Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Addenda: BTDT & PSK

It's time to address questions and comments that followed "Been there? Done that?" and "Hunting & gathering."

I don't have a yard, I don't have a garden and I don't often have a chance to go camping. Any suggestions for other ways to get comfortable with my knives, short of dressing out my pets?

Leave...the cat...alone.

My first thought would be to use your go-to knife (or knives) in the kitchen -- chop vegetables, dice stew meat and peel potatoes. Practicing the culinary use of sharps can develop familiarity and dexterity like nothing else, really. It also can expose a knife's weaknesses -- better to find out in the kitchen than in the woods.

Buy a bundle of firewood and practice batoning, stripping bark and other bushcraft skills on the patio or in the parking lot. Be ready to get some strange looks from the neighbors, though.

Fuel efficiency is only one aspect of maximizing a vehicle's SHTF potential, isn't it? What about learning where its limits are, so that when zombies attack...?

(You knew it was bound to happen, sooner or later -- "zombies" have made their first appearance on KintlaLake Blog.)

That's a good point -- driving like a blue-haired retiree isn't the whole equation, not by a mile (per gallon).

Before the time comes when you must drive your vehicle hard and fast, it's not a bad idea at all to see just how much you can wring out of it -- without being stoopid about it. The best place to define a vehicle's envelope -- and a driver's -- is under pro supervision at the track.

I speak from some experience, having driven and ridden shotgun with a few championship-winning road-course drivers myself. Sure, track days can be expensive, but there's simply no substitute.

If that's not an option, do what you responsibly can to explore cornering, acceleration and yes, even fuel economy at the outer limits. If it's a truck or SUV, learn how much ground clearance it has by rolling over curbs and dividers. If it's a 4WD, take it off-road intentionally before you have to do that to evade and escape.

I take no responsibility, by the way, for speeding tickets earned, bodily injury suffered or property damage inflicted while you're pretending to be fleeing imaginary undead. You're on your own.

You mentioned tending to an injury without medical help but didn't elaborate. When I'm "going there" before "there" is "here," how do I tell the difference between a boo-boo that I can treat and something that requires a doctor or an EMT?

Common sense, mostly -- and training.

I'm not a doctor and I don't play one on TV, but I firmly believe that completing Red Cross training in first aid, CPR and disaster preparedness is time well spent. Make it a family affair if you can.

In my opinion, part of a preparedness mindset is being okay with being uncomfortable. Personally, I fast one day a month.

Experiencing hunger regularly is a good thing, especially for a prepared person, whether it's skipping a meal or going a whole day without eating. Most people don't deal well with simple discomfort. Getting familiar with it (and continuing to function) is one thing that separates a survivor from a statistic.

A caution, however: Don't go without water -- drink plenty of fluids. And it's always best to check with a doctor before undertaking such a "practice fast" or any similar exercise.

My family and I don't want to be hamsters, so every now and then we hop in the car and we go exploring. No GPS, only paper maps, and we don't pull those out unless we get lost. We usually don't go too far from home, and we make it a game for the kids -- "Where does that road go?" is something they look forward to now.

That's an excellent idea -- I couldn't have said it better myself.

I have what I think is a Victorinox Solo, but it doesn't look like the picture on your blog. The handles are red and they're textured plastic, not silver metal.

That would be a hard-to-find single-blade model in 108mm. It'd be a great choice for a compact PSK, but I've judged it to be a bit too big for the kit that I'm putting together.

Because it's made of unobtainium (or nylon, actually), it's twice as expensive as the 93mm Victorinox Solo Alox. The Safari (Solo) Adventurer currently is available for $30 from our friends at FelineVet. Get 'em while they last.

Earlier posts
Been there? Done that?
Sharps: Hunting & gathering

Secret Order of Swiss Army Knives