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    Welcome to Project Gridless!

    Hello! Project Gridless is dedicated to off the grid living, foraging / hunting / gardening for food, traditional survival skills and modern tips for alternative energy. Please Follow, Subscribe or Like.

    Purchasing Survival Gear via Amazon.ca

    Having recently reviewed the contents of my Bug Out Bag, I have purchased two additional items in order to round out the contents of the bag for possible future use.

    Or if nothing bad happens, they'll still be useful for camping gear.

    I ordered the items via Amazon.ca, which is beneficial because it means I am not browsing through a brick and mortar store and possibly buying extra things that I don't need...

    Because I know what I am like. I would totally buy extra things that I don't need.

    The other benefit is that I get free shipping so it is just a matter of waiting and my items should arrive within a few days.

    So what did I add to my bug out bag?

    • 1 large reflective "space blanket", which is handy for building a shelter + being used as a physical blanket.
    • 1 LifeStraw, which is handy for filtering water to make sure it is safe to drink.

    Plus these are both things I foresee possibly using while camping anyway.

    I obviously have lots of other things that are already in my Bug Out Bag, but due to the current tense political situation between the USA and Russia I feel it is prudent to at least add a few extra things in case the worst were to happen.

    Not panicking.

    Not being paranoid.

    Just being prudent and prepared.

    I am reminded of the Boy Scouts Motto: "Always be prepared."

    Even if nothing happens, it never hurts to be prepared.

    And having the option to easily filter drinking water just felt like something I should get, as it is certainly faster than having to boil water to make certain it is safe to drink.

    Likewise, having an extra blanket that is well suited for making a shelter or doubling as a reflective blanket makes sense. Combined with everything else I already have it makes me feel more confident that if something really bad did happen, at least that would be two less things to worry about.



    Bug Out Bag Essentials for the Nuclear Apocalypse

    Whenever Russia and the USA look like they're on the verge of a nuclear apocalypse it is a good time to check your bug out bag for anything else you might need should the worst happen.

    Assuming you survive the nuclear missiles destroying various cities, you will want to have some of the following. Note: You obviously cannot carry everything on this list, even if you had a vehicle you couldn't bring everything. You need to prioritize what things are the most important and then you may need to scavenge things or do without as you travel.

    • Surviving the Fallout
    • Shelter 
    • Food and Water
    • Clothing
    • Defense
    • Heat/Warmth
    • Lighting
    • First Aid
    • Navigation Tools
    • Multi-purpose Tools
    • Miscellaneous Essentials

    Surviving the Fallout

    Air Filtration Mask: Depending on the situation, air filtration may be the only way you can access safe-to-breathe oxygen. Use an air filtration mask that filters out radioactive particulates to keep you breathing well. Because these particles are so tiny a COVID mask will not suffice.

    Potassium Iodide Pills: This is not a cure for radiation sickness. It merely lessens the amount of radioiodine (radioactive iodine) that your body will absorb. The iodine is absorbed and used by the thyroid gland in the neck, which will lead to cancer / radiation sickness if too much radioactive iodine is absorbed. To prevent this potassium iodide pills ensure that the body gets a supply of iodine and then hopefully doesn't use radioactive iodine from the air.

    Shelter

    • Tent
    • Space blanket
    • Sleeping bag

    Food and Water

    • Water bottles and/or water bladder
    • A water filtration system
    • Rations
    • Small emergency fishing kit

    Clothing

    • Cold weather gloves
    • Cold weather spare clothes
    • Spare clothes
    • Waterproof jacket with a hood / Winter jacket + Snow pants
    • Warm hat

    Defense

    • Bow / Crossbow / Firearm - You will eventually run out of bullets, so there is a good argument for learning archery and learning how to make your own arrows.
    • Ammo - Whether you opt for arrows, crossbow bolts or bullets, you will want a fair number of them. For hunting purposes you will also want broadheads for your arrows.
    • Knife
    • Axe
    • Pepper spray / bear spray 
    • Bulletproof vest

    Warmth

    • Waterproof Matches / Lighter / Firestarter - You will eventually run out of matches and the lighter will run out of fuel, so having a good firestarter is the real necessity.

    Lighting

    • Flash light
    • Head lamp
    • Chem lights
    • Torches - If you have a good firestarter and know how to make them then torches are a good option.

    First Aid

    • A first aid kit with all the essentials. The more the better. Everything from gauze to painkillers to first aid instructions.

    Navigation

    • Map of the region
    • Compass
    • GPS Tracking System - Assuming such systems even still work.

    Multi-Purpose Tools

    • Axe
    • Multi-tool
    • Knife
    • Paracord
    • Fishing line
    • Duct tape
    • Folding saw
    • Crowbar
    • Adjustable wrench
    • Pliers
    • Can opener

    Miscellaneous Essentials

    • Cellphone charger + solar panel
    • Goggles
    • Whistle
    • Sewing kit
    • Copies of important documents
    • Passport
    • Titles and contracts
    • Addresses and phone numbers of loved ones
    • Family disaster and preparedness plan
    • Emergency Cash
    • Prescription Drugs
    • Small Mirror
    • Soap
    • Dental products
    • Hand crank radio
    • Extra batteries
    • Plastic sheeting
    • Moist towelettes
    • Toilet paper
    • Garbage bags
    • Plastic ties
    • Glasses and sunglasses
    • Infant formula and diapers
    • Pet food and extra water
    • Feminine supplies / personal hygiene
    • Mess kit: Forks, knives, plates, etc.
    • Paper, pen, pencil
    • Books and toys for small children
    • Seeds for growing food
    • Fishing equipment


    PRINT THIS PAGE AND USE IT AS A CHECKLIST

    KEEP IT INSIDE YOUR BUG OUT BAG SO YOU CAN DOUBLE CHECK YOU HAVE EVERYTHING


    The Aftermath

    During the first 24 hours after a nuclear attack it is recommended that you shelter in place, preferable in a deep basement. Thus even if you don't have everything ready, don't worry about it. You will have 24 hours after the attack to ready everything you need to take with you when you leave.

    When it is time to leave you may need to walk on foot because other forms of transportation may be clogged with broken down cars, traffic jams, car accidents, etc. If possible, using a bicycle or similar transportation may make the most practical sense. Or a boat if you live near a waterway. If you know how to fly an airplane or helicopter then that would be ideal.

    Similarly, you may want to avoid roads or places with lots of desperate people. Instead try to follow old railway tracks or trails. Cut across open fields and avoid any steep terrain (you don't want to fall and injure your ankle or leg when walking long distances).

    At night try to stay in industrial places or commercial locations, not other people's homes. This reduces the risk of running into people who will not want to share their things - and people who might try to steal your things. If possible try to find or build shelters in the wilderness off the beaten track so that nobody else is around. Thieves cannot rob or attack you if they cannot find you.

    Avoid people carrying firearms, even if they seem friendly.


    Destination and Route

    You need a route and a destination. Preferably a route that avoids anything that was or would be a nuclear target, and your destination should similarly be far away from nuclear targets. A map and a compass are arguably the most important things on the list. Almost everything else, including food and water, can be scavenged over time.

    Your destination could be farmland, an isolated island, or wilderness, but they should have one thing in common: A plentiful source of food. You will need to farm, fish and/or hunt for your food until society begins to rebuild. Thus you need to pick a location where you feel confident that you will be able to survive.

    Ideally you want a location that is within 3-5 days of walking distance. So if your goal is to walk 8 to 10 hours per day, your destination needs to be roughly 24 to 50 hours of walking away. You could in theory walk for longer each day but you will also need time to rest, sleep, eat, make shelters, scavenge food/water, avoid danger, etc.

    If you could find a store that sells bicycles and scavenge a bicycle you could speed up your journey dramatically. A journey that takes 36 hours to walk might only take 10 hours via bicycle, or 3 hours in a car.

    But again, if you "borrow" or steal a car, you may need to later abandon it anyway if you reach a road or situation that is impassable. Also, simply having a working vehicle makes you a target for thieves and ambushes.

    This is why I am a firm believer in old railway tracks. I would rather walk for 4 days and arrive safely than to take unnecessary risks.

    Once you know how much time may be required to walk, bicycle, etc to the destination then you need to choose a logical route. Whether you go by road or railway tracks, you need to get out a map and choose how far you want to walk each day to give yourself a goal.

    If you are traveling with small children expect it to take longer as you will need to stop more frequently for rest breaks. Finding a bicycle with a trailer behind it would be great. A truck or SUV would be ideal in that situation, because the pros and cons of traveling with small children means you are better off taking a truck and being a target for thieves, but at least then you can potentially drive off road.

    Route wise, in my case, I know it takes 15 hours to walk from Toronto to Orangeville via roads. So that is at least a 2 day journey on foot. 5 hours via bicycle. It would take another 3 days on foot to reach my destination.

    Reality Check

    Do you actually know how to hunt, fish or farm?

    Honestly, a lot of people will starve because they lack the necessary survival skills. Some will freeze to death. Some will die in accidents. A great many will die from radiation sickness. But a lot more will try to survive by hunting, fishing and farming - which they possibly have zero experience in doing and lack the necessary knowledge to survive.

    So if your destination is wilderness and you think you know how to hunt, good luck with that, because I expect the game to be very scarce when everyone and their dog suddenly decides they want to hunt.

    A blend of all three is arguably the best, but to do that you need a location where you can:

    • Fish in the summer
    • Ice fish in the winter
    • Farm from April to October
    • Hunt all year long

    And such locations come in short supply as you need to be near a lake, prime farmland, and woods with plentiful game. So it is unlikely you can do all three.

    Trapping is also another option for getting food, but not everyone knows how to make snares.

    So for example let's say you have a family cabin up north which has solar panels, a wind turbine, an abundance of canned food, etc. But eventually the canned food will run out and you're stuck in a place where you don't know how to hunt and fish. Who cares if you have solar panels and electricity if your food runs out?


    Conclusions

    Being prepared for something doesn't just mean buying everything you could possibly need, because there will always be something that you forgot to get. What is more important is your planning and problem solving skills.

    Horses Off Grid: Riding Lessons and Other Issues


    The following post is a sequel to my older post:

    Horses - Off grid care and maintenance for Equines

    In the previous post I covered such topics as:

    • Cost of buying a horse (about $2000).
    • Vet bills ($11,000+ per year on average).
    • Horse shoes and farrier costs.
    • Feeding your horse.

    Basically expect to be spending $15,000 annually on your horse, and that is assuming it doesn't get sick, eat a poisonous mushroom, or get seriously injured and end up with a vet bill of $50,000+.

    Basically all you need to know is that horses are super expensive and they get sick/injured regularly.

    But there are other issues to consider too.

    First...

    Do you even know how to ride???

    If you don't even know how to ride you have no business buying a horse and trying to use it for transportation when living on your off grid ranch, farm, homestead, cabin in the woods, etc.

    You really should learn how to ride first.

    And you cannot just read a book, subscribe to a magazine like Horse Sport Magazine or whatever in order to learn how to ride. It doesn't work that way. You need to physically get horse riding lessons or else you shouldn't be even attempting to ride a horse.

    So here's one location in Ontario to consider, but if you live in other parts of Canada then you need to research what else is near you.

    Claireville Ranch located in Brampton (clairevilleranch.com) offers weekday ($35) and weekend ($40) trail rides, and breakfast rides ($85) which are more suitable for people who just want to try riding a horse and are not ready to commit to lessons. They also teach Western horse riding lessons. 8 lessons will cost between $400 to $440 to $520 depending on whether you want group lessons, semi-private lessons or private lessons. The riding lessons are 30 minutes long.

    Note - Their prices might fluctuate from time to time. Last I checked trail rides at Claireville are now $50 each. I suspect the price went up due to the pandemic.

    I am going to ask my friend/blogger colleague Rob Campbell if he wants to go riding there sometime. Should be good for some photography and a few blog posts.

    Okay...

    So let's pretend you have taken the horse riding lessons, etc. You have the money to buy a horse, pay the vet bills/etc for 25 years (the average lifespan of a horse is 25 to 30 years)...

    And you own land, you build a stables suitable for housing a horse (you don't want the stables to burn down either, like Sunnybrook Stables burnt down a few years ago).

    Oh and insurance. You will want insurance on the stables.

    And you will need a truck and a horse trailer for transporting your horse to the vet.

    You have to make the lifelong commitment to being a "horse person". You can't go halfway with this. It is a lifestyle. People don't just go "I am going to buy horses!" one day and then change their mind a few months later. You have to truly commit.

    It is a bit like getting married. Or getting a full body tattoo. Or amputating your arm because you didn't like it anymore. You do this and there should be no going back. (Especially if you amputate your arm. That definitely is not growing back...)

    When you talk to people who are "horse people" you quickly realize that their horses are a bit like their babies. It is similar to someone who is a cat owner or a dog owner, but more than that. Most cat and dog owners don't spend $11,000 per year just on vet bills. They don't build a huge stables / house just for their cats and dogs. Cat and dog owners don't spend an hour every day mucking out the stables and cleaning their pet's feet. A horse owner has gone over the edge and is in love with their horses so they're willing to muck out the stables every day, even when they're sick or injured, and to clean their horse shoes every day. (This is why a lot of horse owners keep their horses at a stables that rents out space and services. They aren't living off grid with their horses.)

    It is a truly serious commitment. You don't just buy horses because "I am going to use them for riding around off grid on my homestead in the woods." You need to be truly and utterly committed to the task of owning and caring for an animal that depends on you to live.

    What if you get sick or injured and you forget to go feed your horse because you live alone in a cabin in the woods? Or if you forget to give your horse water. If your horse goes 48 hours without water it will get colic and possibly die. Five days without water and your horse will die of dehydration.

    If you're not serious about being a horse owner then you shouldn't bother being one.

    Go get a four-wheeler instead if you want something that is low maintenance that can get you around on your off grid property. Leave the horses to the horse people who are seriously in love with these majestic animals.



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