SG followup

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

I took my own advice from the earlier post and decided to order a few things from the SG HQ catalog. Here’s what we got, and here’s my impression of them. (No, not ‘impression’ like Rich Little.)

LXM-190570X – German Military Insulated Gloves – These are rather nice. They are very much l ike the commercial ski gloves one would buy. Synthetic fleece lining inside, comfortable, protected palm and knuckles, wrist cinch, cuff cinch…I like them but they’re really too expensive to buy the several pairs I’d like to. On the other hand, if you want just one or two pairs, these are quite nice and they go along nicely with the flectar field jakets and liners.

LXM-182900X – German Trigger Finger Mitts – Absolutely brand new, 10 pairs to a bundle. Theyre definitely going to be at their best with a liner of some sort but for the money these are a great bargain. Cheap enough to stash a couple pairs in the truck, at the shop, etc, etc. They are, essentially, disposable. However, theyre of good quality and I tried pairing them with the next item….

LXM-182323 – Theyre wool, theyre in good shape, theyre cheap, and you really cant have too many of these. They had some wear in terms of the lettering being faded on them but condition-wise theyre great. Tried the size L in the German trigger mitts and it was a tiny bit snug but they seemed to work well together…so theres a synergistic pairing for ya. By themselves theyre nice for driving, walking the dog or what have you…couple them with a good outer mitt and youve got some nice warmth going on.

One other thing I picked up were these. About 5′ of webbing with a fastex-style buckle on the end. Just the ticket for rolling up sleeping bags, blankets, etc. At a buck each, another excellent value.

Im not trying to sound like a shill here…there have been times in the past that SG dropped the ball and I wasnt thrilled with the quality of what I got, but, to be fair, they have always tried their best to correct anything that seemed wrong.


Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

I used to be indifferent about the ‘thankful’ part of Thanksgiving. I figured that if I was not homeless, had food, and wasn’t looking down the barrel of an eviction it was all my own doing rather than happenstance, fate or the whim of some invisible man who lives in the sky. As a result, Thanksgiving was, at its core, about eating lotsa food and having a day off. And theres nothing wrong with that.

Fast forward a few years. Preparedness has gone from being theory to practice as the economy goes south, people lose jobs, prices go up, etc, etc. I dont actually feel thankful on Thanksgiving any more than I do the rest of the year. I often stop and muse to myself that “we have it pretty good”, despite the things going on right now. I am mostly thankful that the missus and I are able to live safe, warm, comfortably, well-fed and secure.

Some small segment views Thanksgiving as a day to blather on about how its just a holiday perpetuating the celebration of genocide over Indians Native Americans. QQ some moar. Every civilization is built on the bones of someone else. Technologically advanced Europeans curb-stomped Bronze Age natives. And, prior to that, those same ‘natives’ eradicated who ever was here before them and set up shop. Thats how it works in this universe. Its too bad it happened, it happened a long time ago, move on and thanks for Manhattan.

Our Thanksgiving was spent at the house of the parents of some friends of ours. Every year they put on a small but highly delicious spread. I’m pretty pedestrian in my tastes. I just want turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, apple pie and ice cream. They were very accommodating about that and I ate a couple plates worth of food.

No after-TDay big turkey sale to take advantage of but I did find a good deal on some other groceries, but thats a later post. Hunting season ended Sunday and I only got out a few times so no deer for me this year. Im cool with that, I had a great time nonetheless. As I was standing around in the snow I came to appreciate the glory that is military bunny boots. A post on that later, also.

Next major holiday approaching: Christmas. Since even I cant keep track of the goodies I want, I’ve redone my Amazon wish list so the family and friends can avoid that awkward moment of not knowing whether I want the compact or the fullsize.

Food musings

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Fella came by the shop the other day and expressed an interest in purchasing some freeze-drieds. He’s a rather hardcore hunting kinda guy so I expected he wanted a few of the pouches for his hunting trips. Nope, he was interested in a ‘years supply’ of the stuff. Now, I’d love to make a sale like that but FDs, although really handy and rather tasty, aren’t cheap. I’m pretty sure the guy in question doesnt have the budget for what would amount to around $5-7k in FD food. (Although maybe he does, who knows.) I gently tried to steer him towards the idea that the FDs would make a nice addition to a larder of more common, less expensive foods like rice, pasta, canned and jarred foods, etc. Not sure if he was warm to that idea. I think that he wanted something more ‘turn key’…write a check, check delivery, and mark ‘one years supply of food’ off his checklist.

I didnt ask him why he wanted a years supply of food. I would imagine it takes a little bit of gumption just to broach that idea with a relative stranger. I certainly didnt want to put him in an awkward situation or start a discussion about what his particular flavor of EOTWAWKI is. I gave him a price list, told him to look it over, and suggested a few websites and that sort of thing. I also mentioned that the LDS cannery here in town could go a long way towards filling in the pantry and keeping things on budget.

I told him to come by in a few days and I’d have some books on the subject I could loan him if he was interested. It wasnt until after he left that I realized that of all the food storage stuff I’ve seen out there, Ive seen very little that explains exactly why you would or would not want to go a particular way in establishing a stockpile of food. I’ve no doubt that there are people who figure “Ill just get a years worth of MREs and I’ll be good”. As folks in Afghanistan could tell you, MREs arent exactly something youd wanna base your diet on for a year. (Especially considering the…effects…a steady diet of MREs are reputed to wreak on one’s digestive system. Take a copy of ‘War & Peace’ with you when you head to the bathroom.)

Personally, I go with the four major food groups: freezedried, MRE, dehydrated and off-the-shelf stuff. Each one fills a particular niche and the combinatin of them gives me the flexibility to cover most situations I can anticipate. Considering that its fairly difficult to buy any canned/jarred/boxed food product in a supermarket that won’t last longer than a year in storage, just carefully modifying your current grocery shopping habit would be enough to provide you with a years worth of stuff. Canned vegetables, canned meats, packaged pasta, rice, canned/jarred soups & sauces, etc, etc. all keep for at least a year and arent anything special..theyre just regular off-the-shelf stuff you find in Albertson’s. (Sometimes someone will chip in with “But all those foods have high fat and high salt content! Theyre unhealthy!” Hey, so is starving to death. Given a choice between malnutrition and slow starvation vs. eating a Hungry Man frozen dinner and a can of Spaghetti-O’s every day guess which one I choose.)

Of course, if you want the ‘buy it and forget it’ model of food storage, then youre pretty much locked into freeze drieds with their 25+ year shelf life, or MRE’s with their 5-10 year span. But considering the difference in expense, I’d go with alot of off-the-shelf stuff and just use it up within a year and replace it as I go.

SG HQ catalog stuff

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

It’s cold and blowing snow today, which the BioWeapon Mk. I finds to be fascinating and an excellent excuse for acting all hyper, so this seems a good time to point out some cool winter finds in this months Sportsmans Guide HQ catalog.

LXM-182323 – 10 Pair US mil. trigger finger mitten liners – I’ve got a couple dozen of these in the bunker, vacuum sealed for storage. The weave is tight enough to provide enough wind resistance that you could use them on their own when things arent to frigid, but they work best as a liner for some outerproof shell. I found some East German (or maybe it was Czech) vinyl mittens a few years ago for $1/pr and bought a couple dozen. The vinyl mitt makes a waterproof and windproof shell that goes well with these, although there are plenty of other shells out there that will work. This is a good price for genuine mil. surp mitts. 75/25 wool nylon. I keep an extra pair in my Cold Weather Module for LMI’s and friends who Im with who may get caught unprepared.

LXM-148992 – ECWS Sleeping Bag System. I just got a pair of these for $100 each from a couple vets. Took em out in the yard, set one up and spent the night in it at around freezing temps. I like them. They dont compact down as much as I’d like but for what I paid theyre an excellent bag. These ones are listed as new, and ar more expensive, but I’d take these genuine GI ones over the cheaper ‘mil spec’ ones that are also offered in the same catalog.

LXM-190570X – German Military Insulated Gloves – First time I’ve seen these offered. Not sure theyll do anything my current gloves/mitts won’t do but I do like the German flecktar patterned gear. I might have to get a pair but, really, $18 is way too much for a single pair of surplus gloves.

LXM-182900X – German Trigger Finger Mitts – On the other hand, these look like a serious bargain. In an XL they would probably work great with those US mitt liners.

Theres a few other niceties in there..military scarves, more mitts, etc, etc…but those are the high points that interested me most. Theres enough variety, and cheap enough ‘bulk’ prices, that a fella could put together their own Cold Weather Module at a very reasonable price (and, if he had a few LMI buddies he could bring the cost down considerably).

Live and let live…except these clowns

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

I normally refrain from using profanity in blog posts because with the huge amount of verbiage available to me in the English language there should be plenty, more descriptive, and more accurate terms available to get my point across.

But, to no ones surprise, discussing the TSA brings out the George Carlin in me.

I really dislike talking about it, but I once spent 6 hours with my hands cuffed behind my back in a jail cell because the TSA goons didnt know the difference between firearms packaged correctly for airline travel and those that werent. Since then, I put TSA employess in the same category as the guys in the death camp guard towers…dont tell me “its just a job”.

So, the goons at TSA are now saying that once you go into the inspection/detection process youre committed. If you refuse, you can be arrested and face about $10k in fines. Personally, Im not seeing where the TSA actually has the authority to physically detain anyone. However, if I have to go through this absurd and, to me, unconstitutional process I have no intention of making it easy. I’m gonna wear my Utilikilt, sans underwear of course, and if it looks like theyre gonna put on the gloves and start groping I am gonna close my eyes, concentrate on my favorite high-definition internet porn, and conjure up a massive erection so that when that waste of life starts groping under the kilt he finds a deadly weapon alright……

Ever hear the old expression about how “when the revolution gets here, the first ones up against the wall are gonna be….”? I , of course, dont mean it literally….really. But metaphorically, when the political revolution gets here I hope the first agency ‘up against the wall’ is the TSA and a few of the other goons at Fatherland Security.

TSA: Making America Safe One Strip-Searched Grandmother At A Time

My morning of “REP BATT”

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

I sleep much better when the room is cold. So, I usually keep the heating vents in the bedroom closed and never worry about putting in the storm windows. This morning, though, when I woke up I could tell it was colder than it should have been. When I left the cold bedroom the rest of the house wasnt nearly as warm as it should have been. Hmmmm. Checked the thermostat. “REP BATT”. Ok, batteries went out in the programmable thermostat. Swapped em out. “REP BATT”. Okay, now it isnt funny any more. Removed the unit from the wall, checked the contacts, double checked the operating instructions, checked for a reset switch.


*sigh* Ok, I guess I need to go pick up and install a new one. Then I noticed that one of the batteries I just put in has some dirt/grime on it. Hmmm. Maybe I just installed equally fail batteries? Trot down to the bunker and crack open a 36-pack of Duracells. Swap ‘em out.

“57* HEAT ON”

Much better. 57 degrees in the house. Coolish, but not critical.

Which, of course, got me to thinking what the scenario would have been had this been a more serious failure. After all, while I can tolerate the cold fairly well by hiding under a couple down comforters my water pipes would prefer to be kept above 32 degrees. Fortunately, we planned ahead. We have a couple electric space heaters, a small propane heater (w/ a goodly amount of propane), and two kerosene heaters with about 60 gallons of kero. Won’t keep the house at greenhouse temperatures but it’ll easily keep the overall house in the 60’s and can put one or two rooms into the 80’s if needed. (Although, honestly, 63-65 is where Im most comfortable and thats where I usually keep the thermostat in the winter.) I once rented a small bungalow that had, as its sole source of a heat, a gas space heater in the living room. all the other rooms were unheated. I remember throwing the covers back in the morning and seeing steam rise. That, mi amigos, is cold.

Between the propane space heater and the kerosene heaters we’d be able to keep one room as a ’safe room’ for warmth. The rest of the house would get bloody cold, and we’d have to drain the piped to keep them from freezing, but we wouldnt be freezing to death in our house like some folks have out in the plains states during monumental blizzards. Heck, at this point if the power went out for a few days I’d just throw the dog on the bed, put both down comforters and a couple wool blankets on top and just sleep through it. I could use the sleep.

So..the point of todays post…if youre heat went out today, and its 5 degrees out, and it looks like your not gonna get the heat back on until Monday, are you prepared to heat your house in another way to a point where your pipes dont burst and you dont freeze to death? Extra bonus points if you can do it without giving yourself CO poisoning (get a carbon monoxide detector [or three] if youre gonna play with propane/kero heating…cheap insurance.)

Red Dawn put on the shelf?

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Frak! According to the Wikipedia entry for MGM, their bankruptcy has put the Red Dawn remake on the shelf.

MGM’s crisis has affected the production and release of its upcoming films. As a result of the sale, EON Productions’ Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli announced that production of a proposed 23rd James Bond film has been suspended “indefinitely”.[126] MGM has also shelved its remake of Red Dawn, as the studio has “no money to really finish the film, much less pay for a release”.[127] Other projects share the same situation; The Matarese Circle (based on Robert Ludlum’s novel, under the direction of David Cronenberg and contemplatively starring Denzel Washington and Tom Cruise), and the expected reboots to the RoboCop franchise, by screenwriter David Self and film director Darren Aronofsky and The Three Stooges franchise.[128]

Links from the past

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

I recently started using the internet at the shop again after a lull of several years. This means that my bookmarks are quite dated but as I was going through them I thought that, although many of them have been shared here before, that I would repost a few of them for those who have come in late.

This one is easily one of my favorites on food storage. I am especially enamored with the recipe section.

Some very nice sights to spruce up your milspec rifle.

A fix for the amazingly ugly, stupid and redundant crossbolt safety on the Marlin rifles.

The manual, in HTML and PDF, for those of you using the ALICE pack.

A source for ‘one-serving’ and ‘travel size’ products for your bug-out kits or what have you. Very handy for putting kits together.