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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Philosophy: Maslow's hierarchy of needs

"The basis of Maslow's motivation theory is that human beings are motivated by unsatisfied needs, and that certain lower factors need to be satisfied before higher needs can be satisfied. According to Maslow, there are general types of needs (physiological, survival, safety, love, and esteem) that must be satisfied before a person can act unselfishly. He called these needs "deficiency needs." As long as we are motivated to satisfy these cravings, we are moving towards growth, toward self-actualization. Satisfying needs is healthy, while preventing gratification makes us sick or act evilly."

Entire article HERE.

Ahh, a long forgotten tidbit of my college experience; Maslow's hierarchy of needs. I studied Social Service Work in college some years ago, and after many years in the field, have moved on to a different type of job. Irrelevant for this topic, but I feel it lends some credibility to what I'm typing here - knowing that I'm not just copying and pasting the ENTIRE thing. Of course, this is the internet... believe what you want.

I was thinking today about Maslow's hierarchy of needs in the context of 'survival'. Now, even applying it to such a broad term is the equivalent of applying the Art of War to 'business'. However, it really does break down what we need on our most basic levels, from the ground up.

I would be careful not to model your lifestyle off of this chart, however. It serves as a good understanding of how we automatically operate but also insinuates the fact that we have 'constant' physiological needs. On this premise alone, if we were to prepare for the things we 'need' to survive, we could possibly never rise higher than the lowest plank on the pyramid.

A good start though - and a couple points to ponder. What could you go without?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Review: LED Lenser P4

Advertised at 14 lumens, with a 96 hour battery life, this light fit the bill for the latest place on my EDC checklist - a penlight. Of course, it's labelled as tactical and has a textured, flat black body... does this matter?

No, but I'm sure it had a part to play in the 30 dollar price tag.

It's a wee bit overpriced - but I recently ordered a flashlight off Dealextreme that took 6 weeks to come in. I need a penlight - and have needed one - today. I got this one from my local Lowe\s store.

It has decent throw, decent brightness and decent weight to size ratio. It's powered by AAA batteries and has a focusable lens - almost useless on a little light like this but maybe good for some folks. Another point to notice is that the pocket clip is not fixed to the light itself. It's strong enough, but I'll most likely tape it in place.

Decent, but only decent.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Field Expedient Butterfly Wound Closure

Found a nice package of butterfly closures at my local Shoppers Drug Mart. I'm trying to build up two things - a blow out kit for range days and a level II FAK.

Here's a fantastic video done on makeshift butterfly closures - in the case you need them, but don't have them.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Review: Meal Kit Supply MRE's - Part 2 of 4

We're here at the second part of the review. I opened a second of four MRE's provided by Meal Kit Supply to sample for the purposes of a full review. This particular MRE contained a few things that the previous one did. For instance - both included the delicious Wheat Bread Snack and Blackberry Jam. Honestly, really tasty - first thing I ate and was actually excited to see it.

Above is a picture of everything that was included in this MRE. The usual two spoons, condiment pack and a few things that were included in the first MRE we tried. I didn't make the hot cocoa from the first batch - it wasn't until I was cleaning up the packaging that I noticed I had missed it. We were sure to include it in this review, however. So it was time to see what the second MRE had in store for us - tactical review gear in place, we sat down for chow.

The two main dishes this time around were Sloppy Joe Filling and Potato Cheddar Soup w/ Bacon. I didn't get right into these - I wanted to see what else there was.

The first thing I did open was the juice pouch. I'd like to make another thing clear here - well, two things, really. One, I do NOT like lemonade. My wife does, I do not. Let that reflect my view on the supplied juice packet, later on. The next - I REALLY like juice. This can also sway my opinion, so let's not forget that. Some people just don't like juice - just as some don't like pop. I do, however.

So, I mixed up a cup of the Lemon-Lime juice packet, half expecting to hate it. I don't know what it is, I just don't like lemonade. After mixing all the crystals up, I took a sip. Goosebumps! Cough! Sputter! Again, I don't like lemonade. I found the juice to be very sour on the first sip - almost candy-sour, if there were some kind of scale you could apply to it. My wife, on the other hand, thought it was nice and a 'summery drink'. She likes lemonade - I don't.

Like a little kid, I went straight to an old-standard. Hot chocolate. What interests me most about Meal Kit Supply MRE's is the 'all-in' structuring of them. They include everything - minus water, that you need to enjoy whats inside. The container that houses the mix for both beverages have the capability to both mix and serve the beverage itself. Awesome.

We mixed up the cocoa and poured it into a cup. Nothing separates this mix from anything you'd get in the grocery store or a Tim Horton's drive-thru. Rich, hot, tasty. My wife is basically a hot-chocolate connoisseur. She drinks it as opposed to coffee - crazy, right?

Well, she says there's two kinds of hot chocolate at the grocery store - brand name and no-name. She compared this to no-name hot chocolate. Good, fulfilling, but not brand name - not as creamy.

Next - I opened the Sloppy Joe main dish. Hungry at this point as the little hand was gracing the top of the clock. I must say - this was really, really good. We had just finished putting groceries away - I had my pick of good food. I ate this for lunch. Not just because it was open, in front of me and available readily - because it was genuinely tasty. Here's the kicker - I didn't even heat it up!

A little history here, my younger brother and I used to eat Chef BoyR-Dee or however you spell it, straight out of the can. This was almost identical to that taste. I couldn't describe it any clearer than that. Really good.

The next thing we tried was the Potato mix. Opening up the package - it looked exactly as I thought it would. I said to my wife;

"Brace yourself, this is gonna look like puke."

Past that, I took a bite, cold. Bacon and Potato. Nothing more, nothing less. Texture was as you'd expect from a potato soup mix. I expected it to be slimier than it was, but was surprised to find a very pleasurable texture, even cold.

We warmed it up and found a massive difference. Perhaps only as a morale issue, we were much happier to eat the mixture hot, rather than lukewarm or cold. In fact, my wife had several spoonfuls and remarked that it was delicious.

Last but not least, we opened the Fudge Brownie. It smelled like a brownie but was kind of hard to the touch. Maybe hard isn't the right word for it, but compared to the Wheat Bread Snack, it was definately not as moist or soft. We both described it as 'chalky'. I couldn't really think of anything else - it tasted good but wasn't 'bakery moist'.

I suppose I had high hopes, given the absolute delicacy that we found in the Wheat Bread Snack. It's good to note that this could act as a major morale booster - chocolate tends to do that. There were actually little hunks of chocolate in the brownie itself, we both liked it despite the relative textural differences when compared to other snacks included with the MRE.

But here's the thing - if I had this brownie, and my wife had the Wheat Bread Snack, we've already agreed on a trade.

All in all - it's interesting to note how typical 'breakfast' foods would 'go down' better in the morning than 'lunch foods'. I mean, sure, we'd eat the Sloppy Joe mix at sunrise, but the increase in morale in having sausage and hash-brown would be welcome. Both my wife and I have agreed that so far, these MRE's would be wonderful for camping, hunting and long term storage. Really nice to put in the basement and forget about them until they are needed. We'd cycle through our cans before we'd open these up on a Wednesday night. However, we'd much rather take a few of these camping than a cooler full of food - so long as your campers can give up the creature comforts of specific things, or can get over maybe eating one or two main dishes cold. Alternatively you could just bring things to cook in - pots and pans, and leave the camp utensils and dishware at home.

We still have 2 more MRE's to review, and 2 consumer-grade substitutes to compare. Stay tuned.

Meal Kit Supply has assured us that a coupon code should be ready to roll out for Monday.

Review: Tasco 10X Monocular

Went to Canadian Tire today to get a food vacuum sealer, and came back with this; Tasco's 10X Monocular. That happens to me often - go in looking for one thing, and come out with extras. Impulse I guess.

It was 19.99 - a steal for what you're getting. My philosophy of use here included the ability to see further, without the bulk and obvious 'look' of binoculars. I want to keep this in my get home bag, in the event that I need to see what's going on ahead - without looking too obvious about it. For instance, I don't want to paint myself as a target, but in the event of a long-term traffic jam or something like that - I could use the ability to see what's going on, up the road a ways.

It's little enough to forget about - fits evenly in my hand. It's light enough to just keep in the bag without any major issue at all. The glass isn't high-quality, let's get serious, I paid 20 bucks for it. It's 'good enough' as a tool that has it's use, and nothing more.

The image is crystal clear - it even came with a little microfiber cloth, that I keep in the included nylon case.

A good buy - would have multiple uses outdoors and on a bad day. Recommended.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Review: Meal Kit Supply MRE's - Part 1 of 4

As an introduction to what's happening here, I'll introduce a part of myself to this site that has yet remained untold. I'm in my mid-twenties. That doesn't automatically qualify me to do anything, rather, quite the opposite. I completely understand that because of my short time here on Earth so far, my opinions and perspectives are due for changes later on. However, I know what I know.

I'm committed to creating an online Canadian preparedness community. I've done reviews on things I've bought and soon, things that other people have bought. Sometimes a Canadian perspective on things is going to be different than an American viewpoint, because we have different lifestyles that guide and mold us. For instance, a review on a pocket knife here in Canada will be different from one in the States' - we've got different laws that govern what we can and can not have.

Below, I'll start off the first part of four in a series of reviews on a product supplied by Meal Kit Supply Canada. This review series is very unique in that, these products were kindly provided to me for free by MKS - specifically for the purposes of reviewing. This does a couple things; it provides a degree of legitimacy to the Canadian preparedness community as a whole - our opinion matters, it also perked my interest to know that MKS would so willingly ship me a few MRE's - they really, REALLY stand behind what they're selling.

So we're clear about the intent of this review, let me explain. This first review of four is happening in my kitchen, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I have all the amenities that we consider luxury. I have a fridge full of food and just finished a double-double. In no way is this a scenario where food is a scarcity. I'm not trying to starve myself to see how full these MRE's really leave me. I am interested in the production value and taste of them. I'll be asking my wife to sample them as well. Let's face it - at the end of the day, we'll eat anything to make it through to the next day, but to buy a case of MRE's - a good tasting one couldn't hurt.

These products were given to me to review on a volunteer basis - no pay or endorsements.

I've purchased a few readily available MRE type packages as well, for both product-to-product comparison and to illustrate what is readily available to the consumer. I figure this accurately represents a cross-section of what's available to us; the mail order MRE, a Mountain House dehydrated package and a mil-surp MRE.

After a few phone-calls and emails, the package arrives at my doorstep. Little brown box that was much lighter than I expected. I brought it upstairs and immediately opened it up. I received four full MRE packages. At this point, I hadn't opened any up yet - as I wanted to do a full sit down review of each package. It would have to wait until the weekend as my job had me staying over in Welland, ON for a few more nights.


The first one I picked to review was the Pork Sausage Patty. Some resources regarding this product are listed below the main review and provided on the Meal Kit Supply site.

I immediately noticed one thing about the MRE when I unpacked it all onto my kitchen table. It's all in subdued colours. I noticed this outright because my brain automatically triggered my 'cool' reflex. I took this as a good and bad thing. I subscribe to the theory of '2nd kind of cool' as stated by nutnfancy. This is an added bonus of subdued colours - it looks cool. Sure, it's practical in the bush and definitely for the military, but it's also cool. I hesitated on this fact however, as sometimes things that look cool are only that...

Welll, time to dig in. As you can see - I had my oh-so-professional reviewing equipment at the ready.

Upon further inspection of the packaging, I noted to my wife that the outer layer - reads: Meal Kit Ready To Eat - could be used as a waterproof container in a backpack. A stretch, but in a stretch it could prove to be very useful. The MRE contents read Made in MO - but it's all distributed out of Canada, which I'm glad to hear.

I'm only going to go over the things actually worth reviewing - let's face it, pepper is pepper. While the little condiment packages are not worth the hard look, it is worth noting that they are included. Two spoons, one short, one long. A napkin - I have read that it's a frustration among people who use these in the field to only have one napkin, but as far as I'm concerned, that is unfounded. I haven't experienced this particularly, however, and can therefore not comment on it accurately.

So the first thing I did was pour myself a glass of water and put a boil on to test out the coffee. I mixed up the orange electrolyte mixture and had a sip. It pretty much just tasted like freshy. There's no more accurate way to describe it. Like any orange mix you'll find. No detectable aftertaste or off-putting taste at all. Good and refreshing.

With boiling water, I mixed up a cup of coffee. I didn't use the creamer or sugar included - I spent many a night shift living off this stuff. Mind you, it's no double double, but on a rainy morning, stuck inside a tent, it's a gift sent directly from the gods. There's just nothing like a hot cup of java... instant or not. Again, nothing you wouldn't find at the grocery store, but it's all included in that little plastic bag.

I opened the Snack Bread first - I had wondered since I opened the package if it would just be some kind of hard tack or if it was indeed a 'bread'... not a 'board'. I was sincerely surprised to find a decent little bread-type, almost muffin-textured treat inside. I spread the included Blackberry Jam on top and had a bite. Without question, my favourite part of the MRE. I would buy this separately - just to eat. Really, really tasty. Almost sweet, not too chewy and almost moist. Awesome.

My wife went as far as to say she'd eat it as a snack, any day, while comparing the taste to something like a poptart without any filling. We both liked the fact that the jam was more like a spread - no hunks of berries. I was interested to get my wife's input on these products, knowing what her predisposition to them were. She insisted they would taste like cardboard - she was very surprised to eat and enjoy all that was included.

Next, we ripped out the sausage patty. The picture above is fresh out of the packaging. I wanted to try the 'main' stuff cold and hot - you never know, maybe you'll have to eat it cold. The sausage was greasy and, to be brutally honest, unappealing when it was fresh out of the package and cold. I took a bite - decent. Could definitely taste the maple, and that was a huge plus for me. Heating it up in the microwave for a half-minute or so (yes, I know that's not always possible in a bad situation, but I wanted to give the main dishes a thorough review) proved a valuable endeavor. After getting it out, the area right in front of the microwave fumed up with the scent of Sunday morning. Pork and maple - oh! Canada!

When eaten hot, the sausage was really quite tasty and you could really get the taste of maple. A good healthy portion too. About the size of a McDonald's hashbrown, but twice as thick.

After that, I pulled out the Hashbrowns w/ Bacon package. We tried the flameless heaters with great success. After reading the instructions twice through, I couldn't for the life of me find the 'fill line' for the water, but the instructions luckily included a measurement of water to use.

Here's basically what happens - Rip off the top, slide your food pouch in, put 40ml of water in, fold over the top and stick it the food pouch's box, tilted upwards.

Here's what I didn't expect - this thing gets HOT. I mean - "holy shit I need to find somewhere to put this" hot. I stuck it in the sink - suggested time is 12 minutes. I let it sit there for about 10 minutes before I took it out to see. When I removed the food pouch from the heater pouch, it was really, really warmed up. The pouch had steam rising from it before it was even open.

The hashbrown's packaging allows the user to open it horizontally - a great feature so that you don't get any on your fingers trying to reach down for the last bits.

We tried the hashbrowns cold. They were good - you could really taste the bacon.

Warmed up they were my second favourite part of this MRE. I dumped the pepper in there and gave it a stir - and finished the package. My wife had a couple spoonfuls and noted that she would have expected it to be gross, but that it actually tasted really good. From sitting in the heater, the hashbrown mix was steaming - right up to the last spoonful.

Supplied as well was a brand name Pop-Tart. Not much to say - you can get them at the grocery store and everybody knows they're good. I could see keeping this, however, as a 'snack' for after the main meal - maybe kept in a pocket for later as it retains it's own packaging.

MKS has kindly supplied a hand wipe with each meal as well. Cleanliness aside - this could prove to be a major morale booster to those not really used to not having a sink around. Good call.

I had always viewed MRE's as military issued survival food. I knew I could get them at the army surplus store and had thought that they'd be really, really gross. To the layman - food sitting around for YEARS will not be very tasty.

This is much more than just 'suvival food', it was in fact very tasty and I'm really looking forward to getting into the next three. We'll look a little deeper into the nutritional benefits of these packages and how best to keep them, next time.

I would encourage sheepdog readers to stick around for the show - we're being offered a limited time coupon for purchases from Meal Kit Supply!

FAQ - Shelf life, allergies, nutrition.
Case Details - Configuration and information about packaged MRE's.
Ration Heater - More information on MKS Flameless Ration Heaters

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hype: Don't be afraid - BE PREPARED

We're living in uncertain times. That's the best way to really describe what's going on, globally. We're uncertain about Japan's nuclear dilemma. We're uncertain about the future that faces our Japanese brothers and sisters. We're uncertain about radiation and it's true effect on both local Japan and worldwide. We're uncertain our economy and we're uncertain, to say the least, about almost everything else.

It's an unfortunate fact of reality. There are very, very few things that are completely dependable. There are even fewer that are certain. Fortunately, we innately bear the requirements of survival in this uncertain and undependable world.

It would be easy for me to find pictures from this past week to scare you. Nuclear reactors, tsunami victims, earthquake destruction. Death, decay. Chaos. I could list figures and representations of what's expected to come. Even better, I could compare this weeks events with things that have happened in the past.

If you want to be scared - do a quick google search for "Japan Nuclear Meltdown". That's scary. No doubt about it. Even the thought of a nuclear emergency is frightening. Most of us are so far removed from the thought processes behind atomic energy and it's related safety concerns that we can't even fathom the consequences should those saftey measures fail. It's simply beyond the scope of the layman's understanding.

Therefore, we rely completely on mass media for information. This is both good and bad. Good, there are now - thanks to the internet - millions of resources for information. Bad, simply because of the multitude of information sources - all of them can not be credible. Good, there is an instant, constant live feed at your fingertips. Bad, time and time again, things are misreported and sensationalized.

I'm just asking Sheepdog readers to be careful. It's a dangerous place out there - even moreso on the internet. There's always so much going on, falsehoods can easily slip through unnoticed. If you're looking for specific information, to convince your subconscious or otherwise, you'll find it on the internet.

Here's the thing... There's no way we could ever be prepared for everything. Should we therefore 'bite the bullet' and accept common defeat as our eventual, certain outcome?

Of course not.

Remember. Life is uncertain. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. Really - prepare for the worst, don't expect it.

Take a look at daffodils. They're absolutely beautiful.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Make Your Own Gear: No... Really.

Just stumbled upon this site... still browsing it after 45 seconds, which is uncommon of sites I usually stumble upon.

Make Your Own Gear

All in all, I'm a big fan of general DIY sites and the culture that surrounds them. I like the satisfaction of completing a project. Re-purposing old stuff and complete scratch builds, I usually build skillsets that are really useful.

Pioneer Tools: The fixed blade

This series of articles is going to talk about what I will call pioneer tools. Everybody has their preferences when it comes to tools I certainly have mine I have been a woodsman most of my life. And I feel that there are a few basic things somebody should have with regards to bare minimum tools. Most all of these could be carried on your body with ease so you would have little risk of losing them.

Fixed Blade Knife

The first will be a proper fixed blade knife. A quality blade carries with it many capabilities such as gutting, skinning and dressing fish or game, crafting tools out of wood or even stone, defensive purposes, digging holes and many other things. As you know blades come in all forms of steel and trying to pick out one from the other can make your head spin. I wouldn’t worry too too much about what steel the blade is made from I would be more concerned about these three things.

  • Quality Control
  • Full Tang
  • Quality of Sheath

Quality Control: Buy a proper brand name knife. Avoid the temptation of what I call gun show specials those cheap fixed blade knives you see in hunting shops that don’t come with a box or a brand name. You want something strong and effective not something that is going to break on you the first time you baton it through a log. Buy cheap. Buy twice.

Full Tang: A full tang basically means the blade and hilt are a single piece of steel which ensures that the blade isn’t going to break away from the hilt as easily. Very simple make sure the blade is a full tang design. When buying online it should say somewhere in the product info that the knife is a full tang.

Quality of Sheath: Polymer, leather and cordura nylon are by far the most standard materials for sheaths I prefer leather or polymer out of personal preference. But as long as the sheath is made from quality materials it will be fine. Look at a sheath similar to looking at a pistol holster buy something durable that is going to work when you need it to.

Carry Method: The carry method for fixed blade knives is most commonly affixed to the belt line. Some people rig up shoulder harnesses, lash the sheath to backpacks and other such things. But nine times out of ten the belt line is where I would carry a blade. And I would not use a standard pants belt. I would personally use some sort of belt capable of bearing weight. This could cost some money but the comfort issue will be worth the extra cash you spend.

Another option would be a pistol belt and belt keepers. These are little loops that attach to your pants belt that you then attach to the pistol belt. Keeping to two together to reduce bouncing and increase comfort.

And finally you could look into suspenders that you can affix to a pistol belt. Similar to the webbing style of load bearing gear used by military forces. This allows you to balance the weight on your shoulders and hips taking stress off of your lower back. However this isnt the most low profile of options.

So first on the kit list a quality fixed blade knife Bill posted a review on a SOG blade not too long ago. Next time we will talk about the axe and hatchet.

CBRN Threat from Japan? Conflicting sources. Stay safe regardless

G'day folks.

According to some individuals there is the threat of a CBRN incident from the damaged reactor in Japan it seems that in the event of a meltdown radiation fallout could hit the entire American west coast. Now I am not a CBRN expert. I am not a doctor hell I am not even a witch doctor. And I pray that this potential threat of radiation is simply the western media blowiing things out of proportion.

Regardless of what may or may not be true please stay safe out there my brothers and sisters. Lets send out our hopes and prayers to the people of Japan and lets hope this whole thing works out

And if anything please let this possble risk serve as a wake up call that we must prepare for anything

Stay safe

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Opsgear staff gives tips on emergency preparedness

I am a big fan of they are a hard working lot who provide a wide array of excellent products at quite reasonable prices. But what is really impressing me recently about opsgear even more then what they stock is how involved they are getting with individual customers and the world around them.

I have been browsing and buying from opsgear for a long time and I remember when it was just an online store with a few dvd trailers on a youtube page. I knew nothing of the staff except that they always came through with getting me my order. That has changed

In the last two years Opsgear has given generously to many people in need from wounded veterans from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan to the earthquake victim of Haiti to millions of people via free tactical tips

Here are two videos on preparedness courtesy of these can give you a basic ideas for what to stock in your survival kits.

As always stay ready and stay safe and check out

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sheepdog Mindset - 50 wokers stay behind to help

You wake up, get ready for work and without warning, your world falls apart. Earthquake, tsunami and now, the worst case scenario. After multiple explosions, fires and an official state of emergency - this accurately describes the last few days for 50-some-odd workers from the now infamous atomic energy plant in Japan.

These people went to work. The difference is, in the face of almost certain death, they stayed. Most of us cannot imagine this type of decision. Forsaking everything to help. Nevermind a few hours of your time to help change a tire. Don't compare it to treating a casualty at some accident. These people will almost certainly die. They might DIE.

I hope this doesn't come across as being alarmist. It's the reality of the situation. These people are actively putting their lives on the line for the rest of us. For the future. It almost sounds like some b-side movie script, but it's the god-awful truth. I can not accurately put into words the things I feel about this situation. These people, are heroes.

That's a word that is all too often tossed around, especially in the west. These workers have absolutely no obligation to stay behind, though they do. They are not being forced - many have evacuated, yet still... they stay.

These workers are the direct personification of the sheepdog mindset.

I'm not a religious man - but workers... heroes... god speed.

Tac Med Solutions

Found an excellent resource. Even past their web-based education portal, the prices from their tactical-based first aid equipment is awesome.

Tac Med Soloutions

Copied from Tac Med Soloutions: About

The purpose of the TacMed Blog is to serve as a conduit between combat and tactical medics in the military and law enforcement communities around the world. Our hope is that the information here will enhance your abilities to minimize preventable deaths by offering educational dialog regarding issues faced by medics in these communities. We welcome you to comment on our entries, request that specific topics be covered, and even become a guest poster.

All of our employees are former tactical medical professionals or have a close relationship with them. We maintain close ties with some of the most elite and experienced medics in the world and every one of our products must pass their evaluation before we put our name on it. We understand the principles of human performance as it relates to combat stress and design our products to complement that performance not complicate it. This approach to product development and evaluation leads to products that truly work in combat. We don’t design products to pass a structured laboratory test in a controlled environment or barely meet a requirement as a substitute. They are designed to function when there is no structure, when you have minimal supplies and very little time. When there is no one else there to help, and you probably have more than one casualty. You are trying to save lives while someone is trying to take yours. That is the environment of the tactical health care provider and that is where our products excel.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Appreciate the rule of law and the feelings of safety and security while you can.

G'day folks.

I dont have a huge amount to say today but I just want you to think about something briefly. Regardless of whatever crime statistics or talk about bad neighbourhoods that you want to talk about by being a part of the first world by being a part of this country means that we live in one of the safest places on earth. I can walk down my street at night (most nights at least) without any fear of being harmed I can go to sleep knowing that chances are good I will wake up the next morning. Cherish every moment of this comfort my friends.

That safety can be taken away from us in an instant. Our opposition the threats for which we train for is not just the people we may one day have to fight off or the animal that could be the answer between starvation and survival. I believe and I dont think anyone can disagree with me that our biggest enemy is mother nature this has been proven many times and our generation has seen it first hand in Haiti and most recently on the island of Japan.

Alongside these horrible disasters which have torn through Japan, Chile and Haiti there are millions of people around the world who do not live with the same comforts we enjoy every day. These people live all across the world and on occasion right here on our own soil.

At this very moment to be brief we have civil unrest in Libya and Egypt and we have almost endless political crisis and military conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq, crime and terrorism off the coast of africa and on occasion threats that strike right here in our own backyard. (crime and domestic terrorism)

Alongside all of these horrible events that we watch on CNN and CBC every night we have people in this very country right now. A country by most other standards of living would be considered impossible to starve in we have people who right now cannot afford both power and food. we have people who cannot afford medicine which they require because it is not considered vital for maintaining life. The sheepdog mindset in my opinion has evolved from a brief little quote taken from a psychology professor and has created its own belief system and society.

Something that is in between a civilian and a warrior. Someone who stands ready to keep the wolves of everyday life at bay be they natural or man made, someone who is comfortable risking their neck to protect someone else simply because it is the right thing to do.

In closing please join in sending out some prayers for the people of Japan who right now are not in the best of places and If you can afford to do so then please considering donating to the relief effort you can do so via the Canadian Red Cross, UNICEF Canada and World Vision Canada as well as through most mobile service providers.

And I just want to leave you with a challenge. please think about how you can make an impact in your community. no matter how small an impact you make somebody will appreciate it.

Be ready and stay safe

Review: SOG Seal Pup

What a weekend!

Got a package in the mail and a plastic bag from my Dad. In the mail, I got a new fab defense fore-end for my 870, review pending. In the bag, my dad brought me back a SOG Seal Pup from a busy week of holidays. What a guy!

I opened the box and took out the nylon-reinforced sheath and just smiled. This is the knife of knives. As far as I'm concerned, I don't need to buy a knife for quite some time now. I have a S&W SAR, a Kershaw folder for EDC and this SOG. I've wanted this knife since I first saw it. I love the blade style, I really like the sheath and from the reviews I've read, it'll do exactly what I need it to; cut stuff, quickly and efficiently.

I'm excited to put this to use. I plan to mount it to my main vest, just above my left shoulder. It seems most practical there, until I have use for it on a belt or otherwise. Call it mall ninja - I say it works for me... is there anything else that really matters in gear acquisition, besides personal preferences?

The blade itself is, as listed on the SOG site, AUS 6. More details can be found through any of the numerous online reviews of this particular blade, but I'll do a quick copy/paste from the SOG site to outline the main features of this knife:

Blade Length 4.75" x .16"
Overall Length 9"
Weight 5.4 oz.
Edge Partially Serrated
Steel AUS 6
HRC 56-57
Finish Powder coated

Taking it out of the sheath, the knife falls into the hand naturally and is satisfying to hold. It fits my hands nicely - not too big, not too small. The blade length feels 'right' for most administrative cutting needs. Used as a tool, this knife will mesh nicely among the things I most often bring out on a shooting day or into the bush.

Out of the box, it is VERY sharp. The serrations fit into my ideal pattern and location - more for really cutting through something than just for looks. Now, I am by no means any kind of professional knife reviewer or for that matter, user. I do know what I know, and I know what I need. I need a knife that won't faulter at the worst possible time. I need a tool I can trust my life to. I feel that way about this knife - I have for a long time, even before owning one. The test remains, however, in the field.

I plan to use this knife in the field. That's the difference. The pictures you see in this article are out-of-the-box brand new. I don't believe in safe-queens. I want to see what this thing will do. I look forward to testing myself in the process.

On the outside of the sheath, there's a nice pouch that came empty, unlike my S&W SAR. I can put a sharpener in there, or possibly a few things that don't have a dedicated space but are handy to have: a glowstick, matches...

All in all, a GREAT gift. Thanks Dad.

Wonderful knife for a great price. Sure, it might be the stuff of glorified gun magazine ad's but I believe it's performance in the field will (hopefully) squelch the efforts of internet-trolls. I hope that I'm not proven wrong, because I am invested in the idea that it's a great tool. Time will tell, and so will I.

Providence Supplies: emergency preparedness, self-reliance, and sustainability.

On a very popular Canadian gun forum, CGN, I saw a thread about an upstart company founded here for the purposes of selling preparedness goods. As I read more about the company, I went to their website to browse what they had to offer. What I found was quality, affordable equipment that makes sense to have.

From 72-hour kits to military surplus, Providence Supplies has a wide selection of products to help prepare for what might - or might never be.

Below is a direct copy of an online interview I conducted with the owner of Providence Supplies. In an effort to shed a little more light on the company and the people who run it - so we as consumers know who we're buying from. I like to keep my purchases in-country as much as I possibly can, and knowing that the people behind the scenes in those companies I choose to support are good, decent people makes the decision that much easier.

I'll be placing a link to Providence Supplies under what I'll be referring to from now on as the 'Sheepdog Coalition.' These are places I have personally bought from without incident and would recommend to others. I hope to have the Sheepdog Coalition space on this site rolled out in a few days. As I've said before - I'm not a guy about numbers. I won't place things on scales of one to ten, nor will I grade anything I review with a certain number. My reviews are entirely subjective - the type of review I would get from a buddy. I'm going to keep it that way.

Links provided on this site are not paid for by the owners of those companies. They're provided to you, from me - because I believe they're that good. I don't know if advertising space will be available in the future - but the Sheepdog Coalition will always remain a not-for-profit personal suggestion on my part.

Have a read of the interview below and when you're done, head over to their website: Providence Supplies.

Interview with Chris from Providence Supplies

1) Give me an introduction to Providence Supplies (PS) - how did you get started, how big is the company, where is it going, a little about yourself?

Providence Supplies is currently a web-based family business; we are hoping to have a physical store this summer. Being in the “prepared” mindset, we had purchased a number of products from In Case Of in Alberta and discussed the need for an Ontario based supplier. After a few months of discussion and consultation we decided the fit between ICO and ourselves was right and became an authorized ICO dealer.

We are always looking at new products and consider suggestions from customers as well. We have recently added a seed line (West Coast Seeds) to our inventory. In addition, we want expand our offering of high quality, new or near new military surplus equipment. In addition, we have a large selection of practical books. This all fits in with our company slogan “emergency preparedness, self-reliance, and sustainability.”

2) Why survival / preparedness gear?

I like to think of preparedness products or gear as basic essentials, tools and equipment for life - like past generations have used but society has trended away from in recent years as we become a more dependent society. In conversation, I often refer to what I call the pioneer spirit. Pioneers of days gone by had the ability, for the most part to survive and often thrive with nothing more that the basics and their knowledge and know-how. That, I feel is often missing in today’s world; how to plant, grow and store food, build a home or shelter, make and mend clothes, basically being self-sufficient within a family or small community setting.

3) If you had a person starting from scratch in terms of any type of preparedness planning sitting in front of you, what advice might you give them in starting out?

Think Pioneer. Mental preparation is paramount, and knowledge. A person can have all the resources in the world but without the right attitude and knowledge, equipment and resources are near useless. It is therefore important to start making self-sufficiency way of life today – not a default reaction when the need arises. Not living in condition white, being aware of your surroundings is the place to start.

4) On a budget of 100 dollars, what would you tell this person to buy?

Water, food and shelter are the basics. The specifics are often tailored to the circumstance. I would make a general recommendation for people to have access to bottled water (or a filter), emergency food, and durable clothing/footwear in a backpack or car. Portability is important -so keep it light!
5) For a first time hunter going into the bush, a different type of preparedness mindset is required. What advice might you lend the first time bushman?

I was once in an elevator with another person that got stuck between floors. In under a minute after realizing that something was wrong the other person was in full on panic mode. I asked him when the last time he heard of someone in Canada dying from being trapped in an elevator was. We were in the exact situation but had completely different reactions. Going into the bush is no different, first, you should think about the “what ifs” before going in. If something happens, stay calm and think. What do I need to do to ensure my safety? When people go into the bush to hunt they do not go in afraid. They go in usually wearing the right clothes, in the right frame of mind and carrying something that enables hunting, a rifle, bow, etc. which translates into a means of self-defence. If a person becomes lost the only thing that changes is that he doesn’t know exactly where he is but they are still prepared for most other situations they would encounter. So keep your cool.

6) is a blog dedicated to the Canadian preparedness mindset - do you sell any products specifically geared towards Canadians or that might be more useful to a person in more northern climate?

We sell things that are useful, things I personally find useful. For example, the Dutch army 100% wool blanket is very useful in a Canadian winter. Also our seeds are tailored to grow in a Canadian climate and are meant to create a sustainable food source. Our THRIVE freeze dried food line is perfect for those of us living off grid or who just want to rely less on hydro powered refrigerators. As we grow I want to tailor our products by eliminating some and adding others. I am completely open to suggestions for additional products.

7) Any parting words?

Surround yourself with people you trust. Spend your time and money on things that will have a lasting effect of your quest toward self-reliancy. Don’t be afraid of hard work and getting your hands dirty. Continue to learn, read, discuss things with people that know and use what you bought and have.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Remington 870 Field Strip

This video series helped me GREATLY in the install of my new fore-end (Review on next range day...)

Thanks to the user who uploaded it: elal757

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Citizen's Arrest

What we've been waiting for?
The Citizen's Arrest and Self-Defence Act

The Citizen’s Arrest and Self-Defence Act

17 February 2011
Toronto, Ontario

This legislation would expand the legal authority for a private citizen to make an arrest within a reasonable period of time after they find that person committing a criminal offence either on or in relation to their property, ensuring the proper balance between the powers of citizens and those of the police. It would also bring much-needed reforms to simplify the complex Criminal Code provisions on self-defence and defence of property, and clarify where reasonable use of force is permitted in relation to the above.


Proposed Amendments:

Amendments to the Criminal Code section 494(2) on citizen’s arrest would authorize a private citizen to make an arrest within a reasonable period of time after he or she finds someone committing a criminal offence that occurs on or in relation to property. This power of arrest would only be authorized when there are reasonable grounds to believe that it is not feasible in the circumstances for the arrest to be made by a peace officer (i.e. a police officer).

Reasonable Use of Force

This legislation will make it clear, by cross reference in the Criminal Code, that use of force is authorized in a citizen’s arrest, but there are limits placed on how much force can be used. In essence, the laws permit the reasonable use of force, taking into account all the circumstances of the particular case. A person is not entitled to use excessive force in a citizen’s arrest.

Important Considerations

A citizen’s arrest is a very serious and potentially dangerous undertaking. Unlike a peace officer, a private citizen is neither tasked with the duty to preserve and maintain public peace, nor generally speaking, properly trained to apprehend suspected criminals. In most cases, an arrest consists of either actually seizing or touching a person’s body with a view to detaining them; or by using words where the person submits to the arrest.

Citizen’s arrests made without careful consideration of the risk factors may have serious unintended physical or legal consequences for those involved. When deciding if a citizen’s arrest is appropriate, a person should consider whether:
  • a peace officer is available to intervene at that time;
  • their personal safety or that of others would be compromised by attempting an arrest;
  • they should report information about the crime to the police instead of taking action on their own;
  • they have a reasonable belief regarding the suspect’s criminal conduct and identity; and,
  • they can turn over the suspect to the police without delay once an arrest is made.

The Current Laws

Under section 494(1) anyone may arrest a person whom they find committing an indictable offence or a person who, on reasonable grounds, they believe has committed a criminal offence and is escaping from and freshly pursued by persons who have lawful authority to arrest that person.

Section 494(2) of the Criminal Code, which is the provision proposed to be expanded by this Bill, currently provides that anyone who is either the owner or, in lawful possession of, or has been authorized by the owner or the person in lawful possession of property, may arrest a person they find committing a criminal offence on or in relation to that property.

“Finds committing” means situations where the accused is “caught in the act” of committing the offence. This concept extends to take into account a situation where the accused has been pursued immediately and continuously after they have been found committing the offence. Also, the law requires that when a citizen’s arrest takes place, the individual must be delivered to a peace officer without delay.


Proposed Amendments:

New Criminal Code provisions are being proposed to clarify the laws on self-defence and defence of property so that Canadians – including the police, prosecutors and the courts – can more easily understand and apply the law. Clarifying the law and streamlining statutory defences may assist prosecutors and police in exercising their discretion not to lay a charge or proceed with a prosecution.

Amendments to the self-defence provisions would repeal the current complex self-defence provisions spread over four sections of the Criminal Code (s.34-37) and create one new self-defence provision. It would permit a person who reasonably believes themselves or others to be at risk of the threat of force, or of acts of force, to commit a reasonable act to protect themselves or others.

Amendments to the defence of property provisions would repeal the confusing defence of property language that is now spread over five sections of the Criminal Code (s.38-42). One new defence of property provision would be created, eliminating the many distinctions regarding acts a person can take in defence of different types of property. The new provision would permit a person in “peaceable possession” of a property to commit a reasonable act (including the use of force) for the purpose of protecting that property from being taken, damaged or trespassed upon.

The Current Laws:

Defence of Self and Defence of Others

Under sections 34 to 37 of the Criminal Code, distinct defences are provided for a person who uses force to protect themselves or another from attack depending on whether they provoked the attack or not and whether they intended to use deadly force.

Defence of Property

Under sections 38 to 42 of the Criminal Code, multiple defences for the “peaceable possessor” of property exist. Considerations of the type of property (either personal or real property), the possessory right of the possessor, and of the other person and proportionality between the threat to the property, and the amount of force used must be taken into account when the defence of property is raised.

Use of Deadly Force

The use of deadly force is only permitted in very exceptional circumstances — for example, where it is necessary to protect a person from death or grievous bodily harm. The courts have clearly stated that deadly force is never considered reasonable in defence of property alone. The legislative reforms currently being proposed do not make any change to the law relating to deadly force. Courts will therefore continue to make any necessary changes on a case-by-case basis, developing the common law if and where appropriate.

Check out URBAN SURVIVAL: TEOTWAWKI is a BS Scenario Made-Up to Sell You Crap — DEATH VALLEY MAGAZINE


Link above. Awesome new site I've been reading through...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What's on your feet?

A often overlooked aspect of preparedness is footwear. Everybody has shoes. Not everybody takes care of what goes inside of them.

First off, a Canadian article that peaked my interest regarding foot care can be found here. If I gained one little quip of truth from this article it was this; "Don't screw around with your feet".

It's true. At the end of the day, those little appendages at the end of your legs carry you around... EVERYWHERE.

I personally wore skateboarding shoes for YEARS. I found them the most comfortable on my feet and in my wallet. I'm not much for style - as long as it feels good. Skateboarding shoes fit the bill for all this time. I worked jobs that required average walk-time and didn't really have a lot of extra foot traffic beyond that.

Since I started working in my current position, I spend MUCH more time on my feet. As such, I have drastically changed my footwear. I've since been wearing a shoe more akin to hiking. I've been wearing the Refuge Pro from Merrel and have never EVER experienced a more comfortable shoe. I can go on 14-16 hour shifts with no complaints. I don't have any kind of special insert in them but I feel comfortable saying they will probably feel as good months from now.

Check em out: (Merrell | Store | Refuge Pro)

Anyways, brings me to my point; what's on your feet?

Flashlights and First Aid Kits are really great resources for anyone concerned with preparedness, but if you have to leave - FAST - the last thing you'll do is put on your shoes.

How long can they last on a really, really bad day?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Find us on...

Well, I suppose this makes us even more official. It seems the best way to connect with people besides, you know... actually meeting people...

We're on facebook.

Take THAT internet!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Emergency Preparedness Video - 72 Hours PSA - Emergency Management Ontario

There's something important to remember in all of this. In preparing, in training and in life. There's a big difference between preparedness and paranoia.

There has to be a line somewhere, however. We, in prepping for what may - or more importantly, what MAY NOT - must remember to keep full and rich lives ahead of our planning. It is important to be prepared, yes - but at the end of the day you can only do what you can do.

This does not mean taking a half-assed approach to everything. It means smelling the roses, enjoying sunny days and taking care of ourselves. Some things are bound to happen. Power outages, short and long are historically PROVEN to happen in times of over-consumed power in the summer and from stormy weather in the winter. This isn't to say that power outages are confined only to these times, only that they are historically more prevalent during these times. We should use this knowledge to prepare for events on certain proven timelines.

Events that transpire as one-off things require a different mindset. Terrorist attacks, widespread rioting and localized crime are prime examples of this. All of these things have occurred in Canada very recently, with the exclusion of terrorism. Though the threat has been present, nobody - thankfully - has succeeded in an attack. These events require a sort of long-term plan that only real 'preparedness' can affect. Though it is unlikely, it is not IMPOSSIBLE for these events to occur. That is why we prepare.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Outdoors Gear: Basic First Aid Bag

Featured Video - Basic Wilderness First Aid Bag.

Great video.

Theory and practical.

The Conflict Curve

Today we are going to talk about the conflict curve. This is a scale that was developed by Michael Lund in his book Preventing Violent Conflicts. This is a graph used to illustrate how conflict can be both violent and non-violent, and how the use of force in violent conflict tends to rise and fall over time. The curve also helps organize terms and concepts used by conflict management professionals, showing how a conflict's different phases relate to one another and to various kinds of third-party intervention.

The course of disputes that become violent conflicts is traced in relation to two dimensions: the intensity of conflict (the vertical axis) and the duration of conflict (the horizontal axis)." The line that forms an arc from left to right across the diagram portrays the course of a conflict as it rises and falls in intensity over time. Its smoothly curving bell shape is oversimplified to characterize an 'ideal type' life history. As suggested by the arrows that deviate from the line, the course of actual conflicts can exhibit many different long and short life-history trajectories, thresholds, reversals, and durations. Even conflicts that have been resolved can re-escalate quickly. Nevertheless, the model has value in allowing us to make certain useful distinctions among the conflict management interventions that relate to different levels of intensity.

The column on the left describes relations between parties to the dispute and is divided into various phases of peace or conflict, Durable Peace, Stable Peace, Unstable Peace, Crisis, and War—with lower intensity phases characterized by what Lund calls interactive, mutually accommodative behavior, such as debates and negotiations and higher intensity phases characterized by unilateral, coercive behavior, such as ultimatums, sanctions and physical force. The best way to understand the model is to take a close look at each of these phases.

Durable Peace involves a high level of reciprocity and cooperation, and the virtual absence of self-defense measures among parties, although it may include their military alliance against a common threat. A ‘positive peace’ prevails based on shared values, goals, and institutions (e.g. democratic political systems and rule of law), economic interdependence, and a sense of international community.
Even in a state of durable peace, disagreements will arise on any number of issues, but these disputes will be resolved through Peacetime Diplomacy or Politics, whose objectives include maintaining and strengthening stable relations and institutions.

Stable Peace is a relationship of wary communication and limited cooperation (e.g. trade) within an overall context of basic order or national stability. Value or goal differences exist and no military cooperation is established, but disputes are generally worked out in nonviolent, more or less predictable ways. The prospect for war is low. As in durable peace, the mechanism for resolving disputes is still termed Peacetime Diplomacy or Politics.
If disputes remain unresolved and tensions continue to rise, the conflict may over time enter a phase known as Unstable Peace. This is a situation in which tension and suspicion among parties run high, but violence is either absent or only sporadic. A ‘negative peace’ prevails because although armed force is not deployed [or employed], the parties perceive one another as enemies and maintain deterrent military capabilities... A balance of power may discourage aggression, but crisis and war are still possible.

if preventive diplomacy and crisis prevention are not successful, tensions may continue to rise. Through various types of confrontation, relations may reach the phase of Crisis. Crisis is tense confrontation between armed forces that are mobilized and ready to fight and may be engaged in threats and occasional low-level skirmishes but have not exerted any significant amount of force. The probability of the outbreak of war is high.
Initiatives taken to diffuse tension during a period of crisis are termed Crisis Diplomacy and Crisis Management, whose objectives include containing crises and stopping violent or coercive behavior.
If efforts at crisis diplomacy are not successful, there may be an outbreak of violence, and the conflict may enter the phase of War. War is defined by the USIP as sustained fighting between organized forces. It may vary from low-intensity but continuing conflict or civil anarchy…to all-out ‘hot’ war. Once significant use of violence or armed force occurs, conflicts are very susceptible to entering a spiral of escalating violence. Each side feels increasingly justified to use violence because the other side is. So the threshold to armed conflict or war is especially important.

Efforts by outside parties at ending hostilities are known as Peacemaking or Conflict Management. If an agreement to end hostilities has been reached, such outside parties might then engage in Peace Enforcement or Conflict Mitigation.

Now if efforts at peacemaking and peace enforcement are successful, the fighting will subside. There may be a cease-fire such as the 38th parallel between north and south korea which may help reduce tensions and move the relationship from a state of war back simply to a state of crisis. At this point, efforts to keep the conflict from re-escalating are typically called Peacekeeping and Conflict Termination.

As the result of a settlement, the parties may begin the difficult processes of Conflict Resolution and Post-Conflict Peace Building. Through such efforts, tensions can be reduced to a point where the relationship can be described as a stable peace or even a durable peace.

This is just a quick introduction to conflict analysis For more information I highly reccomend looking into the USIP's online website for more information about the subject.

Cheers folks