Saturday, March 4, 2017

How airsoft and skirmishes can teach you about being prepared for survival

Many airsoft BB gun users take part in organized skirmishes - aka fake battles and survival scenarios. A lot of people don’t believe in ‘playing’ with guns or allowing youngsters to play with guns or take part in skirmish activities as they believe it’s setting a bad example. However, using airsoft BB guns and taking part in skirmishes can teach you a lot about being prepared and surviving in any situation.

Honing your shooting skills

You may think that in real life you will never need to know how to shoot a target, but at one point or another, you may well need to be able to do so. Its one thing shooting targetsat a shooting range; it’s completely another shooting a moving target during a skirmish, which is why skirmishes are so useful when it comes to honing your shooting skills. When it comes to surviving in the wilderness, being able to shoot a moving target - ideally, at a distance away - is crucial. Proving that skirmishes are an ideal way to do this, many police forces and military forces use BB guns and skirmishes to help new recruits hone their shooting skills.  

Learning to work as part of a team

Another important lesson that skirmishes can teach you is working successfully as part of a team. If you’re someone who watches survival films or war films even, then you will know that when it comes to survival, teamwork is often crucial. Skirmishes teach you how to not only look after yourself but also your team members, as well as how to obey orders and do as you’re told. If you are put in a leading position, skirmishes also teach you how to lead a team and determine who does what role within it. When it comes to survival (and preparation), being a good delegate is important - this is a skill that leading a skirmish team will allow you to develop.

How to stay hidden

Just like in real wars, the key to surviving when under attack is being able to stay hidden. Taking part in skirmishes teaches you how to stay hidden by camouflaging yourself. It also teaches you how to pick the opportune moment to reveal yourself and how to determine when that is. Talking about careful thinking, it’s also crucial to learn to use ammunition wisely, which is another key thing that skirmishes teach you. You only have a certain amount of ammunition and have to learn to make it last, if you’re going to survive, that is.

Adapting to different environments

Last but not least, skirmishes teach you how to successfully adapt to play in different environments. Sometimes matches will be held outdoors in woodland areas other times they will be held in indoor areas like old malls. If you’re going to survive whatever is thrown at you, you need to know how to adapt to different environments and use your airsoft skills successfully in each of them. They say that practice makes perfect, so the more skirmishes in different environments you compete in, the better.

Airsoft BB guns and skirmishes can teach you a lot about being prepared and surviving anything, from a Zombie apocalypse to a terrorist takeover.

Staying above the water line!


Saturday, January 14, 2017

6 Prepper Tips to Start Now

We’ve all made mistakes before, but some of us are still making mistakes that we don’t even realize we’re making. Our bug out bag is sitting in the corner and we think we’re ready to go if anything were to happen, but there’s really so much more you could be doing to be completely prepared. Here are 6 things to start doing now.

1.) Gather your team

You might decide that turning your back on mankind and trying to survive completely alone is the best idea, but there’s no way you can do it all on your own. Find those closest to you who you trust and want to survive and create a team. In the end of the world, having others on your side will make your load lighter and chances of survival higher. When you’ve assembled your team, figure out who is strong in what areas and assign tasks. If you don’t have someone who is skilled in a certain area you believe is vital, either find someone who is to join or have someone learn how to do it.

2.) Learn new skills

Even the most prepared survivalist doesn’t know everything they need to survive. Being skilled in all kinds of different areas will help you be even more prepared for the worst. Skills like hunting, defense, building shelter, and lifesaving techniques are important for every advanced prepper. Taking online courses like ACLS recertification and canning classes make learning new skills easy.

3.) Practice, Practice, Practice

When a disaster comes, you don’t want to be running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off. You want to be prepared for the worst, but how do you do that? Practice. Get your team together and start running through drills so everyone knows exactly what they need to do when the dreaded day comes. Practicing won’t only help teach everyone what is expected of them, but will help you figure out what areas still need to be prepped. You’ll hit roadblocks in your practice run that you can fix before a disaster hits and you’ll be that much more prepared.

4.) Take a breather

Take a minute to just think and relax. You don’t want to always be uptight and worrying about what could go wrong. Being mentally stable is a key to being a successful prepper. Not focusing on being prepared will help you get back to the basics and figure out what is really important to you. Once you get back to work, this will help you be refocused and know what areas need work.

 5.)Bug in

We all have our bug out plan, but what happens if we get trapped in or it isn’t safe to go outside? You need to be prepared to bug in, or stay in place and survive, and know when you should bug out or bug in. Certain emergencies will require you to bug out and certain ones will require you to bug in. Either way you should be prepared, but a lot of us only think about bugging out. We don’t have the necessary supplies or plans to stay in place. Create a plan for staying in place that includes security, shelter, communication, and how you will get food once your supply runs out. Keep a stash of food close by to be prepared to bug in. Here are some other tips for bugging in.

6.) Check your supplies

Things go bad and we don’t think about it. You don’t want to be stuck in a disaster zone when nothing works. Checking all your supplies periodically will avoid this disaster of it’s own. Make sure your car is still in good shape. Check your food storage occasionally to make sure everything hasn’t expired. The best tip I’ve heard when checking your supplies is check it all yourself. You can’t just assume they will work when you need them and someone else might not like some of your supplies. If you check everything, you’ll know it works and you’ll know if it works for you.

We all make mistakes when we’re prepping for a disaster, but there are some we can easily avoid. If you start implementing the above tips, the day the world ends will go a lot smoother for you and your family. 

Staying above the water line!


Monday, November 7, 2016

The 12 Essentials of Any Bug-out Bag

There’s a new trend emerging, but it’s not one that’ll have you visiting clothing stores. Natural calamities are hitting places all over the world – occurring at a rate never seen before. The chances of you being next are at the highest they’ve ever been, and you best prepare. For this, you have the bug-out bag.
Bug-out bags should contain everything you need for at least 72 hours of evacuation from a disaster site. Keep that in mind when you go over the following list of essentials found in every bug-out bag.

1. Water

Ah, the stuff of life. Science says you can last weeks without food, but can die from dehydration in a matter of days. Bring at least a liter for every day you expect to remain in evacuation per person. In that case, have a minimum of three liters per person ready. Store your water in sturdy containers just to be safe, too. If in case it turns out you hadn’t brought enough water, having water purification tablets ready should do the trick.

2. Food

Canned goods and dehydrated meals in plastic containers and paper bags are ideal over fresh food for a lot of reasons. For one, they require little to no preparation – something you probably won’t have the resources for in an evacuation site. They also have a prolonged shelf life (or, in this case, bag life), which you’ll need when you can’t access refrigeration. To add, the cans could also be used for other purposes throughout your evacuation. Prepare some food preparation instruments like a knife, although that could easily be substituted by the more useful Swiss knife.

3. First Aid

Accidents can happen at any time, and even more so when disaster strikes. Your bug-out bag should contain basic first aid, including bandages, povidone iodine, adhesives, tweezers,vitamin tablets and your prescription medicines. Also consider putting in some antibiotics like cephalexin, ciprofloxacin and metronidazole. These handle all kinds of nasty infections you’ll be prone to in an evacuation.Your bug-out bag should also have some benadryl in case of allergies. Not everyone may have these ready, so be open to sharing your aid with strangers. Who knows? You may even find yourself on the receiving end.

4. Zip ties

Zip ties already have so many functions in regular, everyday life, yet they prove even more useful for evacuation purposes. These can be used to restrain objects in cases of strong winds, restrain people in times of danger or panic, hold together different materials to keep warm or expand your shelter, serve as a temporary tourniquet when a proper one can’t be made – the list goes on.

5. Personal hygiene materials

Getting struck by disaster is no excuse to let yourself go. Have the basics like tissue, soap, a toothbrush, and toothpaste. Bringing a razor serves both purposes of grooming and self-defense.

6. Self-defense

Should supplies become scarce or you encounter any danger (let’s hope not), you’ll be glad you packed something to protect you and your loved ones with. Rifles are good for hunting too in case food runs short.A .22 caliber rifle seems to be the rifle of choice in this case.

7. Alternative power supply

When you’re bugging out, chances are there won’t be a readily available power supply. It’s a good thing technology has alternative, renewable solutions for generating electricity. Get yourself a crank power charger or even one that runs on solar power. The latter would, obviously, not be ideal in a hurricane situation. More specifically, there are also emergency radios available that run on crank power. 

8. Fire-starter items

At home, you cook, warm up, and need light. Evacuation is no different as these are essentials. There is, after all, a reason the discovery of fire propelled human evolution. Pack some waterproof matches, lighters, maybe even a can of butane. That last one will be especially helpful in the case of a zombie apocalypse as it makes a good makeshift fire bomb.

9. Light source

Again, no power means no light, and that becomes an especially pronounced problem come night time. A torch with a hand crank is ideal, but isn’t always available. Battery-powered should do just fine, but remember to pack extra batteries in that case. There are also some solar-powered lamps available in the market. Most of these things can be found in the camping section or appliance section of most department stores.

10. Clothes

Don’t bring your whole wardrobe. Remember that a bug out bag is ideally good for only three days. Go for smaller, lighter garments like your average t-shirts, shorts, and the like. Extra underwear and socks are good, too. Should these run out, you could rinse them out at a nearby water supply, but let’s not hope it gets to that. And, make sure the water used for laundry isn’t meant for drinking. Come on.

11. Shelter

Other than having shelter for the sake of shelter, this also provides safety for you, your loved ones and your belongings. You’ll also need to be well-rested to stay alert – of utter importance in times of calamity. There are several compact tent variants for you to choose from. Also make sure you have on you some tarp and ground pads.

12. Survival manual

There are some thing you just can’t be too prepared for, and being prepared entails covering every possible scenario. Survival manuals will provide the necessary know-how for sticky situations and should your evacuation level up to a survival scenario.

The rule of thumb in packing your bug-out bag is to expect for the best while preparing for the worst. You know your area and its people better than any website, and should use that knowledge in stocking up. Should disaster strike, you’ll find these items to be more than useful for your evacuation.

Staying above the water line!


Friday, February 12, 2016

On the Grid vs. Off the Grid - The Hybrid Solution

The true costs of living off the grid are a lot more than you would imagine. While the dream of being energy independent is a worthy goal, the costs associated with off the grid living may not be a feasible solution. With limited resources and even a more limited budget, the majority of people may be better off using a hybrid solution.

While we often complain about the utility services we receive, it is easy to forget that the costs for maintaining that service comes at a higher price than we realize. When going totally off the grid, the majority of these costs for maintenance and upkeep will shift from a utility service to you. Having a backup system in place to in case your current services are interrupted may be a better option. It is also important to remember that sheltering in place will generally be your best option in all but the most extreme circumstances.

The Hybrid Solution

While I would prefer to be totally off the grid, it is not economically feasible in my case. Your income can severely limit monetary resources to accomplish off the grid goals but can be done if you use a combination of current resources with good backup options in place. The best place to start is with satisfying your basic needs.

1.) Shelter

Normally your home will be the first and best option for shelter. There is a chance that it may become temporarily uninhabitable due to storm damage or other problems. While repairs are being made, even a simple storage shed can solve your needs for temporary shelter. In my case, I have a 12 X 20 storage shed that has a simple solar setup (approximately $600) that provides light and electricity independent of the grid. It also has a couple of sleeping lofts and is well insulated. If necessary, in an emergency it could act as a secondary shelter.

2.) Water

Water will be an absolute necessity. Drilling your own water well may be impractical and extremely costly. It may also be prohibited by your local utility. Fortunately, the simple collection of rainwater can solve most of your water needs. A rainwater catchment system (approximately $500) combined with a good filtration system can solve most of your water needs. In my case, our monthly average of 3 inches of rainfall can completely fill all our water storage barrels and provide us in excess of 500 gallons each month.

3.) Auxiliary Power

There is still a need for temporary power in order to keep certain appliances properly functioning. Your refrigerator and freezer won’t keep your food adequately without a continued source of power. In my case, I keep a small portable gas generator (approximately $400 + fuel) to use for just such an occasion. If a major power outage of any lengthy duration occurs, I can keep my appliances functioning long enough to cook and eat the food items they contain.

4.) Cooking

There are several other priorities that also need to be addressed in order to have off the grid backup for your current utility services. The easiest and probably the most affordable sources for heating and cooking needs are propane and wood. Gas and charcoal grills or wood stoves are affordable, require minimal maintenance and work extremely well in an off the grid or emergency situation. Most people quite often have one or both already available for use (I have both...can’t have too many backups).

5.) Heating

Small propane heaters ($200) can also provide emergency heat if needed during colder weather and are usually extremely portable. Most can even be used indoors with proper ventilation. You may even have a fireplace in your home that can provide an auxiliary heat source.

You don’t have to live off grid but can use simple and low cost options to provide alternatives to help you maintain your lifestyle in the event of an emergency.

Got hybrid solution?

Staying above the water line!


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Gear Review: Camelbak Big Chill

Summer temperatures in Texas can get a little warm.  I love my Tervis in the office, but it was just not convenient for my mountain bike. I decided to put the Camelbak Big Chill to the test.

For fun, I rounded up some of my other water bottles to get them in on the action.  They were not all the same size bottles, so I used a 16 oz cup to place the same amount of ice in each bottle.  I only placed ice in the bottles and just measured how long it took for the ice to melt in each bottle.

At the end of 1.5 hours, ice was still visible in all the bottles.  The single wall stainless steel dropped first.  Then, my basic water bottle melted.  An hour later, my non insulated Nagalene and Stanley were done.  Not surprisingly, the two insulated bottles were the only ones still with ice.

The Camelbak Big Chill made 4.5 hours before the ice had all melted.  It gave out while the Tervis still had several ice cube remnants visible.  

The test started at 11:00 AM and outside temperatures reached into the mid 90's.  The Camelbak Big Chill will not replace my Tervis around the BBQ pit, but it will definitely be my companion on my mountain bike excursions.  It might even replace my day hike water bottle.

Staying above the water line!


Friday, July 17, 2015

Gear Review: SOG Fasthawk Axe VS SOG Tomahawk Axe

Blade Length: 2 inches  Weight: 19 oz.  Overall Length:12.5 inches

Blade Length: 2.75 inches  Weight: 24 oz.  Overall Length:15.75 inches

Performed a quick field test on some oak firewood in the backyard.  Smaller oak limbs(4-6 inches in diameter) were cut in half easily with both SOG axes.  The largest piece(10-12 inches in diameter) the SOG Tomahawk was definitely easier, but the SOG Fasthawk did the job as well.  In addition, I pruned some small limbs(4-6 inches in diameter) off trees.  Again, I could not find a significant difference in performance between them.

I found the compact size of the SOG Fasthawk to be worth the slight sacrifice in performance over the SOG Tomahawk.  The Fasthawk will be allocated to my EDC(Every Day Carry) and the Tomahawk will find a home in my BOB(Bug Out Bag.)

Staying above the water line!


Monday, July 13, 2015

Carson National Forest: A Visit With Mother Nature

Mother Nature offers a full spectrum of challenges on nearly every outing.  Outdoor enthusiasts must prepare for possible obstacles or suffer the consequences.

A favorite is always water crossings. Don water shoes and splash around, or use trekking poles to help balance across rocks and logs?  Always judge water crossings carefully as these can spell disaster if not done with care.

Weather dominates preparation for most trips.  Always research the climate and patterns in the area visiting.  Mountains require sunscreen and sunglasses due to higher elevations and increased sun exposure.  However, a rain jacket was also packed to cover the common summer rain showers.  Mother Nature blessed me on this outing with some free marble size hail along with the rain.

The Forest Service and volunteers do tremendous work in trail maintenance.  However, one must always be ready for recent obstacles left by Mother Nature.  Exercise caution in choosing to simply step over or go around.

Mother Nature can provide changing conditions on nearly a daily basis.  Heavy rains from a previous day converted an easy trail into a rock hopping mud festival.  Surprisingly, I enjoyed both.

Even Mother Nature's spectacular scenery offers interesting challenges.  The mosquitoes in  this area were so numerous that I can't believe they aren't  visible in the photo.  I'm glad the bug repellent kept them at bay while I snapped the photo.

Mother Nature creates the wonders that make outings worth the trip.  With proper preparation and research, you can make sure your outing is enjoyable no matter what nature throws at you.

Staying above the water line!

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