CRKT to Release New Knives and Tools Designed by Speed Climber, Hans Florine

CRKT and world-record setting climber create knives and tools that take technology to new heights.

CRKT® is releasing the Hans Florine designed NIAD™, Bivy™ and Hyphenate™ at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market (Salt Lake City, UT August 5th – 8th). These knives and tools are super lightweight—you’d expect nothing less from a world record holding speed climber of The Nose on Yosemite’s El Capitan.

At 0.6 oz, the NIAD™ (Nose In A Day) folding climbing knife keeps you light on your feet when they’re 2000 ft above the ground.

It features a simple two-piece design so you don’t have anything getting in your way when scaling cliff faces. The stainless steel blade seats against the frame and eliminates the need for a sheath or additional parts while climbing. That’s welcome news for those who are looking for something that’s high-function but not high-maintenance.

When you want to take a bivouac on with one hand, there’s the Bivy™.

Inspired by Han’s work with the Bandaloop Vertical Dance Troupe, this revolutionary multi-tool provides easy single-handed operation for those times when your other one is busy with rigging or emergencies. Simply push the button and spring-assisted pliers jump into action. A comforting thought for those who are at the end of their rope. It also features a locking liner safety, marlinspike, and Phillips and flathead screwdrivers.

Finally, the Hyphenate™ bridges the gap between knives in places bridges don’t exist.

This fixed blade climbing knife crosses over into camping or any other outdoor activity. It features a modified tanto blade design with a combination edge making it feel comfortable in a variety of conditions. Additionally, there are two large holes in the handle to help with grip and cut down on weight, as well as an O² wrench.

The new line was created in response to Han’s need for tools and blades that could operate as freely as he does.

“I wanted things that were simple, lightweight and safe,” Florine recalls “And in climbing, sometimes you have to fashion those for yourself. I’m glad to now be working with CRKT to put these knives and tools into production.”

If you’re looking for a minimal knife or tool that offers maximum cutting ability and ease of use, reach for the NIAD™, Bivy™ or Hyphenate™.

**Hans Florine will be available at the CRKT booth (#70) at OR Summer Market on Thursday, August 6th from 2:00-4:00 PM to talk about his awesome new products!

The NIAD™ knife manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $39.99.

The Bivy™ multi-tool manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $69.99.

The Hyphenate™ knife manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $29.99.

PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS

NIAD
SKU: 2406
Blade Length: 1.560” (39.6 mm)
Edge: Combination
Steel: 5Cr13MoV, 56-58 HRC
Finish: Silver Stonewash
Thickness: 0.080” (2.0 mm)
Closed: 2.500” (63.5 mm)
Open: 4.060” (103.1 mm)
Weight: 0.6 oz. (17.0 g)
Handle: 6AI4V Titanium
Style: Folding Knife w/Frame Lock

HYPHENATE
SKU: 2450
Blade Length: 2.230” (56.6 mm)
Edge: Combination
Steel: 8Cr13MoV, 58-60 HRC
Finish: Silver Stonewash
Thickness: 0.120” (3.0 mm)
Overall: 4.440” (121.2 mm)
Weight: 1.2 oz. (34.0 g)
Handle: Stainless Steel
Style: Fixed Blade Knife w/Sheath
Sheath Material: Glass Reinforced Nylon
Sheath Weight: 0.9 oz. (25.5 g)

BIVY
SKU: 9250
Blade Length: 2.920” (74.1 mm)
Steel: 5Cr15MoV, 55-58 HRC
Finish: Satin
Thickness: 0.090” (2.3 mm)
Closed: 4.120” (104.6 mm)
Open Pliers: 6.030” (153.1 mm)
Blade: 7.060” (179.3 mm)
Weight: 7.7 oz. (218 g)
Handle: 1060 Al
Style: Multi-Tool w/Locking Liner

Founded in 1994, CRKT® is the industry’s premier brand of knives, tools, and lifestyle accessories, with a reputation for innovative design. For more information, call: (800) 891-3100, email: info@crkt.com, on the web: www.crkt.com.

The Disaster Tool Kit

Almost any disaster you can imagine brings with it the likelihood of damage, debris, and other unpleasantness that will need to be handled or dealt with in some way. While downed trees and branches certainly come to mind first, it might be that you’ll need to stumble your way through a plumbing issue because help will be delayed. Or, maybe you’ll need to patch a hole in the roof or cover a broken window.

Whatever the case ends up being, you’ll be glad you took the time and effort to put together a set of tools to get you through.

Hammers

Perhaps surprising to some people, hammers come in a dizzying array of sizes and styles. If you can only afford one, go for a framing hammer. Larger than most other types, the framing hammer will not only drive nails but it works great for quick demolition work. It has a longer handle which provides some extra reach. Honestly, a good framing hammer will be able to handle just about any job you can realistically expect. But, if you just gotta have more than one hammer, your second one should be a simple claw hammer. It will be a bit smaller and lighter than the framing one, which could ease the arm strain a bit in the long run.

Screwdrivers

You’ll need at least flat head and Phillips screwdrivers, both in varying sizes. Torx (star shaped) screwdrivers are sometimes needed for certain car repairs but that’s about it. Square screwdrivers, the ones that end in a box shape, are sometimes used in home building and remodeling. Take a look around your house to see if anyone has used square head screws and, if so, pick up the corresponding size screwdriver, just in case.

Rather annoyingly, the folks who owned my house before me often did their own home repairs using whatever they happened to have around. So, if I need to remove a shelf, for example, I’m usually confronted with a flat head screw, a Phillips screw, a square head screw, and a nail. Yeah, working on projects in my home is lots of fun, let me tell you….

Wrenches

When you’re dealing with nuts and bolts, you’ll need wrenches. Don’t just pick up a cheap set at the dollar store. They are likely to bend into pretzels the first time you actually need to use them. Pay a little extra for good quality and they’ll last a lifetime. These come in two flavors and you’ll probably need both. “Standard” or SAE are the fraction ones (1/2, 9/16, 5/8, etc.). Metric are the whole numbers (10, 11, 12, etc.).

You should also have a couple of adjustable wrenches in your tool kit. I actually like to have three, so as to cover all the bases – 6 inch, 10 inch, and 12 inch. You can often buy these in sets of 2 or 3.

Socket sets can often make jobs a lot easier than plain old wrenches but it can get expensive buying both sets. A good compromise is a set of ratcheting wrenches.

Pliers

You’re going to want at least two pair of pliers. The best for general use are the channel lock variety as they open the widest while still affording some degree of control over the tool. I say to get two because many jobs require you to hold one fastener tight while you turn the other.

Duct tape

There are many brands and varieties of duct tape. Honestly, I don’t know that any one is significantly better than the rest. No matter which kind you get, duct tape has millions of uses and you’ll want to have at least a couple of rolls on hand. I like Gorilla tape, myself.

Knife

Most of us carry at least one knife with us almost all the time. That’s all well and good but I like to keep a small sheath knife in my tool kit as well. The one time you forget to put a folding knife in your pocket will be the time you need a sharp blade to do some cutting during a repair project. You don’t need anything fancy nor expensive as this knife is likely to see some very hard use.

Cordless drill

I know, I know, the drill might be cordless but it still needs electricity to charge the batteries. Here’s the thing – the drill will still work until the batteries are drained. That being the case, the drill will keep my wrists and arms from getting tired from turning screws by hand, at least for a while. Plus, I use cordless drills all the time when working on remodeling projects anyway so for me it isn’t an added expense to the emergency tool kit.

Tree/brush trimming

If you live outside the city, you’re going to want a bow saw, loppers, and perhaps smaller pruners to handle storm damage. A chainsaw would certainly be nice, too, provided you have fuel, sharp chains, and you know what the hell you’re doing. You’ll probably want or need shovels and rakes as well for general cleaning up outside.

Fasteners

Nails, screws, nuts, and bolts can be had for pennies by the pound at rummage sales and such. Many homeowners have found these fasteners seem to multiply on their own, too, and accumulate jar after jar of them. They come in quite handy when doing expedient repairs so if your own collection is somehow sparse, pick some up.

Flashlights

Given the high probability that the power will be out after a disaster hits, a portable source of light will be necessary. Headlamps allow you to free up both of your hands, which is nice, and even small lanterns can light up a room. Make sure you have plenty of batteries.

Come-Along

This is a very handy tool should you need to move something rather heavy. You attach it to something stationary, such as a tree, and hook the line to whatever you’re trying to move. A ratchet pulls the line and thus the object.

Start with getting together a set of basic hand tools. These are the things you’ll likely need most often for home repairs and such. Once you have acquired those, branch out into power tools and such.

Prepping and The Greek Financial Crisis

So, I’ve been debating whether to address the Greek financial crisis here on the blog. I mean, sure, it is a fairly important event and one that bears discussion from the prepper perspective. On the other hand, just about every other prepper on the web has posted about it already. Never let a crisis go to waste, right?

Here are a couple of observations regarding the situation over in Greece and how it might relate to future events here in the United States. First, this didn’t happen overnight. It wasn’t like everyone went to bed Sunday night, looking forward to a great week and woke up the next morning baffled by what had happened while they slept.

No, this was a fairly gradual decline over a lengthy period of time. There were tons of warning signs that things were getting worse and worse. Unfortunately, a whole ton of people there ignored all those red flags and are now in a world of hurt. Shelves are bare, cash access is severely limited, and many people are now finding out they don’t have jobs. It is rather difficult to run a business when you can’t get products shipped or pay your employees. So, not only are people running out of cash they had in the house, they aren’t going to be able to earn any more.

At the time of this writing, the ATM limit in Greece is roughly $75 per day. That’s actually a good-sized amount of cash. I mean, if your typical day-to-day living expenses exceed $75 each day, you might want to take a good, hard look at your budget. That said, there’s more going on here than just pulling out money to hopefully pick up some groceries.

See, the thing about an economic collapse is, well, your bills don’t just disappear. It isn’t like you can call your mortgage company and say, “Dude, you realize everyone is broke, right? Howzabout just leaving us alone for a while?” Nope, they want their money and they won’t take late payments lightly. Same goes for utility companies. You don’t pay your light bill, you lose those lights, pure and simple. Sure, there have been instances where the country’s government stepped in and basically placed a short-term moratorium on foreclosures and such. But, those measures were always very short-lived and rarely affected the majority of people in trouble.

Naturally, because I wrote a book on financial preparedness, I’ve have a few people ask me for my input or advice. Here goes, take this for what it might be worth. As I’ve said countless times, everyone is different, every situation is unique. Take what works for you and leave the rest. No one has all of the answers.

First, try to set aside as much money as humanly possible so you have a cushion later. A good initial goal is to have enough cash on hand to pay all of your bare minimum living expenses for 2-3 months. This would include your mortgage/rent, utility bills, groceries, gas for the car, all that good stuff. This should be kept in cash, not just sitting in the bank. As many Greeks have found out, money is no good if you can’t access it. This isn’t easy, I know, nor will it happen quickly for most folks (myself included). But, commit to saving as much cash as you can each time you get paid and set it aside.

Where should you store the cash? Well, a good quality safe is a wise investment. If you can’t find one for cheap on Craigslist or perhaps Freecycle, invest in the best quality one you can afford. You could always go with the old fashioned backyard bank approach and bury it in mason jars or something. But, you best be sure you’ll never forget where to find it.

Next, work on building up your supply of food, water, and other necessities. Again, shoot for enough to last 2-3 months. Do this slowly and build it up over time. A couple of cans of soup here, some home canned veggies there. Don’t forget things like pet food, toiletries, and paper goods (toilet paper, paper towel, etc.).

As I wrote in Prepper’s Financial Guide, an economic collapse is a disaster without all of the death and destruction. That, however, doesn’t make it a cake walk to endure and overcome. Many experts say the United States is headed toward its own financial collapse in the near future. Personally, my crystal ball has been in the shop for some time now and so I can’t make any reliable predictions. But, I can say this – we’re in for a world of hurt if it does happen in this country.

Avoiding Clickbait

The online world is very much a double-edged sword. I mean, we live in an age where just about any piece of information we seek is, quite literally, at our fingertips. Yet, at the same time, people are becoming less and less likely to make even the most minimal effort to obtain reliable information. Case in point – Clickbait.

Clickbait is a technique used by websites to increase their traffic. Basically, the website will come up with some sort of sensational headline, one that is sure to evoke an almost immediate, emotional response from the reader. Something like, “Obama sues trucking company for not hiring Muslim terrorists!” The headline is posted on social media along with a link to the website. The linked page typically contains very little in the way of hard facts and instead is usually a poorly researched and sometimes horribly written “article” that, from time to time, might even have little or nothing to do with the headline.

The idea behind clickbait is to accomplish two goals. First, many people will just share that post without actually reading the article. The headline is enough to incense people to the point to where they’ll post a comment and share the link. This increases the reach of the website, allowing more and more people to see that link. This serves the second goal of increasing traffic to the website. The more people who see the link, the more who will click on it. These websites make money off of your traffic through advertising. Often, the rate of pay is linked directly to the number of clicks the website generates in a given time period. The more clicks, the more money earned.

Keep in mind, too, that there really is nothing to prevent any website from posting whatever the hell it wants. Some sites, such as The Onion, specialize in parody and making their “news” look like real news. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people share links to Onion articles believing the stories to be genuine, regardless of how ridiculous the story actually is.

There is a difference, though, between parody and outright bullshit. The latter is what many websites consider to be their stock in trade. The folks running the sites don’t care that the stories posted are utter and complete fabrications. As long as the traffic numbers are high, that’s all that matters. The sad fact is, many people who read such nonsense can’t be bothered to apply even an iota of common sense to see if the story passes muster. They read it on the Internet so it must be true! So, they forward on the link to the story to every person in their address book and on their friend’s list. At least a percentage of those folks will click on the link and the circle continues on and on and on….

Preppers and survivalists often say that they believe facts about the world, the government, whatever, are being withheld from them. That conspiracies are afoot and we are in danger from Jade Helm, Planet X, New World Order, whatever. I don’t know what truth, if any, lies behind those so-called conspiracies. I do know this, though. You aren’t likely to find any real answers on a quasi-news website that is filled with clickbait.

We complain a lot about the mainstream media and how it distorts the truth. There is definitely a bias present in just about any news story that you read, see, or hear. Gone are the days of “just the facts” reporting. That said, people sometimes overlook that this applies across the board, no matter if you’re looking at a liberal or conservative news source.

Use your head for something more than just a hat rack, folks. Apply just a little logic and common sense before you buy into these sensational stories hook, line, and sinker.

Cashier as Career Path? – A Rant

I have three boys, one in high school, one in junior high, and one in elementary school. Yeah, parent-teacher conferences are loads of fun, as is scheduling the different extra-curricular activities, field trips, and all that fun stuff. Anyway, my middle son took a career assessment test at school yesterday. It wasn’t very in depth, of course, just 40 or so questions like, “Do you like to work with people?” and “Would you want to work outdoors?” Once the test is complete, the computer spits out a list of about 20 suggested careers based upon the answers given.

My son’s recommendations ran the gamut from computer programmer to set designer for TV and movies to video game developer. Many of the suggestions made perfect sense to us. This boy is very much into computers and loves things like math and science. He is frighteningly intelligent and is years ahead of many of his classmates academically. That’s not just a proud Dad talking, either. We have the test scores to prove it.

One of the career paths, though, gave me pause – cashier. Seriously, I thought, cashier is one of the options? Now, before I get all sorts of angry emails, let me elaborate on this. I’m not saying my son, or anyone else for that matter, is somehow too good to be a cashier. That’s not it at all. The problem is that cashier shouldn’t be considered any sort of “career path.” Being a cashier, like working in the kitchen of a fast food joint or waiting tables or any of the other hundreds of similar jobs, is a means to an end. It is either what you do while you’re working on something else, such as going to school, or it is doing what’s needed to bring in money. It is a job, not a career.

Why would cashier, assembly line worker, carpet cleaner, or customer service employee (yes, those were all on the list) even be options for a career assessment test? I mean, if you have students at the middle school level whose aptitude tests would indicate those as strong career options, something in that education system has almost certainly gone awry. If you have students who enter the real world and the job options for which they are best suited consist of nothing more than ringing up a sale or inserting 3 screws into a piece of sheet metal 787 times a day on an assembly line, something is seriously wrong.

Back in the day, a guy or gal with no desire to move on academically beyond high school could strive for a job working in a local factory, planning to get hired on and staying there until retirement. Those jobs paid well, had great benefits, and were solid as a rock. Today, not so much. I worked in a factory for a couple of summers while I was in college. This was back in the early 90s and starting wage where I worked was $15.00/hour, full benefits after 90 days. Today, you’re lucky if you can find a factory job that pays more than $8.50/hour to start and it’ll be a full year before you qualify for health insurance. The health insurance coverage is also likely to be abysmal at best, nothing at all like what Blue Cross Blue Shield offered 20+ years ago.

Look, the point is this. We need to get back to teaching our children that the sky is the limit when it comes to setting goals and achieving them. If you tell a kid that the best they will ever be able to do for a job is work as a cashier, odds are they are going to believe you and they’ll shy away from any opportunities to do otherwise. Instead of allowing them to be complacent with mediocrity, challenge them to do better.

My Favorite Things

I am often asked for recommendations on knives, gear, books, and such. The thing you need to understand is that everybody is different. I mean, I think Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man is one of the best movies ever made but there are a lot of people out there who will disagree. The knife I find works best for me and my purposes might not be the ideal solution for you.

With all that said, though, I thought I’d put together a short post here detailing my personal choices in several categories of products. If nothing else, then when people ask for my recommendation on this or that, I can just give them this link.

Knife — Folder
Folding knives are great for every day carry (EDC) and the technology has improved to such a degree in recent years that I’d put some of them up against smaller fixed blades. My current favorite is the Kershaw Thermite. The 3.5″ blade is plenty long enough for most tasks around the house and retains a razor sharp edge even after heavy use. Plus, it isn’t all that pricey at about $25.

Knife — Fixed Blade
A good quality knife is perhaps the single most important tool you can have in a survival situation. My personal favorite is the GNS made by LT Wright Knives. Here’s a link to their site. You can read my full review of the GNS here. It isn’t an inexpensive knife, though, at $155.00.

For the budget conscious, a great alternative is the Condor Bushlore. I’ve reviewed it at length here. You can find it here on Amazon for under $40. This really is a great knife. My son carries it and loves it.

Multi-Tool
I have three different multi-tools I use fairly regularly. My SOG Power Lock is the most robust of the three. As such, it is also the heaviest so I tend to only use it when I’m around the house.

Next is my trusty Leatherman, which I’ve had for more years than I can remember. It is one of the first models they ever made and I don’t even think they sell them anymore.

The third multi-tool is the Gerber Dime. It is a great option if you’re trying to keep things low key and trying to avoid having a ton of stuff hanging on your belt. Small enough to fit into a pocket yet with most of the traditional tools you’ll find in the larger versions.

Flashlight
The problem I’ve had with many small flashlights, those designed for EDC, is that they are too long and heavy. They might be called “pen lights” but they are far from being actual pen-sized. The ones that truly are small are also fairly dim. Then, I found the Streamlight ProTac 1AAA. At just four inches long and a half inch thick, this light is small enough to take just about anywhere. On High, the ProTac shoots out 70 lumens, which is incredibly bright for such a small flashlight. Amazon has it for under thirty bucks. I reviewed the ProTac 1AAA here in full.

Survival Kit — Small
Any instructor worth his or her salt will tell you that assembling your own survival kit is typically a far better option than buying a premade one. The sad fact is that there are hundreds of companies out there trying to make a quick buck by selling inferior crap and just capitalizing on the “prepper” craze. That said, there are a few companies out there doing it the right way. One of the best small sized survival kits on the market today is the Pocket Tin Survival Kit designed and sold by Survival Resources. My full review is here. As with any small kit, consider this to be only a backup, a “just in case” sort of kit.

Survival Kit — Large
If you are in the market for a full-size kit, one that is basically ready to grab and go with little in the way of customization, you can’t do much better than the Echo-Sigma Get Home Bag. My review, with a complete breakdown of the components, is here. It isn’t cheap by any stretch but you’ll not find many other kits on the market today that have this much in the way of high quality gear inside. Plus, there is plenty of room for adding your own goodies, too.

I’ll be adding more categories as the year goes on. The above covers the most common items people ask me about.

Listen To Your Elders

Before she passed away a few years ago, I used to love listening to my maternal grandmother tell stories about what life was like when she was growing up. She was born in 1925 and was raised on a farm. Grandma knew how to pinch a nickel until it screamed, that’s for sure. After she married Grandpa and they moved to the southern part of Wisconsin, she began working in a factory, a job she held for a couple of decades until she retired. I’m one of nine grandchildren of hers and one of the only ones she ever taught how to make her signature fried chicken. Even knowing exactly how she cooked it, I can never get it quite right.

Yet, for all that, there is so much I never thought to ask her about, so many stories I didn’t get the chance to hear.

Here in the United States, there is a huge knowledge gap between the generations. We sometimes joke about Grandma or Grandpa trying to figure out Facebook or texting. But, to be fair, they’d probably laugh at us during our first attempt to make bread from scratch. Then again, maybe they’d be too polite to outright poke fun at us.

For most of us, our grandparents grew up knowing the value of a dollar and lived by the motto — Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without. Today’s adults and young adults would likely toss out a pair of socks with a hole whereas the elder generation would have sewn it up. Our grandparents and great-grandparents, at least for the most part, maintained food pantries at home just as a matter of course. They grew gardens and preserved food. Even those folks who were born and raised in cities still learned many life skills that have been lost today. Many of them raised “victory gardens” during WWII.

The point is this. There is a ton of knowledge and information that is slowly slipping through our fingers. A lot of this stuff isn’t the sort of thing you’ll easily find using Google, either. I mean, I don’t know about you but I hated history class when I was in school. Today, though? I can’t get enough of it! Probably because now it isn’t all about memorizing names and dates but instead it is listening to stories about what things were really like back then.

Many if not most cultures around the world recognize the importance of elders and the knowledge they have to offer. In many countries, it is common to have grandparents living in the same home as their children and grandchildren. Honestly, it is rather shameful how we here in the U.S. often treat the elderly.

Here’s my suggestion to you. If you have older family members still around, make the time to sit down and talk to them. Ask them to tell you about their lives. Ask questions. Consider taking notes or even recording the conversations. My wife loves the voice recorder I bought her for Christmas a couple of years ago, particularly because the recordings can be downloaded as mp3 tracks. If you’re looking for some ideas of what to talk about, try some of these prompts:

–Tell me about a time you got into trouble as a child.
–What was a favorite treat of yours back then?
–What chores were your responsibility?
–Tell me about some of your favorite meals from back then.

If you don’t have family members available any longer, consider volunteering some time at a local nursing home. Many assisted living residents would love the opportunity to spend some time chatting, reliving memories and passing down knowledge.

Do anything you can to preserve the lessons our elders still have to teach us. Remember that old saying — those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Scavenging Supplies — A Thought Exercise

As you might expect, the subject of survival and disaster planning comes up somewhat regularly at our home. I like to toss thought exercises out to my kids from time to time, just to see where the discussion leads.

Over the weekend, my wife and I were heading out for a few hours to do some running around. I decided to leave my boys a short homework assignment, based in part on a book I’m currently reading. In the story, there is a small group of young adults who are traveling across the country after a major disaster. As they begin their journey, they come across a big box retail store and stock up on supplies and gear for the journey. I decided to use that premise as a thought exercise. Here’s what I gave my boys to work with:

There has been a major disaster. You and a small group of survivors are traveling home and it will take several days to get there. You come across a Walmart store. You have one backpack, nothing special it is just like the one you use for school. What supplies would you take from the store? Remember, you’ll need to be able to carry the fully loaded pack, so weight is a concern. Assume you have nothing with you other than the clothes on your back.

I asked each of my boys to make a list of their chosen supplies. When we returned, I went over each list and we talked about the different choices. Here are some of the highlights.

My eldest (15 years old) was the only one who had included a knife on his list. My middle son (12 years old) was the only one who thought of socks and other clothes. My youngest (10 years old) thought to grab apples and oranges, assuming they’d still be good to eat.

They all thought to grab water bottles but no one thought of water filtration gear or purification tablets. No one grabbed any sort of cordage but my eldest mentioned taking a couple of bandanas. All had matches or lighters on their lists. No one thought of flashlights, though.

One thing I found rather interesting was that no one had anything on their lists that you might consider frivolous or foolish. No toys, mp3 players, or other nonsense. My eldest mentioned a prepaid cell phone, which on the surface is a good idea, depending upon the nature of the disaster, but he didn’t know the phone cards had to be activated at the cash register, which likely wouldn’t be an option.

A few other things I pointed out that might be good ideas to grab:

–Multivitamins
–Mess kit
–Granola bars and other prepackaged “ready to eat” food
–First aid kit

All in all, the exercise resulted in a pretty interesting discussion. For those curious, the book that prompted this discussion is SYLO by DJ MacHale.

So, what would be on your list?

3 Common Prepper Complaints (that are just bad excuses)

I’ll warn you right up front, odds are there will be something in this post that will irritate, perhaps even anger, you. Well, so be it. See, here’s the thing. I’m tired of listening to the same old complaints over and over. I understand that preppers are human beings just like everyone else and, that being the case, complaining about this, that, or the other thing is sort of hardwired into their DNA. But, I hear these complaints so frequently, I’ve decided to just answer them all at once in a single blog post. That way, I can just send out a link to the post rather than typing out the same response over and over.

Complaint #1 — I can’t find any local preppers!
Many people have woken up to the realization that long-term preparedness requires a team approach. Community survival planning is the way to go. Of course, that means you need to be in touch with others in your area who are of like mind. Over and over, I hear how preppers just can’t seem to find anyone in their local area who is interested in disaster planning. Look, there are over 3 million self-avowed preppers in the United States. There are countless more who might not think of themselves as preppers but are taking active steps to be better prepared for emergencies.

If you can’t find a single person who is interested in prepping, the problem lies with you, not with them. Sorry, I know that sounds harsh but that’s what it boils down to, really. One or more of the following likely applies to your situation.

A) You interact with exceptionally few people in your daily life. If you only ever speak to the same three people every day, you’ll need to expand your horizons a bit. Either that or quit complaining.

B) You tend to be more than a little passionate about the subject of prepping, which in turn makes people uneasy. Take it slow and easy when broaching the topic of prepping. If you go from zero to TEOTWAWKI in 0.6 seconds every time, yes, you do indeed sound like a whack job.

C) You just flat out aren’t trying very hard and expect people to find you instead. Face it, you’re probably going to actually have to leave your house once in a while. Visit some community events where preppers are likely to be in attendance, such as farmers markets and such. Go out to gun shows. Attend local classes on topics like gardening and food preservation (you can find these classes at your library or through the park & rec department).

Complaint #2 — I can’t afford to prep!
Yes, prepping costs money and most of us aren’t recent lottery winners. However, quite often I hear this complaint from people who, for whatever reason, feel they need to buy everything all at once and, if they can’t, they just give up. Not a very smart approach, once you stop and think about it. That’s like interviewing for a job you really need, but telling the interviewer that if you can’t start out as Vice-President, you’re going to pass on the whole deal.

In order to add funds to the prepping budget, one of two things needs to happen.

A) You need to increase your income. You could do this by working part-time outside the home or perhaps turning a hobby into a home-based business, such as woodworking or car repair.

B) You need to reduce your expenses. Most, though certainly not all, people have at least a few things they can do to cut down on expenses, such as reducing the number of drive-thru meals every week.

Complaint #3 — My spouse doesn’t support my prepping!
Often, this circles back to the point made earlier about how you talk about prepping with people. If this topic dominates every single conversation you have with your spouse or significant other, I guarantee you they are tired of hearing about it. Dial it back a notch or two.

When you do talk about prepping, keep it low key and free of wild predictions of the coming zombie apocalypse.

Sometimes, putting a financial spin on prepping can help get spouses on board. Explaining to them, and using real life examples, of how you can eat tomorrow at today’s prices by stocking up during good sales can go a long way toward getting the “buy in” from them.

Another point to consider, though, is the impact your prepping might be having on the family as a whole. If it has become all consuming on your part, it might be reasonable for your family to feel as though something isn’t right. Communication on the part of all involved is key to resolving any conflict.

Look, the reality is, these complaints are excuses, nothing more. If you truly want to be prepared for life’s little (and not so little) emergencies, you’ll find ways to overcome these obstacles, rather than sitting down and pouting because it hasn’t all worked out exactly as you’d hoped.

Freecycle for Preppers

The Freecycle organization has been around for several years, yet there are still lots of folks out there who’ve not heard of it. Freecycle can be an excellent resource for rehoming your unwanted stuff and occasionally receiving items of use to you.

Taken from the Freecycle.org website:
The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 5,206 groups with 8,600,848 members around the world. It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills.

Once upon a time, Freecycle groups used the Groups feature on Yahoo. Nowadays, pretty much everything is done via the Freecycle website. Here’s how this works.

Visit Freecycle.org and open an account there. You’ll need to provide a username, password, and email address. The link to sign up is located at the top of the screen on the main page.

After you’ve logged in, it will prompt you to find groups in your area. In the search box, put in the city closest to you. There may not be a group based in your exact town but you should be able to find one reasonably nearby. You can certainly join more than one group, too, if there are multiple groups in your immediate area. For example, I travel a lot for work so I’ve joined groups in the areas I visit most often, as well as the groups nearest my home.

As you join different groups, be sure to check your email settings with each one. If you click on the My Groups tab, you’ll see a list of all the groups you’ve joined. For each one, you’ll see a button that says, “Change Settings.” There are three options:

None apart from ADMINs — this means you’ll only receive emails that are special notices from the group administrators. To view the actual group posts, you’ll have to visit the website.

Email digest — you’ll receive one email a day, with all group posts contained within it.

One for each post — you’ll receive each post to the group as an individual email.

What gets posted to the group?

There are two main types of posts — Offer and Wanted.

When people have something they want to get rid of, they’ll post it as an Offer. Typically, they will tell you what the item is, the condition of the item, and a general idea of where they are located. Here’s a sample Offer post:

OFFER: Coleman lantern
I have a Coleman lantern up for grabs. It is in fairly good condition, though I’ve not used it in several years. Located on east side of Chicago
.

The other type of post is a Wanted post. These can get sort of tricky, believe it or not. In many groups, you’ll see far more Wanted posts than you’ll see Offers. You can’t expect to ask for, and then receive, a ton of high-end gear. Posting a wish list is usually not very well received by group members. Instead, here is a typical Wanted type of post.

WANTED: Coleman lantern
In need of one or two lanterns for an upcoming camping trip. I can pick up anywhere local either evenings this week or any time this weekend.

No big long story about why you need the item, just the basic facts. Offering to pick up the item is actually pretty much a given as whether the post is an Offer or a Wanted, the recipient is typically expected to arrange for pickup of the item.

Responding to a post

If you see an Offer of something you want, you’ll contact the person who posted it, either via the website or via email. It always pays to be very polite. Keep in mind that you likely aren’t the only person contacting them. Don’t give them a sob story about how much you need the item, though. That gets old quickly. Just explain that you are interested in the item and give them a time frame of when you might be able to pick it up.

Hi, I’m very interested in the Coleman lantern. I live just outside Chicago and could pick up as quickly as this evening, if you’ll be around. Otherwise, I work days and any evening this week should work. Thanks!

Rules of the group

While there are some standard rules that are common to almost all Freecycle groups, such as nothing illegal is offered, no drugs, no weapons, etc., each group may have their own little foibles as well. Some groups require new members to make at least one Offer post before posting a Wanted, for example. The rules of the group should be found on the group’s page on the Freecycle website.

I’ve been a member of many different Freecycle groups over the years. Some were great, others were terrible. Often, it comes down to how the group is run by the admins. Now, Freecycle folks are all volunteer. They don’t get paid for the work they do, so keep that in mind. Occasionally, though, you may find an admin who apparently just has entirely too much time on their hands. They will reject posts for seemingly random reasons. Or, they will argue with members about what is appropriate to be posted and what is not. The groups run by iron-fisted admins tend to peter out after a while because members tire quickly of that nonsense.

Common sense safety concerns

Unless you happen to know personally the person you’ll be meeting, it pays to exercise good common sense. If you are going to them, make sure a family member or friend knows where you’re going, who you’re meeting, and when you should return. If they are coming to you, what many folks do is leave the item on the front porch in a bag or box with the recipient’s name on it. This reduces the danger of having to open your door to a stranger.

Many people will agree to meet at a public location, such as a fast food restaurant parking lot. But, if the item is large or cumbersome, that might not be an option.

Final thoughts

It is best to look at Freecycle as a way to get rid of stuff you no longer need, rather than just expecting to get a ton of free stuff. It really is about paying things forward. That said, there are people out there who have stuff like tents, backpacks, books, camping gear, and other cool stuff that they might be looking to part with, if only they knew it was wanted by someone else.