Tag - survival gear

A Bug Out Bag for Frequent Flyers

A Bug Out Bag for Frequent Flyers

One of the challenges of being a dedicated prepper is that is almost impossible to cover all contingencies. No matter how well you plan, prepare and stock up, you can always have situations arise that you did not prepare for or count on.

For me, one of my almost daily challenges involves travel. I fly over 200,000 miles domestically every year. This can keep me on the road and in the air almost five days a week. Not the best “Bug Out” scenario, huh?

Over the past three years I have developed a travel-friendly, TSA compliant, carry on, bug out bag.

A Bug Out Bag for Frequent Flyers vs A Bug Out Bag for Frequent Flyers

First, let me say a few words about what you carry. Do not try to carry credit card knives, ceramic knives, or any type of knife device intended to be covert. TSA will find it and you will be arrested. I have witnessed this with my own eyes on several occasions.

A Bug Out Bag for Frequent FlyersA Bug Out Bag for Frequent FlyersA Bug Out Bag for Frequent Flyers

I am going to list each item and explain how it fits into the travel bug out bag scenario. Each item will have a “problem” rating. number will appear in parenthesis ahead of each item indicating how many times I have been stopped because of the item. If I have never been stopped because of the item, “NI” will appear indicating NO ISSUES.

First, EDC (Everyday carry) items. These items should be in your pockets when you approach the TSA checkpoint. You will be required to place these items into a TSA “dog dish” for pass thru in the scanner. Any keys, metal coins, cell phones, etc. must go into the dish as well.

  • (1Tactical 300-lumen flashlight – I have been stopped only once with this flashlight and TSA only wanted me to unscrew the lid to the battery compartment so they could view the battery
  • (NI) Standard “Bic” type lighter – Yes, believe it or not, you are allowed to carry a standard lighter with you. You cannot have any torch type or jet type lighter. These will be confiscated by TSA
  • (1Metal tactical ink pen – These pens are available in many shapes and sizes. Stick with the smaller size and make sure you can demonstrate that it writes if stopped and questioned about it (only questioned once)
  • (NIParacord bracelet – This a handy item for many situations and has never been an issue.
  • (NI) Large metal coin – A large metal coin can be used as a flat-head screwdriver, can be heated to seal wounds or as a hand warmer when placed in between two pieces of cloth. I have a large NRA coin that I have carried for six years. Challenge coins are great as well.

On to the bug out bag itself. I use the Travelon Packable Multi Pocket Back Pack. I do not unfold it, but leave it in its compact size. Unfolded it expands to 19” x 12.5” x 6”. I place it in my computer bag or shoulder messenger bag. Leaving it in its compact form, I still can put the following items in it:

  • (NIEton Scorpion AM/FM/NOAA Emergency Radio – This is one of the most compact radio units out there. It has both solar charging and crank operations. It has an LED flashlight built in and a tough rubberized case and is waterproof. A top-mounted carabiner will allow you to attach it to most anything.
  • (NIMylar space blanket – These have multiple uses and have never been an issue through security.
  • (NI) Generic Whistle/Compass/Signal Mirror Match Holder – You have seen these dorky things on every survival site on the web. They normally come with matches and a lanyard. REMOVE the matches. Bad day otherwise.
  • (NILifeline First Aid Kit – This is a small, compact kit containing the normal assortment of bandages, gauze, etc. NOTE: Remove the alcohol wipes and moist towelettes from the kit and place them in your quart-size, 3 oz or less TSA bag.
  • (NI) Hotel size bar soap – Never an issue
  • (NISmall sewing kit – Small variety of needles, safety pins, buttons and thread.
  • (NIEton Blackout Buddy H2O – This a small flashlight device that is activated by adding a few drops of water to a sealed compartment on the device. Last up to 12 hours.
  • (NICollapsible shopping bag – These fold up to about 2” X 2”. Great for stashing foraged supplies.
  • (NIHiking socks (2 pairs) – If TSHTF, you will probably be doing a lot of walking.
  • (2LifeStraw water filters – This is perfect for travel and will outlast your journey. I have been stopped twice with this item. Once I explained what it was, no problem.

Remember, you are already carrying a lot of useful items as part of your regular travel packing.

  • Spare clothing
  • Paper – Notebook paper makes great kindling
  • Pens, sharpies
  • Toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, etc.

What scenarios would necessitate needing these preps?

Well, hopefully, you are on the ground if an EMP event happens. If you are lucky enough not to be plunging out of the sky, the items you have with you would allow you to start a trek on foot towards home, a safer situation, etc. If you have any experience in prepping for survival, you will be scavenging and foraging as you go.

A Bug Out Bag for Frequent Flyers A Bug Out Bag for Frequent Flyers

Economic collapse/civil unrest. When the economy goes, it will go quickly. The day the government handout checks will not cash, the country will plunge into anarchy. Angry entitlement recipients will begin looting, plundering and attacking anyone they see as privileged. Other than the tactical pen, the TSA has rendered you weaponless, so your skill set needs to include defensive techniques, etc.

Earthquake/natural disaster. Least likely if you travel domestically as I do but if it did happen, the LifeStraw could be the difference in life or death. Utilities are the first thing to shut down is these situations.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, this is just what I personally carry through trial and error with the TSA. Remember, the TSA has a horrible job. They have to deal with thousands of disgruntled flyers, flyers ignorant of the regulations, and defiant or drunk flyers as well. Your best chance to go through a TSA checkpoint unscathed is to be polite and treat them like humans. Most days, they do not want to be there any more than you do. Happy Trails and be safe out there.

This article was written by The Prepper Journal and can be viewed here

Body Armor for Survivalists - Why it Should Always Be Considered

Body Armor for Survivalists – Why it Should Always Be Considered

Nowadays, body armor is more of a necessity for civilians and survivalists. Anyone looking to be prepared in the event of civil unrest, natural disaster, terrorist attacks or any other unforeseen event understands the need for adequate protective equipment.

Body armor comes in many shapes and types, but you should have a good understanding of what it can and cannot do for. Essentially, no body armor is 100% bulletproof and different levels are only suited against the type of weapons they are tested against. This means that a bullet-resistant vest won’t be effective against knives, needles or other sharp-edged weapons. Conversely, there is a difference in how stab and slash resistant body armor works as well. Combined systems are available, but they are more expensive and cumbersome, so you have to carefully consider if they’re the right choice for you.

How is body armor categorized?

Based on the type of ballistic weapons it can stop, body armor can be classified as soft, semi-rigid and hard. Soft armor is the most commonly used – both by police officers and survivalists to stop handgun rounds. Semi-rigid plates are designed to minimize blunt force trauma while giving additional protection in high-risk scenarios. Hard armor is either ceramic or metal and is designed to stop modern battle carbines such as .223, 7.62 X 39, and .308, making it applicable in war zones and urban riot scenes.

When it comes to a decent array of pistol weapon threats, versatility, and affordability – the best choice is Level IIIa. This armor is considered as standard armor for law enforcement at this time. It offers enhanced protection over level IIa up to a 44mag and it also stops 357 Sig, which is a high-velocity round for a handgun.

What types of body armor are available?

Body armor vests come in two styles: covert and overt. Covert (concealable) body armor is used beneath clothing. For that reason, it is slim and lightweight and designed to end up being undetectable. This kind of body armor is typically made from moisture wicking fabric that will help to keep the person wearing them cool, and are also usually produced in lighter colors than other types of body armor.

Overt body armor is meant to be worn above your clothes, and as a result, it tends to be created from tougher fabrics than covert types of body armor. The idea of overt body armor is to be visible to other people, and for this reason, standard overt body armor covers are usually black, but there are plenty of other colors available. Frequently overt pieces of body armor will include high visibility strips, or be manufactured entirely from high visibility materials, meaning that the wearer stands out.

What to consider when selecting body armor?

Fit affects coverage. Body armor panels and carriers come in many different shapes, sizes, and comfort levels. Getting a proper size is crucial to ensuring your vest will fulfill its protective qualities. If it’s too big – it will be loose and won’t stop weapon projectiles. A carrier that is too tight will put too much strain on the delicate armor, wearing them off quicker.

It may seem like a good idea to immediately upgrade to hard body armor to increase your chances of survival, but don’t be quick to do it. Surviving depends a great deal on moving quickly from point A to point B without drawing attention to yourself. Heavy armor is, well, heavy. It restricts your movement and agility, making you an easy target. Heavy ceramic plates add weight to the carrier and make your protective gear easily visible – something you don’t want in a hostile environment.

Do some research and compare the different options on body armor available online. Make sure you measure correctly and select a vest that fits well, is lightweight and comfortable apart from offering a high level of protection – these are just a few of the ground rules that every survivalist should stick to when shopping for body armor.

Special Thanks to Alex Ashton from SafeGuard Armor for providing this informative article.

Self-Storage Survival: Cache Option for Preppers?

Self-Storage Survival: Cache Option for Preppers?

Many of you have thought about where you should store your prepping supplies. As you accumulate more food, gear and tools, you may find yourself getting creative with the space you have in your home. In the beginning, my main focus was food and the logical place was to simply put more food on the shelves. That was fine to a point, but if you have enough food for a year, the shelves in your kitchen won’t likely hold that many groceries. At some point you may want to consider alternate storage options.

There are a lot of articles on prepping blogs dealing with where to store your supplies and once our shelves were full, I modified a room in our house to make a pantry. Now, the pantry is full so we have gone to storing some items in closets and now under beds. It is pretty sad when you starting thinking about where you are going to hide your next purchase before you click that “order” button on the website, but it is a fact of life for many of us. I covet a basement like nobody’s business and dream of rack after rack of shelved, stored supplies and food. That isn’t going to happen any time soon, but I have considered renting a self-storage unit. Could a great survival cache option that doesn’t require you digging a hole in the middle of the night, be as easy as renting a box down the road? Is Self-Storage Survival a good option for some preppers?

What are the advantages of storing your prepping supplies in a self-storage unit?

A self-storage unit would seem to be the perfect idea for people who need a little extra space and who aren’t opposed to spending some extra money each month. Self-storage units could easily allow you to store extra items that could come in handy during a SHTF event. This can help you in two ways.

First, even a small 5’ x 5’ self-storage unit could store an amazing amount of supplies and they run around $25 a month. Stacked floor to ceiling you could have enough food to feed an army for a month with that much space, if you used it effectively. This could allow you to move a large portion of your preps off-site freeing up room at home. You could use the newly empty space in your home for other preps, or simply enjoy not being so crowded anymore.

The other major advantage of keeping some of your prepping supplies in a self-storage unit is you don’t have to worry about having your eggs all in one basket. As it stands right now, if our home burned down, all of our prepping supplies would go up in smoke. Having an alternate location would allow you to salvage some of your supplies in a worst case scenario. What if your home was overrun during a collapse and you were forced out? You could use the storage unit cache as your backup and if you kept supplies in this alternate location, you could have the benefit of that fall back plan to keep you alive as opposed to being homeless with no resources.

One of our readers is a truck driver who frequently travels hundreds of miles from home (hey Larry!) and in a conversation on another post it was suggested that he could store supplies in some town along his route. If SHTF and he was half-way home, a stored motorcycle with gear or even a mountain bike with supplies could make his long journey home more successful. There are as many options as there are preppers out there with needs.

It makes sense to not only consider what you are putting in self-storage, but how you will need to access it later. In a SHTF event, you may only have minutes to get your gear and go.

It makes sense to not only consider what you are putting in self-storage, but how you will need to access it later. In a SHTF event, you may only have minutes to get your gear and go.

What should you consider before leasing a self-storage unit?

A self-storage unit isn’t for everyone though and even if you think this might be a good idea for you, there are some things I would look at before I threw my money down and started stacking boxes of ammo in there.

  • Bugs and varmints – What are you storing in your self-storage unit and how are you storing it? Any unit that allows a lot of bugs, like cockroaches or small varmints into where you are keeping your survival supplies is a waste of time. Planning on storing a lot of freeze-dried food? It might make sense to use roach and rat traps liberally in your storage units and check them every month or so.
  • Flooding potential – Is your self-storage unit in a potential flood plain? Before renting, it might be worth a few minutes of your time to check that out. You can quickly search for your storage unit property’s address on FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center. It wouldn’t make any sense to stick a lot of gear in an area prone to flooding.
  • Structural integrity of the storage unit – Before renting a unit, go out and inspect the unit to see how well they look. Does the door rattle around? Are the doors rusting at the bottom? Are their gaps in between the floors and walls where rodents could enter or critters from another storage unit? Granted, you can only do so much, but very old storage units might have problems that newer units do not.
  • Temperature Extremes – The most common storage units allow access from outside. There are many newer units now that are climate controlled, but you may have a harder time accessing these in a grid-down scenario. If your unit is simply a metal box in a parking lot, you will have to assume that whatever you store inside is going to be exposed to temperature extremes of heat and cold.

What are some important access considerations of self-storage?

Having your prepping supplies in a self-storage unit is great, but if you can’t get to what you stored there or your gear is stolen you have wasted a lot of effort.

  • Distance – If you are considering using a self-storage unit to augment your home supplies, I would recommend choosing a unit as close to your home as possible. Having your cache within walking distance would be preferable, although your location might make that more difficult. I have a storage unit about one mile away from my house as the crow flies. If something were to happen, I could be there in minutes even if I had to walk.
  • Gates/Fences – Almost all storage units have a gate that you can’t get through without some form of access like a keypad. Other storage units only have hours they are open and if the grid goes down, you might not be able to get into the gate. I would plan on the possibility of having to scale the fence in a true grid-down scenario. Actually, I would cut a hole for access into the fence with my trusty bolt-cutters if it got that bad.
  • Location of unit to exterior fence – Speaking of having to cut the fence, it may be that in a SHTF event, there is already looting going on and your self-storage unit is a target. It may also be that the owners are locking the doors and not letting anyone in. Choosing a unit that is somewhat hidden from the main office could buy you some time if you had to get in and get your stuff unannounced. You would ideally pick a unit in the middle of the complex, but not too far from a fence location you could access in extreme situations. The layout of the complex and rental unit availability would greatly influence what you could do here. I wouldn’t have a unit on the front or the back. The front is visible to the office most likely and the back is where looters would break in first I think.
  • Loading Order – What you load into your self-storage unit will dictate in some respects how quickly you can access your gear. If you have 10 boxes of gear all stacked neatly, you should ensure that your most valuable gear is where you can get to it first. Some recommend stacking boxes labeled “Baby Clothes” or “Tax Receipts” in the front of the unit to deter robbers. I guess I can see how this would work, but if you plan to have a mountain of crap to get through before you get your important gear, that could slow you down. I think if you are trying to deter robbers, that might slow someone down, but not stop them.

What prepping supplies should you store in a storage unit?

Could a bike stored in a storage unit give you Get Back Home Capabilities if you were frequently away from home?

Could a bike stored in a storage unit give you Get Back Home Capabilities if you were frequently away from home?

So what supplies are good candidates for storing in a self-storage unit? Depending on where you live and the unit, the possibilities are almost limitless. I wouldn’t store any fuel there and that is likely illegal, but would I store a shotgun? I can see storing a shotgun and a couple hundred rounds in a self-storage unit.

Anything that is not perishable would make good candidates. Do you have 10,000 rolls of toilet paper? How about the spare parts for your Bug Out Vehicles? Freeze dried food in plastic containers will last a while, but with extremes in heat, their life will be significantly shortened. What about extra ammo? How about your prepping books?

I think one good item would be back up Bug Out Bags for the whole family. Granted you would need to leave the food out, but many supplies could stay in your self-storage unit staged for a time when you needed to break away. Camping items like tents, sleeping bags and first aid kits for your group or family could store nicely and free up your room in the hall closet. You could store water in a storage unit, but where I live it is pretty easily obtained and I wouldn’t have to worry about it freezing and busting the container in the winter. This just happened to mystainless steel SIGG water bottle that I had stored in my truck as part of my Get Home Bag. It froze and cracked down the entire length, which required me to clean my GHB, but that is another post.

Does a self-storage unit make sense for your prepping supplies? What do you think?

Self-Storage Survival: Cache Option for Preppers? was written by Pat Henry with Prepper Journal and can be viewed here: