Friday, March 18, 2011

Beautiful Berkey

     It’s often discussed by survivalists about how important water is.  We constantly hark on its significance, and recommend you store at least a few gallons in your home for emergency use.  Why all the fuss?  As the saying goes “water is life”.  Without water, most adults would die within three days.  To put it into a bit of perspective, you can last upwards of thirty days without food (though I know some people around these parts that may last a bit longer due to a massive amount of reserves they have accumulated around their midsections.)  Spend one day without water, and you’re in a world of hurt between headaches, and muscle cramps.  By the end of the second day, you will be in so much pain, and have so little energy that you will probably not have the drive to search for a solution by the third day.

     In Manhattan, large quantities of emergency water storage are just plain out of the question.  We can’t keep 55 gallon rain buckets, and we don’t have the space for anything but a few months worth.  The good news is that we live in a fairly wet area, seeing an average annual rainfall of anywhere from 40-50 inches.  How does that help?  Well unlike places like LA, who receive an average of about 15 inches of rainfall a year, we do OK.  We can ration said rainfall as a supplemental source of water to be used in everything from consumption to cleaning.  Granted you have to be prepared for the rain with buckets and tarps, but we are preppers after all.

     To city dwellers, rain really is the only option we have for fresh water as our rivers have salt, and any fresh water the island had, is long polluted and covered over.  Drinking salt water by the way is a quick road to death.  For people that think they can use a distilling method to get fresh water out of salt water, obviously never tried it as it takes an enormous amount of fuel.  You could technically get a desalinator, but they are expensive.  Not to mention that a desalinator require a lot of maintenance, and do not remove pollutants.

     So that leaves us with only one option: make a rain catch.  A rain catch is simply a way of using a container to catch as much water as you possibly can from a rain storm.  I will do a post in the future giving more detail, but to give you an idea, I linked a video here.  Rain is potable (for those of you who don’t know, it is pronounced “poh-tuh-buhl”, can’t tell you how many people say it wrong) out of the sky.  You start running into problems of water getting contaminated as soon as it touches things like a gutter, or a roof.  You can handle this a few ways.  The smart, and efficient way, especially if you are forced to bug-in for a long period of time, is to use a filter.

     That leads me to the point of this post; The Berkey Water Filter.  A long lead in, I know.  Berkey’s are the preferred filter by many in the survivalist/prepper community for good reason. They filter out the things in water we don’t want in there like chemicals, and harmful microorganisms.  And leave in the things we do, like minerals.  Berkey's also give you the option of attaching an additional filter to take out almost all of the fluoride our state adds to our water if you so choose.

     I have owned a Berkey System for a while now, and can honestly say it was one of the best purchases I have made since awakening to prepping.  If you are new to prepping, or have been practicing it for a while and have not yet gotten to your filter, put off some supplies and buy a filter as soon as possible.  In fact, it is my personal opinion that a water filter should be one of your first preps, especially as a New Yorker.  I say this for a few reasons.  First and foremost, as I mentioned above, water is exceptionally important to survival, and having an easy way to make water potable is ideal.  Second, our tap water in NYC is a real question for concern.  Since the main water tunnel to the city is antiquated at best, and the pipes in many of the cities pre-war buildings are old, there is a big, not often talked about problem of lead in our water.  Lead is not the only metal, but it is the most prevalent.  (I wrote an article here, giving a bit more background on the city’s water problems.)  Not to mention, people are not always told by the state when the tap water has been compromised.  Case in point linked here.  There are even more cases if you want to do your homework.  The third reason for owning a good filter is that not only will it keep your tap, and rain water potable, but it can also be used to filter your stored water.  This will allow you to not have to add chlorine to your stored water to keep it from growing things like algae if you choose.  The next, and last (though I could go on and on) reason for owning a Berkey, is that it will be a prep that you will put into use on a daily bases.  What I mean by that is; I drink a lot of water.  So I get to feel a sense of accomplishment when I pour myself a nice, clean drink of water multiple times a day.  Did I mention how good the water tastes?  Damn good.  Hard to explain, but I find it much lighter and softer in taste.  It makes tap water taste strangely polluted, and sweet in comparison.

     To get one of these amazing filters, you can either click the link here, or use the banner on the top right hand side of this blog.  I suggest buying a Berkey from LPC Survival Ltd.  They are a great company, and have always gone above and beyond for all their customers, including me.  Jeff “The Berkey Guy” is extremely professional (not to mention, nice), and is one of the exclusive authorized dealers of Berkey’s in North America.  Feel free to ask him any questions as he is quick to respond via e-mail or phone.  You can see on their site the different sized Berkey’s, and what size they suggest per the amount of people in your family.  They can be a bit expensive, but are in my opinion, relatively cheap in comparison to other filters on the market.  You can also buy a few back up filters, leaving you with the ability to filter many gallons, and years worth of clean potable water.  Which makes a Berkey an easy one stop solution for procuring life-long clean water for you and your family, and a bit of a warm fuzzy feeling feeling allover.  Stay hydrated...


Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Take:

     As many people of the world watch Japan go through this disaster, I wanted to take the time to discuss what I have learned from this extremely unfortunate event. 
  • First and foremost, my heart goes out to all the people affected by this disaster, and I truly feel for them as a fellow human being. 
  • What I believe is one of the most important lessons learned from these kinds of events, is that nature has no bias.  Old, young, rich, poor, we are all the same, and when nature changes violently, people die.
  • The Japanese are a very stoic and proud people.  The way they have handled this from the beginning has made me respect them beyond words.  They are an amazing group, and I wish American’s could be that responsible and respectful.  We are unfortunately not that evolved as a nation yet.  These people are currently teaching all of us through their example.
  • The tsunami showed a hidden secret of preparation that the survival/prepping community does not like to talk about.  Why prep, when all preps can be washed away or buried in an instant, leaving you with nothing but the clothes on your back?  I think the survival community is at a loss for words in a way.  Here many of us are, telling you to prepare for the change that is upon us and a series of disasters seems to have blindsided the most prepared country in the world.  Leaving the obvious question; what good did all those preps do?  The true answer to those questions is that their basic preps didn’t seem to do much (I’m not talking about their infrastructural preps, those saved countless lives obviously).  Does this mean don’t prepare then?  No, it should if anything broaden your horizons as a prepper.  As preppers, we know that we can only control how prepared we are for disasters.  We can’t control all other variables.  Things like if you are at home, or work, and if you’ll even survive the initial disaster need to be let go of because they are out of our control.
  • With having said that, nothing beats knowledge.  Any disaster preps you have on your person or at home are a bonus.  If you happen to have a knife, and a way of starting a fire on you when you survive the initial disaster you are way ahead of the curve.  If you are in your underwear with no shoes, you better have the knowledge and the know-how to build shelter and get a fire going as soon as you possibly can.  As the saying goes in outdoor survival; “knowledge is easy to pack as it weighs nothing, and is always with you.”
  • One thing we seem to not realize is that the Japanese people themselves were prepared, and that preparation saved countless lives.  If that quake happened anywhere else in the world with that many people living in close proximity to it, the losses would have easily been double.
  • The nuclear disaster, which was a disaster as soon as the first bit of radiation leaked, is actually not the fault of the people, but of the bureaucratic nature of their government (who is strikingly similar to ours with their smoke and mirrors.)  I’m pretty sure the people were not thrilled to live next to nuclear power plants on an island with so much seismic activity.  Like here though, they accept what they are told, as long as they can buy things and power up their many toys.  (Quick Rant: My quick fix for our many ridiculous power solutions for this planet is simple: stop using so much power.  By the time we reach an agreement about what is right or wrong, there will be nothing left to power.)
  • Redundancies and back-up plans are never a bad idea.  If you live in an area prone to flooding or earthquakes, then you need a fall back location.  Having a second or third location with supplies, and making sure to not put all your eggs in one basket are the only way to be sure that you’re covered.  Is this possible for most people?  Of course not, but it is something to consider.  Don't forget that you could always rely on close family members, and keep supplies there if they are OK with it.
  • Killing a dead horse here, but make sure to always have your ECB and BOB stocked and ready to go. 


Wednesday, March 16, 2011


     I have not stopped writing, and I can assure you that I have not run for the hills… yet.  Not that there are many hills to run to around here, but I digress, already!  I have been spending the remaining days of winter planning on my spring and summer outdoor trips, and truly immersing myself in research.  Survivalism is a tricky thing.  When reading and practicing all of the things I do, I can’t help shake the feeling that we as a race have truly allowed ourselves to be placed in quite a jam.  When the picture starts to unfold, and the fog starts to lift, it is amazing to see how we have lost control of the train.  When you strip it down, and realize that the only way to feel a bit more in control is to prepare for the coming change, you start to ask yourself: how did we as a people get here?  Being a student of history, and having a very good understanding of human behavior, I have a good idea.  You the reader, could get to the bottom of that question if you so choose.  Remember though, some people believe ignorance is bliss. 

     As preppers and survivalists, the how and why need to be let go of, because our true focus surpasses it all.  Pointing fingers and playing the blame game are a waste of energy.  We need to continually remind ourselves and others that preparing for whatever disaster large or small is the only way to ensure our future and to take the little bit of control we have back from those who attempt to take it from us. I am in the process of writing a post on my thoughts of the recent disaster in Japan, and what the survivalist community in America can learn from it.  I have also read the LDS Preparedness Manual and suggest you do the same.  You can find it online here.  It is one of the best resources available to preppers of any level.