Retirement Home & BugOut Location (RHBOL) Part 5

By the time we left the property on our first visit we had taken a number of first steps. And I am true to my preparedness priorities even now.

  1. We buried weapons and tactical gear to protect against the threat of violence.
  2. We buried first aid kits to help protect against injury and sickness.
  3. We buried two handheld radios with spare batteries and portable solar panel/changer.
  4. We buried a portable water filtration unit with spare filter cartridges.

In addition to the above, we also –

  1. Placed a new very heavy piece of chain on the gate. And to secure the chain we used a very heavy duty combo lock. We chose a combo lock so we could simply tell someone the combo vs. tell them were to find a hidden key. Don’t get too impressed with the chain/lock thing. The fence right beside the gate has been cut for some time. We are assuming it was to let cattle roam freely in and out of the 40 acres. The purpose of the new shinny chain and lock was to let the local folks that the property was under new management and that we cared. Kind of like putting them on notice.
  2. We took a 90-day cache of freeze-dried food with us along with a case of nitrogen packed rice. This move was to give us some food at the property in the event that we got there without any food supplies at all. However, since there was no real hide location to keep the food safe we rented a 10’ x 15’ storage locker at the local storage company. In addition to the food we also took a two-acre seed kit with us.
  3. We put together an extensive tool kit that would cover virtually all minor and some major repair requirements, mechanical or structural. The tool kit was also left at the storage building.
  4. We also have a storage box of summer-weight clothes that we left in the storage locker. The box closes plenty tight enough to keep out unwanted bugs, etc.
  5. We took a basic set of cooking utensils and a portable cooking stove. Again, left at the storage building.
  6. We have a 10’ x 13’ wall tent, carpet, rain fly, and cammo netting for our shelter needs.
  7. And finally we took two ammo boxes of 5.56, one box of 180gr XTP .40cal ammo, and a shotgun ammo load-out can…and the Stevens shotgun to run the ammo through. If you aren’t sure that the “ammo load-out” is < click here to read more >
  8. And yes, there is more misc. gear and equipment we took but the above is sufficient to show how we addressed each emergency preparedness priority.

Is this all we are taking? Of course not. But we had the UTV to take and that took up both weight and room. At least we have enough to set up a camp there and get by for a while…at least to survive there if we had too.

On our next trip there we will take:

  1. Fence repair supplies (t-posts, stays, barbed wire) and tools (t-post driver, fencing pliers, etc.). We have to get the fence back in shape continuing to establish that there are new owners and that we are reestablishing the property rights. We have to let folks know that we intend to secure the property.
  2. “No Trespassing” signs to support the fence repair. We are putting people on notice that they are not welcome on the property unless they have our permission. This establishes another firm sign that we are the new owners and this is our property and we expect our rights to be both observed and respected.
  3. I will take more tools and more supplies to work on the property.

This coming week (early August) we have a well drilling and maintenance company coming out to the property to pull the old pipe and pump out of the well. We need to know if the old pump is any good. We’ve decided not to use the old pipe. It is galvanized pipe and thirty years old from what the record indicate. We are replacing it with state-of-art poly pipe. It will hold up forever, easy to work with, and we can put it in (or take it out) by hand by ourselves without fancy equipment. We will probably replace the pump and wiring as well. That way it is all new and should last a long time…longer than us or our children.

If the old pump is any good at all we will have them do a repair/maintenance job on it and have it as a spare should the need arise. The 1.25” galvanized pipe that they bring up will not go to waste. We will use that on projects around the property. I can see it would be really useful when it comes to fencing; either “H” braces or corners. I will see what condition the wiring is in, it may be still usable. If not, I will recycle it for a few bucks someday when I go into town.

Wife and I have been working on our cabin plans. We have been reworking what the layout will be. We think we have it down to the final layout and dimensions. The cabin will be 28’ x 32’ with a master bedroom, a storage/office room, and one bath (toilette, shower, pedestal sink). The kitchen and living area will be a real open concept design allowing for several comfortable living areas. However, the openness will make the area feel larger than what it really is. The open concept will also make heating and cooling the cabin much easier.

We are planning on a tankless, on-demand, propane hot water heater. An old fashion hot water tank is just too inefficient for our needs. The tankless unit will require no electricity. This is by design since we will not be hooked into the power grid and we don’t want to require electrical usage from a solar system when we don’t need it.

The toilette will be a common water closet, flushing toilette. The only difference will be that the toilette will be contributing solely to the septic system. The kitchen sink, shower, and bathroom sink will be “grey water” disposal directly to fruit frees that we will be planting.

The range/oven will also be propane. And strangely enough so will the refrigerator/freezer. Actually the refrigerator/freezer is of the RV family. It can run off 12vDC, propane, or 110vAC (in that order of preference). That gives us multiple options to keep our food fresh. And gives us some amount of that “normal living” feeling. We will have a microwave as well, I am still researching if there is a good 12vDC microwave or do I have to go with a very efficient 110vAC unit.

The electrical system will be a combination system. It will all be solar based since there is no power grid out there to tap into. And that is just fine with me. I want to be independent of the power grid if you want to know the truth. I don’t like any dependency on any part of the power grid. Back to the electrical system…

Most of our electrical needs will be 12vDC. Things such as our ceiling fans and lighting will be 12vDC. Even our refrigerator/freezer will have a 12vDC option. We will have a bank of batteries that are deep cycle 12vDC AGM style. We are not going with large specialized batteries due main to cost. However, we also want compatibility to readily available 12vDC car, truck, RV batteries should the situation demands it. We will have a solar panel array with the appropriate MorningStar charge/controller unit.

For other needs where 110vAC is more appropriate we will have that at our disposal as well. The AC current will be powered via a modified sine wave inverter. We are still working on the required wattage but it will be at least 1800w, possibly as high as 3000w. And yes, we might have to go with a pure sine wave inverter. We just haven’t figured out all of the details yet.

The house will be wired for both. We will try to stick with 12vDC usage as much as possible but we will have 110vAC if needed. It will be wired for inverter use, but it will be capable of plugging in a generator to the system if required to provide a more constant supply of AC voltage for short periods of time. Don’t worry, when the time comes I will provide a complete wiring schematic and other details to show you exactly how this is going to work and exactly what we did.

Have you thought about the #1 concern in terms of the well?

Granted, there are a number of concerns that go along with well ownership –

  1. Security for the well head and water tank.
  2. Water quality and testing.
  3. Well and pump servicing.

But, what do you see as the #1 priority for the well…actually, the water supply?


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Retirement Home & BugOut Location (RHBOL) Part 4 – Initial Supplies

Time to hide some initial stuff at the property. Yup, the time has finally come. But, rather than calling it “hiding stuff” let’s refer to it as caching supplies, that sounds a whole lot better…and far more accurate. Here’s the trick…how you hide it predicts how useful your gear will be when it comes time to actually use it again.

We bought our retirement property that can also serve as a very suitable BOL (BugOut Location). Hence we call it our RHBOL.

However, a problem exists in that the property is a five-hour drive away from our current home. If the time ever comes that we need to actually bugout to it…will we be able to have the right supplies there? How about any supplies? And exactly what would be considered the right supplies to have waiting on us?

Prepare for What –

Naturally, following my Seven Survival Priorities you want the right supplies to help mitigate those top seven threat/risks. Let me review what those risks are for just a minute –

  1. Threat of violence
  2. Threat of injury or sickness
  3. Lack of or poor communications
  4. Lack of or poor organization
  5. Dehydration
  6. Hyper/Hypothermia
  7. Starvation

If you haven’t read my “Proper Preparedness Principles” article it would be worth your time and help you better understand this article.

< click here to read Proper Preparedness Principles >

OK, so we have our priorities in proper perspective and proper order. Doing that simple exercise of prioritization can give us a clear, practical, and logical way to decide what to store. But, knowing how to store it is the focus of this article. Well, that may not be entirely true, I will go into detail on what I stored which is very useful and helpful as well. Now remember, my situation is different than yours, you may want to vary the list to meet your specific needs. But the Seven Survival Priorities remain constant, how you meet those threats/risks is up to you. I will share how I am doing it, I hope it gives you some ideas.

Top Priority –

The #1 threat or risk in any emergency, disaster, or grid-down is the threat of violence. It can strike anyone, anytime, and without warning. You or your family could end up badly injured or dead as a result…and in a split second. So we must mitigate this risk first or the other preparations might be for naught.

How did I do this? A 5.56 carbine for my wife and I. No, not a shared carbine, we will each have one. And that brings me to the next point. However, before that I want to lay out the worst case scenario…complete grid-down and virtual martial law. What I am getting at is the possibility that we can minimally move around (i.e. travel) and with almost no supplies to speak of and absolutely no weapons. Meaning, if you are found with a weapon you get incarcerated on the spot (or worse), so we have to leave weapons behind as we travel to the property.

What In –

Since I am assuming that both my wife and I would be arriving at the property, the items that get cached at the property are “times two”, one for her, the other for me. That means two storage containers. And since it is never wise to “put all your eggs in one basket” not only are there two storage containers, there are two separate locations for these containers. That is redundancy…and redundancy is a good thing. Bad guys might find one location, maybe even by pure chance, but you don’t want to lose all your cached items by having them all in the same location. Think Pearl Harbor during WWII…all the ships were docked together and they were easy pickings for the Japs.

Before I get into the list of items that are being cached let’s talk about the storage container itself. I did a lot of MonVault - ground cahcing storing hidingresearch a few years back and found one specialized storage container that met all my requirements. Actually, it exceeded my requirements and truly shined as the right option for this task. It is called a MonoVault.

The MonoVault is essentially a long sturdy plastic tube with a screw-on lid with a gasket. Then there is a cover that goes over the lid that overlaps about 4” of the tube itself. The thickness of the plastic is plenty sufficient, probably thicker than it needs to be, so it will hold up well. The gasket ensures that water will not enter the tube. Actually, from my testing I believe the tube to be completely airtight as well. The cap cover the top of the tube, including over the lid/gasket, helps ensure that any water migrating down will move over and past the lid…a shedding affect, kinda like a tight fitting umbrella.

For the two that I used, the MonoVault’s exterior measurements are 30.5” tall. MonVault - ground cahcing storing hidingThe interior measurements are 28.5” tall by 8.75” diameter. I wasn’t real sure that this was going to be large enough for the mission…I was wrong. This thing is plenty large enough for everything I wanted to store in it and then some. So, here is what I wanted to store in the MonoVault –

All of that went into the MonoVault with ease. But, I did prep some of the gear first and I want, actually need, to share that with you because it is so important. Yes, the MonoVault is billed as waterproof. But, I never take anything for granted. And yes, our place is in Arizona which is known for being very dry compared to other most other areas of the country. But…there is still that residual moisture that might migrate into the storage vault and I don’t want that to ruin my day…or either of my weapons in the vaults.

Weapons Preparation –

Preparing each weapon was not complicated nor difficult but should be done…in my opinion. First thing I did was strip the carbine down, pulled the bolt carrier group out, etc. I used a bore snake and soaked it very liberally with EWL2000. < click here to read more about EWL2000 > I ran that snake a couple of times making sure the barrel was spotless and well coated with EWL2000. I made that all the other internals of the weapon were spotless and well coated with EWL2000. Notice I have said “coated” not saturated, not dripping, just coated.

I reassembled the carbine but left the upper and lower detached. I placed both in a ProTecht gun storage bag, sealed the bag with masking tape, then placed the bag in the MonoVault. I did the same with the pistol.

As far as the ammo is concerned I placed them in separate Ziploc bags, double bagged actually. In each bag with the ammo I placed a silica absorbent for any stray moisture that might enter the double bag.  Prior to putting the ammo in the bag I rubbed the ammo with a silicone cloth…no oil on the cloth. That placed a micro-thin coat of silicone on each round of ammo. Doing so will inhibit corrosion but absolutely not interfere with feeding in your weapon.

For the Gerber Strong Arm and Spyderco knives I essentially did the same process as I did for the ammo. I wiped the knives down with the silicone cloth, bagged the knife, dropped in silica moisture absorbent, and then bagged it again. All the weaponry went into the vault.

I put in all the remaining “hardware” in the vault first. Then came the tactical vest. < read more about tactical vest here > Then I topped off the MonoVault with the BOK & IFAK. < read more about IFAKs here >

When it came to sealing the unit I did not add anything to the gasket, threads, or apply anything after-the-fact. The instructions didn’t say too and I was trusting the manufacturer to be accurate. The manufacturer wouldn’t last a year if this product didn’t work. So I figured I would do as they instructed.

I had fully prepared both MonoVault’s contents, placed them in the MonoVault, and then it was time to bury the whole thing for safe keeping. Boy, now it got interesting.

First off…there is virtually no way to truly hide the MonoVault from all attempts to find it. Ground penetrating radar can easily find it or anything else you try to hide. A metal detector wouldn’t struggle too much to find it. But you have to ask yourself the question, “Who are you hiding this stuff from?” Actually, you can ask, “Are you really hiding it, or just storing it in the ground to keep it safe by keeping it out of sight?”

If you think you are going to hide this from any of the government alphabet agencies think again. They have sufficient technology that they could find it regardless of your best efforts. But, are they going to be looking for it? Would they have a reason to look for it? We aren’t going to go too far down that rabbit hole. We will just assume you want to conceal your stuff from everyone.  If someone has the Star Wars gear to find it and they are looking on your property…well, you have much bigger problems to worry about.

OK, let’s get something out of the way right off…you are going to disturb the area around the hiding spot. There is no getting around it. But, there are some things you can do to offset that. And, more than likely a trained eye could see where you tried to hide the area you disturbed. So you might as well get it into your head now that you can only make a best effort, and that just might be good enough.

In my experience there are two basic philosophies of trying to hide your cache; 1) deep cover, 2) in plain sight.

I refer to deep cover as a place that you wouldn’t come across unless you were specifically looking for it. Such as 1.5 miles off a trail in the middle of the Carson National Forest, in a rock slide, under a cliff. No one would ever likely be walking in the exact spot so no one would ever discover your hiding place. However, the drawback is trying to remember exactly where you buried it. And then the amount of time and effort required to get to it, let alone dig it up. Then there is the drawback of trying to tell someone else where the spot is. So while this concept -deep cover- can be very effective, it can also be burdensome in the best of cases. Although…it might be worth it.

The alternative is hiding in plain sight. This essentially means you hide it in an area where a person could see or find it IF they knew what they were looking for AND they could see past your camouflage. In other words the average person could walk right over it, or past it, and never know what was there. Hidden in plain sight.

I am not going to get into all of the details of exactly what I mean and how it works…I will just show you my examples and you can take it from there. You are smart people, you will get what I am talking about, and you will be able to figure out what will work best for you.

Example #1 –

I want to have fairly easy access to the spot where I have hidden my first MonoVault cache. But, the other side to it has a couple considerations as well. I don’t want people to easily observe me burying it, or digging it back up. So, I picked a spot that wasn’t in anyone’s line of sight from any direction, especially a road.

The ground where I am digging the hole has some topsoil but not much. Topsoil is fairly easy to dig through with little effort. But I quickly hit hard packed sand and small gravel, but not as bad it might sound. At first I tried a pick but that proved to be unworkable so I broke out my pry bar. Nice thing about my pry bar…a nice sharp tip that is about 2” wide. That worked very nicely to break up the subsoil without much more effort than picking up the bar to a height of about 2’ and letting it drop. I found out pretty fast that after it hit, it penetrated the subsoil just enough to let me twist the pry bad about 90 – 180 degrees. That action broke up the subsoil even more. I would do about 5 – 6 of these drops and then shovel out the hole.

Why not a post hole digger? I tried that. However, the sand and gravel would fall out of the tool before I could get the soil out of the hole. Fortunately the hole had to be large enough for the MonoVault so it was large enough for me to use a shovel.

Note: When you bring the dirt out of the hole on the shovel, place the dirt in a mound maybe 3 – 4’ away from the hole. You don’t want it right on top of the area immediately surrounding the hole. The area will look too disturbed when you are all done. Better yet, place the removed soil on a sheet of plywood or heavy tarp. The soil you are digging up is different than the soil on the ground’s surface around the hole. So you want all of the soil you dig up to go back in the hole or moved to another location.

Remember the outside of the diameter of the MonoVault is about 10”, your hole must be a larger diameter than that. I did about a 12” diameter hole and shoveling out the loosened soil was pretty easy, even at the greater depths. I also used the shovel handle to gauge the depth of the hole compared to the height of the MonoVault. I wanted about 4” of soil covering the MonoVault. Can you have more topsoil covering it? Sure you can, just remember though…you must then dig more to retrieve the container when time may be of the essence.

I got to the needed depth and simply set the MonoVault into the hole. I then centered it and started pushing dirt into the hole keeping the MonoVault upright. As I was filling the hole I would occasionally use the shovel blade to help pack the dirt about the container. Once I had enough soil to cover the container I packed the dirt around the sides of the container then replaced the soil to bring it level with the surface of the ground once again. Resist the urge to “mound” the dirt thinking it will settle.

So now I have the container in the ground, the soil packed around the container and about 4” of soil covering the top of the container but not mounded. Now comes the artistic part of the process. The trick is to return the soil that you just disturbed to a “natural looking state” which is impossible. You can try all you want, you can think you are the sharpest operator out there…but truth be told…you can’t get it to look the same as it did in its natural state. So, don’t try.

Any dirt from the hole that you have left over in your pile needs to be moved away from the area and spread out far and wide. It will be easier if you used a tarp or plywood. When away from the area take a shovelful and vigorously sling it sideways parallel to the ground. Do this well away from the hole and not all of it in the same place. Don’t sling it on leaves, or anything else that is naturally occurring on the surface.

Maybe create a “false” hide to distract people if they are looking. But don’t get too cute…you are the smartest tool in the box.

Back at the hole use a piece of bush to lightly brush away any footprints, tracks, etc. Now comes the interesting part. Does the hole area now look exactly like the surrounding area? Probably not. If is just a matter of the dirt drying out to blend in then you are good to go. But, remember I talked about hiding it in plain sight.

What I did on this hole was find some metal trash to put over the hole. That way if someone happens to be using a metal detector they will for sure pick up the container because of all the metal of the ammo, guns, knife, etc. What I want to do is throw them a little bit of a distraction…the metal trash. It won’t fool a seasoned professional, but maybe it will fool the amateur next door neighbor, or someone in a big hurry. So I’ve made my cache locations look just like any other area of trash.

Example #2 –

I walked away about 100’ and found another suitable location. I dug that hole the same as the first hole. Then came time to “hide it” and that is where I did it slightly different.

Once the hole was filled, the excess dirt flung away, the tracks brushed, I was ready to finish of the camouflage. This time I put some metal over it, not much, not as much as the first hole. But, I piled up a little more of the naturally occurring trash over the hole and surrounding area. Once again, the hole appears to be just another lump of trash in a trashy abandoned mobile home location of an abandoned piece of property.

Example #3 –

This is not a MonoVault and I am not hiding weapons this time. For the box itself I used a military surplus ammo box. It is plenty big enough, sturdy enough, and a tight rubber gasket on it. Yes, it is metal and yes, it will rust. But, by the time it would rust out enough to ruin the contents not only would I be long dead, so would my kids. This box will last sufficiently long enough for its intended purpose.

This ammo container can also be buried either standing up or laying down flat. I thought I would do an example of a flat lay. However, as always, finding the right area was a priority. I wanted this location to be more of the “deep cover” site that people wouldn’t be walking by or have any other reason to be there. I chose a location under some mature PJ trees that you have to make your way into to ever find it. By default I figured that this would deter any metal detector person and even ground penetrating radar folks since it would inconvenient for them to even get to the ground where the goodies were stashed.

I chose a location that had a slight uphill slope to it. I wanted to give any water a natural runoff effect to help protect the container from water impingement. Then to add a little extra protection I used a contractor grade plastic bag to cover the top of the container. The bag went well down the sides to help shed water. I purposely didn’t tape it to the box. I didn’t want any water to be held between the bag and the metal box if water somehow got inside the bag, I wanted it to be able to flow out and past the box.

Once again, when digging out the hole, place the removed dirt in an area well away from the hole. If you notice the ground here has a natural cover of tree droppings. If you pile up dirt on top of those it will stick out like a sore thumb.

After the hole was large enough I placed the container in the hole. I placed dirt around the sides first, tamped it down and then proceeds to cover the box with dirt covering the entire hole.

And again, I brushed away any tracks. Be careful to not sweep too hard, don’t leave “tracks” from the bush you are using to brush away the tracks. Tracks are tracks and if they are unnatural looking the eye can pick it up pretty easily. Take your time, work gently, make it look natural.

Once I swept the area free from tracks it was still obvious that the ground was disturbed. That can only be remedied one way…return the natural ground cover to where it was removed. I retrieved the ground cover from other tree areas well away from my tree. I would then fling it over the ground parallel to the ground. The trick is to not just dump the ground cover or get it too thick…just work slowly and let it cover the ground evenly a little at a time.

Now that the liter ground cover was in place you could still see that the area was disturbed and it really didn’t look like most of the other area under the other trees. The solution? I went and collected the right kind of limbs, twigs, etc. and spread them around.

Here’s a thought…don’t look at your area close up. At first walk away 50’ and then look over your area. Does it look natural? No, then use some more ground cover material. Don’t go overboard and make it look more covered than the other areas. Once you are satisfied with the 50’ look, then go to 100’ and then 150’. At 150’ you really shouldn’t be able to tell anything took place at your hide location. And that should be true even immediately after your camouflage session.

Given time, the area will continue to look more and more natural because the ground cover you used will age and blend in with the surroundings.

Food For Thought –

Let’s war game this for a minute. Let’s say that it was a total grid-down, the SHTF, and we did make it to the property and we did bring our supplies with us, including weapons, etc. What value are the caches now?

I say they are extremely valuable…in the ground. Yup, leave them in the ground. Why? Oh, a whole host of reasons why. Let’s try –

  1. One of your existing weapons becomes non-functional. You can tap the cache for a replacement.
  2. You have more folks show up that need supplies and weapons. You can tap the cache to outfit them.
  3. And another…for whatever reasons someone, or some government agency, does a gun confiscation. Yup, you can turn over your guns without them killing you. Then go dig up the cached weapons and supplies and be good to go.
  4. And another…times get horrible and you are forced to flee with nothing. You can later sneak back and retrieve the cached supplies.

And the whole time the supplies, especially the weapons, are safely stored in the ground just waiting for the time when you might need them. Yes, I am saying leave them in the ground…one of the best gun safes you have.


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Honda EU200i Generator – My Experience

honda eu2000i generatorSo there I was, at my cabin in AZ ready to get work done…and my Honda generator failed me. Yup, failed me. Now, let me explain a little more.

A couple of years ago I purchased a Honda EU200i generator based on all of my research showing that they were/are the best generators on the market. I got it home, did the pre-start steps, fired it up, and was immediately impressed at the ease of starting, the very quiet nature of it, and the Eco-Boost. I plug in a couple of different pieces of equipment, ran them to prove that it worked as advertised, then shut it down.

Next I followed the long-term storage to the letter and placed the generator in the garage in a location that was easily accessible should the need arise. And those needs might be:

  • Short-term power outage
  • Bugout
  • Power source for running my mobile Ham radios and recharging my handheld Ham radios

Those situations never developed. But, a new need did show-up…working on my cabin in AZ. To be more specific I needed a generator to power an air compressor during the day along with various power tools. None of which would be run simultaneously. And at night I needed some lights. The Honda generator failed at all of the above.

Now, let me give you the reason why, and add a little clarification as well. Technically the first day the generator ran fine, no issues at all. The next morning I fired it up and it ran fine for about three minutes, then it started to sputter as if it were out of gas. By the time I could get to it, it died. Trying to start it proved fruitless. I was dead in the water without power.

I headed to town, got some “fresh” gas and a couple of new spark plugs. Changed out the gas, swapped the spark plug, and it fired right up. I was back in business. Well, till mid-afternoon…it died again…the same way.

Fortunately my buddy from Eager was coming out with his generator, a massive Briggs & Stratton 5500w unit. It ran all day without a hitch. I just let the dead carcass of the Honda EU2000i rot in the sun.

I brought the Honda back home with me (along with the spark-plug that I had removed) and headed to my dealer-friend. Explained the situation to him and asked for help…whatever it took to figure out why it wouldn’t do its job. He assured me he would turn it over to his imminently qualified Honda expert mechanic. I got a call a few hours later, here are the results:

  1. The original spark-plug looked good and was fine.
  2. The currently installed spark-plug was good as well
  3. The carburetor had gummed up.
  4. He had super cleaned the carburetor.
  5. Since I was running the generator at approximately 6000’ elevation he did a carburetor “jet port job” on it to run better at that elevation.

The problem had been something I suspected but had no way to deal with…bad gas. No, not the gas that I was currently running in it…the gas I had run through it before I put it in storage. And it gets a little complicated but I will give a try to explain it based on what was told to me.

Almost all gasoline sold today has some amount of ethanol in it…and that is a bad thing, a very bad thing. Ethanol has water in it and that is not good for engines, especially small engines. However, almost all gasoline sold today also has various solvents and other chemicals in it as well. Most of those are good for modern vehicle engines but bad for small engines. And, although I followed manufacture’s directions for putting my generator into long-term storage, they were wrong. Vehicles have the ability, via the various computers, to adjust the engine to run on most gas with ethanol in it in varying stages of going bad. Small engines don’t have that capability.

The gas I had used originally had coated the jets, fuel system, and the entire carburetor system before it ran dry. The gas and solvent film then broke down with the introduction of the new gas when I tried to use it at the cabin. That eventually clogged the jets and caused the generator to sound as if it was running out of gas. Technically the carburetor was being starved of enough gas to keep it running even though the tank was full.

The mechanic explained the real way to put it into storage:

  1. Run the engine out of the gasoline containing ethanol that is in the tank until the engine stops running.
  2. Drain the fuel system with the little screw at the underside of the carburetor like the manual directions say.
  3. Put about a pint of TruFuel in the fuel tank and start up the engine. Run it for a minute of so.
  4. Shut down the engine, turn off all valves, but do not drain the fuel from the system.trufuel-002trufuel-001

TruFuel is 91 octane fuel without any additives or ethanol. Your engine is now good for about two years.

The best fuel to use in small engines such as the Honda EU2000i engine is a non-ethanol fuel of 91 octane or higher without any additives (i.e. solvents, etc.). Gasoline stabilizer stabil fuel stabilizer prigfuelstabilizer-001such as Pri-G or Stabil is fine. TruFuel meets that standard but runs about $19 – 21.00 per gallon.

You can usually obtain non-ethanol fuel at airports and marinas. Many marinas put stabilizer in the fuel when they buy it from bulk distributors so ask them before you add any more. Some airports will not sell their aviation fuel to be placed in fuel cans by individuals. Marinas will sell their fuel for about $1.00 per gallon more than regular gas. Airports charge about $2.00 more per gallon. And technically it is not the airport selling the fuel, it is one of their on-site fuel suppliers. And aviation gas is 92 octane or higher if I am not mistaken, plus it is “low-lead” not “unleaded” gasoline.

Back to my story…

I take my reworked generator (I don’t want to say repaired) back to the cabin for another long weekend of work (5 days). It was cold at night so I took along a 1500-watt space heater. But I would still be using a variety of building site tools during the day.

That freaking little Honda EU2000i generator ran virtually non-stop (24/7) for 5 straight days. It never even sputtered! I was using 91 octane fuel from a name brand gas station to ensure quality fuel. All was absolutely fine…I couldn’t have been more pleased.

Here is a little tip…You know the Honda only has a .9gal fuel tank. That will run it for up to 8 hours at lower power usage (Eco-Boost) and 3 – 5 hours under heavy usage. So I had a dilemma…the space heater. A 1500-watt space heater is running the generator at near maximum capacity and so the fuel usage would be near maximum as well. Ah, that means about somewhere between midnight and 1am I would have to fill it back up with gas…and maybe one more time around 5 or 6am. When it is 20 – 30 degrees outside…that is just unacceptable!honda eu 2000i - ipi fuel tank-001

So let me introduce you to the 6gal bulk tank add-on…

This thing is simple to set-up and use. It is very cost effective and all-round great!

With shipping the tank cost me $149 from Northern Tool ( It was very simple to install the fuel line…and that was all there was to it.

Next came hooking it up to the generator. You use the supplied replacement fuel cap, top off the generator fuel hondaeu2000i-ipifueltank-002tank, install the cap, hook up the bulk tank, and you now have 7 gallons of gasoline to run your generator to 1 – 4 days.

Hint #1 – You can buy the cap and hose from the company and a 12gal fuel tank from Sportsman’s Warehouse. You just doubled the amount of bulk fuel for your generator.hondaeu2000i-ipifueltank-003

Hint #2 – If you use the Honda EU-2000i “companion” unit in conjunction with the primary EU2000i that is no problem as well. The company has a dual-feed system from a single bulk fuel tank. (

Summary –

The Honda EU2000i is the perfect sized generator for me. I have no intention of running my entire house, nor any major equipment that requires more than 2000w running capacity. The Honda runs super, super quiet. I had the generator 50’ from the cabin and I couldn’t hear from inside the cabin it running at night. Its sound signature is so low that you simply can’t hear it at all from more than 50 – 75 yards away on a dead-still cold night.

The fuel usage of that generator is amazing! I set my space heater on 45degrees, set the Eco-Boost on, and used less than a gallon of gas over a 12-hour night.

The Honda EU2000i lives up to the sterling reputation that Honda enjoys!

Should I ever have the need to have more power (i.e. >2000w) I will simply buy a second EU2000i in the form of honda eu2000i companion unitthe Companion unit. With a “companion kit” installed I can enjoy 4000-watts of capacity while still maintaining all the benefits of the Honda sound and fuel usage. When I don’t need the 4kw of capacity I simply shut down the companion unit. And there is the added, and significant, advantage of having generator redundancy.

Any way you look at it…the Honda EU2000i is worth every penny. Just make sure you:

  1. Run the right fuel.
  2. Store it the right way with TruFuel.
  3. Change the oil every 100 hours using Amsoil Synthetic.
  4. Keep it off the ground out of the dirt.

If you do the above the Honda EU2000i will run forever and it won’t fail you when you need it for emergencies, disasters, or grid-down.



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TIP : Wire Size for Electrical & Electronic Projects

WireWhen building electronic project it is very important to make sure you are using the correct size wire. Obviously you want to use a high-quality wire to begin with, but size does matter. I tried to find a single comprehensive chart that showed the correct size/gauge wire for different ampere ratings at different lengths. The lengths I wanted to see were those that I customarily use, or may use, in my projects. I couldn’t find a single chart that covered what I needed so I combined and merged several charts to meet my needs.

Here is the result of that work. I hope it proves useful to you while working on your projects,

Wire Gauge Chart, wires size ampere ratingThis is a very conservative chart showing examples of amps / wire gauge / length of wire. Your results may vary widely and you can get longer runs with smaller gauge wire carrying more amps. I wanted to err on the side of caution.




Take good care of your leather boots…this is how.

Note: This article snuck out before I could get it edited so it is pretty amateurish. I will get it edited, add some pictures and get it posted again fairly soon. AH

This article is for all-leather boots only. Any other boot is not covered by this article. Yes, that is my disclaimer.


I have done a review on two different vastly different styles of boots so far. What they do have most in common is two things; 1) they are all leather, 2) they are expensive. And they fact they are expensive means you better take care of the leather. Failure to do so will result is a total waste of your money.


Now the good thing about high-quality expensive boots is the fact they will last a very long time if properly taken care of. And the most vital part of that is cleaning and conditioning them. And the most important part of that process it actually doing it. Yes, I am serious, you can’t procrastinate taking care of your boots.


So how do you do this properly?


Well, first, other that actually doing it, you have to use the right products. And I will give you that information as well. But before I get into that I want to help you avoid the #1 killer of quality leather boots – artificially drying them. By that I mean drying them with a heat source such as a hair dryer, boot drier or sitting right next to the campfire or fireplace. Don’t do it!
You just let your boots dry out naturally just sitting out in the open whether inside our outside. Using any heat source will prematurely dry out the leather and the stitching. But one of the best ways to avoid the problem is taking proper care of your boots to begin with which, in turn, reduces the chances that your boots will get soaking wet to begin with.


Let’s start with cleaning them. Take out the laces, wash them in warm water with a little bit of soap. Rinse them when clean, let them hang dry naturally.


While your laces are drying remove any mud and loose dirt with a soft natural bristle brush. Don’t scrub too hard! First of all, you shouldn’t need to. Second, if you do scrub too hard you will be damaging the leather and breaking down its natural protective surface. It is better to wipe the dirt and mud off with a soft cotton rag if it will come off.


Make sure your boot leather is completely dry before proceeding. If your boot leather is not dry then stop! Give your boots time to dry naturally. Don’t use heat to dry them. You will damage the leather.


Once your boots are dry and free from loose dirt and mud, take your Fiebing’s Liquid Glycerine Saddle Soap and spray a small amount on your natural wool fleece pad. Yes, I said natural wool fleece pad. See the picture for more detail but this pad is sheep’s fleece still attached to the hide.


Once you have that small amount on the pad begin to rub it into the leather’s surface. You want to use the “wax-on, wax-off” motion. If you have never watched Karate Kid then you have no idea what I am talking about and you are probably a loser. Go watch the movie and then come back to cleaning your boots. You will then know what I am talking about and be a far “cooler” person as well.


OK, so you are doing small circular motions with the wool pad that has a small amount of Fiebings on it. Be content to just do small areas at a time, with not too much Fiebings on the pad each time. In the picture to the right notice the difference in color of the two areas of the leather. It is a before and after picture of what it should look like. Don’t get rowdy with the Fiebings, take your time, be patient, don’t put too much on at any one time.


Do the entire boot this way. Don’t get any on anything but the leather. If there is a cloth “neck” or something similar, don’t get the Fiebings on it.


For tighter areas that the pad can’t get to, use a soft natural bristle brush to apply the Fiebings and gently bush it in. Wipe down the boot with a soft cotton cloth before the Fiebings has completely dried.


Allow the boots to completely dry before continuing to the next step.


Once your boots have dried from the cleaning with the Fiebings you can proceed to the conditioning. If your boots still appear dirty, then clean them again with Fiebings. Do this until you feel your boot leather is clean. I would suggest you allow the leather to dry between cleanings.


OK, now that your boots are clean and dry you are ready to proceed with the conditioning. The purpose of this step is to improve the ability of the leather to resist water. When you cleaned your boots with Fiebings, that actually replenished the boot’s leather natural conditioning for the most part. This step is mostly for the water resistance and a little more conditioning.


Take your “SNOW-PROOF” leather conditioner and rub your fingers in the can until you have a decent coating on your fingers. Now rub that into the boot leather in circular motions. Think “wax-on, wax-off” once again. Yes, watch the movie Karate Kid if you need to. But whatever you do…don’t do a wiper blade motion or side-to-side motion or up and down motion. That is not good enough for your high-quality leather. You have to work the SNOW-PROOF oils into the leather for each direction.


Why use your fingers?


The 90 or so degree heat of your fingers is the right temperature for the oils in the SNOW-PROOF to work into the leather. And no, the SNOW-PROOF won’t hurt your skin. Actually, it will make your finger tip skin soft and smooth.


Use small amounts of the SNOW-PROOF and only run it into small areas. Don’t get over ambitious. Be patient. Continue to do the entire boot like that.


For those areas where you fingers can’t reach (i.e. around the lace eyelets and tongue area) use a clean soft natural bristle with a small amount of SNOW-PROOF to work into those areas.


Don’t over apply the SNOW-PROOF. Allow it to dry completely.


If your boot leather was extremely dry and soaked up the SNOW-PROOF, then apply another coat to your boots. Allow that to dry completely.


Re-lace your boots, admire the condition of your boots and head back out to the mountains and enjoy them knowing you have properly taken care of toosl protecting your feet.









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For crying out loud!!!

frustrated crazy todayOK, I am really frustrated today…I mean really frustrated. On another website a person asked, “Which is better for overall protection–AR-15 in .223 or AR-10 in .308?” It was game on! There was a flood of replies, most of which was personal opinion or flat-out wrong information. And every single reply missed the most vital point of all.

What point is that?

Come on, you should know by now if you have been visiting this website for any length of time. The answer is “mission”…plain and simple.

I could tell right away from the wording of his original post, request for information, that he really has no experience with today’s modern rifles. The very first reply was recommending a shotgun as the weapon of choice for overall protection. Strange…the guy was asking for help choosing between an AR-15 & an AR-10 (5.56 vs. 7.62). That tells me right away the people are going to be sharing opinion vs. informed factual recommendations.

The next person replied that an AR-15 isn’t intended to kill, just wound someone. Besides, they said the 5.56 round was designed to go “clean through a person”. But, then they backed it up with the idea that an AR-10 was a “kill gun”, a “sniper rifle.” Come on people!!  For crying out loud how can people be saying stupid crap like that!?

Then another shortly replied that you should never bet your life on an AR-10 because there are so many issues. Really!?  Couldn’t be more false in the case of my current AR-10! The other replies weren’t much better. Two replies came close to really working with the person to answer his questions. Then it dawned on me…stop being so frustrated with someone like that…and the others that are replying to him.

Why?  Because most people don’t have real life experience with a weapon, never did any testing, or simply don’t know how to figure out what the best equipment or gear is. Once I realized that I settled down and now will address the subject of an AR-15 vs. AR-10.

I wrote an extensive article in July of 2015 in regards to choosing the right rifle/carbine. I will dust that article off and update it with my most current info and opinion and post it in the next few days. But, for now let’s review how to identify this guy’s need…or the mission for the weapon.

His original question was “Which is better for overall protection…?”

This indicates that he has not thought through the “need” to any great degree. He does make it clear that he wants a weapon for defensive purposes but he fails to clarify what that specific need/purpose is. And that makes a huge difference. So let’s walk through that right now…

  1. What is the environment that you wish to protect? Home, cabin, land, commercial property, wherever you are standing, etc.?
  2. Will you be working alone or in coordination with others that will be, or could be, similarly armed? Part of a fire team, prepper group, family only, trained operators, etc.?
  3. Will you be operating in an urban environment vs. rural environment?
  4. Do you want to protect your home from someone inside the home (i.e. home invasion) or from someone approaching your home at a distance?
  5. Do you expect to place yourself vs. a large group of hostiles or against individuals one at a time?
  6. Do you expect you will do long-range patrols (i.e. 10+ miles at a time) with this weapon?
  7. Do you expect to utilize this weapon from a fixed and stationary position?
  8. Do you expect, or want the capability, to use the weapon against vehicles?
Home Invasion –

For “home defense” against a home invasion, intruder, etc. neither an AR-15 or an AR-10 is the appropriate weapon. During training I was able to completely neutralize a highly trained/skill operator from using his M4 against me. Granted, he did “kill” me multiple times with his training knife but that is a different story.

A long gun, any long gun, (i.e. M4, AR-15, AR-10, shotgun, etc.) is easily neutralized in close quarters by an empty hand aggressor. The preferred weapon of choice isn’t even an SBR (short barreled rifle) for professionals. The weapon of choice is a pistol. And then there is the caliber debate. Don’t go there! A 9mm semi-auto pistol is the pistol of choice, loaded of course with a large capacity double-stack magazine. I personally use a Sig P-226 with an 18-round Mec-Gar magazine.

Now my operator /trainer buddy really likes the pistol in combination with holding a knife with your off-hand while stabilizing the pistol. Gives you access to two close-quarters weapons immediately. A great combination to be sure, but you need training to handle the combo.

In an earlier article I wrote that I really like a double-barrel shotgun for home invasion. I still do…and it is an awesome weapon for defending a home. But, it isn’t the best weapon -not even close- for clearing a house of bad guys.

I mentioned a SBR for home defense. Yes, I like it and it is very effective. But, the primary reason I like, as do professional operators, it is based on its dual-purpose…it can be used to clear a house of bad guys and then taken outside and engage targets at moderate distances just as effectively.

So which is the best weapon?

Under everyday conditions, non-SHTF, I have a pistol on my nightstand and a double barrel shotgun beside the bed. I will choose the right weapon when the time comes based on the threat level/situation.

Under SHTF conditions it would be the pistol and an AR-15 beside the bed to defend against home invasion. Now, understand that my AR-15 has the shortest possible legal barrel length so it looks much shorter than the average AR-15 carbine and that makes it a better option for room clearing than the average AR-15 or M-16.

Home Defense –

To me there is a difference between home “defense” and home “invasion”. Home invasion is non-SHTF terminology where one or more scumbags (i.e. bad guys) have entered, or nearly entered, my home. Home defense in a SHTF

Sig Saur P226 9mm

Sig Saur P226 9mm

term and that means I am on war-footing, I am geared-up, full battle rattle ready to defend my home from zombies.

That means, ready to go:

  1. AR-15, 30-round Magpul mags loaded with 62gr M855 (28 rounds), Aimpoint Micro-T1.
  2. Sig 226, 18 round Mec-Gar mags loaded with 147gr Hornady XTP, Blackhawk drop-leg holster system.
  3. Fighting knife on my LBE vest.
  4. Spyderco Paramilitary II knife in my pocket.
  5. Proper mentality and Situational Awareness.

That means, close at hand:

Shotgun Benelli Supernova

Benelli Supernova

  1. Benelli Super Nova 12ga shotgun with extended tube magazine, sights, side-saddle shell holder.
  2. Combination of 00-buck and slugs loaded, and Hornady SST sabot rounds available.

That means, ready to put into action:

  1. POF AR-10 (P308), 20-round mags loaded with 147gr NATO standard rounds.
  2. Trigicon 4x optics.

    POF P308 16.5"

    POF P308 16.5″

  3. Multiple 20-rounds mags loaded with recycled WWII rounds.

That means, ready to put into action:

  1. Siaga semi-auto, 12ga shotgun.
  2. Multiple high capacity magazines.

Why all the weapons? Now that is the right question.

Right Weapon, Right Mission –

I already talked about pistols and AR-15’s so I won’t repeat myself. The Benelli is a fantastic weapon to stop someone dead in their tracks…or even stopping a vehicle. It is a great close to medium range weapon with tremendous knockdown power. But, due to its length, not the best room clearing weapon.

Siaga 12ga Semi-Auto

Siaga 12ga Semi-Auto


The Siaga is simply amazing…a street sweeper. You place a 25-round drum magazine in it loaded with 7-pellet 00-buck and start pulling the trigger. You will clear out a crowd/mob in a real hurry. It is a unreal point and shoot weapon when dealing with a close-in group of people. Again, due to its length, not the best room clearing weapon.

The AR-10 is my weapon of choice…if I was a bit younger. My POF AR-10 is seriously heavier than my AR-15. And I can only carry a fraction of 7.62 ammo compared to 5.56 ammo. But, that POF AR-10 can really reach out and touch someone. It can disable a vehicle motor easily, shoot through most any cover, defeat almost any body armor out there, and sends a clear message to the bad guys.

One of the stupidest comments I heard on this other website was this dillweed saying the AR-10’s have a lot of problems and can’t be trusted. What a bunch of BS!!  Now, I will tell you where he is coming from…cheap, crappy gun manufacturers like DPMS. I would never, ever, never bet my life on a DPMS rifle…ever! I know of three DPMS AR-10 rifles that were complete junk…total pieces of crap! And still junk after the factory gunsmiths and the best of the local gunsmiths worked on all of them multiple times. DPMS = Junk!

That is why I bought a POF AR-10 (P308). It has never FTF, never FTE, never failed at all period! I even tested it with crappy and dirty ammo…ate every single round and spit the lead downrange. I did a stress test on it…shot through six 20-round mags and then immediately pulled the bolt carrier group out. I could handle it with bare hands and it was clean. The POF is a piston system and is NP3 coated. I think the best AR-10 on the market today.

What About Ballistics for Home Defense/Invasion –
9mm Pistol ammunition ammo - 147gr Hornady XTP

Hornady 147gr XTP

Stop! Just please stop. For defending against a home invasion ballistics doesn’t mean a darn thing. It is no different than any other bad guy engagement. I always use 147gr Hornady XTP rounds in my 9mm. That is simply the most deadly anti-personnel round out there…period. For my AR-15 I don’t have any special rounds for home defense. I use a 62gr M855 round. Yes, that is the steel core round. Yes, that means it will pretty much go right through someone, especially at close range. But…who freaking cares!? A round to the chest stops someone by blowing up their heart and/or lungs, a round to the head blows up their head.

There is an awesome report out there that was done by the FBI. The report clearly and conclusively shows that the average bad guy stops his attack 98% of the time when he is shot with a single bullet…regardless of the caliber. Just shoot the dang bad guy…and then shoot him again, again, again. If you have taken any kind of weapons training at all, you have been trained, or should have been trained, in a “double tap”, “double tap plus one”, or “shoot them in the head” methods. If you haven’t gotten that training forget the bullet choice…get the training before you get the bullets or even talk about ballistics or caliber!!

OK, for the shotgun I always carry the same loadout as well. In my pump shot-guns I use 00-buck, slugs, and

Hornady 300gr 12ga SST shotgun ammunitionHornady SST sabot rounds. For the double-barrel I have both tubes loaded with 00-buck. No reloading, I am using the pistol next…or first. I am not planning to reload the shotgun. I do have a bag of shotgun ammo in our home’s “Alamo” but that is a whole different scenario.

Distance Based Weapon –

One of the intelligent replies was choosing the weapon based on distance of shot needed. But, there is a problem with that also. If you are a highly trained sniper or Designated Marksman then a .50cal weapon gives you the ability to reach out 3k – 4k yards…yeah, multiple miles for the best of the best. But, are you one of those? Can you become one of those? Can you afford the $3 – $5 per round cost to become that good? And are you fit enough to carry a 20lb rifle not counting the ammo? Oh, and can you afford the $3k – $7k price tag just to buy the basic rifle? Probably not.

So why not a bolt action .338, etc.? Yup, you gonna be a sniper? Can you handle the pounding your body is going to receive? Can you afford the expensive rifle, ammo, optics? Can you take the time to learn how to shoot it effectively at distances of 1k yards or more…and keep those skills honed? Probably not.

So what about long distance shooting to kill bad guys? Realistically most people are never going to learn to shoot more than 300 – 400 yards tops…absolute tops. A 7.62 round can easily be shot 800 yards, even 1000 yards, with the right training, optics, ammo, etc. making an AR-10 just fine for 98% of the people who want to shoot long distance.

But, will you really shoot long distance at all? Well, only you can answer that question. Walk outside your home right now…how far can you realistically see with a clear field of view? Most folks…maybe 50 – 100 yards, most probably less, because they live in a suburban neighborhood. Even from my cabin in Arizona I can only realistically see less than 500 yards in 90% of my field of view. Less than 50 yards for about 40% of the view. For about 10% of my field of view I can see well over a mile across that valley…could I take a shot that far even if I had the rifle to do it? Could you? Would you even know someone is out there that needs shot?

But, I would rather take a long shot, 400 yards or more, with my AR-10 vs. my AR-15. But, my AR-15 is far more suitable for just about everything else. So why do I have an AR-10 at all?

Why an AR-10 –

As I already mentioned an AR-10 with the right optics can easily shoot 800 yards. I took a buddy of mine out to shoot my AR-10 and he was shooting 400 yards with his first shot, 600 yards by his fourth shot. So an AR-10 is a long distance gun…AND easy to shoot and learn.

And I already talked about an AR-10 has no problem disabling a vehicle. A normal 147gr NATO round will blow up plenty of a car motor to stop it dead in its tracks. If a person would load up some old WWII .30cal AP rounds they would be able to knock out any civilian vehicle and some military or para-military vehicles as well.

The other thing that an AR-10 is good for is “turning cover into concealment” as the saying goes. A person could hide behind cover that could stop a 5.56 round, an AR-10 wouldn’t be so easily stopped. I have shot up 6” of solid reinforced concrete, penetrating through on the fourth round.

So you can see an AR-10 is a great weapon that can accomplish a lot of good for you in the right situation. The downside is; weight, slightly harder to handle, usually smaller ammo loadout, as well as more expensive ammo.

Multi-Member Team –

I hoped you asked the question, “Why have different weapons at all?” Well, first off there are different missions.  But, the best way to look at different weapons is in a multi-member team environment. Take a team of say five people:

  • Three with AR-15’s
  • One with an AR-10
  • One with a good shotgun

That gives you great high rate of fire engagement capability, long distance capability, cover defeating capability, vehicle disabling capability, door busting capability, etc.

So looking at , “Which is better for overall protection–AR-15 in .223 or AR-10 in .308?” is not difficult to decide…it is all mission driven.

Summary –

Take a look again at the previous topic, last line, right above this section. See his reference to .223 and .308? That is the first problem, he is thinking civilian ammo. A person has to be thinking 5.56 and 7.62 ammo. Why? Because when push comes to shove, or especially SHTF, you need to use only military grade ammo. Why? Because military grade is designed to be standard and be the most lethal overall.

So what is the bottom line, the real answer to his question?

If he is looking for simple overall best protection I would suggest a high-quality AR-15 with the shortest barrel he is comfortable with such as BCM, LaRue, or Daniel Defense. Add a high-grade military optic such as Aimpoint or Trigicon. Then plenty of high-quality high-capacity magazines such as the Magpul Pmag series (any “gen”). Lots of ammo…I am talking thousands of rounds…all of it standard NATO 62gr M855. But, all of that is worthless if he doesn’t get top-quality tactical carbine training. And then keep up his shooting skills regularly…no punching paper!!!  Real-life engagement shooting practice is the only true practice.

Choosing a gun is no different that choosing boots, camp stove, or head lamp…define the mission and then buy the best quality piece of equipment to fulfill that mission.



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Best freaking belt! – Wilderness Instructor Belt

Wilderness Instructor BeltThis is one of those articles I write because I have a special affinity for the item itself. Yes, I like writing, sometimes it is because I feel that I need to test, evaluate, report on a piece of gear. This article is not one of those…I am writing this out of pure appreciation for the piece of gear. On with it already…

It wasn’t until I started the whole conceal carry thing about seven years ago that I really paid attention to belts. Before then a belt was a belt was a belt. I wore one because I was supposed to, and it kept my pants in place to a point. But, that isn’t entirely true.

In 2001 I really started doing the wildfire part of my job in a big way. I was totally into it and loved it immensely. The protective clothing and gear we wore fore wildland firefighting was completely different than the gear we wore for structure firefighting. One aspect of wildland gear was the Nomex pants. Amazing technology that is almost the stuff of fantasy novels. Nomex cloth provides an unreal amount of protection from fire and heat. Just a thin piece of Nomex has saved my bacon a number of times. So, you really, really want to keep that clothing in place (shirt included).

I don’t have to learn everything by experience, sometimes I learn from others. Don’t get too carried away, the #1 learning tool for me is a 2×4 board about 8’ long strategically placed on my cranium…sometimes repeatedly. Not the case with the belt. In 2001 I noticed that these experienced wildland firefighters had on a completely different style of belt that I had never seen before. Actually a couple different styles. Naturally, alright, maybe not so naturally, I started asking folks about their belts. Felt a little creepy after awhile.

The belt that kept getting my attention the most became evident. It was also theWilderness Instructor Belt belt that kept getting the best compliments from users…Wilderness Instructor Belt.

So of course I had to buy one to try it out. Simply put…the best belt I’ve ever owned!  Period!

I purchased the 1.5” 5-Stitch model. When I got it I was immediately concerned about the metal buckle. The buckle is solid steel and weighs more than I expected. But, more on that later.

I tried the belt on and the first thing I noticed was the ability to fit it exactly to my waist size and comfortable fit. No, I won’t go into details about waist size…TMI.

There is 2-stage securing to the belt. First, the belt passes through the through the buckle and around the “floating lock bar.” Then the “end flap” of the belt is secure via Velcro to the belt itself. The lock bar buckle takes the majority of the tension to prevent the belt from coming undone. The Velcro secures the end of the belt, keeps it in-place- and adds an additional measure of security that the belt won’t fail and slip through the buckle.

Wilderness Instructor BeltAnd why is that so important?

The belt is primary designed for weapons carry, but, it also has the capability to aid in an evacuation. The buckle Wilderness Instructor Belt with carabineer has an integrated “v-ring” that a carabineer can be attached to aiding in the evacuation process using a rope as an assist. In order for the Wilderness Instructor Belt  carabineerbelt to be used in this manner the buckle has to be failsafe. The lock bar and Velcro systems work together to ensure that the belt won’t slip through the buckle if it is properly secured.

But, at the time I bought the belt I was not thinking about weapons carry, I was thinking about firefighting in the middle of nowhere. And the reason that this belt was the preferred belt was the “v-ring.” In an emergency, if you had to be hauled out via a helicopter in a big hurry, you could hook a helicopter rescue line, or standard hoist line, to the belt via the “v-ring” and be hauled out.

Would it be the safest way to go? Nope. Would it be without safety concerns? Nope. Would you be without any potential of injury? Nope. But, you wouldn’t burn to death in a raging wildfire either.

Now, back to me and my primary mission…to hold my pants up…and do so securely. Yup, that was my primary mission. The belt does an amazing job in two ways; 1) it will adjust exactly to the fit you need it to, 2) it does a really good job of staying in-place and keeping your pants up. Yeah, not a very sexy or amazing recommendation for a belt, eh?

Then about seven years ago I started to conceal carry. My leather belts are good enough, but I find myself “hitching-up” my pants pretty regularly. Part of it is due to merging my waist and hips into a cylinder appearing body shape. But, some of it due to the leather belts just not being designed for weapons carrying. Especially true if I have my double-mag pouch on as well.

( click to enlarge )

( click to enlarge )

Enter the Wilderness Instructor Belt…and I simply love this belt!!

When I wear that belt I do not, let me repeat myself –I do not– have a problem. It adjusts to the rights size, holds my weapon securely, and doesn’t slide down my heretofore mentioned cylinder body.

When the belt really shined even more so was when I tested it with my Blackhawk drop-leg pistol platform. It is simply amazing!

Summary –

Unless you are just born on the light side of a 60 IQ, you have figured out by now that I highly recommend the Wilderness Instructor Belt. It will serve you well…and keep your pants where they belong. And if you think the belt is only for men…WRONG!  I bought my wife one for Christmas a couple of years ago and she loves it also.

Buy the belt !     Buy It !

< click here to buy the belt direct from the manufacturer >

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