What is Apocalyptic Survival?
There are many terms used for serious survival, apocalyptic, SHTF,TEOTWAWKI, in my book all mean the same thing; something big has gone down that seriously changes the way we live and the way we look at things around us (I do not include a nuclear strike in our vicinity that most people could not survive). It could be an invasion from another country; it could be an Alien invasion. It could mean that the grid is down from a terrorist strike. What it is not is a normal temporary black out. It is not a chemical truck turning over in your neighbourhood. So let’s get this straight, a real serious survival situation is not for hobby survivalists. A hobby survivalist can go bush for a weekend or even a weeks camp-out and they will probably be okay providing no natural disasters occur or the camp is attacked by feral humans.
Now I must say that there is nothing wrong with being a hobby prepper, providing you stay within the limits of your expertise, you should be fine. Enjoy yourself. I do not mean this to sound demeaning, but facts are facts. If someone’s main fire making tools are a ferrocerium rod, some bic lighters and a box of matches, then they are not thinking long term. They are only prepared for a short term survival situation. Anyone who carries only one knife and that knife is used for multiple bushcraft tasks is not thinking long term survival. Now a lot of these people will defend their choices of gear, and that is fine. I see no point in arguing the point. But the fact is that in a major survival situation, these people will not survive.
If you are a serious prepper/survivalist you will be using flint, steel and tinderbox as your main fire lighting tool, and you will have learnt at least one other primitive method of fire lighting as a back-up. Your main knife will be for skinning, butchering and defence, and your choice of blade will reflect this. You will have at least one other blade which will be for camp chores and general usage. You will also be carrying a belt axe/hatchet or tomahawk for the heavier cutting chores and for defence, and you will know how to use these tools to their best advantage.
My hunting knife.
My legging knife.
My friction blade clasp knife.
The serious survivalist will have some form of hunting tool suited to long term wilderness living, be it a traditional bow or a firearm. If it is a firearm then you need to think very carefully before making your choice. You know what sort of game you may encounter, and you know that you may also have to depend on this tool for defence. Do not compromise other important survival needs in your pack by carrying too much weight in ammunition. I choose to carry flintlock guns. A flintlock gun has many advantages over a modern firearm and some advantages over the use of a bow. But having said that I am still very much in favour of carrying a bow, both the bow and the flintlock gun are long term sustainable tools for wilderness living. They may have a disadvantage in a fire fight compared to a modern firearm, but I firmly believe that both are better than a modern firearm regarding their versatility and long term sustainability.
.62 caliber flintlock fusil.
.32 caliber flintlock rifle.
.70 caliber flintlock pistol.
Knowing how to make and use traps is important, their use on a trap line will save on ammunition, and they are working for you day and night. Learning primitive skills is very important; they will help keep long term, as will primitive equipment. Modern equipment will eventually run out or break down, and the hobby prepper who only carries modern gear will gradually find themselves living a Stone Age lifestyle. Those people who invest in pre 19th century equipment will not likely ever have to drop below that level of comfort, be it 18th century or 12th century because again, it is sustainable.
A quick word about so called 24 and 72 hour survival packs. As a get home pack I think these are a good idea, but as a survival pack to take bush, I personally would not advise it. None of us can predict how long we may have to survive in any given situation. Limiting your pack to mere hours instead of a lifetime in my opinion is pointless. Use your main survival pack all the time, whether it is just for a weekend camp or longer. This will make sure you are well prepared and it will make you more familiar with your gear.
Here below is a list of skills our group members learn and practice; also there is a list of benefits of using a flintlock muzzle-loading firearm. If you are serious about being able to survive in the future should anything major happen to affect our quality of living, then I urge you to be honest with yourself and evaluate the skills you have and the equipment you carry.
New England Colonial Living History Group 1680-1760.
This is a list of basic skills in which we expect an 18th century woodsman or woods-woman to have some experience with in our group. There is no time limit set, learn in your own time & if we can help just ask.
· Flint & steel fire lighting
· Wet weather fire lighting
· Fire-bow fire lighting
· Flintlock fire lighting
· Flintlock use, service & repair
· Marksmanship with either gun or bow.
· Field dressing & butchering game
· Blade sharpening
· Tomahawk throwing
· Making rawhide
· Brain tanning
· Primitive shelter construction
· How to stay warm in winter with only one blanket
· Cordage manufacture
· Moccasin construction and repair
· Axe and tomahawk helve making
· Reading sign
· Woods lore
· Primitive trap construction & trapping
· Open fire cooking
· Fireplace construction
· Clothing manufacture
· Drying meat & other foods
· Knowledge of plant tinders & preparation
· Knowledge of native foods & preparation
· Knowledge of native plants in the area and their uses for other than tinder and food.
· Basic first aid.
· Finding and treating water.
General leather work.
Advantages of a Flintlock Muzzle-loader.
1) Ammo is less expensive than a modern equivalent caliber firearm.
2) The smoothbore is very versatile, being able to digest round ball, bird shot, & buckshot, or any combination of two of these (can also use minies).
3) The fusil is lighter to carry than a modern equivalent sized gun.
4) You can vary the load if needs be.
5) The smoothbore will digest other projectiles besides lead.
6) Lead can be retrieved from downed game & remoulded with a simple mould & lead ladle. This means that you can carry less lead, & more of the lighter gunpowder.
7) You can make your own gunpowder.
8) You can use the lock to make fire without the need for gunpowder.
9) You can use gunpowder for gunpowder tinder fire lighting if needs be.
10) IF the lock should malfunction (these are very robust & it is not likely) you can easily repair it if you are carrying a few spare springs & a few simple tools.
11) If you do not have any spare parts & the lock malfunctions, you can easily convert it to a tinderlock or matchlock & continue using it.
12) You do not need a reloader, brass shells, caps, or primers. The latter have been known to break down in damp conditions or if they are stored for too long.
13) Wadding for ball or shot is available from natural plant materials or homemade leather or rawhide.
14) Less chance of being affected by future ammunition control legislation.
15) Gunpowder is easily obtainable providing you have a muzzle-loader registered in your name regardless of caliber (NSW)
16) A .32 caliber flintlock rifle is more powerful than a .22 rimfire, less expensive to feed, more accurate over a greater distance, able to take small & medium sized game, & other than not being able to use shot (unless it is smoothbore), it has all the attributes of the other flintlocks.
17) Damage from a .62 caliber-.75 caliber pistol or long arm is in the extreme. Wounded prey is unlikely to escape.
18) By using buck & ball you are unlikely to miss your target. This load is capable of taking out more than one target.
19) There is less kick-back to a muzzle-loading gun.
20) Antique Flintlock muzzle-loading guns do not require a license, registration, or a permit to purchase in NSW Australia.
Here is a list of the equipment that I carry. As in everything, equipment is a personal choice based on experience.
.62 cal/20 gauge flintlock fusil. 42 inch barrel.
.70 caliber smoothbore flintlock pistol.
Gun tools and spare lock parts.
Shot pouch and contents.
Leather drawstring pouch of .60 caliber ball (in knapsack).
Ball mould and swan shot mould.
3 Gunpowder wallets
Fishing tackle in brass container.
Two brass snares.
Roll of brass snare wire.
Water filter bags (cotton & linen bags).
Piece of soap and a broken ivory comb.
Dried foods in bags.
Small metal file.
One blanket (Monmouth cap, spare wool waistcoat and wool shirt rolled inside blanket).
Two glass saddle flasks.
Length of hemp rope.
Bottle of rum.