Violence as tool for survival

When someone says „survivalist“ or „prepper“ most of the folks see man with whole bunch of weapons. Lot of people see us as a guys who are „trigger happy“ people.

To some point it is true, and I strongly believe that preppers and survivalists need to be armed very good, and educated about use of weapons too. They are tools for certain situations.

But using violence is completely different thing, or to be more accurate decision to use violence and to what extent is big thing, and very often usage of weapon can mean death to you too, so choose wisely.

To be ready to use violence on fast and efficience way requires lot of things, things like training, choose of right weapon-force, will to use it and also need to use it.

I have seen many situations where people get killed simply because they choose to use violence in situation when violence was not only option, or was not best option. Simply situation could be solved with other means, not with weapons and violence.

It is about survival, and when there is a risk of losing your life if you choose violence, be ready to look for other solutions.

It may sound to you maybe like „weak“ thing but point is to have your weapon ready, but to look first for other options of solving the problems.

Consider what you and the other side can win or lose

When SHTF conflicts with people were everyday thing, and if I chose to solve everything with violence I would not be here to write about it. It is simple matter of numbers and chances. Remember you are not Rambo and it is not a movie.

It is simple bargaining, what you can win and what you can lose. Other side too.

I remember more than once that I „talked out“ guys from my door by „showing“ them how many of them gonna die if they choose to attack me.

First impulse was to shoot of course, but it is cheaper to try with words. Of course sometimes did not work, and that is what is weapon for.

Be trained and ready, but not trigger happy

Weapon is nothing without your hand to operate it. So learn how to use weapon in closest conditions to real one. It is not about target practice only. It is about tremendous stress and messy situations.

Forget about scenes when two good guys shooting from assault rifles at bad guys and talking about what they had for lunch with big fat smiles on their faces. It is movie.

In real life it is messy, loud, often confused and most important is that good guys getting killed too.

What is wrong with world today?

Clearly something is wrong with everything today no matter where you are living. And if you are prepper you are definetly aware of that fact, and you are aware that it is probably going to get worse too.

What you can do? You can be prepared, armed, stashed with water, food and ammo and everything else.

But also you can do more, you can talk with the people about what is wrong. You can try to solve some problems maybe, you can get some sense in your family member or in your good friend maybe.

Why we are ruled by idiots (mostly), why crime rate is rising, why there is a more unemployed everywhere.

I am not talking here about going out and saying to the folks that you are prepper, I am saying about going out and talk with the folks about making some changes maybe. To raise awareness that something is wrong and get them out of their “bubble”.

Armed revolution

I know many of you have little trust in government. I also dont trust them. Recent poll in the US showed 29% of people even think about armed revolution and that it is necessary.

I also believe as prepper and survivalist in every situation knowing more options is better. That’s why I recommend you read “From dictatorship to democracy”. It is free book by Gene Sharp, who was nominated for Nobel peace price, that shows step by step how to undermine government and start non violent revolution.

It served as blueprint for many non violent revolutions in recent years. You can also find documentary about it online.

It is about getting educated and knowing more and later having more options. I try to share my knowledge here on blog and in my course, and later on once SHTF people like you who learn more now have big advantage.

In this book there is much about how to create a movement, something that can become useful even in local community.

You do not have to agree with all things in this book, I do not, but knowing it gives you more options.

More flexibility to think and that makes you stronger and increases chances for survival for you and your loved ones.

Violence yes or no?

Violence is not the solution. It is the last resort. Do not get me wrong, I have seen way too much violence, and did too much too.

But it is survival. Does it change anything? Well I am alive and ready to do more violence, and how all looks everywhere I will probably need to do it again.

I am saying that maybe there is a way to break endless circle of that violence with educating ourselfs to look and reckognize what is going on around us.

We are living in the world where we are bombarded from media that violence is kinda normal way of life. But if you stop for a moment and think about it you ll see that violence can not be normal.

At the end, again do not get me wrong I am perfectly ready and I will blow brain of some gang member or drug addict out who attack my home and my family, SHTF or no SHTF.

I just trying to check is there are other solutions to move that drug addict, or gang member far away before they reach my home, or to make SHTF hard to happen if you like.

How do you think about using violence?

My Budget Bug Out Bag

bug out bag

Some call it 72 hour bag, Get Out Of Dodge Bag, Get Back Home Bag or however. Making the perfect bug out bag definitely can mean difference between life and death, and there are many philosophies about what should be in it and what not. This is my take on it. It is a budget / cheap bug out bag and makes sense for me. I have some different products but tried to find most similar I could on Amazon because this is what most people have access to.

First lets start with some considerations before assembling it.

Do you need a bug out bag or survival bag?

A bug out bag is for bugging out and not living forever in woods. Survival bag is more for long term living outdoors. A bug out bag is smaller and light, a survival bag is big and has more stuff in it of course.

My philosophy for bug out bags is, you need to have things with you that gonna bring you to your desired location. Nothing less and nothing more. Traveling light is key here, not traveling comfortable. If you can do both – great, but if you need to choose then choose to travel light, fast and maneuverable. You are maybe gonna be forced to run, jump, duck, use weapon with that bag on your back.

I see long lists of things from people who seem to go on camping trip with their bug out bags. Makes no sense to me. You have survival bag or camping bag if you have no bug out location and plan to live in the woods. But before you head for the hills “to live off land” you better know what you do. Otherwise bugging in is better. Anyway, that is something for another article. But if you have a bug out location, getting there fast is most important.

Choosing the right backpack is matter of what you like, your items you carry and of course it must always matter that you keep low profile. So if you are bugging out from city you do not want to look like you are SWAT team member. Nobody survives because of style as well. If you have bug out bag at office then choose a bag that looks like laptop backpack. If you have bug out bag at home, choose a casual sports backpack in darker colors (and without any reflector).

How long are you bugging out?

You are making your bug out bag for bugging out to a safe location your bug out location and it takes you X days to get there. Depending how many days you gonna be there you gonna carry that many items.

It is great thing to have lot of useful things with you on your way to bug out location, but even better thing is to have some useful things and be able to move fast and efficiently.

Just take your perfect bug out bag and do some testing in real life, in some hard conditions, with bad weather.

Here is what I recommend for basic bug out bags.


I carry trash bags that you can also use inside your backpack to keep things dry and three emergency blankets. Here is higher quality emergency blanket but watch out that it is not too heavy or takes too much space.

I also sleep in shelter in form of a poncho. This is cheap poncho, you look unprepared with it and that is great if you are in city.

If you are out of sight of people switch to a better one like this one or if you have money to spend this one.

Alternative could be to use a tarp of course.

2. Hygiene

I have toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and alcohol pads (if you cant use it in your face or on skin use antiseptic wipes).

Perfect way to keep yourself clean or take care of small cuts in quick way. Some soap is good to have too. Not brushing teeth for few days, bad breath is least of problems.


Snacks are good enough. Some energy bars, MREs and a spork is all I have for food.

Do not think about your way to bug out location as a picnic, or nature trip. It is gonna look more like dangerous escape from war zone, so you need to act like that. Most probably you are going to eat very fast and you need something simple or you are too tired to cook anyway.

4. Fire

Take many ways of starting a fire. Besides regular Bic lighter I have Zippo lighter, survival matches, firestarter, tinder, hexamine tablets and vaseline soaked cotton balls with me.

You are maybe not gonna be in position to start fire, maybe you are not gonna need it, or maybe it is gonna be too dangerous to start it, but once when you needed you need to be absolutely positive that you can start it safe and quick. A small fire does much for your body and in many situations maybe even more for your mind.

I want to have more ways to start fire because I still remember how important it is.

One night I was stranded out in one ruined building while outside was raining like waterfalls. It was unsafe to travel so I spent night there, hidden behind pile of rubble in something that was months before living room.

I choose only 5-6 square meters where was relatively hidden and start fire. I start it with lighter and some remains of curtain, then I used wood junk from the rooms and apartments to keep it going. It was stinky, my eyes were burning from wet wood and my attempts to “cover” light of the fire with some steel plate without extinguishing it.

I was wet, tired, hungry, and without too many plans for future.

It was spooky and weird to have fire in complete darkness of ruined and half burned apartment where still on wall were pieces of some tiles with different flowers. I did not cook anything on that fire, or boil water for coffee, tea or whatever, I did not have anything.

Only “material” use of that fire was that I dried my socks on it, but it was not too important at that moment, I survived many days with wet socks.

Real use of that fire was that I felt that my strength and will was coming back to me. After some time I felt much better, I had my will again.

Everything is different when you have fire with you. It not only helps your body…

5. Water

Canteen cup kit, water treatment solution, filter and a hydration reservoir. I also have water bottle to fill up hydration reservoir quickly next to it on shelf. Do not carry too much water but make sure you have everything to make clean water yourself.

6. Tools and more

I carry multitool, folding knife and a knife.

It’s nice to have smartphone with GPS but also carry a map of the area, compass and make sure you know how to use them.

I carry three lights. A torchlight, nano light and a headlamp. Sometimes it make sense to use strong torchlight, but in other circumstances it make more sense to use small light, without making yourself visible from great distances.

I have also created small first aid kit, but you can buy already assembled one such as this. Add a good bandage as well.

Try to carry FM radio to get some information. If you have space there are good hand crank radios available. To have information in moments of bugging out can be very important. Listen to radio with headphones to conserve energy.

Small things you should also have are some paracord (maybe in form of bracelet) and of course duct tape.

When it comes to types of carrying all of this and how to organize it you must always have things that are very important close to you and in a way separated from your backpack.

That means that you will keep your weapons on your belt or under the jacket, your small survival box, some ammo, flask, means to start fire and some power bars in some small bag on your hip, around your neck or similar.

We all probably carry our pistol as every day carry (EDC). In my case EDC is just gonna be small addition to bug out bag. It usually consists of pistol, extra magazine, lighter, flashlight, folding knife, keys, cell phone, heavy duty scissors and wallet. But keep in mind that how many things you have in your EDC depends on your “moving” distances. Or how far you are from more stuff (in your car, job, home) so I have not much with me all the time.

7. Clothing

In layers

Clothes in layers makes easy to you to take off something if you feeling too hot, or to take peace of clothes on if getting too cold. Do not forget that by making mistakes in this area can lead to hypothermia or in other cases in heat exhaustion if you losing too much water by sweating without controlling it.

Check for clothes that repel wind, dry quickly, clothes that stay warm even when wet etc. Try polyester (military style pants, shirts etc) wool underwear and some insulation layers with fleece. Have one set of extra clothes in your bug out bag.

Clothes that blend in

You do not want to look different remember that so also when it comes to clothes try to have usual stuff on you, or if you want and have something special just try to cover it with something usual. Remember that looking too different draws attention and that is bad.

If your clothes looks too good or too “new” it makes sense to make it look dirty before you move on. Even today when I buy new sneakers for example I first make them dirty but that is because I live in high crime area.

8. Footwear

Your footwear needs to be chosen completely based on nature of your trip, not on other folks ratings. So it make sense to wear for example sneakers in city because of speed and mobility, and when you move to woods to change to something else. Pair of gators in combination with boots make sense.

Remember that you need to wear your new footwear before emergency scenario. Do not make mistake and put your new boots on for the first time when bugging out. Blisters can cripple you and I saw people losing feet because of infected blisters.

Your compass and map you are keeping in your pocket or small waist pack. In that way if you find yourself in situation that you need to loose your backpack you are still gonna be able (hopefully) to finish your trip.

My shelf system

Having your bug out bag always ready somewhere on some shelf makes much sense, but having the things ready for bugging out on shelves and way of quickly assembling your bug out bag is much better idea in my opinion.

Point is to have all things that you gonna need for your three or more day trip to your bug out location ready and sorted on one shelf, so you can easily check it every day.

Another reason is that there is no perfect bug out bag for every situation, so it makes sense to have some stuff available for your BOB so you can quickly choose something and leave something else.

Remember that you can not take everything.

In some situation it is gonna make sense to take gas mask with you maybe and leave something else.

Making bug out bag, and putting it on shelf and then waiting for SHTF can be problem, you have to check stuff that is in your bug out bag, you have to know each item very good, and check it often. It is easy to forget about what you have in your bag when you have assembled it and put aside for some time.

Choosing correct bag type is important too, so it is good to have few different type bags ready for quick packing.

Some more thoughts

Your bug out bag must have things that you KNOW how to use, so it is much better to have butterfly closures that you know how to use than full wound sewing kit without real knowledge about it (and without real need).

If this concept of bug out bag sounds like you are missing lot of things, please consider again the fact that your task with this bag is to reach your bug out location on quickest and safest way, not most comfortable way. Do you want to be slowed down for a bit more comfortable night? I don’t. I also speak in detail about reasons why mobility mattered so much during my time in war in my survival course. Sneakers beat big boots back then.

If you still think to add more things to your bag to make your way easier then think about possibility of hiding some stuff on your way to your bug out location.

It has many benefits. You get to know your way to your bug out location in detail when you search for good hiding places for example.

In setting those secret places with stuff on your way to your bug out location follow few rules:

1. Always use three possible ways to bug out location, and hide stuff there because you never know what way you are gonna use.

2. Hide small stashes at many places, instead more stuff at few places. Reason is again fact that you do not know what circumstances gonna be during bugging out, and what kind of obstacles you gonna have. Just have more choices.

3. Have some system in tracking correct places where you hid the things, it is much easier to forget places than most people think.

It can be GPS device, or simply some photos taken, or some coded message describing correct place. Remember that you may give that info to someone (friend, family member). Get creative, maybe some place only you and your wife know as a starting point.

What you gonna hide depends how long your trip is, and what kind of situation is gonna be but every small thing gonna help in those times.

Canned food, MREs, fuel, aluminum foil, ammo, first aid kits, duct tape…

You can have best equipment available but if YOU did not test it, it does not mean too much. After you assemble everything go on hiking trip and test all, test equipment in rain, in forest during the night time, try to make yourself shelter from trash bag with insulating it with leafs, or whatever else you have for shelter.

Try to find a stash at night or to read compass at night… You may say here “OK what about mosquito repellent, sun lotion, survival manual, tent, solar charger … and lot of other things.”

If you want those, my suggestion would be that you buy ALL things that you like to have with you, assemble it in bug out bag and have two day trip that includes sleeping in woods, running (from someone) trying to hide, trying to get to the bug out location on time etc.

Speed counts more than comfort.

After that take all equipment and sort it again to make it lighter, you will see that suddenly you are going to find some stuff you do not want to have actually (or you find something you missed, but practice is important).

More about bugging out and weapons in next article. Please share some ideas about your bug out bag in comments.

Three typical reactions to survival scenarios

Dealing with everyday problems when SHTF meant that you have to face whole new set of situations, from how to „take shower“ with few liters of water to how to use pure violence when violence was not part of your life before.

As I mentioned many times people used to find all kind of solutions for that problems, actually some people found solutions, those who did not disappeared.

People mostly learned „on the job (of surviving)“ how to deal with that problems, instead of promotion or fancy certificate they got more time on this planet.

In reality lot of survivors did not solve all problems, some of the things and problems were „pushed under the carpet“. People have different ways to deal with situations.

When you wake up one morning in world where everything that you took for granted stopped to exist, just that can blow your mind almost like bullet in head, so people reacted in different ways. Here are most common reactions of people, divided in three groups.

1. King of the playground

SHTF, and there are no rules anymore, and you can go out and do whatever you want. You can use force in order to do whatever you want. You can fulfill your dreams. Everyone is gonna be scared but you are powerful and dangerous, you are the king of the playground. Something like character from your favorite movies, Mad Max maybe.

There were people like this of course, not too many but yea, and they ended up in two main ways:

A.) they ended with their head smashed in first week of SHTF, usually in some very stupid way, real example is they stole some cool car in first days of chaos, and went driving crazy and shooting at everybody till some group got them, pulled them out from the car and tore them apart.

B.) they had charisma, luck and brain. They formed group (gang), become leaders, very powerful people, masters of life and death. They could take or give (forgive) life with one hand move. If other powerful people did not kill them (mostly) they become rich, and they are still rich.

Example would be small time thief who suddenly realized that by showing big amount of guts / courage and will to do atrocities in front of the rioting mob can give him leadership over the people who want leader.

Those of them who survived everything years later very often committed suicide. PTSD catches up with folks, also those who “play hard”. Very important thing is that while I am reading different blogs and forums I can see and recognize lot of „survivalists“ and „preppers“ who are gonna belong to this first group when SHTF. World is gonna be playground for them when SHTF. Most of them gonna end up with heads smashed in first few days. Those few of them who survive beginning of collapse gonna be dangerous bastards. But calm hand and steady aim regulates things.

2. SHTF and what the f… am I going to do?

You wake up one morning and SHTF, you are devastated, waiting for electricity to come back to see on TV what is going on, while people outside demolishing local mall and taking home whatever is useful.

You are believing in government, law and order, „common sense“ and you simple do not understand preppers and all „conspiracy theorists“. Off course you do not believe in guns too, you think that everything can be solved in nice and civilized way. We are humans not animals and do not fight for food and survival with violence like animals do…

People from this group were in great numbers when SHTF in my time, and they will be in great numbers again when SHTF. No matter how much good information is on web, no matter how many bad things are happening around the world, and no matter how much proof is everywhere around us that everything is going to sh!t.

And people from this group ended up:

A.) dead and gone (mostly)

B.) as „soldiers“ of some gang, because they were easiest to „mobilize“ because this kind of folks always need someone to guide them and protect them. Today it is government and system, when SHTF it is gonna be local gang leader who is gonna give them protection, guidance in exchange for their loyalty.

Or they gonna be solo predators, killers and thieves, kinda like „shadowy“ enemy, guy who is gonna stab you in a back for bag of potatoes.

Important thing here is that for us preppers guys from this group (B) are problems because guys from this group are your first neighbor maybe, or your dentist, or your job colleague, or even your good friend. They stab you and then cry and say sorry while robbing you. Remember this: guys from this group are not gonna fall from the sky, they are all around us. They are „good decent and normal folks“ and they do not want to do what they do. So again think about what you are saying to who these days.

C.) they gonna join group of people or family in order to survive. They do whatever they need to protect their home, but they gonna try to stay good.

3. People who are prepared (preppers, survivalists…)

You know that great majority of stuff on TV and internet is fake and there only to form public opinion. You are preparing for bad days but also you are living your life as best as you can, because S. is going to hit the fan for sure. You do not want to belong to herd of consumers, and you want truth all the time, no matter how ugly can be. You are looking for people who think like you, it is hard to find them, but they are there. You are not wishing SHTF, but you are definitely not gonna be scared once when it comes.

You are ready.

Now do not get me wrong, but this is very very small group, because great majority of people who call themselves preppers are not actually. Some are gun nuts, some are gear junkies and some are just scared by media and try to buy their peace of mind in form of canned food.

When SHTF real preppers gonna recognize themselves, and I see them as real leaders of groups of people that gonna do some change in big chaos, people who gonna „carry light“ by that I mean they do their best to be good if situation makes being good a choice and not only have the goods and full storage but also skills and mindset that it takes to live under bad conditions.

Survivalists who do not only talk the talk. No Internet only warriors who believe world ends when running out of blueberry muffins.

Who else?

Now not everyone is covered by these groups of people, and as I said it can be dangerous to generalize people, but also it is good to recognize and understand.

There is a whole bunch of people who gonna belong to big „grey“ area. They not gonna choose anything, they will be driven by big chain of events, and they just gonna do whatever is needed to survive. Good and wrong is completely gone for them. Only survival is left to worry about. Kind of people that are not people any more, more like animals.

I belonged to the group that were surprised when SHTF, but on the other side I had brain and luck to join-form group and family and I survived. I am prepper and survivalist now and became that during time in war.

I too pushed problems „under the carpet“ somehow in order to stay sane. Somehow I adopted the philosophy that it is not really matter what you gonna do, it is written how you gonna end up. It was not some religious thing, but as soon as you realize how easily you can end up dead you must form some kind of philosophy or you just go crazy.

I survived thanks to my skills, my thinking, yeah. But many times I survived by pure luck. I speak about numerous situations like that in my course. When you looking over the wall with your friend, and one single bullet from sniper blow his brain all over your face you must ask your self „why him and not me?“

So I learned to live and do whatever I can in order to survive, but other than that I learned to stop to worry for things outsider of my circle of control, because what must happen is gonna happen. And I survived.

It is very important that in very dangerous moments and situations you have clear and sharp mind, and not to worry about things that are out of your control anyway. Few days ago I was asked if survivalists are just people who are scared. No, real survivalists worry much less because they are prepared and they do not worry about what comes.

Survivalist Gift Guide

Christmas is around corner and Jay and me got together to look for some good gift ideas for you. This Survivalist Gift Guide has some gifts for new preppers or non survivalists as well. Giving non survivalists box of lighters for Christmas might be a bit awkward so book is obviously better choice. We tried to balance what is useful and what is fun and also added some crazy gifts.

Many more expensive products in this guide are “survival luxury items”. Nice to have and will make heart of every survivalist jump, but not really necessary because cheaper item can get the job done as well. It all depends on who you give gift to.

A new prepper who has very limited budget will be more happy about $30 machete, $30 first aid kit, $50 ham radio than one high quality $110 solar charger. This is much different for seasoned prepper with bigger budget of course. Simply because of other priorities.

In the end survival is much more about skills than equipment but we all love having good tools to get things done and some toys to play around.

Under $20

Under $30

Under $100

Over $100

Funny and over the top gifts

Ammo is of course always option and weapons too. But this gets very specific, depending on area where you live, common calibers in area and laws.

What were the best survival related gifts you ever got or gave someone? What is your plan this Christmas when it comes to gifts?

Survival Hygiene

There are some topics that people maybe sometimes do not want to read or hear about, or other folks just thinking that is not too important when SHTF. Hygiene is something that we all agree is important, but how dirty is gonna be is other thing.

If you look for example to definition of Cholera you can see this:
„Cholera is an acute enteric infection caused by the ingestion of bacterium Vibrio cholerae present in faecally contaminated water or food. Primarily linked to insufficient access to safe water and proper sanitation, its impact can be even more dramatic in areas where basic environmental infrastructures are disrupted or have been destroyed.„

I already mentioned that I suffered (together with lot of folks from that time) few serious cases of diarrhea, I mean cases when you can not lift your head up for days, i was so exhausted.

Did I have Cholera? I do not have clue, no hospitals, no labs, no doctors. Probably yes. All what I could do is to take fluids, menthol tea, chamomile tea and „Rosa Canina“ tea.

In normal grown up healthy people, it can be solved with oral re-hydration, and cases of death are not so common. In very young and very old it is harder. When you have some underlying medical condition it is complicated again.

It is hard anyway if SHTF and you get heavy case of diarrhea, and you are not prepared for it, and you do not know too much about it.

When SHTF small problems lead to bigger problems, later you have lot of small problems pieced together, and actually you have one big problem.

If you have access to medical facility when you dehydrated and exhausted because diarrhea then in most of the cases all can be solved with IV re-hydration, Ringers Lactate etc.

If you have knowledge and equipment you can try to solve it by yourself.
Worst case scenario would be to not have neither available medical help, no knowledge and no equipment.

Of course having no disease is better than treating one.

Try to not get yourself in situation where you need medical help, because medical help can be not available. Also, you can learn some basics about treatment, and store some stuff for it. I am not saying that you need to go to nursing school right now. But knowledge is key, learn how dehydration work, and how you can re-hydrate man.

Having knowledge how to re-hydrate patient who is suffering from diarrhea not going to do you too much good if you did not solve question of proper waste disposal.

Because at the end you gonna find yourself „running in circles“ and getting sick again and again.

So again pay extra attention to proper waste management, your water and your food.
Consider the fact that you can control maybe conditions in your home if you plan and prepare everything, but you gonna need to go out for many reasons, and outside world is going to be probably very bad and dirty place.

Protect yourself when you are out, and be sure what you are bringing home with you.

Today when it comes to urban survival I think simple surgical masks and gloves should be part of your preparation.

They are not only meant to be used in operation rooms. I would use it whenever I am out on some „suspicious dirty“ place and these places are all around after normal services do not work anymore. Shoe covers are good idea too…

You can not achieve sterile environment in your home, and that is not point here. But whenever coming home from your trip out (when SHTF) consider yourself dirty, and clean yourself, cloth and equipment on best way that is available for you.

Just use common sense, but much more common sense then in normal time. What makes you sick in such survival situations is usually not visible.

Your first line of defense gonna be your personal hygiene, way how to manage your waste, and way how you keep your self clean. So simple procedures like washing your hands carefully after you done with dirty job get some new meaning. It can be life saving.

Boil your clothing, add some bleach and let it dry in direct sunlight. These little things are all things that increase your chance for survival. You can not shoot these little bacteria and they killed as many people as bullets (or even more) during my time in war.

Store disposable trash bags, as many as you can, for many different reasons, including for human waste disposal. Also many ways to clean yourself, and again use common sense, store it in „small“ containers, so you can carry it with you anywhere and always.

To have pair of disposable medical gloves and small hand sanitizer with you in your pocket make much more sense when SHTF then in normal situation today.

Do you already have masks, surgical gowns (or other throw away clothing for dirty work), shoe covers, hand sanitizers, rubbing alcohol, gloves, disposable cups and plates? What are your most important preparations when it comes to hygiene?

What light and darkness meant for us

light for survivalI remember when all was over, and electricity came back in street. We managed to repair some installations and wires inside house and lights go on.

We were quiet for couple of minutes staring at the light bulbs like some tribe from Amazon that sees light bulbs for a first time. And then one of the older guys from the family breaks the silence and says: „Oh my God we lived in pig shack for a year“.

Wall paint was gone, holes were everywere, in corners there was all kind of junk, and everything had dark colour from improvised oil lamps, everything was sticky.

I guess we did not see all that because even during daytime, with covered windows you can not see too many details, not to mention that small lamps during the night do not give enough light to see everything. And also we did not care for some things I think, we did not have time.

Also we were not prepared for all that hell, when everything started most of the folks had few candles inside the house, and maybe one lamp in car or garage.

Soon we realized that we needed to „invent“ some new way of lighting. Actually not new, again old folks jumped in with solution from their past.

So we used mostly lamps with oil. Sometimes with cooking oil, or sometimes with mixture of pine resin and diesel I believe. It was small lamp in the glass, made from bottle cap and rope, or shoe lace. It went off regularly, stank like hell, gave lot of thick black greasy smoke. But also gave some light. And that was important.

Importance of light is not only to see where you are going or what you are doing in your house. I think it is something that divides us from animals. Just like fire it gives you feeling of being at home. So to have light in house in those days, when we sit all together to eat or to plan something meant a lot. It is one of the little things we take for granted but can make big difference.

But to talk about importance of light means also to talk about importance of darkness. In darkness we go out and do things. All things.

Forget about picture of guy with strong lamp walking around and using light to see where he is going. To have lamp on at open during the night usually meant drawing somebodys attention. And you all probably know already that drawing somebodys attention was bad thing.

Light in form of lamps and batteries was good for very short terms, if you are moving very quickly, I mean to light something very quickly, one second or two and thats it. In closed areas it was different, but even then we covered lamp with hand, using only small amount of light.

You try to stay hidden so when it comes to light or making noise you always keep things minimal.

Best way for walking out in terms of light was clear night with moonlight, and good idea was to go outside of my house, to sit in yard for some time in order to let my eyes some time to adapt to night and moonlight.

Then it would be fine to walk, when you adapt yourself to constant greyness of everything, and shadows.

Even today when I go out from my apartment, I usually spend some time in dark hall, before going out during the night.

There is something called peripheral vision. You can see objects in night outside of your central (forward) vision.

In reality I went out and moved very slowly, with many stops where I would take few deep breaths and look with eyes wide open, trying to catch any sign of movement.

Try it, practice your night vision, I mean natural night vision, you’ll see that you can see during the night objects that are moving when you are ready for that and you get used to some of the tricks shadows can play on you.

You have sort of tunnel vision when you use your flashlight. Human eyes just need too much time to adapt from light to darkness. And of course too much time if we are talking about real survival situation.

Darkness can be your friend, just like light can be your friend. But again both can be your enemy.

Using your flashlight too often and then your eyes need to adjust to darkness again can mean difference between life and death.

I am not saying that flashlights are stupid, or you do not need flashlight when SHTF. I have around 60 lamps and flashlight, different kinds, from led stuff, hang on wall lamps to powerful torches. I am taking things very serious in this part of preparation. It is just no camping trip where you go out and point light at everything.

Once I was out at night with two friends looking for useful things like always and we met other group. One guy from my group put light on them and we saw they have guns. We turned and ran like hell and got away. That he pointed light in their face might have saved our life. They just shouted some bad words but the light must have blinded them and it seemed they had no real flash light so they could not follow us before their eyes adjusted to darkness again.

Just like with all what I write, I suggest you to go out during the night and test it. It is gonna be maybe hard for you to find destroyed city, without eletricity, with shooting in background, but do not worry.

Practice your night vision

For example go to woods, or bigger park close to your home, and bring lamp with you. Have plan before that, I mean trip plan how to get from point A to point B.
First go trough the park with lamp, all the way. You’ll see clearly part of ground that you are putting light on that given moment, but for everything else you are blind, not to mention you are clearly visible with your lamp in darkness.

Then spend some time, 30-40 minutes in dark, adapting your eyes, then go back without lamp, all way. Depending on terrain, you’ll see that sometimes it is much easier to go without lamp. Using your eyes after adapting them to darkness. You’ll see maybe silhouettes only and shades, but you are seeing bigger picture. Some trees maybe that you can remember and other “landmarks”.

I suggest to use night with moon, partially cloudy, so you can see difference when moon is covered with clouds, and when clouds go away. Get to know your neighborhood in darkness.

Learn pros and cons of moving in both ways, because there is gonna be situation when one is better than another, you never know.
And of course, just like with everything use some common sense, never stare directly to light, lamp, candle or whatever.

When it comes to lamps, flashlights and all other sources of light, there is no perfect answer for every situation. You may find yourself in situation that you need some really small light, just to see silhouetes, or just to see in what you are going to put your shoe in next step.

I mean for example you gonna find yourself trying to take something useful from ruined apartment building in the middle of the night, at the third floor. You can not see anything, so you need some kind of light.

From this picture what kind of light source is gonna be best for urban survival situations?

survival lights

If you ask me I would choose this Pelican light, or that small white „penlight“. All other things on picture are stronger sources of light, and if you ask me why I do not choose them, answer is simple: I want to see things in order to use something. I do not want to flash so strong so anybody can see me and my light. So between good visibility around me, and danger that I might be seen I chose some kind of compromise, with small light.

That Ultrafire flashlight is very good to see clear and at much longer distances, or to „blind“ someones eyes. First one is cool if you want to hang it and light your room, can go very long on three AA batteries, and it is very cheap (around 2.50 Euros here).

I mean there is no too much sense to use UltraFire flashlight to light your room while you having dinner with your family, it is too expensive and not so practical way to do it.

Those are just few examples, not to mention gas lamps operated on gas or oil, so best idea is to have lot of stuff so you can choose.

How do you prepare when it comes to light?

Fire for survival

Again and again, you need to think in some other terms in order to understand importance of some everyday and usual things when SHTF.

It is hard in way to explain importance of some thing that is so common and usual for us today so we do not even notice it, because we take it for granted. We take it like it was always there, and it going to be there always. When SHTF only then we understand real importance of these things.

Fire means lot of things (especially for survival), fire means warm place to sleep, fire means hot soup. Fire also means clean clothes and clean water. Fire means life. It’s no surprise that our ancestors thought about fire as something holy. It is really that good.

In old history fireplace was almost magical place where all important things happened, wars started or peace was made. It was center of the house. Fire had to be kept alive.

There is reason why lighters were so valuable during my time in war. They enabled people to make fire and with that a lot of very basic but important things were possible.

I remember clearly guy who was walking over open space on one intersection, on sniper alley, in the middle of the night with flaming torch in his hand. He did not perform any strange ritual. His fire went in his stove in house because he did not have any matches or lighter or anything to start it again.

He went out walk for a few kilometers, found fire somewhere and went back in his house to start fire again. People died while trying to get fire from one place to another. I talk about this in detail in my course.

And all that happened maybe few months after war started. How many ordinary folks have 20-30 lighters or matches stored somewhere in house? I know you probably have now and that is good.

But other than you not too many of them.

You are completely dependent on fire

Just do one practice, go and sit in cold and dark room for a few days and then let someone offer you cold soup, or hot soup. Small thing, but single hot soup just makes amazing difference.

You need to have fire place inside your house. That does not mean that you need today to smash walls and change your house plans in order to install fire place.

It can be done on some simple ways like hole in wall for exhaust, or finding some small stoves that you can install when SHTF and use all kind of fuels for them. Even a bigger grill for barbecue is better than nothing.

Stoves are not such big problem, finding fuel for them is.

So good idea is to have some amount of fuel ready stored somewhere. I have currently 300 liter of diesel fuel and 50 liter of petroleum stored. Or if that is not possible try to have plan where you can quickly take some fuel for fire when SHTF, again before others.

You as prepper have hopefully “first mover advantage” that you realize what you need before others.

After some time all folks just realize “let’s go out and take those trees from park“. So do not wait for everybody else to go there in that park. Just like with everything else try to be ahead of other folks.

Of course this does not mean that you need to go tonight to park and start to chop trees. This actually means that you need to have all tools ready today, and plan how to drag the trees and where to put them when SHTF.

Good idea is to have some kind of storage for firewood and some amount of fire wood, but since that is almost impossible for most of the folks who are living in urban areas, today you can do everything in order to be ready to start quickly to gather firewood when time comes.

When SHTF just go out and do it quickly. Do not learn where and how to do that when SHTF. Have plan for that today ready. If you never chopped wood go and help someone at rural place and learn to chop some wood safely.

Getting a stove

There are all kind of stoves around to buy and to make by yourself. Without going into the brands and models of them, here are few things to think about when you buying it.

1. You are needing stove for what?
As I mentioned already, you gonna need fire for lot of things. To make food, clean your water(boiling), heating… So when you are obtaining wood stove for you think for what thing you are gonna use it? How that thing gonna look like is not important thing at all.

It also helps A LOT to have some kind of metal frame to hang things over fire. You can buy it here but make sure it is really sturdy. If you are with group you want to cook a lot of water at same time.

2. How much fuel you are gonna have?
If you are living in area where wood is no problem then you are lucky when it comes to stove, because in other case you are in situation like I was, always something like half cold and freezing.

I used two types of stoves, real wood stove, old type, that used lot of wood, but gives lot of heat, and keep heat lot of time (long time). I just do some upgrading on that thing by switching heating plates (thick) with thinner, in order to boil things faster.

Other type was very thin and small stove, something like big can. You could bring that thing to red heat in few minutes with very small amount of wood, or cardboards and all junk. Intense heat was good to make something very quick (food) or to warm yourself with small abount of fuel in very quick time. That thing went cold very quickly after fire went down of course.

3.Look around you
Again and always: have and do what most folks around you are doing-that means actually LOOK like you are looking for and doing what everybody else is doing.

I mean if most of the folks are freezing around you, it does not mean that you need to freezing too. Just look like that. Do not talk about how warm and cozy your place is when you see neighbor or someone in the streets. Pretend to be still cold. Once your body is cold it takes long time to warm up again so pretend to freeze. It is easy to forget but people are not only hungry but cold too. They want to get warm no matter what, even if that means move in YOUR house if you want or not.

Just like everything else, there is no universal advice for everybody. If you are living in lonely place, thick smoke from the chimney and tasty smell of chicken soup is something like invitation for not wanted guests when SHTF.

In my case smell of burnt ruins and burning stuff was in the air all the time together with smoke, and other worse smell, so I did not have problem with visible smoke and smell.

4. Have portable stuff
You will eventuall go out and take trips for many reasons, and on these trips you are gonna spend time, take shelter somewhere and need fire. Think about solution of portable stove and what kind is best for your situation and surroundings.

Military type portable stoves, with liquid fuel, simple „can“ type portable stoves, or you are gonna start fire in place, on ground. But be sure that you have some stove to move around. For example something like this here.

5. Take time today and make some tests
Be familiar with all kind of wood in your sourondings and learn what you can expect from different kinds of wood or other fuels. You gonna save some important time when SHTF if you check that things today. Know what wood chips you can use for tinder and if you have some tinder fungus in your area for example. Also know what kind of wood or other fuel gives how much heat, and for how long, and also important how intense smell and smoke.

If you can not try it because you are in urban area try to go to parks and other places with public fireplaces or areas. Even trying things with wood on barbecue grill somewhere is ok to get familiar with different materials.

Water for survival

First you need to stop for a moment, or for more then a moment and think about importance of the water. There is a all kind of cool information about water all around the net. And you can research them all.

We have started a water page in our wiki and hope you add your survival knowledge about water to it. For instructions how to edit the wiki please read this. In this article I write about my experience with water during SHTF. I try to touch on few topics that might not be so obvious.

Importance of water for survival

When SHTF everything matters and all small things are connected. New small problems suddenly emerge, and one small problem is connecting to another small problem, and suddenly you have big problem and then you are dead. And thats it.
So you need to think about in new terms. I suggest that you try to measure amount of water that you spend for one day. For cooking, cleaning, drinking, shower, toilet and all that.

After you measure that amount of water then go and shut down your water souces for a week. In that week use some canisters and drag your water from your neighbour who is for example 1 mile far from you. One week. After that week sit down and try to think again about importance of the water.

It will be refreshing reminder about importance of something we take for granted.

Probably you are going to conclude that water is much more important then you thought before. But belive me you are still do not know, you still probably can not imagine how important it is.

When you hearing that man can survive only few days without water, it is true maybe, but you need to think about water in some new terms. Not only like cool bottle of water to drink.

1. Water to boost your morale

Sooner or later you are going to find yourself without “real” food, and you are gonna start to “invent” food. Ive gone trough that. Boil plants with water, boil small amounts of flour with water, all kind of “tea” or bad “soups” for food.

At some of the very bad time I had something like hot colored water for my lunch, without too much asking what was added for color. I mean yes, you are perfectly prepared, lots of canned food, your storage is full. But think about “sooner or later”

One of the my best memories from bad times is hot soup. There is something “magical” in hot soup when you are cold and wet, and when everything out is gone to hell. It is like fire a great boost for your morale.

2. You need more water during SHTF

In long term survival scenario chances are you will work more with your body than now. That means you need even more water than now.

Do not expect to spend few days laying at home, in nice and cool room. When shtf and you fight for survival there is always much to do.

To be long time survivor you do not want to live on 500ml water a day. You want to have much water every day.

3. Hygiene

You need water for hygiene, lots of water. You can think that you can survive even if you do not have enough water to keep yourself clean. Yes people survived like that, but keep in mind again, that small problems lead to bigger problems, and big problems at the end kills you.

To be dirty because you do not have enough water is not like in movies. It is not about sweating and dirty shirt only. It is about you are crippled wit some fungal infection on your feet because you simply did not have enough clean socks to wear, because you spent 20 hours daily in your shoes, boots. At the end you can not run at all. And to be in state when you can not run is definitely not good idea when SHTF.

Forget about problems with bad smell, thats not problem. Its a civilization problem but when things get uncivilized it does not matter. Problem is you having diarrhea for week, you need to go to toilet every half hours, you can not get up without dizziness, you are weak like baby, and again all because you did not have enough water to keep yourself clean, or to eat clean food that you at least boiled first.

4. Some survival water games you can “play” today

The scouting game
Do not get yourself in situation where you need to go out and check for water sources when SHTF. Probably it is not gonna be easy then to wander around and check things.

Forget about empty towns with lot of resources laying everywhere. That happens in movies maybe.
In my case many people were shot at well known water sources by snipers. It’s like lions in deserts. They wait for prey near water holes.

Go out today and check your surroundings for possible less known water resources close to you like small springs or places where water stays for some time after rain. Have that places marked in your map for future. Take your time today when you have enough.

The saving water game
Research some things. For example how you can wash your clothes with as little water as you can, some alternative ways of washing yourself with “bottle” of water. Check how much water you can save with using anti bacterial napkins for cleaning yourself for example.

The hiding game
That means to think about some other spots to have some hidden backup water. Personally I have three spots close to my apartment where I have extra sources of water if I gonna need it. Another water resource is halfway between me and my bug out location.

The collection game
Rain is good source of water depending in what region you live. But definitely good idea is to have plan ready and tools ready to collect water from your roof. Check it, somewhere is enough to have few barrels, saw and piece of pipe and thats it. You can use rainwater today to water your plants for example.

Water means life

This article is just reminder that without water no life and of course no survival. It is easy to get lost in having perfect security and weapons at home but not being familiar with living with limited amount of clean water.

In my course I talk about how we collected water from our roof and if you have stories about how you collected water please share in comments or our survival wiki.