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5 Primitive Skills Preppers Should Know for Survival April 14, 2017

To acquire is good, to improvise is better, and to fabricate is the best of all. 

Fabrication is a survival skill you can practice each day.  You can practice it with your eyes and your hands.  First let’s go over a few of these primitive skills of fabrication that it would bode you good to learn.

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5 Primitive Skills for Preppers to Learn

  1. Cordage: Sounds simple…maybe even overly simple. It is rather intricate.  Cordage is the skill of making rope or string.  You can practice with braiding long stems of grass.  Three pieces, set parallel to one another.  Tie a knot/half-hitch in one end (Here are six survival knots you need to know). Of the three pieces, take the one on the Right end to the middle, the one on the left end to the middle, and the one right (now) to the middle…and repeat.  Simple enough, na?  This basic formula/method can be used with strips of leather, strips of cloth, long strips of inner bark.
  2. Stone tools: there are plenty of books out there on how to do this, as well as innumerable sources on the Internet. Knives, spear points, arrow heads, construction tools (hammers, punches), fish-scalers…all of these can be made out of stone.  Flint is preferable, but you can practice with what you have.
  3. Staffs and staff-tools: these would include spears, fishing poles, bows (both hunting and fire), walking/climbing sticks, clubs, and so forth. Farther on, you can make arrows (fletched for distance, non-fletched for close-in work or fishing).
  4. Fishhooks: Many are the ways to make good fishhooks. You can fashion them out of wood, bone, or stone.  You can also make them out of things easily converted to a fishhook, such as a safety pin.  Doing this, be sure and “notch” the end of the hook, so as to make a little barb.  This will prevent the fish from slipping off of it and escaping.
  5. Fire-starting kit: A fire-bow (with the string portion made of cordage for the optimal practice), a fire-drill, a “spindle handle” (this is what you hold onto when you’re twirling your fire drill to and fro), and a fire-block you can make in a short time. Practice starting fires with it!

Challenge Yourself with Field Training

Another challenge along these lines is to take existing stuff (such as tossed-away cans or fabric that has been thrown away) and “recycle” it into what you can use.  Take an old blanket, sew up the edges, and make a “sailor’s bag”/duffel bag for yourself.  Mind you: if you want to keep it, great.

This is not to make gear for yourself, unless you have no other option; this is to train yourself for a situation such as “The Road,” where (compared to that guy and his kid) you can do a whole lot more with a whole lot less.

Along with that challenge to recycle and repurpose materials is this one: an FTX (as we called it in the Army…a Field Training Exercise).  Yes, now that the weather is warming up…just take yourself out in the outdoors with no supplies except you and a firearm and some backup gear in case of emergency.  Pretend you don’t have the firearm or the backup gear, and keep your hands off them.

Now, have a training exercise.  Live off the land.  Fabricate fish hooks, fabricate fishing lines from cordage and a fishing pole from a sapling.  Forage and live off the land…taking notes as you go.  Don’t use any pages out of that notebook to start the fire!  Use a bow and drill.  Practice with the primitive.  Always use the primitive, and learn the skills of making these tools and weapons.

You’ll have some challenges that will be overcome and you’ll learn to overcome them on your own.  This will build your self-confidence.  These are all perishable skills.  I myself train in this manner frequently, regardless of the weather or the season.  Learn old, forgotten skills and make them new for you…and keep yourself current on them.  It’ll pay off in the end the first time you have to build a raft and you have nothing to build it with.  Nothing to build it with?  If you can make strong cordage and a hand-axe, you can build a raft even in a remote area with no Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shop, or Ace Hardware to be found.

Challenge yourself every day, and when the tough times come, you’ll handle them better.  Don’t stop the training!  How you train in peace is how you’ll fight in war!  Stay in that good fight, drink a good cup of coffee, and keep up the good work!  JJ out!

 

Learn More Primitive Skills

How To Build a Survival Shelter. Your Life May Depend on It

Tips and Tricks for Priming Off-Grid Light Sources

The Number One Knife Skill for Wilderness Survival and Self-Reliance

How to Make a Smokeless Fire

The Prepper’s Blueprint

49 Outdoor Skills and Projects to Try When Camping

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published April 14th, 2017
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5 Prepper Firearms to Have When the SHTF April 12, 2017

ReadyNutrition fans, this segment is going to cover five weapons in particular that you should familiarize yourself with and train up on.  You don’t necessarily have to buy these weapons or even know a private individual that has them, although either case would benefit you.  One of the suggestions I make will depend heavily on the state you reside in.  There are many gun shops and firearms ranges that will “rent” a weapon to you…even full-automatic weapons…for use in their range.  Let’s cover five weapons that it would behoove you to train on: two pistols, two rifles, and a shotgun.

5 Prepper Firearms to Have When the SHTF

  1. AR-15: The mainstay of the U.S. Armed Forces (M-16, now the M-4) for the past fifty years. It’s not going to be mothballed anytime soon.  Those .223 rounds are about as common as they will ever be.  Everything in the military and law enforcement is geared around this system.  M16A4 and the M-4 carbine being the designators for the model carried by the U.S. Armed forces.  Cyclic Rate of Fire: 700 – 900 rpm (rounds per minute).  Caliber: 5.56 x 45 mm.  Effective Range: 500 meters/550 yards.
  2. AK-47: Widely available in semiautomatic form, firing a 7.62 x 39 mm round. The Russian ammo is harder to come by now; the Chinese ammo is more readily available, and the rounds are coated, unlike the Russian rounds.  Winchester and Remington also make “boxer” primed rounds that can be reloaded.  The full-auto version can be found in your higher-end ranges and fired for a price.  Cyclic Rate of Fire: 600 rpm.  Effective Range: 300 meters/328 yards.  The availability, coupled with the fact that the upgraded versions are almost identical is the reason to train on such a weapon…a rifle that, if the “Red Dawn” scenario occurs, you will surely see again…and possibly need to employ.
  3. Beretta 9 mm Pistol: A semiautomatic pistol in service with the U.S. military for more than 30 years. Effective Range: 45 meters/50 yards.  Rate of Fire: Semiautomatic.  Caliber: 9 x 19 mm.  The U.S. military phased out the M1911 for “economics and accuracy,” only to find the stopping power is less than the .45, which is presently experiencing a resurgence and possible complete return.  Still, the 9mm Beretta is an excellent “starter pistol” to train with: it’s still in service in the military and law enforcement and is not disappearing anytime soon.
  4. M1911 Pistol: A semiautomatic pistol, arguably (and I follow the “pro” argument) one of the finest weapons ever produced. In service with the military more than half a century.    Effective Range: 45 meters/50 yards.  Rate of Fire: Semiautomatic.  Caliber: .45 ACP.  The U.S. military should have never let it go…for a good recap on the .45 cartridge, refer to my recent article at ReadyNutrition entitled The Great Defender: You’ll Want This By Your Side When It Hits the Fan.”  Stopping power, ease of operation, and durability…you can’t do better.  The 1911 is making a comeback and is as plentiful as ever.
  5. Mossberg model 500-Series 12-gauge shotgun: As Rage Against the Machine so eloquently phrased it, “Pistol grip pump on my lap at all times!” Yes, indeed, the 500 series is the successor to the Remington 870 (another beauty that brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it).  You can do no finer.  Stick with that pistol grip pump or leave that stock on the back if you feel more comfortable.  Many recommend the Bennelli Black Eagle, etc., in semiautomatic version, but the semis tend to jam in a manner that the pump shotgun does not.  Stagger your ammo with 12-gauge slugs and 000 (“triple-ought”) buckshot.  Effective range is about 25 meters (50 feet) unless you train with it frequently for longer distances.  In any event, what’s in front of you will go down.

By training with these weapons, you will be familiarizing yourself with firearms you will definitely see in one way, shape, or form in a SHTF scenario.  Learning how to operate these will stimulate you to develop skills and perhaps to purchase one or more in civilian/legal ownership form.  There are also plenty of qualified instructors to be found in these ranges, and a high-end range that is worth its salt will provide one for you to familiarize you with the weapon free of charge before you fire it.  Keep your powder dry, don’t stop the training, and try out these five…you won’t be disappointed.  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published April 12th, 2017
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Prepping This Item Before Winter Comes Could Save Your Life April 10, 2017

ReadyNutrition Readers, one of the things that always amazes me is the way people always wait until autumn sets in to begin cutting and storing up a supply of firewood.  I wanted to tell you guys and gals the way I do things here, and perhaps (quantity and geographic variances aside) you can see my overall intent.  As you well know, I live in Montana where it is usually bitterly cold with snow on the ground for anywhere from 7 to 9 months of the year.  I’m aware this is not the case in most of the U.S., however, there are some good reasons for laying in a firewood supply right now.

A year supply of wood for $20

Firstly, one of the really good things we have here in Montana is that the U.S. Forestry Service allows residents to pick up a permit (every April) to cut fallen dead and standing dead timber.  The permit runs $20 for four cords, and you can pay $60 and take up to twelve cords.  That’s a heck of a lot of wood, and dirt-cheap!  I’m not sure what it is in other states, however, I am certain that many of them have the same policy.

On this note, I’d love to hear from you and find out what the policy is in your home state: prices and amounts, and such.

The only regulations governing it are you must have a serviceable and up-to-date/inspected fire extinguisher with you if you use a chain saw.  In addition, there are certain times (and the USFS posts it) when the fire danger is high or greater.  In these periods, it is not permitted to run a chainsaw and harvest that dead timber.

But now is a great time for it!  All of the undergrowth has not yet emerged from its winter hibernation, so it is relatively clear to work.  I have much of it that I take where it is not permissible to take a vehicle and load up in the forest itself.  My way around that is to cut my wood, stack it up, and haul it out with a garden cart.  Sears make a pretty sturdy one that holds about 600 lbs, and it’ll run you just under $100 dollars.  It has some thick, tough-treaded wheels that can easily run the trails, and not have too much of a problem going over even fields.

The reason for the wood gathering is twofold.  Firstly (from a “normal” thought perspective) you’re laying in your supply for next winter.  The early bird gets the worm.  You’ll be able to pick up the best wood for yourself when most others are not even thinking about anything except their weekend trip to the beach.  Secondly (and also very important) from a prepper’s perspective, is the “What If?” reason.

What if that EMP attack comes from North Korea or China?  What if the economy collapses?  What should happen if there is civil war, or a war/invasion here in the U.S.?  Yes, your home will be warm already, but what about cooking?  What about hot water for laundry or personal hygiene.  How about some light when there’s no electricity?  And what about sterilizing instruments, boiling bandages, and running a home/field dispensary?

All of these, I hope you realize are good reasons to prepare and plan now, so that when the tough times arrive, it is not so great a hurt to deal with.  You have seen the news reports, and we’re just a step away from either a war or an EMP attack.  As with Aesop’s fable “The Grasshopper and the Ant,” although we in the survival community are hardly grasshoppers, if we’re ants it is best to be wise ants…covering all of the bases before the ball is hit to center field.

Now is the time to set up your wood-fueled “kitchen,” by investing in a good wood stove for heat and for cooking.  The wood stove also cuts down on the light signature at night…much better than a fireplace.  Along with the stove, start investing in cast iron cookware and utensils for cooking that can withstand rougher treatment than your standard dinner fare.

How much wood do you need?

If you have not done so already, now is a good time to estimate how much wood you will go through in the wintertime, and then estimate how much you would need to have a fire/woodstove burning 24 hours a day.  Typically, a cord of wood is 4 feet wide x 4 feet high x 8 feet long stacked and adds up to 128 cubic feet. As well, the cords may consist of whole logs or split logs. Here is some great information on how to estimate cords of wood from a standing tree. In the summertime it is significantly less, but take your winter consumption and double it, just to be on the safe side.

Invest in a good chain saw, with at least 5 extra chains, and plenty of rattail files to sharpen them when you need to.  Also in that equation, you’ll need a good bench vise to help you to sharpen them.  Stock up on oil and fuel for the saws.  Back all of it up with several good axes, and as many bow saws as you can find.  Remember: if you run out of fuel, you’ll have to do it the old fashioned way.

So take some time to figure out your fuel needs to heat your home with wood and to fulfill the other functions I have just mentioned.  Now is the time to do it, and it can be a good team experience for the whole family.  Make sure you always pack a first aid kit in your excursions and thoroughly familiarize yourself with the operation of all your cutting and safety equipment.  Happy woodcutting!  We encourage your input and thoughts in these matters and hope to hear from you soon!  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published April 10th, 2017
Comments Off on Prepping This Item Before Winter Comes Could Save Your Life