As many of you know, my next book is titled Prepper’s Financial Guide. It will be out in February, 2015, but is available on Amazon for those who wish to preorder it. Preorders, by the way, are a great way to ensure you get the book at the absolute lowest price on Amazon. If the price drops between when you place your order and when it is ready to ship, you are charged for that lower price. And, of course, you aren’t charged a thing until the book ships.
John McCann is well known to many of my readers. He, quite literally, wrote the book on DIY survival kits. His other books are also not to be missed. They include:
I’ve long admired John for his skills, his writing style, and his honesty. He’s not one to sugarcoat things, that’s for damn sure. When I asked him if he’d do me the honor of writing the Foreword for Prepper’s Financial Guide, his immediate response was that he wanted to read it first. Made perfect sense to me, of course. I sent over the rough draft of the manuscript and once he’d read through it, here’s what he had to say.
Prepper’s Financial Guide – Foreword
First of all, I commend Jim Cobb on writing a book that fills a void in the plethora of other books that have been written in the Prepper and Preparedness genre. Prepper’s Financial Guide provides the reader with an entire dissertation on a subject that usually gets little, if any, coverage in books meant to provide you with information about preparing for a disaster. What could be more disastrous than the loss of your savings, or the devaluation of the currency that you depend on to purchase your needs?
Take heed of the information provided here. It is essential that you pay attention and learn the lessons that will help you prepare for a situation that could occur at a moment’s notice. I have long been an advocate of studying financial history as a means to protect myself from mistakes made from the past. The history of previous economic collapses is presented here and will illustrate that it has happened before, and most likely will again. When banks close and your ATM doesn’t work, what is your strategy for survival?
Many people today seem to want to follow the example of our government. If deficit spending is good for them, then it is good for you. It is, as our current deficit reflects, a recipe for disaster, both for our government and those who spend more than they make. Jim spends considerable time on presenting an approach for Debt Reduction, which is an important first step. He then describes the steps necessary to create a budget, to ensure that you don’t spend more than you make. The results will provide you with those additional finances for preparedness.
Currency is only worth something if people believe it is so. Currencies today are backed by nothing more than public support of its worth. Jim provides important information on commodity currency and fiat currency. I have always been a big advocate of owning some foreign currency in the event the U.S. currency fails. Jim takes time to address the currencies of other countries in order to provide you with options other than the currency of your own country.
As you will learn, currencies are fallible, but gold and silver will always be worth something. Precious metals, as well as minerals, are discussed and will provide you with important information to help you select those that will assist you in protecting your wealth.
A chapter I really like addresses Barter Skills, which I believe is an important aspect of preparedness. I have discussed this in books and articles I’ve written, and Jim does it justice. When money fails to be useful, the skills you have available, will provide you with a means to obtain what you need without money. It always has, and always will.
Of course, once you have valuable assets, you will need to protect them. If banks fail to open, your money will be of little use if you can’t get your hands on it. Your other valuables will also need to be secured and Jim provides various options for the protection of them.
Of course, money and skills are not your only means in which to barter or obtain wealth. Gardening and the preservation of that food is an asset. Producing your own honey, and harvesting your own meat provide assets. Many more types of activities are presented, which show you options that might be available based on your location or skills.
The bottom line is that this book is an important addition to the library of anyone who is concerned with emergency preparedness or becoming more self-reliant. Buy it; read it; and adjust your strategy, to ensure that your finances, and the ability to transact for those things you need in an emergency situation, are a part of your overall plan.
John D. McCann
101 is the designation we often use when referring to introductory material. It harkens back to colleges and universities, where they often classify courses by numbers. 101 is the basic level, moving up a notch is 201, and so on. Bushcraft 101 is a great introduction to what author Dave Canterbury calls “smoothing it” outdoors. Why smoothing? Well, roughing it is when we head out to the wilderness to test our wits against Mother Nature and all her allies. Smoothing it is when we do the same thing, just better equipped to make the time spent tramping fun rather than being a chore.
Bushcraft 101 is divided into two sections. Part 1 is Gearing Up. Here, Dave covers in detail his fairly well-known 5 Cs of survivability. These are:
In each of those chapters, Dave gives great information about the importance of each C as well as how to choose the right gear for yourself. He gives his recommendations here and there but is careful to recognize what works best for him might not be perfect for you.
Now, there may be some of you who are familiar with Dave Canterbury and are thinking, Wait, I thought there were 10Cs, not 5? There are indeed 10 total. The first five, listed above, are what Dave feels are the core requirements, the absolute gotta haves. The next five are items that might not be absolutely crucial to survival but are damn nice to have. These are:
You can read more about Dave’s 10Cs of survivability here.
He also discusses choosing packs and gives a great overview of the different types available, citing pros and cons for each. Remember, though, we’re talking bushcraft here, not bug out bags or get home bags. While there is certainly a fair degree of overlap between smoothing it and bugging out, they are more like kissing cousins rather than twins.
The second section is In the Bush. This is where we get into the nitty gritty of bushcraft. From choosing a campsite to different types of fire lays, trapping to wild edibles, Dave covers it all. One of my favorite chapters in the book is Chapter 8 – Navigation. I will readily admit that land navigation is a weak spot of mine. In this chapter, Dave covers how to properly use a compass, determining distance when traveling, using a map, and several other key skills involved with figuring out where you are and how to get where you’re going.
Included at the end of the book are several appendices. Appendix A outlines the Pathfinder Concept: Conserving and Utilizing Resources. Here, Dave gives ten things to remember when it comes to conserving your resources and energy. These concepts are all very well thought out and make perfect sense, such as never pass up an opportunity to collect dry tinder.
Appendix B is on wild edibles. While really nothing more than a cursory list of plants is given, the value here is the information on HOW to use the plants you find.
Appendix C consists of several bush recipes. Now, I tend to look at recipes the same way I look at first aid information in a general survival manual — filler material. However, there are some great recipes here, many of which I’ve earmarked to try myself.
Appendix D is a glossary, which is a great resource for those new to bushcrafting.
There are no photos in Bushcraft 101 but there are several very detailed line drawings. Sometimes, I’ve found drawings to be easier to follow than photos, especially if the photographer isn’t very skilled and/or the photos are rendered in black and white.
Bushcraft 101 is truly a great resource for those new to outdoor recreation. It covers all of the basics in easy to follow steps. I have but two minor complaints about the books.
1) I wish there were more illustrations. I know, I know, those of you who have read my books have probably thought the same thing! But, be that as it may, there were a few sections in this book I felt would really have been better had there been more drawings accompanying the text.
2) I guess this isn’t really a complaint but more of an observation. The text is almost too well written, in a sense. By that, I mean there were a few instances where the language used was a bit fancier than I’d have expected in a book on this subject. Not really a bad thing, just kind of a surprise. I do rather like Dave’s preference for the term “tramping” when talking about spending time in the woods, though. Seems just somehow very fitting.
All in all, I’d heartily recommend Bushcraft 101. It was a pleasure to read and I learned quite a bit. You can find it here on Amazon as well as at any bookstore worth visiting.
I’ve always considered myself fairly well-versed in the post-apocalyptic fiction arena. After all, I’ve been a huge fan of it for three decades or so. Tell you what, I know nothing about end of the world movies compared to David J. Moore.
In World Gone Wild, Moore has reviewed over 800 post-apocalyptic movies, from the well known (THE ROAD WARRIOR) to the most obscure (SURVIVAL 1990). Each and every title is discussed in detail, from a plot synopsis to information about the people involved in making the film. Each title is also rated on a scale of 1-5, as shown in this table:
I found most of Moore’s rating consistent with my own opinions on the movies I’ve seen. While your mileage may vary on that front, you may have loved a movie he didn’t enjoy, that’s to be expected. For example, we differ on LEGION, which is a personal favorite of mine. While the ratings are a nice feature, they really aren’t the point of the book. Instead, collected for what might be the very first time is a complete list of every single post-apoc movie ever released.
The reviews are all very well written and in a decidedly informal tone. This isn’t some stuffy drama professor lecturing on and on about gravitas and symbolism. Rather, this is just a buddy who sits down to tell you about this or that movie he saw recently. If he thinks it stinks on ice, he’ll tell you that.
In addition to the reviews, there are dozens of lengthy interviews with the folks who made these movies. Actors and directors talk about their experiences during filming, their inspirations, their thoughts on the genre itself. I found several of these interviews particularly enlightening and interesting in that the actor or director seemed almost embarrassed by the work they’d done on a film. Others talked about their love for the film they’d done and were proud of their work.
One of the coolest features of the book is found at the end, where several pages are devoted to lists of subgenres. If your thing is monster movies that take place at the end of the world, Moore has given you a list of about 170 or so titles from which to choose. Looking for post-apoc comedies? He’s got you covered there as well. All told, he lists 60+ different categories or subgenres. Did you know there have been about 30 different post-apoc musicals? I sure as hell didn’t.
This is a big, heavy book. Hardcover, with 425 or so pages, profusely illustrated. Many of the photos of box covers and such are taken from Moore’s own collection.
If you are even a casual fan of end of the world movies, whether they are focused on nuclear war, zombies, or a cyber apocalypse, you’ll have great fun with World Gone Wild. I would suggest you keep a pen and notebook handy, though, as you’ll want to jot down several movies to track down later. I thoroughly enjoyed World Gone Wild and recommend it highly. You can find it here on Amazon.
Many guys have a magazine they get regularly that, when it arrives in the mail, they devour it immediately. For some, that might be Sports Illustrated, for others Maxim. For me, it is SRI. No matter what I’m in the middle of reading, no matter how engaging the novel may be, it gets put on hold until I’m finished with the new issue of Self Reliance Illustrated.
The summer issue here was no different. It arrived a couple of days ago and, as always, I’m impressed with the amount of information provided.
The cover article in this issue is Teaching Friction Fire Skills by Kevin Estela. What is unique here is that the article isn’t about creating fire from friction but how to instruct others on how to accomplish it. Many of us who regularly teach survival skills benefit from the discussion here, with the focus being on how to communicate the information needed by the student to learn the skill. The approaches here aren’t just limited to friction fire skills, either, but apply across the board.
I have to give props to Adam Cohen, author of the article Wearing Your Shelter. He talks about using ponchos for emergency shelter and gives a few different options on that front. But, here’s why I’m so impressed — Adam is all of 15 years old. Even at that young age, he knows more about survival than most folks twice or three times his age. Keep it up, Adam!
The dutch oven might be one of the most versatile cooking implements around. Yet, it can also be somewhat intimidating. There is a lot of mystique surrounding this venerable piece of camp cookware. In How to Cook Outdoors with Dutch Ovens, Melissa Norris guides us through the steps on using a dutch oven effectively and efficiently.
In Foot Care and Hygiene in the Wild, George Nikolakopoulos talks about an often forgotten yet critical component for survival planning. Remember, your feet are your transportation and if you don’t take care of them properly, they may fail at a critical moment.
Product reviews in this issue include the Kelly Kettle USA Mid-Sized Scout Kettle and The Shark Bite knife, as well as the book A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson.
Folks, listen. If you aren’t subscribing to Self Reliance Illustrated, you’re doing yourself a disservice. I cannot recommend SRI enough.
A new addition to the prepper/survival magazine niche has just dropped. Survivor’s Edge is published by Harris Publications, the same people who bring us New Pioneer and American Frontiersman. Both of those are favorites of mine so when I heard about Survivor’s Edge, I had very high hopes.
I was not disappointed!
The premier issue of Survivor’s Edge contains no less than 37 articles, spanning 130 pages. The articles are divided into three sections: Natural Disasters, Home + Self Defense, and Backwoods. The article topics really run the survival gamut with discussion on everything from multi-tools to vehicle preparedness, bear attacks to pocket pistols.
Here are a few of the articles that stood out to me.
Surviving Domestic Violence by Richard L. Johnson
This is an area that is little discussed in survival literature but is something that can truly be a survival situation to many people. Here, Johnson gives us ten things an abuse victim should do, such as seek help, develop an escape plan, open a bank account, and prepare an escape bag. He also tells us ten things a victim should not do, such as thinking they are alone, ignoring intuition, and declining medical assistance. Johnson also gives information on several outside resources that are available to abuse victims.
Escaping Extreme Heat by Fred Mastison
While so far this year heat hasn’t been a big issue, at least not where I live, extreme heat is something that strikes many parts of the country during the summer. In this article, Mastison gives us several hints and tips on how to beat the heat, including eating light and being aware of how much time we’re spending outdoors.
Survival Steel by Phil Elmore
This article is a review of the JTR Fighting Bowie. This knife, produced by Martin Knives, was designed by Bob Anderson, co-author of the latest installments of The Survivalist, a series created by Jerry and Sharon Ahern (Sharon is working with Anderson on the new books). The design of the JTR Fighting Bowie is based upon the new stories, with input from Sharon as well as notes Jerry made before he passed. I have to tell you, this is a BEAUTIFUL knife! As a lifelong fan of the various books and series Jerry and Sharon have written, particularly the adventures of John Thomas Rourke, I very much want to acquire this new piece of history. The review is very detailed, leaving little to the imagination.
A Woman Survivalist in a Man’s World by Kellie Nightlinger
Many of you are likely familiar with Kellie Nightlinger, either through her appearance on Naked & Afraid or her other endeavors. Kellie has truly “been there, done that” when it comes to survival, including weeks spent in the Serengeti. This article talks about some of the specific challenges, as well as advantages, women have in survival situations.
Perimeter Protection by Kevin Estela
This article is a good overview of a few different homemade alarms you can build for use now or after a disaster. Estela also touches on using natural barriers for defense. While the article only runs a couple of pages, there’s a ton of information crammed into it.
I Survived: 7 Real-Life Tales by Ashley Bristow and Adelaide Farah
From falling into an ice hole in the Himalayas to a bear mauling, here are several short stories about people who survived disasters. Great stuff, here.
Overall, I very much enjoyed the premier issue of Survivor’s Edge. You can find them online at RealWorldSurvivor.com. Very well done, folks. Keep up the good work!
Those of you who know me or are frequent fliers here or on my Facebook page know full well just how much of an avid reader I am. While I don’t limit my book consumption to strictly survival-related stuff, that has been the bulk of it for quite some time now. In spite of having read hundreds of “prepper” and related types of books, the list of titles I suggest to everyone is rather small. There’s just a lot of crap floating out there and it seems like the good ones are becoming fewer and further between, y’know? I’m going to tell you right up front that Practical Self-Reliance by John D. McCann is a book I consider to be required reading for anyone wishing to pursue any sort of independent lifestyle. Yes, it is that good.
There are 16 chapters spanning a little over 320 pages. The book is profusely illustrated, with rarely more than a page or two between photos. From cover to cover, McCann goes through a wide range of topics, talking about everything from growing and foraging food to financial preparedness to staying comfortable in hot or cold climates, all with an eye toward doing for yourself rather than waiting for someone to do it for you.
Perhaps the best part about this whole book is the fact that the knowledge McCann is imparting isn’t just theoretical. These are lessons that have obviously been learned through hard work and real world implementation.
One of my favorite chapters is Chapter 6 — Recycle and Repurpose. As McCann notes in the book, “As you become more self reliant, old things start to take on new meaning.” Here, he shows us how to reuse and repurpose things like newspaper, wine bottles, cardboard tubes, and pallets. For those with the prepper mindset, information like this will make it easier to use supplies you scrounge after an event, allowing you to make do with what you have rather than just longing for what you lack.
As with McCann’s previous books (Build the Perfect Survival Kit and Stay Alive!), he has recommendations for specific products here and there, identifying them by brand name. This is great as it narrows down the search when it comes time to obtain the items yourself. However, on top of that, if there’s a DIY approach that is just as good if not better than a store-bought item, McCann shows us that as well. A great example of this is found in Chapter 10 — Water is Essential. Here, McCann takes us step by step through the process of building a 5 Gallon Gravity Filter System for making water potable. Honestly, folks, this project along with the smaller 2 gallon model he also includes in the text is worth the price of admission. With any of the projects in this book, the instructions are easy to follow and understand, with little left to the imagination.
One of the neatest little projects is making what McCann calls a “slush lamp.” This is the type of oil lamp where the wick floats on the fuel. Of course, I’ve seen these types of lamps in the store but hadn’t given much thought as to how I’d build one at home. Using jute twine, a cork, and a container for the fuel, McCann makes it very easy to do. This is a great option for backup illumination during a power outage, using olive oil from the kitchen for the fuel.
If you’re looking to get off the grid, either partially or completely, McCann has you covered in Chapter 12 — Alternative Power. Here again, this isn’t just information cobbled together from Wikipedia entries but projects and ideas McCann has tested and found work. For example, the idea of using solar landscape lights to provide illumination indoors at night has been around for a while. But, have you considered using them to recharge AA batteries for your flashlights and such? Of course, the information doesn’t stop there. McCann covers not only solar panel systems but also wind, water, and human power generation.
All in all, as I mentioned at the beginning, Practical Self-Reliance belongs on every prepper or homesteader’s bookshelf. It is a resource you’ll find yourself turning to again and again. To be clear, this isn’t any sort of “live off the land” survival manual. While there is some great information on foraging and such, the focus here is on how to be self-sufficient, providing for your own needs in all areas of your life as much as possible. Highly recommended!
Oh, one last thing. The back cover contains what might very well be the only known photograph of the author actually smiling. That alone should be enough to pique your interest.
In his follow up to Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag, Creek Stewart does to vehicles what he did to survival kits. This book is easily one of the most detailed guides to outfitting a bug out vehicle I’ve ever seen.
In 220+ pages and 17 chapters, Creek outlines how you should go about choosing a bug out vehicle then assembling the necessary gear and supplies to keep in or on the vehicle so it is ready to go at all times.
Right off the bat in Chapter 1, Creek makes it clear that you should not become emotionally invested in your chosen BOV (Bug Out Vehicle). As we have no way to reliably know exactly what the future holds, it is conceivable that the BOV might need to be ditched or abandoned at some point. It is better to come to terms with this now, rather than later.
Chapter 2 shows you the lifestyle considerations to bear in mind when choosing a BOV. A married prepper with multiple children is going to have vastly different needs than a single person with no dependents.
Chapter 3 discusses the essential elements common to all BOVs, such as reliability, ability to go off-road, and blending in. While some of the information here sounds like common sense, it is critical one fully understands these needs so they can make an informed decision.
Chapter 4 goes into the various and sundry supplies one should have in their BOV. Creek looks at his BOV as a giant, mobile bug out bag, which makes perfect sense. While the discussion here isn’t nearly as detailed as his book on bug out bags, which stands to reason as the focus here is on the vehicle, not the kit, there is a fair amount of info here that is great for the newbie as well as the old curly wolf.
Chapter 5 is on maintaining your BOV. The importance of being able to make simple repairs as well as conduct routine inspections and maintenance cannot be overemphasized.
Traveling off road is the focus of Chapter 6. For the uninitiated, leaving the pavement behind can be dicey but it is important to know the basics at the minimum.
Communication, navigation, and security are all important components to any bug out plan and these are covered in Chapters 7 and 8. There is discussion on GPS units, two-way radios, amateur radio transceivers, as well as firearms, camouflage, and concealment options.
Chapter 9 tells you how to go about packing and storing all your goodies for the long haul. Creek outlines several available options, including everything from second-hand coolers to truck boxes and rooftop carrier units.
Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is something to bear in mind when choosing and outfitting a BOV. As such, the topic gets its own discussion in Chapter 10. Here, the basic facts about EMP and its likely effect on vehicles is outlined, as well as instructions on building a Faraday cage to protect vulnerable electronics.
Chapters 11-16 concentrates the discussion on all the different types of vehicles one might consider for bugging out. While the focus is on gasoline or diesel cars and trucks, there is some coverage of alternate considerations, including options such as bicycles, ATVs, boats, horse and wagon, even small aircraft. At each step along the way, Creek gives you the pros and cons for each option, allowing you to decide for yourself what might be best for your individual circumstances.
The final chapter, one of my favorites in the book, gives excellent ideas for practicing various bug out skills at home as well as presenting resources for additional study. It is those exercises, call them drills if you want, that will take your bug out skills to the next level and ensure you’re still among the living when all is said and done.
One of the things I always appreciate in Creek’s books is his attention to detail. As with others he’s written, this book is profusely illustrated, leaving little to the imagination whether he’s talking about DIY spray pain camouflage or loading a deer cart with survival supplies.
If bugging out is one of your likely responses to disaster, I’d highly recommend you check out Build the Perfect Bug Out Vehicle so you can make sure you get to where you’re going.
You can find Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag just about anywhere books are sold, including here on Amazon.
Prepper & Shooter Magazine is a fairly new addition to the survival newsstand. Issue #2 was just published in the last few weeks. I missed the premier issue, though I did search for it after a few of my readers mentioned it to me. I found this issue at Barnes & Noble.
My first impression is P&S shows a lot of promise, but I don’t know that they’re quite there yet. The magazine is not quite as polished as the others in this niche. This isn’t a big deal, not in the grand scheme of things, but it is obvious the folks behind the scenes are still finding their way, so to speak, as to layout and such.
There are 17 full articles running through the 77 pages of the magazine. On top of those, we have 5 shorter review type pieces. The information to advertising ratio is very good, with far more actual articles than ads.
Here are a few of the articles I found most interesting.
Survival Kit Sheath Platform by Andrew Blanchard
As someone who has made similar kits a time or two, I was very interested to see how someone else turned their knife sheath into an actual survival kit. Blanchard has some great ideas here, though I would have liked to see a few more pictures of his kit.
Your Local Emergency Management Agency as a Prepper Resource by Scot Loveland
This article talks about something I’ve touched on several times–using government resources as an aid to your prepping, rather than just seeing them as the enemy.
How to Listen to Shortwave Radio in Your Vehicle by Shortwave Sam
While most experienced ham operators already know this stuff, the instructions given for setting up a portable unit in your vehicle are great for folks just starting out.
An Interview with Survivor Jane by Tara Dodrill
This was probably my favorite piece in the magazine. Many of us are fans of Survivor Jane, myself included, though I admittedly didn’t know a whole lot about her on a personal level. This interview serves as a great introduction to this truly wonderful woman.
Hearthside Cooking and Baking Basics by Margie Thompson
If I had to guess, I’d say there are likely far more fireplaces than wood stoves in homes across the country. While fireplaces don’t work quite as well as wood stoves when it comes to home heating or cooking, the latter can be accomplished fairly well with a bit of know how. In this article, we are given some great insight on how to do it right.
Bugout by Bicycle by Kendall Rush
This is another must-read. Many of us have a bike as part of our overall survival plans but how many have actually tried to bug out using one? Here, Rush details his experience with doing a dry run, which didn’t quite go as expected.
There are also articles on guerilla gardening, emergency alert radios, oil of oregano, and several other topics.
My overall opinion? As I said at the outset, I think Prepper & Shooter Magazine shows a lot of promise. I enjoyed several of the articles in this issue and will definitely be picking up the next one.
I’m calling this the Summer 2014 issue, though there is no indicator on the cover or masthead as to what they are calling it. American Frontiersman magazine comes out twice a year and the last issue came out back around April.
As with previous issues, there is an awful lot of great information here. All told, there are 39 articles spanning 130 pages. The overall focus, as you might guess from the title and cover art, is on how mountain men survived and how to use those skills and techniques today.
Here are just a few of the articles that caught my attention.
Trapping 911 by Dave Canterbury
This is an excellent overview of several different trap and snare sets, both water and land based. There is some great information here for both the novice and the more experienced.
Modern Man Atlatl Making by Will Dabbs
When I was a kid, one of the first primitive weapons I made on my own was an atlatl. I wish I’d had this article with me back then as things would perhaps have been a bit easier. Here, Dabbs shows us how to make a very effective atlatl using PVC components.
Handcraft a Knife Sheath by Kevin Estela
Lately, I’ve been toying a lot with the idea of trying my hand at custom leatherwork. In this article, Estela makes crafting a custom pouch sheath very simple with easy to follow directions.
Build a Woodstove by Will Dabbs
A Vogelzang kit combined with an old oil drum makes for an excellent shop woodstove. Here, Dabbs takes us step by step through the process.
Mountain Meds by Michael D’Angona
Everything from aches and pains to bad breath to itchy rashes can be treated with plants and herbs found in your backyard. This article is a great primer on what plants to use for which ailments.
Making Lye Soap by Jill J. Easton
For those prepping for possible long-term scenarios, being able to make your own soap completely from scratch could prove useful. This article not only lays out the steps but has some great discussion on how it was done back in the day.
On top of all that great information, there are articles on:
–Making a real coonskin cap
–Making a moose call
–Black powder handguns
–And a ton of other stuff, too!
All in all, American Frontiersman is an excellent publication. I only have two complaints.
1) The cover price of $9.99 is a bit steep. In this case, though, I think it is worth the expense.
2) I wish it came out more than just twice a year.
You can find American Frontiersman at most newsstands, including grocery stores and such. As far as I know, there is no subscription available at this time.
From time to time, I see requests from people asking for magazine suggestions, which ones are worth getting and which ones are only passable. Given the popularity of disaster readiness today, it only makes sense that there is a plethora of choices on the newsstands today.
At the time of this writing, here are the prepper or homesteading magazines I personally enjoy. These are the ones I pick up when I see them or have subscribed to in the last couple of years. Links direct to the magazine’s website, if available, or to their presence on Facebook.
American Survival Guide
One of my favorites, ASG has become one of the premier prepper magazines available. Published nine times a year, it is the closest we get to a monthly magazine. ASG generally contains a great mix of informative articles alongside product reviews.
A spinoff from RECOIL magazine, OFFGRID is quickly becoming very popular and for good reason. Their articles are excellent and present a great overview of several aspects of preparedness.
Backwoods Home Magazine (BHM) has long been a favorite for both aspiring and current homesteaders. In the last few years, they’ve been adding more and more prepper-themed articles as well, most notably several on alternative energy.
Back Home isn’t nearly as well known as most of the others on this list and I often wonder why that is. Back Home is an excellent resource for those who truly strive to live a self-reliant lifestyle.
Mother Earth News
Many people have lamented how much MEN has changed over the years. Back in the day, it was THE resource for those looking for information on living off the grid and getting back to the land. Those who read it back then have said MEN is a “sell out” and now caters to the gentleman farmer set. I don’t know how true that actually is but I find at least one or two articles worth my time in every issue.
Self Reliance Illustrated
Another favorite of mine, each issue of SRI is jam-packed with great information of interest to preppers, hikers, and anyone else who believes sitting in front of a campfire with some friends beats the hell out of anything on TV any day of the week. Largely reader-written, these folks have been there and done that.
New Pioneer really sort of bridges the gap between preppers and homesteaders. There is a ton of information in each issue that is of interest to each group. Overall, the focus is on living a self-sufficient lifestyle as much as possible.
Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Similar in scope to Backwoods Home, Countryside has also been around for quite some time. Here’s some inside info you’ll probably not see elsewhere, at least not yet — Countryside is about to add an entire section of their magazine devoted to disaster readiness. Check out upcoming issues and you just might recognize one of the contributors to that section.
Another favorite of mine, this one comes out twice a year. It is published by the same folks (Harris Publications) that do New Pioneer. Excellent magazine, chock full of great articles from cover to cover.
As with Self Reliance Illustrated, Backwoodsman is largely reader-written. Unlike SRI though, the quality of the writing itself really is all over the board. I’ve read some truly excellent articles as well as some that were considerably less than stellar. What is consistent, though, is the level of experience and insight being shared. These folks will certainly do to ride the river with, if you know what I mean.
Many of these publications have rather steep cover prices, often in the $9-10 range. However, most of them also have subscriptions available that result in dramatically cheaper prices per issue. Assuming you can’t afford to just buy each and every magazine that catches your eye at the supermarket or bookstore, what I suggest is checking your local library to see if they have, or can order, a few back issues. If that isn’t an option, leaf through an issue or two at the newsstand and decide if the magazine might be worth your time. Different strokes for different folks, magazines I particularly like might not be your favorites and vice versa. Pick one or two titles and see about subscribing. Back issues often make for great resource material to have on hand, y’know?
Also, something else to keep in mind is that any magazine runs on advertising. Meaning, it is the sale of those ads that pays the bills. Therefore, you cannot expect to see a high quality publication that doesn’t have any ads in it, not unless the publisher is made of money and is just looking for a tax write off or something. With all that said, I’ve been pleasantly surprised, more often than not, at the information to advertising ratio in the above listed publications.