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We all like to think about and imagine how SHTF will change us, but it is almost impossible to know how we will react on whole set of new things that SHTF will bring to us.
People think that it will be something like sharp cut and prompt change, like today it is SHTF and we are different people with different reactions. It would be cool, but it is not like that for most of us.
Some changes will happen over the time, and we may not be aware of it at all. One of the obvius changes (and probably most interesting changes for online community of preppers because of movies) is different relationship to violence issues, for example over the time you learn to react different to violence, and doing violence.
Other may be living with dirt and being more dirty and accepting it. With each accepting of the above you are kinda losing your old life, becoming different.
Also some small things can provoke you to act like animal, some things that remind you of your old and normal life. Today I want to speak about experience I had during my time in war. It is related to this time of the year with christmas and holidays coming. It is about treats and pleasures.
Once, few months after the s. hit the fan, during one of the constant tours to find anything useful I stumbled across something special. This gives you idea how “low” you go, or better how high our standards are now. It showed me how thin that layer is that makes us „normal“ people.
It was around midnight and we chose some partially ruined house as a temporary shelter from fire outside and rain too. I was with friend there. We chose one room inside house which still had part of the ceiling above our heads to shelter from rain.
We were smoking one cigarette passing it between us when I realized that I actually sit on some box that is partially buried under the rubble. We started to dig and clear trash from it.
After few minutes we found out that it is big military wooden box, used for long term storing of various items. When SHTF and everything fell apart I remember seeing people dragging similar boxes from army storages.
It was pretty heavy, obviously full of whatever.
Of course we immediately started to imagine what could be inside, ammo, weapons, boots, maybe uniforms… My friend already whispered: „man, imagine, new boots maybe?“
When we opened it at the first moment in dark I thought it is full of some small toys or similar, because I saw big pile of small plastic packages, but then I took few of those small items and I froze like someone pointed rifle in my face from that box.
It was full of small packaged cocoa spreads, kinda like cheap spreads that can be served in hotels with your breakfast, or in this case it was probably meant to be used for military meals or similar. Something that you could find in a version of MRE.
It was cheap stuff and not really tasteful, in normal times I would not eat that stuff. It was like you trying to chew sweetened sand.
In that moment I could barely remember when I ate something sweet, something like junk sweet, chocolates, bars, candys, cakes or similar. If you ever go on longer hiking trip and eat same stuff every day for just 2 weeks and then come back to civilization and eat something you have experienced something like this. Now imagine months. My friend said: „Man! Screw the boots, this is jack pot“.
I do not remember how much of that stuff I ate there in that room with view on half ceiling and half rainy night, but I remember seeing my friend eating that stuff on a way that he put whole thing inside his mouth, chew the plastic package, eat spread, then spit chewed plastic.
Probably I eat it in same way, it helps that in dark we did not see how dirty the packages were, and of course nobody even remember to check expiration date.
I would eat even if it was printed „expired“ on it, or maybe even „toxic from Chernobyl“. It did not matter.
It was so sweet and good in that moment. It was not only food, calories, energy if you want. It was something like drug for us. Reminder of normal days. With chewing it and eating it we were living normal life for some time I guess.
I chewed it, and I know in that moment that I am probably gonna have some serious problems with my stomach that it „forgot to process“ stuff like that but I did not care.
People said that in some moments you can be turned in animal, you can be driven by simplest and maybe lowest instinct. And in the same time they imagine that happens only in certain situations, combat, great fear or similar. That’s not true.
I experienced before and later many similar events and feelings, many fights, blood, fears, you name it. But that event with those cocoa spreads was something weird.
Later while I was crouching outside my house, having diarrhea and throwing up at same time, I felt like shit, but I did not regret or wanting to trade eating all of those cocoa spreads. I kept some for myself and from time to time I ate it in something like ritual.
When all was finished, and war was over I forgot that. Years later I found something very similar like that spread. I bought it and tried it. It didn’t taste good at all, and I threw it away.
Point is that you never know how much you will appreciate things, until actually SHTF. So for your preps, stock some “pleasure goods” like cocoa drink mixes in little sachets or coffee mix, they will be valuable.
For the holiday season take your meal or treats sometimes with you to a place quiet and without distraction and enjoy them. It is easy to forget what we have now, so I encourage everyone be extra grateful in coming days.
If you are new to survival or want to find good gift for survivalists or preppers you know we have some suggestions. I updated our Survivalist Gift Guide from 2012 with new prices (but kept the old ones, so you can see what became more expensive and what cheaper). So make sure you check out our old guide for more gift suggestions.
When you read this, please also keep in mind that family gatherings and holidays are great options to talk to friends and family about survival and preparedness. Give someone some fire steel or basic survival set and head out to show them some survival skills after you had food. All fancy tools and preps are worth little compared to good working survival group so hopefully you can use the time to help more people understand why survival and preparedness is common sense (and our current way of living dependent on system is non sense).
We also have give away. If you share this post on Facebook or add a comment with another suggestion for great survival or preparedness related gift here on the blog you can win one of my favorite survival knife the Ontario RAT-5 Knife. We announce winner on 1st of December.
Here are our suggestions for survival and preparedness gifts for this years holiday season.
$4.69 Set of 10 Caltrops Tashibishi
These spikes dig through sneaker soles. Probably work for car tires too.
$7.18 Columbia River Knife and Tool’s Eat N Tool 9100C Silver Multi Tool
Spork, bottle opener and hex wrenches in one tool for key chain.
$9.99 Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Great drinking bottle that can be used to cook water too.
$10.93 Chainmate CM-24SSP 24-Inch Survival Pocket Chain Saw With Pouch
Another small and light addition for bug out bag or overall preps.
$11.99 Caldwell Ar-15 Brass Catcher
For those times when you do not want to leave traces.
$14.95 Self Defense Money Clip Silver
Money clip that can be used as beat knuckle.
$14.99 50 – Pk. Anatomy Targets
Get used to shoot at people (or images first).
$19.99 LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
Put in your car, bug out bag and show your kids and friends how to use them. Cheap, proven way to filter up to 1000 liters of water.
$21.79 Goal Zero 90103 Solar Black Small Crank Flashlight
LED technology made lot of progress. This is updated version of all around survival flashlight. Hand crank and solar powered.
$24.54 Butler Creek LULA M16/AR-15 All-in-One Magazine Speed Loader and Unloader
also available for $26.95 for Butler Creek AK47/GALIL LULA Loader, BUT24216
$24.97 C-A-T Combat Application Tourniquet All black version
Easy to use and can save lives. Have at least one of them with you if you expect to fight. Practice that you know how to use on yourself and others! Quick application is crucial.
$25.08 TekMat 12-Inch X 36-Inch Long Gun Cleaning Mat with AR15 Imprint, Black
Helps with gun maintenance, to avoid scratches and keeps gun in place.
$26.00 2-Book Safes, Diversion Safe made with a Real Book
Always smart to have way to hide some valuables.
$27.49 SOG Specialty Knives & Tools F01TN-CP Tactical Tomahawk with 2.75-Inch Steel Axe Blade and Black Ballistic Nylon Sheath, Black Finish
Learn to throw it, use it as all around tool for urban survival to scavenge, breach open windows and more.
$27.95 MOLLE Compatible Military Style M3 Medic Bag, Combat Medical Kit, Rescue Red
Durable bag for medical supplies. Easy access to everything. I use one of these too.
$29 Lifetime Subscription to my Online Course
I’m happy that my experience from survival during war can help people today and in future.
$32.59 Cold Steel Brooklyn Crusher
Even in survival scenario you should be able to escalate use of force.
$33.61 Dpms Ar15 Armorers Multi-Tool
Handy tool for rifle maintenance.
$35.00 T3 Tactical Triage & Auto Rescue Tool
In my job in emergency services I have to cut people from their cars often. With this knife you can help yourself.
$37.37 United Cutlery Bush Master Survival Knife
Good starter set for older children or people completely new to survival. Sit down with person who gets the knife and talk about survival. Get a better knife like the Ontario 8627 RAT-5 Knife (Brown) for experienced survivalists as gift.
$37.81 Mosby’s 2014 Nursing Drug Reference, 27e (SKIDMORE NURSING DRUG REFERENCE)
Older edition would be good too but why not get the latest. One day there might be no Internet anymore and when you get your hands on drugs you can look up how to use them.
$37.95 Survival Seed Vault – Heirloom Emergency Survival Seeds – Plant a Full Acre Crisis Victory Garden – 20 Easy-to-grow Varieties
Get a seed stash with non gmo heirloom seeds so you can harvest seeds and keep planting in future years. Consider packing some in your bug out bag. You never know where you end up and they take little space and weight.
$56.42 Galco KT224B Kingtuk Inside the Waistband Holster – RH, Black, fits Glock 17,19,22,23,26,27,31,32,33
Quality holster for concealed carry.
$107.35 TSD Tactical Full Metal/Full Auto M9 Gas Blowback Airsoft Pistol
These guns give people who are afraid of weapons, easy way to get started and develop feeling for it. Gas blowback slide delivers more realistic action.
$179.99 Wilton 22036 20 Pound Head, 36-Inch BASH Sledge Hammer
Helps a lot with breaching doors and walls.
$217.37 Benjamin Trail NP Hardwood Break Barrel Air Rifle (.22) powered by Nitro Piston®
Air powered rifles have come long way. This rifle can shoot 0.22 at 950 fps and can be loaded by hand (no need for gas). Good for small game hunting.
$227.29 M-Pro 7 Advanced Small Arms Cleaning Kit with Leatherman MUT
Everything you need for weapon maintenance in one package. Smaller pack available for $45.99 M-Pro 7 Soft Sided Tactical Gun Cleaning Kit (Black)
$299.9 Big Agnes Storm King 0F / -18C Down Sleeping Bag (650 Downtek)
Quality down sleeping bag.
$469.00 Armasight Spark CORE Multi-Purpose Night Vision Monocular
If you do not want to spend several thousand on new gen night visions, get good and flexible first gen with a good IR light such as $101.83 Streamlight 88704 Super TAC IR Long Range Infrared Active Illuminator
Out of ordinary survival gifts (not so serious)
$8.48 Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit in a Sardine Can
Fun gift for prepper who has it all already.
$23.94 CMMG Tactical Cooked Bacon, 9-Ounce
Bacon in can that says its tactical bacon.
£29.99 Muscle enhancing shirts
For people who want to look more intimidating. Like push up bra for men.
$37.95 ThinkGeek Tactical BBQ Apron
It is cold now, but BBQ is serious business. Attach mole accessories to this BBQ apron.
$245 Gerber 30-000601 Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit
Tools aren’t so bad, but you are probably better buying individual items. Decent starter set for someone who has no big knives yet.
$249.99 NEW OPMOD Battle Mug – with Carry Handle OPMOD-BM002
Massive mug with three Mil-Spec 1913 scope rails so you can attach AR 15 scopes and more and then drink beer from the mug.
$385 Titanium Utility Ring
Also perfect wedding ring for survivalist couple. For all those moment when leatherman is not in your pocket.
$850.00 X-FF Fiber Factory – Predator Motorcycle Helmet X1 Airbrush – Medium
Might work to intimidate some people or not.
$1,618.99 Sierra Designs Mojo UFO Ultralight Backpacking Tent, 2-Person
If you want to make your bug out bag lighter and have a lot of money to spend…
$19,999 Polaris RZR XP 1000 EPS
Not the most low key bug out vehicle but can handle some off road action for sure.
$30,000 Off road wheelchair
This can be actually smart investment for people who need it.
$629,000 Knight XV
Bug out with style and be at the center of attention with this luxurious SUV.
A reader wrote me and spoke about a family who are friends but he found out they are all on prescription medication that keeps them normal. He asks for advice how to deal with this and what can be expected from people like this during collapse.
Today I want to talk more about prescription drugs and medicine. I’m sure many of you who need medication on regular basis have already big stock of them. Know that some prescription medication like antibiotics can be bought as animal medication and so on. But here are some more thoughts on this.
People who have been dependent on some drugs, stuff like sedatives, antidepressants or something similar usually had two choices, first choice was to try to find sources of medicine (black market etc.) or to try to get by with substitutes (alcohol, marijuana or something stronger like heroin).
Second choice was in short to „get over it“ and live.
Of course this other (second) choice sounds and looks cooler and probably more „macho“ but in real life it is not so easy and people needed lot of support.
In my family I had example of a relative who chose first choice and go through our year of trying to survive with some serious drinking, sometimes during that time he was causing more problems than help.
But I also know guy who had pretty poor life before SHTF in terms of his goals in life, way of living and similar. He had bad drugs habits but when everything collapsed, it kinda woke him up in terms that he finds out that there is more real life problems to think about.
He saw that life is cool thing, and it is so easy to lose your life, so this gave him much motivation and energy and he overcome his problems. Years later he lives now life much better than in the time before the war, simply because he changed his priorities in life.
Being dependent on certain drugs (medicine) that allow you to function properly because you are suffering from certain conditions (and I am talking here about stuff like depression, anxiety, panic disorders, phobias…) can be already hard in normal life.
It is constant and everyday struggle.
Coping with that conditions when SHTF can look impossible, especially without proper support and help. But also, do not consider them „not usable“ and „not worthy“ when SHTF.
For some things survival scenario is good, it can show you what life is, how much you need to appreciate it because you become close to death, and how easily you can lose it. SHTF will show you what is love, hate, fear and extreme emotions. And it can show you your true meaning of life.
My time in war was all about urban survival, besides my trip over mountains to get some supplies, but survival puts you more in touch with yourself and nature. You have no choice.
It is good if you have big stash of medicine you need, but do not stop with this. Living healthy life now, trying to find natural alternatives to drugs you take makes more sense to do now then when you are busy with surviving. From what I read a lot of people in survival scene live in world that they think they can buy safety. They forget about learning new skills and preparing your mind and body. Getting all things ready for harder life includes a lot of areas you have to put work in.
It is easy to take care of your teeth now, get regular checkup and any holes fixed. Someone else does it you just lie down. But try to clean up your medical problems as much as you can today. In long term collapse it can take years to rebuild system that can offer modern medicine.
So what about people in your family or friends who are dependent on some medication or drugs? What if it is about someone you can not change or who even does not care about preparedness and survival?
I mentioned few times that when SHTF people show their true face, so you can not know how someone will act.
People can act under the stress in some very weird and not common ways, be ready that people who do you consider like „tough ones“ cry, or be useless because of high stress. Theory is one thing but when you smell blood, hear screams and find out that you are about to fight for your life then everything is different.
If you can, take them out on adventure trip. Put them in some stressful situation (you still have control over) and see how they react. Look how these people work. Are they willing to work hard on something?
Do not consider automatically persons on some drugs (antidepressant for example) not usable for SHTF situation. Personally I would focus more on their other qualities and skills. Keep in mind that some people with mental problems have been to very dark places, sometimes only in their mind but for them it is real. They can be tougher and more used to stressful and terrible situations because they are used to it.
You want to prepare and form group for survival. If you know details of my fight for survival from my course, you see real example of how important being in a good group is for survival.
Group can be great source of support and can carry few unstable people through hard times but make sure you take good hard look how many “bad apples” you can take in your group. Survival is never popularity contest. Some decisions you will make sound cruel, maybe even insane but it is what it is. Let’s be realistic, without modern medicine we would have less people here today.
Even if you take on some unstable people, make sure you have solution to cut them lose from group when you can not support them anymore.