xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' April 2016 ~ The Prepared Guy

Saturday, April 30, 2016

It's about... Time?

Let me first state, I'm a watch guy.  Keeping track of time is essential and will be even more so when SHTF.  Everything during SHTF will be more critical.  Including time keeping.  

I am obsessive about being early to, really, anything.  And I'm critical of anyone who is not.  And not just an important meeting where my income is on the line.  If time isn't the most critical and important single item on your daily to do list then you probably don't make a task/to-do list daily.  If you fail to plan then you plan to fail.  Planning is inextricably connected to and critical of time.  I'm not simply talking about work or business but also family.  Our existence on this planet, in this mortal body is painfully limited.  It's ALL about time.   

It's about making plans and executing them according to your plan.  It's about knowing and understanding the variables and learning about what you may have forgotten or didn't know about.  If the plan didn't work out exactly as was planned then adjust the plan and try again.  The greatest variable in most plans is TIME.  

"We live and we die by time.  We must not commit the sin of turning our back on time."  3 minutes, 3 hours, 3 days, 3 weeks.  Pretty important stuff if you ask me.  

Now that I have established the critical nature of time I ask the question:  How do you keep time.  Me?  A wrist watch of course.  Is there any other way?  Oh right, the smart phone.  You can keep your smart phone.  I'll stick with a wrist watch.  I'm old school that way.   

Here is a list of the qualifications I have come up with for the ideal SHTF slash End of Days watch:

Durable:  This watch must be able to stand up to years of abuse.  I always find myself slamming my watch into a door jam or against a rock.    

Reliable:  Also a trait of a durable watch, it has to keep at least relatively accurate time and functions operate consistently and accurately.

Long life:  Must have a proven track record of a very long usable life span, better than a decade of hard use.  

Rechargable/automatic  (solar, kinetic, winding, etc.): Although I could stock up on lithium batteries I would prefer to have a watch that doesn't require a regular battery change.  The battery may fail at an in opportune moment and anytime you open a watch you compromise its ability to stay waterproof.  An ideal SHTF watch should be auto winding, manually windable or solar charging.  A mechanical watch would be preferable but you are gonna have to pay out the nose for a quality one.

Compass/Altimeter/Barometer:  These are three very helpful, convenient functions of an SHTF watch.  Not an absolute necessity but definitely nice.  When it comes to trusting my life to a compass I'll take a handheld magnetic compass any day over an electronic one, but having one on your wrist can come in handy if it's proven to be trustworthy.       

Analog display:  A brightly glowing dial will save greatly on battery life.  I find it easier to see the hands of an analog display in many different lighting situations when it may be difficult to read a digital display even with a backlight. 

Rubber wrist strap:  Comfort is important, but so is durability.  I don't like leather or other fabric/nylon straps as when they get wet the stay wet for a long time and it's just annoying to have to try to avoid getting my watch wet every time I wash my hands.

During an SHFT event you may not be able to count on your smart phone working or it receiving data, including the correct time.  Will the power needed to recharge it be available just so you can use it to tell the time?   

One of my first watches was a Casio.  I forget the model but I believe that it was one of their first altimeter/barometer/depth gauge watches.  It was a great watch and it actually still works 30 years later.  I stopped wearing it because the gauges stopped being accurate.  I attribute that to it being one of their first models with those features.  I have a metal housing Casio that I purchased on my birthday 23 years ago.  It too also still works just well.  Both of these watches were not terribly cheap nor overly expensive.  That they still work tells me they are quality products.

One watch that continually comes up in discussion as a great option as an SHTF watch is the Casio G-shock series.  So far it seems to meet all of my qualification for an end of days watch.  I have no doubt that they will last a long time.  There are many different options, looks (analog and digital) and price ranges to choose from.  The analog dial of the Casio Mud Master series of watches lends to a more 'professional' and quality appearance, which means that I can wear it everyday and everywhere.  It won't do you any good if you don't have it with you when you need it.  This particular watch is over $500.  For me and my nearly obsessive desire to keep track of time, and because I am a 'watch guy' I have no problem spending this kind of money for a watch.  There are many other G-Shock models available.  Some under $50.  The Casio brand has been reliable and trustworthy for me.  The true definition of 'quality'.  

Suunto has been a very good watch also.  I love the look and their functionality.  I really beat the crap out of them because I never take them off when I probably should.  Which I'm sure is why I'm on my second one.  Even thought the Suunto has a very large CR2430 lithium battery the battery life sucks.  Battery replacement is easy and inexpensive but still inconvenient.  Critical and inconvenience don't go together very well.  The display can be difficult to see at times because of glare.  If Suunto made an analog version with a solar face rated to withstand impacts like the G-Shock then they would be a serious contender to the Casio Mud Master.  Before my current Suunto Altimax dies (I've already lost one of them) the Casio Mud Master will be my next watch, which I hope will last through the Millennium.  Winking smiley face. 


Friday, April 29, 2016

Owning vs. Renting

Information just came out that you all should be aware of whether you are homeowners or tenants.  All of these charts I got from Zero Hedge which came from the Census Bureau.  

I've been in the real estate business for over 20 years.  That's long enough to have witnessed what a 'normal' or un-manipulated (less manipulated at least) market looked like in the early to mid 90's, the insane boom that happened through the first part of the 2000's and what happened with the market collapse of '08 - '09.  

So where are we now?   These charts will be an eye opener to those of you who are not involved in this industry from day to day.

In my neck of the woods, along the Wasatch front in Utah, there has recently been an onslaught of construction of apartments, condos and town homes.  The vast majority of them are rentals. I manage of few dozen of them myself.  The quantity and breadth of these construction projects all along the I15 corridor for about, oh I don't exactly know, 100 miles or so, is staggering to me!  And most of them have been under construction at the same time!  I can not begin to comprehend where the need for all of these rentals came from so quickly!  

One would think that with all of these rental properties being built at the same time that competition would be fierce and rental rates would drop as these building owners and property management companies compete for a limited amount of tenants.  Nope!  That's not what I am seeing here at all.  As these charts show, rental rates continue to rise.  Not only here in Utah but all over the nation. 

Once again I am at a loss.  This reminds me of another time.  During the early to mid 2000's I was also at a loss as to what was happening with land and home prices.  From the early 90's to early 00's my Father and I ran a small land development business at which previously we were quite successful at developing larger 'luxury' lot subdivisions as well as starter home lots for tract home builders.  During that period prices were rising so fast that we couldn't buy anything!  We were being out bid by other developers, and not by a little bit.  Everyone who had or knew someone with a piece of land got into the development business.  This forced us out of the business.  One would think that with such a hot market we could have done very well.  To keep it short, we didn't understand what was happening and it hurt us.  But at least we didn't get caught with a lot of inventory when the crash happened.  

During this time I was very confused and in complete amazement at what was going on.  I didn't get it.  After the economic downturn, recession, housing crash, whatever you wanna call it happened the light in my head finally went on.  I realized that I wasn't the one who was crazy.  It was in actuality everyone else that fueled the insane rise in the real estate markets which eventually lead to the crash who were crazy.              

You wanna see crazy?!  THIS is crazy!  As the Zero Hedge article indicates, this is where the inflation is hiding!  Rental rates have been climbing much faster than are reasonable.  I have been a first hand witness to this insanity.  Before the crash the inflation was found in the single family home market and now it is found in the rental housing market.

These two charts show the result of the housing crash of '08 -'09.  Home ownership began to decrease and rentals increase, but at a much sharper curve than the decline in home ownership.  Where did this come from?!  Look to the student loan bubble maybe?  The increase in government housing assistance programs?  The increase in refugees and illegals maybe?  This is just my speculation.   

Part of the "American Dream" has been the dream of home ownership.  These charts show that part of the American dream is no longer available to many families or they no longer have the desire to become a part of the American dream.  Again, why is that?  Is the economy not as good as our government says it is?  (No speculation here, It just isn't.)  These extremely low interest rates don't seem to be making as much of a difference as they used to.

What happens next? Well, just like the previous housing market boom didn't last, neither will this current boom, this insanity.  The last crash was felt most by both the individual homeowner as well as the speculator.  What that means and entails this time around I don't exactly know, but it can't be good.  A glut of vacancies and a sharp decline of rental rates?  Most definitely.  Owners of these rental properties defaulting on their loans?  You bet!  Many would have you believe that this will mean more opportunity after the next crash.  Personally, I don't think so.  I won't elaborate but if you are curious about what I really think send me a message and I'll share my thoughts with you.

Additionally, what is also very troubling to me at the same time, which is not shown in these charts, is that I see the exact same things happening as did before the housing market crash of '08 - '09.  Home prices have again gone through the roof and have spiked even more so recently.  In my view they are again overpriced just as they were prior to the housing market crash.

I'm not an expert at these kinds of analyses.  I am simply sharing what I see going on in the markets as an active real estate professional, and prepper.  New housing starts are down 7% and 8% nationwide the last two months in a row.  The ultra high end luxury apartment and homes market has taken a turn for the worse in places like New York and California.  These are the areas and the markets where it all starts.  Take note.

As Zero Hedge indicates in their article the current home ownership rate is near a 50 year low.  Another part of the American dream is that our children should live better, more rich lives than the generation before them.  With fewer and fewer people and families living in a home that they own themselves this is becoming more difficult and less of a possibility.

So, what do I tell my clients about all this?  I continue to believe in home ownership.  Not because I make commission but because home ownership affords so much more freedom and pride than just being a tenant.  A home is not an asset and debt is not a tool.  Don't buy them for that reason, especially now.  Financing is as easy to get now as it ever will be.  Although home prices are inflated there is no time to wait to buy a home.  Don't speculate, don't buy too much house.  Buy a home you can easily afford where you can stay for a long time if necessary.  Every family needs a roof over their heads that no one can take away.  There is nothing like the freedom, pride and security that comes with home ownership!  


Thursday, April 28, 2016

PrepperCon Radio Episode 30, 04 27 16 Silver and Gold - With Quality Silver Bullion.com

Only approximately 1% of all Americans own any precious metals, other than jewelry.  If you don't know why it is important to own and hold silver and gold you should listen to this weeks broadcast of PrepperCon radio.

There is SO much more to learn about real money than the short time we took here, but it's a start. If you haven't started trading your counterfeit (all US dollars are counterfeit) fiat US Federal reserve debt notes (aka: dollars) for the only form of real money then you should probably get to it, asap.

Listen to PrepperCon radio each and every Wednesday on K-Talk Media AM 630, KTKK in SLC at 9AM.

You can listen to archived broadcasts here:   http://www.k-talk.com/index.php/archive/ 

You can also listen live by downloading the K-Talk radio app. http://www.k-talk.com/  The links are at the top of the page.

My main question of the show really didn't get answered to my satisfaction for our listeners.  The questions was:  Why do preppers, and really, everyone, need to own precious metals?  I'll answer this as simply as I can.

Gold and silver are money.  Nothing else is!  According to our Constitution Article 1 Section 10 "No State shall...  make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts;.."

Paper money was obviously implemented but for a time is was fully backed by gold and silver.  By 1933 you could no longer exchange your 'gold certificate' for an ounce of gold and by 1964 the Silver certificate was done away with.  This effectively made the US dollar counterfeit.    In 1971 Nixon took the US off of the Gold standard so other countries could no longer exchange US dollars for gold.

For thousands of years gold and silver have been money, a method of trade, a store of wealth.  What is going to happen next will be something that has never happened before.  Because nations, governments, banks and individuals are in debt more so now than ever before the value of gold and silver as expressed in US dollars as well as other currencies will reach highs many have never considered.  Instead of simply functioning as a way to store wealth, which it has done effectively for centuries, it's value as compared to fiat currencies will skyrocket along with its ability to purchase.

Gold and silver have no counter party risk.  If you hold it you own it.  It's as simple as that.  It is not an 'instrument' deriving it's value from something else, and it's not backed by "the good faith" of anyone.  It's value is derived from the difficulty of the effort that it took to be mined from the earth, refined and shaped.  It is divisible, durable, portable, is valuable of itself, rare and has a long history of acceptance as money.  These are the reasons everyone should have some silver and gold.

I could go on for hours.  If you would like to learn more I highly recommend the following YouTube channels:



There are also many other excellent sources of information about gold and silver online and on YouTube.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

UV Paqlite, glow-in-the-dark marvel.

This is one of those products that I took little while to get warmed up to.  I am a very skeptical reviewer.  Can I over emphasize the word 'very'?  UV Paqlite came to last years PrepperCon expo.  Ever since then I have been evaluating, in my head, what I may possibly use them for.  While we were putting this years show together I saw their name, that they had already reserved a booth.  Just then, my brain had decided, it had put all of the puzzle pieces together and I knew I had to have some.  

When I think of something that is 'glow in the dark', I first think of a child's toy, and not necessarily a serious tool.  However, when it comes to both prepping and survival anything that is reusable, renewable, rechargeable and versatile is worth it's weight!  When batteries and energy are scarce and at a premium, and you only need a little bit of light you will genuinely appreciate having an array of these products.  Because they are so light, compact and inexpensive I plan to keep at least one of these lights in each of my bags.  

During a power outage when it can be a little scary for children, I have found that the glow of the UV Paqlite is both comforting and distracting as well as fun.  If I give my kids a flashlight they will inevitably set it down somewhere without turning it off and the batteries will be dead by morning.  With one of the glow sticks or necklaces hung around their neck they can wander from room to room with that warm glow following them, and without wasting batteries.

Also, consider a more serious SHTF situation.  When moving around your home at night you don't want to attract attention.  Keep it dark and stay out of sight.  Using the UV Paqlite products will not only protect your night vision they will attract much less attention than a bright flashlight being waived around your home.   

UV Paqlite was kind enough to provide me with one of their scout packs for this review.  At only $20 I was ready to buy one anyway, and I will be buying more.

These products are charged with any source of light.  This means that you could charge them up during the day light hours and then when it's dark you'll have a source of light.  Well, it doesn't exactly work that way.  I'm sure that you remember when you were a kid, or maybe your own kids have the glow in the dark stars stuck on the ceiling.  If you walked into the room at the end of the day without turning on the room light you could see those stars glowing, but not very brightly.  If you then turned on the room light for a few minutes those stars would glow much brighter for much longer.  The same is true with these UV Paqlite products.  If you use an intense light to charge them for 60 seconds they will glow very brightly for a few hours and then more dimly for the remainder of the night. 

In a dark room, with only a charged scout pack, you would be surprised at the amount of light they provide.  It is quite impressive!  When they begin to dim just charge them back up with a flashlight for a few seconds.  This is the best way to use these UV Paqlites.  They have two products that use this same method: UV Paqlite crystals attached to their own flashlight with modes to recharge the crystals intermittently.  

Technology is awesome!  These products represent the best kind of technology and allow us to have modern conveniences even in the worst of conditions and situations.  

Monday, April 25, 2016

I'll never sleep on the ground again.

It was quite cold that night in late March.  I was hoping for some good weather for this trip as I did not have the opportunity to change it; neither the date of our trip nor the increasing chance of a late winter storm.  On this occasion I did not consider a few inches of new snow to be good weather.  It was just me and my son giving the Base Camp trailer an opportunity to prove its merits to us.  

Our drive was to take us West.  After making our turn off of the main road and leaving the pavement we drove for several miles far past where all of the trailer camps. that is to say, small cities of trailers had congregated for the weekend, into what I had always referred to as the "West Desert".  Literally hundreds of traditional camping trailers from simple bumper pulls to high end triple axle toy haulers had assembled themselves into small cities along our route.  We continued along until we were far away from the last one of these groups and found a place just off the road where we could park the Base Camp trailer for a quick and easy setup as sunset was fast approaching.  Maybe we went a little too far.  My young son seemed to think so once the sun set and the clouds covered up the stars.  The only light to be seen was from our tiny campfire and our small flashlights.  Every sound seemed to him to be threatening.  I raised the two sets of LED lights on the front two corners of the Base Camp trailer and turned them on.  Wow!  I don't know what the output rating of these lights are but my best guess would be a few thousand lumens each.  They lit up our camp site and caused my sons fears of coyotes and other potentially dangerous animals to subside.       

Although this was my first time setting up the Tepui RTT (roof top tent) it was quite easy for me to figure out and it was ready to load up with sleeping bags in just a few minutes. I guarantee that the next time I get a chance to take the Base Camp trailer for a trip I'll have that tent up in no time flat. 

The slide out kitchen made cooking dinner about at simple and convenient at it could get.  Gaining access to our gear through the three large doors was easy yet I was always confident that our valuable items were secure.  

After about an hour of playing around with our fire the winds decided to pick up, which caused my son to urge us to climb up into the tent.  I have to admit that I was looking forward to sleeping up off of the ground for once.  

We were adjacent to a large ranch where cattle roamed free.  It has been my experience that cattle don't always stay inside of their fenced acreage.  If we were not up off of the ground in the RTT I would have been concerned about a beef or two stumbling over our us in the darkness.

The sturdiness of the Tepui tent was both impressive and confidence inspiring.  Being up off the ground away from critters and other dangers put my mind at ease for the both of us.  When we woke up I didn't realize that it had snowed so heavily as the tent didn't seem to give an inch from the weight of the snow.  Even with all of the snow, breaking down our camp and putting away the RTT was relatively easy.  I put away the tent, slid the kitchen into it's home, lifted the stabilizers up and we were off. 

Since I was familiar with the area I knew that the roads out where we were get pretty bad when they are muddy so I wanted to get out while the ground was still frozen especially since I was unfamiliar with the towing characteristics of the Base Camp trailer.  By the time we headed out the road was beginning to thaw and was already getting muddy, yet the trailer tracked nicely behind us without any concerns.       

The Base Camp trailer fully loaded costs about the same as where some of the other similar trailers start in price.  That said, this base camp trailer model is not built for rock crawling or serious off-road use.  Base Camp has assured me that they are working on making additional options available to make this trailer a more serious off-roader.  Even without more serious performance upgrades the Base Camp trailer will allow more people to get to more places with more of the conveniences of home than with most other traditional camping trailers.  The ground clearance is great and the tire size is just right to allow you to go lots and lots of places.   

Now, the primary questions is: does The Prepared Guy want one?  My answer is definitively, YES!  The built in solar, batteries, inverter, lighting, gun storage boxes, EMP box, water heater, water tank, water filtration system, kitchen, firewood box and shower, make this trailer virtually self-sufficient on long remote trips with plenty of room and capability to carry lots and lots of stuff.  We preppers have lots of stuff.  This setup is an excellent option for anyone that is planning on buggin' out who also loves weekend trips out West.  Like me.  

Thursday, April 21, 2016

PrepperCon Radio Episode 29, 04 20 16 PrepperCon Wrap Up, LifeStraw and Rocket Stoves

PrepperCon SLC 2016 was, in one word, awesome!  I know it's a much over used word but I'm using it anyway.  The man behind it all, the only reason PrepperCon is Americas favorite preparedness and survival expo is Scott Stallings!  Scott is the founder and CEO, as well as the host of PrepperCon Radio.  There is no PrepperCon without Scott!  PrepperCon is his dream and passion and I am happy to be along for the ride!

Scott and I have become close friends and I hope that we will be able to do many more events together before the SHTF.  We both sincerely hope that everyone who listens and comes to our events feels inspired to prepare for the unknowns of the future and becomes more self sufficient.  We hope that their eyes are open just a little wider because of what they see, hear and experience.

This week Scott and I talk about the greatness of PrepperCon; about LifeStraw water filters and some of the rocket stoves you were able to find at PrepperCon.



The folding firebox stove is probably the most versatile and well built folding rocket stove available!

Watch for my upcoming detailed review of the EcoZoom Versa Rocket Stove.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

PrepperCon Radio Episode 28, 04 13 16 Survival Medical, Stealth Gear, Da...

A few more of our most excellent sponsors of PrepperCon joined us today on PrepperCon Radio.

www.survival-medical.com  -  Specializing in long term medical storage.

www.stealthgearusa.com -  The most comfortable best quality holsters available.

www.dayoneresponse.com - A full water treatment system for any water source.

You can listen to PrepperCon Radio each Wednesday at 9AM on K-Talk Media KTKK AM 630 SLC, UT.

Download the app from www.k-talk.com and listen to previous broadcasts in the archives.

PrepperCon SLC 2016 Walking Tour

Another one is in the books!  And the next one is already scheduled.  If you couldn't make it this year you have no excuse to not plan far enough ahead to make it next year.   We will also be announcing more events in neighboring states for later this year.

Here is a look at some of the exhibitors at the SLC 2016 event.  I'm still waiting to hear on the final count of attendees which I am guessing will be somewhere between thirteen and fourteen thousand.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

PrepperCon Radio Episode 27, 04 06 16 Water Prepared, IFA and Utah Safe...

Survival rule of 3, #3: You can only live three days without water.  It's even shorter in harsh environments.  There are many critical reasons to have water storage including cooking and sanitation in case of an interruption or contamination of your culinary water source.  Store at least 1 gallon per person per day for no less than two weeks.  The more the better.  Listen for some great storage advice.

The water tanks that Water Prepared manufactures are an excellent way to store water in your home.  You can find them at many emergency preparedness retailers but also at www.waterprepared.com

During this episode we also talk about bee keeping with the local Intermountain Farmers Association who can provide you with all your bee keeping needs.  www.ifa-coop.com

Check out www.UtahSaveHaven.com if you are looking for some bug-out property or a place to retreat to for the weekend.

You can also listen to this episode on the K-Talk.com archives here:  http://agreat.space/ktalk/archive/PrepperCon%20Radio/2016%200406%20water%20food%20shelter%20-%20WaterPrepared%20IFA%20and%20Utah%20Safe%20Haven.mp3

Download the K-Talk radio app and listen anywhere you can connect to the internet.

The purpose of this site is to provide you with information about what I have learned, my experience, and what my motivations are as a Prepared Guy. I have always felt driven to be ready for any situation by something powerful deep inside me. Being prepared has always served me well. I feel compelled to help others do the same.
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