What Pants Does Bear Grylls Wear?

bear-grylls-pants

On this blog I’ve discussed Bear Grylls in a number of posts. I’ve given you guys a review of his knife and compared him to the classic celebrity survivalist Les Stroud. Despite many of his survival techniques being outright dangerous and misinformed, a lot of his survival products are actually quite decent.

Bear Grylls wears a particular type of pants made by Craghoppers in every one of his episodes. The pants are well suited for survival situations and have a number of crucial survival elements weaved right into the fabric (pun intended.)

Let’s go over the pants he wears and discuss if they’re worth spending the money on.

Features at a glance

bear-grylls-survival-pants
Elements and features of Bear Grylls survival pants.

 

  • Polyamide material
  • Quick drying
  • Stretch technology
  • Reinforced buttons
  • Extra layer of webbing around waist and heel
  • 9 pockets featuring zippers and buttons
  • Belt loops double as hanging loops for quick drying
  • Lightweight yet sturdy

Review

The pants are a polyamide material – extremely tear resistant, flexible, and quick drying. These are all great functions of a good pair of survival pants. I particularly like how the material doesn’t irritate the skin like other synthetic materials. I can also be completely stealthy unlike many pants where you can here a man coming from a mile away. The knees are reinforced with stretch material with a total of 9 pockets. The cargo pockets are generously sized so you can easily stow a good amount of survival gear.

There are also a few small details I like. All the buttons are reinforced with nylon webbing. I can’t see this thing snapping off anytime soon even if you’re a little thick down the middle. The rear pockets are double buttoned with the same nylon design is the front flap. Whatever I cram in these pockets I know will stay there indefinitely. All the edges of the pants such as the bottoms and the waist band have been lined with webbing to keep from tearing.

Overall these pants have held up to standard and come recommended by many who purchased the pants.

Final thoughts on Bear Grylls pants

Bear Grylls pants hit all the spots I look for in a good pair of survival pants. They’re very light yet tear resistant and I know I will dry off quick if I come into contact with rain or water. They’ve also got plenty of storage compartments for all my gear. I always say you should completely avoid regular jeans pants for a number of reasons. They don’t stretch and if you get them wet you’re staying wet. If you’ve ever been soaking wet before you know how miserable you become.

These are one pair of pants that will last you for a long time. One last thing I will note is the size of the pants. They run VERY small so when you order be sure to order a couple sizes up. I would error on the side of ordering too big just in case. You can always pair them with a good belt which can also double as a great piece of survival gear.

Do you own a pair of Bear Grylls’ survival pants? Let me know in the comments what you think of them!

Complete Contents of the IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit)

us-army-ifak-pouch

The IFAK – or Individual First Aid Kit is a pouch one keeps on their person to combat two of the most common fatalities in times of war – severe hemorrhaging and blocked airways. The U.S. Army have deployed IFAK’s to soldiers with well over 900,000 issued pouches over the course of military history.

For the layman, an IFAK proves just as useful when venturing out into the wilderness or as part of a bug out bag. The contents of the IFAK can vary (depending on the branch of military who issued the pack) but I will extensively cover the core supplies needed in the list below. Let’s start with the basics and move up from there.

IFAK Contents List

  • IFAK pouch – The pouch holding all of the supplies below. Check out my post on the best Molle pouches for a number of Molle compatible options. This pouch for example would function perfectly for these supplies. Molle (if you don’t know) is a military grade webbing used to attach gear and other storage compartments to your backpack or other Molle compatible product. Very useful.
  • Nitrile gloves – Any good pair of nitrile medical gloves. Gloves serve to protect the treated wound from receiving bacteria from the hands as well as protect yourself from mixing blood with another person. In the medical field proper protection is a must and the gloves are your first line of defense.
  • Hand sanitizer – Hand sanitizer kills germs on your hands and can even be used to treat smaller scrapes and wounds for infections. Once again, proper medical procedures place sensitization at the core of their practice.
  • Band Aids – Nothing fancy here. Basic band aids can be life savers. Even small cuts and scrapes can become severely infected if not treated and covered with a band aid. Too small and light not to have in your IFAK.
  • Dressings – Dressings are used to cover larger wounds. The main job of the dressing is to shield the wound from oxygen and keep the area moist and protected from infections. Dressings also absorb any excess blood and promote the clotting process so the wound can heal. In your IFAK should be a number of different types of dressings.
    • 2X2 – for treating small wounds
    • 3X4 – for treating medium wounds
    • 4X4 – for treating larger wounds
  • Closure supplies – Once the wound is wrapped it should be properly secured into place with medical tape or self adhesive ACE bandage. Waterproof medical tape is available and works great for securing dressings around small cuts and scrapes. The ACE adhesive wrap is well suited for wounds requiring pressure to stop bleeding. Any good IFAK will have the following closure supplies:
  • Clotting agents – Medical products like Quick Clot will quickly stop any bleeding in seconds. Celox is another cheaper alternative (and doesn’t burn as harshly.) These can be life savers out in the field where simply dressing the wound and applying pressure is not working.
  • Shemagh – A shemagh has so many uses even outside the medical applications. In the IFAK context a shemagh can be fashioned into a sling or makeshift tourniquet.
  • Medications – Advil, Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Tums, etc. I would also throw in a few Q-tips and some essential oils to top things off. Clove oil works miracles for tooth aches and functions as a powerful antibacterial agent. Other essential oils like lavender can treat and heal burns.

US Army IFAK

us-army-ifak-pouch
The contents of the US Army IFAK 2 pouch on full display. Note the signature velcro straps that fly away from the sides of the pouch.

Each branch of the military implements their own version of the IFAK. The Army calls their IFAK an improved version of the original design. While the old kit was originally stored in a pouch designed for SAW (squad automatic weapon) rounds, the supplies in the Army IFAK are packaged in a modified top loading Molle pouch with two velcro flaps on either side. This configuration provides rapid access to medical supplies during battle. A comprehensive breakdown of the IFAK 2 and the core differences between the older design can be found here. The pouch the Army IFAK includes the following contents:

  • Tourniquet
  • Bandage Kit
  • Bandage Gauze 4-1/2″ 100/Pkg
  • Adhesive Tape Surg 2″ 6’s Roll
  • Airway, Nasopharyngeal, 28fr, 12s
  • Glove, Patient Exam 100/Pkg (4ea)
  • Pouch, IFAK
  • Insert, IFAK (has folding panels, with cord attached)

US Air Force IFAK

us-airforce-ifak

The US Air Force appears to implement a larger kit which includes a full blown trauma kit alongside other medical supplies not seen in other IFAK configurations. Here’s what’s inside their unique IFAK:

  • TRAUMA Module (Surgical tools, gloves, various bandages and tourniquets)
  • Israeli Bandage
  • Pri-Med Bandage, Gauze, Cotton
  • EMS Shears
  • Nasopharyngeal Airway
  • Adhesive Tape
  • Zip Lock Poly Bag
  • Quick Clot

USMC IFAK

usmc-ifak-pouch-contents
Note the inclusion of the water purification tablets which are absent in the other IFAKs.

Another robust medical kit.

  • IFAK A1 Component Individual First Aid Kit
  • TK4 Tourni-Kwik Self-Application Tourniquet
  • “H” Compression Bandage
  • Primed Compressed Gauze
  • Adhesive Bandage 2″ x 4 1/2″
  • Adhesive Bandages, 3/4″ x 3″
  • Adhesive Bandages, 3/4″ x 3″
  • Triangular Bandages, 40″x40″x56″ Non-sterile
  • Combat Reinforcement Tap 2″ x 100″
  • Burn Dressing 4″ x 16″
  • Bacitracin Antibiotic Ointment 0.9 gram
  • Povidone-Iodine Topical Solution USP 10% 1/2 floz
  • Water Purification Tablets 10 Pack, Katadyn Micropur, Sodium Chlorite

A full breakdown including NSN numbers of these IFAKs can be found here.

Using the contents of your IFAK

Most of the contents found in your IFAK will prove useless unless you have basic first aid training. Below you will find a solid video on using many of the common supplies found in the standard IFAK. Thanks for reading and pop me a comment if you have any questions.

 

14 SHTF Preparedness Tips and Tactics

shtf-preparedness

Are you prepared for a fully blown SHTF situation? Chances are you’re just now getting into the game of SHTF preparedness and need a few tips and tactics to get you started. We all start somewhere and most are lucky to start at all. Taking the first step by researching and preparing you put yourself way ahead of the pack. Let’s start with some of the basics.

1.) Know your enemy

Once you understand the enemy you can prepare for war

Preparing for an SHTF situation requires a close analysis of your current environment. What are the most likely types of situations to effect you and or your family? For most of us this could mean a loss of a job or a primary source of income. Prepping for financial disaster is not as glamorous as building a fallout shelter but running into financial trouble is at the top of the SHTF preparedness list.

Start brainstorming other likely scenarios. Maybe you live in a flood zone or an area where there are lots of protests and violence. Read my post on planning for an SHTF scenario to setup a detailed plan for yourself. Once you understand the enemy you can prepare for war.

2.) Have a bug out plan

Time to get out of dodge…

You need a secondary location you can escape to of TSHTF. If your entire city or town is getting overrun by an external force you can’t control, where will you go? Think about your nearest safe haven. This could be a cabin in the deep woods or the house of a family member or friend. Think about different ways you can reach this location in case the roads become blocked or otherwise impassable. The idea here is setting up a way to get from point A to point B in one piece.

3.) Coordinate with a team

Alpha to Bravo…do you copy!

There is strength in numbers. Your chances of survival are greatly enhanced if you can form a team and work through a strong survival plan. Each person in the team has a different skill they can bring to the table. If planned properly each member of the team can practice a skillset before TSHTF. For example, one of you can become skilled at HAM radio communications while another can learn to trap, hunt, and shoot weapons. Anybody can take the EMT course and learn basic medical procedures for injuries. Together these skills are a true force to be reckoned with and greatly enhance the chances of each individual making it through the situation.

4.) Get in shape

Lose the weight

Lose the belly and begin working on a physical fitness regiment. You don’t need to become the next great bodybuilder but having the ability to walk long distances with a pack is beneficial. Getting in shape has a number of positive benefits outside of surivival which don’t need to be harped on. You will look good and feel great – and that’s the entire point of life outside of a survival scenario. Your quality of life will increase 10X if you can squeeze in a couple of hikes and a full body workout 2 – 3 times a week.

Some of my personal favorite excercises are pull-ups, burpees, squats, and hikes. Pullups and berpees hit nearly every single muscle in the human body while hikes condition your response to prolonged cardio. Let’s imagine you can’t use a car because of a roadblock or EMP blast. How do you think you’ll get around? That’s right, you’re gonna have to use those chevrolegs my friend.

5.) Throw a bug out bag together

Basic supplies to prepare at a basic level

The bug out bag is the cornerstone of any solid SHTF preparedness plan. It tops the list in terms of preparation. A good bug out bag will have all the gear you need to survive 72 hours plus gives you the ability to secure your own supplies. In the bug out bag will be 72 hours worth of food and water plus additional supplies.

Here’s a sample of what a decent bug out bag might look like:

  • The bug out bag (I recommend the Rush 72)
  • Survival knife
  • Flashlight
  • Fire kit
  • Water filter
  • 72 hours food + water
  • Change of clothes
  • Stainless steel cooking thermos
  • Medical kit
  • Emergency radio
  • Important documents (ID, Passport, etc.)

Here is a checklist you can reference for a full list of bug out bag supplies.

6.) Stock up on food

Rice and beans again?

An obvious one for sure. Take any extra cash you have floating around and stock up on survival food kits with a long shelf life. Lot’s of companies offer freeze dried products good for up to 25 years. These foods can be eaten and rotated every 5 years. Having a weeks worth of food is a good start. Living in the first world it’s very unlikely to have a power outage last more than a couple days tops.

7.) Secure clean water

I fear what lurks in that well…

Water is the most crucial survival element to the human body. What happens if you turn the faucet on one day and nothing comes out? What if your only source of water is that old pond or reservoir down the road? This water will certainly need to be treated before you or your family consumes it. For a single person I’m a big fan of everyone in your party carrying either a Life Straw or a Sawyer Squeeze water filter. These devices will easily filter out harmful bacteria. A larger scale option for families is the Berkey water filter. You don’t want to catch a case of the runs in a full blown SHTF situation.

8.) Survive without power

More than just candles and Uno

Tell me something – what would you do right now if the power went out. Would you lose it completely because you aren’t prepared? Think about how you will generate electricity without the grid. Generators are a great start and propane gas can power lot’s of nifty things like stoves, heaters, and lights. At the bare minimum have a few cheap flashlights and a couple candles around. Having basic equipment like this in stock will hold you over until the power goes back online. For extended outages have a few board games and a deck of cards handy for a little entertainment.

9.) Arm yourself

Probably gonna need more ammo

It doesn’t matter what kind of firearm you get – just get something. Shotguns are a great jack of all trades weapon while rifles allow for more range and accuracy. Get one and practice shooting until you can competently hit a target consistently. I’m not a gun fanatic like many preppers but having something to defend yourself with and/or hunt is crucial to SHTF preparedness.

10.) Make copies of important documents

License and registration please

Make copies of documents like your ID and passport and store them in multiple locations. If you lose the originals these can still prove useful. You never know when you’ll be forced to up and leave at a moments notice. Having these copies stashed in your cars, place of work, and other locations will ensure you’re close to them at all hours of the day.

11.) Carry spare cash

Cash is king

Cash is a great bartering item alongside being the only form of currency you’ll be able to use at stores if the power goes out. It’s been easy to become far too reliant on the plastic chip in your wallet but when it comes to SHTF preparedness, cash is king. Keep at least a $100 bucks in different denominations on you at all times. I like to keep my cash in a money belt especially if I’m traveling.

12.) Have a communications plan

Comms UP

When the grid goes down and you can’t use your cell how will you communicate with your team? For starters you’ll need to understand how HAM radio works. From there you can work on getting licensed and securing the equipment required to communicate off grid. When the cell and power towers go down you’ll need a self sustaining setup to communicate with the world around you. While modern day cell towers will be non-functioning, old school lines of communication like radio will be alive and well.

13.) IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit)

Blood on the horizon

No SHTF preparedness kit is worth the weight unless there’s a decent medical kit inside. The IFAK is one such kit with all the supplies you need to treat wounds and injuries out in the field. You can buy premade kits or you can go the DIY route which will no doubt save you money. Any good IFAK has the following supplies:

  • Protective gloves
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Band-Aids
  • Small and large wound dressings
  • Super glue
  • Medical tape
  • Gauze
  • Clotting agent (Celox)
  • Cravats
  • Sling
  • Molle pouch

14.) Educate yourself

Read to lead

The great thing about the survival community is there’s lots of information out there. Entire Facebook groups with thousands of members have been formed around the subject and survival shows seem to be a dime a dozen. There is no shortage of places to go for both education and entertainment. My favorite form of education to this day is books. I’ve assembled an entire post on the best survival books and best bushcraft books. I recommend reading those posts and picking one from the list. You will no doubt come out of the material a much smarter survivalist.

SHTF preparedness conclusion

These are a few basic tips to get you all prepped up for an SHTF situation. While these are great starting points, you should know it’s impossible to fully predict or even prep for an SHTF situation. You do what you can to cover most of your bases and then improvise. Much like our ancestors, your survival in any situation will come down to your preparedness and ability to think quickly on your feet. Happy preparing and God speed!

 

 

 

SHTF Loadout For Rapid Response Action

Watching the news everyday continually reminds me why everybody needs to consider their SHTF loadout. Shootings are becoming commonplace to the point where the American people are numb to the news. Emotional intelligence has taken a backseat to knee jerk violent reactions. Man is slowly reducing himself to the violent ape and the general population lives in terror of his neighbor. Even our own government clearly doesn’t have our back as demonstrated by policies which line the pockets of rich politicians. Cops have Carte Blanch to do as they please and shoot who they want with no repercussions. On top of this we have a population spiraling out of control and live in a world of finite resources.

All these things come together to create chaos and disorder. How do you prepare for such chaos? In this post I’m going to cover a few SHTF loadout configurations. These various setups will help you understand what type of loadout is best for you.

What is an SHTF loadout?

First off, what the hell is an SHTF loadout? An SHTF loadout is the gear you strap to your person when TSHTF. It’s the gear you put on when all hell has broken loose and your only option is blasting through the madness like Kurt Russel in Escape From New York. Your loadout is there to give you rapid access to ammo and supplies and protect you from the violent environment around you.

Choosing a Weapon

best-shtf-weapons

The best SHTF weapon to have during a full blown SHTF situation is the one you have on you. The second best is the one you prepared to use and practiced with. Without a weapon all you have is a bug out bag (hopefully) and a greatly reduced chance of survival. Your weapon is your first line of both defense and offense. Even a fake weapon is better than nothing as you introduce an element of intimidation to the crazy people around you.

You can find lot’s of discussions online about what kind of gun is best in an SHTF scenario. The truth is, they all have their merits. In this post I won’t confuse you by giving you a thousand choices. I’m going to tell right now to go out and grab yourself an AK-47. Why? Because it’s a damn good weapon with serious stopping power and reliability. You’d be hard pressed to find anybody who denies the power of the AK.

The AK is a high capacity and high powered rifle. You really don’t want to be using a weapon that doesn’t have 30 round mags. This means constant reloading and downtime during firefights. The very nature of the piston driven design makes the AK extremely reliable even when submerged in sand. The AK is also one of the cheapest rifles around and you can find them for roughly $500 bucks depending on where you look. It also doesn’t matter where you find one or the manufacturer. Get one from Yugoslavia, China, Russia, or wherever. Ammo is also cheap and readily available. There’s also something about the AK that signals danger to those around you. Nobody is going to mess with a man wielding an AK-47.

And here’s the secret…

You don’t have to use the AK.

What matters most is your skill and comfort level with whatever gun you have. If you can hit a target 200 yards away with a shotgun then by all means use the damn shotgun! YOU are the weapon and the gun is the tool. However, if you’re starting from ground zero and on a budget (who isn’t these days) the AK represents a powerful weapon and delivers the most bang and versatility for the buck.

The setup and loadout for an AK-47 is drop dead simple. Get a folding stock to move through buildings and fight in close quarters. Get a good set of optics for increased accuracy. Attach a tactical flashlight to the rail mount. Aside from these basic mods make sure to have plenty of mags and ammo. Once again, practice shooting your weapon as much as you can. Your skill level is the most important factor. Mods and the other fancy things you can do to your weapon matter very little. A man who is skilled with a crossbow will easily take down a man with a gun who has never shot one in his life.

This leads us into the next part of the loadout…

Lightweight SHTF loadout

camelbak-mule
The light as a feather Camelbak Mule. Hydration ready and perfect for bugging out quick on your feet.

When speed is of the essence you can’t load yourself down like a pack mule. When you need to get from point A to point B ASAP you cannot afford the extra weight of all those survival widgets. You may be able to come back for your gear but at this point all that matters is MOVEMENT. Especially when on foot you’ll need to make good use of those chevrolegs.

Now, if this means bugging out of your home the answer is simple. Grab your weapon of choice along with as many mags you can carry on your belt. Molle mag pouches attach straight to your belt and hold any type of magazine you can imagine.

What about a backpack? Sure, but let’s keep it light.

I personally have found the Camelbak Mule to be a loyal lightweight companion out on the trail. It’s a 12.5 liter pack with a 3L hydration bladder. Throw in a couple Clif bars and a water filter and you have yourself a powerful lightweight survival B.O.B. The hydration bladder means you don’t need a water canteen and the filter gives you the ability to replenish your resources. Sure, you might be hungry but man can survive a long time without food. water? Not so much. Plus in a fully blown SHTF situation your security is the most important element of survival. Everything else takes a backseat behind your physical safety. This is why you need to be packing heat.

The compact size of the pack means you can only pack essential survival items. There’s no room for a tent and sleeping pad in this setup. This is a raw SHTF loadout with only the essential pieces of survival gear.

This setup will keep you light on your feet and ready for rapid movement.

The SHTF Battle Belt Loadout

shtf-loadout-battle-belt

In this setup we expand upon the lightweight loadout by adding a battle belt. A battle belt is usually a MOLLE compatible belt you can use to attach compatible pouches, magazines, and other storage containers. It’s a versatile setup giving you easy access to ammunition and other supplies. Your waist is the best spot to store your gear because of the natural center of gravity. This is still a lightweight loadout and does a good job at not restricting your movement or weighing you down. Range of motion is crucial when using and weapon especially longer rifles.

A battle belt will make good use of Molle pouches to stow crucial gear:

The Plate Carrier Loadout

shtf-plate-carrier

Now here is where things get heavy duty. A plate carrier like the Condor MOPC is a Molle compatible vest which supports steel ballistic level plates. These plates are designed to protect both your back and chest from pistol and rifle rounds. In the event you get shot at, most people aim for the chest. In fact, even police and military forces are trained to put 2 in your chest first before they go for other vitals like the head. Center mass shooting training is effective against unarmored assailants but ineffective against someone with plate armor.

The plate armor gives you a defensive advantage against enemy shooters. Downsides include the weight of the vest of course. A fully loaded carrier vest can weigh up to 50 pounds and reduce your speed and ability to run fast. The vest could however save your life especially in a combat zone where you’re taking heavy fire. If you’re going to take this route I recommend wearing the vest and going for runs and hikes. This will acclimate your body to the weight and chisel you into shape.

A good plate carrier vest will have Molle webbing allowing you to attach other pieces of gear to both the front and the back. If you’re in shape this is a serious loadout. Like the battle belt you can attach a med kit, multiple ammo magazines, a good knife, and spare supplies. The plate carrier would make an excellent addition to a bug in setup where you’re being over run by hoards of lunatics. Strap that thing on and prepare to give them hell (final stand style) knowing you’re fully protected and ready to go.

Weapon + Bug Out Bag Loadout

rush-72-survival-backpack
The 5.11 Rush 72 Hour Tactical Pack. Grab and go bug out bag for your loadout gear.

 

Lot’s of preppers are big fans of the above loadouts. If you’re anything like me though you prefer to keep things simple. I find a high powered rifle and a basic bug out bag to be a very effective setup. Sure, you don’t have armor plates protecting your vitals but I value speed and versatility over chest protection. The lightweight loadout above is a great option but I find it lacking in crucial gear. I have confidence in my physical ability to move quickly even with a bag on my back. One of the best SHTF tips I can give is get in shape. Going for daily runs and hikes will put you in the top 10% of people who will actually have a chance of outrunning danger.

Moving right along, I have a number of gear items in my bug out bag:

One thing to note is you can purchase backpacks with the Molle webbing. One of my favorite tactical backpacks is the 5.11 Rush 72. This thing is loaded with Molle webbing and built durable. You could throw it threw a wood chipper and watch it come out the other side unscathed. This is great for people who like the Molle setup but don’t want to wear the battle belt or the vest.

SHTF Loadout Summary

Here’s a few bullet points to memorize about your loadout setup:

Pair this loadout with a solid SHTF plan and you have yourself a tasty recipe for survival.

 

SHTF Planning | Creating A Blueprint For Survival

Planning for a full blown SHTF event is both simple and complex. Simple because the elements of survival are basic. Water, food, shelter. If you can provide these basic elements of survival you’ve successfully won the game. Complex because there are so many variables it’s impossible to prepare for everything. However, with a little knowledge and some basic planning you can be sure to see yourself and your family through any SHTF situation.

Now, when I mention SHTF I’m talking about FULL BLOWN SHTF. This isn’t a guide to get you through a short duration power outage. This is a plan and blueprint to survive a true SHTF event. We’re talking full scale looting and watching your fellow man turn to shit slinging apes because the food trucks have stopped running. We’re talking about the EMP blast taking out the electronics and everything electrical. The decisions you make in these types of events will determine if you’ll see another sunrise.

The SHTF Planning Blueprint

shtf-plan

When planning for an SHTF event you must first determine the following – do you live in a relatively safe area? Do you have the means to defend yourself and bug in until things have returned to normal? If you live in the country and own your own home then the answer is yes. If you live in the city on the top of a high rise apartment building then the answer is probably no.In the latter case it makes sense to have a secondary location you can go to where you have supplies and protection. It should be noted that no situation is perfect and those of you living in the country might even have to bug out yourselves.

Let’s go over when it makes sense to bug in vs when it makes sense to bug out.

Bugging in plan

In many SHTF events it’s going to make sense to stay put. In the first world an SHTF event is not going to last long especially in places like the United States. There is no agenda in Washington benefiting from the system completely collapsing despite what many paranoid preppers might have you believe. Riots, food shortages, EMP blasts (solar flares), are all situations which will dissipate given enough time and effort on the part of local law enforcement and government intervention.

Planning for these types of events is simple. Make sure you have enough food and clean water. Keep at least a weeks worth of food stocked and ready to go in case of emergencies. Purchasing a water filter will ensure you have access to clean water even if your own supply runs out. Ample lighting and heat should also be a priority. LED flashlights are cheap and in most places you can get away with extra layers and clothes for warmth. Propane powered heaters are a great option if you have good ventilation and fireplaces are an obvious solution. Propane is a solid source of power to have on hand and can fuel everything from heaters to grills without electricity. This means you can still cook and stay warm even without electricity.

Let’s cover some of the basic bug in supplies you need to plan on stocking to survive an SHTF scenario.

Food – A good supply of freeze dried food. The food should be ready to eat or easily made with heated water. Perishable food should be avoided in case of a power outage. In which case, eat all the food in your fridge first before it goes bad. My favorite survival food options are the long term food storage products from companies like Wise Foods or Mountain House. Mountain House makes very tasty meals for backpackers and hikers and you can purchase kits pre packaged with an entire weeks worth of food. Wise is long term oriented and makes packages with up to an entire years worth food. This is probably overkill for most stations but do yourself a favor and taste test until you find a brand you like. Then stock up for a rainy day.

Water – The most important element of survival. I like to keep a few 5 gallon water cooler containers in stock along with a Berkey water filter. If you have a nearby source of water you can filter the supply with the Berkey. This makes sense if you have a family and need to provide a large amount of clean water. If you’re a single guy or gal then I recommend something like the Sawyer Squeeze. Keep a couple of these in the house and in your go bag. This way if you run out of your original supply you can always obtain more even from dubious sources.

Security – Shelter and and your physical security are of top priority when TSHTF. If you have guns and ammo that’s great. If you don’t, consider picking something up even if it’s an airsoft rifle. In a full blown SHTF situation the monkeys will be rampaging through the streets looking for supplies and acting out in extremely aggressive and violent ways. When they bust through your door and see your supplies you think they’re going to go away because you asked nicely? When the apes begin to eye your wife and kids as victims what will you do?

If you have a lot of SHTF supplies but no way to defend yourself you’re only gathering a bunch of stuff for the strongest ape on the block.

I bet you any attacker would think twice about ravaging your home if you had a shotgun in your hand. In fact, if you buy one single weapon for home defense I recommend the shotgun hands down. It’s got a good spread and does serious damage in close quarters. Make meat out of any monkey who tries to bust through house – or at least make them shit their pants as they run for dear life. Check out my post on the best SHTF weapons for more info on choosing a gun.

If you have a lot of SHTF supplies but no way to defend yourself, you’re only gathering a bunch of stuff for the strongest ape on the block. A powerful gang can sweep through and take anything you have. It’s best to make sure you have some way to defend yourself and your family so you don’t fall victim to the brutality of the streets.

Communications – When the cell towers go down how are you going to communicate with the world around you? How will you know what’s happening with the situation? At the bare minimum you need an emergency radio to listen in on the emergency NOAA channels and other local radio stations. These channels can alert you to the state of the area and inform your next decisions. If the situation sounds like it’s getting worse you can make the decision to bug out. If it sounds like things are resolving themselves you have the peace of mind knowing you can safely stay in until normalcy is restored. Without this data you are quite literally left in the dark without a damn clue about what to do.

Next up you have to ask yourself how you will communicate with your loved ones in other parts of the city, state, or country. Close quarters you can get away with a couple high quality walkie talkies but you’ll need to explore more advanced modes of communication for anything else. Gray Wolf Survival has a great post on how to communicate when the grid goes down. I suggest you read that post and familiarize yourself with the technology. Long story short you’re going to need a HAM radio and some operational knowledge to get your messages out when there is no grid. Grab a couple of these and get to work studying the internet on how to use them for long range comms. With those radios you can also scan your local fire and police frequencies. This is more data you can use to make efficient and informed decisions.

To summarize this part of the SHTF planning procedure – stock food, water, survival supplies, and defend yourself and your family with whatever weapons you have.

Bugging Out Plan

The situation around you may become so bad you have to bug out of your own home to survive. If this is the case your plan is going to look a lot different than the bugging in plan. There are two crucial parts to your bug out plan – where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. You might have a fortress in the desert but how are you going to get there from where you are now? How will you blast through the traffic?

Secondary bug out location – your secondary bug out location represents your safe haven from the madness of your current location. It’s a place owned by you or by a close family member or friend. It has all the supplies you need to survive and protect yourself. Most importantly, it should be largely unaffected by whatever SHTF event is currently effecting your area. Think about where you can go if the shit hits the fan and then work out how you’ll get there.

Extraction ops – So you’ve got your secondary bug out location. Great. Now how are you going to get there? Are there multiple exit routes you can take? What backroads can you hop on if all the main roads are blocked or impassable? Leaving by car is not always a viable option due to congestion and extreme traffic conditions. In this case perhaps you can establish a line of communication with a family member or friend and arrange to meet them on foot. Once again, think about how you would establish a line of communication with someone even when the cell towers are down (Read above.)

The bug out bag

The bug out bag is a crucial part of the SHTF planning process. In the bug out bag is a number of items you’ll need to blow through any survival situation. It’ll have 3 days worth of food and water and a bunch of survival supplies to aid your successful escape from the SHTF situation. I’ve created a bug out bag checklist you can read to get an idea of what you need. It’s very similar to the go bag but contains a few more items for longer treks and hairier survival situations.

The bug out bag is there to get you to your secondary bug out location safely. It’s a bag you can grab which will temporarily sustain you in the short term. It also includes gear you can use to secure your own food if you run out of your stocked supplies. This of course takes skill so try to get to safety as soon as possible. I can tell you it’s not going to be easy hunting, fishing, or trapping without ever having practiced those skills in your past.

SHTF Planning Summary

My advice is to plan on bugging in AND planning on bugging out. Prepping for both situations adds versatility into your arsenal and increases the chances of survival. On a mental note. Put together your SHTF plan, get all the gear and supplies you need and then stop worrying. Too many people endlessesly worry about when the next SHTF event is going to take place. The purpose of putting a plan together is to give you peace of mind knowing you are prepared.

Do what you need to do to prepare and then put your mind at east. Worrying increases cortisol which not only causes your body to store fat but increases the chances of making a wrong decision. If you can stay calm your mental faculties will be firing on all cylinders – and you’ll need your mind more than anything if you want to survive.

 

 

 

Top 6 Pieces of Hidden Gun Storage Furniture

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There’s lots of reasons to hide your guns in the house. Having kids is a big one along with guests coming over to the house. If your home gets robbed these types of stash points in the house provide safe keeping for guns, ammo, and other valuable items. And let’s be honest, having a secret cache of weapons hidden in plain sight is pretty cool too. I’ve scoured the internet to track down the best hidden gun storage furniture for all your weapons and ammo.

1.) Cabinet Rifle Slider – This is the perfect cabinet for rifles and blends in nicely in any standard American style home. This is a cabinet with a front display and a hidden gun storage slider in the back. The sliding portion of the cabinet locks securely. The front shelves are adjustable and make a nice display for anything you want to put inside. Most rifles and shotguns will fit in the storage compartment although extra long guns will be a tight fit. The material appears to be a pressed wood but the finish is good quality and hard to tell it’s not real wood from a distance. Overall a great cabinet for your ammo and rifle storage. Check it out here.

2.) Gun Storage Bench – This is the American Furniture Classics 502 gun storage bench. High quality attractive bench for a great price. Full leather bench with hinged locking top revealing your secret stash of weapons. Lot’s of storage space and sturdy enough to be used as an actual bench. Easily stows any rifle you can throw at it plus a ton of ammo and whatever else you can think of. Again, very rustic and traditional looking. Wouldn’t blend in well with a modern home but for a house with traditional furniture nobody would suspect a thing. I like the fact this thing locks and there’s no way to tell it’s a secret gun storage compartment without looking too closely. The price on this bench too good to pass up.

3.) Gun Cabinet Armoire – A good looking mirror armoire with a carefully concealed storage area right behind your very own reflection. Perfect for the bedroom and completely unsuspecting. Comes with 2 locking methods – A magnet locking device or your traditional lock and key hardware. The height of this mirror is 42.5 inches so longer rifles will have trouble fitting. However, most rifles will but make sure to measure the length of your rifle before purchasing.

4.) Covert Cabinet Gun Shelf – My favorite piece of furniture for stashing a couple pistols along with a few magazines. Mounts to the wall like a normal shelf. There’s a hinged portion which drops down revealing the stash. No need to remove the things on top of the shelf to gain access. This is great if you need fast access to your guns. Locks securely via a magnetic lock and key. You’re not going to be stashing your entire arsenal in this thing but it’s perfect for 1 – 2 guns plus a few mags. Take a look for yourself.

5.) Covert Guitar Case – Furniture? Maybe not. But it’s still a fantastic and genius way to stash your high powered rifles. Nobody suspects a guitar case of containing guns and ammunition. The case itself features a 4 pin combo lock. The interior is well padded with foam surrounded by a hardened shell case. Not to mention this is an easy piece of gun storage you can grab. In the case of a robbery you can run with the guitar case to a safe part of your home and take your time unlocking the guns. Also an inconspicuous method to transfer your guns from one place to another without revealing what you have.

6.) The Peace Keeper – Or as I like to call it, the piece keeper! A fully functioning clock with a secret stash capable of holding a large hand gun and some other goodies. Nobody takes a second glance at a clock unless it’s to check the time, and we use smartphones for that nowadays. The clock looks completely natural no matter where you put making this one of the most incognito pieces of hidden gun storage furniture. Store your Glock in the clock!

DIY hidden gun storage furniture

You can make your own furniture with some basic carpentry skills. In fact, employing the services of a good carpenter could yield you a truly custom piece of furniture for all of your guns and ammo. Below are some pictures with a few ideas.

The rogue shelf – With some basic tools and the plans you can build your own hidden gun shelf made specifically to hide your guns and ammo. The following plans has all the blueprints you need to make this hidden gun shelf right in your own home. This is a fun and easy project to do if you can carve out the time and resources to get it down. At the end you’ll have a secret stash you can use to hide anything from guns, cash, or other important valuables you wan’t hidden from the naked eye.

Converting an old dresser – This guy took an old dresser and converted it into a hidden stash spot for guns and ammo. Go to any old garage sale and pick something up for cheap for this project. With basic tools you can save a lot of money by going the DIY route. Check out the video for some ideas:

The 5 dollar night stand stash – Another cheap an effective way to take an existing piece of furniture and turn it into a secret stash spot for your goodies. This guy simply took an old night stand and sawed the top off and added hinges and a cabinet closer. Easy stuff and a project you could get done in a lazy afternoon. You can keep this one by your bed at night for easy access to guns, flashlights, and whatever else you need instant access to.

Conclusion

When it comes to hidden gun storage furniture you have a lot of options. While many of the products found online can work you can also go the DIY route and build something completely custom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Molle Mag Pouches For Your Ammo Magazines

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I love Molle compatible pouches because they’re so versatile. I can strap them to my loadout vest or my 5.11 rush 72 and hit the road at a moments notice. There’s a ton of high quality Molle mag pouches available and in this post I’m going to cover some of the best.

1.) Condor tactical double kangaroo mag pouch

condor-double-tactical-pouch

Go double duty with the condor tactical mag pouch. Condor makes great tactical products and I’ve covered much of their quality gear in other posts. It’s no surprise to see the same build quality in their mag pouches as well. This particular pouch easily stows away 2 regular magazines as well as 2 pistol sized magazines and attaches to any other Molle compatible hardware you have. The pistol magazine pouch is secured through a velcro flap while the other 2 main magazine pouches implement a secure bungee system.

2.) High Speed Gear double pistol mag pouch

high-speed-mag-pouch

Another tactical magazine pouch fitting most standard pistol magazines. Built rugged and tough for the 1911, HK 45, M9/Beretta 92, Glock and other similar magazine sizes. This is one of the more rugged and durable Molle pouches on the market. The magazines lock into place and stay there but are easily removed via the bungee system. You can do this one handed with no problem. Check it out here.

3.) Condor Triple Stacker M4/M16 pouch

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For those of you with M4’s and M16 this is one of the best pouches out there for these rounds. Similar to the other Condor products this pouch implements a bungee system to secure your magazines in place. This one can load in a total of 6 magazines. Some have noted a tight fit for certain model magazines but it isn’t a problem for most.

4.) Outry AR-15 Mag holder

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For those with the AR-15. This fits a standard AR-15 magazine as well as the M16 and M4. This is perhaps the most versatile pouch for rifles. The pouches are large enough to fit other mags but it certainly fits the AR-15 magazine like a glove. The material is 1000D nylon. This stuff is extremely durable and won’t be busting anytime soon. This pouch also implements an elastic bungee system to keep the mags in place.

5.) Voodoo Tactical triple mag pouch

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I introduce you to the Voodoo triple mag pouch. For those of you wanting to shoot your way out of a fully blown SHTF situation. This pouch holds any standard pistol magazine but known to fit the 1911 mags like a well worn baseball mitt. This is military grade nylon we’re talking about outfitted with quality Molle webbing and belt loops if you want to go strapped to the hip. The over top velcro system makes it easy to remove magazines and put them back. Out of all the pouches I really like the color on this one.

What to attach the pouches to?

Now that you’ve got a couple mag pouches what are you going to do with them? After discovering Molle I specifically look for Molle compatible gear I can use to attach my loads with. For me personally I like the 5.11 Rush 72 backpack. I take this bad boy out to the range, when I go camping, and I use it as a general bug out bag.

I’m also a big fan of the Condor Tactical Molle vest. When it comes to a full loadout the vest is something that can’t be overlooked. It’s extremely versatile and strong enough to attach steel plates for full blown body armor. With enough Molle pouches you can turn this thing into a full loadout and skip the backpack completely. That speaks to the true versatility and the genius behind the Molle technology.

Further reading…

If you’re interested in other Molle gear posts check out my best Molle backpacks post for a list of backpacks with loads of Molle. I’ve also got a similar post for the general Molle pouches for other load bearing options. Thanks for reading!

The Complete Go Bag List For Getting Out of Dodge

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Every able bodied human being needs to have a go bag in case of emergency. Your go bag will contain everything you need for at least 72 hours including some gear for long term survival. Let’s explore the elements of a go bag with a basic packing list of survival supplies.

The Go Bag Itself

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The 5.11 Rush 72 Hour Tactical Pack

You’ll need a decent bag to grab in case TSHTF. Maybe you were thinking about using that ratty old Jansport you’ve kept since college. This is fine if that’s all you have but consider making an investment into something that isn’t going to bust the moment you crawl under a barbed wire fence. The go bag carries all your gear and I recommend looking into a quality pack. Read my post on the best Molle packs. Long story short, the 5.11 Rush 72 is a perfect go bag and features tactical elements not seen in other bags.

The Go Bag Survival Gear List

Here’s a quick and dirty list of the essential gear you need in the go bag. I’ll go over each of these items below the list.

  • 72 hours worth of food and water
  • Critical documents (ID, Passport, etc)
  • $100 spare cash
  • LED Flashlight
  • Camping cup
  • Knife
  • Multi Tool
  • Light poncho or trash bag
  • Duct tape (not a whole roll)
  • Lighters and fire starters
  • Water filter (either a Lifestraw or Sawyer squeeze)
  • Drinking canteen
  • Basic first aid
  • Emergency radio
  • USB charging bank for smartphone
  • Chargers for electronics (Micro USB or Iphone)
  • Paracord
  • Change of clothes

The logic Behind The GO Bag

A lot of the bug out bags (go bags) I see are completely overloaded. They include tents, sleeping bags, compasses, and a bunch of other crap you don’t need. You see, the go bag isn’t designed for the end of the world. It’s there to assist you in getting to a safe destination. Maybe your car broke down in a storm or your house got flooded. Perhaps a fire ripped through your area and a mandatory evacuation was issued. The go bag in these cases will see you through a temporary situation. In most cases you won’t be camping in the woods or living off pigeons in the city like some of these apocalyptic crackpots will have you believe.

GO Bag Tips

Food and water will be your number one priority here. While true that lack of shelter will kill you faster in some environments, in most cases you’ll just be hungry and thirsty. This can lead to you making wrong decisions or even death in some extreme cases. A solid GO bag has 72 hours worth of food and water. Think about food you would take hiking. I like the Mountain House packets because they’re easy and they taste good. You can also include other non-perishable items like dried fruits and nuts, peanut butter, tuna packets etc.

Mountain-House-Foods
Mountain house makes great go bag goodies. Just add water and chow down.

Documents and cash are crucial to you not getting hassled by cops and paying for things when there might not be any electricity. You should always keep things like your passport and a spare ID in your GO bag for situations where the originals are at risk for getting destroyed. Your documents give you access to services and can verify your identity to the authorities and possible medical personnel.

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Electronics will of course come into play. A spare prepaid burner phone is a good idea along with all the chargers you need. A battery bank to recharge a dead cell can be a life saver. You have surely felt the fear of a dead cell phone in normal circumstances – only imagine the level of fear in a full blown SHTF situation!

smartphone-battery-charger

Basic survival gear like the stuff they give to the boy scouts. These include pieces of gear used to make fire and purify water. With fire you can stay warm and cook food. With water you can cook and also keep yourself hydrated. Also having a method to purify dubious water sources is crucial. I like the Lifestraw as a cheap option but prefer something more robust like the Sawyer squeeze. Added to this section of the list is a knife, a multi tool, a first aid kit, and a good LED flashlight.

go-bag-survival-gear

The Enhanced GO Bag List

It’s easy to go beyond what is on this list and overload your pack with useless junk. For instance, most people don’t even know how to use a compass but pack one anyways. Why? In most cases you need a map and general sense of where you are for a compass to be reliable. Tents and sleeping bags sound like solid “shoe ins” for the go bag but only weigh you down. Like I said, the likelihood of you having to bug out to the woods is very unlikely if you live in the first world. These are nice to have just in case but they serve little purpose in a go bag.

However, if you’re one to go all out I can recommend some “advanced” pieces of gear not needed but nice to have.

  • Compass
  • Map of your area
  • Fishing kit
  • Trapping kit
  • Ham radio
  • Tent / Sleeping bag
  • Shovel
  • Sewing kit
  • Tactical gloves
  • More food than 72 hours worth

As you can see the pack is starting to get very heavy at this point. Think about the likelihood of you ever needing any of these things. Firstly, who knows how to fish and trap game in the modern world? If you have the skill than obviously include these things. But for the average Joe, the reality is that even with the best fishing or trapping gear it’s very unlikely you’ll catch anything more than a hook to your own lip.

Same goes for the compass and ham radio. These are all items requiring a certain level of skill to be effective. If you don’t have these skills than do your back a favor and don’t add them to the GO bag.

Conclusion

Having a GO bag around might just save your ass one day. If anything you’ll have the peace of mind knowing you’re prepared to make a long trek across town or through a storm and survive. With a good GO bag you’ll have 3 days worth of food and water and the gear required to secure more. It’s very easy to filter water if you’re in a pinch. Put one of these together as soon as you can to ensure your safety during an emergency

My Patriot Supply Review | Long Term Food Storage

my-patriot-supply-review

In the event of a major food shortage do you have supplies to feed you and your family? The thing is, nobody knows when the whole system is going to collapse on itself. But if it does knowing you have the supplies to survive is crucial to your mental sanity. There are easy ways to stock food and there are hard ways. I’ve discussed products like the Magic Mill Pro and the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer before. These devices turn any type of food you have into long term food storage equivalents.

The problem is these are expensive and time consuming to use. You would really need to be committed to hardcore prepping and survival to justify the expense. My Patriot Supply is an easy way to make a one time purchase for your long term storage needs. They have a variety of freeze dried ready to eat meal options.

Let’s explore what they have to offer.

My Patriot Supply Food Products

My Patriot Supply offers long term food storage packages for the prepper. Their freeze dried products have a 25 year long shelf life. They have everything from your standard 2 week kits to full blown 1 year kits that feed up to 4 people. That’s a lot of damn food!

What I love about My Patriot Supply is their unique food options. Besides the breakfast and entree meals they also offer coffee and pizza certified up the same 25 year standard.

What’s in the kits?

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You’re probably wondering what kind of foods come in the kits. You can take a look at the My Patriot Supply 3 month kit for a complete breakdown of the meal options. They have lots of variety and a diverse selection:

• Strawberry Fields Cream of Wheat (32 servings)
• Maple Grove Oatmeal (56 servings)
• Uncle Frank’s Italian Lasagna (8 servings)
• Granny’s Homestyle Potato Soup (24 servings)
• Traveler’s Stew (24 servings)
• Summer’s Best Corn Chowder (8 servings)
• Blue Ribbon Creamy Chicken Rice (24 servings)
• Liberty Bell Potato Cheddar Soup (20 servings)
• Traditional Fettuccine Alfredo (20 servings)
• Independence Hall Chicken Noodle Soup (8 servings)
• Cheesy Broccoli & Rice Soup (16 servings)
• Country Cottage Mac & Cheese (16 servings)
• Heartland’s Best Mashed Potatoes (32 servings)
• Creamy Stroganoff (16 servings)
• Instant White Rice (20 servings)
• Chocolate Pudding (30 servings)
• Honey Coated Banana Chips (16 servings)
• Orange Energy Drink Mix (32 servings)
• Settler’s Whey Powdered Milk (48 servings)

My Personal Review of My Patriot Supply

The one thing I want to know if I’m purchasing a lot of food is how good the food tastes. I found most of the food in the My Patriot Food Supply packages to be tasty. They certainly don’t taste like home made fresh dishes but many of them go down very easily. The mashed potatoes, potato soup, and the travelers stew is especially tasty. The packages come in heavy duty Rubbermaid style containers and each dish is wrapped in its own specially sealed packaging. Certainly high quality. I feel confident shoving these things in a dark corner of a garage for a rainy day. Overall, they are locked, cocked, and ready to be stored anywhere you want. Make sure they’re in a dry part of the house or garage and your golden.

I can also say the portion sizes are slightly larger than meals from other companies. Wise Foods and Mountain House brands in particular. However, overall I do prefer the taste of Mountain House foods more but I can’t deny that My Patriot Food Supply offers much more for the money. They are also the obvious choice if you want to buy long term packages. Mountain House at the most offers only a 2 week supply.

I would love to know how good these foods taste 10 years down the road. I’m saving a special supply of the stuff just for this purpose. They might not make you sick but who knows how long they can really last. My advice is to rotate your stock once a year. The food is good enough to be eaten even in non emergency situations. There’s been many times I’ve broken in to the stash just because I wanted something quick and easy.

If you’re a camper or hiker these are also great to stash in a backpack and take on the trail. They’re a great low cost alternative to many of the hiking foods you would buy at REI or other outdoor stores.

Peace of mind

Will you ever need an entire years worth of food? Who knows. I do know we live during increasingly shaking times. Having this food stashed away gives me peace of mind knowing I can survive if something happens. It could be something small like not finding work for a while or something larger like a full blown EMP blast knocking out the food trucks. Whatever the case I want to make sure I’m prepared. If that means making a one time purchase from My Patriot Food Supply then I’m okay spending the money.

Conclusion

If you’re on the fence about purchasing a long term food storage kit I recommend picking up a smaller 2 week kit. This will give you a taste of what will be in the larger kits. It’s also a good idea to taste test food packages from multiple long term food storage companies. You can take a look at my review from Wise Foods and also Augason Farms.

 

 

Best Long Range Walkie Talkies Reaching 100 Miles

I’ve owned many walkies over the years. I’ve used them on the ranch and around job sites to communicate with other workers. It seems there was always an issue with range. After a certain distance the signal would drop significantly forcing me to retrace my steps until the signal improved. I realized I needed something more robust to use in situations requiring long distance communication.

The problem with traditional walkies is even the most powerful models have a theoretical distance of 36 miles – and this number is very generous. To achieve a number of this distance would require absolutely ideal conditions – no wind, no obstructions, and a clear line of sight.

With that said, there are some walkie talkies known to blast a signal slightly farther than others. The Midland GXT1000VP4 boasts a very decent range and incorporates the max wattage allowed for 2 way FRS standard radios (5 watts.) When looking for good 2 ways you want to make sure you’re getting a pair with the most power output. Since these types of devices can’t exceed 5 watts, that’s what you’re aiming for. Many walkies I’ve seen fall short of this power output resulting in lackluster communication range.

But, even with these 5 watt walkies you’ll be lucky to reach such a lofty range. To truly reach the 100 mile distance requires something a little more serious – a ham radio. These types of radios operate using a higher power output and increased frequency range. They can tap into local repeaters which amplify the signal to send your transmission hundreds to thousands of miles across the globe. Ham radios can communicate worldwide with other ham radio operators.

**NOTE** In order to operate on the many available frequencies of these powerful devices you need a Ham Radio operators license. Do people use these radios unlicensed everyday? Of course. But so you don’t get spanked by the FCC strongly consider taking the test. The test is relatively inexpensive and once you pass you can operate and transmit on a number of frequencies. Whole communities have sprung up around ham radio and it’s one of the largest niche hobbies in the world.

Now let’s take a look at a couple handheld hams to get you communicating long distances.

Baofeng UV-5R

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This hand held radio is the most popular on the market. The UV-5r has versatile range of available frequencies and powerful programming features. Easily communicate with short range walkie talkies and program local repeaters to communicate with other ham radios hundreds of miles away. You can set it up as a scanner and listen in on local fire and police channels. The UV-5r makes a great emergency radio and NOAA reciever. If there’s a local emergency you’ll be the first to know if you choose to scan those frequencies. It’s also very inexpensive for the features it packs. Grab two of them to test out with a friend. You’ll certainly achieve a much longer range of communication than you could with a traditional walkie talkie.

Yaesu VX-6R

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The Yaesu VX-6R boasts every feature in the Baofeng UV-5r but is a much higher quality radio. It’s meant for easy programming and has superior scanning functions and capabilities. Ham enthusiasts also note the many ways the device can be hacked through software to perform advanced functions (don’t get yourself in trouble!) It’s also much more expensive but you get what you pay for. Again, using only a couple of these bad boys you can achieve impressive distances as standalone 2 way walkie talkies. Remember, we’re talking hundreds of miles here if you’re close to a local repeater.

Conclusion

The hardware inside of traditional walkie talkies simply cannot muster the power to transmit over a 100 mile range. If you require this type of communication you’ll need to look into the radios I listed above. Both Baofeng and Yaesu make great entry level radios to communicate across those types of distances. In fact, many have found a great hobby in HAM radio and are hooked! Do the research and don’t forget to get licensed for this type of equipment. While rare, the FCC has prosecuted individuals for transmitting over protected frequencies – especially those frequencies allocated to the local police and fire departments.