Energy

In a previous post, I talked about how me and my family had picked up a water tank for our bug out property. Several weeks ago we picked up a 280 gallon propane tank up off of Craigslist for $400. This will probably be the first of 2 of this size.

Our plan is to pour a pad for the tanks, and then surround the pad (and tanks) with a tire and rammed earth berm to achieve two objectives. The first objective is to make it safe from harm by vehicles, projectiles, etc. The second objective is to camoflauge it in order to allow it to blend into the surrounding environment better.

The main reason for the propane tanks is for cooking, however it could also be used to boil water for drinking if necessary. As this property is the family bug out location and we have a large family, we forsee the need for a lot of energy to be able to cook with.

The propane will not be our only avenue for energy to cook with however. I came across a pretty cool rocket stove on youtube the other day and I am going to look into getting one or two as they start at around $80 and are very efficient. You can check them out here: http://www.stovetec.net

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My “Get home bag” – Part 2.

A major tool category you will want while having to be self reliant away from home are bladed/cutting tools. So far, I have added a small straight razor from Countycomm.com for cutting things where I do not want to dull the blade on my knife. The knife I pack is a Kershaw RAM 1910. I am really liking this knife so far. The blade is easily deployed with the assistance of a “flipper”. In fact using the flipper makes opening the blade extremely fast. So much so that it appears to be mechanically deployed. It also has the common thumb studs seen on most modern knifes. I however, prefer the flipper as I can deploy the blade faster with it and my fingers are not on the blade while it is being deployed. Personally, I just think that it is safer to use the flipper.

For cutting wood, I currently carry a Fiskars 14″ hatchet and a Gerber Sportsman’s / Survival Saw. I have not used either the hatchet or the saw yet, but I look forward to testing them out. one thing that I would still like to pick up is a survival chainsaw. From what I have seen of it, it will chew through signifcant sized lumber in quick fashion. The fact that it uses handles on the chain, means that it folds up to a small easily carryable package.

I also carry a Gerber ceramic blade sharpening tool. It has a first stage coarse sharpener and a second stage fine sharpener; Because a blade that wont cut is worthless.

To add a bit on the use of my cutting tools, my Kershaw knife has a belt clip. If I am forced to have to walk home, I will certainly carry my knife on me where I can get to and deploy it easily for personal protection. Along those same lines, my Fiskars hatchet is quite sharp and could be used as a personal protection device as well. Swinging that into someone would certainly have the potential to be fatal. I really pray that I never have to use it that way.

For emergency communication I am so far carrying a signal mirror with an attached whistle and float to keep it all from sinking. It seems to be of fair quality and has the red dot optical illusion for pinpointing where it is aimed at (by looking through the back of the mirror. I also carry my Yaesu VX8-DR portable HAM radio in my car (I have my Technicians license). It is a tri-band radio capable of up to 5 watts of power. I would like to get a mobile radio as well, but will wait until after I have gotten more essentials.

I feel that having a HAM radio license is a great resource in times of disaster. When 9-11 happened, I could not make a cell phone call most of the day, and I live in on the West coast. I think that it is also a great way to get communications in disaster/shtf scenario.

End of part 2.

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My “Get home bag” – Part 1.

Growing up in Southern California, I have been through numerous earthquakes in my lifetime. Earthquakes are certainly one of the major concerns when you live in this area with fires probably coming in second. I have experienced both, and have been fortunate to have not been devastated by any natural disaster so far.

Personally, I am doing preparations on two fronts, those that I do with my family and those I do on my own. For myself, I have started with a get home bag for my vehicle. Since I live 20 miles from where I work, it could take the good part of a day to get home if I were to have to walk it. If I had to start for home late in the day, it could turn into an overnighter. So, I am building out my get home bag based on that theory.

I started by buying a Kelty daypack. It is their Redwing 3100 model (The new version is the Redwing 50) and has a volume of 3100 cubic inches; go figure. It should be big enough to where I can pack it as a “72 hour bag”. The straps are very adjustable and it seems to fit my body pretty well and feels comfortable so far. I will have to take it on a weekend trip to really give a definitive review on it.

The next item I bought was a Katadyn Vario water filter that has a ceramic, carbon and element type filters as well. The ceramic filter should be good for 500 gallons before having to change any of the the filters out. That should be enough to get me home. One of the reasons I chose this filter was that it screws on to any standard Nalgene bottle opening which should help prevent the bottle from getting knocked over and spilling while trying to pump the filter. I have a filled 32 oz. Nalgene bottle in each of the side pockets of my pack and have purchased 2 of Nalgene’s 96 oz. Wide-Mouth Cantenes. I liked these as they are collapsible and should not take up a lot of space when empty and will screw onto my Katadyn filter. I also carry a flat of 20 oz. bottled water in my trunk.

For cooking, I picked up a JetBoil “Group Cooking System (GCS)”. It is a bit big, but I think it will be easier to cook with. The other JetBoil stoves have a very vertical pot, which I think would be harder to stir the contents of if you are actually cooking food and not just boiling water. Because, my JetBoil stove is bigger, I have placed other cooking and food items into it, like my sporks/foons along with a can of fuel (1 of 2 that I carry), my collapsible mug, some PowerBar gel packets, a lighter, and a military style can opener just in case (not that I plan to carry canned food). I have packed all my food and cooking items into an Eagle Creek Pack-It™ Cube which seems to be a really good size (Meant for shoes, so the size of a shoe box) for all my cooking gear and food it and keeps it neatly organized into a quickly grabbed container. I am big on organization and segmentation of gear. I like having similar functioning items grouped in their own containers.

For shelter, I have my MSR Hubba single person backpacking tent that I picked up at REI. I bought it back around 2005, and have not actually set it up since around that time. So, I should probably take it out for a weekend to give it a good test run. I particularly liked this tent for it’s ability to allow you to sit up in it, yet still be compact and light. It weighs just under 3 pounds. As part of my shelter, protection from the cold, I picked up a cheap sleeping bag from Outdoor World / Bass Pro Shop. Although it only cost around $30 on sale, it is rated for -20 degrees. It is a lot bigger than I would like, but I did not have the several hundred dollars to spend on a good backpacking sleeping bag at the time. So, this will suffice for now since living in Southen California, it is unlikely to get to -20 degrees, unless I go and get stranded in the mountains in the middle of winter.

I will end there for Part 1. Look for Part 2 to follow soon.

 

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Water.

One of the primary parts of the survival triangle is water. One cannot expect to survive for more than a few days without it. Therefore, it is one of the first things that you should stock up on.

My family and I picked up a 5,000 gallon tank off of Craigslist for $1000. Given it’s capacity, it has the capability to provide a little over 13 people 1 gallon of water a day for an entire year.

We started by prepping the location by raking up all the rocks, and there were a lot of them. We did not put sand down, as the soil is very sandy to begin with (once we raked out the rocks that is). We then moved the tank into position.

We have since put valves on it and filled it with water. We will work on plumbing it soon.

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Why this blog…

I have come to the conclusion that my current lifestyle will not suffice if a disaster were to happen. I tend to eat out all the time and do not have much in the cubards, nor do I have any water stored up. If a natural disaster were to hit, like hurricane Katrina, or the tsunami in Japan, I would be in a world of hurt in a very short amount of time. So, this blog is to document how I am preparing for any disaster that may happen.

I hope that you will help by contributing knowledge, good methods and instructions.

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