Stay on top of your prepper gear
Your gear can best be maintained according to a maintenance schedule and you can get a start on it now. Some preppers do it twice a year when Daylight Savings Time hits. But it’s more than giving it a glance and it doesn’t just mean cleaning it. It also means inspecting it for serviceability and function. It means making sure that it’s well organized and that you can pick it up at a moment’s notice to “rock and roll” with it…be out the door and on the moor! You can’t do that unless it’s ready. Let’s discuss it, shall we?
How’s that rucksack? If you’re the way I am, you absolutely hate anything that can detract from your load-carrying capabilities. Inspect that rucksack! Has it been sitting out in the garage or in the basement, on the cement floor? I hope not. Are your straps in order, and are there any signs of dry-rot, mildew, or water damage? You need to find that out now, and even more:
Preppers – The time to find out about deficiencies was yesterday, and there should be a “zero defects” policy regarding them.
What does this mean? If you’re serious about survival and prepping, and you really want to survive a disaster/SHTF scenario when it happens (notice I wrote “when” and not “if”), then you’ll be on top of this…all the time. The conditions for the rucksack I mentioned should never occur. They won’t occur if you follow a regular schedule of checking it and correcting anything that surfaces. For the nylon on your rucksack you can use a shoeshine brush or a medium to stiff bristle brush to clean off any dirt and dust. Maintain the straps in the same way.
Dirt or mud, clean it off…if it’s not easy with the brush, then take some warm water on a clean towel or rag and “damp scrub” it off. The nylon of the straps and the pack clean up well, but you don’t want to leave it too damp. Always place the rucksack off the floor. Don’t allow it to contact the floor surface. Inspect the connecting points of the ruck, and inspect every piece that snaps or buckles. Everything should be clean and working. Canteens should be emptied and dried to prevent funk from going inside of them, or (as JJ does) if you’re going to store water in them the water needs to be changed periodically (say every month) to keep the “grand Funk railroad” from slipping in.
This may seem an oxymoron, however, unless you have a photographic memory you’re going to have a hard time remembering how you packed your gear…what is where. One way to solve this (as I mentioned in other articles) is to keep an inventory sheet of everything, listed on an actual diagram of your rucksack. This enables you to look at the diagram of the ruck and see how it’s made…where the pouches are, etc. …and know exactly what is in it. Guess what? It won’t be enough, because when you change seasons (in this case, Winter to Spring) you should have a full layout of all of your equipment you will tote.
Why? For accountability (know that everything you think you have you actually have), and for serviceability (to know it is all in working order). Along with that rucksack is that jungle hammock, that one-man tent and all of its accoutrements, flashlights, radios (don’t open that tube and find leaking batteries!), and all of your other gear and gadgets.
If it all comes to a halt, you don’t have the time to do all of this…and it’s on you…nobody else.
Tents have those “friction rods.” How would you like to find out when you’re in the middle of a torrential downpour and setting up the dome that the friction rods are “ganked,” or broken? Or you want to open up that poncho and string the bungees at the corners and top…a temporary shelter…and find that the vinyl is all eaten up from some kind of acid or rot, and there’s a giant hole in it?
Ben Franklin: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
If you follow a regular schedule of inspection and maintenance, you won’t have a “can of snakes” spring open on you. This seems overly simplistic, but it is the way of mankind to procrastinate…to move toward the path of least resistance. It is the way of all of us…and what makes us win? The ability to be able to fight that part of our natures and discipline ourselves…make ourselves do what it is that is right to do, although we don’t feel like doing it. Your gear should be clean, serviceable, well-organized, and accounted for…in its place and you know exactly where it is.
I’ll fill you in on one of my techniques. When I come across someone, I can assess them in an instant if they carry. If I ask them to look at their weapon and it is rusted or dirty, or it has carbon on it, and is un-lubed? Then I need know no more. But if the bluing is worn-down where points of contact meet the holster…and it’s cleaned and oiled…and the holster appears a little worn, but clean and serviceable…I know that one “draws,” cleans the weapon…is one with it. That individual I remember.
It’s a standard that I hold myself to every day.
In the 82nd Airborne, we had a saying (a mantra, if you prefer): “My weapon, my equipment, and me.”
Sound overly simplistic? No, it’s ordered…I kept it with me in Special Forces…I keep it with me now. My weapon’s continuity ensures that I can continue if under fire. My equipment and gear enables me to live, to be sheltered, to carry food, medicine, and supplies. These two taken care of, then I must take care of myself…eating, rest, and hygiene, along with physical conditioning.
See how much is in it when you take a really good look? But I’m not trying to berate you, the Readers in any way. I’m trying to give you of myself…in lessons paid for with time, experience, and much grief to learn them correctly.
Because iron sharpens iron, and in order to survive, you must be made of steel…you and your family. Yes, President Trump is in, and we’re “riding the crest” of an upswing. Remember: all is fleeting, and it can all change in the blink of an eye. Don’t blink for too long, or the moment will have passed. You must prioritize. Prep your equipment now, before the Spring hits, and follow a regular program of maintenance and inspection. Be steel. You can do it. Fight that good fight, and fight it to win. 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.
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