By: C.E.Ostrander

The pastime of prepping for survival has been in style now for almost twenty years. Starting with Y2K folks began to stock up on food, gear and equipment in case the lights ever went out for good. Today, the threats to mankind seem to be adding up at an alarming pace. Back when I started gathering my gear a person had to read a book to learn about prepping. Today it’s as easy as swiping your credit card. Anything the modern prepper could ever desire is only a click away. That has led a lot of folks to focus on their gear pretty heavily, so much so that it seems at times we may run the risk of forgetting why we are prepping and what it is we are truly afraid of in this world. Our planning has evolved from dealing with a local emergency all the way to full-on apocalyptic survival. Which is not the worst idea, but I have always been a proponent of the maxim, “the more I know, the less I need.”

I think it’s time, as preppers, to rethink our understanding of a crisis and what our role in one might really be. Understanding the theory of crisis and all of its associated chaos is in itself a survival tool. Developing a pragmatic understanding of the sequence of events we may encounter during a crisis and walking ourselves through the scenario is mandatory. In the real world, disasters are usually very, very ugly, and very random and chaotic. A disaster in our own neighborhood would be hideous. They are a thing that hopefully none of us should ever have to experience first hand. But what if disaster was unavoidable?

The truth is, going Rambo will probably get you killed if things in your world go south in a hurry. We are not soldiers, we are citizens. We are not in a war zone just yet, so we must remain discreet and compliant in order to be prepared every day. So we ask ourselves the important questions. What does a regular guy or gal do when a crisis strikes? How would I handle myself? What would a crisis look like in my neighborhood? Would I be ready? If I was out and I had to get home in a hurry, how would I survive? And what would I do when I made it home? For many of us, these are the questions that started it all. Now, almost twenty years later, I think it’s important to reflect on what we have learned, and make the greatest effort possible to rethink some of our preps and our strategies. As we have focused more and more on the big picture over the years, I believe the value of simplicity may have been lost to some modern preppers.

As for myself, what I have learned is, sometimes less is more, speed is life, and patience is a victory. If we don’t wish to perish, we will adapt. With that in mind I would like to speak to the experienced prepper and the beginner alike, and to share with you some of my thoughts on preparing for a crisis. It is my hope that we can gain greater insight into our predicament by re-examining the crisis scenario and its implications for us all as we go about our day to day lives, and that taking a second look at our strategies and equipment for dealing with calamity may allow us to simplify our plans and equipment even further, and hopefully tip the scales even more in favor of our survival.

In other words…

If your GHB is light and tight, your ground plan is versatile, and your mind is adaptable, you will survive. If our BOB or BIB is stocked and staged and the plan is agreed on we will survive. If you are gear-heavy, totally green and have a head full of fear, indecision, and fantasy, the slightest turn of events may just be enough to stop you in your tracks. So let’s take a fresh look at a classic scenario and try together to construct a proper response.

WHERE: Your Town!
WHEN: Who Knows?
Ready, set, SURVIVE!

Every day we go to work, we go to the store. We go to our friend’s houses, and we go on vacation. We go out to eat, or sometimes we pick up some quick groceries. A lot of us have automobiles, and plenty of people still walk, ride a bicycle, or use public transportation. As we move around this earth, we can only carry so much, think about so much, and accomplish so much at one time. Most of us keep a great deal of our tools and supplies at home. And our transportation just does not allow for us to pack the whole kitchen sink when we go out. It’s house, to car, to job, back to car, to store, back to car, and finally, home. Maybe it’s not the best system, but it works. Over the years, we eventually just stop giving it much thought. And if nothing too bad ever happens to us during this ritual, then we stop thinking about it at all. And eventually, we become unprepared.

How then should a person react, when there is a crisis, and they need to find safety and security right now? What should they do? It’s a tough question, because most of us have never been in that situation before. But humans are intelligent, and when confronted with a thing greater than ourselves, we adapt and we overcome.

Whenever something happens to me I don’t understand, something I can’t predict, I am always left full of questions. Why didn’t I see that coming? How can we know what’s going to happen? How will I know what to do? The uncertainty can be paralyzing. How does a modern person cope with the specter of constant uncertainty?


The ability to make and use complex tools is the only reason you are here now. If not your ability, then the ability of others who came before us to make and use tools, has made our existence possible. Those tools can be physical, mental, or spiritual, but the idea is to develop a toolkit and to learn the best time and method of its application. How is this done? How can a human know what to have and when or how to use it?

Some of us are naturally talented, but talent will only take you so far. The rest of the solution requires work and wisdom. Wisdom is a three part formula. The first ingredient is knowledge, the second is experience, and the third is what is commonly called luck. We learn from yesterday in order to have a better tomorrow. We construct tools through trial and error, and if we live to tell about it, we hope that our tools and our wisdom can create certainty in the outcomes of our endeavors, and will mitigate the threats of the unknown. This is the basic premise of prepping and we all do it.

We are a world of preppers in a universe of possible problems and possible solutions. We, as a species, have become fairly adept at this game of cat and mouse. But there is one type of problem which trumps all the others. The Unknown. How does a person plan for and gain knowledge and experience of uncertainty, and how can we develop the wisdom needed to navigate an unknown? By building a toolbox and learning how to use it.


Nothing in our existence is truly static. Unfortunately, most of our tools, language, and desires are crafted towards stasis. When everything is working, uncertainty, change and the unknown seem like distant problems which will never harm our existence too badly. They can be planned for and controlled and the effects can be dulled, and tragedy avoided, and tomorrow can be a new day. Especially if we have a little insurance.

Being prepared for a world-wide event, which encompasses all aspects of the daily life of all humans, and which has the possibility of changing all of our lives and our descendants lives, forever, is just not the easiest thing to plan for. And so, most of us don’t. Why is it acceptable for a government to plan for catastrophe, but not for the individual? Because we leave it up to the experts and we have faith that they will know what to do when a crisis strikes. But past crises have shown us all that the government does the best it can, but even under the best of circumstances a government response is usually very slow at the onset of calamity, just when folks need the help the most. This is when a little planning on the part of the citizenry could greatly ease the burden of an emergency.


So let’s start with the big picture. The hard truth of it is that the professional who hunts a little, has some protection, and has bought a good amount of preps but never used them and does not take any with him when he leaves his home, is not prepared. Does he require medication on a regular basis? That could be a problem during an emergency if he does not carry any extra doses on him. Add in a family and a house in the suburbs to have to rush home to and the situation becomes even more complex. If his lifestyle was different he might have had time to test things a bit and work out some concrete facts about himself and his preps. But he is a specialized businessman with a modern family in a first world city. This is a major obstacle for most people as it means changing their identity and their habits, two things most humans are not at all interested in changing.

If the lifestyle you have chosen will be supported by society throughout the entirety of your lifespan, with no significant changes, then hey, no big deal. But if not, then your journey to becoming prepared for that change must also begin with a hard look at how and where you are spending your days, and what you are becoming as a person while you are busy trying to make a living, have a career, and raise a family. This is a choice we must all make for ourselves. When it comes to habits, time is on your side, until it’s not! This is why it is of the utmost importance to put forth the effort to practice with your preps. It is impossible to know what you need until you do a thing. It is equally impossible to discern what you do not need, and what will get you killed. Alas, survival is not a one size fits all endeavor. What you will require is different than what others will. Only practice can reveal these insights.

Some of us may choose relocation to address some of our safety concerns, but what if you have a good reason to live in an unstable environment? You might be taking care of your elderly parents, or have a child that requires access to a hospital on a regular basis, a job which requires a town to support it, or your spouse just doesn’t enjoy living in the country. These are all real things that require your time and presence and are legitimate reasons for living a more exposed lifestyle. With that in mind, let’s explore some of the common survival strategies available to an individual or a family in these circumstances.


What turns a bad situation into a crisis? Ideology, scarcity of resources, and evil are the top three drivers of the conflicts we experience in our lives. There are many sub-groups and many reasons, but these are the main reasons responsible for the pain and suffering we experience and inflict on each other. Weather and the environment play a part, but they have no choice and are mostly without blame.

Today we live with what we call a just-in-time delivery system. Most people do not have stores of supplies, nor do they have tools or parts to make repairs, nor do they own many repairable items. The general statistics are that people only have about three days of food at home, nine meals, between them and hunger, and almost no water. And people need many more things besides food and water to survive. So, although a clash of evil and ideologies may be responsible for your current predicament, now the immediate and local problem you are facing in a major crisis is a scarcity of critical resources.

A hungry, tired, confused person who has no resources, has no idea when the lights will turn back on, and has a family, has the potential to become a dangerous person indeed! There are over 300 million people in America. There are roughly 3 million preppers and 3 million Law Enforcement Officers and military. But 20 million people apply for hunting permits in our country each year. And there are at least 200 million functional firearms here. That’s a lot of firearms in the hands of a lot of unprepared and scared people.

Basically, it’s a free for all without martial law. But, of course, the imposition of martial law may only exacerbate the scarcity of resources. There are not a lot of options here unless you are already a self-sufficient family living miles away from anyone, in a very remote location. For most of us, a city, town, or suburb is where we will find ourselves at the onset of a crisis. If you knew that you could walk home, safely and comfortably with the help and cooperation of your fellow human beings in the event of a crisis, then we would not be having this dialogue. But if you are in a populated area during a storm, retreating to your cave as quickly and quietly as possible may be your best and only option.


In preparation for the unknown, the ability to create an accurate self-assessment might be the most powerful tool a person can develop. Strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, and needs are important things to be able to define and understand about one’s self. Do you live in the mountains or in the woods? In a city or suburb? Near a population of like minded folks, or in contention with your neighbors? If your goal is to survive anything and everything, but you require a wheelchair, or medication to survive or are agoraphobic, your toolkit will likely differ from that of another with different liabilities. If you are an excellent hunter, great with robotics, or an expert way finder, your tools will be different from those around you. Some general tools will be useful to almost everyone, and some specific tools to only one person. Some tools cover for liabilities, while others enhance assets. These are all things a person must take stock of in order to prepare themselves for the unknown, and for total calamity. In short, we must make an honest accounting of ourselves if we are to have any chance of assembling a useful tool kit. And we must recognize that adaptability and the desire to live are our greatest assets in this kit. Without the correct mindset to meet your challenge, all of the gear in the world will not save you.

In regard to strategy and conflict, it has been said that no plan ever survives first contact with the enemy. I personally believe this is true. Awareness of this knowledge should have a general overall impact on preparations of any type. It is a theme which goes hand in hand with uncertainty and the unknown. In developing a strategy to deal with a total breakdown of society or a world war, a person must admit that they may never have the opportunity to employ their chosen strategy. A specific strategy must be developed in order to make decisions about the tools you will need, and then those tools you have assembled must be judged against their adaptability and usefulness if the strategy you have chosen is no longer available.

If your plan goes out the window in the first hour, you must ask yourself if the preps you have assembled will be rendered useless by this sudden change, or if they can be reapplied to the rapidly evolving scenario. This type of filter will drastically aid in your ability to value your kit accurately. After all, a person can only carry, own, and service so much without outside help, so we must choose wisely.


In the first world, anything that negates normal modes of transportation, commerce, and utilities will cause quite a stir if the scenario is sufficiently scary or chaotic. Anything that happens in the world, your country, or in your neighborhood that is scary enough to cause everyone to get in their cars at once and head to the hills will cause a lot of logistical problems which may be accompanied by violence and confusion. Because we can not know the timing of such an event, a little insurance is warranted. And this insurance is known as a Get Home Bag.

A Get Home Bag is the core of our preps. It should consist of the basic tools and clothing you will need to make your way home in a crisis which affects transportation, communications, and utilities. It’s tools and contents can be discovered by accurately assessing your needs, experience, liabilities and assets, your goals, the landscape you must travel through, your strategy for achieving success, and their overall adaptability to a changing environment. There are seemingly many, many solutions to this problem, but only a few that will work for each of as an individual. But we all have basic needs, and there are some things which none of us would be able to do without.


Protecting your home and family and returning to your safe place is paramount in the thinking of most during a crisis. This state of mind immediately puts us in deadly contention with anything that we may encounter as an obstacle and fosters a you or me attitude. Now imagine 300 million people who feel exactly the way you do and you’re starting to see how getting home safely during a worldwide storm might become a problem very quickly. Fight or flight? The prehistoric mechanism of survival. It’s as automatic as blinking your eyes. This is a moment when many mistakes are made, leading to hardship, failure, and loss.

The worst case scenario for most folks would be a long walk home, alone and exposed through only somewhat familiar territory, out of contact with friends and family, with only what they have on their backs or in their pockets, not knowing what the future will bring, and possibly facing a fight for their lives with their fellow man and with the great unknown. And it could be cold or dark. Or raining. Or all three. That’s a tall order. And the goal, the payoff for surviving this trek, is home. And if you had a Get Home Bag you might just have a fighting chance.

So, which tools can a person rely on to get them home? Certainly not the ones you do not have. To be able to use it, you have to be able to have it with you. Which, honestly, is a bit limiting. If the tools you require to get home in a hurry must be in your auto, on your bicycle, or on your person, then they must be small, light, and fast. If you don’t want to stand out and make folks uncomfortable, then it must look, wear and carry as normal as possible. And if one is facing the unknown, then it must be, above all else, adaptable.


The effect that a world-encompassing, all-pervasive crisis would have on most folks would be astoundingly scary. Fear, anxiety, and confusion would abound. All of us have been to the grocery store or the gas pump right before a big storm. People are pushy, a little illogical, willing to take abnormal risks, and not very apologetic when there is a chance of not having milk and bread during a storm. In short, they are not themselves.

The truth is that you probably will not be offered any help, you may be seen as a threat yourself, or you may be seen as a resource by those without the necessities of survival. If you can not buy protection and access in this scenario, and you can not count on being helped, then you must provide for yourself. Water and food, clothing, your personal health and hygiene, possibly self-defense and any repairs you may need to make to your equipment are all up to you. Because you may not have access to shelter, or you may be required to move or function in the dark, there are even still more tools to consider. The things we normally get from society must now exist, in microcosm, in your tool kit.

If you are at work when a crisis hits, you may be lucky enough to have a moment to collect your thoughts and your preps and to have the time to make the decision to adapt to your new environment. If you are on a train, waiting for a bus, sitting in traffic or driving on the interstate, you may not be afforded the time and privacy to reorient yourself before you are called upon to react. This is why your tool kit must be within arm’s reach. This means portability is key.

If your goal is to return home at once, unscathed, speed is your best friend. If your journey home stretches on too long, you may run out of supplies and may be facing greater obstacles than when your long walk first began. The longer a crisis continues, the more complicated it becomes to get home.


An unburdened person can easily walk two miles per hour over open ground for many miles. Achieving a steady pace of four miles an hour can be very difficult to do, and is nearly impossible to maintain over long distances with any type of load. Add stress, fear, confusion, and anxiety or injury to the burden and a brisk pace can be difficult to achieve and maintain. During a storm a direct path may not be available, and additional time and mileage may become involved. The general rule of thumb for walking with weight is to carry about 20%-25% of your total body weight on your back. One pound on your feet feels like the equivalent of five on your back. Water weighs about two pounds per liter. You might go as many as three weeks without eating, but you certainly will not go much longer than three miserable days without drinking water. These are real limits and must be heeded.

The truth is, for most of us, 20 pounds is probably all we can carry while keeping a persistent gait, and gaining ground toward our goal, and while dealing with a life altering event. Remember, this tool kit does not have everything you need to survive in it, but it does have the core of your personal preps in it, which are enough to get you home, and easily added to if the need arises. It is also important to take care that this tool kit be discrete and legal. There are many options in load carrying today that will allow for a slim, unthreatening profile and a comfortable carrying experience. There is no point in scaring anyone, and if you are searched in the normal course of your activities, you will not get into any trouble for having your preps with you.

Choose a simple pack or bag that fits you well, looks normal, and is easy to wear. A hydration sleeve or pocket is essential, but try to stay away from too many bells and whistles. If your pack has features you don’t use or are not able to contain properly on the trail, considering replacing it with a pack bag with a cleaner profile and less cluttered exterior. Try not to buy a pack that is too large. For a weekend most folks find a 2500 cubic inch bag or smaller is more than adequate. For multiple days 3500 cubic inches is about the biggest volume bag a person could carry on town and still have a relatively normal profile. Remember, if your gear is so obvious that can’t don’t fit in when you need to, you may never even have the chance to use it.


Depending on what you are wearing at the time calamity strikes, you may need a different pair of shoes and a change of clothes, possibly from the skin out. Clothes and shoes should be lightweight, versatile, comfortable, and have some ability to help you blend in and look normal. Synthetic clothes are preferable but can make you stand out in the wrong environment. Do not make a target of yourself with your outfit. Consider work uniforms instead of expensive camping or military style clothing as a possible alternative. In cold or wet environments cotton will not insulate you well enough to keep you warm. If hypothermia is a concern, wear wool or synthetic clothing. In hot, sunny weather, cover your skin and limit your exposure as much as possible. Choose a pair of shoes or boots for the terrain, load, and weather, and consider your size and weight when buying. Lightweight but protective, normal looking footwear is your goal. Generally, as long as it is well made, you are comfortable in it, it is somewhat packable and it is suited to your environment, it will work.

If you don’t get a chance to change into your clothes, you don’t want to be burdened by carrying them for no reason, and you don’t want to have to stop and unpack them later and expose yourself for too long. This is a good reason to consider carrying them separately from your kit. Also, they made need to be replaced periodically as the season changes. At a minimum, an effort must be made to have adequate footwear on hand or in place. You could go without shoes, but it is difficult to carry a load this way. And if you can’t change clothes in a safe place and you need to leave now, it is best to be ready to pull your pack on and move on quickly. Storing your Get Home Bag next to a change of clothes and shoes inside a small duffle bag or gym bag is easily done, and makes a normal looking, easy to own tool kit, from which you can quickly extract the components you require at the moment and leave behind the rest for possible retrieval at a later time.


During any journey outdoors and possibly without services, water becomes more and more important as time goes on. Over the course of a hard day, a human will easily drink two liters of water. Dehydration occurs just as easily during cold weather as it does in hot weather. If your journey lasts more than a few hours you will probably require water. Longer than a day and you may require a re-supply of water.

But what if the stores are closed, empty, or hostile? To be successful in the area of hydration and while moving quickly and quietly requires a water vessel, and resupply will require a water filter or a purifier of 0.03 microns or less. To filter out water-borne viruses use a filter of 0.01 microns. Certain hard-shelled parasites are not killed by iodine alone, and a Get Home Bag can not rely on boiling or treating water for re-supply. The time, effort and resources required here are not conducive to getting home quickly and involve a great deal of exposure.

When purchasing a filter or a purifier take care to make sure it is compatible with your choice of water storage receptacle, and that they mate and work together well. In order to make haste, the need to handle the water container must be eliminated by using a water bladder with an external tube, which can be stored inside your pack, and does not need to be removed from a pocket in order to be used. This keeps your hands free, your head up, and your water private.


If you have more than a few miles to walk to reach your destination you may require some type of sustenance to keep you going. A prolonged, heightened state of awareness can burn through a lot of calories and nutrients. Food supplies for your Get Home Bag should be kept to a formula of maximum performance for minimum weight and size. Only carry food which needs no cooking or heating. Cooking and heating food requires water and water is heavy and precious. Cooking and eating take time and also require a stove or fire, fuel, spark, dishes, and utensils as well. This is all time you could be resting, moving, observing or thinking. It can also give away your position and can be distracting.

Under sustained conditions, caloric intake might go up, during stressful crises it usually goes down as your body runs on adrenaline at first for awhile. Remember to eat, but don’t eat too much. Everyone is different, but it is common to pack more food than we will need. Pack as if you were going for a long jog, not as if you were going camping, and you will be fine.

One handed food items are preferable. Packaging and ease of access is a concern, as well as the size and the ability to put them in your pockets easily since ideally your eating and drinking will be done on the move, or during short halts where you do not remove your gear. In this scenario, food and water are tools, not cuisine, and must be standardized and require minimum effort and skill to carry, access and maintain. Bars, gels and pastes are a good choice in terms of nutrition, weight, size and mobility.


Once a pack or bag has been chosen for the tools in your Get Home Bag, and has been packed with clothes and shoes for your body, water and food for your journey, it is time to consider what other tools may facilitate your successful return home. The essentials, and a way to carry them have been covered, but what else does one require? At this point we must consider the situation and discern the possible threats and obstacles that we may be presented with on our long walk home.

The great danger for most humans in this scenario, and the thing we are the most afraid of, is each other. It’s not as if everyone wants to hurt and take from everyone else automatically during a crisis, so what scares us about each other in these moments? Resource allocation. A cessation of normal methods of delivery and re-supply, quite possibly indefinitely, instantly produces a scarcity of resources. People will go to great lengths to hold onto what they have, and to acquire what they think they will need in an emergency. And not all of us are good people. Some prey on opportunity and the weakness of others. Some may feel they have no choice in the situation and must do whatever they have to do to survive. And so, if we have the resources to get home, we may become a target. This creates an additional level of complexity to be dealt with.

It is difficult to know what to expect, but history shows us that people do not always handle a crisis well. Depending on your environment and the terrain you are forced to travel through, a person’s preps and tool kit may vary widely. The type of dangers we will encounter are different for us all. The type of weather, time of day, and national mood will have an effect as well. One could carry more than is outlined here, but one could hardly survive in the face of a storm with less. And if you do not have it, you can not use it.


First and foremost in the minds of panicked human beings in the midst of a crisis is self-defense. The laws regarding any type of self-defense weapon and its ownership, transport, and concealment vary widely from place to place and you should take great pains to make sure you are in compliance if you decide to include these type of tools in your tool kit. If you decide to include these type of tools, you must account for them in the overall weight of your Get Home Bag, and for how you will carry, employ, supply and maintain them. This is a personal choice, but simplicity, functionality, weight, and mobility, as well as commonality and size, are the main points to consider when choosing reliable self-defense.

Since you may very well be on foot during this crisis, it is important to consider your footwear as a vital tool. An extra pair of shoelaces is easy to obtain and simple to pack and carry. A small amount of duct tape is the easiest thing to repair a shoe with on the go. Just wrap it tight around the shoe with it still on your foot, and move on.

Next, take a good look at your pack and load carrying equipment and clothing. Identify the main clasps, buckles and laces upon which the design depends and consider carrying one replacement each of the most vital ones, a few zip ties, and some good black tape. This will keep your rig together long enough to get you home in the event that you break a connecting point, or one is damaged beyond repair.

If you try to buy well-made load carrying equipment it can minimize your need for these supplies. But sometimes plastic buckles just break, and in that case it is expedient to simply re-thread a replacement and move on, rather than trying to engineer a complex replacement out of paracord and duct tape that will perform to the same standards as the original. Straightforward simplicity is always the best option in a crisis and these generic replacement parts can be purchased easily and inexpensively.

If your equipment malfunctions, the hardship involved with continuing on may tempt you do dump the malfunctioning part or piece. Don’t. Have the parts, make the repair if you can, and move on. The main idea here is to be able to keep going and to have what you need to stay on the move. During a crisis, a cessation of progress can turn deadly alarmingly fast.

In most survival situations, a simple pocket knife, or a fixed bladed knife may be helpful. Serrated varieties tend to cut things like rope and seatbelts efficiently. It can be used for self-defense, but that is not it’s primary function. It should be light, easy to carry, and easy to use. Black coatings on the blades help reduce reflection. It’s an indispensable tool that has served humans well for millennia, and can be very useful.

During any event where physical injury is a danger and a doctor may not be available, a medical kit is essential. The problem is that most of us have never had to use or assemble one very often, therefore it‘s layout and contents can be quite confusing. It should consist of two main parts: first-aid (cuts, blisters, burns) and last aid (punctures, breaks, and bullet wounds,) plus any medication which you may require for at least five days.

A sam splint, tourniquet, clotting agent and compression bandages are a smart addition to any medical kit. Sanitizing wipes or alcohol prep pads are important for keeping things clean. To stabilize a sucking chest wound, in the case of an injury to the lung, carry a ventilated patch with a valve, at least one for the entry and one for the exit wound. They can be purchased this way in packs of two. Consider a suture kit. One pair of rubber gloves is adequate for this lightweight kit. Do not be tempted to include every medical item in the world in your kit. Those things should be in your Bug Out Bag. You are only trying to get home. Stabilize the injury, and get home.

Daytime can rapidly become night when a storm rolls in. Accustomed to living in a populated area, the first time it is dark enough to not be able to see your hand in front of your face can be an unsettling event for the average citizen. If the utilities are compromised then it will be very dark indeed! A flashlight with a red and clear lens option is required here. The red lens will not impact your night vision too much and is difficult for people and animals to see at a distance. Sometimes a map is easier to read under a red light. The clear lens is for inside structures, under cover, or self-defense.

The common varieties of lights are headlamps, flashlights, and equipment mounted lights. Spare batteries for several nights use must be considered for each type of light you will be relying on. Waterproof is a plus, and something lightweight is a good idea. If you have a good light you will not be afraid of the night, and will be able to move about and stay oriented in low-light environments or inside enclosed structures.

If you don’t know which is the best way home from where you are, or are forced to take a detour, a map, possibly with a pre-marked set of routes which you and your family have discussed, and in some cases a compass, could be a big help here. Maps should be small enough to carry, yet with enough detail and of the proper scale to be useful. Laminated and plastic maps are the best choice. A compass will help if you know how to use one, but in some cases can be unreliable. A simple one will aid directional orienting, a lenstatic compass is best for point to point travel.


The tools and strategies we have covered so far are simple and useful, but just like in life, there are always a few incidentals which may help you along, and offer some confidence and peace of mind during a crisis. In the outdoors, there is nothing that most of us enjoy more than a good fire. In an emergency it seems fire is the one thing most agree they must have access to. In practice a fire is not always useful, often a distraction, and may get you killed. If you are facing hypothermia and a fire is your only option, by all means, start one. But on the way home during a major emergency, most of us will not have the time, need, or energy to make and use a fire. Be careful not to succumb to the desire to carry a large amount of fire making equipment. Two good bic lighters, and possibly a piezo igniter if you are in a wet climate, are adequate for a Get Home Bag.

Money is an item which may be helpful when trying to get home in a hurry. A silver coin or two or a few small bills, maybe less than one hundred dollars worth, could be useful in buying access or supplies. Even if the money is worthless, someone in a position of momentary power may be swayed with a few bucks or a shiny piece of metal just when you need their help the most. Never underestimate the power of a dollar in a crisis. Until all law and order is lost, it will be useful.

These are only two suggestions, but I believe we will all have some good ideas in this area. Just make sure your incidentals are light, easily packed and easily accessed in order to be made use of without having to unpack and sort all of your tools to find them.


If you have prepared your Get Home Bag wisely, applied its contents and your strategy correctly and luck was on your side, you will hopefully at some point make it home. If the crisis has not abated you may now be faced with a decision you must make upon reaching the safety of your cave. Do you stay and defend and outlast, or do you go and retreat and outlast? There are merits to each and drawbacks to both. This is called Bugging In, or Bugging Out.

These are topics most of us are familiar with and much has been written about the details involved in each of these strategies. By this point in our journey to become prepared, most of us have made a choice about which strategy we will pursue in the event of a calamity and how we will go about readying our caves for such action. Here I will touch upon a few ideas and implications that may not be obvious to beginners, and that some seasoned preppers may have overlooked.

Fir instance, if you stay in your home you may be overrun, or forgotten and left behind. If you decide to leave you may not get where you were going, and even if you make it to your hiding spot, someone else might be there, or might have been there and cleaned you out already. Realize that getting in a car and attempting to drive your family to a hiding spot could be the biggest and most dangerous mistake you might make. Conversely, doing nothing is generally not an option in most crises.

The first day of an all-pervasive crisis is bad. The second and third day are worse. And so on and so on. When retreat is not possible, and the conditions are too dangerous or unknown to proceed, we take a break to prepare and plan. We don’t sit down and blindly hope things will improve, but we definitely do not gear up to the hilt and stomp out directly into a totally uncontrollable set of circumstances, such as a storm. In reality, something which affects the entire country and all the people in it is essentially a storm. There is nowhere to go. Not indefinitely. There are exceptions, but ultimately the options are limited.


Staying in one place and essentially hunkering down and trying to go undetected until calamity abates, is known as Bugging In. This is not a bad option, but can come with its own set of detractors. One of the main problems with Bugging In is that eventually the resources will run out in that area. And if you become imprisoned in the area due to martial law, a blockade, or fighting, you will barely be more than a beggar or a slave when, eventually, the resources do run out. For those that choose this option, it is important to have pre-purchased the means you and your family will require to generate resources. Heirloom seeds, gardening tools, hygiene and toiletries, medicines, and food stocks are essential. Extra pairs of shoes for the family and some basic home repair tools and supplies and how-to books are examples of items that, if pre-stocked, can sustain you many years if hard goods are not easily acquired.

If you decide to Bug In, consider having your family’s packs and gear ready to go, or already hidden somewhere outside around the house, such as in a tool closet, woodshed, or wood pile. If your home is overrun, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to a designated hiding spot in your home or on your property. That spot should have some type of Bug Out Equipment in case you are not able to re-occupy your home. Patience is the key here. You may spend three days in the woodpile with your family while your neighborhood is picked clean, but you will be alive, and able to return to your home.

If this is your plan the only long term option is to band together with your community for prosperity and protection. Over time, an effort might be made to organize your neighborhood to withstand these type of roving attacks, but neighborhood organizing can come with its own inherent set of dangers. Remember, there will always be a bigger army than yours, and armies need supplies. And the old saying that one bad apple spoils a bunch is true. One unruly individual can disrupt an entire community, and given time, they absolutely will.

The effort it may require to create and forge a community out of strangers and scraps is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes it works out, but much blood is spilled and many hard decisions are made along the way. Most humans in this situation will not live to see their work come to fruition, as the rebuilding of societies takes time without the help of other societies. And societies which are competing for resources generally do not help each other for very long. The game is played until one is strong enough to dominate and absorb the other, and so on until there is only one society again.


If you have made a plan to leave your home in a crisis, then you are planning to do what is known as Bugging Out. Racing away from danger with your family in tow, to a preset location in a more defendable environment is, in theory, a good plan. Sadly, many of us who see this as our only option, are unaware of the risks that may be involved, even with a sure thing.

But if somehow your Bug Out Plan went off without a hitch and you made it to the cabin, then what? If you could hole up in a remote shelter with everything you and your family could ever require, how long could you stay there? Is it stocked with the tools, and do you possess the knowledge, to sustain life for the next five years? How about ten? How about just one year?

When you re-emerge, most likely, society, if there is one, will be very different. There may be a very steep learning curve involved and a very short time in which to get up to speed. All of those people who had nowhere to go will have become attuned to their environment in ways in which you could not. And they might have a fair amount of resentment towards you for being well and safe. Blending in might not be very easy, and being different might get you killed. If a society does spring up around you, they may want to annex your resources, whether you like it or not.

The point here is that any plan to bug out must consider how a person, family, or group may re-integrate into the world once, or if, the crisis abates. Just like your Bug Out Shelter must have a back door exit in case of attack, your Bug Out Plan must integrate a back door, a plan B, for how you will transition from hiding for survival to living with other humans again. This will require all of the same tools and supplies for Bugging In and many more, but also the skills to use them. If you can not go home again, your Bug Out Shelter must not only provide you with a safe haven during the storm, but with a future.


In the event of a crisis, if we are unsure which way to proceed, we could always consider a third option. Patience. Let the situation develop, and respond the best way you can. If everyone else wants to grab their bag and head for the hills, you have to ask yourself if that is really the best idea for you. Conversely, if those around you want to get home and lock the door as soon as possible, then that might be a good idea, but it might not be the best response to the situation. Having a flexible plan is important when facing the unknown, and a flexible plan requires flexible tools and an adaptable mind.

Getting home in the midst of widespread chaos could easily become a battle, but it begins as a race. A race to your preps, a race to your family, a race to your home. It is a race against society and a race against time. It is a race against the tides of change. Getting home is a race to normalcy and a race to safety. In many ways it is a mirror image of our daily lives, but with the consequences of life and death attached to every decision, and the immediacy of now bearing down on us with every step, compressed into a few hours or a few days, during which nothing is certain and everything appears to be up for grabs. It becomes a battle as civility fades and those involved find they do not have what is required to stay in the race, and as the little they do have begins to be taken from them by other participants, now turned competitors.

Assembling your tools together in a kit and learning how and when to apply them with wisdom is a worthwhile endeavor. If done correctly it can lead to a good night’s sleep and a cool head under fire. Knowing you have done the planning and handled the preps required to get home alive, to survive to reach the people that need your help the most, and to have a future, lets one start out at the onset of a crisis, at the minimum, one step ahead of the game.

People are people. They always have been and they always will be. They are dangerous, hungry, smart and will do almost anything to survive. They can justify almost anything if their family is at risk. And in a world without the consequences of law and order, some people are a breath away from becoming an animal. Your mind is an indispensable tool and the most powerful weapon in your possession. We should understand that when the end of the world as you know it comes, that really means that your world has ended. The world you will find waiting for you may be a brand new one.

And that is why we prepare.



  1. Dang straight, good article 🙂

    • Jesse,
      I agree; but, I think the author doesn’t have a very good attitude about people in general, assuming we are all unthinking, unprepared sheep. While this may be true in some cities, my rural neighborhood is full of hard working self sufficient folks and that may be why my attitude is a bit different.

      • C.E.Ostrander says:

        Hello OhioPrepper! Thanks for your comments. I would like to say a little about the folks who live in America and why it may seem that I do not have a lot of faith in their ability to maintain their calm in a disaster scenario. The number of people in this country that count themselves as preppers is less than one percent of the population. Today almost 90 percent of the population lives in or near a city. Many, many people own very little, and have very few supplies, time or money. Many more have almost zero experience outdoors or in survival in general. It’s not all their fault, but that’s the way it is. So, I would propose a hypothetical scenario which may give you some insight into my point of view. Imagine you are in a maze with 324 other people. None of these people have any tools or preps or specialized experience. Except you. You have everything you need, but not enough for everyone else. And you must escape the maze to return to your family. Now, light the maze on fire. Every inch of it. And…survive. Those are the odds that 90 percent of our population faces on a daily basis. I don’t think the other 324 people in the maze with you are normally idiots, but in a crisis you may find that unprepared people can change in surprising ways. When the chips are down, the claws come out. Now picture yourself as one the 324 people in a burning maze, you have no supplies, and somewhere in this maze is a fully stocked prepper. What would you do if the shoe was on the other foot? I think, deep down inside, we all know the answer to that question, unfortunately. In regard to rural areas, I agree with you 100 percent. That is why I live in one. This article is not really geared towards those that live in an environment that is naturally safer and more self-sufficient.

      • C.E.Ostrander,
        Thank you for your explanation and example.
        I lived in that maze in an apartment in Columbus Ohio from 1969 until 1973 while in college; but, even than I had skills and equipment to survive with enough OPSEC and defensive tools and skills to make sure no one would likely be taking my stuff. After graduation I move to a small town of about 5-6000 people and rural acreage about 2 miles from town in any direction.
        In 1982 I married a farm girl who had grown up in the country and in 1984 we moved to this location only 2 miles from her original home.
        The problem with people is that they seem to get comfortable living in that maze, while I wanted to get out of it as soon as I could.
        So my experience these last 35+ years and my attitude even before that was probably what guided my post, and I suspect you are more correct than incorrect; however, I do like to think that at least a few city folks see the light and just haven’t yet been able to make the move.
        While I basically checked off everything in your article as complete on my end, it does serve a good purpose for those who are considering prepping or GOOD ( Getting Out Of Dodge).
        If someone read your article as a guideline to get that kick in the pants and the read The very second step for starting your prepping adventure -The Threat Matrix they will have a good start.

    • C.E.Ostrander says:

      Thanks Jesse! I enjoy your articles too!

  2. Well thought out.
    In ;’event’ I do hope it’s a bug in situation…. When thinking of a bugout situation, I think of WWII films where citizens leave, en masse, their residences/towns/cities. The fears, confusion,chaos, reflect the terror(s).
    Thx mucho for article!

    • bobbo,
      We’ll be staying put; but, will have and give support to and from numerous neighbors, all with different skills and tools. As I read this it reminds me why I would never live in the city.

    • C.E.Ostrander says:

      Hi bobbo, and thanks for the comment!
      In most large scale wars their is an exodus from the fighting and devastation that takes place. In Europe during both World Wars, the farms and houses on either side of the main roads were picked clean for 15 miles on either side of the road. Imagine the type of fear that would make a modern American family walk down the street with everything they own on their backs, no idea where they are going, and surrounded by thousands of folks in the same situation. Scary indeed! We could learn a lot from reading about how the civilians in the World Wars managed their Bug Out!

  3. Centurion_Cornelius says:

    Nice vid. But, where can you buy this stuff and at hat cost?

    My Plan #B–I have all my electronic red dots in safe Faraday Cages. I won’t open up the box under AFTER any EMP or nuke or solar storm. ‘Till then, I’m on iron sights–good enough for my AO. Even with my aging eyes, I can still ring the steel at 300 yds.

  4. JP in MT says:

    Periodically we all should make sure that our current plan measures up to current and potential events.

    • JP,
      If your threat matrix is a living thing and prepping is a lifestyle, this all just gets easier as you go on.

      • For instance:
        When we purchased the whole house generator, some of our original preps became multiply redundant. The new dehydrator and freeze drier will force more changes; but, they are all good. If you live a prepping lifestyle, then you are constantly seeing new items to acquire that help out the matrix or seeing things from other perspectives that make life easier.

    • C.E.Ostrander says:

      Hey JP in MT! Thanks for the comment.
      That’s exactly why I wrote this article.

  5. well thought out, just keep calm, think, and keep doing what you are doing.

    • C.E.Ostrander says:

      Hi Bebe, thanks for the comment.
      Flexibility, adaptability, and a willingness to let the situation develop are great skills to have in your kit. As preppers, we will have a head start on most folks in an emergency, and in a race a head start is a big deal. All you have to do is keep up your pace and you will win. You would be surprised how many people, in a crisis, simply forget to breath! Lol.

  6. Gary, RN says:

    I so agree with your first statements…..Rambos will get killed fast. The people who act like rats instead of wolves will be the survivors. Store your supplies, run and hide like a rat, and if cornered….then you fight like a rabid rat. You never want to “stand out” and be noticed in any so called “end of the world” situation. Stand out and draw to you bigger and badder wolves than you ever thought you were.

    • C.E.Ostrander says:

      Hello Gary, RN. Thank you for the comment.
      I think your comment is spot on for an individual on their own in a disaster. I like the rat and wolf comparison. One thing I would say about wolves that backs up your point is that wolves are pack hunters. One wolf on its own usually dies quickly, and is not a substantial threat. But in a pack, wolves are deadly. There may be a time to be a wolf, but just make sure that you are part of a wolf pack when that time comes. Like you said, there is always someone bigger and meaner. For all others caught out in the open alone, be the rat. The profile of a geared up adult carrying a long gun sticks out pretty well against a backdrop of regular refugees on the road!

  7. Gary, RN says:

    I so agree with your first statements…..Rambos will get killed fast. The people who act like rats instead of wolves will be the survivors. Store your supplies, run and hide like a rat, and if cornered….then you fight like a rabid rat. You never want to “stand out” and be noticed in any so called “end of the world” situation. Stand out and draw to you bigger and badder wolves than you ever thought you were.

  8. mtn gypsy says:

    EXCELLENT book/article. Should be printed out as a manual….Have a non prepper friend that needs to read this! thanks.

    • C.E.Ostrander says:

      Hi mtn gypsy and thanks for your comment.
      One of my goals in writing this article was that someone who was new to prepping might be able to use this information to help them to understand their situation and find a reference point from which to begin their journey to preparedness. We were all beginners once too, and it’s important to teach our experiences and knowledge to those that are just getting started on their preps. I think doing so also helps the seasoned prepper to see his setup from a fresh point of view. Explaining your gear and why you carry it to a newbie is a great way re-examine your plans and help out a friend!

  9. Son of Liberty says:

    Great article. I’ve read many since starting to prepare (1984) and this still contained many thought provoking ideas. Keep articles like this coming.


    Son of Liberty

    • C.E.Ostrander says:

      Hello Son of Liberty! Thanks for the comments.
      I think mindset is a very important tool. I have seen guys with all the gear in the world freeze up and burn out on the trail, and I have seen folks who are totally green and have almost no gear take to it like a pro, overcome and adapt, and become very strong on the trail. A whole lot of survival is a head game. We try on our gear and walk around the yard, and so I think we should try on ideas and concepts and take them for a walk from time to time as well. I will keep the articles coming!

  10. Great article. Read many prepping books with less thoughtful information in them. Not just a compilation of lists but some thought provoking ideas. Will share with some of my “non-believer” friends. Thanks.

    • C.E.Ostrander says:

      Hi Gunner, and thanks for the comment!
      In writing this article I had hoped to offer a blend of gear and strategy specifics as well as general concepts, theory and ideas. In my experiences outfitting other folks for adventure I have learned that most of the time the things that will work for most of us are just different. Two mountain climbers climbing the same mountain together will just not have duplicate gear set-ups. Because of this reality I had hoped to give specific guidelines for gear and equipment without giving specific product recommendations. Prepping is a blend of backpacking and warfighting, and so are the tools and gear involved. Very intimidating for most beginners! I think if folks were able to put themselves in the scenario beforehand, even the most average person could pack a quick bag and be moderately successful. But given a long, specific, expensive list of exotic equipment an individual must acquire and understand before they can begin, I think a lot of folks just give up. If we can understand the “why”, it becomes easier to understand the “how”.

      • C.E.Ostrander,

        Prepping is a blend of backpacking and warfighting, and so are the tools and gear involved. Very intimidating for most beginners! I think if folks were able to put themselves in the scenario beforehand, even the most average person could pack a quick bag and be moderately successful.

        You and I have a very different definition of prepping.
        Prepping is like doing anything well, and requires the Knowledge, Skills, and Attitude to accomplish a task or in this case multiple tasks.
        The backpacking metaphor along with”pack a quick bag would seem to indicate one was bugging out when bugging in (Shelter in Place) is most often the best idea for most people. The warfighting metaphor would indicate you are looking for or at least expecting trouble.
        While self protection is a good idea, even this requires the proper knowledge, skill, and attitude to be successful and to know when to fight and when to walk away.
        Your article did one thing that is imperative for anyone who currently sees no need to prep, and that is as you say, the explain the why”, because people need a good reason to get motivated and get out of their comfortable rut, which as anyone should know is simply a grave with open ends.

  11. Mechanic says:

    Good article thanks. Due to my line of work I may very well be several 100s of miles from home should there be a disaster. My get home bag is unrealistically heavy. I have all my gear stuffed into it. I plan on grabbing it all and reavulating on the move. Ditch or swap out what I don’t think I’ll need. I have an old school skate board with a removable scooter handle. Bolt the handle back on and it’s ready to go. I’ll look pretty funny on it but it beats the sh– out of walking and a bike just won’t fit.

    • C.E.Ostrander says:

      Hello Mechanic! Thanks for the comment.
      Reading your description of your situation and plan brings to mind a couple of ideas regarding your strategy that you might consider. In your situation a Get Home Bag should probably be heavy on some things and light on others. The truth is that the type of distance you may have to travel precludes being able to carry adequate food and water for the entire journey. This means you must scavenge and re-supply as you go. If you have a heavy bag at the starting line, you may not make it very far. Stopping to sort your gear and pack as you go is not the best strategy and is very difficult to do on the road without exposing your position. Most packs are made to carry and ride fully packed. A large pack that is half full carries horribly and shifts constantly and weighs quite a bit. If you are having difficulty paring it down to the essentials today, I would suggest that making priority gear decisions on the fly may actually be impossible. Consider caching some of the gear and food you may need at waypoints on your journey. Different types and sizes of storage lockers come to mind. This is what folks who need re-supply on the trail do in long distance backpacking, as well as in combat. Go heavy on the things you can’t scavenge as easily like batteries, medical supplies, and ammo. You may need some ultra-light camping equipment such as a bivouac sack with a bug screen for overnights, and possibly a pocket stove and minimum cookware. You may consider taking small game and doing some minor cooking in the woods rather than risking becoming injured and exposed trying to scavenge food from other high profile sources. You will need a serious set of maps and to practice with your compass regularly. If your pack is heavy the skate/scooter may wind up wearing you out quickly and may result in injuries from using it while carrying a burden. It also may not be useful if you are forced to leave the road and go cross-country. Walking is actually the best way to carry a load, maintain silence, and to limit the equipment you have to a realistic and usable amount. One thing I might consider in your situation is to downgrade to a smaller pack, maybe 2500 – 3500 cubic inches, and practice repacking until everything fits in the inside of the packbag. If I am going to be forced to make tough decisions about what to carry I would rather that happen at home than on the road and during a crisis. With lightweight equipment in a 3500 cubic inch bag you should be able to carry four days of supplies for around 30 pounds, if you re-supply your water everyday. After that, you will need to re-supply your food. Here’s a test for you. Take your whole pack and your scooter to a local walking track. Put it on and start scooting. As you tire, stop and sort your pack and put the extra gear back in the car and start scooting again. After about eight hours of this you may have your pack contents narrowed down pretty well. Truthfully I think most of us would be toast in a half hour, and some of us may develop a foot, ankle, knee or back injury in the process. Traveling 100 miles on foot is very difficult. I would recommend reading about what folks take hiking with them on the Appalachian trail. Almost every section of the trail between re-supply points is broken down into manageable bites that can be walked in about four days. The exception is an area in Maine known as The Hundred Mile Wilderness. Reading about what folks carry for four day stints with re-supply and then reading about what they carry to cross 100 miles without re-supply is a real eye-opener. The reality is that a fit person with ultra-light gear could go 100 miles in five or six days. A regular backpacker with a 40 + pound load may take as many as 12 – 15 days to make the same journey. The more you carry, the slower you travel. The slower you travel, the more you must carry. If I had your trek to make home I might consider planning like an ultra-light endurance runner, carry as little as possible, and move as quickly as I could in order to get home. The first few days of a crisis are bad, but ten days in, if you are not already home, you may never get there from such a distance. I hate to say it, but it may be time to take a hard look at your work and ask yourself if the paycheck today is worth the very high risk of not being able to return to your family if there is a nation-wide crisis. If you must be that far from home you may consider preparing your family to survive without you for up to 90 days as it may take that long for you to make a several hundred mile journey. Have a plan for your family to be able to leave a series of notes for you if they are forced to bug out to a series of safer locations. Have a signal ready to use if your approach your family’s bug in location unannounced in order to avoid being confused for a hostile.The journey will only be worth the work and hardship if you have a strategy in place for finding your group after so much time has passed, and after you have all become tired and weary. Remember to share a copy of your routes home with your family. If the ability for them to come looking for you arises, you want them to be looking in the right place! Put that pack on and start walking around with it. You will find out real quick that no matter how important it seems now, you just can’t carry everything! The old technique of packing for those of us that are gear heavy or new to the sport is to make three piles of gear. The first pile is stuff you KNOW you need. The second pile is stuff you THINK you MAY need. The third pile is stuff you just WANT. Take everything from the first pile, nothing from the second, and ONE thing from the third pile to keep yourself happy! You have a tall order ahead of you. Good Luck!

  12. C.E.Ostrander,
    I was prepping long before the Y2K hoax; but, it was good at least to awaken a few people who actually continued prepping after that. I’ve been prepping for most of my life and the unknown is what we all primarily prep for, since the known is recognized by society at large and we have systems in place for them, from Police, Fire, and EMS at large and various insurance policies (hone, car, life) to cover those.
    Also for me, prepping has always been a lifestyle and not a pastime.

    When you state:

    I have always been a proponent of the maxim, “the more I know, the less I need.”

    To which I will add the corollary: The most important things are knowledge and skill, because they are always with you, light to carry, and no one can take them from you.

    What does a regular guy or gal do when a crisis strikes?

    I suspect a regular guy or gal does the normal thing of freeze, and then fight or flight, where the actions you take will be controlled at least in part by your previous experiences and training and the tuning of your OODA loop. I’ve been teaching classes for decades in many subjects, and the one thing that always holds true, is that In a crisis, one does not rise to the occasion; but, drops to their highest level of proficient training

    How would I handle myself?

    I’ve been through a lot of training and several crises, and I have purported myself well, although on a few occasions I get the jitters and shakes after things are settled down and I’m losing that adrenaline high. You need to have a take charge attitude since many people have training; but, no real experience leading. I was at the scene of a car accident 40+ years ago and there were numerous people milling around. One other friend and I stepped up and asked who knew First Aid and CPR and several hands went up. We then started pointing and barking orders. You call 911, You three, start directing traffic and you two join us to see what we can do to help” At that point everyone had a job to do and they all did them. Perfect strangers with skills were simply waiting to be told what to do. In a situation where you can help, don’t wait to be told to do something unless first responders are on scene and then ask how you can help.

    What would a crisis look like in my neighborhood?

    My worst crisis here was 2 ½ years ago when I had my cerebral hemmer age and was whisked to the hospital where I spent a month mostly in rehab with Physical therapy. The only other crisis would be a tornado or fire that struck my place; but, there’s not a lot we can do about that until it is about to happen, except in the case of fire where we have smoke & C.O. detectors and fire extinguishers.

    Would I be ready?

    I am and have been for a very long time.

    If I was out and I had to get home in a hurry, how would I survive?

    We keep our vehicles in good working order and never let the tank get below half (half is empty). We also carry numerous types of communications gear from cell phones to ham radio and our car kit contains a good selection of gear along with at least one jump starter battery bank.

    And what would I do when I made it home?

    We would park the vehicle and head into the house, which except for a fire or a direct tornado strike would be the same welcoming place.

    I believe the value of simplicity may have been lost to some modern preppers.

    You would have to define simplicity since my radios, backup generator along with heating and water are actually rather complex systems; but, still manageable locally.

    Note that I’m not trying to be pretentious here, it’s just that I’ve been doing this for decades and in the rural community where we live, most of our neighbors are also rather well prepared, since they understand that help is minutes to hours away even in good times, and running out of TP at 3:00 AM would be horrible, since the only way to get some at that hour would be a 30+ mile round trip to town.

    • C.E.Ostrander says:

      Hello OhioPrepper and thank you for the comments!
      I’m going to take your points in order and address them one by one.
      I think the “knowns” in society are some of the most misunderstood threats a person may encounter. Police, Fire, EMS, insurance and the like are wonderful, but only if their world is not affected. A nationwide crisis may be the end of those services as the members of those groups abandon their posts and scramble to get home just like the rest of us. Even in the best of circumstances those services are not always reliable. For the average person, two flat tires and no cell phone signal puts and end to outside help. Another thing to consider is that those in uniform may abuse the trust of their position to enrich themselves during a disaster. Does anybody remember the New Orleans cops caught on camera, in uniform, looting a grocery store along with everyone else during Hurricane Katrina? I do.
      When you mention that, “In a crisis, one does not rise to the occasion; but, drops to their highest level of proficient training,” it makes me wonder what society would be like in a survival scenario considering that most folks have zero training. None. Seems like that would be a very dangerous environment in which unknown strangers could not be trusted.
      Speaking about how you might handle yourself in a crisis, I see that you are considering a situation in which only a few parties are affected and the rest of the crowd has resources to pitch in. But if everyone wants to get home right now and is completely freaked out, I would propose that you are now on your own. Remember, we are describing a scenario in which everyone is in trouble, not just a few of us.
      In regard to how you might react if you were away from home when a crisis hit, I think it is fantastic that you have prepped your vehicle. One of the problems with vehicles is that lots of other folks have one too. This could easily lead to gridlock on the roads and may force you to abandon your vehicle in order to proceed. If an EMP is part of the crisis most of the communications gear you have would not work unless it was shielded. Depending on the type of car you are in it may or may not ever crank again. If the roads are flooded or the military is out in full force, confining yourself to the options offered by your vehicle could be a death sentence.
      As to returning home, the home you find when you arrive may not be the same welcoming place it was when you left. If a crisis strikes when you are away, one of your less prepared, more upset neighbors may pay your house and family a visit while you are gone since this may be their only chance to gain supplies. Upon returning, I would exercise the utmost caution when re-occupying my home if you have not been able to establish communication with someone there first.
      I guess that when I use the term simplicity I would apply it in terms of complication, not complexity. And specifically to gear and equipment you are carrying, not what you have stored at home. The systems that you mention are all susceptible to EMP if not hardened, require modern parts that are not easily obtained in some rural settings, and some of which require outside resources to run and make noise when they are in operation. If you are forced to leave the area due to fallout from neighboring states it may be good to consider how these systems can be made miniaturized, portable, and mechanical for your journey.
      This article is not a how-to for rural survival on a homestead using the cooperation of a group of isolated, self-sufficient friends and family. It is meant to help a person understand the basic threats and responses involved when you are at work on a Tuesday at 2:07 pm, in the fall, and a nationwide crisis erupts and your kids are at practice and you don’t know where your spouse is, you have a 34 mile commute to your home, and all communications, power, transportation and utilities have flat-lined, and it’s about to rain. And the people around you are starting to freak out.
      Pepping is not about finding ways to replicate the comforts of daily life if the goods and services we enjoy are no longer available. It’s a dog eat dog world out there. Prepping is about not being eaten for lunch by a bigger dog. In a scenario involving the United States, after 12 months without power, the fatality rate is projected to be 90 percent. That means only one in ten folks would be alive in 12 months without electricity. And that is just without power. Imagine if that came with a side of plague, war or famine? Prepping is about making sure that you and your group are in that 10 percent. From what you have described to us about your lifestyle I would say you might already be in that 10 percent group. Just don’t forget about the other 90 percent of Americans who are not prepared and will desperately need and want your stuff! If they show up at your door, they probably didn’t come to talk. The longer each of us has been a prepper, the more likely it is that we have become complacent and the more important it is that we all re-examine our preps and our strategies from time to time, and not rest on our past experiences and theories.

      • CEO,
        BTW, nice initials, LOL.
        In a nationwide crisis you could be correct; but, there are contingency plans in place to try and ensure that first responders are taking their place to keep order and help those in need. I volunteer with my local county EMA and we work in support of local first responders. One of the drills we have practiced is called PODs or Point Of Dispensing, where we make sure that local agencies get their needs taken care of along with their families in a situation like a pandemic or biological threat by passing out (dispensing) required medications to those responders and their families, followed by the citizens of the county. We cannot expect first responders to go to work unless their own families are in no danger.
        I remember New Orleans and I think you will find that those officers who broke the law were eventually punished.
        I agree that most folks probably have little or no training; but, also know many people involved in scouting and 4H and people trained as first responders by their employers. There may well be more people with some level of training than we would imagine.
        Since I spend most of my time here at home and make very few trips more than 10-15 miles in any direction, I suspect that those you are talking about are far from me and dealing with each other.
        In a vehicle we carry not only up to date GPS units; but, compass and MAP and I still know how to navigate off the beaten path if required. As for an EMP, most of the real world tests show that most vehicles (ours run from a 1989 truck through 2003) will be undamaged, although they may stall for a moment and need to be restarted.
        As for communications, the radios in the car do not need to be shielded since they do not contain an antenna of sufficient size to collect enough energy to be damaged. As a matter of fact, most cell phones will still work; but, the cellular towers and network equipment will no doubt be gone. The only things you need to be concerned about are things directly connected to mains power, where transients can come into the house and do damage.
        When I return home from any short trip, I expect the homestead to be pretty much in the order I left it because, as hard as it might be to believe, I simply have no unprepared neighbors and we all watch out for each other in a rather informal neighborhood watch, quite often contacting a neighbor to let them know they have an animal like a cow, loose from a pasture.
        Basically the article is not for me or those in my situation, since I’m retired and most of my neighbors are self employed and work from home, sort of, except when they are in the fields or hauling grain or livestock to be sold.
        Up until 2008 I had that 30+ mile commute to home and had a much more well prepared car kit, and additions to my EDC to allow a walk home, so your points are well made.
        When you state:

        Pepping is not about finding ways to replicate the comforts of daily life if the goods and services we enjoy are no longer available. It’s a dog eat dog world out there.

        I have to disagree. Prepping as a lifestyle is exactly about finding ways to replicate the comforts of daily life if the goods and services we enjoy are no longer available, by being able to provide them for yourselves. That mean as a normal course of action, you prepare your meals from scratch and from staples on hand, and keep enough of those staples to outlast most normal events that one might encounter. And for a long term event you have the skills to survive without those goods and services. Our forefathers id it and the local Amish do it rather well and if push comes to shove, we will also, perhaps cursing a bit more than usual while doing so, LOL.

        Just don’t forget about the other 90 percent of Americans who are not prepared and will desperately need and want your stuff! If they show up at your door, they probably didn’t come to talk.

        True; but, they probably did not come with the resources our neighborhood would apply against them after a very long walk to get here.

        The longer each of us has been a prepper, the more likely it is that we have become complacent and the more important it is that we all re-examine our preps and our strategies from time to time, and not rest on our past experiences and theories.

        This is also true; but, for those of us who daily live the prepping lifestyle, there is no complacence, only working on a continuing and virtually never ending list of things to accomplish as we go down the road, because we understand that prepping is a journey and not a destination.
        So for those of you who have been prepping for a while and see no end in sight that is just normal and indicates that you understand the true meaning of your potential situation.

  13. Richard says:

    What a good article to tune-up your brain for a proper mind set.
    I just had my DW come in & read it after I did.
    What we both grabbed onto was that it puts into words the feeling & thoughts we have today.

    • C.E.Ostrander says:

      Hi Richard and thank you for the comment!
      A tune-up for your brain is a great way to describe the article and was the main goal I really had in writing it. I think sometimes the gear gets in the way of the strategy. For most of us, the only models we have for prepping are soldiers, swat teams, first responders, secret agents, etc. But a prepper must combine aspects of all of these disciplines as well as backpacking, hiking, and camping. The truth is, there’s just not really a great model for this to be found except for in fictional accounts of mad max landscapes and zombie films. The problem with the former is that the event has usually already happened and what we see is the long term struggle for survival and in the latter scenario, zombies don’t shoot back! But what happens on day one? And why? The truth is that in a crisis the individual with no tools but a perfect understanding of the scenario and highly adaptable mindset could, in my opinion, do very well in a crisis. Being able to name a thing and to know your position on that topic or event is necessary in a survival scenario. If we can’t put words to what we may feel or experience about survival, we can not be effective with our equipment and our strategy.

      • CEO,

        For most of us, the only models we have for prepping are soldiers, swat teams, first responders, secret agents, etc. But a prepper must combine aspects of all of these disciplines as well as backpacking, hiking, and camping. The truth is, there’s just not really a great model for this to be found except for in fictional accounts of mad max landscapes and zombie films.

        Once again you seem to be looking at the bugging out scenario and not the stay put, set some roots, and shelter in place methods that work so well for many.
        I don’t know where you live or where you grew up; but, there are plenty of good examples of the prepping lifestyle. I grew up in the 1950’s and 1960’s and my family and most of those I knew were as prepared for many events as preppers are today.
        In my current rural community there are a lot of folks who have the can do, make do attitude, grow much of their own food or other commodities to sell or trade, and that doesn’t even include the Amish who manage to live in this modern world with their basic houses, wood heat, windmill driven water pumps, and their horse drawn transportation and farm equipment.
        If you read history you will find details of Louis and Clark who traveled across the entire continent in the first few years of the 1800’s, using only horse and foot transportation and kit that by today’s standards are extremely primitive.
        Again it comes down to knowledge, skill, and attitude to take each step and get through each day. In both modern real life and history there are plenty of examples if you just look for them.

  14. C.E.Ostrander says:

    Hello OhioPrepper and thank you for the comments!

    When I wrote this article I intended to try to paint for folks a broad picture which did contain a few important details and to explore some of the options and strategies that may be applicable to the majority of the population. To that end I used a description of a commonly threatening scenario as a framework to give the reader a reference point and to help them to be able to identify personally with concepts therein. In this scenario I chose to start at the beginning of the journey (where the majority of the American population is now) rather than farther along in the process such as in a homestead environment like you have described to us in your posts.

    I suppose, by nature then, that this article may not be of any interest to someone to whom none of these scenarios apply. But with a little creativity and imagination I believe we can construct a hypothetical scenario tailored to someone living a lifestyle very similar to your own! This should be fun and hopefully will make us all think!

    Let’s say you’re retired and you’re a prepper. It’s a lifestyle, not a pastime. You’ve been doing it for years and you and all your folks are trained up and official. Skilled, intelligent, and ready to go. You and your family and your neighborhood are an effective team. You all have complete homesteads and you’ve checked all the boxes on all the prepper lists. Life is good.
    But it’s Thursday and that means a trip into town to see the doctor so you can get your medication refilled. And then a trip to the pharmacy. Your neighbor offers to drive you in your vehicle, since your truck is prepped up and EMP neutral. You guys are buddies and it’s nice to have backup since your spouse doesn’t really enjoy going downtown.

    After the doctor’s appointment you head out to crank the car and wait for your buddy while he attends the restroom on a higher floor of the building you were just in. As you close the door to your truck and crank it up, the Yellowstone Super Volcano explodes! The immediate effect for you is that the building next door breaks in half and collapses on your doctor’s office with your neighbor inside. A piece of the building falls on and collapses the engine compartment of your vehicle and totals it. The street floods, and a few blocks away there is an explosion as a small gas line is ruptured by a buckling street.
    The grid in your area, cell towers and some other services are out.

    An hour later the professionals have arrived, luckily recovered your neighbor’s body and have loaded it into a vehicle. The officials in your area are busy and scrambling and their is no public transportation. They offer you a ride to the hospital with your friend, but they are going five miles in the opposite direction of your home. You have been trying to raise your family and neighbors on your working comm gear from your truck, but the channels are busy and you have not been able to make contact. So you decline the offer, and start towards home.

    After a few blocks you meet another fella like yourself and he is going your way in his Jeep and offers you a lift. After winding around the devastation and finding a short route out of downtown you come to a place where the road is deeply flooded. There are gunshots and a small fire somewhere. Because of this your new friend is very nervous. Suddenly he tells you he has changed his mind and is going to a different place closer by now and wants you to get out of the car. You are not sure if he is armed but he is suddenly acting very funny, so you exit the vehicle. You use a downed tree to cross the flooding and walk the remaining seven miles to your home. It will be dark in 15 minutes.

    When you arrive in your neighborhood you discover that your home, your neighbor’s home, and a large section of land in between them is burned to a crisp. Along with all of your preps. And there is no one around and the neighborhood is empty. Unbeknownst to you two propane tanks exploded when the ground out back buckled and cracked violently right after you left the doctor’s office. A fire broke out and got out of control. Fire and EMS responded, there were some injuries, and the neighborhood was deemed unsafe and forced to evacuate by the authorities, who were operating with only a skeleton crew. They left a note but you do not have your reading glasses with you and are having trouble making it out since it was written in charcoal.

    As darkness sets in you turn your gaze towards the town you just spent all day struggling to escape, and see only fires and no lights, an automobile here and there. Your house and preps are destroyed, your neighborhood and community are mostly empty, your town is in jeopardy and you don’t know where you family is or how you will find them. You can smell gas leaking somewhere still. And it occurs to you that as you started your day this morning, you had no idea it would end up like this. What a day!

    As you pull up your boot straps and begin to adjust your equipment for the journey back into town to find your family, you are thankful that you have prepped your mind and your person for just this type of situation. The Unknown. And you think how horrible it would be for you right now to be facing an all night walk back into and across a town you just escaped, in the midst of a disaster and with no power grid or comms in hope of locating your family before things begin to get out of control, if you did not have the proper mindset and equipment and training for the task. You would be helpless. But you are prepared and so you have a fighting chance against the odds.

    By the way, you never made it to the pharmacy.

    Here we have imagined a scenario in which Bugging In or Bugging Out cease to have a real significance as an immediate problem solver and we ultimately have eliminated them both as an option for the individual in the preceding example. From what you have explained about yourself in your posts, this would be a scenario that your younger self would have been prepared for. I may be mistaken, but as you describe your life today, I don’t see any time at which your strategy envisions you being alone with only what is on your person and with no help whatsoever, and during a crisis which effects everyone and when no one is sure when the lights will come back on. That is the point of view I aimed to communicate to the intended audience of the original article. What I have written for you here is pretty basic, but I think we can all understand the underlying ideas at play here. Unexpected things happen. It is difficult to plan for everything. All of our plans and planning could disappear in the blink of an eye. We, as preppers, have a desire to survive. Tools are important. Adaptability is key. What everyone needs will be different. And you can’t use it if you don’t have it with you.

    Survival is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Everyone is different. It’s like a buffet, you take what you want and leave the rest.

    • CEO,
      I understand and agree with your basic scenario that fits I suspect the majority of the population, and for this reason I have forwarded this article to several people.
      It’s just that most of these scenarios don’t fit my situation, by design

      This article is BTW of interest, if for nothing more than the dialog you and I are having, since civil dialog always serves to make one think.

      As for the channels on the communications gear all being busy, that is a basic impossibility since we have the equivalent of more than 10,000 channels across the spectrum and my equipment can operate on public service bands if required during an emergency.

      You would have to describe how all of the land in my neighborhood has been burned to a crisp, as all of the neighbors houses have separations in the 100+ yard range, making this very improbable in my location, also by design
      And the possibility of propane tanks causing a fire is simply more fiction.

      Your new scenario is interesting; but, rather far out for my location.
      Both the Yellowstone super volcano and the New Madrid fault are very far to my west, and long before the effects of these events impacted me, I would hear about them from many different communications and news outlets, giving me ample time to get home. If I had to walk or hitch I would do so, and my EDC alone would allow me to get there, even if it took a night or two sleeping along the way.
      This BTW, actually is Thursday and I actually did travel about 44 miles each way to a doctor’s appointment in the big city (Columbus); but, that is a rare trip perhaps twice per year and along with my normal EDC I always carry a firearm and spare magazines, several knives and flashlights plus an extensive car kit.
      If I didn’t get my prescriptions’ filled, I would have to wait for things to clear up if they ever did; but, in the short run, I have at least 6 months of any medication I really need, and a procedure I’ll be having in the next few months will get me off of most of those. My only real problem and something I cannot prepare for, is if there is a total long lasting collapse of society and I cannot get my pacemaker replaced with a new one in about 7 years, at which point I would be a goner.
      Back in 2011 I displayed my EDC that always leaves with me on my back, here: http://www.thesurvivalistblog.net/survival-kits/
      It has changed a bit with changes in technology for flashlights, etc. and all of those changes have been improvements to what you see here.
      On a daily basis, we all do the best we can with the Resources we have available, and use our training (Situational awareness, Knowledge, Skill, and Attitude) with an ever updated threat matrix and then perhaps hope for a bit of luck.
      In the end none of us are getting out alive, and in realizing that, you can overcome the fear that is the real enemy.

      • C.E.Ostrander says:

        Hello OhioPrepper and thank you for the comment.

        The picture I am endeavoring to construct for the reader is one of sudden impact. A scene in which a person finds themselves alone in the course of their day to day activities among a semi-urban population of mostly strangers. Naturally this would preclude a homestead scenario as a starting point for this exercise. Home is the goal. By walking ourselves through a common, hypothetical obstacle course, we are given an opportunity to examine our equipment choices for the journey home in light of the cause and effect perspective. The benefit of this perspective is to allow the reader to put themselves in a scenario that they may have considered but may not have been able to put into words yet on their own, and to give a few tips on equipment along the way. In understanding preparedness, it is important to understand that the starting point for preparations for most of us should be our bodies. What we wear and what we carry on a daily basis. Many go on to prep their vehicle, and others to preparing their home eventually. Those who have had the time to reach that ultimate level of preparedness are sometimes far removed from the everyday lives of semi-urban Americans. Over time one of the greatest risks a seasoned prepper may run is the risk of believing that because they have prepped for everything, that they are prepped for everything! In that case it might be a good exercise to ask yourself if you would still be prepared to survive a loss of your vehicle, communications and homestead as well as your network.

        If the Super Volcano blew, woke up all the fault lines, set off all the nukes in their silos, created an ash filled geomagnetic storm, brought down all the planes (some of which took out your neighborhood) blacked out the grid, and sent nuclear power plants into meltdown while you were at the doctor and none of it was ever coming back, then you may find yourself in the situation I intended to present.

        A person can’t prepare for everything. If we rely on items for survival that are not in our hands or pockets, we must admit that they may not be available or we may not always have access to them when we would like. And sometimes getting to them may require a substantial struggle. I am reminded of the Germans the day after the Berlin Wall went up and split the city in two. On that day, whichever side of the wall you were on, was where you stayed. If your preps and network were on the other side, then all you had were what was on your back and in your pockets and your head.

        The point here is that unexpected things happen, so it is the known as well as the unknown that we should plan for. Relying too much on our equipment, without understanding what is happening around us and why, may become an issue in a serious crisis. In the immortal words of the great Mike Tyson, “everybody has a plan, until they get punched in the face.”

      • CEO,

        Over time one of the greatest risks a seasoned prepper may run is the risk of believing that because they have prepped for everything, that they are prepped for everything!
        I understand this and I realize that there is an area where I am not as prepped as I would like to be and in the foreseeable future will not likely be prepped in that area. For me it is basic health. At my age I have a few health conditions that take their toll on me and are not likely to change. For nearly anything else I’m in rather good stead. When I leave the property my EDC and car kit can go a long way in nearly any situation and quite honestly, I rarely leave the property and travel more than 15 miles. Some folks think of me as a hermit curmudgeon; but, many local people come by to discuss electronics and ham radio, shooting, and general preps. I have a young friend who will be here next week for some tactical handgun training that I can teach right here on the property. Younger folks like this come to learn and in exchange provide me with assistance when needed.
        At my age and with my health conditions there are no doubt some situations that could well be challenging and hazardous; but, since they are unavoidable, one must plan, train and take your chances, simply because there is no other choice.

        The point here is that unexpected things happen, so it is the known as well as the unknown that we should plan for.

        Planning for the unknown is a logical fallacy; but, one can plan for the unexpected.

        Relying too much on our equipment, without understanding what is happening around us and why, may become an issue in a serious crisis.

        I don’t think I ever discussed relying on just the equipment. Situational awareness along with Knowledge, Skills, and Attitude can help you leverage even small amounts of equipment to your advantage.
        We have had a whole house generator since last November; but, long before we had that piece of equipment we had numerous means of heating and otherwise staying warm, cooking, lighting, etc., some of which have now ended up becoming multiply redundant.
        As for:

        In the immortal words of the great Mike Tyson, “everybody has a plan, until they get punched in the face.”

        The trick is to use your situational awareness and avoid going places where you are likely to be punched. BTW, his words are just a paraphrase of: German military strategist Helmuth von Moltke, who stated: “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.”
        This is where situational awareness and adaptability come in as part of your skill set.
        Even with all of this one could still fail and pay the ultimate price; however, we prep not to live forever; but, to live a rich, enjoyable lives, doing good for others when we can. Life otherwise from my perspective would be meaningless.

  15. Zulu 3-6 says:

    Regardless of the SHTF scenarios that I can envision now, I plan to stay where I’m at – immediately north of Orlando. I lived for 13-years in a semi rural area 72 miles north of where I am now. Before that, I lived and worked in the metro-Detroit area. I grew up in Detroit.

    It took me 13-years to realize that I’m really a city rat. Yes, I am skilled at many things to allow me to live rough in a rural area thanks to the military and Scouting, but my real training and experience is urban. 15-years as a cop next door to Detroit’s worst precinct and 10-years in other places.

    I live by myself in a nice apartment complex, although I’m only six-miles from my oldest child. My other two kids live much further away.

    For one person, I guess you could say I’m armed to the teeth. However, there is no desire to play Rambo in me. Too much experience as a cop and a military man. Physically, I don’t have the ability to be a Marine again (except in attitude). That said, I wouldn’t push me very far. Legally, I can go lethal sooner than younger people under the same circumstances and I’m a dirty fighter. My motto: Old age and treachery will beat youth and skill every time.

    Does that mean I would never ever bug-out? No. But realistically there would be very few scenarios where I might and I’ll have to judge it at the time.

    • C.E.Ostrander says:

      Hello Zulu 3-6 and thank you for the comment.

      The description you have given us of your situation imparts to me the impression of a very fine balance, well thought out, and backed up by many years of testing out in the field. As if you were living a carefully chosen tactical and semi-urban lifestyle with a purpose, fully aware of your situation, confident in yourself, and flexible in mindset. I think the lifestyle, daily choices and location you have described is very similar to what a lot of us who like to be prepared face on a daily basis. Compromise is what we’re talking about here folks. Living in a suburban environment can be difficult if the goal is self-sufficiency. So most of us make calculated compromises. It’s a fact of life. Striking the correct balance and being flexible, while maintaining clear priorities during an emergency, is tough. Sounds like you’ve given it quite a bit of thought and training!

      • CEO ,
        I concur with your assessment of the situation of Zulu 3-6.
        Zulu 3-6 and I have had some email conversations, mostly about trying to get amateur radio communication working in an urban apartment environment
        You and I have had a few minor disputes and I apologize for any contentious postings on my part. I do remember what I was doing when living in that same urban environment that mostly consisted of formulating and executing a plan to get out of that environment; but, did include prepping on a daily basis, including one of the few yards with fruit trees and a garden. Even back then many neighbors would marvel at what I was able to grow, and often talked about doing the same, some day.
        Perhaps the biggest problem with many folks in this situation is to get them to see that they have a problem, which reading your article might do; but, then getting them to actually do something about it.
        Some friends and I recently purchased an entire angus beef and I ended up with half instead of a quarter, since one of the guys opted out at the last minute because constructing their new urban deck and patio had a higher priority than a freezer and a year supply of beef @ $3.00 a pound. While a bit expensive for bones and burgers, it is downright cheap for steaks and roasts, plus the meat is a known quantity.
        I hope he like his new deck and patio.

    • Zulu 3-6 ,

      My motto: Old age and treachery will beat youth and skill every time.

      I like it, along with:
      I’m an old man who can’t go many rounds, so I’ll just have to kill you.
      Like you, I have an advantage at least with the legal system, being old and short of stature, and understanding that even a big guy can go down quickly with the right incentives, LOL.

  16. TPSnodgrass says:

    Good article. I learned first hand about the Expectation Entitlements during the Rodney King Riots in 1992. Had several downtown attorney acquaintances , that demanded I bring THEM one of MY firearms, so they could protect themselves, and a few of them ( a very few), mentioned protecting their families. Of course, I refused. Thier innate selfishness and arrogance is still in effect today. Nothing has changed for “them”, they, are enlightened ergo, entitled to be “saved”, no matter the cost to someone else.

    • C.E.Ostrander says:

      Hello TPSnodgrass and thank you for the comment!

      I think the example you have given us really brings home one of the main things to consider during a large scale, long term crisis. And that is the fact that people change. Even good people are not always themselves during a crisis. For the inexperienced, it is difficult not to be overcome with fear and to keep a level head. I think the Rodney King Riots in L.A. could be a great situation for us all to take a closer look at, as there are many lessons to be learned there about urban civilian conflict and government response.

    • TPSnodgrass,
      Your mention of the Rodney King riots brought to mind a narrative by the late Charlton Heston who was a long time pro second amendment advocate and NRA board member. During those same riots he had numerous antigun Hollywood folks calling him and asking to borrow firearms for self protection. It seems that many of these folks who had plenty of money and no background problems that would exclude them from purchasing and owning a gun were amazed when they went to purchase one and were told that they had to wait 10 days. Feeling the urgency of the riots, they needed protection NOW and were asking him for a loan.
      His response was twofold:
      All of my guns are currently in use and if I had a spare, it would be dangerous in your untrained hands.
      Unfortunately, like the Y2K debacle, those panicked desperate people promptly forgot their dilemma and went back to their old ways after things calmed down.
      I am seeing more advertisements on normal shows trying to sell preparedness in the form of lighting, food, and heating, so that may indicate at least a bit of a trend. I will admit to purchasing a few of these 72 hour and other longer kits to add to my already rather complete stash; but, for the nearly giveaway prices I had to indulge at least a bit and purchase a few.
      While I am seeing more people at least starting to get prepped I suspect there are still many who plan to get to it eventually, perhaps starting next week.

  17. Crazy Joe in South Jersey says:

    Greetings All ! ! !


    ” If the Super Volcano blew, woke up all the fault lines, set off all the nukes in their silos, created an ash filled geomagnetic storm, brought down all the planes (some of which took out your neighborhood) blacked out the grid, and sent nuclear power plants into meltdown while you were at the doctor and none of it was ever coming back, then you may find yourself in the situation I intended to present. ”

    How cool would this be …. to finally get a day off from work and no waiting for a tee off time …. wow .. super cool . Not to many zombies will be attacking golf courses .

    FOR THE COUPLE WHO TALK ABOUT BEING FAR FROM HOME ……… Urban Survival is not a myth or impossible . Show me one industrial park 8 miles from a city that has emptied out of all its employees and I will show you the promised land . MD , perhaps I will go back to sending in some articles . Maybe ” Urban Survival ” would be a good one to start with . I never did send you my ” BOB – Bug out Boat ” article . Just a busy boy I am . It’s been almost 10 years , yea , gotta get around to sending a few more to ya . Joe

    • C.E.Ostrander says:

      Hi Crazy Joe in South Jersey! Thanks for the comment.

      I completely agree. I bet you could walk right on and play a quick nine whenever you liked! In fact, a think a prepping article for the post-apocalyptic urban golfer is long overdue! Lol!

  18. C.E.Ostrander says:

    Hello OhioPrepper and thank you for the comments!

    I understand your desire to relay to us what your preps are and why they are the right ones for the job and how you would use them to avoid catastrophe. If I had written an article about homesteading, then these comments might be appropriate.

    I must admit that I am puzzled as to why you continue to comment from this point of view when you have already stated that the article I wrote does not really apply to you and you have already checked all of those boxes. You also admit that your point of view on the subject matter is quite a bit different than that of the intended audience here, since the last time you lived in an urban area was over forty years ago and today you rarely leave your home. You have made it clear to us all that you are insulated from most crises. If the content you have found here is immature, I have to ask, would it not have been easier to just say those things outright?

    I can understand constructive criticism and lively debate, but what is the message you are you trying to communicate to us here? That I am mistaken? That the content is flawed? That there is a better way to achieve our goals? That you are more correct than others? It seems that you are very upset with my article. To the point that your first comment was about my attitude.

    I don’t know what your motivation here is or what conclusions, if any, you are trying to reach. As to the source of Mike Tyson’s paraphrase, I am aware of it’s origin and the original quote, since I used it early on in the article to drive home the point that we should all plan for some wrinkles in our plans and should be able to take them in stride.

    I realize that you never mentioned relying too much on your equipment. I brought up the point on my own that for an individual in your situation, that is a very common risk. Believing that because you have planned for everything you could think of that you have thought of everything you should plan for. To fall into this trap runs the risk of developing a mindset bordering on hubris.

    For something to be unexpected, you must first be aware of it’s existence. What defines an event as unexpected is that you are unsure of it’s timing, or that you expected something different but were mistaken. A point I try to make in the article, something which I believe you may not have understood, is that a person can not know the existence of every threat, so if they plan only for the unexpected, i.e. a threat of known existence but unknown timing or form, then their planning will be limited to their own experiences and limited point of view, to only what they can conceive of. No one can know all things at all times. The contents of the hearts and minds of seven billion plus people, and what the universe has in store for us all, contain unknown things as well as unexpected things. This is a cardinal point of the piece.

    When you say that life would be meaningless for you if you could not live it in a rich and enjoyable way while helping others, I must ask if you have not already failed in your preparations since it appears that you have already identified a cut off point, a demarcation line, beyond which you have stated life would not be worth living if you could not replicate the comforts of your daily life if the goods and services you enjoyed were not available. If you are truly saying that there is a point at which you would no longer wish to endeavor to survive, that is fine, but not everyone feels the same. If we were to speak in terms of ultimate winners and losers, I would have to call it for the individual that has decided to survive no matter how great their loss of comfort. I would certainly not place my money on a participant who had predetermined their quitting point and the level of quality and participation they were comfortable with, beyond which they would not wish to participate.

    What makes us preppers is our will to survive. To survive above all else and against all odds. To never surrender our lives to circumstance. Qualifying the quality of levels of survival and placing an expiration date on your own based on the presence or the lack of modern comforts is anathema to ultimate survival.

    So again, I must ask what it is you are really trying to say and what response from me would you like to hear? That you are the best prepper? That I am not knowledgeable and that my writing is not helpful to you? Are you seeking some kind of victory or acknowledgement of your superiority? Should I not have presumed to give advice in your presence?

    I hate to beat a dead horse here, but as you have already determined for us, you have no interest in this article and have said little about the topic at hand and much about my mishandling of it. By your admission, your experience with the scenario I described is limited and long ago. And in your current life, the information has no relevance for you, since you consciously avoid the situations I have chosen as a vehicle for the topic, and rarely leave your home.

    I love to argue a point as much as the next fella, but if your not interested in what I have had to say in this article or don’t actually have a point to make, why don’t we save our best for when I write an article on homesteading or bugging in or amateur radio? Then you can genuinely help me out by pointing out anything you like that is not up to your standards. It will be a great learning experience for us all and we will be handling a topic you have an interest in!

    I have enjoyed your comments and our back and forth here, but I’m not really sure that this dialogue is a helpful one for the community, or if you simply have a chip on your shoulder and feel as if you have something to prove. Not everyone is as experienced as you may be and so I would ask you to have a little patience with those of us you do not deem worthy of having our own ideas about prepping and who would like to share those ideas with others.

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