Readers’ Recommendations of the Week:


Reader A.G. recommended The Invisible Front – a story of resistance against Soviet occupation post WWII.

o o o

G.S. suggested the movie The Way – a story about an American ophthalmologist who goes to France following the death of his adult son while walking the Camino de Santiago. The father decides to walk the trail himself while coming to terms with his son’s death.

o o o

DMS usually recommends movies but this week suggested the music of Jordan Feliz. He especially enjoys the song The River

o o o

W.E. recommended the book The War Journal of Major Damon “Rocky” Gause.

Readiness Mindset: Your Most Important Survival Tool- Part 1, by B.G.

Whether prepping for a EOTWAWKI situation or any potential disaster or emergency in everyday life, the most important and powerful tool at your disposal is your own mind. A person can have all of the fanciest survival gear and equipment, but without the proper mindset and training it is all nothing more than a cool looking, expensive pile of useless junk. Even a person who has studied countless books, guides, and manuals for every survival situation imaginable can be rendered completely inept in the moment of an emergency, when all that knowledge is needed the most.

If you wish to avoid being one of those who either freezes up in indecision or breaks down under the stress of the moment, then you’ll need to cultivate a mental and emotional toughness that will get you through any circumstances life may throw at you. With the proper knowledge, practice, and training, … Continue reading

Letter Re: Realities to Off-Grid


Just wanted to share that the bucket toilet seats don’t last long, only about five months. You need to build a wooden box and put on a real toilet seat. You will get a build up in the bucket over time and bleach doesn’t clean it. Pour boiling water over the sides and bottom and it will come out clean and odor free.

Laundry done by hand will need a place to drain, since you can’t wring it out as well as a machine. You can use a wringer, but it doesn’t do well for jeans and sweat shirts, et cetera. A strong bar over the bathtub suspended on a frame of sorts will let it drip. A tray needs to be put under the folding drying racks, if you wring by hand.

Candles are not great. They take up space and you need so many to light up … Continue reading

Recipe of the Week: Easy Hamburger Potato Soup

Inspired by last week’s recipe, Reader A.N. sent one of her favorites in:


  • 1 package of Bear Creek dry potato soup mix
  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey (cooked)
  • 8 cups of water


  • Heat water to a boil.
  • Slowly whisk in the dry potato soup mix.
  • Add ground beef.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Serve with shredded cheese, scallions, grated carrots, or whatever suits your fancy.

    o o o

    Useful Recipe and Cooking Links:

    Do you have a favorite recipe that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers? Please send it via e-mail. Thanks!

    Letter Re: Alien Gear Holsters

    Jim and Hugh,

    Several weeks ago, in your “News from the Redoubt” column, you mentioned a company out of Idaho for IWB (inside the waistband) holsters, named Alien Gear Holsters. I have just about every type of (outside) belt holster and most work just fine for my needs, but I was in need of an IWB so I decided to give them a try. I’m glad I did.

    I was planning on an Internet order on Sunday evening when the hours on their website said they were still open (I live in the eastern time zone and they in mountain), so I called and got the most pleasant person who took my order for two holsters (one auto and one revolver plus one extra auto “shell”).

    Not only do they have very fair prices (my three items came to a total of around $80 incl. S/H), but both their service … Continue reading

    Letter Re: Pat Cascio’s Product Review: AR-7 Rifle


    My main criticism of the AR 7 is with a little work they could have made room for a box of 22 ammo in the stock. It’d have been much better then relying on carrying separate ammo and hoping they stay together.

    I have some time flying in the bush in Alaska. Sentiment seems to be that if you crash and can get out of the plane it may well burn, and you better have all your critical stuff on you or real close. I carry a handgun, 44 magnum, and a small butt pack when I fly. It’s all on me. If I get out, it gets out. The 44 is loaded, and I have two speed loaders– one with shot shells. The butt pack has lighters, flashlights, compress bandage, two heat sheets, mirror, compass, and string, and a few other things I can’t remember. … Continue reading

    How to Make and Utilize the Most Excellent Tinder Sticks For Starting Fires, by D.A.

    Okay, when the lid comes off civilization and things are fun again, you don’t want to be the numbskull sending up a smoke signal that can be seen from space, just trying to get a fire going. You want to be the guy who kneels down for a bit and brings forth fire, like Prometheus or somebody that gets things done.

    I am going to teach you to make tinder that will stay lit and accelerate your fire. It will be inexpensive, too.

    Then you will achieve success in building a fire so you can finally crack open that can of Dinty Moore and be popular again. Your amazement will be towering.

    You’re going to need some stuff. However, let’s do this “on the cheap”. Cheap is good. It’s refreshing. Use tools you may have or can get really inexpensively.

    Stuff you will need:

    1. Big chunk … Continue reading

    Letter Re: Pat Cascio’s Product Review – AR-7


    Every so often Pat hits a “homer”. The AR-7 review was another very well thought out and informative article by a person who I have much respect for. A couple of points on the current AR7: one the big orange front sight is not a negative, as it is currently manufactured for those of us getting a little older and needing a little help, and that orange blade is just that. Another aspect is to buy at least 10 extra mags for each gun. First, as Pat stated, you can keep one in the receiver and that allows two extra to be stored in the butt stock, for a total of three. Also having extra loaded mags at the range is a big plus. The only negative with this rifle is the slip on butt stock cover; it presents an accident waiting to happen. I have … Continue reading

    Maintaining Your Household in the Post-SHTF World- Part 2, by S.T.

    Wood Stove Cooking

    The same recipes that you use in the summer with a wonder oven you can also cook in the winter on a wood stove.

    The Ice House Keeping Food Cold or Frozen in the Hot Summer

    I do not have ponds or horses and buggies to move large blocks of ice during the winter, so I must improvise.

    During summer, when cutting and splitting firewood, this will be done over a tarp so that the sawdust can be collected and saved in buckets.

    When winter is full force, I have 10 each of the 20-gallon Rubbermade totes that I can set outside. If these totes are filled at approximately 1/2” with water every couple of days until the the rubber totes are filled to approximately 3/4 full, they will then provide blocks of ice that can provide the cold needed to keep food cold during the warm … Continue reading

    Letter Re: Velcro on Tactical Gear

    Dear Hugh,

    A very nice alternative to velcro pouches is made by the folks at UW Gear. They use a “tuck tab” feature that doesn’t use velcro, snaps, or buckles. This uses a stiff piece of webbing that “tucks” into the tab on the front of the magazine pouch. There is nothing to wear out here and should be easy to clean if snow or mud somehow gets in there. They make chest rigs, bandoleers, and standalone pouches. To my knowledge, they currently can make these for 5.56, 7.62×39,5.45, and 7.62×51. It is a little bit of a wait time to get things from them, since it’s a small company, but I’ve found their quality and customer service is excellent. I had them make me a custom three magazine bandoleer for my S&W M&P 15-22 magazines, so that rifle has a piece of load bearing gear to go with it. … Continue reading

    Maintaining Your Household in the Post-SHTF World- Part 1, by S.T.

    Today I washed clothes the easy way:

  • I placed the clothes in the washing machine, added homemade laundry soap, and turned it on.
  • When the washer was done, I transferred the clothes to the dryer and turned it on.
  • When the dryer was done, I removed the clothes from the dryer and folded everything.
  • While my automatic washing machine and automatic dryer are working, I am sitting here typing this. I do this three times every week– once for my family, once for my father who can not navigate his basement stairs, and once for my aunt who also can not navigate her basement stairs.

    Every household chore in a post-apocalypse environment will also require more work, from hauling or pumping water to chopping firewood to canning food. You will also have additional chores to make and replace the store-manufactured goods that you now purchase, such as bath soap, laundry … Continue reading

    Two Letters Re: Velcro on Tactical Gear


    My experience with the hook-and-loop closure system is, that it works fine while it is new and clean, but deteriorates quickly. Lint is one of the biggest enemies, along with cheat grass and other vegetable contamination.

    We have velcro on a camera case closure, and one time it came in handy when a moose was headed toward us with its hackles up. Zip, and the moose made a 90-degree turn to the left and trotted away.

    But in situations where the noise could draw fire, a snap is usually less loud. Better yet, unsnap your retainer early on, before the sound is so likely to telegraph your intentions. Practicing damping the sound of snaps by applying finger pressure to the metal, and making a slow, controlled release of the popping parts. (Same applies to the safety controls on weapons. For example, the “AK clack” can be overcome by lifting … Continue reading

    Surviving the 2015 Fire of Lake County California- Part 2, by B.G.

    Looters- Lessons Learned

  • You don’t need to be an expert killer to deter an attacker. The people who loot an evacuated area are generally cowardly. You need only appear more of a threat than the average person.
  • Buy a gun, learn to use it, but don’t obsess. The survivalist fantasy of defending your home against squads of organized killers is just that– fantasy. What is more realistic is that you will stumble into the opportunist that thinks “mandatory evacuation” means “no one is at home”.
  • Encounters can happen any time. If you are staying, start carrying a gun shortly after mandatory evacuations are called. Stay out of sight and in an area were it is unlikely for anyone to sneak up on you. Getting the drop on an intruder is 99% of the game.
  • Dogs or geese are very useful. The food and water you need to keep them alive … Continue reading

  • Letter Re: Velcro on Tactical Gear

    Dear Hugh,

    Regarding the use of Velcro on tactical gear, I have something which might be of importance that I would like to share.

    Due to an old athletic injury, I wear an ankle brace for both stability and compression on a daily basis. I have been wearing a brace of one kind or another for more than 40 years. I currently use a brace employing an elastic wrap around with a Velcro closure. It is both convenient and holds tight.

    Until, that is, the Velcro begins to wear out. With daily use it does wear out rather quickly.

    I have to replace my brace about twice a year. As the Velcro wears out, it no longer holds the elastic in place.

    In a SHTF situation, consider several things: A. Your gear is going to get dirty; as Velcro gets dirty, it is not as effective, and cleaning it is … Continue reading

    Readers’ Recommendations of the Week:


    Movie recommendations from DMS:

    If you don’t have time for a movie, Best speech ever to a father/ future husband.

    Finding Normal (it’s not what you have, it’s how you live).

    The Book of Esther.

    Do You Believe?


    Just Let Go (a true story of forgiveness)

    Like Dandelion Dust (yes, this actually happens)

    The Greening of Whitney Brown.

    The Railway Man (WW2 true story/parental warning: graphic torture)

    o o o

    Reader STS wrote in to suggest “The Great Human Race” on NatGeo, suggesting that those with an interest in early bushcraft techniques might find it interesting.

    o o o

    Do you have a movie, video, or book you would recommend to other SurvivalBlog readers? If so email us.