How do you know if an “expert” is full of shit?

math - when the expert is full of shitMaybe you’re new to this thing called prepping. So am I. There is so much information that it can be overwhelming. I spend a lot of time researching and trying to learn, and lots of “information” sources contradict each other. As a new prepper, how do you sort the wheat from the chaff? How do you know who is feeding you a line of crap and who isn’t? What if what you’re reading is on a respected prepper site but doesn’t seem to make sense? I’m new to this game too, and I’m not claiming to be an expert. However, I have a pretty good BS detector between my ears. So how do you know if an expert is full of shit? It’s easy and I can tell you how…

Do the math

It’s really easy to tell if someone is selling a load of crap or speaking something that actually makes some sense – just look at the numbers. For example, I read a post today where the author said something that involved some basic math…

“If your retreat is a three hour drive away by motor vehicle, this will amounts to 42 hours of walking. Be prepared that you may have to walk at least partly or the entire distance to your retreat. You may be fit enough to accomplish this task in four to ten days, depending on terrain.”

Ignore the grammar error and look at the math, comparing the numbers to your own experience. My preferred bugout location is 200 miles away. On a good day with light traffic and no speed traps, I can make it in 3 hours. That’s a pretty good clip. To walk that distance in 42 hours, I’d have to average almost 5 mph. IF I’m in good shape and IF I’m not carrying a heavy load and IF there are no delays, I MIGHT be able to manage it. To do it in four days though, I’d have to walk 10.5 hours a day. Add in food breaks, poop breaks, hydration breaks, time to set up shelter for the night, etc. and it could easily be 13 or 14 hours of hard work every day. Could you maintain a 5 mph pace for that long? Maybe, but the math gets worse…

Conditions probably won’t be ideal…

If your bugout happens in the summer or fall, you “just might” have high temperatures to deal with. That “might” slow you down or force you to travel at night. If you’re bugging out in the winter, daylight hours will be limited. You “might” have to deal with rain or snow. Your path “might” be slippery or icy. In spring time, you might have to deal with flooded creeks or high winds. There might be people to avoid which could also slow you down. On top of all that there’s the stuff you need to be carrying, according to the expert…

More math – simple addition…

So we know “how long” it’s going to take us to walk under ideal conditions. What else? Oh, we need to carry some stuff. The same post recommends that we have – in a bug out bag, the following:

  • 12 gallons of water (100 lbs)
  • 5 jars of peanut butter + energy bars (6 lbs or so)
  • Extra clothes for the whole family (at least 5 lbs per family member)
  • Ultima Thule sleeping bag (4 lbs and $240 per family member)
  • Military surplus Arctic Squad Tent (50 lbs, $500-600)
  • Guns and ammo (about 20 lbs based on recommended items)
  • Misc stuff (about 10 lbs)
  • Total weight – 222 lbs for a family of four

So, question -if we divide the weight equally, can every member carry their share of the load? If not, can the adults in the group handle the extra load? How about at a steady pace of almost 5 mph through difficult terrain for almost 11 hours? Doing the math, I’m starting to think that maybe this expert is full of shit…

Other things to look for…

There are other ways to tell if the expert is full of shit, or at least full of themselves. What actual experience do they have? If they have no real world experience, it doesn’t matter how many people follow their blog or like them on Facebook. Are they willing to discuss other opinions, or at least make a good case as to why their opinion is the correct one (other than “I’m an expert and 500K people follow me on Twitter”)? A BIG RED FLAG is if they claim that all the “other experts are wrong and listening to them will get you killed.” That’s not instruction, that’s fear-mongering.

How do you know if an expert is full of shit?

If you still can’t tell, re-read the above. Learn how to apply critical thinking. Don’t accept things without questioning whether or not they make sense. Believe it or not, even prepping concepts make sense. At the same time, don’t assume that someone is full of crap just because they post something that you don’t agree with. For example, I don’t think an EMP event is the most likely threat facing our country, but some people do. That doesn’t mean they’re wrong, it just means they see potential threats differently than I do. I’m not an expert, but I can spot a fake one. You need to learn how to spot the fake experts too…

Peace out,

Stealth Prepping

stealth preppingAsk any competent prepper and they’ll tell you that the first rule of prepping is to keep your mouth shut about your prepping. In other words, you need to be practicing stealth prepping. The reason is simple – when SHTF, you don’t want everyone and their brother showing up at your house looking for stuff. You don’t want random strangers (potential looters) knowing about your preps and where you live. It’s a HUGE safety and security list to let random people know about your prepping activities.

Stealth Prepping in the Public Domain

It’s really easy to practice stealth prepping – just know when to STFU.┬áDon’t show off all your “cool stuff.” Don’t brag about all your “prepping expertise.” In fact, if you’re bragging about it, you don’t really have anything to brag about. Resist the urge to post pics of all your stuff on Facebook or Instagram. Don’t post vids of you and all your stuff on YouTube. Really simple, right?

OTOH, I don’t think you need to be paranoid about paying for stuff with a credit card. I seriously doubt that some government employee somewhere is scouring my purchase receipts every month looking for “suspicious” purchases.

Stealth Prepping in the Family

What I want to talk about mostly though is stealth prepping in the context of a family budget when your wife isn’t a prepper. I still remember the time I was shopping with my wife and tried to buy five cases of purified drinking water. No matter how urgent you personally feel the need for prepping is, if you’re spending from a family budget you need to keep your spouse’s budget concerns in mind. In other words, practice stealth prepping in the family.

But Honey, It’s Not Prepping…

So how do you get your wife to spend money prepping when she’s not a prepper? Maybe she’s even hostile to the idea of prepping? Easy. Just don’t call it prepping. My wife didn’t want me to buy a small emergency water store, so we bought a Berkey water purification system instead. Five cases of water would have cost less than $25 and the Berkey system cost almost $350. Why did she agree to spend so much on the Berkey system? Because in her mind, storing water is prepping but having a water purification system isn’t.

Stealth Prepping in Practice

I decided to apply this “not prepping” concept to all my preps. For example, the Berkey is a nice system, but it just filters water – it doesn’t create water. In other words, I still need to store water, but that’s prepping. So instead of “storing water,” I’m going to put in a backyard pond that will hold over 1000 gallons – far more than the paltry 30 gallons my wife didn’t want me to get at Walmart. And guess what? She’s ecstatic about the idea of having a pond in our backyard. She’s also excited about the rainwater catchment system we’re planning. That’s not prepping either – it’s free water for our garden. Are you starting to see how this works?

Food is even easier – my wife is frugal, so all I have to do is watch the ads for things I like to eat that have good shelf life. It’s OK with her to stock up then because we’re not storing extra food, we’re saving money. Our garden produced more food this year than we can use, so soon that will be a reason for canning jars and a dehydrator. I’m still working on an excuse to get a smoker though…

Gear is more difficult. It doesn’t save money and she can’t picture any circumstance that might force us from our home. Besides if something happened we could just stay in a motel, right? What I’ve found out helps with gear is hobbies – you just have to pick the right hobbies. For example, some of my hobbies are hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, and target shooting. You shouldn’t be surprised that the gear I use for those things just happens to be useful for prepping as well.

Final Thoughts…

Finally, when buying your preps, either go big or go small. When we bought our Berkey system, we went all out. Besides the basic system, I threw in chlorine/arsenic filters, a stand, and a few stainless steel water bottles. Since it was already a big purchase, she didn’t balk at the extra items. At the same time, I’ve found out I can build up by adding one or two small items whenever we go shopping and she doesn’t say anything. The thing that usually trips her up are the medium size purchases.

I hope I’ve given you some useful hints about prepping (and especially spending money on it) when your spouse isn’t also a prepper. I’ve been using these to prep without causing any family conflict and they work well. I hope I never have to put my preps to use in a real life SHTF situation, but I’m confident that if I do, my wife will be happy that we’re prepared for the worst – even if in the mean time she doesn’t realize that we are. If you’re in the same situation, I hope these methods can also work for you…

Peace out,

Do you know when to STFU?

edc know when to stfuI spend a lot of time thinking about what to carry with me when I go out. You know, Every Day Carry (EDC). I want to make sure I have things I’m most likely to need, but at the same time I don’t want to carry too much crap around all the time. I like looking at what others carry because I figure I can learn from that. With that in mind, I signed up for a couple EDC groups on Facebook. I learned a few things quick. For one thing, lots of people EDC too much stuff. For another, lots of people love to show off. (Those 2 facts could be a whole series of posts…) I also learned that lots people don’t know when to STFU.

OK, so there’s nothing wrong with bragging about your gear or showing off pictures of it. I’m a gear junky myself, so I get it. The problem is the way some of these idiots are doing it. I’m not all “tactical” and I’m not a big fan of the acronym de jure, but there is this little thing called OpSec (Operational Security) and guess what? Even if you’re just an average Joe, you need to be practicing it. I’ll give you an example…

John Doe joins the FB group “mall ninja edc.” It’s a “private” group, so he feels safe. What he doesn’t realize is that any FB member can search for “mall ninja edc” and find the group and request membership (which is almost always granted). Next, John posts a picture of his “super tactical guy” edc setup, along with a description of all the other tacticool junk he has that isn’t in the picture. No problem, right? Just having a little fun doing a little showing off. There’s one small problem. John never made his profile private, and it proudly shows where he lives, where he works, etc. Doesn’t matter though because no one cares about that kind of stuff, right?

In my opinion it DOES matter. John has just exposed his information to millions of people, at least a few of whom might be criminals looking for easy scores. If they happen to live in the same city as John, they just found one. It doesn’t take a genius to go to the County Recorder’s page for John’s county and find his home address. If he doesn’t own his home, he can still be found easily. Just go to his work around quitting time and look for the guy who matches John’s photo on his FB profile and follow him home. You already know he’s got a lot of cool stuff you want to steal, and he might have even given away his self defense strategy. EASY MARK!!! All because John was ignorant of OpSec and didn’t know when to STFU.

Don’t be that guy. Don’t brag about all the cool stuff you have and post it online along with information that makes it easy for just about anyone with half a brain to find out where you work and where you live. In other words, KNOW WHEN TO STFU.

Peace out,

Waterbob Emergency Water Storage

waterbob emergency water storage systemIf you’re looking for emergency water storage, the WaterBOB emergency water storage system gives you up to 100 gallons of emergency water storage. It’s made from FDA compliant food-safe plastic and fits right in your bathtub. It’s also inexpensive – less than $25. It’s the perfect emergency water storage solution. Except it isn’t, and I’ll tell you why…

I’ve been reading a lot lately about emergency water sources, and the WaterBOB is just the latest genius idea. Others are getting water from your water heater, toilet tanks, etc. They’re all great ideas – for people who don’t plan ahead. Think about it. If you have an emergency situation and suddenly realize you don’t have enough water, you’ve waited to long to think about water. In other words, you did a crappy job of prepping for your water needs. What kind of prepper are you anyway?

The truth is you need to think about emergency water needs before there is an emergency. Not during and not after. Here is a simple plan. First, buy 5 cases of 1 gallon jugs of water. That gives 30 gallons, about a weeks worth for a family of four. Next, buy a couple of Berkey black filters, a couple of food safe 5 gallon buckets, and make a water purification system. Next, get a food-safe 55 gallon drum and fill that. Your total water on hand is now 85 gallons and you have the ability to purify collected water when your storage runs dry.

Some times I just wonder where the common sense is. Why wait to store water until there’s an actual emergency? That’s kind of like saying I know I’ll need ammo if SHTF, so when it does I’m going to run to the store and get some. HUH? Lack of water will kill you in 3 days or less. Personally, if SHTF I have enough other things to worry about without worrying about collecting water. How about you?