Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“Something happens when an individual owns his home or business. He or she will always invest more sweat, longer hours and greater creativity to develop and care for something he owns than he will for any government-inspired project supposedly engineered for the greater social good… The desire to improve oneself and one’s family’s lot, to make life better for one’s children, to strive for a higher standard of living, is universal and God-given. It is honorable. It is not greed.” – Rush Limbaugh, The Limbaugh Letter, 1993




Note from Jim:

SurvivalBlog is now just one week old. We’ve already had 4,700+ unique blog accesses and more than 108,000 page hits. Therefore, I surmise that we must be doing something right. If you find this blog useful and informative, then please help spread the word! Please send a brief e-mail, BCCed to the folks on your personal e-mail list. This blog and the associated FAQs are available free of charge. But the only way that I can afford to keep up this level of effort is if we increase readership and thus attract some more advertisers. I greatly appreciate your help!




Safety in Numbers

If you are setting up a remote retreat you should definitely plan ahead to double up or even triple up with other capable families to provide security, as described in my novel Patriots. The manpower required for 24 hour, 7 day a week, 360 degree security should things go truly “worst case” with a complete breakdown of law and order is tremendous. One family with just two adults on its own cannot both provide security and handle the many chores required to operate a self-sufficient retreat–particularly in summer and fall with gardening and food storage tasks. The physical and emotional …




Living There–or 11th Hour Get Out of Dodge

One dilemma often faced by would-be retreat owners is that they are chained to the Big City because of work or family obligations. Ideally, you should live at your retreat year-round. It will give you crucial experience in gardening and animal husbandry. And of course you will be there to keep an eye on things. One crucial intangible benefit to living at your retreat year round is that you become a “neighbor.” If you don’t move in full-time you simply won’t be considered a neighbor. This can take years. Building neighborly relationships may be crucial WTSHTF. You do not want …




The Trouble With Caretakers

So are you “stuck” in the Big City? You make a great salary and can afford to buy a retreat, but you can’t telecommute. Finding a trustworthy caretaker for a retreat can be problematic. I have one close friend who has a large, very elaborately prepared retreat in the Inland Northwest: A big house, shop, springs, ponds, a year round creek with a micro-hydro generator, photovoltaics, diesel and gas storage, you name it. My friend found a man from the local church who agreed to be a renter/caretaker. He charged him just a nominal sum for rent, with the understanding …




Commercial Storage

One compromise approach is to leave you retreat house unoccupied and rent a commercial storage space in the town nearest your retreat. I have one friend who leaves his retreat cabin virtually empty. All that he keeps stored there is some second-hand furniture, four cords of firewood (in a locked shed) and a pair of underground gas and diesel tanks, which have their filler and dispenser necks camouflaged by a rusting clothes dryer and water heater–part of a junk pile. He rents a 12 foot x 25 foot commercial storage space that is crammed full of all of his gear. …




Letter Re: Retreat Plans on a Budget, and Finding Like-Minded Friends

I have a couple of questions 1.) I agree that the best possible course of action for TEOTWAWKI would be to have a retreat. Today you described how strategy’s like the “Batman in the Boondocks” approach, or “RVing” would probably fail. How does someone who does not have a retreat, (or the funds for one) plan? 2.) In your book “Patriots“, the main characters had formed a group years in advance. How does one find like-minded individuals to join groups such as theirs? Talking to your neighbors about things like this get you labeled as a kook pretty fast. JWR’s …




Letter: Feedback on Mobile Retreating

Jim, great blog! Another issue you might mention with regard to sailboats – piracy is currently an issue on the seas, particularly off the coasts (in the Americas) of Nicaragua and El Salvador. It’s a huge issue in the Indian Ocean. Also, most foreign governments have very close to a zero-tolerance policy on weapons of ANY sort. A bluewater sailor who put into Mexico after suffering storm damage a few years ago was thrown into jail for having an AR-15 onboard. His original plans were to sail to the Canal Zone and then to Florida. It took more than a …




Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“Is the American tradition of self-reliance disappearing? That’s a painful question for conservatives to ponder. After all, we’re dedicated to reducing the role of government and promoting individual freedom and opportunity. But the facts, while sad, are clear: More Americans today depend more heavily on government than ever before.” –Edwin Feulner




Note from Jim:

I just added a seventh Retreat Owner Profile. (For “Mr. and Mrs. Yankee.”) I’d appreciate getting some more profiles to show greater diversity of geography, finances, and retreating approaches. How about someone from the South? Or someone from overseas? Send ’em in! (I’ll handle the editing and fictionalizing/de-attribution.)




In Town Versus Isolated Retreats

There are two distinct modes of fixed location survival retreats: ”In Town” and “Isolated.” The former depends on some local infrastructure while the latter is designed to be almost entirely self-sufficient and self-contained. Isolated retreats are also often termed “remote” retreats. Not everyone is suited to tackling the tasks required for self-sufficiency. Advanced age, physical handicaps, lack of trustworthy family or friends, or chronic health conditions could rule that out. If that is your situation, then you will probably want to establish an inconspicuous “in town” retreat rather than an isolated “stronghold” retreat. If opting for “in town,” buy a …




In Town Versus Isolated Retreats

The late Mel Tappan wisely opined that if your house is at the end of dead end of a road at the edge of town with no close by neighbors, then it might just as well be five or ten miles out of town–since it will be psychologically outside of the invisible ring of protection that will constitute “in town.” Post-TEOTWAWKI, the “we/they” paradigm will be forcefully if not painfully obvious. If you are “in town” you will benefit from a de facto Neighborhood Watch on Steroids. Make sure that your retreat is either clearly “in town”, or not. A …




Count the Access Roads

A town situated in a hilly or mountainous region is preferable to one on open plains in the event of a worst case. Why? If and when roadblocks are needed to turn back the tide of refugees and looters, then towns on plains simply have too many vehicular ingress routes. By comparison, hill or canyon towns are typically limited by terrain to having just a few ingress routes. If the situation dictates that each ingress road must have defensible roadblocks, each manned 24 hours a day 7 days a week by three to 10 armed men, then the manpower requirements …




Practical and Tactical Vehicles

Buy vehicles that will blend in day-to-day, but that will be eminently practical WTSHTF. Say, for example, a crew cab 4WD pickup with range tanks, towing package, and a camper shell. Select one with both the body and camper shell in flat earth tone colors–like a forest green body with a tan shell. Do not get a vehicle in a camouflage paint scheme. That will instantly brand you as the local whacko. Stock up on some cans of flat brown, green, and black paint to use to paint over the chrome trim, but only do so after the balloon goes …




Modifying Your Retreat House: The Basics

Before I go into detail on how to make you retreat/home nor defendable (as I will in subsequent posts), here are a few basics: Buy a house with at least one more bedroom than you currently need, preferably with a full basement. (Proviso: A basement only if the local water table level will allow this without aid of an electric sump pump. It must have a “dry and tight” basement!) Stock up on extra tools, sturdy clothes, food, guns, web gear, and necessities for family and friends that will surely show up on you doorstep on TEOTWAWKI+1. Don’t do anything …