Amending Light Bag Contents and Why.

Link to Original Article. Rethink of a Light Bag.
Also the more recent posts “Ditch the backpack” and  Rethinking my IFK.

Note:-Updated as of 3/12/21
No pack, so the bow gets dropped.
Cord hammock dropped as Para-sheet hammock roll found cheaper, lighter, and less bulky.

So, the weight of vest (plus pouch belt and IFK) is close to 10 kg, 22lb.Which is going to be heavy for me but should be OK for most.
Remembering that you should not carry more than a 1/4 of your body weight, I weigh 165 lb, 75 kg, so my MAXIMUM carry weight should be something around 19 kg. (ROTFL)

Now the why.
When I looked back at my original bag list, dated 1985, it weighed in at a back breaking 31 kg, 68 lbs. How the hell I managed to lift that amazes me except I was 29 (ish), weighed in at 154 lb, 70 kg and, although I was a bit knackered, I was walking without sticks.

Back then it was all about being totally self sufficient come a bug out. So most bags were basically I.N.C.H, i.e. I’m Never Coming Home Bag.

The futility of carrying so much gear dogged me for many years. Something aching knees and just about everything else, plus getting older will do.

Then, nine years ago, I was watching an ‘shortie’ post apocalyptic film with the light bulb moment script; “Wanna know the funny thing about the end of the world? It’ll still be there afterwards”.

After talking in depth to a few also knackered preppers and survivalists, quite a few friends also cottoned onto the simple logic. Carry only what is essential and forage for the rest. After all most of us had no intention of bugging out into the wilderness (as in the UK there isn’t a lot of that) so prepping for every eventuality wasn’t appropriate.

We also discussed the basic immediate actions for most CBRN events which all call for getting into good insulated, sealed cover. Something that a debris hut or sheet tent was never designed to cope with. With that in mind, the focus changed from carrying full NBC gear to how to get out of “The Rain” quickly.

As a result my loadout reduced dramatically in weight, complexity, and BULK.

Over the years, I have constantly reviewed how ‘we as a couple’ move around in our daily lives in terms of what other people see aka The Grey Man Defense / Persona. Especially over the last year or so, as things are drifting towards a more disordered violent society. More so in the larger townships and cities.

The why is unimportant, it’s happening, and the more sensible preppers and survivalists are all re-thinking their daily routines and approach to being out and about.

The heightened sense of awareness (we now living in Jeff Coopers “Yellow level”), PLUS the ever scary Covid-19 situation, has increased our social distancing and overall wariness of everyone and everything that is going on around us.

Which is difficult as we’re quite social animals (only now wearing FFP3 masks) with ‘them like us’ i.e. the  little people in life.

We live our lives purposely making some friendships (which the ex-spurts call networking), and it has been proven ‘advantageous’ in all sorts of ways. As a result, some of the people we know (who polite society would cross the road to avoid) see us as no threat to a point where they freely assist us more readily than others.

Would they do the same if the chips were down?
That’s an unknown but, as a matter of course, we always dress down, wearing the same beaten out work jackets the whole year around, looking, acting (body language), speaking ‘street’, and as if we’ve not got a penny spare between us.

In short, is it going to be worth them rolling us? Na.
Would we appear as a person of interest by law enforcement? Na.
And on that happy note, this post ends.

My take on Foraging in Survival

This post forms a sort of ‘Part two’ to what type of prepper I am.

What is foraging in survival terms?
The text books list:

  • Foraging is searching for and exploiting natural food resources i.e. berries, nuts, and “wild” meat.
  • Scavenging implies taking of essential items such as food, water, shelter, or other material needed for survival.
  • Looting is different from scavenging and foraging as it implies taking items of luxury or not necessary for survival goods such as , precious metals, or other valuables.

The line between the three elements is difficult to interpret and on the ground the military or temporarily appointed “authority” would just treat everything as Looting. If martial law has been declared and summary justice authorized OR if street justice is in force, anyone caught stands a good chance of being killed.

That’s something that is paramount in my thinking as others rely on my skill set. Personal safety first as I can always come back later if I cannot find another source of what I need.

The boring legal bit follows.
Some of the content that follows describes techniques and activities, which may not be clearly identifiable as being illegal. It is the responsibility of the individual to abide by the law at all times. It is not recommended that any of the activities described actually be carried out. This article is informative entertainment purposes only. NEVER BREAK THE LAW.

So, where to start?
In survival terms, if you haven’t got what you need you’ll either have to make it, improvise, or go and get it.

The standard list of I need goes SHELTER, CLIMATE CONTROL (heating or cooling), FUEL / BATTERIES, CLEAN WATER, MEDICINES, FOOD, and whatever else you need.

Take the item SHELTER.
Scenario. You’ve broken down in winter outside an empty house, miles from help. Your choices are, stay in the car and freeze, or get into the house and the possibility of being able to call for help. AND YOUR CHOICE IS? Mine is to live by getting into the house ASAP using the minimal force and causing the least damage.

Another Scenario.
You’ve broken down in winter outside an occupied house, miles from help and the owner won’t let you in to shelter from the storm. He’s armed, or not, it makes non difference. To stay outside is death. AND YOUR CHOICE IS? Mine is I will gain entry one way or the other. The good Samaritan would have let me in so this one is either an idiot, scared, or a smart arse. So, I will force entry, and defend myself using the minimum of force necessary, in order to live.

Those two examples will show how I view EVERYTHING in survival terms.
There are no taboo’s, no limits, if you need something to survive, go for it.

What follows may seem like a lot of work ESPECIALLY if the Rule of Law has collapsed BUT you must appreciate that YOUR safety is paramount.
After all you can’t forage, scavenge, or protect your family if you are in jail or worse i.e. DEAD.

So what’s this all about? Getting in, out, and away INTACT with what you need.
There are three stages to this, surveillance, testing response, and your actions.

  • Surveillance / observation will tell you WHAT security is in place.
  • Testing response is all about what would happen WHEN you try to acquire things.
  • Your actions? They are determined by THE OTHER TWO.

Surveillance is all about finding out what you will have to cope with.

  • Physical Security (Both external and if possible Internal).
  • Caution is needed with carrying out an internal survey as your visit could be monitored and recorded by CCTV. Remember the police like to review old security tapes / disks after an intrusion.
  • Electronic systems i.e. CCTV, Alarms, Smart Water, Smoke Curtain, or noise bomb.
    BOLO for signage. Got to love UK HSE regulations haven’t you.
  • Can they call in Air Support or Aerial Surveillance
    If the area is under military control, both of the above could be a problem. Don’t forget they may have IR capabilities.
  • How far is the security firms base of operations from the site?
    Important information as you may need to consider that responding officers may arrive from two different directions.
    Does the security change M-F, weekends, or during national holidays?
    Look for the “B” team. Every firm has one. The idiots, the lazy, the apathetic.
    Is it manned security and if so is it 24 hr or just casual visit.
    If it is 24 hour I’d leave the site alone and move on BUT if you are desperate, be mindful that multi-manned sites usually operate local shifts i.e. one sleeps whilst the other patrols. Miss that and you could walk into double the trouble. Another reason for leaving a manned site alone.
    If casual visits are the norm, are those visits predictable?
  • Look for dogs. If there are dogs forget it and move on. Unless you can kill them prior to entering, the danger of harm to you is too great a risk.
  • WHAT resources does the response unit use i.e. Personnel only, personnel with dogs, are they armed?
  • What is their REACTION time to an alarm at different times, i.e. Daytime, Pre 03 h, After 04 h
  • HOW long are they going to stay on site  i.e. in and out in 5 minutes or stay hours on the site.
  • HOW do they react  i.e. a full search or just a gate rattle.
  • Are they alone, accompanied, male, female, armed, with a dog?
  • Is there a military, LEO, or authority, presence that forms part of the targets procedures. IF there is, walk away.
    IF they call for help, you might end up taking on a formidable response.

Testing Response
The simplest way of finding this out is to do what alarm companies hate, multiple false alarms. Having been a rapid response driver for a few security firms, I know that when an alarm goes off during conditions that are less than ideal i.e.windy, storms,when it is too hot or cold, responses are slower than normal. This is because false alarm rates soar on these occasions.

Note:- The second response to any site is usually faster than the first. Mainly because the driver now KNOWS the route to the location.

Providing there is no visible damage or signs of entry, multiple false alarms will usually result in turning the alarm system off pending investigation and repair the next day. It is rare for a mobile patrol to remain on site and even rarer for a key holder to stay.

In normal life (Not SHTF) Most security drivers have a large area to cover. If they are not carrying internal access keys (they rarely do for insurance reasons) they are usually limited to external checks probably only having a perimeter gate access card / key / or digital lock combination.

Regarding timing of false alarms.
Drivers are nearly always under time pressure to complete a round.
Give them at least 30-40 minutes on exit before triggering the alarm. Think random in timing though.
For example two false trips EXACTLY 30 minutes apart might raise attention.
Your objective is to put distance between the responder and the site. It must look like a continuous, if random, problem. The more they have to travel, the more the irritation factor kicks in. Especially from their control room.

For those have never worked civilian night patrol, 15 or more sites are normal for the average night patrol with 2 to 3 visits per site over a 12 hour shift the norm.

It is not uncommon for an urban driver to exceed 200 miles a shift.
Add a rural element and for one firm I was driving 300 miles a night.

Looking at the maths, that’s an average of 8 hours driving.
That leaves 4 hours “search” time.
15 sites, 2 visits a night, 30 visits or 8 minutes a site.
15 sites, 3 visits a night, 45 visits or 5 minutes a site.

Mostly it’s all about meeting insurance requirements not a proper crime deterrent. It’s also almost impossible to do this on a truly random sequence.  Geography always kicks in and it’s rare that drivers will shuttle from district to district in a random fashion.

It’s also unlikely that the key holder will attend in the small hours unless there is visible damage. Of course if they do and stay, you will just quietly move on.
Don’t just drive off from your OP though.
You stand a very good chance of being spotted and may even run into pre-warned extra patrols.

Bear in mind that what I have described happens in normal circumstances.
Add a bit of civil disturbance, mayhem, etc. and everything takes on a different persona. If anything life for the forager/ scavenger becomes easier.

Getting in.
Forget fancy. Think simple, fast, and energy-efficient.
Think Maximum Gain For Minimum Effort.
No perimeter security means you could just bust your way in using basic tools and techniques.
Don’t forget that getting in is only part of the problem.

Never enter a location without having at least one other way out
If you have the slightest doubt about anything, listen to that doubt and LEAVE.

Consider that time is critical and some internal defences could be hazardous to your well-being i.e.

  • SMART WATER sprays or other UV staining dyes can contaminate both clothing and skin. If you are then exposed to UV light, you “fluoresce ” or glow. It lasts for weeks.
  • Sound Bomb and Infra sound can upset your equilibrium for a long time.
  • Smoke, noxious air, and fire suppressant (sometimes used illegally as part of an alarm system) can affect your health.
  • Electric fences, bullets, and dogs can also be “harmful” to your well-being.
  • And, in times of emergencies or conflict, Mines, Man and Booby Traps could have been set.

Thoughts about your safety on accessing property
Consider the UK 2010 Riots.
Nearly all those caught were identified by CCTV. Why?
Because in the heat of the moment, they forgot to disguise themselves and the basics of forensics.

Survival, foraging and scavenging is not a game.
Your goal may be to survive during an event BUT all events end and then the consequences of your actions may be considered.
If the various security systems are still working and marshal law prevails, the last thing you need to be is to be identifiable.
Being hauled before a military tribunal could result in summary justice i.e. YOUR DEATH.

Dress appropriately.
Wear Waterproof hooded outer layers.
Drab common make clothing, slit balaclava, hat, gloves, and safety glasses.
Preferably clothing you can discard in case of UV Sprays
Use generic style footwear as unusual tread patterns can identify you.
Some even cover their boots with socks.
CARRY EAR PLUGS as defence against sound bombs.
Empty pockets, use standard patrol noise control procedures.

Shop to a list BUT include BOLO’s.
Access with a suitably sized rucksack.
Keep your hands free at all times.
If you are using a vehicle, Gray man it and anonymize your ride.
Leave your tools outside or hide them on entry after all you did find the door WIDE OPEN didn’t you?

If you are discovered, dump your load.
Taking shelter is a lesser charge than being accused of looting.

Timing your intrusion.
Get In, Get Out, as fast as possible.
You could use a bolt cropper, hammers, bars, lock picks, and saws if the site is unmanned and NOT under CCTV surveillance but it could take a long time and TIME ON SITE IS YOUR ENEMY.

Give yourself NO LONGER than 3 minutes inside ANY premises.
That’s an ABSOLUTE.
Longer than that is not only TACTICALLY STUPID but POSSIBLY SUICIDE if the SHTF and martial law has been declared.

A simple clockwork egg timer is useful, small, light, and insistent.
It also has another function.
IF someone appears on site, you can reset it to act as a diversion.

Too breach a gate, fence or a security grill at speed, use a vehicle.
Cutting or breaking locks isn’t easy.
Bolt cutters need to be a MINIMUM of 4 foot long.
Don’t try to crash through fencing.
Consider using a grapple or log hook with a line and pull the object out-of-the-way.
The last thing you need is a damaged vehicle.
Lorry straps are really strong. Add a couple of “D” links (aka Snap links) and simple to loop round things and jerk them down and out.
Memo:- Any vehicle you use should have a tow bar fitted as standard.

PIR / Other movement detectors
If you haven’t been detected by external means, the chances are as soon as you enter SOMETHING will detect you. 
Your problem is when nothing local goes off like an alarm bell. Just because you can’t hear anything, it doesn’t mean that the alarm hasn’t phoned out or radioed your actions.

Windows that open are usually linked into the security system or at least facing a sensor.
If you have to smash it, pop the corners using an engineers automatic punch and push it in. Use a cloth to cover the sill when you enter as cuts in a survival situation can be fatal.

All access points are normally alarmed, sometimes hardened and can trigger internal defences or alarms.
Having said that, UVPVC is generally your friend.
In the UK sub standard UVPVC units is the norm not the exception.
Panels can be kicked out, beading removed, protruding locks “snapped” or “pulled”.
Look for thumb turn locks on the inside. There are simple wire tools to bypass these items. Look on YouTube for designs.
Keys left in locks or half in /out? Again simple wire tools are used to pull and turn them.
Don’t forget the domestic integral garage and door into the property.
It puts you under cover and usually gives you access to the home owners tools.

Doors, carry a couple of simple wood wedges. Use them to prevent someone using the door you just pried open. Don’t forget to check that there is a way of opening the door on BOTH SIDES. IF in doubt, wedge the door open.

Am I contradicting myself?
Not if you think about entering a room you cannot get out of.

WTH! Sometimes builders put all their energies into hardening doors and windows. Yet, in some industrial units, a good shove with a truck tow bar may punch an accessible hole in a single brick skin or distort an aluminum shutter enough for you to squeeze in. After all a one tonne mallet is kinda efficient at doing that as opposed to a lump or sledge hammer.

Forget it. If you can’t shim or bypass a lock in under a minute, break in with the minimum visible damage.

Digital locks are simple to defeat with simple 6×6,7×7, 8×8 (standard), 9×9 mm metal “shim” tools. Don’t forget these locks are usually made of die cast aluminum bodies that yield easily to a standard 2 lb lump hammer.

Cheaper laminated snap shut type and some brass body ones can be opened using soda can shims. Not forgetting the simpler solution of a duck-bill wedge and sledgehammer. A noisy solution but highly effective. I carry a spare padlock to replace the one I cut.
Why? Because it delays entry to see what is going on. That could give you the few minutes you need to escape.

Alarm Sounders.
Don’t play round trying to disable these. Most are electronic and hardened.
You may be able to shut them down but the alarm may also be hard-wired into a central control office. All you are doing is wasting time by playing with them.
This is why I advocate the 3 minute limit especially in an urban environment.

Had enough?
Bottom line. PPPPP.
Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
Get in and out quickly.
If there is a shred of doubt in your mind about something not being right,

What sort of a prepper am I?

Why is it I keep on being asked this??
Probably because I keep on using the statement:-
Why worry about what can kill you in 10 years time
When there is so much that can kill you today.

So, to answer the post title question.
Pretty poor (money wise) would be the first comment.
What STYLE (if there is such a thing) am I would be the starting point.

What I’m not is a traditional ‘FORTRESS’ prepper.
That sort of prepper lays in extensive stocks and equipment to survive “most anything”, living ‘comfortably’, within their own home or a custom hardened shelter or BOL Bug out Location, until the scenario returns to normal OR someone comes to save them.  I gave up that notion some 14 years ago.

I’m not a run for the hills prepper.
Because I think that’s pretty stupid unless you are forced to do so as living off the land indefinitely is a young person’s game and not practical in a CBRN or a highly regulated and police state that you’ll find in the UK. Plus we are definitely not ‘young’ anymore. 

However this doesn’t mean I won’t bug out (self evacuate).
BUT, I will only use that option if all else fails.
If I do have to bug out, I will revert to another aspect of prepping (if not survivalism), foraging for what I need. 
If that is caused by flooding, it is unlikely that we would return to our home apart from recovering items.

That foraging would include the prepper mantra of Adequate Shelter, Clean Water, Adequate Climate control, fuels, Sanitation, local supplies, Personal Meds, and Security.

So where and what is me?
We do prep in the conventional way.
We have laid in supplies which has kept us sustained well over the last year. Although it’s been a rolling use and replace system.
We have good shelter (our home), basic equipment, water storage, sanitation and security. Yet, we do live in a historically vulnerable place for flooding. i.e 500 m from the sea. So bugging out or self evacuation is on the agenda if required.

What’s missing? What’s the extra?
Life experience has equipped me with the skill set to forage for what I need (As per the prepper mantra listed above) IF I CAN’T GET IT ANY OTHER WAY.

Can I questions.
Can I live off the land? Yep, I have good field skills.
Can I trap and fish? Yep, as well as shoot.
Can I gain access? Yep, If required. Into hardened facilities? Yep.
Can I defend us? Yep if required.
In short I’ve a scary set of practical foraging  and other skills.
Most of which aren’t age or physical ability restricted.

Prepper or survivalist.
A prepper lays in supplies and equipment in order to survive the forthcoming storm. They will then use their skills to survive that storm with what they have stashed away until rescued or the scenario has finished.
A survivalist will keep a minimal stock of essential items to survive the same storm but trains to live off the land by foraging for what they need. Thus they will generally remain mobile and that means their lifestyle will be basic, a little harder and uncomfortable, and arguably more dangerous, than a fortress prepper.

So, who and what am I?
I’m a prepper with what some would say is a questionable set of morals because I will take what I need to survive if I cannot source it from anywhere else.

Any questions??

Informational, foraging notes. Glass.

OR, other ways of breaking glass aside from using a brick.

Noise is one heck of a people magnet, so when you need to break glass, think QUIETLY.

How to stop the sound of the glass breaking?
Stick something all over the WHOLE pane.
Old ways used brown paper painted with syrup or thick axle grease
Newer ways included:-
Duct (Gaffer) tape or Masking Tape.
Sellotape isn’t generally robust enough.
Sticky backed plastic works a treat but is difficult to use.

What to use to break the glass?
Thick pad and large hammer.
Gentle taps in the corners until the glass breaks in a controlled way.

Or,break up the ceramic insulator from a spark plug.
(Street name, Ninja Rocks).
Throw the pieces at the glass.
It will however be noisy as taping the glass isn’t an option.
And finally a huge gouging curved scratch with a piece of road granite chippings and an elbow was all it took to take the outside pane out of a vehicle.

Or, an automatic center punch. The sharp point easily breaks glass.
Not forgetting some knives have a glass breaker in the pommel.
And there are professional breakers like the RESQUME tool.

Now you need to know your glass as safety glass is two layers of glass forming a sandwich with a plastic ‘filling’. It will break really quietly and then you can simply push the pane through.
Bullet resistant glass and some vehicle window glass is a many layered sandwich so the basic rule is thick glass don’t break.
Window glass could be toughened as in vehicles and doors and shatters to tiny little pieces, While cheaper window glass breaks into shards, RAZOR SHARP shards. (Reference Post from 2014)

Double glazed units.
Tape the outside pane and pop it in the corners then lift out the now broken pane.
That leaves the inside glass.
Same principle, tape and pop the corners.
Why not just chuck a brick through it?
Because the inner gap acts like a shock absorber and bricks have a NASTY way of rebounding at the thrower. (See youtube for examples).

Why do you need to know this?
One never knows when such knowledge could be useful.

MRE’s are ‘OK’ but many used their initative.

Meals Ready 2 Eat.
High calorie, fast food, once the preserve of the military but now not so much.
They’re apparently coming in a multitude of recipes now and cater for “religious” and faddy milksops aka vegan or whatever.

Anyway, they worked for us, and a few will know what I’m talking about when I mention the joys of dog food cans of “dead man’s fingers” (which somewhat dates me)!

Yet long term, they did you no good and you either had a batch that used up all the toilet roll within a few hours or you had to pay a visit to the Doc for some of his “syrup” to move the unmovable.

So the wise learned fast that man cannot live on canned or powdered crap for ever! That and fresh veg and plenty of good water is REALLY important to keep the tubes from blocking up.

But what did we forage?
If it was furry or feathered, it made top of the list.
The range of tricks we used for trapping grew into an art form and ideas were freely swapped, as were recipes.

Why trap? Why advertise your presence by shooting?
Having said that, a few of us tucked BB guns and catapults (slingshots) in the gun racks. One guy I remember was deadly (to wildlife) with his slingshot.

A “clean” river or deep stream sometimes yielded fish and filter feeders.
Plus bulrush. A very versatile little plant is that little gem.

Lakes, ponds, or swamp, were always left as you never knew what had been dropped in them and algae floats, scum, that ‘dank’ smell, and no animal or bird sign was a definite show stopper.

Hedgerows usually had a few picking and I can remember the joy of finding a whole wood full of mushrooms and wild garlic. Farmers fields were a free larder but it was better to trade with the locals using Compo, cigarettes, and fuel, as currency for eggs, milk, butter, and the local hooch.

Yet I can also remember dining (messing) with the Gurkha’s.
For them you always took the cheapest bottle of Brandy you could sneak into your pack or a crate of beer as they EXCELLED in field cooking. We also stowed a LARGE sack of rice if we knew they were ‘on station’.
Couple of bottles and that rice made you welcome as far as food was concerned. Only it was wise never to ask what was in the pot.

Now, I don’t get exposed to all that fun but still forage.
Hedgerows are my favorite but those wood pigeon and dove that land with a thump in the back garden are mighty fine specimens. 😉

The borders on farmers field’s sometimes yield good pickings after harvesting.
It’s easy to snag stuff there as modern farm machinery doesn’t work too well along the edges.

Of course, you need to be careful.
Some farmers prefer to let stuff rot away, than allow a ‘little’ bit of foraging.
Tight sods!

So, a couple of questions.
Does all your foodstuff come in plastic trays or boxes with sell by dates?
Or do you get to forage for natures bounty?
Quietly browsing the edges or even trapping and fishing for a delicacy.

And finally. Before you ask.
Dead man’s fingers? Tinned sausages!

Going Shopping

I was asked by a troll (you’ll see why I call it that in a moment) IF PUSH CAME TO SHOVE, and we as a couple had to survive, what would we be foraging for off others (the word foraging kept changing to include looting, stealing, breaking into, robbing, and illegally obtaining) in order to survive .

OK I get it.
This fool doesn’t like the idea that in an emergency I would be saving our lives by taking what I needed from wherever I could and in doing so I’m apparently upsetting his trollish values. So I’m really going to upset him, or maybe her, or even something in between, (you never know with a troll) and print my shopping list because no one should ever go shopping without one.

Shopping list Essentials
### life-preserving

###Bottled water Top Priority
Canned food
Honey if sealed.
Sealed packet food (including flour)
Rice! If dry and sealed.
Stock cubes (foil)
Black bin bags for waste disposal
Smaller bags for personal waste

Cook pots with lids, vacuum flasks, mugs
Paper plates, cups, plastic KFS (saves water, you dine then trash them).

###Personal Hygiene.Toilet paper
###Soap, Toothpaste, Shampoo,
###Disposable razors, brush, hair scissors
Bleach, Chlorax, Pool shock, disinfectant.
###Alcohol hand cleanser (dual use as it’s useful for fire lighting)

###ALL THESE Medical supplies, (First aid box) contents
Sterile anything, gauze’s, dressings, bandages, tape, steri-strips,
Medical superglue, medical instruments, any fast acting hemostatic agent.
###Antiseptics and antibiotics (Simple scratches and cuts can kill)
Eye wash, OTC eye drops, Tooth repair kit, dentist tool kits.
OTC meds, vitamins, ###Surgical spirit or Isopropyl alcohol 99%
Permethrin and bug repellents

###Life preserving Prescription Meds we both need.
Top priority second only to water.

PPE. FFP2 masks, disposable overalls, nitrile inspection and work gloves, sunglasses, hats (preferably bump caps), safety glasses, ear plugs.

Clean clothing
Why? Because washing machines need power and in winter nothing dries on a washing line.
Socks, underwear, tee shirts, jumpers, jogging pants,
(Generic, and in many cases one size fits all).
Clean sheets (as sleeping bag liners).
Shoes or boots if we can get them. Wear one pair, while drying the other, keeping one pair spare.
Outer wear as the seasons change.

Camping gear. You name it we’ll have it and:-
Bed rolls or Sleeping bags, Ground mats, hammocks, Dry Sacks
Why multiple bedrolls and sleeping bags?
Over time without cleaning they lose their insulation capabilities and cleanliness)
Bottled gas and burners
Gaffer Tape (never leave home without it)
Sewing needles and threads.

Denatured alcohol, aka methylated spirits, petrol, diesel, heating oil.
Candles, batteries, torches, lanterns, head lights.
Fire lighters, matches, Disposable lighters, ferrocerium (Steel match)

###Teabags! (As nothing gets done in our home without a cuppa tea!)
Long life Milk, Creamer, or Dried milk (makes a good cheese if you add lemon juice).

Weapons, ammo, spares.
Tools as required.

Now you, and Dearest Troll, could argue that as we are preppers, we should have all of this.
OK, point taken BUT it’s a stupid person that uses their own supplies first before looking for replacements. While we may have Robin Hood tendencies we ain’t stupid!

What’s missing?
I left off the color TV and the Jacuzzi.
Why?  I love the sound of a troll crying.

Without government, disaster can make opportunity

Recently hurricanes, typhoon, and other natural events have wreaked havoc in multiple countries. In non Western third world countries, government help is usually minimal (if at all) and once again the people have had to forage for what they need.
In some cases the world’s media coverage has reported that the police are letting them.
Shock and horror eh. People looting for things like water, food, and medical supplies.
The wise in the police understanding the gravity of the situation.

Then there is the US.
Disaster relief and emergency protocols are organized.
EBS issues warnings, he TV, I read you can even get personal messages on mobiles from the president.
State governors go on the TV wearing NAVY hats. (What is that all about anyway?)
Trump promises to visit after another grueling 18 holes. (Wow!)
The National guard occasionally get deployed.
FEMA and state shelters are in place for the fortunate.
Those who would ride out the storm can be ordered from their homes to a place of safety.
Law enforcement are keeping things under control.
EMT and fire/rescue are on the roll as soon as it’s safe.
You know, everything is organized.
No, I’m not delusional, it can happen as advertised, SORT OF, SOMETIMES.

BUT away from the cities and townships you are largely on your own.
Yet devastation rarely destroys everything and some of it can be recovered and used until someone sat behind a desk pipes up and says “Shouldn’t we be checking on the little people and more remote settlements?”
Then after a pause while the rich people and big business get priority, someone gets dispatched to help them. Only that can take days, if not weeks.

So what about them ” Little people and the more remote settlements”.
Self and neighbor help is probably working BUT that holiday home down the track, now scattered across the land, contains all sorts of essential goodies like cans and essentials that folk might need to survive until help arrives.

So what you going to do, walk past a case of cans or whatever?
No, you’ll probably do what I would, scoop and walk off.
What if your home is flattened but that one isn’t.
Will you stand outside the unoccupied dwelling like all ‘good’ people would and drown or freeze to death? I won’t.

In cities and some townships some WILL call that looting, and seeking shelter in the UK is illegal full stop.
Law enforcement will of course uphold the law (unless they live local and ‘understand’).
Even if they did, once the owner arrives and if you’re still there, they will usually flip and demand ‘justice’, and woe betide you if something is found missing or damaged.

So just where does the law stand if you need something to survive?
Actually it’s quite simple.
In Western law you’re in the wrong.
Get caught and you may have to explain and usually answer for your actions.
Neat twist isn’t it.
To survive without adequate support from your caring government you may need to forage and scavenge, but to do so may get you free board and lodgings courtesy of the state for a time following a court case in a sanitized ‘polite’ room where the only danger to those judging you may be if the air conditioning fails.

Thus I recommend you always remember the NUMBER ONE RULE of the forager / scavenger.
All natural events come to an end, usually abruptly,  and that’s when civilization kicks back into gear with all it’s quaint little laws.

That and don’t just think that no power equals no security, including CCTV, so you must be safe. In modern systems batteries can last for weeks! You, captured in color, searching their garage for fuel. In survival, like life, you must always think tactical.

Not forgetting the best words ever uttered by a US president.
“The most terrifying words in the English language are:
I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” – Ronald Reagan

That and ‘sometimes’ honesty and law abiding isn’t always the best policy.
Especially in survival.

A Few Tools

OK, why?
There may come a time when you need to rescue someone or forage for what you need.
This forms the basis of my foragers tool kit.

The mattock and the the micro pick.
Tip to tip the heads are only 9 ½” . A traditional cutter and a conventional pick point that only takes minutes to power its way through a single layer conventional brick wall.
Let alone make short work of all but the strongest of padlocks and useful for punching locks.
Which is why you need the hammer.
The pick being the better of the two as a foragers tool.
A useful trick is to slip the head off to leave you with a useful 15 ” heavy duty baton.
Weighing in at 26 oz (0.75 kg), whatever tip, they might seem a bit heavy but the sheer wreaking power of this basic tool far outweighs this weight disadvantage.

Number Two and as cheap as chips, useful for wreaking, digging, and for self-defense.

Number three, way cheaper than chips, the Claw Hammer

Number four, the folding garden saw.

Works a treat on PVC and wood doors.
Just punch a hole using the pick, insert saw and away you go.

Number five, 8 ” Fence wire cutters.

You don’t need a massive pair to cut chain link or barbed wire.

Total Bill? £30. ($40)