Category Archives: Survival

Consider a Measure of Preparedness…

Those of us who subscribe to the belief in preparedness are often viewed as the “tin foil” hat wearing bunch, who believe in a plethora of conspiracy theories. To this I would point out that there are many conspiracy theories out there and while most will never happen, there are some that feasibly could occur. After all, did anyone ever believe that terrorists would collapse the World Trade Center buildings using hijacked commercial airliners?

Image Courtesy of SOMMAI/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Some of these conspiracy theories include EMP attacks, solar flares, and hacking threats. And if the EMP/solar flare/hacking threats weren’t enough (see this article about the risk of EMP by Dr Peter Vincent Pry, Executive Director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, a congressional advisory board), check this out from OffGridNews.com:

In March 2013 in Tennessee, a TVA Watts Bar Nuclear Plant security guard was involved in a 2 a.m. shootout with an armed suspect. The guard was unable to catch the gunman who had somehow gotten inside the nuclear plant.  “TVA spokesperson Jim Hopson said the subject traveled up to the plant on a boat and walked onto the property,” WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee, reported last year. “When the officer questioned the suspect, the individual fired multiple shots at the officer. The officer shot back, and when he called for backup, the suspect sped away on his boat.”   What would have happened if there had been a large crew of bad guys on that boat?

The next month, an attack on a California electric substation…  someone entered the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) Metcalf substation in South San Jose, California, around 1 a.m. through manholes. The unidentified intruder or intruders cut a number of fiber optic cables, which knocked out landline service, some local 911 local service and cell phone service in the area. The saboteurs or saboteur then used a high-powered rifle or rifles to fire 100 rounds into the transformers in the facility. This caused cooling oil to leak out of the transformers, which made the devices overheat. Major media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal finally covered the California attack this month. California Congressman Henry Waxman deemed the power station sniper incident an “unprecedented and sophisticated attack on an electric grid substation with military-style weapons.” The entire plant had to be shut down to avert far-reaching power outages – it took two weeks to replace the 17 transformers snipers shot out during the attack.

Given the fact that the power grid is so vulnerable and there are at least a handful of people that are interested in taking it out, it is valuable to consider taking at least the minimum steps to be prepared for a failure or attack against the power grid. Make sure you:

  1. Have a Blackout Kit.
  2. Water is listed as part of the blackout kit but make sure to store at least one gallon of water per person, per day for a week.
  3. In addition to stored water, have a way to purify additional water if the crisis is for an extended period of time.
  4. Food is also listed in the blackout kit list but make sure that there is at least a weeks worth of food for each member of the family. Don’t forget the pets and animals!
  5. Establish meaningful relationships with your neighbors. It is especially important during challenging times to be able to band together and face difficulties together.
  6. Security cannot be overthought, especially when it comes to staying safe during a widespread grid down scenario.

While the answer to everything cannot be compiled in one book, let alone one blog post, these are a few basics that should be addressed. The reality of the situation is that being moderately prepared for a blackout, will also make you moderately prepared for the majority of  short term difficulties you may face.

Are ready if the grid went down?

Fighting an Invisible Enemy

The following post is a guest contribution and highlights a little discussed area of emergency preparedness.

Chemical and Biological Warfare: Fighting an Invisible Enemy

The news story first popped up a few days ago: a mysterious, deadly illness that doctors haven’t been able to diagnose. All of the sudden, it’s everywhere, and the mortality rate is scary. Grocery stores are empty. Families lock themselves in their homes. Schools are shuttered. Once doctors and law enforcement officers get sick, society starts crumbling. Only one thing could make the scenario more frightening: that somebody did it intentionally.

There’s something about biological warfare – and its cousin, chemical warfare – that resonates with our most primitive fears about the enemy we don’t see coming. Everyday objects and even the very air we breathe suddenly seem dangerous. Even worse, once the genie is out of the bottle, there’s no putting it back in. It’s uncontrollable and, in the case of biological warfare, often self-perpetuating.

World governing bodies like the United Nations and NATO have condemned the use of such weapons, but that doesn’t mean rogue nations and terrorists won’t use them anyway. That’s why it’s so important for both governments and individuals to know how to be prepared and what to do.

Detection and Response

The World Health Organization (WHO) formed an early warning system dedicated to monitoring and reacting to suspicious outbreaks. The Global Outbreak Alert and Response network links more than 70 worldwide sources of information on rising health issues. Trained teams are ready to deploy within 24 hours. They’re tasked with identifying the chemical or biological agent and forming an appropriate response.

The U.S. military has developed a number of detection systems, from miniature labs that travel around on Humvees to multi-sensor arrays monitored from ships. And they’re constantly working to improve their methods of containment, decontamination, and treatment. In addition, since some chemical and biological weapons can be delivered with bombs or missiles, explosive detectors play a big role in the monitoring process.

In the event of an attack, doctors, nurses, and other first responders would be instrumental in sounding the alarm. All states have a list of “immediately reportable” diseases that have to be reported to the local health department. That means that even one case of a disease like smallpox is enough to mobilize a response. And, since some engineered weapons may not be easily diagnosable, doctors are also trained to report unusual clusters of illness. If an ER is suddenly flooded with people sick with an illness doctors can’t diagnose, they would immediately get the health department involved. They’d also be responsible for isolation and containment, including requiring all medical personnel to wear protective equipment.

What You Can Do

  1. The first line of defense is preparation. You should already have an emergency kit in case of an earthquake or other natural disaster. Make sure that kit also has gloves, plenty of soap, bleach, duct tape, and surgical masks.
  2. Have enough food and water to last for several days. In case of a biological attack with a contagious agent, isolation is key. You don’t want to have to go out in public to buy supplies.
  3. Identify a safe room in your home. It should be an interior room with few windows and, if possible, located on an upper floor. (Most biological and chemical agents are heavy enough to sink to the ground, so being higher may offer some protection.)  

Here are some tips on what to do if an attack actually happens:

  • Monitor the news for official information and instructions. Computers and smart devices are great, but in a worst-case scenario, they could lose power before the crisis is over. Make sure your emergency kit contains a battery-operated radio.
  • If you’re out in public, cover your nose and mouth with a shirt or scarf. Leave the area if you can, heading upwind.
  • If you’re home, grab your emergency kit and head for your safe room. Turn off all ventilation (heating, AC, etc.) systems and close the windows. Then use duct tape to seal the windows and doors as best as you can.

You’ll probably never have to use this information. But once you need it, it’s too late to go looking for it. Educate yourself on chemical and biological warfare so that if the worst occurs, you’ll be able to react right away.

About The Author

Jeremy S. is a self-confessed tech geek of several years. An avid blogger, you can read his informative articles on technology and various other blog sites.

Bombing Anniversary Serves As Reminder

Today marks the first anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. I think that it is important to remember the victims of this tragic and cowardly attack, but I feel that it should also serve as a reminder of the importance to be prepared. There are several of the victims that were wounded when the bombs went off that had their lives saved as a result of the quick thinking of the bystanders and first responders, accompanied by the ability of the same to improvise and apply effective tourniquets made of clothing and belts.

This is not an isolated incident either. The high profile shooting spree by Jared Loughner that resulted in Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords being shot in the head is another case where tourniquets and hemostatic agents, that were in the Law Enforcement medical kits carried by officers, are credited with saving the lives of the injured.

These kits are modeled off of TCCC or TC3 (Tactical Combat Casualty Care) which is based off of combat experiences and the most likely threats to the injured. One of the single greatest lessons learned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is the safe use of tourniquets and the effectiveness of pressure bandages and hemostatic agents in stopping bleeding. This has led to law enforcement agencies and emergency medical responders being issued these same tools to use in their daily duties. The tourniquet was previously considered a last resort is now recognized as the primary tool to stop arterial bleeding on an extremity. John Cohen, senior counterterrorism official at the Department of Homeland Security stated in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing last year that, “As we began to take a hard look at how to respond to these types of incidents, what became clear was that the sooner you can stop victims from bleeding, the higher likelihood you will have for reducing fatalities, and the things that make the biggest difference in stopping bleeding are tourniquets and other bandages.” Findings like this have led to other initiatives across the United States that would make tourniquets and other lifesaving equipment available in public places like shopping malls and schools, where they could be employed by trained personnel or even the public if the need were to arise.

For preparedness minded individuals, this begs the question of, shouldn’t we do the same thing? The answer is an emphatic, yes! When making medical preparations, it is important to prepare first for the most likely scenario that will occur. For most of us, the primary threat to our health is some sort of accident. Because of this probability, a medical kit with a high quality tourniquet, pressure dressings, and hemostatic agent is an absolute must.

As a prepper, not only should medical kits be present in the home, but in the car, boat, RV, ATV, and range bag to name a few potential placements. This is because no one knows exactly when things could go wrong. It could be a mass shooting, there could be an accident at the gun range, or even an accident with a chainsaw while trying to fell a tree. These are all likely incidents that could require these particular medical supplies for proper treatment of the injuries.

My recommendation for a tourniquet would be the SOF Tourniquet accompanied by the Israeli Bandage or ETD (Emergency Trauma Dressing) for a pressure dressing and QuikClot Advanced Clotting Sponge hemostatic agent for an easy to use addition to your basic medical kit.

Regardless of the chosen supplies, what counts the most is having your medical kit put together and ready to use at a moments notice.

To see just how common incidents are where tourniquets and hemostatic agents are employed, look at this list of Law Enforcement Officer of Tactical EMS/Tactical Combat Casualty Care practices in action.

The Ultimate Survival Gun!

There is an never-ending debate in the preparedness world about whether or not the ultimate survival gun exists and what it may be. Of the many theories, there seems to be a bit of a lean towards the 12 Gauge Shotgun or .22 Caliber Rifle but I think I found the ultimate survival gun!

The X-Caliber by Chiappa Firearms is a two barrel, double trigger rifle in an over/under configuration which is chambered as a smooth bore 12 Gauge shotgun on top and a rifled .22 Long Rifle on bottom. The true “magic” (if you will) comes from the set of included adapters that make it the most flexible firearm available for almost any survival scenario. The 8 adapters included allow .380, 9 mm, .357 Mag/.38 Special, .40 S&W, .44 Mag, .45 ACP, .410 Gauge/.45 Colt and 20 Gauge to be fired out of the X-Caliber in addition to the primary offering of 12 Gauge and .22 Long Rifle. With a total availability of 12 different calibers, it very well could handle just about anything.

Not only is the X-Caliber capable of firing a myriad of cartridges, it is designed to be used as a survival rifle by integrating the ability to fold down to only 18.5 inches and the weight has been reduced by replacing the normal stock material with  polypropylene foam. This makes it capable of easily being transported in a backpack as part of a Bug Out Bag, Get Home Bag or other survival kit.

In addition to these features, the X-Caliber includes:

  • A space to hold 12 Gauge, .22 LR shells and cleaning kit inside of the stock.
  • Fixed optical fiber front sight and a rear sight that is adjustable for both windage and elevation to compensate for the caliber being used.
  • Three integrated picatinny rails to facilitate the mounting of optics, lights, etc.

What if you already have a 12 Gauge shotgun? No problem! The X-Caliber adapter set is available for purchase separately for use with a smooth bore 12 Gauge shotgun. I do feel that the use of these adapters will likely impact accuracy, especially at farther distances. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the X-Caliber rifle with complete insert set is $750 while the X-Caliber insert set alone is $450. There are cheaper firearms out there but not another one that I know of that can shoot such a variety of calibers.

What would your ultimate survival gun be?

Bandages, BOB’s & Bullets

Today I had the opportunity to spend some time with Dale and his wife Lisa over at the Survivalist Prepper Podcast about some of the basics of preparedness. I had a great time visiting with them and enjoyed the opportunity to discuss my military experience, first aid, bug out bags, and some self defense options.

There are a couple of things that you should check out over at the Survivalist Prepper:

  1. I guess it might be obvious but, the interview I just did.
  2. For about another week, Dale is running a giveaway for a Bug Out Bag loaded with some great gear. Make sure to get entered to win.
  3. Finally, on the 9th of May I will be joining Dale, along with Todd from PrepperWebsite, JD from Conflicted (The Game), and Vincent from Disaster Survival Magazine for a webinar on preparedness basics. It should be a great time! You can register for the webinar using the form at the top of the Survivalist Prepper homepage.

I have to make a personal confession in the fact that Dale’s podcast has probably become my favorite survival and preparedness related podcast. I have listened to almost every episode, even the one I am featured in (just to make sure I didn’t say anything too embarrassing)! With that being said, I don’t think you will be disappointed if you take the time to listen to what Dale has to say.

The Perfect Basic Survival Kit?

My friends (and Prepared Ninja supporter) at Black River Outpost just let me know about a great new kit that they have put together as a minimal survival kit. This is a great start for the newbie, person looking for a bare bones kit, supplemental kit, or as a kit to put in a vehicle or desk drawer.

Here is what is in the Black River ESP (Essential Survival Pack):

  • Condor EMT Pouch (Black or Tan)
  • Aquamira Frontier Water Filter
  • Coghlan’s Magnesium Fire Starter
  • Adventure Medical First Aid Kit .5
  • Datrex 4 oz. Emergency Water Pouch (2)
  • Mayday 400 Calorie Emergency Food Bar
  • Swiss Army Style Knife
  • Emergency Blanket
  • 25 ft . Atwood 550 Paracord – Black

Total Weight = 1 lb. 15 oz. (Less than two pounds for all the essentials!)

This kit is currently on sale for only $34.95, over $22 off of normal retail!

Whether you are looking for a stand alone survival kit or an addition to an existing kit, the ESP has all of the necessities covered. Make sure to check out the ESP and other great survival and preparedness products at Black River Outpost.

5 Tools Every BOB Should Have

When it comes to survival kits, there are a number of items that could be put into a bug out bag but special consideration should be given to what is needed, practical, and capable of being comfortably carried. (As a side note – I should clarify that I use the term BOB or bug out bag, I use it universally and applies to a kit designed to get out of a situation whether it is leaving home, getting home, or even staying home.) If you find yourself running out the door and have only the items that are packed in your kit to survive with, make sure you have the right tools for the job.

Gerber Apocalypse Kit

These are the five tools that should be included in every well rounded Bug Out Bag or survival kit that is designed to foster survival in a variety of environments:

1. Fixed Blade Knife – A good fixed blade knife is essential to keep in a bug out bag. It is a tool as well as a weapon if needed. Not only can this be used as a knife, it can be:

  • Fastened to a stick to be used as a spear to hunt fish and/or animals.
  • Used to start a fire.
  • Used to build a shelter.
  • Used to split firewood.
  • And just about anything else you can think of…

2. Multi-Tool – A logical choice to include is the multi-tool. It is like having half the contents of your tool box in your pocket without nearly the weight. When looking for a multi-tool, consider what you plan or anticipate having to use it for and then look for those features in a multi-tool. I am not much of a brand snob but when it comes to multi-tools, I prefer Leatherman.

3. Folding Knife – When it comes to survival, there is a saying that goes, “two is one, and one is none.” When it comes to having a backup and backups to your backups, knives are a good place to start. Having a secondary knife that is a folder is convenient because it is easy to stick in a pocket and ensure that you always have it with you. When selecting a folding knife, look for one that features a locking mechanism to ensure that it doesn’t fold up on your hand when you are working with it.

4. Survival Chain Saw – I am not a fan of the typical “survival” saw that you tend to see. The ones that are basically a wire with some sand glued onto it. At least is seems that way. These wire saws seem to break easily and a broken saw is worse than no saw in my opinion. At least if you don’t have a saw, then you don’t have the expectation to be able to cut something where if you have a saw and it breaks, you just end up aggravated and not able to cut anything. I prefer the chainsaw style of blade that is found on other models of pocket survival saws.

5. Hand Shovel – While a hand shovel may seem like an odd choice of tool to include in a BOB, there are a number of practical applications that one can be used for. Building shelter, digging out a place to go to the bathroom, extinguishing a fire, and harvesting wild edible plants are all things that can be done with a hand shovel. In addition to the fact that a hand shovel is small, there are now high strength plastic models that are lightweight and compact.

The ability to maintain these tools is almost as important as having the tools in the first place. This is especially vital if the time comes where bugging out becomes a necessity and you might be betting your life on the ability to use these tools. Some of the items to consider including in your kit to help maintain your tools include:

1. Cleaner Lubricant Protectant (aka CLP) – CLP is an item that is commonly thought of as something that is used to clean and maintain firearms but that is not the only use for CLP. Any metal tool can be subject to getting dirty, rusting, or just plain worn out when it is used and exposed to the elements. Even when being stored, it is important to protect them. CLP is available in small quantities (perfect for keeping in your kit), it is light weight, and it is inexpensive. Find it in the firearm maintenance section of your local sporting goods store. Don’t forget to keep it in a sealable bag so that it does not leak all over your gear!

2. Knife Sharpener – Plain and simple, it is pointless to have a knife if you don’t have the means to maintain a good working edge. There are a number of ways to sharpen a knife, find the one that works best for you and pack the appropriate equipment.

3. Small File – Tools like hatchets and saws do not require a razor sharp edge. This makes a small file a great tool to maintain them. A file is also a great means to help remove nicks and gouges from metal tools.

There are a number of tools that could be included in your survival kit and each person’s kit should be a reflection of them and their needs. With that being said, the five tools mentioned above are all tools that can be used for multiple uses, in multiple scenarios and come about as close to being universally useful as food and water. The next time you inventory your survival kit or when you go to put one together, think about what tools you may need and then ensure that you have them before you find yourself needing them.

My Interview With Poor Man Prepper

Yesterday I had the opportunity to do an interview with Lat Cozad of the Poor Man Prepper Podcast. I had a great time and enjoyed getting to speak with Lat about medical preparedness, my time in the military, and a little bit about preparedness in general. If you are interested in listening to the interview and hearing what I have to say, check out Episode 528 of the Poor Man Prepper Podcast.

Spring Preparedness at Black River Outpost

In an effort to help preppers be better prepared for Spring, Black River Outpost is currently running their Spring sale on many preparedness items. This is a great chance to stock up on common items or even to use that tax refund to get a few bigger (aka costlier) items at a reduced price! Some of these items are over 50% of the suggested retail prices and include:

  • Ammunition
  • Radios
  • Bags & Packs
  • Knives & Blades
  • Cookware
  • Survival Foods
  • Lights
  • Paracord
  • AND More!

To see all of the items that are on sale, click on the image below. Don’t wait though, the sale won’t last forever and I am sure the best items will run out of stock fast!

Paracord Bracelets: Survival Near the Palm of Your Hand

Paracord Bracelets: Survival Near the Palm of Your Hand

When it comes to survival, there’s no such thing as “too much rope.” Need a shelter built? You’d better have a rope handy. Want to secure your food against scrounging wildlife? A little bit of rope might mean the difference between having supplies to eat, and having something eat all of your supplies. Need to bind up a broken limb or build a makeshift litter in which to drag an injured companion? You guessed it; without rope, you’re going to have a pretty difficult time (trust me, duct tape doesn’t work nearly as well as some people would have you believe).

Rope is a key ingredient in a hundred different emergency survival solutions, and as such, it’s always a good idea to keep plenty of strong rope on hand as part of any emergency kit. Of course, there’s a downside as well: rope, even when it’s bunched up into coils, can still take up valuable space, and unless you want to be carrying around an entire extra pack full of rope the next time you head out into the wilderness, you’re going to want to find a better way to pack and carry it. Well, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. Or rather, paracord has got you covered, and by that of course we mean that you should cover yourself in paracord.

Paracord is a light, thin nylon kernmantle rope that can generally hold up to 550 lbs without fraying or breaking. As you may have gathered from the name, It was originally designed to be used in parachuting during World War II. However, soldiers quickly learned that the rope itself was good for more than just allowing them to hang safely from canvas tarps as they descended gracefully from the sky. Once they were back on solid ground, they found that it actually came in handy in other situations as well. When a bootlace would break, paracord could easily fill in as makeshift replacement. When cargo needed to be secured on the go, paracord proved to be as durable as anything this side of steel cable. So, it’s no wonder that well over half a century after it’s initial introduction, paracord is still being used by hikers, campers, and survival enthusiasts around the world. Of course, most of them aren’t taking the paracord off of parachutes; instead, they’re finding other ways to keep paracord on their persons, in the form of belts and bracelets.

In addition to its strength, paracord is so thin that it can easily be weaved into a variety of intricate shapes and patterns, such as braids. Doing so allows the paracord to take up less space. This means that by turning a length of paracord into a belt, a necklace, or even a bracelet, a survivalist (or anyone else for that matter) could easily carry as much rope as they could ever need, without having to worry about how to pack it all. When properly woven, 50-100 feet of rope can be turned into a fashion accessory that could potentially save your life. A paracord survival bracelet can be easily unwound at a moment’s notice, and the rope itself can be be cut to varying lengths, or unraveled to produce even thinner strands that can be used for everything from floss, to fishing line, to suture thread.

Perhaps best of all, you don’t even need to be particularly crafty to create your own paracord bracelet; just buy a length of paracord and follow the instructions in the video linked to above.

Easy right? Once you’ve got your paracord bracelet, you’ll feel as though you’ve got the dangers of nature wrapped around your little finger (or around your wrist, or whatever). If only other emergency supplies were this easy to carry around. Of course, wearing a belt made from road flares would probably present its own unique issues, so maybe we should just stick with the paracord for now.

About The Author - Lee Flynn is a freelance writer and expert in emergency food preparedness and food storage.

The Clock Is Ticking…

Tomorrow is the last day of the month and that signals the conclusion of the offer for a free month of training from Pulse O2DA Firearms Training. As an Army combat veteran and someone who has an extensive amount of firearms experience, I sometimes fall into the mental trap of thinking I know everything I need to know about carrying and using a firearm. Obviously this is not true and it is a fact that has been driven home as I have watched the training videos and reviewed pages of materials in the Pulse O2DA Training Armory over the course of the last month.

In addition to expanding my knowledge of firearms techniques and employment, I truly appreciate the Armory for how the materials are easy to understand and are broken down into bite sized pieces. This keeps me from feeling like I am choking on massive amounts of training that I cannot fully grasp all at once. If you haven’t gotten a chance to check out the programs at Pulse O2DA Firearms Training, take the time to click here and sign-up for The Prepared Ninja Pulse O2DA Armory complimentary one month membership. If you have checked out the Armory and didn’t sign up, consider checking out a free month and get some of the best handgun, shotgun, rifle, and warfighter training available on the web.

*Once you follow the link, click register and select the Prepared Ninja option to get your free month.

Is A Collapse Imminent?

Just to be clear, I am not a fan of fear mongers and those who prey on the insecurities of others. When I saw this chart last night though it made me wonder if some of those who preach about an imminent collapse may have something behind their claims. The chart outlines a scary parallel between the current state of the Dow Jones Industrial Average as it currently sits in comparison to the time leading up to the stock market collapse in 1929 that triggered what we know as the Great Depression.

This chart came from an article that originally appeared on OffTheGridNews.com and offers some interesting insight into the economic situation that our country is currently in. It is worth the time to read.

As a reminder, there is a great opportunity to get amazing firearms training without even having to leave home.

There is also still time to get in on the group purchase of a high quality medical kit!

Medical Kit Purchase Opportunity

I have recently had some individuals express interest in possibly coming together as a community and putting a group buy together for a medical emergency response kit. After doing some research and sketching out a plan, this is what I have come up with:

  1. The requirement for making the purchase happen will be to determine that there is enough interest.
  2. Payment will have to be received up front. Unfortunately, as much as I would like to, I cannot afford to finance this project alone. 
  3. From what I have been able to source, here is what the kit will look like:

Trauma Response Kit – $150 + Shipping (U.S. Domestic Flat Rate is less than $20)

Airway/Breathing

  • HALO Occlusive Chest Seal (2 Per Package) – 1 Each

Bleeding/Circulation

  • SOF Tactical Tourniquet – 1 Each
  • Emergency Trauma Dressing (6”) – 2 Each
  • QuikClot (25G) – 2 Each

Splint/Disability

  • ACE Wrap (6”) – 1 Each
  • SAM Splint, Flat (4.25” x 36”) – 1 Each
  • Cravat (Triangular Bandage) – 1 Each

Wound Care

  • Slip Tip Syringe (10 cc) – 1 Each
  • Steri-Strips Adhesive Skin Closure (1/8” x 3”, 5 Per Package) – 1 Each
  • Stretch Roller Gauze, Sterile (4”) – 1 Each
  • 2 x 2 Gauze Pads, Sterile – 10 Each
  • 4 x 4 Gauze Pads, Sterile – 5 Each
  • Adhesive Bandage (3/8” x 1.5”) – 6 Each
  • Adhesive Bandage (3/4” x 3”) – 8 Each
  • Adhesive Bandage (1” x 3”) – 8 Each
  • Adhesive Bandage (2” x 4.5”) – 4 Each

Miscellaneous

  • Black Nitrile Exam Gloves, Large – 5 Pair
  • Cloth Medical Tape (1”) – 1 Roll
  • Alcohol Pads – 10 Each
  • Trauma Shears – 1 Each
  • Moleskin (3” x 5”) – 1 Sheet
  • Casualty Space Blanket – 1 Each
  • Splinter Forcep – 1 Each
  • Cyalume Light Stick – 2 Each

OTC Medications

  • Antibiotic Ointment (.9GR Foil Pack) – 5 Each
  • Extra-Strength Acetaminophen (2 Pack) – 5 Each
  • Ibuprofen (2 Pack) – 5 Each
  • Antacid (2 Pack) – 5 Each
  • Antidiarrheal – 5 Each
  • Hydrocortisone Cream (.9GR Foil Pack) – 5 Each
  • Electrolyte Tablets (2 Pack) – 5 Each
  • Cold & Cough (2 Pack) – 5 Each
Please let me know if this is an opportunity that you are interested in pursuing or if you have any additional questions by emailing me at tom@thepreparedninja.com.

Camo Nets At Ready Made Resources

Prepared Ninja supporter Ready Made Resources has a rare opportunity for those who might be looking to add a difficult to locate military specification, radar scattering camouflage net system to their inventory of preps. There have been 9 new sets of camo nets that have been added to the inventory at Ready Made Resources that are available for purchase. These are priced very fairly at $349 and include free shipping. I have not seen this same quality and condition of camo netting at such a great price, with free shipping to top it off.

Here is what you get for your money:

  • 30′ by 30′ Octagonal Piece
  • 15′ by 15′ Square Piece
  • Repair Kit
  • User Manual
  • Carry Bag
  • These nets can be spray painted to vary the color pattern.

If you are interested in checking out these camouflage nets, follow this link to Ready Made Resources online store.

Bug Out Bargains!

Black River Outpost is currently running some screaming deals on a handful of their best-selling products for your bug out bag and survival needs. These savings will not be available forever and these prices are hard to beat! Click on the picture below to check out the Bug Out Bargains!

A few of the deals available include:

Made in the USA Paracord (100 ft.) – $8.95 $6.45

Alps Mountaineering External Frame Pack (2050 cu. in.) – $79.95 $67.85

5 Piece Lock Pick Set – Only $4.95 $3.49!

Alpine Aire Foods 5 Day Meal Kit (17 Pouches) – $94.99 $67.79

Coghlans Flint Fire-Starter – $3.95 $3.49

Israeli Civilian Gas Mask, New (Unissued) – $49.95 $39.95

Don’t miss out on the chance to properly equip your kits at an affordable price. There is no better time to be prepared than the present!

Win An Echo-Sigma Get Home Bag!

There is a great opportunity to win a Get Home Bag from Echo-Sigma and the American Prepper’s Network (APN), but there are just over 24 hours to get in on this opportunity! In addition to the opportunity to win the Get Home Bag, every person that enters will receive a free copy of the mini ebook, ‘It’s a disaster and what are you gonna do about it?’ at the conclusion of the giveaway. Click on the picture below to be taken to the contest or follow this link to the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Check Out Black River Outpost!

There is a new supporter in town! Please help me in welcoming Black River Outpost as the newest supporter of The Prepared Ninja. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a new knife, long-term storage food, a bug out bag, or even a no fail way to start a fire, you can find it at Black River Outpost. I already not only placed my first order, but received it as well and I am pleased! Rob and Don have been great to work with and know their products. Make sure to check out Black River Outpost and get prepared!

Book Review: The End by G. Michael Hopf

EMP Animation Photo Credit: Heritage.org

Bang! Right out of the gate I was caught up in The End. Who would not be interested when contemplating what it would be like to have the United States completelty altered and have to rebuild after the government was severed at the head? It was a book that had me riveted and almost wanting to skip ahead to see what was going to happen. The ability of G. Michael Hopf to weave the many characters and experiences into one fluid story line was incredible in my opinion.

The story of Gordan Van Zandt and his family was not only interesting, but informational as well. The reader gets to experience a little bit about Sergeant Van Zandt, the Marine, and then go on to see how his experiences effect his family life and ultimately how it impacts his struggle to survive and support his family in the face of a catastrophic attack on the United States and their allies. Not only does life become a mad dash to secure the resources available for survival but the reader gets to witness the clashes and dilemmas that occur as civility goes by the wayside. There are many hard decisions to be made and the entire range of human emotion is explored as we see people ignorant to the fact that their phones will no longer work and why, anxiety as the realization of what happened sets in, sadness as Gordon realizes the innocence of his children, panic as patients die in the hospital ICU because of the lack of power and chaos as looters grab everything they can out of the grocery store. I found myself, once again, thinking about what I would do if society ground to a halt.
I have read some criticism about Hopf and his writing but I do not share these opinions. I took the book for what it was and found that it was an enjoyable story which explored a very scary possibility, one that we could find ourselves facing as a nation. Especially a nation that is not always appreciated for who we are and what we do.
As I read The End and the characters and their stories were revealed, I began to appreciate many things about this book including the fact that it was written from a position of authority and experience. As a fellow combat veteran, I realized that Hopf is probably sharing a little bit of his experience in combat as he wrote this book. I kept thinking back to my experiences and was almost haunted by the reality of the military and combat scenarios that were woven into The End. It is also apparent that there was a fair amount of research completed about Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) and nuclear weapons completed as I felt that the story was quite factual regarding what could be expected following such an attack.
I truly cannot recommend this book enough if you are interested in the postapocalyptic genre, survival, preparedness, or even just contemplating what society would be like after such an attack.
If you are interested in reading about Gordon Van Zandt and his associates, the two books available in The New World Series can be purchased from Amazon and can be located by clicking on the following links:
Young Gordon Van Zandt valued duty and loyalty to country above all, so after 9/11, he dropped out of college and joined the Marine Corps. This idealism vanished one fateful day in a war-torn city in Iraq. Ten years later, he is still struggling with the ghosts of his past when a new reality is thrust upon him and his family: North America, Europe and the Far East have all suffered a devastating Super-EMP attack, which causes catastrophic damage to the nation’s power grid and essential infrastructures. Everything from cell phones to cars to computers cease to function, putting society at a standstill.
With civilization in chaos, Gordon must fight for the limited and fast dwindling resources. He knows survival requires action and cooperation with his neighbors, but as the days wear on, so does all sense of civility within his community—and so he must make some of the most difficult decisions of his life in order to ensure his family’s safety.
The End was just the beginning of the new world…Only six weeks have passed since a super-EMP attack devastated the United States, but already, life has changed dramatically. Most of America has become a wasteland filled with starving bands of people, mobs and gangs. Millions are dead and millions more are suffering, with no end in sight.
For Gordon, Samantha, Sebastian, Cruz and Barone, the turmoil and chaos they dealt with in the early weeks after the attack will seem trivial in comparison to the collapse of society that plays out before their eyes. Uncertainty abounds as they all travel different paths in search of a safe place to call home. The only thing that is definite is that The Long Road will take its toll on all of them.
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
If you would be interested in reading these books for free, I have great news! G. Michael Hopf has agreed as part of his TLC book tour stop here at The Prepared Ninja to giveaway a set of these two books to a lucky reader. Entering could not be any easier, just sign up to receive our email updates in the right sidebar and you are entered to win. If you already subscribe, you are already entered! On January 22, 2014 a lucky subscriber will be selected as the winner using a random number generator. Thanks to Mr. Hopf and TLC Book Tours for this great opportunity. Good luck!
About The Author

G. Michael Hopf is a combat veteran of the Marine Corps, a former bodyguard for the Saudi Royal family, entrepreneur, and best-selling author.

He has studied the threat of EMP for 6 years and how to best prepare in the event. He wrote The End  and The Long Road (Books 1 & 2 in The New World series)to illustrate the effects our nation would suffer if ever attacked by this type of weapon.

He and his family currently reside in San Diego, CA.

If you would be interested in learning more about G. Michael Hopf, please visit his website at GMichaelHopf.com. He can also be followed on Facebook or on Twitter.

Emergency Food Fails Infographic

When it comes to prepping, there are a number of shortcomings and failures that one may be forced to deal with. It seems like the greatest failure comes from a lack of prepping, but there are prepping failures that are equal to inaction. Check out the infographic below of the Top 10 Most Common Emergency Food Fails, compliments of Food Insurance:

Top 10 Most Common Emergency Food Fails Infographic

Packing a WINTER Bug-Out-Bag

Most preppers have their bug-out-bags ready to go and close at hand, so do I. But now that the temperatures are dropping and winter is approaching with giant leaps and bounds, I asked myself if my bug out bag would be enough to survive sub-freezing days and nights without shelter. Because, let’s face it, we don’t know if shelter will be available when the SHTF. This is why each of my family members has their own bug-out-bag ready to go, children too.

Photo-Credit

Even if you have the luxury of still being in a car when it gets cold, it won’t help very much once you run out of gasoline. Without a heater you might be protected from the wind, but the cold will assault you from all sides, even the top and the bottom. That would put you in a very vulnerable position. If it was snowing, or you had enough snow laying around to shovel yourself in, not out, you could at least get a little more protection from the elements. But without a heat source it would only be a very temporary solution. That’s why it is doubly important to equip your bug-out bag with winter worthy supplies.

Aside from sweaters, thick socks, a jacket with a removable liner (this way you can adjust it to the climate you’re in), here is a list of things and their use that I’ve included in my bug-out-bags:

  • Mylar Blankets – These hi-tech lightweight blankets can be a life saver. They help your body retain its heat. They take up very little space and though they are really hard to refold, they are inexpensive enough to have a few on hand. These would help in the car situation as well. I actually carry a few of these, tucked in my spare, because I don’t want to get caught in the cold without them. Even if it’s just a case of running out of gas or car troubles in winter.
  • Emergency Tube Tents – These only hold two people, so make sure you have enough to accommodate the whole family. They protect against rain, wind and snow and can be a true life saver. Even if you find a cave to use as a shelter, you can use the tent to cover the entrance, sealing out the cold and keeping in as much warmth as possible. If you have to hit the road and hike somewhere to get yourself and your family to safety this is a must have in your bug out bag, it’s definitely in mine.
  • Emergency Bivvy Sack – Although mylar emergency sleeping bags, that are less expensive and lighter, are available, I have stocked my bug-out bag with bivvy sacks. They are warmer and more durable than the thin mylar bags. After all, you don’t know if you are prepping for short term or long term emergency conditions.
  • Hand Warmers – These chemical, friction activated, packets are also a must have. Not only in your bug out bag…you should keep some in the trunk of your car in winter. It’s hard to get your hands warm once they’re cold. Shoving one of these into your gloves and socks can prevent hands and feet from getting too cold while you’re looking for shelter.
  • Polyethylene Foam – This is something that’s used to pack things and comes in large rolls. Lightweight, it’s a great insulation to use under your bivvy sack or when sitting down in the cold. I’ve folded 6’ long pieces for each adult family member and a 5’ long pieces for each of the children in half and then rolled them tightly, securing them with 2 rubber bands. I have them wedged under the top flap of the bug out bags.
  • Insulated Bottles – When you’re out in the cold you want to make sure your water doesn’t freeze. You can avoid this by using insulated bottles. The other plus, the warmer the water you drink, the more heat your body will be able to retain.

This is what I’ve come up with so far. I’m sure there’s a lot more I will be able to add to this list in the future, and I will be as I think of other things to prepare for. If this helps you and yours to stay warmer for a little longer then I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. Stay warm my friends!

Written by: Naomi Broderick

She’s the mother of three and a professional writer for ADT, Odessa, Texas. She spends her free time wrestling with the kids, writing or prepping for disasters, or resting from all of it. Phew!

7 More Awesome Medical/Tactical Bags!

Last week I wrote about the only medical bag that you will ever need to buy. Today I wanted to highlight a few more medical bags that are highly suited for preppers, search and rescue, tactical medics, military medics, or any person that is interested in having a durable medical kit. These bags all exhibit great function, durability, quality of materials and craftmanship, and suitability for austere conditions. I listed them in my order of preference from most preferred to last preferred.

Blackhawk S.T.O.M.P. II

1. Tactical Tailor M5 Medic Pack - I still have my Tactical Tailor M5 bag. It is an awesome bag, but doesn’t hold the most gear compared to some of the other bags. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in versatility. It is a well constructed bag that I used on my last deployment. The best part of all is that Tactical Tailor stands behind their work. If you ever have a problem with your gear, it can be sent back to be repaired or replaced. One of the unique features of the M5 bag is that the inside is configurable. The internal dividers are held in with hook and loop tape that is strong and well suited for the task. As a result of the almost endless configurations for this bag, it can be adapted to be used as a general medical bag or even for other applications. The outside of the bag has MOLLE webbing on three sides which allows for additional storage in the form of removable pockets.

2. Blackhawk S.T.O.M.P. II Medical Pack - One good look at this bag and it will be apparent that it is almost identical to the London Bridge Training Coverage Medical Bag. The great thing about that is the London Bridge bag is very well designed. Perhaps even better than that is the fact that the Blackhawk bag is significantly less when it comes to the purchase price. The big downside to this bag is that it is cheaper in the way that it is put together. It is still suitable for a combat environment but may not hold up for quite as many years as some other bags.

3. TSSi TACOPS M9 Assault Medical Backpack - When this bag was introduced it became the go to bag for many special operations forces in the Middle East. It is a small bag but it fits so nicely atop a set of body armor that it can almost be forgotten about. This makes it ideal for wearing in vehicles and transitioning from aircraft which led to it’s popularity. The outside of the bag also features webbing that allows the addition of external pockets. It is also capable of carrying everything required to save a life from a traumatic injury in the field.

4. StatPacks Stealth - StatPacks is a company that has established itself in the fire and EMS community for their medical bags. In recent years, StatPacks has realized that many of their products, if properly colored, could be adapted for use in a tactical setting. This has lead to the adoption of StatPacks products for use not only in the military but in police agencies as well. The Stealth is modular for maximum versatility, includes space for a hydration bladder, and features webbing for the addition of external pouches.

One of the most important aspects of deciding which bag is best for you is the size of the bag. A good basic rule with medical bags, and any bag for that matter, is to gather all of the items that you intend to pack into it and see what size bag that you need. Whatever you do, don’t get a bag that is too big. I am not a fan of large bags. In the Army, we called them “tick” bags, referring to the fact that you could fill them until they were about to explode and looked like a tick. Overloading a bag can be a nightmare. The last thing you want to do is haul around ten extra pounds of gear that you don’t need. With that being said, it can be even worse to have someone’s life in your hands and not have the stuff to save them. Packing a medical bag is a delicate balance and you must determine what will most suit your needs for the task at hand.

Alternatives to a purpose built medical bag should also be considered. There are many awesome bags out there that I would readily use for my gear. My top 3 alternative bags to use for a medical kit would be:

1. Kifaru International Marauder - Kifaru is another great company that puts out a product that speaks for itself. Well, not literally speaking for itself but one look at the bag and you will know that it is top notch. The Marauder is a versatile pack that can be used for anything that you can imagine.

2. 5.11 Tactical RUSH MOAB10 - This is a great bag for a smaller kit. Check out my recent review of the MOAB 10.

3. GoRuck GR1 - The guys at GoRuck are sticklers for quality and all of their bags are made in the United States. These bags are relied on by a number of U.S. Special Operations forces for duty across the globe as well as for personal use.

In the event that a duty grade bag is not an option for you because of budget, practicality or another reason, don’t let it stop you from putting a high quality kit together. I have seen some great kits that were put together using tackle boxes, a plastic tote, and even a tool box. Rule number one should be to have a kit. Once you have something together, it can be improved going forward. There is no replacement for a purpose-built medical bag though. In the event of an emergency, a durable bag that is designed to keep life-saving supplies neat and organized can make all the difference.

Another Safeguard Armor Giveaway!

Safeguard Armor is running another giveaway for their Facebook Fans! For those of you who are interested in adding a set of body armor to your preps, here is your chance. Safeguard is giving away a GHOST™ Bullet, Knife Edge and Spike Proof Vest just like the one seen below.

The GHOST™ Covert Vest is extremely lightweight and has one of smallest carrier designs in the world. Don’t let its size fool you as it still offers the wearer up to level 3A ballistic protection and can be upgraded with edged blade and spike protection.

All of Safeguard Armor’s protective panels are made from 100% Kevlar!

The giveaway vest includes NIJ Level 2 and KR1 Stab and Spike Protection!

To be entered all you have to do is:

1. Go to the Safeguard Armor Facebook page.
2. Share the giveaway post.
3. Like their page. That is it!
The winner will be selected at random.
The giveaway closes on the 15th of November 2013. Good Luck!

Make sure to stay tuned for an exciting announcement later this week from The Prepared Ninja and Safeguard Armor!

Long-Distance Business Travel and Crisis Preparedness

Long-Distance Business Travel and Crisis Preparedness

By Anonymous

Photo Credit: Mashable.com

I don’t know what the future holds. Nor, in reality, do the elite in Washington, Brussels or Beijing. Despite the hubris of the planners, the law of unintended consequences, as well as just “plain ol” human error and ineptitude, will never allow man to create utopia, any more than a man can pull on his own bootstraps and lift himself up to Heaven. We may be fortunate enough to see a renaissance in the West, much like what Reagan and Thatcher brought to light. However, there are other indicators that do not bode well: For example, you may wish to review Reinhart and Rogarth’s book This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, on the utterly crushing nature of what out-of control debt can do to an economy and society that allowed it. Or perhaps google work by Dr. Lawrence Kotlikoff of Boston University, who has noted that if all unfunded liabilities in the U.S. were totaled, we are looking at not $16 trillion-ish reddish ink (now up to $17 trillion since I first began drafting this!), but actually $222 trillion. Do you really think this can be paid back?

Or perhaps you may wish to consider the latest figure for derivatives – the estimated numbers are too large for comprehension – what Warren Buffett famously called “weapons of financial mass destruction.” In another realm, most of us are aware of the encroachment of a state that has gone feral in many ways, such as the disgusting Agenda 21, or the establishment of an Orwellian “war is peace” approach to world politics by the current administration. The threat of EMP – man-made or natural – exists, whether we wish it weren’t so or not. In sum, the powers that be have far too many spinning plates in the air, and at one point it seems more than likely that at least some of them will come crashing down. Indeed, with 48 million people now on food stamps under Obama, and 100 million not working, I would contend many of those plates – and lives – already lie smashed on the ground.

Like me, many of you may not be able to move for a wide variety of reasons. You are stuck where you are, and with the destruction of the economy by Obama, you are also just glad to have the job you do, in fact, have. And your job requires travel. I needn’t bore you with further potential threats – you already know them, or you wouldn’t be reading this; and to that end, most of you have already engaged in some level of preparedness. I have done preparedness as well – but one thing I have seen very little commentary on is what to do when one is away from home more than a couple hundred miles for business. For example, I live in the Chicago area, and twice in the past month I had to travel 2,000 miles away to the People’s Socialist Republik of California (not that corrupt Illinois is much different). And in fact, as I compose this article, I am a thousand miles from my own home and family – this time in the other direction, on the East Coast. What would I do if, e.g., a Carrington level event were to occur, or another 9/11 attack? What if Yellowstone had a volcanic burp of geologic indigestion? You can fill in the blank as to the event – my concern is: what preparations and/or actions could one engage in to get home or at least ameliorate the plight of loved ones remaining at home.

Here are a few considerations:

A Communication Plan: There has been ample information written in many preparedness sites about family communication plans. Most I have seen are well done, but focus on someone who works, say, downtown, and needs to make it home to the suburbs. As this topic – getting home when one is relatively local - has been adequately dealt with, I will not deal with this issue here. Most of the information I have seen is well done, and by all means extrapolate as much of this as you can to your far away from home plans. However, for example, having a rallying point for the kids won’t help you, personally, much when you are across the country and cannot shepherd this. Of course, having pre-set plans and communication protocols with your wife or other family will be an advantage if you are near or very far away. However, this topic – as noted above – has been dealt with very ably at other preparedness sites, and needn’t be repeated here.

For the purposes of this article on business travel, I will assume one is within North America, ex-Hawaii or Alaska. I do this not to short-shrift people who travel to Europe or Asia, but simply restricting the scope of this article will comprise the vast majority of the business travelers. There will, of course, be much more profound logistical realities to attend to should one be overseas during a major crisis, which are also beyond the scope of this paper. So, with this in mind, here are some practical considerations.

Time Is Critical: After an event, it may be several days before the magnitude of the crisis sinks in psychologically; this is time that shouldn’t be wasted. For example, after 9/11, when all airlines were shut down, there still were cars to be rented for a very short window of time. The goal is to be responsive. Studies show that many people go into a slight catatonia during a crisis (think of those that refused to evacuate the Word Trade Center during 9/11; another example the story of the MV Estonia that sank in the 1990s, going between Estonia and Sweden, costing 852 lives. One of the few who lived recalled running past one passenger who had simply lit up a cigarette, and refused to budge when urged to do so. You must act in a situation that demands it, even if it seems forced and mechanical; at the same time, doing the wrong thing at the wrong time may make the situation worse. So, what is the answer to the twin horns of this dilemma? Having pre-thought out plans, insofar as you are able to analyze potential dangers.

Play “What if” Games: One problem with preparedness is that it can become an all-consuming obsession. You may have the time, money and/or mental CPU cycles to ruminate on issues and solutions. You may be a natural MacGyver. On the other hand, like many of you, I am not MacGyver, and I have precious few mental CPU cycles to spare. I also have a day job, which generally bleeds over into all kinds of weekend and evening hours, as do many of you. All I am advocating is a high level reflection on possible actions at your disposal as you have downtime in your travel or leisure time (what little you have!). For example, during my trip to LA, what might I have been able to do in, e.g., an EMP situation? If a worse case EMP scenario occurred, there may be no vehicular mobility at all. But what if an EMP left some vehicles running? Or in a 9/11 situation, what if private, small airplanes were left free to take off? As a matter of fact, back in my hitch-hiking days, more than one person I knew would go out to small airports, and simply hang around and ask for rides from pilots of single engine Piper Cubs or Cessnas. The same might apply to marinas – say going from Miami to Boston. A long shot? Of course. But the key here is not this specific solution, but rather the “outside the box” approach to solving the dilemma.

Determine Places To Avoid: If I were in Toronto, and needed to get to Chicago, I would not want to go through Detroit. Have a mental map in your mind of alternative routes you might take. If you are geographically challenged, this might involve nothing more than taking a 15 second glance at a Rand-McNally atlas. Can you risk going from LA to Denver through the Mojave if your travel arrangements are unreliable? Similarly, where possible, you may wish to familiarize yourself with parts of the city you are in that are questionable. Taxi drivers, concierges, co-workers – all can be sources of information here.

When You Simply Cannot Make It Home: The worst case scenario has taken place. You are in San Francisco, and an EMP has taken out ALL conveyances – trains, planes, automobiles – and everything else. To prepare for an eventuality like this, do you have neighbors  or family you can confidentially discuss your concerns with? Have you left your family with enough barterable items to see them through in your absence? You may not have enough money for all the preparations you would like, but have you done as much as you are able? For example, do you own “junk” silver (pre-1965) silver coins? As a matter of fact, recall in the early 1970′s that gas was in the low 30 cent range – and in fact it still  is today – if you pay in silver coins. Similarly, have you put simple cash away? Perhaps the crisis is just a Lehman-style meltdown, leading to a bank holiday, while you are away. Of course, readers of this article will be well aware that they should have a minimum of food and water on hand. Certainly, even if you are challenged, a few gallons of spring water, a number of cans of tuna and some bags of lentil are not expensive, and everyone should be able to afford a minimum expenditure for these.

Neighbors: Do you have neighbors you can trust to discuss the matter with? If this family also has a business traveler, can you work out some quid pro quo – if he is gone, you would pick up the slack in his absence, and vice-versa. There is risk here in that the counterparty might not be reliable, but this is a judgment only you can make. Alternatively, many will have family local, which may be even better.

Concentric Circles: For some time, I worked approximately 50 miles from home – a very long day’s hike. In this case, I planned to purchase a collapsible bicycle on Amazon. I would not have felt comfortable bringing it into the workplace, given the “government will take care of me” attitudes most exhibited there. For defense while in transit, pepper spray, or another spray of your choice – is in order, and certainly making sure that water and some food is available in transit is important. I would suggest panniers (small bags that attach to your bicycle), or at minimum a cheap backpack, to allow carrying of enough supplies to make it home.

I have also spent some time working in Lansing, MI, Pittsburg, PA and Columbus OH – between 300 and 400 miles from home. What would I do in a grid down (or similar) situation? In this situation, I was gone Mon.-Fri., renting a place during weekdays. Yes, driving, finding a ride if my car was inoperable, using a train, etc., are all obvious first choices. But what if those choices are gone? What if the major interstates are blocked? Again, my first choice would be having access to a bicycle, with ability to carry the rudiments for several days of trekking cross-country. What kind of shape are you in? A reasonably fit person should be able to do about 100 miles/day. In the case above, this would put me three to four days out from home, assuming no mishaps, delays, or the like. Should I attempt it? In a 9/11 situation, the risk of travelling would have been low (e.g., no civil disturbances en route), but the need to get home was also low – there was no serious risk to my family if I were absent. Whether you go or stay is a judgment call – but which criteria you need to make in the clear light of day ahead of a crisis – not during the  emergency, when the “fog of war” clouds judgment. In the situations above, if it were winter, I would not be able to go – I have bicycled on snow more than once, and one does not make much headway! Hypothermia would also quickly kill in winter – even if one was warm while riding, as soon as one stopped, the sweat would quickly chill, and be a serious threat to life. Of course, if one were adequately prepared, with polypropylene, breathable garments, there was no snow on the road, a good set of panniers on one’s bike, no sign of civil unrest on your selected route, etc., then it could possibly be advisable to set out. Again, some of this will necessarily be a judgment call, and the extent of preparations you make to take advantage of situations that may be low probability, but have high risk associated. This truly is not much different from the calculations you make to purchase life, fire or auto insurance – how much should you insure for? What do I stand to lose if I don’t insure against an admittedly low probability occurrence? Clearly, unless you are a wealthy Hollywood Learjet leftist, you don’t have the money to insure against everything; on the other hand, you do have some money to insure against certain risks.

The key issue here is not to lay out all possible scenarios here – you don’t want to read a hundred page paper on this, nor do I wish to write it! Rather, the goal is to lay out some possible problems, and get you, dear reader, to start reflecting your own personalized solutions that will be somewhat unique to your own, individual situation. This includes such disparate things as whether there are children at home – and how old; how safe a neighborhood one has; what type of neighbors one has relative to their own preparedness, and if you have had time to have a heart to heart with them about your – and their – travel schedules; the degree of involvement one’s wife has in preparedness, as well as how adaptable she is to emergency situations… and more.

Friends, Family, Acquaintances In Target Area: Who do you know in, or around, the area, you will be? Have you kept in touch – or do you need to re-connect? Do you have addresses and phone numbers? Do you have them written down, in case there were an event knocking out electronics? Of course, as with everything else noted here, you need to conduct your own analysis. If your analysis is that you think losing electronic information is virtually impossible, then (in this example) written addresses would not be part of your plan.

If you are working in a given location long-term, or regularly travel to a given city, could you make arrangements ahead of time with someone, perhaps for some kind of initial retainer? Of course, the critical issue would be judging if the person you trusted were worthy of that trust – but recall that this type of decision is one you have to make every day in business, as well! For me, the first place I would look to make an arrangement like that would be the church. Alternatively, some of the “prepper” sites allow exchange of information, and you might be able to negotiate some kind of quid pro quo with someone who understands the threats.

Gold And Silver Coins: I routinely bring one or two half ounce gold coins on my trips. I have never once had a problem leaving them in my computer case or briefcase. As you can imagine, they are never out of my sight. If you are concerned about the TSA spotting gold coins, leave a bit of loose change in with your case to throw them off the scent. Worst case, you can tell them you always bring it as your lucky charm. In the event that I am thousands of miles from home – say, LA, and need to get to Chicago – and there is limited transportation – a gold coin may just be the literal ticket home. Having two half ounce, or several quarter ounce coins, will provide greater flexibility, of course. Valcambi has recently come out with a gold wafer that will break into 1 gram sections, which is another option. And if there were no traffic on the road at all, the coins would still buy me food and perhaps some small roof over my head. Cash, you say? Mais oui! The problem with cash is that there always seems to come up situations that require “dipping in” to those reserves. If you can absolutely manage to not do this (I cannot!), that is a great solution. Otherwise, precious metals are a better option. As a side note, silver would not be valuable enough to be worth its weight when travelling, and platinum would not be as immediately recognizable to the common person. Stick with gold in half or quarter ounce size, and in a recognizable form (eagles, maple leafs, kruggerands or possibly several others).

Long Term Absence: Almost too horrible to contemplate, but what if I was in LA, and my home was in NY – and needed to get cross-country, in a total grid and transportation down situation? Assuming I have made preparation for my family, as noted above, striking out cross-country on a kamikaze mission would serve no one any good. Rather, for the time being, the goal would be to stay alive and bide one’s time, looking for an opportunity to return home. The key here is not only barterable items – and gold has been the very choice for this reason for thousands of years – but also to have barterable skills. Do you have one? Even a strong back might earn one’s keep in a serious societal crisis. Have you reviewed what you could do in a situation like this?

In conclusion, the goal of preparedness is not to obsess over potential catastrophes. Rather, if one has done one’s due diligence, then you should have greater peace of mind as you set out for your business trip. For those of us of the Christian faith, preparedness is also not to deny that a sovereign God will look after us. However, we have been given a brain and common sense for a reason, and we need to use it. We have been told to pay attention to the times and seasons – here, this passage is specifically in regards to the return of the Lord, but I believe we can extrapolate this call to all areas of life. The ultimate goal of preparedness is to be able to live a life not in fear, as one has done all that one was able to do in good conscience, and leave the rest in God’s capable hands.

What do you think? If this paper does nothing else, hopefully it will engender some responses as to other things that can be done relative to business travel. Please comment!

Product Review: 5.11 Tactical MOAB 10

A little over a month ago I received the 5.11 Tactical MOAB (Mobile Operation Attachment Bag) 10 that I ordered from my friends Fabian and Roman over at Ready To Go Survival . I was immediately impressed with the bag as I took it out of the box and noticed the quality of the materials and workmanship in putting the bag together. At a total interior size of 1062 cubic inches, it is a versatile size that makes it great for a myriad of survival as well as every day uses.

The design of the MOAB 10 allows the user to attach the bag to another pack in the 5.11 Tactical RUSH series for a modular system if so desired. It is also covered in MOLLE webbing allowing for expansion and customization of the bag for maximum user function. In addition to the versatility of the design, the MOAB features water-resistant materials, ambidextrous and lightweight design, and the ability to integrate a water reservoir with a pass through port for the tubing. It even has a headphone port for anyone wanting to jam out while they get out of dodge! Not to be overlooked is the way the shoulder strap is designed. It allows for the bag to be brought forward for easy access without having to take the bag off. This is especially useful if the choice is made to carry a pistol that may be needed for self-defense.

My use of the MOAB has primarily been as an everyday carry (EDC) bag because it can comfortably house my laptop while also leaving plenty of room for a blow out medical kit, emergency rations and water, handgun with extra magazine, emergency blanket and poncho, a change of socks, underwear, and light jacket, along with some other survival necessities. It would also be suitable for use as a medical bag, small bug out bag, a masculine diaper bag, day pack, or perhaps even a purse. While the size of the MOAB 10 is large enough to be a multi-purpose bag, it is also compact enough to not impede movement and could even be stashed safely if the need should arise.

At the end of the day it comes down to the fact that the MOAB 10 is an extremely flexible bag that can be put to task for a variety of uses without being concerned about whether or not it will hold up. Whether it is chosen for daily use or to keep in the trunk of the car for an emergency, this bag will not disappoint! I can honestly say that I highly recommend Ready To Go Survival’s Rush MOAB 10.

In The Pockets of Tom Linden

One of the greatest aspects of being a prepper is that it is not something that is limited to one area of the country or even one area of the globe. While we are labeled as “crazed lunatics” or “insane conspiracy theorists” we are not alone. Strength should be gleaned from this fact. Today I have the pleasure of sharing a take on survival from a fellow prepper from “across the pond,” Tom Linden of Tom Linden Survival and the UK Preppers Radio Network. Not only was he willing to answer a couple of questions about hit take on survival but he also gives us an extensive look into his everyday carry (EDC) items.

Q: If you were limited to only one firearm for survival, what firearm would you own?

A: A Remington 12 Gauge Shotgun.

Q: What do you think the single most overlooked prep is?

A: Knowledge

Q: What do you think the first thing to disappear following a disaster will be?

A: Society and emergency service back up.

Q: If you could have a retreat anywhere in the world, where would it be and what features would it have?

A: It would it be in Northern Scotland. I would live in a small cottage by the sea with my own vegetable patch and livestock.

Q: In your opinion, what is the best commercially produced survival food on the market today?

A: MX3 meals, they all taste fantastic.

Q: What was the last book that you read?

A: The SAS Survival Manual

Q: What is the one thing that you would miss the most if an EMP shifted your lifestyle back to the 1800′s?

A: Modern Communications

Q: If you were to get stuck on an island, who is the one person that you would choose to survive with?

A: I would pick my wife as my survival parter.

Q: What kind of vehicle do you drive?

A: A 2011 Nissan Note 1.4 Liter

Q: What are the items that you have on your person at all times?

A: Firstly, on my left wrist I have my Timex Expedition E-Instruments Compass Tide and Temp Chronograph Watch, model T45601. It is waterproof to 100 meters or, in old money, 333ft. On my right wrist I wear my 550 paracord bracelet from paracord.com.

Depending on what I am wearing, I could have my Black Hawk web duty belt with the True Utility multi-tool +lite and a StoppaRed marker spray on it which I carry whatever belt I have on.

On my key ring I have the kaufmann-mercantile.com EDC steel tools including a mini lighter and on my feet, a pair of Regatta Mens Ad-Scursion Boots which are completely waterproof and offer total protection and comfort.

In my wallet is a Tool Logic Survival 11 credit card.

In my personal planner is a Matthew Martin Tactical Pen.

On my back or in the car with me I carry the 1 Person BASIC Backpack Survival Kit from moreprepared .com supplemented, as it is designed to be, by additional kit to make it what I call complete. In the kit is:

  • A UK motorway map and two local OS maps.
  • A Purificup
  • Elzeta ZFL Tactical Torch
  • A SOL Bivy Bag
  • The Solo Stove with cotton wool and Vaseline balls stored inside.
  • A Nano Fire Starter
  • i-Shields
  • My own survival meals, tea, and 3-in-1 Nescafe coffee sachets.
  • Toilet Roll

I would like to thank Tom for sharing a little bit about his take on survival and what a “prepper’s” EDC kit might look like. Make sure to check out his radio show on the UK Preppers Radio Network. Tom can also be followed on Twitter, @tomlinden0.