Many of the preppers reading this will wonder why I chose to write about the #2 reason instead of the #1. We all know that most of the population will die in a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI situation. The reason we as preppers might survive is in the name, we prepare. In reality it is tougher to prepare for the #1 reason because it’s based in our mind instead of in equipment or knowledge. The will to live or WTL is the number one reason any person would fail, even preppers.
For this article I will be focusing on the second reason which is simply experience with your gear.
The importance of having proper gear is huge, however most actual preppers have some gear and a dedicated bug out bag. This gear will help you survive IF YOU KNOW HOW TO USE IT PROPERLY! Yes I said it, and feel free to get really pissed!
Guys and Gals I am not spending time at my computer to tell you the obvious which is that you need to understand your gear. I am here to make sure you take the time to get to know your gear in its natural setting. I want all the people left on the earth after SHTF to be the community who reads our prepper blog. (Maybe a few others)
So really what are we talking about here?
Let me give you 4 reasons to take your survival gear into the streets or forests and try it out.
Reason #1: Knowledge of your Survival Gear
Your situation while using your equipment will most likely be in less than ideal conditions! You think the rain cares if apple stocks aren’t even useful as toilet paper? You think a starving mailman cares if he talked to you every day for five years? Nature and man will be stripped to their bare components and it won’t be pretty. You need to be VERY familiar with your survival gear and any other bug out bag equipment.
How many times have you gone hiking or camping and realized you either forgot something or you brought the wrong thing. Sometimes I even bring too little or too much of certain fishing gear. If you are listening to us when we say to get your butt out into the wild and test your survival gear, then you will undoubtedly find things wrong with your bug out bag. Yes you may have copied GrayWolf or SouthernPrepper1 and those guys do know a lot. One thing they do not know is your exact situation. Are you in the swamps of Louisiana or Florida? Do you already live in a place that is the perfect bug in location? Are you in the arctic on a ship? I hope this rings a bell with some of you who think that a specific kit is going to work for everyone, it will not! I can agree that we as preppers will need a lot of the same things, but I really want you guys to build your own custom bags. I will do my best to cover a few of the various regions of the United States and Canada in future bug out bag builds. But rest assured that I will focus on some of the things that are customizable by region. Take it from me you will find that you want different equipment, just don’t wait until you need it.
Reason #3 Family Bonding
My dad Tony and I often have the problem that our immediate family doesn’t care too much about prepping. We find that they glaze over when we talk about “the government” or “the economy”. We do however love to go camping or hiking and this is something our families can get into without feeling the stress of a failing world. I like to encourage my wife (city girl) to try some things. She loves to shoot guns and recently I have been waiting to get her to shoot my recurve bow. (see our Prepper Show #003 for more info on my new bow) So take your families out and turn the survival gear into a game and maybe you can convince your wife or husband to let you buy more?
I know that many of you reading this are gear hounds! You love this stuff from the fire strikers to the thermal blankets. If you guys and gals are anything like me you get stressed out and need a serious break from work and news. Take yourself out for an afternoon and practice prepping. Use your survival gear like your life depends on it and make a shelter with a fire to match. (But don’t use matches)
EXAMPLE OF WHEN JOHN FAILED HARD!
When I first started prepping I tried using a magnesium fire striker. I wanted to test my survival skills and light some leaves after it had rained the entire morning. (I will admit to being one beer into a six pack) My assumption was that the fire from the magnesium would dry the leaves and subsequently start a fire. I failed over and over and finally I decided that my problem was the obvious, wet leaves. As many of you are saying I needed some good tinder and possibly dry leaves. I never found dry leaves but I did use some dryer lint. In our Prepper Show #003 my dad drops a sweet prepper tip that we have been using for some time. Dryer lint is very nearly the perfect tinder, and it becomes more perfect if rubbed lightly in a VERY SMALL quantity of Vaseline. This makes the tinder nearly waterproof and it burns for much much longer. Finally I managed to get my fire lit but I used a huge portion of the striker side on the magnesium striker.
Now in that scenario I used up most of a limited resource. I want you guys as preppers (if you aren’t already) to focus on using resources that are unlimited first. This includes using natural fire starting methods. One method I like is to use a magnifying glass. I wrote a review on a few magnifiers that I purchased for my bug out bag. So remember you need to be intimate with your survival gear so that when SHTF you aren’t failing like me when your situation is horrible.
So in conclusion I want you guys to really take charge and use this weekend or this evening to go out and practice surviving. Then once you realize how valuable it is set yourself a three week challenge. Each weekend go out and live in the wild. When you get off work Monday evening order the things you need to fix any of the problems you had during the weekend. The next weekend take your butt back out into the wilderness and try your old gear with the new items. If everything works well together then you can say, with authority, that you know your gear and it will serve you and your family perfectly!
P.S. I would love for any of you guys reading this to send your experiences on the 3 week challenge. Tony and I will read them on the following prepper show. Send them to John@fathersonpreppers.com and thanks for reading!