Author Topic: Your single most important prep/survival item?  (Read 21703 times)

Offline WVMan73

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Your single most important prep/survival item?
« on: November 26, 2011, 10:29:21 AM »

I haven't seen this topic so far, so I thought I would bring it up. I did a search and didn't find it. If I missed it somewhere and this is a duplicate thread, I apologize...

What is the single item in your preps or your survival supplies that YOU think will be the most useful, cant live without, item? This could be any single tool/food item/clothing item/etc. I know that knowledge and skill are very important things, but lets keep this to actual tools or items you can hold in your hands.

I'm sure many will say a fire arm, either a hunting rifle or a personal protection type gun. I can see that as being quite important and if that's your choice there's nothing wrong with that. But some might chose a good water filter. Or perhaps wire to make snares/traps from. It maybe something as simple as a good warm coat, or that great backpack that you made your BOB in. It might be just the itemized list of your food preps in your pantry.(counting that list as a single item might be a stretch, but... lol) It's up to each person to chose.

I'm hoping that this topic can give some differing views of what each of us think will be the most important item to get us through those hard times and see us out the other side. Be it a personal hard time/SHTF, or a complete TEOTWAWKI. I think it might give us all some good ideas and hopefully start a discussion that we can all learn something from, and may also give those new to prepping some ideas as well. 

So, what is YOUR single most important prep/survival item?

WVMan73

Offline Truik

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2011, 11:30:10 AM »
If I had to pick one thing: A good knife.

It is a portable tool that can be used for a multitude of purposes including creating other tools and mechanisms from the material around you.


Offline PAGUY

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2011, 11:47:03 AM »
The knowledge and will to survive that I have in my head.  You can have a physical tool box full of items but, without the knowledge and ability to use them and the will to survive they are worth very little. 

Offline rustyknife

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2011, 12:02:09 PM »
This is a hard one to answer but I would say that it would be a wool jacket I bought at Good Will store many years ago. It is a nice jacket and meant for dress but I love the thing. Very comfortable and warm. Doesn't bother me that other people think it looks old fashioned.

Offline notsofast

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2011, 12:22:21 PM »
Knowledge. I know ya wanted tangible, but..i can hit the woods with nothing and will be fine. That's because i have the knowledge to make the "5 C's". Which I think gets lost in this day of gadgets. But, if I had to pick an actual physical tool, i'd have to say a good knife.
With a good knife or cutting tool you can make anything else.

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2011, 12:45:03 PM »
The thought: "I refuse to die. I refuse to live anything short of my BEST life."

Though a close second would be my sundry water filters. I am pinning all my future hopes and dreams on the availability of clean potable water!

Offline cheryl1

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2011, 01:09:30 PM »
As far as tools go, probably my knife. If I can pick anything under the sun, I would say my husband. I'll prep, he'll pull us through.

Offline WVMan73

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2011, 03:21:00 PM »
Good responces so far! I had a feeling that a good knife would be one of the popular responces. I have to say it would probably be my choice for most important too, but a good way to filter water would make it a tough choice between the two. Or maybe something to boil water in to purify it? hmmm...

I definitely agree with needing the knowledge to survive, and the know how to take care of yourself. The will to survive and the "I'm gonna live!" mindset will carry someone through things that would kill them without that will to live. For this topic lets just assume that we have that will and the knowledge. (and yes, I know what they say about assuming anything. lol)

Cheryl1, I hadn't really thought about a spouse or other person as that one most important item, but I have to say that I really like your responce. Good thinking! You're very lucky to have someone like that in your life!

WVMan73

Offline FromScratchWoman

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2011, 04:45:42 PM »
Hmmm..this ones hard I know exactly what is most important to me for survival..but its more than one ha so I will list an item per family member..our four Great Pyrenees will carry the wool blankets,the husband will carry the bow and I will very carefully carry the seeds son will carry the knife and daughter will carry the flint/rams horn..
The items are pretty self explanatory but just incase...
The wool blankets will get us through until we have a proper amount of skins...
The bow because it doesn't run out of bullets and a head can be fashioned into a knife..
The seeds well that's bigger than everything most people have this image of Native Americans living completely off hunting and gathering when in fact only a hand full of tribes didn't grow seasonal crops..
The knife well its a knife...
Flint w/ ram horn..well fire is essential to survival and when your flint runs out you best have something to carry embers in because most methods for starting fire won't really work as well as having embers..
Dogs while they aren't an item..the particular breed is priceless to me..they provide serious protection are large enough with four of them we can pull serious amounts of weight I.e hurt human,a large kill. They can pull a plow(these can be fashioned natural items) so our crops will do better..and to be brutally serious about survival when one passes on they have a pelt the size of a small bear with a coat meant to withstand the Pyrenees mountain range..and alive they provide serious warmth under a blankets with you..

Offline Johnny Swampwalker

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2011, 05:30:34 PM »
I'd have to go with the knife... I know it's not creative, but it's genuine. Most everything else can be fashioned with a knife in the woods, but there isn't anything in the woods as  sharp and durable.

Knife - cutting tool and weapon.
Knife + rock - sparks for fire
Knife + stick - spear
Knife + lots of sticks - atl-atl, weapons, shelter, figure 4 trigger for deadfall.
Knife + rock - sharp knife.

...actually the rock sounds pretty good, too.

Offline bdhutier

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2011, 07:18:32 PM »
I'd have to say knife as well.  I know they can't compare to firearms for harvesting food, but have fun dressing that deer or elk or, dare I say, DOG without a decent knife!  You can boil water, snare/trap/fish/grow food, use skins/fire/straws/leaves for warmth or comfort.  Can't do most of that, or process the results without a knife.

Offline Space

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2011, 07:32:20 PM »
I think it's my wood furnace, because I could heat the house all winter for free.  So that comes in handy in many scenarios, from the likely job loss to the less likely grid down.  Peace

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2011, 07:59:22 PM »
OK, OK, after knife: water filter, or other locally-adapted way of purifying water.

And after that, a Camelbak, 'cause you need something to put in and haul it around and drink from, and that one item does all three.

Offline Adam Campbell

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2011, 09:09:16 AM »
I would say a clear head. I can tell you from personal experience that without a clear head everything else is useless.

My girlfriend and I are struggling right now. Well less than some but every time we spend a little money trying to receive stress and depression doing something fun we get immediately burned because a crisis takes place. We are in so much debt we can literally never recover and have finally given up even trying. Due to my business dying and getting fired from my next job for going to the hospital for my son's birth we are sunk. I have a job now that has rewarded me for 1.5yrs of work with 2 pay cuts and another company offered me 10k/yr less than I make now to leave lol... Sometimes I need to laugh about it all.

Put it this way I owe the IRS so much money from my failed business in 2008 that if I gave them 100% of my take home pay every payday it would take 5-10 years to pay it off. We are about 2 to 3 months at most from living in the streets -- at least that is how we feel every single day, all day long.

When you are under so much stress and cannot keep a level head take it from me -- your life, relatuonships, family and everything else falls apart very quickly.

I think the only reason my girlfriend and I are even together anymore is because of our son and neither one of us could survive a month without the help of the other.

This constant depression and the fact I can't focus on anything anymore, cannot fix one problem wihout 10 more popping up, losing my temper all the time, and just sitting back waiting for the inevitable collapse to finally arrive proves to me I wont last long when the financial collapse of society comes.

But I do have a tendancy that if the collapse is so severe that we are on barter and fleeing the cities and living on our wits that the major stressors would be gone and I can focus on survival and maybe thrive.

But when you feel like a complete failure and hate yourself every minute of the day the simplest tasks are much harder and having no energy ever just compounds it.

Stress will kill you faster than any supplies you lack.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2011, 09:17:30 AM by Adam B. »

Offline BetaMike

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2011, 10:30:19 AM »
AB,

No doubt, you are 100% correct, keeping a clear head and not letting panic take control is the key.  That is the number one thing... then a knife.

You are also correct that stress will kill you much quicker than you think.

I'm very sorry about your situation and for what it's worth we'll be praying for you.  Remember that there is always hope and solutions will become more apparent if you don't succomb to despair.

You are not a failure and you have absolutely no reason to hate yourself.  This thinking is poison.  Your a facing some extremely difficult challenges, but you will overcome them by keeping a clear head and objectively looking at all of your options as you would in a base survival situation.  There are more options out there than you may realize, but you may be to emotionally distracted to truly see them.  There's everything from the conventional like consulting or enlisting financial planners, family/clergy, friends to the more unconentional like lifestyle changes (Boondocking) or moving to where the jobs environment is much better.  As always, you have this board to draw on for good advice and support.  Take advantage of it all!

Good Luck Adam!  Your going to pull through this.

Offline Adam Campbell

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2011, 10:51:59 AM »
I go through a roller coaster of feeling awesome one day then complete down and out the next. I believe I am far from alone these days.

Today started out feeling like crap because of our furnace going out and having to shell out money on an HVAC guy to fix it — even though we are pretty sure it won't be more than $200. But this time of year I absolutely hate. I am a Scrooge. I DESPISE the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I hate it with every fiber of my soul (not because of what it is SUPPOSED to be, but because of what IT IS).

I also have seasonal depression and this year is going to be much worse because child rearing responsibilities have taken away all my outlets of de-stressing like soccer, sports, hiking, camping, etc. I haven't had 2 hours to myself since AUGUST and I'm about to completely snap.

I know I will survive. I can look at where I was 2 years ago in 2009 and I was MUCH MUCH worse off than we are now. But it is a constant struggle.

But you never know what will lift you up. I just spent 20 minutes typing a whole thing on how to cook with cast iron on someone's recent forum post and that felt good to actually share some knowledge about something with people who can use it! I know I sure appreciated it when I learned from others how to do it myself.

Sometimes just cleaning up a messy room, or accomplishing something small will help get you out of whatever mental funk you are in.

That is one reason why I actually feel like I will be under LESS stress if everything collapsed and we had to hit the woods LMFAO. MOST of our stress is centered around trying to hold onto things that in reality we really don't need.

Offline Cedar

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2011, 01:44:54 PM »


Felco #2's. When we were doing our summer survival course and could only live for 3 days what was in our packs, the guys used to laugh at me for having a pair in my Search and Rescue backpack. But after I had my shelter made, a couple Fig. 4's made and a fish trap happening before they had their shelters half up, they stopped laughing. I carry one pair each in my BOB's, one is floating about under a truck seat (the very tip is broken) and my good pair for pruning is in the house.

At $50 each, they are expensive, but after years of vineyard and orchard work they last forever. I should get a new blade for my broken tipped one someday. The only reason I have so many is I inherited one of my dad's pairs and then I lost mine for a bit and of course I found it after buying a new pair. Until I dropped the one set on concrete opened, I have never had to replace a blade.

They are razor sharp, sent most of my family members to the hospital for sutures a couple times. Not only can you use them for a knife, but I am pretty sure you could dress an animal, even deer sized with one. When energy/calories are at a premium out there, this are a saver.

Cedar

Offline Adam Campbell

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2011, 04:19:31 PM »
Awesome. Prunin shears and bopper definitely work much better clearing brush and cutting wood of 1.5" diameter or less than any other tool hands down.

Offline WVMan73

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2011, 05:49:02 PM »
Cedar, that is a very good idea. How many of us would even think about a set of shears like that as a survival/prep/bugout tool? Awesome post!

That is the sort of thing I was hoping would happen here. I know a lot of us have the same things in mind when we think of tools for prepping or survival, but there are some great items that we may not even think of, but that could really save us. A good knife is hard to beat, (as just about every one who has responded as said. lol) but I can see Cedars shears as being a great time and energy saver.

WVMan73

P.S. Adam, I've been following your furnace thread for a while, and really hope that your latest idea for fixing it works out. That has got to be frustrating as hell for you. I also know how hard this time of year can be, both for the seasonal depression, and for what the holidays have become instead of what they should be. I really do hope that things brighten up some soon, and that hopefully you'll get a little time to yourself too. lol Many of us here do share your pain and understand at least in part how you're feeling. I hope that we can give you some hope, help, or at least a sounding board/place to rant. This forum is truly a family, and we're here for each other.

Offline Adam Campbell

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2011, 07:41:11 AM »
Yeah — I really dig this forum because people are so supportive and want to share their knowledge with each other.

I definitely feel better when I take the time to read and DEFINITELY appreciate any suggestions with my own stuff.

My girlfriend and I are basically completely worn out. I got full custody of my teenage daughter this year from her abusive mother and THAT ALONE has been a major source of stress. My girlfriend's Ford Taurus with 80K miles fell apart so bad we had to sell it for $150 in scrap metal and we are down to one vehicle that is costing us a fortune in payments.

My Jeep Cherokee was stolen last November that I owned outright that would have lasted me another 5+ years — had 150,000 miles, was stolen, in a high-speed police chase, crashed into a curb at 50MPH and caught on fire. Yet, when I got to the impound to pick it up I started it with a screwdriver and drove away with it LMFAO.

The Jeep had over $2500 in damage and could not be fixed to pass inspection — it was totaled. My credit is destroyed (about 500 now) from my business going down the toilet in 2008 and all the tax leins and everything else I have. We could not get APPROVED for a loan for a loan amount we can afford so we ended up getting a Jeep Liberty almost brand new with only 30K miles on it, but we have to pay 21% interest on the loan which is KILLING US — but we have at least a reliable vehicle that has not given us a single problem since we drove off the lot with it so far.

When you have terrible credit nobody will give you a loan for under $10,000 because they want that horrible interest payment from you — so our only option since both of our vehicles were worthless was to take it up the behind.

We had to move because the last house I was living in was literally falling apart and the landlord would not fix anything. All we could find was a "rent-to-own" deal on this place we live now. Esentially the rent we pay is the same, the utilities are MUCH MUCH cheaper, AND the house stays WARM (where the last house was so horrible you would run the furnace on full blast 24/7 and could not keep some rooms above 55. I was having $700/mo heating bills at our old house and the most expensive one at our new place has been about $200.

I spent SIX MONTHS STRAIGHT looking for a new place for us. It was like being in a REALITY TV show trying to find a house to rent. I literally had a lease ALMOST SIGNED. I was supposed to meet the landlord one day and then he called me back to say he was raising the rent by $150/mo over the advertised price because the place was in such demand that prospective TENNANTS were OUT-BIDDING each other to take the house!!!!!

I literally looked at one place EVERY WEEK for SIX STRAIGHT MONTHS — and then with winter setting in — we decided to sign this rent-to-own contract on the house we live in now — hoping and praying we would not need to make any major repairs (like a new furnace) because we are required to repair anything and everything that breaks.

This new landlord is a complete A-hole and we will be stuck paying the remainder of the lease if we try and get out early, and we may even get sued if something is broke that we didn't fix before we leave. We are just trying to patch it up so that we can get the hell out of it. We lose all of the "Down Payment" we made but that payment was no more than a security deposit on a rental would have been. There were SEVERAL "rent to owns" that the landlords wanted $4,000 as a down payment on before you could move in (basically a complete down payment as if you were buying it with a mortgage).

We know full well we can't get a mortgage even if we tried right now because my credit is fully destroyed. My girlfriend has spotless credit but pretty much no income. So we are both screwed.

We keep weeding out things from our budget, especially when we take on a new expense and I have been able to cut out $300/mo from our expenses from moving and getting rid of tons of things we don't need, or consolidating things like car insurance etc etc etc. But then NEW things pop up. I do notice that we seem to have more money every month than when we first moved into this place even though my company has cut my pay — TWICE — after giving me a promotion that an OUTSIDER would have gotten a six figure salary for taking.

I am about 3 or 4 weeks away from putting in my 2 week notice in regardless if I find a new job or not. I had a new company last week offer me 10K / yr less than I make NOW — KNOWING what I currently make and I just told them off over the phone because it was rather insulting that they even called me to make that offer.

But in the end — this time of year — I HATE IT. I go absolutely nuts every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But this year I've gained 30lbs since spring because I am not allowed to go get any exercise or time to myself anymore, and stress is a huge cause of weight gain for me. I am an athlete and not getting any outlet for the stress is causing me to feel right now like I usually feel at the END of winter, so I am assuming this winter is going to literally kill me.

On the positive side, I can look back a couple of years and see how much better off we are right now than we were 2 years ago — its like night and day. But my girlfriend and I have been living like we have a gun pointed at our heads for about 3 years now and its taking its toll even though we can look back with clear heads and actually SEE how much better off we are than we were in spite of whatever issues we have.

The point is that when you are completely stressed out — the SMALL problems start to seem insurmountable — and having a complete lack of energy or will to do anything about it anymore just makes everything worse.

I believe everyone needs an outlet for their stress — mine is going camping, OUTDOOR exercise, and playing sports. I keep saying to my family that if I had needed to see a THERAPIST — everyone would bend over backwards to make it possible, nobody would make me feel guilty about it, and would be completely understanding.

However, when NATURE is my therapist and I need to have some of it every week — even if it is just one evening — then I become a selfish prick for wanting time to myself and I am not putting anyone else's needs above my own.

When TSHTF — it is going to be a good idea to make sure that you have a way to deal with the stress that you will be under. It is my biggest struggle RIGHT NOW. None of the problems I have are insurmountable — but when the stress takes over even the SMALLEST problems are insurmountable.

My girlfriend and I cleaned the entire house 2 weeks ago, and then my daughter had a bunch of people over for her birthday and the whole house is TRASHED. It has been completely trashed for over 2 weeks now and neither one of us even want to bother doing dishes anymore because every time we spend a couple days of our life cleaning up — it goes right back to being trashed in less than 2 days (2 year old and inconsiderate 16 year old we can thank for that).

We have both reached the point where we don't even want to TRY anymore. Everything feels like a lost cause.

But anyway — thanks for the encouragement — I need to get some work done today.

Offline Roundabouts

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2011, 08:23:32 AM »
Hey Adam we must be related your story sounds like I wrote it myself.  There was a time that when friends would call the first thing they wanted to know was what had happened since the last visit.  Downer became our name.  So many would say you gotta put that into a book or movie at the very least a soap opera.  It's just so unbelievable.  You are right sometimes you just gotta laugh cuz who wants a stuffy snotty nose if you cry. LOL  I'd say 25 years of crap storms.  Lately the last 6 yrs or so most would say man you guys have bad luck I just say no things are much better now.  What made me feel better and I know this may sound crazy to some but if you think about it it's not.  I cleaned out my underwear drawer.  Every thing was folded just so and color coordinated in the neatest rows.  Would have put the military to shame.  Every time I opened that drawer it was nice and neat.  That was what I used to have some sort of control over a crazy life.  Heck it was about the only thing I could keep under control.  It was my little drawer of hope that no one could take from me. I vowed some day things will be good just like my drawer. Sometimes you just gotta have small victories and that can keep you going.  Gives you something to build on.


Now for my most valuable item in a shtf situation. CASH MONEY.  We have had many SHTF times in life and I can honestly say that in each one $$$ would have made things better if not totally eliminated it.    If we are talking a total mad max type of thing well maybe US currency might not work but something else would take it's place.

If that is not what you are asking then I would say shoes a good pair of waterproof sturdy supportive boots with long laces. 

My hubby goes and family goes without saying.   If all that is just a given you are dressed and have shoes and can just take one thing with you that you can grab and go I think it would have to be a tarp or large plastic trash bags.  with a tarp you can collect or carry water you can be protected from the elements it can help keep your warm or provide shade.  You can use it for a signal flag you could use it as a rope if you really needed to you can wear it you could use it as a bandaid splint or back pack so things that you find along the way could be carried.  you could use it as a fishing net / dam can use it to contain animals like my dogs or pigs.  When the kids were little I used one for an outdoor playpen so I could set up camp without worrying about them crawling off.  As they  got older and could walk I would say stay on the tarp until I am done.  That kept them safe so I could focus on getting other things done.  So a tarp might not seem glorious but since the fastest thing that can kill you (besides lack of breathable air) is the elements  / exposure I have to say a tarp.

Offline Adam Campbell

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2011, 09:17:41 AM »
I know full well I am not alone — this is probably way off topic of the thread at this point but mental preparedness is definitely more important than any materials. You can survive for a long time with nothing but a pocket knife if you know what you are doing. Would you ENJOY IT? LOL I would enjoy it quite a bit for about a week and then it would start to get OLD real quick LOL.

I like your story about the underwear drawer. I feel the same way about our house when I DO get to clean up an area. My main place of content like that used to be my office. I used to have my own office sealed away from the house (the whole first floor of my old house used to be my business and we all lived upstairs until it went down the crapper) — aside from the kitchen.

According to the IRS my dining room was the "conference room" and looked as such, and acted as such whenever clients came over etc., so I was justified. We almost never ate in the room itself.

Anyway, I used to lock myself in my office and clean it up to immaculate condition every other month or so (sorting / cleaning up the piles of paperwork etc).

The peace of mind gained was incredible.

Now, I have an "office-like area" seperated from the living room by a baby gate but an area I need to share with my snotty teenage daughter, and girlfriend (on a computer I set up to be shared between everyone).

I can't keep my workspace clean for 2 days now. I will clean the office and my daughter's crap is everywhere… And then my $1,000 Herman Miller Aeron chair (which I paid $300 for and have had almost TEN years) is being destroyed by the day — not to mention the adjustments are always out of wack wheneve I sit down at the desk. That chair used to be 100% OFF LIMITS to anyone but myself. It was an investment in a bad back from sitting at a computer 12 hrs a day and WELL WORTH the $300 vs paying $150 - $200 for a "Staples" piece of junk every 2 years or so (as they totally wore out).

Even so, my chair only needs a new seat thingy and a new hydraulic unit — which combined will cost $100 or less on ebay LOL — so even destroyed I can have a brand new chair instead of going to staples. I just need to wait until I have my OWN office space and can kick everyone OUT OF IT for good.

One of the several drawbacks to moving into a much smaller house to save money.

The new house is so small I do not have ANY space that is my own. I set up a "man cave" in the basement but that is being taken away to make a teenage hangout for my daughter to get her to stop complaining about her bedroom being next to the baby's.

Then instead of getting her old bedroom to myself, my son gets to have it as his "play room."

It is so bad that if I NEED to get work done I NEED to go to a COFFEE SHOP to do it outside of my day job. And since my girlfriend works opposite hours I can't even do THAT. I literally need to become unemployed before I can REALLY SERIOUSLY look for a new job.

The stress we are under is INSANE. The IRS could come ANY DAY NOW and garnish my paychecks to the point we can't afford rent. We can't afford an attorney to fend them off, can't afford a vehicle for my girlfriend so we just share now, can't afford a new furnace so if we can't get this one fixed we are using electric heaters all winter — which is against our lease and will get us evicted if the landlord were to show up and see it.

I could not even write the amount of adversity we face right now without taking 6 hours to write a BOOK about it.

But with that said — sometimes just ignoring everyone who wants something from me, going to the basement and cleaning / organizing my camping equipment, go bags, and re-organizing the food/water storage shelf makes me feel good (until my family comes and snags ALL of the 100 watt light bulbs I had been stockpiling and throws them into the lamps all over the house leaving the shelves in complete disarray in the process and things like that).

I get bitched out more than I bitch out anyone in my house yet I am the only one who is even TRYING when I try to make things better for everyone. After my daughter blew through $600 in birthday money she got from all over her family in 2 days then begged me for $20 to go to a movie with her friends and I told her no — I became a complete asshole and worthless piece of crap. I still sure as hell didn't give her any more money. Hell, she had more than BOTH my girlfriend and myself COMBINED when she got all of this money for her birthday and BLEW it on Black Friday nonsense.

It sucks when my backpack for WORK (my sorta EDC bag) I call it my "MOB" (mobile office backpack) is the ONLY thing in my entire house that is off-limits and that I have any control over LOL. But I do keep it well stocked and it is basically the bag that holds anything I would possibly need to do my job from literally anywhere, and of course other do-dads like my "get home" stuff and I could survive out of it if it became necessary.

Offline Cedar

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2011, 12:02:57 PM »
You need Nanny McPhee

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Offline Black November

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #23 on: November 28, 2011, 01:40:35 PM »
Everyone says a good knife.

I say a good leatherman with a knife.  :D

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #24 on: November 28, 2011, 02:06:19 PM »
A cool head.  To me, everything else is window dressing in a SHTF situation if you can't keep your head about you, remain cool, calmly assess the situation, develop a plan, and take action.  There's been survivors who've hiked out alone in high heeled boots and long skirts from the High Sierras because they kept their head about them.  There's also been boneheads who've panicked and made a bad situation worse, jumped into the life raft where they died of hypothermia/dehydration/stupidity only to have their ship found in tact two weeks later.

Assuming I have that, I guess a 55 gallon drum liner would be pretty high up there.  Emergency poncho, shelter or sleeping bag.  I agree that knives are wonderful tools, but it's been my experience that making a windproof/waterproof shelter is an extreme time and calorie suck compared to having something like a tarp, space blanket or trash bag.  Of all the search and rescues I was a part of in Summit County, roughly half the fatal incidents could have been saved with decent rain gear or a trash bag to stay dry (many of the others could have been saved by better judgement and avoiding 35% slopes heavily loaded with fresh snow).  Typically, the model for death up there was:  Get a late start to "bag a 14er" (climb a 14,000' peak), summit around noon, get caught in an afternoon thunderstorm around 1:30pm while wearing cotton shorts and a cotton t-shirt, have a breakdown in judgement due to hypothermia and either fall to your death, get lost, or die of exposure by nightfall.  Above treeline a knife wouldn't do a bit of good, but a trashbag, well, 8 out of 10 probably would have been back at their cars before dark.

Of course that points back to the fundimental problem with open ended questions like this:  There's a thousand ways to die and if I were on the deck of a crab boat in the Bering Straits or abducted by cartel in Mexico or broken down in rush hour traffic in the middle lane on the interstate, a trashbag wouldn't help me at all.  ...but my cool head might... ;)

Offline Adam Campbell

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #25 on: November 28, 2011, 02:36:37 PM »
Yup. I find that when I can keep a cool head (usually the answers to all my problems just materialize whenever I can find a way to get away from everyone and have some peace and quiet of my own, or get some exercise and take out aggression at "Sunday soccer fights" as we call it haha). One city league was actually banned here because it got so violent. But it is a "friendly" violence — we all shake hands when it is over and we aren't out to SERIOUSLY hurt anyone, but it gets very rough. I get quite beat up and I am a mean old bruiser myself LOL.

Every time I am able to go camp for a couple days without a bunch of screaming kids, no cell phone, no calls from work, no staying up late to meet a deadline, no getting chewed out for not doing this or not having done that, and just sit in QUIET for a day or two, go on a hike, talk to myself, whatever happens — I always come back and am able to tackle so many problems in a short period of time.

In 2010 I went camping 12 times (I document them in my google docs so eventually I can blog about them), and I accomplished more last year than I have in a long long time — AND I was healthier than I have been in YEARS.

In 2011 I've gone 5 times, 4 of them with the family, one of them with a couple of friends who all we did was fight the entire time (rough backpacking trip), so not one of them was an actual break and relaxing to me.

I haven't had an afternoon to myself since August — and that was the backpacking trip and I came home miserable from it.

So now here I sit, weighing 30lbs more than this time last year, stressed out to the point I can't even fix a flat tire on a bicycle (just an example since I am a bike mechanic and that is easy). Every little problem ends up a huge ordeal and I can't even be 10 minutes late getting home from work without getting chewed out because my girlfriend will be late to work (sorry about the traffic jam honey but my tires aren't big enough to drive over everyone just yet — we are working on it though) LMFAO.

I agree with a tarp.

Even though my backpack weighed 72 lbs on the aforementioned backpacking trip — that was because I was eating a 17oz NY Strip Steak stuffed with blue cheese and a baked potato with a COLD 6 pack of Miller Light on DAY TWO while they were all eating granola bars and Top Ramen.

My SHELTER / Sleeping kit was ultra-light though (3lbs) LMFAO — a hammock, and a 4'X6' TARP — which ended up being EVERYONE's shelter (or staging, packing area) when it rained a whole bunch and I had the only dry area where I could pack my backpack without getting wet and had a bunch of room to maneuver since they brought tents (including my backpacking tent).

But because my dumb ass friend who thinks he is hiking the Appalachian Trail wore JEAN SHORTS without ANY change of clothes and did not listen when we SAID to him that no matter what the weather is everywhere else it ALWAYS rains at this spot in the mountains EVERY DAY (its like a jungle up there), he was the main reason we had to return to the truck and hike 10 miles at 4PM because he didn't want to spend another night there and I HAD the keys (I almost told him to walk back home LOL).

That TARP ended up being the MOST USEFUL THING of the entire trip hands down. We stashed our heavy packs in a hidden place off-trail and used my tarp to keep everything dry while we day-hiked, and I used it for my shelter… in a HARD CORE downpour I didn't get a drop of rain on me just lounging in a hammock underneath of it. ALl my tent dwelling friends got wet anyway since they didn't have proper ground cover and tents tend to always leak a little bit anyway in a heavy rain.

There are so many things you can use a tarp for its ridiculous. I always carry a few in my Jeep's tool box.

Offline Adam Campbell

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #26 on: November 28, 2011, 02:44:46 PM »
That trip was being used for myself as a TEST as to how difficult that whole fantasy would be "I'm just gonna put everything in a backpack and bug out." Don't expect to cover more than 10 miles in a day IF you are in GREAT SHAPE doing something like that.

Don't expect to go more than 30 miles in a week because after about 3 days of hiking 10 miles weighed down like that you aren't gonna be able to walk anymore, and might throw out a disc if you don't know how to keep your pack properly balanced. You will need days off.

One lesson I learned is how far I can actually cover on the most rugged trails imaginable (Dolly Sods West Virginia) — and can extrapolate how far I could go on smooth trails, how LONG I could keep it up for, etc.

I can definitely carry enough gear and FOOD to survive a month, maybe MORE without a re-stock, but the going would be VERY SLOW.

On a bicycle I can cover about 400 miles in 3 days doing the same thing, but only carrying a max of 35lbs on the bike (herniated a disc doing it with a backpack on a bike once and will never do that again).

So, I would add MOUNTAIN BIKE to the list of useful things in a grid-down scenario. You have rapid transportation especially in a city where a bicycle is FASTER than a car, and I can carry 35lbs of crap for 400 miles in a weekend (or make multiple trips between closer locations shuttling gear).

If you see the things people carry in 3rd world countries on bicycles, then it puts my limit to shame LOL (when you see stacks of crates filled with pigs, piled 10 stacks high and someone riding a piece of junk bike carrying all of it on the back with ropes that is)...

Offline cheryl1

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #27 on: November 28, 2011, 02:59:22 PM »
Maybe just Husband Swap. You come her and I'll send mine there. You can chill for a week and he'll learn how good he's got it.  ;)

Offline Adam Campbell

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #28 on: November 28, 2011, 03:06:08 PM »
LOL — Reminds me of when I wanted to be a mormon for a minute (LOL) until I realized that I don't want TEN wives because having ONE is tough enough ;-)

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Re: Your single most important prep/survival item?
« Reply #29 on: November 28, 2011, 03:11:31 PM »
Adam:  Something about your post reminded me of something I've noticed in myself lately.  The more irrational people act around me, the more I withdraw and begin working in a hyper-analytic mode.

A recent example that come to mind includes my Urban Rifle course a couple months ago.  As it was my third course with Farnam, I found that the louder he yelled, the more I focused on what I needed to do next to complete the drill.  When it came to the final, I made a stupid mistake early on, walked through it several times and nailed it on the next attempt.  Some of the other students didn't make it through until their tenth time through.

Another example would be how I responded when I came into the laundry room to find water all over the floor because a towel was left in the utility sink that blocked the drain.  I shut off the water, ran up stairs to get the wife to help, opened the door to the crawl space, turned on the sump pump and started squeegy-ing while the wife got the shop vac up and running.  No yelling or screaming, just action to solve the problem.

Oh, and regarding 10 miles a day, HA!  Try going cross country in heavy timber and you're lucky to make 1.5 miles a day.  That said, I had a friend do the Colorado Trail from end to end this summer and cover an average of 20 miles a day (he's the ultimate ultralighter and had re-supply available every 4-6 days. 

And I completely agree, the bugout with a backpack mentality needs testing to discover it's not real world.  Best case scenario, you have the tools you need to build a cabin somewhere and set up a permanent base of operation.  Here in Colorado it would only take one winter to screw anyone trying to live by the backpack alone.  You simply can't carry enough gear to survive a week of -20F without a permanent shelter to hunker in.

As for mountain bikes, I have a BOB trailer with a 70 pound load capacity.  What a great tool.  Some day I hope to go hunting with it.  The idea of trailering out an animal rather than carrying it out by hand seems divine.