MHFD, gas cans, owie, blackouts

Although they are being whittled down, there are still a few dozen cans of various MH freezedrieds left. If youre interested, gimme an email at . There’ll be no more orders for this stuff this year and I probably won’t be doing any next year. Word to the wise, folks.

Instant White Rice, $11.94 – 4 cans remaining
Chili Mac, $16.25 – 2 cans remaining
Diced Beef, Cooked, $32.77 – 3 cans remaining
Beef Teriyaki, $19.13 – 3 cans remaining
Lasagna, $19.88 – 3 cans remaining
Noodles & Chicken, $19.00 – 4 cans remaining
Long Grain& Wild Rice Pilaf, $17.57 – 5 cans remaining
Sweet/Sour Pork w/ Rice, $21.97 – 3 cans remaining
Turkey Tetrazzini, $21.34 – 4 cans remaining
Oriental Spicy Chicken, $20.38 – 2 cans remaining
Diced Chicken, Cooked, $32.77 – 4 cans remaining
Pork Chops, Raw, $40.00 – 5 cans remaining
Garden Green Peas, $14.26 – 4 cans remaining
Corn, $14.19 – 2 cans remaining
Precooked Eggs w/ Ham, Peppers, $20.57 – 5 cans remaining
Granola w/ Blueberries, Milk, $22.37 – 1 can remaining
Blueberry Cheesecake, $15.43 – 5 cans remaining

The quest for the perfect gas can continues. I opened up my steel Blitz can the other day when it was about 95 degrees out and figured I’d rotate out some of the gas filling the lawn mower. I then sealed up the can nice and tight. A few nights later the temperature dropped into the low 40’s. The air inside the can contracted to such a degree that it actually crumpled the can inwards, like a bear tap danced on it. A few days later I noticed that at one of the ‘crinkle’ points of the crumple a pinhole leak had formed. Thus a gas can meets its end. This has been my biggest complaint about gas cans so far – they need to be airtight but they also need to be able to vent. Two great ideas that seem at odds with each other. Plastic cans have a nice amount of flex (like the coveted Scepter cans) but they are still plastic and I worry about the permeability of these things vis-à-vis long (1+ years) term storage under fluctuating temperatures. There are new ‘Euro’-style cans on the market and Im tempted to investigate them.

An obvious solution is to fill the cans to such a level that there is almost no air in them at all. Trouble is, when you do that you have them so full that they’ll start dumping from the nozzle before you get the can leaned over far enough to get the spigot in the fuel port.

The newer plastic California-approved cans have a shut off in them so that might make a difference but Ive tried some and I cant ever seem to get them to work as advertised. Its looking more and more like a gas can and a long neck funnel are the best method for fueling. And I have no problem with that if I can find a gas container that is all-weather temperature stable, airtight, durable, and won’t let gas vapors permeate through the material. And at $40+ per gas can, I don’t feel like experimenting.

Ow. Minding my own business, zipping along on my mountain bike, and the chain decides to, for whatever reason, lock up. Physics being what it is, I go flying over the handlebars. First priority in these situations is get out of the freaking street lest a truck come along and add insult to injury. Second priority, and I cant keep from doing this, is look around and see if anyone saw me embarrass myself. Third priority is me, which if everything seems to be functioning and can be repaired at a later time/location moves me to fourth priority, checking bike for damage. Slid the chain back on and tentatively pedaled back to the shop. Since I had my Bag O’ Tricks with me I was more than suited for fast field first-aid but the shop was only two blocks away and I have an even more extensive kit there. Destroyed a pair of jeans (dammit!). No serious damage but theres a deep, weeping, bleeding 3”x2” scrape on my knee. Couple sprays of antibiotic, some 4×6 gauze, a bit of de-gravelling and one roll of kerlix later and Im good to go.

The real annoying part for me is that, other than having to shell out for a new pair of jeans, I have to go into the bunker and pull out replacement components for the first aid kit at the shop. Gotta remember to do that.

The bike, by the way, is in the bike shop where I gave clear orders to have the bloody chain, derailleur, sprockets, guides and related components checked over for alignment, wear, misalignment, voodoo or alien influence. Oh, and I mighta bent the wheel a bit when things came to a sudden(!) stop.

But, prior planning of having first aid available at my shop and on myself kept things manageable.

Article here reminding us that the nations power infrastructure is not up to the task of meeting demand. Infrastructure is always a hot topic for the preparedness minded. Every one can agree on its importance. No matter the disaster it’s a safe bet that certain aspects of the infrastructure will fail – ice storm, terrorism, war, rioting, invasion, hurricane, whatever – that power grid is going down. The only situational variable is how long it’ll take to be back in business. You might not be able to get ten people to agree on how the world is gonna end but you can bet all ten will agree the pwer grid will be one of the first things to go.
NYC, and really any large city, is a bad place to be when these things occur. Having all the traffic lights go out in Sheepdip, KS isn’t as big a hassle as having them all go out in Manhattan. Add the large amount of tall buildings with elevators, miles and miles of dark, unventilated subway tunnels, airports without power, opportunistic looters, price gouging battery/flashlight vendors, mountains of spoiled food and uncollected garbage, etc. and you can see that a simple power transmission failure can wreak some pretty impressive results.
Thus, we prepare.

MH GB leftovers, extras, etc.

Well, all the various orders are packed up. I’ll weigh ’em tomorrow and start sending notices to folks.
Whats leftover? Here you go:
(4) Graden Green Peas
(3) Uncooked Pork Chops
(4) Diced Chicken
(3) Oriental Style Spicy Chicken
(1) Pasta Primavera
(4) Turkey Tetrazinni
(4) Sweet/Sour Pork
(5) Long Grain Wild Rice Pilaf
(4) Noodles & Chicken
(4) Lasagna
(2) Chicken Teriyaki
(3) Beef Teriyaki
(4) Diced Beef
(3) Chili Mac
(4) Beef Stroganoff
(4) Instant White Rice
(3) Beef Stew
(0) Veg. Beef Stew
(4) Chicken Ala King

Also included at no extra charge was a note from MH saying that as of September there’ll be a price increase on all #10 cans, so those of you who partook of this last buy – good timing!

If anyoine is interested in any of this stuff who can email me at Figure each can weighs 3# when youre figuring your shipping from 59801. And, no, these wont fit in a Flat Rate box.



Freezedrieds from MH just arrived a few minutes ago. I’ll be boxing ’em up over the next day or two so expect an email with your shipping charges and info.
If youre local, you can come by today but since its my day off I may not be there (but theres an even chance I will be) but I’ll definitely be in tomorrow.

Also, I’ll have a list of ‘extra’ items if anyone is interested in adding to their order or getting something they may have missed the first time around.

MH, AlertUSA, Apocalypse vehicles

The first part of the Mountain House group buy order showed up today.I’m figuring the rest of it should be here over the next few days. There will be a few cans left over so if anyone wants to add or if you missed out and want to get something, there’ll be that opportunity.
Someone on my friends list had a post about this service. In a nutshell, when Something Happens you get a message texted to your phone or pager. This is actually something I was curious about a couple years ago. I was flying to the east coast and when my flight approached the airport the pilot came on and said that we were going to be circling for a little while and he wasn’t sure why, simply that he’d been told to circle. My thought was that something 9/11-ey must have happened. (Never did find out what the story was, btw.) But if I had this service I could have surreptitiously turned on my cell phone and checked the text messages and see if thered been some sort of notification. This is admittedly much easier with a Blackberry-type device – just browse your way to a newswire and check the latest headlines. But, some of us are Luddites and only have cell phones.

By the by, I read somewhere that in times of emergency the odds are good that cell phones systems will be so overwhelmed that getting calls in/out may be tough but text messages may get through since they use, presumably, much less bandwidth. Maybe theyre routed differently as well, who knows? Worth investigating though.
Whats the best rig for getting to Point A from Point Z when Points B-Y are smoking rubble? Find out here with “Ten Vehicles For The Apocalypse”. I think most of their choices are absurd but this one resonates with me:

Its a diesel motorcycle that’ll run on diesel, biodiesel or vegetable oil. Now thats handy.
My dream vehicle for the apocalypse. No secret. .

Kraft Prep Pack, German Bunker Business

Well, this looks interesting (although probably way unhealthy). Further evidence that preparedness products are becoming more mainstream even if the mindset isnt. Its interesting to note that this product is apparently ‘only’ available to folks in ‘hurricane country’ through direct sales. Cant find much info about the product but someone on arfcom must have more info because here’s the ‘menu’:

Product Product Details Pieces Product Product Details Pieces
KRAFT HANDI-SNACKS Pudding Chocolate Flavor, 15.1 Oz. 1
RITZ Toasted Chips Original Flavor 9.5 Oz. 1
KRAFT HANDI-SNACKS Pudding Vanilla Flavor, 15.1 Oz. 1
TRISCUIT Whole Wheat Crackers Reduced Fat 10.5 Oz. 1
PLANTERS Mixed Nuts Unsalted 13.5 Oz. 1
VELVEETA Mexican Mild Pasteurized Prepared Cheese 1
OREO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, 6 Oz. 1
TANG Sugar Free Drink Mix (Makes 6 Quarts) 3 Oz. Powered Drink Mix 1
SOUTH BEACH DIET® Cinnamon Raisin Cereal Bar 1.5 Oz. 3
TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Fiesta Steak Bowlz, 10.5 Oz. No cooking/heating required 3
SOUTH BEACH DIET® Peanut Butter Cereal Bar, 1.5 Oz. 3
TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Santa Fe Style Beef Bowlz, 10.5 Oz. No cooking/heating required 3
SOUTH BEACH DIET® Chocolate Cereal Bar, 1.5 Oz. 3
TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Salsa Chicken Bowlz, 10.5 Oz. No cooking/heating required 3
GRAPE-NUTS Trail Mix Crunch Cereal 19.5 Oz. 1
HONEY MAID Grahams Honey Sticks 15.5 Oz. 1
TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Cheesy DOUBLE DECKER®- 6 Flour Tortillas, 6Taco Shells, Nacho Cheese Sauce and Seasoning, 14.25 Oz. 1
PLANTERSTrail Mix 6.25 Oz. 1
COUNTRY TIME On-the-Go Lemonade Drink Mix 8 Oz. Powered Drink Mix 1

Definitely not the healthiest thing you could eat. On the other hand, not being hungry trumps good nutrition in alot of disasters. Nonetheless, I point this out not to recommend it (you can do much better putting something together on your own) but to point out that products like these are indeed becoming mroe mainstream.


Apparently, of all people, the Germans are jumping on the bandwagon. Sales of private bunkers are up. I wonder if they call their deluxe model the Führerbunker….

Jericho, CZ rifles, components, boots, Mountain House order

Looks like the reports of ‘Jericho’s cancellation may have been a bit…premature. It is reported on various online entertainment websites that the network is rethinking its decision in the face of fan email/mail barrages.

I find this interesting for a couple reasons. Across the board every single forum I’ve been to that mentions the program has countless detractors who say the series isn’t ‘realistic’ or that theres too much ‘interpersonal drama’. And yet when the show does get cancelled theyre outraged. Go figure. I think the series has, in fact, jumped the shark, but am quite willing to continue watching.
Finally got my 10-rd mags for my CZ550 the other day. This means the only two serious tasks left for this gun are a) new heavyduty sling and swivels, and b) a Pelican case. Once that’s done and the ammo is loaded I will be done spending money on this thing. In an exercise of fiscal recklessness, I shall now tally the damage:
$600 – base gun
$360 – 5 standard mags, 5 10-rd mags
$120 – Picatinny rail base
$30 – rings
$700 – IOR scope (10×56 MP8)
$30 – scope cover and muzzle protector
$20 – scope caps

So that’s..uhm…carry the three…$1860. Add in the case and it’ll just crack $2k. Expensive? Yup. However, its taken me almost two years and change to get this far so it was spaced out over a goodly amount of time. The alternative is a $600 rifle with a Bushnell Sportview and that would be just silly. Optics and guns are expensive. Spending $600-$1200 for a rifle and then putting a $95 scope on it is a bit self-defeating. If all you can afford after the initial outlay for the gun is a cheap scope, well, that’s better than no scope but after a year or two you should be able to move on financially to getting more deserving optics. Yes, you can spend a lot of money on an accurate rifle. You can spend as much money as you’d like. What I did was spend as much money as was needed.

On the other hand, being able to totally pwn everything within a circle a little under a mile across will be worth it. (Fast math – a one-mile circle means that if you were in the center your longest shot would be 880 yards in any direction…not out of the realm of possibility for the .308 since it wont be transonic until around 1100 yds..)

I still have to buy some spare parts for this thing..a few springs, a firing pin, extra screws, that sort of thing but that shouldn’t be more than a hundred bucks or so.

I took the CZ to the range yesterday to test the new mags and fireform some new Lapua cases. Rounds 3 & 4 out of mag #4 failed to feed (bolt rode over). Reloading the mag with another five rounds did not duplicate the problem. I made a note and will test that mag at length on the next trip to the range. I am very much liking the IOR scope and thus far have no problem recommending them. Heavy, but this rifle isn’t a ‘wandering around the boonies’ gun.

The dot in my scope is apparently 1moa since it covered a 1” orange targdot at 100 yds. Fluorescent orange on white is a bit tough to see. Best groups were .70 and .67 for five shots at 100 yards. Worst groups were about twice that, around 1.5”. (Hey, it happens.)
I continue to be frustrated at the hit-or-miss availability of various ammo and components these days. For example, finding 55 gr. FMJ .223 bullets at a reasonable price(and that’s the focal point here) has been tough. I finally found some after relentlessly hounding my distributors every three days and even then it was only by sheer luck that I happened to make my call the same morning they had a truck come in. Even then I was only able to get one case –6000 bullets – out of it. I remember when 7.62×39 ammo was $90 a case and I was stacking cases up in the bunker thinking this might be a waste of money since AK ammo seemed plentiful and cheap. Now? No regrets. Theres a dozen stories floating around about why ammo and related materials are so expensive these days and, generally, I don’t care why its happening…I care about the result of it happening more than I care about why. However, all the things I hear are of a temporary nature (although on a large enough scale, everything is temporary)…someday the Chinese will be done buying up raw materials, the Venezuelans/American military/Chinese will be done buying ammo, or whatever the reason du jour is and prices will stabilize and, more importantly, availability will increase. In the meantime…well, this is why I stockpile ammo when I can. (And also why a person should reload their own ammo.)
My Altama jungle boots arrived the other day. They look like the jungle boots Ive seen on various feet my whole life. Hasn’t anyone figured out a way to modify or otherwise modernize these things? No matter. For $30 a pair I get US made boots. Good knocking-around boots for summer. I have a nice set of the suede desert boots and they are, hands down, the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. Theyre a little big at 10W. These ones I ordered are 9.5W and I think that’s the size I’ll order another three pair at. Go back a couple posts and you’ll find a link to the boot deal. I have such a hellacious time finding footwear I like that when I find something that fits and I like I will buy as many pair as I can afford. Sure, there are websites that specialize for wide feet (how wide? EEEEE. That’s 5E kids! I can walk on snow like a moose!) but my footwear needs are a bit more specific. I don’t need a pair of walking shoes or a pair of loafers. No, I need combat boots, desert boots, Mickey Mouse boots, that sort of thing…and finding those in my freakish feet size can be a bit of a challenge. So these jungle boots, which will make excellent everyday wear as well as good summer duty boots, will be ordered en masse as soon as I can free up a hundred bucks for three more pair.
Mountain House order went in the other day. Everything was on hand except the white rice and the corn. Those will be ready in ‘about two weeks’ I am told. Everything else was ready. So, if you ordered either of those two products you can expect a delay but you can also expect maximum shelf life on those products since they’ll have been packaged most recently.

Mountain House is a division of Oregon Freeze Dry which not only does the MH foods ( a very small part of the biz, I am told) but does other things like freeze drying plasma and other goodies. Since I know theres only a couple places in the country that can freeze dry food on the scale these guys do I inquired if they had any overruns from military contracts. I always ask them this and I am always directed to ask someone else whose voicemail gives me the impression they really don’t wanna deal with it. But this time….success. Turns out they had a hundred or so cases of #10 cans of raw pork chops. Cool, eh? A little freezedried applesauce and some freeze dried vegetables and rice and you can have a pretty decent meal. As expected, like most FD meats, the price was not cheap. However I did order one case to try out. Price is going to be about $39 per can but its pork chops, man! (Normal price, I was told, would be $54 per can…if you could find them) No idea if they are boneless but I cannot see the point to freeze drying a product and leaving the bone in. We shall see.

MH GB finale

Tomorrow is the last day for the only Mountain House #10 can order for this year. Be there or be square. Check previous posts for a link.
I hate getting wet, which is not to say that I dislike swimming or activities that cause me to get wet. I suppose a more accurate statement would be that I dislike getting wet unintentionally. Everyone here, I am sure, is in agreement that wet feet suck so I think we can all sympathize about not liking getting wet whether its feet or anywhere else. Additionally, when youre out in the sticks, getting wet can be a bit dangerous since all it takes is getting wet and a good breeze to start a person on the road to hypothermia.

The usual solution to these things is, unsurprisingly, rain gear. I prefer, in the words of Alton brown, ‘a multitasker’ for these situations. Military ponchos usually fit the bill. Ponchos aren’t the perfect answer since they can be a bit awkward in certain situations but they are a thousand percent more versatile than a dedicated rain jacket. (However, a rain hat is almost always a good idea…even if you have a poncho.)

The US military ponchos are, in my opinion, too lightweight and not nearly as waterproof as would be nice. They’ll do in a pinch, but there are better. And cheaper. And “better and cheaper” are fine words to gear up by. Best I’ve found has been the German rain ponchos. The earth-color is perfect for most environs, the material is definitely waterproof and not just water resistant, and the snaps along the edges allow for multiple ponchos to be used.

If you hunt around the internet for zeltbahn you’ll see the WW2 poncho that the Nazis used. Like a lot of Nazi military gear, its innovative, versatile and, given the materials available in those days, very ahead of its time. One of the biggest features of the zeltbahn was that they could be attached to an infinite number of other zeltbahns via two-sided snaps. Get a dozen guys together and they could put up a tent of these things. Post-war Germany had to distance itself from its Nazi history and that means that even smart ideas like the zeltbahn needed to be redesigned and repatterned to not look too familiar. A good example is flectar camo…compare against ‘pea pattern’ camo from the Nazis and let me know if you see any major difference. (The SS had these wonderful camo combat smocks that Id love to see recreated with modern insulating and waterproofing materials.) The zeltbahn was a great idea and it lives on, somewhat, in these more modern German military ponchos.

In addition to keeping your bod dry, ponchos also serve a few other purposes:

Wrapping up your gear to provide waterproofing or concealment
As a ground sheet
Improvised shelter
Improvised sleeping bag (when used with a liner) [although in practice this leaves much to be desired]
Flotation for gear when crossing water
Impromptu blinds or other concealment

And plenty of other uses.

So, as far as Im concerned the German surplus ponchos are tops. Theres some Swiss Alpenflage camo ones on the market now but they aren’t true ponchos since they snap up along the front and thus don’t lend themselves to other tasks as readily as the German poncho….in fact, they are more like rain capes. Also, nothing against the Swiss, that camo pattern of theirs (esp. the colors) just ain’t gonna work in my neck of the woods.

Source? Well that’s why Im bringing it up. I got the new Sportsmans Guide catalog and they’ve got them by the pair, “Used in very good shape”, for $16.97 per pair. That’s about $8.50 ea. Very much worth it. Dimensions? 3’7”x5’2” (43”x62”) Product #FX7K-119126X
Before anyone asks me, no I have no idea if the US liners fit it but it wouldn’t surprise me if they did. Check the dimensions.

Actually, a quick perusal of dimensions from a US Cavalry catalog shows huge variations in poncho liner sizes…so:your mileage may vary. Try before you buy.