Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy New Year!

I would like to wish all the people that have been reading my blog a Happy New Year! This year has been by far the most successful year since I started writing the blog with 10.000-17.500 hit per month. I would like to thank all the readers for your support and for sharing my blog through E-mail, Social Networks and on forums. A special thanks also goes out to The Survivalist Boards (SB) and the American Preppers Network (APN).

If you like the blog please vote for it at the site Survival Top 50, this is also a site where you can find many other survival related blogs and additional information.

It’s often popular to make prediction concerning what the New Year will bring; but I will try to refrain from this. I personally think that the previous Year has been very interesting with many developments like the Arabian Spring, The Occupy Wall Street Movement, The Current Economical Crisis in Europe and the Fukushima Nuclear Power plant Disaster. That Peak Oil is starting to get more and more attention is also an interesting development even if the US Energy Information Agency is not raising the subject. So to all of you out there; I wish you the best of luck with your preps and efforts for 2012.

Sibi Totique

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Travel Safety and Travel Safety Kits

Bug Out Bags, Get Home Bags and Pocket Survival Kits is often focused on Natural Disasters and other types of severe Crisis Situations. An area that is often not discussed in the Prepper and Survivalist community is Travel Safety. Today a large number of people travel all over the world to meet new people and experience new places. The price of airline tickets are currently very low and even people on a low budget can afford to travel long distances. This article will address some of the measures you can take reduce risk while travelling. Travelling to areas where the comforts we are normally used to may not be available. This article will focus on travelling and what you can do to increase your own safety.

Context Matters
Just like with Bug Out Bags or Get Home Bags context matters when it comes to Travel Safety. The precautions you take must make sense for the journey you’re planning. If you are planning on a mountain expedition in an arctic region the measures taken will be very different from the measures you should take if you’re planning on going to large city for the holidays. Some of the factors that will affect what measures you should take:
• Are you going to an Urban or Wilderness Setting?
• What Kind of Activities Do You Plan To Engage In?
• How Long Are You Planning on Staying?
• Are You Travelling Alone or in a Group?
• Are you familiar with the Region your Traveling to?
• Can you Speak and Read The Local Language?

Making Your Research
In order to be able to take the right precautions it’s important that you know as much as possible about place you’re travelling to. I suggest that you start with researching the country’s political system and modern history
• What type of political system does country have? One good source for information is the site Freedom House that ranks countries depending on the Political Right and Civil Liberties. Also check the your State Departments Current Travel Warnings.
• Make a basic research on the History and Cultural of the country you’re travelling to. Are there any cultural taboos that you should be aware of?
• Are there specific hazards in the region like crime, armed conflict or natural disasters? Are there any specific regions or parts of cities that should be avoided?
• If you’re travelling to another country what has the relation between your country and this country been? Have there been any recent cases of internal conflict or terrorist attacks within the country or armed conflict with neighboring countries?
• Another good idea can be to check the current domestic development by reading news reports from the country and check the state department’s recommendations for travel to this country.
• Is the water generally safe to drink or should you be drinking bottled water?
• What type of climate and weather can you expect?

Many popular places for travel have political systems that are corrupt or they can be dictatorships. This is often not something that is noticed by tourists; but if you for some reason get involved in an accident or get charged with a crime this can become a very serious problem. There can also be political protests against regimes like during the Arabian Spring or in Thailand. Other countries may also be very hard against journalists other how try to report on the abuse from regimes. If you’re travelling to such a country make sure that you are aware about if there are any specific locations where the opposition normally meets or if they carry some type of clothing or other markers to show their support for the opposition. Knowing the geography of the place you’re going to can also be critical; what type of terrain can you expect; are there any specific landmarks etc. Today tools like Google Maps can provide a free service for making this type of research.

The Basic Precautions
Before we get into the Travel Safety Kit there are some basic safety measures that should always be taken. Do you
[ ] Have the proper insurance if you would get hurt during your trip?
[ ] Have some extra cash or money if you would get stuck in the country for an extended period of time, unexpected expenses would arise or if you would have to book a new ticket back home?
[ ] Have a good understanding of the country you’re going to and the risks you’re facing?
[ ] Have you made a general physical check-up lately to make sure that you are in good health?
[ ] Have you checked you dental health and taken care of any problems?
[ ] Checked if there is any specific diseases that may require immunizations in the region? For travel to some countries having the right immunizations and an immunization card to prove it is mandatory; make your research.

One of the most common problems for people is that a trip can turn out to be more expensive than anticipated or unexpected expenses may. Airplanes can get delayed or stopped because of severe weather or even natural disasters like volcanoes. Other more common problems can be that the airline misplaces your luggage or that it gets stolen forcing you to get new basic supplies like clothing.

The health aspect is also critical; do what you can in order to minimize the risk that you will get injured or Ill during your trip and check up on your general health and dental health before you go. If you would get hurt it’s also critical that you have the right type of insurance that will cover your expenses. If you have any specific medical conditions like asthma or diabetes make sure that you bring some extra medication with you and that you bring your prescriptions for these. If the country does not share the language of your own get prescriptions translated to this language if possible to minimize complication in the customs. Also learn the name of your medical condition and medication in this language so that you can communicate with medical personal if you have to.

The clothing you pick must be suitable for the climate and weather you will be experiencing; dressing to warm or cold can become a serious problem. Also try to wear clothing that blends in and does not attract too much attention. Avoid designer clothing and expensive brands, jewelry and expensive watches that may attract attention and make you a target. Just like when you’re going on a hike; break in your shoes before you leave. It may be tempting to get a new pair of footwear just before you go but it can mean that you will spend your trip with blisters and feet that constantly hurts.

The Plan
When planning your travel it can be a good idea to leave the details of your plan with a friend or family member so that they know how you’re planning to travel, what routes, where you’re planning to stay, when you’re planning to go and return etc. Leaving a copy of your passport, airline tickets, insurance information etc can also be a good idea.

The Travel Safety Kit
Fire Alarm / Burglar Alarm
Fire Safety is just as important when travelling abroad as in your home. There are a number of companies that makes portable Fire Alarms that you can take with you on your travels. There is also Fire Alarm that doubles as burglar alarms that can be attached to doors warning you if someone tries to enter your room, one model is made by the company Deltronic Security. A door stopper can be a good complement to a burglar alarm since it makes it harder to enter a room and gives you more time to respond to situation if someone tries to enter your room. When entering new accommodations check out what alternative routes you can use during an evacuation.

First Aid Kit and Medicines
A small medical kit that includes some plasters and disinfection wet wipes should be a part of any travel safety kit. How comprehensive your kit depends on what type of location you will be traveling to and how available medical assistance will be. A few pain killers and anti-diarrheal tablets is another good complement.

In regions where medical facilities may lack sterile equipment it can be a good idea to bring a basic sterile kit so that medical personal can use sterile equipment. This can be very important in order to prevent that you get diseases like AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis.

Prescription Tablets and Medication
If you need some type of prescription medication remember to include your prescriptions and if possible make sure to get the prescription in the same language that is used in country your travelling to in order to minimize problems in customs. Always bring a supply for at least a few more days than you planning to stay. This is the basics that I would recommend everyone to bring with them; but if you are going on a longer trip or engage in high risk activities like extreme sports your medical kit should be adjusted accordingly.

Protection from the Sun
If the climate is warm and sunny don’t forget to bring Sun Screen along with you. This can also be a serious problem in the arctic where the white snow reflects the rays of the sun during the spring. Remember to apply the Sun Screen before you go outside; when you start feeling pain from you burns it’s generally too late. Go for a Sun Screen that’s has the Highest Protection you can find. Protecting your eyes is also critical; especially in arctic conditions when you can get “snow blindness” if you don’t protect your eyes.

A compact flashlight or headlamp is a natural part of Travel Safety Kit (TSK) and especially useful in regions where black outs is a common problem. I suggest that you get compact model that use either one AA or AAA battery since this types of batteries generally are widely available. Examples of models can be the Fenix LD-10, Sunwayman M10A, 4Sevens Quark AA Tactical or ZebraLight H51. The Petzl E+Lite and Petzl Tikka XP2 are two compact headlights that can provide both white and red light.

Survival Knife
A knife can be a tool for many uses; from everything to open a wine bottle, a can of food, to cut your nails or more serious work like cutting a seatbelt after a car crash. Before you decide on what type of knife you should bring with you on your travel make your research; what types of knives are legal to carry and where are they legal to carry in the area you’re traveling to. Remember not to carry your knife on your person or hand luggage if travelling by plane; this normally means that you will lose the knife and you may also get in legal trouble.

A pocket knife can be a valuable tool for all types of situations. In general I recommend either a Swiss Army Knife because of the versatility they provide or a Folding Knife. A Swiss Army Knife can provide with all types of tool like a bottle opener, can opener, scissor, wine opener and blade just to name a few of the features that is often included. Swiss Army Knives are also known by most people and does not attract much attention. As a general rule I do not recommend tactical knives, double edged knives, knives with a one hand opening or assisted opening no matter of the laws in the areas your visiting simply because this type of knives easily can scare others and attract unwanted attention. If you want to bring a knife of this type I suggest that you bring another knife with a more peaceful look that you can use if you ever have to use your knife in public.

No matter what type of knife you decide to get make sure that you get a high quality model; a cheap copy can fail when you need it the most. It’s important that you can rely on your blade if you would ever need it.

There are more models of knives on the market than I can name here. As I stated before in general I would recommend a Swiss Army Knife; Victorinox and Wenger both make high quality models. Find a model that has the tools that you personally need. For folding knives I would recommend that you start with looking if there are any famous models from the country or region you’re travelling to; if there is choosing such a model can help you blend in among the public. The folding Knives from Opinel are relatively cheap, comes with wooden handles and a blade look that both that can secure the blade both when it’s out and folded back into the handle. These knives are not ideal for bush craft but works well for everything from cutting bread, food and other light work during travel. If you want a more reliable folding knife with a higher quality steel Folding Knives like the Fällkniven U2, U4 or TK3 can be interesting alternatives.

I also suggest that you include some type of items that you can help you start a fire like a simple BIC lighter or a small Fire Steel. For BOB or GHB I would suggest that you normally double up so that you have at least two methods for starting a fire; but if you’re going to a Urban area one items is often more than enough and will most likely just be used to light someone’s cigarette or a candle.

If you don’t know the language normally spoken in the area you’re travelling to writing down some common phrases and words in a notebook in combination with a pocket dictionary can be helpful. A Kwikpoint Translator can be very valuable tool to bring with you since it can allow you to communicate without words.

Pen and Notebook
A compact notebook and a pen should also be a part of any travel security kit. Before you leave I suggest that you write down information like where you can find the nearest embassy, the address and phone number to important locations like the place where you will be staying, people you know in the region etc. The Notebook can also be used to write down phrases and other information. The Fisher Space Pen Bullet and Fisher Space Pen Trekker is two relatively compact high quality pens that can be worth considering for TSK.

Sewing Kit and Repair
A small sewing kit is something that can be very useful to repair clothing. A few needles, safety pins and some strong thread is normally everything you need. There are several very compact credit card sized kits on the market if you want to be a preassembled sewing kit. If you are going on a longer expedition and may have to repair packs, boots or tents made from heavy duty materials a Speedy Stitcher can be an excellent addition. Some paracord, duct tape and super flue can also be good for travel when you won’t be able to replace broken equipment.

Other Items
Having a map of the area your travelling to can be a very valuable tool, when you don’t use the map try not to show its since it’s a quite strong indicator that you can find your way. A compact compass like the Suunto M-9 or Cammenga Wrist Watch can be good for keeping your direction.

A Travel Radio can be a good tool for keeping up to date; make your research in order to know if there are any local stations broadcasting news in your language.

Cell Phones work very well in most regions; there are however places where the cell phone net does not operate. There are also countries that can have different cell phone standard than you have in your own country; this can mean that your normal cell phone won’t work. The most common problem is that it can be very expensive calling using your own number, check with your operator for the prices before you go; if the prices are high and staying for a long period of time it can be better to buy a prepaid SIM-card. The prices for sending text messages are often relatively low. Note: The prices for using data traffic from Smartphone can sometimes be enormously high; there are cases when people have gotten bills for thousands of dollars: if you have a smart phone check the prices with you operator before leaving.

If you are travelling to remote areas where Cell Phones don’t work a SPOT can be a good tool in order to signal other if you require assistance. The new generation of SPOT:s can also send messages with your progress so that your friends and relatives can see how your travel or adventures progress. Satellite phones are relatively expensive but if you have the money they can be an invaluable tool in remote areas.

Money Belts and Hidden Pockets
One of the biggest risks you’re facing is losing your equipment either from simply forgetting your pack somewhere, getting pick pocketed or mugged. This happens to many people all over the world no matter what location there travelling to. I have personally traveled with people how have lost their bag containing everything from their passport; their wallet, id, driver license, credit cards, all their cash, cell phone, the keys to their home and the keys to their accommodation. This can happen to anyone.

Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. Separate your gear so that you have some spare cash, ID and a credit card in a separate location like an ankle pouch or money belt. If you’re travelling through an area where robbery is common it can be good idea to carry an extra wallet containing an old ID card and a little cash can be a good idea.

Pick Pockets
No matter how careful you are its very hard to protect yourself from pick pockets. Tourist are especially vulnerable since they often don’t know the terrain, where the risks are greatest and they often stand out from general crowd and may be distracted trying to find their way to other locations.

Pick Pockets are often very skilled at what they do and they can often deploy techniques like camouflage and distractions; working either alone or in teams. In short; no matter how careful you are, you always have the disadvantage. The only thing you can do is to reduce the chance you will become a target.
• Keep your wallets and other possessions in safest location you can; the back pockets on your pants is one of worst places you can carry your wallet.
• Avoid handbags where the content can be easily accessed from the top. Backpacks can also be vulnerable since people can access them from a position where you can’t see them. Safety Pins can be used to secure zippers and make it harder to open zippers in bags and clothing.
• Be especially aware when you’re travelling with public transport like buses, subways, trains, elevators and escalators since these environments often are packed with people making it hard to notice everyone around you.
• Avoid displaying expensive jewelry, watches, hand bags and expensive clothing since this signals that you might have expensive possessions worth stealing.
• Avoid travelling alone, especially during the night or in unsafe areas.
• Keep attention. Don’t walk around with headphones so that you can’t hear what’s going on around you. In some culture physical contact is much more common when talking to others; this can be used to mask the attempt of picking your pocket and stealing your equipment.
• Avoid drinking too much alcohol or use other drugs; this makes you an especially easy victim.

Travelling is an activity that can be related to risk. Leaving your normal setting may mean that you will have to adapt a different culture, climate, terrain and situation that you are normally use to. Even if this article has focused largely on potential threats when travelling I still would like to emphasize that all activities life is related to risk. For many people travelling can be some of the best experience they will have their life meeting new people and making friends for life. But travel can also become a very unpleasant experience if you’re not careful. Learn to plan and do what you can to manage the risk you take.

Other Articles:
Travelling with Vehicles during a Crisis or Survival Situation

Monday, December 12, 2011

Peak Oil and Our Mental Models. The WikiLeaks Cable and The World’s Largest Oil Fields.

In the two previous articles on Peak Oil I have discussed the future Outlooks concerning Oil made by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). In this article I will focus on two aspects in depth. The first aspect is to focus on the World’s largest Oil Fields and see what importance they play for the world oil production. The second aspect is to focus on the secret diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks from US embassy in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.

In the 2011 World Energy Outlook by the IEA the Production of Crude Oil from the oil fields that produce oil in 2010 in expected to drop by over Two-Thirds by 2035. Quote: “We project that crude oil production from fields that were producing in 2010 will drop from 69mb/to 22mb/d by 2025 – a fall of over two-thirds”. But the IEA still expects the crude world production to remain at 67,9 mb/d per day 2035 from Crude Oil Yet to be found and Yet to be developed (WEO 2011: 122-123).

The WikiLeaks Cable
In 2010 WikiLeaks made the largest publication of classified material in history when a large number of US diplomatic cables were released. Among these cables one cable from the US Embassy in Riyadh from the 10th of December 2007 was released. This cable focus on an interview with Dr Sadad al-Husseini. Al-Husseini was formerly the Executive Vice President for Exploration and Production at Saudi Aramco, he also has Ph.D. in Geological Sciences. In this interview al-Hussseini warns that the Saudi Oil Reserves may be overstated by as much as 40%. Concerning the implication of this statement al-Husseini believes that:

“In al-Husseini’s view, once 50 percent depletion of original proven reserves has been reached and the 180 billion bbls threshold crossed, a slow but steady output decline will ensue and no amount of effort will be able to stop it. By al-Husseini’s calculations, approximately 116 billion barrels of oil have been produced by Saudi Arabia, meaning only 64 billion barrels remain before reaching this crucial point of inflection. At 12 million b/d production, this inflection point will arrive in 14 years.”

“While al-Husseini believes that Saudi officials overstate capabilities in the interest of spurring foreign investment, he is also critical of international expectations. He stated that the IEA’s expectation that Saudi Arabia and the Middle East will lead the market in reaching global output levels of over 100 million barrels/day is unrealistic, and it is incumbent upon political leaders to begin understanding and preparing for this “inconvenient truth.””
According to the cable al-Husseini describes himself as optimistic about the future outlook of energy even if he contradicts the official Aramco line. It’s clear that al-Husseini probably is one of the people in the world with the best insight concerning the future of oil production in Saudi Arabia based both on the man’s education, experience and firsthand knowledge from leading the Exploration and Production unit in Aramco.

The World’s Largest Oil Fields
The number of producing oil fields 2007 was around 70.000; in total these fields produced around 70 million barrels oil per day (WEO 2008: 225-226). As previously noted the IEA expects that production from fields that was producing oil in 2010 is expected to drop from 65 mb/d to 22 mb/d in 2035. But the IEA still expects new finding to replace this lost production. This raises the question about what type of future findings we can expect. So let’s take a look at the World’s Largest Oil Fields.

The Top 10 Producing Oil Fields in the World 2007
1.) Ghawar 5,1mb/d
Ghawar In Saudi Arabia in undoubtedly the King of Kings. Ghawar was discovered in 1948 and has been producing enormous amount of oils ever since. Ghawar alone has historically produced somewhere between 55-65% of all oil coming from Saudi Arabia. The Fields Peaked in its production 1980 with a production of 5,58mb/d, the production was still at an amazing 5,1mb/d 2007.

2.) Cantarell 1,6mb/d
Cantarell in Mexico is the World’s Second most producing Oil Field. The Field was discovered in 1977, peaked in its production in 2003 with a production of 2,05mb/d a figure that had dropped to 1,6mb/d in 2007.

3.) Safaniyah 1,4mb/d
Safaniyah in Saudi Arabia was discovered in 1951. The field Peaked in its production 1998 with a production of 2,12mb/d, in 2007 the production has dropped to 1,4mb/d.

4.) Rumaila 1,25mb/d
Rumaila was discovered 1953 in Iraq. The field Peaked in its production in 1979 with a production 1,49 mb/d, in 2007 the production had dropped to 1,25mb/d.

5.) Greater Burgan 1,17mb/d
This oil fields in Kuwait was discovered in 1938, the production peaked in 1972 with a production of 2,415 mb/d a figure dropped to 1,17mb/d in 2007.

6.) Samotlor 0,903mb/d
This Russian Oil Field was discovered in 1960, it Peak in its production in 1980 with an enormous production of 3,435mb/d, a figure that had dropped sharply to 0,903mb/d in 2007.

7.) Akwaz 0,77mb/d
This Iranian Oil Field was discovered in 1958 and peaked in its production in 1977 with a production just over 1 million barrels and dropped to 0,77mb/d in 2007.

8.) Zakum 0,674mb/d
This oil field in Abu-Dhabiwas discovered in 1964, peaked in 1998 at 0,795mb/d and had dropped to 0,674mb/d in 2007.

9.) Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli 0,658mb/d
This oil field in Azerbaijan was discovered in 1985 and hadn’t peaked in yet in 2007 with a production of 0,658mb/d.

10.) Priobskoye 0,652mb/d
This Russian oil field was discovered in 1982 and hadn’t peaked yet in 2007 when it has a production of 0,652mb/d.

From these figures we can see several trends. The World’s Largest Oil Fields play a very important part for supplying the world’s energy demand. The Top Ten Fields produced 14,26 mb/d; around 20% of the World’s Total Oil Production. If the next ten fields were added the figure was around 25%. In total there was around 70.000 Oil Fields producing oil in 2007 and 20 of these fields produced a fifth of all the oil (WEO 2008: 225-226).

Another fact also stands out very clear; none of these fields has been discovered recently; the ones that was discovered the latest was discovered in 1982 and 1985. Only two of these fields hadn’t reached their Peak in production in 2007; the rest where on decline. During the summer of 2011 there were big headlines concerning an unusually big oil find outside the coast of Norway that is expected being able to produce up to 500-1200 million barrels of oil. Ghawar with its production of 5 million barrels of oil per day produces this amount of oil in 100-210 days. The trends of smaller and smaller findings are something often stressed by researchers within the Peak Oil movement; smaller and smaller fields of oil are being discovered even though the technological tool available to search for new fields constantly develops.

Peak Oil and Our Mental Models
If Peak Oil is truly here or not is not a question that I can answer. In this article I have lifted the trend of largest oil Fields in the World and classified information from WikiLeaks concerning the situation in Saudi Arabia. No matter what information that I present I almost always the same response; people simply agree or totally disregard the possibility of Peak Oil. One aspect that I would like to raise is mental models and mind-sets. This is one the major subjects that Richard Heuer lifts in the book Psychology of Intelligence Analysis. Heuer believes that people construct their own reality based on the information that they observe. We are influenced by many factors like cultural values, education and past experiences but also by factors like the role we are expected to fill and norms within organizations or communities (Heuer 1999: 4-5).

This is a critical aspect that is not lifted enough: We do not focus upon our own mental models. There was a time when most people believed that world was flat. Economical Growth and an increase in the standard of living has been the truth for a long period time. We expect things to get better and better, we expect that the standard of living will be higher and higher. This is one of our cultures most central ideas and a message that reach us every day from multiple sources. One things that Heuer lifts is that when a paradigm change, as the end of the cold war takes place the experts how knew the most about the subject is those how have the most to unlearn when it comes to adapting to a new reality (Heuer 1999: 5). Heuer also focus on the fact that when a mental form is created and the new information is assimilated into the existing model. We continue to use models that worked well in the past long after they have become outmoded (Heuer 1999: 8-11, 73).

If the IEA forecast concerning the fields that were producing oil 2010 turns out to be correct the production from these fields will drop by 45,9mb/d until 2035. By the same period of time Natural Gas Liquids, Unconventional Oil and Bio Fuels is expected to increase from 15,6 mb/d to 32,9mb/d, an increase with 17,3 mb/d. This would mean that we still need to bring oil fields that can produce 28,6 mb/d online just to remain on same total production that we have today of liquid fuels (WEO 2011: 122-123).

I would like to focus on some critical aspects from this information
• The positive forecast depends on two critical components
1.) The Production of alternative fuels will double during this period of time
2.) New Oil Fields will be found and developed that will able to offset the drop in 45,9mb/d in production from existing Oil Fields.
• This is assumptions that are required for this analysis to be correct.
• The analysis made by the IEA focus on a scenario when Saudi Arabia will increase their production from 10mb/d in 2010 to 13,6mb/d in 2035.

So how do the classified information from WikiLeaks and the trend concerning the World’s biggest Oil Fields fit in this projection? The IEA expects the production in Saudi Arabia to go from 10mb/d per day in 2010 to 13,9 mb/d per day in 2035. As the diplomatic cables from 2007 released by WikiLeaks even al-Husseini, the former Executive Vice President for Exploration and Production at Aramco is skeptical towards this prognosis. It’s fully possible that al-Husseini is incorrect in the assessment; but the central role within Aramco and the man’s technical expertise is hard to deny.

From looking at the World Largest Oil Fields today it’s clear that the greatest findings have taken place several decades ago. New findings have taken place but none of them have the capacity of the top 20 Oil Fields producing Oil today. The Top 20 Oil Fields in the World produce around 25% of the World’s Oil; around 19,16 mb/d. If you compare this to the 45,9mb/d required to compensate for the fall from fields producing in 2010 up until 2025 it clear that we will either have to be very lucky in our explorations or find an enormous amount of small fields.

Bloggers and researchers often tend to present dramatic forecasts that get a lot of attention. Instead I would suggest that you do something else. No matter where you stand concerning the subject of Peak Oil I would suggest that you ask yourself what your mental-model of the situations is and what assumptions this model relies upon? What data challenges your assumptions and what data confirms your assumptions? From there I suggest that you make up your own mind.

Other Articles
Is Peak Oil Already Here?
The US Energy Information Administration - No Peak in World Oil Production in another 23 years
Peak Oil

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The US Energy Information Administration – No Peak in World Oil Production in another 23 years

In the previous article I discussed the International Energy Agency reports World Energy Outlook. Peak Oil is a highly debated subject and a Peak in the Global Production of Oil may seem like a bizarre scenario to many people. We have had an enormous access to cheap energy for several generations now. For a long period of time the United States was the world’s leading producer of oil, this changed however in 1972 when the US reached its Peak with a production around 9,5 million barrels per day (mb/d), today the US production of Oil is only around 5,5 mb/d. Today the US imports around 10 mb/d making it the world number one oil importer.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) also provides statistical information and forecasts just like IEA. In the most recent report International Energy Outlook 2011 the EIA provides a completely different analysis than IEA. Like you might remember from the other article IEA believed that the world production of crude oil would continue to increase by around 1% per year until 2030 up until the World Energy Outlook 2010 report. In the 2010 report the IEA assessed that the world production of crude oil peak in 2006. This was a sharp turn compared to the previous reports.

The 2011 report provides by the EIA provides a completely different forecast. The EIA believes that the World Production of Crude Oil will continue to increase by 0,7% per year up until 2035. In short: According to the IEA the Peak in Crude Production is at least 23 years away. In addition to this the EIA also believes that oil sands will increase from 1,8 to 4,8 mb/d in 2035, Coal to Liquids from 0,2 to 1,7 mb/d, Gas to Liquid from 0,1 to 0,3 mb/d, Shale oil from 0,0 to 0,1 mb/d and bio fuels from 1,5 to 4,7 mb/d (IEO 2011: 28).

The EIA discussion also lacks a serious discussion about the Oil Reserves in the Middle East. This is a subject that was raised by Matthew Simmons in the book “Twilight in the Desert”.

Simmons lifts several key notions:
• The production in Saudi Arabia is concentrated around a few giant fields; Ghawar alone produces somewhere between 55-65% of the total Oil Production in Saudi Arabia.
• The fields have been producing oil for several decades
• The Proven Reserves increased to 150 billion barrels in 1979 when the management of Aramco was taken over by nationals. The number continue to rise to 160 billion barrels in 1982 and in 1988 another 100 billion barrels was added to the proven reserves leaving Saudi Arabia with the largest oil reserves in the world; over 260 billion barrels.
• Since 1988 over 47 billion barrels has been produced just until 2005 and still the proven reserves of 260 billion barrels has not reduced.

This is also a subject that was highlighted after the WikiLeaks release of US Embassy cables when report that suggested that the reserves in Saudi Arabia may in fact be 40% less than stated was released. None of these issues is discussed by the EIA.

The future projections Energy has been very positive for a long period of time. The IEA started to change their projections in 2010, the EIA still holds on to the same type of prognosis that the IEA presented in 2009. It’s very hard to know if the IEA or EIA got it right; only time can tell. But it’s important to understand that the analysis that the US politics is based upon relies on a much more positive outlook. If it turns out that EIA is wrong in their analysis it means that the policies and planning implemented by the US has been based upon incorrect information.

I have yet not seen any political party that has lifted Peak Oil as a potential problem. Peak Oil is a concept that challenges the expectation of growth, something that we have been used to for a very long period of time. It’s my guess that we are now starting to go from a period with a steady economical growth to period where the old truths may no longer be valid. We are now seeing a process when political and economical institutions are trying to make sense of what is going on. I do not believe that the world will run out of fossil fuels, but I do believe it’s possible that the access to these fuels may start to decrease instead of increasing. This presents a problem for all the economical and political institutions of the world since it means that they will have to adapt to a reality that does not corresponds to the situation that they have encountered in the past.

Other Articles
Peak Oil and Our Mental Models - The WikiLeaks Cable and The Worlds Largest Oil Fields
Is Peak Oil Already Here?
Things You Can Do In Order To Prepare For Peak Oil

Monday, December 5, 2011

Is Peak Oil Already Here?

The International Energy Agency is the leading international agency when it comes to forecasting the world’s future energy use. In the report World Energy Outlook the international institution presents its forecast. The first report in this series was presented in 1994. From 1994 IEA has presented a very positive outlook for future energy. In the first report from 1994 the World Oil production was expected on increase to 94 million barrels per day (mb/d) in 2010. From 2002 to 2009 World Energy Outlook the forecast for oil production was expected to increase to 120-105 mb/d. In the 2008 World Energy Outlook Oil Production was expected to increase with 1% per year up until 2030. In 2010 a new analysis was presented. In this report the Peak in world production of oil was believed to have taken place in 2008 with a World Production of around 70 million barrels per day. This report suggests that Peak Oil may in fact already have taken place. If this analysis is correct it means that instead of having 20 years of additional growth in Oil Production ahead of us we may now be on the other end of Hubberts Peak. Peak Oil has been a highly debated subject for a long period of time. The future forecasts have often been described as very positive with future growth in production and reserves. Many of the researchers within the Peak Oil Movement have provided a more problematic analysis.

Oil is one of the most important commodities in today’s world. It has very energy content and is crucial for many areas like transportation, agriculture and the petrochemical industry. Research has also shown that there is a strong correlation between economical development and the access to cheap energy.

Peak Oil is only one of many complex problems that the world may face. If we have truly reached the Peak in world oil production or not can only history show. There are a number of other problems that also interact; the world population has recently reached 7 billion people and is expected to reach 10 billion in 2050. At the same time we also have a demographical development in many rich countries with low birth rates that will produce a situation when few young will have to support and aging population. Man Made Global Warming is another trend that may also interact with these problems with more severe weather and increased water shortages in some part of the world.

It’s my guess that we may have reached or is starting to reach a point when many of the resources that our current way of life depends upon will start to decline. I do not think that we have reached this point for all natural resources but it’s possible that we have started to reach this point for some of them. If this is correct we may face a future when an increasing world population will have to make do with less and less resources and that this problem will get increasingly worse over time.

Our political and economical system is today very focused on short term profits and growth. Economical growth and increased average life span has increased for a very long period of time. This is all that our political and economical institutions know and it’s also something that is deeply rooted in all of us from the stories that’s being told throughout our societies.

During the last year we have seen a series of events around throughout the world like Arabian Spring, a severe economical crisis for some of the countries within the European Union and The Occupy Wall Street Movement. It’s my belief that these developments are symptoms at least partly related to other underlying factors like Peak Oil, The Depletion of Renewable and Non Renewable Resources, The Increasing World Population, The Demographical Development and Global Warming and that these factors may continue to put an increasing press on our political and economical system.

Other Articles
Peak Oil and Our Mental Models - The WikiLeaks Cables and The Worlds Largest Oil Fields
The US Energy Information Administration - No Peak in World Oil Production in another 23 years
Peak Oil

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

List of Companies That Makes Survival Related Equipment

Navigating the market with companies that provides Survival related Equipment can be a tricky business. In this article I will list some of the companies that make Survival Related Equipment.

66 North
Arcteryx LEAF
Canada Goose
Jack Wolfskin
Lowe Alpin
Mountain Hardware
Mountain Works
Peak Performance
The North Face
Under Armour

Fire Starters
Light My Fire
Ultimate Survival Technologies

Survival Knives
Al Mar Knives
Buck Knives
Chris Reeve
Cold Steel
Columbia River Knives (CKRT)
Emerson Knives
Fox Knives
Ontario Knife Company (OKC)
Randall Made Knives
TOPS Knives
Zero Tolerance Knives

Axes and Saws
American Tomahawk Company
Gränsfors Bruk
Trail Blazer

Stoves and Cooking
GSI Outdoors
Light My Fire

Mountain House
Shelf Reliance

Water Containers and Water Purification
Big Berkey Water Filters
Klean Kanteen

LED Lenser
Photon Light

Backpacks and Bags
Black Diamond
Mission Workshop
Sea To Summit
Snigel Design
Tasmanian Tiger

First Aid and Medical Equipment
Adventure Medical Kits
Combat Application Tourniquet

Tent and Shelters
Easton Mountain Products
Hennessy Hammock
Terra Nova
Western Mountaineering


Survival Kits
Adventure Medical Kits
Pro Survival Kit Company
Ultimate Survival Technologies

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Natural Disasters - Tornado

Of all the natural disasters in the world tornadoes is the disaster that generates the highest wind speeds. A tornado is rotating storm that has a more destructive force than a hurricane but it affects a much smaller geographical area, it’s uncommon that a tornado is more than one kilometer wide.

The magnitude of a Tornado is often measured in the Fujita Scale ranging from 0 to 5. These are often referred to as an F0, F1, F2, F3, F4 and F5 with an F0 being the weakest Tornado causing only minor damage, an F5 the most powerful causing massive damage. There is also an updated version of this scale called the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

An F5 tornado can destroy even relatively strong buildings, deform a skyscraper, and pull asphalt from the roads and move vehicles and farm equipment with a weight of several tons over long distances. The damage potential is in short extreme. But much like a Tsunami a tornado can totally devastate an area only to leave structure only short distances away intact. The majority of all tornadoes take place in the Great Plain Area in the United States.

1925 The Tri State Tornado caused massive devastation when it travelled 350 kilometers through three states; bringing destruction to over 20 cities resulting in the deaths of almost 700 people.

1974 The Super Outbreak was an event when almost 150 tornadoes was record in just two days. Over people 300 died in from the tornadoes.

1989 The Daulatpur-Saturia Tornado in Bangladesh is the Deadliest tornado in history. The Tornado hit slums and other vulnerable areas killing around 1.300 people, injuring around 12.000 and leaving tens of thousands homeless.

1999 Its relatively rare that a Tornado hits a city but The Oklahoma City Tornado is one example of such an event. The tornado produced the highest wind speeds that have ever been recorded reaching almost 500km/h. The tornado killed over 30 people and destroyed several thousand homes.

2011 The Tornado that hit Joplin was one of the worst in US history. The tornado resulted in around 160 dead and injured almost 1.000 people. The tornado caused severe damage to building an even hit the St John Regional Medical Center causing damage to the structure and the loss of power.

Survival and Preparedness
A tornado can cause massive direct damage killing individuals and destroying buildings. A tornado can also result in severe secondary damage from Fire. Vital infrastructure can also be destroyed or damaged limiting the access to water, the power grid and electronic communications.

If you are confronted with a tornado immediately seek cover in the most solid protection you can find or try to avoid its path. Even if relatively few people die in tornadoes every year compared to other Natural Disasters the economical damage is enormous. Having the right insurance and an emergency budget is an important addition to other disaster preparedness efforts like having water, food, medical supplies, light and other necessities available.

Your Home
Mobile homes are especially vulnerable since they can’t withstand the enormous power of a tornado. Unventilated structures can explode from the differences in air pressure that a tornado generates. Those how live in mobile homes and other light structures are very vulnerable to tornadoes since they can easily destroy these structures. For those how live in mobile homes cars often provide a better shelter since they have a lower center of gravity and are often better designed to withstand an impact if they roll over.

Cellars and Safe Rooms
The destructive power of a tornado can often destroy building and homes. In order to survive a tornado one of the most common tactics is to seek cover underground in cellars. Another form of tactic is to build a safe room within the structure. A safe room is part of the building with a strong roof and solid walls often made by concrete or steel with a strong steel door. There are many companies that also can retrofit older buildings that were not originally built with a safe room.

Early Warnings
It’s possible to detect tornadoes using radar; from these readings it’s possible to warn people in affected areas. These warnings are often transmitted using radio. If you live in an area where tornadoes often strike being able to get this type of Early Warning can mean the difference between life and death. Many that die in tornadoes has simply been unable to receive these Early Warnings. Following the weather reports is also an important tool to get warning regarding storm and weather condition that can generate Tornadoes. Some areas also have sirens to provide warnings. Learn what how the Early Warning system in your area operates.

The visibility of a tornado can vary; during heavy rains or at very dry locations they can be hard to spot. The sound of a tornado is often very high if you are close to storm, but they can be hard to hear over long distances.

Tornadoes present a very destructive event for anyone that lives in an area where Tornadoes are common. Having a place to seek cover and knowing where shelter can be found is critical in order to avoid the potential damage from a Tornado. Learn how Early Warnings are given in your area and make sure that you can receive them.

Also see
Surviving Fires and Fire Safety

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Surviving Fires and Fire Safety

Fire is a double edged sword. In survival situations fire can provide heat, light, the ability to prepare food, disinfect water and comfort. As a disaster fire can destroy houses, large areas of forest and even entire cities. As a disaster fire can occur from natural causes like a lightning strike but it can also be a manmade disaster both by accident but also intentionally as arson or used as a weapon of war. More than one hundred accidental fires take place in the US every year. The vast majority of these fires took place in homes. In 2009 around 2500 people died and almost 15.000 were injured.

Your Home
A fire in your home can destroy everything that you own in just a couple of minutes. By taking some steps you can reduce the chance that a Fire takes place in your home. Examples of some steps that you should take:
Install Fire Alarms in Your Home
Make sure that you have at least one Fire Alarm on every floor of your home as an absolute minimum.

If the worst would take place what ways can you have of leave your home in a hurry? Are fire escapes available? Make sure that there is a primary and a secondary meeting point outside your home where your family can meet up.

Fire Extinguishers
A Fire Extinguisher can help you took stop a Fire before it gets out of hand if you are lucky and react fast enough. What types of Extinguisher you choose depends on several factors but it’s important that you learn how to use an extinguisher if you get one. A Fire Proof blanket can also be a good complement to a Fire Extinguisher.

Making sure that you are properly insured can be critical in order to make it through the economical consequences of a fire. Make sure that you know what your insurance cover and if there are specific events when the insurance does not provide cover. In order to protect personal documents, cash, photographs and digital backups it can be a good idea to get either a fire proof safe in your home or a safe deposit box at a bank.

Minimizing the Risk that a Fire will take place
Taking steps in order to minimize the chance that a Fire might take place is also a very import step. There are periods of time like around Christmas when many people light candles in their homes; during this periods of times accidental fires are more common. Make sure that you don’t place candles so that they can easily fall down by accident. Smokers as a group are at a higher risk when it comes to accidental fires; especially those how smoke in their beds. If you smoke make sure that you take steps to minimize the risk of accidental fires. Many fires are also linked to the use of alcohol and other drugs.

Historical Fires - Timeline
1666 The Great Fire of London destroyed the homes of almost one hundred people living in medieval city. The number of people how died in this disaster is a debated subject.

1812 almost all of Moscow was burned so that Napoleon and the French Conquerors could not lot the city. The retreat during winter conditions would prove disastrous for the French Army.

1871 The Great Chicago Fire started on the 8th of October and would cause widespread devastation destroying homes, building and infrastructure. Almost one third to of cities inhabitants lost their homes in the disasters that were one of the worst American disasters of the century.

1871 The Great Peshtigo Fire in Wisconsin devastated an enormous area, destroy several communities and is believed to have killed somewhere between 1.500 and 2.500 people. This disaster is one the deadliest fire in American history.

1902 Iroquois Theater Fire in Chicago is one the worst fires in US history leaving around 600 dead.

1906 After the major Earthquake that hit San Francisco on the 18th of April a devastating fire followed that caused even more damage than the Earthquake. Many of the devastating fires were caused by ruptured gas lines but destruction was also added by the fire department how tried to limit the spread of the fire. Almost 500 hundred city blocks and several thousands of buildings were destroyed.

1923 after the Great Kanto Earthquake a severe fire followed that turned into a Firestorm. Almost 150.000 people is believed to have died; most of them from the fire.

1942 Cocoanut Grove Fire in Boston was one of the most deadly nightclub fires in history, leaving almost 500 dead.

1945 The Allies Dropped large amounts of incendiary bombs over the German city Dresden creating a Firestorm that destroyed most of the city an killed somewhere between 25.000 and 500.000 people. A Firestorm also followed after the bombing of Hamburg in 1943.

1945 The Fire Bombings against Tokyo destroys hundreds of thousands of home and kills around 100.000 people.

1967 A fire at the LÌnovtion Department Store in Brussels resulted in the death of over 300 people.

1988 The Yellowstone National Park Fire was the largest wildfire in US history leaving an area larger than 3000 square kilometers burned. During the disaster thousands of fire fighters and military personal was fighting the flames.

1988 68 youths was killed in and over 200 was wounded after a fire in a nightclub in Gothenburg. It was later established that the cause of the fire was arson.

2003 The California Cedar Fire was the largest wild fire in Californias history. The fire resulted in the death of 15 people and over 1000 square kilometers was burned leaving thousands of buildings destroyed.

2009 The Black Saturday Bushfire was the worst bushfires in Australia’s history. The fire left 147 people dead and wounded over 400. The fires took place during a period of extreme heat and little rain had fallen in the months before, strong winds also added to the destruction of the Firestorm.

Surviving Fires
The best way to survive a fire is to make sure that the fire does not take happen in the first place. Take precaution when engaging in activities that can cause a fire. If a fire would take place it’s important that you and that you act fast. A fire can spread with a very high speed – seconds count. If you can’t stop the fire - evacuate immediately and try to save those how are in harm’s way. Many modern buildings have a very high fire safety; the buildings are often constructed so that fire will be contained within different cells of the structure. But in order for this to work it is critical that doors between different areas remain closed. If you are leaving an area where there is fire and smoke close the doors behind you. This can stop or delay the spread of the fire and smoke. After you have made your escape contact first responders at once and give medical assistance to those how might need it.

When you visit different locations make sure that you know where the fire exists are located, this is not only important for accidents such as fires. If you are about enter into a nightclub or other facilities that is overcrowded and lack proper fire escapes you might want to think twice about entering. Trust your instincts. If it feels wrong, don’t go.

Smoke is one of the major killers during a fire; it is most the most common cause of death during fires. If you are indoors stay low in order to avoid inhaling smoke and poisonous gas. There are several extremely dangerous phenomena’s that can take place during fires like Firestorms, Backdrafts and Flashovers.

Wearing synthetically clothing can be very dangerous during fires; these fabrics can easily catch fire, melt and leave severe burns. Wool is much more resistant to fire and can be a good fabric to use for clothing for several reasons. Merino wool is not only resistant to fire; it also provides warmth even when wet and does not carry an odor as easily as synthetic materials. For those how like Buffs there are special fire resistant models made by Nomex on the market.

Psychological Reactions
Fire is one the disasters when the reaction denial often becomes a severe problem. Fire exercises can be a great tool for creating routines for an evacuation but many simply ignore Fire Alarms or even become angry when they hear them assuming that it is just an exercise or false alarm. This denial may continue even if smoke from the fire has been visible. It has even happened that people has hidden during fires not to be disturbed. If you hear Fire Alarm take this seriously and act accordingly.

If you engage in activities that could start a Fire
Many people do repairs in their homes using tools that can accidentally start a fire. Examples of such tools can be a weld, angle grinder, heat gun or reciprocating saw. Many might also be engaged in such activities in their professional life working with construction or contracting. Taking precautions is critical since it might prevent a fire, but not taking adequate measures to prevent a fire can also result in a situation when you become legally responsible for starting a fire or that your insurance company won’t cover the damage.

Before You Get Started
By planning ahead you can reduce the chance that an accidental fire might take place and minimize the consequences if it would. These are some steps that can be worth considering before you get started.

Contacting First Responders
What is your exact address and location? What is the best ways for the Fire Department to reach your location? What is the Phone Number to First Responders and do you have a phone or cell phone available to raise the alarm if the worst would happen?

Risk Management
Can You Reduce the Risk by changing the location? As an example if you have to cut a piece of steel pipe it might be better to move outside to a place without flammable materials instead of doing so inside a barn. Another way of reducing the risk is to change the tool; instead of using an angle grinder you might use a hand saw to cut trough a piece of metal even if it might take a little bit longer time.

Clean The Place Where Your doing the work, remove dust and all types of flammable materials. If there are materials that might catch fire from sparks that can’t be moved; cover them using Fire Proof Blankets. Spraying water over flammable materials before you get started is other method of reducing the risk that a fire will spread if you can remove the material. If there is crack in the wall, floor or other locations where you’re performing the work cover them up. It’s common especially when using tools like an angle grinder that sparks can enter small crack and start fire.

If there is a risk that your work might start a fire in a location that you can’t see from where your working make sure that you get someone that can stand guard at this location. A fire can sometimes start quite some time after you are done with your work; if you have been doing work in a high risk environment it can be good to post a Fireguard for a minimum of one hour after the work has been completed. Make sure that you have equipment to extinguish a fire available.

As a disaster Fire can be an absolutely devastating event. It can destroy your home and everything you own in a matter of minutes. In this article I have discussed some of the steps that you can take in order to minimize the risk that you will be affected by such an event and minimize the effect if the worst would happen. This is a subject that can critical for many groups; especially those how might have much equipment for disaster preparedness stored in their homes.

Also see
Equipment and Techniques To Start a Fire

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Joseph Tainter on the Collapse of Complex Societies

I would like to recommend a series of videos on The Collapse of Complex Societies by Joseph Tainter that can be seen for free on YouTube. Tainter has also written the book “The Collapse of Complex Societies". Tainter can also be seen in a number of documentaries like the National Geographic Documentary “2210 The Collapse?”, “Blind Spot” and “After Armageddon”.


I have lately been preoccupied with other activities giving me very little time to work on new articles for the blog. During the coming month there will be some new articles regarding disaster preparedness and survival for The Free Online Survival Guide.

I have been contacted by a reader how suggested that I might take the time to help a few of the readers out by providing them with some advice and feedback on their efforts and later share this with the other readers. I do not have the time to help every reader with their efforts so I will only be able to take on a few persons. I am currently working on the framework and structure for this and hope to have the beginning ready in November. This will be a project that will take some time and range over a couple of months with several steps.

If you are interest you can contact me at with a short introduction about yourself, what you would like to accomplish and why you are interested in Disaster Preparedness and Survival.

If you would be interested in participating you should now that in order for me to be able to give you advice I will ask several questions about your situation, setting and much more. In order to maintain the privacy of the readers I ask that you
• Do not share your real name with me
• Do not share your exact address or geographical location, your region is enough
• Do not share any information that you would not want to become public knowledge

If you are interested in participating I also suggest that you get a specific e-mail address and do not use an e-mail address that can be traced back to you by making a Google search on your e-mail account. I will do what I can to make sure that the information you share with me stay safe but my e-mail account could get hijacked just to name one possibility. Also make sure to protect your computer with a password, that you have updated antivirus software, have a strong password for your e-mail account and don’t share the information over an unprotected wireless network or a wireless network with a weak encryption. After each step I will summarize the step that we have gone through and what advice that was given. Before any information about this is posted on the blog the article will be sent to you for approval.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Product Review: Shelf Reliance Six Grain Pancake Mix

The Market for Freeze Dried Food and Long Term Food Storage has increased in large scale during the last years. One of the companies that have expanded the most is Shelf Reliance, the blog sponsor Provisions America, LLC is an independent consultant working for this company.

The Six Grain Pancake Mix
When I first tested the ShelfReliance Six Grain Pancake Mix I was a little skeptical; I followed the directions on the Can and the consistency of the mix was quite dense. The First Pancake was a disaster. After adding some more water to get a smoother pancake mix the pancakes came up just fine. It took a little adjustment but the end result was very good and the taste of the pancakes just fine. All cans come with white plastic lids that can be used to reseal a can after you opened it. An unopened can has a shelf life of ten years, but after you open a can the content should be used within a year. Inside the cans there is a small oxygen absorber that should be removed after opening the can.

• Easy to make; just add water and some cooking oil
• Good Taste
• Easy to rotate for anyone that likes pancakes
• Easy to use format with #10 Cans and plastic lids for every can so they can be sealed after use. #10 metal cans also provide resistance against Bugs, Rats and other potential hazards.
• 10 Year Shelf Life

• It may take a little practice before you get the pancakes right; add a little more water than for a better result when making your pancakes

One #10 Can costs 10.29 dollars, A case of Six #10 Cans cost 58.29 dollars. A Can contains 1,814kg of Pancake mix that make 46 servings of 140 calories each for 6640 calories in total.

The main advantage with dehydrate and frieze dried products is that they have a long to very long shelf life, you often just have to add water when cooking making it a practical alternative for emergencies when you just might have a camping stove for preparing food. Shelf Reliance has expended their inventory so that they can provide everything from Grains to Vegetables, Fruits, Meats and Vegetables, Complete Entrees, Deserts and basic staples like salt, sugar and baking soda.

For all Food Storage Eating What You Store and Storing What You Eat is critical. Do not start to purchase food that you don’t like or normally don’t eat. Find product that you like and products that you want to be a part of your everyday diet.

For More Advise on Food Storage
Food, Starvation and Famine – Crisis Preparedness and Survival

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bugging Out As A Group - Examples of Setups

Bug Out Bags is often discussed as it is only a tool for one person. For most people it is however a much more likely that they would not choose to evacuate alone, but rather with their family, friends or partner. This article is based upon the article Bugging Out As a Group and will give some practical examples of what type of equipment that can practical to choose for a two, three and four man group. The setups are also designed to provide examples of equipment ranging from ultra light to very comprehensive.

Setup 1: Shared Equipment for Two Persons – Ultra Light
Setup 2: Shared Equipment for Three Persons – Medium Weight
Setup 3: Shared Equipment for Four Persons - Comprehensive

Setup 1: Shared Equipment for Two Persons
Total Weight: 2,925kg
Weight for each Person: 1,46kg + Individual Bug Out Bag

Shelter 1,25kg
[ ] Terra Nova Laser Competition 2 Tent 1250g

Water Purification 0.076kg
[ ] Aquamira Frontier Pro 56g
[ ] 24 Aquamira Water Purifications Tablets 20g

Stove and Cooking 1,063kg
[ ] Primus ETA Express Gas Stove 418g
[ ] 420g Gas Tube 645g

First Aid 0.224kg
[ ] Adventure Medical Kits Ultra Lightweight Watertight .7 224g

Navigation 0,137kg
[ ] Topographical Map 100g
[ ] Cammenga Wrist Tritium Compass 37g

Other Tools 0,175kg
[ ] BACHO Laplander Folding Saw 175g

Summary Setup 1
In this setup much of the equipment is chosen to be as light as possible. Ultra Light Tents and Clothing is very comfortable and easy to carry; the downside is that these solutions often can be rather expensive and the thin fabrics used is often relatively weak and may fail you during extreme weather condition and they often have a relatively short life span. This Setup has an ultra light 2 person tent from Terra Nova, a light weight water purification filter and a light weight First Aid Kit. This setup also contain a light weight Gas Stove and a light weight Folding Saw.

Setup 2: Shared Equipment for Three Persons
Total Weight: 6,767kg
Weight for each Person: 2,255kg + Individual Bug Out Bag

Shelter 2,863kg
[ ] Marmot Limelight 3P 2863g

Water Purification 0,23kg
[ ] Katadyn Mini Water Purification Filter 210g
[ ] 24 Aquamira Water Purification Tablets 20g

Stove and Cooking 1,905kg
[ ] Trangia 27-5 UL Stove 745g
[ ] Trangia Safety Bottle 1 liter and 1 liter of Alcohol (160g+1000g) 1160g

First Aid 0,454kg
[ ] Adventure Medical Kits – Adventure First Aid 2.0 454g

Navigation 0,167kg
[ ] Topographical Map 100g
[ ] Silva Ranger CL 515 Compass 67g

Tools 1,148kg
[ ] ESEE Junglas 924g
[ ] SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger 148g
[ ] UST StarFlash Signal Mirror 62g
[ ] Windstorm Whistle 14g

Summary Setup 2
This Setup contains a tent that will withstand most weather and climates.

A Trangia Stoves is an excellent cooking solution for small groups that incorporated cooking vessels and frying pan, a windshield and burner with a relatively low weight. The stoves stand firm on the ground and it does not require the same type of careful handle as a gas stove that is often quite high a unstable. The major disadvantage is that they stoves take more time to heat water and food than a gas or multi fuel stove; even you can get a multi fuel burner instead of the alcohol burner that you get when you buy the stove; getting the best of two worlds. The Katadyn Mini Water Purification Filter in combination with water purification tablets can be used to provide safe drinking water.

The setup also contains the ESEE Junglas that can be of great use when constructing shelters or splitting fire wood and three great tools for signaling for help; the SPOT satellite GPS Messenger, the Starflash Mirror from UST and the Windstorm Whistle.

Setup 3: Shared Equipment for Four Persons
Total Weight: 14kg
Weight for each Person: 3,5kg + Individual Bug Out Bag

Shelter 5,4kg
[ ] Hilleberg Keron 4 GT Tent 5400g

Water Purification 0,7kg
[ ] Katadyn Pocket Water Purification Filter 550g
[ ] 48 Aquamira Water Purification Tablets 40g
[ ] Sea To Summit 20L Folding Bucket 110g

Stove and Cooking 4,424kg
[ ] MSR XGK EX Expedition Multi-Fuel Stove 374g
[ ] 2 MSR 887ml Fuel Bottles with Kerosene 2090g
[ ] MSR Flex 4 Cookware System 1666g
[ ] MSR Alpine Kitchen Set 294g

First Aid 1,21kg
[ ] Lifesystems Mountain Leader Pro 1210g

Navigation 0,417kg
[ ] Garmin GPSMAP 62st (260g including two AA batteries)
[ ] Recta DP-10 Compass 57g
[ ] Topographical Map 100g

Other Tools 1,832kg
[ ] Trail Blazer Take-Down Buck Saw 18 532g
[ ] Gränsfors Scandinavian Forest Axe 1200g

Summary Setup 3
The fourth setup is the total opposite of Setup 1. This is a maximum approach to a setup that can be worth considering if you are building a setup that has to be able to cope with an arctic climate or if you are going on a trip or if you are planning on establishing a base camp and stay in the same location for a long period of time. This type of setup can also be an interesting alternative if the group will be using vehicles for transportation.

Hilleberg makes some of the best tents available on the market; they are however quite expensive. The tent in this setup can be used during any condition no matter if you are facing a warm summer day or a snow blizzard during the winter season. The fabrics used in 4 season tents are generally more sturdy and has a longer life span compared to the fabrics used in ultra light tents and 3 season tents; they are however often heavier. This tent also has an extra large vestibule that can be good when storing much gear or cooking.

The whole solution for cooking comes from MSR and includes a Multi Fuel Stove, two fuel bottles, a large set of pans including plates and cups that could also be used to prepare food over an open fire and some basic kitchen ware.

The setup also contains a Trail Blazer Saw; this is a collapsible bow saw that can be used bring down quite large trees, in combination with the small forest axe from Gränsfors these tools can make it much easier to collect fire wood, build shelters and other types of tasks you might have to perform in the wild. The setup also contains a GPS from Garmin, a comprehensive first aid kit, one of the best water purification filters on the market and a folding bucket to collect water.

Tents and Shelter
As shelters I would in general recommend tents – especially for groups. A tent provides a great shelter if the weather is bad and when several people sleep inside a tent the warmth of the people inside can raise the temperature inside the tent considerably compared to the temperature outside. A tent can also keep bugs, snakes and other unpleasant elements out to give you a better nights rest. Tents can also provide a sheltered place to provide shelter if you have to treat an injured person in order to avoid exposure. If you have much gear or planning to stay in the same area for a long time while hiking or backpacking you should consider getting a tent with some extra space. It can be a hard time for two very large individuals to fit inside a small 2 man tent, try to check out the tent your planning to get in a store so you get a real life impression of both quality and size before you make up your mind. Make sure that everyone knows how to raise the tent and train how to do this together.

Other alternatives for shelter can be different types of tarps or Hennessy Hammocks. The important thing is that you find a solution that can cope with the climate and seasonal variations of your setting.

If the members of a Group would get separated it can be good if the individual members have some means of shielding themselves from the elements; multipurpose shelters like the Bivanorak (580g) from Hilleberg, Fjellduk X-TREME (775g) from Helsport and the Bivi-Poncho (600g) from Exped can be interesting alternatives. There are also emergency shelters designed to be used by several people like the Boothy 2 (350g) from Lifesystems designed for two persons, the Boothy 4-6 Survival Shelter (550g) designed to be used by 4-6 persons and the Windsack (550g) from Hilleberg designed to be used by three persons.

Season matters when it comes to stoves. Light Weight Gas Stoves work excellent during the summer but does not work as well during winter and cold weather. Some new Gas Stoves like the Soto OD-1R Micro Regulator Stove (73g) and the Jetboil SOL Ti Premium Cooking System (240g) are however designed to minimize this problem. Gas Stoves with heat exchangers id generally slightly more fuel efficient. There are also slightly larger portable Gas Stoves like the Primus EtaPower EF. The Primus Omnifuel is probably the only stove on the market right now that can use both gas and liquid fuel.

Multi Fuel Stoves has many advantages; they generate much heat, they can be used during winter settings and they can use many types of fuel; something that can be a critical advantage during a survival situation when you have to make do with what is available. But there are many parts that can break; maintenance is critical and it can be worth considering bringing along spare parts. Examples of Stoves that can be worth checking out is the MSR XGK EX, The Soto Muka Stove, Optimus Nova Plus and Primus Omnifuel.

Trangia Stoves are the classic Swedish Alcohol Stoves that has been available on the market for a very long time. The main advantage of these stoves are that they comes with everything you need in one package; you get the burner; wind shield, pans, frying pan, handles and everything else you need with a reasonable price. The main disadvantage is that the stoves don’t generate as much heat as Gas and Multi Fuel Stoves. There is also one person Army Stoves that use the same type of burners available as military surplus that can be worth looking into if you are on a budget.

Other Equipment
There is much equipment that can worth bringing along if you are travelling in a group. What type of equipment that can be worth considering depends on your setting, climate and what skills that you know. If you have doctor or trained medical professional in the Group it can be a good idea to bring along more comprehensive medical equipment etc. Tools that can help you to minimize the effort needed to build shelters and equipment designed to help you signal for help can be very valuable.

When it comes to other equipment it can be a great advantage if you take what the other people bring along when building individual setups as well. Four a Group of Four Persons I would rather recommend the group to bring along a large Fixed Blade Knife, Medium sized Fixed Blade Knife, Multi Tool and a Swiss Army Knife instead of bring along four identical  Survival Knives. The same goes when choosing Light Sources and Equipment to Start Fires. I would however recommend that you try to standardize what types of batteries that the Group uses for electronic equipment if possible.

Also see:
Bugging Out as a Group
Bug Out Guide and Checklist
Building The Right Bug Out Bag For You
The Bug Out Plan