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: Hunkering Down in an Urban Apartment in a Worst Case Societal Collapse

Hello, In the event of a disaster (I live in New York City) I intend to shelter in place until all the riotous mobs destroy each other or are starved out. I am preparing for up to six months. I have one liter of water stored for each day (180 liters) and about 50 pounds of rice to eat as well as various canned goods. I have not seen on your site anything about heat sources for urban dwellers who intend to shelter in place. I’m assuming that electricity would go first soon followed by [natural] gas and running water. …




Four Letters Re: Extended Care of the Chronically Ill in TEOTWAWKI

Mr. Rawles: Every once in a while, at topic comes up that I feel somewhat qualified to comment on. I’ll offer some miscellaneous comments on Dave T’s letter and your thoughts on medicine WTSHTF, as posted on SurvivalBlog. This is not meant to be exhaustive, and of course may not apply to your particular situation. Since I can’t see you, its hard for me to diagnose you or give you specific advice. Disclaimers all ’round. Chronic renal failure: It may be worth learning to do peritoneal dialysis if you may have to help someone deal with this condition in a …




Letter Re: Extended Care of the Chronically Ill in TEOTWAWKI

Hello Jim, I am a 10 Cent Challenge subscriber and have looked at your site daily — great job! I have a medical background and would advise readers to consider what gear they will need if a friend, relative or team member becomes ill, hurt, disabled etc. The basic first aid supplies will not provide the level of comfort et cetera needed. We are talking basic nursing care, not “first aid”. Take care, stay safe and God Bless! – Dave T. JWR Replies: Thanks for bringing that subject up again. Aside for fairly some brief mentions (such as photovoltaically-powered CPAP …




Letter Re: Useful LifeHacker Articles

Mr. Rawles: There are so many great and not-so-great ideas on the LifeHacker site including this one I found showing you how to use C cell batteries in place of a D cell compartment in an emergency situation: There are some other interesting things on this site like creating make-shift air conditioning systems using cold well water (others have made emergency air conditioners using beverage coolers, fans and copper coils): DIY Heat Exchanger and Make Your Own Air Conditioner. There is this one showing you how someone made hand washing more efficient while filling the tank of his toilet. [JWR …




Letter Re: How to Make Old Fashioned Homemade Soap

Mr Rawles, I’m looking forward to trying Grandpappy’s wood ash soap making technique. I’ve tried it before, but unfortunately only was only successful once. I might add, although unavailable as Red Devil brand in the grocery stores, lye is easily available from online soap making and chemical supplies. [JWR Adds: It is also available via mail order from Lehman’s–one of our Affiliate advertisers.] Another source, if you live in oilfield country, is to find a friend who works on a[n oil] rig. They get it in 50 pound bags and it’s pure and fine for soap making, hominy making or …




How to Make Old Fashioned Homemade Soap (Part 3 of 3), by Grandpappy

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: How to Render (Melt) Animal Fat: Beef fat is called tallow and pig fat is called lard. Poultry fat is too soft to be used by itself, but it may be used in a ratio of about 10% with tallow or a tallow-lard combination. Bear fat may also be used but it must be melted (rendered) quickly after the bear has been killed because bear fat will quickly become rancid. You may also use the fat from farm animals such as sheep or goats, and a variety of wild animals, such as beaver, opossum, raccoon, and groundhog. If …




How to Make Old Fashioned Homemade Soap (Part 2 of 3), by Grandpappy

How to Make Special Types of Soap using Grandpappy’s Homemade Soap Recipe: All-Purpose Soap and Bath Soap: Use 50% beef tallow and 50% pork lard in Grandpappy’s Homemade Soap Recipe. Facial Soap: Use 25% beef tallow and 75% pork lard in Grandpappy’s Homemade Soap Recipe to make a soft facial soap. Laundry Soap: Use 100% beef tallow in Grandpappy’s Homemade Soap Recipe. Soap Flakes: To make soap flakes, rub a bar of hard soap made from 100% beef tallow (or any other hard fat) over a vegetable or cheese grater (shredder). Soap Powder: To make soap powder, dry the above …




How to Make Old Fashioned Homemade Soap (Part 1 of 3), by Grandpappy

During hard times sooner or later everyone runs out of soap. To make soap you only need three things: 1. Rainwater, 2. Cold ashes from any hardwood fire, and 3. Animal fat from almost any type of animal, such as beef, pork, goat, sheep, bear, beaver, raccoon, opossum, groundhog, etc. All soap consists of the above three ingredients in one form or another, and that includes bath soap, dish soap, laundry soap, and hair shampoo. Soap is not difficult to make and it does not require any special equipment. And soap can be made from things that exist in large …




Letter Re: Garage/Shelter for RVs as a Retreat Option?

Jim- A few days back a contributor asked about hardening up her mobile home. That reminded me of a plan I have been considering over the last couple of years. This might work for those who can’t relocate now to their retreat. I was motivated to write because I just saw a news report of a family offering a considerable reward for the recovery of their ATVs which had been stolen from their vacation cabin.[My idea is to] develop a retreat location with: 1. A water supply and septic tank and [leach] field (all disguised, to discourage squatters.) 2. Underground …




Letter Re: The Formulary Book Mentioned in the Novel “Patriots”

Mr. Rawles: First, I’d like to thank you for your novel “Patriots”. I bought it and read [the 31 chapter edition] in 2002, and loved it. I implemented many of your suggestions, and have my bug out bags prepared and ready. I especially have medical supplies on hand. I have been trying to remember the name and author of a “formulary” book I believe you mention in Patriots. You said it was out of print but showed how to make things like paint, if you had no paint. You said it was a fixture on American farms at the turn …




Letter Re: Chemistry Knowledge is One of the Keys to Survival

JWR: I’ve been thinking about a recent Internet writer who argued that we aren’t headed toward the 1890s [technology/infrastructure] (we should be so lucky); we’re headed toward 10,000 BC! (Due to oil depletion and resultant social chaos and die-off). Regardless of “where we land,” it seems that among all the technologies at the disposal of humans, sustainable and not, chemistry is ubiquitous. Everything, or most everything we do or use involves use of chemical technology. The survival issues involving chemistry are obvious: soap, diesel fuel, disinfectants, water purification/decontamination, powder for ammo, etc, beer and wine, to name just a few. …




Letter Re: Advice on Where to Learn Practical, Tactical Skills

Dear Jim: As my confidence in the dollar depreciates and my desire for skills increases, I’m wanting to convert FRNs into hands-on knowledge. What weeknight or weekend workshops would you recommend? Are there any places where you can learn Army Ranger skills without joining the military? Animal husbandry, and so on? – Spencer JWR Replies: There is a tremendous wealth of free or low-cost classes available–enough to keep you busy every weekend of the year if you are willing to drive a distance. If you have time and just a bit of money, you can get some very well-rounded training …




Three Liabilities Addressed: Refrigeration, Sanitation, and Fuel, by James D.

One of the biggest problems for the survivalist is the lack of refrigeration, since the cost in energy is just prohibitive, especially in the multi-generational scenario. Normal refrigeration uses an electrically driven compressor to compress a refrigerant (a liquid that boils at room temperature) turning gas to a liquid. For the survivalist, ammonia is the refrigerant of choice, and at the proper pressure (since it is normally a gas), it will act as a refrigerant, although other chemicals may be added to improve performance, including water and salts. When the liquid boils it will cool the surface that the refrigerant …