I came to the survivalist mindset by the strangest of all possible paths – a literary one. I would probably be considered more of a “self-reliantist” than a survivalist, but I see that as a fine point.
I’ve always been the sort of guy who has wanted to know how to make things from scratch, and I’ve learned a lot in my planning efforts. I’ve been slowly compiling an encyclopedia of important skills and knowledge that is now in excess of 1000 pages and includes things from the most primitive tasks to the light-industrial. I thought I might offer a few things I’ve learned along the way.
1. The Light Survival Kit – My wife is skeptical of my efforts and thinks I’m making a big deal out of nothing. More importantly, she’s not willing to sacrifice valuable trunk space for something that may not happen in her lifetime. To counter this, I built a small kit that takes up less room than her purse – in it I put a butane lighter, a magnesium block, fire-starter matches, two collapsible water bottles, 6 bottles of water purification tablets, a knife, a sierra saw, a small first-aid kit, two rain ponchos in a pouch, some plastic bags, an LED flashlight, and a jar of bouillon cubes. Admittedly, it’s not perfect, but it is better than nothing. My work colleague liked the idea enough that he put one together for his wife as well.
2. Salt – From the investigation I’ve done around the web, unfortunately this includes even your own site, this is an important and overlooked staple that should be high on everyone’s list. Civilizations have collapsed due to lack of salt. In short, without electricity and reliable refrigeration, salt is the primary means of food preservation. If you live near the coast, you can gather salt from the sea, as well as those living near a salt spring, or dry salt bed, etc. Everyone else will have to stock it up or trade for it. Iodized salt is the preferable solution because it contains the small amount of iodine that the human body needs, the deficiency of which is called goiter, and can lead to birth defects such as mental retardation, thyroid disorders, and loss of IQ. If you live near the ocean, you can get the necessary iodine by adding seafood (including seaweed) to your diet.
3. A very useful book – One of the most informative books I’ve found in filling the gaps between what I don’t know and what I need to know is the book “Caveman Chemistry” by Kevin M Dunn. It’s written in a peculiar style, but it’s packed with useful information. – Charles R.