Apr 282012

They were munching, marching, stumbling, crowding through everything — eating their way down to the last grain and morsels to be found. I couldn’t believe my eyes!

Death was arriving at my door, what was I to do? I’m afraid, very afraid, they’re going to find me, crunch my bones, eat my flesh, steal my food. I am dead… dead…

Would I wish that this day had never come!

I mean no disrespect for using the term “horde” when I describe the people who will wind up in them (perhaps even you), but it does accurately describe what everyone has seen in virtually every apocalyptic movie. A virtual horde of thousands of people on the silver screen, munching its way through everything it can find to eat. Continue reading “Surviving the Horde” »

Apr 272012

Here are some rather important ‘revelations’ that the survivalist community should at least read:

When I run our SERE based classes (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape), I get people who last maybe two weeks, normally one.. I would put money on the fact that anyone who does the BOB challenge, would last only a few cold damp wet nights before they give up.

I don’t agree with most of the BS that is out there on the net or printed material. Having first hand experience of peoples expectations versus reality, 95% of attendees have a massive shock.

Most have watched the scripted survival TV series or other TV based survival instruction programs, but when reality hits, you cans see it on their faces….

I train a lot of very fit regular and ex forces members and even some of these guys/gals have a tough time lasting a week, foraging of the land, so long term BOB style living is a sure way to help reduce the surplus population.

Keep well and keep bloging, best regards

Paul Cobham

And another email received:

If you get a chance, I would like you to read this topic I started and consider my suggestion that preppers take on the role of “pest control”. IMO, if the people who are prepared to survive, are not also prepared to eliminate the thieves and murderers who are going to perceive us as prey…. then we are pissing in the wind. No matter how well stocked your are or how long you are prepared to survive on your own, everybody will have to come out of their hiding spots eventually. And if no one has taken it upon themselves to literally exterminate the vermin who are surviving a true doomsday scenario by cannibalism, then we are all pretty much fucking doomed.

Please note what this actually means. The ‘thieves and murderers’ will be those who ran off into the woods and attempted to survive — the so-called ‘survivalist’, urban house mom, couch ‘patriot’ and would-be doomsday wilderness ‘prepper’. I am not overlooking the displaced hordes from the city of course. This horde is an entirely different topic which can be addressed later.

Even the professional survival instructors do not agree that bugging out and living off the land is going to work. Continue reading “B.O.B. – The Reality” »

Apr 262012

I propose a “Survivalist Challenge” to prove the theory, concept and practical reality of what the survivalist movement calls “bugging out” to the wilderness.  Whatever the “shtf” scenario that requires / demands of you to leave your home and disappear off into the woods, abandoning everything you haven’t taken with you.

This challenge, in order to be realistic, must have certain rules to emulate a real “shtf” scenario. They are intended to be as real-life as possible.

The Rules

1) B.O.B – The “bugout bag” is permitted, containing only your gear. See instructions below on food and water. Gear, limited to a realistic 20 – 40 lbs is permitted. Pick what you like, but you must already own it. Weapons, knives, snares, books, etc., but be honest here — select the gear you already have.  You are not allowed to buy anything (see below). If you’re bugging out — shopping is not a realistic option in “bugout mode”, so it is not permitted for this challenge.

Your starting water supply is limited only to what you can carry into the wilderness.  A canteen, Camelbak or some such container. Just be honest here and carry what you would have had with your B.O.B.

Food in your B.O.B is limited to a 3-day supply, per person. Remember, you’re going to be living off the land, unsupplied from civilization. For reality purposes, any food you might have had in your B.O.B. would be eaten fairly quickly anyway, and then it would be gone. To get to “reality conditions” quicker, only a 3 day food supply is allowed (time enough to get you to your bugout location), where you must find all your remaining food yourself.  However, no shopping (anywhere) enroute or at anytime is permitted. You can only arrive at your wilderness spot with what you started with — and what you still have left. Continue reading “Survival Acres Survivalist Challenge – Putting the Bullshit To The Test” »

Apr 232012

Part II – The Fallacy of Bugging Out

If you haven’t read this already, please read The Fallacy of Bugging Out for important background information on this topic.

This is Part II, which expands on some of the assumptions and misconceptions on why bugging out is in nearly all cases, a very bad idea for the vast majority of people who might be considering this.

There are only a very few, extremely unlikely scenarios where attempting to disappear or escape into the wilderness for survival could be deemed necessary. This decision, should be essentially a last ditch, balls-to-the-wall, choice of “last resort” that offers extremely limited survivability for the majority of people, yet receives an inordinate amount of attention and concern, probably through a serious lack of understanding of what this choice actually means.

Internet Survivalists

Bugging out to the wilderness is in reality, a last ditch emergency survival decision, one which offers a very limited duration of survivability — with a very low chance of actual long-term success. Divorcing yourself from everything you actually need that is presently keeping you alive is a decision not to be taken lightly. You will have to come back — a point that is chronically overlooked.

The mythology of bugging out, with its many adherents but few actual practitioners, somehow manages to overlook some absolutely critical needs that we all have on a daily basis. This critical need is simply described in the rest of this article as the need to resupply. Continue reading “The Fallacy of Bugging Out – Part II” »

Apr 182012

Many websites, blogs and forums have covered the topic of bugging out in excruciating detail, all under the assumption that this will be a necessary escape plan for many of us when the proverbial shit hits the fan.  This notion is predicated upon the belief that escape and evasion, necessary for your immediate survival will be a (likely) event that you must plan and prepare for now.

However, nothing could be further from the real and actual truth.  This cherished myth is a deceptive and dangerous notion that has little place in reality.  I’ve long held a stance against this notion because in nearly all cases and all situations, this is a very bad idea with oftentimes fatal consequences.  Bugging out is embracing the refugee lifestyle – a very bad idea.  Refugees throughout history have fared very badly, suffered extreme hardship and deprivation, with many not surviving the experience. There is a far better alternative to this.

Continue reading “The Fallacy Of Bugging Out” »

Apr 132012

This is an excellent website to find info on building various power systems from scratch. These guys have even built wind generators and alternators from scratch – handy info to know post-collapse. They’ve also got a lot of good links.


Note: Scroll to the bottom to get to their topic menu.

Apr 132012

Solutions to refrigeration when electricity is scarce
by Michael Hackleman


Refrigeration alternatives

I have gotten so caught up in the various ways of perfecting refrigeration that I have failed to realize that one of the best schemes is to reduce the need for it by pursuing alternatives. Anybody who uses a refrigerator seldom considers what mankind did before the refrigerator was developed. Some may remember cutting ice from lakes, storing it in well-insulated buildings, and the daily task of transferring small chunks to the ?icebox? in the house. But let?s go back still further in time.

In the pre-icebox era, how was food preserved? Basically, people used one or more of four techniques: root-cellaring, canning, dehydration, or controlled supply. Let?s look at them one at a time.

Build and use a root cellar.
The secret to the root cellar is that it?s tucked down into the midst of the biggest thermal flywheel we know?the earth. In a 12-hour span, air temperatures may vary as much as 100 degrees F above ground. Several feet into the earth, however, there may not occur a one-degree change. Season to season, the same in-earth spot may vary by only 10-20 degrees F.

Traditionally, root cellars are built under the house. This provides easy access and cuts down on the cost of separate construction. Another important aspect of this design is that the house itself acts as a buffer against surface-side temperature fluctuations. One built separately from a house must be snuggled down a little further in the ground to avoid the influence of temperature variations at the cellar?s weakest boundary?it?s ceiling and entrance.

What kinds of food can be stored in a root cellar? Garden produce and grains. Vegetables have a natural protection against weather and, when ripe, may be kept for exceptionally long periods merely by keeping them cool. Most types of grain?stored in air-tight, air-evacuated (vacuum or gas-filled) containers, and kept from temperature extremes and direct sunlight?will keep almost indefinitely. It may appear that a root cellar?s main function is to protect food from the ravages of summer heat, but this isn?t true. Vegetables are just as susceptible to damage by severe cold or freezing. So, the root cellar?s moderating influence is also essential during winter months.

Grain and vegetables constitute less than 50% of the average person?s daily diet. Also, the root cellar may prove inadequate in light of the cooler temperatures required to preserve other foods?dairy and poultry products, meats, and frozen vegetables. Nevertheless, the root cellar keeps vegetables and grains out of the refrigerator and, in the process, cuts down the size of a unit needed to handle perishables.

Learn canning for foodstuffs.
Canning involves all types of foods but focuses principally on fruits and vegetables; preserves, pickles, jams and jellies are the end product. However, meat, poultry, and seafood can also be canned. Canning requires no energy in storing the finished product, but it will require a strong heat source and the energy of your own labor to prepare. By comparison, freezing foods predominates now for its obvious advantage in convenience, but its main disadvantage is high energy consumption for the duration of the storage.

Improper processing when canning produces a toxin which causes botulism poisoning. It?s the fear of this possibility which turns prospective canners away from this food preservation technique. This is both unreasonable and unfortunate. When tried-and-proven recipes are used and other processes are followed for jar preparation, there is no danger. Backwoods Home Magazine has had a number of articles on canning in past issues.

Dehydrate your food.
Another food preservation technique is dehydration. Involving low-temperature heat, freezing temperatures, or vacuum, this process drives water from foods. As a result, the final product is sealed against the normal pace of decomposition. The final product can be eaten ?as is,? or reconstituted with water.

The most widely-known example of food dehydration is beef jerky. Although the process is carried out in gas or electric ovens nowadays, the original version involved stretching the thin strips of meat out on sun-baked rocks. In addition to the preparation, the cook had to stick around to fend off animals, birds, flies, and other insects lured by the delicious scent.

A person serious about using this food preservation technique could easily build a solar dryer for unattended drying of bulk quantities of fruit, produce, and meat. The popularity and high cost of dried fruits and meats should be indication enough of what you could do with any surplus dried foods from this inexpensive process.

Control and ?pace? your food supply.
A controlled supply means that you keep your food alive?on the hoof or on the vine?until you?re ready to use it. If it?s ripe, it?s ripe; if it?s not eaten or preserved, the food will rot, spoil, or become unpalatable. Therefore, in a controlled supply, one staggers the ripening or aging of food so that it comes due as frequently and as reliably as a trip to the store each week.

Meat supplied from domestic animals is another issue. Unlike the relative freedom we may enjoy in picking small or large quantities of vegetables, fruits, or nuts, with animals we?re stuck with irreversible ?harvests.? What portion of it we don?t immediately consume must be preserved or suffer a loss to spoilage. It wasn?t long before raising rabbits for food got to me, and the experience nudged me just that much closer to being a vegetarian. It was the extra effort. When we finally got to the point where there was sufficient food coming from the gardens to maintain our rabbits without the outside purchase of feed, it was also easy to see that we were adding an unnecessary step. In the final analysis, then, the extra energy, water, and grain was too great to justify the meager return.

Last thoughts

A lot of ideas and techniques have been covered in the foregoing sections. While you catch your breath, may I suggest a plan for implementing some of these ideas?

* Seriously consider exactly what it is you want that requires refrigeration.
* Consider one primary and (optionally) one or more secondary power sources for refrigeration. No single source?or the equipment which converts it to useful form?is 100% reliable.
* What conversions, modifications, and replacements appeal to you? Which of these can you perform yourself? Do you have the time, energy, skills, and tools? What will the materials cost? If you need (or want) help, is it available? What will it cost? Is it worth it? Be honest with yourself.
* Are you willing to change some operator habits? Do you need to re-site the refrigerator?

Solid answers to these questions will make other options clearer and, hopefully, subsequent decisions easier to make.

(Michael Hackleman, P.O. Box 327, Willits, CA 95490, is the author of Better Use of Alternative Energy and At Home with Alternative Energy. Currently out of print, both are available at libraries.)


More ideas

Another option is to buy a small electric freezer, and re-make the design, just enough so you can add about 8-12 inches of Styrofoam insulation. The back or sometimes bottom are the areas where the heat exchange occurs on many models (do not blaock heat exchange). That warm side or heat output area needs to be vented away or out of the place where the freezer is used. Then with all the newly added foam insulation and the use of the a solar electric source such as 300-400 watt solar panels or small turbine and about 8 large batteries designed for charging and used in solar power systems.

Then a person can produce ICE (for cooler(s)) and keep foods frozen.

I am speaking about one of those small top chest freezers in 13-15 cu ft range, and not a large style.
Also I am talking about a brand new unit that already uses far less power to run that units more than a few years old.
Also if you plan to use a 110 volt style you will need to buy a matched inverter, not a big one that draws a lot of power to be at the ready, but one large enough to do the job by a nice margin. 2000 watt or so. Would be a fair choice.

Chest type units (both refrigerator and freezers) loose far less cold air when opened than vertical door units. When a door is opened, the coldest air at the bottom spills out onto floor area. With chest types, opening the lip spills no cold air and requires less energy to ‘recover’.

Refridgerators seem to be way under insulated, so as to make them roomer is same space. IMO, this not a good idea at all. Far better to make more room for insulation (on exterior) and use far less power. Then renewable energy sources become economically attractive.


Couple other interesting tid-bits when considering refrigeration alternatives…

The temperature in most places in North America about 8-10′ deep is constant and will always be at whatever your annual average air temperature for that location happens to be. This will hold true as long as it’s dry ground and not into a water table.

Cold is simply the absence of heat, heat is the active player here, you are always dealing with keeping the heat ‘out’ rather than the cold ‘in’. Radiant heat protection, rather than convective or conductive, can be more readily employed and more easily provide bigger gains than the other two. Though protection from all should be used.

From… http://www.eagleshieldinsulation.com…s/spinoff.html

“Over 40 years ago, NASA developed Radiant Barrier technology to protect astronauts in the Apollo Program from temperatures that ranged from 250?F above to 400?F below zero Fahrenheit. This feat in temperature control technology enabled the astronauts to work inside the Apollo Command Module wearing short-sleeve shirts, with temperatures similar to those of a regular business office. The Radiant Barrier has been applied to virtually all spacecraft since then, including unmanned spacecraft with delicate instruments that need protection from temperature extremes. It is also applied to the astronauts’ space suits, protecting them during space walks.

Made of aluminized polymer film, the Radiant Barrier both bars and lets in heat to maintain a consistent temperature in an environment where ordinary insulation methods will not suffice. The aluminization of the material provides a reflective surface that keeps more than 95 percent of the radiated energy in space from reaching the spacecraft’s interior. In space suits, the thin and flexible material reflects the astronauts’ body heat back to them for warmth, while at the same time reflecting the sun’s radiation away from them to keep them cool. Using conventional insulation, a space suit would have required a 7-foot-thick protective layer.”

I’ve seen the tops of trailer houses in the summer that you could boil an egg atop, but, when coated with a thin reflective layer of radiant barrier, you can walk atop them in your bare feet. That heat then is not getting inside where the air conditioner has to then deal with it.

Look for any opportunities to wrap any refrigerators (though not where hot coils are beneath), ice or cold boxes with aluminum foil, shiny side out, and you’ll have a radiant barrier in-place reflecting heat away. It just needs an air space on the outside, and not be butted up flat touching against anything, otherwise the heat transfer will conduct through it.