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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Hiatus

Due to a variety of factors -- Scott is dealing with a death in the family, David is packing and moving to a new place, Chaplain Tim is sick and I'm going to Utah for a week -- I have given our authors the week off.

Have a great week and a happy Valentine's Day, and we'll see you all on Monday the 18th.

-- Erin

Friday, February 8, 2019

Old School Gas Can Hack


Here's a handy little modification for old school gas cans along with some thoughts on my current preps, future demands, and what I’m going to do about it.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Updates and Misc

Since I'm battling the various colds and flu that are making the rounds in my family, today's post is going to be a recap or update of some of my older posts. This is the beginning of my 6th year of writing here, and it takes more concentration than I can muster right now to come up with new material, so please accept my apology for not having anything new to say. 

UXO in the News
I wrote about the dangers of UneXploded Ordinance a while back, and it looks like they are still being found in various places. 
  • A WW1 grenade made the trip from a potato field in France to a potato chip factory in China. The field the potatoes had been grown in was a WW1 battlefield, complete with trenches that had been filled in, and 100 years later they're still finding live munitions from that war. I'm amazed that the grenade made it through the harvesting machinery, the packaging, and shipping half-way around the world without detonating.
  • A WW2 grenade was found in Florida by an man “magnet fishing”. He tossed it in the trunk of his car and drove to a local Taco Bell before deciding to call police. This is a good example of how the stupidity of others can place you in danger.
  • WW2 mortar round was pulled out of a river in England by another magnet fisherman. It's common for people using magnets to find discarded firearms when trawling through the mud in rivers and lakes. The length of time the firearms have been in the water will determine their value as weapons, and they will likely have been used in the commission of a crime and/or were stolen. Those “unfortunate boating accidents” where people have lost their firearms do happen on occasion.

Permanent Matches #2
I picked up a round version from Amazon. Other than lacking the sharp corners of the square ones, which tend to wear on pockets, there is no functional difference. Cosmetically I actually like the round ones better, as the striker bar is attached to the side of the tube which means it won't roll away if you lay it down. The design and manufacture is very similar, so there should be no difference in how they stand up to my testing.


BCP Discord
My attempt to foster communications between writers and readers about 6 months ago was a dismal failure. Other than a few of the other writers and maybe two readers, there has been no activity on the server since I started it. The Discord server is still active and I get notified if anyone uses it, but so far most of the activity has been spam-bots looking for places to advertise porn sites. I may reach out to a wider audience in the near future just to see if anyone is interested in the idea.

Guns
I did acquire a new-to-me EDC pistol that is currently being tested. Initial findings for the Springfield XDS-45 are:
  • Common ammunition with my other EDC guns
  • Lighter than my alloy-framed 1911A1
  • Extended mags carry 7 rounds, standard mags carry 5
  • The 3.3 inch barrel is as accurate as my 5 inch barrel on the 1911A1 
  • With a standard magazine, the pistol is a lot easier to carry IWB than a 1911A1. 
  • Holsters are not as common, but the two I have work well enough.
  • The fiber optic front sights helps my old eyes acquire a good sight picture, even in moderately low light.
  • It has a grip safety similar to my 1911s, so I feel more secure carrying it in Condition 1 (cocked with a round in the chamber). This is just an old habit, but I do like having the extra safety.

Once I get rid of this virus that is making life miserable, I'll get back to new content. I keep doing my research and finding new things, so I have a few years' worth of writing left in me. If anyone has questions or topics they'd like to see covered, please let us know by commenting below, dropping us a note on our Facebook page, or try out the Discord app (https://discord.gg/5NvEWZd).


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Prudent Prepping: Moving On

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping. 

Not moving on from this blog, but rather moving from where I currently live. My landlord has sold this house to move into a much smaller place in a retirement community. What bothers me the most about this is that the Master Chief will be moving as well, into the same community as the landlord. It's a change that I knew could happen, but I really wasn't expecting it quite this soon. Now I have to get serious about my plans.

Cleaning Up
I've lived here almost five years now, and while I'm reasonably organized, I've collected things that I don't use regularly. Last summer I did something that's been advised on the Internet for a long time: I hung up all my clothes hangers backwards and only turned them around as I wore the clothing. Other that my suit and two sport coats and slacks (which I'm keeping), well over half my closet did not get worn in over six months. I have some really nice shirts that will end up being donated, some of them several years old but hardly worn.

The same thing is happening in my dresser, cleaning out things  that I haven't worn or are looking worn out. I have a tall stack of logo tee shirts from various old employers, plus plain white ones I wear under my company polo, and any that show wear are also going out. Underwear and socks are also getting a pruning, but the 'going to donate' stack of socks is not as big as the others, since I keep different socks for all the different shoes and boots I own. Regardless, any socks with a hole, rip or worn and frayed is definitely being tossed out and not donated. I see no reason for someone else to double or triple handle useless items.

Packing Up
I've started de-junking (that's a real word) and pulling out donable clothing, and I've come to a shocking realization regarding exactly how much stuff I actually have. I've collected a black trash bag of disposable things like old catalogs, magazines that I don't need for reference any longer, and the start of the junk clothing purge. The donable clothing so far takes up a black trash bag all by itself, with very little visible results. If I don't end up with 2 or more bags,  I'll be shocked.

I have to say this is very difficult for me, since many of these things have some history, mostly good, tied up in them. Convention shirts from several of the great companies I worked for; t-shirts from events and concerts; some leftover clothing from being married.

All of these are being inspected with a microscope and boy, is there stuff to see. One very good thing about all this is that I never had enough wall space to unpack my books here. They're still in totes (12, in fact) which will eliminate the mental and physical drain of packing them up and knocking down my shelves.

Where To Next?
That's still to be determined. As most of you know, the greater San Francisco Bay area has some of the highest prices and scarcest rental stock in the nation. This means that if I rented a place by myself, I would be making a one-way commute of almost 2 hours. Adding the extra gas and wear on my car, that just isn't workable.

I'm looking to friends and asking if they know of anyone who has a room or wants to share a rental. Barring that, there are several very good sites here that have 'Share Rent' and 'Room To Rent' listings. Since I'm now officially old (quiet in the back!), there are places that help seniors find places too!

I have until the end of the month to get out of here, but I've family and friends that will put up with me sofa surfing for a while.

I'll keep everyone posted.

The Takeaway
  • It seems that cleaning out my stuff is something I need to do every year. That way I don't have to do such a gigantic job all at once while stressing over everything else.

The Recap
  • Cleaning up should be a normal and scheduled job, just like checking and rotating supplies.
  • Nothing was purchased this week, and nothing is planned for next week.

Just a reminder: if you plan on buying anything through Amazon, please consider using our referral link. When you do, a portion of the sale comes back here to help keep this site running! 

If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Throwing Motions: Precise and Accurate

This week we have a video demonstrating the short, precise motions involved in using small tools accurately.




Lokidude

Monday, February 4, 2019

Guest Post: Light Weight, Low Bulk, Cold Weather

by George Groot
George is a member of our Facebook Group and has written for us before.

In the Infantry there is a phrase: "Travel light and freeze at night." It’s true that there isn’t a lot of room or weight left over for creature comforts when you have to carry lots of military gear, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t add in a few pieces of "snivel gear". After graduating Ranger school, I decided that I would never again be cold, wet, hungry, and tired all at the same time if I could possibly avoid it. I can’t always avoid the hungry or wet or tired, but there are some things I keep on hand that help in the cold.

A sleeping bag is unfortunately a big, bulky, and relatively heavy thing to carry around, so if you have to travel light and freeze at night, the sleeping bag is usually the first thing to get left behind. After all, as your Platoon Sergeant will remind you, the rucksack you carry is for supporting the Platoon, not yourself. Fortunately, you don’t have a platoon sergeant deciding that you need to carry an extra 800 rounds of linked 7.62mm instead of a sleeping bag, but you still have the same problem: a sleeping bag is a hell of a luxury item to carry around.

Here are a few tricks to get some sleep at night,without carrying around the full weight or bulk of a sleeping bag or having to spend hundreds of dollars on a high-tech lightweight hiking bag that you only have as an insurance policy in a bug out bag.

Beanie or Watch Cap
"If your feet are cold, put on a hat" is actually pretty decent advice. Fleece beanies are lighter weight and more compact than knit watch caps, but once synthetic fleece gets wet with sweat, it’s not as good and insulator as wool. But if ounces make pounds and pounds make pain, a less than six dollar fleece beanie is a good investment for your go bag, especially if you really only need it for when you go to sleep.

Wool costs more and weighs more than fleece, but not much more. If you're in a climate where you’ll need to retain heat throughout a day of strenuous activity, then I recommend you spend the extra money on this wool cap.

Neck Gaiter
You lose a lot of your heat from your neck, which is why scarves are a thing. A neck gaiter has all the warmth of a scarf without all the bulk and weight. You can find them at most surplus stores, but Amazon has a polyester military style that works well and folds very flat.

I've been using a shemagh in cold and dry conditions for a few years, as wrapping it around the neck and tucking into your coat or sweatshirt retains heat well enough. But in reality it’s just a cotton scarf, and a cotton scarf is inferior to a polyester neck gaiter for heat retained versus weight and bulk. If you happen to live someplace where having a cotton scarf makes more sense to you than a poly neck gaiter, ten bucks isn’t a bad price for something that can keep you warmer at night and show off your keen fashion sense during the day.

Base Layer
A silkweight base layer of thermal underwear is great for staying warm while  sleeping in, hanging around camp, or light activity outdoors. If you don’t want a military surplus color, you can even save a little and buy a top/bottom set for a little less. Believe me, the military doesn’t buy the best, so I have no reservations recommending people purchase civilian products for enjoying the great outdoors. 

The military surplus base layer has thumb holes on the sleeves to help keep heat in at the wrists, but if yours doesn’t, then a 6 dollar set of wrist gaiters will help a lot. 

Sleeping Gear
When bugging out and carrying gear you’ll really want something to sleep in, just maybe just not a whole sleep system or full winter sleeping bag. During the summer I’ve used just a Gore-Tex bivy cover to stay dry at night, as the best way to stay warm is to stay dry.* There are alternatives that are lighter and smaller, and if you only plan on getting to a cache point/bug out site, then an  emergency bivy might be a better choice for you. 

No matter what you carry to sleep in, I recommend some sort of ground pad for thermal insulation. I’ve used closed cell foam and inflatable, and I think the closed cell foam is more durable, but the inflatable is definitely lighter and more compact for being on the move.


* Hence the reason that when stopping for the night I change out of my sweat soaked uniform and put on the dry spare to sleep in. The next morning it always sucks to put on that wet uniform before you move out, but really that’s the only way to have a dry uniform to sleep in the next time you stop.


Tallying the Weight
If you purchase a beanie, neck gaiter, silkweight base layer, bivy cover, and inflatable sleeping pad, your grand total will be less than 8 pounds in your pack and you can fit it all inside of a backpack that wouldn’t look out of place in a suburban or urban setting. If you're in an area that consistently gets below freezing at night, you’ll want more than this; probably a 30 degree sleeping bag to put inside the bivy cover.


So there you are. You’ve been on the move all day wearing some clothes soaked with sweat and you've decided to get way off the beaten path for the night. You find a nice spot where you're unlikely to be noticed, so you strip off the wet layers and put on dry clothes, inflate your thermal pad, put it inside your bivy so you don’t roll off it in the night, and then get snuggled up inside for some shuteye with a neck gaiter and wool cap helping you stay warm. It won’t be a stay at the Hilton, and you may wake up cold and shivering after a few hours when your sleeping metabolism slows down, but you’ll be a lot better off than the folks who just threw a six pound sleeping back in a hiking pack and let the ground suck out their body heat because they didn’t have a thermal pad, and who couldn’t pack enough food because the bulk of the sleeping bag took up so much space in their ruck. 

Friday, February 1, 2019

No Gas, Frozen Feet, and 2019 Snowpocalypse


I discuss the gas shortage in Michigan, then demonstrate some lightweight preps to keep you warm and dry if you're caught in a snowpocalypse at work.


The Fine Print


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License


Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.