PDF version attached below. Survival Notes CONTENTS 1. Situations 2. Basics 2.1 Priorities 2.1.1 Water 2.1.2 Fire 2.1.3 Shelter 2.1.4 Medical 2.1.5 Food 2.1.6 Clothing 188.8.131.52 Basics 184.108.40.206 Rain Gear 220.127.116.11 Cold Weather Clothing 18.104.22.168 Hot Weather Clothing 2.1.7 Knives 2.1.8 Sleeping 2.1.9 Gear to Carry Gear 2.1.10 Miscellaneous 2.1.11 Packing 2.2 Weapons 2.2.1 Hunting 2.2.2 Camouflage 2.2.3 Fishing 2.3 Hygiene 2.4 Training 2.5 Children 3. Gear 3.1 - Small Kits 3.2 - Car Kits 3.2.1 - Daypack/Pistol Belt Car Kit, Single person 3.2.2 - Pistol Belt Car Kit, Married with Kid(s) 3.2.3 - Backpack Kit 3.3 - Leaving In Style 3.4 Tools For The Long Term 4. Non-physical Considerations 5. Long Term Planning 6. References 7. Suppliers 8. Horses 9. Miscellaneous Notes 1. SITUATIONS I've followed survivalist stuff for a bit now, and one of the overriding beliefs I see is that everybody will find a safe haven, stock up, and ride it out in community and (relative) comfort, while the rest of the schmoes die in a variety of ways. In my opinion, this is a foolhardy assumption. More on this in section 4., but the fact remains anything can happen at any time, from a terrorist nuke to an earthquake, tornado, or hurricane. You could be anywhere - your house, the store, visiting Aunt Jane 300 miles east, or a stuck car in the middle of nowhere. Making assumptions can get you killed. That isn't so good, but chances are you'll get others killed in the process, which is kinda making a bad deal worse. Since many of the people reading this are interested in "Earth Changes," I thought I'd contribute some ideas for those of us who may have to "bug out." This is a military term that is not usually mentioned, because it means (in effect) "to flee the assigned area, usually in a disorganized manner (see ROUT)" (my own definition.) I'm talking about people who, for various reasons (usually economic,) must live in a city to be able to make a living. If something happens to force you to leave, there will very probably be enough disorder to qualify for the term. Remember, you are trying to live long enough to learn to live. This isn’t that much of a hardware book. If you want gear lists, there are some below, but there are others in many of the books listed in section 6. There’s almost no technique discussed. There are, again, many references written by experienced professionals. This book deals more in concept and in areas very few people admit as a possibility, such as having to care for children in a field environment. Don't treat what you see below as "instructions" or some low level of holy writ. It isn't. I'm not you - not your age, not your condition, not your experience level, and not at your house or job site. Our kids, if you have any, probably don't go to the same day care. I don't have your level of disposable income. When you look at the things we don't have in common, you can see the right way to use this - as a framework of ideas and knowledge for your own solutions. I like to think there are some hard-earned lessons here, that may save you from the same mistakes I've made, but remember - Do not ignore the wisdom of others, but also do not allow yourself to be enslaved by it. 2. BASICS Keep in mind the stuff you are reading about below applies to a survival situation. It's you, maybe some friends and/or family, on the road or in the backwoods with no modern amenities to help, save what you bring with you. There is no house nearby to duck into if you get wet, no 911 if you get injured. That is why I say things that are otherwise absurd, like "Cotton kills in the cold." In a city or a backpacking trip on a summer weekend, cotton clothing is fine, I wear it myself, but that's not what we're talking about here. It is more like the dead of winter in the middle of nowhere - that cotton clothing gets wet, you're lucky or you're dead. Another point is that gear replaces knowledge (to an extent,) and knowledge replaces gear. I have a friend I mention in 2.1.7 (Knives) whose major survival requirement is a good knife, although he wouldn't turn down a good flint stick. An old mountain man would die laughing at the greenhorn he'd see below, but I, and possibly you, don't know what they did, so I need gear. I expect a lot of it will hit the ground as I learn more - a lot already has hit the ground, if you can believe that. The more you learn about what your needs are and how to address them (as opposed to wants,) I think you'll find you need less gear, or different gear, than you think. Another basic concern is mobility, as in limits to same. Weather is a common limiting factor, so I'll handle it separately, but if you're in a car, the relevant limits are negotiable roads, load, and gasoline. "Negotiable roads" can mean a lot of things, it depends on what you're driving, but think on this - unless you are leaving at just about the absolute first sign of trouble, there will be a lot of people with the same idea. Expect and plan for traffic jams, try to plan routes that will avoid them. People are creatures of habit - if they know one convenient way out of town, that's the one way they will most likely use, so forget interstates anywhere near a major urban area. If you can't forget interstates or some other basic choke points (think about trying to leave Manhattan in a panic, for example,) take the car as far as you can and plan to abandon it. That's right. When you haven't moved for 45 minutes and the road is a parking lot as far as the eye can see, dump it by the side of the road, get out, load up, and start walking. Plan for power outages, which will limit access to gasoline via pumps. And remember, the more you put into a vehicle the more gasoline you use and the more you strain the suspension and drive train - a 4WD vehicle loaded to the roof with people and gear will probably not handle steep roads or potholes well at all. Foot mobility is a little simpler, because the limits are load and water, assuming you have some means of acquiring food as you go. Load is relative to your physical condition - an 80 pound pack on a 100 pound person who hasn't exercised in ten years will immobilize said person. Also factor in terrain. You can carry more, farther, faster, on flat terrain than on hilly terrain, and mountainous terrain is a bear unless you know what you're doing and are in decent shape. The water limitation is more subtle. Population pressure, agriculture, and industrialization have pretty much obliterated the ability to safely walk up to a stream and drink from it without purification, so the need to be able to purify water adds weight and bulk to the load. Also, the amount of water you can carry and the speed you can carry it at defines how far you can get from a water source. If it takes 3 days to get from A to B, but you only have water for 1 day and no place to refill en route, you can't get to B, unless you can come up with an alternate route or a faster means of travel. If you load up with 3 days of water, how much has the load reduced your speed? Water is eight (8) pounds per gallon, plus the weight of the containers if you even have them - think about it. You may have to abandon nice, flat, hard roads and go stomping through the boonies just because there is no water near the road for 100 miles or so. Then there's weather. Nobody minds a fair spring day, but rain, snow, and extremes of either hot or cold can really mess life up. Rain per se isn't that big a deal - you get wet, you keep walking. Makes it real easy to keep water in the canteen, too. Problem is, it also swells rivers, restricts vision, and softens soil. Make it cold, about 40 degrees F, and you have uniquely bad weather for a hike, capable of producing hypothermia with even a little bit of wind if you have no rain gear. We all know what happens with cars in rain regardless of temp. Snow can be a real problem, because you can't, under a close to worst case scenario, bet the plows will be out, while places like TX will be a madhouse regardless. Crossing deep snow on foot is a heartbreaking experience. If you don't have and can't make adequate snowshoes (see "Made For the Outdoors", ref in sec 6,) if there are no cross-country skis, about all you can do once it gets waist deep or more (assuming it's unpacked) is to either crawl or, if it's a group, the trailbreaker has to flop (on their back, preferably) forward to pack the snow enough to walk on. Progress is measured by body length. If it's less snow than that, it's still exhausting, because it's more like climbing than walking. Never try to travel in a blizzard - it’s too easy to get disoriented, lost, or dead in a variety of ways. Extreme hot weather follows the old advice about travel at night or the early morning. I don't care who you are or what you are, or what condition you're in, if you start walking in the heat of the day you are going to need lots of water and electrolytes or you will get heat stroke/ heat exhaustion. It's a stupid waste of water and energy unless it is necessary, so hole up in the shade until the sun goes down. Needless to say, how well you can see at night plus the availability of water and shade all affect your ability to cover ground, almost always negatively. Extreme cold is as serious a mobility limitation as heat, regardless of the presence or absence of snow. We aren't talking about 20 degrees F here, we're talking 0 or less, and don't forget wind chill. First, the clothing required to survive it is not necessarily heavy, but it is bulky, so carrying it is a pain. Second, awareness is paramount. Hypothermia and frostbite are ever-present dangers, you can't just put your mind in neutral and walk. You lose some time just making sure your pace and level of insulation match - 'You sweat, you die" is the adage in Army Arctic survival training. Stops, especially in windy conditions, tend to become more elaborate - you may not set up the tent, but you'll want to get out a tarp. You'll also need hot noon meals or at least hot drinks, so there's the time spent heating a cup of soup or whatever. This takes time, and time is distance. A word about pace. A normal walking speed is about 3 mph. A person in good condition with a light load can beat this. A person who is facing a lot of "up hill/down dale", or is carrying a heavy load, or is out of shape, is not going to be able to keep this up for very long. You may not even get ½ mph, and there are some circumstances, such as heavy snow, where the pace is ½ mile per day. Unless you are literally on the run, it is more important to have a pace that is sustainable over a long period of time than to move fast. The faster pace will tire you faster, and you develop a sprint - stop - sprint style of movement that buys you nothing in terms of ground covered for a period of time. In fact, if you're dealing with layering, you will lose the time spent adjusting your heat retention, while in hot weather you risk overheating. You will also become more tired, because the faster pace uses energy faster than your metabolism is used to providing it (I think I said this right.) Speed will come with conditioning - find your pace and keep to it. Also about pace, plan for a day or two off once a week or so. You have to rest, hunt, mend things that need it, and take time to think about what to do next. At the beginning, as you try to put more distance between you and "the crowd," it may be a solid week or more on the trail. OK, but as time goes on, food runs low, weather changes, and the nice straight line to your objective may not be looking like such a good idea after all. Allow for this. 2.1 PRIORITIES The topics are listed in rough order of priority of need. Now about setting priorities... The first priority is a goal. It may be as nebulous as "We'll leave in this direction, then settle down and figure our options," or as definite as a spot on a map. If you know where you're going to start with, that's a big plus. It gives you a route, defines resources and potential problems, and gives you a defined "we are almost there," which can be as important to reaching your goal as any piece of gear. The second priority is a plan, which (if you are bugging out) must cover four very distinct phases. The first phase starts after you come out of shock and realize "It Is Time To LEAVE." This means you have to account for where you may be and what you will need to do to pull together last minute details before starting the journey to priority one, your goal. The second phase is short-term survival, what resources do you have, what obstacles do you face as you and yours try to leave the afflicted area. Next is medium term survival, which is you (+) on the open road to the goal. Again, try to account for possible obstacles and assets. Fourth, once you reach your goal - what next? What do you have to aid your efforts to reestablish yourself? One thing people leaving a city on foot, bike, or by other non - automotive means tend to forget is, even you have to plan for traffic jams and avoid them. How do you think people are going to feel watching you and yours tromp along, fully outfitted, obviously prepared, and equally obviously making progress, while they are sitting in a traffic jam, scared to death, with whatever they could scrape up at the last minute from their kid's cub scout days, plus a little more? People in our culture tend to think they need what's on your back, not what's in your head. Some will kill for that "pack of gold." Avoid crowds when you leave, I strongly suspect they will be highly dangerous. Even if you are in a survival community, planning is still necessary. How do you intend to treat stragglers and strangers? How likely is it you will need to defend the community, and what assets do you have to accomplish that? For that matter, what is the threat level (small groups of starving people, large groups, armed gangs, something else?) What items have you relied on that come from outside sources, and what substitutes are available? How well do you really know the surrounding countryside, and what it has to offer your community? If the fit hits the shan and you are left with gear, a plan to leave, but no defined ultimate goal, life is more complicated. Where you are, time of year, current and expected weather, what kind of gear you have (especially how much water you can carry,) who's with you and their amount of gear, everybody's physical condition (what kind of shape are they in, what injuries, etc.,) the local condition (riots, road blocks, military involvement,) local knowledge (location of farms, parks, small towns, rivers, roads, railroads,) available transport (car, foot, horseback [don't laugh - there are stables not 2 miles from my suburban house], bike,) all these things count, and many of them count for the first option above. It's no fun to realize your destination is 300 miles away but you're on foot in the dead of winter (or for that matter, the heat of summer.) There are many factors to weigh and judgement calls to make here. If you have no definite destination, pull out your map and look at it. You need water, food, fire, and shelter. It should be relatively remote from what's left of civilization (more than 150 miles from the nearest significant town or city, further (250 + miles) if near an interstate or main highway) and the route to it should avoid large metropolitan areas. If you have skills, like paramedic, woodworker, chemist, or whatever, you can try to approach a small town - you have something to offer them, they definitely have something to offer you. I would, however, advise prudence trying to make contact - scope them out and make sure they aren't shooting people out of hand, for example. If you decide the towns are too dangerous, pick a location and head for it. It gives you a purpose, and that's the biggest thing going. DO NOT assume forests are "the place to be," especially at first. Everybody thinks of them, and that's the problem - even if you only assume a 1% escape rate of unprepared, panicked people, that's 2.5 million people running around the countryside. Put 10,000 of them in a nearby National Forest, and consider what's going to happen in terms of water quality (Sanitation? What sanitation?,) food supply (there just aren't that many squirrels, much less deer,) and local reaction (as a lady friend of mine once said, "Yeah, I was born in Paris, Texas. They shoot the umbilical cord off when a kid's born there.") Do you really want to try to deal with ten thousand confused, manic, desperate people? Even one at a time? So be creative in deciding where to go. If the woods are your big thing, no problem. That ten thousand will probably be less than one hundred in one year. The statement is brutal, but it poses the opinion that leaving your home town behind is just the beginning, not the end. If you don't plan for both, you may make it to your destination, but you'll have difficulty surviving long once you get there. Another basic aspect of setting priorities in a survival situation is "return on investment." If it costs you one ounce of sweat to get ½ ounce of water, or 1000 calories to get 800 calories of food, you're losing. You need to at least break even (OK, there are exceptions if you're trying to avoid a lynch mob,) and preferably improve things a bit. This means it makes no sense to load a pack with 100 pounds of gear, because unless most of it is food (which allows the pack weight to diminish as it's used) you are increasing your need for food and water (you need water to metabolize food.) For survival on the road, less is more. More freedom of movement, more speed, more range. The more you carry in your head, the less paper and other "stuff" you carry in your pack or your pocket. You have to prune things down to what you need to survive in the conditions you expect to encounter, although one of the things you need is some stuff for morale. Yes, that's right, you need some stuff you don't need for physical survival. Part of the "fun," of course, is figuring out what you (and, if applicable, yours) need. Do not fall to the temptation to see "needs" as short term physical survival only. If things go badly, you will need to give thought to short term needs (a few weeks,) medium term needs (a few months,) and long term needs. This means you need to plan for psychological, intellectual, emotional &etc. needs, as well as physical. There is no sin in carrying a good book, or planning a journal. Don't shun others simply because you meet them on the road. If you want to meet these needs, it might help to spend some time thinking about who you are, rather than what you are. The fact you may not be able to carry everything you need does not mean you can't plan other ways to meet those needs. The body is not just a survival chamber for a brain. Remember that when you pick your gear. Also remember, you aren't coming back, at least not for quite a while. If you can come up with a way to transport things more useful for the long term, like muscle power tools, do it. Even if you walk into a house that's in perfect condition, it's your home. You are going to be there a while, and that means you get to maintain it. Look around, and think of what it will take to provide yourself with the basics for a week, a month, a year, longer.... The problems of longer term survival will be alluded to at various other places in this text. The equipment list later on will last you for about two weeks to two months or so for the consumable items. That's food, medical items, and so on. Face it - you cannot carry five thousand rounds of ammo on your back, or one year of food, or an indefinite supply of water filter elements, or whatever. That just ain't gonna be. What you can carry is knowledge, so keep learning.