Saturday, November 7, 2009

Links to articles about "The New Homeless." People living in their vehicles, RVs, etc.

Please explore the link below. It's my Google search this morning to cast some more light on what I was writing about and linking to earlier this morning about living in a van or "stealth camping." Living in a work van that has been converted into a shelter is an intermediate plan I have in 2010. That is to say, I want to have that capability, not that I want to start that way of life!

Link: Google Search - "homeless people living in vehicles."

Reading about Conversion Vans and "Vanning" leads to "Stealth Camping."

What I want to have on this blog is every possible angle on survival that I can either write or find. Just as examples of what you can do if you have to.

I have been thinking about purchasing and modifying a van ever since I read about people living in RVs and vans across the country out of necessity. The New Hoovervilles are out there, sometimes neighborhoods soak up the homeless people that would become the tenants in a local Hooverville if they were not fortunate enough to have a pickup truck with a cap on the back or a small RV or van.

Some towns in California have banned people from "camping" in neighborhoods...great economy!

Yesterday, I was looking at a bunch of sites on "Vanning." That is, stuff on VANS! You know, the kind you drive around in. I had this little notebook filled with things I have observed over the years about vans that I liked, how people had the back of them set up, etc., then I found a site that had a lot of what was in my notebook in one, small article you can read in this link - Van Modifications.

That neat little discovery led me to another one you can read in the next link - "Conversion Van Camping Tips."

If you have been reading this blog, you know that it's not only about "survival" but it is also about utilizing aspects of "escape and evasion" if you have to in order to survive. Simply knowing that a ferrocerium rod throws hot sparks you can start a fire with is not enough anymore.

I kept reading and searching and I'm putting this together so you don't have to. I fell into a series of articles about "Stealth Camping."

Then I found the following articles on it, all interesting and definitely food for thought.

"Bicycle Touring & Stealth Camping."

The Secrets Of Stealth Camping

Extreme Stealth Camping Tips

Is all of this earth-shattering or groundbreaking news? No, not to many of us. But, it's interesting and it gets the mental gears turning and that's what this blog is about, anyway.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wisdom from Teddy Roosevelt...

First we had some wisdom from The United States Marine Corps...which was sort of advanced! Lots of stuff to think about in that post...

Here is some "kit wisdom" from Theodore Roosevelt:

"The explorer would do well always to have on his person a compass, a light waterproof bag containing matches, a waterproof box of salt, and a strong, light, linen or silk fish-line with several hooks, a knife, and an automatic at his belt, with several loaded magazines for the latter in his pocket. Thus provided, if accidentally lost for several days in the forest, he will be provided with the possibility of getting game and making himself shelter and fire at night." ~ Theodore Roosevelt, 1914

Monday, October 26, 2009

One more picture of the PAL Survival Light

The software would not let me post all of the pictures I had of the PAL! So, you get yet another one which will give you possibly a better idea of the size of the light. It was with me last night at the see "Paranormal Activity." This is not a movie review blog...but...avoid that movie like the PLAGUE! 8-)

LED flashlights are not only great companions in dark parking lots so you can make sure no one jumps you and takes your Skittles, also must-have items in movie theaters to avoid legs and feet placed in the isle on purpose or accident, bubble gum on floor and other critical applications.

PAL Survival Lights

I have owned a couple of PAL Survival Lights for about ten years now. I placed them on my website way back when in two articles...

Nighttime Companions One

Nighttime Companions Two

I have been hard on them over the years and they have taken a ton and a half of abuse. They have been dropped, stepped on, forgotten with a battery in them under a car seat for a year in all kinds of weather - YOU NAME IT!

Rainsoaked, 140+ degrees (F) in a vehicle for weeks, frozen temperature for weeks on end and some days swinging from 25 or so up to almost 90 degrees within hours...being in the greenhouse that is a vehicle in the sunshine with the windows up.

FINALLY, I broke one of them about two years ago, it was my fault. The second one, ten years old, fell to a faulty 9-volt battery a month or so ago and that was that. I had to check out the newer ones...and they are very, very nice pocket LED flashlights.

On one of my old ones, you can see in one of the links provided to my website article, I pierced the rubber case of one PAL Survival Light - in two places - and threaded through some ParaCord to make a neck carrier for the light. Well, innovative as it once was, you don't have to go through the trouble now as the PAL Survival Light comes with a little lanyard bail on the back of it that even folds away if you are not using it.

The front of the body has a small hood now so you get less sidespill of light and offers a bit of protection to the focused lens mounted in the body of the light.

It runs on common 9-Volt Batteries and the light will run for a year on the constant ON position and that's a great thing because you can spot the small dot of white light on the ceiling of a dark room, or even under the seat of a vehicle where it has been lost for months, having slipped between console and seat. In various equipment bags, it will be easily spotted down in the darkness, ready and able to help you out.

I would be lying to you if I told you the PAL Survival Light was the best light out there or that it is going to replace all of my flashlights or that it could replace all of your's. We're not about that here.

What I will tell you is this, your First Aid Kit (FAK), your bag you carry all of your Every Day Carry (EDC) items in...your Bug Out Bag (BOB)...your Survival Kit (SKIT) are probably in need of a PAL Survival Light and probably a little bit less of a kit without one of them shining dimly in the bottom of the bag. Your flip-up console between the two front seats of your car or truck and the glove compartment...are probably in need of one of them as well...

Here are the specs and a few pictures of the brand new model I have. All of the dust in the pictures are from my pockets.

National Stock Number #6230-01-465-3082

The constant on glow-mode can last up to one year (That's not hype, that's a fact.)

The emergency strobe feature can remain on for up to 100 hours.

The low beam can also last up to 100 hours.

The high beam? 40 hours!

The PAL Survival Light weighs 2.9 ounces and is highly water-resistant, something that is also not hype!

Buy several, you won't regret it.

Canadians get it right...

On certain forums which shall remain nameless, we have been discussing how The United States of America seems to be getting more and more tyrannical when it comes to pocketknives and some tools yet Canada actually encourages people to carry the proper equipment when venturing outdoors.

These conversations were born out of discussions on children being suspended or expelled from school and from the signs in parks all over The United States that are listing knives and axes as prohibited items.

So, some fine Gent posted a picture of this poster from a park in Canada, it's great!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A New Website: Urban Evasion Dot Com

Good luck Brent!

Urban Evasion Dot Com

Straight Knife Bypass Tool, Peterson Bypass Tool for some American Locks and Padlock Shims

The YouTube Video Link above will show you how a simple "Straight Knife" Bypass Tool can work on a lot of padlocks.

More complicated bypass methods used to bypass American Lock Co. padlocks can be viewed in the YouTube clips below.

No, I am not in any of the videos nor are they mine.

Now for some Padlock the first link, investigate the other links within it for how to make shims out of soft drink cans, etc.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lock Bypass Tools - "Comb Picks"

These Bypass Tools are called, "Comb Picks." They're not really lockpicks at all, they are bypass tools. Both "Bypassing" and "Picking" are "Lock Manipulation" but they are not the same. These tools are called "Comb Picks" because they look like a small comb and I guess "Comb Bypass Tools" didn't sound half as cool as "Comb Picks."

The way "Comb Picks" work is simple. Instead of picking the lock, both the bottom and lower pin of each pin stack are forced into the upper chamber of the shell, compressing the spring that sits over top of the top pin. This allows the plug-cylinder to freely turn.

In regular Lockpicking, the pins are manipulated by pick and wrench in such a manner that the lower pin stays in the plug-cylinder and the upper pin in each stack is trapped in the upper portion of the pin chamber. So, again, with "Comb Pick" bypassing, both pins in each stack are compressed against the spring into the upper chamber and the "Comb Pick" remains in the plug-cylinder and it can freely turn.

The reason "Comb Picks" can work is because many locks are very cheaply made. Now that we have trusted American names of lock manufacturing like Master and American being made in China, well, they don't really care if the lock is easily bypassed by a tool like this. They just want the money. There are millions of locks on the market right now and out in the field that can be bypassed with these tools. Shortcuts to create more profit is the reason this security problem exists.

All they have to do is shorten the upper pin chamber to the point where the lower pin, upper pin and the spring under compression will not all fit into the upper chamber. If they did that, the "Comb Pick" will fail. That's how easy it would be to fix the situation and in fact, when locks were manufactured better, this was less of a problem than it is now.

Furthermore, "Comb Picks" will not work on all locks and due to variations in spacing and depths from different manufacturers, you have to carry a few Comb Picks around to have any real chance of success other than simple luck. They are worth examining, in my opinion, for emergency kits.

Comb Pick YouTube Video One

YouTube has several videos on Comb Picks, check them out. Here is a YouTube Video which shows you how a Comb Pick works using a cutaway lock. The lock is upside down so don't let that confuse you.

Before the authoritarian control freaks start scribbling in their Orwellian Official Informant Notepad™ ...these tools are easily made with a set of automotive feeler gauges and a file.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Did you pick the lock in the wrong direction? Non - Plug Spinner Solution...

I was writing over on Bladeforums (a cesspool that is sometimes fun to wade around in) about using waxed dental floss to pack a pin tumbler lock cylinder that you have picked in the wrong direction, to be able to move it to the unlocked position instead of having to pick the lock all over again or use a plug spinner device.

One member, "LK," posted a link to this YouTube video. When I watched the video, I was doubting that there were any pins in the cylinder shown because YouTube is infested with kids picking Medeco high-security locks in a very short amount of time when in fact they have removed the high-security features and probably a couple pin stacks as well in order to do so. Don't get me wrong, there are very interesting and valuable videos on YouTube, I'm just very skeptical about anything I see on YouTube until I try it myself.

I tried this and it works, the following is what I wrote and posted in that Bladeforums thread on dental floss:

Well, the main, secret use of waxed dental floss is in Non-destructive Entry (NDE). Which has been mentioned in the Urban BOB thread. It has to be waxed. Locks pick in two directions, to the unlocked position (Captain Obvious!) and also the locked position. If you pick a lock to the locked position, well, it doesn't open and you have to start over again and pick it the other direction or use a plug spinner which is yet another Locksmith tool. I have owned HPC, A-1 and Rytan plug spinners and as far as I'm concerned, they all suck.

If you pick the lock in the wrong direction, remove the pick and then hold the lock in that position with the turning tool (tension wrench) and pack it with waxed dental floss which will form a correctly cut key inside the keyway! Once you pack it in place with the pick until you cannot get anymore in the keyway, turn the plug back past the normal position to the unlocked position. Old Locksmithing trick of the trade.

In order for something like this to be very valuable, it has to have a very, very high precentage rate of working or it's useless. If it doesn't work it means it stopped in the lock position and you have to start over again. You know this if you pick locks, this is to explain to others reading this that don't know.

If the method doesn't work well, you will end up re-picking cylinders anyway so why use a plug spinner to begin with, if you are going to end up picking it again you could just reset the turning tool and pick the thing again now that you know which way it picks to the unlocked position.

With the rubber band, I tried it four times within about a minute on a picked five pin Schlage going right and left back and forth. Works incredibly well!

I think I would keep waxed dental floss just in case I run into something that I either cannot secure well like a padlock or because there is a tight turning cylinder that would not respond well to this method. The lock has to be in very good working order for the rubber band to work or a plug spinner.

The A-1 Security Mfg., I don't even know if they still make them, has a coil spring. The HPC Flip-It and the Rytan have flat spring steel springs in them that take a twist. A combination of turning the tool and hitting the button is supposed to spin the plug but they have just never worked for me at all.

The rubber band idea works on a lock at this time that:

1. Works perfectly, mechanically.

2. Has no drag on the tailpiece, i.e., it's not connected to the deadbolt assembly or other bolt.

So, I am hoping that this is not a case of something working in a laboratory but not out in the field. There are a lot of people that will tell you flat out that raking is useless and for the amateur and that single pin picking is the only way to go. That's true in a lab you have set up but not true in the field. Because of awkward hand positions, cold weather and a host of other issues, if you actually want to be able to open locks in the field, you better know how to do everything.

If the lock is tempermental with the correct key, the rubber band method is probably not going to be very successful. If the lock cylinder functions properly but there is some issue with the boltworks attached to the tailpiece, again, might not work well or at all and you would have to go to waxed dental floss or a really excellent plug spinner which you seem to have. But before you rely on that thing, test it out on cylinders that you are likely to find out in the field, i.e., ones that have not been maintained very well.

On a stand-alone pin tumbler cylinder that works properly and no linkage attached to the tailpiece, the rubber band method is a dream come true really. I hope I get good results later on with other locking devices.

Here is the YouTube video for your education:

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Emergency Wireless Phone Charger Part 2

After two days, it is doing well. It won't charge the phone but you can get about 90 minutes of talk time out of it attached! When I say it won't charge the phone, you cannot just plug it up and let a AA trickle charge one of these Lithium ION Batteries but it will sit there and allow you to talk for quite some time.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Emergency Wireless Phone Charger

I have the absolute worst luck with things like this. I mean, you have a phone and you have chargers from the manufacturer and they charge so much money for so little, you sort of get into the mindset that everything associated with such a device has to cost a lot of money in order for it to work.

This little device, with a battery included, cost $5.99 in a gas station. It was an impulse purchase, I couldn't resist the temptation of wasting that plus 6% sales tax on something that would not work.

Guess what?

It's working so far.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Urban Survival Primer Part 1

Urban Survival Primer

Urban Survival...

Just what is "Urban Survival" anyway?

Well, what a controversial topic. Urban Survival, which we will shorten to "UrbSurv" for this discussion, is a very dangerous subject indeed.

There are short, intermediate and long term survival situations which could befall any urban area. In the short term, it is probably best to Shelter In Place (S.I.P.). Even then, you may find yourself in such a dangerous situation that you can no longer extract yourself from it.

Worse yet, there are certain types of terrorist attacks where you would have to SIP but in so doing, you leave yourself vulnerable to danger in the aftermath of that terrorist action. What that means is, you can survive the terrorist action by Sheltering In Place and then fall prey to the actions of people who are more criminal opportunist than good neighbor.

Or maybe they will be incredibly desperate to the point of crossing over between the two types of people. How would you react if a loved one could not obtain lifesaving medication? Please spare me all of the, ”I will prepare so well beforehand that will never be a consideration…ALL looters should be shot on sight.” You are going to be one sorry individual if your plans go the way of many well thought out plans…right into the commode.

Anything other than short-term SIP?

Get out of the urban environment, you are already in over your head.

Now, some people can prepare and survive. Look at some of the people in New Orleans. Some of the people that knew they had high enough ground that they would be safe and they had food and other supplies stockpiled and they had the all-important gear necessary for real-world survival - firearms.

Now, firearms are not the panacea for all problems. You can have all of the high-tech armament in the world and you can know how to use it - it still won't purify water or do one hundred other tasks that you will need to know how to do. You will find it hard and sometimes impossible in some situations to keep your supplies, especially food and medications, if you don't have the FINAL WORD of Authority when it comes to your shelter. If you don't have the means to repel boarders, they might just take your shelter from you...and a whole lot more.

Some people think this is paranoid lunacy, well, I would dearly love to see those people suffer under the situations they think they can survive under with a kind word, a smile and simply "reasoning" with people. They'd be out in the cold very quickly...or worse.

Getting back to the fundamental problems of surviving in an urban environment, this is a tree with many branches. For one thing, if you live in a city, you should be practicing your skills every day. That doesn't mean you SIP for a weekend and drink beer. Every time you leave your home, you should be aware of your surroundings. There are so many situations, Self-defense situations, that don't have to happen if you are simply aware of your surroundings, just like defensive driving, you should always be aware of what people are doing around you and constantly searching for your "Out."

Your "Out" is your escape route. The route to safety and you should always be cautious when people try to block you in and limit your Out.

If people box you in on the highway, limiting your choices of escape, then you can get into a situation where you become involved in a crash. Criminals actively seek out people who are not aware of their surroundings and who are not paying attention and they deliberately seek to put you into the situation where you have no Out or where the only apparent Out you have is blocked by the criminal's friends, family and associates in the form of an ambush. The ambush will be a very short and very violent situation.

There are some situations where there is no escape, you will have to fight your way to the Out. Don't believe Good Time Rock and Roll Martial Arts Writers who tell you otherwise, this is why you have to have the capability to fight with and without weapons, because some times, the escape route is blocked.

Living a life with these things in mind is no more emotionally cumbersome than driving defensively, it is no more "paranoid" than defensive driving. People that tell you otherwise are probably terrible drivers and don't really care about driving safely in the first place.

Have you ever watched a driver do something in a parking lot that was so incredibly stupid and their car is all beat to hell from multiple minor accidents? How do you think their car got to be that way? They don't care. They're morons. Take note of their bumperstickers, you will learn a lot about people. No, I'm not kidding, I'm not just taking the opportunity to offer up a cheapshot at people I disagree with, I really mean it, I see it every day.

Watch the shadows around you in life, on the street, use storefront glass and vehicular glass like the rear view mirrors on your car to stay aware of your surroundings.

So, you have to cultivate this mindset that you are always looking for your ”Out,” for your "Safe Passage." There, that term is politically correct and might make you feel warm and emotionally more secure or something “progressive.”

If you don't cultivate that mindset and learn those skills you need and you become the target of some criminal, then you're on your own, you're already behind the reactionary curve with little or no reactionary gap to take advantage of.

Then you have to learn unarmed combat, yeah, I said combat. More than that, Practical Unarmed Combat. Be aware that most of what passes for Practical Unarmed Combat today...isn't very practical. Without dwelling on that any longer, you learn that and move to weapons, or the other way around, as long as it gels together and becomes a Safety Umbrella for you. There is another PC term for you so you feel better about yourself and don't feel like one of those nasty racist Survivalist People that you were warned about.

After all, Self-esteem is paramount, isn’t it?

This is all a part of Urban Survival.

What about the other stuff that doesn't happen every day?

Well, there is SIP, as we discussed before, and then there is getting out, escaping, retreating, bugging out, whatever you want to call it. Call it ”leaving.”

How are you going to leave when everyone else with a brain wants to get the hell out of the area too?

That's a big problem, isn't it sportsfans?

Do you remember the hurricanes of 2005? Do you remember the roads in Texas and Louisiana where people ran out of gas and went nowhere? least if you have a brain you will now know that I'm not just making this stuff up.

If you want to be able to escape a city, you have to see the trouble coming and get out or you have to have a vehicle capable of trumping the other vehicles. Basically, this means a Jeep Wrangler or Wrangler Unlimited (A little more than a foot of extra space!).

It's four-wheel drive and it's compact. Get it with nothing smaller than a 4.0 liter engine as well, you need power and that's a large V6. Two 5-gallon Jerry Cans of gasoline and a full tank of gas should get you out.

Be aware, however, that along with the spare fuel, you might want to seriously consider a mountain bike for everyone bugging out with you and have those mounted on the back with the gas cans. However you can do it. There might very well be situations where you can only get out with the mountain bike and the mountain bike itself is a very, very good idea. If you look at the horror stories of people being on the highway for well over 12 hours and only going a couple of miles, imagine how far they could have been if they were zipping along at a speedy 20MPH on a bicycle? In the time it took some people to reach the next off-ramp just a couple or very few miles away, you could have been 200 miles away from the area and that's including two hours of breaks/rest time (Figuring for 12 Hrs. @ 20MPH).

There are folding bicycles designed to be stored in the trunk of a car, for example. Sometimes you can get away with simply removing the front tire from the bike and all you would need is a good, suitably-sized crescent wrench to reassemble.

Urban Survival Primer Part 2

Next, the "dumpster diving" aspects of some people's UrbSurv "plans."

The thoughts go something like this, "People in Central America eat stuff we would throw away. We should be ashamed of ourselves. We’re just too spoiled…"



They also have all sorts of lovely diseases too! Haven't you watched the commercials where they show the little kids you can save for fifty cents a day? How do you think people get sick? Maybe it’s because they don’t have enough food and the food they have is BAD. Maybe because of life down there, they cannot afford good food that does exist.

Do you want to be saved? Do you want to eat stuff so someone can send fifty cents per day to save you? How bad do you have to be eating or not eating, as the case may be, to be saved for fifty cents a day? Well, if that’s what you desire, move down there and be poor and quit trying to guilt people into terminal diarreah and vomiting by eating out of a dumpster.

I mean, really, I’m not arrogant or stuck up, I just can’t stand idiots like that, idiots that tell people the most ludicrous things. How many of you have been around when the dumpster truck lifts the retched thing up in the air and then slams it a half a dozen times to get all of the vitamins and minerals…uh…SLOP and GOOP…out of the thing?

You see, around restaurants, you can tell when the dumpster truck has been around because there is a line of fluid on the ground leading from the dumpster and all the way out onto the road or highway the dumpster truck’s route is on. That line of fluid? I have a name for it. ”Dumpster Juice.” Pretty nasty, huh? Well, if you think you can dumpster dive from the rear-end (literally – ass-end) of a restaurant, why don’t you go back there and get some of that and use it like Lea & Perrins or A-1 Steak Sauce. Give it a try!

Using American homeless people as "proof" that “dumpster diving” for food can be done is another Red Herring.

In most states, homeless people, real homeless people, they tend to have Medical Assistance, ID and they can get treated anywhere, no problem. If they get a nasty bug, they can go lie down in an ER for a couple of days with IV Antibiotics until it clears up...repeat as necessary.

Do you really want a gut-full of wilted lettuce and someone's discarded, sliced butter pickles that were sloughed off of a plate three nights ago and then mixed in with all manner of old, disgusting nastiness and a good, slimey squirt of the aforementioned dumpster juice? It's quite likely you will get something that Ajax won't take off and Cipro won't kill faster than the scraps will kill you.

You will please take note that every year during Thanksgiving now, people are reminded by food preparation people and medical personnel that they should be very careful because of cross contamination between raw poultry and everything else you are fixing. People have become very sick from this, a few have died. Do you really expect to get something good to eat out of a dumpster that accepts rotting poultry entrails along with the "food" you are looking for?

Hitting the deck cramped up with the squirts coming out of both ends on a sidewalk, or in a gutter, is not conducive to continued survival.

Most of the stuff you could eat if you were desperate enough would have already been taken by the homeless people. By the time you get hungry enough to be that desperate, it will be gone anyway. The only thing that could possibly be left at that point is vegetable and meat "materials" that the homeless people found to be inedible. Think about that for a moment.

Now, a lot of these myths that people like to write about when it comes to Urban Survival and how homeless people survive is based on what people like my Wife have done for homeless people.

My Wife is from Mattoon, Illinois. She used to work at a place called "The White Hen Pantry." Like many small stores, they can only sell their ready-made sandwiches for so long and then they have to throw them out. Same thing with sandwiches and doughnuts at places like 7-11. They are required by law to throw out food that's still good because they can't sell it up until the point it's bad! So, it has to be discarded early to make sure no customer gets sick.

As far as I can tell, this time period is 24 hours. It's also hard to sell a sandwich that is technically still edible and safe but has browning, wilted lettuce on it and I see that every time I purchase gasoline at the gas station that passes for a convenience store on the way to work.

Anyway, there was a homeless person and my Wife used to make sure that she placed any good food into a certain type of bag, a black bag so no one else would see what was in it, the rest of the trash went in clear bags, readily identifiable as garbage.

In turn, the homeless person looked out for her safety, considering she worked alone at the time on the midnight shift. That might seem rather odd, but not all of them are animals. Some of them have simply given up. If you think that is “mental illness” or “crazy,” I hope you never have something incredibly awful happen to you.

Anyway, this story is the sort of thing that gets around and people think they can eat out of dumpsters, etc. If you are homeless, you can survive that way and if you make a mistake, you can, more often than not, obtain medical care to take care of that unpleasant mistake.

In a survival situation, it's all going to be gone anyway and you won't have the medical support to cure any mistake you might make. Therefore, dumpster diving is not viable at all.

Urban Survival Primer Part 3

Over on The Survival Studies Blog, Ken touched on the massive amounts of water just a couple/few people would need. In an apartment? Forget it, three people at three to five gallons a day, more if it's summer? You are talking, literally, about one ton of water to have enough to last less than two weeks.

Then Ken addressed the unpleasant sewage problems the apartment dweller might encounter should the system suffer back-pressure, which can also happen from flooding.

All of these problems can be avoided by not residing in a city. For those that feel they must for convenience or whatever other reason, you have to make plans to get out and get out quickly.

Putting aside the violence and all the other bad things that can happen, the logistics of having enough water and food can be quite a problem. The mere fact you have them could cause violence, the list of problems are endless when it comes to urbanitis.

Some people are just not going to move, they are going to stay put for whatever reason, of those that choose to stay, half of them will try to evacuate when it's too late and will encounter even more problems. Only a few that stay until whatever incident is in full swing will be able to escape safely.

Now, I could just tell you that your choice is perfect and everything will be just fine if you have a closet full of MREs and a few jugs of water, but it just isn't so. What should you always have on you in case of an emergency? Opinions, as always, vary wildly.

Let's say that you have a shoulder bag, briefcase, or if you happen to be female - a purse.

A lot of Urban Self-defense situations can be handled quickly with the proper application of the hottest O.C. Pepper Spray that you can purchase. A facefull of this along with a swift kick in the testicles and knees if necessary should cover most defensive problems in the city. Do not use lemon juice and all of that other nonsense that so-called "Self-defense Experts" talk about in cesspools like the Oprah Show.

Of course, there is the mighty handgun for those of you that can obtain a carry permit and actually hide it well enough to not be fired from your corporate drone job...that's the ultimate trump card in a lot of violent altercations...

Then there is the lowly, ancient knife. "Man's oldest weapon," so they say…
Eh...well, one of the oldest to be sure and one of the most highly misunderstood of them all. I assure you that discussing edged weapons for Self-defense is not only beyond the scope of this little posting, but also beyond the scope of the entire series of postings on "Urban Survival." The knife is both underrated and overrated simultaneously due to extremists who think that the answer to every problem is a firearm or the answer to every problem is a knife. You can see this point of view in two different goofy axioms of the online know-it-alls:

“Never bring a knife to a gunfight.”


“Guns are for show, knives are for pros.”

Do not think most Martial Arts Instructors, "Self-defense Experts" and the collective human debris on various forums are going to give you the scoop either. There are those that know what the deal is and a whole lot of other people regurgitating what they have read and others are simply guessing, stealing or making things up as they go along.

But the knife has many other uses as well. It is indispensable as a tool and to some, yes, as a weapon.

Now, everyone has said that the knife is ”Man’s oldest weapon,” but the bludgeon really is. Going all the way back to Cain murdering his brother with a lowly rock.

The ASP Telescoping (Collapsible) Baton is perhaps the epitome of the modern bludgeon…or impact tool if you will. Monadnock also has an excellent telescoping baton. If you are looking for a baton that is concealable, I would look no further than these two companies. Don’t buy garbage unless you are truly in the market for something you can use and simply dispose of because it will be deformed after you use it on an attacker. Not that I am advocating in any way that you should dump something that you use to defend yourself with…because I’m not.

Telescoping Batons are sort of limited in scope when it comes to being deployed as a multi-tool. Knives can do so many different chores, the Telescoping Baton can do one task very, very well – serve as an impact weapon of self-defense.

They do break windows well, so there is a second useful purpose for them – breaking glass from a somewhat safer distance than the various handheld glass-breakers being marketed today.

Only ASP brand Batons can perform this third trick – an inspection mirror. ASP has a great little inspection mirror that snaps onto the shaft of the baton. You then have a 16, 21 or 26 inches long inspection mirror, a great tool to have. There is a 31 inches long ASP Baton but does anyone sane and also under nine feet tall actually carry one of them?

Perhaps you want to check a vehicle for some type of nasty Improvised Explosive Device (What is commonly referred to as an “IED” now. Isn’t that a great acronym? It sounds so much cooler than “Booby Trap” or “Command Detonated Antipersonnel Mine.”) or a GPS Tracking Device. Dangerous times we live in. Who knows what nightmare tomorrow will bring.

Kelly McCann’s “Living Safely in Dangerous Times” should be required viewing for anyone interested in surviving today’s hostilities.

Maybe you just want to see over or around something without someone easily seeing you. In this case, the ASP Baton with the inspection mirror is just the ticket.

Blackjacks and Saps are just the ticket for serious, close-quarters knockout capability. They are incredibly effective and incredibly illegal in most areas.

Alas, the telescoping baton is also illegal in a lot of jurisdictions. Make your choices carefully, please…even in some states where you think you are free, you are restricted from carrying one of them.

The telescoping baton is also very well suited for defense against dogs. If you use a knife against a dog, chances are you are going to have to let the dog bite your non-weapon bearing arm so you can get the knife in the dog with the other hand. With the baton you can keep them off of you a little bit better and still deliver crippling and/or lethal strikes to the attacking animal.

Getting back to knives for a moment…

A good folding knife like the Al Mar Knives SERE 2000 and a multi-tool like a set of Gerber Multipliers or perhaps a Swiss Army Knives “Hunter” Model or "Swiss Champ" would be a good combination.

Avoid Wenger Swiss Army Knives. They are NOT as good as Victorinox brand Swiss Army Knives. I have one Wenger but it has a special feature I may or may not elaborate on in the future...the special feature which was battery driven, croaked on it so now I can go back to saying that there is no good Wenger Swiss Army Knife as far as I’m concerned.

So, you have a can of Pepper Spray, a knife and a multi-tool. What else?

Well, a large Nalgene bottle is another good thing to have. Except no substitutes! NALGENE. Add a bottle of Potable Aqua Iodine based or Katadyn Brand Micro-Pur water purification tablets and you will be set for almost everything when it comes to purifying drinking water. After earthquakes and other disasters, tap water can become compromised by sewage and other contaminants, even if the water coming out of the tap looks as clear as it has ever been, it could still be contaminated - treat it.

Two or three oversized, very large bandanas are simply must-have items. In the Urban environment, they are must-have items in case of some type of fire or any other incident that can put dangerous particulate matter into the area in large quantities. Tie it over your mouth and nose.

If you work or live in such an area, a small set of swimming goggles might be just the ticket to protect your eyes as you escape a disaster zone as well. They weigh nothing, they are minimalist and they will fit in the Nalgene bottle along with the extra bandanas and Potable Aqua well as other things.

Cash. Coins. A lot of each, nothing more to say here except to remind you that your beloved ATM card might be absolutely useless in an emergency, just as useless as a credit card or phone card might be. Carry a good amount of cash and coin on you.

What has come to be known as a, "Blowout Kit" or “BOK.” This is a quick and dirty little First Aid Kit (FAK – you like all these acronyms?) for extreme situations like profuse bleeding, etc.

You can expand and have quite a comprehensive little First Aid Kit if you so desire and add to that a Survival Kit (SKIT) that is pocket sized, couldn't hurt and can only help. Cheap insurance.

Urban Survival Primer Part 4

Defense against enemies not easily seen or recognized.

If you live or work in an Urban environment and you don't scrub and wash your hands similar to Howard Hughes, you should be.

Dare I say that most illnesses could be tackled well with proper handwashing and whatnot. This is lost to people now who worship at the Altar of Medicine and Pharmacology. No amount of antibiotics will kill the flu. Having a flu shot is questionable and at this point in time, I consider them to be a cash cow and terror instrument of the Pharmaceutical Industry and Government entities like the CDC.

When there was a "shortage" of flu vaccine a couple/few years ago, funny thing happened, most people thought they couldn't get a shot so they didn't even try and the flu season was very mild. You can get the flu from the shot. When they tell you that you can get, "Mild, flu-like symptoms" from the shot, that's the "scientific" way of telling you that you have the flu. It might be lessened, but it's still the flu. To paraphrase from the Bible: "Let him who hath understanding reckon the lie of man, for if you receive a flu shot and then get 'flu-like symptoms,' that's because you just got the flu."

People at the CDC along with the drug companies would rather climb a greased telephone pole to tell a lie than stand on the ground and tell the truth. You cannot control a populace through fear if there is nothing to fear and you don't make any money at it either.

SO... Purell is an alcohol-based gel hand sanitizer. Get a few 8 ounce bottles (pump dispenser) and some of the much smaller 0.5 ounce bottles (squeeze bottle) that are pocket-sized. 50.5% is a "majority" and after having used many public restrooms in my life, I would say that a "majority" of people don't wash their hands after they go to the restroom.

If you wash your hands and use things like Purell in a non-OCD like manner, but diligently, you would be amazed at the colds and flus you don't catch. Your genitals might not be dirty but the other guy who just took a squirt might have herpes for all you know. My wife works in the healthcare industry. Valtrex is an incredibly popular medication. Go look it up and see why doctors prescribe that to people and then go play The Game of Life with the chance you won’t run into one of these people that don’t wash their hands.

I really don't know if Herpes virus is killed by antibacterial soap and substances like Purell, but I damned well know it isn't killed by ignoring it.
Don’t touch anything in a public restroom that you don’t have to.

There are several types of public restrooms. Obviously, if you are in a restroom that is so filthy you feel sorry for the bottoms of your shoes, you should limit your contact with anything other than yourself.

There are:

Restrooms without trash receptacles next to the door. After you wash your hands, remove a towel from the dispenser and use that to shut the water off to the sink where you were washing your hands. Then get another paper towel and finish drying your hands. Then get another towel to open the door with and if there is no trashcan next to the door, drop it right on the floor. You can also use a paper towel to flush a toilet or a urinal before you wash your hands, your choice.

Restrooms without paper towels that instead rely on air dryers for your hands are sentencing you to touching other people’s genitals by proxy, people that don’t wash their hands after they are finished using the restroom. So, you have to have a couple restaurant napkins or paper towels in your pocket for those situations as well. You may feel free to deposit them on the floor as well.

I would remind you that “paranoid” and "paranoia" is something that many people will scream when they read something like this, this is because most people don't wash their hands after they perform ass-wiping duties so why should you listen to a dirty sonofabitch like that anyway?

I'm not telling you to wash your food in Dial antibacterial hand soap or Purell, I'm just telling you to be an adult and wash your hands when you go to the restroom, before you eat, and in areas where dirty bastards touch things.

Purell is also an excellent firestarter in a pinch. This is not so much a lifesaving measure in an Urban area, but in the winter, if you were stuck in an area of the city due to natural or unnatural disaster, it could save your life. Here is a very easy way to get a little bit of heat in an emergency - don't do it in a building!

Assemble a windbreak area from various city debris and get an old coffee can or whatever metal can you can muster. Find some combustible materials and place it in the can - saturate it with non-Aloe Vera Purell, you want the straight clear gel Purell. And, using the waterproof matches that I didn't mention above that you should always have on your person, light it up and don't breathe the fumes and don't do it in a confined area, either. Just for emergencies. Better method for out in the wilds if you are lost and cold but I figured I would mention it anyway because Purell burns fiercely and can perform double-duty in an emergency.

Urban Survival Primer Part 5

Urban Survival Primer Part V - Let There Be Light!

There are many lights and there are many people making choices and for the most part, their choices are sound as long as they are purchasing good-quality gear from firms like Maglite and Sure-Fire (Laser Products...). Then there is the lowly PAL Light and Photon light as well as the counterpart from Inova that closely resembled the popular Photon light.

Then there are the oddballs, some of which have already fallen by the wayside, condemned to the dustbin of flashlight history... The CMG Ultra Infinity Task Light, I believe, has been given new life by the Gerber Co. It's a good little light. It runs on a single AA battery and that is the great thing about it! There was another little cylindrical light much like it on the market but I cannot remember the name of them now, but it ran on a single AAA battery and was quite a good little light as well. (Edited to add, this was the ARC LIGHT)

However, the wonderful people at Inova now have a light that not only meets the good qualities of the CMG light but far surpasses that light as well.

The Inova X-1, using a single AA battery, well...if you know flashlights and actually use them a good bit, it will knock your socks off.

Many of the more obtuse forum knuckleheads would simply say, "Oh, I have a Sure-Fire and that's that! That little Inova ain't nothin’."

Well, after they deplete their expensive and not easy-to-find during a crisis DL123A Lithium Batteries in their incredibly bright, energy sucking little expensive flashlights, they can sit in the dark without light.

I have a really good imagination and along with practical, real-world, firsthand experience. I also listen, however, to the various real-world experiences of others who have been in altercations and various bad situations and this greatly helps me to further hone my opinions on gear and methods.

Once such incident happened in the direct rescue operations in the immediate aftermath of both WTC towers collapsing on 9-11-01. There were Firefighters and a couple of regular folks trapped in a stairwell with the entire building down all around them and there they stayed until others dug them out. It was really an amazing story above and beyond this simple posting, it's amazing that they survived at all.

There are any number of situations involving injuries or the need for illumination in order to escape, where you need a good light.

Don't get me wrong now. I own a Sure-Fire E2e flashlight and I absolutely love this light, it is wonderful. Given the choice, in a crisis/disaster, of having one hour of blinding light available or having several dozens of hours of light available (assuming that you spent the same amount of money on several Energizer AA batts as you did 2 Energizer DL123As) and assuming that you were in an area where you could swap nearly depleted batteries out of other gear or even a waste basket, trash can or dumpster, I'll take an Inova X-1 any day for an emergency light!

You see, when the batteries stop working in your, say, Mini-Maglite, you can put them right into an Inova X-1 and you still have a couple hours of light left. Cameras, remote controls, old batteries in kitchen drawers that would not even power up a camera with a flash...all of these batteries retain enough power to give you good light for quite some time in the power-sipping little Inova X-1 LED flashlight. Even if your other electronic devices, or simply time spent in a drawer, has further depleted the power in the battery, the Inova will draw out the last little bit of juice, and you can at least have minutes left of good light. In my experience, that can extend to hours...

I shouldn't have to tell you that light is very important, so, I won't. If anyone thinks it's not important, so be it. Sit in the dark, especially if you or someone you care about is injured - Good Luck!

Now for the October 12, 2009 UPDATE to the information above.

Most of this series was written three years ago, believe it or not. A lot can change in three years. I traded off my Sure-Fire E2e and my Wife’s E1e flashlights. I believe Sure-Fire flashlights are awesome, I think they are excellent pieces of gear. But I refuse to pay for that name when I can get similar performance out of an LED that utilizes commonly available AA batteries.

Also in the last three years, Inova has had a bad run of tailcaps for the X1 and I can no longer recommend them. I encouraged people to purchase them and then they were saying they had tailcap failures and they had replacements sent to them from Inova and out of three replacements, not one worked.

CountyComm has a great thing going with their SO-LEDs, great little lights that you can place on your keychain, ballchain necklace or use the included clip which also allows the light to be rotated 360 degrees. $4.00

Fenix LED Flashlights are excellent. They are pumping out the power and running on AA or AAA batteries and for right now, they are excellent and you should gear yourself up with some Fenix lights.

The Energizer Brand Penlight, available from AutoZone and some other retailers, is an excellent penlight that runs on two AAA batteries. $7.00

In some cases, price buyers might be twice buyers, but this is not a rule that can be applied 100% of the time.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Another Victim of The Public School Intelligentsia...

It’s a Fork, It’s a Spoon, It’s a ... Weapon?

by Mustafah Abdulaziz for The New York Times

Published: October 11, 2009

NEWARK, Del. — Finding character witnesses when you are 6 years old is not easy. But there was Zachary Christie last week at a school disciplinary committee hearing with his karate instructor and his mother’s fiancé by his side to vouch for him.

Zachary’s offense? Taking a camping utensil that can serve as a knife, fork and spoon to school. He was so excited about recently joining the Cub Scouts that he wanted to use it at lunch. School officials concluded that he had violated their zero-tolerance policy on weapons, and Zachary now faces 45 days in the district’s reform school.

“It just seems unfair,” Zachary said, pausing as he practiced writing lower-case letters with his mother, who is home-schooling him while the family tries to overturn his punishment.

What she needs to do is continue to home school Zachary if at all possible.

Continuing on with the story...

“There is no parent who wants to get a phone call where they hear that their child no longer has two good seeing eyes because there was a scuffle and someone pulled out a knife,” said George Evans, the president of the Christina district’s school board. He defended the decision, but added that the board might adjust the rules when it comes to younger children like Zachary.

Yes, Mr. Evans is absolutely qualified to be president of a school board. What he is clearly not qualified to do is comment on security measures in a school setting or he would know that students are provided with something called a pencil and that a common #2 Ticonderoga pencil can indeed put eyes out as well as puncture lethal targets in the neck. So, you see, this is all just feel-good symbolism over substance, it's purely symbolic.

Continuing on with the story again...

The law was introduced after a third-grade girl was expelled for a year because her grandmother had sent a birthday cake to school, along with a knife to cut it. The teacher called the principal — but not before using the knife to cut and serve the cake.

Can you imagine?

Continuing on...

For Zachary, it is not school violence that has left him reluctant to return to classes.

“I just think the other kids may tease me for being in trouble,” he said, pausing before adding, “but I think the rules are what is wrong, not me.”

And good for you young man! You're not a sheep and that is a rare thing in this world now.

The full story can be read here and this post has been heavily edited to keep everything fair and legal.

Please go read the full story and please visit Zachary's website you can find here.

Don't write nasty E-mails to school officials, keep it polite and professional, more bees with honey than vinegar and all of that sort of thing.

New Government Logo to be used in public schools...

Pretty cute, the social engineers came up with this. This is tomorrow, this is our future. We're 25 years past 1984 but it's Darkness at Noon on a Brave New Animal Farm out there.


Soldier suspended from school


LANSINGBURGH -- High school senior Matthew Whalen is the kind of student any parent would want.

He's an Eagle Scout, on the honor roll, taking Advanced Placement classes, and never been in trouble with the law. He's received commendations from the City of Troy and the Boy Scouts of America for saving a woman's life, and this past summer, he completed Army basic training. All of it was accomplished before the age of 17.

But the dream could be in jeopardy, thanks to a two-inch pocket knife that officials at Lansingburgh Senior High School found in Matthew's locked car last month. The pocket knife was a gift from his grandfather, Robert Whalen, who's the Hoosick Falls Police Chief. Matthew says he kept the knife in a side compartment and never tried showing it off or threatening anyone with it. Instead it was a part of the survival kit that was his car.

"My car is designed in a way that if I ever broke down, I'd be OK," Whalen explains. "I have a sleeping bag. I have bottled water. I have an MRE. I believe it's better to be prepared and not need it than need it and not have it."

The Lansingburgh Central School District has a zero-tolerance policy on weapons. According to the district's Codes of Conduct, students are not allowed to have "a weapon of any kind" on school grounds. Even though a pocket knife is not considered a weapon under New York State penal code, the district also prohibits students from possessing anything "that reasonably can be considered a weapon."

The story is available here and you should go read it and the story has that link provided and has been edited so it is legal to post.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wisdom from The United States Marine Corps on First Aid and Survival Kit Items to be carried...


Carry two 1-Quart Canteens on your Deuce Gear.

Carry water purification tablets in one Canteen cover pocket.

Carry a speed loader in the other Canteen cover pocket.

Refill Canteens at every opportunity.

Keep as full as possible at all times Fu!l Canteens make less noise.

A full one-quart Canteen with nylon cover weighs 2.70 pounds.

Carry additional Canteens with your Pack.

Carry Multiple Canteens during Water Resupply.

Collapsible 2-Quarl Canteen is versatile. It can be carried alone on strap, attached to pack or deuce gear, or carried inside pack. 2-quart can also be used as a pillow.

Extra 1-Quart Canteens can be attached to pack or carried in pack. Drink these additional Canteens first.

When packs arc dropped. Canteens on deuce gear are still full.

Carry a Canteen Cup. Always in cold, wet climates. Never in hot, dry climates.

• Cooking food over an open fire
• Heating and drinking hot liquids - coffee, tea, soup
• Washing and shaving

Bootlaces - Carry 2 Extra Bootlaces or 6 feet of Parachute Cord on your Deuce Gear

• Replace Bootlaces

• Repair Equipment

• Build Poncho Shelter

• Bind Prisoners

• Garrote Enemy Sentries

• Tie Tourniquets

• Dummy Cord Equipment

• Carry Rifle or Equipment with Expedient Sling

• Signal with Pull Line

• Maintain Contact during Night Movement using "Elephant Tails" Technique

Dog Tags

• Wear 2 Dog Tags around your neck at all times.

• One Tag is worn on the main chain, second Tag should be on the smaller loop chain.

• Silence Dog Tags.

• Use gutted parachute cord on chain.

• Tape lags or buy commercial silencers.

• Wear an extra Tag in the laces of your left boot.

First Aid Kit

• Carry the First Aid Kit on your deuce gear in the SOP location.

• First Aid Kit is always accessible even when packs are dropped.

• Every Marine in the unit wears the First Aid Kit in the same SOP location.

• Treat each casualty with his own First Aid Kit.¦

• Silence the First Aid Kit.

• Waterproof unsealed items inside a zip-loc bag.

2. Inventory your First Aid Kit. Know what you are carrying.

• Always carry a minimum of (1 ) Battle Dressing.

• Standard inventory includes: Band-Aids, Iodine Antiseptic, Gauze Bandage, Muslin Bandage, Eye Dressing, and Lip Balm.

• Carry water purification tablets in the canteen cover pocket.

3. Augment the issue First Aid Kit.

• Ibuprofen. Motrin™ See note below

• Antibiotic Ointment. Mycitracin™ See note below

• Hydrocortisone Creme. Cortaid™ See note below

• Insect Repellent DEET - Minimize DEET contact with skin

• Lip balm Medicated, with emollients and sunscreen SPF 12+Sunscreen Total Block, UVA & UVB type, SPF 25+, non-water soluble

• Malaria pills or issue medication.

• Styptic pencil For minor cuts, scratches and leech bites

• Molefoam For blisters

• Band-Aids, gauze and tape For wounds of all sizes

• Scissors and tweezers If not carried elsewhere with gear

• Carry additional items with First Aid Kit or in waterproof case such as plastic peanut-butter jar.¦

Ibuprofen. Motrin™

a. For pain and inflammation: muscle soreness and inflammation from physical activity, overuse or strainof a muscle group or joint; injury, headache, and wounds.

b. For fever or malaise.

c. To interrupt a worsening condition: sunburn, blistering, rash, or abrasion,

d. To prevent an oncoming condition: anticipated muscle soreness. Always accompany with large amounts of water.

e. Take with food. Delay taking Motrin if you have indigestion, heartburn, or upset stomach.

f. Do NOT take Motrin if you have kidney problems, ulcers, stomach or rectal bleeding, or are allergic to aspirin.

• Antibiotic Ointment. Mycitracin™

For open skin wounds: abrasions, blisters, cuts and punctures. Ointment moistens skin, promotes healing,and augments the body's fight against infection. Use immediately to help prevent the spread of infection, further inflammation, or swelling.

• Hydrocortisone Creme. Cortaid™.

External application for skin irritations and inflammation where the skin is not broken: itch, rash, redness, insect bites, poison ivy, oak, sumac, heat rash, jock itch and diaper rash (as from diarrhea).

1. Sleeping Gear

Sleeping Pad.

• The insulating layer beneath you is more important than the layer above you.

• According to Colonel P.G. Collins, "A pad is a necessity if your out for more than 3 days."

2. Ranger Roll.

• Very light, very effective bedroll.

• Protects your from dew, not from rain.

• Best when used with sleeping pad on clear nights, poncho hooch on rainy nights.

3. Sleeping Bag.

• Comfort and weight trade-offs versus Ranger Roll.

• Double secure with plastic trash bag. Sleeping Bag should always be dry.

• Unit leader may decide to carry one bag per two Marines.

4. Hammocks.

• Wherever trees are available, in the jungle or woods, a hammock is worth carrying.

• In the constant wetness of the jungle, a hammock also serves to dry your skin. Sleep in a night shirt. Put wet clothes back on in the morning.

5. Tents.

• Weight-wise, the shelter half is almost not worth carrying versus a poncho hooch.

• New tents are almost state-of-the-art.

• Weight is still a concern.

• GP tents are carried by battalion for general bivouac.

6. Poncho hooch.

• Build a poncho hooch in the dark in 10 minutes.• Use mini-bungee cords, boot laces, boot bands, or 550 cord.

• Two ponchos are needed. One for hooch, one for ranger roll.

Survival Kit

a. Any survival kit has five (5) components:" Fire (Matches, lighter, candle stub)

• Signal (Signal mirror, flare)

• Food (Fish hooks, wire)
• Water (Purification tablets, plastic bag, non-lubricated condoms)
• Shelter (Emergency blanket)

b. A survival kit is mission-specific, tailored to the environment, type and length of mission.
c. Some survival kit items, tike compass, matches, knife, purification tablets, and signal mirror, should be carried at all times, and are therefore not needed in a survival kit.
d. No food items are needed in most survival kits. The weight is not worth carrying. As a general rule, humans can last two minutes without air, two days without water, and two weeks without food.
• All Unit Leaders should carry a Flashlight on their Deuce Gear
• Flashlight should be small and lightweight, preferably 'AA' size to match batteries of NVGs.* Flashlight should be rugged and waterproof: Maglite™ ($10.95) is an excellent flashlight for infantrymen.

• Corpsmen, drivers and others can carry larger Flashlights on commander's approval.* When packs are dropped, Flashlight is still on person or deuce gear.
There are Only 4 Reasons to use a Flashlight:
1. Reading: Map Reading or Note taking
2. Signalling
3. Evaluating Casualties or Equipment
4. Searching Prisoners and Kill Zones

• All Flashlights are filtered with colored lens to preserve night vision.*
• Unfiltered White Light is used only at commander's discretion.
• Evaluating casualties and searching killzones may require white light.

• SOP should dictate specific colors for units.

• Red lens Flashlights will not be used in LZ operations. Current helicopter NVGs are blinded by red light.

1. Toilet Kit
Carry the Toilet Kit in your pack. Toilet kit will not be missed when packs are dropped.
2. Carry the fewest items you need. Carry the smallest types. Do NOT cany anything that smells.
• 1-ounce Toothpaste
• 4-inch Toothbrush
• Soap in plastic case. A chewing tobacco case works well.
• Razors for 4 days.
• A good toilet Kit container is an empty plastic peanut-butter jar.
• Carry a dark-colored hand towel. Wrap towel around Toilet Kit and secure with 550 cord.
• Carry Toilet Paper separately in a zip-loc bag in your pocket. When packs are dropped, you still have it.
3. Plan for 4 hours, 4 days or 4 weeks.
• Plan for 4 hours: Carry no toilet kit at all. Carry toilet paper in zip-loc bag in pocket.
• Plan for 4 days: Carry items listed above. NO shampoo, NO shaving creme, NO 'extras.'
• Plan for 4 weeks: Add replacement items: razors, toilet paper, toothpaste and soap. Add items for field head or shower shaving cream, bath towel, shampoo, fingernail clippers, other items.
4. Carry a complete Toilet Kit in you Seabag.
• Plan for 4 months of deployment before resupply.
• Shaving Cream and Razors or Electric Razor.
• Bath Towel and Flip-Flops
• Soap and Shampoo
• Fingernail Clippers, Scissors
• Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Mouthwash and Dental Floss
• Anti-perspirant
• Replacement Items: Razors, Soap, Toothpaste, Anti-perspirant, Shampoo
• Additional Hygiene Items

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The "SUBIVOR" Subway Survival Kit - Missing In Action now...

The picture with the "SUBIVOR KIT" is the one with the black and orange pack that the contents fit into.

My kit with better contents for half price is the other picture. The "welfare-weasel-looking" picture.

So, the "Subivor" is nowhere to be found now. You never know, lack of interest and then the business fails or someone has a good idea, or what they think is a good idea, and they cobble together the money to make a limited run of some product and it fails and dies.

The "Subivor" is an interesting and intelligent concept. Unfortunately, it is easily copied.

I cannot even find the website for the product but instead I am linking to many Google hits on the "Subivor".

This is what the "Subivor" Kit consisted of:


1 - 3 1/2 inch Flashlight

1 - 7 inch Orange Pry bar

1 - Silver tone Metal Whistle

1 - Orange Moist Towelette Pouch

1 - Compact Bag

Let me give you the quick rundown on this and it probably won't cost you $39.95 plus shipping and handling fees.

It has one (1) disposable dust mask. You can get NIOSH N95 Masks for between .50 and $1.00 a piece at Home Depot.

You can get a "3.5 inch" flashlight at many different locations. Might I suggest something twice as long that you can purchase at AutoZone? It is an Energizer Brand Penlight. It takes two AAA batteries and has a Nichia LED. It is incredibly bright and you can purchase them for under $7.00 and if you don't have an AutoZone near you, I think I remember seeing them at Target as well.

A seven (7) inch's orange! Well, go to the paint section at Wal-Mart and you can get a Stanley brand name prybar for about $5.00 that just happens to be black with some bright yellow on it.

Nevermind the "silvertone metal whistle." Purchase a FOX-40 whistle at County Comm or at least a British Lifeboat whistle or an ACR Coast Guard Approved whistle. $5.00 to $10.00 and worth every penny. FOX-40s are $5.00 at County Comm.

If you think you need more light, get a County Comm SO-LED and place it, along with the FOX-40 whistle, on one of their tough little steel cable key rings.

The next two items are a moist towelette pouch and a compact bag. Hmm, do we have to source these out? You can get them at checkout lines in almost any grocery store.

I suggest WET ONES brand moist towelettes.

So, not counting shipping from County Comm or the gasoline it takes you to drive to AutoZone or somewhere else for the other stuff, we have cut the cost of the "Subivor" Subway Survival Kit in half. Nice, huh? Not only that, I guarantee you that the mini prybar in that original kit was probably not as good as a Stanley (unless they purchased them through Stanley and painted them which seems highly unlikely). The FOX-40 or other whistles mentioned are, literally, 100X better than the thing they had in that kit. The Energizer Penlight or the County-Comm SO-LEDs are probably anywhere between 25 - 100X better, in that, they are probably tougher and you will squeeze much more usable light out of them because they have LEDs. Cut the price in half and increase the effectiveness of the kit so many times over it almost seems like hype to say it...but it's not hype.

It is possible the flashlight and the prybar in the original kit were excellent pieces of gear. Given today's climate of just "taking people" and hurrying off to the bank with your loot while yelling, "Caveat emptor! Caveat emptor!" I suspect it was bottom of the bay gear.

Oh! I didn't include a nifty carrying pouch or something? "Get over yourself, Darling." - The Fictional Danny Archer

Links being updated and a note on UrbEx...

I generally know the people I link to. However, I do have some links on Urban Exploration (UrbEx) and I don't know all of the content on those websites and I am not advising you to break the law by breaking and entering or simple trespass. In fact, I advise you not to do these things. Since there are hundreds of people out there doing it right now, why not learn from their experiences?

Part of the beauty of the virtual world is you can see many of the hazards you might encounter in urban survival situations by visiting the UrbEx websites. You can also read accounts of these rather unique hobbyists escaping and evading police and security personnel and just a plethora of other topics that could prove very valuable one day.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Phonebooth Fighting, South African Style...

Going from Terry Trahan's Weaselcraft Blog to Bobbe Edmund's Thick as Thieves Blog led me to the Piper System Website and Blog of Nigel February and Lloyd De Jongh. Now, I might have my Who's Who list wrong about who owns what website and for that, I preemptively apologize.

On The Piper System Website/Blog, you will find a page for YouTube video, check it out as The Piper System is a rather unique South African System of Knifefighting. Yes, I know, "knife-fighting" or "knifefighting" means so many different things to so many different people and those people just love to debate and argue over the terms...for our purposes here, it's a "Knifefighting System."

Another Piper System website is Hans-Erik Petermann's and you can find that site here and you can read a small, interesting article on that site here.

I knew an old nasty Baltimore City Streetfighter when I was a teenager. After my Father died, I fell into some real bad company, to say the least. He had a saying, "You'd rather fight a bobcat in a phonebooth, boy." Sometimes he would substitute a common four letter word, a/k/a/ "THE F-BOMB," for "fight."

Go look at the Piper YouTube videos, and see what it's like to fight a bobcat in a phonebooth.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Simple Survival Kit and Knife

This is one of my favorite outdoors knives although I prefer RAT Cutlery Co. edged tools to the Ontario models designed by RAT - Randall's Adventure Training.

Here are the RAT-7 (Ontario) Specifications:

NSN: 1095-01-523-1972

1095 Carbon Steel Blade

Zinc Phosphate Finish

12" overall length

6.5" cutting edge length

Blade .1875" thick

Thumb grooves in spine

Green Canvas Micarta Handle

My RAT-7 rides in a now discontinued SpecOps Survival Sheath with a large, expandable pocket on the front of it which houses the following items that I have put together.

Left to right:

A water-resistant tube container with 100% cotton balls and #0000 Steel Wool stored inside for dry tinder.

A signal mirror and sighting paddle (heliograph) right above the tinder tube.

EZE-LAP (Pen) Diamond Sharpener, looks like a short writing pen.

ACR Coast Guard Approved emergency whistle (useless for self-defense, indispensable for outdoors emergencies).

Two fish hooks, monofilament line and brass snare wire.

Plastic tube with more fishing gear, lifelike grasshopper and ant lures, flies and braided nylon line and more.

BSA Hot Spark and striker next to it - a ferrocerium rod.

A non-lubricated condom below that. Along with a sock or stocking, you can carry a liter of water in that condom.

Katadyn Water Purification Tablets.

The sheath has a few feet of Mil-Spec ParaCord wrapped around it as well as some non - Mil-Spec Parachute "Type" cord that is braided.

Survival, Sports...a Hobby?

You can have "survival" as your hobby! There is nothing wrong with that. When people take a sport and try to turn it into the ultimate survival skillset...that's something else entirely.

You can learn a lot from people who do "Ultralight" hiking and camping. Along with the military, we have a lot to thank them for. Constant evolution in design and materials benefits all of us.

The military and the "Ultralight" crowd are constantly striving to make equipment more compact and lighter.

That's a great thing.

Unfortunately, along with many great things, there is a negative side.

Sport has become of paramount importance to the "Ultralight" crowd.

First of all, please visit the link in the word "Ultralight" so you can fully understand what I am talking about.

From what I have read online, in various debates with people who are really into "Ultralight" hiking and camping, these folks really don't think they are endangering themselves and for the most part...most of them are probably not putting themselves in any great danger.

The problem begins when a total neophyte embraces the "coolness factor" from those more experienced and then becomes a mouthpiece for his betters. There are a lot of neophytes on forums and some of them are very smart kids that can parade quite well as adults. Or at least as young adults.

I remember reading some website or forum thread about Ultralight camping and someone actually suggested drilling holes in the handle of the toothbrush to lighten the carried load.

So, while I am intensely interested in the advancements of outdoor gear brought about by Ultralight hobbyists, I am totally disinterested in the extreme lunacy of railing against carrying proper survival gear. I also think that anyone that constantly rails against carrying several different firestarters and tinder, a spare compass as well as other essential gear or possibly spares, is more of a hobbyist than a survival expert. Of course, that might really anger some people and that is unfortunate. Much like the self-defense "world," the survival "world" is slowly being taken over by sports enthusiasts.

Monday, September 21, 2009


First of all, let me say that I don't believe everything I read on the internet. I don't believe that we should discard doctors and medical knowledge and embrace New Age treatments for various diseases, etc. I am not a Doctor, Nutritionist, Nurse or anything along those lines. I do not sell herbal products or quaint little machines to make Colloidal Silver. I know that silver has medicinal properties. There are bandages and other legitimate medical products being made today that have silver in them. But people are always out to make some money and Snake Oil Salesmen are still around.

I am, however, a relatively well-read, intelligent cynic. I can read and I can understand what I read.

With all of that in mind, please consider carrying
honey, especially raw honey, for emergency high-energy food needs in survival kits. That doesn't mean I won't carry other types of rations that have sugar in them, this is not a call to use only certain things in your survival kits when it comes to foodstuffs.

For our purposes, survival, there are three basic kinds of honey. Processed honey which you can purchase in large containers and even get in individual-sized packets at some fast food restaurants like KFC and Chik-Fil-A.

The second type, again for our purposes, is raw honey.

The third type is raw honey that has the cappings and pollen and other things in the honey - like Really Raw Honey (Brand Name) markets.

I have been using raw honey, primarily Really Raw Honey, with the cappings and pollen on top, for about five years now. I just purchased a couple containers of raw honey from another manufacturer and it tastes excellent!

Honey is a very powerful, high-energy food for emergency survival situations and without getting into all of the incredible claims about what raw honey can do for you, I think it is safe to say that there is some antibiotic-qualities to raw honey as well as helpful enzymes and whatnot. It is definitely healthier for you than white sugar. You should see the hyperlinks in this post, go read the Wikipedia Entries and visit the other websites through the links.

Honey is a delicious food. If you love honey, I believe you will really enjoy raw honey. It's hard to describe, you can definitely tell it is honey, but it tastes better. A raw honey sandwich or a raw honey and peanut butter sandwich is a very tasty thing at home or on the trail.

Using Coghlan's Reusable Squeeze Tubes, you can carry pre-mixed peanut butter and raw honey and other survival foods and just squeeze out the amount you need.

Flat bread is a good trail food because it's flat so you don't have to worry about smashing it! It tastes great too. You don't have to be a slave to the grocery store, you can make your own type of flat bread called Bannock.

Another thing to be on the lookout for is Condensed, Sweetened Milk in a tube container. Ken Cook clued me into this unique product which he first encountered when he was living in Spain. He also has a solid recipe and procedure for the aforementioned Bannock. A few tubes full of that sweetened, condensed milk, raw honey and peanut butter and some containers for carrying flour, etc., for Bannock, and you could be eating well during some type of emergency in the wilderness. That is not to say that you should discard MREs and other rations or even canned should have a little bit of everything.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Coming Attractions...

The idea behind this blog is to, hopefully, get a good conversation going with like-minded individuals on various survival topics. I still have my website,, and I love to write much longer articles on specific pieces of gear and specific topics. This blog is a place where people who enjoy my website can communicate with me, perhaps see "teasers" to upcoming articles, and to read ideas, reviews and concepts that are perhaps not as involved as some of my articles.

That does not mean if you see something here on the blog that it is not "important" enough or "good" enough to be on my website. Nothing could be farther from the truth. You will be seeing things on the blog and then seeing more in-depth coverage of those things on the website later on. Or, you will see some things that were on my website for years reappear on this blog.

One such product is RAT Cutlery. I love my RAT knives and encourage anyone who needs a tough knife they have to rely on to purchase whatever flavor of RAT knife they like. Jeff Randall and Mike Perrin of RAT Cutlery are making an excellent product and the guarantee they offer is just as excellent as their product.

Terry Trahan over at the Weaselcraft Blog ( ), works for Boker USA and the folks at Boker are making some really great knives at low prices. Terry has a hand in that as well from time to time and it is beginning to show.

British Survival Gear is excellent gear! You will be seeing things like British (Surplus) Issue DPM Camouflage Bashas, which are tarps that are excellent for making lean-to shelters and other types of shelter. Millbank Bags for filtering the sediment out of dirty water before chemical treating or boiling to purify it. The Classic Penrith Combat Survival Kit (Tin), a long-time favorite of mine,,,and a whole lot more!

Two weeks ago, I purchased a standard issue USMC Kabar. I have owned "Kabars" before but they were always manufactured by Camillus (black stacked leather washer handle and black leather sheath). I decided to get the highest quality version I could which is the Kabar made by Kabar. None of the "newer" types, just the standard, Classic Kabar with a plain edge. A Kabar along with the sought-after USMC Force Recon / ANGLICO Survival Kit in the trunk of your car is an excellent survival policy if you are skilled. That is a great pair that we will be discussing in the next few days.

So, here's to all of us having a good time.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


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