A Yankee walks into a bar
in south Georgia and orders a Moxie. The bartender fires
back "You ain't from around these parts are ya'?"
No, the Yankee replies proudly, I'm
The southern boy bartender looks at
him dumbfounded and replies, "Well, Mr. Mainah, what
kind of work do you do?"
"I am a Taxidermist, and a wicked
good one!" Seeing the bartender is still
bewildered, he adds ...
"I mount dead animals."
The bartender (thinking to himself
"mind-blowing") stands back and hollers at the good ole
boys in the bar:
"It's okay boys, he's one of us!"
And a friendship was
born. Well, maybe. I don't know if this is how Steve
Konkoly (our "Mainah") and Randy Powers (a "good ole
boy" from Georgia) met, but this odd couple is certainly
a match made in heaven for my fellow preppers.
Steve, a full time
author of post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction has
collaborated with Randy, owner of
Practical Tactical, a
personal preparedness strategy firm, to author:
Practical Prepping: No
First, let me say that
I really like these guys. I've come to know Alex, oops,
I mean Steve, through his Perseid Collapse Series.
Following a collapse event, the main character, Alex,
and his family put to use their preparedness skills to
fight through societal collapse. These books will
entertain you as well as teach you prepping and survival
Randy, a/k/a Mr.
is founder of
Practical Tactical, a Georgia based preparedness
consulting firm whose website is
PracticalTactical4You.com . He's a graduate of the
Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia
and has taken lessons learned in life in order to
prepare others. He believes in taking practical steps
that will give you a tactical advantage should the SHTF,
and most importantly, he practices what he preaches. He
has consulted with Steve on his novels and brings an
excellent preppers insight to the storylines.
Which brings us to
Practical Prepping. The first thing that I
loved about Practical Prepping was the format.
Most survival guides are instructional, but can be
sterile, nuts and bolts, how-to guides. Reading a
"checklist" / preppers guide to survival is necessary for
us newbies, but Practical Prepping reminds us of
the importance of being prepared through the eyes of
Steve's fiction and Randy's real life experiences. Each
of the chapters includes excerpts from Steve's novels
and Randy's analysis, offering different perspectives of
the same preparedness goal.
For the experienced
prepper, the format of Practical Prepping will
allow you to take notes on a particular subject based
upon Randy's practical advice, and then visualize a real
life scenario through the eyes of Steve's literary
prowess (he's gonna' need a bigger bucket hat after
is divided into several parts, with chapters within
each part. But I found Part 2: First Steps to be the
most effective, especially for the new prepper. I have
written about the
Anatomy of a
Survivor and The
so I was glad to see the emphasis placed upon this by
the guys. Part 2 focuses on subjects like: "Are You a
Survivor", "Survive What" and "Realistic
You and Your Family". Randy discusses the importance of
getting your family on board with your preparedness plan
by the use of "plausible fiction" like Steve's books.
One of the points that the guys drive home repeatedly is
that you don't need to run out and go shopping in order
to start prepping. They emphasize that you should put
the basics of a plan together first, otherwise you run
the risk of just being "tacticool":
Got the picture?
I was fortunate enough
to ask them questions. Because of the unique format of
Practical Prepping, I found that Steve and Randy have
different points of view on common preparedness issues.
As a result, I gave them both the same questions and now
let's compare the answers.
you were asleep, the SHTF. After waking to the news,
what's the first prep that you wish you had?
This may sound a bit funny, but the first
thing I would wish I had was my friends and loved ones
that are in our group. I say this for a couple of
reasons. As far as the nuts and bolts of the basics of
prepping we're in pretty good shape, so that wouldn't be
an immediate concern. My wife Alice is awesome. When it
comes to preparedness, she's fantastic partner and a
wonderful resource. A prime time player and our team's
MVP. My skills aren't bad and together we are quite
capable, but with that said we have members in our group
that we value and trust for a reason. First and
foremost, there's always strength in numbers when you're
surrounded by people you can really trust and depend
on. As for our group, these folks weren't selected for
particular skill sets, but each of our trusted team
members has a valuable talent that adds depth and
strength to our position exponentially. Now because we
take a holistic approach to preparedness, of course we
have plans in place to connect with our team should the
need ever arise. That does require travel and time and
in the scenario you've presented, my number one wish
would be that we were already together. The inevitable
stress and complications of "rallying" could be avoided
and we could set about the business of surviving the
disaster that much quicker.
I agree with Randy that I'd want all of my family in one
place...this goes without being said...though I just
said it. Go figure. Water is the big determinant as far
as I'm concerned. Fill up the waterBob's and every
single container that can hold water. I have other
methods of procuring water, but for the immediate SHTF
period, having a solid supply of potable water removes
one of the biggest concerns, allowing me to focus on the
the rest of my immediate plan.
TEOTWAWKI collapse event that concerns you the most most
do you consider the most likely, your "Survive What"
appreciate that you chose the term TEOTWAWKI for your
question and I will answer accordingly. This could take
a minute. I don't worry much about any one "big bad"
event because our approach to preparedness is a
fundamental one that will hopefully have us prepared to
deal with virtually any survivable event. I take a wide
angle and long term view on our preparedness and why
it's necessary. With that said, my primary concern is a
collapse event that we are actually experiencing right
now and that is resource depletion, the strain it places
on the nation and world's ever increasing population and
the inevitable societal unrest that is sure to follow
along as a result. Whether it's our rapidly decreasing
fresh water supply, the depleting rare earth minerals
that make our technologically advanced society possible
or the ancient stores of solar energy that power it, the
natural resources that make the world what we know it
are depleting, and in several cases, are in terminal and
irreversible decline. This will absolutely cause
tension, stress and unrest as the world's societies come
to grips with a new reality and ours in no exception.
Unless we get smarter as a world and society so as to
better understand the drivers that actually impact our
future and develop a sustainable plan going forward and
adhere to it, TEOTWAWKI will be here sooner than most
realize. These long term impacts of decisions and
events I observe happening all around us every day are
the motivating factor for us and by preparing for those,
we feel we are in pretty good shape to deal with the
"flash" disasters that could happen at any time.
Because we take a long term view, we are working towards
making life changes that will build resilience into
every area of our lives that is required to achieve a
level of preparedness we feel is sufficient for our
is a tough one. While I agree with Randy's assessment
that multiple environmental and economic related factors
could conspire to create a situation challenging
resources and civil order, I think these scenarios are
longer term disasters. Not yet inevitable, but very
likely within 2-3 decades if we continue on the same
path. In my opinion, a more pressing and likely event is
a pandemic, manmade or naturally occurring. This might
not result in a permanent TEOTWAWKI situation, but it
will severely disrupt our lives and require us to dig
VERY deep to survive.
Which is the better Bug Out location, Maine or Georgia?
G-E-O-R-G-I-A. Okay, okay. Let's really take a serious
look. Both states are shockingly beautiful, have
wonderful people and are blessed with abundant
resources. Each has acreage-a-plenty to find an
off-grid locale that would be sufficient for most any
prepper and enough backwoods to guarantee that there
would be good neighbors that might know a thing or two
about real world survival. I guess one of the biggest
reasons would have to be the climate in Georgia. Yeah,
the summers can be oppressively sweltering, but overall
the longer growing season tilts the scales for me. That
and sweet tea. I'm betting they don't have sweet tea in
Maine. Yep. Sweet tea.
of course. Georgia has fantastic weather, and a longer
growing season, but Maine has a low population density,
plentiful fresh water from inexhaustible sources
(thousands of lakes), a second to none fishing and
lobster industry (just having lobster should be an
immediate "win"), and natural deterrents to the "golden
horde." Realistically, the millions of people living in
NYC, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and
Massachusetts would head south along the coast for
warmer weather...and Randy's jalapeño pepper jelly.
Q: What is
the most important item in your B.O.L.T. (Basic
Operations, Limited Time) Kit?
answer could go several directions. Seeing as how we
prioritize setting up your BOLT kit to best meet the
needs of the disaster plan that underpins it, my answer
is determined by what is probably the most important
part of the puzzle for me based on my plan. That is a
lightweight, back country water filter. Working off our
plan, shelter is a consideration that's well covered so
the ability to have clean drinking water virtually
anywhere moves into the top spot, followed closely by
the self-defense component.
think the most important item in the family BOLT kit is
our portable water filter. I can't stress the importance
of water enough. Water is heavy, and while you should
have enough to get you through the first day of travel,
it's not practical to carry more than that. At eight
pounds per gallon, you'll need a filter or purification
tablets fairly quickly.
Q: Five Quick
(1) Bug In or
Powers: Bug in
- When we bought originally bought our house, we
selected a location that we felt was far enough outside
any major city to meet our privacy needs. From there,
we've spent years actively developing and improving our
resilience infrastructure alongside our basic preps to
help us endure any but the most extreme SHTF situations.
(2) 45 cal or 9
Powers: 9 mm -
Understand that we wanted to be uniform in our choice of
calibers and firearms both in our home and in our group
and we wanted a firearm and a round that everyone would
be comfortable shooting. We believe that if you choose
to own a firearm with the primary purpose of
self-defense you should train to a level that will
ensure you can deploy that tool effectively should you
ever be forced to put it into action. Knowing that we
are actively training to be able to depend on ourselves
and our weapon to be able to respond under stress and
actually hit what we aim at, we chose the 9 mm due to
magazine capacity, as well as the fact that if you are
using a quality personal defense round, the stopping
power of the 9 mm is more than adequate.
While it's tempting to go with the more powerful
caliber, I've trained more on 9mm platforms more than
.45 cal. Additionally, I want to use a common caliber
that everyone in my group can handle...the .45 can be a
beast to fire compared to the 9mm. For the record, I own
pistols in both calibers.
(3) AR15 or AK47
Powers: AR15 -
Durability, reliability, accuracy, modularity and
For all the reasons Randy cited, plus ease of use and
low recoil. The 7.62X39 recoil is significantly larger
than a .223, and the .223 round is more accurate outside
of 200 yards. It's a more versatile caliber. If you had
asked AR15 versus AR10 (.308) platforms, we might have a
different story. I'm a big fan of .308 AR's. (ed. no
Group or Lone Wolf Prepper
Powers: Group -
As I mentioned above, we believe in the value of TEAM.
Prepper Group for a Bug In situation. Lone Wolf (family
included) for Bug Out.
meals in buckets or food stored in mylar bags/canned
let's see. I store my dry goods in mylar bags that are
packed into food grade plastic buckets! Truth. All
kidding aside, I know what you mean. We do have both
built into our tiered food storage and both have their
place, but we do prefer to grow and then can as much of
our own stuff as possible. The food is great and we
maintain skills that we feel are important.
Konkoly: I have
very little food in bucket form. Since my primary
strategy revolves around bugging-in, which addresses the
most likely SURVIVE WHAT scenario I envision, we keep
dry food stores (air tight canisters of beans and
grains) and canned food as our primary, long-term
emergency food source. I don't mind rotating cans and
dry stores. Our bucket food is reserved for bugging out
with the car, since it's easy to grab and easy to
prepare with our larger BOLT kit (includes larger
quantities of water and a camping stove). For grab and
go BOLT situations, we have MRE's built into our
(6) Besides each
other, who is your favorite author and/or book?
Babylon - Pat Frank
Stephen King, and not because I'm from Maine. I love his
earlier works and the Dark Tower series. The Stand was
one of the first TEOTWAWKI books I read, followed by
Lucifer's Hammer. Fantastic SHTF books.
question should I have asked, but didn't? And, what's
the answer to that question?
Powers: In your
opinion, what's the most frequently discounted or
overlooked aspect of personal preparedness?
The psychology of
preparedness. Team building, leadership, stress
management and conflict resolution are just a few of the
issues that have the ability to absolutely determine the
outcome of any disaster or survival situation. Working
on that type of strength and emotional resilience is an
area that I believe most in the preparedness community
give very little thought, if they give it any thought at
It was truly a
pleasure working with the boys on this review. They are
good people and both excellent in their field. This is a
Survival Guide that will be an important post-SHTF
resource so I suggest buying it in hardcopy in case of a
grid down scenario.
Practical Prepping is
written by real guys who have an honest desire to help
all of us get ready for what may come down the pike. It
is very apparent that Steve and Randy are good friends.
Clearly, they'd have each others backs when the SHTF.
Hell, I'd trust them if we had to defend our Bug Out
Bobby, you ask, what
could you possibly bring to the table?
20,000 rounds of
never know when the day before ... is the day before.
Prepare for tomorrow.