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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.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The 7 Pillars of Urban Preparedness

The 7 Pillars of Urban Preparedness

The 7 Pillars of Urban Preparedness is an introductory course that Selco and I teach. This is a foundational module that we refer to often because so much is built from these seven pillars. Selco and I created this framework to hang things in a logical sequence.

When Selco and I first met we shared our teaching material. After sifting through it all we found we had a massive volume of material with very little structure. People were having to process the information and somehow compartmentalize it in their own minds. They could not keep up with what we were teaching in the moment because they were still trying to sort out the previous information. We realized we needed to build structures for people to hang information on.

The preppersphere desperately needs that structure. As the sphere expands, without these structures, the information becomes more and more fragmented and people do not quite know what to do with the information they are given. The 7 Pillars are strong foundational pillars designed to help them with that and to help build resilience.

Please remember this crucial piece of advice:

These pillars are meant to be built together, incrementally, and consistently so the main structure stays level. You don’t want to build one pillar to its highest possible height when you haven’t yet started on the other 6.

What are the 7 Pillars?

  • Pillar One: Water
  • Pillar Two: Shelter
  • Pillar Three: Fire
  • Pillar Four: Food
  • Pillar Five: Signaling | Communication
  • Pillar Six: Medical | Hygiene
  • Pillar Seven: Personal Safety

Pillar One: Water

Water is absolutely vital. Most of us probably already know that. However, what we see consistently is we struggle to contextualize the absence of something. Particularly water. Many people just can not fathom a world without freely available water. Even though academically we know it is possible there may be a time when we are without water, we viscerally don’t feel it.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

SELCO: The 5 Things That Will Surprise You Most When the SHTF

SELCO: The 5 Things That Will Surprise You Most When the SHTF

I recently ran one of my newest courses, called “A Mile in My Shoes.” This is where I take a small group of students to the city where I survived the war and take them around and physically show them the realities of what was faced. A lot of lessons are learned during the course and most importantly (and what I hoped for) students come far closer to realizing the ‘reality’ of a true SHTF situation.

I thought I would share with you the ‘top 5’ surprises that the students encountered, meaning things they had not thought about or realized before the course but had to accept and come to terms with during…

1) How ‘close’ the fighting will be.

This picture, taken very close to my house, was one of the ‘front lines’ for some time. One side was in houses on the left of the alley, another side (enemy) were in the right-side houses.

This seems INCREDIBLY close (and it is) but then realize, there were times when the ‘dividing lines’ were even closer than this.

When you put that into the perspective then you can start to think about new reality because there is nothing very static and sure when SHTF, one day the house next to you can be completely safe, another day there might be someone inside who wants to harm you, or simply you’ll never be sure how safe and secure are your surroundings.

It is the most dangerous aspect of urban SHTF because you’ll have a lot of people in a relatively small area and you’ll have a higher demand for (very limited) resources because the ‘system’ is gone.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

SELCO: Strategy and Mobility Are More Important Than Storing Lots of Physical Things for the SHTF

SELCO: Strategy and Mobility Are More Important Than Storing Lots of Physical Things for the SHTF

Years after my SHTF I am definitely better prepared and organized for anything similar in the future, but just like all things in prepping it is so easy to get again in the same false feeling of being “secure.”

Once it was, “Oh it can never happen here.” Now it can be, “I am much better prepared now, I am safe.”

We all sooner or later get ourselves in a situation where when we buy physical things for SHTF, we are actually buying the feeling of safety and peace of mind. I try to avoid that, but of course just like everybody else I often find myself there.

One of the questions that I get often goes like this: “What would you choose to have now for SHTF after going once through it?” And it is easy to answer it more or less.

But taking into consideration how most preppers prepare for SHTF I must say that while a lot of things would be easier, the same problems would be there even with having a lot of physical things stored for SHTF.

Here are some examples.

Security and resources

Of course, I could have used more weapon at that time, and more ammo, especially at the beginning of everything when there was complete and absolute chaos everywhere. It was a time when you still do not know exactly who is dangerous and where you can go to be safe.

In that period of time, it is, as I mentioned before, it is best to stay put, and even better to have some resources and means to defend that resources.

So yes, I could have used more of both at that time – better resources and better means to defend it.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

SELCO: The Dangers of Looking “Tactical” When the SHTF

SELCO: The Dangers of Looking “Tactical” When the SHTF

Every now and then I get into “rant ” mode, and then even I realize that I am being grumpy. I can’t help myself, I have to go through it, and usually, that means I have to write.

So…

My very good friend told me a story some time ago. This friend is into survival training, and he is a very good observer of people and events.

He was traveling and landed in some airport somewhere.

There he spotted a guy in tactical grey pants, 5.11 shirt, and dark glasses, tactical boots… the guy was looking like the “prototype” of “being tactical.” He was standing there with a “tough” expression on his face.

He did not move.

He was being all “tactical”.

But being tactical means not standing out.

The only problem is that he was sticking out badly because he was in the middle of hundreds of people who were in holiday mode; funny shirts, suitcases, travel bags, or business suits. Yet, he was standing there like a wannabe mercenary.

I mean maybe the guy just likes to wear cool stuff, I do not have anything against that.

The point is the concept of “looking tactical” went into some wrong and weird directions a long time ago for many reasons: books, Hollywood, survival industry, money… and that guy is a perfect example of how you can be dressed in tactical equipment and look tactical but still stick out ridiculously.

Looking tactical at that airport probably means being dressed like you are going on a holiday, or business trip, or walking and acting like you are checking the arrival of a plane, or talking on the phone or whatever else.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Selco on the Riots in France, False News, and Manipulated Rage: “Every riot can be the start of SHTF”

Selco on the Riots in France, False News, and Manipulated Rage: “Every riot can be the start of SHTF”

Editor’s note: The riots in France have been all over the news and we’ve watched many beautiful, historic places being destroyed. While the whole thing supposedly started in reaction to an increase in fuel prices, it has turned into something far worse than simple protests. We in the US have long suspected that many of the riots here have been funded and that the rage has been manipulated. In this article, Selco shares his perspective and explained how riots helped start the Balkan War. ~ Daisy


Thanks to the situation that is deteriorating everywhere, I think we gonna be witnessing more and more events like the latest rioting in France. I think it is just the beginning.

For this article, it is not really important what was the reason of riots there. The point is that riots like that gonna probably happen “in your town” too eventually.

Why is that?

Without getting too deep into political and economical or any other reason why it might happen to you, two reasons can be pointed out.

The internet and social networks create waves.

The internet as a resource for independent news and opinions is a great thing, but also it may work in a different opposite way. It happens like this all the time so one fake news that is carefully packaged and spun can cause an illogical situation where you have full grown people getting together and involving themselves into something that is actually riot.

So as an end result you are out, together with people who are kicking a police officer or storming the local mall for big screen TVs because you were fueled and raged by something that you read or saw on the internet, something that might be completely false.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What Will YOU Be Like When the SHTF?

What Will YOU Be Like When the SHTF?

Did you ever wonder, deep down in that secret place where you question yourself, how you would behave in an all-out SHTF catastrophe? Would you take charge like some kind of superhero? Would you hide the entire time, terrified of being discovered? Would you actually be able to put into practice all the skills you’ve learned for all this time, just for that moment?

We can all guess how we’d respond, but until we’re in the situation, none of us actually knows what we’d be like when the SHTF. The one thing I learned from Selco’s newest compilation of stories is that there are many different ways to survive, and not all of them are noble or heroic. In horrific situations, people do what they must to live through it. Sometimes they do what they’ve wanted to do all along, and sometimes they accept their fate as the only alternative to death.

The following scenarios are taken from Selco’s new book, SHTF Survival Stories, Volume 2. If you read his book, SHTF Survival Stories, Volume 1, you’ll know that he doesn’t pull any punches when he tells you about the grim reality of a longterm survival situation and this book is no different.

People hide.

In one story, Selco talks about a person he knew who became a member of a gang to survive the SHTF. The man shared the fact that he never slept in the same place two nights in a row.

When we moved through the city, we learned quickly in those days, adapt or die. We saw many people die.

We always changed location, every day or night a different location. We lived on the move. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

FORGET THE LISTS: Selco’s Guide to What You Should REALLY Store for Trade and Barter

FORGET THE LISTS: Selco’s Guide to What You Should REALLY Store for Trade and Barter

Selco’s Guide to What You Should REALLY Store for Trade and Barter

Discussions about trade and usage of trade are great because sooner or later when SHTF, you’ll find yourself in a situation to be involved in a trade.

Now this sentence above sounds great and you may think: “OK, let’s just store a whole bunch of items for trade”.

But what items?

Then you may look for info what is going to be missing once when SHTF and you may find out that (eventually) everything going to be gone and missing once when SHTF really bad.

So it is not about what is gonna be gone when SHTF when it comes to trade. It is much more about what makes sense to have stored for trade.

But since the whole trade topic got pretty much “hijacked” from the fiction industry, there are a lot of myths there, so let’s start from some common sense ideas first.

When you should trade during SHTF?

The answer is pretty weird and paradoxical.

The answer is that you should not trade, or you should avoid trade because the process is dangerous because it involves usually unknown people during a prolonged event where there is no law and order.

In a more serious event, it is one more level up in danger. It is an event where there is no law and order and there are clear signs that law and order are not coming back any time soon.

So, again you are involved in a process where you are holding valuable resources and showing them to another group of people in a time where there is no punishment from the system for the folks who want to shoot you because of those resources.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

SELCO: What Really Happens When the SHTF Is Over Is Not What Most People Expe

SELCO: What Really Happens When the SHTF Is Over Is Not What Most People Expect

When finally the SHTF was over, when peace came it was not like we imagined it.

It was very different from what we imagined it while we were in the middle of the SHTF.

It was different on many levels.

When peace came we didn’t believe it.

During the war, many ceasefires were signed, and many peace treaties, local or countrywide. Many times high delegations from the EU came to our country or in surrounding countries. They held long elaborate peace conferences with local politicians and tried to make some agreements.

When the agreements were made and when we heard about it somehow, we hoped it could work. But it did not so the war continued.

To add to those real conferences and treaties we also had raging misinformation and rumors about peace settlements and treaties that actually never happened. So after some time, and many “peace agreements”  while slaughter continued we simply kinda stop believing that it was going to happen.

And then one day one of those treaties kinda worked.

The war stopped.

It was not like it just stopped immediately one day. But through agreements, the shooting stopped, and through a very complicated process (that in a way still lasts) the situation started to move to some new kind of “normal”.

The fighting stopped, but since there were no real winners, it took time for some things.

For example, for months you could not go into some parts of the country with the “wrong” license plate or sticker on your car or similar…

We changed after the SHTF

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Selco’s Guide to Looting and Scavenging When the SHTF

Selco’s Guide to Looting and Scavenging When the SHTF

Through the media, we have gotten a picture of scavengers, so there are movies and book about guys who ride motorcycles while wearing helmets with horns. These guys are looting and scavenging after the SHTF. And then, in this fantasy, there are good guys who do not do that, except maybe to get some interesting book or similar.

The interesting thing is the fact that guys who “scavenge” somehow through all those movie and book cliches are understood as bad guys and psychos. Through the news, we see folks who loot as a mindless mob who drag out big screen plasma TVs while floods are coming.

It would be cool if we could try to form our opinion and adopt some knowledge and strategies without those images from above.

It is nearly impossible, but let’s try.

Let’s try to form our strategies about looting and scavenging through the following topics.

First, remember that curiosity killed the cat.

One of my favorite sayings is that “curiosity killed the cat” and I think I survived many times during my SHTF situation thanks to the fact that I kept it on my mind all the time.

We are living in the times where we simply we “want to see and understand”, or even better where we want to have that feeling of “amusement”, moments of excitements.

We read about how people get killed or injured just because they want to check how dangerous something is, or just because they wanted to have selfie photo in some dangerous place.

Horse playing has become our culture, and a lot of people do stupid things just because “it looks cool”.

A real SHTF event has much higher stakes, so you need to have the thought constantly in your mind that says: “Do I really need to do that?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

SELCO: The Importance of Friends and Family When the SHTF

SELCO: The Importance of Friends and Family When the SHTF

In one of the previous articles, I mentioned how to deal with people who might show up on your doorstep once when SHTF, looking for help from you. And I mentioned that a lot of people worry about the fact that their friends and family will be among those people.

The topic that cannot be separated from that is trust, and it is something to think about (and write) here.

Friends and family in the world today

I was talking a few days ago with a friend about the issue of friends and family when SHTF. I realized that some 15 years ago if something serious happened, some event that needed a strong group of bonded people in order to overcome that event (riots, serious weather event, disruption of law and order, war…) I could count probably on 15 people I really trusted, organizing together with me in a very short period of time.

Today if something serious happened, I can count maybe on 5 or 6 people.

I am talking about the number of people that I can trust with my life in a strong core group.

That count includes all of my friends and family. Only 5 or 6 would be trusted enough.

And you need to know that I live in a region of the world where family connections are traditionally very important.

So yes, things are very bad, even here.

We are living in the world where, intentionally or not, we are being pushed or dragged into a reality where materialistic goods are the only thing that is important.

Or to use philosophic words, it has become more important “to have, not to be.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

SELCO: “The media manipulated people, bombarding us with fear and hate” during the Balkan Wars. Sound familiar?

SELCO: “The media manipulated people, bombarding us with fear and hate” during the Balkan Wars. Sound familiar?

Editor’s note: A point I’ve been harping on a lot lately is how we in the United States have been divided by politics and the media lately. Many have become callous and lost their humanity. People havebegged for laws and rulings against others but don’t like those laws and rulings when it later applies to them. It will ring familiar when you read this article as Selco shares how the media manipulated the population of the Balkans fanning the flames of hatred and fear. To paraphrase, if we don’t learn from history, we’ll repeat the mistakes, again and again. Don’t let yourself be manipulated by half-truths and hate-mongering propaganda. ~ Daisy


Media is a very powerful and useful tool and we as preppers lean on it in making our opinions and decisions.

Many survival strategies, bug-out routes, survival storages and whatnot are built on what we figured out based on information that media gave us.

I belong to a generation that once believed, “if it was not on TV it did not happen.” Today there are many more choices, but in essence, it comes down to the fact that if it is nicely packaged and repeated for enough number of times, most of the folks are gonna believe it.

Because of the ways of modern life, we tend to want information very fast and accurate, and the accent is on fast. We want “flashy” and useful, and the accent is on flashy.

There are many more choices, sources, and opinions for how we get information and from what media – but still, not too many things have changed. We are still very easy to manipulate with through the media.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

SELCO: The Myth of the Perfect EDC and Bug Out Bag

SELCO: The Myth of the Perfect EDC and Bug Out Bag

In the survival-prepper world, it is very important what you carry with you and just as much so, how you carry it. But it is a giant myth that there is just one right way to do this. Despite what many people want to say, there is no perfect and universal everyday carry, perfect and universal bug out bag, car kit, or other gear.

There might be some items or universal rules that every kit should have, but everything else is based on the specific situation.

It is often misunderstood, You can see that actually when someone post his EDC for example on a social media post that you are gonna have probably many comments with specific suggestions what is right or wrong in that kit. But the problem is that lot of those suggestions (or objections) are based on the specific needs or scenarios of the commenter. The suggestions may not work for the person who has that EDC.

As a general rule, we can say that you may take advice about some item in your kit, but you should always keep in mind that you are building kit based on YOUR settings and needs.

Take, bug out bags, for example.

No matter how much we write (or read) about bug out bags there are gonna be more endless discussion about it, reasons are simply because BOBs are about having cool things (that are cool to discuss) and also because by having a good BOB we are trying to cover many problems that are gonna emerge when SHTF.

Over the time we set up our own BOB with tools and equipment that we hope are gonna work for us.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Selco’s SHTF Reality Check: 5 Deadly Mistakes That Preppers Are Making

Selco’s SHTF Reality Check: 5 Deadly Mistakes That Preppers Are Making

It is hard to bring the mindset of survival to the people who have not experienced a hard situation of at least some kind of survival event.

Over the many years of being connected with people who are into survival, I realize there are the same topics for discussion and people actually become fixated on those topics.

Inside those topics over the years “rules” are set and it is hard to change them. Opinions are formed and if you jump in with a different opinion, you are going to be ridiculed.

The survival community has turned in into a parody of itself. Something that should be free from the mainstream has turned into a very mainstream thing.

Misunderstandings.

Intentional false information.

The survival industry.

We are living in a society where we want it and we want it now, and what is most important we want it the easy way without effort and sweat.

This is true for the survival community, too.

That is the way survival myths (and mistakes) are born. Here are the 5 biggest mistakes that preppers make. Mistakes that can get them killed.

1) Making too specific a plan (and sticking to it)

Because of tons of information, we are being “funneled” into forming opinions about survival and especially about the reasons of possible bad events in future, possible SHTF situations, collapses or whatever you call it.

So we have preppers who are getting ready for an EMP, or an economic collapse, or an immigrant crisis, or a war, or simply a bad weather event.

In essence, there is nothing wrong with it, except some people stick so hard to one imagined” possible scenario that they do complete planning based on that scenario only.

As a result, if that scenario happens they could be good, but if any other scenario happens they are in deep trouble.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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