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M35 bug out vehicle

We all want an indestructible bug out vehicle that will run on anything flammable and run over anything that blocks our path. Sure you could get a big dually pick up truck and spend thousands lifting it and putting big ass tires on it, or... You could just buy a used military 6 wheel drive monster.
Also known as a deuce or deuce and a half this 2 1/2 ton cargo truck was designed to operate in any climate on anything flammable. The turbo inline 6 will run on diesel, used oil, gasoline, kerosene, pretty much anything you can find. The multifuel capabilities help me to look past the 6-10 mpgs a truck like this will get.
Maintenance is fairly simple but everything weighs a ton. Be prepared to get some big tools and buy fluids by the five gallon buckets.
Deuces came with no creature comforts. They are as bare bones as can be. Some models don't even have heat. There is no insulation between the engine and firewall so the cab gets hot in the summer. The seats have almost no cushion but the drivers seat is a suspension style. A manual transmission is the only thing the a2 came with while the a3 was upgraded to an auto.
These trucks can be picked up at auction for as little as $3500 for a basic model without a winch or hard top. They go up in price from there but in the long run its cheaper just to get the one you want than try to build the wrong truck into the right one.
6 wheel drive
Replacement parts are everywhere
Need lots of big tools
Bad fuel economy
Uncomfortable ride

7 Tools that probably aren't in your bug out bag

More often than not the goal is to keep your gear light weight and easy to move with and while I agree this is good small tools frustrate the hell out of me. A folding shovel or hatchet will do the trick in a pinch but generally these pint sized tools are much slower at a job than their full sized counterparts. So here's 7 heavy weight tools to keep at your base camp or in your vehicle just in case.
1. Gardening Spade
Have you ever tried to dig a trench with a folding shovel? It is possible but it's a real pain in the ass. A good 3' handle garden spade makes the job a whole lot easier.
2. Full size ax
Its a pretty well known fact that split wood burns better and hotter than full logs. Don't get me wrong a hatchet has its place for smalls jobs, but splitting logs or clearing downed trees is a cake walk with a full sized ax compared to a hatchet.
3. Chain
Ropes are amazing. They are strong, lightweight, and incredibly useful but sometimes they just don't make the cut. From pulling huge logs off your driveway to pulling stuck cars out of the ditch a nice heavy weight 20' tow chain with hooks on each end can prove to be much easier than rope.
4. 8 lb sledge
Yep a big ass heavy sledge hammer. Its a nice big chunk of steel that is more useful than you might think. Ever tried to get a rusted rim off your vehicle? A few good whacks from a BFH will get it off without much trouble. That brick wall that's in your way, not anymore. Lost the keys to a padlock? Bust it off. Sometimes there's no replacement for a good sledge. Probably best to leave this tool at base camp.
5. Floor jack
Your vehicle probably already has a jack in it for changing spare tires. That jack is called a scissor jack and is pretty much tits on a bull... Useless. A good small floor jack has a lot of uses both automotive and for lifting. Sagging roofs can be lifted and reinforced with a floor jack.  The main reason though is automotive. Scissor jacks are very unstable and like to bend and collapse. I've had it happen a few times so now I just keep a small floor jack in all my vehicles.
6. Crowbar
I like a good 3' Stanley crowbar. They are cheap and durable. I've only bent mine once and its still working fine. Crowbars are indestructible improvised weapons, and make prying, lifting, gaining leverage, and cracking skulls a pretty easy task. Anyone who has an older vehicle probably will appreciate being able to tighten the accessory belts on the engine. Older vehicles don't normally have serpentine belts instead they have two separate belts that needs to be tightened from time to time.
7. Full size tool kit
I'm not saying a leather man here. I'm talking about full sized screwdrivers, chisels, hammer, Wonder bar, wrenches, sockets, real pliers, cordless drill, etc. I will cover a good tool kit in detail in a future article so check back for that. Fixing a car or something at the cabin is much easier with real tools.
These are all heavyweight full sized tools that make life much easier as long as they're not on your back. I try to plan ahead and with all my experience on old farms, out in the woods, and driving older cars most of my life these are the tools I've found myself wanting in a given situation. These tools are not meant to be carried by you but rather by your car or left at camp so no hate mail about the weight.

Final update Geo Tracker Bug Out Vehicle

After fixing up my little tonka truck for a while now I'm finally done other than paint. Here's the final mods.
-Welded in 1/8" steel 2x4 rock sliders and rebuilt the door sills out of 16 gauge steel.
-Welded in new 16 gauge floor pans and bed pans
-Welded in a steel 2x4 rear bumper and roll pan.
- Repaired all rust on the body with new steel
- Sprayed the floor pans with Bedliner then sealed all the welds
- Moved off road lights to below the front bumper

Kershaw Clash

What can I say about the Kershaw 1605 Clash? Its big, heavy, and bulky... All of which points to one thing, Durability and the perfect budget EDC. I truly do like the size of this knife and the way it fits my hand. The assisted opening flipper is at just the right spot for fast opening. The Ken Onion designed drop point blade is razor sharp right out of the package like every other Kershaw I've ever had. I've been using this knife as my edc for close to a month now. It has gladly taken the abuse I've thrown at it so far. The blade is still sharp and has no play. I like everything about it other than the made in China part. For 20-30$ you really cant go wrong with a Clash.
Overall open length- 7.25"
Blade length- 3"
Weight- 4oz
Blade- steel 8CR13MOV steel with bead-blasted finish
Handle- Injection-molded, glass-filled polyimide
Assisted opening
Rating 5/5

Yeti Tundra 45

The very last cooler you will ever buy.
That is the first impression I got from my Yeti. If you want a virtually bomb proof, apocalypse proof, drunken friend proof, and of course bear proof cooler this is for you.
The Tundra 45 has several things you won't find on a cheap cooler. First are the handles. Two integrated handles for one man carrying and two paracord and rubber handles for 2 manning it. Next up is the slide resistant feet. The harder you push the harder they hold. This cooler has 2 lock slots to keep bears out. There is an internal gasket to seal the cold air in. In addition to the two bear locks you will find 2 rubber latches which hold strong to keep the cooler closed nice and tight. The hinge system is great. It is basically an aluminum rod that is full length and is a part of the cooler. The drain screws on to retain the cold air inside. A yeti is dry ice compatible. Yeti offers a five year no bullshit warranty and finally a dry goods basket similar to what most chest freezers have.
A few months back the company I work for offered Yeti coolers to us at an incredible discount because we discontinued the mold due to the high production costs associated with it. So I thought it over and decided to pick one up.
For the price of one yeti you could easily pick up 10 cheap Walmart coolers of the same size so remember that these are not for everyone. The reason these coolers cost so much is the process to make them. Here's the process in a nutshell.
1.load the tool with powdered crosslink resin
2. cook for 1/3 the cycle time
3. load the insulating nylon barrier resin
4. cook for another 1/3 of the cycle time
5. bring the mold out one last time and load the final layer
6. cook for the remaining cycle time.
7. cool
8. Demold
The reason this plastic is so strong once its cured is because it is rotationally molded. Basically it cooks while it spins very fast. I run one of the rotational molding machines at work which is why I know so much about the process. When everything is all said and done you get a plastic that won't crack even at a temp of -65 f, which is the temp we freeze the plastic to for impact tests.
Now the important part. How long does it keep ice. Well right now its winter here in Wisconsin so I can't test it outdoors but I can test room temp. I filled the cooler with beer and soda for thanksgiving then filled the rest of the cooler with snow. Surprisingly 3 days later at room temp with being opened and closed several times a day there was still some snow floating around in the cooler. Yeti claims up to 7 days when the cooler is properly conditioned.
My take on the tundra
If you are the person that only needs a cooler one weekend a year I would say get a Walmart cooler but if you go on long outdoor trips and don't ever want to buy another cooler buy a yeti. This is a great cooler but most people just can't justify the high price of this apocalypse ready heavy as hell cooler.

Stick welding with a hobby welder

For years I've wanted a welder but just never seemed to get around to buying one. With my latest bug out truck I finally convinced the wife I needed one to complete the project. Using a small hobbyist stick welder I completely redid the body of the truck and welded in a lot of extra steel for added strength.
I wanted to get a big boy stick welder like I have at work but I don't have the power to my garage for one or the extra money. I decided to go for the hobbyist 110v stick welder because it plugs in anywhere, its small,  and it seemed sufficient for my needs.
Most small welders use tiny low voltage electrodes sized at 1/16 or 5/64. I found these rods are pretty much useless as they blow holes through any thin steel, they are pricey, the welds are tiny, and the rods are very short. After messing with the tiny rods a bit I looked at the regular length 3/32 7014 rods and they were perfect for 16ga up to 10ga.

Welding thicker metal is a pretty simple matter just grind off any rust at the joints and be sure all of the joints are tight fitting. Drag the electrode to strike an ark and the move it in a c or g shape. Thin metal is a very different story and will surely try your patience. The best way I found is to quickly drag the electrode across the work repeatedly until you build the metal up. Once you have a nice build up start the actual weld. Do short 1" or less welds and skip an inch between every weld. More than likely you will burn through which can be fixed by filling the hole after the weld cools. Make sure you pound the slag off the top of any weld and make a second pass if needed. A good auto darkening helmet makes everything a bit easier too. I can go on all day about how to weld but its a technique that needs to be learned by doing.
In general my tiny hobby welder has been able to handle anything I threw at it. The duty cycle isn't the greatest but whenever I exceed it I just clean up my welds or cut my next piece of metal while the welder cools. Practice makes perfect so no matter the welder this seems to be the key to a good weld. I won't be able to construct bridges but anything an average person needs to fix can be done. A welder is a nice addition to any garage and could prove essential in a shtf scenario as long as power is available.