Friday, December 17, 2010

When You Read This

Welcome Preppers and Survivalists,

Folks, my family and I are going on vacation. By the time you read this, we will have been gone for five days. I plan to be back and writing at the beginning of the new year.


Merry Christ's Mass

and Happy New Year!

If I get a chance, I might post some articles, but don't plan on it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What She Said!

Folks, like I said in the title and many time before; here are three wonderful blogs on food storage. All three are written by women and they know what they are doing.

Safely Gathered In - Home

Adventures in Self Reliance - Home

Food Storage Made Easy - Home

Here's a post from a forth blog that I haven't read long enough to give you an opinion.

I Drive my Tractor in Pearls - Again with the food…

Becoming a Food Producer

Lastly or firstly, you and your family (if you decide to) want to become food producers. You don't have to produce all your food, just some of it. The more food that you and your family produce; the more independent you may be during an emergency.

One way of of producing some of your own food is to plant fruit trees in your yard. My family and I are lucky; we live on an over-sized lot in the suburbs. We have five fruit trees (three pears and two cherries) in a very small orchard in the backyard. Most folks won't have room for this; however, they will have room for two or three fruit trees spread around the yard.

Instead of the two oak trees in the front yard, you can plant two apples trees, instead.

Another way is to plant a fence-row fruit like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, or ... alone the fence you share with your neighbor. This will create a visual barrier between you and your neighbor's yard.

Check with your neighbor first because these fence-row fruits spread by the branches rooting if they hit soil. Your neighbor may not want this on 'their' fence.

Another way is building a small chicken coop or rabbit hutch. Four rabbits or four chickens (hens only) can easily be kept in an average suburban yard. Make sure to check local ordinances or community covenants before starting because it may be against the local code.

The one method we have all heard about is starting a traditional garden.

There are many resources, local and on the internet, to assist you. Some states have "Master Gardner" programs. These folks have a lot of useful knowledge, they are willing to share.

Plus, don't forget the local library. They have many useful books, too.

Next, you need to process your produce. In other words, can your food. Once again there are many resources on the internet and in your local library on canning.

Yeah, I know this post seem to be very short with little information, but how do I tell you to plant something if ...

* I live in Florida and you live in Alaska of vis-a-verse-a

* You live on a 1000 acre farm and I live on an over-sized lot in suburbia

You get the point. You have to learn the answers for your area of the world

Really Long Emergencies

For really long emergencies (many, many months maybe years) you and your family are going to need to store whole foods. Whole food are foods that haven't or barely been processed.

An example is wheat.

For short emergencies (a few weeks) storing flour is o.k. For a year-long emergency, flour will go bad before the end of the year, so you want to store wheat berries. Wheat berries will store for 30 years, if they are packaged correctly. Flour will not.

So how much?

Before I answer that question for my family, I have to tell you that I was born a survivalists. My mother and father were storing water, food, guns/ammo, modifying our family home before my brothers and sisters were born.

So, for my family, we started out with the Mormon Basic Four

365 pounds of Wheat per person
(Some folks say to store less for women and kids. I disagree because my wife works as hard as I do and the kids are going to grow-up within that 30-year shelf life)

140 pounds of Sugar per person

25 pounds of Salt per person

Boxes and Boxes of Rice and Soy Milk
(Only enough for a few months because we aren't big milk drinkers)


One multivitamin per family member per day for two years
(The kids get a kid's chewable and my wife and I get a generic-brand)

Next, we added to that food

150 pounds of Enriched Long Grain White Rice per person
(This is the only food, that I know of, that last longer after your process it. Brown rice will only last a few week or months before going rancid)

150 pounds of Various Dried Beans (Black, Chickpea, Small Red, and Red and Brown Lentils, so far)

We are adding more beans and rice as money allows. We will stop buying beans and rice when we have 350 pounds per person in our family.

Next, we are adding to this food.

We are buying freeze dried and dehydrated veggies. We plan to have enough to serve everyone four servings a day for one year when we are finished.

Next, we plan to add to this food.

By buying, storing, and using freeze-dried/dehydrated eggs, textured vegetable protein (TVP), and other long-term food from food storage companies like;

Walton Feed


Safe Castle
(I suggest paying the one-time membership fee to join Safecastle Royal)

Ready-Made Resources

and many others

Lastly, you will have to wait for the next post ; - )

Family Survivors - LDS Food Storage: Mormon Food Storage

If I link to someone, I don't get anything from them unless they're family and these folks aren't family.

Longer Emergencies and Rotating Your Food

For longer emergencies (more than two-week), you and your family will want a little more variety in your meals. Just like before, all you do is prepare the meal, record the quantity of food needed for the meal, and buy the food at the local market. Lastly, you place this extra food with your other stored food.

Now, you and your family are going to have to rotate this food. If you eat the meals you have stored, you can easily rotate the food.

To rotate the stored food:

First, choose the meal you're planning to eat. Go to the local grocery, buy the food, and bring it home. Next, take this food, you just bought, and take it to your food storage area. (For me and my family, it is in the basement)

Place this new food in the back of the shelf, then take the ingredients (the older food) off the front of the shelf. Take the food from your food storage area (mine is the basement) to the kitchen and make the meal.

This method insures you and your family have fresh food and that you are eating that food.

When my wife decided to become a vegetarian, we had to re-plan our food storage. We redid our menus (taking out the meat and adding new meals) Next, we went to the store and bought the "new" types of food and started using the "new" food in our "new" meals.

Most folks ask if this was/is a big deal because the kids I still eat meat. It isn't. I add canned meat to our plates after we have cooked the main course. I also do this when the kids and I have eaten PB & J for the last three days.

I like PB & J for about three days straight. On the fourth day, I have to have something different, so we plan for this in our menus. For me, we have a very small canned ham in our food storage. I slice it up and have ham sandwiches for lunch as the kids and my wife eat PB & J, again! The extra ham is used in the next dinner, so we don't have to refrigerate it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Expedient Water Collection, One Method

Welcome Preppers and Survivalists,

It is very important for preppers to store water, but sooner or later your family's stored water will run out, so you will need to collect water.

There are many methods of collecting water for your family to use. One of the easiest ways is to collect rainwater. In most cases, rainwater is ready to drink.

One way of collecting rainwater is to use a blue trap. Now, you don't have to use a blue tarp; you can use a sheet of plastic or a poncho to collect the rainwater.

First, you will need to collect your supplies. You will need a sheet of plastic or a tarp, 4 pieces of strong string, four poles/posts, and a bucket. Pretty simple especially if you click on the picture on the left for a larger view.

To build, sink the four posts into the ground. You need to make sure the posts go in pretty deep. The posts and the string will have to hold the weight of the rainwater and also survive any wind gusts.

Next, tie the two high corners to the post with strong string. I used 550 cord. You don't need to use 550 cord; any strong string will work. After that, tie the tarp's two lower corners to the posts. Notice I tried to form a 'V' at the bottom. The 'V' directs the water into the bucket.

If you don't have a bucket, place the posts closer together and make all four corners the same height. The tarp will hold the water until you can empty it. Make sure you use strong string because a gallon of water weighs 8 pounds (4 liters weigh about 3.6 kilos)

Possible Modifications

You don't need four poles; you just need four places close enough together to tie the string to hold the tarp up. I have used trees (watch out for leaves and sticks), a fence and two poles, and ... your imagination.

As I wrote in the article, you can use a poncho, sheet of plastic, metal roofing, or anything that can be cleaned enough to collect water. Be reasonable with your imagination; you don't want to use anything dangerous that will leech chemicals into you collected water.

Kiddie pools, food-grade 5-gallon buckets, a hole lined with another tarp are some of the things that could be substituted for a bucket. Heck, if you don't mind getting wet, you could fill individual canteens as the water flows down the poncho.

550 cord, shoe laces, an electric cord from a lamp are some substitutions. If you use wooden poles, you could use nails to hold the tarp to the poles.

Lastly, if your plastic sheet or tarp doesn't have holes along the edges (grommets), you will have to use a technique I learned from M4040's "Tarp Shelter" page.

First, lay out your tarp. Next, put a stone or rock in the corner.

After you do that, fold the corner over the rock and tie a loop around the plastic sheet

Then tie it to your post.

Yes, I know; I used a bed sheet for my explanation but it works for plastic sheeting, too.

M4040 - Home

M4040 - Tarp Shelter

Monday, November 8, 2010

Deliberate Water Storage, Part 2

Welcome Preppers and Survivalists,

A couple of weeks ago, I gave you some tips on Deliberate Water Storage. I would like to add some more information.

First, any #1 or #2 plastic beverage bottle will work; color doesn't matter. As you can see in the picture to the left, I have three soda bottles, two water bottles, and one Gatorade bottle.

Next, if you can, use only clear plastic beverage bottles. I know, I just said any color will work. That's true.


A clear beverage bottle will allow you to easily see the water in the bottle. When a bottle of water is exposed to light, any light, algae will start to grow. The algae will give the water a light green tint. In a green or blue bottle, you won't notice the water change color.

Next, I used a clean 48 quart cooler to disinfect my containers. First, I washed the cooler with soap and water, rinsed really well with tap water then filled with tap water. Next, I added 12 tablespoons of bleach, since 48 quarts equals 12 gallons.

If you are using your sink to disinfect bottles, you need to wash the sink with soap and water first, rinse, then fill with water and add bleach. Just like above, but watch your amount of chlorine.

Remember, 16 drops of bleach for each gallon of water.

After you make up the sterilizing solution, you need to submerge the bottles and caps (don't forget the caps) in the bleach water for 30-minutes. Make sure there are no air bubbles in the bottles. Air bubbles will allow microorganisms to survive. Yes, this includes the little itty bitty bubbles that seem to form after you have walked away because you have better things to do then look at bottles soaking in a bleach solution.

Not This

Next, a full five-gallon container will weigh 40 pounds (18 kg). You will need an adult or an older teen to carry it from place to place. A 2-liter bottle only weighs 4 pounds (2 kg), so a child could carry the bottle for you.

In the above photo, there are three 5-gallon containers, two jugs and one bucket. The blue jug has a neat feature. It has a spigot that is stored inside the cap, but there is a problem with the design. The cap has a recess that allows dirt and dust to collect in the cap.

To stop the possible contamination of the cap/spigot from dirt and dust, I placed some tape over the recess in the cap.

Lastly, you are going to need something to remove the water from your jugs and/or buckets because a full jug is hard to empty when it is full.

The pump on the left; I bought from Walton Feed for about $13. (You have to download the catalog then search for "pump") The pump on the right; I bought from our local farm and home store for about $3.00.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Expedient Water Storage, Part 2

Welcome Preppers and Survivalists,

In the last article about "Expedient Water Storage" I told you about places in your home to store water and collect water.

In this article, I am going to highlight a few containers you and your family can use to quickly store water during an emergency and some 'Dos and Don'ts' in water storage.

The first container is the five and six gallon white plastic bucket. Just like I mentioned in "Week Four - Food" these plastic buckets must be food-grade plastic. If you are planning to use used buckets, the buckets must have had only food in them. Some examples are cake icing, pickles, or cherries.

Another bucket is the simple water bucket for watering animals. In the above picture, it is the purple bucket; we bought it at our local Farm and Home Store.

Another container is the five-gallon water jug. If you watch sports, especially American Football, you usually see the team dumping the contents of the jug on the coaches head.

The last container, I will highlight, is the plastic picnic cooler. Most families have one or two for holding food, on ice, for camping trips, float trips, or other outdoor events.

Expedient Water Storage Containers
And this leads to my 'Dos and Don'ts.'

* Identify containers that you can use in an emergency, now
* Use only clean containers

* Don't use containers that have contained nonfood items like oil, waxes, or other chemicals
* Don't use old chlorine bleach bottles for water storage. Remember, too much chlorine in your water can kill.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Preventive Medicine - Blisters

Welcome Preppers and Survivalists,

During and after a disaster, you and your family may find that the only way to travel is to walk. Depending on where you live, this could be a very long distance.

There are many historical incidences where walking was the only way to leave an effected area, the San Francisco earthquake 1904, Berlin 1945, and New Orleans 2005. Heck, about 2000 years ago, the Roman army walked about 1100 miles (1800 Km) from Italy to Great Britain, plus a little bit of a boat ride, to conquer England.

Lucky for us, we have better technology to protect our feet from blisters.

Before I start, I have to give you my street cred. I was a light infantryman, we walked everywhere; an infantryman, walked almost everywhere; and my wife and I have completed 4 half marathons (13.1 miles or 21 kilometers, not including the training miles/kilometers) by walking.

First, you are going to need socks. No, the white cotton socks you normally wear aren't going to work. You need specialized socks made out of wool or a wool-blend. These specialized socks have additional padding on the bottom to protect your feet from blisters.

When you are buying your socks, you need to put them on in the store. They should be snug but not tight. They should fit your feet with no extra length between the heel and your toes or material bunching up on your foot. Plus, the socks should snug but not too tight on your ankle and calf.

There are also sock liners. Just like the name says, they line the inside of your socks. They are normally close fitting socks that protect your feet when they slide in your socks and wick moisture away from your feet. They are usually made out of nylon or silk.

I have only worn sock liners during cold weather because my feet sweat, a lot. The sock liners would wick moisture away from my feet helping my feet to stay warm. It seems that in really cold weather; the moisture in my wet socks would cool causing my feet to get cold. I really hate cold feet.

After you buy your hiking socks, you are going to need comfortable footwear. For this discussion, footwear is going to be limited to boots and shoes.

When buying your shoes, you want to wait until the end of the day, after you have been up and standing/walking all day, because your feet swell from your body's fluids, such as  blood, draining into your feet from the effects of gravity.

Next, you want to buy from a store that specializes in walking and running. The clerks will have experience in fitting shoes for long distance walkers and runners. If you are looking for boots, you will need to find a store that specializes in boots. Just tell the clerk that you are planning to do some long-distance hiking.

You can go to Wal-mart, K-mart, Target, Famous Footwear, or ... for your shoes, but understand that you are buying a certain level of quality and comfort. Don't get me wrong, I buy shoes from the china-marts, but I don't walk half-marathons in those shoes.

Now, you can skip all this and purchase boots issued by the United States military. Before you older vets laugh yourself to death, the military has come a long way in boot technology,


A U.S. military issued boot isn't for everyone. Some folks find the shaft too tall because the shaft 'bits' into their calf. Another problem is the boot's sole is glued on; it can't be resoled. Plus, some military boots, such as the Jungle boot, just suck for long distance walking.

No matter which way you go, military or civilian boots, you want to wear the same types of socks and sock liners you plan to wear when you purchase your new boots. This will ensure your buy the right size. Believe it or not, different types of socks have a different thickness. One brand/type of sock may be thicker than another brand.

So you have your socks and boots.

The next thing you want to do is break them in. Now, this doesn't mean that you put 'em on, lace 'em up and go for a 12 mile walk. Not at all, for me, this means you take it slow.

Now, I'm going to tell you one method that I used for the black leather military boots. First, I would polish the boots then I would put the boots on with the the laces loosely tied. Next, I would walk around for about one to two hour that day. After those two hours, I would remove my new boots and polish them, again. I won't wear them until the next day. I would do this for one week.

The next week, I would tighten up the laces a little more and wear the boots for three to four hours. The week after that, I would tighten the laces some more and wear them for five to six hours. On the fourth week, I would wear them like normal.

Taking it slow and easy like that allowed the leather boots to flex and slowly conform to my feet, ankles, and the way I walk. Plus, it reduced my chance of getting a blister, for four weeks.

After breaking in the boots for four weeks, they were ready to wear for road marches (another way of saying long nature walks carrying a lot of stuff)

I have also used light hiking boots made from various synthetic materials. These boots are great for walking on smooth trails or roads. They usually don't need breaking in. But be warned, you want to take a few short walks before going on longer hikes to allow your feet to adjust to your new light boot.

As I said, I have experience with long distance walking, so I knew where I would have problems before I started.

For a couple of years, I would always get blisters between my little toe and the one next to it, on my right foot. On my left foot, I would get a blister on the pad of my foot just behind the toe next to my big toe.

So, for my right foot, I would wrap each toe with a plain old Band-Aid adhesive bandage around the pinkie toe and the other toe (with the pads towards the other toe) before each walk. On my left foot, I would cut a piece of moleskin in the shape of a donut. The 'hole' of the donut-shaped moleskin would be placed over the spot where I usually got a blister.

Another time, I had a pair of dress shoes that would 'bite' me on the back of my heels. I would cut four strips of moleskin then I would take one strip and place it over another strip, making the moleskin two layers thick. This two layer moleskin would go over the spots where my dress shoes 'bit' me.

After I had put padding on the places where I normally got blisters, I would put foot powder on my feet. Now, I did this for a couple of years then one day I didn't have any foot powder, so I went without. I didn't have any problems, so I quit using foot powder.

I had friends that would spray their feet with an antiperspirant, supposedly this stopped their feet from sweating. I don't recommend it.

Next, I put my socks on. I am very careful to make sure that my sock are snug but not tight and that there is no extra material at my toes, bottom of my foot, or on the heel of my foot. If I am wearing a sock liner, I put the sock liner on first (checking just like my socks) then my socks.

Lastly, I put my boots on and lace them up. My boots laces are snug but not tight. I will walk a few minutes then, if needed, I will relace my boots if they are too tight.

With all this careful selection of socks, sock liners, boots and preparation of my feet, I still get blisters.

Now, you can screw this up.

I had a battalion commander who decided to do an EIB (Expert Infantryman's Badge) 12-mile forced march with a new pair of boots. (12-miles, in less then 3-hours, with rifle, pack, and other stuff) No, the new boots weren't broken in.

Needless to say, he developed some blisters. A whole lot of blisters

Well, he gets back to his office and rips the blister off. He was on crutches for two-weeks.

Enough stories.

So you and your family are walking along and your daughter, son, partner, or even you start feeling a 'hot spot' on your foot. (It feels just like it sounds) If possible, you should stop and take care of it right then. If you don't the 'hot spot' could turn into a blister.

To treat a 'hot spot,' first, take off your shoe and look at your foot. You might see a red spot. If you don't see a red spot, you can poke around with your finger to find the 'hot spot'. It will hurt.

Just like I did to prevent a blister, you want to cut a piece of moleskin into a donut-shape. The hole of the donut goes over the 'hot spot.' Next, put your sock back on, smoothing your sock over your foot, then snugly lacing up your boot.

If you have time, everyone in your group should take off their boots, check their feet, and smooth out their socks. Another if, if you have extra socks, have everyone change their socks. Also shake your boots out; a small stone could have gotten into your boot.

In a tactical situation (other folks possibly shooting at you), you don't want everyone to take their boots off at the same time.

If you start feeling pain on the bottom of your foot, toes, or heel, you may have a blister.

Just like treating a 'hot spot,' cut a piece of moleskin into a donut shape and place the spot over the blister. In the picture, I linked to, WedMD shows a small blister. I have had a blister as long and as wide as my thumb. Cutting a piece of moleskin with a hole that large took a little effort.

Now, you may have to stack two pieces of moleskin like I did for my dress shoes. That's OK, the objective is to take pressure off that part of your foot.

Another method, using moleskin, is to cut a donut as mentioned before then cut a second piece of moleskin to cover the hole. You have to leave the (I can't think of what's it called but it's the plastic paper that covers the sticky side of the moleskin) so the moleskin won't stick to the blister, but remove the edges, so the second layer of moleskin will stick to the first layer.

Once you're finished, smooth out your socks and snugly lace up your boots.

There is going to come a time when you are going to have to lance a blister to remove the fluid building up to protect that area of your foot.

To do that you need a sharp, pointy object. A sewing needle or safety pin is preferred, however; the tip of a knife can be used. You will also need something to sterilize your needle, such as an alcohol pad, and where you are going to lance the blister.

First, you want to sterilize your needle. I have used toilet paper dipped in alcohol, a store bought alcohol pad, the needle dipped in alcohol, Povidone-iodine (Betadine) instead of alcohol, and a match.

To use a match to sterilize the needle, not your skin, light and hold the match below the needle, warming the needle. You don't want to have carbon, black stuff, build up on the needle. Some of the carbon will be left in your skin when you lance the blister.

After you sterile the needle, you sterilize your skin where the blister is. Next, find a spot on the edge of the blister and poke it with the needle. You make have do do this in a couple of different places for a large or odd-shaped blister. The intent is to drain all of the fluid out of the blister.

This clear fluid is not puss; the fluid is a clear liquid produced by your skin to form a cushion to protect your skin.

To drain the fluid out of the blister, you may have to gently push on the blister from the center moving to the spot where you poked the needle through your skin. Once you have removed as much fluid as possible you will need to do one of two things.

If you have to continue moving.

Clean the area around the blister again with alcohol or other disinfectant. Next, you need to use the moleskin to protect your foot as described.

If you can stop

Remove your shoes and allow your feet to rest by wearing soft shoes or sandals. The skin under the blister will harden, like your regular skin, and the outside skin will wear away. Whatever you do, do not tear the old skin off your foot until the new skin has toughened up.

Lastly, you may have to continue and the skin covering the blister will tear off exposing the tender skin. You must protect the tender skin with band-aids or other dressings and moleskin because you can do additional damage to your foot.

President Calvin Coolidge's youngest son died from an infected blister

Update: 1:00 pm 19 Oct
I think this is it, but I have to think about it.

PS. Thank Spartan for this article. He suggested it.

Free Map Tools - How Far is it Between London, Uk to Rome, Italy - Roman England:  The Romans in Britain 43 AD - 410 AD

Wise Geek - What is Street Cred?

REI - How to Choose Backpacking Socks

Hiking Dude - Hiking Socks

Wikipedia - Footwear

eHow - Why Feet Swell - Diagram of Boot Terms

ABC of Hiking - Hiking Boots: Features & Characteristics

Hiking Dude - Hiking Boot and Hiking Shoes

Wikipedia - Band-Aid

The Backpacker - Beginners: Gortex
Note: Yes, I know the page says Gortex but the link says moleskin.

Wikipedia - Expert Infantryman Badge

WikiHow - How to Treat a Foot Blister

ABC of Hiking - Foot Blisters - Preventing & Healing Skin Blisters

WedMD - Blisters - Home Treatment

Betadine - Home

Wikipedia - Calvin Coolidge Jr.,_Jr.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Deliberate Water Storage

Welcome Preppers and Survivalists,

You Have Three to Five Days Before You Die
After thinking and shelter, water is the most important element of survival.

Don't believe me, try not drinking or eating any liquids for only one day. For me, my tongue starts to swell up, my head hurts, and I get lethargic.

For most people, death follows in 3 to 5 days without water.

Deliberate Water Storage in the Home
As I said in "Expedient Water Storage", a person needs at least one gallon of water a day to survive. This one gallon of water is used for drinking water, only.

So a family of four planning for a three day emergency would need 12 gallons of water. A two-week emergency would require at least 56 gallons of water, just for drinking, and a month's supply of water would be 120 gallons.

Around here, we pay about $1.25 for a litre of bottled water (3.8 liters in one gallon) To make it easy on me, say 4 litres to make a gallon, 12 gallons would cost $60. 56 gallons would cost $280, ouch.

So for the folks getting ready for a short-term emergency (3 to 5 days), bottled water would work, for a price.

But, I'm on a budget; I bet you are too. Plus, I want to store enough water for a 30-day emergency.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
One way of cutting costs is to reuse containers. One container is the plastic soda bottle. They come in various sizes, 20 ounce, 1 litre, and 2 litre are common. I have even seen a 3 litre soda bottle when I was traveling to ...

To reuse, just rinse the inside and outside of the bottle with tap water then fill to the top. Screw the original cap on, after rinsing with tap water, then store the bottle in a cool dark place, like a basement.

You don't need to put any chlorine, as a preservative, in the water because most cities already have chlorine in the water. Folks on private wells may want to add 16 drops of 5 1/2 % chlorine bleach to each gallon of water. So a 1-litre bottle would need 4 drops for bleach added to the water.

Now, don't put more bleach in the water thinking "more the better" because too much chlorine can kill.

What I just wrote will work all the time, but this article is "Deliberate Water Storage," so let's get deliberate.

Really Deliberate
To really clean the 20 ounce, one and/or two litre bottles, first peel the labels off the bottles. You want to remove as much as the glue, too. Next, rinse the inside and outside of the bottle, don't forget the cap, with tap water. Let air dry.

As the bottles are air drying, mix one tablespoon of bleach in one gallon of water, this will make a disinfecting bleach solution for the bottles.

Once the solutions is made put the bottles in the bleach water. You want to make sure that there are no air bubbles inside the bottle. Let the bottles sit for thirty minutes. After the thirty minutes, empty the bottles, you can reuse the disinfecting solution, then let the bottles air dry, again.

The bottles are filled with tap water then treated with chlorine bleach. Remember 16 drops for every gallon or 4 drops of bleach for ever quart/litre of water.

Store the filled bottles in a cool dark place such as a cardboard box or the basement.

North Carolina: Division of Child Development - Cleaning and Sanitizing: What’s the difference and how are they done?

Middlesex-London Health Unit - Mixing of Chlorine (Bleach) Solution for Disinfecting

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Expedient Water Storage

Welcome Preppers and Survivalists,

My Apologizes
I apologize for not posting these last two months. It has been hectic.

I have been trying to get my family's stuff squared away, pay attention to my partner, organize my office, so there is less time to write and take pictures.

Well, I'm back, for now, so enjoy the next few articles about water storage.

You Have Three to Five Days Before You Die
After thinking and shelter, water is the most important element of survival.

Don't believe me, try not drinking or eating any liquids for only one day. For me, my tongue starts to swell up, my head hurts, and I get lethargic.

For most people, death follows in 3 to 5 days without water.

Expedient Water Storage in the Home
During a sudden emergency, you and your family may have very little time to prepare, so here are a few quick ways to store water in your home.

Sinks and Bathtubs
First, clean and rinse the sink or bathtub then fill with tap water.

Quick and easy wasn't it?

For you folks that worry about germs and other little nasties, you will want to close the shower curtain because the bathtub is usually next to the toilet. ; - (

Now, most water that comes out of the tap is ready to drink, so you don't need to treat it before drinking.

Just in case, you may want to treat the water with chlorine bleach.

But, how much bleach do you use?

First, we are going to use only fresh bleach, bought in the last three months, that only has 5 1/2% Sodium Hypochlorite with No scents or other additives. Clorox bleach is safe to use.

Next, we are going to need to calculate how much water the sink or bathtub holds, when full, because we need to add 16 drops of bleach, for each gallon of water, to treat the water.

To do this measure the length, width, and depth of the container.

Now you don't need a tape measure to do this. You can use the Hawaiian Shaka sign because the distance between the end of the pinkie and the end of the thumb is approximately eight inches for an adult male. You can also use an U.S. dollar, it is just over six inches long.

Once you have measured the container, you need to multiply the three measurements to find the volume of the expedient container. The bathtub in the picture is 2 feet wide, 4 feet long, and 1 1/2 feet deep.

2 feet X 4 feet X 1 1/2 feet equals 12 cubic feet

Next, we multiply by 7.48 (that's the number of gallons in a cubic foot of water)

So, 12 cubic feet times 7.48 gallons equals almost 90 gallons of water.

So, we will need 1440 drops of bleach (about 1/2 cup) to treat this much water (90 gallons X 16 drops equals 1440 drops of chlorine bleach)

Since one person needs one gallon of water a day, a family of four (if they fill their bathtub) will have enough water for about 20 days.

Toilets, Hot Water Heater, and Water Pipes
Since each of these places are filled every time you use them, you may need to turn off the incoming city water during an emergency, to prevent your stored water from being contaminated. You will find the water shutoff valve on the main water line into your home. Because the valve is in a different location, for every home, you need to find it before the disaster.

To use the water in the hot water heater, you will need to turn off the hot water heater. Some heaters use gas; some use electric. Either way turn off the heater and wait for the water in the tank to cool, at least four hours. After the water is cool, open the little valve at the bottom of the tank and allow the water to drain into a clean container, like a bucket or even a drinking glass.

This water does not need to be treated, If the city water was not contaminated. If the city water was contaminated, you will need to treat the water before drinking.

To get the water out of the pipes in your house, you will need to turn off the water to the house. Next you need to open the highest sink or bathtub faucet in the house, then open the lowest faucet in the house. All of the water in the pipes will drain to the lowest open faucet. Have a clean container to catch the water.

Wether to treat the water or not will depend on if the city water supply was contaminated or not.

Lastly, you and your family can drink the water found in the tank on the back of the toilet, not the bowl. Treating the water depends just like the pipes and water heater.

Now, while I was thinking about this article, I opened the tank for our toilet; it was nasty looking. I would use the toilet tank as a very last resort.

Links: - Water Purification Using Clorox Bleach - New Information From Red Cross

Wikipedia - Shaka sign

Dimensions Guide - Dollar Bill Dimensions

Wikipedia - Bathtub

Montecito Water District - How many gallons of water in a cubic foot?

District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority - How to Drain Your Hot Water Heater Home Repair - How to Drain Your Home's Plumbing System

Friday, August 27, 2010

Preppers, Survivalists, and Military Weapons

Welcome Preppers and Survivalists,

Spartan, one of my brothers, read my post titled Preppers, Survivalists, and Military Equipment, He suggested I write an article about hiding and fleeing because I had stated that preppers and their family should leave the country, if we started seeing military weapons.

Then I got to thinking. Maybe, I made a mistake; maybe, preppers do need to know about military weapons because most preppers won't be able to flee. Plus, this is the United States of America a bunch of fighters live in this country.

Before we begin.

First, this is what I know from experience, so I am going to cover the basic military weapons that a prepper/survivalist would see during a period of violent upheaval.

Second, you will notice I will address these tools as rifles, pistols, weapons, and all their variations, but I never called them a "gun."


Visualize in your mind a group of new young soldiers and an old grizzled Drill Sergeant (at the advanced age of 27) with a young, new, fresh-faced soldier running around the group shouting in a loud and thunderous voice (that never seems loud enough)

"This is my weapon" (holding up your rifle)

"This is my gun" (grabbing your crotch) (Yes, this includes you ladies)

"This is for killing" (holding up your rifle, again)

"This is for fun" (grabbing you crotch, again)

Now, this young soldier will run and shout, until the Drill Sergeant is tired of hearing it and everyone gets the message. Remember, these tools are for killing, nothing else.

Third, this article relies on Wikipedia to provide additional information, general and technical. Most of this information, from Wikipedia is correct; however, you must check with the appropriate military manuals for the final word.

Lastly, if you are really interested or think you will need to know how to use these weapons, you can download and read the appropriate military field manuals and technical manuals to gather more, a lot more, information.

So let's begin.

Military weapons are categorized into two groups, individual weapons and crew-served weapons.

Individual Weapons
Individual weapon is the term used by the military to label a soldier's individual weapon. It is either a pistol/revolver, rifle/carbine, shotgun, or sub-machine gun that a soldier carries for protection and combat, day to day.


M-9 Pistol
The majority of the United States military uses one pistol, the M-9; it is based on a Beretta 92F pistol. The 92F is a pistol that you can buy at your local gun store. The M-9 fires a 9 millimeter bullet. Its standard magazine holds 15-rounds.

When the military first started using the M-9 pistol, it had some problems. The biggest problem was the slide cracked. The problem has been taken care off by removing a very small section of the slide.

There are other pistols used by the military, some exotic. Pistols that are used mainly by the military's truly elite forces, (Special Forces, Delta Force, and SEALs) but they are beyond the scope of this article. I have also not mentioned the pistols used by the Coast Guard.

Lastly, I was going to be uber-cool and write about US military revolvers, carried by undercover military police, then I realized that these weapons are rare, so I'm not writing about them, either. Plus, the revolvers are mainly civilian models purchased by the military. Nothing special or unique about military revolvers; just like the ones, you can buy in a gun store.

Now, most folks new to firearms confuse the black rifles you see in a gun store for military rifles. They are not military rifles; they are rifles based on military rifles.

Military rifles are selective-fire. Selective-fire allows you to fire automatic (one squeeze of the trigger fires multiple cartridges) or semiautomatic (one squeeze of the trigger fires one cartridge) Newer military rifles have a "burst" option instead of automatic. The rifle in burst will fire three cartridges for each squeeze of the trigger.

There is a reason for the military's switch from automatic to burst. The reason, the average soldier could not effectively control a rifle firing on automatic.

Now, don't get all grandiose on me thinking that you could fire a rifle on automatic because you are better than the average soldier. Trust me, it is a lot harder than you think.

By the way, to tell a military rifle from a military-style rifle is easy, just check the price. A M16 will set you back $12,000. Yes, that is twelve thousand dollars. Oh, don't forget the federal tax and paperwork issues. A military-style rifle will cost only about a grand ($1,000)

M-4 Carbine
The M-4 carbine is a shortened version of the M-16. It is just under 30 inches long with the stock collapsed, and it is about 33 inches long. It uses standard 30-round and 20-round magazines. The M-4 carbine has a collapsible stock, uses the standard 20 and 30 round magazine, and it fires a 5.56 millimeter (,223) bullet.

M-16A2/M-16A4 Rifle
The M-16A2 and M-16A4 rifle are the full sized version of the standard rifle carried by the United States military. It is a little over 39 inches long and weights over eight pounds. It uses the standard 30-round and 20-round magazines, and it fires a 5.56 millimeter bullet.

M-14 Rifle
The M-14 rifle was used during the Vietnam War as the basic Infantry weapon. It was replaced by the M-16. Well, no good intention goes unpunished, so the military had to pull some out of storage because the M-16 wasn't effective at the long distances in desert warfare.

The M-14 is under 47 inches long and weighs just over 11 pounds. Its standard magazine hold 20 rounds, and the M-14 fires a 7.62 diameter bullet.

The U.S. military uses modified civilian shotguns. Two of the three shotguns I am going to mention are pump-actions. All three fire the standard 12 gauge shotgun round and hold from 5 to 8 rounds.

The M-870 is based on the popular Remington 870 pump-action shotgun. As far as I know, it is rarely seen in use by the United States military.

Model 590A1
The M-590A1 is based on the Mossberg 500 pump-action shotgun. It is the most widely used shotgun by the U.S. military.

The USMC uses the M-1014 Combat Shotgun. It is a semi-automatic shotgun based on the Benelli M4 Super 90.

Submachine Guns
Sub-machine guns are weapons that shoot a pistol cartridge, usually the 9 millimeter round. They have been replaced by the M-4 carbine in most cases.

I am mentioning them because they were originally conceived to replace the pistol for military officers and other personal that rarely use their weapons for combat.

M-3 sub-machine gun
The M-3 sub-machine gun shoots a 45ACP cartridge just like the M-1911 pistol. It is usually seen in the hands of mechanics. (very rarely now a days)

This is the German sub-machine gun from the '80s. It fires a 9 millimeter round, the same round as the M-9 pistol. They are rarely used by anyone in the military.

If you have seen Stargate, you have seen a P-90. As far as I know, these are also very rare in the military.

Grenade Launchers
The U.S. military is in the process of developing a new grenade launcher for its soldiers. I don't know when it will be finished and implemented, so I will only talk about the M-203, in this article

The M-203 grenade launcher mounts to the barrel of a soldier's rifle. It shoots a 40mm grenade out to about 300 meters. The path of 40mm grenade is arc-shaped this allows the person shooting the M-203 to hit targets behind walls or through windows, killing anyone within 15 feet of the exploding round.

Crew-Served Weapons
These are the weapons that need more than one person to operate. They include machine guns, grenade launchers, mortars, and anti-tank missile systems.

Machine Guns

M-249 Machine Gun / M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon
The M-249 fires the same round as the M-16 rifle. It is belt-fed (means the rounds are linked together in a metal belt that disintegrates when fired) The belts come packed in plastic magazines holding 200-rounds. The machine gun is carried by one soldier and can be mounted on vehicles.

Unlike the M-16 rifle, this weapon is designed to fire only on automatic. The gunner (the person firing the machine gun) squeezes the trigger and fires 6 to 9 round bursts. The assistant gunner, if there is one, will carry extra ammo and help the gunner effectively use the machine gun.

The M-249 can be fired laying down with its attached bipod or a tripod. If the M-249 is going to be used with a tripod, the assistant gunner will carry the tripod and other needed equipment, along with extra ammo.

M-60 Machine Gun
The M-60 machine gun is being removed from military service, if it hasn't already been removed.

The M-60 fires the same round as the M-14 rifle and is belt-fed. The M-60 machine gun takes two people to fire the machine gun. One is the gunner; the other is the assistant gunner. The assistant gunner feeds the ammunition into the machine gun and helps change the barrel of the M-60. Changing the barrel allows the machine gun to fire longer without overheating.

The machine gun also comes with a tripod, pintle, and T&E mechanism to help stabilize the machine gun and provide a method of aiming the weapon during the night. The assistant gunner carries these when moving from place to place.

M-240 Machine Gun
The M-240 is the replacement for the M-60 machine gun. It fires a 7.62 round (same as the M-60). It can be mounted on a vehicle or carried by one person. Just like the M-60, it is belt-fed and has an attached bipod. An assistant gunner helps feed the ammo and change the barrel. The assistant gunner carries the tripod, pintle, and T&E mechanism, also.

M-2 Machine Gun
The M-2 machine gun is heavy; it is rarely carried a long distance. It is usually mounted on vehicles. When the M-2 machine gun is ground mounted, it is always on a tripod, no bipod.

It fires a round 1/2 an inch in diameter. The round can kill someone 1.42 miles away. (No, I don't count the current record because the soldier used a purpose built rifle for his record kill, 1.51 miles)

As a little factoid: The M-2 machine gun has no safety. The inventory, John Browning, believed the gunner was the machine gun's safety (at least according to military legend)

Grenade Launchers

The MK-19 is a 40 millimeter grenade launcher. Like the M-2 machine gun, it is usually mounted on a vehicle, and carried only a short distance. It uses a different round then the M-203 that is belt-fed and can shoot a round over 1,00 yards.

Mortars fire various explosive projectiles in a high arc. This allows the military to engage targets behind tall building, hills, and other obstacles that prohibit machine guns or rifles from directly hitting the target.

M-224 Mortar
This is the smallest and lightest of the three mortars. Being the lightest and the smallest also means that it is the one with the shortest range and the least explosive effects. I believe, it will be the most likely one to be seen by the prepper or survivalist. In extreme situations, it can be fired by only two soldiers.

M-252 Mortar
This mortar is the next most likely to be seen by civilians. When walking, it can be moved by a group of about four soldiers, but they will have a limited, very limited, number of rounds. It is really only effective with some kind of vehicle support or in a fixed position that allows stockpiling of mortar rounds. After the M-224, it is the most likely to be seen by a prepper or survivalist.

M-120 Mortar
This one is heavy, over 300 pounds. I have only seen it once; it was mounted in an armoured personnel carrier. As far as I know, it has never been moved a long distance by foot.

Anti-Tank Missile Systems
I have very limited experience with anti-tank missiles, but anyone with a basic education and the proper manuals should be able to fire one of these missiles.

M-47 Dragon
According to Wikipedia, this missile is no longer in service with the United States military.

FGM-148 Javelin
This is a fire-and-forget anti-tank missile. This means that a soldier can shoot the missile and leave, very quickly.

Miscellaneous Weapons
These weapons are neither individual or crew-served weapons, but they can be used by anyone who needs them. Usually they are used by combat soldiers such as Infantrymen, Engineers, Cavalrymen (Scouts and Tankers), and Military Police.

Hand Grenades

M-67 Grenade
This is the standard grenade carried by soldiers in the United States Army and Marine Corps. It has a kill-radius of 15 feet, and a casualty radius of 45 feet. This means you have to throw it that far or take cover to protect yourself.

AN M-8/AN M-18 Smoke Grenades
The M-8 smoke grenade gives off a thick white smoke; it is used to block the enemy's view during an attack or retreat. The M-18 smoke grenade comes in various colors, like the M-8, it is used to block the enemy's view or signal your comrades.

Land Mines
There are two types of land mines in the military, anti-personal and anti-tank mines

Anti-Personal Mines
Anti-personal mines are small mines designed to kill or maim people. US soldiers receive training experience with two anti-personal mines, the M-16 mine and the M-18 claymore mine

M-16 Mine
You usually see this type of mine on tv shows; the hero or his buddy steps on a "Bouncing Betty," and the hero must save them. The hero takes a knife and slowly renders the mine harmless until they can get to safety.

In real life, the mine shots into the air, about waist high, killing everyone within its kill radius. Yeah, the hero or his buddy would be dead about 1 second after stepping on this type of mine.

Plus, this mine can be used with a trip wire.

M-18 Claymore
This is a mine that you can use to cover specific areas because the mine's blast can be direct towards a specific area. It has a curved form; the mine's front has a gazillion steel balls embedded in a sheet of C-4 explosives. (Military legend says the steel balls are government rejected ball bearing)

To effectively aim this mine, you need a popsicle stick, so ask a soldier how to sight the claymore properly. OK, you can use any straight stick, such as a pen or pencil to aim the mine.

By the way, just like a grenade, if you aren't behind cover when you detonate this mine, you can be hurt or killed.

Anti-Tank Mines
Anti-tank mines are used to stop vehicles and tanks. Soldiers usually receive training on two of these mines, the M-15 and the M-21.

All I can say is they are big and heavy, and they work.

Lastly, My Thoughts
Most people assume that military weapons are prohibited in these United Stated; they are not prohibited. Military rifles, carbines, machine guns, and hand grenades are legally available; you just have to look.

And illegally buying a military weapon can get you many years in prison. Be warned, national, state, and local law enforcement operate stings to apprehend stupid folks trying to illegally buy machine guns and other military weapons.

Now, with that said. During a Yugoslavia-type national break up or an Iraqi-style ethnic cleansing situation, military weapons may be available to preppers and survivalists on the black market or from supportive government organizations. Another situation, where military weapons may be available is during a severe economic collapse or drug war.

So be warned.

In the movie "Panic in the Year Zero," Harry Baldwin assumes automatic weapons fire is from the military. It might not be in real emergency.

Next, if you have to use land mines to protect your family, please, please, please make sure to record where the mines are. All over this world, farmers still can't use fertile fields to feed themselves and their families because folks didn't draw a simple map of where they put the mine fields.

Lastly, this article was a very brief overview of the common military weapons that a prepper or survivalist might see during a severe disaster/conflict. Hopefully, these weapons are never used on a large scale in these United States; however, it is a possibility that has happen before around the World (Mexico, Iraq, Yugoslavia, and ...) and in this country during our Civil War.

Update: 28 Aug 2010
I talked with my wife, and she told me that I should list the field manuals (FM) and technical manuals (TM) that would be used for these various weapons.

Now, don't go out and buy these manuals. If you cut and paste to a search engine, you can find a free copy in .pdf or go to the military websites to download the appropriate manuals.

Update: 5 September 2010
Rewrote some of this article and added more information. There is still more information to be added.


M-9 Pistol
FM 3-23.35
TM 9-1005-317-10

M-1911A1 Pistol
FM 23-35
TM 9-1005-211-12
TM 9-1005-211-35


M-16 and M-4 Rifle/Carbine
FM 3-22.9
TM 9-1005-318-10

TM 9-1005-249-10
TM 9-1005-249-23&P

M-16A2 Rifle
TM 9-1005-319-10
TM 9-1005-319-23&P

M-14 Rifle
TM 9-1005-223-10
TM 9-1005-223-20
TM 9-1005-223-34


MODEL 500 and 590
TM 9-1005-338-13&P

Sub-machine Guns

M-3 Sub-machine Gun
TM 9-1005-229-12
TM 9-1005-229-35

Grenade Launchers

M-203 Grenade Launcher
FM 3-22.31
TM 9-1010-221-10


Machine Guns

M-249 Machine Gun
FM 3-22.68
TM 9-1005-201-10
TM 9-1005-201-23&P

M-60 Machine Gun
FM 3-22.68 or FM 23-67
TM 9-1005-224-10
TM 9-1005-224-23&P

M-240 Machine Gun
FM 3-22.68
TM 9-1005-313-10

M-2 Machine Gun
FM 3-22.65 or FM 23-65


M-224 Mortar

M-252 Mortar

M-120 Mortar

Anti-Tank Missile Systems

M-47 Dragon

FGM-148 Javelin

Hand Grenades

FM 3-23.30 Grenades and Pyrotechnics Signals

Land Mines

FM 23-23


Wikipedia - List of Individual Weapons of the U.S. Armed Forces

Wikipedia - List of Crew-Served Weapons of the U.S. Armed Forces

Wikipedia - List of Anti-Tank Guided Missiles - U.S Military: United States Military Weapons of War

Impact Guns - Machine Guns

Wikipedia - Combat Shotgun

Wikipedia - M-1911 Pistol

Wikipedia - Stargate

Wikipedia - Machine Gun Tripod

Wikipedia - United States Hand Grenades

Friday, August 6, 2010

Preppers, Survivalists, and Military Equipment

Welcome Preppers and Survivalists,

The military is a unique organization when I say unique I mean strange, very strange. First, there are two militaries, there are the non-combat related jobs then there are the combat related job. The non-combat related jobs are the folks that have a 9 to 5 job, kind of. They move supplies, fill out paperwork, repair equipment, treat water, work in hospitals, operate bulldozers, and et cetera. The combat related jobs have folks blowing up stuff, dropping bombs, shooting at people with rifles, machine guns, cannons, 16-inch guns, missiles, ...

You get the idea, killers and non-killers.

Now, both groups use common equipment that they use to survive warfare.

Protective Equipment

The first item I am going to write about is the helmet. There are three types, the M-1 helmet (the steel pot), the PASGT helmet (kelvar or k-pot), and the 3rd generation helmets  (Modular Integrated Communications Helmet, Advance Combat Helmet, and Light Weight Helmet)

The steel pot is a steel shell with a fiberglass liner. It protects a person from shrapnel, pieces of bombs, artillery shells, and hand grenades. A rifle bullet will go right through it. (See the beginning of "Saving Private Ryan") This is the same for the kelvar helmet. It is only though luck that a person survives a rifle shot, to the head, when wearing a k-pot. The  MICH and ACH have only been designed to stop a 9 millimeter round, a handgun round.

The next protective item is body armour. Just like the helmet, there are three generations of modern body armour. OK, there are really four, but I'm not going to include World War One steel plate. The first is the flak vest. It was used from World War Two until the 1980s; the flak vest/jacket was designed to stop shrapnel but not bullets, just like the M-1 helmet. In the late 80s, the military issued the PASGT vest; it is also known as a flak vest. This vest is only designed to stop shrapnel, too. The Interceptor Body Armor, a third generation protective vest, is designed to stop rifle bullets.

So, which one should a prepper buy?

First, you have to ask yourself, do you really need one? Remember, military gear may be inappropriate for preppers because we should be leaving places of danger, not running towards danger.

Next, you have to ask, does my threat analysis require me to have tactical gear such as helmets and body armour?

Lastly, do you have the money? A MICH helmet runs about $400 and a tactical vest start at say $600, plus another $400 for two rifle plates, $1400 for one person. $1400 will buy a lot of food.

Load Carrying Equipment

Just like the name says, this equipment carries a military person's combat gear such as magazines, canteens, and hand grenades. Just like helmets and protective vests, load carrying equipment comes in three generations. The first generation is from World War Two. The next generation is called TA-50, web gear, LBE, or ALICE gear. The next generation is what you see soldiers wearing, today; it's called MOLLE gear.

The World War Two gear is made out of cotton canvas. It is rugged but the gear is more difficult to maintain. The gear will rot, if it is poorly maintained. Plus, it has very little padding and uses metal hooks to hold the pieces together. These metal hooks allow canteens and other gear to unnecessarily flop around.

The TA-50, web gear, LBE, or ALICE gear was also originally made out of canvas, this caused problems during the Vietnam War. About half way through that war, the military transitioned to nylon. As you probably know, nylon will not rot like cotton canvas, and it is lighter in weight. The military also changed the hook attachment system to a metal clip system. The metal clips will prohibit accessories from flopping around, but they will rub on you and cause "hot-spots." Plus, they can unexpectedly open that is the reason for smart-cords and other modifications.

The military currently uses MOLLE gear made out of nylon and other human-made material. MOLLE gear is very modular because the gear uses rows of wedding, sewn to vests and plate carriers, and plastic clips to attach stuff.

So, which one should a prepper buy, ALICE or MOLLE?

I'm going to ask some of the same questions that I did before.

First, you have to ask yourself, do you really need this? Remember, military gear may be inappropriate for preppers because we should be leaving places of danger, not running towards danger. Plus, which is more important, food or gear?

Next, you have to ask, does my threat analysis require me to have tactical gear such as load carrying equipment?

Lastly, you have to ask yourself, how big is your budget? A set of ALICE gear (belt, suspenders, two canteens with carriers, two ammo pouches, and a butt pack will run $35 to $75. A set of MOLLE, the sky is the limit. Just so you know, some quality names are Practical Tactical, Blackhawk, Tactical Tailor, and many others. Just make sure you shop around, and remember, if it's to good to be true, it probably is.

Note: Practical Tactical is going out of business. He is offering a 15% discount on in-stock gear 'til it's gone.

Load carrying equipment is more then LBE or MOLLE; it includes packs, big and small. The World War Two canvas packs are collector items. They are rugged, made of canvas, and uncomfortable because there is little padding in the shoulder straps.

The ALICE nylon rucksacks, medium and large, are rugged and some what comfortable. The medium rucksack has three outside pockets and one inside pocket; it also has webbing on the sides to add one and two quart canteens. The canteens need carriers that can use either the hook system from WW2 or the clips from after the Vietnam War. The large rucksack has basically the same set up, but it has three small pockets just above the three outside pockets. Plus, the large ruck holds a lot more gear and will need a frame because the shoulder straps do not attach directly to the pack like the medium rucksack.

MOLLE-type packs are too numerous to write about. There are small, medium, and large packs. There are probably even extra-large MOLLE packs, but one thing they all have are rows and rows of webbing to attach stuff to the outside of the pack.

So which one for the prepper?

I'm not going to ask any questions, this time, because I am going to make some observations/recommendations to help you make a selection.

First, don't buy a big pack because you will want to fill it up. Try and buy the smallest pack that you can.

Next, stay away from camouflage packs. Buy your pack in a single subdued color such as O.D. green, coyote brown, or gray. Black is an OK color for the city or suburbs, because it seems everyone has a black bag, but not for the wilderness because it won't blend in with a wooded or desert environment.

Lastly, look at your budget because you can spend a lot of money for a MOLLE-type pack you may never use.


The military has two types of tents; they are either too small or too big for the prepper. (I'm joking; it just seems that way.) The first is the shelter-half or better known as the pup tent. It is the classic two-person canvas tent. It is rugged and inexpensive, but the shelter half has some problems. You have to crawl into the tent; there is no floor in the tent, it is made of canvas, and you need two halves to use it

Note: I will be writing an article, within the next few months, illustrating how to make shelters with such items as a shelter half, military poncho, or a blue tarp.

The next tents are a little bigger. They are considered squad or crew tents; they hold from 4 to 10 people. They have names like Combat Tent, Extreme Cold Weather Tent, and Crew Tent. These tents are made in a variety of material, and they have a variety of prices, plus, an assortment of styles.

The next size up are the larger tents; these tents can get huge. Some folks call these tents 'walled-tents.' The military calls them GP medium, GP large, Temper tent, to name a few. Unlike the previous tents, these tents are tall enough for a 6 feet tall person to stand straight and not hit their head, except when going through the doorway.

If you are interested in doing more research, you will need to do an internet search for "Military Tents" or "Army Tents," to get you started in your search.

I don't have any specific suggestions. From personal experience, the canvas tents are rugged and will last for a few months when erected. Don't put them away wet; they will mold and stink. Use aluminum or steel tent stakes to hold the tent down. If you are going to hide in the woods, you are going to need a few camouflage nets with the specialized spreaders and poles.

Night Vision

Just like all of the other gear, there are three generations of night vision. Wikipedia says there are five. I'm not counting Gen Zero (Crap) and Gen 3+/Gen 4 (hype)

First Generation (Gen One) night vision is primitive. It really only works on a bright moonlit night. They are limited to scopes, and they are bulky. An example is the PVS-2 night vision scope. The official name is AN/PVS-2 Starlight scope. OK, it's really Scope, Starlight, AN/PVS-2.

A warning: Be careful of the hype. At four to five hundred dollars, make sure (in writing!!!) that you can return them after an inspection period. Make sure you try the night vision gear and return it if it sucks for you. Don't let the salesman tell you it's your fault, send it back immediately!!! Lastly, the military doesn't use this stuff any more for a reason. They suck.

The next is Gen Two night vision gear. The US military used (some military units still use) the AN/PVS-4 Individual Weapon Night Sight and the AN/PVS-5 Night Vision Goggles. The PVS-4 has various reticules (they provided the 'cross hairs' for the scope). Both the PVS-4 and the PVS-5, if I remember correctly, used a special battery to power the gear, but the military soon modified them to use standard AA batteries. These are very good units, but they have problems. The PVS-4 sight is bulky; the goggles will slip on your face. Plus, they won't work in complete darkness.

Be warned: Some folks are selling units that use a different type of battery, instead of AA, to power the PVS-4 sight and the PVS-5 goggles. If you decide to buy one, please make sure you can get a supply of these non-standard batteries for your sight or goggles.

Third generation goggles and sights are awesome, and expensive. The AN/PVS-7 goggles and the AN/PVS-14 monocular/weapon night sight will work in almost complete darkness. They are great, but you have to train with them.

Be warned: Folks are trying to sell inferior models as authentic PVS-7s and PVS-14s. Plus, be careful. Some of the pictures, at a website, may be exaggerations; the night vision gear just turns a black night to green.

Heck, any generation of night vision gear you buy, you will have to train with it. The military commanders thought they could get away from training with these very expensive sights and goggles; they were wrong. They quickly found out that soldiers tripped over trees because they had little or no depth perception. Natural night vision was lost for 30 to 60 minute after using the night vision goggles, and the soldiers just didn't know how to use them.

Sleeping Bags

The military has had many different types of sleeping bags in the last three decades. This section is going to be limited to four of them, the most common available for the prepper.

The Mountain Bag (Bag, Sleeping, Mountain, M1949) is a down and feather mummy-style sleeping bag. It is designed for temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit (°F) to as high as 50 °F (-10 degrees Celsius (°C) to 10 °C). If you plan to sleep in 14 °F (-10 °C) weather, you will need to wear long johns, socks, a close fitting hat, and maybe thin gloves to be comfortable. As you get closer to 32 °F (0 °C), the less clothes you will need to wear for extra insulation. At around 50 °F (10 °C), you may want to open the sleeping bag and cover yourself with a poncho liner or thin blanket to avoid overheating while you sleep.

The above general guidelines may not work for you because I was a fit, slim, and exhausted soldier the last time I used a mountain bag.

For arctic conditions, the Mountain Bag would be inserted into the Arctic Sleeping Bag (Bag, Sleeping, Arctic). I have only heard of an arctic bag once. Yep, it was during a trip to Alaska.

The Intermediate Cold Weather sleeping bag (Bag, Sleeping, Intermediate Cold-Weather) was the 1980s replacement for the mountain bag. It has a polyester fill, instead of down and feathers. It is temperature rated down to 15 °F (-9 °C). The guidelines from above for extra clothing also apply for the intermediate sleeping bag.

The Extreme Cold Weather sleeping bag (Bag, Sleeping, Extreme Cold) is a down bag good to temperatures to -20 °F (-28 °C). Don't forget the long johns and other clothing, it will be warmer that way, especially at -20 °F (-28 °C)

All three bags should be covered with a cover. The military called it: Case, Water-repellent, for Bag, Sleeping. It is a cotton cover that protects the outside of the bag from dirt and moisture, not rain. It has eyelets that allowed the cover to be laced to the mountain sleeping bag but not the intermediate or extreme cold weather sleeping bags.

The current sleeping is a system of three pieces, a gore-tex bivy bag, a patrol sleeping bag, and an intermediate cold weather sleeping bag. The bivy bag provides protection from the rain. The patrol sleeping bag uses a synthetic fill good for 50°F to 30°F, and the intermediate cold weather bag can be snapped into the patrol bag for use down to -10°F (if properly dressed in long john, socks, gloves, and a knit skull cap.

So what should a prepper buy?

It will depend on your budget. A mountain bag with a cover runs about $50 and up. An intermediate sleeping bag without a cover can be had for $50, also. An extreme cold weather sleeping bag will set you back $100. The cotton covers run anywhere from $10 to $15.

Buy the cover, if you can afford it, it will help keep the outside of the sleeping bag clean.

Plus, you need to look at what temperatures you plan to be prepared for. If you plan to stay in your home and live in Florida, an extra blanket will probably be fine. In Indiana, outside in the winter, an intermediate might work. I would probably get an extreme cold sleeping bag, just in case. Montana, in the winter, you need an extreme cold weather sleeping bag, period. If you plan to move from place to place by walking, a modular sleeping system, the current US military sleeping bag is recommended.

Lastly, you have to ask yourself: do you really need a surplus military sleeping bag when there are modern civilian sleeping bags that weight less, use modern insulation, for the same temperature ranges as the military sleeping bags?


Would you and your family be better served by buying wool blankets for extra warmth for your beds during a disaster?

Entrenching Tool (E-tool)

I forgot who it was, might be S.L.A. Marshall, during World War Two complained about soldiers being issued small shovels to dig fighting positions with. He thought that soldiers should carry full-sized shovels and picks to dig their protective/fighting positions.

During World War II, the military issued a folding shovel with a metal shovel and a wooden handle. After that war, the military issued an improved entrenching tool with a pick blade. Two decades later, and two wars, the military issued a folding all metal entrenching tool.

Yes, all three could be sharpened along the blades to be used to kill people. One story, from of the Grenada invasion, told of folks running out of ammo. Two soldiers were told 'No one passes. Hold this position.' They were given three rounds each. When the leader came back, there were five dead. The two soldiers, in their dead hands, held bloodied e-tools. No shoots were fired and no one had passed.

I personally like the improved entrenching tool, with the pick. It is versatile. I use it for landscaping, digging fire pits, and other digging chores when a full-size shovel won't do. It is heavy though. The folding all metal e-tool is lighter, but it has a habit of breaking. It breaks at the handle and shovel blade connection. Supposedly, the U.S. military fixed the problem by inserting a metal bar to beef up both folding points, supposedly.

So, which one?

I had an older soldier, when he saw my 'old-school' wood and metal improved e-tool, tell me that thing will break. It's better to have the all-metal entrenching tool.

I ended up carrying that thing for the next ten years; I still have it and use it, to this day. During those ten years, I saw over ten all-metal e-tools break.

So, if you are looking for light weight and won't be do heavy digging, such as foxholes or digging up deep caches, it might work for you. If you plan to dig deep, especially in rocky soil, you might want that extra heft of an improved entrenching tool with a pick.

Plus, do you really need an e-tool if you are staying in your home during/after a disaster? Won't a full-size shovel, or a garden shovel, be better for your purposes?

You decide.


As preppers, if we start seeing a lot of this stuff, we need to leave, very quickly. Remember, we bug out during extreme emergencies. To another country if needed.

M14 rifle
M16 rifle/M4 carbine

Machine Guns
M249 light machine gun
M240 machine gun
M2 machine gun

Grenade Launcher
M203 grenade launcher

Hand Grenades

Anti-Tank Rockets

M-16 Bounding Anti-personnel
M-18 Claymore

Lastly, when all is said and done, there is much more about military equipment because I primarily focused on just some of the common equipment of the United States military. Plus, foreign militarise have some good equipment, but I have learned that the United States usually has the best.

Really lastly, this is an overview of military equipment that a prepper may want to investigate. You do not need any of this gear to survive. There are many other options for the prepper, so you have to do the research and make a choice.

Remember, watch those opinions, even mine.

And before I go, remember, the military always buys from the lowest bidder. Should you?


Protective Equipment


Wikipedia - M1 Helmet

Wikipedia - PASGT: Helmet

Wikipedia - MICH: TC-200 Combat Helemt

Wikipedia - Lightweight Helmet

Operation Helmet - Military Combat Helmets

Merriam-Webster - Shrapnel


Wikipedia - PASGT: Vest

Vietnam Gear - M69 Flak Vest w/ Stiffeners

Olive-Drab - Vietnam Flak Vest

Wikipedia - Ballistic Vest
Note: has a chart listing the threat levels

Wikipedia - Interceptor Body Armor

Time - How Safe Is the U.S. Army's Body Armor?,8599,1874956,00.html

Load Carrying Equipment

Olive-Drab - ALICE Load Carrying Equipment

Wikipedia - ALICE

Civilian Defense Force - ALICE Gear MODs 101

Wikipedia - MOLLE

Military Photos - ALICE or MOLLE?


Olive-Drab - WW II Field Packs

Olive-Drab - U.S. Army Rucksack of World War II

World War Two Gyrene - 782 Gear
Note: I added this because of the bedroll article at Survival Blog

The Backpacker -

1st Tactical Study Group (Airborne): Combat Reform Group - A Durable Rucksack for all Seasons

Olive-Drab - Modular Lightweight Load Carrying Equipment (MOLLE)


Olive-Drab - U.S. Army Tent: Shelter Half

Eureka - Military Tents

Mountain Gear Surplus Sales - Home

Night Vision

Wikipedia - Night Vision Device

What a Country- AN/PVS-2 Night Vision Scope

JRH Enterprises - US PVS 2 Night vision rifle scope

Wikipedia - AN/PVS-4

Federation of American Scientists - AN/PVS-4 Individual Weapon Night Sight

SPI Infrared - AN/PVS-4 Night Vision Weapon Sight

Global Security - AN/PVS-5 Night Vision Goggles

Night Vision Depot - AN/PVS-5C Dual Tube Night Vision Goggle

Savvy - PVS-5 Night Vision Goggles

SPI Infrared - AN/PVS-7D Night Vision Goggles

Wikipedia - AN/PVS-14

Sleeping Bags

Vietnam Gear - M1949 Mountain Sleeping Bag

Vietnam Gear - Poncho Liner

Olive Drab - Military Sleeping Bags

Total Survivalist Libertarian Rantfest - New Army Sleep System

Entrenching Tools

Wikipedia - S.L.A. Marshall


Just see Wikipedia