By April 10, 2012 Read More →

First things first…

I have read tons of books, e-books, articles, web pages, and watched video after video of any and all knowledge pertaining to survival I could find; I consumed it.  Then to test the validity of the ideas I learned, I would bounce idea after idea off anyone that would listen.

The problem is, there are only so many hours in the day & all that researching left little time to actually DO ANYTHING, except obsess on acquiring more knowledge.  The absolute worst obstacle I ran into was the fact that out of 15 sources of information, I would most likely to run into 15 different approaches to survival/prepping/defense/etc, and 15 different “Experts” with 15 theories all swearing it the BEST.  It’s maddening.
A perfect example: A good friend of mine does Hydrogen conversions for vehicles.  I have been in line to get my ’74 Blazer converted for two years; he’s going to do it as a favor at no cost to me. (This vehicle is a perfect choice for a survival vehicle for many reasons.) Thing is, he’s bound and determined to give me the newest, best, and greatest design and according to him they come out with something new every week. At this rate I will never get one & if I do he’ll want to swap it out a month from now because the old one just won’t do.


I am sure I am not the only one who has ever run into this problem.  After all, you want THE BEST technique/tool/trick/whatever to use right?  If you’re going to do it or have it why not do or have the best right?  Here’s the rub…there is no “BEST”.
I am a huge believer in the technology of hydrogen conversion, especially if you’re financially tied to a gas engine bug out vehicle.  But there’s more involved in putting a system like that on your vehicle than just slapping it in and driving on river water free for eternity.  What if it breaks down? Most folks know their way around a V8 enough to repair what has broken as long as it isn’t something major like a head gasket or thrown rod. But what happens if even one small thing happens to your hydrogen system? What do you know about fixing those?

Here’s my point. The “BEST” is

#1: Whatever you can afford,  and still afford the rest of your supplies.

#2, whatever you can truly learn.

(There are reasons the military has the troops strip, clean, and reassemble their equipment until they can do it blindfolded). You should know what every piece of equipment in your packs, vehicles, and homesteads does and/or can do, and everything should be field tested at least once.

The old saying “jack of all trades, master of none” kind of applies here.  You might have the cash to buy a million survival items each with a million bells and whistles but if you don’t know the first thing about what to do if it fails or breaks you’ll have a million dollars worth of what are now essentially nice rocks with lots of cool bells and whistles.  I guess if you lived in a castle you could incorporate them into your defenses by dropping them on the heads of invaders. You get my point.

I am going to close with a question.  Most everything I have read about prepping says to start with water.  Getting it, storing it, purifying it, etc.  While of course water is most important to life next to oxygen, if you’re not in the financial situation to just go out and buy everything you need, (like me), an equally important starting point for you that can be done simultaneously is cutting costs, immediately. This will get you further, faster.

Q: So do you buy water and filters or invest in something like a hydrogen conversion for your vehicle, thereby saving you thousands a year and allowing you to prep more completely?
Other things like gardening can also save you loads of cash in the long run, but if you’re starting from scratch it could take a sizeable investment to begin. There’s also the question of “what do you plant first in a survival situation”? There is a lot of good information out there on this topic.
If this was 15 years ago, I would say most certainly; bite the bullet and invest in all the cost cutting items you can. Most of these cost cutting things are also prepping items, but probably aren’t in most “Experts” list of top 10 first things to buy, and it’s not 15 years ago. I don’t think there’s going to be very many more months, much less years before some Americans are living on their prepped stores and skills. That’s just my outlook though.
A: The MOST IMPORTANT thing is to just start somewhere. MAKE a list of your top 10 or find a list that speaks to your weak points and start checking it off! There are so many different scenarios…are you prepping for your family? Are you just prepping for yourself? Even if we can’t do the most expensive thing on our list today we can still cross off something. So do what you can as you can but DO IT and do it as quickly as you can. Now I’m not trying to be the 16th “Expert”, far from it, I’m afraid. This is MY attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff, and, while doing so, practically applying it to my life and my survival strategies.
I am hoping that my readers who are new to prepping can benefit from the documentation of my journey. (The actual learning I’m sure will come from the real experts who might stumble upon the article & correct my mistakes in the comments).



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5 Comments on "First things first…"

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  1. Twister says:

    People need to listen this dude nows what he’s talking about

  2. Alive14 says:

    Yes, yes I do. Very astute of you Twister. (Just kidding folks Twister is a buddy of mine)

  3. You make some very valid points. As a prepper who has been through a lot of wasted time and money on supplies and what not, I have finally gotten together the things i feel we will need to survive. Your tip on putting together a list (or using one someone else made as a guide) of needs is right on target for beginners. Good article.

  4. Robin Warren says:

    Instead of Hydrogen why not wood? Burn wood and then use the gases generated to power your Blazer!
    These folks are the “Gurus” of Wood Gas (Producer Gas) and generally, ok all the time, talk over my head. Go to the files section and poke around.
    If you can and like to tinker this is for you. There are no “plans” but general directions and hints. You can start off with a 55 gallon and 5 gallon drums to get the idea of the thing.

    I live at my Bug Out location. I have a 45 acre lake and back up to a river. My nearest neighbor is over 2 miles away and this area is just rural Texas.

    My indicators for SHTF are similar to others: Gas/Food become scarce. Lots of strange folks in the area (yep, that rural). At first the locals will stay around the country store/gas station looking for information. When everyone STOPS going to the store tells me it is time to get my group here and hunker down.

    I have stopped buying/using any item that comes in cans for long term storage. I bought a “Seal-a-meal” type device and am putting up everything either freeze-dried, vacuum packed and/or dry (beans, rice etc.) I always buy extra coffee filters. Will use them to filter the lake/river water before I boil it.

    I have stopped trying to “rotate” my supplies. Bought/made shelving units that have wheels. There are “systems/products” you can buy, like you see at the store where cans come rolling down a shelf, but I no longer use cans.

    When you make your list of things to stock think about stocking items you can use for “trading/barter.” With less and less folks smoking how about Bic lighters? Got to start a fire some way!

    etc etc


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