Training for Truly Defensive Driving, by K.W.

After a long day of work, where you had plenty of motivation to get your rear in gear and start working on your projects, you hop in the car for the drive home. As you grab 5th gear, good choice on driving a manual, and look over your left shoulder to merge on the highway as a truck 200 yards in front of you just dropped a huge pile of tree branches in your lane. You look ahead as you are merging and see that pile of branches! What do you do? Time is quickly going by, and so is the distance. Hitting this pile of tree debris just might disable your fancy Prius that gets so many miles per gallon, let alone the fact you may be injured severely. Hit the brakes and the driver that was only feet behind you as you merged might end up in the middle of your car. Instinct takes over in a situation like this. Your instinct was to physically lock up and slam on the brakes, you hit the pile of debris and the driver who was texting rear ends you causing major injuries sending you to the hospital in a Helicopter … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Hurricane Matthew–Some Lessons Learned

JWR & HJL: That was another great article [on Hurricane Matthew]! A suggested alternative that I have adopted is buying a turbo diesel automobile and truck.  The benefits are simple and yet many people still have not discovered the option. Here are a few:My VW tdi as an example gets about 43 miles per gallon, so with a 15 gallon fuel tank it achieves about 600 miles plus on a  tank, and by adding three NATO style 5 gal metal cans (15 gallons total) in the trunk I have a 1,200 hundred mile cruising range. That is hard to beat. Another advantage diesel in several scenarios I have been through was that diesel will still be available when regular gas is sold out.  In my own testing, diesel is not nearly as volatile as gasoline. Diesel stores for 3 to 4 years without stabilizers with no noticeable degrading (in my own experience and only use 55g al metal drums or 5 gal current NATO style gas cans). [JWR Adds: It stores even longer with an anti-microbial stabilizer such as PRI-D added.] You can buy diesel at the service stations and transport it in any type of container without violating any … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Hurricane Matthew–Some Lessons Learned

Good Morning, SurvivalBloggers, SurvivalBlog recently had a very good list of hurricane preparation tips in Hurricane Matthew–Some Lessons Learned, written by a Florida resident. As a former 20+ year Florida resident I’d like to add to his excellent piece. In Florida, hurricanes are a way of life, and the period from June 1 to November 30 is known as “hurricane season.” The period from December 1 to May 31 is known as “not hurricane season.”  “Not hurricane season” is when one should be doing their preparation for the other six months. During “not hurricane season” one can find plywood on sale occasionally, generators are plentiful, frequently at reduced prices, and contractors and handymen are available. “Not hurricane season” is when one purchases plywood (tip: thicker is better), cuts it to fit windows and vulnerable doorways, drills mounting holes in it and labels each sheet as to which window or door it fits so installation can be done faster when a hurricane arrives during “hurricane season.” In short, anything non-perishable that one might need during “hurricane season” is procured and gotten ready during “not hurricane season.”  This includes laying out multiple travel plans to escape direct contact with a hurricane. As … Continue reading

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Selecting the Perfect SHTF Vehicle, by W.L.

So, you’ve got your bug out bag packed and ready to go, survival supplies laid in at your bug out location, and you keep your powder dry. Have you stopped to consider how you’re going to move people and gear around? Traveling on foot is slow (about two miles per hour for the average person) and your hauling capacity is limited to 50 or 60 pounds of gear, food, ammo, et cetera. More realistically, take a look at recreational backpackers; their goal is to carry no more than 30 pounds for movement of 10-15 miles per day. If you are bugging out with a family and children, the task becomes even more difficult, since they won’t be able to carry all of their own supplies. Let’s face it, you’re going to need a vehicle when the “S*%# Hits The Fan”. The question is, what type of vehicle is the best choice? A quick Google search will produce some crazy suggestions. I have seen articles recommending a quarter million-dollar military MRAP (Mine Resistant Vehicle); a $60k highly modified, brand new Toyota Tundra pickup truck; a surplus military HMMWV; and a Mad Max creation of unknown origin. Sure, these make for cool … Continue reading

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Winter Survival- Part 2, by R.C.

In Your Vehicle In this part, we will discuss how to survive in your vehicle. We have all seen the news of cars stuck in a trafic jams or abandoned on the side of the road. Then we listen to the mayor or some emergency management guy telling us to stay off the roads, not to abandon our vehicles, or please not walk down the middle of the plowed street because the sidewalk is now shoveled. As a former snowplow operator and first responder, I would have to agree. Stay home, and keep your kids home if it’s a bad storm. If you must go out, wait until after rush hour, or leave before the traffic gets heavy. Give yourself plenty of extra time to get where you are going and leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. It’s important to mentally prepare yourself for the idiot drivers, being late, and to not freak out when an emergency vehicle is trying to pass you. Keeping your vehicles properly maintained will help keep you on the road, literally. If you cause an accident you will get a ticket, and if you have poor tread on … Continue reading

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Two Letters Re: Bug Out Boats

Hugh, I don’t know if this is the kind of information you like to pass along. A coworker was planning to live on a sailboat. My brother had lived on a sailboat for a year, so I asked him for suggestions. His advice to help prepare you for the experience: Buy a good shredder and set it up beside your basement entrance. On Friday, shred your paycheck on your way into the basement. Huddle in a cramped corner, preferably under a leaky pipe. Don’t come out until the end of the weekend. – S.R. o o o Hugh I have not seen a topic that has generated so many positive comments as this one on this site for a while. A few years ago this was discussed here and I wrote in about my plans for a bugout retreat. My preference was a small lake island inland or a small offshore island which could be defended by a few people for a short period of time during a reset crunch period. The reasoning was in part a group of people trying to get at you would need some type of craft to get to your location, and the odds are … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Bug Out Boats

Hugh, I want to address the specifics of Catamarans and their abilities. My experience exceeds most others. I grew up on powerboats, both large and small. Eventually, when it was my own money, I graduated to sail. I have owned and cruised on plastic classics, steel hull, and ferro-cement monohulls, as well as plywood/e-glass catamarans. The sailing rigs on those boats were simple modern sloop, ketch, cutter, wingsail, and lug (junk) schooner. Cockpit designs ranged from open, pilot house, center cockpit, and flush open. As a marine technician service manager, I have worked on more types of cruising boats, charter boats, sports fisherman, and mega yachts than you can shake a stick at. As a professional ships mate, I have been paid crew on both power and sail catamarans ranging in size from 32′ all the way up to 91′, including modern wave piercing power cats, safely taking tens of thousands of paying customers on various types of trips into the open ocean. These commercial charter boats were constructed of plywood/e-glass, fiberglass composite, foam/e-glass, and aluminum, with rigs of rotating wing masts, sloop, schooner, and cutter. As delivery crew, I have been on many more types of boats, commercial and … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Bug Out Boats

Hugh I have spent many hours thinking about using a vessel as a bugout vehicle and the many pros and cons involved, and it’s a topic I constantly revisit in my mind. What type of boat to use? What kind of weapons and armor? How to provide provisioning and storage? Where to bug out to? I just generally run different scenarios through my head, and there are way too many to address without being long-winded, so I’ll just share some of my background and try to give some opinions and thoughts. I’ve spent my entire life on the water and have 25 years of experience as a professional mariner and boat captain. I spent five of those years as a Boatswain’s Mate in the USCG, five years in the marine salvage and towing industry, three years in the yachting/charter industry, and another 12 years as a marine mechanic, vessel systems technician, boat handling instructor, and shipyard worker. I have lived aboard both sail and power vessels at different times over the years, and it is in my opinion and it goes against my nature to say it but I feel using a vessel to bug out would be a temporary … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Bug Out Boats

Hi Hugh, First, thank you for providing SurvivalBlog to all your readers. When things finally come to a head in the world today, I have no doubt that the information that you have provided over the years will be responsible for helping countless citizens and saving many lives. I’d like to add my two cents to the article “Bug Out Boats” as well as the comments from your other contributors. My wife and I have been full-time live-aboards in the northeast for over 20 years, and we have gained some hard won knowledge and experience over the years that I hope we can share. I wrote a previous article for SurvivalBlog “Preppers afloat by Captain Cathar“. In the article I presented a case why someone might want to use a boat for bugging out, especially along our crowded east coast. A boat is certainly not the best bug out retreat, but it may be the only viable option for many people were we live. As others have said, you don’t necessarily have to cross an ocean, you just have to get away from the carnage of a collapsing society. The only proviso here is if there is some sort of … Continue reading

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Bug Out Boats, by Budget Boater

As a man of the sea, the topic of using a boat for the purpose of escape and survival seems to be misunderstood in many instances. I can even remember JWR dismissing the idea several times in the past. I can only assume that it comes from lack of knowledge and understanding of the “cruising” community. Recently there has been some discussion about this topic and some questions, so I thought this might be time to shed some experienced light on the subject. First, I will answer the questions posted recently: Question #1: If it’s a true EOTW scenario, establishing any “community” or tribe from such a mobile homebase would seem to be very difficult and going within sight of land could put you in danger of being easily run down by gangs in powerboats. Generally, for those of us who chose to live on boats as a lifestyle, there is a very large community, most of which are far more like-minded than typical survivalists. Those of us who further chose to go beyond the horizon and travel on our boats as a lifestyle (called “cruisers”), have an even more close-knit community as brothers and sisters who dare to live … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Bug Out Boats

Hugh, Living in a coastal city on the northeast has had me thinking of bugout boats for some time. A cabin cruiser with supplies and full tank would make for an expedient exit from a burning city. Having a retreat to arrive at would beat trying to make it on the boat à la “waterworld”. Sadly the logistics are daunting. A year around-maintained boat is not easy in a zone 5 climate, plus a maintained retreat to arrive at and then trying to make it in your “new home”. As mentioned in numerous survival articles, you will most likely not be welcomed unless you spend some time living in said retreat. It’s not impossible but not easy if you have to maintain a full-time job and keep your family happy. Right now they may put up with your survival plans; however, make them sacrifice some material things to fund the bug out plan and life at home could get ugly. I don’t see pirates in the equation for sometime after SHTF, but the Somalians have proved it doesn’t take much to be successful. My plan is 12-gauge slugs aimed at the waterline and .223 aimed at the cabin area. Most … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Bug Out Boats

Good Morning Hugh, I’ll begin a reply, but I don’t really know where it will ultimately lead. GS’s comments this morning (1/26/16) ought to be enough to take the wind out of anyone’s sails regarding bug-it boats! Although he makes some valid points, the overall tone is so negative he’ll put folks off the idea. But if you’re not already into boating/sailboating that may be for the best. It is a learned skill set. Some random thoughts: You don’t have to cross an ocean to ‘escape. There are many places much closer that would probably suffice. As mentioned previously, I would probably head for coastal British Columbia and the Inside Passage (to Alaska). There is a LOT of really remote territory up there, relatively friendly ‘folk for the most part, fresh water, game/fish aplenty. Resupply would be challenging but doable. Hunkering down in some isolated cove will be cold, but it might even include establishing comfortable base camps ashore. True, a boat isn’t your best fighting platform. That said, if you’re in a remote area what is the actual probability of having to fight-off the hordes? As mentioned previously, the idea of having two or three boats for mutual support … Continue reading

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