What you know versus what you have…

One of the issues that’s always struck me about the whole preparedness game is that much of it is marketing and product driven. I guess that’s to be expected, but those of us that have been in this endeavor for awhile usually find out an important fact.

It’s not what you have, it’s what you know.

You want to see a real survivor? It’s often not going to be the guy with the quarter million dollar “ultimate survival RV”. Nor is it going to be the guy with the bad ass ex-military humvee or duece and a half.

It’s the guy in the ratted out 1970’s station wagon, held together with duct tape and baling wire. The guy that knows how to keep that vehicle running, hell or high water. He knows how to drive it to places most folks would think can’t be driven through – and he does it for his daily commute. He knows how the systems work, what can be manufactured on the spot, or simply done without. He knows what other components from other cars will substitute for his broken components, and he knows how to pull and install them.

Deep snow, thick mud, scorching sands – none of them are issues, because he’s dealt with all of them.

I live in California and I’ve been known to head out to the desert every now and then. (OK, that’s a small simplification. Let’s just say I get out there often. Mojave, Anza-Borrego, and even Sonoran) I literally can’t recall the number of regular cars, vans, and trucks that I’ve seen out in the middle of nowhere. Often they’re up some godforsaken trail, or pushed off of that same godforsaken trail, rusted, and in ruins. But the thing is that they’ve been driven there, over terrain that everyone else needs built four wheel drives to access. Much of it comes down to not giving a damn about the vehicle, but it also often comes down to drivers that know what the capabilities are of their vehicles, and how to maximize them. Those of you that have some experience in Mexico, for instance, probably have come across some interesting vehicles being used in interesting places and getting along just fine.

Nothing special about the wheels, but there is quite a bit special about those drivers.

I guess what I’m trying to say, to those of you that are starting out, is work on your skill sets before you drop the coin on those shiny toys. Take some classes if you need to, there are some excellent trainers out there. Bill Burke is one I can vouch for. Tons of experience, and runs a good school. There are many others plus of course online sources. Forums like Pirate4x4, RaceDezert.com, ExpeditionPortal all have great sections on learning how to really drive a vehicle. Those of you that want to integrate defensive driving, or offensive driving schools have many choices also. Quite a few of the big name tactical instructors have driving components available, so it doesn’t hurt to check those out either.

So get out there and learn. Get that real world experience going.

’til next time,

-Greg

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