A large part of our society operates on a disturbing assumption, a belief that has been driven into the very fabric of our culture for generations; the assumption that preparation for disaster is unnecessary because all will remain the same as it always has been.
This collective assumption exists in very few countries. South America, Africa, most of Asia, and even parts of Europe experience and even anticipate upheaval and catastrophe from time to time, not only in respect to mother nature (as recently occurred in Haiti), but also in terms of economics and social unrest. Many Americans have attempted not only to insulate themselves from such events, but to also insulate themselves from the very idea that such events could ever happen to them. The concept of hyperinflation, loss of utilities, loss of police protections, loss of infrastructure, loss of grocery outlets, is so outside their pre-programmed world view that to dare discuss these subjects is seen as “absurd” and “alien.”
While many Haitians would see the act of survival preparation as entirely practical (for numerous reasons), many Americans would become incredulous, jeering, as if they are above and beyond such concerns. This must change, and it must change quickly.
Over the past few years, there has been a strong broad based and growing movement that opposes such presumptive thinking, and has opted towards independence and self reliance. They are often called “survivalists,” usually lumped in with “conspiracy theorists,” in a derogatory fashion as if the term is disparaging. But what many of us have come to realize is that what the mainstream considers “rational” is usually anything but, and what they call “common sense” sometimes borders on the insane, for only a madman would label the logical act of preparation as “crazy,” especially in the face of so much economic uncertainty.
In this article we will discuss how to prepare for a wide-spectrum financial breakdown, as well as why it is absolutely necessary, not just to ensure ones own survival and ones own future, but the future of an ideal, and a way of life.
The fact is, there are as many strategies for survival as there are survivalists, although some survival “gurus” insist that their way is the ONLY way (I know, because I have dealt with them in the past). Keep in mind that there are very few set rules for survival that apply to everyone. Your personal survival strategy will depend on your unique circumstances and environment, and a true survival expert will recognize this immediately. Beware of anyone who claims they have the only solution, or who overtly boasts of their many survival skills and background qualifications. From my experience, real survivalists tend to be rather reserved and humble people with no interest in showboating their knowledge.
In this article, we will endeavor to give broad guidelines which can then be tailored to your specific circumstances. Our recommendations will not necessarily work for everyone.
When devising a survival strategy, we must take into account our surroundings and our supply options, but first, we must make an important decision; will we stay where we are, or will we have a “retreat” in a different location. This decision will greatly effect how you prepare for disaster. Let’s explore theses two options carefully…
Staying On The Home-Front:
In order to stay at home, we should consider our circumstances.
Do you own your home, or do you rent? If you rent, then you may have little control over your property and what happens on it, which means you may want to consider the retreat option instead.
Is your home in the midst of a large population center? If it is, then there may be considerable danger in the event of an economic collapse. Urban survival is definitely possible, but follows different guidelines and involves dangers not covered in most survival manuals. If you are not confident in your ability to stay safe in a populous area, you may want to use a retreat away from the city.
Is your home highly visible to others, or is it set in dangerous terrain? If your terrain makes you vulnerable, or your home sits on the very top of a hill for everyone to see, then you may want to consider a separate retreat.
If your home does not suffer from any of these setbacks, then you will have many advantages in staying put. First, because it is where you have probably lived for quite some time, you will know your surroundings inside and out. It is much easier to protect yourself from unwanted intruders if you have intimate knowledge of the terrain, and familiarity breeds confidence, which is incredibly important for survival. It is also much easier to stockpile goods, rig an alternative power source, and fortify your building as well as your land over time.
Another advantage to staying at home is that if you have been doing your job correctly and informing your friends and trusted neighbors of the collapse, then you will have allies and with them safety in numbers. Not to mention, the ability to combine resources with those who have also been preparing.
Planning For Retreat:
A retreat is a place away from your home environment that provides greater security and less visibility, or greater resources such as edible plant life, animal life, and water. A retreat could be almost anywhere; a forest cabin, an old tunnel structure, a carefully hidden RV, or simply a mountain range you hike every summer. Sometimes the best places are right under our noses. Abandoned farmland for instance would make an excellent retreat because it has already been tilled, planted at one time (which often produces random plant food sources long after the land is abandoned), and is normally surrounded with game. The most important consideration is that you choose the location far in advance of collapse and plan accordingly.
The disadvantages of a retreat include; a possible lack of terrain familiarity, the inability to fortify the area over time because of its remoteness, the inability to store ample goods on site for fear of theft (you would be required to bring most of your survival goods with you at the time of collapse), and the fact that you will have to get to the location without incident.
All of these problems can be overcome with good planning and a little foresight.
Survival Food And Gear
Again, the supplies we choose to stock will greatly depend on which path we have decided on; Home Front, or Retreat.
Staying at home gives you the advantage of larger stock, heavier equipment, and more permanent utility solutions. Here are some recommendations for food and gear that lend themselves to the Home Front option.
Home Front Foods
When staying at home, one does not have to worry so much about the weight and volume of goods stored, so bulk food items are an excellent option. When making food purchases, always take into account nutritional value and calorie levels. Although we have been taught that high calorie and fat intake are “bad,” in a survival situation, storable foods with high calories are actually good! Fats most especially will be at a premium, and are required by your body to function properly. Also keep in mind that most wild game tends to be lean, and low in fat, so do not count on hunting alone to provide what you need.
A good rule of thumb for calorie intake is the same rule used by athletes when losing or maintaining weight; check your weight then multiply it by ten. If you weigh 200 pounds, this means you will need at least 2000 calories just for your body to remain healthy in an inactive state. If constantly active (which is likely) you will need more than 2000 calories to remain in good health. Never scoff at calorie counting, it may save your life. For home storage I would recommend at minimum a one year supply of food. Stocking more, especially for trade, would be preferable.
Here are just a few great food items that can help to fill your calorie and nutritional requirements.
Canned Goods, Jarred Goods: Canned goods are a given for the Home Front strategy, but rotation is necessary, and storing for more than two years is not a good idea.
Hard Red Wheat: Hard red wheat if dried properly can be stored for up to 30 years. It can be boiled and eaten, or if you have a grain mill, ground up and used to make bread products. Great source of calories and nutrition.
Rice: Easily stored, and a little goes a long way.
Beans: Takes a long time to cook, but when combined with rice, they provide a full protein in the advent that meat is not available.
Nuts, Trail Mix: Almonds, Walnuts, Peanuts etc., provide a high amount of fats and are also very good for you.
Honey: Honey is an incredible food source. Sugars are extremely important in one’s diet and honey has ample amounts, as well as being far easier to store than normal table sugar, because unlike table sugar, honey kills bacteria.
Non-Instant Powdered Milk: Good source of fat, calcium, and amino acids. I am told non-instant tastes better than instant.
Salt: Your body must have salt, period.
Spices, Soup Bases: Spices are comfort food, but in a survival situation, we all might need a little comfort. Also, spices help make some wild game more palatable.
Water: Having your own land opens the possibility of a well, using your roof and gutters as a water collection tool, and with a little investment even a personal pond or lake. Filtration is the key. Stocking up on pumps that filter out bacteria would be essential. Boiling water also works, but remember, it doesn’t remove silt and heavy metals, and it can waste fuel.
Home Front Gear
Staying at home opens up many options as far as gear is concerned. Here are some ideas that Home Front people can use to their advantage:
Electricity: Men often romanticize about roughing it in the wilds or returning to a state of primal caveman-ness, but really, life without electricity is very difficult, especially if you have a family, and it removes many advantages from your survival playbook. Go to Africa and see if the people there without simple electric lighting romanticize their situation. Many items that give you an edge in survival require electricity, the most important being refrigeration. Gas generators can help, but are limited by the amount of gasoline you can acquire. Large quantities of gas are also difficult to store. For those staying home, I highly recommend setting up a solar power system. They are not as expensive as you might imagine, once set up the energy is free and never runs out, and you will be completely independent from the grid, making you free from the effects of power outages.
If you live in the plains or in high wind areas, windmill power is also available at reasonable prices for the homeowner.
Water Generators: With solar power comes limitless energy. Add an atmospheric water generator like those produced by Ecolo Blue, and you now have unlimited clean water:
This may be initially more expensive, but over the long run you will be so far ahead of the game you will wonder why you ever agonized over spending your fiat paper money.
Surveillance Cameras: While we generally think of these as being globalist tools of control, they can be put to an honorable purpose on the Home Front. Having solar and wind power gives you the option of security perimeters, alarms, even cameras which can alert you to intrusion. This may seem a bit “over the top” to some, but only because they are thinking in terms of the way the world is now. Think in terms of how the world will probably be after a severe economic downturn. Study other countries in history who suffered similar fates, including the Weimar Republic, Argentina, Zimbabwe, etc. People often had to take their safety into their own hands in the face of a completely chaotic social landscape. Every opportunity for advantage (within the bounds of conscience) should be taken.
Lumber, Construction Tools: The kinds of things you would never be able to carry with you to a retreat are readily available to those staying at home as long as you plan ahead of time. Good fresh lumber may be difficult to find unless one wants to take the risk of scavenging away from his property. Having a supply set aside could help in buttressing walls, building barricades, repairing fencing, animal pens, animal traps, making items for trade etc. The need for sturdy tools is self explanatory.
Now that we’ve discussed the particular benefits of staying at home, we will go over the retreat scenario and its particular quirks…
The retreat situation requires a very strong sense of efficiency and the ability to discern the necessary from the less necessary. Weight and versatility of goods will be extremely important, especially if your retreat is a piece of land without any preexisting structures. You will have to think carefully on what you can carry and what you can load into your vehicle. The allure of the retreat strategy is the option of mobility. You will not be tied down to one place, and thus you will not be betting the entire game on a single hand. You can even have several backup retreat locations staked out in the event that you must pick up and leave one. However, in order to do this, you must maintain agility and speed.
Food is heavy, and six month’s to a year’s worth of food is very heavy. So, how do you cope? There are several methods.
Freeze Dried Foods: Freeze dried foods are an excellent alternative in a number of ways. They are very light, and only require boiling water to prepare. They usually have ample salts, fats, sugars, and proteins, and the packages contain calorie data, which means you won’t have to spend as much time keeping track of nutrition essentials. I highly recommend a large stock of these meals if you plan to be on the move.
Protein Bars: Protein bars contain a high amount of calories (usually 200-300) in a very small package. They also sometimes have decent vitamin and enzyme content. A great option for the retreatist.
Beef Jerky: Stores well. Survival situations are strenuous and drain the body of energy. The protein and iron content of meat are helpful in maintaining body strength. Jerky also has high salt content, and gives you that satisfying feeling of “fullness.”
Chocolate: We all know that chocolate bars have a lot of fat and sugar, but for our purposes this is actually a very good thing. One Snickers Bar for instance has around 270 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 28 grams of sugar. I wouldn’t recommend living on them, but they do provide a small meal’s worth of energy in a tiny bar.
Vitamins: You may not have easy access to fruits and some vegetables. A good multivitamin can keep you from wasting away or getting scurvy (this is not a joke. You don’t have to be a pirate to get scurvy from lack of vitamins).
Because the retreatist cannot take a large supply of food with him, he will be far more dependent on what he can use off the land. A small book on wild edible plants would be invaluable. Surveying the area you plan to retreat to would be a good idea, so that you may identify what plants and game will be available to you when you finally have to set up camp. You don’t have to become a horticulturalist, but being able to identify at least a few safe greens could make the difference between staying healthy and placing the mechanics of your body in serious danger.
I would like to make another suggestion as far as food is concerned and it may sound rather odd at first. But, if you see the signs of collapse unfolding and you know the event is near, why not go to the store and pick up some extra fatty foods? Eating more than usual just before a collapse could help you to build up some extra fat stores before the event, which can act as a cushion (literally and figuratively) when your diet suddenly goes into survival mode. I’m not saying we should all get fat quick, but after a collapse you may not have another chance to gorge yourself for a while. Something to keep in mind…
The retreatist has to be a master of adaptation. Some gear he might like to have would just not be possible to transport, so he has to make due, or come up with workable and clever alternatives. Here are some examples of gear that may be very helpful to the unique situation of the retreatist.
Electricity: Even the retreatist has items that require batteries and electricity, items he would rather not be without. Two way radios, emergency short wave radios, flashlights, rangefinders, maybe even nightvision. But what happens when the batteries run out? Bringing a lot of extra batteries would add a lot of weight, and they can run out quickly. Some people planning for retreat may forgo all electronics, but I’ve found a better solution; highly portable and durable solar panels much like those used in the military from a company called Brunton:
The solar panels fold up into a small binder-like package, they are very hard to damage, and are extremely light. The system comes with multi-adaptors that allow you to charge any device, and when combined with a portable battery pack (also offered by Brunton), you can store energy all day if needed and never run out of power. This device along with a portable battery charger and good rechargeable batteries would allow you to use your electronics indefinitely without constantly having to scavenge or trade for new batteries. You can order directly from Brunton, but buying from Amazon and E-bay instead could save you hundreds of dollars.
Water: Carrying a large supply of water is just not practical for the retreatist. The general rule is you need 1 liter of water for every 1000 calories your body expends. If you are very active, you will probably expend at least 3000 calories per day, which means drinking 3 liters of water daily. Loading up enough water into your vehicle for even a month may be unrealistic, and impossible if you are hiking to your location. The most reliable solution to get water that doesn’t taste completely vile is to purchase a portable water filtration system.
Of course, packing a roll of strong garbage bags (yard work bags are best) will also be necessary to build makeshift rainwater collection units, or a poncho can be used to the same purpose.
Portable Stove: Learning the ins and outs of campfire cooking is a must for the retreatist, but a campfire may not always be a good option, especially if you want to avoid being seen from five miles away (cooking under overhanging tree branches can help disperse smoke, but even this may not be enough sometimes). Having a decent portable stove can solve this issue. There are two that I personally suggest; the first is the Coleman Multifuel Stove.
This stove runs on Coleman fuel, unleaded gasoline, and kerosene. This gives you a wide range of fuel sources which helps when certain fuels are hard to find. The drawback of course is that you have to carry around a stock of fuel, which will eventually run out. Another stove has been recommended to me which solves this problem; the Bush Buddy Stove.
The Bush Buddy burns anything, including twigs and grass, and is designed to contain and re-circulate the heat created. I have not yet used it myself, but I have heard only good things, and I believe it is the best possible option for the retreatist. You would never have to worry about a fuel supply, ever.
Another strategy for the retreatist would be caching of supplies in areas you know you will retreat to. Caching a small amount at a time in different locations can help alleviate the problem of transporting a lot of stock. However, you better be sure you know how to bury the items correctly so they aren’t ruined over time, and you have to be certain that you can find the caches after they are buried.
Now that we have covered gear specific to the two main survival strategies, here is a list of items that everyone should have regardless of which path they have chosen:
· Pocket Knife
· Combat Knife
· First Aid Kit (include Celox blood stopper and sterile sutures)
· Hiking Backpack
· Sleeping Bag
· Sewing Kit
· Duct Tape
· Space blanket
· Plastic Freezer Bags
· Waterproof Matches
· Emergency Candles
· Hiking Tarp
· Water Filter
· Camp Axe
· Hiking Boots
· Water-purification tablets
· Paracord / Rope / Twine
· Fishing line
· Extra Socks
· Rain suit or poncho,
· AM / Weather Radio
· Snare Wire
· Magnesium Fire Starter
· Wire Saw
· Plastic Trash Bags
· Shortwave Radio
· Eating and Cooking Utensils
· Cable Ties
· Tire Repair Kit
· Gas Mask
· Silver / Gold Coins
· Can Opener
Yes, that’s right, we are going to talk about guns. We are going to recommend you buy a gun. We are going to recommend you stock ammunition. We are even going to recommend that you use that gun and ammunition to defend yourself in the event that your life or your freedoms are threatened.
I’m not sure exactly when, but at some point in American history a large portion of our society started equating the philosophy of self defense with malicious violence. It is not immoral to defend one’s self. It is wholly in line with the voice of conscience not to mention entirely rational. It is something we all should have learned in kindergarten; sometimes the bully doesn’t listen to reason, and sometimes there’s no one around to help you. Sometimes, you just have to punch the bully in the teeth.
Nowadays, they send the cops after your five-year-old if he punches the bully in the teeth. People are lambasted for self defense from an early age, and admonished for not informing an “authority figure” instead. But the fact of the matter is, authority figures are rarely if ever around to protect you in bad situations. Most of the time, you and you alone are responsible for your own safety. This is the way life is. We can either accept it, or face the consequences for our stubborn denial.
I have been a martial artist for 22 years, and I understand well the distaste for guns. In my opinion, all violent conflicts should be settled fairly, barehanded, and man-to-man, but this is not our reality. In the real world, unarmed and innocent people are killed by guns daily, by criminals, as well as overzealous soldiers and governments. Logic dictates that the innocent must prepare to shoot back, because they’re innocence alone will not be enough to protect them. A few years ago, I decided it was time to grow up and get over my aversion to firearms.
When purchasing a firearm for survival, there are a couple guidelines people should follow:
Military Grade: Semi Auto Combat rifles are called combat rifles for a reason. They are durable, long lasting, and dependable. They are made to be fired over and over again. Despite what your good hunting buddy may say, cheap hunting rifles and bolt actions are NOT made for combat. They often overheat and malfunction from continuous firing and break easily. Bolt actions are good for long distance shooting, but are too slow when fighting in closer quarters (no matter how Rambo we might think we are). Those with well made semi-auto rifles and pistols designed specifically for combat are more likely to survive than those without.
Caliber: Choosing a weapon in a military caliber (.223, 7.62 by 39, or .308 for rifles, 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP for pistols) would be a very good idea, mainly because these calibers will be far easier to find and trade in a post collapse scenario.
Surroundings: Will you be in the city or the country? A long range heavy rifle may do poorly in close quarters city or suburban areas, while a close-quarters carbine would be less effective in the plains or mountains.
Comfort: Some weapons fit certain body types better than others. Finding a weapon that “feels right” instead of awkward, is important. It should feel like an extension of yourself. Accuracy improves greatly with comfort.
Cost: When choosing a firearm that may save your life one day, I find concerns of cost to be less important, but it is understandable that some of us cannot afford “top of the line” so we must find a respectable and affordable alternative.
Here are some rifle recommendations from Neithercorp, divided by more affordable, to more expensive:
Cheap But Effective
Russian / Chinese SKS
The SKS is an accurate and very reliable precursor to the AK-47. They are almost impossible to break, rarely jam, and run even when dirty. They are limited however by capacity. Only ten round stripper clips. They are also a pain to modify for AK magazines or scopes without a qualified gunsmith (believe me, we’ve tried, and all it does in most cases is ruin the gun). The cost has gone up quickly on the SKS, but they are still far more affordable than most combat rifles: $300 to $400.
Ugly and mean looking. Often associated with terrorists. Whatever, these things last forever. High capacity mags allow for 30 rounds (sometimes more). Good for close quarters. Drawbacks: not very accurate. Trying to shoot at 100 yards or more is pushing it and they are much better at the 50 yard range. Cost: $500 to $600.
Saiga is a great company. As far as I can tell, they make the best combat rifle in their price range hands down. The Saiga is basically an AK-47 clone but less costly, not to mention you can get it in various calibers, including .223, 7.62, and .308. They even make a semi-auto shotgun, which I have not yet had the pleasure of testing. Drawbacks would be like the AK; not meant for long ranges. Cost: $250 to $450.
Rugar Mini 14
Well made and reliable. Also fires .223, which is the standard U.S. military caliber, meaning ammo will be widely available. Far less expensive than most rifles in the .223 caliber. Drawbacks: must change to a tactical stock in order to add scope or red dot sight. Loses accuracy past 100 yards. Cost: $600.
The CETME is similar to the famous HK G3 rifle, but much less expensive. It is very reliable, takes HK parts and some mags, and is probably one of the most affordable .308 long range rifles available. Drawbacks: Newer models sometimes have cheaply made stocks that require replacement with better furniture, as well as reports of some trigger problems. Cost: $600.
Probably the most affordable heavy barreled sniper rifle platform out there. Accolades for accuracy and performance. Drawback: none, except that it is a bolt action, and not meant for extended or close combat. Cost: $800 to $1200.
Top Of The Line Wallet Busters
Some of the more expensive but extraordinary rifles include:
Springfield M1A / SOCOM
This rifle is famed and revered by gun enthusiasts for a reason. It is simply bad (in a good way). This gun was my choice for survival and I have never had a complaint about its function. It’s built like a rock, I’ve never had a jam, its accurate out to 500 yards or more (basically a semi-auto sniper rifle), and it has a magazine capacity of up to 30 rounds. Drawbacks: Very difficult to scope. The top ejection design beats the crap out of the cheaper scope mounts and they jar loose quickly. A tactical stock replacement is usually necessary, but honestly, I prefer the iron sights anyway. Cost: $1500 to $2500.
FN is a good company that makes high quality firearms. The FNAR is an exceptional rifle designed specifically for semi-auto long range combat and comes with a built in scope mount. Drawbacks: There are no iron sights on this gun. You are basically required to put a scope on it, and good scopes can cost almost as much as the gun itself. Cost: $1300 to $1500.
World famous German engineering. Very reliable, very accurate. Drawbacks: none, except the price. Cost: $2200 to $2500.
AR-15 / M16
I’m not a big fan of the AR-15 / M16 platform, but I understand its allure. AR’s are very light, easy recoil, and their tabletop flat stocks allow for good accuracy in close quarters. Their tactical railing systems allow for any number of scopes and add-ons. Drawbacks: The .223 round has certain range limitations, making it better for urban style combat. The railing systems are often taken too far. Some people put so much stuff on their AR’s as to make their weight advantage useless. I sometimes wonder when they’ll make an iPod mount for the AR. Also, feed problems galore. I have not heard of an AR that didn’t jam on a regular basis. You have to keep them immaculately clean in order for them to function. In fact, reports are coming in from Iraq and Afghanistan that troops are specifically requesting old M1A’s / M14’s from storage because the sand is destroying their M16’s. Cost: $1500 to $2500.
Pistols And Hunting
Pistols are backup weapons only, and should not be relied upon as the main means of self defense. Semi-auto pistols are much more likely to save your life than revolvers, mainly because of their high capacity, not to mention the greater availability of ammo. Glock’s and Glock clones (such as the Springfield XD) are great combat pistols and very reliable. Expect to pay at least $500 to $600 for a decent sidearm.
Hunting rifles are a bit of a contention among survivalists. What if you go out hunting with a bolt action rifle and are ambushed by men with combat weapons? You will be at a distinct disadvantage. What if you use a combat rifle and the military ball ammo doesn’t work correctly? My solution would be to use a combat rifle with ammo specifically meant for hunting, such as .308 steel-core expansion ammo. In a pinch, regular military surplus ammo can still be used.
The Survival Mentality
More important than any gun, any gear, any preparation, is the mental state of the survivalist himself. One must have confidence in himself and his ability to endure, otherwise he will not succeed. I am consistently confronted by nihilists, some who even claim to be part of the Liberty Movement, who state unequivocally that survival preparation is futile, that we are all “doomed,” that the Elites who are ransacking our country cannot be stopped. Frankly, I’m not certain of that, and neither are they. I do know it is better to stand and fight for what you believe and die in the attempt, than to give up before the fight even starts and die from lack of trying. I wonder how many people told those that fought in the American Revolution that their effort was futile, that the British could not be stopped.
I also am sometimes dismayed by those that prepare for survival only for survival’s sake. To stay alive is important of course, and a primary human drive, but our survival success may hinge not only on our instinct to live, but to also remain free. Without a philosophical or spiritual ideal, without a greater purpose, surviving this economic collapse will be an empty affair with little meaning. To come through the chaos relatively unscathed is admirable, but pointless if the end result is the formation of a tyrannical world government and the loss of our liberties. Each individual who not only survives but fights for what he believes tips the scale away from elitism and oppression. Every person who works towards something greater than himself, a future where such pain and catastrophe no longer hang over humanity, each of these men and women send a shockwave through history that touches elements of society in ways we cannot yet even imagine.
What is the point of giving up now? What do we have to gain? What do we have to lose by fighting back that we are not already about to lose?
Survival is about more than living, it is about more than believing, it is about KNOWING. Knowing what the world should be, and knowing what the world should not be. Knowing in an intuitive way, beyond simple examination and observation. Knowing from a deeper perspective.
In the end, our survival and the survival of our ideals depends not only on our two hands, our cleverness, or even our fear of death, but the content of each man’s heart, and how much of that content he is willing to trust.