This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest by Patton
There are so many things that a prepper has to consider and things to do that it is, at times, very overwhelming. One of the most important considerations is being able to learn new skill-sets and try to find and absorb all the information needed for these skills. With everything to consider, it is nearly impossible to do. Blogs like this and other related websites are very useful tools when gathering and compiling useful and much needed information, however the ability to readily archive all of the vast amounts of useful information can be a daunting task.
As you know, there are literally thousands of useful PDF documents and other information that can be easily downloaded, or “copied and pasted” from web text and make into your own MS WORD or PDF documents. All great stuff, but the question is, “How to save it all?” I would like to offer for your consideration some very easy ways to preserve all of this useful information you acquire so that in a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI scenario it can be readily available to you.
So what I do is gather all of my documents, photos and videos and place them onto thumb drives and other devices. With a single 16gb or larger thumb drive, you can store a ton of documents, photos, videos etc. to reference when you need it. But there are also some other ways that we can also consider to store this information, and more importantly, to protect it.
I first compile my “Library” into a file on my desktop PC. I add new information as I find it. As I said before, there are literally thousands of free .pdf’ documents out there that cover almost every aspect and subject of prepping. I have my information documents categorized in sub-folders with topics such as Gardening; weapons manuals; food storage recipes; recipes; medical references; Water, Solar, Heating, Power; Shelters, etc. Every so often I transfer this “Library” (with all the sub-topic file categories) onto a thumb drive, and then also transfer this onto each one of my two laptops. One of these laptops (which I bought dirt cheap on eBay) acts as my ‘dedicated’ survival laptop.
I keep this laptop in a large Mylar bag and stored in a grounded galvanized trash can with other electronic devices such as two-way radios, batteries, portable radios etc, that need to be protected from the possibility of EMP. I do the same with thumb drives. Just place them into a small Mylar bag and then stick them into an empty metal Altoids mint can. There you go, portable and protected. I always keep one of these Altoid can protected thumb drives in my “go bag” and another thumb drive attached to my key chain. You can even store another extra one in your hidden cache. I also back it up onto an external hard drive. The more backup modes and methods the better.
Another way to not only store your compiled survival library, as well as to get other useful information, is by using an iPod or other similar device (Blackberry, Droid ) to download useful apps which can be used without internet access. I’ve found lots of great (and free) apps on everything from knot tying, first aid, morse code and many more.. I have a 2nd generation 32 GB iPod Touch that can also be used to backup and store my “Library” by utilizing an app called “Folders” that permits the user to transfer PDF, Word, Excel, PPT documents and photos via wireless internet from any PC or MAC computer to store and view later on my iPod Touch. With the Folder app you can create or edit documents and import files directly from the web. It also has built-in unzipping features that allow you to transfer a large number of files in ZIP format onto your device and then unzip them. It’s a great tool. Older generation iPod Touch or other similar devices are easily found on eBay for a fraction of the cost of a brand new one.
So now let’s briefly consider some of the methods that you can power up your laptops, PC, iPod or other electronic library storage devices, especially during a short or long term “grid down” situation. Since thumb drives don’t need power unless they are plugged into your laptop or PC, they only need to be protected and readily available. Laptops can be powered up and/or recharged in several ways: via a generator, a 12 volt solar system with batteries and an 110 volt invertor, or a “cigarette lighter style” laptop power cord adaptor that can be used via a automobile lighter plug in adaptor.
There are also very cheap (but very reliable) adjustable voltage transformers with multi-device prong sets (including a USB prong) included that can be found on eBay which can be plugged in a car lighter battery connection and used to recharge or power your laptop, iPod or other device. I found a nice one on eBay for less than $10. You can also find many very good small solar cell rechargers on eBay (some less than $10) that can be used in a pinch to recharge small devices like cell phones, Blackberry, Droid or iPods. These also come with a variety of adaptors for portable electronic devices. You should also consider buying some extra laptop batteries and carefully store them in your EMP proof storage area..
The key thing to always remember is to have several (always updated) backups of your information library and to keep them protected from the possibility of EMP. The best (and safest) method to store and update your “Library” is to burn it to either a rewritable CD-RW or DVD-RW disk. Disks are safe from EMP, easily portable and storable.
One other consideration in a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI situation is communications and the sharing, transfer and retrieval of information. One of the coolest things I discovered is what is referred to as “Dead Drops.” OPSEC is always a consideration, and the use of “Dead Drops” (implanted thumb drives hidden in various strategic locations) can be used to transfer vital information between people and /or groups. You can learn more about using thumb drive “Dead Drop” locations on the web at http://deaddrops.com/.
It is said that “Knowledge is wealth.” You are going to need all the knowledge that you can get when the SHTF. Having critical information available at your fingertips not only can make things easier, it can potentially save your life. So get your survival library together while there is still an internet, and then safely store it for the eventuality that we all know is coming.
This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:
- First Prize) Winner will receive a gift certificate for $170 worth of Winchester Ammo donated by Lucky Gunner. A Smith & Wesson Heat Treated Collapsible 21″ Baton and a copy of my book Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat.
- Second Prize) Winner will receive a Wise Food Storage meat bucket and 3 dozen Tattler Reusable Canning Lids donated by LPC Survival.
- Third Prize) Winner will receive a LifeStraw water filter system donated by Eartheasy and a copy of the Wolf Pack Cookbook.