The Prepper’s Blueprint

When I got into prepping, the first book I bought was The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster by Tess Pennington. It’s not a bad book if you’re new to prepping. The author seems to know her subject and there’s lots of solid information in the book. In spite of that, I don’t recommend The Prepper’s Blueprint, for two reasons. First, there is no information in this book that you can’t find free on line. In fact, it’s freely available on the author’s own web site.

Repetitive repetition…

Second, the information as presented is repetitive repetitive. Some chapters look like they were copied and pasted from an earlier chapter. For example, there are four chapters on hardware or tools. Three out of the four tell you to buy a hammer. Two tell you to buy a crow bar and a multitool. One list has “sledge hammer” twice – on the same list. Other chapters are similarly repetitive.

OTHO, other topics are a little light on subject matter. As someone interested in radio communications, I can tell you the chapter on emergency communications has no useful information. The chapter on Home Defense is even worse than useless. Example:

First, 12-gauge shotguns offer a generous spread (i.e., you don’t have to be that accurate)…

She then goes on to talk about the best kind of “bullets” for a shotgun.

In conclusion, I do NOT recommend The Prepper’s Bluprint

Even though it does contain some good information, I do not recommend this book. The good information on some topics is offset by skimpy or wrong information on other topics. If the author would stick to topics she knows about, and expand on those instead of repeating the same info over and over this would be a much better book, maybe even one I’d recommend.

My new mini tent…

For the past few weeks I’ve been experimenting with sleeping outside. My sleep system is pretty simple:

  • 9 x 12 foot heavy canvas paint drop cloth (folded in half) from local hardware store (base, helps keep the bivy bag clean)
  • USGI Thermarest sleep pad (since I’m too fragile to sleep directly on concrete)
  • Rolled up foam pad (used as pillow)
  • Hunka XL bivvy bag (used as light weight sleeping bag)
  • Wool blanket (in case it gets to chilly)

It’s been working pretty good, but I wake up with insect bites. Strange since we don’t have mosquitoes, maybe noseeums? Anyway, the bites itch like crazy so I decided I need a tent. I wanted something small that would work without stakes. After all, it’s pretty hard to drive tent stakes through a concrete patio… What I found was a USGI surplus bivvy bag. A bivvy bag is usually just a bag, but this acts like a mini tent to keep insects and other critters off me while I sleep.

It comes with a little carry bag and sets up easily. It seems a little flimsy so I’m not going to recommend it until I try it long enough to test its durability. The top is just netting so it won’t protect you from rain or snow, just bugs. I tried it the first time last night. Not a lot of room to move around once you’re inside so I didn’t use the Hunka XL. Just but the sleeping pad inside and covered up with the wool blanket. It worked fine. Slept sound and woke up with no new insect bites. This little mini tent is worth checking out if a full size tent is a little too much and a traditional bivvy bag isn’t quite enough.

Peace out,

The Great Indoors

About a month ago I started sleeping on the floor. My wife didn’t kick me out of the bed, and our bed is actually pretty comfortable. I just wanted to see if I could sleep on a hard surface. Turns out I can’t, at least directly, so I got a sleeping pad. Also I wanted to change my eating habits, and work on other things to get more self sufficient. Since I can’t always get outdoors, I decided to see what I could do in The Great Indoors.

Sleeping on the floor

I’ll admit, the first night was because I was mad at my wife. When I woke up the next morning my butt and shoulders were sore, but my back felt better than normal. Hmmm…

The second night my wife asked me if I was planning to sleep on the floor again. I told her yes, and explained about my back feeling better. So she decided to try it too. Next morning, her experience was the same as mine – sore butt and shoulders, but better feeling back. We figured the hard floor was good for our backs but hard on the pressure points (butt and shoulders). We moved back to the bed, but a couple days later Costco had LightSpeed self inflating sleep pads at a closeout price of $14.95 and my wife wanted to try them. We got two and they work great. Not as soft as our bed so good for our backs, but soft enough our butts and shoulders don’t get sore. We’ve both been sleeping on the floor since we got the sleeping pads. I sleep better and have more energy during the day. Sleeping on the floor – welcome to The Great Indoors.

Homemade beef jerky

I’m trying to cut my carbs, so eat more meat, right? I don’t always have time to cook though, but when I do I have a lot of time. It takes me about 5 hours to make a batch of jerky, so I’ve been doing that a lot for the past couple months. Cleanup is really easy and it tastes a lot better than store-bought jerky. Also makes a great trail snack. Hope to post a recipe soon…

Building a library

One thing a backyardsman or backwoodsman can do is read about skills necessary or useful. In that spirit, I’ve been building a library. Books I’ve added recently and recommend are Truck: A Love Story by Michael Perry, The Glock In Competition by Robin Taylor, Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness For the Family by Arthur T Bradley, and Seedtime On The Cumberland by Harriette Simpson Arnow. They’re all good reads and they all offer something to the aspiring backyardsman.

Taking it to the back yard

The great indoors have been pretty good for the last couple months, and proved that I don’t have to get away from the house to get away from urban/suburban stress. For the past week though I’ve been moving from the Great Indoors to the Great Outdoors. Well, at least to my back yard…

For the past week, I’ve been sleeping in the back yard. Instead of the LightSpeed sleeping pad I’m using a USGI Therm-Pad sitting on top of a canvas tarp I got at Home Depot (sold as a painter’s drop cloth). My sleeping bag is a bivvy bag I got from some European company. Can’t remember the name but when I do I’ll write a review. This combo works pretty good until 1 or 2 AM when the temp gets down to 45 or so. At that point I wake up and pull over a wool blanket. Then I go back to sleep until about 5:00 when the birds start chirping. Works better than my alarm clock. Now if only I could convince the wife and kids to join me in the back yard…

Until next time…

Peace out,