What’s In Your Bag? Part 7 – Light

Welcome to the last episode of What’s In Your Bag?, where we’ll talk about light. Specifically, my EDC combined with what’s in my bag and how they work together.

Humans have an innate fear of the dark, likely due to the fact that we used to be nomadic hunter gatherers combined with the fact that there are scary things in the dark. Personally, I’m not too afraid of anything on four legs in the area I’m in, but I do like to avoid walking into things and two legged predators give me a certain pause. While I live in a relatively safe area, home invasions do occur and I can’t see them going away after any kind of collapse. So, I carry a single AA flashlight with my everywhere I go and I also carry a couple other light sources in my BOB.

WhatsInYourBag-42 [Read more…]

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What’s In Your Bag? Part 6 – Food & Cooking

Welcome to Part 6 of What’s In Your Bag?

Today, I’m covering Food & Cooking. Everyone seems to have different opinions on what is best, but this is what I stock in my bag.

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The first food item I carry in my bag is three field stripped MREs. I’m not sure which flavors these are but it doesn’t really matter to me. Even though cooking is a hobby of mine, there are very few things I care about when eating. Since I can’t carry a medium rare ribeye steak in my bag, MREs will do. If you’ve never heard of field stripped MREs, definitely look into it as it significantly reduces the weight. I was shocked to find that the packaging of MREs is almost 25% of the total weight! [Read more…]

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What’s In Your Bag? Part 5 – Health & First Aid

Welcome to Part 5 of What’s In Your Bag?

Today, I’m going to cover Health & First Aid, which is pretty damn important. I’ve also covered thoughts on medical supplies for home in the past if you’re interested.

Primarily, I have an Individual First Aid Kit from Skinny Medic aka Medical Gear Outfitters, LLC. At least it was originally called an Individual First Aid Kit if I remember correctly. It’s now called “First Aid Kit Medical MOLLE Pouch“, which makes me curious if they hired someone from Microsoft to help with product names. Regardless, it is a very nice kit that I’ve only augmented slightly.

WhatsInYourBag-36 [Read more…]

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What’s In Your Bag? Part 4 – Shelter

Welcome to the 4th installment of What’s In Your Bag?, in which I’m examining the contents of my Bug Out Bag.

To me, shelter is important but not crucial. In the worst case scenario, I do know how to build a shelter with nothing but a pocket knife. That is painful (literally) and time consuming though, so I wanted something lightweight that is easy to setup to carry in my BOB. For that reason I carry an Equinox 6’x8′ Egret Tarp, six MSR Mini Groundhog Tent Stakes, and 100′ of Paracord. Together, these serve to make a more than adequate shelter.

To be honest, I’d never given much real consideration until two of my kids went through Rite of Passage Journeys (a great program by the way, check it out!) and came back to explain that they had successfully used nothing but tarps on their trips. Considering their trips were week plus hikes through the North Cascades and Olympic National Park in Washington, this spurred me to give further thought to tarp tents. I’d been aware of them for years, but scoffed at them and considered them not up to snuff for my needs. Boy was I wrong. [Read more…]

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What’s In Your Bag? Part 3 – Water

Welcome to Part 3 of What’s In Your Bag?

Yesterday, I covered Fire in Part 2. Today I’m covering water, which is more important than food, shelter, or anything else except air. Like fire, I’m overly redundant with gear relating to water purification and filtration. While all of these serve me well, I could lose any two of the three and still be covered.

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The first water related item in my bag is an older MSR Miniworks ceramic filter. I’ve owned this since 2002 and it has gone on many, many backpacking trips with me. While it’s slightly beat up it is still 100% functional so I can’t bring myself to replace it. [Read more…]

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Recent Gold & Silver Prices

I’m a big fan of precious metals for long term wealth storage, but lately I’ve been seeing a lot of oddities in the pricing of gold & silver recently. I didn’t really think it was anything other than market manipulation but after a friend sent me this CNN Money article a couple of days ago, I started to dig deeper. Why, you ask? Simple. Let’s look at a quote from the CNN Money article:

Why are gold and silver going out of fashion with investors? It’s simple: The “end-of-the-world trade” is no longer popular. Investors buy gold when they’re scared. Right now the U.S. economy continues to chug along, Ebola fears have faded, tensions with Russia have eased and Western countries are containing ISIS.

There are so many factually incorrect statements there that it isn’t even funny. For starters, a number of investors buy gold to, well, invest in it. The U.S. Economy is in a shambles, with all growth being fueled by taking on further debt, which is akin to saying you’re rich because the bank keeps raising your credit card limits. Ebola fears have far from faded. Russia is continually pushing forward into NATO airspace and is rolling tanks into Ukraine. ISIS is still growing faster than expected, and is still the greatest threat the US has faced since 9/11.

It’s CNN though, what do you expect? [Read more…]

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What’s In Your Bag? Part 2 – Fire

Welcome to Part 2 of What’s In Your Bag?

In Part 1, I covered the bag itself and the Gerber Survival Knife I carry in it. In this section, we’ll cover fire.

Fire

[Read more…]

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The End of the Market Economy

I came across this post by John Michael Greer on The Archdruid Report today and felt the need to share it. It’s an interesting analysis of how our legal system has exploded in scope just enough to begin destroying our economy.

The institutions and habits that contemporary industrial civilization uses to structure its economic life comprise that tangled realm of supposedly voluntary exchanges we call “the market.” Back when the United States was still contending with the Soviet Union for global hegemony, that almost always got rephrased as “the free market;” the adjective still gets some use among ideologues, but by and large it’s dropped out of use elsewhere. This is a good thing, at least from the perspective of honest speaking, because the “free” market is of course nothing of the kind. It’s unfree in at least two crucial senses: first, in that it’s compulsory; second, in that it’s expensive.

“The law in its majestic equality,” Anatole France once noted drolly, “forbids rich and poor alike to urinate in public, sleep under bridges, or beg for bread.” In much the same sense, no one is actually forced to participate in the market economy in the modern industrial world. Those who want to abstain are perfectly free to go looking for some other way to keep themselves fed, clothed, housed, and supplied with the other necessities of life, and the fact that every option outside of the market has been hedged around with impenetrable legal prohibitions if it hasn’t simply been annihilated by legal fiat or brute force is just one of those minor details that make life so interesting.

A little farther into the post and these two paragraphs explain exactly why the market economy is dead and gone. This is an accurate reflection of my travels through a huge swath of the country over the past two years. Outside of major cities, towns are slowly dying. Even in some areas of major cities, north Dallas for example, erosion of the area is already starting.

Here in Cumberland, there are empty storefronts all through downtown, and empty buildings well suited to any other kind of economic activity you care to name there and elsewhere in town. There are plenty of people who want to work, wage and benefit expectations are modest, and there are plenty of goods and services that people would buy if they had the chance. Yet the storefronts stay empty, the workers stay unemployed, the goods and services remain unavailable. Why?

The reason is intermediation. Start a business in this town, or anywhere else in America, and the intermediaries all come running to line up in front of you with their hands out. Local, state, and federal bureaucrats all want their cut; so do the bankers, the landlords, the construction firms, and so on down the long list of businesses that feed on other businesses, and can’t be dispensed with because this or that law or regulation requires them to be paid their share. The resulting burden is far too large for most businesses to meet. Thus businesses don’t get started, and those that do start up generally go under in short order. It’s the same problem faced by every parasite that becomes too successful: it kills the host on which its own survival depends.

Now go read the whole thing. Take it to heart and consider how a socioeconomic collapse would affect your household. The Archdruid Report: Dark Age America: The End of the Market Economy

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What’s In Your Bag?

Welcome to the first in a series of posts about what’s in my Bug Out Bag. While I was originally going to make this a single post, I ended taking a lot of pictures so I’m going to split this up into a series of posts over the next week, with each post covering a specific type of gear and my opinions on the individual items. To start off though, this post covers a summary of the bag itself, a look at the contents, and some notes on the Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife that I keep in my bag.

The Bag

I know it seems “tacticool” but I’m very pleased with the quality and endurance of the Maxpedition Vulture-II Backpack. Both my wife and I use these bags and I must say that they are ridiculously sturdy, the built-in hip belt does a decent job of helping to distribute the load, and support for a 3L hydration reservoir lets me keep a good supply of (treated and rotated) water in the bag at all times.

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Moving on to what’s actually in my bag, let’s take a look at the front compartment.

[Read more…]

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Thoughts On Medical Supplies

In talking to a number of preppers, I find that medical supplies often aren’t given as much thought as they should be. A basic – or even “advanced” – first aid kit that you can pick up at Walmart simply isn’t enough to form the whole basis of your medical supplies. While it’s a good idea to start with a quality first aid kit as the core of your medical supplies, you definitely need to augment it with additional first aid supplies and stocks of both over the counter and prescription medications.

First Aid Kit & Accessories

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Personally I use a 12 Survivors First Aid Rollup Kit as the quick access kit that will cover 80%+ of our normal first aid scenarios. It includes an emergency blanket, lightweight poncho, PBT elastic bandages, gauze pads, wet wipes, BZK antiseptic wipes, alcohol prep pads, purple nitrile gloves (I replaced the PVC gloves that it came with), band aids, mouth to mouth breathing mask, tweezers, zinc oxide adhesive plaster, a tourniquet band, and an emergency dressing. It’s in a nice rollup kit that also has straps that are compatible with MOLLE attachments. It straps nicely to the bottom of my bug out bag. Like I said, this should cover 80%+ of our first aid scenarios and is mobile enough that I could make do if I had to. It’s a nice core to build the rest of my medical supplies on and I would recommend it to anyone. Yes, that somewhat atrocious logo comes off as it’s Velcro.

There are a few additional things I specifically recommend everyone carry in their bug out bag as well as keep in stock at home. [Read more…]

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