Maps Can Save Your Life, by S.B.

How often have you heard yourself or others along with you on a road trip mutter four letter words when your GPS unit directs you to a road that isn’t there?  Or worse yet, you end up on a trail in the wilderness that your brand new hand held GPS unit does not have on it?  The next question that comes to mind is, where am I and how do I get to where I need to go?  In the best of circumstances there are detour signs and friendly road side workers that can direct you back to a known …




Bug Out and Strategic Planning Aids Using Freeware and Open Source Software, by Josh M.

The following is intended to introduce some free computer resources to use for disaster planning. Topics covered are Bug Out Route planning, neighborhood  resource identification, and offline data back up. My background includes growing up in the Arizona desert. Living forty miles from town and two miles to the nearest neighbors encourages one to be self reliant. Later in life I moved to and still live in the Pacific Northwest. During most of this period I was in complacent consumer mode. After the birth of my two children I began to question my abilities to provide for my family in …




Letter Re: Maps of Caves and Mining Districts

Mr. Editor: I was wondering if you could tell us a resource online where to find the locations of caves/mine shafts, or other underground shelters around the country.  I have tried to do this unsuccessfully, maybe a reader knows?  Thanks. – Robert R. JWR Replies: That goes a bit outside my expertise. I’m not a spelunker. Perhaps some SurvivalBlog readers have bookmarked some good web sites or could recommend a few books.




Incorporating Preparedness into Your Everyday Lifestyle, by Mike M.

My foray into prepping began over a decade ago after I became hopelessly lost in the Adirondack Mountains.  My birthday falls on October 24th and on this particular year, the day was uncharacteristically warm.  I felt the urge to take advantage of my good fortune by scouting out some new area for the upcoming deer season.  Telling no one of my intentions that day, I jumped into my four-door beater sedan that I fondly called “The Kevorkian” and resolved to boldly go where no man had gone before.  I went off the beaten path and drove the Kevorkian down some …




Letter Re: OPSEC Issue: Geotagging on Pictures from Smart Phones

Dear Mr. Rawles, With the proliferation of smart phones, as well as advanced cameras with GPSs installed, people may be giving away more information than they intend to when they snap and distribute pictures. This can be an operational security (OPSEC) issue. Embedded in the Exchangeable Image File (EXIF) data on the picture, the GPS coordinates of the picture location may be stored for anyone to access. This is especially a problem as people post these pictures online (for social networking, emailing to friends/family, or for online sales, etc.). This embedded GPS data can reveal the exact location of your …




Non-Electronic Navigation, by Noil

In the modern world more and more people are dependent upon their electronic devices to get them from point A to point B. But what happens when those devices stop working? It can happen either through a natural cause such as a geomagnetic storm, or something man-made like electromagnetic pulse (EMP), a terrorist [cyber] attack, or war. What the majority of people do not realize is that the GPS satellite network is owned and operated by the US Department of Defense. In a case of martial law or an act of war on US soil, civilian access to GPS may …




Letter Re: Making Land Navigation and Stealthy Movement Fun

Taking a page from my Marine Corps training from way back and utilizing the civilian environment which we are in I believe I have come across a fun way for groups/families to practice land navigation (land nav) and stealth/concealment at the same time. I have two young teen age children and have been trying to teach them land nav which is somewhat fun for a short time but they haven’t really gotten it yet. One thing kids really like is hide and seek another is to camouflage up. I liked it and in the past become very proficient and blending …




Long-Term Preparedness and the Eight Mechanical Arts, by J.D.

It’s one thing to prepare for an unexpected event that you can ride out in the course of a week or two; secure, defensible shelter that functions without the grid, a store of food and water, and stockpiles of essentials such as ammo and medical supplies may be more than enough to last until the disaster passes and social order is restored. But what about long-term survival in the face of TEOTWAWKI?  I’ve always found it instructive to study how we lived before 20th-century innovations such as electricity and refrigeration and potable water piped right into the kitchen. It wasn’t …




Letter Re: Wife Rescue–Another Tale of GPS Over-Reliance in the Backcountry

Dear Editor: I am writing this hoping to let others learn from my families’ ordeal. Our summer camping trip almost became a search and rescue operation. From July 8th to the 18th, several friends and I ventured into the mountains of Arizona for a leisurely cooler [high country] camping trip. During the first half of this trip I had my three daughters with me, while my wife had stayed home near Phoenix. She planned to come up the last weekend of the camping trip as she is not a big fan of camping. I had planned ahead for her and …




Letter Re: Practice Night Hiking to Get Ready to Bug Out to Your Retreat

The following describes my recent “dry run” at bugging out on foot. I’ve been thinking that someday soon I will be in need of backpacking over to my group’s retreat. So I created a plan to make a dry run. I grabbed my basic day pack (a Camelbak hydration pack with the minimum goodies in it.) My load included, three liters of water, simple folding knife, space blanket, fire starter, single pen of bug stuff, a few Cliff bars, and speed loaders for my Ruger .357 Magnum. I also had spare batteries for my head lamp, and a bottle of …




Map Reading and Land Navigation for G.O.O.D. Planning, by SSG Q.

Having the equipment and skill necessary to travel cross-country can prove to be very beneficial in a number of survival scenarios.  A key component to cross country travel is map reading and orienteering.  The equipment that you will need for this is a map, a lensatic compass, and a US Military Square 5×5 protractor. The first item of equipment that we will cover is maps.  Different maps serve varied purposes.  A map used for navigating cross country will look very different from the maps that you are familiar with for use with travel on highways and paved roads.  For cross …




Updating the Ancient Art of Caching, by C.W.B.

It was the summer of 1985 and I was deep in the rain forest near the ruins of the ancient city of Tikal in Guatemala. Talking over the cries of howler monkeys, the guide showed us a small cave that had been uncovered on the side of the road. He told us this was one of many caches archeologists had found around the outskirts of the crumbling city. Some had contained only empty containers, and some had been full of grain and other food items. Could some of the citizens of Tikal, preparing for what they saw as the inevitable …




Letter Re: Nefarious Uses of Google Earth

Howdy Mr. Rawles, I had two comments to add to the conversation about thieves using Google Earth to steal koi. First, when we typed our address into Google Earth, it popped to a house about a 1/4 mile from us (we checked that fact many times, not just once, so it was not a typo on our part). That was just ducky with the family, as it helped our farm stay invisible. After reading about the koi thefts, I decided to check on Google Earth again. I was so disappointed when it popped right to the farm this time! The …




Letter Re: Nefarious Uses of Google Earth

Sir; In response to what Art A. wrote about the koi thieves. I want to add an aside that I don’t know if you covered in your Google Earth piece. I work for a municipal police agency. Google Earth is widely used with the agency to be able to view locations of potential suspects. It is particularly informative when serving search warrants on large compound-like properties as it alerts officials to the location of all building, etc., as well as other things located on the property. When chasing criminals it seems a good tool but when the government decides that …




Letter: Re: Errant Guidance from Vehicular GPS Systems

Dear Editor: I often find myself visiting family in the mountainous areas of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky. I can’t believe how incorrect my TomTom can be. I first got it because I’m a bit of a gear junkie and I’ve got one on a boat in the Canadian Great Lakes area which has always been very accurate. This Christmas, I was blessed enough to be able to be off work from the fire department and went to visit my mother in North Carolina. Little did I know that I-40 has been shut three miles into North Carolina from …