Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Turning Your Bug-Out Bag Into an INCH Bag Without Adding a Lot of Weight

The bug-out bag (BoB) is a prepper mainstay. Most of us know about them and have one. But what about the INCH Bag? What exactly is an INCH Bag? How is it different from a Bug-Out Bag? Who needs one? And does it really have to be an entirely different bag from the bug-out bag? 

INCH Bag = I'm Never Coming Home Bag

Unlike the bug-out bag, which is designed for short-term use (typically three days) and an eventual return home, the INCH bag is designed for much-longer use in situations when you expect to never return home. In the latter case, you will never again have access to the food, supplies, tools, documents, books, family photos & heirlooms, mementos, and other items you left behind when bugging out. All your worldly possessions will be reduced to what you took with you, and perhaps what you cached or prepositioned elsewhere.

INCH bags take these factors into account. Bug-out bags don't.

I've read many articles and watched many videos on INCH bags, and think that most make the same mistake: trying to extend the usefulness of their bags by simply adding more gear and supplies (and thus, a lot more weight), while ignoring some of the ramifications of never being able to return home again.

Leaving home to never return doesn't mean living in the wilderness for the rest of your life. The fact is you will return to civilization at some point - to your predetermined bug-out location or some other safe haven - just not to your current home. Perhaps your home was looted and burned. Or maybe it is permanently behind "enemy lines" in the case of military invasion or civil war.  Or perhaps radiation due to a nuclear incident (nuclear war, dirty bomb, or nuclear accident of some sort) has made your home unlivable.  Whatever the reason, you are barred from your home and all the stuff you had there, but not from civilization itself. 

This means, though you may need to prepare for more than 3 days, you don't need to figure out ways to survive permanently in the wilderness without resupply. The real long-term problem in an INCH situation is the irreplaceable stuff you're permanently leaving behind: important documents & records, family photos & heirlooms, personal mementos, etc. Eventually, you'll be able to replace most of the other stuff you leave behind - food, supplies, tools, gear, books...

The questions to ask yourself is "What do I really need to start over again? What is really important to me?"  Having a lot of stuff may be nice, but it isn't really necessary. My answer to those questions are: My life. My health. My relationships (God, family & close friends). Everything else can eventually be replaced or done without.  

So, with that in mind, here is my solution to the "everything but the kitchen sink" unrealistic approach to the INCH Bag. 

Convert the bug-out bag into a realistic INCH bag with a few minor but important modifications that won't add too much weight. 

I am assuming you already have a bug-out bag, so I won't go over what all you need in one. Instead, here is how to adjust your already existing BoB into an INCH bag.


1-  Water is the most important survival consideration, but it is heavy and bulky. Most bug out bags already contain some water and ways to collect & treat more water.  Make sure your BoB addresses this issue. My BoB contains two water bottles (I also have a canteen of the over-the-shoulder variety). Additionally, for collecting and treating water, I have the following: 
These items don't add much weight or take up much room in your BoB, yet greatly extend your ability to provide water for yourself. In my camping supplies that would go with me when bugging out by vehicle, I also have a LifeStraw Family Water Filter that can treat over 4,500 gallons of water. It is light-weight, but too bulky to go in a BoB. 

2- Food is another important consideration, and difficult to take a lot of it with you in your BoB. I personally don't use freeze-dried foods or MREs in my BoB because they are too bulky. Instead I use health & energy bars, and emergency ration food bars. This allows me to carry at least an entire week's worth (or more) of emergency food in the same amount of space as 3 days worth of freeze-dried foods. Additional compact options include foil-packs of  chicken, tuna, and salmon, as well as peanut butter (lots of needed fats, protein, and calories in a single jar). Supplement this with wild edibles by teaching yourself about them now, before SHTF. I also have a small fishing kit (a Ronco Pocket Fisherman) that I keep in my vehicle and can attach to my BoB if needed. 

3- Fire is an important consideration - for warmth, treating water, and cooking. Ferro rods & strikers are nice. I have one I can wear around my neck and a back-up in my BoB. But, they can be difficult to use unless you practice a lot. Frankly, lighters and water-proof matches are light-weight and compact, and easier to use. 

4- Copies of important documents should be included in your expanded BoB or INCH bag. These can be digitized and loaded on an encrypted USB memory stick. I have one on my key chain and a back-up in my BoB. Very small and light-weight. However, in a SHTF situation, you may not have ready access to a computer, so it might be wise to have hard copies of some documents. I have two 9x6 clasp envelopes containing documents that fit easily in my BoB without adding a lot of weight or taking up much room. Insert them in a plastic zip bag for waterproofing. Documents you might want to include: 
  • Birth Certificates
  • Marriage Certificates
  • Death Certificates
  • Copies of credit cards, bank numbers, and other financial info
  • Contact information and account numbers for insurance, investment accounts, utilities, etc. 
  • Tax and other financial records
  • Copies of your driver's license and social security card
  • Passports
  • Medical and immunization records
  • Title & Registration information for your vehicles
  • Pet Records (registration, vaccination, etc.) 
  • Copies of your high school diploma and collage degrees
  • High School and College Transcripts
  • Military discharge papers
  • Contact information for family, friends, co-workers, etc.
  • Home and Property deeds
  • Mortgage information  
This is only a partial list of possible documents you may want to keep. Decide for yourself what you should keep for  your circumstances. Remember, you can keep everything in digital form, but only some hard copies in your INCH bag. For example, When I recently refinanced my home, the mortgage paperwork was over 160 pages long. No problem on a memory stick (the mortgage company emailed me the entire package), but I'm not lugging a hard copy of all that around with me. instead, I put the two-page summary (which has all the important numbers and info) in the 9x6 envelope I previously mentioned. 

5- Family photos, personal mementos, and family heirlooms is another category of stuff you will lose when you never return home. This is where developing the right attitude comes in handy. Remember my earlier comments on figuring out what is really important - our lives, our health, and our relationships. It may hurt to lose stuff for which you have sentimental attachment, but better to lose that stuff than our lives. 

There is some good news - scrapbooks and family photos can be digitized, as can genealogy records. Personal awards, articles, certificates, blue ribbons, and even trophies can be scanned or digitally photographed. Some family heirlooms may have to be left behind and lost forever, but even they can be photographed. No, it is not the same as still having it, but it is better than nothing.  

The bottom line of this article, is that you can easily turn your bug-out bag into a real INCH bag without adding too much weight and bulk. Just keep in mind what INCH really means (it is not living in the wilderness forever) and think through what you really need.
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Monday, August 13, 2018

Focus on Health and Fitness (Week One)

Health and fitness are very important for preparedness, survivalism, self-reliance, and in just creating a better life. We all know this, yet developing our health and fitness is often ignored or placed on the back-burner for "later." There are many reasons for this - its hard, it takes time, it takes effort, it means a certain amount of self-denial, and, frankly, there is a lot of bad and confusing information to be found on the topic. Also, it is a deeply personal issue, literally a matter of life and dearth, that many folks find uncomfortable to even discuss. 

I've decided that I need to make health and fitness a major area of concentration for me personally.  I hope to encourage others to do the same in their lives. This is the first of a weekly series on health and fitness that I will be writing to encourage and motive people (including myself) and to provide some solid information on the topic. It is important to note that I am NOT a medical professional and am NOT giving professional advice. Instead, I am writing from the standpoint of the Average Joe who is on the journey to improving his own health and fitness.

Week One Topic - Sleep

Sleep might seem like a odd choice to start out with, but it matters greatly to our health. Our body's immune system, which protects and repairs our bodies, functions at its best when we are asleep. When we fail to get enough sleep, we are not giving our immune system time to do its job.

I know plenty of people who claim to get by on six hours of sleep a night or less. You might "get by" with less, but the research is overwhelming - getting enough sleep is very important to good health, both mental and physical. Mentally, lack of adequate sleep not only makes you tired, it also impairs your judgment, concentration, memory, fine motor skills, increases stress, negatively impacts your mood, and can lead to depression. 

Physically, a long-term lack of adequate sleep compromises your immune system and plays a role in developing high blood pressure, heart disease, type II diabetes, low testosterone, and even several forms of cancer. It can be a factor in heart attacks and stroke. It also makes you more susceptible to colds, flu, and other illnesses. Getting enough sleep on a consistent basis really is a must for your health.

How much sleep? You might be able to "get by" with less, but research proves that adults, and their immune systems, actually need 8 - 9  hours of sleep to perform at optimal levels. For example, a 2009 Carnegie Mellon study found that adults who get less than seven hours of sleep are three times more likely to get sick, than adults who get at least 8 hours.

Have trouble sleeping? Here are some tips:
  • Have a regular bed time and plan ahead so that you keep it
  • Avoid heavy, large meals  for a couple of hours before bedtime
  • Create a restful sleep environment - quiet, dark, and a comfortable temperature
  • Do calming activities before and at bedtime - taking a bath, listening to relaxing music, reading, etc... (for some wonderful and relaxing piano music, visit Wendi Shi's You Tube channel)
  • Being physical active during the day will help you sleep at night
  • Have a cup of relaxing hot tea at bedtime, such as chamomile (click link to find it on Amazon)
  • Some herbal supplements are supposed to help you relax and sleep, such as Valerian Root (click link to find it on Amazon).
  • For married couples, sex is a great way to relax and can help make you drowsy (especially men - it has to do with brain chemistry)

My Health Goal This Week: My goal is to be in bed by 10pm each night this week, which will give me about 8 ½ hours each night.
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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Patriots' Prayers for 8-12-2018

Supporting Verse: "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." --2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)

Prayers don't need to be long or fancy. There is absolutely nothing wrong with long, fancy prayers, but God hears short and simple prayers, too. What is important is the sincerity of our prayers, and that we pray within God's will. The following short prayer for America (originally found on the Internet, and slightly tweaked by me) could easily be prayed every day this week. Please consider doing so.


Prayer for America (short version) 

God, we have sinned and deserve the just punishment for our sins as a nation who has rejected You in every possible way. And yet, Lord, I cry out for mercy for myself, my family, and this nation. In the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen. 

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Precious Metals and the Prepper

Silver and gold are often discussed within prepper and survivalist circles. Here are my thoughts on the subject: 

Silver and gold are very unlikely to help you survive in the midst of a disaster of any sort. Bottled water, food, and warm, dry clothes, shoes, & blankets will likely be much more important, and a “currency” in much greater demand, in the midst of any disaster. Look at the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina – people were desperate for clean water and dry clothes, not gold or silver.

However, silver and gold may make a good hedge against inflation in a mostly “business as usual” atmosphere. Also, in the long-term aftermath of a major disaster that includes an economic and political collapse, gold and silver will likely prove to be extremely important as a currency, but only as society begins to reorganize and looks to stores of wealth other than devalued and worthless currencies, and collapsed credit markets.

Another thought: In the aftermath of an economic collapse, it will be virtually impossible to enforce any certificates or other paperwork that say you own gold or silver that is being held for you by a broker, financial intuition, or anyone else. Any gold or silver you own that is not in your physical possession will most likely not be recovered by you if a complete economic and political collapse occurs. If you believe an economic collapse is likely, take physical possession of your gold and silver before the collapse occurs. Naturally, keep your gold and silver in a safe and secure place, and make sure as few people as possible know you have it.

So, how much should you invest in precious metals? It depends on your situation. First, make sure your other basics are covered - including paying off your consumer debt and setting aside an emergency fund. Once that is done, many financial experts recommend folks keep about 10% of their money in precious metals. I personally would recommend at least 20%, given the state of world affairs. Again, this is only after you have covered your other financial and preparedness basics. Decide for yourself what is best for you. 

I hope this article has given you some "food for thought" on this topic. You may also be interested in my article, Prepper's Guide to Junk Silver, from 2014. It includes a lot of technical information on the topic. 
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Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Three Existential Threats To America and Western Civilization

If you follow me on GAB, you probably already know what I'm going to say because I document these threats on a daily basis. If you don't, you should follow me at https://gab.ai/TimGamble.

There are three interrelated existential threats* to America and Western Civilization. These threats all have the potential to end the world as we know it, replacing it with something far worse. 

1) The Internal Threat - Western Elites (aka Globalists, the Ruling Class, the 1%, the 2%, etc.) want to destroy America and Western Civilization to create their version of utopia (for them). They believe Western Civilization and culture is bad, that America in particular is evil, and that Judeo-Christian values and ethics are too restricting (for them). They hate capitalism, even though they have greatly benefited from it. They look down on the lower and working classes with great disdain (we are uneducated, unsophisticated, vulgar...).   

The Elites want to create a world with no borders (for them), where they are basically global citizens unrestricted by normal laws and ethics. They desire a large underclass (they need workers), only a small middle class (they need a few working professionals), and an upper class made up of themselves and their fellow elites. An elite class who, by virtue of their obvious superiority, have absolute rule over the lesser classes. 

Over the decades, the Elites have already done great damage to traditional Western Civilization. The introduction of centralized banking & fiat currency is one example. Destroying traditional Western education is another. Current attempts to restrict Free Speech and Free Press comes straight out of the Elites desire to control the lesser classes, as does their desire to eliminate the Second Amendment and greatly restrict parental rights. The attempt in recent decades to recast the broad Freedom of Religion our Founders gave us into the much more narrow Freedom of Worship is very much a part of their attempts to overcome traditional Western Civilization (see my article on the difference between Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Worship).

The Deep State, made up of powerful career politicians and bureaucrats, along with their corporate allies, have sold out to and work for the Elites. 

2) The Hijra (Conquest by Immigration) - The active invasion of Western Civilization by Muslims through "peaceful" immigration, along with increasing demands for various accommodations, special legal status, and the acceptance and even imposition of Sharia Law, is both intentional and well-organized. Add to this the much-higher birth rates of Muslims compared to native Westerners, who have been convinced that large-families are a bad idea, and you have a situation where Western civilization is slowly dying. 

This stealth invasion by immigration is being fostered by Western Elites, and political correctness, which have become so anti-Christian, anti-capitalism, and anti-traditional values, that they are willing to allow anything that might bring down traditional Western Civilization, so they might re-make it to their liking. 

See the book Stealth Invasion: Muslim Conquest Through Immigration and Resettlement Jihad, by Leo Hohman, and Modern Day Trojan Horse: Al-Hijra, the Islamic Doctrine of Immigration, by  Sam Solomon and Elias Al Maqdisi, for more on this topic.

3) China - The current trade war with China is only a prelude to what is coming. China is preparing for an inevitable "hot" war with America within the next 5 - 10 years. China is convinced this war must happen because of a concept known as The Thucydides Trap (google the term to learn more).  

The Thucydides Trap isn't some conspiracy theory twaddle, but is a well-studied historical concept heavily discussed in academic and diplomatic circles. Very simply, the Thucydides Trap states that when a rising great power (China, in this instance) threatens to displace an existing great power (America), war that will likely lead to the destruction of one of the great powers is almost always inevitable.

The Chinese are very aware of this concept, and are making policy based on it. It is the basis of their ongoing massive military build-up, as well as their interference in North Korea (the Chinese have always assisted North Korea with their nuclear and missile programs, and are pushing Kim Jong-un to stall in regards to his  promised denuclearization). It is also part of the reasoning behind their aggressiveness in the South China Sea (control over vital trade routes), and economic & diplomatic push into South America and Africa (the later which includes a growing military presence), to obtain various resources. 

Pay Attention to Current Events and Prepare

If you have doubts about any of these three existential threats, just pay close attention to current events for a few weeks. Also, as mentioned above, I do document these threats on a daily basis on my GAB account.  

We can prepare for these threats. Building our self-reliance and removing ourselves from dependence on the current worldly system as much as possible will go a long way in protecting ourselves and our families. But this doesn't mean hiding from the world (please read my short article Being a Prepper Doesn't Mean Hiding From the World) and not fighting the forces threatening us.  

*For those who might not know, an existential threat is something that threatens our very existence. An existential threat, if it becomes reality, would literally be the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI). The Earth being hit by a large asteroid is an obvious existential threat, but one that is highly unlikely in the near future. Besides, there is little we can do to prepare for that threat. However, the existential threats I outline in this article are real, are happening now, and are events we can prepare for and survive. 
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https://amzn.to/2M26Tkv
Stealth Invasion: Muslim Conquest Through Immigration and Resettlement Jihad, by veteran investigative journalist Leo Hohmann, documents  a well-defined strategy for conquering America, not necessarily with violent jihadist attacks, although we should expect those to increase, but through more subtle means collectively called "civilization jihad." 





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