Thursday, October 3, 2013

Lighten Your Load . . . .


There are some tricks you can use to lighten up that ruck / pack / sack (or whatever you call that huge transport bag you strap on your back when you want to move your “things” over long distances by foot.)

Most importantly packing your ruck sack correctly, more so, distributing the weight correctly by the order in which items of differing weight are packed, really helps the fatigue factor when hiking or rucking.  Read about that here:

Aside from that, there are some ways to “shave” ounces and eventually pounds off your overall ruck weight so you can go farther in a shorter amount of time.  Regardless of your objective, if you have a survival load on your back you need to pack with you the things that will continue your heart beating.  Here is an excellent article on the packing priorities in regard to survival in hostile environments:


Now, in the context of those two articles . . . .

Here are some ideas / products that will help you save some ounces:

The Sawyer MINIFilter:  Fits in the palm of the hand small.  Filters out all sorts of things that make you have the “runs” such as ecoli, bacteria, protozoa, cysts, giardia, etc, etc.  (those are the ones that can make you really really sick).  The filter is good for 100,000 gallons of water (and comes with a back-flushing kit).  Which if you use 2 gallons of filtered water a day . . . would last you for over 130 years.  Over 65 years if you and another person are using it.  It only weighs a few ounces. 


*If viruses are a concern, you might consider adding a small bottle and household bleach and eye dropper to your pack.  Read the previous post on waterborne viruses to understand what they are and what they are not. 


The Vargo TitaniumHexagon Pack Stove:  Again, it only weighs a few ounces.  The stove is very efficient, blocks the wind, and folds up into a very thin space.  The ability to build a small contained but efficient fire could be a key survival ingredient you need. This especially is the case if you do not want to broadcast to anyone in the area your presence with huge beach fire flames.  The GLSC Team packs this Vargo stove wherever we go in the wild.

Wiggy's Sleeping Bags:  Pound for pound, Wiggy's Lamilite filled sleeping bags and garments, wick water the best, and provide the best insulation when the temps go down, than any other product on the market.  "ask us how we know".  Wiggy's 5 lb sleeping bag offers cold weather insulating qualities that beat a bag with twice the weight. 

*The fact that these relatively light weight bags have saved lives, when guys in the field have broke through a frozen lake without any available rescue crew to bring them back is a testament to the value of the product.

GLSC Level 1 Wilderness First Aid Kit:  Big enough to handle your wilderness first aid emergencies but light weight enough to carry all day and not know it's there.

Knife Sharpening Supplies:  Need to keep your knife sharp?  Try a leather hone with hone compound instead of a heavy stone.  Made for GLSC here in Michigan, we carry these to touch up our knives in the field.  This will save at least a pound in your pack.

Killing Waterborne Viruses with Bleach

Understanding the threat that Waterborne Viruses pose to humans:

Combating Viruses after the water has been filtered:

1)  Clear water is a sign of pure water. Always drain long-standing pipes for 30 seconds to one minute before drinking! (Cheap remote motels?)

2)  1 Gallon water is disinfected by 8-16 drops of regular household bleach (visually about 1/4 of a teaspoon) - double that for cloudy water. Shake and let stand 30 minutes. One teaspoon will disinfect 5 gallons. Immediately after treating, water must initially have a slight smell of chlorine. If it does not - repeat the process.

3)  Household bleach is relatively harmless. The smell or �waft� of chlorine is not bad: it indicates that water is treated and germ free. Once treated and disinfected, the chlorine smell will go away in a few days.

4)  Regularly used water from large tanks may be treated once or twice a month with 1 Oz. bleach per 200 gallons or 5 Oz. bleach per 1000 gallons. 

5)  Long-standing water in tanks will be disinfected w/ 1 pint household bleach per 1000 gallons. (2500 gal tanks are fine with 3 pints.) 

6)  Bleach effectively kills bacteria and viruses, stops smells and then breaks down. It's effective germ killing alkaline property is completely neutralized very quickly. It does not stay chemically active in tanks for more than a few days. Most germs require sunlight to grow. Store water in the dark.

7)  If water is relatively clear: but has a noticeable smell of chlorine: it is drinkable, disinfected, and harmless. Humans need 2 quarts per day.

The above text is designed to be printed, cut-out, and taped inside a cabinet door, or saved as a reminder. 6 % sodium hypochlorite solution, referred to as " common household chlorine bleach", is not a seriously poisonous substance to humans. It is an alkaline salt. It is not an "acid".  However It very, very effectively kills bacteria and viruses upon contact. It is the world-wide chemical of choice for treating drinking water, or for effectively sterilizing everything from shower stalls to surgical instruments. Truthfully, very heavily chlorinated water may be more irritating to the lungs - if it is used for showers, than it is harmful to the intestinal tract if used for drinking purposes. Even drinking straight household bleach rarely results in death. The alkaline properties of undiluted bleach may cause painful chemical burns to the esophagus and stomach - but it is not deadly poisonous. Bleach must always be kept out of the reach of children - because not only might they drink it - they may get it in their eyes.  All long-standing water that is exposed to air and sunlight grows bacteria and other organisms which may include the very troublesome protozoa, Giardia. These organisms may cause people to become very sick. Iodine has long been carried by back-packers for cases of emergency because very small long-lasting tablets effectively disinfect germ infected water. Iodine is at least 1000 times more toxic than is sodium hypochlorite (bleach). Unlike sodium hypochlorite, iodine does not break down. It does, however, cause an unpleasant taste in treated water. This is why back packers are given the option to carry a taste neutralizing tablet for use if water has been treated with iodine. Iodine does remain in the body. Iodine poisoning is of greater concern for longer term situations than is the slight smell of bleach. In any regular situation, bleach is the by far the preferred method for purifying drinking water because it effectively kills harmful organisms, and then it breaks down and is quickly chemically neutralized.  It should be noted that fish, mosquitoes, algae, etc. can not - and do not live - in poisonous water. Given the choice between two still ponds in the wild: one with mosquitos, or algae growing in it -- and another near-by it, which may be seemingly clear - I would prefer to drink the water that has the organic life growing in it. The other standing water, even though it appears clear - is obviously unusable or undesirable to other living organisms and therefore it may be poisonous.  New well-water should ALWAYS be tested by the drilling company to determine if the water coming from the ground is truly safe for drinking. Ground water can be unsuitable for a number of reasons, but in general it is very good water. Without any doubt, the easiest way to insure clean, safe, pure drinking water, is to instal a water purification system that acts both as a filter, and a purifier. These are the common water purification systems available everywhere. They filter particles and purify the water from bacteria, viruses and other harmful chemicals. An EXCELLENT portable water purification device can be purchased for emergency use for under $70.00. Home water purification systems, even purifiers that attach directly to the water tap - are absolutely excellent! This is the best way to actually insure that the water you are drinking is clean and pure. These systems, which act both as filters, and purifiers - are the systems of choice for any rational person. It is nice to know the ratio's of bleach necessary for disinfecting water if one fears that water may be contaminated - but this is intended for people who use large water tanks, or to be guide-lines for serious emergency situations. For normal living, modern water purification systems are definitely the methods of choice for eliminating bacteria, viruses, smells, and other undesirable substances.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Workplace Violence - AmMerc

Posted from Randomthoughtsandguns as it relates to survival and self-defense:

"Workplace violence
What do Killeen, Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Newton have to do with the Washington Navy Yard?

The response of the first responders.  In each case the shooter was able to kill multiple people long before any coherent response could be mounted by security personnel or first responders.

Why is that?  Simply put, each shooter (or in Columbines case, the shooters) obeyed some simple principles.

Operational Security.  By maintaining OPSEC they were able to plan ahead, get their weapons into position, and start their killing spree without tipping off the security forces.

Audacity.  Each target, in every single case, was a known "gun free zone" patrolled and protected by security guards and/or the local police.

Violence of action.  Once they started, they didn't stop until they were stopped by someone else with a gun.

I didn't include Laughner, Hassan, and Holmes in here because they lived, and in each case there were plenty of warning signs that were ignored by the security forces.  You could make the case that Virginia Tech should fall into "lots of warning signs" category but Cho didn't leave a huge trail of breadcrumbs.

In every case politicians fall into the wishful thinking trap that "if we would have just known ahead of time" they could have done something.  Politicians love the idea of "pre-crime prevention" except that it doesn't happen that way.

Look at a chessboard.  At the beginning of the game there are no unknowns.  But at the beginning of the game you don't know if black or white will win, or the game will draw as a stalemate.  Even with perfect knowledge of the pieces, the board, there is no way to know who will win.

How much more complicated do you think a nation of 300 Million individuals is than a chessboard with 64 squares and 16 pieces?

The lesson learned from these shootings is that prevention is impossible, and that the only logical strategy is one of empowered response.  If someone shoots at you, and you can't shoot back, you are screwed.  Denying people the ability to respond is criminal, and I do hope that someone can make the case for criminal negligence in court.

Now, what is truly scary, is that our mass shootings are done by crazy people or individuals who have been pushed too far and just snap.  If an operation was conducted by a fully rational individual (or team, lets not forget Columbine) that worked through the operational planning framework from infil to exfil, the body counts could be much higher, and none of us would know until communications had been restored.  With the known state sponsors of terrorism out there, this is a frightening possibility.

I can't help but think that Israel has the right idea in arming teachers, grandparents, reservists, etc.  If the enemy is plotting an operation in your midst, then giving everyone the ability to respond is the only logical solution. "

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Will to Prepare to Win

You may have heard this before:  "The key is not the will to win... everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important." – Bobby Knight (remember that hot-headed NCAA basketball coach?  Yep that’s the him.)

I’d venture to say the will to prepare to win is an often overlooked skill set in today’s microwaveable ready world.  Can anyone blame us?  We’ve been programmed to take care of things at the last minute.  Everything we want, we get because of “just in time” logistics at the super-market or convenience stores.  With lay-away and credit cards do we really even have to plan and save for what we want?  And believe me, we’re not pointing any fingers.  The “just-in-time” thing effects all of us.

However, there are some things I think we can all agree that deserve a little farther look down the road when it comes to planning a favorable outcome for the protection of our family.  Taking time and spending a few dollars to learn or send ourselves for retraining when it comes to survival, self-defense and first aid can mean the difference in life and death.  Trying not to be melodramatic, the reality is that training equals proficiency and proficiency equals the speed in which we can help save lives, defend threats and find safety.

And unfortunately we can type away on blogs, write books, and theorize about what’s what, but it doesn’t replace getting “out there” with qualified instructors and learning new skills, or for some of us, knocking the rust off and retraining.  It’d be nice if it weren’t so, but survival skill sets are a perishable good if not used regularly. 

And that’s where the tag line comes in:  Having the will to win in a bad situation is common, but having the will to prepare to win is stacking the deck in your favor and is the key.  Having the will to get out there and prepare to win (by training) against life threatening situations is a great start.  Our families deserve the best protection we can offer.

Luckily for us there are a number of private companies in several different regions of the US that are willing to train law abiding citizens in wilderness survival, self-defense and first aid:  John Mosby (West & Northwest), SFMedic(East / Southeast), Max Velocity (East), DTG (Great Lakes) .  These are just to name a few.  It seems that most students are satisfied when finding training instructors who’s expertise is vouched for by those in their respective community of contact.  Equally important is feedback from fulfilled students.

Life gets in the way sometimes, but it’s important to take the time to prepare to beat the odds of a SHTF situation.  We hope that as summer is waning this post finds you and your family healthy and full of energy.  Perhaps we’ll see you in the field when it’s time to retrain some of those survival skills.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tactical Combat Casualty Care – August 23, 2013


Get the training while the training is available . . . acquire the skills to save a life.

Cost: $150 per person

Objective: Participants will learn to use the latest in first aid doctrine gained from the military and applied to situations that the family defender or community defense team might find themselves faced with during a SHTF scenario.

One of the major issues facing those in the preparedness community is lack of experience in “real world” violent situations. DTG will train you in the latest techniques of Tactical Combat Casualty Care. Participants will learn to prioritize actions to take during a crisis so that you and yours have the best chance of surviving the incident you can, given your level of expertise and other factors. When the class is over, you’ll have the basic knowledge and information with which to build an even more in-depth trianing program for your own group.

Class Duration: 8 Hours
Topics Covered:
– Care Under Fire
– Tactical Field Care
– Casualty Evacuation Care
– Blow Out Kit Contents / Placement
– Use of Blow Out Kit Contents
– Treatment of the 3 most preventable causes of battlefield death

Registration: Send a note of interest to, subject line: TC3 Class
Class size is limited, so confirm your registration today!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Re take Your Privacy and Communication Security

Digital Survival . . . . 
From the Combat Studies Group:

"With the recent revelations pertaining to government spying on it's own citizens (does this really surprise anyone?), I wanted to offer a quick primer on regaining some of your electronic security. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but a number of things you can start doing right now. (I also offer a course on this subject that covers it in great detail.)

One caveat I need to point out before we go further is this - While any and all of the following tips will offer a high level of privacy, most of them are rendered potentially useless if they are employed on the Windows or Mac operating systems. Why? Because Microsoft and Apple have entered into complicit agreements with government bodies in the form of secret backdoor access to your system and no anti-virus or malware  program will save you from it as it is a "legitimate" part of the operating system's code.
Where does that leave you? Either install a Linux based OS, or at the very least get a bootable  USB linux system.
Now, there are those (including MS and Apple) that will argue that there is no such thing and this is just wild tinfoil hat talk. Ultimately it boils down to this for I trust organizations that have a track record of disregard for client privacy and offer software that is closed source and hidden from public audit - or do I trust a product that is designed with privacy in mind and is open source and regularly audited by the public?

Backdoor Info 1         

Moving on.......

1. Stop using Yahoo, Google and Hotmail for your email. In the last week alone I have received at least 4 emails from "friends" who had their accounts hijacked/hacked (all Yahoo).  Consider smaller email providers that will respect your privacy......GMX, Lavabit, Hushmail just to name a few. That doesn't mean that you can completely trust these providers, it simply means they will not read your email for marketing purposes and will only surrender information to governments within the appropriate judicial process. (You still would need a VPN or Tor to mask your IP address and PGP keys to encrypt your content - but that is another article all by itself)

2. Stop using Yahoo, Bing, Google for your searches. Instead use DuckDuckGo, Startpage, Ixquick or Privatelee.

3. Stop using Skype and Google voice. Instead try out options that offer encrypted calls like iCall and Jitsi. You can setup a free phone account with Ostel - they have instructions on their site to setup the phone software.

4. Setup a chat/instant message account using Pidgin (Adium on Mac) or Jitsi, which will allow encrypted communication via OTR. I recommend setting up an xmpp account for free with DuckDuckGo HERE

5. Encrypt any personal data in a separate drive with Truecrypt or LUKS (use the Encfs Manager in Linux)

6. Start using a VPN service (one that utilizes openvpn protocols)

If you are considering a move to a Linux based system, here are a few places to start....

If you are used to using Windows try - Zorin OS

If you are used to using Mac try - Pear OS

or give these a try - Ubuntu or Mint

These are just the tip of the iceberg, but will get you started on the road to recovery......"

Thursday, June 13, 2013

"Sugardine" Antiseptic

In the event that you cannot get antibiotics . . . you might consider having the items to make "Sugardine" on hand.  Read below, this excellent knowledge to have.

Reposted from :

"I'm sure you've heard of this--but on the off chance you haven't, you definitely need to: The miraculous wound-healing benefits of a goop made from sugar and betadine (povidone iodine--available cheaply everywhere). You mix together and make a paste, which can be packed into deep wounds and gouges. Some people refer to it as "sugardine."
Not everyone knows that sugar alone has been used for hundreds of years as an effective gunshot wound treatment. The high osmotic gradient it promotes attracts and traps bacteria--and animal cells are better able to withstand high osmotic conditions than bacterial cells. The addition of the povidone iodine makes it even more effective.
There are countless stories of near miraculous saves of horses with bad wounds that wouldn't heal, using this paste. I've used it to great effect on myself and on my dogs--sometimes with deep canine puncture wounds.
Ideally, it should be packed in and covered, and rinsed out and replaced everyday. But any application, under any circumstances, is a lot better than nothing. Granulated (or powdered) sugar and lots of povidone iodine are very valuable additions to prepper medical stores, in my opinion.
Here are a few medical journal articles on the topic:  
And here's a very practical video on using sugardine, from a veterinarian.
Stay Prepared! - Steve N."