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Chris DeMuth Jr.
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"It's not given to human beings to have such talent that they can just know everything about everything all the time. But it is given to human beings who work hard at it - who look and sift the world for a misplaced bet - that they can occasionally find one." - Charlie Munger I look... More
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  • Gold 112 comments
    Aug 15, 2013 8:34 PM | about stocks: GLD

    Looooooongstanding Store of Value

    Gold and silver have a history as a store of value that can be measured in millennia. Yes, it is a convention, but a convention so powerful and longstanding that it has become a useful assumption. We can assume the pull of gold on man as we can assume the pull of gravity.

    Gold is money

    I like owning productive land and operating businesses too, but it is also nice to have a store of value that is unchanging. I do not think of the value of gold and silver as denominated in US$ or any other fiat currency; instead I think of the value of gold as denominated in gold. Neither its supply nor its demand changes much over the scope of time that is relevant to me. One can deny that gold is money, but if gold isn't money, then nothing is. I would submit that it holds more of the qualities of money as historically and properly understood than any widespread paper currency in circulation today.

    Systemic Insurance

    I could be justly accused of being so safety conscious that I am on one side or the other of paranoia. I take dramatically elaborate measures to maximize financial and physical security. I rather enjoy the topic, so there is little downside, but I assume away very bad things happening, prepare for them, and then anything else is just upside to enjoy. To that end, there are many things that can be insured against. However, there is not particular way to buy systemic insurance via financial instruments. If our integrated, complex, tightly coupled modern world breaks down - even for a short period of time - one may want systemic insurance.

    Is it really necessary?

    I think that the best way to think about it is that dozens of preeminent civilizations have crashed throughout human history and it was almost always fast and almost always unexpected. While there were no opinion polls at the time, my sense is that few members of previous hegemons would have expected their demise. But that does not stop the demise and such a demise looks like a multigenerational decline in wealth, security, and technology. For the most part, no one expected it and no one was prepared.

    (click to enlarge)

    This time it is different - we are in a New Era

    Following the Spanish Influenza pandemic and World War II, western civilization has been in a golden era without events that have revealed systemic vulnerabilities by wiping out major swaths of populations. This has a superficial as well as a more substantive impact on our thinking about our system's weaknesses. Superficially, it has worked so far and so the appearance of stability has lulled people into a sense of complacency. More substantively, it has leached from modern society all of the skills and the stuff necessary for a basic level of survival in any environment but the one we have recently created.

    We are the living in the least adaptable, most evolutionarily precarious civilization ever. If things went horribly wrong, American frontiersmen in the late 1800s were perfectly acquainted with the skill and the use of the technology of earlier civilizations.

    If necessary, they would be perfectly passable Iron Age workers.

    Likewise, you could toss an Iron Age worker into the Bronze Age or even the Stone Age without causing too much trouble. Such a technological retracement would elicit a few shrugs before they got back to work.

    But if their technology was turned off, what on Earth would these guys do?

    If we were forced to lose our most recent and most tightly coupled technology even for a few short years, we would not be able to smoothly transition to an earlier technological level - we don't have the skills and we don't have the stuff. On average, we have fewer of the practical skills that our grandparents had than any previous known generation. At the same time, we require all of our most advanced infrastructure and logistics to support our current population density. That density would decline precipitously in a matter of months (and this would not be the ideal way to solve the problem).

    Precisely when it is most countercultural and most variant is when it is most relevant to have contingency plans for systemic risk. I think that it is sensible for professional people to know at least one trade skill in case their chosen profession becomes obsolete and irrelevant. Even with a trade, it is sensible to know enough primitive skills to be able to survive civilization-level retrenchment. And finally, it is sensible to have a means of trade and store of value. The means of trade and store of value that have bridged prior hegemonic collapse have been gold and silver.

    Stocks: GLD
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Comments (112)
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  • Mike Arnold
    , contributor
    Comments (1659) | Send Message
     
    Nice blog post, Chris. I agree precisely. I have a small position in NG bought in early July, and which I think is an excellent asset considering the gold at NG's Donlin Creek mine won't be harvested for 3+ years - plenty of time for the gold insurance premium to kick in.

     

    Cheers.
    15 Aug 2013, 08:51 PM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Thank you. I hope that works out very well for you.
    15 Aug 2013, 08:58 PM Reply Like
  • Squeeky Wheel
    , contributor
    Comments (300) | Send Message
     
    Noah Smith explains extensively my position on why gold is not a very good systemic failure protection http://bit.ly/17R7g21

     

    Personally I also find it odd when someone is concerned about breakdown of the financial system and then buys gold miner stocks. The value of that equity position at the brokerage is highly dependent on the financial system. If one is concerned that the government-banking-bro... system will break down, at least hold physical gold. Some canned food, a boat and a net is probably better however.
    16 Aug 2013, 01:10 AM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » That is a great article and worthy caveat.

     

    I agree about the nature of gold miner stocks being completely different.

     

    And yes, the food/boat/net comes first.
    16 Aug 2013, 07:11 AM Reply Like
  • Sal Marvasti
    , contributor
    Comments (1364) | Send Message
     
    Soviet style breakdown? Then holding equities is good.
    16 Aug 2013, 04:27 AM Reply Like
  • Squeeky Wheel
    , contributor
    Comments (300) | Send Message
     
    and valuable real estate. Fabulous example.
    16 Aug 2013, 08:26 AM Reply Like
  • JDanziger
    , contributor
    Comments (35) | Send Message
     
    Chris, I think some "insurance" gold makes sense, but in a doomsday scenario arent the minimum denominations too large? Even a 1 ounce gold coin would be way too much to trade for small quanities of food. And it's hard to buy in bulk if there's no refrigeration!
    16 Aug 2013, 09:57 AM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » That is a great point. That is what junk silver can be useful for.
    16 Aug 2013, 10:00 AM Reply Like
  • Pooze
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
     
    Or 22lr.
    9 Jul, 09:27 PM Reply Like
  • SA Editor Samir Patel
    , contributor
    Comments (163) | Send Message
     
    Interesting. Thanks for sharing!
    16 Aug 2013, 10:33 AM Reply Like
  • arbtrader
    , contributor
    Comments (170) | Send Message
     
    I was researching good science fiction last night to keep my kids away from the PC nonsense that passes for summer fiction now (list here: http://n.pr/16QHR9E) and saw the bestseller from the 80's "Lucifer's Hammer" which deals with this subject, also "The Stand", "War of the worlds" "World War Z", "The Road" (don't read that one! Too depressing..) and "I am Legend" (Omega Man was a far better film than the Will Smith version). Probably several more on there. Off subject but a good disaster list of fiction for the end of the summer there!

     

    As someone who has looked into family roots- education and plain luck are important. One ancestor was a lawyer in town in the early 1700's, his brother went to homestead. The French-Indian war broke out and family tree branch ends for him.

     

    Another was a settler for Jamestown with the title 'gentleman', likely an investor in Jamestowne Company- ie, probably here to pick up the rumored gold in the streets. He was the luckiest SOB you have ever seen. Went home to England prior to the mass starvation/cannibalism... massacres, came back, got a land grant from the king, avoided another Indian war and lived to his 80's with 12 kids.

     

    My point being- the educated and those with the resources -land, $ (gold/silver), or enough family members to support/defend them- tended to do OK/survive in most environments. If your assets are a city apartment, a $2 million beach house, no kids, no gold, no way to defend or hide out...? Yikes.

     

    "Tomorrow's Gold" by Marc Faber deals exactly with the subject of wealth preservation across centuries. Excellent read.
    16 Aug 2013, 02:40 PM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
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    Author’s reply » Great family history. Yes, the means to defend them are important. Education and luck too. More on "Tomorrow's Gold": http://seekingalpha.co...
    16 Aug 2013, 02:45 PM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    @arbtrader --

     

    Lucifer's Hammer was a wonderful book. In fact, I just bought another copy of it trying to get my boy interested in reading it. And, hopefully,
    interested in actually learning some stuff.

     

    Like Chris said, everyone should have a skill. I was already big time into survival when Lucifer's Hammer came out. That book made me think about things in a quite different way (I was still pretty young --I think it came out like 1978 or 1979). What was the name of the astrophysicist? Dan Forrester or something like that? Anyway, I took the lesson in reference books to heart. I have at least 30 or 40 running feet of them and I still add with some regularity. Astronomy to blacksmithing to medicine to weapons. I wish I could get all the drugs that are on the "essential drugs" list, but fat chance of that things being what they are with the doctors having managed to convince people that they are the sole source of knowledge and get themselves imbued with total authority over access to drugs. Plus, it is one hell of a list: I think it is designed for countries or something. It would be nice to be able to at least get an oxygen tank or two without a giant hassle.
    23 Dec 2013, 11:52 PM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    @arbtrader --

     

    Soylent Green is looking a lot more likely than Omega Man these days, eh?
    24 Dec 2013, 12:52 AM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » One source for varying types of antibiotics is veterinary medicine labeled for fish. It is often in familiar doses and comes out of the same factories.
    24 Dec 2013, 06:26 AM Reply Like
  • arbtrader
    , contributor
    Comments (170) | Send Message
     
    Personally, I thought Omega Man was a better movie by Charlton Heston vs Soylent Green. Either outcome undesirable!

     

    BTW Any book by Pournelle or Niven is very good. Pournelle is 80 and still kicking out a daily Blog: http://bit.ly/1c3w8IS ..covering bioterrorism, current events, politics and pop culture. The mail section alone is a fantastic read. BTW he is also credited with the original (much ridiculed, now validated) idea for the anti-missile 'star wars' concept which freaked out the USSR in the mid 80's.

     

    Vets also have Doggie drugs, many of which are just generic people drugs, Internet research will point you in the right direction.

     

    More recent news on an Omega Man scenario: http://bit.ly/1c3w8Zd

     

    Best, AT.
    24 Dec 2013, 10:44 AM Reply Like
  • Comments-R-us
    , contributor
    Comments (50) | Send Message
     
    Most of today's prescription medications would not be needed under typical historical conditions of hunger / starvation / weight loss - blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol all come down "naturally"!
    26 Dec 2013, 01:29 PM Reply Like
  • Comments-R-us
    , contributor
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    Why not veterinary antibiotics for dogs or horses? Is there an animal that weighs about 70 kilograms? Fish seem kinda small, at least the ones I catch.
    26 Dec 2013, 01:32 PM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    That is really good to know Chris -- thanks.
    27 Dec 2013, 12:53 PM Reply Like
  • Pooze
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
     
    Look at welding tanks. Oxygen and Acetylene tanks. An oxy/acytelene torch setup is a multiuse tool. True the cutting head cutting is useless without the gas / cylinders but it could be traded. Purchasing welding gas doesn't arouse suspicions either. Just my .02
    9 Jul, 09:27 PM Reply Like
  • John Wilson
    , contributor
    Comments (1094) | Send Message
     
    Chris

     

    The pictures tell 10,000 words here.

     

    Your statement,
    ". . . it is also nice to have a store of value that is unchanging"

     

    is so simply profound that it goes over the heads of those who seek the theories of the most recent Nobel Prize winners in economics to define the world for them.

     

    Your last paragraph is superb, in that if many of us said the same thing in our own words, we might get ourselves on an FBI watch list. Once again, it would be over their heads.

     

    Gold doesn't have need to be compared to anything. It is the standard.
    23 Dec 2013, 10:07 PM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Thanks for the kind words. In short, I will gamble my children's upside on the continued success and stability of society... but not their downside.
    23 Dec 2013, 10:15 PM Reply Like
  • Comments-R-us
    , contributor
    Comments (50) | Send Message
     
    Chris, George Orwell wrote the following about economic statistics:

     

    "But actually, he thought as he re-adjusted the Ministry of Plenty's figures, it was not even forgery. It was merely the substitution of one piece of nonsense for another. Most of the material that you were dealing with had no connection with anything in the real world, not even the kind of connection that is contained in a direct lie. Statistics were just as much a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version." -Winston Smith, 1984

     

    I am not saying matters in 2013 USA are anywhere near as bad as in Stalinist Russia, which Orwell was criticizing in 1984. But the manipulation of economic statistics, which we discussed in another thread, is a slippery slope.

     

    Here is a quote from this week's Barrons letter column:

     

    "I am concerned that the total dollar value of all stocks trading on U.S. exchanges presently is greater than the U.S. gross domestic product. Whenever that has occurred, harsh bear markets have followed" - Bob Pellerin, Laval, Quebec

     

    I am even more concerned, since stock valuation is a hard true & verifiable figure, whereas GDP includes a huge amount of non-productive and counter-productive activities.

     

    Pessimism never made anyone rich, but it may have saved some from bankruptcy. How do we avoid "gambling our downsides"?
    29 Dec 2013, 09:35 AM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    Chris --

     

    "In short, I will gamble my children's upside on the continued success and stability of society... but not their downside."

     

    I like that concept a lot. And I like the being prepared too, although I am sure your preparations would put me to shame.

     

    If I had to hedge with another country, Norway would probably be my choice. Gold and silver are very fundamental hedges. And then there are the real fundamental security hedges.

     

    If anyone considers that alarmist or paranoid, I'd invite them to consider the behavior of the New Orleans Police Department during Hurricane Katrina. Civilization is a far thinner veneer than most people realize.

     

    By the way, that chart is fascinating. One of the most interesting single documents I think I have ever seen. Do you have a date on it, by chance? My guess would be early 1930s, based on what I could read toward the bottom of it, which wasn't much. But, I didn't see a reference to Hitler in Germany, did see Mussolini in Italy-- so that narrows it down to like 1922-34 I would think, otherwise Hitler would have been mentioned too.

     

    You can also tell by the size they have for French influence that France had not disgraced itself yet again in WWII.
    24 Dec 2013, 12:19 AM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » 1931 from Rand McNally. Here is a version that is easier to zoom in on: http://bit.ly/1bo6Y49RUMSEY~8~1~200375~3001... My sense is that essentially none of the dominant civilizations expected to collapse when they did, but instead at the time expected that their ways of life would go on into the future.
    24 Dec 2013, 06:31 AM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    Thanks Chris -- appreciate the high res. copy. Truly fascinating.

     

    Yeah, our innate, hard-wired instincts are still more geared to going around collecting nuts and berries and making sure we have a warm dry place to sleep. It is little wonder that we have problems reconciling those instincts to modern society. The Fed's monetary policy is a long ways away from being full and having a nice bed to sleep in.
    24 Dec 2013, 05:17 PM Reply Like
  • Comments-R-us
    , contributor
    Comments (50) | Send Message
     
    Why does everyone dump on the French for surrendering in WWII? What about Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Italy, Holland, Belgium, and about 10 other countries? The channel saved Britain, the winter saved Russia, the mountains saved the Swiss, and America saved everyone. God bless America.
    26 Dec 2013, 01:41 PM Reply Like
  • kadison
    , contributor
    Comments (143) | Send Message
     
    Czechoslovakia was "sold" in Muenchen. Can't compare small countries like CZE or BEL with FRA. But I get your point.
    26 Dec 2013, 04:00 PM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    It was the French attitude following WWII that was offensive.
    27 Dec 2013, 12:55 PM Reply Like
  • jaginger
    , contributor
    Comments (475) | Send Message
     
    Anyone have some recommended survivalist/preparedness books or websites?
    24 Dec 2013, 01:16 AM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    @jaginger --

     

    You bet. I'll shoot (yuk, yuk) you a few of each. But, crashing now . . . tomorrow or when I get a free minute---holidays and all. Be glad to. How to navigate without maps or compass, emergency medicine, edible plants, trapping, -- tons of great stuff out there.
    24 Dec 2013, 02:15 AM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » What does the downside look like for members of an integrated, tightly coupled society? Which parts are you unwilling to outsource or rely on the state for providing? That is an individual choice. Mine would be that an individual family should be fed, hydrated, warm, dry, dressed, sheltered, and protected from natural and unnatural predation for at least a year.

     

    This view involves no predictions and no pessimism let alone paranoia. It is no more pessimistic than fire insurance, but some forms of insurance cannot be secured on a piece of paper or bits in a computer.

     

    Two good sources for practical, relevant information are military handbooks such as the SAS' and Rangers. Another is the LDS' home storage and other resources (they are also sound on financial teaching for families). I do not happen to subscribe to their theological views, but I respect their organization and their accomplishments in organizing canneries and developing the skills along with their stuff to prepare for an uncertain future.

     

    While skills are more helpful than stuff, here are some of the products that I have come to rely upon: http://bit.ly/1bo8Iu7, here are some thoughts for security preparedness at sea: http://seekingalpha.co... and here are some (but not all) of the everyday carry items that are better to have then to not have when you need them: http://bit.ly/1bo8Iub.
    24 Dec 2013, 06:52 AM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    Like your stuff Chris--

     

    I'd add a couple of thoughts. On the everyday, I carry two mini-LED 123 flashlights and sometimes an extra battery. If there is one thing that I have most frequently found I wind up needing somewhat unexpectedly, it is a flashlight. I carry a few more exotic lockpicks, but that is kind of a hobby. I always carry a lighter and a knife, sometimes two. I also carry a handcuff key in my belt--because you never know.

     

    Whenever hiking in addition to the more routine stuff I always carry at least 50 feet of high quality rope and a longer length of heavy twine or parachute cord, emergency blankets, usually three, and high quality tape. Plus, a personal peculiarity from having broken a foot--and knowing what a genuine pain in the ass it is to walk two miles on a broken foot-- I actually carry the stuff to make a light ankle cast--which cures up enough in about 30 minutes or so. I carry a set in my truck too.

     

    In my truck I carry pretty decent first aid supplies, including a lot of things I added to a basic kit. I also carry various car entry tools, slim jims, wedges, loops, hooks, etc. I carry a water filter in there in addition to tablets, a couple of blankets, a 20' X 50' 6 mil plastic sheet, 10 big tough plastic bags (I have asbestos abatement bags, but high quality, thick, though contractor/landscaping bags would be similar--many uses including if stranded in cold, put in leaves, grass, small branches, etc., tie off, use for insulation) some high quality duct tape-- one heavy duty and one cold weather -- I've had good luck with the Nashua tapes and not that many make cold weather tape -- http://bit.ly/1jKAZFu. Extra motor oil, transmission fluid, and brake fluid.

     

    I also keep a lot of cutting tools in the truck, including 36 inch bolt cutters, 3 inch heavy duty branch loppers, several saws including a big bow saw, small bow saw, extra blades, and a couple of hand sized pruning saws, a 4 lb hand sledge and a 10 lb sledge and a couple of of chisels. I carry lots of rope, some chain, an electric wench, a "come along," tree straps, ground anchors, and a 50' foot hand wench, a Q beam and a couple more flashlights. I have a basic tool kit, including mini-screwdrivers of every type, pliers, a big Knipex Cobra wrench, Knipex heavy duty wire cutters -- which are head and shoulders above any other wire cutter I have ever seen and I believe any other wire cutter made in the world. I have beaten the hell out of a pair of Knipex wire cutters for about 10 years-- cutting sheet brass, quarter inch bolts, etc. Abused them horribly and they are still damn near as good as the day I got them.

     

    For any kind of pliers, bolt cutters, wire cutters, Knipex is just the best. I have something like 30 pairs of different types of Knipex pliers and I have about 20 more that I plan on getting. But, by all means, start with these:

     

    http://bit.ly/1jKB1NB

     

    (you can see my review from 2010 on the linked web page and the same pair is still going strong. I have bought a couple more, just to make sure I always have them, but still no sign of needing to break out the new ones. I usually give out Knipex tools for Xmas to my male relatives-- didn't this year -- basically just didn't get my stuff together in time to order in advance).

     

    I also keep a pair of each of these in my truck-- mostly for barbed wire removal-- have some land that used to run too many cattle-- taking the interior barbed wire down. But, these will pull any nail or staple you need-- hell, the big ones will pull woodscrews without much trouble-- they are great pinchers-- just total beasts.

     

    http://bit.ly/1jKB1ND

     

    http://bit.ly/1jKB1NF

     

    (these big boys weigh 2.5 lbs. You want to yank something tough out with pinchers, these are the ones)

     

    http://bit.ly/1jKB23T

     

    Bit lighter and smaller, but still very cool.

     

    I carry one of these in my truck:

     

    http://bit.ly/1jKB23X

     

    and one of these in my pocket everyday:

     

    http://bit.ly/1jKB23Z

     

    Singularly useful wrenches-- they just do damn near everything. (I think I have every size and type of Cobra they make.)

     

    My truck stuff is probably overkill in some areas compared to what most people would need. I used to hunt a lot, had a huge lease, 8,700 acres, that I shared with 12 other guys. A lot of times though I was out there alone, often at night, frequently going through heavy brush, some places were sandy, some places clay, easy to bog down or get in the middle of a big thicket of mesquite trees--times it was just easier to cut a straight path for 25 yards or so rather than finding your way back out the way you got in. It was 7 miles from the edge of the lease to the nearest paved road. I placed a premium on being able to extract myself from pretty much any situation. Even carried an emergency battery. Back then cell phone coverage was spotty at best, so getting stranded these days probably not as big a deal, but old habits die hard.

     

    Still, from a survival perspective, having the extra blankets, plastic sheeting, and big plastic bags would be huge if you ever got unlucky enough to be stranded in the cold weather.
    26 Dec 2013, 02:55 AM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    One more thing:

     

    I used to be a sick pup -- liked to go walking into the mountains with just what I had in my pockets (no lighters or matches--that would be "cheating" and stay for two days. Kind of a Survivorman Jr. kind of thing, 20 plus years before he did it, but no money to me.)

     

    The no lighter or matches was just a point of honor-- I was pretty good at firestarting without them. Just liked to pressure myself in that regard. But, I would carry basically my "survival kit" other than that-- signaling mirror, compass, bandages, etc.

     

    One thing I quickly figured out was super useful was metal wire: It was especially good for making shelter-- tying branches together, etc. I used to take copper wire. A few years ago I found this stainless steel stuff. I like it even better. When I hike I carry it with me, I carry some in my truck, and I keep a ton of it around the house. The stuff is useful as hell. Highly recommended.

     

    http://bit.ly/1jKEhZh

     

    I have most of the sizes from 0.015 to the 0.041. The stuff is majorly useful. I find myself using it several times a month. If I was in a survival situation, I would value it extremely highly.
    26 Dec 2013, 03:21 AM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    http://bit.ly/1jKEpbk

     

    OK, just click on stainless steel wire -- it wouldn't let me post a drilled down link for some reason.
    26 Dec 2013, 03:22 AM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » What a terrific, generous post. That could save someone's life. May all of my mistakes be in the "truck stuff is probably overkill" direction. I routinely ask my kids what is wrong with bringing slightly too much water/food/layers/ammo... when heading into the woods. From age three, they know to say, "nothing". It goes without saying that there is no symmetrical comfort in the problems that could lie in having too little.
    26 Dec 2013, 07:51 AM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Excellent. I will add that to my list.
    26 Dec 2013, 07:52 AM Reply Like
  • arbtrader
    , contributor
    Comments (170) | Send Message
     
    Thanks for that article- wow. Doubt you need any addl info/equipment but here is an old link I archived w some 'fun items' http://bit.ly/19NJpFP
    26 Dec 2013, 10:34 AM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Excellent; thanks. Great link. -C
    26 Dec 2013, 01:17 PM Reply Like
  • Comments-R-us
    , contributor
    Comments (50) | Send Message
     
    Getting back to Mr. DeMuth's advice: while you are picking up fish antibiotics (although I would get the horse pills and split them) be sure to get plenty of the following SURVIVALIST item: activated charcoal granules (also sold on amazon) for filtering drinking water. Sold for filtering aquarium water, but if the fish can breathe the water, I can drink it. Medical grade activated charcoal powder is also available without an Rx, it is the antidote to many poisons and is given routinely in the ER to poisoning or overdose patients when they roll in.
    26 Dec 2013, 01:48 PM Reply Like
  • Comments-R-us
    , contributor
    Comments (50) | Send Message
     
    How long does ammo last? I have a box of .38 bullets I bought about 20 years ago. Would they be stale by now? If so, what should one do with expired ammo? I have heard that it is difficult to buy fresh ammo these days. Are 38 caliber revolver bullets hard to come by?
    26 Dec 2013, 01:54 PM Reply Like
  • Comments-R-us
    , contributor
    Comments (50) | Send Message
     
    I asked Chris this same question, but maybe you have a different take on it: How long does ammo last? I have a box of .38 bullets I bought about 20 years ago. Would they be stale by now? If so, what should one do with expired ammo? I have heard that it is difficult to buy fresh ammo these days. Are 38 caliber revolver bullets hard to come by?
    26 Dec 2013, 01:57 PM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Great idea. Here are two other water ideas that I like: http://bit.ly/1aaVW2t at home and http://bit.ly/1aaVWj6 away from home.
    26 Dec 2013, 02:03 PM Reply Like
  • grendelbane
    , contributor
    Comments (196) | Send Message
     
    Properly stored, ammunition lasts many years. Heat, oil vapors, and humidity are the enemies of ammunition. I have some 1937 loaded cartridges which still shoot fine today.

     

    An exception is the "green", or lead free primed cartridges. These do not have a good shelf life. They are usually readily identifiable, and basically sold as practice rounds for immediate consumption.

     

    I wish I could last as long as ammo does!
    26 Dec 2013, 02:04 PM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » It lasts a very long time. However, it outlasts training. So, make sure that you focus on skills as well as stuff and consider shooting that older ammo. It is both fun and useful.
    26 Dec 2013, 02:05 PM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » They are not hard to come by but the prices have gone up. The most useful calibers are military calibers. The best storage technique involves a cool dry place. I use hydrosorbent silica gel desiccant dehumidifier 40 gram canisters which each protects 3 cubic feet as a backup to our central dehumidifier. They are inexpensive and reusable. Once they are saturated, you can bake them to dry them out after which they can be reused.
    26 Dec 2013, 02:09 PM Reply Like
  • grendelbane
    , contributor
    Comments (196) | Send Message
     
    One of the best ways to store ammunition is in military surplus ammo cans. (Funny how the military got that one right).

     

    US ammo cans have a gasket in the lid. That part needs to be checked.

     

    Of course, other things can also be stored in ammo cans, just keep your gun cleaning supplies and lubricants stored away from ammunition.
    26 Dec 2013, 02:16 PM Reply Like
  • Comments-R-us
    , contributor
    Comments (50) | Send Message
     
    Great links, thanks.
    26 Dec 2013, 02:24 PM Reply Like
  • Comments-R-us
    , contributor
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    Bake my bullets? I will ask what temperature but I do not think I am that brave......
    26 Dec 2013, 02:25 PM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » The silica gel! Not the bullets. Do not bake bullets. Ever. Even if you are very very brave.
    26 Dec 2013, 02:28 PM Reply Like
  • Comments-R-us
    , contributor
    Comments (50) | Send Message
     
    I thank you and my almost-widow thanks you.
    26 Dec 2013, 03:26 PM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    Chris --

     

    I agree completely about having too much rather than too little -- I think the Boy Scouts permanently warped me with the "be prepared" stuff. Even when I am just going on a short hike, I carry a small backpack with supplies. The potential advantages hugely outweigh the trouble.

     

    I agree with your assessment on books-- where I would begin is the "Survive Safely Anywhere" by the ex SAS guy and the US Army Field Operations manual. I like the Survive Safely Anywhere one particularly well -- it stresses fundamentals.

     

    You also have some great equipment posted. I have to get one of those tub water bags - what a totally killer idea. The chloramines they use to treat most tap water today will have a significant life and should keep that safe for a good period of time. Water is really key.

     

    I am extremely interested in this company. http://bit.ly/19Quo6d I was actually hoping that they would be producing a smaller unit that with even lower power requirements, i.e., one that could potentially work off a small solar set up. Doesn't look like it yet, but with a generator running for a short period it should produce plenty of drinking water quickly.

     

    Also, using recycling code no. 1 (PET-basically polyester) bottles in the sun is a trick everyone should know about.

     

    http://bit.ly/19Qupac

     

    There was a really interesting show -- or series of shows -- I think it was on the Science Channel. It was called "I Shouldn't Be Alive." It was a good lesson in stuff not to do. The first one made a particular impression on me: If they have the major roads North and South closed and the major roads going East and West closed due to winter weather, it is a bad idea to take the small road that goes diagonally into that area. They also had Les Stroud -- the "Survivorman" guy, do an follow up episode explaining what they should have done -- stay in their vehicle and signal (e.g., by burning their spare tire). But he also showed making a kick-ass pair of snow shoes out of the foam seats and other stuff.

     

    I used to watch Survivorman religiously for a couple of years. Les really knows his stuff. I didn't agree with everything he said or did, but I never had any major disagreement either. Mostly he spent a lot more time looking for food than I would have, but then again, he was doing a longer period of time and doing it regularly, which probably explains it.

     

    I don't know what is up with that "Man vs. Wild" guy, but I wouldn't rely on him to get me to the shopping mall. I think that show is all entertainment not much survival value. Hint: You usually aren't going to want to waste time trying to kill rabbits with a homemade David and Goliath sling. Water, shelter, signalling a much better way to spend your time. And don't eat the crap he does either. Last thing you want is the runs in the woods.

     

    And, of course, clothing is huge. In cold climates you want to follow the ABC rule -- anything but cotton. I read where someone, I think it was a National Park ranger, called cotton "death cloth." I made the mistake one time of wearing regular jeans on a survival campout-- hiked about 5 miles in, warm during the day so I sweated a lot, then, up the the mountains, it got really chilly at night, even though it was early summer. I froze my butt off, even with a fire. It was a truly miserable and memorable experience--never repeated, so a relatively good and cheap lesson.

     

    Cotton retains water extremely well-- great for the desert, not good in the cold. Wet cotton clothes will make you lose heat faster than wearing nothing.

     

    Orvis used to make a killer pair of hemp pants that are my favorite outdoor pants for cold weather. They are tough as hell and pretty warm. Although I don't personally find them as warm as wool, they are infinitely tougher. They don't seem to currently be making them, but I have seen them come and go over the years--worth keeping an eye out for. http://bit.ly/19Qupad Also, had great luck with hemp shirts -- Patagonia's were the best of the ones I tried.
    27 Dec 2013, 02:26 PM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
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    Author’s reply » Great ideas. Thanks for this post. I am a big fan of Les Stroud. That other guy with a different show but with a similar premise seems to me to be a macho jackass who would get people killed unnecessarily. His whole mindset seems hyped up precisely when one should be calmest. I could only watch for a few minutes. In a cold weather environment, he was jumping into freezing water right when my wife walked into the room. She immediately asked, "um, why not just not jump into the freezing water?" That unexplored option makes sense to me.
    27 Dec 2013, 02:39 PM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    Chris --

     

    I agree--Les is the real deal. I hadn't thought about it in exactly those terms with regard to the shows, but you are exactly right-- calm is exactly what you want. In fact, thinking about it, I think I am going to order the Survivorman DVDs.

     

    Yeah, in cold weather, the LAST, LAST thing you do is get wet. I've had hypothermia one time. It was cold and raining. I had rain gear on, but when it is really raining, you still get wet. Caused me to basically faint and wind up in a little flowing rain runoff. A strange and bad feeling to wake up with cold flowing water going down your back. Even then it took me a while to get up. I'm lucky I wasn't out in the boonies when that happened-- made it to my car and sat with the heat on until I recovered. Hypothermia is no joke at all: I kept thinking that I had gotten pretty close to the point where I wouldn't have been able to help myself. Getting wet in cold weather without having immediate shelter and a source of heat is basically asking to die.
    29 Dec 2013, 10:19 PM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    @arbtrader -- it is a good link. Wool socks and Mini-14s -- worth having extras . . . . .
    30 Dec 2013, 08:59 PM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    @arbtrader --

     

    But, to correct one thing in the link, the Mini-14 is based on the M-14, not the M-1 . . . . Hence the name . . . .
    30 Dec 2013, 10:32 PM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    But, if you are an NRA member, you can get an M-1 too. Even more highly recommended, but not as fun to shoot and the ammo is more expensive.

     

    Also, the recommendations in the column you linked for Savage -- in accuracy per $ spent pretty sure you can't do better.
    30 Dec 2013, 10:33 PM Reply Like
  • arbtrader
    , contributor
    Comments (170) | Send Message
     
    Difference in the two guys - and I share your opinions, strongly: Les actually is solo w go-pro type cameras. The other guy has a whole film crew following him around, and if you read the disclaimers, actually 'sets up' his dramatic shots.

     

    Who has the real pair between them?
    31 Dec 2013, 01:00 PM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    @arbtrader --

     

    No doubt Les. That guy puts himself in some damn uncomfortable situations-- things that would have some huge second thoughts about trying myself. And like you said, he does it solo.
    2 Jan, 01:02 AM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    Thanks Chris --

     

    You nailed it on the Katadyn. I'm not familiar with the Berkey, but I'm definitely going to check them out. At first blush it looks like a cinch to use, which is what you want.

     

    Talking about survival made the order a couple more magazines and ammo from Brownell's. In my book you can never have too much ammo and it would take a whole lot of magazines to get to the point where you had too many of them.

     

    Anyway, while there I happened to see this lantern, which looked pretty good to me, so I ordered one of them too:

     

    http://bit.ly/1ddSWDr

     

    70 hours at 175 lumens looked pretty good to me.

     

    Flashlights and batteries are another thing you want a lot of. I've had pretty good luck with a place called Battery Junction.

     

    I just ordered some more batteries myself-- needed to get some more D cells for the lantern above. I also ordered 50 of these CR 123 batteries by Panasonic for $67.50. I've ordered these before and they worked just fine.

     

    http://bit.ly/1ddSYuU

     

    I would note that I have had just terrible experiences with Duracell batteries leaking and destroying equipment. They used to be fine back in the 1990s, but their quality went to hell. I won't touch the Duracell brand any more--it has cost me hundreds of dollars.

     

    It is strange that there don't really seem to be premium batteries out there. Usually if you are willing to pay extra you can get better quality. Batteries don't seem to be that way. I would actually pay a premium for batteries that I was sure wouldn't leak and ruin stuff . . . . .
    2 Jan, 02:54 PM Reply Like
  • jaginger
    , contributor
    Comments (475) | Send Message
     
    TOT,
    Do you have a strong preference for flashlights using CR123 cells vs the newer ones using AA (lithium if preferred?)

     

    I have a couple CR123 lights, but I'm sort of wondering why now that the AA's can perform almost as well. Trying to justify my purchase in my own head, I guess. Sometimes I think I should just ditch them and go solely AA.
    2 Jan, 03:53 PM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    @jaginger --

     

    I have never quite gotten the light out of the AAs that I do out of the CR123s. I keep a AA headlamp in my truck with a backup set of batteries, as well as a couple of those at home, but what I wind up using more than that headlamp these days is either my little Streamlight PT 1L or my Fenix PD 20. I've had the Streamlight for 4 or 5 years (it is worn almost all white from being carried in my pocket so much). I've literally dropped it off my roof twice onto concrete -- your basic 15 foot high drop -- and it is still going strong. The Fenix is newer, but I like it really well so far too.

     

    Anyway, after I got the Streamlight, I just started wearing a baseball cap and clipping it to the bill. I found that more comfortable and more satisfactory than any of the headlamps I had. I've got to admit, I probably should try some of the newer headlamps that use CR 123s, but I am pretty happy with the baseball cap and the Streamlight clipped to it.

     

    I use it this way a surprising amount. I have some property I am restoring and I don't get out there nearly as much as I want, plus when I do it always seems like I get out there toward the middle of the afternoon and always have about 8 -10 hours worth of work to do spreading various seeds all over the place, cutting down junipers, etc. Upshot is that I usually spend 3-4 hours working in the dark using mostly just the little Streamlight on my baseball cap. (I pull out more substantial lighting if I am doing any chainsawing or dangerous stuff.)

     

    Since I found the CR123 batteries at reasonable prices in bulk, my inclination has been to move away from the AA and AAA batteries toward the CR 123s. I got into Surefire about 15 years ago--back when 2 CR 123s got you 10-15 minutes of burn time and before I found the batteries at bulk prices, so I'm still loving the CR 123 LEDs-- seems like they burn forever compared to what I used to get. I've still got a bunch of the old Surefires, including a couple of their really good aviator ones, which I am going to get new LED heads for.

     

    Basically, I just like the brighter light and probably use them because of that unless I have a reason to take a AA-- like for travel.
    7 Jan, 05:19 PM Reply Like
  • sheldond
    , contributor
    Comments (1024) | Send Message
     
    Golds current price is also not that bad.....been looking hard at small cap miners and other commodities right now

     

    D

     

    As for your planning, it is always good to be prepared. I might not have many old school skills but i have all the reading material prepared in case I need to study up. I also think the strongest and smartest will adapt quickly to survive no matter the conditions. Medical knowledge would be the thing I would be most concerned with after food shelter and water....and other humans. How many times would I or family members have died without surgery or antibiotics.

     

    D
    24 Dec 2013, 08:36 AM Reply Like
  • DeepValueLover
    , contributor
    Comments (8157) | Send Message
     
    Nobody ever went broke because they put 10% of their net worth in gold.

     

    Can't really say that about a lot of asset classes.
    24 Dec 2013, 04:26 PM Reply Like
  • Comments-R-us
    , contributor
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    Especially silver !!!
    26 Dec 2013, 08:30 AM Reply Like
  • Comments-R-us
    , contributor
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    A brilliant exposition, Mr. DeMuth. I think I understand the concept of inflation, which is usually due to too much fiat currency in circulation. Debasement of the currency was not invented by the Romans, but they got very good at producing gold alloy coins with very little gold in them. Today, debasement is accomplished with computers adding zeroes faster than even a printing press can mortgage the futures of today's children. The concept I cannot understand is how the US government can maintain even an illusion of low inflation while adding all those zeroes. Are we getting close to Weimar levels yet? I think of deflation in the 30's as being due to the quaint Puritanical restraint that Hoover and even FDR had about racking up an irresponsible level of debt (compared with the big spender politicians of our era). How can deflation be a worry today with $4 trillion of national debt? We had stagflation in the 70's, perhaps all those college-educated 30 year-olds living with their parents can tell us about that. I think you are right, things can come crashing down real fast this time.
    26 Dec 2013, 08:29 AM Reply Like
  • sheldond
    , contributor
    Comments (1024) | Send Message
     
    If everything costs so much more.....how can we have low inflation?
    26 Dec 2013, 02:09 PM Reply Like
  • Comments-R-us
    , contributor
    Comments (50) | Send Message
     
    My point exactly. The National Review has documented how the "market basket" which determines the official inflation rate is heavily manipulated to keep the rate low. If the rate were reported accurately, all the inflation-adjusted bond rates and benefits would go up .....
    worsening the deficit.
    26 Dec 2013, 02:31 PM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » The bottom chart shows inflation if the measurement's methodology had not been changed: http://bit.ly/lmDmS2.
    26 Dec 2013, 02:41 PM Reply Like
  • Comments-R-us
    , contributor
    Comments (50) | Send Message
     
    Well done. couple of questions, Chris (if I may):
    1) do you believe the baseline 1990 rate, or was the govt already cooking the books?
    2) how long can the fed buy treasuries at $75B/month, adding $900B to national debt before we see real inflation?
    3) How much of current stock rally is financed with borrowed money per #2
    4) what sort of triggers could end current rally?
    You have probably answered all of the above brilliantly already, a link will do. What percent of SA's content do you generate, including comments?
    thanks
    dave
    26 Dec 2013, 03:22 PM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Dave,

     

    I will make an effort to answer these questions, but some of them are probably most intelligently answered with an, “I don’t know” and anything I add to that would only subtract. I will assume that it is a given that I don’t know but press on anyways as best I can with what little I can offer.

     

    1) Already cooking the books.
    2) Months, maybe years. I think that the US$ denominated price of gasoline will be the first real test of how far they can go. As long as gas at the pump is cheap, there will not be a widespread concern with inflation. Eventually, there will be inflation but until it hits the gas price, there will not be any real pushback.
    3) That is hard to say but essentially the entire current stock rally. It is probably around a third of the market cap.
    4) Lockup expirations in the major tech IPOs over the course of the next year could be a proximate trigger.

     

    My contribution to SA is hard to measure as is the amount that I work. I’m up about eighteen hours per day and spend a lot of that – whether on land, sea, or air – reading and thinking. I’m a much bigger reader (http://bit.ly/1ab947P) than writer. If I’m not getting outdoors and getting exercise, I’m probably reading. I’m grateful to get a lot of help with all of the logistical chores in my life, so I don’t really focus on anything that I don’t want to. That frees up a lot of time, energy, and focus. My writing on SA is really just the afterthoughts that occur to me as I read – links to good articles, a thought on a security, or some opportunity that I stumble into. So, I could say that I’m always working… or that I’m never working. I don’t think about anything that I don’t want to. Do I have anything better to do? Nope, because if I did, I’d be doing it. In a sense, SA has no cost to me because it is the stuff I’m thinking about anyways and it saves my poor long-suffering friends from having to listen to me bang on about some investment or idea. I can post it and then if anyone cares, they can read it, but they don’t have to listen to me when I’m hyped up about some thought. One advantage of this blog is that the exit signs are clearly marked, so I don’t have to worry about readers disliking a given topic that I care about.

     

    -C
    26 Dec 2013, 03:43 PM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    Chris --

     

    Great post. Kind of confirms what I thought about a couple of things. I'm nowhere near as knowledgeable about investments, the economy, etc. But, I read a ton. And it became apparent to me pretty quickly after following you that you read even more than me. And, that is saying something: I go to the library and read books without checking them out: I read fast.

     

    We will have a delayed indicator if the price of gas is the key metric. Regardless of what the strip says, I would bet a lot of money the price of oil will be going down -- WTI/Domestic in particular, but Brent/International too. It's not permanent, but there will be a swing down. I'm actually surprised it hasn't happened already. In other words, we may have short term situation that delays the indicator you mentioned-- at the pump prices.

     

    The short term situation is production in the Eagle Ford and Bakken. It is going to go up for a couple more years. Canada may have some shale plays, but nothing is looking as good as the EF and Bakken. Shale gas will be a long term thing: Tight oil will not, or not at a low price. But, while tight oil displaces foreign, and until infrastructure catches up, and until the refineries can process enough to export enough . . . . prices on crude should go down, refinery margins will go up (in part due to natural gas prices), and gasoline prices will stay down.

     

    You may already read these guys, but if not, I heartily recommend them. They are about the best on midstream, marketing, and trends that will affect pricing in the O&G industry.

     

    http://www.rbnenergy.com

     

    I get them to send me an email every day, just so I don't forget to read them. I get way, way too many emails, but they are that good. My day's reading starts with these guys.
    29 Dec 2013, 11:52 PM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    By the way, concur on ammo saving very well: I've shot plenty of WWII ammo, including a box of .45s less than a year ago that worked just fine--no misfires.

     

    Possible exception: Shotgun shells. they corrode over time. The shot gets lumped together due to corrosion. I was dove hunting with my father one time. He was using really old shotgun shells. Wasn't getting squat. That was surprising: I'd seen him hit 25 in Skeet several times.

     

    He finally hit a dove. Not a mark on it, but its head was totally gone. We figured out that his shot had all corroded together: He was essentially bird hunting with slugs. It was kind of amazing he got one.
    29 Dec 2013, 11:57 PM Reply Like
  • pparaska
    , contributor
    Comments (132) | Send Message
     
    Same here! My son and I shot off a box of WWII ACP45 ammo this year with the model 1911 handgun that my dad bought with it from a US armory in 1948 or so. Worked fine.
    30 Dec 2013, 02:12 AM Reply Like
  • Comments-R-us
    , contributor
    Comments (50) | Send Message
     
    You should have the last word, but I will live up to my handle & say please keep those blogs & comments coming - happy holidays from a newbie.
    26 Dec 2013, 10:19 PM Reply Like
  • alsobirdman
    , contributor
    Comments (366) | Send Message
     
    Found this blog and love it. Agree with everything Chris says and really enjoy all of the comments. I have a nice stash of gold and silver just in case.

     

    As for a trade, I was lucky enough to grow up on a farm where my dad taught me everything I need to know to survive. We made our own butter, maple syrup, grew all of our vegatables and fruit. I can butcher a cow or pig, same for chickens, rabbits and squirrels. I know how to freeze, can, brine, etc. to preserve foods. My dad taught me how to sweat pipes, weld, do roofing, drywall, lay blocks. I like to think I am prepared for just about anything, at least I know I am a heck of a lot better prepared than most people out there.

     

    My wife and I recently started putting together a little survival food stash, and I always make sure we have a full propane tank for the grill. Have plenty of wood in the forest if we get to that level. All of my boy-scout training will help a bit with that.

     

    Sure hope I never have to use all of those skills, but am very glad to have them.

     

    Thanks for all of the great info here.

     

    Walt
    29 Dec 2013, 11:47 AM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    @Walt --

     

    Sounds like you are the kind of guy I want in my armed compound if things ever really go south . . . .
    2 Jan, 08:24 PM Reply Like
  • connellybarnes
    , contributor
    Comments (306) | Send Message
     
    Interesting. I've meant for some time to establish a survival outpost. Actually I think that's a super important part of investing -- existential risk. How safe is one's driving, walking, medical, exercise, food, health? How well will you do if the financial system collapses? I mean, having a high net worth in securities or dollars is pointless if you will die soon. I've been meaning to write an article about this.

     

    After reading this I think it would be good to have more than just supplies and generators, but also knowledge of gardening and hunting. I currently don't know anything about these although my family hunts and gardens so I should learn from them.

     

    The biggest risk in my opinion is war. During wars the limited rights that citizens enjoy are suspended, people are forced to be in harm's way, seizing assets is common, and shortages and inflation run rampant. If I have kids I definitely want to guarantee that they don't have to participate in said mess if they choose not to (and the same goes for myself), which requires having some physical hedge to survive away from major metropolitan areas.

     

    As another example, there are many legal cases where asset forfeiture occurs without any trial or even judicial review, and then the defendant with his overworked public defender pleads guilty to countless violations of the 200k page US code. For example:

     

    http://wapo.st/19OrjFY

     

    I was reading about another case where a family's liquid assets were seized by some drug enforcement operation, so they mortgaged their house for $500k to afford legal defense, but then those funds were seized too (later reversed by another court).

     

    This is one of the reasons to have hard to seize liquid assets, ideally with control spread between different people one trusts. For example, gold, cryptocurrencies, assets in foreign countries, travel experience to said countries, etc. I have some of these but should do more. Ideally I guess one would have contracts saying "Trusted party X owes me $Y" where such contracts are hidden safely with the relevant parties. Multiple redundant points of failure.
    6 Jan, 10:28 PM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    @connellybarnes--

     

    The asset seizure is some scary stuff, that is for sure. You are right -- there is essentially no effective remedy for most people.

     

    The ability to avoid confrontation or cut your losses and have resources elsewhere is something I have developed more of an appreciation for of late. Reading about Ruby Ridge and watching "Waco: The Rules of Engagement" angered me and made me think about being the subject of a misdirected or incompetent law enforcement, but somewhat esoterically. (I highly recommend Waco: The Rules of Engagement. Basically that whole thing was about ATF wanting to make a big firearms case out of nothing and being far, far more concerned with their image and advancing the gun control agenda than they were about whether there was any actual crime they had jurisdiction over occurring. But golly, I couldn't imagine the current administration being more concerned about image than doing the right thing and trying to spin things afterwards . . . . . Benghazi, anyone, anyone . . . . http://imdb.to/1ejP19R
    http://amzn.to/1ejP19T )

     

    Then I read about a guy who was incredibly unfortunate: First, his wife is murdered while he is at work. Second, he managed to have an incompetent, drooling cretin Sheriff "investigate" the case. Third, he managed to have a District Attorney prosecute the case who was totally devoid of any sense of ethics or real understanding about what the process should have been about. Between the Sheriff and the DA, they concocted a story about him having gone into a pornography induced rage because his wife had denied him sex and then murdered her, left his 3 year-old son alone with his mother's body, and went to work.

     

    This poor guy spent 25 years in jail before he was finally exonerated. If you think this couldn't happen, just read this two part series -- this is part 2, but it has a link to part 1. http://bit.ly/1ejOZ1P

     

    Anyway, not too long after that stuff came to light, I actually got charged for something I absolutely did not do. It was totally ridiculous, but still I wound up spending $10,000 in attorney's fees and associated costs and still had to plead to a lesser offense (with deferred adjudication) or potentially have to go to trial on a totally bogus charge-- which would have meant a lot more time, money, and potentially could have involved jail time if I had lost. It was like once I was charged, the sorry SOBs just wouldn't drop it no matter what.

     

    I have a really different attitude about things today than I did before that happened. And now I think about "what if it had been something big?" Not like I trust the system worth squat anymore, and at one time I did a bit of work in LE myself. I also have a good friend who used to be an assistant DA and spent years working in LE. He has less faith in the system than I do--I expect because he has seen a lot more.

     

    Regarding keeping assets in foreign countries, I was just reading about Uruguay the other day. It seems to offer some advantages that might be difficult to find elsewhere. For me, I first have to get a pot big enough to divide into meaningful pieces . . . .
    7 Jan, 03:53 PM Reply Like
  • arbtrader
    , contributor
    Comments (170) | Send Message
     
    You see lots of what I would term, politely, _crap_ about holding assets in other countries. Lots of LatAM countries pitch for US $. The problem is you are a huge target for bribes or police harassment. If the economy goes South the local banks fold and your assets get exchanged for local confetti. This happened to a friend in the 90's.

     

    Find a country, preferably with Anglo-Saxon enforcement, to put your $ in. A great place to get ideas: http://bit.ly/134ZEuZ

     

    Of course, now that i've shot my mouth off I see Uruguay is only #20, right after the #19 USA.....but I'd aim for A/NZ. Canada is too close, likewise anywhere in the Caribbean, to resist US diplomatic pressure.
    7 Jan, 04:11 PM Reply Like
  • connellybarnes
    , contributor
    Comments (306) | Send Message
     
    @TimeOnTarget:

     

    That's too bad the experience you had. I regard something like 50% of what police do as "good" (some combination of legal, Constitutional, and not violating human rights), and 50% as "evil". Unfortunately because the legal code is so complex and prosecutor mis-incentives are so messed up, I'm not surprised that people get charged all the time for things they had nothing to do with. If you haven't seen it, I recommend the YouTube video "Don't talk to police". I often rehearse being maximally polite to a hypothetical officer or authority while volunteering no information.

     

    I agree these situations like Waco and the guy Michael you linked are really abusive of the public trust.

     

    Being in technology I've seen the news of many people who get prosecuted, e.g. Dmitry Sklyarov, Aaron Swartz, David Carruthers, Kim Dotcom, Ross Ulbricht, Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, various hackers from Anonymous, and many others. Now some of these people were alleged to have done bad things, such as Mr. Ulbricht who was alleged to have taken out murder contracts, or Mr. Manning who leaked classified information that could put lives at risk.

     

    But even superficial examination of the worst of these characters raises tough questions for government policy. For example: selling and buying illicit drugs is highly dangerous. But doesn't it seem that online vendors of drugs are going to be more safe and involve less violence than street vendors? Is the harm from drugs so high as to justify locking up people in prison for many years, and collateral damage to others due to no knock warrants and asset seizures? Should not any person involved in "justice" also want to encourage safer places where drugs can be sold, such as online? Or similarly, if classified information is so dangerous, shouldn't it be stored securely on printed paper in vaults, rather than in giant relatively unsecured databases where a mere Private can access it?

     

    Such problems are not even remotely being addressed, and rather the arrogation of power to a few elites continues, and citizens are required ever more obedience. Consequently I think it wise to have many levels of hedging and insurance. I try to think like a corporate lawyer. Even though I'm a harmless person, I always want to have alibis, plausible deniability, non-threatening moves, polite speech, no enemies, not be associated with people who could bring trouble, follow whichever of the infinitude of laws I'm aware of esp. when they are being enforced, divulge no information except when explicitly required by law, have diversified assets in career, trusted family members, financial assets, alternative assets (gold, cryptocurrencies), etc.

     

    As one minor example I've travelled to Singapore. Foreigners are regularly executed there for being in possession of drugs such as cannabis. I have no interest whatsoever in such illicit drugs. But for extra safety, I would not actually travel back to Singapore in the future unless required by my job. But even in that case I wouldn't use checked luggage, and would very carefully inspect my carry-on luggage, in a private location. Because logic would dictate that drug traffickers and police are two likely parties who have motivation to plant drugs in other peoples' luggage. This seems incredibly paranoid, but I think actually having a long list of "safe contingencies" running in the back of one's mind is a good general policy. Occasionally things go Wahoonie-shaped (quoting Terry Pratchett), and it's good to be prepared.

     

    See also Bruce Schneier's article "The Internet is a Surveillance State." Also the de facto policy of the DOJ is that the 4th Amendment applies to nothing on computers, especially if stored "in the cloud." So paranoia is highly advised :-).

     

    http://bit.ly/1hu3PrR
    7 Jan, 07:49 PM Reply Like
  • pparaska
    , contributor
    Comments (132) | Send Message
     
    " Or similarly, if classified information is so dangerous, shouldn't it be stored securely on printed paper in vaults, rather than in giant relatively unsecured databases where a mere Private can access it?"

     

    That's a pretty ignorant comment. Do you have any idea how difficult working with classified information is these days? Keeping it on paper? Just to let you know the POS Manning has cost the tax payer a lot of dough due to what he did. Same with the other criminals you listed that stole government secrets and gave them away. Probably caused some loss of life as well. You are clearly unqualified to have an opinion about classified information, based on your response above. Stick to what you know.
    7 Jan, 11:19 PM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    @connellybarnes --

     

    I think you have nailed it: You are very, very, very rarely going to go wrong by saying nothing. I'm a board-certified attorney, been a corporate lawyer, done some criminal stuff, and I'm still pissed at myself for trying to be "cooperative" when I not only knew better, but had advised people tons of times about that very thing. That stuff about not being your own lawyer--or being your own lawyer and having a fool for a client -- it is all true. I'm not sure it would have changed anything for me-- ran into a little Napoleon who thought he had figured something out and he was the epitome of the Dunning-Kruger effect -- too incompetent to know he was incompetent.

     

    On the drugs thing-- my thought is that if someone has a job or a source of money to buy them, their own insurance that they are buying, they do them in privacy or only in appropriate places where they don't pose any increased risk to other people--then have at it. Alcohol and nicotine are certainly two of the most harmful drug their are by most standards, yet societal norms make them fine, while not allowing many far less harmful drugs. Most people don't even understand the progression of drug laws in this country-- or the fact that a few individuals like Harry Anslinger--are almost entirely responsible for the current attitudes and laws.

     

    Consider the giant effort to reduce drunken driving, which I actually think was a very much needed and laudable objective. Now, given the information about cell phones and traffic accidents and yet their use in vehicles being tolerated, it strikes me as moralistic garbage that borders on meaningless. I'm a bit tired of the cell phone issue and the dangers they cause to others being ignored. On the good side, it has kindled an interest in a physics project: making a portable, directional EMP generating device . . . .

     

    Since you do computer science, let me turn you onto a colleague of yours, Matt Blaze, who has written on a number of very, very interesting areas--some of which are now hobbies of mine-- cracking safes and picking locks. I was actually into both before I found his stuff, but was just delighted when I did--he greatly expanded my knowledge about a number of facets-- e.g., master-keyed lock security.

     

    Also, I highly recommend the Peterson tools he references in his articles: They are uniformly of the highest quality and there is no substitute if you ever want to have any hope of being able to pick a small format interchangable core lock.

     

    http://bit.ly/1cA4J1a

     

    http://bit.ly/1cA4J1c

     

    http://bit.ly/1cA4HXb

     

    http://bit.ly/1cA4J1d
    8 Jan, 01:30 AM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    Oh yeah-- he has stuff on wire tapping too.
    8 Jan, 01:33 AM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    I gotta admit I am not much of a fan of Manning, Snowden, or any of that ilk. I have learned plenty of stuff over the years that I didn't like or personally agree with--and that I could have used to torch people-- but didn't because it would have been wrong. I'll stick to the regular channels myself. And when I have things like I want, I'll basically have all the info I want downloaded and available to me, but be damn well off the grid myself. I have already downloaded a ton of web sites just for informational purposes-- so I can access them offline.
    8 Jan, 01:42 AM Reply Like
  • John Wilson
    , contributor
    Comments (1094) | Send Message
     
    pparaska

     

    The criminals are those who have used their positions of authority to consolidate more power and control for themselves as they take away our civil and constitutional freedoms, and the using "Classified Information" designation to hide their acts of public betrayal from disclosure.

     

    Yes, let's stick to what we know:
    NSA Director Keith Alexander lied about thwarting 54 terrorist attacks; NSA Director James Clapper lied to the Senate about spying on millions of Americans.

     

    Every sleazy act they want to hide is now "Classified." It is their cloaking device.

     

    Edward Snowden is the hero. The intelligence/military machine is the criminal party.

     

    Your comment defends and enables the theft of what is left of our Constitutional rights.
    8 Jan, 07:17 PM Reply Like
  • connellybarnes
    , contributor
    Comments (306) | Send Message
     
    @pparaska:

     

    My point is that levels of security for many corporate and government secrets are not very good. I follow the work of security researchers in my field (computer science) and frequently see them disclose security problems which were created by technology, for which no one has any good fix, or the fix is too costly so it is ignored. Often the easiest solution is just to use less technology, e.g. format devices frequently, disconnect them from networks, boot on to LiveCDs, print things on hardcopy, or have improved verification of identity, since social engineering attacks are a perennial winner. For example check out some research on wireless network privacy that I saw at a seminar:

     

    http://tinyurl.com/amq...

     

    Since you seem to think I lack some knowledge of classified document protection feel free to share. I am no fan of Manning, Snowden, nor many of the people in power! Even so, I don't believe that making examples out of a few strange people will make data security problems disappear.

     

    @TimeOnTarget:

     

    Thanks! I'm glad to have it confirmed from a lawyer that to say nothing is recommended.

     

    The Matt Blaze research looks interesting. I had no idea physical lock security was so complicated.

     

    I find the Dunning-Kruger effect fascinating and highly relevant for investing. Actually I would propose that effect and hyperbolic discounting explains why short-dated options and lottery tickets are statistically overpriced (as well as the roll yield in volatility futures). If the utility of money is logarithmic, then I could get a payoff by going from very poor (negative infinity utility) to well off (utility high enough to not worry about day to day expenses). So it would be "rational" for me to buy a lottery ticket. This could be even more rational if I was extremely focused on the short term and couldn't discount future rewards, or say had some life-threatening medical affliction which forced such an accounting. Furthermore, if I'm ignorant, the Dunning-Kruger effect might make me even more overconfident of the opinion that I would otherwise hold.

     

    So score some dollars off of ignorant people in the financial markets, in philosophic revenge for the harassment of Mr. Napoleon :-) (But beware, the ^VIX is below average currently in this market of greed and complacency).
    8 Jan, 07:38 PM Reply Like
  • connellybarnes
    , contributor
    Comments (306) | Send Message
     
    The psychology having to do with leverage, poverty, and the DK effect could also explain why technology startups are generally overpriced (i.e. VCs generally lose money [1]).

     

    [1]. http://bit.ly/1a1Pka1
    8 Jan, 08:03 PM Reply Like
  • pparaska
    , contributor
    Comments (132) | Send Message
     
    We'll have to disagree. Stealing classified information and giving it away is criminal, in my opinion and the statues that pertain to this issue. I _KNOW_ about such things, I don't just guess about them. If you want to pass judgement on what is classified in order to hide foul deeds, that's totally different. It doesn't matter if someone is MURDERED and it's hidden in a classified document to protect the murderous government official, it's still a criminal act to disclose that information.
    8 Jan, 09:46 PM Reply Like
  • pparaska
    , contributor
    Comments (132) | Send Message
     
    "disconnect them from networks"

     

    Well, that's the air-gap solution. But the network that Manning downloaded data from and then gave away requires a security clearance to access. The failure was that those who should have been checking him out better. He had "issues" that were "adverse information" that should have been paid attention to and his clearance should have been pulled before he stole the info. He was emotionally unstable and pissed at the military.

     

    Do you work with classified data? Your comments indicate to me that you never have. That's where my comment about sticking to what you know comes from.

     

    Does the US government hide stuff they shouldn't? I've never seen proof of it but I don't go looking for it. What they do is hide information that could hurt the US if our enemies obtained it. Having rogues with clearances downloading classified info and passing it to foreign governments and wikileaks WILL hurt the US. I'm fairly certain that the amount of stuff that's hidden only to protect criminal acts by those in the government or their buddies is much smaller than the amount of classified info that is legitimately classified because it protects the US from it's enemies.
    8 Jan, 10:12 PM Reply Like
  • John Wilson
    , contributor
    Comments (1094) | Send Message
     
    pparaska

     

    If that concept of law was followed, the northern states would still be returning run-away slaves to their owners in the South because they had LAWS that required it.

     

    Your position seems to be that all laws are absolute. You need to acquaint yourself with the concept of "nullification" as in citizen nullification or jury nullification, and also the concept of "natural law" as opposed to absolute decrees (laws) of kings and oligarchs.

     

    It may be considered a criminal act to comply with a criminal law. World history is filled with criminal governments and regimes with their criminal laws which violated natural human rights.
    8 Jan, 10:23 PM Reply Like
  • pparaska
    , contributor
    Comments (132) | Send Message
     
    Sure, I understand nullification. But anyone that commits treason by giving away government secrets will wait in jail a long time for that nullification to happen. AND pay fines.
    8 Jan, 11:05 PM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    @arbtrader --

     

    Thanks for that link--interesting reading. Shocking that Somalia finished last, eh? Actually, I was shocked that Nigeria wasn't at the bottom. Maybe things have improved there.

     

    I think Uruguay is pretty stable. One of the good things was a particular corporate entity that they had that had very minimal taxes associated with it, minimal corporate formalities and reporting, could keep assets in any currency, etc. Here is a link describing it.

     

    http://bit.ly/1ddEVed
    7 Jan, 04:45 PM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » "P.S. Secret Value Proposition: people selling their closed-end funds to harvest tax losses have driven them to deeper discounts to their net asset values than they usually trade at. This could represent a bargain as prices regress to the mean over the coming months, if they do, and if you are “into” closed-end funds. My genius nephew Chris DeMuth, Jr. has alerted me that Central Fund of Canada (ticker: CEF) is presently selling at a 5% discount to the price of the gold and silver that it holds. In other words, you have a window where you can buy precious metals at a discount. (Disclosure: I own a little bit of CEF)." - http://onforb.es/1lZzyl7
    14 Jan, 08:28 AM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    Thanks for the tip Chris -- I remember reading that article.

     

    Speaking of metals, while not historically one in high demand, if you look at the supply of tungsten, the limited locations it can be mined in commercial quantities, and its usefulness, tungsten may be worth accumulating. Tungsten carbide is almost an irreplaceable compound that is widely, widely used in industry, plus alloying, etc. I think virtually the entire world supply comes from China and Russia, with Canada making a small amount.

     

    And, while thinking about preparedness and survival, for a while I have been toying with the idea of trying tungsten shot as the round to keep in the shotguns I use for self-defense (or rather have ready to use). Elemental tungsten is 1.7 times heavier than lead and way, way harder. I'm actually thinking about a load of 5 10mm tungsten alloy balls that these people offer (which are actually only 1.54 times as heavy as lead, but should still be way harder) in a 12 gauge, 3 inch mag load/gun.

     

    http://bit.ly/1eJpSYJ

     

    5 of the 10mm tungsten alloy balls would come in slightly under the 1.75 oz you normally get as a load in the 3 inch mag shell, which is good, because I want to have the velocity as high as possible. The thought is that the denser and harder balls will be able to penetrate things like car windshields bodies with ease and still have plenty of oomph left over. They might also be able to penetrate bullet-proof vests, which I know I would want to wear if the situation ever deteriorated badly. More to the point, I would expect there to be a chance of bad guys intent on robbing or attacking in such a case possibly wearing them.

     

    So, you could store part of your "precious metal" supply in your shotgun ammo . . . .
    15 Jan, 09:53 AM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » I had my college girlfriend (subsequently wife) learn loading the first time I brought her home for a school vacation. As for tungsten, it is a fine idea. The supply is indeed limited. In fact, we were shareholders of a medical supply company that we first invested in because it was driven down to a remainder bin price due to a foreign corrupt practices act/FCPA violation over securing tungsten from the PRC. It was an ugly but resolvable situation and I got to learn way more than I intended to about securing tungsten supplies.
    15 Jan, 10:29 AM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    Wow. I can't even get my wife to go to the shooting range so that she will be comfortable using the weapons if needed. Worse, after less than a year of marriage she decided that she didn't care how good mowing the yard was for exercising her glutes, it was a man's job. (I had a girlfriend that bought that exercise bit for over three years--quite smart, but just a little naive.) Anyway, my wife seems to have very definite ideas about what I do and what she does.

     

    Everyone talks about the heavy REEs, but I don't hear much about tungsten. It certainly seems to warrant the country keeping a strategic supply on hand. I'm going to be real curious to see what kind of penetration improvement you get with tungsten over regular lead shot. I expect it to be even more dramatic than the density difference due in part to its hardness.

     

    I haven't had any direct experiences with FCPA enforcement, but the entire concept and apparatus strikes me as virtually certain to do nothing except unlevel the playing field. Basically, it seems like they hope that by really beating on the 1% they catch hard they hope to deter the other 99%.

     

    Of course it is the likelihood of getting caught and the speed of punishment that are actually what most deter crime, not the severity of the penalty. To me that makes the entire FCPA apparatus pretty much another part of government that fits in nicely with the Ministry of Silly Walks--something that is pretty much totally useless but that they pretend is necessary.
    15 Jan, 10:54 AM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Family Home Storage

     

    In the developed world of the 21st century, we rely on integrated global distribution networks for essentially all of our consumer products. This tends to be a very cost-efficient and logistically sound way to do things outside of emergency situations. However, such networks can and do breakdown unexpectedly and quickly in certain unexpected crises. Once they stop, it is more or less impossible to react usefully. One is left with whatever one has in terms of skills and stuff to make do from anywhere between a few days and a few months. Different people are in different circumstances, but I have made a decision for myself that I am happy to share in terms of what backup plans I make. I wanted to be 100% self-reliant for a given amount of time for myself and household up to a basic standard of living.

     

    Water

     

    We store a lot of water and do so in a couple different ways. We store a lot of bottled water from the grocery store which is cheap and easy to do. Instead of making this a big project, we just bought a few extra gallons every time we were there. One gallon per person per day. That sounds like a lot but it isn’t. You need that much for drinking, cooking, and sanitation. Each person should consume 0.5 gallons per day for drinking. You should never ration water: drink full portions and use the energy to find more.

     

    Other useful products:

     

    Katadyn Pocket Microfilter - Endurance Series Water Filter This is a high quality filter that I endorse for mobile water filtration. It is expensive, but lasts one’s whole life.

     

    The best non-mobile passive water filtration system is made in the UK. It is available here. Also expensive; also high quality: Big Berkey Water Filter System.

     

    We store water purification tablets and have both 55 gallon drums for water storage as well as smaller. Here is my favorite storage container: WaterBrick. I think that 3.5 gallons is the ideal size.

     

    Food

     

    We collected foods that last for extremely long periods of time over time when we were doing our usual shopping. The Mormon Church has excellent educational material on the internet that taught be all about food storage. We store salt, sugar, honey, vinegar, rice (properly sealed), oats, and wheat. Our only mistake to date came from storing rice in sacks instead of plastic containers such as the WaterBrick (good for water or food). We own two grain mills for milling grains (essentially infinite shelf-life when stored properly) into flours which only are good for six months or so. Vitamin supplements are also worth storing. While we do not use baby formula for non-emergency circumstances, we kept and store baby formula for emergencies.

     

    Light & Heat

     

    We store flashlights, batteries, paraffin for lanterns, lanterns, matches for fires, and heavy-duty plastic to cover windows. There are times when it might be useful to keep one’s home light and warm but not draw attention to the fact.

     

    Here are my favorite lanterns: Dietz Jupiter Hurricane Oil Lantern

     

    Medical & sanitation

     

    We store an extra comprehensive first aid kit, supplemented with antibiotics, which we store in the refrigerator. Also, we store extra prescription glasses and would store extra of any other prescriptions. Hand wipes are worth storing, because keeping clean without running water or electricity can be tough and keeping as clean as possible makes it easier to stay healthy. Our favorites are Hibistat hand sanitizers, because they We store baking soda, which can be dual-purposed for cooking and for making tooth paste.

     

    I also store caffeine pills, in order to be as alert as possible to deal with emergencies that may involve a significant amount of work at night or for a few straight days without rest.

     

    Gear that has proved useful:

     

    -Surefire Saint LED headlamp
    -WaterBOB water storage for bathtubs
    -Hibistat hand sanitizers
    -WaterBrick

     

    We have radios, food and water storage, and alternative generation that we like too, but have not yet needed. For kids, a crank-generated flashlight is nice because they like to use it all the time and are not always good about turning them off.
    15 Jan, 10:56 AM Reply Like
  • connellybarnes
    , contributor
    Comments (306) | Send Message
     
    Good post! I noticed West Virginia had a chemical spill and the first thing that happened was people bought up all the bottled water in stores. So there were water shortages. I also bought water just to be safe since I'm in Virginia. I didn't realize before, but it seems storing water is an extremely cheap hedge and valuable in any emergency.
    15 Jan, 11:45 AM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    Chris --

     

    I am genuinely impressed. I know a decent amount about this area, but your preparation is way, way ahead of mine.

     

    You have stuff that is a bit off the normal track but which I agree wholeheartedly with. Plastic sheeting is something that few people would think about, but can prove incredibly valuable, whether it is hot or cold.

     

    If I may, I'll add just a couple of thoughts to build on your list.

     

    High quality plastic bags (I found some asbestos abatement bags that are monsters -- plus people might just leave them alone if they were filled with all the "hazard" stuff written on them -- and baggies too.)

     

    I also keep a small supply of certain chemicals on hand. These are things that could be independently useful and that also might be used to make other compounds (if you know what you are doing, or have books, I fall in the latter category). I don't keep that much, but I would probably add if I started to get a bad feeling on the way things were going.

     

    Phosphoric acid (good for rust removal)
    Hydrocholoric Acid
    Sulphuric Acid
    (I have two gallons each of these acids)
    Vinegar -- 9% -- I gallon (started with 5 gallons, but my wife takes them for cleaning and I haven't replaced)

     

    Mineral Oil -- I have a bunch of roughly one quart containers--about two gallons total
    Paraffin wax -- the canning kind from the grocery store -- about 10 lbs.
    Carnauba wax -- two metal tins
    Naptha -- 4 gallons -- I should have more.
    ( Just the basic Colemans camp fuel is about the cleanest, highest quality naptha you can find. )
    Lamp oil -- two gallons (C10 if I remember correctly)

     

    (I was on a make my own lubricants kick for a while. Finally decided that I wasn't going to be able to improve on LPS 1, 2, and 3, which I keep a gallon of each on hand, as well as several small cans of other lubricants they make. LPS makes superior quality products.)

     

    Acetone -- two gallons (I actually should keep a lot more of this--critical building block and independently useful solvent--and not overly toxic either)
    Toluene -- one gallon
    Methyl Ethyl Ketone (useful solvent and building block)

     

    Chlorox -- 2 gallons (should have much, much more of this. Highly, highly useful. Wife takes it and I haven't replaced it).
    Sodium Hydroxide -- 1 gallon and some crystals that I think are NaOH-- sold as drain opener-- quart of those. should have more and also some KOH, which I don't have.

     

    You mentioned baking soda, -- definite yes there, don't have nearly as much as I should.
    Also, washing soda -- cheap, very useful too.

     

    Hydrogen Peroxide -- 2.5 gallons of the 3% -- you need to use this stuff and replace it or it goes bad. Good antibacterial for shallow wounds and important building block in creating other compounds.
    (e.g., Acetone Peroxide -- I haven't tried making it, despite being curious, but I have detailed instructions -- prudent not to mess with unless you need to. Would also be good to have nitrocellulose (I'm thinking double-bonded, but not sure) to make AP putty).

     

    Potassium nitrate -- saltpeter -- I only currently have 4 small containers from the drug store, but should have much more.

     

    Iodine surgical scrub stuff -- effective, cheap, and will stain stuff like nobody's business -- including carpet -- watch out for wife if careless with it. There does not appear to be any solvent of any kind that removes it.

     

    Propane. Fuel. Also what the military uses in their fuel-air bombs. Let it out in a cloud along the ground and it will blow like a mother.

     

    Alcohols --

     

    Methanol -- I have 1 gallon, perhaps should have more, but I don't like being exposed to this stuff at all, so I never use it.

     

    Ethanol -- I have a gallon of ethanol -- (actually a big bottle of Everclear I bought at the liquor store. I use it for a solvent and I got the pure kind even though it was more expensive than denatured alcohol because I don't like to be exposed to methanol. Should have more.)

     

    Isopropyl -- rubbing alcohol -- 90%, two gallons. Should have more. solvent. disinfectant.

     

    I should have ammonium nitrate and diesel, but I don't. 16 year old boy who will try anything and would likely know what to do with those two if they were around.

     

    I also have flares that I carry in my car -- box of 12. I have another box of 12 in the shed. Should have more.

     

    Anyway, it isn't all I should have, nor do I have enough of most things, but it is a start. Get the Chlorox over everything else on this list. Rotate it-- it will go bad eventually. Remember to replace it.
    15 Jan, 12:43 PM Reply Like
  • kadison
    , contributor
    Comments (143) | Send Message
     
    Chris, great to have a grain mill. Maybe it would be also beneficial to have some canning set for food preservation. Being in a situation without electricity, canning would be one of the best ways how to preserve food (meat, berries, fruits ...)for a very long time.
    19 Jan, 01:49 AM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Great idea. My daughter also loves the activity. She cans with one of her grandmothers. With more tomatoes and berries than can be eaten in a summer, it helps prevent waste and help vary wintertime diets without relying on food shipped over long distances.
    19 Jan, 07:12 AM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Excellent ideas. This is just the type of response I was hoping for. I hope that everyone keeps up skills with which to use their stuff so that there are no safety violations.
    15 Jan, 12:47 PM Reply Like
  • toddro
    , contributor
    Comments (165) | Send Message
     
    Good stuff on the prep ideas, guys. Thanks. I would supplement plenty of 5.56×45 NATO, 9mm, .45 ACP, 12ga. buck & slug, 20ga. shot, and 12ga. mini-slug for the Kel-tec KSG. These comprise my EIP - "emergency insurance policy".
    18 Jan, 09:35 AM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » That is very similar to my calibers, which I both store and make. For me it is 37mm, 50 cal, 338, 7.62, 5.56, .45, 9mm, 12ga buck, and .22. .22? Yep. Very cheap, great currency, fun, quiet, little recoil, keeps the whole family in practice, and can probably take down more calories/$ of any caliber in terms of small game. I like keeping with very standard choices in terms of availability.
    18 Jan, 10:29 AM Reply Like
  • toddro
    , contributor
    Comments (165) | Send Message
     
    Yes, I keep tons of .22LR on hand, mainly because it has become very, very hard to find in our area. I have a good source for bricks of 500 @ $40 which is almost 1/2 the price of normal retail around here. I love my Ruger 10/22 Takedown with a 3-9X36 scope.
    18 Jan, 11:13 AM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » My wife has a 10/22 which she loves -- reliable and accurate. That tends to be what she grabs when heading out with my son when he shoots his Crickett.
    18 Jan, 11:21 AM Reply Like
  • grendelbane
    , contributor
    Comments (196) | Send Message
     
    So I am not the only one that considers ammunition as a form of currency. Unfortunately, I like the obscure calibers too much.

     

    I remember an article Colonel Jeff Cooper wrote about ballistic wampum.

     

    I like to keep some .38 Special around, as I still have several .38s and .357s which can use it. It has lost some of its popularity in the last couple of decades, but there are still millions of them out there.

     

    Plus, it works very well with cast bullets. If you have a bullet mould, lead, powder and primers you can keep it shooting for a long long time. This is true of other cartridges also, but the lowly .38 is a very economical cartridge to reload.
    18 Jan, 11:11 AM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » If I started quoting Col. Cooper, I'd never stop. In my experience, cops and their families are closer to .38 then military families. As for me, I was raised on .45 with a grudging acceptance of 9mm (my wife carries a 9mm Kahr which serves that purpose well) and never became as familiar with the .38. But it has many virtues as you mention.
    18 Jan, 11:24 AM Reply Like
  • toddro
    , contributor
    Comments (165) | Send Message
     
    Not to turn this into a "preppers forum" but 300,000 without drinking water in Charleston, W.Va last week - with reports of looting and citizens having to vigorously guard their water supplies. It can happen anywhere at anytime and those who are not prepared are in for some long days and long nights...
    18 Jan, 12:40 PM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (4040) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Oh to be a teenager with a U-Haul and pallets again. toddro -- you just gave me an idea. Why not have a preppers forum for investors? Here you go: http://seekingalpha.co.... Please continue gold related discussions here and preparedness discussions to the new "Systemic Risk Forum". Thanks. -C
    18 Jan, 01:46 PM Reply Like
  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (2172) | Send Message
     
    Chris --

     

    Great idea -- thanks.

     

    I guess I have been wanting to trade ideas on this or something.

     

    I read with my 7 year old girl every night before she goes to sleep. We are starting to run low on new books, so I just ordered about ten new books for her from Amazon, including "Home is the North," "Kavik the Wolf Dog," and "Canyon Winter," by Walt Morey, "Lost in the Barrens" by Farley Mowatt, etc.

     

    No, she didn't request those by name. Yes, of course they are for her, why do you ask??????

     

    I started pulling all my survival related books together to make a list to share. I'm going to pop over there now and add a link to a free book basically on metallurgy for bladesmiths.

     

    The guy who wrote it is a professor who said basically that he had worked my whole life in the public sector and basically that he wanted to give something back -- something that basically a chunk of regular folks could use (I'm going off memory, haven't dug up the link again yet, but I think that is the gist of it.)

     

    In addition finding that a very cool thing to do, I found the book to be very well written and almost exactly at the level I wanted to learn.

     

    I'll dig up the link and post it and also the name of a good beginning blacksmithing book I have-- good survival skill. Oh, and if anyone ever finds a company that makes good anvils for a reasonable price, let me know. That seems to be a rather scarce commodity these days. Plus, you won't believe how much they want to charge to ship a 240 lb. anvil from Sweden.
    19 Jan, 02:21 AM Reply Like
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