THE APEX PREPPER'S WEB­SITE

Bunker Days is the place for prep­ping info, ex­per­tise and tools.

American Survival Guide - - CONTENTS - By Steve Bar­low

It’s eas­ier to be self-re­liant if you have a lit­tle help. That may sound like a con­tra­dic­tion, but it’s not. We all like to think of our­selves as be­ing able to take care of our loved ones and our­selves dur­ing times of cri­sis. But in pre­par­ing for the worst, we must ac­quire the nec­es­sary knowl­edge and skills, for­mu­late plans for nu­mer­ous spe­cific sce­nar­ios and as­sem­ble the gear that will en­able us to sur­vive. All those things are eas­ier to at­tain when we have ac­cess to the ex­pe­ri­ences of like-minded peo­ple who have trav­eled down that same road. Be­yond that, it helps to have some or­ga­ni­za­tional tools that en­able us to track and eval­u­ate our readi­ness on a con­tin­ual ba­sis. Yes, there are many on­line fo­rums via which peo­ple ex­change ideas on pre­pared­ness top­ics; and there are count­less sites on which gear is sold. Now, there is one on­line des­ti­na­tion where the com­mu­nity, the equip­ment and the tools to pull your sur­vival strate­gies to­gether are available all in one place: Bunker Days (www. Bunkerdays.com). And there is no cost to be­come a mem­ber.

YOU’RE NOT ALONE

Bunker Days was cre­ated be­cause broth­ers and co-founders Mike and Chris Lam­brix saw a

need for such a site while they were as­sess­ing their own self-reliance needs. They wanted to be able to pro­tect their fam­i­lies dur­ing emer­gency sit­u­a­tions with­out re­ly­ing on a re­sponse from govern­ment agen­cies. They were frus­trated: They couldn’t find one site that of­fered ev­ery­thing the av­er­age per­son might need to at­tain a more self-re­liant life­style and state of readi­ness. Un­til they cre­ated Bunker Days, there wasn’t a place that con­sol­i­dated in­for­ma­tion with ac­tive learn­ing and ac­cess to gear. “I was based out of South Florida, and a big con­cern of mine was hur­ri­cane pre­pared­ness and whether or not my house and my fam­ily were ready for a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter,” Mike said. “As we went about the process of ed­u­cat­ing our­selves, we found there wasn’t a great so­lu­tion that com­bined all of the com­po­nents that are re­quired to be pre­pared for a sit­u­a­tion. So, that’s why we launched Bunker Days. What we did was cre­ate a plat­form that has the three main com­po­nents.” The first com­po­nent was a com­mu­nity as­pect—im­por­tant be­cause they didn’t want to simply post in­for­ma­tion. Rather, they sought to pro­vide a plat­form for an ac­tive con­ver­sa­tion be­tween folks with the same con­cerns who are striv­ing to be­come more self-re­liant. “The sec­ond com­po­nent is to have some tools to help you to ac­tively pre­pare. So, on top of the com­mu­nity, we cre­ated some on­line pro­pri­etary tools: the In­ven­tory Man­age­ment Tool and SIPS (Sit­u­a­tion and In­ven­tory Plans),” Mike explained. “And then, the third piece is the gear. When we were do­ing our re­search, we found lots of blogs out there, and there were places to buy gear, but there wasn’t any place that put those two to­gether with some ac­tive tools to help you to man­age them and ac­tively stay pre­pared.” They had the site up and run­ning about a year and a half ago. Now, it’s about get­ting the word out on the tools the site of­fers. Ex­actly what does Bunker Days of­fer? You re­ally need to delve into this site to get a full ap­pre­ci­a­tion of its ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Nev­er­the­less, I’ll high­light some key ar­eas.

BUNKERS

“Bunkers” are ar­eas on the site that deal with spe­cific self-reliance top­ics. Ev­ery­day Carry (EDC), Prep­ping, Sur­vival, Homesteading and Tac­ti­cal are ex­am­ples of some of the var­i­ous bunkers. Once you be­come a mem­ber and you log in, you choose the bunkers you want to join. In each one, you’ll find mem­bers' ar­ti­cles and pho­tos on those spe­cific sub­jects. You can read them, com­ment on them or post your own ar­ti­cles and pho­tos to get the dis­cus­sion go­ing. While you’re ex­pected be on your best be­hav­ior, the con­tent isn’t cen­sored or dis­crim­i­nated against the way it is on some sites that try to be po­lit­i­cally cor­rect. You might post an ar­ti­cle about some new gear you’ve tested or try to get some feed­back from other mem­bers on a piece of kit you’re con­sid­er­ing. If you have some in­sights on the best way to pack a bug-out bag, tips on food preser­va­tion, how to trick-out an AR-15 or are simply look­ing for tips for sus­tain­ing a veg­etable gar­den, the bunkers are the places to do that. If you don’t see a spe­cific bunker for your area of in­ter­est, it’s easy to cre­ate one. For in­stance, you could start one called Un­der Cover, ded­i­cated to prim­i­tive shel­ter-build­ing; Fan­ning the Flame, con­cen­trat­ing on fire-start­ing; or Snow­bound, for win­ter sur­vival. You’re limited only by your imag­i­na­tion. An­other com­po­nent to the com­mu­nity as­pects of Bunker Days is that you can buddy-up by as­sem­bling a group of “mates” (sim­i­lar to “friends” on other so­cial sites). You can follow their posts or send pri­vate mes­sages back and forth. There’s a live-chat fea­ture as well.

BOARDS

Bunker Days also has a fea­ture that al­lows you to store and post in­ter­est­ing or in­spi­ra­tional im­ages to photo boards. You can follow boards of other users or cre­ate your own to share with oth­ers on the site. If you’re high­light­ing a prod­uct, you can add a link to it so that oth­ers can add it to their in­ven­to­ries or find it eas­ily in the site’s De­pot area, where gear is for sale.

YOUR IN­VEN­TORY

Ac­cord­ing to Mike, “The In­ven­tory Man­age­ment Tool is a vir­tual rep­re­sen­ta­tion of your phys­i­cal in­ven­tory." It’s one thing that sets this site apart from oth­ers. Here, you can cat­a­log and track your equip­ment so you al­ways know what you have, where it’s lo­cated and what needs to be re­placed. You start by en­ter­ing items of your ex­ist­ing gear into your in­ven­tory and not­ing the quan­ti­ties. As you pur­chase gear, ei­ther through the site’s De­pot or other places, you add it to your in­ven­tory as well. It gives you a con­ve­nient list­ing of what you have and helps you de­ter­mine what you might still need. No one else can see what’s in your in­ven­tory. It’s a tool for your own ref­er­ence. Within the In­ven­tory tool, you can des­ig­nate cer­tain items as con­tain­ers: your sur­vival gear back­pack, your bug-out bag or your emer­gency bin, for ex­am­ple. You can then move items from your in­ven­tory into those con­tain­ers, which pro­vides a way of keep­ing your gear or­ga­nized.

... YOU CAN CAT­A­LOG AND TRACK YOUR EQUIP­MENT SO YOU AL­WAYS KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE, WHERE IT’S LO­CATED AND WHAT NEEDS TO BE RE­PLACED.

YOU RE­ALLY NEED TO DELVE INTO THIS SITE TO GET A FULL AP­PRE­CI­A­TION OF ITS CA­PA­BIL­I­TIES.

SIPS

An­other valu­able tool on the Bunker Days site al­lows you to cre­ate any num­ber of sit­u­a­tion and in­ven­tory plans—“sips,” for short. They al­low you to plan for spe­cific threats or emer­gen­cies and to or­ga­nize the things needed to handle them, such as skills, gear, routes and fit­ness lev­els. Some ba­sic SIPS have been loaded onto the web­site to get you started. These high­light some com­mon sit­u­a­tions, such as pre­par­ing for a hur­ri­cane, an ac­tive shooter, be­ing lost in the woods or put­ting to­gether a bug-out pack. The SIPS list some sug­gested skills and gear you might need for those cir­cum­stances. How­ever, it’s un­der­stood that you are the one who knows what’s best for your in­di­vid­ual sit­u­a­tions and your spe­cific area. “There’s no off-the-shelf so­lu­tion that’s go­ing to be per­fect for ev­ery sin­gle per­son or that will work in ev­ery sin­gle sce­nario,” Mike pointed out. So, the site aims to sim­plify things by pro­vid­ing great pieces—knowl­edge and tools—but have them suf­fi­ciently ad­justable so mem­bers can tai­lor these emer­gency plans for them­selves and for their own sit­u­a­tions. You can also cre­ate your own SIPS just as eas­ily by setting up a list­ing of gear and skills you’ll need. De­pend­ing on where you live, you might set up one for flood evac­u­a­tion or hun­ker­ing down to sur­vive a tor­nado. While the SIPS fo­cus on skills and gear at the mo­ment, such things as es­cape routes and fit­ness will be added. “If your 72-hour bug-out SIP re­quires you to travel on foot 10 miles to your bug-out lo­ca­tion, you might want to have a weekly re­minder to ‘walk 10 to 20 miles a week,’” Mike said. “We think

that’s some­thing that’s im­por­tant to make this an ac­tive prepa­ra­tion tool and not a static one.” A progress bar on each SIP tracks your pre­pared­ness progress as you gain skills and ac­quire gear. An SIP can serve to re­mind you not only of what gear you have for dif­fer­ent types of emer­gen­cies, but also that self-reliance is a con­tin­ual, ac­tive process. “It’s very easy to just buy gear, throw it on the shelf and say, ‘I’m pre­pared,’” Mike said, “but you do need to prac­tice the skills, and you do need to trial your gear. And if you need to walk out of the city, you do need to be phys­i­cally fit. So, all of those things tie into that con­tin­u­ing self-reliance life­style and not just buy, check the list and for­get about it.”

GEAR

On the Bunker Days web­site, you can dis­cuss gear with other mem­bers; and you can also pur­chase a wide va­ri­ety of readi­ness prod­ucts through the De­pot. How­ever, while Bunker Days might high­light gear and of­fer some sug­ges­tions, the com­pany isn’t push­ing any gear or spe­cific brands on any­one. “We didn’t want to be a com­pany that said, ‘This is the best. Go buy this,’” Mike said. “We wanted a site where there could be that open dia­log and the user base could de­ter­mine what’s the best back­pack or the best knife and have an open de­bate about it.” Gear sug­ges­tions are listed in the bunkers and SIPS; al­ter­na­tively, you can browse the De­pot, look­ing for gear by spe­cific cat­e­gories. Prod­ucts you pur­chase there are au­to­mat­i­cally added to your in­ven­tory.

SECURITY

Hav­ing all this in­for­ma­tion con­ve­niently available at your fin­ger­tips is great, but I was con­cerned about the chances that this very pri­vate in­for­ma­tion could be com­pro­mised by hack­ers. Chris shared some de­tails about Bunker Days’ im­pres­sive ar­range­ments for keep­ing in­for­ma­tion con­fi­den­tial and se­cure. He started by re­mind­ing us that, “in or­der to ac­cess the Bunker Days plat­form, a user must first cre­ate a se­cure ac­count by pro­vid­ing a name, e-mail and pass­word. We rec­om­mend that users choose a se­cure pass­word when they sign up and don't share it with any­one. “We store pass­words in an en­crypted for­mat, and we have no way to de­crypt it. Sensitive in­for­ma­tion around a user’s In­ven­tory, e-mail ad­dress and other per­sonal in­for­ma­tion is only ac­ces­si­ble by that user and only while logged in (once the ap­pro­pri­ate log-in cre­den­tials have been sup­plied). In ad­di­tion, he said, "The com­mu­nity as­pects of the site are view­able by other

GEAR SUG­GES­TIONS ARE LISTED IN THE BUNKERS AND SIPS; AL­TER­NA­TIVELY, YOU CAN BROWSE THE DE­POT, LOOK­ING FOR GEAR BY SPE­CIFIC CAT­E­GORIES. PROD­UCTS YOU PUR­CHASE THERE ARE AU­TO­MAT­I­CALLY ADDED TO YOUR IN­VEN­TORY.

Bunker Days mem­bers—for ex­am­ple, 'lik­ing' or com­ment­ing on posts. All data on the plat­form is stored in our se­cure servers lo­cated in Chicago. Ac­cess to our servers is limited to au­tho­rized per­son­nel, and the data cen­ter, which phys­i­cally hosts the hard­ware, fol­lows tight security pro­ce­dures.

MOV­ING AHEAD

The Lam­brix broth­ers have plans to make Bunker Days even bet­ter. In 2019, for in­stance, they hope to roll out a mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion. They want to in­te­grate the up­load­ing of self-reliance videos soon and are plan­ning on in­tro­duc­ing an “Es­cape From X” fea­ture that will pro­vide sur­vival plans and es­cape routes for spe­cific cities. Also un­der con­sid­er­a­tion is a re­tail store lo­ca­tion in Florida. As far as doc­u­ment­ing that you have ac­quired the skills you need for dif­fer­ent sur­vival sce­nar­ios, it’s the honor sys­tem for now ... but that could change. “We’re look­ing at part­ner­ing with ac­cred­ited providers of these skills, whether it’s first aid or con­cealed carry or wilder­ness sur­vival, to pro­vide cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.” Mike said.

BRING­ING IT ALL TO­GETHER

As I see it, the great­est ben­e­fit to this site is how it in­te­grates so many sur­vival el­e­ments in one place. You can learn from the posted ar­ti­cles; dis­cuss strate­gies, tech­niques and gear with other mem­bers; have the tools to con­sol­i­date your emer­gency plans and track your progress; and find the gear you need. Mem­bers also have ac­cess to a free, 30-page e-book on ur­ban sur­vival. Bunker Days also sends out a monthly newsletter to its mem­bers. As Mike Lam­brix says, “Self-reliance isn’t lone wolf.” Be­cause it costs noth­ing to be­come a mem­ber, I see no down­side to it at all. Even though I’ve been at this for a long time, I know there’s still much I can learn from those who live the self-re­liant life­style. The more peo­ple who par­tic­i­pate, the bet­ter this site will be. I’ve be­come a Bunker Days mem­ber, and I look for­ward to “talk­ing sur­vival” with you on the site very soon.

Some of the ar­ti­cles on Bunker Days' web­site nat­u­rally deal with wilder­ness sur­vival, but the site also has valu­able in­for­ma­tion on ur­ban sur­vival and tac­tics.

The Bunker Days home page gives vis­i­tors to the site a quick in­tro­duc­tion, but you re­ally need to ex­plore the site to see its many ben­e­fits.

i Above: This im­age is from an ar­ti­cle on setting up sur­vival caches—an ex­am­ple of the in­for­ma­tive ar­ti­cles found on the Bunker Days web­site. As you use your gear (the Moun­tain House de­hy­drated meals you ate, the com­pass you lost, the flash­light bat­ter­ies that died), you can change the quan­ti­ties of those items in your in­ven­tory. When the quan­ti­ties reach zero, those items will ap­pear in your De­pleted Gear sec­tion so you can track items that need to be re­placed.

h Far left: A large se­lec­tion of gear is of­fered in the web­site’s De­pot sec­tion. Pur­chases are au­to­mat­i­cally added to your per­sonal in­ven­tory list. h Mid­dle: An over­view of the Bunker Days web­site pro­vides new­com­ers with a run­down of some of the site’s fea­tures. h Near left: This page ex­plains how to make use of some of the web­site’s self-reliance man­age­ment tools.

i Far right: In the “Lost in the Woods” SIP, a list of sug­gested gear is pro­vided to en­able you to pre­pare for such a sit­u­a­tion. i Near right: The Head­quar­ters page on the Bunker Days web­site gives you a quick update about what’s new and trend­ing on the site.

Not at all “old school”! Bunker Days pro­vides use­ful, up-to-date in­for­ma­tion—for in­stance, how to use your phone as a sur­vival tool.

h This im­age of one mem­ber’s sur­vival gear ac­com­pa­nied an ar­ti­cle on that topic that was posted on Bunker Days' site.

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