Surviving In Argentina

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I have often explained that having a passport is mandatory documentation for anyone interested in survival and preparedness. The reasons why you should have a passport are many. Even if you don’t plan on traveling, it’s the best form of ID world wide and an excellent additional ID if you lose your driver’s license. Many times, potential employers will ask you to have one for business travel. You may end up losing a great job opportunity if you don’t have one. Even in your existing line of work you may need to travel unexpectedly for closing a deal, talking with a potential client or going to seminars, all of which you may lose if you can’t travel at short notice. Maybe it’s not even yourself that is traveling. Maybe you’re retired or just don’t like traveling abroad, but your children do. What if they suffer an accident or get sick while abroad and you can’t travel to help them?

Two is one and one is none
If having one passport is a great idea, having two is even better. Having two passports opens up a world of opportunities. In my case it allowed me to emigrate to Europe and enjoy the advantages of doing so as an European citizen.
One way in which the power of a passport is measured is by how many countries you can travel to without a visa. In this aspect, the United States of America and United Kingdom passports are the best ones to have, giving you access to 147 countries. This is followed by France, South Korea and Germany with 145, then Sweden and Italy with 144.
Of course, access to a country without a visa is just one aspect. The South Korean passport may have four more countries than the one from Portugal, but clearly the Portuguese Passport has the advantage of allowing you to reside anywhere in the European Union as any other citizen, making it a far more desirable passport.
The country of origin of the issued passport is also important. Powerful countries don’t always provide the most benefits, especially in this time and age. For example, opening a foreign bank account with an American passport is very difficult given how much information the American government ends up demanding from the bank if doing so. It’s just not worth the trouble in the eyes of most banks, at least not for ordinary American citizens. Then you have to take into account the reputation and foreign policy of the country. Currently, in many parts of the world, there’s an anti-American sentiment that may work against you. During terrorist attacks, Americans and British citizens may be killed immediately while others are allowed to live. This happened during the 2008 attacks in Mumbai. Since the American and British government “does not negotiate with terrorists”, there’s a good chance you’ll end up killed immediately, or end up brutally executed. On the other hand, countries such as Spain and Italy, they will pay for your release and have stated so publicly on several occasions. In 2012, Mariasandra Mariani tried to explain her al-Qaeda captors that held her in the north of Mali that her family didn’t have money to pay. Her kidnapers told her to relax, that Italy “always pays”.
Italian Citizen Sergio Cicala and his wife Philomene Kabore, kidnapped in 2009 in Mauritania. They were held captive for five months before being released.
Some will argue that paying only makes things worse because it finances terrorism or it even makes you more likely to be kidnapped. So far evidence shows that foreigners are equally targeted, and it’s only after the actual kidnap takes place that their faith is decided. As for what’s morally right… guess being in an orange jumpsuit with your head about to be detached from your body puts things into perspective.
Spanish Citizena Albert Vilalta, Alicia Gámez and Roque Pascual kidnapped in Mauritania in 2010. They were released 268 days later.
France has more of an “unofficial” stance, but they are known to pay as well. Depending on the passport, you may not even be taken captive. This will of course depend on the country’s foreign policy stance in regards to the group that has taken you captive or the country where you happen to find yourself in trouble.
Some of the more humble countries that aren’t seen neither as a world power nor as a threat may be even more advantageous. In 1995, and while detained by Croatia special police, a group of Argentine and French UN delegates noticed a sudden, friendly change by their captors once they noticed the Argentine flag worn by one of the men. “Argentino!” he cried out one of the Croatian fighters, while at the same time pointing at the markings on the Argentine made FM FAL rifle he carried.

Getting a second passport
Getting a second passport may not be as hard as you may think. In some cases, it may cost very little money if you have the right paperwork and enough patience. In my book “Bugging Out and Relocating” I explain several ways in which you can get one. In general, having money makes things easier as many countries either sell passports directly in exchange for donations or provide one after a significant investment is made in the country. If you don’t have several hundred thousand dollars sitting around though, one of the best ways to get a second citizenship is by taking a closer look at your family tree. If you have grandparents that came from certain European countries, such as Italy, Poland, Germany and Ireland, you have a good chance of getting a EU passport.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: April 20, 2015, 2:32 pm

Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: April 20, 2015, 12:02 am
With so many great options available, choosing the best everyday carry flashlight is not an easy task. For the flashlight collectors or “flashaholics”, things have never been better. There’s hundreds of great lights out there, but which one should you carry? The flashlight industry is constantly evolving along with LED technology. Every year lights are brighter and use less battery power. A +100 lumen single AAA keychain light was unthinkable just a few years ago but today a 162 lumen 1xAAA light lives in my keychain (Thrunite Ti).
A survival-minded approach will help us narrow down our options considerably in spite of how overwhelming the offer out there can be. We want dependable, reliable flashlights. We want a brand that we can trust, enough lumen output for whenever we need it but also low modes for saving power when going without electricity for an extended period of time. Ideally, the light will take readily available AA and AAA batteries although CR123A are becoming more common and they do provide the most power for tactical lights. Strobe for disorienting attackers, beacon and SOS modes for signaling, these may be literal life savers during emergencies.
For the modern survivalist, the EDC flashlight (and most gear in general) is chosen keeping in mind a two-tier application: On one level the item, in this case the flashlight, must be useful and viable on a general purpose, every day use level. You’ll use it for looking into boxes, checking for things dropped under furniture, walking across a garage without turning the lights on, or walking across the parking lot at night without stepping on mud and getting your feet dirty. On another level, the flashlight should perform on a worst case emergency scenario. It should allow you to find people when someone gets lost while hiking along a trail. It should allow you to signal for traffic to stop if there’s an accident. It should run for several hours, maybe even days if power goes down after a disaster. It should be capable of temporary disorienting an attacker. It should take common batteries you may be able to scrounge. It should be capable of signaling for help when wounded, lost or otherwise stranded off the beaten track.
As you can see, we are asking a lot from this flashlight. Although there’s no one flashlight that is perfect in every way, these are some of the ones that fill all these niche applications the best:
Zebralight H52w AA
Zebralight H52w AA Headlamp Neutral White
The H52W is one of the most powerful 1XAA lights in the market today with an output of 280 lumens on high. It can also take 14500 li-ion batteries, which brings the maximum lumen output up to 500 lumens on high for one minute before dropping back to 280 lumens. The H52W has programmable brightness levels as well as beacon and strobe modes, making it easy to suit personal preferences. The H52W is a 90 angle light which combined with the strap turns the Zebralight into a headlamp, freeing one hand for use compared to normal hand-held lights. It also has a Low battery alert function. With great construction and design the Zebralight is as of right now one of the most capable flashlights in the market. For those that like these functions but prefer a normal straight reflector configuration, there’s the Zebralight SC52.
Streamlight Sidewinder Compact II

If you could only have one flashlight for the end of the world the Streamlight Sidewinder II would be it. It can be used as a headlamp or hand-held light. It’s a true mil-spec torch, tough as nails. It has various output modes and LEDs to choose from, including red, IR and blue (green in some versions). The included head strap turns it into a useful headlamp. Maybe its most impressive capability, the Sidewinder Compact II can digest most small batteries you come across: CR123A, AA, AAA, 14500, 10440, 16340. The downside is that the high mode is not as bright as in other models and the shape makes it less comfortable to carry than smaller, cylindrical tube format lights. Other than that, the Sidewinder Compact II is THE survivalist’s flashlight.
Eagletac D25C

The Eagletac D25C is a simple, no-nonsense 1XCR123A flashlight. In spite of the compact size, which is one of its strengths, it has a lot to offer: Tough and well made. Cree XM-L2 U2 LED. Maximum output is 453 Lumens (with 16340 li-ion) . You won’t bash anyone’s head in with this light but tightening the head it goes into “tactical” mode, high and strobe, while loosening the head allows you to access the different brightness levels, moonlight, beacon, strobe and SOS for general purpose and emergency signaling use. The D25C is one of the most compact CR123A clickly flashlights in the market. The Tintanium D25C looks fantastic.
Fenix PD22 Ultimate Edition

Featuring a Cree XP-L LED, the latest edition of the PD22UE uses a CR123A battery for a maximum output of 400 Lumens but also officially supports the use of 16340 batteries for an output of 510 Lumens which will run for 45 minutes. Modes include turbo, high, medium, low, strobe and SOS which can be accessed using the side switch.
The P22 is a classic EDC torch made by a reputable manufacturer. It is clearly intended as a tactical/utility light and should serve you well on both roles. The P22UE is also one of the few lights that officially approves the use of 16340 li-ion batteries.
SureFire E1D Defender

The E1D is as close as it gets to a pure breed tactical light in an EDC pocket format. This is a light flashlight collectors have wanted for some time, often modifying the larger E2D so as to make it a shorter single battery light. At 300 lumens the E1D may not sound very impressive but Surefire tends to underestimate its own lumen output. Surefire quality is legendary, its built like a tank and the strike Bezel makes for a nice compact defensive tool. There’s not a lot of output modes to choose from, its either the 300 lumen high or 5 lumen low. 5 lumen is a good amount of light for low battery drain yet enough light for most close range utility tasks. A strobe mode would have been a nice addition, although 300 lumens should be enough to disorient an attacker when dark.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: April 16, 2015, 8:22 pm
Covered in blood: In the panic, the thieves only managed to steal the equivalent of £278 and fled in a Peugeot 206 car which was parked outside
When it comes to crime, some of the weirdest, craziest incidents happen in Argentina. Before you continue reading, some of the images below are very gory.
49 year old Dias Costa suffered a home invasion in his house in Cordoba, Argentina. Once inside the house, the three criminals armed with two handguns, started hitting Mr. Costa and his wife. When they tried to enter his son’s bedroom, Mr. Costa grabbed a katana sword he had hanging on a wall and attacked the criminals, cutting them in their hands, arms and face. The fleeing criminals left in a vehicle along with an accomplice that was waiting outside but the driver crashed shortly after due to blood loss. The four criminals continued their escape on foot, but the blood trail was so big cops only had to follow it to a nearby house to capture the attackers.
Dias Costa and his family have since received threats from the attacker’s family, forcing them to relocate elsewhere for their own safety.

Stitched up: The man has been left with a huge scar from where surgeons stitched his face back together
Lessons learned today:
1) Make sure your house is hardened. Good doors, locks and alarm.
2) Make sure you have a firearm for self-defense.
3) Even if you win the fight, that’s not the end of it. The bad guys’ family and accomplices may force you to bug out and relocate elsewhere so as to avoid retaliation. This is very common in Argentina and other countries where crime is particularly bad. You just don’t know what may force you to bug out one day.
4) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: In very close quarters and in the hands of a person that knows how to use it, a combat blade will do more damage than a handgun.
5) Oh yes, don’t bring a knife to a gun fight, but if you do, make sure it’s a big one and know how to use it!
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: April 15, 2015, 9:04 pm

25 years after being denied by the Environmental Protection Agency, the World Health Organization has declared that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide, “probably” causes cancer in people. This is done using the same mouse study that was supposedly used to deny such allegations.
Roundup is the most used pesticide in the world, so its no surprise that where Monsanto rules, cancer does so as well. The only reason why we don’t hear more about this is because Monsanto pretty much owns the food industry by producing both the patented genetically modified Roundup Ready crops seeds used to grow food and the Roundup pesticide used along with it.
Here’s an interesting video explaining how Monsanto cherrypicks data to fit its own agenda. If you have more time, watch this longer documentary on Monsanto. The World According to Monsanto

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: April 14, 2015, 9:44 pm
Hi Fernando
I was just wondering, a quick question out of curiosity.
When you moved into the EU, you left Argentina with most of your
Did you bring precious metals, like bullions/ coins etc, or did you
sell them before you left?
Now, if you brought them, how did you do with the declaration of PM in
I live in EU as well, and I know that you are allowed to travel within
EU with PM, no problem (but some declaration in some countries and
quantities), but how does it work with lots of PM going in to the EU?
Do you know?
I have your first book (The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse), and I recommend it all the time. Maybe you
mention it in your second book "Bugging out/ relocating", but haven't
read it yet.
Take care, Pete
A checkpoint in Crimea.
Hi Pete,
I actually took very few belongings when I left Argentina. It was pretty liberating to be honest. Preppers love talking about all the stuff you need for your INCH bag (I’m never coming home bag) or kit. They are so attached to their “stuff”, the INCH bag discussion quickly turns into the INCH trailer as folks keep piling up the material belongings they can’t figure living without. Ironically enough, and as someone that actually did this “I’m never coming home” thing for real, I could have left with nothing at all in terms of gear and supplies. All I needed was the plane tickets, passports and savings to start over elsewhere.
Regarding your question, I didn’t have a problem because even though I was taking cash and some precious metals, I was all within the limit of what you can bring in without declaring.

How much cash and gold can you take to or from the United States or EU?
It works the following way. There’s no real limit as of how much cash or precious metals (PM) you can bring or take out of the US. What you have is a limit of how much you can travel with without declaring. In the case of US, that limit is USD 10.000 and that’s for cash, precious metal or any other “monetary instrument”. If you have more than USD 10.000 worth of cash in any denomination or equivalent monetary instruments you have to declare it and fill a form FinCEN 105 called "Report of International Transportation of Currency and Monetary Instruments" . This form is intended to stop terror funding, money laundering and drugs, and will of course raise a big red flag so you probably want to stay under 10.000 USD when traveling. Keep in mind, this limit is for the entire group that is traveling together. You can’t travel with other people, family members or associates, and distribute the money among everyone.
The European Union has a somewhat similar limit. In the case of the EU the limit is €10.000 or its equivalent in other denominations, or monetary instruments such as precious metals, diamonds, etc. The big difference is that in the case of EU, for persons travelling in a group the € 10.000 limit applies to each person individually.
At the end of the day, it’s a good idea to have different options and diversify.
You certainly need cash for getting around and precious metals are a great asset to have as well in case of a serious currency devaluation. If you have to travel, I would stay within the limit and use credit cards or debit cards instead. It’s a good idea to have a bank account in the country you’re planning to bug out to so as to be able to quickly transfer funds if things start looking bad. A foreign bank account can be your best financial asset when evacuating or bugging out abroad. If nothing else, open an account in Canada next time you’re visiting. It’s easy enough for Americans, you don’t need some fancy Jason Bourne secret swiss bank account.
When it comes to precious metals, one of the things I learned was that even a small amount of money in silver can get very bulky and very heavy.

Preppers like silver because its “cheap”, meaning you don’t need to break the piggy bank to put aside a couple silver eagles each month. Soon enough you can have a pile of silver, but this is not be as practical during an emergency as you may think. At a 70 silver ounces per 1 gold ounce ratio, gold coins are far more compact. Thinking of a scenario such as the one playing out in Ukraine, with checkpoints where you are likely to get stopped and “liberated” of any money that you may have, being able to hide your values is of great importance. 1/10th of an ounce gold coins are very compact, about the size of a dime, and a ½ ounce Gold eagle is about the size of a quarter. You could even hide them in your wallet along with your pocket change coins. A wallet with a couple 20 dollar bills and a few coins jiggling in the coin pocket of the wallet wouldn’t look all that suspicious. Stacks of neat plastic tubes full of silver Eagles are likely to be taken away at such checkpoints. People in Ukraine have hidden cash and other valuables in baby diapers. Small coins could even be swallowed. Gold rings and chains have been swallowed throughout history when escaping persecution. Again, don’t underestimate the importance of a bank account in a foreign country. It just takes a couple minutes to access your account on your cell phone and send money abroad, with a bit of luck you may be able to do so before all hell breaks loose and accounts are frozen. If you don’t have such an account, this won’t even be a possibility for you no matter how you saw it coming before the masses.
Diversify and be smart about your money for emergencies and worst case scenarios. In cases like these, planning and having a good strategy will go a long way and make all the difference in the world.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: April 13, 2015, 7:46 pm

About five months ago I did a review of the new Kershaw Lifter. At that time, for 19 usd, that was a no brainer of a deal. The knife looks good, feels good, and is well put together by a well-known company with a lifetime warranty.
Ironically enough, a few days later I ended up breaking the tip of the Lifter. Maybe I applied a bit too much force to the tip when cutting some wood, maybe the heat treatment of the humble 3Cr13 blade material wasn’t done properly. The grainy texture of the exposed broken tip suggested this. I decided not to waste any time and sent it back to Kershaw so that they could take a look and decide for themselves it was within warranty or not. Today, a few weeks later after sending it back, a brand new Kershaw Lifter was delivered to my door!

Today the Kershaw Lifter costs around 23 usd, which is still very reasonable for the knife you’re getting. I personally find the blade geometry very appealing. Although I wouldn’t abuse the tip given that its quite fine for a tanto, it still allows for detail cutting while the recurved portion of the blade is great for slashing and you can safely apply as much force as you want. It’s a very functional shape for a 3.5 inch blade. The Speedsafe assisted opening system is very fast when used along with the flipper. The blackwash finish simply looks fantastic and the entire knife just looks well-worn, tough and plain cool.
If you want to spend a bit more money, maybe check my Best EDC Folders for 2015 post, but for 23 bucks, the Kershaw Lifter is hard to beat.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: April 9, 2015, 11:07 pm
Interesting article about how people are surviving in war racked
Ukraine. Note that for many, having enough money is a priority. Also,
when entrepreneurs smuggle in food, they distribute it in the center
of town. Not once is barter mentioned, and only once is a garden
Thanks for the email and link.
It is very interesting indeed. These are the real-world experiences I always try to learn from. Sometimes its new ideas, sometimes its the revalidation of old ones, happening and being used yet again.
A pack of stray dogs follow women walking past a a burnt out shop in the Kievsky district of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on April 2, 2015
A burnt out shop in the Kievsky district of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on April 2, 2015. Notice the pack of stray dogs. This brings back memories of Argentina. When people cant even afford to feed themselves, they get rid of their pets. This is bad, but it could be worse. The next stage is when you stop seeing stray dogs any more (that's when people are desperate enough to eat them.)

Lets recap on some of the lessons learned:
1)Cash is still king, as it usually is. Never underestimate how useful a roll of USD can be, anywhere in the world, from New York to Ukraine.
2)Financial mobility is a great asset. Whenever possible, take the time to open an off shore bank account. This can be one of your best assets.
3)During desperate times, food becomes a priority. Stock up on food, grow your own in your garden to supplement you supplies.
4)Cash, medicine and diapers are on high demand.
5)You need your “papers” to move around. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Spanish civil war, Argentina’s dirty war during the 70s or current eastern Ukraine, you’ll still be expected to present your “papers”. Make sure you have your passport and other important documents.
6) Usd1.000 still makes for a great bribe. Again, cash is king.
7)Living far from town and isolated is still a bad idea, even in occupied easter Ukraine. “Aid is distributed in the center and people living on the outskirts just don’t get to it in time because city transport isn’t working,” said Filimonov, 32. “We brought 130 packages of food to Debaltseve and a long line appeared near our bus in minutes. Those people were really hungry.”
8)Curriers are on high demand. They will travel to other cities where banks and ATMs still work so as to get cash for their clients. ”Mariupol, under government control, is a hotspot where couriers show up clutching stacks of bank cards to withdraw cash. Donetsk coal mines often select one employee to make the journey and collect wages for his colleagues.”… “You see lines of 50 to 100 people at ATMs and there are can be scuffles.”
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: April 8, 2015, 8:59 pm

California is experiencing the worst draught in the last 1000 years and residents will need to cut back 25% of water consumption. The American west overall is suffering some serious droughts and thousands are already being affected. With a growing population and industry the existing water resources are lacking and this is a problem that is likely to affect even more people in the future.
Here are some tips to prepare for draughts and water shortages in general. Keep in mind, water is an essential supply you should have anyway, drought or not. A number of disasters or simple water line repairs can leave you without water for days at a time. Even an earthquake, which is very likely to affect the west coast in the next twenty years, would damage the water infrastructure and leave people to provide for themselves. We saw how desperate people got due to lack of water in just a matter of hours during the 2010 Chile Earthquake.

Here’s what you should keep in mind.
1)Store actual water. Don’t just have a filter or some bladder to fill. Store water, at least a week’s worth of water for all family members. You should have at least a gallon for each person per day. If you can store even more water, that’s highly recommended.
2)Not all water is used for drinking. Actually, most water will be used for cleaning, flushing toilets and watering your plants. Over 50% of water used in America goes to watering lawns alone. While you may have to cut back on watering your lawn, you’ll still need to water your orchards or gardens if you are producing food. You can use rain water for such things, so it’s a good idea to collect rainwater in am outdoors container.
3)Get a good water filter such as the Big Berkey and pure, unscented bleach. You can use either one or both for treating your water if needed.
4)Try storing some food for emergencies that requires no cooking and no added water. Canned food is usually good that way. Still, you will have other staples that need to be cooked and use water. Make sure its food that cooks fast and uses relatively little water.
5)Get a rice cooker and use your lid in other cook wear. The use of lid prevents the waste of water through evaporation, it also helps cook faster. I’ve been using a rice cooker for about a year now and it saves a considerable amount of electricity compared to ovens and electric cooktops. It also makes great use of small amounts of water, making it one of the most water effective ways of preparing rice and other vegetables.
6)Try not wasting water in general so as to contribute to preserving water. Don’t let the tap water running when brushing your teeth, don’t take unnecessary long showers, try washing your car with just a bucket of water.
7)If the drought persists, you can also change your house garden so as to use more arid climate plants that require little or no water. Parts of the lawn can be replaced with more decks, or dry floors that don’t need watering.
8)Drink enough water. In spite of there being little water to go around, do stay as well hydrated as possible. Take electrolyte drinks and check your urine color. It should be as clear as water when fully hydrated. Pay particular attention to small children and older people.
9)A two gallon garden sprayer can be used to improvise a quick shower in the bathroom. This is a priceless treat when going for several days without water in the middle of summer. Wet wipes can be used when water can’t be wasted on showers. Hand sanitizer keeps your hands clean while not wasting water.
10)Have plans to bug out and relocate if necessary. Small towns may suffer the lack of water the most, being sacrificed to provide for larger population areas. Even in a supposedly self-reliant homestead water wells may dry up due to draughts, leaving you with no other option but to relocate.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: April 7, 2015, 11:20 pm

A man and his seven children, age 6 to 16, were found dead on Monday in a home in Princess Ann, Maryland.
Police believe the deaths were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. Rodney Todd Sr., 36, and his seven children were found dead inside the locked house and no foul play was suspected. The house had no power and a generator that had run out of fuel was found inside.
While researching to find more information about this tragedy, it was heartbreaking to find so many similar incidents. Carbon monoxide poisoning is without a doubt the silent, cold weather killer.
Always remember:
1)NEVER run a generator indoors. No matter how cold it is, there’s no excuse. It will get you killed along with the rest of your family.
2)Get a CO alarm installed immediately if you don’t have one already. The Kidde Carbon Monoxide Alarm goes for $19.57 in Amazon. Don’t hesitate, your family sure is worth 20 bucks. A smoke detector alone will not work. Get a proper Carbon Monoxide Alarm.

3) Always err on the side of caution when you have any open-flame device. Camping cookers and stoves, propane and kerosene heaters, you always need to make sure you have proper ventilation. When operating unvented heaters crack the window open a couple inches. Personally, I prefer not to run one when sleeping. I’d rather warm up the area and turn it off just before going to sleep, better safe than sorry. Some kerosene heaters and the indoor propane heater Mr. Heater F232000 do have a Low-oxygen safety shut-off feature but this is a second layer of protection and it does NOT replace a dedicated carbon monoxide alarm.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: April 7, 2015, 9:58 am
You reviewed your favorite EDC folding knives, including the one I have carried for 12 years—the Benchmade Griptilian.
Having lived with this knife for so long, I have some positive and some negative opinions about it:
1. The size and the contours of the knife are very acceptable for EDC in whatever pocket I want to carry it in. The two-position tip-up pocket clip allows me to carry it left- or right handed. The “jimping” or serrations on the top and bottom of the handle give it good gripping characteristics. The blade is plenty big for a convenient pocket-carry knife, and the dual thumb-studs make it easy to use left- or right-handed.
2. The edge holding is less than desirable. It has 154CM steel in the present blade, but it just does not live up to the claimed edge retention characteristics of this steel. The knife originally had another blade (partial serrations) which also did not hold an edge very well. I sent it back to Benchmade and had them replace the blade for that reason—and at the time opted for a plain-edge blade. If you have suggestions for a brand + blade steel that holds an edge under normal casual use—that would be nice to learn.
3. The pocket clip has the same drawbacks as most of those on the market—It is sturdy and works well at keeping the knife in the pocket, but it catches on things I don’t want to get damaged (door frames, furniture, car seats), and it is awkward when it does snag something in public places. The solution I have used to soften the clip and to “round” its corners is to apply two layers of electrical heat-shrink tubing to it.
4. The Axis Lock is smooth, and it seems to be sturdy and lock up very well. However, the blade can swing open whenever the knife is moved through certain ranges of motion such as if it is dropped accidentally or if it is pulled out of the pocket quickly and at certain angles. I have come close to grabbing the knife when the blade was in the process of coming open from inertia—and could have been cut if I had not been careful.
Bottom line, I would prefer a knife that has this size and contour, has a different closing mechanism that reliably prevents the blade opening accidentally under normal use, and has a steel that retains a good edge during everyday use around the house. And if it came with a furniture-friendly pocket clip—that would be a bonus.*
*Note: The original Spyderco Endura and other knives had an integral molded plastic clip on the handle. While it (like any) clip could catch and rub on things, it would not hang up as much as a flat metal clip, and it would not do as much damage to furniture etc. The drawback was that the plastic clip tended to weaken over time and potentially break, it could not be repositioned for alternate carry modes, and it was not replaceable.

Hello Larry, thanks for sharing your experience.
I know what you mean regarding metal clips catching onto stuff and scratching everything from furniture to cars! I too miss the old Cold Steel and Spyderco molded plastic clips. You never had to worry about scratching anything with those. On the other hand, removable spring steel clips are clearly stronger and can be adjusted to different positions. I prefer tip down carry myself, which prevents the type of problem you describe and eliminated the risk of cutting yourself on a slightly opened blade when trying to draw it.
When it comes to steels 154Cm shouldn’t be that bad, its supposed to be a well performing mid-range priced steel. Then again, all knives need to be sharpened after use eventually. Some hold on a bit more, but there’s no magic steel out there, they all need sharpening sooner than later. At least in my opinion, I don’t worry too much about how long it stays sharp, I ‘m more interested in toughness and to some extent I prefer a knife that is easy to sharpen rather than a hard blade that holds the edge for a bit longer, but wastes your time a lot when sharpening. If you’re looking for better steel maybe you want to try out the Spyderco Endura4 in VG-10, which should hold an edge longer although I’m sure you’ll miss the ergonomics of the Griptilian. For a fantastic steel, you want to try ELMAX powdered steel, which is one of the main reasons I like the Zero Tolerance ZT 0561 so much. The Kershaw  Knockout also has ELMAX steel.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: April 6, 2015, 11:56 pm
Ok folks, quick list of some of the best options out there. If you’ve been following this website or involved in any way in the survival and preparedness community you probably understand why you should have a knife with you at all times and since carrying a six inch fixed blade on daily basis isn’t exactly practical or even realistic for most of us, that’s probably going to be a folding knife.
Here I’d like to take a second to comment on the usefulness of pocket knives per se compared to fixed blade knives. If you can get away with carrying a machete with you on daily basis then more power to you, but if you’re limited to a folder then know there’s nothing wrong with that either. For hundreds, no, thousands of years, men have carried and used folding pocket knives. In fact, our ancestors carried knives that in most cases were significantly weaker than the ones currently available, with inferior steels, locks and construction. Still, with a bit of care and basic maintenance, those pocket knives were invaluable tools which served them well during decades of honest use.
Today, the pocket knife serves that same purpose and the offering has never been better. Folders are more practical, faster and stronger than ever. For everything from peeling fruit, eating a streak, opening mail to carving wood or even defending yourself if needed a good folder is an invaluable tool.
Throughout the years I’ve developed a standard of what I consider to be a good survival folding knife. It’s nothing very specific but I do look for certain things. First, I want quality. You can have quality at bargain prices or you can have it paying dearly for it but to me quality is important. I want a knife made by a manufacturer I know I can trust. I want a solid, reliable knife. Your folder should be able to take a certain amount of abuse, not because you plan on doing stupid things with it, but because someday it may be called upon it to do more than just cut. You may need to pry with it, maybe even fight. I also want a big enough blade. Four inches is ok. No smaller than 3.5” inches. Five inches would be better. You can easily carry a four or five inch blade folder in your pocket with no problem.
Premium steels are nice to have, but I’m happy enough with a well heat treated cheaper steel. Many times fancy pants steel are heat treated to such hardness levels that they become fragile when abused, making them great for cutting thousands or pieces of manila rope, but snapping when prying a stuck door with them while a cheaper steel may get the job done without breaking.
I want well designed handle, something that offers some finger protection and has a clip that can be adjusted at least on either side, with a four position clip being ideal. It should open single handed with ease and lock solid.
With these considerations in mind here are my top choices:
Cold Steel 29TLT Voyager Large Tanto
Cold Steel Voyager Tanto Large $38.81
This is the most affordable knife in the list and in all honesty maybe the best bang per buck you have today. Make no mystake, the Cold Steel Voyager is a beast of a knife. The clip point version with its full flat grind has somewhat of a more fragile tip, but you don’t get that with the saber grind tanto version. Maybe AUS8 steel isnt anything to brag about, but its works well enough and you do get the Triad Lock, which is clearly one of the strongest locking mechanisms in the market. If size isnt a problem for you, go for the XL version.
What about my favorite Cold Steel knife, the Vaquero ? That’s a beast of a knife, but more inclined for defensive use and best used along with a smaller utility multitool.

Spyderco Resiliance $39.19
The Tenacious is a beloved budget classic that has been around for several years now but forget about it and go straight for the bigger brother. The blade has a full flat grind, but it somewhat compensates that by being pretty wide and overall plain large. Opens fast, has a flat profile, G10 handle, I’d say it’s a great knife for anyone looking for a big knife but wants an easy to carry flat profile.

Spyderco Endura 4 $65.35
The Endura4 is the most classic of all Spyderco knives. The Endura 4 is deceivingly large and strong yet so easy to carry. Great VG-10 steel, pretty good ergonomics and four position clip. The tip manages to be fine yet very sturdy thanks to the saber grind. I would avoid the full flat version given that the saber grind is sharp enough but much stronger.
Benchmade Gryptilian $93.25
An all-time classic, functional folder. Benchmade has always been highly regarded by military personnel and the Gryptilian is particularly appreciated by those that know knives. Great blade geometry, very nice 154CM steel and a very comfortable handle. You just cant go wrong with it.

ZT Zero Tolerance 0561 Hinderer Collaboration $209.80
Crème de la crème. Made in USA, Titanium framelock construction, 3-D machined titanium and G-10 handle, premium ELMAX steel, Hinderer design, this is as good as it gets in a production knife.
What’s your favorite EDC knife and what do you use it for the most? Leave your comments below!
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: April 3, 2015, 11:17 pm

Maybe one of the most interesting and potentially drastic climatic events is the possibility of a “Gulf Stream” or Thermohaline Circulation shutdown. The North Atlantic Drift is the northwards continuation branch of the Gulf Stream, part of the Thermohaline circulation (THC). The North Atlantic Drift transports warmth further north to the North Atlantic, where its effect in warming the atmosphere contributes to warming Europe. Without this warmth “imported” from southern latitudes by the North Atlantic Drift , most of western Europe would be much colder than it is, similar locations at the same latitude such as Alaska, Northern Canada and Siberia. It is thanks to this current that Ireland only gets a bit of snow for a day or two along most of its coast rather than spend all winter under several feet of snow. England, France and most of western and northwestern Europe benefit greatly from it as well.
Trying to explain it in simple terms, the THC basically works thanks to changes in density and salinity in ocean waters. In the north Atlantic, low temperatures combined with high evaporation rates thanks to the strong winds increase the density of the surface water. Because of this, the surface water sinks drawing in warmer waters from the south in what is sometimes called the “ocean conveyor belt.”

So… what’s the problem?
The problem is that, by all accounts, this changing. One theory is that due to increased precipitations and the melting of glaciers in Greenland there’s a greater amount of freshwater in the northern oceans, reducing its salinity.
In November 2005, the National Oceanography Centre in the UK found a 30% reduction in the warm currents that carry water north from the Gulf Stream from the last such measurement in 1992. Also in 2005, Peter Wadhams reported in The Times of London about the results of investigations in a submarine under the Arctic ice sheet measuring the giant chimneys of cold dense water, in which the cold dense water normally sinks down to the sea bed and is replaced by warm water, forming one of the engines of the North Atlantic Drift. He and his team found the chimneys to have virtually disappeared. Normally there are seven to twelve giant columns, but Wadhams found only two giant columns, both extremely weak.
Scientists are divided on how fast this is happening or not and they are also divided on the consequences of the potential slowdown or even shutdown of the North Atlantic Drift (NAD). Some scientists claim that even if the NAD slows down or stops entirely, the effects of global warming would more than compensate for it and there would be little to no change, maybe even slightly warmer temperatures than before. On the other hand some scientists believe is could trigger a new glacial period, even a series of Dansgaard-Oeschger events with very rapid changes, temperatures dropping significantly in a matter of months in dramatic fashion somewhat similar to the movie “The Day After Tomorrow”.

A worst case scenario such as this one has happened before. It happened about 10.000 years ago, called Younger Dryas stadial, also known as the Big Freeze... yes, its the kind of thing that would ruin your weekend. In this case, the prevailing theory is that the Younger Dryas was caused by significant reduction or shutdown of the North Atlantic "Conveyor", which circulates warm tropical waters northward.

As interesting as it may be, there’s not much practical application in debating if this is a natural event or if it’s all some conspiracy to deviate funds to eco-business. At this point from a survival perspective we should be looking more into how quickly this can all go down, if it’s a matter of centuries, decades or years, and the level of magnitude we are talking about. Based on the research published so far, I would lean towards the theory that this is all happening surprisingly fast. At the same time and on a more positive note, I don’t think we’ve seen much changes in temperatures in western Europe, at least not anything to worry much about. Other than somewhat more precipitations than usual, the peaks of both cold and warm averages and maximum are still within historic parameters. We’ve seen winters just as cold if not colder, and we’ve seen days just as warm as well. You could make a case for winters lasting slightly longer and being in average colder, and that there’s more rain and storms, but even if it is happening, so far the difference is not proportional to the reduction of the North Atlantic Drift.
I would recommend caution, but at the same time keeping an eye on weather changes in the years to come, especially in western Europe and northeastern US.
As always, having plans to eventually relocate if necessary is always a good idea.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: April 2, 2015, 10:17 pm
After BnL took over the goverment, the BnL logo was added in the flags of countries around the world.

What’s the scariest movie you’ve ever seen? Psycho? The Ring? Hostel?
Mine’s Wall-E. Yes, Wall-E creeps the hell out of me and it’s because of “BnL”. In Pixar's movie, “Buy n Large” is the company that made Wall-E and basically destroyed the world and controls humanity.
This is from Pixar wikia, explaining the idea behind the fictional BnL Company:
Andrew Stanton, in a commentary on the WALL•E DVD, stated his inspirations for Buy n Large were large corporations and how some people let consumerism govern how they run their lives. He stated that the people at Pixar had always pictured WALL•E as "a trash compactor" when the idea for the movie was first discussed. He reversed-engineered the idea on why WALL•E was cleaning up the planet and why the Earth was covered in trash and the idea of what if a company was the government.
If there’s one thing we have to be careful about in the future is the power corporations have over the people. It certainly has been growing at an alarming rate and it keeps getting worse. I don’t think there has ever been a greater threat to freedom throughout history as there is now. I’m literally scared of a “Wall-E” future, where the entire human race is under the thumb of a handful of “Buy n Large” corporations. Corporations no one voted for, yet have more power than any representative, from senators to presidents, could ever dream of.

I don’t have much of an opinion either way regarding the Religious Freedom law. I like the idea of people having the freedom to exercise their religion as long as those rights end where other people’s rights begin. At the end of the day, I think the people of Arkansas or Indiana have the right to vote anyway they want regarding both laws and their representatives.
What I do find very interesting is how quickly corporations no longer sneak into the debate, but kick the door down, burst inside and dictate which laws they accept and which ones they don’t.
Notice how CNN warns us that some corporations are upset!

Careful folks! Walmart CEO Doug McMillon says the Religious Freedom Law “Does not reflect the values we proudly uphold” and directly asked Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto the bill. First, I was surprised to learn that Walmart has “values” at all. That’s interesting. I thought it was a corporation simply looking to make as much profit as possible as their one and only “value”.
How about Apple CEO Tim Cook threatening saying the law he doesn’t approve of is “very dangerous” and “will hurt jobs and growth”. Sounds more like a threat, coming from Apple’s CEO.
Even more important though, why should we care either way about Walmart’s “values” and why does they have a right to go from the private business sector into dictating laws that address people’s religious beliefs? When was exactly Walmart’s or Apple’s CEO voted into representing any percentage of the population?
Since when does Walmart order States to veto laws they don’t like? Again, when was Walmart elected to represent anyone?

Corporations already have a lot more power than they should. We should not allow them to indirectly, let alone directly dictate which laws we can have or not.
Walmart’s CEO has a right to an opinion, sure he does, what he does not have is a right to use his economic power as extortion to change democratically voted laws he does not agree with, and this is exactly what several companies are openly admitting to.

I have this crazy new idea: How about corporations stick to running their businesses within the law, rather than trying to change the laws, and leave laws to elected law makers and representatives.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: April 1, 2015, 3:53 pm
Dear Fernando-
 What are your thoughts on Belize?  They speak English there and the land is still pretty cheap.  And there are Mennonite farmers there.  My Spanish, French and German are all equally bad, so English would be nice.   In addition, I have a data business in the States and would be close enough to see clients if I absolutely had to.
I would be honored to get your point of view.  Also, I plan on buying your books.
Warm regards,

English and cheap land are just two factors, and they arent event the most important ones. Belize has the 5th worst homicide rate in the world and corruption levels are also very bad. That alone should tell you all you need to know about moving to Belize.
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: March 31, 2015, 11:22 pm
I love your blog and videos. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication. I appreciate your ideas of practical preparedness rather than wasting our time with fantasy zombie preparedness like so many other survival bloggers do. Thank you for you recent video entitled "3 steps to perfect pocket knife". I work in office where it would be inappropriate to wear a folding knife attached to your suit pants. So I appreciated your ideas about other viable options.
I was wondering what your thoughts are on what type of knife is a good first knife for a boy. I have a six year old son and have been wondering when is a good time to get my son a knife, and what type of knife that should be. My son enjoys hiking, exploring in the woods, building forts, and playing out-doors. He is the oldest of my 4 children and is responsible for his age. What do you think is a good boy's age for a father to give a knife to his son? What type of knife would be best? I know that you have two young sons and I would appreciate any advice you might have on this matter. Do your boys have knives? If so, what kind? And when did you give it to them? How could you tell they were ready for a knife? What rules do you have with your boys? I appreciate any ideas you might be willing to share.
Thank you,
My son's Swiss Army Knife Explorer and Hultafors HeavyDuty Knife. The pictured Leatherman Sidekick would also make a first great knife/MT for a boy.
Thanks Danny,
A knife is obviously an important tool and it sure is a big deal for a boy (probably a girl too, lets not leave the ladies out!). Your first knife, your first gun, its not just a gift, it’s a rite of passage. It’s a grownup, maybe your parent or grandparents, recognizing you’re responsible enough to handle such responsibility.

When I was a kid I loved the idea of having a knife. I managed to get hold of various tiny pocket knives but I got my very own proper fixed blade knife for my tenth birthday. It was one of those cheap hollow handle “survival” models, made in China. I still have that knife.

I gave my oldest son (eight at the time) and my nephew (nine) their first pocket knives during one summer holiday. This worked out well because I had more time to spend with both of them and teach them how to use their knives. The knife isn’t supposed to be just a normal gift. It should go along with proper instruction on how to use it and care for it. Even if a lot of the advice may fall on ears too young to understand, you should still explain everything as well as possible. Safe handling of the knife is of course important. In my case, I bought my son and my nephew a Victorinox Explorer. These aren’t cheap knives, but I loved the idea of both having that bond, the same knife model, given the same day, and the look on their faces was priceless! A Swiss Army Knife makes a great first knife to learn the basics. Given how famous they are there’s a good chance that a kid has already seen and wanted one for some time. It comes with a number of other tools as well and kids just love that.
If I had to do it again, I would go with this other model instead. It has the saw which I think is important and its an overall great model no matter how old you are:

A couple years ago, I got my son his first fixed blade knife, a Hultafors Heavy Duty. This is a tough knife, made in Sweden. It's twice the thickness of most Mora knives. The carbon steel blade rusts and stains easily but it’s a solid blade to learn the basics of handling a real knife and its strong enough to prepare wood to start a fire with it.
As for the age, it really depends. Eight to ten sounds about right depending on the level of maturity. I would try not to rush it. We sometimes have a hard time being impartial when it comes to our own kids and tend to overestimate how mature they are. Its better to take it easy and make sure they can handle the responsibility. Start by teaching them safe knife handling first. Once you give them the new knife, have them use it under your supervision at first until you notice they are using it safely as well.

Here are some of the rules I insist on:
1)Be careful with your knife at all times. Keep a firm grip and find a safe place to use your knife. Put it away if others are close to you, especially children.
2)Always cut away from any and all body parts. If your knife slips, what will it end up going against?
3) A knife is a tool, not a toy. Don’t pry, throw or use your knife for any other purpose than its intended use. If dropped, quickly step away. Don’t try to catch it.
4)Grab the sheath firmly when removing a knife from its sheath and keep your fingers out of the way when closing a folding knife.
5)After use, clean up your knife, keep it sharp and store it in a safe place.

Yes, a boy can and probably will get cut. We’ve all got cut at some point, but chances are far less with proper instruction so relax and enjoy the treasured experience!

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: March 30, 2015, 12:12 pm

Caracas, Venezuela

If the world does fall into a global, end of the world or 3rd world version of itself, this is how it will all look like.

Thanks to J. Robert for sending me this video. It illustrates very well the problem people face in Venezuela on daily basis. It’s amazing how simple things such as going to a store and buying anything you need, when you want and as much as you can afford are taken for granted. Also, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Freedom of expression has been suppressed in Venezuela, political adversaries killed or locked behind bars and people not only have to live with the worst inflation on the planet, they also have to deal with terrible crime. Murder and assassinations are just facts of daily life in Venezuela.
A little tip: Notice how important it is to socialize. Word of mouth while waiting in line is one of the best ways of gathering information regarding current events, leads on where to find different types of food or other products, etc.
Tip 2: Have food, lots of food.
Tip 3: Get the hell out of your country before it turns into Venzuela!
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: March 26, 2015, 8:46 pm
At times a tongue-in-cheek type of video, but still some food for thought...  :-)
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: March 26, 2015, 1:56 am
Hi Ferfal,
Looking at the latest posts on the realistic SHTF scenarios I had a question about one of the recommendations. I currently have a small tri-fuel 2kw generator and am looking for some solar back up. I don't need to power the whole house, maybe a small appliance (fridge/freezer?)or so. My problem is I am technically challenged and assembling something myself is pretty much a nonstarter. I also want something my family could handle should I not be available. I have seen/priced the goal zero stuff and while pretty slick, seems VERY overpriced. I don't know if you have any ideas on this. I need portable plug/play type thing that I could conversely use for camping and in emergencies. I know occasionally you have stuff you link to that you vouch for. I currently have a very small pocket solar charger that works for my phone only but am looking for something more substantial."
Goal Zero is indeed good quality but most people do tend to agree its overpriced. After reading some reviews it does seem though that in the solar department, in general you tend to get what you pay for. Now, “solar generators”, lets keep it honest they are hardly as effective or as powerful as advertised. If you need 2000Kw a 2000kw solar “generator” will not do. Assume the worse (cloudy, direction) and expect only half as much power so as to not be disappointed. For an all-in-one setup, the Wagan EL2546 Solar e Cube 1500 seems to be a possible option although its still pretty expensive and again, I’d take the specs with a grain salt. You would need a very efficient fridge so as to run it here, although small tools, tv and such should work well enough based on the reviews. The RENOGY Solar Panel Starter Kit 400W has good reviews, its better priced, but it requires some putting together. I would forget about running a refrigerator with it. Its more for running and charging laptops and other smaller electronics.
My advice for buying from Amazon is the following. First, check the stars. If it has over a dozen stars or so and it ranks, 5, 4.5 or even down to 4, I take a close look. If its 4 stars I feel better if it has closer to 100 reviews rather than 10. Then, I check the one star reviews. If they aren’t very relevant or don’t make much sense, then I read a bit more about it, read some of the better reviews. Finally, and this is very important, I check who is selling, who is shipping and what kind of warranty I’m getting. Ideally, the product will be sold and shipped by Amazon. At the very least I want Amazon fulfilling the order. This usually means that the shipping service will be better and returns will be easier to handle as well. Usually you can just print a code that is attached to the package and dropped somewhere nearby without paying a single cent. This makes returns easier and free.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: March 26, 2015, 1:11 am
Today I was reading through a file of old letters that I had written, and came upon the attached. It was a response that I made in 2012 to another writer’s comment on the website, which I seldom read anymore, and then only to check the links to articles on the economy that are posted there. I’ve edited it a little to pick up the ever-present mistakes.
I thought that I would forward it to you, as it seems to be somewhat in line with your philosophy, and it also gives you a “plug.” I doubt that such a plug was well-received over there. If I were to write the same letter today, I would likely include a reference to the Balkan experiences of Selco at SHTFblog which have surfaced since then.
By the way, thanks again for your book!(The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse) I’ve read it three times in the last few years and refer to it frequently.
Perhaps you will find my perhaps overly philosophical letter interesting. Perhaps not.
Either way, best regards!
Thanks again.
Take care.
Letter re: Why I Hate Preppers, by Allen C.
I greatly enjoyed reading the letter forwarded by Allen C. It mirrored many of my own thoughts, mostly not vocalized, that I have had about other “preppers.” I do not like the generalization implied in the word, itself, for it establishes a bias either for or against a whole group of people who seem decidedly different.
It brought to mind the much-repeated phrase among preppers: “like-minded individuals.” Now, having met face-to-face with a number of other people who are concerned about uncertain times and are preparing in one way or another for those eventualities, I found that huge differences exist in the ways of going about this task and the philosophies surrounding it. Thus, to put out an advertisement to join “like-minded individuals” in the “prepper community” is, in my view, about like making the same exhortation to a group of professional football fans on the assumption that they are “like minded,” when all they have done is to root for the same team that we do.
On the subject of paranoia, Allen repeats the oft-used phrase: “I wouldn’t be so paranoid if everyone wasn’t out to get me.” This reminded me of a meeting I had in a public place with a few other local preppers whom I “met” on an online prepper network. These were supposedly like-minded individuals, who, during the course of the meeting appealed to those present to provide their addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses for the purpose of networking, “early warning,” passing the news, etc. Of course, I found this proposal astoundingly foolish, and said so. I was accused of being overly paranoid. Are there degrees of paranoia? Anyway, I refused to provide such information to complete strangers, and chalked down having talked myself into such a meeting of this kind to my own foolishness. There are few enough “like minded individuals” within a tightly knit family, or even in a pretty tight military unit, much less in the population at large. People should dispense with the notion that such a fantasy exists.
Concerning Allen’s frustration with preppers being “know-it-alls,” this statement particularly rang true to me: “Later the same evening suburban grandma is in a user group regurgitating a half digested piece of prepper knowledge she picked up on another web site without ever having to actually fight anyone, kill anything, or spend a week in the woods.”
This brought to mind the image of my teenaged grandson, who, while very bright and seemingly able to absorb any sort of material that he reads, or hears, or sees on TV, has a terrible habit, in my view, of saying “I know….” such-and-such. I have repeatedly reminded him that he does not “know” anything, nor does anyone else, unless he or she has actually done it or experienced it. Reading about, talking about, or listening to others who read about, talk about, or otherwise expound on any subject does not constitute a reason to say to oneself: “I know.” There is only one way to know, in my opinion at least, and that is to know by the experience of doing. One does not know how to fell a tree, slice it up with a chain saw, haul it, split it, and stack it, much less burn it, unless one has done it.
And Allen’s comments further lead me into the frustration I have with preppers who are constantly writing on various blogs a presumption of what “will” happen under certain circumstances, such as a societal collapse. Zombie biker gangs will roam the countryside, stores will be out of food in hours, gasoline will be unattainable, .22 caliber cartridges will be like gold, etc. Some of these events might happen, of course, but for anyone to say beforehand, and in the absence of any evidence, whatsoever, that they “know” what will happen is ludicrous. No one actually knows what will happen until it happens. Detractors have said “history repeats itself,” so we can take from history that we actually do know what will happen in the future. But we really can’t. We surmise that there is a likelihood of a similar event happening again, human nature being a constant through time, but we still do not know what will happen in a given event that takes place in present or future times.
In the popular literature, there is only one person whom I can say (because I haven’t read everything, to be sure) actually knows about what it’s like in an economic collapse. He is Fernando Aquirre, who, in his book about the collapse in Argentina (2001-present), relates what he actually saw and did in that country during that collapse. What we have in the American literature on the subject, as entertaining as it is to read, is fictional speculation. Some of it substitutes well for instruction and even education, and reflects what appears to be very good research, but it is still fiction, causing one to caution oneself, once again, that no one knows for sure what will happen. Examples of such works that I have read include the novels Patriots (Rawles), Lights Out (Crawford), One Second After (Forstechen), Holding Their Own (Joe Nobody series), Apocalypse Law (Grit), Feathers on the Wings of Hate (Grit), Enemies Domestic and Foreign (Bracken trilogy), The Pulse (S. Williams), The Rift (W. Williams), American Apocalypse (Nova), Lucifer’s Hammer, (Niven and Pournelle), Ashfall (Mullen), Molon Labe (B. T. Party), The Old Man and the Wasteland (Cole), World Made by Hand (Kunstler), The Third Revolution (Lewis), Half Past Midnight (Brackett) and Dark Grid (Waldron), among others. There are yet many that I haven’t read. Yes, I do like reading books, but seldom anymore read “survival fiction.” A few of the authors suggest what can happen or what might happen, but far too many of them purport to say what will happen, as do so many whom we see writing on Internet blogs. And yet, they cannot know. Who can know?
Still, and in spite of our differences, we continue to prepare because it seems wise to do so, even though we are not really certain of anything in the future except more uncertainty. However, I do feel that preparation is more of a lifelong challenge than one that can be accomplished in even a few years. Some people have had a self-sufficiency mindset since childhood, and so “prepping” is second nature to them. As Allen (and my father) said, they don’t even call it that. It just seems for them to be a way of life, indistinguishable from other often-practiced habits.
Further, Allen’s letter got me to thinking of a Persian proverb, which led me into thinking of the Dunning-Kruger effect.
“He who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool – shun him.
He who knows not and knows that he knows not is simple – teach him.
He who knows and knows not that he knows is asleep – wake him.
He who knows and knows that he knows is wise – follow him.”
(Persian proverb).
Dunning-Kruger Effect:
According to studies published in 1999 by Dunning and Kruger, there is a difference between what we know and what we think we know. People are notoriously bad at rating their own competence at a whole variety of tasks.
Dunning and Kruger found that people who were not very good at a subject also tended to lack the skill to rate themselves at that subject. Such people often figured that the limited information they had about the subject was all there was to know, and that they were consequently more knowledgeable than the average. Hence we are skeptical when we read of so many “experts” on so many subjects on so many “survival” blogs. Take, for example, the case of a “rifleman” who espouses that it is futile to learn for himself or to teach others how to hit targets at 500 yards, arguing that his 200-yard carbine (e.g. AK/AR) will do all that needs doing. Well, the ignorance extant in such a statement is near to astounding. Assuming that a majority of our foes are not riflemen, but carbine men, would it not be wise to prepare to hit them outside of the maximum useful (lethal) range of their own weapons? But raising such a point in public (Internet) conversation is akin to banging one’s head repeatedly against a brick wall and asking for a great argument, considering all of the opposing views on that subject. Too difficult. Too far. Too risky. Why? There do seem to be a plethora of people who know not, and know not that they know not. Of course, they might well retort that I am one of them.
But then, I was in the U.S. Marine Corps, wherein it was common not only to be stubborn to the point of hard-headedness, but also to take a young man “off the streets,” and to teach him — in order for him to attain the status of “Rifleman” — to repeatedly hit at 500 yards with either a rifle or a carbine. So I can say that I have at least a little experience with that skill, and think that it can be done, and done relatively easily and safely, with most people, in good weather, and with suitable firearms and optics. Yet even then, I stop short of saying that I know that it can be done with all people.
Dunning and Kruger also found that people who really were quite knowledgeable about a subject tended to underestimate their ability, perhaps because they knew enough to be aware of how much more there was to know.
Further, they refer to a “double curse” when interpreting their findings: People fail to grasp their own incompetence, precisely because they are so incompetent. And since, overcoming their incompetence would first require the ability to distinguish competence from incompetence, people get stuck in a vicious cycle.
But one need not be obsessed with Dunning and Kruger. The same effect can be seen in other writings. Perhaps a few preppers will read this before posting their next expert “knowledge” to a web blog.
Charles Darwin: “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
1 Corinthians 8:2, King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
“And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.”
Bertrand Russell: “One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.”
Thanks J, that was an interesting read.
Man, I can see why Rawles may not have liked your letter. You just skinned a few of his sacred cows. 22LR will not become the new currency after the end of the world and a bunch of survivalists won’t rule the postapocalyptic wasteland? That’s crazy talk!
You touch upon several interesting topics. You’re right about “preppers” and “like-minded people”. What’s a prepper anyway? Is it someone interested in survival and preparedness? Then I guess I’m a prepper too. Is it someone that thinks the world is about to end and spends all day worrying about EMPs or peak oil or the global financial collapse? Then no, that’s not me. People interested in survival and preparedness are as like-minded as randomly picked people from across the planet, meaning they may have absolutely nothing in common.

This is particularly true because survival and preparedness is so broad and it basically encompasses all aspects of life. You have preppers and survivalists that consider fitness essential, given how directly it impacts both their true survival rate and quality of life. On the other hand, you have preppers and survivalists that are morbidly obese, yet they are worried about biker raiders attacking the after the end of the world rather than their blood pressure and cholesterol. You have preppers and survivalists that are very pro-gun, but then there’s some that are radically anti-gun. Granted, in USA this is an extremely small minority but they do exist, and there’s a broad spectrum in between both extremes. The same goes for their political views, religion, even core moral elements. How many times have we read people say “all I need is a gun, anything else I can procure with it”. A murdering thief can be a “prepper” as well. He’s interested in survival, his approach is just different from mine. Is this individual a “like-minded” person? He sure is not. This is also the main reason why most “survival groups” and teams fail miserably even before SHTF and only work well in novels. People, as individuals, are complex and have their own agendas and ambitions. Only for a short time during extreme situations will you get them to work together for the common good. This is something important to keep in mind when talking to family, friends and neighbors if you ever have to organize people around you. Expect to be disappointed. A LOT. Trust me on this one. The kind of brother-like relationship survivalism authors casually write about in their novels, it takes years of slow-cooking friendship. Even then, true friends that you can count on during life and death situations, and at the same time, ones that is skilled enough or otherwise capable of helping, consider yourself lucky if you have one or two of those when you need him.

I believe that you can learn without the need of empiric experience. I’m more of a rationalist. My own empirical knowledge will always be limited to myself, while I can rationalize and learn from countless other experiences. If I study something, it makes sense, its from a reliable source, then that can be valuable knowledge. If I pick up a cookbook I can learn how to make an apple pie, even if I never cooked one before. Sure, practice makes perfect but it’s a start. Learning other subjects from books isnt all that different. In my books I reflect both on personal empiric knowledge and rational conclusions based on research. My first book was more based on my experience with a specific scenario, the Argentine economic collapse. My second book was mostly based on research, I spent hundreds of hours looking into data, reports and arriving to certain conclusions. Granted, this is information I ended up putting into actual practice myself when I used that same info when bugged out of Argentina. I can confirm that it worked very well in my case.

I think the important part is looking into the source and credibility of the data, and only then making up your mind if its useful or not. Lets take for example “.22 LR being used as currency after SHTF”. OK, that’s based on what exactly? When did it happen? In the case of Rawles 99% of his survival knowledge is based on his own fiction novel. Its not based on personal experience with dealing with the end of the world (because of course, it hasn’t happened yet), nor is it based on real-world 3rd party experience or historic events. I pay particular attention to that, real world events, learn from history. If someone has gone through a certain incident, a shooting, a dictatorial government, went bankrupt during the Greek crisis, I’m all ears. Now, if you want to tell me how you’re supposed to deal with the end of the world by setting up a ranch or go hiking to the nearest park and that know-how is based on watching the Walking Dead or your own work of fiction, then no offense but I really have better things to do with my time. The information you are incorporating, who is it coming from and based on what exactly? Is there an agenda I should be aware of?
If I recommend you to move to Panama in preparation for the end of the world and I have a sponsor in my website selling Panama real estate or I recommend you to move to remote locations and I’m selling you just that, then I clearly have a financial interest in you making certain decisions. What’s exactly so great about moving to Panama, or some remote location far from everything a person realistically needs such as short commute times, jobs, safety, good schools, etc? Explain why. “Because of the hordes, the golden hordes that will pour out of the cities!” Really? Besides your own fiction novel, exactly when did this happen in real life? Real, professional research ironically shows the opposite.
During tough times, both social and financial, people move to those pesky big cities looking for security and work. It happened during the industrial revolution, it happened during the great depression, it happened not that long ago in South Africa and its happening right now in Ukraine. Again, trying to learn from real events, there’s account of people leaving Donetsk and moving to western cities looking for living accommodations and work. A guy in a forum asked the Ukrainian posting this information why he didn’t go to live in the countryside instead. The Ukranian’s answer was logical enough, he needed both a place to live and work as well as security. He found those in the city of Kharkov, population 1.400.000. He rented a flat he could afford and was happy enough while getting back on his feet. Its in these examples where fantasy and unfounded nonsense crashes against reality.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: March 24, 2015, 9:24 pm
I noticed in your recent bug-out bag posting that the Ka-bar knife was missing. Any particular reason for its absence?

KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps  Fighting Knife, Straight
KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps Fighting Knife $71.97
Hello Marvin,
You are making reference to this video that I posted showing a few survival knife options.

At the risk of opening a massive can of worms and offending half my readership, here it goes. Keep in mind, its just my opinion, based on years of using and studying knives:
The Ka-bar is the most famous combat utility knife in the world. In many ways, the Ka-bar is to the knife world what the Colt 1911 is to the gun world, meaning a time-proven classic.
The Ka-bar has many attributes, its greatest achievement being an excellent blade design that has proven to be an all-around ideal combat utility blade shape. You can fight with the ka-bar, you can cut with it, pry open boxes, cut open MREs, smash with its pummel and pretty much use it for anything that a solider needs a knife for. The Ka-bars legendary reputation doesn’t hurt its appeal either. For many years, the Ka-bar has been and still is a beloved, trusty companion.

Having said all this, the Ka-bar is not a perfect knife. The blade shape is fantastic by all accounts, and proof of this is that its by far the one that has inspired most other utility fighting blades, if not being downright copied. The stacked leather handle is also of sound design although the oval shape makes it a bit difficult to keep it from rotating in the hand when used forcefully in certain angles. Some Ka-Bar owners address this by sanding the leather handle and refinishing it to fit their specific hands better. The stacked leather material isn’t as bad as some seem to believe it to be. You’d think leather would just rot in front of your eyes in a matter of minutes accord to some accounts. In reality there are Ka-bars that have been well used for decades and are still very much serviceable. With minimum care, the handle in your ka-bar should outlast all of us. Having said that, synthetic materials are without a doubt stronger and more durable.

The Ka-bars steel crossguard is functional and will keep your hand from slipping forward but it can be bent. People battoning with their Ka-Bars have noticed how the crossgaurd can bend when hit by accident.
Maybe the most noticeable issue with the Ka-bar is its full length, narrow tang construction. The narrow tang is without a doubt is the Ka-bar’s weakest point. As great as the Ka-bar is, there’s simply no way in which the narrow tang construction can compare to a full tang knife. A full tang is a tang that shows all around the handle of the knife between two pieces of handle material. This will always be stronger, simply because it has considerably more steel and lacks stress points. As shown in the image above from KA-BARS website, the blade drops down to a narrow tang and does so at a 90 degree angle.

Image from 12Bravo at

This creates two clear stress points and when chopping , prying or batonning with it there’s a chance of breaking it at this point. The stacked leather handle provides basically no support, so any force applied to the handle goes directly to that narrow tang. Because of this, sometimes the handle in the Ka-Bar bends, which for all practical purposes is better than having it fail catastrophically.
If you want a Ka-bar style knife you have some options that have a similar blade and a much stronger construction. The Ontario SP6 Spec Plus Fighting Knife still has a narrow tang, but it is thicker than the original ka-bar and the transition from blade to tang is radiused, avoiding the stress points of a 90 degree angle shoulders. This is still a narrow tang knife and not as robust as a full tang knife. The closest you can get to a full tang version of a Ka-bar combat utility knife is going for the Becker BK7. Unless you are honestly trying to destroy the knife, you can beat on the BK7, pry and chop with little risk of breaking it.

The Ka-bar is still an overall great knife. Used responsibly and even giving it some honest hard work, for cutting and fighting as intended, the Ka-bar will last a lifetime. From a design point of view, there’s simply no way for a Ka-bar to take the extreme abuse a similar type of knife with a full tang can tolerate.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: March 23, 2015, 7:15 pm
This is an excerpt from my book, "Bugging Out and Relocating". The "Bug Out Bag" Chapter will give you a good idea of how to put together a no-nonsene kit to get you from point A to B during a disaster or emergency, taking only the items you need.

The Bug Out Bag

Photo: F.Aguirre
Bug Out Bag and Documents Bag

The Bug Out Bag (BOB) is one of the hottest, most often discussed topics in the preparedness world. In spite of how popular the topic is, BOB contents often being listed resemble camping backpacks rather than true Bug Out Bags. Focusing too much on weapons is another common mistake. It is common to read about people putting together kits where half the weight is dedicated to firearms and ammunition, as if bugging out inevitably leads to heated gunfights or full blown urban warfare. The facts show a very different reality, and while a firearm for defense is a good idea for personal protection, during most evacuations it is better to travel light and go as unnoticed as possible. Comfortable clothing, good shoes, a large bottle of water, a fat wad of cash and a credit card are often more useful than a battle rifle and ten loaded magazines during disasters.
A Bug Out Bag is a kit purposefully designed to get you from point A to point B. Point A can be your home, your work place, or some other location you often find yourself at. If disaster strikes when you are at point A, point B could be either home, your Bug Out Location, a Rallying Point or some other destination where help is available, may that be safe shelter or a point for evacuating further away. Most people will find civilization within a few hours of walking at the most. Even for those living in the country, not many people are more than a day’s worth of walking to the closest town.
Assuming the worst, a situation in which no other transportation is available, your Bug Out Bag will be used for walking from point A to point B. Because of this the main priority to keep in mind is that the Bug Out Bag must be lightweight and not a 60 pound monster of a bag. If your destination can be reached within two or three days of walking, then it is crucial to keep the Bug Out Bag as light as possible. Assuming a walking speed of 3 or 4 mph and walking for 12 hours each day, it is not unreasonable to expect to cover between 100 or 140 miles in three days if walking on roads and trails. This will of course depend on each person’s fitness level, if they are injured and the amount of weight carried. After ten hours of walking every ounce feels like ten pounds and every bit of extra weight holds the person back. When reaching the destination fast is the main priority weight must be limited to the essential items and nothing else.

Tip: Even for trips that last several days, the priority will still be water. It is important to have a filter and careful planning so as to know where to find water along the road. In this case too, food rations weight must be kept to a minimum, choosing high nutritional value, compact and ready to eat meals.

After reducing weight as much as possible, the next priority in a Bug Out Bag is water. Here again, we often see water missing from most Bug Out Bags. Instead we find empty bottles, filters and water purifying tablets but no actual water. Often, the explanation for this is that water is just too heavy and that the owner of such Bug Out Bag plans to find water along the way. This can be a big mistake. A filter or water purification tablet is important to have, but you need actual water in your bag. How much water you need will depend on weather conditions and how far you need to walk. If your destination can be reached within a day of walking, at the very least you will need a liter of water for mild weather conditions and if you need to walk all day long you may go through as much as five liters of water in one day.
Photo: F.Aguirre
A stainless steel water bottle can be used to purify water by boiling it. The LifeStraw and Berkey Sport are compact solutions for filtering water. The Berkey Sport bottle (available at directive21) has an internal filter and water is filtered as you sip through the straw.
While you can keep walking for two or three days without food, the same isn’t true when it comes to water. Dehydration can leave you lying on the road unable to continue in a matter of hours in hot weather conditions. Quality water filters will allow you to safely hydrate using water you come across on the go. Safe water is the most important supply for a person walking long distances.
After water, the next priority is clothing. Good athletic shoes or hiking boots are mandatory for walking several hours a day and still keeping your feet in good shape ready to walk again the next day. For those that often find themselves wearing dress shoes which are unsuited for walking long distances, a spare pair of shoes must be included in the Bug Out Bag or Emergency Kit kept in their vehicle or work place. A spare set of underwear, pants and jacket are also a good idea. During an emergency your clothes may get torn, wet, dirty or bloody and being able to change into dry clean clothes is not only practical, but a great morale booster as well.
If your destination can be reached within three or four days, food should not be a priority and power bars along with some hard candy, nuts and foil packed food ready to eat such as tuna will do well enough. Military rations such as MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) and other emergency rations can be used too. Because MREs can be bulky, it is recommended to strip them and just pack the main courses for the Bug Out Bag. A mess kit and stove will just add unnecessary weight to the bag and is not needed unless your circumstances demand that you spend weeks on the road at a time.
Emergency Blankets (sometimes called Space blankets) are light weight and while not ideal, they reflect heat and help keep you warm when resting. Some of them come in configurations similar to tube tents and bivvy bags. Even if not suited for long term use, these can provide shelter for a night or two on the road in mild climate conditions.
Include at least one flashlight that runs on a single (sometimes one is all you have), commonly available battery, either AA or AAA. Choose a LED (light-emitting diode) with several brightness modes, at least a high and low mode to save battery power and extended runtime when possible. A strobe or S.O.S. mode would be of use for signaling.
A headlamp allows you to use the light while leaving both hands free. Some models (Petzl, Energizer) have white and red LEDs. Red light is suited for night use at close range. It doesn’t ruin your natural night vision as much as white light nor is it as easy to detect from further away. This can be a valuable addition if remaining undetected is important due to safety reasons.
A knife is another important part of any emergency kit. The survival knife has always been considered the quintessential survival tool. In spite of how often the topic of survival knives is discussed, misguided concepts are common in survival and disaster preparedness publications. Carving spoons, setting up traps and building fire bows are nice skills to have, but survival situations don’t always revolve around bushcraft. As a matter of fact, they rarely do, and during an emergency you are far more likely to need a tool that can chop through a 2X4, smash its way through dry walls or rubble and dig holes. The knife should be capable of prying open doors and windows after an earthquake or open a jammed car door after an accident. You need a tool that can be used as a chisel or hammer if needed and not break in the process. The knife may be needed for self-defense purposes too. Smaller knives are good for detail cutting, but more than that may be demanded of it during real emergencies. Depending on geometry and weight distribution, a knife may be capable of doing such things with a six inch blade, although seven to ten inches is preferable. Shorter blades will simply lack the leverage needed to perform most of these tasks. The survival knife should have a full tang or a thick narrow tang that extends to the full length of the handle. The blade should be at least 0.2 inches (about 5mm) thick. Rugged, synthetic handle materials are preferable. Steel quality is important as well, along with the correct heat treatment. Having said that, even expensive knives that cost hundreds of dollars and use premium steel can be great for cutting, but poor survival knives that can fail catastrophically (break in half)if used for prying, hammering or any other task that goes beyond cutting. A correctly heat treated 1055 carbon steel or 440A stainless steel knife can be a great survival knife if the design and blade geometry are sound. Carbon steel is not the only option. Outstanding knives can be made of stainless steel. In many ways it is preferable given the higher corrosion resistance. Although some expensive knives made of premium steels provide better performance in some cases, the difference can be negligible for most practical purposes when compared to correctly heat treat blades made of steel such as AUS-8 or even 440A.

Photo: F.Aguirre
(Left to right) Cold Steel SRK (Carbon V version) Condor Kumunga (1075) ESEE Junglas (1095) Busse Bushwacker Mistress (INFI) Busse TGLB (INFI) Busse Basic 6 (INFI) and Busse Boss Jack (INFI)
A multi-tool can be very handy in urban and wilderness survival situations. Leatherman makes some of the best models available. The Leatherman Wave and Charge are both highly recommended. More affordable than the Wave or Charge, the Leatherman Sidekick is also a good option. A solid survival fixed blade knife combined with a quality multi-tool that has a locking blade will take care of most situations where an edged tool is needed.
While firearms are in no way the most important part of your Bug Out Bag, a handgun and some spare magazines can be a good addition. In most cases, it’s better to keep the weapon concealed. Any visible firearm is likely to attract the attention of not just the people around you but also first responders, police and military personnel. The firearm may be taken away from you or even worse, you might get shot because of it. A firearm that can be kept concealed will avoid such a problem. A reliable semiautomatic pistol is recommended. Both Glock 17 and Glock 19 would be good choices because they are reliable firearms, fire commonly available 9mm ammunition and spare parts and accessories are plentiful. A Glock or other auto pistol of similar quality and characteristics along with two spare magazines should provide enough protection for most bug out scenarios. When bugging out in a vehicle, more firearms can be carried and in this case it would be recommended to have a semiautomatic rifle or carbine. The shorter carbine configuration is more practical for moving around inside vehicles. While any quality centerfire carbine should do well enough, .30 caliber carbines such as the AK47 or FAL would provide better penetration and prove to be more effective against vehicles.

Pistol, passports, credit cards and enough cash will get you through anything

Here is a list of the contents of a basic Bug out Bag. This kit would work for most circumstances where the destination can be reached on foot within 24-48hs. Longer distances, personal circumstances and extreme weather conditions will modify the kind of BOB kit you will need.
Bug Out Bag Contents:
Photo: F.Aguirre
Main Compartment (left to right, top to bottom)
Wet Wipes: These can be used for cleaning up when there are no showers and water is being rationed. When dirty after a few days on the road, covered in dirt, mud or blood after a disaster or simply for cleaning your hands and face, wet wipes are a valuable addition both for hygiene and morale. Cleaning up your neck, armpits and groin with wet wipes does not replace a proper bath, but it’s better than nothing.

Tip: Baby Wipes will work in a pinch and are suited for delicate skin. Antibacterial Industrial Wipes are tougher and hold together better when used.

Dust Sheets: They have several uses. One of the most valuable ones is using it for shelter building or for improvising a tarp when it rains so as to have a dry spot to rest.
Emergency Blanket (two): Also known as space blankets, these sheets are made of heat-reflective material that reflects up to 90% of the heat back to the body. While not very strong and considered disposable, they are strong enough to be used more than once if handled with care. Besides their use as blankets to stay warm, they can be used in many applications where a tough, waterproof sheet of plastic is needed.

Tip: With some patience and a sharp knife, you can cut a continuous spiral, from the edge of the blanket towards the center and end up with several yards of cordage.

Large trash bag: Large trash bags have a number of uses. They can be used as improvised rain ponchos and to waterproof the Bug Out Bag when it rains or when crossing a river.
Shemagh: The shemagh or large scarf can be used as a hat, a scarf to keep the neck warm or to cover the face to protect it from the cold, sand, wind or dust. It can be used to grab hot pots from the fire, to make a tourniquet, make an arm sling or to pre-filter water among many other uses.
Small bottle of water: Water is one of the most important parts of your kit and every drop should be considered precious. A small bottle of water can be carried on the side of the backpack for quick access.
Berkey Sport: The Berkey Sport bottle carries water and also has a black ceramic filter on the inside, making it ideal for filtering water from streams and ponds. If the water is cloudy it’s a good idea to pre-filter it with a coffee filter, scarf or other piece of cloth so as to avoid clogging and to extend the life of the filtering element.
Big Water Bottle: A two liter bottle of water will be the main water container. Commercially available bottled water usually comes in bottles that are strong and lightweight.
Emergency Shelter: These are tube-type tents made of the same mylar material used in space blankets. These tents don’t provide a lot of protection but they do keep rain away if set up properly and they do reflect heat back to you. The shelter should be reinforced with other materials whenever possible and a mattress of grass and soft leaves placed beneath it will improve insulation and preserve body heat.

Tip: In urban settings, you can use cardboard, plastic bags and wrinkled-up paper so as to insulate yourself from the floor when resting.

Emergency Poncho: The emergency poncho keeps you dry when it rains. It can also be used as an extra layer of clothing to stay warm if others are not available.
Spare set of Clothes: Inside a ziplock bag to keep it dry we have socks, underwear, t-shirt and shorts. These don’t provide a lot of protection but they are something to change into if your clothes happen to be wet or damaged.
Photo: F.Aguirre
Second Compartment (left to right, top to bottom)
Toilet Paper: Kept inside a ziplock bag so as to keep it dry. Wet TP is not usable.
Roll of grocery bags: They can be used for transporting small items and keeping them dry, transporting water, collecting fruits or disposing of trash among many other uses.
Map and FM Radio: A map is needed to know where you are going and how to get there when GPS and smart phones are not working. The radio is essential for gathering information. It should be small and work on a single, commonly available battery such as AA or AAA.
Solar Powered power pack with LED light: The power bank can be used to charge your phone when there’s no electricity and the incorporated solar panel allows you to recharge the battery pack itself. The model in the picture is the Waka Waka Power which incorporates a bright LED lantern.
Smartphone (with USB charging cable): The cellphone is one of the most important components of the Bug Out Bag. In this day and age, calling for help whenever possible is the best, most reasonable course of action. A smartphone will allow you to make calls as well as make use of Wi-Fi hotspots. If possible, the phone should be impact and water-proof.
550 Paracord: A hank of 550 paracord has many uses. Make sure you get mil-spec 550 paracord, made of nylon and with seven strands on the inside. These strands considerably multiply the amount of thinner cordage you have at your disposal for tasks such as repairing gear or making fishing lines or nets.

Tip: 550 Paracord should not be used as rappelling rope. 550 pounds is considered to be the breaking point of the cord and the force applied to it can be ten times as much or more when rappelling. If you need stronger cord, look into Dyneema, Spectra and Technora, which are several times stronger than 550 paracord. Basic rappelling gear and proper training may be worth having as part of your emergency kit for those that live or work in high-rise buildings.

Notebook and pen: It can be used for leaving notes, writing down important information, phone numbers, names, and addresses. In this notebook you should write down your own important information and contact numbers as backup, just in case your cell phone isn’t working. Weatherproof notebooks and pens are ideal for this type of use.
Knife: A survival knife is an important part of your Bug Out Bag. The survival knife should be at least six inches long and of solid construction. The knife pictured is a Busse Boss Jack, made of INFI steel with G10 handles.
Small Flashlight: The small flashlight is used for general purpose tasks where more power isn’t needed. The Fenix E05 runs on a single AAA battery and provides 27 lumens for up to 2 hours and 50 minutes.
Large Flashlight: A more powerful flashlight is needed for search and rescue, signaling and even defensive tactical applications. The MTE flashlight in the picture has a maximum output of 1000 lumens. It operates on one 18650 Li-ion battery or two CR123A Lithium batteries.
Headlamp: If you can only have one flashlight, make it a headlamp. Headlamps are the most practical form of flashlights because they leave both hands free to do whatever needs to be done. Everything from preparing food during a blackout, setting up camp to spend the night or helping disaster victims after the sun goes down, the headlamp makes all that possible. The Streamlight Sidewinder Compact II has several output modes, white, blue, red and IR LEDs to choose from and it can run on multiple types of batteries using a single AA, AAA or CR123A lithium battery.
Soap: A small bar of soap for washing wounds or simply cleaning up whenever possible. You can soap up your head too if shampoo isn’t available. A small bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer is worth including in the Bug Out Bag as well for disinfection purposes when there’s not much water to spare.
Facial tissues: These are good for blowing your nose and cleaning up your hands and face in general.
Box of matches: Stormproof matches kept in a waterproof container are one of the fastest ways of starting a fire. Make sure you have extra strikers inside the waterproof case.
Butane Lighter: A lighter is another effective fire starting tool. Unlike matches, they are mechanically complex and therefore prone to failure. In spite of that, butane gas lighters are very reliable and hundreds of fires can be easily started with one so they do have a place in the Bug Out Bag. The lighter pictured is a refillable Clipper made of translucent plastic so as to see how much fuel it has left.
Candy: Candy provides quick energy for the body when on the go. In the case of dextrose, it absorbs directly into the bloodstream during digestion. The dextrose tablets in the picture are orange flavored and have added vitamin C.
Multitool: A quality multitool of generous dimensions can be very useful for numerous tasks. Make sure the pliers are strong and capable of bending and cutting thick wire without breaking. The multitool pictured is the Leatherman Sidekick.
Food: For most bug out scenarios that will only take a few days you don’t need large quantities of food. The food should be compact, have a long shelf life and require no cooking. Some energy and protein bars, chocolate, hydration drink powder and a pouch of tuna or two will do. MRE meals are a good option but they can be bulky. The flameless ration heaters allow you to enjoy a hot meal, a small luxury that can boost your morale during an emergency situation.
Spare batteries: A case with four AAA batteries. These can be used on the radio and two of the flashlights.
Flat roll of duct tape: Duct tape can be used for different kind of repairs. It can be used for shelter building when used along with the emergency blankets.
Survival Kit Tin: Survival kit tins or Altoids kits contain essential survival gear and supplies. The one in the picture includes: nylon thread, brass wire, 2 x fishing lines, 10 x fishing hooks and lures, 2 x lead sinkers, ferrocerium rod, compass, 2x water bags, metal saw, duct tape, potassium permanganate vial, multitool, mirror, LED light, 2 x plasters, 2x alcohol pads, dressing strip, paper and pen, 5x stormproof matches, 10 x strike-anywhere matches, Hammarö Lighting Paper, 2 x needles, sewing thread and 2 x safety pins.
Money: In the modern world, few things are as useful as a wad of cash. Remember to include a few coins for telephone booths, vending machines and transportation.
Photo: F.Aguirre
Exterior Compartment (left to right, top to bottom)
3M N95 Collapsible respirator: An often overlooked item. The respirator allows you to breathe when there are dust particles in the air. It can also be used during pandemic outbreaks. The collapsible models are more practical to carry around, they adapt well to most faces and the valve makes it more comfortable to use.
Latex Gloves: Gloves should be used whenever helping victims so as to avoid contagious diseases. Even small amounts of blood and other bodily fluids can be dangerous.
First Aid kit: The kit includes bandages, plasters, tape, gauze, aspirin, ibuprofen, diarrhea pills, caffeine pills, antiseptic cream, alcohol pads, amoxicillin antibiotic and super glue (used for closing small cuts).
Celox Gauze: The hemostatic gauze is used to stop hemorrhaging when the bleeding cannot be controlled through direct or indirect pressure.
Ice Pack: Instant ice packs are used to relieve pain and limit swelling.
Emergency Bandage: The Emergency Bandage (also known as Israeli bandage) is used to stop bleeding from hemorrhagic wounds caused by traumatic injuries. The bandage has a built-in pressure bar that helps control bleeding and makes bandaging easier.
These contents are kept in the small exterior compartment of the backpack for quick and easy access. The Celox gauze, latex gloves, Ice pack and Emergency bandage are kept in a plastic container so as to avoid damage and accidental activation of the Ice pack.
Documents Bag
Photo: F.Aguirre
The Documents Bag contains passports and other important papers. It also contains a spare set of keys (house and car) cash, precious metals and a USB Drive with important files.
The Documents Bag or Very Important Papers Bag (VIP Bag) is where you keep your most important documentation such as passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, lease, titles and deeds. These will be kept in a small satchel made of tough, waterproof material. Unlike your BOB, the Documents Bag must be a small satchel. This makes it easy to keep it in a fireproof safe, as well as easier to grab and go in a hurry. A Documents Bag should be light and small, so that if you are wounded or helping a family member in need, you can still carry it with you during the evacuation.
Some of the items to keep in this bag are:
Important Documentation: All important papers, contracts and documents. If original documents can’t be kept here, such as driver’s license or credit cards which are actually used, quality copies of them should be made.
USB Flash Drive: An encrypted Flash Drive that allows the creation of “vaults” in it with different passwords. One of them may contain important but non-essential information in case the person has to handle it over to rescue personnel or government officials for identification purposes.
The following information and copies of documents should be kept in this Flash Drive:
• Important work related documents
• Copy of Passport
• Copy Birth Certificate
• Copy of your Concealed Carry License
• Backup of your Bookmarks and favorites from your web browser
• Copy of Driver’s License
• Email and website name and passwords
• Bank account numbers
• Social Security Card
• Marriage Certificate
• Divorce Papers
• Death Certificates
• Deeds
• Will
• Immunization Records
• Business Licenses and Permits
• Firearms licenses, Class 3 tax stamps
• Firearms Serial numbers, photos, recipes and invoice or ticket of sale.
• Military records
• School Records
• Your Children’s Report Cards
• Diplomas
• Training records and Certifications
• Work Records
• Current Resume
• Copy of your Credit Cards
• Special licenses and permits
• Insurance Records
• Health Insurance Contract
• Auto Insurance Contract
• Homeowner's Insurance Policy
• Rental and Lease Agreements
• Auto Registrations
• Receipts for big ticket items
• Medical Records
• Medications you may need for chronic diseases
• Payments for Car and Mortgage
In a separate vault within the USB drive:
• Photos and video of your belongings, car and house for insurance claim purposes.
• A list of contacts, including names and phone numbers. (Your cellphone may be lost or destroyed )
• Photos and videos of your family, wedding, etc.
Cash: Along with the documents and USB drive, any emergency cash you have should also be kept in this bag along with some of your precious metals. Gold would have a big advantage over silver regarding bulk and weight.
Family Heirlooms: Although the Documents Bag is where important papers, files and money are kept, it also makes sense to keep in it some of the more important material belongings you’d wish to keep safe in case you are evacuating in a hurry. These should be compact and light so as to fit in the small satchel (heirloom jewelry, small trinkets and photos) and not defeat the purpose of the Documents Bag.
 Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: March 19, 2015, 12:05 am
Dear Ferfal,
I just finished your new book, Bugging Out and Relocating, which I
finished in about 3 days. Thanks as always for the thoughtful, practical
In your book, you mention the reinforced security door you installed and
how it helped prevent a break in. Do you have any advice on selecting or
installing security doors? Should I replace the wooden door frames as
well? I cannot find any reliable information on preparedness sites, and
there do not seem to be any installation specialists near me.
Right now, the best I have been able to find are some aluminum security
doors from Lowes or Home Depot.
That does not inspire a lot of confidence in me. However, that would be
a big step up from our old wood doors that could be broken into within
Thanks in advance,
Hello Curtis,
I'm glad you liked my book. You’re right in being worried. The main exterior door is the entrance point in 80-90% of home invasions. Pretty often, the door is forced with a large screwdriver, prybar or simply kicked opened. A solid kick will send most doors flying open instantly.
The door I had in Argentina was an armored door, custom made by a local company. It was made of soldered steel with a special locking system. In America you’ll probably have to pay a couple thousand dollars for something like that. Its extremely heavy as well and wouldn’t make sense to install something like that in a wooden frame house.
If you already have or can get a solid door you might want to try installing a security upgrade kit such as EZ Armor.

Its simple enough and not that expensive. For 58 bucks you can install it yourself with basic DIY.  It reinforces with metal inserts the most fragile parts of the door and frame. Its usually the wooden frame the one that cracks when the door is kicked. While it sure isn’t a bomb proof steel door like the one I had, it should provide some extra peace of mind and a few more valuable minutes to get ready in case someone tries to break in. From a security point of view, its about being a harder target than your neighbor. A door that can’t be easily broken in, an alarm and motion sensor floodlights should go a long way into making you a far less desirable target.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: March 17, 2015, 10:36 pm
SEVEROMORSK, RUSSIA - JANUARY 10: The heavy nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky is seen at the Russian Northern Fleet's base January 10, 2013 in Severomorsk, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded the crew of the Pyotr Veliky the Nakhimov order. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)
Rarely do both CNN and RT report the same story. But this time they are doing just that.
Russia is in “Full Alert” according to CNN, while RT says Putin ordered “massive surprise drills”.
According to Russia’s RT, “38,000 troops, 41 ships, 15 submarines, 110 jets and choppers are taking part in the drills which focus on boosting Russia’s military presence in the Arctic and test how quickly special operations forces can be moved along large distances.” This is being done just as NATO U.S. and several Eastern European NATO countries conduct a series of military exercises near Russia's border. In response, Putin has ordered his Northern Fleet "to full alert in a snap combat readiness exercise" in the Arctic.
I’m not sure if its such a good idea to play “chicken” with a guy like Putin. This is one of those situations that is probably nothing but sabre-rattling, but could also get very ugly, very fast.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: March 16, 2015, 11:52 pm

Argentine carpenter Ricardo Joung was hired by the climber’s club of Bariloche to build a mountain shelter in Cerro Plataforma. The wildfire affecting El Turbio site for several weeks now trapped him and Ricardo went missing for 20 days. He was presumed dead. A rockslide had also fallen on the construction site where he was working. There was little hope of finding him alive until a rescue helicopter found him and sent a team to his rescue.
Quick thinking saved Mr. Joung's life as he signaled the chopper pilot using the blade of his knife. The pilot so the knife’s reflection and alerted the rescue personnel on the ground who later found Mr. Joung, dehydrated and with a wounded leg, but otherwise very much alive and in good health.

Lesson of the day Folks! Black knives may look cool and make sense when taking down sentries in enemy territory, but for a survival knife, get a polished finished blade. Its too bad that most knives offered these days have a dark, textured finish.
A shiny blade can be used for signaling as seen in this recent, real-world incident. It is also much easier to wipe clean. This is important when using the knife to prepare food so as to avoid food contamination, which happens very frequently, leading to food poisoning. This is why a knife intended to be used in the kitchen has a fine stain or mirror polish finish. A polished blade also offers less area for dirt and humidity to hold on to, rusting and pitting the blade.
If you’re looking for a real survival knife, consider these:

The Falkniven A1 is one of the best survival knives, highly coveted by military personnel that want the best.

Ontario 7500 Blackbird SK-5, great 154 CM stainless steel, particularly well-suited for bushcraft.

For a large survival knife, the classic Cold Steel Trailemaster is hard to beat and currently on sale at a 50% discount, making it a pretty good deal.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: March 14, 2015, 6:10 pm

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