Building a Poncho Hooch

I was having a beer the other day with a prepper buddy and the conversation turned to what types of shelter are best to carry in a bug out bag… and that’s when the discussion turned to the poncho hooch also known as the poncho shelter.  The poncho hooch is basically a tarp shelter made from a poncho, and a little cordage.  Building a poncho hooch is easy so let’s look at a few alternatives: (more…)

Top 10 Tips to Build Resilience to Stress

The military has put a great deal of effort recently to helping service members build resilience because increased resilience or ‘resistance to stress’  makes it much easier for a person to ‘continue their mission’ or keep taking care of their family when danger, fear and discomfort intrude.  Resilience is important to preparedness as well.  Here are Prepography‘s Top 10 Tips to Build Resilience to Stress:

  1. Focus on Your Goal or Mission:  By keeping the end in mind you can work through the adversities necessary to get there.
  1. Develop a Community of Support:  A community that you are comfortable asking for help but often don’t have to ask.
  1. Remain Optimistic:  No matter how bad things get…know that they will get better.  General Colin Powell said that “optimism is a force multiplier.”
  1. Anticipate Change:  By building a mental model that anticipates change and potential outcomes you will be able to better react when faced with change.
  1. Be Proactive:  The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared” for good reasons.  By anticipating future needs and taking steps now to make life easier then you will smooth the transition and better handle change. (more…)

Dakota Fire Pit Infographic

Here’s something that doesn’t weigh a thing to add to your Get Home Bag or Bug Out Bag… a little knowledge about how to build a Dakota Fire Pit.  While a fireless camp is the least likely to be observed there may be times when a fire is absolutely necessary…water purification by boiling (when you have no other methods available)  or to avoid hypothermia are two possibilities that come to mind.  Such situations call for a Dakota Fire Pit also known as the Dakota Fire Hole… the next most clandestine camp to a fireless camp.

Dakota Fire Hole Infographic

Dakota fire hole (Figure VI-15). Use the Dakota fire hole for high winds or evasion situations

Essentially the Dakota Fire Pit is a fire pit with a separate tunnel built to supply airflow directly to the fuel.  By keeping the fire below ground you reduce the light signature of the fire significantly and are able to get by with a much smaller fire than you would need above ground to accomplish the same cooking tasks.

Here are some additional hints to make your Dakota Fire Hole easier to build and less likely to be seen: (more…)

Today’s Top 10 It’s Not This It’s That for Preppers

Sometimes preparedness is about seeing the potential alternate uses of everyday items, sometimes preparedness is about keeping the ‘end’ in mind while dealing with the ‘ways’ and the ‘means.’  These were the inspirations for this periodic column on Prepography called… It’s Not This It’s That (INTIT):

  1. It’s not a salt lick for livestock, it’s brining material for salting that livestock’s meat
  2. It’s not 550 cord it’s a solar clothes dryer
  3. It’s not a pile of old tires…it’s an Earthship (or maybe just an Earthboat) waiting to be built (thanks to PennyPincher for the tip)
  4. It’s not a flower garden…it’s a survival garden just waiting to have the flowers replaced with beautiful vegetables
  5. It’s not a dog…it’s an early warning system…or if it’s like mine it’s a ‘come and get my master we live over here’ system (more…)

Shadow Globalization – Bazaars of Violence

Andrew’s Note: Today we return to our crystal ball…or at least the closest thing that the Department of Defense (DOD) has to it…namely the Joint Operating Environment (JOE) 2010. The JOE is the DOD’s keystone document used to project the world in which it will operate up to 25 years into the future.  As I’ve mentioned previously, it’s a sobering read for the prepper and likely to turn the non-prepper into one.  The following is excerpted from PART IV: THE IMPLICATIONS FOR THE JOINT FORCE, War in the 21st Century.  Links have been inserted by me to provide additional reading for context.  Read on to learn what the Department of Defense thinks about Shadow Globalization: “Bazaars of Violence”:

Shadow Globalization: “Bazaars of Violence”

The globalization of trade, finance, and human travel across international boundaries in the commercial world has an analogous dark side as well.  Criminal and terrorist networks are intermingling to construct their own “shadow globalization,” building micro markets, and trade and financial networks that will enable them to coordinate nefarious activities on a global scale. The ubiquity and ease of access to these markets outside of legal structures attract shadow financing from a much larger pool, irrespective of geography.  In these markets, rates of innovation in tactics, capabilities, and information sharing will accelerate and will enable virtual organizational structures that quickly coalesce, plan, attack, and dissolve.  As they grow, these markets will allow adversaries to generate attacks at a higher level of rapidity and sophistication beyond law enforcement’s capability to interdict. For example, we have seen Somali pirates hiring indigenous spotters to identify ships leaving foreign harbors as prime targets for hijackings. We should expect shadow globalization to encourage this outsourcing of criminality to interface increasingly with insurgencies, such that actors in local conflicts will impact on a global scale, with perhaps hundreds of groups and thousands of participants.

The line between insurgency and organized crime will likely continue to blur. This convergence can already be seen in the connections between the FARC and cocaine trafficking, MEND and stolen oil, and the Taliban and opium production. This convergence means that funding for violent conflicts will interplay and abet the growth of global gray and black markets. The current size of these markets is already $2-3 trillion and is growing faster than legal commercial trade; it has the potential to equal a third of global GDP by 2020.    (more…)

A Brief Introduction to EMP

Prepography reader BlueShark recently wrote me to ask what an EMP is.  What follows is a very brief introduction to EMP and here’s a hint…it’s not the name of the latest rap star to make it big.

Simply put an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is an immense charge of electricity created by a nuclear detonation exploding just above the earth’s atmosphere.  This electrical pulse will have an effect similar to a lightning strike on all electronics within a line of sight (LOS) that are not specifically shielded from EMP.  A single weapon high detonated high enough above the Earth would have LOS to most of the continental U.S. and two weapons launchable from container ships off our shores  (Atlantic & Pacific) could easily create an EMP big enough to cover the continental U.S. as well as sizable portions of Canada and Mexico.  Think of an EMP as a single event that could send the entire U.S. over a hundred years into our past…no electricity (except batteries), no electronics, no modern communications, possibly (almost) no motorized transportation.

Things to know about an EMP: (more…)

How to Field Strip A MRE (Meal Ready To Eat)

Many survivalists, hunters, preppers and outdoor enthusiasts buy commercial Meals, Ready to Eat (MRE’s).  These commercial MRE’s are very similar to the military MRE’s that the Department of Defense (DOD) provides to our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines for field use (for some reason the DOD doesn’t allow the manufacturers to sell the same meals to the public).  In this short article we’ll discuss what an MRE is and an easy way to cut down on the size and weight of MRE’s…or as we call it in the military…how to field strip a MRE.

What is an MRE:

The MRE has been the primary field ration of our troops since the early 1980’s.  It’s a self contained, calorie dense (over 1,200 calories), shelf stable (up to five years under optimal conditions) meal designed to keep you fueled during labor intensive activities.  While it’s designed as ‘a’ meal I found that even during the toughest field exercises it was just too much food/calories to be consumed as ‘a’ meal.  Depending on the nature of the exercise and work involved I usually carried and ate 1-2 MRE’s per day.  I’ll leave the discussion of the culinary ‘delights’ of the MRE for another time but you should know that these meals aren’t just heavy, they’re also bulky.

Note:  The MRE is heavy by backpacking food standards not in relation to the MRE’s predecessor the C Ration. (more…)

Today’s Top 10 It’s Not This It’s That for Preppers

Sometimes preparedness is about seeing the potential alternate uses of everyday items, sometimes preparedness is about keeping the ‘end’ in mind while dealing with the ‘ways’ and the ‘means.’  These were the inspirations for a new periodic column here on Prepography called… It’s Not This It’s That (INTIT):

  1. It’s not your old army pistol belt with attached molle pouches…it’s your very own batman utility belt
  2. It’s not a gallon of unscented bleach it’s up to 3,000 gallons of potable water
  3. It’s not a .22 long rifle shell that cost you 3.9 cents it’s 1.318 lbs (583 calories, 111.46 grams of protein) of cottontail rabbit 
  4. That multi-pound box or bag of salt isn’t food seasoning it’s a food preservative
  5. It’s not an out of date phone book for downtown Possom Trot, it’s 500 pages of outhouse cleanliness (more…)

Top 10 Preparedness Uses of Diatomaceous Earth

What is Diatomaceous Earth:

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is the fossilized remains of waterborne diatoms and algae.  DE is mined product…wonder if the job description is “fossil miner?”  DE has the consistency of and looks like an off-white version of baby or talcum powder.  DE is non-toxic and is sold in both food and non-food grades (see warning below about pool filter DE).  While DE is mammal safe (even to eat if food grade) wear a mask while handling it as you wouldn’t want DE to get into your lungs.  WARNING:  Don’t use DE sold as pool filter media for any other purpose as the silica count is too high and breathing this DE in particular could create health issues).

DE’s primary use is for organic, non-toxic pest control.  I discovered DE years ago as a heaven sent solution to keep my wife happy…you see she went back and forth on whether she hated the ants invading our house or the poisons I sprayed to keep the ants out more.  The product works by scratching up the exoskeleton of insects so that they dehydrate and die.  Here are the Top 10 ways to use (food grade and only food grade) DE:

  1. Grain Storage:  Food grade DE has been used for centuries to keep stored grain pest free.  According to Diatomite Canada the proper mix is 1 cup of food grade DE to 50 lbs of grain.  It can even be ground with the grain into meal or flour and you’ll never notice it in the final product (bread, muffins, cereal, etc.).
  1. Construction:  Any time I build a wall I spread a good amount of DE along the 2×4 base before closing up the drywall for permanent, non-toxic pest control.  If I have to open up a wall or repair drywall I dump in a few scoops as well.  We’re fortunate that we’ve never had a cockroach infestation…and I intend to keep it that way.
  2. Ant Barrier:  My favorite use is as an ant barrier because it keeps my wife happy…and if the wife is happy, everybody’s happy.  Simply sprinkle your DE around the foundation where you see the ants trooping in and your ant problems are over.  You will need to refresh the DE periodically…I just wait until I see the little ant scouts inside the house again.
  3. Gardening:  Keep pests away from your garden plants.  You can dust your garden plants and spread food grade DE around the plant bases to keep bugs and slugs off. (more…)

How Much Water Should I Store?

Why Should I Store Water:

We all know that there is no element more important to human life than water.  Fortunately, most of us enjoy an abundance of extremely cheap, potable water that ‘magically’ flows into our house from ‘elsewhere.’  Unfortunately, the very ease with which we access potable water day-to-day blinds us to our need to store water just in case.  Here are just of few of the reasons to store water in your home:

  1. Weather can interrupt your access to your water supply.  Municipal sources rely on water mains that frequently break during weather extremes (both hot, dry weather and extended cold spells).  A drought that lasts long enough or even overuse can dry out the longest river, largest reservoir, or biggest aquifer.
  2. Pollutants can enter the water distribution system.  “Boil order” are two words that you want to hear before breakfast if your neighborhood is affected.  Boil orders are usually related to a water main break.  Surface water sources like rivers and reservoirs are vulnerable to accidental pollutants…think of the affects of a tanker trailer of benzene going over a bridge just upstream from your municipal water intake or a train derailment…those train tracks are conveniently located along many of our major waterways.  Water treatment plants can work magic but some pollutants are surely beyond their capabilities.  Floods are especially damaging to surface and subsurface (subsurface open to the surface… like wells) as floods pick up and disperse pollutants.
  3. Intentional tampering or terrorism.  Unlike what you see on television and in the movies our surface water sources are fairly safe due to modern treatment methods and the ‘solution to pollution being dilution.’  It would likely take truckloads or a trainload of poison to become an effective terror attack at the source waters but lesser amounts it could potentially shut down a municipal water system…and shutting down the system is the most likely affect.  However, terrorism targeting a water system from within the treatment facility or ‘downstream’ is certainly a possibility.
  1. A handy supply of water is helpful and saves time if you are forced to bug-out.  Just make sure to store at least some of your water in containers that match your bug-out carrying capability (truck, car, bike, public transportation, on foot, etc.)

How Much Water Should I Store: (more…)

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