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COVID19: Using Military Surplus to Keep Your Family Safe

If you are a world inhabitant, then you have likely been affected in some way by this new pandemic, the Corona Virus: COVID19. The current fad nationwide is to wear a surgical mask, because the way that this virus is transmitted, mostly, is by getting it on your hands and then touching your nose and mouth, and thereby transferring it to your respiratory tract where it can cause all sorts of havoc and even lead to your death.

While the use of a paper or light cloth mask is better than not using anything, consider the fact that muscle memory is a powerful thing. It is inherent to the Pavlovian theory of conditioned response, and is even relevant in cases where you are either unconscious or asleep.

A simple paper barrier is easily manipulated in the event that you have an itch or sensation in your sensitive E.N.T. tract. The fact of the matter is that you will only be truly safe from inadvertent infection if you are able to establish a significant barrier to your respiratory tract that cannot be easily traversed. On the same token you have to be able to respirate.

Though it’s not exactly designed for such a measure, consider then the advantages to using a military grade gas mask to prevent becoming infected by this troublesome virus. If you observe what the professionals use when they are trying not to be contaminated, you see that they often wear a head to toe PPE kit with, you guessed it, a cranial containment apparatus that separates the respiratory system from the environment.

You can achieve the same effect without breaking the bank or having to re-invest in volatile equipment. A military gas mask is easily sanitized and can be re-used indefinitely. There are millions in existence right now, worldwide.

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A rough winter: 6 survival tips and tricks to get you through

I happen to own, through inheritance, a horse farm that I rent to others more prone to enjoy such things. Though I have had my time in the saddle, I have never really grown to enjoy it. Instead I like to be in the woods, either taking photographs or living by limiting myself to a survival bowie, a handful of salt, and the clothes I’m wearing… or both. I recently awoke to my telephone buzzing incessantly at 11:30 at night, it was a text from my renter, it said simply: “There’s no water”

We have just had a pretty good cold snap here in Ohio, and water, as it’s prone to do when exposed to freezing temperatures, will freeze. And so, I was a bit perplexed by the fact that this gentleman was calling my at 11:30 at night because his water was froze, and it made me think that perhaps we as a society have gotten to the place where we are way too dependent on others for our very existence.  So, here are six tips to keep in mind as we head into what’s likely to be a very cold, rough winter.

  1. Watch those forecasts. We have come a long way from the old Native American “weather rock” days. Modern forecasters are able to predict the weather to within ten degrees of authenticity and so we should not be surprised by any cold snap in this day and time.
  2. Make sure you are cognizant of the sacred four needs for survival. Those are: shelter, water, fire, and food. These four things are all that you need to live, or should I say… exist. This is the bare minimum that you must have to keep your heart beating, and that, in the end, is what survival is all about.
  3. Gather old clothes, dry foliage, hay, straw, etc. We are kept warm in cold times by dead air space. That is basically a layer of air formed between you and the environment that your body will heat up and maintain an aura of warm air around you. Therefore, if you want to survive a cold snap that involves your heat source going out, you need to learn to bundle up. Pile in blankets, stuff clothing with paper, cloth, stuffing, etc… and remember to stay dry.
  4. Have alternative shelter available. A nice tent, tarp, or even a small camper available for in the event that you lose heat in your house, or if you lose your house such as in a flood, earthquake, or fire, will be invaluable and none of these options are very expensive.
  5. Keep a  reserve of water somewhere.  Or get a means to purify water easily. You can’t last more than three days without it, but there are many easy ways to gather water during a cold snap. Frost and snow can easily be turned into potable water.
  6. Get some food together before you need it. You don’t want to have to eat poor old Fido because you didn’t prepare for an emergency. There are plenty of surplus MREs and if you’re not into that, you can find freeze dried meals at your local outdoor pursuit center. If you don’t have the budget for that, sardines at the dollar store are a great alternative.
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Pakisteel: The saga of the $15 Damascus

By: Mr. X, Survivalist

If you have been following me at all, then you know two things about me, well… maybe three. First, I’m always looking for a good deal; second, everything I do centers around survival; and third, I’m hard on equipment.

So, it should be no surprise to you that recently I was perusing eBay and discovered a veritable treasure trove of handmade custom Damascus steel knives that are extremely affordable. The problem is that they are all Damascus blades and they are all made in Pakistan.

I did a little research, and it seems as if there are some very talented bladesmiths in Pakistan; however, there is not a great supply of quality steel so they use old  rebar, a lawnmower blade, some pot metal from a sewer grate, etc… to form a blank that they can then grind and shape a blade from. The result is a very beautiful product that seems to fit the bill in every way. The question is “will they hold up in a survival situation”?

I went ahead and bid $25 on a few of them that seemed to be of better quality than the others, as much as I could tell from the photographs. One was a classic 12″ bowie knife and the other a “tracker” knife. I won the auctions for these two and am therefore going to put them to the test in survival situations and see if they hold up. If they do then I will also take them to an American Bladesmith Society guy I know and let him put them through the standard tests of the ABS.

The one thing I will note is that they both came to me dull as a fro, (an uncommon practice in American made knives), but both sharpened up to razor qualities with just a few passes on my old sharpening steel. So far so good. Our next installment will involve some simple survival tasks… stay tuned.

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Survival 102: 3 things you can do with acorns

If you have ever thought of cracking an acorn and eating it in the wilderness, it is likely that you quickly learned what mother nature’s natural syrup of ipecac will do to you.

If you were able to get past the bitterness of the meat, you likely experienced profound nausea and possibly vomiting. However, there are some actual survival uses for acorns, beyond  baiting deer or throwing at companions. The problem is that they must be prepared for hours before they can be used.

The problem with acorns is the fact that they are filled with tannins, (think tannic acid), that can be very beneficial if you are trying to preserve animal skins but are less so if being introduced to your digestive tract. They have to be blanched to be eaten by humans and you can get this done by either boiling them for hours, or letting them soak in a running creek for about three days. In a survival situation, I prefer the latter solution to the problem because you can hull them and then tie the meats off in a sack, or sock, or other porous container and then forget about them until all of the tannins have been leeched out. It does no good to just soak them in water without changing it.

Once thusly prepared these acorn meats can be used three ways:

  1. Roast them to eat like almond slivers. They are palatable and full of protein and vitamins. They taste a bit like roasted almonds without the tannins in them but have the consistency of a hazelnut.
  2. Grind them into flour to cook into breads or use to thicken stews. If you are like me then you eat a lot of stew in a survival situation, primarily because it is the easiest method of preparing elaborate quantities of ingredients quickly. The flour thickens stew nicely and gives it added nutrient. I’m not a big fan of bread, but I understand that there is nothing in the world quite like the taste of hot acorn cakes in the morning in a frosty camp. Just watch a rerun of Jeremiah Johnson o see a visual of this.
  3. Use the acorns to make a stuffing for wild game. I’m not saying that this s good, but it definitely is different.
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Survival 102: Growing Your Own Garden

I’m all for saving money, and one of the ways I do that is I have a backyard vegetable garden.
Right now half of you are thinking; “too much work”, or, “I don’t have a large yard or a tiller”.
That’s the beauty about this. I’m talking about raised bed garden, or gardening in pots. No expensive equipment needed, and fresh veggies from spring through fall.
You can go as elaborate or as simple as you like. You can buy the expensive cedar range beds at the garden center; or go to a home-improvement store, buy a couple of boards, (and usually they will cut them for free), and build your own.
Just a tip; keep your eyes open in late July into the fall when stores are clearing out their gardening supplies. You can find deals on beds, tools, pots, and seed.
Now, the whole point of this is growing stuff that you really like, (and buy regularly), at the store or farmers market like: salsa! Plant a tomato plant or two, a jalapeño pepper, and some cilantro. Buy the onion and garlic; they keep well, and when limes are on sale freeze the juice. Ta-da you’ll have the makings for fresh salsa on hand all year long and it will be so much better than that canned store-bought stuff.
Many plants now have been bred to be a bush type plant. That’s great for small gardening spaces, plant a bush cucumber or squash bush and have plenty for the season. There are many lettuce varieties with more flavor and nutrients than your bag of iceberg mix sitting in the store, and there are no worries about recalls.
They also carry strawberry pots; more expensive than a build your own 4 x 4 or whatever size you choose raised bed, but they last for years and take up minimal space. Fill them with ever bearing strawberries and have fruit from June until frost.
There are so many ideas for a small garden, get online, go to your garden center and get more. The more ideas the better. The main idea is this: it shouldn’t take you 10 years to recoup what you have in it. You can keep on hand the vegetables and herbs that you use regularly you can monitor how much or if you want to spray with pesticides… my tip, try to go organic as much as possible always keep an eye out for sales, or end of season clearance hit… Buy the seed starters when they clear them out and grow the plants yourself from seed, so much cheaper! And last of all plant what do you like this should be fun and enjoyable not another chore or an unsightly weed patch!
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Why survival? 3 reasons you need to hone your skills right now

There have been times over the years, as I live in luxury and ease, that I have questioned whether or not it was worth all of the trouble I have gone to in order to learn and live survival. There have also been long periods of my life that I haven’t bothered to hone these skills to their utmost. However, in these days and times I make it a habit to stay on top of these skills because by all signs, children, we are heading for some tough times.

You only need to read the news everyday to realize that we are heading towards a conflict, not only in the world, but within this country as well. With conflict comes hardship, and when society breaks down again, finally, it will be up to you to be able to fend for yourself and I’m here to tell you that you will need to have some survival skills in that time. Here are three scenarios that could throw us into a long term survival situation right now:

  1. War. You think it’s not possible? If so, it’s probably because you are a member of that privileged  generation who hasn’t had to live with the fear of an attack from a foreign, invasive army. The truth is that we as Americans are surrounded by enemies on all sides and there are many others who want what we have.
  2. Cyber attack. Whether you realize it or not, we are under the power of the Chinese and the Russians due to errant practices in the past. We have trusted hostile countries to act as manufacturers to supply the major components to our computers, which now run our power grids, weapons systems, public works, etc…  Who knows what kind of trojan horses they have planted on everything  from motherboards to cellphones.
  3. Far left election. Do you realize that there are political factions whose entire platform is to threaten our very way of life? They desire to take us back into the ages before fossil fuels and who knows if they will be successful or not?
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Finding the beauty: Tactics for Retaining Your Sanity in a Survival Situation

It had been a hard trip. I had started out three days prior, camping out along the paint creek area of southern Ohio, and had made my way through the landscape, ending up at a small tributary called Big Cave Run on the old map I had found at the local courthouse. It was an old property, (at least six thousand years old Biblically)… theoretically. Historically, the property had been documented by a governing source for over two hundred years. I had started out my survival trip with only the clothes on my back. I had made some slate knives on paint creek with the help of a huge block of sandstone that I happened to find sitting at the water’s edge. The wear marks on it told me that it had been a favorite place of others before me to sit and make tools as well.

The rain fell in a persistent patter. Not quite enough to send me to shelter, it was a warm early June, but just enough to keep the blackflies and mosquitos away, and to keep me soaked to the skin. By the time I had travelled the three mile distance to Big Cave Run, I had two knives, some cordage, a fish spear, and a trouser pocket full of frogs legs from the night before. I hadn’t been able to cook them because I couldn’t get a fire going to save me. And it was on Big Cave Run that I finally built a debris hut just so I could work out a fire kit. That night the rain finally stopped and I ate froglegs around a snapping fire while the spirit of an old indian kept me company. I left when he told me in the gathering darkness that this was no place for the living to have to be alone with the dead.

I left for him the spear and two knives to do with as he wished and I walked out of the creek bottoms and back to my car… travelling east.

This  trip lasted only three days, but in that three days I learned a valuable lesson on survival. That is to keep yourself involved in things beyond the plight at hand. The experience is so much more than where you will get your next drink of water or where you might sleep that night. Beyond the basic necessities of shelter, water, fire, and food, the most trouble you will have in a survival situation is keeping your mind occupied. Let it wander and entertain itself. At least that has always worked well for me.

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Scavenging 101: 3 of the best places to get freebies

I’m not a big advocate of  trash picking; however, I must say that I have seen some really good merchandise over the years go into the dumpster and onto the curb. And as much as I am not an advocate of trash picking, I am also not a great advocate of wastefulness. We all are familiar with the old adage: “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. And the fact of the matter is that a resourceful individual can find use for nearly any and everything, while others, I call them “consumers”, are simply lost at the idea of re-purposing or repairing anything. So, the trick is that you as a survival prepper, or merely a thrifty individual, need to find the place where the consumers ditch their gear. Here are three tried and true spots:

  1. College campuses. This has been my best spot over the years. These young kids, their heads and hearts filled with visions of superiority and great wealth, will often leave huge amounts of valuable items right in the trash. Some of the item I personally have acquired from college campuses after graduation are: cellphones, laptops, televisions, household items, liquor, and food, (if you can stand it).
  2. High profile businesses. The really high dollar shops are more likely to put returned or slightly damaged items in the dumpster than they are to try to resell or auction them off. That type of behavior is often beneath such high falutin ideology. Why not take advantage of that fact and get what you can out of it. A word of caution: Be careful off competition at these locations, other scavengers will fight over this these spots. It’s never a bad idea to have someone watching your six… and someone else watching theirs. Remember the trailing gunman theory.
  3. Personal storage facilities. These are good picks because quite often when property is abandoned in units, they are auctioned off and the less desirable items are discarded as trash. A good thing to note; however, is that some person at some time had seen every item in that unit as valuable to some degree… however, they might have been a lunatic too.
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Running missions: 3 reasons you should keep an item of faith with you

If you are the type of rugged individual who enjoys the use of military surplus tents and equipment, (and it’s obvious you are or you likely wouldn’t be reading this), then you know what it’s like to run a mission.

And since the last installment was about the legendary Case™ trapper style pocket knife, I wanted to play off of that line of thought this week and talk about my personal Case™ trapper and explain why it has significance and what three very important reasons are that I carry this particular knife.  My particular Case™ knife has an excerpt from The Lord’s Prayer engraved on it’s white bone handle. This knife goes in my pocket everywhere I go and there is a distinct reason I carry this knife.

For those of you who were Ernest Hemingway fans, perhaps you will remember that he always had a good luck piece on him. Now, in his case the lucky piece changed regularly because he was prone to losing them. I personally don’t carry mine for good luck. I don’t believe in luck for one thing. I’m a man of faith who believes in the God of the Bible, and I carry mine instead as a connection between me and my Maker. Here are three reasons why I carry the blade I do, and why you should keep an item of faith on you as well.

  1. It gives me courage. If you believe in God, then you know that he is an ever-present help in times of danger. I have seen many people draw bravery from religious artifacts over the years, everything from Stars of David to St. Michael medals.
  2. It keeps me focused. When things are spinning fast and I feel like my mind is going ten thousand different directions a second, a brief pat of my palm on my left trouser pocket brings a feel of that familiar bundle that connects me to the Lord. That touch is often enough to get me focused.
  3. With it I’m always armed. I used to work in a maximum security prison, and I’ve seen dudes get killed with soup spoons sharpened on a concrete window sill. I know how much damage I can do with a knife of that caliber.
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Survival essentials: 3 reasons to keep a Case Trapper with you… no matter what

I have been a survivor all of my life, but I became a survivalist in 1987 when I took the Standard Course with the Old Tracker himself, Tom Brown Jr.

One of the things I had learned long before ever taking my first survival course was the importance of having a knife in your pocket. I grew up on a horse farm that also had a working herd of black angus cattle. My father, an old time cowboy, used to carry a pearl handled Solingen Cutlery stockman’s knife in his front right pocket which he used for everything from farm/ranch work, to entertainment. He even had one of the four blades on his full size stockman reserved for eating. He called it his apple blade. It didn’t escape my attention that the “apple blade” was also the preferred utility for cleaning the grit from under his fingernails when sitting around the stables at night after working horses.

We all know how important it is to have a good survival knife in your kit when on an expedition. However, you need to ask yourself how often the likelihood might arise for you to be thrown into an unforeseen circumstance where you won’t have time or opportunity to grab a kit bag, but will be forced to go with just what you have in your pocket. That’s why I always carry a Case™  brand trapper pocket knife. There are many companies that make these knives, however, few companies make them as well as Case™ does. Here are three reasons to keep a Case™ trapper in your pockets at all times.

  1. It has two blades. One is known as a clip point utility blade which comes in handy whenever you come across something that needs stabbed through… your belt for instance, if you lose weight and it needs to be tightened by making new holes. And lastly, the “spey” blade, which gained it’s name from the design which works perfectly for castrating livestock. It is also good for skinning by not having a sharp point that will slit your hide as you are skinning your game.
  2. It is well crafted. You might find other trapper style knives, but you won’t find one that is as well made as the Case™ brand. It is made to last and will hod up to the hardest abuse. There’s a reason you don’t find any cheap used ones on eBay.
  3. It has a lifetime warranty. If you manage to break this thing through normal use, you can get it replaced at no charge. Yet another reason you don’t find cheap used ones anywhere.
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