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A LITTLE PHILOSOPHY LET’S TALK A LITTLE philosophy…survival philosophy. Plato, 423 BC – 347 BC, one of the world’s greatest acknowledged philosophers, is attributed with the profound phrase…”necessity is the mother of invention.” To me that statement means; if there is something that needs doing… you can find a way to do it… if you want to do it badly enough. That seems to relate to an attitude and, if we are going to talk about survival, attitude (meaning a “survivor’s” attitude) is the most important asset you can have. If you are in a survival situation (no matter the scenario) and want to survive, and believe that you will…you probably will. ANOTHER character (I guess he could be called a philosopher), is Woodrow F. Call, Lonesome Dove 1985, who said…”It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it,” as he handed a six shooter to the young Newt Dobbs. He was giving Newt his first gun and surely talking about tools. According to Plato, if you need a “widget” you’ll find a way to make one, but wouldn’t it be easier to have that widget in your pack? AND ANOTHER LESS KNOWN PHILOSOPHER Horace Kephart, 1862-1931, gave us this phrase…”the more you carry in your head, the less you carry on your back.” To me, relating to survival, that means if you know how to “find” (defined as forage, scavenge and kill) food then you don’t have to carry twenty pounds of canned beans in your survival pack. Acquired knowledge of survival skills, tactics, and techniques will greatly enhance your chances of survival…while lightening your load. THESE THREE SAGES have given me my survival philosophy…which is to ATTACK! AT.T.AC.K is an acronym which stands for ATtitude…Tools…ACquired Knowledge, which in my book equals SURVIVAL. It has been said by survival experts that survival is 80% attitude, 10% tools and 10% knowledge.

BURBCRAFT and BUSHCRAFT “The post catastrophic civilized world will require a new set of survival skills. The traditional wilderness survival (bushcraft) skill sets will undergo adaptation and innovation to utilize the remnants and debris of our collapsed technological society. A new skill set will emerge ...this we will call burbcraft.” Rudy G. Bischof

BURBCRAFT IS A NEW TERM for our times and is defined as follows: burbcraft [n., adj., berb-craft, v.; berb-crafting; noun plural, berb-crafts] noun The learning and practice of skills needed to survive in an urban or suburban environment destroyed or damaged by a catastrophic event or occurrence. adjective Describing survival tactics and techniques in a post catastrophic urban or suburban environment: he cooked his dinner on a burbcraft stove. verb (used with object) Using the skills of burbcraft in performing the tasks of survival in a post catastrophic environment: he was burbcrafting a cookstove from some from some sheet metal that he found.

AS WE CITY DWELLERS go about our day in the urban and suburban arena we will typically have little need for burbcraft skills. We live and work in technologically advanced homes and offices powered by the grid and natural gas lines and, as long as our computers are not misbehaving, all is well. But there are forces at work in our world that could disrupt and even destroy our citified status quo…forces of nature and forces of man. Natural disasters are occurring all over the planet with greater frequency and severity than ever before. Earthquakes, tornados, tsunamis and hurricanes are almost weekly news. Mankind gets its licks in as well with terrorist attacks, industrial mishaps and even war. It just might be that one day your daily schedule, which you so efficiently manage on your iPad, may hold a few surprises. You may find yourself struggling to survive in an urban jungle. It could happen anytime…and if it does will you know what to do? Will you have what you need? Have you prepared yourself for such an event? And let me ask an even more thought provoking question…Have you prepared your children? Do they know how to take care of themselves in a survival situation when you are not there?

THEY SAY “a picture’s worth a thousand words, and If that’s true then I guess these just said a bunch. Think about what’s happening in our world today. Will you be able to survive it if it happens where you live? Are you adequately prepared? Do you know what that means? Do you know how to get that way, where to start, what to do? Have you taught your kids? If you have not seriously considered these things, maybe now would be a good time to do so. You have the choice to be either a survivor, or a victim. It’s your choice to take care of yourself, or let the government take care of you. If you choose the latter let me know how that works out for you.

A SURVIVAL QUIZ LET’S START our discussion with a quiz. Just something to get your mind working and maybe assess your thought processes in regard to survival. In this quiz you will be given a list of items that could have possible survival uses, some more than others. You must choose the items that you think will be most helpful to you in a survival situation. There are no absolute answers to this quiz because there is more than one way to skin a cat. The important thing is, WILL THE ITEMS YOU CHOOSE KEEP YOU ALIVE?

THE SCENARIO: It has been a blustery day and the wind has finally blown in some dark, rain filled clouds. You have just arrived home from work to your cozy three story row house on the edge of the city. It is late fall and the weather has been cool with a forecast of a cold front soon to arrive. Anticipated low for tonight in the high forties, but with the wind chill factor it could be much lower. You look forward to a pleasant evening with a good book in front of the gas fireplace, oh, sweet innocence. No sooner do you change into your comfortable jeans than you first hear the blast and, immediately following, feel the tremendous jolt as your house shutters violently. You run downstairs to the living room window and look out. Your mind can scarcely process the destruction that you see before you on your street. Collapsed houses, rubble, dust and fire… lots of it. Fire is engulfing the row houses across the street and cinders and ashes are blowing against the front of yours. The muffled explosions of underground gas lines erupting shake the building foundations. The whole neighborhood is in flames…you’ve got to get out of there, and fast! Your thoughts race… what can I take, what do I need? You frantically look around the kitchen and you see thirty (30) items. You will only have time to grab fifteen (15) of these items. NOTE: For this exercise consider that you are alone, you have no one to look out for, and need only to act on your behalf. Boy, if that were only true. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO GRAB, AND WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH THOSE ITEMS TO SURVIVE THE NIGHT?





YOU HIT THE back door on the run and head toward the outskirts of the city. Glancing over your shoulder it seems that the whole metropolis is burning. Your house is a raging inferno…what the heck happened? You keep moving, fast. YOU HAVE covered about four miles and are now in an industrial area. On your way you had to avoid several blocks where looters were already out in force, and you know that will get worse. Soon you come to an old warehouse enclosed by a chain link fence, the gate is chained and locked so you climb over. You try all the doors and windows but they are locked tight. It’s very strange, it’s so silent, you can hear people’s frenzied and distressed cries and shouts, but no sirens, no traffic noises…in fact no other noises at all. There is no light except the throbbing orange glow reflecting from the low hanging clouds and columns of black smoke billowing high above the city… it is totally dark. It starts to rain.

SO, WHAT ARE YOU going to do with the 15 items you selected? How will you use them to survive? YOU MIGHT WRITE a little scenario about how you will spend the night, and your plan of action using these items. YOU WILL GET A CHANCE to see what items I would have selected, and how I would have used them, a little later on in the book. For now I would like you to keep thinking about it as you go through this guide. Maybe, by the time you finish, you will have a different perspective and want to go back to choose again.

BASIC SURVIVAL PRIORITIES SURVIVAL in a destroyed city, or a suburb (“burb”), is very similar to survival in the wilderness. Both environments can contain potential hazards to human life. Surviving these hazards depends on a certain set of basic priorities and skills. These priorities and skills are pretty much the same in either of the above environments. In either scenario, you will have to ask yourself this question…“WHAT WILL TAKE MY LIFE, IF I DON’T HAVE IT, AND HOW SOON?” The answer is relatively simple: AIR - 3 MINUTES without it and you will be in serious trouble (but it will soon be over). BODY TEMPERATURE (a constant 98.6 degrees) - 3 HOURS without it (plus or minus) can mean death. WATER - 3 DAYS without it is dangerously harmful. More time than that is dangerously fatal. FOOD - 3 WEEKS without “chow” can mean “ciao” (goodbye in Italian)! PROTECTION FROM HARM - 3 SECONDS to…who knows? It depends on the situation. THESE ARE the survival priorities and the time factors of danger to the human body (with the lack thereof). To avoid the lack of these priorities you must develop a set of skills that will allow you to locate, provide or improvise that which is needed to allow you to “live on” (the definition of survival) in the situation that deprived you of these necessities. In addition to the skills you must learn, having the proper tools and gear will make survival tasks much easier; but having a “survivors” attitude is the greatest asset you can have. THE PURPOSE of this guide is to provide you with basic information and training on the survival priorities as outlined above. Each priority will be discussed in order with illustrations, photos and text to give you a good working knowledge of how to prepare yourself to provide for the lack of that priority. Let’s discuss the priorities, in regards to urban/suburban survival, which will be called “burbcraft” from now on in this guide.

PRIORITY ONE: AIR. The consideration here is the contamination of our air supply with chemical, biological or radiological substances delivered by means of an attack of war, terrorism, or industrial mishap. The choices for defense against such an occurrence are limited. You will need to rapidly remove yourself from the contaminated area or have access to protective filtration masks or safe rooms.


The human body must maintain a constant body temperature of 98.6 degrees fahrenheit. If our body’s temperature rises (hyperthermia, known as heatstroke) or falls (hypothermia) 10 degrees from 98.6 degrees, we can be in serious danger. Any good first aid handbook or manual will give descriptions, symptoms and treatment for these serious conditions, or search them online. The main purpose of this guide is to teach preventative tactics.

PROTECTING your body temperature involves THREE SURVIVAL STRATEGIES:

1. Preserving body core temperature with appropriate clothing. 2. Constructing an external barrier against the elements. 3. Providing an external source of warmth. THESE STRATEGIES are considered in the concept of shelter. Without shelter, in adverse conditions, this little fellow could die within three hours. Though a newborn infant is perhaps more fragile and susceptible to hypothermia than you might be; in wet cotton clothing and a windy environment, you will have the same life expectancy…without shelter. LET’S DEFINE shelter (from shel·ter[shel-ter] noun 1. something beneath, behind, or within which a person, or thing is protected from storms, missiles, adverse conditions, etc.; refuge. THAT’S’s definition, but for our purposes we will alter that somewhat: shelter [shel-ter] noun 1. anything that can be used, worn or constructed that will protect the body from harm from the elements, missiles, or adverse conditions; to include implements for providing heating and cooling. The three strategies as listed above can be combined into one priority called shelter, however the third strategy, external source of warmth, indicates the use of fire. Fire will then become a priority on its own. So, the vital survival priorities are: SHELTER: as defined above. FIRE: This, by my definition, would be the skills of; finding burnable fuels, constructing of firepits and fire lays, and creating or providing ignition for the purpose of building fires for warmth, emotional well being, signaling and food preparation. The ability to create, sustain and utilize fire has been vital to survival since the dawn of man. WATER: The human body needs a constant supply of fresh, pure water. Depending on the ambient temperature and your levels of exertion, your need for water will increase or decrease. In very hot weather it is possible for your body to require up to one gallon of water per day (and even more depending on activity and exertion). Even though you can survive up to three days without water, it is important to have some from the get go. Excessive thirst is a dangerous enemy to attitude and energy… you will need high levels of both to deal with the rigors of an emergency situation. FOOD: The body needs proteins, carbohydrates and calories to stoke the energy boilers. It is true that you can last up to three weeks (or more) without any food, but your attitude will probably be severely affected. You may become as weak as a newborn kitten as well. You will need a strong attitude and your strength; so you’ve got to have something to eat. You will need it almost immediately. PROTECTION FROM HARM: This survival strategy includes first aid or treatment for injuries, infections and diseases, as well as both lethal and non-lethal self defense. Depending on the situation at hand, this could be an immediate priority or something to consider at a later time. For example, five gang trolls kicking in your door to steal your food supplies would require a more immediate, and forceful, defense than treating your mosquito bites.

THERE YOU HAVE IT, the survival priorities: SHELTER, FIRE, WATER, FOOD and PROTECTION. These are the foundation of any program of survival preparedness. Any one is not more or less important than another; they are each dependent on time and proximity factors. But here I will add a sixth priority and one that I feel is the most important of all. A truly wise person will address this priority before doing anything about any of the others. That priority is TOOLS, meaning the implements and gear that will help you to provide for each of the five other priorities. Oh yes, with a survivor’s attitude and your ingenuity you may possibly get by without them, but don’t reinvent the wheel…get the tools, have the tools, and for Pete’s sake…have them with you when you need

them! NOW LET’S DISCUSS each of the survival priorities in more detail beginning with...

PRIORITY: TOOLS THE BEST PLACE TO START is with the tools that will make survival easier. Let’s look back in history to a time when a man made his way in this world by his own guts, wits and tools…the era of the mountain man. The free spirits of th the early 19 century left civilization, as it were, to ply the mountains of the Wild West…they called themselves Free Trappers and Mountain Men. They did this for the allure of the beaver trade and various and sundry other reasons, but the wise among them took the supplies and tools with which to sustain their lives in the wilderness and allow them to more easily adapt to their new environment. The tools they carried were basically; the axe, the knife, the gun (with powder and ball), flint and steel, traps, and a blanket or two. The supplies were flour, salt, tea and some bacon. If they were really wise they learned a little about using this stuff before they ventured out. They also learned some survival skills from the American natives (who had lived in the wild for centuries), or they lost their hair earlier than expected.

A NOTABLE FIGURE from the late 1800’s was George Washington Sears a.k.a Nessmuk, a writer for Forest and Stream magazine and author of Woodcraft (1884). Nessmuk spent a lot of time in the wild canoeing and camping in the Adirondacks where he developed a system of tools that he called the “trilogy” or “trinity” (I prefer the former). The Trilogy consisted of: a small short handled double bit axe, a fixed blade sheath knife, and a multi bladed pocket knife. His philosophy was that we should not “rough it in the wilderness, we should smooth it.” He also felt that a knife blade should only be long enough to reach the bottom of a jar, and thin enough to cut cheese (I don’t necessarily agree, but I won’t hold it against him). Though Ol’ Nessmuk schmoozed the wilderness by making camp chairs, tables and other useful devices from tree branches and trunks, or preparing game for the pot (and cutting cheese), his trilogy of tools would be no less useful in an urban jungle. They might have a few different uses such as; hacking your way out of a collapsed room, hot wiring an abandoned car with a multi-tool, defending your life… or maybe just preparing your dinner. I can think of many other survival uses for a set of tools like this, I don’t want to imagine how hard things could get if you were caught without them. THESE TOOLS SHOULD BE THE FOUNDATION OF ANY SURVIVAL KIT. I would find the best quality high tech modern versions available to me. I would add to this trilogy a high tech fire-starter. I WOULD MAKE SURE THAT I HAVE THAT KIT READY AND AVAILABLE AT ALL TIMES. Again, to quote a favorite character of mine, Woodrow F. Call (Lonesome Dove)…”it’s better have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.” BTW, if I could only have one tool…it would be a really good knife.

PRIORITY: SHELTER IN A SURVIVAL KIT family (if we were to liken it to a family) then shelter must surely be the father. A father is usually responsible for providing a dwelling in which the family lives. Sometimes this isn’t the case, but it should be. FIRST we’ll discuss clothing, which is the first defense against the elements. The clothing we wear can either keep us cool or warm by preserving or dissipating body heat. In hot dry weather lightweight cotton material, in light colors (dark colors absorb the sun’s rays rather than reflect) is advisable. The clothing should be loose fitting to allow air circulation. The body perspires in hot weather and the circulation provides evaporative cooling. It’s no accident that peoples living in harsh desert climates wear baggy white trousers, extra long white shirts with long sleeves and a white cloth turban on their heads. The long sleeves, pants and turban limit exposure to the sun’s rays and prevent excessive heating of the skin and sunburn. The loose, baggy fit allows circulation. Now, this is all well for hot, sunny conditions, but cotton is the kiss of death in cold and wet. Cotton loses all insulation properties when it’s wet, and insulation is the name of the game in preserving body heat. THE ANSWER for cold, wet weather is wool or synthetic material such as polypropolene, thermax, nylon, etc. Wool and synthetics will not absorb moisture as readily as cotton and they will retain their insulation properties when wet. They also have the ability to wick moisture away from the body. CLOTHING, in my definition of shelter, would include everything from gloves to goggles, sunglasses to gas masks and bullet proof vests. If you can wear it on your body, and it protects you from something

Cotton baaad. !

bad…then I consider it to be shelter. Here’s where I recommend keeping a two piece (jacket and pants) waterproof/breathable ensemble in your survival pack. Remember if it’s waterproof then moisture can’t get in…or out. Waterproof only materials will trap your body’s perspiration and soak your under clothing…not a good situation. The material should also be breathable, which lets body vapors out. Having such a suit in your pack also insures that, no matter what, you will have clothes to wear should you be required to “bug out” in the middle of the night without time for properly dressing. Wearing this suit becomes a shelter all on its own. OUR BODIES naturally generate heat. This heat is necessary to keep the body core, where all the vital giblets reside, comfortably at that life preserving 98.6 degree temperature. When your core temp starts to fall, the body wisely brings heat from the extremities back to the core to protect those organs. This is why your fingers, nose, toes, feet and hands get cold first. The top of your head is like a fireplace chimney, dissipating excess body heat away from the core. Put your hand on your head for a minute and you’ll feel the warmth leaving. If you want to keep that heat inside your body, cover your head with something, anything, especially a hat or cap. Go out and play in the snow for awhile without a hat. Your fingers, toes and nose will surely get cold. Put on a hat and you’ll feel them warm up. DISASTER strikes when and where it will, and it’s not often very considerate of your state of readiness. It seems like the wee hours of the morning, when you’re sound asleep, is a favorite. How can you prepare for such a rude awakening? Here’s what I do. I dress appropriately for the season, and when I undress for bed at night I keep the day’s clothing next to my bed on a chair, quickly accessible and ready to put on in an instant (belt in place, shoes untied, etc). That way when the “bell rings” I don’t have to run around looking for clothes, or worse yet run out without them. Note: these clothes are usually right next to my survival kit by the side of my bed. I protect my shoes from broken glass (which will surely be present in an earthquake, explosion or tornado), by turning them upside down (and remember that waterproof/breathable suit that we talked about above). CONSTRUCTING a barrier against the elements to keep cool or warm is the essence of shelter. There are many different types of temporary dwellings that you can build i.e. tents, lean-tos etc, and almost all of them will provide protection in both hot and cold conditions if they are made properly. To protect against hyperthermia (heatstroke) you need shade. It’s that simple. Protection against hypothermia requires a moisture and wind barrier plus insulation. In both cases the construction techniques can be very similar. Carrying a poly tarp, or an “all weather blanket in your kit will make shelter building much easier. One major difference would be insulation. Let’s talk about insulation for a minute. Dead air space is what provides insulation. Dead air space is space in which there is trapped air that cannot circulate. An example of using insulation would be wearing a light jacket, through which the wind can blow. It provides some protection but you are still cold. Take some sheets of newspaper and wad them up, stuffing them tightly inside the jacket. You have created dead air space and thereby insulated your jacket. You will now be much warmer. It’s the same principle by which a down comforter, or a sleeping bag, is warmer than a blanket. Speaking of sleeping bags, a waterproof/breathable “bivvy” sack kept in your survival pack can become a highly effective shelter on its own. IN A DISASTER situation there are at least three scenarios for shelter. First you may have the use of your home, office, or building (or someone else’s vacant and abandoned one). In any case having a pre-existing structure to shelter in you will be better off and better protected (providing it is safe to stay in the structure and in that location). IF YOU HAVE a pre-existing structure to use, there are some things to consider. Let’s say it is winter and a massive earthquake has just wiped out your town. Your house is damaged but mostly still standing, maybe a wall or two is collapsed or missing. The power is off and there is no heat. You have to keep your family warm. There is a fireplace in the living room and it’s still intact and useable. You build a fire but it won’t heat the whole house (especially with gaping walls), what are you going to do? Well, use some common sense; don’t try to heat the whole house!

Gather all the available mattresses, blankets and such into the living room, seal up the entrances to the hall and bedrooms, kitchen, etc., and just heat that area. Cover the windows and insulate wherever you can. That will become your living area if need be. Think like a squirrel, who builds a small nest, insulates it heavily with dry leaves and grasses, and then curls up with his tail wrapped around him, staying snug all winter. Use your fireplace for heating and cooking, if you don’t have a fireplace inside, make a fire pit outside for warming up. A blazing campfire has kept man warm for thousands of years. A warming and cooking fire does not need to be very large; bon fires are wasteful of resources, time and energy. Think about storing some firewood, lots of firewood! In a disaster area there is usually a good deal of material that could be scavenged for use as fire fuel. Collapsed structures usually expose the wood framing, or floors. Wooden shake shingles or backyard fences, wooden pallets, crates or boxes, all could be broken up and burned in a campfire pit. You might include kerosene and/or propane heaters in your long term storage plan. THE SECOND shelter possibility could be abandoned vehicles, cars, vans and trucks. Cars would be the least desirable but the most plentiful, if it is drivable then you could relocate it to a more advantageous position (or drive it the heck outta there). Vans and trucks can be used as secure shelters. Vehicles make very waterproof and wind tight shelters, but being made of mostly steel, don’t do much in the way of providing or retaining warmth. You can insulate a vehicle by using the filling from car seats (from other abandoned cars), cardboard or paper goods, foam, or plastic sheeting or bags. In a truck box, or even a van, a wood or oil burning stove could be jury rigged with a little ingenuity and a lot of caution and common sense. Remember, Plato is attributed with the quote…”necessity is the mother of invention.” I once saw a video of a very nice mini-home built inside of a garbage truck ( living in a garbage truck). I don’t think it was really a garbage truck but a Uni-Cat, but it was cool nonetheless. THE THIRD SCENARIO is that the structure, or location you are in is not safe and you will have to evacuate. You might have to go to a safer area, which may not have any structures to shelter in. Many urban or suburban areas are in close proximity to open land with trees, water and animal life. These areas would be a good alternative to staying in an inner city cesspool of devastation and crime. Much like being in the wilderness, you will have to construct a shelter from the natural materials at hand. Here is where the survival kit, in which you have the tools and gear to take care of yourself in the outdoors whether in the city or in the wild, comes in to play. EVACUATING TO THE BOONIES requires some skills in shelter building and using natural materials. There are many sources from which you can get instruction in this skill. This is called bushcraft, or wilderness survival. Your building materials will be tree limbs, branches, leaves and grasses, caves, over hangs, etc. At the Burbcraft Online Survival School ( we teach you to carry some gear in your survival kit that will meet your shelter needs. That way you’ll have the best part of it knocked, and you’ll save a lot of time and energy (both of which can be critical to survival). The survival kit highlighted in has just such a set up. The kit contains an “all weather” blanket, survival bivvy Sack, and 50’ of 550 para cord. With these items you can build a shelter that we call the “Survival Hooch.” This basic little shelter, with a few insulating improvements using “found” materials, will serve you well if you have to bivouac outdoors, it is just as well suited for use in the “burbs.” HERE’S HOW YOU MAKE the Burbcraft Survival Hooch using the three vital shelter items shown below.




STEP ONE: LAY THE blanket on the ground with the reflective side up in cold weather (this will become the inside as you will turn it over) put the colored side up in hot weather. Do this in the location that you want to set up your shelter. The blanket comes with a grommet in each corner. You will need to add a hole in the center of each long side. Put a piece of duct tape on each side of the blanket at the center point of the long sides, and make a hole large enough for the cord to push through. If you want to get ahead of the game install grommets at these points when you first get the blanket.

STEP TWO: FIND THE center point of the paracord and tie a simple over hand loop about 3� long. Push the loop through the blanket at the center of one long side. Keep the knot on the inside. Stretch the left side of the cord to the left corner grommet, tie another loop and push the loop through. Make sure the length of the cord is exactly the distance between the center and corner grommets. Now stretch the cord to the center hole on the bottom side of the blanket. Don’t push it through yet. Do the same thing to the right side with the paracord. When you have both sides of the cord at the center hole, making sure that the length of the cord exactly matches the distance between each corner and the center point, then hold both cords together and tie an overhand knot. Keep the knot on the inside. Turn the whole thing over and straighten it out. Pull the loose ends of the cord through the center hole, leaving the double knot on the underside. Find a good spot to set up the shelter.

STEP THREE: WHEN YOU have your shelter situated where you want it, paying attention to the selection of your site i.e. wind direction, water flow, widow-makers (overhanging objects that could fall on you), fire-pit possibilities, etc., then stake down the center loop on the backside. Stretch the back edge tight and stake down the two corners. When the back edge is staked down solidly, pick up the front edge by the cords, and pull it straight up as far as it will go. You can now see what this shelter is going to look like. If you have tied the knots in the right places, the interior triangle you made with the

cord will hold the hooch tight and taut…if not adjust it. Now you will need a way to hold the center point at its maximum height. Cut a stick, branch or pole at the correct length to make an upright. Put a nail in one end to make a spike to fit through the center point hole (you can whittle one as well). Install the upright and anchor it with the loose ends of the cord as guywires. Pull the guywires taut against the staked down loops on the back edge and stake them down (leave a wide distance between the guywires to allow a firepit to be dug in front of the shelter). Now cut two lengths of cord from the remaining ends of the paracord each about 4’. Tie a cord to each corner grommet at the front edge of the shelter. Pull the two hanging flaps out at about a 45 degree angle and stake down the guy wires. You have just constructed the “Survival Hooch!” The Hooch will keep you out of the rain, and away from the wind (if you have situated it properly). It is strong and resilient. The Hooch can be made with a tarp or any other waterproof material you may find or scrounge. To make it even more protecting, trench around it for water run off. Insulate the floor (which is the ground) with any “found” materials that will provide dead air space and a softer cushion, such as flattened cardboard boxes, newspapers, etc. STEP FOUR: THE SURVIVAL BIVVY SACK will be your sleeping bag inside the Hooch. This bag is a shelter in itself, as it is waterproof, windproof and breathable. The Hooch is small so, if you are not, you may have to curl up, but remember the squirrel. I’ve slept in the Hooch several times and with this bivvy sack I can let my feet protrude under and out of the side and they are still protected.

To find out more about this high tech bivvy sack, and purchase information goto:

THE SURVIVAL HOOCH is your failsafe. If you have these three items (blanket, bivvy and cord) in your survival kit you will be able to create a shelter where ever you are. NOTE: the metallic, reflective side of the blanket will reflect your body heat back on to you, therefore it is best on the inside in cold weather. The darker colored side, on the outside will absorb heat from the sun increasing the heat inside. Put the reflective side outward in hot weather to reflect the sun’s rays away from you, and the darker side on the inside for shade.





THERE ARE other options for portable shelters. Camping outlets sell many different varieties of small pack tents, which make excellent shelters. They are usually lightweight and pack up into a small package. They are designed for carrying in, or on, a backpack. Your desire to prepare in advance and the depth of your pockets are your only limitations.

PRIORITY: FIRE FIRE is an extremely important factor in survival. If shelter is the “father,” then fire is most certainly the “mother.” Does not fire wrap its arms of warmth around you in a loving hug? Does not fire cook your food? Does not fire cheer you when you are scared or down? Does not fire scorch your hide if you screw up? My case rests...let’s hear it for Mom! AS WELL AS keeping you warm, cooking your food, purifying your water, giving light to the darkness, keeping lions, tigers and bears at bay, and signaling for help; Mother Fire is the best attitude booster you can find. Imagine sitting in front of your shelter on a dark, spooky night in pitch darkness. How do you feel? Lions ‘n tigers ‘n bears…oh my! Now imagine the same scenario with a cheery, crackling fire. Mother Fire might not chase away all your fears but she will definitely help you to feel better.



UNDERSTANDING fire and what makes it flame is the first step in learning how to make a proper fire. Fire needs three components to blossom into this surrogate of dear old mom: OXYGEN, IGNITION AND FUEL. Let’s talk about them individually. OXYGEN comes from the air around us and that which we can directly apply by blowing or fanning. You need to make sure, when you site your fire and make your fire-lay (we’ll discuss this later), that your fire will have a constant air supply. IGNITION: a flame, coal or spark. A simple match will produce a ready flame (or it may not if it has become completely worthless from absorbing moisture) but it’s not wise to rely on matches as your sole source of ignition. A fire starting tool, such as a magnesium and ferrocerium “metal match” makes a hot spark which will produce a flame in flammable materials (like shaved magnesium) or dry tinder. A primitive fire starting device, such as a bow drill or fire plough will produce a glowing coal that can be gently blown into flame when placed in readily flammable materials. A combination of chemicals, such as magnesium permanganate and glycerin will produce a flame when mixed together in appropriate amounts. And there is always the cigarette lighter.




FUEL is any material (wood being the most common) that will take a flame and continue to burn, keeping the fire alive. You need to consider wood as fuel in three parts: 1. TINDER, 2. KINDLING 3. FUEL-WOOD TINDER is any material that is very fine, dry, and easily ignited. Good tinder substances are light shredded paper, dried grasses, leaves, cotton lint, and such. The tinder is best used by gathering a bunch of these substances, the more the merrier, and forming them into a “bird nest” kind of arrangement (with the finest materials in the center). This bundle goes down as the first layer of the “fire-lay.” KINDLING is a collection of thin sticks, shavings, wood splits or rolled up cardboard and paper. Kindling is the second layer of the fire-lay. FUEL WOOD is larger wood splits graduating up to logs, and is the final layer of the fire. The fire is kept burning by periodically added sticks and logs of fuel wood. It is wise to build up a supply of fuel wood in advance of the necessity of the fire. It is also wise to continually replenish that supply.




THERE ARE OTHER FUELS for warming and cooking fires. Coal, various petroleum products or alcohol can be useful fuels. Motor oil burns and there would be a bunch of it around in abandoned vehicles. Vehicle tires will burn though they smoke badly and smell worse. Cardboard and paper products can fuel fires. OF COURSE, some “fuels” can be dangerous in that they are highly flammable and noxious in poorly ventilated places. Wisdom and common sense need to be exercised in their usage.

THE FIRE LAY is the configuration of assembling the fire components prior to igniting your wood fire. There are several types of fire lays, and the two most common are the tipi and the log cabin. Their names should give you the configuration without much further explanation, but we’ll talk about them anyway. Usually the log cabin lay is used for larger fires, like a council fire at a Boy Scout Camporee for instance. Nonetheless, it will still work for smaller fires. The tee-pee fire lay is, in my opinion, more efficient and appropriate for small fires. Here’s some good advice to consider. Gather a whole bunch of fuel, tinder, kindling and fuel wood before you make the fire lay, and certainly before you light the fire. Getting your flame going can sometimes be hard enough. You don’t want to

produce a flame and realize you have nothing to feed it. I’ll show you a proper tipi fire lay, though you should be able to visualize the log cabin.


SOME NOTES ON FIRE: BEFORE you make a fire lay prepare the site. Decide where you are going to put the fire, and clear the ground of all flammable materials in at least a 5’ radius (10’ is better). Ideally you want to be down to dirt, mineral soil or rock. If you are in the woods be aware that the forest floor is made up of 3 layers. The top layer is called “litter” consisting of; needles, small sticks, cones, shells, grasses and such. This layer is very flammable. The next layer is called “duff” which is made up of decomposed litter. Duff is flammable and a lot like punk, it will hold and spread a fire under the litter layer. Below the duff layer is good old dirt and rocks...mineral soil. This is the layer that does not burn and it is where your fire should be. If you are escaping a disaster you do not want to create one of your own, like a raging out of control fire. Clear the forest floor down to the mineral soil layer. You may have to do a little digging and make a fire pit. A pit lined with flat rocks on the bottom and sides is a safe pit and the rocks hold the heat as well. Beware of rocks that have been in water. Moisture trapped inside a rock, when turned to steam by heat, can cause that rock to violently explode. This can be most unnerving and considerably dangerous. ONCE your fire is burning merrily and you have a good base of very hot coals, then you can add larger fuel wood, even logs. Large logs that you cannot cut down to smaller chunks can be burned in half, or you can push one end into the pit and continue to feed the log into the fire.

REMEMBER it is not necessary to build a bon fire. A small fire will provide a lot of warmth and is actually more efficient for cooking (cooking is best over coals anyway). Small fires use less fuel and thereby save energy as you will spend less time in fuel gathering. If it is not prudent to advertise your position with a bright fire at night consider a “Dakota Hole” fire pit which is designed to avoid this problem. You will see a photo of this in a little bit. STARTING THE FIRE... now comes the fun part. There are many ways to start a fire. We recommend that you carry no less than three different ways to start fires in your survival kit. By all means use matches (they are not stable and may become worthless) but they are quick and easy. Next consider a butane lighter, also quick and easy but with a limited fuel supply. Then go for a quality, efficient fire starting tool. We recommend that you have one of these as a failsafe and a back up. In fact, I own several of these great little tools, and have them tucked here and there. I never like to be far away from a fire making tool. Most fire tools are spark makers. They make use of a ferrocerium striker rod that, when struck with steel, makes a hot spark. That hot spark directed into your tinder bundle will usually take hold and produce a flame...campfire coming up! Here’s a tip for you: take a little hunk of dry clothes dryer lint (hey, a use for one of the most worthless things on earth) and put it into your tinder bundle. Strike a spark into the lint and you’ve got a flame.

SOME FIRE STARTERS consist of a ferro rod embedded in a magnesium bar. Magnesium is a flammable metal and will ignite when rendered into shavings or powder. When it ignites it burns at 5400 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s hot… white hot! Shave off a pile of magnesium about the size of a quarter with a knife blade, gently put the pile in your tinder bundle and carefully strike a spark into the pile. Don’t sneeze! It is best to hold the striker steady and pull the rod backwards toward you, making the spark. Practice makes perfect. The rectangular starter in the center of the photo above is a magnesium and ferrocerium fire starting tool.. PRIMITIVE fire making methods and tools are interesting and fun to make and try to use. It is good to know how, st for instance, to make a “bow drill” like the Native Americans used. But hey, this is the 21 Century and there’s no reason to re-invent the wheel. Most primitive methods have two things in common. They produce a live coal by friction that must be placed in the tinder bundle and blown into flame, and they can take a whole bunch of time and effort...translated energy... to work (if you are not expert at it). Time and energy are commodities that you may not have to spare. If you want to learn more about primitive techniques goto NOW HERE IS a fire starter idea that should catch the imagination of all you “pyros” out there. You can make your own chemical fire starter kit using Potassium Permanganate and Glycerin. Pour a small pile of PP crystals (about the size of a quarter) in your tinder bundle, add a drop or two of glycerin, wait about 10 seconds, and poof... you have fire! But CAUTION, if you’re going to carry these chemicals in your survival pack make sure (absolutely sure) that they are separated and there is no chance of them getting together and sparking a hot relationship. This should be obvious, but I’m just saying. Potassium Permanganate has some other survival uses as a water purifier, fungicide and disinfectant.

HERE’S a little list of possible tinder materials and fire accelerants: TINDERS, these materials will catch a spark or coal and produce a flame Cotton balls (especially with a dollop of petroleum jelly on them) Clothes dryer lint Stuffing from upholstered furniture or car seats (plant based fillings work best, synthetics may not work) Extra fine steel wool Finely shredded paper, especially toilet paper and tissues Lint or threads picked off of cotton clothing Grasses and leaves (pulverized) Cattail fluff Birch bark and cedar bark (pulverized) Dried fungi Dried mosses and lichens Charred cotton cloth (an old mountain man trick) ACCELERANTS, these substances will enhance and prolong the flame in your tinder bundle and kindling. Squirt, rub, pour or place these substances in and on the tinder and/or kindling): Petroleum jelly (a dollop on just about anything flammable will make it burn better) Lip balms (based on petroleum jelly) Bug repellent Cheetos (a Cheeto will burn like a torch) Doritos (ditto) Hand sanitizer (alcohol based) Kerosene, diesel, solvents, thinners (petroleum distillates) etc. Gasoline and liquid fuels THESE ARE VERY DANGEROUS AND ARE NOT RECOMMENDED! Cooking oil Motor oil Candle wax IF YOUR OBJECTIVE IS TO GET A FIRE GOING QUICKLY, THESE THINGS WILL HELP IN THAT TASK, BUT USE THEM WISELY. FIRE CONTAINMENT. In the wild you build your fire in a shallow pit dug into the ground and usually surrounded by rocks. The flames are contained within the pit, though you need a watchful eye on errant sparks and embers, and things are pretty safe. You want the fire contained so as to not cause a forest fire, it is a precautionary measure. In an “urban jungle” containing a fire may be just as necessary. Having dirt to dig in isn’t really important, you can build a fire on asphalt or concrete. Use masonry or stone debris; bricks, concrete blocks or decorative stone for a surround. You can build fires in metal containers; five gallon cans, small drums or barrels, etc. FIRE CONCEALMENT. Fires used on routine camping and backpacking adventures rarely have need of concealment (shielding the light and flames from open view thereby not revealing your position). However in emergency conditions that may not be the case. In a survival situation it may sometimes be advantageous to hide. Hide from who, or what, you ask? From those who may not have your best interests at heart. Those who might want to take away whatever you may have for themselves. In the boonies a fire can be mostly concealed by the use of a Dakota Hole. A Dakota Hole is basically two holes dug into the dirt, one approximately 12” in diameter, the other somewhat smaller. Each hole is dug to be 8 to 10 inches deep, about 8 to 10 inches apart. A connecting chamber (like a tunnel), maybe 3 to 4 inches in diameter is dug out between the two holes. The larger hole will contain the fire, the smaller hole and tunnel will serve as an air intake to provide continued oxygen to the fire. Of course this will require smaller fires to keep the flames within the pit. The light from the fire is directed upward and much less visible from the side than a normal fire. It works very well for cooking if a grate of some sort is fixed over the fire hole. Metal rods, refrigerator or oven shelves, or even green sticks could be a grate.

THIS BUSHCRAFT MODEL could be used for constructing a BURBCRAFT version using concrete bricks. The idea is to be able to feed the fuel in from the top and induct air in from the bottom. It’s actually called a “rocket stove.”






YOUR BODY will need a replenishable supply of pure, or purified, water and it should be as fresh as you can get it. As mentioned before perhaps as much as a gallon or more per day. In addition it is nice to have a little water around for washing various and sundry things. Consideration should be given to vessels for carrying and storing water. In an urban area there should be no shortage of discarded plastic bottles, large and small. This is unfortunate in everyday circumstances, but handy in a survival situation. Further thought should be given to catchment systems for rain water. A simple waterproof tarp will work for a rainwater trap.

FINDING EMERGENCY water in an urban survival scenario isn’t as hard as it can sometimes be in a wilderness scenario. But be aware that there will probably be many others who need it as well and supply can be limited. In

addition unscrupulous or criminal minded individuals and groups could attempt to take over a water supply and make it dangerous to try to use it. You may also have the need of defending water that you have collected for your own use. If the water supply is too limited or dangerous you may have to relocate to a more advantageous spot. IN A DISASTER SITUATION there will most probably be abandoned buildings and houses that are completely or partially destroyed. In the civilized environment all buildings have water pipes which will remain full of water even though the power is off and there is no flow. It may be possible to obtain water from these pipes. First try the faucets, opening a faucet on the highest level of the structure, letting air into the system to break the vacuum, and then opening the lowest faucet. Gravity should allow water to flow out of the lower faucet. Water can be obtained by cutting into a pipe, hopefully one made of easier to cut PVC (and preferably running horizontal). Separate the pipes and attempt to pressurize one side by blowing into it, or jury rigging a pump system (for example, using a bicycle pump and duct tape). Water should come out of the other side. Remember to have a bottle or some collection container handy to catch the water that flows out. WATER HEATER tanks continually refill as water is used. When the water supply, electricity and/or gas goes off there will be no more heat, or inflow, but 30 to 60 gallons, or more, should still be stored in the tank. TOILET TANKS (relax, I didn’t say bowls) can have up to 5 gallons of water left in them. Actually, with a water purifier, you could use the bowl water as well, depending on how thirsty you are. RAIN WATER and freshly fallen snow is almost always pure (except in conditions of radioactive fallout or acid rain in highly polluted areas) and can be collected with a tarp or some waterproof piece of material. It does not usually need to be purified. As always, avoid yellow snow. And speaking of that, urine is not a water source! If it has recently rained there will be puddles of water in a variety of places, especially on flat rooftops. Garden hoses may contain water, especially if fitted with a closed spray nozzle. IN MANY cities and towns there are decorative fountains and water features that can be a source of emergency water. Remember, you will need to purify the water for drinking but it can be useful as is for washing. Fish ponds and aquariums are another possible source. SOME cities and towns are situated on rivers or canals, or near lakes or reservoirs. These, of course, can be a good supply of water. Again be sensitive to, and careful of, the needs and intentions of others. Never bathe or wash directly into a water source. Water can be carried to another spot away from the body of water to wash up. It would be criminal to contaminate a public water source. IN THE BOONIES water can be found in creeks, streams, rivers, lakes and springs. Most springs flowing from the side of a mountain, cliff or rocks are pure at the source. You can sometimes find water by digging in dry river beds at the foot of concave banks, at the foot of cliffs, or where you see damp earth or green vegetation. Melting snow or ice is a water source. On dewy mornings mopping up dew from the leaves and grasses with a cotton bandana and wringing it out, or sucking on it, will provide water (cities have dew as well). Don’t forget collecting rainwater. An invention called a “solar still” can produce water, or distill bad water (here is when you can use urine). COLLECTING PRECIPITATION is another method of obtaining water. Rooftops receive a great deal of rainwater because of their large areas. This water runs off and falls on the ground, unless it is collected by rain gutters. The rain gutters direct the flow to a downspout and then it falls onto the ground. Don’t let it. Construct a rain barrel from a large container and catch the run off for your use. Tarps or sheet vinyl and plastics can be used to catch rainwater, and the runoff directed into catchment devices. Wheel barrows, troughs, swimming pools (portable ones), bath tubs, sinks, or any large watertight vessel can be used to capture water runoff. Barrels, drums, hoses and pipes can be jury rigged into rainwater collection systems with a little ingenuity…and tools.

PURIFYING WATER. There are several methods of water purification. The most simple and inexpensive is to boil it. Boiling will kill bacteria and micro-organisms that can be harmful to you. All you need is a pot and a fire. Well, you don’t even need a pot. Would you believe that you could boil water in a paper milk carton? You can! Cut the top off the carton, fill it with water and set it right in the coals in your fire pit. Wherever the water touches the sides of the carton it will not burn, and the water will soon boil. I’ve boiled water in a paper cup this way as well. Have a waterproof hat? Turn it over and fill it with water. Heat some stones in the fire and drop a hot stone into the hat until the water boils (remove the cooled stone before adding a new one). A note of caution here, do not heat any stone that has been soaked or soaking in water in a fire. Water trapped inside the stone can be heated to steam and create explosive pressure. You can boil water by this method in any water tight container. It makes it a whole lot easier if you keep a cook pot in your survival kit. THE NEXT method of purification is chemical treatment. Iodine, chlorine, silver nitrate, potassium permanganate (remember the chemical fire-starter?), and halizone will all treat water to make it potable. They come in liquid or tablet forms and require only a storage bottle and time. It usually takes about one hour. Sometimes the water is not too tasty (actually it’s more “tasty” than you’d like it to be, but in a nasty way), especially with iodine based tablets, but the object is to survive. There are products that have two parts: the purifier part and a bad taste remover. Chlorine bleach can also be used as purifier. FILTRATION SYSTEMS are a sure way of purifying water. They come in all sizes, shapes and prices. These filters will remove pathogens, bacteria, parasites and micro-organisms like giardia and cryptosporidium (nasty critters that will make you very sick). Some have additional filters for viral contaminants. Depending on the particular system, they will process anywhere from 20 gallons to 10,000 gallons. Most of these filter systems are in a pump configuration. A hose, with a pre-filter, is attached to the incoming portal on the pump and dropped into a water source. Another hose is attached to the outgoing portal and put into the collection source (bottle, canteen etc). The pump handle is vigorously worked until the required amount of water is processed. Some filters operate on gravity flow and there is even a very handy straw device that you simply stick into the water source and suck out purified water. DISTILLATION requires the construction of a solar still or steam water still. Such stills will produce clean, pure water from contaminated water, damp ground and vegetation, and even urine (again, never drink urine, yours or other’s). A solar still is slow and does not produce large quantities, but it’s worth a shot. Basically it’s a hole, approximately 3’ in diameter and maybe 18” deep, dug into the ground (preferably moist), in which a collection container of some sort is placed in the center, at the bottom. A flexible tube is installed with one end in the container, the other running up and out of the hole (this is a drinking tube, an alternative to dismantling the device to use the water collected). A sheet of flexible clear visqueen (plastic, vinyl etc.) approximately 4’ x 4’ is placed over the hole and sealed, and weighted, with dirt around the edges. A smooth rock, just heavy enough to distort the sheet downward, is placed in the center of the sheet covering, centered over the collection container. The following illustration shows the details and principles of a solar still. THE SUN, shining through the clear sheet, heats up the ground via the “greenhouse effect” drawing moisture by way of evaporation from the ground. The moisture condenses on the underside of the sheet and, because of the rock weight, runs down the angle formed to the lowest point and drips into the collection container. This water

has been distilled and is therefore pure. To speed the process and increase output dirty water (even urine), or salt water, moisture laden succulents or leaves and grasses can be dumped or placed in the hole around the container (NOT IN THE CONTAINER). CONTAMINATED OR POLLUTED water can be disinfected and purified by ultra violet exposure to the sun. Simply filled a clear, clean PET (soda pop) bottle with the water and exposing to direct sunlight for 6 to 48 hours (depending on cloud cover) will do the trick. This method called SODIS is used very effectively in Africa.

PRIORITY: FOOD EVEN THOUGH you can survive for about three weeks without food, your attitude will fare much better if you have a little on hand. Your body will also appreciate the energy it will provide as the rigors of survival stress will deplete your reserves. It is wise to carry a three day supply of survival foods in your survival kit. This food supply should be designed to sustain life, and not necessarily provide epicurean delight. It should be highly portable and as lightweight as possible. Such provisions should give you an immediate source of sustenance and see you through until help is available, you find a source or cache of better supply, or you can make your way to your home or other place of refuge. Here is where knowledge of how to procure food will come in handy. Remember Kephart and his suggestion.

Good cast iron cooking fare PREPARATION is the key to urban/suburban survival. Your home (if safe to inhabit) should be your survival base and, whether damaged or not, is where you should “dig in your heels� and tough out whatever comes. Food supplies, fuel supplies, water and sundries should be stored at your residence. There should be a sufficient storage plan to last for at least 3 months, and even better a whole year. It is wise to consider how you will keep your household functioning without the benefits of electrical power and natural gas. All these preparations should be in place before they are needed. When the disaster occurs food and supplies disappear almost instantly. This is considered long term survival preparation. It is something you would consider and plan well in advance of any

critical need. It is wisdom itself to develop a long term plan in light of our currently unstable world. I call it “duration preparation.” The Burbcraft Survival School teaches long term survival. LIVE LIKE THE PIONEERS is a good philosophy to adopt when considering duration preparation. Almost any catastrophe worth its salt is going to knock out the power grid for a period of time and possibly interrupt the gas lines. That will leave you without your normal cooking equipment. Well, in the days before electric or gas ranges and ovens, electric refrigerators, microwaves and even running water, how did your ancestors do it? They did do it, and I think they did it rather well. They cooked mighty fine meals without all those conveniences we rely on. Oh, it might have taken a little longer and required more work and muscle, but they got ‘er done. You know you will have to cook with fire, an open fire, so prepare for that. First lay in a good supply of firewood, or an alternative such as charcoal briquettes. Next get some cast iron cookware, Dutch ovens, frying pans, griddles and grills, etc. Teflon is just not going to make it over an open fire; neither will aluminum, or sometimes even stainless steel. Cast iron is the way to go. It would be wise to learn to use it properly, and store foodstuffs that can be cooked with it. Microwaveable foods aren’t the answer. Store Hard Red Winter wheat and get a grinder so you can prepare flour for baking (and wheat can be used for much more than just bread). Canned beans, vegetables, items for making stews and soups work well in cast iron. Actually you can cook just about anything in cast iron that is real food. Cast iron is very effective with meats, especially in stews. Dutch ovens make great biscuits and cobblers, even loaves of “sheepherders” bread. USE YOUR FIREPLACE just like the pioneers did. Wood burning stoves usually have a flat top for placing pots and pans, or kettles for heating water. If you don’t have a fireplace or a wood stove use your barbeque grill, or build a campfire pit in the back yard. Biomass rocket stoves are high tech super efficient off the grid cookers (see Tips). IN THE WILD you would hunt, trap, fish and forage for survival food. These techniques are not out of the equation in an urban/suburban survival scenario. Telephone lines and rooftops seem to attract whole flocks of pigeons and doves in many metropolitan areas, and in the backyards of suburbia. These are considered great table fare in some quarters. Squirrels scamper about in many neighborhoods, and there are deer that thrive in or near many urban and suburban settings. Archery equipment, slingshots, and BB/pellet guns are relatively silent and excellent tools for taking backyard or neighborhood game. A little louder, but highly effective, is a .22 caliber firearm. Every animal that walks on the continental United States, from mouse to moose, has been dispatched with a .22 rifle. Just as in bushcraft, traps and snares are effective tools for harvesting small game in the burbcraft arena. There are many cultures that relish the meat of dogs, but we won’t go there just yet (however it does give Shepherd Pie a whole new meaning). THE SLINGSHOT is one of my favorite tools for collecting small things for the pot. It’s quiet in use and not as conspicuous as a pistol or rifle. It will shoot a number of projectiles from rocks to marbles, anything roundish. I’ve shot steel hex nuts with pretty fair results. A SLINGSHOT is easy to learn to shoot and fun for target practice, a heavy tarp or cloth can be set up to catch the shot so you don’t lose your ammo. They can be outfitted to shoot arrows. LET’S NOT FORGET the weeds! Many plants that grow wild are edible. First I would suggest obtaining a good edible plant manual with lots of good pictures (remember plants look different in various growing stages). Next I would give this advice…if you are not sure, don’t eat it! Go find a plant you are sure of. WITH THAT SAID let me give you three basic edible plants that you can find almost everywhere, and recognize them as well:

CAT TAILS are found in the city and in the wild. There are several parts that are edible in varying stages of development. The roots (rhizomes) are very starchy and the starch can be removed and used as flour. The young, tender stalks can be peeled and eaten raw or cooked. The heads, in early development, can be eaten like corn on the cob. The yellow pollen can be used as very fine flour, or mixed with the flour from the root starch. While we are talking about food here, the cat tail can be useful in other survival areas as well. The leaves are very tough and can be used for thatching or weaving. The mature heads become downy and can be useful as a tinder source, or insulation. DANDELIONS, the nemesis of the lawn. Well, they may be annoying when you are trying for the “yard of the month award”, but for survival they are a convenient and viable food source. All parts of the plant are edible. The flower heads, and buds, can be eaten raw or cooked, dipped in batter and fried they become flower fritters. The tiny seeds can be carefully harvested, dried and ground into flour. The roots can be cleaned, roasted and steeped in boiling water for a coffee like drink. The leaves can be cooked like any potherb; however they tend to be bitter. Soaking in salted water, or boiling in a change of water can help with this. The leaves can be used for a medicinal tea (stomach upset and nausea). THE PRICKLY PEAR cactus is a valuable survival food. The cactus grows in many places other than the desert. The fruit, the “pears,” grow in the spring and are very juicy and delicious. The young pads are tender and used as a vegetable. SOUTH OF THE BORDER nopales (the pads) are used in making nopalitos, and used in soups, or stews, or eaten with eggs. NOW MIND YOU, cacti have needles. The Prickly Pear is no exception, so be careful. The needles must be removed before use. Large ones can be pulled out, the tiny ones singed off with a flame. THESE THREE edible plants are just an example of many that can be found in and around the city. Remember these and learn about more. AS FOR FORAGING, doing so in your own backyard is a great way to keep food on the table. Grow a garden! In the city you can grow a lot of food in pots on a balcony, or on roof tops. In the “burbs” a backyard can be turned into a small farm, and don’t forget the front yard as a garden area. Rabbits and chickens can be raised effectively in backyards (if you don’t have a rooster the neighbors might never know). Swimming pools can be converted into

fish ponds. Maybe you don’t want to dig up your landscape right now, so store the seeds and the tools to do so when the need arises. REMEMBER, in the face of disaster or even in the potential threat of disaster, the stores are quickly depleted of their stocks. Don’t make “stopping off at the store to pick up a few things on the way home from an earthquake” your main food storage plan.


AS WE WATCH the news of the current disaster (seems they’re happening quite often lately), we see the ugliness that is occurring in the aftermath. There are a lot of good folks in this old world, and it is heartwarming to hear the stories of selfless rescues and helpful service given by them in disaster situations. But it’s also disturbing to hear of looting, robbing, raping, mayhem and murder that has increasingly become a part of the survival experience. Protecting yourself, your loved ones, your home and your goods has to become an issue worthy of your consideration.

This section has basically four parts: 1. 2. 3. 4.

The use of lethal or non-lethal self defense against those, human or animal, who would harm you and/or yours. First aid for life threatening injuries. Protection against disease or contamination. Tips and ideas that may be useful and worthy of consideration.

LETHAL AND NON-LETHAL self defense is fairly self explanatory. Guns, knives, swords and spears, as opposed to sticks and stones, tasers and OC pepper spray. You have to make the choices here and decide what your philosophy and attitude will be, and how you will prepare yourself. Many Americans have Concealed Carry Weapons permits and regularly carry a firearm. I can personally attest that having a firearm, and making that fact known, has deterred potentially serious situations on three different occasions in my life. This is the case in most circumstances. If the bad guys know that you are armed they will probably back off. They are usually looking for

the easy victim. You can be assured that the bad guys are carrying weapons. As to what caliber and type of gun would be best for you, I can just tell you what works for me. You must assess your personal needs, finances and skill level and make your own choices. Most gun store owners are knowledgeable in this area and can give you good advice. In any case I highly recommend that you take a course in firearm safety and handling if you are not experienced in this area. I have four guns in my survival arsenal: 1. 2. 3. 4.

A break down single shot combination rifle/shotgun with two interchangeable barrels one chambered in .22 long Rifle and the other in .410 gauge shot shell. A derringer chambered in .45 Long Colt and .410 gauge shot shell with two extra interchangeable barrels chambered in .22 Long Rifle and .38 Special/.357 Magnum. A .22 caliber semi-auto pistol with a 10 round magazine plus 2 extras. A 12 gauge tactical shotgun that holds 6 shells.

FOR ME my bottomline survival weapon would be chambered in .22 caliber. The ammunition for this caliber is small and you can carry many rounds. It is relatively quiet and can be very effective with accurate shot placement. Ideally a small rifle and a small handgun in this caliber could be carried in a survival kit. The capability of .410 gauge shot shells (through interchangeable barrels) is a bonus. These shot shells now carry loads of five 000 buck shot. That is like firing five 9mm bullets at once, a very effective self defense round. I PRESCRIBE to the old adage “speak softly and carry a big stick,” and thus a stout walking stick usually accompanies my forays into the outback. I gained the advantage over a black bear in the woods one night with a stick and don’t see why it wouldn’t work in the city on thugs as well. Pepper (oleoresin capsicum) spray has a spot in my survival kit, but I haven’t yet had an occasion to use it (except on myself once by accident... I don’t want to talk about that). A much cheaper alternative to OC spray is common household wasp spray. A wasp spray can is capable of shooting a fairly solid stream for about ten feet. The stream when directed into the eyes and face of a thug will incapacitate him greatly. In addition (unlike OC spray) the thug will not recover without an antidote obtained at the emergency room. When I was a kid a trusty slingshot was always stuffed in my hip pocket. I put the rout to more than one dog intent on chewing my leg, and, on occasion, a few marauding thugs from another neighborhood. I keep a wrist rocket slingshot in my survival kit. A modern day slingshot can be used with lethal effect depending on your skill and choice of ammo. A hard shot to the head, especially in the eye or the temple region, with a 3/8” inch steel ball can be devastating for four footers and two footers as well. Remember the biblical account of David and Goliath. FIRST AID may be necessary immediately if you, or yours, are injured in a disaster scenario. Put together a first aid kit with the items and equipment that you are competent in using. Get more competence if that’s a problem, and then get more first aid stuff. At the very least have band-aids, gauze pads, adhesive tape and antiseptics on hand. A first aid course and small first aid manual may give you some added competence and confidence. DISEASE AND CONTAMINATION protection could be vital in this era of potential biological attacks. In your home storage plan make some room for a supply of heavy duty plastic drop cloths, a bunch of duct tape and boxes of latex gloves and respiratory masks. Incidentally potassium permanganate is a disinfectant (remember our chemical fire starter?) Having a viral guard on a water purification system is a plus. There are many offerings of protective clothing available. This website will provide you with some interesting info on disease prevention. A supply of iodine tablets can be an effective preventative measure in the occurrence of radioactive fallout. A wise man, Benjamin Franklin, once said… “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” NOW FOR SOME additional thoughts that could help protect you from potentially bad situations. It’s a good idea to round up those personal documents that seem to be hard to find when you need them, like birth certificates, passports, marriage certificates, deeds, life insurance policies, shot records and that kind of thing. Get them into a secure place, maybe making copies as necessary. You just might need some of these documents in the aftermath of a major disaster or terrorist attack which could lead to a martial law situation. And what about money? If the grid goes down adios to the ATM. It’s a good idea to have some ready cash on hand. Real silver coins (pre 1965)

are a good bet for emergency storage (they are a lot easier to use in paying small amounts, and they well may increase drastically in value in a crisis). Might also be a good idea to have some highly desired and necessary commodities like: ammunition, cooking oil, honey or sugar, salt, Excedrin, Ibuprofen, Motrin, Lomotil, Tums etc., stored as extra supplies for use as bartering goods. TAKE A REALISTIC look at the potentials for disaster in our world today and understand that a major catastrophe could happen anytime, anyplace. Just because it has never happened before doesn’t mean that it can’t happen. Realize that a major disaster is not going to be a walk in the park, and it can be ugly with death and destruction. Think it will never happen to you? Maybe not, but it will happen to somebody...why not you? Don’t be scared, be prepared!

PUT TOGETHER a hardcore survival kit as recommended: KEEP IT AT THE READY. Learn how to use it and be prepared for whatever may come. “It is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.” Woodrow F. Call. You will get a closer look at this kit in just a little bit.


“If this keeps up I just might get discouraged.” ATTITUDE IS PROBABLY the single most valuable asset that you could possess. Somewhere between 427 and 347 BC the wise Greek philosopher Plato coined the simplistic but profound phrase…”necessity is the mother of invention.” THIS HAS PROVEN to be true time and time again. When faced with a problem that must be solved, and the solution depends solely upon you, if you have a “survivors” attitude, then you will probably find a way to solve that problem. SURVIVAL “AFICIONADOS” (I don’t like the word expert, because there’s always something new to learn) pretty much agree that surviving a crisis is about 80% credited to your attitude, 10% to the knowledge you may have about survival, and the last 10% to the tools or gear you may have available to you.

Would you?

Should you?

Could you?

HERE IS A SELF-TEST to help you assess your own attitude as compared with the qualities of a survivor’s attitude. Answer each question honestly. No one else is going to know your answers, and it will give you a pretty good idea of where you stand. Consider these questions from now on in your life, and if you are weak in any area make the changes necessary to build a survivors attitude.





























THE CLOSER YOU GOT TO 95 POINTS INDICATES THE STRENGTH OF YOUR “SURVIVOR’S ATTITUDE.” QUESTION NUMBER 7 IS A “RINGER” REQUIRING A NEGATIVE ANSWER. I HOPE YOU DID WELL. If there are some areas where you need to improve…well, start working on them. There are several outstanding books available on developing a positive attitude that can be very helpful. Self esteem and self confidence play a huge part in allowing a person to have a strong positive attitude. PERSONALLY, I can’t think of any better way to build self confidence than learning to survive. Knowing that you can take care of yourself in a worst-case scenario, and that you have the knowledge and skills to overcome and conquer tough situations, and knowing that you are a survivor will give you what you need. HAVING A POSITIVE SURVIVORS attitude in a survival situation is one thing, keeping it is another! There’s a story told of a man, lost in a desert alone with no hat, no water, and a broken leg. As he crawled along he stopped, pulled himself up on one bruised and battered elbow and smiled at a bunch of dry grass saying, “You know, if this keeps up I just might get discouraged.” This story illustrates a survivor dealing with the two gravest enemies of attitude; the desire for comfort and a passive outlook.



fear a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid. pan-ic a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior.

IN A SURVIVAL SITUATION with mass chaos all around it is hard to control our fears. It is natural to be scared; in fact it can be very healthy. Our natural fears can keep us safe by making us cautious. Some of the scariest people I have been around are those who seem to have no fear. They take risks that could lead to bad consequences. But, it’s not good to be timid and afraid of your own shadow either… that can have bad consequences too. TIMIDITY CAN LEAD to the inability to act. There is a place somewhere in between timidity and fearlessness wherein most of us live. In any case, it is simply vital that you be able to control your fears in a survival scenario. HOW CAN YOU CONQUER and subdue fear? You are, at this very moment, doing the single most effective thing you can do to conquer fear…learning to get prepared for it. You are getting prepared by learning survival techniques and learning about the tools necessary for survival. This will build your self-confidence like no other thing. Confidence conquers fear. THINK ABOUT IT… if you have the right tools, and if you know how to use them, and if you know that you can take care of yourself…WHAT IS TO FEAR?

NOW, ADD TO THAT a positive “survivor’s attitude” and you are invincible! Although you still might be scared (remember that’s natural and good), you will be able to immediately take positive action to deal with the crisis. You will most probably be a leader to your family and others around you (most of them will not be prepared… foolish virgins). You just might save your life and theirs. WE HAVE BEEN TALKING, up to now, about “temporal” survival (survival in our physical world). There is another area that I feel is of real importance in developing and keeping a survivor’s attitude…and that is”spiritual” survival. I REALLY BELIEVE THAT having religious faith is a great benefit to a positive attitude, and the will to live. Believing that there is something better to come, after this life, gives rise to hope. So, I encourage you to become strong in whatever faith you have chosen. If you have not yet found a faith, look for a faith that has the power to change your life for the better. THERE ARE SEVERAL OTHER ENEMIES OF ATTITUDE:

INJURY AND PAIN FATIGUE AND EXHAUSTION BOREDOM…………………………………………………………….. HUNGER AND THIRST LONELINESS HEAT AND COLD HOW DO YOU COMBAT THEM? INJURY AND PAIN: Use your first aid kit to fix what you can. Do all that you can to be careful and avoid any further hurts. Keep your wounds clean to avoid infection and promote healing. FATIGUE AND EXHAUSTION: If your food supplies are low don’t exert more energy than you can replace. Move slower, work easier. Conserve your energy and get as much sleep as you can. BOREDOM: Do music! IF YOU PLAY the harmonica, great! If you don’t, learn! They are easy to pack and easy to learn to play. Music goes a long way to lighten a heavy load. I have a very small ipod Shuffle that holds a bunch of music. It would provide a whole lot of entertainment to occupy my mind, if it was in my survival kit. There are hand crank and solar devices available that could recharge it. STUDY YOUR survival manual, become expert in wild edibles, traps and snares and such, and practice building them. Read and study scriptures. Play scenarios in your head. Play small puzzles or games. Whittle useful implements. Keep working every day to improve your shelter, survival area and your gear. Just keep active!

HUNGER AND THIRST: Eat and drink when you can. Don’t be finicky about your food; if it’s edible and will give you energy…eat it. Bugs to bagels, it’s all good. The best place to store water is in your belly. Conserve it as need be, but don’t be afraid to drink it. There have been people who died of dehydration with water in their canteens. LONELINESS: Hopefully you will have your family with you and this won’t be a problem. If not, look for others around you whom can trust to be friends. Unfortunately in a survival situation you need to be careful, as is said in one of my favorite movies the Italian Job...”trust everyone, but not the devil within them.” And, remember what I talked about a few pages back…some “heavenly” back up can see you through a lot of junk. HEAT AND COLD: Hyperthermia and hypothermia can not only scuttle your attitude, they can kill you. Stay dry, stay warm (or cool), and build a fire if necessary.

SOMETIMES, AFTER ALL YOU CAN DO, YOU JUST NEED A MIRACLE. YOU’VE DONE ALL you can. You have the tools, you know how to use them, and your attitude is right…but you’re still not making it. The situation is just too tough, and you are at the end of your rope. LET’S DO A LITTLE EXERCISE, IT’S A LITTLE HOKEY, BUT IT’S INTERESTING.

Below you see the alphabet with each letter assigned a number value

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 1








9 10 11 12




16 17

18 19

20 21




25 26

We will spell out some vital survival elements and calculate our percentage chance of survival by adding up the comparative number values for each letter. If all you have is your tools……………………………..….….TOOLS = T 20 + O 15 + O 15 + L 12 + S 19 =


Add a little “know how”………..… K N O W L E D G E = 11 + 14 + 15 + 23 + 12 + 5 + 4 + 7 + 5 =


And a dose of survivor’s attitude……....… A T T I T U D E = 1 + 20 + 20 + 9 + 20 + 21 + 4 + 5 =



YOU NEED A MIRACLE. THERE’S ONLY ONE place I know of that you can get one of those. Now we’re going to talk about that love bit that I mentioned earlier. Remember I said that you need it, and you could die without it? Well…

Rely on this…………….L O V E O F G O D = 12 + 15 + 22 + 5 + 15 + 6 + 7 + 15 + 4 =




YOU’RE STILL STANDING, BUT THE WORLD AROUND YOU HAS GONE UPSIDE DOWN. THE IMMEDIATE CRISIS is over. You have come out of it alive and unharmed. The adrenaline is beginning to wear off and shock is setting in, along with the realization that you are in a survival situation.





This is the action plan to follow after the dust clears and the immediate danger is past. Up until now you have had to react to the scenario in whatever way possible. LET’S DISCUSS this concept in detail: THE S STANDS FOR SIT. Fear and panic almost always trigger our “fight or flight” emotional mechanisms. When there is an immediate danger many times our instinct is to run. This is not usually a good idea as a first option, unless you need to avoid danger. For example, there have been incidents of persons finding themselves lost in the woods that have panicked and ran making their situation far worse. So, the best thing you can do when you feel an unreasonable fear trying to take over your rationality is sit down. Along with that take a few deep breaths and proceed to step two. THE T STANDS FOR THINK. Assess your situation. Ask yourself the questions; what happened? What’s going to happen next? What do I need to worry about? What help is available? What? …what?... what? Think about it! THE


Look around you, what can you see that can be, or could be, or will be useful to

your survival needs? Nose around (you can get up now) and see what you can find. Scavenge, forage, and scrounge, to find anything that will help you to provide for your survival needs; shelter, fire, water, food and protection. Start building a stockpile of tools, supplies and goods that can be of use for those needs.



Assess your survival needs against your survival assets, consider your situation and

devise a survival plan. It has been said that “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Make a plan and go to work implementing it. Idle hands and minds lead to depression and boredom, which are formidable enemies to your survivor’s attitude.

IMPRINT THIS SIMPLE acronym in your mind. Memorize what the letters stand for. Have it tattooed on the inside of your eyelids if you need to, but at all costs don’t forget it. However, if you do forget it and find yourself in a survival situation…just sit down and think about it. At least you’ll be half way there!

Sit Down? With all that going on…yeah right! Well, use a little common sense, get safe first. Your personal safety and first aid for serious injury should always be the top priority. Then have a seat, in a safe place, and figure out the rest of it.

Darn! I do not observe any clothes.

LET’S TALK A LITTLE about the OBSERVE and PLAN parts of S.T.O.P. THIS, MY FRIENDS, is a pack rat. One of which my wife regularly calls me. See, I have a considerable supply of survival goods, which takes up a considerable amount of space, and through which I continually rummage (looking for this or that), which makes a considerable mess. Hey, you never know when you might need that! So, like my friend there I’m always on the lookout for something useful. When you’re in a survival situation you need to be constantly aware of your surroundings and your needs… always on the lookout for items that can help and improve your condition. Develop the talents of a “scrounger”, defined as…

noun - a person who exists by foraging.

So, always OBSERVE what is around you, see if there is some item, or thing, that could be useful. THINK what you might be able to do with this item, (and think “out of the box”)! Then PLAN how you will use it.

FOR EXAMPLE what would you make from a broken piece of cedar fence board, a wood coat hanger, a wood broom handle, a wood hairbrush and a shoelace? Well, I would make a bow drill fire starting device, if I needed one. That’s a bow drill over there in the photograph. They were, and are, used by aboriginal cultures as a very effective way to start a fire. They work on the principle of friction and produce a glowing coal that can be placed in a tinder bundle and gently blown into flame.

HERE ARE A FEW simple items that I made out of materials that I “observed.” Tin cans are very useful as cook pots or drinking cups, which you see above. Wire coat hangers made the bale and the cup handle. An old fork affixed to a willow rod with string and glue makes a very effective fishing spear, and the good old slingshot whittled from a forked branch just might put a rabbit in the pot.

MAKE A PLAN! IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN, YOU PLAN TO FAIL. PREPARE AN EVACUATION or “bug out” plan. Where will you go? What will you do? What are the obstacles? How will you overcome them? WILL YOU TRY to get back to your home? Will you stay put? What are your options? EVERY SITUATION is different. Give the various potential disasters some thought. Do a little research. Play scenarios in your mind when you have a few idle minutes, like driving here and there. Think about what could happen, and what you would do. How you would handle it and what your responses would be. Read about someone else’s experience in a disaster situation, learn from them.


I hope this isn’t it.

NOW THAT we’ve talked about some of the concepts and necessities of survival, how do you get prepared for it? Being prepared in advance of a catastrophe sure beats the alternative. The first step is to identify the potential immediate threat to your neighborhood. For example I used to live on the Oregon Coast, literally on the beach, so a tsunami was the obvious disaster potential. However, not too many miles away lay the Cascade Mountains with a chain of volcanoes stringing across the state from north to south. Mount St. Helens was a part of that chain. In addition the west coast of the US is pretty shaky in regards to earthquakes (pun intended). Where I used to live in Texas, five miles up the road from my home, an F5 (that’s as big as they get so far folks) tornado demolished a little town in 1997. Yes, that’s the Jarrell, Texas F5 Tornado over there on the right. LAST YEAR a raging brush fire rampaged through Bastrop, Texas, a popular living area nearby, destroying 1,691 homes. Those are just natural disaster prospects, do we need to mention the man caused possibilities; economic collapse, terrorist attack, or even war? I also lived in between the state capitol and a major U.S. Army base… I’m just saying. It is a lot to consider, and it can be be pretty scary, but not if you are prepared. Preparation for these disaster potentials is the next step.

PREPARING YOUR HOME to be your “fortress,” your place of refuge, safety and defense is the ultimate goal, but first we need to consider your “bottomline.” Don’t get me wrong, I love my life and the time I’ve had living it (and hope it continues for some time yet), but I’m a realist and I know that sometimes bad things happen to good people. So I like to play the “worst case scenario” (WCS) game. What is the worst thing that could happen, and how can I prepare for it? FOR ME, the WCS would be to find myself in the wilderness with nothing but the clothes on my back (or worse yet without them). How would I prepare for that? My preparation would be the 35 plus years I have spent learning and practicing wilderness survival. I know how to bang rocks together to make tools, and rub sticks together to make fire. I know how to make traps and snares, and kill and skin animals. I know about edible bugs, reptiles and posies. I’m not afraid of this worst case scenario. This is my ultimate bottomline.

Authors Note: It doesn’t take 35 years to learn and develop survival skills. In a relatively short time you can get up to speed with a survival course, or even some intensive web surfing, watching and reading. DETERMINING THE BOTTOMLINE is a matter of deciding the very least (tools and gear) that you need to prevail in a survival situation and making sure that you have access to those things at all times. In my WCS above I mentioned rocks and sticks, primitive survival skills from the Stone Age. Stone Age survivors made use of the natural materials around them and, at least, had the intelligence to know that tools and fire would improve their quality of existence. So they made spear points, arrowheads and knives from various igneous rocks through a process of pressure flaking. These tools made killing animals, processing them for food, and dispatching enemies much easier. They made fire through a friction process involving wood and other combustible materials. Fire made their caves warmer, and cooked their food (and sometimes their enemies). All of this was very ingenious, but difficult and time consuming. Unlike our Stone Age ancestors, we’re far too busy for such nonsense. TODAY WE LIVE in the industrial/technological age. We can manufacture fine quality knives and fantastic fire starting tools, which will outperform rocks and sticks hands down. While I heartily recommend getting some wilderness survival training, I more strongly suggest that you outfit yourself at the very least with a good survival knife and a fire starting tool…and make sure that they go everywhere that you do. A very useful addition to these would be a quality multi-tool with pliers, various driver tools, can opener and blades. I carry a set of these ultimate survival tools in my daily carry bag, alongside my laptop. A set resides in each of my vehicles, and a full set of survival tools, gear and supplies is at the ready in my full survival kit, which is kept at my residence. THE SURVIVAL SITUATIONS that we may be facing in our world today are not really that much different than those faced by our bushy friend up there all those years ago. A post catastrophic urban environment may be filled with dangers from enemies (bad guys) that want to take what you have (perhaps even your life), or packs of starving domestic animals gone wild, and some think even zombies may be about. So, for self defense and also the need for hunting animals for food, in addition to the knife, fire starter and multi-tool, I carry a firearm in my bottomline preparations. THIS IS ONE OF MY bottom-line kits. As you can see it takes up very little space, it all fits in that belly pack. I have added the multi-tool to the knife, fire starter and firearm. This little kit is almost always with me, wherever I go (except when I travel on an airline, then it’s in my checked on luggage). These are rugged tools, and I am confident that they will serve me well when called upon. Yes, that little gun only fires two, but those .410 shells each have five #000 buck balls (that’s .36 caliber, or the size of a 9mm bullet) in them ready to blast free. It fires .45 Colt as well. I wouldn’t want to mess with it (in addition I have two changeable barrels for it, .357/.38 and .22 LR. I consider this to be my “get home” kit and count on it to get me back to my wife and my main survival gear. In a pinch I would count on it for much more.

WHEN YOU HAVE your bottomline covered, and you have what you need for the WCS, then everything else is gravy…and gravy makes the meat taste so much better. There are several items of survival gear that can insure you will prevail in a tough situation, and make it much easier to do so. Here’s a picture of my full survival kit and the items I carry:

FOR A DETAILED look at this kit go to where you can touch on any item for a closer look, a description, and brief explanation of it’s use. In any case here’s a list of the items (starting with the pack and moving generally clockwise): A sturdy pack (with a milspec poncho attached to the bottom) A small attachable pack( for additional storage) A multi-tool A rescue whistle A space blanket A survival manual A magnesium firestarter A back-up folding knife A water purification straw A firearm with ammo A compact hand axe A survival knife A collapsible shovel A wrist rocket slingshot A compass A LED flashlight A rescue mirror A cookpot (stowed inside: mini tablet stove & fuel)

A bivvy sack An all weather blanket A pair of gloves A first aid kit A water bottle A lightweight survival food pack (3 day supply)

THE ITEMS SHOWN are close to the best that money can buy, maybe I should have said “they are the best that I can get close to buying.” There are some mighty pricey knives and such out there. But, if my life depends on the equipment I carry, I want to be sure it’s the best equipment I can get. THE PURPOSE OF this survival kit is to provide for my welfare in a disaster for the short term (usually 3 days or so). If I have to evacuate my home and go elsewhere for a few days, and assuming that I might not have the use of my vehicle, then I can carry on my back sufficient for my needs. When it is safe to go back to my “fortress,” assuming that it is still standing and useable, then I can look to my long term preparations to provide for the duration. If it is not then my pack will continue to help me survive. This is what I refer to as LEVEL ONE, or immediate preparation. This is like a short backpacking adventure. Each member of a family should be prepared at level one. Each person should have a survival kit, and know how to use the items contained therein. Of course, the kit needs to be age appropriate and adapted to the level of competance of each individual. Each family member should be able to survive on their own in the event that they are separated from the group. WE’RE ON OUR WAY to preparing our “fortress,” but let’s stop briefly at the next level of preparation. Let’s suppose that whatever disaster is coming your way is nasty enough for you to want to leave your home for a little while longer than three days, and let’s also suppose that you are able to use your vehicle and have a little advance notice. Having some gear stashed away in your garage, or perhaps in a small trailer, such as that you would take on a camping trip for a week or so, would be very useful. Things like a tent, lantern, camp stove, sleeping bag, cooking gear, and a food supply…you know camping stuff. A small travel trailer stocked with these things would be great. This would allow you to “bug out” and not be dependent on anything or anyone or, heaven forbid, the government. So, LEVEL TWO, or interim preparation, is like a week long camping trip. Preparations at level two should accommodate all members of a family group. The survival kits in Level One become an integral part of Level Two as the situation could digress to Level One and further “bug out” measures may become necessary. NOW WE HAVE ARRIVED at our fortress. LEVEL THREE, or duration preparation, for how ever long it takes. This is setting your home up to sustain you and your family for as long as it takes. This is the level that is designed to take care of you and your family through any disaster be it economic, natural or man caused (i.e. terrorist attack, nuclear mishap or war).

LET’S CONSIDER that castle we saw a few pages ago, and the people that lived in it way back in the day…the dark ages or feudal times. Okay, maybe it wasn’t such a great time in world history, but people still lived, loved, laughed, ate hot food, sat on chairs…and did it quite well. And all this without running water, electricity, gas or computers… imagine that! Things were, perhaps, a little less rosey for the people who didn’t live in the castle, but it is what it is. I used to live right below that castle in Germany. THE POINT IS that a major disaster, or a disaster of global proportions could potentially take use back to a similar age. An age without the technological advancements that we enjoy now. If we realize this, then wouldn’t it be wise to prepare for the bottomline and be ready to live the way our ancestors lived, and, like them…do it quite well? SURE, GENERATORS can provide us with power for a time, at least until the gas runs out or becomes unavailable (but an electro magnetic pulse bomb (EMP) would make it all a moot point anyway). They are also relatively expensive, and fuel storage can be a risky problem. Gas or propane stoves, lanterns, and the like are also great while fuel lasts, they’re good for the short term…but don’t make them the bottomline. I HAVE COMPILED a list of items that could be stored in your home to insure that your family could make an easy transition into the dark ages. Using some of these items could take a little training, but that could make for some fun and entertaining family times. This may seem like a pretty big list, and I’ll admit my goal was to make it as comprehensive as possible, but I’ll bet you already have many of these things in your home. What you don’t have… start getting! Yard sales or second hand stores could save you some money in this quest. Here’s the list:

LONG-TERM SURVIVAL LIST Purpose: To set up your residence as a primary shelter to sustain and maintain family life in a post catastrophic urban/suburban destroyed environment for one year or more. Electrical and vital utilities are disrupted and disabled. The assumption being that your domicile is wholly, or partially, intact and capable of providing cover from the elements. A further assumption being that there is yard, or other space available for basic vegetable gardening. All gear and supplies from individual survival packs and Level Two preparations are additional to this list. Note: Implements, supplies, commodities and equipment items are arranged in the basic survival priority areas.

SHELTER: Tarps: selection of durable tarps in varying sizes Ropes and cords: selection in varying sizes Protective barriers: heavy mil visqueen in black and clear, duct tape Repair hardware: selection of nails, bolts, nuts, screws, plumbing and electrical items, tape (duct, electrical, masking) glues, fasteners, zip ties, etc.

(Cont.) Blankets, sleeping bags, air mattresses, etc. Clothing for all seasons

FIRE: Fire starters: large sealed supply of “strike anywhere” matches, supply of butane lighters, ferrocerium fire- starters (from survival packs) Tinder supply: newspapers, dryer lint, cotton balls, fatwood sticks One year (min) fuel supply: cordwood, charcoal briquettes, propane, kerosene Wood burning stove Kerosene heater Propane heater Fireplace

WATER: Purifiers: large capacity water purifier , purification tablets, colloidal silver Large boiling pot Water collection: rain gutter system, tarp system, rain barrels Water storage: water tanks, barrels, buckets and pails Pumps (non-electric), siphon

FOOD: One year, or more, secured stored food stuffs (canned, dehydrated, freeze dried etc.) Secured stored seeds. Supply of heirloom (non-hybrid) vegetable gardening and sprouting seeds Cooking implements: Cast iron cookware: Dutch Ovens, griddles, frying pans, pots, kettle Cast iron cookware tools: lid lifter, tripod, trivets Pressure cooker (stainless steel) w/”hot box” Stainless steel pots and pans (no aluminum) Food and grain grinders and choppers (non-electric) Food dehydrator Sprouting equipment and seeds Canning equipment and supplies Solar oven Charcoal grill Biomass stove Propane grill Wood stove Fireplace/campfire tools: poker, tongs, hot mitts BBQ tools: long handled fork, spatula, tongs, etc. Cooking utensils: Stainless steel spatula, spoons, slotted spoons, forks, whisks, etc. Eating utensils Unbreakable serving ware

TOOLS: Building tools: (non-electric): hammers, saws, drills, planes, rasps, measuring implements, etc. Mechanic tools: wrenches, sockets, pliers, files, screw drivers, etc. Gardening tools: shovels, hoe, rake, hoses, watering can, wheel barrow etc. Plumbing tools: wrenches, pvc cutters, pvc cement, etc. Firewood tools: Axes, hatchets, bow saw, wedges, chains, log jack, etc. Defense/hunting tools: Firearms, air guns, archery gear with ammunition supply, slingshots with ammo Miscellaneous: Come Along, jacks, crowbars, sledge hammer, post hole digger, bolt cutter, levels, stapler Building items: Glues, tapes, wire, nails, screws, WD-40, nuts & bolts, staples

MISCELLANEOUS: Educational materials: Self help books and magazines DIY manuals, books and magazines Hardcopy encyclopedias Textbooks, schoolbooks Reading books (all ages) Religious study materials, scriptures Cookbooks, recipe books Herbal guides, alternative medicines Pass the time materials Games, puzzles Hobby and craft supplies Musical instruments and music, lyrics books Sports and exercise equipment THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES SHOULD BE CONSIDERED ON THE BASIS OF A ONE YEAR SUPPLY: CLEANING AND GENERAL SUPPLIES: Mops, brooms and brushes Sponges, rags Cleaning solutions, bleach and disinfectants Buckets Washboard and washtub Soaps: laundry detergent, dishes Kerosene lanterns, with extra wicks and globes Kerosene supply Fuel siphon pump Matches (large supply) First aid supplies Sunscreen, hand & body lotions Sanitary/hygienic supplies: Toilet paper Supply of lime (calcium hypochlorite) 200 lbs Soaps, shampoos, etc.

Tooth care supplies Feminine needs products Prescription medications Enema kit Pest control: Insecticides and repellants (WASP SPRAY) Swatters and traps HAVING A HOME prepared and stocked with a supply like this would allow you to continue right on going through almost any disaster, providing the disaster doesn’t destroy your house. Being well supplied will also allow you to be of some help to family, neighbors and friends. There should be virtually nothing for which you should want with this list of items. You will be able to have a secure, functioning home for a long time. You might even like living the way your ancestors did, maybe have a little time to re-connect with your family. MY FAMILY spent a couple of years basically homesteading a ten acre place in the coastal mountains of Oregon. There was no power or running water. We heated our house with wood, cooked with propane, and burned oil lamps at night for light. We loaded kids and water cans into the back of the truck for a ride to a nearby spring. Some of my favorite memories of this time are gathering as a family around the wood stove to read a book out loud by the light of a kerosene lamp. Enjoying homemade music from piano, guitar and voice, and listening to the coyotes howl. We sold out and bought a beach house, but I wish we still had that place on Soap Creek.

This was the little old schoolhouse down the road from us.

THOUGHTS, TIPS AND USEFUL STUFF Never did find any clothes.

THIS SECTION will give you some things to think about in considering urban survival. It is just a collection of additional thoughts, ramblings and potentially useful possibilities that I will give you to get your mind into urban survival mode…some things to get you thinking. 1.






IN A DISASTER whether in the city, or in your home in the burbs, you may be trapped inside a collapsed building. Normal entrances and exits from offices and rooms might be blocked. Here is where having ready access to a survival kit, and one with the right tools, namely a hand axe, can be a life saver. Use the axe to hack open a hole in the wall giving you a way out, or into another room that has an exit. Keep going until you can get out. AN ABANDONED or disabled automobile is a veritable hardware store of useful parts. The battery can be used as a power supply for many electrical applications, for example recharging your cell phone (if you have a mobile charger for your phone). Need a powerful, portable light? Remove a head lamp assembly, and its wiring harness and reconnect it to the removed battery (here’s where the multi-tool is handy). Cars are full of useable wire, screws, nuts, and brackets…as well as light bulbs. The crankcase holds a supply of lubricant. The oil can also be used for heating and oil lamps. Seatbelts are really about ten feet of strapping material that can be cut in half lengthwise with a hot knife, or piece of metal, and used for tying chores. Tires burn, hot and smoky, if you can stand the smell they can provide warmth. They are also useful for signaling for rescue. If the engine runs, but the car won’t go…remember it will still produce heat and electricity. TO PROTECT AGAINST chemical, biological or radioactive contaminants, having a supply of duct tape and sheet plastic (visqueen) around will allow you to seal doors and windows. Black visqueen will also block out light either from within or without. This plastic could also be handy in sealing up broken windows and doors, or restricting areas for better or more efficient heating. You should have a protective respirator mask on hand (disposal or permanent) to filter contaminated dust particles. TRAIN YOURSELF to play “scenarios” in your mind. It’s a good way to pass some idle time driving in a car or riding a bus or train. Think about possible survival or dangerous situations in your mind, things that could happen to you and possible ways of handling them. Think about how you would react to such a situation. If you have some pre-conceived ideas about how to act and react to a disaster or danger scenario, then if it happens (or something similar) you may be able to get into action much sooner. I make this a regular practice. START SHARPENING your powers of observation and creativity. Look at your surroundings as you go about your day, especially when walking outside. In most places, city or burbs, there is always stuff lying around; cans, bottles, cardboard, wire…you name it. Think to yourself …“what could I do with that?” Tin cans can be used for cook pots or small portable cook stoves. Soda pop bottles are good water storage containers. Learn to be a scavenger. Need a large tarp for a shelter or repairing a damaged roof? You know, they don’t paint billboards anymore. Billboards are printed on very large sheets of heavy duty vinyl…got a knife? In a legitimate survival situation the standard rules don’t always apply. Sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do and let the chips fall where they may. Survival doesn’t give you the right to steal from or harm your fellow citizens, but the salvage and use of abandoned or damaged items can be forgiven when they are desperately needed and used to preserve your life or the lives of others. CRIMINALS, GANGS AND BAD GUYS are usually cowardly at heart. They prey on the weak and defenseless. Start practicing not looking like a scared rabbit. Walk with your head up, shoulders straight, aware of who and what’s around you at all times. Make eye contact and let them know you see them. Don’t let suspicious characters get too close. Don’t be defenseless. Take a martial arts course. Get a concealed weapons permit and carry a gun (make sure you know how to use it). Carry a knife with you wherever you go. Think of other things, on or around you, that could be used as defensive weapons; sticks, stones, belts, shoes (stiletto heels), keys, pens. Many times I’ve watched TV shows where the good guy is rolling around on the ground with the bad guy in a life or death struggle. I’m shouting… “grab a handful of that dirt, or sand, and toss it in his eyes you idiot.” Pepper, especially red (cayenne), is really effective used in this manner. Hey, a street fight (or defense against intruders) isn’t about sportsmanship, it’s all




10. 11.



about winning and walking away (with the bad guy in a serious hurt…not you). Know the places on a human body that are most vulnerable to attack. If you have ever had the wind knocked out of you, you will know that it tends to make you stop doing what you were doing. A quick, hard punch (or kick) in the solar plexus (at the top of the abdomen, and just below the sternum) will do that trick. Follow it up with a hard kick to the testicles and while he’s doubled over smack him hard on both ears simultaneously with flat, slightly cupped, hands (this should painfully pop the eardrums)…then run. Don’t hit hard spots like a jaw or the head with a closed fist. You will probably injure your hands, and this you do not want to do. Use the palm of your hand for striking. An uppercut punch with your palm, striking the bottom of the nose, can be fatal to an attacker. A hard hit to the temple area can also be a game stopper. A deep slice with a knife or other sharp instrument to a brachial, femoral or carotid artery can incapacitate and kill an assailant in short order. Learn where those arteries are located. Even small nicks to the head bleed like Niagara, won’t kill ‘em but will scare the heck out of ‘em. A stab to the junk packet is a real game changer. ENJOY A LITTLE TELEVISION. Sure it’s fiction, but some of the survival genre shows can get you thinking about things that could happen and how to deal with them. One good one is called Surviving Disaster on Spike TV It has several different disaster scenarios each of them dealing with a potential survival event. Les Stroud: Survivor Man is a good show for learning wilderness survival techniques. Series shows like The Colony and Survivors will get you in the right mood to consider your survival plans. The Walking Dead series will give you a whole other thing to wrap your head around. There are numerous episodes of MacGyver on Netflix that will get your inventive juices flowing (pretty cheesy, but food for thought). The point is that knowledge is a vital part of survival and the more you can get the better. And remember our friend Kephart…”the more you carry in your head, the less you carry on your back.” DON’T FORGET ABOUT BICYCLES. A sturdy bike, like a mountain bike, can provide transportation without needing fuel. This can allow you to travel faster if you are relocating to a safer area, or to extend your range for scavenge operations. Fill the tubes with a stop leak product and have some extra tire tubes on hand. Learn how to maintain and adjust a multi-speed bicycle. DRESS FOR SUCCESS. It may be advantageous to blend in with the background in a survival situation. Things can get nasty and your fellow beings can as well. In a disaster scenario the lawless elements of our society come out of the woodwork and feel entitled to work their evil deeds on the innocent and the helpless. Now, it is my plan to always be found among the innocent, but you will never find me among the helpless. And, if you are a bad guy, you won’t find me at all, unless I want you to…and in that case I might be the last thing you see. I recommend wearing military style clothing in either an environment appropriate camouflage or black. I prefer black. In daylight it will blend into the shadows, at night I’m gone. If you see someone wearing an all black BDU (battle dress uniform), combat boots with bloused trousers, a shoulder gun rig, dark sunglasses, a big knife on his hip and carrying a nasty looking 12 gauge…would you mess with him? Well, neither would I, but that guy just might be me. I recommend looking like a warrior, not a wimp. Whether you are really (please excuse the French) a “bad ass” or not…look like one. You’ll probably scare away most of the cowardly curs. They are looking for the helpless ones. And if it doesn’t scare them then you must be prepared to use those implements of self defense that you are lugging about. If you don’t know how to use them…get some training! Also, military clothing is made to stand up to the rough use survival requires. LEARN HOW TO HOTWIRE A CAR. There are quite a few “how to” videos on youtube that can help you here. HAVING A SIPHON PUMP, or at least a length of tubing, in your survival kit can help in re-fueling your vehicle, or generator, with gas from abandoned vehicles. Diesel fuel and kerosene is basically the same thing so it can be used for kerosene lamps, lanterns or stoves. The siphon pump will allow you to access this fuel source. LEARN HOW TO properly sharpen knives and axes. Make sure you have a sharpening tool in your kit. Did you know that you can sharpen a blade on the rounded rough top edge of a car window, or the unglazed portion of the bottom of a ceramic coffee mug (much like a ceramic crock stick). LEARN ABOUT alternative herbal medicines and essential oils. The pharmacies will probably be closed in a disaster, or stripped clean. You can prepare very effective remedies for just about anything with herbs.

14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.



Herbal tinctures are very expensive if purchased readymade, but making them yourself is easy and cost effective. LEARN HOW TO can foods at home and invest in the equipment to do so. LEARN TO GARDEN and grow foods that are amenable to canning and storage. LEARN HOW to de-hydrate foods. LEARN HOW TO identify and utilize wild edible plants. MOST BUGS AND SNAKES are edible. In most cultures around the world dogs and cats are fair game (tastes like chicken). EDUCATE YOURSELF about radiation and nuclear fall-out. Being able to “nuke” proof your home or shelter against the ravaging effects of the aftermath of a nuclear event may save your life. Fall-out and radiation effects are short lived so temporary measures can be effective. PROTECT your electronic devices from EMP effects. You can make an inexpensive Faraday Cage from a steel trash can and some scrap cardboard. There are EMP bags, developed by the military that can be purchased as well. But know this; a functioning cell phone (due to effective protective measures) is still worthless if the cell towers are fried. Likewise any electronic device is useless if the power grid goes down. Learn to get by without electricity, don’t be dependent upon it. Generators run out of fuel, batteries run down, and smoke or ash may cover the sun…learn to live like your ancestors did before the electronic age. They actually lived quite well. MAKE THINGS SERVE MORE THAN ONE PURPOSE. For example; just what can you do with a bandana?

YOU PROBABLY WOULDN’T THINK of a common, ordinary bandana as a valuable survival tool, now would you? Well you might be surprised at the many uses to which a bandana can be used to help you survive. Now I’m talking about 100% cotton, large sized, and the most brightly colored bandana you can get. These qualities are important in a survival bandana. A bandana is lightweight and easily folded into a small package. Storing it in a sturdy zip lock, quart size, bag is an excellent way to keep it clean and dry in your pack. A bandana is an easy sewing project, so if you can’t find one you like…make it. This way you could have an oversized, blaze orange bandana, which would be the best survival bandana to have. Let’s take a look at how a bandana can be made to function as a survival tool. The following list is a work in progress, there are many more uses that can dreamed up to make this mundane implement a real life saver. To give this a little more sense let’s break it up into the basic elements of survival: shelter, fire, water, food, tools and protection.

57 USES FOR A BANDANA In the element of SHELTER your faithful bandana could be… 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

A covering for your head, a hat or cap. A sun visor. A shade screen. Made into mittens (2 bandanas). Fashioned into stockings (2 bandanas). A diaper. Makeshift underwear. A sweatband.

9. 10. 11. 12.

A dust mask A cooling neck wrap. Ear muffs. An evaporative cooler.

In the element of FIRE your faithful bandana could be… 13. 14. 15. 16. 17.

Made into “char cloth” for tinder. Used to gather and carry leaves, grasses and lichens for tinder. Used to tie up a bundle of kindling. A fan to fan the fire. Shredded and used as tinder.

In the element of WATER your faithful bandana could be… 18. A pre-filter to remove particles and sediment prior to purifying. 19. A “mop” for collecting dew. 20. A sponge for soaking up water from small puddles. In the element of FOOD and cooking your faithful bandana could be… 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34.

A gathering basket for collecting seeds, nuts and berries. A storage pouch. A pot holder. A dishtowel. A dishcloth. A strainer. A steamer basket. A fish trap. A fish net. An insect net. A bird trap. Used for making fish lures. A table cloth. A napkin.

In the element of TOOLS your faithful bandana could be… 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44.

A signal flag. A cleaning rag. Bullet patches for a muzzle loader. A carrying pouch or bag. Cleaning patches for a firearm. A windsock. Torn into strips for trail markers. A line toss bag. A rescue flag. A sanitary pad.

45. Torn in long strips for tying. In the element of PROTECTION your faithful bandana could be… 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55.

A bandage. An arm sling. An eye patch. A tourniquet. Used for tying a splint. Handcuffs. A whip. A compress. Ear plugs. Padding for sore spots.

There you have it, fifty five ways to use a bandana …oh yeah, fifty six and fifty seven, it can be a towel and you can blow your nose in it! I’ll bet you can think of some more. 21. CONSIDER BARTERING. Among other things disasters can affect the economy. Goods, services, commodities, and cash may be in short supply, and people will need them. Storing a little extra of certain items may serve you well in being able to obtain things that your family needs by bartering with those who have them. Ammunition can be really valuable this way…especially .22 caliber. 22. LET’S TALK ABOUT SURVIVAL FOODS, particularly survival kit food supplies. Since your survival kit should be designed to be lightweight, highly portable, and bottom-line, the food you carry should meet the same criteria. There are many offerings of “packable” foods, some are good, others not, but they all seem to share a common quality…they’re expensive. Many of these foods do not require re-hydration, which makes them excessively heavy, i.e. MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat). I HAVE DEVELOPED a substance that I fondly call “survival gruel.” It fulfills all my requirements for packing, nutrition, and cost; you make it yourself…and it doesn’t taste half bad. A relatively small amount can provide sustenance for three days. Soup is an excellent survival food as it is mostly water, yet filling. It is also easy to make and modify for ingredients on hand. Get some water boiling, toss in some stuff and eat, doesn’t get much easier than that. THE INGREDIENTS for my gruel can be purchased at most grocery stores, but you will need a coffee grinder, or a good blender, to prepare it, and of course boiling water. But wait, if the power is out you could use a hand grinder, mortar and pestle, or a molcajete. Learn more at


MAIN INGREDIENTS Instant brown rice Dehydrated refried beans Instant potatoes Bouillon cubes, chicken or beef Salt and pepper OPTIONS Your favorite spices. Meat packets: tuna, chicken, salmon etc. DIRECTIONS: In the grinder (or blender) separately pulverize enough beans, rice and potatoes to make one cup each. You want to grind these foods into powder so they will easily and quickly dissolve and re-constitute in hot water.



IN A HEAVY DUTY zip bag, bag up each cup of beans, rice and potatoes. Squeeze, or suck, out any excess air. Roll up each bag for packing. Store in a waterproof stuff sack.

PREPARE A MIX of spices of your choice and seal them up in a zipper bag. Seal up 20 bouillion cubes in a zip lock. Pack these, along with the meat packets (at least three), with the powdered foods in the waterproof stuff sack. Squeeze out any excess air, and seal it up. This is your three day emergency food supply. Put it in your survival pack. If you want to pack more, by all means do so, weight and space being your limitations.

NOTE: If you suck out the air by mouth, be sure that you don’t suck too hard, and don’t have chili powder or red pepper in the mix. Been there, done that. AUTHOR’S NOTE: Recently I have learned about a new (well new to me it’s actually ancient) food stuff that really excites me. This super food was used by the Aztecs, their warriors carried it as a primary food source. I’m talking about Salvia Hispanica, or more commonly called Chia Seeds. These little seeds are rich in Omega 3’s, and other nutrients. When moistened, either by adding to liquids, or swallowing with water, they will expand six times their normal size. So, swallow a teaspoon of these with some water, and it won’t taste like you’ve eaten mashed potatoes and gravy, but you’ll feel like it. Imagine that! I will be mixing Chia seeds in my survival gruel from now on. They have very little flavor, not unpleasant at all, but lots of possibilities. Remember Chia Pets? You can eat the greens that come from the sprouted seeds. WOW, a real use for a Chia Pet!

SO, HOW DO YOU COOK SURVIVAL GRUEL? Boil one cup of water, add one bouillon cube (let dissolve), and stir in one teaspoon of each food powder and a pinch of the spice mix. Let this sit for a bit and enjoy. It should be the consistency of a light soup or porridge, but you can make it as thick as you want. Adding a little meat or foraged veggies will make it heartier.


STOVE FUEL 23. ESPECIALLY FOR LADIES. Sometimes it’s better to be a man. WHAT? Let’s head off any potential ill feelings over that comment right here at the beginning. I don’t want anyone thinking that I am a male chauvinist in any way shape or form. I’m just stating a simple fact that, I believe, you ladies will agree with quite readily when you realize what I am talking about (at least my wife surely does). So here it is, right out front and in the open (pun intended), a man has an exclusive piece of anatomy that allows him to attend to the duties of “fait d’ uriner” (taking a pee) in virtually any position, and in any

direction, with very little inconvenience (if any at all). Now, you lovely ladies are considerably restricted in that same necessary function, and therefore you must agree that…sometimes it’s better to be a man. But, good news! This little inequality can be equalized, and way short of expensive surgery!

WHAT’S AN F.U.D.? I HAVE SPENT a lot of time in the wide open spaces with my wife, my daughters, and expedition groups sometimes composed primarily of young women… I have some experience with this stuff. That being said, I have noticed that in an outdoor situation it can be challenging for you, of the fairer sex, to accomplish “le toilette” discreetly, quickly and neatly in mixed company. This distinctive chore usually begins with a junket into the heavy bush in search of cover from inquisitive eyes. You must then partially disrobe and assume “la position” (ugly word, squat). In the end a bit of tissue must be prudently applied, which will require a proper disposal. What a pain! I remember an unfortunate incident on a wilderness trail in which a young lass, somewhat in urgent need, quickly searched for such a secluded location. She came to regret paying more attention to her waiting companions in front of her than to the resting group of hiking strangers behind her. Both groups went on their merry ways, one group considerably more familiar with the other than had previously been the case. Yikes! What is a lady to do? ENTER THE F.U.D. (female urination device). The F.U.D. is a unique gizmo designed to provide women with the freedom that we men have enjoyed since Adam woke up. The F.U.D. allows one to discreetly slip the unit under one’s clothing, and holding it in one’s appropriate place, one can then…yeah, do one’s thing. You might consider, if you would like to stand up and act like a man, you should probably wear jeans or pants and shorts with front zippers (at least when you are heading into the great outdoors). Then the device’s “protuberance” can then go through the zipper opening and out and beyond the clothing (much like its’ design model) allowing the production of this effort to stream dashingly to the ground away from one’s shoes and clothing. With the F.U.D. there’s no need to sit or squat… blessed relief! And get this, the F.U.D. can be easily used in conjunction with a disposable bottle or zip lock baggie (okay ladies; try that one without this little gem). That’s a benefit that will eliminate those dreaded night time forays into the cold, spooky bush with the lions, tigers and bears…oh, my! Alas and alack, the bit of tissue may still be “de rigueur”… but hey, you can’t have everything! SINCE I HAVE ALREADY, bravely I might add, touched on the delicate zones of feminine ritual, please allow me to bring up another little occurrence to which you ladies (at least most of you of younger years) must give your consideration to on a monthly basis. And, more to the point, how you can accommodate this event when sanitary supplies are no longer available. At this point we should say that laying in a good supply of these little necessaries is a very good idea. However, supplies eventually run out. You will then be left with two

options; one is to resort to early day measures (which gave rise to some unsavory terminology); or two the use of a “menstrual cup.” A what, you say? A menstrual cup! It is an invention that very few women seem to know about. However, it seems to me that such a device would be of great importance to you (but then I’m a man, what do I know?). ANYWAY, this little cup is made from soft silicone, comes in a variety of girly colors, and is designed to be placed in a strategic location to “catch and contain.” True, it must be removed, emptied, washed and replaced periodically (no pun intended). A little inconvenient perhaps but, I would think, better than the alternatives. I SINCERELY APOLOGIZE if my male intrusion into the sacrosanct realms of femine allure has been of any distress or affront to any of my female readers. If I have not proceeded with the appropriate level of sanctimony, I again humbly ask for your forgiveness. My intention was only to provide information that I think may be useful to you in an adventure or survival situation, or under emergency conditions. If you would like to learn more about these two little female helpers, or find out where they can be obtained, and read our field tests and reviews (which won’t be by me incidentally) please visit our website. 24. TRAPS AND SNARES. Whoa, that last topic was just too much touching of the feminine side. I need to get back on the man track. Let’s talk about catching, killing, skinning and eating animals…that ought to do it.


I feel better.

ACTUALLY I’D JUST like to teach you about a simple little device called the “figure 4” trigger. The figure four can be simply made, and used to set off deadfall or box traps. It’s an effective way to catch game for the stew pot. There are several other methods and designs for deadfall trap triggers, but the figure 4 is the easiest to make, and to remember.

Oh look, a nice shady spot for a picnic!

SNARES ARE basically a slip knot tied in thin wire or cordage, and placed strategically in the path of a unsuspecting animal. The animal’s head passes through the loop (the other end tied to something immovable) which tightens as the animal keeps moving. Nasty way to go, but “ya gotta do what ya gotta do”. KNOWING HOW to catch, skin, clean and cook game, small and large, is a useful skill to have in a survival situation. For more information on these topics take a course from our survival school.

THIS TRIGGER WILL support a slab of rock, as in the illustration, or in the city a concrete block, metal box filled with scrap steel, or some other suitable heavy object. The horizontal stick is the “bait stick” with some attractive, and smelly tidbit stuck on its end. When the hapless critter tries to take a bite the movement of the stick upsets the delicate balance of the trigger allowing the rock to fall on the moocher. This kind of trap works very well for small dogs or squirrels (one of the more palatable rodents).

A diagram of how the trigger is made 25. WHAT ABOUT your cell phone? A cell phone can be a valuable survival asset. As long as you have cell service your phone is a great communication device, very valuable in a disaster or survival situation. But, even with no service, it can be very useful. Your phone will store data in downloaded apps and kindle books. Make sure you have downloaded a good survival manual, a first aid manual, repair manuals specific to your needs, edible plant guides and any other info data you may need. Take photos of your drivers license, passport, birth certificate, marriage license, shot record etc. However, even without service, your phone will need to be recharged. If the grid is down the most dependable recharging systems would be solar and hand cranking devices.

OKAY, NOW BACK TO THE QUIZ! HOPEFULLY YOU have been thinking about those items that you chose a while back in my survival quiz and how you will use them in surviving that fateful scenario I created for you. Now about that scenario, I sincerely hope that it caused you to think, and more to the point…scared the heck out of you. Especially if you are one of the vast majority who have not prepared and just go along in your Pollyanna world thinking it “could never happen to me.” Well let me tell you friend…it could, and it just might.

WHAT DO YOU think happened to the previously peaceful world of our hapless survivor? If you guessed terrorist attack in coincidence with an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) bomb, you’d be about right. SO, HERE I AM in a fenced compound next to an old vacant warehouse, with looters and nefarious gangs in close proximity, and raindrops falling on my head. What am I going to do? WELL, since I’m the author of this marvelously informative book, I had all this valuable knowledge already in my head when I made my choices. Now that you have read this far you have the same, and you may be rethinking your choices. So, I sit down and think of the situation I’m in, observe what is around me that could be of use, and make a plan (sound familiar?). I REACH for the gym bag, that I carried away from my burning house, with all the other things stuffed inside. I quickly pull out the shower curtain and throw it over me to ward off the raindrops. Since the weather has turned very cool I next put on the wool shirt to preserve my body warmth. Thus protected and warmed up a little I continue to think. I WILL NEED a better shelter and a set up for a fire. I observed that nearby there is an empty metal dumpster, a pile of broken wood pallets, a stack of numerous concrete blocks, and some eight foot four by four posts. I also observed some corrugated tin roofing panels across the yard.

I RUMMAGE carefully in the bag and find the chef’s knife (the knife was recently sharpened and I don’t want any injuries). With the knife I cut a slit in the center of the shower curtain and put it on like a poncho. I need to stay dry as I move about. I PUSH and pull the dumpster over to an inside corner on the backside of the building. Using a four by four as a lever, I tip it over on its frontside, so that the lids will open upward. I position it on a diagonal facing the corner so that the lids will rest against the two walls and form an awning of sorts over my new front porch (so to speak). I drag over four of the pallets and put them under the awning to keep them from getting any wetter. I bring over three of the tin roof panels and lay them over the dumpster lids forming a more water tight awning. Having

exerted a bunch of energy with all this construction I sit down inside my new trash can abode for a rest. Needing to replenish some energy I open the bag of Cheetos for a small snack (I don’t want to eat too many as I have another use for them). While I’m resting I get the box of Ziploc baggies and the bottle of ketchup. I empty out the ketchup bottle into a baggie and zip it up tight. There is a stream of rainwater running off of my porch roof so I catch some in the bottle and rinse it out thoroughly. I position the bottle to fill with clean water, as well as the five gallon plastic bucket I found in the yard. I THEN get the bag of cottonballs and the tube of Preparation H. I set about making some firestarters by squeezing a small blob of ointment on a cotton ball and working it in somewhat. The fuzzy cotton will take readily to a spark from the empty Bic lighter and catch flame, the melting ointment will prolong the flame for almost five minutes. This will aid greatly in starting a fire.

I’M READY for some more strenuous labor so I go and get six concrete blocks and bring them into the shelter. With these I will construct an urban style “Dakota hole” stove. As I was bringing the blocks over I found a piece of wire grate and brought it as well. I am concerned with the kind of neighbors I may have, mainly looters and gangbangers. I do not want to have visits from either faction so I want my fire to be as undetectable as possible. I will build my “fireplace in the corner where it will be shielded by the dumpster and have a natural chimney through the triangle formed by the walls and the dumpster lids. I use five of the blocks to build the stove and the sixth I keep for smashing the wood pallets. Using the Vise-Grips I trim the wire grate to a size that fits the fire hole. I bring over two more roof panels and line the corner, behind the fireplace, as a reflector to direct heat into my dumpster house. USING MY “pallet smasher” concrete block and the knife I process enough wood to get a fire going. Using the cottonballs and a few of the Cheetos for tinder (they burn hot and heavy BTW), along with some properly prepared kindling and fuelwood, I get a cozy little fire going. The light and warmth are most welcome. I check from the outside to see if my fire is visible and find that it shows through the space between one side of the dumpster and the wall that I left for an entrance. I get another piece of roofing and shield the gap. I settle in for the night. IN ORDER TO stay as warm as possible I put on the extra clothes from my gym bag (a sweatshirt and sweat pants). I put them over the clothes that I have on and replace the wool shirt. I use the towel as a makeshift head cover, kind of shemagh style. Remember the head is kind of like the body’s chimney. You lose a lot of body heat through the top of your beanie. I use my sweat socks for mittens (kind of gross but my mitts are warmer). AGAIN, HAVING expended much more energy, I am in the need of more substantial food. Using the knife to open the can of Pork ‘n Beans, I place the can on the grate and warm the beans over the fire (I saved the paper wrap from the can for tinder). I eat half of the beans and seal the rest in a Ziploc bag. I wash out the can with rain water,

this will become my cookpot (tomorrow I’ll scavenge some stiff wire for a bail). I take stock of my food supply which consists of: the aforementioned Cheetos, a bag of ketchup (contains lysine and congress once declared it a vegetable), a bag of beans, one can of tuna and a box of instant rice (wish I had the chocolate bar). I BRING a few more pallets under protection, and process more firewood for the rest of the night. I feel fairly secure, but wonder what the night will hold. DRIFTING OFF to an uncomfortable sleep, a metal box doesn’t have a very soft floor, a couple of hours have passed by (I have no idea what time it is as my digital watch stopped when the EMP hit). I jerk awake at the sound of voices nearby. It sounds like a group of men and, by the tone and content of their language, not so warm and fuzzy. My fire has burned down to coals so very little light is being cast from it. I pick up the knife and hold it in my hand, I hope I don’t have to use it but having it makes me feel much better. The voices fade off and it’s quiet again. I think that tomorrow I will use some of that spool of floral wire to set up a trip wire around my shelter that will pull down a bunch of pop cans (I saw some littering the fenceline) as an advance warning system. It will also come in handy for binding things together, and maybe making some snares…there was that little dog I saw running around… maybe with ketchup. I will need to find some additional weaponry, maybe I can find a steel pipe. I wish I had a gun. I PUT some more wood on the fire to take off the chill, eat a coupla Cheetos (attitude food), and try to get a little more sleep. It will be a much different world when the dawn comes. THERE IT IS FOLKS, the fifteen items I chose. How did you do? However you fared, don’t you wish that you had a survival pack like the one I showed you earlier in the book? That survival kit is one of mine and I try not to be far from it. It works for me…it’ll work for you.

DID THINGS CHANGE a little bit for you this time around? The point I am trying to get across is that in a survival situation you should train yourself to automatically think of the survival priorities…


IF YOU DO THIS then, when you find yourself in a tight spot, you will immediately begin to assess the things around you that can be turned into survival assets. Preparing yourself mentally for this action is the best preparation of all. PREPARE FOR THE “BOTTOMLINE.” What is the least you can get by with? Remember Old Horace Kephart, “The more you carry in your head, the less you carry on your back.” For example my absolute bottom-line is a good knife and a fire starter. With these two tools I can make shelter, keep warm, prepare food and defend myself, which are my main considerations in a survival situation. Yes, I carry more than that in my survival kit but if I at least have those two vital tools, and all that I carry in my head, I feel prepared for whatever may come. In order for you to feel as prepared, with so little, you will need some training…so take a survival course! I happen to know where you can find a good one.

H. Kephart

AND WHEN you have become trained, and you are a father or a mother, for heaven’s sake see to it that your children are trained! If the survival quiz scenario struck a little fear in your heart, think of the level of fear you would have knowing your kids were in that same mess without a clue how to take care of themselves (you not being there to watch out for them, and not having taught them). IT WOULD BE TERRIFYING!


For Wendy, Heather, Jared, Heidi, Andrea, Sam & Eli This book is dedicated to my seven children. I don’t know if I adequately taught them survival skills when they were little, but I hope they learned enough for themselves bumping around with me all these years. In any case this book will make up for any lack, and they can use it to teach their children. Rudy G. Bischof

Urban survival guide  

Staying alive in a post catastrophic world

Urban survival guide  

Staying alive in a post catastrophic world