Civil Unrest / Natural Disaster Home Preps

by Gunguy

So all this civil unrest has finally made some people I know really want to get involved
with prepping. They have asked me how they should start out and what to keep in mind. In order to not overwhelm them I suggest the following as a minimum to keep in their homes. I recommend enough supplies to last them at least a week.

  1. Water – I store 3 gallons per person per day. Useful fact: Each 24 count case of 16.9 oz water bottles equals 3.16 Gallons.
  2. Food – Store what you normally eat and possibly some Mountain House freeze dried food for convenience. Make sure you try it before the emergency occurs to see if you like it.
  3. Portable gas stove to prep food and boil water. Get extra fuel. Open the window when cooking for air flow.
  4. Portable Toilet – 5 gallon bucket with seat lid. Toilet paper, baby Wipes, 13 Gallon trash bags for waste and any feminine products go inside the bucket when being stored.
  5. Big hand sanitizer to disinfect hands and save on water.
  6. Emergency AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio. Hand crank and solar powered radio.
  7. Headlamp flashlights and extra AAA batteries.
  8. Emergency lantern and DD batteries.
  9. External battery pack to keep phones/ipad charged for several days without power.
  10. Security Door brace to reinforce your door(s).
  11. Cash – small bills.
  12. Safety – Whatever weapons or harsh words you can legally use to defend yourself.
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A Good Video about Friction Fire

by Woodsbum

It is really hard to find a good video about friction fire. Most don’t really go too much into wood selection other than giving you a list of “wood combinations” that work together. This video shows you the finger nail test and explains how to check to see if the wood is actually dry enough to use.

Another couple of points about this video:
  • He uses the spindle to create a good socket in the hearth (fire board). Good technique that most “experts” online do not do.
  • He also checks the dust after he creates a socket. The color and consistency of the dust will help you figure out how well your spindle and hearth will work.
  • It isn’t too obvious in the video, but using the initial dust from creating your socket will help you get an ember quicker. I assume that he did that considering he piled all the remaining dust on top of his ember to keep it going.

Here is the video:

How to read the dust:
  • Light brown and lighter dusty dust means that you are going too slow or there is not enough friction. Try going faster and pressing down a bit more. It could also mean that your wood choice was too soft.
  • Light brown and fuzzy type dust means you are just shaving off pieces of the wood and not actually getting any heat. Go faster. The dust will get darker and be kind of fuzzy in appearance as you get closer to the right combo of technique and wood.
  • Dark brown almost black and fuzzy dust is what you are after. This is the perfect combo so look for embers burning in the dust.
  • Dark brown/black that are almost like little rolls of wood means that you are possibly going too fast and not pushing down hard enough. The wood dust is more like shavings that are not keeping enough heat to burn.
  • Dark brown/black that is almost a crusty or already burned looking means that you are going too fast or pressing down too hard. It could also mean that your wood choice was of a type wood that was too hard.
This is perfect dust:
Perfect dust from friction fire

Perfect dust from friction fire

There are many different charts out there on what type of wood works best. The big thing is for you to test out several combinations and get used to testing the wood’s density with your fingernail. It has to be able to dent it without a massive amount of pressure, but it should not break or crack under that pressure.

Keep trying  different wood types from your area to get that perfect combination for you. Technique plays an important factor as well. I can get the softer woods like pine and cottonwood going, but fail with maple and cedar. It really comes down to what works for you.

Good luck and have some fun!!!!

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One Second After – Book Review

by Gunguy

I read “One Second After” by William R. Forstchen a couple of months ago. I believe it is one the best post-apocalyptic novels ever written. Since reading the novel I have suggested the book to several people who have read it and enjoyed it immensely. If this novel doesn’t shake you to your emotional core you may be living in a state of blissful denial. The author tells the story of a group of people living in a small town in western North Carolina whose lives are forever altered one afternoon by three nuclear warhead explosions high above the atmosphere.

This isn’t your average post-nuclear war novel. The townspeople don’t even realize anything unusual has happened. Then they notice the power is out all over town. None of their cars will start, except some older vintage models from the pre-80s era. None of their electronic devices work. All communications have been cut off. The nuclear explosions have generated an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that has taken out the country’s power grid and fried every electronic component from coast to coast. The novel chronicles the lives of the townspeople as they slowly succumb to starvation, disease, and anarchy while trying to maintain some semblance of normal life. The author pulls no punches in describing the physical suffering and emotional trauma experienced by the townspeople as they battle to stay alive.

Why should this book bother anyone? Because every scientific fact upon which the story is based is accurate. The events depicted in “One Second After” are not only possible, they are highly probable given what the experts know about the crippling effects of a nuclear bomb generated EMP on the country’s infrastructure.  

One Second After
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The Real Deal Brazil Hat

by Woodsbum

Before I joined the BushcraftUSA forum, I really had never heard of a “RDB” or Real Deal Brazil hat. I had seen Zombieland and thought that the hat Woody Harrelson wore in the movie way AWESOME. I also like the one that the sniper in the movie The Losers wore. There was not much more thought than “that’s sweet” that really went into it. Then I saw where they came from and had to get one.

This is what they look like:

The Real Deal Brazil

The Real Deal Brazil

Here is the one from Zombieland:



Here is the one from The Losers:



The one that Cougar wears seems to be waterproofed or something. Maybe a bit of Sno-Seal melted into it? I think I might have to do a bit of playing around with one of mine.

Back to my post:

These things are made of the canvas tarps that the cargo trucks use to cover goods in Brazil. Literally, they are Brazilian truck tarp. There are patches on some. Others have no patches. Spots, stains, wear spots, bad fit of the crown to the brim, irregular sizing, the whole thing. This makes them absolutely AWESOME!!!!!

Here are some pictures of the two that I have and the one my son wears:

One of my RDB hats

One of my RDB hats

My other RDB hat

My other RDB hat

My son blowing charcloth embers to flame in the rain while wearing his RDB hat.

My son blowing charcloth embers to flame in the rain while wearing his RDB hat.

As you can see, they really are customizable and vary in their construction. All three hat bands were purchased from their website. I like the one in the top picture. It is a bunch of beer bottle tops and I did the whipping on the feathers that hang down the back. Those feathers are from my Patagonian conure. As for the brim, there is a wire that is sewn into the edge. You can use that to bend your brim into the shape you desire. The crown does not have any support, so any modifications to it must be done with a sewing machine and skill….  I have the sewing machine, but lack the other. That means that I have been stuck with a crooked crown on one since I got it. Everyone that sees it, however, just call it character.

These hats do have a lot of character. There is NO doubt about that. They are also really easy to modify and customize because of this. Anything that you might mess up or misalign somehow just adds to that character.

The second picture is the one that I did the most modifications to. What I did with that one was as follows:

  • Sewed in a terry cloth sweat band
  • Put in a couple grommets for a stampede string
  • Whipped the stampede string back into the paracord hat band
This is what I did on the sweat band:
Real Deal Brazil Sweat Band Mod

Real Deal Brazil Sweat Band Mod

This is what the stampede string and grommets look like:
Real Deal Brazil Stampede String Mod

Real Deal Brazil Stampede String Mod

Since the hat does not float (not even a little – probably could be used as a sea anchor) the string to keep it on your head is a great idea.

I have really let the pictures and easy customization of this hat speak for the product. These things really are one of the toughest hats I have ever worn. In the summer they do get fairly hot, but what I have found that works well is to get it wet and let the evaporation cool your head. It works quite well. For this winter I will be melting in some sort of wax based sealant into the one pictured above to help with rain. When I wear these in winter, they do get sopping wet after a day out in the woods. Having a lighter version of an oilskin Outback-ish hat for the winter months would be nice. Especially with the terry cloth band to keep the cold tarp off my forehead.

If you decide to actually order one of these, I suggest that you measure your head carefully and make notes for off sizes. Ask for either a smaller of one size or larger of another size to get a good fit. Another important fact about these hats is that they do not stretch. What you have is what you will always have with regard to sizing. Keep this in mind and think about sewing in your own sweat bands as needed to adjust the sizing.

Ultimately, this hat is an ugly duckling. You can shape it and create what you want out of it. Think of it as a blank “canvas.”    <get it? canvas?>

For a tough outdoors hat, I highly recommend and suggest you look at one for yourself.
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Thoughts on Ammunition and Resupply – SHTF Post

by Woodsbum

I was surfing around and ran into a few comments that got me a bit annoyed. Normally I don’t like to get into SHTF type discussions and really never wanted to get into one on this site. What I read just bothered me enough that I had to write something.

What could have got me all fired up? Well, it seems that many SHTF/prepper types seem to have these very odd ideas about ammunition for their firearms. Let me list their misguided belief of how ammunition and resupply would work in a disaster….

  1. Their oddball firearm that is all tricked out to shoot sub-MOA will be able to just miracle up their “special ammunition” that shoots best in their firearm. Of course nothing else but this one brand functions correctly, but this is their “battle rifle.”
  2. Their 1k-2k rounds of ammunition that they have put back is the perfect amount to cover all their “End of Days” scenarios.
  3. Because they have a “special need” to shoot .300 Blackout or 6.5 Grendel, they can easily get more ammunition later on….  Somehow….. And their way is the best because that is the caliber they chose.
  4. Reloaded ammunition opens you up for some sort of automatic jail time if you have to use your firearm to protect yourself.

Let’s face it…..   I don’t understand any of this because it deviates from common sense. Let me just clump some of these misguided thoughts together for easier responses.

Finding Ammo:
For those of you who have tried to find .22lr lately, it is not easy. Most places are sold out all the time and it sells off in minutes of the time that it is stocked. Think back to all the problems people were having around Christmas this year. There was nothing at all on the shelves, no matter what caliber. Even 12 gauge shells were a bit scarce at times. Now multiply this by 10, because ammunition will not be shipped before food or water. How can you expect to order your 75 gr Hornady TAP if you can’t even get in a bottle of water? This makes no sense.

Now add the vogue cartridges that some like to shoot. Try going into a WalMart and buying a box of 6.8 SPC. How do these guys expect to find any more, EVER? This is especially true if the shooter of such specialty rounds refuses to reload? I can answer this question….  They will have a very pretty club because it won’t go “boom” anymore.

Volume on Hand:

If something ever does happen, how does the magic number of 1k-2k of ammunition seem to crop up as THE amount to have on hand? I have always wondered this. When I was in the military the Marines all carried 6 30 round magazines. This gave them 180 rounds that were ready for use. They also would get a bandolier of boxed up ammunition on stripper clips. These hold 210 rounds or 7 mags if you count it that way. This gives the combatant 390 rounds of ammunition for each patrol, firefight, encounter, etc. So 2k of ammunition put back would give you about 5 good firefights worth of ammunition. Considering that I don’t plan on getting into any more firefights in my life, I would think that this amount was more than acceptable in most short term SHTF type scenarios.

BUT, here is the problem with all this logic: These guys seem to think that 5 firefights worth of ammunition is all that you will ever need for the duration of whatever is taking place. They have a “battle rifle” with the sole purpose of tactical response of some sort. They take all their training classes where they shoot off around 800 rounds per class. These guys are all suited up and ready for their SHTF, EOLAWKI, Hellfire and Brimstone, Life Sucks type scenarios. If this were all true and they would never get resupplied how does 5 firefights worth of ammunition add up to a lifetime of potential (or imagined) Mad Max type living?

Are they planning on getting more when Cheaperthandirt is back up and running?

I think that they really need to either reevaluate their ideas on how much fighting they want to do or think more about how much ammunition they will need to be a part of their apocalypse fantasy.

Reloading Defense Rounds Will Get You Jail Time:
Huh? I have heard this several times on forums. According to their claims, anyone that reloads their ammunition will be arrested for premeditated murder if they use self defense hand loads to defend themselves. I just did several Google searches for this claim. Every article I read did not say that the whole case was hinged upon the fact that they reloaded their own ammunition. Some overzealous prosecutors back East did try and increase the charges because of this fact, but other forensic evidence did not support the defendant’s version of events in every current case that I saw. Of course I am not a lawyer, but keeping the lot number of the ammunition labeled on the magazine to protect yourself just seems silly. Couple that with the fact that I cannot find any evidence that this actually is an issue. All in all, I must discount this whole idea unless someone can provide me with specifics that prove otherwise.

My Final Thoughts:
My thoughts on this whole conversation about ammunition stock and resupply is simple. Keep as much ammunition available as you need to. If you are in an urban environment and plan on getting into massive firefights with your fellow survivors, then you better keep more than 5 firefights worth of supply. For those that are more rural and plan on “heading to the hills” might want to think about a small supply. Either way, stock what you think you will need.

Get some reloading equipment and components. By saving brass, having reloading equipment and components on hand, and knowing how to use this equipment, you have increased your ammunition supply dramatically. Not only can you collect your own brass, but you can collect other people’s as well. Every time I go shooting in the hills, I bring back several hundred 9mm and .223 brass. I seriously doubt it would be much different in a SHTF type scenario. After everyone is done firing at each other, they won’t police up their brass. It will be literally laying around. Just look at pictures of war torn countries. Sites of previous firefights and battles have massive amounts of brass and discarded ammunition laying around.

Make sure your firearms are NATO or Soviet ammunition compatible. It wouldn’t really hurt to have both types of weaponry or both uppers for your AR. This way you can resupply any time that you find surplus military gear laying around. Again, look at war torn countries. Kids run around playing with mortars and RPG’s…… This gives you a way to resupply.

Also, ensure your weapons are able to fire any type of ammunition effectively. Don’t spend thousands on an AR that can only fire specific brands of ammunition. My suggestion is to get some cheap Wolf ammo (steel case) and blow out the chambers a bit to give some leeway in the ammunition you can fire. Not all brands are made within a tight tolerance. It also will make it easier when you reload so that you don’t have to be as anal about the final tolerances yourself.

The long and short of it is this: Do what you want, but use some common sense. Even those that lived through urban survival situations, civil war, invasions, and bad sitcoms tell you how hard it is to get anything special and out of the ordinary. What you have when the bad situation starts is what you will have throughout the duration. Don’t make it even harder on yourself by being “special.” As my friend Gunguy says, “be the Grey Man.”

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