Are you Prepared Yet?- By SOTG’s Paul Markel

Posted By on March 12, 2014

Paul G. Markel

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 I grew up in the north. My youth was spent in Detroit, Michigan and my teen years in north central Ohio. In other words, I am intimately familiar with long winters. When I was young I specifically remember my mother and father keeping a cardboard box of winter-time emergency supplies in the trunk of our family car.

My mom made sure there was an old blanket and she’d stuff the box with extra pairs of mittens and knit hats, just in case. My dad would put a bag of rock salt in the trunk and a short handled flat shovel. My parents weren’t “doomsday preppers”, they just knew that winter weather was unpredictable and sometimes you might get stuck. I remember my grandfather keeping snow-chains for the car tires in the trunk of his Buick.

If we can take away a positive from the long and unusually cold winter this year, it should be an awakening. How many of us have gotten overly comfortable and assumed that everything we need for personal safety and survival is just a mobile phone call away? How many people who looked down their noses at those “paranoid preppers” found themselves stuck out in the freezing temperatures with nothing but a phone in their hands and no help available?

Levels of Preparedness

No one expects you to keep two week’s worth of emergency rations in your car. There are different levels of preparedness for varied situations. I suppose the first question you need to ask yourself is what is your primary concern? Do you live in the Great White North and are worried about freezing? Do you live in the Deep South and understand that a hurricane could knock out the power for weeks?

We can refer to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and look at the base level. Every human being, regardless of location, requires clean water, food, shelter, warmth and sleep to survive. Next up on the pyramid is security, shelter (protection from the elements) stability, and freedom from fear. After the foundation is taken care of man can focus on their social and psychological needs.

In today’s society, many simply take the bottom two levels for granted and assume that there will always be food, water, shelter, etc. just because it is their “right” to have those things. These people spend the majority of their energy on distractions and enhancing their comfort. Any form of discomfort upsets them and messes with their chi.

Brownells Emergency and Survival Gear

Our good friends at Brownells have recently launched a full service Emergency and Survival Gear section and added to the thousands of products they already stock. The purpose behind the ESG section is to allow you, the end user, to shop for what you need from a single web store, versus several different sites. The first two tiers of Maslow’s list can be addressed at the Brownells online store.

They don’t sell water, but their do offer numerous water filtration devices to ensure you have clean water to drink. You can find long term storage food that does not require refrigeration and actually tastes good. Emergency lights, multi-tools, packs, fire-starters, and outdoor survival gear can all be ordered with the click of a button. An area that is often overlooked is Emergency Medical Gear. No, purchasing gear does not give you skill. However, skilled hands can make good use of quality first aid and trauma gear.

The ESG section on the Brownells website is conveniently set up with category tabs such as “Tornado, Blizzard, Earthquake, Blackout, Civil Unrest, and Stranded”.  You can also choose from sub-categories such as “At Work, Home, or In the Car”. When you click the tabs you’ll see a number of suggested items for dealing with such emergencies.

The Time is Now

Regardless of where you purchase the essential supplies you would need for yourself and your family, the time is now. Actually the time was yesterday, just in case you missed the memo or have been sleeping.

You have a choice to make; leave your family’s safety to chance and luck or you can take the deliberate steps to secure their futures. My parents and grandparents were not “doomsday preppers” they simply understood that ‘stuff’ happens in life and it is your responsibility to be prepared for it.

Field Guide for First Aid     Emergency Food

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Vehicle Emergency Kit

Posted By on March 12, 2014

How to Create a Vehicle Emergency Kit


The Organic Prepper

Do you have an emergency kit in your vehicle?

Disaster never lets you know ahead of time when it’s going to strike.  In most cases, a person is out doing what they do every single day, like driving to or from work, when an emergency occurs. Sometimes people are on a recreational outing.  Whatever the case, it pays to be prepared. This can de-escalate a potentially life-threatening crisis down to an inconvenience.

I’ve written about a couple of incidents recently that resulted in people being stranded with only the supplies in their vehicles.  Last winter, a family was stranded for days in the frigid wilderness of the Nevada mountains during subzero temperatures. More recently, a freak snow storm hit the Atlanta, Georgia area causing a gridlock that left many travellers trapped in their vehicles overnight.

But don’t think the kit is necessary only during cold weather. Accidents happen at all times of year, and no matter what the season, your survival, or at the very least, your comfort, can hinge on having food, drinks, light, tools, and appropriate clothing.

Each article contained a lengthy list for an emergency kit.  My favorite comment on the article had to be this one:

Where would you fit all of this stuff unless you were driving a tank-sized vehicle?

or maybe this one:

Just one question: Where do the vehicle’s occupants ride?

Since I thought those were excellent questions, I took some photos when I switched yesterday from my cold weather emergency kit to my warm weather kit.  This is how I manage to fit everything into my vehicle. I drive a small SUV.

First, I use small containers to store individual components of the kit.




First Aid

first aid

I use old Altoids containers for small items like band-aids and alcohol wipes. They stand up far better than the flimsy cardboard boxes those items come in.

altoids tin




The police flashlight is also a taser.

Individual Kits

individual kit

It’s sort of hard to see but above the container is a stocking hat for warmth and a waterproof hat that will also provide some sun protection.  Inside the container are two pairs of socks, a rain poncho, a Berkey sport bottle (it can purify up to 100 gallons of water) and a space blanket. Each of these is topped off with a hoodie in warmer weather. In the winter, gloves and scarves replace the hoodie.



Obviously, this is not the Taj Mahal of tents. But it fits easily into a backpack and would be sufficient for day-to-day emergencies in warmer weather.  In winter, and anytime we are going further from home, we have a bigger sturdier tent that we put in the vehicle.

Emergency Kit

All of the above mini-kits go into one big 18 gallon tote.

Emergency kit

Also included are a few different types of rope, a compass, a road atlas of North America, WD-40, duct tape, and a 4 pack of toilet paper. There is room for 2 blankets folded on top.


I use a separate smaller container for food and hygiene items.


Our food kit contains graham crackers with peanut butter, pop-top cans of soup, poptop cans of fruit, antiseptic wipes, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, garbage bags, spoons, forks, a survival guide, and plastic dishes.  Not shown: ziplock bags of dog food in single servings.

portable dog bowls

I got these dog dishes that flatten out completely at the dollar store. I also use them when I take my dog hiking – it is a no-space way to conveniently keep her hydrated and it doesn’t add extra weight to my back pack. In a pinch, they could be used for human food also.


The second large tote in the back is a lot fuller in the winter. I leave it back there year-round because it keeps the other container from sliding around and it makes a good container for shopping bags and small items that I am transporting.


I leave the lid off this container and use it for things like groceries or library books. In the winter, it holds winter hiking boots, snow pants, and extra blankets but there is still a little space on top for shopping bags. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of having sturdy, comfortable footwear.


  • Not shown: My vehicle has space beneath the back seats, where we store tightly rolled sleeping bags. If I didn’t have this space, I’d be able to put them in the tote that holds the shoes.
  • Because of extreme temperature fluctuations throughout the year, the food should be rotated out of the vehicle every couple of months so that you always have fresh food available.
  • In cold weather, your water bottles should have about 2 inches of the water removed to allow room for expansion when the contents freeze.
  • Always have a backpack for each family member.  If you are forced by circumstances to leave your vehicle on foot, you want to be able to carry as much of your gear as possible.
  • Depending on the laws in your state (and your interest in complying with them) weapons and ammunition can be very useful additions to your vehicle kit.
  • Your kit should change with the seasons.  Snow pants won’t do you much good in the heat of summer, but extra water will be invaluable.
  • When taking a longer trip, add more food and water to your kit than you might normally keep in it.


Not every person needs every item on this list.  Pick and choose the items that are important given your family situation, your environment, and your most-likely disaster scenarios. No list can be comprehensive for every person but this one has served us well.

  • Backpacks
  • Sleeping bags
  • Tent
  • Lighter, flint, waterproof matches
  • Lighter fluid (this can help start a fire even in damp conditions)
  • Candles
  • Hunting Knife
  • Compass
  • Pocket Survival book
  • Signal flares
  • Space blankets
  • Atlas
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Lantern
  • Mirrors for signalling
  • Whistles for making noise to help rescuers find you
  • Crackers
  • Peanut butter
  • Canned stew or chili
  • Canned baked beans
  • Canned fruit
  • Cookies
  • Granola Bars
  • A few gallons of water
  • Berkey-to-go for each family member (or other portable filtration device)
  • Bandages
  • Gauze
  • Pain relief pills
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Allergy medication and an Epi-pen (My daughter has a food allergy)
  • Motion sickness medication
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Anti-diarrheal medication
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Basic automotive repair tools
  • Hammer
  • Prybar
  • Assorted screwdrivers
  • Pliers
  • Hacksaw
  • Rope
  • Paracord
  • Bungee cords
  • Duct tape
  • Lubricant like WD-40
  • Seasonally appropriate clothing
  • Snow pants
  • Coats
  • Long underwear
  • Socks
  • Gloves
  • Hats
  • Sturdy, comfortable walking boots

Don’t forget the firearms!



The Stigma of Being a Prepper!- From

Posted By on February 24, 2014

This is a very good piece from, a most righteous facility for buiying and selling guns.

Well worth the few minutes to read! If you have the time, click on the link at the bottom so you can see the videos.

Yes, We got it all!

Yes, We got it all!

It is easy to get lost in our world of technology and abundance. Every time I turn on the water tap in my home, water comes out. Every time I go to the grocery store, the shelves are full of food. The store clerk accepts either a plastic card from me in exchange for my food, or provide some combination of paper (actually cloth) currency. The lights in my home turn on when I flip the switch, and I can turn on the TV or use my computer to find out what is going on in the world anytime I want. And though I carry a gun every day (living in Miami I would be a fool not to), I don’t expect to ever have to use it to protect my family and belongings. I also have fuel to cook my food and if I get hurt I can go to the hospital and get fixed up right quick. All of this I fully expect to go on indefinitely, and probably to get even easier as time moves endlessly forward. I have been conditioned to believe that I will never have to live life without these “entitlements” (for lack of a better word), and if I question this assumption, I’m a paranoid nut.

But is prepping really nuts? Because chances are that whether it be for 3 days, 2 weeks, 6 months, 2 years or “for the foreseeable future,” at some point in my life, I am going to have to face living without one or more of those entitlements. Technology and abundance may make it seem like our easy lives are going to go on forever, but there is a serious hole in that thinking. Despite the mask of technology and abundance, we a are all still just humans, the same as we have ever been. Humans are soft, fleshy creatures that need a daily supply of water and food to survive. Water that we drink has to travel to us or we have to travel to it, and it can’t have anything harmful in it or we will get sick from it and possibly die. Food has to be grown from the earth in some way shape or form, then transported to us before it spoils. Historically, even within the past century, acquiring these things was a huge part of life. Today, in America, it isn’t. We don’t like paying $2.99 for tomatoes, few of us having any idea what it took to grown and get that tomato to the store.

The truth of our lives, in its most raw and simple form, makes the world a lot scarier place. Think of a world where nearly everything in “The Mall,” except for maybe some shoes and rudimentary clothes, is completely irrelevant to your life. Huge televisions and gas guzzling SUVs would be thought of as plagues to available resources, and poster children for the wasteful lives we used to live.

Joe Rogan, comedian and UFC commentator, once said in a comedy routine, “You know what I do when I am at home and the power goes out?”

“I wait.”

Western abundance has lulled us into thinking that someone is always going to turn the power back on. Maybe it always will, and of course we all hope it always will. But when does it become prudent to take precautions that it may not? Because if the power goes out today, it may just be a car hitting an electric pole down the street, but it could be things a lot more dangerous. The world has gotten really mean, and regardless of what you believe are the causes and the participants, we live in a world where anything can happen. Today, a coordinated virus attack on our nuclear power plants could have caused that power outage. Those plants could now be leaking radiation rather than keeping your lights on. The power could go out after a progression of cascading events. For example, a newly discovered crop disease has destroyed most of our food resources, and there is no longer anyone who can work a the power plant. World events could lead to the power going out. After a financial meltdown due to our national debt could destabilize the dollar worldwide, and the people who sell America energy no longer want to swap dollars for the oil and natural gas that produces a good deal of our electricity. I could go on and on, as could many of you. But the question remains, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE ABOUT IT?

Last week we saw a major snowstorm in many of the southern states that aren’t used to snow. It took only the threat of the loss of necessities to start riots in supermarkets, with customers fighting in the isles over groceries. This was only for a temporary weather emergency. What happens if something catastrophic puts America on hold? Do you really think that it can’t happen? Might it possibly happen? Is it probable to happen? be honest with yourself and ask where does your opinion fall.

World War is a distant memory for a lot of our society, and even Cold War is now a history subject and no longer an imminent threat. We have new enemies, and frenemies, now though. With all of the crazy trade and debt swapping we do with China, just last week the Chinese released a photo of their newest mobile nuclear Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile. We are only guessing that they can only hit Alaska and California with these types of missiles, but they also have nuclear subs.

Our own army is preparing for war in our own streets. They just completed a 300 acre town that looks like small town America, replete with a football field and community church. Last year a supplier of shooting targets to the Department of Homeland Security got in hot water for making targets of pregnant women and children. The answer from the company was that they were asked for these by law enforcement. Something is coming, and the executive branch of our government has been planning for it for a long time. Whether is from without or from within, the chance of a violent end to our way of life is scary real.

What about out money? America’s debt ceiling has been raised so many times that we have had our credit rating dropped worldwide. And there are strong signs, outlined in this InfoWars article, that China is encouraging the world away from the US dollar. If everyone suddenly realizes that the dollar is over-leveraged as compared to our actual assetts, worldwide exports would be cut off. This would lead to fuel and food shortages, and would directly effect the quality of our lives.

Food is also in a very dangerous situation. Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMO, has infiltrated nearly all of our farming, and if you look to what India has had to deal with since the introduction of Monsanto’s GMO cotton, those people are killing themselves because new diseases are destroying their crops. What if that happened to corn and soy? That is what all of our farm animals eat, and it also makes up a lot of what we eat. One unexplained plant disease could wipe out everything, and with it our entire standard of living in America. GMO was passed through the FDA with rubber stamps back in the 80s and 90s, and to this day the main company involved, Monsanto, has a revolving door policy with the FDA. Executives from Monsanto and FDA switch back and forth with no accountability whatsoever. Most people don’t know this, but the actual research studies on GMO products are run by the companies that develop the crops, not an independent third party organization or university. The research is bought and paid for by those with the most to gain, while we hang on the precipice. Google around for Monsanto, FDA, and search YouTube.

Last but not least is the stomping ground of the most prolific of those who would play on our fears. It is infectious disease. Movies like World War Z paint a vivid picture of what would happen if something like rabies infected the human population. But there are also real world scares. We all remember H1N1 bird flu right? That was an excuse for the government to vaccinate us. Reports like the one out of Pakistan this week about a new outbreak of Polio, are really scary, but if you read into them, the answer for Polio is also more vaccinations. You can’t send your kid to school without them, and you can’t walk into a doctors office or Walgreens without being pestered about them. I ask, should we fear the mystery illnesses that never seem to do any harm, or the vaccines that they are always trying to pump us full of? We have known for a century of so how diseases spread, and avoiding those things isn’t so hard if you stay indoors and away from people. But we’ll get to that.

When you step back and look at all of the terrible things that could happen to our country, it makes you want to … START A SURVIVAL BUSINESS! … right? That is the problem with trying to figure out exactly what you should do in the way of prepping, and what isn’t so important. Every website that explains the dangerous ills of the world also seems to try to sell you the latest thing from the advertisers currently in an advertising campaign on the website. I’ve seen, and bought, everything from ebooks about fish farming (Aquaponics) to mini-woodstoves. Not all of these products are what they seem, and one company in particular, the fish farming people, are outright charlatans. Fear is an easy sell, and the websites that carry these ads shouldn’t be a party to suckering in their unwitting readers. Paying the bills is one thing, but paying the bills with ads from a company that is set up specifically to take advantage of naive people is another.

At GunsAmerica we have refused ads from within and from outside the gun industry for many years due to ethical concerns. After the election of Obama, and then again in 2012, many potential advertisers approached us with advertorial videos about concealed carry, targeted to first time gun buyers. They turned out to be time share scams! The same is true today of “survival” and “prepping.” We refuse to take the ads, because very few of them are in your best interest if you hope to survive a complete breakdown of society. The ebooks that you see on InfoWars and many of the “conservative” websites are ridiculously vague and poorly written excuses for advice that is culled from stories and fictional ideas. None of them will help you survive a weekend, never mind a year.

Rather than just rehash the fodder that is already out there, we have painstakingly researched the resources that we believe are at least a good start. In most cases we actually have gone out and purchased survival supplies in order to review them here. Most of them we paid for at full retail price. One thing you will find is that prepping isn’t cheap. It takes a lot of resources for us to live in what is nothing short of the lap of luxury, and to prepare to live without it takes a small personal version of those resources that you have to build and maintain yourself. Most people say prep for a year’s worth of food. What do you spend on food for your family for a year? Putting that much food away is going to be nearly as expensive. There is no end of the world insurance policy from Blue Cross. Your insurance premium is what you can spend, and if you do so wisely, you’ll be in much better shape should you need the stored reserves.

The articles will be coming out in a series, each based on a specific need that us soft and fleshy creatures need to survive, generally on these topics:

Water – The most diverse and required topic for prepping. Depending on where and how you live, this is something you have to address first.
Food – What is “prepper food” and how does it differ from a well stocked backup pantry. Also, where you can find bulk food, and how to store it properly.
Cooking – One of the easiest and least expensive things to set yourself up for in advance of a catastrophe. All it takes is going and doing it.
Medicine – The most difficult thing to prepare, but there are ways to get basic necessities to survive common third world diseases, should we end up in the same boat with them.
Seeds & Gardening – “Food bank” seeds are not going to do you any good down the road if you don’t know how to grow them. This is an overview with required actions.
Solar – Making your electricity can help with a lot of stuff, but solar is expensive and confusing. We bought a $5,000 rig to see what it can do.
Heating – In some parts of the country heat is really important several months per year. We came up with some ideas on how to heat your living space in a world without fuel deliveries.
Security – Advance warning of attackers can help you survive those crucial moments upon which your live may hinge. Old school perimeter security is a must.
Radiation- Is it fear mongering or just prudent to prepare for a nuclear disaster? Fukushima in Japan should have woken the world up to the dangers of what can happen, but it really didn’t. And did I mention the Chinese? Oh yea I did.
Communications – With no cell phones, television or talk radio, the “talking points” of life will go poof. At some point American will begin to cobble itself together, and amateur 2 way radio will be the only communication that matters. There are a few different angles to the communications topic, not the least of which is tactical superiority, and we’ll cover that too. An emergency weather radio just isn’t going to cut it.

Why is a gun website running a series on prepping? Is it just to jump on the bandwagon because it is a popular topic? No. In fact the popular topic aspect of prepping is the biggest problem with it. Some of those TV shows are just downright silly, and they are not showing you real preppers. The reason we are covering this topic is because of the false illusion that guns will help you in a survival situation. My best friend has always been fond of saying, “I don’t need to prepare. I have guns.” That is false for two reasons. The first is that of course other people have guns, and nobody wants to be in a gunfight. The second is that there is a pretty good chance that your neighbors are as ill prepared as you are. Even if it is at gunpoint, the local stores will be cleaned out in a matter of days, and those supplies will have been eaten or spoiled by several days later. Guns are required to potentially protect what you have, but you can’t eat them or drink them. Besides, rather than plan to fight for your supplies, the best thing you can do is…

HIDE EVERYTHING! Unless you have a dedicated group of people who are all putting in the same amount of resources, assume that you are going to be on your own. If you have kids or parents to feed and take care of, that makes things even more difficult, because a gunfight is out of the question. The moment you or your family lets in another mouth to feed, you may as well have not prepared at all. We will get into the details of how to hide what you are doing. At the outset you have to decide that this is a covert operation, and not even the kids should be told. The other reason is actually the government. In a very strange and unexplained move in March of 2013, President Obama updated an old crisis appropriations power with a new executive order called NATIONAL DEFENSE RESOURCES PREPAREDNESS. It gives the executive branch of government (which is the President), the power to take anything and everything that they want in times of crisis. Check out section 201 if you think this is just fear mongering and taking things out of context. You tell me what is says.

Where to start? That is the biggest question. Obviously we are starting with water and food because they are basic necessities for life. But before that question you really have to ask what are you going to do in the event of a catastrophic disaster that you are not personally in, but close enough to that it matters. Joel Skousen, a 30 year expert on prepping and author of Strategic Relocation, explains in a video with Alex Jones that in his experience, only one person out of 10 that think about prepping actually do anything about it. Joel has consulted on the design and construction of hundreds of secret bunkers for some of the richest people in the world. Where you live has a lot to do with what you can prepare for, and I highly recommend his book. If all you do is develop a basic plan for both staying at home and going way from your home, you are way ahead of most folks, and it will help you keep your head in a time of the utmost crisis.

The worst thing about prepping for disaster is the stigma of it. Your very best outcome ever is that you will look like a silly fool who prepared for nothing and wasted thousands and tens of thousands of dollars on stuff you never needed. The worst outcome is that you forgot to store that one thing that you will have to stand in line or fight your neighbors for, and that is what we are trying to avoid. Because whether disaster strikes and it lasts for one week, one year, or a lifetime, the less interaction you have with people outside of your unit the better. It is a dog eat dog world now. Imagine when there are no dogs left to eat. I hope to look like a fool 20 years down the road, but the more you look into what America has done in the last 30 years, the more it looks like we are headed for something bad, and something big. I could have kept all of this information to myself, but gun lovers are the backbone of freedom in America, and if I can help anyone survive, it is you.

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Next Winter Blast on it’s way- 10 items to prepare now

Posted By on February 23, 2014

It has been a hard winter across the country. More snow and freezing temps are on their way this week

snowshoeing Mar 07 03









Get ready for this one

  1. Sand
  2. Salt/Snowmelt
  3. New Shovels(mine are worn out)
  4. French Toast(Eggs, Milk, Bread)
  5. Batteries in case of blackout
  6. Candles in case of blackout
  7. Full tanks of gas in all your vehicles/snow blower/generator
  8. Fresh oil in vehicles, snow blower, generator
  9. Refresh  emergency supplies in your cars
  10. Ammo- it’s back in stock at Walmart- buy some now.



Good tornado tips

Posted By on May 24, 2013