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RECOIL OFFGRID December/January #34 2019/20

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RECOIL OFFGRID takes a fresh look at emergency-related scenarios from the URBAN/CITY dweller's point of view. We speak to experts about what to do to stay alive and how. Plus, we feature products, equipment, and supplies that all urbanites should use. Topics covered include survival gear, food preparation, and much more.

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6 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
the art of the everyday disaster

Why do we prep? It’s a deeply personal question. I’m sure the answers are unique for each and every one of you, but the bottom line is that these are uncertain times, and the world doesn’t show any signs of suddenly achieving widespread peace and stability. So, it behooves us to be ready for whatever chaos and confusion we think is headed our way. But what do we think that looks like? Many of us have given some thought to the various scenarios that could lead to a large-scale, long-term collapse of society and infrastructure. Terms like TEOTWAWKI and Black Swan have become more and more common in the survivalist lexicon — referring to a sudden, massive disruption of our civilization and daily lives. While it’s always worthwhile to prep…

6 min.
gear up

1 MAKE & MODEL Kelty Big Shady DIMENSIONS (OPENED) 14 by 10.8 by 10.8 feet MSRP $250 URL kelty.com NOTES Anyone who’s ever spent time at a picnic or farmer’s market will be familiar with pop-up canopies. But most only provide decent shade when the sun is high in the sky. That’s why the Big Shady is far more effective at blocking out the elements. Once erected, it kinda looks like a humongous flying squirrel that’s trying to shield you from the rain. That’s our odd way of saying it does a fantastic job of blocking out sun, rain, and wind from different angles. Peak height is 90 inches while the 151-square-foot floor area can house a foldable table and six chairs. Its fly is made of 68-denier polyester while the main pole is aluminum and the secondary poles…

7 min.
impact tools

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s an ongoing theme to our Pocket Preps column: It’s helpful to carry the right tools for the job. If you’re trying to work loose a screw, a multi-tool with a built-in screwdriver will make it easy. Trying to use the blade of your knife, a coin, or your fingernail will not. If you need to see in the dark, you want a dedicated flashlight, not a BIC lighter or the tiny LED on your expensive and fragile smartphone. When it comes to self-defense, your mind may automatically jump to a gun or knife as “the right tool.” While we’ve often emphasized the value of carrying each of these items, they’re not the ideal solution to every scenario. There are plenty of cases where carrying a…

23 min.
what if?

The air in the jail was hot, humid, and foul beyond words. You were separated from your friends and shoved in a cramped concrete holding cell. There were no beds or chairs. The space just had three rough walls, a low ceiling, a filthy floor, and a row of rusty bars bearing a locked door in the middle. There wasn’t even a toilet in the cell, just a hole in the floor near the back corner of the room. You thought this was likely to be the source of the stench that filled your nostrils, nearly making you retch; but this wasn’t the most worrisome thing in the room. Three local men were also in the cell with you. The expressions on their faces were varied. One man looked at you…

20 min.
the inside man

Some of you may be familiar with Robert Burns’ poem “To a Mouse” since one of its lines became the title of the Steinbeck novel Of Mice and Men. It tells of a farmer who inadvertently digs up a field mouse’s winter home with his plow and apologetically consoles the mouse as it trembles before him with fear. He ruminates on how the mouse, who instinctively burrowed to build a home for the winter, is now temporarily without shelter. His observation continues about how mice and men are alike in that their plans can often be disrupted without notice, but he’s somewhat envious that the mouse lives in the present. Meanwhile, humans often remain anchored to the regret of their past and look with apprehension and uncertainty about what the…

13 min.
fit to be tied

Whether you find yourself in the backcountry on a hiking trip, working on a home project, or standing in the wake of a natural disaster, you may encounter the need to move something heavier than you can safely move by yourself. In those situations, you can apply a few pieces of lightweight and relatively inexpensive equipment to take off some of the load. Recalling a little grade school science, there are six types of simple machines: lever, wedge, screw, inclined plane, wheel and axle, and pulley. From this list, you can employ a pulley in the aforementioned scenarios to lighten your workload by half or more by utilizing mechanical advantage. Simply put, rope-based mechanical advantage is using ropes and pulleys to leverage force. A haul system is the utilization of rope and…