 hour nature of the bag is entirely dependent on how long you think it will take you to walk from point A to point B. If your destination is going to take a week to reach on foot, guess what? Your 72-hr bag just became a 168-hr bag. It’s only a short trip across town? You probably don’t need to carry three days worth of supplies (though better safe than sorry, especially if you don’t have anything pre-positioned at your point B location).

The Bug Out Bag has received almost a mythical status in preparedness communities, but in reality all you are doing is going on a hiking trip. When going on any hiking trip, your destination, length of journey, and obstacles you face obviously dictate what you pack.

When you are packing your bag, you need to think about a few things:

  1. Weight,
  2. Basic needs, and
  3. Needs unique to your route

Weight

Talk to any long distance hiker about their gear and all they will rave about is how they were able to optimize their pack for the lowest weight. The amount of weight your pack contains will dictate how much energy is required to get you to point B. The bag is there to help you make the trip not vice versa, and over packing can be just as deadly as under packing.

Before you even start picking items to bring, you need to understand the limits of what you can carry. Ideally everyone would like to bring their grandmother’s wood stove and a year’s worth of food and ammo, but you can’t do that. Try filling a backpack with different amounts of weights and walking around your living room. Then walk three miles. How heavy does it feel now?

No, you probably won’t do this important step. It’s your funeral, if you don’t.

Basic Needs

Your 72-hr bag needs to have the items necessary for basic human survival. The items here will build upon what you already have available in your Every Day Carry kit.

There is a well known rule about three, which you may have heard: You can’t live three minutes without air, three hours without shelter (in the harshest elements), three days without water, or three weeks without food.

Air. Most likely the air will be clear for your journey, and unless you are really paranoid you probably won’t need to worry about packing a full out Gas Mask or air purification system.

What could come in handy though are some N95 Masks in case there is heavy smoke you need to cross through. These are very low weight and won’t take up much space in your pack. A multi-purpose (but not as effective) alternative would be to include a bandana that could be used for a variety of purposes, including a large particle breath filter, which is better than nothing.

Shelter. The first level of shelter you always need to think about is your clothes. What you should pack here is the same as what you need in a Get Home Bag. Plan on having multiple layers that can be removed if not needed. Clothing items you need include:

Your top layer of clothing is especially seasonally dependent. In the summer, an extra t-shirt or two may suffice. In the winter, you will want to make sure you have access to multiple layers, in case you need to survive a frigid night outside.

When packing clothes, please don’t have military grade camo. Dress like a normal person. If you look like a threat, people will treat you like a threat. If you show up at someone’s door looking like an extra in a Rambo movie, you will be much less likely to get help than a normal person with a camping backpack.

In addition to clothes, make sure you have skin protection, such as sun screen and chap-stick. A bandana can also be used around your neck to keep it protected.

That covers the immediate shelter offered by clothing, but the next step is looking at additional items to bring that can help you if you need to plan on staying the night outside. One way to minimize weight and the size of your kit is to plan on packing a hammock instead of a tent and ground pad. This is, of course, provided that you have lots of trees in your area.

There are some great camping hammocks on the market. Just make sure you get one with a built-in bug net. Instead of spending money on a purpose built rain fly for your hammock, just buy a tarp instead and invest the money you saved elsewhere. Don’t forget hammock straps to attach your hammock to the trees.

If you dislike the idea of sleeping suspended in the air, a more traditional camping setup may work better for you. Most campers will have a ground mat, bedding, and some sort of environmental protection.

A ground mat is a must have, it insulates you from the earth and helps provide some cushion. A sleeping bag or even emergency bivvy should be good enough bedding to keep you isolated from bugs and other critters. But unless you plan on getting a waterproof bag, you need some sort of shelter. A tarp can be used as a makeshift tent or shelter, if you don’t want the weight of a single person tent.

When planning your route, keep an eye out for natural areas that offer shelter. An overhanging rock or abandoned house could provide much better protection than an open field.

Another element of shelter is fire. As we will discuss in the food section, for a short-term bug out you should try to avoid drawing attention to yourself, and fire certainly draws attention. If at all possible avoid starting fires, as the smell and smoke are sure to draw people’s gaze. Nevertheless, you should have the resources available to make a fire if need be. Pack a simple Bic lighter as your primary fire source. A good backup that works, even if it gets wet, is a firesteel. Just make sure you practice with the firesteel beforehand so you know what you need to get a fire going.

Last on the idea of shelter is personal protection. Try to plan your route to avoid unnecessary encounters with people, but prepare for conflict, because wherever people are there are problems. A nice non-lethal defense option is mace. You should already be planning on carrying a survival knife, which could be used for intimidation or protection, and the last place to look to is a firearm. A personal defense firearm is a lot of weight to carry but very useful if needed. A small pistol can be tucked away from sight so you don’t look like a threat from a distance. If you are traveling through what you expect to be a very hostile area, you may be able to carry a rifle, depending on the severity of the situation. Just remember that many states don’t allow open carry of rifles, and just because your world may be collapsing doesn’t mean that you won’t get arrested or shot for looking like a threat. If at all possible avoid open displays of weaponry unless absolutely necessary.

Letter Re: Felons Voting

Here’s a list of states that allow or don’t allow felons to vote. I really don’t know how I feel about this, because I know several people personally that have been to prison who truly turned their lives around and are good people now. I’m also a little unsure about restoring 2nd amendment rights to them, too. Shouldn’t a person be able to defend himself? On the other hand, I don’t want predators running around armed. Like the law will stop that, but still… I guess restoring rights could be on a person-by-person basis, but the time and resources that would take would probably be massive. I’m obviously conflicted over this. If the bad guys would stay bad maybe it would be easier. In a case like what happened in Oregon, if convicted, when they get out would we want people like Bundy to not be able to vote? I think this is a subject that can get into very deep (philosophical) water very fast. – C.J.

Economics and Investing:

Items from Mr. Econocobas:

What Americans Spent The Most Money On In Q1

U.S. Economy Slows, with GDP Growing 0.5% in First Quarter

This Is Where America’s Runaway Inflation Is Hiding

Video: Greg Hunter USA Watchdog – Bill Holter-Without Price Suppression Gold Would be $5,000 to $10,000

Video: Greg Hunter USA Watchdog – Gregory Mannarino-We Are Living In an Environment Where Nothing Is Real

Items from Professor Preponomics:

US News

United Healthcare Cries Uncle (Citizens Against Government Waste) Excerpt: “More than half of the non-profit Obamacare-created CO-OPs have collapsed, wasting billions of tax dollars. It’s predicted that most will eventually go under, in spite of the dubious accounting gimmicks the Obama administration provided to keep them afloat.”

As Obamacare Collapses, Prepare for Single Payer (Independent Sentinel) Excerpt: “The findings fulfill all expectations of Republicans and suggest that Obamacare is a complete waste of money. No business would have survived such a massive failure.”

Conservatives Can’t Let Obamacare’s Collapse Go to Waste (Conservative Review) Excerpt: “Conservatives need to be ready to explain why and to present solutions, because advocates for fully socialized medicine will be ready to turn the collapsing exchanges to their advantage.”

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/election/article72215012.html#storylink=cpy”

International News

Italy Bank Lifeline Buys Time as Atlas Shows Herculean Task (Bloomberg) Excerpt: “…Italian banking authorities are calling for these lifelines as they race to shore up a financial system burdened by 360 billion euros of doubtful loans, an amount equivalent to almost a quarter of the nation’s gross domestic product.”

Greece’s Debt Crisis Looks Familiar, but Consequences May be Worse (Financial Times) Excerpt: “While Europe’s political class has been consumed with preventing refugees from entering the EU and Britain from exiting, the mother of all EU crises has slowly and quietly been gathering steam again: Greece.

Personal Economics and Household Finance

Get Ready for Huge Obamacare Premium Hikes in 2017 (The Fiscal Times) Hold on to your wallets. Contact your state insurance commissioners in protest. Excerpt: “I’ve been asked, what are the premiums going to look like?” she said. “I don’t know because it also varies by state, market, even within markets. But I think the overall trend is going to be higher than we saw previous years. That’s my big prediction.”

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Odds ‘n Sods:

Once again, the duplicity of the Federal Government is exposed: U.S. Has Not Told Panama, Costa Rica to Stop Flying Thousands of Illegal Aliens Close to U.S. Border – Sent in by B.B.

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Prison Time for Illegal Alien Who Crossed River to Rob other Illegal Aliens. Him they’ll prosecute – G.L.

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It’s somewhat simplistic but good information to know: Seven Survival Uses for a Tarp – G.G.

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Professional Educator: Showing Up On Time Is A Form Of White Supremacy. “In Hackman’s telling, virtually everything associated with being a good student in modern education is actually just a tool of racist white supremacy.” – It’s passed time to get your kids out of this system. – T.P.

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Camping Survival has just received their first shipment of bulk T.P. -If you want in on it, now is the time.