Homesteading and Survivalism

Living a simple life

Tag: prepping for shtf

What Defines a Survivalist

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Earlier today (August 7, 2012) someone started posting rude comments on the Survivalist Boards facebook page.  The comments were along the lines if someone lives off the grid, or eats processed food,,,, general stuff like that.  I removed the comments and blocked the person.  Keep in mind, I rarely, and I mean rarely ever remove comments, much less block anyone.

There seems to be a mindset that survivalist should live in a bunker, or off in a remote mountain range somewhere.

Lets say someone lives in a bunker with complete solar power, grows all of their food, or lives in a cave off in the mountains somewhere, how is that person supposed to function in modern society?

I can not imagine having a birthday party in a bomb shelter.  All of the parents having to climb into the shelter, all the kids singing happy birthday,,, much less the OPSEC of inviting a group of people into the shelter.

Sure there was once a time when people lived on small farms. But even on small family farms, people still had to buy or trade for resources. How are people supposed to find salt, flour, sugar, leather, raw metal, plows, anvils, hammers, nails,,, on a family farm?

What is it like to be a survivalist?  I can not speak for everyone; all I can do is offer my opinion.

I consider myself a survivalist.  I do not live in a bunker, I do not live off the grid, I do not live in a cave in the woods or mountains.  What I try to accomplish is to live a normal life and prepare for a short term and long term disasters.

When I was in high school, a buddy of mine had a dad like that I considered to be a radical survivalist.

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Bug Out Location Water Well Plans Part 1

Bug Out Location Water Well Plans Part 1
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How safe is the water source at your Bug Out Location?  Currently, when we stay at the camp we have to either filter water from a nearby creek, or use water from a very old hand dug well.  The old well is becoming less and less reliable, so its time to drive a new well.

There is a saying I like to use – without safe drinking water, life as we know it can not exist.  A contaminated water source can wipe out a community in a matter of days, and that is just the way it is.

Water well diagram for the Bug Out Location

Water well diagram for the Bug Out Location

 

Here are the current plans

Use post hole digger to dig a hole around 3 feet deep.

Insert around an 8 inch PVC sleeve into the hole, sleeve will be around 4 feet long.  This gives us around 1 foot above ground.

Take a 4 inch piece of PVC pipe, notch the end so that the pipe has “teeth”.

Build a cap with 2 water inlets.

Attach water hoses to water source and to cap.

Take a 2×4, drill some holes so that a U-bolt will fit though the board.

Back truck up to well site and drop tailgate.

Attach the cap to the top of  the 4 inch pipe.

Stand on tailgate of truck, insert pipe into sleeve.

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Looters will overrun your Bug Out Location

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Think your Bug Out Location is safe? Think again. Looters will overrun your camp, kill you and your family, take your supplies and there is little you can do about it.

The difference between you and the looters, after they win the war in the cities, the looters will head to the countryside looking for food. The survivors from the cities will be battle hardened, have an idea of what they are doing, and will make short work of your defenses.

How many survivalist gets hands on training on using their weapons? How many people in your group have combat experience?

There is a difference in tactical shooting experience, and combat experience.

A lot of people thinking going out to the range and shooting paper targets will prepare them for when the crap hits the fan.

This video got me to thinking about the whole looter worse case situation.

MAINEPREPPER is right on target. I know for a fact that I do not get enough trigger time, and there is no excuse for that.

Over the past 2 – 3 years I have got a lot of my preps in order – #10 cans, food in mylar bags, chickens,,,.

The time has come to get some trigger time in.

One of the problems I see with preppers, they usually buy cheaply made products. This come from the buy it cheap and stack it deep mindset.

When it comes time to buy an AR15, a lot of people put price first, quality second. When you need that rifle, you are going to wish you had bought for quality. Do you “really” want to use the cheapest rifle you can find to protect your family?

Then after people buy the cheapest rifle they can find, they stockpile the cheapest ammunition they can find. People that buy cheap and stack deep have to deal with 2 cheaply made components, and hope” things work well in the end.

Post your comments in this forum thread – Preppers are going to die

Prepping is a never ending process

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I did a google search for “prepping is a never ending process”, no exact results came back, so I thought I would write an article on the topic.

My entry into the survivalist / prepping communities is in part to how I was raised. My grandparents owned a small farm where they had livestock – horse, cow, chickens, turkeys, well that we got water from,,,. When I started school, I remember my 1st and 2nd grade teachers telling the class what a nuclear detonation looked like. If we saw a mushroom cloud outside, look away, cover our head with our hands and duck under our desk. During the cold war we lived in a constant state of readiness for nuclear war.

In the 1980s the USSR collapsed, and the cold war ended. For a short period of time we seemed to be at peace with the world. The new found peace did not last very long. In 1990 Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Then we had the Waco, L.A. riots and Ruby ridge incident.

In 2001 the twin towers were attacked, which thrust us into a war on terror.

As the primary threats change, so do our prepping plans.

Our prepping strategy changed from a threat of nuclear war, to the U.S. being torn apart.

Regardless of the threat, basic human needs will stay the same – food, water, shelter, security, ability to cook, need to form social groups,,,, and so on.

Unless you are off the power grid, on a totally self-sufficient farm, you are not 100% prepared for a total collapse. People that lived 4,000 years ago traded with those around them. As our lives grow more complicated, the more dependent we are on other people. We went from trading raw materials such as tin, copper, wheat,,,, to trading computer parts and smart phones.

Where does this take us? Maybe we need to simplify our prepping plans?

In the 1990s my prepping plans included stockpiling rice, beans, ammunition and plans to bug out to the camp (my grandparents farm). From there my family and I were going to live off the land.

Times change, plans change.

My plans went from stockpiling mostly rice and beans, to stockpiling canned foods, #10 cans of freeze dried foods, planting fruit trees, food stored in mylar bags, stockpiling seeds, and having a chicken coop that can be loaded on a trailer and brought to the bug out location.

Without safe drinking water life as we know it can not exist. Because of that fact my family and I plan on driving a new water well.

Plans changed from cooking over an open fire, to building a bar-b-q pit large enough to cook a whole hog on. Hopefully the pit can act as a smoker, as well as a cooker.

Plans changed from using the old well and water from a nearby creek, to driving a new well for safe drinking water.

Plans changed from hunting as our primary source of protein, to having chickens in a portable chicken coop.

Plans changed from stockpiling bulk 22 long rifle, to stockpiling subsonic and high quality hypersonic ammunition.

In the 1990s my plans covered my wife, and my 4 children. Today, my plans have to cover my wife, children, stepchildren, and grandchildren. As my family grows, my plans have to adapt to the changes.

Just as life is a never ending process, so prepping is a never ending process.  As life changes, so should your prepping plans change and adapt.

Obsessed With Survivalism

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Have you ever met someone that is obsessed with prepping or survivalism?  They keep their Get Home Bag ready to go, their Bug Out Bag is prepped and ready to go, keep a firearm in every room of the house,,, to the point where survivalism has consumed their lives.  Would that be survivalism, an obsession or paranoia?

There is a fine line between a hobby and an obsession.  If that is true, is there a line between a lifestyle and an obsession?  What about a hobby and a lifestyle?

If we do the same thing everyday for 10, 20, 30 or even 40 years, would that be considered an obsession?  If so, is work an obsession?  Sometimes yea, work can be an obsession.  Other times work is something we do to live.

[Related Forum Thread – Radical Survivalist]

If someone practices survivalism for 10, 20, 30,,, years, would that be a lifestyle or an obsession?

Maybe the deciding factor is how much survivalism affects our everyday life.  Are we able to have normal relationships, are we able to live our lives as normal as possible while maintaining a dedicated survivalist lifestyle?

There needs to be a balance between prepping and living life as normal as possible.

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Self-Centered Preppers

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Preparing for the end of the world as we know itFor this article, the term “Self-Centered Preppers” means people who only think of themselves while preparing for TEOTWAWKI.  All they are concerned about is themselves, and “maybe” their close family.  No consideration goes into planning for friends, or anyone outside their immediate family members.

A prime example of Self-Centered Preppers might be people who plan on bugging out to the wilderness.  How is your family going to deal with the sudden isolation?  How are you going to deal with being cut off from friends and family members?  How are your friends and family members going to handle a sudden loose of contact with you and your family?

If humanity were to suffer some kind of long term SHTF situation, my family would turn to people such as my dad, and myself for guidance.  It is my resp0onsiblity to make sure my family has plenty to eat, protected and that they will be provided of.

Self-Centered Prepper does not care about anyone else.  What about your grand kids?  What about your kids that can not afford to stockpile food at this time?  What about your parents, brothers, sisters, close cousins,,,,?

Friendships are an asset

No man is an island, Rome was not built by a single person, if you want to survive a long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation, you will need friends, team members and family members.

Apply Synergy to your plans – the sum of the whole is greater then the parts combined.

There is nothing that you can do that a small team can not do better.

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Why Do People Get Into Prepping

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Kevin Felts, survivalist and bloggerWhy do people get into prepping?

I think it boils down to “Hope for the best but prepare for the worst”.

The question that begs to be answered is “what is the the worst?”. What is the worst case situation that we should prepare for?

For some people “the worst” might be losing their job. For others it might be a wildfire, for others it might be a hurricane or flood. Then there are the people that plan for a complete collapse of society.

Does being a survivalist mean you have to prep for a complete collapse? No, it does not.

To understand survivalism, we need to understand what drives a survivalist. One of the highest levels of human thought is to think about what we think about. Why do we do the things we do, why do we think about what we do, why do we act a certain way, why do we make certain decisions.

Nobody is born a survivalist. Joining the survival community is a conscious decision we make. As with everything else in life, our decisions are influenced by the way we were raised, culture, society, events in our life,,,.

Why do people get into coin collecting? Why do people get into stamp collecting? Why do people get into the hobbies they do? Do they find the hobbies challenging, maybe a way to occupy their free time?

Survivalism is a practical hobby. Grow your own food, preserve and store your own food, just like people used to do decades ago. Maybe survivalism should be considered as a return to basics?

There was once a time when people grew their food during the spring and summer. Then preserved the food to last the family through the winter.

Today, families keep just a few days of food on hand.

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Surviving a Long Term Disaster

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Kevin Felts, blogger and survivalistAs Hank Williams Jr. said in the song “A Country Boy Can Survive”, I have a shotgun, a rifle, a 4 wheel drive and country boy can survive. I can plow a field, I can catch catfish from dusk to dawn, aint too many things these boys cant do, a country boy can survive.

To some people the lyrics of “A Country Boy Can Survive” are just that, lyrics. To others, its a way of life.

Awhile back I read a survey that said the average U.S. citizen is at least 2 – 3 generations removed from farm life.  Some kind of long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI survival situation sets in, people are forced to return to rural life, 2 – 3 generations is a lot of relearning.

How many urban dwellers have ran a trotline?

How many urban dwellers have skinned a deer?

How many urban dwellers hunt and fish from dawn to dusk?

How many urban dwellers have access to rural land where they can setup a Bug Out Location?

People that currently raise at least part of their food supply will have a unique advantage over those that are unfamiliar with raising and gathering their on food.

Hunting – Even a blind hog finds an acorn from time to time.  One of the things about hunting is being at the right place and at the right time.  With those things in mind, an urban dweller could very possibly make a trip to the woods, kill a deer, bring it back home, and then what?  Will there be a way to cook or smoke the meat?  What happens when the family eats the deer?  Where is their next meal coming from?  Sooner or later the fuel is going to run out from driving out of the city and back.

When heading to the woods to look for a place to hunt, chances are you are going to run into other people doing the exact same thing.

One of the big questions, where would you hunt?  Are you on a hunting lease, do you own land, do you have a friend that owns land?  Do you have a safe place to hunt where you are not going to be running into other people?

Then there are the safety issues.  There is a reason why you are supposed to wear blaze orange on public hunting lands.  Desperate and hungry people will shoot at anything that moves.

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Welfare roaches after a disaster

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Kevin Felts, blogger and survivalistWhen you have 2 and 3 generations of a family on government benefits, people grow up “thinking” that is how they are supposed to live.

I know a certain family first hand, the mom has 5 or 6 kids, she does not work, and the dad makes barely above minimum wage. The family has been drawing food stamps for close to 20 years. One of the kids is in her mid 20s and works. Another girl is around 19 years old. Think about that. The 20 year old was raised on food stamps from birth all the way until she became an adult. And now, the 20 year is pregnant, has no education, and does not work.

The 19 year old claims she is bipolar and is disabled.  Guess what, the government signed off on it, and she draws a monthly disability check.  What the hell is that?  How can someone capable of working able to draw disability?

With the Hurricane Katrina people at the shelter, I saw a lot of young pregnant ladies, whos baby daddy would not work. The mom and baby bring in food stamps and whatever else they can get, and the baby daddy is along for the ride.

I did some volunteer work at a evacuee shelter for some of those Hurricane Katrina people.

One lady walked in, sat down, was handed the application to fill out before she could stay at the shelter. She looked at the application, handed it back to the lady behind the desk (without a single line filled in), and said “I was in public housing in New Orleans, I want to sign up for public housing here and what about my food stamps.”  I remember thinking to myself, “what the hell lady, you ever hear of this thing called a job?”.

Another lady showed up at the shelter and made some phone calls to the company worked for. She spent the night in the shelter. The next day the company had her an apartment and a job position in Houston. She was in and out of that shelter in less then 24 hours,,, maybe even less then 12 hours.

Another lady at the shelter was a teacher, she went to the local school and applied for a job.

Another lady went to work at the local corner store.

When the people from the local unemployment office showed up at the shelter to help the people find jobs, a lot of them refused to fill out the paper work; all they wanted was their food stamps and public housing.

There are 2 types of people, those that will help themselves, and those that look for a handout.

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Prepping for the everyday person

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Southeast Texas Whitetail DeerThere was an interesting comment posted on the survivalistboards facebook page,

You want the world to End, But subscribe to a Survival group….. I hate my VCR I wish Y2K bug was Real….

My reply was,

No, I do not want the world to end. But just in case something happens, I want to be prepared.

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

Some people take prepping a little too far. They prepare for the worst regardless of where they are at or what they are doing. I agree with having a get home bag. But on the other side of the coin there are people that keep a complete Bug Out Bag along with a small arsenal in their vehicle. Reading what some people post in forums, its like they are prepping for a zombie invasion to breakout at any second.  Unlike what is portrayed on TV, the majority of preppers do not live on the fringe of society.  We are everyday people living in the cities, suburbs and rural areas all across the world.

Related Articles:

Long Term Survival Plans
Hunter Gatherer or Farmer Survivalist
Shortsighted Survival Plans
Everyday Carry Gear (EDC)

When people look at prepping, they get on the forum and get a little overwhelmed by what they see. It is easy to forget that some of the members of the forum have been prepping for decades.

Prepping is not for the lazy.  Sure you can buy some rice and throw it in an airtight box, buy some canned foods and think you have a well rounded survival plan.  Just because you “think” you have a well rounded plan does not make it true.

Where do we start?  A lot of people start prepping in the wrong order.

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Prepping in the wrong order

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Kevin Felts blogger and survivalistAfter talking to a buddy of mine, we came to the realization that most preppers stockpile in the wrong order.

When people get into prepping, what is the first things they start stockpiling?  Most people lean towards stockpiling firearms and ammunition first.

Why do most people place buying a firearm at the top of their list?  Maybe its the sense of security that owning a firearm provides?  Maybe its the idea of the family being able to protect themselves?  Maybe its a primal feeling where we feel safe and secure with a spear in our hands?

Ok, lets get back to prepping.

This is the way most people prep

1.  Firearms

2.  Short term food preps

3.  Sustainable food preps

This is the way people should prep

1.  Sustainable food preps

2.  Short term food preps

3.  Firearms

Sustainable Food Preps

Most preppers / survivalist put sustainable foods at the end of the list, so lets talk about this topic first.

Question, why do preppers focus on sustainable foods “after” they focus on a lot of other stuff?

Answer, in my opinion, its because planting a garden and having livestock takes a lot of time and effort.  Its easier to buy a bunch of canned foods then it is to build a chicken coop.

My wife and I spent 3 weekends building our chicken coop, which also includes an enclosed run on the coop.

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Survival camp example

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The worse has happened – some kind of pandemic disease is whipping out mankind, or a nuke strike has launched this nation in chaos, or something else has happened.

You now have to leave the city. So, where do you go? Some emergencies are regional – such as a hurricane or wild fires. So staying with friends or family might be an option.

For the sake of this article, lets discuss this topic as if its world wide. So now what do you do?

First – Shelter:
You and your family will need somewhere to go. Try to find somewhere you can have a roof over your head, and not just a tent.

Before the event – in the preparing stage:
Find a friend or family member that has some land and talk to them about staying at their location. Talk to this friend/family member about leasing a small section of this land. One option is paying that family member enough money to cover part of the property taxes – this works to the advantage for both of you.

Check the local news papers. Sometimes people will put a “to be moved” house in the classifieds. These houses will need to be moved, they are usually on blocks and will usually need some repairs. You will need several thousand dollars on hand to move the house, so have that put up. Talk to the friend/family member about moving the house on their property. At first they will be resistant, so expect a “NO!!” answer. Explain to the friend/family member that if you leave or give up the “lease” they can keep the house. This can be a double edged sword – so be very, very careful.

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Urban Survival Disaster Preparedness Plans

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Putting together a disaster preparedness plan can be a daunting task. To begin, let us start with some basic questions. What kind of disaster should be planned for? What kind of disaster gear should be included in the kit? How many people will the plans have to support? How long will the disaster last?

Location is very important. This is one of the first questions anyone developing a disaster plan should take into consideration.

Everyone that lives within 200 miles of the Southeastern coast of the USA or the Gulf of Mexico coast should plan for hurricanes and/or strong thunder storms.

Anyone that lives in the northern regions should plan on cold weather with lots of snow and ice.

Mountain / arid regions should plan for wild fires in the summer and snow along with ice in the winter.

Tornadoes should be considered, regardless of location.

Earthquake prone regions should plan for just that, earthquakes.

By those examples, each disaster plan and urban survival kit will be a little different. However, each kit should contain some of the same basic items.

Food & Water – most organizations tell people to have at least 3 days or 72 hours worth of food and water on hand. This is an unrealistic number. After a disaster, such as a hurricane, most relief organizations plan on having services in place within 72 hours. What if the family has 3 days worth of food and water, and the relief services are NOT in place during that time frame?

For the sake of discussion, lets say the Jones family has 14 days worth of food and water on hand. The Smith family has 3 days – just like the government advices. On the 5th day after some kind of disaster strikes, the Smith family is asking the Jones Family if they have any food they can spare.

Whatever the government says you need, double or triple that number.

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