Friday, April 22, 2016

My Most Often Used EDC Items

It seems like I'm constantly working on my every day carry (EDC) items lately, trying to come up with the optimum set of resources to carry on my person. One way I've done this is by  looking at my actual experiences with my EDC over the years. What items in my EDC have I used most often? Are there any items I haven't used at all? Are there items I needed, but didn't have on me?

Using those questions, I've come up with my list of actually useful EDC items, which I present here in no particular order:

Extra Cash.  Sometimes we need cash when we least expect it, and ATMs never seem to be nearby when we need one. I now carry some emergency cash on me, separate from my spending cash. Its not in my wallet, so I'm less tempted to spend it, thus saving it for a true emergency.

Quarters.  Lots of uses for quarters - drink & snack vending machines, pay phones (there are still a few around), change for the drive-thru, gas station air pumps, parking meters, car washes, car vacuums, coin laundries, stamp vending machines, and even the shopping carts at ALDI's. I carry a couple of dollars in quarters in my pocket, and have another few dollars worth in the cup holder of my vehicle.

Swiss Army Knife.  I probably use my Swiss Army Knife (Hiker model) on a daily basis. Its a great high-quality pocket knife, and the screwdrivers come in handy quite often. I've even used the wood saw on occasion.

Leatherman Multi-Tool.  I don't use it as often as my Swiss Army Knife, but it has come in useful on a number of occasions, especially the pliers. When I needed it, I was very glad to have it. The Leatherman Charge TTi is probably the ultimate multi-tool, but is a bit pricey. Either the Leatherman Rebar or SOG PowerAssist being my second, more affordable choice.

Aspirin.  I carry an individual first aid kit, but fortunately I haven't really needed it. Except for the aspirin, which I use a few times a month.

Pocket Flashlight.  Another often-used EDC item is my pocket flashlight. I have several, but am still trying to find the "perfect" one, so I don't have a recommendation yet. What I'm looking for is one small enough to carry comfortably in my pocket, yet bright enough to be really useful. I prefer two modes - low (8-10 lumens) and high (80+ lumens), with at least a 3 hour battery life on high. Any suggestions? Leave hem in the comments section below.

Cell Phone.  Nothing beats being able to communicate with others in an emergency.

Pen & Index Cards.  Useful for shopping lists, taking notes, leaving messages, and keeping up with appointments & contact information, I carry a small stack of index cards held together with a binder clip (a hipster PDA). Also a good pen.

Wet Ones Hand Wipes.  I use Wet Ones hand wipes almost daily.I keep two or three individually wrapped ones in the front pocket of my Maxpedition Micro Pocket organizer, which I mainly use as my individual first aid kit, and carry in my pants cargo pocket. I can easily slip one out when needed, then refill later that night.

Duct Tape.  Yes, I always carry a small roll of duct tape with me. And I have used it a number of times.

Gerber Shard Keychain tool - I use this nifty little pry-bar/bottle opener quite often. Well, at least the pry-bar part. I don't think I;ve ever used it as a bottle-opener. Its small, but very useful for removing tacks and small nails, prying open paint cans, and even opening boxes - all those things you would be tempted to use your eys for, until you bend or break one!

Of course, everybody is different, with different circumstances, concerns, and needs. Your list of useful EDC items will probably be different then mine. Leave your suggestions in the comments below.


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Steps The Ultra-Wealthy Are TakingTo Survive Economic Collapse

"Make tons of money. Buy an isolated farm in the mountains. Protect family against the barbarians: Your safe haven must be self-sufficient and capable of growing some kind of food ... It should be well-stocked with seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc. Think Swiss Family Robinson." -- Paul Farrell, quoting Barton Biggs

I want to examine this quote from 2010 in light of recent events. I believe doing so will give a clear picture of how the world's ultra-wealthy are preparing for an economic and political collapse that they see as inevitable.

This isn't advice from some survivalist guru. Instead, this is advice from a successful and respected hedge fund manager to his ultra-wealthy clients. Barton Biggs  (now deceased), was the manager of the multi-billion dollar hedge fund, Traxis Partners. In 2008, he wrote Wealth, War, and Wisdom, which draws on the lessons of past markets during turbulent times to help survive the current turbulent times. Biggs, who correctly predicted the bubble, had a gloomy outlook on the economic future and was warning his clients, members of the 1%, of the "possibility of a breakdown of the civilized infrastructure."

Notice that first part of the above quote - make tons of money. The wealthy elites are doing just that. Realizing that an economic collapse is inevitable, they are making as much money as they can right now using short term tactics and reinvesting that money into hard assets such as land, gold, silver, agriculture and other commodities as a protection against future collapse. In my opinion, this explains, at least in part, why Wall Street has done so well since the "Great Recession" of 2008, while Main Street has done so poorly.

The second bit of advice is "Buy an isolated farm in the mountains." Sounds a lot like a survival retreat, doesn't it? The rich fat-cats in the 1% will never leave the glamor and luxury of the Big Cities for a rural farm., right? Well, it turns out the 1% are abandoning the cities for survival retreats.  There have been several recent news articles like these: 
Guess where they are going? As per Bigg's advice, they are buying retreats in out-of-the-way small towns and rural areas. The cities are no longer safe, and will be even less so in any sort of collapse scenario, and ultra-rich know it.

"Protect family against the barbarians" is the third bit of advice. This is the home security, guns & ammo portion of his advice. Be prepared to defend yourself and your families. For now, the 1% can hire people with guns to protect them. The rest of us have to do it ourselves with our own guns.

"Your safe haven must be self-sufficient and capable of growing some kind of food." Self-sufficiency for your retreat, homestead, farm, or whatever you want to call it, is next on Bigg's list. The ability to provide your own food and water is key. There are lots of others aspects to self-sufficiency. The point is depend on the current doomed system as little as possible.

"It should be well-stocked with seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc." The supply lines of our just-in-time inventory and distribution systems will be disrupted. Stock up on what you will need now, while you still can.

"Think Swiss Family Robinson." It is a family effort. You need people - family, friends, allies. Think a survival community or mutial aid group (MAGs). 

Summary Survival Plan of the Ultra-Rich
  1. Make as much money as possible, while it is still possible. Use that money to do the remaining steps.
  2. Abandon the big cities and heavily populated areas, in favor of estates with land in rural areas capable of producing food. Build self-sufficiency.
  3. Invest in other "hard assets" in addition to land - gold, silver, and other tangible items.
  4. Take security very seriously. Don't depend on "civilized society" or even the police to keep you safe. 
  5. Become as self-sufficient as possible. 
  6. Stock up on food and other supplies in anticipation of a very long-term disruption in the current supply-chain. 
  7. Develop a small network for survival - your family & some close friends. Lone wolves don't survive well over the long-term.