Thursday, May 25, 2017

Choosing the right Red Dot/ Holo sight for you and why the answer is Aimpont



So I found myself in that position. A new gun that needs a glass. In this case it’s a Colt M4, 14.5 inch barrel. Sure enough, I’m looking at a gun that is intended for short to medium range, so not a big magnified scope but instead a red dot sight or holographic sight.
If you’re like me, you want quality but you hope there’s something good out there that doesn’t break the bank. Here’s the thought process I went through and how I ended up with an Aimpoint Micro in spite of having initially discarded it.

Eotech.
The military uses them, so they must be good. Circle and Dot? Sounds good. A big circle for quick shots close up and that 2MOA dot for more pinpoint accuracy at longer ranges. Perfect.
Well… no. Turns out the US military is currently suing Eotech because they have lied about their specs. They wouldn’t keep their zero and also had problems with their water resistance. While many people do still trust them, to pay that much money for a product when the company is being sued by its main client didn’t make much sense to me.
So a red dot it is.


Holosun, Vortex, Primary Arms…
Knowing that Aimpoint was crème de la crème but not wanting to spend that much money, these are the brands I started to look into. Most of the reviews were very good, lots of happy customers. Vortex are rugged and have good specs, Holosun have neat features, auto on/off, models that have motion detector to turn on, Solar powered sights. Vortex has the Spark AR which seemed ideal, using common AAA under the optic.
After taking a good long look at these brands, watching youtube reviews, reading articles and such I came to the obvious conclusion: These are nice “budget” red dots made in China. Some are better than others, have slightly better reviews or better durability, or better features, better runtime, but at the end of the day… budget light made in China.
What does this mean? Well, it means less quality, less durability. The battery won’t last as long, or the design and built quality isn’t as good. Even more important nearly all of them suffered sudden death at one point, even after one or two shots in some cases. Switches would break or fail, the red dot, was more of a line, the auto on feature would stop working, the zero would be impossible to keep. With every one of them there was always something. And here is where you come to the obvious conclusion I mentioned above, which is that if you want extreme reliability and durability in spite of the intrinsically fragile, state of the art tech, you need to buy the crème de la crème. You need that “Made in Sweden” quality. If you want to be sure that sight will still be on and bright 3 or 4 years from now when someone breaks into your house, if you don’t want your sight to die, move 5 feet to the left or become so dim its impossible to see in the middle of that gun fight you wished you never saw in your life, then go for it. Save up those extra couple hundred bucks, save money here and there and get yourself the Aimpoint. An Aimpont Micro T2 may be worth 600 bucks, but a broken Holosun or Vortex is worth 0.00 USD.  Even worse, it may cost your life, and that’s a damn high price to pay.

Ok.. which Aimpoint?
Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic
So you made up your mind and are spending the big bucks. What about Triijcon red dot? Tirjicon is still rather new to the red dot game, and Aimpoint is still king of the hill. If you want something like an ACOG then sure, Trijicon is what you go for, but for red dot sights Aimpoint is still the best most proven brand.
Aimpoint Micro T-2 2 MOA Sight with Standard Mount
Aimpoint options are basically Pro,  micro T2 and H2. The Pro is clearly bigger, almost twice the weight but very durable. The micros are almost half the weight, much more compact and yet very durable. This is why you seem them so often being used by guys running nice guns. The H2 and T2 are very similar, look the exact same, but the T2 is night vision compatible and has better water and temperature resistance specs. My advice is to go for the T2 or Pro if you don’t care about the extra weight and size, but if you don’t care about the night vision, the H2 is still tough as nails and wont let you down. Any of the three would make a great purchase if one sale, so maybe just buy the one your see priced best if you don’t care about night vision compatibility.
As the saying goes folks, Buy once, Cry once. Words to live by.
FerFAL
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Monday, May 22, 2017

Coligny Riots: More trouble in South Africa

South African riot police officers run to disperse protesters in Coligny
"They are throwing rocks at the house and are coming through the walls - please hurry," the panicked voice of a woman, speaking Afrikaans, shouts into a two way radio.
Minutes later her home was in flames after being hit by petrol bombs.
The attack on the Rietvlei maize farm, on the outskirts of the remote South African town of Coligny, came just half an hour after two white farmers were granted bail for the alleged murder of a 16-year-old black teenager.
Pieter Doorewaard, 26 and Phillip Schutte, 34, are accused of throwing Mathlomola Mosweu off a speeding pick up truck on April 20 after catching him picking sunflowers.
An autopsy is being conducted to determine the cause of Mathlomola's death, but the facts of the case have mattered little in Coligny, where the case has inflamed long simmering racial tensions.
...
WEB_PHOTO_Coligny_Protests_260417: The chaotic scene of the violent protests which left two homes reduced to ashes on April 25, 2017 in Coligny, North West.
I’ve always been very interested in the situation in South Africa, especially from the Afrikaners white farmers perspective.
It gets rather little attention from the main stream media but having actually met with some Afrikaners I believe their struggle is just packed full of valuable survival information. What do you do in a worst case scenario, in a country ravaged by crime, corruption and even the government itself turned against you? Under constant attack and kicked out of their land, Afrikaner farmers have mastered the art of defensive homesteading, showing us how to harden and defend an isolated residence but ultimately showing how such a strategy is doomed to fail eventually. Many of them have quit and moved to more secured communities in the city. Many others have left the country entirely. Unfortunately, thousands have died as well, while a few still remain, struggling to keep their way of life.
In this recent incident, two farmers are being accused of brutally killing a teenage boy in Coligny outside Lichtenburg. This death sparked a mass violent protest in the small maize-growing town. In a space of a day, three houses and three trucks were torched.
The link explains in more detail how events unfold and how it quickly escalated to rioting, looting and houses being torched.
http://m.news24.com/news24/Columnists/GuestColumn/the-shape-of-things-to-come-20170509
FerFAL
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

When White Rice becomes a Luxury

The Dias family welcomed us to their home, as Jennifer ate their first rice in a week.
Are you getting complacent with your preparedness? Not putting aside as much food as you used to?
Then you need to watch this short clip, its just one minute and ten seconds people, but it says so much more than I can in this post.
Check this video as well. The guy at 3:02, literally showing how many new holes he has made to his belt.

Yes, Venezuela again. A country destroyed by corruption, communism and downright stupidity. How on Earth do you turn a tropical, fertile, oil rich country into a hellhole where everyone in it is starving?
Food is key. So is knowing your politics, knowing when to escape these death traps in time.
FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Cold Steel Bowie Machete, still a great bargain survival knife


Hi Fernando,
I am a subscriber of your channel on youtube. And have seen many of your videos.
I have a question about two knives.
The Cold Steel Bowie machete, and the Cold Steel Shanghai Shadow.
It reminds me a bit of the native American Beavertail dagger, or a Roman Pugio, although the tip doesn’t seem to be as accute as that of the Bowie machete.
Which of the two is best for self defense, house defense. Combat.
I really like to hear your opinion on this.
Hope to hear from you.
High regards,
Renato
.
Hi Renato, the Shanghai Shadow is a 7 inch dagger, the bowie machete is a big 12 inch machete blade.

 
The Shanghai Shadow would be better as a carry knife for self-protection, mostly because it comes with a Secure-Ex Sheath and you can actually carry it somewhat concealed or at least on the belt while the Bowie machete simply isnt the kind of knife you are likely to have on your person all the time. That’s pretty much where the advantage of the Shanghai Shadow ends though.
Cold Steel 97BWM12S Bowie Machete with Sheath

 The Bowie machete is a bigger knife, with a lot more reach and power behind its swing.  A dagger stabs. A machete is like a sword, it chops body parts off. The tip of the Bowie is also a lot more narrow, so even in tight corridors bringing that tip down means anyone rushing at you get impaled. The two Bowie machetes I own required a bit of sharpening, but once that was taken care of they were wicked sharp. Like big scalpels. The handle of the Bowie is much better than the one in the Shanghai Shadow, a lot more comfortable for longer work sessions.
It comes down to that. The Shanghai Shadow dagger is more handy to carry, but for home defense the Bowie is the better option.
It’s also the better survival knife in general. For the price, the Cold Steel Bowie Machete remains a favourite of mine, one of the best deals in a survival knife. You can chop, cut, pierce, 1055 holds an edge well enough and takes one very quickly. It has a bit less carbon than 1095, but in exchange its tough as nails and not as brittle. While the blade is rather thin, just 2.8mm thick, there’s just a lot of it giving it enough rigidity. Even for some wood chopping and batoning this is a knife that can handle the task.
FerFAL
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Buenos Aires more expensive than New York, London and Paris





Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hey Derrick, I'm a North American who's been living in Buenos Aires for 5 years now, and I've stayed for exactly the reasons you mentioned. I won't lie, the last year has been rough with insane inflation, but even now, I have a nice apartment to myself in Capital and get by on a fraction of $5000 USD/month (no offense Fernando, don't mean to contradict you -- also, I'm pretty frugal). My burn rate is about $1500/month, and I live quite comfortably. I'd say go for it. Good luck getting your residency though -- they hate us yanquis in Migrations! If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a mail at jeroextran (at) hotmail (dot) com. Best of luck! Chris


Oh don’t worry. If I was single, lived in a small place, sure. The thing is, Argentina is expensive, especially Buenos Aires.
If you find an affordable place to live, go frugal as you say then sure. But if you need a bigger place for a family, if you want maybe a house in a safe, upper class neighbourhood, rather than an apartment, you want to have a car, have good medical care and send your kids to a good school (which therefore needs to be private, 500 to 1000 USD each for a good one) then the price is very different.
Groceries, food, toiletries and electronics in Buenos Aires are significantly more expensive than New York, London and Paris.

 I buy Argentine products in Spain, made in Argentina, such as yerba matte and cookies, that are sold cheaper in Spain than in Argentina where they are made. Makes no sense? Of course it doesn’t. Its not just the terrible inflation, but also the speculation. The same company that is happy enough selling abroad at 10 knows it can get away with charging 15 locally and they do so. Why? Simple. The European Union bargains a good price and gets it, while locally in Argentina no one protects the consumer and they get robbed, plain and simple. There’s no explanation, no logic for most products available to be cheaper in Spain than in Argentina which not only is the country in which its is made, it happens to be at the other end of the world.
Oh, and don’t worry about Migrations. Its not that they hate you, all public sector workers in Argentina hate life in general and are awful at their job. Its not personal.
FerFAL

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Relocating: Moving to Argentina 2017?

Message:
Hey Fernando, I'm sure you get a lot of these so here's another one... expat moving to Argentina haha more specifically Buenos Aires.
I'm 28 years old now and my travels to Argentina began in May 2014. I was down on life, bored and wasn't living at all. All I did was work, wake up and work. The weekend would come by, I would relax and Monday the routine started all over again.
Being kind of young I was so I don't know... depressed perhaps with my way of living. I live near NYC by the way. As you get older, people you knew you don't ever see again and the close friends you have you may still talk to but rarely get to see. Everyone has their responsibilities now and I also realized another thing... the american dream.
Buying a home. $350,000 minimum where I live and then work until my 50s until the debt is paid off and keep working. It sounds more like an american nightmare to me. Paying to live where I'm not happy and being in over a quarter million of debt.
Me being the loner that I once was I would spend alot of my time online just chatting with people on cam sites. I found one where alot of Argentinians would go on and I would cam
with them and exchange facebooks and whatsapp. Eventually my facebook got filled with Argentinian girls that I would speak to. My spanish was horrible at the time by the way, even though I am from spanish decent I was more gringo than anything else. I told myself, wouldn't it be cool to meet these people in person? I mean like we've been chatting for almost a year now and I know a couple of people in different locations so why not travel? All these ideas were popping up in my head and I couldn't get rid of them.
The whole idea just seemed crazy but crazy good. Meeting people I never met before in person, going to a country I never been to before and not have travelled anywhere out of country in over 10 years... maybe I had to be crazy.
But the adrenaline rush kicked in and I said Derrick... go for it. What do I have to lose? I wasn't having fun over here regardless so why not try something different? I knew once I confirmed that flight payment there was no turning back and I sure enough went through with it and booked my flight for May 2014. May came, the flight took off, landed the next day on Friday and from Ezeiza I went straight to Laferrere where my first friend was haha Now was I shocked? No. I obviously saw that it was a poor community but I thought this was what it was when I first arrived. I did not know Laferrere was considered "poor" or "dangerous" I just went to go see my friend in a country I never been to before, so I humbled myself and accepted the fact that I won't see what I am used to seeing here in New York and thought Laferrere was normal.
To cut that the trip short let's just say I had one of the most wonderful experiences of my life that impacted me forever. I cried, I laughed, I drank and I actually for after a long time started to feel like I was alive and I never met people that were so humble. I would walk down the street and randomn people would say hello to me as they pass me by. They are so family oriented and do live what we consider in the north "poor" but they were so rich in life and didn't just work and go home to sleep. There was so much culture. I said to myself I was going to come back and I kept that promise.
Fast forward and it is now Janurary 2015, the flight took off and this time you would think I would prepare myself a little bit better...
I didn't. I came again and was looking for an apartment the day I landed which I was then at Pablo Nogues, Malvinas. My friends father was able to find me a place at his friends house, where I stayed for the week and on this trip I had an allergic reaction to something that gave me rashes all around my thighs, legs and arms. I winded up going to the Malvinas Hospital in Pablo Nogues, where I was treated free of charge, and I was even interviewed and shown on the TV for my treatment ! First Norte Americano treated at Malvinas Argentinta Hospital. It was more of a propaganda for the then running for Mayor Jesus Cariglino but it was still a wow experience. I was aired on national Argentine TV!!! haha
I've been really grateful to cross paths with some of the most humble people on my journeys. Let's fast forward to now Janurary 2016, did I prepare myself this time? I sure did with a whole quinta all to myself en Santa Maria de Los Olivos, Pablo Nogues. It was a huge home, bigger than anything around here where I live. 2 floors, 5 bathrooms, 4 bedroom. In-ground pool outside and it was just wow. I spoiled myself. I loved the home but the the gated community life wasn't for me. Everyone who visited had to check in with the guard, there were no surprises, people would get lost trying to find the home within the gated community and even myself got lost many times. It would literally take 5 minutes of driving to get to the home once you were in. I felt far away from everybody. I couldn't just get out of the house and be outside, I would take my bike and travel out the country and around Pablo Nogues.I even met new friends on this trip en La Plata with my bike. Again it was a great experience and I wanted more.
Fast forward now to February 2017 and this time I rented myself a Toyota Corolla, which over here in the states is like an economical poor man's car. I had to pay 1200 USD to rent the damn thing for 10 days. I didn't like the car at all but the other ones they had to offer were weird looking and they wanted 4000 USD for the BMW serie 3 which is ridiculous.
So I stuck with the Corolla and had rented an apartment I had found on Mercado Libre in San Isidro, Buenos Aires. I had come across this town on my last travel and it was a beautiful city. Everything was paved, great for bike riding, people were out enjoying the sunshine and it was a nice community. So I wanted to try here for my next vacation which I did. I came to the conclusion that this is where I want to be in my life.
Being 28 years old I finally said, I found home. This is where I want to grow, be stable and one day have a family. I found my happiness and an amazing culture. I found Damas Gratis too haha I loved all my trips to this beautiful country. I didn't arrive as a tourist per say.
Every one of my trips I was out in the barrios, Laferrere, Jose C Paz, Pilar, Gonzalez Catan, Pablo Nogues, La Plata. I actually never been to the capital until my third trip out. I didn't care for the big buildings and nice things. The people I met had plenty to offer in their barrios and I loved it all. I never even had a hamburger with fried egg on it until I came to Argentina. It was the best thing ever! I now make it over here lol I'm telling you Argentina is awesome.
Yes the government may be corrupt, in bad shape and the economy may be suffering a bit but it is not as bad as over here. At least people in Argentina are free. They have more liberty than we do here in the United States. I actually hate this government. I hate how we cause wars all over the world. I hate how we have to be the global police for anything that happens outside of this country. I hate how we have so many regulations, laws and rules and police for all this security that is over more than enough.
Oh and I hate how we have only 7 official holidays over here and I myself only have 1 week vacation for a large company that I have been with for three years. We work ourselves to death over here. Other people may say well that's how it is, well no. Not for me. Argentina is where I'm going. I'm tired of the wars and rumors of wars, tired of all these movement groups, tired of the goverment lies and the attack on the people, tired of this gender identity issue they are raising in the schools. My child does not have to decide weather he is a girl or a boy, he/she will be born what he/she was born as. I don't understand why these schools have to have gender identity classes. This whole country I just find evil.
Overall I find that Argentinian people know how to live. They help one another, are family oriented people and like to live more than work. I'm going to be moving to Buenos Aires soon within a few months and will be transfering my money with Bitcoin.
I'm working long hours and as much as I can to reach a goal of 100,000 USD but I may not reach it in time which is before the winter. That's another thing I hate about being where I live. I hate the snow. I don't like it at all. I even hate looking at it lol
Cold weather is not for me. The hotter the better. I don't think moving to Argentina is a bad idea as I saw in your video,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7wx5sUNBo0
It's not for everybody of course but if you like the simple lifestyle and are a humble person than you can live here. I don't need much. I should be able to find work as an air conditioning/refrigeration technician and that's how I will live. Its been 4 years now since you made that video about relocating to Argentina. What are your thoughts now Fernando?
I've been looking for a place to rent and have been searching around Tigre, San Fernan, Lopez, even San Miguel isn't too bad.
I'm not sure where your 5000USD figure a month comes from but what I've found on Mercado Libre I can pay around 600 dollars a month for rent, and probably less if I can get the locals to help me out. I'm not looking to live like a king but just looking to live.
Hope I didn't take too much of your time with reading! God Bless!
Take care of yourself out there.
-Derrick
.
Hello Derrick, thanks for your email and for sharing your story.
You know, a few years ago I would have told you you’re crazy, get psychological help and don’t move to Argentina by any means.
Today, a few years older and a bit wiser, I will say to you that if you found home and you feel Argentina is the place for you then follow that dream because life is too short to do otherwise.
People in Argentina are friendly and as you notice family oriented. We like having friends over, we enjoy talking for hours among friends and family. There’s no lunch or dinner schedule. A friend drops by one afternoon and he stays drinking mate the entire afternoon. By the time you realize its night time he stays over for dinner and crashes in the couch. I wont lie to you, I do miss that, I miss the passion people have over there which isn’t as common elsewhere. My neighbour in Ireland, when I moved there I was chatting with him and he didn’t know the name of the woman living next to him that had been living there for at least 30 years. I told him “oh, so you moved here recently too?”. “No” he said, “I’ve been living here for 20 years”. 20 years and he didn’t know the name of the woman living next door. I later found that’s rather common.
But as much as I miss my country it still is what it is and the reason why I left, crime and insecurity, are very much an issue and even worse than before I left, which was pretty bad already. For me, the risk of one day getting my wife or children hurt was just too much. Even just living with that tension all the time, it was driving me nuts.
You seem to not bothered much by that and usually I’d say being chill is best, but in Argentina the danger is very real. Too real. Statistically you’ll be a victim of a violent crime in a couple years in Argentina.
Laferrere is a TOUGH place. Even for Argentine standards. I can imagine the shock coming from USA. That doesn’t mean you cant find fantastic people there. On the contrary, its usually people that have very little the ones that appreciate others things, make great friends. But especially in places like those security is a matter of daily survival.
5000USD is at the very least what I would need to have the same lifestyle I have in Europe in Argentina. A nice house, good schools, which in Argentina means private schools for two kids, and good medical care such as Swiss Medical which was the one I had (and recommend). Security wise if I had to go back to Argentina I’d move to a “country”, a gated community for security purposes. I don’t like being locked up either but theres a reason why there are so many of those gated communities in the first place. Many of these are things you don’t need as a single guy, but with a family they are an issue.
The one very important thing that HAS changed in Argentina is the politics. Mauricio Macri is now president and with a bit of luck the populist communist scum wont come back any time soon. It will take a lot of time though until Macri sorts the country.
Best of luck in Argentina, I wish you the best!
FerFAL
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Friday, May 5, 2017

My EDC Fail (and pocket carry update)



Two things you eventually learn about EDC:
1)It does you no good unless you do indeed carry it every day. The day you don’t will be the day you need it. Be honest and keep your expectations real. Better to have a few tools in your pockets that you do indeed carry rather than some massive bag full of stuff that always ends up staying left behind.
2) 3 is 2, 2 is 1 and one is none. Backups work. The day a tool breaks, is forgotten, left behind or lost is the day you will be glad to have a backup. This is especially true of primary tools such knives and flashlights.
FerFAL
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Politically correct guns for survival?


Hello Fernando,
I've stumble across your "Surviving in Argentina blog during it's economic collapse.  I found it refreshing to here what you had to say compared to other survival and prepping sites. I live the United States and I feel that an economic collapse is our biggest threat.  Living in the midwest, my next realistic big threat would be tornadoes and flooding where I'd have to vacate my home.
Due to our past political climate where our 2nd amendment rights were serious under assault resulting everything being in short supply and prices marked up for last eight years.  As such I had bought my future firearms with future gun legislature in mind thinking our future gun control being along the lines of Australia.  While nothing happened on national level, individual states have passed restrictive guns laws, "high capacity" magazine bans for pistols, and "assault weapon bans" prohibiting AR-15's and such.
Should those of us in living in the United States try to take future gun legislature into account when purchasing our firearms?  Because while a Glock 17 or 19 with it's high capacity and light weight is great, it will become illegal in several states where the majority of us live.
Thank you for your feedback and help!
Regards,
Leo
.
Hello Leo,
I would actually think the other way around, get what I need before it gets banned or restricted. Although Trump isn’t likely to lobby against Gun Rights, the risk is in what each State or even each city may end up enforcing. Some US States have pretty draconian gun laws.
Get your Glocks, ARs, Aks and anything you want now. In the past, restrictions didn’t affect certain weapons or magazines you already owned ( “high-capacity” magazines).
There’s no harm in having other guns as well. I don’t know all State laws but I’m pretty sure a Mossberg 500 with an 18 inch barrel is legal in most places and is still a pretty solid home defense weapon that can be had for a couple hundred bucks when bought used. No reason not to have one.
But no, I most definitely wouldn’t limit my firepower and defensive capabilities simply because they in theory may, one day, get banned at some point.
FerFAL
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Just spent Six days without Power: 12 things I learned


So one of those once in a lifetime mess-ups left us without power for almost a week. One guy messed up and didn’t present the paperwork he was supposed to, the power company did its thing, then fixing it all with a weekend in between was even more time. At the end of the day we were left without power until the mess was sorted out.

I’ve been without power for a few days before. In fact in Argentina power would go down almost every day for a few hours some years ago, especially during summer. I’ve been a day or two without power more times than I can remember and even longer too. Can’t remember if I ever did six full days though.

Anyway, not the end of the world but it is an experience in which you get to see what works, what doesn’t, learn a thing or two or just refresh or remember some of them, so here it goes:

1)Not having power sucks. I gets boring after a day or two. I like watching a movie with the wife after the kids go to sleep. We missed that, of course no internet, tablets and wifi for the phones. Not having rooms as well illuminated is pretty depressing too, especially after a few days. At first the kids run around with flashlights having fun, after the 3rd day they cant stop asking when is the power coming back. We have board games, card games but we didn’t get to use them because we were still pretty busy. It’s a good idea to have them and put them to use though.
Tip: Try finding other things to do, and most of all, if you can, get of the house as much as you can. It really helps fight the gloomy blackout feeling.

2)Preparedness helps. It makes a very big difference if you know what to do. If the blackout lasts for a few hours then just waiting it out with a flashlight will do, but for several days you actually need a game plan, a strategy to get by. How are you going to heat your home, how are you going to heat water, cook food, illuminate the house, keep the fridge going, get work done. All of these need to be addressed and if you haven’t prepared ahead of time and know what to do then everything gets a lot more complicated.

3)Flashlights. Lots of flashlights. I have a ton of them. I buy them, I get them for free to review. They all came in handy. A small Fenix that my oldest son keeps was his personal light to get around when going to bed. My wife kept the Lumintop Copper Prince (best looking flashlight we own!) she keeps as her own. I made good use of the Thrunite TN12s that I have.
Those 1000 lumen lights come in very handy. Using them in candle mode, standing on the tail and pointing towards the ceiling, in their medium modes of 300 or so they would run for a few hours illuminating the room quite well, especially for showering and preparing dinner they were extremely handy.

4)Headlamps. Oh how I love those things. The ability to have both hands available for use while directing light with your head is priceless. If I could only have a light, it would be a headlamp. During those days I picked the head band of my Zebralight H52W and kept it in my pocket as my EDC, using the head strap when getting things done inside the house. Get yourself a good headlamp. The cheapo ones are ok but a nicer one is a valuable asset during extended blackouts.

5)Cat 32 stoves. You remember that post some time ago about making stoves with small tuna and cat food cans? The first day without power I used one to boil some water for breakfast. It worked beautifully.
After that I went for the butane camping stove and left that in the kitchen. If you don’t have one of these yet, just go and buy one. Not the mini  backpacking one but the cheap, large one used of camping. Its far more stable and convenient for blackouts. The one I have is just like this one, the Coleman Butane Stove. Bottles of gas are 2 bucks although its not hard to find them for one dollar when on sale. Stock up. I used a canister every two or three days. This was cooking lunch and dinner, heating water throughout the day for coffee, tea and mate. Stock up and keep a couple weeks worth of gas. It’s cheap enough, extremely handy for these kind of situations and can be used safely in any kind of house or apartment.


6)If you have a car you already have a generator that can run most appliances in your home, one or two at a time. All you need is an inverter. My 500W inverter allowed me to turn on the wifi, use my laptop and charge the cell phones. Careful not to abuse it, you don’t want to end up with burned cables or a dead car battery. These days even fuel efficient refrigerators can be run with a 500W inverter. I would run it for couple hours at a time, get some things done with the laptop before going for running errands and recharging the battery. If you’re going to use the inverter for something more than running a laptop for an hour or two you want to keep the car running so as to avoid draining the battery.
Tip: The advertised power of these car inverters is usually exaggerated a bit. For charging a small laptop and little else a 300W inverter is fine, connected to the 12V lighter. Anything more than that and you’ll probably start blowing fuses in the car. Better yet, get a 500W to 1000W inverter that connects directly to the car’s battery. The bigger the car and the battery the better. Still, Check the wattage and try sticking to half of the max. wattage of your inverter.



7)Ice bottles. Put a few bottles of water in your freezer and use it as an ice box for a couple days, maybe 3 or 4 days in winter. Cover everything with a plastic tarp in there for extra insulation. Don’t expect any miracles, but using this technique it will give you enough time to eat any perishables you may have in there before they go bad.

8)Rice, pasta, canned tuna, canned vegetables, lentils, the more shelf stable food you have the easier it is. We are used to eating these things already during “normal” times, so its already easy for us to stop using the fridge and stick to these shelf stable foods. Sure you miss a cold drink in summer, but you get by none the less.
Tip: For rice and especially lentils, pre soaking saves a lot of fuel when cooking. Don’t forget the lid too!

9)Gravity fed city water saved us. If you’re on a well and need to pump water, prepare accordingly. Basically you want to look at your situation and have plan B or even plan C for everything. Cooking? I use electricity. If that goes down I have the butane stove. If that doesn’t work I have the Cat32 alcohol stove which also works. I also have LPG gas bottles used for the water heater, which ca be used for cooking with the right burner. If you have a well, you maybe want a manual pump in case the electric one fails.  Having a plan B, and even plan C for the more critical systems saves the day when SHTF.

10)Living next to town made many things easier. Sometimes you picked fresh food and cooked it right away, buying things you needed, dropping by laundry. Even simple things like having a pizza delivered (even if I usually make my own) it just means you have more resources available and more at hand. Even my neighbour offered several times to hook me up to his grid if I needed it. I don’t like asking for favours or even accepting them when offered, but it was nice knowing that it had been offered.

11)Location, location, location. Living in an area with tropical climate means that when these things happen chances are you’ll get by more easily. In colder climates staying warm is a top priority, especially in winter and a blackout complicates this a lot. The backup systems are crucial in this case. In more benign climates though you just don’t worry about that sort of thing. In sunny places, even lighting gets easier, with daylight up to 9PM in some cases.

12) Batteries, chargers and cables. You need several of these, just like you do with flashlights. You need batteries for your flashlights of course, both primaries and rechargables. Li-ion ones are especially useful for those larger Lumen LED lights. They are brighter and run for longer periods of time. Battery banks and solar panels are also useful. The Waka Waka Power battery bank plus charger worked great yet again. Highly recommended. Keep a lighter plug for the car that has two USB outputs. This means you can charge two phones at a time when running. When there’s a blackout, this is very convenient. A good working solar panel is worth purchasing. I’m considering the one by Goal Zero Nomad 20W  given the positive reviews it has.
FerFAL
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”