OFFGRID 44 Editor’s Letter: How Handy Are You?

I ask because I am not. Period. Full-stop. As the editor of a survival magazine, it’s a bit of a skeleton in my closet that I don’t spend Saturday afternoons building my own rainwater collectors, smelting metal in my backyard forge, or freezing bricks of my signature pemmican. Like most of you, I imagine, I keep a couple cases of bottled water, MREs, batteries, and other sundries around, and I take as many training classes as my budget and schedule will allow to try and fill in the gaps. 

We’ve spent a lot of time in the last couple of issues focusing on inherently urban aspects of survival. But the weather is warming up and many people are heading outdoors, whether to a secluded family cabin, beach house, or a campsite in the middle of some state or national park. Spending time in the wilderness is good for the soul, but it also means separating yourself from many of the survival assets built into your daily routine and the conveniences of urban life. 

So, we’re taking this issue to focus on self-sustainability. Even if remote summer vacations aren’t your thing, there are a number of situations where being able to do it yourself could make all the difference. Maybe a short-term disruption — like a power outage or storm — lasts longer or hits harder than expected. Maybe you parse out some of your cached supplies to friends, family, or neighbors to tide them over, and now your stock is looking a little thin. Maybe you’re on a business trip or luxury getaway and, while it’s not exactly anywhere remote, you may have to make do with whatever’s in your luggage when disaster strikes. 

Regardless of the scenario, the ability to generate your own survival equipment or supplies is handy at worst and life-saving at best. So, we’ve included a number of home-preparedness projects that include both tools and consumables. Mike Searson walks us through his experience with a slam-fire pipe shotgun, and Forrest Cooper attempts to home-brew smoke signals from grocery store ingredients. Elsewhere in this issue, Alexander Crown talks about dehydrating food, and Phil Meeks cultivates his own fruit. 

If you do plan on being outward-bound this summer, Patrick McCarthy brings us two timely roundups: one on binoculars and the other on packable water filters. Plus, Patrick Diedrich shares his professional forestry experience to give us a lesson on how to properly fell a tree. We round out our feature set with two outside-the-box topics: using practical landscaping as part of a property defense plan, and potential uses for marijuana in a preparedness context. 

Whatever your natural aptitude for DIY projects of any kind, we hope this issue gives you some food for thought, and some ideas for small projects you may want to undertake on your own for fun and preparedness. As always, stay safe and stay ready. 


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