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The Fatal Funnel: 3 things to always remember

By:Mr. X, Survivalist

fatal funnel

 

When I teach counter shooter training to civilians, one of the key points that I stress is the concept of using the fatal funnel to your advantage when launching a counter ambush against an active killer.

Unfortunately, this concept isn’t much help in the event that you get caught up in some nastiness like happened recently in Las Vegas, but one of the sub aspects of it will be beneficial, that of using cover to your advantage… but, I am getting a bit ahead of myself here.

The fatal funnel as many, or hopefully, most of you know, is the fact that whatever portal you enter a space through restricts you to a space time continuum that will leave you vulnerable to attack. In other words, being in a doorway leaves your ass hanging in the breeze and anyone that wants to, if they catch you in the fatal funnel, can shoot that fleshly portion right off of you forthcomingly. Therefore it is best to restrict your time in said funnel to the bare minimum and to take three specific precautions when you are forced to pass through… here they are:

  1. Don’t dick around. Though this should go without saying, you’d be surprised how many experienced tactical guys will still hesitate in the door looking for a target. Penetration, penetration, penetration… get up the bad guys ass so far that you have to reach back to shoot him in the face, but do not stand in the doorway. Remember it is usually the number two guy who gets hit and the point guy who busts the bad guys ass, (usually while he’s hooking up the number 2).
  2. Use cover to your advantage. Face it, the fatal funnel is going to offer you an opportunity to catch rounds, it is the nature of the beast. So present cover to the shooter if you can to keep him occupied while you perforate his vitals. Cover can be in the form of a ballistic shield, rifle plate, etc… if you have to go through the fatal funnel, try to go through behind something that’s denser than bullets.
  3. Use a button hook entry. Everyone likes to criss cross for deeper penetration, but a criss cross entry puts point and number two in the stack directly in the fatal funnel. Using a button hook entry puts two guns on target simultaneously and keeps the center of the funnel empty. Remember, it only takes an inch to mean the difference between dead and wounded, and wounded and unscathed.

 

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The time is nigh: 3 late season requirements for fall crappie fishing

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As hard as it is to believe the Holiday season is nearly upon us yet again with the advent of Halloween just around the corner.

And with it comes, for some of us at least, the end of the fishing season. I say that it only comes for some of us, because my friend Jerry Yates, the owner of Frog’s Fanny™ fly dressing,  fishes no matter what weather he is being assailed with. As a matter of fact, you will be learning quite a bit from him this coming year about fly fishing if you follow this blog, because he and I are going to be starting a fly fishing channel on youtube called “Fishing with Fanny” (tentatively)

In any event if you haven’t done so yet, get that military surplus army tent of yours out of storage, get your chainsaw blades sharpened, grab the boy, and go on a last of the season fishing adventure before the snow is flying and you have too much halloween candy stuck in your teeth to be any earthly good.

Here are three things you have to have to enjoy a fall crappie fishing excursion to the fullest:

 

  1. A genuine US military surplus army tent of the style of your choice. Of course this is the first item on the list because this is a military surplus blog for crying out loud. But truly, the fact of the matter is that there is nothing in the world that turns a fishing trip into an adventure like having a surplus army tent to sleep in. It doesn’t matter how old you are; that never wears off.
  2. Grab some live bait. These fish are not lost to fact that slim times are coming and they will be in a feeding frenzy until the end of the season trying to get ready for winter. Get some live bait out there and get them fish fattened up.
  3. Some hot brewed beverages for sipping around the fire at night. It doesn’t matter if you are enjoying a Buckstars cup of ground espresso roast or just some hot apple cider heated over your campfire and sipped out of a tin cup. Fall fishing trips involve chilly nights, hot fires, good company, and warm drinks. Get ready and enjoy the most magical time of the year.

 

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The Serpent Mound; Southern Ohio’s best kept secret

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Yesterday I took  trip to the rugged wilds of Southern Ohio where the Adena Culture of Native Americans once thrived and, for some reason, decided to build one of the largest effigy mounds in the world.

Parking costs $8, which seemed a little steep, and the “museum” is a bit cheesy, but in the long run it was worth it. The sign at the start of the quest indicates that the Adenas, members of the Fort Ancient culture,  had built this effigy as a shrine to a serpent spirit which evidently they believed inhabited the area. That sent a bit of a chill up my spine as I read it, because who wants to have to deal with that? I had a hard enough time riding a new local roller coaster that is themed around a large snake in the woods.

But, I have to say that the place has a spirit to it. I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t the spirit of a snake but there is a definite presence there that permeates the place and which you will feel communing with you.  I experienced it first in the rustling of the fall leaves. They rustle and murmur in a playful way. In a way that is reminiscent of stalking footsteps intentionally noisome so as to cause concern. The wildlife is cheeky as well. Squirrels and blue jays will take liberties with you in a way that is not common amongst squirrels or bluejays. Yes, both species are prone to scolding and chastising intruders for their intrusions, but these guys will mess with you, seemingly, for their own entertainment. And it is different somehow, than the cheekiness that is often displayed on college campuses by the wildlife there.

One thing I noticed in particular, as I looked down upon the effigy in it’s entirety from the scaffold observatory that is erected there, is that it looks less like a serpent bearing an egg than it does a serpent bearing a fruit of some sort.  A serpent bearing a forbidden fruit perhaps…

If you are looking for a nice place to enjoy a military surplus tent adventure, consider the Serpent Mound in southern Ohio… you might be surprised what you find there.

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Finding shelter; 3 things you must know to live through an emergency

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We all know by now that it is best in a survival situation to have, readily at hand, a plethora of survival tools, including a nice heavy canvas military surplus tent and gear. The problem is that if you have all of that then you really aren’t in a survival situation at all.

So, let’s discuss a barebones response to wilderness survival shall we? In this scenario, you are alone, ( or not), but you are destitute of anything except for the clothes you are wearing and maybe a pocket knife, (if you have the wherewithal to carry one with you at all times).  What are you going to do? Well, if you are survivalist then you know about the sacred four requirements for life: Shelter, Water, Fire, and Food in that order. Since shelter is the most important item on the list, it often takes the most time to acquire. If you have learned the Debris Hut, then you know that it can take a few hours to gather enough material to make a good nest. So, here is my advice to you in regards to seeking shelter.

  1. Look for natural shelter before you resort to making it. In a recent walk through the local woods I found this tree uprooted by the wind. I noticed that I could have fit into that hole quite nicely. In a survival situation I would utilize this to make my nest.
  2. Build your shelter where the materials are. You are going to be better off having lots of building material at your disposal where you are building your shelter. You might like one spot because it has lots of sign and a water supply, but consider how far you will have to pack your materials to make it profitable.
  3. Use fire to make your shelter more comfortable. When I was taught emergency survival, the use of fire wasn’t considered a factor. I understand the principal, (not everyone can always get a fire going every-time), but after several hundred camping expeditions, all of which involved a fire in some way or the other, I think that it’s ok to plan to use it for shelter as well.

Amazing photography; 3 tricks you must use to save money in the field

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I am an avid hunter and outdoorsman; however, I have lost the instinct to kill over these last few decades of  sustenance and prosperity. That doesn’t change the fact that I have learned to enjoy the hunt and the times that I get to get out into the woods and chase the bad thoughts away.

These days I have exchanged the bow and rifle for the Canon and Sony, the sabots and broad-heads for the EF and the e-mount lenses. I haven’t found this hobby to be cheaper than the other one, but it is cleaner and much more satisfying in the fact that I leave my quarry happily frolicking amongst the hills and dales of his native environment. And, the best part is that I don’t have to worry about licenses or seasons, bag limits or making humane kills. Once I shoot my game, whether I get him or not, I’m finished with him. But I have picked up some tips and tricks that I want to share with you in the event that you have taken up this satisfying realm of hunting as well.  Especially if you are like me and you don’t have an endless budget. Here are three points I have gained that I think you must know about wildlife photography.

  1. Use your tripod like a rifle. This is an idea that I came up with on my own that works very well, basically hold the tripod to your shoulder like a rifle, and you will be amazed at how steady you can keep your camera by pulling the tripod into your shoulder with one hand and steadying it with the other. Works great for video.
  2. Take a Peterson’e Field Guide with you. Not just for the information that it entails, but also to get a visual reference from the professionals who photographed the pictures for that publication.  This will save you thousands of dollars by forgoing the need for classes and coursework.
  3. Learn to shoot left handed. This is a technique that I invented as well. Most of the time I am carrying a tripod with me out into the woods and inadvertently I will have changed it from my left to my right hand just before a deer or bobcat will step out into a cornfield, surrounded by a golden halo of sunlight from the early morning dawn… quite often he will have a laconic look on his face and will pose for the million dollar shot for just a second before leaping off into the shadows as I fumble to drop the tripod and bring my camera to bear.  Simply cup the bottom of your camera in your left hand, use the thumb and forefinger to control the zoom, and depress the shutter-button with your middle finger…

 

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Water spirits!

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I had been after a buddy of mine to go with me to an old farm pond that was on an adjacent farm in rural Preble County Ohio for a long time.  For some reason, though it was a well known place, no one ever seemed to fish this particular pond. Because of this, dreams of fat bass and luscious crappie filled my head every time I thought of it.

I finally got my buddy Jerry to go along with me and we snuck… er… walked quietly into the back lot of the neighboring farm so as not to disturb anyone.

Jerry and I had caught several panfish when I noticed four largemouth bass sitting just under the water, side by side, watching me. They acted like they were on the nest but I had never seen several sit a nest together, and they were side by side, swaying back and forth in rhythm with each other. I fished on for a few minutes until I could feel their eyes on me again and after a few minutes I moved away from them, suddenly feeling vulnerable.  I moved about forty to fifty yards away and again cast my worm into the pond.

A few minutes later, the same four bass, swimming in synch like they were on patrol, came around the edge of the pond, got to where I was, and stopped and watched me; their bodies swaying rhythmically in the brown clear water. I looked over to where Jerry was and saw him happily fishing away, trying energetically to set the hook on a bass that was taking his purple worm.

Feeling a little creeped out, I reeled my line in, walked half way around the pond to get away from them, and cast my line in again. In two minutes they were back… Watching me, swaying rhythmically in the water.

I casually stooped down to the bank, as if to tie my shoe, picked up a rock, and lobbed it in amongst them. They broke apart with the splashing of the water, as if they were merely a reflection, and as the water settled down, there they remained, swaying rhythmically and watching me, apparently the ghosts of long dead bass haunting the anglers who frequented the pond.

Thankfully the hillside that the pond rested on was very steep, and it increased my speed significantly as I ran to beat hell for the truck. I was almost there when Jerry finally passed me, the end of his fly line snapping like a whip as he sped past, thus proving  the herd instinct is still set firmly into our DNA

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Keeping it simple: 4 easy steps to a happier life

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I am sitting in my studio right now, watching a video on the 70″ inch screen and working on an intro for a new youtube channel. I am surrounded by various electronic apparatuses to include several cameras, shotgun microphones, recording devices, computers, monitors, communications devices, and personal data assistants.

It’s a wonder that I can even stand myself.

Luckily for me, I have a spouse who is very adept at matters of spiritual discernment and when I got up from my chair a little bit ago to get a cup of coffee, I discovered that my sweet little wife had bagged me a minuscule snack consisting of a small rind of marbled cheese and a fistful of almonds before she had left for work. I ate my snack and drank my coffee looking out into the sunshine of the back 40… (my .4 acre yard), and have been ruminating on the simple things as I crunched my raw almonds and ate my cheese, (a very good combination though you wouldn’t think so just to hear about it). Anyway, my ruminations led me to these insights. Insights that you must do to slow down the life process and enjoy yourself more.

  1. Experience people. Try turning that audio visual manipulation off and talk to the ones that you love. They are living thinking human beings and they each have a lot of input that they can share with you. All too soon their lips will be hushed in death and your ears sealed the same. Enjoy now the natural audio/visual experience and talk to your kids… heck, take them fishing.
  2. Get out into the environment. Many moments were meant to be captured on film, but some were made to just be experienced. The ambiance and camaraderie of a quiet campfire while attending a military surplus tent adventure are second to none.
  3. Go to church. Whatever faith you are, get out and spend some time with your creator. Know Him, experience Him, love Him. In every faith, God has reached out to mankind so act in reciprocity and talk to God… you might be amazed when He talks back.
  4. Perform random acts of kindness. With so much hate and anger in your face these days, it is amazing what random acts of kindness can do to change your immediate environment. Pay for the car behind you at the drive through, put money in expired meters, heck, just hold a door open for someone or make eye contact and say “hello”. You’ll be surprised at the difference this will make in your own life.
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Wildfire: 3 things you need to know

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If you are endeavoring to enjoy the end of summer in the form of camping, fishing, hiking, or any other form of military surplus tent adventure, then you should be somewhat aware of the danger of fire right now.  Especially in the west, fire is a real and present danger anywhere there is wilderness because the dry weather leads to a dry environment and it is prone to combustion. the truth is that you can get caught in a wildfire at any time nearly anywhere, but some areas are more volatile than others.

Here are three things you need to know:

  1. Avoid a wildfire. If you want to simply stay out of the wildfires, simply keep an eye on the environment that you are in. Green lush underbrush is highly unlikely to result in fire, as any survivalist who has tried to start a fire with green wood can tell you. If the foliage ranges in color from yellow to brown, then you are in more danger of fire depending on the color. I have seen fires get started with the sun shining through  a condom full of water before when it is dry enough.
  2. Watch your heat sources. This means campfires, catalytic converters, condoms full of water in the sunlight etc… Don’t use firecrackers or gun errantly. Understand that once you get a fire going, you will play hell to get it stopped. You are so much better off just not getting into the problem to begin with.
  3. Have a plan to get away from a fire. Running from it isn’t an option because it can usually travel faster than you can. It’s best to look for non-flammable terrain, depressions, already burnt areas, and large bodies of water to get yourself into. Remember to protect your airways, and to remove any type of clothing that will ignite and melt, thereby sticking to you while burning.
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Getting back into the wild blue yonder… 3 things you must not forget to do

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I have recently been busy with life in general and with current events in particular. I have been assailed with Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, ANTIFA, the religious left, and various other groups of radical malcontents.

Beyond that I have been assailed with the horrible prospect that the Hemingway House, my favorite place to visit, may be finally meeting it’s end at the windy hands of Hurricane Irma…

So, today I did something that I haven’t done for several weeks, I got the camera bag out, dusted off my grandfather’s military surplus Army tent, and headed off for the bushes. I am writing this from the comfort of an old log that is nestled comfortably against the night in the glow of a snapping campfire. The fall weather is crisp but nice and there are no mosquitos to be found. Though I am writing this on an iphone, there is nothing else modern in sight, except for my Subaru…

I did however, get some beautiful photographs:

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The point is that I have spent this day forgetting the horrors of the real world and for that I am truly grateful. It has caused me to realize that I have been remiss in my duties to my own well being, and after thinking on this I wanted to point out that there are three things that we must all do to keep our sanity.

  1. Get out into nature. If you are reading this it is because you are survival minded. No one takes an interest in military surplus who is not a rugged adventurer at heart. This being said, most of us are working therefore as medics, nurses, firefighters, EMT’s, and cops. But even if you don’t work in the public service sector, (it may be that you have more sense than that), you are certain to have an over abundance of stress in your life and you need to get back to the basics.
  2. Get a hobby. For me this is both photography and knife-making… I know, strange combination, but I gave up hunting years ago for photography. I didn’t do this because I’m a bleeding heart, I am too lazy to clean and butcher my own game and too tight to pay someone to do it.
  3. Learn to love. This may sound strange but this society is too pre-occupied with hate for it’s own good. I hear it everyday, “I hate Chines food”, “I hate this… I hate that”… etc… What if we as a people just dwelled on things that are lovely, that are righteous, that are good? Would we have time to hate others so badly then? Learn to love… what if you did?

 

Survival 201: 4 things you must have with you at all times

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In light of the recent tragedies in Texas and around the world, it seems that is most important, especially now, to rehash the basics of survival, and to re-visit the are necessities of life in a hurricane tragedy, war, or natural disaster that is big enough to create a world of anarchy.

We all know that the sacred four are Shelter, Water, Fire, and Food in that order, but there are other factors that you need to consider in the event that you are confronted with a natural disaster and are confronted with the threat of your fellow man, unrestrained by the confines of basic law and order. So here is this old survivalists top pick of things you need to have with you at all times.

  1. A set of Lifestraws™. I can’t praise these things enough! Except for in desert conditions, finding water is nearly never a problem. (It certainly isn’t an issue in Texas right now) But, finding clean, potable water is. These Lifestraws™ make that a non-issue, and for the first time in survivalists history, you don’t have to put a whole lot of thought into purifying water . Get Some!
  2. 22 caliber ammunition. After the past two presidential terms, there was a huge gun and ammo scare and there for a long time you couldn’t buy this stuff. I can still remember when you could get fifty rounds of .22 for a dollar, and while those days are long gone, the fact is you can at least buy the stuff now. As a matter of fact there is so much .22 ammo out there it has always bothered me that these zombie movies don’t make it more prevalent s it would be the perfect medium for putting down zombies. It also works on other warm blooded creatures.
  3. Blades. You can never have enough knives. PERIOD! And Buck Knife Co. as well as many others offer quality and dependable knives at a very affordable price.
  4. Cordage. If you have never known the misery of trying to twist your own cordage into existence from the inner bark of a cottonwood tree, then you don’t know true misery. Especially when you’re doing it in the rain trying to make a bow drill fire. These survival bracelets are an excellent idea… I have several attached to my bug out bags.

 

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Eclipse effects on hunting and fishing: 3 things you need to know

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Today we will experience a phenomena that hasn’t occurred since 1918, a complete solar eclipse of the sun.  And the fact of the matter is that no one knows for sure what’s going to happen as far as the effects that this will have on hunting and fishing.

The eclipse will start at approximately 10:15 on the west coast and will pass over 14 states total. The eclipse will be seen everywhere in the nation, but will only be full in fourteen states.

There is speculation that the eclipse will create higher than normal tides which could affect hunting and fishing in some states, in any event, here are three things you must do when the sun goes out.

  1. Anchor your boat. If you are fishing make sure that you cut the engines and anchor your boat for the five or six minutes that the nation will go dark. It is estimated that the bass might stop hitting for a while, but then they are expected to pick right up again.
  2. Unload your rifle. If you are game bird hunting, or even just target shooting today, remember that you will be affected by low light conditions and it will not be safe, (or even legal), in many areas to continue to shoot a firearm.
  3. Wear your glasses. If you absolutely must be out in the eclipse, and even more if you HAVE to look at it, make sure that you wear a pair of glasses that will protect your eyes from the glaring sun. It is not enough to wear simple sunglasses, and the glasses that are for sale in many places are not completely safe for observing the eclipse. Do your homework and make sure that the sunglasses you have are rated well enough to protect you from harm.  You only have one set of eyes and you won’t want to burn them out on a once in a lifetime endeavor.
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NUCLEAR WAR! 3 things you must do to survive the initial attack

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With the crisis that Guam is facing right now from North Korea, it is important that we go over some of the things that every school child learned in the early cold war era. Basically how to survive the initial blast of a nuclear device, or better put, how to give yourself the best chance of surviving the blast.  There are three things that I am told you can do to increase your chances of surviving the initial blast, though it is beyond the scope of this post to go into detail regarding the ongoing survival of the effects of the blast. Though there is no completely effective way to guarantee survival in the event of a nuclear attack, this tutorial will hopefully give you an edge that might save you from immediate death. In later posts we will delve into the ongoing activities that will increase your survival chances.

  1. Don’t look at the blast. As a matter of fact, as soon as you see what it is, get moving. This is a time that you only have seconds to take action in, and standing there with your mouth agape is not a recipe for success. As a matter of fact, from this point on you should always take account of where you’re at and be cognizant of where the nearest protection is from the initial blast of heat.
  2. Seek a barrier. You probably won’t have time to get to a fallout shelter right away, and before you can even worry about fallout, you have to survive the heat.  Hopefully you will be able to get an idea of where the bomb went off and you want the thickest piece of concrete you can get between you and it. Concrete berms, pillars, walls, etc… will all be barriers that will protect you to some extent from that heat blast.
  3. Get underground fast. As soon as the heat is gone, get out of the environment. It is horribly contaminated and you are running out of time with every second. Get underground and stay there for at least 48 hours.
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Repurposing; 3 things you can repurpose in everyday life

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I was recently out with my wife looking for new parcels of land to buy, (no, we’re not rich), we just like to find inexpensive lots in the country to purchase for investments and to have as an inheritance for our children’s children.

We found several lots that were a bit out of our league, and then I spotted one that was on a triangular lot that connected to a woodline, and which had a shed built on it.  The price was right and it looks like we might be getting a new project to work on, because when I saw that shed, I actually saw a very cute little cabin with a lean-to attachment for animals to be  kept in. So today I would like to talk to you about re-purposing things to fit your needs. I think it is a tragedy whenever I see a perfectly usable building razed or perfectly usable materials destroyed or cast away when the time and energy used to create them can be put to good use through re-purposing.

Here are three things you can repurpose in everyday use.

  1. Old sheds. There is no reason that I can think of to tear down a perfectly sound structure just because you don’t need a tractor shed. You can cover a dirt floor with a simple frame and plywood floor. Cover it with linoleum or carpet and you have a nice foundation for a residence. Add a little drywall and some paint and you have a palace.
  2. Army surplus tents and tarps. I have already covered several different ways to use military canvas for repurposing, but here are some others: You can make clothing out of them, (Levi Strauss made a fortune out of this idea). You can also use them to create temporary cisterns, pools, shelters, collection devices, etc…
  3. All metal. Don’t ever throw any metal away. Non-ferrous metals can be welded together or forge welded, and softer metals can be smelted for new uses.
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Survival 101; 3 things you must know how to do to survive

 

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As a recap of times past, I want to take a few moments to go over what I consider to be one of the most important aspects of survival, I call it the needy 3. Not to be confused with the sacred four, because this is the bare necessity of wilderness survival in a hostile environment.

Simply put, the needy 3 entail these:

  1. The ability to trap food
  2. The ability to make weaponry, (devastating weaponry)
  3. The ability to make defensible shelter

These skills are not necessarily needed during a military surplus tent adventure, or while on a camping  trip or festival excursion with the wife and kids, (though they could turn out to be), rather, what I’m referencing here is the low down and dirty survival experiences that motion pictures are made of.

So let’s start with the trapping of food. The ability to trap is needed because you really don’t have time to hunt or harvest, and you should be using your time for better things like staying alive. Part of staying alive is having energy through protein. A set of Paiute deadfalls, or figure four traps or snares can be a life saver in survival situations; however, be sure to set them in out of the way places because predictability can be a killer in an enemy environment.

Weaponry is very important and you should always take the time to learn the deadliest means of weaponry  possible. One of my favorite examples is to fashion an arrow or spear tip from a car or house key and a coarse rock. You will be surprised at how devastating these bits of metal can be when prepared into a sharp point and fasted to shaft.

A survival shelter in a hostile environment should consist of a shelter that is open on several sides, a firepit that is below ground, and a deflector of some sorts. Use only very dry wood that won’t smoke much, and sleep with one eye open.

 

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Vehicle attack; 4 things you need to always do to protect yourself

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It has recently become a trend to use heavy lorries and other motor vehicles for mass murder across the world. The terrorists are doing this because it is so easy to get control of a motor vehicle and there are literally millions of them at hand for the taking.

That is one of the reasons that we are seeing an increase in these types of attacks. Of course it doesn’t take me to tell you that. What it might take me to tell you though is that there are things you can do to prepare for the attack that comes to you from a roadway. I recently found myself shooting video at a religious rally that drew in several college students and some ANTIFA protestors. And it occurred to me as I was watching the festivities that if any terrorist threat group were operating in the area, this would make an excellent target because there were approximately one hundred plus people huddled in a very small area that was interspersed with bicycle racks for crowd control. A veritable meat grinder if you will. So, as I am often apt to do, I start to run some threat analysis on the situation and here are four valuable pieces of advice that I came up with for defense against a motor vehicle attack.

 

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  1. Stay out of crowds. As tempting as it might be for some of us to get into a frenzied mass and scream profanities, try to refrain from making yourself an easy target. Remember, these enemies are trying to kill as many as possible quickly, so the more you are en masse, the more tempting you are going to be.
  2.  Look for escape routes. If you just can’t resist the urge and have to get into a crowd, make sure that you have escape routes in mind before you need them. Situational awareness is the key. You should ask yourself, “ok, if A happens, what will I do?” etc…
  3. Stay on the edges of the crowd. This goes along with the above tactic. If you get in a crowd for some reason, stay on the outskirts so that you can get out of it quickly. That herd instinct can get you killed in some cases.
  4. Look for cover from vehicles. This can be anything the car can’t drive through or over. Concrete berms, steel pillars etc… and keep these things between you and it if it comes.
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That perfect campsite: 4 things that you must have

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It wasn’t until just recently that I can say that I have found the perfect campsite.  Though I have searched far and wide all of my life looking for the perfect camping spot, it wasn’t until just a few weeks ago, while hiking with my family, that I discovered the perfect camping site that I have been looking for all of my life.

Now, having said this, I want to iterate that this isn’t the perfect camping site in the summer. Oh no! There would be way too many mosquitos involved for this to be the perfect camping site during the summer, but for fall and winter… there can be no better. Here’s why.

  1.  It is secluded and off of the beaten path. Though my family started out in a public thoroughfare, we didn’t end up there, (this is often the case for us). The area would be perfect for hunting, going on a military surplus tent adventure, or for a survival trip with the kids. Not too remote, but remote enough to be private.
  2. There is a plethora of firewood. If you look closely you can see that this is made almost entirely of a snag of deadwood that will give you plenty of fuel for your fire for many many days; however, I would recommend that if you pitch your tent on a gravel bar such as this, (which has a huge snag of deadwood in it), that you keep the sparks away. Another thing to think about, this snag did not get there by itself and it is unlikely that angels carried it there. No, this area will flood during the right season, and there may even be an aquaduct or dam upstream somewhere that you might want to investigate before you go pitching your tent here.
  3. It has a gravel bed. If you have ever slept on the cold hard ground, you will appreciate the amazing softness of canvas on gravel… this is nature’s waterbed and you should enjoy it whenever you can.
  4. It is surrounded by water. And this is cool, clear water too. I wouldn’t hesitate to drink right out of this stream, (with a lifestraw of course).
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4 things you must do with your pet if you have to evacuate

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It is an age old problem, what to do with your pet in the event that you need to evacuate. Though some survivalists are of the opinion that a pet is simply just another form of protein in the event of an emergency, most of the rest of us have a heart and would much rather die than ever do anything to hurt or betray our animal friends.

Don’t feel alone, because a recent peer reviewed article, published in the American Journal of Public Health explains that leaving pets behind in an emergency can have a debilitating effect on their owners.

As a matter of fact, it is not uncommon for pet owners to put themselves in harm’s way in order to stay in a bad situation with their pets, especially when it is not possible to evacuate with them. This creates problems on many levels because there are even cases where strangers will go into harmful areas in order to rescue abandoned pets from flood or fire, and who then have to be rescued themselves.

Not to worry though, there are four things that you can do right now to prepare your pet or an emergency.

  1. Develop a pack system and practice with it. We have all seen the Snugli™ style baby backpack systems on the streams and trails of America’s wilderness as we hike along with our fellow man. Take this idea to the next and level and develop a method of packing your pet out.
  2. Create a safe space for your pet with emergency rations. If your pet is bigger like a goat or a horse, there are several ways that you can prepare a space for them to live in until you can get back to them with help. All farmers and ranchers know about gravity feeding systems available and though this won’t work with grain because of overfeeding and founder, you can invest in a cheap broadcast feeder that hunters use for deer and which is oftentimes solar powered.
  3. Work with the ASCPA. This organization has such things available as a “Rescue Alert Sticker” that you can put on your house like a “Baby on Board” sticker. They will also supply lists for safe havens.
  4. Socialize your animals. I know many people who raise their animals to be isolated so that they will be protective and not willing to go with others; however, by doing this you may very well be signing the animals death warrant. If your pet is untrusting of others, they won’t go with a rescuer who comes to get them.
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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” rom 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 101: 4 THINGS YOU HAVE TO DO NOW IF YOU’RE SNAKEBIT!

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I was reading recently about the Department of Natural Resources in Indiana turning rattle snakes loose in the woodlands in order to combat the influx of wild turkeys in the area, (They eat the eggs). I later read that snakebites are up in the midwest statistically, and I wondered to myself if perhaps the two facts are related…

Now, I’ll be honest with you, I’d be perfectly happy to go out and reduce the turkey population for the state of Indiana. Many of my friends and fellow sophisticates would do so as well, and none of us would be biting people, (at least most of them wouldn’t, I’m not so sure about Jarvis). But instead they have decided to infest the countryside with venomous snakes as an answer to the problem and we must deal with that now. So, in this blog I am going to go over four things that you must do if you are ever bitten by a snake while camping. Most of us have seen the episodes where a snakebite is handled by the sucking of blood… you need to understand that this is a Hollywood fallacy that doesn’t work. I’m not going to get into the intricacies of how snake venom works, you can research that yourself, or perhaps we can use it as the basis for another blog post, but rather I’m going to strictly deal with what to do if you are snakebit while camping. Here are four things you have to do immediately.

  1. Get away from that snake. It isn’t necessary to take the snake in for identification, and if it has bitten you once, then you know already that it has the propensity to bite. Also, 25% of all snake bites are “dry”, so you have a one in four chance of not suffering ill effects other than two puncture wounds. It doesn’t take me to tell you that the more bites you get starts bringing those chances down does it?
  2. Stay calm. I know, more easily said than done, but you need to realize that the quicker the venom gets through the bloodstream, the faster the damage is. If you can keep that heart rate down as much as possible you are going to be better off.
  3. Remove constriction. We’ve all seen the movies where a tourniquet is applied to the affected wound. This doesn’t work and only offers a distraction at this point. EMTs are trained to focus on the ABC’s of a snake bite victim, (Airway, Breathing, Circulation).
  4. Get yourself to a doctor. There is no home remedy that is going to get you through this other than strong faith and heartfelt prayer. Have faith and pray, and get to the doctor as soon as is possible.
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Minimilist camping: 4 must have tricks to “roughing it” while camping

 

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The concept of “roughing it” while camping might be foreign to you, but if it is then you have never been in a situation where you needed to travel for miles into the wilderness in order to scope things out for upcoming events or circumstances. That doesn’t guarantee however, that you will never find it necessary to do just that. Especially in these days and times, one can never tell when one might find him or herself in immediate danger and be forced to flee into the reeds.

So that being said, here are four pieces of advice from the old survivalist that you can utilize for rough camping excursions.

  1. Use a tarp for a tent. The fact is that you need shelter, and though you can easily build a debris hut, if you are in the reeds your camp will be in a different place every night, (or day depending on the circumstances). A debris hut takes me at least half an hour to make properly, and it is attention consuming and noisy to do. Silence is golden when you are camping in hostile territory. Plus, a tarp is easily carried in a pack and has various other functions as well.
  2. Build your fire underground. Cook your meals in a hole, covered with a flat rock to reduce glare and smoke dissipation. This will keep the ground warm and give you a great clandestine sleeping environment which can be covered quickly if need be.
  3. Keep two Lifestraws™ handy at all times. These things are perfect in non-arid environments. They also eliminate the need to try to carry water or to try to sterilize water. It is reported that you can drink toilet water with them safely though I have never tried that for effect.
  4. Keep two pair of extra socks and a tube of Frog’s Fanny® fly treatment with you. your feet are the most important part of you when you are in the reeds. And if you let them get wet and stay that way you will be a hobbling fool fairly quickly.
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Survival fitness: 3 exercises you must do to survive

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3 EXERCISES FOR SURVIVALISTS

As I mentioned recently, I have just finished my very first obstacle race and I most definitely had a blast; however, I have to admit that I wasn’t completely happy with my overall performance because there were a few of the obstacles that I wasn’t able to clear immediately. It’s ok, I did my required burpees, but I also got involved with the program that prepares participants to better negotiate the obstacles that make these races so difficult to do.

Since taking this up, I have been sleeping a bit longer, and I have also come to recognize certain patterns of these workouts that are especially helpful for survival situations. Here are three exercises that are pertinent to a survivalist’s skillset.

  1. Pull-ups. I have never enjoyed these things, and I definitely enjoy them less now than I ever used to. But, I have found out that these things are pertinent to strong survival skills because you need to be able to climb for a plethora of reasons, everything from escape to setting traps. Doing your pull-ups well while defining the technique is the key. Control, control, control… this is the key. For so long I have kicked and wriggled my way to the edge of the bar, thrusting my chin wildly above it and counting that as a pull up… but no more! Do your pull-ups.
  2. Box Jumps. I was surprised by how hard these were to do, and then I was surprised at how effective they are. Simply put, it is vital to have an explosive launching system to give you thrust for several survival functions, everything from lifting large logs for deadfalls, to getting up and out of the way for when you come unexpectedly under attack. Do those box jumps.
  3. Push-ups. these tried and true exercises will never get old or go away. The upper body strength that is generated from these things in the arms, back, stomach, and chest are essential for all of your survival skills and these three exercises should never ever be disregarded.
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5 of the very best camping experiences this summer

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A recent article in National Geographic magazine declared that five of the best beach camping spots in the world were available in the United States and it listed them. The five that it listed were Na Pali Coast in Hawaii, Cape Lookout in North Carolina, Lost Coast in California, Cape Cod in Massachusetts, and Biscayne in Florida.

While I can agree with all of these, I can’t agree that these are the absolute best places to camp in America. Therefore I had to make up my own list of favorites to share with you. Here are my absolute must have spots for camping this year.

  1. The Florida Keys. There is no greater place in the world, in my opinion, to pitch your military surplus tent then somewhere along one of the Florida Keys. The beauty of the keys is that nearly every building lot has ocean access as well as street access, and adjacent to it is an empty lot perfect for camping and pitching a tent. Most of the people are friendly enough that you can approach them and ask for permission… for a small fee of course.
  2. The North Woods. If you can stand the deer flies, (and that’s why they make Deep Woods Off), then you will love the great Northwoods of Maine. This is a camping spot like no other, especially if you go somewhere like Loon Lake where you can enjoy the calls of the loons all night and the bugles of the moose all day.
  3. The Great Smoky Mountains. This is the one place in my life that I’ve probably had the most fun. My grandpa Howard used to take me, my mother, and grandma Ruth camping in the great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. The black bear, deer and other wildlife of the area were especially exciting for me as a young boy. This is an excellent place to experience American history and pitch your military surplus tent for a family outing.
  4. The Rocky Mountains. Though I haven’t yet camped in the Rocky Mountains, I know several people who have in my little group of friends, and I definitely plan to soon. I have traveled through the Rocky Mountains and can attest to the fact that the allure of the buffalo that roam the foothills, the antelope and the grizzlies that room the crests and mountainsides, and the birds of prey which circle in the air, are all compelling reasons to go and share this wonder of the nation as did Lewis and Clark in their great adventure 200 years ago.
  5. The Nevada Desert. This is exactly like camping on the beach without the bother of the ocean surf crashing against the beach head and waking you up.
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Campfire care: 3 absolute cautions to take with your campfire

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I recently read a horrible story of a young lady named Courtney Waldon who, in 2016, ( because of her husband’s carelessness), was badly burned while they were enjoying a family campfire in the nighttime hours. As sad as I am to say it, after this man caused irreparable damage to his wife’s beautiful face, he then decided to leave her and their daughter and head out to parts unknown leaving them stranded  and abandoned.   I can’t stress enough how strongly I feel about a degenerate man who would do something like that; however, that is not the purpose of this article, and I digress.

No, the purpose of this writing is to relay to you the importance of camp fire safety when you’re on a family camping trip, a military surplus tent adventure, or any other family endeavor, (or survival situation for that matter), where you are going to have to utilize a campfire for warmth, tool making, or for cooking purposes.

As horrible as this story is, this is not an isolated incident. I personally know of three different people who, because of carelessness, drinking, or a combination of both, have fallen into a campfire and burned themselves very badly. So here are three safety precautions to take whenever you are at or around a campfire.

  1. Don’t drink/use drugs/whip yourself into a religious fervor/etc… in every case that I know personally about, the incident around the campfire has happened because of the consumption of alcohol, and not necessarily even the over-consumption of alcohol, just the consumption of alcohol in general. I myself am a teetotaler and I don’t think that consuming alcohol is a good decision at any time. However, when you’re dealing with something that can flay the skin from your body within seconds, consuming such a beverage is a doubly dangerous endeavor.
  2. Don’t pull “fool stunts”. Apart from the alcohol, one of the next biggest problems when dealing with something as dangerous as fire is doing an activity that my grandma used to call a fool stunt. Basically a fool stunt is anything that you do to attract attention to yourself which is ignorant or reckless in some manner. In the above listed article, the act of the husband using gasoline to start a fire with, let alone splashing it around to the point that he got it on his wife, is at best a fool stunt and at worst a criminal act. 
  3. Keep a clean campsite. In at least one of the incidents that I personally know about, the injured party was throwing another log on the fire and stepped on a garden tool that had been left near the campsite -for purposes of regulating the coals- and she tripped and fell into the fire, using her hands in the hot coals to catch herself. I saw that one personally and my most vivid memory is that when she stood up skin was hanging like rags from her hands and arms, and I thought it was her shirt sleeves until I remembered that she was wearing a sleeveless tank top at the time.
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Three rules for survivalist racing

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I just participated in my first ever survival style racing event. Having not done anything like this since basic training, I honestly wasn’t in the least bit daunted because I actually keep in fairly good shape, and while I didn’t expect to win the thing, I definitely expected to do well.

I didn’t disappoint myself, for a fifty year old man I’m completely happy with my performance, and it was with some satisfaction, I must admit, that I passed many younger men who seemed to be in good shape.  That being said, I did discover several things that I need to do better for the next race I enter; and yes, I do plan to enter another race or two and might even take the one that I just participated in to the next level.Here is what I’ve learned:

 

  1. Get good shoes. Unfortunately I underestimated the four mile run to be something that I could easily tackle with  a $15 pair of “zapatos de tourisimo por hombres” from my local wally world. I had heard that these races destroy your shoes so I didn’t want to have a lot of invested in them… News Flash! While the race destroys your shoes, the cheap shoes destroy your feet… Also consider sealing the tops of your shoes somehow, there was a lot of gravel in mine at the end.
  2. Work on your grip strength. upper body strength is very important, but it is only as good as the anchor you give it a fulcrum to work from. A lot of these obstacles involved a good strong grip on muddy and slick surfaces. Work that grip and those forearms up.
  3. Work on uphill cardio. Uphill cardio is nothing like normal cardio. The force of gravity is very strongly used in these races, and if you are running six miles a day on level ground, you might be good for two uphill.
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Tick sickness: 3 things to worry about

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The summer is in full swing and with it come the many dangers of being in the outdoors. There are for example, cougars to worry about in the west and south, bears in the mountain ranges and up north. Snakes in the deep south. As well as spiders in warmer areas and sasquatches in densely populated areas… everywhere you have to worry about ticks.

Aside from being absolutely the creepiest little animal on the planet, these things are dangerous too. As a matter of fact, more people die every year from tick bites than they do from sasquatch attacks, and though I don’t have the resources readily at hand to defend that claim, I am quite convinced it is accurate statistically.

In any event, her are three diseases that ticks spread that you need to be on the lookout for:

  1. Lyme Disease. Though this is the most common tick born ailment, it is far from the only disease these foul little beasts carry.
  2. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. A lethal disease that can leave you with a headache, vomitting,, lethargy, and pink eye… usually takes two weeks to emerge.
  3. Rabbit fever, known in some circles at Tularemia. This usually shows up three to five days after the bite and can lead to organ failure.  Also a danger is Colorado Tick Fever, similar to relapsing fever),  which has recurring symptoms over time, and also don’t forget the uncommon but not unheard of Powassan Virus. This virus is hard to detect but is very similar in symptoms to Lyme Disease. This can result in seizures, impaired movement, and a disease that makes you forget how to talk.

Just use common sense and deep woods off when you are out and about this season, and remember to completely remove the ticks head when you are bitten and to use lots of Neosporin and alcohol for disinfecting tick bites.

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That perfect trip: 3 reasons to take your little girl fishing

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I just recently took my Little Woo out on her first fishing tournament. She’s only twelve, and this was just a local fishing tournament put on by a community church in their small pond, but the community turnout was awesome.

The fishing was wonderful, and she spent more time trying to learn how to catch frogs with a fishing pole than she did actually catching fish, but she still managed to come in second place in the tournament and won a nice Shakespeare spin-cast reel and  rod. Now, this was her first tournament, even though it wasn’t her first fishing trip. She has actually been on several fishing trips with the family in the form of family vacations, military surplus tent adventures, and camping trips. But, this was the first time that she won anything other than a panfish dinner, (which she isn’t a big fan of anyway). We had a great time, and have been better buds ever since for some reason. Where before she had been pretty much stuck in her own head and really didn’t have much to say to her dad anymore, but this fishing tournament changed that. Who knows, maybe it was the fact that I taught her that she could catch frogs with a fish pole. But here are three reasons  to take your little girl fishing:

  1. She’s not going to be your little girl forever. No sir! At some point she will be someone else’s girl, and then your world will come apart a little bit. Like it or not that is going to happen so you might as well enjoy her and the times you can have with her now before she moves on to the love of her life.
  2. You’ll have a better relationship. Right now, she might think that you are the dumbest slug on the planet. However, you can redeem yourself by showing her how to spit on your bait to catch more bass, or how to snag frogs off the bank with a treble hook.
  3. Because seriously… She’s not going to be your little girl forever…
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3 Fourth of July deals at RDDUSA

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As hard as it is to believe, the Fourth of July is upon us already and with it the midpoint of Summer.  That’s right folks, Christmas is right around the corner, as is Thanksgiving, Halloween, and the New Year… didn’t 2017 go quick?

Well, at least we have about eight more weeks of good weather before we need to be thinking about such things as parkas, snow-boots, heavy coats, and knit caps. That’s why you need to quickly make arrangements to get the supplies you need to celebrate the last half of summer fun before you have to prepare for the coming fall and winter, and with it hunting and harvest.

The good news is that we have a wide variety of sportsmen’s needs covered en masse. Here are three that you need right now:

  1. The Mobileflex Tent.The Mobiflex tent was specifically designed for the Special Forces unit and are very easy to erect. The Mobiflex is spacious, lightweight, and rugged; this tent works perfectly as a two to four person sheltering unit. The Mobiflex tent is also very easy to set up. The Mobiflex can endure even the most extreme weather conditions, and it also provides a breezy insulation system for hot and humid environments.
  2. Surplus BDU sets.You aren’t going to want to pass of the chance to look and feel great in this authentic U.S. G.I. desert BDU set. This six-color desert pattern is one of our favorites and has a more traditional appearance than our digital camouflage options. This set is available in both new and used conditions. You can rest assured we closely look over all of our used merchandise for your satisfaction. Pockets located on the front of the jacket, as well as the back and front of the pants allow room for all of your necessary gear. Designed for comfort, this BDU will keep you comfortable during long hours of use.
  3. Military Surplus MRE’s. These meals ready to eat are extremely versatile and are made with some of the best components available on the military MRE market. They don’t require water or any kind of hydration and are fully cooked so they can be eaten straight out of the pouch anywhere at any time. They have a long shelf life: 3 years for military components and 1 year for commercial components. Both lightweight and waterproof, these MREs are the perfect option for outdoor enthusiasts, emergency preppers or anyone who is planning to be in a situation where they need food on the go. Features Ready to Eat Meals include:
    • Military spec 8 oz. entrée pouches in each meal
    • Variety of 3-4 different menus per case
    • Calories per meal : 500+ Cal.
    • Light in Calories
    • Waterproof pouch
    • Weightless configuration and  design
    • 1-3 year shelf life
    • Made in the USA
    • Military spec 8 oz. entrée pouches in each meal
    • Variety of 3-4 different menus per case
    • Calories per meal : 500+ Cal.
    • Light in Calories
    • Waterproof pouch
    • Weightless configuration and  design
    • 1-3 year shelf life
    • Made in the USA
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Creative non-fiction: The Making of a Wildman 2

By: Mr. X, Survivalist

“I hadn’t made it a dozen steps though when I heard my companion call out very timidly: “Sir, could you come over to the other side of the bridge please? We’re over here.”

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…(continued)

As my buddy and I stood listening quietly, just underneath the bridge, three quick gunshots rang out from above. These shots were followed quickly by angry yelling.

“Get your ass out from under that bridge you stupid little sumbitch, you nearly killed me!!”

I can’t speak for the other fellow, but I had no intention of getting my little ass out from under that bridge, and instead started of at a pretty good clip the opposite direction of where the yelling was coming from. I hadn’t made it a dozen steps though when I heard my companion call out very timidly: “Sir, could you come over to the other side of the bridge please? We’re over here.”

BUSTED! Here he came, pistol in hand, red hair flying wildly in a blaze around a sunburned and grizzled old face. He was in leathers, a biker. An outlaw biker we soon found out as he had his club affiliation emblazoned across the back of his rough leather jacket.  If I were to mention the name of the club, you would recognize it, it was and still is a very well known brand.

The long and the short of this story is that the old outlaw didn’t kill us, but he did make us come up there and clean the rocks off of the bridge. He also told us that he had nearly killed a guy doing the same thing when he was a kid and that he had learned the “di-di-mau” trick of shooting the gun to get people out from under a bridge in Vietnam.

This affected me in several different ways, first of it made me want to go to Viet Nam, and secondly I became thoroughly impressed with the biker lifestyle. I don’t know if this was a subtle form of Stockholm Syndrome or not, but it was the beginning of the making of a wildman.  We found out later that my copanions father had heard the commotion and had come down the trail towards the creek bed. We ran into him halfway up the trail hiding behind a tree.

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Creative non-fiction: The making of a wildman

By: Mr. X, Survivalist

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“As a young wildman in training, I started out life with a hunger. This hunger burned within me from a very early age. I didn’t for a long time know what this hunger entailed, I only knew that it was piercing and ever present in me even at a very young age.”

I, like Ehud in the Bible, am a “left handed” man. I first learned of my left handedness when I saw the neighbor man get drunk and attack his wife, dragging her through their living room and into the kitchen. (She hadn’t gotten his supper ready on time and he was getting her where she needed to be I suppose). I was seven or eight and was staying there with them while my mom was at work. I recall getting very angry… not being afraid, (though that came later), and grabbing a knife off of the kitchen counter and burying in it about halfway up the blade into the man’s thigh right below the buttocks.

The next thing I recall is a bright flash and the numbing thud of a heavy blow delivered skillfully to my skull right on the left cheekbone. I guess old Bob had been practicing on the wife long enough that he could land a rabbit punch pretty quick because it took me out of the fight for good. I remember laying stunned, just flabbergasted that he had gotten the best of me and trying to figure out how my plans had failed as he roared and thundered about the room throwing the table and chairs and screaming in my face. That’s when the fear came to me and it’s the first time that I ever considered my own demise. “He’s going to kill me!” I remember thinking, and the cold hand of cowardice spread quickly across my belly and into my back, it’s scaly fingers caressing my spine.

This was my first taste of fear and I did not like it at all. Fear next came to me in the form of an outlaw biker. This guy probably had as much to do with how my life turned out than any other influence, because he taught me two very valuable lessons, and possibly three.

I was ten or twelve and was camping out with a neighbor boy on Big Cave Run Creek in Ohio. We had grown bored of making clay pottery and shooting bows out of his dad’s old military surplus tent when we decided to go catch crawfish down underneath the old bridge that spans the creek for the highway. For some reason it seemed like a good idea to me to throw rocks at cars as they passed over, and one of those rocks rewarded me with a meaty thud as the motorist went by… to my horror, the motorist turned around, came back to the bridge, and stopped right above us.

…(to be continued)

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Vacation 2017: 3 ways to do Key West on a budget

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If you are at all like me, then there is nothing in the world that is more appealing for a quick vacation than some tropical sunshine, a warm salty breeze, some steel drum music playing in the background, and all of this at an affordable price.

If you care to look back that far, you can read a blog I wrote several years ago where I detailed how to have a vacation in Key West with a budget under $500.  Now, while this isn’t the best vacation I have ever had, it was still pretty darn good.  The fact of the matter is that wherever you go, there are ways to take a vacation inexpensively.

Here are three ways to save cash on your next excursion… especially if you are going to Key West:

  1. Take a military surplus tent with you. This is the best accommodation that money can buy imho. The reason that a military surplus tent works so well in Key West is because there are so many houses along the keys that have empty lots attached to them, and many residents are quite willing to rent you a spot to pitch your tent for very little money. The last time I went I had an entire lot to myself for $50 for the week. And this had a channel in it with access to the ocean. We literally caught a nurse shark twenty feet from our campsite.
  2. Pick a site close to a 24 hr. Walgreens. This serves two purposes actually, Walgreens is a national store so the prices stay the same wherever it is. Therefore you can get food for next to nothing as well as store brand beverages and even clothing items; however, the best aspect of the Walgreens is the fact that the bathrooms usually have a sink inside the stall so that when you are living in the reeds, it affords an opportunity to take a whore’s bath as well as other business.
  3. Find the local deals. As I always say, not everyone in exotic places are rich. They have to have waiters and janitors in these places too, so you need to find the “second class” accommodations if you want to exist on a budget. In Key West I always frequent several places religiously: The Hemingway House, Mallory Square, the five dollar store, the East Martello Museum, and Rally’s. I have a ball and don’t spend a load of cash.
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Grizzly Bear Hunting to Open up in Yellowstone

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In an unprecedented move, President Donald Trump has eradicated a decades old tradition of protecting all Grizzly Bears in America. While this might not be overly exciting for those who are more prone to the appreciation of ecology as a lifestyle, to the hunters and fishermen of the country it is an astounding achievement.

The reason for this is that there is no game animal on the American continent that is more dangerous and therefore more challenging than Ursus Horribilis, the North American Grizzly Bear. It is this bear that killed famed ecologist, Timothy Treadwell in years past, and it was this formidable foe that gave early settlers more grief than anything else in the taming of the west.

The Grizzly bear has been protected for 42 years in the United States, and in this time frame their numbers have grown almost 600%. Now it is time for the Federal Government to urn loose of the rins and allow the states to decide the fate of these great bears. This does not mean that it will suddenly be open season on Grizzly Bears, but it does mean that big brother will not have his hand on them.  Though this act does not affect the Grizzlies in the Glacier National Park, it may in the near future according to recent edition of Newsweek.

According to sources, prior to 1850 the number of Grizzly Bears across North America numbered in excess of 50,000 and these numbers were decimated to approximately 136 known bears. This was because of the proliferance of hunting and trapping of these things by the native Americans and the settlers of the time. Even though in recent times 125 modern tribes have signed an agreement to not hunt these bears, regarding them as sacred to their heritage.

According to Newsweek, President Trumps sons are fond of big game hunting, but it is unknown if this had any impact on his decision to remove the Grizzly Bear from the list.

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3 reasons to bear hunt this season

Photo by Sgarton at Morguefile.com

 Photo by Sgarton at Morguefile.com

One of my favorite military surplus tent adventures of all time is take a week long hunt into another state.

For the last several years, me and my boys have accompanied several of the guys from work to various states to hunt deer, elk, and on one occasion moose. We have just recently been talking about changing our hunt from one of deer hunting to bear hunting, and a recent article about black bear hunting in one of the premier outdoor magazines as got all of the boys down at the factory ablaze with new plans to “go a bear huntin”.

Aside from the aforementioned article, here are some really good reasons to go bear hunting this year.

  1. The meat is delicious, nutritious, and wonderful. Some people are put off by the fact that bears are omnivorous and therefore believe their meat will be reflective of the stringy, sinewy, strong taste that is often associated with predatory animals. The fact is that bears have a diet that is similar to a swine, and  most people, especially outdoorsmen, certainly do have an affinity for bacon.
  2. A harvested bear has much more to offer the outdoorsman than just meat. Who do you know, for example, who wouldn’t like to have a bearskin rug in front of his fireplace, or a bearclaw necklace to wear with his buckskins? A lot of people probably; however, they will most likely not be hunters. Most hunters would love to have those types of trade goods.
  3. It’s more manly to hunt bear. Though I have to admit that I love to hunt and eat deer, it is somewhat more appealing to know that I can hunt and eat an animal who can and will hunt and eat me back if given the chance. The practice of reciprocity is inherent to a sportsman’s lifestyle, therefore it is fitting that we hunt in a manner that gives our prey a chance to hunt as well.
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4 tools to make great video cheap

The author's videography system... two older iphone 6s

The author’s videography system… two older iphone 6s with bluetooth “selfie” poles

If you are an aspiring photographer or videographer, there is no reason to go broke the next time you want to try your hand at making movies to document a recent trip, a military surplus tent adventure, or a item you have for sale. You can also use this information to go into business yourself doing some of these things for others. As a matter of fact, I will post, (at the bottom of this blog), a video that I personally shot for a client, using nothing more than the items pictured and the software that Apple so generously affords with all of their products.

Here are the four things you need to shoot great video for next to nothing:

  1. Old iphones. I use the 6s now, but I was using an iphone 4 before I upgraded to the SE. When I did I converted my 6s to  full time camera and gave my 4 to my 12 year old. You can go pro if you want to, but why spend the money when Apple gives you the opportunity to buy excellent equipment for next to nothing?
  2. The right software. Though Apples camera is ok, there is a better option called “ProCamera” which gives you mass control over shutter speed, iso, exposure, and zoom all at the touch of your thumb. At $4.99 for as many devices as you own, you can’t beat the price or the quality.
  3. A little know how. Though you can watch a plethora of youtube videos on the subject, I recommend that you buy the book, “How to shoot videos that don’t suck” off of Amazon. For $8 you will learn ten very valuable lessons about shooting video that doesn’t suck.
  4. A good selfie pole with bluetooth. These things are amazing for shooting smooth video at great angles. Use your imagination and you will be flabbergasted at the ease with which you can turn out some excellent footage… for nearly nothing.

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3 Festival survival tips for 2017

festival

If you are an avid military surplus tent enthusiast, then you are probably using your portable domicile for much more than camping. Since the summer is upon us, many of you will probably be hitting the festivals pretty hard as well.

I use my military surplus, WWII era tent for everything from hitting the local Black Walnut festival, to attending Coachella when I am lucky enough to do so. I’m so glad, on one hand, that my tent can’t tell stories, but sometimes wish, on the other, that it could.

In any event I have come to some conclusions over the years in regards to certain safety factors when I’m attending festivals. Especially when I’m trying to obtain photographs for various reasons.

  1. Leave your camera at home. You read this right. These festivals are all way over-shot anyway and there will literally be hundreds of files shot at any festival you attend. The need for your multi-thousand dollar photography skills will be way overrated and if you can get that “perfect shot” somehow, it’s not going to matter if it was shot on your cellphone considering the quality of cellphones these days.
  2. Watch your alcohol consumption. There’s nothing more frustrating to me than to see my fellow festival goers get so stinking drunk that they can’t take care of themselves and have to rely on either the cops or the concerns of good Samaritans to make sure they wake up the next morning. The fact of the matter is that some people have nefarious motives, and you might not ever wake up again if you get too drunk to take care of yourself.
  3. Invest in a good car safe. There are hundreds of really good car safes out there which can be easily mounted in your vehicle and which will keep your valuables secure. Trust me, cops use these things to secure their arms and ammunition in vehicles that are often left unattended and many a would be gun thief has worn himself ragged trying to bang them loose.
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Camping reviews: 3 new camping ideas

IMG_0606

Though this isn’t military surplus, some of these ideas are definitely militaristic in nature. For example, who reading this hasn’t ever had to sleep under their truck or humvee at some point in the field? (All of you who were never in the military I’m guessing). The point is that in the military, whenever you can, you do more with less. And that is one of the key ideas of the rooftop hammock system that we’re going to talk about in a few minutes.

The point is that here are three new products that are going to make the camping experience much easier.

  1. The roof top hammock.We might as well cover this first since we have already touched on it. This is taking the truck camper to a new and simplistic level. Nice in bear country, or in situations where it will behoove you to get off of the ground, (flood for instance), this option can give you a sleeping quarters and shelter where before none existed. One of the key features of this system is the fact that it will store right on your rooftop, exactly where you will want to set it up.
  2. The cooler air conditioner. Not very good for when TSHTF maybe, but this will definitely make life simpler in the hot parts of the month when the family is normally miserable. The only problem is you need a steady supply of ice.
  3. The Sylvansport Go. The main reason I want to touch on this excellent little camper is because this thing is so light, so ultra-compact, that it can easily be pulled by an economy sized car.  This thing can even be pulled by something as economical as my little Subaru Impreza. Built entirely on an aluminum frame, it is basically a tent on a frame… A concept that could be easily replicated with military surplus equipment for the person who is mechanically inclined.

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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