Five Common Mistakes New Preppers Make and How to Avoid Them- Part 2, by S.M.

Practicing Poor Opsec (continued) There are a lot of different ways to see if a person is receptive to prepping or whether they are sheep. Help those who ask for your help or are interested in becoming prepared. I actually put together an easy 30 day pantry list and have been asked for a copy by several people shortly after the “winter weather” discussion I mentioned earlier. They can easily grow from there on their own. Some other great topics that you can work around to a preparedness conversation that I like to use are: Civil Unrest. Everyone is discussing and following politics right now, and I frequently hear people who worry about riots, civil unrest, and martial law. The Economy. More people than I would have originally thought are concerned about the markets being artificially propped up or skewed data from the BLM. Many times these conversations lead to discussion of the possibility of a massive economic collapse, the fall of the petro dollar, and other related topics. The Backpack Gun. I’m including this one because honestly I am surprised at how often it leads to connecting with like-minded folks. I am always in the market for good deals … Continue reading

Letter Re: Hunting for Self Sufficiency

James, I’ve been a follower of your blog for many years and find it both a good resource and a great way to keep your ear to the ground among all the survival/prepper sites that trend to sensationalism and speculation. Patriots was my first real fiction and began a great love of survival fiction. Thirty or forty books later and daily searching for solid tips on the prepper blogs, I believe the time has been well spent. My wife and I live alone, and due to a degenerative neurological affliction neither one of us can work and I am her 24/7 caretaker. We were blessed with a good nest egg, so I struggled to make wise decisions on what hard assets and survival items to purchase and what training to take on. At this point, we could probably subsist for a year on our food stores, with both medical and dental supplies, as well as utilizing assets. The expectations were realistic, and we adhered to the one is none adage, and days if not weeks of research are done before purchases were made. My personal justification for a substantial purchase was to require that the purchase would be a contribution … Continue reading

Five Common Mistakes New Preppers Make and How to Avoid Them- Part 1, by S.M.

Those new to prepping, and even those more experienced, will often find themselves overwhelmed with not only information that is often conflicting but with tasks. “Where do I even start?” is a common question. It is my intention to help you become less overwhelmed and more organized in what you will soon realize is a marathon journey rather than a sprint. In doing so, I will attempt to keep my particular opinions to a minimum and just provide helpful information to the readers. Failure to Properly Assess Your Situation There’s an old saying, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” This could not be truer than when it comes to survival. Failure to assess your individual situation from the beginning can and most likely will leave you more unprepared than you would like to believe. If you are new to prepping and just getting started, the first thing on your list should be a complete assessment. If you have been prepping for a while and have not done a proper assessment of your specific needs, then now is a good time to do so. Some of the things to consider are: Bug In, or Bug Out? A … Continue reading

Letter: Discounted Freeze Dried Food Sources

Hugh, I’m reasonably sure lots of your readers are aware, but just in case… Costco (online) has lots of freeze dried foods at really good prices compared to other vendors online. Apparently they buy overstock from many suppliers. Anyway, I just got a case of six #10 cans of Mountain House Breakfast Skillet for $149 with UPS shipping included in the price. Also, I got a case of MH Chicken Stew for $139, with the same free shipping deal. The prices of these items are usually between $185 and $200 PLUS shipping at three of the popular online providers. (I won’t mention any names.) Costco also has low cost freeze dried products from several other manufacturers with the same deal of free UPS shipping. No, I don’t have stock in Costco, but a deal is a deal. Thought you would like to know. – B.

Survival Escape and Evasion, by Nemo

When reading survivalist literature, on various blogs and in fiction, there are many good ideas and suggestions, but often suffering from an idealization of circumstances, both before and after “the event”, which throws all into confusion. On the one hand, preparations for disaster are too often haunted by the twin hell-hounds of over-confidence and the myth of universal preparedness. Over-confidence, in that the prepper is assumed to have unlimited financial resources and time to purchase the items suggested and to acquire the training needed to do various things. Universal preparedness, being a myth, is based on the idea that the things prepared for are the things one will have to deal with. Reality is a sloppy mess at times, and the things that happen are often not the things one has thought to deal with. Chaos is always bubbling under the surface, and in a SHTF scenario, chaos bursts to the surface. Therefore, it is not theoretically possible to be prepared for anything and everything. One can prepare for those things one has the imagination to project out into the future, but one cannot prepare for that which has not been imagined. On the subject of bug out bags and … Continue reading

Letter Re: Heathkit Radios

Editor: I disagree with the letter regarding the unsuitability of Heathkit (vacuum) tube radios for EMP protection. Let me elaborate: Lethal voltages: While you really don’t want to tangle with +700 VDC, the most lethal voltage in any radio is that which comes from the wall outlet: 120 VAC. AC fibrillates hearts (we use it for that purpose in cardiac surgery); DC defibrillates hearts (done that many times). Requires 120 Volts AC: Unless you get the 12 volt power supply (I have two). Or solar power / inverters.…right? No cooling fan: Well, they rarely need it! My primary rig is more than 40 years old and going strong! Digital modes do indeed have high duty cycle (though actually not 100%), so turn down that mic gain appropriately. Watch the specs on solid state rigs also; they may not be spec’d for high duty cycle either! Tubes show a nice cherry color; transistors may just quit. No easy way to turn down the power: It is possible if you know how to run the rig. For example, on the HW-101, see pp. 140-141 of the manual. If you adjust that mic/cw level control, you can pick any power you want! Yes, … Continue reading

Letter Re: Venezuela

Hey, SurvivalBlog, With the recent post Letter Re: Venezuela eating worse by J.D., I thought I would chime in, as I have been researching the situation in Venezuela recently. While I am not going to attempt to draw a conclusion for the situation in Venezuela, I would like to present everyone with some of the information I have found interesting with how the narratives have changed over the years and attempt to answer one of J.D.’s questions. 2005 In March of 2005, an article was written discussing that Venezuela’s environment was under stress. 2007 Former President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, began projecting the narrative that Venezuela was going to lead the way to save the environment by investing in energy conservation efforts. 2009 Electricity shortages began with power cuts lasting up to six hours at a time. Venezuela hosts the world’s third largest hydroelectric dam, which produces 60% of Venezuela’s power, with 74% of their power being generated by hydroelectric technology. The narrative during 2009 was comprised of two causes for energy shortages– low water levels due to drought and under-investment of infrastructure by the government. 2011 More campaigns of energy conservation with the narrative stating the cause of the … Continue reading

Recipe of the Week: Crock Pot Noodles, by J.G.

Ingredients: 1 to 1-1½ lb. ground beef or turkey 2 pints pizza sauce l can mushroom soup, slightly thinned l lb noodles 4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded 1 medium onion, chopped Directions: Brown meat in skillet. Cook noodles until about half done. Layer in crock pot (in this order): a portion of meat, noddles, sauce, cheese, soup, onions Repeat layers until ingredients are used. Do not stir. Cook on low for 4 hours. 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: Long Distance Vision and Night Vision

Dear Sirs, I really enjoy reading your blog, but I have a question to ask you. I am blind in my right eye and I am having trouble trying to find a long distant vision and night vision for a one-eyed person. Do you have any suggestions? – R.H. HJL’s Comment: The PVS-14, carried by several of our advertisers, is an excellent choice for night vision. It is a monocle and is used on only one eye. It is commonly worn on the dominate eye, allowing the non-dominate eye to be used for peripheral vision. Without the use of your second eye, you will not have this peripheral vision, so you will need to plan accordingly. Ready Made Resources and JRH Enterprises currently have great prices on them. You can still use regular binoculars for long vision, but you may want to look into a regular monocular type for that as well, or you can go full nautical with a hand-held telescope. My personal favorite is an antique brass telescope that belonged to my grandfather. It is not very resistant to abuse though.

A Micro Solar Power System With Maximum Utility, by B.C.

Necessity being the mother of invention, I recently stumbled backwards onto an inexpensive and truly totable way to power two-way radios, shortwave, and other receivers; charge smart phones and iPads; provide lighting; quickly purify water on the go; keep night vision functional; enable electronic security systems; and pump rainwater to a gravity tank, while protecting all these functions from EMP in the interim. I will quietly be turning 50 next month. I joined the survivalist movement in the early 1980’s, at the tail end of that upswing of interest in such things. Vietnam was still fresh in our minds, and the cold war in full gear. There were movies, magazines, and books but not the saturation made possible by the Internet today. I still have issues of Mother Earth News that I saved from the seventies and a survival book copyrighted in 1978. Having endured the Blizzard of ’78 in Ohio as a child, Hurricane Hugo in college, and been hit by the Blizzard of ’96 in Atlanta, the day after arriving for graduate school I had long recognized the necessity of radios for listening to broadcasts and so I accumulated many different ones powered many different ways. I even … Continue reading

Letter Re: Using EMP-Hardened HF Ham Radio

Hugh, I strongly recommend against using any Heathkit rig for an emergency radio. There was one solid state Heathkit but it was a rebadged, factory assembled Yaesu. All others were built by an individual, whose attention to detail you most likely have no idea about. They are known in the hobby as “GRIEF kits” for a GOOD reason. They fail – early, and often. They have too many disadvantages for the emergency backup purpose. Besides all the ones mentioned by the original author: They have high (LETHAL) voltages inside. They require 120V AC power. They have no cooling fan on radio, nor power supply, and these digital modes are 100% duty cycle on transmit. They have no easy way to “turn down the output power”, and hence avoid detection (OPSEC), and save precious (AC) power. They are old, and WILL fail. (Did I mention that before?). Tubes are fragile, if one needs to transport the rig. Tubes themselves are becoming increasingly hard to find, and costly, and it adds to the cost of a set of spares (you WILL have spares, right?)….you will soon approach the cost of a modern, solid state radio that runs on a 12V battery. There … Continue reading

Building An Infrared Triplight (and Other Ideas), by ShepherdFarmerGeek

Here’s an idea for how to build a tripline-activated infrared light that will illuminate a path or area when triggered. The person passing through will not know they have triggered it, and an observer with a night vision device will be able to see the person better than with only ambient light and without activating their own infrared source/spotlight. Why set up triplights? The reasons would be to: (a) alert you to the approach of someone at night, (b) to help you identify the approaching person(s), and possibly even (c) to help you target the approaching person if you absolutely, positively identify them as a hostile and they present an immediate threat to you and yours. Buy a Photon infrared micro-light: http://www.photonlight.com/led-flashlights/specialty-ir-infrared-led-lights-illuminators/ Open the back, and remove the battery. Estimate where the drill bit needs to enter, right behind the tiny plastic block that the diode wire rests on (on the side between the block and the keyring hole). Use a push pin to start the hole for the drill. C-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y drill into the hole started by the push pin and straight through the light to the other side. (I used a 1/16 drill bit.) Bend a big metal paper … Continue reading