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9/7/12

What have you been up to?

It's been a while since we've had a check in. What have you been working on? Projects, skills, adventures? Any interesting preps you've added to the arsenal? Something you've been trying to figure out? Let us know in the comments section.

We're working on squirreling away cash to pay for kid #2 coming in about six weeks now...gotta love deductibles, right? Getting stocked up on some baby supplies, too.

Been sucking up lots of one-time expenses related to moving - just dropped several hundred on vehicle registration, for example. What a racket.

I took the local state CHL class a few weeks ago - my current CHL is honored by new state (the South is good like that), but residents are supposed to get the local CHL regardless. Not really impressed by the instructor - a few noticeable bits of misinformation (.223 and 5.56mm are EXACTLY the same, for example) that he was adamant about. Wait time is going to be 1 month before the Sheriff's office will even let me submit the application, then around 90 days from that. Missing the laws out West already.

Purchased the Hillpeople Gear Highlander/C25 combo a while back and have been messing around with it. Not sure if I'm going to stick with it. The mass amount of buckles/straps can be more than a little frustrating to wrangle when you want to access gear, and then the top loader C25 makes that worse. If you drop the C25 bag, it does a very good job of handling oddball loads like water jugs, and would do well for hauling out quartered game, too.  I'm OCD about having gear readily accessible though, so your mileage may vary. I've got a bunch of money sunk into this pack set up, so if it's not "just right," it's going. Going to experiment with it a bit more before posting up a full review.

I'd really probably be happier with a panel loading design with a few organizational pockets in it, though those tend to max out at around 3000 cubes for whatever reason. A couple of the Eberlestock designs look like they have potential.

Bought a Sven Saw off Amazon - under a pound for a fullsize-ish saw. Slips into a pack pretty easily, deploys pretty easily.

Ryan from TSLRF got me thinking about NVGs. I really like the idea of NVGs, just not the price tag if you're buying 'em yourself. Even a $1200-$1800-ish pair of Gen 2s would be the most expensive non-vehicle thing that I own. Certainly provide a huge advantage in a lights out environment, and small solar chargers are cheap and common enough that keeping batteries charged would not be overly difficult. If you've got other stuff squared away and cash to blow, I'd buy NVGs before a 4th AR-15 or what have you. If your plans involve some kind of bug out, I would bump NVGs up on the list, too - moving under darkness, guided by NVGs my be a much safer option than broad daylight.

Selling off a few unused items to clear out space. Unlike some, I will never be a candidate for the Hoarders.

Stuff that we re-planted in the garden is actually growing well. Zucchini plant is huge.

35 comments :

  1. Personally, I have been trying to build content for my blog (www.traditional-skills.com) and save for a house while at the same time constrained by the fact that my wife is pregnant and we bought/needed a car.

    Is the Sven saw better than the sawvivor or a bahco laplander?

    In regards to night vision, NVG is crazy expensive. I am personally working on looking at night skills such as night navigation methods, adjusting your eyes to the dark without electronic help and blind movement (drum stalking example). NVG is great but heavy and is it really necessary?

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    1. The Sven is different then say the Bahco. You get a 21" saw blade, so its much bigger and should go through wood better. But, it's longer in a pack and is a bit more involved to deploy than open/close.

      Is NVG necessary? Nope. Like something like body armor, it's a force multiplier and good thing to have, though.

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    2. I agree about the saws. I've used both and while the Bahco is more easily carried and deployed, the Sven is sturdier and can handle much tougher jobs. It can also be used two-handed. I don't know about the weight difference, but I usually decide between them based on pack size and time of year.

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    3. I'm big fan of the Trail Blazer bucksaw, but it's a bit bigger, more complex and weighs more than the other options.

      http://www.campmor.com/trailblazer-24-inch-take-down-buck-saw.shtml?source=CI&ci_sku=47446WC&ci_gpa=pla&ci_kw=%7Bkeyword%7D

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    4. I've been an owner/operator of NVG's for 7 years now. When you need them, they are an indispensable tool. Hunting Yote's at night with them is downright unfair. They don't have a chance. I can imagine it would be the same during an engagement. The biggest issue you will have is the change in depth due to the optics reading the scene 6 inches in front of your face. Another thing to ponder would be the type of tube and ocular you want. I chose the dual tube gen 2+ due to the sensitivity and definition. You get depth perception as well as decent range for intercepting hostiles. I can pick out a yote at 300ish yards on a starry, partly moonlit night. Another issue is making sure your battle optics are NVG friendly, not many are unless you pay a premium. There are several other issues involved but they can be overcome fairly easily. I use RCR Li-po batteries and have a solar film usb charger for those. Totally modular and off grid application.

      You really can't understand how great they are, until you put them on the first time on a moonless night, and you can see individual leaves on the trees 100 yards away.

      If you want a full review, just post it up and I'll write one.

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  2. The Sawvivor is a GREAT saw, I've had mine for several years and can definitely recommend it. The collapsible 'triangle' saws are great for branches, but have problems dealing with limbs (>4"). The frame just doesn't have enough room to effectively work with it - frustratingly slow progress! YMMV - the Sven sure is compact, a thickened ruler is an apt description.

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    1. That was my guess on how it would perform. I would really like a nice wood folding bucksaw...the Woodlore one, for example, is very nice, but pricey.

      Tho, if it's >4", I'm probably better off using an axe.

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    2. Aluminum one's work great and only cost $45.

      http://www.campmor.com/trailblazer-24-inch-take-down-buck-saw.shtml?source=CI&ci_sku=47446WC&ci_gpa=pla&ci_kw=%7Bkeyword%7D

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  3. Personally I have been squirreling away as many nuts(food stuffs) as will fit in the tree. I am looking at a probabily long cold winter, so need to refill the kerosene tank for backup heating\cooking. Yes a dutch oven will work on the top of a good radiant kerosene heater, makes a nice crockpot type meal, and helps keep the humidity up in the dry winter air. Trying parched corn recipies, jerking beef, and venison, freezing and then storing rice, and beans, TP, and Maxi-Pads are stashed in several closets, and still finding more places to put stuff without looking like a crazy cat lady

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  4. I just got my SBR for a modified Saiga 12 semi-auto and took it in to get started. I ordered some foods from different manufacturers for a taste test before a larger purchase. And like our host, I've been thinning out some boxes of unused gear in preparation for a survival yard sale.

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    1. Let me know how you like the SBS'd Saiga 12. You going to name it?

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    2. I already have. He's short, mean and Russian and his mate is long, lean and sexy, (Saiga AK47) so they are Boris and Natasha.

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  5. I've been searching the Internet for DIY items. Today, I found a Rocket Stove with good directions. Directions and photos can be found at rootsimple.com in a March 28, 2012 entry. I found others on Pinterest that I might investigate further. Using wood that is twig size to cook with is appealing.

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  6. I'm still trying to get my first full bug out bag contruvted(with your help now that is) and also getting my nephew started on his, along with promoting my newest blog TEOTWAWKI CONFESSIONS blog, and continuing on with everything I wanted to learn for my main apocalypse blog, and waiting feverishly for every teotwawki blog post that comes out lol

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  7. Newly into the scene, I blasted through the book I won, "Brushfire Plague." Put together my first car kit and halfway done with my second. Explained to the youngest that we are making bags just in case we have to leave the house, like if there is a big fire. That seemed to make it better, coupled with the fact that we are reusing her school backpack from last year. Made some yummy instant mocha coffee, 3 pints, to store. It was a good week!

    Then I read up on scenerios and lamented that we aren't further along in prepping. But anything we do now is better than nothing at all. God bless!

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    1. Having something is way better than nothing! And some of the most likely scenarios (housefire for example) are managed with little kit - you may want to be ready for the zombie apocalypse but the chance of storms or something like a chemical spill are much more likely, and prepping for those is comparatively straightforward.

      So well done on getting started - eventually you'll have enough to survive the collapse of western civilisation!

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  8. My wife and Son gave me a Gen1 night vision monocular. It cost me just shy of $300. I picked it out and didn't want to spend a great deal on one until I saw if I really liked it and if I thought it could be useful. The answer is yes I like the one I have for now but, I would definitely like to up grade. One short coming I see (and it's my fault for not knowing what to look for) is the field of view is narrow at close range. Next time I will know to get one with a wider FOV. The IR light will light up something in the FOV out to nearly 100 yds. as close as I can estimate. A headset for the monocular would cost about $200 so I will forgo that option for now and concentrate on getting that option on the next better model I purchase.

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  9. Maybe a little heretical re: saws, but I have the cheapo-gerber folders or super-cheapo-walmart or Felco pruning ones in the EDC kits (depending on pack size), One of the "real" supply tubs has a bowsaw,extra blades,a Henry Disston crosscut saw (old, but in good shape), a couple Japanese-style pull-saws and replacement blades - once you use these the English saws seem like total crap. Never tried the new "pocket chainsaws", but all the "wiresaws" I ever tried out were junk. Do not forget sharpening files.

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    1. Japanese pull saws are AWESOME , I've had to use them for work and stuff and they effortlessly cut through even hardwoods like oak maple and mahogany. Would recommend them to anyone

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    2. I've got a couple of pull saws. They're much easier for us left handed folks to use.

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  10. Forgot - a hacksaw frame and a pack of blades won't hurt you, either...

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  11. If you have time please consider doing a full review on the Highlander/ C25 combo. The highlander (or Tara)/C25 combo does seem kind of appealing. Have shoulder straps for the day(ish) pack and you could use it independently, it plus the C25 would hold a ton of stuff, take out the C25 and you have a hauler. Then again maybe it is a lot of straps and a big hassle. I am not sure I am sold on the modular frame and bag setup. Especially when you add a compression setup on top that is a lot of straps and hardware.

    I will probably just use my old REI bag for awhile, maybe put a couple new pouches on it to buy me some more space/ utility. I am curious about what the whole package will look like once they put out a frame.

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    Replies
    1. Will certainly put up a full review - probably next week.

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  12. Just got done collecting coriander seeds off of my deck garden. I should have enough to last me 4 or 5 months in the kitchen.

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  13. In between repacking my BOB and EDC, and speccing out an In-Vehicle Kit, I've been wrangling with putting together a local survival map!

    Starting out with a waterproof terrain map (Ordance Survey Landranger maps ftw!) I've been adding agreed safehouses, good hunting and fishing spots, ready sources of clean water, grown and stored food supplies, fuel and tyre locations, etc. etc.

    I've been looking for a standard key of survival map markings, as most of the above isn't usually covered. If there's any resources available that I haven't found (or if we can put one together between us), I'd be very grateful. If I buy the farm in a survival situation, I'd like to think another survivalist could benefit by it being fairly standard and readable (yes, I know the other side of this arguement, and having considered it, I really don't see any benefit in making it unreadable).

    I would certainly appreciate an article on this process, and the comments from others it would bring!

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    1. La Plauge,
      I recently completed a map like the one you are discussing. I didnt use any markings on mine per se. But what I did was number and highlight key features. (Sometimes you just cant come up with a good symbol) After numbering I wrote a log on the back of the map explaining what it signified (boat ramp, food supply, cache, easily defendable safehouse) it helped alot. I also used the different colors to "group" these locations, even mighlighting main roads, back roads, and roads(trails) only a few of us know about. I made a couple copies to stash and for BOB and Vehicle bags. Laminated them all as well. I hope this helps, If you have any ideas that might make mine better, please share.

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  14. What have I been up to? Let me see. I recently picked up 2000 ft of actual para cord (not the wanna be stuff)and an Iguana fold out sleep system both for under $60, gotta love surplus stores. I am also in the procces of planning a 3 day river trip taking only my b.o.b. and my canoe. Cant wait to get out there. My only fire arms will be my .357 pistol just in case and a pump petel rifle for small game. I would like to take another person but it doesnt look like anyone can get the time off. I may be going at it alone but that is ok with me. Later on. Always prepping never prepaired.

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  15. Ran the salt river solo, on my 40th birthday , 5 days of awesome and introspective time. Class 4 in a 13 foot oar frame raft. I concider my keltec su 16 to be the ultimate rafting gun , it fits right in my large pelican box. As a side arm I brought my glock model 20 10 mm . As the raft is a big gear, beer, and food dump. I make sure to take a empty pack for a GHB . Had the engine rebuilt on my fj 80 landcruiser, so the BOV is in good shape. The whole 2012/ elction is right around the corner so thinking to kick my preps into a higher gear. Thanks for the read ,high desert livin out

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    1. I also use a Keltec as a "Paddle faster, I'm hearing banjos" gun, but I use the Keltec Sub2K in 9mm, with the S&W grips. It fits in the bladder area of my camelback, along with 2 30rd magazines, and looks right at home strapped infront of the cockpit of my kayak. The sheeple think it is either a snack bag, or my water system,yes it is both with a secret suprize in the back.
      My boys love to kayak, and the wife isn't interested so it is our pressure relief valve from home, not camping from them yet but have camped on islands in both lakes near Atlanta, shifting campsites evry AM, and repitching in the evening.
      PS since my post, my water filter arrived off backorder, and I ordered 500 more rounds 7.62X39 in a really good clearance.

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  16. Ive always had a interest in the keltec 2000/compatible with glock 9mm mags ,got a couple 32 round "party sticks". Very recently scored a model 22 (.40) law enforcement trade in tritium sights and 3 high caps for 350.00 . The beuty of the raft is that I pile 2kids , wife , and the dog. We will do 3 to 7 day river trips. As the kids get bigger we tackle more higher class rivers. As of the last post I picked up 200 rounds pmc bronze 223. Half elf its nice to hear your teaching the next gen. the way of the woods. High desert livin out.

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  17. Biggest drawback on the Keltec is the short pull on the stock, feels like kid sized weapon, but good out to 100 meters, and easy to stash. For a plinking weapon it doesn't take up anymore room than a AR-7, and packs 9mm power instead of a 22lr. Not a designated marksman tool, but packable in field gear.

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  18. Side arm:
    1) Added a light and some new sites on my pistol.
    2) Bought holster system for the lighted pistol.
    3) Increased range time and dry fire drills to be more proficient with pistol.
    4) Bought pistol plinking ammo in bulk, and some defensive rounds to see what feeds and fires like the plinking ammo.


    Long arm:
    1) researched and finalized a shotgun build to be primary home defense weapon.
    2) saving for the build, was almost there before I got sidetracked by my weakness: bad ass cutlery.
    3) researching for a good long arm safe/ locker.

    Prep:
    1) Added emergency water and non temperature sensitive food to my vehicle.
    2) Researching new vehicle as baby #4 was born 2 weeks ago, and the 3rd row of my current vehicle is not very spacious.
    3) Researched handloading to see money saved vs time spent.

    Health:
    1) Technique based workouts have been consistent, but I've cut down on weights and non technique based workouts due to time constraints. I still manage the occasional plyometric workout here and there, and sometimes I add quick weights circuit at the end of technique training, but consistent dedicated workouts are a thing of the past.

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  19. just finished up a combat medicine certification program. I’m also now a certified paramedic and I’m getting my time riding around in an ambulance down in Tijuana with the Red Cross (very fun times).
    I did a 6 hour seminar dealing with hazardous (dismantling meth labs and stuff like that)materials that was very informative.
    I’m working on my boxing skills as well. Boxing is just so fundamental; it’s something every one that wants to get started in learning how to fiscally defend themselves should know.
    I’m trying to turn my balcony in to a small green house. My tomatoes did not make it, but my carrots are coming along. I made the bottom part of the balcony in to a filtering system that also collects rain water that is actually working very well.

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    1. EdWood -

      Glad to see you're alive and well! Thumbs up on the combat medicine certification - was that through work, or on your own?

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  20. I got it through work. I’m working with smaller groups and need to be able to do more Jobs within the group if the need arises.

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