Saying Goodbye to the Worst Camo Pattern, Ever

In 2015, with the rollout of Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP)—a slight variation of the Crye Multicam pattern, the U.S. Army announced that it is nearing the end of issuing the much-hated Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP, also known as the Army Combat Uniform or ACU), a conspicuous grayish blob pattern that is actually prominent against most natural backgrounds. The transition from the UCP to OCP Multicam is taking four years. The last day that the UCP uniforms are still authorized for wear for the U.S. Army will be September 30th, 2019. All that I can say is, good riddance to the blob! In my estimation, the UCP is about the worst uniform issued since the French used sky blue tunics and pants in World War I. In the context of survivalism, the grayish UCP utility uniform is suitable for use perhaps only in sagebrush country. Because UCP uniforms and packs will be hitting the surplus market in huge numbers in the next two years, they will be bargain priced. I fear that some preppers might be tempted to buy them, just to “look military.” But unless you live in a region that is dominated by sagebrush, I must warn you: Don’t … Continue reading

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The Fallacy of the Bugout Bag, by J.C.

I began my quest to become self-sufficient in a bug out situation sometime around the end of 2004 or the beginning of 2005.  My first purchase, if I recall was a gravity fed water filter and a small solar battery charger.  The old saying that one can live three weeks without food but only three days without water, in hindsight is what drove me to that purchase.  I don’t regret buying it to this day, but the chances that it will be with me in a true bug out situation, are slim to none. Before I go any further I would like to state that there are numerous different scenarios in a survival situation and that each requires its own skill set and supplies in order to get through them.  In two of those three scenarios, that big gravity filter will be worth its weight in gold. There is the shelter in place scenario, during which weight, bulk and duplication of gear and supplies mean very little.  In fact, during a shelter in place scenario, in nearly every instance, the more the merrier.  There is also a shelter in or near vehicle scenario.  Here bulk does become a problem.  If … Continue reading

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I Love Sharp Things, by Phil M.

In any survival situation a defective tool is pretty much worthless and will cost you dearly in frustration or even your life. I’m sure you can think of a lot of examples. Effective tools are a big part of my life and most all of them need to be sharp, and some of them very sharp, like chisels and planer blades. When I started thinking of all the tools that I keep sharp the list started running into the dozens, everything from a potato peeler to a chainsaw. A lot of you are like me in one way or another as far as needing something with a keen edge to get the job done. For instance, the little scissors for trimming those pesky nose hairs or loping shears for the trees and shrubs. All of us have knives in the kitchen drawer or knife block, but how many of them are sharp and I mean really sharp. From experience I can tell you that most are not very sharp at all. Many examples of this come to mind like taking fresh baked bread to a neighbors party and asking for a bread knife that turned out to be so dull … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Tracking Dogs

Dear Editor: I have some experience with dogs that were specially-trained to track living humans, and with cadaver dogs. I agree with the previous Tracking Dog posts regarding restrictive points of terrain and/or infrastructure. In any escape route, there are always certain areas of heightened vulnerability, which an experienced team of searchers will not disregard. The Texas Rangers at one time (reportedly) enjoyed an annual manhunt in the Texas Panhandle. They would seek volunteers from vetted and trusty inmates whose reward at the end of the day, would be the day’s freedom and a good meal. The inmate would be given a head start before Rangers, handlers, and dogs from a local state penitentiary would sally forth in pursuit. The Rangers and dog handlers were usually on horses and I don’t think they ever ‘lost’ a trustee. Before this practice fell in disrepute, the trustee manhunts provided great training with the captured inmate returned to the general population unable to remain at large, certainly sending a message to the inmate population. I will always remember one real-world dog-assisted manhunt: A deputy sheriff had been murdered during a vehicle stop. Good police practice led to the department knowing whom the deputy … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Tracking Dogs

Dear Editor:I would like to relate my experiences with tracking dogs that are not even trained. We had a beagle who was born mostly blind. She was a pet. She had an incredible sense of smell that I have seen in other trained hounds, but not in a pet. We would bring her to our children’s high school, which had 2,000 students. I would put her in the front of the multi-building facility and command her to “Find the kids.” She would start off walking making big S-shaped turns as she headed to and between the buildings. All of a sudden the large sweeps would stop, the dog would change her demeanor and now she would head in a straight line with just her head moving side to side. She had the trail. At that point you could just follow her and she would locate my children very quickly. I would not believe that a dog could pick out my two kids trails from among 2,000 stinky students  at the front of the school but she would do it any time we brought her. Once upon the trail, nothing would distract her and to get her to stop would require … Continue reading

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My Favorite Materials for Clothing, by B.A.

Not being a survivalist, nor being flush with cash, I am constantly amazed at the number of times people are told to buy the newest and greatest items for their family’s welfare. Sure, if the money was available for the average person to buy the newest “gee whiz” items all of the time, we would never have to worry about TEOTWAWKI, because by the time we have finally gotten through all the fancy gear once, we would be dead of old age. In response to an outdoor sports catalog that I brought over, my mother said to me, “American’s will all starve to death, but they will look good while they do it.” Of course, I was raised poor. I knew it, because there is plenty of people in this world who are more than happy to remind a guy of it. You did not ruin stuff; because if you did that, you then did without. Hopefully, your older cousin was changing out his wardrobe, so you had more than socks and underwear that were new. I remember having to do gym class in high school in boots, because my shoes were worn out. Yes, I eventually was kicked out … Continue reading

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Odds ‘n Sods:

Former Congressman DARES Loretta Lynch to Prosecute Him in Scathing Rant – Submitted by RBS o o o One key point that can be concluded from the San Bernardino terrorist attack is this: The attack took place soon after an argument at a social event, but the Farook couple already had some bombs prepared, and the parts to build more. So it is likely that they were a sleeper cell and that self-activated, ahead of schedule. I suspect that they were actually intended to be part of much larger simultaneous attacks–perhaps even by dozens of sleeper cells–all across the country, at a later date. That attack is very likely still in the works. Be vigilantly prepared for a defensive response locally, folks! Be armed. – JWR o o o A consulting client in the UK asked me about the availability of the Rawles XL Voyager knife, which was made to my specifications. They are indeed available in England, but be prepared to pay 97 British Pounds ($147), plus another 20% in Value Added Tax. (A total of around $177, plus postage. Ouch!) Readers in the U.S. will find them much more affordably-priced at the Lynn Thompson Special Projects web site. … Continue reading

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How to Use Paddle Wire for Survival by Prepper Ray

A couple of weeks ago one of my prepper friends stopped by and said: “Check this out” he hands me a small spool of green wire. I was intrigued, what is it? Trip wire? Snare wire? “It’s both and much more,” he said. After he told me a few of the ways it could be used, it became clear to me that Paddle Wire was the one missing component in my survival gear. If you don’t have a good supply of Paddle wire or never even heard of it, you wouldn’t be alone. Paddle wire is a low-cost 22 to 24 gauge green enamel coated florist’s wire. It’s used in the making of floral arrangements. Typically it comes on 100′ rolls and it is commonly available at any Dollar General store, almost all craft stores and even your local Wal-Mart. If you just simply can’t find the energy drag yourself out of the house, then Amazon along with hundreds of online retailers sell it online. Do yourself a huge favor and pick up a few rolls of it. At a cost of about $2.00 per 100′ it will be money well spent in a SHTF disaster. I now keep at … Continue reading

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Pat Cascio’s Product Review: Cold Steel’s Survival Edge

For many years, I’ve looked that the Cold Steel web site as well as their printed catalogs, and saw among their fixed blade knifes a survival-type knife, with a hollow handle – called the “Survival Edge” and I just didn’t understand why it was in the line-up. To my mind, it just looked like a “cheap” hollow handle survival knife – one that doesn’t really belong in the Cold Steel line of fantastic knives. Lynn Thompson (Cold Steel’s owner) and I have been friends since the early 1900s and if there is one thing we have learned about each is the fact that we can always be open and honest with each other – never taking offense at each other’s comments or thoughts. So, I never really wanted to order the Survival Edge, thinking that my testing would result in a poor article on the knife. One day, I had an e-mail from my contact at Cold Steel, telling me that two of the Survival Edge hollow handle survival knives was heading my way – at there quest of Lynn Thompson. Remember, I didn’t request samples. Lynn took it upon himself to send them my way. “Oh great, I sure … Continue reading

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Base Layers and Their Differences – Part 2, by A.S.

If you recall from the first installment of this article which was posted early this month, I discussed the start of base layering principle which I am sure most people are very familiar with–especially those who read this blog. I also brought up the types of material used such as Polypropylene, Merino wool and the new fibre Tencel. In this installment I want to break down some information on the other layers involved and give my thoughts from long time use of garment materials that work in longevity. Goretex jackets are great for hikers and for those who take trips you maybe10 or 15 times a year in the great outdoors, but they are not suited for day-in, day-out wear/ This because once the waterproofing membrane has worn down by either rubbing on pack straps or other wear points such as where a [holster or] knife sheath is attached, you will see major wear problems. Then your expensive jacket will be pretty much useless. However, before I delve further into my solution, I want to go back to Merino wool and then the layers from the initial skin thermic layer and explain the differences between wool weights that are on … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Trail Shelters and the Hantavirus Threat by Zac T.

Hello All, In an effort to remove oneself from the vectors in a trail shelter I’d suggest never going in to a trail shelter… Carry and bring your own solution with you. After hiking for 10 hours, nobody is going to break out their N95 mask and wet mop down a shelter to remove the virus risk. The best someone can hope for is to remove themselves from the now known threat and avoid the pests causing it. Hennessy hammocks come complete with a rain fly and mosquito netting that you zip yourself in for the night. No bugs, and no mice. However, some people can’t comfortably sleep in them, some can. It is best to figure this out before shelling out the cash. Once you borrow and try one, carrying a complete solution for camping out replacing your tent for a hammock is a good bet. What I found personally is that tighter ropes make a more horizontal sleeping area, I don’t like having my feet above my head. Everyone is different so you have to find what works best for you. Yes, you still could sleep on the ground using a tarp lean-to, but when it only takes … Continue reading

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Hypothermia: Prevention, Identification, and Treatment, by Stonecold

Hypothermia is a condition wherein the core body temperature drops from its “normal” temperature, with normal being between 97.7 and 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Some symptoms, in order of increasing seriousness, are cold extremities, mild shivering, mental confusion, muscle incoordination, severe shivering and shaking, combativeness, paradoxical undressing, and cardiac arrest. A drop in core body temperature of as little as three degrees can result in these symptoms and eventually lead to death. Hypothermia should be a concern with anyone who lives in Western Washington, given our wet, temperate climate. Its prevention, identification, and treatment must be in the forefront of our minds while operating outdoors for periods longer than one hour; it is as important as proper hydration and nutrition. Hypothermia will not only decrease your individual readiness, it will also affect team readiness, as a team member with hypothermia will divert resources from the team’s operational capability. A five-person team can be rendered ineffective, if just one member becomes hypothermic. This article will explore the prevention, identification, and treatment of hypothermia. Prevention: Clothing An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In Western Washington, staying dry is the best preventative. Staying active, fed, and hydrated are close seconds. … Continue reading

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