Bug-In Bag: What tools for the Outquisition?

Cory’s “Outquisition” notion has certianly prompted much discussion over on Mother Boing. It seems the idea of traveling knowledge missionaries in a post-oh-I-thought-you-meant-that-button society has gotten lots of you excited, both for the fun daydream or from the frustration that well-meaning city folk might, instead of helping clean up, make a bigger mess.

It’s a fun one to think about for me as I’ve always straddled the line between hillbilly and hipster. My family includes lots of farmers, but I was always the kid from the city. On the other hand, most of my friends haven’t ever cut the balls off a yearling pig. As I get older I find myself wanting to spend more time learning the things that I only dabbled in as a child: hunting and dressing a kill (from nuts to soup!); farming and gardening; construction and building.

So you know the “bug out bag” concept, right? It’s where you make a list of things you’d keep handy in case you find yourself in need of immediate unforeseen exfiltration. Usually includes some basic food, first aid, and navigation supplies. I don’t keep one around anymore — I live in Brooklyn, so if there’s a bomb or a zombie outbreak, I’m just going to have to ride it out — but when I was in my late teens I enjoyed the fantasy enough that I kept an emergency bag sitting around.

Well what if you were making a “phase 2″ bug out bag? The sort of gear you’d like to have handy not for escaping a failing civilization, but for starting to build your homestead in a new one?

Here’s one attempt off the top of my head, constrained to be storable and easily replicated. (That precludes things like livestock.)

• .22 caliber folding rifle and rounds
• A large flint and striker
• An all-around survival almanac such as the Boy Scout Guide (or a more modern reference)
• Several pounds of seeds, including both vegetables and grains
• A hatchet
• A large tarp for shelter, water collection
• Dice or some other random generator (for voting, entertainment)

Hrm. This is still too close to basic survival gear here. Help me out. If you were going to air drop in a duffel bag full of society-enhancing tools and references, what would you pick?

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49 Responses to Bug-In Bag: What tools for the Outquisition?

  1. ryz9 says:

    A couple things I would want to have –

    You can laugh- but – check it out.

    1. A Crystal Ball – the perfect reconstituted crystal kind – not a tumbled and shattered one.
    For starting fires. For Magnification of small type etc… Also can be used as a weapon for self defense or for killing animals if you must for food.

    Imagine Goliath – and David’s sling – but with a super dense crystal ball.

    2. Colloidal Silver / Nano-Silver generator – should always have a bottle or two of this stuff with your first aid kits. Powerful Anti-Viral, Anti-Microbial, Anti-Bacterial. Water purification.

    3. Variety of yeasts and bacterias for making bread, yogurt, wine, beer, etc…

    4. Turmeric, Cayenne pepper, Dragons blood.
    – For wounds – speeds healing – naturally antibiotic. You can make a mix of the three powdered herbs – add water or your own urine.

    5. Potassium Iodide. For protecting the thymus from radioactive iodine post nuclear accidents or
    warfare.

    6. A bottle of Iodine. can subsititute for potassium iodide – rub a 1/2 teaspoon – 1 tsp of it on the skin. Also – use Iodine for cleaning wounds – and old glass bottles if you need to use them for storing anything edible.

    7. Medicinal and edible mushroom guide to foraging.

    8. Medicinal herbs and edibles foraging guide.

    9. Read Tom Brown’s books before you need to.
    Better yet – do a survival in the wilderness course so that you can teach others how to survive also.

    10. An Iching book – Classic guide to change – including changes in the weather- economy- and politics.

    11. the Art of War. The Tao te Ching. Chung tzu.
    For wisdom.

    12. Ink pens – Sharpy Markers – Duct Tape – note books.

    13. English – Spanish / Spanish – English Dictionary.

    14. Ham Radio…

    15. Work Gloves. Boots. Gellin’ Insoles.

  2. ryz9 says:

    I meant protect the thyroid – not thymus – with potassium iodide…

  3. Joel Johnson says:

    Zuzu, I really like the idea of drop-in wind generators. Maybe you could design one with a turbine that could slow the descent of the package like an oak seed. :)

  4. grayman23 says:

    For the civ rebuild:
    The black cover Pocket Ref book available in the better tool stores
    The Special Forces Medial Handbook (Has everything from first aid to veterinary to camp sanitation)
    My Coal and Metal Miners’ Pocket Book from 1900.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This needs a wiki.

  6. grayman23 says:

    I almost forgot, Earth Knack: Stone Age Skills For The 21st Century. Has instructions for making your own string, dyes, baskets, pottery, soap, glue, clothing.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Everyone so far has failed to mention such things as a water purifier, water (and other) containers, and soap. Not to mention that most basic of survival gear, a compass.
    ALso like to point out that a survival kit is very much something to be customized to prepare for terrain/elements that you hope to survive in; ie, you don’t need your swim trunks in alaska, but a nice insulated parka would probably help.

  8. themindfantastic says:

    The one thing I don’t see though Id think is somewhat important (and an alternative really hasn’t been mentioned) is some sort of hammer. When I think of building something, a hammer is pretty damn important, you can get away with the back of an axe I guess but after a while you really do need a proper one. I am reminded of George Stewart’s Earth Abides, hammers are pretty important.

  9. pyrotmaniac says:

    These are all excellent ideas, my only concern is that your ideas are heavy. Where I live, in Alaska, its pretty much standard to assume that you will get stuck somewhere alone for an extended period of time. So we tend to keep essential stuff packed in the truck. As for me I also keep a lite pack in the truck in addition because I am a little paranoid about it. This is what my truck contains more or less on any given day.

    1-2 sets of warm clothes
    3 sets of wool sox
    3 pairs of gloves
    4 lighters
    1 axe
    1 shovel
    1 tent + rain fly (lightweight High seirra design)
    2 gerber (I always seem to break what I use the most)
    1 Water purifier
    1 copy of The encyclopedia of survival from the C.M.I.C. group. (I have no idea where this came from or how I got it but its the best thing I own.)
    1 Backpack
    1 package quick clot
    3-4 compression bandages
    1 turniquit
    3 Ace bandages
    6 safety pins
    1 sewing kit
    1 extra pair of boots
    1 large bore handgun (bear defense)
    1 bug net
    Dried food stuff and water.

    This may seem like a lot but If you have ever wrecked your truck at night at -60 DEG. F in northern alaska. You might think otherwise.
    But without a doubt the most important thing you have is the right attitude and decisiveness. In survival situations, you can make one of three decisions. You can decide to do, you can decide not to do, or you can decide to not decide. The latter is the only one guarnteed to make your situation worse. sorry for my spelling and grammer

  10. ihavenothingprofoundtosay says:

    In addition to the BoyScout Manual (or some other equivalent), I’d say Where there is no Doctor is an uber essential.

    I’d also humbly suggest that instead of an Eee or Kindle, an OLPC would be a decent choice for being a rugged mini-storehouse of knowledge. Of course, not many netbooks & UMPCs would be much good in an epic-fail of networks, but in such an event, I think some way to document & reliably store information is important. And in a world without tech support, the simplest & most reliable interface would be essential. With the mobile crank & solar panel accessories. (I’m still kicking myself for not getting one during the last GOGO, but whatev).

  11. kattw says:

    Either an EEEPC with some kind of solar mod, or an OLPC with hand/foot crank, and a DVD (or two, or ten) loaded with schematics for really basic things that you don’t know how to make off the top of your head. Then add a soldering iron and some solder.

  12. Benny says:

    I guess the most important thing is some sort of mobile solar/wind generator to keep your gadgets charged, other then that and basic survival items (knives, flint, cotton soaked in vaseline wrapped in foil, empty coffee can with lid), I can’t imagine what else you’d need.

    oh, and a gun, a .22 for hunting, and a pistol for robbing, because it’s easier to rob someone of their survival items when one of your hand is free.

  13. Kaden says:

    Rebuilding .civ is gonna take more than soldering, unfortunately. Lo-tech long distance communication would be the first priority: Learn morse code, and carry a mirror.

  14. doggo says:

    It seems like most practical bit is saving knowledge. First of all you have to save yourself, so the basic survival stuff. Then a small selection of how-to books like grayman23 & others have suggested.

    As for the computer & other digital gadgets, I don’t think so. Those things are a serious waste of time for a survival/rebuilding situation. Entertainment? Um… you’re going to be spending most of your time trying to stay alive. If you live long enough to get things relatively stable, that’ll be the time to go looking through the ruins for old digital crap.

    Of course this is all depending on the general level of destruction.

  15. bardfinn says:

    I winced at the idea of using the back of a hatchet as a hammer.

    Noooooo! unless it’s made for that, and most are not.

    PBS used to run a series called “The Woodwright’s Workshop” with Roy Underhill, and he wrote a book:

    http://www.amazon.com/Woodwrights-Eclectic-Workshop-Roy-Underhill/dp/0807843474

    It’s subtitled “How to start with a tree and an axe and make one thing after another until you have a house and everything in it.”

    I cherish my copy.

    If I were stranded in the woods, with only one tool available to me, and no hope of rescue, it would have to be a professional felling axe with honing stone.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Nearly all of these things mentioned are far too oriented towards survival. The only item listed here that’s close to what is needed is a Rep Rap. What is needed is the construction of an infrastructure more like the internet than like anything else we currently have. We need smart grids with local power generation. We need community farms to supply food that doesn’t have to travel thousands of miles. We need local manufacturing and local financing.

    Us urbanites won’t be able to save the rural folk, as Treehugger points out, it might very well be the other way around. http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/07/doctorow-and-steffen-on-ouquisition.php

    The best model for this is John Robb’s idea of the Resilient Community http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/ . This isn’t about survivalism, but building a robust community when our large infrastructure fails us and it’s too costly to transport goods and receive services from long distances.

  17. v21 says:

    All of the suggestions have been useful, but with the exception of some of the books, still seem mainly oriented on few days survival, over rebuilding civilization.

    The main way I’d characterize civilization is that you’re dependent upon people you’ve never met for things you use everyday. Basically, trade. If civilization crashed, it’s likely that some form of most every stage will still be around: the most important thing is to connect it back up as soon as possible. Because the longer it’s left, the more likely that specialists will have abandoned their posts, and no-one will know how to operate the mining machinery. Everything spirals down until you get to the point where everything being used can be rebuilt: so an OLPC isn’t a sustainable solution til somewhere can build or at least fix one. (Having said that, it’ll be useful for a long while: you just need to remember to start transcribing the most useful books in its library before it dies).

    So the most important thing, as I see it, is to get a currency and long distance communication going. Neither of which is easy to pack into a small rucksack. But: radios. As powerful and as simple as is practicable. (and, yes: some kind of powersource. A simple generator that can be hooked up to a treadle seems the most practical idea, if only because it’ll work til people have time to try to hook it up to a windmill, or a steam engine) And… cigarettes? gold? Copper wiring? It’s not possible to pack a new currency, but it is no doubt personally useful to be able to produce something of value, something fairly specialized, but worth trading. And a goodly stock of capital in whatever ends up being used.

    (There are other things that are useful to conduct trade. Paper, double entry bookkeeping, food preservation techniques, experience in logistics, a decent transport infrastructure. Again, some of these are more packable than others)

    And of course, the survival stuff to keep you alive til you can band together with other survivors to form a new town, and stuff to keep the town alive til it can start trading for essential goods with it’s new specialty.

    (Writing this, I started remembering Heinlein’s Tunnel In The Sky – if nothing else, what an early civilization find it lacks when it is started up with nothing but survival tools.)

  18. g.park says:

    I’d replace the hatchet with the Tom Brown-designed Tracker knife, since it serves a few more purposes, like sawing and skinning.

    I’d also suggest plenty of medicines and contraceptives, because there will be much building and farming to be done, which is difficult to preform while ill and/or preggers. Along the same vein, an easily reproducible guide to synthesizing medications from available flora and fauna, since it’s likely the pharma factories will have shut down, and manufactured meds will be a non-renewable resource.

    A rope & pulley would also be very helpful in repairing damaged structures, or raising new ones. Similarly, a large supply of nails would be crucial. Wood is generally available, but a means of securing it is not. Perhaps a mold for making new nails from melted scrap?

  19. RonanOD says:

    Nobody expects the Canadian Outquisition! Mwa hah hah!

  20. Joel Johnson says:

    Mark, Bardfinn, both those look great. I’ve just ordered used copies of both!

  21. mgfarrelly says:

    Ah, forgot about the OLPC.

    You could concievably have a LIBRARY of survival texts, chemistry, botany and medical books. Not to mention simple reading materials, classic literature and GREAT WORKS.

    How about a thumbdrive loaded for bear with PDFs?

  22. Anonymous says:

    * Mountain bikes for the transport
    * Canned foods
    * Seeds of vegetables, grains and rice. Seed-potatoes
    * Unsinkable boats for fishing
    * Mini library with books about:
    * Principles of mathematics (algebra, space-geometry, and so on)
    * Elementary physics
    * Elementary chemistry (general and carbon chemistry)
    * Basic electricity
    * Basic electronics
    * Basics of anesthesia, equipment and methods
    * Basics of dentistry and necessary material
    * Biological growing of vegetables and fruit
    * Basics of architecture/building (raw materials to make cement, and so on)
    * The production of paper and ink
    * The production of glass
    * The production of soaps
    * Pottery
    * Simple looms and sewing machines
    * The measurement of radioactivity i.e. geiger counter
    * wind up radio and reciever equipment
    * Wooden abacuses
    * Accurate mechanical clocks
    * Lenses and corrective optometry for glasses
    * Paints and coatings
    * Welding techniques
    * Blueprint for building boats
    * Musical instruments and library with musical compositions
    * Ammunition powder and explosives including hunting rifles ammunition and crossbows

    The above-mentioned items are essential; and a new communitycan be re-constructed from them. If you find other important items, you can always bring the corresponding works about them. However, as we can just transport a somewhat restricted quantity, I strongly advise you to restrict yourself to the most essential information. Only in that way can we save our scientific knowledge, and pass it on to our descendants in a distant and insecure future.

    thanks
    X

  23. grayman23 says:

    Peg and glue the wood.

  24. Grant Henninger says:

    Nearly all of these things mentioned are far too oriented towards survival. The only item listed here that’s close to what is needed is a Rep Rap. What is needed is the construction of an infrastructure more like the internet than like anything else we currently have. We need smart grids with local power generation. We need community farms to supply food that doesn’t have to travel thousands of miles. We need local manufacturing and local financing.

    Us urbanites won’t be able to save the rural folk, as Treehugger points out, it might very well be the other way around. http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/07/doctorow-and-steffen-on-ouquisition.php

    The best model for this is John Robb’s idea of the Resilient Community http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/ . This isn’t about survivalism, but building a robust community when our large infrastructure fails us and it’s too costly to transport goods and receive services from long distances.

  25. kulervo says:

    I think too much of the discussion has focused on high tech/electric tools/knowledge. With a limited lifespan and low reproducibility most of those items will be gone within years. Civilization takes decades to reproduce.

    What we need to think about is what the 163x guys call “Gearing down”. The point is to switch as much current infrastructure to what you will be able to maintain and produce with the society you have.

    So what about manuals on building steam engines. How-to-guides from the 19th century. For that matter, many of the technical discussions from the 163x boards.

    And if we are in a pie in the sky mood (laptops? really? ), what about copies of all U.S. patents.

  26. dhasenan says:

    The first concern is survival, of course. But this is a member of the Outquisition we’re talking about: they survive already. They’re provisioned for a journey, probably with a pack animal or two each.

    No item short of a cornucopia device will be incredibly useful. An Outquisitor must, however, have and provide sufficient knowledge to raise the standard of living in any edge town she is likely to visit.

    This involves:
    – creating sturdier shelters
    – basic and intermediate crafting: blacksmithing, coopering, the making of small boats such as canoes, knitting, animal husbandry, carding and knitting and weaving….
    – how to create the tools for any of the aforementioned purposes, with an emphasis on simplicity of design and required materials
    – how to gather supplies needed for these crafts
    – basic sanitation
    – basic health care (including local sources for medicinal supplies — no rare herbs from 2000km to the south)
    – how to prepare food for extended storage
    – how to gather sufficient food to have a surplus to put in to storage
    Most importantly:
    – how to duplicate a repository of the Outquisition’s knowledge

    Each village could be a half decade’s work for a few Outquisitors. Most of that would be spent training apprentices to the point that the reference materials left behind would be useful. An Outquisitor who visited even ten villages would be remarkable.

    Of course, after the essential Outquisition, the Outquisitors would serve as a news source, as wandering tutors and doctors, as a source for the latest innovations. A core of Outquisitors would have to guard (from destruction, by duplication and dissemination) knowledge of technology that isn’t ready for implementation (due to a lack of resources or prerequisite technologies), of course.

  27. things says:

    rep rap

  28. Anonymous says:

    Your library of survival e-texts should probably consist of shallow->deeper knowledge and requirements, just shuffling off a chem text or the PDR isn’t going to be helpful for the start, but might later when you’re trying to rebuild your tech and light industry base.

    Nails are literally one of the first things you learn in blacksmithing, they’re a traditional way to skill the apprentice up on hammer control. It does bring up the need for a low-tech travel-forge and hammer, though.

    Honestly, scavenging for supplies, depending on the location/scenario will probably work better for the first few years.

  29. zuzu says:

    All of you charter members of a TechShop, take note:

    Become a machinist or become a personal friend with one. Not only will they be rifling barrels for protecting your family / stash, but they’ll have the lathing and metalworking skills and tools to craft or repair all of the other mid-technology we take for granted.

    The machinists will be the “old blood mechanics” when the world goes all Cadillacs and Dinosaurs on us. (The “old blood mechanics” also had a kick-ass logo in the same spirit as the Outquisition (as I see it) — a leaf inside of the head of a wrench, inside of a gear.)

    (Also, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs is based on Xenozoic Tales, which is what I think of everytime I see the cover to Cory’s Futuristic Tales.)

  30. w000t says:

    I was going to recommend, but now I’ll second gothmom’s suggestion, Back to Basics. The link is to the first edition like mine, but having pulled it up on Amazon I see now that the third edition just came out in April. I might need an updated copy myself…

    Anyway, the book is a wonderful compendium of useful information with lots of illustrations, recipes, instructions, and surprising detail. Even at decades old, I still use mine as a reference.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I find myself sprinkling odes to the virtues of a good axe all over the intartubes.

    Tool, weapon, walking stick, entertainment… there’s nothing like a good axe. It’s better than a Russian surplus titanium crowbar (although I like those too – just beware of the fake aluminum imitations, they are too springy).

    I’m pretty big, so I prefer a bearded, big-eyed, heavy-polled hewing axe with a slightly hollow-ground face and a long straight hickory handle. Preferably with a forged and laminated blade that will bounce off any nail it can’t shear through. You can build a house, defend your family when the nanites eat all the gunpowder, make deadfall traps, kill and butcher trapped game… axes are aces! Carry one in your car trunk!

    If you can’t afford a custom job, scrape up the money for a Gransfors-Bruks or haunt your local auction house looking for a good antique (the old French ones with the fox stamped on the blade are *sweet*).

    –Charlie

  32. Anonymous says:

    The whole point of the ‘outquisition’ it seems to me is that you don’t need a gun.

    But if you did, I would want something with a little more oomph then a 22. Something with a common bullet size, simple operation, long range with a scope and of course durable as all heck.

    But what you really need is the tech to make cars and trucks run on wood and ag waste based alcohol.

  33. mistercharlie says:

    Since reading Philip K Dick’s “Dr. Bloodmoney” I’ve thought that basic trades could make you an apocalyptic superstar. Something like knowing how to make hard liquor or cigarettes. These will always be needed so you at least flourish in the new world.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I’m rather surprised with the whole concept.

    Where are you going to drop this bag? If you get just a little bit outside the major urban areas, everything you have on the original list is likely to already be at a significant percentage of the homes in the area.

    I live a hundred and fifty miles out of Houston, and I know that the only thing you have on your list that I don’t have in my house is the seed selection. Okay, I don’t have flint and steel, but there are a dozen ways to start a fire without them.

    You’d be surprised exactly how much we rubes in the flyover states know, from this stuff all the way up through arts and engineering.

  35. V says:

    one forty-five caliber automatic; two boxes of ammunition; four days’ concentrated emergency rations; one drug issue containing antibiotics, morphine, vitamin pills, pep pills, sleeping pills, tranquilizer pills; one miniature combination Russian phrase book and Bible; one hundred dollars in rubles; one hundred dollars in gold; nine packs of chewing gum; one issue of prophylactics; three lipsticks; three pair of nylon stockings.

  36. mdhatter says:

    A good dog. Not a gadget, but infinitely more useful.

  37. zuzu says:

    If opening Linux on the Kindle ever gets going the way it has for other embedded platforms such as wireless routers and network attached storage, I’d like to keep a Kindle (or other low-power hand-crank chargable e-Ink device) loaded with a recent mirror of Wikipedia (plus WikiBooks).

    I’d also like to invest in some form of domestic wind power (i.e. distributed generation), such as the SkyStream 3.7, Air-X, or SunForce.

    An old ditto machine might make for an ad-hoc printing press.

    I also mentioned amateur FM radio transceivers in Cory’s original thread, for long-distance communication and coordination.

    And I’d bet, Joel, there’s some lessons you learned from your walk in the woods.

    There’s probably also some insights that could be picked up from Alone in the Wilderness by Dick Proenneke.

  38. gothmom says:

    One of the books I’d recommend is Reader’s Digest Back to Basics – this book covers everything from skinning and tanning to how to build a log cabin – or a dulcimer.

    Interesting that you had a bug out bag as a teenager, growing up in the Reagan era gave me a very paranoid outlook and I also had a bug out bag as a teen.

  39. Marcel says:

    Just came across this link in the Make-mag blog

    http://designguide.dutchdesignlab.com/?p=75

    It’s about a handcrancked p2p radio broadcaster (yes, broadcaster). Don’t know about you guys, but that would most definately be on my list.

  40. strider_mt2k says:

    The wife and I have identical “Oh Shit” kits in our cars. The contents are about what you’d expect minus firearms.
    Each has a decent FRS radio and some batteries.

    The idea is that we’ll meet at a predetermined place and take things from there.

  41. mgfarrelly says:

    -Solar power messenger bag (I tend to like the Voltaic ones) for charging items/carrying. Everything below would fit in a medium to large size bag of this type.

    -Rechargeable batteries/charger (for running a items below)

    -Portable 48-Second Water Purifier from Hammacher Schlemmer. Runs on batteries.

    -Leatherman Skeletool

    -EEE PC (light, easy to use, sniffs out wi-fi it’s there. Built in camera. Kitted out with a solar mod, it could run for years, provide entertainment, be cannibalized and modded for whatever)

    -Handcrank/solar powered radio

    -Walkie talkies (run on rechargeable batteries)

    -MREs/Meal replacement bars and chocolate (more for trade)

    -Guide to edible plants

    -Heat Sheet survival blanket

    -First aid kit (US miliatry issue)

    -SolLight LightCap Solar Water Bottle Lantern (using a good solid bottle that doesn’t outgas too much.)

  42. Mark Frauenfelder says:

    This is a good, dense book: http://xrl.us/kkvof

    The Survival Book, by Paul H Nesbitt, Alonzo W. Pond, and William H. Allen.

  43. themindfantastic says:

    We are talking a phase 2 bugout bag, but at what point is it that stuff on your back or bike (or if you got a hydrogen/solar engine car) at what point do you start thinking its just a bit much to have on your back. So do we start thinking of caches hidden to be retrieved when things are just too bleak to stay where you are, or do we have a cache thats there for rebuilding at that position? Questions I have been pondering this past afternoon about this…

  44. legomyeggo says:

    I’ve been recently obsessed with the Sprinfield Armory M6 over-under. It’s a .22 rifle over .410 shotgun. There are a couple articles on the web for outfitting it as a survival tool. Great for small game hunting.

  45. icky2000 says:

    Of course it depends on how long you’ll be without the conveniences of modern life. Personally, I can’t imagine bothering with all of the electronic stuff. I think your camping trip proved that much of that stuff is a burden. If you were truly without utilities and on your own, your time would be dedicated to survival: food, water, clothing and shelter.

    In that veign, two suggestions:

    First, if you want to learn a thing or two about surviving on your own, you should talk to the Mormons. For reasons I don’t totally get, most Mormon families maintain months of food and water rations in their home to survive should all services fail. Google “Mormon” and “preparedness” and you’ll find thousands of links. For instance, here’s a detaild analysis of how to store different foods for the long term (pdf):
    http://www.abysmal.com/LDS/Preparedness/Preparedness.pdf

    Second, there is an interesting series of books called Foxfire that began in the 70s and attempted to document the culture of southern Appalachians, including their detailed techniques for butter churning, hunting, building log cabins, and basically living off the land. They are still being published – see the entry in Wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxfire_books. I read these books as a kid and found them fascinating and informative.

  46. mdhatter says:

    ICKY2000 – Foxfire is bathroom reference material at my house, I have more than a few.

  47. cha0tic says:

    @Joel Johnson #4
    Oak seed? Would that would be an acorn? I think you’re thinking of a Sycamore seed. Looks like you’re on a Fail already with your tree identification :)

    (unless you have different Oaks, or it’s a folk name used in the U.S.)

  48. Secret_Life_of_Plants says:

    Anyone ever see this documentary about Richard Proenneke?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsfB6oJ55wM

    It is pretty amazing.

  49. Chris Tucker says:

    Swiss Army Knife. (Has no one ever watched MacGyver?)

    Small AM/FM/SW(shortwave) radio. If the local radio services are down, Radio Canada International, for example, might have more accurate info than anyone locally. If it can pick up NOAA weather radio, so much the better.

    Small “police radio” scanner and laminated list of local frequencies, and frequency allocation ranges (I.E., police, fire, local govt, etc), if you have to migrate away from the local area. Knowing what’s going on locally, I.E., zombie infestations, the direction the Martian war machines are headed, etc, could help influence YOUR direction of travel. Also, can receive NOAA weather radio. This is also used in disasters.

    STANDARDIZE YOUR BATTERIES!!!

    “AA” for everything, if at all possible. Choose your own recharging options. Choose wisely. CAN you repair your recharger?

    Firestarters. Including a big pack of BIC lighters. Learn how to use a plastic fresnel lens the size of a credit card to start a fire on a sunny day. You may not need a fire during the day, but starting one without using up anything except some time during the day, can save those consumables for when they are really needed.

    Tabasco sauce. The BIG bottle. It kills bacteria on your food that can give you dysentery and other suchlike things.

    Big sturdy sheath knife. The Marine “KaBar” would be good. DO NOT GET a cheap knock off.

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