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Prepping the right way for true survival

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posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 03:27 AM
Okay so I've been reading the threads on survival here on ATS for the last couple of years and have seen some great ideas and thoughts on prepping. Today I sat down and watched all the Doomsday Prepped programs I have recorded and decided to write this thread after seeing some of the good ideas of the Preppers as well as some of the absolutely horrible plans the Preppers had.

Before I list my suggestions I will provide some background on myself and some of my experience in survival training. I was in Naval Special Warfare during my time in the service and went through extensive survival training during my service. I went through Level B SERE training at Camp Gonsalves, Okinawa Japan Level C SERE training at Warner Springs, California, and Level D SERE at Fairchil AFB, Washington. I attended Jungle Environment Survival Training at Subic Naval Base, Bundok Philippines and attended Arctic Light Individual training at Black Rapids Alaska. In addition to my military training I have received numerous commercial survival courses during my work in the offshore oil industry although much of it was sea survival however.

I realize that everyone's situation and circumstances are different given different strengths and weaknesses in each individual scenario. Some people are prepping only for themselves while others have families with small children, the elderly, or disabilities. However this doesn't change the core principles of survival, which is being able to procure the necessities required to continue living for another day. Your individual situation and circumstances will only dictate what you need to do in order to procure the resources needed.

While watching Doomsday Preppers I was amazed at the number of people that live in urban areas that were stockpiling large amounts of food and supplies. In my opinion that is setting yourself up for disaster, in a SHTF scenario you will want to get out of urban areas ASAP and start procuring the items you will need for survival. I could see it being a good idea to have caches placed in predetermined areas outside of urban areas for pickup during the exodus but trying to sit it out in a survival scenario is impossible since you will be in the epicenter of chaos if its a SHTF scenario. Proof of this is the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it took 3 days for things to descend into chaos and looting to start.

My first item on my survival list will always be the Basic Survival Kit. This kit should contain the absolute bare items that you MUST have to survive. In my opinion you BSK should be kept small and compact and should be accessible to pick up and go at any given time. This is your "don't leave home without" emergency item, mine is always kept in the center pocket of my ALICE Pack.

Your BSK should contain a number if necessary items regardless of your skills. It should include 3 forms of fire starters, mine contains a magnifying glass, magnesium fire starter, and fully waxed strike anywhere matches. I have also added firesticks made from dryer lint mixed with melted wax, I have six that are 6" long and about 1/2" diameter, it only requires a piece about 1" long to start a fire. The next item, and most important by far is 2 knifes. I chose a SOG Seal Pup fixed blade and a SOG locking folder for my BSK but it is purely a matter of choice. The next item is condoms, i keep 6 in my BSK for water containers. You should have a small LED penlight and a small compass as well as 10' of twine. I use 30lb test braided fishing line, it works great for setting triggers on snares and is strong and durable. I also suggest a poncho, the military style is great as it can be used to make a decent shelter in a pinch. This should be the extent of your BSK, when you have it complete it should be small enough to carry in your hand or a large jacket pocket

The next item is your BOB which should be big enough to carry the items you must have but not so big that you can't carry it. I use a medium ALICE Pack with frame for my BOB, they are cheap and durable and with some work can handle a sizable load rather comfortabky. Remember, when faced with a SHTF survival mobility is your best asset and you will eventually have to accept the fact that you will have to go without many of the items you are accustomed to.

Your BOB should contain the items that are important to survival but not absolute necessary to survive. My BOB contains 8 MRE's which is enough food to sustain me until I get settled at an intermediate or final(?) survival area and can then procure plants and critters for food. Next is a hand held wind up radio-light combo so that I may be able to gather Intel on what's going on in the SHTF scenario. Other items are as follows, tube tent, kirku, 2 pairs of socks and underwear, another basic knife and firestarter, spool of 30lb test braided fishing line, parachord (100'), good first aid kit as well as small supply of aspirin and antibacterial cream. I also have in my BOB roll of duct tape, 3 mouse traps and 3 rat traps, small 10'x10' tarp, 2 space blankets, 2 hand towels, and 2 metal canteens, iodine water tablets and 3 forks. These items will give you a good start on survival and make life somewhat comfortable while surviving.

As I already stated I don't adhere to the stockpiling mentality for survival, all too often survival depends on mobility and that's difficult when you have 5,000lbs of food stored at the house. I recommend instead of stockpiling, begin to learn to live off of what nature can provide you with. The native Americans lived this way for thousands of years and did so very successfully. Even in a suburban environment we are surrounded by food sources if you only know where to look. Familiarize yourself with the trees and plants that are native to hour region and you will find that there is a plethora of resources available to you. If you are serious about prepping then start preparing yourself mentally now for the changes you will have to acclimated to. Start vowing 2-3 days when able without electricity, turn off all your breakers except your fridge and get used to cooking by alternative means. Spend 1 weekend a month doing some "roughing it" camping and if possible do it somewhere you are able to fish or hunt if it's hunting season. If you can do this and learn to catch fish and cook it or trap or hunt small game and dress and cook it then you will be ahead if the game. The mouse and rat traps from your BOB make great traps for trapping small game such as squirrels, rabbits, and even birds and you can even sharpen your skills with these in your own backyard.

You will need some means of hunting food and protecting yourself in a SHTF scenario and IMO you can't beat a trusty firearm. Some people choose a bow for the ease of making arrows plus the stealth but my thinking is that when someone hears a gunshot when you are hunting it will be a deterrent to most. If you use your ammo wisely 70 rounds will last you a long time, plus you will eventually find more and if not well it served you well for a while. You also have to remeber that a goid deal of your food wilk come from trapoing and snaring so your ammo should last quite some time. Whether you like guns or not there will come a time in a SHTF scenario that you will be glad you have one.

I will add to this thread tomorrow with more information on survival/prepping, I am out of characters on this post and its getting late for me.

posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 04:10 AM
Great thread! Very informative. My husband and I have slowly, over the years, been building up a survival kit/plan. I also never thought that stockpiling was a good idea considering you may have to evacuate your area if something happened. We have watched a few of those preppers shows as well and I must say that there definitely are some ridiculous things on there. Although, some good ideas as well. However, learning to living off the land is far more efficient than stockpiling, in my opinion.

We have two large, good quality, hiking packs which we have pre-filled with various items such as:
- waterproof matches
- a couple knives
- a compact first aid kit
- a small hatchet
- some clothes
- flares
- wind-up/solar powered radio
- a little portable flint striker my husband picked up
- a couple flashlights
- a few 5 packs of those hospital type face masks
- a couple of fire-proof blankets
- small tarp
- iodine tablets
- etc.

The list goes on actually. Can't remember it all off the top of my head. It seems like a lot but they are all relatively small items packed in two large hiking bags.

I also have two toilet buckets filled with emergency MREs and packs of water. One is in the car and the other is in our house. We also have talked about making a small greenhouse in the backyard along with some raised bed gardens. It doesn't help if we have to move, I know. But it's still a good idea considering the state of things and we may not even have to travel.

We don't live in a city or suburban area, not even a large town. We live in a wooded area in very small town. But I am still aware that we may have to be on the move, most likely further north towards the mountains if it comes to that. Luckily, we have a friend that lives up north and can rendezvous with him if and when the time comes.

Our northern friend has been getting into learning about the plants and trees native to us. We have books and such as well. We figure it will certainly come in handy if we have to live off the land.

Again, thanks for the information. We will certainly make use of it.

posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 04:41 AM
In some small countries, there is just nowhere to go! Iceland, Denmark, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, The low countries, Czheckland, Slovakia, the Balkans, England, all overpopulated, (perhaps not Iceland) so staying put is the only option, especially if you have sunk time, money and effort into food production, shelter, a well, waste disposal, electrical supply, the list goes on.

posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 04:47 AM
While learning to 'live of the land' what are you going to eat and drink? plants take months to grow and mature ready for harvesting, so you might need four months worth of food stockpiled while you wait for your plants to get a move on, or are you thinking of eating bark and berries? if you find a 'good' spot, so will other people, The drug cartel turf wars will be childs play when sit. X happens.

posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 05:29 AM
Could you possibly provide some links to purchase some of these items? I realize I could easily google but I'm just not familiar with pricing, trusted brands, reputable merchants, etc. At your leisure of course. Thank you so much - very informative post!

posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 07:16 AM
For many years I have been buying from here:

posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 11:18 AM
All survival depends on environmental conditions.

IE: will the SHTF in the middle of winter ?? if it does Do not go wondering off into the woods as you will be dead in a few days.

It all depends and where you live and what time of year it is. Bugging out is great if you have somewhere to go but if you dont you need a plan.

posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 12:55 PM

Originally posted by pikestaff
While learning to 'live of the land' what are you going to eat and drink? plants take months to grow and mature ready for harvesting, so you might need four months worth of food stockpiled while you wait for your plants to get a move on, or are you thinking of eating bark and berries? if you find a 'good' spot, so will other people, The drug cartel turf wars will be childs play when sit. X happens.

Haven't you ever watched survivor man? By living off the land, I mean by using the environment around us to our advantage. I didn't mean farming, but that's good too if you have the place and time to wait it out.
And yes, bark and berries if it comes to it, but we will have more than that of course. Especially if you know how to shoot, fish, and trap animals. Knowledge of all the edible plants and flowers around is extremely helpful as well.
I don't live in a heavily populated state. I'm not too worried about that part. As for those that are, we all just have to do what we can when the time comes.

posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 01:00 PM

Originally posted by nighthawk1954
For many years I have been buying from here:

Awesome link sir! Great stuff. I will browse around when I get the chance. We already have most of what we need but it doesn't hurt to check if there's anything interesting we can use or are missing.

I have picked up quite a few items from here:

posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 06:09 PM
I always see a lot of kits with "fire starting gear" in them, but not many people include a couple of bic lighters. Always magnesium fire sticks, flint strikers, etc. Until you've tried to start a fire with that stuff you dont know how difficult it is. Those magnesium striker sticks only get you about 4 or 5 tiny piles of powder, and good luck keeping your powder from owing away in even the slightest breeze.

Just pack a couple lighters. You can always dry them out if they get wet, and if you're only using them to start fires a lighter should last you about a month.

posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 07:23 PM
where I live it is impossible to get your hands on a gun and everything else is quite expensive.any ideas?

posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 07:27 PM

Originally posted by ZeroReady
I always see a lot of kits with "fire starting gear" in them, but not many people include a couple of bic lighters. Always magnesium fire sticks, flint strikers, etc. Until you've tried to start a fire with that stuff you dont know how difficult it is. Those magnesium striker sticks only get you about 4 or 5 tiny piles of powder, and good luck keeping your powder from owing away in even the slightest breeze.

Just pack a couple lighters. You can always dry them out if they get wet, and if you're only using them to start fires a lighter should last you about a month.

That is an excellent idea. I have several lighters in my packs. The main lighter is bic, but my standby is a Zippo. It goes in your pocket and you forget about it until you need it. If you run out of fluid you can use whatever is flammable and it will last for weeks. Use the bic while you are on the run, but when you get settled use the zippo and store the bic. You will find fuel and can keep it at base camp. I also carry magnesium starter as backup. A 9 volt battery will work too.

posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 07:53 PM
reply to post by Dissobey

Maybe you have to move someplace where things are easier to get. In any case, a good idea would be to develop good community relations with like-minded and trustworthy people- you can share ideas and resources. Develop as many useful skills as you can, and collect books on how to do things so you and your friends can learn. Get some good hand tools. In any prolonged crisis situation, what you know and what you can do is more valuable than what things you have. You can use your skills to barter for things.

posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 07:59 PM
Nice thread,, and well written.
I have an uncle up northern wisconsin which is considered one of the Elders at the this place is awesome.. Basically this "school" takes people in for months to a year to learn to completely live off the land. Sleeping in makeshift shelters, drinking from streams, eating what you catch to all local vegetation. People from around the world have this tried this course at about a 5% completion rate. When it comes to actually living off the land,, many cant hack it. I dont think most really have a clue what it is like to "HAVE' to survive. I do however live in the sticks, and intend on staying put, however am prepared to hit the road if my base becomes compromised.
edit on 3-9-2012 by Lil Drummerboy because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 08:03 PM
Sorry it took me so long to get back to add to the thread, I was tied up at work and ended up having to work late.

A couple of items I would like to back up and readdress, an important iitem I failed to mention in your BOB is fish hooks, they can be used to catch more than fish by baiting them with anything a bird or small critter would be attracted to. Also for my First Aid Kit I use the Army M3 Medic Bag that can be purchased for $49.97 online, here is a link to the site as well as description of its contents.
Army M3 Medic Bag from

As far as good places to purchase the necessary items here are some links to some great online sites.
Army surplus world
Army Navy Deals

You need to be knowledgeable on various survival skills, there are numerous publications on the web but THIS site has links to over 100 manuals available in PDF format. Many of them are various military field manuals on subjects ranging from survival, trap making, evasion, edible and medicinal plants, food storage, game processing and curing, first aid, sabotage, combat, and hand to hand combat.

I would recommend to anyone who is interested in survival/prepping to download any of the manuals that you feel you are weak at and familiarize yourself with these subjects and practice them as much as possible. You can put many of these skills to use in everyday life, such as preserving game meats, you don't need to hunt an animal to practice these skills simply get some meat from your grocery store and learn to smoke, brine, or jerk cure it.

A subject of great importance is physical fitness. You don't have to go to the gym and exercise or train, in fact when I went through BUDs/ SWCC training we were advised not to weight train or hit the gym, instead we were advised to core train with push ups, pull ups, chin ups, sit ups, and jogging/running in our gear to prepare us for our daily demands while on missions. I would suggest finding a good place to hike, not around the neighborhood but an area of moderate terrain and start hiking with your BOB and anything else you would take in a SHTF scenario to acclimate your body with the physical demands of bugging out in full gear. Don't forget foot care either, its better to spend more on a good set of boots and save your feet and back than to try and skimp on your footwear and suffer later. Many times low back pain when carrying a moderate to large pack can be traced to poor foot wear. I would also suggest buying hiking boots over tennis shoes for a bug out situation since they will provide much more support and are much more durable.

Last but not least, the absolute most important item to have to ensure your survival is the ability to maintain a level head and think clearly and rationally in high stress situations. Expectations are the root cause of all disappointment, therefore don't expect things to be easy but continue to believe that things are possible if you assess the situation properly.

There are more aspects to survival than what I have mentioned in this thread but as I have said this is to cover the basics of prepping and bugging out in a SHTF scenario. Everyone's individual needs will vary depending upon their location, environment, and individual needs.

Although many people feel that preparing is too expensive there are some really great items at good prices from the sites that I have linked to. Even if someone can't afford to prep with a fully stocked BOB remember that knowledge is power and having the knowledge on subjects about survival will put you leaps ahead of the average Joe and will increase your chances of survival exponentially.

edit on 3-9-2012 by Nucleardiver because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 08:22 PM

Originally posted by Dissobey
where I live it is impossible to get your hands on a gun and everything else is quite expensive.any ideas?

Well in situations where citizens aren't allowed firearms and other weapons are too expensive you could always make your own bow. I am an avid bow hunter and do some primitive bow hunting and have made several of my own recurve bows and even made my own arrow shafts and points. There is some good info on the web for bow making. Here is a link to a good site on making a Lakota Sioux bow.
Making a Lakota Siiux bow

I have used this method twice, once for a traditional Lakota bow and once for a modified heavier and longer variant. It will take about 4 months from start to finish due to having to properly dry the Ash wood in shape. The result is a very powerful and accurate bow capable of dropping a full grown buck Mule Deer from 50 yards. You can't beat the cost either, about $60 dollars total in materials with10 arrows.

posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 08:25 PM
I have also done in depth surveillance of all useful components of in my surrounding area. My location was chosen carefully. lake, edible and medicinal plants, plenty of wildlife. infact just recently, we hiked the entire area for an update to what was edible. Side note: my black walnut trees are producing this year... good eating for this part of wisconsin. also the peal of the nut is a good mosquito repellent.

posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 08:36 PM
In your training
turn off the computer & phone, now turn off your power.
this was your only warning.
how, when, where,???
you must now thank for your self....


posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 08:39 PM
I would like to add a little info for those who are new to this stuff. One thing I believe everyone should carry even if they don't have room for a medical kit is Lugol's Iodine.

It is used for:

thyroid protection from radiation exposure
disinfecting water
prevent infection
treating intestinal parasites

It is so versatile I would not leave home without it so I think everyone should make room for it in their pack.

I make my own and anyone can do it. Do a little research and there are videos on making it. I make about 10% strength solution and use it almost every day for my thyroid. You can buy it online, but it is usually 2 or 3% solution. You can get more bang for your buck in your pack from the higher concentration solution.

If you have room for a backpack I would put a compact book on local wild edibles and plants. Knowing what plants cure what problems could save your life and there will be no hospital. A paramedic can immobilize your broken bone, but they can't tell you what plant will lower a fever or stop an rash. You want one with glossy pages and color photos because it will get a lot of use.

I like the idea of storing goods in a cache at some remote place. I have not done that yet, but hope to this year. I have several bug out scenarios all involving some sort of transportation including a sailboat. I have water near me that leads to the ocean, but is surrounded by forest loaded with animals. I will most definitely need a gun and shelter. My best option is a sail boat located in a remote area. If I can take my boat further north by land first I will do that, but if I am surprised and only have an hour to leave I am ready.

I have my BOB, but if I need that and can't drive my boat to water I might as well stay and fight. I am not in a city, but I have neighbors. We get along now and they would pool together if needed. Unfortunately useless mouths to feed would strain those relationships pretty quick so leaving would be inevitable at some point.

posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 08:55 PM
one little tip for all urban people please dont thank you can go running into the woods and take what you want,
theres a lot of nice people liveing in the woods that have to ruff it every winter while your takeing the grocery store for grant it.
now that its closed dont just walk into someones back yard in the woods, they might be home when it looks deserted,lol

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