Gear Up — Appropriate and Redundant Technologies for Prepared Families

I frequently stress the importance of well-balanced preparedness in my writings. All too often, I’ve seen people that go to extremes, to the point that these extremes actually detract from the ability to survive a disaster situation. These range from the “all the gear that I’ll need to survive is in my backpack” mentality to the “a truckload of this or that” fixation. But genuine preparedness lies in comprehensive planning, strict budgeting, and moderation. Blowing your entire preparedness budget on just one category of gear is detrimental to your overall preparedness. Another common mistake that I see among my consulting …




Letter Re: Some Technologies for Retreat Security

Jim I’ve put together a few ideas on retreat security that I haven’t seen on your great site. I may have missed them but I think they would bear repeating. I presently live near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but will soon be moving to my 280 acre ranch in central Nevada. What got me to write this was a realization during my semiannual chore of servicing the emergency generator. Changing out the gas (It is also set up to run it on propane) changing the oil, and testing the circuitry, I realized that what I thought was a good setup was actually …




Letter Re: A Recent Fire Evacuation Experience

James: Last weekend my town was threatened by a pretty big fire. Dozens of homes burned, thousands of citizens were evacuated. My neighborhood was among those ordered to flee the advancing flames. (Drama!) My family was prepared to leave ahead of time and evacuated safely in large part because of the advice and encouragement I have found at SurvivalBlog. Thank you. I did learn a few things. Theory flies out the window when panic is in the air. What is organized and prepared ahead of time actually works, what is thrown together at the last minute tends to fall apart. …




Letter Re: Advice on Stocking Up on Batteries

Sir; I was wondering: How many batteries should I store for all my radios, flashlights, smoke detectors, and so forth? I’m also planning to get night vision goggles, soon. I assume rechargeables, right? If so, what kind [of rechargeables], and who has the best prices? – T.E. in Memphis. JWR Replies: I recommend buying mainly nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries. Stock up plenty of them, including some extras for barter and charity. Unlike the older Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) technology, NiMHs do not have a “memory” effect. (The diminished capacity because of the memory effect has always been one of the …




From the SurvivalBlog Archives: Start With a “List of Lists”

Start your retreat stocking effort by first composing a List of Lists, then draft prioritized lists for each subject, on separate sheets of paper. (Or in a spreadsheet if you are a techno-nerd like me. Just be sure to print out a hard copy for use when the power grid goes down!) It is important to tailor your lists to suit your particular geography, climate, and population density as well as your peculiar needs and likes/dislikes. Someone setting up a retreat in a coastal area is likely to have a far different list than someone living in the Rockies. As …




AA Cells and Mobile Power, by Brandon in Utah

The size AA battery is the ubiquitous form of mobile power that is presently available. There is a large amount of off the shelf devices that use AA cells. They are available everywhere at low cost. They are cost effective and very safe for lighting. The breadth and depth of equipment available in a portable format is unparalleled by any other type of battery. I will cover the known factors on how to care for and use this resource to help end users get the most out of their equipment. To start, some general information that covers all types of …




Prepare or Die, by J. Britely

Throughout my life I have been caught unprepared several times and while nothing seriously bad happened, it easily could have.  I have been lost hiking.  My car has broken down in very bad neighborhoods – twice.  I have been close enough to riots that I feared they would spread to my neighborhood, been in earthquakes, been too close to wildfires, been stuck in a blizzard, and have been without power and water for several days after a hurricane.   I managed to get myself out of each situation, I thanked God, and tried to learn from my mistakes.  I could have …




Sources for Free Survival and Preparedness Information on the Internet, by K.L. in Alaska

Recent comments in SurvivalBlog provided excellent advice on using the public library. You can gain lots of knowledge with no expense, then purchase only those books you want to keep on hand for personal reference. Also, many colleges and universities loan to local residents, so you can use them too, even if you aren’t a student. If your local libraries participate, a great resource is Worldcat. It lets you search for books from home, then go check them out, or get them through interlibrary loan. What will happen to the Internet when the SHTF? There’s no guarantee it will survive. …




Letter Re: Retreat Security–Lessons Learned from the Rhodesian Experience

Jim: After giving it some thought [to post-TEOTWAWKI retreat security], I think we need to study many of the homestead/farmstead fortifications used during the [late 1970s] Rhodesian Bush War and to a certain extend in rural South Africa in the present day. Of course, one would need to adjust for legalities so one would not be breaking any laws. – Lame Wolf [JWR Adds: Lame Wolf also sent us a great quote from a letter by “Rhodesian” that was first posted at the Small Wars Journal (SWJ) web site. BTW I recommend the SWJ site–in particular their Reference Library pages–as …




Letter Re: Coleman Fuel–Uses and Storage Life

Hi Jim, According to Coleman’s web site, Coleman fuel can be stored for 5 to 7 years. I wondered if a chainsaw with the correct oil additive run on Coleman fuel. So I did a web search, and this is what I found, over at the Timebomb 2000 (Y2K) Discussion Forums, posted back in 1998] – E.L.: Coleman Fuel the Final Word! Boy What did I start? I have seen more rumors and half truths about Coleman fuel since I posted that it did work on engines!! Coleman fuel is a very highly refined version of gasoline! It has no …




Your Life in Your Pocket by John T.

A significant part of being prepared and being able to weather a crisis is having information. Remember, those in charge now will make it their first priority after TSHTF to return to the status quo. Banks and mortgage companies will do everything possible to continue banking and lending. Landlords will do whatever it takes to make sure they continue to collect rent from their tenants, and any police or military personnel you come into contact with will be very unhappy if you cannot prove who you are or otherwise deflect suspicion. You can call having critical information available during and …




Disaster Proof Your Home, by “Decay”

In today’s survival forums much emphasis is placed on issues such as Bug Out Bags (BOBs), Main Battle Rifles, or Bug Out Vehicles (BOVs) These are important but I feel that it is critical that we also remember to return to the basics in an emergency situation. It was through my neighborhood Emergency Training program that I was reminded how fragile our homes, apartments, and neighborhoods can be during and after a disaster. Before flooding, hurricanes, tornados, famine, pestilence, plague, war or martial law. You and your family should get prepared so that you will be ready for anything that …




SurvivalBlog Reader Poll: What is Your Profession?

I’m amazed at the wide variety of people that read SurvivalBlog. I”m starting a new poll: in seven words or less, tell us you profession, (via e-mail) and I will post an anonymous list. For any of you that are doctors, lawyers, or engineers, and so forth please state your specialty. If you have two (or more) vocations, please state the both with a slash in between. (Such as “neurosurgeon / musician.”) As standard policy, unless specifically given permission I remove people’s names, titles, e-mail addresses, company names, and other identifiers from letters before I post them. Without mentioning any …




Fuel Storage for Survival Retreats, by Flighter

The world runs on petroleum. Imagine a post-apocalyptic period when the local gas station is closed, and has been for two years. How will you carry out your daily activities? Generate electricity? Pump water? Plow your garden, or fields? All of these can be done by hand, and have been for thousands of years. Modern life has given us tools to help with these chores, and we can store the tools, and the food for them, for quite awhile. Gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, kerosene, Coleman® fuel, and other petroleum products – all can be stored. For long term survival …




Three Letters Re: Bullet Casting: A (Relatively) Simple Introduction, by AVL

Hi Jim, I have two notes regarding casting your own bullets (or any other metal for that matter): First: One piece of safety equipment that you really should have on hand when casting any metal is dry sand. Make sure you have at least 25 pounds of dry sand at the ready. If there is a metal spill, dump the sand on it and it will contain the flow and cool it quickly, plus it will cut of the supply of oxygen, preventing fire. Second: A fire extinguisher is good to have to put out fires, but with molten metal …