Letter Re: Constructing In-House Caches

I have just finished listening to the audiobook of your novel Expatriates with great enjoyment. Eric Dove does a great job voicing the various characters and, to this yank’s ear, a credible “Aussie” accent was required. I wanted to add a bit to the account of Chuck’s rifle hide behind wall paneling. I am a cabinet maker and have spent more than a few hours puzzling over the various problems and pitfalls of concealed storage. Several are present in Chuck’s solution. While I do not like Velcro (as it wears out, accumulates litter and makes noise) if dots are to …




Second Chances, by Dirt Surgeon

Introductory Note: I originally composed this story in August of 2011 just months after our family went through a devastating event.  At the time of writing the essay was short, sweet and to the point.  I have reconstructed my family’s journey of the past 24 months to the present. Thanks for all that you and others do by sharing information, educating and inspiring the thought process. It is my hope that this short family history will provoke some to think about their lifestyle, what is important and the effect an event like this has on a family. Four years ago …




Loss Prevention for Your Long Term Retreat or Bug-In Location, by Manatee

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. For the preparedness minded individual, this old cliche couldn’t be more important. In my primary profession in the insurance industry, I observe on a regular basis all sorts of damage that happens to people’s homes. Today, there are ample available supplies to repair damage, contractors to complete repairs, and insurance coverage to help cover the costs. Tomorrow, we may not be so lucky. This is where our “ounce of prevention” comes into play. Whether you are preparing to live through a short-term event, a natural disaster, a grid-down event, or …




Selecting a Retreat, by M.D.L.

The last time I sent an article to SurvivalBlog [The Secret Prepper, in May, 2013], I told of how I was secretly preparing for the possibility of the “S” hitting the “F”.  Well, I’m proud to say that I’ve finally come out of the shadows and into the light.  The lesson I’ve learned is to quit worrying about how much the Band Aid is going to hurt and just rip it off.  It wasn’t all that hard and my life is better for it, even if my family has taken several opportunities to fashion me an aluminum foil hat. That …




What a Flash Flood Can Do To Your Preps, by Skylar

Last week I returned home, after being away for a few days, to find a good portion of my preps under 30 inches of scuzzy water due to a flash flood that hit my neighborhood.  They were stored in my unfinished basement that also housed a permanent sump pump installed in one corner which was supposed to prevent such flooding. When I started down the stairs to the basement I was met with a really strong musty smell.  I couldn’t get down the last 3 steps due to the high water.  I noticed a couple of my #2.5 cans of freeze dried food …




Letter Re: Mass Versus Bullets (and Hail Stones and Gamma Radiation)

James, I appreciate seeing some folks trying to build some sort of fallout shelter, as these may, unfortunately come in handy someday soon.   Since I build these for a living, I thought I’d throw some basic suggestions out there for the readers. For simple fallout shelters, assuming that blast will not be a factor, above ground concrete walls should be 24 inches thick (or better if you can afford it!).  Walls below grade can be a mere 10 inches thick.   Ceilings:  24 inches will provide fair protection, assuming “rainout” does not occur in your locale. [The Swiss shelter building code …




Michael Z. Williamson Re: Mass Versus Bullets (and Hail Stones and Gamma Radiation)

Dear Jim, I notice that 5.56 is again getting an unrealistically bad rap.  It’s not as powerful as many other rounds, but some online epithets seem to suggest you can hide behind a sheet of paper and be safe. As a reminder, I’d like to repost the following demonstrations from the fine folks at Box O’ Truth: 5.56 will go through four interior walls. It will shoot a hole into an engine block. A steel front door may stop shotgun pellets, but WILL NOT stop 5.56mm. Level IIIA body armor without plates will not stop 5.56mm. Car doors will not …




Letter Re: Mass Versus Bullets (and Hail Stones and Gamma Radiation)

Hello James, I read your blog every day and enjoy finding information that is useful. Recently a posting discussed the use of the 5.56 mm NATO bullet and its poor performance in penetrating automobiles.   I took notice of this information about the penetrating power or lack of penetrating power of the 5.56 in relation to single and double barriers. We moved onto our five acres of land nine years ago. One of the first building projects was to have a contractor installed tornado shelter set in the ground. Then over the next two years I added a 16’x20’x50” high …




Making Your Home Less of a Target Once The Lights Go Out, by W.K.R. in Kansas

Like most of you I have been preparing for the bad times to come. I have made plans with food stores, water, guns and ammo, etc. In my desire for knowledge and to be as prepared as possible I’ve read anything I can get my hands on and I surf the Internet nightly, I also have an impressive library. I have gleaned what I could from all this and fortified where I can. My major concern now lies is in how to protect my family and supplies that I have worked so hard and diligently on, along with personal sacrifice …




Letter Re: Be Prepared to Fortify

Jim: A few comments on Mountain Man Virgil’s letter titled “Be Prepared to Fortify.” I would like to offer a few alternatives to his plan to “hide security measures in your garage until you need them.” I am assuming that he is referring to items such as barbed wire and sand bags. There are many things one can do which offer very good security and still blend in with the neighborhood. Large decorative rocks, strategically placed or large treated logs as garden or flower beds can offer excellent cover and concealment. Large livestock water tanks of metal or heavy plastic …




Letter Re: Be Prepared to Fortify

Sir, One thing I often hear from folks who live in the suburbs is, “Oh man, you’re so lucky, you can totally take your mountain cabin and make it an armed fortress.”  That’s not exactly true.  While I do have a retreat in a rural area, I do still also have neighbors up there.  We are on acre+ lots, so there is space.  But if I started stringing barbed wire and digging a moat, it would raise a few eyebrows.  Not only might I get a visit from the DHS (or the People’s Republic of California equivalent), but my neighbors …




Letter Re: Building Cabins on a Shoestring Budget

Dear CPT Rawles, This letter is provided as a reply to your reader who wrote in about “Building Cabins on a Shoestring Budget”. There are two viewpoints to this reply, one from the vantage point of an architect with a couple dozen years of real world design and construction experience as though one of my clients was cabin builder whom I was trying to advise, solely for a cost effective, build – as-you-go, off grid home solution. The second vantage point is that of a fellow prepper, former Army National Guard Infantry Lieutenant, and in my present role as an …




Letter Re: Building Cabins on a Shoestring Budget

Dear CPT Rawles, Thank you for SurvivalBlog, and best wishes to all of you at the Rawles Ranch.   My wife and I have written to once before about retreat locale recommendations, and you were so very helpful.  We are, I guess what you could call “late preppers” because we’ve only been working on this for about the last year, & part of that with admittedly a certain skepticism. Time has proven you right however, & now we are doing all we can.  It’s tough to prioritize when you need so much, and everything is like an emergency right NOW …




Letter Re: A Dual Ring Village

Mr Rawles, thank you for the service you provide. A comment on the dual ring village concept. If it is advanced as a defense tactic, I would urge remembering that the walled-town versus siegecraft dynamic is thousands of years old, and the survival of walled towns and cities is only possible if they are: 1. Provisioned to last longer than the besieging force, which is of course free to forage and be resupplied 2. Fireproof 3. Relieved by a friendly force from outside. They are also utterly obsolete since the development of artillery bombardment, still more so since the airplane …




Letter Re: A Dual Ring Village

Dear Sir: I am taking this time to write, because you express an interest in solutions that provide enhanced security and prosperity for people. I, too, like the idea of a fortified village, instead of isolationism. One possible solution, the dual ring village (DRV), is based on a simple idea. Imagine a line of mixed use buildings – something like the 1890s in New York City. Stores on the street level, with apartments above. Take that line and wrap into a circle. Take another line of buildings, and wrap that into a circle, placed within the first circle. The result …