Living Off the Land Are You Ready? How to Live Off The Land if a Complete Breakdown of Society Ever Occurs
How to Live off the Land if a complete breakdown of society ever occurs. Bushcraft, survivalism, self-defense, stealth and survival hunting and fishing.
( “Red Dawn” Survival Guide updated with new techniques and breakthrough gear). If America collapses you’re going to need a back-up plan for survival.
Included: 10 Dangers to Living Off the Land and Surviving in the Wild.
Americans Under Attack – Some Fight Back, Survive in the Wilderness
What if “Red Dawn” ever actually took place? Russia, China and other nations (think Iran, North Korea, and America’s enemies in South America) knock out America’s defenses and then send fighters and troops into our borders.
Americans are shot, locked away in concentration camps.
Cities and towns fall, one after another, even as an American resistance force rises up from the ashes. Young men and women take up arms, live off the land, and fight from the surrounding country side.
If Society Collapses…
There is always the chance that people across this planet will be left to fend for themselves if society ever collapses — as it has for civilizations many times throughout history.
Is the modern world any different? Not when there seem to be even more threats today.
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Fleeing into the Wilderness
Where Do You Go?
Once you’re certain that it’s not safe to stay in your community, you should have an escape plan in mind — one that you have already scouted, and mapped out, preferably months in advance.
Be prepared for an emergency. Be prepared for the horrific event that one day you may have to abandon your preps and hit the road or trail on short notice.
You can do something as simple as use Google Earth to give you a general idea of different wilderness areas you – if you’re still here – can flee to in your state after a disaster has struck.
When you have two or three locations in mind go to a backcountry store that sells topographical maps (such as “Green Trails” maps) and you can easily locate hiking trails, creeks, rivers, and small lakes, elevation points, and even identify different types of terrain, which will give you a better idea of exactly what you’re up against.)
You also should have a compass that you’ve practiced using so that when the time comes to flee into the wilderness you’ll know how to find your way without getting lost.
(If you live in a southern state, consider heading north, and seek out an area that receives plenty of rain. You’ll have much better odds at survival and less odds of dying of heat stroke or wildfire.)
Consider a destination many miles away from any roads, however that is close to rivers, forest, meadows, and even one or more small lakes.
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This will put distance between you and the disaster (or other threats) behind you as well as provide suitable hunting, fishing, trapping, and fresh water sources.
Make sure the route you choose to get there doesn’t include rivers that are impossible to cross. If you do come to a river that’s impassable the only option you may have is to hike along the banks until you come to the narrowest / shallowest part of the river — and that’s where you can consider making your crossing. However, there are additional ways to cross a river and I detail several a few paragraphs down. Get ready for a wild ride!
1. Be Prepared to Run
Keep a Small Backpack in your Car and Essential Survival Items
Months before you even hit the trail you should have a large backpack at your house (commonly used for multi-day hikes) and a small backpack in the trunk of your car — commonly called a “Get Home Bag”. Be prepared. If you’re stuck in the city when disaster hits — and have to abandon your car — the small backpack in the trunk of your car can help you survive for a short period of time — even if you have to hike fifty miles to get home.
What size pack for your Get Home Bag? Just a typical size backpack you might carry on the bus or for a day hike can carry enough gear and food to get you by for the next 3 days. Your Get Home Bag shouldn’t be very big, or that can slow you down, and also call attention to yourself. For now you’re trying to avoid calling attention to yourself.
You see, if there’s any civil unrest, or you’re crossing through a city, someone else might want your pack and even shoot you for it. Just depends on how bad the civil unrest is and how freaked out people are.
Waterproof Your Gear for Disaster
Your backpack should be a dark color, not bright, no fancy label (so you don’t look like someone with money or resources). Finally, if your pack is waterproof that is a bonus. If you don’t have the money for a waterproof backpack use garbage bags to protect your backpack’s contents — or just add water-repellant properties to your pack with Scotchgard Water Repellant.
Now you’ve got a waterproof / water-resistant backpack; that’s especially important if you live an area that has a lot of rain or snow, or you have to cross through flood waters: Flood waters can be contaminated by both sewage and chemicals, a toxic smelly brew you probably don’t want contaminating your gear. Or, simply wading through a creek or river can leave your gear soaked, and your clothing wet; now your hypothermic. When it comes to the outdoors, waterproof packs, boots, jackets, and pants can be a huge plus at times.
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Items to keep in the trunk of your car, for your Get Home Bag
1. Bottled water.
2. Portable water filter. Lifestraw makes a top rated (and Time Magazine Invention of the Year) water filter priced at only $20. Consider buying 2 or 3 so you have more than one to hand out in an emergency. (In a time of disaster, you’re likely to run into a lot of thirsty people in the hours and days ahead. Just a heads up.)
3. A small radio with batteries.
4. A flashlight (0r simply a Hand-crank emergency all-weather radio with built in flashlight that doesn’t need batteries and takes the place of both).
5. Rolled-up sleeping bag stored in a sealed garbage bag or stuff sack (protecting it from moisture), as well as “military spec” paracord (so you can lasso the sleeping bag and other loose gear to the outside of your backpack for transport overland, unless you have room inside your pack of course to carry the bag).
6. Extra clothing — I recommend two pairs of pants (jeans and / or running pants) and two hooded sweat-shirts that can be worn in layers, and even slept in. In addition, I recommend light-weight waterproof “rain pants” such as those worn by runners out in the weather, that can be pulled over the top of your pants / jeans, as well as a waterproof jacket. Or, to avoid spending money on waterproof gear, use a product like Scotchgard Water Repellant to help waterproof essential gear, shoes, etc.
Cotton material (such as sweats, sweat shirts, and jeans) are dangerous in wet, cold conditions — because, once wet, cotton clothing will deplete your body temperature, which means hypothermia in cold (or even simply cool) conditions. Having light rain gear handy that you can throw over your clothing can go along way to keeping you relatively warm and dry.
If the rain is really coming down you may have to find or build shelter until the brunt of the storm passes.
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Layering Your Clothing
There’s a great chance you’re going to face cold, wet conditions at some point. Physical exertion in the cold can be dangerous; though the physical exertion may warm you up, your clothing will collect the sweat off your body and the cold air around you will cool that sweat down so much that when you stop moving finally you may quickly face hypothermia… and freeze to death.
If you layer your clothing correctly, and choose a “base layer” (the layer closest to your skin) made from non-cotton material that wicks away moisture you can stay warm and avoid hypothermia.
You should have at least two complete outfits (a top and bottom), so that each bottom and top can be worn in layers for added warmth. Homeless people are known to wear 5 or 6 layers (sometimes more, depending on climate) in order to stay warm. Learn from the homeless in this regard.
Wool / Synthetics for Cold Weather
In addition, seriously consider wool socks (warmer than cotton, and even when wet wool can still maintain warmth), and a wool stocking cap — even if it’s not fall or winter. If you find yourself in an emergency situation and have to sleep outdoors, a stocking cap will help you get through the night with a lot more comfort.
Of course in the spring, fall or winter months, you should have a coat with you at all times. A ski mask is an added bonus. Look for one that only has one large hole where your eyes and nose go. (Only wear it if you absolutely have to to keep warm otherwise you may freak people out when you pull out the type of ski mask that bank robbers wear; the last thing you want to do is call attention to yourself in a situation where there’s panic and chaos.)
7. Dry food that doesn’t spoil (peanut butter, dried beans, shelled and unsalted sunflower seeds, granola bars, energy bars, etc).
8. A small bag of instant coffee or bottled caffeine pills (you may need to keep moving initially, with limited time for rest, thus the caffeine being suggested). Anyone with a daily reliance for coffee or energy drinks should consider a supply of caffeine pills in a time of emergency. Very handy. Cheap. Easier to pack than coffee. Barter with it. A small bottle packs 240 pills, each 200 milligrams that can be broken in half for those wanting a lighter dose. There’s a good chance something as “insignificant” as caffeine will be appreciated by anyone you’re traveling with. Pass it out to your group for a boost of energy: Keep the moral up and people willing to keep moving!
9. A canvas tarp for emergency shelter (keep wrapped tight and it will take up very little space in your pack).
10. A good knife. A machete is a bonus. But carrying a machete through a city can make you a target for law enforcement trying to quell any civil unrest in the area. (For now, keep the machete out of sight and for the wilderness. If you do have to cross through the woods or brush, locate a good size stick and that can be used to hack your way through any dense foliage you encounter. It’s not as good as a machete, but a stick can still get you through when you need it to.)
11. A lighter (in fact pack multiple lighters; protect them from moisture in a Zip-Lock freezer bag — you can hand out extra lighters to people in need).
12. Candle and firestarter (cotton balls, for example, and a flammable accelerant like Vaseline or even charcoal lighter or gasoline residue that’s been previously applied to each cotton ball). Keep your firestarter in a small, sealed container, so that if your gear ever gets wet, your firestarter will remain dry. (If you live in a region of the country known for heavy rain or snow, consider carrying a micro-torch and fuel, which at 2500 degrees can set just about anything on fire in seconds. If only used for firestarting, you will get a lot of life out of just one bottle of fuel. One of the most frustrating experiences in a survival situation is trying to get a fire going when everything is wet. A micro-torch might not be touted by top survivalists who think a bow-drill is the answer to everything, but it will save the day in rainy conditions when that bow-drill fails even the best survivalist.)
13. A highly rated compass (a cheap compass can break easily and have polarity issues) and knowledge of how to protect the polarity so that the polarity doesn’t reverse on you, making the compass useless or misleading.
14. Two extra-large heavy duty garbage bags (look for “contractor” garbage bags at your local hardware store). One you can use as a rain coat in an emergency, if you don’t have a poncho. Poke holes in the sides for your arms and poke another hole for your head at the bottom of the bag. Now put the bag on upside down. You’ve got a rain coat. With the other bag (if you have a 30 gallon or bigger bag), you can attempt to curl up and sleep in if no other shelter is available or if you forget to pack a canvas tarp as advised above, or you’re simply in a hurry to bed down out of the weather. Stuff the bag with dried vegetation in an attempt to add insulation, if needed.
15. Weapon for self-defense, depending on how you feel about that and what’s legal in your area to carry in your vehicle. You can do sufficient damage to allow time to escape with a can of bear pepper spray, for example. A bowie knife is also a good deterrent. A handgun and training in self-defense with a firearm can go a long way.
16. Good shoes, such as those used for “cross-training” or “trail-running” (it’s very important that your shoes lace-up well so that they don’t come untied if you have to make a run for it.) At the same time, ankle support can help keep you from twisting an ankle. A twisted ankle in the midst of a long walk can spell disaster for some.
17. State map. Keep this map in your backpack stored in a Zip-Lock freezer bag to protect from moisture.
18. Second, more detailed map of any wilderness area you may need to cross through. This map should have forest service roads marked down, as well as train tracks, and finally hiking / biking / horseback riding trails.
Essentially, depending on the problem you’re most likely to face (which I believe is being stranded in a large city when you’re miles from home — while your wilderness supplies are all at your house), you can decide what you may need / not need in this backpack you store in the trunk of your car.
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Your Bug Out Bag
You should have two backpacks. One in the trunk of your car (your Get Home Bag), and the other (much larger, commonly used for multi-day hiking and referred to in survival circles as a “Bug Out Bag”) at your home already packed with gear so that you’re ready to flee your community on short notice. Your Bug Out Bag should have enough food and water on hand to get you by for the next 7 – 10 days, or even longer (depending on how well you can pack, how light and compact you can pack your food stocks, and how many daily calories you can restrict yourself to without compromising health or clear thinking).
(Even if you never use your survival pack — someone else you know will, if you let them know where they can find it. Having a number of articles on survival packed inside will most likely come in handy when they need it most. Remember to pack a small Bible with a personal note instructing them to read the Book of Revelation, the last chapter of the Bible. Lets face it — if all Hell breaks loose and modern day society completely collapses you can bet that the Bible is real — and that the end times are really happening. You really think this is all an accident? Laugh…)
2. Crossing a River
Slow, wide river – A wide, slow moving river is relatively easy to cross — it may come down to building a simple flotation device upstream 100 – 200 yards from where you want to land. Remember, rivers move, carried by a current. Some are swift and dangerous to cross. Others are slow, but may have a dangerous undertow that can pull you toward the bottom of the river, and you drown. So, a wide, slow moving river may not be safe to simply swim across. Constructing a simple flotation device may be the smartest way to get across.
1) When deciding where to cross, judge the width of the river by the speed of the current, as well as the bank that you hope to land on the far side of the river. Many large rivers collect driftwood along the banks and in coves, some that is floating along shore. You’re in luck, because you can quickly build a raft out of these fallen trees that are already in the water and floating. First, of course, you need rope — cordage to lash these logs together so they can support your weight. If there are multiple people in your group, you may need to build 3 – 4 makeshift rafts, rather than 1 large raft, which would call for a lot more cordage and good sized logs to work safely. The last thing you want is the raft falling apart on your group half-way across.
Here’s a thing or two to know about the outdoors: Rope (cordage), lighters, firestarter, and a makeshift pot or even just an empty can can go along way, helping ensure survival in an emergency. You should already have these items with you. If you don’t, then you should actively collect these items as you approach the wilderness. If you can’t find rope to use as cordage, simply pulling electrical and / or communications wiring out of the walls of an old house or car can work also. Of course, there are primitive methods for making cordage, but in the modern world you should be able to find a source for string or rope somewhere in your environment. Making cordage out of primitive methods is no easy task and should be a last resort (more on primitive methods of survival further down).
Swift, Cold River –The higher you are in the mountains, or the further you are into the wilderness, you have more chances of coming across a fast moving river that is too dangerous to wade across, due to the current. Study your maps and even recon the area in advance if possible to identify any and all bridges across.
Sometimes a bridge may not be an option. Time to come up with a way to swim across safely:
Not many people are likely to carry a life vest into the wilderness, and yet a life vest may be just the ticket to help you swim across. Study the path you believe the current is likely to carry you, but choose a safe place to enter the river. Don’t jump in near any spots that can carry you into a danger zone, such as large rocks, a log jam, or even trees and branches along the far shore.
Won’t your backpack sink? It might sink. That’s not good. So take a few steps to ensure that your pack will float. First of all, wrap your belongings in sealed garbage bags in order to waterproof your clothing and any lights or electronics (effectively trapping some air in each garbage bag, which will encourage floating). But even better, pack a few empty plastic containers with screw top lids. A large, empty laundry detergent container can be tied to your pack as well, if that’s the only container you have.
Each of these containers you use (with screw-top lids) will contain an air pocket, helping your pack float.
Or you can use waterproof “dry bags” (which cost a few bucks, just to warn you) or use Scotchgard Water Repellant to add a serious layer of water repelling properties to your gear, clothing, sleeping bag, or anything for that matter. A very handy tool also for kayakers, boaters, and fishermen. (I have capsized in a canoe while fishing a remote lake in rough waters in the Pacific Northwest. I have crossed several streams and rivers in my time. I have mountain camped in the snow only to wake up with rain coming down unexpectedly, and now the tent, gear, etc., wet from melting snow. Needless to say, I’ve ended up with wet gear and clothing at inopportune times and now heed people to take steps to protect their gear from water, when in the wild.)
Additional Ways to Cross a River
– Rope and pulley system; used by military special forces around the world or even search and rescue teams. First person crosses to secure line and connections, then gear is brought across using pulley, and then finally people.
– One Rope Bridge – The strongest, most able person crosses first and secures an end of rope to a far tree, enabling others to cross, using the rope as leverage.
– In a swift, yet shallow river it may be possible to wade across. Anchor arms with people you are crossing with and proceed with the current, moving at a downward angle with the water flow, so that you are not fighting the current as much.
– Chop down a large tree – Use directional cuts and placement and even rope to help fell the tree in the direction you want it to fall. If it’s tall enough, it can fall completely across the river you hope to cross. Now use this tree as a bridge.
– Portable flotation device (tube) for emergencies and manual pump – A manual pump is light-weight and doesn’t take up much space in your pack. Seyvlor makes a river tube with an outer skin to help protect from puncture. When deflated a tube can take up very little space in your pack. Inflate / deflate only as needed. Very handy, very cheap to have.
The challenge of course is paddling a tube across a river. These Filipino kids figured it out after a disastrous flood. Can you? If your hands aren’t an option, you can also construct a paddle out of a single flat board.
Lay on your stomach, across the tube, and face the direction you want to paddle. Clutch this single board with both hands (one hand gripping the left side, the other hand gripping the right side), and now paddle. This is the same lateral paddling motion used on Mississippi riverboats, different than a side paddling motion seen in canoes and kayaks. With a tube, a side paddling motion will only turn you in circles, (unless you have two paddles). (source)
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