Sunday, September 28, 2014

Different Hikes. Different Skills.

Click graphic for the Rules of Hiking
Back in the day, I was a Boy Scout (Troop 54 in Bessemer City, NC). Regrettably, I lacked the personal discipline to work my way up to Eagle Scout. I only made it to Star, which is two ranks below Eagle. Really, I just wanted in on the fun of camping and hiking.

I still enjoy hiking today. Its fun, relaxing, and a great way to stay physically fit. Many preppers and survivalists enjoy hiking for the same reasons. Many also see it as good practice for bugging out. But hiking can be more than just a fun way to stay fit. Did you know that there are different kinds of hikes, each teaching different sets of skills?

Dusting off my old Boy Scout Handbook, my memory, and my imagination, here are some different types of hikes you may want to incorporate into your prepping to expand your skill sets.

The Day Hike - This is the regular hike that jumps to mind whenever someone mentions hiking. Great for stress relief and physical fitness.

The Town Hike - Live in a small town (or city)? Hike around town on the sidewalks. Not only will you reap the benefits of exercise, but you will learn more about the layout of your town and all the stuff in it. You'll be surprised what you missed while whizzing by in your car and may discover all sorts of things you didn't realize were there.

The Night Hike - Go hiking at night. Try to be as quiet as possible and use minimal artificial light. You can pretend to be trying to escape detection by a horde of zombies, or DHS agents. This is a more expert hike, so get some hiking experience first, be familiar with the area, and make sure each hiker has a flashlight and whistle in case they get separated. Remember, this is a practice hike and zombies aren't really after you, so don't take foolish risks!

The Naturalists' Hike - Have each member of your group take a different field guide - birds, trees, mammals, reptiles, wildflowers, whatever - and see how much you can identify. This is a great way to learn about the plants and animals in your area.

The Edible Plants Hike - Take a couple of good field guides on edible plants in your area, and see what you can find. Please be careful. Edible wild plants (and especially edible mushrooms) can be hard to tell apart from dangerous ones. It would be great to hike with an expert!

The Scavenger Hunt - This could be a variation of the naturalists' hike. Create a list of things to find on the hike (a maple tree, a blue jay, a robin, a rabbit, raccoon tracks, deer tracks, poison ivy, etc.) and check off the items as you see them. A fun way to learn about nature and get some exercise.

The scavenger hunt could also be done in a town or city using wildlife common in town, as well as landmarks (an antique shop, a salvage store, a graveyard, a church, a fire station, a barber shop pole, an historical marker, a library, etc.). A great way to learn more about your town.

The Tracking Hike - There are a couple of variations on this one. For wildlife tracking, simply see how many different tracks you can find and identify. Or, for tracking people, have someone hike ahead leaving a trail, and see if you can follow them.

The Lost-Child Hike - A life-size doll is planted somewhere in a park, wilderness area, or even in town, before the hike. The purpose of the hike is to find the doll. A great way to learn about search-and-rescue.

Orienteering - Use this hike to develop compass and map reading skills. Can you navigate from point A to point B? After mastering orienteering with a map and compass, try orienteering at night. Or learn methods to navigate without a compass, such as the North Star Method, Shadowless Stick Method, Equal-Length-Shadow Method, and the Watch Method.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Review: The Survival Medicine Handbook


NOTE: In June 2016, a Revised and Expanded Third Edition was released. Links in this article have been redirected to the Thrid Edition so that you might obtain the best and most current edition of this book.

Original Review (September 2014)

http://amzn.to/2hrdwxvThe featured Book of the Month for September is The Survival Medicine Handbook by Joseph Alton, M.D, and Amy Alton, A.R.N.P. I own this book, and consider it one of the few truly "must have" books in my survival library.  

The Survival Medicine Handbook is a massive 554-page tome subtitled "A guide for when medical help us NOT on the way." I highly recommend this book, and consider it the second medical book you must have after a good general first aid handbook (and take a first aid/CPR course while you are at it). The book is now in its second edition (click on the image to the left to go to the Amazon.com page for the book).


In addition to the introductory material, the book is broken down into several sections. 

Section 1 is on the principles of medical preparedness, and explains such concepts as the right attitude, what is medical preparedness, integrated medicine, and the difference between  wilderness medicine and long-term survival medicine. 

Section 2 is on becoming a medical resource. It looks at the survival medic, the status assessment, likely issues you may face, medical skills and supplies you will want to acquire, and even information on growing a medical garden.

Section 3 is on hygiene and sanitation (which both can be problematic during a disaster or grid-down scenario). It also includes information on dealing with lice, ticks, and worms, sewage issues, dehydration, and food poisoning, among other issues.

Section 4 is on dealing with infections, including abscesses, tetanus, hepatitis, appendicitis, and urinary tract infections. Section 5 deals with environmental factors, including heat stroke, hypothermia, allergic reactions, poison oak, ivy, and sumac, radiation sickness, and biological warfare.

Section 6 is on dealing with injuries, such as minor and major wounds, wound closure, blisters, splinters, and fishhooks, burn injuries, animal and snake bites, insect bites and stings, head injuries, sprains, dislocations, and fractures. 

Section 7 discusses chronic medical problems such as thyroid disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, kidney stones, and even varicose veins, among other conditions.  Section 8 covers a myriad of other medical issues, including CPR, headaches, eye care, hemorrhoids, and anxiety and depression. Also covered in this section are issues of birth control and pregnancy. 

Section 9 covers medications. In it, the Alton's discuss essential over-the-counter drugs, what and how to stockpile drugs, pain medications, natural pain relief, and how to use antibiotics. There is also a discussion of expiration dates. 

The book closes with a section of references (both print and video) and a glossary of medical terminology. It does have a very useful 16-page index. There are a number of black-and-white photos and illustrations throughout the book. 

What I like about The Survival Medicine Handbook is that it is well thought-out, quite extensive, covering almost every survival medicine topic imaginable, and very detailed. Yet, it is still accessible by the general reader with little of no medical background (like myself).  

About the AuthorsJoseph Alton is a medical doctor, obstetrician, and pelvic surgeon, who has taught medicine at the University level. Now retired, he devotes his time to the topic of survival medicine. Amy Alton is an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner with a Master's degree in Nursing, and a Certified Nurse-Midwife. She also has a strong interest in gardening and medical herbs. Together, they are the husband and wife team behind the Doom and Bloom survival medicine website, and podcast. They also have an information-packed You Tube channel.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Pocket Dump - My EDC

I thought some folks might be interested in what I carry on me everyday, so that I can hopefully "be prepared" for whatever life throws at me.

First, let's start with what I wear: my clothes on a typical day are cargo pants, a plain short-sleeve shirt in summer or plain sweatshirt during winter, and a pair of hiking shoes. If needed, I will wear a plain hoodie or heavier coat. The ideas behind the way I dress are: 1) comfortable, ease-of-movement; 2) rugged; 3) practical, utilitarian; 3) not flashy or eye-catching; 4) not likely to attract attention by appearing as if I have money, or appearing as if a bum; and 5) fits in fairly well with what locals are likely to wear.

Now, for the pocket dump:

Click to enlarge

On my belt, I always wear my Leatherman Fuse Multi-Tool. Basically, if I'm wearing pants, I have it on me. I bought it years ago for about $40. I've thought about upgrading to the Leatherman Charge TTi, but the expense has stopped me so far.

On my left wrist, I wear a cheap ($10) watch I got at Walmart. I've had it for more than a year, and it keeps surprisingly good time. I have more expensive watches, which I might wear on very special occasions, but typically prefer the cheap watch that won't attract attention, and if it gets busted, who cares - its only $10. 

In my right front pocket, I carry my Maxpedition Urban Wallet, and several quarters. I front-carry my wallet because it is much more difficult for a pick-pocket to steal from a front pocket than a rear pocket. I often, but not always, carry my Cold Steel Voyager XL Vaquero folder for self-defense (click here to read my review of it). 

In my left front pocket, I carry my Swiss Army Knife, "Hiker" model.  I also carry my keys in this pocket. On my key chain, I have my keys, a Gorilla Drive flash drive (I encrypt my files on it with Rohos encryption software), a Gerber Shard mini pry bar (with screwdrivers and bottle opener), a very loud whistle (don't remember what brand), and an Energizer key chain flashlight. 

In my right cargo pocket, I carry my cell phone (not pictured), my personalized organizational system (some index cards held together with a binder clip), and a pen. 

In my left cargo pocket, I carry an Energizer LED pocket flashlight (58-lumens), and a Maxpedition micro pocket organizer (I'll cover the contents below). I love the flashlight because it gives off good light while still being the perfect size to carry everyday in my pocket. 

Click to enlarge.
The Maxpedition Micro Pocket Organizier

I use the pocket organizer primarily as a personal first aid kit, with a couple of other items , too. On the outside pocket, I carry a couple of individually wrapped Wet Ones, useful for cleaning hands before eating, but can also be used to clean other things. The first aid supplies include wound care items (alcohol wipes, iodine wipes, a couple of packets of triple antibiotic ointment, several sizes and styles of bandages, and a small pack of quick clout), tweezers (for removing bee stingers, ticks, splinters), insect sting relief, benedryl caplets, asprin, advil, aleve, and  a couple of packets of electrolytes to add to water.

Also in the kit is an emergency twenty-dollar bill, a small roll of duct tape, a couple of six inch strips of orange duct tape, a Eat-N-Tool by CRKT, a pair of fingernail clippers, a brass 3-inch safety pin, and a Leatherman Style CS Multi-tool (a great pair of folding scissors).

Yes. Everything pictured fits easily into the organizer, with a little room to spare.

Items Not Pictured  

My sunglasses are with me constantly. I also wear a Celtic Cross on a chain around my neck.

I am planning on making a number of changes to this set-up in the coming weeks, and will do another pocket dump after I've settled on my new EDC for a few weeks. I want to test out the new set-up first. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Knight's Code


Scouting founder, Robert Baden-Powell, based the Scout Motto and and Scout Law on The Knight's Code. The Knight's Code, as published in the Boy Scout Handbook:


The Knight's Code

"BE ALWAYS READY with your armor on, except when you are taking your rest at night.
Defend the poor, and help them that cannot defend themselves. 
Do nothing to hurt or offend anyone else.
Be prepared to fight in the defense of your country.
At whatever you are working, try to win honor and a name for honesty. 
Never break your promise.
Maintain the honor of your country with your life.
Rather die honest than live shamelessly.
                   Chivalry requireth that youth should be trained to perform the most laborious and humble offices with cheerfulness and grace, and to do good onto others. 


Why I don't talk specifics about guns...

Those who know me through this website, elsewhere on the Internet, or in person, know that I am very pro-gun and pro-second amendment.  I believe that gun-ownership is not just a right, but a duty. Self-defense, and the defense of those who cannot defend themselves, is a moral imperative. One should not be quick to fight - it is never the first option - but one should always stand ready, and willing, to fight when circumstances force the issue.

Despite this strongly held opinion, I don't publicly talk much about guns beyond statements of general support for the second amendment, and encouragement to include guns, and training, in your preps. I certainly don't talk specifics, give recommendations, or reveal details of what guns I may own, or how I may use them. That is an intentional decision on my part for a couple of reasons.

First, we have an unfortunate situation in America right now where gun laws vary greatly from state to state, and even from locality to locality within the same state. What I say might be true for where I live, but be unlawful where someone else lives. In our highly litigious society, I don't want to get sued because someone acted on something I said that happened to not be true for where they live.

Second, it is an aspect of operational security to keep such details under wraps. I don't want any nosy neighbors or local criminals stumbling onto my Twitter account or website, and finding out details of what I have, where I keep them, when/how I carry, etc. I also don't want to provide government officials any details beyond what is required under the law.

Luckily, there are some really good websites and You Tube channels that do go into details about guns. And I highly recommend folks talk to their local gun stores. They will be able to help you understand the legalities in your area, as well as direct you to nearby training courses. They will also be able to make recommendations based on your personal circumstances.

And, always, I suggest you join a gun rights group (there are several listed on the Liberty Links page), include guns in your prepping, and take a good self-defense firearms training course.

May God bless these United States of America.

Tim Gamble

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Economic Education Resources

#DailyTip 241 Don't trust the news media or public schools. Learn real economics, real history, and the proper role of federal government.       
The above Daily Tip for Preppers posted a few days ago on Twitter (for a list of all daily tips, visit the Daily Tips page of this website). Sounds like get advice, but it begs a question: How do you learn real economics, real history, and the proper role of federal government? After all, the two main sources if information, the media and the educational system, are heavily biased towards progressive and collectivist ideology.

Books

 Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? by Richard J. Maybury. Short (about 190 pages), easy-to-read (aimed at high school level), and NOT boring (written as a series of letters from an uncle to his nephew), this is the perfect book for someone wanting to learn about real economics, but finds most economic books intimidating or boring. A great place to start your economic education.

A Capitalist Manifesto, by Gary Wolfram, economics professor at Hillsdale College. Subtitled "Understanding the Market Economy and Defending Liberty," Wolfgram's book explains and defends capitalism, free markets, and limited government. Short (142 pages), a bit more academic than Maybury's book (above) but still easy-to-read, it is also a great book for those wanting to learn economics without being overwhelmed or bored. A great place to continue your economic education.

Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt. This is a classic introduction to economics from the perspective of the Austrian school by one of its leading proponents. "Hazlitt’s focus on non-governmental solutions, strong — and strongly reasoned — anti-deficit position, and general emphasis on free markets, economic liberty of individuals, and the dangers of government intervention make Economics in One Lesson, every bit as relevant and valuable today as it has been since publication." --from the book's description on Amazon.com. A bit longer (227 pages) than the first two books on this list, and more academic, it is still not a difficult read and will be accessible by most adults.

The Road to Serfdom, by F. A. Hayek. Want to really understand what the heck has happened to the US economy and political/social landscape? Read this book. From the Amazon.com description: "An unimpeachable classic work in political philosophy, intellectual and cultural history, and economics, The Road to Serfdom has inspired and infuriated politicians, scholars, and general readers for half a century. Originally published in 1944—when Eleanor Roosevelt supported the efforts of Stalin, and Albert Einstein subscribed lock, stock, and barrel to the socialist program—The Road to Serfdom was seen as heretical for its passionate warning against the dangers of state control over the means of production. For F. A. Hayek, the collectivist idea of empowering government with increasing economic control would lead not to a utopia but to the horrors of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy."

The Forgotten Man, by Amity Shlaes. Perhaps no other topic has been so intentionally distorted by progressives/collectivists to bolster their worldview than the topic of the Great Depression. This is a great book to set the record straight as to the real causes, consequences, and history of the Great Depression. A thick book (well over 400 pages), but it reads more like an historical novel rather than a stuffy, technical economics text.

Reading the first two books (Maybury's and Wolfram's) will give you a better understanding of real economics than the vast majority of folks today (and definitely a better understanding than the typical liberal economics professor). Then, reading Hazlitt's and Hayek's books gives you a "graduate level" understanding of economics. Shlaes book will then correct the distortions, misinformation, and downright lies about a pivotal event in economic history.

If you then want to get a "real world understanding" of the way economics and business actually work, an interesting place to start is with Jim Roger's books Investment Biker, Adventure Capitalist, and Street Smarts. These read as modern adventure stories with lots of real world examples of business and economics in action, from a guy who has proven he knows what he is talking about.

UPDATE: @Zero_Gov suggested I add The Law, by Frederic Bastiat, and Man, Economy, and State, by Murray Rothbard. Excellent suggestions, so consider them added! The Law is a short (my copy, published by FEE - see below - has 77 pages), very important read. Though familiar with Murray Rothbard, I have not yet read Man, Economy, and State, but have now added it to my long list of books to read. Thanks, @Zero_Gov!

Internet Resources

Ludwig von Mises Institute The Mises Institute is the world’s largest, oldest, and most influential educational institution devoted to promoting Austrian economics, freedom, and peace in the tradition of classical liberalism. --from their About page

Foundation for Economic Education -  FEE’s mission is to inspire, educate and connect future leaders with the economic, ethical and legal principles of a free society. --from their About page

Hillsdale College - offers an excellent free online economics course. More than just a few videos to watch, the course includes required readings and tests in order to earn a certificate.

Learn Liberty - Covers both economic and political issues from a classical liberal viewpoint (free markets, limited government, individual liberty). Lots of educational videos and other resources. As an example, please watch one of their videos embedded below:

Top Three Common Myths of Capitalism