Surviving In Argentina

The latest posts from Surviving In Argentina

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
It really depends. To be honest 99% of the time you don’t need a gun in your car's GHB. If you already have a handgun on you, which you should if it’s legal to carry concealed in your area, I'd say that a couple spare magazines for the handgun you carry as part of your EDC will handle 99.9% of your defensive needs when walking back home. It also depends on the use you have in mind and your location. If you're stuck in the middle of Alaska and have to walk back home then maybe protection against large predators is in order.
In general, walking back home is about having a very light pack so as to be quick. If I had to pick a rifle for a GHB, I'd go for a collapsible stock AK. Its still heavy though, and if I can get home walking within a day I'd probably put more importance in traveling light and fast than traveling well armed, get home as quick as I can.
In most cases, the gun you are already carrying will cover your defensive needs. The pictured Glock 31 can be carried daily and packs a punch.

Whatever you do, you want to try out hiking with whatever weight you plan on walking back home with. It’s safe to say that most people tend to overestimate their ability to carry weight in unfavorable conditions. Also think about this: Why are you even walking back home? You had a car accident? Chances are you may be hurt, then your weight carry capacity drops considerably. You may have been attacked, injured, sick, you may have to carry a wounded family member. All these reasons are why l think it’s important to go light and leave behind the items you don’t absolutely need.
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 12, 2015, 10:40 pm

Goes to show that even in Sprague, Washington, population 449, horrible things can happen. Just watch this guy run with the kidnaped baby while his sister and brother chase after them.
An important part of modern survivalism is understanding the potential threats around you. Social predators such as these, they can be found in big or small cities alike. Malls and parks are particularly dangerous, but low population does not guarantee safety for children from such predators. This child was snatched from a park when playing unsupervised.
Keep an eye on you children no matter how safe your community is, and get yourself your CCW!
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: March 12, 2015, 9:30 pm
Dear Ferfal,
I have purchased 2 copies of "The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse". One for myself, a few years ago, which I've read cover to cover and refer to from time to time, and recently, one for my uncle, who has purchased rural property with the intention of moving there for reasons of both personal preference and feeling he will be "safer" there when SHTF. He has those EXACT fantasies that you describe of a 24/7 "patrol" with his buddies....
I understand his preference for rural locations, as I love the countryside as well. I just wanted to present him with your viewpoint/experience re: rural locations---not to dissuade him from moving, but to help him prepare for the challenges he can more realistically expect to face out there should "SHTF" in the US. He "mostly agrees" with the tips and observations in "Surviving the Economic Collpase" and sees the tactical and practical sense in most of your book, but still is clinging to his Walking Dead rural fantasy.
I said to him, "There's nothing to 'agree' with in Ferfal's book. This is what happened. This is what he saw and experienced. I'm not asking you to agree with him---only to be aware of what has actually happened to others so that, in choosing a rural location, you can prepare yourself for THAT."
Anyway. The reason I am writing to you now is because I was very excited to learn that you have a new book out. I read the dedication on Amazon preview, and felt compelled to reach out.
I have not had the experience of leaving family members behind in a country. But I have had the experience of leaving family members behind in order to create a better life for myself and transcend an abusive, toxic, deeply dysfunctional system. A system that was a daily threat to their physical, emotional, and spiritual survival.
Thankfully, while trying to navigate and extricate myself from the most difficult part of it, I was not alone. I had the help of a couple of truly gifted counselors.
I felt such extreme guilt at leaving behind my brother and sister. Just to think of the feeling today---it still crushes me. That sense of guilt and duty and love and desire to protect them almost prevented me from leaving.
However, both of my counselors told me over and over and over again that the best thing I could do to help my brother and sister would be to leave, and make myself whole and healthy.
They said that in doing so, I would provide them a roadmap and permission to do the same for themselves. They said the ONLY thing I could do to truly help them escape, was to escape myself.
I didn't believe them.
But I did it anyway, hoping that there might be some small possibility that they were right.
A decade later, I can say: They were right.
I can't believe it----
They were right !!
But if I hadn't gone first----if I hadn't been willing to have the vision and do the work and pay the price of the fear and guilt of leaving them behind (and not being there to protect them) for the chance of something better for them and myself---then today we'd all still be stuck in the shit. I don't think my sister would even be alive today. It wasn't easy for her. But if I hadn't gone first---she wouldn't have had a reason or the RESOURCES to fight her way through and join me on the other side.
Sometimes I weep tears of gratitude because I never even could have dared to hope that it could turn out as well as it has.
There was no guarantee. Things could have turned out differently. Tragically. How could someone who came from where I did be living the life I am living today? Sometimes it feels like my life is a fairy tale come true.
I am not a 'religious' person per se, but I am sending a heartfelt prayer for you and your family, and I hope that this note can provide some spark of hope in your heart that by getting out, you've provided your family back home with the best chance they've got to reach higher ground.
Much love to you and your family. Thank you for the work that you do.

Hello Angela,
Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed my first book and I hope you like my second one, “Bugging Out & Relocating” as well. Emails like yours just make my day. Whenever I learn that I’ve helped a reader in some way, it gives me more energy and motivation to continue working.
Leaving behind my nephews and grandmother sure was difficult. It was without a doubt the hardest part. Everything else was easy in comparison and it still hurts today, that feeling of having abandoned your loved ones. Sometimes you reach a point in life where you have to carry on and people that are close to you have to go their separate ways, at least for the time being. We stay in touch and who knows? Maybe one day we’ll be living close to one another again. Fingers crossed!
What you say is also true. You have to help yourself first before you can help others. If you’re part of the problem or if you are overwhelmed by them, then you can’t help much at all. Only after you pulled yourself together and can stand on your own can you be the support others need. In my case, being out of Argentina means that whenever my nephews want they have a place out of the country to stay while looking for work abroad or studying. I wish I had family that could have helped me I such a way when I was their age.
Again, thank you so much for your kind words,
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 11, 2015, 9:03 pm

My son had a visible amount of ear wax our doctor told us to use “olive oil”. This was new to me and I honestly didn’t have much faith in it. I had used more traditional ear wax drops before and they had worked ok but I didn’t know about such a use for olive oil.
I was surprised to learn that olive oil has in fact been used for literally thousands of years to treat ear infections and pain as well as removing ear wax. Turns out it works very well! After applying 5 drops three times a day , the following day most of the wax was already falling by the time I applied it the second day.
It is advices to slightly warm the oil a bit (lukewarm, the ear is very sensitive) this helps relief pain and melts the wax better. Although pharmaceutical olive oil is available, it is just olive oil and the one found in most kitchens works just as well.
This is a pretty good tip for everyone to keep in mind, especially those with children!
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 10, 2015, 11:48 pm

Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: March 10, 2015, 1:29 am
First of all, thank you for writing about your experiences in a real-life SHTF. In a protracted SHTF situation like yours, wouldn't the best plan be to simply leave the country? I am living in Canada, and I am both Canadian and Australian, and I figure if Canada's economy were to collapse, then I'm not going to risk my family suffering everything you went through hoping that the country will recover. I would try to get out of the country and maybe move back to Australia.
I don't know whether that option (to leave) was available to you, but if it was: would that have been your plan A?
thank-you for your time!
Thanks S.
By a situation like mine, I suppose you mean Argentina after the economic collapse of 2001. As you probably know, I left Argentina three years ago and now live in Ireland. If that’s what you mean, then yes, when a country goes down like Argentina did, with so much loss of quality of life, crime and corruption being out of control, rampant inflation, overall sociopolitical deterioration, then yes, the answer is to leave and find a better place to reside. At the end of the day, that is for most cases the correct strategy to tackle long-term, worst case events.

Keep in mind, this is purely an objective, impartial point of view. For some people family, patriotism, or what happens in most cases, fear of change, means that they wont leave. Everyone will have his own motives but here we’re looking at it from a practical perspective. Also, understand that these things will take months and even years to develop over time. Crime may spike suddenly, but it may take years until it reaches a noticeable point of no return. The same goes for corruption. The social and cultural degradation may take up to a decade until you notice the extent of the damage done.
Having said this, bugging out abroad shouldn’t be your one and only solution. Its in fact the last one to be used, the more drastic one. You’re talking about leaving your country behind for good. In no way should that be your first reaction.

When is it that you leave then? That’s the million dollar question after all and an important one I try to tackle in “Bugging Out and Relocating. The short version is that you leave when you clearly see that conditions have deteriorated beyond a point that you’re willing to tolerate. If you believe that the situation means that you’re no longer safe enough on the streets to live a normal live, that you can’t plan a financial future because of the inflation and overall economic instability, you see things going downhill for years and you don’t see much of a chance of things getting better then it time to leave. Both personal observations of the reality around you as well as data such as the one I include in the book about crime by country and US state, cost of living, education and live quality among others will help form a better picture of what you’re dealing with objectively and which should be your next step.

No. Bugging Out abroad shuldn’t be some kind of knee jerk reaction. It took me years to make up my mind. In the end we were running out of time because of rapidly deteriorating conditions but we had made up our minds about leaving by then.
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 7, 2015, 1:12 am

OK, some more great real-world lessons from Ukraine and thoughts being translated from Russian speaking forums. I think some folks here will get an aneurysm when they read about big cities being better, people being stuck in the war zone "because of my farm" and big off-road BOB vehicles not being that great an idea. (off road vehicles are actually being confiscated for official use of either faction, expensive cars are being stolen at checkpoints)
The following quotes have been translated by Sygata from a Russian forum and he kindly let me use them here. I fixed a few typos and spelling errors here and there for clarity.

Bugging in, Bugging out and where to Live
Posted by bofors30
When it was just starting in Kiev nobody was worried. Big deal, more unrest in Kiev. The first concerns started to appear after the Maidan shooting . It became obvious that there was no way back. After the annexation of Crimea it became obvious that we were going to have war. Interestingly, almost nobody believed that (there were no war for 70 years). I did not want to believe it either, but in reality was suggesting that the war is inevitable. After the appearance of armed people in Slavyansk I realized that I need to make a decision now. And after visiting Khramatorsk and hearing constant gunfire I had no doubts left.
First decision you have to make is to evacuate or to stay. If you are evacuating, you need to do that as soon as armed groups of people appears. It does not matter if they armed with shotguns or pitchforks. If the government is not capable of stopping them, that's the end. If you react early enough, you still can sell your house and some of your belongings. The later you go, the less things you will be able to sell, and the less things you will be able to take with you. The earlier you go, the easier it will be to settle on a new place.
But, if there are roadblocks set, it is too late to evacuate. Especially horrible there were groups of cars with signs "Children", that tried to pretty much storm through roadblocks under gunfire. There were a lot of those, but a real spike was not when the shells first fall onto our city, but when the city got blocked there was nowhere to go.
Later, about a month after that, there were the same thing going in the opposite direction, when people who thought it will be over in a month started to go back home. But it was far from over.
Posted by valdem01
Usually first evacuation spike is after the place is shelled for the first time. And in the summer people usually were going south, to the beach. In reality, the real combat could have started a month or even more later. By that time people had no money left, and were forced to come back home. Those people are the most scared, they would panic even if an explosion is far away. You also need to take into account the location of the city. City on the single main road could be blocked in a matter of hours. Bigger city would always have an escape route.
Don't think you can get away using back roads - usually there are patrols on most of them and on nearby altitudes and any movement there could be treated as enemies Sabotage-reconnaissance group. And now there are mines everywhere. The safest way out for the family is through the main road and road blocks. A lot trouble comes if you have older relatives - they don't want to go even to a close relatives, but only until shelling did not become constant. When the walls start trembling, they what to go anywhere, but by that time it is impossible.
Probably the best prepping for situations like that is having some money in some stable currency. You can buy what you need (especially in big cities) or you can use those money to settle in the new place.
Posted by Lastmad
What's better - city car or 4 wheel drive... The thing is, even outside of ATO zone you go only through roadblocks. Of course, if you have a 4WD, you can try to ride through fields or forest roads. But, first of all, if any military sees you that would try to stop you or just will start shooting, either side, because there are a lot of Sabotage-reconnaissance groups. And second - the are mines. And there are a lot of them, and they set by both sides without any maps, so that their own troops get blown up.
Posted by Kolhoz
For me everything was clear starting February (2014), and I started preparing. But I did not believe into a full blown war, even though I have prepared. I still have some left - canned food, spaghetti, sereals, bataries, radios, etc.
There are no jobs, at all. Government workers (teachers, police, doctors) are working pretty much for free. I have heard of people getting a can of canned food ant two teabags for a week of work.
I am not leaving because of my farm, and the farm gives me hope for more or less normal life in any case.

Bugging in

Posted by bofors30
If you live in large apartment building, you have no choice but to move to your relatives, or look for abandoned house. In the apartment building everything against you:
Height provokes hits by shelling, sometimes unintentional,
Overall condition of such buildings is not ideal (couple days ago because of the shell that hit an entrance stairs from first to third floor collapsed in the 5 stories building),
Heating (Critical in winter, and if central heating pipes froze, thats unfixable)
Water (Filtration station stopped countless times)
In the house you can concentrate on solving those problem and solve them much faster and simpler then in the apartment.
And the most important thing - the shelter nearby. Running to a shelter from 8th floor under unexpected shelling is useless, but covered dugout in the garden is 80% of your survival. We could not make it in our garden because of ground water, so we used kitchen made of concrete blocks, which saved me when 122mm gift landed in my garden.
Water - your well, or find out where is the closest one. Tap water, if working, is horrible quality, comparably with melted snow from the outside.
I have gas heating and wood stove. Gas was out couple times, but in general it was stable so far.
Posted by Lastmad
Windows... At first, big roll of duct tape was waiting for its time, than we put it on windows, now there is a huge market for rolls of plastic (it just disappeared, and brought here with humanitarian aid). In Donetsk people put Styrofoam wrapped into plastic food wrap in windows instead of double glazing.
Posted by Kolhoz
I had a brick house. Pretty solid, holds on against bullets and small RPGs. Widows covered by bricks, even without cement hold on surprisingly well.
Here is my house. Look at the window on the right on a second picture - the bricks are still intact.

People asked where to live better - suburb, city or village. I think the best is a house close to the middle of the city. All the suburb had combat, in the remote villages were no laws, but in the middle of the city there is always some sort of government.
I am planning to build a new house instead of the old one. My wife told me do whatever you want, but I want a bomb shelter. I am going to build a deep (dual purpose) basement at least 2 meters below the ground. 4 ventilation holes (2 in 2 out), 2 entrances - from the street and from the house, electricity, would stove, put couple bags of charcoal. Make shelves, so that they could be used as beds if needed. Put some shovels there as well.
Posted by Dr. NeWatson
My sister s house in Gorlovka, 2.5 stories, pretty good, was not touched by military. Its a war, tactical consideration prevail against greed.
Posted by Vladar
Tank could break through the gates of your house without opening them if it will improve its position.
Separately standing big house would be a taken for the needs of commander.
When I was walking to my parents house (about 30 min walk) I would attach a label with my name and tell the neighbors where I am going. There I would walk house - well - toilet (I used their toilet to save some water)
If Grad hits near your building - it is not that bad except if it got directly into your window or into the roof. The most dangerous are the fragments. If it hit right under the house foundation, it just breaks the close by windows. It is much worse if it hit the tree or a an electric post - than you would see the fragments trace all around the house front.
Nobody would put bricks or sand bags on the windows, but I put foam pillows there, and slept for two month in the hallway. The basement in my building is very narrow, but I visited my friends. They live in an apartment in a 3 stories building with 2 apartments on each store. they had huge basement, and 3 families from houses without basement lived there. About 10 people lived in a room about 13x32 feet, for about 3 month.
If my neighbor in his apartment keeps large propane tank, I would kill him, and nobody would say anything.
If you leaving the house for a day in such situation throw away everything from your refrigerator. You may come back in 3 month, and door to your apartment will be broken by neighbors because of the smell. If the gas company would say that the gas would be given to the building if all apartments checked for leaks, or if the water is leaking and you did not left the keys to the neighbors - the doors would be broken.

Bug out bag

Posted by Kolhoz
I lived in suburb called Metallist. At first we started to hear gunfire, that tanks and armored vehicles started to come into the neighborhood, first shelling came. For some reason we were still sitting there, nobody wanted to leave the house. And last 3 days we could not anyway. Finally 2 heavily armed guys showed up at my house and said they are going to use the attic, and it would be safer if we move. they gave us 10 minutes to leave the house, and this is were my bug out bags became useful.
I was planning to have 4 Bug out bags, fist one universal - medicine, roll of plastic, rope, some water, second one expanding the first one -kitchenware, warm clothes, etc., but never got time to complete bag #3 and #4.
So we threw into a car whatever those bags and whatever we can find in 10 minutes and under shelling left to a farm on the other side of the city, were we had only unfinished barn. Until now we drinking tea with metal caps from bugout bag.

Posted by bofors30
The problems start when electricity goes off. And generator won't save you. The stores are first to close, phones and internet are not working, businesses are shut down.
Generators are good, but they are confiscated by both sides for the needs of roadblocks, so the noise is your enemy. I "lost" (meaning stashed not to be found) 3 generators, and left only a small 1 kW one.
The thing is, even a low noise generator, when everything dark and quite makes enough noise to be heard. So, I turn it on only during the day, when it is noisy outside and I am sure there no patrols. I charge 12V car batteries, and support my refrigerator and freezer from being completely defrosted.(refrigerator can go 2 days and freezer 4 days without a need for electricity).
Inverters (250W, 350W and 800W) means I can get 220V (220V is standard for Ukraine - sygata) in complete silence. For me that means light, TV, radio and everything else were lower power 220V is needed. One thing, if you have light, cover your windows unless you want some gift to fly in.
Some neighbors are running small generators in the apartments, putting a hose on the exhaust and putting it into a window, covering the generator with the cardboard box and mattresses. The run time is short though because of the heat. I really think small (0.75-1 kW) generator is a must.
Posted by Vladar
We lost power a bunch of time for 1-2 days and couple for 3-5 days.
Power would jump from 15V, that became normal at evening (standard in Ukraine 220V) to 170-180 during the day. Surge protectors is a must. When the power is low, most washers would not even turn on (and at that time you will get water once per 3 days, 5pm-7pm). Refrigerators may work on 150V - 180V but sometimes compressor would overheat. Microwave won't work on low power and charger won't charge the phone.
You need to plan your lighting for 1-2 weeks of independent work. Car battery - LED - Converter 12V to USB. Look for rapid chargers with 12V input, you don't want to sit there for couple hours and wait until 2A charger charges 10A powerbank.
For not covered lighted window you can get a shot into that window from AK. Prices for batteries and candles grew several times. Powerful flashlight is not needed and even bad for you. The one I used is Akoray k-106 with AA battery, put on a min. and Tank 007 as EDC.
The most useful flashlights were two I had with motion detectors.
Posted by Valdam01
I am hiker and out of all my equipment solar panel with battery charger proved to be one of the view really useful items.


Posted by bofors30
It is funny now to read comments from "experts" pointing out that camo jackets and outwear is pretty common and does not surprise anyone now, so after SHTF it would be even more common. They would say that half of population were they live are using woodland or something similar, and that this is not a uniform but just regular clothes.
It was just like that here. But at certain point it disappeared. Even civilian colours. Only military and separatists are wearing those. For the olive M65 jacket I almost got arrested (they thought I am an artillery spotter or something like that). Any green colored clothes stand out like a naked prostitute in the middle of church.
Posted by Lastmad
Camo and any military styles clothes you can wear only if you are in the military. For civilians it is better to have jackets from Gas or another utility company uniform - they they seem to treat you better on the roadblocks and you are not drawing attention.
If you have anything on you that even remotely looks like military you will draw unwanted attention with unpredictable results. If you wear ballistic vest, in the best for you case it will be confiscated for the needs of the army and your house will be searched just in case.
Comment by FerFAL: I’d rather get my vest confiscated if found rather than get killed by bullets or shrapnel but I do see the common theme: If you look “military” in any way, either faction will assume you’re an enemy. The best thing to do is to look as normal as possible, and I for one would get rid of any suspicious material before going through a checkpoint. Great point about camo. Camo only makes sense if you are involved in the conflict. Even olive green color can be problematic. We go back to the gray man approach: Be smart, look normal, wear normal clothes in darker, subdued colors and tones like black, dark, gray, dark blue, so as to not attract attention but not look “tactical”. Even my favorite pants, the 5.11 taclite, would be suspicious for a soldier at a checkpoint with a good eye. Same for tactical footwear. I think it’s a good idea to focus on high end, high quality outdoors gear. These tend to be as good or better than military style clothes and don’t look as tactical. In fact, many special ops prefer premium outdoors gear when it comes to clothing and footwear.


Posted by Lastmad
On a street in your pocket you should have an old black and white Nokia, with a good battery. Definitely without memory card and camera since those will cause a lot of troubles on roadblocks. The more you can go without charging it the better. GPS is working only in some places, mobile network often goes down, Having SIM cards from multiple providers helps, but if found causes questioning on the roadblocks.
Phone that only allows to call or send SMS is much better if you stopped at the check point. And there is a lot of those. Also, people are charging the phones in groups, for example by the whole building, and if you don't have a common charging connector you may not be able to charge it.
Every smart phone or a tablet is a reason for special attention at the checkpoints, roadblocks or by patrol. They would go through you pictures and may or may not give it back.
God forbid you are calling or just holding the phone near your ear when driving through roadblock. Minimum you will be beaten up and the phone confiscated, maximum - go to another world, but only after you would proof that you are not an artillery spotter or a scout. Not many people in Donetsk are talking on the phone while walking the streets.
Posted by Vladar
Wired phones worked while we had the power. Then they had couple weeks of generate fuel worth. Battery on a local station lasted 1 hour.
For the streets only the simplest phone without camera or anything else. In a contact book only Mom, Dad, etc. (unless you want to explain who are each of those other people) For the record in your contacts with inappropriate location code you could disappear for couple days. Smartphone will be checked thoroughly - social media accounts, email, pictures, etc.
You may spent 30 minutes explaining who you wrote what and why.
You need to have a smartphone though - because of the internet. Viber was working better than SMS. There were cases when phone would display "Emergency calls only", but Viber was able to send and receive messages. The only thing you need to buy SIM cards in advance. The starting pack for "Kievstar" was going for 100-200 hryvnas (regular price - 15 hryvnas)
One advice - you need a headset. When you hold a phone in the hands it is not finding connection well, but with bluetooth or wired headset is more convenient for redial, you just push a single button and can redial multiple times. I would tape my phone to the top corner of the window and and would dial while lying in the hallways floor. Or would attach on a tree, where there is a connection and dial standing nearby.
Military on both sides usually willing to help you to charge your phone. In some cases, if the connection present only when you on altitude, that would have somebody standing with you listening to your talk.
In some cases phone would be able to dial after 10-30 retries, or after midnight. SMS could take 2-3 days to go through, and will take 20-60 tries.
Also, keep in mind, when connection is bad, the battery goes down much faster (couple hours).
In the event of shelling don't put info to the internet for couple of hours, especially if it has GPS tagging, since it could be used to correct shelling.


Posted by Lastmad
Radios... you better off leaving them home. And at home I "lost" (meaning hid - sygata) anything decent from Yaesu and to scanners like Aor and Icom. The only thing I have now is Baofeng, that is good enough for scanning and I know I can throw it out without regret if I have to.
In summer a cab I took was stopped at the checkpoint. The cab had a radio, driver showed a copy of a license and was let go. In fall in the same situation the radio could be ripped out of the car and you beaten up(as part of interrogation), especially if don't have the papers). Most cab drivers now using android smart phones.
Posted by Dr. NeWatson
For carrying weapons you may just get beaten up and weapon is confiscated, but carrying radios, binoculars and and complicated looking electronics is just a sadistic way of suicide. And it is wholeheartedly supported by locals, especially after couple missiles hit near the places giving out humanitarian aid.
Posted by Kostikfraerok
In summer time we had a very heated discussion on the roadblock and almost got beaten up for the radio in the cab we took.
Posted by Vladar
The only use I can see for the radios is after close explosions to check on relatives living within your radio range. Thats it! Do not talk about what got hit by missiles, were you can buy bread, etc. Never let the neighbours see radios, you don't know when they will tell about it. Like on the roadblock, they can say: "Hey, my neighbour has the same radio".
For communication I would have prefered a long range phone, like Senao
Posted by Kolhoz
The main goal of the searches on roadblockes is finding radios, weapon, optic sights and other spy equipment. If found, in the best scenario it confiscated, you lightly beaten up. After that you are interrogated and based on the result either arrested or taken for questioning.
None of the HAM operators I know got in trouble.
Friend of mine lives in Schast'e. His house is covered by HF and UHF antennas. Armed forces showed up in his house and offered him a job. He refused and they left him alone.
When my house was searched, here is the radio setup I had:

I just showed my license and there was no problem
In September I asked in commandant's office how to extend the papers and register the radios. They told me to sit quiet and not draw attention. And promised to confiscate at the first sign of trouble.
Yesterday we were hit by Uragan's ( ). After explosions, like usual, ham operators started to talk, we figured out were the explosions are, so I was able to call my friends to check on them. We also determined what type of missiles was used. We also listening police and emergency teams.
Today, I have heard how my friend (70+ years old) talked on the radio with a person from the other side. We figured that out by him mentioning ts-2000 ham radio in a car and the fact that he is making kebab.
One of the ham operators remembered he heard the same guy in the summer. Two other guys started to turn directional antennas. So, basically in 3 minutes we (as a group of HAM operators) identified that person and his location to a 600 yards radius circle on the map.

Comment by FerFAL: Great points on phones. On one hand any smart phone will look suspicious because of its intel ability. The basic phone without camera and no one in your contacts will be checked less thoroughly. Personally, I’d be VERY distrustful of a person with a phone with no contacts other than mom, dad, girlfriend, sister. That to me has spook written all over it. But the point is still valid: They will look into your cell phone, they will check your facebook app and see what you’re up to. You better be pretty neutral and have pictures and comments that reflect that.
At the same time, you need a smartphone so as to go online, talk, connect with people maybe even work or make bank transfers, buy plane tickets. So, you need it, but you have to be careful of what they’ll find if checked and you have to be ready to lose it. My solution. Have both, have a smartphone ready to be checked and have a more basic phone. If it comes down to it, you can try to reason with the soldier and get him to let you keep at least the basis phone. Maybe your son or one of the kids can have it as their personal phone, which would look even less suspicious.
About the radio guy being offered a job. I’m sure that’s exactly what happened, but his position is FAR from ideal. They may come back later and not ASK but they’ll you that you now work for them. Then again, enemy factions may think you are working for them and shell your position or get you with sniper fire. Is the house well placed, with radios, a nice vegetable garden and looks well put together? That’s called a command center my friend, and one side or the other will eventually end up living in it. People in strategically positioned houses, or particularly good houses or structures to set a barrack or command post are either asked or forced to leave.

Medical Care

Posted by bofors30
If 911 is coming, they don't have any medicine with them, Pharmacies are empty, they don't have even common painkillers. If you have chronic disease, your chances are not good. Hospitals are working, but doctors are without salaries. Good doctors are gone (fled the area), the ones that left are not treating you well. Trauma and surgery department are overflown.
Military goes to regular hospitals, doctors just assigning the medicine, getting it is up to you.
In February we decided that we should keep enough medicine to last for my grandma for 6 month. I also got contact lenses for myself enough for 4 years.
Posted by Kolhoz
It became a bit better with the medicine, but still most of what pharmacies offer are herbal teas.
Posted by Valdar
Tranquillizers are a huge deficit. Most pharmacies merged their supplies. One pharmacy was delivering medicine (patients had to pay for it) to people with heart conditions, diabetics, and other chronic disease. In September only most expansive medicines were left in pharmacies.
My friend had to go to the dentist, got into the chair, and at this point there was a power outage for the whole day.
In the hospital there were turning on generator for 10-30 minutes an hour, as they said to charge equipment in intensive care unit. But the power was gone multiple times for up to 5 days.
Ketanov(ketorolac) and similar painkillers disappeared among the first, also Omez (Omeprazole), tranquillizers, antiseptics, bandages. Some specialized medicine you were able to find because pharmacies merged their storages and most people with chronic disease fled.
Posted by Dr.NeWatson
All medicine with unchanged form and colour considered good. But without real need we trying not to use it on kids, elderly, pregnant, etc.
So, here is a real life problem:
You have a patient with pneumonia and collapse, and you have
1. AI-2 ( Russian military first aid kit,АИ-2 ) of unknown year with tetracycline and sulfadimethoxine, that looks intact, but cannot be younger than 1992 (they stopped making those)
2. Ampiox ( this is oxacillin and ampicillin, ), dated to year 2000.
3. Ephedrine manufactured in 1974.
What would you do?
We injected ephedrine, tried microdose of ampiox to check for allergy and injected it when no reaction was found and used sulfadimethoxine. Tetracycline was excluded because of the age and possible toxicity.
For pain prior to hospital we are giving Ketonal/Ketorol + Butorphanol/Nalbuphine. Hospitals have Buprenorphine and Promedol. Large burnes are handled with local anaesthetics, but our hospital does not have burn department.
For gunshot wounds we setting drainage. Fasciotomy is not used because of the low skill level of the surgents and most of them have not even read battlefield medicine guide. Your body encapsulates small shrapnel just fine.
Tetanus injection should be made to all wounded, and we trying to enforce this, but in reality it may or may not happen.
Also for wounded we use injections or IV with contrykal or gordox. If there is a wounded enemy soldier, I will not treat him unless I have a direct order.
I am against the use of tourniquet by non-medics. Especially because a lot of people when facing the choice to die or become disabled are choosing to die. Long and tight elastic bandage will press a small/medium blood vessel same good and much safer. ( with tourniquet neuromuscular injuries are common). Major blood vessel injury is equal to amputation, nobody would bother making blood vessel suture. From my point of view two tourniquet per group - one carried by medic and one by commander or by sniper is more them enough. Looks like Sweden figured this out, their first aid kit has a semi-elastic bandage.
My friend almost committed suicide - he thought he lost a leg, but then he figured to look, and saw it intact, he just didn't feel the leg because of the tourniquet.
Looting/Confiscations by armed forces
Imagine the suburbs of the city. The following group enters: pickup track L-200 with large calibre machine gun, two sedans with no tags but some armed forces markings and two large KRAZ.
A group of 20-30 people with guns wearing balaclavas gets out and goes to closest house.(is it random or by someone tip is different question). The owner opens, and they asking to see the documents of everyone in the house and permission to look around the house. In the first house the owner had no problem with that, and they did not even go into the house. In the next one the owner shows the documents, but refuses to let them to search, and as the result that owner is on his knees with a gun to his head and the house is turned inside out. And it goes like that on the whole street.
Special attention payed to the people without documents, or if the address in the document does not match this place. If you are a citizen of another country, depending on a country you could be detained.
A lot of thing if found, confiscated: weapon, regardless licensed or not, radios (after interrogation - why do you have them), generators.
If camouflage clothes found, balaclavas, hunting/military knives, etc, they are confiscated, and you need to prove to them that you are not an enemy soldier, and to yourself that you are not a moron. Also, if found, gold, worm clothes, gas canisters, flashlights, etc.
Posted by Vladar
Abandoned house will be looted, may be even by neighbors, that later will blame military. If a non regular army comes to a village, they would loot houses of local officials and business that support the other side.
If the village is on a way of combat, some forces are moving in, some retreating, both would definitely stop by to get something.
If the village is under control by the same force for a long time, the only not-abandoned houses looted will be the once of the people suspected in collaboration with another side of the conflict, and that would be as a "house search".
If military occupies some business building or a factory for more than 5-10 hours, all safes are going to be open.

The sign on the following picture says "Will look after you house during the war". This is actually very useful. A lot of people left thinking it is for 1-2 month, and no cannot come back. People looking after the house may fix windows or heating, mail you some things you left, etc.
If some store gets hit, it considered open and is looted. In some cases some good people were taping the process and gave the recording to the owner, but nobody was punished.
Home improvement/construction stores are either looted, or closed by local government (declared a strategic supply reserve)
  It goes without saying that not all situations are the same and what works well or makes sense in one specific case may not in another. Survivalism has no black and white answers. In fact, the key to survival is adaptability. Learn and adapt. Adapt the things you learn to your specific case. Having said that, by far the best source of information to learn from is real world events, other people's real experience. Too often we hear about survival “experts” telling others that things will go down this way or another and when you confront them with FACTS, things that actually happened, that actually went down a certain way, the answer usually floats around something along the lines of: "...yeah... but it would be completely different here, cuz this is 'Merica!". And if you ask why is it that they rather not learn from things that have actually happened, rather than prepare based on what they see on "The Walking Dead" the answer doesn’t make much more sense and it goes along something like "... cuz... this is 'Merica!"
Don’t be that guy. Learn from these experiences, from what others have gone through. It may not happen exactly the same but there are a TON of similarities, there always are. This is much more useful than wasting time debating the survival lessons seen in some TV series.
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 4, 2015, 8:40 pm

The war in Ukraine is a tragic event but it’s one that we can all learn from. Nothing provides as much valuable information as real world situations where ordinary people are forced to deal with extraordinary events. At the end of the day, the war in Ukraine gives us plenty of examples of what works and what doesn’t, and while personal experience is important, the wise person learns from other people’s mistakes so as to not repeat them himself.
There are several articles explaining what people are going through in eastern Ukraine right now. This article over at dailymail provides a good visual image of what people are going through. There’s also a thread in survivalist boards where a Dunbass resident that goes by the name of George1980 has been posting, sharing his experiences. I highly recommend reading it if you have the time.
Using this information, here are twelve important lessons based what has happened so far in Ukraine:
Ruined building: An apartment in the neighbourhood is destroyed and abandoned after being hit by artillery rounds in Donetsk, Ukraine
1)Artillery & infantry beats survivalist hero fantasies. Every. Single. Time.
Maybe the most obvious lesson to be learned is how miserably all these fantasies about forming survival groups, living in a retreat while fighting against impossible odds would ultimately fail. There’s simply no surviving against an occupation force when facing them as an individual or small group. Houses, towns and even entire cities can eventually get surrounded and overpowered. A single house or compound represents a laughable resistance to organized armed forces, let alone ones with artillery and air support at their disposal. Once shooting at your position is no longer fun, they’ll just blow you up. It’s as simple as that.
The Station Kharkiv volunteers help centre at Krasnotkatska str
A refugee woman receive humanitarian aid at the “Station Kharkiv” volunteers help centre at Krasnotkatska str. Kharkiv, Ukraine.
2)Cover the basics. Food, water, shelter and medicines.
In various parts of eastern Ukraine, People are suffering the lack of water, electricity and food shortages. You need to store food, food that requires no refrigeration and little or no cooking. You need water, not just a water filter (which you should have as well) but actual jugs of water. For true emergencies and survival situations, just like you can’t have too much food you can’t have too much water. Have a well, have a river, if nothing else keep an eye out for large barrels on sale and keep some full of water. Even the jugs for carrying water become valuable. Have a good supply of medicines: ibuprofen, vomit and diarrhea medicine, liquid ibuprofen for children, bandages, diapers, formula and antibiotics. Antibiotics are the difference between life and death when you need them. Have lanterns, flashlights and lots of batteries. Get and emergency crank radio. Get a solar charger for your phone and batteries. Have alternative means of cooking and heating. A wood burning stove may do the trick, but make sure you always keep extra wood stored for emergencies. Maybe you’re lucky enough to still have power, if so an electric burner can be put to good use then, saving other fuels for when power goes out. Have extra fuel in storage for your vehicle, enough to make it to your potential bug out location in case you have to leave in a hurry. Have a tent and sleeping bags. These can be used not only for sleeping in tents, but also if you happen to find yourself in a refugee camp during winter or in an unfurnished flat after evacuation or if you’re staying with friends or family.
In a shelled city, underground is the only safe place to be, to some extent at least. An actual bunker would be ideal, but people try finding shelter anywhere underground. In buildings, windows and doors are covered with sandbags and people sleep in the interior room away from exterior walls and windows. Windows never survive shelling. The broken glass makes it impossible to stay warm in winter. Plastic sheeting can sometimes be used to close openings and still allow light in, but this is far from an ideal solution and he loss of heat is substantial.
Light relief: The basement has working electricity, meaning the children can watch television while they take refuge from the fighting 
3)Don’t get involved.
From a survival perspective, the best way to go about conflicts that can develop into violent clashes is to not get involved in the first place. Avoid going to protests and marches. This is especially true in cases such as the one of Ukraine, where people are seen on one side or the other during protests and clashes, often filmed. Something as simple as a rival remembering your face from the rallies can land you in jail or worse. In this kind of situation, it’s even neighbors, former friends and coworkers that may remember your political affiliation. They may end up mentioning your name to the new authorities and they will come after you.

4)Attitude, clothes, and gear can get you killed or arrested.
Here is where the gray man approach comes into play. Be as neutral as possible not only regarding your actions and behavior, but also when it comes to insignias, clothes, and gear. Even beards or unusual or characteristic hair styles can get you in trouble. According to George1980 “There was very unpleasant situation on the Ukrainian check-point, when one soldier wanted to arrest me as separatist)) Fortunately, my wife and daughters were with me and this soldier did not stopped me. Problem was that I have a beard and, may be, my face was very “suspicious” ))) Soldier told me that)”.
Checkpoints in Ukraine are there for a reason: finding enemies. Having a weapon can get you into trouble, but also things such as maps, GPS, political propaganda, radios, this can all be consider espionage material. Adventurers traveling around the world have often mentioned how they get arrested in war zones because of their cameras and laptops. You’re not local, you have electronics capable of being used for communication, then you’re a suspect until proven otherwise. Lots of people have GPS, radios and maps in their Bug Out Bags. Just make sure to be smart about it and understand that in some cases, when dealing with factions fighting over power, it can get you in trouble and its better to get rid of some of it before reaching a checkpoint.

5) Learn to deal with checkpoints.
In checkpoints, women and children aren’t as carefully inspected as men. Private vehicles are checked much more thoroughly than public transportation. Maybe you’re better off taking a bus or train. Its important to travel light and be in good health and properly dressed to walk long distances if needed. Bribes may be needed so have cash. A hidden weapon may get you killed or arrested. Is it worth the risk to conceal a handgun among your belongings while evacuating? Probably not, but you’ll have to decide that yourself given your specific situation. Valuable items such as jewelry, cash and even electronics may be “confiscated” or downright stolen by the troops. Conceal them as well as you can. Cash and small gold coins can be hidden in shoe insoles, inside children toys or dirty diapers in the baby’s diaper bag. Coins can be sewed under jacket patches and insignias, under buttons. Women have managed to hide small rolls of cash inside them as if they were tampons, placed inside condoms. Refugees have swallowed small gold coins and jewelry so as to be recovered later. Desperate times call for desperate measures. When it comes to gold vs silver, gold is more compact and easier to hide. I wouldn’t like to swallow 1000 usd worth or silver coins!

6)Guns can save you, but they can also get you killed.
According to George1980 “separatists very afraid Ukrainian saboteurs on their territory and try to catch every man with gun who are not from their “Army”.”
Are you fighting along with one of the factions involved? If not, then make sure you’re not confused with one. If you just want to be left alone, then don’t openly carry a gun. Openly carrying a weapon means you are a fighter on either side of the conflict. If you’re not with either one, BOTH will consider you an armed enemy. At the end of the day a gun can save your life, but in a world of no easy black and white answers a gun can also get you killed. Keep any weapons concealed, and be ready to ditch them, sell them or cache them depending on the situation you are involved in. Just going gun-ho is not the one and only answer to all problems.
I sure would like to be armed if I was still in Argentina today. If there’s trouble, 1000 bucks will most likely buy any cop’s silence. At the same time, in the 70’s during the military Junta and state terrorism, going around armed in Argentina wasn’t a good idea if you wanted to avoid trouble. If you were caught and found to be armed, the security forces would immediately assume you were a montonero, a leftist terrorist, and you would be tortured, executed or go “missing”. During these torture sessions, people that had no involvement would often mention the names of innocent people, just to stop the tortures. Just being in the wrong phone list of a coworker or fellow student was enough for the security forces to pay you a visit.

7)Get a Glock 9mm and a rifle with a folding stock.
As explained earlier, you want to be able to conceal your weapons. Eventually, you may have to leave behind you rifle and even your handgun. You sure won’t be boarding an evacuation plane with one. What about going through check points? Is it worth getting killed or arrested? Or are you better of selling you gun to someone that is staying behind, grab a few extra hundred bucks just as you board a bus or train leaving the conflict area? You want a gun that is ubiquitous, that fires a common round and has a well-known reputation. Basically you want a great weapon that works well for you, but you also want a weapon that is eventually easy to sell as well. Conflict or not, Glocks and AKs are great staples.

8)Passports and ID are crucial.
When traveling away from the conflict zones in Ukraine you better have your ID. Soldiers at checkpoints will want passports, driver licenses or other ID proofs. They may not ask for them all the time, but if they do, you better have them. They will want to know as much about you as possible. If you get the chance to leave the country, you better have your passport ready as well. Other countries are already refusing offer asylum to refugees. Here is where a second citizenship would be just priceless. While others are refused entry, having an EU passport would mean you could just board a plane and start over elsewhere while others are refused entry entirely or have to go wherever they offer asylum. Because of this, having updated documents is very important.
Many Americans fail miserably at this part and just don’t understand how important it is. My parents grew up in Argentina during the 70’s. Even years after the end of the dictatorship, I remember the look on their faces if they forgot their wallet when going out. They were terrified. Back in the day, getting stopped by the police and being caught without your “documentos” meant you weren’t making it back home that night. If you couldn’t prove your ID, you were considered an enemy/extremist/spy. The Triple A (Argentine Anticommunist Alliance) were constantly looking for left wing activists. People have been arrested and tortured just because they had long hair or dressed like hippies. You wanted to be as gray as possible, literally gray, so as to avoid being thrown inside one of the Triple A’s infamous olive green Ford Falcons, never to be seen again.

9)Cash is king
Food was still available in Donetsk, but people just didn’t have enough cash to afford it. With inflation being about 30% a month, food prices go up accordingly, so you’re better off with Dollars or Euros rather than local currency. They may not be accepted in some chain stores, but you can exchange them on banks or on the streets at the ongoing currency exchange rate, protecting your savings from inflation and only changing for local currency as needed.
At one point George1980 said “So my conclusion is so: cash is main tool of survivor!”
I couldn’t agree more.

10)Work on your EDC
The poorest refugees arrive by train and bus, while those with means come by car.
When bombs began falling close to an elderly woman's home near Lugansk's airport, "the granny grabbed her granddaughter, and they jumped on a train and came here with only the clothes on their back," Shapoval said.

One day it may be all you have to work with. George1980 mentioned how important a good multitool was, how at times it was the only tool he had after leaving Dumbass and moving into an empty flat. This is a actually a great point. I always think of my everyday carry kit in such terms. If the flashlight I have in my pocket right now is the only one I’ll ever have or the one I’ll have to use to get by for years. Which one would I rather have? If my folding knife is the one I’ll have for defending myself, for prying open a window or a door after artillery hits my home or for preparing food, what kind of knife would I like to have? How about having to sell that knife for much needed cash or use it to bribe a Ukraine or Russian soldier in a checkpoint, which knife and multitool would I like to have to bargain with? What if I have to leave with nothing but the clothes on my back, I evacuate on foot with my family, everyone soaking wet, can I start a fire? As a matter of fact, do I even have enough cash to buy bus or train tickets for everyone?

11)Open an off shore account
Greece, Ukraine, Iceland, Argentina, doesn’t matter where it is, when things get ugly, the currency starts devaluating and banks close their doors you’ll want an off shore account. Maybe you keep some of your savings there. Maybe you make a transfer just in case when you hear some bad rumors floating around. Transfer fees aren’t very high and its cheap insurance. One thing is for sure: Just like you can’t buy a gun when bad guys are kicking down your front door, you cant open an account in a foreign country just when the local economy is about to go to hell. You need to do these things ahead of time. An offshore bank account means you can keep some of your savings abroad, move money around, move elsewhere and keep you money safe even if your country if falling apart. People in Ukraine sure understand the value of such an asset.

12)Be ready to bug out and know when to do so
If there is one thing we can learn from the war in Ukraine, as well as war and conflict in other parts of the world, is that not being there is the best thing you can do to ensure your survival and well-being of your family. Always have a bug out abroad plan, no matter who you are or where you live. Just think about it. If you had to leave your country today, (don’t think of all the reasons you wouldn’t, just for a second, think about it as if you didn’t have an option). Where would you go? Do you know someone there that can help you?
Finally, know when it’s time to leave. This is something I address and emphasize in my book “Bugging Out & Relocating”. It’s about having a plan but also crucial, it’s about executing it at the right time. Those that hesitate, those that choose denial when the signs are all over the place, they may live to regret that. A day too late, an hour too late may 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: March 3, 2015, 12:14 am
Another wealthier Seattle neighborhood considers private patrols to
combat large increases in crime.

It reminds me of what you've written about Argentina. It just seems to
be happening at a slow but steady pace here in the greater Seattle

Hello A,
More poverty, more crime, and the same solutions that were implemented in the third world are now taking place in America. Even the fee sounds familiar. Around 20USd a month sounds pretty reasonable.
This is yet another great example of this grey area I always make reference to, the difference between fantasy and reality. In the fantasy world WROL spreads after whatever disaster and brave survivors fight for the scarce resources left in some romanticized post-apocalyptic world. The real world is far less melodramatic. No raiders, no looter refuges, just crime, ordinary, daily, slow grinding crime and on the meantime you still have to show up to work to pay the bills and send kids to school. There’s no neighborhood patrols and no final epic battle with the final boss, leader of the raiders and looters. There’s just years of having to deal with constant crime and theft which unfortunately doesn’t end with the slaying of some boss like it happens in movies and videogames.
Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: February 27, 2015, 10:50 pm

Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: February 26, 2015, 10:12 pm

Pulled out a #10 can of Idahoan potato flakes from our year 2000 stocking days, it was dated with an expiration of 1999. Before even looking around the web for the real shelf life of these cans I opened one (seal still good), did the visual test, the smell test even ate a few flakes, they seemed fine. Cooked up a batch and they tasted like fresh bought. Granted they have been stored at a dry, cold and dark 55 deg temp. But one should never assume that is enough. I know there are a lot of potato flake packaged products out there that include an oxygen absorber in the can, they will go 30 plus years. This original Idahoan can had no oxygen absorber included but obviously was prepared and packaged right and is just fine. After reading your comment, “I like this stuff a lot. It stores almost indefinitely as long as it’s kept dry.” I just wish to confirm that good advice. Good luck with this site and the future.

Hey JM, thanks a lot for sharing your experience. Potato flakes are one of the foods that store best. Kept dry and sealed away from bugs they practically last forever. Keep in mind that the ancient Incas would just stomp on them, crush them flat and leave them to dry on the windy Andes mountains for a few days before storing for years. This process is known as Chuño and it is still used today.
Potatoes may not be the most nutritious food but combined with other staples and vitamins it will keep you alive and going. I happen to like mash potatoes and we do eat them somewhat often.
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: February 25, 2015, 9:36 pm

Eat them when pregnant and expose your kids to them from an early age seems to be the way to go. In doing so, a child is ten times less likely to become allergic to nuts.

The study followed hundreds of children from the time they showed a slight sensitivity to peanuts -- between 6 and 11 months old -- until they were 5 years old. Those who avoided peanuts were more likely to develop full-blown peanut allergies than those who didn't, according to the study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Only 1.9 percent of those who were exposed to peanuts early developed the allergies compared with 13.7 of those who developed allergies after avoiding peanuts, the study showed.
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: February 25, 2015, 9:22 pm
A couple years ago I put together a few survival kits (no, I don’t have any left). I included a piece of saw with some duct tape wrapped around one end so as to use it as a handle and to keep some tape available in the kit. The hacksaw blade can be used as a firesteel striker and the saw can be used to cut metal. A few days ago I had to cut through an old lock and decided to try using the saw in my kit to see how well it worked in real life conditions. It did take a few minutes but it did cut through the lock.

This is a simple tip for when putting together small survival kits such as altoids and other tin kits. You can also sharpen the other side so as to use it as a knife. A wharncliffe style tip can be grind into it, well suited for detail cutting.
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: February 24, 2015, 12:30 am

Author: TheModernSurvivalist
Posted: February 24, 2015, 12:23 am
I read a variety of news websites. I don’t trust any, but I read several. One of the websites I pay attention to the most is RT news. Yes, Russian Today, which I know has an obvious pro-Russian bias, just like all other media corporations tend to be biased in favor of the interests they represent. The pro-Russian agenda regarding Ukraine is clear, but their economy reports are pretty good. Keeping all this in mind, I find RT surprisingly “fair and balanced”.
A gem in RT is Max Keiser’s Keiser Report. Below is an episode you just have to watch. It involves Zombie economy, Greece debt crisis, Hillary Clinton, Goldman Sacks and corrupt banking in London and Wall Street. Do yourself a favor and find the 25 minutes to watch this one!
Keiser Report – 716

The book recommended in the show is “Austerity: The Demolition of the Welfare State and the Rise of the Zombie Economy”. His Episode 720 on the HSBC is also Fantastic by the way.


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: February 20, 2015, 9:34 pm

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