Comment on The Best Way Home: SHTF Route Planning by Huples

I’d add consider different leave times as well as different routes.

The one major flaw with our get home plan is we work in health care and likely will get stuck there. Sure we could split but really we won’t no matter the shtf. GF works trauma ICU and I’m the in house manager for the hospital. If off work we won’t go in and will call sick if international tension is high but neither of us would abandon if at work until it became pointless. If relieved at the end of the shift we split but relief might not come.

So a major part of our plan is a very well stocked car and walk out 3-5 days later. We can easily wait two weeks before hand if we had to. For this reason our get home routes are based on real early evacuation or very, very late. Early is straight up a secondary road with high density first 10 km (6 miles for Imperialists). Then 30km rural. Late is park, major highway or park, train line.

We have these plans because we know we won’t be able to leave work but it actually is a good thing to be able to bunker in at work for a few weeks in a nuclear or chemical shtf.

Comment on The Best Way Home: SHTF Route Planning by christopher

it was a general comment on physics. not that a person should always take a straight course hence carrying a compass & topo maps. I absolutely agree booking home as quick as you can before people realize the severity or road blocks get put up in case of martial law or declaration of emegency. it will take long time for people to walk 70-100 miles especially not following hwys. having been in Search & Rescue and humped in mountains & woods with 50lb packs for 6 hrs straight hrs. i know how difficult it can be. it especially takes alot longer when your a lot older or have bad weather and or avoiding people.

Comment on The Best Way Home: SHTF Route Planning by Pat Henry

Thanks for your comments Bolo, always a great perspective.

I can certainly agree that looting may happen quickly after an event like this but I can’t see roads being blocked by gangs in the type of event I imagined above. Sure, I do see that happening eventually, but not right at the outset. I could be wrong.

That being said, having the knowledge of alternate routes and even some planning like you mentioned in one of your articles will give you the resources needed to adjust and hopefully survive.

Miles to Travel: Land Navigation for Survival

I often hear survival experts say that remaining stationary in an emergency is the best way to go.  I understand the logic.  It is easier for rescue personnel to find you if you stay in one spot, but what if you know that nobody is looking for you?  Maybe you live alone and nobody knew you were headed into the wilderness.  Perhaps a natural disaster has struck, and you have elderly parents that live in another city and need protection.  What if an EMP blast takes out the power grid and your kids are stuck at daycare 20 miles away.  How do you find your way?

The pioneers of this country were able to accomplish as much as they did because of their navigational skills.  They were travelling in a completely foreign land and were still able to find their way all across this great nation.  There are several techniques for land navigation, many of which have been around for thousands of years.  There are also some more modern strategies that are worth mentioning.  In this article I will cover every option you have to accurately point yourself in the right direction.

Let us start with the most primitive methods of orienteering.  The motto ‘follow the water’ has been an effective navigation method for as long as man has wanted to travel.  In most cases, small water sources lead to large water sources.  Large water sources are where people and animals congregate.  If you find a stream or river, there is a good chance that rescue is around the next bend if you follow the water.

Humans have always stared up at the sky and utilized the positioning of the sun to determine direction.  You can also use the sun for the stick method of determining a more precise true North.  Shove a stick straight in the ground and mark the point of the shadow created.  Wait 15 minutes and mark the next point.  Connect the dots and you have created an East/West line.  Then draw a line perpendicular to that, and you have your North/South line.

So what happens if you are lost at night?  You probably already know that the North Star is a good indicator of which direction to follow.  To find the North Star, follow the two stars that form the outside barrier of the cup.  Extend that line pointing away from the mouth of the cup, and you will find the North Star. Members of the Underground Railroad relied almost exclusively on celestial navigation, specifically on the North Star. You can also use Orion’s Belt to find true North.  When you find the constellation in the sky, look for the three stars that form a straight line.  This is the belt and runs East/West.  If you walk directly towards it, you will be heading to the North.

A helpful skill when navigating is using landmarks.  This could be a large tree, a body of water, or a mountain peak.  As long as you can see this object consistently, it will allow you to keep your bearings. Sometimes the canopy of the trees is so dense that you have to climb to the top of one to see a landmark.  Many times it is worth the climb, but be careful.  One slip and you are no longer mobile.

Paper maps are a huge part of navigation, and unfortunately are becoming increasingly rare. Often I will draw my own map when I enter an area to show me locations of food, water, and dangerous animals.  If you are in an urban setting and need to get out of town quickly, a street map could help you find the back alleys that get you to safety.  If you are in the bush and there are no roads, a topographical map could tell you which way to go.

Properly reading maps is a skill that could be vital to your survival. One of the most important aspects of working with a map is having a good compass to align it.  It is also important that you add to your map as you go.  As you learn of new areas, make sure the map covers them in detail. Always carry a sharpie and paper for this and other purposes. For more information on compass use, please see our article at

Horses and dogs are a somewhat surprising but effective way to navigate.  These animals get used to a route and can sometimes find their way over long distances.  Often times you may be lost but your horse or dog may know the way home.  Don’t take them for granted. A second way animals can help you navigate is the game trails they create.  Animals typically will travel to water at least once a day.  They take the same path over and over, and eventually this wears a path into the ground.  If you follow one of these trails, there is a good chance you will find water and possibly rescue.

During certain seasons, plants are a way you can orient yourself in the wild.  If you can find a large tree that is out in the open, you will notice that the branches tend to grow differently on one side than on the other.  Typically branches on the North side will grow straight up, but branches on the South side will grow more laterally.  Be sure to walk around the tree several times to make sure you assess the situation properly.

If you are in mountainous terrain, climb to the peak and look down both sides.  Normally you will have more deciduous trees on the South side versus the North side. Also. In cold climates, snow will tend to melt faster on a southern slope. Many people say that moss only grows on the North side of trees.  This is simply not true.  There are too many other variables that determine where moss will grow, so this is not a reliable method.

Storm fronts and wind direction are less common methods to determine cardinal directions.  In most parts of the world storms consistently blow in from the same direction.  For example, here in Mid-Missouri the storms move from West to East and slightly north.  If dark clouds are rolling in, that’s a great clue as to which way to travel.  Also, I know that wind on my property blows from North to South in most cases.  You can get your bearings by plucking a few blades of grass and dropping them to see how the wind catches them.

If you want to be more accurate than looking at the sun and stars, you still have options.  You can make a homemade compass.  You will need a large leaf or container, some water, a float, a thin piece of metal such as a needle or paperclip, and a magnetizing agent such as another piece of metal or a magnet.  Fill the leaf with water and then magnetize the needle.  You simply rub or beat your magnet on the needle and it will become polarized. Set it on your float and once it settles in the water, it will give you a magnetic North/South line to work with.

You can use your old analog wristwatch to direct you as well.  Hold your wrist flat so that the face of your watch is parallel to the ground.  Then point the hour hand directly at the sun. Mark the half way point between your hour hand and 12 o’clock and you have determined true North.  This does not work with a digital watch of course.  If you don’t have an analog watch, you can accomplish the same thing by drawing a circle in the dirt.  Use the four finger method to determine what time it is, and then draw in the numbers and hour hand.

If you want to go modern, there are GPS units that can tell you exactly where you are.  Some of these units will allow you to save specific locations which is perfect for hunting and fishing.  They are often as good as a topographical map, but that is only as long as the grid is still functional.   Some of them even have the ability to call or text family, friends, and emergency personnel. I must warn that relying solely on technology is risky.  I used to work a job where navigation was essential.  I relied on paper maps and my coworkers relied on GPS.  You should see the panic in their eyes when the battery died or they lost signal.

There are also a few important points to make about leaving your camp in general.  Blazing your trail is always a good idea.  This is the process of marking trees so that rescuers can find you.  Many people use spray paint to mark trails these days, but you can also use a blade. Just cut the bark away from the trunk in a small section, and the white interior will stand out like a sore thumb.  You should also mark your direction of travel before you head out.  Construct a large arrow marker to show rescue personnel that you were there and are not far away.

One essential point that must be discussed is compensating for your dominant foot.  If you are right footed, you will tend to veer slightly left over long distances.  This is why there are so many accounts of people walking circles in the bush.  To compensate for this, move to your right every time you face an obstacle in your path.  This little adjustment will keep you pointed in the right direction.

Your decision to travel in a survival situation must be carefully contemplated.  If you know people are looking for you, staying in one location may make more sense.  Staying still while waiting for rescue is a truly helpless feeling.  By moving towards potential rescue, you get the sense that you are taking control of your survival.  However, you may be accidentally evading rescue personnel.  Choose carefully.

If you decide to head out into the unknown, take your time and make wise decisions.  You have plenty of different techniques to help you navigate, but you can’t rush them.  It can be easy to make a costly mistake, especially when you are tired, hungry, and dehydrated.  It is best to keep a slow but steady pace, leave clues for your potential rescuers, and double check your work.  If the sun indicates you are heading East, you may want to use landmarks as well.  If your horse is headed South and it feels like he is heading home, you may want to check your direction using the wristwatch method.

As you become more familiar with these strategies, you will develop a better sense of general direction.  After years of orienteering, I almost always know which way is North without any effort.  The way the shadows fall, the warmth on my face, and the general appearance of the forest all give me a good feeling about the cardinal directions.  It has become second nature.  However, you can bet that I would use every tool I have to properly navigate in a survival situation.  Travelling in the wrong direction is simply not something on which I am willing to gamble. Happy trails!

The post Miles to Travel: Land Navigation for Survival appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

Comment on The Best Way Home: SHTF Route Planning by Bobcat-Prepper

Getting home ASAP while folks are in their “normalcy bias” period is critical to personal safety and to protect your house, and getting home by bike will take a fraction of the time of walking. That’s why I agree with Huples, that having a wheeled vehicle in reserve is a huge advantage in your EMP example.

Pack a fold-up bicycle or razor scooter (helps on downnhills, anyway), or at least scope out bicycle shops near your work area soon. You may have to “borrow” someone’s bike from a nearby vacant home (before the owners return), just be cautious while doing it -getting shot will definitely slow you down!

Since you are restricted to roads, you may end up having to ride at night if the moon is out and it can be done safely, to avoid unwanted attention and avoid the sun in hot weather.

Best Finishes For Your SHTF Gun

best cerakote paint

We recently had a reader email into the Survival Cache team with a couple suggestions for articles he’s like to seecerakote colors(those types of emails are always welcome, by the way!).   He’d mentioned one specific item he’d like to see gone over.  He wrote, Another article I’d like to see if/when you and your team get the time is something on gun coatings. Like cerakote vs blued finishes etc.”

By Drew, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

It’s a great question – what firearms finish will work best to protect your gun from corrosion and wear during a long-term SHTF event, or over a long duration of time between cleanings and maintenance?  Well, as someone who was a professional firearms refinisher for many years, with lots of experience in cold bluing, hot tank bluing, nickel plating, and spray-on finishes, I’ll walk you through the differences of some of the most commonly encountered finishes, and the pros and cons of each.  Hopefully this will help some of you decide where to plunk your hard-earned bucks to help preserve your “oh shit” guns when the chips are down.

Why Refinish Your Gun?

Most people that I encountered when I was refinishing firearms brought their guns to me for restoring – they had cerakote rifle finishloved and used and/or neglected a firearm to the point of the finish completely wearing off a gun.  Sometimes they’d been in house fires (brutal on firearms, even when they are in safes), or the gun was found in grandpa’s attic and was covered in bat crap, or they’d found a good deal on a gun they’d wanted because the finish was worn.  In any of these cases, the reason to refinish was generally obvious and easily remedied.

These days, gun owners will bring their perfectly good, sometimes brand-new, firearms to a local finisher, looking to achieve a new finish for reasons other than restoring.  Sometimes they’ve seen that sexy-looking camouflaged AR-15 or Glock on their (insert your choice of social media here) feed and GOTTA HAVE that same look…or maybe Multicam and brightly-colored metallic red/blue/green controls and accessories (why do people do that?!? All I can think of when I see those is those vinyled and painted up tuner cars in the early “Fast and the Furious” movies. But I digress.).  Others, such as predator or turkey/waterfowl hunters, need their dedicated hunting gun camo’d up so as not to draw their quarry’s eye.  I know some people who live for duck hunting will bring their shotguns in to be Duracoated or Cerakoted because of the superior resistance to saltwater corrosion.

Also Read: Top SHTF Guns You Haven’t Considered

However, for the purposes of this article, we will be looking at what available finish will help preserve your gun best when you are most likely to neglect the firearm.  We are also assuming you are bringing your firearm in for a refinish (or possibly refinishing yourself); however, a variety of finish options – most of the ones listed here, as a matter of fact – are available on new guns as well.  Remember, a certain finish won’t protect from serious abuse, i.e. hard drops on concrete or banging into rocks or being run over by National Guard tracked vehicles.  What it will do is block moisture, skin oils and salts, sweat, and mud from contacting the metal and components directly.  This effectively combats corrosion and rust – which we all know will screw your gun up and render it inoperable faster than we can say, “Ahh, shit.”

Cold Bluing

I’m not going to dig too deeply into the ins and outs of cold bluing because I wrote an article about it in one of my Rifle Bluing“SHTF Armorer” DIY posts on  You can read the article here.  However, in a nutshell, cold bluing is the easiest way for most of us to restore a blued finish on our carbon steel guns.  (Cold bluing does not work on stainless steel or aluminum.)  It’s as accessible as going to our local gun shop and grabbing a bottle off the shelf or ordering it off Amazon.  I like Brownell’s Oxpho-Blue, and I have had good results with Birchwood Casey’s Perma-Blue as well.  And when applied properly, it can look pretty good and generally protects raw metal acceptably well.  As a counterpoint to all this convenience, cold blue does not hold up well to long-term use and will quickly wear off.  But it never hurts to have a sealed bottle (it evaporates) in the armorer’s box to throw some finish on a worn gun if needed.

Cold Blue Pros:

  • Cheap and accessible – around $10 for a 3 oz. Bottle of Birchwood Casey Perma Blue, available at most gun shops, even Wal-Mart
  • Do-it-yourself compatible – refinish a gun while you watch “Hogan’s Heroes” and “Desperate Housewives” reruns
  • Looks pretty good when applied properly with attention to detail
  • Good for spot touch-ups

Cold Blue Cons:

  • Does not offer very good corrosion protection – but it’s better than nothing
  • Wears very easily under frequent use, necessitating re-applications or a more serious finish
  • Looks awful and splotchy when not done properly or if oils are present when applying

Hot Tank Bluing

Hot tank bluing comes in a couple different forms, but far and away the most commonly used is a Caustic Black finish.  This method involves immersing cleaned and degreased carbon steel parts into a bath of “bluing salts”, which are made up of sodium hydroxide, sodium nitrite, and sodium nitrate (plus other proprietary ingredients, depending on who you source the salts from.).  The salts are mixed with water at certain ratios, then boiled at between 275-315° F.  The chemicals in the boiling bath interact with the steel of the firearm, and convert the exterior surface metal of the firearm to Magnetite, which is also known as “black oxide of iron”.  Magnetite provides a deep, rich blackish-blue color to firearms, and is the most common finish used by many firearms manufacturers due to the ease of consistent finishes in large quantities.  I worked with hot tank bluing for many years, and the chemical composition is corrosive as hell and can burn your skin badly if care is not taken, and specialized equipment, burners, and boiling tanks are required to do the job correctly.

Related: SHTF Guns On A Budget

Hot tank bluing provides very good rust resistance that is made better with the application of a good penetrating gun oil.  Its wear resistance is much better than cold blue, but the finish can still wear over time with daily use – just go into any gun shop and take a gander at any well-used hunting-type rifle.  I bet it’s got use and silver bare metal wear on the high-traffic carrying areas areas.  However, since bluing salts react with the carbon in the steel, hot tank bluing cannot be used on most types of stainless steel – and it definitely cannot be used with aluminum.  Aluminum will usually either get eaten away by the salts or react adversely, possibly causing super heated gas “explosions” in the tank that can cause your boiling hot caustic bath to spray everywhere.  Care must also be taken with firearms like double-barreled shotguns that have a rib between the two barrels.  The rib must be vented with drilled holes, or else the air inside the rib can heat and expand, blowing the barrels apart.  But I digress.

Here is a picture of a rare Marlin “Marauder” in .35 Remington that I reblued probably 12 years ago – it has seen Rifle Finishingregular hunting use in the Maine woods since then.  The finish is barely worn at the carrying points, showing that hot tank bluing is very attractive durable and when taken care of.

Hot Tank Blue Pros Pros:

  • Provides a beautiful, consistent, deep black finish to steel
  • Long lasting, durable, provides good corrosion resistance – especially when combined with regular maintenance and oiling
  • Pricing to refinish by a professional is usually reasonable
  • Has been used for for decades as the go-to finish for most commercial firearms – so you know it does its job well
  • A great way to go to refinish your steel firearm or if you’re buying new

Hot Tank Blue Cons:

  • Lots of specialized equipment and experience required, large initial investment to get set up to hot tank blue
  • Wears, especially at high points/corners after use
  • Can resist corrosion for time, but if no oil is on the surface of the bluing, it can be compromised quickly by humidity, skin oils and salts, etc.
  • Easily scratched if abrasive contact is made by metal, rocks, sand.


Parkerizing is a finish commonly encountered on many US military firearms from the immediate pre-World War 2 era through the late 50’s, early 1960’s, I’d guess.  If you’ve seen a WWII era 1911 Colt, Springfield 1903, M1 Carbine, or M1 Garand – even up through the M14/M1A, you’ve seen a parkerized finish.

Parkerizing comes in many forms, but usually involves immersing a steel firearm in a manganese, iron, or zinc phosphate bath.  The bath electrochemically deposits a dark gray coating on the metal that is very tough and useful.  The dark gray can sometimes fade to a green-gray color over time or with the application of certain oils or coatings like Cosmoline.  As a primary finish, parkerizing’s porous surface traps oil beautifully, keeping the firearm from rusting for longer periods of time between maintenance or wipe-downs.

Related: Best Handgun Calibers For Survival

Parkerizing is very commonly used as a base coat for other finishes such as paints or spray-on coatings like DuraCoat or Cerakote, due to its granular surface and phosphates in the finish.  According to Wikipedia, Glock also uses parkerizing over its proprietary Tenifer finish as a tough, matte colored surface coat.  Parkerizing is very durable, and its granular-feeling surface deposit finish can hold oils well, helping to preserve the finish that much more.  If your SHTF gun is parkerized, no need to look any further for a battle-ready, rugged finish – WW2, Korea, and Vietnam proved parkerizing’s ready-to-rumble attributes.

Also Read: Survival Guns – A Beginners Guide

Here is a picture of a Ruger MKI target pistol customized by Angus Arms with lots of goodies including a Clark Parkerizing Gun Coatingbarrel, Ultra Dot red dot, Marvel trigger, and a full parkerized finish.  This finish job ran about $125 or so, according to Angus Arms.

Parkerizing Pros:

  • Attractive, matte low-glare finish
  • Battle-proven durability and long life, especially when maintained and oiled
  • Already the go-to, as-bought finish for many popular SHTF-type guns
  • A fantastic base coat with enhanced “tooth” for spray-on type finishes

Parkerizing cons:

  • A bit of a lost art, fewer and fewer gunsmiths parkerize anymore
  • Can’t be used on aluminum, polymer, and other firearms materials. Steel only.

Sprayed-On Finishes

Over the past ten or so years, sprayed-on finishes  – I’m not talking spray-paint here, by the way – have started to really take the firearms market by storm.  These finishes are a superb way to get colors other than the forever-available blacks, grays, and silvers that have been the norm on guns since firearms were invented.  Though there are many spray-on type finishes to consider, we’re going to look at what are arguably the two most popular: Duracoat and Cerakote.


Duracoat, produced by Lauer Custom Weaponry, is a two-part finish that is comprised of a colored resin and a best diy gun finishseparate hardener.  The two parts are mixed like an epoxy and applied via a spray gun, such as an airbrush (my preferred method) or by HVLP paint guns.  When applied, Duracoat dries to the touch in about 20 minutes, and is fully cured after a few weeks.  However, after drying overnight, you can reassemble your firearms if you’re careful not to scratch the finish.

Duracoat was engineered with the DIY guy/gal at home in mind.  With an airbrush or paint gun, a compressor, some scouring pads and sandpaper, and some acetone, (a respirator, safety glasses, and ventilation is also HEAVILY recommended if you’re spraying indoors), the regular gun guy/gal can apply their own finish with excellent results that are generally easy to attain provided the metal prep work is done properly.  There are also certified Duracoat appliers across the country.

Lauer Custom Weaponry has expanded their product line to offer Duracoat in an aerosol spray-paint can, as well as high-temperature coatings (great for suppressors), camo packs (stencils and Duracoat colors required for specific camouflage patterns), spray-on bluing (I’m interested to see how that works), gun “tattoos” (pre-cut patterns for your gun), as well as many, MANY different color offerings.

Duracoat is permanent, and very tough to remove if it is properly applied.  It has a high elasticity for a finish, allowing it to flex slightly and absorb impacts reasonably well, as well as prevent scratches.  I’ve personally Duracoated many guns, including my personal AR-15, and the finish is very tough once properly cured.  Duracoat is air-cured, meaning you don’t need any special equipment to bake the cure.  This makes it superior for items like optics, or any items with electronics/heat-sensitive components.  According to information I found online, Duracoat resists 100 inch-pounds of direct impact, and has passed a 300 hour salt spray test, which exceeds military requirements for finish.

Duracoat Pros:

  • Relatively easy to apply by the average Joe
  • Very effective at resisting corrosion and mild impacts
  • Has some lubricating properties
  • No expensive special equipment required
  • Much higher on the toughness scale than a rattle-can Krylon finish
  • Huge amounts of attractive color options, plays nice with stencils
  • Can be applied over any metals, plastics, wood.
  • Over 250 colors available, colors can be mixed to make custom colors
  • Banned in NYC – Lauer Custom Weaponry has its own line of “Bloomberg” colors, just to piss off a certain billionaire who thinks he knows how you should run your life.

Duracoat Cons:

  • Susceptible to some solvents like acetone or lacquer thinner
  • Takes a long time to finish curing
  • Not as tough as coatings like Cerakote, but still tougher than most standard firearms finishes


Cerakote is the current king of the hill when it comes to firearms finishes.  A ceramic-polymer compound, it’s specially formulated specifically for high-use, high-abuse-destined firearms.  Several firearms manufacturers offer Cerakote as their standard finish since its wear and lubricating characteristics are excellent.  There are two basic Cerakote offerings: Cerakote “C” are a single-component, air-cure finish.  After it is fully cured, Cerakote “C” will endure temperatures of 1700°F, and and has been tested to withstand 550 hours of salt-spray.  Cerakote “H” is a two-part, thermally cured (heated) system.  The heat levels that Cerakote “H” will withstand are lower (400°) but has been tested for 2,500 hours (!) of salt spray endurance.  Needless to say, Cerakote’s resistance to corrosion is superb.  Cerakote “H” also is practically impervious to solvents like acetone and MEK, and can resist impacts of up to 160 inch-pounds.

Related: 6 Tools To Survive Anything

According to their website, Cerakote now offers over 60 different colors, and can be used with stencils and combines with other colors for camouflage patterns- though I’ve read that Duracoat is a bit easier to use with stencils.

Cerakote requires a bit more attention to surface prep than other spray-on finishes, usually requiring a surface blasting with 120-grit aluminum oxide for a proper rough-up so the finish can properly grab.  Hanging racks and a drying oven are also required for heat curing.  Degreaser soak tank, HVLP spray gun, and a good air compressor for spraying and surface blasting are all required, not to mention the proper eye protection and respirator.  An at-home guy can get set up for Cerakoting, but usually, due to the space and tools required, we leave Cerakoting to the professionals who can finish many guns in one shot.

This picture was supplied by Furlong Custom Creations, a local Maine builder/finisher, as an example of firearm coating

Cerakote Pros:

  • Tough, tough, tough! Probably the most rugged finish available for your firearm.
  • Impervious to solvents, cleaners
  • Can be applied over metals, polymers, wood
  • Can be used with stencils, camo patterns
  • Over 60 colors to choose from
  • Did I mention it was tough?

Cerakote Cons:

  • Usually needs to be applied by a professional with the appropriate gear; not DIY friendly on a low-quantity basis.
  • Generally expensive to have performed, very labor intensive to do properly
  • Once it has been applied to your gun, best of luck getting it off the gun!

Other Finishes

There are other relative “newcomers” to the finish scene that were originally proprietary to specific firearms, like Sig Sauer’s Nitron finish (actually a DLC – Diamond-Like Carbon– Finish from a company called IonBond…it’s expensive, but extremely hard-wearing), or Glock’s Tenifer and Smith & Wesson’s Melonite – which are the same family of coatings that fall under “Ferritic Nitrocarburizing” or Black Nitride.  I know ATEi is offering Melonite finishes if you’d like to get your steel parts finished in this coating.  Robar’s NP3 is a form of electroless nickel plating that has excellent corrosion and wear resistance, as well as looking pretty cool if you like colors other than black for your gun.  Gun-Kote is another type of spray-on finish that meets or exceeds military and aerospace requirements.

Also Read: 5 Ideas For Fire Tinder

There are many other extremely attractive, rugged finish options out there – and third party finishers are starting to come online to provide these finishes to the general public.  I will hang my head and admit that I’m not terribly familiar with these newer types of gun finishes, so I won’t pretend that I do.  If there is a proprietary coating or finish out there you’ve seen or heard of, the best bet is to do your internet research, talk with people who have that finish on their guns, and call the company who applies the finish, and see what they have to say.  It’s your hard-earned money that you’re plunking down to protect a gun that may well protect you one day, so it’s worth the little bit of extra effort to make sure you get what you want.

Which Do You Choose?

So, there are myriad options out there – which do you choose for your SHTF gun?  Personally, if money was no object, I would gladly bring my firearm to a quality Cerakote finisher – even if you just want a black gun – and plunk down my hard-earned dead presidents, knowing that I’d be giving my gun the most love I could.  Cerakote’s hard-wearing properties and resistance to corrosion really make it a stand-out in the finish world.

However, I’ve personally Duracoated my SHTF guns and couldn’t be happier. I painstakingly prepped the surface to be sprayed, and Duracoat hasn’t let me down in two years.  I’m not a crazy high-volume shooter like many – but I’ll shoot a couple thousand rounds out of my AR, and hunt with it every year.  The only visible damage to the finish has been the end of the brass deflector, where it takes many, many high-velocity empty brass impacts.  I have a Remington 870 I’ve Duracoated as well – and it gets almost zero use, standing vigilant guard as a home defense shotgun.  The 870 receives no maintenance and no oil except for its yearly check-up, and there has been no corrosion, even in high humidity Maine summers in a damp basement.  If I was more the DIY type, I’d go Duracoat and never look back.

As far as the chemical finishes go, I’d look at parkerizing, hot tank bluing, and then cold blue – in that order.  These finishes are excellent to good, but require higher maintenance, especially in high-use and high humidity environments.  I certainly don’t turn my nose up at these finishes – I dearly love a high polish, deep hot tank blue on a classic hunting firearm – but for a SHTF gun that needs to perform in ugly environments, the spray-on finishes are the way to go these day.  That’s my opinion – how about yours?

Photo credits: Drew, Angus Norcross, Jeff Furlong

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The Best Survival Watches under $100

It used to be that no self-respecting man or woman would be caught without a watch on their wrist when they were away from home. Watches went from analog and wind-up to digital battery operated fairly quickly. If you’re old-school you may have chosen to rebel against the digital trend and kept your analog watch. But for preppers, a watch is about much more than just knowing what time it is.

If you’re a prepper, you want a watch that will not only help you stay on top of the current date and time but one that also can help you navigate in unfamiliar terrain. Although Quartz watches use battery power and mechanical (wind-up) watches do not, Quartz watches do not typically use batteries up too often. In a SHTF situation, you would want to have plenty of batteries on hand for your Quartz powered watch whereas a mechanical one won’t require battery power. A more recent option is solar powered batteries.

Factors to Consider for the Best Survival Watch

Choosing a watch that you can depend on in a survival situation is a serious decision and not one that you want to make lightly. Consider accuracy of timekeeping, resistance to weather and water, and the type of power when choosing a survival watch. In addition to its primary timekeeping feature, a survival watch comes with a range of additional features that can help you to survive in the outdoors or an extended hiking, camping, or SHTF scenario.

Accurate Timekeeping

People often go out into the outdoors or wilderness for hiking or camping trips to get away from it all and lose track of time. But in a grid-down or bug out situation, when you need to find water, shelter, and food before dark, or keep your fire burning until daylight, knowing the precise time can be crucial to your survival. Make sure you get a watch with a reputation for accurate timekeeping. Keep in mind that quartz movement is battery powered and make sure you are prepared for your battery to die or malfunction.

Water Resistant versus Water Proof

This is one area where you want to be particularly careful. Many ads for products use the words water resistant and water proof as if they mean the same thing but they do not. Water resistant means the watch can be exposed to some occasional water such as rain, accidental submersion in a bucket of water or a creek. Some watches will indicate water resistance to a certain depth. But a watch that is waterproof has been designed to be submerged in water for an extended period during activities such as scuba diving.

Type of Power

  • Quartz or battery operated—these operate with battery power and the batteries can malfunction and/or run out at any time and will need replaced.
  • Mechanically wound or self-winding—some watches require the wearer to “wind” them up every couple of days in order to maintain accurate time keeping. Other watches are self-winding as long as they are worn and being moved back and forth.
  • Solar Powered or Photovoltaic cells—powered by the sun or with the ability to recharge batteries using the sun, solar powered watches require very little maintenance.

Additional Features

  • Barometer—measures air pressure to assist in forecasting weather changes
  • Altimeter–indicates elevation above sea level and can monitor whether you are at a higher or lower altitude than when you started out. Helpful for navigation to confirm you are descending or climbing.
  • Temperature—self explanatory
  • Sunrise/Sunset Times—displays anticipated sunrise and sunset times for the day.
  • GPS-Having a backup reading of your longitude and latitude location can be handy. Just don’t rely on it working accurately in a grid-down situation or following an EMP.
  • Compass-get a precise reading just by glancing at your wrist.

There are tons of quality watches on the market today. Choosing the right one is up to you. Here are some of the best survival watches priced under $100 for you to consider:

G-Shock Watches by Casio

The Casio G-Shock models have long been a favorite of our military servicemen and well…everyone really. If you’re looking for reliability, choose a Tough Solar G-Shock watch to get a battery that will last up to 10 months after a full charge. The watch recharges the batteries using solar power whenever it is exposed to sunlight. The rechargeable battery lasts up to 10 years or more.

G-shock watches come standard with features such as world time, daily alarms and auto calendar, and an adjustable resin band for comfort over long periods of wear. In addition, the watches are both water resistant and shock resistant, something every prepper knows is a must have. G-shock watches under $100 include:

  • G100-1BV This imported G-Shock watch by Casio is getting rave reviews. It is shock resistant AND Magnetic resistant which means it can withstand weak magnetic forces. Popular with military servicemen, it has an almost armor-like quality to the casing and keeps impeccably accurate time for years to come. I’ve seen this on sale for as low as $55, regular price is $99.00.
  • GWM530A-1 For those who prefer Atomic timekeeping, this watch priced just over $90 also comes with the Tough solar power battery. It’s water and shock resistant with all standard features plus a battery power indicator light and power saving function that automatically kicks into gear when needed.
  • GW6900-1 The imported Tough Solar Watch fits the bill for many preppers. It’s water resistant for marine water sports but not scuba depth approved. Japanese quartz movement powered by rechargeable solar power battery. Silicone band, stainless steel case and mineral dial window. A bargain at just over $80.
  • G9000-1V This is a digital sports watch priced at just under $70 on amazon. Choose a model made in the USA. This watch is resistant to cold temperatures, water, mud, and shock. All the standard features with four multi-function alarms.
  • DW9052-1V Imported with shock-resistant dial. Features afterglow backlight, timer, and alarm. Quartz style movement and water resistant up to 200 meters. Not scuba a scuba diving watch but okay for most other water sports. Priced around $40
  • Casio Women’s “Baby G” BG169R-8 Sport Watch This is a women’s sport watch with Japanese Quartz movement and digital display. The dial window is made of mineral crystal. Water resistant to 660 feet, suitable for scuba diving recreationally. Priced at $54, this watch is built to last with a three-year battery life rating. Bezel is stationary, has hourly alarm-feature, phone number storage, and stopwatch.

Timex Expedition Trail Series – Worthy competition against Casio. Sturdy and durable. Water resistant and shock resistant. Relies on Quartz power. Compass is dependable. Resin band and watch casing. Can be used underwater to 660 feet deep. $60-$95 if you can catch it during an Amazon sale.

GT or Yuze Sharktooth Watch – Integrated paracord watchband that is weather resistant and will hold up under repeated outdoor wear. Includes integrated compass, whistle, and fire starter. Available on the Outdoor Bunker website for under $65

Lad Weather Outdoor Watch available in 9 colors, this watch comes with the altimeter, Thermometer, Barometer, Alarm, Compass, and much more. Very accurate elevation readings and compass. Can easily replace your lensatic compass. Regularly priced at $145 this watch is similar in quality to a Suunto watch and can be purchased during Amazon sale for $45.

Silvercell Survival Bracelet Watch For preppers who are on a tight budget, this Silvercell Survival Bracelet is a bargain at just $7. It comes with a compass and flint buckle, and whistle as well as a paracord band. It’s water resistant but not water proof but the overall functionality is great.

Fanmis Digital Military Watch This military style multifunction watch is priced around $14 on Amazon and is a treasure for any prepper hunting for bargains. It’s imported, shock and water resistant to 30 meters. The soft resin strap is done in military green and it comes with auto date, hourly chime, alarm, dual time, LED display, stopwatch, and 12 or 24-hour time display. Does not have altimeter, barometer, and other environmental features.

Palada Men’s T7005G this little beauty has a band made of soft TPU for wearing comfort. It’s waterproof to 50 meters as long as you don’t push the action button underwater. Large digital readout is easier to read time at a glance. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, there is no barometer altimeter, the bevel on the compass doesn’t move. It’s comparable in appearance to the more expensive Suunto Core and a bargain at less than $25.

Armitron Sport Watch 20/5062 If you can get by with a watch that doesn’t have all the bells and whistles but will hold up to an accidental slip in the creek and still keep accurate time, try the Armitron Sport Watch. Priced at $40, it’s a good solid watch and is water resistant to 330 feet. Surprisingly lightweight for its large size, the Armitron is rugged and keeps time in both analog and digital.

Watches range in price from less than $10 all the way up to thousands of dollars. Finding a good survival watch is a process of trial and error for most people. Before shopping for the best survival watch, consider how you will use the watch and what features will be the most crucial for your needs. Make your choice and test the watch out thoroughly before you have to depend on it in a survival situation. For those who are budget conscious, one of these survival watches for under $100 can get the job done.

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