Friday, February 13, 2009

Hobbies for preppers

Let's face it. No matter how bad the news gets there's always that chance that things will once again turn around and things will start to look good for humanity again. We will always have our upturns and our downswings. Things seem pretty bleak right now but all is not lost. Things aren't so far gone that there's no hope of a recovery. If things do recover then it will likely result in another period of prosperity that could last for another decade or two. Maybe what's going on right now really is the final nail in the coffin. Maybe it isn't. Maybe we're at the cusp of another depression that will last for years. Maybe we'll eventually bounce back. Maybe in 50 years automobiles will be remembered as mythical, magical artifacts and the average person won't even know what paper looks like, let alone know how to read words that are written on it. I've never been a gambling man. I like to hedge my bets. When it comes to prepping I do that by sticking to hobbies that I think could have some serious advantages if the S ever really HTF.

Camping, bushcraft, hunting and the like are obvious hobbies for preppers. If you can't stand roughing it or eating stuff that didn't come off of a supermarket shelf then you might as well quit now and hope to god that the system never collapses. A guy who has no interest in prepping but who camps a lot, knows how to shoot, owns a gun or two (and shoots them well) and who has some decent gear is going to have a distinct advantage over most of the "sheeple". For the prepper these hobbies are just an excuse to practice survival skills and buy lots of cool kit. It's also a good excuse to turn it up a notch and spring for stuff like land, campers or even a cabin. If you prep then you probably see all of these things differently than a "normal person" would. A prepper will keep his camping gear packed up and ready to go. A regular guy will probably just unpack everything and throw it in boxes until the next time he needs it. A prepper will keep his camper packed full of provisions whether he intends to use it or not. At best a regular guy will just take what he needs for the trip that he's going on. Even land and cabins will differ. A prepper will, once again, keep his cabin stocked with everything that he'll need when he gets there. If that's not safe due to threat of theft or vandalism then he'll maintain a nearby storage unit or just bury what he thinks he might need on his land. The regular guy will just leave his cabin empty when it's not in use. The prepper will also think about things like accessibility, defensibility and the logistics of actually having to live there someday. He'll plan the purchase/construction based on those things. The regular guy will just daydream about dropping everything and moving out there full time every once in a while right before he packs up everything and heads back to his real life.

Gardening is another no brainer. Learn how to garden well in the area where you want to do it and you probably won't go hungry if you've planned properly. With experience will come all of the gear and tools that you need to do it properly. The tools that an experienced gardener will acquire are exactly the types of tools that you'll want to have in your shed when things go south. I'll take an experienced gardener who knows what it takes to produce a bountiful crop over a "hardcore survivalist" with a dozen guns and thousands of rounds of ammo buried in his backyard any day (whether the world is ending or not).

Homebrewing and winemaking are things that I write about every once in a while. This is one of my favorite hobbies. The only thing that I dislike about alcohol is how expensive it can get. Honestly, you won't save a whole lot of money by homebrewing unless you do it a lot but there's something satisfying about sitting back and relaxing with a brew that you crafted yourself. The equipment is what really makes it expensive. Once you have that then you really do start to save money. If you ever really get hardcore then you can save a ton by buying your ingredients in bulk. Besides having the means to open up your own speakeasy you'll also have a lot of useful equipment. The huge pots, heavy duty stands and propane burners are ideal for canning, rendering fat, making big batches of soup/stew/chili or even just boiling large batches of water. I'm sure that there are plenty of other alternatives that aren't coming to mind right now.

Motorcycling is by far my favorite hobby. It can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. There are guys who buy old vintage bikes that get 80 mpg loaded down, fix them up for a few hundred bucks and travel all over the world. Then there are guys who spend 10s of thousands for all of the best gear to travel the world with. There aren't many places that you can get to on foot with a fully loaded pack that you can't get to with a capable bike with twice as much gear. Motorcyclists tend to be some of the most adventurous, free spirited, self sufficient people that I've ever met. They know the roads better than anyone, they can thrive with very little and they'd rather do things rather than make excuses as to why they can't. Check out this guy's story as a perfect example. Sure it's dangerous. It's not an option for everyone. It can be expensive. Pick the right bike and it won't set you back much and it'll be damn near bulletproof. Choose your gear wisely and you'll be almost as safe in a crash as you would have been in a car and you'll be able to live off of your bike for days or even weeks with few outside provisions. I plan on making more posts on this subject in the future so I won't go too crazy about it this time.

So there ya have it. Besides the internet and a few other little things that I do when I just can't do any of the above that's what I try to focus on during my free time. Once you get those beans, bullets and bandaids squared away it's easy to get anxious. You start to think about all of the bad things that could happen. It doesn't take long before you honestly expect or sometimes even wish that society would just tank. At some point I realized that I was starting to think like that. If I didn't do something I was either going to have to unplug completely and put my head in the sand or I was going to wind up in a cabin in the boonies waiting for the blue helmets to start coming over the ridgeline. I decided to start focusing more on prep related hobbies than what I was prepping for. It does a great job of keeping the edge off. If the world never collapses I don't have to worry about being an 80 year old man looking back at my life and wondering why I wasted it waiting for "the inevitable" to happen. Then again if things do go down the crapper I'll have the tools and the know how to be better off than 95% of the other people out there. Anticipating the collapse, firm in the belief that it's going to happen any day now and acting accordingly is every bit as dangerous as denying that anything bad could ever happen.

7 comments:

scoutinlife said...

Great post! I think you hit the nail on the head... You prepare but have your hobbies involved that makes it more enjoyable... You cant always just go gloom & doom that not living,,,,,Have a great weekend!

santu said...

My parents grew up during some hard times. And yet, they stayed positive and always kept busy, whether gardening, canning, making our clothes, etc. My only regret is that when I was a kid, I never paid any attention to how they did things and now have to re-invent the wheel.

Anonymous said...

Have to admit we are a little behind the power curve on gardening but I have seeds sprouting on the window sill, a new cold frame in the back yard, and am planning my garden at GroVeg.com. Hope we have a few years before I really need the garden but ...
However, I do have a KLR650, a cabin in the boonies and have brewed my own beer in the past. :-)
Great post that shows where everyone in the country should (had better) be in light of the current economic and energy crises.
TJ

The Urban Survivalist said...

I'm thinking hard about trading in my Virago for a KLR650 or a DRZ400. I've decided that I'm just not a cruiser fan.

Anonymous said...

A friend bought a 2009 DRZ400SM last September but doesn't like the 100 mile range. He also changed the seat (twice) as the original one was more for motocross (lots of standing up) and made his butt hurt. :-)
I get over 300 miles on a tank and think the seat is fine. Did have to lower it an inch as I'm not as tall as I used to be. :-)
TJ

squire said...

Excellent post. Preparing for what "might happen" is prudent but like everything else in life, a little moderation is always nice.
I am always amazed that people will hoard ammo but never mention having plenty of nails, bolts, and other nessesary things on hand. I for one think I will probably have to repair my abode long before I will have to fight to the death defending it.

ghost booze! said...

this was a good post.