Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Next ScramKit Launching--the "ChowHaul"


You may recall that a few weeks ago, the first product in the ScramKit line was unveiled--the Responder Personal. It is a comprehensive, belt-worn resource kit, helpful in just about any crisis situation you could find yourself in.

We are now about to launch the next ScramKit product that really has no peer and that most everyone ought to have on hand. We call it the ChowHaul and it will be available after the first of the year.

When it is available, product images and prices will be posted here and the store links will of course also be provided.

In the meantime, be advised that this is what is coming, and if you would like to be sure you get yours promptly, you'll want to be among the first to respond:

ChowHaul 14.2
(shelf life of 5 years)


14 days of delicious nutrition for two people in one transportable bag (approximately 40 pounds). Includes everything needed (except a water source) for hot meals, including the means for water purification. Provides three full meals a day for two adults for 14 days, or one adult for 28 days.

Contents include:
  • 112 Mountain House freeze-dried entree pouches (four Just in Case units)
  • 1 Jetboil PCS with Companion Cup unit (cutting edge integrated burner and cookware w/ built-in igniter)
  • 4 Jetboil fuel cannisters
  • 120 Katadyn MicroPur MP1 Purification Tablets
  • 2 Renais AB Camp-a-Box Mess Kits (each includes collapse-a-cup, soup bowl, two entree trays, cutting board, salt/pepper/sugar dispenser, stainless steel knife/fork/spoon set)
  • 1 folding pocket knife, 3” stainless steel blade
  • 1 600 Denier polyester cargo duffel bag, 36"x16"x16", includes removable shoulder strap

ChowHaul 7.2
(shelf life of 5 years)

7 days of delicious nutrition for two people in one transportable bag (approximately 25 pounds). Includes everything needed (except a water source) for hot meals, including the means for water purification. Provides three full meals a day for two adults for 7 days, or one adult for 14 days.

Contents include:

  • 56 Mountain House freeze-dried entree pouches (two Just in Case units)
  • 1 Jetboil PCS with Companion Cup unit (cutting edge integrated burner and cookware w/ built-in igniter)
  • 2 Jetboil fuel cannisters
  • 60 Katadyn MicroPur MP1 Purification Tablets
  • 2 Renais AB Camp-a-Box Mess Kits (each includes collapse-a-cup, soup bowl, two entree trays, cutting board, salt/pepper/sugar dispenser, stainless steel knife/fork/spoon set)
  • 1 folding pocket knife, 3” stainless steel blade
  • 1 600 Denier polyester cargo duffel bag w/ waterproof PVC back, 30"x15"x14"
Package Deals

FYI, we will be offering package deals whereby a ScramKit Responder can be purchased in addition to a ChowHaul at discounted prices. Stay tuned.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Rumors of Wars

I'm 48 years old. From the very point of my coming of age at 18, I was trained in the military ways of waging war ... not so much in terms of venturing out with a Bowie knife between my teeth, but as in how to surreptitiously gain a decided advantage over the enemy using cutting-edge intelligence technologies and insights.

Back in the day, the enemy was clear and well-defined. We were nose to nose with the Warsaw Pact, and during the days of the Cold War, intell was the primary theater for hostilities. Engagement with the enemy was all about dealing with the knowledge that the stakes were as high as humanly possible ... daily, with every weave, duck, and feint.

Today, most say the free ideologies of western society won that war. That communism and the Soviet Union backed down and turned over a new leaf. That we the victors were able to triumphantly beat swords into ploughshares. That mankind somehow crossed over into a higher plane where major hostilities betweeen global powers and subsequent devastation are no longer to be feared.

Well ... count me a cynic on this one ... but I choose not to turn my back, even today, on those who once held me steady in the crosshairs. But my intention here is not to try to convince anyone of the ongoing threat from marxist powers, but rather to address 21st-century warfare risks of all types for Americans at home today.

We all know deep down that we are vulnerable in America, as 9/11 brought front and center. But if you are inclined to prepare for reasonable risks to your household's safety and well-being, then you ought to give credence to the possibility of modern full-scale warfare making a sudden, destructive visitation upon us right where we live--and not just in New York City and Washington, D.C.

War Happens

The nature of men and nations has remained true to form throughout history. Ambition for power drives confrontations. Occasionally, back-channel safety nets collapse and all hell breaks loose.

Today, the mostly long-distance War on Terror passes as the framework for our understanding of hostile threats to our way of life. Yet already, many have forgotten the World Trade Center and the seizing of four airliners that stunned the world. Remembered or not, the world has not quite been the same since.

There was a time in late 2001 and throughout 2002 when media discussions and public service advisories had US citizens considering how to protect themselves from biological, chemical, and radiological terror threats, particularly in large cities. Eventually, fear gave way to suspicious cynicism and political opportunism, until now when any such risk awareness has receded to the bottom of the deck for most Americans still playing the game at all.

Without going there, I will just state, it is common sense to have on hand some basic knowledge and capabilities to deal with NBC (nuclear, bio, chem) exposures to yourself or to your area of operations. Such dangers can come at the hands of terrorists, but they can just as easily be the result of industrial or transportation accidents most anywhere in the country. Consider how you can take a few simple steps to mitigate these risks--the proverbial plastic sheeting and duct tape are a good start. Gas masks, rubber suits and gloves, N95 surgical masks, radiation detectors, and potassium iodide represent next steps worth taking for many.

Combat on American Soil

I'd propose that it is not at all crazy for smart, historically aware people to make some concessions in their crisis preparedness planning for the possibility of violent conflict within our own borders.

Historically speaking, one might say it is inevitable. Whether it is or not, common sense says that we are not immune from violent conflict or from outright warfare breaking out close to home or right on our doorstep.

International strife continues to simmer in many parts of the world, stoked by those intent on creating mayhem and anarchy for their own gain. Ethnic violence rages and in fact is spreading in spite of progressive global enlightenment and liberal sophistication. The USA remains objective number one for those exporting death and fear. We also are the only obstacle in the way of another rising power from becoming top dog on the planet.

I'd suggest that the single greatest deterrent to widespread anarchy in America is our right to bear arms and the exercise of that right by millions of actively conscientious and principled Americans. Got ammo?

Nuclear Sword of Damocles

Finally, there's the everpresent ICBM nuclear weapons that have made modern existence as precarious as a spinning toy gyroscope on a wire. Think those days are history? If you actually ever thought so, you better reconsider. For only the latest eye-opener, see "Putin's Show of Strength Triggers Fear of Fresh Nuclear Arms Race."

It's the granddaddy of all threats and it remains unthinkable for many out there. But don't let that difficult-to-envision scenario stop you from taking at least remedial steps toward preparedness in this regard. Even an all-out nuclear war IS survivable, and that is what war planners in China and Russia count on in their doomsday gaming and planning--to include elaborate measures taken to ensure the protection of millions of their own citizens.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Civil Defense program is ancient history, and if you are thinking that we can intercept ANY incoming missiles, guess again.

So unless you believe slow agonizing death by massive radiation poisoning is preferable to giving you and yours a shot at pulling through in reasonable shape, then you should look into what first steps make sense for you as you start planning your family's shelter.

War Sucks

For all the ribbons and glory, all the parades and USO tours, warfare is something every one of us should be so blessed as to never have to experience firsthand. Indeed that is one of mankind's worthiest prayers to the Almighty.

However, if you fancy your crisis preparedness program to be in any way comprehensive in scope, then you must account for hostile scenarios of all kinds. You need not obsess over wars and rumors of wars, but as with any other threat, to prepare well is to aspire to greater peace of mind.


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Is Cynicism a Prerequisite to Preparedness?

Those on the outside looking in to the online world of preparedness-related forums, resource sites, and blogs could easily come to the conclusion that many preparedness advocates are cynical, despondent, angry, and/or bitter ... and that the rest seem to just be running scared from something.

Unfortunately, there ARE a lot of vocal and visible characters online out there who fit these descriptions.

The good news is that the healthy, happy, largely optimistic types vastly outnumber the others in reality ... bottom line, they have better things to do with their time than to outspokenly troll the web with their views of the world.

Simple Stereotyping

I'm being impossibly simple in my generalizations about people who prepare for potential disaster. But it is a pet peeve of mine that there are a relative few out there who become inordinately representative of crisis readiness. The plain and simple truth is that most of us who choose to be materially ready for crisis, are completely normal, gentle, contented folks who simply want to look out for our families the best way we can.

We understand that bad things happen to good people and that the world is a dangerous and unpredictable place. Most of us have no interest in putting our time and energy into trying to predict the unpredictable. And we know that to go very far down the path of contingency planning too fast is to risk being overtaken by obsessive behaviors. To be aware of those dangers is to be forewarned. It's easy to avoid ... one just needs to take care not to get sucked into any particular doom-of-the-month or the feeling that you must get it all done today.

Effective preparedness is just logical, systematic activity aimed at positioning your household to be able to withstand some of the likeliest crisis scenarios.

Some would characterize the goal of preparedness as being "safe and protected." I would quibble with that a bit and argue that the greatest common tangible benefit is peace of mind. IF the time comes when your preparations are called into service, then obviously we would hope the end result is your family's well-being.

Take It a Day at a Time

"Peace of mind" is an attainable goal for anyone who wants to prepare. It should be realized little by little right from the first logical action you take in that direction. You might equate contentment with that state, as well as balance and strength. It's really a worthy ambition and one that millions of good Americans partake in.

Cynicism or pessimism about the world's future, about our country, about authority figures, etc., are not productive or satisfying avenues to travel in your journey. But you must make that decision for yourself--I suggest you enjoy every day the sun shines on you.

Sure ... know that things can become suddenly bleak for anyone anywhere at anytime ... but since you are positioning yourself and your loved ones for those times, there is no point in further dwelling on the danger today beyond the planning and actions you take to reduce the danger.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Back in the Saddle

Be sure to click on the image of the painting shown here. You will be taken to a site where you can see a wide array of Martin Grelle's beautiful original artworks, available for sale.

For those of you who are loyal readers, I want to say thank you for your patience these last couple of weeks. I've been on travel ... a working vacation actually. We spent some time on the beach in Florida and took the kids to see Mickey's kingdom down there as well.

In the interim, we missed some significant snowfall back home here in Minnesiberia, but unfortunately, the sub-zero temps waited patiently for our return home.

Are You Alone?

While traveling, I was on the phone with a very good customer of mine. We were talking about how, for her, readiness is a difficult and lonely avocation. Her husband doesn't buy into the idea that crisis preparedness is worth their time and money and apparently they have some pretty emotional "discussions" about it. In fact, she admitted that she has wondered if divorce would be the result.

When I mentioned that most folks who are into preparing for what may come are actually in it without the support of their spouse or other loved ones, she was surprised. She believed she was somehow one of a very few out there rowing solo.

It's true ... the majority of folks who find some peace of mind in being prepared, are doing it alone. By choice, most would love to have the endorsement of those close to them, but when systematic risk management still fails to show up on the radar screen of the majority of people, odds are, a lot of the rest of us are going to need to choose--be true to oneself and do what we know is in the best interests of our families ... or give in and not rock the boat. (Or do what untold multitudes do ... find the middle ground by "prepping" in secret.)

About a month ago, I blogged, "How to Convince Others." I'd encourage any of you in this situation to read through that entry again. If you are frustrated by your inability to get the message across to those around you that crisis preparedness is smart and it is a perfectly reasonable and logical approach to modern life, then maybe a slight alteration in your "aura" would help.

Regardless, be assured that you are not truly alone. Millions of intelligent thinkers out there have understood the vulnerability of Americans who aren't personally ready to deal with personal or far-reaching catastrophe. Recent disasters such as Hurricane Katrina have opened the eyes of millions more across the country.

My most succinct advice would be to do what you know is necessary in a gradual, low-key way. Remove the emotion--don't argue or fight about it if you can help it. Just do what you can do, and eventually your peace of mind and satisfaction will grow, and just maybe, others will come around when they recognize your calm confidence even when things start to alarm everyone else.

Merry Christmas

I suspect I'll get another entry or two in before Christmas, but nonetheless, I want to be sure to wish you all a blessed holiday with your loved ones. Remember:


Peace on earth.
It does not mean to be in a place
where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work.
It means to be in the midst of those things
and still be calm in your heart.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Preparedness Books for Gift-Giving or Personal Edification

It's a busy time for all of us these days, I'm sure. So I'm going to keep this entry short and to the point ...

If you're scratching your head trying to come up with a gift for that special thinker on your list, maybe a book would fill the bill. There are some great fiction and non-fiction books out there that folks with a preparedness bent would appreciate:

Fiction

Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse - an excellent, well-researched book with a strong survivalist theme, by my friend James Wesley Rawles. Many folks take notes as they read the book the first, second, or third time through. Unfortunately, this 1999 book is out of print and increasingly difficult to get a copy of. If you find one at a reasonable price--grab it!

The Last Ship - by William Brinkley ... quite simply, a great book!

Alas Babylon - a classic, must-read by Pat Frank.

Earth Abides - by George Stewart ... maybe the first in the genre, one of my personal favorites.

Non-fiction

Crisis Preparedness Handbook - a Complete Guide to Home Storage and Physical Survival - by Jack Spigarelli. A great informational resource. Get a copy before you actually need it, when it will be too late.

Origins of the Fourth World War: and the Coming Wars of Mass Destruction - by J.R. Nyquist ... this may be the most important read you'll ever have. I had the opportunity to speak with J.R. at some length recently and was happy to have been able to offer him whatever support I could in his ongoing struggle to get the word out to America that there is something evil afoot. No, this isn't what you might think it is about. Our enemy is real and is deceptively strong. History, intelligence, and headlines prove that we may not be looking in the right direction anymore for the greatest threat to America.

The Pentagon's New Map - by Thomas P.M. Barnett ... an excellent and fascinating read that sheds light on how current government leaders in the west view the world and its future. Regardless of your political perspective, you need to have an understanding of what is driving America today.

We could go on and on--there certainly are a wide range of preparedness-related books out there. Please feel free to post a comment here with your own recommendations.

For a few more titles listed in my store ... stroll on in.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

ScramKit Gets 'er Done

As promised, the brand new ScramKit product line is born. The Responder Personal is the first comprehensive survival resource kit that actually allows you to have on hand all basic emergency necessities, wherever you are.

It's a full load in a little package:

  • Soft yet tough exterior - Maxpedition™ M5 waistbag in your choice of black, green, or khaki (as available)
  • Personal-size first aid kit (in separately-removable bag)
  • Pocket Survival Pack™ (in waterproof bag), from Adventure Medical Kits, which containing ...
    Rescue Howler™ whistle
    Emergency signal mirror
    Fluid-filled magnetic compass
    Firestarter kit
    Duct tape (2" x 26")
    Scalpel blade
    Stainless steel utility wire (6 feet long)
    Nylon thread
    Nylon braided "paracord"
    Fishing gear: hooks, sinkers, swivel, nylon line
    Heavy-duty aluminum foil (1 sq. yard)
    Large sewing needle & safety pins
    Waterproof paper and pencil
  • Tool Logic SL3™ folding knife with integral whistle and firestarter rod
  • Tool Logic Ice Card II™ credit-card multitool system
  • Tool Logic T1 Tech Light™ LED clip-on flashlight
  • Emergency mylar "space" blanket
  • 2 earloop face masks (surgical grade) in separate ziplock bags
  • 2 pairs of nitrile exam gloves (non-sterile) paired up into separate ziplock bags
  • GP4L digital shortwave radio with built-in regulated LED flashlight (includes earbuds) in a crush-resistant plastic case
  • 16-foot windup antenna for the GP4L radio.

Available for immediate shipping: http://scramkit.com/ (Turn up your speakers to hear the intro.)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Christmas Shopping for Preparedness Products

We're into the heart of the holiday-shopping season--no, actually I shall bravely proclaim it, the "CHRISTMAS" shopping season.

For those of us involved in crisis preparedness sales, being tossed into the frothy stir of mall-churned humanity is not as scary as it could be. You see, there's a certain familiarity in the chaotic spirit of it all, since we've been slogging through our own rush of frenzied buyers for months already.

We get busy when folks out there startle to the lateness of the hour, realizing they've been letting their household readiness slip to seriously vulnerable levels. Hurricane Katrina was perhaps the biggest wake-up call of many lately.

Our sales tend to ebb and flow a bit, but they are not so much determined by the calendar as by unexpected developments piercing the collective human experience.

Hurricanes, terror strikes, disease outbreaks, geo-political upheavals ... those are the types of triggers for OUR long hours as we work to provide customers with some sorely needed peace of mind. Believe me, business has been good lately ... and unfortunately that means, a lot of folks out there have been losing sleep over their tiny place in the world.

Practical Gift-buying

Scary times or not, I'm always the guy who buys the most practical gifts under the tree. I CAN do the romantic and whimsical shopping when it's called for, but I really excell at the stuff that will actually get used ... OK, or might get used in the right situation.

Example--the Christmas of '99 is memorable for some reason by those in my family because they every year remind me that I purchased EVERYONE some top-quality long underwear that year--and heavy wool socks. I still think they were well-considered gifts, but I guess that is yet lost on some of these people. (Y2K DID have the imminent potential to invite Minnesota winter into our homes, you'll recall.)

Another family favorite was the jumpstart/emergency power units I gave those with cars a couple of years ago. OK, so the smiles and hugs were not the most enthusiastic ... but at least I'm true to myself. I tell you, I love giving "practical." And I always hope to get it in return.

At least, they all know by now not to be expecting bling and zing from me ... it's going to always be fine and solid contributions to the goal of maintaining a productive environment where "the women are strong, the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."

Seriously, if you're reading this, you're probably hoping you'll get something useful this year. You're the type who appreciates sensibility all around you, since you strive to develop that in yourself and in your household. So you might also be wanting to give sensible gifts.

I say, go for it. You never know when that gift, even if it's shoved into a drawer and almost forgotten at first, could turn out to be the most important gift ever received ... under the right circumstances.

Or what the heck, say the circumstances never warrant your genius for anticipating disaster, and life continues to deal you aces ... that can't be a bad thing.