A Bunch of Good Stuff from American Family Survival — Eleven Articles!

These guys, though they are trying to sell stuff, offer some sound survival advice with every email, so I share that with you…enjoy…

Making Arrowheads For Survival Hunting

Many in the survival community think of hunting as part of their survival plan. While chances are that the available game will be pretty well hunted out, rather quickly, we shouldn’t ignore that possibility. The farther you get from any population center, the more game will exist and no matter what, there will always be more small game to hunt, than big game.

While hunting today means using firearms, that may not be what we want to do in a post-disaster situation. Not only do firearms require ammunition, they make a lot of noise. If you’re managing to bag dinner, the last thing you need is for everyone else to hear it.

The bow is widely considered to be the best alternative to firearms. Not only is it something that anyone can learn to shoot, a variety of crude bows can be made from available materials, either materials that we find in nature or materials we find in the garage. But the best reason that can be given in support for the bow is that it has been in use for literally thousands of years and is still considered to be an effective weapon. There aren’t too many other weapons that can claim that distinction.

One of the other advantages of the bow is that its ammo can be reused. When the ammo supply starts running short, you can even make your own. That’s something that’s hard to match with firearms.

Chipping or “knapping” arrowheads is an amazing skill that’s worth learning. However, we don’t need to limit our thinking to just flint arrowheads. There’s a reason why those were replaced by metal arrowheads years ago and that’s because it takes a lot of time to knapp arrowheads.

Fortunately, simple metalworking, like making arrowheads is relatively easy and doesn’t require a lot of tools. A few hand tools, along with something hard and flat to use as an anvil is sufficient to shape arrowheads for your homemade arrows. You will need:

  • Hammer
  • Tin snips
  • File
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • And of course, something to use as an anvil, like a flat rock, granite countertop of thick piece of metal plate
  • As an addition, a small torch, like the kind used for plumbing repairs, would be useful, although it isn’t required.

Arrowheads can theoretically be made from any metal; but the easiest to work with is eating utensils and pennies. Since copper is relatively soft, copper wire can be melted down into ingots and used as well. So can aluminum, if you have a lot of aluminum cans lying around.

But even without melting anything down, pennies and flatware will work. You can hammer them flat and cut the basic shape out with tin snips. Then the edges can be sharpened by hammering and then filing them to get a razor edge. Such an arrowhead can be set into a slot in the end of the arrow shaft and bound in place with thread, twine or leather laces.

Make sure you’ve got a great defensive weapon like the Tac Staff handy.

Dry Fire Practice To Improve Your Shooting Skills

I’m a big fan of shooting. I used to go to the range twice a week. I say “used to” because I no longer live in the same place; I’m much farther from the closest range. That makes it harder to go shooting and I’ve been so busy that I just can’t cut loose to go to the range as often as I’d like.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t practice. Shooting practice is an important part of ensuring that we are able to defend ourselves. We need to be able to shoot accurately and we need to be able to shoot quickly. Both of those require a lot of practice. So how do I get a lot of practice, when I can’t go to the range frequently? Dry fire.

Dry fire basically consists of firing a gun, without any ammo in it. Done properly, it requires using all of the basic principles of shooting, allowing them to be practiced. The only real differences are the lack of recoil and the hole in the target to tell you how you did.

We can’t do much about the recoil, but adding a laser sight to the gun, either temporarily or permanently will allow you to get an idea of how you did. If you jerk the shot off target, by jerking the trigger, the red dot will move off sight. If you are anticipating the shot and pushing the muzzle down, the dot will show that too. It just takes getting used to watching what happens with the red dot, while still using the iron sights to aim with.

But more than anything, dry fire practice allows you to practice trigger control, the most important element in accurate shot placement. While the sight picture used to be considered the most important thing, we’ve learned that poor sight alignment might take you off by an inch or two, while poor trigger control can affect your shot placement by more than a foot.

There are two things that compound problems with trigger control: the desire to shoot rapidly and adrenalin. Of the two, adrenalin is actually the biggest problem, as it really messes with fine muscle coordination. Practice helps overcome this, as it teaches our “muscle memory” what to do. At the same time, the repetition of shooting practice helps to overcome the tendency for adrenalin to be pumped into our system in a live shooting event.

This is of critical importance, as adrenalin will cause the average shooter’s ability to be degraded by something like 80%. What that means is that if you are used to shooting a 4 inch group, you’ll be creating a group five times that size, 20”. In other words, you’ll be more likely to miss your target, than hit it.

I can shoot a one inch group, largely due to all the dry fire practice I do. When that’s degraded by the same 80%, I end up shooting five inch groups. In other words, I’m much more likely to hit my target. That makes it worth my time and effort, even if it does seem a little bit silly to be pulling the trigger on an empty gun.

One last thing; always double and triple check that your gun is empty, before doing any dry fire practice. You don’t want to find out the hard way that it really wasn’t empty.

See in the pitch dark using Tac Vision, the affordable night vision binocular.

Wilderness Survival – What To Do First?

Most of the time, we focus on disasters in the prepping and survival community. But that’s not all there is. We are actually more likely to find ourselves in a personal survival situation, than we are in one that affects everyone around us. The classic “lost in the woods” scenario can teach us a lot, not only how to survive in such a situation, but also how to survive a bug out.

The wilderness is totally unforgiving when it comes to mistakes we make. The grading curve is steep and the cost of failure isn’t just a black mark, it can often be death. There’s no time to learn by trial and error; we have to make the right decisions and take the right actions right from the start.

So, when is that start?

Believe it or not, the start happens before you even leave. Letting someone know where you’re going, the route you’re going to take and when you’re going to get back is a critical part of any journey, especially one into the wilderness. That way, if you don’t arrive in time, they can call for help; getting rescue workers looking for you.

Other than that, you need to be ready to switch over into survival mode the moment you realize you’re in trouble. That could be because of an injury, getting lost, the car breaking down or the weather turning bad. I’ve had all of these happen to me at one time or another.

Once in survival mode, the first thing to do is evaluate the situation you are in. What time of day is it? Where are you? What is the weather like? What resources do you have available to you? What condition are you in? You’ve got to decide if you can rescue yourself or if you are better off waiting until someone comes to rescue you. Unless you are sure you can perform a successful self-rescue, you’re better off waiting to be rescued, especially if you’ve let someone know where you are.

If you’re lost, don’t try to get yourself un-lost; you probably can’t. Even trying to go back and retrace your steps usually won’t work, because everything looks different from the other direction. Instead, find a good spot at least two hours before sundown and set up camp.

Setting up camp is critical to your survival, as the temperature will probably drop considerably overnight. By then it will be considerably more difficult to set up camp. So, gather enough wood to get through the night, build a shelter and start a fire where you are or near where you are. Don’t waste a lot of time looking for the “ideal” campsite.

When you wake up in the morning, your first priority is going to be finding a source for water. If you can find something close to where you are, that’s great. But if not, you’ll have to move camp, heading downhill. Leave a marker behind, so that any searchers who find that camp will know which direction you went in.

Once you find a good source for water, you’ll need to set up camp again. Make it about 200 feet from the water, so that you aren’t preventing wildlife from using it too. Then start working on ways to signal for help, either using what’s in your survival kit or making three smoky fires, separated far enough so that the smoke won’t meld into one column. The number three (3 fires, 3 blasts on a whistle, 3 gunshots) is the international emergency sign for distress.

Speaking of fighting, think about protecting yourself with a Tac Vest bulletproof vest.

Making A Survival Retreat Defendable

Having a prepared survival retreat is one of the crowning pinnacles of preparedness. That cabin in the woods is what many of us aspire to, even if it isn’t a cabin and it isn’t in the woods. While it’s something we all would love to have, it’s often left till later on in our prepping, simply because of the high cost in building it. 

Even so, hopefully we’ll all reach that point at some time in our prepping process. However, I think a warning is in order. While a survival retreat out and away from the population centers provide many benefits, one that it does not provide is the ability to defend yourself. Should a gang of marauders find your survival retreat, you’d be on your own. There wouldn’t even be any neighbors around to help.

With that in mind, it’s necessary to set up any survival retreat with the idea of being able to defend it against a superior number of attackers. I don’t know how many potential shooters there are in your family or survival team, but I think it’s safe to say that the bad guys will have you outnumbered.

This is not unusual in the world of warfare. There have been many battles, throughout history, where a small group of brave souls held a defensible position against a superior force. While being tied to a fixed location doe have some disadvantages to it, they are outweighed by the advantages, if those advantages are used properly.

Select Your Site Carefully

Site selection is an important aspect of making a defensible position. The high ground is advantageous. While that high ground may be farther from water and other resources, it gives you an advantage of being able to shoot down on any attackers, making it harder for them to hide from you. If you end up building any sort of palisade around your retreat, you definitely don’t want anyone to be able to look down into it.

Watch out for cover and concealment that people could use to sneak up on you. You’ll probably need to thin out the forest near your home, eliminating hiding spots.

Use Terrain to Your Advantage

Terrain can be used to your advantage, especially taking advantage of areas that are harder to cross. It doesn’t matter if it’s a body of water, a wall of impenetrable underbrush, a cliff or an area of loose rock, if it makes it hard for attackers to approach your retreat, they’ll probably look for another avenue to approach from. That narrows down the avenues you have to defend.

Don’t just ignore an area which seems unapproachable. You’ll still need to keep an eye on it. But that’s not the same as having defenses built in that direction.

For the rest of the terrain, try to put obstacles in place to slow down their advance. If all you do is manage to force them to walk, instead of run, at least they’ll be better targets.

Develop a 3-Layer Defense

The old formula is to have a 3-layer defense. If you look into it, you’ll find that castles and many forts are built with that in mind. There’s usually an outer wall or breastworks, which are set out from the wall of the fortress. This first line is set far enough away that it won’t give the attackers any help, once they gain possession of it, while still being close enough to provide support from the fortress.

After that first line, the walls of the keep or palisade form the second layer of defense. This is where the fight moves to, if the enemy manages to take the outer wall. It is a more robust defense, usually with higher walls. Finally, the last layer of defense is the keep within the castle walls. That’s where the last stand is made, before escaping through a secret passageway.

For the sake of your cabin in the woods, you obviously won’t be building a stone castle. Even so, you need those three positions, possibly made by deadfall logs dragged into position, with fighting positions built behind them.

Remember, it has to be Self Defense

No matter what you do, you’re going to have to demonstrate it as being self-defense, perhaps in front of a court. Therefore, the idea of using a sniper rifle to pick them off at a distance is not really acceptable. Rather, you’re going to want to be able to engage them quickly, at a shorter range, once they’ve proven hostile intent.

When that happens, concentrate on taking out the leaders. Often that’s all that’s needed to stop an attack. While they may reorganize under a new leader and come back, at least you’ll have won the war for the moment.

Oh, and keep a Tac Staff close at hand should violence come to your area…

Growing Fish For Food

One of the biggest problems in a survival diet is finding enough animal protein. We just can’t grow steaks and hamburgers on a tree. Yet proteins are the basic building blocks for the cells in our bodies, so important that our bodies will cannibalize healthy cells to get the protein needed to make new cells.

Most preppers who are turning their homes into homesteads (either the rural or urban kind) look to chickens for animal protein, either through eggs or the bird’s meat. While I won’t argue with that in the least, it would be nice to be able to augment that with other sources. Some people grow rabbits or goats, but I think it’s valuable to consider fish as well.

Fish are actually fairly easy to grow, needing little in the way of care. Of course, the kind of fish one selects has a lot to do with that. If you want to raise bass, you’ll need a lot of room as they don’t thrive well with a high population density. You’ll also need to raise some sort of bait fish for the bass to eat.

The easiest fish to raise in most areas is tilapia. This unassuming fish can live in a very dense population, in almost any climate. They can eat almost anything, and reproduces well, growing faster than most other species of fish. This is due to their body’s efficiency in turning food into flesh. The fish will even help keep the tank clean by eating any algae that form on the sides.

While tilapia isn’t the most nutritious fish around and is low on Omega-3 fatty acids, we’re talking survival here. They will help you survive, providing that much needed protein. You can increase the amount of Omega-3s they produce by adding flax seed to their diet.

While a fish pond might be a nice way to grow your fish, it’s easier to start out with a tank. While a number of different things can be used as a tank, one of the easiest is a used IBC (intermediate bulk container). These typically hold about 275 gallons of water, although there are some that are slightly larger. You can find them in almost any city.

To convert an IBC into a fish tank, cut off the top part of the framework and the top of the tank itself. The rest of the framework needs to be left intact to support the tank. Ensure that the drain valve is closed, after checking to make sure it works. That drain valve will be useful for cleaning out the tank at the end of the growing season.

The fish will need a constant source of oxygen in their home. This can be most easily accomplished by installing a bubbler, of the kind used in aquariums. Just make sure it’s a large one. The other common way to aerate the water is to use a fountain or waterfall, which work great for a pond, but not for the IBC, as it is too small. When you fill the tank with water, give it at least 24 hours, for the chlorine to evaporate, before putting fish in the tank.

The easiest way to feed your tilapia is to start a worm farm. You can buy earthworms by the pound online and set them up in a container full of mulch for a home. As long as the mulch is kept moist, the worms will thrive. Simply grab a handful and throw them in the IBC when it’s time to feed your fish.

Oh, and be ready with some body armor like the Tac Vest.

Growing Food In An Apartment

Somewhere between 20 and 30 percent of the population lives in apartments, rather than in single family homes. That adds some difficulty to the survival game, as an apartment has limited space and no backyard. Many of the things we talk about doing as part of our survival plans are more difficult for those who live in apartments.

Take growing your own food. Most of us think in terms of a vegetable garden in the backyard. That gives us plenty of room to work with. But that option doesn’t even exist for someone in an apartment, unless they have an enclosed patio. At the most, the best most apartment dwellers can hope for is a balcony.

Yet that doesn’t mean that they can’t grow their own food. It just requires a bit of imagination in how to grow that food. The biggest problem is having enough space and sunlight. Space is dependent on the apartment itself and sunlight is dependent on what side of the building the apartment is on and how much window area there is.

If you’re looking to move or rent a new apartment, this is something to keep in mind. Getting an apartment on the south side of the building will increase the amount of sunlight you’ll have. While that will raise the electric bill in the summertime, it will also provide the sunlight that plants need to have, in order to grow. Try to get an apartment with a balcony too, if you can, as that provides some excellent gardening space.

The key to making the best use of available space is to use vertical gardening. Turning the area on the balcony, the space in windows or the wall across from a sliding glass door into a vertical garden will give the most bang for the buck. Fortunately, pretty much any container can be used for vertical gardening, so it’s really not all that expensive to get started.

Vertical gardening works for all sorts of vegetables, although it doesn’t work too well for most root vegetables. You’ll need larger containers for those. But still, they can be integrated into the overall garden scheme, by placing those larger containers at the bottom of the vertical garden.

Vines can be a bit tricky, especially vines with melons no them; but not impossible to deal with. Pot the plants in large pots, so that the roots will have a lot of nutrients to gather. Then run the stalks of the plants around the room, as they grow. Just make sure that they come out in the open from time to time, so that the leaves can get access to daylight.

Tomatoes and strawberries have both been grown successfully upside-down. So you can pot them coming out of both the top and bottom of hanging flowerpots and hang them from the ceiling. Herbs can be grown in pots on the kitchen counter, keeping them convenient for use.

Another good way of growing food indoors is to use miniature fruit trees. Most people like having plants growing in their home anyway, so those might as well be plants that provide food. Miniature fruit trees can produce as much as a bushel of fruit each and won’t take up any more room than the pot.

The one thing you have to be careful about is not damaging the apartment, especially from watering the plants. But the simple precaution of putting something under the pots, which can catch the water, will prevent 99% of that damage.

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Water Purification On The Go

There once was a time when you could drink water in the wild, with a fairly good chance that it would be safe to drink. The basic rule of thumb was that running water was safe, while stagnant water wasn’t. But all that’s changed, as people have contaminated streams even high up in the mountains, making them unsafe to drink from.

The problem isn’t that people have used those high mountain streams to dump chemicals into; but that they’ve used them as a bathroom. Human waste, too close to the water, has allowed harmful bacteria to grow and multiply in some of nature’s most pristine water. Today, you’ve got to assume that all water is tainted in a survival scenario, purifying it before drinking it.

The question then becomes how to purify that water. There are a number of methods available, including:

  • Using a straw type water filter
  • Using a bag type water filter
  • Using chemical purifiers
  • Boiling the water

But if you think it through, not all those methods are the same. The use of a straw type filter is convenient, but you can’t fill a water bottle that way. Besides, any straw type filter is going to eventually become clogged, rendering it unusable. Likewise, chemical purifiers eventually run out, leaving you without the means to purify water. Besides, have you ever tasted water that has been purified with water purification tablets? I think I’d rather die of dehydration.

Boiling water is a secure method of purifying water, although it is time-consuming. Still, if you’re in camp anyway, putting a pot of water on the fire to boil makes sense, as it saves your other methods for situations where you don’t have time to boil that water. Using a metal water bottle, rather than a pan from your mess kit, means that you won’t have to transfer the water to the bottle, once it boils.

Using heat to purify water can be made easier, by the simple expedient of using a WAPI. That’s a “water purification indicator” if you haven’t seen one yet. It’s a plastic capsule with a wax bead inside. Placed in the water, when the water is placed over the fire, the wax bead melts once the water has reached 160°F, indicating that the water is hot enough to be pasteurized and all the bacteria is dead. The WAPI can be reused, once it has cooled.

Bag type filters are great, in that they allow you to refill your water bottle. But like the straw type filters, most will become clogged after a while. If you’re going to use one of those, you either need to carry spare filters or buy one with a backflushable filter, so that it will continue to work for a long time.

Ideally, you really need to have multiple means of water purification available to you, both at home and when you’re on the go. Just putting one of these in your bug out bag isn’t enough. You’ve got to make sure that you have multiple means available to you, just in case something goes wrong along the way.

A flashlight is a great tool to have after an earthquake. SurvivaLighter conveniently has one built in!

Hatchet Or Tomahawk – Which Should You Carry?

There are many ways of looking at a survival kit or bug out bag, but perhaps the most useful is to think from the viewpoint of tools. While tools are the heaviest part of any pack, they are also the one category which is most durable. When all your food is eaten and your fancy fire starters are gone, the tools will remain and you’ll have to survive with them.

While we have a much broader selection of tools available to us today, traditionally the survivalist’s tools consisted of their knife, their hatchet, a shovel and their saw. All three of those are still considered to be critical tools, although many people have exchanged their hatchet for a tomahawk.

On the surface, that might not seem like much of a change, but it actually is. The hatchet was originally created to be a tool, while the tomahawk was created as a weapon. Even today, while people say they can use their tomahawk as a hatchet, it doesn’t perform as well.

There are a couple of basic differences between the two. A good hatchet has a fairly heavy head, which might be counted against it when it comes to the overall weight of your pack; but is important when you’re trying to get up enough momentum to split some tree branches for the fire. It’s much harder to do that with a tomahawk, as the head of a tomahawk is made of much thinner stock.

On the tomahawk’s side of the ledger, the longer handle that tomahawks typically have will help with coming up with the necessary momentum for splitting wood. But just how effective that is depends a lot on the particular model and how heavy the head is.

The other big thing the hatchet’s head does for it is to act as a hammer. That’s important for driving tent stakes. Most tomahawks not only don’t have a hammer head or wide enough back on the head to use them as a hammer, they have spike there, so that the weapon will inflict damage no matter what side hits. So, anyone carrying a tomahawk instead of a hatchet will have to use a rock as their hammer. Not an insurmountable issue, but an issue nevertheless.

So, which is better? That depends mostly on how you’re going to use it. If your main reason for carrying it is as a close-quarters weapon, then you want to be carrying a tomahawk. But if it’s part of your kit because you see the need for it as a tool, you’re better off carrying a hatchet.

Another thing to consider is carrying a machete instead. While a machete is not ideal for splitting wood, it can still be used for it. It’s also a pretty fierce weapon for close quarters work. But the machete also has other uses, like clearing a trail, that neither of the other can do.

The real key here, regardless of the choice that you make, is to become an expert in the use of the tool you choose. An expert with a machete can do things with it that others can’t, just like an expert with a hatchet or one with a tomahawk. It’s what you know, more than what you have, which makes the real difference.

Oh, and with something like the Tactical Tomahawk between your seats, a Carjacker will think twice about picking you…

Making A Bio Filter – You Must Read This For Clean Water!

Water filtration or purification is a crucial part of our survival plans. We cannot depend on any water being safe to drink in the midst of a crisis. Even our municipal water supply could be suspect, especially if there is any sort of flooding.

It’s not so much that water supplies are made unsafe by a crisis; but that we can’t afford to take any chances. While I’m sure there are still natural water sources which will provide clean water that’s safe to drink, I’m equally sure that I don’t know where they are. Since there is no obvious way of telling which water is biologically clean and which is dangerous to drink, we must treat it all as suspect. Otherwise, we could end up with dysentery or something even worse, killing us.

That means purifying our water in one way or another. There are a large number of ways of doing this, ranging from boiling it to using chemical purifiers that kill bacteria. But probably the most common, in both day-to-day life and in survival, is using common filtration.

Not all water filters are able to remove the microscopic pathogens that we need removed from our water. Many, such as the “whole house filters” do no more than remove sediment. While that might make water look safe to drink, it doesn’t. For water to be safe to drink, the filtration must be fine enough to remove bacteria, which means smaller than 1 micron; generally speaking, we go smaller than that, like a filter of 0.5 or 0.2 microns.

There’s only one problem with this; that is that the filters in question get filled up with particulate matter, clogging them and rendering them useless. If we are going to depend on such a filter during a time of crisis, we must make sure that we have enough filter elements to last through the crisis, no matter how long it lasts.

Another option to consider is making a bio-filter. This system, originally developed for use in third-world countries, uses natural ingredients to filter bacteria out of water. While not perfect, the bio-filter is rated at removing 99.9% of bacteria, as good as most of the commercial filters available.

The bio-filter consists of three basic elements:

  • Gravel
  • Sand
  • Activated carbon or activated charcoal

The water passes through the gravel first, which removes large chunks of debris; the sand after it removes small sediment; and the final layer of activated charcoal will remove bacteria, as well as some chemicals. This leaves water that is safe to drink, from a filter that will produce a lot of clean water, without needing the element to be replaced.  

Of the three filter mediums, the activated carbon is the really important one. It can have a surface area of 3,000 m2 per gram, making it an excellent trap for bacteria trying to flow through.

There are some who try to go to five layers, adding another layer of sand and another of gravel after the activated charcoal. But those additional layers don’t do anything except take up space, leaving less for the layers that are doing the job.

Ideally, this filter should be a fairly good size, like at least one five-gallon plastic bucket. The more filter medium you have, the better it purifies the water. In addition, the better a job of purifying it will do.

Making too small a bio-filter isn’t effective. Some people have written about making one in a two-liter soda bottle. While I’m sure you could build one like that, I’m not convinced I’d want to trust my health and safety to it. I’d rather buy more materials and make a larger filter.

When making a bio-filter, it’s necessary to separate the layers of filter medium with cloth or screening, so that they don’t mix together. Or, for a larger system, each can be in its own bucket, with the water flowing between them. All the filter medium needs to be thoroughly rinsed, several times, until it no longer makes the water it is being rinsed in cloudy. This cloudiness is dust and dirt that is naturally in the rocks, gravel, and activated charcoal.

Tac Vest would also be extremely helpful against looters.

Hiding Things In Your Home

Between talk of the ability for FEMA to steal our food stockpiles and the constant attack on our right to keep and bear arms, it only makes sense for preppers to want to hide what they’ve got. While keeping some things off-site, in a survival cache, makes sense, that doesn’t make sense for firearms, which could then fall into criminal hands. But at the same time, we don’t want to be stripped of our guns, should anyone search our homes.

To start with, we don’t want to hide everything. If we’re concerned about feds searching our homes to find what we have, then we need to make sure that there’s something for them to find. They don’t want to waste their time and go away empty-handed, so they’ll keep looking until they find something. Having some food and guns out where they can be easily found should satisfy that, hopefully convincing them that they’ve found our stash and can leave.

Everything else has to be well hidden, so that those things won’t be found first. There are a lot of places where we can hide things:

  • The boxes in or attics and basements can be partially filled with food and other items, then the old baby clothes and other things put on top of them. Stack other boxes, with those baby clothes on top, so that they are the first ones found.
  • Take the kick plate off underneath the cabinets in your kitchen; then fill the space, putting the kick plate back in place afterwards.
  • Take off the back cover to your appliances, especially the washer and dryer, there’s space inside there, which can be used to for storage.
  • If your home has soffits above the kitchen wall cabinets, they are mostly hollow. Remove some of the drywall, fill the space, then put new drywall in place, texturing and painting it to match.
  • Any remodeling project gives you the opportunity to hide food and guns in the walls, as there are 3-1/2” (the thickness of a 2”x 4”) of mostly empty space in there.
  • The HVAC ductwork in your attic or basement can be modified, adding additional ductwork that’s physically attached to the system, but not a part of it. As long as that new ductwork is made of the same material, most people won’t be able to tell it’s not part of the working system. Fill it with supplies and seal it off until needed.
  • Something similar can be done, adding another 4” wastewater standpipe in the basement. Most people won’t realize that it doesn’t belong there, especially if fittings are attached to make it look like it is actually part of the home’s plumbing.
  • If you have a two story home, there are several inches of space between the first floor ceiling and the second floor flooring. It might be a bit hard to access, but cutting that open, filling it with supplies and then closing it back up, finishing it to look like it had never been opened provides one of the harder places for them to find anything.
  • Closets offer some unique hiding places. While just about anyone searching a closet is going to be looking to see if it has a false back, they won’t bother to look at the wall area above or to either side of the doors. You can cut open access areas in these, from the inside of the closet, then use them for storage. I’ve hidden guns this way for years and nobody has seen them, even people using those closets.

Spot intruders, even at night, with the Tac Vision Night Vision Binocular.

The Grey Man Theory

The last thing that any of us want to do is to attract attention to what we’re doing, either in our prepping or during a time of crisis. We don’t want people to know what we are doing, as those very same people are likely to come knocking on our door, looking for help. In addition to that, if the government ever starts looking for people who are holding supplies, they’ll probably be operating on information provided by snitches.

One of the best ways of avoiding attention from either the government or hungry people desperate for supplies is to make sure that you aren’t noticed. To do that, it’s necessary to do everything possible to blend in with the crowd. That includes both how you look and how you act.

Most people are going to have a very hard time surviving in the wake of a major disaster. Being unprepared for what comes, they will be constantly searching for food, looking for drinkable water and just trying to scavenge the basic necessities to survive. Few will be bathing, as they won’t understand that bathing helps reduce the spread of disease and almost all will be losing a lot of weight, so their clothing won’t fit well.

The worst thing you could do in all that is to be out in public, freshly bathed, chubby and wearing your tacticool clothing. Everyone who saw you like that would automatically think that you’re working for the government or some secret organization. You’d either be assumed to be an enemy or someone who is cheating. Either way, everyone would instantly know that you have things they need.

In order to avoid that you need to become invisible to people, in other words, become the grey man. A grey man is someone who blends in so well to the background, that nobody notices them. I’m not talking about camouflage here, except in the theoretical sense. It’s not so much about how one looks, as how well that blends in to the situation, rather than the surroundings.

Let me give you some perfect examples of grey men that we encounter in life all the time:

  • Anyone in a uniform; we see the uniform, without paying any attention to the person inside.
  • Homeless people or bums; we all try to look some other way, as if they aren’t there.
  • Anyone who looks poor, as we tend to think they’re either going to beg for money or bother us in some other way.
  • The little old lady who goes about her business quietly, without bothering anyone.

But in a survival situation, the ideal grey man costume is what everyone else is wearing. If everyone is in dirty t-shirts and holy blue jeans, then that’s the way for you to dress too, so that you don’t attract attention. Save your cargo pants for when you’re home or at your survival retreat, where nobody is going to see them.

Likewise, walking around with an AR-15 is likely to attract attention. Better to keep the AR-15 close, but not visible and just carry a pistol concealed, but readily available. The pistol allows you to defend yourself, without seeming like a threat to others.

More than that, you need to move around like others. If everyone is walking with their head down, like they’re afraid of something, do the same. If they’re hugging the walls of buildings, avoiding the curb, there’s a reason for it, so copy them. If they’re looking around furtively, you can be sure that they’re afraid of something that you should be on the lookout for as well.

Keep from looking like someone of interest and most people will ignore you. That way, you won’t have to fight as many battles and you won’t have so many people trying to get what you have.

The easiest way to start a fire, however, is by using SurvivaLighter…

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