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Urban Survival vs. Rural Survival: A WARNING from Selco About Your Plans

Urban Survival vs. Rural Survival: A WARNING from Selco About Your Plans

Urban survival vs. rural survival is a near-constant debate in preparedness circles. Those who live on acreage sometimes scoff at those who live in cities for reasons of business, education, or families. Those who live in the cities feel obligated to defend their choices. The truth of the matter is that there IS no perfect plan, and even if you had one, SHTF might have other ideas. You need both skillsets to survive, as Selco teaches. In this reality check, Selco explains how even the best survival plans can go horribly wrong when the SHTF. ~ Daisy

I write almost always about urban survival because of a few simple reasons:

  1. I survived SHTF in an urban environment, so I write about it from my own experience.
  2. The majority of us actually live in urban settings, so there is a reason why we need to pay more attention to preparing for urban survival.
  3. Most of us who live in urban settings have a plan (me too) to bug out to some kind of rural setting in order to have a better chance of survival. But the sad truth is that a lot of us will fail to bug out on time because of numerous reasons.

As a result, a number of us who have a good BOL in a rural setting will still end up surviving in an urban area.

Generally, I think it is much better to be out of the urban area when SHTF. But we don’t always get what we want no matter how good our plan. That is why you must learn about not only rural or wilderness survival, but also urban survival. I talk about all of these in my book.

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5 Rookie Prepping Mistakes to Avoid

5 Rookie Prepping Mistakes to Avoid

Prepping for your withdrawal from mainstream society comes with a steep learning curve. A small mistake could leave you in a pinch when you least expect it, leading to costly repairs or, worse, the end of your remote hideaway. You need to take care of your equipment, prepare for the worst and make sure you have everything you need to live a healthy, sustainable lifestyle off the grid. From truck seat covers to vitamin deficiencies, learn how to create the ideal homestead operation.

Going off the grid takes practice and patience. If you’re new to the game, avoid these five rookie mistakes at all costs.

Not bringing a paper backup

Leaving the modern world behind usually means not having access to the internet. Even if you set up your own router, you should prepare for potential outages. Nasty weather, weak connections and damaged equipment can leave you without this convenient tool, especially when you’re on the road.

That’s why it’s best to bring along paper copies of equipment and vehicle manuals, how-to guides, maps and just about anything else you might need to read in the wild. Bring along plenty of books to keep boredom at bay, as well as physical resources, such as those for purifying water, growing fruits and vegetables and hunting wildlife. Print off web pages you’d normally read on your computer and keep these documents organized in case you need to access them in an emergency.

Not creating a contingency plan

Let’s face it, there’s always a chance your homestead could take a turn for the worse. You could run out of food or water, accidentally injure yourself or get hit with a natural disaster. But that’s all a part of the fun.

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The Prepper Shopping List for August: 7 of the Hottest Deals For Preparedness Supplies

The Prepper Shopping List for August: 7 of the Hottest Deals For Preparedness Supplies

The temperatures are heating up and so are the deals in August. If you are looking for frugal ways to stock up on your food pantry and preparedness supplies, this month will not disappoint!

The temperatures are heating up and so are the deals in August. If you are looking for frugal ways to stock up on your food pantry and preparedness supplies, this month will not disappoint!

7 Things You Can Buy To Stock Up On Your Preps

Buying items during certain months of the year will allow you to buy at discounted prices so you can stock up and save big time. You just have to know which items are best to buy.

  1. Back To School Supplies – Take advantage of the back to school deals and purchase pens, pencils, tape, and other office necessities. Purchase a few extra rolls of tape and get them prepped for Christmas wrapping marathons in a few months! A majority of us are working from home these days, so take advantage of the deals. As well, you can look for small coloring books and crafts that may be on sale to invest in “sanity savers” for off-grid events where the kids need something to do.
  2. Bug Out Bag Supplies – There are some discounted items this month that could help you in creating a perfect bug out bag. In fact, if you don’t have a bug out bag, this month would be perfect to buy a sturdy backpack. As well, Ziploc bags of all sizes will be on sale and are perfect for organizing bug out supplies, first aid items, just add water meals, etc. As well, premade snacks like packs of crackers, juice boxes, granola bars, etc., will also be good to pick up at the store and are great for comfort foods during emergencies.

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Dehydrated Blueberry Muffin Syndrome: Survival Isn’t Always Comfortable

Dehydrated Blueberry Muffin Syndrome: Survival Isn’t Always Comfortable

One thing a lot of preppers overlook is the potential discomfort of a survival situation. They stock up and prepare as though everything will remain exactly as it is now, except they’ll have to rely on dehydrated food instead of fresh ingredients. In some scenarios, this is true – take, for example, the recent lockdown.

But in more extreme scenarios, your life will be anything but comfortable, and this is something Selco and I try to get across to people. Many preppers refuse to fathom a life in which they won’t have time or facilities to bake a batch of muffins. We call this Dehydrated Blueberry Muffin Syndrome.  Get more details in the video below. (Note: the video won’t appear if you have an ad blocker on.)

Survival may be gritty and difficult, as it was in Selco’s situation. It’s not just like life is now, but without electricity.

What are the 5 Rs?

Here’s an explanation of the Five Rs I mentioned in the video. They highlight the sequences you have to be prepared to deal with depending on INTENSITY and/or DURATION of a disastrous event:

  1. REDUCE the impact on your lifestyle or routine. Many events are over within 72 hrs. With adequate preparation, you should feel little to no interruption to your daily life.
  2. REPAIR. By understanding the nature of the threat. Your residence and life situation, you can anticipate by competence or cost things that may well need repairing in order to RETURN TO NORMAL.
  3. REBUILD. This can be both physically (Think a beyond repair storm-damaged house) or ‘structural’. A business that has suffered significant disruption or loss and cannot necessarily continue exactly as before…

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Selco: “Here Are Some of the WORST Pieces of Prepping Advice I’ve Heard”

Selco: “Here Are Some of the WORST Pieces of Prepping Advice I’ve Heard”

The competition for the worst prepping advice out there is pretty sharp. It’s been going on for many years and has a tendency to get even more ridiculous as time goes on.

One reason is that a lot of the advice is pushing you in the direction of buying something, and when you need to buy something things can go weird and false.

Another reason is the fact that there are numerous “experts” out there, and it does not have to be about selling. Often it can be that people just want to be known as experts because they feel more important or whatever.

So, as I mentioned many times before there is a chain of people who share advice, and if you follow the trail where that advice is coming from you are usually gonna find a self-proclaimed “expert” at the end, or even worse some fictional character from movies or books.

So here are a few pieces of bad prepping advice I have seen.

“Handle everything with violence.”

Yes, I do agree, nothing can put things in the right perspective like a few shots from an assault rifle in the correct place and time. Brute force can very efficiently solve some situations.


I see a lot of advice that goes only as far as being well-armed and having that “out of my cold dead hand” attitude.

Most of the time when the SHTF, it will be about other things, like hygiene, resources, interactions with people, managing people in groups, maintaining mental and physical health in hard circumstances, and many other things that have nothing to do with violence.

So, violence and being ready for violence are critical, yes, of course, but it is not only about that.

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Building a Better Bug-Out Bag: You’re NOT Going on a Fun-Filled Camping Trip

Building a Better Bug-Out Bag: You’re NOT Going on a Fun-Filled Camping Trip

Based on the things I’ve learned from folks who have actually lived through survival situations and bugged out, I think that we need to revisit what bugging out really means and why you might use a bug out bag. If we understand the concept better, it’s easier to pack a bug out bag that will work for each of us personally.

3 kinds of bug-outs

There are at least three different kinds of bugging out:

  • You’re never coming home again: This bug-out means you’re leaving and you don’t expect to be returning. It could be due to a rapidly approaching natural disaster that is likely to demolish everything in its path, like a wildfire, or it could be due to terrorism or genocide. It could happen at the last moment or you might have time to pack – it really depends on the situation. If it’s a last-minute thing, you might only have the things you can grab in your bug out bag.  Sometimes you don’t even have time to grab that – it could be a situation in which a few seconds are the difference between life and death. When I visited a museum about the genocide in Bosnia, one woman told of leaving the house with her child wrapped in nothing but a hastily grabbed towel because the little girl had been in the bathtub when the family was hauled away.
  • Bug Out with Warning: This bug-out happens during natural disasters and often (but not always) you’ll have a few days of warning. Some examples might be a nearby wildfire or an approaching hurricane. You can load up your vehicle with sentimental items and bring more than you’d ordinarily bring. The focus for this type of bug-out is often on the things you can never replace.

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10 Grocery Items That Disappeared Almost Immediately When an Emergency Was Declared

10 Grocery Items That Disappeared Almost Immediately When an Emergency Was Declared

Planning and preparing an emergency food pantry now will help you keep popular food items stocked and ready for the next crisis.

10 Grocery Items That Disappeared Almost Immediately When an Emergency Was Declared

Large-scale events can quickly cause significant economic, social, and political disruption in its wake. Studies have shown most households are not prepared for a two-week disruption, let alone a month-long ordeal such as what we are enduring with COVID-19. As a result, the public quickly sees how vulnerable they are to an emergency. An unprecedented strain has been put on our food system as a result of the initial food grab at the beginning of the health crisis.

With grocery items flying off the shelves and a huge demand on food banks, its no wonder that vegetable and garden seeds have been in high demand because of interest in sustainable food production. We now see that when a large population is hit with a rapid, far from equilibrium event, the system itself cannot keep up with the demand. The result, at best, shows how thin the protections of society are when this type of event happens and we must learn from this.

In the wake of the COVID-19 food panic, certain food staples disappeared almost immediately; almost all of which are listed in our 25 must-have survival foods. While toilet paper seems to be the one item that is ingrained in our memories as the grocery item that initially incited the run on the grocery stores, the items listed below have been in short supply if not out of stock for weeks on end.

10 Food Items That Disappeared Almost Immediately in the COVID-19 Health Crisis

  1. Pasta and tomato sauce
  2. Yeast
  3. Flour
  4. Sugar
  5. Milk
  6. Eggs
  7. Butter
  8. Rice
  9. Beans
  10. Peanut butter

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Large-Scale Disaster: A Sobering Problem – Requiring A Different Approach

Large-Scale Disaster: A Sobering Problem – Requiring A Different Approach 

Most survival strategies and related tactics today draw upon the methods that worked in much smaller disasters and will likely work to some extent today in similar small-scale disasters. However, large-scale (continental-sized disasters) are quite different in many ways.

Q1 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Prepaing For A Large-Scale Disaster

Some people assume that all disasters are created equal and that one-size fits-all when it comes to survival strategies and disaster preparedness and response, however that is not the case by any stretch in a large-scale disaster. And when this assumption is proffered to others, it ensures that there will be many more causalities than need be.

As if this writing, FEMA is still proffering a “72-hour” disaster survival kit:  http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit

I guess the million-dollar question is; what do these people do in a large-scale disaster after their 3-days-worth of food, water and toilet paper are exhausted?

Even the psychological impact of a local disaster is quite different from that of a continental or global scale disaster. In local or regional (small scale) disasters (tornado, hurricane), survivors know that help will be coming and that affects morale and how most survivors react; there is order and cooperation.

But in the case of a global, national or ’continental scale’ event, such as Covid-19, many survivors will within a few weeks realize that nobody is coming to the rescue, because everyone is suddenly thrust into the same desperate situation. This later situation is a game-changer and will certainly create a level of desperation seldom seen.

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What Do You Do When Your Supplies Run Out?

What Do You Do When Your Supplies Run Out?

The small percentage of the population that keeps extra supplies on hand in the event of a disaster have taken the necessary steps to insure their family will not suffer as most others will following an event. This is the act of intelligent people that realize we live in a dangerous world with many unknowns. 

It does not matter if you are prepared for two weeks, two months or two years of societal disruptions. At some point, if the event goes on long enough, you will eventually come to the end of your supplies. When that happens, what will you do? 

Having a two year store of supplies is exceptional but as we have seen, some disasters can last far beyond that. The food scarcity we see in places like Venezuela have taken years to unfold and some past wars have raged on for more than a few years. When that happens even your best efforts may fall short and leave you in want. 

Those that store a certain amount of supplies for a set period of time need to think beyond that period of time and imagine what they will do when the disaster lasts longer than they had planned on. 

When you plan for an event, you need to think of the worst possible scenario and have a plan to handle it. A worst possible case may entail more supplies than you have the ability to buy or store but you should consider what your actions will be if you find yourself in that situation. Thinking about it now while you have the time to find solutions and determine a course of action will help you to stay calm and prevent you from making mistakes that might harm you later.

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25 Hardcore Healthy Foods You Need in Your Emergency Pantry

25 Hardcore Healthy Foods You Need in Your Emergency Pantry

Ready Nutrition - 25 Hardcore Healthy Foods You Need in Your Emergency Pantry
Natural disasters like hurricanes, Nor’easters, and winter storms can cause you to be stuck in your home for days (or even weeks) on end – and stuck eating whatever you currently have stashed in your pantry and freezer.

Normally, enough notice is provided to allow time to run out to purchase items prior to a storm’s arrival. It is tempting to stock up on convenient comfort foods before a disaster, but this isn’t ideal. For example, many freeze-dried foods are notorious for having excessive amounts of sodium – thus causing you to consume more water to make up for it (oops, there goes your stored water supply!). Staying hydrated in winter is especially important – your body needs more water during winter than it does during the warmer months. And, remember – you will need to store enough water for drinking AND for cooking.

Surviving on your favorite junk foods may leave you feeling dehydrated, drained, and stressed, which will make enduring a sustained emergency situation even more difficult.

Building an adequate emergency pantry takes time and planning to make it fully functional. Ideally, you will store nutritious shelf-stable foods that your family normally consumes (and enjoys), as well as foods that serve many purposes.

Learn how to build a well-stocked pantry using a layering system: The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals, or The One-Year Pantry, Layer by Layer.

How to build a pantry stocked with nutritious, energizing foods

When selecting foods to add to your emergency pantry, focus on the most nutrient-dense items you can find that are also shelf-stable, with a focus on macronutrients.

Macronutrients are compounds found in all foods that humans consume in the largest quantities, providing the bulk of our calories (energy) from our diets. The three main categories are protein, carbohydrate, and fat.

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The 10 Daily Habits of Prepared People

The 10 Daily Habits of Prepared People

For some people, preparedness is about the big things: the well-stocked retreat home, buying yet another firearm, or getting a super-fancy generator. While these things can certainly be classified as preparedness endeavors, it isn’t the expensive and dramatic gestures that make us truly prepared people.

The way prepared people spend their time before an emergency is the real key to survival, and this is something that no amount of money can buy.

It’s the small daily habits that become an innate part of our everyday lives – habits that may not even be noticeable to someone outside the lifestyle.

Real preppers, the ones you should look to for advice if you happen to be new to preparedness, are the ones who quietly conduct their daily lives with an eye towards readiness. Not only are these the qualities you should strive for yourself, but they are also the qualities that can help you to determine whether someone is the “real deal” or an armchair survivalist.

#1: Prepared people think beyond “Plan A”

Anytime one disaster occurs, several others are bound to follow closely in their wake. One of the most dramatic examples of this was the tsunami that followed closely on the heels of the 2011 earthquake in Japan, resulting in one of the most horrific nuclear disasters in the history of the world.

But it doesn’t have to be on such an epic scale to qualify. No matter how excellent your survival plan is, if things go awry you must immediately be able to accept that monkey wrench and adapt your plan to it.

Prepared people understand that even the most perfect plans can go wrong, and they are willing to abandon it and act on the fluid situation at hand.

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Think You’re Prepared For The Next Crisis? Think Again.


Think You’re Prepared For The Next Crisis? Think Again.

Even the best-laid preparations have failure points

No plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first contact with the main hostile force.

~ Helmuth von Moltke the Elder

Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.

~ Mike Tyson

Scottish poet Robert Burns aptly penned the famous phrase: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/Gang aft a-gley.” (commonly adapted as “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”)

How right he was.

History has shown time and time again that the only 100% predictable outcome to any given strategy is that, when implemented, things will not go 100% according to plan.

The Titanic’s maiden voyage. Napolean’s invasion of Russia. The Soviet’s 1980 Olympic hockey dream team. The list of unexpected outcomes is legion.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe during WW2, went as far as to say: “In preparing for battle, I’ve always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable.”

This wisdom very much applies to anyone seeking safety from disaster. Whether preparing for a natural calamity, a financial market crash, an unexpected job loss, or the “long emergency” of resource depletion — you need to take prudent planful steps now, in advance of crisis; BUT you also need to be mentally prepared for some elements of your preparation to unexpectedly fail when you need them most.

Here are two recent events that drive that point home.

Lessons From Hurricane Florence

A family member of mine lives in Wilmington, NC, which received a direct hit last month from Hurricane Florence.

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SELCO: Observe and Prepare for the Confusion, Panic, & Mayhem of SHTF

SELCO: Observe and Prepare for the Confusion, Panic, & Mayhem of SHTF

I have been writing articles and doing survival courses for years, and while it is much easier to show the importance of basics in real courses, it is a bit harder to do that in my articles. That’s because we as humans tend to look for flashy things. We love quick and interesting facts that will occupy our attention. But you must also prepare for the basics so that you can perform those things during the confusion, panic, and mayhem of SHTF. You must observe your surroundings before anything terrible happens.

Basics are simply that: basic – and because that we often overlook it, or forget it.

For example, an article with news about the latest development in tensions between the US and Iran with all the flaming rhetoric will catch more attention than an article about how to grow tomatoes.

We look for flashy stuff, but the majority of us need to go back to the basics (or at least to refresh them).

Every now and then, I like to remind people about that.

Why I don’t like list posts

Lists about what to do and what not to do in the form of “10 things to do” or “10 things not to do” or “10 things to have” are not my favorite, because some people tend to think those “10 things” are definitive lists that solve all problems.

But, as we write, it is easy to put it in that way as a concept. You as a reader must understand it is a list that continues, and as long as you understand that you need to constantly refresh your basics.

Big world events usually will happen no matter what you do or think about it.  You need to operate in your “small circle” where you actually can change things for real.

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5 Things You Never Thought You Needed In Your Prepper Gear

5 Things You Never Thought You Needed In Your Prepper Gear

Preparing for the worst is often looked down upon by those who don’t think there’s any reason to prepare for even a natural disaster by storing a bit of extra food.  But when you live in an area where even major blizzards are possible in winter, thoughts often go to the most obscure items and their potential use.  Here, we will list five things you may or may not have thought to add to prepping supply or gear and some possible uses.

While food, water, and ammunition seem like the obvious items to hoard and store safely for a SHTF scenario, these five items could also help, even though it may not have been considered before now.  But once you see the things we’ve come up with, we are confident you could think of even more ways to use these valuable items!


A pencil sharpener is small and light, but that’s only one reason to toss it in your bug out bag or put it in your bunker or food storage room.  You could even save a few pencils if you so desire.  But a pencil sharpener could be an invaluable tool to help you make kindling.  You would simply use the pencil sharpener to sharpen a pencil (or a twig) and get kindling to help you start a fire. Most preppers carry a lighter but stop short at thinking they could need kindling to help get a fire going. Obviously, you can shave down wood into tinder using a great knife (if you have one handy) or you might be able to find some small twigs, but nothing you can carry can make kindling quite as easily and more safely as a pencil sharpener.

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3 ‘Powerful’ Things You Can Do NOW To Prepare For A Future Grid Failure

3 ‘Powerful’ Things You Can Do NOW To Prepare For A Future Grid Failure

In the event of a grid failure, would you be prepared?  Many who prep save extra food and water, but have no idea what actually going “off the grid” would entail.  But there are some tips and tricks to preparing so you don’t find yourself or your family at the whims of those currently running the political system.

So what could happen in the event of a nation-wide power grid failure? If you rely on FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), the situation could be dire.  And what if it’s winter time? You will most likely be forced from your home in the dead of winter, with nothing more than the few supplies you were able to carry amongst yourselves. You would then be shuttered and locked into a community center (FEMA camp) with thousands of other families, displaced from their homes as well, relying on what few supplies the government could provide.  You would have to wait in long lines to use the portable bathroom and security guards would monitor your every move.  It wouldn’t exactly be a utopia – it would be more like a prison.

Living off the gird and staying out of those camps is your other option.  Of course, that’s far from ideal as well, considering you will be without the basic modern amenities we’ve all come to rely on, but you’d have your freedom. If you choose to “bug in”and live off the grid in the event of a prolonged power grid failure, here are three”powerful” tips to help you survive and make the most of your supplies or gear.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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