It is has been a couple of years since I wrote about some of the mistakes and goofs we all make while prepping. Since then, a lot of things have changed. For one, the mainstream media has caught on to “three-day kit” mania which means more and more families are now ready for short term disasters. On the other hand, threats from wacko foreign leaders have escalated to the point where terrorist-driven EMPs, pandemics, and outright wars have become more of a possibility, if not a probability. Talk about two very different sides of the same coin!
A second motivation comes from the media, which tends to provide nonstop coverage of natural disasters and their aftermath. Mills said nearly every subject mentioned Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, or both. Mills' road trip took place in 2014, and Ebola and ISIS both made frequent appearances in the risks mentioned by the preppers (as they might again today).
As for the solar panels, I use a 100W Renogy solar panel, which connects to the generator giving it a pretty quick charge, given the right amount of sunlight. I have used these in conjunction with each other a number of times in different scenarios and have to say that together, they are worth the investment. In fact, the two of them together are still cheaper than most quality generators and are more sustainable to run.
Obviously, solar panels by themselves are quite useful things to have, and since both Broadwing and Ned in the comments suggested that Goal Zero is quite overpriced, I’d be remiss to leave out mentioning another, more price-sensitive option. Ned recommended Aukey as a brand that makes solar power equivalents to Goal Zero gear for far cheaper. In his words, Aukey “make the exact same thing for a fraction of the cost.”
Despite a lull following the end of the Cold War, survivalism has gained greater attention in recent years, resulting in increased popularity of the survivalist lifestyle, as well as increased scrutiny. A National Geographic show interviewing survivalists, Doomsday Preppers, was a "ratings bonanza" and "the network's most-watched series", yet Neil Genzlinger in The New York Times declared it an "absurd excess on display and at what an easy target the prepper worldview is for ridicule," noting, "how offensively anti-life these shows are, full of contempt for humankind."
One newsletter deemed by some to be one of the most important on survivalism and survivalist retreats in the 1970s was the Personal Survival ("P.S.") Letter (circa 1977–1982). Published by Mel Tappan, who also authored the books Survival Guns and Tappan on Survival. The newsletter included columns from Tappan himself as well as notable survivalists such as Jeff Cooper, Al J Venter, Bruce D. Clayton, Nancy Mack Tappan, J.B. Wood (author of several gunsmithing books), Karl Hess, Janet Groene (travel author), Dean Ing, Reginald Bretnor, and C.G. Cobb (author of Bad Times Primer). The majority of the newsletter revolved around selecting, constructing, and logistically equipping survival retreats. Following Tappan's death in 1980, Karl Hess took over publishing the newsletter, eventually renaming it Survival Tomorrow.
Suppression of firearms is a good idea for night fighting, but do your research about suppressors and suppression before committing to a 3-400 dollar solution as well as the $200 tax stamp per suppressor. For $500 I can build another AR platform rifle or shorty pistol. And don’t forget that suppressors aren’t magic; the piece still makes enough noise for everybody within a half klick on a totally silent night to hear it.
If worse came to worse and I had to leave the house, this would probably be one of the things I would throw in the car just because it filters treated and untreated water, so if I was camping outdoors and unsure of the water, I could easily filter large amounts of water. Of course, some would prefer to use a Lifestraw or Sawyer filter, but they are small devices that are only really suitable for hikers or survivalists who are expecting to travel on foot for long distances.
Precious Metals – Investigate this for yourself, but I find the arguments and historical track records against fiat currency and the current rumblings of Government wanting to take care of your investments for you very compelling. Gold is easier to transport with the high cost to weight, but you might have problems cashing a gold coin for a tank of gas. Silver is where I have chosen to invest in precious metals.
Okay so this does work pretty well after I figured out what I did wrong. LOL. I did not immediately realize that the striker blade serrated side is for removing the painted coating and producing magnesium flakes ONLY. I couldn't for the life of me coax more than a few pathetic sparks from the magnesium rod, regardless of angle of attack or striking direction, until I reread someone else's post and tried flipping the striker over. LOL again, voila, sparks galore. Tested by lighting a paper towel on fire in my kitchen sink so the metal bowl would contain the flames and I could just turn on the faucet to douse it. Works well after I figured out what the "genuis" over here (me) was doing backwards.
Jim: do you have a book about surviving in the woods? I understand your recommendation to avoid gong it alone, but simply cannot stomach the idea of crapping in a bucket in a boarded up house, surrounded by humans in survival mode who are just waiting for the opportunity to kill me and my daughter and take everything we have.... The diseases that people have, ugh just all of it. We are woods people! Always will be. Far far away from others, far far away from help too... Sigh.
Comparable to the SOL, this does the trick for less money. It is a bit heavier than the SOL (which I also have) but it does the same thing. I have this one in a get home bag and I feel comfortable that it will not fail when needed. One tip, keep your head outside of the bag if at all possible. The moisture in your breath will condensate and cause wetness in the bag.
Onto a folding table came a breathtaking array of disaster swag: compasses and iodine pills, hand-cranked radios and solar-powered flashlights, magnesium fire-starters and a fully charged Kindle with digital road maps of the tristate region. Many of the items on display went far beyond the “10 Basic Pillars of Bug-Out Gear” that Jason Charles, the network’s leader, had passed out in advance through the Internet. A good number were tweaked to fit their owners’ needs and interests. A locksmith in the group had a lock-picking set. A vegetarian had a stash of homemade dehydrated lentils. One man had a condom designed to serve as an emergency canteen; another had a rat trap — to catch and eat the rats.
"This fire starter just exudes value. If this unit was only the fire starter itself, it would still be more than worth the sub-seven dollar price point. Throwing in the compass, whistle, and very comfortable handle and in my humble opinion, this is one of the better survival values on the market. Is the compass tiny? Yes. Does said compass sometimes need some coaxing? Yes. Is it better than a dedicated, large-dialed compass? Of course not. Is it better than not having a compass with you at all? Of course, it is."
In the previous decade, preparedness consultant, survival bookseller, and California-based author Don Stephens popularized the term retreater to describe those in the movement, referring to preparations to leave cities for remote havens or survival retreats should society break down. In 1976, before moving to the Inland Northwest, he and his wife authored and published The Survivor's Primer & Up-dated Retreater's Bibliography.
Interest in the movement picked up during the Clinton administration due in part to the debate surrounding the Federal Assault Weapons Ban and the ban's subsequent passage in 1994. The interest peaked again in 1999 triggered by fears of the Y2K computer bug. Before extensive efforts were made to rewrite computer programming code to mitigate the effects, some writers such as Gary North, Ed Yourdon, James Howard Kunstler, and investments' advisor Ed Yardeni anticipated widespread power outages, food and gasoline shortages, and other emergencies. North and others raised the alarm because they thought Y2K code fixes were not being made quickly enough. While a range of authors responded to this wave of concern, two of the most survival-focused texts to emerge were Boston on Y2K (1998) by Kenneth W. Royce, and Mike Oehler's The Hippy Survival Guide to Y2K. Oehler is an underground living advocate, who also authored The $50 and Up Underground House Book, which has long been popular in survivalist circles.