Back when I was a kid, I absolutely loved all those cheesy post-nuke book series that were so popular in the 1980s and 90s. Stuff like THE LAST RANGER by Craig Sargent and TRAVELER by D.B. Drumm. Of course, there were the movies too. The Road Warrior comes immediately to mind.
THE WELLER harkens back to those days when the best post-apocalyptic stories involved gun battles waged from classic muscle cars screaming through a desert landscape. Part throwback and part homage, this ebook was non-stop fun.
Clean water is a valuable commodity in this post-apocalyptic wasteland. Matt Freeborn was taught at his grandfather’s knee how to be a “weller,” someone skilled at finding hidden reserves of water. The antithesis of a weller is a “distiller.” These evil men harvest water from the dead, even sometimes the living. They hook bodies up to machines that drain every drop of H2O, water that tastes like death.
As the story progresses, Matt battles distillers, mutants, and all sorts of ne’er do wells. Along the way, he also liberates one of the coolest muscle cars ever produced, a 1971 Road Runner. Upon coming across an old friend, Matt resolves to help his buddy out in his time of need. The two then pair up to take on a small army of bad guys, all intent on turning Matt and company into glass jars of clear liquid.
THE WELLER is very well written. The main cast isn’t just full of stock characters but fleshed out enough that the reader sees them as people. Their actions and motivations make sense and the dialogue rings true. The author shares just enough back story to make the reader crave for more.
If you’re like me and you recall fondly movies like The Road Warrior and/or books like THE OUTRIDER by Richard Harding, you won’t want to miss THE WELLER!
While I’ve not read all he’s published thus far, I’m a fan of Jeremy Robinson. His books are a great mix of action and science fiction and are just plain fun to read.
SecondWorld is no exception.
Lincoln Miller is an ex-SEAL turned NCIS special agent. The story begins with Miller spending time in an underwater research facility called Aquarius, ostensibly watching for polluters and garbage dumpers. The reality is he is enjoying a couple weeks of quasi-vacation. Given his Navy background, he is in his element living under the sea for a while.
His leisure time comes to an end though when he finds fish all around him dying and a strange red debris floating down from the surface. As he explores the area using SCUBA gear, he can’t seem to make heads or tails of what has happened. There are no boats in the immediate area and the red flakes are just coming from the open sky. Then, a dead blue whale drifts into Aquarius, damaging it. Forced to flee to the surface, Miller finds there is no oxygen in the air.
He makes his way to Miami, using SCUBA tanks to breathe, and learns the entire area is full of corpses. Scavenging his way through the city, he discovers one lone survivor, a young girl at a hospital who was in an oxygen tent. He manages to keep them both alive, due in part to his SEAL training and part to his just stubborn will to live, as they find their way out of the city and eventually to breathable air once again.
While recovering from his harrowing journey, Miller learns the truth behind the catastrophe. The Fourth Reich has risen and this is just a sampling of what they have in store. In about a week, the entire planet will be just like Miami, with the Nazis hidden in safe underground structures, ready to rise like the fabled Phoenix and remake the planet into what they call SecondWorld.
As it turns out in the story, a significant percentage of the armed forces and U.S. government are secretly Nazis as well and have pooled their efforts to move this project along.
Miller is asked by the President of the United States to prevent the disaster from happening and promises him every resource he could ever need, save for a squad of soldiers as they cannot know who can be trusted.
There are double-crosses along the way, as well as not a small amount of action and adventure, some of it even more tongue in cheek than the overall premise of the book. He also has allies who come to his aid. One of whom, code-named Cowboy, grew to be my favorite character. The best way to describe him is to imagine Chekov from the old Star Trek series written as a total badass who gets all the best lines.
This book has a lot of classic conspiracy theory in it as well, borrowing from WWII UFOs, Operation Paperclip, and secret Nazi bases in Antarctica. As I’ve always had an interest in such legends, I was pleased to see them talked about here and worked into the story.
Yes, the science is implausible at best. But, if you use your suspension of disbelief skills, you’ll have a great time with this book. Part Indiana Jones, part Michael Crichton, with heavy doses of Matthew Reilly and James Rollins, SecondWorld pulls you in and doesn’t let go.
Find it here on Amazon or see if you can get it through your library.
I was privileged to receive an electronic copy of the upcoming Spring 2013 issue of Living Ready Magazine. Faithful readers here may recall all the great things I had to say about the premier issue that came out late last year. Let’s take a look and see if the new issue lives up to expectations.
After reading through the new issue, let me start my review by saying Living Ready is, hands down, THE BEST PREPPER PUBLICATION ON THE MARKET TODAY!
When the first issue of Living Ready came out last year, it had been intended to be just a one-off special. Few people were more excited than I when they decided to make this a quarterly publication.
Whereas some of the other ones out there concentrate heavily on firearms and/or conspiracies, Living Ready Magazine truly hits all the high points of well-rounded survival planning. Here’s just a sampling of the wide range of coverage in this issue.
–Concealed carry handgun selection
–DIY home security
One of the articles I found particularly interesting was Why Air Matters: Introducing the Amazing Modern Air Rifle by Living Ready Editor James Card. I have brought up the suggestions of including an air rifle in survival preps several times and it was nice to see someone else lending some validity to my claims. The article discusses not only the different types of air rifles available but their applications in a survival situation.
Prophylactic Preparedness by noted survival expert Creek Stewart talks about several different ways to use a condom in a crisis, such as for carrying water, keeping tinder dry, and first aid. There were a few uses in the article even I hadn’t thought of!
For those new to the idea of gardening, Sustainable Feast by Deanna Caswell and Daisy Siskin gives a great overview container gardening as well as raised beds. The article also talks about garden planning in general, how to space out your planting over the season to get the most out of your gardens.
First person accounts of disasters are always welcome and In the Heart of Dark Manhattan by Ron Swegman is no exception. He describes what it was like in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
The magazine runs for about 100 pages and is absolutely crammed with great information for both the newbie as well as the experienced prepper. One thing I particularly liked was that while there are plenty of ads in the magazine, you don’t need to go through about 18 pages of them before you get to a single article. Also, the cover price is just a hair more than half of what you’ll pay for similar magazines.
I believe this new issue hits the stands the first week of April. Keep an eye out as you won’t want to miss it!
In the interest of full disclosure, there is an article in the magazine that is an excerpt from my book, Prepper’s Home Defense. Please note though that the presence of that article in this issue had absolutely no bearing on my review here. Long-time readers here should already know that.
When I recently subscribed to Backwoods Home Magazine, I took advantage of a special they were running at the time and picked out a few of their books. Self-reliance: Recession-proof your pantry was one of them.
Like most of their books, this is a compilation of several previously published articles. It is a slim volume at about 140 pages. I was able to read it cover to cover in about an hour while I was sitting at my doctor’s office.
The material in the book covers everything from what you should have in your pantry, some storage methods, and preservation techniques like home canning and dehydration. It gives a pretty good overview of those topics.
The downside though is detailed information on those subjects is pretty scarce. This book serves more as an introduction to putting together a pantry than it does anything else. The majority of the chapters in this book were written by the always wonderful and informative Jackie Clay. I love her style of writing and always learn something from every article of hers I read. However, by the very nature of the fact that these are reprints of magazine articles, the writers just don’t have the space to go into exact detail on many things. I knew that going in so wasn’t altogether disappointed by the book.
Don’t get me wrong, there is some great information here for both the beginner and the more experienced preppers. But, if you’re expecting a one-stop shop for how to put together a comprehensive food pantry for long-term use, you may wish to look elsewhere.
Honestly, it seems a bit high-priced at about $13. I’d suggest doing as I did and subscribe to the magazine when they’re running a special on the books. Backwoods Home Magazine is truly one of my favorite publications and I don’t think you could go wrong getting it in the mail, that’s for sure.
This is a difficult book to review. Don’t get me wrong, I truly loved it! But, due to the nature of the storyline, it is very hard to write a good review without giving anything away.
I’ll tell you up front this isn’t a typical post-apocalyptic story. In fact, what it amounts to is a story about people trying to prevent an apocalypse.
There’s a lot going on in this book. Nate is your average Joe, working a dead end job, just about broke, no girlfriend. He needs an apartment and, as luck would have it, gets a lead on a decent place. Low rent, close to work, decent neighbors. Not too long after he moves in, he discovers this apartment building is…different. Each unit is unique, in both size and configuration. One unit might be a two-story loft, and next door is a glorified broom closet with kitchenette. Some doors are padlocked shut and appear to have been so for quite some time.
His neighbors, too, each appear to have secrets. Nobody is who they seem to be on a surface level. While I guess you could say that about anyone, a few of these folks take it to an extreme.
As Nate and his new friends delve deeper into the mysteries in the building, they discover just how deep those mysteries go.
Prior to reading this book, if you’d told me the story involved both Tesla and Lovecraftian Elder Gods, and it works, I’d have replied, “Go ahead, pull the other one.” But, it does work. The story is well-written and keeps you captivated. The author pulls you along, bit by bit, with each discovery intelligently leading to the next.
The best comparison I can give you is this — imagine if the TV show LOST had been better written and that the story had ended in a way that really made sense. That’s what you get with -14- by Peter Clines.
The characters are detailed just enough to make them realistic, without having to resort to umpteen pages of back story on each one. I particularly liked Tim, probably because he reminded me of an old friend. Xela too was a lot of fun.
All in all, I really enjoyed the book. It isn’t the sort of story that grabs you by the throat. Rather, it taps you on the shoulder and says, “Hey, wanna see something neat?”
A friend of mine mentioned this magazine to me a couple weeks ago and I picked it up based on his recommendation. Am I glad I did!
I had originally passed on picking this up, having seen it in several places. I hadn’t looked too closely at the cover, just figuring it was yet another gun magazine making a cursory effort to appeal to the prepper crowd. And given that Living Ready is something of a spin off from Gun Digest, that would make some sort of logical sense.
The reality though is that is far from being the case.
Living Ready Magazine is a welcome addition to the prepper world. It is well designed and thought out, with the entire issue’s focus on the magazine’s subtitle — Prepared Skilled Aware.
Being the first issue, it isn’t surprising to me that a few of the articles are excerpts from existing books, rather than brand new material. Having been at least a little bit involved in the start up of a new magazine myself not too long ago, I know well the difficulty of lining up new content. However, these excerpts are great, very appropriate, and well written.
The remaining articles are also well thought out and easy to follow. There is quite a range of information presented in Living Ready. Everything from choosing firewood to putting together a bug out bag is covered. I was particularly interested in the article on radios and emergency communication as I recognize this is one of the areas I need to improve myself.
One thing I particularly liked was the ratio of content vs advertisements. A magazine lives on ad revenue, no doubt about it. That’s what pays the bills. Yet, the ads here are not as IN YOUR FACE as they are in some similar publications.
My understanding is the plan is for Living Ready to come out four times a year. I can only hope the powers that be bump that up to every other month, if not monthly. Yes, it really is that good.
I found my copy at a gas station, of all places, but I’ve seen it on just about every decent sized newsstand in my area. You can also purchase a digital copy here, though I do note a couple of the comments suggesting issues with reading the magazine on a Kindle Fire. I’ve no clue whether that problem has been fixed as of yet.
Living Ready is highly recommended. Give them your support for their first issue.
Ok folks, here’s the deal. Pre-orders through Amazon and elsewhere should be shipping as you read this. It will be available for immediate shipping on December 3rd.
The next day, December 4th, is BOOK BOMB DAY!
What is a book bomb day, you ask? Well, due to the vagaries of how Amazon calculates book rankings and such, if we get a bunch of people to all order Prepper’s Home Defense on the same day, the book will rapidly climb the rankings. This translates into more sales for the book, as well as more publicity for it. The goal with a book bomb day is to get everyone who wants the book to order it on the same day.
Why should you care? Well, your help in promoting the book, particularly with this book bomb day, can net you some cool stuff.
We’re going to have a little contest related to Prepper’s Home Defense Book Bomb Day. Here’s how to enter.
1) Make a post on Facebook announcing the Prepper’s Home Defense Book Bomb Day, encouraging family and friends to click this link to learn more or order the book — http://tinyurl.com/clbj86g You should first “friend” Survival Weekly (https://www.facebook.com/survival.weekly) and then be sure to “tag” Survival Weekly in your post so we can keep track of who enters the contest via this method. Doing this gets you one entry to the contest.
2) Use Twitter to get the word out. Use the same link — http://tinyurl.com/clbj86g — and in your Tweet, add the hashtag #PHD. It is important that you add that hash tag so I can keep track of who’s entering the contest. Sending out the tweet gets you another entry to the contest.
3) If you have a website or blog, write something up to promote the Prepper’s Home Defense Book Bomb Day, include the above link (http://tinyurl.com/clbj86g) in your post (unless you have your own Amazon affiliate account, of course) and email me a link to it — Jim@SurvivalWeekly.com. This gets you another entry to the contest.
4) Send out an email to friends and family who might be interested in the book. Please be careful with this one, limit it to those you feel would really want to hear about it. Use that same link above in your email and BCC me on it — Jim@SurvivalWeekly.com. This gets you an entry to the contest.
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll see there are four ways to enter the contest, each method netting you one entry. However, if you do all four, you’ll get an additional entry as well, giving you five entries total.
On Friday, December 7, I will add up all the entries and put them into a drawing for prizes.
Here’s what you could win.
First prize — A signed (inscribed as you’d like) copy of Prepper’s Home Defense, plus a $25.00 gift certificate to Survival-Gear.com.
Second prize — A copy of Prepper’s Home Defense, plus a $10.00 gift certificate to Survival-Gear.com.
Third prize — A copy of Prepper’s Home Defense.
You are welcome to start amassing entries right away but remember, the idea here is to drive purchases to occur on December 4th!
A few weeks ago, I did a review of a great book titled Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag by Creek Stewart. You can find that review here. I was so impressed by this book that I tracked down Creek to ask him a few questions. He was kind enough to not only answer all my queries but provided a signed copy of his book to give away to one of my readers here! How do you win the book? Details after the interview below.
Survival Weekly: Let’s start with how you came to be where you are today. I know you started teaching survival skills at a fairly young age, right? How did you get started with learning those skills yourself?
Creek Stewart: I grew up in a very self reliant home. We farmed, hunted, gardened, burned wood for heat and gathered wild edibles on a regular basis. I was taught early on that if you wanted something then you worked for it. I was actively involved in Boy Scouts as well which is where I really got my first taste of basic outdoor skills and camping. I loved nature from a young age and have always been a very independent, self reliant person. The interest in and study of survival skills was a passion of mine from childhood. When I was in college, I decided to write a survival manual detailing the skills I knew at the time. That same year (1997) I taught my first basic survival skills course on my parents farm and the rest is history. The one thing I can say about survival skills is that the only way to learn them is to get your hands dirty and do it. Videos, books, articles and even personalized instruction only go so far. Without practicing these skills over and over with your own two hands, they will not become a true skill – only a false sense of security. I’ve spent 1000s of hours in the field honing my skills to the point where I feel comfortable and competent teaching them to others.
SW: Please tell us about Willow Haven Outdoor. What classes do you offer? Have you seen an increase in attendance over the last few years, since prepping has become more mainstream?
CS: Willow Haven Outdoor is part school, part community and part resource center. Our mission is to promote, teach, share and preserve outdoor living and survival skills – encompassing topics from primitive skills to urban preparedness.
With a focus on wilderness survival and self-reliance, areas of instruction through scheduled courses at Willow Haven encompass a huge gamut of skill-sets including but not limited to: primitive shelter building, fire building, hunting, trapping, wild edibles, basketry, weaving, cordage, hide tanning, survival mentality, lashing & knots, and primitive tools. We also have coursework that covers more modern survival topics such as Bugging Out and Urban Preparedness.
Our 10,000 Square Foot Willow Haven Lodge is located on 21 of Indiana’s finest acres. Our land has a unique mix of meadows, forest, ravines and low-land swamps that collectively provide a variety of survival training environments. Killbuck Creek (named after Chief Killbuck of the Delaware Indian Tribe) also flanks our property.
A unique feature of Willow Haven is an abandoned home on premises which serves as our “Post Disaster Urban Classroom”. It is the perfect training ground for how to find and use resources from buildings in a post-disaster scenario.
Besides wilderness education, Willow Haven Outdoor is also a community of individuals passionate about and interested in outdoor living and survival skills. Willowhavenoutdoor.com not only serves as a sharing and communication hub for course participants and guests, but is also an on-line community for anyone who has an interest in learning, sharing, posting, viewing or reading about primitive wilderness skills.
In addition to the School & Community, the WHO Store offers quality outdoor products that are favorites of WHO instructors and participants alike. From survival gear to custom made WHO goods, quality, craftsmanship and value are the staple values behind each product in our line-up.
SW: Are there any certain specific skills students seem most interested in learning?
Yes, FIRE. Specifically, starting fire in nontraditional ways is always at the top of the list. Primitive hunting, trapping and wild edibles are also very popular subjects.
SW: One thing I particularly liked in your book, Build The Perfect Bug Out Bag, is that you sort of combined the focus between wilderness survival skills and things that are perhaps a bit more practical for the inexperienced prepper. For example, rather than spending a lot of time explaining how to get a fire going with a bow drill, you list things like lighters and a firesteel. Personally, I think that’s an excellent approach and one I use myself when teaching or writing about disaster readiness. Do you think though that perhaps we are doing a disservice to people by eschewing some of those more primitive skills?
CS: Not at all. Disaster Preparedness and Primitive Skills are both under the Survival Umbrella, but are quite different in nature. We would be crazy not to include modern survival tools when teaching Disaster Preparedness. By definition, Disaster Preparedness and building Survival Kits are both done IN ADVANCE of something bad happening. We have the luxury of including modern items in those kits to prepare for the worst. It would be silly and irresponsible to not include a ferro rod or lighter in a prepared kit and consequently depend on an impromptu primitive method of starting fire to potentially save our life. Even our primitive ancestors who used fire by friction techniques did not do this. They had prepared bow drill or hand drill kits as a part of their “forage bags” and protected them with great caution. They knew that Mother Nature is a cruel opponent and there are certainly no guarantees of tinder or friction set materials at any given moment. Not including the best materials available to you in preparation for a disaster and relying only on your wits and random available resources is reckless and a display of arrogance that will only get you killed.
However, with all of that said, Primitive Skills have their place in the study of survival – though not necessarily a prerequisite to modern Disaster Preparedness. It is my opinion that studying primitive skills gives one a more thorough survival knowledge base in general. Mastering a skill on a primitive level gives a level of understanding like no other process. Primitive skills require the most basic understanding of principle and theory. For example, you must intimately understand the most basic principles of fire to generate an ember with friction and blow that ember into flame using a tinder bundle. Modern tools can compensate for one’s lack of understanding basic principles. Learning a skill on a primitive level gives one a much richer understanding and appreciation of both survival principle and modern tools.
I get a lot of questions from people who are just starting out in preparedness about how and where to start. My answer is to always start with Disaster Preparedness because this area is the most timely and immediate. Then, move to more primitive skill sets to broaden your knowledge base.
SW: Let’s talk a bit more about the book. What prompted you to write it?
CS: I’ve been blogging and writing survival themed articles for many years and have done a couple self published books along the way. A couple years ago I wrote a fairly detailed article about how to Build a Bug Out Bag right around the whole Japan earthquake, tsunami, meltdown mess. A publisher saw this article and asked if I thought I could write a book on the subject. I knew there were a TON of survival books on the market and many of them mentioned a Bug Out Bag – some even had a dedicated chapter. However, surprisingly, there wasn’t an A-Z book on the subject that could really help a novice prepper wade through the building process. I’ve always believed the ideal place to start in Disaster Preparedness is to build a BOB and I set out to write a guidebook that someone with little to no survival experience could pick up and use to get started in their preparedness journey.
SW: Are you a fan at all of survival fiction? If so, what are some of your favorites?
CS: I’m a fan of survival anything. I can appreciate almost anything that has to do with survival (at least some elements). Some of my classic favorite books and movies are:
- My Side of the Mountain (from when I was a kid)
- Red Dawn
- The Road
- Book of Eli
- Alone in the Wilderness
- And, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy Zombie movies
I just finished writing my 2nd book titled “The Unofficial Hunger Games Survival Strategy Guide” which is a guide that will teach and illustrate the survival skills mentioned in the best selling book series ‘The Hunger Games’. The Hunger Games book series has prompted many thousands of young adults to study survival skills and my survival strategy guide (released Spring 2013) was a really fun project because I had the opportunity to write about real skills detailed in a fictional world.
I’ve been working on my own survival fiction book for over a year so hopefully you’ll see my version of survival fiction on the book shelves one day.
SW: If you were placed in charge of disaster readiness awareness for the United States, what would you do differently, compared to the current focus and such?
CS: As many bad things as I have to say about our government, I’ve been pleasantly pleased with the ready.gov web-site. Their guides, while fairly basic, offer some really great information for families or individuals who are delving into the preparedness abyss. I’ve been involved with several county health departments holding preparedness events for the community to build awareness of potential and imminent threats and these have been very successful on the local level. I’m a huge fan of local vs. federal government so I would be likely to push for more events like this versus more federal spending.
SW: What would you say are the five most critical items to have with you at all times in terms of being prepared?
CS: Knife, Ferro Rod, Tinder (ie. Cotton ball w/ petroleum jelly), Stainless Steel Bottle, Paracord
SW: What do you feel is the single most important thing the average person should do to be more prepared for what may be down the road?
CS: Build a Bug Out Bag
SW: Obviously, the last few years in particular have seen a huge increase in interest in all things survival. Books, TV shows, movies, we are deep in the throes of what we might call a “golden age” for us preppers and survivalists. Do you think this peak in interest is going to stick around a while or do you feel it is more of a fad, doomed to fade away in the near future?
CS: I believe that the increase in (and success of) survival themed books, tv shows, and movies are a direct result of society’s general awareness of the problem. The fact is that natural disasters are more deadly and more frequent than ever before in our history. Let’s face it – we live in an increasingly unstable, overpopulated and highly weaponized world economy. Countries are going bankrupt, terrorism is at an all-time high and you can cut the political tension with a knife. There also seems to be very thin lines of order between many other categories of people – race, religion and class warfare make national headlines almost every night on the news. It is undeniable that something unhealthy is brewing. Our world is in a pressure cooker and at some point a seal on the lid is going to blow. It certainly isn’t a bad idea to have some basic survival skills under your belt just in case the steam reaches your doorstep. Unfortunately, some people ONLY glean their ‘skills’ from tv shows and movies and never really truly learn survival skills.
We, as a culture, will remain generally enthusiastic about survival themed entertainment until there is no ‘real-world’ reason to do so. So my prediction is that we will only become more hungry for survival entertainment – because in my humble opinion, we haven’t even scratched the surface of what’s coming. And, I am an optimist.
I’d like to thank Creek for taking the time for this interview. I and my readers here truly appreciate it!
Now, how do you win the signed copy of Building The Perfect Bug Out Bag? Very simple and easy. Share the link to the interview on Facebook and/or Twitter. Be sure to tag me in your post or tweet. If you’ve done so already, you’ll need to friend/follow me.
Here’s me on Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/survival.weekly
Here’s me on Twitter — @SurvivalWeekly
You need to tag me in your posts/tweets so I can keep track of the entries. You have until midnight tomorrow (Tuesday, 09/25) to enter. The following morning, I’ll pick the winner at random from all entries. Good luck!
There are an awful lot of prepping manuals on the shelves today. Some of them are decent, many of them are worth passing up. A few though, a precious few, deserve a close look. The Prepper Next Door qualifies as a member of that elite group of books.
Charlie Palmer knows his stuff. Even better, he knows how to effectively communicate his knowledge to the reader. The book is neither overly technical nor just bare basics. He hits the middle ground with ease, engaging the reader from the first page with a writing style that gives you the impression Charlie is your buddy from down the road, giving you advice on a subject he knows well.
In The Prepper Next Door, Charlie covers just about every aspect of prepping, from food and water storage to security. Every single one of the 300 or so pages is jam-packed with solid information. This is not the sort of manual you glance through and then put on a shelf for future reference. Instead, this is one you’ll want to read cover to cover, with a notebook next to you so you can jot down things for your To Do list.
Charlie is big on Youtube references and he mentions quite a few Youtube channels he recommends on a variety of topics. With regards to the ones I’ve checked out myself after reading his recommendations, I’d have to agree with him in that they are not to be missed.
Online retailers as well as brand names for various products are also mentioned frequently. I love it when authors do this because it gives credence that they’ve actually gone out and done these things, rather than just recycle information they’ve read elsewhere.
There are no illustrations in the book though. That’s both good and bad, from my perspective. I mean, it is great to have photos showing the item you’re discussing or to focus attention on a specific facet of something. But, the flip side is all too often authors tend to “cheat” and bulk up the page count by tossing in a ton of poorly drawn sketches or dark, indiscernible photos. Here, no photos means much more information being shared overall.
The only real complaint I’d have about the book is the organization of the information. It would have been nice to have subheadings in the chapters to break up the discussion a bit. Each chapter is rather lengthy and, at times, the discussion bounces back and forth within the chapters. Having subheadings or subsections within the chapters would make things more focused and easier to find later.
There is an awful lot of information shared in this book. But there is a fair amount of discussion that sort of drifts off topic too. This isn’t a bad thing, necessarily, as the information is always interesting. The chapter on guns runs about 60 pages and really, it could have been half that length had it just zeroed in on specific recommendations. It isn’t quite overkill or information overload, it is just something to be aware of when you start reading the book.
The Prepper Next Door definitely ranks toward the top of my list of recommended survival manuals. I’d recommend it highly for both the new and the experienced prepper. You can pick it up here on Amazon.
I happened to run across this book on Amazon a short time ago and after reading the description, immediately contacted the author to see about obtaining a review copy. Creek Stewart is a survival expert and owner of Willow Haven Outdoor, a leading survival and preparedness training facility in Indiana. He was kind enough to send me a copy of his book and I devoured it in just a couple days.
I’ve often said that putting together a bug out bag is sort of a rite of passage for preppers. It is often one of the first concrete steps into disaster readiness. Because it is so common, the Internet is rife with lists on top of lists of suggested bug out bag contents. Often though, these lists are just cribbed from one site to another, with little or no actual experience going into the drafting of such lists. The practical use of specific items is rarely ever discussed, usually because the person writing the list doesn’t know either but figures he saw rubber tubing on 85 other bug out bag lists so it must be something desirable in an emergency.
Creek however has been there and done that. He knows from practical experience in the field what works and what doesn’t and shares this knowledge with the reader. In Build The Perfect Bug Out Bag, he breaks down the bag contents into twelve categories, from food to fire making. For each category, he gives several suggestions for items to pack, often mentioning specific brand names he has used himself. Creek describes the actual use of these items as well, discussing not only the importance of that rubber tubing but exactly how it will be of benefit in a bug out.
Bear in mind though, this isn’t a survival manual in the strictest sense. While there is quite a bit of survival instruction, both in the main text and in the many sidebar articles, the focus isn’t on teaching the reader how to find water in the wilderness but on packing the appropriate gear to carry, filter, and purify the water you find.
Much of the discussion in the book mirrors what my readers have heard me yammering on about for years — you’re not going to take a bug out bag out in the field and live off the land for months on end. Planning to do so is, for the vast majority of people, simply planning to fail. Instead, the idea behind a bug out bag is to have enough supplies to get you to a safer location during an emergency. I was also pleased to see that several of the specific items recommended by Creek are ones I’ve selected for my own use, such as first aid kits made by Adventure Medical Kits and the Cold Steel kukri machete.
In addition to the twelve chapters on the supply categories, there are chapters on pack selection, bugging out with pets, bag organization, mental and physical preparedness, planning to bug out, and even at-home exercises to test and hone your skills.
Even the experienced prepper will learn a thing or two in Build The Perfect Bug Out Bag. Each of the 200 or so pages is crammed with practical information with no fluff at all. There is a very handy checklist at the back of the book. This checklist is also available as a download via a link given in the text.
I give the book a solid A and suggest it be considered required reading for both the budding prepper and the long-time survivalist. It is available here on Amazon as well as in all major bookstores.