Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ideas for handicapped survival issues‏

The following article was written by my friend Rick Davis who also lives in Argentina. I really like the way Rick thinks and rationalizes things. In many ways my beloved 86 year old grandmother is setup in a similar way. She lives in a downtown area of the Bs. As. suburbs, has services near by, WALKS to buy whatever she needs. Has a little grocery cart so as not to carry weight. (yes, before you even ask, there’s the pic. These are used a lot here by older folks) 
She lives in a 4th floor so she’s dependant on electricity and has to stay put during blackouts, but other than that she manages by herself. Key to her situation has been building relationships with the people that live nearby. She has her neighbors in case she’s in need of immediate help. For a few bucks the building manager does some handyman repairs on her condo in his spare time, or she asks me to do it. There’s also my aunt, who helps out when she needs anything and of course I help too, driving her to the doctor and such. Family is so important, its simply one of those things you realize as time goes by. As Rick explains, you eventually get older and end up needing assistance. My grandmother grew up in a farm, living off the land during the Spanish civil war and experienced first hand what many just theorize about. Its not easy to live off a farm during wartime, when food is being confiscated and rationed. She did not set up a farm when she moved to Argentina and she knew well enough what to do and how to set up her life as she grew older. My grandfather, may he rest in peace, he bought a couple condos after retiring. Its those same condos plus her retirement that allows her to afford what she needs and pay for things, including a top quality private health plan which already saved her life more than once. Even after an economic collapse and hyperinflation before that, the condos still get her the money she needs to live. Two well located condos is ok, three is better. Think about that when planning how you will survive after retiring.
Enjoy Rick´s article and take care,

Ideas for handicapped survival issues‏

Saludos from Argentina… Reading entries and comments on various survival blogs, I see that the handicapped folks who are preppers have a tough time. I have given the issues facing that part of our prepper community some thought, and I believe our lives are enriched by the contributions of all of us… including the handicapped. It would be nice if the needs of the elderly and handicapped for prepping could be discussed a bit.

Now, we all know that the needs of a growing young family with kids is the very most complex set of needs for which to prep. The needs of a handicapped person, living alone, are very different. We all hope to never be alone in life, but as we age, our support group disappears on us. As we age, the years take their toll and we start acting handicapped. If we live long enough, we outlive our strength, our stamina, and our ability to sustain significant physical hardship. Prepping while young, we may wish to keep the needs of a handicapped person living alone in mind, as a possibility to consider when making prep decisions.

I did some volunteer work for a charity in aid of the handicapped and elderly whose support systems had disappeared. A Texas state court judge would establish the individual as a ward of the state and send in our charity to assess the needs and we would usually become the ad litem guardian for the client. We saw some pretty grim sights, working for the court in that role.

So, how should our life and prep decisions be handled in such a way as to try to take the needs of handicapped persons living alone? Let’s start with where we choose to live.

Independent living for seriously handicapped persons requires access to mass transit and handicapped services. While living in a cabin out in the boonies may be appealing to the hardier souls among us, drastic upheavals and relocations are required when the person’s independence is compromised. As an avid reader of FerFAL and the commentators on his blog, I get the feeling that not everyone has the option to sell everything they own and move to the country where the additional land can be put to good use for growing food. Those who have good jobs and/or other reasons to have to go town every day can bear witness to the physical, mental and financial cost. In the event a prepper outlives their means of independent living in a remote location, they may wish they had chosen to live in a small town or suburb wherein a degree of assistance may be available, and with easy access to services.

An important consideration seems to be the possibility of organizing a group of handicapped persons living together to maintain their independence as long as possible. Two handicapped persons may be able to extend their independent living time by several years by pooling resources and helping one another. If you are a handicapped person with a large home with lots of spare space, you may want to consider looking for a roommate… or, two or three. You may want to talk to Adult Protective Services of your state government to see if they have some likely roommate candidates in your area. They will also be interested in referring you to someone with a home seeking roommates if you without your own home, but are looking for such a place to rent or share. Also, it is my experience that social workers and service providers like to be able to have groups of clients in close proximity to one another, so such clients get better services or a higher level of service.

Another consideration… try to pick a state to live in where handicapped services are more available. The states with the highest tax rates are often the least favorable states because they tend to be the poorest managers of resources. Some handicapped persons must go into nursing homes at an earlier time than might otherwise be necessary due to the lack of handicap van or public transportation to facilitate doctor visits, medical treatment visits, etc. which are typically available only in the better run jurisdictions.

My wife and I own a place in a town of 600,000 population within the “micro-center” of the town. That means we don’t need a car to get around. Our home is on the same water and power grid as the provincial government offices, the traffic and criminal courts, the cathedral, etc. so we would not be without essential services very long. The roof might need a bit of additional structural support to be able to build multi-level growing pods for veggies, etc. but, I already have a pellet rifle to bag some pigeons for the stewpot! As a sailor, I know how to rig canvas to trap and route rainwater into catchments that can be used to supplement stored water. I also know how to run out naked into the rain to shower off with my bar of soap in my hand, but I worry about the hi-rise apartment neighbors having nightmares from such a sight. Sailors also know all kinds of ways to live off the grid with 12 volt systems power and combining solar and wind sources with banks of batteries to be charged for storage, tricks for storing food without refrigeration, and interesting ways of boiling water… the basis for many a fine one-pot meal. While our storage space is severely limited compared to normal US architecture, we are able to build up some small storage capabilities for food, water and essential consumables. Services and mass transit available here are the best I’ve seen, and handicap vans are passing by day and night.

Our place was bought in 1990 when 3 teenagers lived at home. It is fairly unsuitable in terms of handicapped living, but the location and services available within walking distance are great. It is up a flight of stairs, and inside, the wheelchair access is fairly limited. But, it is big enough to invite 3 – 5 roommates to share our space. If they were handicapped, we could combine resources with these other people to hire specialists to help us with our mobility and medical issues.  If the day ever comes where we need roommates, we are 3 blocks from an important university, and in the same area as the local Law School, and should be able to attract young renters, if we decide to go that route. If our mobility issues ever get so difficult we need to move, the 6 – 8 students we could house would pay for our first-floor accommodation elsewhere.

If you are house hunting for your young, growing family, it is wise to consider…
. are there stairs and other handicap barricades?
. is there room to rent out living space to other people after the kids are grown?
. what are the support structure and public transportation issues in the area?
. what are the high-density veggie growing options on the property?

If you plan on dying young and missing all the heartache of watching your body deteriorate and your life options shrink, think again. You may be disappointed.

Suerte -CapnRick
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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Alternative forms of Transportation

Seems that in the “Gas and Food Prices” post, one of the key points was transportation and how to move around or go to the city, carry whatever needs to be carried or purchased and doing so spending a minimum amount of money, time and energy.
Here are a couple comments I’d like to address;
Anonymous said…
Even in cities and close packed towns you can only do so much with a bike or scooter.
You can’t take home a lot of groceries on a bike or scooter. Can’t make stops at 3-4 stores to pick this & that up, I don’t see how you’re going to take a child or two to school or day care…and forget about it in the winter.
Don’t bet the farm on a bike or scooter. Without a car American life changes dramatically!

Exactly, the point being it WILL change dramatically if there’s no other choice left. Your points are correct, of course you can carry lots of stuff and people in a big car, and off course we’d all love to drive around a big fancy pickup truck, or even an old one. But what if you can’t afford it anymore? What if you can’t even afford the price to fuel it? That’s the point of this discussion, we already know that its nicer to carry a hundred pound of goods and several people in your car, have AC during summer, but at some point there will be people that simply wont be able to do so, that’s the issue some people may eventually have to deal with, and they will if they don’t have any other option.
back when scooters or under 100cc motorcycles cost $300 new and $50 used (1970′s), they were great…now spending $1000 for a 20 year old junker to $13,000 for a vespa is kinda pointless. my car gets 36mpg and new it was only $13k (toyota yaris) new. i see them for $3000 used with 50k miles and a toyota is just getting going at 50k miles….!
unless you get a small motobike for cheap/free..i dont see the point…?
also…if you want a real laugh, look at the prices for electric bicycles…LOL!
March 29, 2011 11:54 AM

Scooters, mopeds and such only make sense when affordable. Around here you do see a good amount of mopeds but its not crazy as in Asian countries.
People that just can’t afford any better mostly stick to these two, and there may be something to be learned about these typical 3rd world alternatives.
1) Horse and cart. Its usually the choice of the extreme poor. The poor horses are sometimes kept in awful conditions, only to die soon and be replaced by another one, often stolen. You see these horses pulling carts full of paper and cardboard, sometimes picking glass, metal, anything they can sell, therefore their slang name “botelleros” (something like bottle scavengers) The carts are made from anything, from wood, to metal, I’ve even seen large fridges being used. They often include a scavenged car axis for wheels.

2) The bicycle is a classic for the poor around here. Its used so much that trains have special wagons for people with bikes so they can hook them up and stand next to them. And yes, I’ve seen parents take one, even two kids to school on a bike, one seated on the knees, the other seated in the back structure intended to hold a small package. In spite of this, the bicycle, while relatively fast and practical, it still has a very limited cargo capability. I’ve done the 7 lakes trail in Patagonia with my bike and used side saddles. In spite of this I see its not practical for when you need to carry grocery bags and such.

Still, there’s an alternative that I’ve seen a lot here and mentioned it before in the blog because I really like the idea. I’ve seen it used a good amount, people carrying considerable loads, including mowing machines and more. The good old 3-wheel bicycle. Locally its often custom made, but it can be bought directly from some bicycle manufacturers as well.
Schwinn Meridian Adult 26-Inch 3-Wheel Bike (Blue)
Schwinn Meridian Adult 26-Inch 3-Wheel Bike (Blue)
The advantages? A lot more cargo space. The ability to carry heavy stuff, not only more volume. The tricycle is much more stable too. Some of the comments I read on Amazon are by people that have some sort of injury, age or disability, and can’t move around a bicycle or have trouble keeping balance, but can handle one of these 3 wheelers all right.
Its really isn’t a bad idea for short distances. Yes, I understand you cant carry half a ton of stuff like with a pickup. That’s where you have to compensate for the limitation with creativity and just cope with it. Since you’re also working out, it could be part of a daily or 3 time a week routine, getting groceries with it or whatever, compensating for the lack of space with more trips combined with the exercise. Anyway, just think its and interesting concept and see it used here often enough.
Take care folks and see you around.

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EDC Bag Size?

I watched your video on the EDC bag and had a question. I found the
bag on The North Face web site and it comes in x-small, small, medium,
and large. Which is the size you show in your video? BTW, I bought
your book off Amazon.com and really enjoyed it. Have been following
your blog and Facebook pages.
Hi Steve, the one I have is the Small one. Red may be better suited for an emergecny kit rather than an everyday carry bag.
The North Face Base Camp Messenger Bag Black Small
The North Face Base Camp Messenger Bag Black Small
I sometimes find myself needing a bit more space. In that case a medium or large one would be better.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Gas and Food Prices

I live near 3 towns in rural Virginia in the U.S. I used to notice one person walking to the shopping centers about once a week, but now notice several people a day. And there are no sidewalks available where they have to walk, as most of our towns were only built for car access. Many people in town are nearly 2 miles from the nearest shopping center, and country folks 10-15 miles. I’m also seeing quite a few more motor scooters being used on the roads. Unfortunately, I’ve been reading that the bus service in many communities in the US are actually decreasing their services as their demand has grown.
Most people in the US have NEVER used buses, bicycles, or walked to work or shopping, and they will have a terrible time making the transition. I have experience with all three and will be willing to make the change when it becomes necessary, but I am now disabled and can’t walk more than 1/2 mile on my good days, and don’t have any bus service within 2 miles of me. I’ll probably end up needing to use a motor scooter, but I’m afraid of it being stolen. My sister had two mopeds stolen during the gas crisis of the 70′s, and gave up using them.
I have had to survive on a part-time job for the last 3 years, so my personal budget is extremely tight. I will probably have to give up my car at some point, but I don’t know how practical it will be to use a motor scooter in the winter snow. I have many years experience in growing much of my own food, but my disability is now making this extremely difficult. I have been brain-storming how to survive the coming hard times, but it has been very challenging to find solutions. I wish us all the best in making the necessary adjustments!
Hi Debra, thanks a lot for your email. I’m sure a lot of people can relate to what you have to say and as things get worse, this sort of thing will become more and more common.
I’d try to keep the car, using it as little as possible. One thing people do around here is organize trips with friends and neighbors. Splitting the cost of gasoline between two or three makes it much cheaper.
Take care Debra,

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

MTE M2 5-Mode Focusable Flashlight by Greg Mcgee

Review of antoher MTE flashlight from Greg Mcgee Engineering.
This is the M2 5 mode Focusable Model that uses 18650 rechargable batteries. This same light comes in a version that uses 3xAAA batteries. This is supposed to be a  170 lumen light, but  its clearly not since its obviously brighter than 200 lumen flashlights. Greg told me that he preffers to underrate his flashlights. Anyway, you’re pleasantly surprised when you turn it on and its much brighter than you expected.
The bezel moves back and forth going from flood to throw. In full throw mode, it will throw further away than none focusable 1000 lumen flashlights, while on an intermediate or full flood position and in a medium or low mode its a good general purpose lights. I find Greg “batman beacon” to be accurate, it clearly generates a distinctibe concentrated “beam” of light.  If your property is surrounded by outdoors  or you see the need of having a light that really reaches across significant distances, then this one will work nicely.
It comes in both q5 and R5 (+$8,00) The light with the Q5 LED costs $28,95, but I’d get the R5 version. Not only because its a newer, brighter and more powerful Cree LED, but also because the emitter is round, while the Q5 is square, and when on full forward position (maxium concentration of the beam) you see the square shape of the LED. Not a big deal but I like it better if its round like the R5.
As always remember there are MTE flashlights  elseware but you only know you’re getting original MTE flashlights when buying directly from the MTE-USA brand owner, Greg McGee.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Food and gas prices and the survival of the American middle Class

Please read the article below before reading this. The article describes well the decline in American’s middle class. Many things mentioned remind me of the first years after the 2001 economic collapse, how people slowly change their habits, how certain things once taken for granted are little by little out of your economic possibilities.
Something that will have a huge impact the average American’s life will be the inflation combined with the typical American distribution that took for granted that everyone would both have a car and be able to afford fuel for it. 

You already hear about people not being able to do that and now going back to using public transportation. In some cases they simple don’t each where you’re going or multiple buses are required. Here in Argentina, since we already had a large percentage of poverty to being with, the public transportation system was in constant exercise so that makes things easier when that user group grows. When you don’t ever have such system in effect because there was no need to satisfy, you have to start from zero. Very likely, little by little more bus lines will be created to deal with the new demands. From an Urban point of view, in most of south America its already expected of you to walk, specially for close distances. This means a) stores are placed close to neighborhoods b) The infrastructure is there for you to walk form one place to another. It was surprising for me to realize that in some Texas cities you simply couldn’t walk from point a to point be, even if point b was 4 blocks away, you just had to take a car. Unthinkable not only for 3rd world countries, but also for modern architecture being implemented in today’s first world countries as well. As inflation and gas prices convert more middle class into poor, people will have no other option but to walk more, and the future urbanizations will have to keep this in mind as well in spite of previous cultural traditions. Cars that make inefficient use of fuel, even the food (and their ever increasing prices) will slowly change the what was considered typical. You buy a car now keeping in mind how much fuel it uses, you plan your meals and dinners based on what type of food your budget allows you to buy. The article mentions using wood for heating, but soon enough people will notice that smaller houses are cheaper and easier to heat: No more extra rooms you don’t need, or ridiculously large spaces that aren’t being used.

Suddenly the “retreat”, supposedly the solution to every possible survival need has this huge disadvantage: unaffordable gas prices. How’s that for living ½ a gas tank away from the nearest town? And the crime problem such isolation comes along way hasn’t made itself as evident as it should for a very simple reason: Things just aren’t that bad yet. Many hard lessons will be learned if they do. Many of this perfect survival solutions have worked well so far because they haven’t been put to any real test. Unfortunately that changing and some hard lessons are being learned.
 Things will have to become more efficient because the average budget just wont allow it any other way.
Take care folks.


Gas, food prices double whammy for rural families

Posted: 5:26am on Mar 21, 2011; Modified: 5:30am on Mar 21, 2011
Twice a week, Myriam Garcia puts snow chains on her 22-year-old gas guzzler and noses two miles down the hill from her trailer in rural western Montana. Then, instead of turning south and driving the 45 miles to Helena for grocery shopping like she used to, she parks on the side of the road and waits for a friend or neighbor heading into town to give her a lift.
In Helena, Jackie Merenz loads her beat-up SUV with juice boxes, graham crackers and apple sauce she bought at Walmart for her 6-year-old daughter's birthday party. The 60-mile round trip she makes twice a week for groceries hits her wallet hard - the food stamps don't go far, gas prices are skyrocketing and to top it off, her husband had to stop working after getting injured.
Living out in Montana's Big Sky Country often means driving long distances for the basic necessities, and people on tight budgets like Garcia, 49, and Merenz, 26, have long been creative in making ends meet.
But with food prices up nearly 4 percent last month - the biggest leap in 36 years - and the national average for a gallon of gas at a whopping $3.57, this economic double-whammy is stretching family budgets to the breaking point.
"It took me $50 to fill up my car yesterday. And it will be gone in three days, probably," Merenz said. "We already live in HUD housing, we're already on Medicaid, we already have food stamps - and we still struggle."
Merenz and her husband Richard moved to a small house in Boulder, Mont., two years ago after he had sinus surgery and the doctor told him the Oklahoma humidity was not good for him. He got a job at the Montana Developmental Center, which caters to people with developmental disabilities and behavioral problems.
But then in December, a patient broke his nose, knocking Richard Merenz out of work and leaving him in need of two operations. It couldn't have come at a worse time, with the rising prices of milk and baby food for their three children ages 6, 2 and 8 months.
"Right now, we're just kind of winging it," Jackie Merenz said.
Merenz, balancing 2-year-old son Taylor on her hip as she loads the last boxes of Capri-Sun, said she's had to pay $200 more a month in groceries the last couple of months - on top of the food stamps she uses. Her daughter Andrea's birthday party will be simple, featuring pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey with her kindergarten friends.
About 75 miles north of the Merenzes, Garcia lives on 20 acres of pristine country near Craig. She's lived there for 12 years in a trailer that's off the electrical grid, raising chickens and three sons. The children are now grown. Garcia is disabled and receives Social Security payments.
Now gas prices have forced her frugality to an extreme. She runs her generator three hours a day, flipping it on to watch the news at 5 p.m. and for chores afterward. Sometimes the choice comes down to paying for fuel for her home and car or buying food.
"Before, I had three boys so I was always creative with a limited amount of funds. Now I have to be even more creative because gas is so high," Garcia said.
She uses a wood stove and a propane heater for warmth and takes housesitting jobs in Helena whenever she can to cut down on expenses.
"That is a big, big help. Especially in the wintertime. I get to eat, I get to do laundry and there's no expenditure on gas once I get there," she said. "It is kind of a nice little break where you have electricity at the flick of a button and you don't have to arrange your day around electricity and gas."
When she's back home and has to make the twice-weekly journey into town, she tries to avoid driving the long stretch of highway into Helena by carpooling whenever she can. She'll arrange rides with friends and neighbors, splitting the cost of gas.
"I can't really afford to drive to town. If I can drive into town once a month, I'm lucky," she said. "A lot of time people from Craig are leaving for town and I'll catch a ride with them. But I'm too scared to get in with strangers."
She's holding out for summer, when her garden will yield fresh vegetables and her chickens start laying again, giving her some relief from rising prices. But she is convinced the cost of gas and food will only keep going up, and she is preparing for even more frugal measures.
Garcia said she'd like to see the nation's lawmakers take a page from Lee Iacocca, who took an annual salary of just $1 when he set about turning around Chrysler in the 1980s. Politicians should do the same now to help turn around the U.S., Garcia said, and funnel the salary they forego back into Medicare and food and services for children.
"I'd like to see them step up. They already have income, they're already very wealthy - many of them are," she said. "Our country's in trouble. It wouldn't be forever. But it would give me faith and hope because I love America."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My EDC Bag Part 2/2

My EDC Bag Part 2/2 wraps up these two videos.

As always a thread is automatically created in the forum section so as to discuss the video clip and share ideas.
Take care folks,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My EDC bag

 This is part I of my EDC bag video.
  I'll upload part II tomorrow, tkae care.

 You can discuss about this video on The Modern Survivalist Forum Thread , its a good place to meet like minded folks.


Monday, March 21, 2011

EDC Water Bottle: Oh so precious water.

Contemplating current events along with the philosophy I often promote about what you have with you sometimes being the only thing available when disaster strikes, the topic of water simply can’t be neglected. I’ll mention water in a following EDC Bag video, but as it happened with the other EDC videos, time just runs up too fast and I sometimes can’t put as much information in it as I would like. There’s benefits and disadvantages to both written blog posts and videos, so I’ll keep using both complimenting their strengths and weaknesses.
In the EDC videos of our previous post you could see redundancy on certain items. Knife, fire, light and basic tool. Some tools and items are simply more important than others and water should be one of your top priorities. Why is that? Because of a very simple fact: No matter who you are or where you are, if you stay still right now and don’t move, don’t interact with your environment, the first thing you’ll be needing will be water. Air is even more important and I’ll cover that a bit in the EDC bag video, but air is often not a problem and is as plentiful as it gets. Not the same case with water. 

In a matter of hours you’ll need a drink, and little after that dehydration starts affecting you. Just a little dehydration will affect your thinking and decisions, and it goes downhill fast after that. You just need water all the time, and if you just had a drink you’ll need it 3 hours from now give or take. We’re so messed up as a specie that people often don’t recognize this, mistaking thirst with hunger with the predictable results.  Maybe we just take water for granted, thinking the faucet will always provide it, that’s you’ll always find a store near by when you start feeling thirsty. When you start feeling thirsty, it usually means that you’ve already been dehydrated for some time now, so that’s not a sign of needing water, It’s a sing of having been needing water for some time already!
Besides the obvious task of keeping you alive, water is needed for other purposes as well. Remember 9/11, people with their eyes full of dirt and grit, their faces, their mouths? A little water is a precious thing to have in such situations. What about cleaning wounds? Using to soak a garment to escape during a fire? What about soaking a bandana and using it to cover your face and mouth so as to breathe better and filter some dust and smoke during an accident or disaster? Its not just plain old feeling thirsty that we’re talking about here.

My solution

The importance of water with you already being established, what can you do about it? For years I just had a regular plastic bottle and just refilled it. That’s sort of plastic is pretty resistant but its not designed for such purpose and it gets scratched and dirty pretty fast. While resistant, its not very durable on the long run and since water is important I wanted a good bottle.
There’s some nice looking plastic bottles that are durable and also light, which sounds like a good combination. After some more research I decided I wanted as little to do with plastic for my daily use bottle as possible. For long term storage at home plastic is ok, but for a bottle that will get thrown around a lot, microscopic pieces of plastic probably getting lose, I preferred something more solid. I can go for plastic taste during an emergency at home and using plastic, but I’d rather have steel for a bottle that will be used daily.
Klean Kanteen K18PPL 18oz KanteenĀ® Classic With Loop Cap Brushed Stainless 
That’s how I ended up with an 18oz Klean Kanteen steel water bottle. I also got a Sigg water bottle, but the steel bottle has a few advantages.
1)Its steel rather than aluminum like most SiGG bottles are. This makes it heavier, but also more resistant.
2) Since its steel, it has no synthetic liner on the inside like the Sigg does.
3)All steel means it can be used for boiling water if it comes to that, even cooking food. Remember, multiplicity of uses is important in a survival situation.
4)The wide mouth allows you to use it as a very uncomfortable cooking pot. Not my idea of fun, but you could cook some noodles in there, eat them with a long stick turned into improvised spoon and clean it up afterwards.
5)The cap itself is simple and straight forward. No weird sporting tip to drink from just unscrew the cap and drink from the wide mouth.

This is what I do, what I’m happy with in terms of having the best possible solution. If its just a used mineral water bottle that you refill, then go with that, the important thing is having at least some water with you.
Some of this will be mentioned in the coming video but I wanted to make this topic a bit more detailed due to its importance.
Take care folks,


Saturday, March 19, 2011

My every day carry

 I've posted about EDC many times, but there's always a few things that get impoved/changed as time goes by.

 Original SOE Cobra Rigger's Belt

Large Vaquero, Zytel Handle, Serrated
Large Vaquero Cold  Steel

Leatherman 830682 Charge Multi-Tool
Leatherman Charge Multi-Tool
Otterbox Defender Series Case for the Apple iPhone 4 (Verizon & AT&T) Retail Packaging (Black)
Otterbox Defender Series Case for the Apple iPhone 4 (Verizon & AT&T) Retail Packaging (Black)


Friday, March 18, 2011

Should your gear be comfortable or comforting?

I just finished filming a video on everyday carry and one of the issues I just didn’t have enough time to address was the one regarding what is comfortable to carry weighted against what is more capable, more efficient. I understand that life is too short to spend most of it uncomfortable, but where do you draw the line in terms of having the minimum amount of gear so as to follow what  our survival mindset logic dictates yet not get to the point where it interferes with our lifestyle?

Well, that’s exactly were I draw it. I’m not going to get my panties all bunched up over a couple more ounces worth of gear. What’s an acceptable level of comfort? If I can sit, drive, run, move around, and it doesn’t look as if I have a brick in one of my pockets, then that’s ok. Everyday carry gear is already light enough, I have more of a problem with bulk rather than weight. So that’s why I rarely add more stuff to my EDC. I may change one piece of it for something I consider better, but rarely will I add.

I apply a similar philosophy to carrying an everyday carry bag. Is it that much of a deal? Is it that much trouble? Women have been every day carrying purses for ages, its nothing new to them. The idea of men carrying a bag everyday shouldn’t cause hysteria attacks, guys collapsing and retreated to a dark corner where they stay trembling in fetal position, but you’d be surprised. Some guys think you can’t to that, because you’ll soon get tired and not carry it any more. They seem to forget about women and purses. 

While smaller and lighter EDC gear is preferred,  at least in my opinion it shouldn’t come at the expense of functionality at performance. There’s plenty compact enough gear out there yet fully capable. A smaller knife is lighter and less bulky, yet a bigger one is capable of performing more tasks and can take more abuse. As long as you can carry it, half a gram more or an inch more really doesn’t bother me. The Cold Steel Vaquero Grande I carry every day is huge, it’s a 6” folding knife, yet it fits in my jeans. You do feel it when you sit (specially with jeans) but its not uncomfortable. 

“How do you carry that thing?”  I was asked once while having lunch in the shooting range’s club. I got  up and showed him. “But  its still visible” he said. So?, pocket knives in general have some part left outside, even if its just the pocket clip. A inch or two worth of handle isn’t going to kill me nor is it visible with a shirt covering it. Uncomfortable? Well it is a large knife but its not as if I have a handful of nails in there.  Sometimes I think people in general have unrealistically low levels of tolerance. Feeling that something is there doesn’t necessarily mean that its uncomfortable or that you wont eventually get over it after you get used to carrying it in a couple more weeks.
All these comfort and size issues reach their pinnacle when it comes to concealed carry guns. I swear one of these days they’ll come up with a polymer 1911 so chopped up that it will weight less than the spit in a person’s mouth. It will of course be chambered for 45 ACP and will have a 3 round capacity (including the one in the chamber!) “But its so comfortable to carry!”

I’m sure it is, but how useful is it? How accurate are you with it? How many classes have you taken with such a gun and how did you perform compared to better equipped shooters?
If you think a Glock 17 is too big, then try carrying concealed an all steel 1911 Government model like they did not that long ago. The Glock 17 isn’t big, or heavy. Is smaller than the 1911 and its weight is a joke. Many folks have said so already and I’m confident about repeating it: No one caught in a gunfight ever wished for less gun.
Carry what you train with guys, and train with something good, a capable gun. When it comes to other gear don’t waste time splitting hairs over atomic weight or extra micros worth of flashlight size, just use what you find to be efficient. A shoulder bag or backpack (or laptop case) isn’t that crazy a concept. We’ve ALL carried bags or backpacks every single day for years at some point, remember school? and man where those books heavy. Today you can have with you a half empty bag of some sort filled with useful stuff of your own choosing.

Think about these things. You soon realize that what you have with you at the time is all you have during an emergency, and that carrying some extra stuff isn’t uncomfortable, but actually makes life easier when dealing with life’s inconveniences both serious and the ones that aren’t so much.
Take care folks.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hyperinflation for Kids!

 Hi guys, it took me a little while to get done with this today but I really wanted to finish it and share it with you.
Please take a look, I'm sure you will all find it pretty educational.
Take care


Monday, March 14, 2011

Situation in Japan thread over at The Modern Survivalist Forum

One of our blog readers “Sirus Black”, is currently living in Japan and is posting about the situation there over at the Forum.You might want to check out his updates.


Part III and IV Of Home Security Consideration Videos

Fourth and final Part.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

New Sponsor and Announcements

Guys, I’d like to welcome our latest advertiser, EDC Depot to the blog.
EDC Depot sells all sorts of every day carry gear. They are well known to those that frequent gear and EDC forums. I’ve known about them for some time and it’s a real pleasure to have them as sponsors.
Its thanks to you, the loyal reader, and the sponsors that this blog is possible and constantly growing, so from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!

There’s new additions to the FAQ section in The Modern Survivalist. Some questions are recurrent and this will make answering emails much easier.(    1) No, its not a good idea to move to Argentina. At last not for 90% of the people.  2) Living here will cost you 4x what the guy selling you real estate in South America promised over his dead mother's grave! He's selling you real estate, remember? What did you expect? The truth?  ;-)  )

Also, I want to remind everyone about the Modern Survivalist Forum, where each post posted in the blog is turned into a new thread. This way people can comment and discus like they sometimes do in the comments section but now with much more freedom.
The Modern Survivalist Youtube Channel is up, now that I’m back form my vacations there will be new videos every week covering everything from gear reviews, inflation, survival and preparedness reflections, mindset, and the broad spectrum of topics usually covered in the blog. 
What's up with having two exact same blogs? Seems that some people prefer the old blogspot format, while others (seems younger folks, more twitter and facebook savvy) prefer the new one, The Modern Survivalist. That's why I'll keep both up, at least for some time. 
Also, it gives me a plan B (I'm serious about always having one) in case there's problems with either ones of the website hosts. 
Take care everyone, enjoy your Sunday!


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Preparing for Earthquakes and Tsunamis

As I write this the disaster over in Japan is still going on. The images of the water just destroying everything in its path, throwing millions of tons worth of buildings, cars and transatlantic cargo ships as if they were mere toys. There’s really nothing left to do at that point other than do whatever you can to save your life. What you could have done was prepare before you have a 10 yard wall of water destroying everything coming your way. Well, preparedness is what this website is all about.

Earthquakes and Tsunamis

It happened in Chile not that long ago, now Japan. Can you really be surprised? No, these things just happen and they specially do happen in locations with a history of seismic activity. In these particular areas, it must be a priority to be prepared as well as possible. It was Japan’s turn now, but it just as easily could have occurred in California. The San Andreas fault is a constant reminder that the “big one” could occur at any moment.

So what to do?

Learn. Don’t waste your time and learn as much as you can from real events. Chile and now Japan are full of lessons for the survival minded individual.

Have a Plan and put it into Action: There’s people that just stay dumbfolded when the quake starts. If you hear the accounts, most of them are already used to living in a place of seismic activity so they just hope that it will pass. But then it just keeps getting worse. At this point you should have a plan of action.
 Older buildings are easy; get the heck out of them as quick as possible, using the stairs, never the elevators, and moving as close to walls and other supporting structures as possible since that’s where you’re less likely to have debris fall over you. More modern buildings and apartments are a bit more complicated. Most of them, specially if built on seismic terrain, are already designed to withstand powerful earthquakes. What’s usually advised is to stay in a doorway. This makes sense from a structural point of view but the doorway may not be load bearing at all, you really need to know about construction and structures to know if your in a safe spot or just waiting for plaster and wood to collapse all over you. Generally speaking, the closer you are to the structure the better, that’s why a doorway may be a way of placing yourself within the load bearing structure itself in a way.
 The other factor to keep in mind is that many accidents occur by falling objects when people reach the streets, so it may be better to stay inside to avoid collapsing plaster, signs, glass and other debris. Don’t go outside if you hear and see glass breaking and objects falling. You must already have an open space area to go to planned in advance. Think of parks and other open spaces (staying away from trees, sings and light posts). Here is where you stay until you gather more data. A small radio in your Grab Bag will provide information of what’s going on and if its safe to get back into the buildings or not. Based on the magnitude of the quake they call tell in general terms if buildings are safe.

The Bug out Bag: Or Grab Bag, or Emergency kit. This is the bag you grab when you leave in a hurry and you must have the essentials to survive.
Imagine a Tsunami is 30 minutes away, you only have a minute to brag a bag and make a desperate run for your life. Lets think for a second here, what would you need to survive and the get back on your feet if you’re lucky enough to make it out of it alive?
1)Water: After running for your life, just a couple hours will go by before you’re in desperate need of water. Don’t bother putting this bag together if you don’t have a liter per person in it.
2)Food: You need it but not as much as water so be smart about how you use your space and weight. Remember, you must be able to RUN with this bag (therefore I suggest a backpack). A few energy bars, Cliff Bars or PowerBars, whatever you favor. Also, energy drink powder to use along with the water. Try having ready to eat foods that don’t need cooking or water. 
3)Documents: We keep ours in a small plastic handbag. This way they are all together ready to go. You may end up needing your passport, birth certificate, ID etc. Have a laminated sheath with bank accounts, insurance info and important phone numbers. These items are used often in our case so we keep them in a small bag kept handy.
4) In the previously mentioned  bag, keep your emergency stash as well. Remember when we talked about a one month worth of expenses minimum cash stash? You might want to make that two in case you have to afford a place to stay in for some time.
4) Dry Clothes: A spare set of clothes in a sealed plastic bag.
5)Baby wipes: As good as a spa bath compared to having nothing at all to clean up a bit when there’s no water.
5)Handgun and ammo: If nothing else, at least have a gun ready in it with 3 or 4 extra mags. The Earthquake in Chile showed how violent people get when desperate.
6) Basic emergency gear: This will include (but isn’t limited to ) a multitool, some paracord, a small first aid kit, LED flashlight and batteries, thumb drive with copies of your documents and essential data, small portable radio, emergency Cell phone charger (battery pack or solar, as well as an ordinary car charger)
7) If exposure can get you killed in your location, you’ll need a sleeping bag and tent. There’s ultra light alternatives but I’d do without them if living in template climates and just add a few emergency space blankets for the Go Bag. The tent and bags can be added if you manage to leave in your vehicle.
8) If there’s infants involved you already have a diaper bag ready. Keep a bit extra in it so as to make it the baby’s “go bag”.
9) Office and car kits: Have somewhat similar kits in case you’re not home when disaster strikes. You may not keep your passport and other documents but you may have copies of them or scanned copies in a waterproof thumb drive.

Vehicle: Preferably you have a 4x4 SUV, compact enough to navigate around the debris, but still 4x4 ready. I’ve found out that small 4x4s are the easiest ones to pull out when they get stuck, just with a couple guys that have done it before a few times and know what to do. Roads may be collapsed or broken and you may end up needing the 4x4 capability to escape. Always take the car and get as far as you can with it before abandoning it and continuing on foot. Off road capability means you can get further away and stick to your vehicle longer that those stuck with sedans. Pre positioned gear in your car makes things easier, and have at least a gas tank worth of fuel in jerry cans. If you never let your vehicle get below half a tank, that means you have 1 ½ tanks of gas to escape. More would be better, but usually that enough to get you to high ground before the tsunami hits.

Escape Route: Have a route already planned to get you to high ground to at least two possible locations. Take the time to study your area and see if any of the roads you’re planning on using may collapse during a quake. As before, an alternative route is needed so as to stick to the 3 is 2, 2 is 1 and 1 is none philosophy. Try learning from previous quakes in your area and learn about the plates and faults to understand which routes could be compromised.

Plan B location and Contacts: Have a location already in mind, it must be high ground, and a gas tank away or less.  Even better, have two possible locations. These could be family members or friends, but in any case you must talk this over and not just show up. You could arrange a mutual deal where you watch his back and he does the same for you in case either of you suffer a disaster and are forced to evacuate. Having money and basic supplies already means you’ll just be requiring a roof over your head for a few days, and you wont be as much of an inconvenience as if you were not prepared at all. But make it clear “ in case this or that happens, I can go to your place for a few days and you can come to mine if it works the other way around”.

Events such as these are terrible. Ultimately staying alive is what matters, but watching your home, all your possessions, your city, all being destroyed is not a walk in the park.
Chile evacuated some town just in case, and even with their own disaster so fresh, many refused to leave, unable to tolerate the idea of losing everything they have to water or looters yet again.
Prepare for these things. Tsunami, earthquake, industrial disasters, war, fire, you never know when you may be forced to leave your home during a disaster.
Take care everyone.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Home Secuirty Video Part I & II

Hi guys, just a few considerations regarding home security while going through a house. This is all just normal common sense stuff I know (at least it is around here) but I thought it would be interesting none the less.
Take notes and consider how you would break into your own house and how easy it would be.
Oh, and no, of course its not my house. :-)


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Top 10 Survival and Preparedness Apps


I am a police officer(patrol and SWAT) in the United States. I have
read your book and followed your blog pretty closely and have been
impressed with your level of insight and levelheadedness. Every day,
more and more guys in my profession are quietly talking about what the
future is going to hold for us up here and there is a subdued but
growing interest among us in the survival movement.

Anyway, I know you are a big iphone fan, as am I, and I was wondering if
you had any favored iphone apps in relation to survival that you would
like to share with us. I didnt find any posts to this effect on your blog.

Please do not use any of my information whatsoever if you wind up
posting this.

Keep up the good fight and stay safe.

In liberty,


Hi J,
I find that the iphone already has an impressive number of features, Its quick, user friendly, and there’s a world of apps out there for it.
Before going into apps, what everyone with an iphone should do is get an Otter Box Defender case.
OtterBox Defender Case for iPhone 4 (Black, Retail Packaging, Fits AT&T iPhone) 
I can’t remember how many times my phone has fallen into pavement already, only to survive thanks to this wonderful system. The Otterbox ad claims you can run over it with a 4x4, I’m just happy it tolerates as much abuse as it has already. So first of all, make your iphone as impact resistant as possible. The case works with a belt holster that fits wide riggers/instructors belts, and can be adjusted to any angle. For walking I prefer vertical, and I just twist it to horizontal position when driving or seated. Cant recommend this product enough.
As for apps:
Not as useful in Argentina but a terrific application when moving around first world countries and needing to find an ATM, gas station, etc in a city you don’t know.
A basic survival, including edible plants.
It includes first aid and well known military manuals info, escape & evasions, etc
Flashlight for your Iphone 4
Neat app. As the gov. becomes desperate for more money, and social unrest becomes more common, you’ll definitely want this one.
Trapster alerts you of police speed traps, cameras and road hazards.
So as to know whats going on
This App became famous during the earthquake in Haiti, saving a man´s life.
Uses the GPS and sends a signal with your preset info such as gender, age, personal heath data in case you're in an accident, trapped or kidnapped.
Allows you to follow emergency frequencies of police, EMS, coast guard, fire departments and other emergency frequencies.
This is a ballistics trajectory calculator for long range shooting.

Looking forward to reading what you guys have in your phones.
Take care!


Monday, March 7, 2011

XS Big Dots

When I first learned about XS Big Dot sights, what I liked the most about them was the fact that they’re nothing new and fancy. Express sights have been used in dangerous game rifles for over a century. A “V” rear notch and front round bead, usually gold, was the best sight for hunting fast moving dangerous game. Their intended purpose isn’t fine accuracy, but quick shots at close range against tigers, elephants or charging water buffalos. Since bad guys can be considered pretty dangerous and fast, and the encounters occur at close range, in theory this all makes a lot of sense. There was a little inconvenience though. The tried and true Patridge type sight, with its square rear notch and front post has been ruling the market for almost as long in the handgun world. The reason for this is simple, the Patridge type sight is just more accurate. Yes you can shoot a popper at 100 yards with your XS Big Dots, but at the end of the day you just can’t squeeze as much accuracy out of the system. Yet self defense shooting is often fast, and you need sights that are made for quick target acquisition with an emphasis on the front sight. 

If you’re already good with your standard sights, making the change will be difficult, honestly, it may not make sense at all for you. In spite of these doubts I went for it and installed XS Big Dots on my Glock 31. The installation is very simple and it makes it easier knowing you can uninstall them just as quick. Small piece of advice: Before installing, mark with a pencil the exact center of preexisting front and rear sights. Do the same with the new XS Big Dots you’re about to install. This makes precise installation much easier and all you have to do is make the marks match. Keep in mind that a +-mm will ruin your accuracy.
After installation, I went to the range with a few boxes of ammo. The first couple hundred rounds where disastrous. Of course I hit the center at 7 yards, but head shots at 20 yards were a different story. What the heck had I done to my gun? I can see how someone that aren’t very picky may not be that concerned, but I had been shooting more than often lately and was actually getting pretty good at it, keeping shots in the same ragged hole at 7 yards in the center of the target.
“These are sights for fighting, not target shooting” I was told. Yes dude, but I kind of like hitting what I’m aiming at, and while at contact or very close range you don’t aim much, it doesn’t make much difference what sights you have, now does it? Also, I kept thinking of the hostage shots we practice sometimes, where you have an couple inches worth of bad guy to shot.
Little by little I got better with them. I’m not as good as I am with the standard Glock sights but I’m getting better. Last Friday I used them for some Action Shooting stages where you have to draw, run, reload, shoot as quick as possible, and I did feel the front XS big dot sight was acquired faster than regular ones.
The advantages of the XS Big Dots are fast target acquisition. The tritium inserts are very visible in low light situations. Another advantage is that they are made of steel, very solid, and the rear sight is square enough to be used in single handed reloading, something the fancy aerodynamic sights seem to forget and are not capable of doing. I never understood why manufacturers ignore this issue.
The disadvantage? Not as accurate as Patridge style sights when you need more precise, fine shooting. Which one is better for defense? Id say that all things considered, in most cases you’ll need that fast shot on target rather than a fine, highly accurate shot. That’s the logic I used myself when I chose to buy and install them.
Still experimenting with the XS Big Dots. Some people like them, others don’t, but I think they’re worth trying out to see if they work for your. After a few more months I’ll write a bit more about them, once I have more experience.
Take care folks and good luck!


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Interview with Ray Gano, Part II

This is part II of the interview with Ray Gano.
In case you didn’t cath the first one, this is part I
The conversation was very interesting, hope you enjoy it.