Prepared for Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Vehicles are heavy, requiring fuel -- which is itself heavy and difficult to safely and effectively store. Alternative forms of transport can be critical in a longer-term crisis.
If things go bad our transportation and energy systems will probably be the first to go. At that point alternate transportation will be necessary for travel to food and supply points and to move for the purpose of avoiding further disasters. You can only store so much fuel for that large pickup truck you drive. A full tank of fuel (36 gallons) will take my truck 650 miles on the average of 18 miles per gallon. Add another 36 gallons in storage, that's over seven 5 gallon cans. Storing that much in a rural area is possible, but most incorporated cities have fire codes that will not allow that much fuel to be stored at a residence. Even if you have that much fuel it only gives you a range of approximately 1300 miles. That will not last long under adverse conditions. With no resupply I would save that fuel for an extreme emergency, not for running errands.

Bicycles with small pull behind trailers have their place in alternate transportation. A well made solid bike with a strong frame and heavy tires is recommended. Lightweight multi speed bikes with small light tires will go faster, but not for long on streets, roads and paths that contain trash and rubble. Consider that these thoroughfares will be rough and have potholes of various sizes. Look at some of the photos of underdeveloped areas of the world and note the large loads being carried on bicycles. Remember the supply routes of the Ho Chi Minh trail -- loads of war supplies being carried through rough terrain. If you cannot ride with your load, it is much easier to push a loaded bike that carry the load on your back. Small carts pulled behind your bike can add to the load transported. This is another reason for a tough framed bike pulling a load; that always places stress on the frame of any vehicle. As usual when loading any vehicle, balance out your load so the vehicle will not have uneven stress on the frame or wheels.
Some rely on store-bought food for their day-to-day survival. For others, farming or scavenging can provide the fuel for both routine activities and stimulating adventures. If your lifestyle calls for a versatile, do-all survival tool, 12 Survivors has your back with the Pocket Harvester. The stainless steel Pocket Harvester multi-tool is capable of performing many tasks with its included sheats, weeding tool, pruning knife, wood saw and serrated blade.
Using a 'game cam' or similar device for area security can be enhanced if you're able to get the information from the device in the field while at the camera location. For those who don't have the wireless capability scouting camera, having a card reader that can send photos to your phone can allow you to follow up on intruder activity without returning home first. The new Dual Card Reader DDMCR is now universal and can be used with both IOS and android devices, without removing the phones' protective cases, with the included adapters.
Ultimate Wild introduces a powerful option to their popular line of rechargeable performance spotlights – the SL-2000. With 1,800 max Lumen output, the SL-2000 outshines every light in its class. Featuring a newly redesigned comfort grip handle, a new polymer resin fiber compound, for greater durability, strength and functionality, this light will provide over 2 hours of continuous full bright run time.
Editor's Note: We ran Part I of the Cold Weather Clothing feature by our correspondent Tiger McKee before our hiatus. This is Part II, originally run in our companion service, The Tactical Wire. As we're in the cold weather season, it's a good reminder.

Last column I talked about outerwear, finishing by discussing the need for layering. Here in northern 'Bama at night the winter lows can drop into single digits but in the daytime the temp can rise fifty to sixty-degrees. As temps change or your activity level varies you compensate by removing or adding layers quickly.

Your base layer should have high wicking properties to keep moisture away from your body. Polyester blends and micro-fiber fabrics work best. I use lightweight military surplus polypropylene pants and shirt as a base. Colder environments require a thicker base. Wool is ok but may not feel good against your skin, and while silk is efficient it's difficult to maintain. Cotton has good insulation properties but should be avoided; once wet it's heavy and takes a long time to dry.

Over the base layer I wear normal weight pants and a long sleeve shirt with a mock turtleneck. A lightweight wool sweater goes over that. Wool may be considered low tech, but it works well as a mid-layer and has low odor retention, a concern when wearing the same sweater or pants for extended periods of time. A light to mid weight jacket over the sweater provides additional insulation and protection. Finally, I have my outer garments - top and pants - for total cold, wind and rain proofing.

There are a lot of models to work from when it comes to layering. I mentioned Wild Things Tactical last time. Another great example is Blackhawk's "Shell" jacket and pants, "Ops" jacket, and "Training" jacket. These can be used separately, but truly shine when combined. The Shell Jak and Pants are made from a breathable three layer laminate to offer excellent protection from water and wind with sealed, waterproof seams and zippers on the side, shoulder pockets and side vents. The collar is lined with fleece for warmth and comfort and the stow-away hood has an extended visor with a drawstring for fit and unrestricted vision. The pants have zippers on legs and are adjustable at the cuffs.

The Operations jacket is a high-performance mid-weight jacket with three layers with excellent water and wind resistance. It has two hand pockets, a breast pocket, a large "tailbone" pocket with zippers on both sides, plus three inside pockets. A Velcro flap insures a tight closure to protect the front zipper, and scuff-resistant panels protect the elbows and forearms. It's a tactical jacket that you can wear about town without screaming tactical. The lightweight "Training" jacket is water resistant, wind proof and wicks moisture away from the body. It's cut to fit tight around the body so when adding layers you're not building bulk and it can be compressed into a package small enough to go in a cargo pocket. With the three-jacket system and the "Shell" pants, made to the same specs as the jacket, you have a package designed specifically for layering. It's like the leisure suit for the twenty-first century, except in a good way.

Protective clothing is like all other gear. You need to have in with you at all times. I'm usually dressed for the predicted temps, but when rain pops up I need to stay dry. For my lifestyle this means multiple sets of wet gear. I have Gortex jacket/pants in my range bag, stashed in my truck in a go bag, and hanging by both doors at home. Once you start adding up how many sets you actually need it can start to bend a budget.

My affordable solution for this is military surplus Gor-tex™, which is lightweight and easily fits over mid-layer clothing. The German sets are good, and you can often find others on sale. I recently got some surplus jackets from Greece. They are quality gear, and were only twenty dollars a jacket. The only size was in XXL, but this is good since it will fit over anything else I might be wearing. A few years ago after bad tornadoes the only way to get around was by water. Having this gear in my go-bag kept me from getting soaked during boat trips to extract people from damaged areas. Staying dry meant I didn't get cold after the sun set while patrolling by boat with the local authorities to prevent looting.

Everyone's requirements are different. When you choose a firearm it's mandatory to find what works for your particular requirements. Clothing is the same. Your environment and anticipated activities determine what you need. It takes time and testing to find what will work for your particular needs.

Next time we'll discuss details like hats, gloves and footwear. Till then stay dry, safe, and keep your eyes on the horizon and nose in the wind.

Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of "The Book of Two Guns" - writes for several firearms/tactical publications, and is featured on GunTalk's DVD, "Fighting With The 1911 - Website:
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