Hanging out at the Sensible Preppers Conference, by PH34RB34R
On April 2, 2011 I attended the Sensible Preppers Conference in Greenville, South Carolina which was put together by the man who goes by the name Sootch00 on YouTube. This was a gathering of over 300 like minded people of all ages who go by the handle “preppers” and was attended by individuals from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Ohio and even one person from Connecticut. Sootch00 said the reason he wanted to do the conference was to allow people in various stages of their preps to meet other like minded people and allow them to network and share information and hopefully make new friends. Everyone I met was friendly and willing to share ideas and talk about what they were doing and freely share ideas to others who needed help. The people doing their presentations were not telling people that if they did not have certain items already bought and stored that they should panic. What they were doing was saying here is what I have been doing and why and let me share some information so you can get closer to where you want to be in your own preparations.
This why he wanted to do the conference was to allow people in various stages of their preps to meet other like minded people and allow them to network and share information and hopefully make new friends. Everyone I met was friendly and willing to talk about what they were doing and freely share ideas with others who needed help.
There were several speakers, most which have their own YouTube channel and I will be briefly writing about their topic and referring to the speakers by their YouTube handles so that anyone reading this article can easily find them on YouTube and learn more. The first topic discussed at this conference was Food Storage given by Southernprepper1 and how each person needs to make a plan in storing food. When storing food you need a variety of things to eat and seasonings not only from a nutritional perspective, but also for psychological reasons because if you give a person the same thing every day they will eventually grow tired of the same meal and stop eating. He discussed that before you buy a lot of the freeze dried or dehydrated meals that you contact the vendor about purchasing a sample pack of their products so that you can find items that your family will eat and even enjoy. He also talked about short, medium and long term ways to store your food and common mistakes to avoid. He wrapped up his presentation talking about the importance of learning how to grow your own food now so that if God forbid anything did happen you would have those skills when you need them and not trying to learn the best way to grow food when a good harvest could mean the difference between life and death.
The next topic was Water by Engineer775 who discussed different sources of water such as surface water like streams and lakes but also underground sources of water. He talked about ways to access these water sources by using techniques that our forefathers used to get potable water for their homes, crops and their farm animals. One such way he discussed was drilling a well using the “Explorer” hand drilling system from Hydromissions.com and setting up a well on your own property and he went on to talk about different ways you could then access this water depending on how deep your water table is. These included different hand pumps and solar power pumps and he talked about having a redundancy in the way you access this water so that an equipment failure will not be catastrophic.
The next topic was Trauma by Skinnymedic who stressed the importance of taking a basic first aid course from the Red Cross. His talk was about in a medical situation what the basic steps of trauma assessment were, Airway, Breathing and Circulation. Is the patient’s airway clear and unobstructed and are they breathing easily or struggling to take in air? Is the patient bleeding and if so is it a minor cut or is the blood flowing out in such a way to signify a major cut in their blood circulation?
The next speaker was the author of the blog Modernsurvivalonline.com who gave a talk about who he is and how he got to where he is now. He also talked about his blog site and how he tries to discuss topics on how to prepare for emergencies and does product reviews. He also mentioned that he has a fairly extensive collection of material available to download from his database section to help people in their preparations.
EastCoastPatriot was the next speaker and he gave a good lecture on proper clothing layering for outdoor survival. His discussed a person’s three basic layers; base, mid weight and outer. The base layer should be something that will wick away moisture from your skin but will also keep you warm. The mid weight is another layer to keep you warm and typically made of either fleece or wool. The outer layer is also there for warmth but also keeps you dry from the elements, but care needs to be taken because something that will shed water will also keep sweat from evaporating. In selecting an outer layer you need something that not only block the rain but will breathe and allow perspiration to evaporate away from your body.
Sootch00 spoke next and he discusses the survival mindset. Why are we doing this and we should not panic and think we are too far behind to do any good. Prepping is not done over night, but is something that is done over time. If you could just go out and buy everything you think you need right now, then most likely you would put it all in a closet and forget about it and when the time comes and you need it you will find the batteries are dead in the gizmo or that 3 month supply of food is now past its expiration date. Prepping is a lifestyle and should be taken one step at a time to learn skills and have you and your family ready to focus on the big issues when an emergency arises.
Southernprepper1 gave another lecture and this time he talked about Bug out Bags (BOB) and the basics that should be included. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail on this one because I could write a whole post on this subject along, but I can say that his approach to building a basic BOB and improving as you have the finances was correct. He also emphasized that his BOB would be different than a person who live in a different geographical region. But I felt that his approach of the principles of water (carrying and purification), food, shelter, first aid and tools are basics no matter when you live.
Engineer775 was next and his presentation was on energy. He talked about solar, hydrogen, propane, diesel, woodgas, and thermo electric generators. He discussed the pros and cons he sees with each of these and what he has tried and what works for him and reminded us that when trying to decide on a good backup or even prime source of electricity for ourselves that we need to know what our power requirements and what these alternates sources can provide. Solar would be awesome but the expense right now for setting up a whole house unit is cost prohibitive for him, but setting up a series of batteries that could be charged by solar and held as backup for emergency use can be done at a reasonable cost. My personal favorite topic of this presentation was his discussion on woodgas and how he has set up a system where he can use the gas produced from the partial combustion of wood to fuel a generator and power his home. He has does have a couple of good videos on YouTube where he has set up one of these systems. Outside the conference building he had a truck, which he has modified to run off of woodgas, for people to look at and ask questions. For those that are curious, it was not driven to the conference.
Skinnymedic gave the next to last presentation and gave brief class on the basics of CPR. He emphasized that this was not in place of the 4 hour class given by the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association, and urged everyone to take the time to attend one of these courses since it could help save someone’s life .
Interspersed during the conference were breaks where the audience could ask questions to the presenters. Also during the lunch break and before and after the conference those giving talks were willing to talk people and I was lucky enough to get to chat with most of them a little bit on various topics and found them to be very friendly and willing to share information on their topics.
Near the end of the day we broke up into smaller groups by state to hopefully be able meet other preppers in our area.
Steve Lorch from Hydromissions gave a presentation at the end of the day, but unfortunately I was unable to stay for this one since I had a 6 hour drive ahead of me. He did have a table out in the hallway where the vendors were and I listened to him talking to a couple of people and I think the hand well drilling equipment they use is very cool.
There were several vendors at the conference selling everything from t-shirts, MREs, books, knives, flashlights, freeze dried meals, human powered crank energy generation, fire making kits, and more.
One of the most popular parts of the day was the awarding of door prizes donated to the conference. A list of businesses that donated, while not complete, included Leatherwood/Hi-Lux optics, Maxpedition Hard Use Gear, HPR Ammo, Knives By Hand, Ry Tac Online, Tactical Defender, author Steve Shaw, Hydromissions International, US Grunt Gear, Battle Boy Surplus, Carolina Readiness Supply, and Scottsdale Silver and I do apologize if I left any of them out . There were other door prizes brought to the conference by the attendees as well and I want to thank them all, it was fun and allowed me a chance to digest the information of the recent presentations.
The fact that over 300 people gathered for this conference with just promoting it in blogs, on YouTube and by word of mouth is really amazing and gives me hope that a convention like the Self Reliance Expo could be held here on the East Coast and be successful. I urge everyone to contact Ron at selfrelianceexpo.com and encourage them to take a closer look at hosting an expo in the East Coast region.
Finally I want to thank Sootch00 for putting on the conference and all of the guest speakers. I had fun, I met a lot of very friendly people and learned something as well.
Thanks to PH34RB34R for writing this, and to Sootch00 for putting on what looks to have been a great conference! If you follow the link to Sootch00, you can see a video of the conference highlights.