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USMC: 7 new boots that are on the list

Do you remember the good old days when you were issued one pair of uniform boots of the same exact style as everyone else in your branch of the service? Well, those days are over, at least as far as it goes for the United States Marine Corps. In a recent article written for, the Marine Corps has, in an effort to continually improve the equipment and clothing of the branch, approved 7 new brands of combat service boots. “”

According to the article, “Marines can now choose from 16 different combat, rugged all-terrain or optional boots. The list of approved styles was released in a service-wide administrative message last week, which was signed by Lt. Gen. David Berger, the head of Marine Corps Combat Development Command.”.

The article, written by journalist Gina Hawkins goes on to give a brief description of the merits of the new approved footwear, as well as a detailed listing of them and their manufacturer.
“These are the boots that were added to the list of officially approved footwear:


  • Bates style No. E30502 (hot weather)


  • Bates style No. 29502 (hot weather)
  • Wellco style No. E114 (temperate weather)


  • Danner Reckoning boot style No. 53221
  • Bates lightweight style No. E50501 for men and E57501 for women
  • Danner’s Marine Expeditionary Boot style No. 53111 (temperate weather)
  • Danner’s MEB style No. 53110 (hot weather)

The Marine Corps first authorized Danner’s Reckoning hot-weather boot last year. Even though it wasn’t formally publicized, word spread quickly when the service started selling the boots in the exchanges, Hamby said.

The last time the list of authorized boots had been formally updated was in March 2016″.
What this means for the civilian military surplus community is that these same boots will at some point in time be made available as surplus. Because, even though the individual soldier will often purchase the footwear of his or her choice directly from the manufacturer, the military will still buy mass quanities of same for research, testing, deployment, etc…

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Sportsman’s ambiance: 3 must do steps for getting a hornet’s nest for your den


If you are a hunter, outdoorsman, sportsman, or even a survivalist or a prepper then it is most likely that you have a man cave somewhere. One of the aspects of having a man cave is having manly, out-doorsie things hanging up in it. An old snowshoe for instance, or a wretched old Coleman lantern. Anything that will put you in mind of an old Jack London style trapper cabin located on the tundra in the wilds of Alaska.

One of my favorite wall hangings is a deserted, (and completely vacated), hornet’s nest. The good news is that a hornet’s nest is not hard to find; the bad news? It’s difficult to vacate. The other good news is that nature and the changing environments will help you to get that perfect decoration.

Typically a bald-faced hornet’s nest is usually the size of a football or sometimes a basketball. They can, however, get much larger than that and of course you can find them much smaller as well. This nest is usually built over a period of half a year and is always started by the queen who emerges from hibernation in the spring and gets the business started by chewing wood pulp into paper, making brood cells and laying eggs in each cell. The workers are then hatched and take over the menial tasks while she lays eggs over the summer creating an army of workers which build and inhabit the nest.

Winter drives the queen back into hibernation while the workers all freeze to death until the next spring when the process starts all over again.

The nest that is left will never be inhabited by bald-faced hornets again!

Here are three things you must do to ensure you don’t have any hornets left in your nest before you take it into your man cave:

  1. Gather it in the winter. And if you have spotted a likely hornet’s nest, make sure that you gather it after the very coldest part of the winter. These workers have to get very cold to die and even then if they are still around they can be revived by warmth. Don’t be afraid to inspect the nest very closely before you take it inside.
  2. Smoke it. In the old days, people would get a smoky smoldering ember and let the smoke permeate the nest to ensure that the inhabitants had vacated it completely.
  3. Seal it. My favorite answer to this quandary is to seal the nest in shellac and make sure that whatever is in there will stay in there, and it will also make it a bit more durable to be used as a wall hanging. It is made out of rustic papers after all.
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Military surplus vehicles: 4 reasons to buy from the government

I was recently on a trip through a local state park with my wife when we saw little signs on garden stakes that said “Willy’s” with a directional arrow pointed neatly below.

Perplexed by what of “Willy’s” we were being directed to, (his funeral, wedding, what?), I followed the arrows obediently and came to this ancient, WWII era Willys truck. It was accompanied by several dozen other Willys vehicles and was in fact, part of a show of these old and restored vehicles that were so prevalent in helping the Allied forces win the last great war. I was excited to see that there was even a demonstration of various Willys vehicles planned; however, I soon lost that excitement somewhat as my wife made it clear that she had no intention of attending such a show, (interest in military surplus equipment doesn’t necessarily run in the family, you see)?

And so, here are four great reasons to invest in a military surplus vehicle and equipment:

  1. It is rugged and well built. Understand that these vehicles were designed to drive through the mud and brambles of unsettled Europe and Asia in order to sneak up on German and Japanese soldiers and subsequently bust their ass “good n proper”. They were designed of hard rubber and tempered steel that can last a long time and take a lot of abuse.
  2. It is simply made. Many modifications were made in the field with nothing more than a good, hot fire, some tongs formed from old crescent wrenches, and parts hammered out on a piece of rusty railroad track. They were made simply so that they could be repaired simply. No computer chips, metric bolts, or JIS screws will be found in these things.
  3. They are well designed. Every nook and cranny on a military surplus vehicle is there for a reason. They were made strictly for utility and not for aesthetics, though many of us warmonger types do find them to be aesthetically pleasing.
  4.  They hold their value. As I mentioned earlier, these vehicles seem to maintain a following for some reason, and as long as they are available, there will always be a group of aficionados who are going to want to purchase and own them.
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Survival 101: 3 predator attacks you can defend with just a knife,(if you must)

Ok, it doesn’t take me to tell you that it is foolish to fight a bear, cougar, wolf, or boar with a knife. But the fact of the matter is that you might very well find yourself in a situation where you are being mercilessly mauled in the wilderness by some beast that is bigger, stronger, and better armed than you.

At the least, you should always have a blade with you of six inches or more. I prefer to make my own Bowie knives and keep them at about twelve inches or so. Although I’m not looking forward to ver being in a knife fight with a super-predator, I would not give myself up for dead if I were. I can almost guarantee you will be forever changed, but wether you die or not depends on how much of, and what kind of, a fight you put up. Here are three of the most likely attacks you could experience, and some tactics you can deploy to try to survive them.

  1. Bear. I’m assuming that before you ever decide to fight a bear, you’ve already exhausted the bear spray, and have tried the “playing dead” tactic to no avail. In this instance your best bet is to feed him your off hand, (yes, right in his/her mouth), while simultaneously stabbing deeply from below, up into the brainpan. Once deeply into the skull you should pull with all your might to slice brain, tongue, and throat as much as possible. Bear in mind that this animal will shake the shit out of you as soon as it clamps down on your arm so cut quick and deep.
  2. Cougar. If you’ve never been close to a cougar, then you have no idea how scary these things are. They are most dangerous in their crushing bite and dis-embowling rear claws. Believe it or not a bear hug is a better defense than anything else, and an MMA “mount” position, (if you can get it), will keep those rear claws off of your belly and out of your testicles. I would try to drag this shivering, snarling thing to the nearest body of water and hold it under, raccoon style, until it quits bubbling.
  3. Wolf. These are the easiest to fight one on one but usually attack in packs. Sacrificing the offhand into the mouth leaves the sides, neck, and underside of the skull open for a good, deep stab wound.
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Survival 101: 3 ways to make your own knives

Two handmade knives constructed from re-purposed materials

If you are reading this the chances are that you are the type of person who is self sufficient and who wants to do things on your own.

I am the same way and am even self sufficient to the point that I make my own knives.  Though I am a big fan of shows such as “Forged in Fire“, I actually learned to hand forge and craft my blades from a American Blade Smith, (ABS), certified knife-maker.

The good news is that if you want to learn how to make your own knives, you don’t have to set up an apprenticeship for yourself, there are lots of resources available to you that will allow you to easily learn some simple ways of making your own knives.

Here are three methods that you can use to make your own knives for both survival and utility use. These are just concepts. The scope of this blog is too narrow to allow for the intricacies of techniques involved; however, these will give you some research direction if you are interested in pursuing these ideas.

(1). Forging and grinding. We forge first so that we don’t have to grind so much. Plain and simple, the easiest way to shape your steel is to get it pliable and hammer it in. This type of blade can usually be finished by hand with files and sandpaper and don’t actually require a grinder.

(2). Hollow grinding. This is a different form of bladesmithing that usually involves just grinding to shape the blade you want from a piece of steel. The blade angle in a hollow ground knife is very different from the blade angle in a forged knife usually, it is less tapered.

(3). Flint napping. This is the lowest form of knife-making but is the best to be known for survival situations.  Basically you take rocks to make the knives you need to use as tools.

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Deer camp 2018: utilizing road kill

Unless you are independently wealthy and are able to buy any manner of meat or other food items that strike your fancy, you are looking for a way to fill your freezer without emptying you wallet. One great way to do this to call your local law enforcement agency and get on their deer kill list.  Every day, across America, hundreds of police departments are forced to deal with deer that get hit by cars. They will give them away to anyone who wants them and it is completely legal, free venison.

Here’s the catch. Deer make it a habit to get hit by cars at the most inopportune of times, and if you are going to be a successful purveyor of free venison, you have to be one of those people who will answer the phone at 0300 in the morning, get out of bed, and go gut a deer by the side of the road. The cop will almost always hold the light for you and will keep you entertained with witty one-liners as the snow and sleet blow across your frozen bloody hands. The problems come when you are one of those people who won’t do that. Don’t come too many times, and police dispatchers will stop calling you altogether, favoring those whom they can depend on.

Often you will get the call to come take a deer that is too torn up to be of much value. At times like these, I smile, take the carcass anyway, and scrounge what I can for my dogs. I have an old meat grinder dedicated to Starling and Teeny, my two k9 friends. They love deer meat even if it is bruised or a little dirty, and a couple of deer will go a long way to supplementing those bags of dry dog food they seem to inhale.

Do yourself and your family a favor. Fill that freezer with venison that doesn’t cost you anything more than some time and a little sleep. It’s usually good, clean, fresh meat, and you’ll be performing a community service by getting that carcass off of the road.

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Survival poaching: 3 things you have to know to make meat in an emergency

Though I don’t in any way, shape, or form advocate the practice of poaching, I will tell you that in a survival situation you have to resort to any means necessary in order to get the nutrients that you will need to live.

That being said, you should understand that if you use some of the tricks I’m going to share with you today, you could very easily face charges in a criminal court if they’re ever discovered. The old adage “I’d rather be tried by twelve than eaten by worms” comes into play here though, and if your very existence depends on it, then the laws of nature and the writings of John Locke demand that you take the life of whatever you can in order to save yourself. Here are three ways to do it.

  1. Hook snares. Anything is susceptible to a hook snare. They are just what they sound like, a hook tied to a cord of some kind, with bait on it for an animal to gulp down and get hooked in the gullet. This is a very cruel technique and should never be used except in a life or death situation. Small hooks can be baited with kernels of corn and placed just below the surface of a lake at the bank for ducks and geese. Pieces of meat can be suspended with treble hooks from green branches for coyotes, fox, etc… Nasty bit of business and you should be in real trouble before you resort to this.
  2. Wire snares. Wire snares are effective as well, and can be set to trap and strangle anything up to a moose. For smaller game you can use old electric wire with the insulation stripped off to make a stout copper wire strand that keeps its form nicely, and which is strong enough to strangle anything up to a fox. You will need something more substantial than twisted copper wire for coyote, bear, deer, or moose. Basically set a wire snare wherever your desired animal may stick its head or foot. Attach the end to a sapling strong enough to hold it, or to a log big enough to eventually get tangled.
  3. Night shooting. Animals are largely nocturnal, and their eyes glow in light. This is a no-brainer if you have a gun with you, either build a fire or use a flashlight. When you see two eyes glowing in the darkness, shoot between them.
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Survival 101: 3 things you must do now to get your sugar on

If you are a survivalist, prepper, self sufficient, hobbyist, naturalist, do it yourselfer, or just a fan of delicious sugary goodness then now is the time for action!

I speak of course of the time of year for those of us who are self-sufficient to get our tin buckets out of the shed and tap those trees that are good for syrup making. Of course we all know that we can tap all types of maple trees to get the sap for syrup, but did you know that you can also tap walnut trees and birch trees?

If you are into this, or if you have ever wanted to get into it, then now is the time to get started, and here are three things you must do right now in order to get started.


  1. Go out and find good sap trees. The bigger the better, and you need to map your trees and mark them as you go so that you don’t forget where they are. A quick Google Maps search or check through your local auditor site will usually leave you with a great topological map that you can print and use in the field, but a better option is to use a smart phone and make a gps map in an app.
  2. Gather all of your equipment together at once. You will need cans, tops, taps, a rendering pot, and lots of receptacles for storing your sugary goodness.
  3. Set up a block of time. Though I’m not going into detail on technique in this writing, I will tell you that it will take hours for your sap to render to syrup… it takes ten gallons of sap to make one quart of syrup. There are plenty of tutorials out there for making maple syrup, and it is not rocket science. As a matter of fact, Penn-State University has an excellent resource for sap rendering and syrup making. 

Making and rendering your own maple, walnut, or birch syrup is second only to churning your own butter or grinding your own flour. It is also inherent to having your morning pancakes become something that is more than just breakfast… they become an experience.


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Portable Shooters Bench: Several Reason You Need to Build Your Own


When the time comes to head for parts unknown, one of the things you are going to want to have at your disposal is a shooter’s bench. If you do any amount of shooting using optics, then a shooter’s bench is going to be a must have piece of equipment.

There is no way to keep a scope zeroed in without a good rest and the ability to relax and take long distance, well timed shots. I personally try to shoot with iron sights as much as possible; however, I do know that sometimes you need to reach out and touch some other mother’s son, and to do that you need accurate optics.

I have looked over many different types of shooters benches, some homemade, and many factory made.  The video link I have posted is by the far the best and most affordable that I have found, and I have made two for myself.  I use them at the firing range now, and the fact that they are portable will only make them more valuable to me when it comes time to bug out. I usually have one or the other of them in the bed of my truck, so when the SHTF, I will not need to even think about them. Grab a bugout bag and go!

To make, simply cut the correct shape, and attach folding legs as per the linked video. These shooter benches are super sturdy, and you will be surprised at how well you like them. I use a pile of sandbags for mine, because you just need to carry the empty bags and fill them at the range, that way they lay flat and don’t take up much room at all. The bags can be used for hunting/gathering, building material and many other things as well.

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Survival 101: 3 benefits of a Canadian candle

A good fire is like a good dog in many ways. I’ve said before that fire not only offers you the ability to warm yourself, it also will cook your food, give you companionship, keep you company, etc… But this is not where the similarities end.  A dog can be useful on top of all of the other attributes that he has by being well trained. He can be used to track, protect, and hunt. As a last resort he can be used for food. A fire can be made to be more useful as well, if, like a well-trained dog, it is trained properly.

I present to you the idea of the Canadian Candle; a fire building technique that gives you the most bang for your buck. This simple technique of taking a single log and using it as a primary fire source, grill, heater, light source, and working tool is a surefire way of turning a normal military surplus tent adventure into a supremo-deluxo glamping excursion.  Here are three ways a Canadian Candle outshines a traditional fire.

  • It’s a Grill. A Canadian Candle can be used as a standalone grill once enflamed. The top focuses the heat of your fire in one spot for a very hot cook stove alternative. This surface will be very hot, and care must be taken to regulate the heat in your frying pan if you are trying to fry food items, you may center it however if using it to boil or poach foods.
  • Wood conservation. The Canadian Candle offers great sources of firewood for a traditional fire after using it as a heat source or cooking utensil. The inner burning ember works its way outward and leaves four good sticks of wood as well as a substantial log for the fire.
  • Makes furniture. If you decide not to break the remnants of your Canadian Candle up for more firewood, then a quick flip upside down results in a four legged piece of furniture. The remnant can be used as a table, chair, workstand, etc… The options are endless.

Whether you are camping or glamping, thriving or surviving, the Canadian Candle is an excellent option for the evening fire. It can be made by sawing or tying a log around the bottom and splitting the top. It is the perfect addition to any military tent adventure and will serve you well in the bush.

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