Military Prepper Vs. Lightweight Philosopy, an Interview

Note:  All pictures in this post are original photos by Derek Ruhland (all rights reserved) and that anyone who wants to use them for anything should contact him at derekruhland@gmail.com

Prepping is a hobby that some find a bit eccentric, but many find very interesting. Sometimes, when those in the latter camp ask you questions about your philosophies or techniques, their outside experience provides a different perspective that can be as valuable as advice from fellow preppers. This happened to me recently when a friend of mine read my story “Girl,” and asked me a great question: “Why does she carry so much?”

The following is a recreation of that conversation:

FHR: So Derek, before we get into the lightweight philosophy stuff, tell the readers a little bit about your backpacking credentials.

Derek: Well I started backpacking in the San Gabriels when I was young, and I liked it, but I wasn’t hooked until I took my first trip to the High Sierras with the Boy Scouts of America when I was about 12. I ran for Senior Patrol Leader of my troop just so that I could ensure that the troop would be backpacking-focused. Every year before I got my Eagle, I led 6 – 15 guys on a 10 day trip in the High Sierras, except one year, when we did a 16 day, 150+ mi. hike through the Philmont Scout Reservation. During college I didn’t do much backpacking beyond weekend trips in the mountains east of Santa Barbara, but a year after graduation I set out to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail.

FHR: What is the Pacific Crest Trail?

Derek: It is a National Scenic Trail that runs just over 2,600 miles from Campo, California to Manning Park, British Columbia.

FHR: And what exactly does thru-hiking entail?

Derek: Well the mountain passes along the trail are only open between about April at the earliest, and early November at the latest, so there is a short window during which time you can hike the whole trail continuously. That is a thru hiker’s goal, to do the entire trail in one shot, and the time constraint makes it very challenging.

FHR: So you hiked the whole thing?

Derek: No. As with many thru-hikers, injury prevented that. I hiked 1,000 miles from Campo to South Lake Tahoe. I like to say that I thru-hiked the John Muir Trail, and did a serious section-hike of the PCT. But the origins of my failure is actually a large part of why I was so insistent that it would be better for “Girl” to carry less weight.

FHR: OK. Let’s get into that. You say that there may be a potentially dangerous miscalculation in my set up.

Derek: Yea. Well let me just start by saying that I’ve obviously not been thinking about this stuff as long as you have. Before you started telling me about your prepping I didn’t even know normal people took this stuff so seriously. So before I start telling you your business, I just want to clarify that I’m only bringing it up because I had been backpacking for years and had never heard of lightweight or ultralight philosophy, so I thought you might not have either. That being said, I do think that it could really inform some of your decision making.

FHR: OK. Disclaimer accepted. Shoot.

Derek: Well my beef with “Girl” carrying so much goes back to the troubles I ran into on the PCT. Following the timeline of the story, it seems like her and Rob were walking for a good couple weeks. And she was carrying 1/3 her body weight? That is A LOT. Now I know that traditional backpacking wisdom says a pack should be about 1/4 to 1/3 of body weight, but I can assure you that 1/3 is just too much. It’s too much for a recreational backpacking trip, and it’s DEFINITELY too much after shtf and you are thinking about speed and flexibility as serious safety considerations.

FHR: When I hiked the John Muir Trail, I was carrying a pack that weighed something like 80lbs, and I did alright on terrain that is much harder than anything you’ll encounter while fleeing a disaster.

Derek: Yea but you are a beast. And you have told me before that you were in the best shape of your life at the time, and that it was hard. The BOB needs to be packed so that you can effectively carry it whether it’s the week after Christmas and you’ve been feasting for a month straight, or it’s March, and you’ve been dedicated to your resolution for two straight months. Also, for the 95% of the JMT that is part of the PCT, the average grade is never more than an 18% over the course of an entire mile. In “Girl,” it seemed to me that they were doing a lot of off-trail travel, and regardless of how gnarly the mountains you’re walking through are, going cross-country is always going to be more strenuous.

FHR: So what would you say is a good weight?

Derek: Well you are right to base it on body weight. “Boy” can obviously carry a larger number of lbs. than “Girl.” I’d say you should set 1/6th as your goal, and do your absolute damnedest to hit it. Definitely do not settle for anything over 1/5th.

FHR: I wasn’t throwing anything extraneous in that bag. In order to reach those targets I will have to cut a lot of weight. To reduce the weight that much, a lot of important stuff would have to be left behind.

Derek: I know that you very much had weight in mind when you packed the BOB. I just think the calculus was probably weighted more heavily on the side of “benefits of having this,” than “negatives of carrying it.” Not that the stuff isn’t important, but rather that it’s easy to underestimate the downsides of extra ounces if you don’t take into account the cumulative effect of walking all day, every day, day after day, for weeks.

FHR: So you think that a 4 week trip is more than twice as hard as a 2 week trip.

Derek: Exactly. On the PCT, I had only hiked from Campo to just south of Big Bear Lake when I got a stress fracture in my left foot. That’s about 275 miles. Like I said earlier, I had done multi-week backpacking trips before. On that Philmont trip I even got close to 200 miles. But like you said, the effect of the miles on your body isn’t linear.

FHR: So how much did your PCT pack weigh?

Derek: When I started the trail, I weighed 210lbs, and my pack weighed about 37 with food and water. That’s about 1/6th.

FHR: But you said that 1/6th – 1/5th was a decent range, and here you broke your foot carrying the low end.

Derek: Well those ratios should be a little bit flexible. All body lbs. are not created equal. When I started, I was 20lbs. over trail-fit weight. That’s essentially the same as carrying 20lbs. of extra packweight. If I take those lbs. off my body weight, and put them on my pack weight, my ratio goes up all the way to 1/3rd. Obviously you cannot actually factor in extra bodyweight like that when you are calculating the packweight ratio of your BOB, but you should definitely keep it in mind. If you are overweight, maybe you should adjust the ratio to 1/7th – 1/6th, whereas if you backpack every weekend and your legs and general low-level cardio are in absolutely peak condition, then you could probably adjust it to 1/5th – 1/4th.

A special caveat here: if you are super jacked, your physical prowess does not necessarily translate to your ability to carry a load over long distances. Large muscles, especially those of the upper body, but even to a certain extent leg muscles, might easily be placed in the “extra weight” category. You just don’t use them walking long distances at speed. Nothing speaks to your ability to do that other than how much time you have spent doing it. Obviously runners will be better off than body builders, but even running is a different kind of endurance. Low-level cardio is a fitness all its own.

FHR: OK. So basically your thesis is that an injury is more of a problem than not having any particular piece of gear.

Derek: Yes. Well that’s an important part. In a post-shtf world, a broken foot would be a disaster. I could barely walk, let alone walk and carry a pack; and I definitely would have been useless if a situation warranted any kind of evasive movement. If “Girl” had had a stress fracture when those baddies found the jeep, Rob would have had to kill a bunch of fools in order to save her. And a stress fracture isn’t the only thing to worry about when it comes to heavy pack weights. You could develop patellar tendonitis, or you could get shin splints. You are also more likely to get blisters. That may not sound that bad, but let me tell you, a really deep blister will incapacitate you, or at the very least cause you to hike in sandals, which, as I found out on the PCT, is just asking for trouble.

FHR: So you said weight is one part, what are the other parts?

Derek: We’ve talked about the negatives of carrying a heavy pack. I’d also like to point out some positives of carrying a light pack. Say you are carrying a pack that is 1/7th of body weight. That pack is not a burden. If your harness fits you correctly, you won’t even really notice it. By the time I got to the JMT, I had shed 10 lbs of packweight and 20lbs. of bodyweight. When I was running low on water, my pack weighed about 20lbs, meaning that I had gone from an effective ratio of 1/3rd to an actual ratio of under 1/8th. I found myself leaving my pack on during lunch breaks without even noticing. When your pack is that light, you find yourself doing everything – eating, resting, going to the bathroom – with your pack on. In a shtf situation, that would be a major bonus. If “Girl” was carrying 1/3rd her body weight, she was taking that thing off every chance she got. When the pack was off, if there was a need to make a quick get away, she’d either have to take time saddling up, or she’d have to abandon her stuff.

FHR: OK. That makes sense. Any other benefits?

Derek: Definitely. Scouting is so much less a task when you are carrying a light pack. Instead of leaving one person with the gear while the other runs a ridge to see if there are hostiles ahead, or hikes down a canyon to see if there are any good sleeping spots near the water source, you can just both go with your gear. That way, no one has to split up, and if there is a good camping spot, no one has to back track. You just set your stuff down and your home. Or, if there are hostiles on the trail, you can set out on your detour from your current position, keeping the hostiles in view the whole time, instead of walking back down to the gear, during which time you would have no idea of their movements.

FHR: That one I like a lot.

Derek: There’s one more thing. Being physically exhausted makes everything harder. It makes setting up your tent a chore. It makes pumping water a task. It makes doing dishes nearly unbearable. In a shtf situation, it would make doing perimeter checks more of a burden, and it would make staying up on watch almost impossible. You get the idea. Now that may not seem like a big deal. It’s a survival situation right? People will just sack up and take care of business. That’s true, but ask anyone who has been in a survival situation, making it out alive is 99% mental. The will to live is your most important weapon, and exhaustion will eat away at moral faster than the government can spend money. Also, exhausted people make stupid decisions:

“Let’s just cross this skree field instead of going around.” Broken Ankle.

“There’s more water in 2 miles, just fill up one nalgene.” Seasonal stream. Dehydration.

FHR: OK. So you’ve laid out your logic on why you should carry a light pack, and it seems sound, but you didn’t really address the obvious question: what do I leave behind. It’s not like “Girl” was carrying around a hair straightener. If shtf, you need the guns and ammo and the water filtration, and all of that stuff is heavy.

Derek: This is where we get in to the nerdyness of going light. The first thing you have to do is buy a digital scale that reads accurately by the oz. Then start by weighing your big three.

FHR: Big three?

Derek: Your tent, your sleeping bag, and your pack. Check to make sure that none of them are way heavier than necessary. Most people don’t think about the pack, but it is one of the heaviest pieces of gear you carry. Some people who get their packweights really low opt to carry frameless backpacks in order to further reduce weight. Personally I don’t endorse this. I’ve never owned one, but I did a lot of research, and from what I read they become very uncomfortable with packweights above 20lbs. Being miserable carrying 20lbs seems silly to me when you could be perfectly happy carrying 22lbs. with a frame.

FHR: What about the tent?

Derek: Definitely look into tarps or tarptents. Anything you can pitch using only chord, or only a trekking pole and chord. I used a Z-packs Hexamid Solo. It’s unique in that it’s one of the only tarptents that’s long enough for me, and includes bug protection. It only weighs 16oz, including steaks. I don’t really want to get into gear specifics though. This post would be 50 pages. Instead, I’ll just say check out backpackinglight.com (BPL). You have to sign up and pay for a membership in order to read most of the articles, but as a one-time expense, I’d say it’s definitely worth it. Anything you want to know regarding going light is on that website, and they have gear reviews of all the obscure, guy-in-his-garage gear companies that you might not be able to find otherwise. Most of the best ultralight gear is being made by a few passionate dudes in a workshop, and is only sold on-line, so having a spot where you can go and find out about all of it is pretty invaluable.

This is the tarptent I used next to Wanda Lake, elev. 11,463

FHR: Any general advice on the sleeping bag?

Derek: Just that you need to consider where you live. If you live in Southern California for instance, you will never need a bag rated to 0 degrees. Get a bag or quilt rated to 30 degrees, and wear all your clothes to bed. Remember whenever you are considering a piece of gear, this is not a pleasure cruise. It might not be ideal to sleep in every item of clothing you brought, but it will be worth it during the daytime when you are carrying that stuff.

FHR: So once you get your big three dialed in, then what?

Derek: Then comes the hard part. You need to take that digital scale, weigh every single piece of gear, and make difficult decisions. I look at it like weight watchers versus a crash diet. You don’t cut out all carbs (read: binoculars). Instead, you bring the binoculars if they are important to you, but skip the chicken wings the next day (read: lighter sleeping bag). This may sound incredibly nerdy, but before the PCT I weighed everything, then created a chart of what percentage of my packweight each item, and category of items, accounted for. Then I took those percentages and compared them against how much I suspected I would value that, or those, items. Camera equipment accounted for over 1/5 of my total pack weight. I gave up an insulating layer but kept all the camera equipment and never regretted it for a second. In your case, guns and ammo could be that 1/5th. The trick is just to think of that goal number as a hard cap. As in “29lbs. is my ceiling. My pack weighs 2.5lbs, my sleeping bag weighs 1.8lbs, and my tent weighs 1lb. I have 315.2 oz. to play with. PERIOD.” The ultimate slippery slope is when you look at small stuff and start saying, “well this bandana is over weight, but it will be worth it.” If it’s worth it, cut something out.

FHR: So when you say “packweight,” are you talking about just gear, or does that include food and water.

Derek: I’m sorry. I should have defined terms earlier. That absolutely includes food and water. When you calculate your packweight you should include the maximum amount of food and water that you are ever likely to carry during your trip (escape). The weight without food and water is your baseweight. The baseweight is obviously what you are going to be making most of your adjustments to, but that’s not to say there are no improvements you can make to your food especially in order to reduce weight.

FHR: Like what?

Derek: It’s a common mistake to think that the lightest food is the best. A lot of the classic backpacking staples, like top ramen, are light in terms of oz/meal, but when you factor in how nutritive they are, it becomes apparent that you could be doing better. In general, if you maximize calorie density, you will minimize weight and maximize nutrition. Things like peanut butter, salami, cheese, and any kind of nut are very calorie dense. My favorite calorie densifyer* is olive oil. Instead of bringing two packages of freeze dried food, bring one and pour a bunch of olive oil into it. You will get more calories/oz from the olive oil that you added than you would have from that second beef stroganoff. That is what you are looking for: calories/oz. When the shtf, and you are running out the door, grab some snickers and a couple of unripe avocados. The snickers are the best instant energy boost that exists, while avocados keep gloriously in a backpack for 2 or 3 days and are super calorie dense.

FHR: Interesting. Anything else on food?

Derek: Yea just one more thing. Timing is everything. Remember how I was saying that ramen isn’t a great backpacking food? Well that’s not entirely accurate. Ramen is actually a pretty decent lunch. It’s just a terrible dinner. The carbs in ramen are good fuel if you have more hiking ahead of you, because they are easy for your body to break down. Ramen is also very salty, which is good because your body will lose salts as you sweat throughout the day. But most people eat their hot meal for dinner, and ramen is a bad dinner food for two reasons. The first is because it is low in protein. After a long day of walking, your body needs protein so that it can rebuild torn muscle fibers during the night. It is also a bad dinner because most of its calories come from carbs, which means that most of the fuel will be spent before the night is over. This isn’t a big deal when you are at home, because you are in a nice comfy bed, but if you have brought a sleeping bag that is a good balance between warmth and weight, then you will need that metabolism to be going all night in order to keep you warm. The best dinner foods are high in protein and fat, which burns slow but very hot. That is why I like to switch up my hot meal and cold meal. I cook at lunch, because most hot meals are high in carbs, and I eat my cheese and salami for dinner. In a shtf situation, cooking at lunch would also be good because your fire or stove would be less visible during the day.

FHR: OK. Well thanks for doing the interview. Anything else you want to tell the readers before you go.

Derek: Carry little, resupply often. Caches are your friend. You shouldn’t have anything on your back that you do not absolutely need between Point A and Point B. If you can’t get your baseweight down far enough to bring your packweight below your goal, just put more caches along your route. That way you wont have to carry as much food.  If you stock those puppies up and go from one to the next as fast as humanly possible, you will be safer and less prone to injury.

FHR: Good stuff. Thanks again.

*made up word

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Survival Potatoes

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Note: I am writing this post using the wordpress app – If it looks messed up, I’ll round back and fix it.

Potatoes are an amazing source of calories, and I just found out recently super-fricken-easy to grow.

The process is quite simple:

– Take a potato and cut it up into pieces. (I used one left in a sack I got from the supermarket.)
– Each piece should have a good “eye”, from this the plant will grow.
– Dig a small hole in your dirt, a few inches deep, and drop the potato piece in, with the eye facing upwards.
– Cover with dirt, and water. Continue to water every once and a while.

The pic at the top is all from only one potato from the store, about 8 or so plants. I planted them about 6 weeks ago.

Tonight, I dug one up (the worst looking of the lot), just to see how things were coming along. I got 3 small egg sized potatoes and one the size of a big raisin (don’t you love my specific measurements?) Not one to let things go to waste, I cooked these bad boys up with some olive oil, salt, and pepper – fantastic!!!!

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The piece I planted was nowhere to be found… It must have been used up to create these little guys and the plant. I found the whole process amazing, and quite impressive on the possible volume that can be created from just one “seed” potato.

I am in the process of moving again, this time to a more permanent situation (I’m buying a house) Once I move, I’m going to try the potato ring method, and see how much I get out of it. Don’t worry, a writeup will follow.

Try it yourself, potatoes are easy to grow!

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Painting Your Tomahawk… The Cheap Ass Way

A while ago I posted a blog on how to paint your rifle, the cheap ass way (HERE) with detailed instructions on a way to paint your rifle.

I wanted to demonstrate another way to paint “tactical” gear, and took a whole bunch of pictures on my phone of the process…. Then I got rid of my phone, and the pictures with it before I could write it up – so you will have to make do with before and after pictures and instructions in between.

  1. Prep your item, in this case a M48 Hawk by United Cutlery (Amazon,) clean the outside with a good degreaser, and scruff up the whole Hawk with some sandpaper.
  2. Give a good base coat of paint, I used Krylon’s camo line in green(Amazon – use this for reference only, the price seems high. your local Walmart or Ace should have some).
  3. After drying, hit it with a few stripes of a contrasting color, I did brown.
  4. After drying, place inside a mesh laundry bag (I snagged an extra one my wife had for my new baby, found at BabiesRus), and hit it with shots of your third color, in this case kakhi.
  5. Add extra cool-guy features, such as wrapping the handle in paracord. DONE!

You can, of course, use the same technique on rifles, knives, pumpkins, or small children.  You can alter the colors in the order they are layered, the quantities of those colors, and even the color selection.

Enjoy, and get painting… the cheap ass way

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BBC TRANSCRIPT TO BE USED IN WAKE OF NUCLEAR ATTACK

Interesting find on the internet; this is the transcript of what would be blasted over the radio waves after a nuculear attack across the pond. Overall some good, basic information.

Copy of document

BBC TRANSCRIPT TO BE USED IN WAKE OF NUCLEAR ATTACK

This is the Wartime Broadcasting Service. This country has been attacked with nuclear weapons. Communications have been severely disrupted, and the number of casualties and the extent of the damage are not yet known. We shall bring you further information as soon as possible. Meanwhile, stay tuned to this wavelength, stay calm and stay in your own homes.

Remember there is nothing to be gained by trying to get away. By leaving your homes you could be exposing yourselves to greater danger.

If you leave, you may find yourself without food, without water, without accommodation and without protection. Radioactive fall-out, which follows a nuclear explosion, is many times more dangerous if you are directly exposed to it in the open. Roofs and walls offer substantial protection. The safest place is indoors.

Make sure gas and other fuel supplies are turned off and that all fires are extinguished. If mains water is available, this can be used for fire-fighting. You should also refill all your containers for drinking water after the fires
have been put out, because the mains water supply may not be available for very long.

Water must not be used for flushing lavatories: until you are told that lavatories may be used again, other toilet arrangements must be made. Use your water only for essential drinking and cooking purposes. Water means life. Don’t waste it.

Make your food stocks last: ration your supply, because it may have to last for 14 days or more. If you have fresh food in the house, use this first to avoid wasting it: food in tins will keep.

If you live in an area where a fall-out warning has been given, stay in your fall-out room until you are told it is safe to come out. When the immediate danger has passed the sirens will sound a steady note. The “all clear” message will also be given on this wavelength. If you leave the fall-out room to go to the lavatory or replenish food or water supplies, do not remain outside the room for a minute longer than is necessary.

Do not, in any circumstances, go outside the house. Radioactive fall-out can kill. You cannot see it or feel it, but it is there. If you go outside, you will bring danger to your family and you may die. Stay in your fall-out room until you are told it is safe to come out or you hear the “all clear” on the sirens.

Here are the main points again:

Stay in your own homes, and if you live in an area where a fall-out warning has been given stay in your fall-out room, until you are told it is safe to come out. The message that the immediate danger has passed will be given by the sirens and repeated on this wavelength. Make sure that the gas and all fuel supplies are turned off and that all fires are extinguished.

Water must be rationed, and used only for essential drinking and cooking purposes. It must not be used for flushing lavatories. Ration your food supply: it may have to last for 14 days or more.

We shall repeat this broadcast in two hours’ time. Stay tuned to this wavelength, but switch your radios off now to save your batteries until we come on the air again. That is the end of this broadcast.

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The .44 Magnum Revolver – The Perfect Long-Term Survival Firearm?

This is my argument on why I think the 44 magnum revolver COULD be the perfect survival firearm. Now, before you decide that I have lost my marbles and need serious help – let me lay out my thoughts. I am defining long-term as a long time – not very specific huh? Mabie 20+ years? Multi-generational?

First, let’s quickly talk about other calibers/firearms:

  • .22 LR – can be used for a large amount of realistic survival purposes, including small game and defense in a pinch. A huge amount of ammo could be stored but in reality, this caliber falls a bit short for larger game.
  • Shotguns – I call shotguns the multi-tool of the gun world, and like a multi-tool, they can do most tasks thrown at them, but none very well. I would name shotguns as the almost perfect survival firearm because of this fact, they fall flat on ammunition carrying capacity, weight and overall large size.
  • Rifles – If you need to shoot things at distance, and that thing is of any size over a coyote, you need a rifle. The problem is that in a survival context, you will most likely be shooting small game as much as large, and a rifle could be over-kill for many tasks.

Now, let’s talk about the .44 cartridge. You can get the 44 in many types of projectile, from a .44 special silver-tip for a great personal defense round, to a large solid core magnum bullet for larger game. Further, you can get CCI shot-shells to handle small game such as birds and rodent-sized animals. (If you have never seen shotshells – you can check them out here: CCI Shotshell 44 – YES this is an affiliate, if you buy from them, we get a cut, but if you find them cheaper, get them)

CCI - 44 Special Silvertip - Hornady 44 Mag

I prefer a revolver over a semi-auto for a long-term survival situation because semi’s have one component, that if lost, makes the weapon virtually useless – the magazine. Yes, you could stock hundreds, and never run out – but I am talking the easiest solution.

I prefer a revolver over a rifle and a shotgun for an every-day weapon because it will be easier (thus more likely) to be carried, and easier to conceal.

What do you think the perfect long-term survival firearm is?

Leverevolution Ammunition

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Thoughts On PM’s And The Bartering Cycle

Precious Metals evoke strong reactions from many people. To some, they are our only chance for free trade and commerce; to others they are a fools game and will only serve to draw resources that could otherwise be used to a better end (you can’t eat silver…or so they say.)

My personal position is the same I take on most things; moderation and understanding the purpose. PM’s, which I will define for the sake of this blog as primarily gold and silver have a place in the well provisioned preppers toolbox. That position is waaaaaay down the line from food, shelter, water, security, and a host of other needs, BUT a place none-the-less.

I believe that the method in which the exchange of something for the goods and services from another is a cyclical proposition, going from one extreme to the lesser of extreme in a circular-pattern. This chart kind of sums up my theory:

* Sorry for the crappy MS Paint graphic….

During a collapse or recovery,  I believe that society will, in one fashion or another, and at varying speeds go through this cycle. Depending on the severity of the collapse will determine how far down the cycle local bartering actions will normalize and reverse. If a natural disaster, for example, knocks out the local grid, merchants may not accept the top cycle asset class (electronic) but still may accept promissory notes or fiat cash. If the emergency continues, promissory notes will be less and less accepted and will require more and more cash to conduct trade.

To describe and discuss each level:

  1. Electronic or no physical exchange: Credit cards, electronic bank transfers, etc.
    1. This is where we are now, quite a few people do not hold any other form of wampum other than their credit cards. This level is also the most fragile and requires the most support.
  2. Promissory notes: Checks, barter slips, etc.
    1. I admit I am at a cross-roads when it comes to this asset class (as I’m starting to call them) my dilemma is do I keep it in the cycle, and is the location placed appropriate? This type of barter item will probably come and go in different forms, at different times on the cycle. Perhaps they start as checks or “promise to pay” notes, and then quickly move into worthlessness?
  3. Fiat Currency: Physical notes or coins without “intrinsic value”
    1. Cash, money, moo-la… all backed by the full faith and credit of the government… The majority (of non-preppers) believe that dollars is money and CAN NOT lose value. It can and it has (Germany, Hungary, Argentina, Zimbabwe, etc.) and if our fiscal policies remain, it may happen here as well. BUT until that time comes, for most people cash is king and is the way business is done. After a collapse, I think that this asset class will try to hold on the hardest – while the cost of items increase and increase until someone is going to make a good living selling wheelbarrows. This is because it is unfathomable for most people to think that their greenbacks will soon have no value.
  4. Precious Metals: Minted coins minted with an underlying “intrinsic” value
    1. Ahhhhhh, PM’s the survivalist’s currency of choice. PM’s actually have no value any more than a fiat currency – they are valuable because other people say they are and there is a limited supply (being shiny helps too.) There is a reason as to why they do come into fashion after every currency collapse, and are the foundation of most modern currencies – it is because they hold the perfect combination of attributes that make a perfect bartering item:
      1. Small (concentrated wealth)
      2. Easily measurable
      3. Rare
      4. (Most) everyone else agrees on points i, ii, and  iii.
    2. Once we get to this point in the cycle, if this is not the bottom of the incident, I think we are going to fly right past it to the next few asset classes. PM’s will really shine during the recovery phase of the cycle. If you can hold on until then, you will be golden (pun intended.)
  5. Barter: Pure exchange of non-like items
    1. Not much more to say on this, the trade of my chickens for your bullets. Some people (I’m on the list) think that holding certain items strictly for barter is a good tactic; if you need the item, you have it, if you don’t, it’s available for trade. There are a dozen well-known lists floating around the internet on what makes good trade goods, so I won’t repeat them here.
  6. Anarchy: No trade is commencing
    1. The S has hit the big stinking fan, everyone is contemplating cannibalism, not if they want to trade their Mercury dimes for your loaf of bread. Hunker down and wait till bartering comes back.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Posted in Budget, FHR Theory | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

All,
I just started reading this (about 3 chapters in) and so far, fantastic!

The Union Creek Journal

I’m looking out the window and the first snow of the season is falling.  The flakes are nearly as large as the tip of my thumb; they’re slushy and coming down hard and fast.  It’s early November and the snow bespeaks the promise of a long, hard winter.  The Farmer’s Almanac on my kitchen table suggests as much – a winter colder and wetter than average.

The one thing the Farmer’s Almanac didn’t predict is probably the single-most important thing in our lives these days – the fact that this will be the first winter in modern history where hundreds of thousands or millions of people could literally freeze to death in their homes.  I know that may sound strange.  Given all of the modern conveniences of the twenty-first century, how in the world could the majority of citizens of the northernUnited Statesbe at risk of freezing to death?

Technically…

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