Letter: Weather Station Recommendation


Do y’all have any recommendations on home weather stations? On searching I found a lot of references to using HAM and FM to get NOAA data but nothing for on site weather stations. Is this viewed as a valuable addition to the retreat or just a toy? – M.P.

HJL’s Comment:

With the advent of solid state sensors weather stations have become commodity items. Sadly, all the affordable ones that I know of are made in China. If the desire is just to have some basic data, any of those that you see on Amazon will work. You might have a desire to log data to get long term trends so you will really need one that can communicate with your computer. If you want to learn about electronics, there are also a number of DIY kits as well.

Letter Re: Oregon Snow


Many years ago we had a winter in the Spokane area that was threatening to put nearly three feet of snow on our rooftop. Roof rakes sure looked like a lot of work to use, and they raised the question of damage to the roof shingles (though the nicer rakes have wheels).

So I hunted for a better solution and found the Roof Razor.

This amazing tool makes me laugh every time I use it (which hasn’t been in a while!). For less than $150 I’ve got a tool that can clear my one-story roof of 2+ feet of snow in about a half hour. A D-bracket on a pole holds a straight edge with a trailing tarp that gets pushed under the snow. The snow comes zipping off in big blocks! Watch the video above; that’s really how well it works.

The straight edge has … Continue reading

Prepare to Be Prepped – Sometimes You Have to Survive Daily Life, by Just-Do-It Jane

Most of us in the U.S. have been touched by winter storms. If you live in the South like I do, then you’ve probably tossed your hands in the air and said to yourself, “Wait a minute! What happened to mild winters?!”

Fortunately for me, my friend “Survival Messenger” has had the foresight to help me (and many others) understand why we should prepare for come-what-may scenarios. She has shared everything from her favorite high-tech gadgets to trusted and ingenious homemade solutions for everyday problems. I’ve been the thrilled recipient of handy buckets and bags filled with so many helpful goodies that it’s like Christmas each time she walks in the door. But her generosity doesn’t end with physical products. Almost every conversation we have contains a gold mine of valuable information I store for future use.  In January and February of one recent year, I came to … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

Letter: Another View of Alaska as a Survival Location

My family and I arrived in Alaska in 1974 while I was in the U.S. Army. I was stationed at Ft. Richardson (now part of Joint Base Elmendorf/Richardson. JBER). I spent five years at Ft. Rich. A 3-year tour, with two one year extensions. In 1980 I left the Army and moved my family back to Anchorage, where I currently reside.

I grew up in mid-eastern Pennsylvania and spent two summers working on dairy farms in that area.

I agree with some of what S.J. had to say in regards to whites not welcome in native villages as well as that drugs and alcohol are a problem in these villages. Also the population in the “Bush” is so small someone new in the area will quickly be the major topic of discussion in that area. In short, you cannot hide.

If you want to live a “survivalist” lifestyle here … Continue reading

Hurricane Matthew–Some Lessons Learned

Dear Editor:
Although I shouldn’t have been, I was once again amazed at the panic and last minute attempts to prepare, as Hurricane Matthew approached Florida. Florida’s geography dictates that there is only one way to travel to get out of the state, and that is north, unless you own a boat or plane.  The interstate freeways and highways get a lot of traffic and the stores get cleaned out, by hurricane refugees.  The parking lot of the Walmart that I visited was full of recreational vehicles (RVs).  Many of their owners were standing around with nowhere to go.  When a nearby gas station had what looked like a fuel resupply truck pull in there was a stampede of people on foot with empty gas cans lining up at the pump and blocking cars from getting in.

Be prepared and top off as soon as you hear the … Continue reading

Lessons From the Oklahoma Ice Storm of 2006, by Dr. Prepper

What I have found most useful from many useful articles on SurvivalBlog are the ones that honestly deal with personal experiences of stressful events, for example, those who have gone through hurricanes, floods, other natural storms, or man-made events. While it is useful from a planning perspective to speculate how things might be in an event that changes the world for us, there is nothing like learning from other’s experiences and what they thought went well and not so well.

My family and I discovered first hand the value of preparation as well as the cost of the lack of it during a particularly severe ice storm in Oklahoma in the winter of 2006. It was about three weeks before Christmas, and we had three of four kids at home, my elderly mom, my elderly father-in-law all living with us, and my oldest daughter’s future husband as a guest for … Continue reading

Letter: Fall Season Prepping

Dear Mr. Rawles and Mr. Latimer:

Since the Autumnal Equinox has passed us by, may I offer a link to a relevant string of articles? I have been contemplating seasonal adjustments to my preps, and Cheaper Than Dirt has a series of blogposts that I found useful in provoking thought. I hope folks find this useful, as we tune our plans for the changing seasons. Thank you for your blog, and all you do. – Skyrat

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, … Continue reading

Letter: Drought in Western Retreat Areas


Has the recent drought in the western United States caused you to change any
of your “Recommended Retreat Areas”? – T.I.A.

JWR Responds: No, it hasn’t. There is an old saying: “Climate is what you expect, and weather is what you get.”

I do not believe that the current drought in the northwest is any evidence of any long term climate change. We are simply in an El Niño weather pattern that most likely will last only another year or two. The El Niño weather pattern has temporarily shifted the jet stream, disrupting seasonal rains, particularly in California, where the the drought has been quite severe and protracted.

A Beginners Guide to Practical Prepping: Lessons From a True Story of Disaster, by R.L.

It was September 1989, a time in history that is forever burned into my
memory. I was working as a firefighter in a small town outside Columbia, South
Carolina. Hurricane Hugo had developed in the Atlantic, it was ripping apart
the Carribean islands and it was headed our way. All the news on television and
radio were inundated with updates on this killer storm; we were tuned into the
Weather Channel at the firehouse carefully watching and waiting. The original
forecast was that the Category 4 hurricane would turn north and only threaten
the North Carolina coast. It was assumed that as with most previous hurricanes
the forecasters were usually correct and there was little concern, only that we
would see high winds and maybe some bad weather.

As my shift continued throughout the day I was asked to work … Continue reading

What I Learned From the Midwest Ice Storm of 2011, by J.M.

The three elements of nature that cause damage– sun, wind, and water. My bet is on the last one, especially the frozen kind. Preparing and acting upon it are two entirely different and opposite things.

The rain started in the middle of a Sunday afternoon, without much concern at first. Although the weather report at first said the possibility of ice was real, it would stay south, in Ohio.

Lesson #1: Nature is fickle, and even NOAA cannot always track the line between rain, snow, and ice. Predictive weather paths can give you a false sense of security, and margins of error are costly. Unfortunately, the prediction of a little bit of accumulation of ice turning to snow was wrong. It was all ice, at least for my area in Southeast Michigan, and we paid the price for the miscalculation.

All was well until dark. The warm upper atmosphere … Continue reading

Guest Post: Is This the End of 80% Receivers? by Timothy Priebe

While the rest of us were enjoying our own post New Year’s Day activities, BATFE Director B. Todd Jones was approving his department’s latest ruling. On January 2, 2015, ATF Ruling 2015-1 was approved.

The ruling was a clarification of ATF Ruling 2010-10. That ruling advised licensed dealer-gunsmiths that they may legally perform certain firearm manufacturing activities on completed firearms if certain conditions were met. However, since that ruling in December of 2010, it appears that issues surrounding “incomplete” or “80% receivers” have moved to the forefront of the ATF’s purview.

For those not familiar with “80% receivers”, “blanks”, or “paperweights”, let me explain. These items are castings or molded blocks of aluminum or polymer that have not been manufactured to the point of being legally recognized as a “firearm”. Hence, they are “80%” done. They are not quite a “firearm” that would otherwise require the seller to provide and … Continue reading

Guest Article: Tornado Survival Tips, by Matthew Stein, P.E.

Darden describes a family of five who lived on a farm outside of Higdon, Ala., a small community in the northern part of the state. They had no storm shelter, but they did live in a home that he says was well built.

On Saturday, Darden and a partner visited the family. “The mother and three daughters were there at the time,” he recalls. Looking at the wall-free ground floor—all that remained of the home—”I introduced myself and said: Thank God y’all were not home. “Her response? “Oh, we were here.” With no storm shelter and nothing but a slab foundation left, “I really thought she was joking,” he continues. “I asked: Where were you at?”

She led the two men to a spot on the storm-swept slab, where nothing but a small patch of hardwood flooring and a scrap of carpeting remained—parts of each pulled up by the tornado. … Continue reading

Two Letters Re: Tornado Survival and Recovery


I have a comment to add to the Tornado Survival and Recovery article by J.M. The information was great, but one vital item was not mentioned as part of J.M.’s tornado kit. That item would be a sturdy pair of boots. A good pair of boots is important to have when you emerge from your area of safety and have to walk through debris (nails, glass, splintered wood, metal). – R.

o o o


I can make a quick suggestion for those who have to drive after a tornado or hurricane. When roofs get ripped off of buildings, the roofing nails litter the roads. Their wide, flat heads or the fact they are still stuck in shingles makes them likely to stand up and get into tires. They cause a lot of flats.

There are a number of products that can be sprayed into the tire … Continue reading