Friday, 12 October 2018

Is the Uk Government Sabotaging Brexit

Sometimes we cant see the wood for the trees, we are told what people want us to know and sometimes it is worded in such a way that what is said can change our views of a given subject.

For some time now I have been thinking that the UK government and those involved in thrashing out some kind of deal with the EU as we leave the EU havnt been doing as much as they could, then earlier this week or the end of last week I came across a post in a Facebook group that I am part of. This post came from Twitter and was talking about some of the things that the UK government has been doing to make leaving the EU without any deals in place more and more likely.

It felt as though all the bits of thoughts and ideas I had in my head about the Brexit negotiations had all moved into place. Below is a link to the original post and tweet, as well as the original tweet in audio format and video so you can hear what was said as well as some of my views on the situation




Friday, 5 October 2018

4 Ways to Purify Water


Whether you have gone out for a good hike in the mountains, on a camping trip or have had to bug out during a SHTF situation, one key skill everyone should know is how to purify water.

Remember the Rule of 3's? You can only live 3 days without water, with this in mind, what ever your reason for taking to the hills, you should always know where you can get water and how to clean it.
Yeah, that fresh water stream might seem crystal clear and clean but you never know what's just up stream. There could be a sewerage outlet, a dead animal or a cow having a long wee just round the corner.

You should never assume that water is clean, even if the water looks clean, you should purify it anyway. It's better to be safe than sorry.

There are a number of ways that you can purify water, the easiest by far is to boil it.

Boiling.

The idea that the water should boil for 5-10 minutes to be sure is not true, if anything you're wasting water by boiling it away. As soon as the water is boiling happily, it is safe to drink though you might want to wait until it has cooled down again before you drink it, or throw anyway bag in.

Water purification Tablets.

You can buy water purification Tablets almost anywhere these days, on line, in a chemist, camping and outdoor shops. All you need to do is drop a tablet in your water bottle and shake it, let it stand for about half an hour and your good to go.

If you're using iodine tables or crystals it is said that you should hold your bottle upside down with the lid slightly unscrewed to let the iodine flow out.

Using iodine tablets, crystals or water purification tablet's do kill bacteria and viruses.  The down side to the tables are, they should not be used if you are pregnant and they can leave an aftertaste.

Bleach
Bleach is easy to get hold of and can be carried in small containers so not to take up too much weight.
Use one to two drops per litre of water, leave for around half an hour. Once the smell of the bleach has gone the water is purified, making sure not to use too many drops as you can run the risk of poisoning yourself.


Filter systems.
There are lots of water filtration systems on the market these days. Some are hand operated, where you pump the water from a stream or even a puddle and the water is filtered into a container ready to drink.
Other filters such as the life straw pictured below, filter are a lot quicker, simply put one end in your mouth, with the other end in your water source and suck.


Now for the cons.
Boiling water does kill most of the bacteria present but it does not kill all bacteria. Boiling water does not get rid of chemical pollutants. It also does not get rid of the bad smell some water might have.
Any bits of debris, twigs, grit and anything else will still be there, so will require further filtering through a cloth or the like.

Bleach
OK technically, if you use bleach to purify water, you are not purifying it, youre disinfecting it, keep in mind that any pathogen cryptosporium could be resistant to any halogen(In the case of bleach, chlorine) Source. Either way, if you follow the the guide above you will be able to make water safe to drink.
Again, if you have any bits and bobs floating round in your water, they will still be there once the water is disinfected.

Filter Systems.
The only real con to filtering your water in my opinion is expense and space taken up in your backpack (depending on the filter system you choose).
Most filter systems these days can filter out most pollutants and small bits of debris. Some, such as the life straw and other similar products can filter water right from source to your mouth, meaning you dont have to wait for any chemical reaction to take place or for the water to cool down.

To end, there are many more ways to purify and filter water, it is down to you which ones you choose to take with you, after a bit of research.
Me? At the moment I go for the boiling and purification tablet method, but thats only because I dont have the money to buy a couple of life straws.

Take care
iJim

Friday, 28 September 2018

The Rule of 3`s


I admit it, of late most of my blog posts have been a little bit serious, this was intended. I have said it before and I will keep saying it until people realise that we are living in uncertain times, in my opinion it is absolute madness not to be prepared for an emergency, of any kind.

In my last post I talked a bit about how knowledge is key, you can have the best gear in the world but if you don't know how to use it, or you don't know how or what things you can use in a grid down urban or wilderness environment all the gear in the world won't help you unless you know what you're doing and have practised doing it.

That being said, one thing you will hear a lot of in emergency preparedness circles is "The rule of 3's". It occurs to me that there is some confusion with some aspects of these rules, so I thought it would be a good idea to talk about my take on them.

Survival-Rules3.
The Rule of 3's
You can live 3 minutes without oxygen
You can live 3 hours without shelter in severe conditions.
You can live 3 days without water.
You can live 3 weeks without food.

It is not unusual to see the rule of 3's laid out in a list form, just giving the rules with little if any explanation as to why these apply.
For one, these rules are not hard and fast rules which must be adhered to, they are guidelines and as such are subject to an individual's abilities and needs at that moment in their lives. Let's start at the beginning.

You can live for 3 minutes without oxygen.

When you were a kid did you ever play the holding your breath game with your friends? The winner was the one who could hold their breath the longest. I could hold my breath up to around the one minute mark, today I can hold my breath for about a minute and a half. Pearl divers and free divers have trained them selves to be able to hold their breath for a lot longer, some for up to 10 minutes.
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With this in mind we need to look at the rule of 3's in a more personal level. I know that I could never hold my breath for more than 2 minutes, not without proper training.
The human brain can last up to 6 minutes without oxygen after the heart stops at which point it begins to die.

So we need to look at the first rule as a mean average and as most of us are average people with little if any super powers we can assume that most of us would be in trouble if we were to be without oxygen for 3 or more minutes, some of us could last longer then 3 minutes, some of us less.

You can last 3 hours without shelter.

This is the one which causes the most discussion among Preppers.
Have you ever spent all day at the beach, lay in the sun? Or have you ever spent the day at the park or out hiking?

When we say that you can not live for more than 3 hours without shelter, we are assuming that you will be in a severe environment, such as somewhere where the temperature has dropped way below sub zero or you're in a desert environment where the temperature can get way above 45°c and some.
In this case, yes, getting some kind of shelter would be way up there on your things to do list, but if you are in a rural or urban setting or in an environment where the weather is more "normal* to your day to day life then my priorities would be water, food, shelter, fire.

We should also consider what your intentions are at that point, if you are in an urban or rural/country side environment and you have a place to be, chances are you will want to keep moving, only setting up a makeshift shelter when you plan to stop and rest.

Again, living 3 hours without shelter is subjective in my opinion as there are a lot of things to be considered, such as environment, weather conditions, your intentions at that time.
It is worth mentioning that regardless of your intentions, rest is a priority, when you feel like to really need to rest, rest. Pushing yourself too hard can be dangerous and the last thing you need is an injury.

You can live 3 days without water.

58060662acb33Dehydration_def_45576_2

Water is life. That's absolute. I'd you are in a grid down situation and you are on the move with your Bug out bag you are going to sweat, in this situation you should be drinking at least 3 gallons of water a day, minimum. Dehydration can and will kill you and you will start to feel the effects of dehydration well before the third day.

Symptoms of dehydration in adults and children include:
feeling thirsty
dark yellow and strong smelling pee
feeling dizzy or lightheaded
feeling tired
dry mouth, lips and eyes
peeing little, and fewer than 4 times a day

Dehydration can happen more easily if you have:
diabetes
vomiting or diarrhoea
been in the sun too long (heatstroke)
drunk too much alcohol
sweated too much after exercising
a high temperature of 38C or more
been taking medicines that make you pee more (diuretics)

These symptoms will get progressively worse as you become more dehydrated to the point where you can not think straight and start hallucinating.
It is also worth noting that these symptoms will start before three days have elapsed, possibly even on day one depending on the amount of exercise you are doing, weather conditions and the terrain you are covering.

There are a number of ways to check your hydration levels, a simple pinch test on the back of your hand to check the elasticity of your skin, putting pressure on your thumb nail to make it go red and checking the speed it returns to its natural colour are two methods.
The mindset you should have is, if you're thirsty, take a drink, bearing in mind the amount of water you have with you.

You can 3 weeks without food.

Again, this rule is subjective depending on your location and what you are doing.
A man needs around 10,500kJ (2,500kcal) a day to maintain his weight. For a woman, that figure is around 8,400kJ (2,000kcal) a day. However, if you are on the move and carrying your bug out bag you will burn more calories than you would if you are static and not carrying a heavy bag.

gandhi-350x320

The nonviolent activist Mahatma Gandhi survived for 21 days on total starvation, only allowing himself sips of water while some hunger strikers have lasted over 40 days without food, one up to 70 days.

Needless to say that these people would have been inactive during this time.
After around 5 days without food your body will start to eat its self to gain back needed calories, starting with your fat store, during this time concentration will become more difficult, as the days go on you will find it harder and harder to find the energy to do anything, you will want to sleep more and more.

Depending on where you are, will depend on what wild foods are available to replenish those needed nutrients. Remembering that not all wild plants are edible.
The idea that if an animal can eat it, so can we is a mistake, a lie and 100% not true. It is important to know what foods you can eat and how to prepare them. The last thing you want is to poison yourself or get diarrhoea, this will only make things worse as you loose valuable key tones, calories and water, thus compounding any dehydration effects you could be going through.

To end, I am not saying that the Rule of 3`s is incorrect or outdated, but I would and do use the time scales given as a baseline and time scale as to how I should prioritise my preps and organise the things I carry in my day bag and bug out bag.

Good luck
Jim

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Knowledge is Key


A few posts ago we talked about how you and your body is your first and best weapon in a SHTF scenario, I want to justify that statement by adding the will to live and knowledge to the mix.
It is no good having the best gear available if you don't know how to use it. Knowing how to survive in an off grid urban environment or wilderness setting is paramount, second only to having a good level of fitness and stamina and neither of the above are of any use at all if you do not have the will and drive to stay alive as the world as we know it crumbles around you.

With all the will in the world and all the best Prepper tech available, if you had to grab your bug out bag and move to one of your bug out locations, the only thing you will be able to rely on will be your fitness, your will to live and what you know. How to light a fire when it's cold, windy or raining, how to make a shelter, get water and purify it when your out of those little tablets and you cant find your life straw, what wild foods you can and can't eat, how to snare and hunt animals for food and everything else that goes with having to live in the wilderness.

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This is where Bushcraft comes in. Bushcraft in my opinion is an umbrella term for being able to survive in a sort of comfort in the wilderness, being as comfortable as possible and at home in the wilds, knowing what I can and can't eat and being able to find and/or make some kind of shelter.
If you were to ask 500 people who are knowledgeable in bushcraft, what bushcraft is, you will get 500 different answers. Some will say it's wilderness survival, others might say it's being able to know the wilds or have knowledge of the wilderness and how to best use it.

Either way, what ever your answer is, knowledge of bushcraft is paramount if you are going to survive in a SHTF situation. After all, what are you going to do if you have ran out of food, your in the middle of a wood, surrounded by spruce trees, have no water and your bug out bag floated off down a stream two days ago, the only things that you have on you is what ever you had attached to your belt, a knife, a torch and some string..

Any bushcrafter will say that if you have a good knife on your side, you have everything you need to survive. I myself have joked a few times with my kids when they ask me what I have in my bag and I tell them,

"Everything".

They used to reply with something like "What, you have a house, or a billboard in your bag?"

To which I would reply, "I have a knife and some string so technically, yes, I do have a house and a billboard in my bag, all I need to do is find some wood and make them"

Bushcraft Pouch
The picture above is not my bushcraft gear,, though I wish it was and admittedly the house would be more of a lean to among some trees and the billboard would be what ever I wrote on a wall of cliff face with a chunk of burnt wood I took from the last fire I made, but you get where I am going with this.

I am new to bushcraft and everything that goes with it but I have a decent size bag with enough in it to start me off, I have a good hunting knife, I have a bigger 120 litre bag with everything else I need in it (or it will have by the time I have finished) and most of all I have the will to learn.
I know that I am going to make mistakes and fail at almost everything I try but failure is part of the learning process and it is better to get it wrong now, than when the lives of my family and my self depend on me getting it right.

Up until this year I would say that I was almost 100% connected to the grid, I depended on it for just about everything, food, water, warmth, security and everything else that comes with society as we have come to know it. I don't want to be that person any more, which is why I have cut down my time connected to the grid via my computer, the TV and my phone by almost half. I hardly ever watch TV now and only use my computer for making these blog posts, recording and editing my podcasts and research.
iJims Day Bag
Instead I am outside in the garden or going for walks, every time I go out, even if it is just to the shops I grab my day bag on my way out and I have to say, I do feel better for it both physically and mentally.

It has been and will be quite the journey I am taking and I want to take you along with me, through my successes and my failures.
That being said, lets grab a rucksack and get out there..


















Friday, 14 September 2018

What is a SHTF Scenario?


So, what exactly is meant by SHTF (Shit Hitting The Fan)?
You can ask 500 Preppers what SHTF means and you will get 500 different answers, usually a Prepper will prepare for the worst possible thing that could happen to them, in the area they live in, be it hurricane like Hurricane Florence, which is hitting America as we speak, an earthquake or a heavy snow storm, on top of this they could also be prepping for a bigger, more unlikely yet still possible SHTF scenario, such as an EMP, economic collapse, the grid going down, permanently or anything else which would mean the collapse of society as we know it and a return to the dark ages.
be-the-raider-zombie-apocalypse
A SHTF scenario does not have to be some kind of natural disaster or the zombie apocalypse, it can be something more personal and relevant to them. Loosing a job, not getting that promotion at work, or a house or kitchen being badly flooded or even being mugged.
Basically SHTF is anything unexpected that could change a person's life or have a negative impact on their life.
Preppers understand that society and the world as we know it is a fragile place, a place that can easily crumble depending on what happens next, we see it every day, we all do, but Preppers take note of it and prepare for that one thing happening closer to home.
what-is-shtf
The idea that preppers are just waiting for doomsday or the apocalypse is something that the media have cooked up to make us look bad and to stop people from preparing for an uncertain future, 95% of preppers don't have a bunker stocked full to the brim with a lifetimes worth of food and guns. Hell I live in England, I don't have a gun and only have two knives.

Anyone can prepare, anyone, some countries even promote preparing for the worst. Chances are you have walked past someone this week who is making sure his or her family and loved ones have enough food and water to last them even just a few days should the shit hit the fan.
Most of us have savings accounts and life insurance, just in case something happens. We live in uncertain times, never really knowing what is just round the corner and it really is a no brainer to prepare for the worst or a SHTF situation, just in case.

Unfortunately there are many more of us who have become so dependant on what we call “The Grid” that we can not see what is right in front of us, we turn the news on TV off, switching to another channel if reports are coming through of another disaster, our excuse is “Its depressing, nothing but bad news everywhere”. We prefer to watch cute puppy and kitten videos on our phones while we wait for the next bonus to be available on Candy Crush Saga or what ever mobile game is trending at that time.

We have a mind set that says that the government will step in and help us if something bad happens because, well, its the government, they have to help us. Well News Flash boys, girls and those of you of mixed or no gender, no, the government does not have to help anyone if something bad happens and, in truth, in a big SHTF situation, they probably wont. That is on you, it is your responsibility to be safe, your responsibility to make sure that you, your family and your possessions are protected, to the best of your ability.
Doomsday-Preppers-008
We live in a Nanny State, where just about everything is done for us and a lot of us have come to rely on this being the case, to the point where we have forgotten how to do things for our selves, while we are glued to our pones, waiting for that next dopamine rush which comes when someone likes something we said on social media or that feel good factor we get after buying something else.
We live in a fragile world with an uncertain future. It is mind blowing that, rather than be ready for that future, even if that future is no further than a few weeks away, some would rather just bury their heads in the sand app they have just downloaded like a scared child hiding under their bed covers in the hope that the uncertain future monster will not get them.

To end, in a None personal SHTF situation, by that I mean a situation which is not just happening to me and/or my family but has a wider impact area, it is these people, the people who didn't want to see what might happen who scare me the most. Having “The Grid” pulled from under you will hurt, it will hurt everyone, but it will hurt those who did not plan for such a situation, or any SHTF situation more.

To recap, in short, a SHTF situation is any situation which could have a negative, life changing impact on a person or a group of people. It does not have to be the collapse of society or any other kind of global or national disaster, it can be something little, something that has the possibility of throwing someone's life into a nose dive.
The trick is, being ready and knowing how to pull yourself out of that nose dive.