Rural Lifestyle Blog

Life in Rural America

Category: Survival Gear

Survival Gear Reviews

US society not prepared

Stockpiling food for SHTFA couple of weeks ago my wife and I went to Sams Club in Beaumont Texas. One of the main things I wanted to pick up was some freeze dried foods in #10 cans. The food is listed on the Sams Club website, so I thought the store would have some in stock. Guess what, the store did not have any freeze dried food in #10 cans. After walking up-and-down the isles, I finally decided to stop and ask an employee. I was told that the store had not got any emergency type food in a couple of years.

For those of you that do not know, Beaumont sits just a few miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico. In the past few years Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Ike have made landfall close to Beaumont. Why wouldn’t a major outlet store sell some kind of emergency food in a Hurricane prone area? I think its a lack of forward thinking, and maybe even a lack of demand.

A couple of nights ago my wife and I went to Lowes in Jasper Texas, we were looking for some kind of can rotation system. Wal-mart in Jasper sells a wire rack for rotating soda cans, but a regular sized chili or soup can will fit in the rack. So my wife and I have been buying the wire-racks and setting up a can rotation system on a set of shelves.

What really surprised me was the Lowes store in Jasper does not carry any type of can rotation system. Why wouldn’t a hardware store that sells cabinets sell some kind of system to keep can goods organized?

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Light after teotwawki

Some kind of SHTF/teotwawki situation has happened, society has broken down, and the power has finally gone off.

Or, some kind of natural disaster has happened, power has been cut off and my not be restored for several days to several weeks. After Hurricane Rita, my family and I spent 18 days without power. So power outages are not reserved for a long term SHTF/teotwawki situation.

My light preps are kerosene, hand crank lights, solar lights and your regular LED lights. Each light source has their own advantages and disadvantages.

Kerosene

Lanterns after SHTFFor over a hundred years kerosene has been used by mankind in lanterns. Kerosene stores somewhat well, depending on the type of kerosene that is being stored and what the kerosene is going to be used for. Overtime bacteria develops and feeds off the fossil fuel; when this happens the fuel will start to gel.

To get the most out of your kerosene, you may want to consider treating it with a type of diesel fuel treatment that prevents the growth of bacteria.

Kerosene lanterns pose a fire risk, especially around small children.

When my family has to use a kerosene lantern, we place the lantern in a bathroom so the light can reflect off of a mirror, and several inches away from the edge of the counter top.

When picking a lantern, be sure to take the size of the reservoir into consideration. The larger the reservoir, the longer the lantern can operate.

If kerosene is going to be included in your long term SHTF survival plan, keep in mind your kerosene is going to run out sooner-or-later. Continue Reading….

teotwawki survival gear storage

Stockpiling SHTF Survival GearA few weeks ago an article was posted about Storing SHTF Survival Gear, this is a follow up to that article.

The concept revolves around grouping similar items together. Such as the canned goods being grouped together, the fishing gear on the same shelf, or close to each other, cold weather items stored in a box, which is close to other clothing or ALICE gear.

To keep the grandkids safe, glass jars are stored in the closet. We do not want small children picking up jars of pickles and then dropping the jars on the floor. Not only would we be wasting food, but the broken glass poses a risk to the grandkids.

The shelves have been secured to the wall with 2 1/2 inch long wood screws. A 1/8 pilot hole was drilled into the stud in the wall, and then a screw was ran into the pilot hole.

Mountain house #10 cans and 7 year pouches are stored in a location close to each other.

One shelf is dedicated to fishing gear – lures, trotline string, hooks, extra spools of monofilament fishing line,,, stuff like that. The fishing gear is stored in a closet to keep it away from small children.

Related forum thread – tackle box inventory

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Introduction to reloading

AK-47 AR-15 Survival RiflesLets talk about reloading. My first press was a Lyman 4 stage turret press I bought used. I don’t think lyman even makes them anymore. I bought that press sometime around 1988 or 1989, along with some other stuff from a guy I used to work with. Fast forward from 1998 to 2003, I found out the guy I bought the press from died, so I gave the press to his best friend. The last time I saw that old press, it was sitting on a file cabinet in the friends office. I can not even start to count how many thousands of rounds I ran through that turret press.

My next press was an RCBS rockchucker, and finally a piggyback. The RCBS is a solid press that is good for reloading just about anything from 9mm, all the way to 300 winchester magnum and above.

If you want to get into reloading, I highly suggest buying a starter kit. Just about all reloading companies sell some kind of starter kit that includes just about everything you need to get started reloading: Continue Reading….

Survivalist OPSEC

bug out location cookingAs a survivalist, live part of your life by one simple saying – “loose lips sink ships”.

There is an episode of the Twilight Zone where some satellites are picked up as incoming nuclear missiles. One man and his family has taken the time to build a bomb shelter under his house, but none of the other neighbors have taken the time to prepare. As the news of the “missiles” is broadcast over the radio, people started to panic.

The family that had the shelter started moving supplies into the shelter, filling jars with water, grabbing flashlights and batteries, moving canned goods from the kitchen to the shelter,,,,. After the family closed the door to their shelter, the neighbors start beating on the steel door demanding the family let everyone else in.

As the missiles are getting closer, the neighbors start tearing down the steel door of the shelter. As the door is just about to be removed, the news reports that the missiles are really satellites, and the whole alarm was a mistake.
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Two rifle calibers for SHTF survival

22 long rifle

22 Long Rifle For SHTFLets say that some kind of long term disaster happens, such as civil unrest, climate change, new disease breaksout. You and your family head to the remote camp. Unless you have a small farm with chickens, rabbits, hogs, or goats, the main source of meat is either going to be fishing or hunting.

The 22 long rifle is well suited for taking just about any small game in North America, maybe even anywhere in the world.

If the muzzle report is a concern, stock upon 22 shorts or sub-sonic ammo.

If you need a little more power then the 22 long rifle, there is the 22 magnum.

When my dad was growing up, one of the families main sources of food was small game, like squirrels. For hunting the tree rats, my dad used 22 shorts. When I was growing up, my dad used to take me and my brother squirrel hunting every winter. Instead of using a 22 rifle, we used shotguns – my dad used a 12 gauge with #4 shot, and I used my single shot Winchester 410. when I got old enough, my dad bought me a Montgomery Ward Western Field (Mossberg) 12 gauge pump shotgun.

Related forum section: Ruger 10/22 Forum

One of the big differences between the 22 long rifle and a shotgun, is the cost of the ammunition. Where a box of 25 shotgun shells might cost $10 – $15, a brick of 500 round of 22 long rifle cost less then $20. Continue Reading….

Storing survival gear

Storing survival gearIts time for a change. My survival gear is spread out all over a spare bedroom, couple of storage boxes and 2 closets. Its time to round everything up and get things organized.

My wife and I have a spare bedroom that my son uses when he comes to visit. Since the room is only used a few times a month, we decided to install some shelves and organize our survival gear stocks.

The shelving unit was bought from a local china-mart. The unit is 6 feet tall, each shelf is 36 inches long, 17 inches wide and there is 15.75 inches between each shelf.

To prevent the shelving unit from being pulled over by the grand kids, the support poles of the unit were zip-tied to a set of bunk beds, and the shelves were screwed to the wall with 2 1/2 inch long screws. With small children around, you have to plan on them climbing on everything.

The plan is to have two shelving units side by side, with each unit holding a certain type of survival gear.

Fishing gear – one shelf is going to be dedicated to storing my fishing gear. Currently my fishing gear is being stored in 2 or 3 different places, in the closet, in a tackle box, in a fishing bucket,,,.

A 5 gallon bucket fits perfectly between the shelves, so I should have no problems storing my extra lures, trotline string, extra spools of monofilament line, extra hooks,,,. I need to buy a couple of wire trays to store the smaller items in, such as the spools of trotline string.

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Picking a survival rifle caliber

.30 caliber survival rifleThere is a thread in the forum asking whether the 7mm or 8mm would make a good caliber for a survival rifle. When you walk into a pawn shop and you see a bunch of a certain type of firearms, that is usually not a good sign. If people like a product, they tend to hang onto it.

22 Long Rifle

The 22 long rifle should not need an introduction. The ammunition can be fired in rifles and pistols, firearms are not expensive and they have a long life expectancy. With the low recoil of the 22, parts last long then a full sized rifle caliber.

The low cost of the 22 ammunition makes it attractive to survivalist who want to stockpile thousands or tens of thousands of rounds.

The 22long rifle is effective on small game and does not do a lot of damage to the meat. When you use a 12 gauge on a squirrel, you might have to pick out a bunch of BBs. If you take a squirrel with a 22 short, you have 1 bullet hole.

A couple of my favorite rifles in 22 long rifle include the Marlin Model 60 and the Ruger 10/22. My Ruger 10/22 was bought in January of 1986 and is still going strong.

223 Remington / 5.56mm

Standard service round of the US military. there are survivalist out there that plan on using the 223 as their main survival rifle after SHTF, but I personally would not want to use the 223/5.56mm on deer sized game.

If you want a rifle for hunting after SHTF, there are better options out there besides the 223.

One of the really nice things about the 223, there is a wide range of rifle options available on the market. There is everything from bolt actions rifle, to the Ruger Mini-14, to the AR-15.

243 / 6mm

The 243 is favored by a lot of people who hunt deer sized game, mainly due to the low recoil. for small framed people the 243 is a viable deer option, but bullet placement is critical.

I say the 243 is good for small framed people, but I used to work with a guy that was around 6 feet 3 inches tall, and he liked using the 243 for deer.

In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with the 243. its that shooters should be aware of the limitations of the cartridge. Continue Reading….

Long term survival food preps

comfort food post disasterWhen someone says “survival food preps” or “stockpiling survival food“, what do you think of? Do you think of tons of dried rice and beans stored in mylar bags? How about a basement full of #10 cans, does that come to mind? Or is it a combination of several things?

When I was thinking of writing an article about survival food preps, the first thing that popped into my head was – MREs, canned goods and garden seeds. But where does perishable goods fit into that narrow picture? For the first week or so people are going to be eating stuff out of their freezer. For the sake of discussion, lets move past that first week post SHTF. Something bad has happened, the food in the grocery stores has dried up, people have gone through their immediate perishable food items,,,, now what?

A book about the Roman military I just finished reading contained a quote from an ancient historian – “nothing caused as much stress within the troops as the lack of supplies.” Just like it says, when the supplies started to run low, the stress level went up. 2,000 years later, and nothing has changed.

When people worry about paying their house note, stress goes up.

When people worry about not having the money to pay the rent, stress goes up.

When people worry about having food to eat, stress is “really” going to go up.

People are visual animals – we like to see stuff. There has been test that showed that just the sight of food can relieve stress. When I open an empty cabinet, my stress level instantly goes up. Thats why I think it would be a good idea to have food out where people can see it post SHTF. Maybe not food that can spoil, but leave some cans of chili on the cabinet, leave a few MREs out, leave a bag of rice out,,,, stuff that bugs can not get into, but gives the members of your party something to look at.

Types of survival food preps:

MREs / Pre-Packaged Meals

Examples can include the Just in Case Meals from Prepared.pro, the good ole military Meal Ready to Eat, Eversafe Meals, Sure-Pak MREs, Mainstay meals and everything in between.

One thing that I really like about the pre-packaged meals, they can be handed out members of the group, and eaten when their ready. Communal cooking and eating is good, but not everyone is ready to eat at the same time. Having their own meals allows people to snack or eat their meals when their ready – on top of the communal meals.

A case of MREs contains 12 packaged meals. Because each package contains so much food it in, each MRE might contain 1.25 – 2 servings. Depending on the activity level of the person, they might eat more or less of the MRE. But for the sake of discussion lets say that the average person only eats 75% of everything in the MRE – leaving the desert, beans, cracker, snack bread or peanut butter for later. This means that a case of MREs might feed 1 person for 5 – 7 days.

Continue Reading….

Coleman PerfectFlow Grill review

Coleman perfectflow stoveThis article is a review of the Coleman PerfectFlow Insta Start Grill Stove. The unit has 2 names – “grill stove”, because there are 2 burners, 1 with a stove top and the other burner has a griddle.

Last christmas I added a Coleman instant start grill to my wishlist, and sure enough someone got it for me.

The reason why I picked the grill was because of the built in griddle. That way I did not have to worry about cleaning any pots and pans, just wipe the griddle down and the stove was cleaned up.

I liked the idea of using the griddle to cook more food then can fit in a typical skillet. With a cooking surface of 12 inches by 10 3/4 inches, a lot of bacon and/or sausage can fit on there. The plan was to use the stove top with a small skillet to cook eggs or make toast, and use the griddle to cook bacon, boudain or sausage.

Purpose:

The whole purpose of buying the stove was to have a propane stove that my family can bring on camping trip to the local parks. For camping on the river I have a small single burner stove, but the Coleman Perfectflow stove could also be brought out to the river on camping trips.

My wife and I keep a large plastic tote box filled with camping supplies. Instead of packing liquid fuel that can spill, we decided to get a propane stove.

But that is not the way things worked out.

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Calm before the panic buying

Calm before the SHTF panic stormThere is enough fear mongering these days without my help. With that in mind, please remember that this article is just my personal opinion and it not meant to interpreted as fact.

I feel that we are in a calm before the storm. Not necessarily a SHTF storm, but a panic buying storm.

From August until the first part of 2012:

August and September: Kids are starting back to school in the next few days, parents are having to buy back to school supplies, clothes, meet the teachers and get their kids shots caught up. Right “now” parents have a lot to think about and worry about besides prepping.

Labor day: is right around the corner.

October: Halloween in October.

October and November: Hunting season starts.

November – thanksgiving.

December – Christmas and then New Years.

People have stuff to keep their minds occupied until the first part of 2012. After the turn of the year, I look for people attention to turn towards world events and the direction this nation is going.

After new years I think is when the panic buying mode is going to kick in – and especially after people start getting their income taxes back.

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Bug Out Bag Topics

Over the years I have seen one topic that has been repeated over and over, and that is the topic of the bug out bag.

In reality, a bug out bag should contain copies of important papers, house title, car title, insurance policies, change of clothes, snack, or even 2 – 3 days worth of food, change of clothes, phone number contact list, and any prescription medicines you might be taking. The list will vary depending on the person and what they want to bring with them.

People that live close to railroad tracks or chemical plants might be asked to flee their homes due to a chemical release accident. The bug out bag is for people to grab, run, and have some basic supplies with them.

In fantasy, the bug out bag will be used to bug out to the wilderness when society collapses.

This video pokes fun at the different viewpoints on bug out bags.

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Storing food in mylar bags for SHTF

Storing food in mylar bags for SHTF survivalMy SHTF food preps include mylar bags, #10 cans, MREs and canned goods. In this article and video ware going to discuss making up 20 mylar bags of rice, beans, oatmeal,,,,, and various other items.

Awhile back I made up some homemade superpails of oats, rice and beans. I found the 5 gallon mylar bags difficult to work with and a little difficult to seal. After that experience I decided that the largest bag I was going to mess with was probably going to be around the 2 1/2 gallon size.

For my current project I decided to make up some 1/2 gallon and some 1 gallon mylar bags. Inside of the bags I am going to store oats, rice, beans, instant mashed potatoes,,, and a few other things.

Items to be stored in mylar bags:

2 – great value whole grain old fashioned oats, 42 ounce containers
4 – great value whole grain quick oats, 42 ounce containers
3 – great value elbows enriched macaroni product, 3 pound boxs
1 – hungry jack mashed potatoes, 26.7 ounce box
2 – great value mashed potatoes, 2 pound box
1 – 20 pound bag of rice
several – 1 pound bags of pinto beans

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Gun cleaning supplies at the bug out location

DS-Arms SA58 FN/FAL next to a river in southeast TexasThis evening I was cleaning my FN/FAL, at which time I realized my gun cleaning supplies at the bug out location were going through a can opener syndrome. The “can opener syndrome” is when someone overlooks the small items. That you might be so focused on buying #10 cans, that you forget to stockpile can openers.

With gun cleaning supplies, people are probably more focused on stockpiling ammo, and shooting their firearms, that the forget about buying cleaning supplies.

Lets list some simple gun cleaning items:

Storage Box – something to store the items in. In my case, I am using a large tackle box
Copper bore brushes – for scrubbing the inside of the barrel
Gun oil – I like the pump spray bottles
Hoppes #9 powder solvent
Bore light – I use an led light with a flex neck
Screw drivers
Cleaning rods – for pushing the bore brush through the barrel
Cloth patches Continue Reading….

Stockpiling SHTF food ammo and fishing supplies

SHTF survival gear food and ammoLets talk about stockpiling food, ammo and fishing supplies for SHTF. These are the supplies that will be used to feed and protect your family if, or when, the SHTF. There is no perfect survival plan, and only the fool says otherwise. Its because of this admission that my plans have changed over the years.

My food stockpile has gone from simple stockpiling beans and rice plans, to something a little more complex.

In the ammunition category, my plans have gone from having various rounds stockpiled, to taking inventory, and trying to standardize my SHTF ammo stockpile.

The fishing category is where I am currently having the most fun. I have gone from just stockpiling fishing supplies to running trotlines and testing my fishing plans.

Stockpiling Food:

10 – 15 years ago I was stockpiling beans, rice, MREs, canned goods and some garden seed. My plans were to head to the bug out location, plant a garden, and hunt for fresh meat. It was a simple plan that had a lot of holes.

About 6 or 7 years ago I decided to focus more on gardening, and less on hunting. My family and I started planting fruit trees (peach, pear, apple, plum,,,) and I started stockpiling more garden seed. Then came along the drought of 2010 and 2011. In the past 2 years this part of Texas is at least 3 feet low on rainfall. Lake Sam Rayburn is about 9 feet low as of when this article was written. The long solution to a long term survival plan is having a self-sustaining farm and garden. In the face of global climate change getting a farm and garden up and running from scratch is going to be a little difficult.

About a year ago I decided to change my plans again and add mylar bags, and some homemade superpails to my SHTF food stockpile. So now we have mylar bags, MREs, canned goods, fruit trees and garden seeds. In the mylar bags I stored beans, rice, oats, pancake mix, pasta,,,, and a few other things.

In the face of climate change, my plans have changed yet again.

Instead of relying entirely on hunting for meat, and beans for protein, I decided its time to bite the bullet and start stockpiling #10 cans of freeze dried meats, fruit and certain vegetables.

Continue Reading….

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