Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Roof Racks for Your Bug Out Vehicle

In the first chapter of Bug Out Vehicles and Shelters, I included some modifications and optional equipment to consider in preparing ordinary motor vehicles for bug-out duty.  One of these modifications that is universally useful on every type of vehicle from the smallest compact cars to the most gargantuan trucks and SUVs is the addition of cargo or utility racks, particularly of the roof-top variety.

Such racks can be the general purpose type such as those that are standard equipment on many SUVs and some crossovers, or the more specialized removable systems with purpose-designed components to hold and lock-down sports equipment such as skies, bicycles or kayaks.  The removable systems such as those offered by manufacturers like Thule and Yakima can be purchased for practically any model or style of vehicle, but they can get pricy if you add all the specialized equipment carriers available for them.  Factory-standard or optional racks can also work, but some of these are not rated to carry the loads you may want to carry, while the best of the removable systems are much stronger.

When fitted on smaller vehicles, roof racks free up passenger space inside by allowing you to securely strap your gear and supplies overhead, where it's out of the way.  As a means of carrying back-up vehicles, like bikes, canoes or kayaks, or shelter building materials like poles or lumber, roof racks are invaluable, because even with a large pickup some of these items are awkward to carry securely. A good rack system can often eliminate the need to pull a trailer, which adds its own set of complications when bugging out of a SHTF scenario.

So what kind of rack is best for your vehicle?  One of the most versatile systems I've ever used is this basic set of Thule cross bars that I've owned since 1988.  I have been able to make these work on several vehicles I've owned over the years, from sedans to sports cars and pickup.  These make carrying canoes or 17-foot sea kayaks such as this one easy - even with the smallest compact cars:

I've never bothered with the specialized cradles for kayaks and attachments for other gear, preferring to simply tie down my load directly to the bars, using padding if necessary to protect delicate items - which my kayaks are not - as I build them to use, not look at. 

These simple crossbar racks are rated to carry 165lbs.  That's more than most people will need to strap on top of a vehicle, but I've certainly pushed them over the limit hauling lumber, causing them to flex but with no failures so far.  They are available in lengths from 50 to 96 inches, making them adaptable to a wide range of vehicles.  The mounting systems are sold according to your vehicle, and range from old-style vehicles with rain gutters to the sleekest, aerodynamic roof profiles of today. The bars can also be fitted with adapters to make them work with the fore and aft roof rails that many vehicles come with, but without crossbars  except as an expensive manufacturer's option.  More information about the fitment of these racks can be found on the Thule website.  Amazon stocks the load bars as well and most of the fitment options you might need. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Two Classic Rimfire Handguns

As I've mentioned here many times and in my books, I'm a big fan of the .22 rimfire when it comes to all around hunting and survival weapons.  While there are many circumstances where other, more potent calibers are certainly needed, the lowly .22 rimfire does a good job as an all-around game getter and many experienced hunters and wilderness travelers would agree that if they could only have one gun, they might reach for their trusty .22, especially since so much ammunition can be carried in a small space.  I've always been more of a rifleman than a handgunner myself, and most anyone would have better results putting meat on the table with an accurate long gun than a pistol or revolver, but if one of these two fine rimfire handguns were my own, I think I'd invest the time and effort into getting as proficient as possible with it.

These are not mine, however, but I'm temporarily in possession of them as a friend who is out of the country shipped them to me for safekeeping until he can pick them up.  What you see here is a Ruger Single Six revolver in .22 Magnum, and the classic Colt Woodsman .22 Long Rifle automatic pistol:

Both of these models have long been popular with serious handgun hunters and marksmen, and either would do a fine job of bagging small game in the hands of a competent shooter.  The Colt Woodsman, in particular has a perfectly-balanced feel in the hand and a silky slick action.  Unlike many of today's lightweight .22 automatics, this is a pistol that is built to last and to be handed down through the generations.  The Woodsman is getting harder to find these days, and if you do find one, it won't be cheap.  Both of these came in old school fitted leather holsters, reminding me of the .22 revolver that was the first handgun I ever fired under my dad's watchful eye:

I might get better results with my 10/22 carbine, but I'd sure like to have either one of these in my bug out bag as well if I had to take off to the woods for an extended stay.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Deal on My Books at Costco

My publisher recently received a large order for all three of my survival-related books from Costco Stores.  Since these big chains are able to buy in volume, they negotiate for big discounts which they are able to pass along to the customer.  Generally, Amazon has the best prices on most books, as they too buy and sell in volume, often making very small profits per copy.  But if you live in an area where there are Costco locations and prefer to shop in person rather than online, you may get an even better deal.

I don't have access to a Costco store here, as there are none in Mississippi, but a friend sent me this photo taken with his phone last week from one of the stores in the Los Angeles area.  They had plenty of copies of Bug Out, Bug Out Vehicles and Shelters, and Getting Out Alive, all priced at just $8.99 per copy, which is a significant discount off the cover prices of $14.95 and $15.95:

I don't know if every Costco store has these in stock, but I'm pleased to see them offered by the chain, as they have a limited selection of books to begin with.  The fact that they chose to carry all three of these titles is evidence of the growing popularity of preparedness topics in general.  I'd love to hear from you if you see these in stock in a Costco store near you.


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