{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Vote -1 Vote +1Jack
October 8, 2010 at 7:01 am

Good advice. There is a lot of crossover skills. Try cooking over a fire, cooking in aluminum foil, cooking on rocks and with no utensils. Get the Boy Scout Handbook as it has a lot of useful information.

What about knots, how to do them and what they are for?

Thanks for the information.


Vote -1 Vote +1mike
October 8, 2010 at 7:09 am

Took the family out to the nearby countryside for some fresh air. Taught my 2 teenage daughters how to start a fire with a flint and steel and Vaseline cotton. Lots of fun!!


Vote -1 Vote +1Bob
October 8, 2010 at 7:17 am

Hello, I have enjoyed your newsletter and have really gotten a lot of information from it. One thing I think is missing, for possibly good reason, is some material intertwined with an end-times perspective. Not sure how many others are reading from this perspective, but government martial law, viruses, forced submission, a monetary crash, etc… are all running parallel to your letters. One big issue to us will be the fact that we will not be able buy or sell any goods, unless we adopt the world stance. What we have on hand, will be what we have to make due with. Rev 13 of the New Testament speaks of this, as well as many Old Testament passages. Our web page has many links to physical survival, but also to “spiritual” survival, that all souls will need no matter what religion. Great job for the time is short!


Vote -1 Vote +1Jason
October 8, 2010 at 11:50 am


If Dave doesn’t mind, may I ask what is your website? I would be very interested in a group that in concerned about the spiritual as well as the physical.



Vote -1 Vote +1Judy
October 8, 2010 at 10:10 pm

I would like to know the web site also.


Vote -1 Vote +1james744
October 8, 2010 at 8:23 am

Great website and of course there are some excellent comments. This is the strength of this website. Thanks David You have done a great job provided much needed and wanted info but also as important is that you have allows others to donate their ideas.

The one idea I have that I haven’t read yet is “what do we do with outdating stored food items? Well first of all don’t let them outdate. What I do is I take a permanent marker and in large numbers write the expiration date on the side where it is visible when I open my closet. Everything is in chronological order. Some canned meats are good for several years. Six months to expiration I take those items to the local food pantry or eat them then replace what I have gotten rid of. I know it sounds basic but expiration dates can get away from you without a small plan to deal with them.

I know many people eat daily what they store so those people are already turning over their foods. I do but there is no way I and my family could afford to buy stuff as we use them. I wait for sales and buy in bulk so sometimes I can’t rotate stock that fast. This is also a great way to donate to those who are in immediate need for food. Many are there because tshtf has already occured on a personal level. The shit has already hit the fan for many people. PLease consider one more step in the food storage idea. When you by items and can afford it, by a little extra than you would normally by, place it in a corner of your house and when you have gathered a bag or more of food, drop it off at a local food pantry or urban mission.

Thanks ,


Vote -1 Vote +1Mike Harlow
October 8, 2010 at 8:59 am

I attended SERE school in 1970 (Warner Springs) We made TeePees from parachutes. They worked OK. Unfortunately we also made sleeping bags from parachutes and they sucked. I learned much earlier that making a thick bed of grass, leaves or even small pine boughs is hugely more comfortable and will insulate you from ground cold and moisture. If you’re a kid, you can sleep anywhere. Once you’re full size and especially over forty this can be near crippling without a ground cloth under your tent. When my son was little we learned this camping in the back yard in Florida without a ground cloth. Ground moisture entered the tent through the floor and it quickly became a steam room. We unassed that tent fast. I find sleeping pads to be a farce. Air matresses are excellent. It won’t last forever so learn to make a bed of leaves and buy a sleeping bag. They are cheap. One of my most comfotable nights ever was sleeping in a bag on top of a two foot thick bed of DRY leaves………..Mike


Vote -1 Vote +1Ben Martino
October 8, 2010 at 11:09 am

Another GREAT insulator is newspaper…..
Not really practical to carry when backpacking, or using just a survival bag…. BUT for regular camping or car camping where you can carry as much gear as you’d like, bring all your old newspapers….

We gone winter camping in a tent a number of times and we place a ground tarp down, then newspaper over it, then the tent, then inside the tent we put more newspaper on the floor, and a quilted blanket over that….. Warm as toast ! No dampness got through at all… With a reflective fire in front of the tent door… we were siting there in our shorts and it was snowing like crazy all around us…. we were very warm…

Homeless people have been using newspapers for years to survive…. it’s a great insulator ….


Vote -1 Vote +1Deborah
October 8, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Hey Mike!
I just wanted to say that I actually lived in the woods in a parachute tee-pee for about eight months. It was interesting to see the thing glowing orange and white through the trees when the kerosene lamp lit it up in the night sky. I had a strip of courogated steel (used with nail holes) leaning against one side to try and stay dry. My bed was made of pine needles which poked through my sleeping bag (ouch!). That was one of many experiences that are fun to look back on.




Vote -1 Vote +1Claire
October 8, 2010 at 9:10 am

Thank you so much for the newsletter information. I can’t seem to get my husband interested because we live in a rural area, but I’m working on getting him to agree to subscribe to your course. I believe you have the right ideas and knowledge to help us prepare whether urban or rural. In the meantime, I have been e-mailing my friends to acquaint them with your website.

We do have about 6 months of food storage, but need more. I was very interested in a comment made (I think in one of your newsletters) that the smell of fresh baking bread would attract hungry desperate people. So I plan to use my stored wheat as cracked wheat cereal or sprout it for greenery as needed. We are empty nesters. have a married daughter with one child who has not prepared at all. Most of our other children live in distant areas, and they are able to prepare themselves. But the one married daughter who lives nearby and has a child still struggles to pay their bills. So we will be providing them with what they need. But what about the husband’s extended family? They live hand-to-mouth close to us. I suppose they will also need help. I wonder how we can manage that.

Your tips have been so informative and they make sense. I have implemented them as I continue to prepare. We need more protection from those who have not prepared. We cannot feed all our neighbors. They need to wake up and get ready for disaster.

My husband earned a sharpshooter medal in the Army and we have a hand gun with a permit to carry. I have fired it a few times and feel comfortable with it, but need more practice. As a member of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) in the 1960s, I learned to fire a weapon using “BRASS: Breathe, Relax, Aim, Slack, Squeeze.” When I fired the M-1 rifle, I managed to win a weekend pass by being in third place.

I asked my husband to buy a shotgun, a repeating pistol, and a 22 rifle. He suggested the gun show happening here this coming weekend would be a good place to look. He likes weapons, so he is not totally against being prepared for what I think is coming. I’ve been web surfing to get information on different types of guns, including those mentioned in replies to your newsletters.
I don’t worry about being able to shoot-to-kill. If they are a threat, my life is more important than theirs. I can also kill, dress and eat game and I don’t mean that I can sew clothes for them, even though I can.

In any event, we never know what emergency situation might arise in our own neighborhoods. We have several dams for hydroelectric power in our area and I’ve often wondered if they would collapse. We are not downstream from these dams, but if one collapses, it would severely damage the small towns nearby and affect our ability to get food and services.

Last December we had a six-day power outage due to an electrical transformer explosion. The weather was very cold and snowy, but we had been somewhat well-prepared and came out fairly comfortable. We had purchased a propane gas fireplace and the tanks were full. It does not require electricity and it kept four rooms of our house warm. We had an emergency radio/flashlight to wind up for reception. It did not run long enough to keep it going for more than a few minutes and the reception was poor, but we were able to get weather information. We had flashlights and candles and kerosene lamps. We had games to play and books to read. We had plenty of stored canned food but no way to heat food. Our fireplace could not heat the food because of the “cool” metal around it to prevent children from getting burned. We don’t know how to switch the gas from the fireplace to our gas grill. That might be a solution. Would a two-outlet valve solve the problem?

When we got to town to get a little camp stove, they were sold out and did not have any propane canisters left either. We did find a buffet warming pan which included a can sterno fuel and bought some extra sterno fuel. That worked well enough to warm our canned food and even fry an egg. It got us through. We learned a great deal about the inconvenience of going without electricity.

This is getting too long so I’ll quit telling of my experiences. Thank you again for your willingness to share some of your knowledge with us. I want the course but in the interest of family peace, I will wait until he’s convinced.

Claire B.


Vote -1 Vote +1Ben Martino
October 8, 2010 at 11:25 am

Claire B.

Try the two outlet split hose for the propane stove/fireplace… I think it will work…. BUT, I’d also keep a Sterno stove and fuel as a back up…. never hurts to have a back up…

Also… think about picking up a hand held battery powered police/fire scanner…. I’ve found it much more useful then the standard am/fm portable radio … you’ll actually hear all the emergency broadcast from police & fire in your area… what roads are blocked, what shelters are open, etc. etc. You’ll know everything that’s going on around you…. much more information then you’ll ever get from a broadcast station….


Vote -1 Vote +1Dave W
October 13, 2010 at 11:59 am

I live in a small city north of Buffalo.On October 13,2006 we got hit with a freak snow storm.The leaves were still in the trees.The snow was making the trees brake.We lost power for 6 day and had no heat.I do have my gas grill on my portch.What I did that will help you if ever needed.
1.Get the canned food that you want to heat up and pull off the lable.
2.Open the can but don’t take the lid off all the way.
3.Star the gas grill and set the cans on the grate and close the grill lid.
4.In 4 minuets your food will be hot.
5.take a knife and lift the lid of the can.
6.Using a pot holder take the can off the grill.
After the 6 days of no power,no heat,and no lights.I keep a spare gas grill tank on hand.Just having that hot food to eat made the days a little more liveable.
That day was the most amazing thing I have ever seen.100,000 trees just broke off from the waight of the snow.You couldn’t drive anywhere.Any where I look you see nothing but 3 feet of snow and broken tree limbs.
Well I hope this will help you out if ever needed.


Vote -1 Vote +1Dave G
October 8, 2010 at 9:33 am


Thank you for your work on Urban Survival. As we get into the 21 Century of electronic media. The question is Do you have plans to publish via Kindle or Apple I tunes. This would help in many ways for reference.
Tks Dave G


Vote -1 Vote +1Evan
October 8, 2010 at 9:41 am


Just so you know, the Course Textbook is available in a Kindle edition. Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003IHW1KE?ie=UTF8&tag=surviveinplac-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B003IHW1KE“>Urban Survival Guide



Vote -1 Vote +1Peter
October 8, 2010 at 11:52 am


Where is the kindle edition available? I can’t find it at Amazon.



Vote -1 Vote +1Evan
October 8, 2010 at 1:10 pm


I added the link to my previous comment, but you can find the Kindle edition of the textbook for the course here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003IHW1KE?ie=UTF8&tag=surviveinplac-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B003IHW1KE“>Urban Survival Guide



Vote -1 Vote +1TXKajun
October 8, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Congrats to the winners! And what a generous host to give away a 4th course! My hat’s off to ya!



Vote -1 Vote +1crowdog
October 8, 2010 at 8:15 pm

even in the best of times none of the above is easy.ihave spent periods of as long as 4 monthhs in good weather with drop suppy to keep leapfrogging gear in as much as 500 pounds at first jump .i have gone as long as 6 months going into winter .just to train the best hunting dogs any place .they would hunt the wife if needed my latetest .effort i have gone for over 400 days.in snows 2 feet deep and 5 degree weather.with 90 degeee temps in late summer with low water springs .i do not care what anyone says it is dam hard to start fire at those winter temps the only thing that got me going that night was as small rodents nest i found under the side of some wood that i had split in spring ready to go but it was so cold the small fire could not win out over the frozen wood dry and split i barely got it lit only by using an old arrow to blow threw that got it gonig after constant trying.it took over an hour to boil water which i just dropped canned potatoes and meat into the water un opened . thats when i started to carry road flares in my winter packs am going to lite up the night because if your not ready by nigtht fall you got trouble the point of this short story is in the best of times. its hard. so for the few of you who are trying you are doing your loved ones a service.with your effort.clean hands save lives if anything keep your hands clean .wear gloves as much as possible. if you get a bowel problem out hear you got trouble .you will go so much and become so weak from it .you will run out of that white paper used to take care of your back side. fast i missed boiling my pans right one time i paid the hidden cost i was so weak i could barly get my gear out .then it took rest to recover..i was one whipped dog ..hand to hand .am not to sure if i would of been the dog on top.love you all hope to see you come spring .winter decides. standing dead trees you can push them over. three of them side bye side will burn all night hope you are not being hunted ……by the two legged wolves .i have seen them they are about 100 t0 200 hundred yards from the hard top go deep .we gotta win this one .live well .your postion is surrounded ….standfast


Vote -1 Vote +1Marty
October 8, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Taught my 8 year old grandson how to start a campfire with flint and steel then cooked over it. The next weekend my daughter called me to let me know how well he had learned, he had caught the backyard on fire. Oh well, at least he was paying attention.


Vote -1 Vote +1MP
October 8, 2010 at 9:42 pm

If you look at it from another perspective, urban survival could be compared very much so to wilderness survival by looking at the typical urban environment as a “wilderness” of its own. It’s called a concrete jungle for a reason.

Many of our wilderness survival skills would have to be enhanced for urban survival for one thing. We would still have to hunt for food but it would be fair enough to assume that escape and evasion would be more of a commonplace than it would be in the wilderness.

But to some degree, urban survival might be easier than it would be in the wilderness due to the idea that we would have “remnants of the old world” at our disposal. Being able to use many abandoned structures for shelter weather temporary or permanent is going to be easier and probably more comfortable than trying to throw together a lean to from tree branches and gather up enough pine mulch to make a bed. Finding a bucket to gather water from a lake in a nearby park or if its still running, a hose tap on the side of a building will be easier than trying to gather water in the wilderness when something like a 5 gallon bucket may not be available. Lord knows of the abundance of fuels in the urban landscape. A coffee can or something similar can be used as a boiling pot or even a cook pot.

There’s things that many of us have probably made using items that one in a SHTF time, could easily find all around us in an urban environment. Making a heater using rubbing alcohol and a roll of toilet paper or one of those little camp stoves using two soda cans and in my case, some cotton or other non synthetic fabric if perlite isn’t available along with the alcohol will be easier. Or using old motor oil thinned with kerosene or something similar along with a roll of corrugated cardboard inside of a soda can with half of the side cut out makes a cheap lantern, albeit a smoky one. I’ve even made a candle lantern using cooking oil and a wick made from cotton twirled up with super thin bell wire (almost as thin as a hair), anchored to a big washer and placed in a mason or similar heat resistant jar.

I’ve done a lot of this stuff literally in my suburban backyard while in Chicago just in case I had to survive if TSHTF. I also was pretty good with airguns so if I had to pop a squirrel or pigeon for food, I could. Granted I’ve never had the opportunity to actually process an animal short of the fish I caught in the river that ran through the “forest preserves” near our house as well as the local parks’ lakes.

Another thing might be interesting to think about. If everybody heads for the hills afte TSHTF, then there’s a possibility that the cities will be relatively empty, with the exception for the riff raff. After most of the easily usable resources are exhausted, even they will probably start moving away from the cities in search for more plunder. At that point, if the survival urbanites can make it through the first moments of the ruckus, then things may actually be pretty easy afterward. Other than the occasional goons, the worry about riots and mobs converging on your secret survival retreat may not occur. Just like The Colony, who would know if the trouble that a group like that went through on the show would even happen if they’re in the right area. Sure a group may have to deal with the occasional batch of goons passing through, but then thats where the guns come in right?

If a group were to try and be as low key as possible instead of setting up like a beacon to those who want to take, which is where the minimalist mentality comes in, then a group would stand to do even better. Well I’m only just a theorist, like the majority of us that like to ponder the “what ifs” of SHTF, but if one does disagree, I always look forward to seeing what others opinions are too, I’m always open to learn more.


Vote -1 Vote +1Lonnie Williams
October 9, 2010 at 12:55 am

To all concerned & to add to Mike’s mention about using Vaseline soaked cotton balls as fire starters (hands down the very BEST next to cut off road flares if well saturated & they burn for 6 min). These are all we use in our SAR group. On a recent high altitude back pack trip, I found that when cold, the Vaseline is a little harder to light. So I tested it against Vick’s Vapor Rub three separate times after 60 min. stays in the freezer. The Vicks burned the same length of time but caught fire instantly as opposed to the Vaseline which had to be brought back up to a jell stage before igniting. Just thought I’d share my discovery from our practice. Lonnie.


Vote -1 Vote +1TOM BURR
October 9, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Having been brought up in a first one up the best one dressed situation, I had to make do many times. Any way I will have to look into how long such as powdered milk would last in a safe container. This applies to all food of this type. It bothers me to not know. You could use a gas clicker to start a fire. Living in a 8 month cold area is very dangerous, and to be out side under this kind of a situation calls for in-depth knowledge. Actually a plastic under cover for a tent will do. Moisture is almost a number one problem when sleeping with mother nature. If we are talking about a complete breakdown in out country, BOY are we in for a terrible times. I also believe we must collect a few very trusted individuals to count on for safety and protection. We must really become self sufficient. Those who have land to garden plus fruit trees, pear trees,apple etc would be in a much better place. Making dried fruit etc is a must for this is so easy to prepare and protect. All so one must really become an ardent user of fire arms of all kinds. And have plenty of ammunition. Down blankets and clothes can be a good way to keep warm. Good wool can’t be beat either. It’s going to be tough. We now are sleeping with the enemy. How in the world did our leaders allow people who hate us to come here is a mystery to me. Why was not some kind of vote to see If we want this outfit to come here and cause trouble right off the bat. I am deathly afraid for our nation. Enough, thank you for a place to unload. burr


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1shirley
October 9, 2010 at 11:51 pm

I really enjoy what you are doing. I began being prepared because of the extreme weather. Your tips are great and I pass them on to my one daughter/family. I wish I could find a way with words, or something, to help my other 2 daughters/family to begin preparing, also. What great ideas you, and your followers have. I love the mouse trap with rope or chain, the coffee cans, and I must practice on a couple of soda cans to make things of. Could someone draw up some plans so I could see exactly how to do? I, myself, have collected 2-liter soda bottles. They are good solid containers for water that will not leak. I have washed them up, inside and out, and dried them, as well as lids. Then I contain them quickly into garbage bags with cardboard on the bottom to help keep them in line. I tie up the bags and have them stored. When an event is about to take place or is, then I plan to sanitize the tub with bleach, sit for 1 minute, or just wash it quickly add water to tub while filling the bottles. I have already figured that 2 2-liter bottles are equal to 1 gallon and about 1/2 cup. The water in the tub will be used as possible, then the soda bottles. I plan, also, at the same time, to have the washer fill with water, and sit, for more usable water. I would fill everything possible up, also, and put into refrigerator. I would then turn off water when desirable. I would like to know if you think this to be a good plan with the water? I, too, plan to purchase your course. You seem to be going along the same ideas I have. We are in Texas, outskirts of Austin. My brother is in state of Washington and asked us to come there. I believe we would be just as well off here where we are familiar. What do you think? He is very into surviver techniques, but what a distance! My husband wants to stay here with our house, and since we have a business that could help in that time, we would want to get our products out to everyone that we could. I believe I asked 2 questions, so I will stop here. Thank you. Do you have a blog? Thanks again!


Vote -1 Vote +1Robert
October 15, 2010 at 8:24 am

Your points on water are well taken. The PET soda bottles are good, but remember to store some filled with water too. Some emergencies can come upon you very quickly. Keep your filled bottles in the dark (to prevent algal growth) and change the water twice a year if you plan to drink it. (Once a year is often enough for water for washing.) BTW your word choice and sentence structure reminds me of friends from Russia.


Vote -1 Vote +1dan zimsen
October 10, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Nobody has mentioned foot wear. Now, it IS possible some places to go barefoot all the time. I had a daughter who did that in South Carolina. But it took months before she could really walk barefoot on summer concrete.

For the rest of us, good footwear and a good hat are life saving.. Winter or summer.

Some time ago you ran a critique of some boots. I read it, and was impressed, and now can’t find it. How about running that again.?.



Vote -1 Vote +1Bill Hoffman
October 11, 2010 at 9:48 am

The best prreventive survival is to VOTE NOV 2 and plan for the worst and hope that you will not need your survial skills— but between us fence posts her in Wyoming BRING IT ON AND KEEP YOUR POWDER DRY


Vote -1 Vote +1Marcia
October 11, 2010 at 11:07 am

Lots of great ideas again. Thanks to all. We purchased a box (18) of carpenter grade, 55 gallon trash bags for about 10.00 I read this idea somewhere, fill the trash bags with leaves and sleep on that instead of the cold, hard ground. It’s a trash bag so it is nothing to put a few of these in your kit. We have air mattresses and sleeping bags also but if we had to leave with less equipment, this would at least give you a more comfortable, warm and dry night’s sleep.
We also purchased a used Boy Scout Handbook on e-bay. With shipping we paid about 10.00 for that. It has lots of survival information in it that is easy reading and not too hard to understand along with pictures and drawings of how to. Another light weight item to pack. I would also be interested in the website that relates to endtimes spiritually. We believe what the Bible says on this subject.
Congratulations to all the winners and a very special THANKS to David for giving more free courses. That is very generous.
A note to Tom Burr: We just purchased some powdered milk from the Ready Store. It has about a 10 year shelf life and about a 2 year shelf life after opening it. We also purchased some flour same way. You should check them out. We have actually bought many things from them. They have quite a bit of survival gear and they are very helpful to deal with. I look forward to more newsletters and everyone’s comments. Thanks!


Vote -1 Vote +1Robert
October 15, 2010 at 8:30 am

More useful than a Boy Scout Handbook is the Boy Scout Fieldbook. Buy it new from an authorized Scout supplies dealer. (That should be less expensive than Ebay due to shipping.)


Vote -1 Vote +1Paul
October 14, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Some excellent idea’s on this site…including the replies. When purchasing items such as powered/dehydrated milk, if you get Skim Milk it will last about 5 years before opening, but if you buy powered milk with the fat still in it (2 or 4%) you can only plan on about 2 years for storage. The fats will start to break down and begin to spoil.


Vote -1 Vote +1Robert
October 15, 2010 at 8:32 am

When purchacing powdered milk be sure to get milk and not whey!


Vote -1 Vote +1stupid
October 15, 2010 at 8:40 pm

David, you may want to rethink your position on a letter about surviving after a nuclear blast. As you stated about chemical and biological attacks, they are not very effective so there is really only a very small concern about them unless there is a really huge, as in tons per city of chem or bio weapons attack. But a nuclear blast will cover more than a square mile at ground zero, plus several miles around as well from the fires and fallout from the actual blast, so no matter how far from one you are you will be affected in some way or another, AND, here is the important part, homeland security is very very afraid, and rightfully so, that more than a few suitcase nukes have been smuggled into the USA and will sooner or later be used by our enemies. Their concern is not IF, they do believe it is only a matter of WHEN one is detonated in one or more of our larger cities.
Therefore i believe that we are far more likely to have to deal with the problems associated with a nuclear device than with a chemical or biological attack. What do you think?
Thank you for all your hard work and concern


Vote -1 Vote +1Marty
October 31, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Some food for thought for would be Urban Rambos. The rural areas that are likely to be their sought after refuge, in their survival planning, are discussing what to do about the hordes descending from the cities. Just something to think about.


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