Stuff – Concerns on ‘Over Attachment’

Picture of Selco


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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In one comment on my previous article I received an excellent comment (thanks Nick!) about what lessons he learned while going through Hurricane Irma, and how that event change some of his views about prepping.

He got the points that I wrote about for long time ago, and I still repeat it from time to time, it has to be repeated because you see it as my words only, and most of the people will understand it only in the  proper way after they experience some serious event, only then you can put it in correct perspective.

Nothing like real life experience learning.

And there is nothing wrong about changing your (survival) system, I do that too when I figure that something works better then plan (or equipment) that I have.

If you are prepper for years and you did not change your setup and plan from day one of your prepping until now, then usually something is wrong with your philosophy.

„On a Good Day I can…“

 I think it was on some forum or in some blog comments, discussion was about some particular weapon as far as I remember, and some guy said like „ (when SHTF) on a good day I can shoot (kill)…“

In that short statement („on a good day“) is condensed one of the biggest mistakes about prepping in survival movement.

There is not too many good days when SHTF. It is simple like that.

In short people are prepping based on imaginary perspective how SHTF gonna look, and that alone is not problem (you do not necessary have to go through serious SHTF event in order to be good prepper-survivalist), problem is that people stick so hard to their imaginary perspective of how SHTF gonna look like, and what they need for it, that they are simply not willing to change their plans.

They are sure.

Whenever I read that someone change his plans based on his experience and thinking and that he recognize that in my articles or courses where he was wrong I feel great.

By the way, on a good day you can sit down and shoot 6 magazines from AK in 5 minutes and shoot 5 people who wants to break in your home while you are singing „Hey Joe“ without too much problems.

You are fed, secured, comfortable, warm, healthy, probably police gonna come in 10 minutes, you’ll get professional psychological help later, maybe you end up in local newspaper as a hero…

On a ordinary day during real collapse, chances are that you’ll be tired from days and nights of not sleeping well, more or less hungry, maybe you gonna have weird and painful infection in your groin from lack of proper hygiene and serious case of diarrhea, your younger kid having pneumonia and of course doctors are gone, and your friend who is a veterinarian gave you some pills and you are not sure is it working, your wife had nervous breakdown and you do not have clue what to do with her…

You were listening to screams from town for weeks while gangs were killing and raping, and your bones melted from horror.

Several times strange idea of killing your family and then yourself struck your mind, because listening to screams for weeks put pictures of what kind of things are happening there, and you can not cope with that pictures.

And then there are 5 people attacking your home, they even yell that they gonna spare all of you if you give them all your preps, but you’re thinking about screams, but still maybe they spare you…

It is definetly not your „good day“.

You need to hope for good days when SHTF, but you need to be prepared for bad days when SHTF.


It is equation that takes in consideration your skills, preps, event, circumstances… and given heat (SHTF).

If you show me man who can have all prepared perfectly well for any kind of possible scenario I will bow to him, but, in my mind, it is simply impossible.

If you understand that then you’ll understand two things:

-you’ll need constantly to adapt to the given situation

-you’ll have bad days and fails

But you’ll have a good chance to survive. To show that in an example I’ll use very widespread and popular topic: Bug Out Bags

It is something like holy grail of survival, and it is like a minefield to go into that topics against widespread and popular opinions in survival community, but I’ll survive, and you just need to think about it. So here goes…

Bug Out Bag (and equipment)

Bug out bag is something that is considered you „absolutely need to have“ or otherwise you are not a prepper…. Here is my perfect bug out bag.

So there you have situation where people (family) have bug out bags, each member of family have his own BOB.

Yours might weigh 25 kilos. You have everything there, food for three days, toilet paper, axe and knife, tarp and small stove, extra ammo, first aid kit and lot of antibiotics.

You have maps and radios.

It is heavy duty military grade backpack, waterproof.

All members of your family have BOB with good and usable stuff inside.

And then city erupt in violent protests for whatever reason and you need to bug out immediately.

You all grab your BOBs go out and get shot after 300 meters just because you have such good and cool looking stuff on you (and in huge amounts)

Or simply you drown in the river because your backpack is too big.

I understand that this example is very rudimentary, but you need to stop thinking that you can cover everything for every scenario, otherwise you end up covering nothing.

BOB is become almost burden because we are being bombarded with info „what we really need to have in order to survive and thrive“ or „you must have this or othervise you end up dead for sure“.

BUT it really needs to be about necessity, not comfort.

There is „prepackaged first aid kit for your BOB“ with nonsense inside, there are stoves that are heavy and give your position away to everybody from 2 km distance, there are ways to start your fire that takes like half hour to start fire and require like 1000 calories of your work… does anybody use lighter anymore for starting fire?

„what if lighter fails“?

Can you have 2-3 lighters for that case?

There are powerfull torches that make“ night look like day“ for only such and such amount of money…and if I want to read my map in the middle of nowhere using that torch I’ll be blind for next half hour, but if there anybody within 3 kms of my position they all will know where I am.

Again, all above are examples, and torch lamp and flints are great stuff,and definitely they have its place (I have it) but did you think to include lighters and micro lights too?

Example of solution would be „shelf“ system. You need to have lot of stuff ready to take really quickly, but based on given scenario.

Some things can cover all scenarios, basic things, but why in the name of ‘everything covered’ anybody would drag big heavy bag when you need speed and „blending“.

Is having sport bag for a given scenario not make more sense than a camping backpack or military type backpack?

Is carryng rifle in your hand having more sense then hiding under coat in given moment in scenario?

Maybe simple sleeping mat being visible on your backpack clearly points you as a target in given moment? Maybe moment demand only heavy duty trash bag in your pocket (as a mean for sleeping on a way to your BOL)

These are only examples, but hopefully you get my point.

Sit down, pull all your gear out, and think about 5 possible SHTF scenarios, and that you have 10 minutes to choose only 30 percent of your BOB stuff, see the difference in equipment selection for each scenario.

It is good practice.

It is reality – you cannot have everything.

Find The Balance

You may find that at the end it is about balance how much preps you have in your home (or willing to carry) with you.

Sometimes it affects your mobility and adaptility.

Sometimes you grow huge connection with your stuff and you are not willing to leave everything and run to save your life (because you have valuable things)

Sometimes all your cool preps will save your life!

Metal container with 300 $ worth of preps inside that you took and bury in woods as your secret stash can worth much more then 50 000$ worth of preps inside your home, simply because you maybe had to leave your home in 10 minutes in order to survive…

It is balance that can not be taught, because you need to put it in perspective of your given circumstances.

There is no magical solution to „survive and thrive when SHTF  (for only $99.99)“ there is no „prepackaged perfect solution“ products.

YOU need to pack your solution!

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12 Responses

  1. Sometimes it is all about timing. Wrong place. Wrong time. I think about the movie “Saving Private Ryan”. When the gate on the landing craft dropped, one guy, up front, took a bullet right in the helmet. I suspect he did not ask to be the first guy. I’m quit sure he did not plan to take a bullet, first thing. I’m sure he spent weeks, maybe months, preparing for that landing. He practiced. He trained. He went through the box of C-rations and scarfed up his favorite meal and squirreled it away. I’m sure he cleaned his rifle. Oiled it. Checked his equipment. Double checked his equipment. I’m sure he even daydreamed about coming out a hero. At the very least, he expected to be eating his C-rat on the beach after it was over. He did everything right. He did everything he was suppose to do. Yet, in the end, he never even saw the beach. No matter how much we plan. Sometimes there is no accounting for crappy luck. Sometimes we are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. So we prep and we plan. We hope for a little good luck. We try to not be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And maybe we move to the back of the landing craft.

  2. Interesting that you should mention Hurricane Irma. One of my cousins just survived Hurricane Harvey, and he did it on a bare minimum of preps. His main preps were in storage due to a kitchen fire, his guns were in a locked room in his house, and he was living in a hotel room. He was able to acquire a few day’s worth of food & water, and he had a few medical supplies and one good gun in his BoB. Whatever else he had was in his heart and head, and that’s what helped the most. He had the good sense to shelter in place rather than chance being caught on the road in a hurricane, and the good sense to prepare as he could for several days of sheltering in place. Good decisions were the basis of survival in his case. He had a fair amount of luck, but good decisions are the best. He survived Harvey. He wins.

  3. Stuff and the attachment to what the stuff means, will be the undoing of most prep fans.

    The skill isnt their focus, as it should be, it is the magic bullet that is the focus. Bag full of items means to many that they can meet needs. Stove means can cook food, sleeping kit means can get rest, weapon means can defend self. No tools, means no ability to deliver needs to self.

    What does each item mean, really? They only mean it will be easier and take less effort to finish the tasks successfully.

  4. Glad I could contribute/help, Selco.

    The title of this current article of yours is spot on…”Stuff…Concerns on Over-Attachment”. That was one of my Hurricane Irma big problems… I didn’t plan on leaving my “Castle of Preps”, and when it became evident that I must, it shook up everything in my head. I now see everything I heard and read in your SHTF courses in a different, clearer light. It’s not just theory and sensible rhetoric “for thoughtful consideration” any more… it’s very real and applicable spot-on advice.

    “Don’t rely totally on stuff, get skills. Your mind is your best tool. Trust your gut. Have useful stuff stashed wherever you can, and multiple plans… but once SHTF, expect all those plans to change, and frequently… Be savvy and adapt to your situations… travel light and blend in… etc.” It all looks very, very much more real now.

    I don’t wish a crisis on anyone, but if anyone has viewed Selco’s work, and then lives through a crisis, all the things you heard and read will become MUCH more real. So, do what Selco said… create your own mock crisis and practice solving the problems simply, quickly, and accurately. He’s completely correct when he says that particularly Americans have been lured into a false sense of security by supposedly “buying survival solutions”… it can’t be done. And I can tell you this, relative to his writings above… an overloaded military backpack and a rifle is not likely “the answer” as much as a lightweight civilian-looking pack with simple essentials and a reliable handgun that you can hide on yourself. Keep it simple, keep it light, keep it low profile, and train yourself to think through things… You’ll probably be much better off than you are now.

    Please keep up this very important work, Selco… I, for one, am now even WAY more attentive than I have been in the past. I’ll likely go back and re-review all your coursework just because I’ll see it much more realistically now.

    God bless. And thanks again.

  5. My wife & I spent 40+- yrs. as FIELD MISSIONARIES; and in that time we learned, (by mistakes MOST of the time)…NO SWEAT! AT LEAST WE LEARNED! THAT’S the MOST important factor…LEARN from your mistakes…

    As Harvey clipped along, heading straight for us, we both PRAYED & felt led to utilize our 2nd Floor Apt., for as long as possible…We have an Apt. that has it’s windows set back from the front of our building, so that they’re fairly safe from flying trash et al. Our one exposed window is not large, & we have a large piece of heavy plastic & duck tape, IF we need it.

    Also, we have “survival food” stocks…AND, our Apt, provides very good “concealment” AND “cover”, for a fire fight…(depending on which ever we need)…BUT! As the SEALs so often say: “The only “EASY DAY” was yesterday!” SOOOooooo TRUE! Don’t OVER PLAN….and BE READY TO CHANGE QUICKLY…

    An extremely important rule to memorize is “MURPHY’S LAW!”…”If anything CAN go wrong, IT WILL!” AND! “KEEP it SIMPLE stupid!” Also REMEMBER: “NO PLAN survives the first “contact” / “gunshot”…STAY ADAPTIVE!

    Also, it’s WISE and GOOD to get to know your neighbors, and communicate with them…What they might need or what they’re plan is…So you can adapt if needed…We HAVE a gas generator, but, in this scenario it wasn’t an option…too inviting a noise, AND, it had to be outside the Apt. SO, easily stolen. But!

    We stuffed our freezer with bags of ice; AND our Refrigerators freezer also…Had LOTS of toilet paper…and careful/silent ways of cooking when the lights went out…LOTS of “grey water”, AND potable!

    Another RULE: “PROPER PREPARATIONS & PRACTICE PREVENT PISS POOR PERFORMANCE”!!! (British S.A.S.”rule of 7’s”)… Our vehicles were “topped off” & ready…but useless this time…FLOODING was extreme…EXCEPT where we live…HIGHEST LOCATION in the area!!! (RIGHT PLACE at the RIGHT TIME)!! We DID have B.O.B.’s but didn’t REALLY need’em! All told, our little Apt. complex was “HIGH & DRY”, and SAFE…NO “EVAC”! Thank the LORD!!

  6. I have had to stop reading “prepper” websites, as most of them are simply marketing vehicles.

    My wife and I are moving to a different state, and it’s amazing how much of the crap I’ve accumulated over the last few years has wound up in the trash pile. Not to mention, how DO you move about 25 cans of ammunition in a car or truck? Will you have room for anything else? The moving companies in the US are not allowed to transport it. Plus, they won’t take any perishable food, and they get to define what’s “perishable.”

    If you’re new to this, don’t do it like I did.

  7. I am older than most and can’t carry a huge weight so I established “pre-chambers” in my wooded area consisting of a metric 4″ PVC pipe buried vertically with the upper cap about 6 inches below the surface. All our jars and cans seem to fit this bore so I place heavy ammo in the bottom encased in a net bag sewn with dental floss. Heavy as it is I can snag it with a hook on a stick. Then cans of meat and fish, lowered inverted so you can’t easily grab them even lying face down in the dirt but I pull them out with a powerful magnet that is in a compartment in my bugout belt-multi-purpose tool. If I lose it I stick a knife through the can. Next is 2 jars with matches, cotton balls, Chapstick, lighters, spices, boil-in-a bag bags, and emergency blanket and other small items (by priority from experience) On top is a plastic jar of chick peas. Peas given me protein and if soaked overnight in the boil-in-a bag require minimal heating. These reduce the weight of my main bag so I can get out the door quickly and get away from the population. My circumstances are I am not going very far until I size up the situation but I have excellent cover and concealment.

  8. Selco – The description of your SHTF experience seems to indicate that you and your family did not bug out or maybe that you all bugged out to one relative’s house. Would you clarify? Did you all have to bug out at any point only to return later, was your group large enough to fend off any threats or did you have to continually bug out to new locations when a more powerful threat emerged?

  9. I would not bug out unless a fire or volcano – period. In the case of fire I would return within two to three days.

    Regarding temporary “camping” I would leave with a wagon and a minimum amount of seven days food and water.

    Regarding noise and light discipline – use an Army canteen cup and sterno cans. Works great when mixing top ramen with MREs.

    Regarding fire starters – bring both lighters and matches…lighters do not work in freezing cold weather unless continuously in your pocket…and even then…

    Proven experiences on four continents and the US mountain ranges.

    And, I like the LDS water purification container.

    Bury about 50% of your preps – water, food, ammo, tools and sandbags. You only become a target when you leave; you have to fight to retake your property; and, Everyone else is going to constipate every road or trail and consume every resource (game, fish, contaminated water, gas) enroute to – where? Everywhere!

    You weakest link in the movement will not allow you to get far. And, in my case, I know I can move 25 miles a day for about a week…but what is 175 miles worth?

    Your home is your fort – dig-in, set traps, use deception (drones) – do the best you can…

    Food for thought.


  10. Think like in the Tom Cruise movie War of the Worlds, after first encounter with alien machines. When he runs into the house to grab and go, how much time does he have? What is his priority based on what he sees? How does he accommodate bugout as he goes (picking up things along the way, not being a target, evaluating situation at hand and making snap decisions). I know it’s a movie, but the premise is sound. You do what you have with what you got, making the most of your ability to think, and any experience you may have gained before SHTF.

  11. Please excuse the fact that the comment that I am about to submit is not related to “Stuff”, but I had a thought this day that I wanted to forward to you for whatever reason.?. 🙂

    I haven’t yet put this thought that I am holding into any logical perspective but it seems so germane to collapse that I wanted to articulate it to someone who could critique it properly.

    It is this; there are two experiences [short of a shtf situation] that a person might have in one’s life that, perhaps, could help to prepare one for the coming collapse of industrial human society. These are the very real threat of starvation and the very real threat of being killed. To have never had the opportunity of failing in the most extreme way possible in life, surely must leave a person sorely unprepared for the time when that becomes the norm.

    How on that?


    1. Thanks Toktomi!
      I hope I understood your comment correctly.

      We can only try to bring the people as close as possible to the reality of true SHTF.
      One thing I point out (say) often on my physical courses:”I want you to be scared, hungry, tired, shocked, in that way I can bring you and give you only small “piece” of how it is in real SHTF, and it is only small part of the “feeling”.

      And even then most of the people are not ready to feel that “feeling”. It is scary feeling, and way(road) to that feeling is bumpy and hard-it is not fun.

      And again, it is the only small part.

      I see logic in your thinking, but also I am following my own logic that says that we need to try to be prepared as best as possible and that s it.

      In the essence everybody gonna have hard time adapting to new reality, everybody is gonna be in shock, I am trying to minimize that time of adapting for the people, and to minimize that shock.

      Sometimes “small” things like helping homeless or volunteering in ER (or similar) can open your perspective a lot, there are ways to be prepared.

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