Christopher Nyerges provides an interesting contrast to the first group shown on Doomsday Preppers. As opposed to their heavily location focused strategy – Chris goes for a preparation strategy focused around the bug out, being ready for an almost indefinite bug out if he finds the need. He is like a prepper version of Wandering Bear, able to use the plant life around him to sustain and even perform first aid functions
1. Earthquake in CA
The San Andreas fault line is one of the most active faults in North America and many people are under the impression that LA and the surrounding area is living on borrowed time. While the end of the show lists the chances of a major (8.0+) quake happening in the next 30 years as a ‘minor’ 3%, anyone living in the area can attest that earthquakes are a consideration that makes it into daily life. The increasing population of the area will only complicate things further.
2. Human danger
With more people moving to the cities, LA has been posting growth rates the double the average of the past decade. Nyerges is wise to be afraid of the consequences of the human element. With more people in a given area, resources will be in higher demand in the event of a disaster. It’s simple economics.
The show gave the impression that Nyerges plans to walk the reservoirs as an urban survivor but my impression is that he plans to bug out to the surrounding area. It would be a wise plan for anyone in a city of that size.
3. Customizing bug out bag
Chris talks about the need to create a customized bug out bag, which flies in the face of many internet vendors attempting to sell all-in-ones. Everyone’s plan for survival is different, and different needs require different equipment. I liked his collection of knives, the producers made it seem like this was crazy but for someone who plans to forage, there could be nothing more appropriate. Cutting willow trees all day can dull a blade.
4. Foraging for greens
Speaking of, I was very impressed by Chris’s knowledge of the local flora. I think it is worth it for everyone to know what plants are edible in the region they live in and plan to write a series of posts about this in the near future. The ability to collect plants will provide a healthy amount of nutrients, fiber and a decent source of calories.
To supplement this, Chris has a very interesting tactic of bringing salad dressing with him in his bug out bag. While most people opt for carbohydrate based rations in their BOB kits, salad dressing is a fat based source of calories. As an energy source, fat can be a superior source of calories. On a gram to gram basis, fat contains over twice as many calories, 9 per gram compared to 4 for carbs. In addition, fat is a slow burning energy source and does not raise blood sugar or create a spike. Diets based on fats instead of carbohydrates are also well known in fitness communities to spare muscle tissue when fasting.
5. Aspirin from willow salicylic acid
Not really much to say here except for the fact that it was damn cool. Most of our medications come from nature in one way or another so going straight to the source is great in a survival situation. Indigenous people around the world still rely on herbal cures to stay healthy.
6. Firestarting with bowdrill
The show briefly showed Chris using a hand drill to make a fire. A few years ago my brother and I set out to make a bowdrill to start a fire and it took several hours before it worked. Bowdrills involve a bow instead of hands, which I would suggest unless your palms happen to be made out of shoe leather. A simple piece of paracord makes for a great bow string, you should have some in your bug out bag regardless.
For anyone interested there is a science in selecting the right kind of wood.
7. Bugout location and lack of guns
The show’s survival expert recommended that Chris needed to have a bug out location and could probably stand to pick up a few guns. I’m not sure if I agree on the first point, Nyerges could most likely survive indefinitely in the Californian weather. Also, if he can make aspirin out of trees I think he’ll be able to make a wiki up if he needs to. As for guns, it would definitely be beneficial in the escape from the city but could also present a problem if he had to discharge. Regardless, it’s better to have a firearm and not use it.