Stuff – Concerns on ‘Over Attachment’

In one comment on my previous article I received an excellent comment (thanks Nick!) about what lessons he learned while going through Hurricane Irma, and how that event change some of his views about prepping.

He got the points that I wrote about for long time ago, and I still repeat it from time to time, it has to be repeated because you see it as my words only, and most of the people will understand it only in the  proper way after they experience some serious event, only then you can put it in correct perspective.

Nothing like real life experience learning.

And there is nothing wrong about changing your (survival) system, I do that too when I figure that something works better then plan (or equipment) that I have.

If you are prepper for years and you did not change your setup and plan from day one of your prepping until now, then usually something is wrong with your philosophy.

„On a Good Day I can…“

 I think it was on some forum or in some blog comments, discussion was about some particular weapon as far as I remember, and some guy said like „ (when SHTF) on a good day I can shoot (kill)…“

In that short statement („on a good day“) is condensed one of the biggest mistakes about prepping in survival movement.

There is not too many good days when SHTF. It is simple like that.

In short people are prepping based on imaginary perspective how SHTF gonna look, and that alone is not problem (you do not necessary have to go through serious SHTF event in order to be good prepper-survivalist), problem is that people stick so hard to their imaginary perspective of how SHTF gonna look like, and what they need for it, that they are simply not willing to change their plans.

They are sure.

Whenever I read that someone change his plans based on his experience and thinking and that he recognize that in my articles or courses where he was wrong I feel great.

By the way, on a good day you can sit down and shoot 6 magazines from AK in 5 minutes and shoot 5 people who wants to break in your home while you are singing „Hey Joe“ without too much problems.

You are fed, secured, comfortable, warm, healthy, probably police gonna come in 10 minutes, you’ll get professional psychological help later, maybe you end up in local newspaper as a hero…

On a ordinary day during real collapse, chances are that you’ll be tired from days and nights of not sleeping well, more or less hungry, maybe you gonna have weird and painful infection in your groin from lack of proper hygiene and serious case of diarrhea, your younger kid having pneumonia and of course doctors are gone, and your friend who is a veterinarian gave you some pills and you are not sure is it working, your wife had nervous breakdown and you do not have clue what to do with her…

You were listening to screams from town for weeks while gangs were killing and raping, and your bones melted from horror.

Several times strange idea of killing your family and then yourself struck your mind, because listening to screams for weeks put pictures of what kind of things are happening there, and you can not cope with that pictures.

And then there are 5 people attacking your home, they even yell that they gonna spare all of you if you give them all your preps, but you’re thinking about screams, but still maybe they spare you…

It is definetly not your „good day“.

You need to hope for good days when SHTF, but you need to be prepared for bad days when SHTF.

„Heat“

It is equation that takes in consideration your skills, preps, event, circumstances… and given heat (SHTF).

If you show me man who can have all prepared perfectly well for any kind of possible scenario I will bow to him, but, in my mind, it is simply impossible.

If you understand that then you’ll understand two things:

-you’ll need constantly to adapt to the given situation

-you’ll have bad days and fails

But you’ll have a good chance to survive. To show that in an example I’ll use very widespread and popular topic: Bug Out Bags

It is something like holy grail of survival, and it is like a minefield to go into that topics against widespread and popular opinions in survival community, but I’ll survive, and you just need to think about it. So here goes…

Bug Out Bag (and equipment)

Bug out bag is something that is considered you „absolutely need to have“ or otherwise you are not a prepper….

So there you have situation where people (family) have bug out bags, each member of family have his own BOB.

Yours might weigh 25 kilos. You have everything there, food for three days, toilet paper, axe and knife, tarp and small stove, extra ammo, first aid kit and lot of antibiotics.

You have maps and radios.

It is heavy duty military grade backpack, waterproof.

All members of your family have BOB with good and usable stuff inside.

And then city erupt in violent protests for whatever reason and you need to bug out immediately.

You all grab your BOBs go out and get shot after 300 meters just because you have such good and cool looking stuff on you (and in huge amounts)

Or simply you drown in the river because your backpack is too big.

I understand that this example is very rudimentary, but you need to stop thinking that you can cover everything for every scenario, otherwise you end up covering nothing.

BOB is become almost burden because we are being bombarded with info „what we really need to have in order to survive and thrive“ or „you must have this or othervise you end up dead for sure“.

BUT it really needs to be about necessity, not comfort.

There is „prepackaged first aid kit for your BOB“ with nonsense inside, there are stoves that are heavy and give your position away to everybody from 2 km distance, there are ways to start your fire that takes like half hour to start fire and require like 1000 calories of your work… does anybody use lighter anymore for starting fire?

„what if lighter fails“?

Can you have 2-3 lighters for that case?

There are powerfull torches that make“ night look like day“ for only such and such amount of money…and if I want to read my map in the middle of nowhere using that torch I’ll be blind for next half hour, but if there anybody within 3 kms of my position they all will know where I am.

Again, all above are examples, and torch lamp and flints are great stuff,and definitely they have its place (I have it) but did you think to include lighters and micro lights too?

Example of solution would be „shelf“ system. You need to have lot of stuff ready to take really quickly, but based on given scenario.

Some things can cover all scenarios, basic things, but why in the name of ‘everything covered’ anybody would drag big heavy bag when you need speed and „blending“.

Is having sport bag for a given scenario not make more sense than a camping backpack or military type backpack?

Is carryng rifle in your hand having more sense then hiding under coat in given moment in scenario?

Maybe simple sleeping mat being visible on your backpack clearly points you as a target in given moment? Maybe moment demand only heavy duty trash bag in your pocket (as a mean for sleeping on a way to your BOL)

These are only examples, but hopefully you get my point.

Sit down, pull all your gear out, and think about 5 possible SHTF scenarios, and that you have 10 minutes to choose only 30 percent of your BOB stuff, see the difference in equipment selection for each scenario.

It is good practice.

It is reality – you cannot have everything.

Find The Balance

You may find that at the end it is about balance how much preps you have in your home (or willing to carry) with you.

Sometimes it affects your mobility and adaptility.

Sometimes you grow huge connection with your stuff and you are not willing to leave everything and run to save your life (because you have valuable things)

Sometimes all your cool preps will save your life!

Metal container with 300 $ worth of preps inside that you took and bury in woods as your secret stash can worth much more then 50 000$ worth of preps inside your home, simply because you maybe had to leave your home in 10 minutes in order to survive…

It is balance that can not be taught, because you need to put it in perspective of your given circumstances.

There is no magical solution to „survive and thrive when SHTF  (for only $99.99)“ there is no „prepackaged perfect solution“ products.

YOU need to pack your solution!

 

In At The Deep End…

 

There is a whole range of situations that look completely different in real life situation than in the survival ‘realm’ on youtube.

It is normal that you can not bring full scale of reality in training situation but still some things needs to be shown more real then they are shown in usual shows over internet.

I watched few days ago couple videos and read some stuff about (safe) river crossing in survival situations, and noticed some things.

I will mention most important:

Common sense (yes, common sense… again)

First majority of those videos and articles describe river crossings in wilderness survival situations, and while some of those are pretty good and gives you good advices about basic stuff like how deep, how wide, what kind of ground (under the water), how fast, safest places to cross etc they are forgetting to mention urban river (survival) crossing.

In urban river crossing there is whole new set of things to think about like polluted water, garbage and different kind of stuff in (like car wreck for example)  in river bed (that can give you lot of troubles).

Also videos usually shows rivers that are up to your waist deep, or rivers not too wide (so you can use fallen log to cross it)…

But just like with all other internet survival one thing in those scenarios is missing – other people.

If your survival situation will include river crossing in the middle of day in peaceful country settings, where there is no single soul (with possible bad intentions to you) except you and only noise is birds singing etc. you are lucky man, but most probably it is not gonna be like that.

Forget about videos of shooting anchor with rope over the river and crossing it like that unless you are SAS (in good condition), in reality most of us can not do that.

Also most of the river in urban settings (and lot of in wilderness settings) can not be crossed by „fallen log“.

Either there is no fallen log, or you do not have time to look for it, or it is pitch dark, or simply river is too wide for fucking „fallen log“.

Instead of looking for a fancy solution of survival rivers crossing immediately I suggest you (just like with all other survival tecniques) go from the start, from the very basic.

Check your survival plans (you bug out route for example) and see what kind of rivers are there.

Do not forget to include area that may be your secondary or tertiary choice for bugging out, remember that plan is only that – plan.

Now see what kind of rivers are there on your way, what kind of river beds, what banks are (remember sometimes what it looks like good aproach to river may be mud hell where you can at least lose your shoes if not even something more important).

There are huge differences between „wild“ rivers and rivers (in urban settings) where river bed is controlled and paved or similar. Walking through those rivers are different, approach too.

Good advice too is to think about bridge as a first and easiest crossing over the river, take that as a start and then check possible pros and cons for crossing particular river over the particular bridge.

In other words do not go and drown yourself because you try to swim over dangerous river just because you felt very „survivalist“ while there is a bridge standing close without any danger of passing over that bridge.

Forget being fancy-use common sense and choose less danger in particular situation.

Internet survival  techniques

Lot of techniques that works beautiful on internet turns out like into shit and mess in real life, and reason for that is simple: most of the internet survival techniques are based on „philosophical“ or fictional scenarios and can not include all possible real life factors.

Simply- reality can throw on you much more factors that you did not think about.

Still it is not reason not to learn and prepare for different situations.

I can share with you  my experiences about „survival river crossings“, my experience is quite different, and actually not smart at all, but i think there is lessons to be learned.

Swimming

It was around 3am and I was in the part of the town where I should not been in that time of the night, simply because I should be home earlier then that.

I would like to say that I was there to trade, find food, scavenge or fight-it would sounds more „survival“ for the sake of this article and blog but truth was that I was there to see a girl that i like a lot.

On my way back I found myself into the one of sudden raids. A 50 man group attacked the street and I run from them through ruined houses and found myself on the bank of the river (Pictured above).

I always kinda hated that river-I liked the river but I hated how cold, fast and treacherous that river can be.

It was pitch dark and I crawled downhill some 20 meters through small willow trees, and bush on huge stones that stands on a bank (no fucking fallen log there, so you know…)

I crawled through something smelly and soft, I felt like all was rotten in that bush.

I could see river, small waves were wetting my shoes, and I was standing on slippery stone holding willow branch with one hand.

River bed is mix of huge stones and sand, and depth is going from 30 cm to 3 meters- depending on size of stones, stones go very „steep“ so you can actually swim under the stone (and probably drown there) or simply strange current and whirlpool will do that for you, roll you and pull you under the stone and drown you there, or simply throw you on the stone and smash your head. It can be dangerous river for experienced swimmer in broad daylight and swimming suit.

I tried to see what is on other bank-some 20-25 meters far, tracer round flashes reflects on my eyes and all I could see is darkness on other bank and something moving in darkness, same willow trees or people with rifles, or maybe is my imagination, in that time and situation seeing a guy selling popcorn on the other side would not be surprising how my imagination worked.

I expected any moment that enemy would shoot me, so adrenaline worked hard .

I had backpack which was almost empty, 22 rifle which was duct taped (two screws that holding steel part together with wooden part were „worn off“ so it was duct taped to hold it together) tobbaco box and some 15 bullets in pockets.

As I heard guy approaching to my place I hesitated for a second or two thinking what to do then I put rifle over my chest and jumped into the river.

And I immediately started to drown.

Shock of freezing river somehow „turned off“ my adrenaline surge, and my thought was „I am gonna die now“.

Next second river „took“ me and roll me all over and I felt my rifle sling is choking me, if I had enough voice and strength I would yell „help“ to the guys that I wanted to run from, but at that time I simply had no ‘voice’.

Crossing that river was not swimming-it was drowning, it took maybe 20 seconds for me to get to the other side, but it was way longer for me, and I ended up some 100 meters downstream.

Several times river throw me on big stones, I was trying to loosen my rifle sling all the time and when I finally managed to grab stone with my hands and stop the crazy movement I was not even sure am I on the same river bank or I actually crossed river onto the other bank.

I was holding the stone for some 10 minutes probably, then slowly crawl from the river.

I was on the other bank, I was frantically holding rifle sling, the rifle was falling apart, steel part was separated from wooden part.

I lost my backpack, my tobacco box too. I did not see from one eye because it was full of blood from big wound on forehead.

Later I figured I broke two fingers and rib too.

But I was alive, and on the other side. I had huge luck.

Point of the story is that sometimes crossing the river may look much more complicated and dangerous then finding fallen log.

And very often crossing river is like lot of situations in real survival-be ready to leave everything and take just your life.

Or things that you like may pull you down and drown you.

Or point of the story is to carry heavy duty trash bag with you all the time so you can use it to put all your stuff inside and try to swim then…?

 

Toby Comment – Without going into to much detail just now, River crossings are one of the subjects we cover in our field based courses. It is surprising for us to consistently see folks have not factored this concept in at all to their plans, and even when doing so, struggle to often acknowledge the ‘time sensitivity’ that, in reality, comes with river crossings.

If it is of interest we can write a full article on this subject, please just comment below with your thoughts on this matter…