Friday, May 16, 2008

Survivalist types - which one are you?

We'd like to be able to credit the following, but we don't know it's source, but thanks to Macca for emailing it to us :-)


Working Citizen - Concerned with paying rent & utilities, keeping or getting health insurance, paying taxes, inflation, car repairs, leaky plumbing, back pains... May work two jobs, does without personal luxuries, hopes their children will do better than themselves. Emotional, physical and financial survival is the focus of daily life.

Upwardly Mobile - Concerned about aging, retirement investments, cholesterol levels, loss of employment, lawsuits, burglaries, bandwidth, clothes dryer lint fires. Takes vitamins, exercises, eats oatmeal, wears seatbelts, has smoke & carbon-monoxide detectors, requests medical tests, has numerous insurance policies, files lawsuits, pampers themselves wherever ,whenever possible. "Survival" to them means living long enough to take full benefit of extensive retirement plans and long term care insurance policies.

Medical Crisis - Has very complete medical pack in house and in car. Donates blood and is active in the Red Cross. Has taken paramedic EMT & CPR courses, knows vital signs, stockpiles medicines, etc. Concerned with vehicle accidents and emergencies involving injuries. Focus is on helping family, friends & community survive medical emergencies.

Safety Preparedness - Learns principles and techniques needed for surviving worse-case scenarios that can occur anyplace, anywhere. Makes preparations for such common calamities as building fires, dog attacks, physical confrontations, lightning strikes, car breakdowns, third-world travel problems, flash floods, home invasions and even train wrecks. Reads: Survive Safely Anywhere, Worse-Case Scenario Handbooks

Wilderness Survival - Being able to stay alive for indefinite periods in life threatening wilderness scenarios. These can include: plane crashes, shipwrecks, being lost in the woods. Concerns are: thirst, hunger, climate, terrain, health, stress, fear. Prepares with: knowledge, training & practice. Kit includes: water purifiers, shelter, fire starters, clothing, food, medical supplies, navigation & signaling gear. Reads: Nessmuk, Kephart, Angier, Mears

Personal Assault Survival - Individuals concerned with surviving brief encounters of violent activity. Focus is on personal protection & it's legal ramifications, danger awareness, Boyd's cycle (also known as the OODA cycle - observe, orient, decide & act), martial arts, self defense tactics and tools (both lethal & less-than-lethal). Reads: Ayoob, Cooper, Jordan, Applegate, Sanow, Marshall, Taylor, Steele, Sun Tzu

Natural Disaster, Brief - People that live in tornado, hurricane, flood, wildfire, earthquake or heavy snowfall areas and want to be prepared for the inevitable. Investment in material for fortifying structures and tools for rebuilding & constructing temporary shelter, perhaps have a below ground shelter, food, water, medicine, and supplies, enough to get by until contact with the rest of the world resumes.

Natural Disaster, Years Long - Concerned about long term weather cycles of 2-10 years, unusually cold or warm periods, that have happened on and off for thousands of years. Might stock several tons of food per family member and have a heavy duty greenhouse with packed in nitrogen non-hybrid seeds.

Natural Disaster, Lifelong - Possible scenarios include: severe global warming and the coming ice age, the greenhouse-effect-gone-wild, warming/cooling of gulf steam waters, large meteor strike, shift in earth's axis or reversal of geo-magnetic fields... Owns maps of previous ice age glacier patterns and are hopeful they live south of the permafrost line. May have purchased snowshoes. Reads reports by National Academy of Science and Woods Hole Physical Oceanography Dept.

General Social/Political Decline, Liberal - Concerned about growing cultural problems and the slow destruction of the constitution & the bill of rights. Into anti-crime measures, both passive (alarms) and active (neighborhood watch). Most often anti-gun, pro-choice, pro-environment, anti- war, against prayer in school, against death penalty... Supporters of the ACLU, Amnesty International, Ban Handguns in America, Greenpeace.

General Social/Political Decline, Conservative - Concerned about growing cultural problems and the slow destruction of the constitution & the bill of rights. Into anti-crime measures, both passive (alarms) and active (Rottweilers & guns). Most often pro-gun, anti-abortion, pro-business, pro- national defense, for prayer in school, pro-death penalty... Supporters of Attorney General Ashcroft, Rush Limbaugh, NRA, the Alaska "Support Industry" Alliance.

Cold War "Survivalists" - Fear homeland invasion by nation's enemies, whether foreign or domestic. This was a group of substantial size before the fall of the Soviet Union. True-believers currently suspect the U.N. of one-world domination plans and fear black helicopters, government intervention & taxation. The majority of these people have relocated to other groups. Favorite movies: Red Dawn, Mad Max trilogy.

Nuclear War - These folks know all primary, secondary & tertiary targets, downwind fallout patterns and chose to live in locales they deem to be safest in the event of all out nuclear war. They've built fallout shelters and have the necessary food, water, tools and skills to see them though. Other groups also prepare for nuclear war as an exercise, in that if you are prepared for nuclear war, you are prepared for all other scenarios. Reads: Tappan, Kearny, Clayton.

Bio-Chem - Concerned with the spread of fatal diseases and terrorist use of biological agents & nerve gases. Examples: E.Coli 0157, botulism, dengue, Cruetzfeldt-Jakob Disease, SARS, rabies, hantavirus, anthrax, plague, cholera, HIV, ebola, marburg, lassa, saron, VX ... Might own NBC (nuclear, biological & chemical) full-face respirators, polyethylene coveralls, PVC boots, Nitrile gloves, plastic sheeting and duct tape. Reads: CDC reports, Haz-Mat manuals, Preston's "Hot Zone"

Knowledge-Enabled Mass Destruction (KMD) - Concerned with unintended consequences of genetic manipulation, nano-technology, transgenic crops, psychological engineering, genome hybridized cloning, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, engineered organisms, self-replicating molecular robotic assemblers ("gray goo problem")... Techno-luddites fear human extinction. At the other end are the bioethicists who believe policies and self regulation will avert disaster. Reads: Kurzweil, Kaczynski, Moravec, Dyson

Over-Population - Soaring increase in world's uncontrolled human growth impacts available freshwater, food, health-care, environment, economics, consumerism, spread of diseases and just about every other facet of life. projections indicate that world population of 6.2 billion may again double in fifty years. Followers range from those who've foregone children & have had voluntary sterilization to those who've embrace large families and only then sound the alarm, like Al Gore, David Packard (H-P founder) and Sripati Chandrasekhar (India's birth control advocate). Supports: Family planning, birth control and voluntary sterilization.

Monetary Disaster - Reads lots of Ayn Rand and believe the Federal Reserve system is evil. Newsletters suggest hard assets of gold & silver bullion/coin and similar precious-metal oriented investments. They are preparing for paper money to become worthless, thus have a good burglar alarm system and enough food/ supplies to last a couple of months, or perhaps even a year, until a new monetary system (formal or informal) is re-established.

Biblical Revelations - The Savior is going to return very soon, the final battle with the devil will occur in their lifetime, the rapture is eminent. Very wide range of beliefs and attitudes in this group. Pacifist to armed camp, no food stockpiles (leave that to God) to decades of food storage, etc. The ability to put trust in faith, above all else, is essential to members of this group. Usually follow one very charismatic leader's interpretations of the bible.

Post-9/11 Reactionaries - Are convinced that government should have unlimited powers to do everything and anything to stop all potential terrorist threats. They want greater protection through increased governmental controls over citizens and foreigners alike, both within the country's borders and elsewhere. Willing to preemptively strike the enemy. Willing to surrender civil liberties and human rights in order to feel safe and secure. Believers rarely take any personal action, relying instead on the government to make changes.

Bird Flu devlopments

Spooky stuff - Tamiflu was temporarily available, as was Relenza, until access to supplies was tightened up. so that government stockpiles could be created for politicians, government employees and those in the medical profession (you come last, Mr Citizen!). GPs have lately argued for greater access to flu drugs...but in the meantime it's worth noting that, like with most disease strains, viruses can develop a resistance to antibiotics. Bugger.,25197,23702345-2702,00.html

PROMINENT mutations of bird flu are resistant to one of the main antiviral drugs Australia has stockpiled in case of an outbreak, new research reveals.
A report in Nature - an international weekly journal of science - has found common mutations of the H5N1 bird flu virus that have emerged in human influenza are resistant to the antiviral drug Tamiflu.
However, they are still "strongly inhibited" by an alternative drug Relenza.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Economic collapse wins - hands down

Survivor Magazine readers have spoken - the greatest threat to civilisation as we know it is the threat of wholesale economic collapse.
The majority of readers (67%) believe economic collapse will be our undoing, closely followed by climate change (17%), with a possible pandemic (influenza etc) and World War III tying for third place with 15%. The least likely scenario embraced by readers was an asteroid strike (5%).
Given the skyrocketing price of oil, the shockwaves of the sub-prime mortgage fallout, various drought and flood events that have pushed up the price of food (combined with petrol price hikes), it's little surprise that economic collapse is at the forefront of readers' minds.
Stay tuned for a fresh survey :^)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Happening - another survivalist scarefest

Oh boy, here we go again. I thought 20 Years After looked spooky (and played on the undercurrent of paranoia prevalent in the world right now). I'm heartened by the fact that this movie is directed by king of the bombs, M. Night Shyamalen, who is responsible for the god-awful Signs, the terribly predictable The Village and the really appalling Lady in the Water. Sixth Sense has been his only real triumph, and I have every reason to believe Mr Shyamalen is a one-hit wonder (but I'll probably still watch The Happening anyway so I can speak from experience). Anyway, scare the pants off yourself with this little trailer...oh no,what could it be? Sarin gas? Giant birds? Terry Wrists?

More survivalist books on the way...

You may remember Louis Theroux's engrossing journey into survivalism's hardcore heart in the US from an earlier post on this blog. Well now Theroux has penned a book about his adventures - The Call of the Weird: Encounters with Survivalists, Porn Stars, Alien Killers, and Ike Turner. Can't wait to read it...

But wait, there's more!

I've always been mad-keen on falconry, but there doesn't seem to be much of a 'scene' in Australia. But that doesn't mean I can't read about it, and this book definitely has survival merit IMHO - Falcon Fever: A Falconer in the Twenty-first Century by Tim Gallagher.

And lastly, of interest to Australians is Australia's Empire (Oxford History of the British Empire Companion Series) by Deryck Schreuder. I loved this particular quote:

"From the 1850s, survivalist anxieties became a feature of colonial political culture as rival European powers made their presence felt in the Pacific. These dangers were often more imaginary than real, as the succession of Russian invasion scares indicates; but this did not curtail their capacity to influence colonial attitudes and defence strategies." So we've always been paranoid!

Happy reading!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Food, glorious food! A survivalist staple

Oliver knew the score...

Food, glorious food!
Don't care what it looks like:
Burned, underdone, crude --
Don't care what the cook's like.
Just thinking of growing fat --
Our senses go reeling.
One moment of knowing that
Full-up feeling!

If you don't want to end up singing this kind of refrain when the shit hits the fan (TSHTF) or things are otherwise generally tough, some forward planning insofar as your personal food storage is concerned is mandatory.

Don't go crazy buying kilos of rice because everyone else is doing it, if you can't stand the stuff. Adhere to that favourite survivalist maxim 'Eat what you store and store what you eat!'

Keep a food diary for a fortnight and record every meal and normal shopping purpose, then sit down and work out what foods make yup your normal intake.

Now compare this to lists at one of these websites:

And then have a tinker with these food calculators:,11664,2003-1,00.html

Now go shopping! Be sure to reach for produce at the very back of shelves (the longer life/more recently manufactured foods are - just like they should be in your own kitchen - often stored here.

If you're a cereal lover, it's not a bad idea to buy bulk. Cereal is a great filler and I know many lazy folk who, when they can't be bothered, will often dine on cereal for dinner! Combined with long-life milk which can be stored on shelves until opened, this is a great addition to your stores.

Large tins of fruit are also good buys, as are jars of Tang (vitamin C), Milo, coffee, tea, chai, cheap 'tea' biscuits (check packaging is intact), crackers etc.

When shopping, avoid crowds - shop late at night, or in off-peak times (ie not on pension/dole/pay days). Try not to draw too much attention to yourself. Shop at different supermarkets, chase bargains and - most importantly - ensure you can store food in a safe way free of weevils and mice/rats.

Go easy on frozen foods - if the power goes, so does several hundred dollars worth of meat and other produce. A good idea to prolong the life of your freezer for a day or so is to line it with bottles of water which will freeze, and defrost, very slowly.

For the cupboard, Bay leaves can deter moths, but freezing flour etc overnight ensures any eggs will be killed, then your produce can be safely stored.

Man vs Wild - Bear Grylls' new book

Bear Grylls has a new season of his hit show Man vs Wild (airing in the US from May 2), and a new book, "Man vs. Wild: Survival Techniques From the Most Dangerous Places on Earth."
The monster 253-page guide is packed with helpful hints and divided into ecosystems, making it easy to reference if you ever find yourself lost in the Amazon or stuck in the middle of the Sahara...but how relevant is it for your average 'survivor'?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Bee afraid...our food is at risk

They're nature's tireless workers - no wonder they call them busy.But you've probably never considered just how busy bees really are.
Well, consider this, these humble little insects are responsible for pollinating much of the food we eat.
Without them, we'd starve.
And this is where it gets scary.
Because, right now, a tiny parasite is threatening to wipe out our bees.
It's already destroyed bee populations around the world.
And, now, it's on our doorstep in New Zealand.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

20 Years After...

So you thought all survivalists would get along after an apocalyptic event...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Australia unprepared for national disasters

A report to be released today finds that Australia has more to fear from natural disasters than a terrorist attack.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) report says Australia is not well placed to deal with a major natural disaster and governments need to pay more attention to emergency response management.

The report finds that since September 11, 2001, governments have spent around $10 billion on counter-terrorism initiatives, but only $500 million on emergency response capabilities.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Armageddon tea shortage fears

Great Scott, what kind of empire thrives without an iconic beverage like tea? Not the British empire, which was plagued by fears of a potential dramatic shortage of tea in the aftermath of a nuclear attack, recently declassified documents show.

A tea drought would be "very serious" if Britain were to come under nuclear attack, according to a memo drafted between 1954 and 1956.

"The tea position would be very serious with a loss of 75 percent of stocks and substantial delays in imports and with no system of rationing it would be wrong to consider that even one ounce (28 grams) per head per week could be ensured," it said. "No satisfactory solution has yet been found."

The memos were among a number of documents released by the National Archives.

Natural Born Survivors

What happens when one partner believes the end is nigh, and the other partner's preparations for 'the big one' are regarded as a quaint, somewhat eccentric hobby? A UK journalist was in that very predicament until prevailing world events changed her mind - and she's written about it in a recent issue of UK's Guardian newspaper.

"For three years, my husband has talked about taking to the hills. About buying a smallholding on Exmoor where, with our four-year-old daughter, we can safely survive the coming storm - famine, pestilence and a total breakdown of society. I would wait for his lectures to finish, then return to my own interests. I had no time for the end of civilisation. As an editor on a glossy magazine until a few months ago, I was too busy. There was always a new Anya Hindmarch bag to buy, or a George Clooney premiere to attend.

"But recently, I've wavered. Much of what he has been predicting has come true: global economic meltdown, looming environmental disaster, a sharp rise in oil and food prices that has already led to the rationing of rice in the US, and riots in dozens of countries worldwide."

University survivalist survey

Survey explores reactions to possible emergencies, including radiological and nuclear incidents
University of Western Sydney medical researchers are launching a study to investigate how Australians would cope psychologically and emotionally in the face of an emergency, including a nuclear accident or attack.
The confidential online survey will gauge what Australians know, think and feel about nuclear and radiological issues and canvas concerns they may have about accidents and terrorism involving nuclear materials. Similar surveys have been carried out in Canada and Europe.
Professor Beverley Raphael, from the School of Medicine's Science of Mental Health and Adversity Unit (SCIMHA), says information is an important resource for helping Australians cope with the psychological and emotional challenges of any emergency.
"It's vital we establish the community's perceptions of potential threats, their knowledge of the dangers and their expectations of the response of government and emergency services," says Professor Raphael, who is also the Chair of the National Committee advising on mental health impacts of terrorism and disasters.
The survey asks questions about how people have reacted in previous emergencies and how they would react in different situations involving accidents or attacks, their level of preparedness, and their thoughts on matters such as nuclear and radiological issues and the likelihood of a terrorist strike in Australia.
"While it is unlikely that such an incident will happen, it is important to understand how individuals think they would respond and, if an incident did occur, which sources they would turn to for critical emergency information," says Professor Raphael.
"In general, people respond well to such challenges and are emotionally resilient. However, education can focus on helping people to be better prepared and to understand the most effective ways to deal with such a threat."
"Previous international research has shown people are less anxious about potential threats and dangers if they are better informed," she says.
"While there are substantial initiatives in place to deal with any such threat and to protect the population, there is the need for greater understanding of ways in which people would cope with any stresses involved and how they might best be supported afterwards," says Professor Raphael.
The research results will be used to help improve the community's understanding of emergency preparedness programs and the response of emergency services that are first on the scene of an accident or attack.
This UWS research is supported by the Federal Government with assistance from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).
The survey can be found at: and will remain open until mid May 2008.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Stocking your bunker

In the 1950s and 1960s, bunkers were a feature of many American suburban homes, populated by families fearful of the prospect of nuclear war. That threat has subsided, but now many reasonable people are stocking up on essential supplies in preparation for a new cataclysm.

Alex Steffen, a journalist and editor based in Seattle, is one of those "daring to prepare" for a coming "tiny apocalypse".
"The systems we rely on are brittle and facing strain," he says. "Here in Seattle we are vulnerable to earthquakes and I also live near a big volcano. Climate change is causing more extreme weather events. There could be a global bird flu outbreak or some other pandemic."
For these reasons, Steffen and his girlfriend have stocked six weeks' worth of food in their basement and have invested in a water-purifying kit. "We are taking precautions," he says, referring to himself as an "urban liberal survivalist".

Ed Day - A Survivalist Tale

Here's a great serialised novel being blogged by an Australian - the scene is Sydney, set in the months after the bird flu pandemic kills millions. The story follows three hundred survivors as they try to rebuild their society, in a city of the dead. New chapters will be posted each week.

"All I could think about was how empty the city was. Sydney wasn’t sleeping, it died on March 21. It was a corpse. Where there had been so much life, and drama, and laughter, there was now no breathe, no movement, nothing.Still and dead.Tens of thousands of utterly lifeless apartments and offices and mansions and weatherboard cottages and supermarkets and coffee shops and bars. The best city in the world was already decaying around us, eight weeks after ED Day."

The perils of stockpiling

For consumers concerned about rising food prices, stockpiling probably makes little economic sense, said Bill Knudson, a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Michigan State University. "The thing about stockpiling is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy," he said. "The easiest way to raise food prices is if everybody went out and stockpiled food."

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Sub-survival solution

Check out these novel modules, which can be linked together to form a self-contained survival retreat that can be hidden in the backyard either underground or in a shed. And a steal (cough) at just $US1,570,000.00 + installation for the Climate Change Protection Complex. If you're a cashed-up multi-millionaire, it should be no problem. For everyone else, start looking for your welder...

Gold, gold, gold for Australia

There's gold in them thar retreats...hidden in the rafters, buried in the garden. Those survivalists lurve their shiny insurance, but you know what they say about too much of a good thing. Fortune Magazine's article The Appeal of Gold is an illuminating read about the hows and whys of gold's popularity among those obsessed with the 'end times'. Gold is seen as a highly desirable form of currency in the event our economy crumbles...but as the author points out, you can't hedge against everything...

"As the survivalist instinct rises in all of us, it's worth asking ourselves, How much of this should I do for real emergency preparedness and how much for an investment because everyone else is feeling the same way?

"Much of the current growth in survivalism comes from people who, having witnessed the aftermath of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, are adopting measures to ensure that they will at least have food and shelter in a worst-case scenario. They stock up on emergency food supplies and water and maybe look into solar panels - things that would be considered reasonable to anyone who lived through the Cold War and spent time in school learning to huddle under a desk should anyone press the big red button. Those things just seem like Good Common Sense."

Survivalism goes mainstream

Food shortages, grocery and fuel price rises...finally, people are starting to take notice of just how easily the status quo can be tipped against them - and how frighteningly dependent we have all become on cars and supermarket-supplied food in the West.

This interesting article from the San Franciso Chronicle shows that even seasoned global strategists are getting gloomy about the future:

"The traditional face of survivalism is that of a shaggy loner in camouflage, holed up in a cabin in the wilderness and surrounded by cases of canned goods and ammunition.

"It is not that of Barton M. Biggs, the former chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley. Yet in Biggs' new book, "Wealth, War and Wisdom," he says people should "assume the possibility of a breakdown of the civilized infrastructure."

"Your safe haven must be self-sufficient and capable of growing some kind of food," Biggs writes. "It should be well-stocked with seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc. Think Swiss Family Robinson. Even in America and Europe, there could be moments of riot and rebellion when law and order temporarily completely breaks down."

If that doesn't make the average person sit up and take interest, then nothing will. We are all in control of our own destinies, but a destabilising event such as economic collapse resulting in a breakdown of society could redirect the future of us all. The question is - will you be prepared for the fallout? Will you survive?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bush tucker nutrition guide released

This looks novel! A guide has been written outlining the nutritional content of traditional bush tucker foods such as kangaroo, crocodile and water buffalo by dialysis nurse Lesley Salem. Salem says she see a lot of patients with kidney, heart disease and diabetes who ask her which bush tucker foods are healthy to eat.
Obviously this guide would be a bonus to any Australian kit, helping to supplement diets in hard times.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Walkabout with Ray Mears

Survival guru Ray Mears, author of the classic Essential Bushcraft, is a man to be respected, so it's pleasing to see he's turned his attentions to surviving on one of the world's most challenging continents - our own Aussie backyard.
Ray Mears Goes Walkabout is the fruit of a lifelong interest in Australia. His handsomest book yet, it is illustrated with his own excellent photography and tells the stories of the unsung heroes, white and black, of Outback survival, who feature in his new four-part BBC2 TV series (from May 25, 8pm). No word yet on when it will air here, but hopefully the ABC or SBS will pick up the rights.

Tamiflu - time to ditch the script?

Bird flu fears had Australians raiding the chemists (with the help of understanding GPs) for personal stocks of Tamiflu in the event of a pandemic.
Now general influenza concerns have prompted a call to ditch the paperwork and give greater access to the drug.
I'm sure the drug company manufacturing Tamiflu, Roche, would be thrilled...but last I heard they were struggling to pump out enough for government stockpiles in the event of a fully-fledged H5N1 outbreak. A case of money talks?

"A submission received by the National Drugs and Poisons Scheduling Committee has called for change in the classification of Tamiflu so it can be bought over the counter in pharmacies.
Currently, the antiviral drug is scheduled S4. Many specialists argue its prescription-only status prevents sick people from getting the drug quickly enough to be effective."

Global food shortage?

ABC Radio had an interesting piece on rice shortages...

"So far the threat of a global food crisis has not affected Australia, but there are worrying signs appearing in the United States where some worried locals are beginning to hoard supplies."

It seems things that were once the provence of 'nutty survivalists' are finally going 'mainstream'. Should we be worried?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The seven enemies of life for survivalists

A reader of the excellent Bison Survival Blog made these salient points, which are worth sharing as they more or less sum up in a nutshell what true survival is all about.


We become mentally prepared when we are able to use the 7 Skills to defeat the 7 Enemies of Life.

The 7 Skills:

Fire Starting
Water Procurement
Shelter Building
Foraging for food
First Aid
Self Defense

The 7 Enemies of Life:

Fear and anxiety
Cold and Heat
Boredom and Loneliness
Pain and Injury

In essence, we develop self confidence by mastering the skills needed to overcome any situation that arises to threaten our life.

Always remember, none of us will be ultimate survivors - we all have to die one day.

But the successful survivor extends his or her life beyond an earlier death...a death that was caused by ignorance of how to make that life last longer.


How many skills do you have? Enough to survive a catastrophic event and its fallout? 
If the answer is none, maybe you should start learning - right now.
Could you handle the 7 enemies of life? Is there an eighth?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bunker down, survivalist style

Bunkers aren't just the stuff of war movies. Modern-day survivalists (and retro survivalists for that matter) love their bunkers, be they nuclear war-style retreats or secret caches for food and other supplies.
You can track down some great examples of old bunkers through the Australian Bunker Project and Wikipedia.
Check out these Swiss bunkers. Read all about Hitler's bunker.
Consider making your own bunker by converting a concrete water tank.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Who is Bear Grylls?

Former British soldier 'Bear' Grylls aka Edward Michael Grylls, a 33-year-old risk-taker from the Isle of Wight who prides himself in surviving any environment or culinary challenge, is the latest celebrity survivalist to dazzle cable television. 

His TV series Born Survivor, airing on the Discovery Channel, is compulsive viewing, if only for Grylls clownish antics and intestinal fortitude when it comes to taste-testing exotic foods such as goat testicles and camel fat.

The fearless, well-fed survival 'guru' has an interesting resume. Make up your own mind about the man.

Get Close Up with Bear and read a review of his show. Learn what the critics have to say about Bear.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Humanure - disposing of/recycling waste

Your plumbing is shot (this is your house we're talking about) and there's no plumber to help. You can't work out the system (or should that be the cistern?) and the family is fed up with crossing its collective legs. 
What do you do? 
You re-think your humane waste system - preferably before the proverbial shit hits the fan.
Some people might find the following distasteful, but hygiene is an important survival issue and this is a very effective, and ultimately more useful way of dealing with human excrement, which is usually pumped into the ocean (think about that next time you swallow some sea water).
Joseph Jenkins' book The Humanure Handbook (3rd Edition) has achieved legendary status. You can buy the book at Amazon, or read it online for free. Jenkins has also come up with The Loveable Loo, a collection toilet that looks easy to make if you have a woodworker in the house.
Still curious?
Why not visit Humanure HQ...


The Ultimate BOB (Bug-Out Bag)

If you're caught on the hop when disaster strikes, a BOB (Bug-Out Bag) can be your insurance. BOBs can be tailored to meet your needs (ie. single person vs a mother of young children), and stored near an exit, in an office desk drawer, in your car, or in some other secure cache located elsewhere.
Your BOB should address basic survival requirements - food, shelter and water.
If you're too lazy to make your own BOB, there are some commercially available, like the Safecastle Rig and the Go Bag Survival Kit.
In Sydney, Australia, Mayor Clover Moore is advocating citizens create a 'go bag' - the idea is not new, and has been mooted by US authorities for its citizens. The Go Bag recommended (see picture) is just about the poxiest piece of kit you could ever devise (including the 'disc containing back-up files of work' - your life is at stake, stuff the paperwork!), but it's a starting point - especially for women wearing high heels. Commuter 'Go Bags' will be much smaller than the list below, but stick to the basics - first aid, water and food - and build from there. Consider having multiple BOBs at work, home and on your person.

BOB elements and sizes vary, but if you want to be prepared for an emergency, think about including some of the following:-

Fully-charged Mobile (Cell) Phone - the network may go down, but if it doesn't, you can still contact family and friends.
Personal papers of importance
$100 in cash
Prescription medication
Family photo(s) in the event of a disaster, for use in the search for missing people
Maps (topographic) of your work and home area - if public transport fails, you need to know alternate routes/ways to get home.
Compass - and make sure you learn how to use one
Basic first aid kit
Dust masks x 2 - try not to crush these as you pack them as it makes them less effective
Water bottle (full size - enough for a 72-hour period)
Water purification tablets for when the good water runs out
Torch with fresh batteries
Knife - Swiss Army at the very least, or a Leatherman tool in knife/gun-phobic countries such as Australia
Can opener
Radio with fresh batteries (rotate batteries regularly - old batteries are great for remote control handsets)
Toilet paper
Antiseptic gel handwash
Aspirin/Panadol - or headahe/painkiller equivalent
Fire starter/matches
Space blanket
Beanie (in the winter, it's important to keep warm - you lose a considerable amount of body heat via your head)
Energy bars/chocolate
Packet soup/museli
Tissues or baby wipes for cleaning/personal hygiene
Duct tape - has 101 uses and is indispensable
Binoculars are a handy piece of kit that can also help you find out what's going on around you.
If you have room (and depending on how big you want to go) a cheap tarp and some rope is a great addition.

In an emergency, your core objective is to survive, and then to relocate to a safer area - usually your own home. Don't hang around in the city. Help those that you can, but your chief aim should be to get to a safe place and regroup with family and friends. From there, if it's necessary (ie. in a natural disaster situation), plan your next move.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Rescue foods - for real survival

Bircher muesli is the surprise rescue food here, developed by an Australian food scientist dedicated to alleviating suffering during disaster situations here and overseas. 

"Rescue Foods flagship product is All Day Bircher. This lightweight, compact and delicious food is made form all natural ingredients and contains protein, carbohydrate, fibre, and all possible essential micronutrients whilst being free from meat, eggs dairy, nuts, celery, wheat, gluten, artificial additives, flavours or colours. It is suitable for vegetarian, vegan, halal and kosher requirements.

All Day Bircher can be stored without refrigeration for up to a year, and is instantly ready to be eaten straight from the pack with just the addition of cold water."

The vegetarian survival kit

Are you ready for the vegetarian apocalypse?
It's not just the carnivores who are obsessed with eking out survival in tough times, the vegetarians have a strong sense of self preservation too, ifthe survival chatter on is anything to go by.
Aside from general survival suggestions, food stores should be protein-based and low-sodium.
There are also suggestions for storing commercially sold ready-to-eat meals vegetarian/vegan meals. OK if you have the money, but for most people, the bulk storage of beans/lentils/rice/nuts and powered soups etc would be a more obvious course of action.
Add to this dried fruit, 'energy' bars (ie. muesli, chocolate or that strange melange of ingredients that results in those dark bendy chewy logs), crackers, canned fruit, powdered soy milk and vitamins.
One writer has soberly suggested the inclusion of spirits such as vodka and brandy - for medicinal reasons, of course ;)
You can also chase up a copy of Apocalypse Chow for some meat-free meal ideas.

Survival food in a pill

So what can you do when your food rations - fresh, stored or otherwise - are non-existent or compromised? Keep some of these in your cupboard for when times are grim. Survival Tabs evolved from early space program research (along with the rather unpalatable free-dried ice cream). The product claims to keep you going for months at a time, providing you with all of your necessary vitamins and supplements. They're compact, lightweight and easy to store. Check them out Survival Tabs.

Survival gadgets: the solar-powered laptop

This little beauty would be a fantastic asset if your power supply was interrupted, or you were away from conventional power sources for some time.
The CES 2008: Voltaic Generator bag charges your laptop on the go - read all about this groovy little product at Pocket Lint.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

New Zealand - a survivalist paradise?

Ask any Australian and they'll tell you there are more New Zealanders in Australia than there are in New Zealand. According to the following news story, Americans (and some Australians) are making a run on New Zealand real estate with a view to setting up their ideal survivalist bolthole. The town of Queenstown and its surrounds is one of the most sought-after locations.

"Nature has made this the perfect hideout. Disappear all the way down here and who would ever find you? Until now, Queenstown’s main claim to fame has been its pioneering of the bungy jump but these days it’s attracting a very different kind of dropout. This place has emerged as a surrogate international life raft. It’s become a sanctuary for wealthy Americans and others so scared of terrorism, they’ve opted for the ultimate sea change. There’s never been any doubt that New Zealand has the scenery, and well rather a lot of it. The vast majority of overseas tourists come from Australia but the thought, or perhaps the prejudice has always been, great for a holiday but who would really want to live here? Well the answer now is a great many. Quietly, this has suddenly become the great escape." Check out the Foreign Correspondent story here.
Truth really is strange than fiction! 

The Ultimate 21st Century Survivalist Bolthole

Looking for the ultimate in survival digs?
Check out Countryside Magazine's "Ultimate No-Holds-Barred Forget-the-Cost What's New Fully Equipped Homestead of the Present and Near Future You Can Buy Off-the-shelf Today."

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Choosing Eden - and survival

Peak Oil is one issue that has seen a rise in the number of people exploring self-sufficiency as a means to sustain themselves in the future.
Adrienne Langman, along with husband Larry, left her cappucino lifestyle in Sydney, trading city life for life on the land in Nana Glen, NSW - one of actor Russell Crowe's haunts. No doubt it's a pricey neck o' the woods to start afresh, but you can't beat the rainfall or temperate climate.
Another great book is Woman on the Mountain by writer Sharyn Munro, about her life carving out a solo niche for herself in an old mudbrick cottage in Wollombi, NSW.
And then there's The Good Life (shamelessly taken from the UK TV serial of the same name) follows a six-month 'experiment by a Queensland family in living off the proceeds of their garden.
Nothing like a good DIY story to get you motivated.

The fictional survivalist

Do you want to know what survivalists do when they're not working on preparedness? Well, in addition to all of the other things every day people do, they enjoy survivalist fiction and movies. Every time you read an article related to survivalism, just about every writer makes reference to the Mad Max movies as the quintessential survivalist movie. It's not, but it does have very obvious survivalist themes. However, no survival nut worth his salt would eat dog food, unless the dog was eating as well as its owner ;)

I am Legend
The Survivalist
Panic in the Year Zero
No Blade of Grass 
Dawn of the Dead
Packin' it In
The Survivors
Red Dawn
The Postman
Mad Max
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Cast Away
Resident Evil: Apocalypse

The Day After in the US 
Threads in the UK
Survivor reality TV

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
Tomorrow by Philip Wylie
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Stark by Ben Elton
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling
Farnham's Freehold by Robert A. Heinlein
Tunnel in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein
How to be a Survivor by Robert A. Heinlein (nuclear war essay)
Lucifer's Hammer by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven 
Footfall by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven
The Postman by David Brin
Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse by James Wesley Rawles (Editor of
Good News by Edward Abbey
The Survivalist is the title of a series of paperback novels by Jerry Ahern

Do you have a favourite not mentioned above? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Aquaponics - a survivalist's dream

Ever notice how supermarket stock runs right down over Christmas or long weekends? You can walk in sometimes and there's no bread, milk or meat - fresh or otherwise. Now imagine if the shops were always like that, and there were queues for basic food items. Now imagine if the basic necessities were rationed (such as in World Wars I and II).
You can stockpile all you like, but nothing will ever replace the vitality of good fresh food. So how do you go about producing the right kind of food, and enough of it, independently of the commercial food chains?
Aquaponics is one exciting solution - an enclosed system where fish and vegetables thrive in a water-rich environment, complementing each other.
A nice adjunct to this could include chickens and a worm farm, which could easily be intergrated.
Check out the set-up that Joel, from Western Australia, has put together to keep him in fish and fresh food.

Meet the urban survivalists

"If I hadn't been looking for J., I'd never have noticed him -- neither short nor tall, rail-thin, dark T-shirt and khakis, no logos or name brands. The non-look is by design. "It's always good to hide in plain sight," he says. He is a survivalist, but not a grizzled Vietnam vet with a camouflage wardrobe, hunkered in an earth-covered shack in Idaho with a thumb-worn copy of The Poor Man's Atomic Bomb. He is young, 27, and a freelance artist (album covers, graphic design), and, most discordantly, he lives in New York City, which, all things considered, seems like the last place in the world right now where a survivalist would choose to survive." New York Magazine goes in search of urban survivalists.

A survivor's best mate?

The guys over at Pocket-Lint have just flagged the arrival of this nice piece of kit.

"Eton has launched a new hand-crank powered survival radio, the FR1000 at CES in Las Vegas for survivalists scared global warming is going to bring on an onset of biblical weather and disasters."

Monday, January 7, 2008

History of survivalism

The 1970s wasn't just a time for peace and love - it was the beginning of paranoia about the survival of human civilisation.
Read this interesting summary of why people started 'heading for the hills' - literally and metaphorically - in anticipation of a catastrophic event.
Bear in mind, however, that this is a Wikipedia entry and should be treated as such - there are some great links, though.
An interesting addition to this page is the Wiki page devoted to survival retreats.
There are also some nice pop culture references for those keen to immerse themselves in survival-oriented fiction and television shows.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A woman's survivalist kit

Your beauty and personal hygiene regime doesn't have to suffer when TSHTF - just adapt, with the help of basic larder supplies and some novel craft projects! by Ella Fortune of Survivor Magazine.

When tampons and sanitary napkins are in short supply, there are some longer-wearing, reuseable alternatives. Consider alternatives such as 'the keeper', a rubber cup that can be worn internally to collect blood during your period. Another alternative is reusable/washable 'moonpads'. You can also make your own, as seen here at www. If you start using them now, you'll be reducing the contribution to landfill.

Dental care
What did our forebears use before toothpaste became mainstream? That all-purpose household ingredient, baking soda! Just whack some on your fingers or toothbrush and add a little water and get to work. It also brightens your teeth.
The world used to be a smelly place and it wasn't unusual for lots of people to be 'on the nose' - and I'm not speaking metaphorically. Homemade deodorants are easy to whack together. To make a basic powder deodorant, mix equal parts of baking powder, or baking soda, and cornflour, a ¼ cup of each to start with. Add a few drops of essential oil. Lavender, cedar or tea tree are basic, gentle oils for those not sure what they want - lemon is also a popular alternative. Put the mixture in a sealed container and shake for a minute or so before applying with a damp facecloth. Don't wash it off.
Make your own! Yes, you really can. Just follow these simple steps and you can create your own personalised makeup - but you may find you need to give it go a few times to perfect it. Japanese Geishas favoured rice flour for their faces, so if you're pale you might consider giving this a try - but don't get too carried away. You don't want anyone mistaking you for a ghost!
You can't go past beeswax for lipcare - it's cheap, natural and leaves your lips 100% kissable.
Sun protection
If you're prone to getting sunburn, then be sensible. Tans can be dangerous, promoting malignant growth of skin cells. Large floppy hats, sarongs and t-shirts are quite acceptable. Let's face it, you won't be too fashion-conscious - you'll be too worried about surviving! You could also try this recipe for homemade herbal sun protection lotion.
Well, hairspray is one product that most likely will not be around in plentiful supply should catastrophe strike, but a nice fallback is sugar and water. Just add a spoonful of sugar and swish it around in (hot) water and put it in a spray bottle. This one has been a fashion secret for a long time, just beware when you're outside - bees can't resist the smell of sugar!
Skin scrub
Don't put that sugar away just yet, why not make yourself an invigorating skin scrub? Check out the simple recipe right here.
Start growing soapwort - this plant has, as the name suggests, fairly unique properties that are similar to soap. Mix two cups of distilled (boiled, and then cooled down) water, 1.5 tablespoons of dried and chopped soapwort root and two teaspoons of lemon verbena. Boil the water (again) with the soapwort root for 20 minutes, then add verbena. Allow to cool, before straining and bottling. Use within eight days. Beer also makes a nice hair rinse, but in a survival could cause tension with the beer drinkers!
Hair styling
Forget tongs, curlers and hairdryers. However, there are ways you can style your hair to some degree without these things. If your hair is long enough, braid/plait it while damp to get a lovely wavy effect when it dries and you take it out. For super straight hair, keep brushing it out in from of a heat source such as a fire. This also stimulates the natural oils in your scalp to give you lustrous locks. If your hair is short, consider using a headband to keep it neat and tidy. You could also style it by scrunching it with the sugar and water hairspray mixture for extra volume.
Stocking up
There are a lot of things you can do to make your life easier, but one very easy one is to stock up on a few essentials in the event of an emergency so that you may not need to adopt all of the above ideas.

These can include:-
Naprogesic or Ponstan, for those who suffer severe period pain. (Remember girls, as odd as this sounds, exercise can help to diminish this pain by speeding up your period)
Tampons or sanitary napkins (plan ahead in three-month lots and seek out unbleached cotton products)
Folding brush
Bobby pins, hair ties, cloth head band
A good hairbrush
Small mirror
Deodorant wipes
Baby wipes for make-up removal, dirty hands etc
Hand lotion
Lip balm
Grooming kit with manicure clippers/emery boards
Dental floss
Safety pins
Small sewing kit

Some optional additions could include:-
Shoe wipes
Nail polish remover
Spare hoisery
Clear nail polish for runs in stockings
Baby powder
Earrings backs
Super glue (for those broken heels)
Roll of sticky tape, used for removing lint
Notepad and pen
Hat that can be rolled up
Fresh white cotton t-shirt

Hope that gets you girls thinking!

Meet the new brand of survivalists

Meet the new brand of survivalists - they're probably your next-door neighbours. That's what Australian journalist Mark Whittaker discovered when he wrote a feature story for the Weekend Australian Magazine in November 2006.

"Adelaide aircraft engineer Steve McReady is sick of trying to warn people who won't listen, he is bugging out. He has sold four of his seven investment properties, and has a fifth on the market. He's putting his collection of 10 classic Triumphs and BMWs up for sale. The girlfriend begged him to keep the BM convertible, but there won't be much use for it in the world he sees coming.

"He has bought a property in New Zealand - which he says fares well in climate-change models - and once he gets his affairs in order he'll move there to learn about growing vegies and raising chooks. He wants to build a big shed to stock with all the important things that will become difficult to obtain, such as fencing wire and Band-Aids. But he worries that he's left it too late, and that the world might start getting ugly before he can learn how to make cheese and grow potatoes."

Read the full story here.

Australia - The place to be

When David Clark looked into the crystal ball after his son was born, he didn't like what he saw.

In his three-part series, posted on popular Australia/NZ Peak Oil chat group The Oil Drum, he looks into the future and talks about how he/we might cope with the challenges of climate change, peak oil and a possible pandemic situation.

"The Good News
Australia is a continent of coal, topped by mountains of Uranium. It is surrounded by a sea of Natural Gas punctuated by reefs of Shale Oil....OK, perhaps that is a little bit of hyperbole, but we are a very energy-rich nation. We are a net energy exporter.
In addition to our energy resources, you can’t seem to dig a hole in your garden without hitting a seam of iron, gold, zinc, or some other resource.
We have a population of only 20 million in a country nearly the size of the US.
We are completely self-sufficient in food; in fact we are a net food exporter.
If you have to live through a time of resource-depletion, this is the continent you want to be in."

Read it all here.

Free online survival course

You don't get too much for free these days. Survival Trading's offering this free online survival course for armchair punters who want to try their hand at Australian-based survival education.

Take the course right here.

Poke around the site, which seems to just be getting started. They also have this compact survival kit for sale:

Bushcraft - Richard Graves style

In his sadly now out-of-print Bushcraft books, the late bushman Richard Graves (of the Graves Irish literary clan), shared his love of the Australian outdoors. He wrote:

"The practice of bushcraft shows many unexpected results. The five senses are sharpened, and consequently the joy of being alive is greater.

"The individual's ability to adapt and improvise is developed to a remarkable degree. This in turn leads to increased self-confidence.

"Self-confidence, and the ability to adapt to a changing environment and to overcome difficulties, is followed by a rapid improvement in the individual's daily work. This in turn leads to advancement and promotion.

"Bushcraft, by developing adaptability, provides a broadening influence, a necessary counter to offset the narrowing influence of modern specialisation.

"For this work of bushcraft all that is needed is a sharp cutting implement: knife, axe or machete. The last is the most useful. For the work, dead materials are most suitable. The practice of bushcraft conserves, and does not destroy, wildlife.


Read his books online here.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Top 10 Survival Books

Top 10 Survival Books

SAS Survival Guide

Crisis Preparedness Handbook

Where There Is No Doctor

The Survival Retreat

Encyclopedia of Country Living

New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency

Handy Farm Devices And How to Make Them

Five Acres And Independence

The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook: Recipes for Changing Times

The Foxfire Books

When Louis met the survivalists

BBC reporter Louis Theroux went into the wilds of Idaho, USA, to meet survivalists and learn what motivated them to adopt their lifestyle and drop out of mainstream society.
A riveting and occasionally tongue-in-cheek exploration of American survivalism at its most extreme.

Sadly, since we first posted this entry, the excellent survivalist episode appears to have been taken offline. If you want to learn more about Louis' Weird Weekends series, visit his fansite here:
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