Archive for the 'Survival' Category

Prepper Math

BY Herschel Smith
12 hours, 29 minutes ago

Not the kind parents will teach their children in home schooling (not necessarily so, but maybe, I certainly would), but with a different emphasis.

Following the same procedure, we can see that even over an 18-year span we have a 10% chance of violent revolution, which is an interesting thought experiment to entertain before you have kids. It’s also important to note that a violent nation-state transition doesn’t just affect people who live in a floodplain. It affects everyone stuck in the middle. Especially the poor and defenseless.

The authors try to do some PRA (Probabilistic Risk Assessment) with a limited failure data set.  After all, violent revolutions in North America is a limited data set.  A better statement follows.  The tech preppers do not necessarily think a collapse is likely. They consider it a remote event, but one with a very severe downside, so, given how much money they have, spending a fraction of their net worth to hedge against this . . . is a logical thing to do.

This is better because it boils it down to its essential elements.  We’ve discussed this many times before in the context of concealed or open carry.  The minimization of risk means understanding high risk scenarios, and risk = probability X consequences.  So for example, if something is low probability and the consequence of the event is low (for example, a spoon breaking when you eat your morning cereal), you don’t invest in a new set of expensive china.

If on the other hand an event has high probability or high consequence, that can drive the risk high, meaning it’s something you need to plan for.  Preppers see the event for which they are planning to be a high consequence event.  They are right.

It’s just that simple.

Winter Survival In The Bush

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 1 week ago

This guy almost didn’t make it.  It’s useful he had the presence of mind to grab a few minutes of film to catalog his misery.  Here is a more detailed account of his experience.

So I have to say that I’m no expert, but neither is Bear Grylls.  Bear Grylls is a fake.  Following his advice nearly got this guy killed.

If I would have been in that predicament it’s obvious I wouldn’t have had fire starter, bedding, or shelter for the night any more than he had.  But I would have been smart enough to stop way before he did.

He was still moving on the first day at 4:45 pm.  Anyone with experience in the bush knows, in the winter it gets dark early.  In the mountains in the winter it gets dark even earlier, and in the mountains in the winter among the trees it gets dark even earlier.  If he had stopped at 3:00 pm to make a good shelter for the night, he might not have gotten his feet wet and might still have the leg that was amputated.

He needed a shelter of evergreen bows, leafs, pine needles and whatever else he could find, or in other words, a debris hut, with separation between him and the ground, as small as he could make it and still have room for himself.  Heating it would have been easier with his body heat than a large shelter, or one made of ice which would remove body heat by radiation.  He needed to go to bed earlier, and he needed to be dry.

He needed to get up the next morning and backtrack his exact footsteps to the place he began this misadventure.  Instead, he lost energy, slept with ice for insulation, and continued to go the wrong way.  He lost his leg for it, and could have died.

Improvised Bush Shelter

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 1 week ago

If you have the time, this is a unique solution to the problem of improvising a shelter in the bush.  I do have one comment from an engineering perspective.

For the ropes he used on top for “widow makers,” since he didn’t cut the rope and attach each piece to the trees (he just wrapped it around repeatedly), one falling tree with enough force to break a single strand of the rope would cause the rest to fail since the parts are all connected.  For more protection, cut the rope and attach pieces to trees.  He may as well have just attached a single strand except for the force of friction on the trees for the wraps.

Survival & Backpacking Water Filter Tests

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 2 weeks ago

Via Uncle, this extensive testing from Widener’s.

To help navigate this frontier, we’ve put together all the information you need to find the best portable filter for your needs.

Our intention is that this guide will serve as a resource. Inside, you’ll find a ton of data and research from accredited health and water monitoring agencies. You’ll also find filter testing we commissioned through an independent accredited laboratory.

There is simple no way to summarize their findings.  I intend to print this out for reference later.

Tim Harmsen Discusses The Importance Of Medical Kits

BY Herschel Smith
9 months ago

Retrievable Rappelling Anchor

BY Herschel Smith
10 months ago

I ran across this a little while back and wanted to embed it.  It’s the only way to keep from leaving your rope behind.

I’ve rappelled before and may do so again, but I think I’d want to practice this before trusting it with heights greater than a few feet.  If you want to see more, this video also explains it.

Virginia Cave Rescue

BY Herschel Smith
10 months ago


Five men exploring a cave in southwest Virginia were trapped inside, and authorities are working to get them out safely, according to Billy Chrimes, search and rescue coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

Six men entered the cave in Cleveland, Virginia, on Friday around 7 p.m. and planned to spend an extended amount of time exploring it, he said.

One of those men emerged from the cave, known as Cyclops Cave, on Sunday morning around 2 a.m. and told authorities the others were having difficulty getting out, Chrimes said Sunday.

That man, who is 22, said the other men were exhausted and were starting to have problems with hypothermia, according to Chrimes. The men are not lost and aren’t too far into the cave.

The five trapped men are between the ages of 34 and 59, according to Emergency Management Coordinator for Russell County Jess Powers. Powers said the group was planning to camp in the cave until Sunday, but a heavy downpour Saturday night made conditions muddy and wet and likely contributed to their difficulties.

One of the men was rescued on Sunday afternoon and is being assessed by a local volunteer rescue squad, Powers said. The rescue took much longer than anticipated, Powers said, and the rescue teams have gone back inside to help the other four men.

The cave explorers did not have a lot of extra food or water, and Chrimes said the temperature underground is in the 50s. While that is comfortable under normal circumstances, it can cause problems with hypothermia when you’re not active and moving.

That has nothing to do with it.  Caves are confined spaces, and as I’ve explained before, I don’t go spelunking.

But here is the mistake they made.  There are four different kinds of heat transfer: convective, conductive, radiant and evaporative.

The cave walls were rock, and were a heat sink.  Their bodies were radiating heat to the walls of the cave totally apart from convective, conductive or evaporative heat transfer.  They suffered hypothermia NOT because of the 50 degree F air temperature, but because of the temperature of the cave walls (even if they were suspended in mid-air and with no air movement whatsoever, their bodies would still have been radiating heat to the cave walls).

They should have prepared for this.

Day Hikers Most Vulnerable In Survival Situations

BY Herschel Smith
10 months ago


In the study, survivors’ most frequently mentioned source of warmth was clothes (12 percent). Their prevailing form of shelter was camping gear (11 percent). Most survivors had a water source—either their own (13 percent), or one they found (42 percent), be it a lake, creek, or puddle, or derived by licking leaves or sucking moist moss. None of the survivors except one were missing long enough to make starvation an issue, but 35 percent had food they could ration to keep their energy levels up. All these data points suggest that the best way to survive getting lost in a national park is to already have the clothing and gear needed for warmth and shelter during the night, as well as some food and water.

This is not the case with most day hikers, who are more likely to bring a camera than extra clothes in a backpack. Herrington concurs. “If you go backpacking and you get lost, or you get caught out in bad weather, it’s like oh well I’m going to be out here another night and maybe go to bed hungry. No big deal. But when you’re out there and you don’t have a sleeping bag and tent, or extra clothing for the overnight experience, you’re much more vulnerable, and that tends to be where most people get in trouble.

[ … ]

In Herrington’s wilderness survival courses, he teaches day hikers to pack a puffy jacket for warmth, and a 200-litre trash bag for rain protection/shelter. Even in warm states. “If you’re wet—because it rains or you fell into water or you sweated through your clothes—and its 65 degrees (18°C), you can still get hypothermic,” says Herrington. “Texas is one of the leading states in hypothermia deaths, and look how warm it is there.” An injury compounds the risk of hypothermia by compromising the body’s ability to thermo-regulate.

Well, you can carry a trash bag if you wish.  I’ve given you my list before.

Bring a good rip-stop nylon tarp.  If it’s good, it’ll be light and it will pack up small.  A gun (with a couple of extra magazines of ammunition), a tactical light, 550 paracord, a first aid kit, water purification equipment, decent clothing, a tactical knife (I prefer one with serrated edges), Mylar emergency blankets (which will also be very light), energy and protein bars, and multiple means of fire starter.  Finally, wear a hat on the trail.  The absence of one will cause sunburn to the head and freezing at night (a large portion of the heat leaving your body does so through the head).

Know how to make a brush shelter (leaf hut) quickly.  It’s that time of year.  There is no excuse for going into the bush unprepared.

So You’re Bugging Out, Are You? Dude, You’re Not Going Anywhere

BY Herschel Smith
10 months, 1 week ago

First of all, watch this video in its entirety.  I think John conveys a lot of wisdom in his talk.

This dovetails with a lot of what I have been thinking about the concept of the “bugout” philosophy.  I greatly admire folks like James Wesley Rawles, who made the decision a very long time ago to ensconce in the Northwestern redoubt, although I partial to the Appalachian redoubt being more in my backyard.

Folks like that made a huge decision to leave where they were, plant roots, create a life and lifestyle, make a family, and never leave.  But the problem is that most other people have deep roots too, wherever they are.  Elderly parents need help, children are part of your life, grandchildren need raising by grandparents, friends and family cannot simply be left by the wayside to “bugout” when the going gets tough.

I have a friend who once told me the reason he didn’t “prep” was that he knew where all the preppers in his area were, those who had ammunition, food, and so on, and he had guns and knew whose house to go to in order to find what he needed.

Note well.  He was telling me he would become just like a feral animal whenever the time arose, taking what he needed from his neighbors and leaving trusted folks to suffer in his place.  Now, I know the heart of the man who said this to me, and I know that he would never do that.  So if that man is reading this now, I know that it was all a lot of bluster.  How do I know that?  Because I know you.  You were just giving me excuses for not planning and preparing.

Any bugout bag you build is inadequate.  Do you have a pistol with a few magazines?  Good.  What is you need a CQB carbine?  Do you have that?  Good.  What if you need a longer range standoff rifle?  Do you have that, with all of the ammunition you’ll ever need?  Do you have enough food for you, your family, your neighbors, and your friends?  Can you get to where you’re going in one trip, or at all?  Can you survive without generators or solar power?  Do you have all of the medical supplies you’ll ever need?  Do you have access to professional medical care (you will surely need it at some point).

If you have a designated place to go, do you know that it’s secured until you get there?  Can you secure it when you do get there?  Do you have neighbors and trusted friends there that you’ll need for long term survival?  There are so many questions, issues and considerations attending an event like this that it’s unlikely you’ve thought through them.

The better option is to plan, prepare, purchase, pre-deploy, and practice.

My point is that like John, I don’t believe you’re going to go anywhere.  It may be true that there isn’t a perfect solution to hard situations like we’re posing, but just like it matters how a man lives, it also matters how he dies, and death isn’t the end anyway.  Most people reading this aren’t the kind of people who would run off and leave loved ones, family, friends, and neighbors to suffer if you can help it.  If you are, then you’re the kind of person from whom the rest of us are defending our loved ones, families, friends and neighbors.

Survival Tags:

Communications Gear Import Ban

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 4 months ago

Survival Blog:

Back in August, I warned SurvivalBlog readers about an upcoming FCC rules change.  Well, the ban did indeed arrive, on Monday. As of September 24th, 2018, the FCC banned the importation of some quite capable dual band models of inexpensive Baofeng ham radio handie-talkies:

     FCC Enforcement Advisory No. 2018-03

Because of this new FCC “enforcement advisory” ban, I predict that fewer and fewer these particular hand-held ham radios will clear Customs. Then, Amazon and eBay listings for them will soon disappear, probably in just a few weeks. The window of opportunity is closing quickly, folks!  Note that no license is required to buy these radios.

I strongly recommend that SurvivalBlog readers stock up on these dual band radios, NOW, while there are still some available at a reasonable price! Grab a five-pack, or perhaps two five-packs, so that you will have some extras available to trade at a later date.  Remember:  “Buy low, and sell high.”  As I’ve described in detail in the blog before: Bans almost always lead to higher prices!

JWR wrote about this earlier and I’ve been thinking about this.

The Baofeng radios he’s recommending come with baggage.  The real radio guys pan this stuff.  The clubs won’t go within a mile of it, and the scuttlebutt is that if you don’t buy after-market antennas for it, as soon as you walk around the next building you lose signal.  Parts fall off, the radios don’t work for long, etc., etc.

Furthermore, it’s said that you must have your certification to use most of the frequencies on these radios.  Frankly, I don’t know what to think.  I believe it’s important to have at least minimal comms equipment, but I also believe that we don’t all have to be Ham radio operators in order to have this minimal capability.

On the other hand, these are fairly cheap, and getting your certification is said to be easy.  Furthermore, they aren’t going to be available for long.

So here’s a bleg for readers.  How about someone with some comms capabilities (Pat Hines?) weigh in and give us a lengthy assessment of this whole matter?  I’m not thinking about stationary radios.  I’m talking about highly portable comms equipment.

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