Tuesday, March 25, 2014

INFORMATIVE - Survival Cooking

Every outdoor enthusiast has their preferred method of cooking outdoors, however, in some scenarios certain cooking methods are either impractical or downright dangerous (risk of being seen, etc), and so this article is a quick pros and cons of various portable cooking methods that can be used by the modern day prepper.

Campfire


The campsite staple campfire is the most all-round useful method of cooking. It burns hot, cooks quickly, provides considerable heat to keep you warm and alive, and its flames can be used for many other purposes besides cooking whilst you've got it going. It does, however, alert everyone for miles as to where you are and what you're doing, and is very difficult to disguise once it's done.

Pros:
  • High temperature
  • Multi-use
  • Provides considerable warmth while cooking
  • Morale
Cons:
  • Extremely visible
  • Large smoke trail
  • Hard to fully hide once done


Discreet Campfire


It is possible to make your campfire considerably more discreet. Using a Dakota Firepit near the base of a well-branched tree can hide the light and do a good job at dispersing the smoke of your fire, but it takes quite a while to set up, and if built wrong, is a dead giveaway.

Pros:
  • High temperature
  • Discreet if done correctly
  • Out of reach of the wind
Cons:
  • Time consuming to set up
  • Takes practice to master the art
  • Hard to fully hide once done


Alcohol Stove


Alcohol stoves are small, lightweight and very easy to take with you. They have an extremely low light output, but not a huge heat output. If time is not a factor, these are great, but if you're in a hurry, you might want to look elsewhere.

Pros:
  • Lightweight
  • Extremely discreet (almost no light, and zero sound)
  • Easy to fuel and maintain
 Cons:
  • Very, very slow to heat up a mess tin or pot
  • Low heat output for warmth
  • One of the more dangerous cookers to use with risk of lit fuel spills


Hexi Stove


A military staple, hexi stoves are portable, simple to use, require no maintenance and are extremely efficient for their size, and despite their drawbacks, they are probably one of the more reliable cooking methods to carry.

Pros:
  • Virtually zero maintenance
  • Lightweight
  • Fairly fast and hot
  • Very slick profile for ease of packing
  • Designed to use standard kindling if you run out of hexi tabs
Cons:
  • Very difficult to put a hexi tablet out if you have to, so not for use on the run
  • Metal frame gets extremely hot, so it can't be packed quickly after use




Gas Stove

Gas stoves are one of the better options for quick-moving stealth missions, but also for convenience. They light easily, extinguish and cool quickly, and cook extremely fast (especially in the case of the JetBoil - the Informed Prepper cooker of choice). They are, however, reliant on a finite resource, which is their Achilles Heel.

Pros:
  • Cook extremely fast
  • Fast packaway
  • Lightweight
Cons:
  • Reliant on gas cylinders - a finite resource
  • Not multi-purpose
  • Can take up a lot of pack room

Solar


Solar cookers are often thought of as a bit of a joke, and while they are considerably more inconvenient than those methods listed above, they still deserve a place on this list, for what it's worth.

Pros:
  • Rely purely on the sun to generate heat
  • Give off zero pollutants
Cons:
  • Requires sun, so no cooking during the night or when overcast
  • Often quite bulky by comparison
  • Often fragile, as they make use of glass lenses


So hopefully this selection gives you an insight into what to bring. What you should use depends heavily on factors such as carry capacity, weather, geographical concerns and also personal preference. The Informed Preppers love our JetBoils and rarely go out on a trek without them, but at the same time we both carry Hexi Stoves in our packs as an alternative method. I personally have one of each of the cookers listed above and have used them all enough to know that each has their place.

Always remember that an informed decision is likely to be a correct one!

Be prepared, not scared.

- CumQuaT

Monday, March 17, 2014

OPINION - Getting their Attention

So you've decided that you don't like the current structure of things... Your country isn't being run the way you think it should be. What do you do?


First let's look at what they SAY you should do. They say you should join your local political party which DOES support your view, and work hard to push that party's views - perhaps even become the nation's leader. This is the proper, official way to do things.

But there's a problem with that. Even aside from the theories of rigged voting and political favoritism, the party who wins is often the party with the most money. When you can afford billboards, flyers, letter box drops, TV ad campaigns, etc, every day during the entire election campaign, then you are much more likely to get noticed and get voted for. How do these candidates get this money? Corporate sponsorship. In this way, it is these corporations which get to - after a fashion - select the nation's leaders, and I guarantee they'll choose the ones which benefit their financial interests.

Many people realise this, of course, and so they resort to the next level of action - protesting.


This can be effective, but it is a thin line that protestors must walk. A protest which is too calm - just a bunch of people gathering and giving speeches to one another, such as the recent March in March throughout Australia - will do nothing, and can be swept under the rug by local media (which is often controlled or filtered by the government), whereas a protest which is too aggressive - rioting and battles with police - makes the agenda of the protest be cast in a negative light, and can actually be detrimental to the cause in the long term.

An effective protest is one which forces the views of the protesters to be communicated to the right people, while at the same time not devolving into anything negative, such as violence or destruction.

How can this be done? Organization, planning and discipline.


If a protest - even one manned by thousands, or tens of thousands - merely sits around having a chat and a sing-song, then it will get nothing accomplished other than a sense of self satisfaction. However, a group ten thousand or more strong barricading a shopping mall, or denying people access or egress from a parliamentary building, or blocking up a major roadway... That gets attention. That cannot be ignored.

This sort of thing, however, can often devolve into a violent protest, or rioting. This is something that should not happen unless violence is used against you - and only then to defend yourself, your rights and your fellow protestors. Preventing a riot requires discipline, leadership and organization. Pure, unadulterated communication so that everyone involved knows what is at stake, what they are to do and how long they are to do it for, because I guarantee you, when a protest group that large shuts down a major facility, the police will show - and when an armed minority is faced with an unarmed minority, they will use force multipliers to disperse them.


When performing an organized protest in this way, you are essentially holding a major facility or convenience hostage until your demands are met, and the established powers will not stand for this, and so force will be applied in the form of arrests, water cannons, teargas, rubber bullets and more. This is where the discipline comes in. Conviction of your beliefs. Most countries have the benefit of having law enforcement who won't actively start shooting into crowds of people, and you can use this to your advantage.

If you look at it from an objective point of view, when a large group of people is calling for something from their government, and the response is to send armed police with force multipliers, then that is the government saying "we will not listen to you".

So what are you willing to do when that happens? How great is your conviction, really? If you're going to protest, and enough people agree with you, then someone must do it. You eventually break them, or they break you. Which will it be?

- CumQuaT

Sunday, March 2, 2014

INFORMATIVE - The Importance of Staying Sharp

Recently, the Informed Preppers humped out into a bit of local bushland which - while dense - is criss-crossed with dozens of bushwalking paths and bike tracks, and we did so during peak time, when the forest would be at its most heavily populated. Why did we do this? Because it's important to keep your skills sharp.


We set ourselves a mission to get from one end of the forest to the other, actively crossing several of the paths, without being seen by anyone out for a walk or ride - quite a task given the number of people going through there on a beautiful sunny Saturday. Staying hidden and moving through a monitored area unseen is an important survival skill which isn't the sort of thing you want to try and learn how to do "on the night" so to speak, and so we took this as the perfect opportunity to test our mettle while there was no real risk.


Why do this? Many preppers/survivalists will limit their knowledge to reading it in books or watching video tutorials, but very few are willing to really go out and learn these skills the hard way - by actually doing it. I cannot stress enough to importance of attempting to find water, light a fire, move with stealth, shoot a bow and arrow, build a shelter out of nature... All of these things are very difficult to do, and even more difficult to do under the strain of necessity.

No prepper has an excuse not to actually get out and do these things. Camp in your back yard if you have to... Spend an evening cooking over a fire that you lit yourself after making your hands bleed on a flint and steel... Go to your local bit of parkland and try walking through the bushes rather than along the path. Start small if you have to, but get the hands on experience that you may one day come to rely on in a real life-or-death situation. The thing about survival is that you never see the situations coming, they're just thrust upon you and you must be ready for them.

For a bit of fun, here are some shots of your Informed Preppers' camouflage setups in action. Can you find us?




It was a long day for us, and very tiring, but it was a 100% successful mission and it lets us know that our skills are still sharp!

Remember... Be prepared, not scared.



- CumQuaT