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Capt Bart

Mountain, Plain, Desert, Coast, hot or cold

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This thread was suggested by Daniel in "tooth or tail" piece on the Survival Cache page -

I'm putting together a piece for survival cache to point here. The basic question(s) are what are the fundamental issues and advantages for each type of terrain and climate. There is almost no spot where human beings can not live, each climate has its own challenges. So feel free to comment on what you think of the various type of terrain/climate combinations.

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I have some land in the Appalatians that has forest for wood products as well as game. It also has mountain spring fed streams for water (too small for fish) and decent soil for agriculture. I think a decent life could be lived off of the land there. The Creek and Cherokee indians did well... Till we came along...


My best friend has some land on the coast in northern FL. It of course has all of the sedafood that you could ever want, but little fresh water and poor soil for agriculture. Also a bad mosquito and yellow fly problem. You could live off of the seafood for a while, but... It is a bad choice for me, as I have a severe shellfish allergy. That's not to even mention the weather posibilities.


To see how to live off the land in any particular area, research the original indian tribes in the area. They lived for hundreds or thousands of years there. I went as far as to take a few anthropology and archeology classes (not related to my Molecular Biology major) while I was in college to help me understand the way our local natives lived.

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I think the four corners area would be the best it has 4 seasons gets enough rain

has lots of natural lakes and water varied terrain but you would need to be prepared for

the winters.

Good soil good growing season altitude to escape heat and enough sunshine and game to exist OK

a good nomadic area for those who think like that.


4 corners = Oklahoma Texas Arkansas and Louisiana

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Regardless of which one of the geographical locations you live in, it

seems that all have there advantages and disadvantages.

Considering, weather (heat,cold,rain,snow) the variables are many.

Growing seasons vary.

Off grid survival is what it is and there would not be many home comforts

unless one had taken measures to extend them and then, how long

will "would" they last. For instance, In one area you may need a sleeping bag rated down to 0*degrees or lower, then in another you may need one only rated down to 45*degrees.

Clothing would also be an issue, heavy winter clothes would be need in say the Rockies

or Appalacians. The deep south and southwest USA, I don't think heavy winter clothes

for temps around 0* would be needed.

So prepping for the area you live in and are planning to stay in is a must.

So regardless of where you are the things of upmost importance to me is still

the basics. You must have 1) water, 2) shelter, 3) food and/or a way to aquire

all of the three.

If I have a preference in surviving, it's going to be wherever it is I am at. If the

SHTF in any way, there's no garuantee you're going to be home or anywhere

close to home. That's why we have GHBs and we make our preps.

I think Neil Strauss wrote in the book Emergency, survival is just finding another way to die or to prolong the inevitable, or it was commented to him by one of the characters in the book. I live by the grace of God, and when he punches my ticket, I'm gone.


If I had my druthers, I'd druther live in a spot in the mountains with good soil,

the temps stayed 65*-75* year round. There was abundant wildlife and streams

for fishing and hunting. The growing season was all year long. But that isn't going to happen. I'd say a place like that already exists in the D.U.M.B.'s.





Edited by desert rat

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The three main issues as I see them are: 1.) water 2.) food 3.) shelter. Regaurdless of where you are you will need those three things, everything else is a work around.


In the Southwest and plains I think the main issue will be water, in the mountains I think it will be shelter.

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The Western half of the Pacific Northwest is verdant, filled with forests, farms, all the resources you could want, mild temperatures, and what should be considered pretty easy living by survival standards.


However, we have literally millions of acres of disorienting wilderness, big predators, ACTIVE volcanic mountains, a certain probability for earthquakes, dams and other infrastructure that divert/control river flow and need continuous maintenance and monitoring, periodic but not necessarily predictable flooding, and a lack of sunshine that can lead to both physical ailments (due to vitamin D deficiencies) and suicide (from SAD/other depression) for those people not suited to it. We're also speared through by Interstate 5, which will provide a path for the desperate, the dying, and the despicable to traverse between Mexico and Canada if things truly go off the rails.


The more I learn, the more I realize that there's not necessarily an "easy" or even "better" situation. It's simply:

  • Do you know the environment well?
  • Have you learned the necessary skills to navigate that environment and seize upon likely opportunities?
  • Do you have an actual plan that is based in reality (not luck, not reliance on someone else to do/provide something), flexible enough to accommodate surprises, and that matches your own abilities and those of the people in the group?
  • Are you adequately prepared to get through the initial SHTF scenario?
  • Will your preps take you beyond that so you can implement your long-term survival strategy?


Native Americans, settlers, frontiersmen, cowboys, etc. show us that EVERY part of America can be survived in some way, shape, or form. That tells me that the real factor that is in play, and what will make the difference between life and death for many at TEOTWAWKI, is the human element. Are we prepared? And will we actually step up and do the hard work and make the hard choices and keep looking forward in order to create a new kind of life for ourselves?

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•Do you know the environment well?

•Have you learned the necessary skills to navigate that environment and seize upon likely opportunities?

•Do you have an actual plan that is based in reality (not luck, not reliance on someone else to do/provide something), flexible enough to accommodate surprises, and that matches your own abilities and those of the people in the group?

•Are you adequately prepared to get through the initial SHTF scenario?

•Will your preps take you beyond that so you can implement your long-term survival strategy?



Nicely done O.C.

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yep i lived in the Seattle area for four years. nice area but it has its challenges as well. this old southern boy sure missed the sun. I guess the best place to locate for post wshtf is where you are most comfortable with the environment. For me the desert and the sea fairing options would be the most difficult. My knowledge base is greater suited for the south east. I know the lay of the land and the dangers that are present here. I agree 100% that the native Americans can give you many clues and skills to survive. I know Regulator 5 has a firm handle on this as well. i think OC put it very well. You have to choose your BOL to suit your strong points and lessen your weak points.

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I can only add some more tactical thoughts/theories for some terrain, as OC really nailed it and Awake mentioned where you highlight your strengths and hedge against your weaknesses.

One thing about the desert, especially the extremely sandy where the blowing sand causes "drifts". The Desert Rats (well picked username by the way) during WW2 learned some extremely valuable lessons that we can draw upon. The leeward side of the dunes would have the land mines drifted over which could render them ineffective unless a heavy vehicle drove over them and the windward side would have the mines uncovered. I understand that we do not plan for combat, but it should be noted if you are planning to bury a cache in this type of terrain. The leeward side would also be harder to walk thru from all the loose sand being piled up (think deep snow) whereas the windward would normally be easier walking as the loose sand was blown away leaving a firmer walking surface. This can be extremely valuable to understand, especially if your humping a 40-60 pound ruck and trying to make time (Escape and Evade).

If traveling in foreign lands, try to find out what the valley's (or any regional name) means in your language. It's not pleasant (trust me) to find out you wandered into a "Valley of Scorpions" or "Tarantuala Valley" in the middle of the night (which is the best and optimum time to move in the desert).

Also remember that even the "flat" plains or desert offers multitudes of hiding places and concealed movement routes. That very info would have saved many a pilgrim and/or cavalry troop who were ambushed by the Apache, Kiowa, Commanche, Sioux, Cheyenne, etc in these "wide open" spaces.

In the desert, loose fitting, lighter colored cotton clothes (long sleeves and pants with wide hat) are essential for survival. Even the "men" (ok, so I am NOT fond of them; people not clothing) wear "dresses" in the middle east.

Also, like stated previously, learn the wildlife; both fauna and flora. After stepping on a sidewinder is a bad time to learn they "burrow" down into the sand to hunt. The plants can also pin point you to water, even if you must dig for it. Also animal tracks are very important and/or their sighted movements (like insects and birds); if they are a straightline path, this normally leads to water but if it is a meandering trail, they are grazing or hunting food (works in almost every instance and terrain I have been in).

Also, like all terrains but more important in an arid climate, do NOT eat unless you have water to drink! You will dehydrate even faster as your body needs water/fluid to digest food. On a very dire note, you can drink your urine twice before it becomes completely toxic and will do more harm than good without other hydration sources. I personally recommend to never get that desperate... JMHO

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One thing I've been pondering lately is in land selection. Would it be better to have a more heavily forested site for your BOL, so that your camp/house is pretty much hidden from view, or would it be better to be in more of a pasture setting so that you're able to see who is coming and keep tabs on what is around you?


My inclination is forested land where you can't see any structures from whatever roads are nearby, probably with a closed gate at the driveway. I like the idea of privacy from the neighbors as a general rule, and assume that you would invite less trouble when SHTF if people didn't really know you were there or what you were up to.


But then I was looking at some actual properties (more daydreaming than really being able to buy... yet) and when you see the views from the houses and outbuildings in the wooded sites, they are GORGEOUS and private, but someone could be within yards of your house and you might not be able to see them because of trees and underbrush. So patrolling would take a higher priority and be more of a labor commitment because you'd have to physically walk the property or have multiple OPs that are manned (assuming extensive remote surveillance isn't available), which could be a problem depending on the size/makeup of your group.


I guess my question is, is it better to be able to see or to be able to not be seen?

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