Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bugging, Part IV: The Right Stuff

Considering what's at stake when preparing for the worst, it's no surprise that people are constantly looking for the perfect, ideal or ultimate something-or-other -- as if owning the best is some sort of talisman against misfortune.

Sure, some gear is better than other gear, and preparedness does involve putting together the right stuff. An unrestrained "shopping list mentality," however, misses this fundamental point:

The best SHTF stuff available is the stuff I have when the SHTF.

Not having the ideal stuff becomes so much spilled milk then, doesn't it? At that moment, what I have is what I have. It must be as capable and as reliable as it can be, and I need to know just how good it is.

Don't skip over that last point. I'm talking about testing -- actually using -- my SHTF stuff and, more important, developing the skills and ability to use it well.

If I own a genuine Swedish Army firesteel but haven't used it to start a fire in the pouring rain, I'm putting my family's survival at risk. Without training and practice, my tacticool carbine becomes about as useful as a Louisville Slugger. If I'm in poor physical shape, my mountain bike isn't going to be much good as SHTF transportation.

Singer, not song.

Although my family's kit comprises the best stuff we can justify, I lose no sleep pining for ideal SHTF gear, nor do I consider us somehow doomed or defenseless without it. I believe we're better off acquiring stuff that's capable and reliable, then acquiring the skills to use it effectively -- beginning with familiarity, striving for proficiency, and pursuing mastery.

Bugging, Part I: Securing the Castle
Bugging, Part II: My Tin Hat
Bugging, Part III: In or Out?