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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Comprehensive Guide for the Beginning Survivalist

1. Foreword
I wrote this guide to be a starting point for the beginning survivalist. I wanted to provide a strong foundation for people to begin their research and prepping. I also believe that by providing this info I will also get other people's insight into my own research, thus benefiting all of us.
This is a collection of information I have put together over the past 3 years. It's made up of information I've found online as well as gathered through my own experiences. I can't say that all of it is 100% correct but I've done my best to triple check my work and provide sources where possible to backup my research. If anyone has any corrections or ideas to contribute I welcome it.

2. Basic Needs of all Survivalists
There are four things necessary to the success of all survivalists:
1. Water
2. Food
3. Shelter
4. Safety and Security

3. Most Important Gear (The Essentials)

a. Water
Clean drinking water can become extremely hard to come by in an emergency situation. Without access to clean drinking water you may have to risk drinking water that may not be safe to drink. This opens yourself up to numerous diseases which could leave you helpless and in serious need of medical attention. It is this reason why a good water purifier is a necessary part of any survivalists equipment.
One of the important things to know is the difference between a water filter and a water purifier. A water filter simply cleans the dirt and gunk out of your drinking water. A good water filter can give you very clear and clean looking water. Unfortunately, filters do not remove harmful bacteria from drinking water. To do this you need to either use cleaning tablets to kill the germs or boil the water to kill off any harmful bacteria. In some situations, stopping to boil water may not be an option. Also, what do you do if you run out of cleaning tablets?
This is why a water purifier is my preferred choice. A water purifier not only cleans dirt and grime from your drinking water, it also removes most if not all of the harmful bacteria.

i. Water Purifiers:
1. MSR Miniworks EX Microfilter
(http://cascadedesigns.com/msr/water...nd-hydration/miniworks-ex-microfilter/product)

After a bunch of research I settled on the MSR Miniworks EX Microfilter for my pack. It's a popular water purifier and many people trust it. It uses a "carbon/ceramic" filter which is a great feature. I also like that you can buy replacement parts for it as well as a maintenance kit which prolongs its useful life. GREAT FEATURE.
Seldon Tech Water Stick
(http://seldontech.biz/waterstick.aspx)

Recently, I had the opportunity to discuss Water purification with an employee of SeldonTech. They produce the Seldon WaterBox, a large purification system designed to be used by the military at base camps.
The WaterBox is great but is far too expensive and powerful for the sole survivalist and his or her family. What did impress me was their personal water purification product, the Seldon WaterStick. It's an extremely light weight pump/filtration system that can easily be incorporated into a hydration pack system. Depending on how dirty the water is, the user can potentially drink straight from a water source using the WaterStick like a straw.
It retails for around the same price as the MSR. My issue with this product, and the reason why I don't fully recommend it is the fact that once it has been exhausted, there is no way to replace the filter or maintain it. The MSR model has the potential to function indefinitely with proper maintenance.

http://seldontech.com/products.htm

2. Lifestraw
(http://www.vestergaard-frandsen.com/lifestraw)

Another product I discovered was the Lifestraw. It seems to have gotten much praise from relief groups which issue these out to third world countries. The only issue I've found with this product is that it significantly raises the iodine levels in water. I don't have much other info on the product.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LifeStraw

3. Steripen
(http://www.steripen.com/)

Another product I've seen is the Steripen. It uses Ultraviolet light to kill bacteria in the water. I don't have much info on this product either. My main issue with it though is that it doesn't do anything to filter out the dirt in the water before you drink it. You would still need some way to remove the particles from your drinking water before hand.

ii. Water Storage:

I've been looking into different ways of storing water. I've found a few products that have caught my eye. One option is the standard USGI Issue Water Cans. I saw some people on AR15.com recommend LC Industries as a great place to buy some. I can't vouch for that.
http://www.buylci.com/

Another great option is MSR Dromedary Bags. I've never used the product before but I've handled some of the bags and they seem really great. These are more designed to be a way of transporting water on foot. When empty the bags can roll up to be really small.
Remember, carrying large quantities of water on foot can be extremely difficult. It adds a lot of weight to your pack. Unless you are in an area where water is a scarce commodity, your main focus should be to have a means of making the water you do find potable.
http://cascadedesigns.com/msr/water...reatment-and-hydration/dromedary-bags/product

The third option I've found is a Nalgene Jerrican. They're expensive but I'm sure that you get what you pay for. Nalgene is known for the high quality plastic they use to make their water bottles.
http://www.nalgene-outdoor.com/store/detail.aspx?ID=998

When I go camping I use one of these 5 gallon Coleman cans. I can't vouch for this product's ability at long term storage, but it works great on camping trips.
http://search.coleman.com/cgi-bin/M...d=3381&query=water&hiword=WATERS WATERY water
b. Food​
When thinking about food preps you need to plan for both the short term and long term. On a short term timescale you will probably only want to pack enough in your BOB for you to eat comfortably for a few days. On a longer time scale you're going to have to start looking into ways of actually growing and catching your own food.
i. Short Term
For your BOB, you can turn to freeze dried hikers food like the products created by Mountain House. They make some great food. I've tried a few of their meals and they're pretty good. You could also invest in some MREs. A lot of people don't like MREs. I don't blame them. They are rather large and bulky and can take up a lot of room in your bag.
For a cheaper route you could make your own MREs by buying things like Lipton pasta or rice meals, Kraft EasyMac, and things like that. You could also invest in a FoodSaver machine to seal them in nice air tight bags.
Yet another option are Emergency Food Ration Bars. I've never had one but they don't seem to be terrible appetizing. The goal of these bars is to provide all the necessary calories and nutrients for a person in an emergency situation while maintaining a long shelf life.
Another thing to think about is how you are going to cook these meals. Cooking over a camp fire is great when you have the right equipment, but doing it with a small campers mess kit can be a little difficult if you've never done it before. (Read: You'll probably get burned) Investing or even making your own mini camp stove is essential. I recommend trying your hand at making a soda can stove first. It works great. If you don't like your results then look into an ultra light backpackers stove.
http://beprepared.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_FM R360_A_name_E_MAINSTAY™ 3,600 Calorie Food Bar
http://cascadedesigns.com/msr/stoves/fast-and-light-stoves/superfly/product
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beverage-can_stove

ii. Long Term
When thinking about food on a long term scale you need to think about ways of preserving the food you have and growing, catching, and hunting new food.
When looking into farming your own crops, look into purchasing "heirloom seeds." Seeds and starter plants from Home Improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowes sell plants that have been genetically altered to grow better. While this is great for your first crop, if you try to use the seeds you cultivate from your first crop, you will notice that the plants you get from your next crop will not be the same as the original hybrid plant. This is why you need to invest in heirloom seeds. Heirloom plants are plants that are as close to the original plants grown during early human history. These plants will consistently yield usable seeds each year.
Also look into what plants can be grown in your area. Just because broccoli is your favorite vegetable doesn't mean it's what you should grow in your backyard. You may have to wrong soil or climate for it to prosper.
For storing your crops you should research how to use 5 Gallon Food Grade Plastic Buckets. Canning is also a useful skill to learn. I'm still learning about canning and long term food storage so this is really all I have to add.
Another skill that you should research is Dutch Oven cooking. It's a lot of fun and it definitely takes some practice.

Canning
http://beprepared.com/category.asp?c=442&name=Food-Grade Storage Containers&bhcd2=1280012909
http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=10&f=19&t=607085
http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=10&f=19&t=626861
http://www.ar15.com/archive/topic.html?b=10&f=19&t=597506
http://www.ar15.com/content/page.html?id=392
http://www.ar15.com/content/page.html?id=402

Heirloom Seeds
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seedbank
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seed_dormancy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heirloom_plant

Dutch Oven Cooking
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_oven
http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=10&f=19&t=604462
http://papadutch.home.comcast.net/~papadutch/


c. Shelter​
Tents:
When looking at tents, I was looking more into tents designed for one person that could easily be stored in a Bug Out Bag. My two favorite choices are both kind of pricy but pack really small and are both relatively lightweight.
Nemo GOGO SE 1P
The NEMO tent doesn't use any poles so it cuts down on weight significantly. Setup is pretty easy as well. This tent is essentially a bivy sac. I also like how it's a very low profile tent. If you set it up in the woods I'm sure you would blend in to the background.
http://www.nemoequipment.com/nemo2010-gogo-tent

Eureka TCOP
One of the selling points for the Eureka TCOP is its bathtub bottom. In a severe rainstorm that can be a lifesaver and will definitely keep the water out.
http://www.eurekamilitarytents.com/tents/tcop.html

Coleman Kraz X1 Tent
This is tent is significantly cheaper than the previous two tents I listed. It's definitely worth checking out. Coleman hasn't stayed in business for the past 100 years by making crap.
http://www.coleman.com/coleman/colemancom/detail.asp?product_id=2000000451&categoryid=11070&brand=

For a cheaper and lighter alternative to these two tents, you could pack a decent tarp.
I've seen people get pretty creative with their shelters using only some string, hiking poles, and a tarp. Check out this website for some ideas:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-Your-Own-Tarp-Tents/

Sleeping Bags
When looking into sleeping bags, I focused on small lightweight options for backpacking. I didn't really think about the need for this until I went to go pack my current sleeping bag into my BOB. I realized that my sleeping bag was almost the same size as my BOB. After a little research I discovered the Snugpak brand of sleeping bags. I've seen these bags and they pack down really small. They're pretty lightweight as well. Another brand to check out is Slumberjack's line of backpacking sleeping bags.
When shopping for a sleeping bag, try to think about the environment you are going to use it in. If you don't expect to see temperatures any lower than 20°F then investing in a 3 Season bag designed for use in Alaska isn't the best idea.

http://www.snugpak.com/index.php?MenuID=93-106
http://www.slumberjack.com/
http://www.thenorthface.com/
http://www.coleman.com/

d. Security​
i. Guns
1. Guns are tools
Regardless of how you feel about firearms, when it comes down to it, a firearm is simply a tool. Each firearm is different and designed for a different function and purpose. Before investing and utilizing these tools a person should take the time to get proper training in firearms safety and handling. In doing so it makes them more proficient in their use and more likely to handle them properly to avoid the injury of themselves and others.
Another important thing to take into consideration is your local gun laws. Many states have drastically different laws for what firearms you can and can't legally own as well as the laws for how these firearms can be transported.

http://www.nraila.org/GunLaws/

With any gun you own, you should take the extra effort to understand every detail of the gun. This will help you diagnose any problems with the firearm as well as make you more efficient in the cleaning and maintenance of the firearm as well.

2. Semi Automatic Rifles
A semi automatic rifle is a rifle that fire a single bullet each time the trigger is pulled. This type of firearm can function in numerous roles. In a hunting role it allows the hunter to quickly follow up a shot with another in the event of a miss. In a military setting these types of rifles are beneficial due to the fact that they lessen the time a soldier spends reloading the weapon and increases the time that soldier can spend on target.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semi-automatic_rifle

AR15/M16/M4
My personal favorite, the AR15 platform, is the weapon of choice for the United States military. It is an extremely versatile weapon and capable of encompassing many different functions.
Some of the major selling points for me are its accuracy, the fact that it uses a NATO round, the extremely low recoil, and that it's a VERY common gun in America. The effective range (when fired by a trained individual) is between 400-600 yards.
Many people dislike the AR15 platform because they say it is unreliable. In my experience and research, an AR15 rifle is extremely reliable given that it is taken care of properly and is operated using high quality magazines.
The weapon can only fire if it is fed ammunition properly. This is why purchasing quality magazines is extremely important. I'm a huge fan of Magpul PMAGs. They are extremely durable and I've never had an issue with bullets being misfed. I've also heard people recommend Cammenga as a great brand for quality magazines.
Another great feature of the AR15 is its modular design. You can have a variety of parts for one gun and pick and choose which parts you use depending on what you are using it for.
There are also numerous upgrades for the weapon as well ranging from rail systems for the attachments of laser, lights, optics, and grips as well as the addition of entire "uppers" designed to shoot entirely different rounds.
An upgrade I've recently been researching are Bolt Carrier Groups made from a Nickel Boron Alloy. The supposed benefit of the upgrade is that it increases it's durability and lessens the need for lubrication due to its extremely polished surface.

PMAGS
http://store.magpul.com/product/MAG211/3

Nickel Boron BCGs
http://www.failzero.com/
http://www.aimsurplus.com/product.aspx?item=XST5BG03&groupid=55

Modified AR15 Uppers
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.50_Beowulf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6.5_mm_Grendel

Various parts and upgrades
http://www.aimsurplus.com/catalog.aspx?groupid=47

AK47
AK47s are another great choice for a semi automatic firearm. They are renowned for their extreme durability. If you want something that is going to work in any environment and condition with little to no maintenance then an AK47 may be right for you.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AK47

3. Bolt Action Rifles
Bolt action rifles are the most accurate rifle available. The reason for their accuracy comes from the fact that during the process of the bullet being fired, no movement is going on within the firearm. The bolt stays locked forward holding the cartridge in place and not creating any vibration within the firearm. During the few milliseconds of time a bullet is within the barrel of a gun it can be greatly affected by vibrations and movement which will upset its flight path and affect where it lands.
In a semi automatic rifle, when the weapon is fired, mechanical operations go into effect which cause the rifle to begin cycling a new round. This movement though extremely fast, can cause movement and vibrations which have a small effect on the bullet.

a. Remington 700
My personal choice for a bolt action rifle is the Remington 700. It is one of the best bolt action rifles on the market. The USMC and the US Army both utilize the Remington 700 as the base for their sniper rifles.
The Remington 700 comes in a variety of different bullet calibers. I highly recommend the 308 Winchester round because it is the commercial version of the 7.62x51mm NATO round. It is a great caliber and very effective at long ranges. With the proper training and optics a person can accurately hit a target 1000 yards away.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remington_700
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/308_Winchester

b. Alternate choices (Special Thanks to Korvin for writing this section)
i. Savage 10 series -Law Enforcement – The Savage 10 series is a wonderful series of guns that range from “stock” to the “accessorized”. However, the plus is that that “stock” is all one really needs. Models such as the 10 FP and the 10FCM Scout bring a lot to the table for a great price. The 10FP can be had for around $600 while the 10 FCM will run about $700. The 10 FP is the lower model but still comes stock with an AccuTrigger for a clean and crisp pull. The 10FCM is much the same rifle except it also features the Accustock, has ghost ring sights (which is nice if your scope gets damaged), already comes with a barrel mounted scope mount, and has a detachable magazine (9 round mags available). In addition, both rifles have floating bolt heads improving accuracy.

http://www.savagearms.com/firearms/model/10FP

ii. Winchester 70 Series – The American Classic. Comes in a number of calibers and variants. One might look at the “Ultimate Shadow” variant for value and quality as the composite stock, free floating barrel, and superb action and finish make it an excellent choice.

http://www.winchesterguns.com/products/catalog/detail.asp?family=001C&mid=535114

iii. Weatherby Vanguard Series – The Weatherby Vanguard series offers a great rifle that can be used in a hunting and tactical situation. It is also a great rifle for the survivalist who is on a bit of a budget. Many options are available.

http://www.weatherby.com/product/rifles/vanguard

iv. Mosin Nagant
A great option for the survivalist on a tight budget is the Mosin Nagant. The Mosin Nagant was used by the Red Army during WW2. There are millions of this weapon in existance and it is very easy to come across surplus rifles for as low as $80.
Some of the features which make it an excellent choice as a survival gun are its durability and ease of use. These guns were designed to be used by Red Army soldiers who had very little training. They are simple to operate. They also utilize a large caliber bullet which make it an effective hunting rifle. I read somewhere that in Siberia they are used to hunt polar bears.
Another great feature of the rifle is that one can very easily purchase surplus ammo on the internet for relatively cheap. Also, the caliber of the rifle is comparable to the 308 Winchester.
One of the downfalls of the weapon is that it has significant recoil. I've personally only fired the M44 model which is the shortest version. I've heard that the longer 91/30 models are more comfortable to shoot. If you purchase one it would be highly beneficial to the well being of your shoulder to invest in a decent rubber butt pad. It helps. :)
Another problem with the weapon is that it's not a common round in the US. The 7.62x54R isn't used by a large range of guns like other calibers in its range.

http://www.aimsurplus.com/product.aspx?groupid=95
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosin_Nagant


4. Small Game and Target Rifles

It's a great idea to add a rifle that shoots .22LR to your collection. .22LR ammunition is extremely cheap. Training with a .22LR lets you get in a lot of practice without breaking the bank.
On top of how cheap the ammo is and its benefits in training, the .22LR round is ideal for hunting small game like squirrels and rabbits.

Ruger 10/22
The Ruger 10/22 is the most popular .22LR rifle ever. There are numerous aftermarket parts and upgrades for this rifle. It has a proven history of quality. It's magazine fed. They make aftermarket magazines with higher capacities. It's a self-loading rifle. There are numerous reasons to pick up this rifle.
http://www.ruger.com/products/1022/index.html

Marlin Model 60
If you're looking for a cheaper alternative to the 10/22, a Marling Model 60 is the next best thing. Due to the fact that this rifle isn't as popular as the 10/22, aftermarket parts are not as prevalent. Another downside to this rifle is the fact that it doesn't use magazines. It is still a self loading rifle like the 10/22.

http://www.marlinfirearms.com/firearms/selfloading/60.asp

5. Handguns

A handgun is useful in that it allows you to always have a weapon on hand without the bulk and weight of a larger weapon.
There are many factors to consider when picking out a firearm. There are so many different kinds. You need to consider what caliber of bullet you want, what size handgun you want to carry and shoot, what comfortably fits in your hand, etc...
The key in deciding on a handgun is to get out there and try some. Before I decided on my Glock 19 I took an NRA Basic Pistol class where I was shown proper technique in handling and firing a handgun. While there I was exposed to a large variety of different handguns. The day after the class I went to a local range and rented almost every gun on their wall. I got a really good feel for the way each gun and caliber handled. This led me to my decision to purchase a Glock 19.
I was excited when I found that the Glock 19 worked best for me. Glocks are renowned for their durability. I even found a website where one Glock owner has been recording his attempts to get his Glock to fail

http://theprepared.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=90&Itemid=40

Glock
http://www.glock.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glock_Pistol

1911
The base design of the 1911 pistol features a single action trigger. This means that you will always be walking around "locked and loaded". Most 1911s feature a grip safety and a slide safety. The grip safety prevents the trigger from being pulled unless your hand is squeezing the handle. The slide safety requires you to move a latch to turn off the safety.
The fact that the basic design of the 1911 pistol has not changed much since its creation over 100 years ago. The most common caliber utilized by the 1911 pistol is the .45 ACP round. This a powerful round that is more than capable of stopping its target quickly and efficiently. Many upgrades, parts, and accessories exist for the 1911 platform. There are as many manufacturers of 1911 as there are parts and accessories for them.
One of the few downsides to the 1911 pistol is the fact that it utilizes single stack magazines. This limits the amount of rounds that can fit into a single magazine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M1911_pistol

Best 1911s
http://www.kimberamerica.com/
http://www.sigsauer.com/Products/ShowCatalogProduct.aspx?categoryid=25

Entry Level Models
http://www.rockislandarmory.com/
http://www.taurususa.com/gun-selector-results.cfm?series=19&toggle=tp

Rock Island Armory Review
http://www.sightm1911.com/lib/review/RIA.htm

Other notable firearm manufacturers
Sig Sauer
http://www.sigsauer.com/

Smith and Wesson
http://www.smith-wesson.com/

Springfield Armory
http://www.springfield-armory.com/

Revolvers
Revolvers are some of the most reliable handguns available. Their simplicity is the key in their reliability. With semi automatic firearms you have significantly more things that can potentially go wrong and cause your firearm not to fire in a key situation. For example, if your using a semi automatic handgun and the round chambered is a dud, to get the firearm to fire, you have to manually rack the slide and eject the dud bullet so that another bullet can be chambered. With a revolver if you pull the trigger and it doesn't go bang, just pull the trigger again.
Revolvers are also great for beginners due to their simplicity and ease of use. Loading a pistol magazine can be difficult for an inexperienced shooter.
Revolvers are available in a variety of calibers and sizes designed for numerous different applications. Taurus even makes a revolver that can shoot a .410 Gauge shotgun shell as well as a large .45 Long Colt round.
One of the big downsides to a revolver is the low bullet capacity. A revolver chambered in a decent sized round may only be able to hold 5 or 6 rounds. Also, reloading the weapon quickly, especially under pressure, can be a difficult task. If you don't have a significant amount of practice reloading your revolver, it may take you a second.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolver
http://www.taurususa.com/gun-selector-results.cfm?series=41&toggle=tr


6. Shotguns
Shotguns are an extremely versatile firearm. There are numerous types of shells you can buy to accomplish a variety of things. The three most common types are Bird Shot, Buck Shot, and Shells. Bird Shot is stuffed with small BBs that spread out in a wide area to drop birds. Buck Shot is generally packed with a heavier load and larger size shot. They are designed for hunting larger game. They are also utilized in defensive loads for police and military use. Slugs are like large bullets and are generally designed to be fired from shotguns with rifled barrels.
There are also other more obscure types of ammunition. At a gun show I once saw a type of ammo called "Dragons Breath." The guy selling it told me it made your shotgun spit out a huge fireball. I've also seen "Flechete" rounds which apparently are loaded with small darts. I've never messed with any of these obscure rounds but if you are feeling daring and aren't worried about potentially harming yourself or your firearm then feel free to experiment. ;-)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shotgun_shell
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shotgun_slug
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flechette
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon's_Breath

7. Ammo Storage

Firearms are useless paper weights without ammunition to feed them. Because of this it is necessary to store ammunition for a rainy day. For ammunition to store properly for long periods of time it should be stored in a cool dry place. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. The easiest way I've found is to purchase surplus ammo cans. Stored in a cool room with a few desiccants your ammo will be good for a long time. Desiccants are those little things you find in things you buy that say DO NOT EAT!. They are designed to pull moisture out of the air. You can often purchase them from places that sell ammunition. I believe I saw one once that was a large can that you could sit in the bottom of your gun case to keep the humidity low in your gun safe..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desiccant
http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/ZAA095-1.html
**NOTE** Search CheaperThanDirt for other ammo cans

ii. Knives
Choosing a knife is a very personal decision. You need to think about what you want from the knife. Personally I think everyone needs a pocket folder, a fixed blade, a multitool, and a machete of some sort.
Some of the best brands are Benchmade, Gerber, Strider Knives, Ka-Bar, Leatherman, SOG Knives, and Cold Steel. SOG Knives are great if you want an amazingly sharp knife. Strider Knives makes some really great fixed blade knives.
My personal choice for a pocket folder would be a Benchmade Presidio. For a machete, I would recommend a Cold Steel Kukri Machete. KaBar and Strider Knives both make some of the sturdiest fixed blade knives on the market. Strider Knives are pretty expensive though. As far as multitools go, I would recommend picking up a Leatherman MUT when they release this Fall if you have an AR15. It's amazing.
A friend of mine, who is a big knife enthusiast recommended these knives:
Folders:
Benchmade Presidio
SOG Trident
SOG Pentagon

Fixed Blade:
Benchmade Nimravus
Benchmade CSK-II
Benchmade Fixed Presidio
SOG SEAL TEAM
SOG SEAL Pup
SOG Jungle Primitive
Ka-Bar

http://www.coldsteel.com/kukrimachetes.html
http://www.benchmade.com/
http://www.striderknives.com/
http://www.sogknives.com/
http://www.gerbergear.com/
http://www.leatherman.com/
http://www.leatherman.com/product/MUT
https://www.kabar.com/

iii. Alternative weapons
There are other weapons that can be explored if you aren't comfortable with firearms or you are just looking for something different. A good crossbow or bow can be a valuable tool. Especially when ammunition becomes scarce. A good arrow can potentially be reused after dropping a deer, a bullet cannot.
BBGuns are also a valuable tool, especially when hunting small game. Some don't require anything except pumping. Their low price and the low price of BBs makes them a viable alternative for the budget survivalist.

iv. Less Lethal
Less than lethal weapons are also a great option in personal defense. A good taser or mace will quickly stop most people and allow you time to escape to safety. These tools shouldn't be overlooked in your preparations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
continued...

e. Bug Out Bag
The "Bug Out Bag" is one of the key pieces of equipment of every survivalist. There are many debates on what it should and shouldn't be. I think most everyone can agree that the success of any good BOB requires that it be loaded and ready to go.
The purpose of a Bug Out Bag or BOB, is to provide you with the ability to leave quickly at a moment's notice and to have everything you will need to stay alive for a given amount of time.
An important thing to remember when purchasing a bag to use as a BOB is to not invest in something cheap. When I put together my first BOB I purchased a $35 Three Day Bag off eBay. It looked great and was made from 500D Cordura. Unfortunately, the craftsmanship wasn't there. When I finally had it loaded up the bag strained under the weight. It also had very little padding so I felt all the items I had stored in the bag. While attempting to jog while wearing the pack, one of the shoulder straps ripped and the entire bag fell off my back. Needless to say, if this had been an actual emergency situation I would have been screwed.
i. Camelbak BFM 500
After my initial BOB failure I spent a few months researching packs and bags. I finally decided on a Camelbak BFM 500 bag. It's the largest bag Camelbak makes. I'm also pretty confident that it's the largest bag you can find before you start looking into frame packs.
I decided on the bag because it provided a great deal of room while still providing a great deal of maneuverability. I've seen people use large frame packs as their BOBs but I feel like carrying that much weight over a large period of time would be too much for most people. Also, the size of the bag gives you a smaller profile and doesn't scream PREPARED!!

http://militarytimes.com/blogs/gear...ult-pack-cordon-review-part-i-the-big-ones/2/

ii. Source Hydration Patrol
Another brand I looked into was Source Hydration. They are a great company and provide products comparable in quality and design to Camelbak. The upside to their equipment is that it's usually significantly cheaper than Source Hydration.
Their Patrol pack is comparable in size to the Camelback BFM 500. It's only slightly smaller.

http://www.source-military.com/p-cargo-patrol.html

iii. Eberlestock
If you want an awesome bag and aren't bothered by the price tag then pick up a bag or pack from Eberlestock. These guys really think their products through and I've heard great things from people who've used them. One of the features that I like is that on many of their packs you can holster a long gun like a Remington 700 or AR15/M4.

http://militarytimes.com/blogs/gear...ult-pack-cordon-review-part-i-the-big-ones/3/

iv. Larger Bags
Like I stated before, I'm slightly against larger packs as a BOB because I feel like they limit your mobility and they require significantly more energy to haul around. Obviously this could be countered through exercise and training but that would require discipline and time that many of us might not have the time to dedicate. If you are interested in pursuing a large pack as your BOB then you can look into ALICE (All-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment) packs as well as maybe used ILBE (Improved Load Bearing Equipment) equipment. I've read online that some people have purchased surplus ALICE equipment and created some really sweet Bug Out Bags. It's up to you to do the research on that. Your BOB should definitely be something you choose carefully.

f. The Bug Out Vehicle
In addition to your BOB you also need to decide how you are going to get out of dodge in the event of a serious emergency. If you don't want to walk then you need to make preparations to have a reliable Bug Out Vehicle.
Some of the features one should look for in a BOV are its off-road capabilities, storage capacity, reliability, ruggedness, ease of maintenance, gas mileage, and the type of fuel it uses. I discussed this issue with a fellow survivalist friend of mine over a few months. He researched a list of the most common Sport Utility Vehicles and came up with a list of their pros and cons.

1. Jeep Cherokee (1997-2001)
Engine: Gasoline: 1997-99, 4.0L I6 MPI 242ci - 190 hp @ 4750 rpm, 235 ft lb @ 3,000 rpm ||| 2000-01, 193 hp @ 4750 rpm, 245 ft lb @ 4,000 rpm Diesel (Foreign made): VM 2.5L Turbo Diesel - 140 hp, 236 ft lb torque
MPG: City: 15, Highway: 20, Overall: 17
Dimensions: Wheelbase: 101.4 in Length: 167.5 in Width: 1997-99, 67.9 in ||| 2000-01, 69.4 in Height: 64 in
Weight: 3,057 lb
Comments: Lots of aftermarket parts. Wide variety of resources to tap into if you need to fix something. A solution to pretty much any problem you run into can be found on the net. Suspension has always been solid front and rear axles, so off-road handling is great, but its kinda **** to drive on-road compared to vehicles with independent rear suspension. Only real downside is the MPG, and the comfortability of the ride.

2. Jeep Grand Cherokee (1997-1998)
Engine: Gasoline:4.0L I6 242ci - 185 hp, 225 ft lb |||| 5.2L V8 318ci - 225 hp, 300 ft lb Diesel (Foreign made): 2.5L Turbo Diesel - 114 hp, 221 ft lb torque
MPG: V6: City: 14, Highway: 19, Overall: 16 |||| V8: City: 12, Highway: 17, Overall: 14
Dimensions: Wheelbase: 105.9 in Length: 177.2 in Width: 69.2 in Height: 64.9 in
Weight: 3,196 lb
Comments: Much of the same qualities of the Cherokee, but with the added space, size, and creature comforts. Though, this added size does hit the MPG more. Suspensions are the same as the Cherokee on the 4WD models, however, on the 2WD, IRS was offered.

3. Toyota Land Cruiser (1995-1997)
Engine: Gasoline:4.5L V6 242ci - 212 hp, 275 ft lb Diesel (Foreign made): 4.2L Turbo Diesel - 162 hp, 267 ft lb torque
MPG: City: 12, Highway: 14, Overall: 13
Dimensions: Wheelbase: 112.2 in Length: 189.8 in Width: 76 in Height: 73.6 in
Weight: 4,993 lb
Comments: Space, lots of it. Long wheelbase means easier climbing over obstacles. ****ing weight of a tank though, so MPG is shot in the head. Solid axles like the Cherokee provide great off-road handling, but uncomfortable on-road. Kicks AMAZING ASS at the Dakar Rally in the UNMODDED STOCK production race.

4. Toyota Land Cruiser (1998-2001)
Engine: Gasoline:4.5L V6 242ci - 212 hp, 275 ft lb | 4.7L V8 284ci - 271 hp, 315 ft lb torque Diesel (Foreign made): 4.2L Turbo Diesel - 162 hp, 267 ft lb torque
MPG: V6: City: 12, Highway: 14, Overall: 13 |||| V8: City: 12, Highway: 15, Overall: 13
Dimensions: Wheelbase: 112 in Length: 193 in Width: 76.4 in Height: 72.8 in
Weight: 5,100 lb
Comments: Nearly the same as the previous model with a few minor exterior details changed till the mid 2000's, except IRS was offered in some versions. V8 was offered in this new model in addition to the V6 due to the increase in weight. This V8 offered a SOLID increase in HP and torque and is still used in 2009 models. Also, it is known for its 21 gallon fuel capacity.

5. Toyota 4Runner (1996-2002)
Engine: Gasoline:3.4L V6 183 hp, 217 ft lb torque |Diesel (Foreign made): 3.0L Turbo Diesel - 130 hp, 202 ft lb torque
MPG: City: 15, Highway: 18, Overall: 16
Dimensions: Wheelbase: 105.3 in Length: 183.3 in Width: 70.9 in Height: 68.5 in
Weight: 3,600 lb
Comments: Could be called a mini-Land Cruiser. Its smaller in all dimensions. Engine is less poweful. Weights 1500 lbs less, but doesn’t get too much better MPG. The plus would be it is more "luxury" than the Land Cruiser.

6. Nissan Xterra (2000-2004)
Engine: Gasoline: 2000-01 3.3L V6 - 170 hp, 202 ft lb | 2002-04 3.3L V6 - 180 hp, 220 ft lb torque
MPG: 2000-01: City: 15, Highway: 17, Overall: 15 |||| 2002-04: City: 15, Highway: 17, Overall: 16
Dimensions: Wheelbase: 104.3 in Length: 178 in Width: 70.4 in Height: 74 in
Weight: 3,697 lb
Comments: Three design cues have remained constant through the vehicle's life, its raised rear roofline and the hump-backed rear gate. The raised roof allows for stadium seating and the hump provides room for a first aid kit. The Nissan Paladin which is based off the first generation Xterra is made in China and competes in the Dakar Rally.

7. Nissan Xterra (2005-Present)
Engine: Gasoline: 4.0L V6 265 hp, 284 lb torque
MPG: City: 15, Highway: 19, Overall: 17
Dimensions: Wheelbase: 106.3 in, Length: 178.7 in, Width: 72.8 in, Height: 74.9 in
Weight: 4,290 lb
Comments: Uses the Nissan F-Alpha platform shared by the Titan and Frontier. Rear differential locker on the off-road model, the new model is larger. Utilizing Nissan's more refined, variable valve timing fitted 4.0 L engine it provides more HP and Torque at a better MPG. More options and roof mounted lights on off-road models.

8. Land Rover Discovery II (1999-2004)
Engine: Gasoline: VARIES: 4.0L V8 188 hp, 250 lb torque OR 4.6L V8 225 hp, 280 lb torque Diesel (Foreign made): 2.5L Turbo Diesel - 122 hp, 221 ft lb torque
MPG: 4.0L V8: City: 12, Highway: 16, Overall: 13 |||| 4.6L V8: City: 11, Highway: 14, Overall: 12 (PREMIUM GAS)
Dimensions: Wheelbase: 100 in, Length: 185.2 in, Width: 74.4 in, Height: 76.4 in
Weight: 4,576 lb
Comments: Has numerious off-road features while also having creature comforts. Though, interior has been labeled "utilitarian", which would be a plus for a person who doesn't like too many bells and whistles. Is a good degree inferior to its successor the Discovery 3, but the price difference is key.

The vehicle we eventually decided was the most capable was the Jeep Cherokee. They are reliable vehicles and they possess the best balance between a daily driver and an off-road rig. There are also numerous upgrades available for them including large roof racks and lift kits. Another great feature is that the engine in the 97-2001 models is the exact same Inline Six engine that is used in the Jeep Wranglers. This means finding parts for these things is extremely easy.

http://www.jeepforum.com/

Custom Roll Cage
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f11/erics-cage-build-833099/

Parts:
http://www.rustysoffroad.com/
http://www.quadratec.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep#XJ_models

Fuel Storage
Another issue to consider with your BOV is fuel storage. If you are going to carry extra fuel in your vehicle you also need to make sure that it is DOT (Department of Transportation) approved otherwise, if a cop pulls you over, you could get a ticket.
Another issue to consider with the long term storage of fuel is that over time, fuel breaks down. To counteract this, you need to add a fuel stabilizer like Stabil to keep your gas useable. Stabil is not an indefinite fix but it does prolong the life of your gasoline. With a proper FIFO setup you could effectively cycle through your stash and continually cycle in fresh gas.
Currently I'm looking for a place that sells surplus USGI Gas Cans or "Jerrycans." I've been unsuccessful as of late but if I find a link I'll be sure to post it.

http://www.goldeagle.com/brands/stabil/default.aspx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerrycan

4. References
a. Books
i. Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse by James Wesley, Rawles
ii. How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It by James Wesley,
Rawles
iii. SAS Survival Handbook: How to Survive in the Wild, in Any Climate, on Land or at Sea by John Lofty Wiseman
b. Links
i. http://www.AR15.com
ii. http://www.Survivalblog.com
iii. http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/
iv. http://www.homestead.org/
v. http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=10&f=17&t=629206
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Nice! Well done. But you really should give a bit more attention to the .308 semi's. M1A, AR10, FAL, ect. All in all, Strong Work!
I'm actually a huge fan of AR10s. I've been fighting the urge to pick up an AR10 lower for months now. :D:

One day I'd like to get an M1A but unfortunately, I'm a bit of a gun snob and I'm not going to be happy unless I get the super mega ultimate match grade edition and that can get expensive really fast.
 

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I'm actually a huge fan of AR10s. I've been fighting the urge to pick up an AR10 lower for months now. :D:

One day I'd like to get an M1A but unfortunately, I'm a bit of a gun snob and I'm not going to be happy unless I get the super mega ultimate match grade edition and that can get expensive really fast.
Oh yea, I know the feeling! :D: I have both a Scout and an M21. Been thinking of an AR10 lower myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Oh yea, I know the feeling! :D: I have both a Scout and an M21. Been thinking of an AR10 lower myself.
Also, if you feel like breaking the bank....

pick up one of these
http://www.lwrci.com/p-120-repr.aspx

I got to talk to one of the guys that worked on that rifle...it's amazing. The guy let me strip it and check out the internals. I think that thing retails for like $4,000 though. :D:
 

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I would love an M21. Those things are amazing. **fist pound** :D:
It's fun. I just picked it up a few months ago with a Leopuld 5x16? mil-dot tactical. Haven't really had time to give it real work out yet. The one decent range seesion I have manage to pull off with it put them into 3/4" at 100 off the bench.

Actually, It's not a true M21. It's a hybrid with the oversized super match stock fitted and glassed in by Springfield's custom shop. I work with the guy I bought it from and he knows his business. He sold it to me so he could buy a .416 Rigby to shoot at 2500 yards.
 

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Also, if you feel like breaking the bank....

pick up one of these
http://www.lwrci.com/p-120-repr.aspx

I got to talk to one of the guys that worked on that rifle...it's amazing. The guy let me strip it and check out the internals. I think that thing retails for like $4,000 though. :D:
NICE! :thumb: 16" barrel, gas piston recoil, full length flat top rail, Magpul PRS stock....SWEET! Top that with Nightforce optics and it would rock.

I've been debating about putting the Magpul PRS on the AR15 I'm currently building. Haven't decided just yet how I'm going to configure it though.
 

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Thanks OP!

EXACTLY what I was looking for in starting out here. Just received References # ii and iii in the mail today. Between those and this thread I feel quite a bit better about learning the basics than I did a week ago. Starting out with all this info can be a bit overwhelming. Thanks again!
 

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Comprehensive Guide for the Beginning Survivalist
WOOT! WOOT! EXCELLENT post! Congratulations on it becoming a sticky! Well deserved!

Yet another option are Emergency Food Ration Bars. I've never had one but they don't seem to be terrible appetizing. The goal of these bars is to provide all the necessary calories and nutrients for a person in an emergency situation while maintaining a long shelf life..
I've had these and actually they're not bad. The texture is a bit odd, and the taste isn't perfect, but they're quite filling and very digestible. And you don't need to cook them, nor do they make you thirsty...

A suggestion for an additional section, if you don't mind: Tools. I know there are those who can get by with nothing but a knife (and a wing and a prayer). But for most people, that would be a bit of a stretch and a few things might make a BIG difference. You already mentioned a multi-tool, (hear, hear!), but I'd suggest a flashlight. Radio. Fire starting equipment. Rope. Duct tape. A small hatchet (doubles as a hammer) or machette. A first aid kit, complete with extra prescription drugs and eyeglasses, if needed. Whistle, mini sewing kit (throw in some fish hooks and nylon thread and it's a fishing kit, too), pry bar, folding saw, there are lots of things people might want to have with them in a disaster. All that's necessary is to suggest them.
 

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This thread is exellent! Thanks for taking the time to do it for all of us!

Don't discount the Remington 1911. It's a new model for them I believe and shoots really well!

Anybody know how much the Eureka TCOP tent sells for? I love it but can't find a price on their website? Maybe I'm just tired...:sleep:
 
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