When the lights go out, or you find yourself away from the grid, asking Google for help is not going to be available. I am a HUGE advocate of having actual physical books not only for learning, but also entertainment. Packing a bug out bag with 20 – 200 books is simply not going to be an option. If you do not have to leave your home, then yes you can have this nice collection.
If you are planning on hiking, camping or a SHTF scenario, you will need some way to entertain yourself and learn new skills for survival. One of the first items I grab, is my Kindle. I always have to explain this to people because they do not understand that staring out the window for days, weeks or even years is simply not an option.
Why You Need a Kindle
A Kindle is a device by Amazon that lets you read books on an e-ink type display that is extremely low powered and will last a lot longer than you think it would. Full length books can be stored on it and even with the low memory models, you can store hundreds, if not thousands of books, with a battery life that will last weeks before needing a charge.
Do you know how to grow certain vegetables? How about filtering rainwater? Can you identify edible plants in the wild? These are the types of questions you will be asking in a survival situation and you will probably have no wifi to connect to.
Downloading books before hand and having them loaded when the lights go out is vital. This will be your research tool on your next hike, camping trip or SHTF scenario. Some great books like The Farmers Almanac , or, or are some great examples for reference if you expect to survive for more than a few days in the wild.
Knowledge is Power
When it comes down to it, what do you really know? I promise you, you are not prepared for everything. Do you know how to prep a rabbit for consumption? How about how to make electricity? Can you create tools to fix simple machines? Do you know how to teach your children valuable skills to help survive? Can you make hunting gear to catch food until your crops can be harvested? How to follow animal tracks? I think you get the point.
Not only will you need to know these things, people you run into will also need to know how to do some of this stuff. I am a big believer in reciprocity. When you help people out, they feel obligated to help you out. Maybe you will need to help a neighbor fix a water pump and in exchange, they will give you some of their harvest. Happen to come across a fishing pole with a broken reel? Do you know how to fix it so you can fish more efficiently?
I know I am driving this home like a broken record, but you cannot discount the value of easily accessible information. It is what got our world to where we are today. You reading this and me helping you by sharing information that may just save your life one day.
More than Just Books
Eventually, the lights will come back on. Eventually, law and order will be restored. Planning for the SHTF situation is great, but what happens as the world attempts to restore to normality? Can you prove a marriage certificate? Can you prove the deed to your home or the title to your car?
You can store your important documents on your Kindle like a digital filing cabinet. You can keep track of your insurance information to file claims, keep up with you and your families ID cards, and even some bank statements and other important contracts you would never want to lose.
Some Kindle’s have micro-sd card support, so you can load some important documents, pictures and other files for long-term storage in case the scenario we hope doesn’t happen, happens.
Maps and Management
Since the Kindle can read just about every PDF you can make, most internet browsers will allow you to “Print to PDF” when you print something. Having a PDF of maps of your local area can help, as well as having an inventory of supplies to keep up with.
Find the areas you frequent, like work, home friends, etc and print out road maps to a PDF format. Most browsers like Google Chrome and Firefox will let you print to a local PDF document. These PDF’s will take up very minimal space in your Kindle and allow you to have access to road maps to find shortcuts home, map gardens and cache spots.
This is one of those valuable quick tips that you will wish you had if you run into a survival situation.
Yeah, but What About an EMP Attack?
For those unaware of what an EMP attack is, an EMP is an electromagnetic pulse. These can be generated by detonating a nuclear device in the atmosphere that will destroy electrical circuits within its blast radius, which can be hundreds of miles.
In this situation, power grids and other large electronics will be rendered useless. Smaller electronics, such as cell phones and small radios may survive this attack if it is protected from the blast. You can build a homemade Faraday cage, or use a bag like this one, to protect your smaller electronics from the blast. Obviously your cellphone is almost useless since the radio towers will not be functioning and the daily charging cycle will make it nothing more than a pretty paperweight. This is why I am telling everyone to own a Kindle for a bug out scenario instead of a tablet. The Kindle is very battery friendly and will last significantly longer on a single charge than your cellphone will.
Charging your Kindle is fast while a single charge can last weeks without another charge. Having an extra power bank on hand is great, but there are also crank chargers available that can charge your Kindle in about 20 minutes or so. Solar chargers are a great add-on to the bug out bag as well.
The Value to You Is Invaluable
Having access to knowledge is how our forefathers did it. Knowledge that was spoken from mouth to ear and books written that were handed down in a family on how to garden, how to find water, how to… whatever. With a Kindle, you can store generations worth of knowledge in you bag. How-To books will replace YouTube.
The cost to fully stock up your Kindle is also considerable cheaper than stocking a bookcase. Since a lot of books can be found considerable cheaper than the paper version on Amazon’s Kindle marketplace, stocking up your Kindle with books can be done fairly cheaply.
Entertainment is Important
Sometimes, you will need a break. Something to take your mind off of the situation at hand. Having a good book to read, not just for information purposes, can really be the difference between going crazy or getting burned out. A good murder mystery, or a sci-fi novel, or a biography of someone can change your perspective on a situation.
If you have children with you, you will have to find a way for them to unwind and keep positive on the situation. Having some kids books loaded on the Kindle will also help them mentally through this scenario. I love my kids and would do anything in the world for them, but we all know what happens when kids get bored. Nuff said.
Ok, But How do You Recharge the Thing?
In a situation where you do not have electricity, charging any surviving electronics is going to be a challenge. Luckily, we have options.
I would hope that in whatever scenario we find ourselves in, we have access to the sun. Solar chargers will probably not survive an EMP attack if they are not protected, but they can provide an easy power source to recharge your Kindle or other electronic devices if you stored them properly.
THIS solar charger is small enough to pack in a small bag that can collect enough power to recharge your Kindle a few times before needing to be recharged itself. While fold-able solar panels like these can charge up a power pack, but can gather much more solar energy for charging multiple devices.
Crank chargers, like this one, do not rely on the sun. They rely on good old elbow grease. It won’t charge fast, but it will charge your Kindle slowly. In a truly survival situation, you will more than likely have to move around, so having something compact is vital since your pack with only be so big.
Most solar chargers, in my experience, over promise and under deliver. They take what seems like forever to charge and discharge fairly quickly. Luckily, the Kindle does not need much power to fully recharge. Using your phone or tablet will not really be a viable option due to the power usage. Those big color screens are a MASSIVE battery drain. That’s why your Kindle will last for weeks and your phone dies in hours.
What Happens When the World is Restored?
When the power comes back, and you have your ID and other documents safe, you stand a better chance of returning to a somewhat “normal” life. It is an experience to never forget, but you survived it.
If you have been prepared for something like this, then you are already one step ahead of everyone else. People nowadays rely too much on the idea that Google and YouTube will always be around when you and I know that one day, it may not. What happens when the grocery store runs out of food and the young adults have no idea how to find food? Hopefully you will be able to help.
I never would wish this situation to happen to anyone. Having a backup plan is smart. Having a bug out bag, or a survival pack is cheap and easy. Your life is worth having something on hand, just in case.
Also, don’t forget about your pets!What About Your Pets?