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,


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.
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.
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.
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.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Changing My Mindset

I have never had any interest in hunting and fishing, in fact I have actively avoided any form of hunting since I can remember. The closest I have come to any form of hunting was when I went to a local wooded area with a friend of mine when I was a kid, I was about 11 possibly 12 years old at the time.
My friend brought his .22 air rifle with him and yes, I did get to have a play with it, shooting cans and targets we made on trees, a fun time was ha by all. Until he saw a bird in a tree and decided we should try to shoot it. I declined, making some kind of excuse so he took aim and taking his shot hit the bird first time..
Guilt swept through me like a tidal wave as I watched it fall to the ground. I don't know whether it was that moment or something else that turned me against hunting and any sport which involved animals, to be honest, even now using the word animal and sport next to each other, in the same sentence sticks in my throat. Hell I was vegetarian for over 16 years and I know for a fact that if people were involved or could see what went into getting that lamb or cow from the field, onto your plate, there would be a whole lot more vegetarians and vegans in the world but, the powers that be don't want people to know or see what that process is. Probably because it would put the meat production market into financial crisis.
I have always said that I would never kill an animal.. unless my life depended on it, then I probably would, and this is where I am starting to have a change in the way I view hunting. Don't get me wrong, I still find hunting animals for sport or even using animals as part of a sport abhorrent. I hate it with a passion.
However, over the last few months I my mindset has started to change. Giving the way that we as a species are progressing, it will be only a matter of time before things go tits up in a very big way. It doesn't have to be a global disaster or anything like that, it could be an abnormal weather front heading our way which is threatening to cause a lot of damage and even render people homeless. (At the time of writing this a huge hurricane is heading towards North Carolina, America. I know people from that area).
With this in mind I have started to seriously look into hunting and the legalities of hunting in my area, I know that in a WORL (Without Rule Of Law) world where I will need to do what ever it takes to protect and keep my family safe and healthy all legalities are null and void, but at this point in time, We have a rule of law and I do not want to be flagged as someone who breaks the law.
Don't get me wrong, I have not started hunting, but I am learning about how to dispatch and clean an animal ready for consumption, as well as what animals I can eat and what animals need to be avoided. Instead I am practicing and homing my shooting skills with paper and card targets. The way I am thinking about it is twofold, “If I am not going to eat it, I will not kill it”., then, “Do I need to eat it, is it a matter survival?” If the answer to the second question is “No” then I will not kill the animal.
I live in England (in case you didn't know) so most fire arms are illegal, we can not open or conceal carry any fire arm, unless we are on private land with the consent of the land owner and even then the type of fire arm is restricted to air rifles and some types of shot gun which require a special licence to own. With this in mind I have chosen the slingshot (catapult) as my weapon of choice, they can be carried in the open or concealed legally “depending on your intent”, obviously if you are being a tool and acting up with your slingshot then the police will have issues with you carrying and using one. rBVaI1jd7aSACzrzAAM_j22E5Y8047
My other reason for choosing a slingshot over an air rifle or other weapon is ammunition, although most rock throwers will say that steal or lead balls are the best ammo to use, small rounded stones are just as good and these can be found almost everywhere and with slight modification, some slingshots can even fire arrows, which will be handy when it comes to fishing.
With the right type of elastic, slingshots can be made out of just about anything, yes, they do grow on trees.
As I said earlier, at the moment I am homing my skills by shooting targets, my plan is to become a dead shot with a sling, getting a grouping of less than 1 inch, exactly where I want it, last thing I want is to injure an animal and cause it distress. Once I can successfully hit a target where I wanted to hit it first time, every time at varying distances, then and only then will I consider going out with the intent on hunting anything, it is at this time I will be able to work on how much I have learned about cleaning and cooking which ever animal I have killed.
I have made myself a promise that when that time comes I will waist nothing and do what every I can to use every part of what ever animal I have just dispatched, but that will be a bridge I will cross in the future, right now, I have a set of objectives that I have to complete before I even get to the stage where I need to make use of every part of an animal.
Question for those of you, like me, who do not hunt. If you were in a SHTF scenario, would you?

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Your First Best Weapon

The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brookes says that your first, best weapon in a zombie apocalypse is you, your body and how you use it to defend yourself.

Yes, we all know that the zombie apocalypse is for the most part a fantastic story which has an almost zero chance of happening, yet some Preppers view it as The Worst Possible Case Scenario, and a bit of an inside joke at times.

What ever your views on the zombie apocalypse, what Max Brookes says about your first best weapon in a SHTF situation being you is 100% accurate.

A well toned and trained body has the ability to get you out of all kinds of trouble. It can carry heavy loads over miles of rough ground, it can protect you from danger, both natural and man made, it can climb steep hills and it is waterproof.

Your body truly is your first best weapon in a SHTF situation.

With this in mind you should get your body into optimum condition, starting today, you should get to know your weaknesses and strengths, building on your strengths and working to fix your weaknesses.

These is no need for a special diet and training system, all you need to do initially is to use more calories in your exercise and daily routine than you are consuming, this way, once your body has exhausted all available calories it will start working on fatty tissue to sustain its self and give you the energy needed to do what you need to do.

Exercise and move more, the more you move the more calories you will burn, remember that the average human uses less than 40% of his or her potential, it might feel like you are at 90% or so in your workout but trust me, youre not, you still have a lot more you can give, when exercising, exercise until your sweating, then exercise more, if your not building up a good sweat then you should work harder.

Cut out junk food and candies, you dont need them and above all, as the Canadian Prepper would say, go to bed hungry. When you are sleeping, your body is hard at work repairing its self, this takes energy which your body takes from any calories and sugars still in your system. If you go to bed hungry your body will tap into your fat supply.

Actually, the Canadian Prepper can probably explain this part better than me, its the technique he uses and the technique I am starting to use. Watch the video below.

As well as the above, you should learn a martial art or some kind of self defence, learn how to fire and clean a fire arm or crossbow and learn what you can and can not eat if you are caught out in the wilds.

Learn as much as you can about first aid, Bushcraft, foraging, learn how to repair your gear.

Don't say you will try to loose weight and eat a healthy diet, you either do it or not do it.

Put your bug out bag on and go for a run or a long walk, get used to the weight on your back. I know, at first walking 10-15 miles with a 50 lb pack on your back will hurt, but in time it will feel like part of you, to the point where you can easily put another 10-20 lbs in it and not feel any difference.

The idea is to build up your strength and stamina, with strength you will be able to carry more, lift more and if you use a bow for hunting pull the bow string further back and for longer, building your stamina, will help you can walk, run or just move for longer, remember that 50 lb pack you have on your back, you will be able to walk or even run a greater distance while carrying it. 

There are probably a lot more you can do and learn while building up and maintaining your first, best weapon. 

Good luck.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Security In Numbers?

In my last post I talked about what "could" happen in a total grid down situation. I have to admit, I was rather surprised at how dire the situation played out, but its not all doomsday and Armageddon, not if we are ready for something like this happening.

One of the first things that we need to do if we are going to survive this kind of scenario is get rid of the lone wolf, bugging out and living on our own in the wilds mentality. I have noticed that some preppers have this lone wolf, solitary hero mind set, where I have my preps, my food, water and my bug out bag for when things go tits up, so I will bug out to my first safe location and stand on the horizon in my tax gear and gasmask watching the world burn. A few people have commented in their videos and blogs that we have this idea of bugging out into the sunset and the whole romanticism of living alone in the woods, just me and my bug out bag. Maybe this stems from some Hollywood movies where the hero saves the world and/or his family all by his self.

This is not the case, it would it be incredibly difficult to live like this, especially if you're not used to the physical demands it would take, let alone be able to survive on a day to day basis like this. This is why most preppers view Bugging Out into the woods as a last resort, all else has failed plan. Yes, we do do bug out dry runs, we practice and practice everything we might have to do time and again until it becomes second nature, bugging out, starting a fire without matches and everything else.

More and more preppers are looking at community to help get through a SHTF situation, talk to your neighbours, get to know them and their skill sets, If the grid were to go down, you would hope that your neighbours would help if your house were to be raided, just as they would hope that you would do the same, after all, once their house has been emptied of food and water, your house will be next.

Banding together as a community not only offers security and protection against marauders and gangs bent on taking everything you have worked hard to gather, it also gives access to a lot more experience, and knowledge, you dont know, maybe that old guy two doors down grows his own veg and that lady with the dogs that bark at the slightest noise just became a security system. 

If your neighbourhood is anything like mine all the houses have joining back gardens/yards, why not take down the fencing that borders each yard and make one large area, not only will this give would-be thieves and looters less places to hide while they scope out your house but it means that your neighbours can reach your house fast, and you theirs in times of trouble. It also gives you extra wood and wire to fortify the fronts if your houses (remember, when boarding up your windows to board up from the inside, not the outside).

Work together as a team, pooling your resources, your experience and your knowledge, start communicating with other small communities who have done the same, there could be resources or skills you could trade. 

If we start talking to our neighbors today we will be more likely to get through tomorrow if the grid goes down, permanently.