Homesteading and Survivalism

Living a simple life

Tag: shtf survival plans

Bug Out Box Essentials

While my wife an I are camping at Martin Dies State Park – which is closee to Jasper Texas – I thought this would be a good time to talk about our Bug Out Box. We do not call it a Bug Out Box per say, we call it our camping box. But it would serve either purpose.

If some kind of SHTF event happens and we have to bug out to the homestead, the box contains everything we need to prepare, cook and eat a good meal – pots, pans, coleman stove, propane, utensils, plates, radio,,,.Cooking hot dogs on a coleman stove

As my wife and I use the equipment in the box while we are camping, lets talk about how things are working out.

Related Article – Never underestimate the effect of a hot meal on morale.

The Box – My wife and I use a Rubbermaid 36 gallon / 136.3 liter green tote, which measures 29.75 inches long, 20.25 inches wide, and 20 inches tall.

After several years of camping with friends and family I think the Bug Out Box is tuned enough for me to share my experiences.

Prepping Fatigue

Kevin Felts, blogger and survivalistSooner or later everyone in the prepping/survivalist community deals with prepping fatigue. Whether you have been prepping for a year, two years, ten years or twenty plus years, sooner or later you are going to get fatigued.

Due to the way I was raised by my parents, the way my grandparents lived on a small farm, and the atmosphere of the cold war in the 1970s, I would say my parents and grandparents conditioned me to be a prepper.

To me, survivalism is a way of life rather then a hobby.

Some people get into prepping like they do a lot of other things. Whether its getting in shape, going back to school, jogging, working out, stop smoking, stop drinking,,, most people are sincere in their actions.

Then they realize how much time and effort prepping can take. For some people its a matter of buying some canned goods and bottled water. Then there are the people who allow their lives to be consumed.

Like everything else in life, balance comes with moderation.

A few ways I deal with prepping fatigue

Moving To The Homestead Part 1

The time has come to move to a rural area, get the farm setup with a garden and livestock. My wife I currently live about 4 miles outside Jasper Texas. Its time to move ever further away from town.

With the way this nation is heading, families need to be looking at how they are going to afford to buy food and provide basic essentials for their families. One example, my wife and I buy canned refried beans to make homemade burritos with. In the past 2 years the price of the canned beans has gone up almost 20%. I bet your wages have not gone up 20% in that same amount of time. The price of ground meat has gotten terrible. Pork chops used to be cheap, and now they cost a pretty penny.

At 44 years old I am getting too old to go back to school to retrain for a new career. Instead of waiting until the last minute to make my retirement plans, I want to start 20 – 25 years ahead of time.

This morning my wife and I made a trip to the farm, took some measurements and talked about what we wanted to do. The main things we wanted to focus on were shelter, food, water and sewage. These are the basic essentials that anyone would need during a long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI survival situation.

Farm diagram for Bug Out Location

On the left side of the property is a wilderness area owned by a local timber company. Due to the way the terrain is laid out, nobody will ever be able to build there.

Chicken project 6 month update

When the SHTF do you have a sustainable food source already setup? Or do you plan on bugging out to the wilderness with your family and foraging for food? Given the options, I would rather stay at home and have fresh eggs and oatmeal – eggs from my chickens and oatmeal from my food stockpile.

In mid-late 2011 my wife and I talked about getting chickens. I started looking at coop design, types and breeds, drawing designs for my own coop, working up a bill of material, cost,,, just general plans.

February 25 2012, our first chicks.

August 23 2012, got 10 eggs.

First 5 chicks were 3 Black Jersey Giants and 2 brown Speckled Sussex. 1 black Jersey giant and 1 Speckled Sussex died.

Next set of chicks were 2 Barred Rocks (aka Plymouth rock), 2 silver laced wyandottes and 2 australorps.

Next set were 4 Rhode Island Reds.

Important garden seeds to stockpile

Lets say that some kind of long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI survival situation happens. Whether its war, food shortages, some kind of new disease,,, something happens to disrupt modern society. What food group would you want to have stockpiled?

Fresh picked spinach and snap beans

Instead of saying what single food would be the most important to stockpile, lets look at it from a “food group” point of view. The fact is, there is no single perfect food. Humans are omnivores, meaning we are designed to eat a wide range of food.

Man can not live on bread alone, nor can we live on meat alone.

Lets look at four factors in selecting our food group

History – how long has mankind used the food group.
Ease of growing – how easy is the plant to grow. We should be looking at long term survival factors.
Production – how much food does the plant produce.
Storage – how easy is the plant to store.

[Related ArticleStocking Seeds]

How ready is the U.S. for a complete collapse

How prepared is the U.S. for a total collapse?

Our lives are like a pattern – we go to work, get a pay check, pay our bills, buy food, repeat.

People have become so domesticated, we are like a family dog. The dog goes to the food bowl and waits to be fed. People go to the grocery store, or fast food places to buy food.

How would people react if the grocery stores were empty? Would people know how to grow their own food? Would people even have the resources to grow their own food?

Learning from experience

My chicken project has taught me a lot. The coop cost around $700. My 13 chickens at at 4 1/2 months old are eating almost 50 pounds of feed every 2 weeks. A buddy of mine asked what I would do for chicken feed during a SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation. My reply was the chickens would have to forage. Chickens come from a wild jungle fowl. Even though chickens have been domesticated for thousands of years, they still retain their instincts.

[Related Article – Survivalism as an experience]

Skills Every Survivalist Should Know

Some kind of SHTF / TEOTWAWKI event happens, what are some basic skills every survivalist should know?

Trying to balance work, family life and prepping means there is not a lot of free time. Kids birthday parties, work a garden, go to the shooting range, tend to the fruit trees, go fishing, take the kids to the movies,,, you get the idea. It would be nice to have unlimited free time to learn survival skills, but free time is in high demand.

If you had to pick certain skills that every survivalist should know, what would those skills be? After putting a lot of thought into this topic, I come up with a basic list. This is in no way a definitive or complete list. Lets consider this list as food for thought.

  • Infection Control (Epidemiology)
  • First Aid
  • Raising Livestock
  • Gardening
  • Hunting
  • Fishing
  • Preserving food
  • How to use firearms

Forum thread – survival skills every survivalist should know

Chicken coop update May 14 2012

Chicken coop with runAs part of our long term preps, my wife and I decided to get some chickens and build a chicken coop. We bought our first chicks on February 25. Over the next week and a half we ended up with 13 chicks.

Instead of trying to stockpile #10 cans of freeze dried eggs, why not have a supply of fresh eggs? Nutrition wise, fresh eggs are a lot better then freeze dried eggs loaded with sodium.

On the weekend of March 17 the first half of the chicken coop was built.

On the weekend of April 7 the second half of the chicken coop was built.

The chickens are starting to get cramped in their coop and area below the coop, so its time to build a run. The run will provide a the chickens with room to get our from under the coop.


Bill of material

Chicken project two month update

Chickens in the chicen coopThe first set of dear little chickens turned two months old on April 25th, and what a trip it has been. Part of my long term SHTF survival plans include getting chickens and building a chicken coop. the goal was to have a secure chicken coop and egg production up and running by the middle of 2012. So far things have been running according to plan.

Over the past two months there have been several changes to the plans.

The first plan was to only have 4 or 5 chickens, but those plans quickly changed. My wife and I bought 5 chicks, of those five, two died.

One week after buying the first set of chicks, my wife and I bought 6 more.

About 3 or 4 days after buying the 6 chicks, we bought 4 more.

This left us with a total of 13 chicks. 13 is about 2 – 3 times what my wife and I had originally planed on having. During the initial planning phases dimensions of the chicken coop had been calculated so that each chicken had plenty of room. Now that we had 13 chicks instead of just 3, things had to change. The first thing that had to change was the square footage per bird.

The first coop was a simple 4 foot by 6 foot box – with 3 feet of hardware cloth, and 1 foot of laying boxes.

The second coop is 8 feet long and 6 feet wide. This equals out to around 3.23 square feet per chicken in the coop and another 3.23 square feet under the coop.

Chicken Coop Project Part 4

Chicken Coop PerchA few weeks ago someone posted a comment on one of my chicken coop videos saying the chickens may fight to get to the highest perch. After thinking about it for a little while I decided to redo the sloped chicken perch and make all of the perches the same height.

With making the perches flat, instead of slopped, this would also provide more room for the chickens.

Friday April 13 some braces were installed around the bottom of the coop. After the braces were in place, 36 inch tall by 1/2 inch square hardware cloth was secured around the bottom of the coop. 3/4 inch hot dipped galvanized staples were used to secure the hardware cloth. The staples were spaced about every 6- 10 inches, and on alternating rows on the hardware cloth. If all of the staples are on the same row of wire, there seems to be a lot of slack in the hardware cloth. Alternating the staples seems to help with the slack.

Related Articles

Chicken Coop Project Part 1
Chicken Coop Project Part 2
Chicken Coop Project Part 3

Prepping the Bug Out Location

survivalistA few nights ago I had a dream that has had me thinking ever since. The dream was about the US going through a nuclear war. The infrastructure had been devastated, no news was coming out of cities like LA or New York. It was as if life had been turned 180 degrees in the blink of an eye. We had limited internet, and we had electricity, but there was no news getting out about how bad the devastation was.

Part of the electricity in southeast Texas is provided by a series of 3 hydroelectric dams – Dam B, Lake Sam Rayburn and Toledo bend. In my dream, the electricity in my area was being kept on by those 3 dams.

When the food shipments had stopped, the local grocery stores were cleaned out in a matter of hours. What led to the shipments stopping, was the main computer systems that tell the trucks when to roll and where to go had stopped working. Since the trucking companies did not know when and where to deliver the products, the workers stopped loading the trucks.

Our society has grown so dependent on computer systems, we do not know how to do anything without them. The local Sonic can not even fix an iced tea without their computers being up. A lot of radio stations broadcast syndicated content, that content travels over the internet. Without the internet, a lot of radio stations would not even have a morning show. Inventory control for massive retailers are controlled by remote offices, and you guessed it, over the internet.

3 day fishing camping trip

Testing bug out plansDuring a long term SHTF / teotwawki survival situation, fishing will be an important way to gather food. One of the goals of this fishing / camping trip is to practice our SHTF / teotwawki fishing skills. another goal of this trip is to make observations about issues that people might run into.

There are a lot of people out there who plan on bugging out to the wilderness after the food and water run out at their home. Part of the SHTF survival plans are along the lines of “when we run out of food, we will have to go to the food”. This usually includes grabbing the bug out bag and bug out to a wilderness location where they survival can hunt, fish and gather wild foods.

One issue, the person rarely gets past the planning phase. In order to have a balanced SHTF / teotwawki survival plan, people should also test those plans. The only way to test the plans is to get away from the computer and do something. Being an armchair survivalist is not enough. Make your plans, test your plans, analyze the results from the test, make improvements on those observations.

Sunday, December 25th (Christmas), for Christmas I bought two of my sons a Coleman sleeping bag each, a sleeping pad, and a fleece sleeping bag. They needed a sleeping bag for our upcoming camping trip, so why not give them a sleeping bag for Christmas.

Monday, December 26th was gear load out day. I spent just about all day going over my pack, going over the boat, making sure the lights on the boat worked, hooked the boat trailer to the truck, organizing my food bag,,, just getting everything ready to go.

For Christmas my mom and dad gave me an Optimus Terra Solo. My personal belief is that you test your gear before you take it on a trip. To test my new Terra Solo, I setup my single burner Coleman stove on the stove in my kitchen. Then I cooked myself a serving of noodles, just like I would on a camping trip.

The noodles I made for catfishing along with my tacklebox were rounded up.

All of the gear was put in the living room next to the front door so it could be loaded in the truck and boat the following morning.

Teotwawki fishing gear

Texas channel catfishThe past 2 days have been spent working on my truck, and working on some jug lines for an upcoming camping trip. When I started thinking about how much time and effort I put into getting the juglines ready, I was a little set back.

After talking to my wife, I probably put 6 – 8 hours into redoing, and working on the juglines. The lines had not been used since June 2011. I changed the lines out, added some PVC pipe to the noodles and replaced the J-hooks with circle hooks. When I started cutting the PVC pipe, I was using a hacksaw. After cutting a few pipe, I dug the skilsaw out and started using the saw instead of the hacksaw.

For the sake of discussion lets say this happened after a SHTF / teotwawki event. I would have had to use a hacksaw to cut the PVC pipe. But then again, its doubtful I would have had any PVC laying around. To make the noodles for this weekend I used some 3/4 inch PVC I had in the shed.

Without PVC pipe I would have threaded the line through the middle of the noodle.

Related forum thread – Fishing With Juglines

Organizing preparedness plans

Stockpiling food for SHTFYour SHTF survival plans can be organized in a couple of ways. The plans can be written down on pieces of paper, tossed into a hat and drawn at random. The plans could be ideas jotted down in a notebook or a blog. Or the plans could be well organized. Once the plans are organized, then what? Do you just look over the plans and say “yep, that looks good to me”? Personally, I do not think that is good enough.

Lets take stockpiling ammunition for SHTF for example. I do not think its enough to buy ammunition at random. You buy a box here, buy a box there, after awhile you know you have ammo, but how much “exactly” do you have? The same thing can be said about soap, soap dispensers, first aid supplies, spare blankets,,,, and so on.

When you are looking at your food shelves, and the racks are in plain view, it should be easy to tell what can goods you are short on and which ones you need to buy. When I look at my shelving units, I can tell right off the bat when a can of ravioli has been taken, or when my wife and I need to buy some more beans or corn.

The problem lies in things that are rarely seen, such as ammo kept in an ammo cans – out of sight, out of mind.

For the stuff that stays out of sight, its important to pull the stuff out and take a look every once in awhile. A couple of months ago I pulled out my ammo cans and took inventory:

223, check
7.62×39, check
30-30, check
308, check
#4 shot 12 gauge for small game, well I needed some more of it so I picked up a couple of boxes a few days later.
22 long rifle, well crap, why do I have so little 22 long rifle?

For non-survivalist, having a couple of boxes of 22 long rifle might be ok. But for people that are planning for a long term SHTF survival situation, the more the merrier.

Being a liability to a survival group

survivalist camp bug out locationThere are two types of people in a survival group – assets and liabilities. In your survival group, how do you determine who is a liability and who is an asset. For the sake of discussion, lets talk about liabilities.

Liabilities to a survival group usually do not:

Stockpile food – they do not take the time to prepare and kind of food stocks besides some canned goods, noodles, pasta,,, the typical stuff someone would keep in their cabinet.

Instead of having food stored in mylar bags or buying #10 cans, liabilities trust that other people will stockpile food for them. Storing food in mylar bags is not expensive, but it is time consuming. The liability usually does not want to dedicate any extra time to preparing their food stockpile.

If liabilities do have food stocked up, its going to be just enough for a few days, maybe a week or two at the longest.

When their food stocks run out, the liability will ask the other members of the survivalist group for help.

During a long term SHTF survival situation, the most in demands items are going to be food and safe drinking water. Even though food will be one of the most in demand items, its also one of the most overlooked items of the liability. Where a survivalist takes the time to study their food preps and stockpile food, the liability will usually shop at the local grocery store and only buy what their family needs within the next week or 2 weeks.

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