Mixing and Matching SHTF Survival Gear

I find it interesting that Taco Bell can create so many items on their menu by mixing and matching about eight different ingredients. There is the taco meat, sour cream, refried beans, tortilla shell, taco shell,,,,. But by the looks of the Taco Bell menu, it appears they have a thousand ingredients.

Its called utilizing available resources. And the same can be applied to survivalism.

On the flip side of the coin from Taco Bells minimalist approach, I find it interesting that survivalist stockpile so much gear. Certain survivalist think they have to have a special “bug out bag” that is separate from their standard camping / backpacking pack, that they need several rifles

Lets backup a few years, all the way to the early – mid 1980s. Back then I (Kevin), was in High School and was busy camping and exploring the marshes around the Bridge City, Texas area. My backpack at that time was about 14 inches tall, 12 – 14 inches wide, and maybe 6 inches wide. It could have easily been a school book bag, but it was OD green and made out of a canvas material. I had one backpack for all of my camping needs. At that time, that is all I needed. The pack was just big enough for a couple of cans of vienna sausage, or chili, can opener, small pot, matches, contact case, and maybe a spare shirt or socks.

By using a pack that could have doubled as a school backpack, the item was dual purpose. But I never took the pack to school, it was too militant looking, and the other kids in school thought I was strange enough without adding fuel to the fire.

The food that I brought on camping trips back in the early – mid 1980s was just regular canned goods – mainly because I did not know any better and because that is what my mom had in the pantry. So when it was time to go camping with my buddies, I just grabbed the food that was on hand at the time.   Instead of the household food serving dual roles of camping food and family food, now I have 2 different types of food.

SHTF Survival Rifles

On the topic of survival rifles, back around 1994 or 1995, my mom and dad wanted to buy me a new deer rifle for Christmas.  To make an educated decision, I read everything that I could find on what was the most well rounded rifle for North America and came up with the 7mm express / 280 Remington.

AK-47 AR-15 Survival Rifles
AR15 and AK47

A lot of authors in gun magazines praise the 7mm express, saying that its great on anything from whitetail deer to moose.  And their right, the 7mm express / 280 is a well rounded cartridge.  The problem is, that caliber does not fit in my overall scheme of things.

Its like a jig-saw puzzle, the 280/7mm express dies not fit with my other survival rifle plans.  Nor does it fit with my buddies plans.

Calibers For SHTF:

  • 22 long rifle
  • 223 Remington
  • 7.62X39
  • 30-30 Winchester
  • 270 Winchester
  • 308 Winchester

That might seem like a well rounded list of rifles, and for most people it is. But as a survivalist, I have to make my plans fit with my buddies. None of my friends own a 280 / 7mm express, but they own several 308s. So I decided to buy a 308 rifle. Stockpiling 280 ammunition would have done my buddies very little good. But now that I have a 308 on the way, we can all share the same type of ammo.  One of the problems now, one of my buddies has a PTR91, and I ordered a FAL.  But oh well, you can not have everything.

Instead of buying a dual purpose semi-auto rifle that could work in urban survival situations, as well has hunting, I picked a rifle that had one role and did not fit with anything else.  Its a lesson learned.

On the topic of survival food preps, I see people developing 2 stores of food – their everyday food and their “survival” food stockpile.  There is nothing wrong with having 2 stockpiles of food.  The problem is when people stockpile stuff they do not normally eat.  The food is stored, forgotten about, and in a lot of cases the food expires before its used.

A few months ago I had to clean out some of my expired food preps that I forgotten about.

The meals that were disposed of were handed out to the public after Hurricanes Ike and Rita passed through Southeast Texas. The boxes did not contain anything that my family and I ate on a regular basis. Some of the meals were eaten right after the hurricane, but for the most part they were stored under a kitchen cabinet and forgotten about. The boxed meals are not as compact as an MRE or Eversafe meal, so they were not even used on camping / backpacking trips. I feel bad about throwing the food out, but at the very least the raccoons and possums got something to eat.


In some cases I am just as guilty as the next person, you should see my backpack collection. I have more packs then you can shake a stick at, and range from 1,500 cubic inches to over 4,000 cubic inches. I keep telling myself that I do not need so many packs, but they just keep adding up.


maxpedition falcon ii pygmy

Some of my current backpacks include:

“Why” do I have so many backpacks, I dont know. I can only use 1 pack at a time. One thing nice about having so many packs, if someone wants to go on a camping / hiking trip but did not come prepared, I have plenty of gear to share.

Survival Knives For SHTF

Then there are the people that collect knives – like how many knives can you “really” use at one time? I dont know how many deer I have skinned and seen skinned with a simple Case pocket knife with a 2 inch blade. But then again, I’am just as guilty as the next person. When it comes to skinning a deer, I usually use the knife I am carrying at the time.

Knives for SHTF
Left to right: Schrade schf9, Cold Steel GI Tanto, Cold Steel Recon Scout.

But one thing about having so many knives, they can be used in several roles.

Sometimes I will strap a knife to the shoulder strap of my pack – but this has to be a small knife, with maybe a 3 inch or shorter blade.  I have a Gerber folding knife in a pouch that fills this role nicely.

Sometimes I will strap a knife to the outside of my pack.  This is usually for an easy to access knife on hiking or camping trips – something large enough to trim branches or cut some tent stakes.  A lot of times my Cold Steel Recon Scout fills this role.