6/5 Week In Review

It’s time for my weekly review.  From a blog standpoint, it’s been a nice second week here.  Most of that has come from one place in particular, but it’s all been helpful.  However, while that’s been a high point, it’s not the only one.

For one thing, I picked up my new Mora knife.  For the price, it’s a ridiculously well-made piece of hardware that I personally think only a snob would diss out of hand.  I will be grabbing two or three more so the rest of the family has good quality knives.  They’ll probably get the stainless versions, though.  I don’t they’ll do the care aspect of knife owning like I will.

I’ve also picked up a fair bit more of food.  Plus, experimentation with various canned meats has begun.  This will provide a significant move toward more options for eating during The Bad Times.  Frankly, I want as much variety as humanly possible.  Right now, it’s mostly canned chicken, and while we can do a lot with canned chicken, it’s still a limit.  I’d rather push those limits out.

Now, I know where to at least get some pulled pork in BBQ sauce.  Now to find the same thing without the sauce.

Most importantly, though, I have a plan going forward.  I know what to get next, and then after that, then after that.

The problem with the plan as I see it is if the balloon goes up tomorrow.  If that happens, I’m hosed.  However, I’m not as hosed as most folks, so there’s that.

Next is water.  That’s my priority.  I know two things to pick up on that front, and I will get those as soon as humanly possible.  That’ll happen soon.  Very soon.

Thank you Amazon Prime for getting stuff to me quickly.

The real secret with this is to just make a step forward while trying to avoid any steps back.  That gets harder as you roll forward, but ultimately it will be worth it.

 

A Quick Thanks

It’s been one of those days today, but I wanted to take a moment to thank M.D. Creekmore and the Pack over at The Survivalist Blog.  I’ve had several people stop by to review my plan.  Between there and here, there’s been a lot to think about.

I’m actually impressed with the fact that no one said my plan was total bollocks, so there’s that.

While M.D. hasn’t offered an opinion, he didn’t take out the link to my blog when I commented over there that I had my plan up.  I didn’t explicitly ask for feedback, which may have helped, but M.D. could have nixed it had he wanted.

He didn’t, so for that alone he deserves my thanks.

I’m working on another post for later today, but I did want to offer my thanks to the crew over there for everything they’ve done so far.

A Tale of OPSEC

Preppers often talk about OPSEC, or operational security.  Yes, we stole the term from the military as a fancy way to tell people to keep their teeth in the closest proximity to one another possible when talking about preps.  Most of us know it’s important, but I want to recount a story from a buddy of mine during Hurricane Katrina.

My buddy had prepped for some time and had tried to talk to all of his friends about the need to prepare through the years.  Invariably, most of them said, “Dude, if something happens, we’re coming to your house.”

Everyone had a good laugh and went on with their evening.

Then Katrina rocked New Orleans, where he lived.  My buddy opted to stay put.  He was apparently high enough that he wasn’t worried about flooding, and he had food, water, and the means to prepare dinner, so there was no reason to be a refugee.

As the storm passed, the ugliness began.  Many of us remember what happened.  We watched it on the news.  Looting, word of rioting, everything we preppers have said was going to happen.  There it was, on the news.

For my buddy, it was bad enough, but for him the real problem was the locusts.

You know what locusts are.  They’re insects who swoop in, eat everything, then leave.  Well, that’s the term I use for his friends who showed up.  It wasn’t long after the storm passed that they started knocking on his door.  They wanted to swoop in and eat his food.

My friend pretended to not be home.  It was hard for him.  These were his friends, and they were in need.

However, he also understood that he didn’t know how long he’d need to provide for him and his girlfriend with what he had stocked.  Every person he fed would cut his own food stores exponentially.  He just couldn’t take them all in, and how do you pick which of your friends you let in?

There’s a lesson in this that I’ve held near and dear.

Community matters, of course.  That’s why I started a Facebook group last week for people I know who are preppers in my neck of the woods.  We can reach out, meet up, share information, etc.  However, we’re sharing it with a group of people who aren’t likely to be locusts.

However, in my day to day life?  There I don’t talk about it with anyone unless I think they’re receptive.  Generally, not even then.  I let them broach the subject most of the time.

The idea here is that the locusts won’t know to come knocking on my door.

Keep your mouth shut unless you want guests.  If you do say something, at least let it be someone you’re planning on feeding anyways.

The Plan

As I said previously, it’s time to put a plan together rather than just “buy all the foods!”  What will follow here is my own ramblings as I try to work out things in my head.  This kind of thing can be substantial, but I’m hopeful that I’ll get some feedback on my ideas to make sure I’m not being stupid.

First, my situation.

  • I do not own my home at this time, so I can’t do any significant modifications
  • I’m self-employed and work at home.
  • My wife doesn’t work.
  • We live in a mobile home in a not-so-great area. There are good people here, but there are scumbags too.
  • I have several weeks worth of food stored up already.
  • We are on city water with a reservoir nearby, but no option for a well.
  • My youngest child is four-years-old while my oldest is 14.
  • We’re moderately well armed with various long guns.  I also have two pistols and a shotgun.  Ammo is lacking on almost all of these, however.

I think that’s about it.

Now, I tend to think of things best in phases.  After all, priorities today and priorities a year from now can be very, very different.  So this is Phase I.

Phase I consists of a plan of sheltering in place for several months.  Bugging out may have to happen, but that’s why my bugout bag exists.  I don’t want to live out of that bag, but right now that’s all I can do.  Phase II will deal with a bugout plan if needed.

First, I’m going to prioritize things.

  1. Water
  2. Food
  3. Means to cook food
  4. Medical Supplies
  5. Weapons/Ammo
  6. Comfort

We live in South Georgia, where cold isn’t as much of an issue as it is most places, but I’ll lump that in with “comfort” primarily because we can survive our winters here well enough so long as we have blankets and body heat, but we’ll be miserable.

Water

This is a huge, gaping hole in my preps right now.  The plan right now is to pick up a WaterBOB or two for the bathtubs.  This would give us a hundred gallons or more in an emergency.

Obviously, there are problems with this plan.  I have to make an assumption that I can fill one up before the water goes out.  Not an unreasonable assumption, but a potentially dangerous one.  Not a good thing.

However, I don’t have the space to store 25 gallons of water per person any other way.  I’m kind of intrigued by the water blocks you can get.  They hold 3.5 gallons of water and are built to stack, two blocks per layer interlocking with the ones below and above.

Unfortunately, they’re expensive.

I also plan on getting some kind of large gravity filter.  I kind of like the Berkey line of filters, but I’ll also be looking at lower cost alternatives.

Food

I have a few weeks worth of food right now, but it’s not enough.  I need more like three months worth.

Right now, most of my foods are canned.  This is because it’s what my family cooks and eats.  We don’t eat dried beans or dried corn.  Frankly, I’ve never had a lot of luck cooking them.

However, part of this new effort will be mastering the use of these dried products.  I can cook the rice just fine, so I know I have the capability.  I need the practice.

At that point, I’ll probably get some dried beans for storage, and some dried corn.  Dried seems to be much cheaper than canned anyways, so we’ll go from there.

I also need to stock up on spices.  We keep a lot on hand anyways, but not enough to be sure we’ll last three months.

As far as starches go, though, I think I might have enough put aside already.  50 lbs of rice, 24 lbs of pasta (and we know a pound of this will feed all of us for a meal), and 19 bags of mashed potatoes.  If we figure a pound of rice per day, we’ve got 90+ days.

I’m just not sure my numbers are right on the rice.  I’ll be looking into that.

I’m also going to look at various dehydrated vegetables that will round out that aspect of our preps.  We love broccoli and cauliflower, but you can’t get cans of that so far as I can tell.  We need to do some work on that as well.

The trick there will be trying it first so we know it doesn’t suck.  My experience with freeze-dried foods doesn’t make me optimistic.

Means To Cook

You have to cook food, especially dried stuff.  We’ve got to have a stove of some sort.

Initially, I thought I’d have a Coleman camp stove for the initial stages, and then maybe use a homemade rocket stove for later.

Then I realized that was kind of stupid.

You see, “later” will be the time when most people will be hungry, and there I’d be, cooking.  Somehow I suspect the next meal prepared would be me and mine.  Not smart.

However, having the rocket stove outdoors well before hand and using it in the initial stages would simply be a case of “Tom’s got a way to cook food.”  In fact, I can permit others to use it as well.

When food starts to get scarce, I then move inside.  So far as anyone would know, I’m just as hungry as anyone else.  After all, why don’t they see me cooking anymore?

The camp stove would come in handy for short-term emergencies like power outages.

Ideally, I’d love to have a wood stove here in the house.  Unfortunately, that’s not an option right now.  Maybe in my next house.

Medical Supplies

We have always been a bit smarter than most when it comes to medical supplies.  We always have a more than ample stock of bandaids, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and OTC medications.

However, there are some more advanced first aid and trauma measures we haven’t adjusted for yet.  That needs to change.

My thinking is to get a refill kit for a first aid kit.  The kits themselves can be expensive, but the refills themselves aren’t too bad.  You pay more for the box than the supplies.  So, I will get a big tackle box as a “crash kit” and a larger tote with bulk supplies.

I also plan to get a dozen or so of the Israeli bandages that some folks prefer over QuickClot.  I’ve got some QuickClot in my blowout kit, but I don’t want to open that up and test it on a minor wound, so I have no idea how well it works.  What matters is being able to treat injuries.

I also need to get some suture kits and a surgical kit.

A note on those last two: I was a Navy Corpsman.  I’ve put in stitches before.  I’ve assisted in surgical procedures, and my father-in-law is a surgical tech.  We both have backgrounds to use these things correctly.  If you don’t, you may want to reconsider getting them.  Of course, if you’re getting them so you can hand them to someone who does know what they’re doing, then more power to ya.

I also need to look into some IV kits.

Weapons

This is more weapons and ammo than just weapons.  As I said, I’m good on long guns, with one per adult in the house.  I have two pistols and one shotgun.

I lack ammo for most of these.  In part, the Mosin Nagant I’m modding at the moment has no ammo because I haven’t found any locally yet.  I’ll get that handled soon enough.

One issue I have is that none of the long guns takes the same ammo.  An SKS, a Marlin 336, and a Mosin Nagant.  Yeah…it’s…eclectic to say the least. (This does not include the .22lr rifle I have.)

Now, I need at least one more pistol.  However, like the long guns, the two pistols I have are different calibers.  A 9mm semi-auto and a .38 revolver.  Clearly, my next pistol needs to be 9mm as well, but that’s a ways down the road (though I’m working on picking up a new client, and that should make it a bit easier to do this sooner).

I probably need to pick up a couple more shotguns as well, but I’m hesitant.  My son could probably learn to handle the recoil easily enough, but my wife?  Yeah, I could go 20 gauge for her, but why bother?  It’s yet another caliber to stock and do we really need three shotguns?

Something to think about.

Primarily, I need to pick up ammo.  Frankly, I need to inventory what I have.  There’s a bit of 7.62×39 and 9mm, but I’m lacking in 30-30 and, as I said, I have no 7.62x54R.  I’m also out of 30-30, which needs to be fixed.

Having multiple calibers is a mild annoyance, but it’s not an insurmountable problem.  However, it does mean I need to stock up and possibly prioritize weapons to get ammo for.

Comfort

Comfort means both physical and psychological.  For down here in South Georgia, physical comfort usually has more to do with combating heat than anything else.  That’s why I’ve bookmarked some things that may help.  They’re collars you soak in water, then wrap around the back of your neck.

As the water evaporates, it gets cool.  Due to its location, it helps feel cooler.  This is important.  You see, I suffered heat stroke about a year ago.  I now get very ill if I’m in the heat for too long.  In a long-term survival situation, I’m going to have to be in the heat.

Drinking fluids is a big part of the preventative treatment for that, but the collars should be a big help.

I also need to get some wool blankets to add to the legion of blankets my wife has accumulated here through the years.

However, that’s only part of the issue.  We also need to deal with the fact that our lives have been so upended.

That’s why I’m looking at brownie mixes that only require water, jello mixes, and pudding mixes to round out our food stores.  Things like that might just help us deal.

Boredom will be another killer.  Sure, we may be busy surviving, but you can’t work all the time.  Dark isn’t necessarily bedtime after all, and when it’s storming you can’t work outside.  That means you need ways to pass the time.

Books are everywhere in the house, and my son and I are both tabletop roleplaying gamers, which doesn’t require power.

We’ll also get a few decks of cards.

One thing we’re going to need is light, however.  For that, we’ll probably add to our oil lamps.  My wife has candles out the wazoo, but I like oil lamps.  I feel a lot safer with them myself.  In particular, we’ll probably get some railroad style lamps so we can carry them where we need them.

 

So, that’s what I’ve got in mind so far.  The trick will be what to get when.  Food will slow down a bit due to funds for that being almost depleted.  The water storage will be next because I need SOMETHING.

The trick will be getting something for all of this each and every few weeks so that everything is being addressed.  It’s easy to ignore something and then have it bite you in the butt.

So, working out how to do that will probably be the next post since thing one is so blasted long.  Again, I’m more than open to suggestions, criticisms, etc.  Just try and be polite about it. 🙂

 

More Food And Time To Slow Down

Yesterday found me running to the store to pick up some more stuff.  This was the trip I was going to take the other day and didn’t.  The spousal unit and I both felt like crap, so we held off.  However, I felt ready to go yesterday, and she didn’t, so I headed on without her.

Lucky me.

Anywho, I did pick up a handful of things for the food stores.  For example, remember me being bent out of shape about being able to get so few cans of sliced carrots?

Luckily, the spousal unit isn't overly concerned about brand on sliced carrots.

Luckily, the spousal unit isn’t overly concerned about brands on sliced carrots.

And remember the peas?  Snagged some of those and some baby carrots, which we enjoy.

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We fleshed out the peas pretty well there.  Still not done with those, mind you, but we’re at a decent level for the time being.

I also grabbed some more packets of mashed potatoes.

The upside down thing is a trick my wife likes.  She alternates them to fit more in the space.

The upside down thing is a trick my wife likes. She alternates them to fit more in the space.

You may note the box with the Idahoan potatoes.  Let’s be honest; those bags don’t stack particularly well.  To the right, you can see the box we use for the smaller bags of potatoes.  However, I knew that wasn’t going to work for these bigger bags. (We usually fix two of the smaller bags.  With one of the larger bag, we get just as much food.)

When I put these in the cart, I threw in the box too.  At the checkout, I asked the cashier if I could keep the boxes on these.  She said sure because all they were going to do was throw them out.  So, if you need a way to put these on the shelf, try it.  The great thing is that you can keep the boxes so you don’t need to ask every time you buy them, but they make shelf storage so much easier.

AND THEY’RE FREE!  Isn’t that everyone’s favorite price?

Not shown in the photos are the 16 or so cans of yellow squash and onions I picked up.  We needed veggies, and we needed variety.  Right now, we have almost all the canned vegetables we eat regularly.

Additionally, I picked up a couple of experiments.  Right now, we just have canned chicken.  This will not be something we can keep up day after day, so we need some variety.  While my wife will be trying her mom’s salmon patty recipe later (using canned salmon), I grabbed a can of pulled pork and bbq sauce and one of roast beef and gravy.

The pulled pork wasn’t half bad at all.  We’ll be stocking up on this to serve with rice and some kind of vegetable.  It’s a bit too runny to use for sandwiches, in my opinion.  At least, that’s what I found when I made sandwiches out of it.  I wore more than I’m ready to admit.

We’ll try the beef soon, but I’m hopeful.  This could be excellent over either rice or mashed potatoes.  This, along with the pork and possibly the salmon, will give us a nice bit of variety.

Yes, I hear people talking about tuna, but honestly?  I’ve never really been a big tuna fan.  I want to be, but I’m not.  We’ll pick up a can here or there to experiment with, but until that happens, I’m not stocking it.

I also did a bit of math.  One shelf on the Edsal shelf will hold enough canned vegetables to feed my family for about 41 days.  There are five shelves.  I could, if pressed, put about three months of food on this one shelf.  Maybe.

Of course, there wouldn’t be room for anything else, but it’s nice to know how little space a few months of food can take.

Now, however, it’s clear that I’m going to have to slow down a bit.

It’s not because I’m ready.  Far from it.  There are so many holes in these preps that it’s not even funny.  I know there are.  Especially water.

No, I’m having to slow down because the funds are depleting.  Preps do me no good if I’m so broke I have to delve into them just to survive.

So, here’s the plan going forward since I have a nice start.  Each week, when I get paid, I’ll snag SOMETHING for the preps that isn’t food related, and I’ll spend an additional $20-25 on a food item for the food stores.  It will generally be all of one product.  Personally, I think that tends to show up more meaningfully for me.  A few cans

Personally, I think that tends to show up more meaningfully for me.  A few cans here or there feel haphazard and incomplete.  A case of something?  Now we’re talking.

This should be easily doable, though down the road I’ll probably have to adjust this.  I can’t buy a Big Berkey off of what I have to spend in a single week, after all.  Some stuff is just expensive, so I’ll have to save up a bit for those items.

Still, it’s good to have a plan.

A little later, I’ll try and organize my plan based on priorities.  I’ll be asking for critiques on this because it’s always a good idea to have others find holes in your plans.  They exist, and you may be blind to them.

On that note, however, I’m going to wrap this one up.  I feel much better about my food stores at this point.  I think we could shelter in place for several weeks so long as we had power and water.  Making it, so we don’t need power and water will be on the near-term agenda, and that makes me feel so much better about taking care of my family.

Review: Mora Companion MG

If there’s one tool every survivalist/prepper believes one needs, it’s a good knife.  For me, that means carbon steel.  Stainless has its place, mind you, but I hate spending the time to try and sharpen stainless.  Carbon steel is my choice, even if it rusts.

Unfortunately, carbon steel knives can be kind of pricey.  I’m not sure why, though it may have to be simply that there’s not that many of them made since most folks prefer a knife they can use and abuse and it still won’t rust.

Whatever.

Anyway, that brought me to the Mora Companion.

I’d heard about Mora knives for the last little while.  A quick look on Amazon showed me they were ridiculously inexpensive, so I took a shot in the dark and ordered one.  For less than $12, how wrong could I go?

What I got was an interesting knife that got me a bit excited.  Now, bear in mind that I’m not a knife guy.  Sure, I know a few things, but I’m far from any sort of expert, and experts can point out anything I’m wrong on.

When I opened the package, the first thing I noticed was the knife’s sheath, which is probably the most criticized feature of the knife.  I understand why.  I hate it too.  However, to be honest, it’s not as bad as it could have been.

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While the design leaves the knife a lot of room in the sheath to rattle around, it happens to be securely locked in place by the upper portion of the sheath which prevents that.  The sheath, despite being oversized for the knife in the blade portion, also has a drain hole to keep water from pooling around your knife.

The upper portion of the knife boasts a protrusion which allows your thumb to push against it, releasing the knife for use.  This is an excellent feature that almost makes me like the sheath.

Conveniently located.

Conveniently located.

Almost.

Once the knife is free, you can see exactly what you paid for.  Apparently, the Swedes are broke and are hocking crap for American bucks.  That’s the only explanation I can come up with for why this knife is so inexpensive.

The blade was well ground in what they term a “scandi” grind.  This reportedly makes the knife easier to sharpen.  This knife, however, already has a decent edge on it so it can be used right off the bat if needed.

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One issue many have is that several models of Mora knives do not have a finished spine on the blade.  Like those, mine is still rough as well.  However, a file or some sandpaper will fix this simply enough.  For a $12 knife, there are going to be some shortcuts.  I’d rather it be there than on the edge.

You can kind of see it here. In person, it's actually much rougher.

You can kind of see it here. In person, it’s actually much rougher.

The blades shape has always looked odd to me.  In part, it’s because it is kind of odd, at least by today’s standards.  It’s a flat piece of metal with an edge, basically.  There’s none of the geometry we’re used to seeing on modern knives.  However, much of those grinds and angles we see on blades these days don’t really do anything so far as I can tell.  So, Mora left them off.  Just $12, remember?

There is very little flex to the carbon steel blade, but enough to give me confidence that it won’t snap on me in the field.

The blade has what it needs and nothing that it doesn’t, so I can’t really ding it too badly for any of that.

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It’s the handle where Mora put their effort, and it shows.  The polymer handle is well contoured for the human hand, with even an almost imperceivable depression for your thumb to rest on near the blade.  It’s subtle, but there and still sufficient for comfort.  Honestly, the handle is as close to perfect as I’ve ever found with the exception of an impala horn handle I once had (I miss that knife something awful).  This was a whole lot cheaper, though.

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So now to the rating.  That was hard.  I knocked three points off for the unfinished spine, because while it’s not necessary for the basic function of the knife, I don’t want a DIY project on a supposedly completed blade.  However, I’ll add a point back because of the ridiculous value these knives represent.

I’m giving this knife an 8/10.  You can’t really go wrong with one or two of these knives.  I plan on getting one for each member of the family.  In fact, getting one for each bugout bag, get home bag, and any other bag you have isn’t a bad idea either.

Click the photo to order yours (via my affiliate store):

More On The Nom Nom Front

Food is still an ongoing project for me, so I went out and got some more food.

Pretty easy, huh?

Seriously, I knew that despite all the purchases last week, we were still a long way from ready to roll.  There just wasn’t enough variety to keep us going strong day after day after day.  We needed to fix that.

Since the wife and I needed to head out anyways, we decided to hit the local grocery store for some goodies.

If I had to rely on what I could get in a grocery store if the balloon went up, I saw just how screwed I would be.

I like to buy a lot of cans.  20 or more of vegetables, to be honest.  I couldn’t do that yesterday.  Why?  Because, on a Tuesday afternoon before most folks have gotten off from work, there weren’t 20 cans of anything we ate on the freaking shelves!

Yeah, so not good.

We were shopping for peas, carrots (both of those separately), and some squash and onions (those in one can).  Since my wife is such a picky eater when it comes to veggies, these are probably about all we can stock up on that she’ll eat.  However, we bought out everything they had and still didn’t have the 20 cans.  On the peas, we could only grab ten cans.  Ten.  That’s almost nothing for a family of four.

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Ten cans of Le Seur early peas. About half of what I wanted to get.

I grabbed some more canned chicken since that’s practically a staple here anyways.  All eight cans.  Eight.

Luckily, we had chicken already and were just adding to it.

Chicken looks better because I'd already picked some up.

Chicken looks better because I’d already picked some up.  You can also see the ten cans of chilli I picked up.  Put it on rice, and it’s pretty good eating.

Seriously, anyone who thinks they can stock up for the apocalypse with one last run to Publix is deluded.  Try it sometime and you’ll be disappointed, that’s for sure.  And this was in good times.  Imagine if everyone else is panicking like horses in a glue factory?

Luckily, we’re planning a trip to Walmart, which tends to be much better stocked.  We’ll pick up some more of everything there, as well as Armour beef stew that we prefer.  We’ll snag a bunch of that to go along with the baked beans and chilli we already stocked (would have liked more chilli though), all of which will be stretched with rice.

Yeah, I know the Chef Boyardee stuff is frowned upon by some preppers, but I have a 14 year old son who is home for the summer.  This probably won't last the week.

Yeah, I know the Chef Boyardee stuff is frowned upon by some preppers, but I have a 14 year old son who is home for the summer. This probably won’t last the week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We used these a lot, and since the expiration date is sometime in 2018, I picked some up.

We used these a lot, and since the expiration date is sometime in 2018, I picked some up.

I haven’t figured up how long I’ve got food for, but I’m guessing at least a month now, if not more.  Not too shabby.

On another front, I got a new pretty in the mail today.  A Mora Companion knife.  I’ll try and spend some quality time with it today and get a review of it up tomorrow.  So far, though, my initial impression is pretty good.  I’m already planning on getting one for everyone else in the family.

I still need to work on water, which is a biggie, but I’m looking at possibilities for that.

Review: Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide: Food, Shelter, Security, Off-the-Grid Power and More Life-Saving Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living

The title is a mouthful, but I didn’t name the book.  It’s author, Jim Cobb, did.  What he tried to do was write a comprehensive guide for the newbie prepper that would also be valuable to the experienced prepper as well.

So, how did he do?

Well, in my opinion, he did quite well.

Cobb has an easy, conversational style that helps make a difficult and potentially stressful subject far more entertaining and easily to digest.

However, the book isn’t necessarily as complete as one would hope.  In fairness, that’s probably because entire volumes could be written on each chapter.  Cobb is instead giving readers enough of an overview that new preppers can hit the ground running while experienced preppers might pick up a trick or two.  Nothing more, nothing less.

I found it a pretty worthwhile read, and kept a few highlights on my Kindle, but I found much of the information to be pretty basic.

So, what would I do with this book?  This is the kind of thing I would hand to a neophyte prepper, especially one who is only luke warm about prepping as it is.

As I said, the information is pretty basic.  However, Cobb also does a good job of offering up texts that provide far more detailed information on whatever subject he’s talking about.

Like I said, he offers up a nice, digestible chunk, then tells you where to get the full deal.

Unfortunately, judging by some of the negative reviews on Amazon, that’s not sitting well with people.  One issue was a typo in the book, warning against storing long grain rice.  I recall reading that and being concerned because my own rice was long grain.  However, upon further review, it’s obvious he’s talking about “long grain and wild rice” rather than long grain white rice.

One of the more interesting topics in the book is one I had the least interest in, and that was his chapter on communities.  Cobb goes into the various roles people will need to fill, and even broaches the subject of how to deal with criminals.

Honestly, it’s a topic that we need to think about and try to determine some good, solid answers for prior to everything coming apart.  During the stress of the apocalypse may not be the best time to decide how to deal with the jerk who stole Great Aunt Edna’s silver.

I rather enjoyed the book, and while this may not be one I would keep on a bookshelf at Camp TEOTWAWKI, it’s one I wouldn’t hesitate to offer up to new folks.

On a scale from one to ten, I’m giving it a 7.5 out of 10.  While the information is somewhat basic and more of an overview kind of thing, Cobb’s style is fantastic and well worth reading on that basis alone.  I highly recommend reading his work just for the entertainment value of his prose.

However, go into the book with an open mind and simply expecting to be entertained.  I have little doubt you’ll pick up a trick or two, but just let that be the bonus. Click below to purchase your copy (via my affiliate link, of course.)

Review: Cold Steel G.I. Tanto

I bought the Cold Steel G.I. Tanto several years ago.  At the time, I was looking for an all-around knife for prepping purposes, one that would do well around the camp and could help me take out a bad guy if the need arose.

I selected the G.I. Tanto because it met several of my criteria at the time, primarily being carbon steel and affordable.

The G.I. Tanto by Cold Steel

The G.I. Tanto by Cold Steel

As you can see from the photo, the knife comes with a Kydex sheath (they call it Secure-Ex) and boasts an 8″ blade, with a 5″ handle, bringing the total length to 12″.  This is not a particularly small knife.

Further, the Kydex sheath is attached to the belt via a webbed loop that also has a snap that secures the knife in place…which is redundant since the sheath is a tight fit for the knife all on its own.

The knife itself came with an edge but wasn’t particularly sharp.  Since it’s carbon steel, however, that was remedied in short order.

One thing at the time that struck me was how mucking big this thing is.  I suck at judging distances and lengths, so I wasn’t really expecting something this size.

My knife with a can of beans for scale

My knife with a can of beans for scale.  I camoed mine though.

However, despite the length, it’s surprising light considering.  It’s not too light, where you feel like you’ll break it or anything, but just light enough to be comfortable carrying around whether you use it or not.

It’s a sturdy piece of kit, but I’m hesitant to recommend it for other preppers.

For one, it’s length.  It’s too short to be a general use knife, too long to work as  a machete. I suppose there are uses for it that I’m just not thinking off, especially since the blade is a pretty good thickness.  Maybe you can use it with a mallet of some sort for splitting purposes.

One thing I disliked is the black finish.  The material is fine, but black?

I get it.  They do this to make it look “tactical” and all that.  The thing is, I have grown to hate “black” for tactical/prepping purposes is stupid.

You see, black stands out in a lot of circumstances when you want to blend in.  The G.I. Tanto?  Yeah, it’ll stand out.

Luckily, I could take some spray paint cans, a bit of camo netting, and make it far more likely to blend (see photo above of my knife).  However, I took the webbing off.

Personally, the webbing is a waste.  The Kydex holds the knife really firmly in place, so snaps are unnecessary.  All it does is serve to lower the knife on the body.  While that may sound like a good thing with a foot-long knife, I disagree.  The handle is short enough that a clip on the sheath itself would be sufficient.

Not only that, but I think Cold Steel missed an opportunity here.  Had they simply put an attachment point on the back of the sheath, they could have then sold various systems for carrying the knife.  A clip for your average user, PALS compatible clips for the more tactically minded, and who knows what else.

As for the webbing, it’s easily removed by loosening the two screws.  Personally, I laced mine on a “battle belt” with some paracord.  I’ve found it to be plenty secure so far, though I have thought about attaching some clips to give it a more secure attachment to the belt.

My knife on a battle belt.  It rides nicely behind my pistol holster and blowout kit.  So far, it works just fine.

My knife on a battle belt. It rides nicely behind my pistol holster and blowout kit. So far, it works just fine.

My overall impression is that the knife is a solid purchase, though perhaps not the best place to start for a prepping knife.  I’ve got a Mora Companion due in tomorrow to serve as a better general purpose knife for me.  The Cold Steel G.I. Tanto is designed more as a combat knife, and for that purpose, I suspect it’s awesome.  Especially for the price.

I can’t recommend it, but I can’t give it any kind of negative assessment either.  This is a “your mileage may vary” kind of knife, in my opinion.  However, for the price?  It’s not like you’ll go broke if you pick one of these up.

Assuming this isn’t your first knife.  If you’re getting started prepping, this is probably not where you want to make your first purchase.  Otherwise, I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

Click photo to pick one up via my affiliate store:

5/29 Week In Review

It’s been a pretty busy week on the prepping front.  Realistically, it’s also time to slow down just a bit.  This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon after all.  However, for the first time in a while, I’ve got a month or more’s worth of food.  That makes me feel a whole lot more confident.

So, let’s review just a bit. Continue reading