Monday, March 20, 2017

guest article, 2 of 2 articles today

Article 2 of 2 today
Guest Article

Survivalism is a lot like the military, in that we prepare for an event that is unknown in its nature (what could SHTF be ?), its occurrence (it may be tomorrow or in ten years), duration (it could be TEOTWAWKI or just a week-long nuisance) and intensity.


Of course the military has a list of potential enemies and risks (natural catastrophe etc.) all sorted out by probabilities. It has dedicated crews and gear. But every member of the armed forces, no matter its rank and specialty, knows the very basic core skills and procedures.


Let's face it, those we want to see survive The Event is our own family. Family members have at best listened politely to your survival plans for about fifteen minutes. They have next to no survival skills, and this is what the approach should be : a no-skills approach.


Therefore, one should not acquire or stockpile elaborate gizmos that require reading and practice to get it going, not even mentionning maintenance and repair. As an example, it is better to stockpile lots of small gas canisters to go with the portable camping stove rather than a large propane tank on the property, linked to an elaborate heater etc.


The no-skills approach means that your family would still be able to survive even if you died on the very first minute of The Event.


Everything must be as simple and idiot-proof as possible. AR-15s do not fit into this category, but break-open shotguns do. Cars do not fit in, but bicycles and walking shoes do. Procedures, like using an improvised dry toilet or always having somebody awake at night, should also be very simple to understand and to execute.


As far as possible, all items should be commonplace and follow the BIC approach ( ). Most commonplace items are designed to be much more rugged, idiot-proof and easy to use than specialized gear.


Here is an illustration of this concept of no-skill preparation. I believe a 10-year old child could use this setup. This is to cover a wide-spectrum denial of service : no running water, no electricity, no city gas, no internet nor mobile phone – but a few nationwide radio stations.


Water :

        Use bath tub or fill food-grade plastic bags like Ziploc bags (not garbage bags if possible)

        Reroute water drains to collect rain water. (relatively inexpensive, to do before SHTF)

        boil it with the portable gas stove


Food : stockpile food that is routinely eaten at home, even if it's not really dietetic, like Mac&Cheese. Take food that is easy to cook on a portable gas stove (no particular stocks of flour, for instance), and some that doesn't need cooking (canned fruit). Normal people are not hardcore survivalists and will keep on cooking for a while.


Hygiene : it depends on the water situation in the first place. A “Protect & Survive” dry toilet is IMHO the one thing that absolutely needs to be experienced by the family before SHTF.


See it here : (this booklet is good wide-spectrum information). Stockpile lots of toilet paper and small plastic bags (lots and lots). Ample stocks of soap (solid and/or liquid) and toilet paper are important.


Electricity : there are dynamo chargers (NOT the chinese crap) and simple solar chargers, to charge AA and AAA rechargeable batteries (and then good ones, and a lot of them). These are to be used to listen to the radio (for information) and for electrical light (in case something needs to be done precisely at night – candlelight is sufficient for avoiding to bump into things at night). Frontal LED lamps are preferred (leaves both hands free).


Energy : two portable gas stoves (one is for backup) and lots of small, inexpensive gas cartridges, in ziploc bags (to avoid rust). Boiled water in a pan radiates heat. People ought to be able to sleep in restricted space, like a 2-second pop-up tent (even inside the house), that a pan of hot water could heat sufficiently.


Weaponry : two double-barrelled break-open shotguns, preferably with external hammers. One is able to aim (and shoot) while the other gets reloaded. In order to avoid confusion and difficult decisionmaking (“rubber bullets ? Warning shots with blanks/bridshot ?”), only one type of cartidge is available (a mildly loaded buckshot), and there is nothing provisioned to reload it (it's already too complicated).


As always readers here will obsess about the firearms aspect (I love you) so I will have to clarify : I selected the shotguns because of their extreme simplicity (no-skill) and ruggedness (very forgiving). But on the other hand, if there is a gun in a household, all members of the household must have spent some hours at the range to learn the safety rules (at least) and how to use the weapons. So in this regard we could imagine that weapons which are one step higher in complexity, like bolt-action rifles or revolvers, also fit into this approach, although it would not be “zero-skill” anymore.


Medicine : A fully stocked first aid kit like the one used in the household, with a booklet.


No extra stuff : if you have extra stuff, your people might wonder why it is here and they will spend too much attention on it. It is better to have the cartridges in your trousers' pockets at all times than in spiffy tacticool combat vests that are always somewhere else when you need them. The diversity of items must be as small as possible, or one will lose oversight. (First-World armies : take note of this !)


One box per week : The real work for the only survivalist in the family (you) would be to evaluate how much consumables are used up in a week. This is actually real hard work, ideally you would have to live a complete week in a post-apocalyptic setting at home to determine that.


We can see how difficult this already is, in spite of the setup's very basic character, and so we get an idea how more elaborate items are difficult to include in the general preparation effort.


  1. Not bad.
    And right on the money when the author says we are prepping for our family (and/or closest friends I would add).
    And that they feel they are generous when they give us 15 minutes a month to listen to us talk about survival/guns/preps/politics/PODA/Etc.
    So a severe KISS principle probably should apply.
    Once you have the basics - and have them labeled as such, other add ons can be left as post collapse hobbies for you and your family to take up if you have the means.
    But the basics need to be put first.

  2. Not too shabby, I think you are right on with the single shot shotgun, there are single shot rifles for those that need a long distance rifle, but shotguns can be converted to black powder fairly easy.
    The largest criticizing I have is heating with a pan of water. Use the water to make tea to drink before you go to bed. The condensation off the hot water will soak your covers and make you miserable at best, kill you at worst. I'm speaking from personal experience. Acclamation to the local weather by keeping winter heat to a minimum and a/c off goes a long way to making adjustments after SHTF.
    Keeping dry in below freezing weather helps a lot also. Eskimos sleep naked to keep the moisture that built up in their clothes during the day from getting into their bedrolls at night.

    1. I sleep naked just to allow my skin to breathe, glad to know there was a better reason also.

    2. Wrenchr2 you're absolutely right, a pressure-cooker is much better ! (I reply several times in this post because right now my focus is all over the place - it won't be good again until next morning, but next morning this post will be too old)

  3. This is an excellent summary. I suspect the author has a fine head of hair.

    I've got an expanded one that I'm writing with three things in mind
    1. Keep me honest (BTN / BIC / Bison - no yuppie scum toys, well maybe one or two of the less expensive variety.)
    2. My tribe (Family) needs to be able to follow the plan.
    3. I need to be able to follow the plan under stress. I don't handle stress very well. As much as I wish it wasn't the case it is so having a plan helps enormously.

    Thanks again for the article. Heating will never be an issue for moi but the tent inside the house was a great one. I'd never thought about that before

    I also wholeheartedly agree with working out what you actually use as being an issue. I'm pretty sure I've got a handle on that. But I've got that sorted for two whereas there's another 4 in my tribe.

    There's a thought - doing a stock take on what the non-prepper members of your tribe can bring to the table. Off the top of my head and one that wouldn't be thought of is a hand made hunting / bush knife my uncle made for my father. Now I'm thinking that a "grab this" list for tribe members.

    1. Last paragraph-good thinking. What besides the stand "good boots, warm clothes, can goods" can they contribute?

    2. Yes stress is a very important factor. I have always been sensitive to stress but now I have a permanent disease that makes me tired most of the time : even the most mundane tasks have to be planned, and expectations quite low.

      This is very true for meals, and this is also the point where "sustainable living / Mother Earth News" diverge from survivalism. In survivalism you will never have time for this kind of elaborate cooking & recipes because everybody out there is ready to kill you for food, and you will lack most ingredients anyway.

      Boiling wheat and beans is at the limit of being too complicated ! Sure, it isn't now, but when you factor in : - getting the water and
      - getting the fuel/wood/energy to do so, it becomes complicated quite rapidly.

      I once met a survivalist who used to eat his carrots& peas straight from the thin can, cold. As a refined frenchman who is all fussy about food, that was pretty badass. On the other hand, it solves the "water" part in the equation, as well as the cooking aspect : warming up uses less energy than cooking/boiling.

      One thing I haven't worked out yet is staying clean with the minimum of effort (& water, & energy).

  4. Thanks all for the kind words :)

    Regarding the hot water thing, actually I had a pressure cooker in mind, it is shut tight and thus does also not risk to spill its content. A pressure cooker also minimizes loss of heat and bring the water to boil much faster. Little extra trick : when you add salt to the water, it warms up even more rapidly, thus you lose less energy. :)

  5. Yeah my bad, I just checked online, the opposite is the case :( Do not add salt to make it boil faster :(

    Boo I'm not worthy !

  6. Gah I wrote "pan" of water several times. This is a problem I have since two years, I can re-read a text several times and miss things like these.

    Also the reason why I don't write anymore. Check out my 400,000 words book "Glasses & Pulleys" here :

    It's full of details like these (and I wrote it before I had all these concentration problems :)

  7. ave,
    was reading about benefits of oxygen. could you try it?
    said to help cfs victims and cancer patients.

    1. Yes good idea, it's been years since I forgot all about it ! I'll probably start with a recreational generator first.