We can dream, can’t we?
Ah, for a wilderness retreat.
You may have guessed by now that Joe and I live in a community surrounded by other communities running up and down the coast of Southern California. Over 22 million people whose view of mountains is often just a brownish-gray haze over the top of multiple freeways. As for forests and rivers – well, you’ve heard of the California drought, too, right?
What this means is that OUR normal notion of “survival” really doesn’t include camping, hunting or fishing. For most of us, even the notion of back-yard farming is out of the question. (There’s that drought I mentioned.)
So, I live vicariously through other survival blogs and my monthly Popular Mechanics, which seems to feature survival in 3 out of every 4 issues! Oh, how those photos of lush greenery make me envious! And the “how-to” survival ideas remind me of earlier days, when I tagged after my brothers as they earned Boy Scout merit badges. (Starting a fire with a bow was one of the biggest challenges, I recall.)
Anyway, a recent issue carried this title story: “How to Survive On Your Own – Make your own power, grow your own food, and other secrets to the new self-sufficiency – Page 55.”
So I thought I’d highlight a few things, in case you missed it . . .! (You won’t find all these items at Amazon, but if there’s a link, click to get the current pricing.)
Some slick survival equipment
The multi-page feature article started with wonderful tips about cast-iron equipment for the off-grid cook – items I’ll probably never use but that I’d like to try! (There’s such a satisfying feeling to the finish and heft of just about anything made of cast iron.)
- A cast-iron grain mill ($1,100) for making flour and grinding seeds.
- An 8-quart fruit press ($200) will handle berries, too.
- The 11.75 in. Le Creuset enameled cast-iron skillet ($285) is something I MIGHT use. I admire Le Creuset pots but they’re heavy. The one in the magazine article has two handles so you can pick it up more easily. I’d still probably opt for a smaller size, maybe this one – cherry red, of course. Le Creuset Signature Iron Handle Skillet, 10-1/4-Inch, Cerise (Cherry Red)
- Copper dowsing rods to help find water and, for that matter, pipes running underground on your property. (When I was researching for my gas line series I came across some pretty compelling videos on YouTube!) You can make dowsing rods by hand, or get a set from Amazon for less than $20.
Dowsing Rod Copper -Solid Material 99% – Ghost Hunting, Divining Water, Gold, Buried Items, etc. Instructions and Video Sources Included – 5×13 Inch – Non-toxic
A manual washing machine – a 5 lb, hand-cranked machine great for delicates or small loads in an apartment and, of course, for camping. As long as you can hang things up to dry, it sounds like a terrific – and resource saving – idea, don’t you agree? The Laundry Alternative Wonderwash Non-electric Portable Compact Mini Washing Machine
A heavy-weight shovel that turns out to be a multi-tool – adjust the angle for chopping, digging or sawing, and it even has a fire starter embedded in the handle. I need a shovel for my car kit – I am particularly attracted by the case for this one from FiveJoy. The image shows the whole package. (Note – this is the RS and not the C1): FiveJoy Military Folding Shovel Multitool (RS) – Tactical Entrenching Tool w/ Case for Camping Backpacking Hiking Car Snow – Heavy Duty, Multifunctional, Portable, Compact Emergency Kit Survival GearA pre-made, off-grid house! No tent for me – how about a self-contained pod that makes its own electricity, collects rainwater, deals with waste, etc.? The article described three different models (only one had a waste processor) costing from $87,600 (ecocapsure.sk) to “$400,000-$500,000.” (acredesigns.com). Sorry, no direct link to Amazon on these!
And then, there was the section called “Entertainment.”
It focused on making sure you have plenty of power for games and movies on your various devices. (After all, we’re talking survival here!) I already own solar panels, and recommend Goal Zero for even the most inexperienced survivalist.
Solar panels plugged into a power pack can charge your phone or tablet to give you the power you need for entertainment or connecting to civilization. There are many permutations of (1) panel/s + (2) powerpack/battery + maybe (3) inverter + device, but Goal Zero seems to have done a good job of making sturdy, convenient and handy combinations. We own a number of the components.
Here’s a Goal Zero kit that you could consider as a starter, for hiking or camping. Charge from the sun, by plugging into the wall, or into your car. The image shows the foldable solar panel with the battery and attached inverter. Many people add an extra 20W panel to give it more capability. Goal Zero 42011 Sherpa 100 Solar Recharging Kit
Still deep in the magazine, turn the page and you come to a personal story about confidence, creativity and survival in Smith Henderson’s article about his childhood and his family living in Montana. The story includes an intriguing mixture of danger (forest fire), hard work (filling the woodshed, canning and pickling and jamming to fill the cellar) and the best of modern survival gear. Again, for example:
Henderson’s father’s hunting bow with “complex sighting system, soloCam and arrows that flange outward.” As a kid I had a bow (and slingshot, and crossbow) so for fun, I took a look at several articles about real hunting bows, and learned a lot about draw-weight, draw-length, speed, weight, noise and vibration. Here’s a medium-priced single cam bow at Amazon that got a solid recommendation. PSE Archery Prophcy Skllwks CamoLH70. (Nothing like what you remember from your childhood, eh?)
Can’t finish my Advisory without a nod to Smith Henderson himself, who published a first novel in 2014 — set where else but in Montana? — and which won all sorts of awards. Check it out: Fourth of July Creek: A Novel
And a philosophical touch
I found the best piece in this whole feature buried in the section called “You need books.” It was a quote from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, and it can pretty much apply to all our Advisories at Emergency Plan Guide.
As we dream, and make plans for acquiring wonderful new survival gear, we need equally to make plans for acquiring new knowledge, being open to new attitudes and learning new skills.
For as Thoreau says,
“Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.”
Thanks to Popular Mechanics for its continued emphasis on do-it-yourself self-sufficiency.
What about you? What’s a favorite resource of yours? Let us know in the comments!
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