“What Do You Think Of All This?”

A Prepper’s Wife’s Point of View

I’m Sarah, Trace’s wife. We have been together almost three years and married for a year and a half. The year I met and moved in with Trace life completely changed. However, it wasn’t until shortly after we got married (a year after we started dating) that Trace discovered The Survival Podcast and our prepping life began.

Prepping, in our house, began in the “normal” way – with 72-hour kits. Since we live in Western Washington – prime earthquake territory – I’d always thought an emergency kit was a good idea. Although I would never have actually created one, I was quietly supportive when Trace started putting them together. Slowly, however, the “kits” began taking on a life of their own. They went from manageable backpacks to a backpack plus extra bags, totaling close to 60 pounds. At some point the bags went from being called 72-hour kits to Bug Out Bags, and the rest is history…

I didn’t totally “get” it, but I went along with his prepping. I love my husband and it seemed very important to him that we do this. It wasn’t until several friends – and then my mom – asked me, “What do you think of all this?” that I was forced to actually articulate my thinking. Trace does this, all of this, because he loves us and wants to protect us. If he were single he would not be prepping this way. He does this to give us the best chance in a worst case scenario.

There are parts of prepping I enjoy more than others. I like contemplating “what if?” scenarios. “What if” Mount Rainier (which is within 20 miles of our backyard) erupts and we’re trapped because of landslides? How would I get home from work? “What if” a pandemic breaks out? How do we help the kids when they’ve been at their mom’s for over a week and possibly exposed? “What if” the kids are with us when disaster strikes? They want their mom, Trace wants the kids with him…so we plan for me and Trace, the kids, and Trace’s ex-wife.

The  more tedious logistical aspects, i.e. calculating how much of each item we need, rotating food, etc. are less interesting to me. I help out as needed and appreciate our preps and all their redundancies, but – if it were just me – I wouldn’t be doing all this.

Being the wife of a prepper has had its eyebrow-raising moments, but when I remember that Trace does this because he wants us to be safe and happy no matter what life brings, I can’t help but smile. What girl doesn’t want to help her man be her knight in shining armor?

(Friday (back to Trace with): What I Did This Week To Prep)

Product Review: Gerber EAB Lite Utility Knife

When I was 8 years old, and became a Cub Scout, my grandfather gave me my first pocket knife. Since then I’ve carried a knife almost every day of my life (when I was a kid we could have a knife at school). For the last few years I’ve carried a  Benchmade 930 Kulgera. I love my knife and I don’t like to use it to cut cardboard (which quickly dulls it), sticky stuff, in the dirt, etc. – I will if I have to, but I’m not happy about it.

I first heard about the Gerber EAB Lite on The Survival Podcast (Episode 611). EAB stands for Exchange A Blade. The Gerber EAB is a folding, lightweight, utility knife that uses a standard size utility blade. It was described as a knife that was so compact and convenient that you could easily carry it–in addition to your normal every day carry knife–and have it available to use for those dirty jobs. Once the blade is dull, change it by either flipping it around or exchange the blade for a new one (like a traditional utility knife).

I decided to go ahead and buy one – it only cost $12. When I got it home I was very pleased. It’s a nice looking tool, very compact, with a good pocket clip. The blade is kept in place with a set screw so it won’t come loose; to change it you will need to remove the screw (but it can even be done with a dime). It clips and fits nicely in the right side watch pocket of my Carhartt jeans. The folded knife could also double as a money clip; when folded it looks very innocuous – most people would never notice that your money clip is actually a knife.

I was so impressed with this knife that I bought three more, one for: Sarah, Ryan, and Chanse. I stocked up on extra blades, 100 utility knife blades costs less than $15; with that you could change the blade of your knife each week for almost two years. Because of the durability of the handle and the razor sharpness of the utility blade, you could easily use it for anything from cutting carpet to skinning small game to minor surgery (it’s sharp enough, but not clean enough). All you do to keep sharp it is change the blade.

I still carry my Benchmade everyday, but now I also carry a second knife: a Gerber EAB Lite. (Repetitive and Redundant)

Stats for the Gerber EAB Lite

  • Open Length: 5.1”
  • Closed Length: 2.85”
  • Weight: 2.5 oz
  • Handle Material: Stainless Steel

(Disclaimer: I have no association with this product or any dealer or manufacturer. I researched and bought the product to add to my preps and I wanted to pass along the experience I have had with it.)

(Wednesday: My wife, Sarah, guest posts and answers the question she frequently hears, What Do You Think About All This?)

Trace My Preps fan page

Happy New Year!

Just a short post to introduce our new facebook fan page: Trace My Preps.

I say “our” because if it were only me I could just continue using my personal facebook page. A fan page is a more comfortable place to interact, especially with someone you only know via the internet. It feels less intrusive posting and commenting there than on someone’s personal page. I encourage you to “like” it; then make comments, share your thoughts, and post relevant material.

I’d also like to show my appreciation for the man I consider to be my prepping mentor and my second biggest motivator, Jack Spirko, and his The Survival Podcast, by starting off 2012 with my new favorite quote from him:

“How you think is more important than what you know. What you know is more important that what you have. What you have is more important than what you don’t have.” -Jack Spirko

What I Did This Week To Prep

Sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated in our prepping, especially this time of year.  November 21 to January 21 are the darkest days of the year; in Washington State on the ‘shortest day’ there are eight hours from sunrise to sunset (time to break out the Vitamin D). The holidays are here, everyone’s schedule is hectic, and money is going toward gifts, food, socializing, etc. I know, I feel it too. On TSP Jack did a show this week entitled, Avoiding Prepper Burn Out (episode 797). It was a timely and appreciated. So during this month, if you’re feeling it too, know what you’re not alone. Also realize that, statistically speaking, the world probably isn’t going to end this month (that’s not scheduled until December 2012). If you need to ease back on your prepping in December (as I do) do it, and do it guilt-free. Use this holiday season to really enjoy your family, they’re the reason we’re prepping after all.

This week we (and by ‘we’ I mean Ryan) expanded our compost bin system from two to three bins. When we had two bins, we could only have one pile going at a time because the other had to be left open for rotation. Now with three bins we will be able to have an ‘older’ and ‘newer’ pile going and use the third open one for rotation. This is the way I’ve seen others do it and think will work best for us.

We went Costco shopping early this month to get ready for Christmas. I saw a new item that I had to get: a 4-pack of industrial grade duct tape! As a good prepper I couldn’t pass this up; I’ll probably get another one next month. We all know how duct tape is the physical ‘glue’ that holds together the concept of improvise, adapt, and overcome. I also bought some more household surface disinfectant wipes. Again, in any kind of disaster keeping clean is essential and water could be in short supply. Both these items store long-term and can be regularly rotated.

What did you do?

Finding Direction = TSP

There is so much ‘out there’ these days about prepping, self-reliance, and survivalism. In the last couple of years prepping has actually become ‘cool’, almost ‘normal’ in some circles. There are many resources: books, podcasts, online forums, other blogs. As frequently is the case, the hardest part is the myriad of choices; knowing where to look to find good, reliable sources, that you like, and that are worth your time.

I had never listened to podcasts before and Sarah suggested that might be a good place to start. We figured a podcast would work well because I drive an hour to and from work four days a week. I searched ‘survival’ and found a number of options. After listening to a few, I found Jack Spirko’s: The Survival Podcast (TSP) (www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/)

I feel like Jack Spirko created a very good survival ‘wheel’–I don’t need to recreate it. So, much of what I discuss will be taken directly or indirectly from his podcasts or his YouTube videos*.

Jack and I are, of course, different people, with different backgrounds and thus different prospectives. Jack grew up hunting, fishing, and gardening in a small rural town; I grew up in medium size city in suburbia. We both enlisted in the military, but he was a mechanic and I was in combat arms. After the military he became a successful entrepreneurial businessman; I was a police officer, back in the military, then a civilian paramedic. Jack is an expert on many things, specifically the economic system, growing your own food, and gathering wild game. My strengths are in the areas of emergency first aid, personal health and fitness.

Jack does an exceptional job making difficult concepts understandable and seemingly overwhelming tasks doable. He stresses everything becomes easier when divided into manageable categories. There is the old adage: ‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.’ To teach modern survivalism Jack uses the survival model of your five basic needs: 1) food, 2) water, 3) shelter, 4) security, and 5) energy.

I believe Jack’s ideas and teaching methods are very effective. So why am I restating them in another blog? We all know there are a lot of things that sound good in theory, or work for someone else. I began by significantly increasing the breadth of my knowledge. Now I’m deepening the understanding and implementation of those specific skill sets and sharing that with you; what I learn and what I wish I had known.

(Starting this week I’ll begin posting on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Check back on Wednesday: “Aesop on Prepping”)

The Survival Podcast logo

* I have no commercial interest or association with TSP, I just like the show. I emailed and asked Jack for permission to share his information, his response: “Of course, no worries at all.” TSP site states: “Non commercial distribution of this show from short segments to entire episodes or even many episodes is not only acceptable, it is encouraged.” (Full TSP Disclaimer & Policies)