Homesteading and Survivalism

Living a simple life

Tag: stockpiling survival gear

Random Thoughts May 6 2013

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Over the past few days I have been thinking about a lot of stuff. A lot of small stuff, to small to make their own post about. So I thought I would combine a lot of small topics into a random thoughts post.Kevin Felts, Blogger and Survivalist

I promised a buddy of mine that I would tone the political stuff down. Rather than posting political topics here, I will keep them on PBJ News.  So here goes.

Video Gaming -I guess it is a matter of me getting older, but fewer and fewer games have that “wow” factor.  Back in the 1980s and 1990s some of my buddies and I could play Atari and Super Nintendo for hours at a time.

Now, its takes a lot of keep me interested in a game.  Borderlands 2 got boring within 2 hours and Skyrim lost it after maybe 2 – 3 hours.  The only game that has been able to keep my interest over the past 3 years had been Left 4 Dead 1 & 2.  Since Diablo III has the always on internet requirement I did not even bother buying it.

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Wake Up Call For Survivalist

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Shooting AK-47 with ERGO Grip SUREGRIPAs liberals and gun haters dance in the blood of children in their call for new gun laws, survivalist need to wake up. SHTF comes in a wide range of disasters. Sometimes its hurricanes, earthquakes or other natural disasters, sometimes its losing a job or financial collapse,,,.

In the case of December 2012, it was a crazy kid with a gun that gave liberals and gun haters the needed fuel to call for more gun laws.

Over the course of a few days gun stores were stripped of every AR-15 they had, and all of the ammunition they had in stock.

The following days people became desperate to get their hands on an AR-15, magazines and ammunition.

Some examples include:

Colt 6920 for $4,000
Ebay – (2) (TWO) AR-15 NEW, Aluminum NATO 5.56 AR15 M4 30 Round .223 Magazine Magazines Winning price: $315.00 (24 Bids)
Bushmaster patrol rifle – $2,299.00
PTR-91 – $2,275
S&W M&P 15 – $2,000
Ebay – Magpul PMAG 30 MagLevel, Black with Window & Dust cover NWT $65.00
Ebay – 3 Magpul PMAG 5.56×45/.223 $165.00
Ebay – Two BRAND NEW IN BAG black Magpul PMAG 30 5.56/.223 $95.00 (sold)
Ebay – Magpul PMAG 223 5.56 Black High Cap Mags 30 Round $39.95 (10 available / 40 sold)
GunsAmerica – Colt 6920 M4 rifle $3,400.00

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Do we prepare in vain

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Stockpiling survival gear, stockpiling food, stockpiling ammunition,,, are we prepping for something that will never happen? Has our time been squandered? Has everything we have done, been done in vain?

I consider myself to be active in the survivalist / prepping community for close to 20 years. In the late 1980s I became aware that I needed to be able to protect my family during times of civil unrest, so I started reloading and stockpiling ammunition.

In the 1990s I started stockpiling basic food groups, forming bug out plans, and started buying more firearms.

Kevin Felts, blogger and survivalistFrom the early 1990s – 2012, what has happened in the world to warrant living a survivalist lifestyle? Have we had an outbreak of a new plague, we had the swine flu but it fizzled out, no nuclear war,,,. Overall, besides the twin towers being brought down, and the conflict in the middle east, the world has been a pretty peaceful place.

The first part of the 21st century has been a lot more peaceful then the first part of the 20th century.

100 years ago tensions where rising in Europe. Unknown at the time there was a World War just around the corner.

One thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that governments will never live in peace with each other. The people may live in peace, but the governments never will.

I feel the U.S. government is trying to pick a fight with Russia or China. But only time will tell if anything ever happens.

Is prepping worth the hundreds of hours invested? If either my wife or I lose our job, we have plenty of food stockpiled.

Besides the occasional hurricane, I rarely get to use my preps. My Berkey water filter sits at the Bug Out Location, unused for around 3 years. The last time I shot my rifle I had to wipe dust off the scope lens – that is a fact I am not very proud of.

Where do we draw the line? Survivalist spend so much time, effort and money building their stockpiles, and for what? For the fishing gear to go unused, or the rifles and shotguns to collect dust, for the ammunition to stay stored in the ammo cans,,,.

One of the questions that gets thrown around the forums quit a bit is “when is S going to HTF?”. I have been waiting for over 20 years. The only things that have happened are a few hurricanes have made landfall.

How many times can the fear mongers cry wolf before people start to lose interest?

Back in the early 1990s there were stories going around about the U.N. was getting ready to invade the U.S. 20 years later its the same story over and over and over and over. Holy crap, how many times are we going to hear the same fear mongering before we start to get bored?

I have tried to live a survivalist lifestyle that is sustainable – meaning that I am doing my best not to get burnt out. After 20+ years of the same thing, it starts to get old after awhile.

Maybe I need to go fishing? Maybe I need to do something to get away from the computer? Maybe I need to take a break for a little while, not from blogging, but from survivalism. Yea, I think my wife and I need to go fishing, maybe go to the camp, maybe go to the movies.

If there is one thing that keeps me going, it has to be my children. What kind of world are we leaving to our kids? A nation riddled with debt, a shrinking middle class, a government that spends more then it takes in, nuclear tensions rising between nations.

I worry about that the world will be like in 20 years. I am 44 years old. What are things going to be like in 20 or 30 more years? What kind of world can me children and my grandchildren look forward to?

Stockpiling Survival Gear at the Bug Out Location

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A few weeks ago my wife and I, and some of our friends, made a trip to the Bug Out Location for the weekend. Spending time at the BOL gives us a chance to test our survival plans, see what works, what does not work and what we need to change.

Every few months I make up a bucket of gear to bring to the Bug Out Location. Sometimes I bring tools, sometimes its flashlights, sometimes its first aid gear, chains for pulling logs,,, and so on.

I want to share with yall what I am putting together for the next load.

Trotline string – cost $4.97 for 580 feet, 235 pound tensile strength. I guess I could order some 550 cord, but that stuff cost around $8 for 100 feet. 550 cord might get added to another shipment.

We need some simple cord for tying stuff up. On the last trip to the camp, the chain that works the flap of the toilet broke. We needed some simple cord to make the flap of the toilet work. My buddy used the cord off my ear plugs to rig the toilet flap where it would work.

Nails – we are in serious need of nails at the camp. I am probably going to buy a tub of 10 penny and 12 penny nails. Not the small box of nails either, but rather a tub of nails.

Worse case situation, some kind of long term event happens, we need to build some kind of shed. Some of us chop a pine tree down, plit it into boards, but guess what, we do not have any nails.

While on the topic of nails, why not add in a couple of hammers and wedges?

Cigarette lighters – not for smoking, but for starting fires.

Even though I have around 2,000 matches at the camp, a lighter provides almost unlimited sparks. I picked up a 5 pack of large Bic lighters just to bring to the Bug Out Location.

First Aid – The never ending quest to have enough first aid items.  The dilemma I am caught in, do I stockpile isopropyl alcohol or some kind of clear whiskey? Isopropyl alcohol expires, whiskey (like vodka) never expires.

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Unprepared Sheeple Make Disasters Worse

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Just before Hurricane Rita made landfall I observed something that I probably will never forget, and that was a guy with a lowboy trailer loaded with 55 gallon drums. He was at the gas station filling up the drums – and we wonder why gas stations run out of fuel so fast during a disaster?

I am as guilty as the next person about panic buying. When the word comes that a hurricane is heading our way, my wife and I will take a trip to the local china-mart to pick up a few last minute items.

There is a difference in picking up a “few” items, and trying to stockpile several weeks worth of food in one trip.

Every time a hurricane comes around, people will kick into high gear panic buying mode. They run down to the store and start buying everything in sight.

As hurricane Ike was approaching a few years ago, I heard people at china-mart talking about how the store was out of this or that. The people that were talking agreed to buy “something”.  That “something” was whatever was left on the shelves.

Its that “we have nothing, so we have to buy anything” desperation that makes the whole situation worse. People walk around china-mart, their eyes have a semi-blank stare, and their mouths slightly open, kinda like a deer in the headlights.

When my wife and I go to china-mart before the landfall of a hurricane, its to pick up some bread, maybe a gallon of milk, maybe some more bottled water,,,. Its not that we are out, or need the items, we just want a couple of extra.

Stress levels go up as the hurricane approaches landfall. The unprepared sheeple make the situation worse because they are in panic buying mode.

Do you consider yourself prepared for a natural disaster?

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Some of the things to disappear during panic buying (from my observations anyway)

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Survival Gear Preps Second Quarter 2012

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Stockpiling SHTF Survival GearWhile stockpiling survival gear for a long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation, I think it is important to pause, review, and then move forward.  It does no good to stockpile the same thing over and over, while overlooking other essential preps.  The changing of the seasons, a new year, or every 3 – 4 months are good times to do reviews.

January, February and March of 2012 were dedicated to buying a Remington 1911 R1, stockpiling 45acp, collecting some some books on chickens, buying some chicks and building my chicken coop.  The 1911 is for personal / property defense, and the chickens are for a sustainable food source.

Related Forum ThreadMy Chicken Coop Project

April, May and June of 2012 were dedicated to expanding my ability to purify water, some new cooking gear, expanding my stockpile of brass cased 223, buying some 308 Winchester, diversifying my stockpile of 22 long rifle and expanding my first aid supplies.

Purifying Water

If water purification is not at the top of your long term survival plans, it should be.  Without safe drinking water, life as we know it can not exist.

My recent additions were two Berkey black filters and a SteriPen Sidewinder.

The Royal Berkey I keep at the Bug Out Location has 2 black filters.  Each filter has a life expectancy of around 3,000 gallons – depending on water quality.   With the addition of 2 more filters, I can now filter an estimated 12,000 gallons of water.

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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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Zombies Are Real

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Yep, you read that right, zombies are real. Not real as in wanting to eat your brains, but real as in mindless people with no sense of reason and incapable of higher thought.

To live a survivalist lifestyle, one should be open minded, open to new ideas, flexible, open to suggestions and open to change. To be closed minded, to be inflexible and not open to change sets a limit on how well we can adjust to change.

What caused the Neanderthal to go extinct?

What caused Cro-Magnon Man to go extinct?

What caused Homo-Erectus to go extinct?

Was it their inability to adjust to climate change? Was it their inability to adjust to changing food sources? Were they open to new ideas?

Sheeple zombies

Sheeple are the people that say “we have done it this way 100 years, there is no reason to change now”.   These are the people who resist any kind of change.  When sheeple are forced to change, they get angry and develop feels of resentment.  These are the people that are on a dead end road of life.

I wonder if some Neanderthal refused to change his hunting patterns with the changes in herd migration?

Did Crug the Neanderthal say to Doug the Neanderthal:

Crug: The herds have moved over there, lets move with them and get something to eat.
Doug: Why should we move? The herds have always been here, they will come back.
Crug: Doug, we are going to starve.
Doug: Na, the herds will come back.

The herds did not come back. Crug, Doug and their entire species are now part of the fossil record.

Do not be like Crug and Doug.  Be open to new ideas, be open to suggestions and be open to change.

Random youtube video and forum threadFood Storage. How to? How much? What to store

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What preppers do on the weekend

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Wire on end of chicken coop runWhat do preppers do with their spare time? Unless you are some kind of radical survivalist, we do not live in bunkers, nor do we hide in our homes in fear of a zombie invasion. For the most part, preppers (aka survivalist) are just like everyone else.  Survivalism / Prepping is a way of life.  While some people collect stamps, we check our food stocks.  While some people collect coins for fun and profit, we collect silver and gold as a hedge against inflation.

Friday, May 18 was a day to relax after the work week.  Friday evening is when my wife and I talk about what we need to do over the weekend.

Saturday, May 19 my wife and I like to get up early and get our shopping done.  Breakfast is either a fried egg sandwich with bacon or sausage on the side, or something quick in the microwave.  Regardless of what is fixed for breakfast, I like to have either strawberries or a banana on the side.   I feel that its important to start the day off with something like yogurt, or some kind of fruit along with my main breakfast.

To wash breakfast down, I usually have a low carb energy drink, such as a rock star or monster.

After breakfast, my wife and I head to town to take care of the shopping.  We like to get to get an early start before the stores get too crowded, and before the heat of the day sets in.

Part of the shopping list was put together a week beforehand.  Over the past week I took inventory.  What did I need to buy, what did I not need to buy?  For Saturday I decided to pick up a box of Remington Core-Lokt in 308 Winchester  150 grain.  My 30-30 stocks are just about where I want them to be.  As usual the local Wal-mart was sold out of American Eagle in 223.  the closer we get to hunting season, the more difficult it is to find ammunition.  I like to buy my hunting ammo during the summer so when hunting season arrives I am ready to go.

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Stockpiling basic building materials

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Chicken coop building materialsDuring my recent chicken coop project I realized how poorly I had stocked my basic building materials.  When the first set of 2x4s were being put together, all I had was 8 penny nails.  8 penny might be fine for use in nail guns, but when you are using a hammer, 10 penny are much better.  When the first walls were stood up, the nails were too short to hold the boards together.  It was rather embarrassing when the wall fell apart as my wife and I were getting ready to put them together.

When the chicken coop project kicked off I quickly realized that I did not have the screws or nails that I needed.
the skil saw blade was dull,
my good tape measure was at the camp, so I had to use my wifes semi-pink tape measure,
my good framing square the tri-squre are at the camp, so I had to use an old rusted steel framing square.

The skil saw and the drill are fairly new so they worked well.

Another thing I realized is how messy and disorganized things can get. My shed is in a mess, the shelf system I am using is in disarray, the things I did not need were in the way and the things I needed were difficult to get to.

Due to my experience with building the chicken coop, I decided to clean the shed out (and keep it clean), and to also stock up on simple stuff like screws and nails.

Screws I ended up with:

1 5/8 inch – for securing plywood to 2x4s
2 inch – for securing stuff like 1x4s to 2x4s
2 1/2 inch – for securing 2x4s together
1 5/8 inch roofing screw with rubber washer
2 1/2 inch roofing screw with rubber washer

Nails I ended up with:

8 penny
10 penny
12 penny
16 penny

I also ended up with some 3/4 inch galvanized staples for securing the hardware cloth to the chicken coop frame.

Getting things organized

If I had tried to build my chicken coop during a long term SHTF survival situation, things would not have turned out too well.  It seemed like my wife and I went to the store several times to buy basic building materials.  Where do you think you can find screws and nails when the stores are closed?

What I need to do, I need to get the shed organized, install another shelving system, and stock up on simple things.  I thought about buying one of those big boxes of 10 penny nails, and maybe a large box of 8 penny nails.  And screws, I need some more wood screws.  Since I live in hurricane country, I probably need some shingling nails as well.

Unless you have a huge barn to store lumber in, its going to be a little difficult to stockpile plywood, 2x12s, 2x6s,,, and so on.  But we can stockpile nails, screws, maybe a handsaw, couple of hammers,,, you get the general idea.

Prepping the Bug Out Location

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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.

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2012 prepping plans

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Stockpiling food for SHTFWith a title of “2012 prepping plans”, you might think this article is about what might happen in December of 2012.  Well, that is not what this article is about.  If you are worried about 2012, and you consider yourself a prepper or a survivalist, then you are doing it wrong.  We should not bother ourselves with dates and predictions of doom and gloom.  Our duty to our family and those close to us is to maintain a constant state of readiness.  It is impossible to maintain a 100% constant state of readiness.  To do so would require us to walk around with a gas mask and bio-suit.   What we can do, is have a stockpile of food, water and the ability to protect our family and property.

The goal of this article is to look back on 2011, reflect, and then look forward to 2012.  Where do you need to improve your preps, what areas have you neglected and what changes can you make in the coming year.

As 2012 approaches, some of us might be thinking about news years resolutions. Along with the typical lose weight and stop smoking resolutions, I would like everyone to post suggestions related to how prepared you and your family are. Where do you need to make improvements. On top of your own preps, what do you family members need to do to improve?

For example, my step-daughters have no can rotation system setup. I thought about buying them some wire racks and then help them get some kind of system going to help them keep their can goods rotated.

In 2011 I tried to focus on fishing supplies, getting a can rotation system working, stockpiling #10 cans and storing food in mylar bags.

Stockpiling food:

Right now 3 superpails are taking up an entire bottom shelf of my shelving system.

I have 2 shelf units installed, on the bottom shelf I have:

3 super pails on the bottom shelf of one unit

Up to 108 cans on the bottom shelf of one unit

I would like a better way to store my superpails. But where do things balance out? Do 3 five gallon superpails equal 108 cans?  Would I be better off storing the superpails in a closet and storing 216 cans on the bottom on the shelving units?

This video is how my shelves looked in October 2011. In the past few months there have been several changes made.

Fishing Gear:

I would think to throw a special thank you out to the person who sent me a box of fishing gear. The person asked to remain unnamed, you know who you are, and Thank You.

Some of the stuff I have been stockpiling are trotlines, droplines (noodles), hooks, fishing line, weights,,, and so on.  During the spring of 2011 I tried to buy a bunch of perch fishing stuff – small hooks and weights.  I was hoping to take the grandkids and my kids fishing this past summer, and we went a few times.

In the summer of 2011 I ran a couple of trotlines and went fishing out on the Angelina river a few times.  When June, July and August rolled around the weather got too hot to do anything outdoors.  This summer was one of the hottest and driest on record here in Southeast Texas, and for Texas as a whole.  Due to the extreme heat, I tried to limit my outdoor activities.  The day time temps would hit 100 degrees before noon in July and August.  With heat like that, being out on the boat fishing felt like being in an oven.

Plans for 2012

Some of the things I want to do in 2012 include reviewing my seed stockpile, buy a pressure cooker, plant a small garden in my backyard.  Even if I do not plant a garden, I would like to buy beans or peas from the local farmers co-op.  Then use the pressure cooker to store the beans and peas.  Local farmers co-op is a great way to meet up with local farmers.  Ask them what kind of crops they are growing, what kind of pesticide and fertilizer works best for what types of crops.

One of the things I really hope to do in 2012 is to plant a bunch of snap beans, and use a pressure cooker to store them in jars.

I would also like to make a homemade stew with a pressure cooker.

The ammunition at the camp needs to be stored in ammo boxes instead of just sitting on the shelf.

I would like to order a sardine can of 223 or 308.

One of the main things I wan to work on in 2012 is preserving my own food. Maybe even try to make jerky with my pit, which would be a good weekend project.

All right people, post your ideas, opinions, thoughts in this forum thread about prepping in 2012.

Copyright Kevin Felts 2011.

No part of this article may be reproduced without written permission from the author.

Stockpiling Ammo at the Bug Out Location

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Stockpiling ammo at the Bug Out LocationThis past weekend I decided it was time to organize the ammunition at the Bug Out Location. We had ammo stored in 3,,, 4 different locations, which made taking inventory a pain in the rear end.

My wife cleared off a wire shelf so I could bring it to the camp and organize the ammo stockpile. The idea was to get all of the ammo together, see what we have and go from there.

Ammunition at the Bug Out Location is your “oh crap, the S has seriously HTF.” If you have to rely on the ammunition stockpile that you BOL, something really bad has happened – you and your family have had to leave your home, friends and family are probably knocking on your door asking for help,,, things have gone from bad to worse.

Because I look at BOL ammo as a last resort, I only stockpile what I normally shoot in my rifles. This is ammunition that has been tried, tested and proven to work in my rifle and on the game animals in my area. Why use a certain type of ammunition during hunting season, and stockpile a different type of ammo at the Bug Out Location? While this applies to hunting ammo, I look at defensive ammo in a different light.

As for defensive ammo, I stockpile one type, and its something that preforms well in my rifles. The goal of defensive ammo is to poke holes in the target.

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teotwawki survival gear storage

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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.

Fishing Gear

One shelf is dedicated to fishing gear – lures, trotline string, hooks, extra spools of monofilament fishing line,,, stuff like that.  To make sure small children do not get tehir hands on hooks and lures, the fishing gear is stored in a closet.

During some kind of long term SHTF survival situation, fishing is probably going to be the main source of food for anyone who lives close to a body of water.  Since I live close to a river and a couple of large lakes, its in my best interest to stockpile all kinds of fishing supplies

Related forum thread – tackle box inventory

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Survivalist OPSEC

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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.

The neighbors hear the news broadcast over the radio, they then apologize for what happened and leave the house.

Do not talk about your preps to anyone but family and “very” close friends.
Do not talk about the food you are stockpiling
Do not talk about your firearms, and especially do not talk about military firearms
Do not talk about prepping in any shape, form or fashion
Do not talk about your “Bug Out Location
Do not talk about stockpiling ammunition
Do not talk about any of your survival plans

To all of the sheep around you, you should appear as unprepared as they are.

Ways to avoid talking about your preps

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