Note: This editor’s letter is from our latest publication, Recoil Offgrid Issue 53. If you’d like to purchase a copy of our magazine or subscribe, go to offgridweb.com/subscription.
In our last issue, we focused on how to survive without the aid of technology. But if we’ve learned anything over the last three years, it’s that most of the legacy survival concepts this community embraced for decades have been disproven. Contrary to the imagined templates of bugging out and living off the land to avoid complete collapse and total anarchy, Western society has instead been served an all-you-can-eat buffet of long-duration, low-intensity crises. The incidents most likely to trigger our emergency plans work on a sliding scale, instead of a light switch. While the collective effect of this continuous bombardment of slowly smoldering catastrophe has taken its toll on our psyche, it has also provided some distinct advantages over the cataclysmic upheavals portrayed by Hollywood.
More often than not, we’ll still have access to electricity, cellular networks, and the internet during simmering unrest or lingering supply line disruptions. Even when rolling blackouts or natural disasters leave neighborhoods and municipalities without power, large-scale regional communications are at least partially intact. Economically focused disasters like the ripple effect of draconian COVID-19 lockdowns don’t affect existing infrastructure at all, and severely challenge the notion that we’ll grab our go-bags, fire up our overlanding rigs, toss our electronics out the window, and head to the hills at the first sign of trouble.
It’s always a good idea to know how to start a friction fire, build a primitive shelter, and live off the land. However, you’d be foolish to hunt exclusively with a flint-knapped spear when modern firearms and ammunition are readily available. In the same vein, if the situation we’re presented allows access to modern survival tools like electronic communication and powered preparedness equipment, those who overlook or reject these tools will be at a substantial disadvantage. That’s why, for our final issue of a year that has continued to demonstrate ongoing global chaos, we’re focusing on how to survive with the aid of technology, instead of abandoning it wholesale. Whether you need to communicate securely with loved ones and an ad hoc neighborhood watch team or use a drone to ferry supplies to those out of reach, there are a vast (and still-growing) number of ways to leverage technology to facilitate your survival during a variety of really bad days.
By the time you read this, Christmas will be right around the corner. We urge you to consider using a couple of those stocking-stuffer gift cards to invest in gear and training to get you through when times are tough and every advantage counts. A little bit of advance planning and the right knowledge will let you use every ounce of processing power in your brain and in the computerized conveniences we often take for granted. From Dean Freeman’s roundup of secure messaging apps to SoCal Offgrid’s rundown on how to create your own drone delivery system, this issue pushed us to find more ways we can use ordinary consumer devices to beat the odds. Think critically, spend accordingly, and stay safe.
Happy Holidays from the RECOIL OFFGRID team. We look forward to expanding your preparedness horizons and helping you through the year ahead — whatever it has in store for you.