Wednesday, September 23, 2015

camping through the apocalypse


We’ve talked before about looking at junk land living as simply camping.  You move out there, easy as can be, no need for Fear Of The Unknown, as if it were just going camping.  As time goes on, you improve luxuries to keep everyone’s sanity ( the mistake I made with the last wife was never improving conditions until four years in, moving down into the B-POD.  I was so fearful of losing the land to unemployment I delayed starting to dig, and in the end losing the wife to Too Primitive Conditions With No End In Sight ).  If you wait for conditions to be perfect ( 20 acres, babbling brook, pasture for horses, Earthship home ) you’ll never move there and all the talk is just that.  But today I want to talk about Apocalypse Camping not as a tactic but as a fantasy.  I’m talking about what most preppers do, minimizing money and time and sacrifice by erecting an edifice of Potemkin greatness.  They have all the tactical gear for their AR, with several boxes of MRE’s, a generator and a bug-out bag.  They might even have a pimping ride to escape with.  But they are not exactly prepping for the End Times, are they?  They are prepping to camp through the Apocalypse. 


Look at what they are doing.  They have Super Camping gear packed and ready to go.  If they get to their camping spot ( even if it is just their own living room ), they will rely on 99% high tech storage goods to get them through their stay with no discomfort ( the 1% might be the magnifying glass used to start a fire ).  Hell, how many have modern artificial fiber clothing rather than wool and leather?  Nothing is replaceable by nature, just by Wal-Mart.  Not that camping can’t be a viable strategy ( easy-peasy if supplies cached, baring bear attack or poison ivy on the testicles ), just that luxury camping is what most preppers do and why none of them can handle the idea of anything past a Katrina event lasting a few weeks.  Even the Rawles Rangers in the redoubt are guilty of the same, just with bigger budgets they can make the luxuries last years rather than weeks.  But in the end all their modern luxuries and toys start breaking down ( for want of a Chinese replacement part, the kingdom was lost.  Or for that matter, I imagine, a nail imported from China ).  You can’t eliminate all modern goods, such as firearms ( I understand some folks have black powder guns, but we talk here of the majority ) or LED lights because the alternative is worse ( fighting carbine shooters with a bow and arrow, trying to afford a barrel of kerosene fuel ), but you need to focus on longevity and ease of repair rather than luxury, convenience, “force multipliers” or other unsustainable tools.  It is only your life in the end, right?

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  1. To me, a good bug-out vehicle is a van, full size or mini. Because when you arrive at your destination, you can pile stuff against and on top of to disguise what it becomes - a steel tent of sorts. You can modify it now easily because you tell your neighbors / friends its for 'camping'. And if you build a future structure, it becomes a storage locker.

    1. Remember Walking Dead, season 2? Everyone is camping in tents! With zombies around! Why didn't they have vans? Steel tent- a nice concept.

    2. Or was that the end of season 1? I tried to go back through the seasons to re-watch and just didn't have the interest. Perhaps two years isn't long enough to wait.

    3. That sleeping in tents with zombies about didn't make much sense to me either. The least they could have done was the trip wire with cans with a few pebbles for sound alarm - nope!

    4. Plus, they made it look like the humidity was killing them all the time, no energy. Typical Hollywood writers living in Cali. If I could do basic training in the Alabama summer, you can put some energy into evading zombies in Georgia.

  2. I've had to re-train my thinking so that I find the lowest tech, most sustainable way to solve problems for living on my land (for now, it is the family "camping retreat" about 30 minutes down the road). I've consistently found when I talk to others about how to address a need, most people come up with higher tech, less sustainable solutions, which is where I also started. I'm not installing a well or a septic tank, I'm catching rain water and using a compost toilet. I'm not running in grid electric, I have a couple cheap solar panels and a battery to provide electricity for the most basic needs. Camping is great practice if you think of it as test runs for "how could we get along out here if we had to stay for a year... or two... or three without much in the way of inputs". Every trip out I come up with some simple things that help solve problems- but it has to be low-tech, long-lasting. Turns out those solutions are usually less money.

    1. The sad part is, then we feel like idiots for not thinking of it sooner.

    2. "electricity for the most basic needs" means LED lighting and some radio use. AA battery charger. Not inverter for luxury, unless you need to run a 240v well pump. Plan on batteries failing completely inside of 5 years, unless spending HUGE on Edison cells. You will still get power from solar panels for 30 years, during the day.

      Fancy refrigerator/freezer can be DC 12/24v with some 48v. Enough solar input (ice as 30% of volume in case, not opened between noon and 6am) can coast frozen overnight without battery input. Pure luxury.

      No electricity needed for domestic water if you can do catchment/cistern, brought up only about 7 feet with a 5 Oceans 4gpm foot pump. Clean hands mean less disease.

      Wood burning will always work. Cutting wood used to be a midrange career, and difficult. Chainsaws are awesome for cutting enough wood to have "White Man Fires" and be toasty all winter. Handsaws make you strong and warm, while not producing so much easy wood to burn (cut to perfect length, limbed, split to right-size for your stove) as a Husky chainsaw with powersplitter and 4ton trailer to be pulled by the $30K truck. All summer of 10 hour work days vs. 3 days to make 2 winters of stacked-n-split in a pole barn. I just got some walnut trimmings from our backyard tree (largest limb 10" dia.) paid for by neighbor landlord. I'm cutting it with a bowsaw into 8" slabs and am feelin' the pain. Split dried 8" long sticks will make good rocket stove fuel.

      The thing the Christian Yuppy Preppers and Bison Prepper agree on is that "Being where you are going is better than planning to travel in a crisis".


    3. Cutting hair is important for sanitation. If no batt/inverter, invest in a quality $80 pair of scissors, like the salon gals use. Or, go to the dollar store and buy fifty pairs of crap. Rocket stove will cut down on wood you need to manually cut, same with more insulation. Look into coppicing.

    4. PDXR13, I don't know where you came up with that handle but I'm sure it is interesting. Great comment as are many more that you have made.

      I like the idea of a van for a bug out vehicle for all the obvious reasons. A semi hard shelter and transportation in one. I may eventually get an older full size van for uh...camping but don't overlook the minivan market. I had a Dodge Caravan that had 8 feet behind the front seats. Hauled alot of plywood in it. You could set up a pretty comfortable camper in that.

      What about manual hair clippers like the manual sheep shears? A black 5 gallon bucket in the sun and a solar shower or one of Jim's Sprayers or chlorox bottle with holes in the lid will produce a much better than nothing shower.

      Doesn't take much solar to run a small chest freezer and use ice and a good cooler for the non frozen stuff.

  3. OK to the married men. If you cant get your spouse out in the woods camping you may need to look at the big D . If you have a spouse that likes camping you can indulge her and have primitive sustainable alternatives to modern camp gear just in case. Our first camper was a teardrop 4x8 the same size as a Kearny plywood bomb shelter but on wheels. I built it so it could be removed and dug in . The point im making is if she wont sh!t in a bucket now she wont when she has to. I don't fight nature a woman likes comfort and security its a mans job to guide it in the right direction and provide alternative ways.

  4. Can you do a write up on basic archery? I'm thinking the ol English Longbow would be a good place to start.. How many Frenchy Frenches were dispatched by them?

    1. I can tell you right now you do NOT want the longbow. A lifetime of practice is necessary for long distance shooting, and that is what it was designed for. That was the military edge. But, you had the long prep time in training, then you had the logistics of mass producing arrows. Lots of arrows. Lots of men, lots of arrows. Mass barrage. A single person using the longbow is like a Mongol composite bow without horsemen or the crossbow without castle walls. You need the tactic to go with the tool. Study your areas AmerIndians and their bow choice, for a better fit I would think.

    2. “I can tell you right now you do NOT want the longbow. A lifetime of practice is necessary for long distance shooting, and that is what it was designed for. That was the military edge.”

      Actually Jim, I think that 8:02 is on to something there. The English style longbows, while originally made from Yew, are often produced today from the much more accessible Red Oak. The Longbows are actually pretty forgiving, as far as learning to shoot them, and they need not only be used in distance shooting. Yes, they are slower firing than a recurve bow, but still fast enough to be effective.

      They are also the easiest bow to make for the do it yourselfer. Remember, the longer the bow is, the more forgiving it is to the imperfect tiller that an amateur bowyer is likely to give it. Tiller is the shaping of the bow so that it bends in an even arc when pulled. Bad tiller equal bow with short lifespan.

      In that book that I previously recommended James, “The backyard Bowyer”, by Nicholas Tomihama, one of the two bows that he shows how to make is a simple English longbow, that requires practically no tiller, and is easy to make. The thing is, trying to produce anything but a longbow at home, requires skills that are usually going to be beyond that of the average non-woodworking person.

      Also look up Nicholas Tomihama's youtube channel, and see some of his homemade wooden bows, as well as his PVC made bows, perhaps the easiest bow of all to make?

      Here's another link worth checking out.

    3. Excellent! I thank you for the information, which I am woefully ignorant of. This is why you have minions, so you don't show your ass too much.

    4. Anytime James. The longbow is by no means an efficient design when compared to a recurve or composite. Their main selling point is that they're easy to make. The version without the riser (The hand grip in the center) is probably the easiest of all to tiller and make. Just wrap the grip with leather for a hand support and arrow rest, or shoot off the hand, wearing gloves of course. Many archers report that they find them far easier to master over a recurve. But they are also long and cumbersome, at around 6' on average. 3 Rivers Archery sells the conversion kit to turn them into a take down. Essentially you're sawing it in half, and rejoining it using fitted metal rings. Sounds like a chrome plated bitch ;) so I'd avoid the take down option myself.

      Wood selection is somewhat critical. For example, Osage Orange, (Aka Bois D'arc) often considered by most bowyers to be the finest bow making wood in the world, is too dense and heavy for long bows. The result would be an even slower shooting longbow due to the excessive density and mass of the limbs. It's for this reason that you only see the Osage Orange typically being used in the shorter plains bows. Osage Orange bows are usually carved from an actual tree stave. This is an art within itself, and I feel that this is beyond what most survivalists would wish to tackle.

      Board bows are much easier to make, and the Red Oak boards are easy to find at places like Lowe's. You have to make the proper board selection, but those two reference links that I gave above show you what to look for, so stock up. PVC bows are probably a really good place to start for many.

    5. I honest injun plan on buying the book, but I'm so overwhelmed with an almost sexual desire for so many other books it is hard to discipline myself into getting it. I know I need it, if I'm cursed with too long of a life I'll be forced to use one defensively, but like the old timey book on shoes it took me awhile to procure.

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