Survival and Fire – Things you need to know

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I am Selco and I am from the Balkan region, and as some of you may know it was hell here from 92-95, anyway, for 1 whole year I lived and survived in a city WITHOUT: electricity, fuel, running water, food distribution, without any kind of organized law or government. The city was surrounded for 1 year and it actually was a real SHTF situation. Our allies were our enemies from one day to the next. Today I’m prepared and share my experience on this blog.

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Again and again, you need to think in some other terms in order to understand importance of some everyday and usual things when SHTF.

It is hard in way to explain importance of some thing that is so common and usual for us today so we do not even notice it, because we take it for granted. We take it like it was always there, and it going to be there always. When SHTF only then we understand real importance of these things.

Fire means lot of things (especially for survival), fire means warm place to sleep, fire means hot soup. Fire also means clean clothes and clean water. Fire means life. It’s no surprise that our ancestors thought about fire as something holy. It is really that good.

In old history fireplace was almost magical place where all important things happened, wars started or peace was made. It was center of the house. Fire had to be kept alive.

There is reason why lighters were so valuable during my time in war. They enabled people to make fire and with that a lot of very basic but important things were possible.

I remember clearly guy who was walking over open space on one intersection, on sniper alley, in the middle of the night with flaming torch in his hand. He did not perform any strange ritual. His fire went in his stove in house because he did not have any matches or lighter or anything to start it again.

He went out walk for a few kilometers, found fire somewhere and went back in his house to start fire again. People died while trying to get fire from one place to another. I talk about this in detail in my course.

And all that happened maybe few months after war started. How many ordinary folks have 20-30 lighters or matches stored somewhere in house? I know you probably have now and that is good.

But other than you not too many of them.

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Just do one practice, go and sit in cold and dark room for a few days and then let someone offer you cold soup, or hot soup. Small thing, but single hot soup just makes amazing difference.

You need to have fire place inside your house. That does not mean that you need today to smash walls and change your house plans in order to install fire place.

It can be done on some simple ways like hole in wall for exhaust, or finding some small stoves that you can install when SHTF and use all kind of fuels for them. Even a bigger grill for barbecue is better than nothing.


So good idea is to have some amount of fuel ready stored somewhere. I have currently 300 liter of diesel fuel and 50 liter of petroleum stored. Or if that is not possible try to have plan where you can quickly take some fuel for fire when SHTF, again before others.

You as prepper have hopefully “first mover advantage” that you realize what you need before others.

After some time all folks just realize “let’s go out and take those trees from park“. So do not wait for everybody else to go there in that park. Just like with everything else try to be ahead of other folks.

Of course this does not mean that you need to go tonight to park and start to chop trees. This actually means that you need to have all tools ready today, and plan how to drag the trees and where to put them when SHTF.

Good idea is to have some kind of storage for firewood and some amount of fire wood, but since that is almost impossible for most of the folks who are living in urban areas, today you can do everything in order to be ready to start quickly to gather firewood when time comes.

When SHTF just go out and do it quickly. Do not learn where and how to do that when SHTF. Have plan for that today ready. If you never chopped wood go and help someone at rural place and learn to chop some wood safely.


There are all kind of stoves around to buy and to make by yourself. Without going into the brands and models of them, here are few things to think about when you buying it.

1. You are needing stove for what?
As I mentioned already, you gonna need fire for lot of things. To make food, clean your water(boiling), heating… So when you are obtaining wood stove for you think for what thing you are gonna use it? How that thing gonna look like is not important thing at all.

It also helps A LOT to have some kind of metal frame to hang things over fire. You can buy it here but make sure it is really sturdy. If you are with group you want to cook a lot of water at same time.

2. How much fuel you are gonna have?
If you are living in area where wood is no problem then you are lucky when it comes to stove, because in other case you are in situation like I was, always something like half cold and freezing.

I used two types of stoves, real wood stove, old type, that used lot of wood, but gives lot of heat, and keep heat lot of time (long time). I just do some upgrading on that thing by switching heating plates (thick) with thinner, in order to boil things faster.

Other type was very thin and small stove, something like big can. You could bring that thing to red heat in few minutes with very small amount of wood, or cardboards and all junk. Intense heat was good to make something very quick (food) or to warm yourself with small abount of fuel in very quick time. That thing went cold very quickly after fire went down of course.

3.Look around you
Again and always: have and do what most folks around you are doing-that means actually LOOK like you are looking for and doing what everybody else is doing.

I mean if most of the folks are freezing around you, it does not mean that you need to freezing too. Just look like that. Do not talk about how warm and cozy your place is when you see neighbor or someone in the streets. Pretend to be still cold. Once your body is cold it takes long time to warm up again so pretend to freeze. It is easy to forget but people are not only hungry but cold too. They want to get warm no matter what, even if that means move in YOUR house if you want or not.

Just like everything else, there is no universal advice for everybody. If you are living in lonely place, thick smoke from the chimney and tasty smell of chicken soup is something like invitation for not wanted guests when SHTF.

In my case smell of burnt ruins and burning stuff was in the air all the time together with smoke, and other worse smell, so I did not have problem with visible smoke and smell.

4. Have portable stuff
You will eventuall go out and take trips for many reasons, and on these trips you are gonna spend time, take shelter somewhere and need fire. Think about solution of portable stove and what kind is best for your situation and surroundings.

Military type portable stoves, with liquid fuel, simple „can“ type portable stoves, or you are gonna start fire in place, on ground. But be sure that you have some stove to move around. For example something like this here.

5. Take time today and make some tests
Be familiar with all kind of wood in your sourondings and learn what you can expect from different kinds of wood or other fuels. You gonna save some important time when SHTF if you check that things today. Know what wood chips you can use for tinder and if you have some tinder fungus in your area for example. Also know what kind of wood or other fuel gives how much heat, and for how long, and also important how intense smell and smoke.

If you can not try it because you are in urban area try to go to parks and other places with public fireplaces or areas. Even trying things with wood on barbecue grill somewhere is ok to get familiar with different materials.

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45 Responses

  1. Was once aground on the end of a southeastern coastal island as the tide went out.

    Twenty degrees and 90 per cent humidity.

    We had lighters, but all wood was wet.

    The others huffed and puffed trying to get moss to light wet driftwood.

    Ignoring the jeers of the other crewmembers, I took a piece of wet wood about a foot long and used my pocketknife to shave “curls” of wood along 8 inches of one side, being careful to NOT cut them off.

    Repeated with the other three sides, resulting in a small “tree”, with a solid handle to hold it.

    Placed kindling around/above (not touching “tree”) leaving ample airspace.

    Larger wood loosely stacked like a log cabin (lots of airspace, again).

    Used lighter to ignite tree.

    Soon had roaring fire.

    Opened can of Beanie Weenies and placed at side of fire.

    Began gathering wood to share the fire with my envious friends.

    Discovered a crewmember had stolen my food, while I was trying to help the others.

    Lessons Learned: Do not ASSUME you can trust others with your food.

  2. All good points. A small portable stove for heating food and boiling water is a good idea, but perhaps this is better – a Kelly Kettle. ( It will heat your food AND boil your water at the same time. It uses small amounts of fuel – twigs, splinters, wood scraps, pine cones, etc. – very efficiently. Then you have your hot soup, hot ramen, hot tea or coffee and can cook solid food on top while the water for that soup is heating. They work great.

  3. Good advice…fire…I bought a box of 1000 lighters online for $180…18c each…i year ago. Still got 980…at that rate ..will run out in 50 years. If I lived in a cold climate…I would move..NOW. Cold will kill millions after SHTF. Living in a temperate or tropical zone is a must for survival…no power needed for heating…longer and faster growing times for fruit and veges…and the time saving can be used to concentrate on other survival concerns. When you move..move to a rural area with lots of fuel for fires…bush or forest. The ability to gather firewood all around you could save your life. If you cannot afford to move…do it can not afford mistakes..your life depends on it. Find the right climate..then the right area…look for someone who has the right location.good… property..but needs help due to age or infirmity..barter your labour and skills to help them and your own family to survive….ideal if you can find a property with existing fruit trees, plenty of water…and we have. You can build a dwelling out of bricks…or hole in the ground. Know where you are going when SHTF. Aussie Mick

    1. In reply to “Aussy Mick’s” letter, I want to go out on a considerable limb here. I’ve been giving this a lot of thought lately, and it seems to be the most likely solution to my problem. You see, I am over 70, and
      have a broken hip to contend with. I built my home, several years ago, in the western (mountainous ) part of Montana. Making a living here has always been a tenuous affair, and since my accident, and with my age, I’m pretty much down to living on social(ist) (in)security. Things are kind of going to pot around here, what with taxes, and the increasing costs of everything,
      Anyway, here is my idea, in a nutshell. If I could get 6 healthy, energetic young men (say 30 to 45 )
      to move out here, and pool their resources with me, and; !) give me a bunch of helping hands to get the place in shape, and to put in even better security devices, etc, I could offer the following:

      What I am suggesting, is to have them each “rent” a part in my operation, for a period of 3 years.paid in advance, ( the next three years are likely going to be the hardest.) This “pool” of cash, will enable me to live, and provide the funds to construct things like underground shelters, security fences etc. My home is a 5 bedroom frame “farm house” type structure, on 5 acres of previously pasture land. I have a 400 ft. deep well, providing good, clean water, an if we put two bunks in eack bedroom, other than that of my wife and I, there would be plenty of room. My wife is used to having a “gang” around to cook for, but everyone would be expected to take turns at cooking and cleaning up. We have our “year’s ++ supply of food, and freezers full of game etc, but I would expect each man to provide, for the “communal larder”
      by ordering out at least a 3 year supply of storage food. We have a garden, with fruit trees (apple, plumb,and pear) berries, tomatoes, onions, and squash.. This would be increased, with the number of hands available. I would expect to bring in one of those big steel shipping containers, to store things securely, untill we can get the underground shelter set up. We would all eat around the family table, and we have a comfortable living room, with a large tv, a wood-burning fireplace etc. The large basement ( with reinforced cemnt walls,) can be used for a shelter, if things go to h…, before the underground structure is done. It has a large furnace that will burn wood, oil, or coal.
      One thing I would have to require, is that every man be a practicing christian! Not that you have to be a member of any particular church, We dropped out of our local church some time back, when it was taken over by new agers. If you are “one of those” please don’t apply.
      The chances are good, that we may see the end of our “world as we know it” by the end of this year, so I would encourage anyone thinking of applying, to pray about it, and contact me for more info ASAP! I will make choices from any or all that apply. . Thanks for your interest. Send app’s to [email protected]

      1. Larry, I was thinking little bit about your situation right now as you describe it. It is a good plan, taking all that you mention. But if i can give you some suggestion here. Take that future members of your group one by one, gradually. After you carefully check all of their skills and abilities first choose one or two of them and take your time to “check” them in terms of what kind of people are they. Point is to have at least one man from the beginning that you can trust with your life. Of course all of them need to be trustworthy, but you need to have one or two of them who are gonna be really close to you. After you spend some time with them, only then go with bringing others.
        This all could be avoided if you have some relative or very close friend first to start with this.

        I am sure that you took time and think about one possible situation: you end up with 6 strong men, shit hit the fan and they suddenly realize that they are 6 and you are one. Better idea is to take one or two strong men first, take some time with them, “build” something together. And then if you satisfied three of you go and find 3-4 other people.

        It is just my opinion.

        1. Yes, indeed I have considered that, the trouble is, and I know I may be taking a big risk, but I don’t think there is any time left. I will surely examine all the applications thoroughly, and invite them, one at a time to visit here, but If they are really bad, how am I to tell, until the time comes? I guess noone REALLY knows another, until they get to know them in a SHTF situation.There’s no way I can think of to test them that well. Hopefully, if some are good, and some are bad, the good ones will stand by me, against the bad, if only in their own best interests.

          1. A desperate christian will cut your throat while you sleep, in a SHTF situation, and justify it.
            My Buddhist beliefs (or atheism, if you insist) do not automatically make me any less honest or caring that the next person.

    2. I prefer the cold climate because it will chase people away. Honestly in SHTF having herds of people is a bad thing. I would rather have to spend all summer cutting wood for my cabin on the farm in in upper Minnesota than dealing with a warmer climate that has a lot of people that are trying to scavenge from you.

  4. Very good advice. Also make sure that you have the proper cooking pots / dutch ovens / skillets that work well with cooking over your heat source. Big wide pots over narrow stoves do not work well – in fact, reflected heat from the bottom can damage or kill your stove. Trench fires work well with exterior fires, their extended length can be used with several sized containers above them. I remember years back of an Alaskan’s mentioning their most useful implement was a BIG stock pot, something big enough to clean their laundry.

    Also, would highly recommend battery powered carbon monoxide alarm. A lot of people are killed when structure is not vented and wood fire is brought indoors.

    One possible solution for stove pipe in residence – glass block. If you can install or replace an existing window with a panel of glass block, a single block can be broken out for you stove pipe to exit into open air.

    Thanks again Selco.

    1. Good points. Carbon monoxide will kill you silently. Personally i did not had problems with it because house was pretty good vented with all holes on it, but it was specific situation. For some future situation it is great investment to buy couple of those. In this case i recommend good and checked stuff.

    2. In bad neighborhoods they replace all the windows in the basement and on the first floor with glass block sometimes, in order to deter window smashers.

      These windows can still be smashed, but it takes considerably more effort. It would take a brick bat and several minutes. One could put rebar bars behind such a window and further frustrate badguys.

      I recommend building a glass block window with the cement rather than with caulk, if you want strength or to be able to burn things and vent them out the window. Glass block cement is just white mortar with white sand in it, nothing special except the color.

    1. Wow that looks good. Thanks for sharing! Curious how the electricity generation works. Some cheap solar panels are trash and do not work as advertised. If this would work, that would be impressive.

  5. You cannot have too many matches! Double (!) sealed in waterproof, sturdy packing. Dry matches will be one of the best barter items imaginable in any kind of disruption or emergency. Store a range of options – big wooden kitchen matches and many, many books of cheap cardboard matches.

    Check around locally and find novelty and printing companies that do books of matches with a company name or logo. The matchbooks of stores and bars that are out of business are remarkably cheap.

    That being said, disposable butane lighters are head and shoulders above matches, since matches can only get wet once. EXCEPT you have to be very careful about the disposable lighters you buy. Cheap lighters are made with flints made from compressed flint chips. Over time these can simply fall apart, leaving you with butane but without a spark to ignite it. —Ask me how I know this.—-

    I have had very good luck with genuine Bic brand lighters as storage items. They seem to hold up better, although there may be other brands as good.

  6. My wife and I use these two stoves backpacking. She carries the alcohol stove and I carry the heavier wood gas stove. So, we have options depending on the scenario.

    A very small and lite alcohol stove:

    I have used this to cook for 4 people. It’s very efficient and cheap. You can easily make yourself new ones or start now and have back ups. Even with a heat shield, stand, and insulation it is less than 3oz.

    Here is the small and lite wood gas stove:

    I use this Foster’s can variation:

    This thing is incredible! You can cook for hours with a bit of twigs and there is almost no smoke once it is up to temperature. It is about 5 oz including a load of twigs and tinder inside the can.

  7. There has been lots of talk about disposable lighters on SHTF school. I am curious why no one has mention the old fashioned Zippo style refillable lighters. The flints are easily replaceable and you can store lots of fuel for it. You don’t have to use actual zippo lighter fluid in it. I have used pure ethanol(aka everclear) and other fuels I don’t remember. Maybe it was Coleman camp stove fuel. Maybe it was charcoal lighter fluid for use in a charcoal grill.

    In the past I have kept 5 to 10 zippo lighters brand new still in the package, in storage in my house. I am down to only 2 now since over the years I have given them away.

    I was a welder/fabricator for many years. We use a tool called a “striker” to light our acetylene cutting torches. It is just a device with a flint in it to make a spark. Eventually, guys will get tired of keeping track of these things and will end up using a cigarette lighter to light their torch. But the plastic disposable kind of lighters are dangerous. If you have one of these things in your pocket and a spark or drop of molten metal land on your pocket and burns a hole to the plastic lighter, you have now just ignited a fire bomb in your pants. Serious burns result, in very important area of your body! Zippo lighters are safe because they have a lid and are metal. So a spark or drop of molten metal won’t ignite it so easily. Zippo lighters also fit perfectly in that little tiny pocket they put in the right front pocket of blue jeans.

    One thing to remember about wooden matches…even if they get damp at some point and will no longer light, they are still useful. The matches that won’t light on their own will still burn if you light them with a good match. So don’t throw away your old wooden matches that will no longer light. What you do is grab one good match and two or 3 bad matches. Light the good match and then immediately put 2 or 3 bad matches with it. Now the bad matches light up and you have one big match that is 3 or 4 times more powerful than one match. It works good when you are trying to light something that is difficult to light.

    I keep a rusty old pot belly stove in the shed along with a gunnysack full of coal. Its just there for emergencies. Never been used and probably never will.

    In the old days, a poor family’s prized possessions included: a large hardwood kitchen table, a large copper broiler, quilts, and featherbeds. The copper broiler was a cooking pot oblong in shape and so big it doubled as a child’s bathtub. It was made out of heavy copper sheet. it was used for everything. Doing laundry, bathing children, canning fruits and veggies, cooking large amounts of stew or roast, or just plain boiling water. It was important to be made out of copper(which made it very expensive) because copper was repairable should it spring a leak.

    When I was a kid I used to wonder about some of the old junk my grandparents kept around even though they never used it. My grandparents were wealthy in their old age but were poor when they were young. In their basement they had their first kitchen table. It was fairly large, extremely heavy, and solid oak. It was second hand from one of their relatives. They also kept their old antique copper broiler even though they never used it anymore. My grandfather kept a large assortment of old blacksmithing tools in his garage and I never once saw him use them. He also kept a large assortment of plumbing tools and plumbing supplies. Most of that stuff I never saw him use. There were quilting racks, canning supplies, woodworking tools, and other stuff that never got used.

    I suspect the reason they could not bear to get rid of these things is because at some point in their lives these items spared them tremendous hardship and got them through some difficult times.

  8. Using the principle of “one is none, two is one” I recommend having about 10 sources of heat and cooking…non electric types. The last resort is a campfire in a hole. But actually there is a lot to know about campfire making.. so don’t neglect learning that too.

    First .. quick and easy .. are the butane gas cookers. The ones with disposable cannisters. They are usually “instant light” pezo spark. Portable, and reasonably safe in the home. I use one if we have a power cut. With careful use a few cannisters will last you a month of cooking. Great to get you thru the early days of any crisis.

    I have become quite a collector of kerosene “camp” stoves. Kerosene cookers both wick and pressure are still used a lot in the 3rd world. You can buy the stoves new.. but I highly recommend looking for old used ones which can be found in garage sales, ebay, etc. In NZ I usually pay $20. The brands are Primus , Optimus and Coleman… and MANY others. The old ones are better than the new ones. There are sites on the internet which will tell you how to restore and use them .
    Kerosene is a “safe” fuel in that it is not explosive like petrol. This means that you have to “preheat” a pressure kerosene cooker ( or lantern) usually with alcohol (meths) tho today people often use a butane blowtorch as a quick preheater. Kerosene will store for many years.. petrol won”t. Kerosene is a hot fuel compared with butane ( or alcohol) so you get quick boiling. Kerosene can also be used in the old fashoned wick “oil” lamps and hurricane lamps. ( The British call kerosene ..Parafin…you need to read a bit about fuels so you use the right fuel for your cooker or lamp. The wrong fuel can be DANGEROUS).

    I just bought an old Coleman two burner 4M camp stove for $10. It burns Coleman fuel or regular gasoline. I would not have bought it normally.. but it was so cheap, I know how to use them, and petrol is easily available . They are instant light.. no preheating.. and of course two burners is convenient also. Petrol is perhaps too dangerous to use inside.. but if you understand the risks, and have a fire extinguisher nearby.. then I would use it. Otherwise it is a good outdoor camping stove.

    All these fuel cookers are not “idiot ” proof.. so use the time now to get one, learn how to use it safely.

    And MATCHES.. you can never have too many matches..:-)..


      I just looked for a video on the Coleman stove. :-). You can see how simple they are to use and he said he paid $5 US.
      There is LOTS of good stuff on video for survivalists. There is a good video on bow saws. Use the most advanced computer and internet to learn about the “good old stuff”.

      Gasoline…petrol… will perhaps be easier ( more widely available) than kerosine in any post SHTF situation. So having a cooker that will burn it is a good idea.

      I also have several wood burning stoves.. from pot belly stoves to small house stoves with built in oven and hot water heaters. ( Weigh a ton ..:-) ). What you need will very much depend on your situation.

      1. Propane is good because most people have a gas barbecue. It is a good option if you are bugging in. However it is not really portable in the way kerosene and coleman fuel (naptha) are. If you are on the run, or out hunting or looking for food, you need something compact and “energy dense”. Kerosene does that. The stove fuels don’t make smoke.. which is a big advantage over having to light a fire. And they don’t throw as much light as an open fire.

        1. I was actually thinking of the really simple kind of heaters that just attach to the top of a propane tank. They look almost like a gas stove burner. You could use them to cook food, too, in a pinch.

          1. Propane is a compressed gas.. so the container will always be heavy. Butane is a liquid, so can be in a light “can”. Sometimes in very cold conditions it won’t work as it will not gassify. My mountaineering friends would sleep with a can of butane in their sleeping bag.. to keep it warm.
            Kerosene, coleman fuel ( napthalene) , petrol, butane, alcohol.. all possible fuels for small portable cookers. All have advantages and disadvantages. depends what you have and what fuel you have.
            There is always a little residual petrol in the bottom of a tank of an “empty” car. You may have to drill a hole or remove a drain plug to get it. So having a petrol stove would let you use this “resource”… after the SHTF. Primus used to make very small “petrol” cookers for hikers.. and you can still find them on ebay and such places.

          2. Simple hammer and nail will do job for most of the cars, and some canister, pot or something similar to collect fuel.
            In last year or two stealing fuel from the car on this way is becoming ordinary here because low standard and increasing fuel cost.

  9. Also check into the Bio Lite stove, a hi-tec wood burning stove. A bit expensive, but it has some pretty nice choices other wood stoves do not – like self generating electricity for SMALL items. Here is a link to company.

    A little research is needed – I wish it were less expensive!

    1. The problem with those things is they don’t produce enough heat to save you from a serious chill. Have you ever been cold enough to lose your ability to speak? Or to lose your sense of balance? I have. When you get thoroughly chilled it is like you are drunk. You slur your words and you stagger when you walk. You fall down a lot. Your brain slows down and you have have an overwhelming urge to give up and take a nap. You are so, so tired. It doesn’t take sub freezing temps to get you to that point either. It can happen in 50 degree fahrenheit temps(or warmer) if you are wet or exposed to wind for prolonged periods.

      In my opinion those things are only good for making your finger tips feel comfy and cozy and warm and fuzzy when you are all bundled up. There’s not enough power(thermal energy) in them to save your life(or even a limb) in a serious predicament.

      I wouldn’t waste my time, but maybe that’s just me.

      I could talk you through all the steps and phases of experiencing dangerously low body temps in not-so-cold air temps because I have been there. But this thread is not about that. Maybe Selco will do a separate discussion on that.

      1. I will talk in details about low body temperature and danger, hypothermia etc. I am working on that. You are right about symptoms that you mentioned, i personally experienced all of that and more, i was in the stage when i felt so fine , warm and nice, which is actually one of the last stages. Also you are right that hypothermia does not necessary mean that you have to be exposed to very cold environment. It can be combination of cool air, wet cloth, some medical condition, or alcohol intake…

        Yes, people mostly think that you need temperatures below 0C to have problem from hypothermia, in reality it involves many factors like temperature, age, level of fitness (strength), clothes… I mean simple thing like hat and scarf over your face make great difference, not to mention everything else.
        We will talk and discuss this topic in details.

  10. Selco , if you read this, perhaps you could do a Post on “light” in a SHTF situation. How important do you feel it was to have a source of light .. candle that the long cold nights were not so long?

    I have learned from your story..:-).. the idea of getting turpentine from pine trees. The Wiki site covers it. I happen to be surrounded by pine plantations.. so this is an option for me to get a liquid fuel .. in the very long term.

      1. Right!

        Like in the old John Wayne westerns we used to watch in the USA in the 1960s through the 1980s.

        Whenever there was a stranger outside near the camp or near the hideout, the first thing they said was: “douse the light!”
        Douse means to splash water on…meaning to put out the fire. You can’t see the enemy out there in the shadows when there is a bright light right next to you because your eyes won’t adjust to the dark…and you can’t hide from the enemy when you are standing right next to a bright light.

      2. Ah, The voice of experience again…thanks. I have never been in the situation where darkness was my “friend”. It is obvious.. but did not occur to me immediately.
        I have always thought that “night vision” would be such an advantage in a SHTF situation. I have finally “invested” in a scope. It gives me the ability to hunt at night . Wild pigs come out of the forest at night here to eat crops and damage pastures. Often I hunt at dusk with a normal scope which “enhances” vision, but I have always thought that a night scope would be a good tool. The older types are coming down in price now.

  11. I agree about Bic lighters, have tried various disposables, and the cheaper ones have a horrendous failure rate, literally 70% in my experience, not only will they leave you hanging, but if you barter an extra lighter or two and they fail, you’ll have an angry desperate person after you possibly, and things will already be tough enough.

    I disagree strongly with the commenter who said move to warm climates, disease will be an issue and there will be too many people there already. Northern mountain climates can be tough, but there’s more clean water to be had, and it’s logistically more difficult for large groups of armed dirtbags to keep up pursuit of individuals in these places.

    The gentleman from Montana has an interesting idea, but I would submit that when the SHTF, you might best make alliances wherever possible, peace makes religious notions possible that will become meaningless when it’s all about survival. Being allegedly “Christian”, does not guarantee morality, a quick look at history will unearth horrific acts perpetrated in the name of almost any “god”.

  12. Someone above mentioned tapping pine trees for fuel. I’ve found a good how to, link below. Looks like a straightforward process anyone could do with just a few basic tools on hand. Pine resin can apparently be used for all sorts of things: fuel, candles, turpentine, oil, firestarter, waterproofing, and even tooth fillings (?). Now how you use it for some of these things I’ll have to do some more research but for anyone who lives in a region with a lot of pine trees it might be good to know how to do this.

    First link – less damage to tree but requires sulphuric acid:

    Second link – more damage to tree but only requires basic tools:

  13. Hi Selco
    Excellent work, information, & writing. I scan many blogs, forums, etc, but yours is one of the very few with the authority that comes from EXPERIENCE. Lot’s of credibility comes with that. Thank you for being so public and for all of your insights. I have you at the top of my list to keep tabs on! Yours is the first site to which I have written.

    Fellow writers, Also! Excellent tips, thoughts, really a great crew of non-extremist and practical thinkers.

    48 year old Family guy / business owner in a small East Coast city here, average guy, tight budget, limited knowledge, new to this “sport”.

    A few other information sources that make it to the top of my personal list are: southernprepper1 (lots of great stuff on youtube with this guy), NutnFancy (search u tube again, he refers to his work as “TNP” the nuttin fancy project). Lots of great philosophy, good gear reviews, and heavy on the gun side of things but with restraint and reason. He will get you thinking. Good People BOTH. IMO
    And numerous (and growing, it seems) additional sites, blogs, forums most of which have at least something valuable that one might not have thought of. Scour the net while it is available. This subject is gaining traction VERY quickly, maybe for good reason.
    Fascinating subject and (I hope I am dead wrong) USEFUL. Sad to say that IMO we Will need these skills plus a lot more, and quite a bit of Luck in the not so distant future.
    Personally I am approaching the “prepper” part of my life in main “modules” reflecting my philosophy: which generaly is: I may need these preparations to survive, in fact I believe that I will at some point. (I hope I am wrong). I believe that I must prepare in a way compatible and consistant with my day to day life, (not obsessively, and within my capacity. while still living in and ENJOYING the present). Most of my efforts must have value in THIS reality as well as potential value in some Alternate reality (SHTF etc). In other words, buy camping gear and use it, but it is the right gear for SHTF also, same with Guns, General Knowledge, etc etc etc.

    While each person or family’s approach to their survival must suit them and their circumstances, I have chosen this 3 pronged set of preps for OUR attempt at survival:
    WALK OUT: Collect knowledge, gear, maps, (etc etc – I have an excel spreadsheet list going) and prepare to WALK OUT of where I am and self sustain (with my family) on the trail for minimum 1 month. As I am only a year into taking Survival seriously, this is the first step for me and the one I am actively working on. I am happy to share any knowledge I may have picked up on, lists, reasons, etc if anyone is interested.

    DRIVE OUT: My plan if I happen to have the luxury of driving, with my walk out preps at my finger tips if driving ceases to be an option. (Run out of gas, blow a motor, get robbed, etc)
    (Many ideas in development for this problematic option).

    HOMESTEAD: Where I would go and what I would do to survive there. (sketching this one out now, BIG subject: Solar Power, Gardening, Water collection / treatment, heat, recreation etc etc etc)

    One thing that seems to have importance to me is simply having a plan in development and feeling like I am doing some due-diligence toward reaching my goals of enabling my family to survive if at all possible under many circumstances. It is a VERY slow and (much more than I anticipated) COMPLEX thought and planning process.

    I am trying to do it at the very best level I am capable of, which for me includes CAREFUL assessment of everything from equipment, functionality, knowledge, recommendations, practical common sense, and etc etc.

    I run across surprises every day on this journey, being a bit open minded seems to help!
    Bic Lighters, here on this blog was one.
    The idea that a high powered pellet gun might have more value than my previous “rifle” choice (.22 LR for many reasons, pellet gun because of light ammo, almost silent operation, excellence for very small to small-medium game, potential weight savings, great target practice for the kids, etc etc)
    Also SEEDS, and Harvesting seeds, growing gardens, etc.
    Also: Digital data (passport, licensee, important documents, family photos, Survival Manuals, Field Guides, Edable Food guides (naturally growing) Gardening Guides, Medical Guides, knowledge books (Schooling children in the field?), ENTERTAINMENT reading (moral), etc. I thought this impractical, but think about how much you DON’T know, and if you had to Bug Out now….how much you don’t have time to learn. Access to literally TONS of data (books) can take up the same amount of space as a pack of cigarettes!
    If anyone has any great ideas on how to ACCESS digital data (pack out style – Lightweight) I am all ears. Many say “kindle” but what about a USB drive access capable devise / solar??
    Also if you have a family, or some kind of crew, remember that you will likely be retarded to the level of your weakest link. That is a tough one to think on.

    And – And – And!!!!

    BIG subject.
    The one thing I do not do is hope for a SHTF scenario to develop. One of the few areas where I will be very happy to be WRONG. It is fun to think about being “the independent individual”, self sustaining, surviving by your witts, etc, BUT…I can only imagine just how hard and ugly it could be, and certainly feel that life is easy now in comparison. We all need a wake up call, and maybe a SHTF scene is the only way the human race will GET one, but it sure would be nice if we could skip that and fix what is broken without the hell of WROL SHTF etc. I have my fingers crossed.

    Great job all, looking forward to coming back for more. Thanks for reading.
    -Rocky Mountain Jim

  14. In reply to “Dragynn” Yes, “Religion” has certainly been a basis for almost every war in history. and the most horrible. That is why I’d rather not start off by welcoming people into my home, to be parts of my “family” who have seriously differing ideas from my own .In the midst of a squabble in our church, one man said to me “christians are the ones that kill their wounded” It was a bad joke, at a bad time, but it only underscored the depth of feeling held by both sides. Both believed they were right, and that God was on their side.

  15. I’m a minimalist, so I don’t like owning a lot of stuff. Instead, I stock up on skills, like firestarting with a bow drill, flint and steel, cooking over a campfire, water purification methods, ect.

    Gear is important, but skills come first. Without skills, you are just another guy with stuff.

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