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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Urban Survival Gear – Binoculars

Although we left Binoculars off the Urban Survivalist’s Bug Out Bag list, we think Binoculars are such a good tool as to do an post on various types of binoculars in moderate price ranges.

We use many various Steiner Binoculars on the job, ranging from 8x30 Military Marine Model (shown in this post) to the large 20x80 models for long standoff observation.

The aspiring Urban Survivalist should probably first ensure his Bug Out Bag is stocked and packed, and that the withdrawal plan to a safe location has been prepared and studied before Binoculars are included in his general kit, however since we were asked,……

Binoculars obviously provide observation magnification so that terrain or people can be studied at ranges exceeding the ability of the un-aided human eye.
Considerations, besides price when selecting binoculars include necessary magnification, how big you want the objective lens, needed field of view (FOV) at maximum observation distances, and, size-weight considerations. The numbers assigned to a particular binocular, such as 8x30, refer first to the magnification 8 which is 8 power or roughly equal to a 400mm camera lens, then the second number which is the size of the objective lens, in this case 30. FOV is the width that you can see at a certain distance.

Generally the closer or tighter the magnification to objective lens ratio, the narrower the FOV and the less light gathering capability the binocular has- although lens quality and coating has a lot to do with this capability. Therefore an 8x30 binocular, with a magnification to objective ratio of approx 1:3.7, has less FOV and light gathering capability than a 7x50 binocular at approximately a 1:7.1 ratio. Having said that, you may or may not be able to actually tell that difference unless you have been behind binos or scopes a lot in your life.

Steiner 8x30 Military/Marine are a armor coated, rugged binocular that gives plenty of magnification at 8 power. Even though Steiners are tough, they have a 10 year warranty. However you are going to pay for quality. The model depicted here, the 8x30 Military Marine is at the lower end of the Steiner cost spectrum and will still set you back approximately $210. Good buy and plenty of quality, but you can find a better buy for your money if you are going to seldom use the binoculars and take care of them.

Nikon Action 7x35mm Ultrawide are a good tradeshow for quality considering price. At approximately $60 these are affordable and come with a lifetime warranty from Nikon. The center focus dial is useable and the binocular is adjustable for people with extra space between their eyes like cavemen and hillbillies. At around 1.5 lbs these binoculars will not over burden the Survivor with weight. Also available in an 8x40 model.

Leupold 6x30 Yosemite binocular are our hands down favorite for a smaller binocular but are a bit more expensive than the Nikon’s at approximately $80. These also come in a tan color body. Leupold has a good rep for rifle scopes and spotting scopes which will certainly expand to their binocular line in time. The Yosemite model are advertised as water proof with a lifetime limited warranty and are a few ounces lighter than the Nikon.

The bottom line on binoculars,……buy a reasonable quality binocular, maybe saving some money for a companion ultra compact cheaper set like Tasco or Bushnell. Each of us in the Survival Cadre possess at least three pair of binoculars with one guy owning six, so we evidently think they are necessary handy Survival gear.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Survival Chronicles of Jim – Chapter 5

Last night I went over to Neomi’s to show her the latest on the web site I am developing for her home based business which is, no kidding, Wedding Planning. Her day job is an Office Manager for a Physical Therapy Doctor. It’s hard to keep my mind on work when she’s walking around looking 100% gorgeous, but I have a story to tell.

Anyway our discussion turned to General Survival topics, with a lot of “what if’s”. I told her my general plan, was if the city or my house became untenable to live and survive at, would be to head to a old cabin in the mountains that remains belonging to someone (I’m not quite sure) in my family. It’s about 220 miles to the cabin, but I would have to plan on 50 mile detour to pickup my son from college where he is studying Computer Added Design so let’s say 275 miles. My vehicle is a ’04 Toyota RAV 4 which averages 22 mpg (city and highway) so that means I would have to have a full tank, 14 gallons, in order to get from my house to the cabin. I figure if I can get half way there, I could always walk 100 miles in about 5 to 6 days.

Neomi said, only half jokingly, ‘So, you’re just going to leave me?” I said “No, I would offer to take you, but if we have no telephones, cell or computer communications how are we going to talk and coordinate anything?” I then told her, “Look, if something gets really bad you can always come to my house. You’ll probably need to skirt the foothills of the mountain and come in the back way to avoid the heavy population. You need to have durable clothing suitable for hiking and camping, good boots, and only pack essentials – you don’t need makeup and that crap.”

Neomi looked like she thought about it for a few seconds, and then said, “Fair enough, what about guns? I have a couple of guns that my Dad left me.” She went into her bedroom and came out with a rifle and a handgun. Looking at both I figured out she had a Bolt Action Springfield rifle in .30-06 and a Revolver in .38 Special. I asked her is she had any ammunition for each, and she said no, so I told her she would have to pickup some at Wal-Mart, the local Sporting Goods store or a Gun Store and I wrote down what she needed to buy.

Neomi further surprised me by saying “she had a hand held Global Positioning System (GPS) that she had bought when she was dating a guy doing the geo caching sport.” She went and found it, so I wrote down the name “Garmin Etrex” and noticed that it used “AA” batteries. I told her to make sure she brings it with her. She said the only thing she knew what to do with it was figure out her location, input another location and use the device to walk to the cache. So I made a mental note to finds out more about GPS’s.

I finished my time last night with Neomi giving her an idea on what else she will need to bring with her, concentrating on some bottled water, granola bars, lightweight foods, matches/lighters, blanket, any medications, a toothbrush, etc. She exclaimed “Holy Cow, I’m going to need a big back pack”. I replied “that’s right Sweetie, it’s called a Survival Bug Out Bag, and I’m going to send you an e-mail with some more things to pack and keep it prepared to grab and immediately go – that’s the point”. And as much as I hated to say it, I said “…and those short pants you’re wearing aren’t going to be practical,… nothing but long pants.”

So now I have a possible survival partner. The boys warned me about taking on “strays” as each stray person absorbed by me will impact negatively on any survival stocks I have and may impact worse on my own survivability. They told me “to realize you can’t save everyone” as well as advised me to be careful on who I tell about my Survival Plans, and to choose my “strays” or Survival partners carefully. Their final advice on the subject was to base those choices on not only the skills sets other people would bring but how they would fit into a group.

Urban Survival Skills – Recognizing and Treating Cold Injuries

The ability to recognize and treat cold injuries can often mean life or death for you or anyone who is in your survival group. Obvious the best way to avoid having to deal with cold injuries is to prevent them from happening by implementing precautions. One of the best methods for this is to utilize the buddy team concept where everyone is responsible for one other.

One of the lesser injuries incurred during cold or extreme cold weather is dehydration because thirst is reduced during cold weather. Dehydration can cause constipation because people may eat more in the cold weather as they are burning more calories to produce body heat. A preventive measure would be using the mandatory drink rule where every so often, say 30 minutes, everyone drinks X amount of water, say 4-6 ounces.

Frostbite is a common cold injury resulting from frozen skin, usually digits such as feet, hands or sometimes ears. Mild frostbite is where only the skin that takes on a whitish pallor and will be cold to the touch. Severe frostbite is where the skin freezes to a deeper level below the skin. The skin will be frozen. Symptoms of frostbite include loss of feeling usually in your hands, feet, nose and ears. You may experience “tingling” before you actually lose feeling. Tingling would indicate a pre-frostbite condition.

Preventive measures are, of course, wearing adequate clothing including gloves, suitable footgear and watch caps or coverings for your ears. A scarf around your mouth and nose would also be good for extreme cold weather. Moderate movement in extreme cold, providing adequate footgear will usually prevent cold injuries associated with frostbite.

Treatment of frostbite includes re-warming a mild frostbite, use your hands or mittens to other dry pieces of cloth to warm your face and ears. Place your hands under your armpits. Place your feet next to your buddy’s stomach. A severe frostbite injury, if thawed and refrozen, will cause more damage to the skin and circulation and that patient would have to be hospitalized soon.

Hypothermia is the more dangerous cold injury and is caused by the lowering of the body temperature at a rate faster than the body can produce heat. Causes of hypothermia may be significant exposure, sudden soaking from water such as falling into a river or being doused with other liquids.

The initial symptom is shivering. This shivering may progress to the point that it is uncontrollable and interferes with an individual’s ability to care for themselves. This begins when the body’s core temperature falls to about 96 degrees F. When the body core temperature further falls to 95 to 90 degrees F , incoherency and irrational behavior may occur. A core body temperature of 90 to 86 degrees F will usually result in muscle spasms, rigidity, and unconsciousness. A body core temperature below 77 degrees F results in death.

Without the ability to access professional medical help using conventional medical treatments such as warm water baths or enemas, the Urban Survivor will have to resort to wrapping the victim in sleeping bags and heavy clothing for insulation. Warm sweet liquids such as cocoa would be good, but be careful of warming too fast as it can cause circulation and even heart problems.

Again, the best way to prevent cold injuries is to be prepared for it with adequate clothing and planning. Your Survival Bug Out Bag should have the small sleeping bag, a tarp or ground cloth and fire making devices so there will be no excuse not being able to treat cold injuries is your clothing, planning or actions failure you.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Survival Chronicles of Jim – Chapter 4

Man, sometimes it seems like I can’t get Survival topics of my mind. I hope I don’t turn into some paranoid freak!

Now my bug out bag is almost complete. When I went back to the gun store to buy some more gun cleaning supplies I picked up a cartridge belt so I can carry extra 12 gauge shotguns shells around my waist since I am using the shotgun as a primary long gun I’ll need access to more ammunition. The boys told me not to keep shells loaded into the leather belt and loops,…something about the oil or tannin in the leather oxidizing or corroding the shells.

I stopped by Lowe’s and bought another pack of re-chargeable “AA” batteries and a 5 x 7 foot tarp that I will put into my Survival Bug Out Bag to use as a shelter or ground cloth. The last couple of things I need are a Survival Radio for weather and emergency broadcasts and a couple small lanterns which I’ll order soon.

The boys sent me a pdf copy of the U.S. Army Survival Manual, FM 3-05.70, but told me that the SAS Survival Manual by Wiseman is an essential item. My last conversation with these guys centered around clothing items. I own some blue jeans and sweat shirts, but for the most part my wardrobe consists of casual and formal business attire. From their point of view, I need to get some heavy duty clothing like Carhart or Wrangler items in earth tone type colors,..brown, green, dark tan. The boys said that camouflage clothing may actually be better suited for moving and operating in the field, but in and around the city they’ll bring too much scrutiny. I agree. In the next couple of days I’ll buy a pair of Wrangler brown jeans and a Carhart, insulated shirt.

The coolest thing happened two days ago. I was at the local sporting goods store looking for some mini “AA” battery type lanterns to see if I could buy them locally cheaper than from ordering from Amazon – I couldn’t, but anyway, I ran into a friend of mine, Neomi. I have been helping her out with some website development for her home based business.

Neomi is hot! Several years younger than me, used to dating athlete type guys and such, Neomi calls me regularly to complain about how some guy treated her bad, etc. Did I say she is Hot!!?? Anyway, Neomi asked me what I was doing in the Sporting Goods store. I told her I was looking for some “AA” or “AAA” powered small lanterns. She asked why and I gave her the “I just preparing a kit for emergencies,..yada yada yada.” She wanted to know more. She lives alone in a duplex about five miles from my house, but she is still well within the city. She was late for a Pilates class but wanted to know more about my "Disaster Preparedness". So I told her I would come by her house later as I had a also had an update for her web site I needed her to take a look at.