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Preparedness/Survival Skills/BOBs/Kits/Gear If it will help keep you going when TSHTF, talk about it here.

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Old 11-02-2015, 09:35 PM
JeepHammer Male JeepHammer is offline
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 39
Default Starting From Scratch...

I spent 16 years in the military,
Got disabled, spent about 1-1/2 years in the hospital,
Then bought a piece of bare property, and started from scratch.

Drove my little Jeep with no top onto the land, and started from right there...

I've always been off grid, and there were some hard lesions, costly lesions that you might consider when thinking 'Bug Out' instead of sustainability....


Out House, Jonny Barn, Crapper, Reading Room, what ever you want to call it...

Right after shelter (Tent) and Water, the Privy was the first thing I *SHOULD HAVE* built.

Pick a spot that has RUN OFF, not at the bottom of a hill where water will stand when it rains hard.
You don't want to 'Hold It' for days until the rain lets up!

Don't build 'Up Stream' of the water table to where you get your water.
You don't want sewage running into your water supply.

If you intend to plant a garden, then put your 'Privy' on an up hill side of the garden.
This allows your SHOWER WATER to run directly off into the garden, saving hauling water TWICE, once to bathe with, once to water the garden.
Gray water is just fine for watering a garden,
You will want to dig an extra deep hole for the Latrine pit...
You don't want raw waste getting into your garden, especially around vegetables that grow directly on the ground like cucumbers, potatoes, strawberries or carrots, ect.

The MOST efficient way I've found is to put THREE posts ON (NOT IN) the ground tall enough for a water tank over your head...
Three points of a 'Square', not a triangle.
You can use a 4th post if you need one or have post material handy.
Use something under your posts to spread the load out so your posts don't sink...

Water buckets, jugs, barrel(s) or tank sit on top, heat up in the daytime, and give you gravity feed for showers, washing up.
Use rocks, sticks, boards, what ever you can find on the ground and dig a drain away from your shower or you will wind up with a mud pit.

Dig your latrine pit outside one wall, add two more posts and enclose your latrine if you need to. (pretty handy for keeping tools out of the rain as well as taking care of bodily functions).

By sitting ON the ground instead of setting posts IN the ground, you can move it when you need a new pit...

This gives you the most basic of civilization,
You can get washed up, you aren't squatting in the fields like an animal...


When you start with NOTHING but a few basic 'Pioneer' hand tools.

No handles that will break.
I'm perfectly aware that wood handles give superior control and feedback when you are working,
But they crack, split, break, and are time consuming to replace.

Fiberglass is heavy, and a pain in the butt for feel, causes blisters, ect.
But they are virtually indestructible if you keep them out of a fire.

Don't forget a file and a pair of heavy work gloves...
Sharp tools are so much more efficient and easier to work with than dull tools it's not funny,
And blisters suck, get infected, cause problems, slow down work...

A LONG HANDLE shovel instead of a short shovel will save your back,

POST HOLE DIGGERS are mostly overlooked by guys thinking about 'Bug Out', but it's almost impossible to efficiently dig a small diameter hole without them,

A double bit ax, one side sharpened FINE, the other sharpened Course, will speed up any lumber work you have to do.

A LONG, solid pry bar. This seems pretty basic, but if you have never tried to pry rocks, roots, lift something really heavy, then you know the value of a pry bar...
A ROUND pry bar is a roller, a pry bar with at least one blunt end is a hammer that will reach WAY back into a hole/narrow space,
A 5 foot long pry bar is an extra man, maybe two, when you want to move something heavy...

An absolutely bullet proof sledge hammer handle...
There is a ton of force there, and a sledge hammer is probably the easiest to break a handle out of.

Most guys recommend climbing rope in a 'Bug Out' situation,
But they almost never include a pulley or two...
Probably a weight issue.
Again, a strong rope, a couple of pulleys are an extra guy or two when you need to get work done.

I actually used my pry bar through my bumper hitch on the Jeep to break ground for a simple garden... Just for an example of what you CAN do...

Save any external power you have for really important projects.
I used a Jeep Winch to lift rafters into place, pull up masts for power generation, ect.


If you have a tent, which most people *Think* is a good idea,
Best start reinforcing a shelter that covers the tent.

Most tents aren't intended for full time use, if synthetic (Light Weight) UV light will destroy them in a single season.
Most tents are '3 Season', meaning they aren't intended for winter use.
Most tents will mold/rot in wet weather.

Storms/Wind stretch fabric/stitching, tear fabric, bend/break poles/supports, ect.
Anything you can do to extend the life of your basic tent is a good thing, giving you time scout/collect resources/build something more permanent.

Getting your shelter built to SHIELD THE TENT is always a good idea.
If you use it for a work shelter/shed later when you get proper shelter built is up to you,
But it's worth expending the effort to build up around your initial living area.

This can be as easy as stacking fire wood around your tent, then laying poles over, then some sort of thatching, or actually building a roof,
But at some point, you are going to need to shelter your tent from driving wind, storms, ect.
Anyone that has ever spent a bad storm in a tent knows EXACTLY what I'm talking about!


This probably isn't what you were thinking...

ROPES that get twisted, will lift or move things you can't lift or move on your own.
Pry Bars will allow you to move things you can't otherwise lift or move.

Rollers will allow you to move VERY LARGE weights around.

A hand hammer and wedges will split stone without busting your guts.

Vehicles make a lot of power, wastes most of it.
A winch makes controlled power that you use most of,
A 'Come-A-Long' is 100% use of the power you put into it.

There are all kinds of ways to make power, to use it, to waste it.
Think through what you are doing, see if you can get your power to go farther.

A 'Bug Out' vehicle should have at least 2 batteries,
Two batteries will get you a good distance even if the alternator fails.
Two batteries will operate things like a winch, electric air compressor, inverter, battery powered tools ect. without the vehicle running, burning fuel.

Solar Panels on top your vehicle will keep the battery/batteries charged and supply a small amount of power for your work.

Even building an open fire there are things you can do to maximize the effort you spent on gathering fuel.
A reflector of some kind on the far side will bounce heat/light back to you,
While keeping the back side of your tent insulated, and putting a clear plastic sheet over the side facing the fire will warm your tent up.

A water processing bucket can ALWAYS be hanging over the fire, or a bucket in the fire to keep that water purification process going, taking advantage of the fuel.

Building a 'Rocket Furnace' or 'Rocket Stove' will maximize your fuel.


There is nothing quite like an old Jeep, some 'Pioneer' tools, a tent and a military mess kit, starting from scratch and building your own homestead.
I didn't even have a sleeping bag, just a couple of surplus store blankets...

You will figure out EXACTLY what you 'NEED',
Exactly what will speed up your work process,
What will speed up your food processing,
And what is a 'Want' rather than a 'Need'.

The one ongoing essential was a 'Field Knife',
Something long enough to dig with, do a little light chopping, heavy enough blade to pry or drive a nail...

Another ongoing essential was a METAL CANTEEN, something that simply WILL NOT break, crack, split, burn, ect.
Later on, when I had a water filter installed on top the Privy, I could default to plastic bottles, but at first it was river water that had to be crudely filtered and boiled, and a metal canteen/canteens was essential for that.

There is so much trash that practically everything in my original camp was recovered/repurposed besides tools & tent...
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Old 11-02-2015, 09:57 PM
doc doc is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
Posts: 1,529

Originally Posted by JeepHammer View Post

Drove my little Jeep with no top onto the land, and started from right there...


Reminds me of a guy I became acquainted with years ago at the local pub. He drove a WWII vintage Jeep kept running with bailing wire, chewing gum and rubber bands. It had a bumper sticker that read "My Other Car is a Pair of Hiking Boots."

Thanks for the quick synopsis of tips.
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Old 11-02-2015, 10:52 PM
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Jjr Male Jjr is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: NWLA
Posts: 837

Experience certainly provides dividends for any novice self-reliant types, an straightens the path for any contemplating costly mistakes. Your comments were well worded.

How long have you been working on the homestead now?

How are things progressing?

Hope you are well prepared for the coming winter months.
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