February 21, 2015


This is a list of the most important long-term survival supplies that most homes already have.  It might be helpful to give a list like this to friends and family who aren't prepared.  If the SHTF, they can pull out this list and get their items together (and preferably hit the stores quickly for the other survival items that aren't at home).  These are basically listed in order of importance, so if it doesn't all fit in the car, and it won't, don't bring the large items that come at the end.

all food (preserved before leaving if possible)
sleeping bags
clippings or seeds from any vegetable/fruit producing plants and trees that can be reproduced
tablet (and download all kinds of survival information onto it asap)
print outs of a lot of that info including color pictures of wild edible plants
first aid kit
mice and rat traps
tarps (and/or plastic shower curtains/slip n slide/etc.)
all drinks
water bottles
water jugs
baking soda
mason jars
mason jar gaskets and lids
pressure canner
fishing hooks
fishing string
fishing lures
cooking utensils
tools (all kinds)
racks from your oven and barbecue
gun cleaning kit
knife sharpening kit or stone
bells or soda cans or wind chimes
tape (all kinds, all of it)
hand held mirrors
ziplock bags
eye glasses
work gloves
aluminum foil
cutting board
dental floss
petroleum jelly
sledgehammer and wedge (for splitting wood)
patch kit for plastic/tarp/rubber
duffel bags
canopy tent
sewing kit
hand pump pressure sprayer
large fish net
vinyl floor roll (cut it from your floor if you have to)
jerry can
lawn chairs
headlamp light
pepper spray
storage bin
felt tip markers
silver coins
garden tools
deck of cards
zip ties
banquet table
combs and brushes
spray paint (brown, green, yellow gray, black, white--camo colors only)
rubber tub/basin
plastic containers (tupperware, squeeze bottles, pitchers, etc.)
dust masks
birth control
trash bags
sun block
small musical instruments
watering can
bunjee cords
face paint
nail clippers
family pictures
can opener
fireplace tool set
ethyl alcohol
oven thermometer
chain saw
trash cans
garden cart/wheelbarrow/dolly
solar yard/walkway lights
fire extinguisher
cotton balls
kiddie pool
doodle sketch drawing board
shoulder bag
talcum powder
sand paper
toilet paper
liquid measuring cup
screen from a screen door
tape measure
fishing pole
large mirror
fishing bobbers
hydrogen peroxide
coffee filters
coffee percolator
laundry detergent
nuts, bolts, and other hardware
dutch oven
pvc pipes and joints
knee pads
bug repellant
hot pads
spare electrical wire
spare shoe laces and leather laces
notebooks (not the laptop)
rubber boots
sentimental box (little sentimental items)
swim goggles
aluminum duct piping
baking powder

February 14, 2015


I think bugging out on a sailboat is one of the best ideas for when the shtf.  For temporary use, nearly any island will work if it will get you away from people.  When I'm searching for bug out islands for long-term settlement, I'm generally looking for islands that have these attributes:
-somewhat large
-unpopulated (or sparsely populated)
-have fresh water or have rain often
-will provide food
-have fertile soil
-have protected coves/harbors
-have easy access from water to land
-are not too cold
-have trees for building material, firewood, and cover
Obviously, it's really hard to find islands that offer all of these.  But I still found some good ones.  This list is not exhaustive.  There are still a lot of good ones in the South Pacific not added here.  This is just a few that I discovered that seem to fit the description of a good bug out island.

Rexons Island

16 square miles
Parallel to just south of Edmonton, Canada
This island is on the coast of Labrador.  It's 5.5 miles long and 3 miles wide.  I don't know why anyone would want to go this far north.  It's too cold for my liking, but this island has a lot to offer.  Few people live that far north.  I think a few people live in Rexons Cove, but the rest of the island is uninhabited.  It has a nice long natural harbor, fresh water ponds, and forest areas.  I wouldn't plan on gardening much here, but you can give it a shot with greenhouses.

Dunnage Island

3 sqaure miles
Parallel to Vancouver, Canada
This island is on the north coast of Newfoundland.  It's 3 miles long and 1 mile wide.  Newfoundland is somewhat populated and many people have fishing boats, so you might get visitors here and there, but it's a good sized island, so you can remain hidden if you choose.  The island is enclosed inside a harbor, so there won't be many rough waves.  If offers many hidden coves and trees cover the island.

Cross Island

2 square miles
Parallel to Minneapolis, MN
It is one of the northernmost islands in Maine.  It's about 2 miles long and 1 mile wide.  I considered some of the islands further south, but I think it's best to get further away from populated areas.  Plus, this island is a wildlife refuge, so it's in a pristine state for settling.  It's right across from a small navy base, but I don't think that will be much of a problem.  This island has lots of trees and a few marshy areas.

Dry Tortugas

.06 square miles
Parallel to just south of Miami
It's a couple of small islands at the very end of the Florida Keys past Key West.  The big downside is that people are nearby in ocean terms (Key West is 70 miles away and Havana is 105 miles away).  Nearly everyone in Key West with a boat will be aware of these keys.  The other downside is they are small, very small.  However, the upside is that if you take Dry Tortugas, you have a genuine 19th century fort with a moat and other good defenses.

Little Inagua

25 square miles
Parallel to Hawaii
It's one of the southernmost islands of the Bahamas, however, is closer to Haiti and Cuba, than the main cities of the Bahamas.  It's uninhabited, but feral donkeys and goats live on the island--SCORE!  Great Inagua Island just to the south is one of the biggest salt producers in the world.  In a post-collapse scenario without refrigeration, salt will be valuable, so you will likely have access to salt and a larger trade network.  The island has a few nice lagoons too.

Trindade Island

4 square miles
Equivalent southern parallel to Hawaii
Located 700 miles off the coast of Brazil is uninhabited, except for about 30 Brazilian Navymen.  However, in a collapse scenario, perhaps these guys would go back home.  The island is only about 4 square miles and a lot of it is steep mountainsides, but it will definitely provide you with a survival habitat.

Tristan da Cunha

35 square miles (Gough)
Equivalent southern parallel to New York City
Tristan da Cunha is the most remote inhabited group of islands in the world.  They sit in the middle of the south Atlantic.  It is British Territory.  Only about 300 people live on the islands and they speak English. These islands stay in the 50s and 60s year-round and get plenty of rain.  Gough Island, in particular, looks like the ultimate getaway-from-everybody type of island.  People could bug out to here and survive well if they raise livestock and have greenhouses.  Apparently, millions of mice inhabit Gough, so be sure to bring lots of traps and your mouse appetite....or....should I say it....hmm....release cats on the island and eat ...ehem, nevermind....on to the next island.

Graham Island

2,456 sqaure miles
Just below the southern tip of Alaska
Somebody in a prepper discussion mentioned this island as a good location, because of it's large size, very small population (5,000 people), and distance from the mainland.  I agree.  It doesn't receive a lot of sunlight, so growing will be hard, but it's the pacific northwest, one of the richest places in the world in terms of abundance of food.  Quite honestly, almost any of the uninhabited or nearly uninhabited islands along the pacific northwest fjordlands will work.  They all have salmon, deer, moose, seaweed and whale.  What more could you ask for?

Santa Rosa

85 square miles
Parallel to Los Angeles/Atlanta
Most Southern California people are familiar with Catalina Island, but two other Channel Islands are bigger and better for bugging out, Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa.  Santa Rosa would be my choice, since it's a little further from land.  I think most people with the idea of bugging out to an island would go to Santa Cruz, so that makes Santa Rosa more appealing.  It is part of a national park system, so nobody lives there except for a ranger post.  The island is big enough to accommodate many people.  There are plenty of fish, birds, mice, foxes, and skunks.  There used to be deer on the island, but they were all hunted and removed a few years ago--darn.  It sounds like paradise, but be cautious.  There is a nuclear power plant on the shores of the coast about 100 miles north of Santa Rosa.  The current flows south.  If the collapse is sudden, that plant might meltdown and release radiation into the water.  For this reason, I was very tempted to remove an otherwise great island from my list.

Isla Clarion

8 square miles
Parallel to San Juan, Puerto Rico
If you're looking for a remote island in the Pacific near North America, but in the tropics, this could be your ticket.  It is part of Mexico.  It is 400 miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas and 600 miles from the Mexican mainland.  If any Mexicans attempt to bug out to this area, they will probably be more attracted to the larger and closer Socorro Island, leaving Clarion for you. Clarion is rarely visited, but there are a couple of structures on the island.  Supposedly there are only a couple of brackish pools of water year round, so be prepared to store water or distill or something else.  Another problem is that you can expect a hurricane to come your way once every 3 or 4 years, so be prepared to dig an underground shelter where you can go with all your valuables.

Selkirk Island

19 square miles
Equivalent southern parallel to Los Angeles/Atlanta
This is medium sized island with lots of steep cliffs about 500 miles off the coast of Chile.  It has lush canyons and dryer mountain slopes.  Only about 60 people live here.  That can be a good number of people though.  If they survive as well, you can have a community of people to be with.  It is named after the original Robinson Crusoe, who was marooned on a similar island further east.

Henderson Island

14 square miles
Equivalent southern parallel to a little south of Miami
It is an uninhabited island that is part of the Pitcairn Islands in the middle of the Pacific.  The land is not suitable for farming, since it's limestone, but you will find coconuts, birds, rats, turtles, and of course fish.  Perhaps you could compost your way to a nice garden as well.  There are no visible pools of water from the satellite images.

Tetepare Island

45 square miles
Equivalent southern parallel to Panama City, Panama
This is the largest uninhabited island in the South Pacific.  It's covered in rainforest and has a few nice lagoons.  You'll enjoy eating wild boar, fish, birds, snakes, lizards and coconuts.  If you are willing to make the 3 month sail from the West Coast of the US to here, you'll have an uninhabited paradise waiting for you.

Sassie Island

2.5 square miles
Equivalent southern parallel to Cartagena, Colombia
At the northern tip of Australia lies the Torres Strait Islands, one of which is Sassie.  Sassie is uninhabited, but there are some islands nearby that are inhabited.  The islands within 40 miles of Sassie, have a total population of about 5,000.  One island 8 miles away has 400 people.  I suppose Sassie makes the cut for being remote enough.  It's a tropical island.  The most incredible feature of this island is it's huge lagoon, which is even bigger than the island itself.  There should be lots of good fishing there.


17 square miles
Parallel to Hawaii
It's a large island on the same chain of islands as Guam and Saipan.  It is US territory.  It is uninhabited, but there are displaced people that may resettle the island in the future.  The island to the north is uninhabited and  the island to the south has less than ten people.  It's a volcanic island with dense forests.  It offers coconuts and papaya.


550 square miles
Parallel to Portland, Oregon
This is a large, uninhabited island between Japan and the Kamchatka Peninsula.  Though it is parallel to Portland, it actually has colder temperatures than Graham Island, so if you're looking for something in the northern Pacific, I would look to the BC/Alaska area.

What other islands would you add?  Comment your suggestions.

February 7, 2015


What are the chances that society will collapse?  It's happened before to numerous civilizations, so can it happen again?  Yes, of course it can.  We can even turn it into statistical probabilities.

First, we need a list of all the threats that could conceivably collapse society.  Second, we need to assess the probabilities of these events happening and causing a collapse.  For our interests, let's look at the probability of US society collapsing in the next 50 years, which will account for the rest of the lives of most of the readers of this article.  Other countries will have similar probabilities, although, the US is more often a target of terrorist attacks than other nations.

The table below gives us our answers.  In the left hand column, you'll see a list of all the events that could potentially cause the collapse of US and/or global society.  In the next column over, you'll see the probabilities of these events happening in the next 50 years.  Some of these probabilities are scientific estimates.  Some are best guesses, because we really have no way of knowing the probabilities for sure.  The probabilities are explained in the right hand column.  In the 3rd column, the percent probability is subtracted from 1.  That will give us the percent probability that the event will not happen.  In order to avoid a collapse in the next 50 years, all of these events need to NOT happen.  Therefore, we simply multiply the chances of all these events not happening in the next 50 years to get our chances of avoiding a collapse.  Our chances of having a collapse will simply be the inverse.

 EventProbability of Event in Next 50 YearsInverse US SocietyInverse Global SocietyExplanation
Gamma Ray Burst011? extremely rare
Asteroid or Comet0.00960.99040.9904every 5,200 yrs
Polar Shift0.00010.99990.9999every 450,000 yrs
Solar Flare EMP0.330.670.75every 150 yrs
Rogue Planet011? extremely rare
Man-Made EMP0.050.951guess
Hacking the Grid0.040.961guess
Physical Assault on Grid0.040.961guess
Coordinated Dirty Bombs0.020.981guess
Water Poisoning0.0050.9951guess
Natural Pandemic0.010.990.99guess
Bioterrorist Pandemic0.040.960.98guess
Economic Collapse0.030.970.98guess
La Palma Tsunami0.0080.9921guess
Giant Caldera0.000080.999920.99992every 600,000 yrs
Snowball Earth011guess (every 100 million yrs)
Nuclear War0.010.990.997guess
Chance of Avoiding US Disaster in the Next 50 Years51.28%
Chance of US Collapse in the Next 50 years48.72%
Chance of Avoiding Global Disaster in the Next 50 Years70.40%
Chance of Global Civilization Collapsing in the Next 50 years29.60%

As you can see, the chances of US society collapsing in the next 50 years according to this table is 49% and the chances of global civilization collapsing in the next 50 years is 30%.  The main reasons for the discrepancy is that the US is more often a terrorist target, is more often at war, and does not lie on the equator.  (It is possible for a large solar flare to knock out electrical grids in the northern and southern latitudes, but not at the equator, since the magnetosphere is most protective of the tropics.)

As you can tell, the biggest current threat to our society is the sun.  If it has a coronal mass ejection that is pointed right at us, our electrical grids won't be able to handle the ensuing electro-magnetic pulse.  Most critically, our large transformers would be damaged beyond repair.  Large transformers cost multiple millions of dollars and take about 1.5 years from the time the order is made to the time they are installed and running.  We don't have backup ones on standby either.  Without electricity, a domino effect would take place that would collapse our society.  However, IF..... IF IF IF governments get smart, electrical grids could be hardened for a few billion dollars to protect against these solar flares.  That might happen in the next 50 years, which would remove solar flare EMPs AND man made EMPs as threats.  Our chances of avoiding the collapse of society would be much improved.

What about future threats?  There are a number of futuristic threats that aren't a reality for us quite yet, but may be of major concern in a few decades.  If we added these to the probabilities, I think it would put the chances of the US collapsing over the 50% mark.

Maybe it's not a bad idea to have some basic survival supplies on hand just in case.