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Heating and Cooking Offgrid RPG Gasifier Rocket Stove

RPG Rocket Stove Griddle Me This

Have you made plans for a backup way to heating and cooking off-grid?

Many people around the country are downsizing, moving into tiny homes, travel trailers, and school bus conversions.  Propane stove are usually the go-to cooking and heating systems.  This AirStream travel trailer has those appliances as well, but we wanted the ability to cook when and if propane was not available, and who doesn’t love the smell of wood stove burning on a cold snowy winter night.

When you install a small stove in a small space, there are a lot of safety concerns you need to consider.

  1. Distance to flammable items
  2. Make up/ Combustion Air
  3. Venting System and Clearances.
  4. Fuel Storage and Access
  5. Safety, Safety, Safety

When planning your stove location take into consideration all these concerns and more for your own situation.

Smaller stoves are available for even smaller situations.

Specifications:

40,000 btu RPG Gasifier Rocket Stove. Can operate on wood upto 17 inch long and wood pellets.

Flue Damper to control draft

Griddle Me This:  The attached Griddle serves two purposes.  (1) A flat griddle cooking surface (2) Heat exchanger for the stove.  The griddle is rotated sideways.

4 inch Stainless Steel vent pipe and adjustable elbows.

4 Stainless H-Style termination vent hood.

Stainless Steel wall backing plates with 1/2 inch aero-gel (R-7)insulation along walls and underneath stove to reflect heat into heating space.

 

 

If You have any questions leave a comment below.

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How To Build A Composting Toilet

Composting Toilet

Have you ever considered, “What if our modern plumbing system were to fail?”

Things could get really, really bad quickly, if you have never had to deal with human waste.

A composting toilet or sawdust toilet as people used to call them, could be a simple answer. There are some important things you should know before you jump in head first. Let’s begin with how and why a composting toilet would be a great alternative.

Just What is a sawdust toilet?

Simply put, a composting toilet turns excrement into a small bio-digester and converts waste into inert and safe compost. The idea is the same as composting leaves, grass clippings, and pretty much any bio matter.

Composting toilets use the natural processes of decomposition and evaporation to recycle human waste. Waste entering the toilets is over 90% water, which is evaporated and carried back to the atmosphere through the vent system. The small amount of remaining solid material is converted to useful fertilizing soil by natural decomposition.

This natural process, essentially the same as in your garden composter by manipulating the environment in the composting chamber. 

The correct balance between oxygen, moisture, heat and organic material is needed to ensure a rich environment for the aerobic bacteria that transform the waste into fertilizing soil. This ensures odor-free operation and complete decomposition of waste.

When human waste is properly composted, the end product does not contain any pathogens or viruses (these are destroyed by bacterial breakdown). This nutrient-rich fertilizer can then be used on plants or around the base of trees, as part of the natural cycling of nutrients, reducing your need for commercial fertilizers and preserving local water quality.

A composting toilet must perform three completely separate processes:

  1. Compost the waste and toilet paper quickly and without odour
  2. Ensure that the finished compost is safe and easy to handle
  3. Evaporate the liquid

Now in saying that, composting toilets can come in many shapes and sizes ranging from a homemade sawdust toilets (which you can make from a simple bucket and a board with a hole in it) right through to major composting toilet systems like a Clivus Multrum (that can handle the needs of up to 30 people full time).

A sawdust toilet and a composting toilet are essentially the same thing, it’s just that some people look for information about sawdust toilets because they hear that sawdust is the best thing to add to a composting toilet. They are right in one sense that sawdust can certainly be used in a composting toilet, but there’s definitely other things that can be used effectively in a composting toilet.

What can you put in a sawdust toilet?

This will really depend on the composting toilet. If you’re a DIY’er and you’ve gotten yourself a 25 gallon bucket with a seat, what you can put in this type of composting toilet will differ greatly to a more elegant setup like a commercially produced toilet.

With most composting toilets, urine is caught in a separate container. Too much moisture can slow the bio-degesting process. Urine can be a good source of fertilizer on its own.

A compost pile really needs to be in the Goldilocks zone – not too cold, not too hot, not too dry and not too runny. If you find the ‘sweet spot’ then a composting toilet can be a welcome addition to any home and can operate smell free if done right.

If you’ve got a purpose built composting toilet like a you won’t have issues with excess urine as many of these options have urine diversion built in along with fans to help keep your composting pile at the right temperature and level of dryness.

How do you build a composting toilet?

This will depend on the type of sawdust toilet design you go for. If you’re going down the DIY route, there’s many different types of sawdust toilets you can make. Take a look at some of the images below to give you an idea of what you can make. The simplest toilet design is using a bucket. Seal the top with a gasket and build a small chimney so that air flow and natural convection will draw heat and moisture out of the bucket.

Many will use a 25 gallon bucket or barrel and place a plywood lid to seal the top of the barrel, attach a toilet seat with foam gaskets, and use pvc pipe to vent the holding tank upto 8-10 feet in the air to create a draft.


What happens when a sawdust toilet starts to smell?

If there’s a smell emanating out of your composting toilet then it’s fair to say “you’re doing it wrong”. Too much of anything can have an effect on your composting pile and how it works – for example, too little sawdust or peat moss in your toilet will give you an abundance of human waste when compared to sawdust.

If you’re not diverting urine, the pile can quickly turn into a sloppy mess that smells and gets full quickly.

Remember even though many people call these types of toilet systems ‘sawdust toilets’ they are in essence a composting toilet so you’re able to put a wide range of organic material in there, not just sawdust.

If you’re finding that your sawdust or composting toilet is starting to smell, why not try adding some of the following items to your pile to see if that makes a difference:-

  • Wood shavings
  • Food scraps
  • Garden clippings
  • Lawn clippings
  • Animal manures
  • Leaves and weeds
  • Hay
  • Coffee grinds
  • Straw
  • Leftovers from beer brewing or cider making
  • Shredded junk mail or newspaper
  • Rice hulls
  • Sugar cane bagasse
  • Peat moss

Are composting toilets safe?

Most definitely – as long as you follow instructions properly and keep your composting pile in working order, a composting toilet is very safe. The microbes and bacteria in the pile will break down any unwanted pathogens in the humus. This is why it’s sometimes a good idea to introduce a little dirt or other natural organic matter into your pile to help bump up the level of microbes all working to break down the pile into usable compost.

What’s the end product of a sawdust toilet?

Very simply you get what’s called humus. This is a top-soil like product that’s rich with organic materials and can be used on any garden where non edible plants are being grown. The humus can be used on fruit trees and any plant that you don’t directly eat. If done properly this soil won’t smell and is full of nutrients that plants just love.

Why not just dig a hole, or use my septic system?

If you’re wondering why people go to the trouble of installing and maintaining a sawdust composting toilet, there’s a whole bunch of different answers you could get. Some people want to live off-the-grid and make as little impact as possible to their environment. Others want to simply save water and if you have a septic system, they will need to be pumped eventually, and especially if not maintained. Some people don’t have the option of having water plumbed to their house from the mains, or rely on rainwater tanks for their drinking water, so reducing the amount of water you waste is essential.

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New Higher Output 50 BMG Rocket Stove by Bullet Proof Rocket Stoves

Bullet Proof Rocket Stove 50 BMG Cooking and Heating

The redesigned 50 BMG.  Higher output, easier storage, and better air control.

Made In USA By Americans.

Bullet Proof 50 Gravity Feed Rocket Stove and Tent Heater

Great Stove for families and heavy duty cooking needs, and accepts 4″ standard venting pipe to use as a temporary heating stove.  Includes damper and ash tray for easy cleanout.

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The Well-Balanced Gun Collection

gun_collection_311844

A topic that comes up in more than half of my consulting calls, is firearms. Most survivalists gravitate toward guns for obvious reasons. If anything, SurvivalBlog could surely be labelled a “guns and groceries” oriented blog, and most of our readers are like-minded. We tend to have large gun collections. We aren’t entirely gun-centric, but our concept of preparedness includes owning guns and having full proficiency in their use. The greatest difficulty vis-a-vis guns for those in our community is not hand-wringing about whether or not we should own them. We’ll leave that pseudo-question up to the leftists. Rather, our …

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Backup Power, A Review by KS

Power Outages from EMP

Backup power for when the grid goes down or you have to bug out should be an important part of everyone’s prepping plan. For some, that power supply might be more important than others, especially those with medical conditions. Those might be people on dialysis, CPAP machines, or any other health-related electrical pieces of equipment. Then, there’s the obvious short-term food storage issue we think about relating to our refrigerators and freezers. Long-term uses might include recharging batteries, running Ham radio equipment, et cetera. Real Options For Backup Power For many years, the only real option for backup power was …

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Smoke Grenades – Any Utility?, by T. in Virginia

gng-smoke-grenades

I’ve participated in a few discussions recently about the utility, if any, of smoke grenades and similar devices to an average person, or even a reasonably trained and equipped prepper, in a SHTF situation. There are certainly some valid points to both sides of the arguments. So, this short article is intended to share a few thoughts to help SurvivalBlog readers make up their own minds. Smoke grenade use generally falls into two areas— signaling or obscuration. Large scale smoke, such as from vehicle-mounted or stationary military-style generators, can also have other applications that are beyond the intended scope of …

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Staying Hidden Online, by Z.M.

hidden

We’re being monitored, online. That’s nothing new though. We all know that. In a world that increasingly grows to rely upon technology, and where your individual data points can mean big money for some advertiser somewhere, it should come as no surprise that just about everything that we do online has been recorded and stored on some server somewhere. I’ve grown quite alarmed over this the past few years, but I have never really known where to even start. I just thought “Incognito” mode on Chrome was enough to hide me from all that was happening. I was wrong. After …

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Preparing for Chaos, Theory and Application- Part 2, by DF

Order and Chaos

In part 1 of this two-part article, I wrote about the theory behind the reason for preparing for chaos and provided and overview of the laws of supply and demand. Then, I moved from theory into practical matters. I began with alternative feed for chickens, as chickens are a means for sustaining us when the SHTF and our transportation system is not delivering feed, chicks, or supplies to our stores. We have looked at crabapples and how to provide them with various insects. Now, let’s look at sunflowers to use as chicken feed. Sunflowers/Sunflower Seeds One of my neighbors grew …

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Preparing for Chaos, Theory and Application- Part 1, by DF

Order and Chaos

Many people view the possibility of economic/societal disruption and collapse as science fiction, suitable as entertainment in dystopian novels or movies. I view it as actual science, not fiction and am preparing for the ensuing chaos and necessities to get past it. Well-proven theories in the areas of nonlinear systems and economics can help us partially understand what can happen, how we can prepare and respond, and even what is not possible to predict. My first section on “theory” is quite abstract. It looks at some of the basic principles of chaos theory to describe the mechanisms of economic/societal collapse. …

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Birth- Part 2, by A.E.

According to the CDC, about 11,000 babies are born in the U.S. every day. If anyone in your family or group is of childbearing age, you might want to think about preparing for an out-of-hospital birth. Most people have never witnessed a “natural” or med-free birth. Therefore, they have no idea what natural birth looks like or how to prepare for it. In Part 1, I spoke about the importance of the mother’s psyche in childbirth and also about the sphincter law that applies to childbirth. We began the topic of Preparing for Birth with suggestion for books, such as …

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How Many Acres Do You Need for Your Retreat – Defense Considerations

So you’re about to buy yourself a rural retreat?  Congratulations.  We hope you’ll never need it, but how wonderful it is to know it is there and available if things should go severely wrong.

In among all the other things you need to consider when choosing a retreat is its lot size.  There are a number of different factors affecting how large a lot you need, including the soil type, what sorts of crops you plan to cultivate, the animals you might also raise, and, oh yes, some defensive considerations too.

Some of these considerations vary enormously (ie, the number of people each acre of farmed land can support), but the defensive factors are fairly constant.  So let’s make this an easy read for you, and an easy write for us, and talk about them.

We’ve written at length, in past articles, about the need to design your retreat to be sturdy and able to withstand rifle fire, that’s not actually the risk that keeps us awake at night worrying the most about.  Ideally you wanteverywhere you’re likely to be on your retreat to be safe and not at risk of enemy attack.  Most notably, you not only want to be safe inside the strong walls of your retreat, but also while outside, exposed, and vulnerable, working in your fields, too.

The Biggest Risk of Violent Takeover/Takeout You’ll Face

We see the greatest risk as being picked off, one or two at a time, while we’re working in the fields.  It is conceivable that we might be some distance from our retreat, and we could be bent over, planting or picking some crop, when all of a sudden, a sniper’s bullet slams into our back, even before the sound of the shot reached us.  Talk about literally no warning – it doesn’t get any more sudden than that.

By the time the people around us heard the shot and started to react, a second round might already be meeting the second target.  And then, all of a sudden, nothing.  Well, nothing except a thoroughly panicked remainder of the people we were out in the fields with, all exposed in the middle of the crop, and one or two dead or nearly-dead bodies.

Even if everyone always carried weapons with them – and even if they were rifles rather than short-range pistols which would be useless at these sorts of ranges – by the time anyone had responded, grabbed their rifle (try doing some type of ongoing manual labor with a rifle slung over your shoulders – chances are everyone in the group will have their rifles set to one side rather than slung over their shoulders), chambered a round, and hunched over their sights, where would they look and what would they see?  Possibly nothing at all.  The sniper would retreat, as stealthily as he arrived, his job well done for the day.

Rinse and repeat.  Have the same event occur again a day or two later, and you’re not only now down four people (and any sniper worthy of the name will be carefully choosing the most valuable of the people in the field each time), but you’ve got a panicked group of fellow community members demanding ‘protection’.  Except that – what sort of protection can you give against a faceless guerilla enemy – someone who picks and chooses the time and location of their attacks?  Furthermore, you’re now four people down, and you have to choose what to do with your able-bodied group members – are they to be tasked for defensive patrolling duties or working your crops.  You don’t have enough people to do both!

No smart adversary will attack your retreat in a full frontal assault.  That would be a crazy thing to do.  Instead, they’ll act as we just described, picking you off, one or two at a time, taking as long as is necessary to do so.  Your retreat is no longer your refuge.  It has become the bulls-eye on the attacker’s target map, and all they have to do is observe and bide their time, taking advantage of the opportunities and situations they prepare for and select, rather than being taken advantage of by you and your tactical preparations.

Don’t think that defensive patrols will do you a great deal of good, either.  How many men would you have on each patrol?  One?  Two?  Five?  Ten?  Whatever the number, you’d need to be willing to accept casualties in any contact with the adversary, and unless your people are uniquely skilled and able to use some aspect of tactical advantage, all your enemy needs to do is observe your front and rear doors and wait/watch for patrols to sally forth from your retreat.

This scenario is similar to how the Allies ringed the German U-boat bases with anti-submarine planes and ships (and how we and our adversaries monitor each other’s subs these days too).  While a U-boat might be very hard to find and detect in the middle of the North Atlantic, they all had to leave and return to their bases through obvious unavoidable routes.  Why hunt for a U-boat in thousands of square miles of ocean when you know to within a few hundred feet where they’ll be departing from.

If you do deploy a patrol, they are at the disadvantage.  The enemy will be in a prepared position while your team will now be exposed on open ground.  The enemy will have set an ambush, and your team will find themselves in it.  Depending on the size of the enemy team, and on the respective skill levels, you just know you’re going to lose some team members (and, more likely, all of them) when the ambush slams shut around them.

One more sobering thought.  Call us cynical if you like, but we suspect an attacking force will be both more willing to risk/accept casualties among its members than you are, and will also find it easier to recruit replacement manpower.  The leader of the attackers probably has no close personal relationship with his men, whereas you’re with your friends and family.  The attackers can promise new recruits a chance at plundering stores and supplies and ensuring their own comfortable survival, and if recruits don’t join, they are probably facing extreme hardship or starvation as an alternative.

From their point of view, if things go well for them, they get something they didn’t have before, and if things go badly, they suffer the same fate they are likely to suffer anyway.  But from your point of view, the best that can happen is that you keep what you currently have (at least until the next such encounter) and the worst that can happen doesn’t bear thinking about.

Or, to put it another way, for the attackers, heads they win and tails they don’t lose.  For you, heads you don’t win and tails you do lose.

So, what does this all have to do with the size of your retreat lot?

The most effective tool you have to defend against attack is open space.  If you have a quarter-mile of open space in all directions around you, wherever you are on your lot, then it will be difficult for a sniper to sneak up on you, while being easy for you to keep a watch on the open space all about.  If the sniper does open fire from a quarter-mile away, you’re facing better odds that he might miss on the all important first shot, and much better odds that the subsequent shots will also be off-target.

Compare that to working in, say, a forest, where the bad guys might be lurking behind the tree immediately ahead of you.  At that range, they couldn’t miss and could quickly take over your entire group before you had a chance to respond.

You need to consider two things when deciding how much land you need for your retreat lot.

Topographic Challenges

The first issue is specific to the land you’re looking at.  What is the topography of the land?  Is it all flat, or are their rises and falls, a hill or valley or something else?

If there are natural sight barriers, you need to decide how to respond to them.  Some might be alterable (such as moving a barn, cutting down some trees), and others you’re stuck with (the hill rising up and cresting, not far from your retreat).  Depending on the types of sight barriers you have, you can determine how close adversaries can come to your property boundaries – and, indeed, some types of sight barriers will allow them to get into your property and potentially close to you, while probably remaining entirely undetected.

Don’t go all fanciful here and start fantasizing about patrols and observation posts and electronic monitoring.  The chances are you don’t have sufficient manpower to create an efficient effective system of patrols and OPs, and if you don’t have sufficient manpower to create a secure network of patrolling and OPs, you have to sort of wonder what value there is in a partial network.  Won’t the bad guys be clever enough to plan their movements and actions to exploit your weaknesses?

As for the electronic stuff, this is typically overrated, and provides a less comprehensive set of information than can be gathered by ‘boots on the ground’, and of course, only works until it stops working, at which point it is useless.

Our first point therefore is that some lots are just not well laid out for defending, and while everything else about them might be appealing, if you feel that you’ll need to be able to defend not just your retreat building itself, but the land around it – the land on which your crops are farmed and your animals raised – then you should walk away from the deal and not buy the lot.

What is the point of buying an ‘insurance policy’ to protect you against worst case scenarios, if your policy (your retreat and lot) only works with moderately bad rather than truly worst case scenarios?  That’s an exercise in futility and wishful thinking, and as a prepper, you’re not keen on either of these indulgences!

Lines of Sight – How Much is Enough?

Okay, so you’ve found a lot with no obvious topographic challenges, and unobstructed lines of sight out a long way in every direction.

Let’s now try to pin a value on the phrase ‘a long way’.  How far do you need to be able to see, in order to maintain a safe and secure environment all around you?

Some people might say ‘100 yards’.  Others might say ‘1000 yards’.  And so on, through pretty much any imaginable range of distances.  There’s probably no right answer, but there are some obviously wrong answers.

Let’s look at the minimum safe range first.

Is 100 yards a good safe distance?  We say no, for two reasons.  The first reason is obvious – a bullet round can travel those 100 yards in almost exactly 0.1 seconds, and even a person with limited skills can place a carefully aimed shot onto a slow-moving man-sized target at that range.  You are a sitting duck at 100 yards.

But wait – there’s more.  A bad guy can probably sprint over that 100 yards in 10 seconds.  Even if he has nothing more than a machete, he can be on top of you in ten seconds.  Consider also that he’ll wait until you’re not looking in his direction before he starts his run, and add 0.75 seconds reaction time and maybe another second of ‘what is that?’ and ‘oh no, what should I do!’ time, and by the time you’ve identified him as a threat, reached your rifle, and got it ready to fire, he is probably now at arm’s length, with his machete slashing viciously down toward you.

A 200 yard range is very much nicer.  You’ve become a smaller target, and the bullet aimed at you takes over twice as long to reach you; more important than the extra tenth of a second or so in travel time however is that it is now more like three times as affected by wind, temperature, humidity, manufacturing imperfections, and so on.  A skilled adversary can still have a high chance of first shot bulls-eyes, but regular shooters will not do so well.  The bad guy with the machete will take closer to 25 seconds to reach you, and will be out of breath when he gets there.

We’re not saying you’re completely safe if you maintain a 200 yard security zone around yourself.  But we are saying you’re very much safer than if you had ‘only’ a 100 yard security zone.

So, if 200 yards is good, 300 yards is obviously better, right?  Yes, no disagreement with that.  But at what distance does the cost of buying more land outweigh the increase in security?  Most of us will be forced to accept a smaller buffer zone than we’d ideally like, and perhaps the main point in this case is for you to be aware of how unsafe a small buffer zone truly is, and to maintain some type of sustainably increased defensive posture whenever you’re outdoors.

In the real world, you’ll be compromising between lot size/cost and security right from the get-go, and few of us can afford to add a 200 yard buffer around our lot, let alone a 300 or 400 yard buffer.  To demonstrate the amount of land required, here are two tables.  Both assume an impractically ‘efficient’ use of land – we are making these calculations on the basis of perfect circles, with the inner circle being your protected area and the outer circle being the total area with the added buffer zone space.  But you can never buy circular lots, so the actual real world lot sizes would be bigger than we have calculated here.

For example, where we show, below, the five acre lot with a 200 yard buffer zone as requiring a total of 54 acres if in perfect circles, if the five acre lot was rectangular, and the buffer zone also rectangular but with rounded corners, the total lot would grow to 57 acres, and when we allow for the impossibility of rounded corners, the total lot size then grows to 64 acres.

So keep in mind these are best case numbers shown primarily to simply illustrate the implications of adding a buffer zone to a base lot size, and showing how quickly any sort of buffer zone causes the total land area to balloon in size to ridiculous numbers.

If you had a one acre area in the middle of your lot, and wanted to keep a buffer zone around it, the absolute minimum lot size would be

Buffer zone in yards  Minimum total lot size in acres  Minimum perimeter in yards
100 yards  13 acres875
150 yards  24 acres1190
200 yards  37 acres1505
250 yards  55 acres1820 (1 mile)
300 yards  75 acres2135 (1.2 miles)
350 yards   99 acres2445 (1.4 miles)
400 yards  126 acres2760 (1.6 miles)

 

If you have a core area of 5 acres, the numbers become

Buffer zone in yards  Minimum total lot size in acres  Minimum perimeter in yards
100 yards   23 acres1180
150 yards   37 acres1495
200 yards   54 acres1810 (1 mile)
250 yards   74 acres2120 (1.2 miles)
300 yards   98 acres2435 (1.4 miles)
350 yards 125 acres2750 (1.55 miles)
400 yards 155 acres3065 (1.7 miles)

 

Clearly, it quickly becomes wildly impractical to establish the type of clear zone that you’d ideally like.

On the other hand, there’s one possible interpretation of these figures that would be wrong.  You can see that with a 1 acre core lot, you need a minimum of 37 acres in total to establish a 200 yard zone around your one acre.  If you grow your lot to 5 acres, your total lot size grows by a great deal more than five acres.  It goes from 37 acres up to 54 acres.

But – here’s the thing you should not misunderstand.  The bigger your core lot, the more efficient the ratio between protected space and total space becomes.  In the example just looked at, you had ratios of 1:37 and 5:54, with 5:54 being the same as 1:11.  This is a much better overall efficiency, even though adding the extra four acres required you to add 17 extra acres in total.

If you had ten acres of core land, then your 200 yard safety zone would require 68 acres in total, and your ratio now becomes 10:68 or 1:7.  Still extremely wasteful, but 1:7 is massively better than 1:37!

This improving efficiency for larger lot sizes hints at two strategies to improve your land utilization.

Two Strategies to Manage Your Clear Zone Risk and Requirement

Our two tables showing the amount of space you need as a safety/buffer/clear zone around your land embody a subtle assumption that perhaps can be reviewed and revised.

We are assuming that if you don’t own the land, it will be uncontrolled and uncontrollable, and will be exploited by adversaries to mount surprise attacks on you from positions of concealment and/or cover.

That is a possibility, yes.  But there’s another possibility, too.  If the land contiguous with your land is owned by friendly like-minded folk, and if they have cleared their land for cultivation too, plus have at least some awareness of risk issues and keep some degree of access restrictions to their land, then you probably don’t need as much buffer zone on the property line between you and them.

If you and your neighbor had five acre blocks adjacent to each other, then (depending on lot sizes and shapes), you would each require about 57 acres in total to have a 200 yard safety zone, but with your lots next to each other, the two of you together need only 73 acres instead of 114 acres.  You each now have a 37 acre lot instead of a 57 acre lot, and that’s a much better value.

On the other hand, call us paranoid, if you like, but we would always want some controlled space around our main retreat structure, no matter who is currently living next to us.  Neighbors can sell up or in other ways change.

This concern – that today’s ‘good’ neighbors might become tomorrow’s bad neighbors, points to the second strategy.  Why not rent out some of your land to other people.  That way you have more control over the people around you.

You could either do this by extending your core protected land and maintaining a buffer zone around both the land you farm directly and the land you rent out, or by renting out some of the buffer zone land to tenant farmers.

If you had five acres of your own core land, and if you then added another five acres to it, and also rented out the first 50 yards of your 200 yard buffer zone, then that would mean of the total 68 acre holding, there would be ten acres with 200 yards of buffer zone, and up to another 9.6 acres around it that still had a 150 yard buffer zone.  In round figures, you could use 20 of the 68 acres, with 10 offering prime security and another 10 almost as good security.  You’re now getting a reasonably efficient land utilization (20:68 or 1:3.5) and you’ve also added some adjacent friendly tenant farmers, giving your own retreat community a boost by having some like-minded folks around you.

Lines of Sight vs Crops – a Problem and a Solution

We’ve been making much about the benefit of having lines of sight stretching out a relatively safe distance so that adversaries can’t creep up on you, unawares.  The importance of this is obvious.

But, how practical is it to have unobscured lines of sight when you’re growing crops?  As an extreme example, think of a field of corn or wheat, and to a lesser extent, think of many other crops which of course have an above ground presence.  These types of crops will reduce or completely negate your line of sight visibility.

The solution is that you need to have an observation post that can look down onto the crops from a sufficient height so as to see if people are passing through them.  The higher this is, the better the visibility and ability to see down into the fields from above.

Depending on the layout of your land, the most convenient place for this would be to build it into your retreat.  You already have a (hopefully) multi-level retreat structure, why not simply add an observation post at the top of the retreat.

If that isn’t possible, another approach might be to have a tower structure somewhere that has a wind turbine generator or at least a windmill mounted on the top, giving you two benefits from the structure.

Summary

Your biggest vulnerability, in a future Level 3 type situation where you are living at your retreat and need to grow your own crops and manage your own livestock so as to maintain a viable lifestyle for some years, will be when you are out in the fields and focused on your farming duties.

Maintaining any type of effective security of your retreat would require more manpower than you could afford to spare, and even then, would remain vulnerable to a skilled and determined adversary.  A better strategy is to create a buffer zone between the land you work and the uncontrolled land adjacent to you.  This buffer zone reduces the lethality of any surprise assault and gives you time to shelter, regroup and defend.

Because a sufficient sized buffer zone requires an enormous amount of additional land, we suggest you either rent out some of your buffer zone or settle next to other like-minded folk, giving you relatively safe and more secure boundaries on at least some sides of your retreat lot.

Original posted on http://codegreenprep.com/2014/08/many-acres-need-retreat-defense-considerations/

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15 Uncommon Items for Your Bug Out Bag

We all know what our bug-out bag essentials are, right? 90% of the items we packed are pretty much the same for all of us… but what about the other 10%?

In this article I want to give you a list of “uncommon” survival items that some people have in their backpacks. Not just because it’s fun but because I want to give you some fresh ideas on what to pack. If, by the end of this article, I get you to say “Yeah, that sounds like a great idea, I’m gonna add item number 7!”… then the article is useful and I haven’t written it for nothing. If I fail, feel free to share your own weird survival items in a comment below so you can improve on this list.

Caveat: I’m not saying you need to start packing all these items. These are just a few ideas that may or may not make sense to your particular situation. Your bug-out bag essentials should have priority and you should always keep your backpack as light as possible by only packing what you need.

#1. Floss

Floss is lightweight, takes very little space and hard to find post-collapse. But the really cool thing about is that it has a bunch of other uses, such as tying things up, to use it as fishing rod and so on.

#2. A hand-crank chainsaw

Hand crank chainsaws are ultralight, compact and can be used in both rural and urban scenarios. You never know when you come across a tree that your car is helpless against.

#3. Fishing net

Do you have rivers near your location? A net might bring you much needed food besides the little you’ve already packed.

#4. A hand fan

If high temperatures are a concern, a hand fan might be a lifesaver. Small, compact, lightweight and cheap – perfect for a BOB.

#5. A razor

A razor has many more uses besides shaving (which won’t be a priority when disaster strikes, anyway).

#6. A foldable skateboard

Skateboards allow you to travel at speeds of over 10 miles per hour while walking is usually done at about 3mph. The fact that you can also fold it means you can put it in your bug out bag (though I have a feeling you’ll take it for a spin every once in a while).

#7. Tweezers

Cutting your nails without tweezers is hard. They take little space, they’re dirt cheap and might be unavailable when the brown stuff hits the fan. You might want to consider putting them in a Ziploc bag to avoid water getting to it and getting it all rusty.

#8. Condoms

Condoms have many uses besides the obvious one: they allow you to carry water, they can be used as a flotation device or even as a lens to start a fire (by filling them with water).

#9. Swim goggles

I’m not trying to scare you by telling you you’re gonna end up in a river somewhere, fighting for your life but, if you do have to cross one, wouldn’t it be better if you were equipped?

Besides, you can use these goggles in other situations, such as when there’s tear gas or when you give your kid the important task of trying to spark a fire.

#10. An alarm clock

I know a bug-out bag is supposed to be as light as possible but some people think an alarm clock could be useful. This is NOT something I personally pack (or intend to) but maybe you want to…

#11. A Frisbee

Frisbees have more uses than just for playing. You can use them to sit on or to prepare food on them for example.

#12. Fly fishing lures

You’re gonna want to fish, at least that’s what most bug-out scenarios suggest…

#13. Pipe cutter

This could be really useful in urban scenarios where you’ll encounter a lot of pipes. Let’s not forget that PVC pipes have a lot of uses pre and post-disaster as long as you can cut them to the desired length.

#14. Paper clips

There are dozens of uses for paper clips, from lock picking to using them as a worm hook, zipper pulls or even to make a small chain. You may also want to keep them in your edc kit, your car’s BOB, your get home bag and so on.

#15. An extra pair of underwear

Needless to say, you may not have the luxury of having your wardrobe with your when it hits the fan. But an even bigger question is, what will you do if the only pair of underwear when bugging out is the one you’re already wearing?

Put an extra pair of underwear in your bug-out bag. In fact, make that two, and you can thank me after SHTF.

 

Ok, those were it. I realize I could have added a lot more of these unusual items but I tried to stick to the ones that you will actually need. Take this article with a grain of salt and, if you feel the need to add some of these items, how about you build a second BOB with non-essentials that you may or may not be able to take with you as you evacuate?

Original posting on http://www.myfamilysurvivalplan.com

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Surviving in an Urban Environment- Part 2, by J.M.

I am sharing experience and ideas about surviving in an urban environment in the event of short-term or major, long-term emergency situation. We’re currently talking about getting home, whether from work or campus, since home is where our supplies are most likely stored. Get Home Bag On the subject of equipment and supplies, you’ve probably heard the term “Get Home Bag” (GHB). A lot of the discussion you can find regarding GHBs deals with handling a multi-day trek through the wilderness. Most of the time, the recommended content focuses on things like starting fires, building shelter, finding water, et cetera. …

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Surviving in an Urban Environment- Part 1, by J.M.

Let’s talk about surviving in an urban environment. In my younger days, one of my first jobs was in a mid-sized city in the Midwest. Being young, I wanted to enjoy all of the virtues and vices that the city had to offer. So, I got an apartment that was close to the city center. I had camping gear, and I always made sure to have a decent stock of food, water and medical supplies. However, with the knowledge and experience I’ve picked up in the ensuing decades, I look back and realize how unprepared I really was to survive …

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Health and Hygiene Tips for the Homestead- Part 2, by J.M.

On our homesteads when dealing with health and hygiene, we try to prepare for gunshot wounds or severe lacerations/cuts. But in so doing, let us not overlook the more mundane killers of mankind while specializing on medical conditions that would prove very difficult to deal with in a grid down situation without medical professionals. I am talking through what is necessary, particularly as we face some of the challenges that confront third world countries now. Let’s move forward.

Hygiene

Yes, Grandma was mostly right in her words about hygiene– “cleanliness is next to Godliness”. Keeping one’s body and home clean and pest free preserves health! Do you remember the big porcelain pitchers and bowls found in the bedrooms of old farm houses? A daily “sponge bath” is much more practical in a grid down situation then lugging heated buckets of water to pour in a tub for bathing. If warm … Continue reading

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Health and Hygiene Tips for the Homestead- Part 1, by J.M.

Health and hygiene as a subject is not nearly as glamorous as the “shoot and scoot” topics often discussed. However, these practices have saved untold millions of lives in a very uneventful way, year after year. Prevention beats cure every time!

Most prepper’s medical kits now include such items as Quik Clot or Celox Bandages, suture or staple kits, Israeli gauzes, and tourniquets. We try to prepare for gunshot wounds or severe lacerations/cuts, but in so doing let us not overlook the more mundane killers of mankind while specializing on medical conditions that would prove very difficult to deal with in a grid down situation without medical professionals.

Biggest Killers in the Third World

History shows us that the three biggest killers of mankind in the third world are:

Continue reading

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