Why I’m not a prepper – and 6 reasons why I might become one

posted in: Prepping, SHTF, Survival | 0

Why would you bother preparing for a SHTF situation in Scandinavia?

Let’s face it, Scandinavia is not exactly the most dangerous place on earth. Surely we have natural disasters, thunder storms, flooding and snow storms, but we don’t have hurricanes, tsunamis volcanoes and people in general don’t carry guns – or even knives for that matter. Earth quakes are extremely rare, so a real shtf scenario is not really in near sight if you ask me.

Power outage? Okay but we don’t have an arms culture like the US, so I don’t believe that a riot scenario like we saw during Hurricane Katrina is likely either. Another aspect that reduces risk during a shtf situation is that population density is very low. Even the cities are quite small compared to the rest of the world. Also people here are normally quite accustomed to both the climate and nature in general. And poverty is also not as extreme as it is in other places. Okay I bring warm clothes for whenever I drive my car long distance during winter and stuff like that, but other than that I don’t see the need for prepping.

So why would you prepare anyway?
Well first of all; the world is changing – fast! And the life we have come to take for granted, is not laid out for us anymore. So here are a few scenarios that I could think of as likely enough to maybe prepare for. Please comment if you can think of others.

1. War / Terrorist Attack:
Russia is rattling the saber again, the prospect of a new cold war is lurking. And the nuclear threat is all time present. Scandinavia’s growing military presence throughout the world has also led to several terrorist attacks being attempted on Scandinavian ground. These attempts are very likely to grow.

2. Government break down.
Scandinavians have become so accustomed to living in peace that they can’t even imagine that their societies could fall apart. They take democracy and peace for granted. But many extremists are waiting to get a shot at it. Both left and right wing extremists, religious extremists, but even more likely, it could be inequality in society leading to a breakdown. Although the Scandinavian countries have a fairly equal distribution of wealth, the gap between rich and poor is growing and so is the gap between the politicians and the population. People’s freedom is continuingly being limited with new laws and technology.

3. Disease outbreak
The possibility of virus outbreak like we are seeing in Africa these days is likely. The Ebola outbreak has the potential to spread throughout Europe actually. But other outbreaks are lurking, such as the antibiotic resistant bacteria MRSA that is growing in numbers in Denmark.

4. Solar flare – EMP
This is a subject that is being discussed vigorously in prepper forums around the world, and one that Scandinavians can’t consider themselves free from.

5. Asteroid collision
Like the solar flare – this is also something Scandinavians can’t consider themselves free from. However if it happened I’m wondering, could you really prepare for it?

6. Climate change
The recent 3 years have shown that the climate is changing fast in Scandinavia (too). We are seeing way more cloudbursts, flooding and more.

With all this in mind, here is my conclusion:
The likeliness of any of these scenarios becoming a threat to me is much lower than the risk of me being run down by a car on my way to work, the risk of our house being struck by a lightening or me being struck by an illness. And I don’t prepare for these scenarios either because it wouldn’t matter if I did. Just like I don’t believe I can really increase my odss of surviving by preparing for any of the 6 scenarios above. Half of them (1, 4 and 5) would be pointless preparing for. Atomic bombs today are much more powerful than they were years back, and 4 and especially 5 are likely to wipe out all life forever on planet Earth anyway. The other half (2, 3 and 6) are scenarios that are developing over time. So you don’t need to be stockpiling food and drinking water for those scenarios. You just need to know when to g.t.f.o.o.d.

Let me know your thoughts – until then I will stick with bushcrafting and survival skills :)

Bushcraft camping with my sons

posted in: Bushcraft, Knowledge, skills, Survival | 0
Had a great weekend camping bushcraft style and foraging the autumn forest with my two sons aged 5 and 7.

A couple of movies to end the week:

posted in: Prepping, SHTF | 0

If you never watched these, it’s about time you do:

 

History Channel’s version of a global SHTF scenario.

 

 

The second one is a documentary by Chris Smith, about the theories, writings and life story of controversial author Michael Ruppert.

“If you’re in a camp with a bunch of campers, and a bear attacks. You don’t have to be faster than the bear, you only have to be faster than the slowest camper.” Michael Ruppert.

 

 

Have a great weekend!

 

 

My favourite bushcraft knife – and why.

posted in: Bushcraft, Equipment, Gear, knives | 0

Just starting out with this blog, what would be more essential than to talk about the ultimate survival tool – the knife?

 

I have heard as many views on this subject as I have talked to people about it. I guess your knife says a lot about your philosophy and approach to the outdoor life. So here are my thoughts:

Before I get into the knife talk, let me say that I’m beyond the “strong fixed blad” and “full tang” subject. My guess is that everyone practicing bushcraft or wilderness survival knows these are the basic demands for a knife.

I purposely wrote “bushcraft knife” not “survival knife”. There’s a big difference between the two in my opinion. A survival knife is supposed to solve all tasks you might encounter as you try to find you way OUT of the wild, or while on a military operation. It should be able to function both as a weapon, a chopping tool, a carving tool, a skinning tool for game and so on. It must also be extremely reliable, as your life may depend on it. You might say the same goes for a bushcraft knife. The main difference lies in it’s purpose however.

 

Let’s take a look at the survival knife.
The need for solving many different tasks with one knife makes the survival knife mediocre at each of these tasks in my opinion. Remember most knives are designed to perform a specific task. So having one knife for everything means you have to make compromises. The first compromise is weight. If you need to use your knife as a chopping tool you want it to be somewhat heavy – and longer. The next compromise is it’s handling. If you want to use your knife for carving, you want a knife that is easy to grip in different ways. Survival knives often have finger guards on the handle, that makes it very impractical to carve with. Because you can basically only hold it one way. It’s a great idea if you are going to stab someone with it, because (obviously) you don’t risk injuring yourself. Precision is also an issue. Most survival type knives come with a convex grind, which makes them very sturdy,  but it also makes them less suitable for carving. The convex grind gives you less precision. This brings me to the bushcraft knife.

 

My definition of the bushcraft knife
The bushcraft knife is primarily a carving and skinning tool. It is not made for war. It is made for living IN the wild. Your life may still depend on it, so you want it to be sturdy. I wouldn’t normally use it as a chopping tool though, so I wouldn’t choose a convex grind (I always bring a hatchet for coarse work). I wouldn’t choose a long or heavy knife either. For carving I prefer a fairly short sturdy scandi grind. It is very precise and it’s also safer, because the knife doesn’t slip as easy as a convex grind does. A downside of the scandi grind however, is that it chips much easier than the convex grind. For carving, I want to avoid finger guards. If you’re going to carve holding your knife backwards, when carving a notch for instance (see different techniques here), finger guards are in the way. Now for the compromise. As I said, most knives are designed to perform a specific task. So for field dressing, gutting and skinning an animal, it would be desirable to use a hunting knife. Hunting knives often have a hollow grind, because it creates less friction when cutting the hide. Hunting knives vary a lot, but for field dressing a thin, short, sharp and point knife tends to be the choice. The compromise here is possibly the scandi grind, but it comes much closer to the hollow grind than the convex does, and many people use hunting knives with scandi grind as well. The bushcraft knife blade tends to be a bit thicker than the hunting knives too.

 

So to the point. My favourite bushcraft knife is this one:

Enzo Trapper. Full tang, scandi grind with micro bevel and dangler sheath. Wild Olive handle. Finnish made in D2 steel:

Enzo Trapper 2

 

The Enzo Trapper has a great balance. It looks simple and it is a great carving tool. The drop point blade also makes it ideal for field dressing game, because it gives you better control over the knife. I think it balances well between a great carving tool and a hunting knife. It has a 3,6 mm thick blade, making it very sturdy. And it has all the qualities that I mentioned in the section above about the bushcraft knife. Another detail that I have come love is the dangler sheath that it comes with. It really comes in handy when you’re outside, because it gives you greater freedom of movement. The knife is out of the way no matter where you sit. So you avoid getting poked in your ribs by it’s handle. It is also really easy to access your knife even if it’s raining because you can just swing the sheath outside your rain pants. I realised the other day that the stitches on mine had loosened though, so I guess I will have to write Brisa one of these days to have it fixed or to get e new one.

As the description says, my knife has a micro bevel. If you look really close at the first photo, you can actual tell. It’s really a compromise, because I had chip in it after using it the first time. So I wrote Brisa (the maker of these knives) and they offered me the possibility to send the knife back to them and have a micro bevel put on it. It works really well and I haven’t had a chip since, although some of the scandi feeling is gone. I could also have chosen to have my money back, but it was a great solution. On top of that they treated me with an extra product for my inconvenience AND payed for shipping both ways. Great service from Brisa.

I have read that some people find the handle a bit short for their hands, but it fits me very well. If I had to change one thing about it though, I would probably grind it a bit more round. It can be a little rough on your hands when carving for longer periods of time or when doing hard work with it. But you could always do that yourself. Actually you can buy this knife as a kit that you can build from scratch. I didn’t though. I trust the knife makers at Brisa more than I trust my own skills in this regard.

Poverty is a state of SHTF

posted in: Prepping, SHTF, Survival | 0

What happens when the middleclass disappears? And how do you plan for it?

It is a rather well documented tendency that the middleclass is disappearing from society throughout the western countries. And especially in the US. People are getting poorer. Depending on the level of poverty we will see, it will undoubtedly call for survival skills of some kind.

A lot of factors play a role in this scenario, but I think it is fair to say that it is a very realistic SHTF scenario. It may not be something that will strike suddenly, but more likely something that will develop gradually over time as it already is in many places.

Jaron Lanier, a digital visionary says: “the Web kills jobs, wealth – even democracy”. Is he right? Is it the beginning of a society breakdown that we’re experiencing? Or is it the beginning of a new economy? One thing is for sure, jobs as we know them are disappearing. The big question is: What will replace them? And how do you prepare for a scenario like this?

 

Kodak_Tower_Commercial_Street

“Kodak employed 140,000 people. Instagram, 13.”

“At the height of its power, Kodak employed more than 140,000 people and was worth $28 billion. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has become Instagram. When Instagram was sold to Facebook for a billion dollars in 2012, it employed only 13 people. Where did all those jobs disappear? And what happened to the wealth that all those middle-class jobs created?” Jaron Lanier says.

http://www.salon.com/2013/05/12/jaron_lanier_the_internet_destroyed_the_middle_class/

 

 

 

Photo redistributed under creative commons license from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastman_Kodak#mediaviewer/File:Kodak_Tower_Commercial_Street.JPG