Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I would like to thank all the readers and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope that you have found some information here that you can take with you and get some new perspectives on prepping and survival.

So what do I wish for the coming year?
1.) That The Survivalist Boards will get a Survival Wiki. This is important since it will offer a new tool to produce survival related articles.
2.) That we will see more projects with scholars that come together and discuss systematic threats and problems to our society. Some of the projects that have been produced the last years are the movies “The End of Suburbia”, “A Crude Awaking”, “Blind Spot”, “Home”, Michael Rupert’s “Collapse”, History Channels “After Armageddon” and the latest National Geographic Documentary “2210: The Collapse” with Jared Diamond and many other researchers. Spreading knowledge is critical for finding solutions to threats we face.
3.) That Peak Oil becomes mainstream and that nations around the world will start to make serious investments into sustainable development.
4.) That we will see more movements and networks that brings people together and focus on sustainable development and crisis preparedness. The Transition Network is a new network that shows some promise.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Survival Training

Getting the skills needed in order to get prepared for emergencies can be a challenging task. There are many organizations that teach skills relevant to survival. Government agencies like Police, Fire Departments, Military Organizations and Paramedics can provide many relevant skills for their employees. Many universities may also offer courses related to survival like emergency medicine and psychology. If you are not working for a government agency where you can learn and train this type of skills you must find a way to get these skills from an alternative source.

NGO:s and CERT
Different Non Governmental Organizations (NGO:s) like the Red Cross can offer courses and training like CPR and First Aid. These organizations also run special groups that can support the regular resources of a society in the case of extraordinary events and disasters. These groups can be an opportunity to network and learn to know other people with relevant skills. Community/ Emergency Response Teams (CERT) are a resource organized by governments as part of Civil Defense. These teams get training from first responders like Paramedics, Fire Departments and Police. CERT acts as volunteers to provide extra assistance in case of large scale emergencies that can overwhelm state resources. For children and youth organization like the Scouts can provide the opportunity for the learn wilderness survival skills in an early age.

Family and Friends
Many people may have outdoorsmen, hunters, fishermen, farmers, and other people with survival related skills that they can learn from. If you have a family member or friend that’s involved in this type of activities may be an excellent way both to learn some new skills and getting to know them better. This will give you an opportunity to learn skills and tricks from people with experience and see what type of equipment that they are using, what clothing they use and get to know your local terrain. Of course there is also the option of simply engaging in these activities without any previous experience and learning by doing. But this process may be problematic, frustrating and dangerous. If you decide to go camping or hiking without any previous experience, don’t go alone. Bring some friends and notify someone where you’re going and when you expect to get back. There are also non-profit organizations that are involved in outdoor activities that you may join.

The Transition Network is a network that works to teach people self sufficiency, self reliance, canning and other skills. Some of the threats that they envision are Peak Oil and resource depletion. This type of groups does not only offer the possibility to learn skills but also offers an opportunity to get involved, network and get to know people with similar interests.

CollapseNet is a site that has been launched by Michael C. Ruppert after the release of the movie “Collapse”. Ruppert has previously written the newsletter and blog “From the Wilderness” and the books “Crossing the Rubicon” and “Collapse”.

Professional Survival Schools
The United States
ESEE / Randall’s Adventure and Training (RAT) offers courses in Jungle Survival in Latin America but also offers survival courses in the United States. ESEE /RAT also produce their own line of knives and survival kits like the ESEE-3, ESEE-4 and the ESEE Pocket Kit.

Tom Brown is one of the most famous survival instructors in the United States. Brown has a written a number of field guide for Wilderness Survival, Urban Survival and Tracking. Brown also runs the Tracker School where students can learn tracking and wilderness survival skills. Brown has also designed the Tom Brown Tracker knife. The knife is produced by Tops Knives has been seen in the movie “The Hunted”.

The United Kingdom
In Great Britain the company Trueways Survival School started by John Wiseman author of “The SAS Survival Handbook” offers a number of sources in survival. The company offer courses intended for Military Personnel, Civilians, Preparing for expeditions, wilderness survival, urban survival and a course on how to survive a complete breakdown of the modern society. The company also sells survival related equipment on their homepage.

In Sweden the company Cold Skills Collection offers some training courses related to survival and crisis preparedness. The company also sells survival related equipment and clothing.

Military Personnel, Police, Fire Department and Paramedics and other first responders will learn many skills related to survival from their profession. For those how are not engaged in a professions where they will learn relevant skills learning survival related skills may be both more challenging and very expensive. Taking courses at professional survival school can be an interesting alternative but such courses are often very expensive. Learning outdoors skills from friends and family can be a much cheaper alternative and an excellent opportunity to get to know these people on a more personal level. Joining networks, CERT and nonprofit organizations may also give you the chance to learn and practice skills and get to know new people with similar interests as yourself.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Feedback and Contact Information

Feedback, Critique, Question and Suggestions from the readers is more than welcome. The goal of the blog is to provide the best information possible and any suggestion for how this can be done is welcome. The recommendations for gear and different products are based on my own experience; I do not receive any economic compensation from any of the companies for recommending their products. The aim is simply to give the readers some suggestion for what products that can be found on the market, but these recommendations do not cover the whole market; there are thousands of different alternatives to be found.

I have used Ads from Google AdSence from the start mostly to keep track of the traffic on the site. My goal with the site is to provide the best advice, information and suggestions that I can, but if the site in a long term perspective would generate some income this would of course be considered as a positive side effect. The articles will remain free to view for anyone how would like to do so.

If you want to contact me you can do so either by writing a message here, write me a PM at the Survivalist Boards or write an e-mail to:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I would like to give thanks to the sites that have promoted my blog after I introduced The Free Online Survival Guide. First of all I would like to say thanks to Kev and all the others at the Survivalist Boards for making the post about the guide sticky. I would also like to say thanks to ASPO Sweden, Daily Survival, American Preppers Network and Despierto that writes the Swedish Blog “Blott Sverige Svenska Preppers Har”.

In Sweden the first terrorist attack involving a suicide bomber has taken place and luckily no one but the bomber where killed. A longer article about the topic terrorism might follow later.

I would also like to recommend the new National Geographic documentary “2210: The Collapse?” based on the book by Jared Diamond. The documentary is a high budget project with a number of different researchers from different fields. A new fictional movie project called “Remnants” is also under way; trailers can be seen on YouTube.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Get Home Bag

The Bug Out Bag (BOB) is an tool intended to be used in situations that requires evacuation from an area. The BOB can be designed in many sizes and forms but are normally quite heavy and stored in the home. The Get Home Bag (GHB) as a tool intended to provide equipment to allow an individual to reach the home during a crisis or survival situation, for example if the person is at work when a disaster strikes. The Bag should not only serve as a tool for coping with disaster but also function as your every day resource for dealing with problems. What content your Get Home Bag should have depends on where you live, how long you may have to travel to get back home and your specific situation.

Being Prepared
The GHB is only a small part of being ready for a disaster. For anyone how is serious about getting ready for a crisis I would recommend that you start out with your health and physical fitness. Go to a doctor and make a checkup. Also visit a dentist and fix any problems you may have with your teeth, in a survival situation a bad tooth can cause infection and a serious health hazard and great discomfort. Your Physical Fitness is very important if you have to make a long walk or march by foot. Start exercising three times a week with an activity that you find interesting and stimulating. The items in your bag is only tools, they are only valuable if you know how to use them. A Fire Steel is of little use if you can’t start a fire with it. Training this kind of skills is critical if you want to be able to use them in a real life situation. The same goes for all Skills, no matter if it is Self Defense, Starting a Fire, First Aid or Navigation.

Your clothing provides your shield against the elements. Your clothing must be appropriate for your particular climate. Shell jackets provide excellent protection from wind and rain; also get a pair of gloves and hat or watch cap. Merino wool is an excellent material for t-shirts and a sock that does not cool the body when it wets like cotton do. Your shoes are perhaps the most import part in any situation when you have to walk a longer distance. Make sure that they are comfortable and if possible also waterproof. A watch is also something that you should try to carry at all times. Your cell phone can be vital tool for communication in many emergencies, make sure that you have In Case of Emergency (ICE) numbers programmed if something would happen to you. A water proof container for the phone can help keeping it safe from the elements. Some phone may also have useful application like a flashlight, compass, FM/AM radio and GPS. If you have a phone that has a short battery life a spare battery can be essential.

The Bag
What kind of bag you should get depends on your Every Day Activites. Ideally you should be able to carry both the items that you need for your everyday activities like a computer, notes, books, lunch box and other essentials in addition to the items you carry for crisis preparedness. Another option is to have a separate bag for emergencies in your vehicle or at your office.

The size of the bag depends on how much space you need and what kind of bag that you prefer. Back packs are generally the most comfortable solution especially if you have a heavy pack. Shoulder bags can be a good alternative but are not as comfortable to carry if they are heavy since al the weight of the bag will be on one shoulder. There are also bags that are a mix between backpacks and shoulders bags called gear slingers. Maxpedition make some interesting bags in this category like the Monsoon, Sitka and Kodiak. There are a number of different companies that makes excellent bags like Kifaru, Snugpack, 5.11Fjällräven, Osprey, JanSport, Lundhags, Klättermusen, Haglöfs, Exped, The North Face, Norröna, Bergans, GoLite and Arcteryx. Find a bag that fits your needs and that is comfortable to carry.

Suggested items for the Get Home Bag - Checklist
[ ] A Get Home Bag should have some kind of shelter than can help shield you from the elements, this can for example be a Light Weight Poncho, Bivanorak, Fjellduk, Exped Bivi-Poncho, Emergency Blanket or Light Weight Tarp.

[ ] Water is something that can be critical in a survival situation and your bag should have at least one small water bottle, the bottles from Nalgene, CamelbackKlean Kanteen and SIGG has a high quality, but a normal soda bottle can be used as well. This can also help you save money instead of buying soft drinks while on the move. If you have to purify unsafe water after a disaster it can be good to include some water purification tablets or a compact water filter.

[ ] Some kind of item that can help you start a Fire like a Fire Steel, Lighter, Matches in a Waterproof container and tinder.

Survival Knife
[ ] A Survival Knife is a useful tool but you must check what the specific legal aspect of this is for your country – what kind of knives are legal and where is it allowed to carry them? There are also credit card sized tool kits from Victorinox and Tool Logic that you can carry in your wallet at all times.

[ ] A Compact Flashlight or Headlamp can provide light in dark conditions and be used for signaling. Choose a compact light that doesn’t take up to much space in your bag. Compact flashlights thats using a single AA or AAA battery can be found from Fenix and 4Sevens, the anglelights from ZebraLight can also be an interesting alternative.

[ ] Roadmap / Citymap and Compass or GPS

[ ] Notebook and Pen, excellent for writing down important information or for leaving a note. I personally like the notebooks from Rite in the Rain.

[ ] A Pocket Survival Kit

[ ] Paracord or Duct Tape

[ ] Signal Mirror, SPOT, Chemical Light Sticks, Emergency Strobe or Whistle

[ ] Compact AM/FM/Shortwave radio with Dynamo or A Compact Radio Scanner.

[ ] Paper Tissues can be used as Tinder or as Emergency Toilet Paper.

[ ] A compact First Aid Kit with some basic band aids and disinfection wipes can be a good thing for treating small cuts and treating wounds. The first aid kit is important but the most important part is that you take a course so that you know CPR and the basic skills. Also include some painkillers and anti-diarrheal tablets. If it is flu-season a small tube with alcohol based disinfection may also be a useful addition.

• Lighter and more compact than a Bug Out Bag
• The bag be used as an Every Day Carry Bag
• Provides an resource to deal with problems in your everyday life

• Not as comprehensive as a Bug Out Bag (BOB)

You’re Get Home Bag and Your Every Day Carry
Most people carry at least some items on their person that can be useful during an emergency or survival situation. These items are often refered to as a persons Every Day Carry (EDC). Many Survivalist and Preppers may carry items like Pocket Knives, Flashlights, Lighters or even a Pocket Survival Kit. Your GHB should be built with this factor in consideration. If you carry lighter on your person it can be a good idea to consider another tool to create a fire like a Fire Steel or Matches for your GHB. If you have a Flashlight that use a particular type of batteries as EDC and want a Headlamp for your GHB it can be a good idea to choose a model that use the same type of batteries as the Flashlight or if you carry a Swiss Army Knife for EDC it can be a good idea to consider a Fixed Blade Knife or Multi-Tool for your GHB.
A Get Home Bag is a concept that lands somewhere between your Every Day Carry and a Light Weight Bug Out Bag. There is no clear line between the different concepts, the important thing is that you create a concept that fits your personal needs and provides the tools that you need. Disasters can strike without any warning and even if your Get Home Bag is not designed to provide the function for an evacuation you may have to make do with this bag or your Every Day Carry in a worst case scenario. Equipment is an import part of preparedness, but items can be lost or incomplete. The main focus of your efforts should always be too improve your health and physical fitness, learn relevant skills and your improving your knowledge since these are the things that is always with you, no matter the situation.

Other Articles
Get Home Bags - Examples of Setups
Light Weight Bug Out Bags
Light Weight Bug Out Bags - Examples of Setups
Building The Right Bug Out Bag For You

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Limits to Growth

More and more scientists have started to suggest that the human civilization uses natural recourses in way that will not be sustainable in a long term perspective. These issues have also gotten more and more attention in the media with movies like “Home”, “Blind Spot” and the National Geographic documentary “Collapse” based on the book by Jared Diamond. This post is an attempt to introduce the concept of “The Limits To Growth”, what the theory is and on what arguments and assumptions it is based.

The Limits to Growth
Even if these issues only lately have started to get more wide spread attention some scientists have been talking about these issues for a long period of time. One of the most criticized and famous reports of all about sustainable development is the book/report ”The Limits to Growth”. The report was written by a number of scientists; Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, Jorgen Randers and William W Behrens in the beginning of the 1970s. The report was commissioned by the think tank “The Club of Rome”.

The report starts with discussing the problems of perception for most people, most people are totally focused on their own personal lives, their own work, their own family and what they will be doing the next couple of days. From this perspective many people have a hard time taking the time to get to know what is happening in national or even global perspective. It’s even harder to see how changes will occur on a global scale in a distant future.

Exponential Growth
The report is an attempt to describe our world and its complexity and how different factors correlate with each other through System Dynamics. One of the central parts of the report is exponential growth. Linear growth means that something increases step by step like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc. Exponential growth mean that something increase exponentially. One famous examples is the Persian legend about the creator of the chess board how wanted one grain for the first square of the board, two on the second, four on the forth, eight on the fifth etc for his creation from the Prince that ordered it. On the tenth square the number would be 512, on the fifteenth 16384, and more than one million grains on the 21st square of the board. By the 64th square of the board the number of grain would be larger than the number of grain that the Prince owned. Exponential growth can quickly create enormous increases, something that can be seen in for example nature when cell samples increase in the same way until they consume all resources in laboratory experiments. If something increase with 0,1 % every year the doubling time would be 700 years, If something increases with 1% the doubling time would be 70 years, 4% mean 18 years, 7% ten years, 10% seven years and so on.

Limitation in the natural world
The base of the theory is that the world only has a certain number of non renewable resources and that if the human population continue to grow in an exponential way the human civilization will be unable to sustain the population.

The scientist also fear that this can cause an overshoot. An overshoot is a term from biology that refers to a situation when for example a species rapidly increase through exponential growth over the carrying capacity of the environment, causing the population to collapse. The theory is that the world only has a number of non renewable resources that has been accumulated during a long period of time like topsoil, ground water, forests, fossil fuels and other recourses that allow the human population to increase beyond the limits of what that is sustainable in long term perspective. So without these non renewable resources the planet will not have the carrying capacity to support the world population.

Computer models
The scientist has then used computer simulation to simulate different scenarios from the data that was available when the report was made. Some of the predictions have been very precise like the population increase in the world that has gone from 3,6 billion in 1972 when the report was written to the almost 6,8 billion people that the world has today 40 years later. The computer models were created with assistance from researchers working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Perspectives on Technology
The report also discuss Positive and Negative views on technology and what possibilities that future technology will present for solving problems with food, energy, pollution and other issues. I believe that this view can seen clearly today where some researchers believe that continued global exponential growth can cause a collapse and other how believe that technology will find solutions for every problem.

Prospects for the future
The researchers of the book also discuss the possibility of changing the system from the system that we had towards a more sustainable system. They believe that gradual change is desired but that’s it not likely that governments will take actions to ensure a sustainable development. This was written in 1972. The researchers also conclude that the longer humanity wait, the less options there will be to change the system. Another conclusion is that sooner or later there will be a change. The question is only if it will be naturally imposed by reaching the limitations to growth. In this case all we have to do is to just wait and see what happens. From this perspective taking no action is making a choice. Every day of continued exponential growth brings the world closer to the ultimate limit of growth. The solution suggested is to find a State of Equilibrium where humanity can live on the earth finding sustainable solutions without exponential growth.

The Limits of Growth suggest that if the human society continues to grow at an exponential rate the human race will sooner or later deplete the non renewable resources that it depends on causing an overshoot resulting in a situation whne the human population no longer can be sustained. There has also been two updates to the book, one 20 years after the first book was first published in 1992; “Beyond The Limits: Global Collapse or Sustainable Development” and another update 30 years later ;“The Limits On Growth the 30 years update”. The original 1972 report was written during the cold war and whole different time than the one we live in today, but the theory presented is very similar to theories presented by contemporary scientists and writers.

New additions
Many researchers view the world from a similar perspective, two new examples are Joseph Tainter, author of “The Collapse of Complex Societies” and Jared Diamond author of “Collapse: How Societies Choose To Succeed Or Fail”. Both Diamond and Tainter has done research on past human societies that have failed or collapsed and directly and indirectly support the theory that human societies often have depleted the resources and destroyed the environment on which they depend, sometimes with disastrous consequences like the case of the Eastern Islands. The Peak Oil Movement can also be viewed from a similar perspective even if it’s mainly focused on the depletion of fossil fuels and the consequences of this. Partly this concept has also been adapted by other writers like Michael Ruppert and Dmitry Orlov.

The Theory of the Limits of Growth raises some serious question about how human societies work and the future for the human civilization project. The theory is also in sharp contradiction with current political ideologies that all favor and speak of growth, no matter if they present a perspective that’s from the left / right, conservative or liberal, socialist / capitalistic or even a green perspective. Exponential growth has been the truth for the human civilization since the beginning of the industrialized revolution and is something that is deeply rooted in our minds and ideologies. This produces an enormous ideological difference between those how believe that growth has limits and those how believe that there is basically no limits to growth, a view shared by many within the economic community.

It’s my personal belief that today’s economical system is largely focused on short term profits. The focus of this system is not what will happen in ten or twenty years, but what happens with the profits and budget this year. This short term perspective is profitable for many; states, individuals and companies but may prove to be a bad lens in order to identify long terms threats. In short: We are too focused on the present to think about the future. Exponential growth has been a truth for a long time, why would anyone expect that’s this will not be the case in the future?

Personally I do that there are limits to growth and that the earth can’t sustain an unlimited amount of people. When this point will be reached and exactly what consequences this will have is hard to say. Some researchers say that we may already be there, others that it may take place within decades or hundreds of years. So what can one expect if this scenario would come true? One obvious factor is that economic growth will slow down and eventually start to decline on a regional or global level. Starvation and Famine will start to increase and the people suffering for malnourishment will start to increase. The access to other commodities like oil, land, fresh water, energy and metals will become more scares when more people will have to share fewer resources. It’s also possible that new solutions may solve problems with energy and other issues, if this will happen can only time tell.

Survival and Preparedness
If the theory of “The Limits to Growth” would become a reality the world as we know will change in drastic ways. One can only speculate how the human societies will manage such a situation, but my guess is that politicians and others will have a hard time identifying the reasons for why this decline of growth takes place and that there will be major ideological clashes between different groups. This will mean that we would have to redefine the way we perceive the world.

So how does one prepare for such a scenario? The first part that would be hard to overcome is the perception that we will always have continued economical growth. The other part would be to find sustainable solution for issues like food production, water sources, energy and eventually learning how to make do with fewer resources.

There are also organizations like the Transition Network that works to teach people self sufficiency, self reliance, canning and other skills. Some of the threats that they envision are Peak Oil and resource depletion. This type of groups does not only offer the possibility to learn skills for long term survival and self sufficiency but also offers an opportunity to get involved, network and get to know people with similar interests.