Suburban Survival

How to Survive Lost Without a Compass

Woman hiking and reading map in forestYou have decided it is a good day for a short hike on a well-known trail. A trail well known to you anyways because you have hiked it numerous times and you know every twist and turn. You know how long it takes from start to finish and you have your survival gear down to a science. You know how many bottles of water you will need as well as number of protein bars. Because you are, so familiar with the terrain a map and compass is just added weight and you see no need to pack then for the hike.

After an hour along the trail, you notice storm clouds gathering and realize it is an hour walk back to the trailhead and your vehicle. Getting soaked out here is not ideal because it is getting cooler so you begin to search for shelter, you veer off the trail, and soon you spot a downed tree that may offer some protection if you get under it.

The rain pelted down for the better part of an hour and the mist rising from the ground made seeing the ground difficult. You set out for the trail and after 10 minutes of hiking you realize you must have went in the wrong direction because surely you did not walk ten minutes to the downed tree. Twenty minutes in the other direction and still no trail and for some reason you have the urge to run in another direction to find the trail, you do not however because panicking is dangerous and it will only move you farther from the trail.

You Are Lost What to Do Next

Like most people, you probably get in your vehicle and drive to your destination. You know the way because of landmarks and street signs. Directions are not given like in days past where someone would tell you to walk north for 800 paces and turn south for 300 more. Frankly you have no idea if the trailhead where your vehicle is, is north or south of the trail and certainly no idea where it is from your current location.

How to Find Civilization

Man checking compass for right directionSome people naturally assume a compass is no good unless you know which direction to travel in and that you need a map to find your way. Granted a compass is ideal for finding locations if you know the grid coordinates and know the destination as marked on a map. However, a compass also allows you walk in a straight line.

The bezel of a good compass will have degrees marked on it that correspond to the direction of travel and is lined up with the needle that points in that direction. When walking you glance at the needle to ensure you are always moving 180 degrees south, for example, and this makes it easy to adjust course and of course ensures that you are walking in a straight line.

It is nearly impossible to walk in a straight line without a compass or some visual landmark that you can focus on with your eyes.

Lost Without a Compass

Why is walking in a straight line important. If you cannot walk in a straight line, simply put, you will never get anywhere and ultimately will walk in circles and end up back where you started. You can literally walk for days, be less than five miles from civilization, and never find it because you walked in circles. Hikers, hunters and others lost have been found in some cases just a few miles from camp, their vehicle or a town. They had succumbed to the elements or dehydration because they could not stay pointed in one direction long enough to reach their camp or the town.

Assumedly if you walk in any direction in a straight line for 10 to 15 miles or more in some cases, you will come upon a road, highway or some other evidence of civilization. It is simply a matter of maintaining course, and it can be done with a compass or map.

Find a landmark that you can walk directly to and once there find another and do the same and repeat this process to walk in straight line. Use the sun during the day to maintain course by walking with the sun over one shoulder and once the sun begins to go down either walk into it or have it centered on your back as you walk, which will require that you glance back often to stay on course.

Waterways can lead to towns and homes. Simply follow any river or stream downriver. Many cities and towns grew up around water because water is essential to any community’s survival and many communities sprang up around water.

Railroad tracks either lead to or are coming from a settlement and once you come upon a set of tracks it really does not matter which direction you travel in, one way could have a town just around the corner or several miles around the next corner.

Overhead power lines and oil pipelines will lead to civilization, repair huts, homes and transfer stations where help may be found.

If you know or suspect you are in a coastal area walk into the wind to find the coastline or follow birds. Birds will fly inland and then return to the coast. Prevailing winds blow inland so if the breeze is at your front then you are walking toward the coast where help may be found.

Posted on by Suburban Prepper in Suburban Survival, Survival Gear Comments Off

Body Armor Guide For Dummies

Our friends over at have graciously provided us with a guest post this week.  They have shared with us a prepper’s guide to body armor.  I am sure you will find it very informative.  Feel free to visit their website and tell them what you think. -SP

Guide to Body Armor

Body Armor With SAPI Plate Pocket

Body Armor With SAPI Plate Pocket

There’s no doubt that you know that the federal US government seems to intentionally violate US residents’ integral right for self-defense. Body armor can at times be a crucial prep for people who want to secure themselves from an unfortunate event. This article, this guide, is meant to be a simple explanation and introduction to body armor for the average person. This is for anyone who is not familiar with body armor. It is designed to help you choose the appropriate body armor for your specific needs.


Body Armor Rating System

There are two protection levels for stab proof armor that are managed by Home Office Scientific Development Branch of the UK, whereas protection levels for bullet proof vests range from level IIA to level IVA and are managed by the US National Institute of Justice. In general, body armor is manufactured from three materials: Kevlar, steel, and ceramic.


Kevlar Body Armor

Kevlar was created by DuPont back in 1965. This material is the most common one used in soft body armor. Kevlar is an aramid, a polymer chain, which aligns parallel to the fiber. The extra strong chemical bindings permit the fiber to be incredibly strong elastically relative to weight. These fibers are joined into a thick cloth, creating the layers that are employed in modern Kevlar body armors.

Most of the time, Kevlar is good at stopping bullets. The material is much lighter, comparing to any other material used in body armor, and is mostly reputed for stopping rounds from a handgun. For example, an IIIA protection level body armor set is able to stop up to a .44 Magnum bullet from permeating it. Kevlar is flexible and adjusts to the bodyshapes of its owner, when worn. Kevlar body armor is concealable, so it might be worn regularly.Body Armor Levels



Ceramic Body Armor

The majority of ceramic plates (frequently referred to as trauma plates) are manufactured of a boron-carbide blend. This material’s structure is crystalline. Ceramic plates are very hard and are known for absorbing bullet’s impact.

Generally, ceramic plates are rated III and IV by the NIJ. They can absorb the impact of bullets that range between .308 and .3006. The impact to the body is highly reduced by the body armor that breaks up and absorbs the impact. This is referred to as “fracturing”. Also, ceramic is much lighter, comparing to steel, so wearing ¾ inch plates ads about 4 lbs. less, than steel. Ceramic isn’t affected by moisture or heat and doesn’t spoil very much with the lapse of time.


Steel Body Armor

Barely any introduction is needed for steel. The only thing that should be noted is that a wide range of steel trauma plates are manufactured from AR500 steel.  Among the available hard armor, steel plates are the most elastic. Numerous strikes to steel plates won’t compromise armor’s integrity. Steel isn’t fragile and won’t crack, if shot at or dropped. Also, steel is cheaper, than ceramic and is obtainable from a broader band of manufacturers.

Body Armor


Should You Get Yourself Body Armor?

It is advisable, but there are a few cautions. In extreme situations, like WROL, a bullet wound will probably be a death warrant. Unless it’s a clean subcutaneous wound, it is improbable that most people would have the skills or tools needed for recovery. Fragments of bullets and tissues of bone, muscles, and organs would have to be removed or fixed to avert sepsis or even death from bleeding, not to mention the recovery of a limb’s or organ’s function. Slow moving ammo is known to tear clothes and bringing their fragments into the wound, increasing infection risk even more. How many people have a shotgun that is loaded with several shells? Also, consider the fact that the person attempting to treat you could be your friend or family member with limited first-aid knowledge and could easily overlook some of the birdshot grains stuck in you. Lead isn’t a vitamin you should be taking for better brain function.

Like all good preppers know always prep the essentials before anything. Never buy body armor before getting food, water, medical supplies, and firearms. Prep wisely, before getting a million rounds ammo, make sure you have enough food and water to feed your family. You must know your priorities. You won’t be able to eat Kevlar for lunch and bullets won’t keep you hydrated. Body armor is a great item to have when you need it but don’t over look the essentials.

Kevlar’s lightweight properties make this type of armor ideal for children, women, the elderly and for those who want to avoid carrying an extra 20 pounds on them. Kevlar prices ranges from $150 to $300+, Prices vary from each manufacturer and the type of carrier in the set. When buying Kevlar, don’t forget to check the manufacture date. There are quite a few different Kevlar Made Body Armor options for all current occupations or requirements.

The more robust individuals can carry serious hard armor protection with carriers, most of which have MOLLE webbing. Ceramic plates cost about $200 per plate, so a set would cost about $400+ and don’t forget about at least $75 for the armor carrier. Steel armor certified by the NIJ costs about $100 per plate, in general, which means they cost about half the price of ceramic armor. Most of the steel and ceramic armors isn’t protected from spalling.

Stealth Body Armor

Stealth Body Armor


What Armor Should You Get?

There’s no magic body armor that will protect you 100%. The perfect body armor is the right balance of protection and mobility. It must protect against incoming fire and at the same time keep you mobile.

For suburban preppers that live in suburban areas, where you are in minimal risk of being shot at with larger caliber rounds, you can choose to wear soft body armor for its concealment features and mobility. However, in a rural area, where many people are hunters, the probability of rifles and larger calibers increases and makes the use of hard body armor a better choice. Hard armor is also a better option for a firefight, where you can’t disengage, stationary security, or reconnaissance over flat land or in an unfriendly environment.

For more information please visit online in the United States or for UK residents.

Posted on by Suburban Prepper in Suburban Survival, Survival Gear, Survival Kits 1 Comment

How To Establish A Prepper Network

Preppers for the most part naturally want to encourage others to prepare for disasters, and they generally are willing to help others get started. The reasoning is simple; the more people prepared for a crisis the less looting, violence and theft during a crisis.

Otherwise, law-abiding citizens may believe they must steal to provide for their family during a crisis. Parents desperate for food and water for their children will go to great lengths to provide that food and water.

Networks: Is It A Sensible Move?

Networks are not necessarily designed to help people prepare before a crisis although many are set up with this express purpose in mind. There is some debate on what a network actually is and is it to help others at large or only those in the network.

A network should for the most part be put together to help the community as a whole. Ideally, the network would be set up to help coordinate relief efforts. To help match up individuals with certain tasks. A network is a means to survive when local, state or federal authorities are overwhelmed and cannot respond in a timely manner

To be effective a network should be set up to help everyone survive an ongoing crisis and the aftermath. This is accomplished by having a system in place that uses everyone’s training, skills and knowledge collectively. Consider what needs to be done in your home and community during the course of a normal day, and realize that many of the same tasks will still need to be accomplished in the days after a disaster has struck.

The individuals in your network do not necessarily have to be your neighbors. Some people may not want their neighbors to know that much about them. You may have a dispute with your neighbors and simply do not trust them.

Use friends that may know someone and that someone knows someone and so on. A network cannot be set up in a matter of days. It will take time to established trust and friendships. You have to trust and they have to trust.

Doctors, nurses and EMT’s can help, while you in turn, help them repair their home if damaged if you or someone else has those skills and someone else can offer them fresh vegetables or eggs. You see where this is going. Take a pencil and paper, list your skills and then those of your close friends, and then look for other skills that will be needed by everyone to survive.

You can essentially barter using knowledge and skills as currency

You can ask people if they would want to be a part of your network. Approach it from a crisis standpoint and point out what the needs of people in the community would be after a hurricane, earthquake, or tornadoes. Tell them you are collecting numbers and ask if they can be called upon to provide help during a crisis. Inform them of course that you and others would in turn help them.

Inform everyone it is a community effort and everyone is working toward the same goals. Point out some of the problems the local authorities had during hurricane Katrina and super storm Sandy and the more recent tornadoes that struck the Midwest of the United States.

It is not recommended that you tell anyone other than family or close friends how well prepared you might be as far as supplies, weapons and ammunition. People during a crisis will act differently and you have no idea how some may react, so keep your personal preparedness a secret.

Getting Organized

You should identify people who have medical training and organizational skills along with military and law enforcement training and ask them to be a part of your network. Additional skills needed would be in agriculture, animal medicine, carpentry, engineering and so forth.

Who Is In Charge and How Much Do They Need To Know

You will have to establish a list; someone in the group should be the secretary responsible for names, occupation and phone numbers/addresses. Everyone in the group will need the names and numbers so each individual can operate alone if need be. If you centralize control and information then no one can operate alone and if one key player is disabled or missing, then the network will fail.

Essentially a network is list of people who can be called upon when their particular knowledge and training is needed. Individuals in the group do not need to know who is prepared and how well prepared. It would be assumed that people in the group would be responsible for their own supplies. The concept is to use combined minds and talent to survive the aftermath when hospitals and clinics are shut down for example.

The “pecking order” will be the hardest to identify because some will naturally assume they are in charge simply because they are who they are. You will have to give gentle nudges and establish priorities.

Communications will be important so you will have to gather devices that can be used during the crisis that does not rely on the local power grid, cellular towers or electricity. Ham radios, two-way radios and Citizens Band (CB) radios are ideal for emergencies.

Will It Work

People will have good intentions and what seems like a good idea on paper has a way of looking bad in reality. The biggest downside to an ad hoc volunteer network is that you have no idea how people handle themselves in a crisis. Many of those in your group will be thinking during the crisis that their family comes first, and that will be your attitude as well.

When networks really work is during an extended crisis, after the initial shock has worn off and people have had a chance to assess the situation. Once people have gotten their “footing” as it where is when they will come together to help others. People with talents that can be used will show themselves and offer their services.

People that live in the community will come together to help rebuild their community after they have seen to their family’s immediate needs. If you develop a network with this in mind, it can work. However, priorities must be identified triage if you will must be performed to ensure the most in need get the help first. This may cause a strain because everyone’s problems are a priority to them but you will need to explain to everyone this is for the collective good and it is time to come together for everyone’s benefit.


Unfortunately, aside from the crisis your biggest threat during any disaster is other citizens in the community. Keep the network professional and stress it not a relief agency for people to come to for food and water. It may seem harsh but if you start passing out supplies to everyone you and your family will suffer.

Ensure you know where disaster relief agencies will be staging such as the Red Cross and FEMA, so when people do ask you can direct them to the appropriate areas and agencies so they can get some emergency supplies.

Avoid asking for or giving out too much personal information. People not prepared will naturally seek out those that are during a crisis.



Posted on by Suburban Prepper in Prepping 101, Suburban Survival Comments Off

7 Mistakes Suburban Preppers Make

In some circumstances, mistakes have tragic consequences. There are no do over’s in some cases, and the famous line, “the more you sweat in peacetime the less you bleed in war”(sun Tzu) can be applied to prepping. You not only need the proper supplies and equipment, you need knowledge, certain skill sets and real time experience before disaster strikes. Simply reading about it and gathering supplies is not enough. In other words, you have to practice, and apply your skills. Learn how to properly use your equipment and get your mind and body ready so when disaster does strike you are less likely to make mistakes that have serious consequences.

While not specifically stated as such the quote above may be from sun Tzu the art of war and in some other references the source is listed as “anonymous Chinese proverbs”

Mistake Number 1

The number one mistake preppers make is focusing all their time and resources preparing for a single event.

Multiple events can occur that are not related to what someone may be preparing for. Prepping is about surviving any situation and not just one thing. Given the state of the world today, you could end up dealing with multiple threats over extended periods and this includes natural disasters such as meteoroid/comet strike or massive volcanic eruptions. Emergency supplies are not “crisis specific”. Focus on what will always be needed regardless of the crisis.

You have watched the realities shows that follow preppers, which are individuals and families, as they prepare for disasters. The shows typically depict the preppers preparing for a specific crisis. While it is understood that preparing for a nuclear catastrophe makes for good television it may not always be the most practical way for you to prepare.   Read more

Posted on by Suburban Prepper in Planning, Suburban Survival 2 Comments

Attack on the United States!

The title is salacious – I know.  Why aren’t more people calling this what it is?!?!  foreign embassies are the land of sovereign nations – this is a basic tenet of international law.  PLAIN AND SIMPLE – THE UNITED STATES WAS ATTACKED TWICE THESE PAST FEW DAYS!  ONCE IN EGYPT AND AGAIN IN LIBYA.  My heart goes out the families of those Americans serving overseas who died.



Now, any history student can tell you that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria is what caused WWI.  How hard is it to imagine the storming of US Embassies and the murder of a US diplomat could cause WWIII?  This is already a screwed up area of the world and these sort of “sparks” can ignite the world into a blaze of war.  Israel is clearly itching to bomb Iran – the Islamic world couldn’t hate the US anymore than they already do – China and Russia seem to be supporting our enemies (Iran and North Korea) and the world police (the US) could be pulled into full a blown WORLD WAR.

From a prepping stand point this doesn’t change much but it should give you the incentive to step up your preps.  World war which will inevitably involve some middle east country or countries will spike oil prices, spook the markets and cause massive panic.  We will very likely not see attacks on US soil as the fight will happen overseas but that does not mean that mean we will not feel the effects at home.  Our country is divided politcally and socially like never before and our economy is in a very fragile state.  Anything serious could tip the balance and cause a knee-jerk reaction that results in a depression or worse.

It was said that today’s headlines are a terrible reminder how violent the world is.  Remember that statement.  Protect yourself and your family.

We could all wake up ANY morning and find that Isreal has bombed alleged nuclear facilities in Iran - a terrorist cell (backed by a shadow foreign nation) has sucessfully attacked the US or China has attacked someone over disputed territories or North Korea hit South Korea with another artillary strike.

PREP NOW and PREP HARD – You may be running out of time!


Posted on by Suburban Prepper in Prepper, Preppers, Prepping, SHTF, Suburban Survival 3 Comments
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 20 21   Next »