I saw a word today in an article. It was a curious word – the word was TEOTWAKI. I thought it was some foreign word or the name of some documentary that I had to see. However as I was reading I realized that the word TEOTWAKI was not some new word but an acronym for THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT.

I thought – how cool, now if anyone wants to ben your ear about everything is going to hell in a handbasket all you have to say to them is TEOTWAKI.

So if someone says “Trump did this and I am mad” just say “TEOTWAKI” or “did you hear about those despicable murder hornets?” and all you have to say is TEOTWAKI.

You can use it like Hawaiians say Aloha.

If your day goes badly and you are about to go postal just throw your hands in the air and yell “TEOTWAKI” it may be therapeutic to acknowledge that it is the end of the world as we know it but so far so good right?

The world ending would be far too easy – that is why we have to go through all of this pain and confusion first.

Everyone has had the experience of believing in something that turned out not to be true. It can be said that depending on the situation it can be psychologically traumatic to realize what you thought was the truth, turns out to be at odds with your normalcy bias.

Like it or not, our beliefs about the world are interconnected with other beliefs we have been programmed to accept. As one thing is revealed, there are more that follow and you can either lie to yourself and say that it is a form of persecution or deception or you can learn more about what the facts are.

It takes a great deal of strength in order to let go of one’s preconceived ideas and accept new and factual data.

Since the media guides, controls and even at times hijacks the zeitgeist, we sometimes forget that we have not defeated those who oppress us – we have simply enabled them by ignoring their nefarious activities.

Also read: When The Pharmacies Won’t Be An Option: Herbal and Natural Therapies For Diabetes After The SHTF


The citizens of the United States have been lulled into forgetting much of what is truly oppressing them. The way the system has deteriorated over time gives me a reason to be parapolitically direct and speak of how we have established as a nation a default system in order to eliminate what we once called “normal American freedoms.” Today, the system has determined that your ability to be a normal American is based wholly on your place in the power structure.

People are rising up but it can be argued that those who are rising up are part of a fragmented disloyalty to everything when all we need to do is focus on each problem separately instead of evolving to entropy.

We have created a statist system where we rank people from those who are superior to us, and to those whom we view as subhuman or worthless. The idea of survival of the fittest is eliminated through our appointed and voted upon an authoritarian system. We have allowed ourselves to pretty much believe that we have appointed through the ballot box someone who is more superior than we are to dole out resources, suspend human rights, and hire an army to create a police state capable of eliminating those they tell us are subhuman and worthless.

The government doesn’t do the radical and tribal factions will.

That is why we are beginning to see the real threat of civil war.

The economic, social, political, and military distress pervading the world should be terrifying the average American, but most are blissfully ignorant of the coming anguish when the best-laid plans of central bankers, climate cultists, race baiters, White supremacists and corrupt politicians blow up once again and plunge the world into dazed oblivion.

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When it happens there will be a groundswell of people thinking, what happened I thought all of these good intentions were going to benefit everyone?

Good intentions are never always as good as we think and incompetence and corruption always seem to find a way.

The universe never bends to good intentions –and neither does a structure that is over 200 years old—a government structure, a constitutional republic about to be trashed by the fragmented mob.

No one in the midst of the mob thinks that they are the bad guy — even when they are tearing down statues, burning federal buildings, and shooting police officers. No one in the mob feels culpable — they see what they feel are injustices predicated upon them or to someone who they empathize with and then they strike. In America we never see ourselves as monsters or even destroyers of all we have fought for.

The truth, if you decide to accept it, is the media and the politicians have given the spotlight to extremism.

The majority of Americans really weren’t bothered with gay rights of even black rights until we were forced to acknowledge the violence that has been pervasive in our lives. We were living side by side with our gay neighbors and black neighbors.

It was the extremists that showed up that triggered the other extremists to say something and demand we do something and when we all agreed that extremism is rare – the extremists forced us to pay attention.

They marched with their torches and pitchforks screaming “Blood and Soil” – which triggered the other side to organize and assume that everyone felt the same as the neo-Nazis that put on a show.

Most didn’t support these things but the media made you think that. They told you that your leaders felt that way. Most Americans were saying this is not the America we grew up in.

They were right but were ignored by the cancel culture, this triggered resentment, then came Antifa—from there, the Anarchist faction – Black Lives Matter and more.

Patriot groups were triggered as they were accused of being selfish, myopic, and violent.

Both mobs were violent to each other and the media wanted to choose which violent mob represents are inner hatred.

The politicians stepped in and made it worse with what they say and with what they don’t say.

People never cared about political affiliation until everyone started condemning each other for their political beliefs.

Then came those foreign born politicians and the xenophobia and the fear of their views moving in on what are called American views.

The majority of people did not care about where others were born until they wanted to come in, erase our history and blame our ancestors for the problems they are having now — not fitting in not dealing with the culture shock.

The entitlement factor is making people into monsters — we were fine until we were harassed, told we were sick and were reminded that we are all victims and that we needed to pass the blame and forfeit accountability.

We never really were into the idea of forcing our beliefs on others until we were told that what we believe is wrong — that our constitutional republic was a menace and that we all need to be told how to live our lives…

America was about being free, tolerant, and understanding — those values may no longer apply and while we all know who is blamed for all of it, most Americans do not know that the country has suffered a form of apoplexy for so long that they are about to have a severe stroke.

Maybe social media exposed the white underbelly of the ugly. Maybe when we see all the ugly we realize that we are not special and that we tend to over care about everything and when we do we don’t realize that we are falling off of a cliff.

When I was a kid, one of my favorite cartoons was Roadrunner. Looking back at it I realized just how pointless it was – but still it was always funny to watch the Roadrunner fool Wile E. Coyote into doing things that would main him. As a kid I didn’t know what suspending belief meant. While I watched Roadrunner Cartoons I always wondered how Wile E. Coyote was able to stay airborne for a few seconds before he plummeted off of a cliff – hitting the jagged rocks below.

I am realizing how this can happen in a metaphoric way.

At this time in our history, we are like Wile E. Coyote.

We are going over the cliff but we are still running and we haven’t yet realized that we are going to fall hard on those jagged rocks below us.

In Kentucky, after the Breonna Taylor decision, we started our journey over the cliff. The next few days we will begin our descent still running and causing mayhem in major cities.

In just a few days, we will start to see the internet make changes to social media platforms. By November, we will feel the slam of the whole country hitting the rocks.

If we have state oppression and economic chaos by Christmas then what will be the next stage of the takeover.

As I was watching Kentucky’s response to the verdict produced by the Grand Jury in the Breonna Taylor case, I also saw a hashtag trending on Twitter –it was #Trump Coup.

I remember it was weeks ago we were discussing the possibility that the President was in danger. The very though generated hostility not only on line but we also heard the anger on the air at the very idea of me suggesting that this is the case in our country.

Just days after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Secret Service intercepted a piece of mail addressed to the White House that contained the lethal poison, ricin.

A woman from Canada now has been arrested and accused of sending the letter to the President.

The suspect said in a letter to the President: “give up and remove your application for this election.” She allegedly wrote that the ricin was her “gift” to him and if it did not work, she would find a recipe for another poison or use her gun against the president.

U.S. officials said the letter was intercepted on Friday before reaching its destination. All mail for the White House is sorted and screened at an offsite facility before reaching the president’s official residence.

During the investigation, the FBI say they discovered that six additional letters containing ricin appeared to have been received in Texas last September.  If you recall this was around the time that there was speculation that there was an attempt to poison the food of the President, we reported that this may have happened but of course since the mainstream media did not report it, we can pretend that nothing happened. Since it upsets people so much to hear that the façade is wearing off we have to avoid speaking about the reality that America is becoming hostile and that there are agents within our borders who are not above committing acts of mob justice and government take overs in order to engender civil war in America.

There is only one difference between what is happening now and a full-on state take over– an immediate change in the Zeitgeist. Now, arguably some believe that it may be the Breonna Taylor decision but that only effects a minority of people — what is next has to be an event where there is little doubt that we have crashed on the rocks and that something has to be done by the people to eliminate the lawlessness that has prevailed for the past 7 months.

I believe that this is what is in the planning – it is the future event that we have all wondered after – something that causes a psychological shock that will give the police the conviction that things are so bad “force is necessary” to ensure things don’t get out of control.

This event will require that America acquiesce to a police state. Something that will be seen as state sanctioned oppression – something more that social distancing and mask wearing.

Younger citizens seem to believe that Mob Justice is the answer to everything they do not approve of – and there are presidential candidates who have declared that if there is no exchange of power after the next election then there will be more of this lawlessness to continue.

When Ruth Bader Ginsberg died and both President Trump and Mitch McConnell were on the quick saying that the seat would be replaced – there was an uproar all over the internet from the radical left saying that they would burn the country to the ground if we did not wait till after the election to select a nominee.

Reza Aslan, a religious scholar and former CNN host, tweeted to his 293,000 followers: ‘If they even TRY to replace RBG we burn the entire f****** thing down.

Beau Willimon, a screenwriter who produced the U.S. version of House of Cards and the president of the Writers Guild of America, East, told his 164,000 followers: We’re shutting this country down if Trump and McConnell try to ram through an appointment before the election.’

Author Aaron Gouveia, whose latest book is about toxic masculinity, tweeted:  ‘F*** no. Burn it all down.’ 

And a professor of political science repeated calls for arson attacks on Congress.  

Emmett Macfarlane, who teaches at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, tweeted: ‘Burn Congress down before letting Trump try to appoint anyone to SCOTUS.

A member of the Wisconsin Ethics Commission, responsible for administering state laws regarding campaign finance, ethics and lobbying, echoed the urging for violence.

When Ed Markey, senate candidate for Massachusetts, said that McConnell should not nominate a replacement in an election year, Scot Ross tweeted: ‘F****** A, Ed. If you can’t shut it down, burn it down.’

Trump is supposed to make a decision on Saturday – Saturday there are going to be demonstrations protesting the Breonna Taylor decision – things are about to turn –and most the United States is ill prepared psychologically, monetarily and in other ways.

It would seem to be inevitable that America is going to see more conflict as the private backers with deep pockets show no signs of wishing to abort their color revolution.

As the social façade cracks, and the economic system breaks, there is neither a society nor an economy to fall back on. By Christmas it will be obvious that normality has gone forever.

So what will ‘they’ do with millions of unemployed, frightened people?  If ‘they’ leave the internet on then the people will start to organize.

If they turn it off then what?

It was reported two days ago in the Financial Times that Facebook will take aggressive measures to “restrict the circulation of content” on its platform if November’s presidential election descends into chaos or violent civic unrest. The company had drawn up plans for how to handle a range of outcomes, including widespread civic unrest or “the political dilemmas” of having in-person votes counted more rapidly than mail-in ballots.

So if Facebook turns off, riots become disorganized. Then there is always the cell phone – if they turn off cell phones, you can imagine what comes next.

So what will ‘they’ do with millions of unemployed, frightened people that don’t have access to their social media drug?

There will have to be professional soldiers hired to ‘maintain the peace’ in the cities. No one want to say that it could be that out of control but it can be that out of control.

One of the scary things about working through ‘their’ options is that they are running out of them– we have allowed the lawlessness to go on for so long that now if any decisions come down from the top down there will always be someone demanding that something be destroyed or taken down.

Things now have obviously gone too far.

November is bound to see some changes and they may well trigger a change in the Zeitgeist—the thing is, the only certainty is uncertainty.

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How Do We Prepare Mentally For The Act Of Killing Another Person?—Developing an Effective Pre-Disposition for Violence

(My buddy Greg Ellifritz, of Active Response Training, linked to this older article the other day. I hadn’t read this one in a while, so I went back and re-read it. I stand by the article still, so decided to update it and use it for this week’s feature post. We’ll go back to the Off-Grid discussion next week. JM)

Originally published 7MAY2014.

I had a student in a class recently (IIRC, it was the Iowa Combat Rifle course, but I could be mistaken), ask the very serious question, “How do we prepare mentally for the act of killing another person?” While, after giving him the tongue-in-cheek answer of “go chop people’s heads off with a penknife?” I gave the legitimate answer that it’s a matter of overcoming cultural conditioning, it’s a question that’s been nagging at my conscience ever since.

For the most part, neither I nor any of my friends who have been downrange, has ever voiced a concern over a reticence to drop the hammer and kill the enemy. Unfortunately, because of the prevalence of feel-good, New Age humanist bulls*** in the soft sciences like psychology, there is a lot of nonsense in the world about “mankind’s natural, inherent reluctance towards intra-species killing.” All the archaeological evidence to the contrary, too many people have conflated CULTURAL conditioning that illegitimizes interpersonal lethal violence, with a “natural” human reluctance.

Regardless of the status of the oft-voiced reluctance—inherent at the genetic level, or culturally conditioned—the fact is, it is a very real concern for a lot of people (FYI, before anyone starts citing BG SLA “Slam” Marshall, do more background research into the repudiations of his “research.”). At the risk of getting slightly side-tracked, as we all know I am wont to do, I will point out that I am an inveterate journalist. At any given time, I’ll have anywhere from six to a dozen different journals floating around. These serve as PT records, a means to record ideas I want to develop into articles for the blog, and things I’ve come across in my reading, as well as simply random thoughts that pop into my head. Once or twice a year, I’ll sit down and compile all the notes and records into a single volume, then dispose of the old, partially full journals that now are serving no purpose other than taking up valuable space on my bookshelves. This is important because I spent much of last night and yesterday on that very task.

Also read: While Our Survival Is Never Guaranteed, Preparedness Is About Learning And Increasing Our Odds

The Most Important Facts To Consider When Choosing Your Survival Retreat Location

As I collated journal notes from a round dozen different journals, I came across an entry on the subject of this article. I am not sure when I recorded it (this particular journal actually has notes from over four years ago, so it’s been stashed away in hiding for quite some time!), or what the original source was, but…..

According to the journal entry (which I obviously agreed with, or I wouldn’t have written it down in the first place), there are six basic facets to developing a predisposition towards effective violence.


One of the first “training” lessons I ever learned was from my grandfather. While I’d like to believe he picked it up during his OSS training in WW2, I honestly never bothered asking him, so I genuinely just don’t know. I’ve since heard the same advice from dozens of different sources, have practiced it myself for well over twenty years, and have repeatedly found…it works. Not just well; it works like a Creole hooker during Mardi Gras…

That lesson was on the importance of visualization. Play the “what if” game. Not just in the context of this conversation, I play the “what if” game constantly. “What if” that car in front of me suddenly loses control and starts sliding all over the road? “What if” that dude walking into the steak house pulls out a Glock and starts shooting people? “What if” I look out my front window and see a group of jocked up dudes in black Nomex in my yard? “What if” I’m driving down our road and come to a tree across the road, then gunfire starts pinging into the truck? “What if” I take a gunshot wound to the lower abdomen below my plate carrier?

The key to effective visualization, of course, is REALISTIC mental images. Basing your visualization on John Woo action movie behaviors is not going to do you much good. Fortunately, if you’re reading this, there is an amazing resource just a couple of mouse clicks and typing away, in the form of YouTube. Despite the noise: signal ration on YT, the fact is, there are lots of camera recordings of everything from helmet cam footage of gunfights in Iraq and Afghanistan to criminal assaults and convenience store robberies. By studying the appropriate videos, and dissecting the behaviors and movements of the key players, you can begin to form a relatively accurate mental image of what a given scenario might look like when you experience it.

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This allows you to begin formulating realistic, effective responses to those scenarios. There is ample scientific experimental, research, and anecdotal evidence out there, aptly proving that if you can create a realistic image in your head—visualization—of yourself performing certain actions in response to certain key stimuli, to your brain, it’s as if you had actually performed them. You get the benefits of the experience, without the attendant risks and costs of the experience.

Ultimately, for the inexperienced, the surest way to inculcate the ability to be extremely violent, without actually going out and beating the s*** out of people…or chopping off stranger’s heads with a penknife, is through visualization. Visualize the reticle of your optic superimposed on a bad guy’s face or chest, and “feel” your finger squeeze all the way through the trigger break. Visualize the recoil cycle of the gun, and visualize seeing the rounds impact his shirt or jacket. Visualize his face being distorted from the impact, and the violence of high-velocity blood and brain matter spray out the back of the skull.

Visualize the slight resistance and sudden give of the tip of your Kabar puncturing his clothing and flesh. Visualize the warm, stickiness of blood flowing over your hand. Visualize punching a dude in the face so hard that you can “feel” his cheekbones fracture under your fist.

The catch, of course, is that you have to actually visualize the entire physical performance, in all of its details, and ACCURATELY. You also have to actually be physically capable of performing the action. I don’t care how realistic your visualization is, if you’re a quadriplegic, you’re not going to be able to perform a Master-level run at the local 3-Gun match. Having the physical ability to perform the tasks, of course, requires,


You have to engage in effective training. This means learning proven, effective TTP, and then practice them in an effective manner. Shooting Appleseed alone won’t cut it. You need to be able to shoot, but you also need to know what it feels like to run a dynamic, fast-moving break contact drill, from the way your movement patterns change when you’re kitted up, to the way it feels to twist and slam into the ground as you bound backward while your Ranger buddy provides protective suppressive fire. Performing as the maneuver element during a Hasty Attack requires actually having trained in the task, so you know what it feels like to take that long, sprinting bound around. You need to know what it feels like to perform 3-5 second rushes and crawls through the terrain you will be visualizing that you will be performing on.

Beyond visualization, you also just have to be able to perform the tasks necessary. From throwing a rapid-fire, machine-gun barrage of punches to beat the piss out of an attacker, to executing a blistering fast draw stroke from concealment, to SEEING the front sight superimposed on the bad guy’s face. If you don’t train and learn how to actually, accurately, effectively perform any given task, all the visualization training in the world won’t do you any bit of good.

At the same time (and you KNEW I was going to slip this in somehow….), you have to be physically fit enough to execute the violence you need to execute. Knowing HOW to crash and clinch then stab a dude in the carotid artery is not the same thing as being fast enough and strong enough to actually pull it off. Visualizing humping a 40-50 pound rucksack for 6 days straight, on less than 2 hours of sleep per night is NOT the same thing as having the physical and mental discipline and conditioning to actually pull it off.

That doesn’t mean you have to be able to pull off any given physical feat today. You just have to be trying to improve. If you are doing more today than you were yesterday, and tomorrow, you do more than you did today, you’re doing the right thing. Right?


You need to know your legitimate, honest level of skill…and your limitations. If you’ve never managed to hit an e-type silhouette at 200 meters, there’s little point in trying to project violence at 300 meters, until you improve your marksmanship abilities. If you’re a short little fat bastard who has no interest in doing PT or getting into a Jitz class, there’s even less point in planning on choking some pipe-hitting powerlifter in SWAT kit.

Be objective about your abilities, and you can limit your attempts at violence to what you are capable of.


Teach yourself to relax under stress, and you’ll be able to focus on the fundamentals of executing a particular skill set or task. Use patterned breathing. I tend to be really, really good at remaining disturbingly calm under stressful situations, because of positive self-talk (see below) and a lack of negative reinforcement (in other words, remaining calm has never caused me any harm under stress). As I’ve pointed out to people in daily life, ad nauseum, “unless you’re getting shot at, there are few things in life worth getting panicky about, and if you are getting shot at, panicking will only result in your death, so calm down!”

In those occasional moments where I do lose my cool and start getting stressed out (truthfully, they usually only happen when HH6 is driving me absolutely, crazy), I generally catch myself in a hurry and calm down quickly and easily because of controlled, patterned breathing. Some instructors suggest a 4-count. Inhale for a count of four. Hold for a count of four. Exhale for a count of four. Hold for a count of four. I use seven because, at some point in my youth, my grandfather told me seven was the “magic” number (or perhaps the “magical” number, since I recall him saying something about it having had spiritual significance prior to computers….weird if you ask me). All I really know is, THAT WORKS!!!


Positive self-talk, during training and daily life, will go a long way towards making you more effective in violence and in life in general. It goes right along with the visualization mentioned above. “Hey, if that car starts sliding into my lane, I’ll be fine. I can steer into the ditch and control the car, because I’ve done a lot of off-road driving, at ridiculously high speeds.” “Hey, if that dude walks in with a Glock, I know how to handle the situation, because I can draw and fire an accurate first-round headshot at twice the distance between here and the front door. I do it all the time in training.” “If the cannibalistic San Franciscans start rioting in the streets and my life, or the life of my family is in danger, I can deal with it. It’s easier to shoot them effectively in the middle of the street than it was to hit that half-sized silhouette at 300 meters last weekend on the range!” “Hey, I’ve had SUT training, and my wife and I have practiced buddy team bounds using fire-and-maneuver, so if I have to fight off a home invasion by MS-13 banditos, we’ll be alright!”


Arguably tied for the most critical with visualization in developing a predisposition towards effective violence is having a positive support system, starting with—most important—a deep, legitimate belief in the righteousness of your actions and your cause. If you believe that your actions may be too aggressive, or you hold some retarded, childhood belief that only fair fights are okay, then you’re not going to be effective, because you will unconsciously hold back. On the other hand, if you KNOW, in your soul, that what you are standing up for is right, and that the actions you are taking are justified, then you won’t have any reluctance to do what needs to be done.

At the same time, after the fact, you shouldn’t have to deal with your friends and family second-guessing your actions. Sure, an honest appraisal, in the form of an AAR critique can be useful…but ultimately, if your friends and family don’t share your values….I’d suggest dumping all of them and finding better people to hang out with.

This belief can be seen in elite military units (so much for Grossman’s sociopath arguments….), with a strong sense of esprit de corps. The cultivated belief system that “we’re better than everyone else, and we’re fighting for the man next to us” IS a support system that facilitates the use of effective violence. We know, at least amongst our brethren, that as long as we use it in accordance with the rules, no one is going to judge us harshly for being violent. It’s not until we start dealing with outsiders who don’t understand the culture or mindset that we start having to deal with doubters, non-believers, and second-guessing.


Ultimately, all of these—like so many things—are intertwined and synergistic. None of them work particularly well without all the other pieces in place. So, get training so you can practice effective visualization, and engage in positive self-talk. Most of all, develop a legitimate belief that you are doing the right thing.

It is my firmly held belief that the idea that humans have an inherent, genetic resistance to intra-species violence that can only be overcome with operant conditioning is a bunch of statist, mind control bulls***. If the prophets of this nonsense can convince you that you need special conditioning to be effective at violence, that can only be achieved through military or law enforcement training, first-person shooter video games, or being abused as a child, then they can facilitate you are being effectively controlled, without worrying about the violent revolt from the proles.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Christian who follows the adage of “turn the other cheek.” Intra-species violence is—truthfully—one of the most natural acts of humankind. Christ may have said turn the other cheek, but I’d point out, his daddy only created you with two cheeks…..what do you do after you’ve been bitch-slapped on the other side? Same thing he did in the temple. You beat the s*** out of the offenders, and drive them off with weapons.

For us heathen non-believers? The archaeological and historical record is amply clear that there is NO inherent genetic resistance to stabbing a thug in the face, chopping his head off with a sword or ax, or burning his house down around his a**.

If you can manage to practice the six aspects of developing a pre-disposition towards effective violence, then dropping the hammer, fist or firearm, will not be an issue when the need arises.

Also, I highly recommend this book to everyone. 300 pages, color, paperback. The Lost Book of Remedies is helping Americans achieve medical self-sufficiency even in the darkest times using the time-tested methods of our grandparents without spending lots of money on toxic drugs and without side effects. A great asset when doctors and hospitals won’t be available anymore. You may not be Claude Davis, but you can make use of his procedures and techniques to increase your chances of survival!

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A breakthrough experiment from Colorado, USA with 45 volunteers has proven that by eating this prickly flower you can completely kill food cravings! It is 5x more effective than exercise….and 6x more effective than any diet! And guess what? They found its 3x MORE effective than gastric bypass surgery at eliminating cravings for sugar and starchy foods!==> Prickly Flower Eliminates Food Cravings & Burns Away Fat

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Human Threat To Your Retreat Location—The 3 Types Of Thieves Preppers Should Be Planning For

The purpose of this article is to discuss the Human threat to your retreat location.  This Human threat can take on multiple modes, some very dangerous to your safety and others not so much.  The trick, of course, is figuring out the nature of each and every encounter while you can still affect the outcome.

Much like playing in a Role-Playing-Game (RPG), you won’t know the nature of an encounter until you’re in it.  Will you benefit from it?  Will you be in danger because of it?  What type of benefit might you obtain or what threat might you face?  There is no way of knowing in advance, and every encounter carries some degree of risk.  With a RPG such things are decided by a roll of dice.  With real life, things are decided by the minds and morals of men, though some might consider the “fickle finger of fate” in the mix as well.

Note: A RPG, such as Twilight 2000, is an excellent way to test your defensive concepts in a fairly realistic manner without having to do a full exercise with all your people as well as someone to stand in for your opponents etc.  Use the RPG environment to get an idea of how many attackers a specific defense can hold against, how weapons variations can make a difference to both attackers and defenders, as well as how the introduction of other “variables” might affect things.

Also read: While Our Survival Is Never Guaranteed, Preparedness Is About Learning And Increasing Our Odds

The Most Important Facts To Consider When Choosing Your Survival Retreat Location

What kinds of threats are we talking about?  I’ll start with what I refer to as two-legged Locusts (or 2LLs for short).  These are people who will, for whatever reason, wander across the landscape much like a swarm of Locusts.  These people will consume everything in their path, only pausing when they stumble across a well-stocked area, and then only until they’ve eaten everything available in that place.  Bear in mind that while the amount of food in a place will govern how long they stay, they will likely strip most places of everything else of use or value while they are at it.  Some Preppers refer to this threat as the “golden horde” which is also an apt describer of them since they will almost certainly strip the land much as the Mongol Horde did in ancient times.

Why might people leave their homes to become 2LLs?  They may elect to leave their home area due to food shortages, encroaching threats, or similar.  Alternately they may have been physically forced from their homes.  Why they ended up as 2LL is immaterial, the fact that they are is all that matters to the people they run into.  The good news is that most of this type of threat won’t be very organized, nor will they have much tactical skill.  Their most common approach will be what’s known as “hey diddle diddle, straight up the middle” AKA the well-known frontal assault.  No real finesse, just the equivalent of a bum rush.  Some of these might exhibit some organization, but it won’t be much or they’d be organized enough to stay in an area and homestead it.

482 Year Old Secret To Surviving SHTF…

What if I told you that NASA rediscovered a superfood that’s been lost to history for the past 482 years? It’s packed with more nutrients than any other food out there and last even longer than pemmican. In fact, it’s so easy to store and cheap to make, you might never need another emergency food.

Click here (or the video bellow)to see how you can make your own

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This is also the group I think of when people talk about zombies, as I expect these will have very similar results to a “zombie apocalypse”.  Sure, the 2LLs won’t eat your brains (I hope), but whether they kill you to get to your food or devour what was going to keep you alive the end result is the same.  This type of threat may be somewhat tolerant of casualties, meaning that a few casualties may not convince these people to pass your retreat up.  In fact, if they are desperate enough, it may take substantial casualties inflicted on the 2LL before they will leave you alone.

The next group of concern is what I call raiders.  These will be more organized than the 2LLs and in many cases far more violent.  While these may be nomadic or operate from a fixed base, I see these as different from the 2LLs because their attacks will be more hit and run or grab and go in nature.  In other words, these threats will be of shorter duration and typically very specific in their objectives.  I expect that this threat will be far less tolerant of casualties than the 2LL, in fact, I suspect if they encounter anything resembling a well-organized defense they will avoid it and focus their sights on easier prey.  Of course, much depends on the “prize” they anticipate from the target of their attention.

The more they want what a specific target location has, the more willingly they will accept casualties.  Much also depends on the nature of the raiders themselves and how they came to be raiders.  I expect many raider groups will grow from motorcycle clubs (or gangs if you prefer), though they could develop from a variety of other groups as well.  I expect that the ones from clubs made up of folks who like to ride to be less violent and more opportunistic in nature.  I anticipate that those made up of “outlaw” club chapters (Hell’s Angels and similar) will be far more violent in every aspect of their activities.  Raiders will, for the most part, be highly mobile and heavily armed.  These will be the “run and gun” threats for most folks after TSHTF.  Note: A Raider group may be under the direction or control of an Overlord, see below.

The most serious threat to Preppers is what I’ll call Warlords or Overlords.  The basic concept resembles a feudal system, where a person in a position of authority provides protection or control over other people for a percentage of whatever they have or produce.  In Medieval times the person in charge would have belonged to the nobility and have knights as well as men-at-arms to enforce their will and protect their holdings.  In modern times the person who ends up “in charge” of a given area following TEOTWAWKI might be the County Sheriff (as they already wield much power in their county), some other “elected official”, the patriarch (or matriarch) of a wealthy family, the owner of the largest employer in the area, etc.

The “men-at-arms” could be local law enforcement, members of various “clubs”, or a local militia.  The major threat to Preppers would arise if the Overlord sees them as a threat, though confiscation of weapons and/or supplies would also pose a threat to them.  Secondary concerns would include things like requirements for Prepper group members to provide labor, services, or taxes as well as limitations to the group’s ability to trade etc.

The severity of these threats will be based on 2 considerations; the personality of the Overlord (tyrannical, domineering, paranoid, charismatic, benevolent, etc.) and the severity of the SHTF situation that led to the current status.

There are other potential threats for Preppers following TEOTWAWKI, ranging from neighbor issues to assorted smaller groups approaching the retreat.  These should not be discounted or ignored.  But they will be minor in comparison to the 2LL, Raiders, or Overlords.  Dealing with any of these dictates 24X7X365 vigilance for as long as ROL (Rule of Law) is not in force and the maintenance of a low profile in general.  How you deal with these threats will be based on the size comparison between your group and the threat group and the specifics of the situation you find yourself in.  Good luck!

Also, I highly recommend this book to everyone. 300 pages, color, paperback. The Lost Book of Remedies is helping Americans achieve medical self-sufficiency even in the darkest times using the time-tested methods of our grandparents without spending lots of money on toxic drugs and without side effects. A great asset when doctors and hospitals won’t be available anymore. You may not be Claude Davis, but you can make use of his procedures and techniques to increase your chances of survival!

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A breakthrough experiment from Colorado, USA with 45 volunteers has proven that by eating this prickly flower you can completely kill food cravings! It is 5x more effective than exercise….and 6x more effective than any diet! And guess what? They found its 3x MORE effective than gastric bypass surgery at eliminating cravings for sugar and starchy foods!==> Prickly Flower Eliminates Food Cravings & Burns Away Fat

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Tourniquets, Chest Seals, and Pressure Dressings, Oh My!

The following article has been written by John Mosby.

Tourniquets get a lot of digital bandwidth in tactical and preparedness virtual circles. Rightfully so, since they’ve demonstrably saved a f***ton of lives over the last two decades of combat. Unfortunately though, in the process of bludgeoning a deceased equine, in order to overcome decades of medical institutional intertia about the supposed hazards of tourniquet use, many people—myself included, unfortunately—have neglected to make it a point to discuss the surrounding issues.

Let’s start with this, just to get it out of the way:

If you carry a gun, and you’re not carrying a tourniquet or two, you’re either LARPing, or you’re a f***ing idiot. The fact is, a “gunfight” implies bilateral ballistics, and the enemy gets a vote. If you assume your one box of ammo a month “practice” regimen means you’re automatically a far better marksman than the bad guy you are going to end up in a gunfight with, well, I’ve got an 8 ounce jar of fairy dust I’ll sell you cheap, and it’s guaranteed to make you stronger, faster, higher flying, and generally more attractive to members of your preferred sex.

Sure, you COULD try using your belt or handkerchief or whatever to improvise a tourniquet, but experiential research and laboratory study both pretty clearly demonstrate they are a piss-poor substitute, and don’t work particularly well (which is not the same thing as saying they DON’T work, AT ALL. I know people who have saved lives with improvised tourniquets, and you may too. Both they, and their patients, probably would have appreciated a manufactured, quality, tourniquet).

That having been said, we’ve got to look at the circumstances surrounding battlefield wounds, versus our likely circumstances, to see if tourniquets are even MOST of the answer, let alone all of the answer.

Recomended reading: Fundamentals of Fieldcraft: Packing for Partisans: A Conceptual Approach to Equipment Selection and Load-Bearing, Regardless of Position or Duties, with Specific Examples

Soldiers in combat, in the last twenty years, as a general rule, are wearing—at a minimum—a plate carrier of some sort with rifle-rated plate protection for the upper torso. This means, by default, whether a victim of an IED blast, indirect fire weapons, or direct fire small-arms, the vast majority of wounds sustained will occur to the extremities. Tourniquets work splendidly on extremity wounds. It’s…well…what they’re for…

You and I however, for our EDC, probably do not wear even pistol-rated soft armor, and almost certainly, we’re not walking into the Stop-And-Rob, at 10 PM, with a rifle-rated plate carrier on. If you are, you need to seriously reconsider your life choices. We’re probably not sitting in traffic, waiting to deal with a potential road-rage attacked, kitted up like we’re gonna run Route Irish, circa 2007.

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While we SHOULD carry tourniquets, for the inevitable limb injuries, we also need to consider the very real fact that not all miscreants and general s***heads are poor shots. We also need to consider the very real fact that, at arm’s length, the bad dude doesn’t even need to be a particularly skilled marksman to get solid upper torso hits on you. You know where tourniquets don’t do a shitting bit of good? On penetrating trauma to the torso…

You know what other item, besides tourniquets, the improvised/expedient version of is a total joke, and a pain-in-the-ass to use, and doesn’t work particularly well? Chest seals.

Dude, I get it. I used the “field dressing wrapper and 100mph tape” chest seal in training as a young soldier. It seems all high-speed, cool guy McGuyver-ish. Now, try doing it on someone with a quarter pint of blood on their chest, covered in sweat, thrashing around, because they’ve got three or four rounds lodged in their lungs, and they’re starting to have a LOT of trouble breathing…

It really is pretty easy to improvise a pressure dressing. A t-shirt will do it pretty well. It’s reasonably easy to improvise wound packing with a t-shirt too. Sure, neither is going to be sterile, but that’s what prophylactic antibiotic treatments are for.

Chest seals are cake to carry. I can fit a set of Fox Seals, or the Compact Hy-Fins, in my wallet, folded in half. I don’t. I either carry them folded in half behind the tourniquet in my cell phone pocket, or I keep a small Maxpedition pouch, with a set of them in it, if I’m wearing something with cargo pockets. Alternatively, I’ll tuck that wallet sized Maxpedition (actually, looking at the picture now, I see it’s NOT Maxpedition, but Vanquest. For some reason, I’ve always thought it was a Maxpedition pouch, weird. And there is no tourniquet pictured. It is still in my pocket.) pouch into my back pocket, opposite my wallet, and carry it there.

Seriously, if you’re savvy enough to be carrying a tourniquet, you better be carrying chest seals (and nitrile surgical gloves) as well. If you’re not savvy enough to be carrying a tourniquet, well, fix it.

The other stuff illustrated in my EDC BOK? Meh. I can improvise, or, I can probably get by without, in a normal EDC scenario. Tension pneumothorax, requiring a needle decompression, doesn’t onset THAT quickly, and, outside of a grid-down scenario, I’m probably going to be able to get my patient, or myself, to a hospital, before it becomes an issue.

Same thing with the nose hose. Unless the situation is the onset of the Apocalypse I’m heading for the truck, with my people, where there is a full-blown trauma bag, I can probably use chin-lift/jaw-thrust, to maintain a patent airway.

Surgical gloves are sort of a pain to improvise, but I’ve actually dealt with blood-soaked patients who were strangers without them. If you don’t have any open wounds on your hands, you’ll probably be okay, and if you’re worried about getting cut, on scene, a pair of decent work gloves acts as a pretty decent barrier protection as well. That having been said, I found out a few years ago, after exactly that scenario, that going to the ER for a blood test, in my area, runs about $1800, so screw that. I’ll carry surgical gloves.

If you don’t know what any of this gear is, how to use it, when to use it, when NOT to use it, and when you can improvise a work-around pretty easily, you need to get off your a** and get some medical training. Then, you need to practice it, under different scenarios.

Also, I highly recommend this book to everyone. 300 pages, color, paperback. The Lost Book of Remedies is helping Americans achieve medical self-sufficiency even in the darkest times using the time-tested methods of our grandparents without spending lots of money on toxic drugs and without side effects. A great asset when doctors and hospitals won’t be available anymore. You may not be Claude Davis, but you can make use of his procedures and techniques to increase your chances of survival!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bor.jpg

A breakthrough experiment from Colorado, USA with 45 volunteers has proven that by eating this prickly flower you can completely kill food cravings! It is 5x more effective than exercise….and 6x more effective than any diet! And guess what? They found its 3x MORE effective than gastric bypass surgery at eliminating cravings for sugar and starchy foods!==> Prickly Flower Eliminates Food Cravings & Burns Away Fat

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is dia.png

Fundamentals of Fieldcraft: Packing for Partisans: A Conceptual Approach to Equipment Selection and Load-Bearing, Regardless of Position or Duties, with Specific Examples

(I have been thinking about this subject a great deal, since coming across a “prepper” manual on the subject that, while well-written, and well-intended, was poorly thought out and approached from ignorance of reality. Idealism is seldom a bad thing…unless it fails to be tempered with reality. Instead of focusing on specific items and recommendations, for the paramilitary guerrilla security force dude, or the auxiliary Home Defense guard, or even the underground operative, we’re going to approach this topic from a genuinely conceptual approach, so that anyone can look at it, from genuine Gus the Guerrilla to Polly Prepper, and figure out how to approach the issue from their own perspective and needs, with a systemic approach.

My apologies for the length of this article. I originally wanted to split it into several parts, but my previous mini-series taught me that you can’t always reach the audience with all the parts, so is best to have it all together.)

To preface this article, it is critically important that one understand that the selection of tactical equipment in preparation for future social unpleasantness must be predicated on some major philosophical constraints. Among these is the recognition that the world and nation we know is rapidly imploding around us. If this recognition exists, there are some critical issues that must be addressed. The first of these is in regard to the degree of seriousness with which one prepares. If it is simply a hobby in which you participate, because you enjoy shooting guns (and your wife tolerates your gun-hobby if you label it “preparedness”), that’s okay. There is certainly nothing wrong with that in a free society (of course, there’s also nothing wrong with me calling you a f***ing moron, either). If that is the case, you don’t need to invest any more time or money than you feel like spending. You will get along just fine with inexpensive, airsoft-quality gear and base-level, budget-priced firearms and tools. However, if you genuinely believe that “bad times, they are a-comin’,” then you obligate yourself to look at your preparations in a far more serious light. In this brighter, more harshly focused light, then genuine quality becomes a far more crucial issue. How much is your life actually worth to you? How about the lives of your spouse and children? What about a successful restoration of the Constitution and the Republic?

With that being said, the partisan, whether guerrilla, auxiliary, or underground, must learn to function as a light-infantryman in the classical sense of the term. Regardless of his or her operational environment–wilderness, rural, suburban, or urban, he is, conceptually, a woodsman-scout. The partisan must learn to operate in a manner that emphasizes the expert use of his personal small-arms for self-defense, the use of stealth in all of his movements, including the use of available terrain for cover and concealment, in order to counter the supposed technological advantages possessed by potential hostile forces, and an expert grasp of the fundamental concepts of small-unit, “hit-and-run” maneuver warfare.

The partisan must possess the trained ability to operate day or night, over varied, broken terrain, using field-craft expertise and whatever limited technological assets are available to him, to escape the interdiction of his movement by his enemy. Like his woodsman-scout forebears of the American westward expansion, the modern partisan needs to develop a system that requires him to carry only the necessities to ensure his survival and effectiveness. Additional, unnecessary weight leads to excessive, accelerated fatigue, impedes and slows movement, and leads to a compromising over-reliance on the technology represented by his equipment, rather than his native wit and skill in field-craft.

The traditional light-infantry paradigm cannot be found in the Stryker Brigades, LAV-equipped Marine Corps units, or even HMMWV-mounted convoys that drive to a disembarkation point two kilometers from the objective (although all of these certainly possess value in their own right!). The light-infantry paradigm is found in field-craft, mobility, tactical expertise, and marksmanship/weapons-handling. The ability to sneak inside the enemy’s OODA Cycle-defined reactionary gap unnoticed, strike with overwhelming violence-of-action at his weakest points, and then disappear into the surrounding environment before a reaction force can be mustered, is the definition of the light-infantry paradigm. This “hit-and-run” ability and mindset, is the chief tactical advantage available to irregular forces in a technologically or numerically disparate battle space.

The conventional-force military today generally lacks a true light-infantry capability, outside of a small number of limited-application units, such as Long-Range Surveillance Units (LRSU). The fundamental problem, the over-burdening of foot-mobile infantry soldiers, has existed nearly as long as armies have existed, and has been a subject of study and debate for nearly as long. The modern development of advanced, even “lightweight,” technological war fighting assets, has exacerbated the problem rather than remedying it, as soldiers have had communications tools, STANO (Surveillance, Target Acquisition, Night Observation) equipment, and soldier-tracking devices, added to their load. Despite the best efforts of military logisticians and theorists, the load of infantry soldiers has continued to increase. The modern conventional-force “light” infantryman is often required to carry loads far in excess of 120 pounds, even when operating in difficult, broken, and steep terrain such as the alpine environments of the Hindu Kush of Afghanistan.

Recommended article: Who Will Your Friends And Neighbors Be After The Collapse? Do They Fit Any Of These Profiles?

The load of infantry forces has been a subject of intensive study and research since at least the 1700s, and is still a problem that seems immune to a convenient, realistic, and effective resolution. Technological advances in weapons, STANO, communications, and personal protective equipment (PPE), have all added to the soldier’s load. Even rabid attempts at miniaturization and weight-reduction have only slightly mitigated these issues, and once mitigated, the gain are quickly overshadowed by the addition of more equipment deemed “essential” to the soldier’s survivability. Worse yet, continually lowered standards for physical fitness, as a result of a steadily declining level of fitness in the general population recruiting base, has made the ability to carry the necessary weights an equally large part of the problem.

According to an unidentified infantry First Sergeant, from the 187th Infantry Regiment (“Rakkasans!”) of the 101st Airborne Division, concerning load-bearing equipment during Operation Anaconda back in 2002,

We had extreme difficulty moving with all of our weight. If your movement would have been to relieve a unit in contact or a time-sensitive mission we would not have been able to move in a timely manner. It took us 8 hours to move 5 klicks. With just the vest (Interceptor Body Armor vest) and LBV, we were easily carrying 80 pounds. Throw on the ruck and you’re sucking.”

During World War Two, the US Army conducted research studies that found that the average infantry rifleman had carried approximately 55 pounds from the skin out (FSO) during movements in the field, on foot. These studies concluded that this was about the maximum weight that the average soldier could effectively carry during the approach march, and still be able to fight once he reached the objective. A decade later, a follow-on study determined that this still applied, but allowed for a maximum 48-pound fighting load, in actual combat (i.e. on the objective), if carried by a CONDITIONED FIGHTING SOLDIER.

The fighting load is doctrinally defined as the actual load carried by a soldier during combat, while actively engaging the enemy with their personal weapons. The approach-march load, on the other hand, is the load carried by the soldier, in order to survive, while he attempts to get close enough to the enemy to prosecute a fight. Despite the results and knowledge gained by these studies, by 2003, soldiers engaged in dismounted combat operations in the mountains of Afghanistan were carrying a 60-80 pound fighting load, while their approach-march load was often in excess of 120 pounds. In some instances, particularly in the case of M240 Machine-Gunners, the approach-march load could be in excess of 150 pounds.

As the previously cited comment from the Rakkasan’s First Sergeant noted, today’s conventional-force “light-infantry” personnel simply cannot move fast with his doctrinal load, especially in restrictive terrain environments such as steep alpine locations. It is important to remember however, that these loads are necessary only in areas that restrict the use of vehicles and air assets, forcing the infantryman to revert to his roots as a man-mule. Sadly however, as numerous studies conducted during Operation Enduring Freedom evidenced, these loads were predicated on a regular re-supply via rotary-wing aircraft, or ground-vehicle convoy every 48-72 hours for water, food, and ammunition. This means that, much of that load was basic survival equipment, and war-fighting equipment.

The partisan cannot expect to have the support assets available to effect re-supply every 48-72 hours. He will be forced to live off his own preparations, in the form of caches, native wit and ingenuity, and what he can carry, with the hopeful, but certainly not guaranteed largesse of his community, as an auxiliary supply source. The partisan, again, regardless of operational area, must overcome these liabilities. The ability to function as the woodsman-scout, carrying all he needs for survival, will be absolutely crucial to his survival.

There are several lessons we can learn from the Special Forces and Special Operations Forces community when it comes to developing our own TTPs and SOPs for setting up equipment selection and load-bearing equipment. Number one amongst these, is the generalized rule that, the best thing you can do, from step one, is to minimize your load-bearing requirements, through the use of extensive re-supply caches and safe-houses throughout your operational area.

Next, we can adopt the concept of the three-tiered, survival-load/fighting-load/sustainment-load approach to equipment selection and load-bearing. The survival load is comprised, quite simply, of those items that can be carried on the person, daily, not attached to his fighting load, that can help ensure survival. The conceptual approach to the survival load should be that it can allow the individual to escape and evade hostile pursuit, while surviving in the operational environment, for an indefinite period of time.

After the 1st line “survival” load, we approach the 2nd line “fighting load.” This is the equipment required to allow the individual, within their operational requirements, to prosecute a fight against the anticipated enemy, based on METT-TC. Finally, we deal with the 3rd line “sustainment” load. This is the equipment required by the partisan, to sustain himself, for as long as necessary, while moving to the enemy’s position, or away from the enemy’s position, as the case may be. It may also be the equipment necessary to move from one secure area to the next, in order to avoid unnecessary, or undesirable contact.

Using the three-tiered, survival/fighting/sustainment load approach to equipment-selection and load-bearing, allows us to maximize the software-centric approach that value training and experience over and above the hardware-centric approach that too often takes precedence within the community specifically, and American culture generally. Too often, even amongst survival “experts,” the solution to the equipment-selection issue is misinterpreted as a hardware issue. Never rely on the “Altoids Survival Tin” approach. The focus should, instead, be on the effective use of field-craft and survival knowledge, facilitated by real tools that are available to you.

To look at this subject from the software-centric approach, we look at what roles the equipment in each load must fulfill. We’ve previously discussed SMOLES in this blog, on the specific subject of “bug-out bags.” What is often overlooked is that SMOLES will actually cover any of the three tiers of load-bearing, and that SMOLES can be further divided into different sub-categories, to ensure that no requirements are overlooked. Let’s look at how we define SMOLES, then we’ll take a look at how we break each category of gear into sub-categories. Then, we’ll apply those to each tier, with specific examples from my own selections, to help make the conceptual approach, more specific and increase clarity.


SMOLES is an old acronym from the Special Forces and Ranger survival training culture that represents the necessary areas that should be provided for with your survival equipment. It stands for: Self-Defense, Medical, Observation/Optics, Land Navigation, Extreme Weather Conditions, and Survival. Each of those can further be sub-divided, based on the tasks necessary to fulfill the obligations inherent within the category.

  • Self-Defense. Self-defense, in our paradigm, can range from protecting yourself and your family from a mugger in the city on a Friday evening, to defending your family on a camping trip from a gang of MS-13 gangsters, to self-defense in combat. Regardless, the three broad categories that we need to address are: Shoot, Move, Communicate.
  • Medical. Medical care in our paradigm can range from the band-aids and aspirin of the the “boo-boo” kit, to the trauma medical care of TC3’s Care-Under-Fire and Tactical Field Care phases.
  • Observation and Optics. This can range from a pair of decent binoculars to NODs and Thermal Imaging devices, depending on METT-TC and your capabilities.
  • Land Navigation. Map-and-compass. Map-and-compass. Map-and-compass. Map-and-compass.
  • Extreme Weather Conditions. The general assumption, when we begin discussing dealing with extreme weather conditions is the need to survive in extreme cold weather, like we deal with in the winter time here in the American Redoubt. As any of the bloggers in the region will “gleefully” inform you right now however, we’re dealing with extreme heat, in thetmental, base level of Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs: Oxygen, Water, Food, and Shelter (which includes clothing, which is nothing more than individual shelter from the elements…). In addition to understanding these, we need to understand the Rule of Threes. You can survive three minutes without Oxygen, three hours without Shelter, three days without Water, and three weeks without Food.

In order to address each of these categories, we will look at the sub-category requirements of each, then look at them in more detail with some of the ways we can fulfill those requirements, for each tier of our equipment-selection and load-bearing paradigm.

482 Year Old Secret To Surviving SHTF…

What if I told you that NASA rediscovered a superfood that’s been lost to history for the past 482 years? It’s packed with more nutrients than any other food out there and last even longer than pemmican. In fact, it’s so easy to store and cheap to make, you might never need another emergency food.

Click here (or the video bellow)to see how you can make your own

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The Survival Load

The survival load can be defined as those items the partisan carries on his person, either in his hand, in his pockets, or on his belt, but are separate from his fighting load tier of equipment. The concept behind the survival load can be most simply defined as gear that will allow the partisan to escape and evade contact, provide for self-defense, and survive indefinitely, if not comfortably, long enough to return to the control of his friends and family.

For the underground or auxiliary member, the Survival Load may be all he carries with him on a regular basis, whereas the guerrilla fighter may have the benefit of carrying a fighting load on his person as well during actual security operations. However, even for the guerrilla, the conduct of a clandestine infiltration of denied-territory, or the need to simply dump all of his gear in an effort to run faster while trying to escape an overwhelming enemy force while breaking contact, the need to develop an carry a 1st Line Survival Load-out is critical.

At it’s fundamental level, the survival load consists of:

Self-Defense Items. These can range from a simple folding knife or ASP baton that can be used to defend yourself, to the more practical concealed carry sidearm. While I am an advocate of “Never bring a knife to a gunfight!” my experiences and training, leading to recognition of the importance and truth in the so-called “21 foot rule” (more properly, probably the “30 foot rule”), lead me to also be an advocate of “Never bring a pistol to a knife fight!”

As a matter of practical application of science, I will always choose a firearm over a contact weapon, but I also recognize the importance of being able to defend myself until I can get my weapon into the fight. That means, as important as my sidearm is, my combatives abilities are as important to my survival load, if not more so.

In extreme evasion scenarios, daily self-defense, or covert or clandestine operations conducted in denied territory in built-up areas, my sidearm may very well end up functioning as my primary weapon. The necessary prerequisites are that it be utterly, unfailingly reliable and readily concealable. Because the sidearm plays a dual-role in a resistance situation, as both a personal defense weapon and a direct-action combat operations primary weapon, against multiple possible hostiles, a magazine-fed, high-capacity, self-loading pistol is really the only logical choice for this selection (as a slight historical/technical footnote, while I’m not denigrating the 1911 variants, for those of you who carry high-capacity 1911s, like the Para-Ordnances, I’d like to point something out…If you’re carrying a double-stack “1911” then you’re not carrying a f***ing 1911. John Moses Browning never–to the best of my knowledge–designed or built even a prototype double-stack 1911. Calling it a 1911 is the equivalent of calling a Browning Hi-Power a 1911, because they share similarities.).

In addition to your sidearm, you need a method to carry it. This can range from “Mexican Carry” by shoving it down the front of your pants (not something I recommend with most striker-fired pistols like the Glock…), to a holster. You also need sustainment for the weapon, in the form of additional magazines. These can range from carrying a spare mag in your pocket, to dedicated pistol mag pouches on your belt.

As specific examples, I carry a Glock 19 in a Raven Concealment Systems VG2, Appendix-Inside the Waistband. I choose this method of carry, despite the potential safety issues (after all, the gun is pointed at my penis and my femoral artery...) and the minor discomfort (when I sit, the muzzle is jammed into either my penis or my femoral artery), because it offers several very distinct advantages over other carry positions. Number one, it’s smoking fast to draw from the appendix, even under a cover garment. Number two, and perhaps more important to me, I’ve got more positive control of the gun. It’s in my workspace, and easy to defend against gun-grab attempts. Number three, it’s the easiest place there is to conceal the weapon. I do NOT recommend the A-IWB carry for novice gun carriers. Let me repeat that, I do NOT recommend the A-IWB carry for novice gun carriers. The margin for error from inept or careless gun-handling are too slim, and the drawbacks to those errors occurring are too severe.

Additionally, if your “sidearm” is serving as your primary weapon, then the ability to reload the weapon, in order to continue to prosecute the fight. Determining how many reloads you need to carry as part of your survival load out will necessarily be METT-TC dependent (Personally, I’m ALWAYS an advocate of carrying as much ammunition as you’re physically capable of carrying without interfering with your ability to fulfill your role. I make it a point to carry no less than two spare magazines for my Glock in every day carry–EDC– and those are G17 mags, for my Glock 19).

In addition to your sidearm, a back-up weapon is generally a good idea. This can be a second sidearm, or it can be a knife. For my purposes, a knife makes more sense. While I advocate a general field-utility knife, the possibility of using it as a combative weapon to create a path to your sidearm should never be overlooked. My choice of survival load cutlery has run the gamut from a Benchmade folder in my pocket (I don’t carry any folding knives except Benchmades, as I’ve explained in previous articles) to a Cold Steel push-dagger, to a RAT III bush knife. The primary requisite is that it should be small enough to be readily concealable and carried daily, while being large enough to actually be functional as both a weapon and a tool.

Medical Items. The Blow-Out Kit on my fighting load fits into a double-stack M4 magazine pouch. Unfortunately, walking around the mall or Wal-Mart with a double-stack mag pouch on my belt would be neither practical nor prudent. At a basic level however, your survival load medical items should facilitate you being able to provide basic Care-Under-Fire TC3 care to yourself or someone else. This means a tourniquet of some sort, and a pressure dressing and compressed gauze or CombatGuaze. In my normal TC3 classes, as part of the Patrolling classes I teach, I advocate against the carry and use of two things: TK4 tourniquets and QuickClot compressed gauze. In my experience, and the experience of numerous 18D Special Forces Medical Sergeants that I’ve discussed the subject in-depth with, the CAT-T tourniquet is preferable, by an order of magnitude to the TK4, and regular compressed gauze is as effective, while being far less expensive, than the QC product.

For the survival load however, a TK4’s primary drawback (lack of a windlass device, to ensure adequate tension to stop deep-tissue arterial bleeding) can be overcome in an EDC (Every Day Carry) environment, through the application of an expedient windlass device. QC comes in a much more low-profile packaging that compressed gauze, making it simpler to conceal tucked in a pocket, than H&H compressed gauze that is my preference in a fighting load BOK. Combined together, the two can also form a pretty reputable replacement for a battlefield dressing like the Israeli Battlefield Dressings.

In essence then, the medical items in your survival load should, in light of your level of knowledge and practical expertise, provide you with the ability to stop massive hemorrhage for Care-Under-Fire. For me, the carry of a TK4 tourniquet and QC compressed gauze, answers that need.

Observation/Optics. The need for optics in the survival load is often, in my experience, over-emphasized. I can certainly see the need to be able to look back and search out pursuers, or to look ahead and determine likely areas of enemy concealment along my route. However, outside of specific METT-TC determined needs, which makes them part of the fighting load, the only Observation/Optics need I include in the Survival Load is a pair of sun/safety glasses.

In the mid-1990s, the Ranger Regiment issued every Ranger a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses as part of his CIF (Central Issue Facility…your basic issue of equipment). Nevertheless, Rangers were not allowed to wear them, because it was considered non-uniform (WTF,O? I never have been able to understand that…). Today, thanks to lessons learned from operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, the use of safetyylenses is generally accepted as mandatory. Polarized, tinted lenses during the day, with ANSI Z87 safety ratings, will increase your visual clarity, reduce eye strain and fatigue, and protect your eyes from common battlefield debris flying around. While these can range from $10 glasses from Wal-Mart or your local Stop-N-Rob, the two most popular manufacturers of “tactical” safety glasses are inarguably, Oakley and Wiley X. While the argument can be made that the Wally-World China-Mart specials are less conspicuous than the latest cool-guy, CDI tactical selections from Ranger Joe’s, I’ve seen enough oilfield workers wearing Wiley X and Oakleys, that I’m not particularly convinced of that being an issue, at least until gangbangers start shooting people for their sunglasses like they used to for their Air Jordan Nike shoes.

A dedicated flashlight is also pretty critical to your survival load out. While you may carry a weapon-mounted light, although it can be difficult to do with IWB concealed carry, you also need a separate hand-held flashlight. While I, like many people, prefer simplicity in my technological gear, I do advocate for one of the multiple purpose, cool-guy tactical lights for this role (I carry a StreamLight PT2L. It’s an LED light, and has a variable-mode tailcap operation that allows for a 260 lumen bright light, a completely f***ing useless high-intensity strobe function, and a dimmer light at a mere 13 lumens for general purpose use. While I used to carry a low-powered miniature light on my key chain, the 13 lumen low power on the Streamlight made this unnecessary)

Land Navigation. I personally subscribe to the view that all of your land navigation issues can be met by carrying a decent orienteering or USGI lensatic compass and a laminated topographical map as part of your survival load.

(I don’t do GPS, for numerous reasons, all of which have previously been described, in detail, in this blog in the past. If you prefer a GPS, more power to you. I will say however, that if you run a GPS, and don’t bother learning to use a map-and-compass, then when you die from being lost in the woods and exposure, I’m stealing all of your cool shit.)

While the woodsman-scout background of the partisan light-infantryman means the fighter should possess the ability to determine directions, at least roughly, without a compass, he should rarely, if ever, be without a compass. The ability to reliably traverse terrain that the enemy considers impenetrable is the strength of the guerrilla. Possessing a compass, whether a standard orienteering compass on a lanyard around the neck, or a simple button compass on a watchband, should be considered a necessity for anyone, anywhere, as part of his ability to escape and evade when needed.

Extreme Weather Conditions. As previously mentioned, the ability to function under extreme weather conditions is not solely a matter of surviving in extreme cold weather. Triple digit temperatures, high humidity, and unrelenting overhead sunshine, can contribute to survivability issues just as severe as cold weather. Further, while cold-weather conditions can be pretty simply accommodated in the survival load by carrying some form of fire-starting device, there really are no simple answers in hot weather, except the use of a wide-brimmed hat (boonie hats or straw/palm leaf “cowboy” hats) and a scarf that can be wet regularly and worn around your neck to cool through the evaporative process.

For cold-weather, at the survival load level, dealing with extreme weather conditions is fundamentally limited to what you are wearing, although in climates like the northern boreal forest regions and high-elevation areas of alpine regions, shoving a casualty blanket folded up in a coat or parka pocket can be a life-saving addition as well. It should go without saying that a poly or knit-wool cold-weather hat is a no-brainer, as is the use of adequate thermal underwear, as long as your thermals do not contribute to heat exhaustion due to exertion.

Additionally, simply carrying a means to start fires for warmth can be a life-saver for the evader in extreme cold-weather conditions (for you readers from the South, just to clarify, 0 degrees Farenheit is NOT extreme cold-weather. Unless the temperature is dipping below -20F, or you’re soaking wet, the great outdoors is survivable without fire, assuming adequate proper clothing and/or shelter). Fire starting materials may be a simple Bic lighter, waterproof match-safe stuffed with weather-proofed “hurricane-lifeboat” matches, a flint striker, or a flint-and-steel kit. The serious survival expert will never allow himself to be caught without some means that he can use reliably, to build a warming fire to stay alive. More important than what you specifically carry, is the trained, proven (not “Gee, I bought this and watched some videos on YouTube, so I’m good to go!”) ability to utilize it under austere, extreme field conditions.

Survival. As we discussed briefly above, the requirements of survival are covered by a glimpse of Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs, and an understanding of the Rule of Threes.

Oxygen, for the survival load, may be as simple as making sure you don’t end up somewhere with bad air. That could mean being able to read HazMat decals and placards. For instance, in Wyoming’s natural gas fields, walking into an “empty” condensate tank without respiratory protection will result in your very rapid demise, due to the air quality. Additionally, while the concealed carry of a military or law-enforcement protective mask is probably unrealistic, N95 respirators and/or simple paper dust masks may be adequate in some scenarios. Finally, your handy-dandy scarf for hot weather or cold weather may be enough to provide some protection when wrapped tightly around your face.

Water can be difficult to carry in any quantity. At eight pounds per gallon, water is heavy stuff, and it’s bulky enough to make concealed carry unrealistic. Fortunately, the common carry of water bottles by every Tom, Dick, and Harry in the world these days means packing a Nalgene bottle around is pretty innocuous. The ability to procure or manufacture safe drinking water however, cannot be overlooked, especially in a situation wherein your only gear is what you are carrying on your person. Historically, evaders have suffered horribly from dysentery after being forced by necessity, to drink stagnant, putrid water on the run in evasion situations. Even if you cannot or will not carry a dedicated water bottle, the prevalence of store-bought bottled drinking water, soda, and sports drinks, means that you should always be able to find a useful receptacle to carry your water, as long as you can purify it to make it safe for drinking. Whether a small contained of iodine tablets, a filter straw, or a pocket-sized “standard” water purifier, it is critical to possess safe, clean drinking water to stay alive, healthy, and effective (I personally still use a product called “ION Stabilized Oxygen” for water purification. I’ve used it all over the world, purifying water from stock tanks and ditches, without ever getting ill. It’s smaller, lighter, and more effective than any micro-filter method I’ve seen or used. I can keep a bottle in a cargo pocket and forget that it’s even there. I’ve heard of course, even from commenters here on the blog, that it is nothing more than bleach. I don’t know how it works, or why. I do know it’s FDA approved for water purification–for whatever that endorsement may be worth to you–and I know it’s worked for me.)

Food can be equally difficult to carry in quantity in the survival load. While Clif Bars and other sports nutrition bars are an often-voiced option, even they take up quite a bit of space when your carry options are limited to pocket space. My answer to this, as recently espoused in a letter that was posted to Western Rifle Shooters, is to suck it up, buttercup. In a survival situation, you’re going to be hungry. Deal with it. The Rule of Threes says you can go three weeks without dying, so a week before you can find some more food is certainly do-able. For people with dietary-based medical issues like Diabetes or hypoglycemia, I don’t have any simple answers.

Shelter for the survival load is fundamentally the clothes you are wearing, and your ability to construct shelter in the field. From tents and jungle hammocks to poncho hooches and bushcraft lean-tos, the ability to get the rain and other precipitation off of you, and methods to trap your body heat, or other heat sources, like fires, is critical to survival in cold-weather conditions. In hot-weather conditions, shelter can be equally important, if for no other purpose than providing shade to protect you from heat and direct solar radiation.

Cordage is, rightly, considered a critical tool in the survivor’s tool kit. The simple truth is, outside of a good knife, there are few things of more practical use for shelter construction than high-quality, high-strength cordage. Many long-range surveillance units (LRSU) and some ODAs make it part of their SOPs to to replace the laces in their field boots with 550 cord. It’s out of the way, readily accessible, and the survivor is never without the requisite material to construct field expedient shelters (to this day, every pair of boots and shoes I own has the laces replaced with 550 cord).

Recommended articles: The Countdown To Disaster—This Is How The World Will Change In only 7 Days

When Hunger Crisis Unfolds, There Is No One Coming To Your Rescue-Get Over It And PREPARE With That Thought In Mind

The Survival Load Conclusions

Different “experts” on survival will recommend different elements to add to the survival load. One issue with this is that, depending on your outlook, there is either no such thing as a “survival expert,” since only someone who has HAD to subsist off his survival gear could be considered to have earned this title, and then only in the specific environment where this occurred. Additionally, we are all survival experts, by the definition of we’re still upright and breathing.

When looking at the “survival load” as part a layered, tiered approach to equipment however, a minimalist approach, reinforced by solid, realistic field-craft training and survival lore, will more than adequately provide the essentials needed to keep the evader alive during escape and evasion scenarios in the remote chance that he has to ditch his fighting and sustainment loads, or is compromised and forced to E&E without the ability to procure and utilize his normal fighting and sustainment loads.

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The Fighting Load

Remember the article preface? In this section, the quality becomes a far more crucial issue.

Load-Bearing Equipment

Keeping the previously mentioned importance of maintaining the lightest possible load for the partisan in the woodsman-scout motif firmly in the forefront of deliberation, the foundation of the 2nd tier, Fighting Load is the load-bearing equipment, or LBE. While it is certainly possible for the guerrilla or auxiliary Home Guard partisan to toss a spare rifle magazine in his pocket, a bag of lunch and a blanket in a knapsack, and traipse off to war, experiences and battle damage assessments (BDA) from Afghanistan have demonstrated that this is far from an ideal way to go about this business (on numerous occasions, following airstrikes on Taliban/AQ positions, SFODAs conducted BDA and found numerous dead enemy fighters with this exact load-out). Such a poorly equipped fighter is, while certainly capable of wreaking great levels of havoc and despair on his enemies, regardless of the depth of his religious motivation, a lousy match for an equally-devoted and well-trained fighter with proper equipment.

While the partisan may spend a great deal of time in nothing more than his basic 1st tier “survival load,” whenever the situation permits, he is not going to willingly choose to go to a fight, even an unintended fight, with only his survival load.

Unfortunately, with the wide variety of different LBE available on the current market, making a suitable selection can be daunting for the unschooled. Should he copy the equipment used by an infantryman of the 82nd Airborne Division or the 1st Marine Division? Perhaps a set-up like that used by a member of the Ranger Regiment or the SEAL Teams would be cooler? Considering the difference in missions, logistics support, and organization of these different units, the answer should be readily apparent that none of these selections would be appropriate for the partisan.

The partisan must, as in every thing he does, look at this task through the filter of METT-TC. What is his mission? What is his suspected likely enemy situation going to be? What Troops will he available to him, including auxiliary support? What time factors will play a part (will he be operating at night, or only during daylight hours? All year round, or only in “good weather)?” What kind of Terrain will he be operating in (the alpine deserts and forests of the Redoubt require a different approach to load-outs than the urban jungle of large urban areas or the dense hardwood forests and swamps of the Old South)? You must base your fighting load on the likely projected circumstances of your future operational environment. While it is obvious that you will likely not possess the logistical support services available to the conventional military or law enforcement forces, it is also critical to realize that even many historical guerrilla models will not fit.

The American Prepper Partisan (ooh, another new Mosby-term?) cannot realistically expect much help from external sources such as friendly foreign nation-states, such as enjoyed by the Viet Cong from the PAVN and the PLA. The Syrian and Iranian governments aren’t likely to support American partisans following an international grid-down situation., nor are the Saudis and Pakis, as they supported the mujihadeen and Taliban in Afghanistan, through the ISI. Even during World War Two, the French Resistance, from whom this blog borrowed its original title, enjoyed an extremely high level of material, moral, and technical support from the Allied Forces High Command. Instead, the American Prepper Partisan will necessarily be forced to “live off the land,” turning to his friends and family within the auxiliary as well as pre-positioned caches, battlefield re-supply, and whatever he can carry on his person, for logistics support.

While the utilization of auxiliary support may facilitate the use of vehicles for transportation of both personnel and supplies, the ability of potential regime or foreign security forces to utilize both airborne and space-borne surveillance and reconnaissance assets for vehicle-tracking and pursuit, as well as probable fuel and spare parts shortages on the open and black markets, will mean that vehicular transportation for partisan forces will in many cases, be extremely limited. The resultant need to revert to “primitive” light-infantry, traditional foot-mobile travel will act as a limiting factor in the fighting and sustainment loads of partisans.

The Ex-Girlfriend

For several decades, following it’s official adoption in 1973 (although development unofficially started in 1961, and it was just a lighter weight modification of stuff that’d been used since at least World War Two), the standard issue load-bearing equipment of the the ground forces of the US military was the LC-1 and LC-2 “ALICE” system. Comprised of a wide, thick pistol belt with various equipment pouches and canteens suspended from it, this system used a pair of nylon suspenders to help hold the loaded belt around the soldier’s mid-section. The ALICE system was sufficient, if not ideal (in other words, she’d do, but she was a moody bitch at times…). Drawbacks included the fact that the ammunition pouches were cumbersome and slow to reload from, the canteens carriage tended to result in occasionally disabling (and always annoying) chafing and more serious injuries (I once sustained a seriously bruised pelvis from performing a PLF–parachute landing fall–on to my canteen. It left me with a pronounced limp for several weeks), and the disheartening reality that the system was neither well-balanced on the soldier’s body, nor ergonomic for the soldier’s need shoot, move, and communicate.

The Hot, Young, New Girlfriend

In the middle 1990s, the Army’s Natick Laboratories, in cooperation with elements of the United States Special Operations Command and the U.S. Marine Corps, as well as several defense manufacturers, began development of a new, modular, lightweight load-bearing system based around the Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS). This system is known as MOLLE (although MOLLE is technically proprietary to Natick Labs, it’s the common usage term for any type of gear that utilizes the PALS attachment system). MOLLE, like most women, has her issues, but overall, has turned out to be a pretty decent lady.

This new system, first adopted by elements of the Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and the USMC in 1997, did not see widespread adoption until 2001. It offers several distinct advantages over the older ALICE gear. With MOLLE, equipment-carrying lay-out can be tailored to the mission-specific needs of the individual. Since the equipment can be spread more evenly over the individual’s torso, instead of everything hanging off the pistol belt, it rides closer to the body’s center-of-gravity, leading to reduced fatigue, as well as less interference with general combat athleticism.

The current, ready and inexpensive availability of the older ALICE gear on the military surplus market (although it seems to be disappearing quickly these days), makes it an obvious, popular choice for many survivalists. Between the low-expense, as well as the familiarity with the gear for many older survivalists who used the gear while in the service, there is nothing inherently wrong with the selection of ALICE gear as a primary fighting load system. For all intents and purposes however, outside of your being a cheap bastard, or holding a nostalgic affection for “the good old days,” or “back when it was HARD,” the advantages of a MOLLE-based system for fighting load carrying makes it a far better choice.

General LBE Considerations and SMOLES

Especially when we consider the SMOLES considerations, the choice of MOLLE becomes more self-evident as the smart money bet. The foundation of a MOLLE-based 2nd Tier fighting load comes in one of three basic forms: the plate carrier, the chest harness, and the newer, “War Belt,” which is really not new at all, but a MOLLE-based derivative of an age-old concept, the equipment belt. Making your decision on which system to adopt should be honestly, and objectively, based on a METT-TC analysis, and the SMOLES considerations.


Since the Fighting Load is the load we would choose to carry if we knew or expected we were going to a fight, it is imperative to look at it, first and foremost, as a Self-Defense load-out. That can mean that everything is predicated on “Shoot, Move, Communicate,” while carrying your primary weapon.

Plate carriers, designed to carry ceramic or metal plates that provide direct protection from high-velocity, small-arms threats, offer one huge benefit over chest harnesses and “war belts:” assuming they are equipped with those body armor plates (and there’s no reason to wear a plate carrier if they’re not), they f***ing stop bullets! The use of ballistic armor in the form of rifle-round defeating hard plates, has saved an untold number of American lives from small-arms fire as well as the shrapnel threats from IEDs and indirect-fire weapons that were all the older “FLAK” jacket body armor would protect against.

For the partisan however, there are several mitigating drawbacks to plate carriers that must be considered. First among these is the fact that the weight of body armor MAY be detrimental to mobility for the foot-mobile light-infantryman. While no one who has ever been on a two-way firing range will (at least in my experience) argue the inherent value of body armor, there are some within the military who have questioned whether some of the lives “saved” by body armor were not in fact “saved,” but had their hits caused by the inability to move fast enough to avoid getting shot in the first place.

Certainly, the use of full-spectrum “Outer Tactical Vests” (OTV)uch as the military-issue “Interceptor,” with groin protection, side plates, deltoid shoulder protection, and throat guards, are best left to dudes who ride around in MRAPs and Strykers. The weight of these system and the resulting decrease in mobility is largely what led to the development of “stand alone” rifle plates that don’t need “soft armor” behind them to protect against rifle caliber fire, and “plate carriers” to hold them. These are smaller, lighter body armor developments that hold the ballistic plate over the vital areas of the torso, both front and back. Currently, there are plate carrier systems available that, combined with ceramic, multi-hit protection, NIJ Level III rifle plates, weigh significantly less than 10 pounds. Unlike the OTV systems, these provide adequate rifle protection while not limiting the mobility of the wearer, allowing him to both shoot and move effectively, while being reasonably well-protected.

Most plate carriers available today are covered, front and back, with PALS webbing, allowing the fighter, soldier or partisan, the ability to attach his load-bearing pouches directly to the plate carrier. This is probably the most common method of using the plate carrier (although I will describe below an alternative system that I, and many others of similar background, feel is a far better system).

Chest harnesses, unlike plate carriers, are simply light-weight panels of nylon with PALS webbing, that cover all or part of the front of the torso. While the chest harness suffers from the obvious drawback of not offering any ballistic protection whatsoever, they do offer increased mobility, due to their lighter weight. The fighter can move much faster, and possibly more quietly, with a loaded chest harness on than with the same load attached to a plate carrier, with the added weight and rigidness of the plates inside. In hot weather (Extreme Weather Conditions–see below), the reduced weight and increased ventilation offered by a chest harness, versus the plate carrier can have a significantly beneficial impact on survivability, due to the reduced risk of heat-related injury.

One of the loudest complaints about the chest harness MOLLE system in the past has been lower back strain resulting from the load being unbalanced towards the front of the body. While this can be remedied by the addition of a small assault pack or a full hydration bladder on the back, a new model of MOLLE load-bearing gear was developed that also served as an answer to the problem.

The war belt, or “battle belt,” system involves the use of an “outer belt” covered in PALS webbing nested outside of a stiff inner belt that suspends the load around the hips. Often, but not always (I don’t use them, for example), the load of the belt will be supported by suspenders, like the older ALICE gear. This system initially found favor in the civilian tactical shooting community, quickly followed by elements of the Special Operations community and PMC contractors.

(I actually currently run a combination of all three of these, ironically, in a tiered system that kind of replicates the older RACK–Ranger Assault Carrying Kit– and the ALICE gear we ran in the Ranger Regiment in the 1990s. It consists of a low-profile plate carrier, with a chest harness over that, and a war belt. This allows me a very modular approach to my LBE set up, as well as the ability to retain or ditch elements as necessary.)

The selection of which load-bearing set-up you use, whether a plate carrier, chest harness, war belt, combination, or an older ALICE system, is dependent solely on a honest and objective METT-TC analysis, including your fitness levels, preferences, perceived future missions (are a G, or the auxiliary?), and of course, current budgetary influence (However, in this last case, there are some serious considerations that need to be made. With the current demand for MOLLE gear for the military, law enforcement militarization, and the civilian enthusiast, there are a vast number of companies producing MOLLE gear in one form or another. Unfortunately, this high level of demand also means that the cost of quality MOLLE gear is still relatively high, especially when compared to older, surplus ALICE gear. While it is possible to procure less expensive imported gear, it is imperative to remember that most of the imported gear manufactured in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), is intended solely for the recreational airsoft culture. While it looks, at first glance, comparable to hard-use gear, relying on equipment intended for a kid’s game in a life-or-death situation is stupid. The fact that some private in the 101st was dumb enough to buy it, and his NCOs were dumb enough to let him use it, is not evidence that it is suitable for actual combat use, especially if that dumb-ass private and dumb-ass NCO were say, an administration unit or something similarly non-combat arms. Having left the FOB once, to run some paperwork to Baghdad, does not make you a stone-cold killing, combat arms expert.

If you go forth and “invest” in the cheap ass airsoft gear for your load-bearing equipment, and subsequently die due to an equipment failure, I will personally make it a point to laugh at your funeral.

The following manufacturers have my ringing personal endorsement, for whatever that may be worth to you: Eagle Industries, High-Speed Gear Incorporated (HSGI), Special Operations Technologies, Original Special Operations Equipment (OSOE), 5.11, Shellback Tactical–I LOVE the Banshee Plate Carrier–and Tactical Tailor. Those are endorsed by me solely because I have used their equipment, or do use their equipment, and have found it trustworthy. If another gear manufacturer wants my endorsement for some f***ing reason, let me know. If I haven’t run your gear, I’ll let you send me some for T&E…just be forewarned, I’ll be honest, for better or for worse.)

As we look at deciding which set-up to select, and how to set it up, we have to return to the Shoot-Move-Communicate necessities. Your gear absolutely cannot prohibit your movement or combat athleticism. If it’s too heavy, or too bulky, you either need to do more PT (probably), or you need to look at different load-out systems and/or ditching some gear.

When we look at the requirement to “shoot,” we’re actually looking at all the necessities of required to direct lethal force on the enemy. Primary amongst these of course is the rifle. That however, is a topic somewhat separate from the load-bearing equipment itself, so it’s been covered elsewhere. Second to the weapon, is the ability to continue feeding the hungry beast. Opinions on how much ammunition the individual should carry on his fighting load differs, based on whom you ask and what their specific mission experience entails. Some tactical trainers will insist that, for the armed citizen, no more than three or four rifle magazines will ever conceivably be needed. Former Special Operations Sergeant Major (SGM) Kyle Lamb (USA, retired), of Viking Tactics, is an advocate of this approach, even for military special operations. As he explains, logically, in his excellent book “Green Eyes, Black Rifles,” three magazines of 30 rounds each (like myself, the SGM advocates loading a 30 round magazine with…30 rounds!), equals 90 rounds. Assuming it takes three rounds per bad guy to kill him, that still allows for 30 dead guys accounted for by each shooter before he runs out of ammunition. If a person is in THAT serious of a fight, then either he’ll have plenty of buddies around to borrow a magazine from, or there will be plenty of rifles and magazines laying around to pick up. There’s a lot to be said for that argument, including the fact that such a minimalist load will do a great deal towards ensuring maximum mobility for the fighter (MSG Paul Howe, a veteran of the same unit as SGM Lamb, concurs with the SGM for that very reason).

On the other hand, unlike a member of that unit, the partisan fighter, like the SF soldier in an UW role, does not have the option of counting on a “speedball” re-supply getting dropped on the objective, not the ability to readily call for a helicopter-borne quick-reaction force (QRF) if help is suddenly needed. It is entirely possible, and far from uncommon, for every soldier in an UW, small-unit element, such as an SFODA or a LRSU team, to run through more than three magazines performing just one “break contact” battle drill. Additionally, in the event of a break contact, it is entirely plausible that, while performing an exfiltration from the immediate area of the fight, an UW unit could be forced into further contact with pursuing forces, before having the opportunity to re-supply from a pre-positioned re-supply cache. It should be considered that the US Army doctrinal “basic load” of ammunition is 210 rounds, and the average conventional force infantryman has a lot more buddies around to call for help, including CAS (close-air support), indirect-fire weapons, and QRF, than you will (as a young Ranger, I was blessed to have a squad leader who encouraged us to carry nine magazines on our old ALICE LBE, instead of six, and one in the rifle. As an 18B NCO in SF, my personal rule was to carry 12 full magazines: one in my rifle, one in a butt-pouch on the rifle, and ten on my LBE. My current standard is 12 magazines: one in the rifle, three on my war belt, and eight on my chest harness). My recommendation is, “carry as much ammunition as you are physically capable of carrying, as long as it does not preclude your being able to physically perform the job you’ve assumed.” (Want to test your load? Can you perform a 300-meter shuttle run in less than 1:30 minutes, with your gear on? Can you run an 800 meter sprint, through the woods, cross-country, in no more than half-again as long as it takes you without gear on? If so, you’re probably alright. If not, you either need to dump some gear, or do more PT…probably the latter) While this certainly adds more weight to the load-out, considering the possibilities of being out-numbered and pursued by numerically superior forces, it’s unlikely that you will ever be carrying “too much” ammunition (As I tell people in classes, “I’ve never been in a gunfight, after which anyone said, ‘Damn, I had way too much ammo! I should’ve left some of that shit in the rear.!’ I have however, been in more than one fight, where halfway through it, people were screaming, “Dude, I’m out! Toss me a magazine!”)

Magazine pouches today run the spectrum from single-mag to double- or even triple-stack configurations, both open-top and flap-covered. They can be had in soft nylon and hard kydex. The argument is often made, rightly, that open-tops offer the benefit of a faster speed reload. If you need a speed reload, you need the fastest speed reload you can manage, and an open-top magazine pouch can facilitate that. On the other hand however, an open-top magazine pouch is susceptible to the magazine falling out under stress, at least in theory, as well as the infiltration of dirt, mud, and debris, which could lead to malfunctions of the rifle.

Flap-topped magazine pouches, on the other hand, while significantly slower to execute a speed reload from (predicated on equal training and practice with both types), offer greater security and protection for the magazine.

(Personally, I run a combination. I run three open-topped HSGI “Kangaroo” style “Taco” pouches on my war belt. I’ve yet to lose a magazine from one of these pouches, due to the unique bungee-cord based retention system they use, and putting the magazines in the pouch open-end down precludes mud and debris being an issue. On my Tactical Tailor MAV chest harness, I run four double-stack, flap-covered magazine pouches. This offers me added protection for most of my ammunition load-out, while still facilitating speed reloads when necessary, from the war belt. It’s imperative to note however, that I’ve trained myself to only perform speed reloads from the belt. “Tactical” reloads always come from the chest harness. This system also allows me, in the event I have to ditch my chest harness, to still have three magazines on my war belt to continue to prosecute the fight with, or as is more likely, to protect myself as I escape-and-evade.)

While your concealed carry sidearm is part of the 1st Line “survival load,” it should be noted that there are various other options for carrying it once your LBE is added (although I do know one former Team Sergeant from SF who carries a concealed sidearm, AND another on his 2nd Tier Fighting Load! He’s about 18 times the bad ass I could ever aspire to be however.) For most of us, the facility of using a concealed carry holster, under our LBE is greatly reduced. In these cases, any number of holsters can work well, depending on the preferences of the individual. It should be noted however, that it is important to remember that the sidearm is, ultimately, a next-to-last-ditch weapon, followed only by the fighting knife and unarmed combatives. As such, it should probably remain attached to the individual, rather than the actual fighting load LBE, in case that needs to be ditched, as in an escape-and-evasion scenario. To me, this precludes mounting the holster on your plate carrier or chest harness.

Selection of a holster however, should entail consideration of a few critical elements. First of these, is that, if you are wearing body armor, or other LBE that covers a significant portion of your torso, traditional belt-holsters can be problematic as the LBE can inhibit your draw stroke of the weapon. Further, while some “experts” have advocated for the use of flap covers, such as on the old M12 from Bianchi (in fact, I should remove the sarcastic quote marks around experts, because the aforementioned former Team Daddy uses a flap holster, to the best of my recollection). The reasoning behind this is that the flap can keep dirt and mud from getting lodged in the holster, protecting the sidearm. Since that’s the reason flaps were originally used, it’s a pretty sound argument. Unfortunately, in my experience, if I need my sidearm, I need it right-f***ing-now, if not yesterday. The M12 is very slow to draw from. I’ve run a metric shit-ton of holsters, from the old Eagle Industries SAS drop-leg, to drop-legs that the riggers built me, to Safariland (my personal favorite and what I carry today). I’ve never had a problem with getting so much mud accumulated around the gun that I couldn’t get it out and functioning when I needed it, even when I ran finicky guns like 1911s.

It really doesn’t matter what kind of holster you choose, as long as it keeps the gun in the holster until you want it to come out, and at that point, it lets it out in a hurry (I run a Safariland ALS on a drop-leg panel). I’ve favored a drop-leg holster for as long as I’ve been able to carry a sidearm in the field. While some supposed internet “experts” deride drop-leg holsters as suitable only for the airsoft crowd and “keyboard commandoes,” this is ignorance speaking. Remember that this design was introduced to the world of gunfighting by none other than the British SAS. From the sands of North Africa during World War Two, to the Princess Gate hostage rescue, to the mountains of Afghanistan today, David Stirling’s boys stand second to no one as a fighting unit. The drop-leg holster is not intended to be worn Hollywood gunslinger style, around your knee, a la Angelina Jolie in “Tomb Raider.” It should be worn just low enough to clear your body armor and LBE–the reason it was designed in the first place–but otherwise, as high as possible on the thigh. In such a position, it is still more than adequately comfortable for long-term wear while moving on foot, and it stays in one place, ensuring it will still be accessible when it is needed, as it will be, in a hurry.

In addition to rifle ammunition and a sidearm (which, ultimately, it is important to realize, is in no way a mandatory addition to the fighting load. While I would personally not forego my sidearm in order to forego a few pounds, especially since I consider it a critical portion of my 1st Tier “Survival Load,” it is easily legitimate to say that you don’t need a sidearm on your 2nd Line “Fighting Load,” unless you feel you need it.) the 2nd Tier load-out also needs to include spare ammunition for the sidearm. These can be integrated into the design of rifle magazine pouches, as they often are, or if you have adequate real estate on your LBE, they can be separate pouches (Since I run a war belt with “Kangaroo” pouches, I run three G17 magazines for my G19. Before I started using a war belt, I kept them in Kydex pouches on my trouser belt).

A combat/utility knife can be considered under the “shoot-move-communicate” category, due to it’s potential use as a fighting tool. Due to it’s primary role, in my mind, as a utility knife (since I don’t live in the martial arts fantasy world that so many people do…I know Gun-Fu beats tanto-jutsu or any Filipino martial arts, hands down), I relegate it to the “Survival” category instead, with its acknowledged potential as a weapon duly noted.

Under the sub-category heading of “Communicate,” we have to look at how we intend to communicate with others in our element, in the field. In addition to the obvious radio option (entirely too organizational dependent for me to even begin providing recommendations for, even if I were a commo guy, which I’m not, being a lowly knuckle-dragger and all. Hopefully, MSG Daniel Morgan will take the time to pen us an article on his recommendations? The only note I will add is that, even as a knuckle dragger, unlike a lot of “survival” and “tactical preparedness,” I’ve received enough signals intercept-based intelligence to recognize that the weak signal strength of commonly available FRS/GMRS radios are actually a benefit for tactical level intra-team use, since limited range means limited intercept potential), I would offer the suggestion of adding a signal mirror (optional, but oh so very multi-functional, since I use it to apply camouflage), and a patrol whistle (Ask anyone who’s taken a patrolling class with me, how useful the patrol whistile ends up being, even when there are radios present…) One often overlooked option for communications is some variation of simplified semaphore, even if it’s just waving a bright-colored flag at your support-by-fire element to signal a “cease fire.” The old tactical stand-by of sewing a piece of brightly colored VS-17 panel into the top of your patrol cap, or the inside back of your uniform blouse should not be overlooked (The VS-17 panel is a large ground-to-air signal panel of nylon material. It is fluorescent pink on one side and blaze orange on the other. They’re a pain in the ass to locate at Army Surplus stores, although they seem to still be readily available from internet sources).


A serious injury or wound can be the single most mobility-reducing issue to impact the partisan. With the development of the oft-mentioned on this blog, Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TC3) protocols, there exists a useful, working, single, doctrinal methodology for providing battlefield aid to casualties that makes complete sense, and takes into account the realities of the battlefield (sometimes, “good medicine is bad tactics, and good tactics are bad medicine,” but “the best medicine on the battlefield is fire superiority!”) Predicated on actually receiving functional TC3 training in Care-Under-Fire (CUF) and Tactical Field Care (TFC), your 2nd Tier Fighting Load medical gear should be a Blow-Out Kit (BOK) built around those principles. The equipment required is minimal, weighs very little, and will compact into a very small space, but it WILL prevent death from small-arms fire wounds if treated properly and rapidly (My BOK currently resides on my war belt, and fits into a double-stack flap-covered rifle magazine pouch. It includes a pair of nitrile surgical gloves, a Fr28 Nasopharyngeal Airway, a package of H&H Compressed Gauze, two occlusive dressing chest seals, a 3.25-inch needle catheter for needle decompression of a pneumothorax, and a 4-inch Israeli Battlefield Dressing–IBD, as well as a combat pill pack of analgesics in the form of Tylenol, and broad-spectrum antibiotics. I do NOT carry my three CAT-T tourniquets in the magazine pouch. Two are attached externally, to my war belt, and one is 100-mph taped to the stock of my rifle. It is critical that tourniquets be readily accessible to you or a buddy providing aid, without having to search for them, or dig through your BOK to locate them. I’ve currently got an order in for a new BOK pouch that takes up the same space as the magazine pouch, but folds out, and will hold an extra IBD and an extra package of compressed gauze. I tuck a pair of bandage scissors wherever I can fit them, tucked into the PALS webbing on my gear, usually, behind one of my magazine pouches on my chest harness, or on my plate carrier.)

Do NOT include “boo-boo” medical gear in your BOK on your fighting load. All it will do is get in the f***ing way when somebody is trying to dig through your shit to patch you up in a hurry.


For the 2nd Tier Fighting Load, observation/optics play a more critical role than they do in the 1st Tier Survival Load. These may include binoculars, spotting scopes, and other STANO devices. I’ve carried a small pair of 8-10 power binoculars in the past, as well as a 10X monocular on my Fighting Load. I never particularly liked the monocular, since it led to undue eye-strain (I currently carry an inexpensive, but adequate pair of 10X compact Bushnell binoculars, after dropping a pair of Steiners off a f***ing cliff in Utah. If someone wants to donate a pair of Steiners, I’ll gladly accept). The methods of carrying your STANO on your fighting load vary, from dedicated MOLLE compatible hard cases to protect the lenses and electronic components, to simply wrapping them in an old sock and shoving them in a pouch somewhere. Some guys even still tuck a small pair of binoculars under their gear and shirt, on a string around their neck (My Fighting Load STANO load-out includes the aforementioned Bushnell binoculars, and a US Night Vision Company PVS-14. Both are wrapped in old wool socks, and then crammed inside of a general-purpose utility pouch on the front of my MAV chest harness. Additionally, while I also carry the aforementioned Streamlight in my pocket as part of my 1st Tier Survival Load, I carry a Petzl headlamp in the same pouch with my Fighting Load STANO items.)

Land Navigation

(In addition to an orienteering compass around my neck, I keep a tritium-illuminated, USGI lensatic compass on my chest. This rides in a grenade/admin pouch on the MAV, along with my signal mirror and patrol whistle, mentioned under communications in “Self-Defense” above. I carry my topo maps in a cargo pocket or, if I’m wearing jeans, tucked into the kangaroo pouch on my plate carrier.)

Extreme Weather Conditions

(I don’t really carry anything relevant specifically to this on my fighting load, since it’s taken care of as part of my Survival Load-Out and my 3rd Tier Sustainment Load.)


Remembering Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs, as well as the Rule of Threes, approaching the Fighting Load survival gear is pretty simple. First of all, we’ve got the quintessential survival tool, the knife. As mentioned above, the combat/utility knife will most generally, see its primary usage for general field craft and utility applications, but the potential is there for its use in the anti-personnel role . One perennially popular selection amongst professionals, in my experience, is the classic USMC stand-by, the Kabar (or any of it’s legitimate, government contract alternatives, such as the Ontario or the Camillus). Developed during World War Two, and originally (and I believe technically, still properly) designated the MK2, the Kabar as a well-earned reputation as both a general utility tool and an effective fighting weapon (despite the best efforts of Bill Bagwell, the one-time “Battle Blades” columnist for Soldier of Fiction…err…Fortune Magazine to tarnish or dispel that hard-won reputation. Considering that Bagwell was renowned as a BIG Bowie knife cutler, and an advocate of a classical European-fencing style of knife combatives training, that was somewhat understandable. However, when you consider that the MK2 was adopted at a time when the Marine Corps still taught the Fencing-style of knife combatives, under the influence of guys like LTC Anthony Drexel-Biddle and John Styers, it’s a little less understandable…it still works really well for the “put the pointy end in the soft spots” school of knife combatives that I personally subscribe to. As I’ve mentioned, numerous times, my selection for a Fighting Load knife has run the gamut from the Cold Steel push-daggers to the RAT 3, and even, back-in-the-day, or Back-When-It-Was-Hard, to the Gerber MKII dagger…I always seem to keep coming back to some variation of the MK2. Currently, it’s an original Ontario, Army-issue variant. In fact, the S-4 sticker is still on the leather sheath…It’s just a hard knife to beat when you look at the actual role a knife on the Fighting Load is intended to fulfill. I carried a Camillus version in Afghanistan.)

Oxygen. It’s entirely plausible, if you see the use of chemical weapons, such as tear gas, by your perceived potential enemies, to add a protective mask to your fighting load (I don’t, so I don’t have any recommendations. The only time I ever wore a ProMask in the military was when it was–rarely–required for sustainment training).

Water. Carrying a Camelback or other hydration system, attached to the Fighting Load is an extremely common practice. The convenience of having the water tight to your body, and readily accessible for drinking, while moving, from the drink tube, makes it an apparent no-brainer…especially if you’re not carrying a rucksack much. On the other hand, if you expect to actually carry your ruck, the way it was designed, on your back, a 100 oz bladder can cause serious imbalance of the load. On the other hand, the old, kidney-shaped one-quart canteens, while they worked well, when seated against your ass-cheeks on the ALICE pistol belt, take up a lot of unnecessary real estate on most MOLLE configurations, adding one more advantage to the wide-mouth, hard Lexan, Nalgene-style water bottles. Additionally, the wide-mouths of the Lexan bottles allow for easier cleaning, as well as the addition of various drink powder mixes, such as Gatorade, which can enhance rehydration efforts (on the other hand, as I write this, it occurs to me, I’ve never bothered trying to place the old-style one-quarts on my war belt. While the Lexan bottles don’t fit particularly well, I can see the potential for the canteens to fit well….F*** me, now I’ve got to adjust my gear again and try it out…)

In addition to your water carrying method, a means of purification is in order. One other advantage of the wide-mouthed bottle design, is the existence of various backpacker-type purification systems that screw right onto the mouth of these bottles (I personally stick with the ION Drops for the fighting load too). Water bladders also, however, like the Camelback, have in-line filtration systems available, although those result in contamination of the bladder itself that must be dealt with later. They also offer filtration systems for use while filling the bladder that can be an option.

(I currently use two wide-mouth Nalgene bottles, attached to my chest harness, in 5.11 VTAC water bottle pouches. They look cumbersome, but haven’t seemed to interfere with my ability to “shoot-move-communicate” in the slightest)

Food. As with the Survival Load, I tend to lean towards the idea that food in a combat situation, is an over-rated luxury. On the other hand, I am cognizant of the fact that most people are not the caloric masochist that I am, and in fact, I do carry food in my Fighting Load. This can range from a field-stripped MRE (as MSG Daniel Morgan alluded to in his suggestions in the WV AAR). This is simply disposing of the thick-ass plastic outer bag, and keeping only those items inside that you will actually eat, such as the Main Entree, any particularly delectable side dishes or deserts (How’s that for an oxymoron? Delectable in an MRE?), and the powdered drink mixes. The little pieces of Chiclet-looking gum reputedly have an anti-constipation, laxative effect, so if you eat MREs, make sure you eat the gum (We used to have a dude that would come back from a week in the field, having not taken a shit the entire time. He’d down a half bottle of laxative, then shit a turd so long and big, it would literally displace all the water in the toilet….use the gum!).

Alternatively, emergency rations in your fighting load (and make no mistake, they are emergency rations. If you’re eating them, it ought to be because you’ve lost your sustainment load somehow…) could be anything from sports nutrition bars like Clif Bars (I generally have Clif Bars), although these can get pretty rank in hot weather, or some form of backpacker’s Gorp-type trail mix (HH6 is particularly fond of a homemade trail mix I make for her that includes peanut butter, raw sugar, rolled oats, M&Ms, and whatever kind of nuts the local bulk goods grocery has in the bins that look like they might work well). I used to know a guy who stashed Peanut M&Ms in his LBE, as well as a one-pound block of mild cheddar cheese and a plastic jar of Crunchy Peter Pan peanut butter (the latter two only in winter). His claim was, the high amounts of fats in these helped stoke his internal furnace (makes sense to me, too. On the other hand, if you go this route, you’d better pack some laxative, or you’ll be shitting monster turds too…).

Shelter. (In addition to the aforementioned combat/utility knife, I keep two basic shelter construction tools in my fighting load. First is an additional 25 feet of 550 cord, above what’s on my boots. The second is a casualty blanket, tightly folded and rubber-band wrapped, that crams into the back of a utility pouch on my chest harness. Between the two, even in cold weather conditions, I can build a shelter, and stay warm. In extreme cold-weather, the addition of a small survival warming fire, like a Dakota-hole fire, will keep me alive, if not particularly comfortable.)

Equipment Lay-Out

Ultimately, the greatest advantage of the MOLLE/PALS system, is the ability of the individual to set-up his load-bearing equipment that works the best for him, based on his personal operational needs, and his particular physiognomy. Only a few general recommendations should be adhered to religiously, in my far from humble opinion.

  • Keep all of your ammunition where you can reach it, in a hurry. Some people will tell you that every magazine you carry must be equally accessible to either hand. I don’t agree with that, but I do believe MOST of your ammunition should be readily accessible by either hand.
  • Keep your BOK where you can access it with either hand, in a hurry, while wounded. Keep it where others will be able to readily find it, under stress, with zero visibility. Make sure your BOK is clearly marked and identifiable. I don’t subscribe to the need to stick a bright red tab or cross on it (in fact, I think the bright red tabs on many currently available BOK pouches are so far beyond stupid that they are close to the status of vanity: “F*** camouflage! I’m bulletproof, so it doesn’t matter if you see me!” Mine does get marked with a red paint pen, but the paint quickly dulls with exposure to the elements. It’s visible, but only at close distances.) In fact, of all the items on your Fighting Load, I believe the BOK and the tourniquets are the only two that should be placed, in accordance with a unit SOP, in the same place for everyone.
  • Keep your tourniquets outside of your BOK. Keep them readily accessible, and easy to find. Keep a minimum of two on your fighting load.
  • Be able to get out of your gear, in a hurry, when you can’t see, and perhaps, can’t breathe (for instance, if you were to fall into water and were unable to swim to safety due to the weight…it’s happened, more than once).
  • Be able to “shoot-move-communicate” in your fighting load. If you can’t shoot, at least as accurately as you can without gear on, then you’re gear is f***ing you. Fix it. If you can’t move at least 3/4 as fast with your gear on as you can without it on, either your gear is f***ing you, or you’re not doing strenuous enough PT. Fix it, one way or the other, before you get your buddy killed. Neither nature, God, nor the Zombies, give two shits about how old and crippled you are. When the fight comes, it will come dressed as itself, regardless of what you wish it to be. You’d better be fit enough to deal with it, because it’s not going to give a shit about your excuses.


This article is not intended as specific recommendations on what you should carry for your Survival Load and Fighting Load. The use of SMOLES as a frame-of-reference, along with the appropriate subcategories (“Shoot-Move-Communicate,” as well as Maslow’s Heirarchy and the Rule of Threes, specifically), should however, provide a very useful framework for you to begin developing a suitable and sustainable general equipment load-out, regardless of what role you see yourself playing in your community defense in the rapidly escalating unpleasantness.

Look at each aspect of SMOLES, for each Tier of your load-out, and measure them against the METT-TC analysis you can develop, then decide on what gear you need to have.

Also, I highly recommend this book to everyone. 300 pages, color, paperback. The Lost Book of Remedies is helping Americans achieve medical self-sufficiency even in the darkest times using the time-tested methods of our grandparents without spending lots of money on toxic drugs and without side effects. A great asset when doctors and hospitals won’t be available anymore. You may not be Claude Davis, but you can make use of his procedures and techniques to increase your chances of survival!

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A breakthrough experiment from Colorado, USA with 45 volunteers has proven that by eating this prickly flower you can completely kill food cravings! It is 5x more effective than exercise….and 6x more effective than any diet! And guess what? They found its 3x MORE effective than gastric bypass surgery at eliminating cravings for sugar and starchy foods!==> Prickly Flower Eliminates Food Cravings & Burns Away Fat

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Long Term Food Storage Plan Part 3: Storing Your Food

In part one of this mini-series, we have talked about the importance of food storage and the means to protect it. In the 2nd part, we have talk about how much food you will need to store and finally in this last article, we will cover another very important aspect—food storage.

There are many different kinds of foods that you can stock up on.

There are five major categories of commercial food storage:

  • Freeze Dried
  • Dehydrated
  • Frozen (home freezer)
  • Canned Food  (commercial and home)
  • Plastic Retort Packages (AND Military Meals)

Deciding which is the best food for you to store depends on a lot of factors.  Cost is important of course, but so is shelf life, tastiness, ease of preparation and use, and ease of actually getting the stuff in your home.

Freeze Dried versus Dehydrated Food

How Do They Work And What Are The Differences

Moisture Content. The main objective with food preservation is to remove the moisture so that the food doesn’t decompose, grow mold, etc. Dehydration removes about 90-95 percent of the moisture content while freeze drying removes about 98-99 percent.  Foods that you dehydrate at your home will typically have a 10 percent moisture content level while foods that are dehydrated professionally will have a lower moisture content – which increases the shelf life.

Shelf Life. The moisture removal has a direct impact on the shelf life. Most dehydrated products like dried fruits, vegetables, powders and texturized vegetable protein (TVP), also known as textured soy protein (TSP), have a 15-20 year shelf life.  However, dehydrated items like honey, salt, sugar, hard wheat and oats have a 30-year shelf life – sometimes longer. Freeze-dried foods will have a longer average shelf life. Freeze-dried fruits, vegetables, just-add-water meals and real meats will have a 25-30-year shelf life.

Nutritional Content. According to research by the American Institute for Cancer Research freeze-dried foods retain the vast majority of the vitamins and minerals found in the original food. However, when compared to fresh fruits and vegetables, freeze-dried foods did lack in some vitamins – like Vitamin C – which break down very rapidly.  Dehydration doesn’t change the fiber or iron content of food. However, dehydration can break down vitamins and minerals during the preservation process and retain less of their nutritional value when compared to freeze-dried food. Dehydration tends to result in the loss of Vitamins A and C, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin

Cost.  Usually dehydrated foods are going to be cheaper than freeze-dried. If you’re on a tight budget, dehydrated foods are definitely the way to go.  We have a mix of both.

The Main Similarities

Storage Requirements. There isn’t a difference in storing food that’s freeze-dried or dehydrated. The cans or buckets are all the same size.

Recommended article: The S**t Just Hit The Fan, Should I Bug Out or Survive in Place?- Part 1

Pros and Cons of Using a Freezer for Food Storage

Pros of Freezing:

  • It’s fairly simple to do!  It’s very familiar to most of us.
  •  You get the most input into what you are storing.  It’s the best way to preserve the original freshness and taste.  You get to buy what you want to freeze and can even save your own fruits and vegetables from your garden.
  • You can freeze virtually any kind of food… solid or liquid!

482 Year Old Secret To Surviving SHTF…

What if I told you that NASA rediscovered a superfood that’s been lost to history for the past 482 years? It’s packed with more nutrients than any other food out there and last even longer than pemmican. In fact, it’s so easy to store and cheap to make, you might never need another emergency food.

Click here (or the video bellow)to see how you can make your own

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Cons of Freezing:

  • You are limited to where you put your storage food to the size of your freezer.  It’s all in one place.
  • In almost every natural and unnatural disaster you are going to be without power.  Studies suggest that if you don’t open your freezer, food will stay frozen for up to two days.  A generator can solve this problem, but then you have to store fuel, and the noise of a generator can make you a target to those without food.
  • To achieve the maximum frozen food shelf life you will have to protect them from moisture loss and air exposure.

How Long Does Frozen Food Last:

Like with any storage method, how long you can store food for will depend on the specific type of food. Frozen foods can last only a few weeks in some cases, but more often then will be fine to eat after several months. After a year, most foods will start to taste “off”.

Storage Times Listed are for QUALITY ONLY;  Frozen foods remain safe indefinitely!

Here is a basic chart of storage times for keeping food in the freezer.

  • Bacon and Sausage 1 to 2 months
  • Casseroles 2 to 3 months
  • Egg whites or egg substitutes 12 months
  • Frozen Dinners and Entrees 3 to 4 months
  • Gravy, meat or poultry 2 to 3 months
  • Ham, Hot Dogs and Lunch Meats 1 to 2 months
  • Meat, uncooked roasts 4 to 12 months
  • Meat, uncooked steaks or chops 4 to 12 months
  • Meat, uncooked ground 3 to 4 months
  • Meat, cooked 2 to 3 months
  • Poultry, uncooked whole 12 months
  • Poultry, uncooked parts 9 months
  • Poultry, uncooked giblets 3 to 4 months
  • Poultry, cooked 4 months
  • Soups and Stews 2 to 3 months
  • Wild game, uncooked 8 to 12 months

Pros and Cons of using commercial canned goods for food storage

Note:  This report isn’t long enough to discuss home canning in depth.  Watch for a future report which will discuss home canning in depth!

Pros of Commercial Canned Goods:

  •  It’s very easy to do.  You buy the cans at the grocery store and put them away for later use!
  • You are buying exactly what you like to eat!  Taste is a huge factor in nutrition!
  •  The food is already prepared, so your prep time is greatly reduced.
  •  Cans are usually smaller allowing for more variety in what you are eating.  You don’t have to consume an entire #10 can of something before you move on to something else.
  •  Commercially canned food is usually done at the peak of freshness, so the quality is usually very good.

Cons Commercial Canned Goods:

  •  The smaller the serving size, the more it usually costs.  Basing an entire families food storage requirements on commercial canned food will cost more than dehydrated or freeze dried food.
  •  The shelf life of canned food is much shorter than dehydrated or freeze dried foods.
  •  We recommend this web site for the best information on shelf lives, use-by dates, etc.  It’s an awesome site!  http://www.stilltasty.com/
  •  Storage Times are usually for QUALITY ONLY;  Although canned food loses its nutritional value over time, it doesn’t necessarily go “bad” merely because it’s old.

The bottom line:  Don’t be so quick to toss out or donate those canned food items sitting on your basement shelves just because they hit their printed expiration date.  When all else fails, open them and use your senses to determine if they are still edible (they probably will be).  (Swollen cans are the best indicator that something is wrong—bad food also smells bad)

When in doubt some high heat from your stove and an iron skillet can serve as another method by which to “cleanse” the food prior to eating it.

Plastic Retort Packages (AND Military Meals)

Note:  This report will be an overview of the various military meals (MREs and such). Watch for a future report which will discuss military meals in depth!

What Are They?

We’ve seen them all over the place!  Those who are veterans remember them as the pouch that holds the entrée in the MRE.  Most of us have seen them in the grocery stores as the “flexible can” in quick, ready to eat pouches.

In science terms, it is a heat resistant bag made of laminated plastic films.  It is then heat sealed and sterilized by pressure cooking in a retort (autoclave).  As a result, the retort pouch contains heat treated food that is safe from micro-organisms.

Pros of Plastic Retort Packages:

  •  Lighter than canned food.
  •  Because it’s flexible, it can take more “abuse”.
  •  Because it’s flat, it’s easier to store.
  •  It’s easier for individuals to eat as most of them are in single serving packages.

Cons of Plastic Retort Packages:

  • Convenience usually comes with a cost!  Individual serving sized food costs more.
  • Shelf life is very dependent on the temperature at which they are stored.  Not a good food to store in the trunk of your car in the summer.

So, What is the Best Food to Buy?

We don’t think any ONE type of food is the best.

We do think that a combination of all of them can be useful.

Storage of Fruits and Vegetables

Freeze Dried or Dehydrated are clearly the choices.  Price is the huge factor here, with dehydrated fruits and vegetables being very reasonable.

Storage of Meats

Canned meats are the tastiest, and we recommend home canning for meats (WATCH FOR A REPORT ON HOME CANNING OF MEATS SOON!)

Storage of Single Serving Foods

Retort packaging is the most convenient to store, carry and eat.

Also, I highly recommend this book to everyone. 300 pages, color, paperback. The Lost Book of Remedies is helping Americans achieve medical self-sufficiency even in the darkest times using the time-tested methods of our grandparents without spending lots of money on toxic drugs and without side effects. A great asset when doctors and hospitals won’t be available anymore. You may not be Claude Davis, but you can make use of his procedures and techniques to increase your chances of survival!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bor.jpg

A breakthrough experiment from Colorado, USA with 45 volunteers has proven that by eating this prickly flower you can completely kill food cravings! It is 5x more effective than exercise….and 6x more effective than any diet! And guess what? They found its 3x MORE effective than gastric bypass surgery at eliminating cravings for sugar and starchy foods!==> Prickly Flower Eliminates Food Cravings & Burns Away Fat

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is dia.png

Long Term Food Storage Plan—How Much Food Do You Need? Part Two

For this post, we’re skipping ahead a little (read the previous article for a better understanding here) . We want folks to start thinking and start planning. Next week’s post, that will be the last entry of this mini-series, will go into greater detail on the different types of long term storage food.

If 2020 has shown us anything, it is that preparation is absolutely necessary for survival. But just how much preparation do we need to do? The answers vary widely.

The American Red Cross recommends having a two-week supply of food and water for each member of the household. In contrast, preparedness advisors recommend having a three-month supply of food for every member of the household. We agree with the preparedness advisors and believe every family should have at least three months’ worth of food stored.

This is where preparing gets challenging. Most of the folks that sell long term storage food get you excited by the number of servings that they include in their price. Anyone who has had company for Thanksgiving knows that serving size is meaningless. Cousin Eddie eats like a horse. Aunt Sal eats like a sparrow. Heck, when the wife and I get a rack of ribs, she eats less than half and I eat the rest.

We’ve got to plan based on how many calories are required, not serving size.

So, how do we know how to do this? Well, our medical community has actually studied this for us. They have come up with information that has determined how many calories a person needs in a day broken down by age and gender, and how active these people are!


Recommended article: How to Survive A Famine—Any SHTF event can lead to a breakdown of society and mass food shortages

So, how do you use this information?

We’ve taken it one step further to figure out how many calories are needed for more than one person, such as a family!

If you take the chart shown above and add a few columns, you will have a sheet that computes your total family’s daily requirements!


Here is an example of a chart like this filled out. Let’s say for example that you are a family of four, with the husband being 32 years old, the wife 30, with two children, one 4 years old and one 9 years old.

Filling in the numbers of people, you see that you will need between 7000 and 8850 calories per day for your family.


If we take a look at #10 cans of some typical items, we find out that different things produce different calorie counts.


482 Year Old Secret To Surviving SHTF…

What if I told you that NASA rediscovered a superfood that’s been lost to history for the past 482 years? It’s packed with more nutrients than any other food out there and last even longer than pemmican. In fact, it’s so easy to store and cheap to make, you might never need another emergency food.

Click here (or the video bellow)to see how you can make your own

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is untitled2.jpg

It’s interesting to see that different item provide very different calories per serving and even more importantly cost per calorie.

For those on a budget, you may want to explore recipes that make use of the higher calorie content (like Red and Black Beans in this example) to be able to create adequate calorie counts with less money spent.

Once you have your basic essential foodstuff on hand, there are certainly other considerations, such as snacks, fruits, etc. These will be covered in a later chapter.

And these are just examples. You can create a spreadsheet like this, input the things you like to eat, and/or already have in stock, and see where you need to adjust to create adequate calorie counts.

Now comes the fun part – planning your menus! If we go to a sample calorie count sheet, you’ll see that we took ten #10 cans of vegetables and meat and figured out the calorie count per serving. That chart also computed the number of calories produced by the total of the 10 cans.

These ten cans produce 29,152.75 calories.


Computing our from your daily requirements, you see that these 10 cans of food will feed your family for 3.29 to 4.16 days. Adding it up for 90 days tells you that you will need 216 to 273 #10 cans of food.

Of course, this is based on a number of factors that can change. It’s based on you having nothing other than long term storage food. You might have other food options such as MREs, commercial and home-canned food. For planning purposes, I’ve worse-cased it.

If you are on a budget, you can certainly adjust out higher calorie food for lower-calorie food. Whatever foodstuffs that are planning on, you can do the same computations.

It’s not serving size, its caloric requirements.

The beauty of using a “calculator” for computing your requirements is that you can “play around” with different menu items to increase calorie content and reduce costs.

Let’s see what the lowest costs could be.

We learned very early in our preparation process that the expensive part was meat. Freeze-dried and other long term storage meat were very expensive. For example, in our scenario of a family of four, using “real” meat versus TVP meat increases your food storage bill by over $2000 over the 90 days! If there were no other options, it might make you want to become a vegan!

We tried TVP meat. Used in casseroles and stews, it actually isn’t bad tasting! The cost per calorie for TVP meat is far less than “real” meat.

We looked at different options. The first was to mix TVP and real meat on a 50-50 basis. It certainly works out and cuts your food storage bill by $800 or so.

Another option was to home can meat! We practiced that and found it not only to be fairly easy to do and incredible cost savings, but it is also very good to eat! Our challenge is to keep it in storage instead of using it and eating it regularly!

A later chapter will discuss home canning of meat.

We can’t state strongly enough that the key to planning for food storage is to first determine how many calories you and your family need to survive.

Once you’ve figured that out, you need to explore different menus. If you have all the money in the world, you can pretty much replicate your day to day foods via long term food storage. If you are like most of us, you are on a budget, and some menu adjustments will have to be made to maximize caloric input versus cost per calorie.

These spreadsheets will make it easier to compute and adjust different items. In our examples, we only used dehydrated and freeze-dried food. You can use these spreadsheets for any kind of food, be it canned goods from the grocery store or any other food. Input the serving and calorie count and you get the results you need.

The strongest recommendation that we can make is to try these menus now before you have to live on them. There is nothing worse than having to eat things that you can’t stand. Most folks just won’t eat it, or won’t eat enough of it. Calorie intake is critical.

When we were in the Army, there was an old saying when you wrote plans and other instructions. People always referred to a concept that Napoleon used when issuing guidance to his subordinates. He would always have the instructions read to one of his corporals. He figured if they understood it, then everyone else would too. The notion became used in the Army as finding your “Napoleon’s Corporal” before you sent something off.

Well, we had this chapter read by our Napoleon’s Corporal, and we got some feedback that we figured we needed to address. He told us that he had read and understood the “storing by calorie” concept, but wasn’t sold completely on long term storage food. “After all, you are the one that said that commercially canned goods don’t really have an expiration date. Why couldn’t I just buy that?”

He raises a good point, so here is a little better examination of commercially canned food.

We went to Walmart’s website and got some prices for some of the more common commercial foods that folks might eat. You can see that cost per calorie is very similar to long term storage foods!


Heck, if you got it on sale it might even be cheaper than that. So far, long term storage food doesn’t have a price advantage.

Let’s look at some other things. Fat content and sodium content generally is incredibly higher in commercially canned foods than in long term storage. We were shocked to look at the labels and see that many of these items had fat as almost 50% of the calories that you got from eating it! The sodium (salt) per serving, not per can was often as much as 30% of your daily allowance.

Long term storage foods have fat and sodium counts that are controlled by you. You make the meals and you get to choose. The advantage goes to long term storage foods.

When we talked about how long commercial canned food lasts, we were talking about how long it is safe to eat. Canned food can last a long time, but it does lose its flavor and nutritional value over time. Freeze-dried and dehydrated food doesn’t have this problem.

We have always been adamant about the fact that there is no one single type of food to put in your storage. We have a mix of all of the types (except frozen) because all of them have their advantages and disadvantages. Some commercially canned food can be useful, not only for how quick it is to prepare but also for its ease of transport if you are out and about.

Also, I highly recommend this book to everyone. 300 pages, color, paperback. The Lost Book of Remedies is helping Americans achieve medical self-sufficiency even in the darkest times using the time-tested methods of our grandparents without spending lots of money on toxic drugs and without side effects. A great asset when doctors and hospitals won’t be available anymore. You may not be Claude Davis, but you can make use of his procedures and techniques to increase your chances of survival!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bor.jpg

A breakthrough experiment from Colorado, USA with 45 volunteers has proven that by eating this prickly flower you can completely kill food cravings! It is 5x more effective than exercise….and 6x more effective than any diet! And guess what? They found its 3x MORE effective than gastric bypass surgery at eliminating cravings for sugar and starchy foods!==> Prickly Flower Eliminates Food Cravings & Burns Away Fat

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is dia.png

You Need To Have Food, Water And The Means To Protect It

Most liberty-minded folks believe that the “bad times” are inevitable.  Most of us want to be prepared for whatever those “bad times” really mean.  A large number of us never prepare.

There are lots of reasons why folks don’t prepare.

  • Some don’t prepare because they aren’t sure what to prepare for.
  • Some (probably most of us!) are on limited budgets.
  • Most of us suffer from “prepping” fatigue.  (It’s funny – a well known site that promotes “Prepper Shows” suggests that we should call it “survivalism” because “prepping” has too many bad connotations!)  There is just too much information out there and much of it has virtually no application to most of us.  It is very easy to be overwhelmed and do little or nothing.

Many in the liberty movement don’t make it easier for us.  There are many web sites out there telling us what the one single thing is that will make us “winners” in the fight to restore liberty.

Some of what is out there is legit and good info.  Sadly much of what is out there is written by people who merely want to make money off the backs of us in the liberty movement.  On the one hand, that is kind of neat.  We’ve become a market that folks recognize and want to target us for sales.  On the other hand, there is a lot of useless junk out there that is incredibly overpriced.

No one knows what will precipitate the upcoming troubles.  No one.  Some ascribe to a huge government crackdown on the citizenry.  Others fear an invasion by a foreign power such as China, Russia, ISIS, the UN, etc.  The theories abound.  Certainly the actions of our Government in the last 50 or so years have driven us to the breaking point.

At the end of the day though, the threat that you plan for needs to be broken down into the short term, intermediate term and long term.

Recommended article: The S**t Just Hit The Fan, Should I Bug Out or Survive in Place?- Part 1

For most of us, we usually start with the long term threat, namely a complete breakdown of the government as we know it with either an internal civil war or a war against foreign aggressors on our homeland.  We try to plan backwards.

And for most folks, that’s where they stop.  It just looks too big to handle.

We’re all on limited budgets, have limited time, and quite frankly limited skills.  We can’t all move off the grid to some magical “safe spot”.  We can’t all possibly learn everything that is needed.

I suggest that we need to start with the short term threat.  If you can’t survive the short term threat, it really doesn’t matter that you were prepared for the intermediate or long term threats.

You need to survive for 90 days.

You need to have food, water and the means to protect it for 90 days. 

Until you have these basic preps, you shouldn’t spend a dime on any other preps.  Having a ham radio that allows you to talk to the world doesn’t help you if you don’t have food or water.  The best generator in the world is not edible.  An arms room full of tons of guns and bullets doesn’t help you if you run out of food and water.

So what does the 90 days look like?

I predict that an unnatural disaster will cause a nationwide breakdown of society.  Lots of things could cause it, but I think the most likely cause will be the loss of food.  EBT card breakdown would be the most catastrophic, but it could be massive rioting causing stores to stop resupply.

Note, this is just one of MANY possible reasons for societal breakdown.  Your threat analysis may vary!

No food will cause massive unrest.  Violence will be terrible.  Quite frankly those who will cause the violence will probably descend to killing each other very quickly.  Roving bands of violent thugs will wander throughout cities and they will destroy what they can in an attempt to get their own food and water.

And what of Federal, State and Local law enforcement?  Sadly, most of them will be used to guard what the Federal, State and Local governments want protected.  Much of it will be critical infrastructure.  Lots of it will be guarding the “elites” in government.

482 Year Old Secret To Surviving SHTF…

What if I told you that NASA rediscovered a superfood that’s been lost to history for the past 482 years? It’s packed with more nutrients than any other food out there and last even longer than pemmican. In fact, it’s so easy to store and cheap to make, you might never need another emergency food.

Click here (or the video bellow)to see how you can make your own

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is untitled2.jpg


The first 30 days will be violent, with much random killing.  I estimate that anywhere as many as half of the population will be killed, many of them the thugs and the remainder innocent folks who got caught up in the violence.

Our mission in the first 30 days is to survive.  It’s time to “hunker down”.  Note, I don’t recommend “bugging out”.  We can discuss bugging out on a different occasion, but I believe that in the first 30 days the random violence will get you killed if you are out and about.

I don’t think anyone should leave their safe space during these 30 days.  Blacked out windows, decoy trash in the front yard, vehicles up on blocks, etc., will help keep you from being a target and victim.  Not looking like a target will increase your chances of not being a target.  Lights visible from the road, a roaring generator, the aroma of food cooked on the grill are all things that will attract attention.

The minimums you must have are non-perishable food, water for drinking and sanitation, a mechanism for handling human waste, and of course the means to protect these things.

EVERYTHING else is bonus at this time.

Yes, it would be nice to have IR wireless cameras to watch your perimeter.  It would be nice to have shortwave radios to listen to the news.  It would be nice to have ham radios to check on friends.  It would be nice to have solar chargers, storage batteries, inverters and the like to keep your phones and laptops operable.  The list of “nice” things goes on and on.

But, if you aren’t eating or drinking, it doesn’t matter.

DAY 31 TO 60

The second 30 days will be different.  The thugs that are left will be the stronger ones.  They survived.  They will be more violent and far more desperate.  They have run out of all things that they need.  They will be a little more organized, but probably in small groups/gangs.  By this point most of them will be on foot.  With no gas stations and roads/highways cluttered with wrecks, burned out vehicles and vehicles merely out of fuel, rapid transit won’t be easy.

These smaller gangs will target what they believe to be opportunities to get food, fuel, water and arms/ammunition.  They have the challenge of food and water just like we do.  Imagine a 20 mile hike with nothing for them at the end.

With the smaller numbers of thugs, the Government will begin conducting operations to restore law and order.  I imagine it will be with overwhelming force, city by city, with a combined State National Guard, State Police and Local Police.  They won’t be able to be everywhere at once, so the restoration will not be automatic.  A good percentage of these forces will still be used to protect what the Government thinks is important (important to them, not to you).

During these second 30 days, it may be possible for you to venture outside.  I would only do it in daylight and only in groups.  At least two vehicles with four armed people in each vehicle.  If your area is part of the restoration operations, I probably would stay off the streets.  Shoot to kill really means shoot to kill.

As in the first 30 days, our Government will not have the resources to target the good guys.  They will be struggling to survive and protect what is theirs.

DAY 61 TO 90

During the third 30 days I think we will see efforts to restore services.  Electricity will start to work.  Water will start to flow.  Stores that still exist will start stocking food, fuel and other essentials.  It won’t be universal, and it won’t be easy.

I recommend taking advantage of what is available and attempt to restock my supplies.  I still wouldn’t venture out by myself.  Perhaps smaller groups but still in multiple vehicles.  If you haven’t shaved or cut your hair in a couple of months, I probably would.  You want to look like a civilian who needs resupply, not an armed thug.  Just because we survived the 90 days doesn’t mean it’s going to get better.

Our country’s population will be smaller at the end of 90 days.  Merely cleaning up the devastation and dead bodies will take many months.  Heck, some places may never come back.

Our Government will make plans to insure that something like this doesn’t happen again.  Change will happen and as always many will attempt to take advantage of the crisis to make changes that we won’t like.  Our Government will have more time on their hands to screw with us, the good guys.  But, we’ll be alive to try and influence that change.

We’ll all have some serious “lessons learned” from these 90 days.  Things we wish we had done different or better.  Our mission remains the same.  Restock and work on the next 90 days.  Smarter, wiser and alive.  Armed with what we learned and with what others learned, we’ll probably do it a little different.  Resources will be shifted to the next phase of survival.

By the way, this 90 day plan is just that, a plan.  Unrest isn’t like a football game.  You won’t know when the game starts, there will be no halftime, and there are no four quarters.  The length of each phase will likely vary.  There may be overtime.  You can watch for indicators of when it will start, but based on experience of social unrest localized unrest can grow very quickly.

Part Two of this series will discuss food.  Part Three will discuss water and sanitation.  Part Four will discuss how to use deception to hide the fact that you are alive, well and capable of surviving.  Future parts after that will discuss how to accomplish the “nice” things on a budget.

Also, I highly recommend this book to everyone. 300 pages, color, paperback. The Lost Book of Remedies is helping Americans achieve medical self-sufficiency even in the darkest times using the time-tested methods of our grandparents without spending lots of money on toxic drugs and without side effects. A great asset when doctors and hospitals won’t be available anymore. You may not be Claude Davis, but you can make use of his procedures and techniques to increase your chances of survival!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bor.jpg

A breakthrough experiment from Colorado, USA with 45 volunteers has proven that by eating this prickly flower you can completely kill food cravings! It is 5x more effective than exercise….and 6x more effective than any diet! And guess what? They found its 3x MORE effective than gastric bypass surgery at eliminating cravings for sugar and starchy foods!==> Prickly Flower Eliminates Food Cravings & Burns Away Fat

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is dia.png

How to Designate and Fortify a Safe Room—Detailed Guide

When most people think of a safe room, they envision a completely enclosed, hardened vault-like room within an existing structure that is completely safe against any threat, against any form of attack or natural disaster.

While these popular conceptions certainly do qualify as safe rooms and very good ones at that, this typical imagining is more a product of popular media like movies and TV shows.

In reality, a safe room can be almost any room in your home or even your office that serves as a designated fallback point to withstand a natural disaster or intruders.

You don’t have to spend a fortune or re-engineer your house to benefit from a safe room, but it does have to meet certain criteria.

It has to be accessible in short order to all members of the house, it must be at least nominally hardened against forced entry and should ideally be stocked with supplies and other provisions to help you wait out any bad situation, at least in the short-term.

Most homes that people live in will have at least one room that can with a little ingenuity and perhaps a few choice upgrades be made into a serviceable safe room.

In today’s article, I will share with you tips, procedures, and other considerations that will help you make your safe room the best that it can be no matter your budget.

Every Castle Needs a Keep

Even a castle surrounded by high walls and battlements, virtually impregnable from the outside, should have within its confines a keep.

A castle keep is typically a tower, itself fortified, surrounded by another set of walls, used as a fallback point for the royal family and their defenders if the greater castle grounds and bailey were compromised by invaders.

While real castle keeps were rendered irrelevant by constantly improving artillery and other siege weapons, we can still use this concept today to our benefit in the form of a safe room.

If you are like me I will go ahead and assume that you have fortified your home externally and internally in order to make it a hard target for dedicated intruders and to also see it scratched off the list of potential targets posthaste by lesser criminals.

Security cameras, improved lighting, defensive landscaping, hardened doors, lock another entry hardware- the works. All of this adds up and helps keep evil people out of your home, or at the very least buys you plenty of time to muster a meaningful defense if they are hell-bent on getting in.

But you would be a fool if you did not count on those invaders getting in. It is a mistake to stop thinking about contingencies just because you have made the walls of your personal castle seemingly impregnable.

The question is, what do we do once they get inside? One valid answer is to, of course, fight them off and we should in order to protect what is ours, both our family and our holdings, but that entails a certain amount of risk.

As a corollary to the question of repelling boarders, you should ask yourself if anything you have is truly worth your own life, and the life of your family.

If you are like me, the answer will again probably be “no”. When confronted with armed and violent intruders, it is oftentimes best to disengage if at all feasible.

For most folks, this won’t be an option because they will not be able to simply run out of their house in good order with their family members in tow.

But if you do have the option to retreat further inward on defense, in the form of a safe room, you’ll be in a much better position to both protect and to ensure a positive outcome with no one injured or killed.

Recommended articles: The S**t Just Hit The Fan, Should I Bug Out or Survive in Place?- Part 1

When Hunger Crisis Unfolds, There Is No One Coming To Your Rescue-Get Over It And PREPARE With That Thought In Mind

Safe Rooms on Defense

Inside your safe room, you will have every family member accounted for, an easily defensible, hardened entrance that should be proof against most attempts to break in, and all the supplies and equipment you might need to deal with injuries or call for help.

Safe rooms can take the form of a simple room with a sturdy door and barricade and some pre-placed supplies, or a purpose-fabricated and installed miniature bunker proof against any breaching attempt and replete with air filtration system, communications gear, weapons and more.

That being said most will fall somewhere in the middle for most folks, so we will discuss the criteria for designating, fortifying, and equipping a safe room in the sections below.

Some of these items will be achievable for you, others will not, and perhaps for reasons besides cost. That’s alright. What is important is that you fix up your own safe room (so you have a safe room) according to what you can achieve.

Some of the items for consideration when designating and equipping a safe room:

  • Location and Accessibility
  • Hardening – Against Gunfire and Entry
  • Supplies and provisions
  • Defensive Weapons and Other Equipment
  • Communications
  • Escape Route

We will talk about each of these in turn just below.

Location and Accessibility

The location of the safe room inside the house or structure will be of paramount importance.

For a safe room to be effective against intruders you must be able to reach it along with all of the other people in the house that you care about and then secure it against further entry.

If accessing your safe room in an emergency will take you through hallways or rooms that are already likely to be occupied by intruders, you might as well not have it.

For many people, locating a safe room immediately off of the master bedroom makes the most sense, and plenty of people will choose to make the master bedroom itself the safe room.

For families, this is usually a smart move as it is a fairly easy thing to train all the members of the family in the home to head for the master bedroom in times of trouble.

Many home layouts also feature the master bedroom co-located near the other bedrooms, meaning little time will be wasted in heading for the safe room.

If you happen to live alone or it is just you and a partner inside the home, all you will need to do to secure your safe room against entry is close, lock and secure the door.

This is the picture of simplicity in an otherwise high-stress situation, and unless there was some other reason why that won’t work should be your first option.

But assuming that the “master bedroom as a safe room”, or safe room located off the master bedroom concept will not work, it doesn’t mean you should abandon it entirely. It just means a safe room may not be a viable response for the entire family in case of a home invasion.

It might still be an excellent option in response to civil unrest, disaster, and other crisis situations- you will just need a little more time to access it.

That is something that is entirely achievable so long as you have a little more notice than “team of robbers break-in at 3 a.m.”

In a multi-level home or a home with a basement, think long and hard about locating your safe room underground or above the ground floor.

One key element to a good safe room is a secure, or at least hidden, emergency escape exit that will allow you to get out of the safe room and preferably out of the house in case of really dire straits like fire or a prolonged siege. A safe room located above or below ground can complicate that.

Below is your checklist for locating your safe room and making it accessible:

  • Located in or very near the master bedroom, if possible?
  • Readily reachable by all members of the household?
  • Located on the first floor if possible.
  • Does the location allow for an emergency exit?

482 Year Old Secret To Surviving SHTF…

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Hardening: Gunfire and Entry

For a safe room to truly be considered a safe room it must be impregnable to the people who want to harm you, or at the very least delay them considerably enough that they give up for fear of the cavalry arriving in the form of reinforcements you have summoned or the police arriving.

This means that the entryway to your safe room must be hardened against attempts to pry or kick it open and also that the walls and potentially even the floor and ceiling should be constructed of material or armored in such a way that they can resist gunfire.

Top of the line, purpose-built safe rooms will also be resistant to explosives and other hardcore breaching methods.

This is one part of safe room siting and construction that will require a considerable amount of money for improvement or an awful lot of laborious DIY, at least if you want to harden the room beyond the most elementary upgrades.

Opening up or rebuilding walls with the intention of adding purpose-made armor or just laying in bullet-resistant material takes time and a not inconsiderable investment in finances. The larger the room, the better the armor and the more advanced the hardware is the higher the price tag will climb.

At the most basic level, your safe room should have a solid, heavily-built, and high-quality door installed with equally high-quality hardware within a heavy-duty frame that will resist kicking or prying.

No matter how good the door is and how good the hardware that it hangs on, it should be backed up by some type of reinforcement, anything from a horizontal bar that goes across the frame or an angled bar that slots into a receptacle on the floor (commonly called a burglar bar), to a full-frame anti-kick device like the Door Devil.

On the opposite end of the price and complexity spectrum, you can install something akin to a bank’s vault door with multiple hardened steel pins that slot into a specially made frame for the ultimate in strength and breach resistance.

Of course, a door is only as good as the wall surrounding it, as some witless homeowners have discovered when burglars literally tunnel around their top-of-the-line security door to gain entry to a room in the house.

Wall reinforcement is a bit more complex than merely purchasing a new door and adapting the opening accordingly. The walls must be able to resist mechanical breaching as well as gunfire.

Common construction materials that are resistant to gunfire include concrete, brick, and other masonry and certain thicknesses of sheet steel. All of the above are relatively affordable but can be highly complicated to install in an existing house and are best put to use during the construction phase.

All of them also have the disadvantage of being very heavy, and structural load limits around the safe room will be a legitimate factor, especially when the safe room is on a second floor or near the center of the ground floor if not on a slab.

Purpose made armor is another option, and can take the form of man-made fabrics like Kevlar or Dyneema, armor-grade steels or other alloys, and potentially even ceramics.

Any of these may garner weight savings over conventional construction materials that are merely bullet-resistant, as well as providing you enhanced ballistic protection, but the disadvantage is that they will be extraordinarily expensive to install completely around a room of any size.

Regarding ballistic protection, it is crucial that you keep in mind not all armor is up to the task of stopping repeated hits from rifle fire!

With enough time and repeated hits or with powerful enough weapons your safe room’s armor can fail, and though it is likely to degrade projectiles that defeat it may no longer stop them.

Regardless of the cost and aggravation involved, you must not skip on this step if you can afford it, as mechanical and ballistic protection provided by the door, walls, floor, and ceiling of your safe room is very literally integral to the concept of the safe room itself.

Your safe room hardening checklist:

  • Door, door hardware, and frame must be of high strength and grade.
  • Wall reinforcement is a must to prevent intruders from bypassing the door.
  • Ceiling and food may optionally be hardened to protect against prolonged siege or determined intruders.
  • Armor or enhancement with bullet-resistant materials is a must for protection against gunfire.
  • You must carefully assess the load-bearing potential of your host structure before installing any of these upgrades!

Supplies and Provisions

You wouldn’t jump into a life raft without any provisions if you had the choice, and so you should not retreat to your safe room without having all supplies and provisions you might need for an extended stay already inside.

This does not mean the safe room must be equipped and appointed the same as a luxury hotel, but you should always include at a minimum basic life support supplies, food, and water.

Considering why you might need your safe room in the first place, and for those of you in the back I am talking about human violence particularly, medical supplies are a must.

I’m not talking about the dinky first aid kit you keep in the medicine cabinet, but instead a properly outfitted trauma kit that can take care of everything from penetrating trauma to blunt force impact and everything in between.

Of course, it will not hurt to have items that are capable of taking care of lesser boo-boos, but those are not what we are mainly concerned with when we have to retreat to our safe room.

One item you should have inside your safe room in abundance is water; in small bottles or large jugs, makes no difference. You’ll certainly need this for hydration, and also for potentially cleaning wounds.

Considering you might be buttoned up for some time, basic food supplies in the form of long-lasting, high-calorie, and ready-to-eat meal replacements or snacks are a good idea also.

Take the time to consider what you might need after barreling into your safe room in a frenzied rush. What is something that will be left outside that you would really like to have while inside?

How about prescription medication or prescription eyewear? Perhaps a set of clothes that is more suitable for the situation than your pajamas or your underwear? How about some footwear to go with them?

Nothing is necessarily off the table: take the time to think the situation through and emplace ahead of time all of the supplies and provisions you will need under the circumstances that saw you scampering to your safe room in the first place.

Below is a checklist for supplies and provisions to include in your safe room:

  • Comprehensive medical kit including trauma supplies.
  • Water, jugs, or bottles.
  • Food, high calorie, stable meal replacements.
  • Any and all prescription medications and eyewear.
  • Clothing.
  • Footwear.

Defensive Weapons and Other Equipment

Again, count on the fact that you will likely have cause to retreat to your safe room under duress from hostile intruders and you will see the wisdom in pre-emplacing defensive weapons inside.

This is not to say that you will need them at the instant if you have constructed your safe room appropriately, but you might.

Eventually, you will have to come out, and if the situation is not defused by then you might have to do so with guns blazing. Alternately, emerging from your safe room into a world that is half upside-down will probably make you glad to be armed.

At the most basic, you should keep some spare magazines or other ammo sources for your primary, bedside defensive guns or concealed carry guns within your safe room. This will provide you with ready replenishment in the event you need to fight prior to entering.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the overall security of a safe room means it is an ideal location to emplace multiple, redundant guns and plenty of ammo in anticipation of needing them during a SHTF scenario.

But let’s assume you cannot have or choose not to own guns for whatever reason. That does not mean you shouldn’t include defensive weapons in your safe room’s complement at all.

A large “riot” can of pepper spray is an excellent choice, as is a sturdy fighting knife or some other melee weapon.

Pepper spray at least gives you some standoff capability but knives will only be good when at bad breath-distance from your assailants.

No matter what weapon you choose to arm yourself with or prefer for self-defense, make sure at least one is waiting for you inside the safe room.

Besides weapons, other tools of self-defense and self-preservation will be paramount if you must call on the refuge of your safe room. Flashlights and lanterns with batteries aplenty should be kept on hand, checked and rotated regularly.

A fire extinguisher or two might be the only thing that can stop you from getting smoked out of your safe room or seeing your house burn down. For longer stays, a self-contained toilet, or at least a bucket with a lid along with some odor-control media is a great thing to have.

Lastly, the spartan creature comforts in a safe room can help when the time comes to take rest. Some blankets, pillows, and even a folding cot might help make the difference.

For the highest-end safe rooms, an independent air-handling and filtration system can help keep you comfortable and safe from all kinds of airborne hazards and contaminants, though such a system is naturally expensive, and requires considerable upgrades to the room itself to be viable along with regular maintenance even when not in use.

For the most well-off or dedicated DIY preppers, such a system can truly see your safe room serve as a SHTF “lifeboat” no matter what kind of disaster is occurring.

Consider the following equipment checklist when outfitting your safe room:

  • Firearms and/or extra ammunition.
  • Pepper spray canister, large.
  • Knife or other contact weapons.
  • Flashlights and extra batteries or chargers.
  • Small, self-contained toilet or bucket with absorbent media.
  • Blankets and pillows.
  • Folding cot.
  • Air-handling and filtration system.


No matter what kind of safe room you are building and no matter where it is located, you must have some form of reliable communication to the outside world within.

The ability to call for the cavalry and wait for reinforcements or relief to arrive is essential. This can take many forms depending on what methods of communication will be most reliable in your area and from within your safe room.

For most preppers who are equipping a modest safe room likely all you will need is your cell phone assuming you have a signal from within the room itself. This is dependent on having both power for the cell phone and the phone itself on you when you slam and lock the safe room door behind you.

For this reason, it is not a bad idea to keep a dedicated cell phone within the safe room and charged at all times.

If you have poor or dodgy signals in the safe room, consider running a cell phone signal amplifier and antenna arrangement within that can help “pipe” the signal clear of the safe room’s heavy and interfering walls.

A landline telephone is another viable option, but one that is vulnerable to attack by bad guys who might cleverly decide to cut the line where it ties into the house.

Some safe room owners for this reason set up a dedicated, shielded phone line just for their safe room that will ensure they can make use of the telephone even when the primary line is severed. So long as the network is intact and powered, of course…

More advanced self-contained communications options that are excellent safe room candidates include a family-service, or ham radio set with its own power source.

These devices will be proof against anything that might cripple the cellular or landline phone network or its power supply but will take training and experience to use to best effect, and summoning help is no longer as simple as dialing 911.

It is a good idea to make prior radio contact with known persons who might help you summon aid in such a scenario.

Even more advanced communications options include satellite phones which are completely self-contained and further insured against terrestrial mayhem so long as the infrastructure servicing their satellites are still operational.

The worst “dirtside” disasters will not often hamper these ingenious marvels in the slightest.

One commonly overlooked element of communications for safe rooms is a simple intercom system that can let you talk to people outside the door, throughout the house, and even at the entrance to your property.

Also, just as important is the ability to listen to these external mics even when you are not actively transmitting; this is another vital source of intelligence that you should invest in alongside cameras.

The ability to communicate and coordinate with people outside your safe room while you are inside is crucial. Consider any or all of the following options for your safe room:

  • Cell Phone with a dedicated charger and/or power bank.
  • Dedicated landline telephone, if available in the area.
  • GMRS/Ham radio set.
  • Satellite phone.
  • Whole house intercom system.
  • Interior/exterior surveillance cameras.

Escape Route

One fatal flaw that some misfortunate preppers bake-in to their escape room is a lack of secondary escape route. If your safe room is one way in and one way out, it might become your tomb when the situation becomes unsalvageable and unsurvivable.

Fire is one such scenario that will spell doom for all but the most cleverly constructed and advanced safe rooms since even ones that can survive the extraordinary heat of a house fire will usually asphyxiate their occupants.

It is also not out of the question those bad guys in the wrong state of mind and not fearing any retaliation or friendly reinforcements from your side might decide to crack your shell and drag you out, doing so with power tools, explosives or massed gunfire. This is another potentially grisly end you can and should avoid!

And avoid it you should, if you have a secondary exit from your escape room. Your secondary exit can deposit you somewhere else in the house or even outside the house depending on how it is set up.

The style and furnishing of such are up to you and once more dependent on your budget and inventiveness.

I personally know a prepper who has their escape route lead from the safe room on one end of the house via a smallish, crawlspace-sized tunnel to a hidden door beneath their kitchen island, and another whose basement safe room has a full-size tunnel that leads to a hidden sealed hatch in the woodline over 50 yards from their home.

No matter what kind of escape route you are installing it must be completely hidden both from within and without or secured in the same manner as the primary safe room door, or else you risk letting the clever and the nosy into your unprotected backside.

Considering how logistically burdensome a proper escape tunnel can be to install in existing structures, these are usually built during the construction phase of a home or other building.

You should think long and hard before omitting an escape route from your safe room. Consider the following:

  • Escape route leads elsewhere in-home or outside the home?
  • The escape route must be completely hidden at the exit point and/or secured similarly to the primary door.
  • Installing a safe room and escape route during construction affords many more options.


Safe rooms are not just the stuff of paranoid characters in movies and on T.V., and serve much the same role for preppers today that a castle’s keep did for the occupying royal family in eras gone by.

A safe room need not be a technological and expensive marvel to work for you but it must have certain essential features in order to be worthy of the name and do its job, features we have laid out in the article above.

Using this article as a guide you should be able to intelligently and correctly install and fortify your very own safe room!

Also, I highly recommend this book to everyone. 300 pages, color, paperback. The Lost Book of Remedies is helping Americans achieve medical self-sufficiency even in the darkest times using the time-tested methods of our grandparents without spending lots of money on toxic drugs and without side effects. A great asset when doctors and hospitals won’t be available anymore. You may not be Claude Davis, but you can make use of his procedures and techniques to increase your chances of survival!

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Natural Antibiotics To Stockpile Now: Herbs and Foods That Naturally Kill Superbugs

Longtime readers of our website know that, because of massive over-prescribing by the modern healthcare industry, today’s crop of antibiotics are becoming less and less effective. Another culprit: The increased use of antibiotics in factory-farm animals.

“It is not difficult to make microbes resistant to penicillin in the laboratory by exposing them to concentrations not sufficient to kill them,” warned Alexander Fleming, the creator of the first antibiotic, penicillin, back in 1945 when he received his Nobel Prize for medicine. “There is the danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and by exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug make them resistant.”

And while bacteria have been a part of “life” on Earth for humans since the dawn of time, constant exposure to antibiotics — which kill even “good” bacteria — is responsible for the rise of superbugs that are resistant to an increasing number antibiotic drugs.

In order to protect vaccine profits, in other words, the governments and health authorities of the world will stand by and watch any number of people perish, even while natural antiviral treatments are readily available right this very minute which can boost immune function and help slow the spread of viral pandemics.

The greed of pharmaceutical medicine and the vaccine industry knows no bounds. There is no limit to the number of lives that must be destroyed in order to protect the vaccine industry and make sure the masses never wake up to the truth about the power of natural antiviral medicines.

With that in mind, and before you find yourself in dire need of something that will kill the superbugs, here are 13 herbs and foods that will do the job naturally:

— Honey: In a recently released study, researchers from the Salve Regina University in Newport, Rode Island, reaffirmed that raw honey is one of the best natural antibiotics you can have.

Lead author Susan M. Meschwitz, Ph.D., presented the findings at the 247th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

“The unique property of honey lies in its ability to fight infection on multiple levels, making it more difficult for bacteria to develop resistance,” she said.

Honey uses a combination of weapons including polyphenols, hydrogen peroxide, and an osmotic effect. Honey is practically an ambidextrous fighter, using multiple modalities to kill bacteria.

— Colloidal silver: As noted by Gregory A. Gore, in his book, Defeat Cancer:

Silver was used 1,200 years ago by Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, sailors, and then by the pioneers who populated our country. They used it for various illnesses and to keep their foods and liquids from spoiling. Prior to 1938, before antibiotics, colloidal silver was used by doctors as their main substance to fight bacteria in a more natural way than through the antibiotics they use today. Antibiotics can harm our kidneys and liver functions. Colloidal silver promotes healing.

— Pascalite: This is a type of bentonite clay found only in the mountains of Wyoming. It possesses remarkable healing powers. When it is used topically, it is known for its ability to draw infections from wounds in a matter of hours or days, thereby bringing about total recovery. The first recorded use of Pascalite was in the early 1930s when a trapper named Emile Pascal set his traps near a cold, clear mountain lake, where he had noticed a large number of animal tracks; after getting some of it on his chapped hands, he noticed sometime later that it appeared to help them. So he continued to experiment with the substance and found that it had a number of topical uses, including for burns, minor wounds, and infections.

— Turmeric: This herb has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for many thousands of years to treat a wide range of infections. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities have been known to be highly effective in the treatment of bacterial infections. It can also be used topically for MRSA and additional lesions of the skin.

— Oil of Oregano: This is an essential oil known best for its bacteria-killing abilities, as well as controlling staph infections like MRSA. It contains antioxidant, antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiparasitic and pain-relieving properties. In 2001, Science Daily reported on a Georgetown University study which found that oregano oil’s germ-killing properties were nearly as effective as most antibiotics.

— Tea tree oil: This is also a very potent and essential oil that has been shown to be effective in killing antibiotic-resistant MRSA on the skin. One important note: Therapeutic-grade tea tree oil must be used undiluted if it is to be used for this purpose.

— Olive leaf extract: This substance has been used for a number of centuries to battle bacterial infections and is now currently being used as well to fight MRSA infections in some European hospitals. It provides immune system support while fighting antibiotic-resistant infections.

— Garlic: This tasteful seasoning veggie has been used for medicinal purposes around the world for thousands of years. It was even used in the 1700s to ward off the plague. It possesses very potent antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal properties.

— Echinacea: This compound has been used to treat aging and a wide variety of infections for centuries. It was traditionally used to treat open wounds, as well as blood poisoning, diphtheria, and other bacteria-related illnesses. Today, it is used mostly to treat colds and flu.

Native Americans used echinacea for hundreds of years before the arrival of European explorers, settlers, and colonizers. The North American Plains Indians used Echinacea Angustifolia extensively for general medical purposes.

It is endemic to eastern and central North America and thrives in moist to dry prairies and open woodlands.

By the early 1800s echinacea became a popular herbal remedy for those who had settled in the United States, and soon became commonly used in Europe as well. It became much more popular after research on it was carried out in Germany in the 1920s

Echinacea was first used as a treatment for the common cold when a Swiss supplement maker mistakenly understood that it could prevent colds and that Native American tribes in South Dakota used it for that purpose.

Native American Indians did not commonly use echinacea for the treatment or prevention of colds. Some, like the Kiowa and the Cheyenne, used it for sore throats and coughs, while the Pawnee said it was useful for headaches. The Lakȟóta said it was an excellent painkiller.

Native Americans say that humans learned to use echinacea by watching elk seeking out the herb and eating it whenever they were wounded or sick. They named it the “elk root.”

— Goldenseal: This is one of the most popular herbs sold on the American market and has recently gained a reputation as an herbal antibiotic and immune system enhancer. American Indians used goldenseal as a medication for inflammatory internal conditions such as respiratory, digestive and genitourinary tract inflammation induced by allergy or infection, according to Herbwisdom.com.

 Elderberry: Maybe your grandmother transformed these berries into jam or added them to her scones. For hundreds of years, the elderberry has been used as medicine to boost the immune system, fight off the flu, help with sinus pain, and reduce inflammation.

Historically, the flowers and leaves have been used for pain relief, swelling, inflammation, to stimulate the production of urine and to induce sweating. The bark was used as a diuretic, laxative and to induce vomiting.

In folk medicine, the dried berries or juice are used to treat influenza, infections, sciatica, headaches, dental pain, heart pain, and nerve pain, as well as a laxative and diuretic.

This berry is great in pies, muffins, and jams, or make it into a syrup for a pick-me-up when you feel a cold coming on. No time to make jam or bake? Elderberry syrup is a common staple in most health food stores.

— Sage: It’s called sage advice for a reason. The ancient herb is a powerful antiviral that you can use to treat a sore throat, stuffy nose, or persistent cough. For a long time, sage (Salvia) species have been used in traditional medicine for the relief of pain, protecting the body against oxidative stress, free radical damages, angiogenesis, inflammation, bacterial and virus infection, etc., Several studies suggest that sage species can be considered for drug development because of their reported pharmacology and therapeutic activities in many countries of Asia and the Middle East, especially China and India. These studies suggest that Salvia species, in addition to treating minor common illnesses, might potentially provide novel natural treatments for the relief or cure of many serious and life-threatening diseases such as depression, dementia, obesity, diabetes, lupus, heart disease, and cancer.

Brew in a tea or add to a broth to help strengthen your immune system in these cold months.

— Mushrooms: I hope your grandmother’s chicken soup recipe had mushrooms in it! If not, maybe this is where modern practice meets older traditions. Certain mushrooms such as shiitake, enoki, and maitake have antiviral properties. Add these mushroom to your soups for another immune-enhancing element.

With food as your medicine, and the comfort of some of grandma’s home remedies, you might just stop cold and flu season in its tracks — or at least make it much more enjoyable.

Tumor diseases are one of the main causes of death worldwide. Experience from Asian and Eastern Europe countries shows that mushrooms could play an important role in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Piptoporus betulinus (Bull.: Fr.) P. Karst. was used traditionally in Bohemia for the treatment of rectal cancer and stomach diseases. It is also known as fungus of the ‘Iceman’ from the Copper Age found in 1991, who carried P. betulinus fruiting bodies attached to his clothing on his journey in the Alps.

In Eastern Europe, the fruiting bodies of I. obliquus have been used as a folk medicine for cancer and stomach diseases since the 16th or 17th century. Antitumor effects of several extracts and isolated compounds could be demonstrated in tumor cell systems and in animal assays. Several triterpenes and ergosterol peroxide contribute to the activity. The melanin complex of I. obliquus has high antioxidant and genoprotective effects on peroxidase-catalyzed oxidation of aminobiphenyls.

So-called ‘immunomodulators’ (biological response modifier, immunopotentiators, and immunostimulants) are the most important medicinal mushroom drugs used especially in Japan, China, Korea, and other East Asian countries today.

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