Tuesday, April 5, 2016

NEW EPISODE - Bunker Life After SHTF

We're excited to launch our new show! Tune in to the first episode here, and don't forget to subscribe!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

OPINION - The Importance Of Fitness

Worst-case scenario. SHTF. You've got all your gear ready, made all your plans and are about to bugout. No other choice than on foot. You load up as much gear as you can carry and get the hell out. Off to a good start. 2km's later you're out of breath and in trouble. For all your preperations, you forgot one thing. You needed to be in shape.

As you struggle to recover your breath, the situation gets worse, there's only one of them, thankfully, but they've seen you and you'll never be able to out-pace them now. You go to drop your gear and turn to face the threat, but it's too late, you're already exhausted and your assailant moves in for an effortless attack. You've never been in, or learnt how to fight...

That's the great thing about prepping. It encompasses EVERYTHING in your life. From something as simple as carrying tissues, to something as serious as battling a natural disaster.

I find personal fitness is something that is overlooked, especially with all the "zombie apocalypse" hype. (It's a bit of fun, yes. To the oblivious - for fucks sake it's a metaphor.) Do you have the endurance and mental perseverance to get to safety or enough skill to defend your body and belongings?

Being fit and physically healthy does wonders for a persons mental health as well. The harder you work at it and more you achieve, the happier, healthier and more likely to succeed you will be in other aspects of life. I can personally attest to that. This leads to you being able to concentrate on what's going on around you, increasing your awareness, which is very important in high stress situations, especially when the adrenalin runs out.

Just like you do with bush craft skills, or first aid application, or just about EVERY skill you learn from prepping, you HAVE to practice. Everything is a perishable skill.

Am I capable of travelling long distances on foot carrying heavy gear? Yes. I work physical jobs, am very active and spend a lot of time in relevant outdoor activities.

Am I capable of physically defending myself? Yes. I've been training in martial arts and combat sports half my life, I've sparred and fought in and out of the gym.

Do I have the capacity for cognitive thinking to limit putting myself in harmful situations? Yes. Life experiences, relevant training and hands on experience.

There are many other activities you'll encounter that require specific fitness skillsets, but the fitter and stronger you are, the better chances you'll have at overcoming and adapting.

The most important part is putting into practice the things you learn, and pressure testing them, so you know what does and doesn't work. If you don't experience this you'll never have an inkling of what will happen when things get serious.

There is always going to be someone fitter, stronger and better trained to handle obstacles than you, but being mentally and physically prepared are important steps to take in terms of self defence and self preservation. Are you doing as much as practically possible to ensure yourself the best chance in any given situation?


Saturday, March 19, 2016

INFORMATIVE - Cash vs Currency

Money makes the world go around. We all accept this as truth, in a large part because it is. He who controls the right amount of money gains independence from the system - we see examples of this every day.

But what IS money? Many don't stop to think of it in a literal sense. In terms of a realist. Money, as we know it today, is such a new concept in the timeline of human existence) that one could be forgiven for mistaking it as a "fad" of sorts - and really, that's precisely what it is. To understand large-scale global events fully, one must understand the workings of the global financial systems, such as the various stock markets. When analyzed, these markets seem immensely complex and convoluted, and in fact they are, so most people get overwhelmed and ignore it, only giving it cursory attention.

But to understand how money works, one must understand currency. A currency is a separate concept to money. A currency is a commodity of value. Value is a very subjective term, but there are many items of value which we all share, things such as food, water, oil, fabrics, wood and steel. These are all currencies because they are items which are required and thus have a value to someone. The more people see the commodity as something of use, the higher its value becomes. Much of the time, the rarity of a commodity is accounted for moreso than its use, as is the case with precious metals.

Money - in terms of dollars, rubles, baht, pounds or whatever your country uses, is known as a "fiat currency". A fiat currency is a form of currency which is purely representative of a "mass economy". A "mass economy" is the combined commodity structure of a country. So, the dollar coin in your hand is representative of a very tiny percentage of the combined commodity structure of your entire country.

Feels empowering, huh? That coin is your coupon which entitles you to your little slice of the country's wealth!

Only it's not. The description above lays out how it's MEANT to work, but unfortunately, it stopped working that way a very, very long time ago. It's worse in some countries more than others, but in general, there is something making that dollar coin worth less and less as time goes on. Inflation.

Inflation is an abstract concept which - and this is going to sound crazy - nobody understands. "Surely leading economists understand it, right?" I hear you ask. No. They don't.

The basic premise of inflation is that somehow, leading world nations have agreed to commercialize debt. The USA, as an example, spends more money as a country on imports (2.7 trillion) than it makes by exporting (2.2 trillion). There are also large problems with the internal economy of the country where top 1% earners in the country make and own more money than the bottom 99%, which means that one of the 1% holding a dollar is worth less than one of the bottom 1% holding a dollar. In a system of numbers this doesn't make sense, but in a system of CURRENCY this makes sense as it comes down to the VALUE of that dollar to the individual either spending it or seeking to earn it. This lop-sided system has led to a massive imbalance which means that the people making commodities feel justified in charging more and more for goods but the people buying them are making less and less, so the "value differential" grows, and increasing national debt means more and more money gets printed, lessening the value of the cash that is currently in circulation. If left unchecked, this can lead to a concept called "hyperinflation" - which is very dangerous.

People like to look at things like the "one hundred trillion dollar bills" in Zimbabwe and have a laugh, but that country had to be financially bailed out and do you know what the exchange rate ended up being? 250 trillion Zimbabwean dollars bought people ONE US DOLLAR, which has since been made the national standard currency. Their inflation rate at this time was 500,000,000,000%. People in the country were, quite literally, taking plastic bags filled with cash to the stores just to buy basics like bread and milk. That is the reality of hyperinflation and it is something which can happen again. Extrapolating current inflation data from the past 20 years shows that if things don't change, this will become a reality again in more countries, and hyperinflation comes with a lot of other side effects - often in the realm of civil unrest.

So how can someone become unaffected by money? By returning back to a mindset of "currency" rather than "cash". This means re-examining the concept of "value". Many people think of a savings account as a number sitting on a computer somewhere in a bank, representing how many dollars they have in that account. Other people prefer to hide a bunch of cash in a safe at home.

When you remove the concept of the fiat currency from the equation, a savings account might look like a warehouse filled with usable stock. Perhaps rolls of fabric, or pallets of steel or lumber. These are a great place to start in terms of a post-fiat currency system, but a stockpile like this can run out, be used up or perhaps even spoil over time or be stolen - or worse - taken from you by the government (put away the tinfoil hat, this has happened multiple times in the past and much closer to home than you'd think).

But what about an investment account? How would that look once you remove the concept of the fiat currency? Well, think of it like a stretched rubber band. What's it full of? Potential energy. That's how a commodity based savings account would work.

To clearly illustrate the concept, I will stick to one example of a valued commodity within a class of commodities: the tomato plant. Keep in mind this example is very simplified, but it's there to illustrate a point.

If I were to purchase 20 tomato seeds for $1 and germinate them, in a month I will have 20 tomato seedlings, each of which has the potential to be sold for $1 each. Say I were to sell 10 of them, but the other 10 don't sell before the plant reaches the adulthood stage. So I keep looking after those 10 remaining seedlings and they eventually turn into flowering adult plants. Each one is now sellable for $5. Say I only manage to sell half of them, which leaves me with 5 flowering tomato plants. If I put them into the ground and allow them to produce fruit, I could harvest approximately 25kgs of tomatoes. If I managed to sell half of them them at the current market rate of around $3 per kg I would be left with around 12kgs of fresh tomatoes, which I can then process down into sauces and pastes which can then be sold individually at around a dollar per 500mL jar. I can also take the oppourtunity to harvest a number of fresh seeds and repeat the process. By doing this, I have turned by initial $1 in cash into an approximately $100 yield and have no need to even invest a further dollar to repeat the process.

Now, the above example is very simplified. It ignores the fact that you must have horticulture skills, land to grow the plants, pots, fertilizer, water, etc, all of which are required to make this process work. But even taking a slice of the profits to cover these costs and playing it conservative, it illustrates the ability for "potential value". Governments can and have in the past come for people's money, whether it be in the form of cash, digital currency or physical goods stockpiles. But if you're growing a garden of plants and doing all of your trade cash-in-hand at markets, there is no record of the earning process taking place.

You can increase your yields by having more plants, more variety, good marketing skills, but the concept remains the same the entire time. One does not need to be dependent on fiat currency to get by.

The system also is not limited to plants. Having marketable skills can work much the same way, but this won't necessarily yield as much, there have been many accounts of Appalacians earning a solid living by using this system to brew moonshine in the mountains.

Anyway, it's something to think about. I hope that this has been enlightening to you.

- CumQuaT

Sunday, March 13, 2016

INFORMATIVE - What gear is ACTUALLY used?

So I'm a prepper who admittedly goes overboard with the gear he takes out on trips. Many of us are guilty of it, and we dreamily watch videos of other survivalists who live six months in the wild with nothing but a knife and a firesteel as we sit at our computers and lovingly polish our Jetboils (other people do that, right???? RIGHT???)

But out of that 10kg pack that you take out with you each run, what gear realistically gets pulled out and used often?

Me, I take a "what if?" approach, much more than I probably should. I like to be prepared for any eventuality, so my packs contain pretty thorough med-kits, an ePirb, various trauma gear, minimalist shelter equipment, plenty of food, etc, and it all adds up in terms of weight. But how much of it have I ever had to pull out and use? How much of it have I actually been thankful for? Not much.

So this article isn't to say "you should pack less", because I certainly won't stop packing all of my gear. I consider it just extra exercise to hump that much crap on my back, and I'm happy to do it. But I wanted to write an article to hilight - after 5 years of carrying a fairly thorough "get-home bag" with me whenever I go out (be it into the bush or off to work) - which gear I get the most use out of day-to-day. Perhaps it might give you an idea of something extra to add to your own bag? Who knows. I'm going to write about it anyway.

#1 Most Used Item - The Cotton Bandana

This thing is my lifeline. I use it so much. Be it cleaning off a knife before re-sheathing, wiping sauce off my chin after a tasty sausage roll or just drying off my hands after a good wash. I have done articles before about the uses of my beloved cotton bandana, so the long-time followers of IP were probably expecting this one.

#2 Most Used Item - The Foldable Shopping Bag

You see these things for sale everywhere. Grocery stores, dollar shops, etc, but it's hard to find nice rip-stop ones that will actually still be useful after being put through the hell they will inevitably receive. I use mine so often it's almost laughable considering the extent of gear that I carry. I've had people joke that while everyone else would need a knife and firesteel to survive in the wild, I'd just need my foldable shopping bag and I'd be set.
It carries unexpected items, it can be used as a sling, it keeps sensitive items dry, it can be tied into a buff to keep the sun off... They're just great. Perhaps I just end up carrying things more often than most people, who knows?

#3 Most Used Item - The Cotton Shemagh

It's hard to whip one of these out without people thinking you're a rogue Arab, but my collection of shemaghs (always cotton - never anything other than pure cotton) keep me cool in summer, warm in winter, fold into a carry bag, a sling, a headwrap, a pillow, can act as a towel to dry me off, a mat when sorting items, the list goes on and on. Many preppers just have the one of these things, but I have five. Three normal cotton commercial ones, a genuine issue British SAS one which has these handy pull-tabs in the corners and a larger, thicker weave, extra warm one that was custom made for me. I love them all and use them SUPER often. Particularly in the colder months.

#4 Most Used Item - The Basic Med-Kit

I carry two med-kits. One is for hardcore trauma and contains things like Quik-Clot, tourniquets, pressure bandages, etc. The other is my basic med-kit, which has much more simple stuff like bandaids, steri-wipes, tweezers, etc. I'm quite an accident-prone individual at times, so that baby gets a dusting off quite a bit.

#5 Most Used Item - The Quality Multi-Tool

My multi-tool of choice is a SOG PowerAssist. That thing is a beast and I love it. It handles anything I throw at it and more. There aren't many basic jobs that can't be sorted out by a decent multi-tool and if you don't carry one, try starting and you'll see just how much use it gets day to day. It also has a pretty decent blade on it which helps with cutting tasks if you're in a backward-ass country like me where it's illegal to carry a knife.
These days they come in a Cordura pouch, but I keep mine in a leather one because I'm a classy bitch.

#6 Most Used Item - The Sewing Kit

Learning to sew properly will teach you two things: 1) how handy you can actually be and 2) how crap most commercial sewing kits are. Putting together your own sewing kit with decent cottons, needles and pins will be a real life-saver one day. It's one of those things that happens fairly infrequently, but when it does, it's a REALLY big deal. Like the time I had a meeting with the CEO of the company I worked at and my pants split right over the crotch 10 minutes before. That was fun.

So hopefully this has given you a little insight into the realities of your daily carry, and maybe even given you an idea for your next gear purchase! Until next time!

- CumQuaT

Monday, March 7, 2016

INFORMATIVE - Real Survival - Are You Ready? Part II

Settle in, boys and girls... This is a long post...

A while back we did up one of my personal favourite IP articles which took you through, step-by-step, a mock SHTF scenario and asked the hard questions of what you'd need to ask yourself in that same scenario.

Since it was such a fun article to write, I thought I'd take it one step further and do it again with a much larger-scale, longer-lasting, but still perfectly realistic mock scenario, this time taken from the book "The Reckoning: The Day Australia Fell", which I highly recommend reading if you haven't already.

The scenario is extreme, yes, but it is something that could potentially happen anywhere in the world, and has indeed actually happened before throughout history, in countries where no-one expected to ever see it happen.

In this article, I will point-by-point lay out a sequence of fairly realistic events that would happen during such an incident, and follow each point with a list of considerations that would need to be made by you.

As with the last article like this, the exercise is purely to get you thinking, checking over your gear, your skill-set and your knowledge, to see if you would be ready to face such a challenge were it to happen.

Now, the sequence of events in this article is not just made up out of thin air. Yes, the premise is from a book, but that is only because it poses an interesting example. The order in which things fall apart here, and the time it takes for them to do so are all based off real scenarios. Scenarios like the fallouts after hurricanes Katrina and Wilma. The fallout after Haiyan hit the Philippines. The social collapse of places such as pre-war Germany or, more recently, Venezuela. None of the events listed here are out of the range of possibility, though the scenario has been constructed in such a way as to provide one of the longer possible outcomes.

I hear too many preppers saying "I have guns and ammo. I can use those to get what I need." This attitude is wrong on three counts: firstly, no matter how much firepower you have, you cannot fend off an invading force. Secondly, you need to be completely certain that you could do the things necessary to get what you need using a firearm. Finally, you need to know that all SHTF scenarios have an end. And once they're over, you need to be able to pick yourself back up and go back to your life. Can you really do that if you've murdered twenty people to get the supplies you need? Be realistic about survival, and your chances of survival become far more realistic.

Ask yourself what would you do in answer to each of the considerations? And most importantly ask yourself... Are you ready?

Tuesday, 1:30pm. Gossip starts surrounding news of terrorist attack at a major airport of another city.

  1. What channels and methods do you use to get as much accurate, timely information that you can about the incident?
  2. Have you been following world events closely enough to be able to make certain assumptions based on limited knowledge of what's going on?
  3. What is your pre-planned system for dealing with such an occurrence? Keep in mind, simply walking out of your job may end up badly for you if this event is isolated and you need to still have a job the next day. Many preppers like to talk about what they'd do in various situations, but fail to think of the implications of their actions if and when order ends up being restored. You need to leave things in such a state that you can return back to your life if and when it all settles back down.

Arguments start surrounding details of attack. It becomes clear that there were multiple, simultaneous attacks at various airports.

  1. How do you deal with the aggression as panic sets in?
  2. How many people at your work know of the supplies you have with you?
  3. How will you handle the situation if panic takes its toll and people expect you to share your gear, taking into account point 3 from the last stage?

News comes in of ports also being attacked.

  1. How well do you know the layout of highways and their connectivity to the local ports?
  2. By this stage it will have caught on that this is not just an isolated incident and even the least savvy civilians will start panicking. What do you do to avoid the panic?
  3. Who do you contact and how do you go about it?
  4. Does everyone in your circle know what the plan is, and, more importantly, do they know where the line is of when to actually take action and when to stay put?
  5. Are you confident that you can not give in to panic with the looming threat of potential long-term disaster? Are you confident in your circle's ability to do the same?

You can see the city from your workplace. Smoke is rising from several, fairly scattered locations.

  1. Are you able to get to a vantage point where you can map out the best escape routes?
  2. Can you get a good view of major traffic thoroughfares which lead where you need to get to?
  3. Are you aware of multiple escape routes from your place of work in case one or more are compromised in the panic?

Power abruptly goes out.

  1. If a panic has not started yet, it is likely to now. How do you respond?
  2. Without power, you have a race against the clock with your mobile phone's battery before you cannot contact members of your circle and other loved ones. Do have what is required to circumvent this?
  3. Without the availability of the internet or television, do you have a means of accessing the media to get further information?

You decide to go home, but traffic is gridlocked, and public transport lines have been closed due to "public safety concerns".

  1. Do you have an alternate source of transportation lined up?
  2. If you had to, would you know how to get home on foot?
  3. If you don't know the exact way home, are you knowledgeable in navigation methods, both day and night, to get you headed in the right direction until you're in familiar territory?

Home is a good three to five hours walk from your work. You know that at this point, three to five hours can be the difference between relative calm and chaos. You decide to take a stealthy route.

  1. Do you have the knowledge, skills and ability to move stealthily when required?
  2. Do you carry a 72hr bag with you when you leave home, with enough supplies in it to last you three days abroad?
  3. Do you realistically have the fitness needed to make that trip on foot?
  4. Had you kept up to date with the enemies movements enough before bailing to be able to make educated decisions on areas you should avoid?

Despite the circumstances, you notice an absence of military and law enforcement. Opportunists have taken advantage of the lack of control for looting, but the ambient fear is keeping mob violence to a minimum.

  1. Are you skilled enough in stealth and grey man techniques to get away from the populated areas?
  2. Does you gear look inconspicuous enough to not make you a target for unwanted attention?
  3. Are you familiar enough with your route to know which places to avoid? Can you recall your entire trip from home to work by memory, including all of the different areas you pass through and what is in them? Do you know where the stealthiest route through each area would be?

Due to these obstacles, what should have been a five hour walk home will take up to twelve hours, requiring an overnight stay somewhere.

  1. Does your daily carry bag have the gear required for an overnight stay somewhere away from home?
  2. Do you have the necessary skills to facilitate a stealth camp?
  3. Do you carry food with you, as well as adequate means of hydration?
  4. Are you adequately equipped for extreme weather during an overnight stealth camp with just your daily carry bag?

You make it home and have access to your preps. Power is still out.

  1. Do you have a means of home defense that can stand up to any potential panic-looting?
  2. Do you have a means of entering your home in the event that you had your belongings (including keys) forcibly taken from you or lost during the trip home?
  3. Are your home preps suitably organised to be able to quickly gather the things that you'll need?
  4. Do you have an alternative means of power at your home in order to get the gear you need working?
  5. It may be night when you get home. With the power out, do you have easy access to a light source to be able to find and access your preps and move about your house?

Using the radio, you learn that what were thought to be terrorist attacks were the beginnings of an invasion as Indonesia - with backing from China - moves to take control of Australia as a part of a global power shift. Australia's allies are occupied in their own struggles, so external help is lacking. You make the call to take the night to prepare and then bug out.

  1. Is your home setup ready to be manned by a single person in the event of social unrest?
  2. Do you have established hiding places in the event that invading forces are searching for civilians or if local military are corralling people against their will?
  3. Do you have the knowledge necessary to keep your presence in the house unknown to passers by?
  4. Do you have the adequate equipment to be able to defend your property in the event of looting?
  5. As discussed earlier, does your defense plan take into account any potential ramifications post-SHTF event?

You load up your car with supplies and start heading out, but quickly hit gridlock. The lack of authority has led to improper road use as people respond in panic.

  1. Do you have the necessary defensive driving training to get yourself and your supplies as far as possible amidst such chaos?
  2. Do you have a vehicle capable of going off-road if the need arises?
  3. Do you have multiple alternative routes laid out mentally to get you to your bugout location?
  4. Does your vehicle possess adequate fuel supply, or do you have the means to transport extra fuel with you safely?

Time is of the essence as you can see people are leaving their cars as tensions rise and it's only a matter of time before someone notices your supplies. You grab your bugout bag and abandon the vehicle and road, headed for the scrub.

  1. Do you have a correctly prepared bugout bag which is "grab and go" at all times? Does it have the necessary equipment and supplies in it that you would need to genuinely bugout on foot?
  2. Are the clothing/footwear that you have left your home wearing suitable for extended bushwalking?
  3. Do you have an all-weather means of shelter?
  4. Do you have a way of distracting other people if needs be in order to beat a hasty escape without being observed?

Your planned bugout location is 100km away. A good 20 hours on foot at a good pace, and that's when not taking a stealthy route.

  1. Are you fit enough to hike 100km or more through bushland?
  2. Have you pre-planned your bugout thoroughly enough to take into account possible stealthy routes?

You have "bugout buddies" whom you know will be doing the same thing as you, but the communication network is down - most likely due to the invasion.

  1. Have you pre-planned an alternate means of communication?
  2. Do you possess a wide-range UHF transceiver? Are you familiar with its use and the various channels available?
  3. Do you have a portable means of listening to AM/FM radio or any national emergency broadcasts which you could use to determine information on their whereabouts or how they may be faring?

The 20 hours of on-foot travel to the bugout location will potentially extrapolate into 100 hours or more by incorporating the stealth required to avoid an invading force and other people. This means around 7 or 8 days of travel before reaching your bugout location.

  1. Your food supply that you're able to carry won't last this long. Do you know enough about edible plants to be able find more food?
  2. Do you have the ability and the skills to hunt for food? Keep in mind, this is an invasion scenario and you're trying to be stealthy. Using a firearm for this purpose will reveal your location.
  3. Does your bugout bag contain a sufficient means of water purification? Do you know how to find water in the absence of a natural source?

During your trek, you encounter a small band of looters. They become hostile when they see your gear and try to take it from you.

  1. Are you sufficiently skilled in defense to be able to protect yourself?
  2. Do you have any training with the use of a blade as a weapon?
  3. Do you carry any force multipliers to help ward off multiple attackers? Remember that this is an operation where stealth is paramount.

You survive and manage to escape the fracas, but have sustained an open wound which needs treatment.

  1. Do you have the required medical supplies in your kit to treat an open wound as opposed to a standard cut?
  2. Do you have some sort of trauma kit to deal with potentially life-threatening wounds?
  3. Do you have the medications, ointments, etc necessary to stave off infection?
  4. Do you have the medical training required to perform such a procedure on yourself?

You have to pass an open freeway running perpendicular to your path. No way around it and an industrial area follows it for a long distance in either direction, making cover limited. By this stage, you see that the invading force is using the freeways to distribute troops and set up supply lines.

  1. Do you have the knowledge of stealth techniques to be able to make the crossing unseen?
  2. Are you fit enough to climb, sprint, crawl, etc, as needed to make the crossing?
  3. Do you have the patience to take as long as it takes to get across?

You make it to your bugout point. It is remote enough to be away from danger for now. You need to set it up for a long stay.

  1. Did you bring a seed bank with you as part of an extended bugout scenario?
  2. Do you have a pre-prepared shelter at your bugout location? Do you have sufficient knowledge of construction in order to build one with the materials at hand?
  3. Do you have a thorough-enough understanding of horticulture to be able to sustain yourself as long as is needed?
  4. Do you have an understanding of water filtration and purification in order to survive off of it for as long as required, given that commercial filters only last for so long?
  5. Do you have the skills required to mask any fires you might make for cooking or sterilization?

As time passes, stragglers who made it away make movements near your camp. They don't currently know you're there and none have yet been lucky enough to stumble directly across you just yet.

  1. Do you have a plan to keep your camp secluded?
  2. Are you willing to do what it takes to keep potential threats away?
  3. Do you have the stealth skills required to move unseen in order to observe the stragglers and monitor their movements?

More time passes and your location is established. None of your "bugout buddies" made it, and it's been long enough to assume they haven't made it out.

  1. Does your range of skills cover all areas required to get by solo? Medical? Hunting? Horticulture? Engineering?
  2. Do you have the knowledge to set up your camp in such a way as to have an automated lookout system for while you sleep?
  3. The more difficult question is, do you have the mental fortitude to survive on your own for what could potentially be a very long time. This is a question that is very easy to say yes to, but very difficult to follow. Do you know any exercises used to help maintain your sanity?

On a hunt, you get an infected wound. You've been out long enough that the medical supplies you brought with you have run out.

  1. How thorough is your knowledge of herblore? Can you recognize medicinal plants?
  2. Have you prepared an adequate means of sterilization in your bush camp?
  3. Do you have enough medical training to recognize the symptoms of shock, sepsis and the like? Could you treat it without any conventional medicine?

After a few months, signs of jets overhead seem to show fighting going on. Most likely an attempt to re-take the country or at least the region you're in. You decide to investigate. Ranging wide you find a vantage point of high ground for observation. You see troops moving, smoke trails and, noticeably, internment camps where many of the civilians have been kept during the invasion. Things have not gone well while you've been away...

And here we leave the scenario... It could go various ways depending on how the re-taking of the country goes. This may sound extreme, but if you don't believe it could happen, read about the Holdout of Japan after WWII - in particular the case of Hiroo Onoda. He lived in the jungles of the Philippines for nearly thirty years, and he was able to remain so hidden and isolated that when he was eventually found, he refused to believe the war was over and his superior officer had to be pulled out of retirement to come and relieve him personally.

Now think of this long, drawn-out procedure and imagine how it would have went if the following were done:

  • Close-enough attention was paid to world events to see the invasion coming before it happened.
  • Survival caches were planted along the route from home to your bugout location.
  • Your bugout shelter was pre-prepared and pre-stocked in advance.
  • Milestone rendezvous points were organised, including a detailed acceptable timeline threshold for your bugout buddies, so you got your team together sooner.
  • Alternative routes were pre-mapped in case of obstacle, including the locations of various sewer and waterway systems to help cross difficult obstacles unseen.
If this forethought and effort was put into place in advance, you would have perhaps taken paid leave from work, missed the gridlock, missed the panic and made it to your pre-prepared location with a vehicle laden with supplies. This is the ideal scenario. Unfortunately, the nature of this kind of thing is hardly ever ideal. But even if one of the above points was met, it could have made the entire thing go much smoother and multiplied your chances of success.

But like I said earlier, this is not a critique of what preppers out there are doing. This is meant to be a mental training exercise to see if there may perhaps be a weak spot in your plan. In my experience, if there is one thing preppers like to do, it's find a weak spot in their plan and fill it in with some new skills, new gear and new preparations. So use these mental exercises as a chance to do just that.

And remember, be prepared, not scared.

- CumQuaT

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

TUTORIAL - Australian Wild Edibles

So the Informed Preppers live on the East Coast of Australia, and as such our knowledge of wild edibles is limited to our own biome. But if you also happen to live in that area, here's a few info-cards you can use to track down and find edible wild plants in the wild. Being stranded in the wilderness is a battle to keep your calorie count up (among other things) and you'll need all the help you can get to stay alive. Hunting game will provide valuable protein, but eating only game meat will lead to you suffering from what is known as "rabbit starvation", so you need to get some greens. I hear a lot of people saying "I'll just hunt animals for food", however that alone won't help you over an extended period - also, hunting takes a lot of energy, even if you're just setting up a heap of traps. So learning to find and - more importantly - correctly recognise edible plants in your area is an incredibly important survival skill.

Hopefully these cards can help some of you.

Don't forget: stay sharp, stay positive, and be prepared, not scared.

- CumQuaT