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The Tengu Stove: 2 reasons to have a primitive usb charger in the bush

usb

The TENGU stove:

This bizarre device – ideal for campers – and named after a fantastical, legendary, Japanese devil dog –  will allow you to boil water and cook while charging your device. It is called a Tengu, after the Japanese spirit which supposedly protects travelers.

It Resembles a small camping stove and has a tiny generator attached to it that transforms heat into electric power to reliably charge cell phones.

Inventor Aidar Khairullin, from Ufa, Russia is working on a new model that will allow customers to power up their laptops.

‘There is a fireproof wire attached to the metal body of a generator, made of titanium and stainless steel, that has a USB port,’ he said.

‘To charge your gadget, you need to plug it into the USB port.

‘Charging will take the same time as it would traditionally take thanks to 10W power output.

I can honestly only think of one good reason t have this technology available in the event of a total, grid failure, SHTF scenario; and that is relating to the last post that we discussed the Helio Lantern in. It would certainly be nice to be able to convert fire to battery power though, in the event that you are just involved in a normal survival situation, or even of you are in a military surplus adventure with the family.

Here are two main reasons to have one of these in your kit:

  1. It will give you light in your camp. As we discussed earlier, a new product is soon to hit the market which will revolutionize backpacking and camping. A powerful, reliable light source that is as small as an egg and which will easily be recharged by the Tengu.
  2. You can use it to power your cellphone. I don’t know about you, but my iphone has taken the place of so many devices that I used to carry it isn’t even funny. I can’t imagine going on any sort of excursion without it, and this stove usb charger will keep me from having to carry extra battery packs from now on.
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RDDUSA product review: 4 reasons to use the Helio camping lantern

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If you’ve ever been on a dark camping trip then you know the misery of trying to stagger around in the night, tripping through the dew covered grass, trying to take care of natures business, fend off bears from the camp food stash, or stare precariously into the darkness in an attempt to discern a tree stump from a sasquatch.

The good news is that Helio corporation has developed the perfect little camping light that is bright enough to light your entire camp up, but is small enough to take with you on any camping trip, military surplus adventure, or family outing.

here are the product specifics straight from the manufacturer’s website:

“HELIO weights just 45g, even smaller and lighter than an egg. With this size and this weight, HELIO can be easily put into your backpack and you can hardly feel its weight. Due to our latest technology, the luminance of HELIO can reach 220 Lumens. It is almost the same as flashlight, and way more brighter than the normal lantern in the market. Helio dramatically improves all the features of traditional camping lanterns: a completely NEW type of lantern that can be plugged into a power bank. Due to the high quality of its LED, Helio is 30% more efficient than the normal lanterns. Moreover, it has a lifetime of 400 hours of uninterrupted light, when using a 10000mAh powerbank.”

Here are four good reasons to use a Helio lantern on your next camping trip, (though it is not yet in production).

  1. It’s rechargeable. At just a few ounces, it doesn’t even take batteries, but is recharged via usb technology. Later I will present a blog on the device that you need to keep with you as a support device for electronics such as this… a fire fueled usb charging device. Perfect for living off of the grid.
  2. It’s lightweight. This would be perfect for a backpacking endeavor or to take with you on the Appalachian Trail or some other long trek that is time consuming and remotely located.
  3. It’s going to be inexpensive. The technology isn’t complicated, it’s just well thought out.
  4. It’s LED. That means that the light could easily last for up to 400 hours. If used sparingly, this little monster could and will last you a very long time.

 

 

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Here are the 3 best buys at RDDUSA right now

Summertime

                                 Summertime

Now that the warm weather is officially here, it is time to get ready for hiking, camping, military tenting, fishing, frolicking, and family. I took a trip to one of the Goose Mountain type stores the other day and was astonished to learn that apart from a few read-headed stepchild brand of clothing items, if I wanted to buy anything from there I was going to have to take a mortgage out on the farm in order to do so.

Apart from the ambiance of the place in the form of stuffed bears and moose heads adorning every wall, I wasn’t really impressed with the quality of the merchandise per se… for you see, I have always had this proclivity to hurt people and destroy things. Even before I decided to do such as a means of support for myself, I was able to destroy an anvil with a rubber mallet, (easily done if you set the mallet on fire and melt it over the anvil).  So my point is that I am hard on equipment. I checked the soft thin fabric of one of the name brand tents that was on sale and could just picture what only a few floating embers from the fire would do to such a dainty means of shelter.

I quickly went home and looked up my favorite military surplus site, and here is what I found to be a great deal right now.

  1. Packs. Let’s face it, you can’t do any sort of camping, fishing, or foraying without a pack to carry your stuff in, (or out for that matter). And the good news is that RDDUSA has a great assortment of packs that have helped several different armies win wars over the years. These things are well built and easily cared for. They are also rugged.
  2. Clothes. This isn’t the thin fashionable stuff that you will see presented sweetly on a svelt and thin limbed European mannikin at Macy’s, this is rugged wear at it’s finest.
  3. Military surplus tents. These things will shake off the swirling embers of your bonfire like cattail down scattered in a summer’s breeze. definitely not the dainty fabrics that dreams are made of, this heavy canvas duck will withstand hurricane winds in some instances, and will make you stronger in the process.
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3 ways to cook wild eggs in a survival situation

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As was discussed earlier, if you are not a half a wild man and if you don’t have an iron stomach, then you probably don’t want to pour a hot, raw, wild egg down into your poor unsuspecting gullet. The truth is that if you are not used to it, then it isn’t going to stay in there most likely. And the worst part is that if it is a true survival situation then it has to go right back in there regardless… because the nutrients are too precious to part with.  So, in this insert I am going to go over several different ways to get these morsels cooked and eaten in a way that is conducive with good digestion for most people. I discussed earlier how to cook fish in the bush, and cooking eggs in the bush isn’t too much different. So, with that in mind, here are three different ways to easily cook your eggs in the wilderness.

  1. Fried. This is usually accomplished with the use of a flat rock that is placed, frying pan like, over or very near the fire. This is not a difficult concept, you simply heat a surface and place the eggs on it to cook to readiness. Remember that in a wilderness situation the presentation isn’t necessarily going to be pretty, but it is important that you get the protein in you anyway.
  2. Cooked in ashes. This is my favorite method because it is the easiest. Basically you are roasting the egg in it’s shell. Remember that you don’t want to burn it up so you will generally cook it in hot ashes and place a vent hole in the shell. These roasted eggs are akin to boiled eggs and are quite tasty.
  3. Boiled. The method that you will probably be most comfortable with, but which is actually the hardest to obtain in the wilderness. You need to either have a vessel that can withstand the heat of a fire to bring water to boil, or you need one that you can place hot rocks into to bring your water to a boil.
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Survival Easter egg hunting: four eggs you can hunt for sustenance

egg

Egg hunting is not an activity that is inherent to humans or that is reserved strictly for religious holidays. From a survival sense, egg hunting goes on every single day and eggs are a much celebrated staple of many of God’s creatures.

Survivalists often overlook this succulent bounty as a means of much needed nutrients and protein. And the fact of the matter is that chicken eggs have become a main part of the diet of most Americans, while many other types of eggs have gone by the wayside, often because of the richness of the yolk, the strong taste, or the quantity. The chicken egg, it seems, it just the right size and shape to satisfy the American palette.

This should not dissuade you however, to give up on these succulent little morsels in a survival situation. The fact is that any kind of egg can be eaten in a survival situation, )except for rotten eggs), and you should not ever pass any up if you find them. Here are four very common egg types located pretty much throughout the country.

  1. Goose eggs. Now remember, we are talking a survival situation here, so anything goes if you have to eat to live. Goose eggs are huge and they offer an excellent source of nutrition. The hardest part about obtaining goose eggs is in dealing with the goose who quite often isn’t very interested in sharing her resources.
  2. Duck eggs. Very similar in size and richness to the goose egg. They are quite strong depending on the species and unless you are half a wild-man, you will probably not really enjoy the savor of a duck egg. I prefer them boiled to scrambled or over-easy, but will slurp them down raw if necessary. A word of caution here: Duck eggs are usually not just eaten raw and forgotten about. At least it has been my experience that a raw duck egg will try to come back up for a while, so you should resign yourself to enjoying a single duck egg for several hours before the proteins decide to  remain.
  3. Seagull eggs. These pesky creatures can literally be found anywhere there is water. I’ve seen them in southern Ohio! Their eggs are small so be prepared to gather a lot.
  4. Turkey eggs. These are harder to find, but I’ve found them to taste better than any other kind of wild eggs. Almost “brothy” in their essence.
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Camping 2017: 3 ways to secure your campfires

 

According to a recent article in the Smithsonian magazine, wildfires have already ravaged over 2 million acres of land across America.  As a matter of fact, Doyle Rice from USA Today claims that this is ten times the average and is a near record in wildfires of all time.

Though these fires have mainly affected the plains states, (they are affecting Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas the worst), these are near drought conditions in some parts of the nation, and it is expected that this could be a very bad year for wildfires.

With this in mind, it is suggested that you take some specific precautions this year as you head out on your camping trips and your family oriented military surplus tent adventures.  These precautions aren’t really anything new or sophisticated, they are more common sense that isn’t necessarily common knowledge.

 

Here are three precautions you can take to ensure that you don’t set the woods afire as you’re camping this year:

  1. Take some buckets and fill them with water. It doesn’t take me to tell you that the easiest way to keep a fire at bay is with water does it? So it stands to reason that it will be a good precaution to have five or ten gallons of designated water for putting out your hot coals.
  2. Don’t build a fire on a windy day.  Again, common sense here. Anything you build a fire with is going to produce ash and hot coals. There is no real way to prevent these things from blowing around and in drought conditions that can quickly equal disaster.  Though there are steps you can take to try to prevent this from happening, nothing is foolproof.
  3. Dig a good firepit. By a good firepit, I mean one that is lined with rocks.  It should be deep and lined completely with rocks and it is best to stay away from sedimentary rocks which have been in water because these can explode when exposed to the heat of a fire.
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Camping 2017: 3 reasons to take a folding table with you

tables

If you are like me then you have already gotten a jump on the camping season this year and have gotten out into the Spring mix to get a taste of the crisp cool air and the gentle sunshine without the benefit of the noseeums and mosquitos. The fact of the matter is, at least for me, that it’s the little things that make a camping trip miserable or great.

One of the things that I despise most in life is being hunched over something for any length of time.  The worst for me is when filleting a thousand or so panfish; but a close second is trying to use some old log or a flat rock as a work space when I am camping and preparing game or fixing a meal. And as a matter of fact it was during a recent fling into the wilderness while I was trying to prepare venison kabobs, corn on the cob,  and an apple strudel for the wife and the kids that inspiration struck. (This inspiration did not strike me in the usual way, it struck me right across the top of my head… the bald spot, where the errant, early season fly had landed, which my wife had promptly smacked with a rolled up magazine). It turns out the magazine was an old copy of Popular Mechanics™, and there was an article about fold up tables in it. (YOU CAN READ IT HERE IF YOU LIKE! :-) )

Here are three really good reasons to take a folding table camping with you:

  1. You don’t have to be hunched over.  Most of these designs are made so that you can take full advantage of your homo-erectus status and stand erect while using them. What a treat for the back, huh?
  2. You won’t have to juggle your items to keep them clean. As I mentioned earlier, a log in the woods or an old flat rock both have a common characteristic that is problematic, namely, they are both filthy as hell.
  3. You won’t lose your knife. This might not be a problem for you, though I’d venture to guess it affects all sportsmen, but there is nothing I hate more than to be using my knife, lay it down for just a second, and then not be able to find it anywhere. With a handy dandy collapsable table in your midst, you shouldn’t have any problem at all finding it, it should be right there where you left it.
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Military surplus tent adventures: the Bonnaroo Music Festival

Photo by: AVILMANN @ Morguefile.com

      Photo by: AVILMANN @ Morguefile.com

Now that we have survived the Coachella 2017 festival, it’s time to set the sights on the southern midwest and that most famous of military surplus tent adventures… BONNAROO!!

This year the Bonnaroo is going to be held on June 8th through the 11th at Manchester, TN. If you want to see what all of the hullaballoo is about, check out these 29 PHOTOS THAT WILL HAVE YOU BUYING TICKETS TO BONNAROO.

This amazing photo lineup presents some of the favorite shots of last years Bonnaroo festival, as well as some golden oldies from years past. If you are a music lover, trend setter, aficionado, or just a very sociable person then you need to get your military surplus tent and cots ready, and prepare for the party of the year. The Bonnaroo is located in the heart of the southern hospitality belt in the foothills of Appalachia. This is the home of rocking chairs, walking horses, and Cracker Barrel™ restaurants.

 

The Bonnaroo lineup this year includes :

U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Weekend, Chance the Rapper, Lorde, Cage the Elephant, The Head and the Heart, Big Gigantic, Glass Animals, Future Islands, Tove Lo, and more…

ADMISSION INFO

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CAREFUL HUNTING: 3 pitfalls to avoid beyond missing your mark

A boy's first deer

It wasn’t long ago that a good friend of mine came banging on my door all a-quiver with excitement over the beautiful ten point whitetail buck he had managed to bag at my family farm. Stuttering and giddy, he retold the story of the kill over and over, and then showed me the tag he had, freshly printed, from his computer, (in Ohio, we tag deer electronically now, at least that’s how we check them in). In any event, I happened to notice that he had indicated on the tag that he had harvested the deer with a shotgun, and I knew that shotgun season didn’t open for three more days…

My friend, (we’ll call him Tim because that’s his name), hadn’t been paying attention to changes in the game laws, and he though that gun season opened on Thanksgiving Day that year. It was actually a very simple but costly mistake. No, the Ohio DNR never came looking for him like I suspected they would, but he got so worried they might that he packed up everything he had and moved to Key West Florida.

So, here are some tips for having a successful hunting season this year, and by that I mean one that does not involve a trip to court under a capias.

  1. Make sure of the season. I know that, in your area, trout season might have opened up on the same day for the last one hundred years; to the point that it has become a family tradition to go trout fishing on the first of April and you have been doing it for 80 of the one hundred years… but just for precaution, make sure you pull up the local and state game laws… just to be sure. Things change and  so do procedures. Wildlife management is an evolving science.
  2. Check for zones. I was never so happy to have missed a shot one year, when I let loose an arrow at a turkey and later discovered that turkey season was only open in the Northern region of my state that year.
  3. Be cognizant of trailcams. Though I am no advocate of poaching outside of a survival situation, I am understanding of the fact that mistakes happen and I do believe in the concept of mental culpability. I’m reminded of the time a friend of mine shot a deer which ran into a thicket and stopped to look at him. He shot her again to put her down humanely, (he was sure he hit her the first time), and then… you guessed it, found two dead deer in that thicket. His first shot had been true and the mortally wounded deer ran into a thicket where her twin was bedded down and dropped at her feet. Said twin stood up and got shot too. THERE WAS NO INTENT TO BREAK THE LAW IN ANY WAY! This is a law abiding citizen who did the right thing, he called the game warden. Even though both deer were killed on his property and he had seven children, five of whom were of legal hunting age and all of whom were entitled to tag two deer each, he still paid a hefty fine. Simply because he was honest.  I bring this up only because I recently read an article about a similar mistake which happened involving an elk that was shot on a trailcam, and the errant, (not criminal), hunter was prosecuted.

 

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SPARTAN SWIM CUT RIFLE PLATE CARRIER; 3 REASONS IT’S A GOOD BUY

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I have given some shout outs in the past for several tactical armor systems that I have found to be particularly useful, and I will continue to do so whenever I find a product that fits the bill, and that offers you, the consumer, a hell of a deal for a good price.

That’s why this old anti-terrorists fingers were twitching today when the USPS man rang my doorbell and I got my brand new swim cut Spartan® brand rifle plate carrier with side, front, and back plates,( rated for up to a 7.62×39). I got the whole package for… wait for it… $199.00 USD delivered.

When I first found the ad on Google during one of my many forays into the realm of current survivalist gear and weaponry, I had never heard of Spartan Armor Systems and figured this would be some second rate, fly by night organization that was just trying to separate me from my hard earned cash. Then I called up a Ranger buddy of mine, M.J. Jarvis, who had recently returned from Afghanistan and he told me that he was going to order one right then just to have a spare. So, with still some trepidation… Jarvis will have you do some dumb shit just for a joke sometimes, I keyed in my order and got it just three days later… no shipping charge.

I have to say that I have never been happier. Not only is this armor lighter than the thick ceramic armor I have been using, it is also incorporated into a very well designed carrier that has no plastic snaps at all… everything is triple thick, heavy duty Velcro. Here are the three main reasons I love this plate carrier and why I’m going to buy a few more when the funds come through.

  1. It comes with four rifle plates. Even though they are not yet coated with anti-spalling compound, they are primed with base coat. Some truck bed liner will work marvelously I should think. But for the price, who can fuss? The good news is that for $200 you are covered front, back, and on both sides.
  2. It is well manufactured and heavy duty. The plate compartments are built tough enough to last. An ingenious design holds your plates in securely, while being flexible enough to offer you the greatest in flexibility. Like I was asked once by one of my guys when we were dry fitting his rifle plate with his trauma kit… “What if I got to duck and roll sarge? I can’t do it with this bulky shit on!”
  3. THE PRICE! Did I mention this entire system is on sale for $199.00 delivered?
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Why buy military surplus? Here’s four good reasons

 

 

Photo By: RDDUSA

                             Photo By: RDDUSA

Even If you  aren’t an outdoorsman, tactician, doomsdayer, thrifter, anarchist, or survivalist you should  still be looking for the best quality for the money when buying items for your family. There’s no reason to look further; military surplus is your answer.

It doesn’t matter if you are seeking rugged, comfortable clothing that’s going to last for years, a backpack sturdy enough to live out of, or camping/survival equipment that is going to keep you and your family safe from the environment,  there is no better option than military surplus clothing, tents, and gear. Here are four factors concerning military surplus that you should consider before buying anything else.

  1. Well manufactured. Think about it, the military requires stringent government regulations be followed in regards to any equipment that it has manufactured. This is because the military requires uniformity in all of its items and it demands that the best materials be used for manufacture. That means that this quality of material is passed on to you the civilian consumer. Think of the comfort you’ll have in knowing that millions of tax dollars has been spent by the United States Army and Navy in testing the quality of the clothing, tents and gear that you and your loved ones are using to survive.
  2. Good quality. Since the military uses only the best materials there are many different ways to upcycle military items as well. Repurposed fabric from army surplus tents can be made into clothing, waterproofing, upholstery, or car covers. Surplus gas masks can not only protect your family from gas attacks, they could mean the difference between dying from smoke inhalation and escaping to safety in the event of a house fire.
  3. Prolific and consistent. For nearly thirty years the professionals  at RDD USA have been supplying the general public with the very best vintage and current military gear that can be found. They have a huge warehouse and compete in both the local and international markets, supply thrifters, preppers, military enthusiasts, campers, survivalists, upcyclers, and even governments; and they truly sell quality items.
  4. Economical. Why would you buy overly expensive equipment from a retailer whose bottom line is the almighty dollar when you can buy well researched and war proven equipment at a reduced price? Buying surplus is not only good for you, it’s good for the environment too as it provides a means of use for equipment that would be discarded otherwise.  Do you and your planet a favor, the next time you are in the market for something, see if RDDUSA has what you need before you head to the local supercenter.
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Concerning the blood bubble; 2 reasons it’s important in the bush

shovel

I was recently on a military surplus tent adventure with the family when my youngest boy developed an urge to chop something with his new tomahawk that I had recently forged him. All was well and good until he actually got to swinging that thing wildly,  and nearly slipped about two and a quarter inches of the razor sharp blade into my left leg.  After going through the usual dodging and feinting routines that commonly accompany such situations, I managed to wrench the tomahawk from his sweaty little paws and get the situation under control.

I realized then that I hadn’t really given him much instruction on the intricacies of using tools in a survival situation and decided that my nescience wasn’t going to be the catalyst for the little guys hurt feelings. I then gave him some very pertinent lessons on what is commonly known as “the blood bubble” in survivalist circles.  As are most things in survival, the blood bubble is common sense that isn’t necessarily common knowledge. So, the blood bubble is, in a nutshell, the concept that any tool or device is dangerous to an outside party within the space of the length of the implement plus the length of the wielder’s arm. In my native tongue: “you don’t want to be where he can reach you with it”. That, in effect, is the concept of the blood bubble. Here are two reasons why this concept is especially important when you are in the woods.

  1. You’re in the woods. Even though you should always have a well supplied trauma kit with you whenever you are on a camping trip or on a military surplus tent adventure, you shouldn’t ever really want to use it. The absolute best thing you can do with your occlusive dressing, hemostatic gauze, and tourniquets is to let them quietly expire unneeded. Being out, far from a well stocked emergency room is not a recipe for success when you have a sucking chest wound.
  2. You’re more apt to make mistakes. let’s face it, survival can be tiring, and when we are tired we often slip up. Doing things with more directed cognizance will help us to not make mistakes as often as we may if we just run on auto-pilot.
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PA sort of says “NO” to semi-autos…

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If you had been planning to schedule a big game hunt as a military surplus tent adventure this year in Pennsylvania using your AR platform rifle, you better make alternate plans or get thyself to the gun-store ASAP.

Field and Stream magazine reports that in a last minute move from the PA commission on fish and wildlife, a vote was cast to allow the use of semi-automatic rifles for only small game and for furbearing animals. This contradicts the approval in January, by the commission, which allowed for hunting of both sets with semi-automatic rifles.

According to Brian Hoover, the commission Board president, this decision resulted from the commission having “Listened to their hunters”. According to Hoover, a recent survey has revealed that 64% of Pennsylvania’s hunters opposed the use of semi-autos for big game hunting; however, the opposition to the use of semi-auto’s on furbearing animals was much lower.

According to sources, Pennsylvania is the nations holdout in regards to allowing the use of semi-auto rifles for big-game hunting, with even Ohio finally acquiescing recently to allowing rifles for use in the pursuit of their only big game animal the Whitetail Deer.  In Ohio, the only stipulation is that the rifle cartridge must not be fluted and above .30.

Commissioners do say, however, that the prospect of semi-autos for big game use is not entirely off of the board, it is simply off of the board for the 2017-2018 hunting season. The fact is that a new law came into effect in November which gives the commission the right to approve the use of the semi-autos and in effect, the commission is being cautious in the application of that new ability. To all appearances they are trying to be inclusive of their clientele in regards to changing the hunting laws of their state.  This is actually a welcome respite from the traditional bureaucratic practice of legislators making rules about things in which they are not directly involved, and is an excellent example of mis-representation being curtailed and stifled by the powers that be.

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Survival 101: 4 ways to survive a vehicle attack

Carnage in Nice, France

Carnage in Nice, France

As much as it pains me to have to be writing this, it has become apparent that a new method of terrorist murder is the use of heavy, large vehicles to carry out nefarious attacks. In a move that will undoubtedly end the old anti-gun debate to an extent, the local radical movements have discovered that they have implements of destruction more deadly and prolific than firearms at their disposal,  they are now using motor vehicles to kill.

In response, we who call ourselves survivalists must change our behavior in order to counter the use of vehicles as weapons against us. Though a fast moving vehicle is a weapon of true havoc, there are many things that we can do to both counter a vehicle, and to keep it from becoming a battering ram to pummel us into destruction. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Awareness, awareness, awareness… The best advice I can give you is to be aware of your surroundings. look at people, make eye contact and try to see if they have nefarious plans in mind for you. Trust me, having survived many deadly encounters over the years, anyone who wishes you harm will give you a look prior to making a move on you. This look will freeze your very blood and it is that reaction which is an indicator to you that something is awry. Trust your instincts and govern yourself accordingly.
  2. Use your terrain to your advantage. Think cover and concealment. In the event that some idiot suddenly becomes maniacal in the operation of a motor vehicle, try to get something between you and the vehicle  that it cannot easily pass over or through. a fire hydrant, a tree, a large or irregular curb, etc… all of these things can be used to your advantage.
  3. Stay out of crowds. I know that this is easier said than done in many occasions; however, if you are in an overcrowded area, that is a target rich environment to an active killer. At least do yourself the courtesy of staying on the fringe of the crowd.
  4. Familiarize yourself with the effects of glass on bullets. If you are one of those people, like me, who runs around carrying firearms with you at all times, you need to know and practice how your rounds will be affected by vehicle glass. I know from experience that windshields deflect my 9mm rounds high and to the right and they virtually disintegrate my first few 5.56 mm rounds. Basically, my practice is to “punch a hole” that I can then shoot through. You need to develop your own style and methodology and then practice, practice, practice… don’t forget to do your dry fit and dry run exercises either.
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Women in spec ops… one year later

Gijane

Ok, so it was a year ago that the United States military opened the world of spec-ops to women, a move that brought angst, strife, dissension and lots of ego based opinions. And after a year, we still do not have any women SEALS or Green berets.

In a recent article on Military.com it has been reported that the prospects for women in spec ops are very few and far between, with the military even looking at individuals in ROTC and in some cases at civilians who haven’t even joined the military yet.

Rear Admiral Tim Szymanski, the head of the Navy Special Warfare Command, has stated that it takes about two and a half years to get into spec-ops from the initial inception phase, which means that even when we get female soldiers who are able to make the cut into spec-ops, it wouldn’t be until 2020 at the soonest that they could join  a team.  And that’s if she can actually make it through BUDS which is too much for most men.

Even the two women who had gotten through the Army Ranger training in 2015 haven’t yet been picked up by a Ranger unit. Though MARSOC was the first to be able to brag that it had three women in the pipeline for spec-ops training, it was apparent fairly quickly that none of them would make the cut and they all dropped out for various reasons.  Lt. General Marshall Webb, the commander of the Air Force Special Operations Command has made the statement that even though the standards might be too tough for the majority of women, the fact of the matter is that they are too tough for the majority of men too, and the standards are not going to be lowered just to get women in.  “AFSOC is looking for the highest caliber candidates”, he said, “and when a person meets that standard, she will be joining our ranks.’ And hopefully not until!

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Should Chesty Puller get the MOH?

Chesty Puller

                                 Chesty Puller

Lewis Burwell Puller, Chesty, as he is known, is an infamous Lt. General who has become the epitome of United States Marines. He was noted for his heroics and mental aptitude throughout his life and is seen even today as a hero to all members of the Marine Corps.

According to the Marine Times, over 300 marines have had the distinction of having been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, one of the highest military honors that can be bestowed upon any service member. The award was began in 1861 and unfortunately, Chesty’s name has been omitted from the list of recipients.  Chesty saw a lot of combat in his time, and his iconic frown and battlefield witticisms are legendary. For instance, he was once quoted as saying “They can’t escape us now” when he as told that he and his men were surrounded on all sides in Korea.  Chesty earned five Navy crosses during his career, which is the second greatest military honor for valor.  And there have been attempts made in the past to upgrade some of his medals to MOH, however, for some reason they have all failed.

It is the opinion of many that the time has come to posthumously upgrade this war hero’s accolades to the greatest degree. Marines still learn of him and chant his name in boot camp. There is no greater aspiration than to be like Chesty Puller, much like Army soldiers still learn of Audie Murphy.  A recent review by the Pentagon has revealed that there are hundreds of recent war veterans who have not been properly awarded for valor on the battlefield and the former secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, has recommended that some Navy Cross recipients have their awards elevated. Though the review is limited at this time to post 9/11 recipients, it is perhaps high time that this American hero is recognized as well.

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4 great uses for a surplus bag

I read recently that an military surplus army bag makes a great camera bag. Well, huh? I guess that makes sense considering the fact that military equipment is designed to be ultra functional and practical.  But there are many uses for a military surplus bag that goes beyond a camera bag. let’s be honest though, the military surplus bag looks cool as hell and there is little else that can just say “adventure and ruggedness” like the rumpled canvas of a coyote brown or OD green military surplus bag.

I have had several uses for my military bags over the years. I use one, for instance, as a possibles bag whenever I go hunting with a black powder rifle. I like it much better than I like the stiff leather purse I bought at the second hand store years ago, simply because it is much more functional.

These things are great and are multi-functional, the best thing about them is the fact that they are so in-expensive that you can have an assortment on hand for in the event that the need arises to have one. Here are four examples of great uses for a military surplus bag.

Photo By: petapixel.com

Photo By: petapixel.com

Photo By: RDDUSA

Photo By: RDDUSA

Photo By: RDDUSA

   Photo By: RDDUSA

Photo By: RDDUSA

Photo By: RDDUSA

  1. As an herbalism bag. I like to hunt for tubers and mushrooms. I also like to go out during certain times of the year and gather flowers, roots, and leaves for different medicinal purposes. A good military surplus bag , especially one like the Australian soft bag, fits easily around the shoulder and neck, and offers a great way to save what you gather without getting in the way or taking up needed pack space.
  2. As a relic bag. I also love to hunt for relics. By relics I mean arrow heads, artifacts,  treasures, etc. I find these types of bags to be perfect for underwater excursions as well. I also carry two or three military surplus bags with me whenever I am on a military surplus tent adventure, especially one with the entire family where I am usually the person who ends up packing everyone else’s gear.
  3. As a medical kit. I always try to carry some occlusive dressings, two or three tourniquets, and some combat gauze just in case I get into some trouble in the form of miscreant contacts, bear attack, or I run into a nest of sasquatches.  Not common, but not totally unheard of either.
  4. As a shell bag. I had mentioned that I used a military surplus bag as a possibles bag, but another function I like one is for use as a bag to hold my shotgun shells when I am skeet shooting or dove hunting. This is much easier to handle than to try to juggle a box of shells, or to hold them loosely in my pocket.
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Hammock Camping; 3 reasons this could be the wave of the future

Photo By: HoboHammocks

One of the newest fads in the camping industry is actually a spin off from the newest methodologies of management in the business world, that of LEAN enterprises. While many people believe that the LEAN enterprise mindset is one of doing more with less, they often miss the forest for the trees aspect of LEAN, which is actually a philosophy of doing more with less waste.  And the truth is that the exclusion of one word in a phrase can speak volumes in the form of missed opportunities.

Take the example of hammocks for camping. The idea wasn’t to get rid of the tent as an icon of the camping experience, but rather to expand upon the concept of a tent and to take the tent to a new depth and breadth of having a home away from home. The truth of the matter is that with the extra space of the tent, which is not utilized, comes extra waste as well. Here are three reasons why:

  1. Most modern campers are opting for the light and move quickly aspect of camping. Things such as the hiking of the Appalachian Trail, and other camping and tent adventures bring the need to travel light and to be quick on your feet. Even if for nothing else than the wear the weight difference saves on your back, the hammock over the tent makes sense.
  2. The comfort that you gain from sleeping suspended in air as opposed to having to deal with the heat sapping, bumpy ground under the floor of the tent is second to none. Let alone the fact that this relieves the need for a ground cloth, severe weather sleeping bag, (which can be built right into the hammock), and repair kits for holes made while wallowing the floor of the tent.
  3. No need for supports. These things rely on already existing supports to offer the stability that they need to give you shelter. This does not have to be trees, supports can be rock faces, buildings, etc… might not be viable in Kansas, but these should do great anywhere else.
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Cooking fresh fish on a campfire; 3 ways to make it happen

x-300x100fis

When I was a young wild-man in training, I had several opportunities to practice my survival skills and I took every opportunity to do so. This was the case when it came to young love as well, and the girls with whom I shared a mutual affection were often reluctant to be exposed to the wonders of the outdoors, specifically in the form of wilderness survival. I found out very quickly that the most adventurous of women of the era were more prone to brave the wilds of the local malls than they were to try their hand at living off of the land, and it was therefore a special treat for me when a young woman of my affection finally agreed to a wilderness respite in the form of fish, (apparently the only wild game she could eat). I easily caught us a couple of panfish each and set about to scaling them with a rock, gutted them with the same piece of shale, (I couldn’t find any chert at the time), and cooked them to perfection on the green boughs of a willow grill, on a bow-drill fire I had quickly built myself. To her credit, she did pick through the bones rather courageously if a bit daintily, and she was great company for the rest of the day. It was, however, our last date and I’m not so sure that she really enjoyed herself though she had assured me that she had.

In any event, these ruminations have brought me to the present topic, that of cooking fish over an open fire.  This is one of my favorite wilderness meals because it is so quick and easily prepared, and here are the three ways I usually do it:

  1. On a simple willow grill. It is just a web of green willow boughs placed over a bed of hot coals. Probably the easiest way to cook them, however, I recommend that you don’t fillet them if you’re going to cook them this way as the fillets tend to get flaky and fall apart and will go into your coals and get ruined.
  2. On a spit over coals. This takes a bit more time, but the advantage is that it’s quicker because you can build a hotter fire. Be careful of singing on one side and getting it raw on the other. Spit cooking takes a lot of attention and care.
  3. On a rock next to the fire. This works best for fillets, especially if you don’t mind eating fish crumbles. The fillets cook more thoroughly and there is less attention needed but they will come apart as you go to turn them.
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Campfire recipe; Stew and biscuits, no dumplings

A dutch oven fire

A dutch oven and fire

I was perusing the news recently when I happened upon an article which had the uncommon ability to start my mouth to watering and which furthermore set my imagination onto a much needed adventure, which entailed it’s being transported immediately to an arctic environment where I was suddenly inside a small trapper’s cabin, in the midst of a winter storm.

It wasn’t really much as far as articles go, just an idea for a simple campfire recipe of Dinty Moore beef stew and some Bisquick biscuits, however, the combination of the two together elicited an excited stimulus of Pavlovian dimensions in my tongue and belly and I immediately began to scheme.  In the original recipe it called for a can of Dinty and some Bisquick and milk… pretty boring, so I went into the kitchen and began to concoct this:

Johnny’s whatcha-got? stew and biscuits

Ingredients: One small roast cubed, three potatoes, six carrots, and some peas of you’ve got them. In a survival situation, I would prepare whatever meat I could get, excluding fish, and use cattail tubers in place of the potatoes and wild carrots in place of the carrots, (think Queen Anne’s lace).  The initial trick is to boil the beef first, until it looks a little “raggetty”. In a survival situation, or even on a military surplus tent adventure with the family I would probably pull some wild onion and garlic to enhance the stew and keep the black flies away. In normal situations however, there is no need to put them all through that. Feeds four.

The biscuits are most easily prepared in a skillet and are a concocted from lard, flour, some baking powder, and milk. In a survival situation you might be ok trying to use acorn flour in place of regular flour; however, it will be bitter and most likely will serve you better as dumplings rather than biscuits.

In any event, I can easily imagine trying to brave the wilds of an Alaskan Wilderness with a belly full of beef stew and biscuits much better than I can a mouth full of jerky and hard tack.

 

 

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Survival 101; 3 Ways of Making the Most of Your Fire

A simple reflector

                        A simple reflector

In the event that you ever find  yourself in a true to life survival situation, it would be most beneficial for you to know how exactly to make the most out of your fire, because the fact is that the least you can waste the better off you will be.

This isn’t a difficult concept to master, and the truth of the matter is that most survival knowledge is nothing more than common sense that isn’t necessarily common knowledge. Therefore, in this installment of survival 101, I will go over several ways that you can enhance your fire in the event that you are in a survival situation, or even if you are simply involved in a military surplus tent adventure with your friends or family.  Here are three ways of making your fire something special.

  1. Build a simple reflector around it. The heat from a normal fire that is simply built on the ground will radiate away from the source in any direction that doesn’t present some form of resistance.  This reflector can be made from anything; however, you would be smart not make it with something that is overly inflammable, or with rock that holds moisture.  Neither situation will be conducive to a good nights sleep.
  2. Build a self feeding fire. This is not a difficult concept either, and the two can actually be combined to serve one purpose. A self feeding fire is accomplished by allowing gravity to work on your behalf and building a reflector that is made out of wood, which will slowly feed into the coals at an angle as the fire devours the wood on the bottom.
  3. Build a teepee fire. I have always preferred a teepee fire over a log cabin style fire simply because it is more efficient and doesn’t leave those unsightly ends laying around the coals. I can’t say that the teepee fire saves wood or burns slower, but it definitely burns more efficiently.
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Coachella and Bonnaroo in Colorado; A New Military Surplus Tent Adventure

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)

According to UPROXX, the organizers of Coachella and Bonnaroo are preparing to bring a new music festival to Denver Colorado this year which is a great opportunity to expand our horizons and have yet another opportunity for a military surplus tent adventure. Though this one may be a bit too wild to be considered a “fun for the whole family” style of adventure, it is definitely an opportunity to get out into the mountains, pitch a military surplus tent, and “Howl at the Moon’ in a very real way.

Though this is a project which is still in the works, the organizers of these events are planning to create a super-fest of dynamic proportions. According to AEG’s David Ehrlich, this plan has been in the making for about six years and has nearly come to fruition. Of course, he said, it is going to be up to the residents and the local interests to have the final determination on the inclusion of a new festival, but in reality, who wouldn’t want a fresh influx of tourism to a community that makes it’s living on tourism anyway?

This new festival will be started on the grounds of Denver’s Overland Park golf course, and the report is that this festival idea has already been brought up to residents  at a community hearing in the courses clubhouse on January 30, 2017.  The makers of things, in this instance, have given their blessing however to a new music festival, and a new music festival they shall have. It has already been determined that there are definitely other places which will be open to a new music festival in the event that this one is rejected.  So better start budgeting now, and make sure that you have taken the necessary measures to prepare your military surplus tent for yet another rock and rolling, beer slurping, late night, music adventure.

 

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Sad news in hunting?: 2 things to consider about Pedals being killed by a NJ Hunter

Photo By: The New York Post

Photo By: The New York Post

It is with a heavy heart and sad visage that I must report to you the demise of the nations most beloved black bear, Pedals. Pedals was a stalwart and comely bear who had learned to walk around on two feet like a human after having probably been injured by a car collision. He lived in New Jersey.

Pedals has been the ire of many an over-enthusiastic would be Sasquatch hunter and has also sent lots of people fleeing into the underbrush screaming at the top of their lungs, while he simply ambled about looking hither and yon for any scraps which would be of interest to a bi-pedal bear. His demeanor was always one of mild disinterest and he somehow created an air of Narnian proportions as he strode about like an absent minded professor who had somehow mis-placed his car keys.

It is reported that a bow and arrow shooting bartender from Somerset County is the one who dispatched young Pedals to wherever it is that bi-pedal bears go when they get their birthdays turned off.  And the New York post further reports that this individual has been targeted with scads of offensive hate-mail, threats, and petitions for his revocation of hunting rights… he did, after all, kill a beloved New jersey icon.

I would like to point out however, two things that should be considered before passing judgement on the poor guy from New jersey.

  1. Pedals was a bear. And as such he was available for harvest in accordance with state law and game regulations. This means that even if the act of killing him was distasteful to some, he was open game during the hunting season. There had been a act afoot to have him removed from the public domain prior to his being harvested and the state of New Jersey had declined to remove him to a private sanctuary.
  2. He was wounded. This means several things. First of all, he wasn’t a Chronicles of Narnia character like Mr. Tumnus, he was a bear who was struggling to make a living because he was hurt. This is why he was often seen close to and in towns… he couldn’t compete in the wild. He was also dangerous. Since he was hurt, he was going to have to get food any way could and it is rumored that pets would disappear in any area he was seen at. This means that anything that was small and weak was at risk to become Pedals’ next meal… these are not conditions that make it favorable to enjoy a military surplus tent adventure anywhere near where Pedals was prowling around, especially if kids were involved.
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Spring Bear Hunts; 5 of the best spots for bear

Photo By: MPatterson

 Photo By: MPatterson

I have told you before about my favorite bear hunt plan that was going to be a combination military surplus tent adventure and hunting trip. In this endeavor, myself and The Wildman had planned on taking a black bear with a couple of spears in the Great Smoky Mountains, since we both fancied ourselves to be great hunters and survivalists. That was, until we actually arrived and found out two very key factors: 1. The black bears at the Great Smoky Mountains are protected, and 2. They are just little bitty  things that are nearly as tame as dogs. After having fed several of them bologna and cheese sandwiches, and hearing one of them literally cry like a baby when The Wildman cuffed it on the nose for getting a bit “nippy”, we both elected to amuse ourselves with taking pictures and we left the hand forged spears in the truck.

However, the North American Grizzly bear is another critter entirely, and if you are actually in the mood for a spring bear hunt, let me give you five recommendations, (according to LiveOutdoors), for an excellent bear hunt this year, where you will be more than happy in pitching your military surplus Army tent and making a week out of hunting this big, magnificent creature.

  1. Russia. In Kamchatka they offer more to enjoy than a milky butter rum drink, there are bear aplenty. Just a few miles away from Alaska, this territory is densely populated and very affordable in terms of actual cost. A guided hunt here starts at around $8,000.00 American and goes up from there.
  2. Romania. In the Carpathian Mountains is the place where 70 percent of the bear population can be found. These mountains stretch all of the way into the Ukraine, and this would be the site for a true and exotic adventure… there are many skeletons weathering on the crests and bluffs of these rocky mountains and not of them are quadrupeds.
  3. Canada. In Canada we have ample bear hunting in British Columbia, which will run you about $3,500.00 American dollars for a black bear and it just climbs from there for griz… however, there are ample griz and if you’re willing to pay you can harvest one for the hunt of a lifetime.
  4. Canada. Manitoba is another Canadian spot which just re-opened it’s bear season last year. Jump on the new season for a mere $2,650 dollars for a week in the wilds.
  5. Croatia. Gorski Kotar is a mountainous region in Croatia which is reportedly famous for it’s bears. Trophy hunting is the most expensive but is also most likely to be the most rewarding starting at $6,000.00 American.
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Think you could be a hunter – gatherer? Think again

Photo By: Wikipedia.com

                   Photo By: Wikipedia.com

Consider if you will, the Hadza people of Tanzania. They are a true hunter-gatherer society who’s men leave their grass huts at the crack of dawn, poison tipped arrows in hand, and venture out into the wilds of Africa in search of their next meal. This meal could be anything from a small frog or bird, to a full or half grown giraffe. The women also venture forth to perform the other aspect of their existence, the gathering. They go in search of berries, roots, vines and tubers which add supplement to their otherwise protein rich diets.

This is everyday life for this indigenous people, and it is the same lifestyle that your ancestors lived so many thousands of years ago. It is the same life that we practice, train, and prepare for as survivalists; however, a close look at these people reveals to us, if we are completely honest, a strong deficiency in our commitment to make a living like they do.

In all fairness it must be said that the ability to eek out a living on the plains of Africa is not going to be the same as trying to live in the wheat belt of America or in the mountains and fruited plains. However, it becomes apparent that society and evolution have not necessarily been good to us as far as keeping our survival skills keen goes.

A recent study from Yale researchers has shown that these people exercise vigorously nearly two and a half times as much as the modern athletic American or European.  As a result the studies further show that these people are extremely low risk for ailments such as heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, high cholesterol, and diabetes. They furthermore don’t seem to slow down as much or are effected as much by age as are their Caucasian counterparts.  Nor do they suffer from dementia.

Do you want to be a real survivalist? Take heed of these people then and see what it will really take in a post-apocalyptic society to stay ahead of the game… no pun intended.

 

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Fishing tournaments; 4 New IGFA rules apply

Photo By: IGFA.com

                             Photo By: IGFA.com

If you are going to pick a fishing tournament as a form of recreation this year, here are some changes being made to the rules by the International Game Fish Association that you might need to know about. Effective April 1, 2017, these rules come into effect and will be governing all tournaments which are being officiated by the IGFA. What this means for you is that if you choose to attend a sanctioned event as a military surplus tent adventure, or s a family camping trip, then you need to abide by the new rules or face disqualification from the tournament.  Here are the four new tournament rules.

 

 

  1. Backing. (Current rule), “If the fishing line is attached to backing, that catch shall be classified under the heavier of the lines”.  The new rule adds that backing can be used, but the catch shall be categorized by the first 5 meters of the line preceding the double line, leader, or hook.
  2. Assisting. (Current rule),  ” The act of a person other than the angler touching the rod, reel, or line either with the body or a device is grounds for disqualification.” The new rule clearly states that touching the angler in a manner which assists him or her is a disqualifying act.
  3. Game Fish Species. (Current rule), “… only certain game fish species are eligible in the additional line-class categories…” The new rule removes class-record consideration from the following saltwater species: Pacific barracuda, black seabass, Japanese parrotperch, spotted parrottperch, Florida pompano, doublespotted queenfish, black-blue rockfish, Atlsntic spadefish, oxeye tarpon. Freshwater: rock bass, shoal bass, white bass, yellow bass, bluegill, black bullhead, brown bullhead, yellow bullhead, burbot, white catfish, black crappie, white crappie, freshwater drum, Florida gar, shortnose gar, spotted gar, oscar, European perch, white perch, yellow perch, chain pickerel, red piranha, shorthead redhorse, silver redhorse, sauger, American shad, hickory shad, splake, green sunfish, redbreast sunfish, redear sunfish, tench, warmouth, lake whitefish, mountain whitefish, round whitefish
  4. World-record weight requirements. (Current rule), “…to submit a line class or tippet class (fly rod) world record, the only weight requirement is that the fish must weigh at least .45 kg (1 lb). As a result, the IGFA has accumulated a significant amount of records where the weight of the fish is much lighter than the size of the tackle used to land the fish.  The new rule for line class categories up to and including 10 kg (20 lb) and all tippet class (fly rod) categories are: The weight of the catch must weigh at least ½ as much as the line class it is eligible for. For example, a fish entered for the 6 kg (12 lb) line class or tippet class category must weigh a minimum of 3 kg. For line class categories greater than 10 kg (20 lb): The weight of the catch must be equal to, or greater than the line class it is eligible for. For example, a fish entered in the 24 kg (50 lb) line class category must weigh a minimum of 24 kg.
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Spring flings… 3 great ideas for spring military surplus tent adventures

spring

As the cold grasp of winter melts away and the sun begins to shine more regularly, it is again time to fish that old military surplus tent and equipment out of the garage, crawlspace, attic, or basement, and get her ready for some serious adventure and family fun.  March and April are just a stone’s throw away, and though we could still technically see some winter weather between now and the real sunshine, any inclement weather at this point will be like the dying twitches of an aged old bear, who, having spent himself in the agonies of winter, has just had his heart pierced by the razors edge of a young warrior’s bow.

So, the good news is that the joys of warm weather and summertime are nearly upon us. And here are three great ideas for springtime military surplus tent adventures for you and your fam…

  1. Let’s go fishing! Spring bass and crappie are going to be in abundance, and there are even going to be lots of fishing tournaments that you and the kids can go on together. Some tips for tournaments? Get local intelligence from the old guy who hang out on the docks every day. Develop a bait plan from that intelligence, and know the rules of the tournament.
  2. Attend fairs and festivals. There are lots of ideas out there for spring and summer fairs and festivals and we will be talking about each and every one as the time comes close to attend.  There is nothing more fun than taking a week or long weekend off and enjoying the atmosphere of celebration that corresponds with enjoying the music, food, and beverages of a summertime festival.
  3. Go ghost hunting. This might seem a little weird, and it might not be suitable for the little ones, but ghost hunting has become a fun and fairly lo-risk endeavor… depending on where you go.
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Found dead in their homes… The importance of always being ready

Photo By: WCPO.com

                          Photo By: WCPO.com

x

 

 

 

Three people in their early 20s were found dead of gunshots wounds in a home in Florida after they were attacked during a Super Bowl party, police say… ¹

A 39-year-old woman and a juvenile girl were found dead Monday morning at a home in Highlands Ranch. ²

Eight members of a single family were executed in their homes in a matter of hours… ³

 

One thing is certain my friends, and that is the fact that this is still a dangerous world, and it is seemingly getting more and more dangerous and volatile as time goes by.  You are not safe in your homes anymore, if you ever were, because criminals do not hold anything sacred these days. Everyday, if you look, you can find a story about a home invasion that has left one or more, (sometimes all), of the members of a single family dead in their own domicile.

As I sit here in my sun room writing this, overlooking the pool and sipping a hot cup of java, I have in my waistband a Glock model 17, fully loaded and charged, in a DeSantis inside the pants holster. (There is an extra magazine in the pouch attached to the holster). Near me, leaning against a table, is a Remington™ 870 fully loaded and ready to roll with 00 buckshot. I am home on a day off and am catching up on my writing; however, even when I am home I am always armed and am always prepared to commit to violence if need be.

Many would think that I am paranoid… perhaps they are correct, however, I think the people mentioned in the above excerpts from recent newspapers would disagree. I think if they could do it over again, they too would have  been armed and ready. If you think about it objectively, you can probably relate to the fact that we as Americans have had it too easy for too long, in direct contrast to those in our ancestry who always had to worry about someone forcing their way into their cabin, teepee,  or house in an attempt to take their lives or possessions.

 

 

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4 uses for a rustic campfire oven

Photo By: Instructables.com

               Photo By: Instructables.com

I recently read an article on Freedom Prepper™ regarding the making of “bushcraft pizza” by a survivalist named Survival Lilly, who is reported to be incredible, talented, and very beautiful.  The article can be seen in it’s entirety here, and the gist of this writing isn’t an accolade to the claim that Survival Lilly’s pizza is in fact “delicious looking”, (there’s something about a wood ash dusting on melted cheese that puts me in the ditch theoretically), however, her cooking technique is awesome, specifically her quaint method of creating a minuscule Dutch Oven from nothing more than what she finds laying around the wilderness.

This brings me to the topic of today’s conversation, the many uses of a Dutch Oven when out in the bush. We previously discussed a commercial style solar powered oven that you can take with you while camping; however, I want to expand that notion to the realm of extremes survival situations, or at the least, military surplus tent adventures.  So, here are four uses for a Dutch Oven in the bush. (Perhaps next I will delve into the many ways of making a dutch oven, but the theory is pretty sound and simple. It is, in effect, an oven within an oven… you’re smart, you can figure out how to get that). Here are four uses for a survival Dutch Oven:

  1. To make survival pizza. I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of this notion, especially while I’m sitting at McDonald’s using their internet connection and sipping hot coffee out of a paper cup; however, if I were in the bush for a few days, that dust encrusted bit of flatbread might appear Heavensent. You be the judge…
  2. To make acorn cakes. I have given this recipe before and acorns are plentiful all over the nation. I will only say, however, you better learn how to remove the tannins from your flour or you are in for a bitter surprise.
  3. To cook a meal unattended. There is nothing more rewarding to me than consuming the flesh of one of God’s creatures that I battered the life out of myself, skinned, and placed on a spit over a hot bank of coals, however, I do find it tedious having to spit cook the thing and spend so much time preparing my victuals. It is much better to set up the food, and be able to busy myself doing other things while the oven cooks it.
  4. Making survival bread. This oven will bake any type of bread that you choose to put together and will often keep it from getting too dry providing that you keep an eye on it.
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Survival 101: 3 ways The Art of Kleptoparasitism can serve you

kleptop

 

The art of kleptoparasitism, though not very chivalrous, can be quite profitable in a survival situation. The act is so prolific globally that there are actually  tribes of indigenous Africans who still practice the stealing of another’s meat to this day. Even some who will fight lions off a kill.

Though I’m not a proponent of trying to steal a fresh kill from a grizzly bear or a pack of wolves, there are several cases where I can see the advantages to taking another’s food in a survival situation, and can think of at least two incidents where I would do it unequivocally; and one other where I would do it grudgingly, depending on the situation. Here are the three times I think that stealing is ok.

klepto

 

  1. When you are robbing the hoard of a gatherer. In this instance I’m thinking specifically of squirrels and their nut caches. Though in reality I would want the squirrel and his nuts, I would just take the nuts if that is all I had. A good way to find caches is to wait for a light snowfall and follow the ambling tracks as the little varmint scampers about checking on his stashes.
  2. When you are robbing a bird of prey. This takes more luck than skill, as most birds of prey are hunting at night. However, if you are in a survival situation and you see a hawk, eagle, or owl make a kill on the ground, prepare to beat it away from that fresh meat; however, take care that you prepare for a fight, these things are pretty badass.
  3. Other humans if the situation applies. From a moral standpoint, this would require either dire consequences or an act of war whereas I was looting the reserves of an enemy. I could live with myself in either situation, providing I wasn’t taking their resources strictly from laziness, or if others more needy than they were depending on me.
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Rddusa product review: The Solavore Solar Oven

Photo By: http://solarovenshopblog.com/

Photo By: solarovenshopblog.com

SOLAVORE SOLAR OVEN

As an extension of recent prior posts about wilderness cooking, and in celebration of the upcoming SPRING weather and the camping/survival trips that accompany it, I want to introduce you to a wonderful new gadget that is sure to add hours of hiking/fishing/camping time to your outdoor excursion, strictly for no other reason than the fact that it will limit significantly the time that meal preparation normally takes. It is: The Solavore Solar Oven. This device simply focuses and retains the sun’s energy in the form of heat to bake a meal without electricity or gas.

The Solavore weighs in at around nine pounds and it only costs around $229, (MSRP). With it you get a plastic oven, 2 three pound cooking pots, and a temperature gauge. (For $40 more you can also get a reflector, there is also a shoulder strap, carrying bag, and pot holders available as other options).

The tech team at GearJunkie® recently did a review of this oven where they used it sans instructions as most of us would. They found that the oven quickly heated up to 300 degrees in moderate sunlight, and sufficiently cooked a pot of pulled pork, (from chops), and a pot of tubers after letting them set in the sun most all day. Their review indicated that they didn’t produce anything that Gordon Ramsey might consider brag worthy, but they did maintain a steady 250 degree temperature the whole time. One important thing of note, they did report that as the food cooked it emitted an attractive aroma, one which wouldl ikely draw animals to your campsite… because of this, you might consider erecting the device in an open area away from camp, and maybe even putting it up high and out of reach somehow. This would protect your campsite and your meal, and give better exposure to the suns rays as the earth rotates.

You can read the original GearJunkie® article here: http://solarovenshopblog.com/

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Survival gardening: steps to take beyond concealment

seed

In past articles we have dealt with techniques for growing concealed gardens that will blend in to the fauna which is present in any given territory that you find yourself in. In a recent article I read on “Freedomprepper.com”, I found some further information that you might find useful in determining the type of garden plot you wish to grow in a survival situation or if you were to ever find yourself in a post-apocalyptic survival environment.
The use of heirloom seeds is one aspect of gardening that I had never truly considered, always thinking that heirloom seeds were merely fertile and not taking into account that they are actually selected for a multitude of more functional reasons than that.

 

“Heirloom varieties are seeds that were passed down because they were particularly good at what they do, whether growing in a particular area, producing an abundance, being cold tolerant, bug tolerant, drought tolerant, or some other good quality. Gardeners saved these seeds because they were reliable and good tasting. Heirloom seeds will give you the same type of plant as the parent plant. In some cases, particularly squash, in order to avoid open cross pollination, you should grow the plants in separate areas.”–Michelle Carol, Freedomprepper.com

The above article excerpt was taken from a renowned ShadowfoxHQ herbalist who notes that while some people are natural gardeners, there are aspects of gardening that anyone can use to their advantage, especially in a survival situation. She further states that gardeners who are not experts should take the time to at least read the bag that their seeds come in to determine whether the seed characteristics are enhancing or detrimental to the environment where they are to be planted. Tomatoes for instance, are the examples she gives, citing the fact that tomatoes are Indeterminate, that is “vine ” tomatoes, or they are Determinate, “bush” tomatoes.

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Free survival training: 3 ways to get better prepared for free

Photo By: theactivetimes.com

Photo By: theactivetimes.com

FREE SURVIVAL TRAINING

If you want to find some ways to become a world class survivalist, but you don’t really want to spend a bunch of money doing it, there are several ways that you can do so.  Not everyone has the inclination or the wherewithal to invest several hundred or thousands of dollars to go to Tracker School or some of the other fine survival institutes available today.  The good news is that in todays times you don’t really need to. There are plenty of survival resources out there for free. Here are three excellent resources for survival training, all of which are absolutely free of charge.

 

 

  1. The public library.  When I first wanted to learn wilderness survival, back in the 1980’s,  I occupied my time in two ways. Either I was reading books from the Wilderness Survival Series by Tom Brown Jr., or I was practicing the skills relayed therein out in the Ohio woods of the family farm.  The best place to get these books was, of course, at the public library because I didn’t have to pay for them. Some great titles to get are: The Wilderness Survival Series by Tom Brown Jr. The Foxfire Series released by Eliot Wigginton and his students from the 1970’s, Any of the Peterson Field guides by Lee Allen Peterson.
  2. Youtube. This is probably the best survival tool available in today’s technology, because the practice of “monkey see monkey do” can be implemented much easier in video than can be relayed in a book. If you have a smart phone, you can get hands on instruction during the actual practice of whatever survival skill you’re trying to learn.
  3. State and public parks. I just read that the Tyler, Texas Department of Parks and Recreation has recently offered free survival classes to it’s residents and clientele as part of their wilderness and ecological outreach. This is a great opportunity and one which I wish would have been open to me in my youth.
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Survival 101: three ways to boil water in the wilderness

water

BOILING WATER IN THE WOODS

So, in our last post we discussed why it can be important to boil water in a survival situation, but we did not delve into the methodology of boiling said water, so, in this insert we will discuss three very easy yet effective methods of boiling water in a wilderness situation. Now notice, I said wilderness situation and not necessarily survival situation. The fact is that the only way I’ve ever been able to get water to boil in a survival situation, (one where I didn’t even have so much as a tin cup to boil with), is the hot rock method. So here are three methods that you can use to boil water in the wilderness.

  1. Fresnel Lense. I’ll mention this first because it is the least practical; however it is probably the most fun, rewarding, and the greenest. The Fresnel Lens harnesses the power of the earth’s sun to boil your water or to otherwise cook your food. This would be a great apparatus to have for a military surplus tent adventure, family camping trip, or any other planned outing. It is kind of big however, so in order to get one together that will be effective you will need to have room in your camper, truck or Subaru.
  2. Fire and iron. Or aluminum, or steel, or ceramic, copper, tin, brass or anything else that can withstand the heat of a fire or cookstove. Most non-ferrous metals other than lead, zinc, etc… The trick here, regardless of the heat source, is to get the water hot enough to boil by getting the vessel hot. This is how we boil water all over the world, the most common method.
  3. Hot rocks. This is the easiest method when in a survival situation because you can use a wood container, clay, mud or even a thick leaf container, or bark, to hold the water while it is being heated to boiling by placing egg sized hot rocks in it. The rocks should not be sedimentary, rather you should use igneous or metamorphic rocks.
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Boiling Water; 3 Reasons to Know How to do it in the Bush

Photo By: Alderleaf Wilderness College

        Photo By: Alderleaf Wilderness College

I can remember going through old Tracker’s wilderness survival school back in the eighties and having him lecture me and the others quite soundly on the need to be able to boil water in the bush. Now at the time I fancied myself to be a survivalist of dynamic proportions and a hard hitting, white knuckled purveyor of the finest degree of manhood one could ever expect to encounter,  either here or there for that matter.  And I thought that it was much more likely that I would sip the filthy pooling from the bottom of a coyote track than to ever have to boil water for any reason… needless to say I hadn’t spent much time in the bush up to that point. I have to say that I have matured in my old age,  and considerable excursions into the wilderness has definitely changed my opinion of myself in many ways. One of the things I have changed my mind about is the need to boil water. The truth of the matter is that there are several reasons to know how to boil water in the wilderness, here are three:

  1. To purify it for drinking. I know this is pretty parochial, but the basics are sometimes best reviewed before advanced knowledge is explored. Water should be boiled well for about twenty minutes to ensure that all of the bacteria ave been properly killed and it is safe for drinking then.
  2. To make stews, soups, etc. It never occurred to me until I lived it how much easier it is to gather food items in small quantities and then consume them in the form of stew than it is to say, spit them and eat them from the bone. So much nutritional value is wasted when we don’t boil them up into a soup that it is disgraceful.
  3. To make hot drinks. I love to make myself a hot dup of chicory coffee or pine needle tea when I am out in the bush on a military surplus tent adventure or a family camping trip. In the next installment we will discuss ways to boil water without the use of a tin cup or bowl.
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Survival weaponry; 4 Reasons to Use a Shepherd’s Sling for Survival

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 8.56.01 AM

One of my favorite stories from the Bible is that of David and Goliath. It’s not so much that it is a story of great heritage and tradition, it is that of course, rather it is the concept of a man using what he had to get what he wants. It is, in fact, one of the ultimate stories of survival. And it warrants discussion, I think, because the weapon of choice for David was one of the most basic of all survival weapons, a simple stone sling.

Now, a stone sling is not the most simple survival tool, that honor goes to the throwing stick, a solid bow of wood about the circumference and shape of your bent arm which you can hurl at enemies or prey with fairly amazing accuracy. But a sling is a very close second. A sling involves nothing more than two pieces of cordage, (rawhide or shoelaces will work), that holds a pouch for a stone in between them. (I have use the insides of pants pockets and shoe tongues before). The premise is to use centrifugal force to generate velocity and to direct the generated velocity at your target in an accurate manner, or, in layman’s terms: to get a good spin on it and give it a fling! These things are highly accurate and are used the world over to bring down some pretty hellacious foes. In survival, you will use what you have on hand.  In any event, I have compiled four good reasons that a stone sling is a good choice for survival… enjoy!

  1. It is easily made. Whether you find yourself in a survival situation, are with your family on a camping trip or a military surplus tent adventure, or are embroiled in the most desperate of apocalyptic measures, you can always find what you need to make a sling. Even the half rotten carcass of a deer can yield enough rawhide to fashion one as will the inner bark of a willow tree.
  2. The ammunition is cheap. It shoots rocks, arguably the most common resource on the planet.
  3. It is quiet. Except for the spin of the sling through the air, and the whack of the stone on target, this thing is whisper quiet, unlike a bow that produces a “thwack” when the arrow is released, or even an atl atl which makes a bit of a snip when thrown.
  4. It is ultra portable. This thing folds right up into a pocket or will hang around your neck quite nicely. Also works in a pinch for other uses.
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Urban tactics 101: The 3 Lessons of the Trailing Gunman

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Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 8.17.02 AM

As part of this series of urban tactics for the survival minded, I’d like to bring up a great proponent of survival and combat thinking: No matter how much you train, prepare, and develop strategies, you should never lose sight of the fact that your opponents are just as likely to train and prepare for their nefarious activities as well.

This brings us to this writing’s lesson, that of the tactics adopted by the bad guys. As our counterparts in Mumbai, Paris, Mali, Savoy, and other places have unfortunately discovered, not every mass killer is an inadequate and unsophisticated personality who is a lone wolf style gunman that will kill himself when confronted by an opposing force. Some of these guys are the sick and twisted equivalent of SEAL Team Six and have had vast amounts of training to prepare for the attack that  they are generating. Therefore, we must never underestimate them my brothers, and one of the ways we can keep from doing so is to be aware of the tactics that they might use. In this instance, the trailing gunman. So here are three lessons we should learn from the tactic of the trailing gunman.

  1. Always check your six. Always, always, always check your six. Defend your back. That is your most vulnerable spot and you should monitor it constantly. Tunnel vision will get you killed.
  2. Distance is your friend. Once I heard Old Master Chief of Seal Team Five, Hershel Davis, comment on his preferred weaponry in any given situation and wasn’t surprised to hear that his favorite long gun for combat was either the M-14, or the M-1 Garand.  I know why too. It’s because you can really reach and touch a MF’er with both the .308 and the .30/06 round. You can touch them from as far away as you can see them and it is better to settle the thing from a distance than to engage in CQB… it just is.
  3. Strike quickly. Forget the bullshit of offering an active killer the opportunity to surrender. That will only get you killed, even the cops don’t do that anymore, their only goal is to stop the threat. Take your shot as soon as you get it, and scan the area for further threats… from cover!
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Urban warfare tactics 101: three reasons we don’t draw on a pulled gun

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It’s been on my mind lately to cover some specwar tactics regarding urban warfare. The good news is that there is an excellent resource out there for good, common sense strategies regarding urban tactics and if you care to subscribe to these guys on youtube, you can see dozens of cases involving survival gunplay and self defense tactics. The name of the channel is “ACTIVE SELF PROTECTION” or “ASP” which carries a dual meaning.

So, the first thing I want to cover is the topic of the linked video, and that is the fact that we should never draw on a drawn gun… unless, that is, there is sufficient opportunity to do so.  I’m going to warn you right off the bat, the first part of the video is a bit hard to watch as it shows an altercation between an obviously fit and capable police officer who loses a gunfight for two reasons in my opinion. First, he tried to draw on a drawn gun, and second he hadn’t performed nearly enough muscle memory drills with his equipment to be proficient with it. Drawing a duty weapon is not a two handed, several second endeavor. I personally break leather at least several dozen times per TOD just to be ready to perform in an altercation with no aforethought or struggle.

In any event, the scope of this writing is to stress the importance of not drawing against a drawn weapon and here are three reasons it’s a bad idea to be committed to such an act.

  1. Action is faster than reaction. I often stress to my counterparts and cohorts the fact that in order to be successful in a gunfight we need to shoot the other guy before he shoots us, or at the very least shoot him better than he shoots us. The problem is that the bad guy, bushwacker, ambusher, or cretin who slinks in the shadows knows that we are in a gunfight way before we do.
  2. It causes you to rely too much on a firearm. I have said this many times in the past decade and I say it again: the main reason the police have lost so much credibility with the public is that they are more prone to shoot you these days than they are to go hands on with you. I blame this on a lack of defensive tactics training and too much confidence in “gadgets”… among other things.
  3. Firearms are most effective when used from a position of cover. Fight or Flight is an ingrained survival instinct for a reason. The best thing to do before you engage a gunman is to find a position of cover to engage him from. Matt Dillon facing down Black Bart in Gunsmoke was a Hollywood fantasy… even at that Matt got shot a lot.
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Survival canning; 4 things you didn’t even know you could can

Canned "King White Salmon" rom the annual NY trip

Canned “King White Salmon” from the annual NY trip

Recently I was working a long shift with my good friend Tom L. when I suddenly detected the odor of sweaty socks and fishy garbage wafting through the office at about chest level. Since I was sitting down I got the maximum effect out of this phenomena and immediately jumped to the most likely conclusion.

“Tom!” I yelled, “What the hell are you eating?”

He appeared quickly from around the corner, eyes gleaming with devilish lust, a small canning jar hanging limply from one hand. In his other hand he brandished the fork side of the hobo knife I had given him for Christmas, the year before. He gestured towards me with the jar and the knife at the same time.

“It’s fish sarge, canned salmon from last year’s run in New York. Me and Jerry got twenty-seven pounds of this stuff apiece. I been canning it.”

It smelled like hell, but I had to admit that he had my interest. I am a sucker for canned things. I love sardines, clams, oysters… all of it. Even canned crab meat. So it was with very little trepidation that I took a bit of old Tom’s canned salmon and ate it… It was like a party in my mouth!

I decided then and there to accompany Tom and Jerry, (yes, I know!),  on their next fishing trip for no other reason than to stock up on a supply of fish for myself. Tom is going to can it for me too.  Here are things that Tom cans that would make an excellent addition to any military surplus tent adventure, survival trip, or existence after a coming apocalypse.

  1. Venison and other meats. Tom has his own special seasonings he adds and he won’t tell me what they are; however, the point is that you can preserve any kind of meat, fish, chicken etc… by canning it.
  2. Casseroles and meals. I never thought of it, but Tom had canned many different already cooked meals to include stews, spaghettis, and lasagna.
  3. Dried beans. Very effective for if and when you don’t have a bagging system and you need them to last for food or seed.
  4. Gravy. Perfect way to save sausage gravy for a time when there is no refrigeration process.

 

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Survival needs: 3 question you should ask before you invest in gold and silver

gold coins

One of the questions that I hear quite often about prepping and survival in general is that age old quandary of whether one should invest heavily in silver and gold in preparation  for the coming apocalypse.  The answer to a question like this is never really cut and dried, because there are too many possibilities involved with an apocalyptic event. Whether it is a full collapse of the government for instance, whether martial law is declared, etc…

It is my practice therefore to prepare for the very most minimalistic scenario, that of full economic and societal collapse resulting in the degradation of society to it’s maximum deviation. The fact of the matter is that you can not eat silver and gold. It doesn’t keep you warm at night, doesn’t fashion well into arrow heads and knife blades, and can’t help you build a fire as far as I know.  So, in order to help you answer this question for yourself, I have developed three survival questions that I ask myself each and every time I put something into my bug out kit or take out into a survival situation or military surplus tent adventure.

  1. Can it feed me? In other words can I eat it or use it to get something to eat? I’m not talking about bartering here, I’m talking about a specific directed use. Everything you have should be able to perform three or four functions. A knife for instance is good for many things from fire building to self defense. The same is true for many, many other survival items. Paracord for instance. If it doesn’t have a dual role it is probably not needed.
  2. Is it worth it’s weight? No pun intended here, but there are many times that jerky will be more valuable than gold… like when you’re hungry for instance. You may want to consider whether the gold/silver would be more valuable than bullets for instance. I can assure you that in most situations you won’t be able to get more for gold than for bullets… one way or another.
  3. Can I find it in the wild? Well, this goes without saying, but gold and silver are just lying around in some places, why would you take with you something that is the equivalent of a rock, (albeit a shiny one)?
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RDDUSA product review: Buck 110 automatic

 

Photo By: Buck Knives

Photo By: Buck Knives

 

Having seen a lot in my lifetime, I’m not usually easily impressed, but I am very  impressed by the recent release of the Buck 110™ Folding Hunter Automatic.  Now there are very few things that get my blood pumping like a switchblade knife. I don’t know why that is other than the fact that my grandmother used to accuse me of being a warmonger, (and my father used to get exasperated by my making weapons in his garage). But there is something very satisfying by the crisp “snick” that a switchblade makes as it locks into place.

My first Buck 110 came to  me under the tutelage of the Wildman, an iconic miscreant of dynamic proportions who haunted the creeks and valleys of my native southern Ohio farmland. Wildman was notorious for flagrant poaching and common degeneracy. He was about as nefarious a mentor as a boy of twelve or thirteen could get, and luckily for me I was best friends with his cousin, Lonnie Bridgeford. Now Wildman very rarely if ever profited off of the deals that he made with Lonnie and I. As a matter of fact, he quite often suffered greatly at our expense, he even told us so.  So it was lucky for me that I was able to get my first Buck 110 as a trade from the Wildman for nothing less than a rifled Remington™ 870 barrel, a hand forged tomahawk, and two boxes of twelve gauge buckshot. Later in life I got better at gun trading. However, that does not change the fact that the Buck 110 is arguably the single most iconic American blade of all time. There is something especially engaging about those Dymondwood® grips and brass bolsters, so much so that they elicited many acts of counterfeiting by every cheap Pakistani knifemaker in the country. I can remember the proliferation of the design being made available at every flea market and gun show in the eighties.

Though this blade has had a customization following who converted it to an automatic for several years, this is the first time since 1964 that the design was offered from the manufacturer and has recently been unveiled at the 2017 SHOT show.  Retail is going to be around $200 but I personally can’t wait to get one.  There s no greater blade to carry on a family camping trip, military surplus tent adventure, or survival excursion than the buck 110.

 

 

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Welcome to my office: 3 things you need to be a freelance writer

"My Office" Photo By: Covenant Images

                                     “My Office”
                        Photo By: Covenant Images

There is truly no greater vocation than that of being a writer. With a simple canvas stretched before me of a plain white, unadulterated field of expression I get the opportunity to take the English language and formulate, for you my reader, an expression that is built of both cognitive thought and imagination… and in the process I am building that thought and provoking that imagination in your head, utilizing your facilities, with nothing more than prose and the elements of creative writing. Of the many jobs I have held in my life, freelance writing is truly my favorite and the one for which I have never lost my passion.

So! “What does this have to do with military surplus tents and equipment?” you might ask. And the answer is that it has everything to do with military surplus tents, Army tents, surplus military equipment, guns, knives, survival, prepping, and anything else you might find yourself interested in. Because the writing process is the means by which we share our information, especially in today’s technological era. This web content, you see, doesn’t write itself. So, here is my pitch for the day, why not consider some freelance writing to get the knowledge and skills that you have at your discretion out into the public eye? The fact of the matter is that there is a definite shortage of writers right now. I turn down business every day from agencies and outlets that I have no interest in, and instead focus on those that I have a certain degree of expertise in. You can do the same thing and here are three things you need to get a lucrative full or part time freelance writing business going.

  1. A good grasp of your native language. It would also be a good idea to understand the elements of style, (Strunk & White wrote an excellent reference entitled the same for American English). As part of this skillset it would also benefit you to gain an understanding of the seven aspects of fiction.  Though as a freelancer you will find yourself writing in many different genres of the craft, you will find that being able to write good fiction is beneficial.
  2. A good writing medium. In this day and time that equals a computer of some sort. The good news is that nearly anything can be used to write… nearly anything. I have in my example photo four different mediums; there is a MacBook Pro, an iPad, a Kindle Fire, and an iPhone, (used to take the photo). And I have used each and every one of them at one time or another to write stories and articles, even books. If I had to I could use any one of the four and never miss a deadline.  One friend you have that you might not even realize is there is the “voice to text” application that comes with Apple products. This is a great way to get caught up when you find yourself in the parking lot of a rest area at 0300 and you have a 0400 story or blog deadline and have nothing with you but your iPhone.
  3. An internet connection. My favorite place to write is at an all night McD’s that offers free internet. However, I have plied my craft in other places such as public libraries, Starbuck’s, hospitals, and filthy alleys behind seedy bars.
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Vanlife: how the nomadic lifestyle is appealing to modern survivalists

Photo By: hivewire3d

     Photo By: hivewire3d

Though it’s usually military families, or prior military personnel, there is a movement afoot that is as old as the taming of the horse and the invention of the wheel; that of the nomadic lifestyle. The newest twist on this way of life is reminiscent of the Vardo caravans of Gypsy lore. And the fact of the matter is that it isn’t really a new lifestyle, rather it is one that comes and goes in it’s appeal depending on the going culture.

Many of us, for example, can remember the free loving spirit of the 1960’s and the allure of Haight-Ashbury that drew so many of the countries youth away from the Viet Nam war and into a nomadic culture of free existence and community living. And though that movement has died for the most part, and was replaced by the yearning for a house in the suburbs and a nine to five, so does the dream come alive again, many times it seems on the heels of a war.

It was after WWII that we saw a rise in the biker clubs of the 1950’s and following Viet Nam that we saw the hippie movement. And now, in the wake of the war in the Middle East, we are seeing a new nomad emerge from the ashes, gather his horse and wagon, and drive off into the horizon to live closely with nature. In this instance horse and wagon has been replaced by mini-van and RV. In the 1960’s we saw the VW Micro-bus, and post WWII the Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

And so the question is posed regarding what makes veterans of foreign wars so adept at the nomadic lifestyle? What is the allure that draws such men and women into a wandering existence, traveling light and sleeping at night beneath the desert sun, or pitching a military surplus Army tent in the mountains? The answer I think is defined in one word: “freedom”. Many find freedom – true freedom- for the first time in an Army base on a foreign land. And once they get a taste of that freedom, they become possessed by the notion of it and it drives them then… into the wilderness.

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USMC Jungle boots head for last big test: 3 things this means for you

Photo By: RDDUSA

                       Photo By: RDDUSA

After a five month evaluation period that wrapped up just before Christmas, the USMC is assessing feedback from the 400 odd Hawaii based “boots on the ground” Marines who put the newly designed footwear to the test. Reports say that at this point no company has been specifically eliminated from the original evaluation period, and it is possible that at least two more boot makers will be allowed to take part in the testing.

While there were supposed to be four combat boot prototypes made available form different bootmakers, sources say that only two: Rocky Boots™ and Belleville Boots™ were prepared with enough boots for the deployment test period. [1]

So what you might ask, does this mean for you the consumer of the finest quality of military surplus tents and equipment? Well, specifically it comes down to things. Considering the fact that military contracts are designed to provide for so many units to be produced for so many dollars, it is inherent that there will be extras left over. These extras will then be provided to you, the citizen consumer, as an auction item for surplus, and this is what you can expect to obtain from this process.

  1. Quality. These boots are being put through the most rigorous of tests by the toughest men and women on the planet.  The United States Marine Corps is quite arguably the roughest knuckled fighting force that has ever been assembled and as such the equipment that they use has to be tough too. If you buy their surplus, you are getting military surplus equipment that can take nearly anything tat you can dish out to it.
  2. Consistency.  How many times have you bought the same item only to have it fit differently and not be as expected? The good news about military surplus is that it is built to very specific guidelines and as such the manufacturing is going to be the same every single time. It would be rejected by quality control otherwise.
  3. Affordability. Let’s face it folks, the U.S. Military isn’t in the profit business. They are in this to wage war and win those wars. The selling offof military surplus equipment items is done strictly to try to get some of the loss back. The advantage goes to you the citizen consumer.

 

 

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The Appalachian Trail; using military surplus for the adventure of a lifetime

Photo By: romanticasheville.com

             Photo By: romanticasheville.com

If you’ve ever dreamed of testing yourself to the fullest, and you haven’t hiked the Appalachian Trail, you should consider all or a portion of it as one or more of your coming summer adventures. Though the trail is roughly 2180 miles long and it encompasses 14 states, it has many numbers of accommodations available for travelers.  Many travelers along the Trail have found that used military surplus and tents have come in quite handy while traversing the trails. It stands to reason that military equipment would be quite well suited to travelling the Trail. Military backpacks and clothing, not to mention wool blankets and portable cots were designed to offer the best comfort and greatest mobility.

In the summer months, there are thousands of volunteers who commit thousands of hours of community work to the trail. This includes upkeep on the more than 250 three sided shelters which are available to those who do not want to pack the weight of a tent around. If you are a novice hiker, then Maryland and West Virginia offer the easiest parts of the trail to hike, and if you are a hard core adventurer with granite thighs and stainless steel sinew you should jump in at Maine or New Hampshire, where the hard parts are. Those who have traversed the Trail from Georgia to Maine are said to have at some time or another been in the company of black bears, Moose, porcupines, snakes, woodpeckers, salamanders, foxes, chipmunks, bobcat, and whitetailed deer.

You’ll meet plenty of other hikers too. Two to three million hikers walk a portion of the Trail every year, and there are literally hundreds of access points. Of those that try to hike the entire trail from Georgia to Maine, (usually about a six-month journey), only one in four make it, (no, they don’t die, they just give up).  You could be that one in four, especially if you give yourself the advantage of gearing up with used military equipment before you start out.

The time is nearly upon us as we start planning our coming Summer endeavors and this one is a dandy.

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Survival prepping: 7 places to get gear cheap

Photo By: Do it Yourself World

Photo By: Do it Yourself World

One of the things that I hate the most about prepping and disaster preparation is the fact that this ideology, which is really just one of basic survival, has been capitalized on as a money hoarding endeavor. Anyone who makes a trip to any outdoor store will be bombarded by a plethora of survival themed items that are being sold for top dollar.

The good news is though that it is not necessary to buy top of the line overly expensive items to survive effectively or to prepare several bug-out kits for yourselves and your families. You need look no further than your own local neighborhood outlets to find many deals available for your needs. Here are seven options for cheap, (or free), gear and essentials.

  1. The local military surplus store. This goes without saying. The best made equipment is usually that which is used by the military to win wars. As a result of bureaucratic inefficiency, this equipment is regularly offered for sale as surplus at a fraction of the cost that it was purchased for… many times when it is still brand new.
  2. Thrift stores. This is like a civilian surplus store. Again, thanks to government bureaucracy, Americans can get a tax credit for giving their unwanted but valuable items to thrift shops… the savings go to you.
  3. Dollar stores. These things are incredible, and you can find anything in dollar stores that you need, from knives to bags of dried beans. You could literally fill every need for survival in a dollar store from shelter to food.
  4. Antique shops. Again, another example of civilian surplus. These shops are crammed full of formerly necessary items which have become unneeded as technology has advanced… things which will be needed again if the power grid were to fail.
  5. Gun and Knife shows. This form of collective bartering will get you all sorts of deals as you gather with like-minded people who are in need of resources, cash, or a change of scenery.
  6. Garage sales. It goes without saying that you can find all sorts of deals in your own neighborhood particularly if someone has recently been deceased.
  7. Dumpsters. Not just at apartment complexes near major universities, dumpsters hold lots of treasures especially near retail outlets.
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Big city prepping: 3 things you should prepare for

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If you are at all like me, then the worst thing that you can ever find yourself doing is going to a big city. I am not joking when I say that I’d rather be poked in the eye with a stick… not a sharp stick, than to go to the big city.  The reason is that it is just so full of people. I, as a survivalist, see other people as competition for resources.

Unfortunately there are many times that I have to go to the city for business, taking the wife to a broadway show, etc… However, whenever I do, it doesn’t leave the back of my mind that we are just one act of terror away from a full blown survival situation, and because of this I try to prepare accordingly. There are three main concerns that I have whenever I’m in the city and they are fairly common sense.  I call them the sacred city three in contrast to the “sacred four” of survival: Shelter, Water, Fire, and Food.  Here are the three things I worry about and how I try to prepare for them.

  1. Water. This is a pretty easy one. After my wife and I get our baths/showers for the night, we fill the tub up. That’s it; fill it up in case you need it to fill bottles, wet towels, wet blankets, wet yourselves, etc…You can drain it if you need to use the tub again. As a matter of fact we often leave it full when we vacate just in case.
  2. Fire. I don’t mean the making of it, in this instance I mean the escape from it. The water from number one can come into play here as well, and one of the reasons we leave the tub full is so that we can wrap wet blankets and towels around us to protect us from heat if we have to make a hasty retreat in the midst of flames.
  3. Weapons. When I fly I don’t take guns with me. Therefore, I make a mental list of non-typical weaponry that is available to me for the event of an emergency. don’t limit yourself, there are lots of non-traditional options available which are the equivalent to the “lock in a sock” of prison fame.
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Military Surplus Forecast: Blast Protective Pants

Photo by: Army Times

         Photo by: Army Times

According to the Army Times, the military is rolling out a new set of combat fatigues that we can expect to see appearing on the surplus market very soon.  These “Blast Protective Trousers” come equipped to keep the boys safe from shrapnel as a result of IED’s and other detritus driven injury devices. In a recent article it was reported:

The Army is rolling out a new pelvic protector to shield soldiers from painful and potentially life-threatening injuries caused by the debris, dirt and dust kicked up in an improvised explosive device blast. 

The blast pelvic protector, a lightweight ballistic harness that protects soldiers from underneath, was designed by a team at  the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center . It is meant to avoid the multiple surgeries it takes to remove the debris that commonly gets lodged in a soldier’s groin area in the event of a blast. Those wounds are not only painful but can lead to deadly infections. 

The piece is meant to improve on the groin-protecting flap that comes with a body armor kit, which can only protect against a fragmentation explosion from the front, said Kristine Isherwood, a mechanical engineer at NSRDEC and the project’s lead, in a Tuesday phone interview with Army Times. 

“It’s meant to mitigate not so much a life-threatening situation as a quality of life,” she said. 

The harness does, however, cover a good portion of the inner thigh, protecting the femoral artery and making it look like a very short set of chaps or a pair of shorts rather than the diaper-like design of some other blast protectors on the market. 

That design was the key to the whole project, said lead designer Cara Tuttle, because they knew if it looked too ridiculous, soldiers wouldn’t wear it.  

“The shape of the design came about due to considering soldier acceptability. If something isn’t designed with this sort of ‘cool’ factor, then soldiers are less likely to wear it,” she said. “The factor that it looks like a harness and not a diaper, for instance, helps make it more acceptable to soldiers to wear.” 

The team decided early on that it should be worn outside the uniform, rather than as an undergarment or built into uniform pants, for several reasons. 

“One clear thing is hygiene issues,” Isherwood said. “It’s easier to have a separate piece where the guys can launder their trousers separate from this protective equipment. And you can visually confirm that yes, they’re wearing it, they didn’t forget it over at the laundry.” 

The good news is that it is detachable and therefore doesn’t necessitate the purchase of one per pair of trousers as some security devices may. We look forward to seeing these on the shelves very soon.

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Switchblades: 3 reasons they are a good idea to re-legitimize

Photo By: The Cross and the Switchblade

      Photo By: The Cross and the Switchblade

In 1958, after a wave of Hollywood driven rhetoric, the Switchblade Act came into effect which essentially took the ability of millions of honest Americans to have a spring assisted knife from being carried on the person. It had a lot to do with the gang violence of New York, and the knee jerk reactions of politicians and bureaucrats who believe in the demonization of everything. Thank God the movie “Gangs of New York” hadn’t been made yet or we would have one hell of a time getting hatchets and meat cleavers… but I digress.

There is a new bill in the works which will  reverse the act of 1958 and make switchblade knives a legitimate set of working tools again. The Knife Owners’ Protection Act of 2017 was drafted by Arizona Representative Andy Biggs to counter this asinine offensive against cutlery freedom in the nation, which limits the ability for interstate trade and travel with switchblades. Nearly 40 states in the union have already legalized the use of switchblades in one form or another according to Knife Rights Chairman, Doug Ritter, as quoted in a recent article in Knife News.

Switchblades are a long time favorite of law enforcement, the military, preppers and survivalists. They are also pretty popular with people with disabilities.

Here are three good reasons to invest in a switchblade for survival beyond the fact that they look cool as all hell.

  1. The psychological effect. This effect doesn’t just work in favor of the bearer of the knife by scaring the shiz-izzle out of a potential adversary, but it also emboldens the bearer and elicits a feeling of power whenever wielded as a defensive weapon. Much the same as a policeman’s asp.
  2. It offers an excellent backup weapon. Let’s face it, we’re all vulnerable to catching a round and I have seen plenty of footage where a fellow man at arms caught a round which disabled him and which was soon followed up with a coup de gras… not good! A one handed man’s knife can come in very handy in a situation like that.
  3. They are highly collectible. Not only are these things effective, they are highly collectible if they are well made and produced reputably, specifically German and Italian manufacturers, Boker Knives being a prime example. They are perfect additions to the arsenal whether you are on a full blown survival trip, a military surplus tent adventure, or a family camping endeavor. There are even military surplus switchblades available though federal law prohibits their being sold.
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Cracker Barrel to donate rocking chairs to military families

Photo By: Cracker Barrel

Photo By: Cracker Barrel

In a recent partnership with Operation Homefront, Cracker Barrel, (the world renown restaurant which has brought Southern Tennessee to every state in the nation), has made a push to donate their iconic rocking chairs to military families in conjunction with home purchases made possible by Operation Homefront.

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According to Military Times, Cracker Barrel senior exec Sloan Lucas has commented on the fact that military families quite often move around a lot, and the idea behind this initiative is to bring a sense of civilian normalcy to a family that has likely not had a “home” for a while other than a military facility, tent, or complex. The way it works is this: Every time a customer purchases a Cracker Barrel rocking chair online, the company then donates one to a military family who is buying a new home. Furthermore, a customer who doesn’t want to buy a rocking chair, or doesn’t have the need for one, can simply donate up to five dollars by texting SALUTE to number 27722.

For those of you who don’t know, these families can live in the Operation Homefront homes for up to two years as the company helps them to come to an understanding of the intricacies of home ownership. They learn how to manage home costs and the program even assists them in making home repairs and in helping the family navigate the Veteran affairs system.

“Nothing says home like a rocking chair on the front porch” says Margi Kirst, the Chief Development officer at Operation Homefront.

Cracker Barrel and Operation Homefront have pledged nearly half a million dollars to this endeavor which is above and beyond that of whatever donations are received for the program. Both companies have said that they are finalizing plans to launch these campaigns in a grand way.

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Survival paracord; 4 handy uses you can implement today

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We’ve all been there. One minute you are out in the bush enjoying a camping or hunting trip and the very next minute you are engaged in a fight for survival, depending on nothing more than the items you have on you and your steely wit to save from certain death and damnation.  In times like these there is nothing in the world that you need more than some para-cord.

Of course we all know how to make cordage out of the inner bark of certain plants and trees, or how to cut cordage from rawhide, but to be honest, having some prepared and quality manufactured cordage on hand can be the difference between a fun survival trip and one which is just a miserable struggle. So here are four ways to be prepared for a survival situation by having paracord on hand as a replacement for everyday items.

  1. Wear a survival bracelet. You know what these things are, they are all the rage today, and most of you probably even know how to make them. If you don’t and you want to learn, watch a youtube video. Not only are they snazzy and you can make them to represent your favorite sports team or whatever, but they are easily incorporated into everyday dress.
  2. Craft a belt from paracord. Let’s face it, you need a belt anyway, why not make one from paracord and then you will have plenty of cordage with you at all times?
  3. Make a rifle/shotgun sling. This concept is relative to the concept of having a belt made of paracord. Why not craft your own long gun sling that you can use as a functional sling and put to use as cordage in a survival situation?
  4. Use as a wrap for your water bottle. Not only does this concept allow you to have a non-slip grip on your water bottle during a military surplus tent adventure or outdoor excursion, but it also supplies you with a plethora of cordage to use in a survival situation. As with all of these concepts, instructional videos are easily located on youtube.
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Some good news for military veterans… maybe

Photo By: Drexel University

Photo By: Drexel University

United States President elect Donald Trump has recently announced that he wants to nominate David Shulkin as the new Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Already at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. Shulkin had been charged with transforming the country’s largest integrated health system. In 2014, CNN reported that at least 40 U.S. veterans had died while waiting for care at the VA facilities in Phoenix, Arizona, and internal investigations revealed that the problem was widespread. 1

Shulkin was nominated by President Elect Trump, and is yet confirmed by the Senate in 2017. For a physician with decades of experience across the private and academic sectors, the challenge of bringing help to American veterans is going to be daunting, but will not necessarily be anything new to Shulkin.

In this case, that help means bringing business experience from the private sector to the federal government. It means looking for processes that are cheaper, better and faster. It means questioning the status quo to make sure that the system truly benefits veterans and improves access to care. 2 And if his nomination is confirmed, he will have the power to do it.

President elect Trump thinks that he will “Do a truly great job.” And having been a senior advisor and faculty member on Drexel University’s medical school as well as a savvy physician and businessman who knows the ins and out of the medical care industry, it stands to reason then that Shulkin is a great pick for the job.

For too long now, it seems, as if  America has treated it’s military veterans like any other piece of military surplus equipment. Often trying to store them on the shelf, or sell them off to the highest bidder so that they can be someone else’s problem; and President Elect Trump has stated that this is a horrendous practice that must come to an end. In his recently publish book “Crippled America” he has made the claim that he is going to take measures to ensure that the American men and women, who serve this country’s military, deserve to be treated like the first class citizens that they are.

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