Are You Really Serious About Surviving TEOTWAWKI ?
(Foreword: This article is not supposed to be a blow for blow account of what I think you should carry, it is simply an article to make you think seriously about what it is you are trying to prepare for. To make you think about the items that you may NEED, rather than the items you would LIKE to carry but are not really necessary.)
I ask this question because no matter how much I write, no matter how many questions I answer, people keep coming back with the same questions. So called preppers and survivalists , at least the majority of them, are more interested in modern gadgetry, modern firearms, freeze dried foods, military webbing and camo clothing than they are about actual survival. If TEOTWAWKI actually happens, for the average household, the average family, couples and singles, this is not going to be a walk in the park, nor is it going to be a military exercise where there will be frequent supply drops of food and ammunition.
You will be on your own ; No more food supplies, no more modern ammunition, no more medical supplies, no more batteries. Some say well I have a solar charger and it does not weigh much and takes up hardly any room. Well fine, but what do you need the batteries for? A radio? A torch? Are they really that important to you? You are having to “Bug-Out” into an unknown wilderness where food and water may be in short supply, and you think that a radio and a torch are important items to carry to help in your survival?
If you want to join a survival/prepping forum so you can talk about your favourite interest, fine, but don’t kid yourself that all that gear you are showing everyone is going to save your life. Your clothes will wear out, your footwear will wear out. If you use a modern firearm for hunting and self-defence, you ammo will run out. That Rambo knife you purchased will eventually break if you keep battening it to split wood, and when you try to skin and butcher game, you may find it is blunt. Do you have a back-up blade? Is it any better suited to the task in hand than the survival Rambo knife with a hollow handle?
When packing your Bug-out bag or knapsack or whatever, you will have to compromise between two principles, minimum weight, and maximum self-reliance. I will say that again so you fully understand its importance; MINIMUM WEIGHT, and MAXIMUM SELF-RELIANCE. Do you know what you will be looking for in your new home? Do you know what tools you will need to make your shelter, gardens, toilet area, drying racks for clothes and meat?
Have you ever been in this situation before? You will have to sleep light, listening for any unusual sounds. A radio playing will mask those sounds and may cost you your life, or someone else’s life. Shining a torch around at night could bring unwelcomed company, get used to seeing in the dark. What are you going to use your multi-tool for? Think about it. All that you need are some very basic tools IF you are serious about survival. Don’t carry items that are likely to breakdown and can not be repaired. A bow is a good hunting tool, but you don’t need a compound bow that requires special arrows and a special string.
Woodsmen and woods-women survived in the 18th century wilderness long term, and generations did this for hundreds of years. Think about that. What did they carry? A flintlock gun, a good hunting/butcher knife, maybe a legging knife for a back-up, and a clasp knife for camp chores and making traps. A tomahawk did the heavier cutting work when making shelters, and it was/is a good tool for self-defence. Learn how to throw your tomahawk and it also becomes a tool for recreation, and hunting if needs be. A few simple tools and spare parts will keep your flintlock serviceable for a life time. Flint, steel and tinderbox are also reliable methods of renewable fire lighting in all weather conditions.
I am not saying don’t take a modern firearm, I am saying don’t take a modern firearm only. If you have a partner that can afford to carry a modern firearm and ammo, fine. It will make a good tool for self-defence. Take a good modern medical kit too, and remember to carry plenty of vitamins and any personal medications. Think about what will be most useful to you in a long term wilderness situation. Gun or bow, ammunition, gun tools, water, food, flint and steel, knives, tomahawk, moccasins that you can make yourself, the knowledge to tan hides and make simple clothing items, clothing with no stress points that will last a long time, fishing tackle, a kettle for cooking food and sterilizing water, rope for trail snares, brass picture wire for small game snares, copper wire for gun repairs, a wooden spoon for cooking and eating, soap, hair comb, sewing kit, water filtration bags, a solar still, a canvas for shelter, a good wool blanket, extra clothing for cold nights, gunpowder, lead, ball and shot moulds, lead ladle. Is there anything here that you are prepared to sacrifice for the sake of carrying some modern gadget that is not renewable, that is not really NEEDED?
If I should find that I still have room to carry more, and I can handle the weight, I can think of far more important things to carry than a multi-tool or radio or torch or any number of fancy gadgets. I would be carrying more water, more dried foods, more gunpowder and more lead. IF you are serious about survival, don’t waste this opportunity to choose the right gear for the job in hand. If you are making a b.o.b for your teenager, explain to them why it is important that they carry more food instead of that radio or their mobile phone. Walking along a trail with ear phones blaring music is a sure way to get yourself killed, you won’t hear the warning, you won’t hear what’s coming, use your head.
Now spread out all the gear you have, and give it an honest appraisal. Do you NEED it? Will it help save your life? Is there anything that you should be carrying more of instead of that item? Anyone can make excuses for carrying certain items that are not really needed, but the fact is that they all add up. They all take up room and together they add weight. How many early pioneers finished up ditching furniture, clocks and luggage trunks along the trail? Many of them. Because the trail was long, and at every mile the weight seemed to increase for the horses carrying or pulling this load, it increased for every person carrying too much on their backs. This survival scenario is serious stuff. If you genuinely believe, that in your lifetime TEOTWAWKI situation may arise, then get serious, ditch the rubbish now, don’t wait for the trail so you can leave items behind to help other people follow your trail.
DO NOT assume that you will be driving your vehicle all the way to your destination, you can’t possible know or guarantee this. You may have to ditch your vehicle along the way to your retreat, and if you were to drive your vehicle all the way into the virgin bush, you will be leaving a trail for unwanted company to follow all the way to your hideout. Only take what you can carry on your backs. It may have to be heavy, you may have to take frequent rest stops even if you have kept everything not needed out of your pack.
If you are in company, in a group, then think about what people can carry. Lead scouts need to be able to defend themselves and the group, same with the rear guard and the flankers. Some may need to carry a few personal items, such as a knife, a bow, and a tomahawk. Other than that they will be carrying; food supplies, medical supplies, gunpowder, lead, water. If you are carrying a muzzle-loading gun, then less lead is needed, and you can carry more gunpowder instead. Make sure you have a good mix of archers, muzzleloaders and modern firearms in your group. The bows and muzzle-loading guns are mainly for hunting and back-up defence if required. The modern firearms are purely for defence, nothing else, and long term they are not to be relied upon. You simply can not carry enough ammo for a modern firearm, and you can’t afford the weight of reloaders, nor can you rely on the continued good condition of primers.
So which is it to be, an activity that you enjoy doing but are not seriously expecting to have to face TEOTWAWKI in your lifetime, or if you believe that a SHTF situation could arise for real, are you going to get serious about your survival and the survival of your family?