7 Days of September – Day #7: Starvation

If you haven’t read the post on September 1, 2019 that explains this post…well, go read that post first (91/2019) and then this post will make more sense.

What are we trying to accomplish when we talk about starvation in relationship to being prepared for emergencies, disasters, and grid-down? Simple, we don’t want to starve to death or become so weak from malnutrition that we can’t meet our responsibilities in those situations. Notice, we also have to be concerned about malnutrition as well as starving to death. Once again we can apply the “layers” theory to this area of prepping.

Overall the concept is simple, we don’t want to lack sufficient caloric intake that we are unable to do what is required of us, or worse, die. That being said, let’s apply the “layers” theory to this area of prepping.

Normal pantry food –

This is the food that you eat on a normal everyday basis.

Being the simple man that I am I want to have 90-dyas worth of food in the house at all times. I am talking about your normal, everyday, run of the mill food that you and your family eat on a regular basis.

Yes, 90 days, you heard that correctly.  What’s the problem with that?  You are going to buy the stuff anyways, just get it done and put it in the pantry.  Think of all the gas you would save only going to the store every other week rather than every other day?  Think of all the money you would save buying quantities of food items that are ON SALE!90 days of grocery store pantry food

So, oh my gosh you need 90-days worth of food in the house right now?? No, you don’t.  Calm down, relax, it will be OK.  Read on…

Don’t make this more complicated than it is.  If you like spaghetti sauce and you eat it every couple of weeks and you use 2 cans each time you fix it, then go buy 12 cans the next time it comes on sale.  Same thing for all other can goods that you use.

If your budget is tight, no problem there either.  If you watch sales closely from all the food stores then only buy items in quantities when they are on sale.  And, if you can’t afford to buy 12 cans at one time then buy 6, or whatever you can afford.  But, buy something more towards storage each time you go to the store!  Have a plan.

A couple thoughts:

  • Buy what you use, if you don’t eat canned spinach, don’t buy it no matter what the sale price is.
  • Rotate your canned food every time you bring it home, pull the old stuff to the front, and put the new stuff in the back.
  • If the dates on the can are about to expire don’t worry about it. Those dates are “best if used by” NOT “eat it and die date.”
  • If your spouse just can’t bring themselves to eat out of date canned food then ask your neighbors or friends if they would like it.  If you don’t have friends like that, get some.  If you can’t give it away, take it to the local food pantry, soup kitchen, or homeless shelter.
MRE’s –

These are military grade Meals-Ready-To-Eat with heaters.

You do need options to provide decent meals to your family during short-term emergencies.  Granted, if you have a BBQ grill that is an option.  But ask yourself…Do you know how long will your propane tank last before it needs refilled? Will you be able to get it refilled?

Have you ever seriously considered grilling in the dead of winter? Do you have a back-up propane tank (or 4) that are kept full? Do you have a natural gas stove?  What happens if the gas is disrupted?

What if you don’t want to draw attention to yourself by lighting up the grill?  Or worse yet, do you really want some big cooking fire?  Or what if you don’t want to draw attention to yourself by the aroma of hamburgers and ribs cooking on your grill?  What if you are having to relocate and can’t take a grill?  Or you’re traveling and don’t have time to fix a cooking fire, etc.?

Sorry about all the questions, but as you can tell, I am trying to stimulate you to really question your situation and your Normalcy Bias. To solve this issue I believe in short-term emergency food storage made up of MREs.FOOD - MRE

Yup, good old fashion military grade MRE’s.  You can take them anywhere, including in a backpack.  They are 100% self-contained, including the heat source.  They are nutritionally balanced, packed with calories and sometimes include treats like M&Ms and Skittles.  Very hard to beat!

But MRE’s have distinct drawback – they tend to produce constipation when eaten for any length of time.  If you are in a combat or hunting situation, that might be a bad thing when compared to the alternative.  However, under the best of normal situations constipation is probably not high on your Christmas wish list.  I have discovered a miracle cure for that unfortunate condition – granola bars.  I pack 2 granola bars with every MRE, a soft/chewy one and a crunchy/hard one.  Eating a granola bar between your breakfast/lunch and then again in the afternoon or evening will keep your system moving along.

So, you might be thinking about now how much of this food category (MREs) should you have on hand.  And that is truly a great question with no single standard answer. For my family I am thinking about 4-days worth of MREs for each person in our house.  A case of MREs contains 12, so think a case per person.  It will cost you $50 – $100 per case depending on where you buy them. I buy them at gun shows for $40 – $45 per case.

Freeze dried meal pouches –

My next layer of food storage preparations is just a little more complex but far tastier, bordering on a fancy feast – Mountain House meals in the pouches.  Why Mountain House brand?  Those are the ones I really like the best.

These are different main dishes (i.e. lasagna, beef stew, etc.) that have been freeze dried and then packaged in commercial grade packaging. Stays fresh for 10 – 25 years.Food - Mountain House pouch

Let’s get into why freeze dried pouches are my choice:

  1. Easy to store with a long shelf life.
  2. They taste great.
  3. You can eat them right out of the pouch. A little dry to be sure but you can do it.
  4. Small, you can put them in your backpack with no problems.
  5. A cup of boiling water and you have a gourmet meal.
  6. You can eat with only a spoon or better yet…a spork.
  7. Light weight.

Again, you might be thinking about now how much freeze-dried Mountain House pouch food should you have on hand.  And again, that is truly a very valid question with no single standard answer. I am thinking about 4-days worth of freeze-dried pouches for each person in your house.  Each pouch of food will cost you between $4 – $8 depending on the meal and specific food you get. Count about $6.50 per meal on average. That $78.00 per person for the 4-days worth of food.

To make this option work the best I would suggest a way to boil your water. An Emberit or Olicamp stove is a great way to do this on a personal level.

Freeze dried food in #10 cans –

These are different main dishes (i.e. spaghetti, tortellini, etc.) that have been freeze dried and then packaged in commercial grade #10 cans. Stays nutritious and edible for 15 – 25 years.

This is a kind of a tricky area for me to lay out there for you. It would be easy to just say “I recommend X” and go on. However, this is a really important part of your food storage. It is also a very expensive part of food storage. This is the part of food storage that will stave off “food fatigue.”

food fatigueFood fatigue is where you are eating a lot of the same food day after day and it is bland and boring. Like eating oat meal everyday without anything to jazz up the taste. Rice, bean, oats, and wheat will keep you alive and healthy but it is horribly bland and you will get tired of eating it. Well, that is till you get hungry again and then it will taste great!

Long-term Food Storage to prevent food fatigue, freeze dried foodSo first, how much do I recommend of long-term everyday food items? I suggest a minimum of 45 days of #10 cans full of freeze dried food, the 20-30 year shelf life stuff.

Why 45 days?  From my experience it seems to be the outside time-frame for most emergencies and disasters.  For situations such as food chain disruptions or social problems it gives you a transition period that you can use to stabilize your specific situation. For a “grid-down” event where the food chain is permanently disrupted, 45-days isn’t near long enough. However, you can use this food to “spice-up” your long-term staple foods.

Should you store more than my 45-day minimum recommendation?  Absolutely!!  More for you to eat during TEOTWAWKI (grid-down) situations. But another cool aspect to this…eat it when you retire if the world doesn’t fall apart in the meantime.  I practice what I preach! I have more, significantly more, to make sure that my long-term food staples don’t food fatigue me to death. I also look at food storage as an “edible IRA.”

I thought through different scenarios and a really good way to deal with them – an ultimate solution if you will.  Some of the scenarios I considered:

1.    Extended winter storms with grid-down.
2.    Hurricanes without any infrastructure left.
3.    Flooding with complete grid-down.
4.    And longer-term food disruptions or societal/economic issues.

emergency Preparedness layer - freeze dried foodI was looking for a category of food that would provide:

•    Tasty meals to avoid boredom and/or gastronomical revolt.
•    Nutritional to maintain high energy levels.
•    Very easy to fix with minimal preparation.
•    Redundant ways to prepare meals (cold or hot, water or no water).
•    Easily stored, transported and concealed.

The most obvious answer to me was cases of #10 cans of freeze dried meals.  They come in astounding variety, Sweet & Sour Pork, Chicken Tetrazzini, Ham & Eggs, Granola and milk. They also have standard fruit, grains, meat, vegetables, etc.

What is needed to prepare and serve this kind of food? Best case scenario, a cup or small pot, hot water and done.  Worst case scenario, just open the pouch or can and eat it.

MSR Whisperlite International StoveYou can heat the water up any way you wish, I like the small multi-fuel MSR WhisperLite stoves<click to read more> but your electric range at home is fine too (provided there is still power). Make sure you have redundant ways to provide a heat source for the boiling water needed to prepare freeze-dried food.

There are lot of brands of freeze dried food out there that make incredibly good entrees. Some of my personal favorites are Mountain House, Thrive, Saratoga Farms, and Augason Farms.

I won’t make specific recommendations on what food to purchase. What I will do is suggest you purchase the food you like that can also be put over rice and beans. Using rice and beans as “extenders” will easily extend your good tasting food by 2 – 5 times. And that is important to fighting off food fatigue but maximizing the food storage you have on-hand.

The next thing I would like to suggest is consider are fruits, in this case freeze-dried or dehydrated fruits. Fruits will contain valuable and required vitamins to your diet. LDS church apple slices They are also great to add to oatmeal to add a little zip to an otherwise bland tasting bowl of oatmeal. Dehydrated apple slices from the LDS store are a great snack and extremely affordable. That is six #10 cans of apple slices with a 30-year shelf life for under $54.00!! (Last time I priced them.)

I think later I will go over an extensive list of foods that would be good to purchase for a great diet that has flavor and nutrition. But for now, I think you have enough of an idea to get started. Here is one suggestion on what to put in those cases:

freeze dried mountain house food in #10 cans for 45-day food supplyCase #1 –

1 can of Beef Teriyaki with Rice
2 cans of Granola with Milk & Blueberries
3 cans of White Rice

Case #2 –

2 cans of Beef Stroganoff
2 cans of Scramble Eggs with Bacon
2 cans of Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Case #3 –

2 cans of Chili Mac
2 cans of Garden Peas
2 cans of Sugar Sweet Corn

Case #4 –

1 can of Hearty Beef Stew
1 can of Noodles and Chicken
2 cans of Apple Slices
2 cans of Peach Slices

All of the food mentioned above is Mountain House brand. I think Mountain House has the best quality and flavor of all the freeze dried food brands. With four cases of food you can see that your family can eat for a pretty decent length of time…and a wide variety of food tastes.

So here is a one of those “best kept secrets” that will make your food storage life a whole lots easier…LDS Home Storage Centers. Yup, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believe so much in food storage that they make is very easy and very affordable to purchase properly canned (#10 cans) long-term food storage. Their on-line store is a great way the time and money you save will be amazing.

Note: Sorry, for those of you living outside the USA neither option is available to you.

LDS store to buy food storage onlineLast time I checked here is what available on-line:

Nonfat Dry Milk
Hard Red Wheat
Hard White Wheat
Regular Oats
Quick Oats
White Flour
Spaghetti Bites
White Rice
Potato Flakes
Apple Slices
Pinto Beans

To purchase these items you go to the website and order just lie you would any other on-line store. The shipping is unreal low so the price doesn’t go way up to ship the food to you. Normally it is $3.00 <click here to go to the LDS on-line store>

Now, if you are near one of the LDS Home Storage Centers that are scattered around the country it gets even better. At these locations the pre-canned food available it amazing! The order form provides you the shelf-life, and the weight per can, plus obviously the price. So you know exactly what you are getting. I have bought from them before and I am telling you that the quality of the food is outstanding! I really really like the apple slices as a snack. They rock!!

LDS Home Storage Center order form listing food you can purchase

click to enlarge

You can find an LDS Home Storage Center by visiting the website locator page: <click here> We used to do a “group order” of interested folks. We would gather orders from folks and just send a couple people in a pick-up truck the 110 mile round trip to buy the cases of food. Everyone who didn’t go would chip in gas money. Then the food would be delivered to one location, someone’s garage, where everyone would pick up their order. A BBQ of hamburgers and hotdogs would always be a nice social event to top it all off.

In my perfect & ideal world I would buy these items in this order. I would buy a single case of each first. Then once I got that done, I would start over and keep buying until I felt I had a year’s supply of food in the house for the entire family. In priority order:

•   Apple Slices
•   Onions, Dry
•   Wheat, Hard Winter
•   Rice, White
•   Carrots
•   Sugar, Granulated
•   Beans, Pinto
•   Oats, Quick
•   Macaroni
•   Milk, Nonfat Dry
•   Potato Flakes
•   Four, White
•   Beans, Refried
•   Beans, Black
•   Spaghetti

Yeah, it’s going to take some money to do this. However, in my way of thinking I would rather have all this food storage and not need it, than need even some of this stored food and not have it. Remember, you can always eat the food! Even if you wait until your retirement years, you can still eat the food! That is why I call it my “edible IRA!”

The way I look at it – this is part of my IRA, 401K, pension or whatever you want to call it. It will help reduce the food bills when my wife an I are retired, if we don’t need the food before then.

Couple comments about food from the LDS Store:

  1. The apple slices are incredibly good!!!!  I can eat them right out of the can as a snack. I also put them on my cereal. You can bake them in a “bread” like banana bread.
  2. The refried beans are some of the best I have ever tasted. They are dried, and you reconstitute them with water. And man-o-man they are good!
  3. The dried onions are very flavorful. They can add a lot of flavor to otherwise drab meals.
  4. Carrots are not real flavorful but they add some color and nutrients to otherwise drab meals.
Long-term staples –

These are the basics to sustain life; wheat, rice, oats, beans, etc. The items are packaged in commercial grade #10 cans. Stays edible for 20 – 30 years.long-term staple food storage

I have mixed emotions on long-term staple food, I really do. First, you absolutely must have it. Second, it is very cost-effective to buy. Third, you really don’t need to rotate it, it will last 20 – 30 years in good storage conditions – but not in your garage! Fourth, it will provide the basic nutritional requirements to keep you and your family alive. Fifth, you will suffer from “food fatigue” very quickly. Food fatigue sucks.

Here’s the deal, I don’t see “long-term staples” as what you are going to eat for any length of time. At least not by itself. What I am getting at is this, it will be used in conjunction with other foods. Here is what I mean…

You know I suggest that you have a wide variety of foods. But let’s Campbell's Soup for emergencies and disastersjust talk about “soup” for a minute. Let’s say you have a can of soup in your pantry storage; chicken noodle or beef vegetable as examples. It is nutritious by itself but not real filling and offers little in terms of carbohydrate or protein, which your body will need during tough times. So you supplement it with your “staples.”

You cook a ½ cup of rice, a ¼ cup of pinto beans, and ¼ cup of wheat “berries.” Then you mix those ingredients together with your can of soup and BINGO! You have a great tasting meal with far more nutrition, plenty of carbs/protein, and it far more filling. Throw in some crushed red pepper flakes and you really have a very tasty dish!

This combining of staples with more palatable food will greatly improve the nutritional value of your meals and give it some Food Fatigue during emergencies and disasters food storageacceptable flavor as well. Test the idea, cook up the beans, rice, and wheat berries; mix them together in a bowl and eat. Yeah, how does that flavor work for you? Yes, it is nutritious to be sure but the lack of taste will quickly burn you out; hence, the term “food fatigue.”

Another way to leverage your long-term staples is to combine it with food you’ve hunted. In this example take a rabbit that you have snared, by itself it does provide protein and bulk. But now take the same rabbit and then cook up the same mix of rice, beans, and wheat berries. It is now far more nutritious, with way more protein and a whole lot more bulk. If you cooked the rabbit over a fire before adding it to the “mix” then it adds even more flavor as well.Stew

Throw in an onion, a leak, a carrot, beat, beans, peas, potato or anything else from the garden or from the wild and you have a very tasty stew. The key is the extra bulk, nutrition and protein coming from your stored long-term staples.

This “long-term staples” was one of the very first areas of food storage that I focused on when I started buying my food storage. Why? It’s cheap. I was able to buy large amounts of the basic staples for a much smaller amount of money than I could have for #10 cans of freeze dried meals. I could have gone with the fancy freeze dried foods but they are far more expensive than the staples I was buying.

So I bought the following in priority order…for starters:

  1. Wheat
  2. Rice
  3. Oats
  4. Pinto Beans

For my source I used The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. When I purchased the majority of mine it was all LDS store to buy food storage onlinethrough their warehouse system. Now they have an on-line store now where you can purchase a wide variety of long-term staples at prices that simply can’t be beat anywhere else. Why so cheap? They want people, all people, to have food storage for when the tough times come.

<click to go to the LDS Online Food Storage Store>

The food is canned in #10 cans and packed for 20 – 30 year shelf life. Look over the portions for each and a case can be considered roughly a month’s worth of food for one person. Yes, it is the boring “food fatigue” stuff but it is food and can sustain a person for a month.There are recipes in the boxes as well on how to use the those basic four foods. It is a really good deal at only $22.00  – $40.00 per case.

If you do as I suggested above, you could eat fairly decently with just cans of soup, your long-term staples, and then thrown in a little spice here and there and you have it made. Then add a can of tuna or chicken and you are really living. Now here is a little secret to share with you, the LDS also has things like onions and carrots on-line and much more to purchase as well. Buy a case here and there of each type of food, add it to your basics and now you are really living…it’s called stew!

Seriously, look at how much food you could purchase quickly by going through the LDS church and their website. It can be an instant shot in the arm to your existing food storage, or a great way to jump start your food storage from scratch.

So here is what I would buy from the LDS website in order:

  1.  1 case of rice
  2.  1 case of wheat
  3.  1 case of onions
  4.  1 case of dehydrated apple slices.
  5.  1 case of carrots
  6.   1 case of pinto beans
  7.   1 case of black beans
  8.   1 case of onions
  9.   1 case of dehydrated apple slices.
  10.   1 case of carrots
  11.   1 case of refried beans

At this point you now have approximately a year’s supply of food for one person when added to your food pantry stuff.

Now, go look in your food pantry and freezer, see what you have in there and imagine how you would use it to combine with the long-term food outlined above.

So there you go, adding long-term staples can drastically improve your food storage situation. You can take your food storage from a month or two to well over 6 months to a year or more fairly easily and cost-effectively.

I often get asked the question, “How much long-term food should I have stored?”

Food storage shelvesThat’s a tough answer for most people. However for me it was easy to get that answer, I just kept buying food storage until I felt inspired that I had enough. I know people who have years worth of food storage; I am talking 4 – 8 years worth of food storage! Now, granted, a lot of it is long-term staples but that is OK! Food is food and when you are hungry it will taste like a feast.

Why do they have that much food storage? Well, again, the answers vary quite a bit for each prepper. A middle-aged couple have told me that they have large families, including extended family members, and they want to make sure that they can feed them all.

I also know a family or two that have purchased that much just because they felt inspired to do so. They feel they will be called upon to feed lots of folks; and that is OK too. And then there is a family or two that want to use their food storage as a bargaining/bartering chip. For me, I think I will be called upon to feed other people, so I bought food until I felt inspired I had enough.

Think about it – food becomes in short supply and people are getting hungry. You’ve stored a considerable amount of food, far more than your family needs. There’s a family in the neighborhood who your family enjoys having a BBQ with occasionally. You and your spouse have enjoyed a double-date or two with them over the years, and your kids go to the same school. The dad is a retired Army Ranger and his wife is a nurse. So, you think you might want to try and work out a little deal where you band together with them? And food storage could be your ticket!

How about the guy around the corner who is a Emergency Room Doctor?

The options and possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Yes, operational security is important, you don’t want them knowing that you are sitting on a pile of food. But being able to feed them can buy a lot of assistance and maybe even loyalty. Or, better yet, the start of a preparedness group.

Precious Metals for preppers - grid-down, emergencies and disasters - gold & silverAnd you know how I feel about precious metals if you read my article “Silver & Gold…Really?” <click to read>.  In a true “grid-down” situation I look at food as even more valuable than precious metals.  Food can be used just like precious metals to “bribe & buy” in exactly the same way. The only difference…food will become more and more valuable as times goes on.

There are a lot of reasons to have food storage, but it like any number of prepper topics, you are either sold on it or not. You either believe in it or not. But food storage in the most practical and realistic terms is a “no-branier” in virtually every way possible.

  1. In emergencies and disasters your food storage can feed your family and a few others till the food distribution chain is back up and running.
  2. If you ever become unemployed your food storage is just like a savings account and will help you get through financially.
  3. If you never eat it for any reason you will still retire at some point. Look at your food storage as part of your retirement account.
  4. Food storage makes a great investment. Have you ever heard the price of food going down?
  5. And finally, “grid-down.” You can be the hero and save your family from starving to death. And if you have stored enough food you can be…well, you can be pretty much whoever you want to be.
Snares –

This will be a short topic. I want you you to have snares on hand. The wire small game snares, big game snares if you need/want them. Snares are 24-hour a day hunters, and the don’t use up valuable ammunition, make no sound, and are inexpensive to put into action. I personally like pre-made wire snares myself.

The game you catch can supplement your food storage or be bargained away to neighbors . And that is worth a whole lot!


Notice that I have not included home canned items in this list. The reason is my opinion of their stability and transportability. Since 99.9% of all canning is done in glass jars I think they are not suitable to be considered as anything other than normal pantry food, I do not consider them in any other category. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with you having 1 – 2 years’ worth of normal pantry food. As I look at all those glass jars though I see a big problem trying to transport them anywhere and have them remain intact. Also, I seem them as less than desirable for rough conditions of any kind in a “grid-down” scenario. They are “glass” and are easily broken. All that being said, I love home canned fruits/jellies and they have a place in the food storage plan…under the “normal pantry food” category.


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7 Days of September – Day #6: Exposure

If you haven’t read the post on September 1, 2019 that explains this post…well, go read that post first (91/2019) and then this post will make more sense.

In the most simple of terms…we don’t want to become sick, or die, from exposure. We have to be concerned about both hypothermia (cold exposure) and hyperthermia (heat exposure) in emergency, disaster, or grid-down situations because you can die pretty dang quickly from exposure. And this is true whether it is winter or summer.

The best way to present my concept of protection from the elements is expressed in layers of protection.

emergency Preparedness Layers - shelterSo let’s get started with putting you in the middle of a bunch of concentric circles representing the expanding layers protecting us from the elements and all other aspects of exposure.

First up – clothing

Yup, nothing fancy, no special piece of gear or equipment, just clothing. But, this is the single most important factor, period. Without good quality clothing appropriate for the environment you are in, no other kind of shelter will matter much. I categorize clothing into two basic groups; 1) clothing that will get you killed, 2) clothing that will save your life.

Stop laughing! Or, stop rolling your eyes at least. I am being serious and you will understand what I am talking about in just a minute.

So let’s look back at what are the biggest general threats/risks to any emergency, disaster, or grid-down. Previously I’ve listed them as:Grid Down Chaos and violence against people are threat and risk to family

  1. Violence
  2. Injury/Sickness
  3. Communication (lack of or poor)
  4. Organization (lack of or poor)
  5. Dehydration
  6. Exposure
  7. Starvation

Notice #1 on the list? Well, if bad guys can’t see or find you, how can they hurt you?

So, my first suggestion to you is pretty simple, make sure everyone in your family or group has a full set of good family in camo clothingquality camouflage clothing to wear.

But, that being said, will you always find yourself in a situation where you need to hide from bad guys? Hey, you might find yourself in a totally benign situation where there simply are no bad guys. Fine. Or, you may find yourself in a situation where you might bring unwanted attention on yourself and your family by wearing camouflage such as in the middle of an urban environment. Fine.

Both are valid situations where camo might be inappropriate. But, prepare for the worst and enjoy anything less. So have the camo clothing ready but also have other non-camo clothing that will function just as well within this “exposure” area of preps.

Now, back to exactly what clothing as your first layer in the shelter category…

Let’s hit on the closest layer, literally. It is called the “base layer” and is worn right next to your skin. What you wear depends on the environment you will be in. If it is a cold environment then you may want to wear thermal underwear. If it is the desert where you will be then you may want to wear the lightest possible material. In either event you always want to wear clothing next to your skin that will transport moisture away from your skin. If you are going to be in hot, humid, rainy conditions maybe commando is the way to go.

I am not a fan of artificial fibers for base layers. Nature has already made great natural fibers that have worked for millions of years, no need for man to screw around with them. I don’t recommend, and I don’t endorse any man-made fiber material for a base layer.

Cold Environment –ColdOutside

For cold environments most people automatically think of cotton thermal underwear. I did as well in years gone past. But there is a huge difference in materials and what they can do for you or what they can do against you…like kill you. Cotton is the worst thermal insulating material that you could possible use in a cold environment. It will potentially kill you. If you overheat and start to sweat, cotton will hold the moisture directly against your skin and draw heat away from your body.

Wool on the other hand is an amazing natural material. It is designed to keep you warm even if it does get wet. Remember you want to be warm as you sit around and that’s for sure. But, that is what a campfire is for. However, the same layers of warm clothing that keeps you toasty sitting around camp could be far too warm for any physical exertion on your part such as hiking or splitting wood.

That being the case, you not only want to be warm sitting around a camp fire, you want your clothing to keep you warm when you are engaged in your normal physical activities.Those are two very different situations.

If you are walking with a backpack through the snow and you are over-dressed, you will sweat. And sweating is creating moisture against your skin. If that moisture stays in contact with your skin, you will cool off and you may become hypothermic.

Minus 33 Merino wool clothingMinus 33 Merino wool clothingI researched and tested a lot of different wool clothing, Minus33 Merino wool was the best all-round that I found. There are other brands, but I found Minus33 to be the best.

One more time…I am sold on one brand of cold weather underwear – Minus33. I think it is simply the very best. Wide range of men’s and women’s products in three weights; lightweight, midweight, & expedition.

Minus33 merino wool underwear for preppersTheir products are made from Merino wool. It has an amazingly soft and comfortable feel. Minus33 Merino Wool regulates the amount of moisture on your skin by absorbing any moisture or sweat on your body. Then, the absorbed moisture evaporates out of the fabric into the atmosphere.

HotDesertHot Environment –

For me, I like a little moisture against my skin in hot weather to cool me down. The exception would be the crotch area. Also, a gentle cooling through moisture evaporation of a t-shirt will help keep you from over heating. But, that same moisture in your crotch area can lead to “crotch rot” and that is miserable. Regular cotton doesn’t provide that quick moisture wicking and drying in my opinion. Charged Cotton does provide that wicking effect and dries quickly.

Under Armour charged cotton t-shirt tshirtUnder Armour charged cotton boxer jocks for preppersJust as I love a single brand of underwear for cold environments, I am just as sold on a single brand for hot environments – Under Armour. I work in very, very harsh desert environments fighting wildfires, UA is simply the best in my opinion.

UnderArmour-003Their Charged Cotton is built from 100% cotton. It has the power to wick sweat and dry fast. Lightweight Charged Cotton has the comfort of cotton, but dries much faster through their Signature Moisture Transport System wicks sweat away from the body.

Note: Now, for you that are LDS, the “handbook” has exceptions for certain conditions for your base layer. Look into it if you are interested. Otherwise, go with the material that is available and best suits your needs.

Now an informative word on socks…

There is only a single material that I think is appropriate for socks – wool. Period. I use wool for both hot and cold Smart Wool Heavy Sockenvironments. It works just fine, the best actually. I like SmartWool, Minus33 and REI Socks Wool Minus33Socks Wool REIbrand wool socks (in that order). Get a heavyweight pair for when you are hiking with lots of weight or in harsh cold conditions. I use a lightweight pair for desert environments in the summer. However, that being said, I have used heavy, mid and light-weight socks in both hot and cold conditions and I have yet to be uncomfortable. It wouldn’t hurt to try different weight wool socks for your specific conditions. The weight will  make a difference on the thickness of the sock. Make sure you try your socks with the boots you expect to wear. Also, never go buy a new pair of boots without taking your thickest wool socks with you when you are trying on those new boots.

Your first protection against the elements, hot or cold, should be your base layer. Then comes your next layer, for this discussion we will call it the shirt/pant layer. This is the layer that will likely provide your greatest resistance to all aspects of your environment, so it is essential that these items be of the highest affordable quality possible.

I will break this layer into groups, camo and non-camo. Both need to be sturdy and can probably be made from the same kind/type of material.

For camo I go with:A-tacs UR Organic camo clothing

  • Pants – Propper (65/35 poly/Cotton) rip stop. They are comfortable, hold up well, and are cool in 100+ degree desert conditions.
  • Camo ACU multicam military surplusShirt, ACU – ReadyOne Industries 65/25/10 rayon/Aramid/nylon) rip stop. It is comfortable, hold up well, and are cool in 100+ degree desert conditions. I buy the military surplus stuff.
  • Shirt, Tactical Combat – 5.11 Tactical Multicam TDU Rapid Camo5.11 TDU Rapid Assault ShirtAssault Shirt. This shirt is specifically designed to be worn with body armor. It is also great when worn with a tactical vest without body armor. The sleeves are 65/35 poly/Cotton rip stop. The main shirt body is 55/37/8 cotton/poly/spandex. It is extremely comfortable, holds up well, and is cool in 100+ degree desert conditions. The quarter-zip front really makes this shirt comfortable in hot weather.

For non-camo I go with:5.11 Tactical Series Pants

  • Pants – 5.11 Tactical Series (65/35 poly/Cotton) rip-stop. They are comfortable, hold up well, and are cool in 100+ degree desert conditions. They are also warm by themselves in cold conditions. Add a base layer and they are just toasty.
  • Shirts – Colombia Bonehead PFG (100% cotton poplin). The shirt also has a mesh-lined Shirt Colombia Bonehead PFGvent at center back. This is a very comfortable shirt that performs exceptionally allowing air to circulate over your back keeping the moisture wicking away from you. The material also dries very quickly.

So do I suggest other materials or styles? No, not really. The clothing suggested here works for both warm and cold climates. If it is colder, you put on your wool base layer. If it is warmer you don’t use your base layer or go with the UA charged cotton underclothing. I’ve worn these same exact clothes in 100+ degree bright desert sunny days. I am still around to write about it. Sure, it may get hot but it wasn’t to the point of unhealthy or dangerous.

So what about it getting really cold, now what do I wear?

I already mentioned that you wear your base layer, then the shirt/pant layer. Once you have that on you assess how much warmer you have to be. Again, I’ve worn these exact same clothes and been just fine in both hot and cold conditions. However, a base layer and the shirt/pant layer may not be enough for cold(er) conditions, an outer layer may be required. But, that doesn’t mean you have a different pair of pants, a different shirt, or different base layer. Your base layer and pant/shirt layer still remains in-place. You “layer” your clothing to meet the conditions. If you warm up, you take the outer layer off. If you get cool, you add a layer on the outside called the outer layer.

Why add or remove an outer layer? To reduce the time, effort, discomfort, and vulnerability while not attempting a complete wardrobe change.

That is also why you want the lightest possible base layer; you don’t want to have to take that layer off in the middle of your day. Think about it…you are bugging out with your GOOD BOB on, your family is in tow, and now you are over-heating. You stop to remove your base layer. How much effort goes into that change? How much time does it take? And while you are doing all of that changing of clothes are you really prepared to handle threatening situations very easily?

The outer layer consists of watch cap, fleece jacket, rain poncho and ECWCS:

  • Watch Cap Blackhawk fleeceWatch Cap – Blackhawk (100% 7 oz. Blizzard Fleece). This low-profile cap is really warm and won’t interfere with any jacket hood and is comfortable under a helmet.
  • Hood – Military Surplus AF Apparel (100% Microfleece). This is a great cold fleece Hood with drawstringweather  hood! It has drawstrings to cinch down the amount of exposed face. And a lower drawstring to secure it low on your neck. Make sure you get a “long” cold weather hood to make sure it stays inside of your jacket.
  • Jacket Cabelas FleeceJacket – Cabelas Snake River (100% fleece). This is a very comfortable and warm jacket. Zippered front pockets and a drawstring at the bottom. The drawstring allow you to cinch it up to prevent cold breeze from getting underneath the jacket.

Note: If you are using a poncho and poncho liner system, or a parka and parka liner system, together then view the liner as the fleece jacket.

  • Rain Poncho – O.P.S.E.C Poncho by Survival Solutions is the only way to go! This

    white version

    white version

    amazing poncho was designed specifically to go over your

    as shelter half

    as shelter half

    backpack and fit correctly. Optionally it is also 42sqFT shelter-half. There is no better rain poncho. Note: It folds up and then can be stored in its own hood.

  •  ECWCS Jacket/Parka – Tru-Spec TRU-SPEC MultiCam (OCP) H2O-Proof Generation II ECWCS Parka. I Tru-Spec TRU-SPEC MultiCam (OCP) H2O-Proof Generation II ECWCS Parkareally like this parka. But, it is not a traditional parka that you might be thinking about. This is a military “system” against rain, snow, and cold. But, it is a system. Let’s talk about the shell first…

Parka – Parka is made from 3-layer DINTEX® nylon material that is windproof, waterproof, and breathable. The zippered underarms open for ventilation to keep you dry and comfortable. Double storm flap, interior flapped map pocket, rollable hood stows away in the collar, DINTEX® inner lining, non-freezing two way zipper and zippered underarms, 3-pocket design and adjustable sleeve cuffs, sleeve pockets, waist drawstring, and large cargo pockets. The parka comes down to upper-thigh.Tru-Spec TRU-SPEC MultiCam (OCP) H2O-Proof Generation II ECWCS Parka Liner

Parka Liner – Liner is made from microfleece, a lightweight, warm and soft fabric that is hydrophobic. Zip thru collar, zipper front placket, elastic cuffs, drawstring waist, front pockets, and sleeve attachment loops for attaching to the parka.

For non-camo clothing options I suggest you look at quality snow skiing clothing. Why don’t I go into more detail non-camo clothing? Because I don’t do non-camo outer layer clothing. Why? For what we are talking about (emergencies, disasters, & grid-down) I want the very best gear I can own. And I am not made out of money so I go with the old saying, “prepare for the worst and hope for the best.” Military gear is the best when compared with dollars spent in my opinion.

Yeah, there may be some folks right about now asking, “What about military clothing bringing attention to you and getting you arrested?”

Well, if that is a possibility then you have far, far bigger issues to deal with. This would be a martial law, occupation type scenario that is a much bigger issue with far great problems to deal with than military clothing.

Also, notice I didn’t touch on gloves or boots. I did a review on Lowa Tibet GTX boots for cold weather. The Lowa’s are also just fine for hot desert conditions as well.  But, I also like Merrell Moab boots for warm/hot conditions. So you can take your pick on which boots you like. As for gloves, I am preparing a review soon on those and you can read more detailed info when that article comes out.

So there is your “clothing layer” and I can guarantee you that you will be warm or cool in virtually any climate you can find yourself operating in. Alright, time to move on to more layers. We got all the way up to the ECWCS parka and rain poncho, but what is next?

Next up – Non-shelter shelters.

Eno HammockTo me the best non-shelter shelter it is a hammock. Yup, you read the words correctly, a hammock. So, why a hammock?

When it comes time to sleep you want to be off the ground. It gets you away from the critters that could harm you, gets you off the cold and/or wet ground as well. I like the Eno hammock for quality, pretty hard to beat.Eno Hammock with tarp

So you think it might rain while you are sleeping in your hammock? String up your shelter-half (OPSEC Poncho). Now you are off the ground and under cover.

You might ask the question what about if it is cold. Yeah, that could be an issue so I recommend adding a layer to the hammock…an emergency blanket. No, I am not talking about the cheap, thin Mylar emergency blanket, I am Space All Weather Blankettalking about a heavier duty, thicker, more efficient/effective version – Space All-Weather Blanket. Specs & Info:

  • Material:          Astrolar (Reinforced fabric stands up to wear. Layered polyethylene film, aluminum and Astrolar reinforcing fabric.)
  • Dimensions:    7 x 5 feetSpace All Weather emergency Blanket
  • Weight:           12 ounces
  • Effciency:        reflects 80% of radiated body heat back to you.
  • Uses:              Use for warmth under a tent, line a hammock, a bivy sack, on top of your air mattress, or line your sleeping bag. Can also be used as a makeshift poncho.
Basic Shelters –

What happens if it rains or snows? String up your poncho as a shelter half. If that is still not enough then you go to Tarp Poly Camothe “tarp” layer. A decent quality ploy tarp is an excellent choice. They are easy to carry, lightweight, have grommets to facilitate stringing them between trees with your para-cord.

Here is a great tip…string up your tarp between trees with three of the four edges of the tarp in contact with the ground. Have a single open front facing your fire. If you have a good sleeping blanket and ground tarp put those on top of a good insulating layer of leaves or boughs. Now, line the inside of your shelter-half with the space blanket mentioned above.

No ground cloth? No problem! Make your insulating layer as mentioned, then lay out out your space blanket with the silver side up. Then lay out your sleeping blanket on top of that. Get in your sleeping bag and roll up until you look like a burrito. You will stay very toasty.

More  Shelter –

So, you want something more stable, more permanent, no problem, go to the next layer…a tent. Tents come in all sizes; from a small put-tent to a nice big cabin-wall expedition tent with stove and cots. Take your pick, whatever works for you and your situation. But, go with quality!

Remember, when it comes to tents you might not always be able to transport it in a vehicle. Apply the layers theory to this situation. Before you have a big luxurious cabin tent, have a high-portable, easily carried smaller tent.

2-person SnugPack Bunker Tent

2-person SnugPack Bunker Tent

I really gotta tell you, as far as personal tents go you simply can’t do better than SnugPak…period. I use The Bunker as my personal tent and I am amazingly pleased with the quality, the layout and the over build and function. There simply isn’t a better tent. You can’t go wrong with it!


Cabin Wall Expedition Tent

Cabin Wall Expedition Tent



Then again…you can get all tent fancy →

Ultimate Shelter –

And finally, if you are still not feeling like you are getting the shelter you need…how about a bug-out camper or a bug-out cabin?

BugOut Camper bug-out

BugOut Cabin bug-outI could go into really incredible detail with this concept of protecting against exposure but I am not going to. There may be a time and place for me to, but that time and place is not now. But, by now you get the idea of how these exposure-protection layers build upon each other. You have your personal “shelters” close to you (clothing), then sheltering grows in size and complexity as you add on more layers all the way up to a cabin. But, you still always have your base layer…the easy to transport and the layer that is the most important.



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7 Days of September – Day #5: Dehydration

If you haven’t read the post on September 1, 2019 that explains this post…well, go read that post first (91/2019) and then this post will make more sense.

If you are the normal average person you can die from dehydration in as little as 24-hours, you can last no more than about 96-hours. You can become weak and disoriented within 12-hours without water. Drinking water contaminated with viruses and bacteria and be debilitating within 1 – 10 days. Drinking contaminated water can kill you.

So, tell me again how important water is?

Fortunately dehydration can be easily cured…drink water. To keep yourself healthy and functioning…drink safe water. Fortunately the “safe” part is easily cured…purify water before you drink it. But, there is still a problem here…you gotta have water to purify. Yup, you gotta actually have water…or be able to get it.

You have utility water coming out of your tap and so you are confident that your Monolithic water filtration/purification system will keep you and your family just fine. So what happens when the utility company can no longer keep water coming out of your faucet?

“No problem!” you say…you have a well. Great! And what happens when your power goes out and the well pump no longer works? Or the pump itself goes out and replacement parts are no longer available…what now?

Fortunately this problem too can be solved…with the right plan. Here’s your right plan

PreparednessLayers-001-04So let’s get started…

Filtration/Purification –

Personal dehydration prevention should be a NDuR or similar “life straw” kind of filtration device. It can be carried in Water - NDURyour pocket so it is the second line of defense against dehydration. It is easy to use, requires no special training, it is readily available, and effective.

note: NDuR is no longer available Life Straw is the next best option.

If you have had to “bug-out” this personal option should be on each person all the time, as in their pocket. Yes, it is carried in a pocket so it is readily available. Why? Because if you lose all your other water filtration and purification capability then you still have this life-saving option available to you. And yes, people have lost all their prep items (i.e. 72-hour kit) during emergencies, disasters and grid-down. By having this handy little option on you, you stand a better chance of surviving.portable aqua water purification tablets

Moving out one layer or circle would be AquaTabs or Chlor-Floc. Both can be easily transported by a person in their kit. But these chemical options do take a little longer to work than the NDuR or Life Straw. But they can also be used to purify water for more than just Water purifying Chlor-Floca single person. And they can be used to purify a storage container of water. So that gives them the justification of being the next layer up from NDuR or Life Straw.

Both the Chlor-Floc and the AquaTabs are a chemical process and they both take time to ready water for drinking. Sometimes there just isn’t any time available. So keep that in mind with these two options. But they are MSR Sweetwater filter and purification systemboth highly portable.

Next would be something along the lines of an MSR Sweetwater system. It is light, portable, compact, easy to transport, and can provide water to an entire family if needed. But it is bulkier and heavier than the two previous layers. But, the entire unit weighs in at less than a pound. The Sweetwater unit can easily produce 1,000gals of drinking water. The water source can be as polluted (non-nuclear) as you can imagine and this filtration/purification system can make it just fine to drink.

note: The MSR Sweetwater system is no longer available. It has been replaced with the MSR MiniWorks EX

The next layer is getting into the more semi-stationary options of filtering/purifying water. Monolithic ceramic water filter and purification system.My personal favorite, and very economical, system is the Monolithic Ceramic filter system. It can be used with 5-gal buckets, 55-gal drums, or larger containers. It can easily provide water for an entire family or a Monolithic ceramic water filter and purification system.neighborhood if needed. However, the entire system can be bulky compared to something along the lines of the MSR MiniWorks EX system.



Also, I hope you noticed a trend here…portability. The more personal an option is, the more portable it is. The easier it is to transport by person or vehicle. You have to balance portability vs. capacity. Only you can make that decision for your specific circumstance. But, ensure you have multiple options to cover various portability and capacity requirements.

Storage –

Hot water tank = water storage.You have a hot water tank, yes? Well, most homes have a 40 gallon hot water tank. And you probably have two toilets in your house, right? Well, there is another 5 gallons(+/-) each. No, not the water in the toilette bowl, the water in the tank that sits on the back of the toilet. Yes, that is normally acceptable as drinking water. So there is your 50 gallons of water storage on hand. The trick to it is to not lose it. So if your water supply disappears do the following:

  1. Turn off the electric or gas to your hot water tank.  This prevents burning up your water tank as you draw down the water in the tank.
  2. Turn off the value to the street water supply.  This prevents water being sucked out of your house and back into the water system.
  3. Turn off the valve on top of the water heater that goes to the lines in the house.  This prevents someone from inadvertently opening a hot water faucet and draining precious water from your supply.
  4. Turn off the value under your toilet tank and duct tape the toilet seat closed. Yeah, you don’t want to waste that precious water by someone accidentally flushing the toilet.

So let’s hit on a subset of Utility Water for a minute. If you would have any amount of warning that a disaster or emergency is coming fill every possible container in the house that might be able to hold water. Yup, anything; and I mean anything. Go for easy & quantity first such as the bath tub and sinks. Then go for buckets, bowls, bottles, jugs, jars, glasses; literally anything including heavy duty trash bags.WaterBOB = water storage of 100gal

One of the items that we have in our home and love it to pieces is a WaterBOB. It can hold up to 100gals and easily fits in your bathtub. It seals up very nicely and comes with a pump to move the water from the container to your bucket, bottle, etc. A WaterBOB is basically a large very heavy duty food-grade plastic sealable plastic bag. It takes about 20 minutes to fill it from your bathtub’s spigot. This is a great way to store water at the last minute for an emergency. So why not use it for storage sooner? Great! All the WaterBOB needs is some kind of “form” or cage around it to hold in place. But remember, there is a whole lot of weight involved; 900 pounds for a full WaterBOB. Plus you have the pressure pushing out on the sides as well. Whatever you would decide to build make sure it is sturdy.

A smaller similar produce is an AquaPod. The Water storage = AquaPod = 65 gallonsonly holds about 65 gallons but is a quality product as well and as a bonus is made in the USA. AquaPod & WaterBOB are both readily available on Amazon. A WaterBOB sells for about $40 or so, shop around. An AquaPod sells for about $28 but that is for a 3-pack! So here is your decision point…If you are going to use it for a last-minute-fill-it-up container and only have one bathtub then I would use a WaterBOB because you can get more in a single container. However, if you have multiple tubs as last-minute-fill-it-up containers or you can make good quality forms for them (longer-term storage), then I would go with the AquaPod. Either way, you are storing a whole lot of water.

Commercially Bottled Water Layer:Commercially bottled water

You can buy a case of water (35 ½ liter bottles) for less than $4.00.  Each case of water would then last about 5 days for the average person.  Option to consider, buy and store 1 case of water person for each 5 days of supply you want to maintain.

Bottled water is easy to store, easy to move, avoids cross contamination among people, easy to track usage (drink 1 bottle of water every 2-3 waking hours).

Note: Bottled water may not be any more pure or safe to drink than tap water under normal daily circumstances. Virtually all tap water in the United States is safe to drink without additional purification…under normal daily circumstances.

Self-Stored Water Layer:Water storage - 5gal square container

Small size storage containers. I am torn with this option really. For storing and moving smaller amounts of water I see cases of bottled water being the right all-around option. But there is a place for small container water storage. I would highly recommend a sturdy food-grade plastic container. I am partial to square containers to save space. But they need to be sturdy enough to handle not just storage, but moving and transporting them as well. The 5gal containers are about the right size in my opinion.

Water storage = 30 gals of water stored decorativeMedium size storage containers. A great compromise for storing water in quantity, but not as intrusive as a large tank in your yard, is a 30 or 50 gallon food-grade plastic storage container. If you have storage space limitations consider decorating them as furniture and putting them out of the way in the yard, on patios, etc..Use bleach in water storage.

When initially storing your water add bleach to keep bacteria in check (8 drops per gallon). Regardless of the bleach I would always filter and purify water that has been stored like this prior to using it.

Note: Use only food-grade plastic containers that you know what was in them prior to you acquiring them.

Large storage tanks. This option can be a real lifesaver if you have the room for it. To have a 300+ gallon storage tank full of water can be a really huge benefit. But the same information applies to this as it does to the option of storing water in plastic soda bottles or glass containers, just on a larger scale.

Moving water from large storage tanks is all but impossible unless you move the water to smaller storage containers or have it plumbed into your home directly. Storing the water outside brings additional concerns; preventing freezing, concealing its presence, etc.

Note: You know that large, really pretty above round storage tank that you have in the back yard or behind the barn, or the one you were thinking about putting in? Think how nice of a target that makes for folks doing some shooting practice, or drawing folks to you who are looking for water. Consider this storage option carefully. Think about a creative paint job that helps it blend in to the surroundings. Or you might want to ponder making this method an “in ground” possibility.Water storage tanks

For above ground options you can take a look at these tanks –Water storage tanks

For below ground storage here are a couple options –

Note of caution: For storing water in these large volume containers consider the location of the storage tank itself. If you place the tank too far away you have to be able to get your house. If bad weather or bad guys are present it might be a little tough to do. Make sure you have a reliable way to get the water to you house under less than desirable conditions.

Water stored in milk jugs a bad idea.TRAP – Storing water in milk jugs has a pretty serious downside.  I am not a big fan of storing water in milk jugs.  Reason, other than their transportability?  Have you ever left milk sitting around too long, opened it and had it smell like a basket full of dirty clothes that came from the high school football team?  Yeah, point is, if you don’t get milk jugs really, really clean then you will have some milk residue left and it will get very sour and produce a tremendous amount of bacteria.  In other words, your water will stink and will be nasty to drink and contaminated when you need it most.  And milk jugs will deteriorate and breakdown over time and water leaks all over the place.  Not a good way to endear your spouse to “prepping.”#4 LDPE (low density polyethylene) #5 PP (polypropylene)

What plastic containers are safe to use to store water?

  • #4 LDPE  (low density polyethylene)
  • #5 PP  (polypropylene)

WARNING: #1 PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) normally used for water, soda, and juice bottles are not designed for reuse.  They are not suitable for storage due to the possibility of bacterial buildup. There are also different reports outlining the possibility of BPA leaching over time out of the plastic and into the bottle contents.Above ground swimming pool for water storage. Intex

Cool Thought:  A small 8′ x 30″ frameless pool from Intex costs less than $66 for about $650 gals of water.  Plus you can cool off during hot afternoons!!  a 10’x  30″ gives you 1,000 of water for under $72.

Wells –

Having your own water well is amazing for self-sufficiency and true sense of security. And that is true as long as water wellyou can get water out of your well. A well on your property is actually just a form of water storage…a very large storage container.

Most people depend on utility power to run their well pump, do you? Is that the best way to go? It is certainly the easiest way for sure. Let me explain my own situation…

Our retirement/BOL property has a well. We recently had the well serviced, the old pump and pipes removed. We will be replacing the pump with a unit that can run off 110vAC power. We are also replacing the 1” galvanized pipe (9 x 20’ sections) with 1-1/4” poly tubing. Why do that might you ask?

The well hadn’t been serviced for 10 years, it needed it.

Replacing the pump with a 110vAC unit gives us the ability to run the pump in two ways –

  • Our solar system that can provide 24vDC to an inverter providing 110vAC power to the pump.
  • A 110vAC generator as back-up should the solar system be unable to provide the power to run the pump.

Since the pipe is actually a single piece of poly-tubing I can pull the tubing and pump out of the well myself…literally. And then I can use my Waterboy Well Bucket to retrieve well manually eliminating any need for any power other than a little muscle.

As you can see we now have three levels of redundancy to have a supply of water available to us. The third option being the well bucket requires no technology and no external energy source. Virtually foolproof.

Summary –

If you don’t have any water storage at all go to Sam’s Club or Wal-Mart and buy ten cases of water. You will have spent less than $40 and have a decent supply of water on hand for emergencies.

If you have water storage get a personal water filtration system such as a Life Straw.

If you have water storage and personal water filtration system for each family member then get a portable family filtration system such as the MSR MiniWorks EX system.

If you have all of the above purchase the Monlithic water filter system. Yes, you can buy a Berkley if you want to…and spend way more than you need to. Or spend the same amount of money buying the Monolitic system…and have filters for 10 times the water purification.

Now, if you have done all of the above I have two more potential suggestions…

  1. Buy a small above ground pool. They are relatively inexpensive and can provide you with a huge amount of water storage.
  2. If you don’t want the pool…buy more of the above items starting again at the top.




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No reproduction or other use of this content 
without expressed written permission from AHTrimble.com
See Content Use Policy for more information.

7 Days of September – Day #4: Organization

If you haven’t read the post on September 1, 2019 that explains this post…well, go read that post first (91/2019) and then this post will make more sense.

So now we talk about organization. No, not a boring eyes glazing over type of article…an article about how you can save lives, including your own.

What the heck?” you might be asking right about now…I don’t blame you.

When was the last time you went to an activity or event that was just so poorly organized you simply had to roll your eyes? I am talking food was cold, it started late, the agenda was a mess, and it dragged on forever. And, when it was all over…it utterly failed to accomplish what is was supposed to?

Or, how about the last time you attended (hopefully not led) a planning meeting where it was chaos and you really didn’t get any decent planning done? You know what I am referring to…lots of talk, little action, and in the end…no solid plan.

These are all organizational issues. Rather, I should say indicators of poor, or non-existent, organization. Here’s the rub…what if this was happening during a emergency, disaster, or worst of the worst…during a grid-down event? How do you think that would work out for you and all the others involved?

Let me really try to insult you…Would you even know where to begin to actually organize after a grid-down? Yes, I types of disasters, emergencies, emergency grid-downam sure many can go into details about what needs to be done, but how about how to organize to get it done?

Let me go over some basics:

  1. You must have a leader. Someone must be able to motivate people to accomplish goals. Notice I didn’t say…set goals. Goals should be developed by the leadership based on needs of the group. Then those goals are prioritized. Then the leader steps in to motivate folks to accomplish them. In some cases a leader must work and lead the effort to identify those goals and prioritize them. Leadership!
  2. The next most important organizational need is “operations” and I include a very wide variety of tasks within the category. But, essentially it is the labor pool for getting things done, but the people must be efficiently organized. Operations!
  3. In order for any operational task to be successfully accomplished, especially in the long-term, you need logistics. Security can’t be effective if people don’t have weapons, ammo, flashlights, batteries, food to eat, a way to stay out of the weather, communications, etc. The whole group can’t survive long is you can’t eat or provide medical care. So logistics is right up there after operations. In other words…logistics’ sole mission is to support operations. Logistics.ICS Incident Command system organization for preppers
  4. Next is an easy one…planning. Today can usually pretty much take care of itself with existing resources. But, what about tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year? There has to be planning, and part of planning is being able to describe where we are today…in order to know what we need for tomorrow. Planning!
  5. Administrative…yeah, there is a need for administration tasks. Someone has to keep track of stuff, money, bartering, claims, etc. Admin handles that. It isn’t fancy, it isn’t filled with glory, it isn’t high profile…but there is the need for record keeping and administrative work. Administrative!
  6. And there may come a time where sensitive information is vital to the success, possibly even the safety, of those involved. The need may grow so large, or the sensitivity so great, that a dedicated staff Information & Intelligence people may be required.

So here is a pretty good idea of what is needed in any emergency, disaster, or grid-down. Now remember, a single person can handle multiple organizational positions for small emergencies and/or disasters. If it is a large incident, such as a 1000-person camp, then you have a single person in a single position so they don’t become overloaded and burned out..

ICS incident command system for perppersHere is basic information on how the different sections work to make that happen –

Logistics section of ICS incident command system for perppersLogistics Section

Mission – All service and support needs are provided by the Logistics Section.

Responsibilities –

•    Acquires, stores and distributes supplies.
•    Acquires and maintains facilities.
•    Provides all transportation needs.
•    Provides communications capabilities.
•    Provides food services.
•    Provides medical services.

planning section of ICS incident command system for perppersPlanning Section

Mission – The Planning Section collects, evaluates, processes, and disseminates information.

Responsibilities –

•    Collects and process situation information.
•    Supervises preparation of the Incident Action Plan.
•    Tracks all resources.
•    Determines need for any specialized resources for future operations.
•    If requested, assemble and disassemble operations units not assigned to the Operations Section.
•    Establish special information collection activities as necessary.
•    Assemble information on alternative strategies.
•    Provide periodic predictions on incident potential.
•    Report any significant changes in incident status.
•    Compile and display incident status information.
•    Provide maps as needed.

Finance section of ICS incident command system for perppersAdmin & Finance Section

Mission – Manage all financial and administrative aspects of an incident.

Responsibilities –

•    Run the commissary.
•    Establish monetary & barter policy, and oversee related disputes.
•    Handle all other financial aspects of incident.

Operations section of ICS incident command system for perppersOperations Section

Mission – Responsible for all tactical activities outside of camp.

Responsibilities –

•    Reducing the immediate hazards.
•    Saving lives and property.
•    Establishing situational control.
•    Restoring societal “norm.”

IC ICS incident command system for perppersIncident Commander

Mission – The individual responsible for the overall management of the incident.

Responsibilities –

•    Sets objectives & goals.
•    Responsible for, and authority over, all incident personnel.

So, about now you are thinking this is pretty good organization. Yup, it is! It is called Incident Command System (ICS) and it is used by every emergency responders all over the country and in most of the world. There is a reason for that…ICS works and it has been proven for decades to work…don’t reinvent the wheel.




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7 Days of September – Day #3: Communications

If you haven’t read the post on September 1, 2019 that explains this post…well, go read that post first (91/2019) and then this post will make more sense.

Have you noticed how highly I rate “communications” as a priority when dealing with emergencies, disasters, or grid-down? I rate communications higher than the threat of dehydration and exposure, even starvation. Actually, as you’ve seen I only rate the threat of violence and injury/sickness higher. If you’ve read much of my writing on this matter then you know the priority rating is due to its fatality factor (probability and severity).

Let me explain…

Example #1 – If you don’t know that an emergency, disaster, or Hurricane Sandygrid-down event is going to occur, or is occurring, how can you be ready for it or react to it? Exactly, you can’t. The event would be on top of you before you had knowledge that it was even going to hit you. Hence, you are overcome…behind the curve…out of the loop.

Example #2 – The event has occurred but you don’t know what to do. A great example would be Hurricane Katrina, many people didn’t know where to evacuate to, or where to stay away from. As a result many people became stranded in road jams, stranded on house tops, or trapped in the living hell that was the Super Dome.

Example #3 – You are into a grid-down event and you have no way for your neighborhood guards/security to communicate. A mob of looters approaches and the guards/security can’t get the word out to people what is Violent Mob approachinghappening, and calln’t for reinforcements. Two hours later your neighborhood is a smoking ruin.

Example #4 – You have a wide-spread power outage that affected cell-phone towers. You and your children are not in the same location, same is true for your spouse. You are trying to figure out if everyone is safe and trying to coordinate with your spouse who picks-up which kid and where…but your cell phone isn’t working.

All of this might have been avoided had you properly prepared with the ability to communicate during emergencies, disasters, and grid-down events. This is absolutely one of my favorite subjects. Why? Because it is so flipping important and so inexpensive to mitigate.

When it comes to communications there are two basic types; 1) internal, 2) external. Internal is the ability for the group/family to communicate with each other. External is the ability to communicate with people outside of your immediate family/group.

There are a whole lot of ways to accomplish both internal and external communications. For this article I am only going to touch on two; 1) SW receivers and mobile radios for external, 2) handheld radios for internal. Yes, there are plenty more avenues of communication available to folks. Please feel free to go whatever direction you feel is right for your situation. I will confine my thoughts to this specific series of articles in regards to taking action during the 7 Days of September.

So let us prioritize a little bit. Which is more important…internal or external communications? Well, there could be a really good case either way…I call it a tie, a draw, equal weight. For me then I go another level deeper…can I use them other than just emergency preparedness? Of course. But, I think that outside of emergency preparedness I am more likely to get value out of handheld radios with my family. And, I will probably be able to get some external information through devices such as AM/FM radios, TV, Smartphone, Internet, etc. That means I head to the “internal” aspect of communications first.

Internal Communications –

There are FRS/GMRS radios that are readily available and pretty decent for internal communications. They are GMRS Radios for emergency preparedness, disasters and "grid-down"relatively inexpensive, some are good quality, have a wide selection of channels, some have scramble technology, and have the ability to connect with other families/groups. But, there is also a downside…everyone who owns a GMRS/FRS radio can listen in to your conversations if they are close enough to your location. And another downside is limited power is available to the radio so that means limited range of communications.Baofeng UV-5R with SpeakerMic

Then there are handheld HAM radios. I love these! They come in an unbelievable variety, and I could talk you to new heights of boredom…but I won’t. I will go with two simple choices1) Yaesu FT-60 if you have lots of money, 2) Baofeng UV-5RMHP if you are on a more limited budget.

Yaesu FT-60:

The Yaesu FT-60R dual-band 2 meter/440 MHz HT boasts 5 watts output on both bands. It also features wideband receive from 108-520 and 700-999.990 MHz (less cellular).

Features – Over 1000 Memories, 5 Watts RF Output, Backlit Keypad, Alphanumeric Display, NOAA Weather Alert, PL Encode/Decode, DCS Encode/Decode, Emergency Auto ID System, ARTS System

Baofeng UV-5RMHP:

I think it is simply the best Baofeng UV-5RA Love Itprice/performance handheld radio on the market today. Yes, there are better quality radios such as the Yaesu FT-60r but the Yaesu also costs about 6 times as much at the Baofeng. True, if I could only have one handheld radio and the money wasn’t a real factor I would choose the Yaesu. But for many of us mere mortals money is a factor. And, I would rather each family member and all of my close friends have a radio rather than just one or two having a radio. Hence, the Baofeng UV-5RMHP handhelds are an amazing combination of price and performance.

Features – Frequency Range: 136-174 / 400-520MHz, Dual-Band Display, Dual-Standby, 7 / 4 / 1 watts of Output Power, 128 Memory Channels, Built-in VOX Function, FM Radio (65MHz-108MHz), Low Battery Alert, and more.

External Communications –

Just because I listed internal communications as a higher priority please don’t think that this category, external communications, is substantially less important. That is simply not the case, you must be able to communicate with the outside world, if nothing else…to listen. Which brings me to subdividing external communications into two categories; 1) one-way, 2) two-way.


This ability gives you the operational capability to hear what is going on in the larger world outside of normal communications methods. The key is to give yourself as many options as possible. For me I think a good solid SW receiver unit fills that need.


In this category of external communications the inference is you can not just hear but also talk to people that are remote to your location. The key to this operational capability is defining “remote” and all that it entails. It could mean being able to talk to another family or group that is ten miles away or 5000 miles away.

Why is that remote definition so important? Money. Pure and simple it is about the dollars and cents to fulfill this need.

You can use a $150 mobile Ham radio operating on 70cm or 2m bands to reach ten miles, maybe even thirty. If Ham repeaters are operational you might even be able to reach to another state. But, should you be needing the ability of two-way communications over long distances (100 – 5000miles) you are talking some potentially expensive HAM HF gear. And I mean in the thousands of dollars price range. And you better fall in love with large antennas as well.

Yaesu FT-8900r:

The FT-8900R is a ruggedly-built, high quality Quad Band FM transceiver providing 50 Watts of power output Yaesu FT-8900r Quad-Band Ham Radioon the 29/50/144 MHz Amateur bands, and 35 Watts on the 430 MHz band. You can operate on 10M, 6M, 2M, 70CM bands. It includes leading-edge features like cross-band repeat, dual receive, VHF-UHF Full Duplex capability, and over 800 memory channels.

Some operational notes on external communications:

  1. If you want to be serious about longer distance HAM radio communications but still want mobility look at the Yaesu FT-897D.
  2. The Yaesu FT-8900r also gives you the capability to set-up a cross-band repeater.
  3. Don’t forget that you have to have a reliable and “clean” power supply for your radio equipment. That applies to you using AC or DC power, a generator, or batteries.
  4. Many people look at the price tag for a Yaesu FT-60r handheld radio and would rather get 5 Baofeng UV-5MHP radios instead. That way each member of their family or group can have their own radio…vastly improving internal communications.
  5. HAM radios are almost worthless without a way to program them. And the only to really be able to program them is with a computer and the software program. I use only RT Systems programming software.
  6. To operate a HAM radio on HAM frequencies other than during a life or death emergency, you are required by law to have a HAM radio license.
Summary –
  • If you have no radios communications at all, buy a handheld radio.
  • If you have a handheld radio but no accessories…buy one or more accessories to improve the performance of your handheld.
  • If you don’t have programming software for your radio, buy it.
  • If you have only a single handheld for your family or group, buy another…or two.
  • If you already have enough handhelds and you have the accessories to maximize their use then buy a mobile HAM.
  • If you already own a mobile HAM radio then make sure you have the right accessories and software for it, and don’t forget a reliable power supply as well.
  • If you are ambitious and want to be able to communicate over long distances, get a Yaesu FT-897D.

If you can’t communicate the presence and threat of danger…danger will find you and those you love…normally with very unpleasant outcomes.



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7 Days of September – Day #2: Threat of Injury or Sickness

If you haven’t read the post on September 1, 2019 that explains this post…well, go read that post first (91/2019) and then this post will make more sense.

What are we trying to accomplish when we are talking about being prepared to provide medical aid in relation to emergencies, disasters, and grid-down?

Simple, we want to be able to prevent death or disability from an injury or sickness till a higher level of medical care can be provided.

This particular category has two distinct parts; 1) injury, 2) sickness. They are for the most part very different from each other, with some overlap.

Realistically, you are more likely to die from sickness than injury during emergencies, disasters, and grid-down. Although a bullet properly placed is pretty quick and generally terminal for the most part. But, you are more likely to die from the germs on your hands, as a result from going to the bathroom, than you are from some .50cal round taking your head off.

There has been considerable debate on exactly where medical care or first aid is on an emergency preparedness priority list. There is a case to be made that it is the #1 priority…and understandably so. At any point during an emergency situation a person could become injured and without immediate first aid a person could become incapacitated or die from their injuries. For instance, if you have an arterial bleed you would probably bleed out in 2 – 5 minutes. Another example would be breathing has stopped. In that case the brain is probably dead in about 4 – 7 minutes.

But, it doesn’t have to be confusing…review it in terms of “fatality factor” that I went over in the introduction article in this series.

Personally, I believe that emergency medical care is Priority #2. I believe that personal defense capability is Priority #1. If you can’t defend yourself you can become injured or dead rather quickly…within seconds. But that is another conversation entirely. Whatever your personal belief, Emergency Medical Care is a high priority when it comes to being prepared for an emergency or disaster…and especially grid-down.

So, back to first aid (Medical Care)…

There are multiple levels of first aid. In my opinion there are five levels. We will be primarily interested in the first four levels; the fifth level is hospital level care. Since most people don’t carry around a hospital with them when they are in an emergency or disaster situation we will not address that level here. What is of paramount importance across all levels of first aid is skill capability. And skill capability is based on training and experience. While I will be outlining kits for each level of first aid care, it is up to you to acquire the appropriate level of skills. But remember one important thing – ANY FIRST AID IS BETTER THAN NO FIRST AID! Wound-Arm

There are several schools of thought when it comes to what is the correct treatment order when rendering First Aid. The first school of thought is the traditional and effective ABC method. With this methodology you are concerned with a person’s Airway first, then their Breathing and finally their Circulation.

But notice that earlier I mentioned that a person can die faster from bleeding than they can die from their breathing having stopped. So the applicability of this care methodology (ABC) could be debated. The other option is to stop major bleeding (i.e. arterial bleeding) first and then go to the ABC methodology. The choice will have to be yours and dependent on the severity of the bleeding and of course your skill level.

One of the latest methodologies to providing emergency first aid is one that I subscribe to:

  • Scene Safety
  • Bleeding
  • Airway & Breathing
  • Cover Wounds
  • Treat for ShockWound-Battle

If you were in a dangerous situation your first consideration is to remove the person, and yourself, from that danger before rendering medical aid. If you fail to do that you might both be in serious danger and both end-up seriously injured or dead. But that goes back to maintaining your Situational Awareness and making decisions based on a specific situation.

Emergency medical aid might be very simple to provide, or you may have multiple decisions to make prior to rendering any aid (triage). Training and experience will help you deal with these decisions from a point of expertise vs. “winging it.”

It is also important to understand that it is all about the ability to render increasingly complex injury care to larger numbers of people. In other words, progressively increasing your skills and contents of your medical aid kits from a single individual’s immediate medical first aid need all the way to a fairly decent sized family or group all of whom need medical aid.

The best way to explain what I am talking about is with a picture…


These medical aid kits under the “injury” section provide the ability to meet an increasing level of medical first aid care to increasingly larger groups of people:

1)  Each person has a Blow Out Kit (BOK) –

Mission – Kit provides sufficient appropriate medical supplies to accomplish the following:
• To return the person to activity without additional immediate medical care, or,
• To provide sufficient care that allows them to self-mobilize to more advanced medical treatment, or,
• To prevent death by bleeding.

Requirements & Restrictions:
•  Kit is carried by each person in a readily accessible external location. Perferably each person carries it in the same spot on their person.
•  You use your kit for yourself, not for someone else.
•  Kit must be as lightweight as possible but still able to accomplish the mission.

BOK contents are meant to be super simple based on its mission.  So the content is a single item:Dressing, First Aid, Camouflaged, 4x7a

Dressing, First Aid, Camouflaged, 4” x 7”, Sterile : NSN# 6510-00-159-4883 – Elwyn Inc. Dressing, First Aid, Camouflaged, 4x7b

To learn more about the  BOK < click here >

2)  Each person has an Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) –

To learn more about the IFAK  < click here >

3)  Each family has a Team/Family Basic Aid Kit (TBAK) –

To learn more about the TBAK  < click here >

4)  Each family should have a Squad/Group Trauma Aid Kit (STAK) –

To learn more about the STAK  < click here >

5)  Each family should have a Field Trauma Care Kit (FTCK) –

To learn more about the FTCK  < click here >

In priority order I propose the following –
  1. You get some first aid training, even if it is on-line from YouTube, better yet…the Red Cross.
  2. Have each family member get some training, even if it is on-line from YouTube, better yet…the Red Cross.
  3. Make sure your family has a Home/Family First Aid Kit.
  4. If you have done all of that…then work down the list; BOK, IFAK, TBAKSTAK, MCAK, FTCK.
Summary –

Please don’t underestimate the need to provide medical care during times of emergencies, disasters, and grid-down. The more you and your family members know and the more medical gear you have on hand…the more likely everyone will be able to stay alive.

Read more about Medical Care <click here>

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See Content Use Policy for more information.

7 Days of September – Day #1: Threat of Violence

If you haven’t read the post on September 1, 2019 that explains this post…well, go read that post first (91/2019) and then this post will make more sense.

Is the threat of violence really the #1 threat a person faces in emergencies, disasters, or grid-down?

There is not a simple answer…but, one thing for sure…it has the highest fatality factor, with the highest severity rating, and an relatively unknown probability factor.  So, yes, violence is the #1 threat/risk against you and your family overall because if you fail at mitigating the threat of violence…the outcome can be terminal and incurable.

What can you reasonably do to mitigate the threat or risk of Violence during grid-down, emergencies, and disasters is number one #1 threat and riskviolence against you and your family? Well, remember that there are two ways to mitigate risk; 1) reduce or eliminate the probability that it will occur, 2) if it does occur, you reduce the severity of the impact. That being said there are steps you can take to work on both probability and severity in relation to the threat/risk of violence.

The most simple aspect of this is…to protect yourself and your family you want to keep the bad guys as far away from you as possible. Preferably they will never even know you are there. However, we will exclude the “invisibility” (a.k.a. grey man) concept from this discussion and concentrate on how to actually protect your family.

In protecting your family there are two primary aspects; 1) intangible, 2) tangible. Intangible simply means what you can do that doesn’t cost you anything and you don’t hold it in your hand. Tangible obviously means the opposite; it usually costs you some amount of money and you can hold it in your hand.

#1 Intangible –

Situational Awareness is the first and foremost intangible! You must be aware of what is going on around you. And the closer an event is…the more important it is that you know what is happening.

In my series of articles concerning Situational Awareness (SA). I go into great detail on what it is, how to improve it, and how to avoid SA problems. Well worth taking the time to read. < click here to read Situational Awareness articles > 

SA in the strictest of terms by the purists is a “state of knowledge.” In other words we need to have realistic knowledge of the things taking place around us in our environment. Further, SA is being able to correctly assess that knowledge. To bring SA into reality we need to define Situational Awareness as the acquisition of, the processing of, a state of, and taking action on knowledge. That knowledge comes from the environment around you.

Here is the short version of SA:

First Step, you must understand the environment that you will be operating it; establish a baseline or what is normal and therefor expected in that environment. Hence, anything that occurs that is outside of that baseline is not normal and to be noted. You acquire that knowledge by observing what is happening around you – Situational Awareness.

Second Step, you then must identify the key cues that will indicate that something is sufficiently abnormal (i.e. different) that it would represent an increased threat or risk.  And you must monitor those environment elements identified for any change or deviation from the baseline, recognize when they occur and their relative importance – Situational Understanding.

Third Step, you project the outcome of the events that are taking place that are deemed a threat or risk to determine the effect (fatality factor) it will have on your situation.  You then decide on an option to mitigate that threat or risk – Situational Judgement.

Fourth Step, take timely and decisive corrective action if required. Yes, I believe that SA without “action” is a waste of time and energy. But that also makes me outside of the mainstream advocating that SA includes an element of action – Situational Influence.

That is the intangible version of mitigating the threat of violence…you identify that it is there and avoid it.

Put SA into practice…Man in store with rifle1 – You are in a store and there is a man with an AR-style rifle slung over his shoulder. Is that normal? No. your SA should come alive.

2 – Magazine inserted in rifle. That indicates he is loaded and ready for action. Is that normal? No. You SA should be screaming at you.

3 – He appears to have an Obama “Hope” t-shirt on. Is that normal? An Obama t-shirt would be more closely associated with anti-gun, anti-Constitution Democrat radicals vs. pro-gun folks. Again, SA should be heightened even more.

4 – Body posture is relaxed and appears to be buying cookies. Both of those indicates the opposite of a person about to go off his nut. Both are good indicators that the threat is lessened.

5 – Muzzle slung down. That is a universal indicator of non-aggression by militaries. Another indicator that the threat isn’t as high as it could be.

Now the real question – What do you do next with you and your family in this situation?

Tangibles of Personal & Family Defense –

Let’s move on to the area where you simply aren’t/weren’t able to avoid all threat of violence…now what?

To keep the threat/risk of violence as far from you as possible the best way to do so is with a high-quality, long-range rifle, top quality optics, along with a great set of shooting skills. You become the “American Sniper.”

But, what happens if the bad guys get right in your face? Then you better have a way to deal with that imminent threat as well. Since an “in-your-face” scenario might actually be so close you can’t bring a weapon into action, you should have the ability to defend yourself with nothing more than your bare hands…to some reasonable degree. This would be the inner-most ring of your defensive layers protecting you and your family from the threat or risk of violence.

Why be able to defend yourself, your family, and your home? I call this the Castle Principle. Simply put, you are responsible for the safety of your home (i.e. your “Castle”) and all those that dwell therein. If you are not going to defend the people taking refuge in your home, who will?

Seriously, if you are not prepared to defend your family and friends that have taken refuge in your home, what good are you? No, I don’t mean you have to be a combination of a SEAL and a Ninja. Yes, I do mean you have to have the means and be willing to defend your family.

If someone else is going to defend them instead of you, is it really your castle? The whole concept of the Castle Principle is you being responsible for defending your home and the people in it. If not you, who?

OK, back to defending against the bad guy from a distance or in-your-face…

Why not an AR-15 vs. your bare hands against a bad guy that has come close-in and is in your face? Because at close range it would probably be impossible to get an AR up and pointed at a guy. He could be so close that it is Kelly Alwoodphysically impossible to raise the rifle. When I took a very serious defensive class I was able to neutralize a hardcore operator’s carbine from being brought into action. Yup, me!

But, his greater skill-set allowed him to forget the carbine entirely and deal with me using only his bare hands…and a training knife. Yeah, I didn’t come out so good on that one. My point is, a barehanded person can neutralize that weapon, even an experienced soldier carrying one.

However, if your attacker were just a few inches further away, you may be able to pull a knife. As he did in the example above. If there is maybe a foot or two separation between the two of you, you may have space and time to draw a pistol for defense. Add another foot or two of separation and now maybe there is enough space and time to employ an AR or shotgun.

If the guy is 100 yards away then an AR is going to be far more accurate than a shotgun. You get to 400 – 600 yards then the long-range rifle is a better choice than an AR. Although, with practice an AR-15 can be shot very effectively at ranges of 400- 600 yards.

Layers of protection against the threat of violence.

Layers of protection against the threat of violence.

Now look at all those concentric circles with you and your family in the center. The first circle is your bare hands capabilities. The next circle is a knife as a defensive weapon. The circle after that is a pistol. Then a shotgun, then an AR, and finally a long-range rifle.

With each circle you keep the bad guys further from your castle, and further from those you love and whom you are trying to protect. You have created defense in layers.

You effectively have an answer for each separate and consecutive threat. In other words, you have multiple layers of defense to protect your family. Each layer having a specific purpose, its own mission.

Bottom line, your goal is to keep all risks and threats as far away from you and your family as possible.  However, as the threat gets closer you have defensive measures in-place to deal with it. And hopefully you have developed the mindset that you will employ those defenses when needed, without hesitation, and the best you possibly can.

In priority order I propose the following –
  1. A really good fighting or defensive knife (i.e. boot knife). For this you might want to consider –
    • Gerber StrongArm
    • Gerber Guardian 05803 Knife (boot knife)
    • For an ultimate fighting knife – CRKT Hissatsu
  2. A really good pistol. For more information on this you may want to read < Choosing the Right Gun : Pistols >
  3. A really good shotgun. For more information on this you may want to read < Choosing the Right Gun : Shotguns >
  4. A really good carbine. For more information on this you may want to read < Choosing the Right Gun : Carbine/Rifle >

If you already own weapons and you want additional thoughts on what to do:

  1. Go to the range and practice sometime during the month of September. Don’t just punch holes in paper, shoot at 6” paper plates from different positions (sitting, squatting, laying down, from behind a barrier). Then shoot at those same size paper plates while moving laterally, while moving forward, while moving backward, in tandem with another shooter. Don’t just stand there and shoot. Not only is it boring, it doesn’t improve your skills. You need to become a “shooter” and that means working on actual shooting skills. Practice with 3 rounds in your first mag, force yourself to switch mags while moving. Do all kinds of things that you think you might actually have to do in a gunfight. Use a 9-hole, that is an amazing training tool. And finally, remember to replace the ammo that you used at the range.
  2. Buy more ammo! If you know how much ammo you have, then you don’t have enough. Buy the decent stuff. You don’t have to buy the best ammo out there, but buy dependable ammo. Remember, in a gunfight you don’t want the cheapest crap ammo running through your gun. Genuine military surplus is a good way to go.
  3. Buy a good tactical holster. I like Blackhawk Drop Leg Platform with a SERPA holster.
  4. Buy more magazines. For pistols I think the minimum number of magazines you should own is 3. One for the gun, two for the mag pouch. Having another spare or two is a great idea. I like Mec-Gar magazines. They are high-quality, less expensive than original manufacture magazines, just as good as original manufacture, and they have a slightly higher round capacity. FYI…many gun manufactures have Mec-Gar make their mags for them.
  5. If you have a good fighting or boot knife, make sure you have a good sharpener for it…and your knife has a great edge on it.
  6. Find a shooting class, preferably a tactical class, in your area and take the training. Take your wife with you, take your oldest son with you, you best friend, your neighbor, go as a group, have fun, learn a lot…and when you are done with the class know you are better trained than ever before. And better trained than the average person.
  7. Upgrade your optics. Or, buy another spare battery or two for your optics.
Home Defense –

Defense in layers applies just as much to defending your property, another aspect of my Castle Principle. You start by having strong steel doors with deadbolt locks. But you also have reinforcing bars to prevent your doors from being kicked in. But if the bad guys get inside the house you still have a bedroom door that is solid core and can withstand some considerable amount of force being applied to it. Then you have a bathroom with a strong, solid door as well. You look at this last vestige of safety as your Alamo.

Here are some of the things you can do:

  1. You have a stone wall or fence around your property.
  2. Between the wall/fence and your house you have one or more dogs.
  3. You have motion activated lights around your house.
  4. You have sensors on your doors and windows to alert you that someone is opening them.
  5. You have motion sensor inside your home that you can turn on at night.
  6. You have a sensor at the end of your driveway to notify you of someone approaching.
  7. You have a sensor on the framer around your roll-up garage door to alert you if someone comes in your garage.
  8. Install a security door on your exterior doors.

And the list goes on and on. The point being, you implement those measures that protect your house as if your house were a castle stronghold.

Summary –

So now you have plenty of solid principles, lots of ideas and thoughts on what you can do to protect yourself and your family from the threat of violence. One of the things, one of the best things, you can do is work together with one or more other families. Come up with plans to work together to protect the combined group of folks. A very old saying that truly applies in this situation is “There is safety in numbers.” Don’t discount that concept!

What I want you to do now is based on the promptings you got while reading this article…take action. Take action in the next couple of days. Even if it is following through with a no cost idea…go to the range. Do something, do what the prompting was when you felt it.

Personal note to you –

Personal Note from AH TrimbleThere are lots of changes concurring in the world right now. Recent decisions by the Progressive/Liberal Supreme Court and the Whitehouse have reinforced anti-gun laws. I would encourage you to think about purchasing a gun, specifically an AR-style carbine/rifle. Remember the gun ban put in place during the first Clinton presidency that was widely supported by Republicans? That gun ban was aimed specifically at AR’s & AK’s . There may come a time soon where you might need one and can’t buy one. Same could be said for high-capacity magazines and ammunition as well. Please consider this.



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