Teenage Survival Part 2: Tools

Having the right tools for survival is important at any age.  If you are a teenager then acquiring these tools can be difficult depending on your age and local laws.  One thing you can do is prove to your parents that you are up the task. 

Capt Bart:
The toughest part of survival preparation is to get into the proper mind set. This is going to cost Teenage SHTF Planningyou things and make you think about things that at your age most teenagers don’t even consider. If you are serious about survival preparation, you must consider your lifestyle.  Do you play high school sports?  If so, which one(s)? Football is a great game but even if you discount the possibility of injury think about the time spent in practices that would be more beneficially spent in preparation.  Survival prep is a way of thinking and a way of life.  One hundred years ago a 16 year old was considered a fully-grown adult with all the responsibility of being an adult.  Today you are treated as little more than an over sized child.

Josh:
One of my own personal frustrations is being treated like a small child, and being babied through everything.  Responsibility is a tool that cuts two ways, it is a wonderful thing to be in charge of your own actions, but at the same time when you mess up or do not perform to your best ability, there is only yourself to blame.

Capt Bart:
Physical condition is important but the conditioning for many sports activities is not sufficient Pull Upsreward for the time invested.  Runners and swimmers build endurance differently than football.  Sprinters are conditioned differently than long distance runners.  Think about what is needed in your situation and, if you choose to play sports, select the one that will bring the most benefit to your efforts.  Be aware that if you were into sports before you began to think about survival, there will be questions about why you stopped playing.  Be prepared for the question but be aware that “I’m into prepping now” is probably is not the best answer.

Josh:
Sports are a fantastic thing, they provide an opportunity to exercise, and are an outlet for that excess energy that needs to be expressed creatively.  I was recently roped into playing soccer with our local home school group, but if I had my choice, I would most likely choose to participate in a form of martial arts which is something that we will discuss later on in the series.

Capt Bart:
After the mind and body, the most important tools for a survivalist may well be the simplest to have.  At the most fundamental level you need an edge for cutting, a container for drinking and a way to bind packages together.

In many places even a simple 3-inch blade pocketknife will throw the school system into Swiss Army Knifefull-blown, lock down, hysterics.  With ‘zero tolerance’ as a substitute for rational thought, care must be taken not to get crosswise with the system.  Rambo knifes are out of the question. Actually, ‘Rambo’ anything is out of the question for you.  My recommendations are a Leatherman tool and a Swiss Army Knife.  Neither one is seen as threatening yet each has a blade suitable for cutting rope or cloth and a can opener.  As I write I have both on me and I am on a Federal reservation where ‘weapons’ are illegal.  If you have a choice, NEVER be anywhere that will not allow you to have at least one of these items.

Josh:
I have been a blade junkie since the day that I turned seven and was permitted to own my first pocket knife.  I am not even going to try to cover how to select and use knives properly here, as we already have articles out on the topic.  But I will say that the cutting blade, is THE most important tool to the outdoors-man and survivalist.  It is as important as the sword is to a warrior or teeth and claws are to the Lion.  With a good blade you can chop, stab, slash, saw, baton, skin, and whittle fine objects.  I personally feel very exposed and under prepared when I am not carrying a knife.

Capt Bart:
If the home environment allows, a folding knife like a good Case or Buck with a 4 to 5 inch blade is a great rough country blade.  My Buck has a serrated edge over part of the blade because that is excellent for cutting the webbing of a seat belt in an emergency.  The serrated edge is one of those ‘evil’ things that some progressives would outlaw so be careful here.  Remember, rule number 1 ”DO NOT GET CROSSWISE WITH YOUR PARENTS OR THE LEGAL SYSTEM.”  Part of the reason for being a ‘gray man’ is to preclude you coming under surveillance as a ‘terrorist threat’.

Your choice of hobbies can be of help here.  If you are into electronics, a government signal corps knife from ebay for $10 is ‘necessary’ to work the wires and such.  Two blades and a screwdriver, but it is a knife.

If you are taking up geo-caching you might need that larger knife in the brush. You might even Bug Out Bagneed a small machete (never need the large one) for moving brush and checking for snakes.  A small camp shovel to help uncover the cache, a set of local area maps and a good compass would also help.  Since you might be out where there are few amenities, a decent water bottle would also be a good idea.

If you get into ham radio, you have an alternate communication skill, a need for wire and parachute cord for antennas and backup power sources to power your radios during field day events and emergencies.  Field day could also meant tarps for shade or rain protection.

Woodworking gives you tools that work in a grid down scenario if you plan well.  After all you don’t want to spend a lot of money on power tools so older style hand tools are the way to go.

Amateur astronomy gets you a good set of optics and perhaps a green laser. Those things can be seen for miles, just be sure not to point them at aircraft.  It is illegal and can cause real harm.

Josh:
I can’t really add anything to what Capt. Bart has said here. As I have said before, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE RESPECTED IF YOU DO NOT SHOWN RESPECT TO OTHERS!
With respect come responsibility, which as also mentioned before, is a wonderful thing. With responsibility comes ability, that is the ability to proficiently and safely perform the tasks necessary to both survive and to thrive in the process.

Capt Bart:
Think about your hobbies and use them to help you prepare for possible events. The right choices can even help you combine several activities. Scouting is a good umbrella group for all manner of activities that relate to survival.

One hobby to pick up is reading even if you are already doing many of the others.  Not survival books, you don’t want to be seen as a nut case.  You are interested in history, especially the history of the westward expansion and the ‘country folks’ (aren’t they funny people?) Magazines like ‘True West’ and ‘Backwoods Country Home’ have a ton of information about how folks lived and live off the grid but they are not ‘SURVIVALIST’ junk.  Louis L’Amour wrote excellent western stories as well as good sea and adventure tails. There is much to be learned from them about living without microwave ovens.

Josh:
I am a scout, and I have got to say that it is not the organization that it once was.  If your motivation for joining scouting is purely to learn survival skills you will be sadly disappointed.  As I mentioned in part one of this series, reading is something that costs nothing but opens up a world of knowledge.  I am similar to Captain Bart in that I am something of a Louis L’Amour nut, I own more than half of his books, and can personally attest to their value.  Lessons to be learned include tracking, stealthy movement, basic tactics, and more.

Read Teenage Survival Part 1: Before Their Time (Click Here)

Photos by:
Lee.Ekstrom
The Kabbage
RichardMason
Ed_Bltn
Andrew P Quinn



Josh
Written by Josh

Josh is a Boy Scout and an avid outdoorsman. He specializes in knives (and other such tools), various knots & lashings, traditional skills such as blacksmithing & woodworking, bushcraft and fire starting. Read his full interview here. Read more of Josh's articles.

69 thoughts on “Teenage Survival Part 2: Tools”

  1. good article. I think kids know more than we let on but at the same time I think they are only as scared as the adults around them. So its important that we stay calm and even during tough times try to keep things light hearted. Remember to pack some kind of game, cards or something that your kids like to do to help keep their minds of the reality of the situation.

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  2. Why would rambo style knives be out of the question for teens? Ive had my RC-5 since I was 13, im 16 now and that thing goes everywhere with me, except the security checks at the airport and school. Bigger is better, but if you have the option for variety then get many sizes and functions of good quality knives.

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    • I would in no way say the RC5 is a rambo knife. If you think rambo used a 5 inch blade then you should watch the movie again. Rambo blades usually refer to "show pieces" that are longer than 7-10 inches and and usually are of poorer quality. ESEE line is very good and practical, not even close to rambo

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  3. Well done Josh and Capt Bart. A son would be great in a survival scenario. One like you Josh would make it a lot easier for any family.

    My teen was a girly girl who couldn’t care less about any of this stuff. A recent TV show about a psycho killer that abducted a girl at Target helped scared her into the learning mode. I’m trying to teach her to think tactically. Situational awareness, head on a swivel, getting out of chokes and holds, breaking contact, etc. One of the best lessons we can teach our girls is the art of the pepper spray ambush. How to hold the pepper spray at the ready in a hidden location… A jacket pocket, on the other side of your body, hidden in the palm with a thumb loop. One hand to block one hand to spray. Eyes, nose, mouth. Run towards other people, stores, shops or exit the area. Whenever possible travel in numbers. It’s a process… It will take a while. I’m thinking years. Sigh…

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    • It does take a long time but if she has started listening then that is a major step in the right direction. Baby steps is about all we can do which can drive us nuts when we want them to be fully on board.

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  4. great article.
    i love the fact that you guys are covering something so relevant to me and my age group

    I am looking to upgrade from a genuine Swiss army knife and a multitool to a SOG seal-pup elite with a straight edge are there any reviews you could suggust that would benifit me in my decision making process??

    thanks for the help and article
    Tackshooter

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    • KEEP BOTH the SA Knife and the multitool ( you have 2 decent multilools ). People forget that the swiss army knife enhances your emergency tool inventory with what a Leatherman or Gerber doesn’t have on it . Yes the little tweezers are kind of a joke but damn handy when you need to get an annoying sliver out . Get a good ole Marine Ka-Bar . They are cheap , proven , tough , and will serve you well . The others are fine and even better , BUT get things that are good NOW and upgrade later . You never know what day TSHTF is going to be . Better to have a good reliable but less expensive piece of equipment now , than get caught without .

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      • The SOG sealpup is cheaper than a ka-bar and is better suited to my needs no matter how much I really want one.

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        • just sayin ,
          dont have to get huffy . I find em cheap at the local surplus store here . like they say ” two is one and one is none “

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          • well the issue for me is not that i dont want a Ka-Bar but is getting the hands on the merchandise.
            i live almost 2 hours from any army navy surplus store as well as all the stores that carry them only sell them for over $100 which is way over budget for me.

            Sorry for seeming rude i was just trying to say that i cant get my hands on a real one in my budget with out going really really out of my way to get one.

          • Get the best knife available to you that you can afford. If you have specialty needs get those knives as well. A knife that is best suited for filleting fish isn't much good for hacking small trees into firewood. Having more than one knife often starts as a luxury and quickly becomes a necessity. There is an old pilot's saying that the only time you can have too much fuel on board the plane is if you are on fire. I've come to the point where I think the only time you can have too many knives is if you are trying to swim a river while carrying all of them! Always have a good edge close at hand and you'll be surprised at how well prepared you are.
            I would stay away from the really cheap stuff (not inexpensive – cheap). I've had 'made in China' blades fail me too many times to every trust one again.

          • No problem , One place you can look is ebay ……….yes I know …..but there are so many knife people on there that you can find fantastic deals if your patient . I got 2 leatherman wave multitools , 1 original version and the other the new version … both were ” used ” but honestly , when I got them , I couldn’t tell . At a very good price . With the economy the way it is , folks are selling off stuff that they dont use very much or dont need anymore to make a few extra bucks . Very sad but thats the way it is . Flea markets are a good place to look for gear as well , never know what your going to find in one .

          • The Bay of e works provided you know what you are getting. I got my old Army commo knife because I had used one while on active duty. What I got for my $10 bill was a knife in decent shape and sharp as a razor. Just exactly what I needed. Be careful of knock-off and 'new' items that are too cheap. If you know the brand name and the price is OK, take a swing at it. Otherwise let it pass. I often put a 'low ball' bid in for something. I'll most likely lose but if I do it enough times, I eventually get what I'm looking for. I picked up a lot of radio gear that way. Most of it good stuff.

    • Tackshooter,
      Knives are very personal. I recently picked up my first KA-BAR and it felt so good that I now own it. Nothing bad about SOG. If you have a knife that fits your hand, does the jobs (a survival knife needs to be a multiple use tool) that it needs to do and you can afford it; by all means get it because that is the knife for you. The most expensive is not necessarily the best – the best is the one you have when you need it.

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      • One tool I would highly recommend for every backpacker or camper is Cold Steels ” Spetnaz ” shovel . No Kidding ! I have used that little thing for for everything under the sun ! wont leave home without it , got two of em . 1 stays in the truck ( in case I have a flat and have to level the ground for the jack ) , the other goes with me on my pack . Its kinda like a machete and I use it as a hatchet all the time . It comes sharpened and will cut down young trees like a machete . Makes a very nasty weapon ! and yes ! you can dig holes with it too ! lol

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        • Thank you, sir. That looks like a really good tool. I am filling out my "pioneer" tools and this shovel really seems to fit. I assume it holds up well under use. The price seems very good as well. Again, thank you for the tip.

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          • well its made for a backpack so keep in mind it is small . Your not going to be digging any mine shafts with it . The blade is on the flat side with a rolled edge near the bottom and the wooden handle goes half way down the spine ( i guess for strength ) , it feels good and is very well balanced almost like a knife . I have cut down very small trees with it ( 3″ trunk ) Wouldn’t try it on oak for obvious reasons , because it happened to be in my hand at the time . Its a good tool for several basic things . I wouldn’t hesitate to use it as a weapon either , seems designed for that as well .

        • T. Rapier & CaptBart- I own an original issue Spetsnas shovel, I have mentioned it in other discussions on the site. The one I have was given to me by my father, and on a couple occasions during his military career it saved his life (he still won't talk about those situations much). They make for an EXCELLENT piece of kit! T.R- as you mentioned, it makes a GREAT substitute for a hatchet, I know of several people who have said (from personal experience) that they will "cleave a man in two" if need be!

          CaptBart- I to have a "pioneer" kit which I keep in my JEEP, because you never know when you will need a shovel/pick/axe/Maddox/etc. Last year for my birthday my father gave me a "MAX-AXE" to replace several pieces of my kit. Because I drive a JEEP Wrangler I have VERY limited space available for gear. The "MAX-AXE" is basically a heavy axe, with a loop forged into the head which allows you to attach a component from the kit and secure it to the axe using a simple cotter-pin; The components in a full kit include- hoe, pick, spike/breaker tip, wide-Maddox and narrow Maddox, rake, shovel, the axe and the back side of the axe-head can be used like a small sledge if need be; It also comes with a pack for all the parts to be stowed in and plenty of places to secure extra cotter-pins, the pack has loops which are designed to fit over the axe-handle and can easily be carried like a "hobo" pack. I have to admit that some of the attachments feel a little clumsy being used on the end of an axe, but they make a superb vehicle kit, especially for an off-road driver with space constraints. My father managed to find mine for about $75, used on Ebay (only 1 scratch on the handle, and a nick in the axe-blade which came out with a little file/stone work, and with all attachments). New they run $149 (if I remember right). There are military surplus ones available as well, apparently the "MAX-AXE" was issued in some military vehicles as a complete pioneer kit, mine is actually a military model, the only difference is that they are all OD Green and have a little heavier parts and pack for the attachments, the protective finish/paint seems to be a little more durable as well.(We have 3 different variants of the "MAX-AXE", 2 civilian- 1 -w- a hickory handle and 1 -w- a fiberglass handle; 1 military model- OD Green -w- fiberglass handle)

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    • I agree with Captain Bart, get whats works for you. I have a Ka-Bar, a CRKT Folder Tanto,, two multi tools, and a small Ka-Bar. I guess my real problem will be choosing which to take with me. The folder goes EVERYWHERE I do (College campus included). Its just too handy. With regards to the Ka-Bar, I have use one to split firewood. The thing is beat up from it, but I would still use it for everything. Its a solid and robust knife. you can get a new one, from Ka-Bar for around $50, last I checked, or a good one in working order for $25 from other sources. I have no knowledge of the knife you want to get, as I have only used those listed. I will say however, that the new USMC bayonet is overly awesome. It is a Ka-Bar, that can mount on an AR, has a hard sheath with a sharpener, and is just as robust as the Ka-Bars I have used. Blade is really large (about 8-9 inches), but it is well worth the money in my eyes, but a little pricy at $125-150. Worth looking at. CaptBart, excellent post.. Semper Fi

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  5. This is a great article as I’m now 16 and starting to get more and more into this survival/prepper mentality. Being in the outdoors sort of runs in the family. I agree with everything you wrote here except the sports thing. I think they are great ways to stay in shape. As a tackle on my high school’s team I can attest to the fact that there are many other benefits that physics like learning that you must be dependable in a group and you have to be able to trust the others that are with you.

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    • I am not against sports; if I came across that way I do apologize. My point is that your choice of sports can help or hinder your prepping. As a tackle I suspect you have a great deal of strength in your legs and arms. Your running stamina is probably substantially less than a mile runner. Neither good nor bad, just different. If your sport helps you get physically conditioned in a way that enhances your survival, that is a good thing. If it doesn't, then perhaps another sport would fit your goals better. That is a personal choice. I only intended to call attention to the possibility that high school sports could be either a good or bad thing.

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  6. In my opinion teens should enjoy their youth. If that means football, track or band as parents we should encourage and enjoy all their stages. Just being healthy humans should be encouraged including fitness and diet. If the SHTF then they can adapt and learn. If it never happens then we don’t turn them into paranoid freaks.
    If they are in to survival and such take em on outings. Teach them how to use gear and use their smarts.
    For all you teens who are in to this… I commend you. It’s not for everyone but who cares? Special Ops isn’t for everyone either but for those who know it's pretty damb cool.

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  7. Great article, you guys got me thinking that I should check with my college's rules on blades and such I also feel very vulnerable without my pocket knife when I go to school it'd be nice if I could at least carry my muti-tool with me.

    A personal suggestion for reading for beginning survivalists is "Camping for Dummies" by Michael Hodgson. Goes over quite a bit of useful gear selection information and a little bit on skills in a condensed and organized fashion (you can easily skip over stuff you already know or are not interested in without risking missing out on something important) plus it won't make you look like a nut if someone sees it on your shelf or on you library record (as you guys suggest the gray man appearance)

    On a final note of suggestion when I want to read something that I'd rather people not know I'm reading it I just pull it from the library shelf and read it while I'm there and take notes. http://www.worldcat.org/ is a great resource for finding any book anywhere.

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  8. i ama reciever and corner in football and mile and half mile runner in track, im 16 and i believe sports is a great way to get ur survival fitness up and in rural areas like my home town in doing so i met fellow survivalist that are now my close friends and paint ball buddies, a couple i even go hunting and fishin with. so u never know how sports can benefit your survival in more ways than fitness. great! article looking forward to #3

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    • Krav Maga is another one if your old enough to be trained … talk about exercise ! not to mention very practical for personal survival on a daily basis .

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    • I confess I'm a tad surprised at the mile running in track. While I expect those who carry the ball and the pass defense types to be more agile runners with more endurance, I would have expected more of a sprint type track and field event. Unusual (just like swimmers are not usually runners due to different breathing discipline) but if it works for you, great. As you note, there are many advantages besides just physical conditioning.
      Well done, sir.

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  9. I was on another site recently and they had an article on 20 little known uses for Chap Stick . Ill copy paste the list ……some were very interesting , some we already know about . I always have one on me , but had no idea it was good for more than chapped lips and a scraped knuckle .

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    • I would like to see the list or a link to the site. I know a few uses for chap stick … I don't know if I know 20. Thank you.

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      • OK here it is , sorry bout 2 things , its only 10 uses , i stay up late and forget things when im tired , and sorry about the copy / paste job lol .

        Chapstick as a survival product? There are many uses for this often forgotten item.Uses: 1. Chapped lips 2. In extreme cold weather, you can rub it on the exposed parts of your face. The thin layer helps prevent heat loss by limiting radiation and air convection. 3. Lubrication for your fire bow drill, etc. 4. It is a great FIRE-STARTER! It works just like petroleum Jelly. You can rub it on a piece of cloth, lint from your pocket, a cotton ball, gauze pad from your first aid kit, or even on natural tender. I always have a cotton ball or two stuffed in my match-case to keep the matches from rattling around and in my little pill vial I use to carry some basic medicines. 5. Emergency waterproofer. You can even use it to plug a small hole in your tent, poncho, or tube tent that is leaking in the rain. 6. Rub it on a hot spot on your foot to help prevent a pending blister (lubricant). 7. Mix it with some black ash and rub under your eyes to keep the glare down (great for desert or snowy terrain) 8. Do the same above to camo your face for hunting, works much better than mud and is kind of water resistant. 9. Not as good as oil, but I think it is a decent expedient rust preventative to rub on carbon steel knives. 10. rub on a scratch to slow itching down until you can properly clean it .

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        • OK, an 11th use, in very dry areas (cold or hot) the linings of the nose can get so dry and cracked that they start bleeding. I have found that Chap Stick (and Carmex, for that matter) help moisten the lining and ease the discomfort.

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  10. Regarding the teen thing: I’m not bagging on you Capt Bart… Just expressing my opinion.

    Regarding self reliance skills: I totally agree with you. Ever watch a grown man try to start a fire that doesn’t know how? It’s just sad and embarrassing to watch. The longer it goes on the worse it gets. I watched a 40 year old guy try to start a fire for an hour… With dry wood, news paper, and a lighter. In a fire pit. He failed. Imagine someone like that in a survival scenario with a family?

    We should at least teach our boys some wilderness self reliance. Not sexist just realistic. Most girls I know aren’t going to be cutting firewood any time soon.

    Question? How many teen girls read these articles?

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    • Didn't think you were ragging on me – no offense assumed or taken. That is a good question. I know we have some ladies who read this, I have no idea how many are teenaged. That is an interesting question – any teenage ladies would be welcome to let us know who they are and what their concerns are.

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      • My girl reads the articles on the site sometimes, though she hasn't felt ready to comment. Most of the time when she has something she wants to discuss, or questions regarding topics/comments here, it sparks a conversation between the two of us, sometimes Ma & Dad get involved, but it's usually just us.

        That being said, she is 24, hunts (guts/skins/drags HER OWN DEER!!!), rides horses/mules, owns a couple of each horse/mule, can start a fire using whatever (fire-steel/matches/magnifying glass/mirror/lighter/magnesium "block"/etc.) As good if not better than me, she hasn't got into fishing yet (because her family never did it when she was younger) *but I am workin' on that*, and she can cook again as good if not better than me (and yes I am a Chef). Did I mention she can shoot better than me, bow hunts more than she does with firearms, and packs a .454 Casull revolver in her purse! My point is, that you should never underestimate a woman who is determined to do something… I have never met a woman (before her), who will go hunting in the morning, and attend a charity "black-tie" gala in the evening… lookin' like a million bucks! Just because you have a "prissy"/"girlie" daughter, doesn't mean all-is-lost, just give her a chance to ease into stuff with lots of encouragement.
        I just wish more women were like mine, if they could do all that and pull it off looking 1/2 as sexy as my girl… The world would certainly be a happier place! (or at least there would be more happy dudes like me!)

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        • How does she like the .454? I'm curious because I 'lust in my heart' (a Jimmy Carter quote in a Playboy interview) for a Ruger Alaskan. Does she shoot .45 Colt or .454 in it? If she'd care to post her thoughts on the Casull, I'm sure we all would like to hear her opinions (all of us, meaning at least me and probably 'she who must be obeyed'). Perhaps you could let her use your log in if she doesn't have/want one. Thanks.

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  11. I know a twenty year old that doesn't get the survival message either and he just figures, why prepare when he can glom on to someone else that is prepared and live like that. It's tough getting through to the younger generation that sits on their butts talking to their friends all night and sleeping most of the day away.

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    • sounds like my nephew . good kid , but lazy as shit !!!!! little bastard cant even cook for himself if he cant take it from a box to a microwave . 21 now , hate to see how hard life rapes him by the time he’s 30 .

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    • Robert,
      the iPod group are so unaware of their surroundings that they will probably be dead before they are truly aware that they are alive! The leech attitude is the same as the grasshopper in the fable of the ant and the grasshopper. 'They' will take care of me forever. For many, that is how they live their life. Often enough they exist that way for their entire life; never knowing the satisfaction of being self reliant and responsible for their own welfare.
      It is tragic but until something happens to wake them up there is little hope they will see the truth. One can only pray that the wake-up event doesn't kill them.

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  12. I have to be honest, I am feeling EXTRA lazy right now… so I didn't read the other comments… sorry if I say something that somebody already mentioned.

    Josh & CaptBart, you guys mentioned having a pocket knife/multi-tool which fits a particular hobby. I feel like an old man when I say this, but when I was in high school (1996-2000) I would usually skip 1st-3rd period during hunting season (DON'T DO THIS… my grades suffered as a result!). Being in a fairly small/rural county, this was not uncommon, but the point is that I would have my bow/shotgun/rifle in a gun-rack hanging in the back window of my tuck, a sheath-knife on my hip, a "pig-sticker" in my boot, a multi-tool on my hip and ammo in my pockets and nobody would even "bat-an-eye"… Not so much these days!

    I also took vocational classes during my Junior and Senior years. I was taking HVAC/R (heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration), we were REQUIRED to have a pair of pliers, a knife, wire-strippers, screw-drivers and a wire-cutter at all times during class. The natural, and simple solution was to carry a multi-tool, I choose a Gerber single hand opening model for ease of use while working in class, we were allowed to carry a multi-tool at our "home school" and the "vocational center" (because some students rode a bus to "VO-TECH", they did not have a place to stow the tool during regular class). TODAY, they still allow vocational students who need such tools to carry them, this policy has been attacked several times over the years because of the occasional idiot playing with the blade during regular classes, or carving up some piece of school property, but at least for now it is still allowed. Their may be similar "loop-holes" in other school systems, and I have to say that the vocational classes, at least for me were a GREAT decision (I have always liked working with my hands, did not enjoy regular classes, and the classes taught me MANY valuable skills that come in handy today).

    Another option that some may wish to look into… I am not at all certain how this would be classified by anyone (police, schools, etc.), but I often carry a carbon-fiber/plastic composite knife whenever I am going to places where a regular stainless-steel knife (dagger) would cause problems. I have carried it on a plane, MANY years ago so I am not sure if it's kosher these days. I also used to carry it to school when I was taking classes in down-town Richmond and would get out late at night. Some models are EXTREMELY sharp, and actual lethal weapons. The one I carry has dulled edges, and a slightly rounded point, it is made to use as a defensive weapon against an attackers pressure points (the design is made to look like a real dagger, I suppose for an intimidation factor). Here is a link to a website where you can find a few options for similar non-metal knives http://allknife.com/index/35/ .

    Just remember what CaptBart & Josh mentioned in the article… the goal is to be the "GREY MAN/WOMAN"… ALWAYS make sure you are WELL within the law… If you have doubts ASK! I am a police science major, and if I have learned 1 thing from my classes, it is that it is ALWAYS better to ask than get into trouble for ignorance!

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    • "it is ALWAYS better to ask than get into trouble for ignorance!"

      Too right you are, being a Criminal Justice major myself it's amazing what kind of law definitions and restrictions there are and how easy it is for the State to "interpret" those laws to its benefit

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  13. You should take a look at glock knives $30 for w/o saw $35 with a saw it is the lightest weight for a sturdy knife that I’ve seen. I’m a teen (16) and I took up hiking a couple years ago and I started preping a month ago and it was a very smooth transition between the two.

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  14. I tried to post 30 minutes ago and I dont think to went through so I’m reposting. Nobody has mentioned the glock knives there under $40,very sturdy you can get a saw on the back if you want. And I’m a teenager (16) and I’ve done hiking for 4 years now and it was an easy transition from that to preping and didn’t raise any eye brows

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    • I'm not familiar with the knife but it sounds like a decent deal. Teens may not be able to carry a fixed blade knife so it might have to be a folder of some kind. I prefer fixed blade as a survival knife but I always have a couple of folders as well. Most folks do not see a Swiss army knife as a threat. If you younger folks don't know by now, it is often the case, especially when dealing with us old dinosaurs that perception is a big part of folks' reactions. If it looks "bad" it is bad. They look like a decent knife and if you can have one, you would have a decent edge.

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  15. I remember when I was a kid, around 10 or 12 years old, my parents and extended family thought I was being goofy with my camping kits, and trying to practice the things I was reading and learning in my new interest in survival. I do appreciate them allowing me to continue with it even though they thought it was silly and not needed. Not needed until that one camping trip with my uncle… They had laughed when I threw my small duffle bag with extra "junk" that they thought I did not need to bring along – extra rope, fire starter, tarp, and other little items that were not normally included in a tackle box for fishing. Everything was going well until that unexpected storm blew up. With the tarp and extra rope I brought, we were able to set up a make shift canopy / large tent area to keep the entire group's supplies dry and have a place to gather at a picnic table. As my memory serves me, that was the last time any family member ever said anything about my prepping activities. After that incident, the quality of my gear increased as my parents did not see it as a kid just buying junk with his money. I started receiving gifts for birthdays and Christmas that more responsible older men would receive – high quality knives, sturdy packs, etc.. Shortly after that incident, my father decided that I was ready to take my first deer hunting trip because I was more wise and responsible than my peers and I had shown that I could be counted on to contribute, not just take as most children do. I wanted an air gun so bad the following summer I could almost taste it. I worked hard and saved up my lawn mowing & odd job money (want to show your parents that you are responsible – take initiative and find a small job or jobs to earn extra cash). To my surprise after dad told me I could save my money and get my own air gun (a great lesson in and of it's self these days), he would not let me have it. Dad told me that I worked to hard and showed how responsible I was, and with that he took me to the local gun shop and bought me my first shotgun at age 14. I still vividly remember every detail of that mossberg model 500. Some of the best advice I could give to the younger generation is "Man Up" when every one considers you to be a kid, start giving them reason not to. Be responsible – keep you room clean – this is not just a chore they give you. This shows that you desire to take care of what they have given or entrusted to you. Help out around the house before you are asked to. Nothing surprises a father or mother more that having what you are supposed to do done without them asking you to do it. That is one key element in gaining respect and trust from your parents. That will help them makes decisions like if you are old enough to have a knife or weapon. They may even think " Johnny is so responsible in other areas of his life, there may be something to this prepping stuff he is always reading about" But then, what do I know – I'm just a guy who likes to be prepared for anything that may come my way…..

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  16. Keegan,
    I think most people are happier when they know they are in control of whatever situation they are in. For a Scout, being prepared is a way of life if he is in a good troop. Nothing 'survivalist' about it, it just is the Scout way. Most Scouts I know are confident, happy, well adjusted individuals. The problem hits when folks know they are not ready so they deny the possibility – that old 'visualize' thing that was the rage some years back. I'm not prepared for a flat tire in mid-winter 35 miles from any help therefore it is not possible that I get a flat tire in that situation.
    That 'nothing can happen because I'm not ready for it' mind set goes with our modern society. 'They' will take care of me so I can enjoy life. Unfortunately, it is often too late when these folks find out the 'they' won't be there in time and if they do arrive, you will not be their number one priority.
    I'm glad you have a solid troop; it will stand you in good stead regardless of what the future holds.

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  17. Very well thought out article! Kudos to Josh and Capt Bart! I agree that a good quality Swiss Army knife or Leatherman tool will probably be more "policy friendly" in a lot of places. I'm a big believer in improvised weapons some of which are even TSA approved! For example a good walking stick or cane (stay away from the "tactical" types) is allowed on most flights. Another item that can be carried in a vehicle and is legal everywhere is a dry chemical ABC fire extinguisher. Besides the obvious use of the fire extinguisher it can be employed as you would use pepper spray but is much more effective! I have had to stop pitbulls during the course of serving narcotics search warrants. The fire estinguisher works VERY well. *Be advised that it WILL cause serious damage to the recipient and can be considered as deadly force in a legal arena. YMMV.

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    • Excellent ideas, Dave. Since I broke my heel last year, I've had to use a cane. I got one from Atlanta Cutlery ( http://www.atlantacutlery.com/p-866-mace-cane.asp… ) that has a knob modeled on a mace head on a hard wood shaft from India. An excellent cane; supports my weight like it should and under the heading of 'lateral cranial impact enhancement facilitator' (can you tell I work for the government?) it is superb.

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      • With minimal training straight sticks (cane or walking stick) can be a very effective defense weapon. I find it comical that the TSA won't let you on a aircraft with a fingernail clippers but a cane is rarely questioned! If you are ever questioned about it merely ask if they are familiar with ADA. That statement will likely end that line of questioning. As a retired LEO and ASP @ straight baton instructor I can tell you that straight driving strikes (stick parallel to the ground) to the mid-section center of mass are more effective than swinging it as a club. You can practice these techniques on a heavy punching bag or even hay bales. YMMV.

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  18. Thanks for the good article! I've been thinking about writing a book this winter and that might be along the improvised weapons and traveling security solutions especially in non-firearm friendly jurisdictions (think overseas).

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  19. Luckily, many of us are not in the UK, where, basically any cutting tool is considered a weapon, but the 'lockdown/zero tolerance' mentality has made a lot of younger folks blind to the oldest tool humanity has – something to cut with.

    Last Fall, my 19 y.o. daughter went camping nearby with 8 of her friends (of both genders). She was the only one who brought, or could safely use, a knife. ( One of the guys was a student at a Culinary school – I guess he thought the food would prep itself…)

    Two weeks ago I went to the same campground with a couple of friends in their 30's, and again , a box of plastic cutlery and a set of folding scissors in Lisa's bag, but no real knife… and steaks were on the planned menu…. I guess those would cut themselves up too…. luckily, I had spares, and an axe and a machete and a shovel, all of which were needed and used when the deluge from Hell hit the commercial campground … ..

    Now, when you leave the house, you probably wont need a "Rambo" blade that can filet a T-Rex and split 'zombies' in half, but don't expect that there will always be somebody else to cut up your food for you and trim that 150 foot piece of string so you can close a box.

    Knives (and survival, in general) are not always about combat . It might be as mundane as ripping the butt-seam on your pants at work (or elsewhere), having a needle, some fishing line, and a way to cut it, when it happens to you .

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  20. Great article. I am a teen in scouting and it is helpful with some survival skills but not many. I started thinking about survival when i started watching movies like 2012 and day after tomorrow. I think these articles could be improved with thoughts from teens because who knows more about teens then other teens.

    Sincerely T. Brock

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  21. I was in scouts and did not like it they did not teach any thing at all. I am 14 and a avid reader and preper and have found i learn more for reading books than being in scouts. Now i am in CAP or civil air patrol and have found that that provides me with more knowlage and better fitness that i could of had in scouts. I have 2 swissarmy knives 2 folding blade knives and am going to get a bayanet i have some food stock piled and a lot of surplus mil stuff,and these articles help me with my preping a lot thanks for your wonderful job at these articles.
    Xavier Stout

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  22. Like Capt. Bart I'll say this to the younger readers of this site, respect those in authority over you and you'll get respect back. Also I agree with Josh and Capt. Bart, Louis L'Amour books are beside decent entertainment great sources of knowledge on getting by in hard times. Louis lived much of what he wrote about. He was a maritime sailor in the Pacific, he logged, he herded cattle, mined, wrote stories and articles, boxed, servied in WW-2 in Europe as a Tank Destroyer Platoon Leader, and even lived through the Great Depression of the 1930s. That depression was a real TEOWAWKI scenario and you should read the accounts of people that lived through it as well. Those will give you insight in how to survive hard times.

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  23. Before I go and take care of things since the modern BSA manual doesn't cover the wilderness survival skills like it used to find books on the subject in your libraries or when you have the coin go to your local book stores and find such books. Don't for get to browse through used book stores or even the books at the local thrift store. You just never know what you'll find.

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    • You are correct, sir. I found an earlier addition of the BSA manual. MUCH better than the current thing and available on the bay of E. Scouting depends a great deal on the quality of the troop leaders and the troop location. Like many things, some are great, some are a waste of time but the gear and some of the merit badge books are really a good resource. That is especially true as the BSA is an acceptable reason for wanting prepping gear and experience.

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  24. In my opinion wrestling is a great sport to consider and is useful in survival situations:
    – condition often (in shape all the time)
    – exercise all parts of the body
    – techniques can be applied to self defense

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  25. Wrestling is a great sport to consider when looking specifically at survival usefulness:
    – conditioning often keeps you in shape all the time
    – works all muscles in your body
    – techniques can be applied to some self defense

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