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Flipping through a couple of hundred channels and struggling to find anything to watch – the title “Zombie Preppers” caught my eye. I – with much apprehension – switched to that show and caught it right from the beginning.
I am sure many of you have watched Doomday Preppers – which basically showcases numerous ”preppers” who have some belief that the world is going to come to an end and they are preparing. Just like most of us, right? NO! Many of those in he show are a bit on the “nutty” side – or at least that is how they are shown. Zombie Preppers actually featured numerous people that are preparing for…..get ready….here it comes…..ZOMBIES!!!!
For the first 20 minutes or so I kept thinking to myself, “Self….this has got to be a joke.” But no, they actually featured “scientists” that made the case that a zombie apocalypse was possible.
As I watched the show I became convinced that all of the featured preppers were actors. I could be wrong but I saw so many mistakes and indications that this was just a bunch of actors. One guys was talking about how his “zombie group” was made up of ex-military and police officers. He was bragging that they are trained in tactics and firearms. Next – they show these guys attacking some pumpkins shooting at them. One guy works to get a magazine from a magazine pouch and takes FOREVER to get it out – looking down the whole time. Next – one guy is taking slow shots at a target with a S&W 22A .22LR semi-auto pistol and after a shot the slide locks back – and he pulls the trigger again. “Come on man!”
Anyways – the show definitely had some entertainment value. Obviously the Discovery Channel is really soaking the preparedness movement for all it has.
I am not usually one for buying “ready made” survival kit. Far too often they are packed with inexpensive lower grade supplies in a bag that is less than ideal for long-term use. I received an offer a couple months ago to receive and review the J.R. Bullivant Solar Backpack.
On the with show…..
J.R. Bullivant offers several survival kits at various prices. This particular one – in their Professional-series, is considered their deluxe, top-end model. My perception on this kit is it is made for the person who has concerns, and wants something in his vehicle or vacation cabin – but does not want to go through the trouble of buying their own pack and trying to assemble it themselves. It is geared more towards surviving an Urban Disaster than a Wilderness one.
The J.R. Bullivant Solar Survival Kit and my new dog – Bella
The kit contains many items that would be considered typical in a survival kit – and several that surprised me.
Here is the list:
Personal Power Generator with Charging Cables – this consists of a small rechargeable battery pack, assorted cables to attach the battery pack to other devices such as phones, along with cables which the solar panel can charge the battery pack or other devices. By the way – the battery pack can be charged via a wall outlet, USB port, or car adapter.
USB Charging Adapter
2-in-1 Charging Adapter – this is a great adapter and has come in handy. Basically – you can plug it in a wall, or in a car power outlet – and charger the battery power pack or your own devices.
Ballistic Shield - Sitting along the back of the backpack this shield is mean to provide protection to the user in case of a possible shooting. The shield is a Level 1 type – meaning it can provide protection against ammunition such as .22LR and .38 caliber. Not complete protection by any means – but certainly better than the backpack I carried in school.
Emergency Escape Hood – This is similar to a gas mask except it totally encloses your entire head. This is great for those with beards and wearing glasses. Protection against smoke, biological agents, and your Uncle Frank after he has eaten a couple bowls of chili.
Water Purification Bottle – Pretty self explanatory. Bottle contains a filter which removes contaminants from ponds, faucets, lakes, rivers, and streams.
Trauma Kit with Blood Stopper – Here are the ingredients to this kit: Small Bandages (4), Conforming Gauze Bandages (2), Blood Stop™ Trauma Pad (4), Roll of Gauze Wrapping (1), Non-Woven Sponges (4), Antiseptic Cleansing Wipes (2), Anti-Mosquito Towelette (2), Triple Antibiotic Ointment (2), Sling (1), Ibuprofen Pain Reliever & Fever Reducer (9, 2 tablet packets), and Anti-Diarrheal Tablets (6, 2 tablet packets)
Two-way Communication Radio - Basically – a nice FRS/GMRS two-way radio.
Personal Fire Extinguisher – This is one of those items that surprised me. I never really considered adding a fire extinguisher to a kit before – but it certainly has its uses. Besides putting out a small fire – this fire extinguisher would be excellent for crowd control. Imagine in an urban environment and a group of 3-4 guys want your box of original Twinkie’s, a blast or twelve from a fire extinguisher may get them thinking about alternative snacks.
Radiation Detection Card with Iodine Pills – Nuclear accident or terrorist attack - will be glad that these are in the kit.
Urban Combination Tool – This is basically one of those orange whistle, compass, match holder combo thingumabob’s.
Cylume Lightsticks – ’nuff said
Self Defense Fogger – If you happen to come across a bear this will come in handy. If not – can be used for self-defense against a single attack or small group.
Self Defense Fogger
Microfiber Blanket – Another multi-use items. Drying off, soaking up blood, washing, or keeping warm – it is included.
Chemical Resistant Gloves – Hands are extremely valuable and keeping them in working order is important. Protection from the trauma of moving sticks, fallen tree’s, etc. - gloves will be very welcome. Some type of chemical spill could also occur and being able to navigate your way through it without touching it would be beneficial.
Emergency Foil Blanket – This is like your typical emergency blanket.
Emergency Foil Blanket
Emergency Foil Sleeping Bag – Like a big emergency blanket that will cover you. Use in combination with the microfiber blanket for best warmth generation.
Emergency Poncho – Rain protection.
Body Warmer and Hand Warmer – Chemical warmers for those chilly nights.
Pandemic Protection Mask – This is basically a dust mask – a N95.
Pill Organizer – This allows you to keep up to 7 days of spare medicine…..just in case. A good idea.
Lock – Yes, a lock for the backpack. Yeah – seems a bit overkill as someone can just pick the thing up and walk away with it.
LED Flashlight – A small, inexpensive multi-led flashlight. Cheap – but I have many of them and they work just fine.
Compressed Towel Tablets – Unique item here. Washing up or wiping down – add water and you have a small towel.
Duct Tape – Of course! A mini-roll is included.
XL Sack Pack – Basically a container to carry extra supplies. Good idea.
Ultra Sack Pack
Instant Hand Sanitizer - Get rid of those germs!!
Urban Signal Device – Hand crank radio receives weather bands as well as AM/FM. The hand crank allows the device to create its own power and also charge other devices via a USB port. Nice option!
Solar Panel Backpack – Last is the backpack itself. I like it. It does not scream out “military” or “prepper”. The solar panels work though you are not going to charge a dozen devices a day. I have hauled my pack around for the past few weeks and no issues at all. The pack seems plenty rugged enough for urban carry and is comfortable.
The price of this kit is $495.00. Not cheap. I definitely see a market of this kit for those that just want a quality, pre-made kit. I consider most of all the components to be high quality and functional. I love the idea of the solar panels in the pack so charging can occur just while walking around. Adding a few more items such as a good knife would make the kit even better.
This kit will continue to ride in the back of my Jeep.
For full disclosure I received this kit for free in exchange for a review – positive or negative. My take – positive.
The Hunger Games is one of the most popular movies of all times. Of particular note – many of those interested in preparedness liked the movie as most of it dealt with people trying to survive a “game” of survival in the wilderness. People used strategy, unique skills, and the forest around them to last as long as possible as they killed each other. Check the movie out of you have not seen it.
One small example from the book is where water purification and filtration is discussed. Modern techniques such as Katadyn filters are mentioned – but also more primitive methods. In the movie the main character – Katniss – uses rocks that have been heated by the sun to warm a bowl of soup. Creek talks about how water can be boiled by taking small rocks that have been sitting in a fire or on coals, and dropping them directly in the water.
This book is a really interesting read. You do not need to be a Hunger Game fan to like the book – but it helps.
Here are a few questions Creek answered regarding his new book:
Q: What is The Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide?
A: At the end of the day, The Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide is a primitive survival
skills book. These are real life skills for real life survival scenarios. The Hunger Games theme is just a
bonus. For Hunger Games fans, this book brings the survival skills mentioned in that book series to life.
Q: Have you seen an increased interest from teens in survival skills over the past few years?
A: Absolutely! Many of my students at Willow Haven are teens whose first dose of survival was from
The Hunger Games book series. This is what sparked the idea to write the book. I even host an
Unofficial Hunger Games Survival Course where I teach ONLY the skills mentioned in that series and
it’s full every time.
Q: What are your favorite survival skills mentioned in The Hunger Games book series that you
teach in your new book?
A: I love primitive traps and snares so it’s been a lot of fun bringing Gale’s famous Twitch-Up snare to
life. And, I’ve enjoyed perfecting Peeta’s natural camouflage techniques. I even teach how to make a
primitive bow and arrow similar to what Katniss might use.
Q: What’s a skill that you teach in The Unofficial Hunger Gamer Wilderness Survival Guide that
might surprise us?
A: I show readers how to make a wooden container using hot coals from a fire and then boil water in it
using hot rocks. That’s about as primitive as it gets when it comes to purifying water.
Q: Is your new book just for young adults and Hunger Games fans?
A: Absolutely not. No matter what your age, if you like survival skills you will enjoy this book. And,
reading The Hunger Games book series is not a prerequisite. This is a great survival skills book even if
you’ve never heard of The Hunger Games.
Q: Have you always been a fan of survival fiction books?
A: Heck yes, since I was a little boy. My Side of the Mountain and HATCHET are two of my favorite
books of all time. I can’t believe that 25 later I’m now teaching survival skills to people from all over the
world. I’ve also just finished my first survival fiction novel titled RUGOSA. It’s everything I ever
wanted to read myself in a survival fiction book. It’s the story of a boy who takes a treacherous 400 mile
journey to save the one girl he can’t survive without.
To celebrate the release of The Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide – Creek sent me two Unoffical Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guides Gift Packs.
These Gift Packs contain a Willow Haven Outdoor Logo Sling Pack, a 100% cotton Willow Haven Outdoor Survival Bandanna and a Multi-Fuctional Survival Tool with built in lanyard, compass, ferro rod, whistle and water-proof container for storing matches other survival kit items – and an autographed copy of The Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide.
Want a chance to win one of the packs? No problem! Just leave a comment to this post as to the one wilderness survival skill you would like to learn how to do.
That’s it! In three days I will select two winners.
I know. I know. What does this have to do with prepping?
After the survival phase of any catastrophe comes the rebuilding. What I mean is in the prepping world lots of time and energy is devoted to BOB’s, food storage, defense, shelter, water purifiers, etc. What’s not discussed is after everything comes apart, how do we put it back together, especially if the banks are closed and the dollar is worthless.
Even though we focus on getting ourselves prepared there will be many things we need or have forgotten in our quest to prepare for the worst. Our little group here in Montana has started looking ahead to how do we conduct commerce after TEOTWAWKI (to borrow a popular acronym). There are several ways in which we can obtain that badly needed roll of toilet paper after supply chains are broken and weeks have turned into months. I want to discuss a few:
Make it yourself.
We can all make some improvements in this area. Just realize that no one person is an “Island unto Himself”. Many of the items we use and need are made with specialized skill and equipment. So until we’re back to riding horses and hunting with bows and arrows many items we need will be made by those who have developed those trades and abilities. Even then there will be limitations on raw materials. It’s not very practical to think we can do it all ourselves (especially the TP above).
That does lead me to another point. My belief is that producers (those that make important things or provide valuable service) will do best in a grid down situation. We won’t need as many attorneys, city workers, or welfare users. People will need to pull their weight to make it. That’s not to say the elderly or infirm will be abandoned. As a Christian, it is a duty to help those in need. I’m talking about able-bodied individuals who can’t or won’t produce something someone else wants or needs.
This works but not as well as you might think. If I have a cow, how do I get a few loaves of bread? If someone has a rifle I need, how much garden produce is that? Bartering will be severely limiting when everyone has different needs. For commerce to grow and prosper items must be bought and sold with relative ease.
Please don’t take this as discouragement against stocking up on barter items. Get as much and as wide a variety as you can. That may be the best way to gain needed supplies in a pinch.
Now we could be talking about steel, brass, or lead. Or we could be talking about gold and silver. Now I would encourage all readers to get some metals after some of your basics are handled. With the prices down it’s a good time to buy.
There are some differing schools of thought on the need for metals. They meet the criteria for money in that they are durable, not consumable, transportable, etc. Metals are also a great hedge against inflation. They do rise and fall in price but they are never worth zero.
As the video explains the major problem will be scarcity and pricing. After the crisis the better prepared could trade until they control most of the metals. The same thing big banks do only right in your own town. Taking all the junk silver, rounds, etc. out of circulation would doom the rest of us if we relied on just coinage. Second, historical pricing history would be handy also. After the Comex or LBMA is bankrupt it will be difficult to determine market value (If afore said dollar is just paper).
The second issue is metals are just a place holder until you can trade for what you need. You can’t build shelter out of silver, heat with gold, or eat either one. If someone offered me 1000 oz of silver or a 20’x20’ room of food storage that would be a no brainer. I’d take the food!
Now I know in the ashes of Bitcoin this can be a touchy subject. I’m not talking about anything online or digital. In the event of EMP or power outage you couldn’t access it anyway.
I’m talking about creating something that works for your community. It could be bottle caps or baseball cards. We have been experimenting with trade notes that have local landmarks and denominations similar to other currencies. Around the country there are many local trade co-ops that have had varying degrees of success. The bigger ones are Berkshares, Ithaca Hours, Tucson… Just to name a few.
A few of the issues to consider are:
~Faith- the only thing that keeps the dollar going is enough people believe in it. Same is true about local currency.
~Backing- For all pieces of paper to be worth anything they must be backed by metals, goods, or services.
~Use outside the area- How do you buy from people who don’t recognize your money.
~Counterfeiting- Easy to make trade notes, are easy to copy trade notes.
~Management- Who runs it? Compensation? Interest?
~Loans- It’s a way to get money into circulation as long as they’re producing something of value.
~Honesty of the members. What happens to the liars and cheaters?
~Historical Pricing- A $20 gold piece in 1900 could buy a good suit. 1 oz. gold or $1500 today could buy the same quality suit.
Like I said above we have had varying degrees of success in trading amongst our members. I have come to think that the development of a plan is the most valuable part. We realize that when dollars have replaced the above-mentioned toilet paper that another medium of exchange will be welcome by everyone. We’ve overcome a few basic hurdles but being prepared with special paper, color printer, some way to emboss or security measures, may be invaluable after the SHTF.
There’s a lot of left leaning info on the web (Berkshares/Ithaca Hours) and in books like Local Money. Nothing beats Mises, Hayek, or even Adam Smith for true free market solutions. If more info is needed maybe a part II could be in order. Let Rourke know.
New Jersey has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States. Government’s overbearing ways are certainly present in this state. At a recent hearing where the public was invited to give opinions on upcoming gun control legislation – the government panel was not too happy with speaker James Kaleda.
James Kaleda is a Second Amendment activist who fights for our rights to bear arms. Please watch both video’s below.
The first shows Mr. Kaleda making his case against the proposed legislation and when he gets a little passionate about his beliefs he is immediately ejected. At the end of the video the crowd is seen clapping – which many anti-gunners have been saying shows a lack of support for Mr. Kaleda and what he was saying. The second video shows the truth.
This second video takes up where the last one ends – and the crowd becomes very agitated with not only the governments lack of interest in their Second Amendments rights, but the taking away of the speakers First Amendments rights. Several in the crowd speak up and are also told to leave. At one point someone suggest that the Pledge of Allegiance should be performed. I am not sure why…..other than maybe it was not done at the beginning of the proceedings or they wanted the government panel to hear the words of the Pledge. Either way – all those in attendance stood and said to – while all of the panel members did not – except for one who stood at the end..
Check it out:
This is just one of many examples that shows the government failing to respect the citizens WHICH THEY WORK FOR.
I just found out that a new edition of The Survivalist has been released – starting all new adventures for John Rourke (my childhood hero). The Survivalist #30 is now available on Amazon in paperback form. I have ordered my copy and cannot wait until it arrives.
Book #30 in THE SURVIVALIST series is finally out! THE INHERITORS OF EARTH has been a long and complicated journey for Bob Anderson and me; he as an avid reader of the series with lots of ideas concerning the continuing saga and me as the original co-creator now left in the position of deciding how Jerry would feel about the decisions made with our characters. This part of the series is based on a long term plan of action Jerry and I came up with quite some time ago so, Bob and I know where we’re going, it’s just all in the getting there.
This book is for those of you who have realized that perhaps some issues were not fully resolved in the series. This is also for those who read the last installment and were not satisfied that John Rourke seemed to be doomed to a new life, consumed with growing old and star gazing. THE INHERITORS OF EARTH is especially for all the loyal fans and friends who cared for the Rourke family and for the Aherns as well.
I’m an Engineer and really like solving problems. Especially, when there are lots of variables leading to a number of potential solutions. That allows me to put some of my personal preferences into the mix and develop what I believe is the best solution.
One of my sons asked me to put together a food plan for him out of our stores for an upcoming trip he is planning. The basic requirements are to feed two 30ish young men who are very active for 2 weeks. There were several parameters I was given to create the plan:
Water was not an issue
Prep time was not an issue
Variety was a minimal issue
Space was a significant issue
Weight was a significant issue
Stability and shelf life were significant issues (they didn’t want to take a cooler)
Nutritional value was an issue (eliminate the need for multi-vitamin if possible)
Durability of packaging was a significant issue (boys will be boys)
Basics such as salt, sugar, coffee, and spices were already accounted for in their camping gear
I started with a basic plan – feed an active adult male for 30 days (I added a little fluff for emergencies, spillage, and rounding errors). That gave me a starting point of 3,000 calories per day for 30 days or 90,000 calories.
My first thought was to supply them with several cases of MRE’s. At 1,200 calories each they would need 75 meals to total 90,000 calories. However, at approximately 1.5 pounds per meal this solution would have weighed about 110 pounds. Further, this solution didn’t provide much variety (24 different meals), didn’t address the durability issue, required the boys to consume partial meals (and store the remaining food) in order to meet the 3,000 calorie daily requirement, and supplied them with basics which they already had covered.
Delving further into our home storage I decided to use #10 cans of freeze dried foods. Since the foods are freeze dried, they are substantially lighter then MRE’s. The steel cans are much more durable than plastic packaging. The shelf life of the food was more than sufficient. The 6-pack boxes the cans came in were fairly space conscious. And, a wider variety of menus would be available (mix and match from various cans).
I decided that to ensure a reasonable variety I would only include one can of any particular food (even though I really wanted to get rid of 5 cans of banana slices my wife got on sale a few months back). Also, I set my goal on achieving the FDA daily serving recommendations for each food group – 2 of dairy, 3 of protein, 4 of fruits, 5 of vegetables, and 11 of grains. Further, the boys asked me to try to keep the calorie mix as follows: 15% protein, 55% grains, and 10% each for fruits, vegetables, and dairy. The percentage of calories from each food group was slightly more important to them than the servings per food group.
After a bit of trial and error (Excel spreadsheets are wonderful planning tools), I came up with the following food list:
9 grain cracked cereal
Egg Noodle Pasta
Instant Brown Rice
Instant White Rice
Whole Wheat Flour
Red & Green Bell Peppers
Sweet Cherry Halves
Instant Black Beans
Whole Egg Powder
Shredded Colby Cheese
Although there are a number of really good suppliers of freeze dried food products, all of the above was supplied by Thrive using their serving and calorie information. I included one can of each food product. This totaled 24 cans or four 6-pack boxes.
So, how did I do in meeting the requirements and solving the problem?
Here is the final analysis:
Total calories – 90,950 (101% of goal)
Protein – 14.6% of calories, 10.2 servings per day
Grain – 54.7% of calories, 12.7 servings per day
Fruits – 10.0% of calories, 5.9 servings per day
Vegetables – 9.9% of calories, 7.2 servings per day
Dairy – 10.8% of calories, 3.3 servings per day
Total weight – 57.21 pounds (about 60 pounds including packaging)
From my perspective, the protein and dairy items are very limited and would tend to get boring very quickly. The use of smaller pantry sized cans would have allowed for a greater variety, though at the expense of more space and weight.
Extrapolating this into information a typical prepper could use is fairly straightforward. If one person (active adult male in this example) needs 24 cans of food for one month (30 days), it follows that a one year supply of food would be approximately 288 cans. Depending on the actual calorie and nutrient content of the foods you select as well as your total calorie needs that number may be more or less, but it does provide a starting point.