Sunday, August 30, 2015

Thoughts on EDC Knives

Hi Ferfal.
I have been a long time reader of your blog now & very much enjoy the information you put out & sensible discussion you promote.
All those sensible topics aside....lets talk knives.
I am emailing to let you know that Heinne Haynes in the UK is offering the recon 1 bowie, part serrated for £50. I purchased one very recently as I was intending to get a voyager but at the current price it meant I got a sabre grind bowie, triad lock & all G10 handle scales with no extra liners for a few pounds more than a large voyager.
I saw recently you are looking at a tanto. If you dont take the jump this may be of interest to you.
I am very happy with the Recon 1. Its very light for its size & though serrations were something I moved on from with knives years ago these came super sharp & have eaten every material I have needed them too as it has been the gardening/BBQ knife for the last month.
I have also finally bit the bullet & bought a XL vaquero as the recon impressed me so much & the steel change Cold Steel have adopted makes me think the affordable AUS8 models will no longer be produced. It will be a collectors piece...unless I am travelling certain places. :-)
Though I sort of agree on your argument on the strength on the sabre grind vs the FF grind, I think in real world terms the reason Full flat has come back to the fore is that the popularity of knives driven by the USA means that lots are being used as they are carried but by individuals who do not actually need a knife for work. The only job these knives end up doing is food prep & so buyers look for a knife that they feel excels in that area.
I think its interesting that the the tanto style kershaw is the knife whose tip broke but you still have faith in it & believe another tanto will be better. It might. But it might be better to admit that no folding knife is really suited for prying & get a prybar tool for the keys instead.
Personally I like ffg. I have carried SAKs since I was 11 & have never snapped a tip as I used the main screwdriver if I needed to lever something.
In recent years the best knfe purchases other than SAKs I have made have been an Fallkniven F1 clone (admittedly 5mm thick) & a Spyderco resilience.
The latter is the travel knife (as well as a SAK obviously) that has travelled with me both locally & internationally for nearly 5 years. I have never found the FFG to be a problem. The Resilience has been camping, climbing, worn for water sports & made a thousand sandwiches. Its cut fish to wood to plastic even copper wire. It has & will drill a hole in things. I expect a point to do that. I do not expect it to jimmy a locked door open. :-)
Whatever you purchase or have purchased, I will look forward to your review & discussion about it.
I also wanted to add that your coverage of merino wool has followed mine own adoption of it in recent years, mainly because the budget supermarkets in Europe have made it affordable for the ordinary joe who isnt an adventure sports expert.
Have you tried quick wicking tshirts for sports & bamboo tshirts for travel? The latter, like merino, has such slick fibres that bacteria cannot cling so they do not smell after several days of wearing. They do not dry ultra fast but they still dry quickly when wet compare to cotton. They are also lighter.
Please keep writing.
Hello Matt, thanks for your comments and suggestions.
The Recon 1 is a pretty solid knife. Light and strong with a well-designed blade and handle. Amazon has it for a very good price.

Cold Steel Recon 1 Tactical Knife with G-10 Handle Clip Point and Black Blade

Cold Steel Recon 1 Tactical Knife with G-10 Handle Clip Point and Black Blade $51.93

The Kershaw Lifter tanto tip broke because it’s a pretty steep, fragile tip design. Great for penetration and detail cuts, but more fragile given the angle of that particular blade design. Cold Steel tantos are less steep, shorter and stronger.
Clip points are fine too, I do like them a lot and as you know I’m a big fan of the Vaquero design, which has a pretty thin Nogales-style tip.
Regarding clip points vs tantos, just check this video from Cold Steel themselves. If you look closely, see how in 00:10 the tip of the blade if broken, probably from when wacking the spine and the tip hits the table.

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Trying Different Canned Meats (some expired)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Re: Oregon, Idaho, Washington and California: Over a million Acres burned

Hi Fernando. The reason for these massive fires is three fold. The first reason has to do with the US Federal government's policy of fire suppression in our back country which has allowed the vegetation to grow in an unnatural and unhealthy thick way. This has been going on for decades. The second reason is due to the precipitation becoming less in the Western US throughout the 20th century which has been on going into the 21st century. This includes both the summer and winter precipitation. However the winter precipitation is the most important precipitation for the forested mountains and plateaus where the majority of these massive fires are occurring. The snow pack has become less and less every passing decade. The third reason is due to the ever increasing amount of irresponsible people that are using these lands. They are not making sure their camp fires are dead out before leaving camp or they are intentionally setting them for various reasons.
This year Arizona has not had any major fires and here is the reason for that. For about the past 8 months, the Federal government has been conducting massive amounts of controlled burns throughout the state. Basically they are just ground fires that are set in a forested area that consumes most of the small vegetation and blackens the tree trunks. They have also conducted some of these types of burns in our desert and grassland areas as well to remove some of the vegetation. The idea behind these controlled burns is to mimic nature's lightning set fires in order to remove the vegetation that fuels these massive fires. Prior to this year, controlled burns were practiced in only a handful of Arizona's back country on a regular basis. Those areas had only small fires occur there. While the areas with little to no controlled burns, which was the majority of Arizona's back country, had some of the worst fires occur. Hopefully, the Federal government will start conducting controlled burns in these other states where the fires are burning this year.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Nightmare Monday as Stocks Plunge around the World

Today we’ve seen some of the worst decline in years as people lose faith in the market and rush to sell, hammering major indexes, with the S&P 500 losing nearly 6 percent last week, it’s worst weekly slump since 2011. The Dow took a big hit, at times down 1,000 points.

This has been mostly fueled by the crisis in China, with the economy slowing down globally but most of all China’s inability to find ways to regain people’s trust in their market.
The U.S. Dollar has lost ground to the Euro and chances of the Fed increasing interest rates are pretty low. Although oil has reached record lows under $40, gold and silver have gone up, the typical shelter during times of trouble.

So how bad is it really? It’s bad, but not terrible. You could even say it was a good time to buy, “"blood in the streets" type of situation. The market is in a way adjusting after a perhaps unreasonably high period and on the long run this adjustment may bring parameters back to reality rather than keep inflating the bubble until it pops. People sometimes forget that its both a bull and bear market.

It is important to keep calm, diversify assets so as to compensate any shift of power, and keep an eye both on the Chinese stock and the US economic growth. Any red flags you should notice, that’s the direction where you’ll see them pop up first.

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Reply: Oregon, Idaho, Washington and California: Over a million Acres burned

Fernando, I looked at numerous areas in California, Nevada, Oregon, and Idaho for a rural homestead. With the exception of some desert areas in NV, nearly all of the areas I looked at have burned to some extent in the past few years.
IMO it is unwise to think that one is safe from crime in a rural area, but one only has one LONG route of escape in case of fire. In the Sprague River/Moccasin Hill fire last year in Oregon, “survivalists” who had chosen the area for its remoteness found their escape route blocked by fire and had to submerge themselves in ponds so they wouldn’t burn to death.
There was a murder/suicide incident in Montana earlier this year where a paranoid “survivalist” killed his family and set his cabin on fire before shooting himself. He lived at the end of a long, rutted dirt road that took 45 min to travel via 4×4 vehicle, and the cops and firetrucks had an awful time trying to get to his cabin.
That road was the only way in or out of his homestead, which was located deep in a forest. He had called a friend and said that he would kill himself, or else nobody might have ever found him out there. Sometimes I wonder what people are thinking to go live in such remote areas.
Before Collapse
Here’s something from a bit further North, in Canada… basically the fires moved so quickly, people didn’t even have time to gather their things, they just had to literally run. That makes an argument for the importance of physical fitness as well!

Thank you folks for the interesting comments. I sure do agree. I believe many people practice selective risk assessment, simply to justify their personal preferences regarding where they live. They focus on the aspects they would hope such a choice would present an advantage while completely overlooking the disadvantages of living in such places, some of which are far more likely than the extremely unlikely events they are theoretically preparing for.

Pocket EDC Update for August 2015

Monday, August 17, 2015

Oregon, Idaho, Washington and California: Over a million Acres burned

Wildfires have devastated hundreds of thousands of acres across the Northwest.
One of the States that was hit the hardest was Idaho with over a quarter million acres. In the southeast corner of the state, the fire has razed more than 265,000 acres in Owyhee County. In northwest Idaho, the fire affected around 21,000 acres including the Old Greer, Kamiah Gulch, Lawyer 6 and Adams Grade. Nearly 53,000 acres burning in Clearwater Complex. A 70 year old woman died in Kamiah when escaping the flames. Mandatory Evacuations and closures are in place.
The high temperatures combined with the draught has become a cocktail for disaster regarding wildfires.
It is worth noticing that many of these areas are often specifically selected by preppers and survivalists who believe that seclusion provides a greater degree of safety and is a strategically wise decision.
Important Lessons that must be learned
1) I’ve said it before many times and I’ve written about it in my second book, “Bugging Out & Relocating”: You can’t live in your Bug Out Location. The minute you live there it is no longer an alternative place of residence for when your main place of residence is compromised because such a place just became just that when you moved to live there. The “We moved to out BOL” mentality is critically flawed and it is in moments like these when it becomes obvious why such an attitude can be dangerous. Thinking you already live in an alternative place often means little or no thought is given to a true BOL and Bug Out plan.
2) Selective risk assessment. It often happens that people only focus on the things they do enjoy and overlook the ones they would notice if they were capable of a more objective analysis. Thinking that living away from cities means you’re safe from all dangers of society while overlooking more likely threats such as these means that risk threat analysis wasn’t very accurate or objective. Floods, storms, fires, earthquakes, draughts, all potential emergencies must be taken into account and estimated how likely they are of happening again.
3) If you must go, go.
Fire can move at incredibly fast speeds due to wind. Personal possessions sure aren’t worth dying for. If mandatory evacuations are in place its probably because of a good reason. Don’t hesitate or overestimate your capacity of fighting a fire and find safe shelter. Make sure you have a bug out plan in place, with the needed Go bags and a strategy around which the entire family is organized.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

An Economic Collapse: What does it mean & what's it really like?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Preparing for El Niño: 5 Tips

All signs indicate that this will be a strong El Niño winter in the west coast. Powerful storms and strong winds are very much guaranteed, so what can you do to prepare?
How to prepare for a destructive El Niño winter
A little preparation can go a long way into mitigating any damage and some common sense during the storm will improve your odds greatly.
1)Before the storm, check with your insurance company to verify that you have the proper amount of coverage for floods.
2)Clear drains and gutters and remove any trash or other loose items that could be blown away by the wind or that could end up blocking the drains.
3)Stock up on food, prescription medications and water. Keep your kits in order in case you have to evacuate. Have both a proper Bug Out Bag (BOB) and a VIP bag for your very important papers. It’s a good idea to keep these in a ziplock bag to keep them dry. Also, have a backup copy in a removable thumbs drive.
4)Take lots of photos and make a video of your possessions for insurance purposes. It’s a good idea to film the exterior of your home before the storm in case you need to make a claim afterwards.
5)During a flood, avoid walking through flooded areas and make sure you stay away from downed power lines. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you off your feet and a car can be carried away by just 2 feet of water.
Carlos Galiano señala  en dirección de su casa mientras vadea a través de un área inundada en Olivera Provincia de Buenos Aires. (Natacha Pisarenko / AP)
Argentina is also suffering one of the worst floods in recent years. Thousands have lost absolutely everything. Some of the top donations requested? Clothes, rain boots, diapers, shelf stable food and tools.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Cecil the Lion, Planned Parenthood and Donald Trump

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

China Devalues Yuan, Global Stocks Fall

As China drops its currency 3.5% in two days the US dollar goes up, making American exports more expensive and of course, Chinese exports cheaper.
Global Stocks Fall Further After China Devalues Yuan
It also means that all those deals China made with countries around the world, at least those in which China agreed to trade on Yuans, just got 3.5% cheaper for China.
Currencies close to Asian markets dropped in price, meanwhile the Euro rose 1.4% against the USD. Gold and Silver just went up as well.
What’s the biggest concern? That we could see a “currency war”, in which countries are forced to drop the value of their currency to keep exports more competitive. In the case of USA, the likely outcome will be that more USD will be pumped into the market, creating inflation which will drop the value of the US to more competitive levels against the Yuan. While this would work in terms of US exports, it will also mean that a) there will be more inflation within America, hitting poor people hardest b) anything not made in China imported to America will probably be more expensive c) inflation combined with higher import prices may affect standards of living for a sector of the population.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

French Couple Desert Death: Main causes of death in National Parks

Many years ago while backpacking in Patagonia I got to see first-hand how dangerous inexperience can be on the trail. I came across two girls that had picked a backpack for the first time with not much of an idea of what to do. They started waving at me as soon as they saw me and when I approached them they practically begged me for a sip of water. I gave them some water to drink and told them where to find a small stream nearby. After asking they told me it was their first time out and they had ran out of water hours ago. They had only two small water bottles and a friend had loaned them a Swiss army knife... I just wondered what the heck was it that they had in their backpacks, which by the way were too big for their small frames.
The recent tragic incident in which a French couple died and their 9 year old son managed to survive should serve as a reminder of the potential risks when hiking unknown terrain. Ornella Steiner, 51, and David Steiner, 42, of Bourgogne, France, were found dead last week off a hiking trail in White Sands National Monument, a vast and treeless desert park about 226 miles from Albuquerque. Their son was found dehydrated, but alive beside his father's body. Heat exposure seems to have killed both parents. Temperatures had reached 100 degrees that day and there’s no shade to be found . The parents had given their son twice the ration of water they drank themselves. This act no doubt saved the child’s live. The couple had taken only two 20-ounce bottles of water, while park authorities advice hikers to carry 1 gallon (128 ounces) of water per person.
French couple who died in desert gave son extra water, sheriff said
What kills people the most in parks?
It was interesting to read some of the main causes of death in national parks. The number one killer is the same number one killer of children in cities and suburbs: water. Of the 1,025 fatalities in national parks from a variety of causes between 2007 and 2013, drowning deaths are the most common ones with 365 deaths. Another common killer in urban areas follows, car crashes with 210. The third leading cause of deaths during that time frame were falls, numbering 178.
So remember, when going out on your first adventures its much safer to do them close to home at first and in safe, well-marked trails, avoiding jungle, deserts, extreme cold and high altitude mountains until you have more experience. Make sure you stick to the trail! And don’t forget, navigation (so as to not get lost), communications (so as to get help) and water are some of the essential items to have.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Mass starvation expected in Venezuela

Members of national guard patrol a supermarket in Caracas

What else can you expect from dictator Nicolas Maduro?
Venezuela is running out of food and the government of Nicolas Maduro is running out of excuses. The article linked below calls Venezuela a “socialist” government. Let me tell you one thing about “socialism” in places like Venezuela and Argentina.
Mass starvation expected in Venezuela after socialist government nationalizes food distribution system

There’s nothing “socialist” about them. Finland is socialist. You may like it or not, but that’s socialism. What’s happening in places like Argentina, Venezuela and other Latin American countries isn’t socialism, its populist authoritarianism and dictatorships.
Argentina is the perfect example of such nonsense with Cristina and Nestor Kirchner, who became governor of Santa Cruz province before becoming president not thanks to the fortune amassed by socialist activism, but by the fortune amassed foreclosing people’s homes for banks. These are not tree-hugging liberals. These are blood thirsty bankers that only got into politics to steal even more effectively.
Venezuela has no democratic government, socialist or otherwise. It has an inept dictatorship that can’t even run the most basic aspects of a country such as keeping shelves stocked with food and toilet paper. Because they are dictators, they are used to forcing people into accepting their views, their opinions and they are so blinded they believe they can force reality itself to change by force. They think that simply forcing people to deny the food shortages it will make them go away. That is the level of stupidity and ineptitude of Dictator Nicolas Maduro.
Little nugget of wisdom:
"The farther you get from the capital, the worse the economic situation is."
This is something I’ve often made reference to when talking about the cell-like behavior of a collapsed country when it tries to keep its Capital afloat.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Survival Clothes: SmartWool

I’ve posted before about my quest to find the complete, ideal clothes setup from a modern survivalist perspective. By this I mean, practical, functional, even tactical, without being “tacticool”. I don’t need digicam. I don’t need to look like a deer hunter. I need subdued colors, in good, functional fabrics. This logic should be applied to all clothes, from the socks you wear everyday to the jacket you grab before going through the door for a night out in town with friends. That’s what we’ll be on your back when you need it, when disaster strikes without warning. That’s your real survival clothes.
This is how I ended up interested in Merino wool, a natural fabric that is softer than ordinary wool, wicks moisture away from your body, keeps you both warm and fresh and has natural odor resistance even if wearing the same clothes for a few days. It is also a better option in terms of fire resistance than synthetics.

I tried Icebreaker t-shirts and I do like them. I will say they are a bit itchy, especially when wearing it at first. As minutes go by you notice it less but some people may be more sensitive than others. If that’s the case there’s still hope: Smartwool. Smartwool is merino with a special treatment that makes it less itchy while retaining the desired properties. How well does it work? Pretty good actually. Better than expected. It’s not cotton. There’s just a bit, a tad of itchiness at first, but its almost like cotton and it is better in the itchy department than Icebreaker.

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Decoy and Concealable Safes?

Hello Ferfal,
I remember some time ago, either in a post here or in your first book
(which I highly recommend, by the way), you mention having two safes:
one large dummy safe for "show", and one small concealable safe to
hold all your real items of value. Do you know any reliable
manufacturers for such a concealable safe? Also, related and in
addition to this, I am seeking a small handgun safe. Any
recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
Hello Curtis,
Yes, the basic idea is that you would have a decoy safe, maybe a cheaper one in a closet, and second one which should be well hidden.
There’s basically two reasons behind this logic. First, if someone manages to break into your house and gets to the safe, there’s a good chance they’ll either bust it open or steal it entirely. I know of small safes that have been hammered out of walls and stolen entirely, or big, larger ones that left owners wondering how the heck did they take that huge, heavy thing. Well, criminals are capable of amazing things. Enough leverage, enough guys pulling, powertools and a truck means anything that was once installed in your house can be uninstalled again along with whatever happens to be inside. It’s better if they just get in, find a safe and just take that. Few criminals will spend time looking for a second safe and even if they do a well hidden one shouldn’t be easy to find.
The second important reason to have a decoy safe is something many learned in Argentina the hard way: The fastest way to crack a safe is putting a gun to the owner’s head… or his children. Now, if you combine this with a very unstable financial situation in which cash and other valuables are kept at home, losing all your wealth may not be as bad as getting shot, but it is still a disaster. A second, well hidden safe means you can open your decoy one and have contents that would leave a criminal happy (more decoys, cheap gold plated jewelry, use your imagination) while saving the bulk of your savings.
Sentry Safe SFW205GRC Electronic Water-Resistant Fire-Safe, 2.05 ft3, 19 3/10 x 19 3/8 x 23 7/8, Black (SENSFW205GRC)
As for specific safes, the cheap Chinese safes may make good decoys but they are junk, easily opened. Get a good, fireproof and waterproof safe for you real one. A good way to go about it is buying a good solid safe, where you keep your important documents (which criminals wont be interested in during a home invasion), but only decoy valuables and little cash while keeping the bulk of your money and precious metals in a well concealed floor safe.
SentrySafe 7250 Waterproof Floor Safe, 540 Cubic Inches, Gray
Regarding handgun safes, this one is fast to access, has very good reviews and its selling for a reasonable price.

Take care, good luck and remember: This is just part of the plan. Loose lips sink ships so make sure no one knows about that car, boat, house you just sold, big bonus or commission. Another common occurrence in Argentina is that kidnappers and home invaders knew EXACTLY how much cash they were supposed to find and would not leave the house without it!
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.